British ground forces would be “comprehensively outgunned” ina conflict with Russia in Eastern Europe, according toa defence think-tank.
It concluded that it could not maintain a credible defence position.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the UK works closely with Nato and is “well equipped to take on a leading role”.
The research comes ahead of a meeting of Nato leaders in London next week to mark the 70th anniversary of the alliance.
The UK, along with other Nato members, has positioned military forces in Eastern Europe to deter any potential Russian aggression in the wake of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Around 800 British troops are currently stationed in Estonia. The first were sent in 2017.
Nato alliance is brain dead, says Macron
Strength of British military falls for ninth year
MoD ‘facing £7bn funding black hole’
But the study by Rusi found that the UK armed forces lack critical firepower compared to Russia’s military.
It analysed military capabilities in the “unlikely” context of “a high-intensity conflict between Nato and Russia, in which the UK has promised to deliver a warfighting division”.
“At present, there is a risk that the UK – unable to credibly fight – can be dominated lower down the escalation ladder by powers threatening escalation,” the report said.
It said Britain is “comprehensively outgunned and outranged”, leaving enemy artillery free to defeat UK units.
Russian artillery and rocket batteries have already proved to be potent, destroying two Ukrainian battalions in 2014 within minutes.
UK and other Nato forces not only have a limited number of artillery pieces, but also a shortage of munitions stockpiles and transportation.
The report said the “rejuvenation and modernisation” of Britain’s ground-based artillery is an “urgent and critical priority”.
In response, the MoD said: “The UK does not stand alone but alongside its Nato Allies, who work closely together across air, sea, land, nuclear and cyber to deter threats and respond to crises.”
It added: “As the largest Nato defence spender in Europe, the UK’s armed forces are well equipped to take a leading role in countering threats and ensuring the safety and security of British people at home and abroad.”
The statement comes less than three weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron described Nato as “brain dead” – stressing what he sees as waning commitment to the transatlantic alliance by its main guarantor, the US.
MoD figures released in August found that the size of Britain’s armed forces had fallen for a ninth consecutive year.
The finding came just six months after the Commons spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee, claimed the MoD had a funding black hole of at least £7bn in its 10-year plan to equip the UK’s armed forces.
Number of full-time trained personnel
Source: Ministry of Defence
A delegation of Russian military personnel visited Scotland last year to observe one of Europe’s largest Nato exercises.
The visit was in line with the UK’s obligations to the Vienna Document which aims to promote mutual trust and transparency among states signed to it.
It came as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres claimed the Cold War was “back with a vengeance” as he warned abut the dangers of escalating tensions over Syria.
With many thanks to: BBC News England for the original story
WHO DARES SINS: TOP OFFICER JAILED FOR WATCHING LIVE ABUSE
A SENIOR British Army officer-jailed for a catalogue of child sex crimes-masterminded the murder of three young Irish republicans.
Andrew Whiddett-banged up for three years and two months after he pleaded guilty to abusing kids abroad-is a former member of the SAS. Lieutenant Colonel Whiddett served several tours of duty in the North of Ireland during the mid-1980s. And he was rewarded with an MBE from the Queen. Whiddett worked undercover in the Bogside and Creggan areas of Derry, which included carrying out close quarter surveillance on deceased Sinn Féin leader Martin McGuinness. But we can reveal the 70-year-old pervert also led the team which shot dead IRA men Charles Breslin (20), and brothers Michael (22) and David Devine (16), in Strabane nearly 35 years ago. The men were ambushed by British soldiers as they were about to dump their weapons following a failed IRA operation.
◾He led SPECIAL FORCES UNIT’S DEADLY AMBUSH
In May this year, Croydon Crown Court heard how Whiddett-a former Head of Security at the British Embassy in Baghdad-directed ‘livestreamed abuse’ of children in the Philippines. Whiddett-who graduated from Sandhurst Military College alongside Princess Ann’s first husband Mark Phillips-had used his laptop to contact known Filipino child sex facilitators in Manila. And using the Skype, he directed the sexual abuse of young girls from the comfort of his home on the south coast of England. On one occasion he messaged the young girl’s mother with: “Lots of teaching before I arrive.”
