Whether one is critical of the alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States or in favour of the so-called “Special Relationship” it is perceived to be an amicable, natural and trans-historical partnership between two nations who share the same language and whose global interests are more or less the same. Over the last fifteen years these two nations assumed the lead in their continuing support of the colonialist state of Israel and waging war on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and calling for more military intervention in Syria and Iran. So it is no surprise that many find it hard to accept that this alliance is a recent advent rooted in geo-political exigencies of the historical moment at hand. The United States came into being by overthrowing the British imperialist yoke and declaring independence from it. In the first 150 years of the new Republic, the Empire continued (more…)
Beyond the triumphalism of the British mainstream media, beneath the jubilation of the London politicians, the last rites of “Britishness” maybe gathering pace. The percentage margin of victory for the pro-British Union in the Scottish independence referendum belies any notion of a comfortably united British, so-called “United Kingdom.”
Scots were clearly galvanised to the tune of a remarkable 84% electoral turnout. This numerically translated as 3,619,915 votes being validly cast. Of these 2,001,926 were cast to remain in the United Kingdom, that is, to remain part of the British state. While 1,617,989 wanted complete autonomy and separation from the Kingdom.
What separated victory for the Union and with it the complete cessation of the state we continue to refer as “British” (more…)
By all honest accounts the British establishment has visited war, carnage, slavery, genocide, terrorism, imperialism, colonialism, impoverishment, starvation and concentration camps on mankind over the last four hundred years. In most cases, especially in the earlier period, such grisly adventurism was executed under the pretext of civilising the native, that is, the aboriginal peoples of the earth. This unsolicited global carnage made England and Great Britain a rich country. The wondrous booty of the establishment’s maritime entrepreneurialism trickled down to the cheering populace and they tugged their forelocks in appreciation and in reciprocation the multitude conferred legitimacy on their wise leaders. The populace migrated to the establishment’s new foreign possessions which in itself eased economic tensions on the home front – by many migrating abroad, there were less challenges to the order of things on the home front.
It is difficult to imagine Albion would have reached such stupendous levels of effortless affluence without resort to such single-minded blood-lust inflicted on the aboriginal peoples of the earth, which herein was the very foundation of its Empire. As Winston Churchill argued in a cabinet meeting in January 1914:
“we are not a young people with an innocent record and a (more…)
As the bombs rain on Gaza, the latest edition of the New Statesman magazine, Great Britain’s main weekly centre-left magazine, defined the Palestinian struggle against Zionist colonisation and aggression as a “conflict between two peoples destined to claim ownership of the same land.”
The editorial obviously doesn’t enunciate how and why it became the ‘destiny’ of Palestinians to have been ethnically cleansed from their land and killed in their thousands (i.e. “conflict”) in what was initially a British imperialist project. But the New Statesman’s editorial in November 1917 endorsing the Balfour Declaration certainly does shed an incredible dose of light on how this destiny materialised. (more…)
During the first week of General Khalifa Hiftar’s so-called “Operation Dignity” in Libya ostensibly launched with the modus operandi to military rid the country of armed Islamist militias and to establish stability, it wasn’t too difficult to find some in the British media highlighting the General’s supposed proximity to American intelligence and specifically to the CIA.
‘Operation Dignity’ was launched on Friday 16th May, by the following Monday the Financial Times (FT) was informing its readers that after the General’s defection from the Libyan army a couple of decades ago, he moved to a Washington D.C suburb where “he is said to have cultivated contacts with Western agencies seeking to undermine” Colonel Muammar Ghadhaffi, the former leader of Libya.
