Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Now this is Funny

Firstly Tip the Hat to Obo the Clown.

Now go to a famous clothes retailers web site

In the search box type mugs.................well maybe you want something posh for your coffee.

Check your results............bwahahahahahahaha

All a fiver next week in the sale bin.

Still ROFL

Sadness and Joy

Yesterday, again Wootton Bassett paid its now far to familiar respects as another repatriation ceremony took place.

The families of seven servicemen killed in Afghanistan joined thousands of well-wishers yesterday evening as their coffins were driven through Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire.

It was the largest single repatriation since the bodies of eight soldiers were returned to RAF Lyneham last July.

Among the men whose bodies were returned yesterday were three members of 40 Commando Royal Marines, Sergeant Steven Darbyshire, Lance Corporal Michael Taylor and Marine Paul Warren.

Darbyshire, a father-of-two from Wigan, was killed by small arms fire during a fight with insurgents while on patrol in the Sangin district of Helmand.

Taylor, from Rhyl, north Wales, was killed during an exchange of fire with the Taliban in Sangin. He leaves three children.

Warren, from Preston, was fatally injured in an explosion when a patrol base airport lounge was attacked by insurgents.

Also arriving home were the bodies of Lance Corporal David Ramsden, Colour Sergeant Martyn Horton, Private Alex Isaac and Private Douglas Halliday, all of 1st Battalion the Mercian Regiment (Cheshire). They were killed when their vehicle rolled into a canal near Gereshk in Helmand. The soldiers were part of a police advisory team and were on their way to attend an incident at a nearby checkpoint.

Family members placed flowers on top of the hearses as they paused for a minute's silence next to Wootton Bassett's war memorial. Many relatives wore T-shirts bearing the name of their family member.

However on the same day 2 fabulous ceremonies took place,

In the biggest parade since start of Afghan conflict, Winchester payed tribute to 11 Light Brigade after costly six-month tour.

They fought with "immense courage", lost 64 of their comrades and witnessed yet more seriously injured.

Now they were home. And the city of Winchester turned out in its thousands to pay tribute to the men and women of 11 Light Brigade at a homecoming parade today, the biggest of its kind since the start of the Afghan conflict.

Amid flag-waving, cheers and some tears, 650 troops from the brigade's 12 regiments marched six abreast through the city's streets to mark the end of a six-month tour of Helmand which exacted a heavy toll.

This was no celebration, despite the applause. As the marching bands played, and two RAF Tornado jets performed a flypast, the thoughts of the watching crowd were with those who were not there.

Also at the same time,

Soldiers from 9 Regiment, The Royal Logistic Corps (RLC), marched through Malmesbury yesterday where, in addition to receiving their Afghanistan operational medals, they were awarded the “Freedom” of the town.

Personnel from 9 Regiment completed their 6 month deployment to Afghanistan in May 2010. Those deployed were mainly from 94 Squadron Group with the backbone of personnel being Gurkha soldiers.

The event organised by the Town Council saw troops, dressed in their desert combat uniforms, forming up at the War Memorial in Malmesbury. From there, they were led by the band of the Royal Logistic Corps to the Town Square, where around 150 personnel from the Regiment were presented with their Operation HERRICK medals.

Military covenant to be enshrined in law

On a visit to HMS Ark Royal, Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged his support for the Armed Forces by announcing that the military covenant will be made law.

A description of what the Military Covenant

Under our previous administration the Covenant was abused. Reading the description it is easy to see how both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown ripped the heart out of our military. The hurt and pain they inflicted by their actions is indescribable, but despite that the British Military did its duty, stood up to the plate and without favour carried out its tasks, even in the face of some of the most horrific propositions.

Mr Cameron explained that the covenant, the state's responsibility to its Armed Forces, will be rewritten and enshrined in law for the first time.

The covenant is an informal understanding of the state's duty of care to its Armed Forces. Until now, it has been regarded as an obligation rather than a firm rule set out in legislation.

Yesterday, Mr Cameron declared that the new Government will underline its commitment to the Armed Forces by putting it into law.

A new covenant - which will include rights to prioritised NHS treatment, decent housing and education for Service families' children - is to be given legal force in a new Armed Services Bill.

Addressing sailors, Marines and airmen aboard Ark Royal, Mr Cameron said:

"It's time for us to rewrite the military covenant to make sure we are doing everything we can.

"Whether it's the schools you send your children to, whether it's the healthcare that you expect, whether it's the fact that there should be a decent military ward for anyone who gets injured.

"I want all these things refreshed and renewed and written down in a new military covenant that's written into the law of the land."

