Roger Casement on how the British Foreign Office instigated "the Armenian massacre" of 1915 to promote its Great War.Pat Walsh
Casement, who worked with Sir Edward Grey, knew the inside story.
THE SECRET DIPLOMACY OF ENGLAND
The following article by Roger Casement on ‘The Secret Diplomacy of England’ was found by Angus Mitchell and supplied to the RIA in 2000. Angus Mitchell’s recent book ‘One Bold Deed of Open Treason – The Berlin Diary of Roger Casement 1914-1916’ makes fascinating reading and is very enlightening about Casement’s thoughts, many of which he could not put to published paper for reasons of politics.
In his book Mr. Mitchell writes about what Casement understood about the genesis of the Great War of 1914:
“For several years, Casement had predicted that conflict was inevitable due to the trajectory of British foreign policy since the signing of the Entente Cordiale (1904) and the Triple Entente (1907). The war brought Casement into direct confrontation with his former colleagues in the British Foreign Office.” (p.3)
‘The Secret Diplomacy of England’ describes how Britain brought about the Great War whilst not obviously trying.
The RIA printed this article in their programme for the Casement conference. It has a similar theme to an article Casement wrote for The Continental Times in November 1915 on ‘Sir Edward Grey’ which will appear in a special issue of Irish Foreign Affairs next month. The Introduction, in brackets at the start, was added by the editor of ‘The Irishman’, where it first appeared in March 1918, a couple of years after Casement’s execution.
The Secret Diplomacy of England
(In February, 1916, the following remarkable article, the last, we believe, written by Roger Casement, came into our possession. For various reasons we refrained from publishing it at the time. Providentially it was not discovered by certain persons who were searching for important documents after the Rising. In view of the prevalent talk about “secret diplomacy” we have decided to give to the world a document which will at once take its place as an item of first-class historic interest. In this article Roger Casement “gives the show away,” and reveals, as will be seen, his far-reaching knowledge of the secrets of Empire. – Ed.)
The explanation of very much of later English political life, and particularly of the withdrawal of foreign affairs from the domain of party or public discussion in Parliament, lies in Mr Gladstone’s downfall over the Irish question.The triumph of English Toryism, reaction, and imperialism that followed the vain attempt of the greatest of English Liberals to do political justice to Ireland was not a passing event.
That failure of Liberalism in Ireland brought with it the permanent eclipse of Liberalism as a power in foreign affairs, and left these to be controlled, without question, by the influences which had opposed Mr. Gladstone’s Irish policy as treachery to the majesty of England, and which had hurled the Liberals from office on the ground that justice to Ireland was treachery to the Empire, and the disruption of the Kingdom.
Up to Mr. Gladstone’s surrender to the Irish Home Rule demand, Parliament delighted in discussing, in inspecting, in prescribing, and, to a great extent even in controlling, the foreign affairs of the country. Debates on foreign policy were the order of the day. Next to the Budget and the control of taxation the House of Commons regarded its influence over the conduct of foreign affairs as one of the prescriptive rights of the people, to be constantly affirmed.
The claim was hateful to the Crown, and the growing forces of imperialism that had no open place in party life – still an affair of “Whig” and “Tory,” of “Ins and Outs.”
General elections were lost and won on the issue of foreign affairs – as, for instance, when Mr. Gladstone turned Beaconsfield out of office in 1880, very largely on the question of the “Bulgarian atrocities” and England’s relations with Turkey.
At that date both front benches were equally patriotic in the eyes of the country. Neither asserted or could claim a larger share in upholding British interests abroad. No question of the “surrender of British interests” to “traitors” had ever arisen to taint the fair name of the Liberal (or Whig) party until Mr. Gladstone discovered Ireland. But in the years 1880 to 1886 Mr. Gladstone committed a double surrender, in the name of Liberalism, that gave his opponents, the Conservatives, the chance of a century. In a night the Liberal party was rent in twain, the Conservatives became the Tories of a hundred years before. They laid hold of the Empire; they grasped the sceptre of Imperialism and bore it scornfully out of the House of Commons.. The Englishman’s birthright must not be surrendered to “rebels” or “traitors.”
