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Tue, 22 Oct 2019
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Secret History

Bizarro Earth

Declassified files tell dramatic story of how first Soviet atomic bomb was made

Soviet atomic bomb
© Sputnik / Maksim Blinov
The first Soviet atomic bomb, RDS-1.
After the US nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, the USSR needed to develop its own A-bomb fast to keep parity. The declassified papers provide a glimpse into how the elaborate task was achieved just four years later.

First Soviet first atomic bomb, RDS-1 or Pervaya Molniya (First Lightning), was successfully tested on August 29, 1949 at a range in the town of Semipalatinsk in the Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan. The files, published by Russia's nuclear agency, Rosatom, contained the photos of the menacing weapon while it was still a work in progress.

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Younger Dryas cataclysm in myths and religion - Eye-witness accounts of cosmic disasters in our past?

Cosmic Impact
© Tips News
An exploration of the evidence for eye-witness accounts of cosmic disasters and the great cataclysms of our past, as contained in the scriptures, myths and legends from religions and cultures around the world. Are these tales nothing but imagination? Or do they have their roots in the cosmic disasters of the ice age?


Large and unusual British Bronze Age hoard to go on display

Havering Hoard
© Museum of London
A selection of objects from the Havering Hoard
The largest ever Bronze Age hoard to be discovered in London, the third largest of its kind in the UK, has been unearthed in Havering.

A total of 453 bronze objects dating from around 900 to 800BC have been uncovered during a planned archaeological investigation, with weapons including axe heads, spearheads, fragments of swords, daggers and knives found alongside some other unusual objects, which are rarely found in the UK.

This discovery is hugely significant as these objects were recovered from four separate individual and deliberately placed hoards within a large ancient enclosure ditch, whereas most hoards are discovered in isolation.

This significant find will go on display for the first time as the focal point of a major exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands in April 2020.

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Ancient 'lost city' of Khmer Empire is found in Cambodia


Mahendraparvata - an eighth to ninth century capital of the empire - was believed to have existed in the Southeast Asian state in the Angkor period in Cambodia (Pictured: The newly discovered main axes of Mahendraparvata)
Researchers have identified the elusive ancient "lost city" of Cambodia for the first time, according to a report published Tuesday.

In a project that has spanned years, an international group of scientists used aerial laser scans and ground-based surveying to map Mahendraparvata, or the Mountain of Indra, King of the Gods.

Mahendraparvata was one of the first capitals in the Khmer Empire, which lasted from the 9th to 15th centuries AD, but much of what we know come from inscriptions recovered from other sites. Scientists theorized that the city was located on the Phnom Kulen plateau, about 48 kilometers (about 30 miles) north of Siem Reap, but it was difficult to find evidence. The plateau was remote, inaccessible, covered with vegetation, and potentially home to landmines installed by the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s.

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Arrow Up

Pepe Escobar: Road to Damascus, how the Syrian war was won

© Xinhua
Syrians hailed for the reopening of the highway linking Damascus to central Syria.
What is happening in Syria, following yet another Russia-brokered deal, is a massive geopolitical game-changer. I've tried to summarize it in a single paragraph this way:
"It's a quadruple win. The U.S. performs a face saving withdrawal, which Trump can sell as avoiding a conflict with NATO ally Turkey. Turkey has the guarantee - by the Russians - that the Syrian Army will be in control of the Turkish-Syrian border. Russia prevents a war escalation and keeps the Russia-Iran-Turkey peace process alive. And Syria will eventually regain control of the entire northeast."
Syria may be the biggest defeat for the CIA since Vietnam. Yet that hardly begins to tell the whole story.

Allow me to briefly sketch in broad historical strokes how we got here.

It began with an intuition I felt last month at the tri-border point of Lebanon, Syria and Occupied Palestine; followed by a subsequent series of conversations in Beirut with first-class Lebanese, Syrian, Iranian, Russian, French and Italian analysts; all resting on my travels in Syria since the 1990s; with a mix of selected bibliography in French available at Antoine's in Beirut thrown in.


Russia and the United States: The Forgotten History of a Brotherhood

battle of spotsylvania
© Pixabay
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
"A battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it". - Frederick Douglass (former slave who would later become a great American statesman and diplomat)

It has always been an utmost necessity to exercise caution when reading the historical accounts of great periods that threatened to change the course of the world. As is widely recognized though not reflected upon enough, 'history is written by the victors', and if this be indeed the truth, than we must be aware of what lens we are looking through.

It is a sad reality that most Americans have forgotten that the Russians were their brothers during the American Civil War, a union that was not only based from a geopolitical stratagem but much more importantly was based on a common view of humankind; that slavery's degradation could no longer be tolerated and that industrial growth was an absolute precondition to free man. Historians today largely dismiss this as a fairy tale, they spew their vitriolic commentaries, and try to destroy the memories of great people from the past that truly did believe and fight for something noble. These historians would erase our heroes or otherwise would have us believe that they were nothing but small, bitter men that cared nothing for the world. For if we have no memory of such heroes, we have no memory of the fight that was left unfinished...

Since these revisionist historians would have this, let us not be led by such false guides into the dark forest of history, but rather let us focus on the actions and the words of the very men who shaped the world stage as proof of their mettle.


Incredibly preserved Roman chariot burial with skeletons of two horses unearthed in Croatia


The horses' remains and the chariot were all buried together in what appears to have been a ritual reserved for very wealthy families
Archaeologists in Croatia have unearthed the fossilised remains of a Roman chariot buried along with two horses as part of a burial ritual.

