Quiet weekend, though last night I did take a walk along the coast, picked up an early Sunday paper, and had a couple of ciders in a local pub. A bunch of women, all smoking like chimneys, were at a table nearby, and one of them shouted something at me as she was leaving. I didn’t catch all of it, but it was something about reading a paper in the pub. Or maybe she was just jealous that I can actually read.
We’re approaching the release of the next James Bond film, Die Another Day. There’s a documentary on at the moment, narrated by Roger Moore, about real-life intelligence operations in history. I didn’t know that the UK actually had an official assassination squad that operated during the last stages of World War II and afterwards, targeting Nazis and sympathisers who were considered guilty of war crimes (but too low-ranking to make it to Nuremburg) and “converting them to His Majesty’s permanent custody”. The program also documents some of the CIA’s many attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro. Interesting.
Also discussed was the assassination of Alfred Herrhausen, the late chairman of Deutsche Bank, by the Red Army Faction (a.k.a. Baader Meinhof Gang) in 1989. They had already publicly targeted Herrhausen, who was then surrounded by a 50-person security detail. They still got him as he was being driven to work one morning, by detonating a satchel full of TNT, attached to a kid’s bike chained to a post next to the road, with help from an infra-red trigger. The bomb had been set up with a heavy copper plate precisely aimed at the side of the armoured car, which didn’t stand a chance. The only casualty that day was Herrhausen himself – a real wake-up call for security organizations worldwide.
The CIA and KGB also worked in chemical and biological weapon development, and we saw some of the fruits of that research this weekend, in “resolving” the hostage crisis at a Moscow theatre. At time of writing the death toll is 118, all but 2 of whom died as a result of an unknown military gas. Heads will roll, figuratively, and perhaps literally too.
Today is the longest day of the year; since the clocks went back at 1am, today is 25 hours long. I’ll need that extra hour of sleep, since tomorrow is a Bank Holiday in Ireland, but I have to work. I could grab a taxi, but I’m going to walk it. It will probably be the last time I walk the coast road, from Blackrock to Sydney Parade, for some time. We’ve had some serious weather this weekend, but the morning is forecast to be clear but windy.