Archive for April, 2007

I didn’t grok the significance of “Debi Jones”, a Tory councillor quoted by the Sindy‘s latest WLAN pseudoscience scare piece, until I checked in on this row at the Ministry. In a box-out that doesn’t appear on their website, Jonathan Owen quotes “Debi Jones, Tory councillor for Hightown in Somerset” as saying that:

“It seems strange that these stories are only coming out now and seem to coincide with the proliferation of mobile phone masts.”

Well, except that they aren’t and they don’t. It turns out Debi Jones is a Cameron/CCO top list candidate and ex-TV presenter, so presumably the Tories have OK’d this as a campaign issue, despite Dave from PR’s tendency to use the word “digital” at every opportunity. How dreary.

BTW, can I propose a rule of political discourse? Can we all agree that any politician who wishes to use the words “digital” or “analogue” first publicly define them? They do not mean “new” and “old”, nor do they mean “good” and “bad”.

The Ministry reports on some Tories’ bright idea, a website where people who don’t want to be contacted by canvassers can “sign up” to be taken off their lists. The man behin it, Tory councillor Jeremy Kite, turns up in comments to defend himself.

A clue: it seems not to have declared that Tory canvassers were the ones who would avoid your door, and there is (as Kite admits) no procedure to share this information with the other parties. It’s hard to see how this isn’t intended to produce the following effect: “What’s this, canvassers? I signed up to say I didn’t want to see you. Bugger off!” and either abstention or a spite vote for “somebody else” – who is by definition the Tory candidate.

It’s also not so fantastic for Kite to be encouraging the public to opt out of politics.

I didn’t grok the significance of “Debi Jones”, a Tory councillor quoted by the Sindy‘s latest WLAN pseudoscience scare piece, until I checked in on this row at the Ministry. In a box-out that doesn’t appear on their website, Jonathan Owen quotes “Debi Jones, Tory councillor for Hightown in Somerset” as saying that:

“It seems strange that these stories are only coming out now and seem to coincide with the proliferation of mobile phone masts.”

Well, except that they aren’t and they don’t. It turns out Debi Jones is a Cameron/CCO top list candidate and ex-TV presenter, so presumably the Tories have OK’d this as a campaign issue, despite Dave from PR’s tendency to use the word “digital” at every opportunity. How dreary.

BTW, can I propose a rule of political discourse? Can we all agree that any politician who wishes to use the words “digital” or “analogue” first publicly define them? They do not mean “new” and “old”, nor do they mean “good” and “bad”.

The Ministry reports on some Tories’ bright idea, a website where people who don’t want to be contacted by canvassers can “sign up” to be taken off their lists. The man behin it, Tory councillor Jeremy Kite, turns up in comments to defend himself.

A clue: it seems not to have declared that Tory canvassers were the ones who would avoid your door, and there is (as Kite admits) no procedure to share this information with the other parties. It’s hard to see how this isn’t intended to produce the following effect: “What’s this, canvassers? I signed up to say I didn’t want to see you. Bugger off!” and either abstention or a spite vote for “somebody else” – who is by definition the Tory candidate.

It’s also not so fantastic for Kite to be encouraging the public to opt out of politics.

25 years ago, there was a war on, too. Everyone knows the story – fascist dictator invades forgotten colony in middle of nowhere, stalwart soldiery and jolly Jack Tar kick him out, patriotic rejoicing, vague guilt, and kajillions of words of editorialising ever since. The Falklands War remains an event that badly needs good history, but so far is surrounded by myth, either numskull patriotic or self-loathing. Note that this applies to both parties to the conflict.

Myth number one: Command.

The British public discourse is pretty clear – even though the government and the military missed a string of signals on the way in (we’ll deal with them in the next thrilling instalment – Myth 2 – Thatcher’s War?), once it happened, no-one doubted the aim. A razor focus led straight to the beaches of San Carlos Water, with the paladins Woodward, Thompson, and Moore in the lead and the utmost support of the chiefs of staff.

It’s a myth, of course.

The Chiefs of Staff Committee

We’re keeping the intelligence/political level for the next post, but this body performed patchily. Its Navy chief, Admiral Sir Terence Lewin, and the Army’s Chief of the General Staff, Lord Bramall, were notably uncertain about the aim of the operation. The RAF’s Michael Beetham was keen to get involved, and kick-started the activities that led to the long-range Vulcan raids, but couldn’t avoid being a secondary force. Bramall seems to have doubted whether the job could be done, or even should be done, and to have felt that it would be no bad thing if the Navy buggered it up.

