Saturday, 23 April 2016
Kent Corruption: the Magnitsky List, Thailand and RAF
I thought I’d occasionally mention an interesting book I’m reading. First one away from the kerb is “Red Notice” by Bill Browder.
Very briefly it’s the true story of the Russian hero, Sergei Magnitsky murdered after being jailed in 2008 on false charges against the backgdrop of Russian oligarchs and the first stirrings of capitalism in Putin’s Russia.
You may remember the polonium radiation poisoning of former FSB-KGB official Litvinenko in London following the assassination of journalist Politkovskaya.
And the trials of various Russian oligarchs on trumped-up tax and fraud charges such as Khodorkovsky and Lebedev – remember them imprisoned in a cage during the showtrials?
And more directly involved the death in 2012 of Alexander Perepilichnyy at his home in Surrey. And the investigation of his death by – oh no it’s Surrey Police perhaps Britain’s weakest police force currently lumbering through the Deepcut Barracks murder-suicides (4 bullets is a suicide? It could happen).
Leaping into action they conducted a toxin test – several weeks after the death rendering it as useful as Scotch mist.
Perepilichnyy uncovered evidence of various multi-million frauds in Russia which he detailed to Bill Browder in Moscow who owned the Hermitage Fund and exposed various corruption scandals.
Magnitsky was a tax lawyer who also uncovered the frauds and was arrested and jailed and subsequently died in prison in November 2009 after a year of being tortured and denied medical treatment.
Some of the frauds involved Browder’s companies being seized by the police and courts and then money rinsed through them via tax frauds: $581M against Pafenion and a further $321M in a separate Moscow court: eventually over $1BN.
The sort of thing that’s just a fraction of the Panama Papers and Kent BVI fraud like Pleasurama.
Key officials in the fraud were:
• Colonel Artem Kuznetsov – a Russian Interior Ministry policeman (I’m not sure if it’s FSB or a separate division) who approved various tortures
• Pavel Karpov – Russian Interior Ministry and involved in tax fraud
• Oleg Silchenko – another torturer
• Irina Dudukina – Interior Ministry spokesperson in charge of fluffing up the case against Bowder and Magnitsky
Their names detailed here as following the efforts of Browder after Magnitsky’s death, Senator Cardin in USA steered through the Magnitsky Act imposing sanctions on such Russian officials: 32 of them.
A You tube video of Browder: http://tinyurl.com/hwdud4g
And in April 2014 (if nothing surely the case against a Brexit) over 700 MEP’s from 28 countries voted for similar sanctions against Russia.
So, a very, very recent scandal making the book all the more interesting.
And in a final absurd twist, the trial of the already-dead Magnitsky by Judge Alisov in March 2013. Yes, a dead man on trial. So ludicrous that the reluctantly-appointed State lawyers eventually walked out of the trial leaving the judge to address an empty witness box and courtroom.
The first trial of a dead man in Europe since AD897 and the trial of Pope Formosus in Rome - after he’d been drowned.
As Browder says on page 487:
“This is Russia today. A stuffy courtroom presided over by a corrupt judge, policed by unthinking guards, with lawyers whom are there just to give the appearance of a real trial...”
Perhaps also a damning indictment of the UK as few of the Foreign Office officials emerge untarnished except Simon Smith of the Russian Desk and Ambassador Brenton of the UK Moscow Embassy. Or indeed the High Court with Olswang lawyers conducting a separate libel-for-oligarchs action against Browder instigated by Karpov – although Geoffrey Robertson QC rushed through a last-minute legal defences for the EU vote. The latter (Karpov) who at various times was appointed to investigate himself in the case as was Kuznetsovv also appointed to investigate…himself.
Both then awarded a medal by the Interior Ministry.
Perhaps Russia’s modern-day equivalent of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth where truth become lies and lies accepted as truth.
Google-away if you want for the various names for detailed newspaper articles and You Tube videos by Browder and the passing of the various Acts.
Why mention all this? It’s a very interesting book and I hope you read it.
But mostly because Browder asks for the names to be made public:
“if you sympathise with this search for justice or with Sergei’s tragic fate, please share this story with as many people as you can. That simple act will keep the spirit of Sergei Magnitsky alive and go further than any army of bodyguards in keeping me safe.”
So, please pass it on. And I hope Kent’s bookshops and libraries stock more copies of Red Notice by Bill Browder.
I’ve mentioned previously here the need for a Magnitsky Street in every town as a memorial to Sergei.
