‘Sex was consensual’: WikiLeaks’ Assange reveals ‘denial of rape’ claims given to Swedish prosecutor — The Most Revolutionary Act

WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange has released his full testimony to Swedish prosecutors for the first time, saying he is ‘entirely innocent’ regarding sexual assault claims. He has spent four years inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid arrest. It is the first time he has gone public with his version of events surrounding the […]

via ‘Sex was consensual’: WikiLeaks’ Assange reveals ‘denial of rape’ claims given to Swedish prosecutor — The Most Revolutionary Act

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Millions stand for democracy in Turkey

Was this reported in your local news media?

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Standing up for democracy in Istanbul

Millions of people gathered Aug. 7 at a meeting venue in Istanbul’s Yenikapı area for a massive joint democracy rally to protest the July 15 coup attempt, putting an end to three weeks of demonstrations following the failed takeover.

The rally was a rare event in which the leaders of three political parties took the stage upon a call made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, leaving aside their political differences.

The event began with Mehmet Görmez, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate reciting from the Quran.

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Remember that picture from Tiananmen Square? This is Turkey!

“That night, I realized that I am a part of a very great nation,” said Orçun Şekercioğlu, who came to the stage on a wheelchair. He was wounded by coup soldiers on the Bosphorus Bridge as he was standing against tanks.

“July 15 has opened a door of consensus for Turkey,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kılıçdaroğlu said, while addressing the crowd. “There is a new Turkey now,” he said. “All political party leaders should learn lessons from the coup attempt. That includes me.”

“I am happy because I can see the rise of Turkey,” Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli said in his address to millions from all walks of life. “July 15 is a milestone for Turkey,” he said, praising the citizenry’s strong stance against the coup soldiers at the cost of their lives.

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This is a huge one, for those who know Turkey!

Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar received a big round of applause when he took the stage. Along with Akar, other members of the top brass who were taken hostage by the coup plotters were present at the meeting. Akar once again said U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen was responsible for the coup.

President Erdoğan arrived in Yenikapı in a helicopter alongside first lady Emine Erdoğan. Mr Erdoğan started his speech by thanking the people who stood against the tanks and planes used by the coup plotters during the failed takeover. He wished his condolences to the 240 people killed by putschists, of whom 172 were civilians, 63 were police officers and five were soldiers. He also wished speedy recovery to the 2,195 wounded.

During Erdoğan’s speech the crowd repeatedly shouted that they wanted the death penalty to be reintroduced. “If parliament accepts the reintroduction of death penalty, I will accept it,” he told the crowd, adding that the death penalty exists in the U.S., Japan and “many other countries.”

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The Aegean region is a stronghold of opposition to the government, but . . .

“We’re here to show that these flags won’t come down, the call to prayer won’t be silenced, and our country won’t be divided,” said Hacı Mehmet Haliloğlu, a civil servant who traveled from the Black Sea province of Ordu for the rally. “This is something way beyond politics, this is either our freedom or death,” he said, a large Turkish flag over his shoulder and a matching baseball cap on his head.

Repeated announcements were made in the area regarding a ban on carrying party flags or party slogans. Millions of Turkish flags were seen in the area, as well as the flags of Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Albania and the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Posters of Erdoğan and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, were also hung around the venue.

The “Democracy and Martyrs Rally” was held as the last in a series of meetings to protest the failed takeover, which is believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

Read the whole article

It has been estimated that 3.5 million people turned up for the meeting in Istanbul – and large crowds attended similar gatherings in all of Turkey’s 81 provinces.

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“There is a new Turkey now!”

In spite of that, I could find no mention in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, the Sydney Morning Herald or the New Zealand Herald.

BBC News chose to report: Turkey’s president backs death penalty!

Apart from the Beeb, the other sites I visited focused on the possible abdication of the Emperor of Japan; continuing violence in Libya, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan; and the possibility that Oscar Pistorius may have tried to top himself.

Is there disappointment out there that the attempted coup in Turkey didn’t succeed? It sure looks like it from where I’m sitting.

The new president of the Philippines says many slain journalists deserved it

An average of four journalists killed every year! And I guess the Philippines is/are an important ally of the United States? I’m looking for a comment from ‘Reporters Without Borders’.

500Many slain journalists in the Philippines had been corrupt and had “done something” to warrant being killed, the country’s president-elect said.

“Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch,” Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday, Agence France-Presse reported.

The Philippines ranks as the second-deadliest country for journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. At least 75 journalists there have been killed since 1992.

