Monday, July 31, 2006

Driving around our country.

We take it for granted being able to tour around in the Uk. We do not worry about being stopped by Police or being attacked by locals in another part of our country. We just jump into our cars without much thought and enjoy the countryside and seaside resorts.

Iraq is riddled with sectarian violence and the 6 million residents of Baghdad live from day to day in the fear of violence against them. They naturally want to get away from it all but where to? They can remember holidays to places within Iraq that they enjoyed before the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. Baghdad Treasure writes about the anxiety of his trip with friends to Northern Iraq. He wonders if he was jumping from the frying pan into the fire. This tale informs the reader of the gritty reality of life in Iraq for the average man in the street where you wonder if the Police are actually police and whether the locals may suddenly turn very nasty indeed. Terror has no religion and can strike unexpectedly as this 1 minute 04 seconds of video shows. It is a mock up of a suicide bomber but excellently shot, as a piece of advertising footage it is top rate and gets it's message across very well.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

It looks like things are going to plan.

Oh yes, it certainly does look like things are going to plan for the Israel Defense Forces in their campaign against Lebanon. It has been revealed that this offensive was planned long ago...

"Of all of Israel's wars since 1948, this was the one for which Israel was most prepared," said Gerald Steinberg, professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University. "In a sense, the preparation began in May 2000, immediately after the Israeli withdrawal, when it became clear the international community was not going to prevent Hezbollah from stockpiling missiles and attacking Israel. By 2004, the military campaign scheduled to last about three weeks that we're seeing now had already been blocked out and, in the last year or two, it's been simulated and rehearsed across the board."

More than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to U.S. and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail. Under the ground rules of the briefings, the officer could not be identified.

In his talks, the officer described a three-week campaign: The first week concentrated on destroying Hezbollah's heavier long-range missiles, bombing its command-and-control centers, and disrupting transportation and communication arteries. In the second week, the focus shifted to attacks on individual sites of rocket launchers or weapons stores. In the third week, ground forces in large numbers would be introduced, but only in order to knock out targets discovered during reconnaissance missions as the campaign unfolded. There was no plan, according to this scenario, to reoccupy southern Lebanon on a long-term basis.

So America knew about these plans a long time ago. Perhaps this explains why America has stood back from getting involved because they knew the time frame required for Israel to conclude their aggressive campaign against Lebanon. Only now has Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State appeared on the scene and our Foreign Secretary has not made a worthwhile contribution since her feeble responses in the house. I suspect Tony Blair knew about this campaign long before it kicked off which just goes to show that the capture of the 2 Israeli soldiers was the excuse Israel had been waiting for a long, long time.

Monday, July 24, 2006

I have received a reply from The Planning Inspectorate...

Dear Mr Clynes

Thank you for your enquiry below.

We are not aware of any challenge being mounted in the High Court to the Inspector's decision and the 6 week challenge period has now expired.

Any time limit will for work to be carried out in connection with the fence is now a matter for the Council as the local planning authority. Once a decision is issued we have no further jurisdiction over it and it is now for the Council to decide what action should be taken. You can send an e-mail. See:

They will probably need the application reference rather than the appeal: 05/01422/W

Nic Shepherd

The Planning Inspectorate
Crown Buildings
Cathays Park

So today I have sent an email to our council...


Subject: 05/1422/W

Dear Sir/Madam

Re: Planning Application No: 05/1422/W
Retention of Feathered Edge Fence at 7 Whinberry Way, St Fagans, Cardiff.

Following the refusal of the above planning application by Cardiff County Council, Mr C Black appealed to The Planning Inspectorate. His appeal reference no APP/Z6815/A/06/1197717 was dismissed on the 25th April 2006 and I have looked forward to the removal of this offending fence. The weeks have rolled by and this fence is still in place. I did not expect this fence to be removed immediately and feel the applicant should be given sufficient time to complete this work. No work has taken place and I wonder if Mr Black thinks this issue has been forgotten?

Please can you tell me,

1) How much time is an applicant given to comply with a planning order?

2) What can I do to invoke compliance with a planning decision?

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Clynes
11 Crosswells Way
St Fagans

Again, time will tell what happens next.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The fence has not moved.

The weeks roll by since the I received a letter from The Planning Inspectorate and the guy at the end of my road has not complied with the planning decision and moved his fence back to it's original position. I feel he has no intention of moving this offending fence so I have sent an email off to The Planning Inspectorate...


Subject: APP/Z6815/A/06/1197717

Dear Sir/Madam,

I read with interest the outcome of the planning appeal put forward by Mr C Black concerning the retention of his Feathered Edge Fence at 7 Whinberry Way, St Fagans, Cardiff.

The above planning application was REFUSED on 25th April 2005 and I have looked forward to the removal of this offending fence. The weeks have rolled by and this fence is still in place. I did not expect this fence to be removed immediately and feel the applicant should be given sufficient time to complete this work. No work has taken place and I wonder if Mr Black thinks this issue has been forgotten?

