In Flight Entertainment (IFE) such as the provision of live TV, Video on demand is the big buzz in the airline industry, cellphone connectivity is almost here and now eberyone wants full broadband Internet connectivity - to provide that "Office in the Sky" for the busy , high spending business traveller on a scheduled flight or Executive Jet.
Disregarding the use of ground based cell phone linked WIMAX technology discussed in a post earlier, current technology relies on line-of-sight ground-based transmitters - such as Verizon use. Now with the creation of broadband antennas able to access and receive/transmit communications satellites in Earth’s orbit faster , reliable broadband connectivity is almost here.
Much of the new technology in this area owes its inception to the 2003 World Radio Communication Conference in Geneva, Switzerland when radio frequencies specifically for aviation-based satellite-based communications was allocated.
Using the KU band , receive-only antennas have been in use for a number of years for applications such as onboard live television (TV). This service is indistinguishable from commercial satellite TV for home use, and is generally limited to the continental US, Europe and Japan. JetBlue and other airlines use Ku-band transmissions for their inflight TV service.
To receive its signal, a Ku-band antenna has to be able to track a moving platform—a satellite—from another moving platform—an airplane.
Consequently it must be steered, either mechanically or using a
phased-array system not unlike those used in the military intercept radars. At the core of the current Ku-based system is a transponder with a capacity of 36–72 mbps, while individual satellites are able to push data at around 1–2 gigabytes per second (gbps). These satellites and the ground stations needed to support them are already in service, and no single company owns a monopoly on them.
Despite such promise, however, the relatively large size of antennae has been a problem. Connexion by Boeing was a service that promised high-speed Internet packages and with interfaces tailored to user preferences, the system used Intersputnik's Yamal-200 satellites. On June 26th Boeing announced they were reviewing the market.
On August 17th they canned it with a hit on the balance sheet of US$ 360 MN or 26 cents a share. No explanation was given other than to say .."the company has decided to exit the high-speed broadband communications connectivity markets."
As the weight for supporting antenna electronics and network connections to the seat is approximately 800 lb for a single-aisle aircraft and 1200 lb for a twin-aisle aircraft it has been said that the this was too much of an overhead for the business it might generate.It was intended that this system would allow cellphone provider Qualcomm with a platform.. and they have performed a test flights that successfully demonstrated the simultaneous use of CDMA and GSM mobile phone technology over an onboard aircraft network... although of course it is claimed many of the hi-jacked folks on the 9/11 planes pre-empted them, Barbara Olsen chatting away for some 20 minutes from the on board toilet.
London based Inmarsat has also been promoting it's Swift Broadband built around a cluster of 4 newly launched satellites so that Inmarsat BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) satellite dishes will be able to access data, voice and video at broadband speeds of about 432Kbps wherever they are..
Which is where a fascinating company called Starling appears to have some handsome leverage.
Starling’s antennas are based on unique, patented transmission/reception and signal processing technology that supports high-speed data rates using a very low-profile antenna design. The CoMPATM (Coherent Multi-Panel Antenna) heavily patented technology provides full broadband connectivity in the civil aviation market.
What they modestly call their flagship product, the MIJET Ku very compact antenna system enables two-way broadband communication, such as Internet, Email, Cellular phone, PDA, TV, VPN, VOIP and other advanced applications, for all types of commercial commercial aircraft.
The MiniMIJET is specially designed (ie scaled down) for smaller aircraft, such as those commonly flown in the business jet market. Based on the same technology and overall design as the MIJET, it is due to be commercially launched at the end of 2006.
Starling is based in Israel and claims on their website to be .." led by a cohesive, seasoned management team, with many years of experience in developing complex communications systems. Founded in 2003, the Company is backed by some of the world’s top developers of electronics and communications systems for military and commercial applications:
RDC (Rafael Development Corporation) – a business development-focused joint venture of RAFAEL and Elron.
RAFAEL is a leading developer of advanced systems for naval, air and ground defense.
Elron Electronic Industries is a multinational technology group focused on development of defense electronics, communications, semiconductors and medical imaging technologies.
The "Team" biographies make fascinating reading(which Lord Patel recommends) especially CEO and founder Micha Lawrence, who served in command positions in the Israeli Air Force. He was also at Elbit Systems, a global leader in military electronics and communications technologies for 6 years before founding Starling.
Presumably anyone using such equipment will be billed for services and no doubt Starling will be happy to provide very accurate billing services which need access to datastreams to identify different rates for telephony, video etc.,and no doubt security of the data for busy, wealthy and influential businessmen zooming around in their Executive Jets.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Channel 4 News online investigations reveal today, as a result of Freedom of Information requests to English Police forces details on under 16 drug users and dealers. Last year 53,497 children were picked up by police for possessing illegal substances.
In 2005/6, police caught more than 6000 children selling drugs, from Class A substances to cannabis.
In London, the number of children caught with drugs for sale has jumped from 2709 to 4286 in the past three years.
It appears under-16s are not just restricting themselves to possession and supply, the FoI disclosures also show that hundreds of the clever little hoticulturalists were detected by police to be growing their own drugs.
Presumably, as the street price drops with oversupply, the market has to grow and the dealers get desperate.
The BBC ran an identical story with different details on Friday 11th August. In July the BBC ran a story about Bridlington Rotary Club distributing a leaflet to all schools in their area about drugs and the dangers of misuse, dealing ...etc.,
The Scotsman on 1st August had a story about 13 yr olds dealing in heroin and they obtained information from 5 of Scotland's 8 forces under FOI which showed that the use of, and dealing in illegal drugs by children was growing rapidly in all regions.
Tom Wood, chairman of the Scottish Association of Alcohol and Drug Action Teams, said in The Scotsman on September 3rd in a story on the pure heroin hitting the streets in Scotland from the booming Afghan poppy crop : "This is very bad news for us because there will be a glut of heroin on the market. This is the produce of the poppy crop from two years ago because there is quite a lead time from the opium harvest to drug production. It also comes at the same time as an unprecedented amount of cocaine is flooding the streets."
Pic Book Cover "Twelve"
By Nick McDonell.."Nick McDonell is the real thing. The ratio of age to talent is horrifying". (Hunter S. Thompson)
Click here to view or download a 28 minute Google video Ludicrous Diversion - 7/7 London Bombings Documentary .... the Title deives from Tony Blair describing the call for an official enquiry into the London 7/7 bombings as, " a ludicrous diversion" ... a curious attitude to the biggest post war murder event in the neart of the Nation's capital city.
Who produced, distributed the film Lord Patel does not know but suggests you view it as it raises many questions, but provides no answers. It is accompanied by explanatory notes ..."On the 7th of July 2005 London was hit by a series of explosions. You probably think you know what happened that day. But you don’t.
The police have, from the onset of their investigation, chosen to withold from the public almost every bit of evidence they claim to have and have provably lied about several aspects of the London Bombings. The mainstream news has wilfully spread false, unsubstantiated and unverifiable information, while choosing to completely ignore the numerous inconsistencies and discrepancies in the official story.
The government has finally, after a year, presented us with their official ‘narrative’ concerning the event. Within hours it was shown to contain numerous errors, a fact since admitted by the Home Secretary John Reid. They have continuously rejected calls for a full, independent public inquiry. Tony Blair himself described such an inquiry as a ‘ludicrous diversion’. What don’t they want us to find out? The producers invite you to contact them at .... firstname.lastname@example.org
Someone comments here
In May, stock market guru Warren Buffett patron saint of the Arizona retirement community and man who President rushed to see on 9/11, announced his Berkshire Hathaway fund he had purchased 80 percent of the Israeli tool company Iscar Metalworks.This is said to reflect his view that on the dollar's weaknes it makes sense to invest overseas.
This mega-deal hit the headlines for 3 reasons ;
1. It was the biggest foreign investment agreement ever involving an Israeli tech company
2. The third-largest deal ever for Berkshire Hathaway
3. Their first acquisition of a company based outside the United States.
When asked about it in an interview with PBS “Nightly Business Report,” Buffett said, “Iscar operates in 61 countries … but it’s very definitely Israel-based. That’s a very talented management there. And they’re thinking about every country in the world.”
Warren Buffett is not a Jew, he describes himself as an agnostic.
Two days later, Berkshire Hathaway via subsidiary CTB International acquired 60 percent of a second, smaller Israeli firm, Agrologic who make and develop computer controlled climate, feeding and weighing systems for modern poultry and pig raising.
This was followed by Microsoft purchasing Israeli tech company Whale Communications who specialize in secure remote access for networks in a US£80Mn. deal.This is said to be to develop their Israel office into a research and development center.
Warren Buffett is due to visit Israel and will arrive on Sunday for a three-day visit.
