Google+ Followers

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Manny Pena

Manny Pena served in the Pacific during the Second World War. He later worked as a counter-intelligence officer in Latin America and France before joining the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in 1947.

Pena developed the reputation for being an aggressive police officer and is said to have killed eleven suspects "in the line of duty". According to his commanding officer, Pena was a "stocky, intense, proud man of Mexican-American descent."

In November 1967 Pena resigned from the LAPD to work for the Agency for International Development (AID). According to the San Fernando Valley Times: "As a public safety advisor, he will train and advise foreign police forces in investigative and administrative matters. Over the next year he worked with Daniel Mitrione in Latin and South America.

Charles A. O'Brien, California's Chief Deputy Attorney General, told William Turner that AID was being used as an "ultra-secret CIA unit" that was known to insiders as the "Department of Dirty Tricks" and that it was involved in teaching foreign intelligence agents the techniques of assassination.

FBI agent Roger LaJeunesse claimed that Pena had been carrying out CIA special assignments for at least ten years. This was confirmed by Pena's brother, a high school teacher, who told television journalist, Stan Bohrman, a similar story about his CIA activities. In April 1968 Pena surprisingly resigned from AID and returned to the LAPD.

On 6th June, 1968, Robert Kennedy won the Democratic Party primary in California obtaining 46.3% (Eugene McCarthy received 41.8%). On hearing the result Kennedy went down to the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel to speak to his supporters. He commented on “the divisions, the violence, the disenchantment with our society; the divisions, whether it’s between blacks and whites, between the poor and the more affluent, or between age groups or on the war in Vietnam”. Kennedy claimed that the United States was “a great country, an unselfish country and a compassionate country” and that he had the ability to get people to work together to create a better society.

Robert Kennedy now began his journey to the Colonial Room where he was to hold a press conference. Someone suggested that Kennedy should take a short cut through the kitchen. Security guard Thane Eugene Cesar took hold of Kennedy’s right elbow to escort him through the room when Sirhan Sirhan opened fire. According to Los Angeles County coroner Thomas Noguchi, who performed the autopsy, all three bullets striking Kennedy entered from the rear, in a flight path from down to up, right to left. “Moreover, powder burns around the entry wound indicated that the fatal bullet was fired at less than one inch from the head and no more than two or three inches behind the right ear.”

Chief of Detectives Robert Houghton asked Chief of Homicide Detectives Hugh Brown to take charge of the investigation into the death of Robert Kennedy. Code-named Special Unit Senator (SUS). Houghton told Brown to investigate the possibility that there was a link between this death and those of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

As William Turner has pointed out in The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy: "Houghton assertedly gave Brown free reign in electing the personnel for SUS - with one exception. He specifically designated Manny Pena, who was put in a position to control the daily flow and direction of the investigation. And his decision on all matters was final."

According to Dan E. Moldea (The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy), Houghton told the SUS team working on the case: "We're not going to have another Dallas here. I want you to act as if there was a conspiracy until we can prove that there wasn't one."

An eyewitness, Donald Schulman, went on CBS News to say that Sirhan “stepped out and fired three times; the security guard hit Kennedy three times.” As Dan E. Moldea pointed out: “The autopsy showed that three bullets had struck Kennedy from the right rear side, traveling at upward angles – shots that Shiran was never in a position to fire.”

Robert Kennedy had been shot at point-blank range from behind. Two shots entered his back and a third shot entered directly behind RFK’s right ear. None of the eyewitness claim that Sirhan Sirhan was able to fire his gun from close-range. One witness, Karl Uecker, who struggled with Shiran when he was firing his gun, provided a written statement in 1975 about what he saw: “There was a distance of at least one and one-half feet between the muzzle of Shiran’s gun and Senator Kennedy’s head. The revolver was directly in front of my nose. After Shiran’s second shot, I pushed the hand that held the revolver down, and pushed him onto the steam table. There is no way that the shots described in the autopsy could have come from Shiran’s gun. When I told this to the authorities, they told me that I was wrong. But I repeat now what I told them then: Shiran never got close enough for a point-blank shot.”

Manuel Pena ignored this evidence and argued that Sirhan Sirhan was a lone gunman. Shiran’s lead attorney, Grant Cooper, went along with this theory. As he explained to William Turner, “a conspiracy defence would make his client look like a contract killer”. Cooper’s main strategy was to portray his client as a lone-gunman in an attempt to spare Sirhan the death penalty by proving “diminished capacity”. Sirhan was convicted and sentenced before William W. Harper, an independent ballistics expert, proved that the bullets removed from Kennedy and newsman William Weisel, were fired from two different guns.

After Harper published his report, Joseph P. Busch, the Los Angeles District Attorney, announced he would look into the matter. Thane Eugene Cesar was interviewed and he admitted he pulled a gun but insisted it was a Rohm .38, not a .22 (the caliber of the bullets found in Kennedy). He also claimed that he got knocked down after the first shot and did not get the opportunity to fire his gun. The LAPD decided to believe Cesar rather than Donald Schulman, Karl Uecker and William W. Harper and the case was closed.

Cesar admitted that he did own a .22 H & R pistol. However, he claimed that he had sold the gun before the assassination to a man named Jim Yoder. William W. Turner tracked down Yoder in October, 1972. He still had the receipt for the H & R pistol. It was dated 6th September, 1968. Cesar therefore sold the pistol to Yoder three months after the assassination of Robert Kennedy.

Cesar had been employed by Ace Guard Service to protect Robert Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel. This was not his full-time job. During the day he worked at the Lockheed Aircraft plant in Burbank. According to Lisa Pease, Cesar had formerly worked at the Hughes Aircraft Corporation. Lockheed and Hughes were two key companies in the Military-Industrial-Congressional Intelligence Complex.

Thane Eugene Cesar was a Cuban American who had registered to vote for George Wallace’s American Independent Party. Jim Yoder claimed that Cesar appeared to have no specific job at Lockheed and had “floating” assignments and often worked in off-limits areas which only special personnel had access to. According to Yoder, these areas were under the control of the CIA.

Yoder also gave Turner and Christian details about the selling of the gun. Although he did not mention the assassination of Robert Kennedy he did say “something about going to the assistance of an officer and firing his gun.” He added that “there might be a little problem over that.”