And one output of the story was the development of Magnitsky Lists. Not binding in law, but a naming of names of suspects in such cases. And in Kent we have the beginnings of Magnitsky List: the $1 Most Wanted poster of the Infratil criminals is detailed on the blog (if you’d like an A4 PDF copy please email firstname.lastname@example.org) and as with the closure of Manston and all Infratil’s dozens or so airports in Europe and NZ except Wellington – now Asia’s most dangerous airport - the net is tightening on those named on there: Fitzgerald, Clarke and so on.
NZ’s PM John Key is no fool – and despite the fluff around changing the flag to remove the Union Jack must be even less keen to replace Britain’s Farm with reliance on China’s Farm – and the vagaries of tariffs that would make a Brexit tariff war look like a tea party in comparison. And corrupt organisations such as Infratil – a NZ corporate staple only supersceded in scale by sheep – does NZ no favours.
Many of the Kent criminals involved in the removal of the monitors are no longer employed in aviation or politics or civil service such as the Gang of Four except Latchford, or the 0% council fraudsters such as Macgonigal and Moores. Certainly Madeline Homer and Tim Howes are keeping their heads down on the TDC corruption leaking into their regime, and the councillors with the exception of Matterface or Bambridge or Martin, too idle or stupid to even raise their hand.
A Kent Magnitsky List would include not list the KCC Toxic Three, but crooked barristers at One Essex Court such as Guy Hollingworth or Ian Glick QC or Lord Grabiner QC – tricky to get a ruling against those chaps since they’re not just practising barristers in and out of High Court most days, but also senior QC’s so above reproach with the other QC’s, and Glick and Grabiner judges too. And the latter even a Lord.
But they’re turds.
Turds that Judge Alisov would be proud of.
Turds made worse by their wigs.
Fraudster turds that actually advise Parliament and the Bank of England on finances and tax.
Perhaps they’d edged out of their courtroom for a parade of Law Society/SRA and BSB and Inn of Court (not one but two feeble regulators of barristers is more than a coincidence) officials to help them paper over the frauds and failures.
The Kent Magnitsky List should include who else?
Certainly there’s greasy lawyers like Palmer and Downs Law. I’ll publish later an explanation of the former's magical costs. I just need to doublecheck the spelling.. It’s funny. Except of course the dozy judges nod it through. On your rates. On your trust. They’ve probably done the same – using the courts as a lawyer’s cashpoint.
No wonder there’s so many millionaire lawyers and barristers if the costs are a nudge/nudge wink-wink formality.
Certainly we have far too many dozy judges – not the “who are the Beatles” kind of years gone by but too-cosy, too-old-fashioned, make-weights. Grovelling lawyers in front of you every day, I suppose go to your head after a while, helped by cancelling jury trial or cameras in court or weak Parliamentary reports/review on sentencing. And breathtaking 80% Oxbridge-Eton-white-male social immobility from an England of the 1950’s.
Certainly I wouldn’t recommend The Crying Judge on such a List or even Suitcase Smithy. Definitely The Wee Grey Scot and The Teacups Judge though.
But more than a few.
In Kent we don’t yet know the Broadstairs Rape Lawyer – writing to a rape victim to deny their client was a rapist and threatening her with jail unless you shut up. Then their client confirming he was the rapist after all. Who is that lawyer?
You can sleep a little easier that certainly Kent Police are not corrupt or outrageously incompetent. Certainly nothing on the scale of Surrey Police, or Essex Police, and the Goldfinger-shotgun-heart-attack confusion, or suicide-by-drowning-in-a-cement-mixer. It could happen.
You do wonder though at 747’s flying into Manston or Big ben at night from Ostend or Infratil’s Charles Buchanan (another Kent Magnitsky A-Lister) still running Lydd – Britain’s wide-open backdoor to terrorism and drugs.
Ostend is remember Europe’s most notorious gunrunning and Antwerp blood diamond airport for the trade into narco-states like Guinea (the Colombia of West Africa) and endemic wars in Congo and Sudan and Somalia. Or helping to prop up monsters like Obiang and Bashir and Mugabe.
To put that arms trade in context, the Pentagon recently provided 400 tons of ammunition to be forward-placed in Europe for a spot of sabrerattling against Ukraine-Donetsk and to replenish the Syrian and Kurdish militias. 400 tons of ammo is a lot of bullets. It’s about 400 blue shipping boxes. Which would be about 100 or so 747 flights: 2 or 3 a week. So easy to smuggle in enough guns and drugs for the gangs of Salford and Peckham.
