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Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. Worked at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book.

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Sunday, 15 November 2015

PARIS REVOLUTION misunderstood? Trying to make some sense of the mindless, senseless carnage..



Julian Bray writes: The unfolding events in Paris over the last few days, has been meticulously covered by the media and continues as I write. The death toll so far on Sunday is 129 but this continues to rise as many of the injured are in fact just holding on, hopefully most will be saved by French medical teams, working around the clock, and members of the public lining up in long queues to give blood, as normal 'peacetime' blood stocks were quickly used up.  

Understanding why radicalised young people would go to such lengths knowing the end game is to blow themselves up with an explosives jacket (packed with added nails and metal scrap to increase the terrible effect) a jacket firmly secured, locked even, around their waists defies all 'western' logic. 

Just to ensure the suicide bombers do not have second thoughts, the ignition mechanism, is I understand doubled up with a second trigger apparently worked through a mobile phone SIM card and in the control of another member of the murder squad, or more chillingly back at headquarters, possibly in another country

Simply there is no turning back. But sadly the young men and women are controlled and guided mainly by evil older men, who in turn are safely out of harms way and covertly very well financed by countries, we apparently enjoy cordial diplomatic relations with. 

For us not involved in the front line, but interested observers, the sad fact is that our grandchildren will at some time in their lifetime be involved in World War III, this is despite that fact that several hundred wars have taken place since World War II which ceased in May 1945. The year and month, I was born. My Dad then in the RAF. 

But how does that tally with the global mess we now find ourselves in?  Looking at a new threat map, the high risk zones now stretch and overlap right across north Africa from Morocco to Egypt then continue around the coastline.

If you take a long haul flight you WILL fly over or near conflict and war zones. Until recently it was possible to fly around or fly higher, hopefully out of range of Manpad shoulder launched rocket grenades.

Now that surface to air missiles are being routinely employed by dissident groups, the 'fly higher' option is out, no matter what your holiday company and airline may tell you. Its all down to commercial risk, and by accepting the air ticket or holiday booking contract, you accept the risk and it extends to all of us. 

If we customers, refuse to enter into the contract, then demand for those holidays or trips routed over war zones would fade away. But nothing will stop Brits signing up for a cheap sun guaranteed holiday, seemingly whatever the risk.

There is much talk of open borders but looking at the number of migrant rafts and ramshackle boats in the Med. It would take very little effort to replace a couple of migrants with a box of explosives and a bundle of machine guns.

Simply we have no effective totally watertight border control, sooner or later the contraband gets through, all we can hope to do is keep it down to a minimum.  Not every single person making up the never ending stream of migrants snaking its way through mainland Europe has been subjected to X-ray detailed body and luggage searches.

We also have a problem with our current crop of politicians, few if any on the front benches have seen active service and indeed have little understanding of military matters. Sadly our Service Chiefs are routinely being slapped down, I wonder how Monty would have handled it?  If they did understand, the UK would still have aircraft carrier cover and increasing Typhoon fighter production. Not in the process of being cut back with engineering talent currently being laid off by BAE Systems (and skills possibly lost for ever). 

I also have an issue with these overstaged bloated G20 summit meetings. A lot of the work could be completed with simple video conference calls and without all the window dressing for the media back home. The expensively purchased fencing for one such UK based conference is now installed as our gift to France in Calais. Somehow the UK taxpayer always pays up.

You might ask where is the United Nations in all this? Why do we need to have G20s' and compute any 'G' number you like. Two days of talks, a compromise communique posted but soon forgotten. Cash pledges withdrawn and nothing really moves forward.  

So I say to UK politicians, of all shades of opinion. Treat Paris as the wake up call, France has already declared  it is at War with ISIS and by that, the convention means that we too are at War, no matter what our politicians are saying.

Members of the SAS are already on our streets and attending major events. Time we all started taking this very seriously. Question everything and Give blood.  

Paris is after all only a few hundred miles away....

Julian Bray aviation security and operations expert


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