From the 29th of March, when RN Fleet Headquarters was alerted that it might need to form a carrier group, through the 2nd of April when the head of amphibious warfare, Commodore Michael Clapp, and the landing force commander, Brigadier Julian Thompson, were warned-off, through the 7th, when Clapp’s ships began to sail from the UK, there was no official statement of the expedition’s aim. This could only come from the Chiefs, answering a political request from Whitehall. Up to the 12th of May, nine days before hitting the beach, the aim remained as follows:

Plan to land on the Falklands with a view to repossession.

Obviously, nobody aims to plan. But more seriously, what did it mean? London sent a string of interpretations, suggesting variously that it might be enough to “poise” offshore, land somewhere remote and wait, or biff the fuckers. Each option had very different requirements, reflecting on the choice of landing site, the order of landing, and the logistic requirements.

Worse, the lack of an actual strategy meant that the procedure laid down for an amphibious operation was put in reverse. Rather than the land force defining its plan and passing requirements to the Navy, which then fit the loading of ships to them, London ordered simply that ships sail from Portsmouth and Devonport as quickly as they could load. Combat-loading was put off until the halt at Ascension Island, but even there, fiddling intervened. At one point, MOD signalled that the whole force must sail south six days before it actually did, which would have meant sailing directly for the beaches with the loading tables even worse than before, without the infantry having time to zero their weapons, without practising landing even once, without receiving huge amounts of stores flown out from the UK. Fortunately, the proposal was kiboshed – very fortunately, as at that point the medical plan did not exist.

Time and again, unclarity about aims and Rumsfeldesque fiddling caused trouble. Clapp and Thompson in Fearless were ordered to race ahead to Ascension to make a Top Conference, with the result that Fearless missed her rendezvous with the fleet tanker RFA Olmeda. That meant Fearless was too high in the water to launch her landing craft until the next tanker came in, and no heavy kit could be moved. Logistics is difficult.

The worst example came with the role of the 5th Infantry Brigade. Intelligence reports of the Argentine airlift of troops to the islands suggested that reinforcements were needed, but the COSs waggled for days about it. It was repeatedly suggested that the second brigade, when it came, would be used as a rear-area garrison or reliefs for the 3 Commando Brigade and its Para reinforcements. This thinking permeated – if it was a secondary role, it would be OK to use the 5th Airborne Brigade HQ and what was left after two of their Para battalions had been grabbed, plus two Guards units, rather than a complete light infantry brigade. Also, 5 Bde were promised the Chinook helicopters, so these stayed on M/V Atlantic Conveyor until she was sunk..

The key problem, really, was that the top command was hoping to get away without a real war. Or at least, without a real war for their service.

One hope for this rested on Admiral Sandy Woodward.

Woodward joins the story just because he was the admiral furthest south at the time, leading an exercise with some escorts in the western Mediterranean. The assault ships, logistics, and carriers, plus a lot more escorts, sailed from Britain under Michael Clapp, although technically they belonged to Rear-Admiral Derek Reffell.

He received directives from the chiefs of staff that required him to achieve sea and air control around the Falklands and cut communication between the mainland and the islands. These he interpreted in his own fashion. What “sea control” meant can be seen in two different ways – a Nelsonian and a Mahanian view. Nelson’s original contribution to sea warfare was extremism. He didn’t just win, he aimed to annihilate the enemy. Rather like his contemporary, Karl von Clausewitz, he believed that “real war” should be as much like “true war” as possible – that is to say, as chaotic and violent and terrifying as possible.

Admiral Mahan, the Edwardian strategist of the U.S. Naval Academy, looked at what the point was, and answered that the point of sea warfare was “the freedom to use the sea and the freedom to deny that use to the enemy”. It didn’t matter if there was no battle – indeed, it was preferable – if the overriding aim of being able to use the sea was achieved.

In the South Atlantic in 1982, the first would mean seeking a battle with the Argentine Navy and Air Force, and trying to crush them, and the second would mean trying to keep them from interfering with a landing on the Falklands. Woodward initially seems to have chosen the Nelson option, as evidenced by a variety of bad ideas he presented to Clapp and others. For example, he wanted to send a decoy group towards the mainland, including Fearless, RFA Fort Austin, RFA Resource, Invincible, and some escorts, while Clapp and Thompson and their staffs went even closer in aboard a destroyer. The idea being to force the enemy out of harbour.

