Daily Mail - posted at 3.00 pm BST
Saturday, June 16, 2007
In the Birthday Honours List, the Queen has made Jocelyn Bell, the astrophysicist a Dame of the British Empire .... and therein lies a fascinating tale of good science, male chauvinism and academic intrigue.
Jocelyn Bell was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on July 15, 1943 when she failed her 11 plus examination for admission to public grammar school, her architect father (he had been a finalist in a radio quiz show "Brain of Britain") sent her to Mount School, a Quaker girls' boarding school in York. She took an early interest in astronomy through the the staff of the Armagh Observatory, which was near her home Belfast, who encouraged her interest in astronomy. It was a comfortable background, "We had a nanny, a nurse always. For a long time there was a cook and a maid in the kitchen. There was a gardener and maybe a second gardener and there was a handyman-come-chauffeur if you want to be really grand. It was a great life."
After a B.Sc in physics from Glasgow University ( 1 female in 50 students) she went on to work on her Ph.D. at Cambridge University working under the direction of Antony Hewish.
Her first 2 years at Cambridge were spent assisting in the construction of an 81.5-megahertz radio telescope that was to be used to track quasars. This was her baby and she was fed with 120 metres of charts every 4 days - analysis showed some unusual and irregular signals. These signals appeared to be made by a radio source too fast and regular to be a quasar. Jocelyn Bell had detected the first evidence of a pulsar.
There is a popular story that when Joyce and her advisor Anthony Hewish were not sure what these signals meant they called them LGM for Little Green Men. (see PBS illustrated strip explanation for children here) They thought it could possibly be a beacon from an alien source.
Hewish shared the Nobel prize for Physics in 1974 with Sir Martin Ryle for "for their pioneering research in radio astrophysics: Ryle for his observations and inventions, in particular of the aperture synthesis technique, and Hewish for his decisive role in the discovery of pulsars". The role of Joyce Bell was not so rewarded.
Publication of these strange new extra terrestrial radio signals followed in Nature in 1968 and astronomers wroldwide directed their attention to these new signals which were identified the signals as coming from rapidly rotating neutron stars. The term pulsar used to describe these is simply an abbreviation for pulsating radio star or rapidly pulsating radio sources.
The central part of a pulsar consists of a neutron star. The pulsars are also accompanied by magnetic fields many millions of times stronger than those found in laboratories on Earth. The neutron star is surrounded by an electrically-conducting gas or plasma. Each pulsar rotates and emits beams of radiation in the Universe, resembling those from a light-house. The beams strike the Earth periodically with high precision.
This came from a theory put forth by Robert Oppenheimer and Fritz Zwicky (who curiously lived next door to Lenin in Zurich) in the 1930s, predicting that when a massive star died, it would collapse into an incredibly dense, spinning body - a neutron star.
Jocelyn married and became Mrs Jocelyn Burnell and was elected Professor of Physics at the Open University for ten years (doubling the number of female UK Professors of Physics) , and then a visiting professor at Princeton University. Before retiring she was Dean of Science at the University of Bath between 2001 and 2004, and was President of the Royal Astronomical Society between 2002 and 2004. She is currently a visiting professor at Mansfield College, Oxford University.
A television documentary which anticipated her honour , about Bell Burnell's life was broadcast on BBC One Northern Ireland on 13 June 2007 "Northern Star" , see review and commentary by producers Belfast Telegraph
"a woman who failed her 11-plus, but went on to become a professor of astrophysics and a leading scientist in her field. ......the story of her role as a post-graduate student in the groundbreaking discovery of pulsars and the subsequent Nobel Prize that some believe she should have been co-awarded."
The program interviewed the 80 year old Anthony Hewish .."You know, in the popular mind, she is the key person in the discovery of pulsars," he says. "I'm totally fed up with it ! this stupid business that Jocelyn did all the work and I got all the credit, I get fed up with that comment because its just blarney, I mean it's just totally wrong.
"If she's disgruntled about the Nobel, well that's too bad quite honestly. It's a bit like an analogy I make - who discovered America? Was it Columbus or was it the lookout? Her contribution was very useful, but it wasn't creative. And I don't think you do get the Nobel prize for that".
...and the Little Green Men ? This is what Jocelyn, a devout Quaker said in the program..
