Category Archives: Foreign Affairs

Deal with France over migrant boats is worthless

Boat people: more than 40,000 people like these have crossed the Channel in 2022. Rather than work with their countries of origin to encourage them not to come, the Tories are paying France a small fortune to police the borders we still don’t control after Brexit.

This Writer had great difficulty in getting motivated to write about Suella Braverman’s much-trumpeted deal with France to stop refugees, asylum-seekers and, yes, the occasional economic migrant coming to the UK by illegal means.

An extra £8 million to fund 350 more personnel to stop the boats coming across isn’t going to do much good, in my opinion.

The boats – and the people in them – are just a symptom, you see. The problem is conditions in their various countries of origin that encourage them to try to travel to the UK in the first place. There is nothing intended to tackle that in Braverman’s deal – and that’s why it is pointless.

Meanwhile, critics have been quick to point out its other drawback: after the Tories touted Brexit as being about “taking back control” of our borders, we are now paying a foreign country a small fortune to control our borders for us.

And our government is about to announce new heights of taxation to make us pay for it. Did you ever get the feeling you’ve been had?

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Protests against Iranian regime enter sixth week after death of Mahsa Amini

Protests have taken place in London against the regime in Iran that killed Mahsa Amini because she did not cover her head in a manner considered proper by the authorities there.

This Site has already covered the details here.

This is the latest:

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Young Iranians are protesting against the regime that murders women ‘for their own good’

Murdered: Mahsa Amini.

Brace yourself, because this won’t be easy to watch or read.

Last night (September 29), on Late Night Mash, comedian Shaparak (Shappi) Khorsandi delivered an impassioned attack on the so-called morality police in her homeland of Iran.

These are people who murder women for failing to cover their hair completely. Watch:

For more context on this, here’s another comedian from Iran, Omid Djalili:

Bear in mind that he said 41 people had died four days ago. By yesterday that death toll had more than doubled:

Thousands of Iranians are protesting – and risking their lives to do so – but people across the world are taking action as well.

Here in the UK, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was imprisoned in Iran for six years, cut her hair in a gesture of solidarity with women in and from Iran who have thrown away their hijabs to do the same:

This should provide some context for her act:

Other people have done other things:

If people in Iran are risking their lives to make a stand against this, then people elsewhere can certainly do something in solidarity.

Will you? Or do you think it’s all right because it isn’t happening to you?

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Why did we send Liz Truss to a summit when she called Irish PM a ‘tea sock’?

With Liz Truss at a summit in the United States, is it a good moment to point out that she cannot help insulting foreign leaders by exhibiting her ignorance?

She’s an utter embarrassment because – well, see for yourself:

How many other leaders can she insult in a single meeting? Lay your bets now!

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Truss v Biden on ‘trickle-down’ economics – while her government hides the facts

It is as though Liz Truss spent the Mourning Period asking herself how she could make herself appear stupider than Boris Johnson on the world stage.

She has gone to a summit in the United States, pushing her tax-cutting plan to boost the economy, saying “trickle-down” economics will work – at the same time as President Biden posted on Twitter: “I am sick of trickle-down economics. It has never worked.”

Worse still, she already knows her plan won’t work because she has economic forecasts telling her that. So her government is refusing to publish that information.

Watch:

The BBC report mentioned in the clip can be found here.

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Were these Ukrainian kids really performing Nazi salutes?

The bank holiday weekend may be over, but this article is being produced in the period before everybody goes back to work – so I’m still putting up material that has interested me – and I hope it interests you. Make of it what you will:

It’s an interesting discussion of support for Nazism in Ukraine.

My opinion? They could have been simply waving, but in a straight-armed, hand-up way.

Couldn’t they?

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Truss chief of staff is being investigated by FBI for US bribery and corruption

This being a bank holiday weekend, This Writer is either otherwise occupied or almost totally incapacitated, so I’m putting up material that has interested me – and I hope it interests you. Make of it what you will:

Here‘s a bit more information on Mark Fullbrook being quizzed by the FBI.

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Why are Irish broadcasters complaining about news coverage of the Queen’s funeral?

This being a bank holiday weekend, This Writer is either otherwise occupied or almost totally incapacitated, so I’m putting up material that has interested me – and I hope it interests you. Make of it what you will:

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Why is the UK sending children to an African country with human rights issues?

Say what you like, the UK has a more-or-less good record for looking after children – certainly in comparison with many other countries.

So why are Boris Johnson and Priti Patel sending refugee kids to Rwanda?

That country’s poor history regarding human rights is a matter of record. Its government wants us to think all that is behind it now – but we have no way of knowing the claim is true.