He also suggested, as an alternative to landing and (if necessary) marching on the enemy, a landing on a remote island somewhere in West Falkland, or the construction of an airbase for F-4 Phantom aircraft in Clovelly Bay, West Falkland.

The last is quick to deal with – it just wasn’t possible without engineering equipment and manpower they didn’t have. And the second last was quite simply reckless – at this point, Intrepid still wasn’t with the force, and losing Fearless and Fort Austin would have been a disaster. Equally, five out of the eight destroyers sent were hit by something or other, two being sunk. But what would have happened had Woodward beaten the Argentine Navy, the landing force being either elsewhere or on a remote island? He thought that a blockade would force them to give up, but then, he was never able to stop them sending a C-130 supply run every night of the war. And this required time – but the best estimates for how long the carriers could sustain all-out operations were around 60 days, as the weather turned nastier and men and machines wore out.

Further, though, the whole argument assumed that the Argentine Air Force would turn up. With no threat to overturn their strategic success, there would have been no reason for them to hurl themselves at Woodward’s ships – they would have controlled the operational tempo. And eventually, anything could happen – they might get lucky and hit a carrier, they might start sinking tankers, or the UK might fall out with either the US or Europe.

Was Woodward suffering from Trafalgar syndrome, the belief that a decisive fleet action would win the war? Possibly. His behaviour towards the amphibious force suggests so, but even if he was, it might not have been so deluded. Between the 30th of April and the 2nd May, the two navies came very close to a fleet action, with three Argentine groups manoeuvring about the Task Force’s perimeter. The last contact the British had with the Argentine carrier group was on the morning of the 30th when a Sea Harrier picked up their radar transmissions, but after this moment there was no more information for some time. But the other side located Woodward’s carriers on the 31st after a (risky) reconnaissance flight by a Grumman Tracker. They were now in a position to launch an air strike, and presumably send in the northern surface-attack group with its Exocet ships behind the jets.

However, the Argentine command didn’t launch that evening, and the wind changed on the next day. They therefore called off the attack and ordered the fleet to rendezvous with its tankers west of the Falklands before seeking another opportunity. But on the way, the General Belgrano was sunk, which caused everyone to scratch the tanker RV and return to home waters at best speed. It’s hard to see exactly what would have happened had the fleets engaged – the British had two small carriers to one bigger Argentine one and 10 escorts to 9, but only 5 of the British ships (T-21, T-22, or Leander class frigates, and County class DLGs) had surface-to-surface missiles compared to 8 Argentine SSM ships. The wildcard would have been the British submarines, providing that HMS Spartan could catch up in time (she had not found the enemy carrier group as intended).

It would have been a bloody business, and might have ended up as a Nelsonian thrashing, but it seems unlikely that even a devastating British victory would have come without seriously weakening the carrier group – perhaps losing a carrier. Which would have posed the question – what now? Blockade was, as discussed, imperfect and could anyway not be sustained long enough to win. Could a weakened carrier group have provided enough air cover for the amphibious group? It seems impossible, given the close-run thing it was with two carriers.

Once COMAW and company arrived, Woodward’s role changed dramatically. At last, he had a clear aim, which was (however much he disliked it) to support the amphibians by providing combat air patrols and strikes and looking after the transport holding area out at sea. He discharged this well, taking the (mildly controversial) decision to keep the carriers well to the east. Again, the lack of clear strategic analysis had nearly led him to take an appalling risk, but the return of clarity led him back to a sensible and conservative policy.

Logistic Blindness

This afflicted a string of important people, kicking off with Lewin in MOD Main Building and moving south. Woodward doesn’t seem ever to have grasped the problem, complaining that the amphibious group had offloaded nearly one ton of stores per man and that must surely be enough. In fact, 3 Commando Brigade had 4,500 tons of stuff in their War Maintenance Reserve, roughly a ton per man, but this doesn’t include their first- and second-line loadout, weapons, or vehicles. The order from London on the 26th to “move out” was based on the assumption that everyone was being terribly slow, but the NATO Northern Flank plans had assumed eight days for a smaller force to land through an operational port with host-nation air cover.

