Tag Archives: evacuation

New whistleblower says Boris Johnson put animals before humans in Afghanistan evacuation

Josie Stewart – a senior official at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) – has said it was “widespread knowledge” that the decision to help the Nowzad charity evacuate cats and dogs from Afghanistan “came from the prime minister”.

She said emails in her inbox referred to “the PM’s decision on Nowzad”.

This supports claims made in two Foreign Office emails that were released to the public in January.

As I wrote back then:

“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.”

Ms Stewart accused Sir Philip Barton, the Foreign Office’s permanent undersecretary, and Nigel Casey, the PM’s special representative for Afghanistan, of having “intentionally lied” to MPs on the foreign affairs select committee.

Appearing before the committee on January 25, Casey was asked if he knew whether the PM had intervened “in the evacuation of Nowzad staff or animals” and replied: “Not to my knowledge.”

In  written evidence to the committee, published the next day, Sir Philip denied that Mr Casey had received “any correspondence referring to the prime minister’s intervention in the Nowzad case”.

This was contradicted in leaked emails published by the committee subsequently.

Sir Philip had to write back to the committee, apologising for misleading its members.

But he insisted that he had no memory of the emails, and nor did Casey.

Johnson has denied direct involvement in the evacuation of animals.

But the email evidence suggests that, indeed, he ordered it – and then lied to the media afterwards, when it was suggested that he had prioritised animals over human beings.

Ms Stewart also dismissed government claims that civil servants often portrayed decisions as coming from the PM if they did not, saying, “Governance would fall apart entirely if this were the case.”

She said: “I feel a strong sense of moral injury for having been part of something so badly managed and so focused on managing reputational risk and political fallout rather than the actual crisis and associated human tragedy.”

Ms Stewart said the messages about the animal evacuation decision were coming from the PM on Microsoft Teams, and “heard it discussed in the crisis centre including by senior civil servants”.

She also said she was copied on numerous emails “which clearly suggested this” which no-one, including Mr Casey, challenged.

Ms Stewart said she did not believe there was any deliberate decision “to prioritise animals over people” but that “the decision to approve Nowzad’s Afghan staff under LOTR (leave outside the rules) was not in line with policy”.

The whistleblower said “there was no reason to believe these people should be prioritised under the agreed criteria”.

The Foreign Office has claimed that “at all times officials have responded to the committee’s questions in good faith, on the basis of the evidence available to us at the time”, which is not quite a rejection of the evidence.

There is plenty of evidence to question that protestation of good faith.

Source: Boris Johnson ordered evacuation of animals from Afghanistan, says new whistleblower | The Independent

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Tories had 18 MONTHS to evacuate Afghanistan, left it to the last minute, and messed it up

Boris Johnson: it’s all just a lark to him.

How did that work out for them, then?

For those who haven’t been following the news too closely, the UK government run by Boris Johnson knew it was on a deadline to move troops out of Afghanistan after then-US President Donald Trump signed the Doha Agreement with the Taliban in February 2020.

That was 18 months ago, but Johnson did nothing at all until July this year. We have only his word that any preparation was carried out at all – and we all know what Johnson’s word is worth: nothing.

According to the Doha Agreement, US troops had until May 1, 2021 to pull out of Afghanistan entirely. Incoming US President Joe Biden unilaterally pushed back the deadline to August 31 – presumably in the arrogant belief that the Taliban would let the World’s strongest country do whatever it wanted.

Well, that didn’t happen!

The Taliban started a widescale offensive on the day of the deadline and was faced with very little resistance indeed from a poorly-trained and corrupt Afghan National Army. They practically walked into Kabul on August 15.

That was more than two weeks ago. News reports have shown that the UK’s own withdrawal of troops has been unplanned, unprofessional and chaotic, despite the fact that Boris Johnson had been given a year and a half’s notice to leave.

Now, with the evacuation over, more than a thousand people (possibly many thousands of people) have been left behind, at the mercy of the Taliban; confidential documents including information identifying Afghan citizens who were employed by the UK government were left in the former UK Embassy for the Taliban to find and use; and Johnson’s government has been found to have issued a tissue of lies about what it has been doing.

Why did he make such a mess of it?

Here’s the apparently-prevailing view:

The government has tried to put a veneer of respectability on its potentially fatal incompetence, but we’re having none of it – as this exchange shows:

Johnson himself seems to have used Afghanistan as a prop with which to avoid facing his domestic failures:

Oh, and did you spot the reference to Pen Farthing, the former Marine who founded an animal rescue charity?

It turns out that the dispute between him and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace wasn’t resolved by Wallace putting him and nearly 200 dogs on a plane out of Afghanistan; it was not a military plane at all. So it seems the government took credit for something it didn’t do…

… or, if you prefer, falsely blamed Farthing for its own failure to get everyone out:

The facts of the Afghanistan evacuation grow worse, the more we know.

And I’m willing to bet we’ve only learned about a fraction of the cock-ups that Johnson has caused – because Johnson can’t be bothered with details and couldn’t care less about Afghanistan anyway.

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Kabul was Boris Johnson’s Dunkirk. If Churchill had failed as badly, he’d probably have shot himself

The lucky ones: a packed plane leaves Kabul – no thanks to Boris Johnson and his gang of UK government ditherers.

