Daily Archives: December 15, 2011

Viking hoard provides new clues to ‘previously unknown ruler’

Viking hoard provides new clues to ‘previously unknown ruler’ – Telegraph

One of the most important hoards of Viking silver ever found in Britain
contains valuable coins bearing the identity of a previously unknown ruler,
it emerged yesterday.

Viking hoard provides new clues to 'previously unknown ruler'

Image 1 of 2
The Viking hoard pictured at the British Museum Photo: Trustees of the British Museum.

The “hugely significant” hoard of 1,000-year-old artefacts includes more than 200 coins, ingots and pieces of silver jewellery that was found buried underground in north Lancashire.

Experts at the British Museum are currently examining the hoard after it was discovered in a lead pot by a metal detector enthusiast. A coroner will decide later this week whether it qualifies as treasure.

The hoard was placed in a lead box and buried underground at a time when the Anglo-Saxons were attempting to wrest control of the north of the country from the Vikings.

Yesterday, the central London museum unveiled the hoard, the fourth largest ever found, which included Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Viking, German and Islamic coins.

In total there were 201 silver objects, including the 27 coins which date the burial around 900AD, around the time the Vikings had been expelled from Dublin and were fighting the Anglo-Saxons to keep control of the north of England.

It also includes also coins from the time of Alfred the Great, who reigned from 871 to 899, and from the Viking kingdom of Northumbria.

One silver denier, bears the name Charles. Others bear the name Airdeconut, a Viking ruler in northern England.

Officials said the inscription Airdeconut, appeared to be an attempt to represent the Scandinavian name Harthacnut.

They said this was because many Vikings had converted to Christianity within a generation of settling in Britain.

On the other side were the words DNS (Dominus) REX, which was arranged in the form of a cross.

“The design of the coin relates to known coins of the kings Siefredus and Cnut, who ruled the Viking kingdom of Northumbria around AD900, but Harthacnut is otherwise unrecorded,” a museum spokesman said.

“It is a very significant find. It is a very large haul and it is the fourth large Viking find in the UK. Because it is recently discovered there is lots of research to be done.”

Experts believe the hoard, which also includes 10 arm rings, two finger rings, 14 ingots, six brooch fragments and a fine wire braid which may have been worn as a necklace, could have been buried by a Viking warrior before he went into battle.

The collection of 10 bracelets and other jewellery are thought to have been worn to signify rank of the influential owner.

Dr Gareth Williams, the curator of early medieval coins at the museum, said: “Some of the coins reinforce the things we already know but with some of them it fills in the gaps where we didn’t even know we had gaps.

“It is always great when you get a new piece of evidence. This is the first new medieval King for at least 50 years and the first Viking King discovered since 1840. It is a very exciting find.”

It was found in September by Darren Webster, 39 using a metal detector on land around Silverdale, in north Lancashire.

If the coroner rules it is treasure, an independent committee will value it and any money raised will be divided equally between company director and the landowner.

The hoard was unveiled at an event in the museum yesterday to mark the launch of the Treasure and Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) reports, which showed there were 157,188 finds recorded between 2009 and last year.

Ed Vaizey, the Culture Minister, said: “It is widely recognised that both the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the Treasure Act 1996 have been a great success.

“They are both helping to enrich museum collections, with the most important archaeological discoveries being acquired for the nation.

“It is a tremendous achievement that the Staffordshire and Frome hoards are now on display in public collections where they can be enjoyed by all.”

Mr Webster said he would “love” the collection to go to his local museum in Lancaster.


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The Inevitable War With Iran

The Inevitable War With Iran « The Ugly Truth

 by Philip Giraldi
One might regard the pledges made to Israel and its friends in the United States by aspiring presidential candidates as pro forma and vaguely amusing, but that would be a mistake. Policy commitments, even if they are lightly entered into, are a serious matter with real-world consequences. At the moment, the obligation to Israel goes far beyond the willingness to give Tel Aviv billions of dollars in aid and unlimited political cover each year. Every Republican candidate but one has affirmedthat Jerusalem is the undivided capital of a“Jewish state,” the precise formula demanded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and each has affirmed his or her eagerness to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would end forever any chance of actual peace talks with the Palestinians and would also invite a violent reaction against Americans in many parts of the Muslim world. Michele Bachmann has even found a private “donor” willing to pay for the move. Newt Gingrich, who would shift the embassy to Jerusalem within his first two hours as president and who has also promised to name John Bolton as his secretary of state, has meanwhile discovered that the Palestinian people do not actually exist, which certainly solves the problem of the two-state solution or any solution at all. They were invented by hostile Arabs and are out to destroy Israel.

