Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin at Yalta, Crimea February 1945
The Yalta Conference.
Seventy years ago this week.
Ironically, one of the main aims of the Yalta conference got turned on its head and has shown the extraordinary turns of history. This was the aim of all the participants to punish Germany and split it into four military zones and possibly into two or three separate ‘agricultural’ Germanies, to prevent it ever coming back as one big power again, to dominate and disrupt the world.
However, with a Cold War growing, the West realised that it needed a strong Germany, and the Soviets followed suit by building up Eastern Germany. Seventy years later, and with the two Germanies united, the country is at the absolute centre of Europe, running the EU and acting as economic powerhouse for the entire continent.
…many Poles never forgave the way that they were sold into Communism by the British, having seen Britain enter the war to save them from Hitler. It is interesting that Churchill, who made much of Chamberlain’s appeasement and trust in Hitler, should himself suffer the same with the Soviet leader.
Drone video shows the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp as it is today – 70 years after it was liberated by Soviet troops. The camp in Poland is now maintained as a World Heritage Site and is visited by thousands of tourists and survivors every year. Auschwitz was the largest camp established by the Germans during World War II. More than a million people – the vast majority of them Jews – died there between 1940, when it was built, and 1945, when it was liberated by the Soviet army.
Railway tracks into Auschwitz-Birkenau – Trains filled with victims from throughout occupied Europe arrived at the camp almost every day between 1942 and the summer of 1944.
Ruins of wooden huts at Birkenau – Birkenau (or Auschwitz II) was erected in 1941 solely as a death camp, the wooden huts are now in ruins with only brick fireplaces and chimneys remaining.
Entrance to Auschwitz I -The wrought-iron sign over the entrance bears the words Arbeit Macht Frei – “Work sets you free”. The brick-built buildings were the former cavalry barracks of the Polish Army.
Courtyard between blocks 10 and 11 at Auschwitz I – Block 11 was called “the Block of Death” by prisoners. Executions took place between Block 10 and Block 11 and posts in the yard were used to string up prisoners by their wrists.
Ryanair’s new classy image is just a pile of marketing cock….
I figured it was a good idea to take the kids on a break to see Auschwitz/Birkenau for a couple of days but we’re stranded in Krakow airport now, day number 2 due to freezing fog nothing leaving or landing (I only know that because of flightradar24 when I get the odd sliver of wifi) and it’s all stacking up however Ryanair have NO STAFF on the ground, ZERO ASSISTANCE, chaos…upset kids, angry adults and the airport have stupidly kept cramming people into the airside gate area like cattle knowing full well nothing is happening (the flight boards have the flights up but with bullsh*t times, you can see some flights circling now for over an hour with flightradar24, others like mine haven’t even left their origin you liars) having use of a laptop and wifi is all fine and well for someone like me but there’s a lot of older people in the frame that are not internet savvy, trying to help them out I’m becoming some sort of a mini-travel agent…MICHAEL O’LEARY GET SOME FUPPING BUSSES ORGANISED NOW TO TAKE US TO BERLIN OR SOME AIRPORT THAT YOU CAN LAND YOUR PLANES INTO TO GET US OUT OF HERE AND HOME. PLEASE.
From top: A US military aircraft at Shannon Airport in July 2013 and, above, Whistleblower, Soldier, Spy by Tom Clonan, retired army officer, lecturer at Dublin Institute of Technology and Irish Times security analyst.
You may recall a post from last week concerning Margaretta D’Arcy and her appearance on Tonight With Vincent Browne, which was being hosted by Dearbhail McDonald.
Ms D’Arcy’s appearance followed her recent imprisonment in Limerick Prison – for refusing to sign a bond stating she would not enter restricted areas of Shannon Airport, on foot of her arrest for protesting at the airport on September 1, 2013.
During their discussion, Ms McDonald asked Ms D’Arcy if she had definitive evidence that US military planes flying in from the US carry weapons. Ms D’Arcy said she didn’t but she said there was no definitive evidence to prove the opposite. She then appealed for the Irish government to inspect the planes.
Readers may wish to know that during her court hearing at Ennis District Court on June 24 – in relation to her September 1, 2013 arrest – there was evidence given by Dr Tom Clonan, Irish Times security analyst and author of Whistleblower, Solider, Spy in which he stated he saw weapons on a US military plane in Shannon.
Dr Clonan’s testimony, and that of others, went largely unreported in the national media.
Much of Dr Clonan’s testimony is contained in his book, Whistlebower, Soldier, Spy, which includes an account of his visit to Guantanamo Bay, where he becamethe first journalist to get US Army officials to admit — on the record — their intention to execute prisoners and to admit that they force-feed detainees who are on hunger strike.
In the book, he also recounts his experience of being the first Irish journalist to interview US troops in Shannon Airport and, indeed, to board one of their planes.
On Ireland’s ‘neutrality’…
“In 2002, ‘neutral’ Ireland is providing troops, vital logistics and air support and material support for the war in Afghanistan. We are, whether the general public realises it or not, at war. In an unprecedented move, the American military at US Europe Command Headquarters in Stuttgart assign a permanent staff officer to Shannon Airport. Shannon is officially a ‘virtual’ US airbase. In 2002, NATO designates its army in Afghanistan the ‘International Security Assistance Force’ or ISAF. On NATO’s official ISAF website, Ireland and the Irish flag is listed as a member of the ‘coalition of the willing’ who are participating in the Global War on Terror in NATO’s first war on the Asian continent.”
On the costs incurred by the Irish taxpayer…
“The Irish taxpayer is paying up to €10,000 per day for the en-route navigation costs and air traffic control management of thousands of US high-altitude bombers, refuelling aircraft and other airborne weapon systems travelling through Irish airspace. In other words, the Irish taxpayer is making a direct financial contribution to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Under a European Union agreement, ‘Eurocontrol’ to which Ireland is a signatory, the Irish government has agreed to pay the navigation fees and air traffic control levies for US military aircraft passing through our airspace. Since 75 per cent of all European-US air traffic passes through Irish airspace, this presents the Irish taxpayer with a significant bill. Figures obtained from the Irish Aviation Authority reveal that in 2004 along, €3.6million in navigation fees for US military aircraft heading to or from the battle space in Iraq and Afghanistan had been charged to the Department of Finance.”
And those sausages that look like a plump man’s thing.
By now you might have seen the moving video from the Polish Embassy thanking Irish people for their welcome over the last decade since the Polish started coming here in large numbers.
I would like to return the compliment and create a video thanking the Polish Irish community in Ireland for what they have given us. Suggestions [Culinary, food, dress, etc.] from your readers would be very welcome….”