Sunday, 27 June 2010

Rolling Back Labour's State Controls

Beware of your eroding rights and liberties!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Some Irish are Not Amused - A Forthcoming Spree

Queen to visit Irish Republic by end of next year

Visit will be first by a British monarch since George V in 1911 at time of Home Rule crisis
Trooping the Colour
Security will be tight for the Queen's groundbreaking visit. Photograph: Lewis Whyld/PA

The Queen is to make a historic first visit to the Irish Republic before the end of next year. The last monarch to visit Ireland was George V, who went to Dublin in 1911 at the time of the Home Rule crisis, when the country was still part of the UK.
The taoiseach, Brian Cowen, made the announcement after meeting David Cameron at 10 Downing Street. Cowen said there had been a clear transformation in the relationship between Ireland and Britain, which should be reflected in normal diplomatic relationships.
The visit will be opposed by a number of republican dissident organisations. Republican Sinn Féin has vowed to bring demonstrators on to the streets of Dublin if the Queen visits the Irish capital.
Security will be extremely tight for the groundbreaking royal visit. The last major attack in Dublin on a British establishment target was in July 1976, when the Provisional IRA assassinated the UK's ambassador to Ireland, Christopher Ewart-Biggs. He died after his car was blown up by a landmine near his residence in south Dublin.
The Ewart-Biggs murder led to a crackdown in the Republic with the then Fine Gael-Labour coalition declaring a state of emergency. His widow, Jane, later declared that she had no bitterness towards the Irish people and launched a peace prize in her husband's name.
The Irish National Liberation Army almost murdered his successor several years later but a bomb near his pew in Dublin's Anglican cathedral failed to detonate.
Prince Charles is the most senior royal to have visited the Republic. His trip to Dublin was marked by violent demonstrations by republican groups. During protests outside Trinity College Dublin, which the prince visited, demonstrators threw potatoes in memory of the Irish potato famine.

(Reuters) - Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen invited Queen Elizabeth to visit Dublin, saying improvements in bilateral relations had opened the way for a first trip to the republic by a British monarch.

The island of Ireland, previously ruled by Britain, was split in the 1920s into a Free State comprising 26 counties while 6 counties remained part of the United Kingdom. The Free State later became the Republic of Ireland and the northern counties became Northern Ireland.

A conflict between mainly Catholic militants fighting for a united Ireland and predominantly Protestant groups backing Northern Ireland's union with Britain killed 3,600 people, in the last three decades of the 20th century.

A peace agreement in 1998 largely ended the violence and the British and Irish governments now closely cooperate to suppress militant activity which has intensified again since last year.

"No obstacle now exists ... for those normal courtesies of friendly neighbouring states exchanging visits through heads of state," Cowen told Irish national television RTE after meeting his British counterpart David Cameron in London.

"I think that would be a good development," Cowen said of a visit by the Queen. "It's timely now that we move on in this relationship."

Cowen said the visit might be before the end of Irish President Mary McAleese's term in office at the end of 2011.

A Buckingham Palace source said they do not comment on the Queen's travel plans in advance.

All mainstream Irish parties support the peace process but some nationalist groups declared their opposition to such a visit by Queen Elizabeth.

"Sinn Fein opposes the proposed state visit of the Queen of England, Commander-in-Chief of the British armed forces," said the party which is a small opposition force in the republic's parliament and a joint leader of Northern Ireland's regional executive.

"Until there is complete withdrawal of the British military and the British administration from Ireland ... no official welcome should be accorded to any officer of the British armed forces of any rank," Caoimhghin O Caolain, the leader of Sinn Fein deputies in the lower house in Dublin, said in a statement.

(Reporting by Andras Gergely in Dublin and Avril Ormbsy in London; Editing by Matthew Jones)

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Events in Cornwall

Golowan and Midsummer

Midsummer is here again and today marks the start of Penzance's Golowan festival - Many of the traditions of the Cornish Midsummer can be seen during the festival especially on the 23rd of June in Penzance's Chapel street for more details visit;


Celebrate Kernow Penzance are holding their own Midsummer fire on the 21st on Long Rock Beach Penzance from 9pm - Turn left at the main level crossing and walk 2 mins toward Marazion you will find us.


