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2 | November 25 - December 1 2009
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Best of British Enter your favourite expat places for our great new competition
Hostage video plea The Chandlers say their captors will kill them within the week
On the road again Bryony Gordon meets the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens
EXPAT LIFE P30-31
Special report Taking a look at some property options for retirement abroad
The chocolate war Cadbury’s in play as Hershey and Ferrero confirm interest
Bonus Ball 38
Bonus Ball 35
There was one winner of Wednesday’s £2.1m jackpot but no one won Saturday’s £4.9m prize
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Dispatches For the latest news on serving British soldiers telegraph.co.uk/frontline
Continued from page 1 “whitewash”. The documents comprise dozens of “postoperational reports” written by commanders at all levels, plus two sharply worded “overall lessons learnt” papers – on the war phase and on the occupation – compiled by the Army centrally.
The analysis of the war phase describes it as a “significant military success”, but one achieved against a “third-rate army”. It identifies a long list of “significant” weaknesses and notes: “A more capable enemy would probably have punished these shortcomings severely.”
The analysis of the occupation describes British reconstruction plans as “nugatory” and “hopelessly optimistic”.
It says that coalition forces were “ill-prepared and equipped to deal with the problems in the first 100 days” of the occupation, which turned out to be “the defining stage of the campaign”. It condemns the almost complete absence of contingency planning as a potential breach of Geneva Convention obligations to safeguard civilians.
The leaked documents bring into question statements that Mr Blair made to Parliament in the build-up to the invasion. On July 16 2002, amid growing media speculation about Britain’s future role in Iraq, Mr Blair was asked: “Are we then preparing for possible military action in Iraq?” He replied: “No.”
Introducing the dossier on Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction, on September 24 2002, Mr Blair told MPs: “In respect of any military options, we are not at the stage of deciding those options but, of course, it is important — should we get to that point — that we have the fullest possible discussion of
Tony Blair addressing British troops in Basra after the invasion
those options.” In fact, according to the documents, “formation-level planning for a [British] deployment [to Iraq] took place from February 2002”.
The documents also quote Maj Gen Graeme Lamb, the director of special forces during the Iraq war, as saying: “I had been working the war up since early 2002.”
The leaked material also includes sheaves of classified verbatim transcripts of one-toone interviews with commanders recently returned from Iraq – many critical of the Whitehall failings, which were becoming clear. At least four commanders use the same word – “appalling” – to describe the performance of the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence.
They describe the “inability to restore security early
during the occupation” and the “absence of UK political direction” after the war ended.
One quotes a senior British officer as saying: “The UK Government, which spent millions of pounds on resourcing the security line of operations, spent virtually none on the economic one, on which security depended.”
Many of the documents leaked to The Telegraph deal with key questions for Sir John and his committee, such as whether planning was adequate, troops properly equipped and the occupation mishandled, and will almost certainly be seen by the inquiry. However, it is not clear whether they will be published by it. ÞA selection of the documents will be published on Andrew Gilligan’s blog at www.telegraph.co.uk/blogs
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By Andrew Gilligan
THE deep hostility of Britain’s senior military commanders towards their American allies in Iraq is disclosed in the classified government documents leaked to The Telegraph.
In a Ministry of Defence (MoD) interview, Col J K Tanner, the British chief of staff in Iraq, described his American counterparts as “Martians” for whom “dialogue is alien”.
He added: “Despite our socalled ‘special relationship’, I reckon we were treated no differently to the Portuguese.”
Col Tanner’s boss, Maj Gen Andrew Stewart, the top British operational commander in Iraq, told how he spent “a significant amount of my time” “evading” and “refusing” orders from his American superiors.
The frank statements were made in official interviews conducted by the MoD with Army commanders who had just returned from Operations Telic 2 and 3, the first crucial year of “peacekeeping” operations in Iraq, from May 2003 to May 2004.
They paint a vivid picture of a clash between what Maj Gen Stewart described as “war-war” American commanders and their British counterparts, who preferred a “jaw-jaw” approach.
Col Tanner added: “We managed to get on better with our European partners and, at times, with the Arabs than with the Americans. Europeans chat to each other, whereas dialogue is alien to the US military.
“Dealing with them corporately is akin to dealing with a group of Martians.”
By Benedict Brogan
BRITISH forces will pull out of Germany for good, nearly 70 years after the Allied victory in the Second World War, as part of a defence ‘‘revolution’’ being drawn up by the Conservatives.