I can not applaud this enough, I have carried arms and stood under the flag of this fair isle. However Mr Cameron will NEVER get my full support until Dr Liam Fox is removed from office.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Chewin the Fat

Now this may well only appeal to my Scottish readers or the Foreign ones who have graced the wee fair Isle and have viewed the hilarious BBC Scotland show Chewin the Fat.
If so the image below will mean so much to you.

And yes Mandy I acknowledge you are related to one of the comic geniuses who do the show.

Since not one of you Remembered !!!!!

That will be a very Happy Birthday to me then.

Keep your bloody presents.

Thursday, 24 June 2010




Oh this is too funny.

7 Weeks out of office after 13 years of a train wreck and the dull bag comes out with this...........

Harman: 'Cameron Is Not Being Straight'

Jeez the last labour govt had NO F*****G IDEA what being straight with people meant.

And from Harman.........the biggest hypocrite of them all.

Is there not something very ironic when a politician accuses someone of not being straight. Pot Kettle springs to mind.

Cant wait for the Labour Leadership race to be done and she and Jack can sod off to the back benches and carry on their ride on the gravy train.


Further Afghanistan Tradgedy

The MOD announced today.......Four soldiers have been killed in a vehicle accident in Afghanistan

The servicemen - three from 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment and one from 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment - died near Gereshk in Helmand Province.

They were part of a team travelling in a Ridgeback armoured truck to assist in an incident at a nearby check point when the vehicle rolled off the road and ended up under water.

An inquiry has begun to determine exactly what happened, but the MoD said no enemy action was involved.

The soldiers' families have been informed.

This can not continue!!!


Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Obo The Clown

Shock photo reveals Obo relaxing between blog post.

A special pic just for the laaaayyyyyddddeeeeessssss

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

How to win friends etc etc

I love this...............Tory Simon Reevell (Dewsbury) said Fabio Capello's soccer stars should think about British troops serving six-month tours in Afghanistan before blaming homesickness for their poor performances in the competition.

England take on Slovenia on Wednesday knowing that defeat will consign them to an early exit from the competition after disappointing draws in their first two games.

In his maiden Commons speechm Mr Reevell paid tribute to 26-year-old Corporal Stephen Curley, of 40 Commando, Royal Marines, who was from Mr Reevell's constituency and died in Helmand last month.

Mr Reevell said: "Those of our footballers in South Africa who hint that their poor performance may be attributed to being away from their families for a few weeks should reflect on the fact that our real heroes are serving six-month operational tours in Afghanistan."

What a top lad !!!



301 What I hear you ask.


301 dead servicemen in Afghanistan since operations began.

Sadly is reported another serviceman lost his life last night.

40 Commando Royal Marines are taking a huge hit this last 3 weeks.

The IED use is some 94% up on its original figure interms of usage.
It is as a weapon very effective at preventing ground occupation.

I wont comment further as 301 families now mourn losses and my rant wont help.

We need new tactics. Radical new tactics.
This conflict will NEVER be won under its current strategy

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Tough Times

Huge deficit
No money according top Liam Byrne
Emergency Budget
Boy George about to hump us over on the 22nd

The man in the street will need to pay for this.

Ok I have taken my belt in a notch.

But let me ask the 646 club.
You know the new administration.
Cleaned up politics and all that stuff.
What have you done!!!!

Yeh right ............... read this here

£864K nice if you can get it!

It wont ever change!!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Another Piggy in the Dock

Eric Illsley faces three charges under section 17 of the Theft Act 1968 for alleged false accounting, relating to three years of expenses claimed on his second home in London.


He is the fifth politician to face criminal charges after the expenses scandal last year.

It is alleged he dishonestly claimed expenses for council tax, service/maintenance, repairs/insurance, utilities and communications at his second home in Kennington, south London, between May 2005 and April 2008.

He gave a not guilty plea indication at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Senior district judge Timothy Workman granted Mr Illsley unconditional bail and committed his case to Southwark Crown Court for a plea and case management hearing on July 22.

We still await the trials of former Labour MPs David Chaytor, Elliot Morley, and Jim Devine, and Tory peer Lord Hanningfield, also known as Paul White, who are accused of theft by false accounting.

Personally that Tory Turd Liam Fox should be with them.

Go to jail and do not collect £200.00 as you have been doing that too many times before..............but you might need some lube.

Infact did the "You've been Cromwelled" site not do a "Lube for a Lag" thing.

Must go check.

Liam Fox

My hatered for Liam Fox is well known.

I blogged about his theft before................I blogged about the blatant further insults that the Tories heap on our Military with his appointment.

Go over to Munguins blog.

And read this post here.

A great post and right on the money.

Slimy smarmy bastard................never liked East Kilbride anyway.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Sarah Palin

Go over to the Captain site


He has some stark and particularly interesting news on Sarah Palin.

