Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kim Jong Il Dead

North Korea is the most repressive regime in the world. It's poisonous ideology of totalitarian Marxism has infected the nation to such a degree that the country and its people are in fact suffering from a national mental illness as evidenced by the creepy scenes below of the citizens of Pyongyang mourning the death of their beloved leader. These people are of course unaware that the man they worshipped was the most deluded and evil scumbag on the face of the earth, literally. Lets hope his death can result in some kind of instability that results in a peaceful liberalisation of the communist state.

By the way I am back, for real this time. You can expect daily blogging from now on (although I will be away attending a friends wedding on the 29/30) and throughout 2012. Lets hope its just as bad a year for dictators as 2011 was.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm back (sort of)

Hi all. I am truly sorry for my latest and longest hiatus to date. The demise of Gubu World has been greatly exaggerated (where does that particular phrase originate from?). The simple truth is I have been exceptionally busy in recent months. My absence has nothing to do with a loss of enthusiasm for the blogosphere. If anything, it killed me to be offline during recent dramatic events such as the demise of the Mediterranean Mad Dog, the Irish Presidential election with all its eccentricities, and the current rumours that Israel's patience with the International community has run out regarding a nuclear Iran and that an air strike is imminent. These are all issue which I will blog about in the very near future.

The gruesome demise of Col Gadaffi is one of the issues I missed during by absence

My absence can be explained by a combination of what I previously had thought were my final law exams (October) ,the Dublin West by election (November) of which I was heavily involved in and my role in the family business which as of recent weeks has involved a lot of travelling around Ireland. I am actually writing this in a Guesthouse in Clonakilty Co Cork. One advantage (blogwise) of my journeys around the country, is the "photo of the day" opportunities that arise. Just today I passed through Beal Na Mblath, the village were Michael Collins was assassinated in 1922. However as all us bloggers know, time is the real enemy and my work schedule between now and Christmas will make it difficult for me to post regularly but I will try very hard to publish two posts and several photos a week. Please be patient with me, particularly when it comes to responding to comments.

Friday, September 30, 2011

70 Years Ago today 30/09/41

Hamburg: The RAF launches a nighttime raid with 100 bombers.

Russia: As the Wehrmacht onslaught Eastward continues the 2nd Panzer Army under Heinz Guderian attack the Russian towns of Orel and Bryansk.

Leningrad: German forces have been stopped 7 miles from the city. General Zhukov has arrived to organise the defence of the city which ultimately results in the longest and most devastating siege situation of the war.

Kiev: On this day 70 years ago 33,771 Jews were murdered in a ravine outside the Ukrainian capital, now under Nazi occupation. A decision was made by the military governor, Major-General Kurt Eberhard, the Police Commander for Army Group South SS-Obergruppenf├╝hrer Friedrich Jeckeln, and the Einsatzgruppe C Commander Otto Rasch to kill all the Jews of Kiev. In two days (29 Sep - 30) the Jews, who thought they were being resettled were taken to a ravine on the outskirts of the city at a place called Babi Yar and executed by machine gunning. It is thought that the inefficient method of annihilation at Babi Yar which was so costly in terms of manpower and ammunition was one of the reasons the Nazi leadership decided to pursue a more cost effective final solution to the Jewish problem. This of course would take the form of the gas chamber.

A monument to the Babi Yar massacre outside Kiev which occurred 70 years ago today. It was the worst single mass execution of Jewish men, women and children during the holocaust.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Photo of the Day

Sorry for the lack of posts folks. Like all of us these days I am just quite busy with work and personal stuff and am finding it difficult to make time for posts. I will endeavor to be more efficient with my time. Anyhow, my latest photo sees me meeting controversial Presidential candidate David Norris just after the match in Croke Park last Sunday week. He is not my candidate, but moments after the Dublin victory I could have met Jack the Ripper and I would have given him a hug and a kiss.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dublin V Kerry, Croke Park and Civil War

Dublin Captain Bryan Cullen lifts the Sam McGuire Cup after Dublin beat Kerry by 1:12 to 1:11 to become All Ireland Champions. President Mary MacAlese and Taoiseach Enda Kenny are behind him.

On Sunday I was in Croke Park to to watch the final of the most sought after competition in Irish sport, the All Ireland Gaelic Football Final. It was a privilege to be there to witness such a great Irish sporting occasion. The atmosphere was electric, the enviroment friendly and the match was possibly the best I was ever at. I have been a fanatic supporter of the Dublin football team since I was ten and Sundays result was one of my most joyous moments in sport. This is not a sporting blog. But Gubu World readers will know that while I love many sports, I particularly enjoy analysing when sport interacts with politics. We see this in many sports such as Rugby where for many years the South African team were the subject of anti Apartheid boycotts. In fact South Africa's national Rugby team remains controversial post Apartheid because of the ANC's very unwise policy of requiring a quota of black players. Irish Rugby too has its issues as our national team is a 32 county United Ireland team making it a rare entity that appears to bring Irish nationalists and Ulster Protestants together. The Olympics and International soccer have likewise seen many political controversies. There was the American boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, which was followed by a Soviet refusal to attend the 1984 games in Los Angelas. The soccer controversies are endless but perhaps the most notable was the "Soccer War" in 1969 when Honduras and El Salvador engaged in a four day war after a particularly bruising World Cup qualifying match which was followed by violent riots. And my favourite sport Gaelic Football has controversies of its own. The Gaelic Athletic Association has its roots in Irish Nationalism and during the War of Independence its headquarters at Croke Park was the scene of a massacre in 1920 when British forces killed 14 civilians during a match. For many years the GAA forbid the playing of foreign games (soccer and rugby) at Croke Park for nationalist reasons. When the ban was overturned in 2007 and the British Rugby team were set to play in the stadium, many objected to the pre match playing of the British National anthem at the same scene of the 1920 killings. However, political controversy involving the GAA is not confined to our relations with Britain.

The Civil War
The Irish Civil War (1922-23) is a conflict which I have developed something of an obsession with in recent times. It is a conflict that has been under explored by most historians. But given Sundays final between Dublin and kerry which Dublin won in such glorious fashion, I thought I would post something on the ugly events which occurred in Co Kerry in March/April 1923, just as the war was coming to a close. When the war broke out in June 1922 between the Pro and Anti Treaty factions of the IRA, it did not take the new National "Free State" Army long to dislodge the IRA from the major towns and cities of the country. When this happened much of the IRA dispersed but a minority remained on to conduct a guerrilla war against the new government and its army. Perhaps the most effective fighting unit in the Free State Army was the Dublin Guards, a battalion whose officer corps was made up of former men from Michael Collins' ruthless "squad" and other pro treaty IRA men from the Dublin Brigade. In the Spring of 1923 the Dublin Guards found themselves occupying Co Kerry after landing late the previous year on the southern coast. Many of the officers in the Dubin Guards had been ruthless assassins during the war against the British. And after the civil war commenced, they continued to be ruthless against their former comrades, particularly after the death of their beloved leader Michael Collins. On occasions when the anti treaty IRA succeeded in inflicting heavy casualties on the Free State Army in Kerry, the Dublin Guards would retaliate. The most notorious incident occurred in a little known place called Ballyseedy, just outside Tralee.

The Ballyseedy Massacare
On March 6th 1923 a detailed and complicated plot by the anti treaty IRA in Kerry came to fruition when five Free State Soldiers were killed by a booby trap bomb in the townland of Knocknagoshel. The intended target of the bomb was a Kerryman, and Free State Officer who had joined the Dublin Guards because of a personal grudge he had against the IRA who had mistreated his family. This officer's knowledge of the area and the local IRA proved vital for the National Army, so much so that the IRA hatched a quite extraordinary plot to kill him which culminated in the knocknagoshel landmine. However, another man killed that day included an officer from Dublin who had been a prominent member of the pre truce IRA and a squad member. His comrades were outraged by his death. The following day nine IRA prisoners were taken from a barracks in Tralee and brought out to Ballyseedy crossroads by men from the Dublin Guards. At gunpoint they were tied to a landmine and it was detonated. The Free State soldiers claimed that they were making the prisoners dismantle an IRA barricade which was booby trapped when it exploded. This was a lie. Amazingly, one man survived the massacre. His name was Stephen Fuller. He was blown free of the barricade and landed in a nearby stream. Although badly wounded he managed to escape in the darkness. So grim was the scene, that the Free State soldiers placed the body parts of the 8 victims into 9 coffins, not realising that one man had escaped. Stephen Fuller lived to tell the tale. In later life he became a Fianna Fail TD (member of parliament). He died in 1984. Whether the Ballyseedy massacre was orchestrated by the Army High Command, the Government or simply by members of the Dublin Guards acting on their own has never been firmly established. It was however not the only atrocity committed by the Free State Army in Kerry before the wars end in May 1923.

