Conspiracy Theories and the Great Russian Adventure

It’s the 2nd October and I’m writing the first blog post since January. The news is buzzing with yet another shooting at a US school and yet again the powerless President, who can bomb the fuck out of people in the middle-east with war planes, but can’t change his own gun laws.

Police State United States

Police State United States

This puzzled me until I heard a survivor of the latest shooting speak about the incident. The survivor (wounded and probably deserves a Purple Heart) said that they should have more guns to protect themselves. She also stipulated that if the other students were armed then this wouldn’t have happened. Another speaker mentioned about an ‘evil’ man and some ‘righteous’ people killing him. Well, all I can say is, thank fuck I don’t live in the US. Sounds pretty fucked up. Some people have flawed logic with religious overtones and I’m thinking there’s no hope for the US. Some people are still living the 1700s with amendments and bearing arms etc etc. This isn’t Hollywood, and those other survivors can probably tell you that.  Oh well, here’s to the next US massacre.  Sacrificing children for the sake of an amendment?  Is that a fair exchange?  Arming them to fend off ‘evil’ people?  Is that going to work?  Nah.  I don’t think so.

There’s a problem here and it’s endemic in the human species. We simple don’t perceive risk until it’s staring at us in the face, ready to kill us, maim us, and scare the shit out of us. These events will change people, turn them to religion and blame their luck on divine intervention. Some will be irreparably damaged, the scars running deep into their mind, haunted by guilt and tracing events that led up to the trauma. Time dislocates us from the immediacy of the trauma, unless we were intimately affected, directly or indirectly, we will forget and make the same mistakes that led us to the same event.

About as good as the Daily Mail

About as good as the Daily Mail

World War 2 and its horrors are testament to this, and yet, through the decades there are conspiracy theorists arguing the death toll of the industrial style killing of the camps. Conspiracy Theorists argued that there were significantly less than 6 million people slaughtered at the hands of the Nazis in their camps and by the action of the einsatzgruppen. I remember watching the documentary, that was narrated by a computer generated voice and thinking, who gives a damn whether it was only 2 million. Only 2 million (not sure if that was the figure they quoted)? Even it were only 300,000, it’s still a war crime and just as sick. A US Officer, upon entering one camp wanted everything filmed and photographed so that no one could deny it ever happened.

As flat as a pancake

As flat as a pancake

Despite this, people still deny it. Alongside this youtube video documentary there were other videos claiming that the earth was flat ‘The Flat Earth Society’ and that the ‘Moon Landings’ were fake, 9/11 attacks were caused by forces other than Al Qaeda. I’d look at the 9/11 documentaries and give them some real consideration as I do think that there is something else going on here – I don’t think it was caused by the US government. I think there were some serious fuck ups with regards to security and there was a cover up with regards to evidence. There will be and are plenty more people dying today and in the future due to the dust inhalation on that day and subsequent days following. A major constituent of the building would have been Asbestos and I’m sure there was plenty of those fibres being breathed in.

In Syria we’ve got the Russians intervening and the US are bumping their gums about collateral damage, civilian deaths…. Fuck me! Look who’s talking! What’s the US been doing the past 20 years in the Middle East? I bet it’s a lot longer. The Iraqis are more than happy to get the Russians on board, in fact they’re not fussy who helps them out. The Aim of the US and GB would be for the pacified countries of the Middle East to sort out the problem themselves, else we will be there for the indefinite future. The Iraqi Army doesn’t have the leadership to forge ahead and oust the ‘Daesh’ from their soil. Inevitably there will need to be a soldier presence on the ground from the western alliance. The Russians say they’ll be airstriking every fucker that opposed Assad – that includes the US and GB. Now there’s a potential flash point if I ever saw one. There’s been plenty in the past and this is no exception. I reckon, eventually, we’ll see masses of troops from the Ruskies and this will increase their Middle Eastern influence bringing them on par with the west.

 

 

Deception and Lies on Social Media

Rhonda Smolarek wrote a short article on LinkedIn about the social media and it reminded me of a ‘Facebook’ discussion a few month ago that went sour.  A video of a US policeman punching the crap out of someone on the ground by a busy interstate was posted.  What intrigued me more was the reaction of the Facebookers.  I’m calling them facebookers as they take on a different persona than their real/ corporeal ones.  They all assumed on face value that the Policeman was punching the person because a. She was black or b. She was black or c. She was black.  Immediately a complete mistrust and assumption that the White US Policeman was a racist who liked punching old black women at the side of a busy interstate.  I posed the question as to why the Policeman was punching the crap out of the woman and the response was pretty abusive to say the least.  I asked what happened prior to the video clip?  What was the reason behind the attack? Ex Girlfriend From the further responses I understood what the term ‘Troll’ meant and decided not to continue and left the conversation.  It was pointless continuing as people who posted the clip had already made up their minds when they posted it.  In effect it wasn’t a discussion, but a joint call for outrage.  There’s a reason why these people will sit in their living rooms and comment on stuff and not make any real impact in a court of law.  It seems that the whole social media phenomena has altered how we interact and influence the world.  It draws on moods and motives we would normally inhibit around real people, it pulls out alternative versions of ourselves, as to how we want to be viewed.  For many people it’s escapism and some of the things posted are to simply to evoke responses from the cyber masses.  The whole organism, the whole multicellular community is host to influence and will sway and move in a manner the protagonist’s want.  The media have been doing this for a couple of centuries and they’re very good at only showing you a portion of the facts, whilst not lying to you, but leading you down the wrong rabbit hole to a conclusion divorced from reality.  Only recently have the ordinary person been enabled to wield this power – vloggers, bloggers, Facebookers and Twitterers alike.  The consumerists among us are vulnerable to this, such as those poor, hapless Facebookers who were subjected to that video clip of Police aggression.  No thought had gone into motives and reasons for the attack – I didn’t make any assumption or come to any conclusion with regards to this at the time as there was insufficient information.

