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Sat, 27 Nov 2021
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Secret History


US government boldly scrutinized: Oliver Stone's new JFK documentary is a must-watch

© Ingenious Media/IMDB
"JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass" by Oliver Stone, 2021
Stone's new documentary, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, isn't perfect, but it's vitally important. He goes back into the assassination case with a fervor and has produced an insightful film that's well worth a watch.

Stone's JFK hit theaters in 1991 and sent shockwaves through Washington and the corporate media because it was a compelling cinematic counter-myth to the equally fantastical Warren Report.

The Praetorian Guards of the establishment in the halls of power and press met the film with ferocity as they set out to debunk and defang it, because it directly challenged their narrative and thus their authority. They failed. JFK was nominated for eight Academy Awards and brought in over $200 million at the box office. More importantly, though, it broke the spell of public indifference and somewhat loosened establishment obstruction with regard to JFK's assassination.

In the film's wake, the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 was passed, and the Assassination Records Review Board set up and funded.

Comment: And which was supposed to release the files by 'no later than 25 years later', i.e. in 2016. But the Trump administration delayed it twice, citing 'national security'. Just last week, the Biden administration further delayed its release to 2022, citing 'the Covid pandemic'...

Now, some 30 years later, Oliver Stone is back, this time with a documentary streaming on Showtime, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, which sticks its thumb in the eye of those who mindlessly espouse the 'official' story of JFK's assassination as the truth.

Comment: No doubt it isn't perfect; Stone's JFK was produced by Mossad agent Aaron Milchan:

Billionaire Hollywood producer behind Stone's 'JFK' movie, Aaron Milchan, was secret operative for Israel's illegal nukes program and Mossad arms dealer

See also: Who killed Kennedy: CIA, LBJ, or the Truly "Unspeakable"?


New research suggest clothes from 8000 years ago were made from trees

Restoration of a typical interior at Çatalhöyük
© Elelicht/Wikimedia Commons
Restoration of a typical interior at Çatalhöyük.
New research suggests Neolithic people at the ancient city of Çatalhöyük used a surprising source of fibers to make clothing: trees.

Cloth fragments found at Çatalhöyük were made from the bast fibers of oak trees, according to research published in the journal Antiquity. The authors of the new paper analyzed some of the oldest known woven fabrics in the world, in a finding that speaks to an unappreciated material used during the Stone Age.

The paper subsequently settles a longstanding debate about whether linen or wool was used to make the Çatalhöyük fabrics, as the research found them to be made from neither material. Lise Bender Jørgensen from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology is the first author of the study.

Çatalhöyük (pronounced cha-tal-ho-yook) is one of my favorite archaeological sites in the world. Appearing some 9,000 years ago in what is now Turkey, it's among the world's most ancient settlements. At its peak, the Stone Age city hosted somewhere between 3,500 and 8,000 people, and its timing at the early Neolithic (the last ice age had just barely ended) blurs the boundary between hunter-gatherer culture and the emergence of farming communities. What's more, Çatalhöyük, despite its ancientness (if that's a word), experienced many modern problems, such as overcrowding, sanitation issues, and interpersonal violence.

Archaeologists have explored 18 distinctive layers of sediment since excavations began at Çatalhöyük in the 1950s. Artifacts like baskets, thin ropes, mats, and textiles are testament to the sophistication of Çatalhöyük's inhabitants, some of whom wore human teeth as jewelry. The city petered out around 7,950 years ago, for reasons that aren't entirely clear.

Bizarro Earth

Russian FSB archives release records of WW2 Japanese plans to invade USSR

world war two japanese air planes air force
© Sputnik / Georgy
Japanese airplanes at an airfield during World War Two.
The Japanese Army planned to invade the USSR and seize vast swaths of Siberian territory during World War II, newly declassified information published by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) revealed on Thursday.

The release of the previously unknown information is timed to coincide with the 73rd anniversary of the completion of the Tokyo trial, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East held from 1946 to 1948, which determined the fate of the central Japanese war criminals.


