Archive | November 28, 2015

Glastonbury Legend was “Fabricated by 12th Century Monks*

Glastonbury Legend was “Fabricated by 12th Century Monks*

By Victoria Ward

Archaeologists find that Glastonbury’s links to Jesus and King Arthur were concocted to attract pilgrims

It is a revelation that will strike a blow to the heart of the generations of pilgrims drawn to Glastonbury for its Christian legend and new age myths.

But a four-year academic study has unceremoniously debunked the series of oft-repeated myths that have cemented Glastonbury Abbey’s reputation as one of the most romantic religious sites in the UK.

The feet immortalised in William Blake’s poem Jerusalem never did walk on its green and pleasant land, King Arthur’s grave is little more than a pile of a rubble and the oldest church in England was not built by Jesus’s disciples but by monks desperate to raise some cold, hard cash.

The groundbreaking study, by 31 archaeology experts, discovered that the creative monks, faced with a financial crisis when their abbey burnt down in 1184, also dreamt up the legend that Jesus had visited the site as a boy with his uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, whose walking stick transformed into a tree that flowers every year at Christmas and Easter.

The evidence that the myths were created as no more than a money-spinner to draw pilgrims to the site will be deemed the antithesis of everything Glastonbury is said to stand for.

But the researchers insisted that they did not want to take anything away from the “remarkable” Somerset abbey and acknowledged that a thousand years of beliefs and legend were at the heart of its history.

Roberta Gilchrist, professor of archaeology at Reading University, and her team, examined the unpublished records of archaeological excavations that took place between 1904 and 1979. They conducted a chemical and compositional analysis of glass, metal and pottery and undertook a comprehensive new geophysical survey of the Abbey grounds.

They found that in the wake of the devastating fire, the monks decided to lay claim to the popular myth of King Arthur.

They carefully rebuilt the church in a wooden, archaic style to make it appear far older than it was and forged a lead cross bearing the name of the king to suggest that he and his queen, Guinevere, had been buried there.

Prof Gilchrist said: “The monks needed to raise money by increasing the numbers of visiting pilgrims, and that meant keeping the myths and legends alive.

“We found evidence that the monks laid out the buildings in a very distinctive way to emphasise the “earliest church” story. This occupied the site of the legendary early church allegedly founded by Joseph of Arimathea.

“The monks deliberately designed the rebuilt church to look older to demonstrate its ancient heritage. This swelled pilgrim numbers, and the abbey’s coffers. It was a strategy that paid off: Glastonbury abbey became the second richest monastery in England by the end of the Middle Ages.”

She said that while there was a possibility of genuine misunderstanding with other legends, with King Arthur and Guinevere there was “no question” that “the monks just made them up.”

Prof Gilchrist is said to have found no evidence of a special tree in the abbey dating back to this time and that the common hawthorn in its grounds naturally flowers in midsummer and midwinter.

It casts doubt on a legend so entrenched in history that a sprig from the Holy Thorn has been sent to the Queen every December since the 1920s for her Christmas morning breakfast table.

The project, conducted alongside Trustees of Glastonbury Abbey and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, suggests that many experts had been taken in by the myths over the decades, among them Ralegh Radford, the archaeologist who excavated Glastonbury Abbey in the 1950s and 1960s.

He believed he had found the location of Arthur’s grave allegedly discovered by the Glastonbury monks and the oldest Saxon cloister in England.

But Prof Gilchrist said it was in fact a pit containing builders’ rubble from the 11th to 15th century and that according to the foundations, the walls of the cloister do not line up and so are almost certainly not a cloister at all.

On the plus side for pilgrims, the study did discover evidence that Glastonbury was occupied 200 years earlier than previously thoughts and was the site of an 8th century glassworks.

The discoveries will be incorporated into a new guidebook.

