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Is the Daily Mail completely inventing ‘news’?

According to the Daily Mail, one of the largest circulation MSM publications in the UK, British special forces are in ground combat against the daesh Islamic State in Iraq. As in “boots-on-the-ground” ground combat.

One might think this would get a mention from Dave Cameron and the MOD. Now whilst I have never been a great fan of the Daily Mail (to put it mildly), surely they cannot just be completely inventing what would be a MASSIVE story, can they? And if so, why is that not front page news in other newspapers?

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43 comments to Is the Daily Mail completely inventing ‘news’?

  • Mr Ed

    SAS quad bike squads kill up to 8 jihadis each day

    The mission to defeat the 200,000-strong IS forces will be led by a senior US officer, Lieutenant General James Terry. It is likely that his second in command will be a senior British officer, Lieutenant General Tom Beckett.

    So that will take around 68 years to kill them all at 8 a day, no days off, no missed opportunities. Well, that a bit of a modest target, even by the standards of the last Afghanistan campaign.

  • Ockham's Spoon

    And looking at the comments, just about everyone takes this as gospel. THAT is fucking scary. But good point: what isn’t this crazy fantasy shit being reported in other newspapers under the title: WTF are the DM editors smoking?

  • Kevin B

    Isn’t there some sort of pass on special forces? That they don’t really count as boots on the ground ‘cos they’re not really there ‘cos they’re secret and all?

    Nonsense of course, but that seems to be the convention.

  • ResidentAlien

    SAS quad bike squads kill up to 8 jihadis each day.

    This is technically “true” if there has been a single clash between the SAS and IS in which 8 jihadis were killed. True enough for the Daily Mail.

  • Cynwulf

    No one else is reporting this. BBC, Telegraph, Times, Guardian, Scotsman, Mirror… no one. Does indeed seem like a complete fabrication. Quite stunning really. I realise the DM is hardly the ‘paper of record’ but I didn’t realise it had become the National Enquirer.

  • Trofim

    It was on the Radio 4 news at 7 o’clock this morning. I’ve not listened to the news since, today. I was a tad surprised, since I thought it was taboo reporting on current SAS operations.

  • It was on the Radio 4 news at 7 o’clock this morning.

    Saying what? I cannot find anything on the BBC website.

  • Trofim

    It said simply that the SAS was employing undercover squads in the area claimed by ISIS, that they had killed X number ISIS fighters (200?). That was the gist of it. It might have been 8 o’clock, but it was definitely there. It was in the initial headline bit immediately after the hour strikes, then the fuller bit afterwards.

  • Mr Ecks

    ResidentAlien

    November 23, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    “SAS quad bike squads kill up to 8 jihadis each day.”

    The quadbike is a deathtrap and will end up causing more casualities than the jihadis.

  • The only reference to this story whatsoever on the BBC site that I can find is an external link to the same Daily Mail article. Very strange. If this is true, how can the rest of the UK media not be all over it? If not true… how can the rest of the UK media not be all over it?

  • Paul Marks

    There is a way that both the Daily Mail and Mr Cameron (and Mr Obama) could be telling the truth.

    For air strikes to be effective one needs spotters on the ground to work out what to hit (just looking from the air will not do – things can be hidden, and deception practiced) – these spotters, normally Special Forces, need to defend themselves against enemy patrols and so on – and the best way to do that is to kill the enemy patrols and so on.

    In this way everyone is telling the truth – Mr Cameron and Mr Obama are telling the truth when they say they have not sent in ground forces to kill Islamic State troops, and the Daily Mail is telling the truth when it says that British Special Forces are, in fact, killing Islamic State troops.

    Everyone is telling the truth, because the Special Forces were not sent in for conventional ground “boots on the ground” attack – they are there to act as support for air strikes, and the killing of Islamic State troops is just one-of-those-things.

    See what a nice person I am – how charitable.

    I have managed to interpret things so that people saying diametrically opposed things are all telling the truth – and all being accurate.

    Perhaps I should have been a spin doctor.

  • The Sanity Inspector

    I’m very willing to look the other way while spec warriors of Western nations turn the jihadists into pink mist. But ffs don’t put their actions in the tabloids!

  • Yes indeed SI, which is why I wonder if any of it is actually true.

    Either slap a D-notice on it because there are ongoing operations (I am totally ok with that), or report the damn thing. Yet the DM article is still there (so no D-notice) and yet no one else is reporting it other that to link to the same Daily Main article. Very very strange.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Ed, as you know there has been conflict between the West and Islam since the 7th century AD.

    Once, some years ago, I pulled out some of the Islamic attacks on Europe from an old reference book I happen to own – from a time before reference books went P.C. and a lot of history went down the Memory Hole.

