The UK House of Commons Palestine vote…

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  EDITOR
Map showing how Palestine is being swallowed up by Jewish squatter colonies

a well meant but futile gesture

By Alan Hart

For me the most depressing thing about the debate in the British House of Commons on a non-binding motion to recognise Palestine as a state alongside Israel was that all MPs who participated, including those who made informed and honest contributions, still seem to believe that a two-state solution is possible. It isn’t.

One MP, Crispin Blunt, a Conservative and one of the two chairmen of the Palestine All-Party Parliamentary Group, went some way to indicate why it isn’t but he didn’t complete the journey. He said: “The settlers are a problem for any Israeli government.”

Beyond too late for two-state solution

The reality behind that statement was defined for me as far back as 1980 by Shimon Peres when he accepted me as the linkman in a secret, exploratory dialogue between him and Arafat. (The full story of that initiative is told in “The Blood Oath”, Chapter 12 of Volume Three of the American edition of my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews.).

Though he welcomed the initiative, Peres said he feared it was “already too late” (for a two-state solution). I asked him why. He replied:

Every day that passes sees new bricks on new settlements. Begin is not stupid. He knows exactly what he is doing. He is stuffing the West Bank with settlers to create the conditions for a Jewish civil war. He knows that no Israeli prime minister is going down in history as the one who gave the order to the Jewish army to shoot large numbers of Jews out of the West Bank. Pause. I’m not.

The question I would put to all British MPs (and elected members of parliaments everywhere) is this: If it was too late in 1980 when they were only about 70,000 illegal Jewish settlers on the occupied West Bank, how much more too late is it today when there are about 600,000, with that number rising on an almost daily basis?

”For there to be peace, there has to be a Jewish civil war.” (Late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat)

There is a case for saying that if ever the governments of the US and Western Europe indicated that they were prepared to subject Israel to real pressure (isolation and sanctions) to try to cause it to end the occupation, a significant number of illegal Jewish settlers would be prepared to take their leave of the West Bank in return for compensation; but very many would not. So, as Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat said to me a few months before he was assassinated: ”For there to be peace, there has to be a Jewish civil war.” In principle that’s the case but it will not happen for the reason Peres gave me all those years ago.

The negotiations illusion

Another aspect of the unreality of the House Commons debate was the assumption and assertion of virtually everyone who participated that “peace can only come through negotiations”. The reality this ignores is that Zionism is not interested in good-faith negotiations to produce an acceptable amount of justice for the Palestinians. Zionism is committed to obtaining for keeps the maximum amount of land with the minimum number of Arabs on it.

The question the British House of Commons (and parliaments everywhere) ought to be debating is this: Are we to go on allowing Israel to defy international law or not?

Note

It was not at all surprising that Conservative MPs who are content to read from Zionism’s script spoke the most nonsense.

One of them, British-born, Jewish Robert Halfon, a former political director of Conservative Friends of Israel and currently Principal Private Secretary to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, said: “The Palestinians already have a state – Jordan.”

He also asserted that if Israel did not have the Iron Dome, “hundreds of thousands” of Israelis would have been killed by Hamas’s rockets.

And he was on the same page as Netanyahu and those to the neo-fascist right of him who prefer to ignore the fact that Hamas’s top leaders have been on the public record for some years with the statement that while Hamas will never recognise Israel’s “right” to exist, it is prepared to live with it in a two-state solution provided that is the wish of the Palestinians as confirmed by a referendum. Halfon asserted that Hamas wanted “only the destruction of Israel”. If he really believes that Hamas could destroy Israel, he’s as nuts as Netanyahu.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, UK0 Comments

British Parliament Votes Overwhelmingly to Recognize Palestinian State

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Global Research
PALESTINIAN-UN-STATE-DEMO

In a historic move, the British Parliament voted overwhelmingly tonight, 274-12, to recognize a Palestinian state.

#MPs vote 274 to 12 to approve amended motion that Govt recognise #Palestine state alongside #Israel as part of negotiated 2 state solution

The sense of the speechmaking (rush transcript here) was almost entirely in favor of the motion, with members of the House of Commons saying they were reflecting the popular will in the wake of the Gaza slaughter and the failure of the peace process. Some said they were seeking to influence the United States, which has not been an honest broker. Here is the New York Times coverage, indicating it was a symbolic vote. Many speakers said that it was not symbolic, it was historic and long past due, from the country that gave Zionists the Balfour Declaration and that recognized a Jewish state in 1950.

