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Fri, 20 Oct 2017
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Top Secret

Remembering the United Nations & Canadian role in deposing and assassinating Patrice Lumumba

56 years ago today the United Nations launched a peacekeeping force that contributed to one of the worst post-independence imperial crimes in Africa. The Organisation des Nations Unies au Congo (ONUC) delivered a major blow to Congolese aspirations by undermining elected Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. Canada played a significant role in ONUC and Lumumba's assassination, which should be studied by progressives demanding Ottawa increase its participation in UN "peacekeeping".

After seven decades of brutal rule, Belgium organized a hasty independence in the hopes of maintaining control over the Congo's vast natural resources. When Lumumba was elected to pursue a genuine de-colonization, Brussels instigated a secessionist movement in the eastern part of country. In response, the Congolese Prime Minister asked the UN for a peacekeeping force to protect the territorial integrity of the newly independent country. Washington, however, saw the UN mission as a way to undermine Lumumba.

Comment: Behind the Headlines: Assassinated Heroes
The pages of human history are not only long, they are largely redacted and distorted in a way that not only bolsters the official history of the righteous rule of the 'elite', but simultaneously covers up their long-term corruption and criminality. Those same pages are also replete with, and at times defined by, iconic and notable figures who rose to positions of either power or notoriety (or both) by either chance or design.

Some historical figures are lauded as heroes or even saviors, while others are remembered only as a warning of what can happen when human potential goes horribly awry. Yet, more often than not, when the true details of their lives are subjected to close and objective scrutiny, even the lauded heroes of history fall from grace to one degree or another.

There are however, a vanishingly small group of historical figures who, when scrutinized in the same way, provoke precisely the opposite effect; they are revealed to be true, and largely unsung, heroes. This details of their lives, and their deaths, tell a story of their ultimately unrealized potential to not only change human society for the better but to serve as role models for us all.



Flashlight

'Best Bronze Age settlement ever found in UK': 3,250+yo settlement preserved remarkable record of ordinary life

© Cambridge Archaeological Unit
At Must Farm quarry in Cambridgeshire, archaeologists work on the site of a Bronze Age settlement destroyed in a fire 3,000 years ago.
Most likely, a raiding party torched the village. Flames raced through the wooden roundhouses so quickly that the inhabitants fled without their belongings. The scorched remains, perched on stilts, eventually collapsed into the river below. Buried in silt, the debris remained intact for 3000 years, preserving a remarkable record of ordinary life in the Late Bronze Age.

Now, this history is coming to light. Archaeologists will wrap up a £1.4 million excavation next week and begin the years-long work of analyzing the site's many artifacts. At a media tour in Whittlesey, U.K., today, they unveiled some of the homes' contents, including textiles, intact pottery, and metal tools such as axes and chisels. "It's the best Bronze Age settlement ever found in the United Kingdom," said Mark Knight, project manager with the Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU) in the United Kingdom, a contract firm that has done the excavation. "We may have to wait a hundred years before we find an equivalent."

Wolf

2,000-year-old dog graveyard discovered near the Arctic Circle in Siberia

© University of Alberta/Robert Losey
Archaeologists have discovered a prehistoric dog graveyard at a 2,000-year-old village near the Arctic Circle in Russia's Siberia.
The carefully buried remains of five dogs were recently found in a 2,000-year-old doggy graveyard near the Arctic Circle in Siberia, according to archaeologists. This discovery at the Ust-Polui archaeological site, in Salekhard, Russia, reveals close relationships between the region's people and their animal "best friends" two millennia B.C. The dogs likely served as pets, workers and sources of food — and possibly as sacrificial offerings in religious ceremonies, the researchers said.

"The role of dogs at Ust-Polui is really complex and variable," Robert Losey, an archaeologist at the University of Alberta in Canada, wrote in an email to Live Science from Salekhard, where he is carrying out fieldwork at Ust-Polui. "The most striking thing is that the dog remains are really abundant compared to all other sites in the Arctic — there are over 115 dogs represented at the site," Losey said. "Typically, sites have only a few dog remains — 10 at most."

