Welcome to Sott.net
Fri, 01 Dec 2023
The World for People who Think

Secret History

Eye 1

Decades before Snowden, an American patriot waged war against illegal surveillance in the US

Christopher Pyle whistleblower domestic surveillance u.s.
© Bettmann Archive/Getty Images
Former undercover agent Christopher Pyle testifies before the Senate Constitutional Rights subcommittee that the Army has spied on politicians and thousands of ordinary Americans on February 24, 1971.
In the 1970s, US Army Captain Christopher Pyle blew the lid on government agencies' domestic spying

In 1970, a US Army captain went rogue after he discovered that the military was conducting surveillance on dissidents across the country, thus sparking the first effort in modern times to tame US intelligence.

In 1968, almost half a century before the world heard the name of Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who blew the whistle on a US-run global surveillance system, Christopher Pyle, an Army captain who taught law at the Army's intelligence school at Fort Holabird, Maryland, was about to do something no less memorable.

After Pyle had concluded one of his popular lectures on civil disorder, which focused on how the military could better quell riots in those highly volatile times, a military officer directly involved in such operations approached him with the request for a meeting. Several days later, Pyle was escorted into a large warehouse facility that once had been used to assemble railroad engines. In his 2006 book, No Place to Hide, Robert O'Harrow described what happened next.


Roman frescoes in perfect condition discovered in Naples

Roman Frescoes
© Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio per l’Area Metropolitana di Napoli
The Roman frescoes perfectly preserved in the Cerberus tomb discovered in Giugliano.
Waterworks in Giugliano, a suburb of Campania (Naples), have uncovered an untouched chamber tomb full of frescoes ceilings, and walls in pristine condition.

The tomb was found on farmland during an archaeological survey in advance of updates to the city water supply system.

The room has the ceiling and walls frescoed with mythological scenes, Ichthyocentaurs (a pair of sea gods with the upper bodies of men) holding a clypeus on the front wall, festoons that go all around the funerary chamber, and figurative representations among which a three-headed dog stands out, hence the name of the mausoleum as the Tomb of Cerberus.

The striking painting that has given the tomb its monicker depicts the 12th and most dangerous of the Labors of Hercules: when he descended to Hades guided by Mercury to capture the three-headed monster dog Cerberus.


1,400-year-old gold figures depicting Norse gods unearthed at former pagan temple

gold figures dig site norway hov
© Museum of Cultural History / University of Oslo
Aerial view captured by a drone of the excavation site. The temple was situated between the modern-day E6 highway and the county road.
gullglubber gold figures norway frey gerd pagans
© The Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo
Known as "gullglubber," the gold-foil figure depicts the god Frøy and the goddess Gerd.
Archaeologists in Norway unearthed dozens of tiny gold-foil figures at a former pagan temple.

Archaeologists have discovered 35 miniature gold-foil depictions of Norse gods tucked inside the remnants of a pagan temple in Norway.

The gold foils, which are flat and as thin as a piece of paper, contain etched motifs depicting the god Frøy and the goddess Gerd and date to the Merovingian period in Norway, which began in 550 and continued into the Viking Age, according to Science Norway. The foils may have been used as sacrificial offerings.

The gold pieces lack holes, so it's unlikely that they were worn as jewelry. The first gold foils were discovered in Scandinavia in 1725 and were eventually labeled as "gullglubber," which translates to "golden old men."


The oldest evidence of human cannibalism as a funerary practice in Europe

Human Skull
© The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London By Oğuz Büyükyıldırım
A human skull from Gough’s Cave was deliberately shaped into a cup after having its flesh removed.
According to a new study, cannibalism was a common funerary practice in northern Europe around 15,000 years ago, with people eating their dead not out of necessity but rather as part of their culture.

Gough's Cave is a well-known paleolithic site in south-eastern England. Nestled in the Cheddar Gorge, the cave is perhaps best known for the discovery of 15,000 years old human skulls shaped into what are believed to have been cups and bones that had been gnawed by other humans.

