Category Archives: Foreign Affairs

#BorisJohnsonlies: it seems he authorised animal charity airlift from Afghanistan after all

The only airlift he’ll admit authorising: Boris Johnson.

Remember when Boris Johnson insisted that he had nothing to do with a decision to airlift Pen Farthing and animals at his Nowzad dog rescue charity from Afghanistan, in the retreat from that country last August?

Here he is:

Cracks appeared in that claim last month:

And now it seems to have been shattered altogether with the release of two Foreign Office emails.

One lobbies for the rescue of a second animal charity because Johnson had agreed to evacuate Nowzad: “The PM has just authorised their staff and animals to be evacuated.”

The second, between FO officials, states: “In light of the PM’s decision earlier today [August 25, 2021] to evacuate the staff of the Nowzad animal charity, the [other animal charity – name redacted] is asking for agreement to the entry of [details redacted] staff, all Afghan nationals.”

The issue is controversial because human beings were left behind. Some have since travelled out of Afghanistan and tried to gain entry into the country.

Damningly for the UK’s Tory government, some have died in the attempt.

Downing Street insists its position is unchanged and that Johnson did not authorise the airlift.

But then, Downing Street insisted that no lockdown-busting parties had taken place there, so what are those words worth?

If #BorisJohnson was ‘ambushed with a cake’, he won’t be much use against Russia

The latest excuse for Boris Johnson being involved in Downing Street parties – relating to his birthday party on June 20, 2020 – is that he was “ambushed with a cake”.

We’ve all had a bit of fun with it:

This is especially amusing:

But this is a prime minister who wants us to think he can deter Russian president Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine.

In Prime Minister’s Questions today (January 26), he said: “The UK government is bringing the West together… to have the toughest possible package of sanctions to deter President Putin from a reckless and catastrophic invasion.”

How can he expect us to believe he can deter one of the most powerful countries in the world from military action when he can’t even deter his own officials from holding an illegal party and handing him cake?

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#Assange wins leave to #appeal to Supreme Court against extradition to USA

Appeal: Julian Assange.

Julian Assange has won a partial victory in his battle against extradition to the United States.

The High Court has found a point of law that may be argued – whether there was an injustice in the lateness of America’s assurances that he will be well-treated.

Assange must now lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court – and the future of that attempt is uncertain.

If the Supreme Court rejects his appeal, his extradition – to face a possible 175 years in prison if he is convicted of 18 counts of terrorism-related offences – may go ahead.

His partner Stella Moris had this to say after this morning’s High Court decision:

The US government wants to prosecute Julian Assange for 18 alleged crimes – 17 of them under a 1917 terrorism act – because his reports of these alleged US war crimes on the website Wikileaks 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.

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#HighCourt decision on #Assange extradition set to be announced

Protest: you can tell the strength of public feeling in support of Julian Assange from this image – taken at Julian Assange’s last High Court appearance in December.

A High Court judge is to announce whether Julian Assange will be permitted to appeal against a decision to extradite him to the United States.

The decision will be handed down at 10.45am.

According to Wikileaks, the judgment will go one of two ways.

It may certify that points of law raised by Assange to prevent the extradition are of general public importance and give him permission to lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court.

Or it could deny him a certificate, meaning the extradition order will pass to Home Secretary Priti Patel, who will have the power to personally authorise – or deny – the extradition.

Details of the case and the issues it raises are available here.

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#JulianAssange appeals against extradition. Will #AnneSacoolas still come to trial?

Protest: the court’s announcement on whether to extradite Julian Assange faced huge public opposition.

Lawyers acting for Julian Assange have filed an application to appeal against a High Court decision to allow him to be extradited to the United States to be tried for espionage.

High Court judges must now decide whether one of the grounds of the appeal is a point of law of general public importance, before the application may be considered by the Supreme Court.

Birnberg Pierce Solicitors, acting for Assange, say they believe serious and important issues of law arise from the High Court’s reliance on US assurances regarding the prison regimes and treatment Assange is likely to face if extradited, and from its judgment.

Assange is wanted in the US over an alleged conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information following WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

A decision on the application is unlikely to be announced before the third week in January.

This Writer is now agog to find out if the US will still surrender Anne Sacoolas, accused of killing Harry Dunn in a road collision but who then fled the UK under the protection of diplomatic immunity, to court proceedings beginning on January 18.

See. Assange’s extradition is in line with a one-sided UK-US deal whereby the UK has to surrender anybody wanted by the US, but the US doesn’t have to do likewise.

The fact that Sacoolas was suddenly offered to the UK after the High Court allowed Assange’s extradition seemed extremely suspicious to This Writer, for precisely that reason.