We’ll get up more coverage of the debate later, but I wanted to pass along Sir Richard Ottaway’s speech. A strong supporter of Israel, the Conservative M.P., 69, who represents a London district, said that the country has made him “look like a fool” with its recent settlement announcement and that he is voting for the motion because of that landgrab. “I have to say to the Government of Israel that if they are losing people like me, they will be losing a lot of people.”

 

Image: Richard Ottaway

Here’s his speech from today’s debate:

If the rest of the debate follows the tone of the three speeches that we have heard so far, it will be a memorable debate. The next few minutes will be personally rather painful for me. It was inevitable right since the time of the Holocaust that Israel clearly had to be a state in its own right, and Attlee accepted the inevitable and relinquished the British mandate. In November 1947, the United Nations supported the partition resolution. What was on the table then was a settlement that the Arabs would die for today. In May 1948, Israel became an independent state and came under attack from all sides within hours. In truth, it has been fighting for its existence ever since.

I was a friend of Israel long before I became a Tory. My wife’s family were instrumental in the creation of the Jewish state. Indeed, some of them were with Weizmann at the Paris conference. The Holocaust had a deep impact on me as a young man growing up in the aftermath of the second world war, particularly when I paid a visit as a schoolboy to Belsen…

In the six-day war, I became personally involved. There was a major attempt to destroy Israel, and I found myself as a midshipman in the Royal Navy based on board a minesweeper in Aden, sent by Harold Wilson to sweep the straits of Tiran of mines after the Suez Canal had been blocked. In the aftermath of that war, which, clearly, the Israelis won, the Arab states refused peace, recognition or negotiation.

Six years later, in the Yom Kippur war in 1973, the same situation happened again. It was an emphatic defeat after a surprise attack. Since then, based on the boundaries that were framed after the Yom Kippur war, we have had three thwarted peace agreements, each one better than the last, and we have had two tragedies: the assassination of Rabin and the stroke suffered by Ariel Sharon.

Throughout all this, I have stood by Israel through thick and thin, through the good years and the bad. I have sat down with Ministers and senior Israeli politicians and urged peaceful negotiations and a proportionate response to prevarication, and I thought that they were listening. But I realise now, in truth, looking back over the past 20 years, that Israel has been slowly drifting away from world public opinion. The annexation of the 950 acres of the West Bank just a few months ago has outraged me more than anything else in my political life, mainly because it makes me look a fool, and that is something that I resent.

Turning to the substantive motion, to be a friend of Israel is not to be an enemy of Palestine. I want them to find a way through, and I am delighted by yesterday’s reconstruction package for Gaza, but with a country that is fractured with internal rivalries, that shows such naked hostility to its neighbour, that attacks Israel by firing thousands of rockets indiscriminately, that risks the lives of its citizens through its strategic placing of weapons and that uses the little building material that it is allowed to bring in to build tunnels, rather than homes, I am not yet convinced that it is fit to be a state and should be recognised only when there is a peace agreement. Under normal circumstances, I would oppose the motion tonight; but such is my anger over Israel’s behaviour in recent months that I will not oppose the motion. I have to say to the Government of Israel that if they are losing people like me, they will be losing a lot of people.

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AANGIRFAN FRIENDS OF I$RAHELL: ANTI-GALLOWAY NAZI PROPAGANDA

NOVANEWS

Small turnout for the vote on Palestine in the UK parliament.

George Galloway, who allegedly works for MI6, ”THIS IS ANTI-GALLOWAY ZIO-NAZI PROPAGANDA”  ”Shoah”  did not vote to recognise Palestine as a state.Palestine state vote in UK parliament: George Galloway abstains.

Less than half of the members of the UK parliament turned up to vote.GALLOWAY

Robert Halfon (left) and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar
Conservative MP Robert Halfon, who is Jewish, said that a Palestinian state “already exists in Jordan.”Robert claims to be the Member of Parliament for Harlow.

The Scottish National Party voted to recognise Palestine as a state.
Are some of the people who did not vote to recognise Palestine as a state members of Mossad-run pedophile rings?..