Mr. Gladstone’s surrender, first to the Boers after Majuba in 1881, and next to Mr. Parnell” and the Irish people in 1885-6, gave the Conservatives an opening they seized and held, and one they forced the Liberals to pass through as the only way of return to public life. That opening was the door that took the custody of “imperial affairs” – i.e., foreign policy – out of the open assembly of the people into the close air of the Cabinet Council and the closed doors of the Foreign Office. The new gospel of a Liberalism that sought to give political freedom to Ireland, that restored the Transvaal to the Boers, that was charged with intent to break up the British Empire, in fine, a gospel of Liberalism abroad as well as of Liberalism at home, was startling to the masses of Englishmen and hateful to the classes. The former did not understand it, and heard only the shameful words “surrender,” “traitors,” “treason-mongers”; the latter understood it only too well. They saw too that by associating with Mr. Gladstone’s most unpopular effort, that to be just to Ireland, and by linking the hated name of Irish nationality, with a policy of “surrender of British rights,” they might exclude the Liberal party from office for a score of years, and in that period erect on solid foundations the framework of a great imperial structure, secure from popular interference or the prying eyes of popular representatives .
The idea of “Empire” was preached in place of patriotism; and those who dared to think first of England and the home necessities of Englishmen were scornfully termed “little Englanders.”
Mr. Gladstone resigned in 1893, refusing to forego his Irish convictions, to be followed by a weak-kneed “Liberal” who had been his Foreign Minister. Lord Rosebery, never at heart a Liberal, was always an Imperialist. Sir Edward Grey, his admirer and pupil in the Foreign Office, was there in 1895 when the crash came, and the Liberals were driven into the wilderness at the general election, charged with the crime of surrendering the Briton’s birthright – Ireland, India, South Africa, etc., etc. – to a band of traitors and blackmailers.
The heritage of John Bull’s centuries of toil must not be left in the hands of such a party to dispose of. The cause of patriotism became that of imperialism, and was definitely committed to those who had opposed the great surrender to Ireland and got this surrender as their reward.
The Empire, imperilled by Liberalism, was safe in the hands of those who had detected the crime, and of these no questions need be asked. The Liberals, in the wilderness, dared not lift up their voices on any foreign question without the cry of “traitor” being raised. For them it was too dangerous; for the Tories it was not fit that the representatives of “the people” should have any voice in matters best left to their Lords and Masters to deal with in silence. It thus came about that the two Front Benches – the Tory Government in office and the would-be Liberal Government out of office – agreed to exclude the topic of foreign affairs from Parliamentary discussion. A new formula was accepted, one that the higher patriotism calls a “continuity of foreign policy.” A “continuity of foreign policy” meant the exclusion of popular co-operation, and the handing over of the external affairs of the country from Parliament to permanent officialdom.
Thenceforward a policy of Parliamentary silence on all grave aspects of foreign affairs became the accepted role of both great parties in the State. The Tories had won. The Empire was saved, but at the cost that the people to whom it was supposed to belong should have nothing to say about its management. Parliament was excluded from the greatest issues; a debate in the House of Commons on any matter of foreign concern became rarer and rarer: the two front benches willed silence.
With the return of Lord Salisbury to office in 1895, with a clear mandate to do as he pleased, the question of Parliamentary discussion of foreign affairs may be said to have been settled.
The Foreign Secretary was in the House of Lords – a permanent institution of reactionary powers. He was represented in the House of Commons by a nobody or a fool; and as the Liberals dared not discuss the forbidden topic, and the Tories were sure that all was being done as they wished it, the control of foreign policy passed absolutely into the hands of permanent officials, men responsible neither to Parliament nor people, to whom their very names were unknown, but to the Crown alone. Thus came King Edward. How he used his unchecked powers in the domain of foreign affairs is known only too well to-day.