Propoganda/ bullshit on the internet

Propoganda/ bullshit on the internet

+++++The expressional release of ourselves or our virtual selves can be seen as a healthy output for many of us who cannot express ourselves in the real world whether it be for health or psychological reasons.  But for many as Rhonda mentions in her potent article, there is a lie and in a sense we’re losing ourselves to media influences such.  There are parallels to the host of young people who flock to the middle east in the illusion that they’re fighting for some romantic cause for the Islamic State.  Cast your minds back a century to those German and Commonwealth soldiers who marched to war, smiling, banners flying, crowds cheering,  only to have their minds dashed away by the reality of war.

Back to the cradle

This week is seeing me back in the middle east.  This time in Iraq.  It’s the region of Kurdistan and it has this beautiful, untamed landscape.  The route to Dohuk is a small track, pitted with pot holes and bumps, and by the side you may see the odd dog.  Dohuk looks like any other biblical town in present day Middle East: a sprawling morass of people, business and dirt.  The men sit talking in groups on their haunches watching the steady, chaotic flow of Toyotas, and other 4 wheel pickup trucks.  There seems to be a high volume of these trucks and I’ve seen plenty of vehicles with D German stickers on the back.  I remember seeing vehicles with D on them in Bosnia.  Presumably they are hired and driven away – the rent-a-car firm cannot see the feasibility of investigating or chasing up a stolen vehicle in the relatively dangerous country of Iraq.  Saying that, this part of Iraq is probably the safest, for this is the Kurdish region of Kurdistan.  Not geographically recognized as an individual geographic entity but recognized for its symbolism as the regional home of the Kurdish people.  Not an expert on their plight, but they’ve been fucked over by the Turks and the Iraqis and no doubt the Allies during the 91 gulf war.  Now I can see they’re starting to turn their land around – there’s a theme part here and it’s called ‘Happy Park’.  A bit cheesy but it’s a start.

Yesterday travelling from Duhok to Zakho I passed a burnt out tanker at the side of the road.  It must have been carrying fuel and the driver smoking maybe.  The cab is burnt out as well – no surprises there.  Further down the road an articulated Lorry has ploughed into the side of the mountain and it’s being pulled out by another truck.  Unfortunately I later found out the driver had died in this accident.   As if that wasn’t enough on the outskirts of Zakho there’s a large crowd of people milling around a single area.  Cars toot their horns, there’s a mass of vehicles that have halted and it’s a taxi with the front end smashed in.  I take a photo of this and turn to my right.  There are two other smashed up vehicles too.  I used to think Italian drivers were the worst – but they’re just plain fucking crazy.  Iraqi drivers are the worst.

On this particular day I’d just returned from a firm after I’d done an inspection on their documentation and processes.  Prior to that I was welcomed into the building and I took my boots off.  I asked the guy if he had a toilet and he showed me to the loo.   I had to put on a pair of sandals before walking in and stood over the hole.   For many of you readers out there you sit, don’t you?  Over here you either stand or squat.  There are two grilled porcelain sections either side of the hole where you put your feet.  To my left was a hose pipe to spray my arse if I had a shit.  I didn’t in this case.  I left the toilet and was welcomed into the Executive offices where an elderly gentleman shook my hand and called me sir and asked me to sit down in the exec chair.  A normal inspection takes about 2 days, but remember, we are in Iraq here (even if it is called Kurdistan).  There is no Vehicle insurance over here so I skipped that question.  To tell you the truth their systems and mechanisms were more effective that some of the companies in the UK.  Later I was brought water and chocolate biscuits and lemonade.  I think I could have stayed here until the entire plate was finished, but that in my eyes would have been rude – there are cultural differences here.  Bearing that in mind I took their hospitality for a further 15 minutes talking about Football and the BBC and the Saddam regime etc etc.  Time was precious, it was after 3 and it took about an hour to get back to Zakho.  I bid them farewell after the third attempt (this time successful) and reiterated that nothing was confirmed and it was down to my head office to confirm whether contracts would be signed – I could see the worry in the old man’s eyes.   There’s one other firm I have to check on and it would be a toss up between the two.  Depending on the quality of their chocolate biscuits and juice – it works like that, doesn’t it?

Outside my escorts are sat on the curb drinking tea and eating biscuits.  I give their boss the nod and we’re off into the vehicles and away to Zakho.  Through Zakho an hour later I buy a fucking massive Water Melon for 16,000 Dinars and 3 sugar melons and 2 chocolate ice creams.  16k – the fuckers saw me coming.  The name of the small shop was Tanya Market.  A little ironic as my wife is called Tanya and I told her about the water melon.   She knows that fruit from this part of the world is probably the best and I had her drooling over the phone.

Another reason I got the fruit was to replace the Kurdish diet I have to eat.   The lamb here is nothing like your average UK Sunday lunch.  It’s all been done Halal, so the poor animal has had its throat cut, skinned and the legs have been chopped up with a cleaver.  The bits are then chucked into a pot and then boiled.  Well, that’s what it looks like.  I haven’t had the shits yet , so the cooks are doing something right I suppose.  I still eat it, though.  The Chicken here is okay too.  Beggars can’t be choosers, eh?

 

 

Mothers 60th and ‘Without Apology’

Today is my mother’s 60th Birthday, but I can’t have any flowers delivered on this day as it’s a Sunday. That’s okay I’ll send it on Saturday instead. The sacrifice she made for me is an overwhelming oddity I cannot fathom as I am male. Such courage and strength in the adversity of the world of the 70s and 80s for women. Especially as a single parent. My biological father is most likely clinically dead in the 1980s. I am fortunate to have a mother of her strength and moral courage. I have sent her flowers though I know this is below what she is owed. I think I can give my own children the strength she gave me and in way that is a gift, a reciprocal gift. One she has passed on down to her offspring – it hasn’t gone wasted – it is has been used. That, as well as flowers, is enough to know nothing is wasted here.

