Friday, 27 November 2015

Syria - Fraser Nelson, not David Cameron, has the truth of it

In the Telegraph this morning Fraser Nelson repeats pretty much everything I've written here over the past weeks and months as to why the UK joining military action for the sake of a military outcome is not justified;
  • Our RAF contribution will be marginal and will have little effect. Everything there is to bomb has already been bombed
  • ISIS have long ago abandoned permanent ground targets, only individual vehicles and convoys remain as targets. Plus individual targeted Jihadists.
  • Until this week, convoy targets excluded the columns of oil tankers transporting oil for Turkey's Bilal Erdogan; however, now that both the Russians and US / France are targeting, these will not last for long
  • Bombing without ground troops in support makes no sustainable gains
  • Dave's imaginary friends, the '70,000 non-extremist rebels', erm, don't exist. The septics spent $12m training a battalion and all but six men ran away and sold their weapons, any others (a few) are Islamists who hate the West  
  • Cameron can be pig-headed against his own interest; his obsession with regime change in Syria lingers, even though he has no mandate for it, it's losing him Commons support and it's illegal under international law
All of the above has been and will be used to hammer Call Me Dave before a Commons vote, but Nelson has written for all to see the only real and valid reasons for voting Yes for air strikes on ISIS in Syria - it buys us a place at the allies table, the French would be deeply grateful (as much as the Kermits can be) and it maintains the UK's international player status. All of which are worth sending our three or four aircraft in theatre on Syrian sorties.  

'Mail' the first to come round on Turkey
The Mail is the first of the national papers to start to come round to the opinions expressed on this blog with an anti-Erdogan piece this morning;
"The fact is that ISIS could rapidly be destroyed if Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq — along with Kurdish guerillas in Turkey — were fully unleashed. They have proved extraordinarily militarily effective and oppose every aspect of Isis’s devilish ideology. Yet this does not happen because PKK forces in Syria and Kurds in northern Iraq are under continual bombardment by the Turkish air force. No, the fact is that while Turkey may be a member of Nato — and of the alliance taking on the jihadists — Erdogan seems to be doing almost everything he can to cripple the forces actually fighting ISIS."

Thursday, 26 November 2015

US, France forced to follow Russia's lead; Ashdown challenges Saudi terror funding

Deeply embarrassed by Russian releases of news of sorties last week that destroyed 1,000 ISIS oil trucks in just five days, the US / French coalition has been forced into action against the same targets - claiming a further 283 oil trucks killed in the past few days. The coalition had previously ignored these trucks as targets, presumably to avoid offending Turkey's President Erdogan, whose son Bilal controls the illegal ISIS oil sales in Turkey. 

Which just goes to prove that whatever the respective motivations, when all the allies (including Iran and Russia) act together, the resultant degradation of ISIL's abiity is substantially enhanced.

And Paddy Ashdown, a privy counsellor and former Special Boat Service marine, went public on R4 'today' linking KSA and ISIS, saying "The failure to put pressure on the Gulf States - and especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar - first of all to stop funding the Salafists and Wahabists, and secondly to play a larger part in this campaign... leads me to worry about the closeness between the Conservative Party and rich Arab, Gulf individuals”. Full 2:21 podcast HERE.  

Erdogan in Turkey is leaning how backing ISIS is getting his fingers burned - when will the Saudis be taught the same lesson? 

"Lake Windermere should be floodlit ..."

Some years ago when I had use of a small cottage at the end of a single-track lane near Stowmarket in Suffolk, I invited a London work colleague down for the weekend; a born and bred Londoner, his heavy hints about having never experienced beer in a low-beamed rural pub eventually prompted the invite. My local was scarcely a mile away from the cottage, and had not only low beams but a thatched roof, inglenook and a pedigree that dated back to around 1450. I should have sensed all was not well when we set off with the sun setting on the horizon, me in stout brogues and he in designer loafers with buckles and soles that looked about 1/8" thick. Still, we got there - and enjoyed an excellent evening. 

At home time he asked if I had ordered a cab - and I had to explain how far a taxi would have to come, and it was only 20 minutes pleasant tanked-up walk. Within 50 yards he asked why the streetlights weren't working. He had never, ever, in his entire life been anywhere that was not artificially lit at night. There was hardly any moon, but the lane was quite visible to me as a slightly lighter black strip between the blackness of the hedges on either side - second nature, for I had spent my entire post-pubescent life walking at night on pitch-dark country roads. However, I should not have underestimated the fear and difficulty for someone for whom this was a novel experience. Fear of noises and of that which he couldn't see. He went into the hedges, and down into the drainage ditches several times. By the time we were home one of his Paul Smith loafers had lost the stitching of a sole. He was muddy and scratched and a silent pile of resentment. Only getting him back to London on the first morning train assuaged his hurt. 