A study published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews suggests this was not an isolated incident. Their research focused on the Magdalenian period of the late Upper Paleolithic era. The Magdalenians lived some 11,000 to 17,000 years ago.

Experts at London's National History Museum reviewed the literature to identify 59 Magdalenian sites that have human remains. Most were in France, with sites also in Germany, Spain, Russia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Portugal. They were able to interpret the funerary behaviors at 25 of the sites.

The ritualistic manipulation of human remains and its frequent occurrence at sites across northern and western Europe suggested cannibalism was a burial practice - rather than to supplement diet - widespread in Magdalenian culture, researchers said.

'Instead of burying their dead, these people were eating them,' explains Dr. Silvia Bello, an expert on the evolution of human behaviour working at the Natural History Museum. 'We interpret the evidence that cannibalism was practiced on multiple occasions across north-western Europe over a short period of time, as this practice was part of a diffuse funerary behaviour among Magdalenian groups.'

'That in itself is interesting, because it is the oldest evidence of cannibalism as a funerary practice.'

This cannibalistic behaviour was seemingly fairly common amongst Magdalenian people of north-western Europe, but it didn't last particularly long. There was a shift towards people burying their dead, a behaviour seen widely across south-central Europe and attributed to a second distinct culture, known as the Epigravettian.

This then raises the question of whether the eventual relative ubiquity of burial culture towards the end of the Palaeolithic was the result of Magdalenian people adopting primary burial as a funerary behaviour, or if their population was replaced.


Scott Ritter: No 'end of history' in Ukraine

© Fronteiras do Pensamento/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
Francis Fukuyama in 2016
Francis Fukuyama's triumphalist post-Cold War vision of liberal democracy — published in 1989 — had a major blindspot. It omitted history.
"What we are witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or a passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."
These words, written by the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama, who in 1989 published "The End of History," an article that turned the academic world upside down.

Fukuyama wrote:
"Liberal democracy replaces the irrational desire to be recognized as greater than others with a rational desire to be recognized as equal.

"A world made up of liberal democracies, then, should have much less incentive for war, since all nations would reciprocally recognize one another's legitimacy. And indeed, there is substantial empirical evidence from the past couple of hundred years that liberal democracies do not behave imperialistically toward one another, even if they are perfectly capable of going to war with states that are not democracies and do not share their fundamental values."
But there was a catch.


100-year-old origin theory of Stonehenge's iconic Altar Stone could be wrong, scientists say

© Drone Explorer/Shutterstock
A new analysis of the Altar Stone at Stonehenge suggests it may have come from as far north as Scotland, allowing for "creative thinking" about its archaeological significance.

The largest stone in Stonehenge's inner circle, known as the Altar Stone, may have come from farther afield than its neighboring monoliths — possibly even from northern England or Scotland, according to a new study that questions a 100-year-old idea about the stone's origins.

A century has passed since British geologist Herbert Henry Thomas published his seminal 1923 study on Stonehenge, in which he traced the origin of the "bluestones" that make up the monument's inner circle to the Preseli Hills in western Wales. Among these bluestones — so called because they acquire a bluish tinge when wet or freshly broken and to distinguish them from the "sarsen" stones that make up the outer circle — Thomas included a 16-foot-long (4.9 meters) flat-lying, gray-green slab of stone known as the Altar Stone.

"It seems as though he wanted all the non-sarsen stones to come from a limited geographic area and this basic assertion has not been challenged for 100 years," Richard Bevins, an honorary professor of geology and Earth sciences at Aberystwyth University in Wales who led the new research, told Live Science in an email.


The Lost Men of Carrhae: The Enigma of a Roman Legion in Ancient China

A man from Liqian, China
© Johnathon Kos-Read/ CC BY ND 2.0
A man in Liqian, China. There is debate whether his village was inhabited by Roman soldiers from the lost legion of Carrhae.
Rome and China stand as two monumental civilizations that significantly influenced the societies under their dominion. Despite their immense impact, these two cultures seemingly remained largely separate from one another. Consequently, any instances of interaction between them have intrigued historians. Such captivating tales include the legend of Carrhae's lost legion, believed by some to have found their way to Liqian, China.