I look upon my 2 year old daughter and I code Jacqueline’s book into Kindle format. Jacqueline hates all men. She is repulsed by them. I can’t blame her after reading (and coding) her manuscript. I am both amazed and disgusted at how some people have been abused through the hunt for that simple orgasm – that which can be achieved by your own hand (I should know). Reading through her work she damns the male gender. I repeat I cannot blame her. I can understand her hatred and will offer no word of apology. Her Kindle book is called ‘Without Apology’. It is hard hitting, hard facts and I felt like I was Neo who had just took that pill in the Matrix – I had an idea, though didn’t really know the scope of the problem. It’s just fucked up – and I admit I’m part of the problem. I watch porn websites. Don’t worry – I mean normal porn websites. Adults vs Adults. Don’t give me any bullshit here, don’t tell me you don’t watch them – we’re all fucking human and the sites don’t just run on their own.

I’m thinking of A + B = C. That’s Sperm + Egg = Human. Wow, how many other species do that – pro create? We do something called Family Planning which has only enjoyed prominence since the 1980s. The development of drugs and techniques to stop pregnancy have helped this. I personally pull out – but some people use the pill or those rubber johnny’s. I haven’t heard that in ages. Rubber Johnnies. Durex. Wait a minute… what the fuck am I talking about here? I’m off on a slippery tangent down a Davos slope. I think I started this paragraph marvelling at how something can be created by adding two elements. What the fuck has sperm got? Is it some divine element – if there is a God? Is it one of Allah’s ingredients? In my ball sack there is a sticky substance that will swim to a microscopic cell and mess with it. Why does it increase? Mitosis? Is it like nuclear energy? I see my 2 year old daughter now and I know why some people want to murder child murderers. I understand the level of protectiveness.

That’s me done for the week. I’ll get back to you next week…

 

 

Land ownership and the Falklands Islands question

British Hegemony and Land Ownership

British Hegemony and Land Ownership

Before you read any further, just to get this straight – this post is an objective view on territorial rights and what constitutes as ownership of a piece of land.  The Falklands Islands are an example of a contest over this.  I fully respect both warring factions who came together in a clash of arms in 1982, they were only doing what they were told to do by Galtieri and Thatcher.  Maybe they both should been put in a ring and told to fight it out – we would have saved a lot of lives doing that.  I daresay Thatcher would have won.

Do we have our name on that?  Is our name written in the DNA samples of the soil?  Can we testify that the soil I’m standing on is definitley BRITISH?  Probably not.  It’s assumed to be ours, because we’ve always been here.  But how long do we have to be occupants of a land before we can call it our own?  My assumption is that we (homo-sapien) were once a migratory people who moved with the food.  There are tribes around the Arctic circle – in Russia and the scandinavien countries that hold onto similar practises.  We got our bearings, formulated communities and cultivated the land.  There we began to create territory, gave it a name and became wary of our neighbours.  And so begins the very beginnings of conflict on a large scale.  Territorial rights are contested and before long our ideals are contested.

How long do we wait?  Do we count in generations or Earth years?  The rule could be, if you hold onto this scrap of turf for 500 years then it is truly yours.  What happens if a tsunami sweeps a nearby sea over it and your land is buried.  Is there some for of divine insurance that will give you a lump sum of acres?  Or are you just dumb lucked out?

I’m responding to sovereign claims to pieces of rock that jut out of the Earth’s oceans.  I’m talking about the Falkland Islands.  Who gave that Island to the British?  Nobody gave it to the British, because nobody owned it in the first place – a load of Penguins can hardly give legal status to Britain’s claim to the island.

The legitimate owners of the Falklands

The legitimate owners of the Falklands

The Argentinean Government insists its claim to the Island and give it the name ‘Malvinas’, a name that has it’s origins in Saint-Malo, in France.  Where are the Falklands/Malvinas?  They’re about 300 miles from the coastline of South America and were once united with Africa when the continent was called Godwana, but since has parted and become party to a dispute between two nations some 400 million years later.

From the outside looking in, it looks like a couple of archipelagoes covered in Penguins and Sheep and with nothing else to offer.  But, underneath this rugged landscape are a wealth of Hydrocarbons.  There it is, the motivation to hold onto this island.  You could argue the point that the British are there now – why change its name and its peoples nationality?  Surely that’s what will happen?  Looking at the gross size difference and you see that the Falklands/Malvinas are is 0.4% the size of Argentina.  What could the Malvinas/Falklands offer to Argentina – apart from all that oil and natural gas.

The Spanish landed in the area over 500 years ago and is it this number that gives a colonial power the legitimacy over a couple of islands?  What about the previous occupants of Argentina – or that land where Argentina is located?  Do we hand that back to the indigenous tribes there?  How did we ever get our hands on such countries and territories?  We slaughtered people to get where we are now.  We converted them to Christianity or similar monotheistic beliefs.  The Argentinean government say that the democratic vote of the Island’s occupants don’t come into the question of whether the Islands are theirs.  The Malvinas belong to Argentina – no questions asked.

What we have to ask ourselves is, would the islanders be willing to convert to Pesos and speak Argentinean?  It looks like a stand-off will ensue until another Argentinean government comes in and decided to shelve the idea.  The ordinary Argentinean citizen probably doesn’t care about a couple of Islands, and those who remember the War 31 years previously might not care either.  What’s the outcome of another war?