When in December, 1905, the Liberals returned to office, with Sir Edward Grey at the Foreign Office, they did not return to power in matters of foreign policy. The system was already well established. The Liberals, by their cowardice and treachery to the cause of Irish independence had really forfeited their own. No Minister, however strong, could probably have broken the power of the ring of irresponsibles round the King who drove the coach of state surely and relentlessly to a well-planned war. A strong and far-seeing man, a statesman, might have resisted, fought – and resigned. Sir Edward Grey was none of these things: at heart a peace-loving, a domestic, a quiet man, he had been raised to an office he was wholly unfitted for, and chiefly for that reason. The powers that drove the car of State did not want a wiser man. They preferred a man with the taint of “Liberal Imperialism” in his blood, since a Liberal Government had to be accepted at the hands of the English electors. THEY DEMANDED THAT THEY SHOULD GET A TYPE OF LIBERAL SENT TO THE FOREIGN OFFICE WHOM THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO ADAPT WITHOUT TROUBLE TO THE PURPOSES OF THAT “CONTINUITY OF FOREIGN POLICY” THEY ALREADY HAD IN VIEW. That Sir Edward Grey was just the man they wanted is shown through every sentence of that momentous speech of his, delivered on August 3rd 1914, to the House of Commons on the eve of the Declaration of War. Then for the first time in his ten years of office, he tells the tale of how he had failed. In that fateful pronouncement the Minister stated the case against himself.
He shows how , in the first Morocco crisis of 1906,. at the time of the Algeciras Conference, he allowed himself to be exploited by the Foreign Office and the French Government acting together, into giving that Government a pledge of united military and naval support against Germany “should a sudden crisis arise.” Of course, like all the other undertakings of the Foreign Office on behalf of the Entente, these “conversations between naval and military experts” (already in 1906!) were purely diplomatic overtures and were in no wise to “bind or restrict” the freedom of the government “to make a decision as to whether or not they would give that support when the time arose.”
How could a government that knew nothing about these “conversations” , and “agreements” decide anything wisely “when the time arose?” For Sir Edward Grey assured the House of Commons that if Parliament had been kept in the dark, so too, had the Cabinet. Speaking of these first “conversations between naval and military experts” in January 1906 – when a General Election was in progress and Ministers scattered all over the country and I, spending three days a week in my constituency and three days a week in the Foreign Office” – Sir. Edward Grey explained in August, 1914 to Parliament:– a “The fact that conversation between naval and military experts took place was later on – I think much later on, because that crisis passed and the thing ceased to be of importance – but later on it was brought to the knowledge of the Cabinet.” We hear exactly the same phraseology of futility eight years later.
In July, 1914, when war was certainly decided upon, and when, as Sir Edward Grey’s speech of August 3rd shows, it had been prepared for and made certain by a series of naval and military agreements, he comes forward with a final assurance that a fleet in line of battle at sea to support an army in line of battle on land is only a measure of “diplomatic support.”
This time it is the assurance of July 27th, 1914, to the Russian Government, feverishly mobilising all its forces of war, that in order to ensure peace Sir Edward Grey pledges them the full strength of the British fleet that will not disperse, but will remain mobilised – to be used “for diplomatic support only.”
If Sir Edward Grey believed the things he said in his dispatches to British representatives abroad, and later in his explanation to the House of Commons, we must believe him to be a very incompetent man. If he did not believe the things he said, we must believe him to be a rogue. Now, I know Sir Edward Grey well enough to believe that he is at heart a kindly and well-disposed man, with very good intentions, and so I am convinced he believed the things he said. I prefer to regard him not as the villain of the piece, but as he himself once put it, “the fly on the wheel” of State – the victim rather than the vindicator of British Imperial aims. These aims were already fixed, and the driver at his post when, to vary the metaphor, Sir Edward Grey entered the car. Instead of guiding the engine, he was received as a passenger; and became a helpless spectator as he was being whirled to Armageddon, along with his country, by a route he knew nothing of, and the time-table in other hands. He heard only the voices of a resolute and determined band who assured him that a war chariot being driven straight into battle was an international wagon lit, and that he might sleep in peace until the conductor announced the destination. To-day, when they have brought the chariot to a standstill on the blood-soaked plains of Flanders, and damaged its axles in the gullies of Gallipoli, the Imperialists turn upon the hired man and charge him with bad driving. Instead of a paean of victory they raise a cry of incompetence. But the end is not yet.
