In the US, some of the wilder conservatives question not
only whether President Obama is American (there is
evidence he was born in British Kenya, the land of his father and he
refuses to produce his original birth certificate) but whether he is
even pro-America. Such accusations were partly the reason he
reluctantly resumed wearing an American lapel badge.
I am beginning to wonder the same about the ever more
manic, pill-popping Gordon Brown - is he pro British?
His recent behaviour vis-à-vis Libya puts this in
Libya's vicious, megalomaniac, economically incompetent,
terrorist-supporting dictator has been in power for forty years, since
as a young officer in the army Moammar Gadaffi seized the leadership
from King Idris in a coup d'état on 1st September 1969. (I
remember it well - I was living there. To my dismay he quickly
shut down all the bars, casinos and nightclubs which made Tripoli such a
great place for a young man.)
the 1970s and 1980s one of the terrorist groups he supported was the
IRA, supplying them with countless small and large guns, vast amounts of
ammunition and tons of explosives. This matériel ended up killing
(and maiming) hundreds of British soldiers, policemen and civilians,
along with even more Irish citizens.
Libya was rightly classified as a terrorist-supporting
But something not unrelated to 9-11 happened in 2003:
George W Bush invaded Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein. Colonel
Gaddafi observed the violent downfall of a fellow terrorist-supporting
Arab dictator and drew a rational conclusion. With a firm eye on
his own mortality, he rang up prime minister Bersluconi of Italy, the
former colonial power, and
“I will do whatever the Americans want,
because I saw what
happened in Iraq, and I was afraid”.
Pervez Musharraf, military dictator of Pakistan, had also reckoned it
was better to be with America than against it. So in early 2004,
prodded by the US, he unmasked AQ Khan as not only the hitherto revered
father of Pakistan's successful nuclear weapons programme, but also a
prolific exporter - for money - of nuclear technology to rogue
states including North Korea, Iran and ... Libya.
other state ever to have done this was South Africa as part of its
laudable transition from apartheid to true democracy.
It was personal self-preservation and American
aggression that were the the Colonel's motivator, not some kind of
Damascene conversion to pacifism, much as the West might like to feign
that a new commitment to good behaviour is part of its stunning success
over Libya's WMD. Why, we even want to pretend he has joined the
war on terror! Yeah, right.
But Col Gadaffi remains as devoted to fomenting trouble
as he ever was and remains a dedicated
anti-West Islamist. He has just become more more clever and
subtle about it, as this statement of his about the explosive rise in
Islamic populations within Europe reveals (minute 3-3½ in
this Youtube clip):
“There are signs that Allah will grant victory in Europe
without swords, without guns, without conquests. The fifty
million Muslims of Europe will turn it into an Islamic continent
within a few decades.”
Germany's is the first European government to
admit that the relentless rise in its Muslim population is
unstoppable, with the likely result of Germany becoming a Muslim
majority state by 2050. Indeed, the expectation is that the total
across Europe will double in just twenty years. So Col Gadaffi
realises he doesn't need terrorists or suicide-homicide bombers to
achieve his Islamist ends.
So against this backdrop, how can anyone explain the
bizarre kowtowing to Col Gadaffi by Britain under Gordon Brown?
The recent revelations are astounding:
released the Libyan Islamist terrorist Abdelbaset
Al Megrahi from a life sentence
imposed for his part in mass-murdering 270 innocent souls, by
planting a bomb on a Pan Am airliner which exploded over Lockerbie
in 1988. He was the worst criminal incarcerated in Britain.
So how many more people than 270 does Britain require you to
slaughter before a life sentence means life?
released on supposedly compassionate grounds because he is
supposedly suffering from terminal prostrate cancer and has
supposedly got only three months to live.
supposedlys? Well because the three medical consultants
who testified that he had just three months to live
were paid to do so ... by the Libyan government. This made
legally possible which an expectation of, say, four months would not
He was said
to be released under a prisoner swap agreement such that he would
complete his sentence n a Libyan jail, which of course nobody
expected would be honoured.
Megrahi's release was part of a deal stitched up in 2007, the
quid-pro-quo for which was a juicy £54 billion
contract for BP to explore for and develop massive Libyan
acreage with great potential for oil and gas.
the biggest player in Libya in the 1960s before Col Gadaffi
nationalised the industry after his coup, so the Corporation
knows the geology well from its tremendous archives.
deal between BP and the British government was negotiated -
behalf of BP by
Sir Mark Allen, a former MI6 spy and counter-terrorism chief
with close links to Gadaffi's son Seif, who had joined BP as a
senior executive (a
behalf of the British government long-time Labour loyalist
Butler, for many years a senior strategist with BP, who had
joined Gordon Brown's office in Downing Street as Economic
Guido Fawkes pithily puts it -
“two men; one ex-BP now at the heart of government,
the other ex-MI6 and now at the heart of BP. They oiled the wheels
to release a convicted mass murderer – and now BP will make billions”.
