The Plastic Hippo

November 7, 2015

In Sharms way

Filed under: History,Politics,Society,Transport,World — theplastichippo @ 2:00 am
Tags: , , ,


As David Cameron repeatedly reminds us, the first duty of a British Prime Minister is to protect the safety and security of British citizens at home and abroad. However, his courageous decision to ground all flights to and from a holiday resort on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula is not the tactical triumph of TE Lawrence taking Aqaba from the desert hinterland.

Obviously a lot has changed in 102 years and Lawrence was considered insane to cross the Jordanian Nefud desert allied to the Arab Revolt in order to oust the Ottoman Empire defenders from the strategically significant port. Quite why Cameron wanted to shut down Sharm el-Sheikh airport is anyone`s guess.

It seems that Dave of the Departure Lounge acted on “intelligence” and grounded Easyjet. In other circumstances, the nation may have expressed its gratitude but with the loss of 224 innocent lives on the downed Russian Airbus, the “intelligence” must have been pretty conclusive and the Prime Minister`s first duty must be to protect the 20,000 British holidaymakers now stuck in Sharm. As usual, Cameron said that the “intelligence” was credible but would not divulge what the “intelligence” suggested in case it confused us. Amid the smarm, national security was cited and, just like the NHS, working tax credits, Surestart Centres and just about everything else, we would simply have to trust him on this one.

What is rather odd about all this is the suddenness and certainty of Cameron`s decision. It is entirely coincidental that President Sisi of Egypt, a nasty dictator with a dreadful human rights record, was waved through border controls at Heathrow to enjoy a pleasant shopping trip in London. When haggling over trinkets, souvenirs and a few insignificant weapons of mass destruction to suppress an ungrateful populous, Cameron`s masterful negotiation skill has all but destroyed Egypt`s struggling tourism industry. As you may recall, his reaction to the terrorist outrage in Sousse did the same for Tunisia.

Perhaps Cameron simply wants to annoy Putin, and Obama and the French and Airbus Industries and British tourists in Egypt? It is probable that the Russian aircraft was destroyed by a bomb and after initial denials and prevarication, Russia, Egypt, the US and Airbus are beginning to consider that possibility. The gamble that Cameron has taken is his suggestion that further attacks are imminent and that the first duty of a Prime Minister et cetera, et cetera. Those with long memories might recall the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks when US airspace was closed and all commercial traffic ordered to land at the nearest airport or face being shot down. Three aircraft were allowed to fly. Airforce One took George W to a secret location as far away as possible from Washington and two 747`s departed JFK heading to Saudi Arabia.

As the days went by and rest of the world bought into Cameron`s nightmare scenario, scant details of the “intelligence” began to emerge. It seems that “chatter” on the internet and mobile phones monitored by GCHQ alerted the British security services to a plot and the possible activities of a baggage handler at Sharm. By complete coincidence, the British government were pressing ahead with a tougher investigatory powers act intended to monitor our internet and mobile phone usage on the usual pretext of protecting national security. There can be no better way to re-enforce the need for mass surveillance than an example of mass surveillance preventing yet another atrocity. Spooky…hey?

You are reading this piece via the internet and the algorithms at GCHQ and the NSA are probably already churning out bulk data. This article contains the words Arab Revolt, Sharm el-Sheikh, Easyjet, bomb, British tourists and baggage handler. Thank you for your visit and I`ll see you in Guantanamo Bay. One hopes that British intelligence will inform airlines, governments and airport security before and not after the event.

For all his guile, charisma and strategic genius, TE Lawrence still managed to shoot his own camel during the charge on Aqaba. Becoming a little exuberant at the prospect of unexpected victory, Lawrence accidently discharged his pistol into the unfortunate creature`s head and narrowly missed being crushed to death by the fallen beast.

Dave…Dave…point the gun away from your foot.

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