Monday, 5 June 2017

D-Day + 73 years. Thank You Canada!

Baltic Dry Index. 830     Brent Crude 49.35

"We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

Winston S. Churchill. June 4, 1940.

Today is D-Day 73 years on. But what would or could Great Britain have done without Canada after June 1940 when France fell.  For a year Britain and Canada stood virtually alone against the German dominated continent. The rest of the British Empire and Commonwealth was essentially too far away to offer immediate or sustained help. The USA was neutral. The USSR, a German supplier of foodstuffs and fuel, until Operation Barbarossa, June 22, 1941, when Germany attacked Russia. The neutral Republic of Ireland under De Valera, flirted of and on with siding with Germany.

Without Canada’s help, Great Britain would have been starved into suing for a peace with Germany, leaving most of the continent under German occupation. D-Day could never have happened after that. Russia when attacked by Hitler at full invading strength, would probably have lost to Germany.  After the “peace,” Northern Ireland would have been given to the south, with Ireland becoming loosely allied with Germany. Not quite occupied like Denmark, but another German satellite state similar to Sweden.  A dagger aimed at Britain’s back. A comfort base for German submarines ready to threaten British shipping. A German aircraft carrier in the Atlantic.  Great Britain, to all intents and purposes, as a combatant, would be dead.

Below, it was Canada that really made the difference. That made Churchill’s aspirations into a reality, while America slept.

“It doesn't make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who's dead.”

 Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Experts dig up Covenanter tank in English vineyard, a rare piece of Canada’s D-Day history

Tom Blackwell Sunday, Jun. 4, 2017
The Canadian Second World War tank unearthed recently at a vineyard south of London, where Canadian infantry soldiers used the vehicle to train for the D-Day invasion, then buried it as they left for France. Craig Moore,

The Covenanter tank was not exactly a star of the Second World War.

German technological advances and a fickle engine rendered the awkwardly named model obsolete months after it first left an English factory, and none of the 1,700 vehicles built ever actually fired a shot in anger.

But for Canadian troops on the eve of a historic battle, the Covenanter proved indispensable. Converted into a training tool, it helped ready this country’s infantry forces for their biggest moment of the war, the D-Day invasion, whose 73rd anniversary is Tuesday.

The soldiers from Canada abandoned the tanks as they left their British training grounds for the beaches of Normandy. But now one of only two surviving examples of the rare war machine has literally been unearthed from the English countryside, where oddly enough the departing infantrymen had buried it seven decades ago.

----Jeff Noakes, a historian at Ottawa’s Canadian War Museum, applauded the salvage, calling it a tangible reminder of the estimated 500,000 Canadian soldiers who passed through Britain during the war, many of them undergoing advanced training before D-Day.

“This tank being recovered from three or four metres down in a vineyard really helps bring back to life, so to speak, the events of almost three-quarters of a century ago,” he said.

The Covenanter was relatively cutting edge as it started life in 1939: fast and with a gun able to knock out any German opposition.

But when the Germans added more armour and bigger guns to their Panzer tanks, it was suddenly an under-performer. An unreliable motor and a design that “stupidly” put the radiator at the front, exposed to enemy fire, sealed its fate, said Moore, editor of

----Used tanks were actually coveted by metal-scrap merchants back then but the visiting troops probably lacked the time or contacts to find one and, “Canadians being nice people,” buried the leftovers so they wouldn’t be a hazard to the local farmer and his cows.

One was later dug up in the 1970s and eventually restored, sitting now in at the U.K.’s Bovington Tank Museum. The other one was more or less forgotten in land that became Denbies Wine Estate, until Wedlock heard about it and went searching with a sophisticated metal detector.

Extract: ‘Mr de Valera’s conviction that Hitler would win the war was stupid’

David Gray, the US Amabassador to Ireland in 1940, reveals just what he thought of Dev, the 1916 leaders and why he thought Ireland was in collusion with the Nazis.

Nov 6th 2012, 7:30 PM
David Gray became US Minister (Ambassador) to Ireland in 1940. His memoir, written at the age of 89, is published for the first time by the Royal Irish Academy and is a patchwork of top-secret documents, letters to Roosevelt and extracts from his diary.

----Herr Hempel – the German minister to Ireland – had a charming house and garden at Blackrock, a suburb on Dublin harbour. His chancery was an ugly, modern red brick house in Northumberland Road. It was here that I called upon him. Herr Dr Hempel received us with great courtesy. He was somewhat over-civil and did not ring true. He spoke fluent English with little accent. I was conscious of being ill at ease. Hempel might be doing his duty as he saw it but he was serving a Führer whose hands were red with the blood of Jews, Poles and Norwegians, on whose conscience was the annihilation of Austria and Czechoslovakia. I was naive enough at seventy to be shocked by these things.