◾he paid FOR SICKENING ACTS ON LIVESTREAM Video
But detectives from the National Crime Agency were able to prove Whiddett had made 49 payments totalling £8,584 for various live sex services involving children. And in court he admitted attempting to cause or incite a nine-year-old girl and another aged under 16 to engage in sexual activity. He also pleaded guilty to arranging the commission of a child sex offence in September 2016. The National Crime Agency said he told his contact in Manila that he wanted to sexually abuse a child when he visited the Philippines the following month.
Whiddett also admitted three further charges of making indecent photographs of a child. Sending the ex-SAS man to jail for three years and two months, Judge Nicolas Ainley also put him on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely. And he told him: “I’m well aware of the service dedicated to this country, but children-wherever they are in the world-need protected from this sort of activity.” Detectives from the NCA gripped Whiddett as he made his way through Heathrow Airport shortly after he had returned to the UK from Manila. He made a number of admissions, but insisted he was only sexually interested in mature women. He was lying.
NCA officer Gary Fennelly said: “Andrew Whiddett was directly responsible for the soul-destroying abuse of children thousands of miles away from him. “He thought he could get away with abusing Filipino children from the comfort of his own home.” The police officer revealed that in one computer conversation with a woman in Manila, Whiddett made it clear he wanted to sexually abuse her little girl when he visited the Philippines in a few weeks’ time. During a 25-minute exchange on September 28th 2016, the former SAS man asked a Philippine woman if the young girl with her would be available when he arrives. And he said: “Need to do more teaching. Look forward to touch” and “lots of teaching before I arrive.” Whiddett further asked the woman: “If I visit would you let me see daughter?” and “If I visit what would you allow me to do?” Travel records show Whiddett flew to Manila in the Philippines on October 21st 2016. Whiddett, of Portsmouth, Hampshire, was arrested at Heathrow Airport on October 31st 2017. And after his conviction at Croydon Crown Court, he was jailed in May this year, although full details of the case have only recently emerged.
Provos’ top team that scared cops wanted taken out
RUC top brass were so concerned for the safety of their officers in Strabane in 1985 that they called in the SAS, the Sunday World has learned.
A series of intelligence reports read by senior officers early in the New Year revealed a ruthless IRA unit based in Strabane was determined to kill a policeman. Led by OC 20-year-old Charles Breslin, the IRA team had already engaged in several gun attacks on the heavily fortified RUC station. On one occasion, Breslin jumped up on a rear perimeter wall and he sprayed machine-gun fire at officers as they made their way across the car park. Eye-witnesses say it was a miracle no one was killed. But Detective Superintendent Sam Donaldson-who was in charge of Special Branch in the North West-had received permission from Margaret Thatcher’s office to call on the services of the SAS. Some months before, 36-year-old Major Andrew Whiddett had gone to Donaldson with a blueprint of how he and his SAS team proposed to abduct senior republican Martin McGuinness, before weighting his body and drowning him in the Atlantic Ocean.
Although the senior RUC man rejected the plan out of hand, he asked him to work out a way of neutralising the Strabane IRA using lethal force if necessary. Whiddett travelled to Strabane every day for a week from his base at Fort George in Derry. He read intelligence reports and studied the lie of the land around known IRA arms dumps in the border town. A few days later on February 23rd, an opportunity presented itself. And Whiddett lost no time in scrambling his team. The SAS men staked out an IRA arms dump near the Head of the Town district. And when Charlie Breslin showed up with fellow IRA men Michael and David Devine, they knew they were in business.