Posted in UK, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Richest 1% of people own nearly half of global wealth, says report

NOVANEWS

Credit Suisse study shows inequality accelerating, with NGOs saying it shows economic recovery ‘skewed towards wealthy’

The Guardian

A model on a luxury yacht at a boat show in the port of Dalian.

A model on a luxury yacht at a boat show in the port of Dalian. China now has more people in the top 10% of global wealth holders than any other country. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

The richest 1% of the world’s population are getting wealthier, owning more than 48% of global wealth, according to a report published on Tuesday which warned growing inequality could be a trigger for recession.

According to the Credit Suisse global wealth report (pdf), a person needs just $3,650 – including the value of equity in their home – to be among the wealthiest half of world citizens. However, more than $77,000 is required to be a member of the top 10% of global wealth holders, and $798,000 to belong to the top 1%.

“Taken together, the bottom half of the global population own less than 1% of total wealth. In sharp contrast, the richest decile hold 87% of the world’s wealth, and the top percentile alone account for 48.2% of global assets,” said the annual report, now in its fifth year.

The report, which calculates that total global wealth has grown to a new record – $263tn, more than twice the $117tn calculated for 2000 – found that the UK was the only country in the G7 to have recorded rising inequality in the 21st century.

Its findings were seized upon by anti-poverty campaigners Oxfam which published research at the start of the year showing that the richest 85 people across the globe share a combined wealth of £1tn, as much as the poorest 3.5 billion of the world’s population.

“These figures give more evidence that inequality is extreme and growing, and that economic recovery following the financial crisis has been skewed in favour of the wealthiest. In poor countries, rising inequality means the difference between children getting the chance to go to school and sick people getting life saving medicines,” said Oxfam’s head of inequality Emma Seery.

“In the UK, successive governments have failed to get to grips with rising inequality. This report shows that those least able to afford it have paid the price of the financial crisis whilst more wealth has flooded into the coffers of the very richest.”

The $20.1tn rise in global wealth over the past year is the largest recorded since 2007. The total has risen every year since 2008 and is now 20% above its pre-crisis peak, the report said.

Wealth in the US in the past year had grown by as much as the $12.3tn the country lost in the financial crisis.

The Credit Suisse analysts pointed to the debate that has been sparked by work such as that by Thomas Piketty into long-term trends towards inequality. It pointed out that while inequality had increased in many countries outside the G7, within the group of most developed economies it was only in the UK that inequality had risen since the turn of the century.

“Only one of them, the UK, recorded rising inequality over the entire period 2000–2014 and only three show an increase after 2007 – France, Italy and the UK,” the report says.

Of the UK, it says: “Nowadays the pattern of wealth distribution in the UK is very typical for a developed economy. Almost 60% of the population has wealth exceeding $100,000 and there are two million US dollar millionaires”.

Other calculations by the Credit Suisse team “hint at raising global wealth inequality in recent years” and show that overall wealth in the US has grown at a faster pace than incomes. The authors warned it was a trend that could point to recession.

“For more than a century, the wealth income ratio has typically fallen in a narrow interval between 4 and 5. However, the ratio briefly rose above 6 in 1999 during the dotcom bubble and broke that barrier again during 2005–2007. It dropped sharply into the “normal band” following the financial crisis, but the decline has since been reversed, and the ratio is now at a recent record high level of 6.5, matched previously only during the great Depression. This is a worrying signal given that abnormally high wealth income ratios have always signaled recession in the past,” the report said.

China now has more people in the top 10% of global wealth holders than any other country except for the US and Japan, having moved into third place in the rankings by overtaking France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.

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Palestinian statehood: Ed Miliband demands whipped vote, but backs down to avoid resignations

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Labour MPs who are concerned that this is an anti-Israel motion say it is against party policy, and want a free vote

Ed Miliband has, in effect, rewritten the rulebook of parliamentary procedure in an attempt to stave off a damaging revolt by senior Labour MPs over tomorrow’s controversial Commons vote on the recognition of the Palestinian state.

In a highly unusual move that has left senior parliamentarians struggling to find a precedent, the Labour leader has insisted that Labour MPs who file through the lobby submit to a three-line whip, which normally requires members to vote with the leadership. But he is, in effect, letting those not in the vicinity of Parliament off the hook, and they will not vote at all. Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will not be whipped.