Dr Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, told The Telegraph that ending Britain’s 25,000-strong military presence on the Rhine would be part of a fundamental reorganisation of Nato forces designed to free troops for military operations outside Europe.
The decision would close one of the unfinished chapters of the last war, that saw the British military go from an occupying force in the ruins of Nazi Germany in
1945 to guarantor of German security against Soviet invasion during the Cold War.
Dr Fox’s decision to call time on Britain’s military links with Germany is a signal of his determination to force through a “wholesale recasting of our foreign and defence policy”.
He also called for the public to be told the truth about the “cost of defeat” in Afghanistan, including Britain being relegated to “the third division” of world politics. He gave warning that setting a timetable for withdrawal would “tell our allies that we quit if the going gets tough and it says to our enemies that they may be able to outlast us”.
Generations of soldiers and their families have passed
through Germany, where the British presence has had a profound economic and cultural impact on garrison towns. It is now centred on the 1st Armoured Division in Herford, near Hanover. Dr Fox said it was no longer possible to expect a fifth of the Army to be tied up permanently in continental Europe when such huge demands were being placed on the military by tighter budgets and the war in Afghanistan.
As part of a strategic defence review if the Tories win power, he is overseeing preparations for negotiations within Nato to reassign burdens among members.
He wants new member states from eastern and central Europe, particularly Poland, to take over Britain’s
commitments in Germany, allowing British troops to be deployed elsewhere. A final decision will depend on negotiations with Nato allies, in particular France, and on the Ministry of Defence’s ability to handle the return of so many soldiers for whom there is no accommodation in Britain.
Dr Fox said maintaining British Forces Germany was “now not necessary for what we need to do as a country”.
He added: “If other countries are willing to take up roles in continental defence, that leaves Britain and France able to take on expeditionary roles. Finding a more creative diplomatic solution in Nato will be a priority for an incoming Conservative government.” telegraph.co.uk/expat
news digest telegraph.co.uk/news
November 25 - December 1 2009 | 3
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Below left and top right, RNLI volunteers rescue stranded residents of Cockermouth. Top left, a Sea King helicopter is used to airlift a resident to safety. Meanwhile, engineers survey the scene where a policeman lost his life after a bridge collapsed over the Derwent
Heavy rainfall: Begins to hit Cumbria on Wednesday
River Derwent 2
Cockermouth: 200 rescued as water levels reach 8.2ft
The Lake District
ofupto 20 knots
3 Workington: Pc Barker was killed
while directing motorists off the Northside Bridge when it colllapsed
Lost officer ‘A family man and a hero’
PC BILL BARKER, the traffic officer swept to his death in the Cumbrian floods, had been due to celebrate his 45th birthday with his wife and four children last weekend.
Described as “a policeman through and through”, he died saving the lives of motorists by directing them away from the crumbling Northside Bridge in Workington when it suddenly gave way beneath him at 4.40am last Friday.
His widow Hazel, 44, led the tributes, saying: “How do you put into words how you feel about somebody you are so proud of? Bill wasmybestfriend,myforever friend and an amazing dad.
“Even when he was exhausted from work he would always take time out for the kids. I have the comfort of knowing Bill died doing the job he loved and the fact he was helping others is typical of Bill.”
Gordon Brown described PC Barker as a “very heroic, very brave man”, adding: “I think we owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude.”
PC Barker (pictured), of Egremont, had served with Cumbria Police for 25 years. He leaves two sons and two daughters: Simon, 16, Melissa, 15, Daniel, 13,
and Emma, six. His body was found on a beach in Allonby, 11 miles from where he disappeared.
Craig Mackey, Cumbria’s chief constable,said: “Billwasa wonderful police officer and a real family man. He is a hero who died saving the lives of others and our thoughts are with his family at this devastating time. He was a muchloved friend, colleague and an inspiration to everyone he knew — he will be sadly missed.
“His friends say he loved being a police officer and, a passionate biker, he was part of the constabulary’s dedicated roads policing unit. He was a sterling officer and had won a number of awards throughout his 25-year service.”
ANOTHER person has died and a third is still missing after being swept away by the raging river torrents which have stretched from Cumbria to Devon.
In Devon, police named an experienced canoeist and instructor who died after being pulled from the River Dart. Chris Wheeler, 46, from Reading, had become caught against a tree in stormy weather. Two others were airlifted to hospital suffering hypothermia.
The search for a 21-year-old woman who was swept away in a swollen river in Powys resumed early on Monday as hopes for her survival began to fade. Police believe that she slipped as she stopped to look at the fast-flowing River Usk near Watergate Bridge, Brecon, after crossing a narrow pedestrian bridge.
