Thursday, December 03, 2015

Hilarious Benn's Truly Awful Speech

Hilary Benn's Tory speech has been widely praised, even called the best speech in The House for decades.

Have our standards dropped THAT much?

The speech was in parts illogical, bluster, platitudes, mis-representations and a few LIES.

Sue me Benny

I decided to respond paragraph by paragraph

Benny's Speech is in italics, occasionally bolded and or underlined


Thank you very much Mr Speaker. Before I respond to the debate, I would like to say this directly to the Prime Minister: Although my right honourable friend the Leader of the Opposition and I will walk into different division lobbies tonight, I am proud to speak from the same Despatch Box as him. My right honourable friend is not a terrorist sympathiser, he is an honest, a principled, a decent and a good man and I think the Prime Minister must now regret what he said yesterday and his failure to do what he should have done today, which is simply to say ‘I am sorry’.

Nothing more than pretence, hypocrisy. He did not vote for Corbyn, is anti-Corbyn, and, no matter how he doth protest, has his eyes on the prize, ie. leadership of the Labour Party.

Now Mr Speaker, we have had an intense and impassioned debate and rightly so, given the clear and present threat from Daesh, the gravity of the decision that rests upon the shoulders and the conscience of every single one of us and the lives we hold in our hands tonight. 

This is a bog-standard, off-the peg statement. No great rhetoric, no information, no actual argument.

And whatever we decision we reach, I hope we will treat one another with respect.

There has been little respect shown towards The Labour Leader’s stance, and to my knowledge not once has Benn spoken out against the barrage of false reporting.

Now we have heard a number of outstanding speeches and sadly time will prevent me from acknowledging them all. But I would just like to single out the contributions both for and against the motion from my honourable and right honourable friends the members for Derby South, Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, Barnsley Central, Wakefield, Wolverhampton South East, Brent North, Liverpool, West Derby, Wirral West, Stoke-on-Trent North, Birmingham Ladywood and the honourable members for Reigate, South West Wiltshire, Tonbridge and Malling, Chichester and Wells.

Ignore this paragraph. 

  1. It’s platitudinous 
  2. It is merely giving a nod to people that may support him in the future
  3. It has ZERO to do with the ISSUE.

The question which confronts us in a very, very complex conflict is at its heart very simple.

This is inverted, perverse logic. How, in a very, VERY (he uses the double very) complex conflict can any question be simple?

What should we do with others to confront this threat to our citizens, our nation, other nations and the people who suffer under the yoke, the cruel yoke, of Daesh?

Again, this is a strange argument. Benn is not discussing “What should we do”, he is arguing the case for a single, specific thing, bombing. Had he followed this with the alternatives, ( block finance, block oil sales, block arms, create safe havens, shut down web-sites) he might have been impressive

The carnage in Paris brought home to us the clear and present danger we face from them. It could have just as easily been London, or Glasgow, or Leeds or Birmingham and it could still be. And I believe that we have a moral and a practical duty to extend the action we are already taking in Iraq to Syria. And I am also clear, and I say this to my colleagues, that the conditions set out in the emergency resolution passed at the Labour party conference in September have been met.

Nobody doubts the reach of “Islamic” terrorism, but this clichéd “clear and present danger” is there whether we bomb or not, and is highly like to INCREASE if we bomb, especially in the short and medium term.

The “moral” duty is open to debate (especially as bombing Syria uninvited is an act that is illegal). The “practical” duty? What the hell is that? It’s just a phrase, meaningless if not expended upon.

If Benn is clear that the Labour Conference resolution is met (but Jeremy Corbyn says it is NOT clear) mere assertion is meaningless. The statement needs argument. Otherwise this is pantomime discussion. “Met! Not Met!)

We now have a clear and unambiguous UN Security Council Resolution 2249, paragraph 5 of which specifically calls on member states to take all necessary measures to redouble and co-ordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by Isil, and to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria.

This is a total lie. 

It is NOT “unambiguous”. The United Nations COULD HAVE passed a resolution explicitly allowing air strikes over Syrian territory (even if uninvited). (I forget the specific number but the right one ends 7). 