Myths versus new evidence

Myth: Glastonbury Abbey is the site of the earliest Church in Britain, thought to have been founded by Joseph of Arimathea, who visited the site with a young Jesus
Fact: 12th Century monks keen to attract pilgrims to the site to raise money after a fire, deliberately designed the rebuilt church to look older in order to demonstrate its ancient heritage and pre-eminent place in monastic history

Myth: Joseph of Arimathea came to Glastonbury from the Holy Land, and planted his walking stick which still miraculously flowers at Christmas and Easter
Fact: No evidence was found of the thorn’s existence before the 17th century. The current Glastonbury Thorn is a common hawthorn that naturally flowers twice a year

Myth: King Arthur, creator of the Knights of the Round Table, and Queen Guinevere were buried there
Fact: The site of Arthur’s ‘grave’ was revealed to be a pit in the cemetery containing material dating from the 11th to 15th centuries, with no evidence linking to the era of the legendary age of Camelot

Myth: The abbey is the site of Britain’s most ancient cemetery, a Saxon cloister found by Ralegh Radford
Fact: The graves that the pioneering archaeologist judged to be “Dark Age” were later shown to be newer than the Saxon church and cemetery. Prof Gilchrist believes Radford may have been influenced by Glastonbury legends

Myth: 12th-Century historian, William of Malmesbury, left a description of an ancient wooden church he had seen
Fact: His original account had extra material inserted into it in later versions, probably by monks seeking to boost their claims of ancient historical status


Related Topics:

U.K. Scientists Use Brain Stimulation to ‘Make You Stop Believing In God’*

Secret History of the British People*

Drone Pilots have Bank Accounts and Credit Cards Frozen by Feds for Exposing US Murder*

Drone Pilots have Bank Accounts and Credit Cards Frozen by Feds for Exposing US Murder*

By William N. Grigg

For having the courage to come forward and expose the drone program for the indiscriminate murder that it is, 4 vets are under attack from the government they once served.

The U.S. Government failed to deter them through threats of criminal prosecution, and clumsy attempts to intimidate their families. Now four former Air Force drone operators-turned-whistleblowers have had their credit cards and bank accounts frozen, according to human rights attorney Jesselyn Radack.

.@wikileaks My #drone #whistleblowers went public this wk & now their #CreditCards + #BankAccts are #frozen. Advice?

— unR̶A̶D̶A̶C̶K̶ted (@JesselynRadack) November 22, 2015

“My drone operators went public this week and now their credit cards and bank accounts are frozen,” Radack lamented on her Twitter feed (the spelling of her post has been conventionalized). This was done despite the fact that none of them has been charged with a criminal offense – but this is a trivial formality in the increasingly Sovietesque American National Security State.

Michael Haas, Brandon Bryant, Cian Westmoreland and Stephen Lewis, who served as drone operators in the U.S. Air Force, have gone public with detailed accounts of the widespread corruption and institutionalized indifference to civilian casualties that characterize the program. Some of those disclosures were made in the recent documentary Drone; additional details have been provided in an open letter from the whistleblowers to President Obama, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, and CIA Director John Brennan.

“We are former Air Force service members,” the letter begins.

*We joined the Air Force to protect American lives and to protect our Constitution. We came to the realization that the innocent civilians we were killing only fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS, while also serving as a fundamental recruiting tool similar to Guantanamo Bay. This administration and its predecessors have built a drone program that is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.”

Elsewhere the former drone operators have described how their colleagues dismissed children as “fun-sized terrorists” and compared killing them to “cutting the grass before it grows too long.” Children who live in countries targeted by the drone program are in a state of constant terror, according to Westmoreland: “There are 15-year-olds growing up who have not lived a day without drones overhead, but you also have expats who are watching what’s going on in their home countries and seeing regularly the violations that are happening there, and that is something that could radicalize them.”

By reliable estimates, ninety percent of those killed in drone strikes are entirely harmless people, making the program a singularly effective method of producing anti-American terrorism.

“We kill four and create ten,” Bryant said during a November 19 press conference, referring to potential terrorists.

“If you kill someone’s father, uncle or brother who had nothing to do with anything, their families are going to want revenge.”

Haas explained that the institutional culture of the drone program emphasized and encouraged the dehumanization of the targeted populations.

“There was a much more detached outlook about who these people were we were monitoring,” he recalled.

“Shooting was something to be lauded and something we should strive for.”