The move appears designed to avoid the political embarrassment of several MPs taking a principled stand, running the risk of them having to resign or be dismissed over the issue. The result is that a raft of front-bench and senior Labour MPs who are sympathetic to Israel will simply not turn up for the vote.

The vote is a hugely contentious, but potentially historic parliamentary motion, proposed by a Labour backbencher, the Easington MP Grahame Morris, that calls on the Government to symbolically recognise Palestine as an independent state.

Labour MPs who are concerned that this is an anti-Israel motion also say it is against party policy, and want a free vote.

Israel-Gaza conflict

Among those expected to stay away are various members of the Shadow Cabinet. Rachel Reeves, Ivan Lewis, Michael Dugher, and Jim Murphy are expected to be absent.

Other high-profile absentees are likely to include Anne McGuire, a former shadow min-ister; Michael McCann, who is PPS to Ms Reeves; Luciana Berger, a party spokesperson on public  health; Ian Austin,  who was a parliamentary aide to Gordon Brown when he was prime minister; and John Woodcock, the highly regarded MP for Barrow and Furness.

Ms Reeves, Mr McCann and Mr Dugher are also officers of Labour Friends of Israel, which is chaired by Mrs McGuire. Many MPs are concerned that the vote will cause friction within the party just seven months ahead of the election.

“To say that this is an unfortunate situation is an understatement,” said one shadow minister. “The party didn’t need to get itself into this situation – it’s a combination of cock-up and failure to deal with the cock-up.

“There are four statues of prime ministers in the [Commons] Lobby – Clement Attlee, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and David Lloyd George. They never solved the Middle East problem, yet we’ve gone and got ourselves in a tizzy over it and think we’ve got a solution.

“This problem has been around for decades and decades and decades. The Tories and Liberal Democrats must be sitting back, pissing themselves laughing.”

A senior Labour MP added that the arrangement which is allowing Labour MPs to abstain is “unusual”, but meant that it was less likely that shadow ministers would quit.

However, some Labour MPs would be willing to vote for the motion if it includes an amendment proposed by a senior cross-party group of MPs, including the former foreign secretary Jack Straw and the Conservatives’ Alan Duncan. This would add the words “as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution” to the original motion, which states: “This House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.”

It is not yet certain whether the amendment, which is supported by Mr Miliband, will be included. The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, will not decide whether to include the amendment until tomorrow morning. Douglas Alexander, Labour’s foreign affairs spokesman, is thought by some to be in part responsible for the leader’s position. In a recent blog, he stated: “Labour’s consistent support for the principle of recognising Palestinian statehood, as part of continuing steps to achieve a comprehensive negotiated two-state solution, is why we will be voting to support the principle of Palestinian statehood when the House of Commons debates the issue on Monday.”

A source close to Mr Miliband confirmed that Labour MPs would not be ordered to attend the vote, but would be expected to vote in favour of the amended motion if they turned up.

How whips work

The coalition is “making up the constitution as it goes along”, according to Professor Philip Cowley of Nottingham University. Conservative and Lib Dem whips have resorted to creative ways of managing two parties in one government, and even more imaginative have been the devices used to soften splits within the parties. On some votes, for example, Conservative ministers have been whipped – that is, told how to vote – while Tory backbenchers have been allowed a free vote.

Tories and Lib Dems have just such a free vote on tomorrow’s motion to recognise Palestine as a state. Labour MPs are under a one-line whip to attend the Commons – meaning “if you feel like it” – but if they are present they are under a three-line whip to vote for the motion – with disciplinary action expected if whips’ instructions are not carried out.

But as no one would be disciplined for failing to turn up, the three-line whip is symbolic only. Which is most odd, and which is why Ed Miliband is hoping John Bercow, the Speaker, will accept a late amendment by Jack Straw, Labour’s former foreign secretary.

These contortions are brought on because changes made just before the last election gave more power to backbenchers. The Palestinian statehood motion was tabled by the new Backbench Business Committee. In the old days it would have been quietly sidelined by “the usual channels” (the informal system of co-operation between government and opposition).

Tomorrow, it will split the Labour Party.

