Cameron Overreaches With “70,000” Claim Nobody Believes 160


Cameron is in serious trouble at Westminster after overreaching himself by the claim that there are 70,000 “moderate rebels” willing to take up the ground war with Isis. Quite literally not one single MP believes him. There are those who believe the lie is justified. But even they know it is a lie.

There is a very interesting parallel here with the claims over Iraqi WMD. The 70,000 figure has again been approved by the Joint Intelligence Committee, with a strong push from MI6. But exactly as with Iraqi WMD, there were strong objections from the less “political” Defence Intelligence, and caveats inserted. As the Head of Defence Intelligence, Major-General Michael Laurie, told the Chilcot Inquiry:

“we could find no evidence of planes, missiles or equipment that related to weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It was clear to me that pressure was being applied to the Joint Intelligence Committee and its drafters. Every fact was managed to make the dossier as strong as possible. The final statements in the dossier reached beyond the conclusions intelligence assessments would normally draw from such facts.”

The truth is the military tends to be much more honest about these matters than the spooks. Rather than make the same mistake again, parliamentarians should be calling Laurie’s successor, Air Marshal Philip Osborn, to ask him the truth about the nature, composition and availability of the 70,000. I happen to know that signals of dissent from Osborn’s staff – quite probably with his blessing – are reaching not just me, but many Tory MPs.

Meantime we can ourselves deconstruct the 70,000 figure and work out the various civil service sleights of hand that produced it. We have Cameron’s written response to the Foreign Affairs Committee in which he sets out his case for war. This document is of course extremely carefully written.

The 70,000 figure is at page 18. It does then give the breakdown of who these 70,000 are.

The very first group listed are the Kurds, and they are indeed the best organised and most numerous group. But there is a trick here – the paper includes them in the 70,000, despite going on to accept that they are not available to fight in Isil territory because it is Arab not Kurdish land. So that already knocks the largest and best contingent out of the 70,000.

Why were the Kurds included in the total when the paper itself acknowledges they are not available?

After that, Cameron is really struggling and the paper becomes vague. The paper talks (p.19) of rebel forces who defended the Syrian-Turkish border near Aleppo from ISIL attack.

This is perfectly true, but their leading fighting component is Jabhat-al-Nusra, an open al-Qaida affiliate. They cannot conceivably be described as moderate, and are armed and equipped by Saudi Arabia. Their principle martial activity is looting and raping in Shia villages. There are in fact about two dozen rebel groups around Aleppo – here is a good snapshot – who often fight each other and for the last few months have been losing ground to Assad forces. They are also a primary target of the Russians. It is simply nonsense that they could march on ISIS in Raqqa.

Cameron’s paper then goes on to reference the southern front of the Free Syrian Army, and paints a rather rose-coloured picture of its military prowess. The Free Syrian army can legitimately be painted as less extremist than other groups, with some important reservations, but nobody has ever assessed the strength of its southern branch at over 10,000 fighters. It is completely pre-occupied with fighting Assad and Hezbollah.

After that, the paper is seriously stuck, and goes on to enumerate policemen, “white helmet” humanitarian workers and even local authority engineering workforces as part of the evidence of the existence of moderate forces. Whether any of these groups is included in that amazing 70,000 total is unclear.

What is clear is that the 70,000 figure does not stand up to thirty seconds scrutiny, and there is no coherent plan whatsoever for ground forces to follow up air attack.

The absence of ground forces was an obvious flaw in Cameron’s bombing plan. For him to try to allay concerns by such a huge and blatant lie may prove to be a very poor tactic. Indeed this is so shockingly bad that not only are many Tories privately saying it is difficult to vote for bombing, even some of the still more right wing Blairites are concerned too.


160 thoughts on “Cameron Overreaches With “70,000” Claim Nobody Believes

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  • MJ

    “the government which is supported by only 10% of population”

    PoI: no surveys or polls have shown domestic support for Assad to have ever fallen below 40%. Not bad for a leader apparently at war with his own people. Support is currently much higher than that, no doubt because of Russia’s success in ridding the country of foreign-backed mercenary terrorist armies.

  • Mary I SAY NO MORE WAR!

    Ken2 Did you know that Billy Fourteen Pints bought a nice new pad for himself and FFion in Wales?