Please can you tell me,

1) Has Mr Black appealed against this planning decision?

2) How much time is an applicant given to comply with a planning order?

3) What can I do to invoke compliance with a planning decision?

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Clynes
11 Crosswells Way
St Fagans

I wonder what will happen next? Time will tell but I have not forgotten.

Monday, July 17, 2006

What next for Beirut?

I watch the news on my television and read my newspaper everyday but the situation in Beirut gets worse day by day. How these people are suffering, a suffering they do not deserve at the evil hands of Israel. There are bloggers in Beirut at the moment and here is a snapshot of the feeling at the moment...

Where to Lebanon? writes...

The whole Hezbollah / Israel fiasco started a few days back. Each day it gets worse, and I guess it will get much worse before it gets better. I hate hearing the bombs, my heart skips a beat every time as I wonder how close am I to the bombing. Should I move to a room with no windows or stay put? I usual wait to hear my mom’s footsteps, to reassure myself that all is well. The booms seem to be always followed by a car’s alarm going off. Then silence. I am also tired of the lack of a full night’s sleep. I wake up to a boom then can’t go back to sleep. I look for any radio station to hear what is going on, but all I get is Fairuz or Marcel Khalife singing war songs. Then I go back to sleep to wake up to another boom. Morning comes, and I turn on the news for more of the same.

I know my neighbourhood should be safe. I don’t think the Israeli’s will target non-Hezbollah areas yet. I am in a much better position that those poor souls in the south or in the Dahia. Other than the noise, worry, boredom, anger, and jittery nerves, I am not suffering much. I even went to them gym yesterday. It is funny to be on a treadmill while watching pictures of war not too far from me.

Ur Shalim writes...

Far Beyond Collective Punishment. Lebanon: Collective Death

Haret Hureik and its surroundings are inhabited by about two hundred and fifty thousand [250000] civilians.
It has been totally destroyed. Two hospitals are damaged. Our home and homes of family and friend all gone. Their lives were barely saved. Some acquaintances are already dead.
And you tell me not to look at the TV as not to feel bad.
The rest of the suburbs has about 750000 civilians. It is now under renewed attacks. Some civilians are trapped.
Israel is warning civilians in cities and villages in South Lebanon to leave.
But Israel has damaged all roads and bridges leading out.
Internationally prohibited phosphorus bombs are used against civilians in South Lebanon.
More massacres will be committed by the Israelis, as usual.
The Israelis will also repeat that stupid line claiming that "terrorists" are hiding behind civilians.
And some expect me to understand, appreciate, excuse and justify this because the "morally superior" IDF (IOF) said it is only attacking HizbAllah.

Jamal Ghosn writes...

Islamist resistance movements are only new comers to the picture. Long before Hezbollah and Hamas, Israeli oppression of Palestinians and Lebanese created many resistance movements. None of them were Islamist. The initial wave of resistance was leftist and secular. Israel’s destruction of these movements aided the rise in Islamist movements. Israel preferred dealing with Islamists because waging a war on “religious wackos” would be an easier sell for their PR machine. The invasions of Lebanon in 1978 and 1982 were before Hezbollah even existed. Comatose Sharon’s claim to fame in Sabra and Shatila was one of the reasons Hezbollah started appealing to the populace. That was in 1983 long after 1948 and 1967 when Islamism was nowhere to be found.
We can thank Israeli policy for the rise in religious fanaticism in the region as its racist oppressive strategy since 1948 brought this upon us.

So when Israeli missiles blow up a bus of fleeing civilians and their spokespeople claim that "religious anti-semitic wackos" were hiding under the bus, they are only trying to make their ethnic cleansing practices more acceptable to the western audience.

This is a snapshot to paint a broader picture to what you can read in the newspapers and watch on our televisions safely sat at home in the UK. I think that the crisis is turning very quickly into a war. A very disproportionate war where an American backed state army is pulverising a small democratic country. Today's newspaper reports that 130 Lebanese have been killed since last Wednesday compared to 24 Israeli's - a ratio of 5 to 1 yet Israel claims it is making an appropiate response. How can the capture of 2 Israeli soldiers on Wednesday justify bombing the civilian population of Lebanon and reducing Beirut into a building site. The Israeli soldiers are employed in a dangerous job and I feel that them being captured, wounded or killed is part of the risk of their jobs. They must have realised this when they signed up for duty and no way should a country declare war on another country to find 2 missing soldiers. Israel is just using the 2 missing soldiers as an excuse to bomb Lebanon in the same way it has used the 1 missing soldier in Gaza to bomb the Palestinians. This is truly evil and goes against normal human nature yet the Israeli's elected Ehud Olmert as their Prime Minister, prime murderer more like.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

There is no way out.