Working dogs

The dogs were likely involved in various tasks in the ancient Arctic village, including pulling sleds, he said. The remains of two sleds, as well as a carved bone knife handle thought to depict a sled dog in a harness, have been found at the site.

"Some [dogs] were probably also used in hunting, for reindeer and birds, the remains of which were both abundant at the site," Losey said. Parts of a reindeer harness had also been found at Ust-Polui, he added, and dogs may have been used to herd reindeer, as is still done today by some communities in the region.

Pistol

Turkey's troubled history of unrest and military coups

© Murad Sezer / Reuters
Turkey has experienced several coups since 1960.
Since becoming a republic in 1923, Turkey has undergone several coups due to a constitution that states the military are not beholden to the country's political leaders. The most recent attempt continues a history of unrest between politicians and the military.

The Republic's first president, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, implemented an ideology known as "Kemalism" in order to distinguish the new state from its Ottoman predecessor. Under Kemalism, religion is separate from the state, including with respect to education and culture.

The military have historically viewed themselves as guardians of this ideology, with the freedom to intervene when it is perceived as being under threat.

Comment: For more information and updates on the current situation in Turkey, see: Breaking news: Military coup under way in Turkey - Jets, troops, helicopters surround government buildings


Magnify

Vatican unveils frescoes hinting that women held power in the early Christian Church


Newly restored Italian frescoes have revealed what could have been women priests in the early Christian church. The female pictured in this fresco has her arms outstretched as if holding Mass.
Newly restored Italian frescoes have revealed what could have been women priests in the early Christian Church.

The frescoes, dating back to between 230 to 240 AD, are housed inside the Catacombs of Priscilla of Rome and were unveiled by the Vatican this week.

Proponents of a female priesthood have said that the frescoes prove there were women priests in early Christianity.

The Vatican, however, has responded by saying that such assertions are sensationalist 'fairy tales'.

Comment: See also: 'Secret' labyrinth of tunnels under Rome mapped


Pyramid

'Primitive machine' within Great Pyramid of Giza reconstructed

© The Science Channel, screengrab
Just outside the entrance to the King’s Chamber (hidden within the Great Pyramid of Giza), workers carved out a set of grooves and fitted three huge granite slabs (red arrow) into them. Once the king’s mummy was safely inside the chamber, the workers dropped those down to block the entrance.
The ancient Egyptians created a simple yet elaborate system of blocks and grooves within the Great Pyramid of Giza to protect the King's Chamber from tomb robbers.

In an upcoming episode of the Science Channel's "Unearthed," that system comes to life via computer animations. In the episode, Egyptologist Mark Lehner describes the system for viewers, calling it a "very primitive machine." Lehner leads Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA), a team that has been excavating at Giza for about 30 years.

Many scholars believe that the King's Chamber housed the remains of the pharaoh Khufu (reign ca. 2551 - 2528 B.C.), the ruler who ordered the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The tallest pyramid ever constructed in Egypt, the Great Pyramid was considered to be a "wonder of the world" by ancient writers. In addition to the King's Chamber, the Great Pyramid contains two other large chambers, which are today called the Queen's Chamber and the Subterranean Chamber.

What those two chambers were used for is unclear.


Comment: Related articles:


Top Secret

What FOIA CIA files say about Milosevic, intelligence, declassification: Information is doctored to align with foreign policy whims

What kinds of documents does the CIA have on world leaders? What do they involve and how detailed are they? Do the CIA assessments differ from the ones we are familiar with from the mass media? And if they do, in what respects? Are they more sober and less sensationalist? Are they free from ideological bias? What is the methodology used and what sources?

These are some of the questions that led me to file a FOIA request to the CIA regarding the politician whose activities have marked the entire decade in the Balkans after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the violent destruction of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ): the former Serbian and Yugoslav president Slobodan Milošević (1941-2006). Milošević was NATO's main enemy in the war it waged against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in Spring 1999 and was presented as the European equivalent of Saddam Hussein. He was overthrown in October 2000 with the help of the Western intelligence agencies, including the CIA. Milošević ended his days in the Hague Tribunal prison unit in March 2006 under the circumstances many still consider suspicious.

