One Hundred and Ninety Eighth Blog Post





It is hard to claim that the design is beautiful, dazzling or engrossing. But the artwork is destined to be priceless and famous, because it seems to be the earliest evidence for a drawing in the archaeological record, by some margin. Apart from some cave paintings from Spain dated to around 64,000 years ago — presumably the work of Neanderthals (D. L. Hoffmann et al. Science 359, 912–915; 2018) — the next instance of drawing came around 40,000 years ago with cave paintings found at opposite ends of Eurasia: in the spectacular art decorating the walls of caves in Spain and France, and the more recently discovered cave art in Sulawesi in Indonesia (M. Aubert et al. Nature 514, 223–227; 2014). Despite being located 12,000 kilometres apart, cave paintings such as these contain images that we instantly recognize as figurative art, including a range of animals, and stencils of hands that speak to us, millennia later, as signs of human self-awareness.


As the sole surviving species of the genus Homo, we Homo sapiens are one of the most taxonomically lonely species living on Earth today. But dig back a few thousand years or more and we find ourselves with plenty of company: Many now-extinct species shared the genusHomo, ranging from the robust Homo neanderthalensis, to the hobbit-like Homo floresiensis to the more primitive Homo habilis and Homo erectus. But do all these species, with their wide diversity of physical and cultural traits, actually belong in the same genus?

Traditionally, hominin fossils have been classified into either the genus Homo or Australopithecus, with Homo dating back to about 2.8 million years and the oldest Australopiths dating back to about 4 million years ago. But some anthropologists think we need more options. “Right now, we are stuck in a false dichotomy, where if it isn’t an Australopith, it must be Homo and if it isn’t Homo, it must be an Australopith,” says Ian Tattersall, a paleoanthropologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. “We obviously need more genera if our classification of hominins is to meaningfully reflect the diversity within our family.”

But reparsing the hominin family tree is easier said than done. “This problem is just as much philosophical as taxonomical,” Tattersall says. “We’re wrestling with nothing less than human exceptionalism” — the idea that humans are so distinct from other organisms that the rules of taxonomy don’t apply to us, a problem that has plagued paleoanthropology from its earliest discoveries. “Homo has become a wastebasket of names with very little meaning,” Tattersall says. “And yet, we’re so emotionally attached to those names that even people who think they should be changed are unable to agree on how to go about it.” Nonetheless, some are trying.

What’s in a Name?

In the mid-1700s, Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus proposed a binomial naming system to classify organisms according to relatedness and shared characteristics. This organizational system evolved into the familiar ranks of kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species.

A species is loosely defined as a population of organisms that can successfully breed. But things get a little more contrived at the genus level, which is less rooted in biology and more in the scientific drive for organization. “Species have a reasonably objective biological reality that is grounded in the dynamic that exists among their members,” Tattersall wrote in the journal Inference in February 2016. “Genera, on the other hand, are purely historical constructs,” he wrote.

“A genus is like a make of car,” says Bernard Wood, a paleoanthropologist at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. All Toyotas are more closely related to each other than to any other make of car and they’re all derived from the original Toyota, which was made in the 1930s, he adds. A grouping made up of “all the four-wheel-drive cars made by Toyota would make a sensible genus,” Wood says. “But a grouping of four-wheel-drive cars made by different companies would not qualify, even if they look alike and drive alike, since they don’t share a common ancestor.”


Great archaeological detective stories start with unexpected discoveries in unusual places.

In May, an international team of scientists led by Thomas Ingicco revealed new archaeological findings from Kalinga, in the northernmost part of Luzon, Philippines. Until now, scientists have mostly assumed that the Philippines were first inhabited by modern humans, only after 100,000 years ago. But the artifacts unearthed by Ingicco and coworkers were much older, more than 700,000 years old.


Just a decade has transformed the debate over whether Neanderthals were practising what we have no better word for, than art.

In 2007 a review paper by Marie Soressi and Francesco d’Errico critically discussed much of the until-then disparate finds, and showed that in fact there was a substantial body of ‘legit’ evidence. Since then, researchers have upped their game through not only developing more sophisticated analytical approaches and methods, but also just keeping their minds open to the possibility. Intentionally looking out for those tiny traces which have just managed to hang on over tens of millennia can make the difference between finding them or not.

Two new papers are being released today, and even with the different world we now find ourselves in compared to ten years ago, aspects of them still represent genuinely jaw-dropping finds. [I was asked for comment by a media outlet which is why I’m able to write all this in advance].



But Harris can’t engage any of this history, any of these material factors, because he’s a reductive idealist. Amazingly, he is far more reductive in his thinking with respect to Islam even than the Bush administration. George W. Bush saw very clearly the need for strong institutions in the Muslim world. He understood that the problem wasn’t Islam, it was the poor political order in the region. The problem is that Bush failed to understand that if the United States attempts to provide this order itself, no domestic force will develop which can step in and take the reigns. The order the United States attempted to impose in Iraq and which it continues to attempt to impose in Afghanistan only lasts as long as America remains willing to commit unlimited, vast sums of resources to these countries. As soon as the United States leaves, the same underlying problem resurfaces, because the factions and leaders we put in power are dependent on our military capability to maintain order in the country. Once we leave, they once again must try to come up with a way to legitimate their order on their own. They don’t succeed, and we end up back where we started–with America having spent trillions of dollars and with thousands of lives lost. Our role in the region now mirrors the role that Britain and France used to play–we are breaking Middle Eastern states, failing to put them back together, and eventually quitting and leaving a mess. Between us and the Europeans the region has never been able to find its own path and figure out what kinds of institutions it wants for itself, and the state of Islam reflects this wider governance problem.

