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There was a time in the United Kingdom when
the Prime Minister of the day (regardless of political party) would
occasionally have to make the sole decision on the deployment of armed
forces: in response to an act of war, genocide, terrorism or for that
matter – act immediately on anything that might be seen as a direct
threat to the country.
Britain had a name for standing up against
overseas tyranny – fascism, evil, abuse of human rights: protecting the
innocent regardless of location, nationality, gender, religion or creed.
The ‘Brits’ were not slow to respond to injustice; support allies and
take appropriate measures.
Having made a clear decision – parliament
would then (within hours) be informed of actions taken. After all, Prime
Ministers are elected by the people and the public presume he or she will
always have the nation’s best interests & values at heart. Sometimes
those choices are very difficult: often unavoidable and usually time is
of the essence.
that’s all changed!
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Looking around our
violent world, I know where I’d rather be - I’m booking my ticket today!
NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope
continuously monitors more than 150,000 stars beyond our solar system - scanning our universe
for planets that are judged to be similar to our earth: small habitable zone
planets that might support human life in the future. The latest ‘find’ to
join NASA Kepler’s Hall of Fame is Kepler-438b and this discovery seems to be
the most suitable candidate so far.
Not a day too soon,
because for me, our own fragile blue planet with all of her problems of
conflicts & terrorism, violence, disease, economic meltdown, starvation,
global warming, pollution and inequality could - in this new 2015 year of
ours - already be termed ‘Alien Earth’.
Life on Mother Earth has certainly changed
and not for the better! Kepler-438b might just be the new home we will all
have to run to one day to avoid a man-made apocalypse.
chart right for further data on NASA & Kepler:
Beam Me Up, Scotty –
There are various advantages that Kepler-438b has
over Mother Earth:
First, as far as NASA’s powerful Kepler space
telescope can establish, this area of space has not – as yet – been overrun
by the so called ‘Islamic State’. There are no beheadings, crucifixions or
innocent women being sold as sex slaves. Schoolgirls will be far safer than
they are currently in Nigeria and as no religions have established a base on
Kepler-438b, there is no discrimination between Christians, Muslims, Jews,
Buddhists or other faiths. This new planet does not suffer from suicide
bombers, attacks by murderous rebel groups, jihads or the threat of cyber
terrorism from tin pot dictators such as Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s Supreme Leader (one more idiot that
should be consigned to the Dark Ages). Let’s face it, there are now few
places left on our globe where you can say that you are 100% safe from
terrorists, conflict, drug runners, human traffickers or other criminal
elements. At least, Kepler-438b will not have a landscape strewn with
landmines, bullets or used hypodermic needles.
We are not afraid
Counter terrorism & security
forces spent every hour of nearly three days tracking down and killing the
two brothers (photo above left) who murdered 12 in their attack on the
offices of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine and shooting dead the third
gunman who carried out the supermarket attack in Paris. In all, 17 people
were killed in this Islamic fundamentalist trail of mayhem & murder.
As this report went to
press, the two evil jihadist assailants – brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi hell bent on murder & mayhem who entered the
building of Paris satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ shouting "Allahu
Akbar", killing 10 journalists, 2 policemen plus injuring
many others have been cornered & killed by French special forces after a
72 hour manhunt involving many miles of car chases & shootouts. Another
shooting with all the hallmarks of a fanatical Islamist attack, saw a third
gunman Amedy Coulibaly enter a
kosher supermarket in a different area of Paris and immediately kill 4
innocent customers – taking many hostages. That second siege was also ended
by counter terrorism units: the remaining hostages freed – although some were
wounded, including two members of the counter terrorism squad. The fanatical
Islamic gunman was the same person who killed an unarmed trainee policewoman
and shot a street cleaner the day before. All three gunmen have now been
linked together: authorities finding that over 500 phone calls were made
between these murderous scum.
Twin sieges: one in the center of
Paris – the other in a small town near to the capital
A girlfriend - Hayat
Boumeddiene - of Amedy Coulibaly - the supermarket siege gunman is on the run - suspected of being
Left: police mugshot of Hayat Boumeddiene. Right: photo
of Amedy Coulibaly and Hayat Boumeddiene.
According to reports, Boumeddiene is
the only suspected terrorist involved in this week's shootings yet to be
accounted for. Her current whereabouts are unknown, but police say she is
“armed and dangerous”. Media including TV station Europe1, quoting sources
close to the investigation, say she was not among the dead or injured. A
police union spokesman told CNN that she may have escaped from the kosher
supermarket in the confusion following the end of the siege.
