Friday, October 13, 2017

My booklet — Mon petit livre

You can purchase my booklet
directly from the printing platform :

Ingram Spark
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom
MK9 3HQ

http://myaccount.ingramspark.com

—————————

Vous pouvez acheter mon petit livre
directement chez l’imprimeur :

Ingram Spark
Milton Keynes
Royaume Uni
MK9 3HQ

http://myaccount.ingramspark.com

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Péripéties personnelles

Dernier conseil de mon voisin
Jacques Ageron à Gamone, vers 11h15,
sur la route devant ma propriété : 

"Tu ferais mieux de retourner dans ton pays."

Jacques Ageron est un xénophobe de la pire espèce,
bête et particulièrement méchant.
Son épouse "Fafa¨ Riboulet est du même acabit.
04 76 38 14 92
06 09 60 19 45


--------------------

"You should go back to Australia."

Jacques Ageron is a xenophobe of the worst kind,
idiotic and particularly vicious.
His wife is a similar specimen.
33 4 76 38 14 92
33
6 09 60 19 45

--------------------

D'autres individus dont la stupidité
m'a fait souffrir énormément


Je pense d'abord à Geneviève Moreau, mairesse de Choranche, et Laurent Drouot, son adjoint : un couple franchement diabolique. Leur crime consistait à tenter de faire croire aux élus qu'ils comprennent un peu l'ordinateur et l'Internet. Mais leur ignorance est infinie. Et ces individus m'insultent sans cesse depuis des années. Drouot (un pompier professionnel à Romans) m'a envoyé un email, le 13 février, où il disait que j'étais un malade mental !


J'ai souvent dit à Moreau et Drouot qu'ils devraient déguerpir. Quitter pour toujours notre jolie commune. Mais ces idiots se retrouvent toujours à la mairie de Choranche.

Des individus de ce type n'ont pas besoin du type de service Internet rapide que Macron souhaiterait installer partout en France. Sans une formation sérieuse en informatique, ces gens-là ne sauraient pas quoi faire avec un bon service Internet. Ils ne savent même pas qu'un programme se rédige au moyen d'un langage de programmation. Ils n'ont pas la moindre idée des principes de base de l'informatique. Ils doivent penser que les applications, ça s'achète comme des jeux vidéo, ou que ça pousse sur des arbres !

Nous avons besoin d'un changement de structure qui empêcherait des villages minuscules comme Choranche et Châtelus d'élire des idiots méchants tels que Moreau, Drouot et Antoine Molina. C'est la France elle-même, plutôt que l'Internet (qui marche merveilleusement bien pour moi), qui devrait être changée de façon draconienne.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

L'affaire est close... pour le moment


Citation du Nouvel Observateur :


Quant à moi, j'ai été longtemps dupé...

Puis il y a son adjoint atteint de cacophonie : 

                                                                    extrait du Figaro

                                                                                                   LCI

                                                                                                20 minutes

J'ai dit bien "pour le moment".

60 jours depuis mon envoi à Macron

Au sujet de mon rôle central dans la vente
de sous-marins français à l'Australie,
j'ai fait mon premier envoi
à Emmanuel Macron
le mardi 11 juillet 2017...
et il ne m'a pas encore répondu.

Ce président se comporte comme un sourd.
Il n'écoute pas ses citoyens. 

Assez ! J'arrête de compter les jours. 
Je finis par penser que mon envoi du 11 juillet
aurait disparu pour toujours. Et 60 est un joli chiffre...

——————————

 Ne pourrait-on pas le remplacer par Manuel Valls ?


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Je ne suis pas un misanthrope


Au contraire, il n’y a rien de triste chez moi,
j’ai un grand sens de l’humour,
et j’aime profondément tous ceux
qui aiment leurs sœurs et leurs frères.

A la rigueur, je m’inspire un peu d’Edmond Dantès,
le Comte de Monte-Cristo.
Je mets en place un petit ensemble de pièges,
et ce sont les vilains tricheurs eux-mêmes
qui tombent mathématiquement là-dedans.
Je n’ai pas besoin de faire quoi que ce soit.
Il suffit de tout garder en mémoire, ne rien oublier...

59 jours depuis mon envoi à Macron

J'ai fait mon premier envoi
à Emmanuel Macron
le mardi 11 juillet 2017...
et il ne m'a pas encore répondu.

Ce président se comporte comme un sourd.
Il n'écoute pas ses citoyens.

Friday, September 8, 2017

58 jours depuis mon envoi à Macron

J'ai fait mon premier envoi
à Emmanuel Macron
le mardi 11 juillet 2017...
et il ne m'a pas encore répondu.

Ce président se comporte comme un sourd.
Il n'écoute pas ses citoyens.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Phone conversation with Dr Ross Babbage

I've just been on the phone with Ross Babbage, former chairman of the Kokoda Foundation, which was replaced 7 or 8 years ago by the Institute for Regional Security.

This was in fact our first phone conversation, and I was delighted to discover that he is such an amazingly intelligent and friendly individual. A visionary thinker in the domain of submarines.

Here is his email that reached me five minutes ago :

Dear William,

It was good to talk on the phone a few minutes ago.
Some of the history of the Kokoda Foundation can be found at the website of the Institute for Regional Security at:


If you wish to read some of the relevant CSBA reports, let me suggest that you visit:


If you would find it helpful to scan some of my background, I also attach my short bio details.

I hope that this is of some assistance.

With regards,

Ross
Here is his biography :

Dr  ROSS BABBAGE  AM

Dr Ross Babbage is Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Forum Ltd, a not-for-profit organisation committed to fostering high-level discussions and debates on the primary security challenges confronting Australia and its close allies.

Dr Babbage is also a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) in Washington DC. In addition he is Managing Director of Strategy International (ACT) Pty Ltd, a national security consulting and education service delivery organization.

Dr Babbage has provided consulting services to the Department of Defence and to many other Australian Government departments and agencies. He has also provided consulting assistance to major corporations and is currently a member of Accenture’s Advisory Board. In addition, Dr Babbage is a member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Menzies Research Centre.

Dr Babbage is a Founding Governor and Fellow of the Institute for Regional Security, a not-for-profit research corporation that works closely with Australian Government agencies on Australia’s future security challenges. He is also Founder of the Kokoda Foundation and for the first five years of the Foundation’s existence, he served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

 Dr Babbage served as a special advisor to the Minister for Defence during the preparation of the 2009 Australian defence white paper. He also served on the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London for a maximum six year term.

Dr Babbage’s career background is unusual in Australia as he has served as a senior government official, a senior executive in the corporate world and also as a senior academic. In all of these roles he has worked closely with high-level Australian defence personnel and also with those of Australia’s close defence allies and partners.

Dr Babbage served for 16 years in the Australian Public Service holding several senior positions, including Head of Strategic Analysis in the Office of National Assessments, and leading the branch in the Department of Defence responsible for ANZUS policy. Dr Babbage was Assistant Secretary, Force Development in the late 1980s, carrying responsibility for the analysis of all major defence capability proposals and the preparation of recommendations for the senior Defence committees and for Cabinet.

Through the 1990s, Dr Babbage moved to the corporate sector, working with the team that reformed and re-shaped the Office of Defence Production with its loss-making, government-owned defence factories. What emerged was a modern, profitable corporation known as ADI Limited that grew to become Australia’s largest defence company.

In 2000 Dr Babbage was appointed the inaugural Director of the Centre for International Strategic Analysis in Perth. In 2003 and 2004 he served as Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University.