It would be stretching things a bit much to suggest that such incidents have created any lasting hostility between Dublin and kerry people. After all the Irish Civil War was not geographical. There were plenty of Kerrymen in the Free State Army and Dublin men in the anti treaty IRA. But it is true to state that many of the older generation in Kerry would have had memories of not so pleasant Dublin men in uniforms with distinct accents that probably seemed almost as foreign as the British. And believe it of not, the 1923 All Ireland Final was also between Dublin and Kerry. The GAA made a huge effort after the Civil War to heal the wounds of the Civil War. In fact, for the 1923 final (which Dublin won, again) the Kerry GAA board insisted that the team consist of men who had been both pro and ant treaty. However, the tension must have been palpable in Croke Park that September day, considering there were many Kerrymen still in prison, including some players and that the Dublin team had some individuals who had been members of the Dublin Guards and had seen action in Kerry. Of course I would bet that %95 of the people who were in Croke Park on Sunday last would be unaware of the Ballyseedy massacare. But perhaps not in the 1970's when the great Dublin and Kerry teams met in 6 All Ireland finals. Back then there were a lot more people around who had fresh memories of this dark and largely forgotten episode in our history. Hostility between Dublin and Kerry in those days was likely more genuine. But let us not dwell too much on this. Part of the marvellous aspect of Sundays match was the sportsman like nature of the Kerry team and their fans, several of whom congratulated me as I was leaving the stadium. Furthermore one can't help be heartened at the stories of lasting friendship between the players that met so often during the 70's many of whom had sons playing on Sunday. It was simply a wonderful day that I will never forget. A touching moment also occurred at half time when members of the New York Fire Department received a standing ovation from the 82,500 people attending the match. Of course, nothing could match the cheer that was heard when Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton came up to take the last minute long range free kick which gave the capital their first All Ireland victory in 16 years. Lets have a look shall we !

Friday, September 16, 2011

If Obama hates Israel

In the wake of recent worrying events in Cairo where it looked like Israel and Egypt's 32 year peace treaty might be coming to an end, the Daily Dish asks a very important question, If Barack Obama hated Israel, why would he do this ?. Below is a clip of a speech by
former Director of the Mossad Efraim Halevy who articulately explains how the anti semetic President, the Commander in Jew hating Chief himself Barack HUSSEIN Obama came to the rescue of several Israeli diplomats who were under siege at the Israeli embassy in Cairo last week.

Obama's hatred of Israel is of course a work of fiction. But since last weeks congressional election in which the seat vacated by disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner in the staunchly Democratic New York's 9th District was taken by a Republican, many commentators have been writing about how Jewish American have finally woken up to Obama's hostility to Israel. The 9th Congressional District has a large Jewish population, much of it Orthodox, leading many to speculate that Obama is losing the Jewish vote because of his Israel policies. Obama may be losing the Jewish vote due to Israel, but if he is, it is because of image and perception, not reality. In addition to the above instance in Cairo, the Obama administration has also approved more military aid to Israel than any other President. So I ask again, if Obama hates Israel, why would he do this?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

70 Years Ago Today 14/09/41

Occupied Europe: Hitler's order that all Jews in German occupied Europe wear a yellow Star of David comes into effect.

Tehran: Following a joint Soviet British invasion of Iran, Reza Khan Pahlevi, the pro German Shah (king) has been forced to abdicate. He is replaced on this day by his 22 year old son Mohammad Reza who will rule Iran (almost uninterrupted) until the Islamic revolution of 1979.

Northern Russia: After the British Carrier Argus arrived at Archangel on September 10th with two squadrons of Hurricanes the RAF have begun operation on Russian soil for the first time since they were sent to Russia in 1919 in an attempt to strangle Communism in its cradle. Now however, the communists and the British are fighting on the same side against the Nazis. The British pilots will mostly be training the Red Air Force in use of the British planes. The Red Army is desperate for superior air power as the Nazis continue their ferocious onslaught into the Soviet Union.

British and Soviet pilots sit and chat next to a Hurricane, whilst awaiting the inevitable order to scramble. Not the Red Army guard.

Photo of the Day

I spotted this replica of Rodney and Del Boys famous van behind a petrol station in Co Cavan. Great for parties I should think.

Monday, September 12, 2011

September 11th 2001, My Memories

The anniversary of September 11th 2001 brought back a lot of memories for everybody. Like most people, over the last week I watched several documentaries that brought me right back to the paralysing shock I felt ten years ago at seeing people jump 1000 feet to their deaths. On that day, I was a second year International Relations student in the American College Dublin. I was also the President of the Student Union. I was sitting on my own in the Student Union office when my father phoned me on my mobile to remind me that I had to come home early to babysit my brothers kids, as my other brother was graduating from university that day and most of the family were attending the ceremony. He then asked me if I was aware of what was happening in New York. Despite the fact that it was about 2pm (nearly two hours since the attacks began), I had heard nothing. He told me that two planes had been flown into the World Trade Center. I asked him if it was Islamic terrorism. He said he didn't know. I left the office immediately and walked the short distance to the common room in the residency where most of the American students lived. In the common room I found scores of students crowded around the TV watching reruns of the towers collapsing. Some sat in silence, some were crying and others were frantically trying to contact relatives. I chatted with friends as we speculated on what we thought was going down. Could it be a global attack on Americans? Should we be concerned? Shortly after I walked the five hundred meters from Mount Street to the Oscar Wilde House on the Corner of Merrion Square where the main buildings of the American College are located. I went into the deans office to discuss the situation. The dean, a New Yorker himself, and I discussed the situation and it was suggested that it may be wise to cancels all lectures for the remainder of the day. It was decided that it would be unnecessary to do this so at this point I simply went of to my first class of the new semester which was interestingly, US Post War Foreign Policy. Not surprisingly, all we talked about was what we had seen and heard on the news.

After class, I took a taxi back to Castleknock to fulfill my babysitting duties. On route, the female taxi driver and I talked about what was going on. I remember she told me her brother lived and worked in New Jersy. She hadn't phoned to enquire if everything was alright as she thought this would be excessively pannicky. When I reached home I found a note from my mother asking me to expect a call from a close family friend of ours whose daughter and husband lived in New York. My mother had been enquiring about them both but there was particular concern for the husband as he was an NYPD officer. We found out that night that he was fine as he was not working that day but naturally he was to have some harrowing stories from working at Ground Zero. At home that evening I spent many hours glued to the TV, just as many millions were doing all over the globe. I think I know what some of my readers are thinking at this stage. I am about to go into how 9/11 changed me, how I began to understand the evil of Islamic extremism and how this was the first step in me becoming a more conservative supporter of US Foreign Policy. Not so, in fact that night, in conversations with friends I remember talking about Hiroshima, Vietnam, the Gulf War and Iraqi sanctions as I lazily engaged in the left wing anti American version of history. At one stage, I think I even brought America's treatment of its native Indian population into the equation. For me, my conversion did not come for another three years, following a detailed study into Iranian suppression of political youth movements. But on that day itself, I think I was more consumed by the drama of it all, rather than the tragedy. Over the coming days however, the tragic and sombre reality began to replace any juvenile excitement I had as the numbers of dead became clear. In addition there were the several Irish killed on 9/11. The story of the Clifford family from Cork being perhaps the most tragic of any killed that day. I think the most dominant impression I had that day and in the following weeks was that sometimes in life, fact is stranger than fiction. I realised that almost anything can happen. To hope or assume that something will never happen does not make it so. For example, if Israel and the western world were to back down in the face of Islamic anger, (something which many argue would lead to world peace) it would be wrong to just hope or assume that Israel would not be wiped off the map, and that Europe would not be the next target. That is how 9/11 most affects my political thinking to this day. Below is a clip from last Friday's Late Late Show as Cork man Ron Clifford describes his experience on the moring of 9/11. Note: the Italian woman he describes helping does not survive her injuries.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Exhibition in Dublin

Notices left at Ground Zero by relatives of victims of 9/11.

Apologies for the abscence folks. I have been busy with work and personal stuff recently, plus my lap top broke down so I have been offline for the last ten days. But I assure you there will be a feast feast of blogging on Gubu World over the next week. Earlier today I visited the National Museum of Ireland in Collins Barracks. The museum was hosting a photographic exhibition of the 9/11 atrocity. The exhibition was organised by Paul McCormick, a Donegal native and former NYPD officer who saw first hand the horrors of that day. McCormick, who is now living in Dublin, should be commended big time for bringing this experience to Dublin. The exhibition will be running for another two weeks. I would ecommend it to anyone.