I’ve told you all of this history to make a relatively simple point, and one which is perhaps much less important than many of the points we’ve made along the way–that Sam Harris’ idealism and obsessive hatred of religion causes him to ignore the history, politics, and economics of the Muslim world. Despite this, he continues to be taken seriously by other people who also don’t pay attention to these things.


Furthermore, it is well-documented that when a man dons the mask of a Kachina in preparation for the sacred rituals and dances, he is understood to take on and manifest the spirit of the Kachina he is portraying. In the book Masks of the Spirit: Image and Metaphor in Mesoamerica, by Peter and Roberta Markman (1994), a Hopi man named Emory Sekaquaptewa, who has himself performed these rituals, is quoted as saying:

For the kachina ceremonies require that a person project oneself into the spirit world, into the world of fantasy, or the world of make-believe. Unless one can do this, spiritual experience cannot be achieved. I am certain that the use of the mask in the kachina ceremony has more than just an esthetic purpose. I feel that what happens to a man when he is a performer is that if he understands the essence of the kachina, when he dons the mask he loses his identity and actually becomes what he is representing . . . He is able to do so behind the mask because he has lost his personal identity. (page 68)

The similarities to the traditions of the Cantonese opera described above are remarkable, the more so because there is not thought to have been any historical contact between the ancient Native American nations of the Hopi or the Zuni and the ancient culture of China.

Even if one were to admit the possibility of some sort of ancient contact between China and the Americas (which may well have taken place), it would stretch credibility to argue that such transoceanic contact is also responsible for the masked sacred drama of ancient Greece, or of Africa,  and so on around the globe.

The world-wide prevalence of ritual drama and dances, almost always utilizing masks and also similar types of music and percussion, on every continent and island of our planet argues that this pattern may be far more ancient, and may descend from some common predecessor culture or cultures, just as the world’s ancient myths share striking similarities and a basis in celestial metaphor — similarities too specific to be convincingly explained as “coincidental development in complete isolation,” and yet too widespread across both geographical distance and also across millennia to be easily explained by cultural distribution during conventionally-acknowledged history after the rise of the civilizations of ancient China, ancient India, ancient Egypt, and ancient Mesopotamia (especially since the celestial myth-patterns are already present in the earliest known texts from those civilizations).


Exploring the role of instinct and instinctual behaviours in building as a counterbalance to the social determinism of many current narratives; the forms of categorisation used in archaeological and architectural studies are considered, distinguishing between abstract narratives and real-world observations. Strongly canonical monument forms are not only constrained in their original design, but also influence the nature of their subsequent anthropic modifications and predetermines some pathways to decomposition, while ensuring that the form of the original structure may be discernible even following millennia of use and abuse of the monument. Finally, some technical issues affecting drystone building are introduced and the relationship between the concepts of monumentality and engineering efficiency are discussed.


Hello again, my dear readership….

This is the 198th. blog post. Attentive followers may have noticed that I’ve slowed down a bit, and don’t have so much to say. Mostly because of my poor health. I guess I may continue towards the 200th. For no better reason than to make it a round number. Then I might stop. Or not.

It does give me something interesting to do through the long dark wet winter months. I might try out the new version of WordPress, and if it is amazing, that might  inspire me to do more posts. On the other hand, if it’s horrid, that might be another reason to stop. Whatever. All things come to an end, eventually.

The internet and this computer technology has been an exhilarating ride. I’ve enjoyed it all immensely. I used to think that it might solve some of the world’s perennial problems, but that vision has soured. Seems to me, much of it’s become just another vicious political and cultural battleground, a sordid showcase for human malice, nastiness, and depravity. But some of it is still positive and amusing, better than TV and newspapers, anyway.


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712 Responses to One Hundred and Ninety Eighth Blog Post

  1. ulvfugl says:

    From China to Saudi Arabia, today’s authoritarian regimes are suddenly and covertly abducting people, including well-known figures and high-ranking officials, to be detained or worse. It’s an old and effective tactic for silencing opponents, but those reviving its use may end up regretting their decision.

    Africa’s youngest billionaire was kidnapped in a shocking early morning assault in the streets of Tanzania outside of an affluent hotel Thursday morning in what appeared to have been a carefully planned abduction.

    Tanzanian police remain on high alert and are reportedly scouring the country for 43-year old mogul Mohammed Dewji — who runs the METL group, a family business that operates across six African countries in diverse industries as trading, agriculture, manufacturing, energy and petroleum, and financial services, among others.

    Dewji was reported by the Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation as walking into the Colosseum Hotel and Fitness Club in Oyster Bay in Dar es Salaam, the country’s capital, for his routine gym session during the early morning hours, when two white men and an unknown number of others in two cars sped up to the front of hotel, fired weapons into the air, and nabbed him and quickly drove away.