Unable to repress his conscience or choke down his moral disgust, Haas took refuge in alcohol and drug abuse, which he says is predictably commonplace among drone operators. At least a half-dozen members of his unit were using bath salts and could be found “impaired” while on duty, Haas testifies.

Among the burdens Bryant now bears is the knowledge that he participated in the mission that killed a fellow U.S. citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki. Identified as a radical cleric and accused of offering material support for al-Qaeda, al-Awlaki was executed by a drone strike in Yemen. His 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, was killed in a separate drone strike a few weeks later while sitting down to dinner at the home of a family friend. Asked about the killing of a native-born U.S. citizen – who, at age 16, was legally still a child – former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs appeared to justify that act by blaming it on the irresponsibility of the innocent child’s father.

As Bryant points out, as a matter of law the elder al-Awlaki was innocent, as well.

“We were told that al-Awlaki deserved to die, he deserved to be killed as a traitor, but article 3 of section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states that even a traitor deserves a fair trial in front of a jury of his peers,” Bryant notes, lamenting that his role in the “targeted killing” of a U.S. citizen without a trial was a violation of his constitutional oath.

Investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill has produced evidence suggesting that the White House-approved killing of Anwar al-Awlaki’s son may have been carried out as retaliation against the family for refusing to cooperate in the search for the cleric. There are indications that the government has tried to intimidate the whistleblowers by intimidating their families.

In October, while Brandon Bryant was preparing to testify about the drone program before a German parliamentary committee, his mother LanAnn received a visit in her Missoula, Montana home from two representatives of the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations. The men claimed that her personal information was in the hands of the Islamic State, which had placed her name on a “hit list.” She was also told not to share that disclosure with anyone – a directive she promptly ignored by informing Ms. Radack, who represents Brandon and the other whistleblowers.

According to Radack, a very similar episode occurred last March in which the stepparent of another whistleblower received a nearly identical visit from agents of the Air Force OSI.

“This is the U.S. government wasting taxpayer dollars trying to silence, intimidate and shut up people. It’s a very amateurish way to shut up a whistleblower … by intimidating and scaring their parents. This would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening.”

Given the role played by the U.S. government in fomenting, equipping, and abetting the growth of ISIS, such warnings have to be perceived as credible, albeit, indirect death threats.


Related Topics:

Ex-Drone Pilot ‘They don’t care who gets killed’*

Ex Marine Enraged, Blows Whistle On Syrian False Flag and Real Agenda*

U.S. Soldier: “The Real Terrorist Was Me and the Real Terrorism is This Occupation”

British Soldiers Throw War Medals to the Floor*

U.K.-based Israeli-owned Drone Factory Faced Forced Shutdown*

Drone Operators Asked to Follow their Conscience*

USA Drone Base in North Africa*

Outsourcing the Killing Chain: Eleven Drone Contractors Revealed*

U.S. Drones Attack Syria’s Military, “Disguised as an Airstrike against ISIS”*

Drones That Shoot Tasers Are Now Legal for Police Use in North Dakota*

Somali Man Takes Legal Action against US, Germany Over Father’s Drone Killing*

Anti-war Protesters in Germany Slam U.S/. Drone Strikes*

U.S. Airstrikes Did Kill at Least 6 Children in Syria*

U.S. Airstrikes Did Kill at Least 6 Children in Syria*

A civil defense member carries an injured baby who was pulled out from under debris in Syria. | Photo: Reuters

The United States military has been accused of the killing of six children and three more civilians in Syria as part of an airstrike the U.S. air force had carried out back in August in the north city of Atmeh, an exclusive report by the Middle East Eye website said Thursday.

The accusation was made by the father of the six children, Muawiyya al-Amouri, who told the Middle East Eye that the U.S. government was trying to cover up the deaths of his family members as well as refugees who were staying at his home at the time.

“A plane belonging to the alliance shelled my house with six missiles. They destroyed my house and my children died. I had some refugees in my home from Ariha [near Idlib city] who died as well,” Amouri said.