Mitt Romney and Gingrich might well take the prize for lack of any connection with reality with their demand that U.S. Ambassador Howard Gutman, who is Jewish, be fired for suggesting that some anti-Semitism might be the result of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. Romney has also criticized President Barack Obama for “insulting” Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, surely one of the most interesting inversions of truth and fiction ever to occur. Not to be outdone, Rick Perry has promised to increase assistance to Israel, calling it “strategic defensive aid” that benefits the United States.

While this kind of ignorant crackpottery is unfortunately what one expects, there might be worse to come. As part of the pro-Israel package, the same presidential hopefuls have made clear their willingness to go to war with Iran on behalf of Israel even if Israel is the initiator of the conflict, while the media and the  Republican Party have together conspired to keep any contrary opinions on that issue marginalized and nearly invisible.

As Washington has demonstrated itself unwilling to negotiate with Iran over outstanding issues and has refused every attempt by the Iranians to compromise, there can be only one outcome to the game that is being played, and that is war. And the characteristically chickenhawk Republicans are ready to rock and roll based on the pseudo-information about the perfidious Persians. Gingrich again leads the charge, calling for a stepped-up program of sabotage and assassination inside Iran coupled with a covert operation to shut down the country’s main oil refinery, which will supposedly lead to “regime change.” Newt also suggested that the United States and Israel join together in “joint operations” to attack the Iranians. Perry and Rick Santorum also agree that it is time to order military strikes, while Mitt Romney is keen on indicting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for “the crime of incitement to genocide.”

The overly ambitious and ethically challenged wannabes who pass as statesmen in today’s United States fail to appreciate that the feckless promises made in their lust for high office could produce a catastrophic result. War is serious stuff, as the past 10 years have surely taught us, and Iran, which has had seven years to prepare for an attack, is a much larger and tougher nut than Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Numerous commentators have observed how fuel prices would soar because of threats to close the Straits of Hormuz. Many in the Pentagon, including current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and former Secretary Robert Gates, oppose such a conflict in recognition of the fact that Tehran would have the ability to hit U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. As the subsequent involvement of Hezbollah from Lebanon is a near certainty, the strike against Iran would quickly escalate into a regional war and would spin out of control.

No matter how one feels about Iran’s government and its ambitions, everyone should be taking notice of what is happening to fuel the drive to war. The drumbeat is incessant, fed by weekly warnings from leading Israeli politicians and truculent editorials and poorly informed op-eds in leading American newspapers. On Dec. 9 and 11 alone, the Washington Post ran three op-eds and a lead editorial all calling for more pressure on Iran. The op-edby Marc Thiessen of the American Enterprise Institute accused Tehran of building a nuclear weapon that could be ready by January 2013. Thiessen also charged Iran with complicity in al-Qaeda attacks, which most observers would find ridiculous.

The American people are being told over and over again that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon, that Tehran is threatening U.S. soldiers, and that Ahmadinejad has pledged to wipe Israel off the map.Though  all those assertions can be challenged and even debunked, the case is being made that Tehran’s perceived intransigence is irreversible, and this is making war inevitable. A majority of Americans already believe that Iran has a nuclear weapon and that it poses a threat to the United States that should be dealt with, using military force if necessary.

Pushing back against the tide of conformity on the Iranian menace is Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. Paul’s crimes against the status quo consist of saying that he would eliminate all foreign aid, of which Israel is the principal beneficiary, and that he would not go to war with Iran for Israel because Israel, with its large nuclear arsenal and sophisticated military, is quite capable of making its own decisions relating to its security. Paul is also willing to talk with the Iranians instead of constantly threatening them. Those positions, which appear to be reasonable enough, arouse an almost palpable anger among some pundits. Paul was the only leading Republican excluded from last week’s Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) presidential debate, where many of the positions in support of Israel made by leading Republicans and related above were actually spelled out. RJC Executive Director Matthew Brooks explained that Paul was “far outside of the mainstream of the Republican Party and this organization.”

Over at Red State, “mikeymike 143″ wrapped the message of hate in vitriol, declaring that Paul was an “anti-Semite loser” and that his “followers are the dirtbags of society. Conspiracy loons, antiwar leftists, and anti-Semites. That is why the Republican Jewish Coalition banned him and his Paulbots from the presidential debate they moderated.” Eric Golub of the Washington Times ramped it up a notch more, writing that “Ron Paul supporters are angry at his exclusion … despite Dr. Paul himself not publicly even caring. Supporters of the Klan do not get angry when they are excluded from NAACP banquets. Go on Ron Paul message boards, read the anti-Semitism, and then understand why nobody wants these miscreants anywhere near respectable events.”