"The universe is very big - there's about 100,000 million galaxies in the universe so that means an awful lot of stars. And some of them, I'm pretty certain, will have planets, where there was life, is life or maybe will be life. I don't believe we're alone."
Jocelyn also received on 7th June this year (along with ex student Bill Gates whose Foundation donates US$1.5 BN a year) an Honorary Doctorate from Harvard University - where the citation recorded "The United Kingdom and the United States have awarded her the Oppenheimer prize, the Michelson medal, the Magellanic Premium, and the Herschel medal. Universities in both nations conferred honorary doctorates on her. She was elected a Foreign Associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2005." (Pic ? 1997 Nissan Pulsar)
The image below is a negative representation of 100 successive pulses from the first pulsar discovered, PSR 1919+21 by Bell & Hewish (Nature 217:709-713, 1968) and was taken from the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy- see right. It formed the cover design of Unknown Pleasures the first album by Joy Division, released in 1979. It was produced by that mad bastard Martin Hannett and recorded at Strawberry Studios, Stockport, England.
The Duke of Gloucester's regal morale boosting tour of Afghanistan last week was rudely interrupted because his hosts were short of an Apache helicopter to move him about. Perhaps we should send the glamorous TV hostess the Duchess of York with her helicopter "Budgie" and perhaps her ex-husband to boost the men and equipment shortfalls in the Army's resources in the land of the Opium drug lords.
The Daily Telegraph after spending 3 weeks embedded with UK troops in Helmand province in Afghanistan yet again reports today of continuing major equipment problems ;
# Only 50% of the 8 Apache helicopters are working - heat and fine dust are wearing the kit out
# Only 70% of the 12 Chinooks are available meaning no air assualts have been undertaken
# Shortage of helicopter drivers means operations are limited by monthkly schedules being exhausted prematurely
# A beleaguered garrison recently had only 200 mortar rounds because of failure of helicopter supply
# Only 16 of 96 new armoured vehicles have been delivered
# High Explosives carried buy engineers in soft skinned trucks because of inadequate transport
# Soldiers have bought their own binoculars to replace inadequate Army sights.
Lord Patel has consistently identified the morale sapping equipment supply failures from the earliest days ( Friday, January 27, 2006 Reid sends ill equipped troops to certain deaths in S Afghanistan) when Dr Reid launched UK forces on this futile venture in the land where the poppies blow.
The pic is of the 40 year old RAF VC 10 Troop carrier at Titan exercises Fairford last summer
Friday, June 15, 2007
Yes Men pull off hoax at
A pair of very smart anti-corporate activists from the Yes men deluded a high powered C$50 a head
Allegedly from the reputable Petroleum Council the 2 keynote speakers representing Exxon Mobil and the National Petroleum Council , announced that rumours of a new joint energy policy from the Canadian and American governments was coming down the pike.
"Without oil, at least four billion people would starve," one of the speakers earnestly told the crowd. "This spiral of trouble would make the oil infrastructure utterly useless - and starving would become the new black."
When the speaker started to talk about vivolium - a remarkable new renewable energy source - the audience grew sceptical ...and apprehensive. He then announced that current U.S. and Canadian energy policies (notably the massive, carbon-intensive exploitation of Alberta's oil sands, and the development of liquid coal) are increasing the chances of huge global calamities. He reassured the audience that in the worst case scenario, the oil industry could "keep fuel flowing" by transforming the billions of people who die into oil.
Lighting two torch-like candles the pair of hoaxers urged the audience to do the same in memory of a dead Exxon oil worker ... the penny finally dropped and security were called .....
Wes Scott of
Organizers of the conference said they were approached by what they thought was a reputable company offering them speakers from the National Petroleum Council.
The Yes Men have been travelling the world for years, pulling similar pranks at corporate events in an effort to demonstrate how corporations and government act in dehumanizing ways toward the public.
Text of speech, photos, video: http://www.vivoleum.com/event/
The Gas and Oil Exposition (
GO- EXPO) 2007 has verified
that today's Keynote Luncheon speakers were impersonating
representatives from Exxon Mobil and
the National Petroleum Council.
For more hilarity Google "vivoleum" or
try the Dow Chemicals "Acceptable Risk calculator"
weigh profits against costs in human life or health,
thereby involving the public in the decision-making
process about whom to put at risk, and where
to locate risk globally.
