Where is Britain Most Culpable? 77

Our complicity with torture in Karimov’s Uzbekistan is a startling example of Britain’s double standards. But where are Britain’s other most current disgraceful examples of immoral foreign policy, and in particular support of dictators? I want to consider perhaps five of the most egregious examples for a media project. I have my own ideas, but would welcome your thoughts.

77 thoughts on “Where is Britain Most Culpable?

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  • Paul

    Not sure that it fits exactly what you are asking for given your reference to foreign policy and dictators. But how about Diego Garcia?

    The British government is, after all, directly responsible in this case.

  • Johan van Rooyen

    I can’t imagine the long-term support of both Saudi Arabia and Israel can be ignored.

  • craig


    yep, Saudi Arabia and Diego Garcia are top of my list. Probably not Israel too because I don’t want two middle eastern.

  • catherine

    Definitely Diego Garcia, though of course my own nation, the U.S., is at the root of the destruction of that beleaguered island and its people. But Britain has been so very, very helpful. It’s so nice to have a special relationship.

    Don’t know about the dictator part. Does it matter what the executive is called if he/she and his/her ruling bodies permit such monstrous actions?

  • somebody

    Northern Ireland. An Occupation.

    The Maze/Internment/Torture in support of rule by the Protestant Orange Order.

    Bloody Sunday. A cover up on an atrocity that happened 38 years ago washed away by an apology from the state by Cameron in the style of Brown.

  • arsalan

    Israel has to be at the top.

    Israel is the line the UK will never cross.

    Israel has done many bad things, and each and every bad thing is always given full support.

  • Richard

    Chagos Islands should be a definite – doesn’t the US’ lease of Diego Garcia come to an end in a few years. Would be great to help to build public consciousness about this and to help put pressure on the government to not renew it. Probably pie in the sky stuff but can you imagine if it worked.

    Somebody – You can’t seriously reduce all that happened in Northern Ireland to “support for the Protestant Orange Order”. A lot of horrible things happened here and you do a disservice to the truth to look at it so simplistically.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yeah, Paul, but the UK and USA are covertly working to destabilise the Burmese regime, which is a brutal regime, but that’s not why they’re working to destabilise it.

    I once listened to Ruth Padel, she of the Oxford Poetry Professor controversy, read out poems about Burma, where she’d been shortly before. It was a lacklustre session, very elegant and Oxbridge-Metropolitan, no real passion, no heart. Compared to poetry readings I’ve been to in Scotland, it was anaemic, both artistically and politically.

    And it struck me that, oh yes this is all very worthy and all, but isn’t she simply backing UK state foreign policy here, a sure way to get ahead? Yeah, cynical of me, right. But that was a couple of years before the Oxford debacle. So, maybe I wasn’t so far off the mark.

  • Abe Rene

    Ed, you’re right, I should have read it more carefully.

    Well currently, I think we’re doing just fine.

  • writerman

    Probably the single most striking example of british foreign policy double-standards, is the difference between how a country like Iran is treated and presented, compared to a regime/dictatorship like Saudi Arabia; which in relation to human rights, freedom, women’s rights, the rule of law, fundamental democratic rights, attitude to dissent, is arguably far less ‘democratic’ than the demonized Iranian regime. So what behind the radically different approaches to Iran and Saudi?

    Simply put, Saudi is weak, client regime, that couldn’t exist without US/Western protection and support. Saudi Arabia is clearly within the boundaries of the US/NATO/Israel imperial alliance; whereas Iran is not, and is therefore defined as a barbarous enemy and threat, a threat to the interests of the empire. If it was inside the sphere of the empire Iran would be almost treated as a model state, on a par with that other ‘moderate’ state, Egypt.

  • craig

    Saudi arabia, Diego Garcia, afghanistan, uzbekistan (possibly those two together). Current not historic. Oil companies in Nigeria, specific african arms deals, debunking sierraeone triumph. South america?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    S. America: What connection did that Jane’s Defence Weekly journalist who was murdered in a cupboard in S. America in the 1990s while investigating stuff have with the UK arms industry, Gerald Bull, Matrix Churchill? Is there something in there that’s still going on?

  • MJ

    I suppose it’s the countries that are the most powerful – economically or militarily or both – who can get away with the most. Therefore, in no particular order: USA, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

  • Anonymous

    Given that the state’s fundamental moral responsibility is to its own citizens, surely the most immoral aspect of our government’s foreign policy is the spineless and subservient relation to the USA. Our security and economy are repeatedly put at risk in the name of maintaining the “special relationship”, which quite clearly the yanks don’t give a crap about. Blair was even willing to commit an act of treason, promising UK military support for illegal wars without parliament’s consent, in order to suck up to Bush.