And now that the extradition is in doubt, I’m on tenterhooks to find out whether the Sacoolas trial will still go ahead.

(Not that I ever expected her to come to the UK to serve any sentence, if she’s found guilty. Do you?)

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After #JulianAssange extradition, #AnneSacoolas is to face UK court. Coincidence?

The late Harry Dunn: his family have been campaigning for justice ever since his death more than two years ago.

One aspect of the Julian Assange extradition case that has been well-examined is the fact that the US may demand that we hand over our people while there’s no reciprocal obligation.

That’s the reason Anne Sacoolas was given asylum in the United States after the death of Harry Dunn, who she is alleged to have killed in a road crash outside RAF Croughton on August 27, 2019 – she claimed diplomatic immunity and the US granted it.

Now, suddenly, everything has changed – and after the chief campaigner for the Dunn family had been told he had only a one per cent chance of securing a criminal trial:

The Crown Prosecution Service … sought an extradition warrant to bring her back to the UK to stand trial, but the US state department adamantly refused to grant her extradition, insisting that her status as the wife of a serving US diplomat meant she was not required to stand trial. The US confirmed she had been an intelligence officer.

The case would be heard at Westminster magistrates court on 18 January, the Crown Prosecution Service said. It is understood that she will appear via video link.

The Dunn family have always said they wanted her to face justice in the UK, and it is not clear what would happen if she was found guilty or whether she would serve a sentence or pay any fine in the US.

Was an under-the-table deal struck between the UK and the US – we give them Assange and they give us Sacoolas?

Its very hard to consider it a coincidence, what with both decisions occurring so close to each other.

I mean, people here were infuriated at the decision to extradite Assange to the US, due to a one-sided treaty with that country that doesn’t demand reciprocity. The announcement about Sacoolas gives the UK government a chance to save face.

It would be entirely in character for the UK’s corrupt Tory government to manipulate even the course of justice in order to win a public relations advantage.

Sadly, while one of those involved – Sacoolas – is likely to face justice, as This Site has reported already, it seems unlikely the other – Assange – will.

Source: Anne Sacoolas to face UK court over death of Harry Dunn | UK news | The Guardian

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#JulianAssange has lost #extradition fight in the High Court – but there will be an appeal

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.

How ironic that a plan to extradite a public interest reporter to the United States, to face trial under extremely restrictive conditions for reporting alleged war crimes against foreign people and corruption, should have happened on Human Rights Day.

The good news is that an appeal is under way.

The US government wants to prosecute Julian Assange for 18 alleged crimes – 17 of them under a 1917 terrorism act – because his reports of these alleged US war crimes on the website Wikileaks 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.

Bear in mind that those 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 evidence supporting them.

The US has been foiled in its attempts to bring Assange to trial for 11 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 for two years 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, 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. The judgement last week was on an appeal by the US government.

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.

This has been highlighted by former UK diplomat Craig Murray, who was only recently released from prison himself after being convicted on what many believe to be a trumped-up charge relating to his own journalism:

Stella Moris, Assange’s partner, also spoke powerfully about the implications:

Here’s some more information on the deal, and the Acts of Parliament that enforce it:

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?

Oh, and he could be sent to Australia to serve the term, so it’s closer to home. This would address concerns about the state of the US prison system – but has the state of Australian penal servitude been checked?

Wikileaks has also raised the wider issue of precedent – that extraditing Assange could make it possible for UK journalists to be sent all over the world to face trial for crimes in foreign countries that simply aren’t offences here.

This Writer is not convinced by the argument. The US-UK extradition deal is unique; it isn’t one that we’re offering to any despotic regime that accuses you of terrorism for looking at a photo of their dictator the wrong way.

That being said, we live in a country where Boris Johnson is the prime minister (for now) and Priti Patel is Home Secretary. The Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe case shows that he will happily allow a UK citizen to rot in a foreign jail if it means he can keep some money; logically he’ll send UK citizens to foreign jails for the sake of some filthy lucre too. And she is just desperate to deport as many people as she can.

If they see this as an opportunity to clear the UK of interfering right-on lefties, then who knows what kind of carnage this will cause?

Still, there’s the appeal, which could take place on two grounds: firstly, that the leaks do not amount to an alleged crime; secondly, that the US’s diplomatic assurances aren’t worth the time it takes to speak them.

I don’t have much hope for either. The US-UK treaty means the High Court must accept the assurances at face value, and this also means that they have to honour the claim that a trial under US criminal law is justified.