Anarcho Syndicalism at work - seriously
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice successfully delayed a cease-fire so that the Israeli military could continue its anti-Hizballah campaign in Lebanon last year. This was , she told 1,000 dead and half a million refugees the "birth pangs of a new Middle East."
The US sanctioned war on the Lebanon was allowed to continue when midwife Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President George W. Bush stitched up (aided by the French and Blair) a worthless, toothless UN Security Council resolution, it didn't call for Israel's withdrawal from its neighboring Arab sovereign state. It gave imperialist partner of the US the excuse and the green light to continue the carnage.
Lebanon was just the latest of the U.S.' many fronts in its "war on terror," then 5 years old.
This stony faced mantra of terror, terrorism and terrorists has worn thin with everybody but the hawks of Tel Aviv and Washington - and Whitehall. These simplistic labels of convenience advance no argumenty, address no core issues or problems, deceive nobody. Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorists in the same vein cried the beltway gangstas, lumping them disingenuously with Al Qaeda and the Iranians.
As ever, disclosed by the open microphone at the G8 summit, Tony Blair admitted he was George's and the AIPAC hawks willing lackey. "Yo Blair" conceded he could"talk" but "Condi" could act. George identified the problem ..."what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over.'
Taliban, Ahmenidijad, Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Quaeda .. it's always someone else's fault.
We can see the pieces falling into place - as described by Pat Buchanan at Antiwar.com
What is going on? The most logical explanation is that the White House is providing advance justification for air strikes on camps of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard that are allegedly providing training for and transferring weapons to Afghan and Iraqi insurgents. And if the United States conducts those strikes, Iranians will unite around Ahmadinejad, and Tehran will order retaliatory strikes against U.S. targets in Iraq and perhaps across the Middle East.
President Bush will then have his casus belli to take out Natanz and all the other Iranian nuclear facilities, as the Israelis and the neocons have been demanding that he do. This would mean a third Middle Eastern war for America, with a nation three times as large and populous as Iraq. Perhaps it is time to begin constructing a new wing on Walter Reed.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
The Guradian is reporting that the Foreign Office has organised a lavish party for Tony Blair's special Middle Eastern envoy, Lord Levy (currently out on bail) at Lancaster House in Central London next Tuesday. In a written Parliamentary answer, Foreign Office Minister Geoff Hoon states: "The estimated cost is £6,000, which will be met by the Foreign Secretary's entertainment budget."
One wonders if staunch ally of the Kings of Saudi Arabia and British Aerospace (amongst many others) Sir Andrew Green, ***Ex Ambassador at Riyadh, will be invited so they might share a tale or two about their respective roles in the Middle East. Bribery does of course come quite naturally to both of them.
*** Pic of Embassy party that Lord Patel snapped of Sir Andrew and "friend".
PS. If anyone is thinking of sending round a WPC strippagram ....this is the number to call 07808 369 706
Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir Stephen Richards acheived some notoriety when he exposed his natty line in Calvin Klein "non-Y front" , non penis poking pants in court this week ( a fondness he shares with Tony Blair).
He also created a stir in legal circles when presiding over the appeal in the Divisional Court of the High Court into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, murdered at Stockwell tube station on 22 July 2005 by police officers who claim they mistook him for a terror suspect after following him for over 30 minutes. The appeal that was being considered was brought by de Menezes family (led by his cousin Patricia Armani da Silva), who wanted to quash a Crown Prosecution Service decision not to charge any officer with murder, manslaughter or any other offence.
Following a ruling in the Divisional Court the family can now ask the House of Lords to consider the case. Direct appeals from the High Court to the House of Lords bypass the Court of Appeal a process known as the “Leapfrog Procedure“.
On 19th January 2007, Lord Justice Richards and Mr Justice Forbes (he sent Shipman down) declared the de Menezes appeal case raised “points of law of general public importance” and certified that the High Court decision had raised 2 questions relating to human rights which the House of Lords might consider answering.
1. Is the Code of the Crown Prosecutors, compatible with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
That article they point out, states that "everyone's right to life shall be protected by law".
2. The correct legal tests to be applied when the High Court reviews a decision not to prosecute.
Lord Justice Richards was also arrested by the British Transport Police on 19th January 2007.
