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Frank Sheeran – The (real) Irish Man , life & death

Frank Sheeran

The (real) Irish Man , life & death

Frank Sheeran (left) & with fellow Teamsters organisers at his first job in Detroit.

Francis Joseph Sheeran (October 25, 1920 – December 14, 2003), known as Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran, was an American labor union official who was accused of having links to the Bufalino crime family in his capacity as a high-ranking official in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), the president of Local 326.

Sheeran was a leading figure in the corruption of unions by organized crime. In 1980, he was convicted of labor racketeering and sentenced to 32 years in prison, of which he served 13 years. Shortly before his death, he claimed to have killed Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa in 1975. Author Charles Brandt detailed what Sheeran told him about Hoffa in the narrative nonfiction work I Heard You Paint Houses (2004).

The truthfulness of the book has been disputed by some, including Sheeran’s confessions to killing Hoffa and Joe Gallo. The book is the basis for the 2019 film The Irishman directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran and Al Pacino as Hoffa.

The Irishman Explained | The Reel Story

My thoughts:

Well I watched The Irish Man yesterday evening, all three and a half of it and to be completely honest I thought it was a load of rubbish and a waste of three and a half hours of my life i’ll never get back. Its not a patch on Goodfellas or The God Father and the constant flash backs to when the main players were younger was to say the least completely off putting and unbelievable in the extreme. They looked and moved like the elder actors they are and it was painful watching these icons of gangsters movies having to shame themselves in this manner. Plus, the story line and the dialogue were abysmal and so far removed from the true events that reality had to be suspended and I had to force myself to sit through the whole sorry mess until the bitter , disappointing end.

⭐⭐

Early life

Sheeran was born and raised in DarbyPennsylvania, a small working-class borough on the outskirts of Philadelphia. He was the son of Thomas Francis Sheeran Jr. and Mary Agnes Hanson.  His father was of Irish descent, while his mother was of Swedish descent.

World War II

Sheeran enlisted in the Army in August 1941, did his basic training near Biloxi, Mississippi, and was assigned to the military police. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he volunteered for training in the Army Airborne at Fort BenningGeorgia, but he dislocated his shoulder and was transferred to the 45th Infantry Division, known as “The Thunderbirds” and “The Killer Division”. On July 14, 1943, he set sail for North Africa.

Sheeran served 411 days of combat duty—a significant length of time, as the average was around 100 days. His first experience of combat was during the Italian Campaign, including the invasion of Sicily, the Salerno landings, and the Anzio Campaign. He then served in the landings in southern France[11] and the invasion of Germany.

Sheeran said:

All in all, I had fifty days lost under AWOL—absent without official leave—mostly spent drinking red wine and chasing Italian, French, and German women. However, I was never AWOL when my outfit was going back to the front lines. If you were AWOL when your unit was going back into combat you might as well keep going because one of your own officers would blow you away and they didn’t even have to say it was the Germans. That’s desertion in the face of the enemy.

War crimes

Sheeran recalled his war service as the time when he developed a callousness to taking human life. He claimed to have participated in numerous massacres and summary executions of German POWs, acts which violated the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 and the 1929 Geneva Convention on POWs. In interviews with Charles Brandt, he divided such massacres into four categories:

  1. Revenge killings in the heat of battle. Sheeran told Brandt that a German soldier had just killed his close friends and then tried to surrender, but he chose to “send him to hell, too”. He described often witnessing similar behavior by fellow GIs.
  2. Orders from unit commanders during a mission. Sheeran described his first murder for organized crime: “It was just like when an officer would tell you to take a couple of German prisoners back behind the line and for you to ‘hurry back’. You did what you had to do.”
  3. The Dachau reprisals and other reprisal killings of concentration camp guards and trustee inmates.
  4. Calculated attempts to dehumanize and degrade German POWs. Sheeran’s unit was climbing the Harz Mountains when they came upon a Wehrmacht mule train carrying food and drink up the mountainside. The female cooks were allowed to leave unmolested, then Sheeran and his fellow GI’s “ate what we wanted and soiled the rest with our waste”. Then the Wehrmacht mule drivers were given shovels and ordered to “dig their own shallow graves”. Sheeran joked that they did so without complaint, likely hoping that he and his buddies would change their minds. But the mule drivers were shot and buried in the holes they had dug. Sheeran explained that by then, he “had no hesitation in doing what I had to do.”

Discharge and post-war

Sheeran
Sheeran with family

Sheeran was discharged from the army on October 24, 1945. He later recalled that it was “a day before my twenty-fifth birthday, but only according to the calendar.” Upon returning from his army service, Sheeran married Mary Leddy, an Irish immigrant. The couple had three daughters, MaryAnne, Dolores, and Peggy, but divorced in 1968. Sheeran then married Irene Gray, with whom he had one daughter, Connie.

Organized crime and the Teamsters Union

When he left the service, Sheeran became a meat driver for Food Fair, and he met Russell Bufalino in 1955 when Bufalino offered to help him fix his truck, and later worked jobs driving him around and making deliveries. Sheeran also operated out of a bar located in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania which was run by Bill Distanisloa, a soldier for Angelo Bruno.

Sheeran’s first murder was killing Whispers DiTullio, a gangster who had hired him to destroy the Cadillac Linen Service in Delaware for $10,000. Sheeran did not know, however, that Angelo Bruno had a large stake in the linen service. Sheeran was spotted outside the business in Delaware and was brought in for questioning. Bufalino had convinced Bruno to spare Sheeran, but he ordered Sheeran to kill DiTullio as retribution.

Sheeran was also suspected of the murder of Joe Gallo at Umberto’s Clam House on April 7, 1972.

Bufalino introduced Sheeran to Teamsters International President Jimmy Hoffa. Hoffa became a close friend and used Sheeran for muscle, including the assassination of recalcitrant union members and members of rival unions threatening the Teamsters’ turf. According to Sheeran, the first conversation that he had with Hoffa was over the phone, where Hoffa started by saying, “I heard you paint houses”—a mob code meaning “I heard that you kill people”, the “paint” being spattered blood.

Sheeran later became acting president of Local 326 of the Teamsters Union in Wilmington, Delaware.

Sheeran was charged in 1972 with the 1967 murder of Robert DeGeorge, who was killed in a shootout in front of Local 107 headquarters. The case was dismissed, however, on the grounds that Sheeran had been denied a speedy trial. He was also alleged to have conspired to murder Francis J. Marino in 1976, a Philadelphia labor organizer, and Frederick John Gawronski, killed the same year in a tavern in New Castle, Delaware.

Prison and death

Sheeran was indicted along with six others in July 1980, on charges involving his links to the labor leasing businesses controlled by Eugene Boffa Sr. of Hackensack, New Jersey. On October 31, 1980, Sheeran was found guilty of 11 charges of labor racketeering. He was sentenced to a 32-year prison term and served 13 years.

Sheeran died of cancer on December 14, 2003, aged 83, in a nursing home in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Pennsylvania.

Hoffa death

The Sinister Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa

Charles Brandt claims in I Heard You Paint Houses (2004) that Sheeran confessed to killing Hoffa. According to Brandt’s account, Chuckie O’Brien drove Sheeran, Hoffa, and fellow mobster Sal Briguglio to a house in Metro Detroit. O’Brien and Briguglio drove off and Sheeran and Hoffa went into the house, where Sheeran claims that he shot Hoffa twice in the back of the head. Sheeran says that he was told that Hoffa was cremated after the murder. Sheeran also confessed to reporters that he murdered Hoffa.

Bill Tonelli disputes the book’s truthfulness in his Slate article “The Lies of the Irishman”, as does Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith in “Jimmy Hoffa and ‘The Irishman’: A True Crime Story?” which appeared in The New York Review of Books.

Blood stains were found in the Detroit house where Sheeran claimed that the murder happened, but they were determined not to match Hoffa’s DNA.  The FBI continues its attempts to connect Sheeran to the murder, retesting the blood and floorboards with latest advancements in forensics.

Biographical film

The book is the basis for the 2019 film The Irishman directed by Martin Scorsese. Scorsese was long interested in directing a film about Sheeran’s life and his alleged involvement in the slaying of Hoffa. Steven Zaillian is the screenwriter and co-producer Robert De Niro portrays Sheeran, with Al Pacino as Hoffa, and Joe Pesci as Bufalino.[The film had its world premiere at the New York Film Festival on September 27, 2019, and was released on November 1, 2019, with digital streaming that started on November 27, 2019, via Netflix.

Main Source : Wikipedia Frank Sheeran

“The Irishman” Official Documentary

Other gangster posts

My Book Update , sad to say publication has been delayed due to …..

Howdy Blog followers…

My Book update , Im gutted !! I’m sad to let you all know that due to the Coronavirus crisis publication of my book has been delayed for at least five months , see below for more details.

I’m more than a little disappointed to let you all know due to the Coronavirus & the chaos it is causing worldwide the launch date for my book has been put back until September 3rd, a delay of more than five months.