As Founder, Chair and CEO of the Kokoda Foundation, he designed, developed and organized the first high-level Strategic Dialogues between Australia and the United States and subsequently he organized the first trilateral Strategic Dialogue between Australia, the United States and Japan. During this period he organized and chaired almost 200 closed workshops that addressed a range defence and security challenges and frequently involved very senior officials.

Dr Babbage has Bachelor and Master degrees in economics from the University of Sydney and a PhD in International Relations from the Australian National University. Amongst his publications are: A Coast Too Long: Defending Australia Beyond the 1990s (Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1990), Rethinking Australia’s Defence (University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 1980), Australia’s Strategic Edge in 2030 (Kokoda Foundation, Canberra, February 2011), Game Plan: The Case for a New Australian Grand Strategy (Menzies Research Centre, Canberra, 2015) and Countering China’s Adventurism in the South China Sea – Strategy Options for the Trump Administration (Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and Strategic Forum, Washington D.C. 2016).

Professor Babbage was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia on 26 January 2011.

I take this opportunity of pointing out that Ross descends
from the great Charles Babbage [1791-1871],
the "father of the computer".

PS Dr Babbage was not surprised when I told him
that a certain Romain Parlier,
spokesman for the Australian Embassy in Paris,
had never even heard of the Kokoda Foundation.
let alone its chairman.

57 jours depuis mon envoi à Macron

J'ai fait mon premier envoi
à Emmanuel Macron
le mardi 11 juillet 2017...
et il ne m'a pas encore répondu.

Ce président se comporte comme un sourd.
Il n'écoute pas ses citoyens.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

56 jours depuis mon envoi à Macron

J'ai fait mon premier envoi
à Emmanuel Macron
le mardi 11 juillet 2017...
et il ne m'a pas encore répondu.

Ce président se comporte comme un sourd.
Il n'écoute pas ses citoyens.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

55 jours depuis mon envoi à Macron

J'ai fait mon premier envoi
à Emmanuel Macron
le mardi 11 juillet 2017...
et il ne m'a pas encore répondu.

Ce président se comporte comme un sourd.
Il n'écoute pas ses citoyens.

Monday, September 4, 2017

54 jours depuis mon envoi à Macron

J'ai fait mon premier envoi
à Emmanuel Macron
le mardi 11 juillet 2017...
et il ne m'a pas encore répondu.

Ce président se comporte comme un sourd.
Il n'écoute pas ses citoyens.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

53 jours depuis mon envoi à Macron

J'ai fait mon premier envoi
à Emmanuel Macron
le mardi 11 juillet 2017...
et il ne m'a pas encore répondu.

Ce président se comporte comme un sourd.
Il n'écoute pas ses citoyens.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Chatting with Professor Ross Babbage


This lengthy blog post is dense and complete.
It seeks to convince readers that I am
correct in considering myself as
a kind of impromptu submarine salesman. 

In 2007, at the head of the Kokoda Foundation,
Dr Ross Babbage was my sole contact in Australia,
and I was no doubt his unique contact in France. 

 


Readers will notice a significant detail:
Dr Babbage did not speak French...
and he has just told me on the phone
that his French is still "schoolboy".


To call a spade a spade, I'm convinced that
Ross Babbage was surprised when he saw
me suggesting that French submarines from
DCNS (known today as Naval Group)
would be a better deal for Australia
than those he probably had in mind.

But my suggestions had no doubt
entered the public domain...
and they were finally adopted officially by our
prime minister Malcolm Turnbull on 26 April 2016,
as my friend Bruce Hudson informed me
in a comment posted on my Antipodes blog:


click to enlarge




==================================

Exchange #1

==================================

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Thursday, 27 December 2007 12:29 AM
To: research@kokodafoundation.org
Subject: Australia's submarines

Hi,

My recent blog article at

http://skyvington.blogspot.com/2007/12/australias-submarines.html

makes it clear that I was shocked to learn that the Royal Australian Navy has decided to remain strictly conventional in the submarine domain.

In my article, I have taken the liberty of referring superficially to the Kokoda Foundation.

Best wishes,
__________________

William Skyvington
Gamone
38680 Choranche
France


30/12/2007

Australia's Submarines

Dear William,

Thanks for this message.

I am currently on the road at present and so do not have full access to all of my normal sources. However, you are mistaken if you believe that the Australian Government has already abandoned the possibility of nuclear propelled submarines to follow the Collins Class. Nuclear propulsion is probably unlikely for a range of good reasons. But my best understanding is that this option will be included in some of the forthcoming studies undertaken by ADOD and that the new Australian Government has not ruled it out - at least not yet.

Best wishes,

Ross Babbage
Chairman
The Kokoda Foundation

Office Phone:  +61-(0) 2-6161 9000
Mobile:  +61-(0) 427 295 606
Fax:  +61-(0) 2-6161 1000
http://www.kokodafoundation.org

ENCOURAGING NEW SECURITY THINKERS THROUGH THE YOUNG STRATEGIC LEADERS' FORUM

==================================

Exchange #2

==================================

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Thursday, 27 December 2007 12:29 AM
To: research@kokodafoundation.org
Subject: Australia's submarines

Hi,

My recent blog article at

http://skyvington.blogspot.com/2007/12/australias-submarines.html

makes it clear that I was shocked to learn that the Royal Australian Navy has decided to remain strictly conventional in the submarine domain.

In my article, I have taken the liberty of referring superficially to the Kokoda Foundation.

Best wishes,
__________________

William Skyvington
Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

22/12/2016

RE: My Antipodes blog... in French

Dear William,

Thank you but we are not in a position to take up this possibility. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the suggestion.

Sincerely.

Ross Babbage
Chairman
The Kokoda Foundation

Office Phone:  +61-(0) 2-6161 9000
Mobile:  +61-(0) 427 295 606
Fax:  +61-(0) 2-6161 1000
http://www.kokodafoundation.org

ENCOURAGING NEW SECURITY THINKERS THROUGH THE YOUNG STRATEGIC LEADERS' FORUM

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Monday, 31 December 2007 3:29 AM
To: Ross Babbage
Subject: Re: Australia's Submarines

Dear Ross Babbage,

Would you [the Kokoda Foundation or other concerned Australian entities] be interested in hiring me as a dual-nationality scientifically-trained enquirer in the domain of nuclear-oriented defense considerations?

Best wishes,

__________________

William Skyvington
Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

===============================================

On Dec 30, 2007, at 5:43 AM, Ross Babbage wrote:

Dear William,

Thanks for this message.

I am currently on the road at present and so do not have full access to all of my normal sources. However, you are mistaken if you believe that the Australian Government has already abandoned the possibility of nuclear propelled submarines to follo the Collins Class. Nuclear propulsion is probably unlikely for a range of good reasons. But my best understanding is that this option will be included in some of the forthcoming studies undertaken by ADOD and that the new Australian Government has not ruled it out - at least not yet.

Best wishes,

Ross Babbage
Chairman
The Kokoda Foundation

Office Phone:  +61-(0) 2-6161 9000
Mobile:  +61-(0) 427 295 606
Fax:  +61-(0) 2-6161 1000
http://www.kokodafoundation.org

ENCOURAGING NEW SECURITY THINKERS THROUGH THE YOUNG STRATEGIC LEADERS' FORUM

==================================

Exchange #3

==================================

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Thursday, 27 December 2007 12:29 AM
To: research@kokodafoundation.org
Subject: Australia's submarines

Hi,

My recent blog article at

http://skyvington.blogspot.com/2007/12/australias-submarines.html

makes it clear that I was shocked to learn that the Royal Australian Navy has decided to remain strictly conventional in the submarine domain.