The initial lie indeed lies much further back than the falsehood about Belgium. It lies in the falsity of the Liberal Party to its pledges to Ireland. In order to undo with the British electorate, so far as possible, while preserving the Irish vote, the impression that because they were “Home Rulers”, in word they were not good Imperialists in fact, the Liberal party consented to the whole domain of foreign affairs being removed from the control of Parliament and handed to a clique. Sir Edward Grey’s part was only that of a weak and ineffective Liberal chosen to represent a Liberalism that had already abdicated, in a foreign office it had already agreed to band over to the enemies of Liberalism. The result was certain, and we see its fruits to-day. King Edward and his counsellors had as much concern in a Liberal Foreign Minister’s advent to office as they had in the advent of the Duma or the coming of the Persian “Constitution.”
They knew their man; and they knew that the Foreign Office was theirs, whoever might be nominally placed at its head.
To-day Sir Edward Grey may look back on ten years: of “deceit, falsehood and treachery” without a blush. They were not of his planning, and only of his doing in so far as a puppet can be said to do anything. He even believed, I am sure, throughout the whole period, and up to the very declaration of war itself, that he was the Peace Keeper of Europe. He was told so by his advisers and masters. The men who for their own ends dubbed King Edward, “Edward the Peacemaker,” assured the other Edward that he was the greatest Foreign Minister in Europe, and that in his strong hands reposed the peace of the world. And the man who subscribed in my hearing, in November, 1901, to Lord Rosebery’s abjuring of his Home Rule pledge to Ireland at Chesterfield – and who, in my hearing, got up before that great assembly of Liberals and declared that in those perjured words the Liberal party had a lead of statesmanship to follow – this man could easily believe that it was possible to enter into secret armed conventions, to subscribe to secret military compacts, to sanction “conversations” of naval and military experts, all of them plainly directed to one end alone, and that in so doing he was but pledging the “diplomatic support” of Great Britain to the cause of peace and not to the certainty of war. The price that English Liberalism has paid for its treachery to the cause of Ireland has been to hand the world policy of England over to Edward the Peacemaker and – Sir Edward Grey.
Now that the end of that policy is well in sight; I hope that Ireland, the Nemesis of the British Empire, will be securely placed to witness that end.
Published in The Irishman – Saturday 9 March 1918
SIR ROGER CASEMENT, DENIALIST
Sir Roger Casement wrote on October 11th 1915:
“A fresh ‘Armenian Massacre’ having been deftly provoked by a conspiracy engineered from the British Embassy at Constantinople, whereby English arms, money and uniforms, were to be furnished to the Armenians on condition that they rose against the Turkish Government, England now turns to the humanitarian impulse of the American people to secure a fresh sword against Turkey. America is being stirred with tales of horror against the Turks – with appeals to American manhood on behalf of a tortured and outraged people. The plan was born in the (British) Foreign Office; and the agency for carrying through the conspiracy against Turkish sovereignty in Armenia was Sir Louis Mallet, the late British Ambassador at Constantinople.” (published on 18 October 1915 in The Continental Times)
This statement (recently discovered by Jack Lane) makes Casement, with his impeccable humanitarian credentials one of the first, if not the first, “denialist”.
So why was Casement the great humanitarian, exposer of genocidal behaviour of “gallant, little Belgium” against African natives in the Congo and abuses of the rubber plantation workers in South America, so dismissive of the Armenians in 1915?
During the summer of 1915 U.S. newspapers began to be deluged by reports of Turkish and Kurdish massacres of Armenians. Claims of half a million deaths appeared even at this stage. It was in response to these reports that Casement was writing his condemnation of Britain and Ambassador Mallet for what was happening to the Armenians.
Casement was an insider and knew the direction of British Foreign Policy and where it was leading. From 1906 he began discouraging Irish recruiting to the British Army whilst still working for the Imperial State.
Perhaps he did not know that substantial amounts of weaponry began to be filtered through to Armenian revolutionary groups in Ottoman territory from the time of the British/Russian understanding of 1907. This agreement, which partitioned Persia/Iran among the two Powers, was meant on the British side to prepare the ground for the “Russian Steamroller” to be employed against Germany in a future war. It was part of the encirclement of Germany, closing a large land area that Royal Navy Blockade was incapable of closing. It culminated in the Constantinople Agreement of 1915 in which the Tsar was rewarded for the lend of his army and the keeping of it in the field against Germany, with his heart’s desire – Istanbul. From this date onwards (1907) the Russians prepared the Armenian revolutionaries as a fifth column supporting the future invasion of Ottoman territories, now permissible with England as an ally rather than an enemy which had blocked its advance (The traditional British Foreign Policy having been expressed in the famous chorus: “The Russians Shall Not Have Constantinople!”)
