Human Rights and Washington’s Global Britain
U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo went to London on July 21 because the British government had bowed the knee to Washington and obeyed Trump’s orders to cut commercial contact with China’s Huawei technology company and Pompeo wanted to reinforce the US-UK anti-China campaign. The U.S. considers it essential that Chinese enterprises should be excluded from world trade, and there are no prizes for concluding that replacement for Huawei in Britain will be provided by American business.
An independent analysis determined that the UK’s decision to cut out Huawei would be extremely expensive. Indeed, “Using the government’s own estimates on the benefits of 5G, the cost to the UK economy of a delay in rollout is calculated at between £4.5 and £6.8 billion.” That is a massive amount of money for the impoverished United Kingdom, which is suffering grievously from the combined effects of its unwise rejection of the European Union and the Covid-19 pandemic which it has handled so poorly.
While Pompeo was effusive in his approval of Britain’s deference and adherence to Washington’s anti-China policy, he went further and blamed China for the pandemic and condemned its behaviour, claiming that it has exploited the crisis to further its own interests in a “disgraceful” way. He did not explain how Beijing had done this, nor did he expand on the matter of human rights, which is fundamental to Britain’s foreign policy. Indeed he has been silent about human rights in America and ignores the unpleasant fact that in his own country, as reported in the Washington Post on July 23, federal paramilitary forces have spurned the human rights of peaceful protestors and treated them with a savagery approved by their psychotic president.
For example, the New York Times described how a former member of the U.S. Navy was beaten up by Trump’s para-militaries in Portland, Oregon, on July 19. The man, Christopher David, “had largely ignored the protests in downtown Portland, but when he saw videos of unidentified federal agents grabbing protesters off the street and throwing them into rented minivans, he felt compelled to act.” He considered that “violent tactics against protesters… was a violation of the oaths that agents take to support, uphold and defend the Constitution.” So he went to ask these people “how they squared their actions with that oath.”
One of the para-militaries beat Mr David with a club “as another doused him with pepper spray, according to video footage… Mr David was taken to a nearby hospital, where a specialist said his right hand was broken and would require surgery to install pins, screws and plates.” Then on July 22 Portland’s mayor was teargassed “as he stood outside the federal courthouse, where federal agents set off explosives and fired chemicals into a crowd of hundreds.” President Trump mockingly observed that the mayor “wanted to be among the people. So he went into the crowd. And they knocked the hell out of him. That was the end of him. So it was pretty, pretty pathetic.”
The UK government reported its foreign minister, Dominic Raab, as saying that “As we forge a dynamic new vision for a truly Global Britain, this government is absolutely committed to the United Kingdom being an even stronger force for good in the world” and Pompeo enthusiastically agreed, declaring that “The UK Global Human Rights sanctions regime will give the UK a powerful new economic tool to promote accountability for human rights abuse on a global scale”, all of which would create a warm glow of goodness were it not for the fact that the US and the UK have a decidedly shameful record on human rights.
In the Indian Ocean there is a U.S. airbase on an island called Diego Garcia. It is used for power projection by U.S. strategic bombers and other forces and is part of the Chagos Archipelago, a British colony of some sixty islets which were “depopulated” because Britain wanted to give Diego Garcia to the US. In 2004 it was revealed that a bureaucrat in Britain’s foreign service had written sneeringly that “The object of the exercise is to get some rocks which will remain ours; there will be no indigenous population except seagulls who have not yet got a committee. Unfortunately along with the Birds go some few Tarzans or Men Fridays whose origins are obscure, and who are being hopefully wished on to Mauritius etc.”
The BBC recorded that “between 1968 and 1974, Britain forcibly removed thousands of Chagossians from their homelands and sent them more than 1,000 miles away to Mauritius and the Seychelles, where they faced extreme poverty and discrimination.” There are some 3,000 reluctantly resident in Britain and many of the young ones, born in exile, have been denied British citizenship and live in fear of being expelled. As one deportee told the BBC, “The young deserve to have British nationality. The Chagos Islands were colonized by the British so it’s their responsibility.”
Then in May last year there was an overwhelming vote in the UN General Assembly for a resolution requiring that Britain should withdraw its “colonial administration” from the Chagos Islands. 121 countries voted in favor, against the US, Australia, Hungary, Israel, Australia and the Maldives which joined Britain in defending its manifestly illegal conduct, which it was judged to be by the International Court of Justice in the Hague. As noted by the Guardian newspaper, “Washington had campaigned vigorously at the UN and directly in talks with national capitals around the world in defence of the UK’s continued control of the archipelago,” because the Pentagon wanted to safeguard its military base.
On July 20 the UK government made its position on international obligations crystal clear when foreign secretary Raab declared Britain has “grave concerns regarding the gross human rights abuses” allegedly perpetrated by China. He emphasised that “we expect China to live up to the international obligations, and the international responsibilities that come with that stature.”
Absolutely right. All countries should live up to their international obligations — unless that involves global Britain having to grant human rights to Chagos Islanders it evicted from their homes. Furthermore, London does not consider it an international obligation to abide by the UN Resolution that it should cease colonial rule over the Chagos Archipelago.
Britain and the U.S. are forever pontificating about human rights, but are entirely selective in their condemnation. Britain wouldn’t dream of criticising Washington’s para-military savagery against U.S. citizens any more than the Trump cabal would condemn the British government’s treatment of Chagos Islanders and its determination to ignore the UN Resolution requiring it to grant freedom to its colony that hosts a U.S. nuclear bomber base.
The most unfortunate aspect of this dual demonstration of hypocrisy is that nothing will be done about it because the administrations in London and Washington focus media attention on other matters — usually, and notably successfully on slanted or planted allegations concerning China and Russia. Beating up your own citizens and expelling colonials from their homes are not considered to be violations of human rights if executed by the U.S. and the UK. And Global Britain keeps bowing the knee to Global Washington.
By Brian Cloughley
Source: Strategic Culture