  2. ulvfugl says:

    They aren’t the first to search for the cache. Generations of treasure hunters have tried to find the gold, which is believed to have been lost or stolen around the time of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, when the Union Army was attempting to transport it from West Virginia to Philadelphia.

    The Paradas spent five years digging in a cave on state land and two more years drilling atop the cave before going to the FBI in January with their evidence.

    Last March, feeling quite certain they had found the treasure’s hiding place, the Paradas led the FBI to the spot.

    They showed agents how their sophisticated metal detector went crazy when aimed at the spot where they believed the gold was hidden.

    Within a month, the FBI had hired an outside firm to conduct an underground scan using a device called a gravimeter. The scan identified a large metallic mass with the density of gold, according to the Paradas and Warren Getler, an author and journalist who’s been working with them, reports the Associated Press.

    The Paradas and Getler said the FBI agreed to let them observe the excavation, but then confined them to their car so they were unable to watch the digging.

    At the end of the excavation, the FBI led the father-son duo to an empty hole, writes the AP:

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    Some of the most racist commentary in the last 70 years poured out of ‘liberal’ news corporations which support Hillary and the DNC gang. The inability to see themselves in the mirror reminds me of vampires who can’t do this, either. The DNC rage over Trump poaching former black ‘slaves’ who only supported DNC gang members, is Titanic and very funny. Meanwhile, Hollywood stars continue to plunge off the social cliff by openly and repeatedly attacking President Trump and ALL men, demanding Weinstein be put in prison for having consensual sex with prostitute actresses who thought this would…and it did…work to give them a jump on women who were not prostitutes.

  11. ulvfugl says:

    The diggers have gone — but in the aftermath there are plenty of stones which can be examined

    This is from the 2017 Report and funding application from MPP, on behalf of the project called
    “The Welsh origins of Stonehenge” [RFF-2017-23]
    Principal Investigator: Michael Parker Pearson
    Professor, University College London, Institute of Archaeology

  12. ulvfugl says:

    There’s no doubt about it, the fairies are there. My own daughter saw them in a field near Knocksouna – a host of them, little people wearing red coats. Of course they never appear to people in sin, and they never harm the innocent.

  13. ulvfugl says:


    The horsehair blanket is an interesting twist. Assuming the coloration of the hair coat is in fact bay, then we should assume that the horsehair blanket was made from the hair coat of a domesticated horse.

    Archaeozoologist Laura Kaagan has done work on the Beaker period horses and believes the Exmoor pony to be similar in form, if not an unimproved descendant of those early Beaker period horses. Hopefully we will see some genetic testing of this horsehair blanket since we can be fairly sure of its color and utilization by the Beakers. Although I’m not too optimistic about genetic analysis on domestics, we may get some surprise relations to the Exmoor.

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    Storm Callum continues to batter many parts of Wales.

    This weekend has so far seen floods, torrential rain, travel disruption and hazardous driving conditions.

    A man has died after a landslide in Carmarthenshire .

    Dyfed Powys Police are advising members of the public to only travel if it is essential.

    Carmarthenshire is one of the worst hit areas by Storm Callum, torrential rain has caused rivers to burst their banks and towns and villages have flooded.

  17. ulvfugl says:

    As for Russiagate itself, just try to find anyone involved who’s actually Russian. The only basis for the widespread assumption that any material in the Dirty Dossier that underlies the whole operationoriginated with Russia is the claim of Christopher Steele, the British “ex” spy who wrote it, evidently in collaboration with people at the US State Department and Fusion GPS. (The notion that Steele, who hadn’t been in Russia for years, would have Kremlin personal contacts is absurd. How chummy are the heads of the American section of Chinese or Russian intelligence with White House staff?)

    While there are no obvious Russians in Russiagate there’s no shortage of Brits. These include (details at the link):

    Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Russia
    Stefan Halper, a dual US-UK citizen.
    Ex-MI6 Director Richard Dearlove.
    Robert Hannigan, former director of GCHQ; there is reason to think surveillance of Trump was conducted by GCHQ as well as by US agencies under FISA warrants. Hannigan abruptly resigned from GCHQ soon after the British government denied the agency had engaged in such spying.
    Alexander Downer, Australian diplomat (well, not British but remember the Five Eyes!).
    Joseph Mifsud, Maltese academic and suspected British agent.

    At present, the full role played by those listed above is not known. Release of unredacted FISA warrant requests by the Justice Department, which President Trump ordered weeks ago, would shed light on a number of details. Implementation of that order was derailed after a request by – no surprise – British Prime Minister Theresa May. Was she seeking to conceal Russian perfidy, or her own underlings’?

    It would be bad enough if Russiagate were the sum of British meddling in American affairs with the aim of torpedoing relations with Moscow. (And to be fair, it wasn’t just the UK and Australia. Also implicated are Estonia, Israel, and Ukraine.) But there is also reason to suspect the same motive in false accusations against Russia with respect to the supposed Novichok poisonings in England has a connection to Russiagate via a business associate of Steele’s, one Pablo Miller, Sergei Skripal’s MI6 recruiter. (So if it turns out there is any Russian connection to the dossier, it could be from Skripal or another dubious expat source, not from the Russian government.) Skripal and his daughter Yulia have disappeared in British custody. Moscow flatly accuses MI6 of poisoning them as a false flag to blame it on Russia.

