Basra Outpost

IraqiFreedom

The US faced the choice of a troop surge or a more rapid withdrawal

Controversy continues over the British military presence in Iraq. With the British Forces seriously over-stretched following a decade of heavy cut backs and reduced funding, troops have been quietly withdrawn to fill the gaps in Afghanistan and to meet other commitments.

This has left the British contingent in Iraq as a token force that is suffering increasing casualties as a result of the reductions in strength.

From providing an effective management of the southern portion of Iraq, British commanders have been forced to withdraw their dwindling resources to the airport. As a result, they are now unable to prevent regular attacks by mortar and rocket fire. When they send a column out to Basra, or to some other location, it has to force its way past ambush and then fight its way back to base, never able to hold territory.

As a result, there are growing demands that the force be withdrawn suddenly and completely. The alternative would be to increase troop strength, an action for which the Blair Brown Regime shows no appetite as Scottish Prime Minister non-elect Gordon Brown contemplates the risks of running for a quick General Election before all the bad economic news dominates the headlines.

Newsdesk

Outcome of UK Independence Party/Alan Bown Hearing

NigelFarage&BoltonSkyNews

Nigel Farage, Leader, UK Independence Party (right) giving an interview to Sky News’ Bolton

Plans by the Electoral Commission to forfeit over a third of a million pounds from a political party have been overruled today.

The Commission had demanded that the UK Independence Party forfeit £367,697 claiming the donations were impermissible.

But a judge has ruled that the party need only pay about 5% of the total requested: a £4000 cheque from a company based in the Isle of Man and the last seven donations, totalling £14,481, from Mr Alan Bown, who was inadvertently not on the electoral register in 2005.

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said he was absolutely delighted at the ruling by the judge, but condemned the Electoral Commission and said that if they had been sensible, the case need never have seen the light of day in the first place.

“The Electoral Commission used this case as a way to make up for their complete failures over the cash for honours scandal and the £2.4m donations to the Liberal Democrats by a man now in prison,” said Mr Farage.

“They decided to kick the smallest boy in the playground to justify their own existence, thinking that we would not be able to fight back. There was no element of proportionality in their decision which would have been disastrous to smaller parties had they had their way. We have always admitted that we made mistakes over these donations, but they were human error, rather than evasion.

“Other parties have full time treasurers and receive money from the tax payer towards running costs, but a small party like the UK Independence Party does not have these luxuries.

“If Mr Bown’s company had given the money there would not have been a problem, and a good regulator would have seen this case and discussed it properly with us.

“Unfortunately, we do not have a good regulator, only the Electoral Commission who, instead of behaving sensibly, decided to throw all their toys out of the pram. If they had been less intransigent a lot of time and money would have been saved.”

It is good to see that common sense is still alive and well in the British Justice System.

ftnews.firetrench.com

Another Holocaust? FMD is back in Britain

FMD1

Footpaths and roads have been closed to restrict movement in the Protection and Surveillance zones

British farmers are again facing the prospect of a major Foot and Mouth epidemic, hoping that lessons were learned in 2001 and the monumental incompetence displayed then by the Blair Brown regime will not be repeated in 2007.

FMD2

In 2001 the centre for the outbreak was in Essex, North East of London. The new outbreak is centered to the South West of London

In 2001, an outbreak of FMD spread rapidly through the British farms because the Blair Brown regime did not understand how the industry functioned and were slow to learn. This led to almost seven million animals being slaughtered and the death of a number of farmers through suicide and stress-related illness.

FMD3

In 2001 bungled attempts to bring the outbreak under control created the image of a holocaust, with clouds of choking black smoke drifting across the countryside, with cremation temperatures claimed to be too low to kill all of the virus

Animals were slaughtered on the farms and left in mounds for days, awaiting disposal. In may cases, farmers had to live with their dead animals stacked up outside their homes, only to then witness them being burned on open fires which were claimed to have further spread the contagion.