Lieutenant Pena was convinced that Sirhan Sirhan was a lone-gunman. He told Marilyn Barrett in an interview on 12th September, 1992: "Sirhan was a self-appointed assassin. He decided that Bobby Kennedy was no good, because he was helping the Jews. And he is going to kill him." He also added: "I did not come back (to the LAPD) as a sneak to be planted. The way they have written it, it sounds like I was brought back and put into the (Kennedy) case as a plant by the CIA, so that I could steer something around to a point where no one would discover a conspiracy. That's not so."

Friday, 7 December 2007

Who Killed Buster Crabb?

Lionel (Buster) Crabb was born in 1909. He worked in a variety of jobs until the outbreak of the Second World War when he became a gunner in the army.

In 1941 Crabbe joined the Royal Navy. The following year he was sent to Gibraltar where he became a member of the navy's mine and bomb disposal unit. Crabb had the dangerous task of located and removing Italian limpet mines from the hulls of Allied ships. He was such a success he was awarded the George Medal.

In 1943 Crabb was sent to clear the mines left in the ports of Leghorn and Venice. For this courageous work he was awarded the OBE.

After the war Crabb explored the wreck of a Spanish galleon and investigated a suitable discharge site for a pipe from the atomic weapons station at Aldermaston. Crabbe later returned to the Royal Navy and after helping rescue men trapped in a submarine, he was promoted to the rank of commander. However, in March 1955 he was forced to leave the navy on age grounds.

In March 1956 Crabb received an urgent message to meet privately with Lord Mountbatten, the First Sea Lord. Crabb was told that he was needed for a secret mission and that the results were to be shared with MI6 and the CIA. In fact, over the next couple of weeks, CIA agent Matthew Smith spent a considerable time with Crabbe. The mission involved spying on the Russian cruiser Ordkhonikidze. A ship that was going to bring Nikita Khrushchev and Nikolai Bulganin on a goodwill mission to Britain. Mountbatten warned Crabbe that it was a dangerous mission as the Soviets had discovered earlier secret dives on the Sverdlov when the cruiser visited England in 1955.

On 19th April 1956 Crabb dived into Portsmouth Harbour. He did not return to Teddy Davies, his MI6 minder, and it was assumed that he had been either captured or killed by the Russians. With the help of the intelligence services, the Admiralty attempted to cover up the attempt to spy on the Russian ship. On 29th April the Admiralty announced that Crabb went missing after taking part in trials of underwater apparatus in Stokes Bay (a place five kilometres from Portsmouth).

The Soviet government now issued a statement announcing that a frogman was seen near the cruiser Ordkhonikidze on 19th April. This resulted in British newspapers publishing stories claiming that Crabb had been captured and taken to the Soviet Union.

Sir Anthony Eden, the British prime minister was furious when he discovered about the MI6 operation that had taken place without his permission. Eden forced the Diretor-General of MI6, Major-General John Sinclair, to resign. He was replaced by Sir Dick White, the head of MI5. As MI5 was considered by MI6 to be an inferior intelligence service, this was the severest punishment that could be inflicted on the organization.

On 9th June 1957, a headless body in a frogman suit was discovered floating off Pilsey Island. As the hands were also missing it was impossible to identify it as being that of Lionel Crabb. His former wife inspected the body and was unsure if it was Crabb. Pat Rose, his girlfriend, claimed it was not him but another friend, Sydney Knowles, said that Crabb, like the dead body, had a scar on the left knee. The coroner recorded an open verdict but announced that he was satisfied the remains were those of Crabb.

In 1960 J. Bernard Hutton published his book Frogman Spy. Hutton argues that his sources claim that Crabb had been captured alive during his espionage activities and had been smuggled back to Soviet Union for torture and interrogation. According to Russian documents that Hutton had seen, Crabb later served as a diving officer in the Russian Navy. To help conceal the fate of Crabb, the Soviets dropped a headless and handless body wearing Crabb's equipment in the water near where he was lost a year earlier.

Tim Binding wrote a fictionalised account of Crabb's life, Man Overboard. Published in 2005, Binding novel is based on the story that appeared in Frogman Spy. Soon afterwards Binding was contacted by Sydney Knowles, the man who had originally identified Crabb's body. Knowles told Binding that Crabb was murdered by MI5 when it was discovered that he intended to defect to the Soviet Union. According to Knowles, Crabb was instructed to carry out a spying operation on the Ordkhonikidze. Crabb was supplied with a new diving partner who killed him during the mission. Knowles alleges that he was ordered by MI5 to identify the body, when he knew it was definitely not Crabb. Binding published this information in an article in The Mail on Sunday on 26th March, 2006.

In November, 2007, Eduard Koltsov, a former Soviet agent, gave an interview where he claimed that he cut Crabb’s throat after finding him attaching a limpet mine to the hull of the Ordkhonikidze.

David Kelly

In 1984, David Kelly joined the civil service as head of the Defence Microbiology Division at Porton Down. He also served as an advisor to the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office. Kelly was involved in investigating possible Soviet violations of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention and was a key member of the inspection team that visited the Russia between 1991 and 1994.

David Kelly also became a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq following the end of the Gulf War. Kelly's work as a member of the UNSCOM team led him to visit Iraq thirty-seven times and his success in uncovering Iraq's biological weapons programme resulted in him being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Kelly's specialism meant he was frequently seconded to other departments. In 2002 he was working for the Defence Intelligence Staff at the time of the compilation of a dossier by the Joint Intelligence Committee on the weapons of mass destruction possessed by Iraq. The government had commissioned the dossier as part of the preparation for what later became the invasion of Iraq. Kelly was asked to proof-read sections of the draft dossier on the history of inspections. Kelly was unhappy with some of the claims in the draft, particularly a claim, originating from August 2002, that Iraq was capable of firing battlefield biological and chemical weapons within 45 minutes of an order to use them.