In fact, the landing craft and choppers managed to unload ammunition from the P&O Ferrymasters truck ferry M/V Elk at a rate of 80 tons an hour, which would be good going for breakbulk dry cargo handling in a real port. Similarly, Brigadier Tony Wilson of 5 Brigade and Major-General Jeremy Moore of division HQ spent their trip south on the QE2 planning in splendid isolation from either Sandy Woodward or Michael Clapp, whose ships and aircraft they were, or Julian Thompson, whose logistics regiment it was (among many other things, 5 didn’t have its own logistics support and consumed 3 Bde resources). Wilson believed Moore had promised him all available helicopters to get his brigade forward, although Moore had no helicopters to promise and there was no way such a thing could happen in the light of the offload, artillery, and medical requirements.

With his logistics outsourced to the Navy, Wilson was unfortunately free to start his own war by pushing men forward from the Goose Green area to Bluff Cove in his liaison helicopter, thus creating an advance along the south coast that the Navy and Marine planners had ruled out as logistically difficult to support, needless, and risky. The confusion about strategic aims that had started at the top led to the tactical and operational mistakes that led to the disaster at Bluff Cove.

In the next post in this series, coming soon, we’ll deal with the top itself, or rather, herself. Stand by for Myth Two: Thatcher’s War..

So last week’s mobile-phones-kill-bees screamer front page was bad enough. They ignored all the countervailing evidence and picked out a tiny uncontrolled study carried out in someone’s spare time that neither mentioned the condition they were interested in, nor even attempted to measure how much RF energy they were using.

This Sunday, they were at it again, with another electrosensitivity pseudoscience screamer. This time it was WLAN that was going to kill everyone (never mind that, even if you believe that “pulsing” has a mystical influence more important than the amount of energy involved, WLAN works very differently from any cellular technology), based on following evidence.

1) A classics master at Stowe School, who complained of headaches before entering his classroom. This he attributed to the recent deployment of a wireless LAN, which was removed. No follow-up has been carried out to my knowledge to determine if he feels any better.

2) Some random bloke who had bees in his loft, which exterminators failed to remove, but which left after he installed a WLAN router.

The problem here is that if you do something, and something changes, your head is wired up by evolution to assume that it was because of your action. Cognitive psychologists call it the fundamental attribution error, and there’s a lovely story about one of its discoverers, Daniel Kahnemann. Kahnemann was asked by the Israeli Air Force to lecture to their flying instructors on what his research showed about learning processes. Kahnemann prepared a lecture based on some results that seemed to show that positive reinforcement – being nice – was a more effective teaching technique than negative reinforcement – chewing-out anyone who gets it wrong.

When he gave the talk, though, one of the grizzled instructor pilots instantly responded to say that he knew without a doubt that no-one learns anything unless you SHOUT at them. So far, so stereotyped, but then, up pops another. No, he says, Professor Kahnemann is damn right. And so on. The problem was that statistically, if one of their students had a bad day yesterday, he was likely to have a better one today – regression to the mean. So, if the instructor had yelled at him, he was likely to perceive an improvement. And he was just as likely to perceive that, had he been supportive instead, because that’s how human beings work.

This is why you need things like big statistical samples, null hypotheses, tests, follow-up and the rest. On the same page, the Indy mentioned a school where – wow! – after a campaign by parents, O2 and Orange had agreed to move a shared cell-site. This was given as evidence that mobile phones *are* dangerous – it might of course be that people like a quiet life when this costs little – but worse followed. The paper issued a string of figures “from the campaign” that seemed to show that a lot of people there had headaches, skin inflammations, or red eyes.

What was missing? Well, how many people among the population report headaches? Close to 100 per cent sounds about right. Nor is there any postevent data to find out if it had any effect. You must be joking.

But there was worse. The Indy’s environment editor, Geoffrey Lean, again repeated the deeply stupid and dishonest claim that a recent Finnish study showed that one was “40 per cent more likely” to have a brain tumour on the side of the head you used your phone. But it didn’t. In fact, the study – available here – showed that there was no greater risk of a brain tumour whatsoever. People who *did* have a brain tumour were 40 per cent more likely to say they used their phone on that side of their head.