The police in Strabane began receiving a series of telephone calls from concerned locals claiming a man had been spotted brandishing an axe in the Head of the Town. But it was a ruse to lure cops into the area and so they stayed put. The Tom and Jerry routine lasted hours. And when no police had taken the bait by the early hours of the morning, the IRA men decided to return their weapons. As Breslin and the Devine brothers neared the hidden arms dump in a field, the SAS team revealed themselves and on Whiddett’s orders they opened fire. The relentless sound of gunfire echoed around the town as the SAS pumped 117 rounds in the direction of the IRA men. Michael Devine (22), from Courtral Park, was hit 28 times. An RUC patrol was quickly dispatched from the police station. And one officer who was present told the Sunday World this week: “It sounded to us as though World War Three had broken out. “I saw three dead bodies and there were dozens of spent shells glistening in the early morning light. “I had a machine-gun in my hand. And an SAS man-who was also holding a machine-gun-told me to shoot out a streetlight.
“But I just told him, ‘Shoot it out yourself’ and he did!”he said. He added: “The next thing, a helicopter landed and the SAS men were gone.” At the scene, the RUC recovered a large stockpile of IRA weapons, but the sheer brutality of the murders caused outrage among the Catholic community. Many believed the IRA team-which included 16-year-old David Devine-could easily have been disarmed and arrested. On May 7th 2002 at the High Court in Belfast, the families of the dead IRA men accepted undisclosed compensation from the Ministry of Defence. The Sunday World understands it was in the region of £90,000 for each of the deceased. The murders remain controversial. Locals reported that after the hail of gunfire, three final shots rang out against the dawn sky. Witnesses say that in the seconds before the last shots they heard local voices cry out, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot”. An English voice is said to have replied, “You’re too fucking late mate.”
With many thanks to the: Sunday World and Hugh Jordan for the EXCLUSIVE original firstname.lastname@example.org
The Derry News understands the band intends to march on ‘Lundy’s Day’ – Bloody Sunday families say it would be ‘disgraceful’
Bloody Sunday families have said it would be a “disgrace” if the Clyde Valley Flute Band is allowed to return to Derry for the annual Lundy’s Day parade next month.
The Derry News understands that the loyalist band which controversially wore a uniform in support of soldier F intends to march in the city on December 7.
Almost three months have passed since the Larne-based flute band wore a uniform with parachute regiment insignia accompanied by a letter F at the annual Apprentice Boys parade in August.
Over the weekend the PSNI confirmed that an investigation is “ongoing” into members of the band.
Thirteen people were shot dead when members of the British Army’s Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972.
An ex-paratrooper, known as Soldier F, is accused of murdering James Wray, 22, and William McKinney, 27. He is also charged with five attempted murders in relation to shootings on that day.
At the August 10 parade in Derry police officers flanked the Clyde Valley band to “prevent a breach of the peace” and later stopped their bus, taking the names of several members.
Bloody Sunday families, political representatives, parade brokers and many members of the local community said the band should not be allowed to set foot in the city again.
William McKinney’s brother, Mickey, said he “wouldn’t be happy” if the Clyde Valley band is allowed to march next month. “What they did that day was intentional, they went out of their way to cause hurt to the Bloody Sunday families and I think it would be fair to say that the rest of the families would not be happy about them coming back to this town, at all.”
The Saville Inquiry was sure that it was Soldier F who shot and killed Michael Kelly.
However, the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) concluded that the available evidence did not provide a “reasonable prospect of proving that Soldier F fired at this location.”
Speaking to the Derry News, Michael’s brother, John, made clear that he “certainly wouldn’t be happy” about the prospect of the band marching in the city again and believes it would be a “disgrace” if they do given what happened last time.
“The city itself and the Apprentice Boys don’t even want them back so there’s no point in coming back. If they do it’s just the same old story to upset families and to antagonise.
“To be truthful I think it would be a major mistake to bring them back here and I don’t think the Apprentice Boys would do it, especially after the reaction here in the city, the last thing we want to see here is trouble again.
“And the only reason they would come here is to create trouble, nothing else.
“Any band that comes with the full intention to upset the Bloody Sunday families and create trouble will certainly not be welcome at all.”
When asked if the Clyde Valley Flute Band will be taking part in the parade the Apprentice Boys of Derry said the 11/1 form had not yet been submitted. It is the notification form which anyone wishing to organise a parade must submit to the Parades Commission via the PSNI containing the names of bands, route of the march and other details.