And years later, coming out of Walton on the Naze station, which sits on a small mound a short way from the main street, I passed a red-faced panting chipeater (as the locals term London day trippers) complaining to the ticket collector  " ... I don't know why they didn't put the station nearer the town" she whined. I heard him reply with practised calm "They probably wanted it nearer the railway, madam". 

So there's nothing new about the lovely story in the Mail of the Tripadvisor review by a serious townie recommending that not only should Lake Windermere be floodlit at night, but that hotels should be moved down to the lakeside ....

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Is it time to regulate Islam in Britain?

Back in the 1970s Harriet Harman and Jack Dromey enthusiastically backed PIE, a paedophile organisation, in lobbying for their right to abuse children. It was a phenomenon of its time; everyone had a right to everything, and keen young lawyers like Harman were there to promote them. There's no suggestion she favoured nonces over dope smokers, squatters or town centre Onanists. 

Back in July I wrote a post that stands well, entitled "Islam is a religion of violence, but most Moslems are peaceful". I reproduce it below. 

The point is, if Islam is a religion of violence, which it is, why should we permit the violent bits to be promulgated any more than we permit the promotion of paedophilia? If we regulate and classify sexual images and sexual stimulation, should we not also regulate and classify the Koran and its verses? Can it be right that a book that contains 160 or 170 or 180 verses encouraging Muslims to violence remains legal and unregulated?

If this seems radical, imagine looking back in 40 years time and viewing those who defend the unedited Koran's legality today in the same way we now view those defenders of paedophilia in the 1970s. 

I've no concrete proposals, just that we should think about our continuing acceptance of a text that justifies the most horrendous crimes and violence. Should publishing or possessing a Koran that contains the 160 violent verses be made illegal in the UK? Or should we leave the Koran alone and just ban the Salafist Sunni Muslims from practice in the UK in the same way as Catholics were banned up to the 1870s and Scientologists are banned in some countries today? Or as true Liberals, should we not regulate anything at all, including the paedophiles?

Islam is a religion of violence, but most Moslems are peaceful 
 In the post below I wrote that the BBC were right to reject the PM's call for a change of name for ISIS but for the wrong reasons. The Tories were also right to pick up on the Nazi meme - the duty of the State broadcaster to the national interest overides any aesthetic desire for 'impartiality'.  

It is a paradox that we have to accept that Islam is a religion of violence, bigotry and intolerance but that the vast, overwhelming majority of Moslems are peaceful. Thank you, Greg. And why is it that the combined intellects of the Conservative Party, the SNP and the BBC are unable to understand a matter so simple that the Speccie can explain it in a handful of words? 

It has been the Speccie's Douglas Murray who has fearlessly done most to disabuse the nation of the nonsense of Islam as a 'religion of peace'. And it's the Speccie this morning that states clearly
To say that Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam is like saying Stalin’s Soviet Union had nothing to do with socialism, or the Inquisition had nothing to do with Catholicism. Islamic State has nothing to do with most varieties of Islam, just as Stalinism had nothing to do with most varieties of socialism, but Islamic State has everything to do with Salafist Sunni Islam, which has spread its ultra-puritan, ultra-reactionary literalist interpretation of the myths of early Islam across the world.

As the historian of the ancient world Tom Holland put it, when Islamic State fighters smash the statues of ‘pagan’ gods, they are following the example of the Prophet, who cleared the pagans from Mecca. When they proclaim themselves the shock troops of a would-be global empire, they are merely following the imperial pretensions of the early Islamic armies. When they execute prisoners of war, impose discriminatory taxes on Christians, and take the women of defeated opponents as slaves, they are doing nothing that the first Muslims did not do. As Holland neatly put it,
Such behaviour is certainly not synonymous with Islam; but if not Islamic, then it is hard to know what else it is.
So let's stop pretending that Islam is something it isn't. We're really grown-up enough to be able to handle this paradox; for Christians, it's 'hate Islam, love Moslems', and atheists and agnostics can condemn us both.
(NB This post has been checked for legality under the terms of s29(j) of the 2006 Racial and Religious hatred Act "Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion or belief system to cease practising their religion or belief system.")