Further rain and stormy weather was expected this week, bringing more misery to the thousands forced to leave their homes.
In Cumbria, 16 bridges, 25 roads and 18 schools have
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been closed as many people remain cut off by the high water levels.
Thirteen flood warnings – where flooding of homes and businesses was expected – were issued for the River Wye, Hereford, the River Nidd near Knaresborough and the River Cocker at Cockermouth.
The Ministry of Defence said 25 soldiers, from 39 Regiment the Royal Artillery, had been sent to the flood-hit areas to assist the emergency services.
In Cumbria, as people started to clear up the worst of the damage, an urgent safety review was being carried out on all 1,800 bridges in the area.
Six have already collapsed and Calva Bridge in Workington was shut on Sunday. Its closure cut off the north side of the town and outlying villages, where local MP Tony Cunningham said “desperate” residents were running out of food and medical supplies – with nearby Seaton now a 90-mile journey.
The town of Workington was cut in half as police closed the final surviving bridge amid fears that it would collapse into the
Derwent. The Calva Bridge was condemned as beyond repair after the main deck sank about a foot and a large crack appeared in its central arch. The force of the water swirling around the bridge’s pillars was said to be undermining the foundations.
It is about half a mile upstream from the Northside Bridge, where Pc Bill Barker was swept to his death as it collapsed last Friday.
More than 1,300 homes were hit by the floods in Cumbria and, at the peak of the chaos, 5,000 properties were without power.
About 20,000 flood defence bags were handed out to people in Keswick and Cockermouth, where the Derwent and Cocker rivers converge.
The disaster happened despite assurances that Workington’s flood defences – rebuilt after the great storms of 2005 – could withstand a “once-in-a-century flood”.
What the local authorities hadn’t reckoned on was that, four years on, the Cumbrian town and its near neighbour, Cockermouth, would be deluged by a once-in-amillennium event.
In the 24 hours up to 12.45am last Friday, the Environment Agency recorded rainfall of 314.4mm (12.3in) in the area, thought to be an alltime record for England.
The people of Cumbria’s Derwent Valley did not need statistics to tell them they had been hit by one of the most devastating floods seen in a generation.
The torrent that smashed down four bridges over the Derwent forged a new course down the centre of Cockermouth’s high street and washed away everything in its path that was not anchored, including cars, sheds and wheelie bins. The lake it left behind was up to 8ft deep in places.
Cockermouth suffered the worst flooding as both the Derwent and the Cocker burst their banks.
Throughout last Thursday night and all Friday, three RAF search and rescue Sea King helicopters worked nonstop to winch people to safety while, below them, other rescuers were negotiating Cockermouth’s Main Street and its alleyway tributaries in a flotilla of vessels ranging from dinghies to kayaks.
More than 200 people spent last Thursday night at emergency reception centres at schools and leisure centres, but after some of the centres were cut off by road, some people had to be airlifted to safety for a second time.
John Carlin, owner of the Allerdale Court Hotel in Cockermouth, said: “I have lived here for 15 years and have never seen anything like it. At 2pm on Thursday it was raining heavily, but there was nothing here – but now there is 4ft of water outside my front door.
“It’s desperate. The town centre is completely flooded, the only people out there at the moment are the emergency services. The water is up to the waists of the firefighters.”
Michael Dunn, the manager of the Bitter End pub in Cockermouth, said: “This is a tourist town as well, so it will hit very hard. It has devastated the town.
“There are a lot of properties in Main Street, shops that have had their windows smashed in by the force of the water and by debris. There were cars floating down the street. It
will be a long time before Cockermouth recovers from this.”
Astonishingly, Cockermouth’s Christmas tree remained standing in the town centre, one of the few things that had not been swept downstream.
Bethany Pollard, 13, said: “We’ve seen all sorts floating by – teddy bears, bottles of wine, DVDs, even tins of Roses chocolates.”
Mr Cunningham, the Workington MP, described the flood as being “of biblical proportions”. “The scale and the force of the devastation are huge. The force of the river was incredible,” he said.
Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, said that while the area’s flood defences had been rebuilt to withstand a one-in-100-year flood, “what we dealt with last night was probably more like one in a thousand, so even the very best defences, if you have such quantities of rain in such a short space of time, can be over-topped”.
Flood claims in Cumbria and south Scotland are expected to be up to £100 million, the Association of British Insurers said.