The Old Cornwall Societies are holding there own fires on the 23rd of June and details can be found by visiting there website here;


Trereife folk festival continues today as part of the build up to Golowan - excellent Cornish acts included please visit; for full line up

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The Truth about the Derry Massacre

Adams comments on Saville Report

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams was in Derry today for the publication of the Saville Inquiry in to Bloody Sunday.  Commenting from Derry he said that the report put the "lies of the Widgery Report in the Dustbin of history."
The Sinn Féin President said, “Today is a day for the families of those killed and those injured on Bloody Sunday.

“They have campaigned for 38 years for the truth and for justice. They have campaigned for the British government to end their policy of cover-up and concealment.

“The facts of what happened on Bloody Sunday are clear – the British Paras came to Derry and murdered 14 civil rights marchers and injured 13 others. They were unarmed, they posed no threat and they were completely innocent.

“Today Saville has put the lies of Widgery into the dustbin of history and with it the cover-up which was authorized of the highest levels within the British Establishment and lasted for almost four decades.

“Sinn Féin will continue to support the Bloody Sunday families in the time ahead.” CRÍOCH

Icelanders are not Terrorists
Iceland is now bankrupt because of reckless banking practices. Why then did the Labour Government suggest that UK Local Councils invest vast sums of public money "offshore" in Icelandic banks. Now Labour have inflicted the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act of 2001 law against the Icelanders.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

A Spring Referendum for a Parliament for Wales

Assembly referendum 'by the end of March'

A REFERENDUM on the Assembly’s powers should be held by the end of March next year, Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said today.
She has written to First Minister Carwyn Jones formally turning down the Assembly’s request for a poll to be held in the autumn this year. She said not enough work had been done by the previous Labour government to allow for a poll this year.
A vote in parliament on the referendum date will take place "as soon as possible", following a consultation by the Electoral Commission on the wording of the question, she said.
In her letter to Mr Jones, Ms Gillan said: "Both you and I and the Deputy First Minister have discussed a possible timetable for the referendum, taking account of all the stages that need to be gone through to prepare for it.
"In the light of our discussion, we have agreed that we should aim for a referendum to be held before the end of the first quarter of 2011."
She added: "The UK coalition Government remains committed to progressing the referendum, and to laying the draft referendum Order as soon as possible, following receipt of the Electoral Commission’s report on the question."
The poll – which would offer the Assembly similar powers to the Scottish Parliament in already-devolved areas – has been the subjected of a political row since last month’s General Election.
Presiding Officer Lord Elis-Thomas put forward a third option at the weekend – a referendum in autumn 2011. This would break a promise in teh Labour-Plaid Cymru Assembly coalition deal, which said the vote should take place before the next devolved elections in May next year.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Prince Owain Glyndwr Ceremony Programme




In The Marquee on Parliament Green.:
12 – 1pm. The Displaying of the Glyndŵr Crown and Rhys Jones will be singing.

1 – 2.30pm. Dramatic Storytelling by Millijacdo.

Between noon and 4pm. There will be activities for children taking place in the children’s corner which will include face painting and a puppet show by Cwmni Cortyn who will act out the story of the Coronation of Owain Glyndŵr and the assassination attempt of Dafydd Gam.
There will also be a bbq and other refreshments available.

The Folk Band ‘Y Mari Lwyd and other musicians will be entertaining in different locations throughout the afternoon.

8pm. ‘Gŵyl Dathlu Coroni Glyndŵr Gig’ with…
Hufen Ia Poeth
Y Mari Lwyd
Lazarus & the Lambs (without the lambs)
Huw Chiswell.
Tickets £10 by the door. Bar available.

Come and join in the chorus of Lazarus’s lively song about Owain Glyndŵr (it’s akin to a ghost dance!) Tha challenge is to try and stop yourselves from joining in. Come and dance to Hufen Ia Poeth, Y Mari Lwyd and Huw Chiswell.