    William Hague splashes out on £2.5million Welsh country estate
    The former Foreign Secretary said he is looking forward to writing books when he retires
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11348337/William-Hague-splashes-out-on-2.5million-Welsh-country-estate.html

    Lord Hague of Richmond is so new he has not had time to complete his record for the HoL website.
    ‘There are currently no registered interests for this member.’
    http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/lords/lord-hague-of-richmond/379

  • Salford Lad

    The most obvious reason that Erdogan shot down the Russian fighter is that they were disrupting the flow of ISIL oil tankers into Turkey for Bilal Erdogans benefit.
    The other not so obvious was Washingtons requirement to spike the proposed NATO/ Russia coalition to fight ISIL, promoted by Hollande of France
    Erdogan was maneouverd into this decision by Washington and given assurances of support.
    Voila!, he fell in to the trap and is now an International pariah.
    Washington has deserted him as a useful fool and his glory days are numbered, Shades of Georgia and Saakashivili, S
    The Empire cannot be trusted, they are Machiavellian and will consume everyone in their pursuit of world hegemony.
    Call me Dave is entering a nest of vipers and will have his nuts handed to him on a platter sooner or later.He is playing with the Big Dogs now.

  • Mary I SAY NO MORE WAR!

    Judge Goddard on video 2 mins

    Child sex abuse: Councils, churches and ‘certain people’ to be investigated

    9 minutes ago

    The judge leading the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse has announced the names of a number of councils which will be scrutinised, along with the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Church.

    Justice Lowell Goddard said the inquiry will focus on whether public bodies and other non-state institutions succeeded in their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse in England and Wales.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34941389

    ~~
    Councils are named as are the CoE and RC churches but not individuals.

  • giyane

    Harry Law:

    ” acting in self defence. “Remember these words, remember them forever. I will never forget them, I promise,” ”

    My first father-in-law, who had a prosthetic leg, was an RAF gunner in WW2. The plane was shot down and he spent 2 years in a vile German PoW camp.

    Erdogan is Daesh. I will not forget either this Turkish war crime nor the covered-up murder of Jackie Sutton in an Istanbul toilet for speaking out about crimes against women by Islamic State.

    The reason for the US describing any Daesh as officials is because they are part of that apartheid nihilism which is Israel, and that takfiri apartheid nihilism which is political Islam, whether Turkish, Saudi, Qatar or US Al Qaida or Pakistani Taliban who are also present in Syria.

    They are all the same. Neither the Geneva Convention nor Shari’ah mean anything to them.
    Pakistanis run a MI5-approved freemasonry spy network on UK Muslims. Who do you think populates the terror revolution in Syria, with free passage from the UK to Syria through Erdogan’s Turkey?

    Yes, the UK Indo-Pakistani Muslims, educated at UK schools and universities in the bosom of the UK welfare state. Who do you think tips them off where the bombs are going to fall? What are UK spy planes doing over Syria? Co-ordinating the safety of our very own home-grown jihadists from Birmingham, London and Manchester.

    Cameron’s finger in mouth tripe about right decisions and moral justifications for war are a smokescreen for direct involvement in colonising Syria and the Middle East using ignorant UK Muslim hot-heads from here.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    MJ

    All polls show that karimov is supported by 99% of population and Putin by 89%. Polls showed us that Scotland would be independent by now and that Labour had good chance of coming back last general election.

    Assad represents interest of 10% of population. Quite literally. Why would other 90% support him?

  • giyane

    Salford Lad

    Not for Turkey’s benefit, for the UK’s benefit FFS. I don’t think you come from Salford, maybe cider country, Salop or double Gloucester.

  • Fredi

    If they get rid of Assad the country has a glorious future to look forward to. Like the Libyan model they will have freedom to choose which of dozens of warring Islamic militias to live under, as a former secular nation, they can enjoy all the benefits of a Saudi type of Sharia society.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Fredi

    One of the underestimation (also with signs of the racism) is to think that alternative to the secular dictatorship in the middle east could only be Wahhabi society. Order is necessary and always better than chaos BUT letting dictatorship run the country in the manner which they think is beneficial (and most of the dictators only benefit themselves and their close associates) will ultimately lead to chaos.

    There is unfortunately no good or bad solutions here. Both (order under dictatorship/chaos during transaction period) are equally bad but the nature of dictatorships that they hold on to power by all means.

  • Fredi

    ‘Racism?’

    Or the truth?, people often confuse the two.

    It may surprise you but we in the west live under ‘a dictatorship’, It’s a two party dictatorship that offers the illusion of choice with some basic freedoms.