Well, if that is the case, count me as a miscreant. Apparently objecting to the billions of dollars in foreign aid lavished on Israel and refusing to go to war on her behalf is enough to cast one out into the wilderness, but there is even more. Josh Block, a former spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), sent out a messageon a neoconservative journalist listserv called“The Freedom Community” describing as anti-Semitic anyone who is anti-Israel or who does not agree that “Iran with a nuke is a problem.”Criticizing Israel or questioning the Iran nuclear narrative therefore makes one an anti-Semite, a conclusion that certainly simplifies thinking about the Middle East. It also makes the broader arguments being made by the friends of Israel come full circle. Any questioning of the United States’ relationship with Israel is anti-Semitism. Any change in how Washington hands out tax money that would in any way reduce aid to Israel is anti-Semitism. Any criticism of Israel’s policies with its neighbors is anti-Semitism. Any questioning of Israel’s “right” to start a regional war with Iran that will inevitably drag the United States in is also anti-Semitism. I’m sure that the picture is clear. Claims of anti-Semitism fit every situation where Israel is even peripherally involved. The slightest suggestion of anti-Semitism is the ultimate weapon, intended to end every debate and to ease the way into yet another Middle Eastern war that the United States does not need to fight, cannot afford, and from which it will likely reap the whirlwind.

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Iceland formally recognizes Palestinian state within 1967 lines

Palestinian Foreign Minister says move has ‘great meaning’; declaration comes a little more than 2 weeks after Cyprus said it would establish formal ties with PA.

Haaretz

Iceland on Thursday formally recognized Palestine and was to establish diplomatic relations with the state, two weeks after its parliament voted in favor of the move.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, who was visiting the North Atlantic country for talks with his counterpart Ossur Skarphedinsson, welcomed the decision saying it had “great meaning” and went further than previous declarations of solidarity with Palestine.

According to the decision, Iceland recognizes an independent and sovereign State of Palestine within the pre-1967 Six Day War borders.

The two ministers also discussed the Palestinian bid to join the United Nations and how to restart the peace process in the Middle East, Reykjavik said.

Late last month, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that Cyprus recognized a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

While European states are by and large less inclined to formally recognize a Palestinian state outside of peace talks with Israel, a growing trend to upgrade Palestinian missions to embassies has emerged.

Prominent European states who have already announced this upgrade include France, Spain and Ireland.

However, with its move, Cyprus decided to break ranks, sending Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a letter from Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias, in which he reportedly recognized a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

According to the WAFA report, Christofias wrote in his letter to Abbas of the “historic deep relations” between Palestine and Cyprus, stating his hope that a peace agreement would be reached which would ensure an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Recent moves by Cyrus and Iceland to recognize a Palestinian state come in the wake of a more substantial amid South American countries.

Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia and Uruguay have also recently recognized a Palestinian state along the pre-war borders. Chile and Peru have given their recognition to a Palestinian state as well, but without specifying borders.

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Putin lashes out at McCain, says US drones, commandos killed Gaddafi

Vietnam war veteran and former Republican presidential frontrunner, Senator John McCain of Arizona walks past the iron bars of a jail cell within the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" jail April 26 on a tour of the former prison in which he spent time as a prisoner of war (Reuters / Jason Reed)

Vietnam war veteran and former Republican presidential frontrunner, Senator John McCain of Arizona walks past the iron bars of a jail cell within the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” jail April 26 on a tour of the former prison in which he spent time as a prisoner of war (Reuters / Jason Reed)

Vladimir Putin has lashed out at John McCain over his threats that the PM may face same fate as the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The Russian premier speculated that the US senator has been traumatized by his POW experience.

Putin presented his version of how Gaddafi was killed, and it allocates a dubious place for NATO in the scenario.

“All the world saw him being killed, all bloodied. Is that democracy? And who did it? Drones, including American ones, delivered a strike on his motorcade. Then commandos, who were not supposed to be there, brought in so-called opposition and militants. And killed him without trial,” Putin explained.

“Mr. McCain is known to have fought in Vietnam. I believe he has enough civilian blood on his hands. Is it that he can’t live without such horrible disgusting scenes as the butchering of Gaddafi?” the Russian prime minister speculated.

“Mr. McCain was taken prisoner in Vietnam and was put, not just in jail, but in a pit! He sat there for several years. Any person would go nuts from that!” he added.

Putin also said hawkish politicians like McCain are targeting, not him personally, but rather Russia, because it has the strength to protect its sovereignty and its international interests rather than submit to world domination pretenses. But there are more those who want to see Russia as a partner, not as an enemy.

“The West is not monolithic, and we have more friends than enemies,” Putin assured.

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