The publishers believe that persisting with the planned April date would be highly detrimental to the book’s prospects.

Many of Ireland’s bookshops are closing at the moment and expecting to remain closed through April. Retailers Eason, Argosy, Dubray and WHS Travel have cut their orders dramatically in light of the ongoing crisis, and Irish WHS Travel have cancelled all their Irish orders for April.

Apparently twenty-five book retailers in Ireland have closed their doors until further notice.

Amazon are also having enormous issues meeting demand and are currently prioritising medical and home supplies over things like books, so many soon-to-be-released and new books currently don’t have a ‘Buy’ button on the page. As does my own. This may only get worse as the problem deepens.

 The proposed publication date will now be 3 September. I’ll keep you all posted on here!

It’s not the first time a major global event has thrown a spanner in the works for me. The week Princess Di so tragically died a national Newspaper had done a massive feature of my story for publication in the Sunday papers and I was bracing myself for the interest that would generate. In the event Princess Di’s death rightly dominated the press and my feature was kicked into the long grass.

Social Distancing Global Champion

Unexplained Videos That Will Give You Chills

The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre – 14th Feb 1929

The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre 14th Feb 1929

The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre was the 1929 Valentine’s Day murder of seven members and associates of Chicago’s North Side Gang. The men were gathered at a Lincoln Park garage on the morning of Valentine’s Day. They were lined up against a wall and shot by four unknown assailants who were dressed like police officers. The incident resulted from the struggle to control organized crime in the city during Prohibition between the Irish North Siders, headed by George “Bugs” Moran, and their Italian South Side rivals led by Al Capone.

The perpetrators have never been conclusively identified, but former members of the Egan’s Rats gang working for Capone are suspected of a significant role, as are members of the Chicago Police Department who allegedly wanted revenge for the killing of a police officer’s son.

The Massacre

Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre – Al Capone, George ‘Bugs’ Moran and the Irish North Side Gang

At 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, February 14, 1929, seven men were murdered at the garage at 2122 North Clark Street,  in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago’s North Side. They were shot by four men using weapons that included two Thompson submachine guns. Two of the shooters were dressed as uniformed policemen, while the others wore suits, ties, overcoats, and hats. Witnesses saw the fake police leading the other men at gunpoint out of the garage after the shooting.

The victims included five members of George “Bugs” Moran‘s North Side Gang. Moran’s second in command and brother-in-law Albert Kachellek (alias James Clark) was killed along with Adam Heyer, the gang’s bookkeeper and business manager, Albert Weinshank, who managed several cleaning and dyeing operations for Moran, and gang enforcers Frank Gusenberg and Peter Gusenberg.

Two collaborators were also shot: Reinhardt H. Schwimmer, a former optician turned gambler and gang associate, and John May, an occasional mechanic for the Moran gang. Real Chicago police officers arrived at the scene to find that victim Frank Gusenberg was still alive. He was taken to the hospital, where doctors stabilized him for a short time and police tried to question him. He had sustained 14 bullet wounds; the police asked him who did it, and he replied, “No one shot me.” He died three hours later.

Al Capone was widely assumed to have been responsible for ordering the 1929 Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre in an attempt to eliminate Bugs Moran, head of the North Side Gang. Moran was the last survivor of the North Side gunmen; his succession had come about because his similarly aggressive predecessors Vincent Drucci and Hymie Weiss had been killed in the violence that followed the murder of original leader Dean O’Banion.

Al Capone was widely assumed to have been responsible for ordering the 1929 Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre in an attempt to eliminate Bugs Moran, head of the North Side Gang. Moran was the last survivor of the North Side gunmen; his succession had come about because his similarly aggressive predecessors Vincent Drucci and Hymie Weiss had been killed in the violence that followed the murder of original leader Dean O’Banion.

Several factors contributed to the timing of the plan to kill Moran. Earlier in the year, North Sider Frank Gusenberg and his brother Peter unsuccessfully attempted to murder Jack McGurn. The North Side Gang was complicit in the murders of Pasqualino “Patsy” Lolordo and Antonio “The Scourge” Lombardo. Both had been presidents of the Unione Siciliana, the local Mafia, and close associates of Capone. Moran and Capone had been vying for control of the lucrative Chicago bootlegging trade. Moran had also been muscling in on a Capone-run dog track in the Chicago suburbs, and he had taken over several saloons that were run by Capone, insisting that they were in his territory.

The plan was to lure Moran to the SMC Cartage warehouse on North Clark Street on February 14, 1929 to kill him and perhaps two or three of his lieutenants. It is usually assumed that the North Siders were lured to the garage with the promise of a stolen, cut-rate shipment of whiskey, supplied by Detroit’s Purple Gang which was associated with Capone. The Gusenberg brothers were supposed to drive two empty trucks to Detroit that day to pick up two loads of stolen Canadian whiskey. All of the victims were dressed in their best clothes, with the exception of John May, as was customary for the North Siders and other gangsters at the time.

Most of the Moran gang arrived at the warehouse by approximately 10:30 a.m. on Valentine’s Day, but Moran was not there, having left his Parkway Hotel apartment late. He and fellow gang member Ted Newberry approached the rear of the warehouse from a side street when they saw a police car approaching the building. They immediately turned and retraced their steps, going to a nearby coffee shop. They encountered gang member Henry Gusenberg on the street and warned him, so also he turned back. North Side Gang member Willie Marks also spotted the police car on his way to the garage, and he ducked into a doorway and jotted down the license number before leaving the neighborhood.

Capone’s lookouts likely mistook one of Moran’s men for Moran himself, probably Albert Weinshank, who was the same height and build. The physical similarity between the two men was enhanced by their dress that morning; both happened to be wearing the same color overcoats and hats. Witnesses outside the garage saw a Cadillac sedan pull to a stop in front of the garage. Four men emerged and walked inside, two of them dressed in police uniform. The two fake police officers carried shotguns and entered the rear portion of the garage, where they found members of Moran’s gang and collaborators Reinhart Schwimmer and John May, who was fixing one of the trucks.

The Guns of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

The fake policemen then ordered the men to line up against the wall. They then signaled to the pair in civilian clothes who had accompanied them. Two of the killers opened fire with Thompson sub-machine guns, one with a 20-round box magazine and the other a 50-round drum. They were thorough, spraying their victims left and right, even continuing to fire after all seven had hit the floor. Two shotgun blasts afterward all but obliterated the faces of John May and James Clark, according to the coroner’s report.

To give the appearance that everything was under control, the men in street clothes came out with their hands up, prodded by the two uniformed policemen. Inside the garage, the only survivors in the warehouse were May’s dog “Highball” and Frank Gusenberg—despite 14 bullet wounds. He was still conscious, but he died three hours later, refusing to utter a word about the identities of the killers. The Valentine’s Day Massacre set off a public outcry which posed a problem for all mob bosses.

Victims

  • Peter Gusenberg, a front-line enforcer for the Moran organizations
  • Frank Gusenberg, the brother of Peter Gusenberg and also an enforcer
  • Albert Kachellek (alias “James Clark”), Moran’s second in command
  • Adam Heyer, the bookkeeper and business manager of the Moran gang
  • Reinhardt Schwimmer, an optician who had abandoned his practice to gamble on horse racing and associate with the gang
  • Albert Weinshank, who managed several cleaning and dyeing operations for Moran; his resemblance to Moran is allegedly what set the massacre in motion before Moran arrived, including the clothes that he was wearing
  • John May, an occasional car mechanic for the Moran gang[8]

Investigation

Within days, Capone received a summons to testify before a Chicago grand jury on charges of federal Prohibition violations, but he claimed to be too unwell to attend.

The Purple Gang

It was common knowledge that Moran was hijacking Capone’s Detroit-based liquor shipments, and police focused their attention on Detroit’s predominantly Jewish Purple Gang. Landladies Mrs. Doody and Mrs. Orvidson had taken in three men as roomers ten days before the massacre, and their rooming houses were directly across the street from the Clark Street garage. They picked out mug shots of Purple members George Lewis, Eddie Fletcher, Phil Keywell, and his younger brother Harry, but they later wavered in their identification. The police questioned and cleared Fletcher, Lewis, and Harry Keywell. Nevertheless, the Keywell brothers (and by extension the Purple Gang) remained ensnared in the massacre case for all time. Many also believed what the killers wanted them to believe: that the police did it.

On February 22, police were called to the scene of a garage fire on Wood Street where they found a 1927 Cadillac Sedan disassembled and partially burned, and they determined that the killers had used the car. They traced the engine number to a Michigan Avenue dealer who had sold the car to a James Morton of Los Angeles.

Claude Maddox

The garage had been rented by a man calling himself Frank Rogers, who gave his address as 1859 West North Avenue. This was the address of the Circus Café operated by Claude Maddox, a former St. Louis gangster with ties to the Capone gang, the Purple Gang, and a St. Louis gang called Egan’s Rats. Police could not turn up any information about persons named James Morton or Frank Rogers, but they had a definite lead on one of the killers. Just minutes before the killings, a truck driver named Elmer Lewis had turned a corner a block away from 2122 North Clark and sideswiped a police car.

