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TALLRITE BLOG 
ARCHIVE

This archive, organized into months, contains all issues prior to the current week and the three preceding weeks, which are published in 
the main Tallrite Blog (www.tallrite.com/blog.htm).  
The first issue appeared on Sunday 14th July 2002

You can write to me at blog2-at-tallrite-dot-com

May 2004

ISSUE #77 - 16th May 2004 [3x200+144 =744]

Call Them IslamoNazis

Prompted by a piece by Joan Swirsky, entitled Nick Berg’s Death Forebodes Our Own, reader Ray Kraft proposes that the term Islamofascist be replaced with IslamoNazi, on the basis that Nazi is a more accurate epithet and fascist is too benign.  

Fascism, after all, only means an authoritarian hierarchical government rather than a specific ideology.

  

  • Nazi, on the other hand, is short for the German words for National Socialism.  

    • IslamoNazi groups such as Al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah and their ilk consider there is an Arab Nation or indeed a Muslim Nation, and are convinced they are acting on behalf of such a nation.  

    • And the essence of Socialism is control of the many by the few for the benefit of the few at the cost of the many.  These are exactly the objectives of IslamoNazis.  

    • Look to Iran's ruling mullahs for a living example of IslamoNazism in practice, or to the Taliban before the Americans dislodged them from Afghanistan.    

  • The IslamoNazis want to kill all Jews, to purge them from the Middle East, just as Hitler's Nazis wanted to kill all Jews, to purge them from Europe.  Ethnic cleansing and genocide are common goals. 

  • Like Hitler's followers, today's IslamoNazis want to kill or subjugate and enslave a range of other undesirables.  

    • For Hitler, they were all non-Ayrans as well as physically or mentally disabled people and homosexuals. 

    • For the IslamoNazis, it is all Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and other non-Muslims, as well as Muslims that do not conform to their version of Islam.  And of course all gays/lesbians. 

  • The IslamoNazis want to establish a Thousand Year Reich or preferably an Eternal Reich, under Sharia law, just as Hitler wanted his own Thousand Year Reich under the rule of the Nazi party. 

    Opposition to the IslamoNazi Eternal Reich will be met with suppression, oppression, enslavement or death. The IslamoNazis of today echo the Brown Shirts and Waffen SS of yesterday.  Like them, they will enthusiastically torture and kill any number of children, women, men, civilians, soldiers, in any way, no matter how brutal or gruesome, to achieve their objectives. 

  • The IslamoNazis want to establish a Master Race to rule everyone else.  

    • Hitler's Master Race was defined by genetics - blond, blue-eyed Aryans. 

    • The IslamoNazis' Master Race is defined by religion and culture, the religion and culture of a perverted interpretation of Islam, one which suits their objective of control, and which is far removed from the true Islam of the Prophet. Invoking Allah to endorse their murderous habits is no more than a blasphemous flag of convenience.  

I agree with Mr Kraft.  That's why I'll be using the term IslamoNazis from now on, starting with the following two posts. 

In July 2006 I came across this thread in LibertyPost.org
that discusses the contents of this post.
 

Back to List of Contents

Don't Be a Jew

Which terrified prisoner would you prefer to be ?  

Your choice is :  

 

  • You are an Arab stripped naked and thrown to the ground with a dog leash around your neck, at the other end of which is a smirking young woman in US military uniform.  A cameraman records the scene for later merriment and to frighten other prisoners.  After much humiliation where you're made to feel degraded like a dog, or worse, like a woman, you go back to your prison cell.  The stills are published on TV and cause outrage in the Arab world and in America, which vows to prevent this type of behaviour in the future.  

    or

  • You are a Jew captured by IslamoNazi thugs from Al Qaeda, openly devoted to the genocide of all Jews and non-Muslims.  They parade you in front of a TV camera, then pull out a knife and kill you by slicing through your throat like a goat bring prepared for a feast in the best Halal fashion.  They proceed to cut off your head and display it proudly.  The TV movie appears on the internet to inspire fear and merriment, and you know that the act will be repeated as often as the opportunity presents itself.  

Personally, I'd prefer to be the Arab treated by an American like a dog (or woman) on a leash than the Jew-goat being prepared by an Arab for a feast.  

In January 2002, Daniel Pearl, a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, was beheaded because he was the wrong Jew in the wrong place (Pakistan) who got picked up by the wrong people (Al Qaeda).  His Jewishness was well known (he was forced to confess” it on camera), and this was sufficient to provide his murderers with every justification for their act.  