John Rentoul

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British government taken to court over arms exports to Nazi regime

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There have been numerous calls for an arms embargo since Israel launched its unprecedented assault on the Gaza Strip, including by Amnesty, Deputy PM Nick Clegg, and the Trades Union Congress

Arms trade campaigners are taking the government to court over the failure to suspend or revoke export licences for military equipment to Israel. Lawyers representing the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) have told the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) that the failure to freeze the licences was unlawful since there was a risk the equipment would be deployed in Gaza.Andrew Smith, of CAAT, told The Guardian: “The UK government’s response to the bombardment of Gaza was unacceptable. Vince Cable [the business secretary] himself oversaw a review that identified 12 licences for arms that he accepted were likely to have been used in Gaza. Cable refused even to suspend them at the time, saying that he would only do so if the violence continued. The violence continued, more people died, and yet he failed to follow through on his word.”

Rosa Curling of law firm Leigh Day, acting for CAAT, told the paper: “The decision by BIS not to suspend or revoke the 12 existing licences is unlawful. The review that was conducted by the department was flawed as it envisaged considering whether weapons have been used at the point at which ‘significant hostilities’ resume. This is too late.

“The licensing criteria are very clear – that licences should be revoked if there is a clear risk that equipment might be used in violation of international humanitarian law or internal repression. This must be assessed at the time the licensing decision is made. The government must now look at this with urgency and comply with the law on arms export to ensure that UK arms are not responsible for breaches of international law.”

There have been numerous calls for an arms embargo since Israel launched its unprecedented assault on the Gaza Strip, including by Amnesty, Deputy PM Nick Clegg, and the Trades Union Congress. In August, the chair of the parliamentary select committees overseeing British arms wrote to the foreign secretary “requesting details of any military exports that may have been used by the Israeli army during its invasion of Gaza.”

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Abandoning the Human Rights Act UK. Counterstrike and Replacement

NOVANEWS

Global Research

The Tories major announcement was to scrap the Human Rights Act, because, and I quote, people get very frustrated with human rights.

Tim Farron, Liberal Democrats President, The Guardian, Oct 7, 2014

Political positions were only ever the designations of seating arrangements. Left and Right distinctions have as much to do with actual political differences as they do with furniture witness the 1789 arrangements of the National Assembly. Occasionally, such positions fall to the way side, or at the very least, become peculiarly artificial. The Human Rights Act in the UK has been one of those grand British contradictions, typical in a society thrilled with rights as a matter of values, but suspicious about their suggestive nannyism. Be free, but be suspicious when told about where you went wrong about protecting them.

The Tory party are, in that sense, typically confused about where to place such rights. Paradoxically, they batter and pound for the platform that liberties are meant to be protected at least when it comes to some of them. But liberties are one thing once they assume the proper form of genuine rights, the sort one can actually claim (lawyers term these claim rights) the water of discussion gets somewhat murkier. Liberty talk is always deemed more attractive than that of rights. When the purse gets involved, the conservatives will run.

The Human Rights Act (1998) is deemed insidious in a range of ways. It supposedly clips sovereignty by slipping European law into the lives of British citizens. It stands guard over British officials. For that reason, the British conservatives are advocating the British Bill of Rights and Responsibilities as both counter strike and replacement. The response is characteristically piecemeal, so much so that the anti-EU UK Independence Party have deemed the proposal by David Camerons party worthless. Labour and the Lib Dems take more traditional views on this a pure political agenda is at work.

The Tories point is to place Britain in an exceptional category for them, it is the Rolls Royce of human rights reform and innovation. This is done while placing the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950 in its historical place. The enemy in this enterprise of reform is the European Court of Human Rights, a creature of judicial unsoundness which is suffering from mission creep (such is the curse of military operational language.)

In taking such a stance, the Tory statement is placing the European Convention in the zoo of legal paraphernalia, distant and hopefully irrelevant. It was agreed in the shadow of Nazism, at a time when Stalin was still in power in the Soviet Union and when people were still being sent to the gulags without trial.[1]

Such wording sets the scene for a rather crude, and frightened, form of originalism reading the charter in a virginal state that has bucked evolution over the years. Such documents, in terms of intention, are read at the creation, rather than in the current point of history. When the drafters of the charter came together, claim the writers of the Tory manifesto, they did not contemplate various voting rights for prisoners. Nor was artificial insemination for prisoners and their partners something that the drafters had in mind (oh, how unimaginative they must have been.)

