Stones and the Scandal in Ireland

Pamela Olson
12 October 2004

The idea for the following came to my head during a break from olive picking in Jayyous as I was idly tossing pebbles at a friend's olive tree. It was one of the lucky seven (out of 20) of my friend's trees that survived the Israeli dynamiting of the Palestinian hillside to build the Hafrada Wall. (Another friend had 200 trees destroyed, etc. etc.)

The Israeli offensive in the Gaza refugee camps was also in full swing during my stay in the village. The Palestinian death toll in Gaza now stands at more than 100, the wounded more than twice that number. At least half of the dead are civilians - of them, at least 27 were children.

One ten-year-old girl was shot in the chest as she sat in her elementary school classroom by Israeli snipers this afternoon. Another 13-year-old girl was shot by Israeli occupation forces from a sniper tower on her way to school, and then shot twice in the head at close range, and then hit with more than a dozen more bullets in her lifeless body by an Israeli commander "to relieve pressure," according to Israeli soldiers who witnessed the scene.

Three Israeli soldiers have also been killed in the two weeks of... not sure what the right word is. Horror, I guess.

Anyway, if you're not in the mood for disgruntled political satire, scroll down to the Ireland story. It's about as heavy and political as Jerry Springer.


U.S. Agrees to Sponsor Israel's Latest Offensive to Remove Palestinians' Most Readily-Available Weapons Source

New York Times
Sunday, 9 October 2004

TEL AVIV - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced on Friday his plan to remove what he sees as a proven threat to the health and security of the Israeli people.

"I bring you greetings from Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people for the past 3000 years, and of the State of Israel for the past 56 years and forever,"* Sharon said on Israeli national television.

"Let me make one thing clear: the Israeli people will not negotiate with terrorists. We shoot them in their homes and schools, bomb them in their cars, vandalize their places of work, isolate them in ghettos, restrict their movement, comandeer their land and water sources, and destroy their homes and ministries.

"And still," he added solemnly, "any child can simply walk to the street, pick up a stone, and become a terrorist.

"So," he concluded, "the rocks must go.

"It will be a major operation, as Judea and Samaria are liberally littered with stones. And every home we destroy only creates more jagged, throwable objects. But they have been using these weapons against us for too long.

"We can't possibly have a partner for peace as long as these weapons are simply lying around for any 14-year-old to hurl at our tanks and Hummers. We believe stone-removal is the only viable option for a true and lasting peace in this region."

Donald Rumsfeld said in a press conference in Arlington, Virginia, "I agree with Mr. Sharon. We must act decisively, and we must act now. Their methods are getting more sophisticated. Their aim isgetting better. Their range is getting longer.

"The next sign of a smoking gun," Rumsfeld added, in a statement that stunned and terrified lovers of peace and freedom all over the world, "might very well be a broken window in New York City."

"We must end the threat to the Israeli people emanating from Judea, Samaria, and the strip of land where Jonah allegedly washed up after being eaten by the whale, now home to more than a thousand Israeli families," said UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

"And a million or two other people," he added diplomatically.

On Saturday Colin Powell said gravely, "We know the stones are there. We've seen the mountains and caves where the stones literally fall out of cracks in the earth. And we have credible intelligence that they may be smuggling these stones into Syria and Iran.

"That is," he remarked with his usual air of pensive constipation, "if Syria and Iran don't already have stones of their own."

The Pentagon urged Israel to engage in a comprehensive unilateral invasion of the Arab strongholds using tanks, Apache helicopters, and F-16 fighter jets in order to impose complete military occupation upon the territories currently occupied by the Arab terrorists before they can develop more sophisticated sling technologies which could affect innocent Israeli civilians at a range of up to thirty feet.

Pentagon officials were reported "extremely pleased" to find out that Israel not only had already done so, but also has built walls and checkpoints that make life almost entirely unlivable for many of the Arabs, who call themselves 'Palestinians' and occupy the land restored to Israel in 1967, a move whose sadistic brilliance and impunity surprised and delighted even Dick Cheney.

"We think we about have this terrorism problem licked," confided a top Pentagon official on condition of anonymity due to security and censorship concerns.

"You know those refugee camps they have all over the place? We think this is where most of the terrorists come from. Which is extremely convenient, you see, because these people are packed in like sardines and almost completely helpless.

"It's like shootin' fish in a barrel,"** he chuckled.

"They can throw stones for a day, a month, until death. They can throw and throw until they get tennis elbow. We will ward off this threat and it will be as if it never happened," said Tzahi Hanegbi, Israeli minister for internal security.

"God made stones for building walls and sniper towers, not for throwing," he added knowingly, brandishing a chain and winking.***

"We will kill them even in their outhouses," said Russian President Vladimir Putin, but it was later discovered that he had misunderstood the question and, unlike everyone else, was still talking about Chechnya.