Now, if this was a real result due to the phone, something really weird must have been happening. Mobile phone use must have been transferring brain tumours from one side to the other! This is obviously silly. More likely, those monkey brain logic bugs struck again. Confirmation bias means we seek out information that fits with our worldview. Could you really give an accurate estimate from memory of which side of your head you used a mobile phone over a period of ten years?

Also, Lean again ignored a string of copper-bottomed, peer-reviewed, randomised-controlled trials he didn’t like. There’s the Danish study of 420,000 people over 25 years I mentioned in the first link above. There’s also this one in the British Medical Journal that shows that people who claim to come out in hives when they meet a phone have the same symptoms whether they are exposed to GSM signals, or whether they are just told they are. The Indy? Nix. They also managed to quote Sweden’s Misleader of the Year 2004.

And finally, just to pile on the psuedo-scientific bullshit: Lean and the Indy even boast about the web traffic the last lot of cheap-ass crapola brought in, quoting three bloggers – but not one who disagrees.

Finally, someone will probably point out that I work for Mobile Communications International magazine. Well, it’s true. Aren’t I just seeking out information that suits me? Perhaps. But the good thing about science is that it’s a machine designed to correct for bias, and I’ve got the data.

What would you think if I told you the police had accused 5,000 British citizens of a really unpleasant, despicable crime, the sort of thing where just being questioned is the kind of news that could destroy your family, career, and psyche, that some 39 of them had committed suicide as a result, but quite possibly every man-jack of them was innocent?

It would be like the Guildford Four case on steroids, right? All over the papers, public inquiries, years of litigation, every blowhard from Vanessa Redgrave to Tim Worstall joining the Free the 5,000 support group.

Well, they did it, and it’s not. In June, 2006, this blog mentioned an article in the Times by Duncan Campbell – that’s the Duncan Campbell of no-ricin not-plot fame, whose articles on this topic were retconned out of the Grauniad archive – which detailed the incredibly flaky evidence used by police in the Operation Ore child-porn case.

Amongst other things, the testimony of a US Postal Service inspector and a cop, both of whom swore that visitors to the website in question had to click a button marked “Click Here for Child Porn”, was exploded as nonsense (’twas actually a banner ad).

Now Campbell is back, with even worse news. Recap: the Texas-based website Landslide.com provided hosting and payments services to a large number of porno sites, under a revenue-sharing agreement. In 1999, police seized the box on which the SSL-encrypted credit card numbers were handled. Operation ORE consisted in going through the list of cards.

Unfortunately, the original file includes some 54,348 credit cards known to have been stolen or otherwise compromised.

The site’s operators had a curious relationship with credit card fraudsters. In its heyday, it was one of the easiest ways to get credit card merchant facilities, and hence an obvious opportunity if you had a list of other people’s cards. As 65 per cent of revenue from its customers went to the owners, they had a strong incentive to look the other way. At least, until the suckers began to spot unusual transactions – then, they raised chargebacks through the Visa dispute procedure. As Landslide was the merchant under VisaNet definitions, it had to pay up, and it was this that eventually bankrupted the site. Naturally, this was an advantage to the crook, as the cost of chargebacks fell on someone else.

The killer fact? Many of the credit cards presented for payment don’t correspond to the server log – to put it more brutally, a mysteriously large number of people were paying up in advance but not taking delivery of their smut. In fact, quite a lot of the websites that used Landslide contained no porn, nor anything else, existing purely for fraudulent purposes. The M.O. was to get hold of a list of cards – a black market exists – set up an account, and then run a script that would charge small amounts (say £25) to each, hoping that the payments would go unnoticed.

It should be quite clear from this that the police investigation in both the US and UK was spectacularly incompetent, overkeen to prove that they could keep up with Teh Interweb Menace, and probably conducted with one eye on future data-retention legislation. All prosecutions must stop, and there must be a full-dress public inquiry. The sheer scale of the case demands it.

This is, of course, an instance of everything we fear about the National Identity Register. Justice-by-database has the potential to generate injustice faster and more efficiently than any previous system. It’s time to stop the machine – anyone whose credit card was compromised before August, 1999 is a potential target.

Don’t miss the longer version of Campbell’s report from PC Pro (pdf link). I’d actually forgotten the little ha-gotcha that if they didn’t find anything on your computer, they’d charge you with “incitement”.

Did I mention the Home Office must be abolished?