The Tories are now arranging the legal furniture for 2015, assuming that they will retain power (without the Liberal Democrats) and be rid of the turbulent priest that is the European justice system. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has been claiming that there should be no legal blank cheque to take human rights into areas where they have never applied, a fascinatingly restricted view on rights if ever there was one.[2]

It is then with some irony that the conservative approach to human rights, once established, is not that they stay in unmodified stone, but evolve in the matter befitting society. Evolution, in other words, is appropriate as long as it is parochial. All is fine if Britain does it. Conservatives, after all that jostling, like nothing more than to mould and adjust the way a human right is applied. The point to stress here is that it is always being done for the public good. Over the past 20 years, there have been significant developments which have undermined public confidence in the human rights framework in the UK, and which make change necessary today.

The leap of eccentricity occurs when rights become situational a matter of interpretation for the country in question. This is the classic contradiction things change, but things must stay the same. By all means, fundamental human rights is as important as ever. But the logic of this, then, is not to have a meddlesome supra national entity seeking to place their judicial paws on the Sceptred Isle, with its own brand of rights to uphold and parade. That is why we must put Britain first, taking action to reform the human rights laws in the UK, so they are credible, just and command public support.

Not all will be comfortable with Camerons stance. The Daily Mirror has made a good fist of attempting to justify the rewards of the Human Rights Act over the years.[3] It points out, as Lib Dem President Tim Farron has, that no one less than the conservative deity, Winston Churchill, saw scope for the European Convention.[4]

The rights of such people as Gary McKinnon, UFO fantasist and hacker of US government computers, were protected because the legislation prohibits degrading treatment or punishment. The right to have children is preserved, as is that of preventing families from being separated. Victims of domestic violence fall under its protective umbrella. And it has been used as a weapon against the surveillance community.

Removing the act will not simply be an excuse for political restructuring it will be an announcement that rights are purely subordinate entities, lying at the mercy of state discretion. This will not worry those negotiators, who are already sharpening their implements. Should there be anything in that relationship [with the EU] which encroaches upon our new human rights framework, then that is something [...] for us to address as part of the renegotiation.[5]

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]

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UK Shifts Policy on Armenian Genocide

NOVANEWS 

After Jurist Robertson’s Report

By Harut Sassounian

Geoffrey Robertson, prominent British expert on international law, wrote a 40-page report in 2009, exposing the false and inaccurate statements on the Armenian Genocide by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Robertson’s investigative report, “Was there an Armenian Genocide?” was based on internal British documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, which revealed that the Foreign Office had denied the Armenian Genocide and misled the British Parliament on this matter in order to curry favor with Turkey.

Mr. Robertson had sent me an advance copy of his new 286-page book, “An Inconvenient Genocide: Who Now Remembers the Armenians?” to be published this month in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and the United States. Anyone who reads this influential jurist’s meticulously researched book will have no doubt about the true facts of the Genocide and Armenians’ just claims for restitution.

The confidential FCO documents recently obtained by Robertson reveal that the British government has made a gradual shift in its position on the Armenian Genocide, going from denial to declining to state its position. The Foreign Office acknowledges that the change in governmental policy is a direct result of the powerful legal arguments advanced by Mr. Robertson in his 2009 report.

Until recently, Great Britain had tenaciously clung to its outright denialist position on the Armenian Genocide. A secret 1999 FCO memo, quoted by Robertson, admitted that the British government “is open to criticism in terms of the ethical dimension. But given the importance of our relations (political, strategic, and commercial) with Turkey, and that recognizing the genocide would provide no practical benefit to the UK or the few survivors of the killings still alive today, nor would it help a rapprochement between Armenia and Turkey, the current line is the only feasible option.”

However, shortly after the publication of Robertson’s 2009 report, British officials quietly shifted their position from denial to avoidance of taking a stand on the genocide issue. In a 2010 internal memo, FCO stated: “Following Mr. Robertson’s report and the publicity it attracted, we have updated our public line to make clear that HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] does not believe it is our place to make a judgment (historical or legal) on whether or not the Armenian massacres constituted genocide.” In another memo, FCO explained that it will no longer maintain that “the historical evidence was not sufficiently unequivocal to persuade us that these events should be categorized as genocide.” The memo went on to assert that “there is increasing agreement about the extent of the deaths and suffering experienced by the Armenian community” and that “jurisprudence in relation to genocide, and particularly the nature and type of evidence required to prove the relevant intent, has developed significantly in the wake of events in Rwanda and the Balkans in the 1990’s.” Yet, FCO still advised against an explicit recognition of the genocide because “the Armenian diaspora in the UK is relatively small (less than 20,000) and there is limited wider public interest.”