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    From the weather weirding department: (Citing a NOAA hurricane discussion at 5:00 am AST) “a tropical storm warning has been issued for (Madeira)) island. It is the first known tropical storm warning for that place, and there are no known tropical storms in the historical record anywhere within 100 miles of that island, with the closest being Vince of 2005.” And there is a lonnnnnnnnnnnng historical record in Madeira. Perhaps the first tropical cyclone to ever directly impact Madeira in its long history. Yep, the weather patterns are changing.

  20. ulvfugl says:

    Saudi Arabia warned on Sunday it would respond to any “threats” against it as its stock market crashed the most since 2016 after President Trump’s warning of “severe punishment” over the disappearance of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.

    On Saturday, Trump said the U.S. could take “very, very powerful, very strong, strong measures” against the country if its leaders are found responsible for the Saudi citizen’s fate. The kingdom, which denies its involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance, announced it would retaliate against any punitive measures with an even “stronger” response, the Saudi Press Agency reported, citing an official it didn’t identify.

    “The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether through economic sanctions, political pressure or repeating false accusations,” the kingdom’s statement said. “The kingdom also affirms that if it is (targeted by) any action, it will respond with greater action.”

    1 minute ago
    Consider this scenario:

    This is all theater.

    Khashoggi is a CIA asset with longstanding ties to the British royals, Al Qaeda, OBL, and the old guard Saudis purged by MbS, not to mention the Clintons and his current employer WaPo.

    Perhaps he is being interrogated, perhaps being held to stall a deep state October surprise. But exposure of the real reason for his detention would harm the interests of Khashoggi and his allies. This provides Trump and MbS with useful leverage.

    As a matter of public relations, Trump will talk tough, MbS will talk tough, and it will all blow over.



    2 minutes ago
    Wait a minute. The Washington Post is owned by the world’s richest man, right? If this journalist is so valuable, then let him pay to either get him back or find out what happened to him. Why is everyone in an uproar over this? I thought today’s journalists mostly spewed lies anyways. So – what’s really going on here?



    6 minutes ago

    “ … Saudi Arabia has traditionally been one of Trump’s closest foreign allies, the US president made a point of visiting the kingdom on his first overseas trip as president and has touted arms sales to Saudi Arabia. … ”

    “ … The escalation in tension between the two allies, … “

    As I’ve pointed-out, at least 15 times over the years at zh, USA and Saudi Arabia are not allies, have never been allies, and probably never will be allies. They have only ever operated briefly in ad-hoc coalitions that then lapsed, once mutual military or strategic objectives were met.

    Saudi Arabia is not aligned with the USA.

    USA is not aligned with Saudi Arabia.

    They have never been formal allies. Beyond that it’s all business, with occasional cooperation phases to get along better.

    The only people who keep making this stupid fake-claim that they are mutual actual “allies” are ****-stirring anti-western bloggers, and mainstream ‘journalists’, who should know a lot better. And if they don’t know the difference should be fired from their position.

    You’re all apparently idiots.

  21. ulvfugl says:

    In short: Anything could happen after Sunday, up to and including Merkel’s fall.

    As ING echoes (full preview below), regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s elections, be prepared for a political landslide with a long-term impact on German national politics: a dramatic defeat of the CSU would first lead to an earthquake in Bavaria, foreshadowing future political developments and structural shifts at the national level; an unexpected comeback of the CSU would probably prompt a political landslide in Berlin.

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    Current distribution of sites with T-shaped pillars and with simple limestone stelae (modified after Schmidt 2006; Copyright DAI).

    The characteristic element of Göbekli Tepe´s architecture are the T-shaped pillars. In the older Layer III (10th millenium BC) the monolithic pillars weigh tons and reach heights between 4 m (pillars in the stone circles) and 5.5 m (central pillars). The T-shape of the pillars is clearly an abstract depiction of the human body seen from the side. Evidence for this interpretation are the low relief depictions of arms, hands and items of clothing like belts and loinclothes on some of the pillars. Often the pillars bear further reliefs, mostly depictions of animals, but also of numerous abstract symbols.
    Layer III is supraposed by layer II, dating to the 9th millenium BC. This layer is not characterised by big round enclosures, but by smaller, rectangular buildings. The number and the height of the pillars are also reduced. In most cases only the two central pillars remain, the biggest measuring around 1,5 m.

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  26. ulvfugl says:

    The disappearance of the former Saudi journalist, presumably in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, last week, is causing a diplomatic and strategic conflict between the West and Saudi Arabia of unprecedented levels. British spy-novel writers John LeCarre and Ian Fleming would have been flabbergasted these days, when looking at the growing crisis surrounding Saudi Arabia’s international standing and the position of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The possible role of the Royals in the abduction of Khashoggi, supported by the Saudi Royal Court and secret services, will not blow over without leaving immense scars. The current crisis will not just have possible repercussions for the Kingdom, as its international standing is being threatened, it was also influence the power game currently ongoing in the Royal Palace.

