Turn Off the Redial Button!

Tee Hee.

A couple from Oregon lived through the ultimate redial nightmare, however, when they found a three-minute answering machine message from their son, a soldier in Afghanistan who had inadvertently called home during a battle.

The family told KPTV, in Portland, Oregon, that Stephen Phillips and comrades in his military police unit were engaged in a gunfight with Taleban insurgents when his phone pressed against his Humvee and redialled his parents in the town of Otis.

Sandie Petee, Mr Phillips\’s mother, and her husband, Jeff Petee, were out at the time but returned to find the message. They could hear shooting, swearing and desperate pleas for more ammunition.

Soldiers Rights

This all seems very strange to me I must say:

In a blow to Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, a senior judge said troops in combat zones have a "right to life" at all times, even while under fire on the battlefield.

Makes you rather wonder whether the politicians actually read and understood the Human Rights Act 1998 before they waved it into law.

This I rather like though:

But rejecting Mr Browne\’s bid, the judge said: "A finding that there was a failure to act in a particular way does not appear to determine a question of civil liability. I do not think that findings of fact, however robustly stated, can be forbidden."

Rock on Judge! A finding of fact being simply another word fo "truth".

Arms Dealing

Alex picks up on a fun story involving the flogging of very dodgy ammunition by a bunch of 20 year olds to the Pentagon\’s client forces.

What makes it all the more fun for me is that my buddy was the underbidder on that contract. Several times in fact. Clearly too expensive as he intended (and priced accordingly) to deliver in date useful stuff.

A lot of people are wondering how this little company got that contract.

Rifleman Bhanubhakta Gurung VC

Quite.

Here.

However, during the night the Japanese attacked Snowdon East in overwhelming strength, killing half the Gurkhas on it; the remainder, completely out of ammunition, managed to cut their way through to their comrades on Snowdon.

The following day "B" Company, with which Bhanubhakta was serving, was ordered to retake Snowdon East "regardless of cost".

Bhanubhakta\’s citation (in which his name was spelled Bhanbhagta) recorded that: "On approaching the objective, one of the sections of the company was forced to the ground by a very heavy light-machine-gun, grenade and mortar fire, and owing to the severity of this fire was unable to move in any direction.

"While thus pinned down, the section also came under accurate fire from a sniper in a tree some 75 yards to the south. As this sniper was inflicting casualties on the section, Rifleman Bhanbhagta Gurung stood up and, while fully exposed to heavy fire, calmly killed the enemy sniper with his rifle, thus saving his section from suffering further casualties."

Bhanubhakta then began to run for the top of the hill, yelling for his comrades to follow him. Though the casualties were heavy, the section ploughed forward until within 20 yards of their objective, when the Gurkhas were again halted by exceptionally heavy fire.

Without waiting for any orders, Bhanubhakta dashed forward alone and attacked the first enemy foxhole. Throwing two grenades, which killed the two occupants of the trench, he immediately rushed on to the next enemy foxhole and killed the two Japanese in it with his bayonet.

All this time he was under continuous light-machine-gun fire from a bunker on the north tip of the objective, and two further fox-holes were still bringing fire to bear upon the section. Bhanubhakta dashed forward and cleared these trenches with bayonet and grenades.

He then turned his attention to the machine-gun bunker, and realising, as the citation put it, that it "would hold up not only his own platoon which was not behind him, but also another platoon which was advancing from the west", he pushed forward a fifth time to knock out the position.

"He ran forward and leapt on to the roof of the bunker from where, his hand grenades being finished, he flung two No 72 smoke grenades into the bunker\’s slit." Two Japanese rushed out of the bunker, partially blinded by the smoke and with their clothes aflame with phosphorous; Bhanubhakta promptly killed them both with his kukri.

One Japanese soldier remained inside, holding up 4 Platoon\’s advance with the machine gun. Bhanubhakta crawled in and, prevented by the cramped space from using his bayonet or kukri, beat the gunner\’s brains out with a rock.

Most of the objectives had now been cleared by the men behind, but the enemy which had been driven off were collecting for a counter-attack beneath the north end of the objective.

Bhanubhakta ordered the nearest Bren gunner and two riflemen to take up positions in the captured bunker with him, from where they repelled the enemy counter-attack.

Could be Better

Seumas Milne on Hamas, Gaza and Israel:

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli forces in the past week, of whom one in five were children and more than half were civilians, according to the Israeli human rights group B\’Tselem. During the same period, three Israelis were killed, two of whom were soldiers taking part in the attacks.

I agree this is more than a little bloodthirsty but redo those numbers. In urban fighting, scragging 50% enemy soldiers, with 50% civilian casualties (the so called "collateral damage"), taking out 60 armed enemy while losing 2 of your own. In most armies that would be considered a very respectable result.

