Category Archives: Articles

The people’s brutal oppressors have never been far away

Afghanistan is no longer shocked by Taleban brutality

Most Afghans will be sickened, but I doubt they will be shocked, at the latest atrocity to emerge from Helmand. On Sunday night 17 Afghan men and women were butchered, many of them beheaded, for “partying with music in an area under the control of the Taleban,” as a spokesman for Helmand’s provincial governor put it.

According to a tribal elder, such killings have been on the rise in this region of Helmand, with three beheadings in the month of Ramadan alone. Executions are not only justified on so-called religious grounds. Many, including old women and children as young as 7, have
been slain after accusations of spying for Nato or the Afghan Government. Continue reading

Armed Forces Day flag

On Armed Forces Day, the Government must begin to treat our troops as they deserve

As a former soldier and taxpayer, I was deeply embarrassed when I visited barracks and found soldiers living in slum conditions

WHEN 1,200 soldiers, sailors and airmen march past the Earl of Wessex in Plymouth today they will represent all of the men and women who have served on land, at sea and in the skies around the world, protecting our country.

Off the shores of this historic naval port, at 2pm, one of our most powerful warships, HMS Argyll, will fire a 21-gun salute.

At fly-pasts, parades and ceremonies in towns and cities across the UK, we will commemorate the service so honourably given by our brave fighting troops. Continue reading

Eavesdropping cardinals

It’s an online war. The old weapons won’t do

I don’t like snooping either, but if we want to stop terrorists we must be free to monitor the technology they use

This week MPs, civil liberties campaigners and human rights lawyers stampeded to the studios to oppose plans to record internet communications that the Home Secretary says are “vital” to combat serious crime and terrorism.

In the past, I have had responsibility for authorising and carrying out surveillance against terrorist suspects, criminals and insurgents. I always felt uncomfortable eavesdropping on private phone conversations or covertly watching people at home with hidden cameras or powerful optics, or reading their e-mails and text messages. Continue reading

You can’t guard completely against these horrors

We understand stress now, but the Americans are unlikely to have foreseen the Kandahar killings

No British or American soldier will understand or tolerate any man wearing their uniform who goes out killing defenceless civilians, especially children, as happened in Afghanistan on Saturday night. We don’t yet know what motivated this sickening killing spree. But the killer surrendering himself rather than attempting to cover up his actions or trying to escape does not suggest an act of pre-meditated murder or conspiracy. Continue reading