One CRUCIAL line in the actual resolution says, “within international law”, and that means, essentially to enter Syria, a sovereign country WITH PERMISSION (as the Russians have but the US, France, Canada and UK have NOT.)

For example, in Iraq we are working with the Iraqi Army and “government”. In Syria we are not, and we are clearly hostile to the legal government (however despicable) of that country. 

Various officials, experts and journalists have explained that the so-called “clear and unambiguous mandate” is no such thing and is a deliberate fudge by the UN.

Had the US-UK-France attempted to get clear mandates (to bomb Syria) from the UN, Russia and China would have vetoed such a mandate.

At a big stretch, the UK might argue the clear and present danger hoo-hah. Does that or did that also apply to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Canada, Australia and the US? It’s a cheap excuse.

So the United Nations is asking us to do something. It is asking us to do something now. It is asking us to act in Syria as well as in Iraq.


Cut of the sales of Daesh oil.
Cut off the money supply.
Cut off arms sales to Daesh.
Close down the Daesh internet sites.
Create a safe-haven for Syrian refugees and cover it with a no-fly zone.
Increase international border-security and catch more terrorists.
Use extra intelligence resources, signal-jamming, etc to help the invited-in Russians.

At no point does the resolution say “Go into Syria uninvited”. The UK is/was legally able to attack Daesh in Iraq (working with the Iraqis) and that is by no means trivial

As for something NOW where is the date-imperative in the resolution?

And it was a Labour government that helped to found the United Nations at the end of the Second World War. And why did we do so? Because we wanted the nations of the world, working together, to deal with threats to international peace and security – and Daesh is unquestionably that.

This is just pomp. The paragraph ought to imply: “Let us, under the blue flag of the United Nations, create a land-army and an Air Force, and support from navies based in the Eastern Mediterranean, and eradicate Daesh in Syria. 

This is not “the nations of the world working together”. That is total bullshit. Russia is at odds with Turkey. Turkey has been assisting Daesh and almost certainly buying oil cheap and allowing guns to get to Daesh.

Saudi Arabians and Quatarains seed-funded Daesh and may still be helping them. Canada has announced it’s getting out, Australia already has. There is no solid alliance of Nato Countries here. Some actually shoot at each other.

So given that the United Nations has passed this resolution, given that such action would be lawful under Article 51 of the UN Charter – because every state has the right to defend itself – why would we not uphold the settled will of the United Nations, particularly when there is such support from within the region including from Iraq. We are part of a coalition of over 60 countries, standing together shoulder-to-shoulder to oppose their ideology and their brutality.

Oh, see, Benn has slipped in the very weak self-defence nugget. So is this “self-defence” get-out how the US, Canada and Australia justified their aggression? Effectively if Article 51 really does apply that the reason for going into Syria is self-defence (really, it’s crock of shit) then presumably we can bomb any country anywhere that we believe harbours a terrorist?

No, this was a fudged resolution and “self-defence” is elastic and political. How can MPs argue we were going in out of solidarity to the French? That isn’t self-defence.

Now Mr Speaker, all of us understand the importance of bringing an end to the Syrian civil war and there is now some progress on a peace plan because of the Vienna talks. They are the best hope we have of achieving a cease-fire. That would bring an end to Assad’s bombing, leading to a transitional government and elections.

This is APPALLING logic. The cease-fire being referred to (if it ever happens) is between over one hundred anti-Assad factions (and a few anti-Turkey) and the brutal Assad dictatorship.

But are we seriously saying, “Hey, we’ll stop THAT war in Syria while continuing a DIFFERENT war?” Please! As an eminent expert said Monday, it is complex and complicated and anything you do will have ramifications you cannot even imagine.

Let us remember that just over two years ago the call was to bomb ASSAD and we know now that such bombing would have greatly assisted Daesh. 

Why could we not have said, “Beginning today we intend to stop the civil war, and once that has happened all the parties will turn on Daesh to eradicate it (invited, legal, unequivocal).

Whether we like the Assad regime or not, they are attacking Daesh and helping to keep it in check. So are the Russians (in part). If it is true that these two powers are also attacking non-Daesh fighters and innocent civilians, please note that NOTHING that the US, France or the UK is doing (against Daesh) has anything whatsoever to do with protecting non-Daesh combatants of Syrian civilians in areas not controlled by Daesh.

