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British foreign policy – cui bono?

Questions remain unanswered over the government-funded Integrity Initiative. What have ministers got to hide, asks CHRIS WILLIAMSON

WHOSE interests does British foreign policy serve? It certainly doesn’t serve the interests of the British public. 

But then British foreign policy never has done. It has always been about the interests of wealthy elites and corporate capitalism, and yet we’re supposed to live in a democracy?
 
War, or the threat of war, is a highly profitable endeavour, and during the cold war, the British Establishment had a ready-made bogeyman.  

But for the past 30 years they have been forced to invent new ones to justify Britain’s covert and military intrusions.  

But the reality is these interventions have always been undertaken in the interests of corporate capitalism, and have had nothing whatsoever to do with “liberty” and “democracy.”  

To make matters worse, Britain’s regime change technique was adopted by US in the 1950s and applied around the world.
 
Mohammad Mosaddegh’s government in Iran was overthrown in 1953 at the behest of Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), which is now British Petroleum.  

The Mosaddegh government asked for AIOC’s co-operation in the use of Iran’s oil reserves, but they arrogantly refused.  

So the Iranian parliament understandably voted to nationalise the country’s oil industry.  

As a consequence, MI6 masterminded a coup and were assisted by the CIA in their endeavour.  

They successfully installed the Shah’s brutal regime, and the rest, as they say, is history.
 
Even though the “cold war” ended 30 years ago, Russia continues to be portrayed as one of the West’s bogeymen.  

The recent G7 summit focused on holding back the rising power of Russia and China, and the corporate media collaborate with this propaganda instead of scrutinising it. 

Yet everything Britain accuses Russia of doing, it is doing itself, only to a much greater extent. 

It was ever thus. When I was an MP, most of the MPs I encountered indulged this poppycock.  

Nearly all of them also backed the illegal war in Iraq, the invasion of Afghanistan, arms sales to Israel and Saudi Arabia and were gagging for a military intervention in Syria. 

These characters justify their imperialist tendencies by saying their decisions are in the “national interest.”
 
But how is it in the national interest to facilitate killing people around the world, then turn your back on the refugees your military adventures and arms sales have created?  

The only interests these parliamentarians are serving in reality are those of the military industrial complex, and the global corporations who profit from Western imperialism.  

But this is rarely examined by corporate media hacks. Instead, they willingly engage in a campaign of disinformation that suits the interests of the ruling elites.  
 
A group of EU remainiac MPs refuse to believe that the British people willingly voted to leave the European Union.  

Instead, they are insisting that it was all Russia’s fault. These jokers are so obsessed with this fanciful notion that they are taking the government to court for not launching an inquiry.  

They are incapable of acknowledging that people rejected the EU’s neoliberal project and want something better. Something that serves the interests of the people instead of the elites. 

That was the political programme of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and it precipitated the very British coup that deposed him, in which those same parliamentarians participated.  

The fourth estate, and the deep state, were deployed to crush the Corbyn project. A project that defied the neoliberal consensus and prioritised peace and disarmament over war and arms sales — in short, a project that challenged the imperialist status quo, and that was unconscionable to the powerful vested interests behind the coup.
   
It was a status quo where Reuters and the BBC were engaged in covert activities in Russia.  

They were colluding with the FCO’s programme to undermine Russia across eastern Europe and central Asia, as well as promoting Russian regime change too.  

The plot was disclosed in a series of documents that were leaked earlier this year.  

Max Blumenthal broke the story in the Grayzone, and investigative journalist Kit Klarenberg also covered the scandal.  

They revealed that the Reuters Foundation, and BBC Media Action, were engaged in a covert information warfare campaign.
 
These supposedly impartial media giants were working alongside intelligence contractors known as “the Consortium.”

The project was overseen by a mysterious FCO department called Counter Disinformation and Media Development.  

It ran a series of training programmes for Russian journalists to produce an “attitudinal change in the participants.”
 
I had raised the FCO’s shady shenanigans in the House of Commons through a series of oral and written questions.  

I was particularly interested to find out more about why the government was bankrolling the Integrity Initiative, which has received millions of pounds in public money. 

This supposed charity was established by the Institute for Statecraft to counter Russian disinformation.  

But I was stonewalled at every turn by ministers citing national security for their reticence. 
 
My persistence seemed to upset the Foreign Office Minister, Alan Duncan.  

He referred to me in his recently published diaries, when he wrote the following revealing passage: “It’s all being pushed by the odious Chris Williamson, the hard-left Labour MP who’s probably the most hated man in Parliament.”  

What an accolade! Given the calibre of our present parliamentarians, I would be more concerned if he had said I was the most liked man in Parliament.
 
Which brings me back to the question I posed at the beginning — whose interests does British foreign policy serve?  

If more of us started asking that question, policy-makers would find it impossible to justify the existing status quo.  

Chris Williamson was MP for Derby North from 2010-15 and 2017-19.

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