19 February, 2007

British troops again in action at Garmser.

On Sunday, in Operation Glacier, Afghan artillery was used for the first time in an ISAF operation, as coalition forces attacked a Taliban stronghold near Garmser (Garmisir), Helmand, the scene of fierce fighting in the autumn. After consulting the local elders, over 150 British troops attacked and destroyed three terrorist compounds and a series of linking tunnels. No British or Afghan casualties were reported. No enemy casualty figures were given.

Lieutenant Colonel Rory Bruce, spokesman for the UKTF, said: “Op GLACIER marks the continuation of our recent operations in and around Garmsir to strike at Taliban extremist targets and command centres.

“With the first use of Afghan artillery, it also marks a significant step towards enabling full combat capability for the ANA and, ultimately, to Afghans being able to provide security for themselves,” he said.
Source: ISAF News Release

As far as I can discover, so far only the Bulgarian Focus News thinks the incident worth reporting. A damning indictment on the British mainstream media.

Cameron and drugs, again.

Today's Times picks up a story from yesterday's Independent which links Conservative leader David Cameron with cocaine. For good measure, the Times throws in a reference to a similar, but very old, story on reprinted by the Mail/Standard stable.

Make of it what you will. I suppose innuendo and speculation sells newspapers. However, until Cameron flatly denies snorting coke his enemies in the press will carry on. If he does deny it, they will only find another stick to beat him with.

Previously on Crumbling Spires: Cameron the dope.

Sir Ian Blair: foot in mouth, again.

The Daily Mail accuses Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Ian Blair, of pre-empting the cash for honours investigation by telling ministers that his namesake, Prime Minister Tony Blair, is in the clear over the matter and that the investigation will be over within weeks.

Unlike his predecessor at the Met, John Stevens, who for all his faults was an old fashioned copper, Ian Blair is a New Labour apparatchik. Wikipedia has a convenient set of links of some of the nonsense Ian Blair has been involved in during only two years in the job. Blair's sociological ramblings (for example, see here and here) give some insight as to why this PC PC was given his present job by none other than Tony Blair.

18 February, 2007

Des Smith talks to the News of the World.

Des Smith, of cash for honours fame, has been telling the News of the World (text and video) that he contemplated suicide after being "hung out to dry" by Tony Blair during the cash for honours investigation.

Smith created the scandal by getting pissed and bragging to a potential donor about being able to fix him up with an honour in return for a donation to the city academies programme. The donor was, in fact, an undercover Sunday Times reporter. Oops! What did he expect Blair to do?

L'affaire Goldsmith.

How do you get to be a QC? Shagging the Attorney General must be a help. The Mail on Sunday claims an exclusive on Goldsmith's adultery.

The obvious questions are: when did Tony Blair know of the affair; and did he use that knowledge to exert pressure on Goldsmith over either his controversial about face on the "legality" of invading Iraq, or over the al Yamamah investigation? Moreover, would Blair have used the affair to exert pressure over decisions on any cash for honours charges? The Sunday Telegraph alludes to these questions online but asked them explicitly in an article in today's print edition.

Some may say it is private matter for Goldsmith and his family. Let us have no sympathy for the individual directly responsible for the Mendonca show trail. Enjoy the poetic justice.

Olympic terror.

According to the Sunday Telegraph plans by the Tablighi Jamaat Islamic group,to build a London "super mosque" in connection with the Olympic Games, will be vetoed by the government. Understandable.

As the Telegraph report says, the French security services suspect Tablighi Jammat is a terrorist group. The FBI and MI5 also have an interest in them. Quite rightly: as the Guardian has summarised, they have connections to the 7 July London bombers, the transatlantic aeroplane plot and Richard Reid, the shoe bomber. The clear implication of these connections is that Tablighi Jamaat has close, even systemic, links with the Taliban - al Qaeda axis in western Pakistan.

Still they are allowed to operate in the United Kingdom.