In June 2003 Kelly visited Iraq to view and photograph the two mobile weapons laboratories as a part of an inspection team. Kelly was unhappy with the description of the trailers and spoke off the record to The Observer, which, on 15th June 2003, quoted "a British scientist and biological weapons expert, who has examined the trailers in Iraq". The article quoted Kelly as saying: "They are not mobile germ warfare laboratories. You could not use them for making biological weapons. They do not even look like them. They are exactly what the Iraqis said they were - facilities for the production of hydrogen gas to fill balloons." This point of view made Kelly unpopular with Tony Blair and George W. Bush who were determined to order the invasion of Iraq.

Kelly had a meeting with Andrew Gilligan, a BBC journalist, on 22nd May, 2003. They agreed to talk on an unattributable basis, which allowed the BBC to report what was said, but not to identify the source. Kelly told Gilligan of his concerns over the 45-minute claim and ascribed its inclusion in the dossier to Alastair Campbell, who worked as the director of communications for Tony Blair. Gilligan broadcast his report on May 29, 2003 on the Today Programme, in which he said that the 45-minute claim had been placed in the dossier by the government, even though it knew the claim was dubious. The government rejected this version of events and demanded that the BBC reveal the name of the source.

Kelly was interviewed twice by senior officials at the Ministry of Defence (MoD). He admitted that he had provided this information to Andrew Gilligan. He was given a formal warning by the Ministry of Defence for having an unauthorised meeting with a journalist and he was told that further action might be taken against him.

It was eventually decided by the MoD and the government to release information to the media about the case. The announcement contained sufficient clues for the journalists to guess Kelly's identity and the MoD confirmed the name when it was put to them.

On 15th July, 2003, Kelly appeared before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. His evidence to the committee was that he had not said the things Andrew Gilligan had reported his source as saying. He was also questioned about several quotes given to Susan Watts, a BBC journalist working on Newsnight, who had reported a similar story. Members of the committee came to the conclusion that Kelly was not been the main source of the stories reported by Watts and Gilligan.

On 17th July, Kelly was working from his home in Oxfordshire. He spent the morning answering supportive emails from friends. One of the e-mails he sent that day was to New York Times journalist Judith Miller. He told her that he was having to deal with "many dark actors playing games." At about 3.00 in the afternoon, he told his wife that he was going for his daily 30 minute walk. He did not return and his wife did not contact the police until shortly after midnight. His body was found the next morning at Harrowdown Hill about a mile away from his home. Later the police reported that Kelly had swallowed up to 29 tablets of co-proxamol and then cut his left wrist with a knife he had owned since his youth.

Tony Blair immediately announced that Lord Hutton would lead a judicial inquiry into the events leading up to Kelly's death. During the Hutton inquiry, David Broucher, the former British ambassador to the Czech Republic (1997-2001), reported a conversation with Kelly at a Geneva meeting in February 2003. Broucher related that Kelly said he had assured his Iraqi sources that there would be no war if they co-operated, and that a war would put him in an "ambiguous" moral position. Broucher had asked Kelly what would happen if Iraq were invaded, and Kelly had replied, "I will probably be found dead in the woods."

The Hutton Inquiry reported in January, 2004 that Kelly had committed suicide. Lord Hutton argued: "I am satisfied that none of the persons whose decisions and actions I later describe ever contemplated that Kelly might take his own life. I am further satisfied that none of those persons was at fault in not contemplating that Kelly might take his own life."

The Hutton Inquiry took priority over an inquest, which would normally be required into a suspicious death. The Oxfordshire coroner, Nicholas Gardiner, considered the issue again in March 2004. After reviewing evidence that had not been presented to the Hutton Inquiry, Gardiner decided that there was no need for further investigation.

Some medical experts argued that it was highly unlikely that Kelly committed suicide. On 27th January, 2004, The Guardian published a letter written by three doctors: David Halpin (specialist in trauma and orthopaedic surgery), C Stephen Frost (specialist in diagnostic radiology) and Searle Sennett (specialist in anaesthesiology): "As specialist medical professionals, we do not consider the evidence given at the Hutton inquiry has demonstrated that Dr David Kelly committed suicide. Dr Nicholas Hunt, the forensic pathologist at the Hutton inquiry, concluded that Dr Kelly bled to death from a self-inflicted wound to his left wrist. We view this as highly improbable. Arteries in the wrist are of matchstick thickness and severing them does not lead to life-threatening blood loss. Dr Hunt stated that the only artery that had been cut - the ulnar artery - had been completely transected. Complete transection causes the artery to quickly retract and close down, and this promotes clotting of the blood. The ambulance team reported that the quantity of blood at the scene was minimal and surprisingly small. It is extremely difficult to lose significant amounts of blood at a pressure below 50-60 systolic in a subject who is compensating by vasoconstricting. To have died from haemorrhage, Dr Kelly would have had to lose about five pints of blood - it is unlikely that he would have lost more than a pint."

The letter then went onto to look at the possiblity that Kelly died as a result of taking the Co-Proxamol tablets: "Alexander Allan, the forensic toxicologist at the inquiry, considered the amount ingested of Co-Proxamol insufficient to have caused death. Allan could not show that Dr Kelly had ingested the 29 tablets said to be missing from the packets found. Only a fifth of one tablet was found in his stomach. Although levels of Co-Proxamol in the blood were higher than therapeutic levels, Allan conceded that the blood level of each of the drug's two components was less than a third of what would normally be found in a fatal overdose. We dispute that Dr Kelly could have died from haemorrhage or from Co-Proxamol ingestion or from both. The coroner, Nicholas Gardiner, has spoken recently of resuming the inquest into his death. If it re-opens, as in our opinion it should, a clear need exists to scrutinise more closely Dr Hunt's conclusions as to the cause of death."

On 19th May, 2006, Norman Baker the Member of Parliament for Lewes, resigned as the Liberal Democrat spokesman for the Environment, in order to investigate the death of David Kelly. Baker claimed that he had received information that suggested that Kelly did not die from natural causes. A couple of months later Baker announced that his computer hard drive had been wiped remotely.

It was discovered in October 2007, through a Freedom of Information request made by Norman Baker, that the knife that Kelly allegedly committed suicide with had no fingerprints on it. Baker told The Daily Mirror: "Someone who wanted to kill themselves wouldn't go to the lengths of wiping the knife clean of fingerprints. It is just very suspicious. It is one of the things that makes me think Dr Kelly was murdered. The case should be re-opened."