And children require more specialist care than adults – for obvious reasons.

Yes, we see pictures showing that

the Hope hostel in Kigali is building outdoor facilities that will include football pitches, basketball courts and outdoor toys

but how do we know that’s not just for show?

Even then, Boris Johnson refused to visit the facility, triggering alarm bells among some of us. He said it was because it isn’t occupied yet.

And more alarms must have been triggered when the prime minister’s spokesman, challenged on the policy of sending children to the east African country, could only evade the question with the weak response that

“I think 90% of those coming across are men.”

Brace yourself for a torrent of abuse stories – if this policy is put into full practice.

Source: Rwanda making preparations to take children removed from UK

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Julian Assange’s extradition to USA is rubber-stamped by Priti Patel

Protest: you can tell the strength of public feeling in support of Julian Assange from this image – but the law is the law, even if it is a bad one.

The UK Home Secretary who wants to send asylum-seekers to a country with a record of human rights abuses has approved the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the United States. Is anybody surprised?

The decision flies against fears that Assange will be mistreated by US authorities who – it is alleged – planned to either kidnap or assassinate him while he was in UK custody.

The United States has been foiled in its attempts to prosecute Assange for around 12 years after he published reports on Wikileaks that alleged war crimes and corruption by that country.

The US government wants to prosecute Assange for 18 alleged crimes – 17 of them under a 1917 terrorism act – because his reports allegedly caused risk to the lives of American military personnel.

No evidence has been brought forward to substantiate the claim. US prosecutors have admitted that they do not have any.

Those said to be responsible for the alleged war crimes and corruptions have not faced any form of justice and were allowed to walk free, despite the allegations and the evidence supporting them.

The US has been foiled in its attempts to bring Assange to trial for 12 years – firstly because the journalist, fearing his own life would be under threat if he was brought into US custody, fled to the UK’s Ecuadorian Embassy seeking asylum, which he received until 2019, when he was arrested for breaking UK bail by British police.

He has stayed in Belmarsh Prison since then – long after his jail term for the bail offence was over – because the US had applied to extradite him and he has a history of absconding.

This has led him to suffer mental ill-health, according to his supporters.

It led a court to deny the US extradition request in January 2021, on the grounds that his mental health would suffer much more if he were subjected to the US penal system, which is far more hostile that that in the UK.

Meanwhile, it is understood that US secret service operatives planned to either kidnap or assassinate Assange, while he was in UK custody.

Former CIA director and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, confronted with the allegation, said the 30 sources who spoke to Yahoo News reporters “should all be prosecuted for speaking about classified activity inside the Central Intelligence Agency” – which seems to be an admission that the claims were accurate.

It seems that in 2017, US intelligence agents plotted to poison Assange. They bugged the Ecuadorian embassy in London so they could listen to meetings with his solicitors, followed Assange’s family and associates, targeted his then six-months-old baby to steal his DNA, and burgled the office of his lawyer.

Given this information, one would expect a UK court to dismiss any extradition request at once, on the basis that Assange’s life is in clear danger.

Unfortunately, the UK has a one-sided extradition treaty with the US – signed during Tony Blair’s period in office – that makes no provisions for such circumstances. Indeed, the UK must take US assurances that a suspect will not be ill-treated at face value, with no evidence requirement, and US claims cannot even be cross-examined in court.

So it should be unsurprising that the Home Office has said the courts found that extradition would not be “incompatible with his human rights” and that while in the US “he will be treated appropriately”; the law binds them into saying that.

Once extradited to the States, it seems Assange will face a kangaroo court, rather than receiving any actual justice.

The law under which he is charged does not allow a public interest defence, meaning he cannot argue that he was holding the US government to account by publishing details of its alleged war crimes.

And as Assange is not a US citizen, it seems he would not enjoy constitutional free-speech rights.

Furthermore, the US authorities have arranged for his case to be heard in Alexandria, Virginia – home of the US intelligence services, where people cannot be excluded from a jury because they work for the US government – prompting fears that Assange will be judged by people with a vested interest in supporting their employer.

He could go to prison for 175 years, according to colleagues at Wikileaks – although the US government says the term is more likely to be between four and six years. Who do you believe?

Assange has 14 days to appeal the decision and Wikileaks has said that it will.

Otherwise the UK will send a man to a foreign country whose government, we understand, has already tried to kill him, to face a trial on crimes for which there is no evidence, judged by people employed by the prosecutor, facing a possible 175-year prison sentence – on the basis of safety assurances that aren’t worth the time it takes to speak them.

So much for British justice!

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