    I believe I sent some of the attacks, dates and places, to Perry on this very site.

    Anyway……

    Every year for more than a thousand there was fighting somewhere between Christians and Muslims, often on a very large scale. Do not bother looking for this in your history books kiddies – your “liberal” masters do not think you should know.

    The slaughter of the Bulgarians in the late 19th Century, that Gladstone so condemned, was entirely normal behaviour – as Gladstone and that other “racist” “Islamophobe” Winston Churchill well knew.

    Anyway…….

    In the light of all this, over a thousand years of war, – what is 68 years?

    A blink of an eye.

  • The story here is nothing to do with Islam, Paul, but rather: is the UK actually getting stuck in on the ground in Iraq (presumably as FACs), which I think is actually an interesting development (and if so, why is the Daily Mail the only one reporting it)… or is this all a fantasy by the Daily Mail to sell copy?

  • Richard Thomas

    The Daily Mail started going downhill when they no longer carried Snook. And I always considered Fred Basset a war crime.

  • Richard Thomas

    Flook, not Snook. Sorry.

  • RAB

    Well it could be true, the Special forces do use bikes and quads (though the stability of a Quad did Rik Mayall no good at all, did it?) The LRDG is the antecedent of the SAS after all.

    http://www.strikehold.net/2009/03/13/special-forces-use-of-off-road-motorcycles-and-quad-bikes-in-afghanistan/

    But like The Sanity Inspector and Perry, I ask what the fuck is it doing in a newspaper?

  • NickM

    Well, I’m partially with Paul here. If there are FACs on the deck – and this would not surprise me – then obviously by calling down strikes they have killed folks. Also they well have had the opportunity/need to kill ’em directly. But I am also with Perry. Why report this. It is an odd story in the context. It hasn’t been reported elsewhere and I had the distinct impression that the reporting of currernt and ongoing Spec Ops stuffs was not done. Very curious.

  • Vulgar Madman

    @Ockhams spoon
    Have any of those fine publications done any reporting on gruber?

  • Vinegar Joe

    @Cynwulf: “No one else is reporting this. BBC, Telegraph, Times, Guardian, Scotsman, Mirror… no one. Does indeed seem like a complete fabrication. Quite stunning really. I realise the DM is hardly the ‘paper of record’ but I didn’t realise it had become the National Enquirer.”

    It was the National Enquirer that broke the John Edwards/Rielle Hunter story not the BBC, Telegraph, Guardian, New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, etc, etc……..

  • bobby b

    Confusion to our enemies!

    Perhaps something is happening behind ISIS lines which is best kept opaque?

    (“Those bodies of your own guys which you keep finding behind your lines? SAS are attacking and killing them whilst riding on recreational vehicles dropped by stealth helicopters! Yeah, that’s the ticket!”)

  • Gareth

    I’d like to think this is intentional disinformation that the DM is unwittingly reporting than the DM themselves making it up. Could be handy if our intelligence lot have discovered some ISIS use quad bikes. Put the SAS story out and you’ll have ISIS shooting their own in short order.

    Perhaps it would be too obvious a trick if the DM had claimed the SAS were driving around in mud spattered white Toyotas.

  • Why report this.

    Well. It is not a secret from ISIS. They know about FACs and airstrikes.

    OTOH the fact that it is being reported suggest that something else is going on. Some new method of detection being covered up by reference to the old.

    And “leaking” it in one place? Good way to call attention to it.

    A study of spookery leads to all kinds of interesting conclusions. Many or all of them erroneous. Which may also be the point.

  • Mr Black

    It may well be that the SAS squads are calling in air strikes that are killing 8 jihadis a day. In that case, everyone is also sort of telling the truth.

  • Watchman

    Considering further down the Mail article they make reference to ISIS attacking one of the Sunni tribes in western Iraq for being non-supportive, and considering that if you see an accurate map of ISIS controlled areas it is a network of hubs and routeways (they do not control the intervening territory – hence the need for checkpoints and conveys), and speculating that ISIS’ intelligence assets might well be mainly based in the west, I suspect there is little problem with, as bobby b suggests, there being an atmosphere of confusion about what is really going on. It is hardly a risk that allowing ISIS to think that British troops are causing attacks on them that might equally well be local tribes or advance units of Iraqi forces (if they actually have any that operational) is going to cause ISIS to turn on us – they already hate the west (regardless of what that actually means).

  • RAB

    OTOH the fact that it is being reported suggest that something else is going on. Some new method of detection being covered up by reference to the old.

