Friday, February 22, 2008

 

War History #2 - Weapons

Top 10 Weapons in History
While good armor, good strategy and a bit of luck have a lot to do with winning battles, it is technology that ultimately wins the war. Here we present the most important weapons in history, some ancient and some used in conflict right now, all of which tipped the balance of power.
>Click Here



Top 10 Weapons in History
Power is a fragile thing, and a handful of technologies have tipped the balance.
http://www.space.com/technology/top10_weapons_history.html

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War History - #1 - Planes


Top 10 War Planes
Flying fighters that each were the most glamorous and lethal of their time. Slide Show. Click on url to access site. click on arrow to advance slides.

http://www.space.com/technology/top10_warplanes_history.html

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

 

Why They Hate Us-video

They do not hate us for our freedoms as Bush asserts.

This video show only a drop in the bucket of America's crimes against the weaker nations and crimes against humanity as our regimes attempted to assert control of the world.


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American Imperialism

American Imperialism - video

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

 

Afghanistan - Oldest Oil Paintings

Oldest Oil Paintings Found in Caves


Oldest Oil Paintings Found in Caves (Photos)
Oldest Oil Paintings Found in Caves (Photos)
Oldest Oil Paintings Found in Caves (Photos)
Oldest Oil Paintings Found in Caves (Photos)
Oldest Oil Paintings Found in Caves (Photos)

Oldest Oil Paintings Found in Caves (Photos)


February 6, 2008—A newly discovered mural is one of many in 12 of Afghanistan's famed Bamian caves that show evidence of an oil-based binder. The binder was used to dry paint and help it adhere to rocky surfaces.



Oldest Oil Paintings Found in Caves (Photos)


Afghanistan's Bamian cliffs are probably best known for once holding two enormous Buddha statues, as seen in this February 2001 image.

Just one month after this photo was taken, Taliban officials began to destroy the mighty carvings as part of a hard-line crackdown on anything they considered anti-Islamic and idolatrous.

Scientists from around the world have since embarked on a painstaking process to collect the remnants of the dynamited statues and reconstruct them.

In the meantime, researchers have found that the paint used on the Buddhas, along with murals in 12 of 50 painted Bamian caves, contained oil-based binders—the world's oldest known examples of oil paintings.


The murals—and the remains of two giant, destroyed Buddhas—include the world's oldest known oil-based paint, predating European uses of the substance by at least a hundred years, scientists announced late last month.

Researchers made the discovery while conducting a chemical analysis as part of preservation and restoration efforts at Bamian, which lies about 145 miles (240 kilometers) northwest of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

—Photograph courtesy NRICPT-Japan
Oldest Oil Paintings Found in Caves (Photos)


Seen in a 2005 photo, a towering alcove in Afghanistan's Bamian Valley cliffs shows the former home of a giant Buddha statue. Dating to between the fifth and ninth centuries A.D., the statue was one of a pair destroyed by Taliban officials in 2001 for allegedly insulting Islam.

The region also has as many as a thousand caves. About 50 contain the depictions of ornate swirling patterns, Buddhist imagery, and mythological animals that led UNESCO to name the area a World Heritage site.

Since 2003 Japanese, European, and U.S. researchers have been working to preserve the damaged murals. As part of that venture, the scientists conducted the first scientific analysis of the paintings since the 1920s.

Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry revealed that some of the murals contained oil- and resin-based paints—likely the earliest known use of either substance for painting.


Oldest Oil Paintings Found in Caves (Photos)


A Buddhist mural dated to around the seventh century A.D. is one of many in Afghanistan's Bamian Valley that were recently found to contain oil- and resin-based paints.

The use of the substances at such an early date is a surprise, since they require sophisticated knowledge of chemical properties, scientists say.

Oil is used in paints to help fix dyes and help them adhere to surfaces. It also changes a paint's drying time and viscosity.

Europeans began using oil in their pictures by about 800 A.D., but the new research on the Central Asian pushes back the onset of oil-based painting by at least a hundred years.

Researchers hope to find even earlier examples by studying other Central Asian sites.

—Photograph courtesy NRICPT-Japan
Oldest Oil Paintings Found in Caves (Photos)


A mural from the Bamian cave Foladi 6 has been dated to the eighth century A.D. Its artists used an oil-based paint, scientists say, in an early example of mixing organic binding agents with pigments.

The murals were painted using a structured, multilayered technique reminiscent of early European methods, according to researcher Yoko Taniguchi of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation in Tokyo.

The painters first applied a white base layer of a lead compound. Then an upper layer—natural or artificial pigments mixed with either resins or walnut or poppy seed drying oils—was added.