All the more important as you may have seen the Kent gunrunners of Rochester’s Cuxton Marina awaiting life sentences for UK’s largest gun haul of AK47 and Uzi ripoffs. With UK’s 2nd largest gunhaul awaiting trial. And just yesterday a £10M cocaine haul from a helicopter at Redhill Airport just off Kent’s M26. Maybe a helicopter is just for fancy drugs and guns.
If we could trust the courts – and I’d take Kent Police advice on their view - I’d have no compunction in imposing mandatory 10 year sentences for any guns or heroin or cocaine in Kent. Ounces never mind tons. And bullets never mind guns. You may also have seen the recent gun amnesty by Manchester Police getting their trousers on with 822 weapons seized.
You might be interested to know too that from my PCC election where I refuse to stand because of the endemic Kent public sector corruption there were 3 main lobby groups that contacted me: Guns, NSPCC and Cycling/Road Deaths. Certainly the last 2 having viable points given Kent’s Jimmy Savile Children’s Homes (perhaps the only other people with any idea of what Magnitsky suffered would be Kent OAP Care Homes with waterboarding bathnight by Nursey or cold gruel from Meals on Wheels every month without fail usually) and Road Deaths worsening with 49 deaths/injuries.
My Kent Police PCC Manifesto: you can't vote for it: http://tinyurl.com/jt8hjmb
Certainly Kent’s Care Homes have seen more kiddyfiddling than the Top of the Pops Studio 1974.
While the thousands of police involved in jailing a few elderly DJ’s seem to have overlooked the horrifying 70,000 rapes in Rape Nation Britain - and 1,000 rapes each year in Kent but only a 5% detection rate.
That at a time when UK is rightly proud of its best-in-the-world road safety: second only if at all to Sweden – the Swedes facing more wintry weather but a third of the population.
As KCC Leader next year I’ll increase Kent road safety – and urge the 6 PCC candidates now to raise the issue – with new Kent Police trousers with a pocket for a pad of parking tickets. Also Meiji Kent car-procurement review replacing Kent Police cars with a larger glovebox for both white and brown gloves, a Ginsters Buffet bar for sustenance, and a pad of parking tickets.
For a very reasonable £50M or so every Kent Police car could be equipped with a pair of policemen and a pad of parking tickets. Perhaps another £10m on a Kent Police ballpoint pen. With a series of seminars and training programmes these policemen (and the Great British Kent Police Lesbians) could be encouraged to go out walking – have a sit down first to get used to the idea and the required diversity training- from the car after parking it) to ticket illegally parked cars. Preferably not their own as that would only increase the rates.
It should only take 10 or 20 years and would eventually reduce the need for traffic wardens, parking officers, ASBO deployment captains, majors of littler liaison and so on. A reorganisation of pretty uniforms with the Highways Agency CCTV clerks could even yield a further £100M saving on a £150M procurement.
Indeed Deputy Chief Constable Paul Buchanan tells me tomorrow has sent me a fax from the PredPol Mystic Meg Division confirming that this would be viable, given his police budget reviews at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas have all turned up trumps. And he’s got an ace in the hole to develop the rest of his Innovation Fund.
And let’s hope from Manchester to Maidstone the call goes out for a Magnitsky List and Left for Life campaign.
Sure the Police Federation Trade Union will mumble and moan on a bit (“ooh we’re giving blood now on our miserly wages and pension” etc etc) but say Kent Police’s 6,000 cops and clerks have routine blood tests that would stimulate the vaccine market with the NHS and private sector.
No doubt encouraged onwards by the pharma boffins at Great British Kent Discovery Park Science Park and Great British Kent Sittingbourne Science Park and Great British Kent Kent University and CCU science courses.
As well as providing 6,000 cops and clerks (along with the NHS and Ambulancemen) safer working conditions: bitten by a drug dealer or his dog on a drug den raid etc. And providing a rapid top-up of blood and organs if relevant for NHS emergencies on blood stocks. Even just a ready supply of blood for DNA research etc.
Certainly it’s a Great British NHS success story that people live longer from injuries in car crashes etc but they require more blood in operations. And it would help pump-prime the delayed DNA rollout and other medical possibilities. It’s a scandal that 300 people die each year from a lack of organs given 2,700 road deaths.
A minor scandal too with the NHS incompetence in being unable to detail what vaccinations you should have at what age and what medical tests. A pandemic scandal on a par with the Flu vaccine running out in August, or relying on the Dutch factory not to set on fire again.