In my article, I have taken the liberty of referring superficially to the Kokoda Foundation.

Best wishes,
__________________

William Skyvington
Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

22/12/2016

RE: Australia's Submarines

Dear William,

This just goes to show that you should never trust what you read in the press. The figure quoted extensively in the press has been taken completely out of context from our report of last April. The $25b figure is a rough estimate of replacing all of the ADF's ASW and underwater capabilities. The actual estimate for the new boats (presuming 6) is $12-15b.

You might find it helpful to get hold of a copy of our report at some stage. If you send me your full mailing address I will arrange for a copy to be sent to you.

Regards,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chairman
The Kokoda Foundation

Office Phone:  +61-(0) 2-6161 9000
Mobile:  +61-(0) 427 295 606
Fax:  +61-(0) 2-6161 1000
http://www.kokodafoundation.org

ENCOURAGING NEW SECURITY THINKERS THROUGH THE YOUNG STRATEGIC LEADERS' FORUM

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Thursday, 3 January 2008 12:34 AM
To: Ross Babbage
Subject: Re: Australia's Submarines

Dear Ross Babbage,

Thanks for your reply. I can understand that the Kokoda Foundation might not be interested in recruiting newcomers, particularly an oldtimer like myself on the other side of the globe. On the other hand, I would dearly love to have an opportunity of exploiting professionally my French-oriented credentials: particularly the fact that I'm bilingual, I have a residence here, and I'm on the point of acquiring dual Franco-Australian nationality.

Getting back to Australia's submarine plans, I'm intrigued by the financial figures. The press speaks of 25 billion Australian dollars for six vessels. Expressed in euros, that amounts to a unit cost of 2.75 billion euros. Here in France, the DCN Cherbourg shipyards envisage the construction of six SNA vessels of the Barracuda class for the French navy, at a unit cost of one billion euros.

I'm aware that these figures are necessarily fuzzy, and would need to be analyzed scrupulously before any serious comparison could be made. But I'm still surprised that the Australian press is quoting a unit cost for a classic vessel, deliverable in 2025, that is 2.75 times the estimated unit cost of a French SNA whose delivery will start in 2017. I'm apparently ignoring some basic factor. (Among other things, in the Australian project, there's the question of midget vessels able to be launched by the mother submarine. Maybe this aspect of the project accounts for the huge cost difference.)

Yours sincerely,

William Skyvington

======================================

On Jan 1, 2008, at 11:15 AM, Ross Babbage wrote:

Dear William,

Thank you but we are not in a position to take up this possibility. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the suggestion.

Sincerely.

Ross Babbage
Chairman
The Kokoda Foundation

Office Phone:  +61-(0) 2-6161 9000
Mobile:  +61-(0) 427 295 606
Fax:  +61-(0) 2-6161 1000
http://www.kokodafoundation.org

ENCOURAGING NEW SECURITY THINKERS THROUGH THE YOUNG STRATEGIC LEADERS' FORUM

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Monday, 31 December 2007 3:29 AM
To: Ross Babbage
Subject: Re: Australia's Submarines

Dear Ross Babbage,

Would you [the Kokoda Foundation or other concerned Australian entities] be interested in hiring me as a dual-nationality scientifically-trained enquirer in the domain of nuclear-oriented defense considerations?

Best wishes,

__________________

William Skyvington
Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

===============================================

On Dec 30, 2007, at 5:43 AM, Ross Babbage wrote:

Dear William,

Thanks for this message.

I am currently on the road at present and so do not have full access to all of my normal sources. However, you are mistaken if you believe that the Australian Government has already abandoned the possibility of nuclear propelled submarines to follo the Collins Class. Nuclear propulsion is probably unlikely for a range of good reasons. But my best understanding is that this option will be included in some of the forthcoming studies undertaken by ADOD and that the new Australian Government has not ruled it out - at least not yet.

Best wishes,

Ross Babbage
Chairman
The Kokoda Foundation

Office Phone:  +61-(0) 2-6161 9000
Mobile:  +61-(0) 427 295 606
Fax:  +61-(0) 2-6161 1000
http://www.kokodafoundation.org

ENCOURAGING NEW SECURITY THINKERS THROUGH THE YOUNG STRATEGIC LEADERS' FORUM

==================================

Exchange #4

==================================

22/12/2016

RE: Australia's Submarines

William,

If you want to quote anything from me I would prefer that you quote from page 6 of the report. That reads, in part:

"...simply replacing the Collins Class submarines with a new class of six submarines would probably cost $12-15 billion. Modernising and adapting Australia's total underwater capabilities to meet the needs of potential defence contingencies in the 2025-2050 timeframe would probably require expenditures in the order of $20-25 billion."

Let me suggest that if you are relying on the SMH as a primary source of information about what is happening in Australia, you are in serious trouble. There is a good reason why SMH sales have been falling!

I will arrange for a copy of the underwater report to be mailed to you shortly.

Regards,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chairman
The Kokoda Foundation

Office Phone:  +61-(0) 2-6161 9000
Mobile:  +61-(0) 427 295 606
Fax:  +61-(0) 2-6161 1000
http://www.kokodafoundation.org

ENCOURAGING NEW SECURITY THINKERS THROUGH THE YOUNG STRATEGIC LEADERS' FORUM

======================

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Thursday, 27 December 2007 12:29 AM
To: research@kokodafoundation.org
Subject: Australia's submarines

Hi,

My recent blog article at

http://skyvington.blogspot.com/2007/12/australias-submarines.html

makes it clear that I was shocked to learn that the Royal Australian Navy has decided to remain strictly conventional in the submarine domain.

In my article, I have taken the liberty of referring superficially to the Kokoda Foundation.

Best wishes,
__________________

William Skyvington
Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Thursday, 3 January 2008 10:08 AM
To: Ross Babbage
Subject: Re: Australia's Submarines

Dear Ross,

Thanks for that correction... which, to my mind, merits inclusion in The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald (which happen to be my daily sources of news from Australia).

In my blog at

http://skyvington.blogspot.com

which was the initial Internet vehicle for expressing my opinions on this submarine topic, it goes without saying that I have refrained, up until now, from making any allusions to our brief and private email correspondence. However I would certainly like to quote the opening paragraph of your latest email (with no personal comments from me)
This just goes to show that you should never trust what you read in the press. The figure quoted extensively in the press has been taken completely out of context from our report of last April. The $25b figure is a rough estimate of replacing all of the ADF's ASW and underwater capabilities. The actual estimate for the new boats (presuming 6) is $12-15b.
if you were to authorize me to do so. But I'm convinced that it would be more normal and logical if you yourself were to reveal this major correction.

Concerning your kind offer to send me a copy of Kokoda's submarine report, I would be delighted to receive and study it. My address is uncommonly simple:
William Skyvington
Gamone
38680 CHORANCHE
France
Incidentally, I apologize retrospectively for having suggested flippantly that your sketch of a submarine and its connections with the external world reminded me of a drawing from Jules Verne. I was intrigued above all by the novel concept of the midget robot submarines, which has a science-fiction flavor. Furthermore, I happen to belong to the generation of Australians whose parents were traumatized, once upon a time, by the capture of a midget Japanese submarine in Sydney Harbour. That image emerged in my memory as soon as I started reading about your concept of midget submarines.
Sincerely,

William Skyvington

PS I'm a computer man. Would you happen to be linked to the great Babbage, Charles [1791-1871], friend of Ada Lovelace?