Baker's book, The Strange Death of David Kelly, was published in November, 2007. Baker looks in detail at the motives for the unlawful killing of Dr Kelly and the various possibilities of who could have been involved, before concluding with the most likely scenario, that Kelly was murdered by Iraqi agents.

Monday, 3 December 2007

West Ham United Ratings After 16 Games

I have been using the ratings out of ten from twelve newspapers and websites. This is the average ratings over the first 14 games.

Rob Green (14 games) 6.9

Dean Ashton (8 games) 6.5

Craig Bellamy (7 games) 6.5

Kieron Dyer (2 games) 6.5

Matthew Upson (14 games) 6.4

Matthew Etherington (13 games) 6.4

Mark Noble (11 games) 6.4

Lee Bowyer (10 games) 6.4

Danny Gabbidon (8 games) 6.4

Carlton Cole (10 games) 6.3

Hayden Mullins (13 games) 6.3

Nolberto Solano (6 games) 6.3

George McCartney (14 games) 6.2

James Collins (2 games) 6.2

Lucas Neill (11 games) 6.1

Scott Parker (3 games) 6.1

Anton Ferdinand (7 games) 5.8

Jonathan Spector (6 games) 5.8

Fredrik Ljungberg (5 games) 5.8

Luis Boa Morte (10 games) 5.8

Henri Camara (4 games) 4.9

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Spartacus Review

I will be publishing a weekly non-fiction book review.

As well as the books appearing in the journal they are also added to the subject archive.

A link to this page is added to that subject’s index page. In this way visitors can find details of the latest books published on the subject that interests them.

More importantly, the books are added to the relevant page of our encyclopedia. Virtually every page we create gets to the top five in search-engine rankings. To test this carry out searches on major figures such as Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Queen Victoria, John F. Kennedy, etc. or major subjects such as the American West, First World War, Cold War, Second World War, Civil Rights Movement, etc. on search-engines such as Google. As a result, anybody searching for these people or topics will arrive on our pages and so it is a great place to promote your books. For example, here are the currently monthly page impressions for popular pages on our website: First World War Index (58,000), Adolf Hitler (57,000), Second World War Index (55,000), Slavery Index (50,000), KU Klux Klan (44,000), Queen Victoria (22,000), Winston Churchill (17,000), Civil Rights Movement (15,800), John F. Kennedy (15,000), Textile Industry (10,000), American Civil War Index (9,800), Vietnam War Index (8,000), Nazi Germany Index (8,400), First World War Battles (6,800), Cold War Index (6,000), Charles Dickens (5,500), The Tudors Index (5,400), Russian Revolution (5,100), Railways Index (4,800), etc.

Please contact me if you are a publisher who wants your books to appear on my website.

The first edition of the Spartacus Review appears here:

This edition includes books in the following categories:




Crime and Punishment

The Victorians

Military History

First World War

Second World War

Nazi Germany

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Michael Deaver

Michael Deaver died over the weekend. All the obituarities miss out an important part of his career. As most members know, most of my pages appear near the top of Google searches. Not so, with Deaver. My page is nowhere to be found. Deaver was being protected by those who control Google and Wikipedia. What is it that the ruling elite do not want you to know about Deaver? It is the following:

Michael Deaver co-founded the public relations company, Deaver and Hannaford in 1975. The company "booked Reagan's public appearances, research and sell his radio program, and ghost-write his syndicated column." Peter Dale Scott claims that "all this was arranged with an eye to Reagan's presidential aspirations, which Deaver and Hannaford helped organize from the outset". In 1977 Deaver and Hannaford registered with the Justice Department as foreign agents receiving $5,000 a month from the government of Taiwan. It also received $11,000 a month from a group called Amigos del Pais (Friends of the Country) in Guatemala. The head of Amigos del Pais was Roberto Alejos Arzu. He was the principal organizer of Guatemala's "Reagan for President" organization. Arzu was a CIA asset who in 1960 allowed his plantation to be used to train Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs invasion.Peter Dale Scott has argued that Deaver began raising money for Ronald Reagan and his presidential campaign from some of his Guatemalan clients. This included Amigos del Pais. One BBC report estimated that this money amounted to around ten million dollars. Francisco Villgarán Kramer claimed that several members of this organization were "directly linked with organized terror".

Deaver and Hannaford also began to get work from military dictatorships that wanted to improve its image in Washington. According to Jonathan Marshall, Deaver was also connected to Mario Sandoval Alarcon and John K. Singlaub of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL). In the book, The Iran-Contra Connection (1987) he wrote: "The activities of Singlaub and Sandoval chiefly involved three WACL countries, Guatemala, Argentina, and Taiwan, that would later emerge as prominent backers of the contras.... these three countries shared one lobbying firm, that of Deaver and Hannaford."

In December, 1979, John K. Singlaub had a meeting with Guatemalan President Fernando Romeo Lucas García. According to someone who was at this meeting Singlaub told Garcia: "Mr. Reagan recognizes that a good deal of dirty work has to be done". On his return, Singlaub called for "sympathetic understanding of the death squads". Another one of Deaver's clients was Argentina's military junta. A regime that had murdered up to 15,000 of its political opponents. Deaver arranged for José Alfredo Martinez de Hoz, the economy minister, to visit the United States. In one of Reagan's radio broadcasts, he claimed "that in the process of bringing stability to a terrorized nation of 25 million, a small number, were caught in the cross-fire, amongst them a few innocents".

Peter Dale Scott argues that funds from military dictatorships "helped pay for the Deaver and Hannaford offices, which became Reagan's initial campaign headquarters in Beverly Hills and his Washington office." This resulted in Ronald Reagan developing the catch-phrase: "No more Taiwans, no more Vietnams, no more betrayals." He also argued that if he was elected as president he "would re-establish official relations between the United States Government and Taiwan".

What Deaver's clients, Guatemala, Taiwan and Argentina wanted most of all were American armaments. Under President Jimmy Carter, arms sales to Taiwan had been reduced for diplomatic reasons, and had been completely cut off to Guatemala and Argentina because of human rights violations. An article published in Time Magazine (8th September, 1980) claimed that Deaver was playing an important role in Reagan's campaign, whereas people like Campaign Director William J. Casey were outsiders have "valuable experience but exercise less influence over the candidate."