Six of Muawiyya al-Amouri’s eight children were killed by a US air strike. | Photo: Middle East Eye

Six of Muawiyya al-Amouri’s eight children were killed by a US air strike. | Photo: Middle East Eye

Amouri, who was not in the house at the time, said that five of his daughters had been killed: Fatimah, aged 10; Hayat, aged nine; Amina, aged seven; Asia, aged five and Marwa, aged four; as well as his 10-month-old son Abdullah.

The accusations were previously made by other relatives of Amouri back in August against the U.S., according to a report by the New York Times then, and Washington had ordered an investigation into the incident.

However, Thursday’s report said the U.S. Central Command is now saying the killings did not take place and the airstrikes in Atmeh targeted ISIS there.

“The target was (an Islamic State group) staging area in the vicinity of Atmeh. And it was a successful strike by the Coalition,” U.S. central command spokesman Major Tim Smith wrote in an email to the Middle East Eye.

“The Coalition takes a lot of time and research into developing our targets to ensure maximum effect against (the Islamic State group) and to minimize the potential for civilian casualties. No evidence links casualties or injuries to the Coalition air strike.”

Despite the U.S. military claim that it had targeted ISIS, Amouri and other residents said the extremist group was overrun by local rebels in early 2014 and in fact did not have any presence in Atmeh.

Al-Amouri said ISIS “hasn’t been in this area for approximately two years. This is my house. My home. It was occupied by me, my children, some refugees. All civilians.”

Syria observers and analysts also stress that neither ISIS nor al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front, which has also been targeted by the U.S.-led coalition, have presence in Atmeh.

“It’s not Nusra, it’s not a Nusra affiliate. There is not an (ISIS) staging area near. They are well to the east,” Robert Ford, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria, told the Daily Beast website in August following the airstrike.

According to the Middle East Eye the U.S. central command had initially denied reports of the attack, but later said that had been due to confusion over the spelling of the town’s name, suggesting that Washington is attempting to cover up the killings.

The U.S. and its allies began airstrikes against the extremist group in Syria in September 2014 and has so far admitted to killing civilians.

In September, the U.S. and 10 of its regional allies formed an ISIS coalition that has so far carried out more than 2,800 airstrikes in Syria. The U.S. military has carried out more than 95% of those airstrikes, according to Reuters.

However, since the beginning of the operation in Syria, the U.S. Defense Department has only admitted in May to one incident in which Syrian civilians were killed: the killings of two Syrian children in a November 2014 airstrike near the Harim city.

However, the United Kingdom-based monitor group Syrian Observatory for Human rights said Wednesday it had documented the killings of at least 250 civilians by the U.S.-led coalition in the period between September 2014 and November 23, 2015. The group also said that at least 3,952 people have been killed in the US-led campaign in Syria.


Related Topics:

Al-Nusrah Terrorists Launch Powerful Assault in Aleppo Province, Repelled by Syrian Forces*

U.S. Shows Footage of Russian Airstrike against ISIS as Its Own*

Russian Missiles Kill 600+ ISIS Members in One Strike*

Putin Reveals ISIS Funded by 40 Countries, Including G20 Members*

Iraq Arrests ISIS Advisors, U.S. and Israelis Held*

Cameron’s ‘deceitful’ Strategy to get U.K. Syrian Involvement*

Anti-NATO Protesters March Through Florence before Inter-Parliamentary Meeting*

Ban Ki-moon Wants Russia to Join America’s War on Humanity*

Planetary Conquest by a Global AI Warfare System for Global Conquest

Turkey Downed Russian Jet in Syrian Airspace*

Turkey Downed Russian Jet in Syrian Airspace*

By Manar al-Frieh, Manal

Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem affirmed that Turkey’s downing of the Russian warplane is an “act of aggression” that encroaches on the sovereignty of Syria as the plane was shot down in Syrian airspace, adding that Turkey has failed to provide any clear evidence regarding this incident.

In a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, al-Moallem stressed that Turkey is supporting terrorist organizations with weapons and facilitating their movements through the Turkish lands and securing their families.

Al-Moallem hailed the stances of the Russian leadership towards Syria, mainly the efforts exerted by minister Lavrov in promoting the political process in Vienna, noting that these stances reflect the depth of the strategic alliance between Syria and Russia, describing his talks with minister Lavrov as “frank and constructive”.