Come and join us in the exitement of this the first (since 2004) of many annual ‘Gwyl Dathlu Coroni Glyndŵr festivals to come. We can sustain it with your help and support – and remember, if there are any ‘clerwyr’ (musicians/perfformers) out there who feel like just turning up with an instrument to play inside (or outside any of the pubs etc, please come in your legions. Camping facilities are being provided for free. Just contact John (one of the festival organisers) on 07703503829 for more info on camping arrangements.


See you there!.


Saturday, 12 June 2010

The Flag of Glyndwr, not of St George

COMMEMORATING NATIONALLY OUR 'DYDD Y SENEDD 21 MEHEFIN 1404' - 2010 National Events & Activities both at CEFN CAER, Pennal and at GŴYL DATHLU CORONI OWAIN GLYNDŴR' in Machynlleth & elsewhere in Wales over 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 June 2010.

Fly the Glyndŵr flags on civic buildings, your homes, businesses, shops pubs and on your car. Let's blot out the St George's flag with 'Baner Glyndŵr!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Commemorating a Dead Hero and National Tywysog

From: Cenedl Glyndwr


The annual 'Displaying of the Glyndŵr Crown Ceremony' and the official opening of the Glyndŵr Heroes Memorial Garden. 19th June 2010

Regular visitors to this blog should by now be familiar with the annual 'Displaying of the Glyndŵr Crown Ceremony' so, rather than repeat information that has appeared in earlier blog posts, I will suggest that those that are unfamiliar with the ceremony will do well to browse through earlier blog postings in the archives of this blog to learn the history of this ceremony as well as its purpose.

Having stated the above it now gives me great pleasure to invite one and all to join us at Machynlleth for this year's ceremony; the programme will be as follows:
Saturday Morning and Afternoon, the 19th June 2010
.The Displaying of the Crown Ceremony: 
10.45am. Assemble by the War Monument by Moma.
11am. Parade behind the piper, the Custodian of the crown – and the crown, and the flag escort through the town to ‘Y Plas’ to be met by Machynlleth Town Council reps and the Mayor.
At entrance to the Plas,The Custodian will ceremonially pass the Glyndŵr crown over to the Mayor. The mayor will give a short speech and then will take his place behind the piper and the flag escort to lead the parade procession through the town to the Parliament House. There he will place. the crown on public display -for an hour only this year. Its usually for the duration of the afternoon but the Custodian of the Crown has to leave, with it, so that he will be at Cefn Caer to welcome participants for the Official Opening of the Glyndŵr Heroes Garden.

The Glyndŵr Heroes Memorial Garden
.Yes, this year we will be opening a Memorial Garden at Cefn Caer. Embassy Glyndŵr is assisting Cefn Caer to establish this Memorial Garden for Owain Glyndŵr's fallen heroes, that is, the ones that we know of that, either fell, or were captured, tortured and executed during the War of Independence. The garden is to be opened at 3pm on the 19th June during the annual 'Gŵyl Dathlu Coroni Glyndŵr' which is to take place at Machynlleth during that weekend. More on the Gŵyl later

