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MP reports from his TA base in war-torn Afghanistan....

This guy has gone up in my estimation.
At last, a Member of Parliament that's prepared to get his hands dirty.

At least he can now speak with some authority on the subject when he stands up to say his bit in the House.

http://www.miltonkeynestoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=415&ArticleID=1717429

MP Mark Lancaster believes in having first-hand experience of what you are talking about before you get up to say your piece in the Commons.The Defence Select Committee member and TA officer has duly packed his kitbag and joined troops in Afghanistan.In between helping to co-ordinate construction projects in Helmand province in the south of the country and catching up on his constituency work, Mark is regularly filing dispatches to Citizen readers during his six-week tour of duty. His diary open
Monday August 14I'd be lying if I said I slept well last night. Despite being on operational tours before to Bosnia and Kosovo the leaving bit doesn't get any easier. For the third time in my life I find myself standing on a platform at St Pancras station with just the clothes I'm standing up in and a small bag of personal things not knowing exactly when I will be returning home. It's the strangest things that you notice, like the fact that the word 'return' has been crossed out on my military travel warrant, logical I suppose, why waste a return ticket if it's not needed? Can't help thinking about my family on the trip up to the mobilisation centre at Chilwell, especially as we sit at Leicester train station and I see the car park where I got down on one knee and asked Katie to marry me 11 years ago, what a real romantic I was back then, engaged in Leicester train station car park!Tuesday August 15Enter the machine, the mobilisation centre at Chilwell, two days of rushing around like a madman. First the medical, somethings have moved on, no blunt needles anymore but some things never change, I'm given every injection under the sun, 'just in case'.The sight test was more of a memory test, just learn the second bottom line and you can't go wrong. My hearing is 100 per cent, Katie was always convinced that my hearing was 'selective' and it looks like she's right. Good to see a dentist, the closest I've got to seeing a NHS dentist for some time. Next the kit issue, why are you always given more kit that you have space in the bags they give you to put it in? I'm sure it's a standard storeman's joke. The kit is good - great drinking systems for the desert and the only thing 'out of stock' was Major's desert rank slides. Have to make do with colonel's and fold them over, the storeman joked it was probably the closest I'd ever get to Colonel, alas I think he's right.Wednesday August 16Slept better last night, a morning of weapon handling tests. Don't like the look of the bayonet, definitely wouldn't want to be on the wrong end of that, I wonder if they'll let me take it on as hand baggage? In true military style I'm taken to Brize Norton no less than nine hours before my departure time, hurry up and wait.Thursday August 17Flight finally left at 0200 and landed in Kabul at midday. As we came in to land we dropped very low to reduce the chance of missile attack and you could almost reach out and touch the mountains. Everywhere is dusty brown from the sky, a real desert. But then as unbelievable at it sounds, as I stepped off the plane the heavens opened and Kabul had its first downpour in weeks, all over my kit that had been nicely laid out on the runway by the RAF. There's a scene in the film 'Good Morning Vietnam' as the new recruits get off the plane in pristine uniforms, the hardened, ragged veterans get on it to go home, I really did feel like the new guy. A short trip by Saxon armoured vehicle to my base in the centre of town where I'm issued with yet more kit and a bed in a four man room, well I say 'room', perhaps converted shipping container would be a better description but it's more than adequate.Friday August 18Perhaps it's the heat and the altitude, (Kabul is at nearly 6000ft) but it's hard work even walking about in just uniform. I'm certainly not looking forward to my first trip out of camp in full body armour, webbing and equipment. Initially at least I am to be based at HQ ISAF, or to use its full title Headquarters International Security Assistance Force, known locally as 'Euro-Disney' because of the multitude of nations that are based here. My first full day 'In-theatre' was spent in a series of briefings, warning me of the many hazards ranging from the Taliban to camel spiders and scorpions and issuing me with a multitude of passes. On a lighter note I find the camp laundry. It's amazing how little things like discovering that I won't have to do my own washing can cheer you up!Saturday August 19Got up early and went to the gym. I've decided this is probably the one opportunity in my life when there is no excuse not to lose some weight. Today is my first chance to try and get stuck in to my job. After a bit of 'direction' by the Brigadier, it appears my role is to try and tie together the vast array of reconstruction projects that have been identified around the country, such as new schools, roads and hospitals, with the various sources of funding that are available from the International community, each with their specific requirements as to what sorts of things they are prepared to support. With several hundred projects identified and countless potential sources of funding it's a complete maze, but It looks to be a good job, with a balance of being out and about on the ground as well as a bit of calm here at HQ.Sunday August 20A full working day. Apparently being Afghanistan it's Friday when we're allowed to drift in 'late', (wish I'd known that last Friday.) A grim reminder of exactly where I am today as I woke to discover all of the flags at half mast. Apparently 4 US soldiers were killed yesterday during fighting in the South. The odd thing is nobody really talks about it, I guess there's little point. The world and mission has to go on.