And why is that vital? Both because it will help in the defeat of Daesh, and because it would enable millions of Syrians, who have been forced to flee, to do what every refugee dreams of: they just want to be able to go home.

If the above was the genuine intention of US-UK-France then all their efforts should be to bring about the ceasefire. Meanwhile they could fly DEFENSIVE missions, protecting civilian areas and any factions not actually fighting. Daesh can be left a few months. But remember, that VITAL thing, is not bombing, but stopping the civil war. A million bombs dropped on Daesh will have no affect whatsoever on the civil war.

Now Mr Speaker, no-one in this debate doubts the deadly serious threat we face from Daesh and what they do, although sometimes we find it hard to live with the reality. 

Firstly, how many of us really, truly know WHAT is being done and by whom? When the Russian plane went down, Daesh said they had shot it down with a missile. Second, the Russians said their Special Forces had captured the men who shot the missile and flown them to Russia. Remember? But now it’s a bomb, so who did the Russians capture?

Daesh are notorious for claiming any and every terrorist act. I believe them to be evil, but please, please remember, you are being fed stuff, stuff you are not able to verify. Benn is just regurgitating gossip, not stating facts and supporting them with evidence.

We know that in June four gay men were thrown off the fifth storey of a building in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor. We know that in August the 82-year-old guardian of the antiquities of Palmyra, Professor Khaled al-Assad, was beheaded, and his headless body was hung from a traffic light. And we know that in recent weeks there has been the discovery of mass graves in Sinjar, one said to contain the bodies of older Yazidi women murdered by Daesh because they were judged too old to be sold for sex.

We don’t KNOW these things. All these things may be true but note nowhere in this paragraph is Daesh mentioned. Time will work out who did what and to whom. In the context of a so-called “learned debate” this is salacious gossip. 

A great speech would not have randomly picked emotive incidents and allowed all those listening to presume they were truly and clearly  “by Daesh”. A great speech would have cited authorities that confirmed that the incidents occurred and confirmed they were categorically the responsibility of Daesh.

Please note, I do not for a second think that Daesh is not an evil cult and deep in my heart I hope not one survives past the end of 2016, but here I am querying this so-called “Great Speech.” It’s not great, it’s cheap rabble-rousing.

We know they have killed 30 British tourists in Tunisia, 

Not True. A Conscious, Deliberate LIE

The Tunisian gunman acted alone and was trained in LIBYA, and NOT by Daesh. Libya is a lawless country full of warring factions, jihadis and training camps PRECISELY BECAUSE WE BOMBED THE SHIT OUT OF IT and removed Gadaffi who was beaten to death in the street.

When the museum attack occurred in Tunisia, Daesh did claim it (as they typically do) but the Tunisian government blamed a local splinter group of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, called the Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade, for the attack.

Here is some info on the Sousse (Tunisia) beach massacre.

Note the absence of Daesh:

“The killer, Seifiddine Rezgui Yacoubi, also known as Abu Yahya al-Qayrawani, (born 1992 in Gaafour) was a 23-year-old electrical engineering student at University of Kairouan from Gaafour, in northwest Tunisia.

He did not have the typical traits of an Islamic extremist: he had a girlfriend, drank alcohol and was a local break-dancing star. He was also believed to be high on cocaine during his rampage.

He is believed to have been radicalised over such issues as the Libyan Civil War and Western inaction against the savagery of the Assad government during the Syrian Civil War.

Rezgui is thought to have been recruited by Ajnad al-Khilafah,[44] an outgrowth of the Tunisian branch of Ansar al-Sharia, which was founded by Saifallah Ben Hassine, who had lived in the UK in the 1990s and whose mentor during that time was Abu Qatada.

High Court papers relating to a control order placed on a British-based suspect state that Ben Hassine “aimed to recruit new members and send them to Afghanistan for training”. The control order documents add that: “Abu Qatada appears as a watermark running through the whole of this case as being the mastermind.”

Benn: 224 Russian holidaymakers on a plane

While all my instincts tell me this atrocity was indeed perpetrated by Daesh, I will remember the initial farce of the missile attack (shown in a You-Tube video) , then Russia “capturing the men who had fired the (British) missile and taking them to Russia”. 