But Nicholas Berg ?  Also a Jew, though you'd hardly know it from the mainstream media.   The Jerusalem Post and other Jewish media and some blogs have pointed it out.  But for most of the others, he was just an American.  For example, CNN bury his Jewishness in this transcripted interview, the Washington Post is  silent, likewise the International Herald Tribune in an editorial that is devoted solely to Mr Berg.  The NRO tells us he was killed because he was an American, plain and simple” whereas Daniel Pearl  was beheaded by al Qaeda ... for the dual crimes of being an American and a Jew

An American passport contains no big yellow star denoting Jew, nor do Jews customarily sew such stars to their clothing.  So we can only speculate how his slaughterers became aware it was a Jew they had the good fortune to capture.  

But consider these facts, gleaned from the Washington Post and the 13th May (paper) edition of the IHT.  

Though he supports the war, Mr Berg has no connections to the military, nor to any company that is operating in Iraq.  Yet in defiance of State Department warnings, he goes to Iraq at the end of last year on a freelance basis, seeking work building and maintaining telecommunications masts.  

Whilst wandering around Mosul, he is picked up on 24th March by the Iraqi police, who are of course trained and and controlled by the Coalition forces.  The police apparently believe he might be involved in suspicious activities.  He is held for thirteen days and is interviewed three times by the FBI who want to ascertain his identity and what he's doing in Iraq.  They advise him to leave the country at once and he refuses.  By now their identity checks, if not his name, have revealed that he is a Jew.  No doubt the Iraqi police also know and it is quite possible this key piece of information leaks.  

And he has become an irritant, a maverick unaffiliated to any Coalition activity, who ignores warnings and refuses to be exported.  It doesn't help that his dad is a known anti-war agitator back home.  

Nick Berg is then released on 6th April and three days later kidnapped by Al Qaeda, who slaughter him.  

It seems inescapable to me that he was killed by IslamoNazis because he was an American Jew, plain and simple”.  Slaughtering Jews is what these people love to do.  Yet this appears to be a conclusion that that the mainstream media are too terrified to draw or even allude to.  Why ?  No doubt they would trot out the usual irrelevant non-sequitur that it would inflame opinion against Arabs which would inflame Arab hatred against Americans.  

Make your own judgement.  And beware of being a Jew in the Muslim parts of today's world.  

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Bombing Iran's Nuclear Facilities

The Iranian site ActivisitChat.com, which is viscerally opposed to everything about the IslamoNazi ruling regime in Iran, and to every act by anyone that might give it comfort, has started advocating that Iran's nuclear facilities not be bombed.  For their destruction is something that has been gaining approval among a number of Americans who support Iranian freedom, and who think Israel should do the deed.  

But ActivistChat.com (which appears as BlogIran on my blogroll) argues that military strikes would be counterproductive, turn many Iranians against the United States, and increase regional war resulting in thousands or millions of Iranian deaths.  However, it doesn't want to bore the reader with a plethora of other reasons.  

I'm sorry but, in the absence of that plethora, this is utterly without foundation.  

It has provided not a single cogent reason why bombing Iran’s nuclear installation(s) would strengthen the mullahs, leading to “increased regional war” and countless Iranian deaths. 

Have people already forgotten how grateful the world is to this day that Israel unilaterally bombed Iraq’s French-built plutonium-producing Osirak (O’Chirac) nuclear plant in 1981 before it could go into operation ?  Had the Israelis not done so, Saddam would have possessed nuclear weapons as from the 1980s, and indeed would doubtless have used them on the Iranians, as he did poison gas, to conquer Iran in the 1980-88 Iraq/Iran war.  The destruction of Osirik certainly did not strengthen him. 

Iran, like Iraq, doesn’t need nuclear power - it has enough indigenous oil and gas to fuel it for generations to come (at current exports 83 years worth of oil, 377 years of gas), and at much lower cost.  

No.  Those IslamoNazi mullahs want expensive, unnecessary nuclear facilities for one reason only.  It will enable them to develop a bomb, which will certainly make them mightier, both at home and on the world stage.  Remove the bomb from them and they will be weaker not stronger. 

If Israel does decide to send in its bombers, the Iranians can conveniently blame it (whom many of them already seem to hate so it doesn’t matter) whilst continuing to love the Americans.

From what ActivistChat.com is saying, therefore, a careful strike that destroys Iran’s nuclear facilities with a minimum of civilian casualties can have only a beneficial outcome. 

Either there are other reasons for not doing so, or they have made an elegant case for a bombing raid.  Maybe that's their subtle intention.  

But that doesn't mean that I'm personally advocating such an action.  