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Turkey's Erdogan hit by Russian destruction of oil convoys

The extent of close involvement of Turkey's corrupt leadership with ISIS has become clear today when an enraged Erdogan ordered retaliation against Russian jets operating over Syria. Erdogan's son Bilal is the man behind the export of ISIS oil to Turkey in huge convoys - convoys that Russia has attacked over the past week, destroying 1,000 tankers in the last 5 days.

Previously, these tankers have been 'off limits' for US and French air attacks. Both countries and the UK were fully aware of the massive extent of ISIS' oil exports to Turkey, but given Erdogan's close family involvement in the business didn't want to provoke him. The Russians, fighting seriously against ISIS, have no such restraints. The Americans have even agreed, given Turkey's support for ISIS, not to launch any anti-ISIS attacks from the US Incirlik airbase

One can imagine the furious and enraged phone calls from Bilal to daddy Erdogan as millions upon millions in corrupt family profits went up in black smoke - and Erdogan eventually ordered Turkish forces to strike against any Russian targets within range. 

Make no mistake - Turkey under Erdogan is Europe's real enemy; an ally to ISIS, this corrupt Islamist is playing a dangerous game.

Defence review - watching the little spinning wheel

My own military experience was a brief and very junior period back in the era of the Leander-class frigate and the L1A1 rifle and my only distinction a haunting suspicion that I may have been responsible for the sinking of a submarine - a British one. No lives were lost. So my comments on the latest defence review are not those of the experienced soldier, sailor or airman but rather of an historian. 

I feel comfortable with an army of 100,000 and a Navy of 50 surface ships. For the Navy, the ability to 'be there' is in most cases more important than having a necessary whole fleet of warships with a carrier at its heart moving nervously around great waters, fearful of attack and vulnerable, with more time and effort given to self-defence than offensive capacity. So frigates for the oceans and corvettes for fisheries protection (after the 'leave' vote) and the RFA to evacuate Europeans from whatever third-world shithole in which the Islamists are currently slaughtering foreigners. 

Using Typhoons for ground attack seems to me like using an Aston Martin to pull a plough. Why not cheap and cheerful Tucanos and Hawks? That is, if we need piloted aircraft at all for combat zones - drones are cheap, cheerful and ubiquitous. Watching Russian aircraft ineffectively tackling 4km long lines of fuel tankers last week with guided bombs one longed for a genuine WWII Typhoon with cannon blazing moving along the column - it would have made a glorious mission. 

And as for army battle units based around our new IT-smart armoured scout vehicles ... I recall when the RNLI began equipping lifeboats with PC-based navigation systems. The hardware was rugged, the charting software well proven. The only problem was that it ran under MS Windows which rumour said took so long to boot-up that the lifeboat was often at the scene of a 'shout' before the chart had loaded, and then crashed on the way back to the boathouse. The vision of lads inside these scout vehicles trying desperately to send a picture of an enemy emplacement to a distant 105mm via bespoke army software and Bowman doesn't bear thinking about; and I predict it will take about five minutes before they start using Twitter and Instagram instead to communicate targets rather than endlessly watch a little spinning wheel on their MoD screen.  

Monday, 23 November 2015

Met police waste and inefficiency - Cut away, George!

A huge whine can be heard as far distant as Catford coming from Pimlico; it's the whine of senior Met police officers lunching with their press contacts in the chic little bistrots convenient for both Parliament and these servants of the people. And in advance of the Chancellor's announcement of budget cuts they're whining very loudly about losing their thick fiscal padding.

Here for example is a list of the top civilian jobs at the Met in 2012 equal to Commander rank or above - that's very senior, and each probably earns a wedge in the band £70k - £120k pa. You won't find it anywhere on their website any more; after I originally published it and submitted an FOI question, it disappeared. But I think we can be sure that two years on the list will be even longer, the duplication and triplication of jobs even more prevalent and the job titles even more absurd:-