On Tuesday, Duterte said many slain journalists had accepted bribes or criticized people, who then retaliated, the Associated Press reported. He also said a radio commentator killed in Davao City was “rotten.”

He also said journalists who defamed others weren’t necessarily protected from violent attacks.

“That can’t be just freedom of speech. The constitution can no longer help you if you disrespect a person,” he said, according to reports.

Read the whole article.

Silencing the United States as It Prepares for War — John Pilger | Information Clearing House

Love it! Factual, cogently argued . . . and scary as hell!

“The 2016 election campaign is remarkable not only for the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders but also for the resilience of an enduring silence about a murderous self-bestowed divinity. A third of the members of the United Nations have felt Washington’s boot, overturning governments, subverting democracy, imposing blockades and boycotts. Most of the presidents responsible have been liberal – Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama.”

Taking Sides

[Hat tip to Paul Craig Roberts]

Silencing the United States as It Prepares for War

John Pilger takes apart the liberal commentariat and points to the need for a genuinely anti-imperialist analysis of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and yes — Bernie Sanders.
By John Pilger

May 27, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – “teleSur” –  Returning to the United States in an election year, I am struck by the silence. I have covered four presidential campaigns, starting with 1968; I was with Robert Kennedy when he was shot and I saw his assassin, preparing to kill him. It was a baptism in the American way, along with the salivating violence of the Chicago police at the Democratic Party’s rigged convention. The great counter revolution had begun.

The first to be assassinated that year, Martin Luther King, had dared link the suffering of African-Americans and the people…

View original post 1,622 more words

George Clooney, The Aurora Prize And Hope In Armenia – Hate masquerading as peace

I want to pass this on to you. It is the most articulate response I have read to the barrage of attacks mounted against the people of Turkey in Western media over something that happened over a hundred years ago.

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Without the shades, you might see some of the world’s real problems

I can’t tell you who wrote it. It was submitted as a comment on the Forbes website to an emotive article about the Hollywood actor George Clooney’s recent visit to Armenia.

Please. You are not Kim Kardashian or George Clooney. You are a journalist. Do some research on both sides before you write some piece to “feel all the feels”.

What is conveniently not mentioned in these “feel all the feels” articles is this: Guess which country has had the most diplomats and ambassadors murdered? Turkey. All of them, by Armenian terrorists. And you don’t have to go back 100 years to research it. And it all took place in Western countries. You know why you never heard of it? Because Western media bows down to special interest Armenian lobbying and censors the news. You know what else? All those murderers have already been released and are free and walking the streets.

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Armenian terrorist holds hostage at gunpoint

Did you know that in the 1980s, an Armenian priest in Turkey burned himself publicly to protest and to stop his own people from murdering Turkish diplomats? No? Because the Western media suppressed that bit of news also. Did you know that there are more than 60 Armenian schools in Turkey for Armenian citizens to send their children to, if they’d rather their children go there? Do you know there are numerous famous Armenian writers, musicians, actors, and artists in Turkey? Do you know Turkey allows its own Armenian citizens living in Turkey, who have been influenced by Armenians in Western countries, to freely meet and post on social media all their vengeful feelings about 100 years ago?

Turkey takes the higher road and doesn’t get into the lies and the sensationalism so you end up with misguided celebrities feeding the fire. Did Armenians join with the world to help relieve the refugee crisis? Did the Clooneys or Kim Kardashian do a single thing to help a single refugee? Did they ever say anything about the more recent Rwandan or Serbian genocide? Did they ever stop their vengeful navel gazing to help anyone else in the world? Do you know how many refugees Turkey took in? Millions and millions. And Turkey did it while being harassed nonstop by these bullies giving in to the sensationalized lobbying. In Western countries currently, there is a great amount of harassment, bullying, bigotry, and discrimination towards Turkish citizens perpetuated by Armenians. 

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Well known historians, Kim and Khloe on their photo-op in Armenia

Don’t fool yourselves. American and Western universities, schools, workplaces are not places of Equal Opportunity. You only hear about the racial and religious discrimination because those are eventually unearthed. This other type of nationalistic discrimination by Armenians toward those with Turkish origins goes on and on every single day and is never even brought to light. Why would you even say Turkish people are denying it? Like Turkish people were alive and in their 20s and 30s in 1915 and they all happened to be right there wherever this battle / march / genocide happened and they witnessed it or outright took part in it and then they all miraculously lived to be 120 and 130 years old and deny it? I personally did not hear a single word about it growing up in Turkey and I was caught off-guard by all the harassment and bullying I experienced once I came to the U.S.