The human cost of land disputes

The human cost of land disputes

Conventional or Nuclear strikes on Buenos Aires?  Or a 50/50 split down the middle – the Argies can have the West Side and the UK, the East Side.  There would be mediation from prominent US actors who feel they have a voice in the issue of land ownership several thousand miles from their own shores.  How would that sound, I bet there would be feeling of outright chagrin at that thought as the British shoulder the adopted Bulldog stance and challenge anyone who wants to obtain territory it claims its own.  If an impending war was to loom on the horizon there would be a ‘Keep Calm – Carry On’ attitude to the whole debacle.  There would be backing for and against a land retrieval.  The British may not have enough forces to deflect an Argentinean force and be forced to evacuate the entire population of the islands under the terms of an Argentinean agreement.  This would only occur if the UK are muzzled from using their nuclear arsenal.  Otherwise an escalation of force would leave the UK no choice than to drop a small nuclear device on the Puerto Belgrano, a large Argentine Naval Base.  There would be outright condemnation from the rest of the world, but no one else will lend a hand to help the second country in the World’s history to be subject to the detonation of an atomic weapon.

Didn’t Britain own two thirds of the world.  Our hegemony stretched from one end to the other.  Isn’t that ours?  All that soil.  What do you reckon?  Should we take it all back, bare our teeth and threaten the world.  Of course not.  The British would get spanked.  I think we had our apogee on the empire/ hegemony graph.  The Romans had theirs 2000 years ago.  The US are having theirs now and the Chinese are emerging too.  Might be a bit of a clash on the horizon there.

A Crowded World and its doom is in the post

Last night my 2 year old daughter scared the shite out of me. I’d just brushed my teeth and turned the light out in the bathroom. The entire corridor is pitch black apart from the ambient bedside lamp around the corner. I then hear the excited panting and patter of feet to my left. A little white shape, not unlike Casper, ran out at me, arms outstretched. I jumped back and she giggled – running past me to the bedroom.crowded world

This isn’t the first time. She’s not scared of the dark like my 9 year old is and I have to be extra careful when walking around the house when the lights are out.

I’m determined to add some fiction to the end of this, so I will. I was listening to a podcast called Beyond Belief and listened to discussions from the representatives of various faiths. One was on Homosexuality in religion. I was interested to hear the views of two Muslims. One was gay and other was most definitely not. Just how a book can be interpreted in many ways, amazes me. There were arguments as to the legality of Homosexual communion in the Qur’an. It’s still an unencroachable subject where there is a silent acceptance in certain parts of the world, where this happens, but it is strictly outlawed by their faith. I find it hard to believe that some people hold onto certain texts written over 1000 years ago and keep it as the law. Without inciting outrage in the Muslim community this is not just that Monotheistic, Abrahamic religion, but with all the strands of Christianity. Strands of religion? Now there’s an explosive concept.

Tip of the iceberg?

Tip of the iceberg?

The Muslims are split, the Christians are split – any one else? All these divisions are in the process, were in the process of killing each other for their own cause, which ironically was for the same train of thought. The image of a ball of light, or a guy with an incredibly long beard sat on a cloud or a throne made of gold. That yearning to be led into some meaningful end, because as I wrote earlier in a post, after watching an astronomy presentation – I felt utterly insignificant. Why can’t we envisage something more useful, like a tree or a rock – polytheism or Gaia, or Danu the Earth Goddess. At least that’s tangible and if we look after the stuff we stand on, it will look after us and kill us off in order to maintain an equilibrium.

Legendary comments from the Prince

Legendary comments from the Prince

We aren’t meant to have too many people on the planet. We’ve got 7 Billion now – never had that many before. The Chinese have got the right idea at the moment – 1 child per family. Something’s going to kill it off – I mean a good portion of the population off and I don’t mean The Walking Dead here, I mean a virus. So there might be about a couple of Trillion Ants in the world, but they aren’t having much of an impact, are they? We are though. The climate is changing ever so rapidly. It used to change at the rate of a cyclist riding a bike, now it’s going at Mach 2.

Perhaps an exercise in futility.

Perhaps an exercise in futility.

How do we get out of the impending viral disaster? You see, in this crowded world of ours, we’re a mix of so many eclectic germs and organism and a mix here or there is likely to fruit some angry, deity of a Virus. I sound like a fucking mad man, don’t I? Well, you won’t be far wrong to come to that conclusion. So, how do we get away from the Virus? We stop fucking around with chemistry to combat viral, germs – whatever (I’m not a doctor) and look into the far future. The number of new viruses, will eventually outrun our capability to create new serums. We need to vent the planet of people. It’ll be like turning a valve, releasing a jet of pressure. It’s got to be off world exploration and colonies. I’ll talk about that some time in the future.

Now for a flash/ short story. This doesn’t have an ending, it’s a fragment.

The Bipolar Effect Part 2

“I am but a mortal man of flesh and blood. And there is no other like me. I am unclean and tainted by the disease. Flesh upon flesh, age upon age, time strips away. Accept your saviour, accept your fate,” the voice spoke softly, but there was something else on the edge of it’s pitch – a fervor, an insanity.light

“You dumb, fucking fuck. Shut the fuck up,” the prisoner turned the blade in his hand. The softly spoken man stepped out from the corner of the darkened cell.

The corners of stranger’s mouth turned upwards, slightly, “Oh what a friend we have in Jeeey-zuuz.” He held out a hand, “Take Jay-zuz into your heart, friend. Accept his love and cast away all your anger and hayt-red.”

The prisoner dropped the knife and looked at his hands. He held them up to his face. “What?” The hair on his head began to darken.

“Hold my hand,” the stranger beckoned to the prisoner, “Come.” He held out a hand, but the prisoner shrunk into adolescence and into the bubble of youth. Age stripped away in layers of time as the prisoner screamed his way past adolescence.

