Wednesday, July 27, 2016


The STONES rebranded!

With perhaps creativity changing direction somewhat ( there is a new "blues" album planned with Eric Clapton guesting) but procreativity definitely increasing (Ron Woods recent twins, and all being well Jagger's partner, Melanie Hamrick delivering safely his 8th child)
I thought it would be a bit of fun to rebrand (with apologies to DPM of course)
the lads to reflect these changes.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Between the 9 and 10th November 1938 a pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany was perpetrated using the excuse of the assassination of the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath in Paris by Herschel Grynzpan, a 17 year-old Polish Jew. The night of the 9th November came to be known as Kristallnacht, from the amount of shattered window-panes in Jewish-owned shops that were attacked, and what seemed like a spontaneous civilian abreaction in the very anti-Jewish atmosphere of the times was in fact part of a carefully pre-planned and orchestrated campaign devised by Heinrich Himmler and put into operation by the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) Nazi party internal intelligence agency, led by Reinhard Heydrich.

Turkey is now suffering its own night of retribution, or as I would like to codename it: The Night of the Black Amber!

In 2007 President Recep Tayyip Erdoĝan (then Prime Minister) of Turkey and Fethullah Gülen, founder of the Gülen movement known as the Cemaat or Congregation, were Islamic orientated political allies in the purging of the ultra-nationalist secular movement known as Ergenekon, a purging aided by Güelenist members of the judiciary and police, and which as a consequence helped place officers, civil servants and judges who were supporters of Gülen in the higher ranks of the military and judiciary.

In a subsequent power-play for the “Islamic” political control of Turkey, Erdoĝan and Gülen’s association was shattered by the same Gülen supportive judiciary launching a corruption investigation against Erdoĝan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and members of his own family. This investigation against Erdoĝan has stalled and he has seized the opportunity afforded to plot an eradication of his former allies before they could do any more to get him.

Turkey sits astride any number of fault lines. Below its surface the Anatolian plate continues to move westwards along the North Anatolian Fault and ultimately, threatens Istanbul with destruction. Above ground level, in "international" air space as it were, the fault line is that of resolving a Middle-Eastern or European outlook for Turkey, and again this appears to be moving westwards. On ground level, however, on the streets of Istanbul and Ankara there is a more restless, a more eruptive fault line between the civilian and the soldier, between the Turk and the Kurd, and between secular and religious orthodoxy.

Where the conflict between soldier and State is concerned, in a legacy that stretches back to the unruly Janissary army units of the Ottoman Sultanate, the Turkish military officer appears to have a genetic pre-disposition to trying to throw off civilian oversight and control. In modern times this has occurred in 1960, 1971, 1980, and 1997 and an alleged coup attempt named Operation Sledgehammer was also identified and countered in 2010.

It is into to this heady atmosphere of recurrent tectonic conflict that the most recent coup attempt falls and fails. History has shown that for every coup there is retribution, and that for every act of retribution there is the genesis of a future coup. It is also into this space that Efkan Ala, the Turkish Minister of the Interior strides.

To explain!

Mountain Valley north of Oltu, NE Turkey.

In October 2007 while touring the north-eastern part of Turkey with the primary intention of visiting Ani (See: the former capital of the Armenian Kingdom, I passed through the town of Oltu on my way back to the airport at Erzurum, having detoured to visit the ruins of the Georgian monastery complexes of Ishan and Osk in the valleys north of Oltu.

Oltu is famous for its Oltu Stone, a form of Jet, mined in the mountains northeast of the town. The polished gemstone is called, Oltutasi in Turkish or alternatively as Kara Kehribar“Black Amber”.

Five years later, in April 2012, having travelled by road from Konya, I visited Diyarbakir, a city on the frontline between the Turkish State and the aspirations of Kurds for an independent Kurdistan (See Rihla 45 – July 2, 2014). The tensions in the city were and are palpable and reminded me of Belfast in the 70s.

