Secret History

War Whore

SOTT Exclusive: US-occupied Korea - A forgotten verdict for a forgotten war


US and Republic of Korea massacres – 4.7 million killed during ‘Korean war’, 1950-53.
The recent spat between North and South Korea - sparked after two South Korean soldiers were severely wounded by landmines in the demilitarized zone - has been settled, but the 60 years-long stand-off clearly remains as volatile as ever. My ancestors are from 'North' Korea, but they emigrated to the Far East of Russia when there was no 'North' nor 'South' Korea, only Korea. My grandfather, who fought in the Korean War, was thus Russian though ethnic Korean. He was made Major-General of the DPRK Army towards the end of the war. His family, including my mother, lived in Pyongyang from 1947 until 1958, except for three years from 1951 when they took shelter in the Russian consulate in Manchuria.

My grandmother taught Russian at the Korean Russian Association. She was also an accountant at the Red Cross in Korea. My mother attended school in Pyongyang and at the Russian consulate in Manchuria. My grandfather was made commander of the tank division when its former commander (who was my grandfather's friend) died. In the front line, he fought with the 17th battalion division, and was awarded with a number of medals and orders of merit from the USSR, Korea and Mongolia.

While it was easy then, just as it is today, to ascribe Korea's frozen civil war to differences in ideology and regional ethnic tensions, the giant elephant in the room was - and still is - the enormous American military presence in South Korea. On June 27, 2003, an International War Crimes Tribunal in New York unanimously found the U.S. government and military guilty of 19 counts of war crimes committed against Korea from 1945 until 2001. Judges from 17 different countries heard Korean victims - represented by delegations from South Korea, Japan, Canada, Germany and the US. The US State Department refused visas to a delegation of 11 lawyers bringing evidence from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, or 'north' Korea). Despite the absence of the 'North' Korean delegation, the accumulated evidence was overwhelming.


Nazi treasure train 'found' in Poland, journalist claims, may contain Russia's lost Amber Room

© Alexander Zemlianichenko / Reuters
View of the Amber Room just before its opening after a complete restoration in the Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg May 31, 2003.
The Nazi gold train that made headlines last week could contain the legendary Amber Room, presented to Tsar Peter the Great by the King of Prussia, according to British author and journalist Tom Bower. Meanwhile, the Polish have lawyered up, staking a claim to the finds.

The story of the train, lost to the world for 70 years, does seem to be real, according to official Polish claims, which follow reports by two treasure hunters. The authorities have warned foragers to steer clear, claiming there is a possibility the train could be booby-trapped. Not only the fortune seekers, but the Polish authorities as well, have been on the hunt for the legendary treasure for decades.

However, the find's authenticity remains in dispute. Despite wide accusations that last week's claim was a hoax, Piotr Zuchowski, head of national heritage at Poland's Culture Ministry, said he has seen a geo-radar image of what is claimed to be the discovered train. As shown in the picture, it would be more than 100 meters long. The data was presented by the lawyers of the two men who say they found it.

Local tales claim that the train vanished near Ksiaz castle, about two miles south-east of Walbrzych.

But the discovery - which already has everyone excited at the prospect of finding gold, gems and precious metal ores worth an estimated $385 million - could contain an even bigger prize, according to Tom Bower, a prominent British investigative journalist and author of several books, including Nazi Gold: the Full Story of the Fifty-Year Swiss-Nazi Conspiracy to Steal. He is particularly known for a series of investigations into WWII topics, as well as his unauthorized biographies.

Speaking to Sky News, Bower expressed hopes that the room, which was comprised entirely of intricate amber designs, but looted by the Nazis during WWII, could be hiding inside the train. The chamber was decorated with amber panels, complete with gold ornaments and mirrors. A meticulously-restored replica unveiled in 2003 is currently housed in its rightful home - Catherine the Great's palace in Tsarskoye Selo, south of the city of St. Petersburg.


Tiblisi university announces discovery of unique writings that may change world history

The writing, carved into clay, is of an unknown type, and international experts will be called in to help decipher it. This is a close-up photo of the inscription, which appears from other photos to be less than a foot (30 cm) tall.
A unique discovery has been made in Georgia that experts believe could change world history.

An unidentified piece of writing found by an archaeological expedition from Georgia's State University at Grakliani Hill, in the eastern Kaspi region, confirmed the existence of the written language on Georgian territory 2,700 years ago.

The archaeologists said the writing had no analogue and it would become "an extremely interesting piece" for foreign scientists and explorers.