***

At breakfast when the guards came to open the doors, they heard the wailing of a hungry baby.

“It’s not visiting time yet,” said one guard, almost afraid to open the door

“Maybe his wife visited him,” a guard said.

“Maybe, somebody messed up,” another said.

“Maybe he was a woman and gave birth,” the stranger said and stepped over the baby.

“You’re not Liam Redhead? What the fuck are you doing here? Where’s Liam?”

The stranger waved to the child, then pointed to himself, “I might be. I might have changed colour. By some divine intervention I might be the spirit of youth incarnate.” The stranger seemed to float out of the cell – the guards reeled back.

“He might need feeding,” the stranger said as the baby screamed.

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Look.” A guard pointed to the slowly shrinking baby, an umbilical cord began to grow from its stomach.

“Something’s happening. I don’t feel right.” A guard rubbed his face and pulled his hair. A truncheon clattered to the ground.

The stranger held out both hands like Corpus Christi, “We all want it. You can all have it. There is no burden sweeter than the burden of youth.”

The stranger walked out of the prison as the inmates and staff alike cried their way to their own youth. The stranger held up his own hands and saw that sparks of light danced and sizzled on his finger tips.

Is bombing innocent civilians okay?

Compactor broke down this week. It was like the end of the world. We were being invaded by cardboard. It WAS EVERYWHERE!! I caught Gareth taking a pallet truck of cardboard to where the compactor is. I stopped him and we took out the boxes that hadn’t been broken down. After 5 minutes the bin looked half empty and back he went. Boxes of fresh air! I’m banging my head against a brick wall sometimes. We finally got someone down from Liverpool to fix the machine and we spent a good 10 minutes examining the markings on the Magnetic Acuator. The wiring had to be correct and the inside of the machine reminded me of Lethal Weapon when Riggs has to choose a colour and cuts the wrong one. “Grab the cat!” – That’s a line from the movie.

Since my last post I didn’t receive many likes and comments. Maybe that’s because nobody read it, or because it’s an emotive subject. I replied back to the guys who commented on my post. I was thinking about the morality of bombing.

hamburg

The firestorms of Hamburg boasted over 45,000 dead.

When is it okay to kill civilians, without the ‘etiquette’ of warning? When were our moral depth charges set for such deep maddening darkness. Back in the late 1930s… in fact no. It was earlier – the bombing of civilians was back in WW1 from an airship strike on London. A couple of civilians were killed by grenades on that one. How dastardly was that? Of all the cheek and barbarity. London must have reeled at the horror of such a concept, then paused and thought… what if we? And so the escalation grows and with each new attack there is condemnation from the world until society is anesthetized to it. We are a very adaptable species and I’m not sure we have limits – it’s a progression. Prior to WW2 the Germans tested their own aircraft out during the Spanish Civil War – it’s only here we begin to feel more emotive about the subject as some people may still be alive today recount events. We could capture images and some rare film footage, we are close to the action and this depends on the accurateness and the style of writing from 1st hand accounts. Certain metaphors and similes can only work in some cultures and nations.

There were rules. I’m not sure if they were Hague bound (remember this isn’t a history website – I’m just a blogger who makes mistakes like the rest of us), but there were moral rules or rules that were taken proportional to the opposition’s actions. Anything done that would offend the nation would be kept quiet, such as S1 or the Atomic Bomb, there were a lot of scientists who opposed that weapon. A petition of over 150 names was signed opposing its use.

Morality is a shifting, insidious thing. What we thought of as disgusting 30 years ago – homosexuality, is now something that isn’t out of the ordinary. Anyone jumping up in the air and shouting, “I’m GAY and proud,” would be looked at funnily. “And? Big deal,” I’d say. Your colours just got as drab as the rest of society, you fit in – get on with it. The same goes for black people – (death threats pending here) – MOBO? Music of Black Origin. How about MOWO? Or would that be racist? Or am I being a cynic here? We’ve moved a long way since the 1960s – the US especially so. They’re still probably the most segregated country going, despite having a black president, but they have progressed. Some countries have gone across the spectrum of discrimination through complete neutrality to positive discrimination/ direct action – Northern Ireland is a good example especially of their Police Service. When it was RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) the force comprised (dare I say it) of 90 odd percent Protestant. Now the PSNI (Police Service Northern Ireland) is actively recruiting from Catholic communities and turning away Protestants to make up the numbers. This might be a myth – not sure – correct me someone. It’s funny how I classed people in Northern Ireland through their religion (or sectarian group) – here in Rugby, Warwickshire I’m in a street where I haven’t a clue of their denomination and it’s not top of my agenda, or ever will be.

Back to morality.. The bombing campaign in Europe began with… not sure who began it – but I’m sure the British bombed Berlin first to show the Nazis they could be hit in their capital – a blow to Hitler’s confidence (and Goebbels Luftwaffe). These targets were military only and despite the inaccuracies at the time of the Bombardiers they maintained their intent on striking military targets only. The Germans were loath to use terror bombing as it was known back then (the bombing of innocent, unarmed civilians). Maybe we should always call it terror bombing – because that’s what it is and surely the results are the same as a terrorist attack. Not sure when both sides began to slide off their moral high ground, but one attack on Hamburg was particularly nasty with up to 45,000 people dead. Coventry is cited as being an atrocity – they suffered 568 dead, 1.26% of the fatalities in Hamburg.

An article in the International Review of the Red Cross stated:

“In examining these events [aerial area bombardment] in the light of international humanitarian law, it should be borne in mind that during the Second World War there was no agreement, treaty, convention or any other instrument governing the protection of the civilian population or civilian property, as the conventions then in force dealt only with the protection of the wounded and the sick on the battlefield and in naval warfare, hospital ships, the laws and customs of war and the protection of prisoners of war.”