Quote interesting from a political point

It made me look twice....................ROFL

The Offside Rule For Ladies

Imagine for a moment that you are queueing in single file waiting to pay for your purchases in a shop. The girl in front of you realises that she doesn't have her purse with her and then, to your dismay, you realise that you have forgotten yours too.

The friend that you are shopping with who is much further back in the queue is offering to throw her purse to you so you can buy your shopping. You cannot queue jump until after the purse has been thrown but as soon as it has you can quickly dodge the woman in front of you and pay the cashier.

That's right ladies. The offside rule explained in a language you understand now please don't interrupt me for the next four weeks with stupid fucking questions.

Take a bow Man Widdicombe

Thursday, 10 June 2010

The World Cup

The Jules Rimey Trophy.

Another few weeks listening to the media harping on about 19 bloody 66 and the fact the English can not get over it.

Yes guys, you have been robbed every competition since then.

Apart from '67' when you got pumped.

Anyway as both my readers are aware I am a rugby man,................a proper game, but I will extend my TV viewing to the odd game or 2.

I will take in a game or 2 for the spectical it is.

My support though..............errr Argentina or maybe the USA.....

But I also do have a love of cricket.........

The choice................Its a hard one !!!!!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The Pain of a Passport Application

This letter is a thing of great beauty (even if the language is a bit strong)...You definitely feel the guy's pain!

Dear Sirs,

I'm in the process of renewing my passport, and still cannot believe this. How is it that Sky Television has my address and telephone number and knows that I bought a bleeding satellite dish from them back in 1977, and yet, the Government is still asking me where I was bloody born and on what date.

For Christ sakes, do you guys do this by hand? My birth date you have on my pension book, and it is on all the income tax forms I've filed for the past 30 years. It is on my National Health card, my driving license, my car insurance, on the last eight damn passports I've had, on all those stupid customs declaration forms I've had to fill out before being allowed off the plane over the last 30 years, and all those insufferable census forms.

Would somebody please take note, once and for all, that my Mother’s name is Mary Anne, my father's name is Robert and I'd be abso-f****ng-lutely astounded if that ever changed between now and when I die!!!!!!

I apologise, I'm really pissed off this morning. Between you an' me, I've had enough of this bullshit! You send the application to my house, then you ask me for my f****ng address !!!!

What is going on? Do you have a gang of Neanderthal arseholes working there? Look at my damn picture. Do I look like Bin Laden? I don't want to dig up Yasser Arafat, for shit sakes. I just want to go and park my arse on some sandy beach somewhere. And would someone please tell me, why would you give a sh*t whether I plan on visiting a farm in the next 15 days? If I ever got the urge to do something weird to a chicken or a goat, believe you me, you'd be the last f****ng people I'd want to tell!

Well, I have to go now, 'cause I have to go to the other end of the poxy city to get another f****ng copy of my birth certificate, to the tune of £30. Would it be so complicated to have all the services in the same spot to assist in the issuance of a new passport the same day??

Nooooooooooooo, that'd be too damn easy and maybe makes sense. You'd rather have us running all over the f****n' place like chickens with our heads cut off, then have to find some arsehole to confirm that it's really me on the damn picture - you know, the one where we're not allowed to smile?! (bureaucratic f****n' morons) Hey, do you know why we couldn't smile if we wanted to? Because we're totally pissed off!


An Irate Citizen.

P.S. Remember what I said above about the picture and getting someone to confirm that it's me? Well, my family has been in this country since 1776 ........ I have served in the military for something over 30 years and have had full security clearances over 25 of those years enabling me to undertake highly secretive missions all over the world. ........ However, I have to get someone 'important' to verify who I am - you know, someone like my doctor WHO WAS BORN AND RAISED IN F****NG PAKISTAN !


Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Gordons Legacy

Firstly this is old news in the blogosphere..............however I felt it had to be reposted.

The reason being a paragraph highlighted below.

It was not written by me originally and I tip my hat to the Leg Iron.

You know what people remember most about you when you leave their presence? They remember most vividly the last thing you said or the last thing you did before you parted company.

That's especially so if the last thing you said or did was particularly brilliant or particularly nasty.

The Brown Gorgon's final act, the one which will be best remembered not only because it was the last thing he did but also because it absolutely defines the man, and his entire movement, was an act of pure, unmitigated spite.

On the quiet, with no public announcement, he cut the Prime Monster's salary by £44,000. He did this when he knew he had lost. It was no great personal sacrifice. It was an act of vicious spite born out of his personal vendetta against the Tories. That is his lasting memory which he leaves to us all.

My favourite paragraph of the post!

People of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, this is the measure of the man - and the party - you voted for. Long may you revere his disgusting self-interest. Long may you revel in your hatred for all those who are not bound by the 'benefits'. Long may you fail to understand where those benefits come from, and long may you rot in Hell for inflicting this nasty and very small man upon us all.