The girlfriend of dead gunman Amedy
Coulibaly, she was brought up in Villiers-sur-Marne in the eastern suburbs of
Paris, one of seven children. Her mother died when she was six. Her father Mohamed,
a delivery man, was unable to cope and she was taken into care when she was 8
or 9, according to le Parisien. She married Amedy Coulibaly in religious
ceremony in 2009, but they were never legally wed. In May 2009, she started
wearing a full veil, something which forced her to give up her job as a
check-out assistant, according to several sources.
quick to protest the attacks on their city.
In 2010 the couple
were spotted by intelligence services visiting al-Qaida terrorist Djamel
Beghal in Cantal, southern France, a disciple of radical London-based cleric
Abu Hamza. She later told police that she was there for “crossbow practice”
The twin attacks in Paris
according to reports issued by al-Qaida in Yemen being their work. The terrorist group now
threaten further attacks in France over future months. Regardless of country
– USA, Canada, Australia, France or UK – intelligence services can’t
guarantee 100% safety for their people. Although many terrorist attacks are
thwarted by security personnel, it only takes one or two evil individuals to
get through the net to cause maximum carnage.
Threats to come
police in the UK are now being seen more frequently.
top domestic security agency chief, Andrew Parker (MI5), warned that the
nation faces a significant threat from Islamist-inspired terrorism that shows
no signs of letting up anytime soon.
face a very serious level of threat that is complex to combat and unlikely to
abate significantly for some time,” Mr. Parker, the director general of MI5
(Military Intelligence, Section 5) said in a rare public speech.
Parker’s comments, made at MI5’s London headquarters Thursday night, followed
the deadly terrorist attack Wednesday in Paris that left 12 people
dead. He said about 600 Britons have traveled to Syria or Iraq, and some
are joining the Islamic State militant organization. He stressed that threats
were posed by other extremist groups as well.
know, for example, that a group of core al-Qaida terrorists in Syria is
planning mass casualty attacks against the West,” he said.
Parker said security services have thwarted three terrorist plots in recent months
that would have resulted in casualties, and that gathering intelligence about
plots driven from Syria is challenging. “There are no in-country partner
agencies we can work with in Syria. Collecting intelligence about a war zone
is difficult, gathering evidence even more so,” he said.
Parker also said that “outside Iraq and Syria, we believe that since October
2013, there have been more than 20 terrorist plots either directed or
provoked by extremist groups in Syria,” and he listed examples in Canada,
Australia, Belgium and France.
August, Britain raised its threat level from “substantial” to “severe”
following the rising threat from Syria, he said. Britain has five threat
levels — low, moderate, substantial, severe and critical.
Parker also addressed the ongoing tensions between British authorities and
U.S. Internet companies, saying British agents need greater support from
Internet companies if they are to prevent attacks. “If we are to do our
job, MI5 will continue to need to be able to penetrate their communications,
as we have always done,” he said. “That means having the right tools, legal
powers and the assistance of companies which hold relevant data. Currently,
this picture is patchy.”
is worrying about the recent twin Paris attacks is that each terrorist was
already well known to intelligence services – yet they were still able to
mount a major terrorist attack in broad daylight.
terrorist group Boko Harem (linked to I.S) in Nigeria slaughtered over 12,000
in 2014. They continue to burn towns and villages, murdering men, women &
children, using rape as a weapon of war, kidnapping and conducting sex slave
markets. The current Nigerian government are having little success in
combating this group – even with assistance from the U.S.
Personally, I believe Western
statesmen have been somewhat slow in stamping down on extremists. Assad was
allowed to get away with using chemical warfare on his own people. The
Islamic State was given a free hand to run amok in Syria & Iraq. In fact,
the idea of tackling terrorists head on with appropriate force seems to have
fallen by the wayside. Limited air support by the U.S., UK, France and other
allies is given to the Kurds on occasion: a bombing here – a missile there.
Without effective mass ground forces (and the brave Kurds can’t handle
everything on their own), there seems little chance of the Islamic
fundamentalist going away anytime soon. Syria & Iraq – plus Yemen and
various other countries continue to be the breeding ground of jihadists: all
encouraging home grown terrorists to cause terror in the West.
Boko Harem has slaughtered thousands.
of nationals from the U.S, Australia, France, Belgium, UK and many other
countries continue to travel to Iraq & Syria to assist the Islamic State.