Interdisciplinary research shows the spread of transeurasian languages was due to agriculture

A new study in the journal Nature traces the common ancestry and primary dispersals of Transeurasian languages back to the first farmers moving across Northeast Asia in the Early Neolithic.
Excavations in progress
© Mark Hudson
Excavations in progress at the Nagabaka site, Miyako island, Japan.
By triangulating data from linguistics, archaeology and genetics, a new study by an international team of researchers proposes a "Farming Hypothesis" for the spread of Transeurasian languages, tracing the origins of Japonic, Koreanic, Tungusic, Mongolic and Turkic to the movements of Neolithic millet farmers from the region of the West Liao River.

The origin and early dispersal of Transeurasian languages, including, among others, Japonic, Koreanic, Tungusic, Mongolic and Turkic, is among the most disputed issues of Asian prehistory. Although many of the commonalities between these languages are due to borrowing, recent studies have shown a reliable core of evidence supporting the classification of Transeurasian as a genealogical group, or a group of languages that emerged from a common ancestor. Accepting the ancestral relatedness of these languages and cultures, however, raises questions about when and where the earliest speakers lived, how descendant cultures sustained themselves and interacted with one another, and the routes of their dispersals throughout the millennia.

A new paper published in the journal Nature by an international team that includes researchers from Asia, Europe, New Zealand, Russia and the Unites States provides interdisciplinary support for the farming "Farming Hypothesis" of language dispersal, tracing the Transeurasian languages back to the first farmers moving across Northeast Asia beginning in the Early Neolithic. Using newly sequenced genomes, an extensive archaeological database, and a new dataset of vocabulary concepts for 98 languages, they triangulate the time-depth, location and dispersal routes of ancestral Transeurasian speech communities.

The evidence from linguistic, archeological and genetic sources indicates that the origins of the Transeurasian languages can be traced back to the beginning of millet cultivation and the early Amur gene pool in the region of the West Liao River. During the Late Neolithic, millet farmers with Amur-related genes spread into contiguous regions across Northeast Asia. In the millennia that followed, speakers of the daughter branches of Proto-Transeurasian admixed with Yellow River, western Eurasian and Jomon populations, adding rice agriculture, western Eurasian crops and pastoralist lifeways to the Transeurasian package.

Gold Coins

Metal detectorist unearths largest Anglo-Saxon treasure hoard ever discovered in England

anglo saxon gold hoard
© British Museum/PA
Gold coins, along with four other gold objects, unearthed by metal detectorists
The treasure consists of 131 gold coins and four golden objects.

A metal detectorist in West Norfolk, England, has unearthed the largest Anglo-Saxon treasure hoard ever discovered: a bounty of 131 coins and four golden objects. Most of the items were found over the course of six years by a single detectorist, who wishes to remain anonymous, according to the British Museum.

Ten of the coins were dug up by former-police officer David Cockle, also using a metal detector, the Evening Standard reported. However, Cockle kept his discovery secret and then illegally sold the coins for 15,000 British pounds (about $20,000), according to BBC News. When the authorities discovered his theft in 2017, he was charged with converting criminal property and sentenced to 16 months in prison for "pure greed," presiding Judge Rupert Overbury said at the sentencing. Cockle was also dismissed from the police force. Of the 10 coins he sold, eight have been recovered.


Solving the mysteries of Palermo's child mummies

The first ever comprehensive study of mummified children in Sicily's famous Capuchin Catacombs is being led by Staffordshire University.

Capuchin Tombs
© Staffordshire University
The vaults of the Capuchin tombs in Palermo (wood engraving by E. de S)
Dr Kirsty Squires, Associate Professor of Bioarchaeology, and her team have been given exclusive access to a previously unstudied collection of children's mummies housed in the underground cemetery of the Capuchin Convent in Palermo.

The Catacombs contain the largest collection of mummies in Europe, with over 1,284 mummified and skeletonised bodies dating from the late sixteenth to early twentieth century. Children were accepted in the Catacombs from 1787 but while extensive research has been conducted on the mummified adults, the juvenile mummies have largely been overlooked.