I live about 25 mins from the cess pit that is Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy and its true what they say...........put a red rose on a monkey and this bunch of idiots will vote for it.

The Cameroid went ahead with his 5% pay cut for all monsters, including himself, anyway. Moral high ground? He has now taken it, held it and fortified it. Labour now look very cheap and nasty indeed. As errors of judgement go, the Gorgon has excelled even his own record of incredible stupidity. He thinks we will all forget in five years. I will not and I will remind those who do.

Subrosa covers this with measured calm but, I suspect, with gritted teeth.

Obo uses few words but makes the point, but the prize on this story goes to Mr. Eugenides, who sums it up in one.

One day Brown the pigeons will come home to roost.

BP Oil Leak 1 for the Conspiracy Theorists

I wote a piece last week with regards to the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

See here.

I was in responce to the stand the US and in particular the soon to be outgoing President was taking

However this piece of news springs up this morning.
1 to poke the fires of the conspiracy theorists no doubt.
The chief executive of BP sold £1.4 million of his shares in the fuel giant weeks before the Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused its value to collapse.

Tony Hayward cashed in about a third of his holding in the company one month before a well on the Deepwater Horizon rig burst, causing an environmental disaster.

Mr Hayward, whose pay package is £4 million a year, then paid off the mortgage on his family’s mansion in Kent, which is estimated to be valued at more than £1.2 million.

There is no suggestion that he acted improperly or had prior knowledge that the company was to face the biggest setback in its history.

His decision, however, means he avoided losing more than £423,000 when BP’s share price plunged after the oil spill began six weeks ago.

Since he disposed of 223,288 shares on March 17, the company’s share price has fallen by 30 per cent. About £40 billion has been wiped off its total value. The fall has caused pain not just for BP shareholders, but also for millions of company pension funds and small investors who have money held in tracker funds.

The spill, which has still not been stemmed, has caused a serious environmental crisis and is estimated to cost BP up to £40 billion to clean up.

There was growing confidence yesterday that a new cap placed over the well was stemming the oil flow. An estimated three million litres a day had been pouring into the sea off the coast of Louisiana since the April 20 explosion, damaging marine life.

Somalia And its Threats

On the afternoon of Sunday, May 30, an Aeromexico flight from Paris to Mexico City was forced to land in Montreal after authorities discovered that a man who was on the U.S. no-fly list was aboard. The aircraft was denied permission to enter U.S. airspace, and the aircraft was diverted to Trudeau International Airport in Montreal. The man, a Somali named Abdirahman Ali Gaall, was removed from the plane and arrested by Canadian authorities on an outstanding U.S. warrant. After a search of all the remaining passengers and their baggage, the flight was allowed to continue to its original destination.

Gaall reportedly has U.S. resident-alien status and is apparently married to an American or Canadian woman. Media reports also suggest that he is connected with the Somali jihadist group al Shabaab. Gaall was reportedly deported from Canada to the United States on June 1, and we are unsure of the precise charges brought against him by the U.S. government, but more information should be forthcoming once he has his detention hearing. From the facts at hand, however, it appears likely that he has been charged for his connection with al Shabaab, perhaps with a crime such as material support to a designated terrorist organization.

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security issued a lookout to authorities in Texas, warning that another Somali purportedly linked to al Shabaab was believed to be in Mexico and was allegedly planning to attempt to cross the border into the United States. This lookout appears to be linked to a U.S. indictment in March charging another Somali man with running a large-scale smuggling ring bringing Somalis into the United States through Latin America.

Taken together, these incidents highlight the increased attention the U.S. government has given to al Shabaab and the concern that the Somali militant group could be planning to conduct attacks in the United States. Although many details pertaining to the Gaall case remain unknown at this time, these incidents involving Somalis, Mexico and possible militant connections — and the obvious U.S. concern — provide an opportunity to discuss the dynamics of Somali immigration as it relates to the U.S. border with Mexico, as well as the possibility that al Shabaab has decided to target the United States.

The Somali Diaspora

In any discussion of al Shabaab, it is very important to understand what is happening in Somalia — and more important, what is not happening there. Chaos has long reigned in the African country, chaos that became a full-blown humanitarian crisis in the early 1990s due to civil war. Somalia never fully recovered from that war, and has lacked a coherent government for decades now. While Somalia does have a government in name, known as the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), it controls little apart from a few neighborhoods and outposts in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. In this vacuum of authority, warlords and pirates have thrived, along with a variety of militant Islamist groups, such as the jihadist group al Shabaab.

The decades of fighting and strife have also resulted in the displacement of millions of Somalis. Many of these people have moved into camps set up by humanitarian organizations inside the country to help the huge number of internally displaced people, but large numbers of Somalis have also sought refuge in neighboring countries. In fact, the situation in Somalia is so bad that many Somalis have even sought refuge in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world. Tens of thousands of Somalis have also been resettled abroad in places like the United States, Canada and Europe.

