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Fri, 09 Jun 2023
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Secret History

Bizarro Earth

Two mass extinctions occurred alongside massive volcanic eruptions 260 million years ago, new research reveals

eruption volcano
© Margaret Weiner/UC Marketing + Brand
Researchers discovered evidence that a mass extinction 260 million years ago was actually two events separated by 3 million years. Scientists say both likely were caused by volcanic eruptions.
Massive volcanic eruptions millions of years apart caused two mass extinctions during the Middle Permian Period, according to a study of uranium isotope profiles in marine samples. The findings highlight the potential effects of modern-day global warming on ocean food chains and the importance of addressing environmental issues to prevent further extinctions.

Long before dinosaurs, Earth was dominated by animals that were in many ways even more incredible.

Carnivores such as Titanophoneus, or "titanic murderer," stalked enormous armored reptiles the size of buffalo.

Comment: For more the role of volcanoes in mass extinctions, ancient, and those relatively recent, check out SOTT's: Volcanoes, Earthquakes And The 3,600 Year Comet Cycle


Ex-Russian counterspy chief reveals how Hitler tried to assassinate Stalin

© Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
Joseph Stalin walks towards Red Square in Moscow, Russia.
Turncoats posed as agents of the SMERSH counterintelligence service in an attempt to get close to the Soviet leader...

A family of Nazi spies on a mission to assassinate Joseph Stalin impersonated the very people tasked to identify them - agents of the military security service SMERSH, a veteran Russian counterintelligence officer has said in an interview.

SMERSH was a Soviet wartime organization, the name of which translates as "death to spies." It was created in 1943, after the tide had turned against the Axis invaders, and the leadership of the USSR needed greater focus on collecting fresh intel for planning offensive operations and stopping would-be saboteurs.

Wednesday marked the 80th anniversary of the creation of SMERSH. Rossiyskaya Gazeta spoke on this occasion to Col. Gen. Aleksandr Bezverkhniy, a former Russian counterintelligence commander and enthusiast of the history of clandestine operations.

The plot to assassinate Stalin was hatched by Operation Zeppelin, Nazi Germany's effort to recruit Soviet citizens and use them against the USSR. The would-be killers were a married couple, who posed as Pyotr Tavrin, the deputy commander of a SMERSH department in the Baltic, and his typist Lidia Shilova.


How the English once planned to seize the Russian North

two knights/map
© Kira Lisitskaya Public Domain
When he was expanding diplomatic relations with England, the first Russian tsar, Ivan the Terrible, could hardly have anticipated that, shortly afterwards, his "partners" would want to turn part of the Tsardom of Muscovy into their own colony.
The English set foot on Russian soil for the first time on August 24, 1553. The Edward Bonaventure ship belonged to an English trading company known as the 'Mystery and Company of Merchant Adventurers for the Discovery of Regions, Dominions, Islands, and Places Unknown' and Richard Chancellor was its captain. The ship entered the mouth of the Northern Dvina and moored not far from the Nikolo-Korelsky Monastery, 35 km from Arkhangelsk. From there, Chancellor went to Kholmogory and then on to Moscow, where he handed Ivan the Terrible a letter from King Edward IV. From that moment on, the tsar allowed the British to trade in Russia.


Scientists solve mystery of how the Mayan calendar works

mayan calendar
© Joern Haufe//Getty Images
We were thinking too small all along.
The Mayan calendar's 819-day cycle has confounded scholars for decades, but new research shows how it matches up to planetary cycles over a 45-year span. That's a much broader view of the tricky calendar than anyone previously tried to take.

In a study published in the journal Ancient Mesoamerica, two Tulane University scholars highlighted how researchers never could quite explain the 819-day count calendar until they broadened their view.

"Although prior research has sought to show planetary connections for the 819-day count, its four-part, color-directional scheme is too short to fit well with the synodic periods of visible planets," the study authors write. "By increasing the calendar length to 20 periods of 819-days a pattern emerges in which the synodic periods of all the visible planets commensurate with station points in the larger 819-day calendar."

Comment: See also: The Seven Destructive Earth Passes of Comet Venus

Better Earth

Long-distance voyaging among Pacific Islands during the last millennium revealed in analysis of stone artifacts

© Aymeric Hermann
Emae Island in Central Vanuatu.
Polynesian peoples are renowned for their advanced sailing technology and for reaching the most remote islands on the planet centuries before the Europeans reached the Americas. Through swift eastward migrations that are now well covered by archaeological research, Polynesian societies settled virtually every island from Samoa and Tonga to Rapa Nui/Easter Island in the east, Hawai'i in the north, and Aotearoa/New Zealand in the south. But little is known about Polynesian migrations west of the 180th meridian.

In order to better understand the relationship between these Polynesian societies of the western Pacific, Melanesia and Micronesia — often referred to as "Polynesian Outliers" — a multidisciplinary team of researchers analyzed the geochemical signature of stone artifacts collected in Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and the Caroline Islands between 1978 and 2019. An international research team, led by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, was able to identify the geological origin of these artifacts after comparing their geochemical and isotopic compositions with reference datasets of natural rocks and archaeological quarries in the region.

Comment: See also:


Leaked files: Britain's secret propaganda ops in Yemen


British intelligence and the war on Yemen
Leaked files reveal that British intel used local Yemeni NGOs and social media in a covert campaign to undermine the Sanaa government and influence the war-torn country's peace process.