And no doubt contribute some of this gratefully to Labour Party
make it up.
not all. The latest news is that Britain's famed and feared
SAS has been sent to Tripoli not to capture or kill one of the
world's most wicked dictators. But to
teach his special forces the tricks of the trade for which
Britain's own armed forces have become renowned. Who can
forget the SAS's courageous and dramatic
assault on the besieged Iranian Embassy in central London in
This is the
organization which has now been ordered to instruct the Libyans in
their dark arts, apparently as a further piece of the
terrorist-for-oil jigsaw puzzle. You can imagine how delighted
these wonderful soldiers must be, to be forced to train the very
country which made such a substantial contribution to the deaths of
so many of their never-forgotten comrades in Northern Ireland.
positive outcome can anyone expect by improving Col Gadaffi's
ability to defend himself? (Because no-one's waging war
against Libya.) Nevertheless, helping to preserve his evil
regime has evidently become a priority for the British
government under Gordon Brown.
Moreover, who can doubt that whatever military skills his
special forces learn from the SAS will immediately be passed on
to shady Islamic groups? Hezbollah and Hamas must surely
be licking their lips: not only at the thought of applying these
skills, but also in being better able to defend against them.
insofar as the Western alliances trust each other and share a
lot of their military technology and ideas, it will not be just
British troops who are compromised but those of America, Israel
and others. Surely that trust has been shattered.
number of combat deaths of British forces and of its Allies will
not be reduced by this SAS training.
That's why I ask the question: is Gordon Brown backing
Britain? Rumours used to circulate Harold Wilson, Labour prime
minister in the 1970s when the party was much more wedded to the virus
of socialism, was in reality a
Communist spy in the pay of the Soviet Empire. So the concept,
however misplaced, of a non-patriotic chief executive is not a new
Or is Mr Brown so enraged at his own incompetence and
unpopularity that his idea of revenge against his fellow-countrymen is
to wage war against them? Or, more likely, have the pills
simply taken over his capacity for rational thought and behaviour?
Whatever the cause, he has become a menace to the
security of Britain and therefore the free world.
The sooner the British people eject Prime Minister Brown
the better for everyone.
At the beginning of this month, the
campaigning over Ireland's referendum on the Lisbon Treaty finally began
in earnest, with countless pious statements on TV and radio, and
lampposts festooned with posters and slogans.
I have made no secret of my stance, as a
Lisbon Naysayer. In addition to what I
wrote at the time of Ireland's first referendum last year, my most
recent blog expounded at some length on several of the reasons.
We Naysayers have a built-in advantage in
the argument in that we can easily find bits and pieces to specifically
object to, whereas the Yessirs are in greater difficulty because due to
the very nature of the treaty their arguments must necessarily be much
more amorphous while skirting round the anomalies.
Consequently the Yessirs spent most of
their energy last time in refuting the arguments - false or otherwise -
put forward by the Naysayers, and neglected to propound positive reasons
for voting Yes. Moreover, if you spend all your energy trying to
shoot down your opponents arguments, all you do is embed those arguments
in the public's mind.
They have perhaps learnt something from
this in the current campaign, but not very much. For the Yessirs'
slogans are pathetic and meaningless. Worse than that, they are so
lacking in logic that they could be used equally by the Naysayers.
This is because the Yessirs have again fallen into the trap of thinking
that a No vote means a vote to quit the EU, whereas it means nothing of
the sort. It merely means that Naysayers would rather retain the
EU as it is than move to a different EU bound by Lisbon rules.
Naysayers still believe the propaganda
that got the Nice Treaty through an Irish referendum on the second
attempt: that Nice was needed to streamline the workings of the EU in
preparation for the imminent access of many new members (ten joined in
2004 plus two more in 2007).
Here are the pro-Lisbon slogans I spotted
around Dublin. Not one of them leads naturally to a Yes vote.
“We need Europe”
“I want a
stronger voice in Europe”
“The choice is
“I'm safer in
“We belong -
“We belong to
Europe, vote Yes”
“Vote Yes to
keep Ireland in the heart of Europe”
As for the canard that a No vote will
somehow lead to Ireland's demotion within or exit from the EU,
there are no provisions in any EU treaty (including Lisbon) for the
expulsion of a member-state, or for the imposition of sanctions on any
member state as a consequence of a democratic decision made by the
citizens of that state, nor are there any existing legal provisions for
the establishment of a second-tier status for some states within the EU.
