Archive for Burma

The Lost Spitfires Of Burma

Posted in Britain, England, Europe, Germany, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, UK, World War 2 with tags , , , , , on 29/11/2012 by floroy1942

Once in a while its nice to write about something positive, for as we all know, there are few opportunities for this today. While the world and its people are getting crazier by the minute it was refreshing to find a news story that piques the imagination and does not involve disaster, corruption, hunger or death. I refer to an amazing tale and one man’s quest to unearth buried Spitfires in the jungles of Burma.

David Cundall

There are few of these iconic aircraft flying these days so long after the end of the Second World War, but if luck is with David Cundall this may change. He is a farmer and aviation enthusiast who for sixteen years has been researching the events of the time, and in particular the area around Mingaladon in Burma where it is said that 36 of these aircraft were buried in the jungle sometime during 1945. He is sure that two other sites contain as many as another 24 aircraft.

Boxing A Spitfire – Burma 1945

They had arrived at an airfield in the region in crates and were never unpacked or assembled, and for some reason orders were handed down to bury them as they were, maybe to prevent them falling into Japanese hands although this is doubtful. The real reason may never be known but for Mr, Cundall there is evidence enough that they exist. He has over the past few years assembled a team that have been combing the jungle and interviewing anyone who might have had knowledge of the event, and with some success. He met with a local Burmese man who remembered how, as a 15-year-old, he and his father had transported timber used when the Spitfires were buried.

1940 – Attacking The Bomber Stream

To date, electro-magnetic surveys have uncovered  two areas of interest to the team, and it is expected that work to excavate them will begin in January. His greatest wish is to take them back to England and restore them to flying condition. He said he would love to see a squadron of Spitfires flying over London again, and that is a dream held by many, myself included. Being an aviator for 45 years, he said he would love the opportunity to fly one himself, and who can blame him.

Spitfire Prototype – 5 March 1936

The Supermarine Spitfire was the brainchild of R. J. Mitchell who was chief designer at the Supermarine Aviation Works which since 1928 had operated as a subsidiary of the Vickers Armstrong company. First test flown on March 6 1936 the Spitfire underwent several changes before entering into squadron service with 19 Squadron at RAF Duxford on the 4th August 1938. Throughout the duration of the war the aircraft served in Britain and on the Continent, the Middle East and the Far East, and many were crated and sent to the Russians for use on their front.

Heartbeat Of The Spitfire

The power plant of this superb aircraft was the Rolls Royce Merlin V-12 that was first developed in the early 1930’s and underwent successive changes until it was ready for the Spitfire. The Merlin was the most successful wartime engine in British aviation during the war years, being fitted not only to the Spitfire, but also the Avro Lancaster, the Handley Page Halifax, the De Havilland Mosquito and the Hawker Hurricane.

Heading For The Enemy

The successes of the Spitfire are unparalleled in aviation history, for although built as a fighter it also carried out the roles of photo-reconnaissance, fighter-bomber and carrier-based aircraft. This aircraft also claimed many speed and altitude records in its time. The Spitfire will always be associated with Battle of Britain, and although the Hawker Hurricane did as much sterling work as the Spitfire during those treacherous  months, it is always the Spitfire that immediately springs to people’s minds when that time in British history is mentioned. This fine veteran of war flew its last flight for the RAF on 9th June 1957 and although many remained airborne around the world, now, 67 years after the war, they are very scarce, so I wish David Cundall lots of luck in his quest to unearth what might be a ‘new generation’ of this venerable war machine.

Roy.

The “Power’ Drug

Posted in Ahmadinajad, Elections, Free Speech, Government, Haiti, Health, Human Rights, Insanity, Iran, Modern World, MP's, North Korea, President, Riot, Somaila, UN, United Nations with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 19/12/2010 by floroy1942

...and you will do as I say, or else!

History has shown us time and again the steps some power-hungry people will take to consolidate their grip on power. One only has to go back to the Second World War and look at the profiles of men like Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin, to find out what some men are capable of in the their quest to remain in control of a country and its people. Today is no different, even though the tactics used by some have changed.