"The discovery of the use of oil [in Afghanistan] is important, because it shows that these undervalued paintings are far more important and far more sophisticated than anyone might have thought," said Sharon Cather, a wall-painting expert from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.
—Photograph courtesy NRICPT-Japan





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http://www.artknowledgenews.com/Afghanistan_Has_Worlds_Oldest_Oil_Paintings.html

Afghanistan Has World's Oldest Oil Paintings

Buddhist Artifact - When attacked and massacred by the Muslims, the Buddhists initially did not make any attempt to escape from their murderers. They accepted death with an air of fatalism and destiny.

TOKYO - Buddhist images on the walls of central Afghanistan's Bamiyan caves are the world's first oil paintings, Japanese researcher Yoko Taniguchi says. Taniguchi, an expert at Japan's National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, and a group of Japanese, European, and American scientists are collaborating to restore the damaged murals, the Daily Star reports. The Los Angeles-based Getty Conservation Institute analyzed 53 samples from the murals that date back to about 650 A.D., concluding that they had oil in the paint.

"My European colleagues were shocked because they always believed oil paintings were invented in Europe," Taniguchi said. "They couldn't believe such techniques could exist in some Buddhist cave deep in the countryside." The Bamiyan Valley is known for two huge 1,500-year-old statues of the Buddha that were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. The researchers are restoring the murals, which depict thousands of Buddhas in red robes, as part of international efforts to salvage what is left of the region's cultural relics.

The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) works internationally to advance the field of conservation through scientific research, field projects, education and training, and the dissemination of information in various media. In its programs, the GCI focuses on the creation and delivery of knowledge that will benefit the professionals and organizations responsible for the conservation of the visual arts.

Visit The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) at : www.getty.edu/conservation/

http://www3.nationalgeographic.com/places/countries/country_afghanistan.html

Map: Afghanistan
Country: Afghanistan
Region: Central Asia




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Afghanistan

Afghanistan Facts Maps
Photo: Afghanistan
The Taliban earned global notoriety when it destroyed the famous Bamian Valley Buddhas. Today only a gaping hole remains where the enormous statues stood for some 1,500 years.
Photograph by Steve McCurry
Enlarge
Afghanistan Information and History

Since Alexander the Great, invading armies and peaceful migrations have brought in diverse peoples to this Central Asian crossroads. As a result, Afghanistan is a country of ethnic minorities: Pashtun (38 percent), Tajik (25 percent), Hazara (19 percent), and Uzbek (6 percent). The towering Hindu Kush range dominates and divides Afghanistan. The northern plains and valleys are home to Tajiks and Uzbeks. Pashtuns inhabit the desert-dominated southern plateaus. Hazara live in the central highlands. Kabul, south of the Hindu Kush, is linked by narrow passes to the northern plains.

In 1989 the nine-year Soviet occupation ended, and Muslim rebels toppled the communist regime in 1992, after which rival groups vied for power. From among the various factions arose the Taliban ("students of religion"), a militant Islamic movement. The Taliban seized Kabul in 1996 and imposed Islamic punishments, including amputation and stoning, and banned women from working. In 2001 the Taliban destroyed giant Buddha statues at Bamian in defiance of international efforts to save them. Three weeks after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., the U.S. and Britain bombed terrorist camps in Afghanistan; by November 2001 Kabul fell to anti-Taliban forces.

After decades of war, Afghanistan is rebuilding its economy, which is mostly agricultural, and preparing for elections in 2004. The government faces problems with health care, security, and opium.

ECONOMY

Industry: small-scale production of textiles, soap, furniture, shoes.
Agriculture: opium, wheat, fruits, nuts; wool.
Exports: opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton.

Text source: National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition, 2004
Afghanistan Flag and Fast Facts
Flag of Afghanistan
Population
29,929,000
Capital
Kabul; 2,956,000
Area
652,090 square kilometers (251,773 square miles)
Language
Pashtu, Afghan Persian (Dari), Uzbek, Turkmen, 30 minor langauges
Religion
Sunni and Shiite Muslim
Currency
afghani
Life Expectancy
46
GDP per Capita
U.S. $700
Literacy Percent
36
Countries of Central Asia
Afghanistan Features
Photo: Afghanistan, Buddhist temple
Find out how decades of conflict have allowed Afghanistan's relics and antiquities to go into the hands of smugglers and warlords.
Photo: woman baking bread, Afghanistan.
Meet the everyday people of Afghanistan, caught between war and peace, as they try to rebuild their lives.
Photo: Tora Bora, Pashtun
Meet the Pashtun people, who live in and along the crags and caves of Tora Bora's mountains.
Photo: Afghanistan, market
Explore the seven "Stans" of central Asia, home to over 100 ethnic groups and harsh mountainous terrain.