As Israel bombs Lebanon many civilians are fleeing in the hope of finding a safer place to stay, just for the time being. They have caught a bus and were travelling along when this happens...

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

photo 5

These are not old photographs produced for propaganda but were taken on Saturday 15th July 2006 at the scene of the Marwaheen Massacre and will be printed in Lebanese newspapers tomorrow.

Nobody deserves this, this is a war crime, there is no doubt in my mind. Shame on Israel and all who support their evil government.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Time moves on, another day, another newspaper story.

The Mumbai bombings happened on the 11th July 2006 and I was shocked when it happened. Shocked watching the news on television and reading about it in my newspaper here in the UK. What was it like for ordinary people in India, not the professional journalists? A quick look on the internet this afternoon left me in no doubt. Shinu Mathew who writes a blog called The Mumbai Marauder knows from first hand experience as he was on one of the trains when the bombs exploded. He writes about the Spirit of Mumbai and asks if it is the spirit of his city or an act of denial by the residents being their own way of coping. Reading his blog and others I got the feeling of life in this vibrant city with it's many problems. Life is very different there to what we enjoy here in the UK. There is unrest, riots, flooding every year, previous terrorist attacks and daily deaths on the railway. Life moves on for your average Mumbaikar who cannot afford to miss a day's pay at work to grieve with their community. Life is a daily struggle keeping their head above water, quite literally at times. So many fatal events happen that they cannot have the luxury of having a memorial day each year for each and every tragedy, there are not enough free days left on the calendar. You can understand why things appear to have got back to normal so very quickly when you read his and other bloggers opinions and observations. It must be very difficult for the Police to prevent these tragedies as they had previously seized some explosives but could not prevent these dreadful terrorist acts.

Residents have to get what little sleep they can, accept their nightmare dreams and move on to the next day's work. Mainstream media moves onto the next big story and the people of this city have to make the best of their miserable little lives in the best ways that they can. What did shine through was the good in human nature where help was unquestionably given to those in need, regardless of religion or class. I wish all residents of Mumbai the best in their future lives and hope that the situation on the ground improves quickly and becomes stable.

Thank you to Shinu Mathew and the other bloggers listed below for sharing their experiences and private thoughts with the world. Reading their postings it is easier for the reader to draw closure on the tragic events of 11th July 2006.

The Mumbai Marauder by Shinu Mathew

blah blah n more blah another face in the crowd

Lemon & Ice

James Cridland being himself

Crazy anonymous female

Simply ME unravelled by Deepa.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mumbai bombings.

I read some more today about the bombings in Mumbai that happened on Tuesday evening. This is India's 7/11 and the death toll has now reached over 200 from the 7 bombs that exploded on packed commuter trains within 10 minutes of the first explosion. This attack bears the hallmarks of al-Qaida and the finger of suspicion is pointing at Lashkar-e-Toiba, a Pakistan-based militant islamic group, and the "D Company", a politicised mafia gang that is believed to have been behind co-ordinated bombings in Mumbai in 1993. Police have openly accused Lashkar, which denies it was involved. This whole story is shocking and fills me with great sadness. What has the world come to? When will this madness stop and what can we do to lessen the chance of a tragedy like this happening again?

The problems of Kashmir have gone on for years, yet the people of Mumbai have suffered for a problem not on their doorstep. They held no influence over the problems of Kashmir yet they have paid dearly with their lives. We appear to have no
influence with our government who have pledged to send more troops to Afghanistan to back up their military campaign. Afghanistan bears no threat to us in the UK but our government insists in interferring in their country. Our government does not learn from history when we have lost wars in the past in Afghanistan long before the Afghans sent the Russians fleeing from the occupation of their country. What would stop sympathisers of the Afghan struggle from mounting a terrorist attack on our railway network at peak times in the UK? Very little can stop them I am afraid and sending more of our troops to Afghanistan only adds fuel to the fire. Our government in it's War on Terror has I believe increased the risk of a terrorist attack on our shores, not just from copy cat actions but fundamentalists who view martyrdom as a way forward out of the world's problems.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Who put the bins out?

I followed this story in my newspaper and thought that the council would be successful in it's prosecution of Donna Challice for putting non-recyclable waste in a green wheelie bin at her home in Exeter, but she was cleared at Cullompton magistrates' court. However, she got off because the council could not prove that she had put some non-recyclable waste into that green wheelie bin. I find it hard to give this woman the benefit of the doubt because of her previous comments to the press and her general attitude. This does however leave all councils within the Uk with a problem because you have to put your rubbish out before 07.00 on the delay of collection and there is nothing to stop anybody from putting anything into your wheelie bin. There will never be any proof who put the contents into a wheelie bin. This gives the lazy an excuse to ignore legislation and the whole community suffers as a result of a minority of people like Donna Challice.

Shame on people with attitudes like her and the many people who litter our streets because they claim they are "finished with that". We all pay for refuse collection and people like her just add to the cost to the whole community.

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