========================================

On Jan 2, 2008, at 10:52 PM, Ross Babbage wrote:

Dear William,

This just goes to show that you should never trust what you read in the press. The figure quoted extensively in the press has been taken completely out of context from our report of last April. The $25b figure is a rough estimate of replacing all of the ADF's ASW and underwater capabilities. The actual estimate for the new boats (presuming 6) is $12-15b.

You might find it helpful to get hold of a copy of our report at some stage. If you send me your full mailing address I will arrange for a copy to be sent to you.

Regards,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chairman
The Kokoda Foundation

Office Phone:  +61-(0) 2-6161 9000
Mobile:  +61-(0) 427 295 606
Fax:  +61-(0) 2-6161 1000
http://www.kokodafoundation.org

ENCOURAGING NEW SECURITY THINKERS THROUGH THE YOUNG STRATEGIC LEADERS' FORUM

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Thursday, 3 January 2008 12:34 AM
To: Ross Babbage
Subject: Re: Australia's Submarines

Dear Ross Babbage,

Thanks for your reply. I can understand that the Kokoda Foundation might not be interested in recruiting newcomers, particularly an oldtimer like myself on the other side of the globe. On the other hand, I would dearly love to have an opportunity of exploiting professionally my French-oriented credentials: particularly the fact that I'm bilingual, I have a residence here, and I'm on the point of acquiring dual Franco-Australian nationality.

Getting back to Australia's submarine plans, I'm intrigued by the financial figures. The press speaks of 25 billion Australian dollars for six vessels. Expressed in euros, that amounts to a unit cost of 2.75 billion euros. Here in France, the DCN Cherbourg shipyards envisage the construction of six SNA vessels of the Barracuda class for the French navy, at a unit cost of one billion euros.

I'm aware that these figures are necessarily fuzzy, and would need to be analyzed scrupulously before any serious comparison could be made. But I'm still surprised that the Australian press is quoting a unit cost for a classic vessel, deliverable in 2025, that is 2.75 times the estimated unit cost of a French SNA whose delivery will start in 2017. I'm apparently ignoring some basic factor. (Among other things, in the Australian project, there's the question of midget vessels able to be launched by the mother submarine. Maybe this aspect of the project accounts for the huge cost difference.)

Yours sincerely,

William Skyvington

======================================

On Jan 1, 2008, at 11:15 AM, Ross Babbage wrote:

Dear William,

Thank you but we are not in a position to take up this possibility. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the suggestion.

Sincerely.

Ross Babbage
Chairman
The Kokoda Foundation

Office Phone:  +61-(0) 2-6161 9000
Mobile:  +61-(0) 427 295 606
Fax:  +61-(0) 2-6161 1000
http://www.kokodafoundation.org

ENCOURAGING NEW SECURITY THINKERS THROUGH THE YOUNG STRATEGIC LEADERS' FORUM

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Monday, 31 December 2007 3:29 AM
To: Ross Babbage
Subject: Re: Australia's Submarines

Dear Ross Babbage,

Would you [the Kokoda Foundation or other concerned Australian entities] be interested in hiring me as a dual-nationality scientifically-trained enquirer in the domain of nuclear-oriented defense considerations?

Best wishes,

__________________

William Skyvington
Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

===============================================

On Dec 30, 2007, at 5:43 AM, Ross Babbage wrote:
Dear William,

Thanks for this message.

I am currently on the road at present and so do not have full access to all of my normal sources. However, you are mistaken if you believe that the Australian Government has already abandoned the possibility of nuclear propelled submarines to follo the Collins Class. Nuclear propulsion is probably unlikely for a range of good reasons. But my best understanding is that this option will be included in some of the forthcoming studies undertaken by ADOD and that the new Australian Government has not ruled it out - at least not yet.

Best wishes,

Ross Babbage
Chairman
The Kokoda Foundation

Office Phone:  +61-(0) 2-6161 9000
Mobile:  +61-(0) 427 295 606
Fax:  +61-(0) 2-6161 1000
http://www.kokodafoundation.org

ENCOURAGING NEW SECURITY THINKERS THROUGH THE YOUNG STRATEGIC LEADERS' FORUM

==================================

Exchange #5

==================================

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Monday, 31 December 2007 3:29 AM
To: Ross Babbage
Subject: Re: Australia's Submarines

Dear Ross Babbage,

Would you [the Kokoda Foundation or other concerned Australian entities] be interested in hiring me as a dual-nationality scientifically-trained enquirer in the domain of nuclear-oriented defense considerations?

Best wishes,

__________________

William Skyvington
Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

22/12/2016

RE: Australia's Submarines

William,

Incidentally, if you scan the Kokoda website you will note that you can sign up as a member for only A$50 and you will receive for that all Kokoda publications for the year. A few other benefits besides. Not a bad deal!

Regards,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chairman
The Kokoda Foundation

Office Phone:  +61-(0) 2-6161 9000
Mobile:  +61-(0) 427 295 606
Fax:  +61-(0) 2-6161 1000
http://www.kokodafoundation.org

ENCOURAGING NEW SECURITY THINKERS THROUGH THE YOUNG STRATEGIC LEADERS' FORUM

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Thursday, 3 January 2008 10:08 AM
To: Ross Babbage
Subject: Re: Australia's Submarines

Dear Ross,

Thanks for that correction... which, to my mind, merits inclusion in The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald (which happen to be my daily sources of news from Australia).

In my blog at

http://skyvington.blogspot.com

which was the initial Internet vehicle for expressing my opinions on this submarine topic, it goes without saying that I have refrained, up until now, from making any allusions to our brief and private email correspondence. However I would certainly like to quote the opening paragraph of your latest email (with no personal comments from me)

This just goes to show that you should never trust what you read in the press. The figure quoted extensively in the press has been taken completely out of context from our report of last April. The $25b figure is a rough estimate of replacing all of the ADF's ASW and underwater capabilities. The actual estimate for the new boats (presuming 6) is $12-15b.

if you were to authorize me to do so. But I'm convinced that it would be more normal and logical if you yourself were to reveal this major correction.

Concerning your kind offer to send me a copy of Kokoda's submarine report, I would be delighted to receive and study it. My address is uncommonly simple:

William Skyvington
Gamone
38680 CHORANCHE
France

Incidentally, I apologize retrospectively for having suggested flippantly that your sketch of a submarine and its connections with the external world reminded me of a drawing from Jules Verne. I was intrigued above all by the novel concept of the midget robot submarines, which has a science-fiction flavor. Furthermore, I happen to belong to the generation of Australians whose parents were traumatized, once upon a time, by the capture of a midget Japanese submarine in Sydney Harbour. That image emerged in my memory as soon as I started reading about your concept of midget submarines.

Sincerely,

William Skyvington

PS I'm a computer man. Would you happen to be linked to the great Babbage, Charles [1791-1871], friend of Ada Lovelace?

========================================

On Jan 2, 2008, at 10:52 PM, Ross Babbage wrote:
Dear William,

This just goes to show that you should never trust what you read in the press. The figure quoted extensively in the press has been taken completely out of context from our report of last April. The $25b figure is a rough estimate of replacing all of the ADF's ASW and underwater capabilities. The actual estimate for the new boats (presuming 6) is $12-15b.

You might find it helpful to get hold of a copy of our report at some stage. If you send me your full mailing address I will arrange for a copy to be sent to you.