.Cefn Caer itself is paying for a nicely decorated slate plaque which will be placed on the wall alongside the entrance to the garden which will explain (bilingually) what the garden is about and we are hoping that each community in Wales that has a fallen Glyndŵr hero will donate a slate plaque to be placed in the garden in memory of that hero.
The slate plaques, made from Blaenau Ffestiniog slate, will all be A4 in size and will carry a message  for the hero of each community. We have decided that the plaques in the garden will be in 'Cymraeg' only as everyone (from wherever they may come) can make the effort to learn the few words that will be on the plaques and should they need assistance to read them, then Elfyn Rowlands, present owner of Cefn Caer will be happy to assist.
Each plaque will cost £100 and we would have liked to have been able to unveil 5 on the 19th June. They were to be in memory of Philip Scudamore of Troy, Gwent, Rhys Ddu of Ceredigion, Rhys and Ednyfed ap Tudur of Ynys Môn and Bishop Trefor of St Asaph. Its the 600th anniversary of the deaths of these five heroes this year. The first four were all captured in 1409 and hung, drawn and quartered in 1410 and Bishop Trefor died in exile in Paris in the same year.
However, to date, we have 3 plaques ready for unveiling on the 19th. The people of the communities of Ceredigion and Denbigh have payed for their plaques for Rhys Ddu and Bishop John Trefor and two donors have paid for a plaque for the 'Gwerin Owain. These three plaques will be unveiled on the 19th June this year.
We then have £50 in hand for a plaque for one of the Tudur Brothers of Penmynydd, Môn. We need another £150 from Anglesey patriots to pay the remaining cost for the one plaque and the full price for the other and we have £20 in hand from the patriots of Gwent to pay for a plaque for Philip Scudamore. Now, as we all know, Glyndŵr's heroes came from all over Wales and a roll call of the names of the ones we know of will be read out in the Memorial Garden on the afternoon of the 19th June. If your community has a 'Glyndŵr hero' and you would like that hero commemorated with all the others in the Ardd Goffa Arwyr Glyndŵr', then please raise the necessary £100 for the plaque and give me (Sian) a ring on 01792 533806. m.07772321511 for instructions as to where to send your cheque. 
In due course, all the plaques will be attached to a central plinth that will also be the base for a central memorial. More about this in due course, in the meantime, see below the programme for the opening of the Memorial Garden.
Opening of 'Glyndŵr Heroes Memorial Garden' at Cefn Caer, Pennal. 3pm Sat 19th June 2010.

3pm. Piper will play a lament by the entrance to the garden.
Elfyn Rowlands will welcome everyone to Cefn Caer for the opening of the Glyndŵr Heroes Memorial Garden.
Siân Ifan of Llysgenhadaeth Glyndŵr will give a roll call of the Glyndŵr heroes that we know of – and that will, hopefully, in due course, all be remembered in the garden.
Mayor of Machynlleth will be invited to come forward to open the garden.
Those present will line up behind the Mayor to enter the garden to participate in the unveiling of three plaques.
A representative of the Community of Ceredigion will be called on to unveil the plaque to Rhys Ddu.
Terry Breverton, author of ‘Owain Glyndwr: The Story of the Last Prince of Wales’, will present a brief history on the life and death of Glyndŵr hero Bishop John Trefor..
A representative of the Community of Denbighshire will be called on to unveil the plaque to Bishop Trefor.
Llysgenhadaeth Glyndŵr will present a brief history on the Glyndŵr heroes ‘The Gwerin Owain’.
One of the two donors of this plaque will unveil it.
The National Anthem will be sung to the accompanment of the Piper..
A Member of the Gŵyl Dathlu Glyndŵr Machynlleth will be invited to come forward to announce further events to take place in Machynlleth during the rest of the Gŵyl.

Gŵyl Blynyddol Dathlu Coroni Glyndŵr Machynlleth.
.Please note that the first 'Dydd y Senedd' (21 Mehefin 1404) National Glyndŵr Festival, since the huge successful 600th Anniversary Commemoration organised in 2004 by Embassy Glyndŵr,  is to be held this year in Machynlleth on the weekend of 17- 19 June 2010. This year's 'Gŵyl Dathlu Coroni Owain Glyndŵr' is an entirely local community Initiative which aims to organise such annually as the premier National Glyndŵr festival around and about the 21st June mid summer anniversary of the most signifigant event in our nation's history. Embassy Glyndŵr of course supports fully this magnificent effort by Pobl Glyndwr - Ardal Machynleth in advancing this great Gwaith Glyndŵr Commemorative Initiative and call upon all Pobl Glyndŵr Cymru to fully support by making every effort to attend a full and worthy programme of events and activities. This is merely an advance notice that the festival is on so that you can all get prepared to make your way to Machynlleth this weekend - especially Saturday. I have not revieved the full Festival programme yet, but when I do, I will immediately post it so, 'watch this space' - as is said!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Alan Stivell - Brian Boru

Alan Stivell - Suite Irlandaise

For an Independent Brittany

The Argument for Independence

Independence and national identity are emotive issues, but the arguments in favour of a greater level of autonomy for Brittany are very strong and rest upon historical, geographic, cultural, and economic considerations.