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When Media Falsify Evidence

The two most virulently anti-war media in the UK have been the BBC and the Daily Mirror newspaper.  Yet between them they have recently lost three top executives in cataclysmic circumstances, whilst the prime object of their ire, Tony Blair, remains in office.  

The falsifications should come as no real surprise, because if you claim concern for the Iraqi people as both organs do, there is only limited intellectual content to an anti-war stance.  For in essence, no-one has come up with a better way to liberate the Iraqis from the Saddamite thugocracy than to remove him militarily and try to form some kind of representative replacement government.  This is what the Americans are trying to do, however ineptly.  The embarrassing absence of WMD does not alter this.  

Therefore, anti-war equals pro-Saddam.  So the only way to press the anti-war case without seeming to support Saddam is to get ever more hysterical, using volume in place of reason.  From there, especially if you at the same time wish to project a certain level of intellectual sophistication, it is but a short step to start making things up.  And that's what the BBC and Mirror both did.  

And when caught out, the top heads rolled - a chairman, a director-general and an editor - and grovelling apologies followed.  

In a way, the war argument is akin to the right/left divide as discussed here last month.  The case for being right (in essence, free open market capitalism which gives opportunity to everyone to enrich him/herself) is overwhelmingly convincing, compared to being left (centrally-controlled goods and services that never match capitalism in terms of enriching and freeing people).  So to argue for the left, you have to resort to high volume and hyberbole or even invention, rather than cold logic, experience and trusting the people.  Just like trying to explain you are anti-war and anti-Saddam.  

Lord Hutton's incisive report has caused considerable reformation of the way the BBC goes about its business.  It now makes a real effort to be objective and to get its critical facts right.  

A similar reformation will doubtless unfold at the Mirror, and not before time.  

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Stamping Political Aspirations

Ireland is rightly proud to have been holding the EU presidency as it welcomed ten new countries to the union on 1st May.  

It has produced this special stamp to mark the historic occasion.  

But the eagle-eyed have spotted two mistakes, both of them political, which have embarrassed the issuing Post Office, though its spokesman defends them with the curious words, the map is only a representation of what the new Europe should look like.  It seems he is expressing somebody's political aspirations.  

Can you spot the mistakes ?  Scroll down

...

 

   ...

 

      ...

 

         ...

 

            ...

 

               ...

 

                  ...

 

                      ...

 

                        ....

 

  • The Mediterranean island of Cyprus, which nestles within the close embrace of Turkey, has been transmogrified 700 km westward into the shape and position of Crete, off the south east of Greece.  Since the Greek-Cypriots have voted to exclude the Turkish third of Cyprus from the EU, this no doubt will please them.  As for the sensibilities of the Cretans, these are smugly dismissed by the Irish Post Office - What appears to be Crete is in fact Cyprus ... We won't be selling [the stamps] in Crete, these are for the people of Ireland

  • The other political error is that the national border between Northern Ireland and the Republic has been omitted, betraying the vain sympathies of the cartographers for a united Ireland that will never ever happen.   No other national borderlines are missing.  

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Falling from Heights

The current (print-only) issue of Horizon reports that the Singapore government has made it compulsory for Indonesian and Filipina maids to complete a course that teaches them about the peculiarities of big city life, in particular the dangers posed by heights.  Almost everyone in Singapore lives in a skyscraper and clothes are dried on bamboo sticks hung from windows.  

This can represent a serious risk to the servants, who generally come from underdeveloped villages of single-storey dwellings.  In the last four years, over a hundred domestic employees have fallen out of frighteningly tall buildings in Singapore while cleaning windows or hanging out clothes.  

Singapore is noted for its nannying approach to governing grown-ups.  But this is one case where you'd have to admit from the evidence that they have a point.  But if a hundred maids tumble out, it makes you wonder how many children also do.  

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Quotes of the Fortnight

Quote : “Without reservation we apologise unconditionally to each one of you for the suffering we have caused.

We express our heartfelt sorrow and ask your forgiveness. We ask forgiveness for our failure to care for you and protect you in the past and for our failure to hear you in the present.

We are distressed by our failures. We have been earnestly searching to find a way to bring about healing. We need your help to do this.” 

The Central Leadership Team of the 
Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy 
apologise for abusing children in their care 
in their orphanages and industrial schools

They are the first Catholic order worldwide 
ever to offer such a comprehensive apology

A 1996 TV documentary exposed the scale of abuse 
at one of their orphanages in Dublin in the 1950s and 1960s.

++++++++++

Quote : The people have given their verdict, I accept it. My party may have lost, but India has won.  I do, however, have the satisfaction that our country is now stronger and more prosperous than when you placed the reins of office in our hand.”  