What a mess. This was not a retreat; it was a rout.

It seems clear that Boris Johnson’s withdrawal of the UK presence from Afghanistan was unplanned, unco-ordinated, and left behind much information of interest to the Taliban who have taken over.

The decision to move the military and leave civilians behind means more than 1,000 of our people are still in Kabul – and Johnson’s promise to do something about it rings as hollow as all his other promises.

Isn’t that what he said about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who remains imprisoned in Iran, years after he involved himself in her case as the UK’s Foreign Secretary?

That’ll be a “yes”, then. As for his vow…

The UK evacuation is over and many have been left behind

As I said above, Kabul is Boris Johnson’s Dunkirk.

But whereas Dunkirk was carried out in comparative efficiency, with everybody working to help everybody else get out of France before the Germans arrive, it seems Kabul represented Boris Johnson’s “everyone for themselves” philosophy.

So:

Indeed. Also:

There is no “Phase Two”.

This refers to former marine and animal charity founder Pen Farthing, who has escaped Kabul with around 200 rescued dogs – but whose staff were not allowed to leave.

The fact that dogs were allowed to leave may seem like a huge victory for animal-loving Brits – but the fact that the UK allowed human beings to be left behind will almost certainly make a mockery of us in Taliban propaganda.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace had claimed he would prioritise people over pets but it seems the huge amount of publicity Farthing had received via media and social media had forced him to change his mind. We’ll find out in the future if that was a wise decision.

Meanwhile, it seems communications sent to the government email address that was supposed to be used to work out which Afghan nationals needed to be taken out of Kabul have gone unread – including cases flagged up by ministers:

According to the article,

An official email address used to collate potential Afghan cases from MPs and others regularly contained 5,000 unread emails throughout the week.

In many cases, emails detailing the cases of Afghans who fear for their families’ lives appear to have been unopened for days. An email from the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, sent on Monday was still unread on Thursday. There also appeared to be unread messages from the offices of Victoria Atkins, the newly appointed minister for Afghan resettlement, the home secretary, Priti Patel, and the Tory chair of the defence select committee, Tobias Ellwood.

The revelation calls into question the suggestion from ministers that the number of Afghans left behind would be up to 1,100 in total.

So it seems the 1,100 figure for personnel left behind may be a huge underestimate.

Documents were left behind that could be hugely harmful for unevacuated personnel

British Embassy workers who did a runner from their compound to the relative safety of Kabul’s airport around two weeks ago failed to destroy documents identifying local workers and job applicants, according to reports.

Who knows what other sensitive documents were left lying around? And why did it happen? Normally, one of the key protocols in a sensitive diplomatic withdrawal is the shredding of sensitive and classified information, but this seems not to have happened.

Have I already put my finger on the problem – that Boris Johnson and his dimwit Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab dithered so long about taking a decision that Embassy staff ended up having to scramble to save their own skins and weren’t able to do the necessary?

If so, then the Taliban may now have access to any amount of information that they could find extremely useful in the future. Depending on how they use it, we could be in for a lot of trouble – and ultimate blame will rest with our terminal b*ttf**k of a prime minister.

Look at this:

And how about this, in response to a tweet I sent about Johnson’s domestic disasters:

It reached the point where some people have satirised the situation, finding humour in the fact that the Johnson government employs people who are very good at losing documents – but didn’t put them in the right place:

Samuel Miller ought to know – he has been campaigning to raise awareness of the unfair, persecutory mistreatment of benefit claimants, particularly those who are sick and/or disabled – for longer than I have.

Hypocrite Priti Patel has been greeting refugees on arrival in the UK and talking down other countries who she says should do more

Even here in the UK, government ministers are doing everything they can to humiliate us as a nation.

So Priti Patel, the home secretary who has locked refugees in squalid concentration camps to catch Covid-19, and who wants to make it illegal to save refugees from drowning if they are trying to cross the Channel into the UK, has been greeting Afghan refugees at Heathrow Airport.

Why?

Apparently the woman who has been trying to seal up all legal routes for refugees to come here has now claimed that refugees must only travel to the UK through legal routes.

Do you think she is wondering why she received responses like this?

Possibly the worst news available for these refugees is the fact that, by throwing their lot in with the UK, they have now ended up in a poverty trap:

And Patel has apparently told other countries that they must do more to help refugees – because she has absolutely no sense of shame:

In a sane country, every government body involved in this monumental fiasco would be out of a job and possibly facing charges in the International Criminal Court – but the United Kingdom is now so riddled with corruption that Johnson and his gang are most likely to shrug it off.

They’ll go looking for the next crisis they can turn into a calamity. After all, their lives aren’t on the line.

If Winston Churchill had presided over such a fatal mess, This Writer feels sure that he would have done the decent thing and swallowed a high-speed bullet.

But Churchill, for all the faults that he did have, was not an indecisive incompetent. He would not have made Johnson’s (and Raab’s, and Patel’s) mistakes.

And, sadly, Johnson does not have Churchill’s quality of character – so we can’t expect him to do what Britain Expects of him. He’s too much of a coward.

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