    Without even knowing the real facts behind the disappearance of Khashoggi, one thing is clear; the rosy halo surrounding the Young Prince in Riyadh has been removed by force.

  27. ulvfugl says:

    “With social media, there’s software that can scroll through all of [the threats] at a much faster rate than any human can do it, so in some regards it makes it easier. But the bread and butter of what we do is the human element—and the people that work the mission—and that’s never going to change,” Special Agent Gibson told the Daily Beast.

    The situation grew tense – as the Secret Service still wasn’t sure of the operative’s pinpoint location 20 minutes prior to Air Force One touching down in Manilla. “What is going on proactively to track this guy down?” Special Agent Ragan shouted into a phone. “I need an update. Now.”

    The operative was eventually tracked down to Luneta Park – situated around a mile north of Trump’s hotel, where the suspect is reportedly with “an associate.” After the Secret Service informed the Philippine National Police (PNP), the suspects were apprehended.

    “With technology, that was one of the things that was a blessing for us, because we were able to know that he was moving close to us, where he was, and track him. That was a huge piece of stopping the threat,” Special Agent Ragan tells me.

    He adds, “Of course, we had a lot of help from the locals—and that’s an essential key to it that can’t be understated, is how great these foreign governments are, or even locals. If we go to Topeka, Kansas, the local law enforcement is such a help. We get so much support from the host committee, or the host country.” -Daily Beast

  28. ulvfugl says:

    Speaking with Fox News on Sunday, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) said “I’m not surprised that Glenn Simpson is taking the Fifth,” adding “He probably should. He’s in real legal jeopardy. Very clearly someone is not telling the truth.”

    Simpson, who investigated the Trump campaign on behalf of the DNC and Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, informed Congress on Thursday that he will plead the Fifth to avoid speaking with members of the House Judiciary and House Oversight & Government Committee in an interview set for Tuesday.

    “The reason for that … is that Glenn Simpson had previously testified under oath to the House Intelligence Committee that he never met with Bruce Ohr or discussed with Bruce Ohr the Steele dossier prior to the October FISA application in 2016 or the 2016 presidential election,” said Ratcliffe, a member of the House Judiciary panel. -Daily Caller

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    The negotiation over the Khashoggi case will be extremely difficult. The protagonists are headstrong and dangerous people. The issue could easily escalate.

    The Ottoman empire ruled over much of the Arab world. The neo-Ottoman wannabe-Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan would like to regain that historic position for Turkey. His main competition in this are the al-Sauds. They have much more money and are strategically aligned with Israel and the United States, while Turkey under Erdogan is more or less isolated. The religious-political element of the competition is represented on one side by the Muslim Brotherhood, ‘democratic’ Islamists to which Erdogan belongs, and the Wahhabi absolutists on the other side.

    There are more tactical aspects to this historic conflict. When the Saudis cut ties with Qatar it was Turkey that sent its military to prevent a Saudi invasion of the tiny but extremely rich country. This gave Erdogan the financial backing he urgently needs. In response to that the Saudis offered several $100 millions to prop up the YPK/PKK proxy force the U.S. uses to occupy north-east Syria. These Kurdish groups fight a guerrilla war within Turkey and are a threat to its unity.

    The effective Saudi ruler, clown prince Mohammad bin Sultan, made a huge mistake when he ordered the abduction (or murder) of the Saudi journalist Khashoggi in Istanbul. The botched operation gave Erdogan a tool to cut the Saudis to size.

    But he needs U.S. support to achieve that. The recent release of the U.S. pastor (and CIA asset) Andrew Brunson is supposed to buy him good will with U.S. President Donald Trump. But Trump build his Middle East policy on his Saudi relations. He can not go berserk on them. Some solution must be found.

    Khashoggi was a rather shady guy. A ‘journalist’ who was also an operator for Saudi and U.S. intelligence services. He was an early recruit of the Muslim Brotherhood:

    The U.S. dollar depends on the secret deal arranged in 1974 that recycles Saudi petro-dollars into U.S. treasuries. If the al-Sauds start to touch that corner stone of the relation, the U.S. will have to invade and smash their shitty country to smithereens. Mecca and Medina would be given back to the Hashemites now ruling Jordan, the Gulf coast line, which holds the oil and oil industry and is mostly inhabited by Shia, would become a state of its own. Yemen would regain its two northern provinces. The plans to do this have long been drawn.

    Some solution must be found. The easiest one would be if King Salman fires his son and reinstate Muhammad bin Nayef, who MbS had dethroned, as crown prince. Nayef is the CIA’s man. But if Salman is unwilling or unable to do this, an excuse must be found for whatever happened to Khashoggi.

    The Saudis asked Erdogan to accept a “joint investigation” of the Khashoggi case. This was a request to come to some solution over the issue. Rumors speak of an opening offer of $5 billion as compensation. The Saudi King dispatched the respected governor of Makkah province, Prince Khalid_bin_Faisal_Al_Saud, to Ankara to arrange a deal. The EU3, UK, France and Germany, urge both sides to use this mechanism.