Eventually, the situation was saved by the Army. Soldiers took over the responsibility for collecting and disposing of carcasses and rapidly brought the situation under control.

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Scottish Prime Minister, non-elect, Gordon Brown was keen to profit from the 2001 FMD epidemic and is now portraying himself as the only person in charge of containing this new outbreak

One of the least edifying sights was the squabbling between Blair and Brown over the forthcoming General Election dates. Blair wanted to delay the Election until the FMD outbreak was under control. Brown wanted to stick to the original dates and disenfranchise those in rural areas who would be unable to attended polling station because of movement controls introduced to contain the outbreak.

This time round, there is another General Election looming and party political considerations may once again be foremost in Brown’s mind.

If the outbreak does escalate out of control, there will not be available troops to deal with the situation because they are already seriously over stretched, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Although the first priority should be to deal with the FMD outbreak, the Blair Brown regime spin doctors are already busy trying to point the blame for the outbreak at someone else.

The likely suspect is a research centre that handles dangerous viruses, including FMD. There are already claims that serious failures in biosecurity at the site were responsible for the airborne release of the virus. The site is occupied by a Government funded research facility and also by a commercial research unit.

As the incubation period for the virus is fourteen days in cattle, and a shorter period usually in sheep, farmers will have to wait at least two more weeks before they know the outbreak has been contained. Each new confirmed outbreak will extend the period. During this time, the production of meat and milk will be seriously affected across Britain and there will be no export of these products. This comes at a time when weather conditions have already badly affected crops, including hay for animal feed.

Anxious to reduce public concern and damage to the agricultural economy, the Government is talking of relaxing restrictions early. It is claimed that this will reduce the risk of farmers breaking control orders and has been welcomed by some farmers. Critics suggest that this may be the first sign of a government putting spin before effective containment and seeking populist solutions.

BSD Newsdesk

The Great Arctic Land Grab

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The continental shelf pattern in the Arctic is outlined in red. Mutual boundaries already stretch out from the neighbouring land masses to divide the area of the continental shelf, where neighbouring countries share boundaries above water.

The Arctic will now become a battleground following the attempt by the Russian Federation to claim most of the area as part of Russian territory.

Once, nations claimed the sea up to three miles from their coasts. Until recent times, there was little point in claiming more because it provided no profit. The purpose of the three mile limit was to provide an area of sovereign waters through which navigation was controlled by the country that owned the coast. Inevitably the three mile limit became contested in some locations because there was not enough distance between neighbouring countries for all to maintain a three mile limit. Negotiation achieved an understanding and an agreement on where the invisible boundary ran. In some cases the boundary moved where deltas fed into the sea, creating changing mud and sand banks so that navigable channels moved with the seasons.

As fish stocks became depleted, some countries claimed much greater maritime boundaries to enable them to manage fish stocks for their own national benefit.

The discovery of gas and oil, that could be economically extracted from beneath the sea bed, led to further claims.

The compromise was to consider continental shelves as being territorial submarine territories. The argument was that technology already demonstrated that fuel and minerals could be extracted from these areas.

The fundamental weakness of the continental shelve boundaries is that technology moves on and the sea bed can be used, exploited and controlled in ways that were inconceivable only a few years ago.

Perhaps the time has now come for nations to agree boundaries that extend their rights across the sea beds without regard to the depth of the oceans’ floors.

Until this is done, there will be growing conflict between nations who wish to exploit minerals from the seabed. The claims by the Russian Federation demonstrate the potential for conflict that could develop into armed conflict. This is a very real threat and the first example was 25 years ago when Argentina invaded the British Falklands Islands, largely to extend Argentine submarine territory far out into the Atlantic to gain control of oil, minerals and fish stocks.

In the case of the Arctic, the Russians are making claims on the basis of underwater ridges that run out across the floor of the Arctic Ocean. The United States, Canada, Greenland, Iceland and Norway could also make claims on a similar basis. Even the United Kingdom could make a claim to extend submarine territory into the Arctic Ocean and further into the Atlantic.

BSD Newsdesk