The ins and outs of why the fighting is going on, sorry, but this has been going on since I learned to read and I\’m sure it will still be doing so when I am decomposing in the grave and beyond reading about it. I\’m afraid that it all simply washes over me: but I suspect that those actual figures quoted by Milne simply aren\’t evidence of the atrocities that he wants us to believe they are.

 

Right On!

The one redeeming feature of the place was the kids. They were anarchic, testosterone fuelled, BMX heroes who could find a way through two insurance padlocks and an engine immobiliser on a piece of site plant in 10 minutes flat. They were fit, lean, lithe, careless of any danger, disrespectful of any authority, infinitely crafty and resourceful and bored out of their skulls. The kids were at war with the whiny minging estate cunts. You can tell I liked them.

I had a visit from the local plod sergeant – a weasel faced little dickhead puffed with the stupidity of his own importance but who hadn\’t outgrown his acne scars. He wanted my help to \’trap\’ some of the kids. "We can\’t let PCSOs patrol here because the kids throw stones at them" he said. "Well, they don\’t fucking throw stones at me, mate" I said "Perhaps it\’s because I treat them like adults and have a banter and a laugh with them". He didn\’t like that.

What the place needed more than anything else was a paternal seen-it-all NCO with 20 years under his belt and a pile of attestation forms – these kids were God\’s own natural soldiers. Three months at Catterick and swapping their BMXs for GPMGs and I swear to God they would have out-soldiered, out-fought, out-thought and trounced any other foreign military force on the planet.

We have traditionally produced the finest infantry in the world from precisely those kids: mix in those NCO\’s and add a few chinless wonders to wave batons and drawl, "Come on men, I know you won\’t let The Regiment down" and you can conquer a quarter of the globe, as we did.

We might not want to do the conquering bit again but the (voluntary, of course) training might not be a bad idea, eh?

Potassium Nitrate?

Seriously?

Yesterday the Israeli announced that the IDF and Shin Bet had found “6.5 tons of potassium nitrate hidden in sacks that were disguised as aid from the European Union”.

Potassium nitrate? Saltpetre? People are making explosives out of black gunpowder?

Sheesh, you\’d think they would have caught up with the IRA by now and be using ammonium nitrate and derv by now, wouldn\’t you?

Remembrance Sunday

\"\"

They shall not grow old as we who are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

 

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from falling hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

\"\"\"\"— John McCrae

The Fucking Wankers!

Oh yes, we\’ll save those brave people who worked for us in Iraq! We won\’t let them be tortured, mained, killed, oh no, we\’ll do what every Briton would do and take responsibility for our actions.

Like buggery they will. Here\’s the Ministerial statement:

 

Written Ministerial Statement

09 October 2007

 

IRAQ: ASSISTANCE TO LOCALLY EMPLOYED STAFF

 

 

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. David Miliband):

On 8 August the Prime Minister announced a review of the Government’s assistance to our Locally Engaged staff in Iraq. The Defence Secretary, Home Secretary, Secretary of State for International Development, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and I have now agreed on the elements of a scheme.

Locally engaged Iraqi staff working for our armed forces and civilian missions in Iraq have made an invaluable contribution, in uniquely difficult circumstances, to the UK’s efforts to support security, stability and development in the new Iraq. We are hugely grateful to them for their contribution, which continues to be essential to the delivery of our mission in Iraq.

In recognition of that, we have decided to offer those staff, on an ex gratia basis, assistance which goes above and beyond the confines of what is lawfully or contractually required. Assistance will be based on objective criteria, taking into account determinable and relevant factors. It is offered in recognition of the service by these courageous Iraqis in direct support of HMG’s efforts to help the Iraqi Government and people build a peaceful, stable and prosperous Iraq.

The assistance announced by the Prime Minister yesterday will allow Iraqi staff, including but not limited to interpreters, currently working1 for HMG in Iraq, who have attained 12 months’ or more continuous service, to apply for a one-off package of financial assistance of between 6 and 12 months’ salary, depending on length of service, to meet the costs of relocation for themselves and their dependants in Iraq or the region, if they are made redundant or have to resign from their job because of what we judge to be exceptional circumstances. Alternatively, these staff will be able to apply for exceptional leave to enter the UK, or to avail themselves of the opportunity for resettlement in the UK through the UK’s Gateway refugee resettlement programme, provided that they meet the criteria for the programme, including that they satisfy UNHCR that they meet the criteria of the 1951 Convention and need resettlement.

In addition, interpreters/translators and other Iraqi staff serving in similarly skilled or professional roles necessitating the regular use of written or spoken English, who formerly worked for HMG in Iraq, will be able to apply for assistance for themselves and their dependants provided that they satisfactorily completed a minimum of 12 months’ service, and they were in our employ on or after 1 January 2005. Former staff meeting those criteria will be able to apply for a one-off package of financial assistance similar to that available for serving staff, or to avail themselves of the opportunity for resettlement in the UK through the Gateway programme as set out above.

