Sir Roger Casement, A Humanitarian 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.





  1. Great article. Casement is giving this evidence of the British supply of arms to Armenians on the condition of their involvement in the British war strategy and evidence on a clear act of instigation of otherwise unrelated people.
    There is no political figure of Irish history whose life is more relevant to today than Roger Casement. He is the pioneer, indeed a prophet of modern Irish foreign policy which defines itself with the core values of the UN ideal and the humanitarian aid. Bear in mind Congo, East Timor, Cyprus, Sinai, Lebanon, Iran-Iraq war withdrawal of forces process, Somalia, Eritrea, Bosnia and Kosovo, Chad and finally Syria. Who can deny that the decision to send troops to Congo in 1960 revived his memories so strongly and served as a catalycst to return his remains to Ireland in 1965. And who can deny that his patriotism was the greatest spark for the Gaelic revival together with McDonagh, Pearse and Plunkett. Yet, his remembrance and even mention of his name, still gives fear to many.
    Thuchydides said that history was only equal to its evidence. We must therefore believe what the evidence provides us with to believe. Casement is unquestionably one of the greatest men of the world history and his analysis of his time as well as it reflections to contemporary times deserve to be brought under the spotlight today and tomorrow.


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