During the campaign Ronald Reagan was informed that Jimmy Carter was attempting to negotiate a deal with Iran to get the American hostages released. This was disastrous news for the Reagan campaign. If Carter got the hostages out before the election, the public perception of the man might change and he might be elected for a second-term. As Deaver later told the New York Times: "One of the things we had concluded early on was that a Reagan victory would be nearly impossible if the hostages were released before the election... There is no doubt in my mind that the euphoria of a hostage release would have rolled over the land like a tidal wave. Carter would have been a hero, and many of the complaints against him forgotten. He would have won."

According to Barbara Honegger, a researcher and policy analyst with the 1980 Reagan/Bush campaign, William J. Casey and other representatives of the Reagan presidential campaign made a deal at two sets of meetings in July and August at the Ritz Hotel in Madrid with Iranians to delay the release of Americans held hostage in Iran until after the November 1980 presidential elections. Reagan’s aides promised that they would get a better deal if they waited until Carter was defeated.

On 22nd September, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran. The Iranian government was now in desperate need of spare parts and equipment for its armed forces. Jimmy Carter proposed that the US would be willing to hand over supplies in return for the hostages. Once again, the Central Intelligence Agency leaked this information to Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. This attempted deal was also passed to the media. On 11th October, the Washington Post reported rumors of a “secret deal that would see the hostages released in exchange for the American made military spare parts Iran needs to continue its fight against Iraq”. A couple of days before the election Barry Goldwater was reported as saying that he had information that “two air force C-5 transports were being loaded with spare parts for Iran”. This was not true. However, this publicity had made it impossible for Carter to do a deal. Ronald Reagan on the other hand, had promised the Iranian government that he would arrange for them to get all the arms they needed in exchange for the hostages.

According to Mansur Rafizadeh, the former U.S. station chief of SAVAK, the Iranian secret police, CIA agents had persuaded Khomeini not to release the American hostages until Reagan was sworn in. In fact, they were released twenty minutes after his inaugural address. Reagan appointed William J. Casey as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In this position he was able to arrange the delivery of arms to Iran. These were delivered via Israel. By the end of 1982 all Regan’s promises to Iran had been made. With the deal completed, Iran was free to resort to acts of terrorism against the United States. In 1983, Iranian-backed terrorists blew up 241 marines in the CIA Middle-East headquarters.

West Ham Player Ratings

Mark Noble was clearly the highest rated player for Saturday’s game (8.9). Upson also did well with 7.9. Every player except for Jonathan Spector got a rating over 6. He suffered from a very low score from the Observer which uses a club fan to do the ratings. Indra Morris is clearly not a fan of Spector.

The average rankings definitely appear to be a guide to team selection. In the first game against Manchester City the two lowest ranked players, Boa Morte and Bowyer were dropped for the second game against Birmingham City.

It would seem that the lowest ranked player for the Birmingham game, Jonathan Spector will be replaced for the game against Wigan. The other one in danger is Bobby Zamora. Over the two games he has a average rating of 5.7. The only other team member who has played in both games and has a lower rating than Zamora is Spector with 5.5. There must be a very good chance that Dean Ashton will replace Zamora for Saturday’s game.

The journalists seem to be united in their assessment of the players and the team against Birmingham. Everyone seemed to agree that Mark Noble was the best player on the pitch. Upson was the second best according to 10 of the 11 assessors. The vast majority agreed with the referee’s decision to give a penalty. Everyone accepted that West Ham clearly outclassed Birmingham. The only worry is that this says more about Birmingham than it does about West Ham. Unfortunately, few reporters spent much on the game preferring to concentrate on Curbishley’s comments about the bad press the club had been getting.

I think the most important thing to take from the game was that it was achieved without Fredrik Ljungberg, Scott Parker, Dean Ashton and Julien Faubert. What is more, Kieron Dyer, and to a lesser extent, Craig Bellamy, are not yet 100% fit.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Alan Curbishley and Birmingham City

The important question is will Curbishley learn from his mistakes. If you look at the complete player rankings of the game against Manchester City it would seem that Bowyer and Boa Morte will be replaced for the game against Birmingham.

I am convinced that Bowyer will be dropped but I am not sure that the same will happen to Boa Morte. Remember, it was not too long ago that Curbishley made it clear he thought he was worth £6m. He will find it difficult to accept he has made a serious mistake and Boa Morte will feature (probably as a substitute for sometime yet). At his best he is indeed a fine player. However, he seems to have lost his confidence and has only shown flashes of his Fulham form in West Ham games.

I think a bigger problem concerns a centre-back partnership. As far as I am concerned, Upton is far too slow and Ferdinand makes too many mistakes. However, Upton has the Boa Morte problem, Curbishley paid a lot of money for him. Is he brave enough to drop him.

I would much prefer Collins and Gabbidon in the team. The defence looked much better with Collins in the side during the last 10 games of the season. Gabbidon was also an impressive defender in the first season in the Premiership. True, he had problems last year, but that was linked to match-fitness. Collins and Gabbidon have also developed a good partnership playing for Wales. They did extremely well against a very good Czech attack in the summer.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Alan Curbishley

I think the most interesting aspect of the various newspaper/website articles on the Manchester City game concerned the performance of Alan Curbishley. You can see a collection of these comments here:

Several commentators pointed to the strange decision in the 62 minute to switch Etherington to full-back. This not only severely reduced the crosses from the left but also allowed Onuoha, Man City’s right-back, to join in attacks and this resulted in the second goal with both Etherington and Zamora, failing to get in a tackle against him.

As Martin Samuel said in The Times, “Eriksson out-thought everybody on Saturday, including, most importantly, Alan Curbishley, his opposite number. From the start, West Ham struggled to get to grips with the breadth of the Swede’s game plan and by the second half Curbishley was so confused that he moved his best player, Matthew Etherington, to left back to accommodate Dean Ashton, negating his only chance of winning the match.”

What was even more revealing was Curbishley’s response to questions about his tactics after the game: “I didn’t do anything about the way they were going to shape up before the game and I moved too many people around in the second half. Etherington went from wide left to left back, Bobby Zamora started up front and went left, Freddie Ljungberg started on the right then went left and Craig Bellamy started in the middle then went right. I was just trying to get a spark and perhaps it would have been best left alone.”