We exchanged pleasant commonplaces. I was not to re-enter the German legation at 58 Northumberland Road till I took possession of it in the name of the United Nations at the end of the war and found the wires of a radio sending set and other interesting items. The Irish government had seen to it that we did not gain admittance until the files had been destroyed.

Collaboration with the Germans

Mr de Valera’s conviction that Hitler would win the war was stupid in view of the opportunities he enjoyed for obtaining authoritative information as to what was going on in the United States. It was doubtless due to the fact that he knew few if any Americans, only ‘Irish in America’. As a matter of fact he himself never told me that Hitler would win, though he scoffed at the suggestion that the United States would become involved. 
But his deputy Joe Walshe told me. Further, Mr Walshe was confident that at the worst, Hitler would not lose. Cardinal MacRory told me that Hitler would win. Count Plunkett, the patriarch of the IRA, expressed the same opinion. We know from the German papers that one of Mr de Valera’s generals was collaborating with Hempel. Belief in German victory was in the Dublin air. At the end of the war a former Lord Mayor of Dublin, ‘Paddy’ Doyle, a very ‘decent’ man, said to me ‘You know, at the beginning we were all sure Germany was going to win’.

Its refusal to resist Hitler still shames Ireland

Ben Macintyre 12:00AM May 11, 2013
ON May 2, 1945, the Taoiseach Eamon de Valera visited the German Embassy in Dublin to offer his personal condolences over the death of Adolf Hitler, who had committed suicide in the Fuhrerbunker two day earlier.

For De Valera this was a demonstration of the Republic of Ireland's continued neutrality in the war that had ravaged Europe for six years and an expression of its determination to pursue an independent foreign policy. Signing the condolence book for Hitler was a matter of diplomatic protocol; to do otherwise, said De Valera, would have been "an act of unpardonable discourtesy".

The gesture provoked fury in Britain, most particularly on the part of Winston Churchill, whose anger at Ireland's neutral stance boiled over in his subsequent victory speech, in which he said that Britain had shown great restraint by not invading Ireland during the war: "We never laid a violent hand upon them, which at times would have been quite easy and quite natural."

Dublin's wartime neutrality remains a traumatic and contradictory chapter in Irish history, a source of pride to some, but embarrassment to others. This week Ireland righted one of the worst injustices of that time by granting a formal amnesty and apology to the 5000 Irish soldiers who deserted to join British forces fighting the Axis powers and were treated shamefully when they returned home.

The Irish citizens who chose to fight Hitler, some 60,000 in number, did so to "protect decency and democracy" in the words of Ireland's Defence Minister. But if these men were really heroes, that raises the uncomfortable question of whether the Irish state's decision not to take sides in a war of good against evil was, at the very least, an abdication of moral responsibility.

----Ireland's neutral stance may have helped to bind the country together, cementing a sense of national identity, but at a high moral cost. Too often neutrality encouraged indifference to the evils of Nazism. Amid tight censorship, both sides in the conflict were presented as morally equivalent when they manifestly were not. Even Charlie Chaplin's anti-Nazi film The Great Dictator was banned from Irish cinemas. Ireland did not open its doors to Jews fleeing persecution and some dismissed the horror of the Holocaust as mere British propaganda.

----Churchill was enraged by Ireland's refusal to allow the Royal Navy to use Irish ports, putting the Atlantic convoys at even greater risk from the U-boat wolf packs. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he sent a pleading telegram to De Valera, urging him to side with the Allies: "Now is your chance. Now or never."

De Valera chose never. He stuck to his guns, or lack of them, firmly believing that the future of his young nation depended on staying out of the fight. But the Nazi occupations of The Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark had clearly revealed how much Hitler respected the neutrality of small independent countries. If Britain had fallen, Ireland would undoubtedly have been next to see the Panzers rolling in, giving the Nazis unrestricted access to the Atlantic. The guarantor of Ireland's liberty was not neutrality but Britain's determination to stand up to Hitler.

“It is not enough to win a war; it is more important to organize the peace.”


In other news:

NSA report says Russians targeted U.S. voting infrastructure; alleged leaker arrested

Published: June 5, 2017 10:31 p.m. ET

Secret report says Russian cyberattack penetrated deeper than previously believed

Russian military hackers targeted a voting software company and more than 100 U.S. local election officials in a massive cyberattack days before the presidential election, according to a secret National Security Agency report.

The classified document, which was published by The Intercept on Monday, describes in detail how Russian hackers conducted a spear-phishing scheme aimed at America’s election infrastructure, penetrating the system deeper than previously believed.

The report was confirmed by the government, which later Monday announced the arrest of a private contractor for allegedly leaking the confidential report to the news outlet. Reality Leigh Winner, 25, who reportedly worked at an NSA facility in Georgia, was arrested over the weekend. Federal authorities said she printed out a copy of the report and mailed it to The Intercept.