Four-Legged Minaret of Sheikh Matar Mosque
Diyarbakir, Turkey

The person that links the small town of Oltu to the city of Diyarbakir is Efkan Ala, Turkish President Recep Erdoĝan’s most trusted lieutenant and Turkish Minister of the Interior since November 2013. Efkan Ala was born in Oltu and at the time of my passing through in 2007 had just finished his stint as Governor of Diyarbakir before moving back to become Undersecretary during Erdoĝan’s second term as Prime Minister.

Efkan Ala appointed Minister of the Interior by Erdoĝan in 2013

It is my supposition that, in a career almost imitating that of Himmler as Reich Commissioner for the Strengthening of German Nationhood and later Minister of the Interior in Nazi Germany, Efkan Ala when first appointed by Erdoĝan as Minister of the Interior without being first elected to Parliament, was almost certainly brought in and mandated by Erdoĝan to secretly establish mechanisms to deal with the Gülen Cemaat influence on the Turkish State in general, and their opposition to Erdoĝan in particular. 

I also surmise that the current highly efficient and systematic crackdown (codename "Black Amber"!) against judiciary, civil-servants, and academics associated with the Gülen Cemaat movement, which has been put into operation within one day of the badly led and supported coup of the 15th July, had been carefully pre-planned and honed by Erdoĝan and Ala over the past two years and probably has been facilitated by a newly-created, ultra-secret and Ala-controlled AKP internal intelligence agency, like the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) Nazi internal intelligence agency led by Reinhard Heydrich, and drawn from loyal and perhaps fanatical Erdoĝan members of the Gendarmerie Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism Bureau (JITEM).

All that was required to put “Black Amber” into operation was a pretext (like the assassination of vom Rath), and in Turkey’s case this was the recent threat to “State democracy” by the Peace at Home Council, a very small part of the armed forces (for example it did not include the Navy) whom I also further suspect were duped by counter-intelligence double agents into believing they had more support than they really had, all highly convenient for the subsequent initiation, brutality and efficiency of the subsequent pogrom. I am not implying that Erdoĝan and Ala indirectly planned the coup as a "false flag", because even they could not be entirely certain if personally confronted by coup participants as to what might happen (although coup-associated F1 jets broke off engaging with his Presidential jet!) in any given circumstance. No. In a gamble that has paid off handsomely Erdoĝan confronted the military by appealing to citizen opposition... and won. 

The similarities of the remit and intent of the current "State of Emergency" in Turkey, declared by Erdoĝan with the the Reichstag Fire Decree of the 28 February 1933 by Hitler, are as uncanny as much as they are unwelcome in a supposed democracy.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
Diyarbakir 1916.

Erdoĝan will now firmly entrench the monopoly of power in his hands and nominally the hands of his AKP party. The secular vision for Turkey of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, former commander of the 2nd Army in Diyarbakir, is well and truly buried. In addition to the purges against individual military officers, 
Erdoĝan has also exploited the opportunity to suppress any journalist or any  media source who opposes him.

Efkan Ala has also prospered. Since the attempted coup the Gendarmerie have, as a consequence of its failure, now been removed from the Army command and brought under his direct control as Minister of the Interior. Ala's next task (a.k.a Heinrich Himmler) will be to develop and implement a gulag or concentration camp system to incarcerate all Erdoĝan's supposed enemies

As a final observation on the recent events in Turkey, it is also worth noting that when Oltu Stone, the gemstone Black Amber, is first mined and extracted it is soft. It is only when it is exposed to air that it becomes hard enough to be polished. A bit like the current pre-determined repression in Turkey! Having being brought to the surface above the fault line, the former buried and “soft” planning for the eradication of Gülen has now hardened enough to be polished into a pogrom of political genocide.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


The Irish National Tourism Development Authority or Fáilte Ireland's establishment of the Wild Atlantic Way concept ( as a way of touring and exploring the West Coast of Ireland, has been a tremendous marketing success on an international basis but more importantly also for home-based Irish tourism. As a consequence attention is now shifting to other regions of the country to try and develop similar projects. The most recent of these is the Ancient East concept (

I would like to suggest to Fáilte Ireland that in the light of BREXIT and the planned leaving of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland from the EU that a route mapped out along the EU-Northern Ireland border would provide an equally exciting and surprising inland route. Think of the history ancient and modern, and of the legacy ancient and modern. There is something about borders that is endlessly fascinating and with the UK exiting this will be their only land border with the EU...that is of course until Scotland secedes. So now is the time to act.  