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Guantanamo Trials

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080209/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/guantanamo_secret_evidence

Secret evidence bogs down Gitmo hearings

By MICHAEL MELIA, Associated Press Writer Sat Feb 9, 9:25 AM ET

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - The secrecy shrouding government files on terror suspects is bogging down the Pentagon's effort to hold trials at Guantanamo Bay, with defense attorneys accusing the government of withholding potential exculpatory evidence.



At pretrial hearings this week, attorneys for two al-Qaida suspects captured in Afghanistan said they need more access to interrogators, witnesses and records. Prosecutors objected, citing a need to protect the identities of U.S. service members and other security concerns.

The hearings did not resolve the disputes, which appear likely to further delay the launch of first U.S. war-crime tribunals since the World War II era. The first detainees were charged more than three years ago, but repeated legal challenges have kept any from going to trial.

"We're going to have to see how willing the judges are to interpret the rules so as to give defense counsel some kind of chance to actually defend their clients," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler, a defense attorney for detainee Omar Khadr. "That means litigating these discovery issues and that takes time."

Trials are scheduled to begin this spring for Khadr, who is accused of hurling a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier in 2002, and Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden who allegedly also delivered weapons for al-Qaida.

They are minor figures compared with the 15 "high-value" detainees — including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — who are among those expected to face charges. Secrecy may be even a bigger issue in their trials.

The New York Times reported Saturday that military prosecutors are nearing the end of preparations for the "first sweeping case" against as many as six Guantanamo detainees suspected in the Sept. 11 plot — Mohammed likely among them.

The law authorizing the war-crimes tribunals allows the use of classified evidence, and prosecutors say they fulfill their obligation to share it with the other side. But some defense attorneys say the government uses too narrow an interpretation of what information is relevant and should be provided to the defense.

Classified evidence will likely play an increasingly central role as the government forges ahead with plans to prosecute about 80 of the roughly 275 men held at this isolated U.S. Navy base on suspicion of terrorism or links to the Taliban or al-Qaida.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, said the government's decisions to classify evidence often reflect a need to protect U.S. forces still fighting in Afghanistan.

"The hearings this week demonstrated some of the complexities involved in a new type of war against a new type of enemy," he said, while expressing optimism. "On balance, we're making progress and moving forward."

In Hamdan's case, his attorneys asked the military judge to provide them access to government employees who interrogated Hamdan after his capture in November 2001. One of his attorneys, Charles Swift, said the defense wants to determine whether Hamdan made any statements through coercion.

Hamdan's defense team said they have been provided with only partial, incriminating portions of his interrogation transcripts — an accusation that prosecutors denied.

"Every statement that he has made we have provided," said Army Col. Larry Morris, the chief prosecutor for the military tribunals.

In Khadr's case, Kuebler said the government has refused to put defense lawyers in touch with several eyewitnesses to the 2002 firefight in Afghanistan which Khadr, who was then 15, allegedly hurled a grenade that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer.

At one of the hearings this week, the government inadvertently released a witness account that raised doubt over whether Khadr threw the grenade. Prosecutors later said they had planned to hand out a redacted version, but Kuebler said he believed the government meant to keep the witness account from the public.

"There's no openness about this process," he said.

The military commissions, as the tribunals are called, convicted one detainee — David Hicks of Australia — but it was through a plea bargain before his trial even began.



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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

 

People Do Not Forget


"People do not forget the death of their fellows;
they do not forget torture and mutilations;
they do not forget injustice;
they do not forget oppression;
they do not forget the terrorism of mighty powers;
they not only do not forget, they also strike back."

Harold Pinter; Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech,
2005


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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

 

Mass Grave Near Baghdad

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080205/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq

Mass grave discovered near Baghdad

1 hour, 18 minutes ago

BAGHDAD - About 50 dead bodies were discovered Tuesday in a mass grave northwest of Baghdad, Iraqi officials said.
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U.S.-backed Sunni tribesmen found the grave while patrolling the village of Jazeerah, 15 miles west of Samarra near Lake Tharthar, said Col. Mazin Younis Hussein, commander of the Samarra support force, a group of local men working with U.S. forces.

Some of the bodies were severely decomposed, suggesting they had been buried months ago, while other victims appeared to have been killed recently, said Samarra police Lt. Muthana Shakir, who visited the site Tuesday and saw the bodies.

As many as 200 bodies have been unearthed in recent months from mass graves around Lake Tharthar. Al-Qaida in Iraq controlled the area, as well as huge swaths of Iraq's western deserts, until being ousted early this year in an uprising by local tribes.

Also Tuesday, at least three Iraqis were killed and one child was injured after American soldiers stormed a tiny one-room house north of Baghdad and opened fire, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.

