did you know Twitter stimulates Shatner’s bassoon?

Quite ridiculous microtale about the head of MI6’s wife being on Facebook. But what’s this, from Patrick Mercer MP?

The Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, who chairs the counter-terrorism sub-committee, said the mistake had left the Sawers family “extremely vulnerable”. Referring to Miliband’s suggestion that the incident was not significant, Mercer said: “If that is the case why has the site being taken down?” He also pointed out that military chiefs had warned that the Taliban get 80% of their intelligence from Twitter and Facebook.

Can he really believe this? Eighty per cent? What percentage of users of either are located in Afghanistan? I’m going to stick a target on the wall and say it’s much less than 1%, so this suggests that a very few people are very insecure indeed. Perhaps we could just ask the guy to knock it off, or post him to the Falklands?

I’d be surprised if 80 per cent of their intelligence didn’t come from informers, friendly civilians reporting where our patrols go, if not more. Rather like it did in Northern Ireland. And Patrick Mercer of all people ought to be well aware of the possibilities…

He’s got form for Chris Morris-esque nonsense, mind you; remember his role in the Glen Jenvey/Comedy Gladio affair? Some people are, indeed, very insecure indeed about the world of today, and it remains truly remarkable just what stuff a lot of MPs will happily read out to the camera without passing it through their brains. The question remains whether Facebook is a made-up Web site.


  1. Jack

    Allegations, have been made that Patrick Mercer was a leading officer in the notorious Force Research Unit (FRU) and that he served in South Armagh and was at the front of things. The FRU recruited and handled agents from a secure base within the Intelligence Corps centre at Thiepval barracks. Mercer was stationed at Thiepval barracks and he worked in plain clothes. Perhaps, just perhaps, our man Mercer is an experienced propagandist.

    We know that security firms make millions from war and instability and we also know that Patrick Mercer worked for a number of such organisations. I cannot say that there is any connection but I do sometimes wonder why Mr Mercer said: “I am convinced that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, but I doubt, that he has the capability to deliver them, and I doubt, that there are links between Iraq and terrorists.” With such strong doubts a vote for war would be unthinkable, and yet, it would seem that something changed his mind to “Saddam Hussein needs to be pushed to the wire militarily” and “If we want peace, we must vote for war”

    It’s almost like there is some driving force that makes Mercer seem to advocates or encourages warfare, moreover, his rhetoric that our boys have a “scorn for danger and hardship”, “they will meet death with courage”, “a litany of dead heroes” , “it will be bloody and costly, but we owe it to our dead to see it through”, “when these boys return, they should do so as heroes” , “To have a chest full of medals and to be in a prestigious fighting unit is the business”, all this to my mind is reminiscent of warlord or perhaps an abstruse moral ugliness or a blustering patriot passionately and eagerly awaiting tales of fame, glory and heroism, in spite of the sacrifice.

    If, 100,000 Soviet troops backed by another 100,000 and helicopters in abundance cannot defeat the Taliban in the “graveyard for foreign armies”, what makes Mercer think, that after eight years in that Islamic country which Major Miller said has been a “failure”, we can ever defeat the Taliban?

  2. Roger

    > Eighty per cent? What percentage of users of either are located in Afghanistan? I’m going to stick a target on the wall and say it’s much less than 1%,

    Erm, the % of intelligence derived from a source, and the % of people in that country who have accounts with it, are almost completely orthogonal.

    In any case many (probably most) Talibs are in Pakistan, and Pakistan has quite heavy internet usage; certainly much more than 1%.

    > I’d be surprised if 80 per cent of their intelligence didn’t come from informers, friendly civilians reporting where our patrols go, if not more.

    While they no doubt get some information from local informers, it probably isn’t all that high. In most parts of Afghanistan except parts of the south, Taliban is extremely unpopular with the locals. The logistic support required to sustain guerrilla operations is mainly provided from across the border.




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