Stalin - The Russian Butcher

Just as in the past, repression of free speech and all dissension against them is used by many, but today the approach by others is more subtle. Voting by the people for their leaders has been a common practice for many years, but these days one can no longer rely on this democratic process.

In recent years, country after country around the world has been embroiled in dispute, and even civil war, after so-called free elections. Famous among these are Zimbabwe, Iran, Myanmar, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, and so the list goes on.

Mugabe - His Countries Assassin.

In many countries like Zimbabwe and North Korea, dissension is a thing of the past, for any word uttered against the leader means instant death. President Mugabe hit the world headlines during the last general election in 2008 when he actually lost to the opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Zanu Victims

Prior to the next round of voting, Mugabe supporters began a reign of terror, carried out mainly by his ZANU party members, who roamed the streets killing, or chopping off the limbs of opposition supporters with machetes.

It was diplomatic pressure from the rest of the world that finally forced Mugabe to accept a supposed power-sharing deal with his opponent Norman Tsvangari, who became Prime Minister. There is little doubt however that the true power remained in the hands of the president.  Lately it has been announced that the deal, which is due for review in February next year, will be scrapped by Mugabe.

Kim Jong-il the Death Merchant.

North Korea, like China, is a totalitarian regime with all the power in the hands of Kim Jong-il who took over from his father Kim Jong-sung when he died in 1994. Even a careless word that is overheard will lead to a lengthy, if not life time period of detention in the infamous labour camps which have been likened to the concentration camps of the Nazi’s.

The Opposition in a Cage - Suu Kyi

Myanmar (Burma) by contrast, solved the opposition problem by annulling the 1990 election in which the National League for Democracy under Aung San Suu Kyi won an overwhelming victory. The military junta placed Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest where she has spent the greater part of the time since 1990 despite international calls for her release.

Currently, we have Haiti and the Ivory Coast in turmoil because of ‘rigged’ elections.

The problem in Ivory Coast is so severe, that it would seem civil war is imminent. Two contenders for the leadership, and now two separate leaders, each with their own ‘government’ vying for power over the whole country which is currently split North/South. The United Nations have told the ‘out-going’ president, Laurent GBagbo that he should stand aside, but to no avail. It would take but a small spark to ignite this tinderbox.

Haiti meanwhile, has its own cross to bear, exacerbated by the fact the country has still not recovered from the devastating earthquake this year, and the following cholera epidemic. But still the politicians vie for power and control.

Chavez - Ambitious Showman

There are also dictators in the making such as Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. After coming to power in 1999 he survived a coup d’etat attempt in 2002 and then set about strengthening his position by removing the requirement under the countries constitution for presidents to serve no more than two terms in office. Since then he has further consolidated his power by taking full control of government.

Lukoshenko - Cementing a Position of Power

The West is also accusing Lukashenko of Belarus of following in the footsteps of Hugo Chavez. In 2004 he also changed the constitution, removing the maximum of two terms for a president. While it seems certain he will once again be voted in as president during the current elections, few doubt that the results have been corrupted.

It makes me wonder why these people are so in love with power, for with power comes huge responsibility.

Cholera Victim - Zimbabwe

If you run a country you are supposed to care for your people by making sure they have jobs, suitable housing, and education. The power mongers it seems, care little for this side of the job. In fact, in countries like Zimbabwe, there is 85% unemployment, rampant cholera, starvation and death. In North Korea there is also widespread starvation and disease.

So what do these megalomaniacs gain from this? They are by rote, extravagantly rich from all the money they siphon off for themselves, they have the power of life and death over the people they govern, and quite often have a significant influence on their neighbouring countries e.g. North/South Korea. They also have political standing in the world, mingling with world leaders and top politicians at many top conferences, and the United Nations at will.

Personally I fail to see the attraction of it all, but there is little doubt many do.

Roy.



The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Lust for Power

Posted in Ahmadinajad, Arab, Insanity, Iran, Islamic Revolution, Israel, Modern World, North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, UN, United Nations with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 05/06/2010 by floroy1942

Our Nuclear World

In 1970 The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT) came into force signed by the then three nuclear powers, and ratified by 40 other nations. Since that date many other states have accepted the treaty by accession, and now a total of 189 countries have agreed to abide by its rules.