Messages written in the dust in the vicinity og Ground Zero.

Officer McCormick, several days after the atrocity.

A very powerful message from President Kennedy

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Havin a Holocaust"

Poor ol Tony Cascarino made a bit of a blunder last weekend whilst commentating during the Arsenal V Manchester United match for Sky Sports. He said that Arsenal defender Armand Traore was "having a holocaust" of a match. Not surprisingly, this hasn't gone down too well and the PC brigade are after his head, especially given that Sky Sports have recently sacked other high profile presenters for making sexist remarks. In defence of Cascarino, a childhood hero of mine, I can confirm from experience in my younger years that to say someone is "having an apocalypse" or "having a holocaust" is fairly common football slang that one might hear in the dressing room to describe a particularly bad performance by a player. Obviously, it was very clumsy of Cascarino to say it on live television. I hope Cascarino does not get picked on too much for this. I certainly hope he doesn't get sacked. Like most footballers, I doubt he is particularly savvy when it comes to historical sensitivities. I personally could never be too angry with him, not after that goal he scored against England in Landsdowne Road during the Euro 92 qualification tournament. Having said that, I would be interested to hear from some Jewish readers of Gubu World about the controversy. Just how offensive were his remarks ? Below is the clip.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Gadaffi's False Victimhood

Mary Fitzgerald of The Irish Times broke this story last Friday. I am amazed that it has not made a bigger impact in the international media. Perhaps it still will. Fitzgerald claims to have found evidence that Col Gadaffi's step daughter Hana, who the world believed was killed as an infant when President Reagan ordered the bombing of Gadaffi's Tripoli compound in 1986, is in fact alive and well. Gadaffi has gotten a lot of mileage over the years from this episode, famously preserving the part of his compound that was damaged in the Air Strike, and using it to stage defiant anti American demonstrations. A powerful symbol it was, until the sight last week of anti Gadaffi rebels climbing all over it. Gadaffi frequently made reference to the death of his step daughter, even as recently as a few months ago when he said, "what would President Obama do if a Libyan agent assassinated his daughter". Col Gadaffi was an exceptionally competent dictator. His record (1969-2011) speaks for itself. I believe that if you want to be a successful dictator you need three things, ruthlessness, charisma and the ability to make things difficult for those in the international community that want to oppose you. Gadaffi was brilliant at the latter. I firmly believe that Gadaffi said and did things on a regular basis, that had one specific objective, to provoke a reaction from the left in Europe and America in an effort to make it harder for western nations to confront his tyranny. To this end I believe he was very much in tune with domestic events in Britain and America and understood the nature of the left right debate in the west. He knew the figures involved and knew what to say or do in order to get them on his side. Of all the post war dictators, he was simply the best at manipulating western public opinion to his advantage. Therefor the death of his step daughter was propaganda gold.

When a dictator falls his dark and dirty little secrets inevitably come out. It now appears that the tragic death of his step daughter was a fabrication designed to garner international sympathy for him as a victim of western military aggression. Documents found in his compound have included Hana's school records, college degree as well as details of her assets. The mad dog of the Mediterranean played this sinister lie while ruthlessly suppressing his own people as he sponsored terrorists all over the world including in Ireland, Europe and most unforgivably of all in my view, in Uganda where he financed the blood lust of the LRA, the worlds most gruesome murder gang. Gadaffi is gone, but there will always be shame shame shame on all those "Irish Republicans", Marxist activists and other anti western liberals who bought into the Gadaffi persona and secretly or otherwise worshipped him.

Below is a clip of Reagan addressing the American people shortly after ordering the bombing of Tripoli in 1986.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bush Interview

I am looking forward to this. George Bush has given a rare post presidential interview for the National Geographic for the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It is his first ever extensive interview about the events of that day. It will be televised on the National Geographic station next week. Below is a sample.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lets have some fun with Mr Gadafi shall we !

None of these lads are smiling now !

Check out this punter with the best souvenir from the war. Gadaffi's hat !

Muamar Gadaffi joins the ranks of histories greatest monsters. From left to right, bottom Row: Hitler, Franco, Mussolini, Paul Pot, Mao. Second Row: Idi Amin, Fidel Castro, Ceausescu, I'm not sure who this guy is, Milosevich, Stalin. Third Row: Sadam Hussein, Ayatollah Khomeini, Radovan Karadzic and Osama Bin Laden.
Can anyone tell me who the lad in the center is, between Ceausescu and Milosevich?

I thought I would post this amusing interview with Jeremy Bowen from several months ago when Gadaffi claimed that his people loved him.

The guy really belongs in a Bond movie, Gadaffi seen here with his notorious female bodyguards.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tripoli Falls !

As I write this, just after midnight on the 22nd of August 2011, I am watching images on TV of rebels machine gunning murals of Col Gadaffi in downtown Tripoli. The mad dog of the Mediterranean who seized control of Libya in September 1969 is on the run, his fate not yet known. Four Arab dictators have now been overthrown by their people this year. While nobody can be certain what will happen in these countries over the coming months and years, one thing I believe is certain. The era of the Arab dictator, who seizes power violently, and keeps it until his death has come to an end. That is a good thing for the Arab people, Mid East peace and global security. It is also good for human justice and the dignity of man. I find few things more sickening than when a mass murdering butcher dies a free man and of natural causes as the likes of Pol Pot and Idi Amin managed. It is also very satisfying to know that a man who thought for so many years that he got away with it will now face justice, whether that be in front of an international court, or by being ripped limb from limb by his tormented former subjects.

Anchor Woman

The Irish have Anne Doyle. The Brits have Kay Burley. The Yanks have katie Couric and the Libyans have this gun wielding crazy cat. In the movie "Anchor Woman", they should get Rosie O'Donell to play her. Enjoy !

Friday, August 19, 2011

Egypt and Israel, the Future

In light of yesterday's horrific events in southern Israel where six civilians were murdered by militants who penetrated the Israeli Egyptian border I want to discuss the situation with Egypt post Mubarak, and whether or not the criticism aimed at the Obama administration for allowing the former regime to collapse is justified. Yesterday terrorists from Egypt, possibly Hamas members, cut through a border fence with Israel and opened fire on a bus killing six civilians and two police men. In response Israel bombed Gaza last night and there have been reports this morning of further attacks on Israel that have caused injuries. Perhaps most worrying of all is that it appears Egyptian soldiers may have been killed by the IDF as they were pursuing the terrorists back across the Egyptian border.

The scene of yesterdays terror attack in Eliat in which Arab terrorists opened fire on a civilian bus.

Since the Camp David Accords were signed in 1979 Egypt's border with Israel has been relatively secure. President Hosni Mubarak and the military regime which he exercised complete control of never broke the terms of the peace agreement. This proved extremely unpopular with elements within Egypt and the peace treaty with the Jewish state remains the nations' most contentious political issue. When Mubarak was overthrown last February the private fear of everyone was would the new regime honour the terms of the peace treaty. The collection of generals currently in charge have stated that they do intend to follow Mubarak's policy toward Israel. However the inevitable post Mubarak instability in Egypt that is likely to continue for some time has raised fears that a radical regime, possibly the Muslim Brotherhood will eventually take over in Egypt. In any event the situation on the border is certain to become much more precarious as the military in Cairo come under pressure to demonstrate to their people that they are not passive in front of Israeli aggression as the Muslim Brotherhood claim. If Egyptian soldiers have been killed by the Israelis, we might be seeing the beginning of the end of the Camp David Accords.

There is no doubt the instability in Egypt is a security nightmare for the Israelis. They have no idea how this will end but it could finish with Israel having a massive enemy on its southern border that will ally itself with Hamas. This has led many people to criticise President Obama for not supporting Mubark during the unrest. Many have compared it to President Carter's refusal to support the Shah of Iran prior to the 1979 Iranian revolution which brought the current fundamentalist regime to power in Tehran. My view is as follows. The United States should not support dictators unless it is vital to American security. The US should never back a dictator who is crushing an uprising against his people unless it is literally a life or death situation, cold war style. Even if there is a good chance that the fall of a dictator will result in a hostile regime I believe the US does not have the right to pull the strings behind the scenes and altar the course of events to suit American interests.

During the Cold War Uncle Sam and the Red Bear attempted to share a balance of power in order to prevent war. It was a horrendous but successful tactic.