India's Prime Minister, 89-year-old leader Atal Behari Vajpayee, 
leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, 
conceding a surprise defeat on national TV 
to Italian-born Sonja Ghandi.  

The world's most populous country (after China) 
shows the rest of the globe 
how in a true democracy 
power changes hands peacefully and graciously 

Back to List of Content

See the Archive and Blogroll at top left and right, for your convenience

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ISSUE #76 - 2nd May 2004 [145+163=308]

Nazi Hunters Hunting Hunts

Last week's item on accusations that many artefacts, collected by Nazi-sympathising John and Gertrude Hunt and bequeathed to Limerick's Hunt Museum, were looted by Nazis from Jews prompted an exchange with John Ihle of Backseat Drivers via the Comments facility.  He believes that 

  • the Nazi-hunting Wiesenthal Centre in its letter to Ireland's president  was merely pointing out some troubling circumstances regarding the history of the Hunts' collecting”, 

  • independent scholars have raised similar questions.  

  • the Irish Times, which broke the story, would have checked that from the legal viewpoint it had passed the defamation test, and   

  • the suspicions are valid.  

To recap, the Wiesenthal Centre's letter inferred that the Hunts 

  • had engaged in anti-British espionage activity (during WW2), 

  • enjoyed personal ties to Adolf Mahr, head of the Nazi Party in Ireland, 

  • engaged in intimate business relationships with notorious dealers in art looted by the Nazis, and

  • acquired looted artworks that are now part of the Hunt Museum's collection.  

Ireland, as 
EU president, welcomes
into the EU

 

Cyprus 
Czech Rpblc
Estonia 
Hungary 
Latvia 
Lithuania 
Malta 
Poland 
Slovakia
Slovenia

Now we're 25

This is somewhat more than mere troubling circumstances”.  

However, the whole scandal” is nothing more than a disreputable concoction by disgruntled individuals.  

These are facts, as gleaned from impeccable sources.  

Neither the Wiesenthal Centre nor the Irish Times can produce any evidence for their defamation of John Hunt, who died in 1976. However, under Irish law you can't defame the dead, so the newspaper didn't even need to bother its legal department in the matter.  

Who are the independent scholars”  upon whom the whole case rests ?  They number just three, of whom one was malevolently misquoted while the other two for their own reasons are up to no good.   

The first and most important source quoted is Judith Hill who in 1998 wrote for a Hunt Museum brochure a biographical essay on the Hunts, which however was never published. In a letter in the Limerick Leader of 18th April (scanned here), she makes several points : 

  1. The essay was leaked without my knowledge or permission, and has formed the basis of several inaccurate and misleading public statements”.  
  2. In the Irish Times on 7 February 2004 two sentences from separate paragraphs ... were put together and quoted to give a misleading impression of the Hunts' activities”, 
  3. It has been said ... that my essay stated that John and Gertrude were Nazis ... [and] had relationships with known Nazis.  At no point in my essay did I state [this]”. 

So Arthur Beesely, author of the the Irish Times scoop on this matter, evidently took two sentences from different paragraphs of an unpublished, leaked essay and stuck them together.  This gave the false impression that the Hunts “fitted seamlessly” into the world of Nazi looted art dealing whereas they “fitted seamlessly” into the whole post-war art dealing world. 

This is blatantly dishonest cut-and-paste journalism. 

The letter that appeared in the Limerick Leader had been sent to the Irish Times first, but it was not published. 

The second source linking the Hunts to Nazis that has been quoted by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre was Ciaran MacGonigal, the former Curator of the Hunt Museum. Ireland's print-only satirical Phoenix magazine once described the bad blood arising from the resistance of John Hunt's son, John Jr, to Mr MacGonigal's appointment to the Hunt Museum, and his departure just three years later in 2001 under somewhat, er, unhappy circumstances. 

In a paper read to the Irish Museums Association in 2003 Mr MacGonigal stated that both John and Gertrude Hunt were members of the (non-existent) “English Fascist Party” and would have been interned had they not fled to Ireland in 1940. Evidence from both their personal and private lives shows that this claim is false and indeed quite ludicrous. 

  1. MI5 files show that Hunt's German wife Gertrude was never an internment candidate, probably because she was living in Britain for many years before the Nazis came to power. 
  2. Far from being a Nazi, John Hunt went guarantor for a Jewish antique dealer Phillipp Markus in Germany.  Working closely with the German Jewish Aid Committee in London he procured for Markus and his wife a visa to enter Britain where he was due to have lived in the Hunts' house. Sadly, war broke out just before he was due to leave his hometown of Worms.  He perished there in prison in 1944, that city's last recorded Holocaust victim. 
  3. In his working life Hunt demonstrated his pro-Jewish provenance.  
    • He was a close advisor to Sotheby's. As described in Robert Lacey's book “Bidding for Class”, Sotheby's surpassed Christies in the post-war years mainly because of its lack of anti-Semitism which enabled it to obtain the sale of the great Jewish collections from Germany and Holland. 