This assistance will principally apply to Iraqi nationals who meet the eligibility criteria set out above, and who work, or have worked, in Iraq in the following capacities:

  • as direct employees of the UK Armed Forces or the Ministry of Defence;

  • on Letters of Appointment from the British Embassy in Baghdad or the British Embassy Offices in Basra and the Kurdistan Region;

  • as direct employees of DFID and the British Council.

In addition, we are considering what assistance may be provided to a limited number of contracted staff meeting the eligibility criteria who have worked in particularly close association with us as an integral part of HMG programmes, projects and operations in Iraq.

We will announce further details, including on how eligible staff may apply, before the end of the month.

defined as those working for our civilian missions or armed forces on or after 8 August 2007, the date on which the review of policy was announced.

1

I\’m sure that others will spot more toadlike behaviour than I have already.

1) This is limited to those who have 12 months or more continuous service. Why?

2) Note the reference to the Gateway programme. Run jointly with UNHCR. They have to convince the UNHCR that they meet the criteria of the 1951 Convention and really do need resettlement.

Guess what children? If you already meet those criteria then you\’re already allowed to come here. Or the US, Sweden and many other countries (Australia, for example). Because, if you meet those criteria you are indeed a legitimate asylum seeker and under the Convention you\’ve got to be let into the first country you ask.

The government is in fact giving the people who have and are risking their lives to work for us nothing, no rights they do not already have under international law.

How d\’ye like them apples? And from a Son of the Manse to boot.

These people make me sick.

 

 

 

 

Iraqi Employees

God these people are shits. Our Lords and Masters. Prize, Grade A, bastards.

Yes, you can quote me on that.

So some people out here in Blogistan along with The Times have managed to get Gordon Brown to agree that there is indeed a moral case that those who worked for the British military in Iraq should not be left to be murdered by crazed religious lunatics. Good. That they had to be persuaded of this makes them dribbly bits, bastards, but not quite shits nor Grade A Prize Bastards.

Now they\’re quibbling over how long someone must have been working for us. Only those with 12 months service: doesn\’t matter that they\’re in danger of being murdered, tortured to death with power drills, having their eyes gouged out, no, only if they\’ve filled that little bureaucratic box do we have any moral responsibility to them.

That does make them shits and Grade A Bastards. The death is no less painful, the torture no less ghastly, the moral responsibility no less, just because someone put in 11 months and 30 days now is it?

Strange that a Son of the Manse, a child of the Kirk, cannot remember that the labourer is worthy of his hire. And we did hire them.

Anyone know how we can force a good dose of Ex-Lax into the body politic?

Better ideas are here.

Screwing the Soldiers

Sadly, it\’s not just our own MOD that screws those it sends to fight:

I no longer believe in coincidences when it comes to stuff like this. Whoever wrote the order for 729 days knew precisely what he or she was doing.

No, I don\’t believe it\’s a coincidence either.

 

More Interpreters

Nick Cohen\’s column is all about the moral duty owed to those Iraqis who have worked for the British forces in Basra and environs. Good piece too:

Some leaks from the MoD say that asylum will be offered to only the 91 translators currently working with the British army. If true, Brown would be engaging in gesture politics at its most debased. What about interpreters who have retired and gone into hiding? What about the other staff? When even Basra\’s laundry girls have been pulled out of taxis and shot in the head for the crime of working for the army, it is laughable to pretend that a promise to a few interpreters fulfils Britain\’s obligations. Leaving debts of honour to one side, who will work for the armed forces, Foreign Office or Department for International Development in other conflict zones if they see Britain betraying its friends?

Other leaks say that hundreds will be rescued. Let\’s hope the spinners are being honest. On Tuesday, there\’s a meeting in the Commons organised by Richard Beeston of the Times, who has led the media campaign for these Iraqis, and Dan Hardie, a territorial army doctor who has mobilised the blogosphere. If Brown has the moral compass we hear so much about, he will make it a victory celebration rather than a protest rally.

For more details of the meeting, what to say to your MP tp get them to attend, how to get there yourself perhaps, read this.

Good News: Sorta

So the Govt has indeed changed its mind:

Iraqi interpreters and other key support staff who have risked their lives to work for Britain are to be allowed to settle in the United Kingdom, The Times has learnt.

Hundreds of interpreters and their families are to be given assistance to leave Iraq, where they live under fear of death squads because they collaborated with British forces. Those wishing to remain in Iraq or relocate to neighbouring countries will be helped to resettle.

After a two-month campaign by The Times, Gordon Brown is set to announce that interpreters who have worked for the British Government for 12 months will be given the opportunity of asylum in Britain.

The offer also applies retrospectively to interpreters who worked for the Government but have ceased to do so. Government sources have disclosed that a few hundred vital support staff would also be helped, although they declined to give details.

The question is, will this cover everyone at risk? And how will it operate bureaucratically? Still need to know more of the details.