9-11-attack-animated-footage

Where were you when this happened?

And that’s the fucking Red Cross!?  So, does this make it right? To bomb unarmed civilians, deprive them of Oxygen, burn them, melt them to the road, etc etc? The effects of this is the same as a Terrorist attack. Take for example the murder of over 3000 people, one sunny morning on Sept 11, 2001 – a terrorist attack from a side that were (are) on a Jihad (holy war). Take a comparison to Tokyo in 1945, figures range from 95,000 to 100,000 deaths from one US bombing raid. And we’re saying that the attack on the twin towers was a most dastardly attack on 3,000 innocent, unarmed people? Yes – it was and so was the fire bombing of Tokyo. Picture your children and family looking up a the roar of engines overhead; the bomb shelters are full of people – no room left and those sticks of jelly come tumbling down and ignite your city.

Picture 60 skyscrapers collapsing in New York (if it has 60) and that’s approximately the number of fatalities we’re talking about in Tokyo, 1945.

It’s okay, I’m not saying it’s wrong – just laying some events out on the table and comparing them. Right or wrong… will there come a time when someone says STOP – will they have the balls and the backing from a lot of other people to do something? I’m sure many Germans and Japanese in WW2 must have thought this, but self preservation was key in their minds at the time. There are (brave) people in the UK and US who are likewise protesting against our actions from overseas – but at least we’re not incarcerating them or killing them.

I might really do a short story next week.  Not sure, I’ll see what happens.

 

 

 

 

The Race for the Atomic Bomb and Bullet Proof Turbans

Something funny happened this morning.  One of the guys in the factory said that you can get bullet proof turbans in the British Army.  And he was dead serious as well.  I had to turn away from the conversation which was developing into a debate about Afghans and their turbans (despite them not having any).

I’m skipping a short story and talking about the end of World War 2 in the pacific.

I’m currently listening to an audiobook called Hiroshima Nagasaki and it describes events that led up to the US dropping of the Atomic Bombs on Japan.  The decision processes and the wranglings of ethics/ morals and US standing in the world after the bombings.  It’s interesting to look at the alternatives.  As the possibilities of a land invasion loomed (Op OLYMPIC – set for Nov 1945), the estimations of US casualties ranged from 30,000 to fantastical figures of 1,000,000.  As the audio book explains the estimations from the War Cabinet did not go beyond 270,000 and some such as MacArthur went as low as 30,000; these figures were for the first 30 days of a land battle.

Enola Gay, you should have stayed at home yesterday...

Enola Gay, you should have stayed at home yesterday…

The book says that people try to justify the Atomic Bombings when compared to those atronomical figure s of 1 million US dead, wounded and missing – a made up figure to compensate for a morally questionable weapon drop.  When it was found out that the Japs had bolstered up the South Island’s defences and the memories of Okinawa/ Iwo Jima were still vivid in the minds of many, OLYMPIC was soon shelved and the subsequent Op CORONET planned for March 1946 too.

I understand the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour in December 1942 without warning and that they killed thousands of Prisoners’ Of War, but to drop a city killer, a weapon that broke the boundaries of modern perception of the universe?  On innocent civilians who had probably never left the home Islands to commit these atrocities that the military regime employed?  A lot of politicians argued the point that a demonstration might help the Japanese accept ‘Unconditional Surrender’ despite its ambiguous denotation at the time.  It was perhaps the meaning of this term that led the bombing in the first place.  Did it mean the trial of Hirohito as a war criminal, since he was head of the system, a divine incarnation and the will of the people?  This was never cleared up and I think there was a motive of vengeance on the US behalf to either destroy the Island of subject them to a humiliating defeat.  Even now, the survivors of the death marches who witnessed massacres, mutilation and death to disease in the camps who will not talk about this.  Such is the human spirit, we are not built to deal with such things.  Even the killing of other humans – we repel – see earlier post on this, The Betrayal of Hollywood.  Why didn’t the US keep its stranglehold on Japan and turn it into a seige.  There was no need for an invasion.  Sooner or later they would have capitulated.  I think there was a deeper, reason, a bomb with this much power.  A trump card for Truman at Potsdam to bend the Russians if need be.  I think it was a test to see the destructive power of the weapon.  To quantify this : 75% test, 25% to end the war quickly.  This had fuck all to do with saving US lives – even the scientists wanted an un-bombed city and drop the bomb in the centre to see what damage it did.  Military targeting was not the primary reason.  They wanted to see the effects on humans, hence the readiness of medical teams to go in there once Japan surrendered.  I’ve seen a few pictures on google that I wouldn’t put on here, horrific images of burns victims.  Many of the victims hadn’t known about death marches, mass executions and genocidical actions in Manchuria.  Many were under the age of 16.  Women, children, and the old as the men of the fighting age were either, dead, imprisoned or fighting.  Would it be safe to call this a war crime?  I think, yes.  Many of the victims hadn’t known or committed any acts of butchery.  It would be wrong to call them complicit, as they had no power to stop the military regime in place.  So, who should stand trial for this?  Einstein – for warning Teddy about the German atomic program back in 1939?  Teddy Roosevelt?  Oppenheimer?  (not sure if I spelt that correctly) Groves?  Or everyone involved at the Trinity test site in 1945?  There was mixed feelings at that first test in July 1945.

What atrocities did these commit to deserve this?

What atrocities did these commit to deserve this?