Sir Stephen, 56, denies the charges of "flashing" on October 16th and 24th 2006, that were brought against him in March. He has not been sitting on cases in court since but has been working on paper applications and appeals drawing meanwhile huas handsome salary of £184,000 a year. He had also stood down from the chairmanship of the board of governors of King’s College School, London, pending the trial.
Timothy Workman, the UK's most senior district judge (what we used to call a Stipendiary Magistrate) for magistrates’ courts in England and Wales, decided after consultation with the deputy Lord Chief Justice, Sir Igor Judge, to preside over the trial of Sir Stephen Richards with two lay magistrates, Carolyn Mishon (doyenne of the Wimbledon Jewish Charity world and ardent theatregoer) and Dannie Jayes .
Sir Stephen Richards was acquitted today when it became apparent that CCTV evidence that could have corroborated the witnesses claims of indecent exposure could have been independently verified had been routinely wiped.
Judge Workman criticised the British Transport Police (who were of course involved in investigating the de Menezes murder and it's strangely parallel "loss" of CCTV recordings) for failing to investigate the allegation or to investigate it thoroughly.
"Had they done so, they would have been able to obtain closed circuit television from the train on October 24 and probably on October 16," he said.
Let's hope that Sir Stephen Richards doesn't decide to suicide himself.
It would of course be wrong to heap blame on the BT Plod, because if memory serves us right, hadn't Sir Ian Blair of that Ilk, Top Plod, prevented the independent examination of the murder scene by the IPCC for 5 days ? Very, Very easy to lose track of CCTV recordings, hard disks in circumstances like that my son. Very, very easy.
Mind you, the BTP do take action, in a Press release on their website they are seeking information about a man allegedly filming up a womans skirt at London Bridge . The Press Release was issued on 9th May 2007 - 55 days after the offence on March 16th. Anyway here's a picture of the guy from their CCTV of him. More >>>
Mr Justice Forbes sitting with Lord Justice Rix gave the landmark ruling that Mr Abu Mousa's case came within the Human Rights Convention (and hence HRA) because his death (kicked to death over 36 hours whilst blindfolded and tied up) had occurred in the custody of UK forces in Iraq.
A decision which was finally upheld by the House of Lords today. At the time (4/12/04) Lawyers for the Defence Secretary, slimeball ("I believe Saddam has WMD's) Geoff Hoon, had argued that the convention applied only in Europe and did not apply to British troops in Iraq. Mr Hoon also claimed that the Human Rights Act - which incorporated the European convention into UK law - could only be applied in UK territory.
Paz is a small Israeli company that runs convenience stores and petrol stations. They needed to track their fuel trucks, and fuel deliveries, to improve control and to eliminate theft of fuel.
Hi-G-Tek an Israeli company now based in Rockville, Md. has solved their problems by designing a neat Tanker Truck Monitoring System (TTMS). To do this they had to develop a Radio Frequency Tag (RFID) that met very severe operating conditions of heat, and chemical resistance with high reliability, they call these proprietary tags "I-Safe" (Intrinsically Safe).
The seals have a 5 year battery life with a 500 foot read range and use a Hi-G-Tek proprietary air-interface protocol to extend and preserve battery life. Seals remain in alow energy listening mode, but jumps when interrogated to send data. The protocol is based on two full-duplex radio channels; one operates at 125 kHz, the other at one of the lower ISM band between 300 and 916 MHz.
The seals are certified as safe by the Underwriters Laboratories, an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification organization and they also comply with the European Union's ATEX regulations.
Attached to each tanker valve these tags identify the valve state OPEN / CLOSED - this is transmitted to a cab mounted interrogator which relays the data (including GPS location of the truck), using a general packet radio service (GPRS) connection, to a computer in a central command center in Tel Aviv. This provides amanagemnt with real time control which is integrated with a fleet managment system from Starcom Systems. Managers have precise control over type of fuel delivered, quantity and theft is eliminated.
Starting with trials in 2005 over 100 trucks both company owned but also on supplier vehicles are equipped with the system. This has now totally replaced the previous manual systems using numbered clip seals on valves and handwritten records.
Hi-G-Tek has sold similar applications in Mexico and three other Latin American countries, as well as one in Eastern European.
Designing systems is never easy, as the real world intrudes - the first seals had to be upgraded to cope with unexpected severe physical shocks - drivers would kick valves open and shut . They built a more rugged tag and improved the driver training.
