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NEWS IN BRIEF

NEWS IN BRIEF

EUROPE

16 Feb 08. Iraq: OP TELIC. The number of internees in British detention has fallen from 86 to three. The MoD does not release convicted terrorists, those likely to be convicted or internees who pose an immediate threat to security. (MoD figures/spokesman, quoted by the Financial Times, 15 Feb 08.)
The Foreign Secretary welcomed the passing of three important laws by Iraq’s Parliament. The legislation sets a budget, provides for a limited amnesty for detainees and defines the relationship between Baghdad and local authorities. (FCO, 16 Feb 08.)
Comment: With Parliament not sitting, the MoD decided to ignore OP TELIC information during the past week (thus adding to the impression that the Services are not actually doing very much). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0808, 18 Feb 08)

11 Feb 08. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. Elements of 40 Commando, Royal Marines, and the Afghan National Army have been engaging Taliban positions near Kajaki in Northern Helmand as part of OP GHARTSE SPIKE. (MoD, 11 Feb 08.)
Troops from The King’s Royal Hussars; 4 Regiment, Royal Artillery and 1st Bn Scots Guards assisted Afghan troops in a raid in the Mosulmani area of Helmand. Around 20 kilograms of pure white heroin powder were seized. (MoD, 12 Feb 08.)
In addition to those from the Royal Marines Armoured Support Company, men from A Squadron, the Queen’s Royal Lancers have been trained to operate the Viking (all terrain protected vehicles). (MoD, 13 Feb 08.)
The 50,000-strong Afghan Army is projected to grow to 65,000 by Spring 2008. British soldiers, principally Gurkhas, are assisting with the training of the Afghans. (MoD, 14 Feb 08.)
1st Bn The Royal Irish Regiment is training for Afghanistan at Romney Marshes in Kent. The Battalion’s tasks are to include mentoring and assisting the Afghan National Army. (MoD, 15 Feb 08.)
Comment: While Iraq was ignored (see above), the MoD released Afghan ‘stories’ on a daily basis during the past week. Since the week included St Valentine’s Day, some of these ‘stories’ managed to reach a new depth of embarrassing drivel. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0808, 18 Feb 08)

15 Feb 08. Army equipment was sent out late. The army has admitted vital equipment was sent to Afghanistan 25 days late, arriving after the first British soldier died in Helmand Province. Capt James Philippson, 29, was the first casualty after troops were deployed in the region in June 2006. In a statement, the MoD said it was a “regrettable administrative error”. Capt Philippson’s father Tony, from St Albans, has said he will use his son’s inquest to tell Oxford Coroner’s Court about equipment shortages in the army. Before the hearing, Tony Philippson said he had seen a Board of Inquiry report into the matter. He said: “The report says they were missing “mission essential” equipment. They were sent out there without it.” He said the missing kit included night vision goggles, light, hand-held machine guns, and underslung grenade launchers to use against rocket-propelled grenades. (Source: BBC)
Comment: The Guardian reported that Capt. Philippson was killed whilst retrieving a Desert Hawk UAV.

14 Feb 08. BAE inquiry ‘put lives at risk’. The government thought “British lives on British streets” would have been at risk if an arms deal inquiry had not been dropped, court documents show. The claims were made at the start of a High Court challenge brought by the pressure groups Corner House Research and Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT). (Source: BBC)

Feb 08. Britten-Norman has purchased six BN2B-20 Islanders from Surveillance Australia Ltd. The aircraft were purchased to meet the ongoing demand for quality pre-owned Islander aircraft and will be available for onward sale from March 2008. The aircraft were previously used for maritime surveillance and are offered with IFR cockpit, autopilot, extended range tip tanks, observation windows, and an air-conditioned cabin as standard. The aircr

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