He told police that he stopped immediately but was waved away by the uniformed driver, who was missing a front tooth. Board of Education president H. Wallace Caldwell had witnessed the accident, and he gave the same description of the driver. Police were confident that they were describing Fred Burke, a former member of Egan’s Rats. Burke and a close companion named James Ray were known to wear police uniforms whenever on a robbery spree. Burke was also a fugitive, under indictment for robbery and murder in Ohio. Police also suggested that Joseph Lolordo could have been one of the killers because of his brother Pasqualino’s recent murder by the North Side Gang.

Police then announced that they suspected Capone gunmen John Scalise and Albert Anselmi, as well as Jack McGurn and Frank Rio, a Capone bodyguard. Police eventually charged McGurn and Scalise with the massacre. Capone murdered John Scalise, Anselmi, and Joseph “Hop Toad” Giunta in May 1929 after he learned about their plan to kill him. The police dropped the murder charges against Jack McGurn because of a lack of evidence, and he was just charged with a violation of the Mann Act; he took his girlfriend Louise Rolfe across state lines to marry.

The case stagnated until December 14, 1929, when the Berrien County, Michigan Sheriff’s Department raided the St. Joseph, Michigan bungalow of “Frederick Dane”, the registered owner of a vehicle driven by Fred “Killer” Burke. Burke had been drinking that night, then rear-ended another vehicle and drove off. Patrolman Charles Skelly pursued, finally forcing him off the road. Skelly hopped onto the running board of Burke’s car, but he was shot three times and died of his wounds that night. The car was found wrecked and abandoned just outside St. Joseph and traced to Fred Dane. By this time, police photos confirmed that Dane was in fact Fred Burke, wanted by the Chicago police for his participation in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

Thompson submachine guns,

Police raided Burke’s bungalow and found a large trunk containing a bullet-proof vest, almost $320,000 in bonds recently stolen from a Wisconsin bank, two Thompson submachine guns, pistols, two shotguns, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. St. Joseph authorities immediately notified the Chicago police, who requested both machine guns. They used the new science of forensic ballistics to identify both weapons as those used in the massacre. They also discovered that one of them had also been used to murder New York mobster Frankie Yale a year and a half earlier. Unfortunately, no further concrete evidence surfaced in the massacre case. Burke was captured over a year later on a Missouri farm. The case against him was strongest in connection to the murder of Officer Skelly, so he was tried in Michigan and subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment. He died in prison in 1940.

The Real Scarface: Al Capone (Full Documentary)

See: Wikipedia Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre for more details

The Spanish Flu “The greatest medical holocaust in history”

The Spanish Flu

The 1918 influenza pandemic (January 1918 – December 1920; colloquially known as Spanish flu)

The 1918 influenza pandemic (January 1918 – December 1920; colloquially known as Spanish flu) was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic, the first of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus, with the second being the swine flu in 2009.  It infected 500 million people around the world, or about 27% of the then world population of about 1.8 billion, including people on remote Pacific islands and in the Arctic. The death toll is estimated to have been 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million (about 3 to 6 percent of Earth’s population at the time), making it one of the deadliest epidemics in human history.  Historical and epidemiological data are inadequate to identify with certainty the pandemic’s geographic origin.

Infectious diseases already limited life expectancy in the early 20th century, but life expectancy in the United States dropped by about 12 years in the first year of the pandemic. Most influenza outbreaks disproportionately kill the very young and the very old, with a higher survival rate for those in-between. However, the Spanish flu pandemic resulted in a higher than expected mortality rate for young adults.

To maintain morale, wartime censors minimized early reports of illness and mortality in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States. Papers were free to report the epidemic’s effects in neutral Spain (such as the grave illness of King Alfonso XIII). These stories created a false impression of Spain as especially hard hit,[13] thereby giving rise to the pandemic’s nickname, “Spanish flu”.

Scientists offer several possible explanations for the high mortality rate of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Some analyses have shown the virus to be particularly deadly because it triggers a cytokine storm, which ravages the stronger immune system of young adults. In contrast, a 2007 analysis of medical journals from the period of the pandemic found that the viral infection was no more aggressive than previous influenza strains. Instead, malnourishment, overcrowded medical camps and hospitals, and poor hygiene promoted bacterial superinfection. This superinfection killed most of the victims, typically after a somewhat prolonged death bed

1918 Spanish Flu historical documentary

History

Hypotheses about the source

The major troop staging and hospital camp in Étaples, France, was identified by researchers as being at the center of the Spanish flu. The research was published in 1999 by a British team, led by virologist John Oxford.[20] In late 1917, military pathologists reported the onset of a new disease with high mortality that they later recognized as the flu. The overcrowded camp and hospital was an ideal site for the spreading of a respiratory virus.

The hospital treated thousands of victims of chemical attacks, and other casualties of war. 100,000 soldiers were in transit through the camp every day. It also was home to a live piggery, and poultry was regularly brought in for food supplies from surrounding villages. Oxford and his team postulated that a significant precursor virus, harbored in birds, mutated and then migrated to pigs kept near the front.

There have been claims that the epidemic originated in the United States. Historian Alfred W. Crosby claimed that the flu originated in Kansas, and popular author John Barry described Haskell County, Kansas, as the point of origin. It has also been claimed that, by late 1917, there had already been a first wave of the epidemic in at least 14 US military camps.

One of the few regions of the world that were seemingly less affected by the 1918 flu pandemic was China, where there may have been a comparatively mild flu season in 1918 (although this is disputed, see #Less-affected areas). There were relatively few deaths from the flu in China compared to other regions of the world. This has led to speculation that the 1918 flu pandemic originated from the country of China itself.

The relatively mild flu season and lower rates of flu mortality in China in 1918 may be explained due to the fact that the Chinese population had already possessed acquired immunity to the flu virus. Thus in 1918, China was spared from the worst ravages of the pandemic, due to the apparent greater resistance to the virus among the Chinese population compared to other regions of the world

Earlier hypotheses put forward varying points of origin for the epidemic. Some hypothesized that the flu originated in East Asia, a common area for transmission of disease from animals to humans because of dense living conditions. In 1993, Claude Hannoun, the leading expert on the 1918 flu for the Pasteur Institute, asserted the former virus was likely to have come from China. It then mutated in the United States near Boston and from there spread to Brest, France, Europe’s battlefields, Europe, and the world with Allied soldiers and sailors as the main disseminators.

He considered several other hypotheses of origin, such as Spain, Kansas and Brest, as being possible, but not likely.

Political scientist Andrew Price-Smith published data from the Austrian archives suggesting the influenza had earlier origins, beginning in Austria in early 1917.

In 2014, historian Mark Humphries argued that the mobilization of 96,000 Chinese laborers to work behind the British and French lines might have been the source of the pandemic. Humphries, of the Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s, based his conclusions on newly unearthed records. He found archival evidence that a respiratory illness that struck northern China in November 1917 was identified a year later by Chinese health officials as identical to the Spanish flu.

A report published in 2016 in the Journal of the Chinese Medical Association found no evidence that the 1918 virus was imported to Europe via Chinese and Southeast Asian soldiers and workers. It found evidence that the virus had been circulating in the European armies for months and possibly years before the 1918 pandemic.

Spread

When an infected person sneezes or coughs, more than half a million virus particles can spread to those nearby. The close quarters and massive troop movements of World War I hastened the pandemic, and probably both increased transmission and augmented mutation. The war may also have increased the lethality of the virus. Some speculate the soldiers’ immune systems were weakened by malnourishment, as well as the stresses of combat and chemical attacks, increasing their susceptibility.

A large factor in the worldwide occurrence of this flu was increased travel. Modern transportation systems made it easier for soldiers, sailors, and civilian travelers to spread the disease.

In the United States, the disease was first observed in Haskell County, Kansas, in January 1918, prompting local doctor Loring Miner to warn the U.S. Public Health Service‘s academic journal. On 4 March 1918, company cook Albert Gitchell, from Haskell County, reported sick at Fort Riley, an American military facility that at the time was training American troops during World War I, making him the first recorded victim of the flu. Within days, 522 men at the camp had reported sick.

By 11 March 1918, the virus had reached Queens, New York. Failure to take preventive measures in March/April was later criticised.

In August 1918, a more virulent strain appeared simultaneously in Brest, France; in Freetown, Sierra Leone; and in the U.S. in Boston, Massachusetts. The Spanish flu also spread through Ireland, carried there by returning Irish soldiers. The Allies of World War I came to call it the Spanish flu, primarily because the pandemic received greater press attention after it moved from France to Spain in November 1918. Spain was not involved in the war and had not imposed wartime censorship.