Unlike an earthquake, tsunami or other natural disaster, the man-made disaster in Somalia has continued for decades. As Somali refugees have been settled in places like the United States, they, like many other immigrants, frequently seek to have their relatives join them. Frequently, they are able to do this through legal means, but quite often, when the wait for legal immigration is deemed too long or an application is denied for some reason — such as the applicant’s having served in a militia — illegal means are sought to bring friends and relatives into the country. This is by no means a pattern exclusive to Somali immigrants; it is also seen by other immigrant groups from Asia, Africa and other parts of the world. For example, Christians from Iraq, Egypt and Sudan are frequently smuggled into the United States through Latin America.

In years past, a significant portion of this illegal traffic passed through Canada, but in the post-9/11 world, Canada has tightened its immigration laws, making it more difficult to use Canada as an entry point into the United States. This has driven even more immigrant traffic to Latin America, which has long been a popular route for immigrants seeking to enter the United States illegally.

Indeed, we have seen an expansion of Somali alien-smuggling rings in Latin America in recent years, and according to documents filed in court, some of these groups have been associated with militant groups in Somalia. In an indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas on March 3, 2010, a Somali named Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane was charged with operating a large-scale alien-smuggling ring out of Brazil responsible for smuggling several hundred Somalis and other East Africans into the United States. The indictment alleges that the persons Dhakane’s organization smuggled included several people associated with al-Itihaad al-Islamiya (AIAI), a militant group linked to al Qaeda that was folded into the Supreme Islamic Courts Council (SICC) after the latter group’s formation. After Ethiopian forces invaded Somalia and toppled the SICC in late 2006, many of the more hardcore SICC militants then joined with the SICC youth wing, al Shabaab, to continue their armed struggle. The more nationalist-minded SICC members formed their own militant organization, called Hizbul Islam, which at various times either cooperates or competes with al Shabaab. The U.S. government officially designated AIAI a terrorist group in September 2001. The March indictment also alleged that Dhakane was associated with al-Barakat, a Somalia-based company that is involved in the transfer of money to Somalia. The U.S. government claims that al-Barakat is involved in funding terrorist groups and has designated the company a terrorist entity. Diaspora Somalis transfer a great deal of legitimate money to family members back in Somalia through organizations such as al-Barakat because there is no official banking system in the country, and militant groups like al Shabaab use this flow of money as camouflage for their own financial transactions.

Many other alien smugglers besides Dhakane are involved in moving Somalis through Latin America. Most of these smugglers are motivated by profit, but some like Dhakane who have ties to militant groups might not be opposed to moving people involved with militant groups — especially if they also happen to make more money in the process. Other smugglers might unknowingly move militants. Moreover, a number of front businesses, charities and mosques in the region more closely tied to militant groups of various stripes are used to raise funds, recruit and facilitate the travel of operatives through the region. Some of these entities have very close ties to people and organizations inside the United States, and those ties are often used to facilitate the transfer of funds and the travel of people.

Determining Intentions

Clearly, there are many Somalis traveling into the United States without documentation. According to the U.S. government, some of these Somalis have ties to jihadist groups such as AIAI and al Shabaab, like Dhakane and Gaall, respectively. Given the number of warlords and militias active in Somalia and the endemic lack of employment inside the country, it is not at all uncommon for young men there to seek employment as members of a militia. For many Somalis who are driven by the need merely to survive, ideology is a mere luxury. This means that unlike the hardcore jihadists encountered in Saudi Arabia or even Pakistan, many of the men fighting in the various Somali militias do not necessarily ascribe to a particular ideology other than survival (though there are certainly many highly radicalized individuals, too).

The critical question, then, is one of intent. Are these Somalis with militant ties traveling to the United States in pursuit of a better life (one hardly need be an Islamist bent on attacking the West to want to escape from Somalia), or are they seeking to travel to the United States to carry out terrorist attacks?

The situation becomes even more complex in the case of someone like Gaall, who came to the United States, reportedly married an American woman, received resident-alien status, but then chose to leave the comfort and security of the United States to return to Somalia. Clearly, he was not a true asylum seeker who feared for his life in Somalia, or he would not have returned to the African country. While some people become homesick and return home, or are drawn back to Somalia for some altruistic purpose, such as working with a non-governmental organization to deliver food aid to starving countrymen— or to work with the Somali government or a foreign government with interests in Somalia — some Somalis travel back to support and fight with al Shabaab. Since most of the previously mentioned activities are not illegal in the United States, the criminal charges Gaall faces likely stem from contact with al Shabaab.