The Times obituary to Ambassador Louis du Pan Mallet from 10 August 1936 says that his appointment by Edward Grey in 1913 came as a great shock:
“The appointment caused no little surprise, as it had been expected that it would be given to a member of the Diplomatic Corps with experience of Constantinople. Conditions in Turkey had greatly changed in the past 15 years. British influence had waned, while that of Germany had increased to the point of dominance. The Secretary of State considered it wise to have an Ambassador in Constantinople without prepossessions derived from former experience there. Mallet had wide experience of foreign politics in general; and, in Sir Edward Grey’s opinion, a special knowledge of the problems to be dealt with by a British Ambassador to the Porte.”
Ambassador to Constantinople, Louis Mallet, was a duplicitous servant of the British State where duplicity was absolutely essential, in Istanbul. The British State was playing a double game with Istanbul, contributing to its defences, whilst making surveys of them, making a naval alliance and having control of the supply of its ships, pretending to be fast friends whilst plotting with the Tsar to hand over Constantinople to him, and helping with policing and order in Eastern Anatolia whilst knowing what use was planned for the Armenian revolutionaries there.
Casement knew Ambassador Mallet and there was a series of correspondence between the two men a few years before the Great War. It was in this period that Casement formed his understanding that there was something rotten at the heart of the Imperial State he served. Casement realised that there was going to be a Great War because the people he worked with in the British State were organising one. They had detailed plans in place and in the public sphere all the indications were there of preparation of the public consciousness. Liberals did not want to see it, particularly because it was their men -Asquith, Grey, Haldane, Churchill etc. – who were organising it within the Committee of Imperial Defence, with the Unionists who were threatening civil war against the Government over Irish Home Rule. But Casement, the insider, knew it. He perceived it, warned of it and he was proved correct.
With this in mind Casement had not only to be killed off but his reputation had to be destroyed. He was too clever by half.
In a review of US Ambassaor Morgenthau’s Story in 1919 The Spectator, as well as crediting the US Ambassador Morgenthau for facilitating Turkey’s entry into the War also described the role of Ambassador Mallet in the proceedings:
“The governing fact of the situation with which the Entente Ambassadors… had to deal was the entry of the `Goeben ‘ and ‘ Breslau ‘ into the Dardanelles, which British naval dispositions had failed to foresee, prevent, or follow up; for which the Ambassadors were not responsible (Sir Louis Mallet indeed only returned to his post after it had happened); and which Ille Morgenthau appears to have facilitated (through information given to the German authorities by his daughter on her arrival just before the German cruisers appeared) without probably fully realizing at the moment the decisive importance of this event (pp. 44-45). Reflecting upon it, however, he justly observes: ‘I doubt if any two ships have exercised a greater influence upon history than these two German cruisers,’ and adds that ‘their passage through the Straits made it inevitable that Turkey should join her forces with Germany’s when the proper moment came.’ No one more fully and instantly realized this truth than Sir Louis Mallet, who over and over again, in his telegraphic reports to the Foreign Office, repeated his conviction that ‘Germany had obtained complete control at Constantinople,’ and that the Dardanelles, Constantinople, and the Bosphorus were in course of becoming ‘nothing more or less than a sort of German enclave’; and who told the Grand Vizier that ‘Constantinople and the neighbourhood were an armed German camp,’ and that ‘we all, including his Highness, were at the mercy of Liman Pasha and the Minister of War’ (Cd. 7628 of 1914, pp. 14, 15, 28, he)”. (Spectator 11.1.1919)
Ambassador Morgenthau’s book, of course, is a central piece of evidence in the Armenian lobby’s case against the Ottomans. It purports to be a diary of events but comparison between the original diary, and the published book has shown the latter to be a piece of propaganda and embroidered fiction. However, if the Spectator is correct and the U.S. Ambassador was indeed a facilitator of the War on the Ottomans then he was an author of the later Armenian event, since no War/no Genocide, surely. As to whether he was unwitting; was there really a chance that a Zionist did not want the Ottoman Empire carved up and not be consciously working for it?