During the Cold War an uprising in Cuba led to the overthrow of President Babtista, a right wing pro American dictator. The failure of the Eisenhower regime to prevent this from happening was a mistake as it almost led to World War Three which would have cost billions of lives. The Americans learned from this mistake and prevented similar things from happening in Chile, Argentina and Guatameala. These were exceptionally difficult decisions that had to be made but they were indicative of the lesser of two evils situation that characterised the Cold War. However since the end of the Cold War when global war was no longer a possible alternative, the policy of coming to the rescue of friendly dictators dissipated. The first real example of this came when President George W Bush refused to commit during an attempted coup against Venezuela's Hugo Chavez in 2001. Bush realised that in a post Cold War environment the policy of actively aiding a dictator to crush his enemies could no longer be justified. I believe that this is still the case. Whatever my feelings about Islamic terrorism and its global threat, I think it pails in significance to the threat once posed by the Soviet Union. That is why the American President, this year or next should continue to support the people of the Middle East as they rise up against their tyrants. They deserve their shot at freedom. They may not succeed and regimes may be replaced by worse, but the President cannot play God in this. It remains however an exceptionally difficult situation for Israel. While it may not be life or death for the world the way it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis it is for Israel which is why I hope that the US, Europe and all others who value international peace and security continue to Lobby the new Egyptian government to maintain its peace treaty with Israel and work hard to prevent similar incidents as yesterdays outrage in Eliat.

Photo of the Day

I was at the "Fleadh" in Cavan town yesterday. It is an annual festival of traditional Irish music. The town was buzzing. There was live music in all the pubs and people playing in every door and alleyway. An all round great atmosphere. I would recommend it to anyone.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

King Klingon

On of the best things about being an Arab dictator is that you get to experiment with your own vanity. We see it all over the region in palaces, sky scrapers, giant yachts, stud arms and so on. The latest example comes from King Abdullah of Jordan who, get this, is building a $1.5 billion Star Trek theme park powered by green energy. The life long trekkie even managed to get a cameo appearance in an episode Star Trek Voyager. Next time I'm in Jordan, I'm going !

Monday, August 15, 2011

Photo of the Day

I took this photo during my recent journey through Co Cork. Since I was spending the night in Macroom I decided to drive the ten mile or so to view the above monument which marks the spot of a ferocious gunfight in 1920, in which 20 people were killed. On the 28th of November 1920, two trucks carrying 18 members of Royal Irish Constabulary, Auxiliary Division (which consisted of former British Naval, Air and Army officers) left Macrooom and headed for Dunmanway. They were ambushed just outside the village of Kilmichael by 36 IRA men led by flying column commander and former British soldier Tom Barry. In the savage fighting that followed seventeen of the eighteen Auxiliaries were killed as were three IRA men. The ambush was seen by many as revenge for the Auxiliary attack on Croke Park which occurred one week previously and led to the deaths of 14 civilians. The British themselves would retaliate one week later by burning Cork City center to the ground. The ambush itself would be the source of much controversy because it was claimed in later years that the Auxiliaries had attempted to surrender and that it was not accepted. Tom Barry in his 1949 book Guerrilla days in Ireland claimed that the men in the second truck had attempted to surrender but on doing so opened fire on the three IRA men who had stepped forward to disarm them. Barry claims these were the only fatal casualties incurred by the IRA during the engagement. He then openly admits that he ordered his men to resume fire and not to accept any further calls for surrender. The one surviving auxiliary was not in a position to verify as he was severely wounded early in the ambush. Another Auxiliary did escape the ambush site but was killed some hours later by local IRA. Some historians appear obsessed with finding out the truth about the ambush and the false surrender claim. I am not as I believe it is academic. If anything the fact that it remains controversial to this day indicates to me that the IRA of the day (1919-21) did for the most part obey the rules of war.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Big Test for Conservatives

I have been impressed by David Cameron's robust response to the London riots. Here's hoping it is successful !

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Decision Points???

I just finished reading Decision Points, George Bush's memoirs. It was a a great read. It was a book which left me with one overriding thought. Was I, were we too hard on George W Bush? I suppose it is natural to sympathise with any author after reading their autobiography but the former President did articulate in a very convincing way just how unique the Presidency is as ultimately the job comes down to one man in an office making some incredibly difficult calls that will shape human history. I also got the impression of a man who had little appetite for the partisan game. I never realised what a hard time he got from the Christian right wing of the Republican Party which regularly accused him of selling out on many of their principles. He was clearly less ideological and more pragmatic than most people give him credit for. This is evident in his chapters on Stem Cell Research, Social Security Reform, Hurricane katrina and No Child Left Behind. Yet it is impossible to avoid the reality that Iraq and the 2008 financial crisis render his Presidency largely, a bad one.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Photo of the Day

A silhouette of me, as the sun sets in Howth.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Irish in Lebanon

Below is some footage of the early stages of the Irish Army mission to Southern Lebanon which began last month. The objective of the mission is to monitor the ceasefire between Hezbollah and the Israeli Defence Forces and to make the area safe for civilians. This summary is from the Defence Forces website.

Some footage from the 104 Battalion who deployed to Lebanon in Jun/Jul this year as the first Irish unit to return there since 2006. This video gives you an insight to the daily work of the Irish troops and also shows the official handover from the French troops to the Irish troops of the forward observation posts which are on the Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel. 47 members of the Irish Defence Forces have lost their lives in the service of peace in Lebanon

70 Years Ago Today 7/8/40

Moscow: Joseph Stalin appoints himself Commander in Chief of the Red Army.

Gibraltar: The Royal Naval Submarine HMS Severn sinks the Italian Submarine Michele Bianchi with the loss of all on board, thought to be 44.

Russia: The Red Army retreats to a 20 mile wide line East of Smolensk after that city fell to the Germans after an enormous battle in Which 300,000 Soviet POW's were taken as well as 3,200 tanks captured. The way now appears open for German march on Moscow.

Red Army soldiers are surrendering on mass on the Eastern Front

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Photo of the Day

Some Street Theatre at the top of Grafton Street.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

David Norris bows out, my take !

David Norris waves goodbye to his supporters outside his house yesterday after announcing his withdrawal from the Presidential race.

Senator David Norris has pulled out of the Irish Presidential election. The scandal which caused the eccentric politician to bow out is like something from a fictitious political novel. It is a scandal that involves, love, sex, crime, passion and Israeli conspiracies. There is also a personal connection to the scandal because regular commenter on Gubu World, John Connolly, aka blogger thesystemworks played a central role in the scandal. For my non Irish readers, allow me to summarise the controversy.

Senator David Norris (67) is one of Ireland's few openly gay politicians. Last month he announced his candidate for the Presidency of Ireland, an important even if largely ceremonial position. A few days into his campaign interviews emerged from over a decade ago when he appeared to claim that teenage boys having sex with older men could be acceptable under certain circumstances. The revelation damaged his campaign but he stood his ground arguing that the interviewer had manipulated his words. It seemed to blow over. However, on the 24th of July last, John Connolly posted on his blog a story which proved fatal to the Norris for President campaign. It involved Norris' former partner, an Israeli man named Ezra Nawi who was convicted in 1992 by an Israeli court of having sex with an underage teenage Palestinian boy. Below is an extract from John's post.

In light of the age of consent controversy it would be highly appropriate to bring up facts about his former long-time romantic partner, the Israeli Communist Ezra Nawi. Nawi is a plumber by profession but also a political agitator. Few are aware that Nawi was convicted of sodomizing an underage Palestinian Arab boy in 1992, as well as the illegal use of a firearm, growing narcotics and transporting Palestinian Arab workers who did not possess the proper permits into Israel. Nawi was given light sentences so as to not give him the status of a martyr among Israeli Anarchists and Communists. David Norris was certainly aware of Nawi’s history of intercourse with underage boys while they were a couple. Why has this been ignored in the public debates?

It got worse for Norris when it emerged that he had at the time written a letter to the Israeli court appealing for leniency for his former lover. It proved too much for some of his key supporters and they began to withdraw their support. As it became clear that Norris would not get the support of the 20 members required from the Oireachtas (houses of parliament) to get his name on the ballot paper, David Norris withdrew from the campaign. Then began the real madness. Who leaked the story? Was it the Labour Party whose candidate Michael D Higgins is a rival of Norris or could it even have been the Israelis who did not want Norris, a man with a history of criticising Israeli actions, to be the next President of Ireland. The only man who really knows the answer is John.