Mortality

“In terms of single events causing major loss of life, it surpassed the First World War (17 million dead), the Second World War (60 million dead), and possibly both put together. It was the greatest tidal wave of death since the Black Death, perhaps in the whole of human history.” Laura SpinneyPale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World

See: Wikipedia Spanish Flu

Coronavirus

coronavirus is one of a number of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, the viruses cause respiratory infections, including the common cold, which are typically mild, though rarer forms such as SARSMERS and 2019-nCoV can be lethal. Symptoms vary in other species: in chickens, they cause an upper respiratory disease, while in cows and pigs coronaviruses cause diarrhea. There are no vaccines or antiviral drugs to prevent or treat human coronavirus infections.

Coronaviruses are in the subfamily Orthocoronavirinae in the family Coronaviridae, in the order Nidovirales. They are enveloped viruses with a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and a nucleocapsid of helical symmetry. The genome size of coronaviruses ranges from approximately 26 to 32 kilobases, the largest for an RNA virus.

The name “coronavirus” is derived from the Latin corona, meaning crown or halo, which refers to the characteristic appearance of the virus particles (virions): they have a fringe reminiscent of a crown or of a solar corona.

Coronavirus fake news infects the media 

See: Wikipedia Coronavirus for more details

Black Death

The Black Death, also known as the Pestilence (Pest for short), the Great Plague or the Plague, or less commonly the Black Plague, was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people in Eurasia, peaking in Europe from 1347 to 1351.[1][2][3] The bacterium Yersinia pestis, which results in several forms of plague (septicemic, pneumonic and, the most common, bubonic) is believed to have been the cause.[4] The Black Death was the first major European outbreak of plague and the second plague pandemic.[5] The plague created a number of religious, social and economic upheavals, with profound effects on the course of European history.

The Black Death is thought to have originated in the dry plains of Central Asia or East Asia, where it travelled along the Silk Road, reaching Crimea by 1343. From there, it was most likely carried by fleas living on the black rats that traveled on all merchant ships, spreading throughout the Mediterranean Basin and Europe.

The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe’s population. In total, the plague may have reduced the world population from an estimated 475 million to 350–375 million in the 14th century. It took 200 years for the world population to recover to its previous level. The plague recurred as outbreaks in Europe until the 19th century.

BBC Documentary THE BLACK DEATH

Chronology

Origins of the disease

Main article: Black Death migration

The plague disease, caused by Yersinia pestis, is enzootic (commonly present) in populations of fleas carried by ground rodents, including marmots, in various areas, including Central AsiaKurdistanWestern AsiaNorth India, and Uganda. Due to climate change in Asia, rodents began to flee the dried-out grasslands to more populated areas, spreading the disease. Nestorian graves dating to 1338–1339 near Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan have inscriptions referring to plague and are thought by many epidemiologists to mark the outbreak of the epidemic, from which it could easily have spread to China and India. In October 2010, medical geneticists suggested that all three of the great waves of the plague originated in China.

The 13th-century Mongol conquest of China caused a decline in farming and trading. Economic recovery had been observed at the beginning of the fourteenth century. In the 1330s, many natural disasters and plagues led to widespread famine, starting in 1331, with a deadly plague arriving soon after.  Epidemics that may have included the plague killed an estimated 25 million Chinese and other Asians during the fifteen years before it reached Constantinople in 1347.

The disease may have travelled along the Silk Road with Mongol armies and traders or it could have arrived via ship. By the end of 1346, reports of plague had reached the seaports of Europe: “India was depopulated, TartaryMesopotamiaSyriaArmenia were covered with dead bodies”.

Plague was reportedly first introduced to Europe via Genoese traders from the port city of Kaffa in the Crimea in 1347.  During a protracted siege of the city by the Mongol army under Jani Beg, whose army was suffering from the disease, the army catapulted infected corpses over the city walls of Kaffa to infect the inhabitants. The Genoese traders fled, taking the plague by ship into Sicily and the south of Europe, whence it spread north.[20] Whether or not this hypothesis is accurate, it is clear that several existing conditions such as war, famine, and weather contributed to the severity of the Black Death. Among many other culprits of plague contagiousness malnutrition even if distantly also had an effect as a contributor to such an immense loss in European population since it lead to weakened immune systems. 

See: Wikipedia Black Death

5 Diseases That Could Kill You In 24 Hours


Youngster gets E.coli after park lake swim

Here’s a story about my son Jude, now 12 who contacted E Coli from local river.

Jude Chambers, four, has been suffering with E.coli for three weeks, with his mother Simone
Jude and the wife

A Leyland youngster who enjoyed a paddle in the water at a beauty spot ended up being struck down with the E.coli bug.

Jude Chambers, four, of Great Park Drive, went to Cuerden Valley Park with his parents Steve and Simone three weeks ago.

Mum Simone, 39, who also has a daughter Autumn, said: “Jude had been paddling in the stream on both the Friday and the Saturday and on the Monday, he began complaining of stomach cramps and vomiting.

“A couple of days later, he began suffering from diarrhoea which kept getting worse and became uncontrollable.”

When Jude’s condition worsened, his parents took a sample to the doctor for testing and the following day, they received a telephone call telling them Jude had E.Coli and to take him to Royal Preston Hospital.

Simone, who is a ballet and contempary dancer and teacher, said: “When you first hear the word E-coli, you start thinking really horrible things and we were really upset and worried about Jude.

“Royal Preston Hospital carried out tests to check Jude’s kidneys and liver were affected. Luckily, they weren’t and we were allowed to take him home.

“He carried on suffering from the diarrhoea for a week and he is now a lot better, although he gets very tired and still gets stomach pains.

“However, we have sent three samples for testing and he is still testing positive for E.coli three weeks on.

“Health protection experts came to our home and after hearing that Jude had been paddling in the water, they suspect he got the E.Coli from the water.”

Jude is a pupil at Lever House Primary School in Leyland, but has not been to school since becoming ill.

See : Leyland Guardian for full story

Whats on my mind ……?

I need to chill , the daily grind of everyday life gets a little boring sometimes , esp after 53 years of many crazy highs and at times epic lows .But I’ve got to be grateful for what I have. I know my life although far from perfect is much better than many others . Thank god for small mercies.

Hospital appointment tomorrow morning for over active thyroid , I ain’t complaining about it but my god I didn’t even know it was a thing until they found I had it after some blood tests. I knew there was something not quite right , but took ages to diagnose. Caused me loads of problems , mostly with my eyes which is kind of scary ,chronic tiredness , weight …..

Wifey going to Goa on Friday to teach yoga and go to a yoga retreat. I was invited along but not my kind of thing,. To be sure I like the philosophy of it all , just not bendy enough to do most of the moves. Might take up tai chi , that’s more my style. hee he.

She’s away for nine days so I’ll be in charge of the kids, two cats , one with only three legs and two very nervous goldfish. Hope I don’t drink myself to death. I wonder if she’ll make me a curry before she goes.. Hmmmm…

Wondering if I can be arsed joining the local astronomy club , or should I wait until spring/summer ? Star gazing is something I really enjoy, I have a telescope and all the equipment , but when no one else in the family is interested in sitting in the garden in the middle of winter in the dark and cold it can become quite a lonely venture. .Tried to get son interested, but he’s a teenager now, thinks he’s a gangster and hates me at least five times a day at the mo.

Wondering if that big asteroid gonna destroy the Earth and when we’ll ever hear the end of the harry and Meghan debate. Snzzzz……….

Worried and anxious about my forthcoming book , its a massive thing for me and I’m about to go down the rabbit hole and have no idea what I’ll find down there.

Considering if it would be a good idea to have a gin.

And finally Im testing out some new features on my blog and wanted to see how they all worked and looked , hence this boring post!

My autobiography: A Belfast Child is now available to order on line

Hi folks

Just a quick post to let you know my book: A Belfast Child is now avaiable on line from Amazon , see link below for details and how to order.

Cheers

Click here to order online : A Belfast Child

Barry Seal – DEA Informant : Life & Death

Adler Berrima Adler Berriman “Barry” Seal

Barry Seal

Adler Berriman “Barry” Seal (July 16, 1939 – February 19, 1986) was a Trans World Airlines (TWA) pilot who became a major drug smuggler for the Medellín Cartel. When Seal was convicted of smuggling charges, he became an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration and testified in several major drug trials. He was murdered in 1986 by contract killers hired by Pablo Escobar, head of the Medellín Cartel.

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The Rise & Fall of Pablo Escobar El Patron Medellin Cartel Documentary

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Early life

Seal, born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was the son of Mary Lou (née Delcambre) and Benjamin Kurtis Seal, a candy wholesaler. Seal began flying as a teenager. According to his flight instructor, he was a naturally gifted pilot. He earned his student pilot certificate at 16 and a private pilot’s certificate at 17.

In 1961, Seal enlisted in the Louisiana Army National Guard for six years, serving with the 20th Special Forces Group. He graduated from United States Army Airborne School but never completed United States Army Special Forces selection and training. Seal later served in the 245th Engineer Battalion with his MOS being radio telephone operator.

