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Wed, 22 Feb 2017
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Secret History


Poland publishes detailed list of Auschwitz SS guards online

© pamiec.pl
Photos of the Auschwitz-Birkenau staff featured in the database
The names of over 8,500 SS personnel who served at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the deadliest of the Nazi concentration camps, have been published, following decades of dogged research by a Polish academic. The vast majority of those on the list avoided formal prosecution.

"Today is a historic day, but this is just the beginning," said Jaroslaw Szarek, of the Institute of National Remembrance, a government-funded organization dedicated to investigating historical crimes. "We start with Auschwitz, but we will expand the database to other concentration camps."

Established near Poland's southwestern border in 1940, by the time of its liberation by the Soviets on January 27, 1945 - which is now marked as Holocaust Remembrance Day - the sprawling complex consisted of three main camps and about 40 separate sub-camps. An estimated 1 million Jews, 75,000 Poles, 20,000 Roma and 15,000 Soviet prisoners were exterminated there, the majority in the gas chambers.

More than 4,500 members of the SS were at the camp when it was captured, but the number working through the conflict was greater. Next to the name of each member of staff in the database is their time of service, a photograph, if available, and a summary of the judicial measures taken against them in the aftermath of the war. In the future, the authors plan to verify and add a description of the roles the listed men had in the camp.

The names are largely the result of the work of Aleksander Lasik, who began building the database as a student in 1982, and has since tallied 25,000 members of staff who serviced the Nazi camps located in Poland, using mostly Polish, German and American archives.

Heart - Black

Why do the British hate the Russians? A brief history of 500 years of anti-Russian propaganda

British political magazine, 19th century: 'Running amuck' - the perennial 'Russian savage and threat to global order and peace'. Why do the Brits hate Russia so?
The latest spate of allegations by western media and politicians about Russian propaganda is nothing new. The UK Cabinet files from 1980s just released by National Archives in London reveal the British establishment's obsession with a propaganda war against Moscow.

Ministers were worried over "the confused state of British public opinion (America seen as a great a threat to peace as Russia)" and "a strong strain of anti-Reagan and anti-American sentiment". They put this down to "Soviet propaganda" and the gullibility of the British public.
© Sputnik/National Archives
Memo addressed to Margaret Thatcher

Gift 3

Gifted to Empress Catherine the Great, the Peacock Clock is the only large example of 18th century robotics that has survived unaltered

The Peacock Clock is a large automaton featuring three life-sized mechanical birds manufactured in London by the British entrepreneur James Cox in the 1770s.

It began under the commission of Grigory Potemkin, who wanted to give it to Catherine the Great. The history of the Hermitage's Peacock Clock begins in 1777 when the Duchess of Kingston came to St. Petersburg. Grigory Potemkin learned from the Duchess about James Cox, the most famous creator of the mechanisms in the second half of the 18th century.

Knowing the passion of Catherine II for collecting, the Prince commissioned the celebrated craftsman to make a monumental automaton with a clock for the Empress's Hermitage. Cox invited Friedrich Urey, a German craftsman who had settled in London, to work with him on this order.


Cambridge archaeologists unearth 25 'perfectly preserved' skeletons from medieval Augustinian friary - and there could be many more

The newly discovered skeletons were found in the university's New Museums site.
More than 25 skeletons have been discovered in the centre of the Cambridge University campus, and archaeologists expect to discover dozens or more in the coming weeks. The remains date back to a friary, based in the area between 1290 and 1538. Despite being nearly 450 years old, the Medieval skeletons are in good condition, the archaeologists said.

The archaeology project started with the discovery of around 400 skeletons in 2010 at a burial site nearby. Containing about 1,300 burials, including about 400 complete skeletons, it was found as part of the refurbishment of a Victorian building.

The newly discovered skeletons were found in the university's New Museums site, which contains the David Attenborough building and the Museum of Zoology, and is set to undergo a major renovation, the BBC reported.

Additional images


Previously unseen photographs of Stalin's Russia revealed by US historian

© Douglas Smith / Facebook
An American historian has discovered what he calls a "unique visual archive" of life in the Soviet Union in the 1950s, in the home of a former US diplomat. Photograph from Martin Manhoff archive of Russia during Stalin, used with the permission of Douglas Smith / Facebook

Some 1,000 color photographs taken on the streets of cities all across Russia, including Moscow, St. Petersburg (then Leningrad), Murmansk in the north and Yalta in the south were found by Douglas Smith in the archives of late Army Major Martin Manhoff.

Manhoff, who served in the US embassy in Moscow between 1952 and 1954, apparently liked to travel and capture the life of ordinary people in the USSR.

He was expelled from the country on charges of espionage, Smith said, adding that the diverse archive of films and color slides had remained unseen for over half a century.