Who is the source ?
The Israeli Government. My goodness. This is so daft I don't know where to start. The Israelis have a lot on their plate right now. There is the Arab Srping, a nuclear Iran, peace negotiation with the Palestinian authorities and neighbours to the North (Hezbollah) and South (Hamas) who are in a fight to the death with the Jewish state. Does anyone really believe they give monkey's arse about the Irish Presidential election. Well some do, most are the usual Israel bashers who are obsessed with Israeli conspiracies but some more respected figures like Independent TD (MP) Finian McGrath have actually called for an investigation into the role of the Israeli Embassy in the breaking of the story. Astonishing, no wait, embarrassing.

The Labour Party. No, Michael D Higgins is too sweet for that. Presidential elections are dirty but in Ireland, not that dirty and in any event I don't believe anybody in the Higgins campaign would have the ingenuity to do something so crafty. John has however indicated that the source of his story has previous connections with the Labour Party which "unnerved" him a bit. This has sent the speculation machine into overdrive but lets remember people, the crime of Ezra Nawi was a documented crime as was Mr Norris' relationship with him. All it took was for somebody in Ireland, with Israeli connections (who John obviously knows) to join the dots and realise a major scandal was there to be broken. If they hadn't, somebody else would have.

David Norris and the Presidency
I have always liked David Norris. I have met him a couple of times and found his personality very appealing. He was not my candidate but I think it is a shame he has left the race as it will most certainly be a less exciting campaign. He used bad judgement regarding the appeal for Mr Nawi but he remains an honorable man in my view and a guy I would like to have at my fantasy dinner party (along with John F Kennedy and Jack Charlton).

Norris has a history of criticising Israeli actions in Palestine. As always I distinguish between those who constantly and out of all proportion bash Israel and those who do so in an objective manner, even if I disagree. Norris fell into the latter category in my view. In any event, the Irish President's views on Israel are of no importance to me, as long as it is not anti semetic. I want a President who has a strong grasp of the Irish constitution and someone who will protect Irish democracy. I want a President who can inspire Irish people, the nation and who will defend and speak up for the Irish police and Armed Forces in the event they are not properly protected by the government. That it turns out was not David Norris. But I salute him.

John Connolly
John Connolly has been subjected to some outrageous abuse since he broke this story last week. John was perfectly entitled to break this story. It was a legitimate story. If he didn't someone else would have. David Norris' Presidency was only sabotaged by himself when he carelessly wrote a letter defending his former parters pedophile actions. Presidential elections are particularly tough because it is more about the individual. If Norris had have done this in any other country the reaction would have been as bad if not worse. This was neither smear nor slander. It was the rough and tumble of political life. Well done John ! You have proved how powerful the blog can be in Irish politics.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

90 Years Ago This Week

I neglected this historical aspect of Gubu World in recent months but I want to revive it as July 1921 was a crucial month in Irish history in which the Anlgo Irish war would come to an end. For this reason I will cover the whole month.

July 01.

Sligo: Two RIC men were killed in an ambush in Dromore Co Sligo when a seven man RIC cycle patrol was ambushed by the local IRA.

Tipperary: An RIC man is shot dead in the village of Bansha.

Cork: An IRA man is killed in an attack by an auxiliary patrol near Rathcoole.

July 02.

Munster: Three RIC men are killed in separate attacks, two in Oola Co Limerick, the other in Tallow Co Waterford.

July 03.

Wicklow: An RIC man is shot dead when he is attacked just outside Wicklow town.

July 04/05.

Dublin: Major developments in back room peace negotiations occur during these two days following on from last months letter from Lloyd George to Eamon De Valera and James Craig (leader of northern Unionists) inviting them to London to discuss a settlement to the conflict. A Key figure in the negotiations between the underground Irish Republic and the British turns out to be Jans Smuts, the Prime Minister of South Africa who traveled to Dublin to meet De Valera in secret. Smuts, a former enemy and ally of the British is relaying the positions that both sides require in order for a truce between the IRA and crown forces to come into effect.

July 08.

Dublin: General MaCready, commanding officer of British troops in Ireland met with Sinn Fein Representatives at the Mansion House to discuss the terms of a truce.

July 06-09

Nationwide: RIC men, some of whom are black n tans, are killed in separate incidents in Limerick, Belfast, Cork, Clare and Wicklow.

July 09

Dublin. At a meeting in the Mansion House between General MaCready and Sinn Fein TD's (MP's) Eamon Duggan and Robert Barton the terms of a truce are agreed between the IRA and Crown forces. The truce is to come into effect on the 11th of July.

Kerry: In the town of Castlemaine a two hour gunfight between the British Army and the IRA breaks out resulting in the deaths of four British soldiers and five IRA men. It turns out to be the last major military action of the Irish War of Independence.

July 10.

Nationwide: Three RIC men are killed in separate incidents in Ennis, Castlerea and Skibbereen.

July 11.

Nationwide: The truce comes into effect at 11 am.

July 10 -17.

Belfast: After an RIC man is killed in an ambush sectarian riots break out in which 30 Catholics are murdered and over 200 injured. Approximately 100 Catholic homes are burnt.

July 12.

London: Eamon De Valera, Arthur Griffith, Robert Barton and Austin Stack arrive in Downing Street to begin negotiations with the British.

July 14.

Dublin: Due to the ongoing violence in the north the Belfast Boycott intensifies. The Irish Government, although still not officially recognised declare that Northern Irish bank notes would not be legal tender in the south.

July 18.

London: Lloyd George offers the Irish dominion status but states this would only be possible for the 26 counties, otherwise it would lead to a sectarian civil war between Protestant loyalist and Catholic nationalist.

July 20.

London: British cabinet agrees proposals (incl. use of word Treaty) - a Dominion status for Southern Ireland whereby South would have full internal control including taxation, finance and land defense; no navy; bases for royal navy; restrictions on number of Irish army, rights of recruiting, free trade between two countries; Irish contribution to British War Debt. In addition, South must recognise "the existing powers and privileges of the Parliament of Northern Ireland, which cannot be abrogated except by their own consent”. The details of these terms are sent to Irish delegation at the Grosvenor Hotel. The harsh terms that were on offer is why many believe De Valera returned home and sent over a different delegation, led by Collins to negotiate the specific details of the treaty.

July 21.

London: De Valera rejects British proposals and returns to Dublin.

July 24.

Belfast: IRA Deputy Chief of Staff Eoin O'Duffy is sent to Belfast as a truce liaison officer.

Eamon De Valera enters Downing Street in July 1921.

De Valera's decision to return home and send a different delegation over to London which he would not be part of has been the source of huge controversy in Ireland for 90 years. Many believe it is because he did not want to be associated with the compromise which was inevitable after the British made clear to him that they would not accept a 32 county Republic.

History Repeating itself

It's a common phrase and there are many examples of history repeating itself but it's not often it happens so literally. In February 1982 Syrian President Hafez al-Assad sent the military into the Eastern City of Hama to suppress an uprising by the Syrian branch of the Muslim brotherhood. In the process, somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 people were brutally killed by the military that ruthlessly pursued a scorched earth policy in the city of less than half a million people. Yesterday, the President of Syria, Bashar Al Assad, son of the 1982 butcher, sent his tanks into Hama which has been under siege since the latest uprising began last February. This eerie repeat of his fathers actions can only end in a blood bath. There are already 200 confirmed deaths. Bashar Al Assad has today shown his true colours. The man who attempted to convince the world that he is an Arab reformer is in fact a tyrant. Below is footage from Hama of the violence.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Photo of the Day

Another beautiful image of a Howth sunset. Whenever I see a fishing trawler being pursued by seagulls I always think of that interview with French footballer Eric Cantona that just made no sense.

And just for the craic, here it is.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Glen Beck Craving Controversy

Norwegian youths being all Nazi like at the Utoya camp in Norway, the day before the massacre.

Most of my readers know my views on the likes of Glen Beck, I believe he is nothing more than an attention grabbing, ratings driven eccentric who will say whatever he can to generate controversy for his own purposes, not matter how hurtful or inappropriate it is. That said I don't feel like ignoring his most recent rant where he likens those attending the Utoya political camp in Norway to the Hitler Youth, a little insensitive I would say, four days after 67 of them were brutally murdered by a right wing fanatic. Below is the clip.

Photo of the Day

A fishing trawler sails between Howth Harbour and "Ireland's eye" as a RyanAir plane flies by, just before sunset on Sunday evening.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Oslo Masscare, Muslims, the far right and Twitter

Anders B Breivik, has murdered 93 people in Oslo.