Early career

Barry Seal In his TWA uniform

Seal joined TWA as a flight engineer in 1964 and was soon promoted to first officer, then captain, flying a Boeing 707 on a regular Western Europe route. He was one of the youngest 707 command pilots in the TWA fleet.

Seal’s career with TWA ended in July 1972, when he was arrested for involvement in a conspiracy to smuggle a shipment of plastic explosives to Mexico using a DC-4. The case was eventually dismissed in 1974 for prosecutorial misconduct, but TWA in the meantime fired Seal, who had falsely taken medical leave to participate in the scheme.

Drug smuggling career

According to statements Seal made after becoming a DEA informant, he began smuggling small quantities of cannabis . By 1978, he had begun flying significant loads of cocaine, because pound-for-pound it was more profitable.

In December 1979, Seal was arrested in Honduras after returning from a drug smuggling trip to Ecuador. Although the Honduran police did not find any cocaine, they did find an M-1 rifle, and Seal was imprisoned until July 1980.

Undeterred by his arrest, Seal expanded his operations upon returning to the United States. He hired William Bottoms, his ex-brother-in-law, as a pilot, and from 1980 on Bottoms was the main pilot in Seal’s smuggling enterprise, while Seal oversaw planning and operations.

Seal later began working for the Medellín Cartel as a pilot and drug smuggler. He transported numerous shipments of cocaine from Colombia and Panama to the United States, and earned as much as $1,300,000 per flight.

After successful runs at his home base in Louisiana he moved operations to Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport, in Mena, Arkansas. There he bought, sold and operated many planes.

Undercover informant and operative

Seal was eventually arrested in connection with his drug smuggling activities. In a Florida federal court, he was indicted, tried, convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison. After his sentencing, Seal approached the DEA and offered to cooperate with the government as an informant.

Federal officials agreed to use him in that capacity and mentioned his cooperation during hearings in which Seal sought a reduction of his sentence. With an agreement reached, Seal began working as a federal informant in March 1984.

According to the FrontlineGodfather of Cocaine investigation, Ernst “Jake” Jacobson was Seal’s DEA handler during this period. Jacobson claims he still has the high-tech message encrypter which he gave Seal.

“We made sure all of his aircraft were equipped with the most expensive cryptic radio communications we had ever seen at that time,”

said Jacobson.

In order to mitigate his 1984 arrest in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for money laundering and Quaalude smuggling, Seal agreed to testify against his former employers and associates in the drug trade, and thereby contributed to putting several of them in jail. Among those against whom Seal testified were Chief Minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands Norman Saunders and members of the Medellín Cartel. Seal also testified before the President’s Commission on Organized Crime in October 1985.

Jacobson, testifying in 1988, told a House Judiciary Committee that Seal had flown to an airstrip in Nicaragua in an airplane that had cameras installed by the Central Intelligence Agency. Seal took pictures during the Nicaragua sting operation that showed Pablo EscobarJorge Luis Ochoa Vásquez, and other members of the Medellín Cartel loading kilos of cocaine onto a C-123 transport plane. Federico Vaughan, the Sandinista Minister of the Interior, who Seal claimed was a top aide of Tomas Borge‘s, was also photographed with Sandinista soldiers helping load the plane.

Pablo Escobar

Seal was both a smuggler and a DEA informant/operative in this sting operation against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. In 1984, Seal flew from Nicaragua to Homestead Air Force Base in Florida with a shipment of cocaine that had been allegedly brokered through the Sandinista government.

This cocaine was seized by the DEA and was never received by the cartel’s distribution handlers in Florida, which in Medellín caused suspicion to fall upon Seal as the person responsible for this lost shipment.

Edmond Jacoby’s report in the July 17, 1984 issue of the Washington Times linked officials in the Sandinista government to the Medellín cartel and discussed Seal’s mission to Nicaragua. The public disclosures jeopardized Seal’s life and quickly brought an end to the sting operation designed to capture the cartel’s leaders.

Questioned about the identity of the source, Jacobson replied, “I heard that the leak came from an aide in the White House”. He stated that Iran–Contra figure Oliver North had attended two meetings about the sting operation and had motivation to release the information. UPI reported: “By linking the Sandinistas with drug traffic … aid to the rebels accused of human rights violations might seem more palatable”.

Subcommittee chairman William J. Hughes strongly suggested that North was the source of the leak, but Representative Bill McCollum said,

“…we don’t know who leaked this. No one has been able to tell us”.

 Citing testimony of DEA Administrator John C. Lawn, the report of the Kerry Committee released in December 1988 pinned the leak on North stating he “decided to play politics with the issue”. In an interview with Frontline, North said he was told by his superiors on the National Security Council to brief Senator Paula Hawkins about the operation, but he denied leaking the report.

Hawkins told Frontline that neither she nor her staff leaked the information after the briefing.Jacoby later denied that North was the source of his story and attributed it to a deceased staff member for Representative Dan Daniel.

The Wall Street Journal also printed the story, contributing to media coverage that indirectly exposed Seal’s involvement in the operation. The articles also exposed the Colombian cartel leaders and Nicaraguan Interior Minister who had been photographed moving cocaine onto Seal’s aircraft. Despite these pressures, Seal went ahead and testified with the pictures taken during the trip showing Sandinista officials in Nicaragua brokering a cocaine deal with members of Colombia’s Medellín Cartel.

Murder

Seal was sentenced to work in public service at the Salvation Army facility on Airline Highway (U.S. 61), in Baton Rouge, as a modification by the judge to Seal’s original plea deal. On February 19, 1986, Seal was shot to death in front of the site. His murder abruptly brought the DEA’s investigation to an end.

 Barry Seal | American Dope

Colombian assassins sent by the Medellín Cartel were apprehended while trying to leave Louisiana, soon after Seal’s murder. Authorities thus concluded Seal’s murderers were hired by Ochoa. The killers were indicted by a state grand jury on March 27, 1986.

In May 1987, Luis Carlos Quintero-Cruz, Miguel Vélez (died in custody 2015) and Bernardo Antonio Vásquez were convicted of first degree murder in Seal’s death, and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Barry Seal’s Grave

Louisiana Attorney General William Guste wrote to United States Attorney General Edwin Meese criticizing the government’s failure to protect Seal as a witness. At Guste’s request, Meese launched an investigation to determine whether or not attorneys in Louisiana, Miami, and Washington had mishandled the case, and to determine whether or not Seal should have been forced into protective custody. Government attorneys stated that Seal placed himself in danger by refusing to move his family and enter a witness protection program.

In 1991, cartel member Max Mermelstein testified that he had been instructed in December 1984 either to kidnap Seal and return him to Colombia, or to murder him. The reward to kidnap Seal was $1 million, and the reward to kill him was $500,000.

Personal life

Deborah DuBois his third wife and children

Seal married three times; the first to Barbara Dodson from 1963 to 1971 and to Lynn Ross from 1971 to 1972 – ended in divorce. His marriage to Deborah DuBois, in 1973, ended with his death in 1986. Seal had 6 children, 2 from his first wife, one child from a relationship he had in between marriages and three more with Debbie. 

Media depictions

Films

  • Seal is portrayed by Dennis Hopper in the docudrama Doublecrossed (1991), which prominently features Seal’s co-pilot and collaborator Emile Camp[27][28] (portrayed by G. W. Bailey), although some of the Camp plotlines stand in for actual events involving William Roger Reeves, who met Seal in jail and introduced him to the Medellín Cartel.
  • Seal is portrayed by Michael Paré in the American crime drama film The Infiltrator (2016), in two brief, historically inaccurate scenes that exercise dramatic license to depict the film’s title character, Robert Mazur, as a passenger in a car being driven by Seal who is killed in a motorcycle drive-by shooting.
  • Seal is portrayed by Tom Cruise in the crime drama-comedy film American Made (2017), loosely based on Seal’s life, produced by Imagine Entertainment. Little of the film is historically accurate; most of the plot, such as the assassination of Seal’s brother-in-law, were invented for purposes of the film.

Television

  • Seal is portrayed by theater director Thaddeus Phillips in the 2013 TV series Alias El Mexicano.
  • Seal is portrayed by Dylan Bruno in Season 1, Episode 4, of the Netflix series Narcos (2015).

Inside the Colombian Cartels

Other drug stories

See: Kiki Camarena – The Brutal Torture & Death of a Narc

See : Gangster Warlords – Amado Carrillo Fuentes – Lord of the Skies

Books I’ve read: Saladin: The Life, the Legend and the Islamic Empire

Saladin:

The Life, the Legend and the Islamic Empire 

Saladin remains one of the most iconic figures of his age. As the man who united the Arabs and saved Islam from Christian crusaders in the 12th century, he is the Islamic world’s preeminent hero. Ruthless in defence of his faith, brilliant in leadership, he also possessed qualities that won admiration from his Christian foes. He knew the limits of violence, showing such tolerance and generosity that many Europeans, appalled at the brutality of their own people, saw him as the exemplar of their own knightly ideals.