Yemen's civil war, considered the world's gravest humanitarian crisis, appears to be nearing its end due to a China-brokered detente between Iran and Saudi Arabia, who support opposing sides in the bitter conflict.

Early signs suggest that the rapprochement between Tehran and Riyadh may not only end hostilities in Yemen, but across the wider region.

The US, Israel, and Britain have the most to lose from a sudden onset of peace in West Asia. In the Yemeni context, London may be the biggest loser of all. For years, it provided the Saudi-led coalition with weaponry used to target civilians and civilian infrastructure, with receipts running into billions of pounds sterling.


Archaeologists studying an enigmatic stone structure in the Saudi Arabian desert have turned up evidence of a Neolithic cultic belief

More than 260 fragments of animal bones have been found at the monument.
The excavated mustatil with its head oriented to the east.
© Kennedy et al., 2023, PLOS ONE, CC-BY 4.0.
The excavated mustatil with its head oriented to the east.

The excavation of an enigmatic stone monument in AIUIa in Saudi Arabia is offering fresh insight into the rituals and culture of Neolithic-era peoples.

Called a "mustatil," the structure is one of about 1,600 such rectangular monuments that have been recorded across northern Arabia. As part of a five-year project by the University of Western Australia and the Royal Commission for AlUla, researchers are studying one particular mustatil, dating back 7,000 years, with large slabs of sandstone encircling a long inner courtyard.

The architectural features of a mustatil.
© Kennedy et al., 2023, PLOS ONE, CC-BY 4.0.
The architectural features of a mustatil.
Within the 140-meter (460-foot) long complex, archaeologists identified 260 fragments of animal remains, namely the skulls, horns, and teeth of domestic cattle such as goats and gazelles.

Better Earth

Secrets of 9,000 year old female shaman burial in Germany revealed

© Juraj Lipták
An impressive selection of grave goods including roe deer antlers (top) that could have been worn as a headdress and boars' teeth (middle) and tusks (above) with holes drilled in them enabling them to be suspended from an animal skin were found in a 9,000-year-old shaman's burial.
Bad Dürrenberg is a modest spa town in eastern Germany, perched on a bluff overlooking the Saale River. On a Friday afternoon in 1934, workers were laying pipe to supply the spa's fountain with water when they came across red-tinted earth. A local teacher was quickly called to come to the trench. He began to dig and alerted an archaeologist named Wilhelm Henning based in the nearby city of Halle. By the time Henning arrived, the teacher had uncovered flint blades, mussel shells, roe deer remains, and wild boar tusks.

Given just a few hours to work before the trench had to be filled in, Henning salvaged what he could, pulling human bones from the earth and trying to recover as many as possible. A rough sketch made during the dig, now in the archives of the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle, shows a skeleton placed as if seated in a shallow pit, along with the approximate location and outlines of the original ditch.

Comment: See also:


Stalin against the Jews: How the Soviet dictator lost his last fight

70 years ago, the Georgian strongman's death brought an end to persecution of the religious minority and the infamous "Doctor's Case"
Stalin's Jew persecution
© RT
Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin's "purges," targeted at groups of his perceived rivals, are a unique historical and psychological phenomenon as well as the subject of considerable research. In the 1920s, the Georgian indiscriminately eliminated political competitors from opposing parties and classes, former White Army officers, and workers of the tsarist military-industrial complex. In the 1930s, he went after internal party opponents, the entire leadership of the Red Army, and the NKVD (forerunner to the KGB). Fortunately, the terror was briefly halted during World War Two.

By the end of the conflict, the search for internal enemies guilty of "impeding the construction of communism" resumed. The new enemy of the Stalinist regime was presented in the image of a cosmopolitan and... a Jew. The so-called 'Doctors' Case' was to become the highlight of this new anti-Semitic purge, but the legal process was abruptly closed immediately after Stalin's death.

Comment: See also:


Archaeologists have uncovered the first human representations of the people of mythical Tartessos

ancient sculptures
© Institute of Archeology of Mérida/Csic
The ornate depiction of the stone busts, as well the inclusion of jewellery (hoop earrings) and their particular hairstyles, resemble ancient sculptures from the Middle East and Asia.
Archaeologists representing Spain's National Research Council (CSIS) excavating at the site of Casas del Turunuelo have uncovered the first human representations of the ancient Tartessos people.

The incredible results of an excavation that shed light on a mysterious and ancient civilization that flourished in southern Spain several centuries before Christ have been presented by Spain's National Research Council.

The Tartessians, who are thought to have lived in southern Iberia (modern-day Andalusia and Extremadura), are regarded as one of the earliest Western European civilizations, and possibly the first to thrive in the Iberian Peninsula.

In the southwest of Spain's Iberian Peninsula, the Tartessos culture first appeared in the Late Bronze Age. The culture is distinguished by a blend of local Paleo-Hispanic and Phoenician traits, as well as the use of a now-extinct language known as Tartessian. The Tartessos people were skilled in metallurgy and metal working, creating ornate objects and decorative items.

Archaeologists from Spain's National Research Council (CSIS) on Tuesday presented the amazing results of excavation at the Casas de Turuuelo dig in Badajoz, in southwest Spain, as well as the results of the excavation.

Five busts, damaged but two of which maintain a great degree of detail, are the first human and facial representations of the Tartessian people that the modern world has ever seen.