Just the way police coerce people into false confessions, Armenians won’t rest till they use their hysteria, sensationalism, and special interest lobbying to get the whole world pressuring Turkey to make a false confession. How about the world telling Armenians to stop rehashing World War I nonstop for a zillion years?

Why would you be stuck in what an empire, that the Turkish Republic put an end to itself, did more than 100 years ago? Why would you bring it to a level where you have this unquenchable personal vengeance toward people who had nothing to do with what happened 100 years ago? All of a sudden, the whole world is on this vengeance and hatred bandwagon with Armenians against Turkish people who have done nothing. Why would you not choose peace? Why would you perpetuate vengeance and hatred? Even our grandparents were not even born in 1915. If the world wants to have an enemy because they just can’t be peaceful, they should find some real perpetrators because this whole thing is the single most obnoxious thing I have ever seen. You all continue to swing your sword at the windmills like Don Quixote. You are conducting the Salem witch trials all over again. Why can’t you say, “Peace begins with me,” instead of creating hatred and vengeance?

recently renovated Vordvots Vorotman Armenian Church in Istanbul

Recently renovated Vordvots Vorotman Armenian Church, Istanbul

There are numerous Western historians who have studied events around that time in that region of the world and unequivocally said, “I will not call this genocide.” If you want anecdotes just like the Armenian anecdotes, there are numerous anecdotes of Turkish families being tortured and murdered at the hands of Armenians who joined with the Russian forces. But of course, in our topsy-turvy world where Western media is censored by lobbying bullies, you rarely hear the truth. Please satisfy the requirements of objective journalism before you write a piece to fan the flames of vengeance.

 

Of Tennis, Politics and Freedom of the Press

I’m a tennis fan, though I don’t write much about it. I don’t watch a lot of TV either, but I do enjoy a match between top-level players. For some years now my favourite player has been Spain’s Rafael Nadal – and not merely because he’s left-handed. I was impressed from the moment he burst on the scene at the French Open as an 18 year-old in a sleeveless shirt and long bermuda shorts.

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Rafa hugs Uncle Toni after winning Wimbledon, 2012

I appreciate his gentlemanly conduct on and off court – his magnanimity in victory, and more recently, his graciousness in defeat. I admire the way he works on his weaknesses: learning English good enough to deal with even the most inane questions of the press gallery; and coming back with a more powerful service after realising his game needed it. After a lengthy period of illness and injury where Nadal saw his world ranking drop from 1st to 8th, he appears to have come back to his winning ways. In an age where mega-rich tennis stars pay for an army of coaches and support staff, and change them regularly, Rafa has stuck with his Uncle Toni through thick and thin.

So I am totally on his side as he brings a defamation lawsuit against former French sports minister Roselyne Bachelot who apparently accused the Spanish star of covering up a failed drug test.

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Who can know? But he looks honest to me

Nadal was quoted as saying, “Through this case, I intend not only to defend my integrity and my image as an athlete but also the values I have defended all my career.”

“I also wish to prevent any public figure from making insulting or false allegations against an athlete using the media, without any evidence or foundation.”

And isn’t he right? Mme Bachelot is apparently now a television show host, so I guess the question of press freedom arises here.

Well, I want you to know that I am a firm supporter of freedom in all its forms. The fact that I occasionally express contentious opinions on this blog must be evidence of this. However, it seems to me there must be limits to freedom of speech – and of course there are. All civilized countries have laws of libel and defamation. Clearly the issue of doping is crucial to a sportsperson’s ability to pursue his or her career. No one has the right to jeopardise that without indisputable evidence to support their accusation.

Surely the same is true for political leaders. I may think that the prime minister of my country is corrupt, a liar and a murderer; but if I come out in public and accuse him or her of these crimes – or bestiality and paedophilia, I’d better be prepared to front up in court and substantiate my claims, or face the consequences.

And no anonymous bunch of pseudo-leftist puppets calling themselves ‘Reporters Without Borders’ will convince me otherwise.

Anzac Day and the Armenian ‘Genocide’ – What’s the connection?

Visitors from Australia and New Zealand attend a dawn ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli, at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli

2015 Anzac dawn service, Turkey

Tomorrow, or today, depending on your time zone, thousands of New Zealanders and Australians will gather for a dawn service on the beach of Anzac Cove beside the Dardanelle Strait in the Republic of Turkey. Most of them will then participate in organised tours around the battlefields and cemeteries of what we like to call the Gallipoli Peninsula.

I’ve been there several times myself. It’s a moving experience, reminding us antipodeans of our shared heritage, and providing us with a date on we can celebrate the emergence of a national consciousness.