    • Hunt was also a main advisor to the Guggenheims, one of America's  main Jewish business families, and helped put together Harry Guggenheim's medieval art collection at Falaise, Long Island, New York. 

    • He also advised William Randolph Hearst, whose credentials as a “caring gentile” were even celebrated on the Simon Wiesenthal website! 

  4. On Hunt's persuasion, Bunratty Castle was purchased (for £1,000) by his long-standing friend Lord Gort, whose older brother General John Gort (a VC from WW1) headed the British Armed Forces at the outbreak of WW2 and in 1940 became known as “The Hero of Dunkirk”. Hunt later became the owner in trust of the Castle on behalf of the daughter of the “hero”.  Just imagine the tabloid headline - “Dunkirk hero linked to English Fascist and close associate of Nazis”. 
  5. After the war Gertrude Hunt was honoured by the Irish Red Cross for her work in organising “Operation Shamrock”, whereby over a thousand war orphans from Germany, Austria and France, many of them Jewish, were fostered with Irish families. The Hunts themselves fostered three such children. 

The third source was Erin Gibbons, an archeologist and wife of the Keeper of Irish Antiquities at the National Museum. In a review of a Hunt Museum guide she used the phrase “their Nazi associations” in connection with the Hunts. In a subscription-only article (transcripted here) written by Arthur Beesley in the Irish Times on 13th February last and headed “Consultant links Hunts to Nazi Dealers”, Gibbons is quoted as saying that “she had uncovered 'definite' links between the Hunts business associates and Haberstock and Hofer”, who were art agents for Hitler and Goering, named in Nazi Holocaust files in America.  By this logic, if Haberstock/Hofer ever dealt with, for example, Sothebys, then as Sothebys were business associates of Hunt, a Nazi link would be proved.  Something about dancing with the prince of Wales springs to mind.  On this flimsy basis, she concludes that the Hunts “were part of a network of Nazi war loot dealers” 

And that's it.  To make the case that the Hunt Museum contains artwork looted by Nazis from Jews and that the Hunts were pro-Nazi,  

  • Arthur Beesely deliberately misquotes Judith Hill,

  • Ciaran MacGonigal calls the Hunts fascists on the run from the British, 

  • Erin Gibbons alleges links to a Nazi war loot network,

  • and admits she fed the (mis)information to the Wiesenthal centre.  

And all in the face of overwhelming evidence pointing in precisely the opposite direction.  

But that's not stopping the Wiesenthal Centre from 

  • threatening legal action unless the Hunt Museum grants it access to the museum archive, 

  • demanding to join the independent panel set up to investigate its scurrilous Nazi allegations and

  • refusing to provide any co-operation with regard to its allegations.  

As a point of interest, the Wiesenthal Centre has no connection with 96-year-old Simon Wiesenthal other than paying to use his name.  It is in essence a USA Jewish lobbying organization.    

When the full story hits the mainstream media, remember, you read it here first.  

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Referendums Ain't What They Used to Be

Time was, you held a referendum, the people decided, end of discussion.  

Not any more, and all because those pesky people keep deciding to do the wrong thing.  

Ireland famously gave the wrong answer when in 2001 it gave thumbs down to the EU's Nice Treaty, which current French president Jacques Chirac had drafted to make it easier for lazy EU politicians to make decisions by re-jigging national votes and reducing vetoes in preparation for EU enlargement.   Bertie Ahern, the Prime Minister, apologised to his EU buddies for this bad behaviour and promised to do rectify it.  To his credit he did and a year later the same question was put to the people in a fresh referendum.  But this time after a blitz of publicity and campaigning, the acquiescent population bowed its head and voted Yes, sir.  

A couple of weeks ago, Tony Blair announced that the British will be invited to vote on the EU's would-be Constitutional Treaty (WBCT), in the unlikely event it is ever agreed.  Drafted by former French president Valery Giscard d'Esting, a major bone of contention is a re-jigging of national votes to make it easier for lazy EU politicians to make decisions and reducing vetoes in preparation for EU enlargement.  (No wonder déjà vu is a French phrase).  But when asked what happens if Britain votes down the WBCT, Mr Blair said he'd have to renegotiate a few points with his EU buddies and then re-run the referendum, Irish style.  The next day, however, he said that he would after all respect a no vote, but then a spokesman said that a second referendum couldn't be ruled out.  

