Human Space Flight (3)

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Tea Party Plans Shutdown
Tea Party Plans Shutdown

By Michael Shrimpton

 
Response to Comments
This week’s article is a bit of a round-up – sorry to disappoint those who expect only a single theme for each week!

‘Greenrecovery’ might be surprised to learn that I have been shown over some of the more deprived parts of the “far west”, not least Skid Row in LA.  I am perfectly well aware there is deprivation in parts of the US.  My point is that the Obama Administration’s lack of vision and a space policy does nothing to help the good folk on Skid Row.  There are probably more of them than when George W was President.
As the very nice black activist who took the trouble to show me over Skid Row and introduce me to some of the nice people forced to sleep on the streets (thanks Ted) pointed out, African Americans have fared worse than other ethnic group over immigration.  Hispanic immigrants have disproportionately taken jobs from poor blacks.  I was shown nothing but courtesy on Skid Row by the way.
Requiring the eleven million plus illegal immigrants to return home would go a long way to solving America’s unemployment crisis.  Obama doesn’t care, so America’s poor are not going to get any help from that direction.  His priority is baiting the Tea Party and driving to drive conservatives out of Congress.
‘MyDogSick’ will be pleased to hear that I am not “chronically overweight”!  I am sure I could lose a few pounds – a few more flights on British Airways in World Traveller Plus should help see to that.
Bush Senior
I hear what you say ‘Sikel’!  For the record Bush Senior, although he is sometimes affectionately referred to here in England as “Der Obergruppenfuhrer”, is not and never has been a Nazi.  His old man was on Germany’s side in World War II however, and worked for Admiral Canaris, although he was no more a Nazi than Heinrich Himmler.   I couldn’t possibly comment on who Bush Senior works for.
Washington Navy Yard
There have been so many massacres of late I’ve hardly had time to catch up.  Aaron Alexis was clearly not working alone.  Word is two shooters, but I’m not sure what the DVD’s Washington Station’s motive was.  It seems to have been linked to powerplays in DC.  I plan on coming back to this topic.  Watch this space.
Kenya
More is emerging about the Westgate terrorist attack.  Lewthwaite, our local ‘lady’ terrorist was clearly involved.  I am more than a little annoyed with the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, thankfully just about to be abolished.  I tried to introduce them to a high-grade source out of Mogadishu some months prior to Nairobi.  Something was clearly stirring in East Africa and there was a hint of a UK connection.
There was also a Swedish connection.  As Gordon knows I was in touch with Stockholm, but they weren’t that bothered either.  We are very bad in the West in recruiting HUMINT sources.  When working Africa there’s not much point expecting people to help you for free, like they owe us a favor.  They don’t.  At least SOCA has a new director.
Westgate was preceded by the assassination of two British Intelligence assets working in Kenya, each a retired military man of considerable gallantry and distinction.  One was Colonel Ted Loden MC, shot in front of his family by local toughs working for Kenyan intelligence, which was aware of Westgate in advance, in September.  Ted Loden was a Para, sometime Intelligence Officer of 1 Para, in Aden, where he did good work.  He also did good work in Northern Ireland, shooting up the IRA.  He was present at the so-called ‘Bloody Sunday’ shootings, set up by the Provisional IRA.
He was visiting his son James at the time of his murder.  A chip off the old block James did good work with 3 Para in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.  He is now involved in security work for Barclays.  He should know that his old man died in the line of duty.  There will be payback for Colonel Loden’s murder.
Lt-Gen James Vaught
I was sorry to learn last month of the death of this fine officer, who commanded Delta Force at the time of the daring Iranian hostage rescue attempt, the history of one aspect of which has been a little distorted, with respect, in the movie Argo.  Jim Vaught’s boys were set up.  The sand filters on the helos were removed in an act of sabotage and the Iranians were warned they were coming.
Jim had an outstanding military career, doing great work with the 7th Cavalry at Hue during the successful repulse of the Tet Offensive.  I don’t know if Gordon bumped into him in South-East Asia in the good old days.  Officially Jim was found dead in a pond having fallen from a pontoon boat, not that long after criticizing the Administration over the Seal Team 6 raid on bin Laden’s former safehouse.  Anyone buying into that explanation probably believes in man-made global warming.  He was a man I would like to have known.
Air Marshal Sir John Curtiss
Another war hero who sadly passed last month, I am proud to say that I knew John Curtiss.  A ‘Halibag’ navigator, he did superb work bombing Germany in World War II, with 158 and 578 Squadrons.  After the war he flew 263 airlift missions into Berlin on the dear old Avro York, an unlovely but very workmanlike freighter, based on the Avro Lancaster (it shared the same wing and engines).  The last time I met John was at a dinner of the Berlin Airlift Association.  He was very proud of his humanitarian role in the Airlift and rightly so.
Sir John worked closely with another friend, Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham, during the Falklands War.  Michael was Chief of the Air Staff whilst John was Air Commander of the Task Force, responsible for the RAF’s contribution to the liberation of the Falklands.  Between them they came up with the splendid idea of bombing the airfield at Port Stanley – an obvious notion you may think, but the nearest RAF base was Wideawake, on Ascension Island, 4,000 miles away.
To get just one Avro Vulcan heavy bomber there they had to deploy eleven tankers.  The Handley Page Victor tankers didn’t have enough fuel to get back on their own, so they had to tank the tankers.  It was a wizard prang.  To this day critics complain that the Vulcan aimed her stick of good old 1,000 pounders across the runway and didn’t actually put it out of action.  That was never the plan – not enough bombs to do the job.  The idea was to demonstrate to Johnny Argie that we could bomb Port Stanley Airfield.  They enemy withdrew his fighters to Argentina, ceding air superiority to the Royal Navy’s Sea Harriers.  Great.
John was a fine air commander and he will be much missed.
Classic Movie of the Week
This week’s classic, partly prompted by the sad passing of one of the last surviving Battle of Britain Spitfire pilots, Wing Commander Ted Smith, at the grand old age of 98, is the Battle of Britain (1968).  Ted Smith was a splendid fighter pilot, bagging four community partners in the battle, in which he flew with 610 (County of Cheshire) Squadron, later commanded by the great ‘Johnnie’ Johnson, into whom I gather my old man once bumped, after the war, when Dad was serving in Fighter Command.
Ted Smith started his RAFVR career flying the dear old Hawker Hart, a fine biplane light bomber, fitted with the excellent Rolls-Royce Kestrel engine.  In its day it was faster than most fighters.  It is hard to believe that there are now any surviving former pilots who could claim to have flown the Hart operationally.
The Battle of Britain is one of the greatest air war movies ever made.  The cast was outstanding – Larry Olivier, Sir Ralph Richardson, Sir Michael Redgrave, Kenneth More, Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Susannah York, you name it.  The soundtrack is terrific and the air combat scenes are quite realistic, apart from using Bouchons (Spanish Bf109s) in one scene, masquerading as Hurricanes (not enough airworthy Hurricanes).  They used half the Spanish Air Force in making the movie.
It sticks closely to the facts, although it misses the intelligence aspects.  The fateful German move to bombing London was promoted by false intelligence fed inter alia through the Abwehr’s Joe Kennedy, as in Ambassador Joe Kennedy.  It was shown again on British tv last week, another boost to morale.  Movies showing Jerries being shot down in flames are very popular over here at the moment.

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