The writing was inscribed on the wall of the 7th Century BC temple dedicated to a fertility goddess.

"The discovery is very likely to change Georgian history and will seriously attract international interest," said Georgia's Minister of Culture Mikheil Giorgadze.
He added an outdoor museum would soon be built at the site to allow visitors to observe artifacts and archeological excavations.

The inscription can be seen in this recreation by George Gigauri
Georgia's Minister of Culture says an outdoor museum will be built at the site. Photo by TSU.

Head of the Institute of Archaeology of Georgia's State University, Vakhtang Licheli, said through the "excellent discovery", Georgia was among the elite civilizations that enjoyed their written languages thousands of years ago.


Noah's ark, a round boat in an Akkadian tale of the deluge

Atra-Hasis version of the flood story on a clay tablet from 1,750 B.C.
Five years ago, the news broke that premier cuneiform scholar Dr. Irving Finkel, Deputy Keeper of Middle East at the British Museum, had translated a new account of the ancient Babylonian Flood Story on a clay tablet from 1,750 B.C. and found directions for making a round ark. There are multiple versions of the deluge myth in the ancient Near East. One features Ziusudra, King of Sumer, as the Noah figure and is found on a single tablet from the 17th century B.C. excavated in Nippur, Iraq. The Epic of Gilgamesh tells the story of Utnapishtim who was tasked by the god Enki-Ea to build a boat that would save his family, craftsmen, plants and animals from the flood the other gods were sending to destroy humanity. The earliest surviving Gilgamesh tablets date to the 18th century B.C. The Akkadian version is named after its hero, Atra-Hasis, and is found on fragments of tablets also dating back to the 18th century B.C. The Flood Story on the tablet recently translated by Dr. Finkel is the Akkadian Atra-Hasis version.

Blue Planet

Why immigration matters today, as in ancient Rome

There is much the ancient world can teach us. One of the key lessons is that mass migration - motivated by war, societal collapse, and/or extreme poverty - is capable of destroying even the most powerful of empires.

At its height the Roman Empire was so vast and powerful it was run on the basis of the dictum: "Roma locuta est. Causa finita est" (Rome has spoken. The cause has finished)

The names of its most powerful figures are as familiar to us as our own - Pompey, Caesar, Augustus, Nero, Hadrian, Vespasian, Constantine - men whose rule over the ancient world was so dominant that the only threat they faced came from within Rome itself. Indeed, it would have been the very definition of insanity to claim that an empire stretching from the Italian peninsula all the way across Western Europe and down into North Africa and the Middle East, enforced by legions whose very presence in the field of battle induced terror in any army unwise enough to challenge its writ.

Yet in 476CE what was then known as the Western Roman Empire came to an end after a century of successive barbarian invasions finally succeeded in bringing Rome to its knees. The symbols of its power - in the form of the emperor's imperial vestments, diadem, and purple cloak - were sent to Constantinople, the seat of power of the eastern half of the empire, to bring the curtain down on its 1000-year history. It was proof that no empire, regardless of its economic and military power, lasts forever.

Comment: While headlines scream that immigration is the problem, it's really a symptom not the problem.


1-ton WWII bomb found in Koblenz, Germany - 10,000 evacuated

© via twitter@rheinzeitung
At least 10,000 people have been evacuated from the town of Koblenz, western Germany, after a 1000-kg (I metric ton) bomb from World War II was discovered. According to the city officials, the bomb was in poor condition.

The evacuation took two hours more than the scheduled time, with all people being moved by 1200 GMT.

A team of about 800 officers, firefighters and other emergency workers has been working to dispose of the bomb, which weighs about 1,000 kg. Fire brigade spokesman Manfred Morschhäuser told German media that the bomb is in poor condition and it could take from five minutes to five hours to defuse it.

According to German public broadcasting corporation Südwestrundfunk (SWR), during the bomb disposal almost all operations in the city were stopped, including train services and even gondola trips across the Rhine.

The bomb was defused at 1426 GMT, German press reported, citing local officials.

This is not the first evacuation due to a WWII bomb in the city with about 100,000 people. In 2011 at least 45,000 city residents were evacuated after a huge bomb was found lying in the water.