Curbishley comes close to admitting to his tactical ineptitude but he can’t quite go the whole way. This is significant because it is only when you are willing to fully accept your mistakes that you can really improve as a manager. (The same is true of whatever job that you do.) To do that you need to be confident in your true abilities. I suspect that at the current time Curbishley is unable to do that and that is going to be a serious problem for West Ham over the coming months.

Monday, 13 August 2007

West Ham Player Assessment

Football fans have an opinion on every player. As the various football forums show, fans disagree with great intensity about individual performances. This is reflected when people pick their team for the next match.

Is it possible to rate players in an objective way? I don’t think so. Judgement on players is emotional as well as intellectual. I know that I give some players the benefit of the doubt whereas others find it difficult to convince me of their merits. This is partly because of the way they play the game. I have always liked players who give their all in games. Another important factor concerns individual skill. I always favour players who look up and make accurate passes. This is why I always had difficulty giving Reo-Coker the benefit of the doubt.

I believe it is impossible for any one individual to assess players completely objectively. However, it is possible to get a fair estimation of someone’s performance by taking into account a reasonable number of assessments. Therefore, this season, I will be collecting together comments and rankings of every player’s performance in every match. This will enable people to use this data to make judgements on the performance of individual players.

Currently I am using the assessment of 12 different websites and newspapers. If you watch every West Ham game and are willing to join in this experiment, contact me via the forum.

There is no doubt that there was general agreement about individual performances against Man City. Green was rated as the top performer with an average of 7.1. It was also clear who had the two worse ratings: Boa Morte (4.1) and Bowyer (4.4).

Some players had a wide variety of different ratings. For example, Anton Ferdinand obtained scores that went from 3 to 7. Zamora also divided the commentators with a range from 3 to 6. Anyway, you can see the full list here:

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman died yesterday. You will find an excellent obituary here:,,2138240,00.html

This article by Peter Bradshaw is also worth reading.,,2138253,00.html

After receiving one of his numerous awards he told a journalist: “I hope I never get so old I get religious”. Well, you did get old, but you never sold out.

West Ham Squad

I have created a new section of the website on the 2007 West Ham United Squad

Monday, 30 July 2007

West Ham v Southend

I took my seven year-old grandson to see West Ham on Saturday. When they announced the name of Anton Ferdinand in West Ham’s team against Southend, a section of the crowd booed. Alex, who proudly wears Ferdinand’s number on the back of his West Ham shirt, looked up at me with a puzzled expression on his face.

I know that Ferdinand’s behaviour last season left a lot to be desired. However, this attitude towards him seems very strange. As a teacher and parent of 35 years, I have always found that praising good behaviour is always more effective than criticising bad behaviour. I noticed at the end of the game, Ferdinand was the only player who came over to the West Ham crowd to sign autographs. Maybe it was his way of saying sorry. I would suggest we accept his apologies and get behind him for what could be an important season in the career of Anton Ferdinand.

You can see photographs of this incident here:

I was very impressed with Ljungberg who linked effectively with the overlapping Lucas Neill. Bellamy's quickness off the mark regularly caused problems for Southend. He made runs all day and complained bitterly about not being found by his team-mates. Etherington and McCartney both received serious bollockings. Noble worked hard as always and Zamora led the line well. I thought Etherington was fairly poor but I don't expect him to play very much this season.

You can see the goals here:

Friday, 27 July 2007

Football Cigarette Cards

In 1871 the American company of Allen and Ginter began inserting pieces of card to protect the cigarettes from being damaged. It was not long before tobacco companies had the idea of printing advertisements on these cards, or "stiffeners" as they were called in the trade. In about 1876 companies began producing a series of cards that the smoker could collect. It was believed that this would encourage the smoker to continue using that particular brand.

The first British company to issue cigarette cards was W.D. & H.O. Wills. The first card appeared in 1887 and were at first used to advertise its products. Ogdens, a company based in Liverpool, introduced the first series of cigarette cards in 1894.

As Gordon Howsden points out in his book, Collecting Cigarette and Trade Cards: "At a time when the average family could not afford books, and with the technique of reproducing photographs in newspapers still some years away, these cards could inform and amuse, and bring a little bit of colour into what were all too often very drab lives."

Arnold Bennett once remarked that "some boys will grow up with cigarette cards as their sole education". Another writer, Clifford Hough, pointed out that cigarette cards were dubbed "The Working Man's Encyclopedia" because "they brought pictures of famous faces and fascinating places to the attention" of the masses. Hough adds that on "the reverse side the captions contained many interesting facts and pieces of information that often sunk into a boy's mind to a greater extent than any dull textbook from schooldays."

Subjects were chosen to appeal to their male customers. In 1896 the first set with a sporting theme appeared. This was a series of 50 cricketers. The tobacco companies discovered that these sporting cards were a great way to obtain brand loyalty. Later that year the first football set appeared. Footballers & Club Colours was published by Marcus & Company, a small firm in Manchester.

I have produced pages showing the early cigarette cards that featured Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United and Preston North End players.

I would be very interested if anyone has any cigarette cards of players that are not featured on my pages.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Smedley Butler

On Monday night Radio 4 broadcast a programme about Smedley Butler. You can listen to the programme here:

You can also read about him here:

His book "War is a Racket" can be read online here:

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Teaching Materials on the Early History of Football

I have started producing teaching materials to go with my Football Encyclopaedia:

The first lesson is for primary school children. It includes questions on several early photographs of football players. I have tried them out on my 7 year old grandson. I would be grateful if anyone could try them out on their children. I will then use the feedback to improve the materials.

I have included an answer page here:

History GCSE

Andy Walker's excellent website contains a large collection of revision resources for students studying GCSE history. This includes information on using historical sources, top revision tips and exam practice. At the moment the website specializes on the subject of medicine and features activities on Roman Public Health, Medieval Public Health, Renaissance Medicine, Louis Pasteur, Edward Jenner, Surgery, Women in Medicine and Florence Nightingale.

