Secret HistoryS


Che Guevara

Julien Lahaut assassination: Belgium Communist leader's murder to finally be investigated after 6 decades of state silence

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Julien Lahaut, who would have been the first President of liberated Belgium until the Nazi-supporting Royals retook the throne.
The story goes that when Prince Baudouin took the oath to succeed his father after years of tumult over the monarchy, Communist leader Julien Lahaut shouted from the crowd: "Long Live the Republic!"

A week later, two men turned up at Lahaut's door in Belgium's coal and steel heartland and shot him four times with a Colt 45 revolver at point blank range. The killers sped away by car into the gathering darkness and were never caught.

If ever a murder had the hallmarks of a political assassination, the August 1950 slaying was it. But, who was behind it? And why? It's a murder mystery swallowed up in the fog of Cold War politics. Now, 62 years later, the Belgian government has approved fresh funds to solve the crime, convinced the moral implications echo down to this day.

The probe is part of a historical reckoning in which Belgium is revisiting several buried crimes, citing a "duty to remember." They include the involvement of authorities in the persecution of Jews during the Nazi era and government links to the assassination of Congolese prime minister Patrice Lumumba in 1961.

Comment: Operation Gladio: State-Sponsored Terror [VIDEO]


Info

Unearthed ancient Roman structure predates invention of mortar

Ancient Monument
© Marcello Mogetta University of Michigan archeologists digging in Italy have unearthed a grand structure unlike anything the Romans were known to be building at the time. Dating back 300 years before the Coliseum, the football-field-sized monument contains two terraces connected by a grand staircase, a massive stone retaining wall and geometrically patterned floors.
Archaeologists digging at a long-buried city in Italy have unearthed a massive stone monument dating back at least 300 years before the Colosseum and 100 years before the invention of mortar. The new discovery indicates that the ancient Romans had developed architectural skills much earlier than previously believed.

The team of 60 researchers, including 35 undergraduates and 15 graduates, from the University of Michigan and Yale University were on hand this summer to work at the site. The excavation of the city is expected to continue through 2014, but with the new discovery under their belt, the archaeologists are hoping the $2 million U-M Museum of Archaeology-funded project will be extended.

The unearthed ancient structure was found at a site known as Gabii, which sits just east of Rome. The monument, a giant "Lego-like" stone block structure, is about half the size of a football field and dates back to between 350 and 250 BC. Nicola Terrenato, a U-M classics professor and lead scientist on the project, believes it could be the earliest public building ever discovered and said this is the largest American dig in Italy in the past half century.

Sherlock

The greatest mystery of the Inca Empire was its strange economy

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Inca Empire was the largest South America had ever known. Rich in foodstuffs, textiles, gold, and coca, the Inca were masters of city building but nevertheless had no money. In fact, they had no marketplaces at all.

Centered in Peru, Inca territory stretched across the Andes' mountain tops and down to the shoreline, incorporating lands from today's Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina and Peru - all connected by a vast highway system whose complexity rivaled any in the Old World. The Inca Empire may be the only advanced civilization in history to have no class of traders, and no commerce of any kind within its boundaries. How did they do it?
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Many aspects of Incan life remain mysterious, in part because our accounts of Incan life come from the Spanish invaders who effectively wiped them out. Famously, the conquistador Francisco Pizzaro led just a few men in an incredible defeat of the Incan army in Peru in 1532. But the real blow came roughly a decade before that, when European invaders unwittingly unleashed a smallpox epidemic that some epidemiologists believe may have killed as many as 90 percent of the Incan people. Our knowledge of these events, and our understanding of Incan culture of that era, come from just a few observers - mostly Spanish missionaries, and one mestizo priest and Inca historian named Blas Valera, who was born in Peru two decades after the fall of the Inca Empire.

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Feasting and fighting: The long-lost secrets of Beowulf

Beowulf
© The Independent, UK
The dark secrets of the legend of Beowulf, England's oldest work of epic literature, are gradually emerging from under a field in eastern Denmark.

Archaeologists in the country's earliest royal 'capital' - Lejre, 23 miles west of modern Copenhagen - are investigating the joys of elite Dark Age life in and around what was probably the great royal feasting hall at the violent epicentre of the Beowulf story.

The archaeologists - led by Tom Christensen, director of the Lejre investigation - have so far managed not only to find, excavate and date the late 5 or early 6 century building most likely to have been Lejre's first royal hall (described in Beowulf as 'the greatest hall under heaven'), but have also succeeded in reconstructing what was on the menu at the great feasts held there.

Scientific study this year of the bones of literally hundreds of animals found near the hall, shows that they feasted on suckling pig, beef, mutton, goat meat, venison, goose, duck, chicken and fish.

Books

New JD Salinger books coming, according to new biography

Salinger
© Associated Press/Amy SancettaIn this Jan. 28, 2010 file photo, copies of J.D. Salinger's classic novel "The Catcher in the Rye" as well as his volume of short stories called "Nine Stories" are seen at the Orange Public Library in Orange Village, Ohio. Salinger, died Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010, in Cornish, N.H., at the age of 91. At left is a 1951 photo of the author.
The authors of a new J.D. Salinger biography are claiming they have cracked one of publishing's greatest mysteries: What The Catcher in the Rye novelist was working on during the last half century of his life.

Starting between 2015 and 2020, a series of posthumous Salinger releases are planned, according to "Salinger," co-written by David Shields and Shane Salerno and scheduled to be published Sept. 3. The Associated Press obtained an early copy. Salerno's documentary on the author opens Sept. 6. In January, it will air on PBS as an installment of American Masters.