Note: the downed plane became a perfect reason for Russia to join with Assad.

178 people in suicide bombings in Beirut, Ankara and Suruc. 

Daesh has NOT, repeat NOT claimed responsibility for the Ankara bomb. It is well-known that Daesh are quick to claim their atrocities and often claim atrocities committed by others so it is unlikely they are responsible.

A large number of possible perpetrators have been suggested including the Turkish government itself, Kurds etc. Remember Daesh has not claimed this attack. WHY?

130 people in Paris including those young people in the Bataclan whom Daesh – in trying to justify their bloody slaughter – called ‘apostates engaged in prostitution and vice’. If it had happened here, they could have been our children. And we know that they are plotting more attacks.

The attacks in France were a terrible tragedy and must be utterly condemned without any kind of reservation, but the language used here tries to appropriate those tragic deaths and make them British.

Quote: If it had happened here, they could have been our children.

That isn’t statesmanship, that’s UKIP, The Daily Mail, Britain First. Terrible!

He then finishes with And we know that they are plotting more attacks.

That is pure tub-thumping and scare-mongering with no actual, specific factual evidence or any reference to authority. Benn just SAYS it. While it is no doubt true, such terrorist attacks are happening (being planned) despite 50,000 over-flights and about 5,000 actual bombing raids. During all those bombings, the number of Daesh recruits has continued to grow.

So the question for each of us – and for our national security – is this: given that we know what they are doing, can we really stand aside and refuse to act fully in our self-defence against those who are planning these attacks?

See the shift? 

Just SAY they are planning attacks (don’t actually prove anything) then quickly move on to what must now happen BECAUSE “they are planning attacks”.

Can we really leave to others the responsibility for defending our national security when it is our responsibility? And if we do not act, what message would that send about our solidarity with those countries that have suffered so much – including Iraq and our ally, France.

First, this is a calculated mis-representation of the truth. The UK does a lot of important work. We exchange intelligence with the US, Canada and Australia AS A STANDARD. We fought in the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars and were already bombing Daesh in Iraq on a more or less daily basis and supplying Special Forces support, and training the Iraqi Army. What exactly is that if not working towards security there, towards the eradication of Daesh, and (theoretically) “our long-term security”?

Easily, EASILY we could have continued doing our legal, invited, specialist part without bending or breaking any international laws. No, this is about dick-waving and saying “we have to stand by France”. The stand-by-France stuff is just a cheap excuse. 

(I add here that I love France and the French and mourn their dead, but this is not about fraternity, but an act of international war…)

BTW France refused to join the coalition against Iraq, remember, and the US citizenry emerged all-things-French for a few years. But let’s skip over history, 2003 is centuries ago.

And PS, France knows we fought with them in WWI and WWII and gave a home to the Free French under de Gaulle, and then liberated France in 1944, so P-L-E-A-S-E.

Now, France wants us to stand with them and President Hollande – the leader of our sister socialist party – has asked for our assistance and help. 

So? You’re supposed to be a statesman. A friend comes round and says X beat him up, will you go round and petrol-bomb the house? You say, “Mate, no, that will only make things worse. I will, however, make sure the police know and act.”

And as we are undertaking airstrikes in Iraq where Daesh’s hold has been reduced and we are already doing everything but engage in airstrikes in Syria – should we not play our full part?

Psst. The Iraq element is LEGAL, invited, almost clear-cut, and far less dangerous. Syria involves a classic Reservoir Dogs stand-off including, already, two super-powers and could lead to a major conflict, even a third world war.

Just imagine Russians, Syrians, Saudis, Chinese, the USA, Britain, France, Jordan, a twitchy Israel, Turkey, all going at it, all with different agendas.

And you PRETEND that’s just 1% different from bombing Daesh in Iraq. You should be shamed of yourself.

It has been argued in the debate that airstrikes achieve nothing. Not so. Look at how Daesh’s forward march has been halted in Iraq. 

The reason air strikes can contain forces (but only trivially damage them) is because WHEN THEY START TO EXPAND THEY ARE EXPOSED IN THE OPEN.

It isn’t rocket science. Jesus!

They have PAUSED.