Saturday, 21 July 2007


One of the best history websites available is HistoryWorld:

See also the HistoryWorld search facility:

History of Football Teams

I have so far created detailed histories of several football clubs including:

Manchester United

Preston North End

Blackburn Rovers

West Ham United


I am also associated with the Freepedia website:

This includes a directory of important Poets, Novelists, Playwrights and Essayists

Spartacus Educational

Established in September 1997, the Spartacus Educational website provides a series of history encyclopaedias. Titles currently include British History: 1750-1960, United States: 1840-1980, First World War, Second World War, English Civil War, The Tudors, Making of the United Kingdom, The Medieval World, Russia: 1860-1945, The Cold War, Watergate, The Assassination of JFK, American West, American Civil War, Germany: 1900-1945, France: 1900-1945, Football: 1000 – 1950, etc. Entries usually include a narrative, illustrations and primary sources. The text within each entry is linked to other relevant pages in the encyclopaedia. In this way it is possible to research individual people and events in great detail. The sources are also hyper-linked so the student is able to find out about the writer, artist, newspaper and organization that produced the material.

Encyclopaedia of British History: 1700-1960 (2,457 entries)

The encyclopaedia currently contains 2,445 entries and is an attempt to show the history of Britain through the eyes of people from all levels of society. This is a reference work that provides as much information about Marie Corbett as it does about Queen Victoria; where Henry Hetherington's life is examined in the same sort of detail as that of the Duke of Wellington. The encyclopaedia is being created in sections (entries in parenthesis): Emancipation of Women (114), Textile Industry (148), Entrepreneurs (80), Religion (122), Trade Unions (70), Socialism (178), Members of Parliament: (216), Peterloo (78), Parliamentary Reform (114), Chartism (66), Scotland (60), Education (102), Slavery (158), Prime Ministers (33), Child Labour (94), Parliamentary Legislation (74), London in the 19th Century (38), Political Parties and Election Results (42), Engineers (34), Railways (116), Artists & Architects (82), Cartoonists (98), Poets & Novelists (72), Theatre (24), Poverty, Health and Housing (26), Towns & Cities (40), Journalists (100), Newspapers & Magazines (38) and Publishers (50).

Encyclopaedia of the First World War (923 entries)

The encyclopaedia is being created in sections (entries in parenthesis). So far the following sections are available: Chronology (1), Outbreak of War (22), Countries (22), Allied Armed Forces (32), Important Battles (34), Technology (10), Political Leaders (94), British Home Front (20), Military Leaders (58), Life in the Trenches (24), Trench System (22), Trench War (18), Soldiers (44), War Heroes (12), Medals (8), War at Sea (24), War in the Air (48), Pilots (28), Aircraft (30), War Artists (34), Cartoonists and Illustrators (90), War Poets (16), Journalists (28), Newspapers and Journals (16), Novelists (36), Women at War (56), Women's Organisations (14), Weapons & War Machines (42), Inventors and the War (12) Theatres of War (6) and War Statistics (18).

Encyclopaedia of the United States: 1840-1980 (1890 entries)

An organic encyclopaedia on the USA between 1840-1980. The encyclopaedia is being created in sections. So far the following sections are available: American Civil War (262), Political Figures (170), Political Events (62), Slavery (156), Women's Suffrage (116), Business Leaders (54), Scientists (20), Supreme Court Judges (18), Trade Unions (68), Journalists (84), Newspapers & Magazines (36), European Immigration (270), Artists and Illustrators (28), Cartoonists (56), Photographers (50), Novelists & Poets (58), the First World War (86), Crime & Criminals (26), McCarthyism (110), Roosevelt and the New Deal (56), and the Struggle for Civil Rights (246).

Encyclopaedia of the Second World War

A comprehensive encyclopaedia of the Second World War. So far there are sections on: Background to the War; Nazi Germany, Chronology of the War, Political Leaders, European Diplomacy, Major Offensives, British Military Leaders, USA Military Leaders, German Military Leaders, Japanese Military Leaders, The Armed Forces, The Air War, The Resistance, Scientists & Inventors, War at Sea, Resistance in Nazi Germany, The Holocaust, War Artists, Weapons and New Technology.

Assassination of President Kennedy Encyclopaedia

A detailed look at the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. There are biographies of 328 people involved in the case: Major Figures (84), Important Witnesses (66), Investigators, Researchers and Journalists (112) and Possible Conspirators (132). Other sections include: Reports (4), Organizations and Operations (26) and Key Issues (4). The website also looks at the possibility that different organizations such as the Mafia, CIA, FBI, Secret Service, KGB and the John Birch Society might have been involved in the planning of the assassination. Other possibilities such as anti-Castro activists, Texas oil millionaires and the Warren Commission's lone-gunman theory are also looked at. The website has an activity section and a forum where students and teachers can enter into debate with the author of the material, other investigators and witnesses to the events of 1963.

The American West (384 entries)

A comprehensive encyclopaedia of the American West. So far there are sections on Explorers (12), Frontiersmen, Mountain Men and Fur Trappers (20), Criminals and Outlaws (34), Soldiers (30), Migrants and Settlers (12), Cattlemen and Cowboys (12), Judges and Lawmen (30), Politicians (10), Women and the Wild West (16), Inventors and Businessmen (10) Artists and Writers (12), Native Americans Leaders (18), Events and Issues (64), Trails and Places (10), Native American Tribes (26), Forts, Towns and Cities (28), Guns, Clothes and Equipment (20), Animals and Wild Life (20). Most entries contain a narrative, illustrations and primary sources. The text within each entry is hypertexted to other relevant pages in the encyclopaedia. In this way it is possible to research individual people and events in great detail.

Cold War Encyclopaedia

As well as 160 biographies there are 74 articles on subjects such as the Atomic Bomb, Berlin Wall, Bay of Pigs, Comintern, Cuban Missile Crisis, Domino Theory, Federal Republic of Germany, German Democratic Republic, Hallstein Doctrine, Hungarian Uprising, Korean War, Marshall Aid, McCarthyism, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Nuclear Arms Race, Ostpolitik, Perestroika, Prague Spring, Solidarnosc, Schuman Plan, Truman Doctrine, U-2 Crisis, Vietnam War and the Warsaw Pact.