The plan couldn't be clearer.  Britons will just have to keep on voting until they give the right answer.  Tony's future depends on it.  

Last week, it was the turn of Cyprus.  A 9,000-page reunification agreement had been negotiated and agreed by Kofi Annan with ... well not with anyone really, because the leaders of Greek Cyprus and Turkish Cyprus, Greece and Turkey couldn't agree among themselves.  

Nevertheless, his document was put to the Cyprus electorate in time for Cyprus's accession to the EU on 1st May, with stern instructions that they should vote yes.  The Turks obligingly did so and have been glowing under unaccustomed praise ever since.  But the Greeks voted no and are now the objects of global ire.  

  • Kofi Annan tells Cyprus it has missed an historic opportunity” and hopes that the Greek Cypriot electorate may arrive at a different view in the fullness of time”.

  • The UN's special envoy Alvaro de Soto departs Cyprus biting his tongue in disgust, back to New York.  

  • The EU's expansion commissioner Gunter Verheugen (see Gaddaffi puzzle below) warns the Greek Cypriots that “the political damage is large [and] there is now a shadow over Cyprus's membership.  

  • EU foreign ministers express their strong regret at the way the Greek Cypriots voted, whilst rewarding the Turkish Cypriots with £175 million for voting properly.  

  • The US State Department saysthe outcome was regrettable but not surprising, given manipulation by the Greek Cypriot leaders in the run-up to the referendum.

Oh dear, it's bad enough to vote no, but to think people have campaigned for a no.  Anyway, as Mr Annan hints, follow-up referendum(s) will doubtless follow once the Greek Cypriots have been brought to their senses.  

For that's the new pattern of referendums.  The plebs vote and vote again.  Until an élite get the answer they desire.  

After George H Bush Sr lost the 1992 US presidential election to Bill Clinton, he conceded defeat with the gracious words, the majesty of the people have spoken.  With referendums it's the majesty of the ruling élite.  

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How do the Spanish troops feel ?

... as they flee from trouble in Iraq at the first bit of trouble at home.  

I have located only one report that deals with the views of the Spanish forces  themselves, and as I would have expected, they don't like leaving.  

Their Commanders insist their 1,432 troops carried out their mission with honour, unbowed by recent attacks by Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi army and were departing due solely to orders from Madrid.  It's the kind of thing they would say if they were feeling ashamed.  

Meanwhile, the soldiers themselves overwhelmingly oppose the sudden withdrawal.  Some consider the honour of the Spanish army has been tarnished, especially in the light of those attacks.  Moreover, they will realise that's exactly what the other Coalition troops are thinking, as are ordinary Iraqis.  

Interestingly, the Spanish army's biggest project was to rebuild and modernise the maternity hospital in the city of Diwaniyah where they were based. 

Shame, dishonour and guilt at letting down the Iraqis and their Coalition partners are what these men must be experiencing.  

But Al Qaeda will have perked up, as will al-Sadr.  

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The EU Puzzles Gaddafi

A major problem for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on his recent trip to Europe was how exactly the EU works and who does what.  Foreign affairs particularly mystify him, where a variety of EU bigwigs join in.  

  • Javier Solana      

EU High Representative

  • Chris Patten        

EU Commissioner in charge of External Relations

  • Romano Prodi 

President of the EU Commission

  • Gunter Verheugen 

Member of the European Commission, Enlargement

It fell to Mr Solana to explain all the nuances to Mr Gaddafi in a Bedouin tent pitched on the lawns of a Belgian state residence.  

I wish Mr Gaddafi would tell the rest of us.  As an EU functionary said, “sometimes even we don’t understand the differences between the EU’s institutions !.”

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You're a liar !

Last week Blog-Irish cheerfully linked to a hilarious TV discussion in which Robert Fisk went ballistic, screaming denials, on being accused of making a blood libel over his false claim that the Israelis perpetrated a massacre at Jenin.  

You can enjoy a similar ballistic moment as from minute 6 on RTÉ radio here (until Tuesday 4th May) in which Irish MEP John Cushanan has been caught out milking expenses from the European Parliament.  

There is a common practice whereby MEPs sign in at Strasbourg early on a Friday morning - when the parliament doesn't sit - and then immediately leave for home richer by €262 in  day-allowance.  Not illegal but tacky, the Strasbourg Friday has been exposed by Austrian MEP Hans-Peter Martine who has filmed and documented numerous MEPs doing it, to their considerable embarrassment and outrage.  Even Pat Cox, the parliament's (Irish) president has been at it.  