Tongue-firmly-in-cheek I would like to consider calling the inland route the NI-XIT WAY!

Signage of a particular waypoint of interest on the WAW at Doolough Co. Mayo. The type of signage chosen has caused a good deal of commentary and objection.

The border between the EU and the UK & Northern Ireland. The NIXIT way can be routed fairly close to the border for most of its journey with perhaps some improvement of secondary and local roads. 

Highlighting one area on the proposed NIXIT Way that in essence is the Republic of Ireland's mini version of Nagorno-Karabakh! The town lands of Clonooney and Clonowla have no direct road access to the remainder of the Republic and one must traverse the EU-UK border to get there. Unless of course you have an amphibious vehicle to cross over the 60 meters stretch of the Finn River at the neck of the enclave.

Imagine the traveller on the NIXIT way, 10 years from now, detouring to visit Castle Saunderson for some breakfast at the International Scout Centre which is now based at the castle. The Castle was once the O'Reilly of the Kingdom of Breffni stronghold but was acquired by the Saunderson family during the Ulster Plantation in the 1620s.  Edward Saunderson, a member of the family, was a founding member of the Ulster Unionist Party, a party that existed only to maintain the Union of Northern Ireland with the United Kingdom.

Imagine that traveller sharing the early morning repast with Latvian and Croatian members of the EU Border Police Force, established in 2017 in response to Brexit and the migration crisis, and indulging in a continental breakfast of rich coffee, croissants and a selection of French cheeses and German meats. From across the nearby border the smell of an Ulster Fry wafts on the wind and a realisation that 150 meters away from where they sat the rights and liberties of everybody guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights have been repealed and those liberties now depend on the limited scope offered by the 1251 Magna Carta, proclaimed around the time that the Kingdom of Breffni split into two parts: the West (Leitrim) ruled by the O'Rourkes and the East (Cavan) ruled by the O'Reilly's from what was now Scouting Ireland's Castle Saunderson and where breakfast was being enjoyed. 

This is the essence of what the NIXIT Way could become. 

Proposed waypoint signage for the NIXIT Way!

Friday, July 08, 2016


I was somehow taken with the similarity of profiles used to illustrate the peaks and troughs of the stages of the Tour de France (those used in the illustration are from a previous year's "clockwise" Tour as the famous Pyrenean Pau to the Col du Tourmalet is the 8th stage in this year's "anti-clockwise" Tour) and some of the economic indices documenting the "uncertainty" effect of Brexit, or as I will refer to it in this July week, Le Détour de Grande Bretagne. The Tour and professional cycling in general has been plagued by the uncertainty of both human and mechanical doping but that said the it holds an enormous fascination and is one of the supreme sporting events. The economic uncertainty is also equally fascinating, but also a product of possible human and mechanical doping or tampering. Having reached the Col du Tourmalet in metaphorical economic terms there is a sense of suspended reality before those individuals who are good 'descenders' in the market-place take advantage.

P.S. The day after! Boy didn't Chris Froome the "Descender" take advantage in a completely unexpected and unplanned attack after the last summit of the day. Sitting astride his crossbar, head down aerodynamically he managed in that position to continue pushing the pedals, not something often seen or even attempted. It was an incredible achievement,  particularly when done at speeds that sometimes reached 90km/hr. Afterwards when asked about what he had done he said "it was fun", akin to his 12 year-old self crashing down a mountain path in Africa with no concerns about personal safety. It somehow restored a sense of belief in the ability of a sporting moment to transcend all scepticism. I am not entirely certain whether the economic "descenders" will have the same sense of fun as they plunder an advantage.