    Why would Syria turn out any different to Libya? Same players, same lies, same plan, though perhaps a different end result with Russian input this time round.

    I take it you think Libya is going through a painful transition, then it will become democratic and free?

    Dream on, Libya has only ‘chaos’ to look forward to for a very long time. Most Libyans will look back at the Qaddafi era with fond memories.

    You can believe the mainstream media or look a little deeper.

    Yinon plan

    http://www.voltairenet.org/article186019.html

    A clean break

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Clean_Break:_A_New_Strategy_for_Securing_the_Realm

    General Wesley Clark

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw

    A project for a new American century

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century

  • fedup

    Order is necessary and always better than chaos BUT letting dictatorship run the country in the manner which they think is beneficial (and most of the dictators only benefit themselves and their close associates) will ultimately lead to chaos.

    UIUK your analysis that is well thought out of and cogent is to be found as printed in the Sun! Therefore clearly indicative of these thoughts which have been thought out for you by those whom know how to think!!!!!!!

    However in the real world the notion of “Dictatorship” and “Democracy” are freely interchangeable with elaboration of “free market” as in everything has to be owned by an oligarch or other, and the nations have little or no expectation from their governments because the governments are there to protect the interests of the multinationals, and not the pesky individuals.

    Other than that, for someone such as you who has patently not lived under a “democratic” system, your world view is based on the propaganda fed to you by the “free market” supporters, and your own input from your life experiences are clearly; zip!

    In addition your jaundiced view of your perceived enemies and over generous and unrealistic fawning over your apparent “friends” have blinded you to the facts that so far Iraq is in Ruins, Libya is in ruins, Afghanistan is in ruins these were the countries that were liberated and “democratised”. However any mention of these facts are interpreted as “racism” by you whom then forgets about Bahrain, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt etc whom have tried to bring about a change in their governments and have been suppressed with great help from the patrons of “democracy” and “freedom” that took liberation of Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, …. and all the same.

    It would serve you well to stop and think that your brain has been hard-wired to suck up to the power, given your background, rendering you content so long as the choice of sucking up is left to be made by you!!!

    In conclusion, anyone wishing to be a member of a truly democratic society ought to adopt critical thinking and to undertake the task of constant vigilance of the rights (comprehensive and holistic human rights) of individual in the face of the power of the state or whomever is in power!

  • Fredi

    Racists are bad, look at this one. In a true democracy people like her wouldn’t get what they want because she represents a minority of views, but like I said we have an illusion of democracy in the west.

    German anti-white politician from Green Party OPENLY very happy about replacing the German people

    Her wiki : https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stefanie_von_Berg

  • N_

    @Fredi – I can’t read German, so couldn’t read that Wikipedia page about Stefanie von Berg. Could you maybe summarise some main points in English? Is she another person “from a family”, like Ursula von der Leyen, the German defence minister?

    The German Green Party was set up by crazed Steinerite nutcases and former SS men.

  • Fredi

    N_ put it into full screen and you should see the English subs, if not I’ll find it on youtube

    Racists are bad, look at this one. In a true democracy people like her wouldn’t get what they want because she represents a minority of views, but like I said we have an illusion of democracy in the west.

    German anti-white politician from Green Party OPENLY very happy about replacing the German people

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=586_1448376644#Ol7VWZglhpoIujSz.99

  • nevermind

    cease fire,CEASE FIRE, CeAsE FiRe, CEasE FIre, ceASe fiRE, cease fire, CEASE FIRE.cease fire, CEASe FIRe, ceasE firE

    and don’t forget to look after the glowing embers

  • nevermind

    “Only education and the promise of a future can defeat the Arab sense of powerlessness — one which existed prior to Islamic State, in the times of Hezbollah and al-Qaida, and one which cannot be allowed to persist in the post-IS world. All of that requires level-headed decision-making and sober, decisive diplomacy. Not the rhetoric of war.”

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/islamic-state-must-be-met-with-determination-a-1064521.html

    the editor in chief of der Spiegel, note the missing ‘cease fire’, he talks of ‘sober diplomacy’

  • Ken500

    £2.5Million on a country pad. That’s a lot of troughing expenses. Getting dirty with the pigs, after years at the trough. Or did he get a huge book advance for some slimy secrets. Matters getting too close for comfort. He could be ill or stressed. No comment.

  • Mick

    Pity to see some of the commentators on here are back to the old tricks of slyly linking Tories to paedophile scandals. Despicable.