Craig McCaw founded McCaw Cellular – later purchased by AT&T Wireless. Now he has set up Clearwire an Internet access service using a WiFi modem (WiMAX high speed) connecting to the Internet through Mobile phone towers (Intel & Motorola have chipped in US$900Mn.)- so far this includes e-mail (5 addresses included),web hosting,static IP and online account management which can include Internet VOIP telephone with unlimited local and long distance calling to the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada for only $29.99/month.
Coverage is limited so far (see US map here) but is growing rapidly. ... airspace is free but cables either copper or fibre cost a lot of money.
Sprint Broadband Direct SM in the US also provides wireless Internet access and services, through Earthlink Sprint which provides what Clealink does but with 10MB of free personal web space.
A downside ( for some) is that you require a rooftop Digital Transceiver 13.5" square weighing 6 lbs.
In August Sprint announced they would be installing a nationwide WiMAX IEEE 802.16 technology network, at a cost of $4.5 Bn. over the next 2 years, to compete with national cable and DSL operators. They have also been collaborating with Clearwire in swapping parts of their 2.5 GB spectrum allowinfg Clearwire to build rapidly especially in rural areas.
Now on top of this (literally) ground based layer Wi-SKY Networks a North Carolina-based start-up has demonstrated an IEEE 802.16 air to ground system providing wireless Internet access on the ground, standard WiMAX offers data rates of up to 70Mbit/sec (compared with 802.11 WiFi’s current maximum of 52Mbit/sec.
Proxim Wireless (wholly owned subsidiary of Terabeam Inc. (NASDAQ: TRBM) have helped them develop the system and report a continuous WiMAX-based 3Mbit/sec connection between a ground base station and a helicopter over Victoria BC. The link supported simultaneous videoconferences, VoIP phone calls and data downloads at distances of 30 miles from the base station, altitudes of over 10,000ft and aircraft speeds of up to 126kt.They were also able to provide the same service to vessels at sea up to 25 miles from the coast.
Donald Alcorn the President of Wi-SKY talks of a national network linked to upward-looking antennas piggybacking on the base stations being planned by Clearwire and Sprint and so could be able to support a true passenger airline broadband service. This could offer 1 Mbit/sec to each simultaneous user, as well as providing a link to the aircraft operating at up to 60Mbit/sec for applications such as IFE content uploads, such as Live TV and Film.
With competitors like AirCell, AeroMobile and OnAir the North American broadband passenger connectivity market is getting very crowded.
It is said that Rupert Murdoch (who owns a few TV Stations and papers) fresh from the huge success of his INternet investment in MySpace is looking closely at Clearwire.
The Hoekstra-Harman Hoax
How the War Party plans to lie us into war – again
Justin Raimondo @ Anti-War.com
"Everybody knows that what John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt call "the Lobby" is behind the current campaign to gin up another Middle Eastern war, this time with Iran. Israel's recent incursion into Lebanon was but a dress rehearsal for the main event – which is coming no matter how badly the Lebanese adventure turns out.....
It is coming because there is simply no opposition to the Lobby's ironclad control of the U.S. Congress. The defense of Israel overrides and effectively neutralizes all other considerations. It doesn't matter that a confrontation with Iran will create yet more terrorists determined to strike at America, it is deemed an act of "appeasement" to point out that, if we contained the nuclear-armed Soviets for half a century, we could easily deter the Iranians from attacking our Middle Eastern allies – and it is considered beyond the pale to note that the advocates of war with Iran are serving the interests of a foreign power, namely Israel, over and above what is clearly in American interests. "
AIPAC FAQ on Iran here
Friday, September 15, 2006
Rafael ('Rafi') Eitan (born it is said November 23, 1926) is the leader of Gil - Gimla'ey Yisrael (pensioners of Israel ) party which unexpectedly won 7 seats in the Israeli 2006 elections. Eitan is minister responsible for old-age pensions. He is also known as "Stinky" in Israel’s intelligence community , (he fell into a sewage ditch when he was in the Palmach, the strike force of Israel’s pre-1948 defense organization).
In 1981, Eitan was named head of the Defense Ministry's Lekem, the Bureau for Scientific Relations, where he continued work on terrorism. He was said to have planned the bombing of the Iraqi Osirak reactor (after the Iranaians with the help of Israel had missed) and also been involved with in earlier years with kidnapping Eichmann in 1960. In 1984, Lakam was put in touch with Jonathan Pollard, an American citizen, who worked on anti-terrorist activities at the US Naval Investigative Services. Pollard had contacted the Israeli government with top secret information on the terrorist activities of Israel's enemies. When Jonathan Pollard was arrested in the US in 1985, Lekem was disbanded. (see Footnote on Pollards activities)
In 1985, Mossad / Israeli agents helped track an IRA bomb team in Gibralter in conjunction with MI 5/6/SIS. The three member IRA team was killed by the British SAS, in contoversial circumstances. It was subsequently reported in British papers that Rafi Eitan and Mossad had played a surveillance role in the operation, and IRA command put out orders for assassination teams in Ireland and Britain to find and kill Rafi Eitan.Eitan left the UK.
In 1992, Irving Semmel, a Brazilian businessman, worked with Eitan to bid on a contract for an agricultural deal in Cuba, involving citrus cultivation, an Israeli speciality. Eitan won the bid and built a partnership with four other international entrepreneurs to run the deal. Jagüey Grande, where in the 1999-2000 season some 422,000 tons of oranges and grapefruit were harvested. About 360,000 tons were processed into concentrate and juice for export. Grupo BM has reportedly invested over $20 million in its Jagüey Grande operations, located 100 kilometers east of Havana, in Matanzas province - said to be about the size of Gaza. (Pic is of Eitan in Cuba "a simple farmer" AKA Mr Magoo)
The company GBM (Grupo BM) was also incorporated in Cuba, but Eitan represents the company in Israel under the name Reesimex International Trade Limited.
Reesimex undertook work involving US$200 M in bilateral trade with different partners in Brazil for ;
- establishment of a radio communications system for the State Police in the State of
- sale of computerized, education equipment to various Brazilian universities;
- sale of CT (computerized tomograph) Scanners to government hospitals in the State of Sao Paulo;
- establishment of a long distance (via satellite transmission) learning/training system in the State of Rio Grande de Sul;
- sale of public security programs/training/equipment to police forces in various states;
- water and waste water purification and irrigation projects in various states;
- various educational/training programs for several universities/private foundations in several Brazilian states;
- various projects dealing with traffic and transport, such as vehicle registration,
roadside truck scales, street and highway lighting, access control and tracking of
transport containers, CCTV and other road security systems, and others:
Building on this success GBM also won the contract to build the Miramar Trade Center, Havana, 18 six-floor office buildings located on 180,000 square meters (nearly two million square feet). The Miramar Trade Center (MTC) is the brainchild of Inmobiliaria Monte Barreto S.A., a joint venture between Cuban state agency Cubalse S.A. and Grupo BM. Immobiliaria Monte Barreto's chairman is Enrique Rottenberg, an Argentine Jew living in Cuba.
The Miramar Trade Center is located at Tercera Avenida between Calles 70 and 80. That puts it practically within walking distance of some of Havana's most important hotels: the Meliá Habana, the Neptuno, the Tritón, the Comodoro, the Novotel Miramar and the Panorama. In the area are many state-run trading companies, foreign firms, the International Conference Center, many embassies and the Ministry for Foreign Investment and Economic Cooperation.Phases I and II are complete and Phases III, IV and V -- each containing four buildings -- will begin in 2004, 2005 and 2006, respectively, with each phase requiring two and a half years to complete construction.The building is wired to CAT 5 and has the latest communications facilities - oh so easy to tap into ?
The project was designed by Cuba's Empresa de Diseño de La Habana, in conjunction with ZP International Inc., whose credits are said to include Toronto's Eaton Center and London's Canary Wharf.
What really surprises is the news of the opening of a Holocaust Memorial at the center of the Old City of Havana in Ynet news, on the 22nd June, 2006 with a massive Menorah lit at a public Chanukah service by Castro and Eitan together and Tel Aviv's Ashkenazi chief rabbi, Israel Lau was present. The Menorah is 2.5 meters (8.1 feet) tall and 2 meters (6.5 feet) wide and is designed by Israeli sculptor Yuri Matzkin, who teaches at the University of Tel Aviv.
In the restoration of Old Havan is the Rachel Hotel which is owned by Eitan.
Recently, GBM was awarded the "Medal for Agricultural Work" by the Cuban government and Eitan's office has a portrait of Castro in his office. Note - Israel is the only country in the world that has consistently backed the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba whenever the issue comes up in the United Nations (they are supported by Palau and the Marshall Islands although Micronesia abstains). Israel does not have diplomatic relations with Cuba and these are handled by the Canadian Embassy but they do not operate a trade embargo !