In WWI we bombed the German defences in France for weeks at a time. Just shell after shell after tens of thousands of shells. We did it for WEEKS ready for our next offensive. The Germans simply bunkered down and when the barrage stopped they knew the allied soldiers were coming and they slaughtered them, 50,000 or more a day.

Soldiers being bombed get under cover. Allegedly, like the Viet Cong, Daesh is digging tunnels under Raqqua. How many attacks, bombs, tanks, drones has the Israeli Army used on The Palestinians. How is that going?

The House will remember that, 14 months ago, people were saying: ‘they are almost at the gates of Baghdad’. And that is why we voted to respond to the Iraqi government’s request for help to defeat them. 


The Syrians, on the other hand, have NOT asked us to go in, so we are breaking international law.

But again, be reminded, troops on the offensive make “soft targets”. Troops bunkered down suffer relatively few casualties. This is why military experts say you need at least a 6:1 advantage when attacking.

That means 15,000 holed-up Daesh fighters can make things very difficult indeed for an attacking army as big as 100,000 (and that’s a fully-trained, cohesive army, not a rag-tag of over 100 alliances).

Look at how their military capacity and their freedom of movement has been put under pressure. Ask the Kurds about Sinjar and Kobani. Now of course, air strikes alone will not defeat Daesh – but they make a difference. Because they are giving them a hard time – and it is making it more difficult for them to expand their territory.

They do NOT “make a difference” except making it hard for them to expand territory (because they are then in the open…)

Instead, they build more tunnels, plan attacks, and, meanwhile, civilians die.

Where is the evidence of this “hard-time” we are giving Daesh in Raqqua? We take out empty training camps, a check point, a truck, a car, a tent…

Now, I share the concerns that have been expressed this evening about potential civilian casualties. However, unlike Daesh, none of us today act with the intent to harm civilians. 

INTENT is irrelevant. It’s the result that matters.

Again, that’s a cheap shot by Benn.

Rather, we act to protect civilians from Daesh – who target innocent people.

We will kill you and your children to stop Daesh doing it. Understood.

Now on the subject of ground troops to defeat Daesh, there’s been much debate about the figure of 70,000 and the government must, I think, better explain that. 

In other words, as shown by numerous experts, the 70K total is utter rubbish. But note, this was the last Labour speech of the night, yet, above, clearly, Benn is saying the numbers don’t add up and must be questioned. Isn’t that a reason to pause and say, DON’T bomb?

But THINK. Every expert, every one says we must eventually go in with an army and 15K means at least 90K. But Benn is clearly hinting the 70,000 isn’t real. No-one knows if ANY Syrian fighters would actually take on Daesh. They hate ASSAD.

In other words we will bomb and bomb and bomb forever, or we will go in with UK-US troops or the UN.

But we know that most of them are currently engaged in fighting President Assad. 

Er, yes?

But I’ll tell you what else we know, is whatever the number – 70,000, 40,000, 80,000 – the current size of the opposition forces mean the longer we leave taking action, the longer Daesh will have to decrease that number. 

You’re showing leg now Mr Benn. We are (you allege) “Hurting Daesh with Air Strikes” and yet in the same breath you say Daesh is growing every day and/or is increasingly capable of going out and engaging the non-Daesh fighters in Syria and reducing their number. 

Surely in a straight fight both sides will lose men (but strangely, numbers-wise Daesh is growing.)

Where is your EVIDENCE of this attrition or possible attrition? Where has it been said that non-Daesh fighters are being seriously and asymmetrically depleted by Daesh? The various factions for the most part avoid each other.

PS note how he slipped in 80 as in 80,000 when he KNOWS it’s not even 70,000.

What? Let’s look at the logic. The magic seventy thousand, the 70,000 who are supposed to be used sometime in the future (to attack Daesh defensive positions where they will need a 6:1 majority) are being killed right now when Daesh come out to engage them in the open or attacking THEIR defensive positions when they (non-Daesh defenders are advantaged).

And so to suggest, Mr Speaker, that air strikes should not take place until the Syrian civil war has come to an end is, I think, to miss the urgency of the terrorist threat that Daesh poses to us and others, and I think misunderstands the nature and objectives of the extension to airstrikes that is being proposed. 