Having contact with al Shabaab does not necessarily mean that someone like Gaall would automatically return to the United States intending to conduct attacks there. It is possible that he considered Somalia a legitimate theater for jihad but did not consider civilians in the United States legitimate targets. There is a great deal of disagreement in jihadist circles regarding such issues, as witnessed by the infighting inside al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb over target selection. There are also militant groups, like Hamas and Hezbollah, who consider the United States as a place to recruit and raise funds rather than a battlefield for jihad. U.S. authorities certainly would err on the side of caution regarding such people, and would charge them with any applicable criminal charges, such as material support of a terrorist group, rather than run the risk of missing an impending attack.

If it is determined that Gaall intended to conduct an attack inside the United States, the next question becomes whether he sought to conduct an attack of his own volition or was sent by al Shabaab or some other entity.

As we have previously discussed, we consider the current jihadist world to be composed of three different layers. These layers are the core al Qaeda group; the regional al Qaeda franchises (like al Shabaab); and grassroots jihadists — either individuals or small cells — inspired by al Qaeda and the regional franchises but who may have little if any actual connection to them. It will be important to determine what Gaall’s relationship was with al Shabaab.

To this point, the leadership of al Shabaab has shown little interest in conducting attacks outside Somalia. While they have issued threats against Uganda, Burundi, Kenya and Ethiopia (which invaded Somalia and deposed the SICC), al Shabaab has yet to act on these threats (though AIAI did conduct a series of low-level bombing attacks in Ethiopia in 1996 and 1997 and al Shabaab has periodic border skirmishes with the Kenyan military). Somalis have also been involved with the al Qaeda core for many years, and al Shabaab has sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden — the reason we consider them an al Qaeda regional franchise group.

That said, security groups have been watching al Shabaab closely this year to see if they follow in the footsteps of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and become a transnational terrorist group by launching attacks against the West rather than just a group with a national or regional focus. While some al Shabaab members, like American-born Omar Hammami — who sings jihadi rap songs about bringing America to its knees — have threatened the West, it remains unclear whether this is rhetoric or if the group truly intends to attack targets farther afield. So far, we have seen little indication that al Shabaab possesses such intent.

Due to this lack of demonstrated intent, the assessment at the present time is that al Shabaab has not yet made the leap to becoming transnational. That assessment could change in the near future, however, as details from the Gaall case come out during court proceedings — especially if it is shown that al Shabaab sent Gaall to the United States to conduct an attack.

This group may be very fluid, more info is needed.

With thanks to Scott Stewart

Friday, 4 June 2010

Message to President Obama


I have watched you with great interest our the current environmental catastrophe that is the BP oil Well Blow out in the Gulf of Mexico.

I can without fear say that despite every thing you are indeed an absolute cretin.

First thing is its easy when you are probably in your short time in office 1 of the most unpopular presidents ever to have a go at an oil company.

Hell you do need the support of the green lobby and every other socialist you can get.

Its also easy when its a British Company in the firing line, 1 has to question if it was an Amoco or an Exxon if such a line would be taken.

It interesting to note the way you appear on morning TV with your video of you walking down a beach, shaking your head, picking up little bits of black and brown stuff. Using your own children as a vote winner and media seeker.

Now Sir dont get me wrong it an absolute shocker of a situation, an environmental disaster. I don't like to see the fish, birds and marine life on my TV but its happened.

You need to be aware this was a once in 10's of millions of a chance. Every current known safety protocol was actuated and actioned. It did not stop this unique blow out.

Every single marine engineering brain is on this problem. BP is one of if not the best in the world in these situations. Many emails, video call, engineering drawings, plans, re-plans, replans-plans are being drafted in order to seal this well off.

Its 5000 ft below the surface. That about a bloody mile. Pressure are inexcess of 150bar.

What is not needed is a President coming on TV with his whining and windging, blaming everyone else and stating you know more than them on the subject, they are stupid and that you are taking over.

You don't know more............otherwise you would not be President. You would be an oil baron.

I am not defending the disaster, what I am stating is that you should be more Presidential, you should be supporting the effort to fix the issue. The time for recriminations comes after.

This disaster is about the 3rd worst on record. It pails into insignificance compared to the what the Iraqi's did to the Gulf after the first conflict in an effort to burn the sea........ That is now clean.

The sea will correct itself once the spill is capped. The eco system will return. You have crude oil here not distilled petroleum. The crude oil is still in its natural area.......but it will take time, that i accept.

As I said its nearly a mile below the surface.............but ask yourself what drove the need for a deep well like this. The crude is not destined for my country.............oh no that's right.......its destined for yours!!!

Just saying !

Tragedy In Cumbria

The events in Cumbria on Weds were horrific.

Cold Steel Rain has a take on the grief in the aftermath of the tragedy which I can equate to.