A neat solution using a range of proven communications technologies and devices that improves running a business. The company, founded by Micha Auerbach, an Ex IDF communications engineer with experience at Israeli Air Industries has extended this basic concept to RFID monitoring and control of locks of any sort, shipping containers, perimter security entrances etc.,
UPDATE 16th June 2007
Contacts in criminal circles advise that the chief method of removing fuel from tankers is simply effected by inserting a garden hose in the aperture provided to inserts a dipstick into the main tank to check fuel levels.
One wonders if this antique, but well proven method of abstraction is still in use by the less honest tanker drivers of the world and if it would avoid detection by the system outlined.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Raymond John Cox , Big fish caught in Carousel fraud (MITC) and £85 Million of taxpayers money which has gone AWOL
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), have finally banged up 6 serious VAT fraudsters (1 acquitted) at Liverpool Crown Court today after a 5 year enquiry. £85 million was stolen from the tax payer in only 19 months (= VAT on sales of approx £600Mn) - 98 businesses based in the UK, Germany, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands were involved and the 6 jailed men were directors and executives of seven of the companies identified during the trial.
Raymond John Cox (dob14/04/70) from Staffordshire, Cox had two companies in Germany - Signal Telecom GmbH and Crystal Telekom GmbH. He also had control of two companies in Spain - Zeption Telecom SL and Nauti-Parts SL and was the director of Cortage Investments Ltd based in Stoke-on-Trent. The trader which Cox predominately used was Powertone BV, in Holland, a company run by Issitt, McNeill and Sweeney.(Photographs of Cox's house and performance car collection available on request to HMRC)
Brett Simon Issitt (dob 13/12/74) 3 Manor Close, Todmorden, Lancashire. Sentenced to 10 years for his part and disqualified as a company director for 10 years.
Michael Henry McNeill (dob 30/04/71) Rossendale, Lancashire. He was sentenced to 7.5 years for his part and disqualified as a director for 8 years. McNeill, was responsible for the setting up of a template for carousel fraud entitled 'The Bible according to Mike @ Powertone' discovered during the HMRC investigation.
Paul Brian Sweeney (dob 28/11/70) resident at some time in Amsterdam, sentenced to 7.5 years for the fraud and disqualified as a director for 8 years.
Issitt and McNeill were sales executives in and Sweeney was the director of Powertone BV. This is the Dutch registered company based in Amsterdam but with the use of offices rented by Issitt in Manchester. Between April / September 2001 Powertone's turnover amounted to £49.5 million. Although Powertone was based in Amsterdam, its entire mobile phone trade was conducted from an office in John Dalton Street, Manchester.
Peter Kevin Glover (dob 21/04/55) 29 Furze Hill Road, Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire. Sentenced to 5 years for his part and disqualified as a director for 5 years. Glover was the director of Cellphone Europe BV, a company based in Brussels, Belgium, its entire mobile phone trade was conducted from Whitley Bay. Cellphone Europe 'bought' all their phones (with a few exceptions) from Powertone and then supplied the phones exclusively to missing traders in the UK. From October 2001/March 2002, Cellphone Europe sold into the UK over £81 million worth of mobile telephones. At the time of his arrest Glover was in the process of registering Cellphone Europe for Belgian VAT.
Colin Daniel Jones (dob 04/12/65) Wilmslow, Cheshire. He was jailed for 5 years for his part in the fraud and disqualified as a director for 5 years. Jones was responsible for the running of Datacell Ltd. registered in the Republic of Ireland an address in Gorey, County Wexford, Irelandand therefore was an EU supplier into the UK. Its entire mobile phone trade was conducted from an office above a shop in Northenden Road, Sale, Manchester. Prior to Glover's arrest, Datacell had made 13 purchases of mobile phones from Powertone to the value of £4.6 million. In the next four months in 117 Invoices the company purchased £38Mn.
Mobile telephones were purportedly imported into the UK, (and hence VAT free) by various companies set up by the fraudsters, who then sold the phones on, charging VAT that was then never paid over to HMRC - these companies then simply disappeared. The telephones were then 'sold' down the line to various 'buffer' traders before they were exported again often to be repurchased by the original companies at a trading loss. As the accomplices got more confident the transactions grew in number and value and it was clear from handwritten records found that those involved had difficulty themselves keeping a track of the transactions as the scale escalated.