Dr Squires explained: "The Capuchin Catacombs comprise one of the most important collections of mummies in the world. However, there is very little documentary evidence about the children who were granted mummification and the death records from the period contain limited information. Our study will rectify this knowledge gap."


Medieval port unearthed at foot of Château de Talmont, located 5 kilometers from the seafront

Château de Talmont

Château de Talmont
[Translated from the French original that can be found here]

A preventive excavation carried out in the center of a former seigneury of the Plantagenêt empire has unearthed a number of testimonies of daily life in this former harbor on the ocean.

From the archeology of the coast, five kilometers from the seafront. In the hinterland of Sables-d'Olonne, in Talmont-Saint-Hilaire, stand the remains of a proud fortified castle built from the XIe century. Converted under the Reformation into a Protestant fortress then dismantled in 1628, under the aegis of Richelieu, the beautiful fortress is admired each year by a few thousand visitors. Tourists tempted by the ascent of this Vendée citadel abandon their cars in a car park nestled at the foot of the castle elevation. But how many know that more than five centuries ago, the most cosmopolitan luggage already docked at the stronghold of Talmont? Transported, not by carriage or on horseback, but by boat. And to a port instead of the parking lot.

Comment: See also:


Foreign Office secretly targeted leading British news outlets

top secret card
© John McEvoy
During the 1970s, a secret British propaganda unit named the Information Research Department (IRD) collected information on, and proposed taking counter-measures against, leading British news organisations.

Though the IRD was part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), it also had a "Home Desk" which was tasked with domestic operations against individuals and organisations deemed threatening to British interests.

Recently declassified files show that the IRD considered covert "counter-action" against Granada's World in Action series, collated a portfolio on its journalists, and used secret sources to monitor its activities abroad. It also secretly targeted the Morning Star newspaper by encouraging journalists to expose its sources of funding, and planned to produce a dossier on the newspaper with help from the Secret Service.

While this occurred within the context of the Cold War, there is little reason to believe such practices have ended.

Gold Bar

Fifty years since the end of Bretton Woods: A geopolitical review

dollar bill coins cracked bretton woods monetary system
© REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
Ironically, it was Stalin who was responsible for the economic reconstruction of Europe and the Bretton Woods system's birth.

On August 15th, 1971, the then-president of the United States, Richard Nixon, made an eighteen-minute speech to the country whose effects impacted the world. Among other subjects, he announced the end of the dollar-gold parity, which was a shock.

First of all, that decision meant the death of the Bretton Woods Monetary System without telling what would replace it. This fact represented an abrupt change in the international economic order. Secondly, Nixon's initiative undermined the economic development strategies used since 1947, when the Cold War had started. Those strategies were called "development by invitation" in the center countries and "national developmentalism" in the peripheral ones. Thirdly, the decision strengthened the attacks against the dollar as the main currency in the world, putting more pressure on the international currency hierarchy since then. Finally, in the history of monetary standards, the abandonment of precious metals, as a reference of value, revealed the "charter nature" of money to the detriment of the metallist one.

Comment: More views on Bretton Woods and its impact on world history:


New findings on Jordanian megaliths

Jordan Megaliths
© Jagiellonian University
Mysterious stone structures that appeared in different parts of the world between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age have always been one of the most interesting yet difficult problems to solve by modern archaeology. However, researchers from the JU Institute of Archaeology have taken a significant step to solve that mystery.

A research team working in southern Jordan has carried out an investigation of a dolmen field near Shoubak. Located atop a rocky hill, the spot was probably frequented by nomadic communities travelling around the Arabian Peninsula, where they built the stone structures. It turns out that the dolmens contain some information about their builders. Inside a number of them, archaeologists have found fragments of pottery, flint tools, and even skeletal remains of people who were probably buried there.

'In one of the dolmens, we've found a grave and several items, most likely buried alongside the person. We hope that lab tests will allow us to determine their time of burial, sex, health and ethnicity. Maybe it'll bring us closer to solving the mystery of the Jordanian megaliths', said the team's chief researchers Dr Piotr Kołodziejczyk.