On Friday this man, a right wing fanatic, committed one of the worst acts of individual terrorism ever seen. Earlier today a manifesto of his was published in which he rants about Islamic colonisation and a liberal conspiracy. His fixation with the liberal conspiracy is why he boarded a boat to Utoya island and in a truly brutal and horrific fashion murdered at least 84 youths at a labour conference, people he saw as being responsible for the "Islamo Marxist" alliance to destroy European Christendom. The young men and women had nowhere to run on the small island in what was must have been 45 minutes of unimaginable horror.

Many things about this event, beyond the obvious, disturbed me greatly. I was on twitter shortly after I heard about the initial blast in downtown Oslo. I like many, assumed we were dealing with an act of Islamic terror. I myself clumsily tweeted the following remark.

Murdering butchering Islamic terrorists at it again. This time in #Oslo

My assumption at the time was that Oslo was being subject to the same type of attack that London, Madrid, Washington and New york has seen in recent times. I should not have jumped to that conclusion so early and I do want to apologise to any Muslim readers of Gubu World who were offended. I did however realise quite early on, particularly upon hearing that the second attack was launched against the Norwegian Labour Party that it was likely a case of domestic right wing terrorism.

There were other things on twitter that bothered me. I follow Michelle Malkin on twitter. She claims to be a conservative pundit but is in fact a right wing smear merchant (she spent the 2004 US Presidential election trying to convince people that Democratic candidate John Kerry had shot himself in Vietnam to get a Purple Heart in order to boost his political career). Anyway, in the immediate aftermath of the Oslo blast she began a trend on twitter called #standwithnorway which was extremely active for about an hour. She herself tweeted many comments about standing up to Islamic terror. However, once it became clear the atrocity was not linked to Islamic terror, she stopped tweeting on the subject and the trend dissipated. Presumably she was no longer "standing with Norway"

British Col Richard Kemp, a man I respect, likewise disappointed me. He clearly lost interest in the story, evidenced by his tweets, after the identity of the perpetrator of the massacre became known. Although he did tweet the following interesting remark which I will discuss shortly.

Will those who "understood" motives of likes of Khan London attack on 7/7, ie "despair" of govt policy, also "understand" motives of Breivik's motives?

The reality is that in the hours before the motivation for the attack became known, The hawks hoped the Muslims were behind it where as the Doves (and pro Muslim) wanted it to be domestic. This aspect of the case reminded me of Jared Lee Loughner who in January of this year in Tuscon Arizona, shot and killed 6 people and wounded 14 others including democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Many people at the time assumed that as the victim was a liberal congresswoman in a conservative state, the perpetrator must have been a right winger. It subsequently became clear that he was a psychotic, but as in the Norwegian case, the Tuscon shooting resulted in a frenzied discussion (which lasted much longer) about whether the man had been influenced by right wing rhetoric coming from the more intense wing of the anti Obama crowd. People jumping to conclusions is natural if a little irresponsible. But I find it unfortunate that when facing a human tragedy people actively root for their beliefs to be vindicated.

Christian Fundamentalist
Over the coming weeks we can expect a debate to take the following form. It is wrong to be overly critical of Islamic fundamentalism when Christian terrorists are prepared to carry out similar acts of extreme violence. It is also wrong to be overly critical of Islam in Europe in case it inspires the like of Breivik (I expect Dutch politician Gert Wilders will come in for some criticism this week). These are understandable points to make given events in Oslo but some realities must be pointed out.

1. In the western world, acts of Christian terrorism are extremely rare where as Islamic terrorism is commonplace.

2. It appears Breivik acted alone. He has no supporters, and in Europe you will not find a single town, village, house, or even a dingy flat somewhere where people will be rejoicing at the deaths of so many innocents.

3. I think it will become clear that Breivik's actions were more motivated by fascist or Nazi thought rather than Christian fundamentalism. And we all know that such ideologies are capable of unbelievably extreme levels of cruelty.

4. Fridays outrage should not prevent people of good will from expressing in a dignified manner their concern at Islamic extremism internationally or of its growth in Europe. People need to be confident in their convictions that to criticise one form of extremism is not to inspire another. Personally I am an anti fascist, anti racist, anti Marxist, anti religious fanatic who detests all forms of extremism including that practised by Irish Republicans.

The Far Right
The far right have always been a reality in Europe, a reality that I thought up until Friday was one which could be largely ignored. Extremism should always be confronted in whatever form it takes. It only needs to be understood in terms of how it needs to be defeated. Col Kemp's earlier tweet illustrates his frustration at how people on the left strive to understand the hatred of those committing acts of Islamic terror but will obviously not do so when it comes to Mr Breivik. And they would be right. Mr Breivik deserves no sympathy, not even in the faintist ideological sense. And neither do the men behind the countless acts of Al Quaeda horror. At the end of it all, if you are prepared to commit a spectacular act of mass murder against innocent civilians, it is not because of the injustices of US/British foreign policy, any more than it was Breivnik's reason to kill so many because he believed in a liberal conspiracy. It was because in both cases, the extremists are consumed by hatred and no amount of placating to them will appease them.

I know that many conservatives in the US argue that the reason Europe is susceptible to far right extremism is because they do not properly address the issue of Islamic immigration and that mainstream European politics isolates and demonizes those who are critical of Islamic ghettoising. I do not accept this. I believe that if Europe restricted significantly the levels of Muslim immigration into Europe, Mr Breivnik would still be a fascist Nazi animal hell bent on murder murder murder. Likewise, If Israel were to be wound up, something which some people argue would appease extremists and bring peace to the world, Islamic terror would not disappear with it. It would in fact be emboldened and increase. Extremism needs to be confronted and defeated, not circumnavigated.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Photo of the Day

I have been away for work reasons for about a week. I have been in Kildare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Galway, Roscommon, Leitrim, Mayo, Longford, Westmeath and Cavan, all in that order I believe. I took some interesting photos along the way. Like this one of Marcoom Castle. I don't know much about the Castle only that according to a recent book I read, it was the headquarters of the hated Essex regiment during the Irish War of Independence.

This ancient Castle dominates the West Cork town of Macroom. During the 1919-21 conflict the Auxillary division and the First Batallion of the Essex regiment were based in the castle. The latter was commanded by Major Artur Percival. You can almost see his gaunt face peeking out the window in this photo. Percivial would become a world famous name in 1942 when as commander of British forces in Singapore, he would surrender to the Japanese along with 80,000 of his troops. I wonder, if Percival could not keep the IRA out of West Cork, why did the British think he could keep the Japanese off the Malayan penninsula.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Photo of the Day

While driving yesterday from Ballinalee to Granard (in Co Longford) I passed this memorial marking the spot of the Clonfin ambush in February 1921. On that day two vehicles carrying ten British Auxiliaries was ambushed at this site by a column of 21 IRA men led by the Great Sean MacEoin (future army Chief of staff and Fine Gael Minister for Justice and Defence). Four Auxiliaries were killed, the remaining six were captured, treated for their wounds and released. One month later MacEoin would be captured after a shootout in Mullingar train station in which he was severely wounded. He was taken to Dublin, put on trial and sentenced to death. However, two of the surviving auxiliaries from the Clonfin ambush made statements attesting to his treatment of them as prisoners. This caused enough of a delay of his execution for the truce to come into being in July 1921, thus saving his life. MacEoin died in 1973. I have a very busy week ahead of me folks so I do not expect to be doing much blogging.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

South Sudan, a reason for cautious optimism !

Lots more to come on this in the near future as I intend to follow the progress of the worlds newest nation, South Sudan, very closely. It's independence is great thing for its people who have been fighting against the tyranny of the Arab authorities in Khartoum for nearly 200 years. However optimism has to be cautious. We often comment on what a tough neighbourhood Israel lives in well the Southern Sudanese state is in my view, in a tougher one. They have their genocidal neighbour in the north to contend lead by the wanted war criminal Omar Al Bashir. And at the southern border, South Sudan neighbours with lawless northern Uganda, were Joseph Kony and his Notorious Lords Resistance Army (probably the worlds most violent terrorist organisation) still control the jungles and the Democratic Republic of Congo, a hellish place where millions (literally) have been butchered in tribal warfare during the last 15 years. It is not an easy place to be starting a new country. It's economic viability is also in question as the agreements between north and south over distribution of oil revenues has not yet been finalised. It is a fascinating situation which I intend to cover in detail.

Friday, July 8, 2011

70 Years Ago Today 8/7/41

Cologne: 114 RAF Wellingtons bomb the city overnight.

Belgrade: The occupying Germans and Italians announce plans to dismember the nation into zones.