When asked for a statement, U.S. President George W. Bush shouted, "The people of Ireland must be made safe for freedom, democracy, and sover'nty," from the back of an all-terrain sport utility golf cart on his expansive ranch in Crawford, Texas.

"The time for diplomacy has passed," he added later over Pabst Blue Ribbons and Colombia's finest blow. "The Pomeranians must be punished. These nukular rocks will be found, make no mistake. And when they are, we'll bring freedom and peace to the Palefornians, and democracy, and liberty.

"And if that means using excessive force and killing thousands of their men, women, and children, then so be it. After all, that's what American stands for: being tough and secure."



Dear friends and family,

I just got back from nine days in Jayyous, a Stigler-sized village near Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank, the one where I lived last year for six weeks. I enjoyed picking olives last year, and it's that time again, so I took a week off to spend time on the land with some friends who are becoming like family to me.

The Hafrada Wall is suffocating and destroying the village and turning the olive harvest, which used to be a gorgeous and fun communal custom, into a grim and humiliating march through rigidly-scheduled gates (for the people lucky enough to have a permit) onto what's left of the land that wasn't blasted and destroyed to make the giant electrified fence, army access road, buffer zones, and razor-wire piles.

Army Jeeps and armored Hummers patrol the de facto annexed area behind the Wall (about 13 square kilometers of Jayyous farmland) constantly, roaring along the old dirt roads that used to see only tractors and donkey carts, making it even harder to enjoy the day and forget about all the craziness. An excellent study in obscene cognitive dissonance.

Anyway, I'll write about that later. For now I'll just write quickly about a leitmotif of the sad, beautiful week: a ridiculous scandal in Ireland that hit full tilt just as I arrived in Jayyous.

A friend of mine faked his own death a few months ago, and the truth came to light among his acquaintances, then via a Cork web forum (peoplesrepublicofcork.com), and then the journalists started calling me -- three newspapers and two radio stations.

I cooperated with the Irish Daily Star because the guy who called me was nice and I thought it'd be a hoot, and a lesson to all the jerks out there who think they can lie to girls remorselessly and get away with it. Just a note that sometimes we bite back.

The Irish Independent followed with an article without my cooperation or consent. I later agreed to an interview on Irish national radio via cell phone while I was in Jayyous, also for a laugh. The radio show host kept trying to get me to admit on the air that I still liked the guy and that I was a home-wrecker. First-class.

Then people started bombing my webpage guestbook, and some entries gave out personal information about Ronan that had no business being on the web, or were just obscene or stupid, or questioned my honor or my parentage. So I had to sort that out. (I put most of the entries back up--check it out, it's pretty humorous.)

I didn't make any money off of this that I'm aware of despite the allegations in my guestbook, but I have never been so amused in as long as I can remember. May all the world be so boring some day that an American girl getting duped is front-page news.

Then again, I guess everyone loves a story that makes them feel smarter than someone else.

Here is an email from a journalist who wrote my and Ronan's story in the Irish Daily Star, and the two articles follow. It made Ronan the national laughingstock of the month. If I didn't believe in karma before, I do now. Life is psychotic, love is blind, but what can you do except roll with the punches?


    Hi Pamela,

    I hope you are keeping well.

    Tried to call you a few times over the weekend, but your mobile phone was switched off.

    Anyway, we ran an article on Saturday and got a tremendous response. Another newspaper, The Sunday Independent, followed up on the story the following day.

    The whole issue generated a lot of discussion on the airwaves. A station in Cork even ran it as a news item all day Monday and devoted a large party of a show on Sunday to it. [!!!]

    Since the story appeared a lot of people have come out of the woodwork to have their say about Ronan. It appears that he had quite a few enemies.

    We didn't name him in the article we published or give any identifiable details about him - so don't worry there. We also blacked out his face in the photographs. I'm sure people were smart enough to go to your website for those details.

    I've been reading with interest the postings in your guestbook. All I can say is that there are some pretty juvenile people in Ireland going by some of the posts. But I think you'll find that the ones made by people who actually know Ronan pretty much back you up.

    I have sent a copy of the 'paper to your folks in Stigler and below I have put in a copy of the text used in our piece on Saturday. It made page one and was continued on page four.

    Hope you keep well and I wish you the very best in the future. You are a brave woman and I know you won't be fooled again.

    Shane Phelan
    Irish Daily Star


'Dead' Irish Liar Broke my Heart

Irish Daily Star

A WOMAN who set up a website in honour of her Irish lover, who she thought was killed while fighting in Iraq, has been stunned to learn he is still alive -- and living in Ireland.

Her lover, a seaman with the Irish Navy, wanted to end his passionate fling with American student Pamela Olson.