In sentencing, the Judge said, "I am satisfied there was a hierarchy with Cox at the top. From his involvement throughout, and that all his companies were involved. He had all the trappings of wealth. The fact that the phones returned to Cox's companies in my opinion is no coincidence."
The case against a seventh defendant, Sarah Louise Smith, aged 34 from Wilmslow, Cheshire, was left on file following the failure of the jury to reach a verdict in her case. Smith is the partner of Jones and was involved in the running of Jones's company.
Proceedings can now start to confiscate the assets of those convicted.
According to the National Statistical Office Missing Trader Fraud (MTIC) or carousel fraud continues at the rate of £400Mn per months and in the whole of Europe probably exceeds Euros 4Bn.
The House of Lords recently published a report about the problem and said
Forward (inter alia)
"We conclude that existing measures to tackle Missing Trader Fraud do not prevent its occurrence and are unsustainable."
Conclusions. Para 80. It is generally accepted that the broad phenomenon of MTIC fraud is out of control; we expect it to continue to mutate into other sectors.
Pics are of Lord Patel's staff who have recently caught some big fish.
Nick Harvey MP (Lib Dem North Devon) Question 142524 :will today ask The Secretary of State for Defence, how many weapons mounted installation kits and general purpose machine guns are in theatre in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan.
There is a very good but (unstated by Nick) reason for asking this seemingly innocuous question. First a litle background to what a "weapons mounted installation kit " is.
The Land Rover Wolf is the primary utility vehicle of the British Army. Used initially as a project name, "Wolf" is still the troops generic name for a Land Rover - it is available in many variants.
Currently the term applies to what military johnnies officially call "the Truck Utility Light or Truck Utility Medium or by the engaging acronym (TUL / TUM (HS))" the most common of which is the "Weapons Mount Installation Kit (WMIK, pronounced ‘Wimik’.)" ... which is used for reconnaissance and as a close fire support vehicle.
WMIKs are manufactured jointly by Land Rover and Ricardo Vehicle Engineering.They have a strengthened chassis, stripped (and therefore lighter) bodywork and fitted with roll cages and weapons mounts. Typically the vehicle will carry one 12.7 mm Heavy Machine Gun, 7.62 mm General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) or on occasion the MILAN ATGM, on the rear ring-mount, with an additional pintle mounted GPMG on the front passenger side.
Recently the MOD announced the purchase of 40 new belt fed Automatic Lightweight Grenade Launchers (ALGL) made by Heckler and Koch (HK GMG) for Afghanistan WMIK's that can fire up to 360 grenades per minute up to 1.5 km away.
BBC correspondent Alastair Leithead spent a period as an "embedded" journo in Afghanistan and as a result filed a BBC Online report.... This was headlined 'Lack of vehicles' in Afghanistan.
Lack of heavily armed Land Rovers was a particular problem explained Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Mayo, spokesman in Helmand province, told Alastair that of 170 WMIL's needed only 126 in working order.
Any observer of the MOD's press department will be unsurprised that the MOD insistedthat troops were properly equipped to do their job when asked to comment and added that huge investments had been made in equipment for the Army.
Alastair reorted from personal experience that on average 1 WMIK was being lost a week and replacements sent from the UK often arrived late.
Lt Col Charlie Mayo said the WMIKs were taking "a hell of a hammering" in the hot and dusty conditions and said the situation was "tight, but not critical yet".
Another vehicle, the air cooled engined lightweight Pinzgauer (named after an Austrian Pony) carrier , has been fitted with extra armour to try to cover the shortfall. Consequently this has affected carrying capacity limiting the number of men and the amount of equipment they can carry. These vehicles have the driver over the front wheels which is not ideal when drivingh over mines /IED's - well not for the driver. Lord Patel reported (Sept 6th 2006) on these "coffins on wheels" when their purchase was announced...at something of the order of £250,000 each (not including armour).
Those with long memories (well that go back to November '06) will remember the arrival of Brigadier Lorrimer in Afghanistan who famously sent a "shopping list" to the MOD - reported in the Mail on Sunday - with the banner headline reproduced above.
Army fury as chief in Afghanistan is told he won't get vital armour
By CHRISTOPHER LEAKE, Mail on Sunday 18th November 2006
The senior Army officer who will command British troops in Afghanistan next year is embroiled in a furious row with the Ministry of Defence after learning he will be denied vital armour to protect his men.The MOS countered this experience by the Brig. with what the Prime Minister said earlier ..