Last Friday, the Guardian reported that servicemen on leave from Iraq were spending their time camping in a queue at RAF Coltishall in the hope of buying the houses their families lived in before they were sold to the public. It’s another fine achievement of Michael Portillo’s 1996 deal to flog the entire MOD housing stock to a company run by William Hague’s best friend.

The problems were clear right from the start – rather like Right to Buy, it meant that the stock could only ever decrease, but unlike it, the tenants didn’t really get the choice of buying their house, but rather the choice of moving out or taking a chance of buying.

That Grauniad story is one of very few occasions the (cough) mainstream media have covered this in any detail. But as always, you can expect the Grauniad’s hyper-Blairite sister to do something really horrible. And they did, with this useful primer on how to take advantage yourself. Delightful.

The Sindy has been getting a lot of blogosphere points for this article, which alleges that a mysterious ailment of bees is caused by “radiation” from mobile phone networks. Nowhere is it mentioned that an identical, and unexplained, condition has been documented as early as 1896, before the invention of radio and a hell of a long time before mobile phones were common.

It gets worse, though.

But an official Finnish study found that people who used the phones for more than 10 years were 40 per cent more likely to get a brain tumour on the same side as they held the handset.

No, it didn’t. The study found that people who used the phones for more than 10 years were no more likely to get a brain tumour than anyone else. But, in the event they did, they were 40 per cent more likely to report that it was on the side they held the phone – or at least to think that they held the phone 10 years ago on the side of their head the tumour was on, as this was self-reported and clearly subject to confirmation bias.

There is no mention of the Royal Danish Cancer Institute report, the biggest (n=420,000) and longest (25 years) epidemiological study ever undertaken into the subject and the only one to use network operators’ billing data, rather than self-reporting, to find out how much the patients used their phones over a period of 20 years. So what did they find?

We found no evidence for an association between tumor risk and cellular telephone use among either short-term or long-term users. Moreover, the narrow confidence intervals provide evidence that any large association of risk of cancer and cellular telephone use can be excluded.

You can read the paper in the Journal of the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

All in all, an exercise in bad newspaper science worthy of the Daily Hell – even the headline sounds Mailesque. Why? According to media sources, the Indy recently hired two chief sub-editors from the Mail. Do Associated Newspapers Staff Wreck Your Journalistic Standards? – not a bad headline, eh?

Update: I’ve managed to find the German study they referred to (pdf). It consisted of plonking a DECT cordless phone base station inside the bees’ hive, either with or without homemade shielding, then catching some bees, marking them, and counting how many returned within a given time period. It’s not clear from the paper whether they put anything in the control group’s hive, which raises the question of whether the results are an artefact of the experiment.

In two rounds of tests, they got one marginally significant result and one nonsignificant. Apparently, 54 per cent of the bees with the DECT station on returned on time, compared to 63 per cent without, in six tests. Reading some of the other papers, the initial hypothesis appears to be that “GSM TDMA time slots change over at about a frequency of 217Hz, and that’s nearish one cycle in the bees’ dance, so it must be connected”. They do mention that the pulse cycle in DECT is 100Hz, but do not discuss the fact that this isn’t the same.

Neither do they mention that timeslotting doesn’t mean there is no signal from the BTS, just that it communicates with a different user. Ho hum.

I Don’t Care

I do not care whether or not the sailors from Cornwall profit by selling their stories. Michael Portillo thinks that it is the worst misfortune to befall the Navy since the Falklands. I disagree strongly. Which ships have sunk? Who is dead? Let’s not be snarky and mention Portillo’s term as Defence Secretary, one that is improved from a low base by the example of Geoff Hoon.

I do care, though, that Able-Seaman Batchelor now apparently thinks he disappointed the whole Navy, having received enough money for “a few driving lessons” in his own words – so, £200 perhaps. I do care, though, that no-one seems to have thought through the risks involved. I also care that a lot of people seem to think that the problem was a lack of desire for an unplanned war of choice with Iran.

Sadly, applying Will to hydrography is even less likely to succeed than applying it to the weather. The usual wankers are out – as well as the keyboard kamikazes, Lewis Page has of course discovered that the incident proves the Navy needs only carriers and no other ships…strange, this bullseye I just drew happens to surround the holes in the wall very neatly!

Anyway, a dangerous frontier incident has been resolved without anyone getting hurt or any obvious loss to our side. Cheers.

Update: A robot has been captured by Iraqi insurgents. If it sells its story, can it keep the cash?





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