A scandal too on a par with the Sunday Times stillborn campaign: UK worse than Japan or Sweden. And the scandal of thousands of UK cot deaths and miscarriages. And for both public and police the say orange (is there any sort of NHA colourcoding for illnesses?) emergency bracelet on your left wrist if you have serious medical conditions - and card with Left for Life details anyway in your left hand pocket etc.
Left for Life: one of my free ideas that just tickles me. A wonderful thing. And before the police get overzealous it’s not compulsory nor in any way an ID card or to be used in any circumstance except as the Great British Rotary Fridge Bottle/DoorSticker campaign for medical emergencies.
Improvements of course that Sergei will never see.
Time for Change
Garbutt for KCC Leader May 2017.
• A regular feature: OnlyInThanet-OIT. Stuff you just couldn’t make up. Even I don’t believe it and I know it’s true. Anyway. Ramsgate pavilion and Wetherspoons (you can read my objections in the previous post below) Britain’s Biggest Boozer ad Zero Hours Contacts on the cheap... It turns out the licence was approved by…one clerk. Philip Bensted. He cancelled the councillor meeting. Ignored any other objections. And approved it himself. OIT. We seem to have Philip District Council not Thanet District Council. Cue random excuses, BS and downright lies and denial. You know the form. Tim Howes the legal beagle steps to the fore with drivel and more denial, that sort of thing.
Not really a titbit as it’s a bit lengthier than usual:
Worth mentioning the Channel Four documentary on Koh Tao and the 2 backpacker deaths aired last Wednesday. I wasn’t that impressed with the documentary. It just seemed a bit muddled on the horrific deaths of the 2 Brits, Thai mafia allegations, corrupt Thai police and various other Westerner deaths.
Channel 4: http://tinyurl.com/hb7k6ze
Daily Mail going a bit overboard: http://tinyurl.com/zd54v8e
I have no vast knowledge of the specifics of this case but a few observations:
• Nobody has explained nor was it mentioned in the documentary that the 2 Burmese suspects agreed they were on the beach at about the same time as the 2 Brits. The beach is very small as you could see. And so is the road to it, as shown on CCTV. If they didn’t do it, then who did? 2 other Asian men? 3? All of them on the tiny beach with the 2 Burmese suspects and 2 Brits?
• Is it because they’re Burmese and discriminated against? Possibly - but no worse than say fingerpointing against Moslems in UK at the moment as with Steve Uncles and the Bluewater rapists who weren’t Moslem at all. And that’s underestimating the real discrimination in Thailand and Malaysia against Burmese and Rohinyas that goes in with trafficking and fisheries and fruit industry scandals.
• The DNA confirmed both rape, and 2 Asian men involved. I’m not aware of any specific concerns about the DNA tests and again if the 2 Burmese chaps didn’t do it who did?
• I thought Thai police came out of it rather well – within hours of the murders the 6 police on Koh Tao (having been there I know how small an island it is so 6 cops is perfectly reasonable) were increased to 60(!) including special forensics, Thai FBI etc. If anything you’d be tripping over cops.
• It would be interesting just for the heck of it for Kent Police to compare their forensic kit and procedures with the Thai FBI –it may well be that with leapfrog technology the Thai kit is more advanced, just as Cambodia’s phone system is more advanced than UK.
• Indeed Major Suswat was perhaps a little over-frank that Thai Police aren’t as good as they could be (he should see Surrey Police). I’ve never had any problems – quite the opposite with the national police and tourist police (I once lost a flight ticket or sunglasses or something so needed a crime number/report) and the police were falling over themselves to have a chitchat to a foreigner about England or English footy and practice their English. And certainly the Thai government invests huge sums in a dedicated Tourism Police and telephone number and website to help tourists. You imagine being say a Thai or Chinese tourist and pitching up in Manchester Airport for a footy game at Anfield or Old Trafford and trying to explain you’ve lost your sunglasses or whatever?
• Tourism as so often with Britain is invented here but then perfected elsewhere whether it’s steel or railways or television or penicillin or DNA or radio or cinema or football or golf or graphene. Certainly Great British Graphene if Manchester University/Institute gets on with it.
• I do hear of Thai police corruption from Thai friends and it certainly seems more widespread than in UK with roadblocks for bungs. But most corruption in Thailand seems to come from the civil service: extra payments for renewing a driving licence and what not. At least the UK civil service tends to stick to local government and construction corruption.