My thoughts ?

A fascinating and engaging easy to follow account of the life and times of one of the greatest and most respected Muslim leaders ever to have lived in my humble opinion. At a time when religious wars dominated the political landscape and European Christians considered it a religious duty to wage holy war , Saladin’s story unfolds and what a story it is. With a cast of characters as diverse as Raynald of Châtillon , ( evil bastard ) , Richard the Lion Heart ( treacherous ) and the mysterious and much feared assassins this is a page turner and I read it within two days.

Well worth a read for those interested in this tumultuous period of history and the legacy of God’s ” Holy Warriors. “

But Saladin is far more than a historical hero. Builder, literary patron and theologian, he is a man for all times, and a symbol of hope for an Arab world once again divided. Centuries after his death, in cities from Damascus to Cairo and beyond, to the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf, Saladin continues to be an immensely potent symbol of religious and military resistance to the West. He is central to Arab memories, sensibilities and the ideal of a unified Islamic state.

In this authoritative biography, historian John Man brings Saladin and his world to life in vivid detail. Charting his rise to power, his struggle to unify the warring factions of his faith, and his battles to retake Jerusalem and expel Christian influence from Arab lands, Saladin explores the life and the enduring legacy of this champion of Islam, and examines his significance for the world today.

Amazon Reviews




Saladin Documentary

Biography of the Life of Saladin

See more reviews : The Life, the Legend and the Islamic Empire

See below for more details on Saladin

Assassins and Occult Secret Societies 

Raynald of Châtillon

Raynald of Châtillon, also known as Reynald or Reginald of Châtillon (FrenchRenaud de Châtillonc. 1125 – 4 July 1187), was Prince of Antioch from 1153 to 1160 or 1161, and Lord of Oultrejordain from 1175 until his death. He was born as his father’s second son into a French noble family. After losing a part of his patrimony, he joined the Second Crusade in 1147. He settled in the Kingdom of Jerusalem and served in the royal army as a mercenary.

Raynald married Constance, the reigning Princess of Antioch, in 1153, in spite of her subjects’ opposition. He was always in need of funds. He captured and tortured Aimery of LimogesLatin Patriarch of Antioch, because Aimery had refused to pay a subsidy to him. Raynald launched a plundering raid in Cyprus in 1155, causing great destruction. Four years later, the Byzantine EmperorManuel I Komnenos, came to Antioch at the head of a large army, forcing Raynald to beg for his mercy. Raynald made a raid in the valley of the river Euphrates at Marash to seize booty from the local peasants in 1160 or 1161, but he was captured by the governor of Aleppo.

Raynald was held in prison until 1176. After his release for a large ransom, he did not return to Antioch, because his wife had meanwhile died. He married Stephanie of Milly, the wealthy heiress of Oultrejordain. Since Baldwin IV of Jerusalem also granted Hebron to him, Raynald was one of the wealthiest barons of the realm. He controlled the caravan routes between Egypt and Syria. Baldwin, who suffered from leprosy, made him regent in 1177.

Raynald led the crusader army that defeated Saladin at the Battle of Montgisard. He was the only Christian leader to pursue an offensive policy against Saladin, making plundering raids against the caravans travelling near his domains. He built a fleet of five ships which plundered the coast of the Red Sea, threatening the route of the Muslim pilgrims towards Mecca in early 1183. Saladin pledged that he would never forgive Raynald.

Raynald was a firm supporter of Baldwin IV’s sister, Sybilla, and her husband, Guy of Lusignan, during conflicts regarding the succession of the king. Sibylla and Guy were able to seize the throne in 1186 due to Raynald’s co-operation with her uncle, Joscelin III of Courtenay. Raynald attacked a caravan travelling from Egypt to Syria in late 1186 or early 1187, claiming that the truce between Saladin and the Kingdom of Jerusalem did not bind him. After Raynald refused to pay a compensation, Saladin invaded the kingdom and annihilated the crusader army in the Battle of Hattin. Raynald was captured in the battlefield. Saladin personally beheaded him after he refused to convert to Islam. Most historians have regarded Raynald as an irresponsible adventurer whose lust for booty caused the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. On the other hand, Bernard Hamilton says that he was the only crusader leader who tried to prevent Saladin from unifying the nearby Muslim states.

See: Knights Templar – God’s Holy Warriors’

Why Did Saladin Execute Raynald of Châtillon?

– Raynald of Châtillon –

The Untold Truth of a Crusader

Saladin

See : Raynald of Châtillon

Salah ad-Din Yusuf
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Al-Malik an-Nasir
Statue of Saladin in Damascus
Sultan of Egypt and Syria
Reign1174 – 4 March 1193
Coronation1174, Cairo
PredecessorNew office
SuccessorAl-Aziz Uthman (Egypt)Al-Afdal (Syria)
Born1137
TikritUpper MesopotamiaAbbasid Caliphate
Died4 March 1193 (aged 55–56)
DamascusSyriaAyyubid Sultanate
BurialUmayyad Mosque, Damascus
SpouseIsmat ad-Din Khatun
Full nameAn-Nasir Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb
DynastyAyyubid
FatherNajm ad-Dīn Ayyūb
ReligionSunni Islam (Shafi’i)[1][2][3]

An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub (Arabic: صلاح الدين يوسف بن أيوب‎ / ALA-LCṢalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn AyyūbKurdish: سەلاحەدینی ئەییووبی‎ / ALA-LC: Selahedînê Eyûbî), known as Salah ad-Din or Saladin (/ˈsælədɪn/; 1137 – 4 March 1193), was the first sultan of Egypt and Syria and the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. A Sunni Muslim of Kurdish ethnicity, Saladin led the Muslim military campaign against the Crusader states in the Levant. At the height of his power, his sultanate included Egypt, Syria, Upper Mesopotamia, the HejazYemen and other parts of North Africa.

He was originally sent to Fatimid Egypt in 1164 alongside his uncle Shirkuh, a general of the Zengid army, on the orders of their lord Nur ad-Din to help restore Shawar as vizier of the teenage Fatimid caliph al-Adid. A power struggle ensued between Shirkuh and Shawar after the latter was reinstated. Saladin, meanwhile, climbed the ranks of the Fatimid government by virtue of his military successes against Crusader assaults against its territory and his personal closeness to al-Adid.

After Shawar was assassinated and Shirkuh died in 1169, al-Adid appointed Saladin vizier, a rare nomination of a Sunni Muslim to such an important position in the Isma’ili Shia caliphate. During his tenure as vizier, Saladin began to undermine the Fatimid establishment and, following al-Adid’s death in 1171, he abolished the Fatimid Caliphate and realigned the country’s allegiance with the Sunni, Baghdad-based Abbasid Caliphate.

In the following years, he led forays against the Crusaders in Palestine, commissioned the successful conquest of Yemen, and staved off pro-Fatimid rebellions in Upper Egypt. Not long after Nur ad-Din’s death in 1174, Saladin launched his conquest of Syria, peacefully entering Damascus at the request of its governor. By mid-1175, Saladin had conquered Hama and Homs, inviting the animosity of other Zengid lords, the official rulers of Syria’s various regions.

Soon after, he defeated the Zengid army at the Battle of the Horns of Hama and was thereafter proclaimed the “Sultan of Egypt and Syria” by the Abbasid caliph al-Mustadi. Saladin made further conquests in northern Syria and Jazira, escaping two attempts on his life by the “Assassins“, before returning to Egypt in 1177 to address issues there. By 1182, Saladin had completed the conquest of Muslim Syria after capturing Aleppo, but ultimately failed to take over the Zengid stronghold of Mosul.

Under Saladin’s command, the Ayyubid army defeated the Crusaders at the decisive Battle of Hattin in 1187, and thereafter wrested control of Palestine—including the city of Jerusalem—from the Crusaders, who had conquered the area 88 years earlier. Although the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem continued to exist until the late 13th century, its defeat at Hattin marked a turning point in its conflict with the Muslim powers of the region. Saladin died in Damascus in 1193, having given away much of his personal wealth to his subjects. He is buried in a mausoleum adjacent to the Umayyad Mosque. Saladin has become a prominent figure in MuslimArabTurkish and Kurdish culture, and he has often been described as being the most famous Kurd in history.

First Crusade Part 1 of 2

See: Saladin/ Wikipedia

Fragging – The deliberate killing or attempted killing by a soldier of a fellow soldier

Fragging –

The deliberate killing or attempted killing by a soldier of a fellow soldier………

Fragging is the deliberate killing or attempted killing by a soldier of a fellow soldier, usually a superior officer or non-commissioned officer (NCO). The word was coined by U.S. military personnel during the Vietnam War, when such killings were most often attempted with a fragmentation grenade, sometimes making it appear as though the killing was accidental or during combat with the enemy. The term fragging is now often used to encompass any means used to deliberately and directly cause the death of military colleagues.