Regards,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chairman
The Kokoda Foundation

Office Phone:  +61-(0) 2-6161 9000
Mobile:  +61-(0) 427 295 606
Fax:  +61-(0) 2-6161 1000
http://www.kokodafoundation.org

ENCOURAGING NEW SECURITY THINKERS THROUGH THE YOUNG STRATEGIC LEADERS' FORUM

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Thursday, 3 January 2008 12:34 AM
To: Ross Babbage
Subject: Re: Australia's Submarines

Dear Ross Babbage,

Thanks for your reply. I can understand that the Kokoda Foundation might not be interested in recruiting newcomers, particularly an oldtimer like myself on the other side of the globe. On the other hand, I would dearly love to have an opportunity of exploiting professionally my French-oriented credentials: particularly the fact that I'm bilingual, I have a residence here, and I'm on the point of acquiring dual Franco-Australian nationality.

Getting back to Australia's submarine plans, I'm intrigued by the financial figures. The press speaks of 25 billion Australian dollars for six vessels. Expressed in euros, that amounts to a unit cost of 2.75 billion euros. Here in France, the DCNS Cherbourg shipyards envisage the construction of six SNA vessels of the Barracuda class for the French navy, at a unit cost of one billion euros.

I'm aware that these figures are necessarily fuzzy, and would need to be analyzed scrupulously before any serious comparison could be made. But I'm still surprised that the Australian press is quoting a unit cost for a classic vessel, deliverable in 2025, that is 2.75 times the estimated unit cost of a French SNA whose delivery will start in 2017. I'm apparently ignoring some basic factor. (Among other things, in the Australian project, there's the question of midget vessels able to be launched by the mother submarine. Maybe this aspect of the project accounts for the huge cost difference.)

Yours sincerely,

William Skyvington

======================================

On Jan 1, 2008, at 11:15 AM, Ross Babbage wrote:
Dear William,

Thank you but we are not in a position to take up this possibility. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the suggestion.

Sincerely.

Ross Babbage
Chairman
The Kokoda Foundation

Office Phone:  +61-(0) 2-6161 9000
Mobile:  +61-(0) 427 295 606
Fax:  +61-(0) 2-6161 1000
http://www.kokodafoundation.org

ENCOURAGING NEW SECURITY THINKERS THROUGH THE YOUNG STRATEGIC LEADERS' FORUM

=======================================

On Dec 30, 2007, at 5:43 AM, Ross Babbage wrote:
Dear William,

Thanks for this message.

I am currently on the road at present and so do not have full access to all of my normal sources. However, you are mistaken if you believe that the Australian Government has already abandoned the possibility of nuclear propelled submarines to follo the Collins Class. Nuclear propulsion is probably unlikely for a range of good reasons. But my best understanding is that this option will be included in some of the forthcoming studies undertaken by ADOD and that the new Australian Government has not ruled it out - at least not yet.

Best wishes,

Ross Babbage
Chairman
The Kokoda Foundation

Office Phone:  +61-(0) 2-6161 9000
Mobile:  +61-(0) 427 295 606
Fax:  +61-(0) 2-6161 1000
http://www.kokodafoundation.org

ENCOURAGING NEW SECURITY THINKERS THROUGH THE YOUNG STRATEGIC LEADERS' FORUM

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Thursday, 27 December 2007 12:29 AM
To: research@kokodafoundation.org
Subject: Australia's submarines

Hi,

My recent blog article at

http://skyvington.blogspot.com/2007/12/australias-submarines.html

makes it clear that I was shocked to learn that the Royal Australian Navy has decided to remain strictly conventional in the submarine domain.

In my article, I have taken the liberty of referring superficially to the Kokoda Foundation.

Best wishes,
__________________

William Skyvington
Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

==================================

Exchange #6

==================================

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Tuesday, 26 April 2016 8:31 PM

To: rbabbage@bigpond. com

Subject: Australia's future submarines

Dear Ross,

My new email address is sky.william@orange.fr

I’m thrilled to learn that Australia has decided to adopt a French submarine solution.

I have the impression that some people listened to my suggestions of 2008. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence…

Best wishes,

William Skyvington
Mas de Gamone
38680 CHORANCHE
France

27/04/2016

RE: Australia's future submarines

Dear William,

Good to hear from you.

Time will tell, I suspect. There are many aspects of this decision that are yet to be made public.

With regards,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chief Executive Officer
Strategic Forum
76 Long Point Street
Potato Point  NSW  2545
AUSTRALIA

Ph Itl:   +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Fax Itl: +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Mobile: +61 (0) 427 295 606

==================================

Exchange #7

==================================

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Sunday, 1 May 2016 1:29 AM

To: Ross Babbage

Subject: Article in my Antipodes blog

Dear Ross,

I’ve taken the liberty of reproducing several pages from Australia’s white paper in my blog at http://skyvington.blogspot.fr/2016/04/australias-defence-white-paper.html

It goes without saying that, if anybody were to inform me that this information should not appear in my blog, for any reason whatsoever, I would be prepared to remove it immediately.

For the moment, few articles on this affair have appeared in the French press, no doubt because French journalists probably find it difficult to obtain data about what is happening.

Best wishes,

William Skyvington
Mas de Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

01/05/2016

RE: Article iin my Antipodes blog

William,

This is perfectly fine.  I hope that it is of assistance to our French colleagues.

Best regards,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chief Executive Officer
Strategic Forum
76 Long Point Street
Potato Point  NSW  2545
AUSTRALIA

Ph Itl:   +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Fax Itl: +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Mobile: +61 (0) 427 295 606

==================================

Exchange #8

==================================

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Thursday, 4 August 2016 11:50 PM

To: Anne Skyvington; Susan Skyvington; Nancy Smith; Mitchell Smith; Ross Babbage; Barry de Ferranti; John Weiley; Jan Brown

Subject: Australia's treatment of refugee-seekers

Click here to read my blog post on severe reactions to Australia’s cruel handling of refugee-seekers.

William Skyvington
385 Mas de Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

05/08/2016

RE: Australia's treatment of refugee-seekers

William,

Unfortunately the story is largely untrue and based on false assertions and assumptions. Let me encourage you to check out the responses of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and relevant government ministers.

You may also have noted that all but the far left media in Australia have checked the facts and dropped the story.

Best,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chief Executive Officer
Strategic Forum
76 Long Point Street
Potato Point  NSW  2545
AUSTRALIA

Ph Itl:   +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Fax Itl: +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Mobile: +61 (0) 427 295 606
Web: http://strategicforum.com.au/

==================================

Exchange #9

==================================

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Saturday, 3 September 2016 1:25 AM

To: Ross Babbage

Subject: Puzzle

Ross,

On April 22, 2015 I published a post in my Antipodes blog, at this address, which carried the following title:

Did Australia take notice of my advice of 2008
about the superior qualities of French submarines?

You can see that only one unknown individual commented upon my blog post: a certain “Bruce”, who had only recently obtained his right to submit several comments, before disappearing. I found that the brief comment from this anonymous fellow was relatively understandable and, above all, quite polite. But my wife Christine told me I was crazy. She said that the mysterious “Bruce” who had submitted that comment was obviously no more than a silly fellow who merely wanted to make fun of me. Now, trying to decide if “Bruce” was or was not a serious blog-reader and comment-sender is akin to trying to figure out, say, if Pinchgut is a tiny fortress near the Opera House or the name of a nasty Aussie brand of Vegemite-based stomach pills. Any help?