However sadly in this instance I know one of the victims.

Please see here

Gary was a huge character. A leader on the field as well as in the bar post match.

I had the privilege to referee at Egremont last year and as a result met Gary on several occasions.

The Rugby League family is a small and loyal 1.
And too a man within the rugby circle many will be upset at this news.

I have a game to ref at the weekend and rest assured we will have a wee tribute before kick off

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The Israeli Intelligence Failure

The Israeli raid on the Gaza Aid Flotilla has once more brought Israel into the world headlines for all the wrong reasons. Events rapidly spiralled out of control when protestors aboard the Turkish owned MV Mavi Marmara attacked and disarmed a number of Israeli commandos who had been sent to commandeer the vessel. Whether through panic or being fired upon themselves, Israeli forces opened fire on protesters, resulting in nine dead. Footage of the boarding can be found all over the web.

Several sources have both Israeli footage, protestors footage and today emerged the ships own security camera footage.

Each source shows the incident from the filmakers point of view which is only to be expected with this subject.

The intelligence failure that underestimated the severity of protestors’ reaction will have major consequences. Had such a welcome been envisaged for the Israeli commandos, alternative means of subduing the protestors could have been used, avoiding this whole affair.

As it stands, the raid has been incredibly counter-productive for Israel. Due to mounting international pressure and increasingly vocal condemnation from other Arab states, Egypt opened its border with Gaza on Tuesday for an indefinite period of time. This comes at an ill-opportune time for Israel, as many Israeli officials felt the pressure from the blockade was beginning to strain Hamas, who since Operation Cast Lead have been forced to spend more and more of their time fighting internal descent. The opening of the Egyptian border alleviates this pressure and will provide Hamas with breathing space it previously lacked.

Despite this, in a speech to the Knesset late on Tuesday the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that no amount of international condemnation would force Israel to backtrack on its policy of isolating Gaza. This could cause further tensions between Israel and the international community, especially as more aid vessels approach Gazan waters. To this end, the Republic of Ireland has made a direct plea to the Knesset to allow an Irish aid ship to proceed into Gaza unhindered.

Given the stubborn stance of Netanyahu, this seems unlikely.

The timing of the event also comes as a blow to US-Israeli relations; Netanyahu was scheduled to meet US President Barak Obama on Tuesday the 1st of June to patch up relations from the settlement expansion debacle and begin thinking once again about the Israel-Palestine peace process. These talks have been delayed for the time being, once more putting peace talks on the back burner.

The raid also leaves the United States in an awkward position vis-à-vis its public response to the whole affair. Both Israel and Turkey (the boarded vessel was owned and manned by a Turkish charity) are firm US allies, both of which house US military bases and provide permission to use their air space. Consequently the US cannot defend Israeli actions, but nor can it condemn them, as it does not want to risk alienating either party. Instead it must tread a fine line, calling for an investigation into the incident and stating regret at the loss of life.

Whilst the US has been slow to criticize Israel’s actions, Europe has had no problem voicing its dismay over the event. Support for Israel amongst European nations has never been as strong as in the United States, and over the past few years has fallen considerably. The combined effect of the 2006 offensive into Lebanon, Operation Cast Lead in 2009/10 and now the killing of civilian protestors have all caused public support to wane in the face of what appears to be continual Israeli violence. Attitudes were soured further when 650 protestors aboard the flotilla were detained in Israeli prisons whilst Israel decided whether or not to press charges. These prisoners have subsequently been released without charge as an act of goodwill by Israel, but this comes as too little too late.

Most seriously of all, however, is the response Israel has received from neighbouring Arab states. Both the Lebanese and Syrian Prime Ministers have stated that Israel’s actions could lead to the outbreak of war. Iran has similarly, though more cautiously, suggested that it might be forced to take actions if such Israeli “crimes” continue to go unpunished. Hezbollah has also called for international punishment to avenge those killed and injured during the raid. In response to these announcements, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) along the Lebanese and Syrian borders, as well as those in the Occupied Territories, have been put on high alert.

Whilst violence is to be expected in the coming weeks, it will most likely come from “unofficial” sources – that is individuals or small groups operating without the consent of their organisation. Hezbollah is unlikely to take any concerted action by itself after the events of 2006 and seeing how the IDF handled itself during Operation Cast Lead. Likewise, Hamas will likely opt out of a violent reaction for the time being, instead utilizing the international community’s hostility to Israel to play up its civilian-victim narrative. Both groups may be willing to take action if either Syria or Iran were to become involved, but for the time being this is unlikely. Whilst grievous, Israel’s bungled raid will not be enough for Syria to risk open war. Instead, the hostile stance taken by Syria will likely be used to raise its standing amongst other Arab states. To this end, Syria has called for a meeting of the Arab League to discuss Israel’s actions. Given Syria’s traditional hostility towards Israel and its ongoing attempts to improve its relations with Turkey, Syria is likely to push the league towards demanding the international community takes severe action against Israel. The exact nature of their demands remains to be seen.