The Yes side is coming up with stories
such as these to frighten people into voting Yes, because it can find
very little in the way of coherent, non-generalised arguments that
advocate a Yes vote on its own merits. So instead, it is reduced
platitudes (such as those poster slogans) or
trying to shoot down the arguments of the Naysayers.
I predict a victory for the No side, but
not as comprehensively as the last time and with a smaller turnout
because so many voters in the current financial climate have their minds
too full of their economic woes.
Last week, in a moment of foolishness, I accepted an
invitation to speak to a meeting of older people under the auspices of
the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, an organization comprising over
120,000 members. The purpose of the debate, called
which took place on the auspicious ninth of
the ninth of the ninth, was to explain the innards of the Lisbon Treaty
and to present arguments for and against it, in the context of Ireland's
(second) referendum which will be held on 2nd October, in view of the
wrong answer given in June 2009.
I, of course, spoke for the No side,
representing myself, a lonesome engineer with aspirations to be a
blogger and occasional columnist. I was somewhat taken aback to
discover that my opponents on the Yes side were to be a Cabinet
Minister, Mary Hanafin from the ruling Fianna Fail party and a
long-serving MEP, Proinsias de Rossa (Irish for Francis Rose)
of Labour. They were later joined by a TD (member of the
Irish parliament), Sean Barrett, from the main opposition party Fine
Gael. With me as a Naysayer was
Eoin Ó Broin from Sinn Féin, a connection which makes me feel
Left-to-Right, and advocacy (‘Yes’or
Matt Coleman (ISCP), myself (‘No’),
Máiréad Hayes(CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament), Eoin O’Broin
Sinn Féin), Mary Hanafin (‘Yes’,
Minister), Proinsias de Rossa (‘Yes’,
MEP), Frank Farrelly (ISCP chair of the meeting), Seán Barrett (‘Yes’,
The meeting opened with a talk about the
“facts” of Lisbon by Andrea Pappin, Executive Director of the
European Movement Ireland, supposedly a non-partisan organization;
her talk nevertheless conveyed a pro-Lisbon message.
Minister Hanafin, Mr Ó Broin and Mr deRossa then made their
presentations. They should be commended for the respectful, open
and calm manner in which they spoke, even if I supported neither the
pro-Lisbon conclusions of the first and third,
nor much of the
anti-capitalist pro-neutrality arguments of the second.
it was my turn. With this provocative little chart as a backdrop,
I launched into my ten-minute spiel, with a passionate rendition of more
or less what I wrote in my previous blog
Lisbon - Again”.
If you are really bored, you can listen to my recording of it
It was my first-ever political speech. I could see the
polite irritation of the professional politicians, which by the
way also included in the audience two more Fianna Fail ministers, Conor
Lenihan and Barry Andrews. Mr Barrett, a last-minute inclusion, then
explained why his opposition party was supporting the Government over
(After the meeting, the organisers apologised to me that
the Naysaying speakers were outnumbered four-to-two).
Questions then followed from the audience, which the
panel were invited to respond to. The questions were beyond my
competence so my contribution was pretty thin.
However Mr DeRossa used the opportunity to attack some
figures that I had quoted. I had said that
“in recent times, new EU laws have
been churned out at almost two thousand per year, now standing at
Speaking as an MEP, he said the annual figure of two thousand was
ridiculous; his own experience was nearer to twelve. I responded
that my figures were carefully researched but I didn't have the details
Later I looked into the matter and
the next day was able to write to him along the following lines.
The figures I had used originate in
the EurLex register of EU rules. I was alerted to them by this
"A count of the official EurLex register of EU
rules shows that a total of 9863 new laws have been introduced since
Barroso’s term started in 2004. The total number of EU laws has
increased by close to 50% to 30675 in those four years alone."
Thus, the two thousand per year figure I used in my
speech appears to be accurate, however the 30,000 figure may be somewhat
overstated though it is in the right ballpark.
I feel my use of those statistics was justifiable and
not misleading, and that Mr deRossa's suggestion that the EU puts out
only a dozen laws per year is clearly wrong. Unless there is a
definitional problem as to what a
This video clip is a great example of human ingenuity,
and also of how to give a compelling presentation.
LifeSaver bottle which it describes can put clean pure water in the hands of
disaster victims as fast as a cargo-plane can fly to the disaster zone.