Director of Information
Director of Resources
Director of Human Resources
Director of Public Affairs
Director of Legal Services
Strategic HR Director
Director of HR Operations
Director of Leadership Development
Director ofLogistical Services
Director of Catering Services
Director of Transport Services
Business PartnershipsDirector
Business Services Director
Strategic HR Director (2)
Strategic HR Director (3)
Programme & Information Manager
Director of Property Services
Director of Finance Services
Director of Strategy & Improvement Department
Director of Procurement Services
Director of Asset Management
Director of Construction
Director of Facilities Management
Director of Resilience & Compliance Group
Director of Commercial Operations
Director of Exchequer Services
Director of Business Development, Core Finance & Special Projects
Director of Business Support
Director of Business Strategy
Director of Business Performance
Director of Category Management
Director of Supply Chain Management
Head of Service Delivery
Head of Security, Standards & Architecture
Head of Business Systems & Integration
Head of Business Services & IT Training
Deputy Director of Information
Head of Technology
Deputy Director of Public Affairs
Assistant Director (Olympics)
Assistant Director (Head of Internal Communication)
Assistant Director (Chief Press Officer)
Director of Business Development
Director of Diversity and Citizen Focus
Director of Business Support
Director of Forensics
Head of Business Services (Human Resources)
Head of Business Services(Finance and Resources)
Director of Business Services

Each of course will have their own little empire, bigger fleas have little fleas (I imagine for instance a Department of Category Management, in which, under the Director of Category Management, serve a Senior Category Manager, 3 x Category Managers, 4 x Category Management Assistants and 8 x Category Administrators).

And one does really have to ask what the 4 ACs, 7 DACs and 26 Commanders (2012) are actually doing if not this sort of stuff - I mean, they're hardly hanging around Waterloo with Glock G19s strapped their ample thighs, are they?

Sunday, 22 November 2015

We're not stupid; please don't lie to us.

Dear David Cameron,

I have previously opposed your desire to engage militarily in Syria because it was geared as much at regime change - removing President Assad - as at degrading ISIS. Well, things have moved on; the UK has a fair wind from the UN on engaging ISIS in Syria, whilst any military action against Assad remains illegal under international law, allowing us to imprison you should you be tempted to do so. So my objections to the RAF's three operational aircraft in theatre flying sorties to Syria have been removed. 

However, in seeking the support of the British public you are being less than honest. You have been pretending that this will not increase the risks here at home, whilst knowing that it will. You know as well as I do the extent of Muslim support for a Caliphate in the UK, and it is not negligible. You know that the killers of Bataclan explicitly blamed France's bombing of ISIS for their action. And you know that the RAF bombing of targets in Syria will infuriate many UK Muslims to the extent that they will be willing to die to inflict random damage on the British people. We're not stupid - please don't lie to us. If we support action in Syria, we support it knowing that it carries a real risk to all of us here in the UK (except to the nobs such as you and your ministers and civil servants, obv). 

And if we have to pay the price yet again, as Paris has paid it, we also need you to be honest about the root of the problem in Salafist / Wahabbi Sunni Islam, funded and promoted worldwide by Saudi Arabia. You need to tell us that successive governments have allowed the KSA to pour millions into Islamist gangs in the UK, and that the Muslims who will kill us in revenge for Syria have been radicalised by Saudi money. And above all you need to bite the bullet and join the people of Britain in taking a hit - not to your life, as we will, but to your wallets and to the financial interests of you and your cabal that are so closely tied to the barbarians of KSA.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Juncker's fantasy spy bureau

Every pettifogging senior clerk sooner or later imagines they can replace their boss or bosses - and JC Juncker, the EU's senior unelected official, is no different. Whilst Islamist killers shot the golden youth of Paris last week, all the brandy-loving Luxembourger could think of was the risk to his beloved Shengen agreement. Yesterday, he decided that what Europe really needs is a new Intelligence Agency - headed by no other than JC Juncker.

The remainder of the outcomes of the extraordinary Justice & Home Affairs meeting in Brussels were mixed. So no official roll-back of Shengen but an acceptance that individual nations can suspend it for emergency reasons - as France has done. But external border checks to be applied - when, ahem, an integrated database including SIS, SIS II, SLTD, VIS and Interpol records are made available to EU border nations and erm Europol and Frontex, Juncker's new baby police and border forces.  

They're also going to restrict and make difficult non-bank wire transfers i.e. Western Union of remittances back to home countries; these are sometimes highly economically significant, and fund much more than terrorism. 

We know from experience that the EU has managed to screw up every single competency it has taken - migrants, the euro economy, Ukraine, terrorism, TTIP - so I guess it's natural for our little brandy drinker to want to screw up intelligence as well. 

Make no mistake, these unelected officials already have blood on their hands - their playing for power has left the people of Europe vulnerable and exposed, and the Islamist Shits will kill again. The sooner we can kick them out of our own lives the better.