William Skyvington
385 Mas de Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

03/09/2016

RE: Puzzle

Hi William,

I am afraid that I cannot help much on this front. I have no clue about who might have actually sent these remarks or what, precisely, they meant to convey.

More generally I think it helps to take most such remarks with a grain of salt and part of the rich tapestry of democratic discourse. It is essential that the remarks of a few folks on the fringe don’t deter or distract you from saying what you want to share. We are also moving into a difficult period when some frank exchanges about the facts need to be had. Some individuals who have aligned themselves with communist authoritarian states will be shown for precisely what they are. We should all expect vicious counter-attacks from certain quarters but we need to remain undaunted. Truth will out in the end.

My advice is simply to stay the course.

With regards,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chief Executive Officer
Strategic Forum
76 Long Point Street
Potato Point  NSW  2545
AUSTRALIA

Ph Itl:   +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Fax Itl: +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Mobile: +61 (0) 427 295 606
Web: http://strategicforum.com.au/

Ross Babbage
Non-Resident Senior Fellow
Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
1667 K Street NW, Suite 900,
Washington, DC 20006
USA

Phone: +1 (202) 331-7990
Fax: +1 (202) 331-8019
Web: http://csbaonline.org/

==================================

Exchange #10

==================================

From: William Skyvington

Sent: Saturday, 1 October 2016 6:53 PM

To: Ross Babbage

Subject: French-language article about Australian submarine contract

Dear Ross Babbage,


Click here to see a short article that has just appeared in the French press. It comes from this serious maritime-news organization, of which you're probably aware:


Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Défense minister, said [unofficial translation by William Skyvington] : “This is the first key step in the implementation of Australia’s choice of a long-term partnership with France in the strategic domain of submarines. France—and particularly the ministry of Défense—will remain totally prepared to verify that this program unfolds correctly in optimal circumstances.”

The French-language summary of the Franco-Australian contract strikes me as correct and understandable.

Please use my e-mail freely in any way you desire.

William Skyvington
385 Mas de Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

01/10/2016

RE: French-language article about Australian submarine contract

Hi William,

Special thanks for sharing this piece. It provides a good opportunity to brush up on my schoolboy French and also get the sense for how Paris views this project.

With appreciation,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chief Executive Officer
Strategic Forum
76 Long Point Street
Potato Point  NSW  2545
AUSTRALIA

Ph Itl:   +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Fax Itl: +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Mobile: +61 (0) 427 295 606
Web: http://strategicforum.com.au/

Ross Babbage
Non-Resident Senior Fellow
Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
1667 K Street NW, Suite 900,
Washington, DC 20006
USA

Phone: +1 (202) 331-7990
Fax: +1 (202) 331-8019
Web: http://csbaonline.org/  

==================================

Exchange #11

==================================

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Saturday, 1 October 2016 9:52 PM

To: Ross Babbage

Subject: Another French article

Sputnik News

Hi Ross : Don’t be worried. I don’t intend to bombard you with links to French-language articles on this subject. But I find it interesting that, after a lengthy period of silence, it looks as if the contract with Australia might burst into French news. We’ll see. Incidentally, at the Bastille Day celebrations (July 14, 2016), there were several explicit links to Australia’s defence forces, but never the slightest word about submarines. Here in France, people are never surprised when they find allusions to Australia in the French media, because they’re convinced that it’s an earthly paradise. Everybody claims that they’re dreaming about visiting Australia, or even migrating Down Under… but few French folk ever go one step further.

William Skyvington
385 Mas de Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

02/10/2016

RE: Another French article

Thanks William,

There used to be quite a few French people (and Germans) on Cape York and North Queensland when I worked up there in the 80s. However, most seemed to be either backpackers or people from New Caledonia having a holiday.

I think that it was notable that it took so long for any French president to take the trouble to visit. Hollande did come a couple of years ago, but that was really only because the G20 meeting was hosted here.

Best regards,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chief Executive Officer
Strategic Forum
76 Long Point Street
Potato Point  NSW  2545
AUSTRALIA

Ph Itl:   +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Fax Itl: +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Mobile: +61 (0) 427 295 606
Web: http://strategicforum.com.au/

Ross Babbage
Non-Resident Senior Fellow
Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
1667 K Street NW, Suite 900,
Washington, DC 20006
USA

Phone: +1 (202) 331-7990
Fax: +1 (202) 331-8019
Web: http://csbaonline.org/  

==================================

Exchange #12

==================================

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Saturday, 1 October 2016 8:58 PM

To: Ross Babbage

Subject: Franco-Australian relationships

Ross,

I hope that people in Australia have a clear understanding of the political situation that is emerging in France.

• The present president, François Hollande, is a fine man, an experienced politician and a talented thinker, but he has become so misunderstood by the general public in France that he is now what they call a “has-been”, and will sadly be wiped out of existence in the forthcoming presidential election.

• The “good horse” is Alain Juppé, who is politically experienced, aware of the nature and societal styles of the English-speaking nations, and capable of leading France correctly. His only trivial weakness is his age.

• Nicolas Sarkozy is what would be called in Australia “as mad as a cut snake”. He has so many justice affairs hanging around his neck that he could even end up in prison before a new president comes into existence.

• Emmanuel Macron is a fascinating outsider, who’s greatly admired by many prominent individuals in France, on both sides of the political chessboard. He’s frankly a little too young and complex to be put in power in the forthcoming election. But he needs to be followed.

• Marine Le Pen will score lots of votes. Indeed, to my way of thinking, far too many votes. But there’s no way in the world that she could be brought into power.

It would be marvelous—particularly in the current Brexit context—if Australia were to enhance, as rapidly as possible, her outstanding links with France. Truly, the two nations are made to collaborate concretely and intimately in the emerging world.

William Skyvington
385 Mas de Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

02/10/2016

RE: Franco-Australian relationships

William,

Thanks for this summary of the likely candidates.

Yours is a noble aspiration but doubt that Australia and our part of the world will ever attract sustained attention in Paris. However, were French leaders to take a serious interest, visit as frequently as Australian leaders visit France and, even better, decide to periodically operate military contingents in this part of the world alongside the ADF, I am pretty sure that most doors would be open.

With regards,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chief Executive Officer
Strategic Forum
76 Long Point Street
Potato Point  NSW  2545
AUSTRALIA

Ph Itl:   +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Fax Itl: +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Mobile: +61 (0) 427 295 606
Web: http://strategicforum.com.au/

Ross Babbage
Non-Resident Senior Fellow
Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
1667 K Street NW, Suite 900,
Washington, DC 20006
USA

Phone: +1 (202) 331-7990
Fax: +1 (202) 331-8019
Web: http://csbaonline.org/  

==================================

Exchange #13

==================================

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Sunday, 2 October 2016 10:44 PM

To: Ross Babbage

Subject: Communications

Hi Ross,

You may recall that, on 30 December 2007, I sent you this e-mail:

Would you [the Kokoda Foundation or other concerned Australian entities] be interested in hiring me as a dual-nationality scientifically-trained enquirer in the domain of nuclear-oriented defense considerations?

We never went any further. Today, my suggestion of 2007 remains basically valid, but it would have to be updated. In particular, I would no longer use an expression such as “nuclear-oriented”. More than ever, I would like to devote my talents to the fostering of useful Franco-Australian geopolitical relationships. So, if ever you had any suggestions at this level, it would be preferable to transmit them, for security reasons, by old-fashioned snail mail to my postal address :

William Skyvington
385 Mas de Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

I’ve never attempted to behave discreetly on the Internet (like yourself, for that matter), and I don’t know to what extent various “eyes" might be observing my e-mails to and from a high-ranking Australian official such as yourself. It’s a murky environment, as you saw when documents were stolen from the French submarine manufacturer.