24 August 2006

Troops prepare for major offensive

Troops prepare for major offensive

British troops will spearhead a major combat offensive against the Taliban after weeks of intense and exhausting defensive fighting, the UK general heading the international forces said.
In what will be the biggest task force led by a British officer since the Second World War, 10,000 Nato troops and a similar number of Afghan soldiers will take on the Taliban.
They will focus on four southern provincial capitals - Lashkar Gar in Helmand, the scene of much of the British fighting and recent fatalities, Kandahar, Qalat and Tarin Kowt. Around 5,000 of the Nato troops will be British and will include special forces as well as soldiers.
The campaign will be led by General David Richards, commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) who said he expected to see results in three months.
Gen Richards conceded that the troops were tired but insisted confidence was still high among those fighting.
He said: "They are tired, but morale is very high. They know what we are trying to do which is to get on the front foot."
Gen Richards said members of the Afghan National Army would be brought into areas where UK forces were "pinned down" to carry on the defensive role.
Gen Richards said the idea was to establish Afghan Development Zones in the four capitals which were sufficiently safe to allow the United Nations and NGOs to focus on reconstruction.
These ADZs would then be supported by ISAF and special forces who would target specific Taliban areas, thereby removing the militants and stabilising the lawless areas of the country.
Gen Richards said the plan had been endorsed by Afghan president Hamid Karzai and his government.

Brave Michelle Saves Life Of A Colleague In Iraq

This girl has got balls!!!!!!

If there's an award in the offing she certainly deserves it having read the article.

Brave Michelle Saves Life Of A Colleague In Iraq


A 19-year old female Army medic serving in Iraq braved sniper fire to save the life of a critically injured colleague.
Private Michelle Norris, 19, from Stourbridge, West Midlands, climbed on top of a Warrior armoured vehicle to reach her vehicle commander who had been injured during a fire fight in Maysaan Province in June.
Private Michelle Norris, known as ‘Chuck’, was part of a Warrior patrol in support of the Iraqi Security Forces in Al Amarah, Maysaan Province, which came under attack while it was trying to recover another Warrior that had become stuck in a ditch.
Private Norris described her reaction to the incident:
"It brought it home to me and I realised why I was here. It was my first casualty since training, which was pretty scary. On arrival at the scene, we stopped and when I heard ‘dings’ off the Warrior, I thought it was stones.
"Then I heard the turret get hit, so I got onto the intercom and asked ‘is anyone hit then?’ but there was no answer. All of a sudden, the driver [Private Nani Ratawake] shouted down to me that my commander had been hit.
"I didn’t know where he’d been shot and how bad it was at this stage. So I jumped out the back of the Warrior, climbed up on top of the turret, looked down, and saw the extent of his injuries.
"Private Norris acted completely selflessly and, in the face of great danger, concentrated on her job and saved someone else’s life." Lieutenant Colonel David Labouchere MBEUnder fire
"I then heard the crack and a thump of a round going past my head. I was under fire from a sniper, which luckily just missed me.
"Ratawake pulled me down head first into the turret. A round went over and hit a battery which was at my knee height, so if he hadn’t pulled me down at that point, my knee or my leg would have been shot.
"We managed to cross the turret and get my commander into the back, where one of the lads put a sweat rag over him. I got through and administered first aid, put a dressing on and checked his vital signs."
The Warrior driver, Private Nani Ratawake, known as ‘Destroyer’, then drove to the helicopter landing point to take the casualty to a military field hospital.
Commenting on the actions of Pte Norris, her Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel David Labouchere MBE, said:
"Private Norris acted completely selflessly and, in the face of great danger, concentrated on her job and saved someone else’s life. She is part of a larger team, all of whom are acquitting themselves admirably when faced with danger."
As the only female in C Company, she gets on with the lads.
"It’s good," she concluded. "I’ve always been one of the lads anyway. Most of my friends in ‘Civvy Street’ have always been lads, and I always used to play football at school, so it’s alright, I get on with them."
Private Norris, from the Royal Army Medical Corps, only recently qualified as a medic and is currently serving on her first tour of Iraq. She is attached to C Company 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR), normally based in Paderborn, Germany. 1 PWRR are currently half way through a six-and-a-half month tour of Iraq as part of 20th Armoured Brigade, and are due to return home to Paderborn in November.

Gibraltar chief was in despair over porn inquiry, inquest told

Amazing what you can find on the internet.

Now why would this guy want to go and hang himself?

Gibraltar chief was in despair over porn inquiry, inquest told

Gibraltar chief was in despair over porn inquiry, inquest told · Aide tells of discovering body in swimming pool· Investigation a 'catatonic' shock, says brother

The most senior British officer in Gibraltar was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool 24 hours after being relieved of his command, an inquest heard yesterday. Commodore David White, 50, head of UK forces in the territory, had been told he was being sent back to Britain pending a Ministry of Defence police investigation into pornography downloaded from the internet.
His body was discovered lying face down in the pool of his residence in Mount Barbary on January 8. The investigation was part of Operation Ore, the internationally coordinated inquiry into the sale online of pornographic images of young children.

