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Sat, 18 Nov 2017
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Secret History


Rashid Khalidi: Balfour Declaration was 'gun pointed at heads' of Palestinians

Palestinian-American historian Rashid Khalidi
Last night at NYU, Rashid Khalidi gave a lecture to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration- "from the standpoint of its victims," the Palestinians.
For the Palestinians this statement was a gun pointed directly at their heads... The issuance of the Balfour Declaration thus marked the beginning of what I would describe as a century long colonial war in Palestine supported by an array of outside powers which continues to this day.
Let me break out two other bracing statements that Khalidi made in the talk, at the Hagopian Center at NYU, one about the state of the Arab world, one about the power of Zionism.


Living-in-CIN: CIA archive reveals secret network of ex-spies that worked to influence policy and public perception

The Common Interest Network or CIN - pronounced "sin" - billed itself as an "unofficial Intelligence Community"

A document in Central Intelligence Retirees Association's (CIA) archive points to the existence of an unofficial "Common Interest Network" of retired intelligence officers. The network, also known as CIN - "as in living-in-sin" according to one of its founders - exists to coordinate the efforts of different organizations. Described as "an unofficial Intelligence Community," it doesn't exist except as an abstract, with no chairman, no agenda, and "not even the formality of a rotating host list." Yet it exists, meeting to discuss influencing Congress and the press, to successfully attack the Freedom of Information Act, and to coordinate the efforts of the organizations that make up the Common Interest Network.
Captain Richard Bates, who was the president of two organizations making up the Common Interest Network, a board member on another three of its organizations, and the man who ran CIN for a time, wrote that it "is a network. It is not an organization. It has no charter, no list of officers, no bylaws, no regular obligations, and it does not contemplate acquiring any." According to Ray Cline, a principle member of CIN, the acronym was appropriate because it would inevitably be pronounced "as in living-in-sin." Captain Bates added that "CIN is a network ... a loose, informal but regular gathering of representatives of the organizations with offices in the Washington area."


Jar of headless toads discovered inside 4,000-year-old Jerusalem burial

© Zohar Turgeman-Yaffe, Israel Antiquities Authority
Finding a tomb that's been sealed for thousands of years is always a treat for archaeologists -especially when that tomb contains a jar of headless toads.

That's what archaeologists discovered inside a 4,000-year-old burial in Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced yesterday (Sept. 25).

The excavators think the jar might have been a funeral offering to feed the dead in the afterlife.

In 2014, archaeologists were excavating at a Bronze Age cemetery of more than 60 rock-cut tombs in Jerusalem's Manaḥat neighborhood. They discovered a sealed tomb, and after they rolled back the stone that was covering its opening, they found one poorly preserved human skeleton. The person had been buried lying on their back among intact ceramic bowls and jars. Based on the style of the pottery, the researchers think the tomb likely dates to the early part of the Middle Bronze Age (about 4,000 years ago).

One of the jars held a heap of small bones from nine toads that had all been decapitated.

Bad Guys

The Espionage Act of 1917: When the US government declared war on the First Amendment

One hundred years ago, the U.S. government declared war on the First Amendment.

It all started with President Woodrow Wilson. On April 2, 1917, Wilson urged the nation into battle against Germany in order to "make the world safe for democracy." But the president also set his sights on certain enemies located much closer to home. "Millions of men and women of German birth and native sympathy...live among us," Wilson observed. "If there should be disloyalty, it will be dealt with with a firm hand of repression."

That firm hand came in the form of the Espionage Act, which Congress passed in June 1917 and Wilson eagerly signed into law. Among other things, the act made it illegal to "convey information with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the armed forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies." That sweeping language effectively criminalized most forms of anti-war speech. If convicted of obstructing the war effort, the guilty party faced up to $10,000 in fines and up to 20 years in prison.

With that law in place, Wilson's threats of repression soon became reality. In August, the federal government arrested and imprisoned Charles Schenck, the general secretary of the Socialist Party. His crime? Printing and distributing thousands of anti-war leaflets. Schenck maintained that the First Amendment clearly protected his right to speak out in that manner against U.S. militarism, but his arguments fell on deaf ears.

Comment: Espionage Act: How the Government Can Engage in Serious Aggression Against the People of the United States


Canada's Dene people: History, science, and the 'year of two winters'

© John Ives
Elder Bruce Starlight, a member of the Tsuut'ina Nation and co-organizer of the Dene Migration Symposium, with University of Alberta professor John Ives in Utah on an archeology project.
Uncovering the secrets of Dene migration Archaeology shows Northern Indigenous people travelled and traded widely

Raymond Yakeleya, a Dene filmmaker originally from Tulita, N.W.T., is struck by the rich history of his people.

He attended the second Dene Migration Symposium hosted by the Tsuut'ina Nation, a Dene community near Calgary, earlier this month. Part of the focus of the conference was on the people defined by the Dene family of languages and their movements across North America.

"It seems that all of the Dene were true nomads," Yakeleya said. "They were not scared to go around the next corner or go around the next mountain in search of their livelihood in North America."

2 + 2 = 4

How the NFL blitzes taxpayers

Taxpayers fund the stadiums, antitrust law doesn't apply to broadcast deals, the league enjoys nonprofit status, and Commissioner Roger Goodell makes $30 million a year. It's time to stop the public giveaways to America's richest sports league-and to the feudal lords who own its teams.