What was ‘Fragging’? (The Vietnam War)

The high number of fragging incidents in the latter years of the Vietnam War was symptomatic of the unpopularity of the war with the American public and the breakdown of discipline in the U.S. Armed Forces. Documented and suspected fragging incidents totaled nearly nine hundred from 1969 to 1972

Motivation

Soldiers have killed colleagues, especially superior officers, since the beginning of armed conflict, with many documented instances throughout history (one such attempt was on unpopular Civil War general Braxton Bragg). However, the practice of fragging seems to have been relatively uncommon in American armies until the Vietnam War. The prevalence of fragging was partially based on the ready availability of fragmentation hand grenades. Grenades were untraceable to an owner and did not leave any ballistic evidence. M18 Claymore mines and other explosives were also occasionally used in fragging, as were firearms, although the term, as defined by the military during the Vietnam War, applied only to the use of explosives to kill fellow soldiers.

Most fragging incidents were in the Army and Marine Corps. Fragging was rare among Navy and Air Force personnel who had less access to grenades and weapons than did soldiers and Marines.

The first known incidents of fragging in South Vietnam took place in 1966, but events in 1968 appear to have catalyzed an increase in fragging. After the Tet Offensive in January and February 1968, the Vietnam War became increasingly unpopular in the United States and among American soldiers in Vietnam, many of them conscripts. Secondly, racial tensions between white and African-American soldiers and Marines increased after the assassination of Martin Luther King in April 1968.

With soldiers reluctant to risk their lives in what was perceived as a lost war, fragging was seen by some enlisted men:

“as the most effective way to discourage their superiors from showing enthusiasm for combat.

Morale plummeted among soldiers and marines. By 1971, a U.S. Army colonel declared in the Armed Forces Journal that:

“The morale, discipline, and battleworthiness of the U.S. Armed Forces are, with a few salient exceptions, lower and worse than at any time in this century and possibly in the history of the United States.”

The U.S. military reflected social problems and issues in the U.S. such as racism, drug use, and resentment toward authoritarian leaders. As the U.S. began to withdraw its military forces from Vietnam, some American enlisted men and young officers lost their sense of purpose for being in Vietnam, and the relationship between enlisted men and their officers deteriorated.

The resentment directed from enlisted men toward older officers was exacerbated by generational gaps, as well as different perceptions of how the military should conduct itself. Enforcement of military regulations, especially if done overzealously, led to troops’ complaining and sometimes threats of physical violence directed toward officers.

A number of factors may have influenced the incidence of fragging. The demand for manpower for the war in Vietnam caused the armed forces to lower their standards for inducting both officers and enlisted men. The rapid rotation of personnel, especially of officers who served (on average) less than six months in command roles, decreased the stability and cohesion of military units.

Most important of all, perhaps, was the loss of purpose in fighting the war, as it became apparent to all that the United States was withdrawing from the war without having achieved any sort of victory. Morale and discipline deteriorated.

Most fragging was perpetrated by enlisted men against leaders. Enlisted men, in the words of one company commander, “feared they would get stuck with a lieutenant or platoon sergeant who would want to carry out all kinds of crazy John Wayne tactics, who would use their lives in an effort to win the war single-handedly, win the big medal, and get his picture in the hometown paper.”

Harassment of subordinates by a superior was another frequent motive. The stereotypical fragging incident was of “an aggressive career officer being assaulted by disillusioned subordinates.” Several fragging incidents resulted from alleged racism between African-American and white soldiers. Attempts by officers to control drug use caused others. Most known fragging incidents were carried out by soldiers in support units rather than soldiers in combat units.

Soldiers sometimes used non-lethal smoke and tear-gas grenades to warn superiors that they were in danger of being fragged if they did not change their behavior. A few instances occurred—and many more were rumored—in which enlisted men collected “bounties” on particular officers or non-commissioned officers to reward soldiers for fragging them.

Fragging: Why U. S. Soldiers Assaulted Their Officers In Vietnam

M26 grenade, issued to the U.S. Army and U.S. Marines in the Vietnam War, used in many fragging incidents

Fragging incidents

1969197019711972
Army9620922228
Marine Corps30+50+30+5
Suspected306211131
Total156+321+363+64
Deaths4638123
Note: Statistics were not kept before 1969.

According to author George Lepre, the total number of known and suspected fragging cases by explosives in Vietnam from 1969 to 1972 totaled nearly 900 with 99 deaths and many injuries. This total is incomplete as some cases were not reported, nor were statistics kept before 1969 although several incidents from 1966 to 1968 are known. Most of the victims or intended victims were officers or non-commissioned officers. The number of fraggings increased in 1970 and 1971 even though the U.S. military was withdrawing and the number of U.S. military personnel in Vietnam was declining.

An earlier calculation by authors Richard A. Gabriel and Paul L. Savage, estimated that up to 1,017 fragging incidents may have taken place in Vietnam causing 86 deaths and 714 injuries of U.S. military personnel, the majority officers and NCOs.

Fragging statistics include only incidents involving explosives, most commonly grenades. Several hundred murders of U.S. soldiers by firearms occurred in Vietnam but most were of enlisted men killing enlisted men of nearly equal rank. Fewer than 10 officers are known to have been murdered by firearms. However, rumors and claims abound of deliberate killing of officers and non-commissioned officers by enlisted men under battlefield conditions. The frequency and number of these fraggings, indistinguishable from combat deaths, cannot be quantified.

Response

The U.S. military’s responses to fragging incidents included greater restrictions on access to weapons, especially grenades, for soldiers in non-combat units and “lockdowns” after a fragging incident in which a whole unit was isolated until an investigation was concluded. For example, in May 1971, the U.S. Army in Vietnam temporarily halted the issuance of grenades to nearly all its units and soldiers in Vietnam, inventoried stocks of weapons, and searched soldier’s quarters, confiscating weapons, ammunition, grenades, and knives.

This action, however, failed to reduce fragging incidents as soldiers could easily obtain weapons in a flourishing black market among nearby Vietnamese communities. The U.S. military also attempted to diminish adverse publicity concerning fragging and the security measures it was taking to reduce it.

Only a few fraggers were identified and prosecuted. It was often difficult to distinguish between fragging and enemy action. A grenade thrown into a foxhole or tent could be a fragging, or the action of an enemy infiltrator or saboteur. Enlisted men were often close-mouthed in fragging investigations, refusing to inform on their colleagues out of fear or solidarity.

Although the sentences prescribed for fragging were severe, the few men convicted often served fairly brief prison sentences. Ten fraggers were convicted of murder and served sentences ranging from ten months to thirty years with a mean prison time of about nine years.

Influence

In the Vietnam War, the threat of fragging caused many officers and NCOs to go armed in rear areas and to change their sleeping arrangements as fragging often consisted of throwing a grenade into a tent where the target was sleeping. For fear of being fragged, some leaders turned a blind eye to drug use and other indiscipline among the men in their charge. Fragging, the threat of fragging, and investigations of fragging sometimes disrupted or delayed tactical combat operations. Officers were sometimes forced to negotiate with their enlisted men to obtain their consent before undertaking dangerous patrols.

The breakdown of discipline, including fragging, was an important factor leading to the creation of an all-volunteer military force by the United States and the termination of conscription. The last conscript was inducted into the army in 1973. The volunteer military moderated some of the coercive methods of discipline previously used to maintain order in military ranks.

Notable incidents

World War I

Vietnam War (U.S. forces)

  • On 21 April 1969, a grenade was thrown into the company office of K Company, 9th Marines, at Quảng Trị Combat Base, RVN; First Lieutenant Robert T. Rohweller died of wounds he received in the explosion. Private Reginald F. Smith pleaded guilty to the premeditated murder of Rohweller and was sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment; he died in custody on 25 June 1982.
  • On 15 March 1971, a grenade tossed into an officer billet at Bien Hoa Army Airfield killed Lieutenants Thomas A. Dellwo and Richard E. Harlan of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile); Private E-2 Billy Dean Smith was charged with killing the officers but was acquitted in November 1972.

Vietnam War (Australian forces)

  • On 23 November 1969, Lieutenant Robert Thomas Convery of the 9th Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment was killed when a grenade exploded while he was sleeping in his tent at Nui Dat, South Vietnam. Private Peter Denzil Allen was convicted of Convery’s murder and served ten years and eight months of a life sentence in Risdon Prison.
  • On Christmas Day 1970, Sergeants Allan Brian Moss and John Wallace Galvin were shot dead and Sergeant Frederick Edwin Bowtell injured when Private Paul Ramon Ferriday opened fire with his rifle into the Sergeant’s Mess of the Royal Australian Army Service Corps at Nui Dat, South Vietnam after an all-day drinking session. Ferriday was convicted on two counts of manslaughter and one of assault with a weapon, and served eight years of a ten-year sentence.