Ambassador Mallet mysteriously went “on leave” during a most crucial time in the summer of 1914. He got “off-side” in English parlance. This was the July/August period in which it was well known in England that the Germans would desperately seek out the Ottomans as allies to break their isolation. It was known that Enver Pasha had concluded that the Ottoman policy of neutrality would ultimately prove impossible with the Imperialist thieves mustering around the Ottoman territories, gemmies in hand. A defensive alliance was a distinct possibility. Did Britain want to go to war with the Ottomans as well as the Germans?
The British constructed a diplomatic record to serve the purpose of what their real objective was. That record demanded Germany and the Ottomans be placed in the wrong. Provocations, which in themselves were causes of war, were made on the Turks, such as the seizing of their battleships being paid for by popular subscription, in British shipyards. Churchill also blockaded the Straits, cutting Istanbul off from the Mediterranean. And there was the mysterious shepherding of the Goeben and Breslau battleships into the Straits by the Royal Navy to compromise Turkish neutrality. Margot Asquith noted in her diary the astonishment in London at the incompetence of the “pursuing” Royal Navy which, whilst controlling the Mediterranean, “lost” the German ships. Incompetence or design?
Ambassador Mallet was allowed to leave his post at this most crucial time, when prominent, but gullible people, in England were decrying the fact that Britain, friend of the Young Turks, was losing them as allies because of atrocious diplomacy. He was not there during Churchill’s provacative breaking of the naval alliance and returned to Istanbul only a month after the British Declaration of War on Germany, when all the important events had occurred that sealed the destiny of the Ottomans. As Admiral Fisher put it in his Memoir: “We kick their arses but they still love us!” And yet the Ambassador and the diplomats deserted their posts at the vital hour, when all logic said their efforts were most needed as the Germans intrigued, as only Germans could intrigue! (We know that the Germans make very bad intriguers. They are far too straight a people to be good at intrigue. And we know who the greatest intriguers in the world are, with centuries of practice and success.)
Upon Mallet’s return to his post he reported to Edward Grey that there was “a renewal of the insurrectionary activities of the non-Turkish races” which would precipitate Russian invasion in the East. He noted that the Armenian revolutionaries were heavily armed right across the Six Vilayets they claimed (though in a small minority numerically) and in Adana and would be able to take the leadership of the Armenian community in the coming situation.
It appears that Ambassador Mallet’s role was to keep Turkey sweet – and neutral – until it suited Britain to wage War on the Ottomans. He advised the Russians on September 3rd, two months before the British Declaration of War on the Ottomans, not “to raise the question of the partition of Turkey at the present time.”
War had to be waged, in the end, for the Tsar to believe he could acquire Constantinople and to keep his armies fighting, while the possibility of receiving this prize remained. It was reported that the Grand Vizier (Ottoman first minister) sobbed in despair to Ambassador Mallet: “Ne me lachez pas!” when the British representative left Constantinople a few days before the British Declaration of War on the Ottomans on November 5th. Mission accomplished!
It is unsurprising that Casement, knowing all that he did, took Ambassador Mallet to be a conspirator in the destruction of Ottoman Turkey and a collaborator with the Armenian revolutionaries, who were being armed and organised by the Tsar. Mallet could not possibly have been above all that was happening in the background, unless he was a complete and willing dupe of the British Foreign Office, allowing him to cultivate a friendship with the Ottomans as a decent English gentleman who knew nothing.
The Continental Times was a publication very popular among German-Americans and Irish Americans. It cut through the War Propaganda with which the British were deluging the U.S. at the time. At the outset of the War the Royal Navy cut the underseas cables that brought news to the U.S. from Europe. The British then took control of the news agencies to establish a monopoly of information to America. Wellington House was established as a Propaganda Department with the cream of British academia and literati doing their duty, supposedly independently, to propagate the British view of the War – which, of course, was not even the real view of Britain. And so many countries joined in the Great War for Civilisation, the War to end all Wars etc. only to find they had been duped by very gentlemanly and intelligent fraudsters.
It is ironic that Casement’s denial was published in a German newspaper, owned in Berlin, given the German Parliament’s recent decision to support the idea of an Armenian Genocide by the Turks. Germans were therefore the first denialists along with Casement.