Although I live in Turkey, I haven’t actually attended one of those 25 April commemorative services. My first visit was with a party of Turkish high school students and teachers, there for their own day of remembrance on 18 March. My most recent was with a couple of visitors from New Zealand on a quiet day in May.

I have, I guess, an unusual perspective on the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915. I grew up imbued with all the legend and mythology associated with its memory in New Zealand. My years in Turkey have shown me another side to the story. Interestingly, both countries trace aspects of their origins to that tragic, bloody and ultimately futile conflict.

One factor, however, that has kept me from joining my fellow New Zealanders on their annual pilgrimages, is a feeling that we are not quite as appreciative as we might be of the hospitality the people of Turkey show in welcoming their former invaders, and allowing us to celebrate our national identity on their soil. What were our boys doing there, after all, 17,000 kilometres from home, invading the land of a people they barely knew existed, who certainly had not done them any harm?

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Winston Churchill with German Kaiser Wilhelm, 1909

However brave our lads were, and that is beyond debate, they were in the wrong – or at least their military and political leaders who sent them were. I sometimes half seriously ask my Turkish students who they consider their country’s ‘Number Two Man’, after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. They show considerable surprise, even anger, when I offer my nomination of Winston Churchill for the title.

Certainly Mustafa Kemal was the victor of Gallipoli/Çanakkale, and the founder of the Republic. However, my contention is that, without the outrageous provocation of the British Empire, and Churchill in particular, the spark that ignited the struggle for liberation and independence might never have been struck. His was the grand plan to force the Dardanelles and the surrender of the Ottoman government, and to assist Imperial Russia in attacking Germany from the east, thereby relieving pressure on the Western front. Undeterred by failure, the British encouraged the Greek army to invade Anatolia in 1919 as part of their plan to divide and destroy the Ottoman Empire once and for all. When the Greeks too were driven out, Churchill’s final affront was an ultimatum calling on Turkish nationalists to refrain from attempting to liberate Istanbul from occupation. His bluff was called, and the modern Republic of Turkey came into being on 23 October 1923.

One of the most touching memories for me of the 1915 tragedy is the extract from a speech delivered by Atatürk, addressed to the families of the Anzacs who left their mortal remains on the battlefields of Gallipoli:

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours … You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

We shouldn’t forget, when we visit Turkey, that we are there as guests of a sovereign nation. The British Government back then underestimated Ottoman resistance, duped by their own rhetoric about ‘The Sick Man of Europe’. Our grandfathers paid a high price for that. Short-term visitors to Turkey cannot be expected to learn the local language – but we might make some effort to learn a little history and geography. ‘Gallipoli’ is in fact a town in Southern Italy. The Turkish name for the peninsula is Gelibolu, a corruption of the ancient Greek town called Kallipolis. Turks refer to the campaign as Çanakkale (Chunnuck-kaleh) a name they also apply to the strait we choose to call the Dardanelles. This latter word derives from another ancient Greek town named for the mythical son of Zeus and Electra.

Who cares, you may ask? But I’m arguing that we, New Zealanders of all people, should care. For some years we have been starting to realise that many of our own place names arrogantly replaced meaningful words assigned by the indigenous Maori people – Aotearoa, Taranaki/Mt Egmont, Aoraki/ Mt Cook, and so on. The Republic of Turkey will celebrate its 93rd birthday this year. Perhaps its time we consigned that Greek mythology to its rightful place on library shelves.

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Lord Byron in ‘Albanian costume’ – I never even liked his poetry

After all, we owe much of our ‘knowledge’ of ‘Greece’ to a controversial, aristocratic English poet, Lord George Gordon Byron. A few words from his Wikipedia entry:

“Byron was both celebrated and castigated in life for his aristocratic excesses, including huge debts, numerous love affairs – with men as well as women, as well as rumours of a scandalous liaison with his half-sister – and self-imposed exile. He was living in Genoa when, in 1823, while growing bored with his life there, he accepted overtures for his support from representatives of the movement for Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire. Byron spent £4,000 of his own money to refit the Greek fleet.

Byron planned to attack the Turkish-held fortress of Lepanto, at the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth. He employed a fire-master to prepare artillery and took part of the rebel army under his own command, despite his lack of military experience. Before the expedition could sail, on 15 February 1824, he fell ill. He developed a violent fever, and died on 19 April. It has been said that if Byron had lived and had gone on to defeat the Ottomans, he might have been declared King of Greece. However, contemporary scholars have found such an outcome unlikely.”

Thwarted by Byron’s untimely death, the British government arranged for the installation of a German prince from the Bavarian Wittelsbach family as King Otto I of their new puppet state.