Addressing those who are demanding President Bashar al-Assad to step down, al-Moallem said

“You are delusional and the reason is obvious because President al-Assad believes in the right of Syrian people to self-determination and will not allow anyone to take this right away,” said Al-Moallem.

The minister pointed out that the Russian Air Force in cooperation with Syrian Arab Army had put an end to the dreams of Erdogan which prompted Turkey to mount this aggression.

Al-Moallem said that Turkey continues to provide a cover for ISIS oil smuggling operations from Syria and Iraq into Turkey before heading to ports abroad.

Al-Moallem challenged the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to offer a single piece of evidence that the Syrian side is striking oil deals with ISIS. “After all, it is not his first lie,” al-Moallem mocked.

Commenting on the statements of the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, al-Moallem told journalists that Syria has always pointed to Europe’s wrong handling of the crisis in Syria, repeatedly warning that terrorism will backfire on those who support it and regretting that Britain and France are leading the European efforts against Syria’s legitimate government.

Fabius’ overtures and willingness to cooperate with the Syrian army, if proven genuine, is welcome, al-Moallem added, but said a drastic change is need in the approach to the Syrian crisis.

In turn, Lavrov confirmed that Russia will offer all it can to help Syria in combating terrorism, preserving its national unity, rebuilding it and providing Syria with the effective support on the international level.

Lavrov issued a blistering criticism against the statements of some Syria’s neighbouring countries in which they fake commitment to U.N. counter-terrorism resolutions while “playing their own games” by forging alliances with terrorists, describing their conduct as “very impudent.”

He questioned Turkey’s interest in eliminating terrorism and restoring security and stability in Syria, voicing Russia’s full readiness to cooperate with all countries who want to fight terrorism which are part of the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition that has so far “yielded no tangible results.”

Lavrov said it is important to prepare a list of terrorist organizations which ought to be kept away from any political process and excluded from any potential ceasefire agreement. If this does not happen, he added, Vienna meeting won’t bear fruit.

He pointed out the need to hold Syrian-Syrian dialogue which brings together the Syrian government and part of the opposition adding that all the parties concerned should contribute to supporting a peaceful political process and exert their efforts to launch dialogue.

“The essence of the Vienna talks stipulates that the Syrians should determine the future of their country without outside interference, adding that Russia opposes Western attempts to come up with candidates for Syria’s leadership,” Lavrov added.

Commenting on the downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber by the Turkish Air Force, Lavrov wondered if Turkey is interested in combating terrorism in Syria and in the efforts to achieve stability and security.

Lavrov criticized Turkey’s contradicting statements concerning the downing of the Russian aircraft, particularly claiming that the Turkish air force did not recognize the jet to be Russian, only to contradict this later by stating that Turkey would have responded in the same way had any other jet violated its airspace.

Pointing to stepped up procedures against Turkey, Lavrov said Russia has decided to freeze the visa waiver system with Turkey in fear of “real, not hypothetical threats”.

Lavrov said eliminating ISIS is a necessity and Syria’s neighbouring countries have a special responsibility in this confirming that combating terrorism in the Middle East requires abandoning double standard policies.

The minister said Russia strongly supports French President Francois Hollande’s statement about the necessity of closing the Turkish-Syrian borders, indicating that practical steps need to be taken in coordination with the Syrian government to defeat terrorism in Syria.

Earlier on Friday, the minister al-Moallem said the Syrian army is making progress on all fronts backed by the Russian air force.

During a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Friday, al-Moallem thanked the Russian leadership under President Vladimir Putin for its sincere efforts in supporting Syria against terrorism.

He affirmed that the Russian airstrikes in Syria have so far outdone by hundred times the U.S.-led coalition in the fight against ISIS, expressing sincere condolences over the death of the Russian pilot whose aircraft was downed by Turkey, describing it as a “stab in the back.”

“We have been at the receiving end of such stabs for over five years,” al-Moallem said.

Lavrov, for his part, said his country highly appreciates the Syrian government’s commitment to counterterrorism, vowing continued support for Syria to rout terrorists.