There are said to be 1,000 Jews in Cuba, where they have been granted the freedom to worship and receive support from Jews in the United States and Europe. Cuba has five synagogues: three in Havana, one in the central provincial capital of Camaguey and one in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba.
Enrique Oltuski, a hard-line Communist who fought with Che Guevara in the 1950s against the Batista dictatorship, is Cuba's vice minister of fisheries and one of the highest-ranking Jews in the Castro regime.
In addition to this deal, GBM has started expanding its business deals to the rest of Latin America (see Brazil deals above) . It runs various agricultural projects in the Dominican Republic, among others.
In the Jerusalem Post today Eitan gives an interview in which he says he regrets recruting Pollard and says Israel could and should have obtained the information via legal means.
"I gave my opinion to the Americans that I made a mistake [when I operated him] but that Israel was in dire straits, which makes people do things beyond what is permitted," Eitan said. "It is likely that we could have gotten the same information without him."Eitan is still wanted by the FBI - notoriously Israel has no extradition treaties.
When asked what should be done to bring about Pollard's release, Eitan said, "No one knows what could get him free." "There is no doubting the fact that his wife is in the way," he added in a pretty ungracious fashion , in a reference to Pollard's outspoken wife, Esther.
Esther Pollard (Pollards wife) recently wrote about a meeting with Eitan years ago in which Eitan said the only thing he regretted about the Pollard affair was that he did not "finish the job" before leaving the US. Pollard wrote that when "we asked him what he meant by this, Eitan replied, 'If I had been at the [Israeli] Embassy when Pollard came to seek asylum, I would have put a bullet through his head and there would have been no Pollard affair.'"
Apparently Eitan's spokesman could not or would not respond to Esther Pollard's claim.
See There’s something “Stinky” in Cuba By Mary Rizzo 14/7/2006
Mario Rizzo writes as Peace Palestine Blog and lives in Italy
Why Pollard Should Never Be Released (The Traitor)
The New Yorker Magazine | January 18, 1999, pp. 26-33 | SEYMOUR M. HERSH
Ed Hyslop, 37, a former management consultant, took charge of Woodward Foodservices in 1997 when it had sales of just £12m.
He helped organise Woodward’s acquisition by Iceland Foods and when they were taken private, led a management buy-out last year from The Big Food Group.
They have announced today the take over (for £25Mn.) of DBC, part of the Danish Crown Group. DBC have 13 distribution warehouses in the UK, employ 800 people and an annual turnover of £200m. Woodward, which supplies products including fresh fish, fresh meat, frozen and chilled food to restaurants, pubs, hotels and schools across Britain, has an annual turnover of £210m and employs 1,100 people.
Combining the 2 groups together will create a £500m business ranking 3rd in the UK catering supplies industry after Brakes and 3663 (3663 spells FOOD on a telephone number pad- Geddit ?). “Combining the two businesses will give us a fabulous platform from which to grow further,” said Hyslop.
The deal has been backed by Woodward’s existing Icelandic investors Baugur and Talden. Debt finance is provided by Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance and Landsbanki Commercial Finance.
An IPO cannot be far away.
The Pinzgauer Vector is a 4x4 or 6X6 off road light utility vehicle withn a 2.5 litre air cooled engine whose origins lie in a vehicle originally designed and built by Steyr-Daimler-Puch of Austria as a bigger version of the very agile Haflinger off roader. It was first produced in 1965.(Pinzgau = region of Austria incl. Salzburg)
Automotive Technik founded by David Findlay and Alan Mawer as the UK agents for Steyr-Daimler-Puch imported the Puch Super G which they introduced to the Fire Service and the Pinzgauer which they sold into both the UK military and Fire Services.(Not available for private or commercial use - although ex Mil. vehicles available here and here)
In 2000 Automotive Technik Holdings Limited (ATL) took over the production rights for the Pinzgauer offering full manufacturing capability at its sites in the south of England. In their turn they were taken over by Stewart & Stevenson Services Inc. a key supplier to the US Army. In March this year the company name was changed to Pinzgauer Ltd and then in May S & S were taken over by fast growing, US aerospace and defence group Armor Holdings Inc., manufacturer of security products for vehicle armo(u)ring and soldier protection (body armo(u)r).
The MOD on Mon 24th July, announced 100 Pinzgauer "Vector" were purchased from Armor Holdings for US$27Mn. So that's £250,000 a pop, delivery to commence "Autumn 2006" but are not expected in Afghanistan until at least spring 2007. Although the Daily Telegraph in April had announced only 80 vehicles were being purchased for £35 Mn. Drawings here.
Today The Pinzgauer is produced exclusively in the United Kingdom at factories in Fareham (Hampshire) and Guildford (Surrey). The MOD have purchased the newer 6 X 6 Protected Patrol Vehicle which has been developed Under the UK MoD’s ‘Project Vector’ with additional features to protect the lives of soldiers on operational duties overseas, but it appears will not provide protection from the latest IED's.
Shadow Defence Minister Gerald Howarth received a soldier’s view of Britain’s renowned Pinzgauer all-terrain vehicle on Wednesday 12th July 2006 when he was taken on an “exhilarating” off-road test drive. Previously on Friday, July 7, Mr Howarth had toured the Guildford factory. Army forum discussion here from less than admiring squaddies(?) unimpressed by the lightweight engine and load carrying. Interesting view on MOD procurement from Eureferendum here.
Apparently the Pinzgauer is described as being designed "to withstand two NATO L2A2 hand grenades detonating simultaneously only 150mm below the floor pan. These grenades would normally carry a lethality radius of 5 metres." ... Eureferendum alarmingly described them in June as "coffins on wheels", more comment here on the parlous state of protection for the UK PBI.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Friday, December 9
Ante Gotovina - A man with interesting friends in Virginia
On Thursday December 9th 2005, Former Croat General Ante Gotovina, who was then on the run from the the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), was arrestedin Tenerife.(Gotovina's passports revealed that he had been in Tahiti, Argentina, Chile, China, Russia, the Czech Republic, Mauritania, and Mauritius, but not Croatia.)Pic BBC
Gotovina, who is a former French legionnaire and mercenary,retired from the Croatian army in 2000 after earning a hero's status (memorably by Croatian tennis star Goran Ivanisovic at the 1991 Wimbledon Championships), in the 1991- 95 war for Croatia's independence from Yugoslavia.
In August 1995, the previously inept Croatian army launched "Operation Storm," a U.S.-style military offensive designed to take back part of the country held throughout the war by rebel Serbs, and patrolled by UN forces.
The United States not only monitored the complete Operation Storm, but they also actively participated with the Croatian Military in its preparation, and in the end directly initiated the operation. The green light from the White House and then President Clinton for Operation Storm was passed on by Colonel Richard C. Herrick, then US military attaché in Zagreb. Several days prior to the commencement of Operation Storm, Herrick visited Markica Rebić in Zagreb. Rebić, Miroslav Tuđman, then director of HIS and Miro Međimurac, then head of SIS, held the most intensive discussions with the American military and intelligence agencies.
Herrick usefully had as an assistant and his assistant Ivan Šarac, a Croatian NCO who was sent to Zagreb at the beginning of the war there as he was familiar with the circumstances and knew the language.
Herrick passed on the message that the US had no opposition to the beginning of Operation Storm, that the operation had to be 'clean and fast' and had to be completed in 5 days time.
BIll Clinton in his "My Life, Vol II The Presidential Years," p265, 2004, 2005 said "Because we knew Bosnia's survival was at stake, we had not tightly enforced the arms embargo. As a result, both the Croatians and the Bosnians were able to get some arms, which helped them survive. We had also authorized a private company to use retired US military personnel to improve and train the Croatian army."
This Private firm was ..
Military Professional Resources Inc. 1201 E. Abingdon Dr Alexandria, VA
MPRI reported annual sales of $95 million from numerous contracts with the U.S. and foreign governments to provide military training and consulting, according to the Center for Public Integrity.
In 1994 and 1995, MPRI was paid millions of dollars under a U.S. overnment-sanctioned contract to train the Croatian military. Photos taken at the time are said to show Gotovina together with US military advisors
"Operation Lightning Storm", was launched against the Krajina region in which Serbian villages were sacked and burned, hundreds of civilians were killed and 170,000 were left homeless. The operation was a textbook illustration of western military doctrine. "The Croatians did a good job of coordinating armor,artillery and infantry", says Roger Charles, a retired marine lieutenant colonel and military researcher. "That's not something you learn while being instructed about democratic values."