Today, the Armenian lobby is starting to suffer its first defeats, most recently in Hungary. It presumed it could march forward irresistibly, gathering up the gullible in political resolutions of parliaments. It depended on humanitarian platitudes, extracted from historical context, which have been recently exposed as nothing but instruments of destabilisation in the world.
But the people are back! And the people tend to see the world in more simple terms than their Western liberal elite. And the Turkish position about 1915 is understandable to those who are seeing the realities of states and their stability. After all the world has seen what has happened in recent years in Iraq, Syria and Libya, and Europe has been flooded with those who have been forcibly migrated by humanitarian wars, or wars waged on the basis of humanitarian sentiment by the West. It is no wonder that the tide has turned against the Armenian lobby through the dash of reality that it has been drenched with.
Liberals are now blaming U.S. identity politics for the reverses they are suffering. The Armenian lobby is the ultimate form of identity politics that has led the West astray into its existential crisis. It has bound a group together on the basis of a political campaign which is entirely negative and dysfunctional and generally debilitating as politics. The word “Armenian” cannot be typed into Google without the word “Genocide” appearing next to it, even though nothing of the sort exists in the sphere where it counts, Law. A people have been defined without reference to reality.
Casement had a good understanding of these things. He knew that the Armenians were a mere instrument of Imperial conquest in 1914. For decades he had heard the substance of Britain tell them to behave themselves because of their hopeless position, a scattered minority everywhere, within the Ottoman territories. Lord Salisbury had told them that the Royal Navy, powerful as it was, could not traverse the Taurus Mountains. And he had presumably heard George Curzon accuse the moralising Liberals of “Fatal Philanthropy” as they instigated the Armenians into insurrection. The Bulgarian template was tempting but ultimately fatal if applied to the Armenians, given their very different circumstances. And so it proved.
But in August 1914 the Balance of Power men and the Liberal moralists joined together for war-mongering and the moralists blew the trumpets to summon the cannon-fodder to England’s cause.
Casement was an associate of Lord Bryce of the Blue Book in humanitarian work for the Empire. They were both Ulster Protestants of sorts. But whilst Bryce was the academic poseur Casement was the general article, getting his hands dirty on the scene of real genocides and reporting on them. He saw how his reports were used by the British State, however, in having something over the Belgians over their behavior in the Congo, that could be used against them if they consented to a German traverse of their territory, when the bit came to the bit. That surely made Casement think about the relationship between humanitarianism and realpolitik.
When Casement saw Bryce lend his services to the Propaganda Department in 1914/16 he described him as a prostitute. This was a rather unfair comparison to make and deeply offensive to honest prostitutes. Casement described the work Bryce was doing, in describing German and Turkish atrocities on behalf of the War effort, as fraudulent. From the quotation in The Continental Times it is apparent that Casement realised that Britain was engaged in intentionally creating the conditions within which atrocities were bound to occur and then using them, through its sentimental moralists, in creating a feel good atmosphere about the killing-fest it had organised across the world. In all this the Armenians did not matter one jot. They were only useful as cannon-fodder and atrocity-fodder. The more that suffered and died the better for the War effort.
The Armenian lobby stay silent about Britain’s role in their annihilation. Is it so important to achieving the magic word to be such denialists about historical fact? That surely undermines their creditability as serious seekers of the truth if they are prepared to ignore such an important factor in their own destruction to get one over on the Turks. It is a sad affair indeed.
A final word needs to be said about Irish Republicans in all this. The present writer in researching this area, quite extensively, has yet to find an Irish Republican who was supportive of the Armenian case. Any Republicans that spoke or acted upon the War on the Ottomans were entirely with the Turks. The pro-Imperialist Redmondites, of course, were, to a man, pro-Armenian and one of the most famous, T.P. O’Connor, was not only a prominent Armenian campaigner but the suggester to Charles Masterman for Wellington House.
There are references to the plight of the Armenians by Priests in the North after the Pogroms against Catholics in Belfast. The Priests were supporters of Joe Devlin and John Redmond and had help recruits Irish cannon fodder for the British Army and Imperialist War. They were sorry that the loyal Catholics of West Belfast were treated so despicably by the loyal Protestants of Ulster having done their Imperial duty.
This must be where the current Sinn Fein policy comes from rather than from Roger Casement and Irish Republicanism.