• The Thai mafia thing in the documentary was all a bit vague and bogeyman-ish. The only Thai mafia rackets I know of and have experienced is some of the tuktuk or taxis in Phuket or some of the islands. You pay the price or walk. And the price is fixed high for every taxi – or they’ll be in trouble rather than you if they try to undercut each other. And certainly in Phuket there’s a hue and cry over reforming both the taxi system and overbuilding onto the beaches and national parks that is outrageous.
• Both Koh Tao and Phuket are my least favourite places in Thailand, Phuket is fun for conferences but both feel too overdeveloped with better beaches and diving and less traffic jams elsewhere – but are they dangerous and corrupt and you shouldn’t visit? Definitely not. Go. Certainly go to Thailand. And maybe you’d like Phuket or Koh Tao anyway.
• The main danger if anything is road safety: far too many accidents – motorbikes and no helmet and Tshirt-shorts and drinking and speeding that rightly isn’t allowed in UK. And if you come off a motorbike and bounce along the road and survive you’ll be waiting a while for an ambulance. An ambulance that in some places could well be just a pickup truck and a bouncy drive to a hospital. For the sake of not following similar Thai driving laws as in UK it’s not worth it.
• The C4 show was interesting though on the c.6 other Western deaths in 2 years in Koh Tao – certainly a flaw in UK reporting (c.4k UK deaths in each of the hospitalised, jailed and dead brackets: c.12k each year around the world) is monthly updates on those and on the Embassy websites etc. If there is a surge of UK TB or road deaths or arrests in Thailand or Tanzania then surely that needs detailing faster.
• There is the first private website detailing such foreigner deaths in Thailand: https://twitter.com/farang_deaths that’s excellent and would no doubt welcome a bit of UK and EU support too. But these aren’t all murders – these are heart attacks or drownings and what not. As you’d have in UK.
• People ask me as well if they should go to Thailand because it’s dangerous with its politics or its military regime. Again I say no. Don’t worry at all. Go. I was in Thailand during the first demonstrations 2 years or so ago. But they were only in Bangkok. Life in Thailand everywhere else carried on as normal. And Bangkok is a very big town, larger than London: anywhere upto 11M people so the demonstrations were concentrated on 2 or 3 equivalents of Piccadilly Circus. If you weren’t at those sites you wouldn’t see any demonstrations. And all the demonstrations I saw were very friendly: speeches and eating out and so on. The recent Dover Riots were far worse.
• The military takeover in May 2014 was also very low key: no troops at beaches or resorts and troops only in Bangkok at the palaces and so on. And only really for a few weeks. Most Thai people reluctantly or not agreed with the military takeover to restore peace that was in danger of escalating to a civil war.
• Since then there have been few arrests, and increasing demands now for the military to finalise a Charter/Constitution and return to barracks.
• General Prayut the head of the army took over – and rapidly moved to as civilian government as possible - and provides a weekly TV broadcast that talks a lot of sense and is worth watching if you can. If anything he’s a patriot rather than a Gadaffi-esque strongman. And if anything he’s also held onto power a little bit too long. If he’d agreed the Charter and stood down this time last year he’d have been feted as a hero. Now the calls are increasing for the return to full democracy. Thailand is a modern democracy – and its reputation for military coups is rooted in the distant past: in the last 25 years there have been c.2 coups and this one is extremely bloodless in comparison to the 1960’s and 1970’s.
• In many ways General Prayut’s legacy will be avoiding a civil war and getting back to democracy as fast as possible and helping make further military interventions almost impossible. Indeed may say that PM Prayut’s legacy, now he's retired form the military, could also be a wider reform of the military and some of the more militarised divisions of the police.
• Thailand faces wider issues in the next few years with the end of the rein of King Bhumibol - deeply-loved, and a more active and positive steering hand on the nation’s development than the UK Royals, and the world’s longest reigning monarch since 1946.
* And with Thailand now at peace the political rapprochement with former PM Thaksin Shinawatra is overdue rather than exile and the needless bogeyman scare stories. Again an imperfect analogy not dissimilar to the nonsense of Ed Miliband being Red Ed and some outrageous Communist. Certainly some of the restrictions of Yingluck – or any Thai politician - travelling to EU and the European Parliament seem a little silly though.
• The USA and UK and EU are all calling for a return to democracy, as are the main political parties again and the wider institutions, and public, and that’s scheduled for this August with a referendum to agree the Charter-Constitution.