You might recall that, in 1985, the French secret service recruted a fellow named Alain Mafart to organize the destruction of the Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand. I happened to be in Australia at that time, with my two Franco-Australian children. We were upset to realize that this French agent was a close cousin of my wife Christine Mafart. In those days, e-mail did not exist. But specialists did not forget that surname (a brother-in-law even changed his name, to avoid being pursued by American journalists), and they might have seen that I’ve been communicating often with members of the Mafart family.

Consequently, Ross, I think it might be preferable if we ceased to exchange ordinary e-mails. As for the idea of sending you French press articles on the submarine deal with Australia (if indeed they interest you or your colleagues), it might be preferable if I simply copied those articles into one of my many web spaces, and then asked an Australian friend to phone you to invite you to look into the website.

For the moment, of course, I have no special information to send you, but the situation could well evolve in the future. In particular, there will be the French presidential election. And then the all-important phase of submarine construction. So, we should probably take advantage of the present calm to improve our public profiles and communication methods.

If ever you thought that I was “talking through my hat”, then I beg you to simply ignore my words.

Best wishes,
William

02/10/2016

RE: Communications

Hi William,

Special thanks for this kind email.

I am struck by the fact that the last person who expressed similar concerns about what have been routine conversations online was also French. I have few fears about our own security services but I do, of course, have to worry about those of certain foreign countries. However, it seems to me the West is in very serious trouble if we feel restrained about normal innocuous communications about reporting in the media. After all, what is it that we stand for and vow to protect?

Having said that, I will, of course, respect your views and your decisions.

I am also grateful for your kind offer to undertake work for Strategic Forum or even CSBA. Perhaps it won’t be surprising for you to know that both organisations are fairly heavily focussed in the Indo-Pacific and in the case of Strategic Forum, resources are extremely limited. Nevertheless, I don’t rule out the desirability of including a well-grounded French perspective in some of our work. Should that opportunity arise, you may well hear from me.

For now, let me simply wish you well,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chief Executive Officer
Strategic Forum
76 Long Point Street
Potato Point  NSW  2545
AUSTRALIA

Ph Itl:   +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Fax Itl: +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Mobile: +61 (0) 427 295 606
Web: http://strategicforum.com.au/

Ross Babbage
Non-Resident Senior Fellow
Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
1667 K Street NW, Suite 900,
Washington, DC 20006
USA

Phone: +1 (202) 331-7990
Fax: +1 (202) 331-8019
Web: http://csbaonline.org/  

==================================

Exchange #14

==================================

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Friday, 14 October 2016 7:39 AM
To: Ross Babbage

Subject: South Korean shipyard equipment available in France

Hi Ross,

The Salon Euronaval will be opening at Le Bourget (near Paris) in a few days. Far away, in Seoul, the bankruptcy of STX Offshore & Shipbuilding has been announced. Consequently, questions arise concerning the future of the STX shipbuilding installations at Saint-Nazaire (Loire-Atlantique) in France. Rumors have emerged concerning the possibility that the DCNS military-naval group (suppliers of submarines ordered by Australia) might be prepared to invest in these Korean assets in France. The reasons behind this possibility are obvious. The Korean assets must never fall, directly or indirectly, into Chinese hands.

William Skyvington
385 Mas de Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

14/10/2016

RE: South Korean shipyard equipment available in France

Hi there William,

This is interesting news. I had not been aware.

With appreciation and regards,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chief Executive Officer
Strategic Forum
76 Long Point Street
Potato Point  NSW  2545
AUSTRALIA

Ph Itl:   +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Fax Itl: +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Mobile: +61 (0) 427 295 606
Web: http://strategicforum.com.au/

Ross Babbage
Non-Resident Senior Fellow
Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
1667 K Street NW, Suite 900,
Washington, DC 20006
USA

Phone: +1 (202) 331-7990
Fax: +1 (202) 331-8019
Web: http://csbaonline.org/  

==================================

Exchange #15

==================================

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Friday, 14 October 2016 8:35 PM

To: Ross Babbage

Subject: South Korean shipyard equipment available in France

Hi Ross,

I’m pleased to see that a fragment of news of this kind, from France, seems to interest you. I behave spontaneously, with few principles to guide me, and I can’t be sure whether you’re likely to be interested. I was attracted to that news by the fact that the same French company that’s selling submarines to Australia is, as I said, looking into the idea of getting involved in a distinguished South Korean entreprise that operates in Saint-Nazaire. (ERROR William) Maybe that news is neither here nor there… but it made me wonder.

click to enlarge

As you can see, that same South Korean shipyard (better known for its luxury cruise liners) has worked for Egypt. Consequently, putting two and two together, one might suppose that, if DCNS were to invest in STX, it might strike up associations with foreign navies that may or may not appeal to Australia. Such unexpected links come into existence, I suppose, all the time.

Let me know if I happen to be wasting your time by boring you.

Best wishes. William

On 14 Oct 2016, at 00:04, Ross Babbage <rbabbage@bigpond.com> wrote:

Hi there William,

This is interesting news. I had not been aware.

With appreciation and regards,

Ross

William Skyvington
385 Mas de Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

14/12/2016

RE: South Korean shipyard equipment available in France

Thanks William,

These detailed issues are of marginal interest. Nevertheless, I am grateful that you make the effort to keep me informed periodically.

Regards,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chief Executive Officer
Strategic Forum
76 Long Point Street
Potato Point  NSW  2545
AUSTRALIA

Ph Itl:   +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Fax Itl: +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Mobile: +61 (0) 427 295 606
Web: http://strategicforum.com.au/

Ross Babbage
Non-Resident Senior Fellow
Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
1667 K Street NW, Suite 900,
Washington, DC 20006
USA

Phone: +1 (202) 331-7990
Fax: +1 (202) 331-8019
Web: http://csbaonline.org/  

==================================

Exchange #16

==================================

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Saturday, 17 December 2016 1:04 AM

To: Ross Babbage

Subject: To my mind, major information must remain hidden

Dear Ross,

I’ve just glanced through your interesting paper Strategy Options for the Trump Administration. A basic question troubles me. If your suggestions were indeed significant “strategy options “, then why would Australian and US military authorities have given you the green light to publish them openly on the Internet ?

This perfectly common-sense question arose in another context, namely : my discovery that all in-depth information about construction of Australia’s future submarines appears to be banned here in France. To my mind, that’s an easy-to-understand decision, because nobody knows who might be eavesdropping and ready to damage the project.

I shall be disappointed, but not surprised, if you decide to refrain from replying.

William Skyvington
385 Mas de Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

16/12/2016

RE: To my mind, major information must remain hidden

Hi William,

The answer to your question is fairly easy. In Western democracies, at least in the Anglosphere, there is an agreed need to brief all members of our societies and encourage informed debate on the security challenges we face and the broad actions that might need to be taken. There is, of course, a long history of doing this for the societies’ for their overall benefit. It is, of course, one of our core strengths.

Great care has been taken to determine how far it is reasonable to go within our open democracies.

The alternative is terrible to contemplate. It is essential that we take our publics into our confidence and encourage them to be involved in discussing what should be done. I am sure that you will appreciate that these debates can have a salutatory deterrent effect on competitors and potential enemies.