    The process to close the case, if both sides wish to do so, is pretty clear:

  34. ulvfugl says:

    While most indie media was focused on debating the way people talk about Kanye West and the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an unprecedented escalation in internet censorship took place which threatens everything we all care about. It received frighteningly little attention.

    After a massive purge of hundreds of politically oriented pages and personal accounts for “inauthentic behavior”, Facebook rightly received a fair amount of criticism for the nebulous and hotly disputed basis for that action. What received relatively little attention was the far more ominous step which was taken next: within hours of being purged from Facebook, multiple anti-establishment alternative media sites had their accounts completely removed from Twitter as well.

    As of this writing I am aware of three large alternative media outlets which were expelled from both platforms at almost the same time: Anti-Media, the Free Thought Project, and Police the Police, all of whom had millions of followers on Facebook. Both the Editor-in-Chief of Anti-Media and its Chief Creative Officer were also banned by Twitter, and are being kept from having any new accounts on that site as well.

    It is now clear that there is either (A) some degree of communication/coordination between Twitter and Facebook about their respective censorship practices, or (B) information being given to both Twitter and Facebook by another party regarding targets for censorship. Either way, it means that there is now some some mechanism in place linking the censorship of dissident voices across multiple platforms. We are beginning to see smaller anti-establishment alternative media outlets cut off from their audiences by the same sort of coordinated cross-platform silencing we first witnessed with Alex Jones in August.

    This is about as acute a threat to our ability to network and share information with each other as anything you could possibly imagine. If new media outlets are beginning to silence dissident voices together in unison, that means we can see entire alternative media outlets not just partially silenced but thoroughly silenced, their ability to grow their audiences and get information out to heavily populated parts of the internet completely crippled.

    This is huge, this is dangerous, and this is being under-reported. When I was removed from Twitter in August for “abusing” John McCain, there was a large and outraged uproar on Twitter, and my account was quickly restored with an apology. And I’m really grateful for that, but the phenomenon of multiple high-profile alternative media outlets suddenly being silenced in unison by the two biggest social media platforms should be generating more outrage than some ornery Australian blogger losing her Twitter account, not less. This should be the top story in alternative media, because it affects us all.

    33 minutes ago
    For those who haven’t noticed, WordPress appears to be following the same repressive path. Apparently the deep state is getting them to cooperate, too.

    Anyone running a web site should have everything backed up to a local storage device. It’s not all that expensive. And by no means use cloud backup. The big loss is the huge cache of readers’ comments, which are often kept by third parties and are vulnerable to sudden disappearances. (I mention this because I’ve probably learned more from comments here than from the relatively superficial articles we’re fed.)

    As individuals, the best we can do is download everything we find useful to our own local storage. Yes, it’s a pain, buy what are we going to do if, for instance, uboob removes all those funny cat videos or information about the flat earth?

    With apologies to Ray Bradbury, something evil this way comes. And it’s got FANGs.



    21 minutes ago
    I suppose its all very well having copies of all this evidence, but when it is deleted for us, we will probably lose effective communication as well.

    Then what? peer to peer internet maybe.

  35. ulvfugl says:

    It will be obvious to readers of this blog that I — and many others — are rather fond of the Waun Mawn and Tafarn y Bwlch neighnourhood, given that it is wild and beautiful up there, and it also contains something of a treasure-house of archaeological features.

    When I saw the sheer extent of the 2018 Waun Mawn dig, I was immediately concerned about its impact on a specially protected area — inside a National Park, inside an SSSI and inside a Special Area of Conservation too. That all represents — in theory — the highest level of protection possible under British law. I wondered what the consent process was for archaeological digs of this type — who does the applying, to whom, and how are consents issued? Are there any inputs into the process from other interested parties like Wildlife Trusts or CPRW? What judgments are made on costs versus benefits? (In other words, does somebody make a judgment on whether the environmental damage is acceptable when set against the potential scientific or cultural value likely to come out of the dig?) Further, what conditions are attached to consents, what monitoring is there, and what sanctions are there if the terms of the consent are breached?

  36. ulvfugl says:

    The Western press blames Russia for the fact that she knew perfectly well that Turkey will not be able to withdraw all fighters, and thus Russia’s aim was to show the impossibility to reach the “irreconcilable opposition” in order to ensure Assad favorable conditions for the offensive. In the Idlib clashes between the militants, the attack by Daesh and the killing of militants and civilians unknown. No-one takes responsibility for their part of the murders or admits any liability for the attacks. One of the groups has damaged the railroad going to Turkey. Checkpoints on the roads Hama-Aleppo and Latakia-Aleppo still has not been removed. It is also worth noting that the Russian military sources warn about the resumption of training him.provocations in Idlib, the more that a couple of bottles of artisanal CW that Daesh pressed HTS/Nusra. I believe that to end the Syrian war, we still will see at least one provocation with the CW. Idlib is the most appropriate place. The first deadline of the Sochi deal expires on Oct 15.

  37. ulvfugl says:

    An almost unbelievable accident occurred at a Belgian military air base days ago which involved one F-16 jet destroying two others — all while stationary on the ground.