Economic Arguments
  The myth that has been taught to schoolchildren for the past one hundred years is that Brittany is an intrinsically poor country, hampered by poor soil and bad weather. The real truth, however, is that for most of its history Brittany has been extremely prosperous, and that it only started to go into economic decline once it became united with France.

During the Middle Ages Brittany was one of the wealthiest areas of Europe: the interior was home to a thriving textile industry, and the coastal areas maintained a merchant fleet that was one of the most successful of the age, trading salt, textiles, fish and agricultural products across Northern Europe and down to Spain and Portugal.

The wealth accumulated by these activities attracted the jealousy of neighbouring countries, which is the reason why the King of France forced Anne of Brittany to marry him in 1491, a marriage which eventually led to a union of the two states. Brittany remained semi-autonomous and reasonably prosperous until the Revolution, when it was finally amalgamated into the rest of France. The next hundred years of its history were marked by famines and widespread destitution – giving rise to the short-sighted idea that Brittany has always been impoverished.

Although outwardly prosperous, the modern Breton economy is now dependent on agricultural subsidies and funding from central government – which, in economic terms, is disastrous.

A clear argument can be made that Brittany would be more successful in diversifying its economy and creating wealth, if its people had a greater level of control over their own affairs.

Cultural Arguments
  The Breton language has survived to the present time; there is still a tradition of Breton music; and there is a wealth of stories and traditions which are specific to this part of the world. These are the sorts of cultural ingredients which are required to support the sense of identity and common purpose required for a successful unit of government. The idea of an autonomous Brittany makes a lot more sense than many other administrative regions that have been created in Europe and around the world in recent times.

Geographical Arguments
  People disagree as to where the eastern border of Brittany ought to lie – for most of the past thousand years Nantes and the ‘Loire Atlantique’ have been part of Brittany – but even a cursory glance of a map of Europe marks the Breton peninsular out as a distinctive geographical area, easily distinguished from the rest of France. Many aspects of life in Brittany are dictated by the weather and the sea, which makes it have more in common with places such as Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Cornwall than with mainland Europe.

Historical Arguments
It is, perhaps, history that provides the strongest reasons in favour of a change in the way that Brittany governs itself.

Over the years the people of this region have had many different relationships with the rest of Europe, and there is no reason to suppose that the present arrangement should be regarded as permanent.

In ‘pre-historical’ times, Brittany was inhabited by people about whom we know very little except that they erected the menhirs, dolmens, and covered alleyways that are so common in the Breton countryside. These monuments are quite distinct from remains found in other parts of mainland Europe, but do bear a resemblance to sites in the UK, in India, and in China. This would suggest that, in those days, Brittany was an outward-looking country, more closely allied to countries across the ocean than to its neighbours on the mainland.

Immediately prior to the Roman occupation, Brittany was inhabited by Gallic tribes, each of which was autonomous but loosely linked to other Gallic people by Druids who travelled freely throughout France, Britain, Belgium, Switzerland and northern Italy. The Druids did not constitute a form of government, (or a religion in today’s sense of the word) but do seem to have provided training and spiritual guidance which knitted the Gauls together into a unified nation: it seems unlikely that a tribal chief could have maintained power without the support of the Druids.

Julius Caesar ruthlessly suppressed this civilisation – in modern parlance his ‘campaigns’ would be termed genocide – and Brittany, along with the rest of Gaul, was incorporated into the Roman Empire.

All sense of self-determination was lost over the course of the next four centuries, and, when the Western Empire finally collapsed, the people living in this area had no more idea of how to govern themselves than anyone else in Rome’s former dominions.