A large burial chamber for an 'extremely wealthy family' was found in which the carriage with what appears to be two horses had been lain.

Archaeologists from the City Museum Vinkovci and Institute of Archaeology from Zagreb discovered the Roman carriage on two wheels (known in Latin as a cisium) with horses at the Jankovacka Dubrava site close to the village of Stari Jankovci, near the city of Vinkovci, in eastern Croatia.

The horses' remains and the chariot were all buried together in what appears to have been a ritual reserved for very wealthy families

Comment: See also: Also check out SOTT radio's:


'Lavish' jewels unearthed at 6th century burial site in Lincolnshire, UK

© Sheffield University.
One of the skeletons unearthed at the Anglo-Saxon burial site in Scremby.
Skeletons and 'lavish' artefacts have been unearthed at an historic burial site in the county.

Archaeologists have been left stunned by the findings - which include 50 graves containing human remains, jewellery and weaponry.

A team from Sheffield University, which led the excavations, made the astonishing discoveries at a sixth century Anglo-Saxon burial site in a field at Scremby, between Skegness and Spilsby.

The ancient cemetery was first discovered when a metal detectorist scanning the farmland uncovered Anglo-Saxon objects including iron shield bosses, copper guilded brooches and spear heads. Ploughing had damaged some of the graves before their existence was known - but many survived intact.

Comment: It'll be interesting to see what the DNA results show because a recent study reports that Britain's Anglo-Saxon period was not the result of a takeover by a foreign overclass, as previously thought, but was instead a society that was the result of interaction and assimilation of a number of nearby countries. As detailed in: Time to axe the Anglo-Saxons? Rethinking the 'migration period',
Judged by the norms of Romano-British archaeology, the post-Roman period looks like a catastrophe from which it took centuries to recover, and whose study is made frustratingly difficult because of this so-called 'cliff edge', after which we lack dateable mass-produced pottery and coinage.


It looked to her as if most of Britain's population, descended from earlier inhabitants, continued to farm the same landscapes in much the same ways as their ancestors had done over preceding centuries. Additionally, assimilation of immigrants among existing communities is suggested by studies of isotopes in dental enamel from burials of the period. Incomers are only identifiable by these means: they are otherwise invisible - having been buried in the same orientation, with the same rites, and with the same kinds of grave goods as their neighbours, among whom they are intermingled.


There is little evidence of landscape restructuring or of Romano-British communities being reduced to servile status by a new Germanic elite. Instead, most households lived in the same kind of houses as their neighbours, used the same kind of goods, and farmed the same patterns of fields in the same sorts of ways.

[...] brooches that look Germanic may have been imported initially, but became increasingly popular and were then reproduced by local craftsmen, evolving over the 6th and 7th centuries into better designed and more complicated insular forms that were worn across England: an index of regional taste and fashion, not of immigrant ethnicity.

Increasingly, linguists are characterising English as a contact language - emerging from the interaction of different languages - rather than the imposed language of a dominant class.
See also: And check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Who was Jesus? Examining the evidence that Christ may in fact have been Caesar!


Ancient Assyrian tablets seem to reference a massive solar storm

Aurora over Canada
© Keith E. Doucet, Wikimedia Commons
The aurora in Alberta, Canada.
Scientists report that they may have found the earliest written record of a solar storm in ancient Assyrian tablets.

Recent analyses have found evidence of an extreme solar storm that left energetic particles in tree rings and ice cores across the world sometime around 660 BCE.

With this in mind, a research team in Japan and the United Kingdom wondered if they'd be able to find evidence of this storm in ancient astrological records — and they may have found something in Assyrian tablets.

Back in the 19th century, archaeologists uncovered thousands of tablets dating back to the Assyrian empire in Mesopotamia, which documented treaties, stories, including the now-famous epic of Gilgamesh, and astrological reports. These reports included observations of the planets, phenomena like comets and meteorites, and of course, predictions of omens.

The researchers (today's researchers) scanned through a collection of these astrological reports in search of auroral-type events, which they define as "reddish luminous phenomena in the sky" and are caused by the Sun's particles interacting with the atmosphere. Many of the reports weren't dated, but the researchers could at least produce date ranges based on the astrologer who wrote the report.

They found three reports that seemed to mention auroral phenomena: one reporting a "red glow," another a "red cloud," and a third reporting that "red cover[ed] the sky," according to the paper published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Microscope 2

Just two plague strains wiped out 30%-60% of Europe

Mass grave
© Archeodunum SAS, Gourvennec Michaël
Mass grave dating to the Black Death period, identified in the '16 rue des Trente Six Ponts' archaeological site in Toulouse, France.
The Black Death ravaged medieval Western Europe, wiping out roughly one-third of the population. Now researchers have traced the genetic history of the bacterium believed to be behind the plague in a recent paper published in Nature Communications. They found that one strain seemed to be the ancestor of all the strains that came after it, indicating that the pandemic spread from a single entry point into Europe from the East — specifically, a Russian town called Laishevo.

Technically, we're talking about the second plague pandemic. The first, known as the Justinian Plague, broke out about 541 CE and quickly spread across Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. (The Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I, for whom the pandemic is named, actually survived the disease.) There continued to be outbreaks of the plague over the next 300 years, although the disease gradually became less virulent and died out. Or so it seemed.

Comment: See also: Also check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Who was Jesus? Examining the evidence that Christ may in fact have been Caesar!