Monday, 3 May 2010

The Power of Purdah

Yesterday one of our soldiers was killed in Afghanistan - the first since 7 April, according to the Ministry of Defence. How many have been seriously injured since 7 April will not become clear for some time.

One of my friends asked if I thought there had been a ceasefire agreement with the Taliban. In the three months from 1 January to 7 April this year we lost 37 of our armed forces, yet from 8 April to date we have lost one soldier. It does make you wonder what has been going on under the cloak of purdah. But it also shows me that this war is nothing to do with security and everything to do with politics. Anyone who has ever doubted that government does not control our armed services and the military top brasses are in charge, must surely realise the truth.

Since the election was called reporting restrictions were put on all government department websites, including the MoD. Finding any information online has been virtually impossible which shows just how effective purdah has been, particularly concerning the war in Afghanistan. Is purdah relevant for a country at war? I think not.

The word itself is problematic, having old colonial overtones and relating to the controversial practice of women concealing their bodies with veils. A few years ago the Welsh assembly outlawed the term in favour of the less exotic 'pre-election period'.

During this campaign the responses from the three 'main' parties to questions about this war have been patronising to say the very least. Gordon Brown hasn't mentioned the fact that British troops could be the last to leave Afghanistan. None has mentioned a troop withdrawal timetable, with the exception of Alex Salmond in the Scotland debate yesterday. The soundbite of, "We shall stay until the job's done," echoes from John o' Groats to Lands End, but no one explains the job in detail, because they know the public are fully aware once troops are withdrawn from the country it will quickly revert to its natural power base.

Unfortunately, none of the parties has been questioned about the pension freeze for military veterans, who the government insist upon treating as ordinary civil servants. I say unfortunately because if the public were more aware of this treatment of our veterans, then they may realise Gordon Brown is certainly not doing everything possibly for our armed forces. I would much rather see my tax going to our war veterans than going overseas to countries like China and India to help them with their carbon emission projects.

NATO's Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan said recently that the foreign forces in Afghanistan could face another four years of hard combat. Mark Sedwell, a former UK ambassador to Afghanistan, also said that NATO and British soldiers could be expected to stay in Afghanistan for at least another decade.

Come next Friday reporting restrictions will be lifted. Will the 'new' government be more open and transparent with us about this war? No. They too will treat us as fools.


The Last Of The Few said...

Stolen and placed on the FB group wall.

subrosa said...

It's been hard to find info LotF, as you know. Thanks for spreading it.

Trixy said...

The latest casualty and fatality statistics up to the 15th April can be found here:

What no one is asking is why the MoD are refusing to let injured soldiers and their families appear in the media. It's a question I've written about myself.

The Last Of The Few said...

Bad news does not win elections Trixy.

Especially coffins and disabled servicemen.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Trixy, I'm more concerned as to why the media is cooperating with this white out?

subrosa said...

Thanks for the link Trix.

The information I have is that they're not permitted media cover owing to the purdah and should they break it then their career is finished.

Quite good and effective blackmail isn't it?

subrosa said...

RA, the media need the help of the military if they're reporting from the front line. The military have been told not to allow any media on the front line, hence we don't get reporting.

I've looked for information all last month but it seems Nato give support to Brown too. There are a few independent Canadian and US sites which include some info about UK.

Indyanhat said...

Excellent posting Subrosa!, it does make you wonder what the recent rumoured talks with the Taliban were about eh!,'you back of for a month while we have our elections and we will...', what is anyones guess!

subrosa said...

It'll take a few years for the truth to surface Indyan. Military folk don't usually write memoirs.

Oldrightie said...

This disgraceful "purdah" aided and abetted by a client media is only the thin end of Labours' control freakery. I was disappointed to learn this morning that an incoming Government does not get sight of the predecessors papers. Now there is a case for precedence, were Cameron to be elected. Demand and if necessary legislate to force the Mandarins to disclose.

Clarinda said...

As there appears to be no similar 'let-up' in the activities and tragic killing and wounding of US and Canadian soldiers (from what I can see from their continued media output)- we must be grateful for whatever is causing our troops to have been placed in 'protective custody' during the election hustings - perhaps this could be extended by withdrawing our troops altogether?

If Mr Cameron follows through with his promise to set up a proper War Cabinet and strategic review of Afghanistan - surely what papers that haven't already gone to the great shredder in the sky must be made available. Although I concede that the shredder will be well-practised and efficient having cut it's teeth on postal vote registers etc..

WV - truces!!!!!!

Billy said...

The media is co-operating with this whiteout the same way they are co-operating with the lies that have led us to being there in the first place.

The media is also covering up for the fact that Dr Judy Wood and Dr Morgan Reynolds are suing the US government and now over 20 US companies and individuals for putting out lies with regard to 911.

These Dr's have put out plenty of press releases about these cases and evidence and there is silence from the press as they are involved in the lies.

You just need to watch September Clues at to see how they are involved.

Our soldiers are dying in Afghanistan because of the lies of the Bush and Labour governments.

subrosa said...

Well well OR, I didn't know that. Can you tell me what papers?

subrosa said...

Yes Clarinda, gratitude is there of course, but my question is why so many died in three months prior to the purdah? They weren't all in the Operation Herrick. In fact less were in that than on normal routines.

I understand if a War Cabinet is set up then money can also be had from the Treasury for troop needs, rather than it coming from the MoD budget - which of course has been spent.

subrosa said...

The thing is Billy, it seems to be a world wide cooperation. Not even German papers are reporting much and they usually are quite good about Afghan incidents.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

That is realpolitik Rosa - the exclusive club that keeps the public in the dark.

subrosa said...

Aye RA. I must remember to ask Oldrightie for a link to confirm any new government is not permitted to see various papers when they take over. Another small token of hidden politics.

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