With many thanks to: Derry News Now and Garrett Hargan for the original story
A former Army chief has said he believes legislation to protect military veterans from prosecution was excluded from the Queen’s Speech after pressure from the NIO.
Lord Dannatt added he believed officials were “nervous” as they feared it would prejudice other discussions.
The PM had promised to end the pursuit of soldiers over historic allegations of offences committed in operations.
These related to operations during the Troubles and in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A government source said the prime minister is committed to legislating on the issue.
However on Saturday Lord Dannatt, the former chief of the general staff, said he was disappointed that the clause would not be in the speech.
He then told The Sunday News that he believed it was cut from the speech because of the “complex issues running with regard to Northern Ireland particularly in the Brexit context”.
‘No one is above the law’
“This was a golden opportunity to bring legislation to parliament so members of parliament and peers could debate the issue,” he told BBC News NI.
He added that he had repeatedly said that “no one is above the law” and where there was evidence of wrongdoing it should be investigated thoroughly.
“When soldiers had done wrong that’s what should happen,” he said.
He added: “The vast majority of soldiers have carried out their duty faithfully according to their training and rules of engagement which they carried in their pockets.
“They should not fear that they’re going to be investigated in an aggressive fashion subsequently.
“That’s what legislation is needed to protect soldiers from, not protect people who have done illegal things.”
Lord Dannatt said he wanted to see a clause that introduced the notion of questioning of former solder with a view not to prosecute them.
‘Establish the facts’
He added that in Northern Ireland there were many families who do not know what happened to their loved ones.
The former Army chief said it would be “perfectly proper” that former policemen or soldiers should be questioned to establish the facts of what happened.
He added: “Unless there is compelling evidence that those people being questioned have done something wrong, the questioning should be done on the basis of a presumption not to prosecute.
“It should establish the facts so that families know what happened but former soldiers have the protection that they will not be further investigated”.
He said he had been talking to Boris Johnson’s office on Friday and despite the fact that the issue would not be in the speech “pressure will remain on the prime minister”.
The first Queen’s Speech of Mr Johnson’s premiership, delivered during the State Opening of Parliament on Monday, will see the government highlight its priorities.
The BBC has asked the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) for comment.
The cases relate to the killings of two people on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in January 1972; as well as the deaths in separate incidents of Daniel Hegarty, John Pat Cunningham; Joe McCann and Aidan McAnespie.
With many thanks to: BBC NewsNI for the original story
Hundreds of people marched ata parade in support of the Clyde valley Flute Band following incidents in Derry in August.
People have the right to support Soldier F, DUP MP Sammy Wilson has said following a parade in Northern Ireland.
Several hundred bandsmen came to Larne, Co Antrim on Saturday evening to show support for Clyde Valley Flute Band.
The band caused controversy in August after its members marched in the annual Apprentice Boys parade wearing a Parachute Regiment emblem and the letter F on their shirt sleeves.
The motif is a reference to Soldier F, a former member of the British Army’s Parachute Regiment who is accused of murder and attempted murder in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday, January 1972.
Thirteen civil rights demonstrators were shot dead on January 30 1972, on one of the most notorious days of the Northern Ireland Troubles.
As well as the 13 who died on the day, 15 others were shot and injured. One of the injured died months later from an inoperable tumour and some consider him the 14th fatality.
The soldiers were members of a support company of the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment.
The Parades Commission has deemed the event on Saturday to be “sensitive”, but it passed off without any incidents.
DUP MP Sammy Wilson said the parade is part of an ongoing campaign “to ensure the rewriting of the Troubles is not allowed”.
“The message from the people here tonight to the public representatives and to the Government in Westminster is you must stop the abuse of the juridical system. Stop dragging old men before the courts when they have been cleared because they want to put the blame on security forces.
“This will be an ongoing campaign until Westminster gives some protection to the police and the army for the role they played during the Troubles,” he said.
Mr Wilson said people who took part in the parade were “proudly” wearing Soldier F insignia and banners.
“They have a right to do it and are absolutely correct in doing so because they are engaged in a propaganda war that we cannot afford or allow the Republicans to win,” he said.
With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and Aine McMahon PA for the original story