Ancient figures from Ghana reveal trading routes of prehistoric African civilisation

© University of Manchester
Figurine from Northern Ghana.
Researchers from The University of Manchester have completed the very first biological analysis of ancient terracotta figurines found in Ghana, which were created by an unknown civilisation and have become iconic representations of prehistoric African art.

The items were found in Northern Ghana's Koma Land region by Prof. Ben Kankpeyeng and Dr. Samuel Nkumbaan (The University of Ghana). Prof. Timothy Insoll, (formerly at The University of Manchester, now at The University of Exeter), and Dr. Natalie J. Swanepoel of the University of South Africa joined the research in 2010 and 2011 during which some of the figurines were recovered. Many of the figurines are thought to represent ancestral figures or animals, and they reveal the clothing, hairstyles and weapons favoured by the ancient culture.

The hundreds of figurines excavated so far suggest a high level of ritual activity at the site. Some of the figurines contain hollow cavities, which the researchers believe substances were poured into during these rituals.


CIA declassified files: US and Soviet nuclear sub crash off Scotland 'almost sparked global war'

© US Navy / Wikipedia
Newly declassified CIA files indicate that a US submarine laden with 160 warheads collided with a Soviet vessel off the coast of Scotland in 1974. Experts say it could easily have caused nuclear war.

The files seem to confirm the long-rumored Cold War incident occurred near Holy Loch, Argyll, where the US once had a permanent nuclear base. Chillingly, the crash took place just 30 miles (48km) off the coast of Glasgow.

While the US never officially confirmed the crash had taken place, the documents show it was reported at the highest levels at the time in a memo to Henry Kissinger - then secretary of state to President Gerald Ford - on November 3, 1974.


Archaeologists say Jersey was Neanderthal vacation hot spot

© Flickr/ Erich Ferdinand
Archaeologists exploring the island of Jersey, off the coast of Normandy, France, have discovered that Neanderthals were regular guests at La Cotte de St Brelade, despite a vastly-changing climate and an altering landscape.

Newly-found evidence suggests that the ancient people regularly returned to a coastal cave on the island, beginning at least 180,000 years ago, until around 40,000 years ago, when they became extinct.

A recent study conducted by archaeologists from Southampton University, along with researchers from other British universities and the British Museum, has increased our understanding of how our ancestors used available resources at the prehistoric site, mapping their movements by re-examining artefacts excavated from the cave.

Comment: See also:


Prehistoric architects with no written language or numbers built sophisticated architectural complexes in US Southwest

© Dr. Sherry Towers
Satellite image of Sun Temple archaeological site with illustrations demonstrating its geometrical properties.
Imagine you are about to plan and construct a building that involves several complicated geometrical shapes, but you aren't allowed to write down any numbers or notes as you do it. For most of us, this would be impossible.

Yet, new research from Arizona State University has revealed that the ancient Southwestern Pueblo people, who had no written language or written number system, were able to do just that - and used these skills to build sophisticated architectural complexes.

Dr. Sherry Towers, a professor with the ASU Simon A. Levin Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center, uncovered these findings while spending several years studying the Sun Temple archaeological site in Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, constructed around A.D. 1200.

"The site is known to have been an important focus of ceremony in the region for the ancestral Pueblo peoples, including solstice observations," Towers says. "My original interest in the site involved looking at whether it was used for observing stars as well."

However, as Towers delved deeper into the site's layout and architecture, interesting patterns began to emerge.

"I noticed in my site survey that the same measurements kept popping up over and over again," she says. "When I saw that the layout of the site's key features also involved many geometrical shapes, I decided to take a closer look."


The Golitsyn-Nosenko Affair: How the CIA was duped by a fake KGB defector for 2 generations

Whether or not there was in fact any Russian "hacking" of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, it is not possible to deny the ineptness and incompetence of the CIA in dealing with this issue. The public statements of its leading figures as well as the declassified reports released to the public so far have only further discredited the CIA leadership in the eyes of objective observers and impartial intelligence specialists. Any student in the top 25 percent of my classes could have written a segment on the RT TV channel included in the recent report. And I am sure that he or she would have used more recent sources than the fall of 2012.[1]

It is mind-boggling to think that the U.S. taxpayers have been subsidizing this kind of shoddy work with tens of billions of dollars every year. How many hospitals and schools could have been built and how many people could have obtained decent health care and received university scholarships on this money! There is no doubt in my mind that all those responsible for this tragic waste of money and other resources must be fired and replaced by conscientious individuals whose expertise will rise above political opportunism.

This is not the first time that the CIA has proven to be woefully inadequate to protect the key national security interests of the U.S. In fact, it appears that its biggest and most damaging failure took place in the 1950s when the formidable Soviet intelligence agency, the KGB, penetrated it by recruiting an insider who was never discovered. It all went downhill from then on.