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12th November 2005
On 12th November, the
inimitable Mark Steyn accorded me “Letter
of the Week”
for the submission
reproduced below, though he left out the links. Devin Leonard's letter, to which mine refers, has gone from Steyn's
website but I've preserved a copy below, charmingly entitled “You’re
It was a hugely emotional
diatribe that claimed that the IRA killed only legitimate targets not
civilians. He was attempting an indignant response to a Steyn column in the
Jewish World Review, “These Irish eyes are smiling at White House snub of IRA”,
which rejoiced at Gerry Adams' exclusion from George Bush's St Patrick's
Day party earlier this year in favour of the sisters and fiancée of
murdered Sinn Féiner Robert McCartney. Mr Leonard, who is a
fireman, concluded his rebuttal by recommending
that Steyn have a fire extinguisher rammed up his butt.
Letter of the Week
THE IRA’S ‘LEGITIMATE’ TARGETS
From Mark Steyn's Mailbox, 8th November 2005 (approx)
That was an, er, interesting letter
in your mailbox from the Irish-American armchair-patriot-firemanDevin Leonard of
Turbeville, Virginia, who says that the IRA's victims were "mostly Soldiers, Police
and UDA/UVF members, in other words ... legitimate targets".
might with to refer him to this illustration of three decades of
killings in Northern Ireland. I constructed it for a blog
post from data found in David McKittrick's “Lost
Lives: The Stories of the Men, Women and Children Who Died Through
the Northern Ireland Troubles”, Mainstream Publishing, ISBN:
Behind the numbers in my chart lie the
Republicans (IRA and its associates)
suffered 397 of their own number killed. In reply, they killed
2,157 people, of whom so-called "legitimate targets" were
made up of
- 818 policemen and soldiers from both
Britain and Ireland,
- plus 377 assorted loyalists.
The balance of Republican victims comprised
- 802 ordinary civilians and
- 160 of, extraordinarily, their own
Excluding the "own goals",
civilians thus constituted over 40% of the
Republicans' victims. No other party to the conflict killed so
many civilians or such a high proportion.
Mr Leonard is talking tosh. I hope
that that fire extinguisher doesn't prevent you from disabusing
him (or whatever the word is).
YOU’RE ANTI-AMERICAN SCUM
From Mark Steyn's Mailbox, 8th November 2005 (approx)
As a proud former US Marine (1st Force Reconnaissance Co.) (15th
MEU), and proud Irish American...I wish to express my disgust for the article
These Irish Eyes Are Smiling, For White House Snub of IRA.
Only someone with the vast stupidity and ignorance of Mark Steyn could have written such a piece of shit.
Here are a few facts for the obviously racist and idiotic Steyn.
1. Sinn Fein is a LEGALLY recognized political party. This is the first time they have not attended St. Patrick’s Day festivities at the White House in 10 years. This has far more to do with the fact that George Bush and his inner circle are anti-Irish pussies, who like to suck up to the Brits, then it is does any legitimate grievances with Sinn Fein or the IRA.
2. Seeing as how the JWR is known for it's GOP "Ass Kissing" and racism, it's not surprising that a JWR "hack" like Steyn would propagate these types of administration lies.
3. Like the brave Jewish soldiers of the Irgun and Stern Gang, the French Resistance, and the great American Revolutionaries...The IRA is a legitimate guerilla army fighting against oppression and injustice. Unlike the REAL terrorists of
Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaida, the IRA has killed mostly Soldiers, Police and
UDA/UVF members. In other words they killed people who would be legitimate targets in any war. My Force Recon unit targeted these same types in both Kosovo and Sierra Leone, and never once were we considered terrorists.
4. The IRA has killed civilians, but then so did the Jewish Irgun and Stern Gang, the French Resistance, and even the American Revolutionaries...I never hear any condemnation of these attacks by Israelis, Jews, French or Americans.
The reason for this is simple: Unfortunately innocent people die in all wars, we killed 500 innocents in
Kosovo. We didn't mean to, but that's the way war is.
I find it strange that Republican cowards and anti-American scum like Mr
Steyn, always talk about the IRA while never mentioning the Loyalist terrorists of the UDA and
UVF, who have (according to the US State Dept.) killed several hundred more civilians then the IRA has...and yet are apparently ok because they represent Britain as opposed to Ireland. If the IRA are terrorists, then the Jewish groups that fought against the Brits are too. In fact, so are the
KLA, Northern Alliance, French Resistance, and even our own American Revolutionaries...Now, I don't know about a puke
"wanna-be Irishman" like Steyn, but I consider those groups to be anything BUT terrorists. Sinn Fein will ALWAYS have the support of the vast majority of Irish Americans. As for the IRA, they are patriots who kicked the shit out of the British for 30 years, and unfortunately...they were justified in doing it.
I am sick of right wing, panty wearing faggots like Steyn, insulting their own people. If Mr. Steyn has any guts (which we all know he doesn't) he can come out to the Turbeville Fire Dept in South Boston and talk his anti Sinn Fein shit with a bunch of us REAL Irish American patriots. And he can bring some of those "Pussy" Brit soldiers he gets whiney ass E-mails from. We will give him and his "Brit Buddies" an old fashioned Irish "ass
whippin" and send him back to the JWR offices, with a fire extinguisher up his butt...Which come to think of it, probably would be something his faggot ass would enjoy.
THE RACIST IDIOTIC WANNABE IRISH PANTY WEARING FAGGOT REPLIES: A note to all readers in the Turbeville area: If your house is on fire and the fire truck shows up without an extinguisher, at least you’ll know where to look for it – although whether that counts as improper storage of municipal property is something you should take up with your elected representatives.
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Neda Agha Soltan;
shot dead in Teheran
by Basij militia
Good to report that as at
14th September 2009
he is at least
FREED AT LAST,
ON 18th OCTOBER 2011,
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Broom of Anger
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My Columns in the
What I've recently
“The Lemon Tree”, by Sandy
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
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
Thus mistakes accumulated, leading to terrifying and deadly accidents in
refineries, pipelines and offshore operations, and business disaster in
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
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
A horrific account
how the death
penalty is administered and, er, executed in Singapore,
the corruption of
Singapore's legal system, and
enthusiastic embrace of Burma's drug-fuelled military dictatorship
More details on my
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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.
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
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.
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
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
Click for an account of this momentous,
of March 2009
Click on the logo
to get a table with
the Rugby World Cup
scores, points and rankings.
crackling, compelling, captivating games, the new World Champions are,
England get the Silver,
Argentina the Bronze. Fourth is host nation France.
No-one can argue with
the justice of the outcomes
Over the competition,
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tries per game = 6.2,
minutes per try =
Click on the logo
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the final World Cup
scores, points, rankings and goal-statistics