Some scientists forecasted the world in the future and saw a hegemony based on military supremacy over the world.  Some of the scientists who worked on S1/ or Alloy Tubes (codenames for the Atomic Bomb, bu US and UK respectively) had reservations over it’s use as a weapon.  Some were refugees from Europe fleeing the Nazis and had witnessed atrocities over there.  They saw the weapon as a way of ending the war in Europe.  I think the UK premier at the time must have toyed with the idea of bombing Berlin with the ‘Bomb’ – imagine that.  There’d be a good chance of irradiated material  infecting many other countries.  The US were ahead of the game with the MANHATTAN project, the Japs didn’t even bother with their own Atomic program, while the Germans may have, but Hitler’s subsequent defeats in Russia affected this.  Germany was about 2 years behind the Americans, had they left Russia alone and took UK they may have caught up.  They didn’t have the finances after their military failings and loss of oil fields.

Russia was seen as the long term adversary beyond the war.  The end of the war was in sight by late 1943 and there were projections of a world that might have an arms race, which it did.  People with these visions totally abhorred the atomic’s program in it’s goal to be used as a weapon, they argued that this should be used as an energy source.  There was no chance of this, since the US wanted something to end the war with limited casualties to itself.  Had the US not thought of the consequences of a world with Atomic weapons?  The loss of a potential 300,000 allied troops or the death of 4 Billion people and an end to civilization?  Sounds a bit fantastical, but I think HG Wells had the foresight in his book, Dream.  They took a big gamble in the race to procure bombs that used Plutonium and Uranium.  One might argue that they were racing against the Germans – by late 1943 with the Russians beating them back wasn’t the end in sight?  Did the Russians have the chances to make a bomb?  Maybe it was inevitable.  Make sure the good guys get the bomb first and not the dudes who went back on promises made at the Yalta meeting in 1943.

A US possession of an Atom Bomb was probably the lesser of the evils.

A US possession of an Atom Bomb was probably the lesser of the evils.

Let me take you to a world where the Germans get the bomb before the US.  There’s been a lot of disconnect between the intelligent minds of the scientists and the Politicians.  More so, the lack of political cohesion has stunted the development – which hasn’t even begun because Einstein is still in Germany working for the Germans!!  This sounds a bit like Fatherland I suppose.  The Japs have taken the pacific and are currently fighting on US soil.  The US holding are out in the mid west along the Mississipi and the Germans are blockading the Eastern seaboard.  There are also threats to drop a weapon of mass destruction on the Washington DC if the US do not agree to Germany or Japan’s terms.  Either way, if the US capitulated then another war may ensue and that would be the Germans against the Japanese.  Despite both countries being weakened by years of war, a pacification pact may be signed to assure no more fighting on the US mainland.  Canada is neutral after the fall of Britain in 1940 – the dunkirk evacuation was a disaster and an invasion followed.  Russia is in turmoil, a bomb has been dropped on a city to quell an uprising in the far east and the Japs aren’t too happy about that is it’s near their newly conquered land.  China and Mongolia are swallowed up and merged into the new Japanese Empire.  Genocides are reported in the far east as well as parts of the Middle East under the new Axis leadership.

Britain retains her sovereignty and English can still be spoke as a first language, but road signs have german translations below them.

A bit of dystopia for you.  How quickly do you reckon the Nazis would get into space without the threat of Communism and other costly distractions?  A moon landing?   Probably the same time : late 60s.  Actually bases on the moon?  Another 20 years – probably 1990s.

That’s it for this week.  See you next  week!

The River Dart beckons me…

I went to the River Dart the weekend gone.  The journey from the Midlands to Dartmoor in Devon took us about 5 hours.  The moors we found ourselves on the last leg of the mad journey was pretty surreal.  I say mad because Dave the Driver was taking the corners like Colin McCrae.  This is definitley not a good speed when you’ve got 2 open boats on the roof and 4 Kayaks in the back of the van.  It was pitch black and I could see on the horzion an oasis of lights.  It looked almost like a deep sea Oil Rig.  The other passengers said it was the town of Princetown.  Next to this isolated outcrop of building and stone was a large Prison.  The prison looked like a container ship from the side and it seemed we were in space and Princetown was some Battlestar Galactica Mothership.

We got into the town and found the pub we were to be staying at.  An advert displayed that it had a bunk available…  apparently it’s the best bunk in the world?  I dunno about that.  The toilet and shower doors could have done with a trim – they didn’t shut properly.

It's a tray from Dartmoor Prison!

It’s a tray from Dartmoor Prison!

But what they do have, is the biggest plates in the world.  I shit you not.  A Mixed Grill is Faaahuuge.  I had a rack of ribs on Saturday night and I struggled to finish it.  They have a challenge and that is if the customer can finish off a tray (not plate) of mixed grill and a rack of ribs and a giant combo sweet (all sweets together) then they get the waiter’s annual salary.

I realised the next day I’d canceled my Life Insurance – a bit about that later – and decided to do the Lower Dart.  One, I didn’t want to die that day and two it wouldn’t be fair on the guys chasing my boat.  It’s been a while since I’d been on a river, I think the Treveryn was the last nasty one in Wales.  This one was okay and later found myself upside down and looking up into the light of the bubbles.  I waited a split second before hip flicking; up I come and I’m going back down.  I’d rolled on the upside of the river and the river caught my boat again.IPOD Feb 2013 557  I gasp for air before going back into the frothy white stuff again.  This time I concentrate more acutely as the cold shock starts my brain.  I’m up!  And I’m paddling upstream because that’s where my boat if facing.  I’m into the eddy and catching my breath.  There are laughs and taunts from my colleagues: Dave has got this on his headcam – I’ll be waiting for that to come out on Youtube later.

The next day I’m off walking instead and get halfway down the river using a path to realise it’s been blocked off by a sign.  ‘Shooting Range : Trespassers will be sued’.  The words ‘Shooting’ and ‘Trespassers will be…’ were close to each other on the sign and I didn’t want to take any chances.  I decided to back track and jump over a tributarie I wrongly followed – noticed the water was going the wrong way and it was too narrow.  I managed to hitch a lift across the river using an open boat borrowed from a canoeist and jumped out the other side.  I scrambled up the opposite bank using any branch, root or tuft of grass and made it to the top.