It means that, as Kit Klarendon stated in his Twitter thread, Assange will be kept “in Belmarsh, his mental and physical health evaporating each day, pinballing from cell to court and back”. So perhaps the US government is having its revenge on him by alternative means.

These are dangerous times – not just for Julian Assange, but for freedom of speech and freedom from tyranny.

Without journalists holding governments to account in the public interest, dictatorial regimes – and I include the United States in that group, along with the UK, at least as far as their behaviour toward foreign nations evidences – can get away with mass murder.

And it seems we have Tony Blair to blame.

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#PritiPatel’s #pushback: she’s facing strikes at home while losing support abroad

Does Priti Patel think she’s going to beat the backlash against her over refugees… with lies?

That’s the impression This Writer gets from Sajid Javid’s comments on TV:

For clarity, Alex Taylor was playing down Germany’s role in resettling refugees. That country hasn’t just taken in one million people; it’s taken a million every year since 2013, two years before Javid’s record starts.

Just taking it from 2015, that’s seven million people, or 280 times the number the UK took in during the same period.

Javid is one massive liar, isn’t he? And in this case he was doing it for his colleague, who was apparently busy talking to European leaders. Was she lying to them? I think they’d know too!

The language is fascinating if you like psychoanalysis. Patel says she’s talking with European leaders to “prevent further tragedies” in the Channel, without actually saying what she considers to be a tragedy in this instance.

We know that she has a so-called “pushback” policy that, if she goes through with it, will force refugees out of UK waters – to drown elsewhere if their transport is as flimsy as the raft that capsized in the Channel last week.

So she doesn’t consider these people dying to be a tragedy.

She considers the bad publicity attracted to the Conservative government by them dying to be a tragedy.

That’s how it seems to This Writer.

Another analyst’s dream is the tweet quoted below, which Clare Hepworth accurately describes in her response:

“We agreed more co-ordinated action was needed”. To do what?

Patel didn’t say – and that implies that it’s not going to be pleasant for refugees/asylum-seekers. This in turn means it is unlikely to be popular with the public – so she held back the details.

But while she’s off talking with her opposite numbers in Europe – a job that would have been much quicker and easier, by the way, if her boss hadn’t ticked off Emmanuel Macron with his Twit diplomacy – she’s facing court action by the workers she expects to enforce her “pushback” policy:

The PCS union, that represents Border Force staff, has joined Care 4 Calais to demand that Patel publish the legal basis of “pushback” and details of how she expects it to be carried out.

If she refuses, then they will launch judicial review proceedings to establish whether the policy is even legal.

General Secretary Mark Serwotka said, “The ‘pushback’ policy being pursued by the Home Secretary is unlawful, unworkable and above all morally reprehensible. Our border force members are aghast at the thought they will be forced to implement such a cruel and inhumane policy.

“PCS will not rule out all forms of industrial action, including disrupting the implementation of the Pushback policy if the Home Secretary insists on going ahead.”

He also said people trying to reach the UK should be allowed to so via safe routes so that their claims can be assessed here.

And his wish may be granted before his union gets as far as court:

It seems M. Macron was the only major French politician who was still in favour of a treaty known as the Le Touquet Accords, which allows the UK to police its borders at places like the Port of Calais. This makes it easy to turn refugees back before they are able to use the ferry like everybody else.

But BoJob has upset Macron. And with a French Presidential election coming up, and other candidates like Michel Barnier (remember him?) advocating an end to Le Touquet, it seems pretty soon the refugees will have their safe route to the UK after all.

Once they get here, it won’t matter what officials say; they’ll be on UK soil and may legally claim asylum.

That would really mess up Patel’s plan.

The claim that the UK takes more refugees than any other European country is blown already.

Any claim to be trying to be humane to refugees would also be blown.

Her policy would be in tatters.

And everyone who supported her crusade against refugees would be very upset with her.

Take a look at the question below:

It’s based on an old Patel lie – that refugees should settle in the first safe country they can reach.

With all the elements lining up against her, Patel may end up wishing her parents had done just that.

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Asylum crisis: Johnson’s tweeted letter infuriates Macron and make UK look daft

The clown head of Britain: this is undoubtedly how Emmanuel Macron and all the other European national leaders rate Boris Johnson.

What sort of statesman thinks Twitter is an appropriate place to discuss ending the refugee crisis with the Head of a neighbouring State?

A man who’s in a state, that’s what sort.

And what were his advisors thinking? Why didn’t they stop him?

No wonder Emmanuel Macron was enraged by this:

For a start, it’s an attempt to seize control of the dialogue by engaging the public; by ensuring that the general population got to see his proposals, Johnson hoped to ensure that at least some of them would have support.