The truth is the United States which provided logistical support,jammed Serbian radio communications and radar, and closely monitored all Serbian troop movements using unmanned spy planes (UAV's), which operated from Brac island just off the Croatian
coast (ops later moved to Sepurina airport nr. Zadar after being exposed on New Years Day by the German Embassy staff). All the resulting information was passed on immediately to the Croatian armed forces, with Washington hoping that the Serbs would be beaten back quickly and thus forced to agree to take part in
Richard Holbrooke, quite the nastiest piece of work who was ever employed by the US Government, in his book "To End A War"(1998) referred to the Croatian army as his "junkyard dogs" and acknowledges that the Croatian army was used to inflict substantial losses on the Milosevic-controlled Yugoslav army and shift momentum of the war.
Critics charged that MPRI provided training and tactical skills that enabled the Croatian military to perpetrate one of the largest episodes of ethnic cleansing in the breakup of former Yugoslavia, in an offensive that left hundreds dead and 150,000 homeless. MPRI denied those charges. A fterwards, the Croatian government expressed its gratitude to MPRI for its help in training its military. MPRI was later hired to train the new Bosnian army after the Dayton Peace Accords ended the war in former Yugoslavia. In which General Jay Garner , later the first Baghdad Pro consul was involved as an employee of MPRI and associated companies of the Virginia based L3 group with impeccable connections the the Pentagon and the White House.
In early 1996 Assistant Secretary of State, Richard Holbrooke told Congress that the training of Bosnian forces by MPRI "can begin as soon as the contracts are worked out" --that's contracts, plural, because the $400 million program was paid for largely by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
In reality the need for speed expressed by Herrick was demanded by Bill Clinton who needed a quick solution to the Balkans "crisis" in order to halt his Presidential opponent Bob Dole's initiatives and to prove himself before his voters as a decisive president which were screened daily on the US TV.
In order to keep the English and French off his back, Clinton bypassed normal diplomatic channels, (Holbrooke's speciality) in order to be able to claim that he had not participated if the operation were to go belly up.
Of course this help came at a price , Croatia supplied the US with DIA Russian 500 kg underwater mines and the most modern Russian torpedos as well as the encrypted codes used by the Yugoslav Army and the Russian army...as well as the location of a agency revealed the location of a chemical weapons factory in Bijelo polje near Mostar which the Serbs had transferred to Serbia.
With the help of samples found, the American experts were able to uncover all the types of toxins produced there which had possibly been sold to Iraq or other potential enemies of the US. This was only the beginning of cooperation, by which the US immediately delivered wiretapping equipment aimed at monitoring Serbia and Montenegro, a system which could simultaneously record 20,000 telephone conversations. This cooperation was conducted with the US NSA.
A prominent supporter of Ante Gotovina has revealed the Croatian general indicted for war crimes will try to embarrass the US if he is put on trial."If it comes to an arrest, General Gotovina's defence team will call on individuals from the United States to testify," said a friend of the controversial former army commander, Nenad Ivankovic, who is head of the right-wing organisation HONOS, the Association for the Protection of the Values of the Homeland War.
Gotovina's supporters say two prominent US diplomats, Peter Galbraith (US Ambassador in Zagreb) and Richard Holbrooke, should be allowed to testify if the general eventually stands trial, as they could prove that he fought a clean war and reveal the extent of American involvement in the conflict. Gotovina enjoyed close contact with Galbraith, the US ambassador to Zagreb, and believes he could confirm that the general had observed the rules of war during Operation Storm.
The former and very experienced BBC Balkans correspondent, briefly an indpendent MP , Martin Bell has said it is vitally important that witnesses such as Galbraith and Holbrooke are called in the event of Gotovina being tried. "The general's liberty is at stake so he should be able to call on whoever can aid his defence," said Bell.
So far however 9 months after his being seized from his sunny hideaway nothing has been heard about preparations for his trial.
However ... Croatia was formally granted the status of European Union (EU) candidate country in June 2004. The failure of the Croatian authorities to fully cooperate with the Tribunal, including by arresting and transferring to the (ICTY)Tribunal’s custody Ante Gotovina, delayed the launch of EU accession negotiation. EU member states decided to begin accession talks with Croatia only on 3 October 2005, after the Tribunal Prosecutor concluded that “for a few weeks now” Croatia had been cooperating fully with the Tribunal.
Croatia hosts the ambition to join the EU before the next European Parliament elections in 2009. However, according to EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, Croatia will not join the EU until the end of this decade, although it will probably be the “first to meet all necessary conditions” and therefore be the “the next country on the list”, said Rehn.
Rehn himself said, after Romania and Bulgaria, the EU would not be able to receive any more members without a new "institutional settlement".
With London's hotels and entertainment industry flooded with East Europeans, brothels run by Albanians, and the streets full of Polish plumbers, soon to be joined by floods of Romanians and Bulgarians...there will be little interest in pursuing Croatian or Turkish entry by the UK.
Of course there will be litle interest in Washington in letting General Gotovina explain to an astonished but interested world the help he got from the US for the ethnic cleanisng of (variously) 150,000 - 200,000 Serbs from Krajina.
Perhaps arresting General Gotovina wasn't such a bright idea after all.
The Times report today about the unveiling of the new 23 tonne US Cougar made by Force Protection Inc. and boldly renamed / rebranded as the Mastiff. This extravagant Press freebie on Salisbury PLain - which some of the sharper eyed members of the Press might have noticed is not quite like Afghanistan in the hilliness stakes resulted in press stories by the unquestioning and gullible hacks, and provide (as Rupe's Rags do) typical spin to cover ;
1. The huge , consistent and historical cock ups in Defence Procurement
2. The fact that UK run industry cannnot even make a serviceable, armoured vehicle any more
3. That it really is , with the 100 Pinzgauer Vector vehicles bound for Afghanistan the only way to carry round the "new" out of date BOWMAN-CPI Digital Base communication system which is too heavy for Land Rovers to carry.
Presented as a replacement (at £1/4 Mn per throw) for the indaequately armoured "snatch" Land Rovers this hugely expensive sticking plaster adds a further burden of costs of spares, and base training , and a further front line burden , of training mechanics, the need for low loaders , more back up equipment, spares to carry and a higher overhead of maintenance staff, plus their housing , catering etc., Press reports state they cost £1/4 Mn. each but the manufacturers press release at the date of order 11th August (4 weeks ago!) states the order for 85 vehicles is US$63 Mn. = approx £400,000 "The contract also includes associated spares, technical manuals, and field service support and is worth approximately $63 million. "
This, we are sold, "will provide commanding officers with an additional option when planning patrols in the most hostile parts of Iraq and Afghanistan."
Curiously, the Times notes,the Mastiff "will not replace the Land Rover", which means that 2 /3 squaddies in the Mastiff may be OK if Johnny Taliban decides to let off a firework or two , but the PBI in the Land Rover is have to make do with the Land Rovers - which , let's be honest, provides more protection than the cloth top Jeeps they use as runabouts at weekends.
Probably the "operational option" facing the CO is, do I sit in the Land Rover which splits open like a sardine can, or this 23 tonne behemoth ( wait for the winter mud and snow) which the glossy booklet provided in every glove box which says "can eat improvised explosive devices for breakfast”.
Previously, on Mon 24th July the MOD announced the purchase and supply to Afghanistan of 100 Armored Pinzgauer "Vector" Patrol Vehicles for US$27 Mn. from Armor Holdings Inc. of Jacksonville Florida but production will be from the UK facilities and completion is expected in early (?) 2007, to add to the 66 already in theatre.
A second element was the supply of 70 additional up-armoured and upgraded "Warrior" FV430 to equip a mechanised infantry battlegroup for Iraq by the spring of 2007, again on top of the 54 already ordered.
Not forgetting - two extra CH-47 CHINOOK's to be deployed: the first in early September 2006, and the second in October. Wow !!
The MOD Bulletin stated that "This new package emerged from the urgent review ordered by the Defence Secretary last month". The Defence Secretary's armoured vehicles review was announced on 26th June 2006.
When the announcement was made in July (Hansard) it was pointed out that the MOD had already spent over £527m on Urgent Operational Requirements for Iraq and Afghanistan designed to improve force protection. This is in addition to the planned £6bn annual defence procurement budget. There was no discussion in the House, the Opposition presumably sat and listened and said nothing - they politley call it bi-partisanship.
Readers are reminded that public discussions about the weakness of force protection should troops to be deployed in Afghnaistan was discussed in December 2004 - see Lord Patel's 3 pennorth at the time.
Force Protection Inc. (OTCBB:FRPT) announced their Q2 results on August 15th. Record sales of US$56 Mn. and highest qrtly profits of US$ 1.3 Mn.The offocial announcement included the statement..."A recent contract from the British Ministry of Defense for protected vehicles to support infantry patrols marks an additional expansion of the company to the international defense industry."
The company started up making these vehicles in 2003.
