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Sat, 18 Jan 2020
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War Whore

How US Hardliners Ensured Soviet Withdrawal Did Not Lead to Peace in Afghanistan

soviet tanks
© Sputnik / V. Kiselev
Thirty years after the withdrawal of the last Soviet forces from Afghanistan, the US is still fighting the monster they helped create in their anti-Soviet crusade.

February 15, 1989. The date when the Soviet Army left Afghanistan for the last time. Trying to defend the left-wing government in Kabul from US-backed mujahideen had cost the Soviet Union countless millions of rubles and the lives of over 15,000 soldiers. So you can understand why Mikhail Gorbachev wanted out. He actually wanted to withdraw earlier. But the Kremlin's proposals for a negotiated settlement were blocked by neocons in the Reagan administration, who met attempts at compromise from Kabul and Moscow with intransigence and increased support for the most militant factions.

Gorbachev warned of the global consequences of an extremist takeover in Afghanistan, but his words went unheeded. The US, in their determination to give the Soviet Union its own Vietnam, helped create a Frankenstein monster which they are still fighting, or pretending to fight, today.

Blackbox

An Eccentric Tradition: The Paradox of 'Western Values'

moses painting
© Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn / Getty Images
Western values?
It is no secret that former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a fan of Western values.

On more than one occasion he has lamented what he calls "the great Australian silence" - the neglect of "the Western canon, the literature, the poetry, the music, the history and above all the faith without which our culture and our civilisation is unimaginable."

Abbott's predecessor, John Howard, is also known as a stout defender of the Western tradition and its values, and he too worries that we are losing our connection to it: "When we think of our civilisation, we lack an integrated understanding of the contribution of the early Romans and Greeks, the framework of what is frequently called the Judaeo-Christian ethic."

Further afield, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron has preached the importance of Christian values for Britain.

More recently, and perhaps unhelpfully for the cause, Donald Trump has jumped on the bandwagon. In a rare moment of coherence, Trump delivered a speech ahead of the 2017 G20 summit in Poland, urging the defence of "our values" and "our civilization."

Doberman

Dog burials were common in Neolithic north-eastern Iberia

dog burial
© Losey RJ, Garvie-Lok S, Leonard JA, Katzenberg MA, Germonpre´ M, et al. (2013)
A dog buried at the site of Pad’ Kalasnikova in Siberia. This dog was buried in a crouched or sitting position.
Coinciding with the Pit Grave culture (4200-3600 years before our era), coming from Southern Europe, the Neolithic communities of the north-eastern Iberian Peninsula started a ceremonial activity related to the sacrifice and burial of dogs. The high amount of cases that are recorded in Catalonia suggests it was a general practice and it proves the tight relationship between humans and these animals, which, apart from being buried next to them, were fed a similar diet to humans'.

This is the conclusion of a research study led by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and the University of Barcelona (UB), which provides new data to describe and understand the presence of dogs in sacred and funerary spaces of the middle Neolithic in the Iberian Peninsula, and gets an insight on the relation between humans and these animals. The study has been published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

The study analyses the remains of twenty-six dogs found in funerary structures from four sites and necropolises of the Barcelona region, and has conducted an isotopic analysis for eighteen of them, to determine whether the relation with their owners included other aspects, such as a control of their diet.

Comment: See also:


Nuke

Scottish nuclear submarine collision, a cold war secret for 43 years

Cable
© Photo: CIA
The cable to Henry Kissinger about a collision involving two nuclear submarines near Holy Loch in Scotland corroborates a report on the incident by the Washington Post.
Documents published by CIA reveal crash between US and Soviet subs a few miles off coast of Scotland in 1974.

Two nuclear submarines from rival sides in the cold war collided a few miles off the coast of Scotland in an incident that was covered up for 43 years.

The potentially catastrophic crash occurred in November 1974 when the SSBN James Madison, armed with 16 Poseidon nuclear missiles, was heading out of the US naval base at Holy Loch, 30 miles north-west of Glasgow.

People

12th-century three-person toilet found in London's river Thames goes on display

3 person toilet seat
© David Levene/The Guardian
Conservator Luisa Duarte working on the 12th-century toilet seat.
A rare 12th-century toilet seat built to accommodate three users at once is to go on display for the first time at the Museum of London Docklands.

Nine hundred years after the roughly carved plank of oak was first placed over a cesspit near a tributary of the Thames, it will form the centrepiece of an exhibition about the capital's "secret" rivers.

The strikingly well preserved seat, still showing the axe marks where its three rough holes were cut, once sat behind a mixed commercial and residential tenement building on what is now Ludgate Hill, near St Paul's Cathedral, on land that in the mid-1100s would have been a small island in the river Fleet.

Comment: See also:


Sherlock

New book blames CIA operative Robert Maheu for murder of RFK - gets coverage in WaPo

Sirhan Sirhan and RFK
© Miss Open
The assassination of Democratic Party candidate Robert F. Kennedy in Los Angeles the night he won the California presidential primary in June 1968 dealt a shocking blow to the national consciousness.

After all, the murder came less than five years after the shooting death of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, and the official investigations into both deaths would prove to be highly controversial, creating generations of conspiracy theorists eager to explore whether there were mysterious forces behind the two deaths.