India and Pakistan

Only three nations, India, Pakistan and Israel refused to be a part of the treaty agreements. India began testing nuclear weapons in 1974 which forced Pakistan to go down the same road. Now both nations have a considerable number of nuclear weapons designed principally to keep the other at bay in their age-old conflict.

Under Scrutiny

Israel is another non-signatory that has developed a sophisticated nuclear arsenal, which is believed to include submarine launched nuclear tipped cruise missiles. In the case of Israel however, surrounded as she is by ‘unfriendly’ nations, one can perhaps understand the country’s predicament.

North Korea, while originally accepting the treaty, withdrew in January 2003, the reason for which quickly became obvious. Iran ratified the treaty on the 5th of March 1970 and although it has not withdrawn, is suspected of developing nuclear weapons.

Now a new player is on the block!

News came in this week that Burma is the latest country with nuclear ambitions despite acceding to the treaty in December 1992, and you know what they say; ‘There is no smoke without fire’. Based on information from a former Burmese Army Major, Sei Theen Win, the accusation has not been corroborated but shall we say, suspicions run deep.

One Way To Make Money!

One of the disturbing factors here appears to be the high level of co-operation between North Korea and the Burmese Military Junta, which is not surprising. North Korea is a desperately poor country, and one of the sure-fire ways of making money and friends is to export its limited nuclear technology to those countries and governments that aspire to being nuclear states. North Korea is known to have collaborated with Iran on its nuclear ambitions.

Nations like North Korea and Iran think they can ‘Stand Tall’ among the international community, and in particular their neighbouring states, by possessing ‘The Bomb’, although many will say for these two nations it is more about military superiority in their sphere of influence. Whichever way you look at it, its all about power!

Burma has been under military rule since the ‘coup d’etat’ by General Ne Win in 1962 which effectively ended democracy in the country. Pursuing a policy of isolationism, the military rulers of Burma managed to keep a lid on things until May 2008, when Cyclone Nargis destroyed large areas of the Irriwaddy Delta which supplied most of the nations rice. The initial refusal of the military junta to allow United Nations assistance to enter the country with much needed supplies caused a backlash for the junta that is still felt today.

After the devastation, civil unrest grew to huge proportions with mass protests in the streets of all the major cities, and the power of the junta was threatened. Opposition to military rule began to ferment, and in order to silence opposition the junta promised to hold elections, but their main protagonist Suu Kyi, leader of the anti-government movement was arrested and sentenced to house arrest by the junta.

This Way Kim! This Way!

Having successfully dealt the opposition a fatal blow they are now, it would seem, turning to the nuclear option. Which ever way you look at it, and whatever spin you put on it, Burma has no logical reason for wanting nuclear weapons unless it is a means for the military junta to retain power. Burma has not been threatened by any nation since WW2, so why would they want such weapons? You are left with the inevitable; Power!

Pull The Other Leg Ahmed!

Iran wants to be ‘Top Dog’ in the Middle East, apart that is from blowing Israel off the map. Fanatics like Ahmadinejad seem the think that with nuclear weapons, Iran will be able to throw its weight around and no-one will dare say anything against them. Because the middle east is the world’s most important supplier of oil, this could have serious ramifications. Again its all about ‘Power!’

Kim Jong-il's View of the World

So far as North Korea is concerned, the regime of Kim Jong-il has felt threatened from outside its borders ever since the end of the Korean war, principally by South Korea  and the USA, and therefore has taken steps to ensure the ‘wolves’ remain at bay. With the regimes finger on the trigger it is for sure that no-one will start a war with the North. By the acquisition of nuclear weapons, Kim Jong-il and his cohorts have successfully stalemated the Far East and ensured their continued survival.

For many governments, regimes and even individuals, power is a drug far more intoxicating than cocaine and must be retained at any cost. Such is our modern way of life.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” words first uttered in 1887 by  Sir John Dalberg-Acton (1834-1902) an English historian.

Roy.

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