Now I ask you ... does this sound like panic measures, brought in at the last minute and huge cost to attempt to stem a gaping hole in the force defence of our troops. ? A gaping hole which critics had been sounding off for literally years ?
A hole which was overlooked on the watch at the MOD by our once and future Prime Minister Battlin' Jock Jack Reid.
Bill Roggio at Fourth Rail September 13 th
Correction: Report of Hekmatyar's Capture Incorrect
Initial report of Hekmatyar's capture was a case of mistaken identity
"On 9-11,(September) Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported “the commander of the Hizb-i-Islami militia in Hafezan in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, was arrested after credible intelligence led Afghan and coalition forces to his compound.” An independent intelligence source confirmed the initial report, which led to my post on this matter, however a subsequent identification by fingerprinting indicates the person in question is not Hekmatyar. The capture suspect is a high level commander in Hezb-i-Islami, and is said to be a dead ringer for Hekmatyar.
The misidentification of terrorist commanders is a common occurrence. Most recently, Pakistan commander Matiur Rehman and Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah were reported captured, however it was later discovered they were indeed not in custody. It is believed the Pakistani ISI misled ABC News, while Dadullah's body double was actually Mullah Ibrahim, a Taliban commander in the Kandahar region." Writes Bill.
"An independent intelligence source confirmed the initial report, " ... this is of course the problem with the fantasists of "The Wide Awakes" .. they have these spooky, secretive "independent intelligence source(s) " which are as reliable as Mystic Meg.
Which makes one wonder why the whole nexus of the folks who hover round "The Wide Awakes" like wasps round a jam pot are pushing out this misinformation. They certainly are well informed, but what their sources are remains ... to some extent .. a mystery.
Here is an experiment for you. Go to Google News. Enter the search term "The Wide Awakes" ...not a day passes that Google News doesn't pick up a story from "The Wide Awakes" and not infrequently pieces from contributors to the the site / radio show.
The answer to the Question. Why do Google keep these dis-informationists in their news gathering net remains .... to some extent .... an enigma.
Admittedly when their reports are in error they eat their words ... which only serves to re-inforce one's natural scepticism about not only the accuracy of their reports, but their sources and ultimate authorship.
Meanwhile if you feel the need for some peculiar T shirts, B'ball caps drop in at GZBI - a site that Bill links to and who keep their highly patriotic secrets well hidden by using the proxy services of Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc. Whois Agent (email@example.com).
The answer to the Question. Why do these uber patriots feel the need to keep their identities such a secret ..remains .....to some extent.... a puzzle.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
My research staff have been slacking and only recently discovered the excellent, witty and detailed site of the Winter Patriot who is carefully assembling a great deal of information about the "Liquid Bombers" ... must read.
Some of his posts listed here but start here
Thursday, August 10: An Avalanche Of Bullshit: Republican Attack Dogs Hit Democrats Nationwide Over Lieberman's Loss In CT Primary
Tuesday, August 15: Spin? CounterSpin! The Alleged British Airplane Bombing Plot, Counterclockwise
Wednesday, August 16: NYT Beats The Terror Drums Again, But Exposes A Vital Fact!
Friday, August 18: British News Full Of Terror Revelations; World Opinion Appears Skeptical
Wednesday, August 23: To Mix The Impossible Bomb: Suspects Charged, Arraigned In Alleged Bombing Plot
Monday, August 28: Brother of So-Called 'Ringleader' Released Without Charges in Alleged British Bombing Plot
Wednesday, August 30: NYT Blocks British Readers from Monday's Article on Alleged Liquid Bombing Plot
On the 1th September 2006 the Deutsch News Agency reported the capture of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and was reported by Monsters and Critics and and was retailed in great excitement by - Bill Roggios notoriously inaccurate Fourth Rail , etc,
"The commander of the Hizb-i-Islami militia in Hafezan in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, was arrested after credible intelligence led Afghan and coalition forces to his compound, the statement said.
No shots were fired and there were no injuries reported." ... which rather gave the game away.
Forbes today (via AP) reports
U.S. and Afghan soldiers detained nine suspected militants belonging to the radical Hezb-e-Islami group of warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and al-Qaida, the U.S. military said. Two midlevel Hezb-e-Islami militant commanders were detained in Khost province.
Bill Roggio at his shaky Fourth Nail now headlines
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Reported Captured
But usefully and honestly today adds an update .....
The Khaleej Times is reporting a commander of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-e-Islami, along with “six associates” were captured “at a compound near Hafezan in eastern Nangarhar province.” The initial report of Hekmatyar's capture may be premature, however American intelligence sources (to whom Big BIll R claims close connection !) are tight lipped on the subject at the moment.
Which will make all those fascists at the New Republic somewhat upset.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar , is a man of immense significance in Afghanistan , he was after all the Prime Minister, whatever that might mean , once over. His capture, without a fight is not credible and without being trumpeted by the US/NATO forces - who are not enjoying the best of the fight at present - suggests that Hekmatyar is still out there somewhere.
A useful review of events can be found at the Sacramento Bee by Peter Bergen after a 3 week trip through the country.
The regrouped, rearmed Taliban
"U.S. commanding officer in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry acknowledges that "the strength and coherence of the Taliban movement is greater than it was a year ago," citing tribal and land disputes and trafficking in narcotics as reasons for the resurgence. He also draws a clear link between reconstruction and violence: "Wherever the roads end, that's where the Taliban starts." A State Department official told Bergen that of US$9BN. reconstruction aid promised just US$2.5 Bn. has been spent.
It is no coincidence opines Bergen that opium and heroin production, which now makes up about half of the Afghan economy, spiked at the same time that the Taliban staged a comeback. One U.S. military raid on a Taliban safe house this year recovered $900,000 in cash.
According to a U.S. military official,reports Bergen not one senior Taliban leader has been arrested or killed in Pakistan since 2001 -- nor have any of the top leaders of the militias headed by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalaluddin Haqqani, who are fighting U.S. forces alongside the Taliban.
Bergen concludes ..."In the absence of greater U.S. investments in roads, power and water resources, the Taliban will surely prosper and continue to gain adherents. Unless they take decisive action now, U.S. policymakers may be looking back in a few years, asking themselves why they lost Afghanistan despite the promise the country showed after the fall of the Taliban regime."
Readers are directed to Lord Patel's posting in May 2005 on the rising signficance in the forthcoming warfare in Afghanistan.
"Official" Terrorist lights fires of resistance in Afghanistan
In 2002 the CIA famously spotted Hekmatyar him in the Shegal Gorge, near Kabul,(where he stored his US Stinger missiles) and tried (unsuccessfully) to kill him with (the then novel) a modified anti-tank missile from a Predator unmanned spy plane.
On February 19, 2003 the US DOS designated Gulbuddin Hekmatyar as a Terrorist... which is a variable designation ...Mr Gadaffi has recently been removed from the list.
Yesterday an Israeli military court ordered the release of 21 Palestinian lawmakers, including 3 Palestinian Cabinet ministers, who were arrested and detained following the Hamas capture of Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit in Gaza on June 29th. Prosecutors are appealing the decision to release the detainees on bail, however, and the lawmakers will remain in jail for another 48 hours pending that challenge. A lawyer representing the detainees, Osama al-Saadi, told Reuters their release was conditional on posting a collective bail of 25,000 shekels ($5,690). So raising the prospect of their future prosecution by Israel.
Over 30 Hamas MPS’s have been detained since Shalit's including Palestinian parliament speaker Aziz Dweik and the secretary-general of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
In an attempt to break the diplomatic deadlock, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the current Fatah leader, announced on Monday that a coalition government would be formed with Hamas.
A Hamas spokesman said the group had no intention of recognizing Israel, and Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh , and Hamas leader, said the new government would not negotiate with Israel.
Foreign Secretary Beckett speaks
Margaret Beckett said she discussed the situations in Lebanon, Iraq, Israel and Sudan, as well as the Palestinians, during a 90-minute meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday.
Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Egypt is still trying to mediate a prisoner swap to bring the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit in return for the freeing of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and continually claims without any evidence that a deal might only be "days or hours away.”
Margaret Beckett, called for the immediate release of the Israeli soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit.
"The Israeli soldier should be released," Beckett said but did not appear to suggest what arrangements should be made to bring this about.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last Monday denied reports of an impending deal to swap Palestinian prisoners for Shalit.
Meanwhile the Jerusalem Post reports today ..
Rabbi Yossi Peli, who teaches at the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in the settlement of Yitzhar, was arrested and interrogated by police Tuesday about an article in which he called for either killing or expelling all male Palestinians in Judea and Samaria above the age of 13.
Peli was released on bail after being charged with sedition and incitement to violence.