Baltic States: Jews in the newly occupied states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are ordered to wear yellow badges of identification by the Nazis.

Iceland: American troops land on the island to relieve the British garrison. Although the US has not yet entered the war Washington is taking steps to make the North Atlantic safer for British shipping.

Egypt: The Battle of El Alamein, between Allied and Axis forces in North Africa continues to rage.

Eastern Front: The town of Vitebsk, on the border with Belarus and Russia falls to invading Nazi forces. 300,000 Soviet prisoners have now been taken since the Germans attacked the previous month.

Since the Nazi invasion of the USSR in June, 300,000 Soviets have already been taken. Very few will ever see the motherland again.

Photo of the Day

Another snap of the model WW1 German aircraft I came across in the Phoenix Park. Look, the little pilot even has a mini bottle of champagne.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Why I oppose the Gaza flotilla

I know I used this picture before but I like it.

I want to make a few points about the flotilla to Gaza. I oppose it. I think it is wrong and reckless. But I do not oppose it simply out of support for Israel or a dislike of the far left individuals who are orchestrating it. I oppose it on the following grounds. The Israeli blockade of Gaza has been completely distorted both in terms of its objectives and what it actually does. Firstly, the Gaza strip is controlled by Hamas. Hamas is a an organisation that is committed to the destruction of Israel. It is completely natural that Israel would want to prevent the economic development of an entity that wants to destroy it. When a nations' economy grows, its military capacity grows with it. I think that is pretty straight forward. Therefore Israel wants to prevent the economic development of the Hamas controlled Gaza strip. I think they are perfectly entitled to do that. If during the northern troubles, the six counties were under the control of the UVF or UDA, I don't think the Dublin government would have done much trading with them.

It is not true that Israel is trying to starve Gaza into submission. Israel’s stated policy toward Gaza is quite simple, they want to see “no humanitarian crisis and no economic development”. This is why the IDF have been sending in truckloads of humanitarian aid on a regular basis while at the same time, preventing the entry of materials that can be used for construction and trade. This from the Irish embassy in Dublin.

While Israel maintains an arms blockade of Gaza, it has maintained a steady and massive flow of humanitarian aid into the territory.
In the month of May 2011 alone, this totalled some 127,353 tons of goods.
That's almost 80 kg of aid per month – including food, clothing, and other supplies – for every single person in Gaza. Nearly 5,000 truckloads entered Gaza from Israel in May. In terms of food alone, this includes:
• 376 truckloads of flour
• 324 truckloads of wheat
• 225 truckloads of fruit and vegetables
• 142 truckloads of dairy products
• 113 truckloads of meat and fish
• 44 truckloads of milk powder and baby formula
• 65 truckloads of rice
• 59 truckloads of cooking oil
• 492 truckloads of other food products
In the other direction, Israel granted permits to 3,612 Palestinians to enter Israel from Gaza in May 2011. Of these, 1,238 were for business purposes and 1,892 were for medical procedures (986 patients and 906 accompanying individuals).

Probably the most important reason I oppose the flotilla is because it is reckless and dangerous. It is dangerous for the people on board, dangerous for the IDF and dangerous for the Israelis and Palestinians. This effort has the potential to spark a clash between the IDF and Hamas. It could even lead to a renewal of the the 2009 war between the two. These so called peace activists would be much better served promoting reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians instead of this irresponsible action. Instead they appear intent on taking this provocative action which makes me wonder, do these people want to see peace between Israel and Palestine, or victory for Palestine.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July to all my American readers. I hope you enjoy this video of morphing US presidents to the sound of Hooked on America.

And on a personal note America, Thanks very much for all of the following:

Thanks for beating the fascists
Thanks for Las Vegas
Thanks for beating the communists
Thanks for Jimmy Carters Smile
Thanks for Richard Prior
Thanks for the Simpsons
Thanks for Elvis
Thanks for not being any good at soccer
Thanks for JFK visit to Ireland in 1963
Thanks for the Rockford Files
Thanks for John Wayne
Thanks for Jessica Simpson
Thanks for Harry Truman
Thanks for the Godfathers
Thanks for Columbo
Thanks for Cowboys & Indians
Thanks for Brad Friedal
Thanks for gangster movies
Thanks for presidential debates
Thanks for Star Trek
Thanks for Air Force One
Thanks for Family Guy
Thanks for letting the Taoiseach come to the Oval Office every St Patricks day
Thanks for the southern accent
Thanks for Bruce Spingston
Thanks for The Sopranos
Thanks for D-Day
Thanks for The Shawshank Redemption
Thanks for the Inchon Landings
Thanks for Chuck Berry
Thanks for 24 hour news
Thanks for peanut butter
Thanks for Rambo
Thanks for fast food
Thanks for Lady Gaga
Thanks for Coen brothers movies
Thanks for Sylvester Stallone
Thanks for Ronald Reagans humour
Thanks for the Ford car
And finally and most importantly, thanks for being the arsenal of democracy !

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Interesting Random Piece of History 9

The crew of the Lady Be Good.

Anybody ever hear of the American World War Two bomber the Lady Be Good. Not quite as famous as the Enola Gay or the Memphis Belle, the Lady Be Good was a B-24 Liberator that suffered a particularly tragic end on its first mission but unlike the fate of most downed bombers, what happened to the Lady Be Good and its nine crewmen remained a mystery for many years. On the 4th of April 1943, the Lady Be Good took off, along with 24 other American bombers from Soluch Air Field in North Eastern Libya. Incidentally the runways of the same airport were bombed in February this year by Col Gadaffi's Air force in order to prevent Libyan rebels from using it. The target of the 25 bombers that day was Naples in Southern Italy. The Lady Be Good was the last of the 25 planes to take off and because of bad conditions it never managed to catch up and assume formation with the other planes. On the return journey from Naples she continued to lag behind the rest. It is not exactly clear what happened but it appears a catastrophic navigational error was made somewhere over the Mediterranean by the inexperience crew. It was night time and in the darkness the crew were unaware that they were approaching the North African coast. The captain contacted Soluch air base by radio and stated that his "automatic direction finder" was not working and asked for a location of the base. He was apparently given a bearing but it is unknown if Lady Be Good received the transmission or not. In any event they did not see the flares at Soluch airbase and the bomber continued over the coast and into the Sahara desert. The plane eventually ran out of fuel and the crew were forced to bail out. The men were expecting to land in the Mediterranean sea, instead they landed 400 miles inland. Initially the men were most likely pleased that they were not stranded in the water and they probably assumed they were not far from the coast. Eight of the crew survived the bail out, the other mans' shoot did not open properly. The eight men began walking northward. None of them would survive.

The crew of the Lady Be Good were:

1st Lt. William J. Hatton - pilot - Whitestone, New York
2nd Lt. Robert F. Toner - co-pilot - North Attleborough, Massachusetts
2d Lt. D.P. (initials only, also seen as "Dp") Hays - navigator - Lee's Summit, Missouri
2d Lt. John S. Woravka - bombardier - Cleveland, Ohio
T/Sgt. Harold J. Ripslinger - flight engineer - Saginaw, Michigan
T/Sgt. Robert E. LaMotte - radio operator - Lake Linden, Michigan
S/Sgt. Guy E. Shelley - gunner - New Cumberland, Pennsylvania
S/Sgt. Vernon L. Moore - gunner - New Boston, Ohio
S/Sgt. Samuel E. Adams - gunner - Eureka, Illinois

At Soulch Air Base it was assumed the Lady Be Good crashed into the Mediterranean, The war continued and as far as all were concerned it was just another in a long long list of lost bomber crews. The next chapter in the story begins in 1958. In November of that year a British Oil exploration team spotted the wreckage of an aircraft. In May of 1959 a US military team was sent out on land from Wheelus Air Base in western Libya to investigate the wreckage. It was the Lady Be Good. It was 440 miles from the coast. Quite unbelievably, the abandoned aircraft managed to land the right way up, although it did break in two just before it came to a stop. Despite the crash, the plane was in remarkably good condition. In February 1960, the US Army conducted a formal search for the bodies of the Airmen. Eight of the nine bodies were found. From all the diaries recovered with the bodies the following conclusions can be drawn. This from wikipedia.