Many return to their own countries totally radicalized and ready to commit
acts of terrorism back home. Nobody likes wars: most Western countries are
war weary. However, unless civilized countries get their act together fast –
the world will become overrun with AK47’s, black & white flags and
bloodshed. All the talk at present is about education, de-radicalization and
religious unity. All well & good, commendable & necessary. However,
maybe it’s time for all peace loving nations to get together and get over
their ‘boots on the ground’ syndrome. Maybe it’s time, for armies, navies,
air forces, NATO & the UN to clear the plague of Islamic jihadists from
our world once and for all – before further, regular monthly terrorist
attacks in our cities & towns become the norm.
For the Good of Your
Of course, Kepler-438b is unfortunately 475 light-years away
and so you will not be able to call on your local health services if you fall
ill or unfortunately have an accident. Mind you, when you think about it,
you’d probably have a better chance on that alien world. Currently, medical
expenses in the USA = megabucks: such charges can financially break you. Then
there are many countries here on our home planet where unless you have cash
in your pocket – you will be left in the corridor to quietly die (unless a
friendly insurance company steps forward). Currently in the United Kingdom,
if you dial the emergency number 999 for an ambulance – you can no longer
rely on arrival times being in minutes. Today, your life-saving ambulance
could take anywhere between 2 and 12 hours to arrive. When you eventually get
to the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department, you still might have to
continue to be treated by a paramedic in the ambulance parked outside of the
hospital for a few more hours whilst hopefully a bed can be found for you in
the main building.
Britain’s National Health
Service (NHS) is now in severe crisis. The UK’s current Conservative/ Liberal
Coalition Government has made so many
management & system changes – together with budget cuts over the past
five years that quite simply, there are not enough medical staff to man
wards: hospital A&E departments face closure and other perfectly adequate
high tech wards are mothballed due to lack of both finance & staff to
operate them. Too many people can’t access a doctor (GP) in their local area
without a lengthy wait for an appointment and those who can’t be seen
naturally head to a hospital’s A&E where the lights burn bright 24/7: so
overloading the system. Nurses are underpaid and overworked.
The old NHS – the envy of the world –
is now close to collapse. The next general election in the UK is in May 2015
and naturally the main opposition party ‘Labour’ – is making the plight of
the NHS a manifesto priority. Hopefully, the next British Government (whoever
that may be) will make saving the NHS, recruiting additional staff and
properly funding the health service the first order of the day. As with many
countries, the older population increases in leaps & bounds month by
month and with this – further demands on an already strained system will
surely continue for some time to come. Whilst the latter failings become
political footballs, over 20,000 have contracted Ebola in African countries –
close on 9,000 die from the disease and regardless of the sterling effort by
US, British and other medical volunteers, large swathes of West Africa remain
Meanwhile, in Britain, the United
Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is gathering unprecedented support in their
aims of seeing the UK leave Europe (EU) so that uncontrolled immigration to
the UK can be halted and Britain can regain control of its own borders. UKIP
might just change the balance of power between the old established 3-way
political party system. UKIP want conditions placed on those who wish to
enter the country: certain levels of qualification regardless of the country
of origin (within or outside of the EU): a sensible approach to the influx –
similar to the Australian system. Uncontrolled freedom of movement to the UK
from the EU remains one of the main worries British people now speak of: of
greater concern than even the economy or plight of the NHS. Italy continues
to bare the brunt of boat loads of refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle
East or simply families or individuals seeking a more secure life. Over 3,000
drowned in 2014 in their attempt to cross the Mediterranean – most refugees
having been exploited by greedy human traffickers and/ or boat captains. The
influx of illegal immigrants into Italy has doubled in recent months and the
Italians are receiving little or no help from other EU countries with this
problem. In Calais, France – illegal immigrants queue up to try and smuggle
their way into Britain: living in squalid tented camps in nearby forests –
when they are not risking their lives by hiding under/ in or on top of trucks
bound for the UK.
All over the world, populations are on the move,
more and more refugee camps have to be opened and tensions remain high. On
the Mexico / United States border, desperate people continue to attempt to
reach Uncle Sam’s backyard and establish a more secure future. Most Western
countries now have a high percentage of ‘illegal’s’ within their populations:
all at risk of exploitation by unscrupulous elements. At least, in the USA,
many of these unfortunate people have been given amnesty and the opportunity
of proving their worth, paying their taxes and eventually gaining U.S
citizenship. In the UK & Europe, these men, women & children remain
in the shadows, often abused and having little hope for the future. With
Kepler-438b, the planet is 12 percent bigger than Earth, orbiting its star
once every 35.2 days – so there’s going to be more room to accommodate those
looking for a better life.