    Yes M Simon, it wouldn’t be that hard to infiltrate some agents among all the Gap Year Jihadi’s flocking to fight for ISIS and sending back accurate intelligence to our side, would it?

  • Surellin

    The Daily Mail was also the first major media source to report on the Met Office’s Christmas announcement 3 years ago that global warming had flatlined over the previous 13 years. And, in the US, the National Enquirer was the outlet that broke the John-Edwards-has-a-love-child story. Sometimes the tabloids do remarkably good journalism.

  • JohnW

    I suspect the article is true – you don’t need to kill them all to defeat them.
    It is what the SAS are trained for, after all.

  • John, my scepticism is based on the complete non-reportage anywhere else. This is surely a major story if true.

  • Tedd

    What intrigued me about the article was how — if true — the former tactic has been inverted. Until recently, we had human spotters calling in air strikes. Now it appears that we have drone spotters bringing in “meat bombs.”

    It’ll be interesting to see if the convention of not calling such strikes “combat” will remain possible when human beings are so much physically closer to the killing. I would say that the Mail is anticipating that it won’t be.

  • JohnW

    Indeed.
    A Tory aid worker said on Sky News that the SAS were on the ground weeks ago.
    The MSM are probably afraid of “provoking a backlash” from a domestic enthusiast.

  • Rob

    Why haven’t the rest of the MSM reported this? Presumably because the government hasn’t published a press release for them to report verbatim? Copying press releases is about the level of modern journalism.

  • Guy Herbert

    What Rob said. Supposedly specialist correspondents frequently print what their sources tell them without checking, or the policy spin without attempt at understanding. This is particularly true in security and intelligence matters, where they are so dependent on spoon-feeding that they might as well be official spokespeople, but for the fact that the disinformation they are given is wholly deniable.

    On a lighter seeming subject of which I have direct knowledge: The DM reported the other day Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were viewing houses in my neighbourhood. In particular that they had looked at a particular £25M penthouse. It is not implausible they should consider Marylebone. And the story wouldn’t be hard to check. It’s a couple of miles from the Mail’s offices, with a nice lunch at the end.

    The problem is the penthouse in question doesn’t exist. The developers haven’t finished any of the apartments yet, although much of the frame of the building is now there. The picture in the article and all the information in it must have come in a PR package from Galliard. And the whole point of the story is to sucker someone in the Mail’s extended web readership, probably in the far East, to buy off-plan on the basis this is a super glamorous place to be.

    Anyone visiting the site would also notice no filmstar is going to live in that building, especially not if they view the site. That’s because a much bigger and probably more luxurious building is about to be built opposite. Filmstars (and other competent property-buyers) employ people to check such things, in any case. Even if the Mail doesn’t.

  • Guy Herbert

    Am inclined to think that, contrary to the tenor of the article and most commentators, that this is being pseudo-reported in the Mail and other selected places because MoD wants it to be. It’s NOT a massive story. Special forces operations, and “advisory” activity is readily carried out secretly, and DA notices discourage off-piste reporting. But (1) there is a long standing policy of bigging up the SAS/SBS as being omnipresent and all-powerful; (2) in particular this looks like PR inoculation against any press cries of “Why, oh why, aren’t we doing something?”

  • @Vulgar Madman: the BBC have covered Gruber http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-30021303

    They covered it as a “trending now” peice (meaning they were forced into it) and spent most of the article explaining why it’s popularity is all down to someone’s biases.

  • Runcie Balspune

    These Quad SAS guys are essentially “lone wolves”, given weapons training, adhere to an ideology, and allowed to run around just killing selective nominated targets. Rather ironic seeing as the leaders of IS were calling on western “lone wolves” to do the same.

  • bobby b

    “These Quad SAS guys are essentially “lone wolves” . . . ”

    Lone wolves with personal values will always beat lone wolves obeying some god.

  • Laird

    “Lone wolves with personal values will always beat lone wolves obeying some god.”

    Really? What’s the difference?

  • bobby b

    Lone wolves following some god can’t reason their way out of encountered contradictions. Lone wolves with personal values can reach back and apply those personal values to those same encountered contradictions and adapt.

  • Laird

    Perhaps. But it doesn’t usually happen. “Personal values” tend to be just as thoughtlessly reached and blindly followed as religious ones.

  • Lone wolves following some god can’t reason their way out of encountered contradictions. Lone wolves with personal values can reach back and apply those personal values to those same encountered contradictions and adapt.

    Belief in some god does not necessarily block the ability to reason. And people are perfectly capable of holding raging contradictions as equally true, and still acting in a pragmatic manner.

  • bobby b

    ““Personal values” tend to be just as thoughtlessly reached and blindly followed as religious ones.”

    So much for morality, I guess.