It is nothing but a hand-operated filter system with pores so fine (15
microns) that it sieves out
bacteria, viruses, cysts, parasites, fungi and all other microbiological
waterborne pathogens. It does all this without the aid of any chemicals
such as iodine or chlorine. A 4,000 litre costs £115.
enjoy, and maybe even buy one. (No
commission for me, worst luck)
Only one submissions in the past few weeks, which led to a
minor altercation with the object of my derision, but it was amicably
Time for Tesco to change its tune on Unicef
Comment to the Irish Times
I agree that Tesco, having been alerted that their slogan is already in
long-term use by UNICEF, should simply withdraw it, which would be an
elegant solution to the dispute. They have no excuse. However the rest
of Mr Gibbons polemic is undergraduate drivel ...
“Three of my friends died but who killed them
is the question. We were expecting a ransom this morning.”
A member of al-Shabaab,
which is al-Qaeda’s proxy in the Horn of Africa,
confirms the extraordinary case in Somalia
of a kidnapped French security adviser Marc Aubriere
who killed his three captors and escaped.
Joe Wilson (a Republican)
breaches protocol by
shouting at President Obama
during a nationally televised address
to both chambers of Congress.
Mr Obama had just said
“The [health care]
reforms I'm proposing
would not apply to those who are here illegally”.
Mr Wilson later apologised for his lack of civility,
saying his emotions got the better of him,
but insisted that his accusation was correct.
us pray, for the next thirty years we will learn that if a candidate
has no executive experience,
had a history of eliminating his senatorial rivals through leaked
was the most partisan of some 100 Senators in his brief two-year tenure,
had a disturbing affinity for radical anti-Americans like Rev. Wright
and Bill Ayers,
then he really
largely inexperienced, and not at all convinced that American has ever been
an exceptional nation.”
Prof Victor Davis Henson, on his president,
“Who knows — maybe she'd feel it was worth it.”
Mellisa Lafsky speculates that Mary Jo Kopechne
might have thought
her death in Chappaquiddick in 1969
at the hands of Ted Kennedy was
a noble sacrifice
worth Kennedy's subsequent 47 year career in the
“You are really going to be surprised what happened was a
powerful, heart-warming story. You are going to be absolutely
impressed with this disgusting thing that took place with me in the
beginning. I turned my life completely around.”
Phillip Garrido, boasting on the phone to a radio station
from his detention cell in San Francisco.
He is accused of, inter alia, kidnapping
Jaycee Dugard when she was just eleven,
raping her and holding her hostage for 18 years,
during which period she bore him two children.
He is clearly enjoying his notoriety.
But thankfully he will never walk free alive.
- - - - - C L I M A T E C H A N G E O L O G Y
C U L T - - - - -
“Tim Nicholson, 41, [has] views
amounting to a philosophical belief in climate change, allowing him
the same legal protection against discrimination as religious
An employment tribunal in England under Judge David Sneath
equates environmentalism with religion,
and so upholds a complaint that
Mr Nicholson was unfairly dismissed from his job
as a result of
In my view, the environmentalism of
typical global warm-mongers
is less a religion than a cult, the
Climate Changeology Cult.
If you didn’t, you must ask yourself, are you a competent director?
And if you did know, you were complicit in recklessness and fraud.
So which is it? Because there isn’t
anything in between.”
Irishman Niall Fitzgerald,
a former chief executive of Unilever and
non-executive director of the Bank of Ireland in the 1990s.
He was lecturing students about the need to accept
for corporate behaviours leading to the financial crash.
of [the EU's political leaders] know quite well that if the
similar question [on approving the Lisbon Treaty] was put to
their electorate by a referendum the answer in 95% of the countries
would probably have been No.”
Charlie McCreevy, Ireland's EU Commissioner,
points out that the leaders of the EU member states
(other than the Irish) are relieved
not to have to put the Lisbon Treaty to a vote,
because they know most of them would lose.
- - - - - J A P A N - - - - -
Quote: “I eat the sun. Like this: yum,
yum, yum. It gives me enormous energy ... My husband has recently
started doing that too ... While my body was asleep, I think my soul
rode on a triangular-shaped UFO and went to Venus. It was a
very beautiful place and it was really green ... [Tom Cruise]
was Japanese in a previous life.”
Miyuki Hatoyama, wife of Japan's new prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama,
in a book she published last year
(“Very Strange Things I’ve
She seems to have joined the nutty First Lady's Club,
along with Cherie Blair (weird goings on with
Nancy Reagan (astrologers) and no doubt others.
“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.
nonagenarian Alistair Urquhart’sincredible 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