But, whereas most of the continent was overrun by tribes from the east (Visigoths, Ostragoths, Huns, Franks, etc.) something unusual happened in Brittany. The Romans had left Britain a few years previously, and it had been settled by people from Saxony: the Saxons. For a time, harmony was established between the native Celts and the newcomers and, consequently, Britain could enjoy a time of peace and prosperity just as chaos was engulfing the rest of Europe. (It is to this period that the legends of King Arthur and Merlin are often dated.)

‘Saints’, or wise men, crossed over from Britain to Brittany and set up sanctuaries in which they taught and helped the local people. The names of some of these men have become legendary and include the ‘Seven Founding Saints’ of Brittany – Malo, Samson, Brieuc, Tugdual, Pol Aurélien, Corentin and Patern.

Towns built up around where they settled (St Brieuc, St Pol de Leon, St Malo, etc.), composed of local people, plus Britons who came to join them. It is only since this time that this region has been known as Brittany and that its people have spoken Breton. It would seem that it is to these founding saints that Brittany owes its traditional love of freedom and independence: Brittany was the only part of modern France which did not fall under the control of Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire, and subsequently Brittany succeeded in resisting a Norman invasion of the type that overwhelmed Britain.

For several centuries Brittany had the status of an independent Duchy, recognised by the Pope in Rome but not allied to any particular kingdom. This independence was lost when Brittany was united with France in 1532. Some modern historians blame this union on the greed of Breton nobles who preferred to accept gifts from the French court than to defending their independence; others have maintained that some form of union was inevitable given the state of European politics at the time. Whatever the case, the young heiress to the Duchy, Anne of Brittany, found herself helpless and besieged by a French army in Rennes and was forced to agree to marry the French king, which signalled the end of Breton independence.

Brittany retained separate institutions (in much the same way as Scotland retained its own legal system after it was united with England), but these were swept away in the French Revolution. Since then Brittany has, administratively, simply been part of France.

The late 1800s and early 1900s were a difficult time for Brittany because the government in Paris had little understanding of the region and no empathy with its history and culture: a legacy with which people are still trying to come to terms today.

The Future
  The arguments in favour of Breton devolution are so overwhelming that it is almost inevitable that the region will acquire a greater level of control over it own affairs at some point in the future. The question is when and in what form? Many people are fearful of the phrase ‘Breton independence’ because it conjures up an image of militancy, but, if it is true that Brittany does need a greater degree of autonomy before it can move forward, then it would be those people who defend the status quo that posed the greatest threat to its future.

Friday, 4 June 2010

In the Interests of Objectivity....

Israeli Commando: 'We Had No Choice'

JERUSALEM - When St.-Sgt. S. fast-roped down from an air force Black Hawk helicopter onto the Mavi Marmara Turkish passenger ship on Monday morning, he did not expect to be landing in what he called “a battlefield” and facing off against a group of “murderous mercenaries.”
The 15th and last naval commando from Flotilla 13 (the Shayetet) to rappel down onto the ship from the helicopter, S. said on Thursday that he was immediately attacked by what the IDF has called “the mob of mercenaries” aboard the vessel, just like the soldiers who had boarded just before him.

Looking to his side, he saw three of his commanders lying wounded – one with a gunshot wound to the stomach and another with a gunshot wound to the knee. A third was lying unconscious; his skull was fractured by a devastating blow with a metal bar.
As the next in the chain of command, S., who has been in the Shayetet for three and a half years, immediately took charge.

He pushed the wounded soldiers up against the wall of the upper deck and created a perimeter of soldiers around them to begin treating their wounds, he said. He then arranged his men to form a second perimeter, and pulled out his 9 mm. Glock pistol to stave off the charging attackers and to protect his wounded comrades.

The attackers had already seized two pistols from the commandos, and fired repeatedly at them. Facing more than a dozen of the mercenaries, and convinced their lives were in danger, he and his colleagues opened fire, he said. S. singlehandedly killed six men. His colleagues killed another three.

