British double-standards in the Falklands

b7f6falklands 1 British double standards in the Falklands

Clearly a useless but highly politicized exercise in UK-brand“democracy” that serves, however, to unmask Britishdouble-standards.All along, self-determination has been the excuse the BritishGovernment has wielded far and wide for carrying out thisreferendum on those bleak and distant islands, more than 8000kilometers from Britain’s coast and a mere 600 km from Argentina’sPatagonian coast. Islanders voted almost unanimously to remainunder the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.”We believe in self-determination.”, Cameron dixit…“The Falkland Islanders have spoken so clearly about theirfuture and now other countries right across the world, I hope, willrespect and revere this very, very clear result.”Argentina, however, maintains that this was an illegal and”pointless” vote because the entire population of the Falklands isan “implanted people” who actually have no voice in a dispute thatis not with them but between Argentina and Britain.There are several overtones to this, not least of which are theenormous oil reserves in the area.  That Britain should playthe “champion of the right to self-determination” role – even ifonly of a very tiny group of less than 3000 inhabitants in somefar-away windswept islands – is grotesque and hypocritical so saythe least.Because it begs the question: was it always so with Britain?Answer: not quite…We need not go back too far in British imperial history to learnhow dictatorial and unjustly Britain behaved towards its vanquishedcolonies, systematically trampling on their right to“self-determination” and just about every other human right in thebook.  We could point to the Opium Wars of 1839/1842 and 1856/60 whenthe Crown-backed British East India Company forcibly pried Chinaopen to the glories of opium, imposing death and destruction upontens of millions of Chinese all in the name of huge financialprofit for the likes of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corp(aka, HSBC) and Mathieson Ltd. We could also mention how in the first half of the 20th centuryBritain fully ignored the right to self-determination of millionsin India using genocidal tactics to retain that colony for theBritish Crown until Jawaharlal Nehru and the great Mahatma Gandhirallied the Hindus and threw Britain out of India after the secondworld war.We might even mention the nice concentration camps Britaininvented and in South Africa during the Boer War at the turn of the20th century.But no.  No need to go that far back.  Just take alook at the more recent case of Diego Garcia Island, which look somuch like the Falklands and yet Britain handled so differently.”We have always been clear that we believe in the rights ofthe Falklands people to determine their own futures and to decideon the path they wish to take. It is only right that, in the 21stcentury, these rights are respected.” How shrewd of Mr Hague to be so forward-looking into this 21stCentury, whilst he avoids looking back at the UK’s track record,which fully condemns Britain politically and morally.Diego Garcia IslandThis is (or was) the only inhabited island in Chagos Archipelagoin the Indian Ocean, another remote UK colony officially known asthe British Indian Ocean Territory.In 1966, at the height of the Cold War, then Labour PrimeMinister Harold Wilson agreed with US President Lyndon Johnson tolease Diego Garcia to the American Military, who badly needed amilitary base in the Indian Ocean to monitor Soviet activity. Diego Garcia was just perfect!In return, the Americans made a major financial contribution tothe UK’s Polaris submarine program.One small snag, though: the 2.000 “natives” that had been living onDiego Garcia since the 18th century; before the Brits had eventaken a look at the Falkland/Malvinas.  These “Chagossians”, as they are called, were the descendants ofslaves originally brought to Diego Garcia by the British for forcedlabour in their coconut plantations.  To comply with Britain’sagreement with the Americans, in a bout of high respect for the“self-determination” of the Chagossians, starting in 1968 theBritish government promptly threw them all off theirisland. As The Guardian newspaper reported in February 2012, “fromthe late 1960s onwards, those leaving the islands for shoppingtrips or emergency medical treatment often found their returnbarred. Bfy 1973, all the inhabitants of Diego Garcia, thedescendants of slaves… had been forcibly removed – dumped inMauritius and the Seychelles, where they were left to fend forthemselves.  Four decades on, the Chagossians – who gainedfull British citizenship in 2002 and now have a 1,000-strongcommunity in Sussex – are still struggling to returnhome.” Why the different treatment?  