  • Arsalan

    It is Israel, because even the anti-government left are scared witless about mentioing Israel.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Iran – Iran – Iran

    In November 1977 about 1,100 British subjects were engaged in defence contract work in Iran.

    Britain owes Iran over £400M from a military contract signed in 1978 by International Military Services Ltd. IMS ceased trading on 31st July 1991.

    I am investigating the financial records of this company.

    The then Labour government department had a 100% interest in the non-preferential shares of IMS Limited, a company registered in England.

    Outstanding contracts do not seemed to have been settled before the company was liquidated. The Labour government department had written down the value of its investment to nil.

    About £900M of Iran’s money is frozen and held in Britain due to the EU sanctions.

  • Ruth

    Peter Hain called Viktor Bout, the Merchant of Death. But did Bout really run such a sophisticated network of arms supply? I very much doubt it. It’s far more likely that he fronted a covert arms operation run by the UK intelligence services. Excise duty covertly removed from the UK to buy weapons, weapons in exchange for diamonds etc., diamonds sold and the money laundered and legitimatised.

  • Mark


    The Jane’s Defence Weekly journalist who was ‘unlawfully killed’ in March 1990 in Chile (according to the inquest held 8 years later)was Jonathan Moyle.

    A few days earlier Gerald Bull was murdered in Brussels. Bull worked on the Iraqi ‘Supergun’ project, and Moyle, according to his family, was working on an Iraq related arms deal story when he was killed.

    No convictions in any jurisdiction have been made in the wake of both of these untimely deaths.

    And as Sir Larry of St Louis would have us believe, any person who suggests either or both of these deaths could be western intelligence agency ‘wet jobs’ is a ‘conspiraloon’, ‘nutjob’ etc. etc.

  • anno

    Chechnya. Utter silence. Total destruction.

    Laysa ba’da al-kufri thanb.

    There is no sin greater than disbelief.

    The UK’s greatest state immorality is its opposition to Islam. Islam is the embodiment of humanity and natural justice. All the other dirty tricks flow from the persistent UK state disbelief. There are many ways to skin a cat. If there are two fishes arguing in the deepest ocean, the originator of the disagreement was UK foreign policy. If you want proof that we are the worst country in the world, look no further that Iraq and Afghanistan. None of the rest of the world’s non-superpowers dared to sully their reputation by immediately volunteering their services to the US invasions. Britain is the bottom of the pile of immorality, lying and callous violence.

  • doug scorgie


    Examples of current immoral foreign policy by the UK have to include our dealings with dictatorships (that goes without saying) but our unquestioning support for Israel is the most diabolical. Israel is supposed to be (and portrayed as) a modern, vibrant democracy: it is not. The Foreign Office plays down or hides its support for Middle East dictatorships like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and the UAE, but publicly proclaims unending support for Israel which, on close inspection, would reveal it to be a brutal, racist regime, with a bit of democracy (for Jews)thrown in. If you only want one example from the Middle East, choose Israel; don’t go for the easy targets.


  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Despite British intelligence backing Mousavi failed to deliver the goods and the Western media were left looking fraudulent.

    From literally the morning after the Iramian Presidential election, the vast majority of Western journalists and U.S.-based Iran “experts” rushed to judgment that the outcome had to have been the result of fraud.

    These journalists and commentators largely succeeded in turning the notion of a fraudulent election in Iran into a “social fact” in the United States — just as journalists like Judith Miller, formerly of the New York Times, and “experts” like Kenneth Pollack, an analyst at the Brookings Institution, helped turn myths about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction into “social facts” before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    But there has never been a shred of hard evidence offered to back up the assertion of electoral fraud. For many, a “preliminary analysis” of the official results by University of St. Andrews Iranian studies professor Ali Ansari and two collaborators, published by Chatham House nine days after the election, was taken as scholarly ratification for an already dominant Western narrative about what had happened. But the extent of the evidentiary and analytic flaws in the Chatham House report is breathtaking. Don’t just take our word for it. We refer anyone who is interested to two impressively meticulous and thorough reviews of the 2009 election process and results. One, by two Iranian scholars living outside the Islamic Republic, systematically goes through all the points adduced by Ansari and his collaborators — alleged irregularities and anomalies in voter turnout, the sourcing of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s votes, the alleged underperformance of opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi (an ethnic Azeri) in Azeri-majority provinces and his fellow disappointed presidential hopeful Mehdi Karroubi in his home province, perceptions of statistical anomalies in the official results, etc. — and offers devastatingly persuasive rejoinders on every point.

    Extracted from a report by Flynt Leverett – http://www.raceforiran.com/

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