The MoD snub comes just six weeks after Tony Blair promised on TV: "If the commanders on the ground want more equipment, armoured vehicles for example, more helicopters, that will be provided. Whatever package they want, we will do."
Nick Harvey's question today, Mr Leithead's report 6 weeks ago suggest things haven't changed. QV Lord Patel January 27th 2006 -
Friday, January 27, 2006Reid sends ill equipped troops to certain deaths in S Afghanistan
Monday, June 11, 2007
Sabina Muller *** of Hessian Radio ( Hessischen Rundfunk ) put the McCann publicity circus on the back foot this week when she asked: "How do you feel about the fact that more and more people seem to be pointing the finger at you, saying the way you behave is not the way people would normally behave when their child is abducted and they seem to imply that you might have something to do with it?''
“To be honest I don't think that is the case,” a flustered Kate McCann told the crowded and very attentive German news conference.
"I think that's a very small minority of people that are criticising us. We are very responsible parents and we love our children so much.”
Gerry McCann , with his voice apparently shaking with emotion said it was the first time he had heard anyone suggest they might be suspects.
“There's absolutely no way Kate and I are involved in this abduction,” he said.
"I have never heard before that anyone considers us suspects in this and the Portuguese police certainly don't.
"Without going into too much detail, we were with a large group of people, and you know there is absolutely no way Kate and I are involved in this abduction.''
Study this fascinating photograph carefully as Clarence Mitchell carefull shields the shocked Kate, clutching her Cuddly Cat toy (which seems to have added a crucifix since meeting the Holy Father).
Of course, if the McCanns were with a large group of people as Gerry says, there will be no shortage of people to help babysit, visit the apartment to check on the children, or .... even ..... er ..... act as witnesses.... or see men carrying babies.
Sabina Muller asked the question asked the most penetrating question - the picture tells a vivid tale about this grubby circus.
A circus, it seems that the Foreign Office no longer wants any involvement with and wants to put behind them.
We still await to unravel the detailed events of that night 37 days ago - details that an insistent press are increasingly starting to probe....which. in the absence of the FO Godfather will increasingly ask.
*** Sabine Muller worked with the German service of the BBC in London since then has worked with Hessischen Rundfunk (part of ARD-Hauptstadtstudio.) and has worked for them in Washington where she once interviewed George Bush on the Truth Drug (Wahrheitsdroge) and it's relation to human rights. She works mainly on political issues.
UPDATE 12th July 2007
Ms Marilyn Baker (firstname.lastname@example.org) has set up an Online Petition (currently 1211 signatures) to Leicestershire Social Sevices :
To: Leicestershire Social Services
"We the undersigned request that Leicestershire Social Services fulfil their statutory obligation to investigate the circumstances which led to 3 year old Madeleine McCann and her younger siblings being left unattended in an unlocked, ground floor hotel room.
We ask that they do this to reflect an evenhanded approach to the important issue of child protection.
We also wish to ensure that no parent will ever be able to evade responsibility for the safety and welfare of their children by citing the example of Mr and Mrs McCann, whose negligence is unreasonably being discounted in the tidal wave of sympathy brought about as a consequence of their media campaign".
The Daily Express report that "Foreign Office staff" will no longer work with the McCann's after their return from Rabat. The Find Madeleine "official" website reports that the current account balance of the fund on 08/06/07, stands at £713,927.81.
Extraordinary how there has not been a single mention in any Press/TV reports of the name of Clarence Mitchell or his / function / official employment - which must be known to every journo / editor / sub editor anywhere for the 5 weeks he has been involved at public expense. He has of course done a superb job in establishing the brand - probably deserves a holiday but no doubt the deceit and dishonesty will be flying thickly with the new PM, the departing PM, the planned Race Riot in Whitehall this week, and the astonishing revelations due about the role of Lord Levy.
The Daily Mail today report that the McCann's will be looking to purchase a property in the Algarve to rent on their imminent return from Rabat.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Many people have seen many things in the Olympic logo - mainly a deconstructed / reconstructed swastika. Radical Muslim has a novel de-construction .....
However our technical department have found (with a litle adjustment via Photoshop and some sticky backed plastic) it can also be re-arranged to form one the MI5's three logos.