Best,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chief Executive Officer
Strategic Forum
76 Long Point Street
Potato Point  NSW  2545
AUSTRALIA

Ph Itl:   +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Fax Itl: +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Mobile: +61 (0) 427 295 606
Web: http://strategicforum.com.au/

Ross Babbage
Non-Resident Senior Fellow
Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
1667 K Street NW, Suite 900,
Washington, DC 20006
USA

Phone: +1 (202) 331-7990
Fax: +1 (202) 331-8019
Web: http://csbaonline.org/  

==================================

Exchange #17

==================================

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Thursday, 22 December 2016 12:36 AM

To: Ross Babbage

Subject: Curious reactions

Dear Ross,

I’m intrigued by the sparse media coverage, both in France and Australia, of the signing of the submarine deal. An Australian woman even told me that this lack of enthusiasm was understandable, in her opinion, because her compatriots "need airplanes, not submarines”. I draw three related conclusions :

• Many Australians fail to understand that their nation needs to invest in many kinds of self-defence.

• Others imagine that money spent in this domain will result in their failure to obtain many down-to-earth advantages such as health care, good roads, etc.

• Some seem to imagine that the submarine affair is merely a silly polly gimmick of one kind or another.

• Some give me the impression that the move away from conventional suppliers (of an English-speaking kind) is suicidal. This curious idea seems to conceal a crazy belief that the USA is still there, waiting to step in immediately as soon as our country is in any kind of trouble, and as soon as Australia beckons.

Best wishes,

William Skyvington
385 Mas de Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

PS Ross, I don’t think I’ve ever asked you whether you are in fact a descendant of Charles Babbage [1791-1871]. I was particularly interested in him for several reasons :

• I made French TV documentaries about computing themes.

• I worked for a year or so with Jean Ichbiah [1940-2007], French inventor of the Ada language. I assume you know that Charles Babbage was a friend of Ada Lovelace, after whom this programming language was named.

21/12/2016

RE: Curious reactions

Dear William,

My sense is that the explanation for the limited interest in the contract signing is more basic. The big debate on these issues took place here between 2007-2014. Defence investment itself is relatively uncontroversial here and has bi-partisan support. The key issues were the type and scale of the next generation underwater capability. Once decisions were taken on conventionally-powered boats and the French proposal, the rest has simply been implementation and not greatly newsworthy. While I led parts of the public debate in 2007-2011, there has been little point in saying much in the period since and so I have moved on. That’s not to say that I am comfortable with the current approach. I expect that the current plan will produce boats that are very late, over-budget, suffer from the serious technical problems of all ‘orphan’ designs, will be very expensive to maintain and update and probably will not meet the real requirements we will face from 2035-2060. I hope that I am wrong but long experience in Defence analysis suggests that I (and most of our experienced defence analysts share this view) am right.

And yes, Charles was my great, great, great grandfather. We hold some of his personal papers. There is, of course, much more of Charles’ material  in the Science Museum in London.

Regards,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chief Executive Officer
Strategic Forum
76 Long Point Street
Potato Point  NSW  2545
AUSTRALIA

Ph Itl:   +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Fax Itl: +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Mobile: +61 (0) 427 295 606
Web: http://strategicforum.com.au/

Ross Babbage
Non-Resident Senior Fellow
Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
1667 K Street NW, Suite 900,
Washington, DC 20006
USA

Phone: +1 (202) 331-7990
Fax: +1 (202) 331-8019
Web: http://csbaonline.org/  

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Exchange #18

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22/12/2016

RE: My Antipodes blog... in French

Thanks William,

I just hope that your readers aren’t scared by the photograph at the bottom.

Thanks for sharing. My schoolboy French is still good enough to get the sense.

With appreciation,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chief Executive Officer
Strategic Forum
76 Long Point Street
Potato Point  NSW  2545
AUSTRALIA

Ph Itl:   +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Fax Itl: +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Mobile: +61 (0) 427 295 606
Web: http://strategicforum.com.au/

Ross Babbage
Non-Resident Senior Fellow
Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
1667 K Street NW, Suite 900,
Washington, DC 20006
USA

Phone: +1 (202) 331-7990
Fax: +1 (202) 331-8019
Web: http://csbaonline.org/  

==================================

Exchange #19

==================================

From: William Skyvington
Sent: Thursday, 27 April 2017 12:11 AM

To: Ross Babbage

Subject: French-language article on DCNS activities

Hi Ross,


A French-language article has just appeared in this magazine on the subjet “How DCNS is getting ready to build Australia’s submarines”.

click to enlarge

I don’t have an account with them, so I can’t go any further.

If ever anybody in Australia were prepared to buy me such an account, I would be happy to translate such articles into English.

Cheers,

William Skyvington

27/04/2017

RE: French-language article on DCNS activities

Thanks William,

If my memory is correct a very similar article has been published in English here during the last couple of weeks.

It looks like the pace of preparatory activity is starting to pick up but there is a very, very long way to go.

With regards,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chief Executive Officer
Strategic Forum
76 Long Point Street
Potato Point  NSW  2545
AUSTRALIA

Ph Itl:   +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Fax Itl: +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Mobile: +61 (0) 427 295 606
Web: http://strategicforum.com.au/

Ross Babbage
Non-Resident Senior Fellow
Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
1667 K Street NW, Suite 900,
Washington, DC 20006
USA

Phone: +1 (202) 331-7990
Fax: +1 (202) 331-8019
Web: http://csbaonline.org/  

==================================

Exchange #20

==================================

From: sky.william@orange.fr
Sent: Thursday, 18 May 2017 2:30 PM

To: Ross Babbage

Subject: I have decided to inform the international press of my role

Ross,

It has been perfectly clear to me, ever since Australia’s decision to purchase French submarines, that my Antipodes blog (now in French as well as English) played a minor but undeniable role in initiating that decision. And I’m not very happy to see that you have never been prepared to admit that fact. Seeing that the construction process is advancing in Adelaide (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-16/shipbuilding-plan-details-tight-and-ambitious-targets/8528430), I have therefore thought it useful to print out all the 19 email communications received from you between 31 December 2007 and 27 April 2017 so that I might be able to "snail-mail" this information to any journalist who would like to receive it.

William Skyvington
385 Mas de Gamone
38680 Choranche
France

18/05/2017

RE: I have decided to inform the international press of my role

William,

I am unsure what you mean by this correspondence. As I am, and have not at any stage, been involved directly in the source selection of Australia’s new submarines it is not clear to me what you think that I should have acknowledged or done. I have appreciated your periodic perspectives but understood them to be nothing more than an exchange of perspectives by interested observers – similar to exchanges of views between many observers of defence and security matters that I receive every day. If you thought our brief exchanges amounted to more than that I am surprised and have no idea how you could have gained that impression.

You may also care to note that I have chosen not to write anything on the submarine decision for several years now. It has been a done deal for a long time now, senior Australian officials would not welcome it and I have other priorities.

Regards,

Ross

Ross Babbage
Chief Executive Officer
Strategic Forum
76 Long Point Street
Potato Point  NSW  2545
AUSTRALIA

Ph Itl:   +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Fax Itl: +61 (0)2 4473 5773
Mobile: +61 (0) 427 295 606
Web: http://strategicforum.com.au/

Ross Babbage
Non-Resident Senior Fellow
Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
1667 K Street NW, Suite 900,
Washington, DC 20006
USA

Phone: +1 (202) 331-7990
Fax: +1 (202) 331-8019
Web: http://csbaonline.org/

==================================

end of our chatting...

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