4 men have been charged as a result of the swoop on a Westminster Chinese restaurant on September 1st by the Met’s finest, who have uncovered an immense terrorist plot , so cunningly planned, so well, concealed that it is almost impossible to believe there really is one.
But Plod knows better and has the brigands safely in custody.
Ugandan-born Yassin Mutegombwa, 22 from Upper Norwood, was charged in a Westminter Court, on 3 counts of weapons training “for the purposes connected with the commission or preparation of acts of terrorism’’ near Pondwood Farm on June 18 and near the Matley Wood Caravan and Camping site in Lyndhurst, on England’s south coast, from April 28 to May 1 and June 2 to June 4.
The owner of the leafy, 98-acre complex in the New Forest called Pondwood Farm, Mick Holdaway explained to the New York Times that they offered such inane pursuits as paintball shooting, bungee jumping and fishing.
He further explained that the area had been under surveillance by the police Special Branch since just after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and by the antiterrorism squad since 2004. Which makes you wonder if other such sites have been under surveillance throughout the country since then…. Which would add up to a valuable use of Police time.
“The Special Branch came here just after 9/11,’’ Mr. Holdaway said. “They asked, ‘Do you get brothers (?) over in your paintball area doing training?’ Then two years ago the antiterrorism squad came and said, ‘Is it O.K. that we do surveillance?’ (both working under cover evidently) I said, ‘Yes’ to both, ‘feel free.’ I’m a family man and if anything like that is going on, I want to know about it.’’
The manager of the 14 acre paintball facility is Shahid Chowdhary, a 42-year-old father of eight who leases the site from Mr. Holdaway and who described himself as a staunch Muslim.
“Every person who plays paintball signs a disclaimer, and not only don’t I know Yassin, I have never seen his name,’’ Mr. Chowdhary said in a telephone interview. The disclaimer, he said, includes personal details to identify those who play paintball.
“The only weapons we have are paintball guns,’’ he said.
Mr. Mutegombwa was also charged with attending a site near Matley Wood Caravan and Camping for weapons training. A bewildered, and retired florist Christine Saunders, 56 pitched her green mobile home there in March, a month before Mr. Mutegombwa is said to have first visited the area.
“There have been no suspicions or rumors here all summer,’’ she said in an intervieww with the NYT “It’s quiet here. That’s why we like it.’’
Mustafa Abdullah, 24, and Musa Akmet, 47, were charged with one count of possessing information likely to be useful to a terrorist. Mr. Akmet was also charged with illegal possession of a 16- millimeter mini-flare launcher. Hassan Mutegombwa, 20, Yassin’s brother, was charged with one count of procuring financing for terrorism. The British Press Association said the charge was related to seeking money for a one-way airline ticket to Kenya.
All 4 ,who pleaded not guilty will appear at the same court on October 10, by video-link, for an anticipated committal hearing on October 24.
Just to get things in perspective, whilst the assembled nations of the UN, the US , UK , French , Germans watched as the IDF lobbed (amongst many other lethal devices) 1 Million cluster bomblets into Lebanon.
The thing about State Terrorism , is, they have the resources to do it on a better and more effective scale.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
This is the evil and distorted truth these Zionist scum publish to show how strong and effective their military forces are ...
IDF commander: We fired more than a million cluster bombs in Lebanon
By Meron Rappaport / Haaretz / Last update - 14:20 12/09/2006
"What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs," the head of an IDF rocket unit in Lebanon said regarding the use of cluster bombs and phosphorous shells during the war.
Quoting his battalion commander, the rocket unit head stated that the IDF fired around 1,800 cluster bombs, containing over 1.2 million cluster bomblets.
In addition, soldiers in IDF artillery units testified that the army used phosphorous shells during the war, widely forbidden by international law. According to their claims, the vast majority of said explosive ordinance was fired in the final 10 days of the war.
The use of such weaponry is controversial mainly due to its inaccuracy and ability to wreak great havoc against indeterminate targets over large areas of territory, with a margin of error of as much as 1,200 meters from the intended target to the area hit.
The cluster rounds which don't detonate on impact, believed by the United Nations to be around 40% of those fired by the IDF in Lebanon, remain on the ground as unexploded munitions, effectively littering the landscape with thousands of land mines which will continue to claim victims long after the war has ended.
Because of their high level of failure to detonate, it is believed that there are around 500,000 unexploded munitions on the ground in Lebanon. To date 12 Lebanese civilians have been killed by these mines since the end of the war.
...It has come to light that IDF soldiers fired phosphorous rounds in order to cause fires in Lebanon. An artillery commander has admitted to seeing trucks loaded with phosphorous rounds on their way to artillery crews in the north of Israel.
How on earth can anyone believe this sickening propaganda and lies ? If you can, go to Haaretz and read the whole of this amazing pack of lies and nonsense that Israel's leading daily paper prints without shame.
The worst thing about these Zionist lies, and the lying scum who publish them is that there is no way a democracy like the US led by an elected Christian leader, george Bush or the UK led by brave, strong, proud, decent , Christian Tony Blair, the French , the Germans would stand by and let such things happen.
That's the clever thing about this filthy lying propaganda - we know it isn't true.
Lord Patel is proud to have exposed their disgusting lies and filthy , nasty propaganda.
In a highly significant move, BAE Systems Inc., the U.S. side of BAE Systems PLC, announced today that on December 31st Mark Ronald, chief operating officer of BAE Systems PLC and president and CEO of Rockville-based BAE Systems Inc., will be replaced Jan. 2 by Walt Havenstein, currently president of the company's electronics and integrated solutions group. Havenstein previously served as executive vice president for BAE Systems North America, now BAE Systems Inc., in Rockville.
BAE Systems Inc.based in Maryland , employs about 45,000 workers.
BAE have announced they will sell their share in the Airbus and will announce their half year results tomorrow.
MODERN HI-SPEED COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY AT WORK (?) IN AFGHANISTAN
According to a report in the Sunday Mirror and unofficial army blogs the new £2Mn. Bowman radio system (BMN) suffers from exploding lithium batteries when water / rain seeps into the handset (.... as it does).
Apart from a refit of 12,000 batteries the Mirror quotes an MoD spokeswoman who said: "A full investigation is being carried out. All Bowmans destined for Iraq or Afghanistan are getting a new battery cover to ensure no water can get to the battery. (Rumour in Kandahar is that means they will come in a polythene bag)
Apparently a Safety Notice had been issued some time ago advising users of this problem.
The PBI translate BOWMAN as Better off with a Map and a Nokia
BOWMAN - a "Difficult History"
The BAE Systems-led Archer Consortium, was developing the Bowman "armoured internet" digital communications system, which was to replace the heavy and antique analogue "Clansman" system. They were sacked after a reported expenditure of £330 million. (BAE have just sold their share of Airbus to concentrate on their "core skills" of electronics and communications) The National Audit Office - see later - have searing report on this balls up - which was really only an entree for the managerial shambles to follow.
In March 2004 Lord Bach at the MOD in a noticeably upbeat statement (the leitmotif of all MOD statements on the subject) announced that the new BOWMAN developed by the US defence Contractor General Dynamics at a cost of £1.2 Bn was being introduced.The programme is now called BOWMAN/CIP (Combat Infrastructure Platform) and costs £2.4 Bn.
Immediate problems arose over the weight of the "tactical units" which at 15 lbs were heavier than the units they replaced, the base units were even worse.
Initial difficulties were finding space in the Challenger 2 tank and the Warrior armoured personnel carrier. For the light infantry the company level radio unit was too heavy for the 3/4 ton Land Rover ,it was so heavy it broke the vehicle's chassis and it is now to be fitted on a reinforced two-ton Pinzgauer vehicle.
There was however a post design project with Land Rover to investigate the feasibility of an upgrade of front and rear axle weights to allow Bowman to be fitted to the Land Rover.
However the principal problem is that the system was designed in the 80's prior to radical changes in communications technology. The growth in bandwidth requirements due to UAVs etc., transmitting video, graphoc images, 3 d maps and interactive screen displays without providing more money, the lack of robustness and modifiability in its closed architecture software systems spelt trouble from the start.
Add to this a pronounced lack of definition on training and doctrine, and the effects of the program on the now tiny British tactical radio industry and you have the recipe for disaster soup.
NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE is called in
It is a sure sign that when Sir John Bourne, a man of outstanding ability, penetrating intellect, talent and honesty combined with silky charm and a large dose of affable wit, is brought in ,the Government (of which he is independent - he is a servant of the Houses of Parliament) are in such deep shit they haven't a clue what to do. e.g MRSA, the Millenium Dome etc., etc.,
For those interested further the National Audit Office produced a report on July 26th this year (i.e at the start of the holidays when no-one is looking) , "Delivering digital tactical communications through the Bowman CIP programme" ,you can download the report here (1.6 MN PDF alert)Executive Summary HTML here
"Bowman was declared in service in April 2004 but, not unusually, with some shortfalls in capability (27 provisos, 20 of which still apply, against the achievement of 18 of the Department’s 19 key user requirements)."It is vital to understand how essential this system is to the core to the capability of the whole UK armed forces...