Iraqi police, relatives and neighbors said a couple and their 19-year-old son were shot to death in their beds late Monday. But the U.S. military said soldiers came under fire and killed two suspected members of a terrorist cell in self-defense. It said it did not know who shot the woman or the child.

The U.S. military reported only three dead, but Iraqi police said two young girls were wounded and one died Tuesday at a hospital.

It was the second time in as many days that the U.S. military conceded involvement in the death of Iraqi civilians.

On Monday, the military said it had accidentally killed nine Iraqi civilians, including a child, in an airstrike targeting al-Qaida in Iraq south of Baghdad.

In both cases, the military acknowledged involvement in the killings only in response to media inquiries.

Both incidents raised fresh concerns about the military's ability to distinguish friend from foe — and to protect civilians in the line of fire — in its stepped-up campaign to uproot insurgents from Sunni areas around Baghdad.

The latest deaths occurred in the village of Adwar, 10 miles south of Tikrit. The predominantly Sunni area is home to many former members of Saddam Hussein's regime, and has been the frequent site of U.S. raids against Sunni militants.

The U.S. military confirmed the raid in an e-mail to The Associated Press, saying its troops came under small arms fire while entering the building, and that soldiers shot dead two men inside. A woman was killed and one child was injured, but it was unclear who shot them, the military said.

It said the nighttime raid was based on intelligence gleaned from an informant — opening the possibility that the military was misled into targeting the family, perhaps out of local Iraqis' tribal or sectarian motives.

The incident remains under investigation, the military said.

A cousin of the victims, Kareem Talea Hamad, 20, said he watched the killings from his house across the street, and gave a different account of events than the American military's version.

Hamad said U.S. soldiers opened the door to the small brick house and immediately opened fire, killing its unarmed residents: father Ali Hamad Shihab, 55, his wife Naeimah Ali Sulaiman, 40, and their son Diaa Ali, who was a member of a U.S.-backed neighborhood watch group.

Such groups, composed mainly of Sunni fighters partnering with the U.S. to oust al-Qaida from their hometowns, have been targeted by other militants because of their alliance with U.S. and Iraqi forces.

The head of Adwar's Awakening Council, Col. Mutasim Ahmed, confirmed that Diaa Ali was killed. He also offered an explanation for the discrepancy between the U.S. military's account of what happened, and that of Iraqi police and witnesses.

"It seems that some gunmen were positioned near the house and they opened fire on the Americans who returned fire," Ahmed said.

Two other daughters were wounded and transported to hospitals, and one died Tuesday morning, Hamad, the cousin, said. An Iraqi police officer, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, confirmed Hamad's account.

A surviving daughter, Nawal Ali, 16, said she was inside the house at the time of the raid, and that an Iraqi interpreter working for U.S. forces tried to stop the American soldiers from killing her parents.

The unidentified interpreter rushed into the house after he heard gunshots, Ali said. "He shouted at the Americans, saying `What the heck are you are doing?'" she said.

"Then he pushed them away after they killed my family," Ali said. She credited the interpreter for saving the lives of two of her younger siblings, 5-year-old Hamzah and 6-year-old Asmaa.

Witnesses who went to the family's house early Tuesday saw three dead bodies, laid out in their blood-soaked beds. Bullet casings littered the ground.

Relatives and neighbors gathered at the house to mourn the family, and loudspeakers at a nearby mosque announced plans for a funeral.

Later Tuesday, the U.S. military issued a statement saying it "regrets the loss of an innocent civilian and the wounding of a child." It did not name the father and son, but claimed U.S. soldiers killed the men in self-defense.

In Taji, north of Baghdad, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives Tuesday near the convoy of a sheik working with U.S. forces, killing two of his followers, police said. Those killed were members of the Taji Awakening Council, a group of Sunni tribesmen north of Baghdad who have partnered with the Americans to oust militants from their hometowns.

The suicide attacker was standing near a cluster of shops waiting for Sheik Sahthir al-Khlifawi's convoy, when awakening council members spotted him, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media.

The men approached him after spotting wires dangling from his jacket, and the man then exploded himself, the officer said.

Al-Khlifawi said one of those killed was his nephew.

"We have been expecting such terrorist attacks after we received several threats. I gave orders to intensify security measures in the area," the sheik said.

Separately, the U.S. military said it detained eight suspected militants Tuesday in operations to disrupt al-Qaida in Iraq across northern parts of the country.

Full Coverage: Iraq


Iraqi national police force patrols predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Sadiyah in Baghdad, Iraq,  Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed )
AP Photo: Iraqi national police force patrols predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Sadiyah in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday,...
Slideshow: Iraq

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