The Irish are the worst offenders, and in the audio clip Mr Cushanan, one of the worst of the Irish, is skewered when ambushed by Mr Martin on live radio.  You're a liar ! he screams, joining the expanding band of HowardDeanists.  Don't miss it.   

Judging by Mr Cullanan's ire, the case in the following post for renaming Ireland is perhaps not so strong after all.  

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Greenland for the Greens, Ireland for the Angry

Frank McNally argues persuasively in the Irish Times that snow-covered Greenland should hand over its unwarranted name (which is based on a thousand year old tourism fraud by one Eric the Red) to the Irish, by military action if necessary.  Ireland has long laid claim to forty shades of the colour and disavows the bad-tempered ire bit, whereas eskimos revel in forty words for their beloved snow.  

As the author opines, if the Irish invaded now, it could be over by Christmas.

Since the original article is for subscribers only, I've transcripted it here.  

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Visionary Philosopher - Moi ?

Try this online IQ test; it takes 10-15 minutes, requires only primary/elementary school arithmetic and is guaranteed to flatter you.  It gave me an IQ of 135 and told me I am a Visionary Philosopher.  I've no idea what this means but it sounds nice for a dumb-ass engineer.  I did the test again, this time deliberately getting lots of questions wrong.  My IQ dropped to 113 and I was told I was an Inventive Inquisitor who is good (I think they mean bad) at math and verbal skills”.  

As I understand it, an IQ of 100 represents average intelligence, but in this test everyone scores well over the odds.  Otherwise why would we pay $12.95 for the personalized, 15-page IQ report” that's also on offer.  

Just like driving skills, and small children, we're all above average.  

But if you want a reliable personality assessment that costs you nothing, click here and do my easy Colour Quiz.  

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Quotes of the Week

Quote : People who did far worse than that under Saddam Hussein were promoted, they weren't court martialled.  They were lauded, they were encouraged. It was an instrument of state policy to do far worse than that - to murder people and not just to intimidate them, but to actually torture them and mutilate them and kill them.”  

Prime Minister John Howard of Australia, 
commenting on reports in CBS's 60 Minutes programme on 29th April 
that US soldiers had tortured/maltreated Iraqi prisoners

+++++++++

Quote : You have been knocking on the door of Europe's biggest family.  Today we open it and, in the great Irish tradition, bid you a cead mil failte - a hundred thousand welcomes” 

Bertie Ahern, prime minster of Ireland, 
which holds the EU presidency, 
formally welcomes the ten newcomers into the EU
on Enlargement Day, 1st May 2004

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 What I've recently
been reading

The Lemon Tree, by Sandy Tol, 2006
“The Lemon Tree”, by Sandy Tol (2006),
is a delightful novel-style history of modern Israel and Palestine told through the eyes of a thoughtful protagonist from either side, with a household lemon tree as their unifying theme.

But it's not entirely honest in its subtle pro-Palestinian bias, and therefore needs to be read in conjunction with an antidote, such as
The Case for Israel, Alan Dershowitz, 2004

See detailed review

+++++

Drowning in Oil - Macondo Blowout
This
examines events which led to BP's 2010 Macondo blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. 

BP's ambitious CEO John Browne expanded it through adventurous acquisitions, aggressive offshore exploration, and relentless cost-reduction that trumped everything else, even safety and long-term technical sustainability.  

Thus mistakes accumulated, leading to terrifying and deadly accidents in refineries, pipelines and offshore operations, and business disaster in Russia.  

The Macondo blowout was but an inevitable outcome of a BP culture that had become poisonous and incompetent. 

However the book is gravely compromised by a litany of over 40 technical and stupid errors that display the author's ignorance and carelessness. 

It would be better to wait for the second (properly edited) edition before buying. 

As for BP, only a wholesale rebuilding of a new, professional, ethical culture will prevent further such tragedies and the eventual destruction of a once mighty corporation with a long and generally honourable history.

Note: I wrote my own reports on Macondo
in
May, June, and July 2010

+++++

Published in April 2010; banned in Singapore

A horrific account of:

  • how the death penalty is administered and, er, executed in Singapore,

  • the corruption of Singapore's legal system, and

  • Singapore's enthusiastic embrace of Burma's drug-fuelled military dictatorship

More details on my blog here.

+++++

Product Details
This is nonagenarian Alistair Urquhart’s incredible story of survival in the Far East during World War II.

After recounting a childhood of convention and simple pleasures in working-class Aberdeen, Mr Urquhart is conscripted within days of Chamberlain declaring war on Germany in 1939.