But the method chosen for giving her the 'flick' was macabre -- straight from the pages of a war thriller.

Pretty Pamela (24), from Stigler, Oklahoma, was distraught when she received an e-mail telling her that the brave seaman had been killed by a sniper in Iraq while saving the life of an 8-year-old little girl.

To help get over his death she created an elaborate internet website in his honour.

But the cruel deception was uncovered when grieving Pamela's mother wrote to the dead man's family expressing her condolences.

Pamela was stunned to hear that the man was alive and well and had recently married.

Now she has branded the Irishman she fell for during a holiday romance in Croatia as a "big-time liar and charlatan."

Olson first met the seaman in Croatia during August 2002. He was there with his then fiancee and two other friends. But he abandoned his partner for days after meeting the pretty American girl in a bar in Dubrovnik.

He wooed gullible Pamela Olson with tales of heroics and daring.

She claims he told her he was an elite army ranger who had been on missions with the UN in East Timor and Lebanon and that he had ridden a Harley Davidson across Russia.

The claims would later prove to be completely false, but at the time she fell madly in love with him.

"His larger than life stories and funny, thoughtful, humility made it effortless to fall in love with him," a stunned Pamela told The Star.

They met again in Miami the following year. She claims he told her that if they were not living 6,000 miles apart that he would put a wedding band on her finger.

Inspired by his tales she later went on holidays in the Middle East. At this stage he had told in e-mails that he was stationed in Iraq.

He said he was laid up in a field hospital there after being shot in the backside.

While in Amman she made contact with him by phone, hoping that a meeting could be arranged. But he said he could not get any time off to meet her. [Because he was in Ireland.]

She returned home to the USA in December and when she e-mailed him on March 10 asking was he alright, she received the bad news that he was dead.

Now that she knows that it was all a lie she said she was furious over the pain and suffering she endured on learning of his "death".

The e-mail, which purported to be from a UN colleague of the dead sailor, said he had been shot dead by an Iraqi sniper while on a patrol on May 1 this year.

The e-mail said he had shown extraordinary bravery to sweep an eight-year-old Iraqi girl into his arms and push her to safety before being mown down in a hail of bullets.

The colleague [who was actually Ronan himself posing as 'Scott'] urged her to pay tribute to him on the internet and she set up a website dedicated to his memory.

However, she told The Star that she had recently been contacted by a number of people in Ireland who told her that he was alive and well.

"I've got over it now, but at the time I was very upset," said Pamela.

"When I found out he was alive, I was glad. But at the same time I was thinking 'what a rat this guy is'. He led me quite a merry dance." [Er -- have you ever heard me say 'merry dance'?]

"When I set up the website it was heartfelt and coming from true emotions at the time.

"But it turned out that he was a big-time liar and a charlatan who made up almost everything he said to me, including his own death.

"And even though he is quite a jerk, his stories did inspire me to travel and learn about the Middle East," she said.

When confronted about Ms Olson's claims, the seaman denied even knowing her. [Nice one!]

He then said he had no comment to make when he was informed that The Star was in possession of photographs of him and Ms Olson together.

"What you can write in your paper is that she has ruined my life. My marriage is on the rocks over her. My son is getting hassled in school over her and my job is on the line because of it," he said.

"My job is the only source of income for my family. That means my mortgage is on the line over it.

"That is what you can write in your newspaper and what you can tell her (Pamela). I don't have any other comment to make.

"I have nothing to come clean about, my friend. I'm sure these are doctored photographs."


And the following article appeared in the Irish Independent, one of Ireland's best-selling newspapers. I never talked to these guys, so they made everything up that they didn't get off the website. But apparently the article is making the rounds on every military base and office email list in Ireland.

A dead lover walking: US woman conned by 'Irish Army Ranger'

in Cork, and

AMERICAN woman Pamela Olson was so devastated when told that her Irish lover had been killed while saving a child during a gun battle in Iraq that she set up a web page to honour her fallen hero.

Friends from all over the world were heartbroken at her news. They wrote messages of support and pledged to help Ms Olson through her loss. Some reminded her of his sacrifice for Iraqi freedom.

But now she has been told her dead hero is not only actually alive and well, but apparently married and living happily in Cork. He is also not in fact an elite soldier, but a humble Irish sailor serving aboard a navy ship.

And in revenge at his apparent Walter Mitty stories, the pretty but credulous 24-year-old Oklahoma student has told the whole story on the internet, accusing her former beau of being a fantasist.

She says she was furious when she learned that the 25-year-old Corkman was not an Army Ranger, didn't play rugby for Munster, never drove a Harley Davidson across Russia, nor served with gallantry in war-torn East Timor and the Lebanon.