On Thursday, S. sat down with The Jerusalem Post at the Shayetet’s base in northern Israel for an exclusive interview, during which he described the dramatic events aboard the Mavi Marmara on Monday; he is being considered for a medal of valor.
“When I hit the deck, I was immediately attacked by people with bats, metal pipes and axes,” S. told the Post. “These were without a doubt terrorists. I could see the murderous rage in their eyes and that they were coming to kill us.”

S. does not look like a hero. Well-built, like all commandos in the Shayetet, he is also soft-spoken and stingy with words, but his commander Lt.-Col. T. fills in the blanks.
“S. did a remarkable job,” T. said. “He stabilized the situation and succeeded in hitting six of the terrorists.”

Based on preliminary results of its investigation into the navy’s takeover of the Mavi Marmara, which ended with nine dead passengers and more than 30 wounded, the IDF said on Thursday that the commandos were attacked by a well-trained group of mercenaries, most of whom were found without IDs but with thousands of dollars in their pockets.

The group was well trained and was split into a number of squads of about 20 mercenaries each distributed throughout the upper deck, the IDF said. All of the mercenaries wore gas masks and ceramic bulletproof vests and were armed with either bats, slingshots, metal bars, knives or stun grenades.
The IDF’s understanding is that the mercenaries mainly chose dual-purpose items of this sort rather than guns, since opening fire would have made it blatantly clear that they were terrorists and not so-called peace activists.

Nevertheless, the IDF suspects that the group did have some guns of its own. Israeli forensic experts who examined the ship found casings belonging to a weapon that was not used by the commandos, and the Turkish captain of the ship later told the IDF that the “mercenaries” threw their weapons overboard after the commandos took control of the vessel.

T. said he realized the group they were facing was well-trained and likely ex-military after the commandos threw a number of stun grenades and fired warning shots before rappelling down onto the deck. “They didn’t even flinch,” he said. “Regular people would move.”

Each squad of the “mercenaries” was equipped with a Motorola communication device, the IDF said, so they could pass information to one another. Assessments in the defense establishment are that members of the group were affiliated with international global jihad elements and had undergone training in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. S. on Thursday downplayed his involvement in the operation. “I did what I was trained to do and now I move on,” he said.

In contrast to earlier reports, the commandos said that they began using their weapons within a minute and a half after boarding the ship, due to the extreme violence they faced. One of the reasons S. pulled out his gun right after landing on the ship was because one of the mercenaries was pointing a pistol, snatched from one of the commandos, at another commando’s head.
© 2010 The Jerusalem Post. All Rights Reserved


Thursday, 3 June 2010

Labour's Legacy for Scotland and the UK

From the SNP

“The NHS will pay more to banks in repayments over the next five years for three hospitals than those hospitals are actually worth. That is an example of the profligacy and incompetence that characterised Labour’s financial management and that Scotland’s public services are now paying for.
“After taking out repayment policies like this Labour has no credibility left on public spending and must answer to NHS staff and patients who are left facing up to Labour’s outrageous debts."

This painful price for 13 years of profligacy

Last updated at 7:51 AM on 26th May 2010

Former Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liam Byrn
'Wretched': Former Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liam Byrne left a cynical note for his successor noting 'there's no money left'
The response to yesterday’s announcement from Treasury chief secretary David Laws that he planned some £6billion in spending cuts couldn’t have been more predictable – or more pathetic. 
Liam Byrne, Labour’s discredited Treasury spokesman, claimed that the cuts package would plunge Britain back into what he called a ‘double dip’ recession. 
Meanwhile, a phalanx of trade unionists came forward to warn of economic devastation and a massive loss of public sector jobs. 
But it is obvious that Mr Byrne does not know what he is talking about. 
Britain’s total economic product adds up to well over £1trillion. 
The idea that the loss of £6billion (scarcely 0.5 per cent of the whole economy) could make the slightest difference is economic illiteracy of a very high order. 
The horrific truth is that unless this country starts to make cuts now, international markets will lose confidence in our economy and plunge us into the same kind of financial crisis that Greece is enduring. 
Moreover, the main problem with the economic package from George Osborne and David Laws is not – as the Labour Party claims – that their cuts have come too soon. It is that – as a result of Labour’s delay and defeat – they have come much too late.
The facts are simply terrifying. 