With Kepler-438b, new arrivals will
probably be able to grow their own vegetables, process their own food and if
NASA has got it right, water will not be a problem.
Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before
Kepler-438b of course has only just
been discovered – however for those thinking of a future new home or simply a
vacation from our own Alien Earth, NASA has already developed a list of
alternative planets that might just offer you your own private & secure
recently made travel posters for these real exoplanets, and they're superb.
Browse at your leisure.
telescope is still discovering new, distant exoplanets in our corner of the
Milky Way, but oftentimes they're hard to visualize and easily forgotten about
by some of us normal folk. Now, to get everyone dreaming about these
potentially habitable worlds, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has drawn up a
trio of beautiful posters by the "Exoplanet
Travel Bureau." All three echo the WPA's iconic travel prints from the mid-1930s,
with classic typefaces and swathes of flat, contrasting color. Given we don't
what each planet looks like, the designers have taken some creative liberties
here -- but they should still be more than enough to spark your own
imagination and curiosity in the stars.
Prior to the discovery of
Kepler-438b, NASA confirmed the existence of Kepler-186f: one of the most
Earth-like planets that NASA's space-venturing telescope has ever identified.
First uncovered last April, it sits roughly 500 light years from Earth and is
thought to be a rocky planet slightly larger than our own. Here, the artist
is playing with the idea that photosynthesis on the surface could be affected
by its nearby red dwarf star.
As the poster's design
implies, HD 40307g has a strong
gravitational pull that far outstrips the one found on Earth. Uncovered by a
team of astronomers using the HARPS spectograph at the European Southern
Observatory, it's considered a
super-Earth and sits 55.8 million miles from its parent star.
Two suns, you say? That's
right, just like Luke Skywalker's home world of Tatooine, Kepler-16b orbits a
pair of giant stars. NASA suspects the planet is a gas giant, so were you to
make the trip we wouldn't recommend walking outside and taking in a huge gulp
of fresh air.
So there you have it: a few ideas on
how to escape this ‘Alien Earth’ of ours and find a new home. I’ll be sorry
to say ‘Au Revoir’ to my home planet but unless our elected statesmen start
taking some hard decisions to rid Mother Earth of her many problems – I guess
I’ll just have to plan to boldly go where no man has gone before.
Take me back to the days of ‘Life on
Click above to access
of mines are scattered throughout our fragile blue planet. One British company
is attracting worldwide interest from governments, the military, law
enforcement & NGO’s with their small but powerful and cost effective
Angels Begin 2015 Winter Training
01/09/2015 01:23 PM EST
By Lt.j.g. Amber Lynn Daniel Blue
Angels Public Affairs Officer It is a new year, and your U.S. Navy Flight
Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, are already hard at work […]
This Week in YOUR Navy: Jan.
3 – Jan. 9
01/09/2015 11:09 AM EST
On any given day, in your U.S.
Navy, our team of more than 600,000 professional Sailors and civilians are
working together around the globe to perform our mission: deter aggression
MoD forced to ask US for help in tracking 'Russian submarine'
Mystery foreign submarine thought to be lurking
near UK’s Faslane naval base
Nimrod spy planes had been
mainstays of the RAF's reconnaissance fleet since the late 1960s and had a
central role in anti-submarine warfare, when they were scrapped with an
upgrade program running nine years late and £800 million over budget. Photo: Alamy
Ministry of Defence has again been forced to call for US military
assistance to help track a suspected Russian submarine spotted off the
Navy aircraft were drafted in to conduct anti-submarine patrols along with
a Royal Navy Frigate near the home of the UK’s Trident fleet at Faslane,
claimed the US deployment raised questions about the UK's ability to
protect its nuclear submarines following the scrapping of the RAF's £4bn
fleet of Nimrod surveillance aircraft in 2010.