In fact the man, from East Cork - and whose identity is known to the Sunday Independent - was an ordinary sailor with the Irish navy who allegedly created a heroic and often hilarious Action Man persona, nicknamed "Neo" after the character played by Keanu Reeves in the action blockbuster The Matrix.

He may have meant no harm, but Ms Olson is now full of bitterness and scorn for her former lover - whom she has lashed on the website that once honoured him.

She told the Sunday Independent: "I felt I was in love with him and was devastated when I heard by email that he had been killed. I was furious when I realised it was all one great big lie." She added, "I was hurt when I found out the truth."

The Corkman's (Neo's) tales of derring-do had impressed the naive Ms Olson, whom he met while on holiday in Croatia in 2002. At the time he was a single man. [Actually, he was engaged to another girl and seeing a third girl at the time.]

Now, according to Ms Olson, he's "a lying douche bag", but the story of "Neo's" heroic life and faked death has attracted a cult readership to Ms Olson's web page, www.pamolson.org. The Irish sailor also told Ms Olson that he was a "quarter Cherokee", and created another alter ego called "Scott" to break the sad news that her lover had been killed in Iraq.

He appears to have done so after Ms Olson indicated she wanted to come and visit him there. The account which "Scott" posted via electronic mail from the man's own email account reads like a Mills & Boon novel.

Scott wrote that Ms Olson's boyfriend was killed on May 1 while his unit was doing a "recon" patrol in southeastern Iraq, not far from the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

He allegedly wrote: "Out of nowhere a sniper fired on their unit. A radio operator from South Africa was hit in the chest and went down screaming.

"The foreign aid workers nearby dove for cover, as did X's men, but a small Iraqi girl, maybe eight years old, was left crying in the middle of the road.

"The UN soldiers returned fire but had no idea where the sniper was. X knew that the sniper would take a shot at the girl, the wounded radio operator, or the aid workers to draw them out of cover. He couldn't leave them there helpless.

"X leapt to his feet, grabbed the girl, and pushed her through an open door. It drew the sniper's fire long enough to let the medic get the radio man to cover."

But, in Scott's words, "the most unstoppable guy I ever met got stopped".

"X was hit by four bullets, one to the left shoulder, two to the chest, and one to the left hip. His last words were, "Did I do OK, are they safe?"

Ms Olson says she fell for this outrageous tale, which was designed to end their relationship for good. But, bereft and heartbroken at this tragic news, Ms Olson created a website honouring the Irishman she knew, the dashing inside centre who played rugby for Munster, had an honours degree in physics and maths and who saw the first plane crash into the World Trade Centre while on holiday in New York on 9/11. She only learned of the apparent deception when she contacted his mother to offer condolences.

"She told me in no uncertain terms that he was alive, well and recently married. It was quite a shock, but I was so glad he was alive I wasn't even angry. Just extremely perplexed," she explained.

Then, after publishing the details on her website, Ms Olson was contacted by several people in Cork as to the true details of her former lover's life.

"He led me quite a merry dance," Ms Olson has said. [This is how rumors get started...]

"I've got over it now, but at the time I was very upset. When I set up the website, it was heartfelt and coming from true emotions at the time, but it turned out he was a big-time liar and charlatan who made up almost everything he told me - including his own death."

On the the other side of the Atlantic, the Corkman is clearly embarrassed that what may have started out as the harmless creation of an overactive imagination to spice up a friendship has escalated out of control.

Before packing up and getting out of his home town yesterday morning, he told the Irish Daily Star: "She has ruined my life."

The man was uncontactable for comment yesterday, either at his home or by telephone.

However, locals admitted that the 25-year-old was "deeply shocked" by the allegations - and was maintaining that some photographs included on the US website of him with Ms Olson were digitally fabricated.

Locals admitted that his parents were deeply upset over the affair.

It's understood the sailor has vehemently denied any suggestion that he claimed to have served in Iraq. "He seemed to be under enormous pressure over the last couple of weeks - he just wasn't his normal cheerful self," one neighbour declared.

The Irish sailor told one person that the Oklahoma girl was determined to destroy his life and his career.

Last night, the Naval Service stressed that it couldn't possibly comment on the matter.

However, it's understood the Defence Forces are set to regard the embarrassing claims as a strictly private matter - and the man is unlikely to face any form of military inquiry.

When it emerged that the story was going to be leaked to the Irish media, the man contacted Haulbowline Naval Base to alert them to the allegations and Iraq claims.

Senior politicians and Defence Force chiefs also expressed "grave concern" at the potential implications for Irish nationals in Iraq or the Middle East of any belief, however erroneous, that Ireland maintains elite military forces in the war-torn Middle Eastern country.

No member of the Irish defence forces is serving in Iraq.


So that's it for my fifteen minutes. Don't feel bad laughing. I've been in stitches for days.


Next: seam zone, friction zone, twilight zone

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