  38. ulvfugl says:

    Despite entirely predictable advances in DNA assembly, every human with an internet connection can access the genetic blueprints of viruses that might kill millions.

    These and worse hazards are conveniently summarized by certain Wikipedia articles, which helpfully cite technical literature relevant to misuse.

    Note the deliberate absence of citations in the above paragraph. Citing or linking to already public information hazards may seem nearly harmless, but each instance contributes to a tragedy of the commons in which truly dangerous technical details become readily accessible to everyone.

    Given that it takes just one well-meaning scientist to irretrievably release a technological information hazard from the metaphorical bottle, it may be wise to begin encouraging norms of caution among authors, peer reviewers, editors, and journalists. -PLOS

    Esvelt blamed the media for amplifying the negative potential of smallpox synthesis as well:

    DNA synthesis is becoming accessible to a wide variety of people, and the instructions for doing nasty things are freely available online.

    In the horsepox study, for instance, the information hazard is partly in the paper and the methods they described.

    But it’s also in the media covering it and highlighting that something bad can be done. And this is worsened by the people who are alarmed, because we talk to journalists about the potential harm, and that just feeds into it. -MIT News

    The Canadian professors, meanwhile, shot back at their critics – arguing that smallpox was bound to be synthesized at some point anyway.

    Realistically all attempts to oppose technological advances have failed over centuries.

    We suggest that one should instead focus on regulating the products of these technologies while educating people of the need to plan mitigating strategies based upon a sound understanding of the risks that such work might pose.

    In these discussions, a long-term perspective is essential. -PLOS

    In short, prepare for the Jurassic Park of deadly pathogens and their pandemic potential.

  39. ulvfugl says:

    Even more intriguing are US media reports now emerging that American intelligence had snooped on and were aware of Saudi officials making plans to capture Khashoggi prior to his apparent disappearance at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week. If the Americans knew the journalist’s life was in danger, why didn’t they tip him off to avoid his doom?

    Jamal Khashoggi (59) had gone rogue, from the Saudi elite’s point of view. Formerly a senior editor in Saudi state media and an advisor to the royal court, he was imminently connected and versed in House of Saud affairs. As one commentator cryptically put it: “He knew where all the bodies were buried.”

    For the past year, Khashoggi went into self-imposed exile, taking up residence in the US, where he began writing opinion columns for the Washington Post.

    Khashoggi’s articles appeared to be taking on increasingly critical tone against the heir to the Saudi throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The 33-year-old Crown Prince, or MbS as he’s known, is de facto ruler of the oil-rich kingdom, in place of his aging father, King Salman.

    While Western media and several leaders, such as Presidents Trump and Macron, have been indulging MbS as “a reformer”, Khashoggi was spoiling this Saudi public relations effort by criticizing the war in Yemen, the blockade on Qatar and the crackdown on Saudi critics back home.

    However, what may have caused the Saudi royals more concern was what Khashoggi knew about darker, dirtier matters. And not just the Saudis, but American deep state actors as as well.

    He was formerly a media aide to Prince Turki al Faisal, who is an eminence gris figure in Saudi intelligence, with its systematic relations to American and British counterparts. Prince Turki’s father, Faisal, was formerly the king of Saudi Arabia until his assassination in 1975 by a family rival. Faisal was a half-brother of the present king, Salman, and therefore Prince Turki is a cousin of the Crown Prince – albeit at 73 more than twice his age.

  40. ulvfugl says:

  41. ulvfugl says:

    Unfortunately there seems to be no one who could talk sense to these people and get them to bury the case.


    WHY??? What happened to all the passionate outrage over Yemen? Has it suddenly been replaced by a future fictitious skyfall disaster that stands to hurt us all when instead this is the golden opportunity of this Century?

    The only ones who want the JK case buried are Zionists, Trump and his neocon friends and MbS & royal co., and I’m certain you’re not any of the last three unless you’re included in the Trump friends group.

    Unfortunately, the JK case just might get buried and that would put an end to the only hope for the planet I have seen so far in my lifetime. Erdogan has power in his hands and instead of seizing it, he just might do the spineless thing: bury the truth for immediate gratification from power-brokers he shouldn’t trust, instead of cementing an indelible legacy as a historical game-changer. However, because he relinquished the moral high ground for some years now; he just might let this chance at greatness slip through his fingers and settle for becoming the pawn in the Zionist chessboard.

    At this moment in time, MbS was ready to sell the Palestinians down river (betrayal), and continue his b.loody rampage in Yemen with billions-worth indefinite supply of U.S. arms, affixing yet another piece in the jigsaw that concludes in the Yinon map. Most importantly, if the Zionist obsession with Iran was turned to a more pressing problem like securing and filling the power vacuum in Saudi Arabia; then war with Iran would be delayed indefinitely while the U.S. and its Zionist parasite tackled the complex quest for control of Meccaland.