"Under Bowman CIP some 48,000 radios and 28,000 computer terminals are to be installed in up to 15,700 vehicles, as well as ships, boats and helicopters. An estimated 75,000 ( i.e 75% of the armed forces) users are to be trained on the system."Chapter headings briefly and starkly determine the utter fucking complete, and costly fucking shambles the managment of this project, core to the capability of the whole UK armed forces has been. Every tax payer should read it.
Management arrangements must be flexible and responsive and embrace all aspects of capability
How the Department can further develop its managerial arrangements for the delivery and sustainment of military capability
Agile decision making must be underpinned by high quality information
What more the Department can do to take well informed, agile decisions
The future of Bowman CIP
With a sad, almost despairing note ....
10. By December 2004, it was clear that the Bowman CIP programme was over-ambitious and needed thorough revision. A recast programme was approved in July 2006. The recast of the Bowman CIP programme has given the Department and General Dynamics UK greater confidence about the way ahead. Funding for the programme has been raised by £121 million (5%) and the timescale for delivering capability has been extended by two years to mid 2007 for full delivery of the minimum military capability required. Technical challenges remain to be overcome to secure and build on the operational benefits already being obtained through faster, secure voice transmission.
The average tax payer and TV viewer might have noticed that the UK forces have been committed whilst all this has been going on to fighting two wars / battles / insurgencies / asymmetric guerilla wars against, lightweight, poorly armed, but determined and agile foes wholly familiar with their territory, who are defending their homeland against what they see as aggressors and empirical occupiers.
The average tax payer and TV viewer might reasonably take the view that this sad shambles of a spatchcock comms system - replaced by many active soldiers with their cheap, familiar 24/7 service mobile phone has contributed to the unfolding catastrophe in Iraq and Afghanistan.
With this wonderful technology the front line soldier gets 10 free minutes each week to phone home....If he was in prison in the UK he would get 20 minutes
This comes from a wonderful document you can find here from a recruitment firm "Jam Jobs" looking for staff for ...Joint Systems Integration Body (JSIB)
"Digitization comprises a number of components, including BOWMAN, ComBAT Information and Platform BISA (CIP) and other BISAs, together with a new generation of sensors, platforms and weapon systems, such as ASTOR, FRES and SOOTHSAYER, to achieve Network Enabled Capability (NEC). Consequently, there is a need to ensure that digitization is delivered in a co-ordinated and coherent way. The Joint System Integration Body (JSIB), a partnering arrangement between General Dynamics UK and the UK MoD Bowman & Land Digitization (BLD) IPT, is the means by which this will be achieved." Copyright Jam Jobs
That looks a truly battle hardened system they are cooking on there but to be fair there are some pictures of soldiers in tanks and an Apache helicopter ...
APACHE - BOWMAN Connectivity...
...is an addition to the ongoing BOWMAN programme that will provide secure data and voice communications between the British Army's attack helicopter and the related land-based operational units. General Dynamics UK's solution delivers this additional capability through an innovative mechanism by adapting some of the BOWMAN Network Access Units (NAU) which then provide an integrated communications network with previously under utilised facilities within the airborne weapons platform." ... which is not what one of the very rare qualified Apache helicopter pilots still in the Army will tell you.
Demand for fast, low weight, size, power consumption and cost memory has grown at a compound 70% over the last few years. Fortunately the world’s leading suppliers have been able to decrease the size and hence speed and density of solid state memory. The theory of double-density memory growth every 12 months, floated by Dr. Chang Gyu Hwang, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics’ Semiconductor Business in 2002 (like Groves’ famous theory of transistor doubling) has so far been proved correct.
Last year Samsung announced on September 12th 2005 a 16 Gigabit (Gb) NAND density device using 50-nanometer technology.
The 16Gb density translates into 32-Gigabytes (GBs). This 32GB density translates into the ability to store either 200 years of an average daily newspaper, 8000 MP3 music files (680 hours) or 20 DVD resolution movies (32 hours of high resolution video footage) on a mobile device.
The NAND flash market has enjoyed a compounded annual growth rate of 70 % from 2001 through 2005.
Well keeping up with this doubling technology Samsung Electronics today announced the industry’s first 40-nanometer memory device. The new 32 Gigabit (Gb) NAND flash device is the first memory to incorporate a Charge Trap Flash (CTF) architecture, a new approach to further increase manufacturing efficiency while greatly improving performance and which will, by reducing inter-cell noise levels allow manufacturing using 30 and even 20nm traces.
This works by discarding the conventional control gate in a typical floating gate structure. With CTF, data is temporarily placed in a “holding chamber” of the non-conductive layer of the flash memory composed of silicon nitride (SiN).
The CTF design is enabled through the use of the proprietary Samsung TANOS structure was first revealed in 2003 and is comprised of tantalum (metal), aluminum oxide (high k material), nitride, oxide and silicon. The use of a TANOS structure marks the first application of a metal layer coupled with a high k material to the NAND device.
The 32Gb density translates into 64-Gigabytes (GBs) or over 64 hours of DVD resolution movies (40 movies) or 16,000 MP3 music files (1,340 hours - 10 weeks).
Samsungs mass market 8 GB device MOVI announced recently in July provides for 223 minutes of DVD film and id meant for mobile phones, camcorders or as a carrier for rental films – until broadband developments allow fast domestic DVD film downloading.
Devices such as this will provide massive storage facilities for 3/4th generation cell-phones that weigh ounces take colour pictures, colour videos with sound, act as GSP location / direction devices, with Intrent connectivity, e-mail, texting .....
Those readers startled to read in the Daily Torygraph today page 6
" The Labour leadership race will step up another gear today when Peter Hain ...confirms he wants to become Deputy Leader ....."..and interested in the science of political futurology might wish to turn their attention (and their browser) to :
Sunday, July 16
Political / Police skullduggery, censoring the blogs and Prime Minister Reid in waiting
"It is also evident that Lord Patel's exclusive about the deal between Sir Ian Blair and Tony Blair hs worked out on the square, which is of course pivotal to Reid's enthronement in the Arch - along with Peter Hain."
Thursday, July 13
Lord Patel examines his Crystal Balls
"John Rottweiller Reid, fresh from clearing the Augean Stables at the Home Office sweeps in on a tide of regional revolt with Peter Hain, King of Wales and NI as deputy (Prescott having handed in his dinner pail,) Mr Study in Brown stays in his No 11 study."
..but then followers of the venerable Lord Patel and watchers at Betfair will be on the inside track with this one. Now all it needs for that heart murmer to trouble our Dear Leader again.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Democracy reaches Iraq via mass hangings in Abu Ghraib and shutting Arab TV stations down. Afghanistan celebrates liberation by American educated President Karzai opening a US$25 Coca Cola Plant.
The old Coke plant was razed in the 62-66 civil war. Now Dubai based businessman Habibullah Gulzar, regional distributor of Coca Cola soft drinks and the world's greatest optimist, is building a state-of-the-art factory, to produce 15 million 24-bottle cases of soft drinks a year.
"This is another step forward for economic growth, self-sufficiency and better living standards for Afghanistan," Karzai said in a speech inside the plant, where 350 people will find jobs (none of them women).
Richard Norland, the Deputy at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul's , said the Coke factory opening, was a positive step that would create more jobs and prove big multinationals could do business in Afghanistan. This diplomatic simpleton said (to Fox News) that a close relationship with Coca-Cola Pakistan might also help improve ties between Kabul and Islamabad. Norland did acknowledged there was a risk the plant would be seen as a "vestige of the modern or Western world and as a target."
"Anybody who goes after this operation is only hurting the people of Afghanistan," he said, which is a species of logic which would be difficult to find on the unlit, sewage strewn, battle scarred and broken streets of downtown Kabul where a suicide bomber killed 16 people including 2 US soldiers on Sunday.
Lord Patel wonders if he is arranging insurance for his plant with the same folks (Wright & Co) who are providing CIA spooks with cover (US$300 p.a.) for torturing prisoners.(WAPO today and JURIST)
Lord Patel is going to lie down in a darkened room for a while.
I woke up in a Soho doorway
A policeman knew my name
He said "You can go sleep at home tonight
If you can get up and walk away"
Well, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
Tell me, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
'Cause I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
“Who are You ?” The Who
Fingerprints have been used as evidence of identity since the French anthropologist Alphonse Bertillon devised a system of standardised measurements. Modern technology provides many different supportive techniques, palm prints, facial, iris patterns , DNA which may be combined with official databases for vehicles, passports / visas / taxes / National Insurance / Immigration / Prison / Police / Courts for law enforcement purposes.