Giving evidence at the inquest in Gibraltar, Mr White's brother, Rupert, said yesterday: "He would have been completely amazed that that decision had been made. He would have been stopped dead in his tracks. It was a catatonic shock from the time of that phone call to the time of his death. I think he was in complete despair."
The body of Mr White - dressed in a jumper, shirt, trousers and sailing shoes - was found at the bottom of the pool by his military assistant, Squadron Leader Nigel Forshaw, at 4.15pm.
Only 90 minutes earlier, Mr White's deputy, Colonel Tom Camp, had found the senior officer still in bed and described him as "weary and distracted". But after talking to him for 10 minutes and checking that he was well, Col Camp left his colleague to get dressed before they discussed his imminent departure.
"I believed he was going to get up and make coffee, as we needed to talk," the now former chief of staff said. But when Sqn Ldr Forshaw let himself into the property just after 4pm after getting no response on the telephone or knocking at the door, the death was discovered.
The Home Office pathologist, Peter Jerreat, said Mr White's death was "clearly due to drowning".
His toxicology report showed there were 61 milligrammes per 100 millitres of alcohol in his blood and 303 microgrammes per litre of the sedative zoplicon, which was described as "higher than normal for therapeutic use".
Mr White also had deep bruising on his forehead and down the right side of his body. "The impact following a fall may have occurred when under the influence of alcohol and zoplicon," said the doctor.
Mr White, educated at Eton and brought up in Kent, took over as head of the armed forces in Gibraltar in May last year.
The hearing continues.

Internet investigation
· Operation Ore was launched in 2002 after the FBI passed to British police the names of around 7,000 subscribers to a Texas-based internet child porn site, Landslide Inc.
· British customers paid up to £21 a month for "platinum" membership, which gave access to sexual images of children.
· As many as 33 Britons are believed to have committed suicide as a result of the inquiry. There have been 4,000 raids and around 3,700 arrests.
· Among those investigated have been police officers, a judge, magistrates, teachers, and hospital consultants. One man, who was jailed for five years, was found to have almost 500,00 indecent images.

Terror Raid Pair In New Abuse Probe

This pair get right on my tits.

So what have we got, 2 terror suspects bleating becasue they got shot.
They've been arrested on kiddie porn offences and are now hurling abuse at squaddies at Welly Barracks wanting them to die in Iraq.

Meanwhile they're living in the lap of luxury at a top end hotel courtesy of the taxpayer.

Is your blood beginning to boil too?

Terror Raid Pair In New Abuse Probe

The brothers at the centre of the Forest Gate anti-terror raid have been accused of hurling abuse at soldiers.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "We are investigating an allegation of harassment outside Wellington Barracks at 10pm on August 1.
"The matter is being investigated by Belgravia Police. There have been no arrests."
The Sun claims they screamed "We hope you die in Iraq" and spat at the Welsh Guardsmen while they were on duty. CCTV footage is being examined.
Mohammed Abdul Kahar, 23, was shot in the shoulder when police swooped on their home in Forest Gate, east London, on June 2. His brother Abul Koyair, 20, was also arrested and released without charge by officers searching for a suspected chemical bomb which was never found.
Officers from Scotland Yard's Child Abuse Investigation Command are also investigating Kahar over suspicion of possessing and making child abuse images.
The officer who shot Kahar is back on duty.
A two-month investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission last week concluded that the police officer's gun went off as a result of "contact" on a narrow staircase between the officer and Kahar.
The operation involved close to 250 officers, with 15 taking part in a raid of two properties - numbers 46 and 48 Lansdown Road, Forest Gate. Both men were freed without charge after a week of questioning at the high-security Paddington Green police station.
While their home is being repaired, the brothers are staying at the "four-star deluxe" Crowne Plaza Hotel, close to Buckingham Palace and New Scotland Yard. Rooms at the central London venue cost upwards of £123 a night.

New Royal Navy Patrons Revealed By The Queen

New Royal Navy Patrons Revealed By The Queen

So more pointless baubles being dished out for minor Royals and sycophantic hangers-on.

Great.

MoD Under Fire Says Report - Surely Not

It looks like the MoD haven't been providing the troops with enough kit.
AGAIN.
When will the powers that be learn that the boys and girls at the coalface would appreciate (and perhaps need) the best kit in order to do the job more effectively.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/military/story/0,,1840265,00.html

Who Dares Earns

It has come to light recently that the British Special Forces are to get a whopping pay increase to reduce the amount leaving to go and work for private military companies.

Who Dares Earns

About time too - they obviously deserve it.


SAS forced to raise pay as private firms lure its elite.
Members of the SAS and other special forces have been given pay rises of up to 50% in an attempt to stop them defecting to private security companies.The most is being offered to sergeants whose experience is described by defence sources as "irreplaceable". They will be earning about £50,000. There are about 1,000 members of the SAS, the SBS - Special Boat Service - and support regiments.
They are in greater demand than ever. Most are in Iraq and Afghanistan or training for operations there. One specialist anti-terrorist SAS regiment is permanently based in Britain.

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