On Tuesday 20th May, the FT once again reminded its readers that Hiftar “is believed to have links to the U.S.” On the same day the Guardian’s Middle East editor, Ian Black referred to him as a “US-linked figure”, while (more…)
Last Sunday, Februrary 23rd, the world witnessed the spectacular ceremonial finish to the Sochi winter Olympic games with dance, fireworks and customary pomp; on the preceding Tuesday the world clearly witnessed the ceremonial ending of a long running business saga with Prince Charles customarily dancing to the tune of the Saudi-Wahhabi clan. The first in line for the British crown dressed to the nines in traditional military regalia of the Saudi nepotistic despots, as he helped to seal another military deal which will healthily burnish the order book of Europe’s largest arms manufacturer, BAE Systems. The price for 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets was finally agreed to by the Saudi clan.
The deal, aptly and orwellianly named “Salam” (i.e. Peace), is worth £4.5 billion (equivalent to roughly $7.1 billion) and according to a report in the Times of London, is part of the notorious and corrupt £40 billion “Yamamah” (i.e. Dove) deal. Furthermore, the hundreds of millions of pounds newly “wringed” from the Saudi clan will underpin thousands of jobs in the North West of England “and around the British defence supply chain” added the Times.
The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT,) an organisation which monitors the arms industry, claimed that the United Kingdom sells (more…)
In the first decade of this century, amidst the flames of the “War on Terror” which had hitherto taken in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the late president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez made a private visit to London to meet Ken Livingstone, the mayor. Two days earlier British Prime Minister, Tony Blair had lectured and rebuked Chavez and Evo Morales, Bolivian President on the need to use the resources of his oil rich country ‘responsibly’.
According to the Guardian, Blair “called on the Bolivian president, Evo Morales, and his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, to show some responsibility in the use of their energy resources.”
Responsibility is the act of being responsible and the Oxford English Dictionary defines “responsible” as “having an obligation to do something, or having control over or care for someone.”[i] On the other hand, what Blair actually meant by “responsibility” was not qualified or spelt out. If by chiding Chavez and Morales, Blair is arguing that the two South American leaders are using their respective countries wealth incorrectly, inappropriately and unwisely, what exactly was Blair’s prognosis? (more…)
At the recent United Nations annual gathering of world leaders in September, President Barack Obama once again admitted to America’s role in the coup d’état which overthrew the government of the democratically elected Muhammad Mossadegh in 1953. This is not the first time Obama has mentioned this sore and defining episode in American-Iranian relations. In his 2009 Cairo speech Obama was more explicit in laying out America’s involvement. He acknowledged that during “the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.”
The reason why Obama may have used the indefinite article, “a role”, in describing America’s involvement is largely because there was another external actor. If America had acted alone in overthrowing Mossadegh’s government (more…)
Upon Margaret Thatcher’s death, her champions naturally eulogised her as a fighter for liberal democracy in Eastern Europe, while her detractors brought attention to the fact that she was highly supportive, even complimentary, of dictators and apartheid in the Global South such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Chile, Indonesia and South Africa as well as her assistance to the genocidal Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.
Overlooked in both scenarios is her support of political Islamism and by extension Jihadis. Here is Thatcher in December 1979, advocating a political Islam as a counterweight to left-wing or communist ideology which she derogatively dubbed “imported Marxism”:
“I do not believe that we should judge Islam by events in Iran…There is a tide of self-confidence and self-awareness in the Muslim world which preceded the Iranian revolution, and will outlast its present excesses. The West should recognise this with respect, (more…)
Tony Benn is a legend in his own time to many a politicos, especially those of us who are interested in anti-imperialist politics. He is admired by friend and foe alike as the fearless embodiment of the principled and quintessential British parliamentarian.
Over the last ten years his reputation as a peacenik and a radical left-winger was further consolidated by being the head of the UK’s main anti-war organisation, Stop the War Coalition (StWC) and with his continued patronage of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), Britain’s main pro-Palestinian organisation. Yet according to a recent article published on the Open Democracy website it seems that Benn has a particular past which brings his current status into question. According to the writer, Professor Colin Scindler, Benn used to write “uber-Zionist” articles for a pro-Israeli journal called, the ‘Jewish Vanguard’. This surely beggars the question who is the real Tony Benn in accordance with a ‘Chomskyite’ criteria. (more…)