Tudor Encyclopaedia

Tudor Encyclopedia: A collection of articles on the Tudor period. As well as 42 biographies there are articles on the Battle of Bosworth, Act of Union, Agriculture and Enclosures, Anglicans and Puritans, The Babington Plot, Catholics and Protestants, Elizabethan Theatre, Elizabeth and Marriage, Henry VIII and the Pope, Kett Rebellion, Poverty in Tudor England, The Protestant Reformation, Pilgrimage of Grace, The Ridolfi Plot, The Spanish Armada, Sports and Pastimes, The Throckmorton Plot, Tobacco in Tudor England, Tudor Artists, Tudor Heretics, Tudor Monasteries, Tudor Parliaments, Tudor Wales and the Tyndale Bible.

British History: 1600-1750

British History from 1600 to 1750. As well as 112 biographies there are articles on important events (The Civil War, Cromwell’s Commonwealth, Glorious Revolution, Great Fire of London, Gunpowder Plot, Jacobite Rebellion, Pride’s Purge, Putney Debates, Restoration, Rye House Plot, Ship Money, Test Acts); religious and political groups (Anabaptists, Anglicans, Baptists, Congregationalists, Diggers, Fifth Monarchists, Independents, Levellers, Presbyterians, Puritans, Quakers, Tories and Whigs); and military groups and battles (Cavaliers, Culloden, Edgehill, Marston Moor, Naseby, Newbury, New Model Army, Roundheads, Roundway Down).

Vietnam War

This website provides a detailed account of the Vietnam War. There is also an interview area where 12 Vietnam veterans are willing to answer questions from students on their experiences of the war. As well as thirty biographies of individuals who played an important role in the conflict there are entries for Buddhism, Cambodia and Laos, Chemical Warfare, Dien Bien Phu, Domino Theory, Eisenhower Doctrine, Guerrilla Warfare, Gulf of Tonkin, Ho Chi Minh Trail, Mass Media and the War, My Lai, National Liberation Front, Negotiated Peace, Operation Rolling Thunder, Strategic Hamlet Programme, Tet Offensive, Vietnam Protest Movement, Vietnam Revolutionary League and Vietnamization.

The Emancipation of Women: 1750-1920

A comprehensive encyclopaedia of how British women got the vote. Each entry contains a narrative, illustrations and primary sources. The text within each entry is hypertexted to other relevant pages in the encyclopedia. In this way it is possible to research individual people and events in great detail. The sources are also hypertexted so the student is able to find out about the writer, artist, newspaper, organization, etc., that produced the material. So far there are sections on: omen in the 19th Century (Schooling, Marriage, Industrial Work, Careers & Professions, University Education, Birth Control), Pressure Groups, Strategy and Tactics and Parliamentary Reform Acts.

Black People in Britain

A collection of biographies of black people who lived in Britain. This includes John Alcindor, Ira Aldridge, John Archer, Francis Barber, Manchererjee Bhownaggree, George Bridgetower, Learie Constantine, William Cuffay, Offobah Cugoano, William Davidson, Celestine Edwards, Olaudah Equiano, Marcus Garvey, C. L. R. James, Claude McKay, Tom Molineaux, Harold Moody, Dadabhai Naoroji, George Padmore, James Peters, Bill Richmond, Paul Robeson, Shapurji Saklatvala, Innatius Sancho, Mary Seacole, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Walter Tull, Robert Wedderburn, Arthur Wharton and Sylvester Williams.

Encyclopaedia of Russia: 1860-1990 (300 entries)

A comprehensive encyclopaedia on Russia. So far there are sections on: Events and Issues, 1860-1914 (22); Revolutionary Philosophers (8); Russian Revolutionaries, 1860-1910 (32); Russian Political and Military Figures: 1860-1920 (34); Events and Issues in Russia, 1914-20 (18); Russian Revolutionaries: 1914-20 (64); Political Groups and Organizations (12), Foreign Witnesses of the Revolution (18), Newspapers and Journals (6), Russian Literature (24), Soviet Union: 1920-1945 (20), Soviet Union: 1945-1990 (16) and Political Figures: 1945-1990 (14).

Germany: 1900-45 (452 entries)

A comprehensive encyclopaedia of Germany. So far there are sections on the First World War (82), German Art (18), German Scientists (26), Weimar Republic (16), Political Parties (8), Political Leaders : 1900-1930 (42), Foreign Policy: 1930-40 (12), Military Leaders (42), Nazi Germany (34), Nazi Political Leaders (74), German Resistance to Nazism (52), Holocaust (46).

Encyclopaedia of France: 1900-45

The encyclopaedia is being created in sections. So far the following sections are available: Military Leaders: 1900-1920, France and the First World War, French Armed Forces: 1914-18, French Politicians: 1920-1945, Military Leaders: 1920-1945, French Politicians: 1945-1970, France and the Second World War, French Armed Forces: 1939-45 and the French Resistance.

Spanish Civil War (246)

A comprehensive encyclopaedia of the Spanish Civil War. There are sections on: Main Events and Issues (10), Political Organizations (16), Military Organizations (24), Important Battles (12), Biographies: Spanish (56), Biographies: Foreign Participants and Observers (96), International Leaders and the Civil War (22) and Individual Countries and the Spanish Civil War (10).

Encyclopaedia of Association Football

A detailed encyclopaedia on the history of Association Football. It has been produced primarily for students in schools and colleges. Entries include: Alcohol and Football, Amateur Football, Black Footballers, Corruption Cases, Early History of Football, England Internationals, FA Cup Competition, Football and the First World War, Floodlit Football, Football Association, Football Cigarette Cards, Football Deaths, Football Kits, Football League, Football League War Cup, Football Rules, Football and Trade Unionism, Goalkeeping, Goalscorers, International Football, Irish Football, Irish Football Association, Irish Internationals, Ladies Football Association, Managers and Coaches, Munitionettes, Professional Football, Public Schools, Racism, Radio and Football, Railways and Football, Referee, Scottish Football, Scottish Football Association, Scottish League, Scottish Players in England, Scotland Internationals, Sheffield Association, Southern League, Second World War, Tactics and Formation, Television and Football, Tobacco and Football, Transfer System, Wages, Welsh Football, Wales Internationals, Women's Football Association, Women and Football and the World Cup. There are also detailed histories of several football clubs including Manchester United, Preston North Wnd, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United.