  • Fredi

    War With Russia to Defend ISIS? Gee, Okay…

    Hey, remember back in those “good ol’ days” we called the Cold War when we thought World War Three would begin over some penny-ante border skirmish in Europe? You know, a Soviet plane gets close to the border, we panic, it gets shot down. Then the Soviets decide to shoot down the next plane that tries that again. Then it escalates from there. Well, folks, have a look at this.

    There. Putin just placed some long-range surface-to-air missiles in Syria. The next Turkish F-16 pilot to play Top Gun is going to get a hotfoot he’ll never forget. Ok, but let’s get back to the Cold War for a second. Can anyone imagine it being 1983 and Reagan giving the okey-dokey to shoot down a Soviet aircraft? Of course not. Not even Reagan was that bonkers.
    If Turkey had said they were going to do that, they’d have been told in no uncertain terms: Absolutely not. We’d have never allowed a NATO nation to threaten such a thing, much less carry out that threat. They’d have been told to follow the protocols which are to send up planes and escort the aircraft away.
    That’s what NATO has been doing since they provoked the Russians into resuming Bear bomber excursions close to NATO airspace. They escort the planes away. They don’t shoot them down, no matter how many bloodthirsty whack-jobs were calling for it.

    http://wakeupfromyourslumber.com/war-with-russia-to-defend-isis-gee-okay/

  • Habbabkuk ( drones away!)

    N_

    “@Fredi – I can’t read German, so couldn’t read that Wikipedia page about Stefanie von Berg. Could you maybe summarise some main points in English? Is she another person “from a family”, like Ursula von der Leyen, the German defence minister?”
    ____________________

    I could do that for you but I don’t like you.

    Nevertheless, to be helpful, may I suggest that you ask our friend Lysias? I believe he has German.

  • Habbabkuk ( drones away!)

    Mick

    “Pity to see some of the commentators on here are back to the old tricks of slyly linking Tories to paedophile scandals.”
    __________________

    I’d tend to agree with that.

    There were/are – by the law of averages – certainly some Tory paedophiles but it would be strange if there were no Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green, UKIP or even Communist paedophiles as well. Or, indeed, of no party at all.

    The truth is that several of the most vociferous denouncers of paedophilia on here don’t really care about that horrible practice save as a method of beating the Tories over the head.

    And, as you say, that is despicable.

    (Cue Lysias….?)

  • nevermind

    ‘The German Green Party was set up by crazed Steinerite nutcases and former SS men.’

    There was one general Bastian who once had a high position in the german Green Party, he was a NATO general, if that is what you mean by SS, N_, but he did not found the German Green Party. As for your ‘Steinerite nutcases’, you are completely off piste, many of them were ex SWJ, and various other splinter groups, incl. some socialists who saw that socialism has to be for future generation, has to have a sustainable basis to call itself social.

    Sometimes I wish people would think before they write. Same with this

    “Nevertheless, to be helpful, may I suggest that you ask our friend Lysias? I believe he has German.”

    Has German? what sort of grammatic is this for a scholar like yourself? did you mean to say ancestry? or did you want to write ‘has had German as a second language’ to make any sense at all.

    Ein bischen flusig heute? zuviel getrunken?

    Ansonsten solltest du dir mal eine einfache webseite suchen, Habkeincock, deine Verleudnungen hier sind unverantwortlich, zersetzend und primitive.

  • doug Scorgie

    Sebastian Crump:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2713810/Government-digital-chief-caught-child-porn-stash-did-Downing-Street-secret-six-months.html
    Covered up for 6 months.

    Patrick Rock:
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/david-camerons-former-aide-fails-4409569
    Covered up for 3 weeks.

    Rock didn’t show for his trial but instead of issuing a warrant for his arrest as would happen to you or I, the Judge merely adjourns the case.
    At least we have a date for the next trial- 19th December.

  • Beth

    Hubba drones away 26th 8.36pm

    Because I so want to make sure this doesn’t happen. It’s been on my mind since hearing Tory Mp saying to Alex Salmond on SML ….Would you change your mind Alex if there was a terrorist attack in Edinburgh ?
    It just seems they could kill two birds with one stone.
    Reinvigorate the Better Together crowd who will rush to say I told you we need to stick together and potentially fool the SNP into supporting bombing Syria.
    I pray you will be calling me a mad conspiracy theorist Habba.

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