Roberts, a senior fellow of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence
and Security Studies, told The Independent:
“It has left a gaping chasm in the UK's capabilities and left us highly
dependent on cooperation from our allies.”
thought the Russian presence could be linked to the reported departure of
one of the Royal Navy's Vanguard-class nuclear submarines from Faslane
naval base at Gare Loch on the River Clyde. The Vanguards carry Trident ballistic
"visits" from Russian subs have reportedly been "happening
quite often" off the north and west coasts of Scotland.
operation follows a deployment in November of two US Navy Orions, a Royal Canadian
Air Force Aurora and a French Dassault Atlantique.
suggested at the time that a suspected Russian submarine may have been
trying to track one of Britain's four Vanguard-class boats after a fishing
trawler spotted an "unknown submarine periscope" close to
search came a month after another suspected Russian submarine was spotted
off Sweden’s Stockholm archipelago and as relations with the Kremlin are at
their worst since the Cold War.
week, US crews coordinated with the anti-submarine frigate HMS Somerset,
which has been operating off Scotland for a month.
source at RAF Lossiemouth is reported to have disclosed that the US
aircraft, known as Skinny Dragons and usually based in Hawaii, have been
flying up to two missions a day since New Year's Eve.
Roberts, added: "HMS Somerset is a capable platform and I have no
doubt that her deployment alongside these US Navy aircraft is related to
the reported departure of a Royal Navy Vanguard ballistic missile submarine
from Faslane, and the countering of any Russian deployment from over the
Robertson MP, SNP defence spokesman, whose constituency contains RAF
Lossiemouth, said the deployment showed that Britain had resorted to going
to its allies with a "begging bowl".
spokesman said: "We can confirm that the UK recently requested
assistance from allied forces for basing of maritime patrol aircraft at RAF
Lossiemouth for a limited period. The aircraft have been conducting
maritime patrol activity with the Royal Navy; we do not discuss the detail
of maritime operations."
search for the unidentified foreign vessel was likened to the script from
Sean Connery’s 1990 film The Hunt for Red October, in which the actor
played a Soviet commander who defects to the US in a submarine equipped
with ballistic missiles.
Gen. Carlisle ‘Extremely Concerned’
About Drone Force
WASHINGTON: The Air Force has
worried for almost a decade about the strains on its workforce as
it fields more and more Predators, because drones need more
people to fly them than do manned aircraft. Now, the head of Air Combat
Command has told his boss, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh,
that he is “extremely
concerned” about a “perfect storm” of increased missions and fewer pilots.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm.
John Kirby was asked about the issue at today’s press briefing and he left
it to the Air Force to discuss. My colleague Dave Majumdar at the Daily Beast
got the memo.
“ACC believes we are about to see a
perfect storm of increased COCOM [Combatant Commander] demand, accession
reductions, and outflow increases that will damage the readiness and combat
capability of the MQ-1/9 enterprise for years to come,” Dave quotes
Carlisle saying in the memo. “ACC will continue to non-concur to
increased tasking beyond our FY15 [fiscal year 2015] force offering and
respectfully requests your support in ensuring the combat viability of the
As an Air Force officer reminded me
yesterday, this is not a new issue for the service. The Government Accountability Office issued a
report in April criticizing the Air Force’s management of the
drone force, saying that unless the service changed how it manages its
drone pilot forces “the Air Force risks perpetuating personnel shortages
and may need to continue relying on manned-aircraft pilots to fill its
Here’s the nub of the report:
“Air Force guidance states that low
crew ratios diminish combat capability and cause flight safety to suffer,
but the Air Force has operated below its optimum crew ratio and it has not
established a minimum crew ratio. Further, high work demands on RPA pilots
limit the time they have available for training and development and negatively
affects their work-life balance. In addition, the Air Force faces
challenges recruiting officers into the RPA pilot career and may face
challenges retaining them in the future. High-performing organizations
tailor their recruiting and retention strategies to meet their specific
mission needs, but the Air Force has not tailored its approach to
recruiting and retaining RPA pilots nor considered the viability of using
alternative personnel such as enlisted personnel or civilians.”
I checked the report to see if the
recommendations GAO made to the Air Force had been adopted, rejected or
acted on. All are marked as Open,
meaning that GAO has not verified any changes made by the Air Force.
So it may be that Hawk
Carlisle, who only took over as head of Air Combat Command in
October, doesn’t know about this part of the puzzle yet. The normal action
of a service faced with a problem like this is to throw money at it. And I
understand there is a good chance that the Carlisle will get more money for
more pilots in the upcoming budget.
It takes more than 80 people
to fly a full complement of four Predators for 24 hours. And there are a
lot of Predators flying. They are operating over Iraq, Syria, Pakistan,
Yemen and probably a whole lot of places we don’t know about on any given
day. But more pilots may not solve the longer term problem. As the
drawdown presumably proceeds over the next few years, the Air Force may
shrink a bit more. If military pay does not increase at the same rate as in
the civilian world you may see more people leave.
This is exactly the kind of problem
that increasingly will afflict the US military as money
shrinks but its global
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