“We will continue providing all the necessary assistance to Syria in its war against terrorism in parallel with launching a political process,” added Lavrov, thanking the Syrian army for rescuing the Russian pilot whose aircraft was shot down by Turkey and for providing protection for the Russian embassy in Damascus.

“The Turkish leadership has crossed the line of what is acceptable and risks putting Turkey in a most severe situation,” he warned.


Related Topics:

Al-Nusrah Terrorists Launch Powerful Assault in Aleppo Province, Repelled by Syrian Forces*

Turkey must be Removed from NATO: U.S. Army General*

U.S.-NATO Next Battle Front towards WWIII in Crimea Causes National Blackouts*

Anti-NATO Protesters March Through Florence before Inter-Parliamentary Meeting*

Two-Faced Turkey Violated Greek Airspace 2,244 Times in 2014*

Turkish Newspaper Editor in Court for ‘Espionage’ After Revealing Weapon Convoy to Syrian Militants*

Hundreds of British Artists Announce Cultural Boycott of Israel*

Hundreds of British Artists Announce Cultural Boycott of Israel*

Some 700 British artists pledged to boycott Israel on Saturday in reaction to what they termed “the Palestinian catastrophe,” the British newspaper Guardian reported on Saturday.

The artists, who include Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Richard Ashcroft, and others, pledged that they “will not engage in business-as-usual cultural relations with Israel.”

“We will accept neither professional invitations to Israel, nor funding, from any institutions linked to its government,” the letter read.

“Now we are saying, in Tel Aviv, Netanya, Ashkelon or Ariel, we won’t play music, accept awards, attend exhibitions, festivals or conferences, run master-classes or workshops, until Israel respects international law and ends its colonial oppression of the Palestinians,” the letter reads.

The initiative is known as Artists for Palestine. A full list of the cultural figures who signed on to the boycott is available here.


Related Topics:

Israel Tried by Film Maker Ken Loach, Rock MusicianRoger Waters and Michael Mansfield QC*

Argentinean Protesters Slam Israeli Violence against Palestinians*

Spanish Court Issues Arrest Warrants for Netanyahu and Senior Israeli Officials*

Lawmakers Boycott Netanyahu Speech*

Zionists Argue for the Boycott of Israel*

US And Israeli Pressured Nigeria To Sell Out Palestine At U.N.*

Palestine from Sovereignty to an Israeli Enclave*

Israel Considers Full Annexation of Sinai*

Israeli Settlers’ Seize Palestinian Hospital*

Israeli Forces Invade Palestinian Hospitals*

Israel Harvesting Slain Palestinians’ Organs*

Israeli Soldier Strangle-holds Palestinian Boy*

Israel is Bombing Gaza Again and Anonymous Just Hacked the Government In Response*

Israel Imposes Lockdown on Palestine*

Israeli Media Fabricating Palestinian Attacks Of Jews*

Hamas Asks Russia to Help Stop Israeli ‘Aggression’*

Israel Lures Protesters into Trap*

Israel Stopped South African Minister’s Visit to Palestine*

Captured Israeli Officer Details Israeli-ISIS Plan to Wipe-out all Islamic and Muslim Culture and Prevent Religions Coming Together*

Anti-NATO Protesters March Through Florence before Inter-Parliamentary Meeting*

DHS Lies – ‘Only About 2,000 Syrians Let In So Far’*

DHS Lies – ‘Only About 2,000 Syrians Let In So Far’*

Related Topics:

Four out of Five Migrants are NOT from Syria*

1 Million Syrians Return Home since Launch of Russian Anti-ISIS Operations*

Giving Thanks for a Nation of Migrants, Refugees, and Immigrants*

Mass Migration as Weapons of War*

U.S. Judge Orders Release of ILLEGALLY Imprisoned Immigrant Children From Detention Centres*

US Immigration Exam Replaces ‘Freedom of Religion’ With ‘Freedom of Worship’*

West’s Racist Wars for Creating the Immigration Crises*

U.N. Raises Replacement Migration for Eurasian Countries with Aging Populations*

Disaster Capitalism, Immigration, and the Outsourcing of Violence in the U.K.*

Over 100,000 British Orphans were Sent Overseas as ‘child migrants’*