If you are a UK resident and have provided your fingerprints or other information, have been caught speeding through the Automatic Number Plate Recognition system (ANPR) or provided a DNA swab which is required on arrest you may wonder what happens to the record produced… by the way 10 Police forces this month will be trialling LANTERN for live mobile identification in conjunction with APNR and eventually it will be in use by all police forces throughout England and Wales (but not Scotland and Northern Ireland).
If photographed (see Footnote re pic here) your face will appear on FIND, the National Facial Image Database not to forget National Video Identification Strategy (NVIS), which is part of the Home Office's Street Crime Initiative (SCI) of April 2002. Since then, two systems have been used to provide automated and systematic approach to delivering identity parades: Profile Matching which is more commonly known as (PROMAT) and Video Identification Parade Electronic Recording known as VIPER.
Nor should you overlook The Vehicle Procedures and Fixed Penalty Office (VP/FPO) which streamlines (?) the processing and tracking of fixed penalties issued for motoring offences.
Finally … let’s hope you don’t appear on ViSOR the Violent Offender and Sex Offender Register which maintains data and intelligence (?) on those individuals who have been identified as posing a risk of serious harm to the public.
The Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) have supported UK law enforcement bodies for the last 10 years. From April 2007 a single organisation, the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), will replace all the existing national policing organisations such as PITO.
The Information Systems Strategy for the Police Sevice ( ISS4PS) was officially launched on the 24th July 2006. One of the clearly defined goals of ISS4PS is :
Police IT will be managed under a single governance structure, (NPIA) with clearly defined responsibilities.
PITO used to be responsible for the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS) . In 2001 the huge US defence Contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation introduced Livescan allowing live fingerprint capture with direct transmission of the digital images to NAFIS, enabling an immediate identification (‘live ID’)
Livescan is a product of Identix Incorporated (Nasdaq:IDNX) ihe world's leading multi-biometric technology company. Identix provides fingerprint, facial and skin biometric technologies, as well as systems, and critical system components that empower the identification of individuals in large-scale ID and ID management programs.
In the US the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD12) will be rolled out by October this year. HSPD12 and FIPS201 call for all federal government employees and contractors to undergo a fingerprint background check as a precursor to being issued an interoperable PIV smart card that would grant secure access to designated buildings and information technology infrastructure across the federal government. Analysts estimate that at least 7 million Federal employees and Contractors will receive a PIV card.
On August 29, 2006, Identix merged with Viisage (NASDAQ: VISG) whose products include IdentityTOOLS(TM) SDK, Viisage PROOF(TM), FaceEXPLORER(R), iA-thenticate(R), ID-GUARD(R), BorderGuard(R), PIER(TM), HIIDE(TM), AutoTest(TM), FacePASS(TM) and FaceFINDER(R).
This deal results in the formation of L-1 Identity Solutions Inc. (With the rather iconic NYSE Ticker : ID).
Viisage's IBT will merge with Identix Identification Services to create a subsidiary offering electronic fingerprinting technology for applicant fingerprint submissions and background checks. IBT's primary business was with the federal government awhile IIS served mostly state government, creating complimentary business operations, says Jim Moar, president of Minnetonka, Minn.-based Identix.
"We're not quite there yet, but we're getting toward creating what is a national network of fingerprinting centers," Moar says.
PITO's Director of Identification, is Dr Fred Preston who In the 1990s spent nearly 4 years working with the FBI, in the US, developing and implementing the United States Federal fingerprint system, Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) for which Grumman Northrop were major contractors. IAFIS went live nationwide in the US in 1999 with 48 million records. Dr. Preston’s many international connections include promotion of standards for the exchange of information for law enforcement, and he chairs the Interpol AFIS Experts Groups.
In 2000, the US Congress directed the US Department of Justice to develop a plan to integrate the INS Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) and the FBI Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).
IN 2001 Grumman Northrop were contracted for 5 years (US$14.5 Mn contract) to integrate for the US Department of Justice the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) and the FBI Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). When completed, it was stated , the new system will allow federal officials to conduct background checks on illegal immigrants more quickly, efficiently and accurately.
In 2004 the IDENT1 platform developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation (INS Automated Biometric Identification System) was introduced by PITO. In April 2005 the first major project milestone was achieved – start of IDENT1 Service and Transfer of Responsibility (TOR) from NAFIS and Scottish Livescan services to IDENT1
The upgrade of all bureau hardware to IDENT1 strategic platform was completed by November 2005.
By July 2007 it is intended that the Strategic Information Services Platform (SISP) platform to enable biometric identification and links to criminal justice and public safety agencies will be fully installed.
Being able to identify one person from many is a cornerstone of policing.
PITO-inspired technology now lets the authorities do this faster and more accurately than ever. IDENT1, supersedes NAFIS, adds increasingly sophisticated identification techniques to the existing platform, while ensuring business continuity of the existing service to police.
IDENT1 is part of a wider drive towards formulating codes of best practice for government use of biometrics, such as facial imaging, fingerprint and iris technology.
Grumman Northrop in development of IDENT1 worked with SAGEM (Sagem Defense Securite is a high-technology company in the SAFRAN Group) who with Identix developed the Mexican voting system identification procedures which produced such an interesting result last month.
Why do the UK Law enforcement services rely on a US based defence contractor to plan, develop, install and maintain their internal law enforcement agencies personal identification services ? Ask your MP.
If you wonder what all this technology is designed to achieve consider these figures from the Cambridgeshire Police Website explaining their use of mobile and static APNR systems ;
1. 1.9 million vehicles on the DVLA database have no registered keeper.
2. Up to 10% of cars do not have a valid MOT certificate. (automatic £60 fine)
3. Over 1.6 million vehicles on UK roads do not have valid vehicle excise – a loss to the Treasury over £150 million every year. (automatic £60 fine and payment of unpaid tax)
4. The Association of British Insurers estimates 1 Mm. (5% of all drivers) Drivers drive without insurance - this equates to around 5% of all drivers. (An offence punishable by an endorseable £200 fine and six points on your license).
5. It is not unusual for drivers caught for the above offences to have outstanding fines, credit card fraud problems, or have other reasons to appear on the Police National Computer.
6. By use of multiple cameras in different locations, speeding vehicles can be identified.
With the completion of the LANTERN system with real time Livescan fingerprint identification, your details can be checked instantly at the roadside – and of course you vehicle and other details, name, address etc., will enter the IDENT1 database.
Lord Patel does not have the resources of the Metropolitan Police who recently kidnapped Lord Levy (this may be a picture of the Karaoke King) who relieved him not only of his computers, but after taking his fingrepritns also his DNA (ugh!).
His picture is posted here ( as what our transatlantic ousins call an All Point Bulletin -APB) in case anyone saw him accompanying his tennis partner on abrief holiday in the Holy Land and adjacent territories this weekend as his personal messenger and Middle East envoy and food taster.
Lord Patel' s (admittedly limited) database , records in 1999 he visited 8 Middle Eastern countries in this capacity staying in British Embassies, including Syria, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Israel, Egypt and Lebanon (where he was accused by the Lebanese Government of bringing them the Israeli position and the British Ambassador had to issue a statement to try and calm the situation down).
The Guradian (20/8/06 - 3 weeks ago) did report that the stackheeled diplomatic gadfly had "private talks with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to "test the diplomatic waters," and he also met Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Jewish Telegraph said that reports of him being snubbed at this much heralded meeting were untrue and that,"Prime Minister (Ehud) Olmert has stated unequivocally that he views Prime Minister Blair as a sincere partner for the furthering of peace and stability in the Middle East," quoting an Israeli (London) embassy spokesman. The Jewish Telegraph online said reports spoke of , "the Israeli people look forward to welcoming Tony Blair to Israel in the near future."
Which wasn't what they said in Lebanon...Hezbollah leader Ghaleb Abu Zeynab, told Tony to stay away....
"I am not speaking on behalf of Hezbollah but all the Lebanese people. They do not want someone who cried crocodile tears to visit their country," Zeynab is quoted saying.
"He is up to his ears in the blood of Lebanese women and children.
He is not welcome here. He is a killer. He killed a whole nation, not just individuals," he said.
Which rather suggest that bouffant haired bon vivant was not really getting his Middle Eastern Envoy act together too well.
At a recent Downing Street Press Briefing (14th July 2006) the PMOS said when asked about the ME activities of the Totteridge Tennis coach , (without, the official scribe remarks a trace of irony) , " the PMOS said that the vast bulk of his work was behind the scenes ".
Which is why we circulate his picture. Of course if you see him being escorted in handcuffs to the rear of a Police van. Don't worry he is in good hands.