BLITZING TAXPAYERS: Even in states facing billion dollar budget shortfalls, the NFL has been able to get massive handouts in recent years.
Last year was a busy one for public giveaways to the National Football League. In Virginia, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, who styles himself as a budget-slashing conservative crusader, took $4 million from taxpayers' pockets and handed the money to the Washington Redskins, for the team to upgrade a workout facility. Hoping to avoid scrutiny, McDonnell approved the gift while the state legislature was out of session. The Redskins' owner, Dan Snyder, has a net worth estimated by Forbes at $1 billion. But even billionaires like to receive expensive gifts.

Taxpayers in Hamilton County, Ohio, which includes Cincinnati, were hit with a bill for $26 million in debt service for the stadiums where the NFL's Bengals and Major League Baseball's Reds play, plus another $7 million to cover the direct operating costs for the Bengals' field. Pro-sports subsidies exceeded the $23.6 million that the county cut from health-and-human-services spending in the current two-year budget (and represent a sizable chunk of the $119 million cut from Hamilton County schools). Press materials distributed by the Bengals declare that the team gives back about $1 million annually to Ohio community groups. Sound generous? That's about 4 percent of the public subsidy the Bengals receive annually from Ohio taxpayers.

Comet 2

Death from the clouds - Toxic Comets

© Flickr/Kevin Dooley
Although molecular Nitrogen represents 78.09% of the air we breath this doesn't mean all substances containing Nitrogen are nice and nurturing.

In reality Nitrogen is a very curious substance that can also be very nasty.

The combination of Nitrogen and Carbon in the form of Cyanogen is very toxic.
Cyanogen is the chemical compound with the formula (CN)2.

It is a colorless, toxic gas with a pungent odor.
© Malaga Bay
Like other cyanides, cyanogen is very toxic, as it readily undergoes reduction to cyanide, which poisons the cytochrome c oxidase complex, thus interrupting the mitochondrial electron transfer chain.
Inhalation of 900 ppm over a period of 10 minutes is considered lethal.

© Wikipedia
Comets are very toxic because they produce cyanogen.


Tomb of Mayan king Discovered in Guatemalan rainforest is over 1,000 years old

© Proyecto Arqueológico Waka' and the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Guatemala
A jade mask painted red with cinnabar was found in the tomb of the Maya ruler.
The royal tomb was found during excavations of the Palace Acropolis at the Maya city of El Peru-Waka in northern Guatemala. Credit: Damien Marken

Archaeologists digging under a Maya palace in Guatemala say they have opened the tomb of a royal and found a jade mask and bones, both painted bright red.

The tomb was unearthed at the site of El Perú-Waka' in the rainforest of northern Guatemala. Though the dense city was filled with hundreds of buildings, including pyramids, palaces, plazas and houses, it was only rediscovered in the 1960s, when petroleum workers stumbled upon the ruins.

The site was occupied during the Classic Maya period (from around A.D. 200 to 800), and it had close ties to the nearby Maya rival capitals Tikal and Calakmul. A wealthy royal family once ruled Waka' and controlled what was a major trade route along the San Pedro River.

A team of American and Guatemalan archaeologists have been excavating Waka' since 2003. They've found several burials of kings and queens (as well as some potential human sacrificial offerings).

In the latest finding from this past summer, the researchers tunneled beneath the city's palace acropolis and found what might be the oldest royal burial at the site. Based on the style of pottery found at the tomb, they think the burial dates to A.D. 300-350.


Lost city of Alexander the Great found in Iraq

© British Museum
Qalatga Darband is the triangular spit of land beyond the bridge on the right.
Archaeologists say they have found a lost city that was founded more than two millennia ago following the conquests of Alexander the Great in modern day Iraq.

The city is called Qalatga Darband, first discovered using now declassified spy satellite photographs taken by the US military in the 1960s, and made public in 1996. Follow-up studies have further revealed the origins of the city.

It was discovered by the Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Programme, set up to mitigate the damage caused by Islamic State. The team is being trained by the British Museum in London.

After making the discovery in the declassified photos, the team sent a drone over the site to confirm its existence. They were able to spot statues of Greco-Roman deities and terracotta roof tiles, while major buildings are thought to be buried at the site.

"The drone yielded excellent information," Dr John MacGinnis, the archaeologist leading the program, told The Times. "It's early days, but we think it would have been a bustling city on a road from Iraq to Iran. You can imagine people supplying wine to soldiers passing through."


Evidence unearthed of Nazi's secret nuclear base suggests they were close to developing an atomic bomb

© Wikipedia
The German experimental nuclear pile at Haigerloch
If Hitler had his way and the Nazis developed an atomic bomb before the allies, the world in which we live would be a very different place. A surprising new find by a German relic hunter suggests Hitler may have been closer to his goal than we thought.

Bernd Thälmann, 64, was out and about in Berlin last week with his metal detector when he stumbled upon a rather strange, non-magnetic lump of metal.

Naturally, Thälmann brought his unusual find home, but after a brief examination he became somewhat concerned and notified the authorities, the Berliner Kurier reported. A smart move, in retrospect: Thälmann's find was, in fact, a piece of radioactive material.

The area he was surveying, Oranienburg, was the location of a secret Nazi nuclear test facility which was annihilated when the allies dropped over 10,000 bombs on it.