This year the Government is set to spend approximately £170billion more than it will generate from taxation – that’s a phenomenal £500million a day.
Our indebtedness is far, far higher than it has ever been before in peacetime – the direct result of Gordon Brown’s crass management of the economy. 
Indeed, the wretched Mr Byrne admitted as much when he left a cynical note behind to his successor after the election noting that ‘there’s no money left’. 
However, that infamous letter actually understates the scale of the problem. 
We actually ran out of our own money, thanks to Labour’s profligacy several years ago. Now we have run out of other people’s money as well.   
Thirteen years ago, when Labour took over from the Tories, the national debt stood at a comparatively modest £350billion. 
Over the past decade that has doubled to just over £700billion. 
Tragically, under Treasury projections, that sum is set to double again over the next five years to around £1.4trillion. 
Even these unimaginable sums of money hugely underestimate the scale of the problem. 
It is now dawning on financial experts that Mr Brown hid much of our public debt (such as the giant liabilities incurred by our public sector pension funds) off the national balance sheet. Only urgent, hideous and painful surgery can tackle a problem like this.
The £6billion which Mr Laws and Mr Osborne are planning to wipe from the national spending ledger this year represents only a fraction of the work that needs to be done. 
Indeed, the scale of what lies ahead can hardly be exaggerated. 
The cuts that await us over the next few years are far greater than the so-called ‘savage’ cuts imposed by Margaret Thatcher and her Chancellor Geoffrey Howe in the 1980s. 
In all, at least £80billion – and very likely far more, depending on economic circumstances in the years ahead – need to be slashed from annual national expenditure. Therefore, there is huge pain in the pipeline.
Yesterday’s axe was merely for starters. The true scale of cuts will only partly be apparent by the time of Mr Osborne’s emergency budget on June 22. 
And the complete picture will be clear only much later in the year, when he announces the results of his comprehensive spending review of all future departmental expenditure. 
Bear in mind that, thanks to the prolifically prudent but cowardly decision to protect spending on the NHS, some departments face cuts on a scale that calls their very existence into question. 
Let’s take the Ministry of Defence. 
Currently, Britain is fighting a bloody and terrible war in Afghanistan and has military commitments all over the globe. Yet no less than £7billion – roughly one quarter of all defence expenditure – looks set for the chop. 
Major programmes, such as the Eurofighter, may have to go. So will plans to build new aircraft carriers. The idea of Britain as a nation with a defence capacity to police the globe will vanish. 
In order to understand the monstrous amounts involved in this whole process, it is helpful to contemplate the measures already taken by near bankrupt European countries such as Spain, Greece and Ireland. 
Most public programmes have been stopped. Civil service pay has been cut by as much as 20 per cent while the age at which state workers can receive pensions has risen sharply. Unemployment benefits have been slashed, while taxation has risen sharply. 
Here, it can now be taken for granted that VAT will rise from the present 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent and quite possibly more. 
Punitively, the budget changes that are now inevitable over the next five years will change us forever as a nation. 
The truth is that Britain resembles a profligate and irresponsible family which has long been living way beyond its means. 
We have enjoyed an exaggerated idea of our international standing, and a standard of living to which we are not entitled. Finally, the bank manager is now calling in his loans – and giving us the unpleasant choice between bankruptcy or a very painful drop in living standards. 
By the luxurious standards of the New Labour years, yesterday’s cuts – the slashing of several quangos, the loss of tens of thousands of student places and the ending of certain civil service perks – may have sounded very severe. 
But in comparison to what is to come, they were nothing.
Sailors sometimes talk of seeing a ‘cloud no bigger than a man’s hands’ on the distant horizon. Now we lie in wait for the hurricane.