• Many of my Kent policies you will see are based on Yingluck who is something of an Aung San figure in Thailand with various dynamic policies. Her brother Thaksin Shinawatra is loved and hated in equal measures by the wider public and elites and Yingluck I think very unfairly is seen – or insulted - as his puppet. Her political rival Abhisit is actually a former Eton schoolfriend of PM David Cameron and the left-right divide is probably more Democrat-Republican than Labour-Conservative. And certainly the Redshirt-Yellowshirt dynamic can veer towards the UK of the 1930's deep social divisions and General Strike - but it’s an imperfect analogy as Thai politics is more vibrant than UK or USA, with more smaller, newer parties and Independents than just a stodgy duopoly.
• I hope the above is of some interest for your travels in Thailand.
• Don’t hesitate to invest and trade there too if you want to – indeed Thailand is one of the UK’s top 5 Growth Economies over the next few decades so doing business is as easy as it could be with both UK and Thailand active in working together.
• And as I say don’t hesitate to visit the Land of Smiles for a holiday it’s a wonderful place. Tourism is a huge part of the economy and travel is easy and fun. Thailand is modern and thriving and democratic and with a prominent and deep-rooted arts and cultural heritage unlike anywhere else in Asia. Its problems are very real but very minor compared to many Asian nations and as you know from some of my writings on this blog far better than UK in several instances.
• Kent has recently seen other backpacker deaths as at the Vietnam waterfall and subsequent memorial service in Canterbury Cathedral. Is Vietnam intrinsically dangerous? Of course not. As with Thailand and the rest of East Asia it’s exceptionally safe. With the exception of parts of Northern Myanmar-Shan State or parts of the Thai-Malay border or Mindanao in the South of Philippines the whole region is at peace after the convulsions of the 1970’s. And all those disputes are far smaller than say Ulster even in the 1980’s.
• Certainly Vietnam had very capable leadership with President Dung now handing over to a new regime, and a new regime in Laos too, and of course the new Aung San regime in Myanmar now ending military rule. Even the journalists jailed from reporting the Myanmar chemical weapons factory, and conduit to North Korea, Sudan and Syria and Pakistan, are now released.
• Keeping the military out of politics is something that Britain has always done well - and you only have to look-back to the military juntas that infected South America until recently, whether Brazil and Argentina and Chile, to see how badly they end up running anything beyond the military itself before handing back to democracy - usually after slaughtering thousands of their own citizens and investing in guns not butter. A legacy that corrupts Latin America to this day, with Colombia and Mexico contaminated with drugs and guns, and over 20 of Latin American cities not just more dangerous than Asia – but now more dangerous than warzones.
• Certainly, especially as I'm no fan of military regimes in any shape or form, I even balk at Britain’s military touted as salesmen around Arabia and Asia to shift guns and bungs into some despot’s pocket and out of the national treasury. Kent has form in that field whether Thanet’s MP Jonathan Aitken and The Mother of All Gun Bungs with Al-Yamamah, and its variants with Sangcom and GPT. Even Lydd airport had links to the Al-Yamamah investors at one point. And certainly Britain’s aircraft carriers are ridiculous bloat and junk and waste already irrelevant in the drone age. But might use up some steel before graphene is finessed.
• And foolishly harking back to a Britain of Empire and a world power that ended 70 years ago if not before. But before the ships are eventually scrapped there certainly is a role in Asia given the collision of crises around the Spratlys, Haiyan typhoon disasters and the dimmed legacy of Commonwealth in Singapore and Malaysia and Brunei and Papua and so on. And a revitalised defence treaties with Japan and Korea. Too often the likes of HMS Kent are either cooped up in port, or on meaningless AmbreSolaire tours to Torremolinos or Naples, or the occasional Somalian rubber dinghy pirate.
• Certainly no organised tour is in place of UK and EU coasts. Certainly no organised tours of Asian coasts. And even say the RAF given 13,000 islands in Indonesia and 7,000 islands in the Philippines, and hundreds more through Micronesia, the Solomons and Guam, must surely have scope for development given the whole raft of cargo aircraft, radar drones and cargo helicopters as well as Sports Diplomacy of footy and rugby and golf at the RAF’s fingertips.
• Especially given 60% of Climate disasters are in the Pacific. It’s certainly outrageous that a Malay 747 can disappear in the ocean through lack of radar and ocean and seabed sensors and research. Even the Plastic Patch littering the oceans and fish we eat.
• But East Asia’s problems if anything are attracting investment, developing tourism and reducing avoidable deaths such as road accidents and pandemics whether TB or Birdflu or Dengue. Not that dissimilar to East Kent really.
Time for Change