Well, I’m not here to talk about Lord Byron and the past sins of Imperial Britain – rather to warn that we need to exercise caution in deciding what to believe, especially when that belief may lead to actions with unintended and undesirable consequences. The 16th century French essayist, Michel de Montaigne, observed that Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know’, and the passage of time has not detracted from the truth of his words.

Western news media are presently full of articles and opinion pieces referring to the so-called ‘Armenian genocide’. The reason is that the global community of Armenians chose 24 April as the day to commemorate another tragic event of 1915. The issue, as I’m sure you are well aware, is whether the expulsion and deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire at that time should be labelled a ‘genocide’ – and whether the modern Republic of Turkey should accept responsibility.

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If you can afford $33,400 to $353,400 for a ticket

The Catholic Pope has apparently come out in support of the Armenian claim, and I read of a church service being conducted by a Catholic cardinal in a cathedral in Boston. George Clooney, better known as a Hollywood actor, has also announced his support for the Armenian cause. President Obama, meanwhile, has angered Armenians by soft-pedalling on the issue, despite earlier promises on the campaign trail.

Well, I’m not going to engage in diversionary arguments about whether the Catholic Church has any right to take anyone else to task for human rights abuses. Nor attack Mr Clooney and his wife for their ‘obscene’ financial support of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

I would, however, like to express my sadness and disappointment over an article published in the New Zealand Herald today. Admittedly it’s an opinion piece, and possibly doesn’t reflect the position of the owners and publishers of the paper. However, it’s a sensitive issue, and they should give some thought to the warning of M. Montaigne.

The writer, James Robins, has chosen to make a connection between the Anzac involvement in the Gallipoli Campaign, and the current campaign to have the Armenian tragedy recognised as a genocide. He claims that New Zealand soldiers actually witnessed events proving that a genocide, the systematic and near-complete destruction of a people’ took place. Robins asserts that For centuries the Armenians had been second-class citizens in the Ottoman Empire.’ In fact, Armenians, along with Orthodox Christians and Jews had been given the right to build schools and churches, speak their languages, practice their religion, bury their dead, hold high positions, and live rich and comfortable lives in the Ottoman Empire.

The article contains a picture of a desecrated and destroyed Armenian cemetery. I can take Mr Robins to many Armenian churches and cemeteries occupying fabulously valuable real estate in modern Istanbul. If he has any Greek friends, he could ask them to show him mosques or synagogues in Athens or Salonika, cities that once had large Muslim and Jewish populations. And good luck with the search.

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Armenian cemetery in Şişli, one of Istanbul’s most expensive neighbourhoods

Robins quotes the ‘historian’ Taner Akçam – much of whose ‘research’ has in fact been called into question. A Turkish historian, Haluk Şahin, has just published a book, ‘Anatomy of a Forgotten Assassination Plot’. Şahin refers to the murder of two Turkish diplomats in Santa Barbara, California, on 27 January 1973 by an American citizen of Armenian descent – the first killing in an orchestrated programme that caused the deaths of 90 Turkish diplomatic staff and members of their immediate families.

I have in front of me an article from Al Jazeera dated 5 April, about the ongoing conflict between the country of Armenia and its neighbour Azerbaijan. The subheading reads: ‘The international community has consistently deplored the occupation of the Azerbaijani territories’. The article refers to the 1993 incident where Through the Armenian aggression and ethnic cleansing policy, 20 percent of the internationally recognised Azerbaijani territory (Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven adjacent districts) were occupied by Armenia, and more than one million Azerbaijanis were expelled from their ancestral lands.’

I’m not interested in taking sides on these issues. We New Zealanders have unsavoury and still unresolved events in our own history. The Roman Catholic Church likewise. I do hope, however, that the Herald’s correspondent, James Robins, represents a minority point-of-view when he asks, ‘Can New Zealand state officials stand on a platform with Turkish officials at Gallipoli knowing that they actively refuse to acknowledge the truth of what happened to the Armenians? Knowing now that New Zealanders risked their lives for the survivors?’

Just remember who looks after those Gallipoli cemeteries from one Anzac Day to the next; whose government gives New Zealanders free visas to enter their country, and whose people welcome us like family when we’re there. Are you really so sure of your facts that you want to jeopardise those privileges?

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Other posts on this issue:

Who killed the Armenians?

Armenian Massacres and the Nationalism of Hate

In Search of Solutions

History at 10,000 metres

Reality buttocks, papal infallibility and the Armenian issue

Selective Amnesia

Who hijacked the left?