From then until the Japanese are deservedly nuked into surrendering six years later, Mr Urquhart’s tale is one of first discomfort but then following the fall of Singapore of ever-increasing, unmitigated horror. 

After a wretched journey Eastward, he finds himself part of Singapore’s big but useless garrison.

Taken prisoner when Singapore falls in 1941, he is, successively,

  • part of a death march to Thailand,

  • a slave labourer on the Siam/Burma railway (one man died for every sleeper laid),

  • regularly beaten and tortured,

  • racked by starvation, gaping ulcers and disease including cholera,

  • a slave labourer stevedoring at Singapore’s docks,

  • shipped to Japan in a stinking, closed, airless hold with 900 other sick and dying men,

  • torpedoed by the Americans and left drifting alone for five days before being picked up,

  • a slave-labourer in Nagasaki until blessed liberation thanks to the Americans’ “Fat Boy” atomic bomb.

Chronically ill, distraught and traumatised on return to Aberdeen yet disdained by the British Army, he slowly reconstructs a life.  Only in his late 80s is he able finally to recount his dreadful experiences in this unputdownable book.

There are very few first-person eye-witness accounts of the the horrors of Japanese brutality during WW2. As such this book is an invaluable historical document.

+++++

Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies
Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies

This is a rattling good tale of the web of corruption within which the American president and his cronies operate. It's written by blogger Michele Malkin who, because she's both a woman and half-Asian, is curiously immune to the charges of racism and sexism this book would provoke if written by a typical Republican WASP.

With 75 page of notes to back up - in best blogger tradition - every shocking and in most cases money-grubbing allegation, she excoriates one Obama crony after another, starting with the incumbent himself and his equally tricky wife. 

Joe Biden, Rahm Emmanuel, Valerie Jarett, Tim Geithner, Lawrence Summers, Steven Rattner, both Clintons, Chris Dodd: they all star as crooks in this venomous but credible book. 

ACORN, Mr Obama's favourite community organising outfit, is also exposed for the crooked vote-rigging machine it is.

+++++

Superfreakonomics
This much trumpeted sequel to Freakonomics is a bit of disappointment. 

It is really just a collation of amusing little tales about surprising human (and occasionally animal) behaviour and situations.  For example:

  • Drunk walking kills more people per kilometer than drunk driving.

  • People aren't really altruistic - they always expect a return of some sort for good deeds.

  • Child seats are a waste of money as they are no safer for children than adult seatbelts.

  • Though doctors have known for centuries they must wash their hands to avoid spreading infection, they still often fail to do so. 

  • Monkeys can be taught to use washers as cash to buy tit-bits - and even sex.

The book has no real message other than don't be surprised how humans sometimes behave and try to look for simple rather than complex solutions.

And with a final anecdote (monkeys, cash and sex), the book suddenly just stops dead in its tracks.  Weird.

++++++

False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World
A remarkable, coherent attempt by Financial Times economist Alan Beattie to understand and explain world history through the prism of economics. 

It's chapters are organised around provocative questions such as

  • Why does asparagus come from Peru?

  • Why are pandas so useless?

  • Why are oil and diamonds more trouble than they are worth?

  • Why doesn't Africa grow cocaine?

It's central thesis is that economic development continues to be impeded in different countries for different historical reasons, even when the original rationale for those impediments no longer obtains.  For instance:

  • Argentina protects its now largely foreign landowners (eg George Soros)

  • Russia its military-owned businesses, such as counterfeit DVDs

  • The US its cotton industry comprising only 1% of GDP and 2% of its workforce

The author writes in a very chatty, light-hearted matter which makes the book easy to digest. 

However it would benefit from a few charts to illustrate some of the many quantitative points put forward, as well as sub-chaptering every few pages to provide natural break-points for the reader. 

+++++

Burmese Outpost, by Anthony Irwin
This is a thrilling book of derring-do behind enemy lines in the jungles of north-east Burma in 1942-44 during the Japanese occupation.

The author was a member of Britain's V Force, a forerunner of the SAS. Its remit was to harass Japanese lines of command, patrol their occupied territory, carryout sabotage and provide intelligence, with the overall objective of keeping the enemy out of India.   

Irwin is admirably yet brutally frank, in his descriptions of deathly battles with the Japs, his execution of a prisoner, dodging falling bags of rice dropped by the RAF, or collapsing in floods of tears through accumulated stress, fear and loneliness. 

He also provides some fascinating insights into the mentality of Japanese soldiery and why it failed against the flexibility and devolved authority of the British. 

The book amounts to a  very human and exhilarating tale.

Oh, and Irwin describes the death in 1943 of his colleague my uncle, Major PF Brennan.

+++++

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