Providing by far the most detailed report of previously unreleased material, the book's authors cite "two independent and separate sources" who they say have "documented and verified" the information.

Cow Skull

Artifacts in northern Quebec, Canada, could be 7,000 years old

quebec archaeology
© Waskaganish Cultural Institute/FacebookArchaeologists believe the stone relics were made using a grinding technique, different than later techniques of chipping.
Archaeologists start dig after finding rare arrowheads on Waskaganish territory

A Quebec archaeological team will begin its work at an extraordinary site this week, as it explores a settlement that could be as old as the invention of the wheel.

The Saunders Goose Pond discovery, which could date back 7,000 years, was found last summer on Waskaganish territory in northern Quebec.

The James Bay community, located near Fort Rupert, is known as the birthplace of the Hudson's Bay Company and has historical significance for the local Cree as a traditional fishing site.

When archaeological crews were digging near the Smokey Hill rapids last summer, they expected to find relics and pottery dating back about 150 years.

Blackbox

Ancient priestess unearthed in Peru; Tomb suggests women ruled mysterious, brutal culture

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© Duaglas Suarez/AFP/Getty ImagesView of one of two skeletons found in a burial chamber of the Moche culture, in the Cao religious compound in northern Peru.
Talk about ancient girl power!

Archaeologists working in Peru have uncovered the skeleton of a woman believed to have been a high priestess of a mysterious culture that existed around 1,200 years ago. The pre-Hispanic remains were found in late July in an impressive burial chamber located in the country's northern Chepan province, according to the Agence France-Presse.

The priestess seems to have been a leader of an ancient culture known as the Moche, or Mochia. Around 2,000 years ago, the Moche dominated the cultural landscape of what is now northern Peru, building large pyramids from mud bricks before disappearing without explanation. The name Moche comes from the site of Moche, an ancient capital city.

Colosseum

Best of the Web: JFK's death marked the end of the American Republic

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© Unknown
On occasion of the publication of his latest book, German author Mathias Broeckers talks about the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, which he sees as a coup d'etat that was never rolled back.

Lars Schall: Mr. Broeckers, a writer who authors a book about the assassination of John F. Kennedy that does not follow the verdict of official history faces the problem of being condemned on an instant basis as a "conspiracy theorist" who engages in "conspiracy theories." May I ask you at the beginning of this interview to explain to our readers that those critics - consciously or unconsciously - are acting exactly according to the "playbook" of the CIA?

Mathias Broeckers: In January 1967, shortly after Jim Garrison in New Orleans had started his prosecution of the CIA backgrounds of the murder, the CIA published a memo to all its stations, suggesting the use of the term "conspiracy theorists" for everyone criticizing the Warren Report findings. Until then the press and the public mostly used the term "assassination theories" when it came to alternative views of the "lone nut" Lee Harvey Oswald. But with this memo this changed and very soon "conspiracy theories" became what it is until today: a term to smear, denounce and defame anyone who dares to speak about any crime committed by the state, military or intelligence services. Before Edward Snowden anyone claiming a kind of total surveillance of internet and phone traffic would have been named a conspiracy nut; today everyone knows better.

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Ancient mound in Greece fuels heady speculation

Alexander the Great
© historyofmacedonia.org
Athens - Greece's Culture Ministry has warned against "overbold" speculation that an ancient artificial mound being excavated could contain a royal Macedonian grave or even Alexander the Great.

Site archaeologist Aikaterini Peristeri has voiced hopes of finding "a significant individual or individuals" within.

Greek websites enthused that it could hold the long-sought grave of 4th-century B.C. warrior-king Alexander the Great - thought to lie in Egypt.

A Culture Ministry statement Thursday said the partly-excavated mound has yielded a "very remarkable" marble-faced wall from the late 4th century B.C.

It is an impressive 500 meters (yards) long and three meters high.

But the ministry warned it would be "overbold" to link the site near ancient Amphipolis, 370 miles (600 kilometers) north of Athens, with "historic personages" before the excavation is completed.

Source: Associated Press

Info

Archaeologists uncover first use of spices in European cuisine

Spice
© (left) Sannse/Creative Commons; (top right): Saul et al., PLoS ONE (2013); (bottom right): Hardyplants/ Wikimedia CommonsOld spice. Discovery of tiny bits of plant-produced silica called phytoliths (upper right) from the seeds (right) of the garlic mustard plant (Alliaria petiolata, left) suggest that Stone Age cooks were using spices up to 6100 years ago.
Bits of silica stuck in charred residues scraped from pots reveal that chefs in northern Europe were cooking with spices at least 6 millennia ago. Although researchers have previously noted the use of strong-flavored ingredients such as onions by cooks in this region during the same era, the new find is the first to report the use of an ingredient that didn't also have nutritional value - which means that the spice, ground seeds from a plant called garlic mustard, was almost certainly used solely for its flavor.

The clues researchers used in the new study are microscopic bits of silica called phytoliths (from Greek, meaning "plant stones"). Plants produce these rugged structures from dissolved minerals in ground water that is pulled into their roots and then distributed throughout the organism, says Hayley Saul, a bioarchaeologist at the University of York in the United Kingdom. While some phytoliths are deposited inside a plant's cells, others are created in spaces between cells or in special tissues. In many cases, phytoliths are characteristic of certain species, and can, due to their minerallike nature, persist long after a plant's soft tissues have decomposed.