Lifelong information activist and researcher Lisa Pease has immersed herself in the case of RFK since 1992, when she stumbled across extensive Los Angeles Police Department case files on the assassination when she opened the wrong drawer at the Los Angeles Public Library's main downtown branch. Delving into the files and conducting countless interviews ever since, she has crafted the massive 512-page new book A Lie Too Big to Fail: The Real History of the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, which pokes many holes in the official story that former Pasadena resident Sirhan Sirhan was his killer.

Comment: Neal Colgrass at newser.com writes:
The cloak-and-dagger figure who likely inspired the TV show Mission: Impossible also planned Robert F. Kennedy's assassination - at least according to a lengthy new book on the subject, the Washington Post reports. In A Lie Too Big to Fail, author Lisa Pease contends that Robert Maheu, an ex-FBI agent and CIA contractor, may have had Sirhan Sirhan hypnotized into firing blanks at Kennedy in June 1968 while the real killers shot the senator from behind. Maheu was indeed a shadowy figure who helped the CIA with jobs they didn't want to handle (like hiring the mob to murder Fidel Castro) and worked as Howard Hughes' right-hand man as the magnate supported CIA missions and purchased big portions of Las Vegas. But was Maheu behind Kennedy's killing?



Russian Flag

1919-2019: UK Has Been Blackening Russia's Name For at Least 100 years

russophobia

This is just the latest outbreak of russophobia in a very old pattern
The Western powers have Russia in their sights. Propaganda is at fever pitch. Sounds familiar? No, I'm not talking about 2019, but 1919, when Churchill was supporting military intervention against the Russian government.

One hundred years ago, World War I may have ended but the world was hardly at peace.

Then, as now, Russia was a target. Bolshevik rule, only established in late 1917, was threatened by a Western-backed foreign intervention to help the anti-Bolshevik White Army regain power.

Today, the biggest hawk on the scene in Britain is Gavin Williamson, the defense secretary. In 1919, it was one Winston Churchill, secretary of state for war. At least the titles they gave government ministers were more honest in those days.

In March 1919, Churchill went over to Paris, where the Versailles Peace Conference was taking place, to push for more war.

The great cigar-smoker denounced "the baboonery of Bolshevism" and, as historian AJP Taylor records, persuaded the Supreme Council to "try intervention on a large scale."

Archaeology

Iguana-sized cousin of dinosaurs discovered in Antarctica

iguana fossil antarctica
© Adrienne Stroup, Field Museum
The midnight sun over Early Triassic Antarctica." Along the banks of a river, three archosaur inhabitants of the dense
Voltzia conifer forest cross paths: Antarctanax shackletoni sneaks up on an early titanopetran insect, Prolacerta lazes
on a log, and an enigmatic large archosaur pursues two unsuspecting dicynodonts, Lystrosaurus maccaigi
Antarctica wasn't always a frozen wasteland--250 million years ago, it was covered in forests and rivers, and the temperature rarely dipped below freezing. It was also home to diverse wildlife, including early relatives of the dinosaurs. Scientists have just discovered the newest member of that family--an iguana-sized reptile whose name means "Antarctic king."

"This new animal was an archosaur, an early relative of crocodiles and dinosaurs," says Brandon Peecook, a Field Museum researcher and lead author of a paper in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology describing the new species. "On its own, it just looks a little like a lizard, but evolutionarily, it's one of the first members of that big group. It tells us how dinosaurs and their closest relatives evolved and spread."

Books

'History of the County of York ' tells of medieval nun who faked her own death to escape convent

medieval archives bishop register
© University of York
‘Extraordinary - like a Monty Python sketch’ … Gary Brannan and Sarah Rees Jones examine one of the archishops’ registers.
A team of medieval historians working in the archives at the University of York has found evidence that a nun in the 14th century faked her own death and crafted a dummy "in the likeness of her body" in order to escape her convent and pursue - in the words of the archbishop of the time - "the way of carnal lust".

A marginal note written in Latin and buried deep within one of the 16 heavy registers used by to record the business of the archbishops of York between 1304 and 1405 first alerted archivists to the adventures of the runaway nun. "To warn Joan of Leeds, lately nun of the house of St Clement by York, that she should return to her house," runs the note written by archbishop William Melton and dated to 1318.

Info

New research says stone megaliths was spread by a mysterious seafaring culture from northwest France

Haväng megalithic grave, Sweden
© Bettina Schulz Paulsson
Haväng megalithic grave, Sweden.
New research suggests that megaliths -- monuments such as Stonehenge created from large rocks during the Stone and Copper Ages in Europe -- owe their origins to a mysterious culture from northwest France with advanced seafaring technology.

Roughly 35,000 megaliths are known throughout Europe, including standing stones, stone circles and megalithic tombs. Most megaliths date from 4500 to 2500 B.C., are concentrated in coastal areas along the Atlantic and Mediterranean, and share similar or even identical architectural features, said archaeologist Bettina Schulz Paulsson at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

The origins of megaliths have proven controversial for more than a century. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, archaeologists believed the practice may have originated at a single point in the Near East, and then spread westward through migrant priests or prospectors. Later, the rise of radiocarbon dating led to the currently dominant argument that the concept of megaliths arose independently multiple times across Europe.

Schulz Paulsson's new study reviewed data from 11 different languages that analyzed 2,410 radiocarbon dates for megalithic sites and related areas throughout Europe to better understand the way megaliths spread across the continent.