After parachuting to the desert floor, eight of the nine airmen had managed to meet up by firing their revolvers and signal flares into the air. They had not been able to find the ninth crewman, bombardier Lt. John Woravka, because unknown to them his parachute had only partially opened and he likely died on impact. Thinking they were fairly close to the Mediterranean coast, the eight surviving crew members walked north, leaving behind footwear, parachute scraps, Mae West vests and other items as markers to show searchers what their path had been. They survived for eight days, sharing only a single canteen of water while walking over 100 miles (160 km) in searing heat before perishing. Remains of five airmen were found in a group nearly 80 miles (130 km) from the crash site. The other three (Guy Shelley, "Rip" Ripslinger and Vernon Moore) had set off to try to find help while the other five waited behind. The bodies of Shelley and Ripslinger were found twenty and twenty-seven miles further north, respectively. Moore's remains were never found, although it is possible that in 1953 his body had been spotted and buried by a British desert patrol, unaware that any air crews from the war had ever gone missing in the area.[5]

A diary recovered from the pocket of co-pilot Robert Toner told of much suffering on the walk northward and indicated the crew were unaware they were over land when they bailed out. There has been speculation that whatever airborne glimpses they may have caught of the empty desert floor in the darkness looked like open sea. It seems the crew never understood they were more than 400 miles (640 km) inland.

Some believe that the crew could have survived had they known how far inland they were and had their maps shown the area where they bailed out. Going north, the distance they walked was slightly less than the distance needed to reach the oasis of Wadi Zighen that was south of them, but they were wholly unaware of this. Additionally, if they had headed south they would have very probably found the wreckage of the Lady Be Good with its water and food supplies, however meager, along with its working radio, which they might have used to call for help.

There is no avoiding the fact that the men of the Lady Be Good died horrible deaths. I can't help think of all those survival movies we have seen where you know there is going to be a happy ending, for some of the characters anyway. But this is not the way it happens in real life. When Guy Shelley, "Rip" Ripslinger and Vernon Moore decided to leave their comrades and try to walk further on, the script should have raid that they would be rescued just as they could go no further. But it wasn't to be. In fact, they never had a chance. Harold J. Ripslinger, the man who walked furthest, over 100 miles, was still 300 miles short of the coast when he finally collapsed and died on the eight day. It is an exceptionally poignant story. To me it emphasises all the stories that can never be told, because there were no survivors. The unknown heroes of World War Two who will never have books written or movies made about them. But you can be sure, their stories are the most real and harrowing of all.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Photo of the Day

How cool is this. While walking in the Phoenix Park yesterday I came across a guy about to begin flying his model World War One airplane. Love the detail.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Irish Rover Gaza Controversy

Not this again, didn't the Egyptians open the Rafa border crossing ? Is the siege not already at an end?

Robert Avrech over at the excellent blog Seraphic Secret posted the following piece about Ireland's role in the upcoming Gaza Flotilla, a post he provocatively named Irish Ship of fools. Below is an extract.

An excellent article by Ruth Dudley Edwards, an Irish historian, novelist, journalist and broadcaster, on the Gaza-bound flotilla of fools. She correctly notes that this movement is motivated not by humanitarian concerns but a pathological hatred of Jews.

It was the Fifties and I was about seven when I pointed to the photograph of Hitler in my republican granny’s lair and said: “What about the Jews, grandmother?” “British propaganda,” she replied.

Grandmother Edwards was not stupid, but she was adept at filtering out information that didn’t fit her world view. As far as she was concerned, the Nazis had been allies of the IRA and enemies of the Brits so they were the good guys.

I retired to discuss the matter further with my mother, at whose knee I had learned about the Holocaust and who was an admirer of Jewish creativity and culture. I will be forever grateful to her for inoculating me against the knee-jerk anti-Semitism of Roman Catholicism and for making me ashamed of my country’s meanness of spirit in slamming the door against Jewish refugees.

Let us be clear. Whether they know it or not, that gaggle of posturing, ignorant Irish clowns who are setting sail towards Gaza on the MV Saoirse are driven by anti-Semitism. Otherwise they would be protesting against — for instance — the Islamist killings and bombings that are forcing tens of thousands of Christians to flee the Middle East, the ethnic cleansing in the Sudan, the ill-treatment of servants and women in Saudi Arabia, the hanging of gays from cranes in Iran, the massacres of protesters in Libya and Syria, the torture of Irish-trained doctors in Bahrain for tending to injured demonstrators and the vicious anti-Jewish propaganda that teaches Arab children to hate.

Hey, I have a fab-u-lous idea for the creatures who are so anxious to bring, ahem, humanitarian relief to suffering Arabs. Try pointing your flotilla towards Sudan where hundreds of thousands are being slaughtered, or Syria where children are being shot down in the streets by Assad’s thugs, or gee, hey about helping out the hapless NATO forces—Obama says he’s leading from behind, which is, I suppose, much like leading with your tuchus—in Libya where the lunatic Kaddafi and his mad-dog sons employ Muslim mercenaries to slaughter, what a shock, Muslims.

A commenter at Seraphic Secret made the following remark.

The Irish have a lot to answer for, and for not the first time, I wish I had a different surname. When asked about my background, I tend to say that my people came from the north of England and Scotland. Some of my Irish-Canadian friends joke that the famine forced all the really smart, energetic, industrious people out of Ireland, leaving the folks who killed each other in a civil war after gaining independence, helped Nazi subs refuel and provision, and support cretinous causes like the Gaza flotilla.

I being the cantankerous sort that I am took exception to aspects of this post and left the following comment.

The first part of Ruth Dudley Edwards' article is lazy and inaccurate for the following reasons. The story about her messed up old granny is a deliberate attempt to associate Irish Republicanism with being pro fascist and anti semetic. There is little or no evidence of this. In truth, her motivation is likely that of an emigrant whose experience in parochial Ireland was an unhappy one. This is probably more for personal reasons than anything else.

Now for some facts. The IRA of 1938-41 which was a splinter of a splinter of a splinter of a splinter of the IRA that achieved independence in 1922 sent 3 men to Germany in 1938. After realising their capability was light, they were refused any help by Berlin. The Nazis wanted people who could invade Northern Ireland or commit large scale sabotage in Belfast which the IRA were unable to do. The IRA instead initiated a bombing campaign of mainland Britain which petered out by 1940 after causing minimal damage and 6 fatalities. If any of you want to take from this that the Irish who won their freedom during 1916-1921 hated Jews and loved the Nazis then go right ahead, but I for one think that like those who constantly bash Israel, you probably have a bigoted (perhaps anti Catholic) motive.

I am glad Eamon referred to the Irish Republican constitution of 1938 which specifically mentions the Jews as having protection under the constitution. When the rest of Europe was enacting laws persecuting the Jews, the Irish were passing laws protecting them. This is one of the reasons there is a forest in northern Israel named after Eamon De Valera. I don't expect there is any other nation other than Israel whose constitutions mentions the Jewish people.

Across the Irish Civil War divide there was a positive view of Irish Jews. Richard Mulcahy is a figure who has been written out of Republican history because he took the moderate pro Treaty side in the Civil War, this despite the fact that he was IRA Chief of Staff during the 1919-21 war against the British. His son recently published his fathers papers in which he mentions several times how Dublins Jewish community contributed to the struggle by storing ammunition and harbouring IRA members on the run.

On the other side De Valera's close associate Robert Briscoe was a devout Jew and Zionist who fought against the British, and against the first independent government which he believed had sold out. His actions were very similar to those in the Irgun who were willing to fight the IDF in 1948. I don't think the late Mr Briscoe, or his son Ben (a former Lord Mayor of Dublin) would take too kindlly to Mrs Dudly Edwards article.

Furthermore, her statement that she was ashamed of "my country’s meanness of spirit in slamming the door against Jewish refugees" makes little sense. World War Two created many times more non Jewish refugees than Jewish ones. The Irish government didn't take them in either. The government of the time was protectionist and introvert and did not, shamefully accept many refugees. Like every nation on earth, Ireland at the time had anti semites but crucially, we kept ours away from power. When it comes to European nations' war time treatment of the Jews, Ireland is one of the last nations that should be criticised. Could they have done more , of course, what nation couldn't.

Mr McGinnis
I'm not sure what you think the Irish have to answer for.

I too wish you had a different second name. And as for your friends who joke that the 1.5 million Irish who perished in the 19th century famine (thousands of whom are buried in a mass grave about 1 mile from where I live) were useless and that their decedents are losers, please tell them that I said I think they are repulsive scumbags. And by the way, the post independence Civil War in Ireland lasted 11 months and cost 2,000 lives. It resulted in a stable democracy that has lasted the test of time. As civil wars go, it was must less costly than most, including your own American.


The" Irish chattering classes" are no different than the American chattering classes. There is also an American ship travelling to Gaza. I resent the title and the tone of this post.


Thoughts ? Would Gubu World readers care to add anything to this fascinating discussion.