Also, he tried to seize control of the language used to discuss the issue.

And of course this meant that Johnson was trying to dictate the posture that France should take – that asylum-seekers should be prevented from trying to reach the UK for their own safety and that not doing so is helping people-traffickers.

It seems, as well, that the content of Johnson’s letter was radically different from what he had previously said to the French President in person.

No wonder M. Macron was enraged.

According to the BBC,

At a press conference on Friday, Mr Macron attacked Mr Johnson over the posting of the letter on Twitter, saying: “I spoke two days ago with Prime Minster Johnson in a serious way.

“For my part I continue to do that, as I do with all countries and all leaders. I am surprised by methods when they are not serious.

“We do not communicate from one leader to another on these issues by tweets and letters that we make public. We are not whistleblowers.”

A French government spokesman accused Mr Johnson of saying different things in his conversation with Mr Macron and in the letter, adding: “We are sick of double-speak.”

The result: a furious France has retracted an invitation for Home Secretary Priti Patel to discuss the matter with her counterparts in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

Macron is also understood to believe that Johnson tweeted the letter to address flagging support from his fellow Conservative MPs, rather than to achieve anything serious.Sickckckckck

Johnson has worsened the UK’s position internationally. Yet a-bloody-gain.

(And I’m not the only one who feels that way.)

The meeting without Patel will undoubtedly be more productive than if she had been allowed to attend. I mean, consider the state of this:

That’s an accurate criticism. The UK has spent decades causing chaos in foreign countries and making promises to their populations – then, when the time come to honour those promises, they turn out to be lies.

Earlier in the week we heard that one of the men who died was a former Afghan soldier who had worked with the UK and whose life was endangered after the panicked withdrawal that Dominic Raab couldn’t be bothered to leave his holiday to oversee.

Even knowing that, Matthew Garrahan’s words ring true:

There are simple solutions for the problem that the UK government has created for itself. Firstly:

Secondly, as This Writer has previously stated, there should be an easily-accessible and legal route for asylum-seekers to take. Blocking off the routes only makes these people prey to the traffickers.

And that leads to deaths.

This Site has commented many times on the fact that Tory government policy on disability benefits has killed (many) more people than the Nazis did with their Aktion T4 purge of disabled Germans, back in the 1930s and 1940s.

Now it turns out that the false barrier the Tories have made between the UK and France has killed more people than the false barrier the Communists created between West and East Berlin:

Yeah. British jingoism refers to the Nazis and the Communists as the bad guys, but it turns out that the people making these comparisons have killed more people than Johnny Foreigner.

Are continuing to kill more people.

And they’re lying to us about what’s happening:

On second thought, it’s probably a blessing in disguise for Johnson and Patel that they are being excluded from Continental discussions on the subject.

If they tried to float their lies and silliness around serious politicians, I dread to think of the international consequences.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Richard Ratcliffe ends hunger strike for Nazanin after government pays no attention at all

Action not words: and Boris Johnson’s government has done absolutely nothing.

This Writer is relieved. If he had gone on any longer, who knows how badly his body could have been damaged?

Richard Ratcliffe has ended his hunger strike to highlight the plight of his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, after 21 days.

Nazanin has been imprisoned under false charges in Iran since 2016.

Boris Johnson famously mistook the accusation against her for what she did, providing the Iranian authorities with justification, not only for having jailed her, but for jailing her for an indefinite period to come.

then Johnson turned Nazanin’s freedom into a bargaining chip in an argument between the UK and Iran over around £450 million owed to the Middle East country since the Shah was overthrown in the late 1970s.

That gave the Iranians reason enough to find another charge on which to keep her imprisoned for another year.

Mr Ratcliffe, after having entrusted his wife’s well-being into the hands of the worst clown ever to hold high office, may have started his hunger strike in the belief that nothing will change unless there is a genuine threat to health and life.

But he has discovered that the Conservatives don’t even care about that. Current Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will have passed him on the street (he was camped outside the Foreign Office) to attend Parliamentary votes. She never even asked how he was.

He said he had started to get pains in his feet overnight and after discussion with his doctor he ended the hunger strike.

According to the BBC, he said he “didn’t want to go out in an ambulance”.

“I want to walk out with my head held high,” he said.

He was likely to have caused permanent damage to his body from the 15th day of the hunger strike onwards.

So the end of this hunger strike is a good thing. It wasn’t changing any Tory minds because they simply didn’t care whether Mr Ratcliffe lived or died. Their only interest in his wife is as a bargaining chip in negotiations over money.

This is not a defeat for Richard Ratcliffe. It is disgrace for Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and the pathetic excuse for a government that they front.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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