As to the nature and objectives of the air-strikes, I don’t think I have heard them uttered. Containment is a given, degradation doesn’t appear to be proven.

And of course we should take action. It is not a contradiction between the two to cut off Daesh’s support in the form of money and fighters and weapons, and of course we should give humanitarian aid, and of course we should offer shelter to more refugees including in this country and yes we should commit to play our full part in helping to rebuild Syria when the war is over.

But we HAVEN’T been cutting off oil

But we haven’t been cutting off money

But we haven’t been cutting off arms

We haven’t even shut down their web sites

And to date we have offered to take a total, a TOTAL of half a per cent of all the refugees. (That’s half a per cent of those who have already fled. Let’s ignore the next million.)

Now I accept that there are legitimate arguments, and we have heard them in the debate, for not taking this form of action now. And it is also clear that many members have wrestled, and who knows, in the time that is left, may still be wrestling, with what the right thing to do is. But I say the threat is now, and there are rarely, if ever, perfect circumstances in which to deploy military forces. 

Waffle. There is no ARGUMENT here.

Now we heard very powerful testimony from the honourable member for Eddisbury earlier when she quoted that passage, and I just want to read what Karwan Jamal Tahir, the Kurdistan regional government high representative in London, said last week and I quote: 

‘Last June, Daesh captured one third of Iraq over night and a few months later attacked the Kurdistan region. 

Swift airstrikes by Britain, America and France, and the actions of our own Peshmerga, saved us. We now have a border of 650 miles with Daesh. We’ve pushed them back, and recently captured Sinjar. Again, Western airstrikes were vital. But the old border between Iraq and Syria does not exist. Daesh fighters come and go across this fictional boundary.’ And that is the argument Mr Speaker, for treating the two countries as one, if we are serious about defeating Daesh.

This is disingenuous. As I have said, air strikes work when an army is in the open, attacking the enemy’s position. So Daesh were doing well and were easy to target. 

So the rabbit goes down the hole. It’s like rednecks with guns taking pop shots every time a rabbit comes out.

Once a week they wing a rabbit, but the rest are underground and breeding. There are ever-more rabbits.

But the redneck says, look we have the under control.

Now Mr Speaker, I hope the house will bear with me if I direct my closing remarks to my Labour friends and colleagues on this side of the House. As a party we have always been defined by our internationalism. We believe we have a responsibility one to another. We never have – and we never should – walk by on the other side of the road.

Nope, but there are many ways to fight bad things other than bombing them

And we are here faced by fascists. 

Crafty. Are you going to mention Hitler (and Churchill?)

Not just their calculated brutality, but their belief that they are superior to every single one of us in this chamber tonight, and all of the people that we represent. They hold us in contempt. They hold our values in contempt. They hold our belief in tolerance and decency in contempt. 

So fucking what? Just because someone DOESN’T LIKE YOU is not an excuse for bombing and killing civilians

They hold our democracy, the means by which we will make our decision tonight, in contempt. 

So do a lot of UK voters, matey.

And what we know about fascists is that they need to be defeated. And it is why, as we have heard tonight, socialists and trade unionists and others joined the International Brigade in the 1930s to fight against Franco. 

History? Hilary, you are arguing that your Labour colleagues should vote tonight with the Tories. That is the Tory party, who while formally neutral on Franco, wanted a Franco victory and even allowed Franco to site a signals base in Gibraltar. 

While it is true the Labour Party were pro-Franco, the Trade Union Congress was split. Many of the British volunteers were hard left or communist. 

Approximately one third of Irishmen who fought for Republicans died, a group composed primarily of socialists, trade unionists, and former IRA members. The "Connolly Column" of the International Brigades was named after the Irish socialist leader executed after 1916 Easter Rising, James Connolly.

It’s why this entire House stood up against Hitler and Mussolini. 

Yay, Hitler, you managed it.

It is why our party has always stood up against the denial of human rights and for justice. 

Then stop helping the bloody Tories

And my view, Mr Speaker, is that we must now confront this evil. It is now time for us to do our bit in Syria. And that is why I ask my colleagues to vote for the motion tonight.


1 comment:

Numanoid1 said...

Brilliant take down of this bullshit speech in support of the Tories........., and 'Friends of Israel'?