    This barbaric act on JK by MbS could be the catalyst for the fall of the evil monarchy; an event that is the dream of millions trapped under their treacherous rule. Zionists who have protected their reign of terror would be weakened by such a fall. How could that be a disaster for humanity? Just the immediate consequences of: halting the staggering swindle being plotted by the Zionists’ advocate Jared 666 and M-butcher-S and putting an end to the starvation of millions of Yemeni children would be A TRIUMPH for humanity! How can anyone spin this potential breakthrough into a fictitious disaster? Just like Syria was the domino meant to topple Iran averted so far by Russia; MbS was Plan B to that failed domino effect, but his insecurity made him reckless and led him to this giant blunder and opportunity for tectonic change and Erdogan has the power to either waste it and secure the Zionist plan or blow that plan sky high. If the gruesome m.urder was videotaped then it’s time for the world to see it and SINK the corrupt tyranny.

    Khashoggi was clearly a danger to the throne.

    And MbS the Shakespearean villain prince who commits a barbaric act to save his crown and hopefully the moral of this tale will be that you can never k.ill the martyr; whatever his mission was in life, in d.eath it will multiply exponentially and become legendary and the moral of this tale is what Erdogan can set in motion.

    Regardless, he was less than a saint; but like it or not, Khashoggi is the quintessential MARTYR. There is powerful Muslim symbolism at play that you are dismissing.

    Posted by: Circe | Oct 15, 2018 3:25:11 AM | 59

    @TheBAG – This is beginning to feel like the Skripal incident. Where is the evidence?

    The public evidence we have is the arrival and departure of two private Saudi jets (owned by the King) at Istanbul airport at the right times. This evidence is independent of Erdogan and the Sauds have given no reasonable explanation for the flights. (They claimed ‘tourists’ were on these flights.)

    There is also the typical patter of a Saudi ‘extraction’ of dissidents. In Switzerland they drugged a prince and put him on a ‘medical emergency flight’ back to Riyadh. There are in total more than five such cases (linked in the piece above). It usual Saudi policy.

    @Scott Bush – You should be congratulated for presenting the best analysis that I’ve seen, certainly in this country.

    Thank you very much.

    Posted by: b | Oct 15, 2018 3:52:03 AM | 64

  42. ulvfugl says:

  43. ulvfugl says:

    H. naledi is remarkable. It is, in the classic anthropological sense, both strange and familiar. Well within the historical lamplight of paleoanthropology in Southern Africa, and yet not at all what we, as a discipline, were expecting to find. A decade ago, neither Denisovans nor H. naledi existed in our understanding of human evolution. What surprises might the next decade hold? I expect similar discoveries will be made in different areas of our paleoanthropological lamplight in the years to come—but perhaps with less surprise—as the basic evolutionary narrative surrounding human evolution in the Pleistocene continues to shift.

    It should not go unsaid that one unparalleled aspect of the H. naledi story is the extent to which the findings are accessible to both the lay and professional public. Most of the H. naledi primary research reports are open access. The research group has made an effort to make as much of the primary fossil material as possible available for examination by uploading high-quality and downloadable 3D images to MorphoSource, an open access digital hub of 3D fossil data. In addition to the open access efforts surrounding the H. naledi material, the work itself has been extensively documented for a public audience, often in real time and with a particular emphasis on education. For those of us who feel that human evolution and its understanding are important for how we understand the world around us today, such work offers the potential to not just reveal new insights in our evolutionary history, but also to shine a brighter light outward, illuminating more questions to study and areas to explore.

  44. ulvfugl says:

  45. ulvfugl says:

  46. ulvfugl says:

    Elizabeth Warren is not Native American. Her ancestry has been traced by Cherokee genealogists back to the early 1800s, as far back as there are records, and there are no Native American ancestors.

    The one potential Native American ancestor was Warren’s great great great grandmother, Sarah O.C. Smith, but an initial 2012 report about that was debunked and The Boston Globe was forced to issue a retraction.

    Trump and others have been demanding Warren take a DNA test. I wrote previously that this was not dispositive, No, Elizabeth Warren cannot prove she’s Native American merely by taking a DNA test. There is more to being Native American than DNA, both legally and from a tribal point of view:

    Where does this DNA test result leave us:

    1. Warren still cannot point to any specific ancestor who was Native American.
    2. Warren never lived as a Native American or associated with Native Americans.
    3. Warren never claimed to be Native American until her late 30s.
    4. Warren only used alleged Native American status for employment purposes, and stopped claiming that status when she got tenure at Harvard Law School.
    5. There remains zero evidence Warren was a descendent of the Cherokee or Delaware tribes.
    6. The DNA test does not prove Warren is Native American, at most there is “strong evidence” of a single ancestor dating back 6-10 generations, based on analysis that compares Warren’s DNA to numerous groups, including non-Native American groups.
    7. The media headlines overstate the findings.
    8. Warren almost certainly is running for president, and rolled out these findings in a highly controlled and slick production for that purpose.

  47. ulvfugl says:

    In the above video, an anonymous army recruit records his sargent’s obscenity laced chewing out the recruits for listening to Tommy Robinson and talks about ‘freedom of speech’ while telling the recruits, THEY have no freedom of speech! Talk about Orwellian thinking here.

    Angry military recruits are putting online rants by superior officers who are ordering them to not listen to conservatives but to obey all dictates of the new rulers, the Muslims who run London. This is rapidly turning into an open revolt against the Muslim invasion of England. The minute they get enough power, they begin imposing Sharia laws and the crushing of all other religions.

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