Middle East peacekeeping

In Country: A Vietnam Story

War in Afghanistan

  • 17 August 2002, British Army Sergeant Robert Busuttil of the Royal Logistic Corps was shot dead by subordinate Corporal John Gregory during a barbecue at Kabul International Airport. It was later revealed that Corporal Gregory had been drinking and the two men had earlier been involved in an altercation. It was in the immediate aftermath of this that Corporal Gregory returned with his weapon loaded, and fired up to ten rounds killing Sergeant Busuttil as he lay in a hammock before turning the weapon on himself.

Iraq War (U.S. forces)

  • On 23 March 2003, in Kuwait, Sergeant Hasan Karim Akbar cut power to his base, threw four hand grenades into three tents where fellow members of the 101st Airborne Division were sleeping, and opened fire with his rifle when the personnel ran to take cover. Army Captain Christopher S. Seifert and Air Force Major Gregory L. Stone were killed, and fourteen other soldiers were wounded by shrapnel. Akbar was tried by court martial at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 2005. On 21 April 2005, Akbar was found guilty of two counts of premeditated murder and three counts of attempted premeditated murder and was sentenced to death on 28 April.
  • Captain Phillip Esposito and 1st Lieutenant Louis Allen were killed on 7 June 2005 as a result of the explosion of a Claymore mine placed on Esposito’s office window at Forward Operating Base Danger in TikritIraq. The unit’s supply sergeant was charged with the murder, but was acquitted at court martial.
  • On 11 May 2009, Sergeant John Russell opened fire on Camp Liberty with an M16A2 rifle and shot dead five U.S. military personnel (U.S. Army Specialist Jacob D. Barton, Sergeant Christian E. Bueno-Galdos, Major Matthew P. Houseal, Private First Class Michael E. Yates, and U.S. Navy Commander Charles K. Springle). Russell pleaded guilty to five counts of premeditated murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Royal Navy

  • On 8 April 2011, during a port visit to Southampton, Able Seaman Ryan Donovan abandoned his sentry post at the boarding ramp of submarine HMS Astute, and opened fire on CPOs David McCoy and Chris Brown after they confronted him at the submarine’s weapons locker; he then forced his way into the control room and opened fire, killing Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux and wounding Lt Cdr Christopher Hodge before being tackled to the ground by a visiting dignitary as he reloaded. Donovan pleaded guilty to Molyneux’s murder and the attempted murders of Hodge, Brown, and McCoy and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 25 years.

See: The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest – Rome’s darkest hour

See: Decimation in the Roman Army – Brutal!

Going Underground – The Jam: Iconic Songs & the story behind them

Going Underground – The Jam

The Jam

Going Underground

March 1980

Going Underground – The Jam: Iconic Songs & the story behind them

Going Underground” is the first British #1 chart single by The Jam, released in March 1980. It went straight in at #1 in the UK Singles Chart, spending three weeks at the top.

It was the first of three instant chart-toppers for the group

Going Underground

Song profile

“Going Underground” was not released on any of the band’s six studio albums, although it has appeared on many compilations and re-releases since then. The song was released as a double A-side with “Dreams of Children”, which originally had been intended to be the sole A-side; following a mix-up at the pressing plant, the single became a double A-side, and DJs tended to choose the more melodic “Going Underground” to play on the radio.

The song was ranked at #2 among the “Tracks of the Year” for 1980 by NME. In March 2005, Q magazine placed “Going Underground” at #73 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks, and in October 2006, placed it at #98 in its list of the 100 Greatest Songs Ever.

Jam Facts:

The band released 18 consecutive Top 40 singles in the United Kingdom, from their debut in 1977 to their break-up in December 1982, including four number one hits

“Going Underground”
Single by The Jam
A-side“Dreams of Children”
Released14 March 1980
Format7″ vinyl
RecordedDecember 1979
GenreNew wavemod revivalpower pophard rock[1]
Length2:50
LabelPolydor
Songwriter(s)Paul Weller
Producer(s)Vic Coppersmith-Heaven
The Jam singles chronology
The Eton Rifles
(1979)”Going Underground” / “Dreams of Children”
(1980)”Start!
(1980)

My Thoughts ?

me with hat.PNG
Me in my Mod days

Being an old Mod and a Jam super-fan this was one of the first Jam records I bought and from the first moment I heard it I loved it and became obsessed with the Jam and this set me on the road to becoming a Mod and the best years of my teenage/young adult life in Belfast, what I can remember anyways. The Jam became the sound track to my crazy teenage odyssey and I came to love everything about them and the Mod way of life and even to this day I still love all the Jams stuff and listen to it whenever the feelings take me , which is a few times a week at least.

My fav Jam album ?

Its a hard one but its between Setting Sons & Sound Affects , although I love In the City and This is a Modern World also . Grrrr…. Its like trying to choose which of your kids or pets you love best , an impossible task and Im the same with Jam albums I feel i’d be betraying those I left out. Going Underground is a personal fav of mine for the path it set me on but I have to say Thick as Thieves and That’s Entertainment are two of my fav Jam tunes off all time.

See: Getting Stoned with Paul Well

See: The Loyalist Mod – Death of a fella Mod and a catholic friend

See: Steve Marriott Jan 1947 – April 1991 All or Nothing

Lyrics

“Going Underground”

Some people might say my life is in a rut
But I’m quite happy with what I’ve got
People might say that I should strive for more
But I’m so happy I can’t see the point

Something’s happening here today
A show of strength with your boy’s brigade
And I’m so happy and you’re so kind
You want more money – of course I don’t mind
To buy nuclear textbooks for atomic crimes
And the public gets what the public wants

But I want nothing this society’s got
I’m going underground (going underground)
Well, let the brass bands play and feet start to pound
Going underground (going underground)
Well, let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout for tomorrow

Some people might get some pleasure out of hate
Me, I’ve enough already on my plate
People might need some tension to relax
Me, I’m too busy dodging between the flak

What you see is what you get
You’ve made your bed, you’d better lie in it
You choose your leaders and place your trust
As their lies wash you down and their promises rust
You’ll see kidney machines replaced by rockets and guns
And the public wants what the public gets

But I don’t get what this society wants
I’m going underground (going underground)
Well, let the brass bands play and feet start to pound
Going underground (going underground)
So let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout for tomorrow

La la la la…

We talk and we talk until my head explodes
I turn on the news and my body froze
These braying sheep on my TV screen
Make this boy shout, make this boy scream!

Going underground, I’m going underground!

La la la la…

These braying sheep on my TV screen
Make this boy shout, make this boy scream!

I’m going underground (going underground)
Well, let the brass bands play and feet start to pound
Going underground (going underground)
Well, let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout,
Going underground (going underground)
Well, let the brass bands play and feet go pow, pow, pow
Going underground (going underground)
So let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout for tomorrow

Covers and parodies

Ade Edmondson‘s folk punk band The Bad Shepherds covered it in 2013.

The Bad Shepherds Going Underground

Welsh alternative metal band Lostprophets covered the song in 2007 as a B-side to their single 4:AM Forever.

The comedy band Amateur Transplants released a two-minute parody titled “London Underground” in 2005 in the light of the December strike. It became a popular download in the United Kingdom.

Jam Facts:

Jam biographer Sean Egan said of the Jam that they “took social protest and cultural authenticity to the top of the charts.

Amatuer Transplants London Underground

The song was covered by Buffalo Tom for the 1999 Jam tribute album Fire and Skill: The Songs of the Jam. This version also was released as part of a double A-side single with Liam Gallagher‘s and Steve Cradock‘s version of “Carnation” and reached #6 in the UK singles chart.[6]

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band covered the song on their 1986 album “Criminal Tango“.

Daryl Denham released a version of the song titled “Go England” in 2002 after Weller gave permission for it to be adapted as a football song.

Jam Facts:

Paul Weller on becoming a Mod

“I saw that through becoming a Mod it would give me a base and an angle to write from, and this we eventually did. We went out and bought suits and started playing MotownStax and Atlantic covers. I bought a Rickenbacker guitar, a Lambretta GP 150 and tried to style my hair like Steve Marriott‘s circa ’66.

Dreams of Children

“Going Underground” was coupled with “Dreams of Children” as a double A-side. It opens and is intermittently accentuated with a backmasked sample of the band’s 1979 song “Thick as Thieves“. In the US the backwards intro was edited out making the single 10 seconds shorter than the UK Version. This US edit is available on the best-of compilation Snap!.

The Jam released two other double A-side singles: “David Watts“/”‘A’ Bomb in Wardour Street” and “Town Called Malice“/”Precious“.

Jam Facts:

On 29 April 1977, Polydor released the Jam’s debut single, “In the City“, which charted in the Top 40 in the UK.

See: here for more information on the Jam

Thick As Thieves

See: Golden Brown – The Stranglers

See: below for other Iconic songs and the story behind them .

See: below for other Iconic songs and the story behind them .