Despite the fact that World War II ended 70 years ago, unexploded devices are still being found on a regular basis in Germany, as well as in other European countries.
© Via twitter@vipstories


Siberian statue carries secret code 7,000yr before writing began

The Shigir Idol is the world's oldest known wooden statue. Built in 9,000 BC, it bears a secret code which nobody has ever been able to decipher. Even more startling is that it was written 7,000 years before writing was thought to have begun.
© Yekaterinburg History Museum
Big Shigir Idol.
The Shigir Idol was found in a peat bog in Kirovgrad, Siberia in 1890, but has always remained something of a mystery. Earlier radiocarbon analysis suggested it was 9,500 years old, but now new technology has dated it as 1,500 older. German scientists described the results as "sensational".

The Mail Online reports that;

"Research was conducted in Mannheim, Germany, at one of the world's most advanced laboratories using Accelerated Mass Spectrometry, on seven minuscule wooden samples."

"The results were astonishing, as samples from inside parts of the idol showed its age as 11,000 calendar years, to the very beginning of the Holocene epoch."

Built at the end of the last Ice Age, it is some 5,000 years older than the pyramids and 6,500 years older than Stonehenge.

The Siberian Times quoted a spokesperson for the Sverdlovsk Regional History Museum, where it is on display, who said.

"This confirms that hunters and fishermen from Urals created works of art as developed and as monumental as ancient farmers of the Middle East".


Ural Mountains: Home of the world's oldest secret code?


Russia among countries delivering humanitarian aid to New Orleans after Katrina

Yuri Brazhnikov, who at the time served as Russian EMERCOM's Director for International Activities says that the humanitarian aid provided by Russia to US New Orleans devastated by hurricane Katrina, set in motion practical cooperation between the two countries' rescue services.

The humanitarian aid provided by Russia to US New Orleans devastated by hurricane Katrina, set in motion practical cooperation between the two countries' rescue services, Yuri Brazhnikov, who at the time served as Russian EMERCOM's Director for International Activities, told RIA Novosti.

Katrina hit southern US states on August 29, 2005, becoming one of the most destructive hurricanes in US history. New Orleans found itself in its epicenter. Almost 80 percent of the city was flooded and many buildings collapsed. More than 1,800 people died in the hurricane and its aftermath.

Comment: Another little known example of Putin's Russia extending a helping hand to countries in need - while the U.S. encircles the globe with military bases.


Prehistoric stone age petroglyphs discovered deep inside the Arctic Circle

© Anja Roth Niemi / Tromsø Museum
Scientists in Norway have claimed a sensational discovery: prehistoric carvings from the Stone Age deep inside the Arctic Circle. The images of elk and reindeer are about 7,000 years old, they say.

The carvings were found by Erik Kjellman, a leading research technician at Tromso University, while he was doing field work at Tommerneset village, Nordland County, in northern Norway.

"I am 29 years old and cannot really retire now," he said. "I will never be involved in anything like this again."

Kjellman said the site was "unique in an archaeological context."

"It was quite by chance that I went past the place at a time when the light made it possible to glimpse a petroglyph," he said, referring to an image made by removing part of a rock surface by carving.


Tolkien's earliest and 'darkest' prose published for the first time

© Harper Collins Publishers
The Story of Kullervo, a character from Finnish mythology, was the first work of prose written by JRR Tolkien a hundred years ago. It has now been made public for the first time.

This week, Tolkien's first story was published in the UK by Harper Collins. The unfinished work is essentially a retelling of part of a Finnish epic poem, Kalevala, a 19th century compilation of authentic Finnish and Karelian oral folklore and mythology.

The 26-page story was written by then-Oxford student Tolkien exactly a century ago in 1915. Although it was left unfinished by the author, it apparently appeals to all Tolkien fans as it is his earliest work of prose, an early experimental story that was followed by the celebrated Lord of the Rings.

It was also one of Tolkien's darkest works, as the publisher of the book, Tolkien scholar Verlyn Flieger of the University of Maryland, puts it. The importance of Kullervo, the protagonist, to Tolkien is demonstrated in the following citation.

"I was immensely attracted by something in the air of the Kalevala," Tolkien wrote 1955 in a letter to WH Auden, as quoted by the Guardian. "I never learned Finnish well enough to do more than plod through a bit of the original, like a schoolboy with Ovid ... But the beginning of the legendarium ... was in an attempt to reorganise some of the Kalevala, especially the tale of Kullervo the hapless, into a form of my own."

Kullervo, Tolkien's very first hero, was the only tragic character in Finnish mythology. After surviving the massacre of his whole tribe and family, he was brought up in the house of his enemy, a dark magician named Untamo, and later sold into slavery, where he faced abuse.

Later he unwittingly seduced his twin sister and in the end kills himself with a magic broadsword. Kullervo possesses strong supernatural abilities and is guarded by a magic dog, Musti.