Comment: Roman Descendants Found in China?


New statues found in Göbeklitepe and Karahantepe: The first painted neolithic statue was discovered

New Statues Composite
© Arkeolojik Haber
New discoveries that will leave their mark on art history were made during the Stone Hills (Taş Tepeler) archaeological excavations. The first painted neolithic statue was unearthed from Göbeklitepe. The 2.3 meter high human statue in Karahantepe evokes a seated person with ribs, spine and shoulder bones emphasized. Remains of red, white and black pigments attract attention on the surface of the life-size wild boar statue made of limestone in Structure D of Göbeklitepe

New finds were discovered in Göbeklitepe and Karahantepe. At around 12,000 years old, Göbekli Tepe is the world's oldest megalithic site - and it has a "sister site" called Karahantepe.

A recent discovery in the world's oldest religious sanctuary, Göbeklitepe, "Potbelly Hill" in Turkish, which is described as the "zero point of history" has revealed a painted wild boar statue.

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Göbeklitepe has changed the way historians and archaeologists think about the cradle of civilization. And there is so much more to be discovered.

A painted wild boar statue was discovered during ongoing excavations in Göbeklitepe. The artifact, which contained red, white, and black pigment residues on its surface, was the first painted sculpture found from its period to the present day.

As part of the Taş Tepeler project, which sheds light on prehistory and has seen highly significant discoveries on a global scale, the archaeological excavations carried out in 2023 in 9 different areas have recently led to the discovery of human and animal statues.

Eye 2

Stakeknife: The Inside Story of The British Spooks Who Ran the IRA

Freddie Scappaticci funeral of IRA  Larry Marley
© Pacemaker
Freddie Scappaticci at the 1987 funeral of IRA man Larry Marley.
Just as Rome was not built in a day, so also was this abnegation of Ireland and everything Irish not done in the seven or so days it took God to create the world.

Freddie Scappaticci, Stakeknife was, according to the book's blurb, "the British spy who played a leading role in the British intelligence war against the Provisional IRA." Stakeknife, along with John Joe McGee, another British intelligence plant, ran the IRA's Nutting Squad, the IRA's MI6 equivalent, which brutally dispatched spies and those Stakeknife, McGee and their fellow MI6 agents further up the food chain lied were MI6 spies. Typical of their victims was widowed mother of 10 Jean McConville, who was buried like a dog in an unmarked grave on an isolated beach close to the Irish border where Gerry Adams, Stakeknife's alleged controller, regularly walked his dogs.

Although there is an impressive library on the war crimes Stakeknife, McGee and Adams are implicated in, O'Rawe is uniquely placed to shed new light on these British funded criminals because he was publicity officer for the Provisional IRA's blanket men prisoners, ten of whom, including Bobby Sands, seen here with MI6 agent Denis Donaldson, died by hunger strike, and the last six of whom died, so O'Rawe's previous book convincingly argues, because Adams, Donaldson, Stakeknife and their MI6 pals wanted to milk the maximum amount of political leverage from their martyrdom.


Archaeologists have discovered a horse skeleton with a bronze curb bit in its jaw at the Çavuştepe excavations

Horse Skeleton
© Özkan Bilgin/AA
A horse skeleton with a bronze curb bit (a metal piece inserted into its mouth to guide the mount) was found in the Çavuştepe castle belonging to the Urartians who ruled in the Eastern Anatolia Region.

Çavuştepe Castle was constructed by Urartian King Sarduri II. in 750 BC.

The ongoing excavations at Çavuştepe Castle and the necropolis area north of the castle are being led by Prof. Dr. Rafet Çavuşoğlu, who is the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Van Yüzüncü Yıl University (YYÜ).

For the first time in Urartian history, a curb bit in the form of a ring has come to light.

Last year, at the location where a skeleton believed to belong to the Urartian ruling class was unearthed, this year an at skeleton with a bronze curb bit (a metal piece inserted into the horse's mouth to control it) was found, as well.