Nevertheless, in view of the upcoming Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, the British government has decided to become a bit more accommodating on this issue. Last year, when the British Ambassador to Lebanon asked London for guidance on attending an April 24 commemoration in Beirut, the Foreign Office advised him to go ahead. FCO also recommended to its staff not to “give the impression that we deny what happened in 1915…we still consider them (the massacres and deportations) to be truly dreadful and in need of remembrance.”

To bring the genocide issue to a legal resolution, Mr. Robertson makes two suggestions: that the Armenian government submit it “to adjudication at the International Court of Justice [World Court] pursuant to Article IX of the Genocide Convention” or ask the UN Secretary General to establish an ad hoc court on the Armenian Genocide.

Geoffrey Robertson should be commended for authoring a most important book on the eve of the Armenian Genocide Centennial. The Armenian National Committee of UK has already purchased 1,000 copies for distribution to elected officials and members of the media in London. The book is available from Amazon.com. I feel honored that Mr. Robertson has made half a dozen references to my columns in his monumental work.

Mr. Robertson has appropriately dedicated his book to the cherished memory of Ben Whitaker, author of the 1985 UN Report which classified the Armenian mass killings as genocide.

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6,000 UK children at risk of sex abuse since 2013

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New report shows thousands of minors in the UK have been at risk of sex abuse since 2013. (File photo)

New report shows thousands of minors in the UK have been at risk of sex abuse since 2013. (File photo).

More than 6,000 minors in Britain have been at risk of sex exploitation since last year, a new report finds.

Data, obtained by Channel 4 News from 88 councils, reported 6,300 children across the country as vulnerable to sexual abuse in the past 18 months.

Ann Coffey, the Labour MP for Stockport who is chairing an inquiry into child exploitation, said she was not surprised by the report.

“Child sexual exploitation has been under-identified for a very long time”, she said, adding that the police cannot tackle the problem by themselves.

Meanwhile, the British police force released figures showing a spike in child abuse, rape and physical assault cases linked to witchcraft in the UK.

Figures released by British police on Wednesday showed a total of 24 cases of ritualistic child abuse were referred to Scotland Yard in 2013 alone, and that the number has  has been on the rise for the last 10 years, with a reported 148 cases since 2004.

The reports come almost two months after an inquiry found that nearly 1,400 children in the British town of Rotherham were sexually exploited over a 16-year period, from 1997 to 2013.

This is not the first time that child abuse reports make headlines in the UK as in 2013 members of a sadistic pedophile ring were found guilty of extreme abuse of schoolgirls as young as 11 in Oxford, southern England.

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Child witchcraft claims spike in Britain

NOVANEWS

Kristy Bamu (file photo)

The British police force has released figures showing a spike in child abuse, rape and physical assault cases linked to witchcraft in the UK.

According to figures released by British police on Wednesday, a total of 24 cases of ritualistic child abuse were referred to Scotland Yard in 2013.

The figures also show the number of ritualistic child abuse cases reported to Scotland Yard has been on the rise since the last 10 years, with a reported 148 cases since 2004.

Detective Superintendent Terry Sharpe said that ritual child abuse was “a hidden crime” and that it is vastly under-reported.

“When there is a tragedy and someone dies, a consequence of that is we see an increase in reporting” said Sharpe, adding, “Abuse linked to belief is a horrific crime which is condemned by people of all cultures, communities and faiths.”

Two of the 24 cases, which were passed on to the Metropolitan Police, were related to minors who claimed being raped during witchcraft rituals and a third case involved allegations of a church pastor who swung a child around knocking its head to “drive out the devil”.

“Families or carers genuinely believe that the victim has been completely taken over by the devil or an evil spirit, which is often supported by someone who within the community has portrayed themselves as an authority on faith and belief,” Sharpe added.

In 2010, Kristy Bamu was drowned in a bath during an exorcism after suffering days of torture at the hands of two people who claimed that the child was possessed.

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