Well, maybe the fact that theFalkland Kelpers are of white British stock – “Aryan” WASP’s (WhiteAnglo-Saxon Protestants)! – might help to explain London’seagerness to protect their “self-determination rights”, whilst -Alas! – the Diego Garcia Chagossians are of far swarthierstock…  Ergo, no self-determinations rights for them!!Racism you say?  No, just another example of how Britainrespects “21st rights” as Mr Hague so eloquently put it.  But there’s more to this.  Today, the US military operates aNaval Support Facility (NSF) on Diego Garcia with around 4000troops, used after 9/11 to support combat operations againstAfghanistan and Iraq.  They also operate a Guantanamo-like CIAmanned prison facility there which former British Foreign SecretaryJack Straw said back in 2004 the US had “repeatedly assured himthat no detainees had passed in transit through Diego Garcia orwere disembarked there”. Nevertheless in 2007 the all-party Foreign Affairs Committee ofthe British Parliament announced it would launch an investigationon the continued allegations of a clandestine prison camp on DiegoGarcia, a fact confirmed by repeated comments made by Retired USArmy General Barry McCaffrey. The UN Special Rapporteur on torture,in turn, said there is credible evidence supporting allegationsthat ships serving as CIA “black sites” use Diego Garcia toincarcerate and torture detainees.That’s Britain and its US ally spreading “self-determinationrights” and “democracy” throughout the world…!Legitimizing Colonial OccupationDick Sawle, a member of the Legislative Assembly in the FalklandIslands government who was at the voting count in Port Stanley,called this week’s referendum results “absolutelyfantastic”. Dick: what’s so fantastic about asking a small group of staunchBritons who hate the Argentinians whether they wish to remainBritish or become Argentinian? The UK’s referendum in the Falklands is exactly the same asasking the 400,000 or so ultra-right wing illegal Israeli Settlersin the West Bank and elsewhere in Palestine to vote whether theywant to remain Israeli or wish to switch over to PalestinianNational Sovereignty!! Mr Sawle then added that the vote will “send out thestrongest possible message to the rest of the world about our rightto self-determination, a right which was fought for in 1982 andwhich we’ve honored tonight.”   The real reasons for this mock referendum are otherwise: Britainand its second-rate local Kelper puppets need to justify to globalpublic opinion that the Falklands are “British” – even if only withthis thin layer of “referendum legality” –  becausefull-fledged oil exploitation is about to commence with US andBritish oil companies getting ready to gobble up trillions inprofits.Oil, oil and more oilRecent estimates indicate that oil reserves in the shallowArgentine continental shelf in the South Atlantic are over 60billion barrels.  This seems to have caught Britain’s (and theUS’s) eye in the Falklands in recent years, especially after otherprimary oil sources have become geo-strategic hot spots – notablythe Middle East and Venezuela – as a consequence of grossgeopolitical mismanagement on the part of the US andBritain. Thus, over the past three years oil exploration companies likePremier Oil plc, Nobel Oil Corp, Rockhopper Exploration plc, ArgosResources, Falklands Oil Co, Desire Petroleum, Borders &Southern Petroleum and Cairn Energy, all profusely financed bymega-banks like Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC (“ah…the good old Imperial days are back!”), Bank of America andJPMorganChase. After them will come, Exxon/Mobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell,Chevron/Texaco… The glories of “self-determination”  Yes, once again, it’s all about oil.  This is clearly oneof the reasons why George W Bush reactivated the US Fourth SouthAtlantic Naval Fleet in 2008, after it had been deactivated in1953. Further afield, it’s also about British claims over Antarcticawhich houses incalculable natural resources wealth in terms of oil,mining, potable water, fishing…  and where Argentina’straditional presence there today is all but non-existent.Maybe it’s even about the vast, sparsely inhabited and immenselyrich in natural resources Patagonian Region of Argentina itself,where the Brits, Americans and Israelis would love to get theirhands on… But I’m getting ahead of myself by some 10 or 15 years… Because first comes “Latin American Spring”.  Adrian Salbuchi for RTAdrian Salbuchi is a political analyst,author, speaker and radio/TV commentator in Argentina.


British double-standards in the Falklands

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