Whilst the botched raid has come as a severe blow to Israel, much still depends on how it handles the remaining aid vessels bound for Gaza. Israel is unlikely to backtrack on its policy of isolation, for fear of appearing “weak” in the face of international condemnation. However if Israel insists on diverting further flotillas more bloodshed must be avoided at all costs. Should it fail to do so, it runs the risk of international isolation and sparking violent clashes with its neighbours.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

My Thoughts on Others Afghanistan Post

I read this post from Subrosa and Radio Free Britain and sadly I am not surprised at the tone in which they are written. No that is not me even daring to castigate another blogger..........indulge me please.

As many readers will be aware TLOTF has a unique job at times. I have indeed spent in my very recent past a great deal of time in Afghanistan. For newer reader I am ex-military and now work for a civilian company.

However we digress.

Please see the photos below.

These are taken over the wire at a FOB in the same place as detailed in the above posts by Subrosa and RFB.

They are the small town of Chagcharan in Gohr Province, Afghanistan.
Chagcharan is high, some 7500 ft above sea level. It is about 400km from Kabul and although a short distance it is night and day in terms of standards even from that of Kabul.

Chagcharan gets electricity for about 3 hours a day, Running water is non existent and comes from wells. The water from these wells is not safe for the troops to bring into the camp to use. The camp water passes through a treatment unit in a 20ft ISO container before use. Bottled water if flown in or trucked in when safe to do so.
No doctor, no paved, or asphalt roads, and a school for males only.

If you look in 1 photo you will see a red and white mast tower. No this is not a military comms unit, it is actually a cell/mobile phone mast. It belongs to a company called Roshin. Roshin is the Afghanistan national cell phone company.

You see although no doctor in the town, they use the camp military doctor (hearts and mind thing), no running water, well except the few with a dollar or 2, electricity 3-4 hours a day they all have cell phones.

During my last tour there I had the assistance of a local chap. His name was Farat. Farat was a well educated man, but a well educated man who also had a brain. Farat escaped Kabul and returned to a rural life. The reason was despite what you saw in the video here was his daughters.

Farat had 3 children, a son and 2 daughters. Farat used to work in a bank in Kabul. He speaks good English. He even taught me some Farsi whilst I was there. Certainly enough for me to have a pigeon conversation. Anyway his daughters became his priority. His work with the ISAF forces in 2001/2002 became his issue. Farat was ousted by his community as a collaborator. He also knew 1 thing. In order for his girls to survive they needed educated. Once the underground in Kabul realised his girls were getting educated together with his work at ISAF he had to leave.

He picked up what he could, loaded it into his car and with his wife and children drove for several day and arrived in Gohr Province. The rural nature of Chagcharan meant he could educate his girls privately, sometimes at night by candle, but he could teach them maths, reading and to speak English which he viewed as the ultimate prize.

Farat was a lucky man. He put his family before everything. His children were his life. He resisted many offers of the arranged marriage of his girls. When they hit 14years old he knew many suitors would be put before him. However he resisted.

The ISAF camp became the life blood for all villagers in Chagcharan. It employed many. It pumped a few dollars into the town. They could trade with other villages. Farat again used his English skills as a translator. Farat came to work for me. I got to know him well, I met his family. Although somewhat clandestine usually meeting at night it had to be done. He wanted me see a side of life that others did not. I accepted his invite, I was honoured.

His family were amazing. His wife would never look me in the eye, but I could tell from the eyes under the burka was a most beautiful woman. She wore a hajib in the privacy of the house but a burka when out. Especially if we were travelling through the village.

The day I left Chagcharan was the day I knew I had left a friend behind. I saw Farat that morning, we exchanged our usual Afghan greeting and I showed respect to his wife. I had approx 120 US Dollars in my pocket in cash.

I gave it to him in his hand. He gave it me back, he was a proud man.

This money was a fortune. Many others in that village would have killed me for that amount of cash. So I did the decent thing, I put it back in my pocket and when his back was turned I gave it to his wife who bowed and hid it under her hajib.

As my plane left the ground I remember not looking at him, I could not, but i knew he watched the transport flight lift off into the sky and disappear into distance.

Why do I write this.........????

I respect Subrosa, I like her writing.
I read RFB regularly..........however I wanted some balance here. I am privileged. I have been to the place in the video, and in a sentence despite, the poverty, the pain, the misery, and the backward nature and barbarism displayed in the video there are some there with a heart, a soul and who show kindness, who have an inner strength that even makes me look small.

Just wanted to balance things out a bit............that's all.


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