The NSA report said operatives from the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, apparently targeted employees at VR Systems, a Florida-based company that supplies election software and equipment for eight states, last August and again in late October.

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, Donald Trump’s USA fires a warning shot across the UN Steamship’s bows. Reform or face the consequences, is the message.  Hopefully with a far better result than when Dodgy Dave Cameron tried it with the EUSSR.
“The U.N. is a place where governments opposed to free speech demand to be heard.”

Mad Magazine.

Mon Jun 5, 2017 | 1:51pm BST

U.S. poised to warn U.N. rights forum of possible withdrawal

The United States is expected to signal on Tuesday that it might withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council unless reforms are ushered in including the removal of what it sees as an "anti-Israel bias", diplomats and activists said.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, who holds cabinet rank in President Donald Trump's administration, said last week Washington would decide on whether to withdraw from the Council after its three-week session in Geneva ends this month.

Under Trump, Washington has broken with decades of U.S. foreign policy by turning away from multilateralism. His decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement last week drew criticism from governments around the world.

The Council's critical stance of Israel has been a major sticking point for its ally the United States. Washington boycotted the body for three years under President George W. Bush before rejoining under Barack Obama in 2009.

Haley, writing in the Washington Post at the weekend, called for the Council to "end its practice of wrongly singling out Israel for criticism."

The possibility of a U.S. withdrawal has raised alarm bells among Western allies and activists.

Eight groups, including Freedom House and the Jacob Blaustein Institute, wrote to Haley in May saying a withdrawal would be counterproductive since it could lead to the Council "unfairly targeting Israel to an even greater degree."

In the letter, seen by Reuters, the groups also said that during the period of the U.S. boycott, the Council's performance suffered "both with respect to addressing the world's worst violators and with respect to its anti-Israel bias."

The Council has no powers other than to rebuke governments it deems as violating human rights and to order investigations but plays an important role in international diplomacy.

Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory are a fixed item on the agenda of the 47-member body set up in 2006. Washington, Israel's main ally, often casts the only vote against the Arab-led resolutions.

"When the council passes more than 70 resolutions against Israel, a country with a strong human rights record, and just seven resolutions against Iran, a country with an abysmal human rights record, you know something is seriously wrong," wrote Haley.

John Fisher, Geneva director of the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, did not appear to fear an immediate withdrawal.
“There are no limits to the majestic future which lies before the mighty expanse of Canada with its virile, aspiring, cultured, and generous-hearted people.”
 Sir Winston Churchill
Technology Update.
With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, I’ve added this section. Updates as they get reported. Is converting sunlight to usable cheap AC or DC energy mankind’s future from the 21st century onwards? DC? A quantum computer next?

IBM's new 5nm architecture crams 30 billion transistors onto fingernail-sized chip

Michael Irving June 4, 2017
The smallest and most advanced chips currently commercially available are made up of transistors with gates about 10 nm long, but IBM has now unveiled plans to cut them in half. To create 5 nm chips, the company is ditching the standard FinFET architecture in favor of a new structure built with a stack of four nanosheets, allowing some 30 billion transistors to be packed onto a chip the size of a fingernail and promising significant gains in power and efficiency.

First coined in the 1970s, Moore's Law was the observation that the number of transistors on a single chip would double every two years. The trend has held up pretty well ever since, but the time frame of the doubling has slowed down a little in recent years. In consumer electronics, 14 nm chips are still stock-standard, but advances from the likes of Intel and Samsung mean that 10 nm versions have started hitting the high-end market.

But the march of technology never stops, and in 2015 IBM unveiled a 7 nm test chip, developed in conjunction with GlobalFoundries and Samsung. This prototype crammed some 20 billion transistors onto a fingernail-sized chip, thanks to some new manufacturing tricks and materials, and they're expected to be rolled out on a commercial scale in about 2019.

Now, the same group of companies has unveiled the next step beyond that. With individual switches just 5 nm in diameter, an extra 10 billion of them can be squeezed onto a chip the same size. While current manufacturing techniques could potentially shrink down to the 5 nm scale, the team instead developed a brand new architecture.

Semiconductors have been made using the FinFET architecture since about 2011. As its name suggests, these transistors are fin-shaped, with three current-carrying channels surrounded by an insulating layer. But, as often happens with technology, this structure is starting to bump up against the limits of how small it can be scaled, and the IBM team says shrinking the fins any further won't do much to improve their performance.

Instead, the 5 nm chips are made using stacked silicon nanosheets, which can send signals through four gates at once, instead of FinFET's three. They're created using Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, a process that writes patterns on a silicon wafer using a much higher energy wavelength of light than the current technique. That means finer details can be created on the chip, and unlike existing lithography processes, the chips' power and performance can be adjusted continuously during manufacturing.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished May

DJIA: 21,009 +157 Up. NASDAQ:  6,199 +219 Up. SP500: 2,412 +161 Up.

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