Nobody has (publicly) asked the CIA about Milošević before and, as he died more than 10 years ago, it was reasonable to expect that I could be provided with some interesting, historically significant, and newsworthy information.

What I got, after the whole process was over, was definitely interesting and newsworthy (otherwise, I would not be writing about it), but hardly historically significant. In fact, I should say that, from what the CIA sent me, I learned more about the seriousness (and the lack thereof) of its information declassification and release process than any hidden secrets about Milošević.

Comment: For more background, don't miss the great documentary Weight of Chains: US/NATO Destruction of Yugoslavia (Documentary).


Padlock

Cultural genocide: The plight of indigenous children - state violence & oppression

© Library and Archives Canada
In a photo taken around 1936, Aboriginal Canadians attend a school at Fort Resolution in the Northwest Territories. Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has concluded that the country's former policy of removing Aboriginal children from families for schooling could be best described as "cultural genocide." In the US, Native children were subjected to similar policies for more than a century.
The plight of Indigenous children recently made headlines, as Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a damning report calling the country's long-held policy of removing Native children from their families by force and placing them in state-funded residential schools "cultural genocide."According to the report, even before Canada was founded in 1867, churches were operating boarding schools for Indigenous children, and the last federally supported residential school didn't close until the late 1990s.

In the US, Native children were subjected to similar policies for more than a century. Article VII of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 stated,
"In order to insure the civilization of the Indians entering into this treaty ... they, therefore, pledge themselves to compel their children, male and female, between the ages of six and sixteen years, to attend school."

Comment: The colonization of America was genocidal by plan: Yes, Native Americans were the victims of genocide
The form of colonialism that the Indigenous peoples of North America have experienced was modern from the beginning: the expansion of European corporations, backed by government armies, into foreign areas, with subsequent expropriation of lands and resources. Settler colonialism requires a genocidal policy. Native nations and communities, while struggling to maintain fundamental values and collectivity, have from the beginning resisted modern colonialism using both defensive and offensive techniques, including the modern forms of armed resistance of national liberation movements and what now is called terrorism. In every instance they have fought and continue to fight for survival as peoples. The objective of US authorities was to terminate their existence as peoples—not as random individuals. This is the very definition of modern genocide.



UFO

Documents show JFK was murdered days after demanding answers from CIA about UFOs

In declassified documents obtained and published by Scott C. Waring, editor of UFO Sightings Daily, John F. Kennedy wrote a letter to the head of the CIA demanding their research on alien life and UFOs just days before his death.

The memo is authentic and is a confirmed declassified document released by the CIA.

JFK wrote the memo to the CIA on November 12, 1963, only to be killed on November 22, 1963.

Comment: See also: Was JFK Killed Because of His Interest in Aliens? Secret Memo Shows President Demanded UFO Files 10 Days Before Death


Boat

Another huge ancient ship graveyard found off Greece archipelago

A joint Greek-American archaeological expedition has found 23 ancient wrecks around the small Fourni archipelago, confirming the Greek site is the ancient shipwreck capital of the world.

Discovered last month, the 23 shipwrecks add to other 22 identified last September, bringing the total to 45 wrecks in the last nine months. "These shipwrecks demonstrate the truly exceptional significance of the archipelago and establish the project as one of the most exciting currently in archaeology," Peter Campbell, of the University of Southampton and co-director from U.S.-based RPM Nautical Foundation, told Discovery News.

A collection of 13 islands and islets located between the eastern Aegean islands of Samos and Icaria, the Fourni archipelago had a critical role both as a navigational and anchorage point. The archipelago lies right in the middle of a major east-west crossing route, as well as the primary north-south route that connected the Aegean to the Levant.

Ships traveling from the Greek mainland to Asia Minor, or ships leaving the Aegean for the Levant had to pass by Fourni. Archaeologists from the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and RPM Nautical Foundation surveyed the seabed along the coastline to depths up to 213 feet.

Comment: 22 Shipwrecks found in single location in Greece