IPOD Feb 2013 543The route down the river Dart is definitley not walker friendly and a lot of people have erected barbed wire to prevent walkers from passing through.  Dartmoor reminds me of pictures of the Falklands and I wouldn’t have relished running up one of those mountains to evict entrenched Portuguese talking soldiers from it.

 

Ambition and Overpaid ‘W**kers’

One drop of this stuff is all you need.

One drop of this stuff is all you need.

Bloody hell!  I need to stop eating Chilli Con Carne – more like Chilli Con Carnage for my arse.  I’ve got ‘Enemy at the Gates’ syndrome and keep on going to the loo.  Several times it’s been like touching cloth.  Might be the Painmaker sauce I use.  When I say use, what I mean is a drop of the stuff.  It’s as lethal as Sarin nerve agent that stuff.  It’s even got a warning message on the reverse of the bottle.  If you get any on your hands – wash it off immediately and don’t touch your eyes after.  My son had some on his face once and began screaming.  We had to put his face under running water and the wife said it should go in the bin.  Not fucking likely, my dear, that stuff is deadly boasting a huge 200,000 scovilles.  Scovilles is the heat register for spicy sauces.  Tabasco Sauce registers from 2,500 – 5,000.  I just had a look on Google and found out that Painmaker is only 2/3 of the way up the scale.  Fucking nutters.

I went to the gym last Sunday and decided to try my new cheap, pink running earphones out.  I jumped onto a treadmill next to some guy who looked like he was being chased by a hungry Cheetah. I strapped my IPod onto my arm and began the session.  Soon the earphones were coming loose and the treadmill had a life of its own.  It started to increase the gradient and the speed.  I was half way through the session when I quit it and started another one which was Fartlek.  I did half of that and stumbled off the machine.  The Cheetah hadn’t caught the fellah next to me and he slowed his treadmill down to a trot.  The Cheetah must have gotten tired.  I went on the Crosstrainer and worked out on that for 10 minutes only to find my heartrate was over the recommended level for a 40 year old.  186 BPM was apparently over a good training heart rate.  I needed about 140 BPM.  Some things die hard and I like to thrash myself.

Have you ever heard your child say they want to be an astronaut?  Ever said to them, “Don’t be silly.  What do you really want to be?”  If you have then you’re probably not doing them justice, just because you didn’t make it yourself when you said the same thing doesn’t mean they have to go the same way.  Every child when they utter those dreams and aspirations have the ability to get there, the only thing that stops them is the parents.

In the footsteps of their parents?

In the footsteps of their parents?

Of course this isn’t the case in all circumstance, but in many I think this is the case.  My son said he wanted to be a builder.  I said to him, that he could do better, but builders are highly trained experts in their field.  I couldn’t do what they do.  When I say better what do I mean?  To become a lawyer?  A doctor?  To spend your hours in an office, be it answering a telephone or writing up meaningless (IMO) emails?  Join the ‘Ratrace’ to increase your float.  We build and build.  To what end?  We increase the size of the house, the car, the bank account gets flush with a load of cash.  Cash that seems so unimportant when you have lots of it, but when it dwindles, it takes on the significant appearance of sand, where the grains become pennies: every dollar, every yen, shackle, rouble becomes so important to us.  I hear of people working themselves into a stupor, all hours  of the day and to what end?  An early grave is where they are headed and there’s no way you’re going to spend all that hard earned cash when you’re being eaten by worms.  Off chart again, back into the gravity well and back onto the subject.  Children’s aspirations.

Fuck the money.  Just have enough to get by, have a roof over your head.  Money is like space – the more you have of it the more you’ll squander by using it up with shit.  That damned cliche… Money can’t bring you happiness.  And the counter argument to that would be … it doesn’t bring you happiness, but it helps.  Money has got to be the most corrosive element we’ve got into today’s global society.  It’s like rust on a person’s moral, ethical principles.  Give your moral fibre a cleanse and throw away all your cash to a charity, where it will corrupt the people who run that charity.  Fuck off!  I hear you shout, throw away all my money?  Are you barking mad?  It seems we are a gluttonous in terms of wealth and don’t really seem to have our eyes on the ‘proverbial’ ball.  How about creating an impression?  It doesn’t have to be a bad, global impression like Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin’s, but a small, good impression on your children or a book that you’ve wrote or that tree you planted.  I think we need a legacy above all the cash in the world, a legacy that will make people remember us by and smile.

There’s a Russian saying that if you want to lose friends, lend them cash.  It’s true, people are more than happy to receive that green stuff with all the good intentions of giving it back, but when that time comes it tells a different story and one of the fallibilities of humans on the planet.

As for children’s aspirations and what they want to become.  We shouldn’t stop them.  We should encourage them. Because at that young tender age they should be unhindered by the cynicism of adulthood.  They have the immature drive and ambition and this should be harnessed, fostered into a possibility.  If they kept that drive they probably could achieve.  Many lose it and are lost in the quagmire of society, lost as a fraction in the demographic, a statistic and nothing at the same time.

I heard last week about a person who was sending obtuse e-mails about the performance of certain people.  When I heard about the amount of money that person made in a day I thought ‘overpaid wanker’.  Maybe it’s a bit of jealousy on my part, but then I thought of the connection between the cash and the rudeness.  Does the cash empower you to be rude?  We’re all going out in a box, if we’re lucky, so it’s probably a good idea to be a little more respectful to others.

 

"I prefer Scampi flavoured Nik Naks."

“I prefer Scampi flavoured Nik Naks.”