Colluding With Extremists
Mark Curtis is an independent author, journalist and consultant. He is the author of ‘Unpeople: Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses’ and ‘Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World’, amongst other works. He spoke to NLP on the topic of British collusion with radical Islam.
Can you tell us what your new book – ‘Secret affairs: Britain’s collusion with radical Islam’ is about. What do you want to convey? What are your hopes for the book?The book tells the story of the long history of British collaboration with radical Islam, including terrorist groups. 7/7 and the present broader terrorist threat to Britain is to some degree a product of British foreign policy – the bombings derived from a terrorism infrastructure established by a Pakistani state long backed by Whitehall and involving Pakistani terrorist groups which had benefitted from past British covert action. Throughout the postwar period Britain has covertly supported radical Islamic groups in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, the Balkans, Syria, Indonesia and Egypt, and the book aims to documents this drawing on the declassified British files.When attempting to justify such policies it is often argued that Britain is supporting lesser evils. What do you make of such claims?I’m not sure I completely understand the question since few attempts are made to justify such policies – they are either not known about or simply taboo. I’m not sure there’s much that is more evil than terrorism. When Britain connived with the Muslim Brotherhood to kill Nasser in the 1950s, the Brotherhood at that time had a secret apparatus responsible for various assassinations and bomb attacks in Egypt; their aim was to remove a basically popular (though far from angelic, and increasingly authoritarian) government. In the Kosovo war to defeat Milosevic, Britain was training Kosovo Liberation Army Forces linked to al-Qaida that the British government recognized were terrorists. And so on.If foreign policy is not dictated by ethics what is it dictated by?The collusion with radical Islam has been dictated by utility. Beyond the special relationships with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan – which are deep strategic alliances – Britain’s policy has been a matter of ad hoc opportunism, though it should be said that this has been rather regular. Time and again, the declassified planning documents reveal that British officials were perfectly aware that their collaborators were anti-Western and anti-imperialist, devoid of liberal social values or actually terrorists. Whitehall did not work with these forces because it agreed with them but simply because they were useful at specific moments. Islamist groups appeared to have collaborated with Britain for the same reasons of expediency and because they shared the same hatred of popular nationalism as the British.Radical Islamic forces have been seen as useful to Whitehall in five specific ways: as a global counter-force to the ideologies of secular nationalism and Soviet communism, in the cases of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the major champions of radical Islam; as ‘conservative muscle’ within countries to undermine secular nationalists and bolster pro-Western regimes; as ‘shock troops’ to destabilise or overthrow governments; as proxy military forces to fight wars; and as ‘political tools’ to leverage change from governments.When it comes to broader foreign policy, the declassified files are very clear – the two basic goals are to maintain Britain’s power status in the world and to ensure that the global economy functions in the interests of British and Western corporations. The latter goal has a variety of serious impacts, most importantly a grossly exploitative international trade and financial order which keeps hundreds of millions of people in poverty. These two goals are sometimes referred to as ‘national’ interests but this is of course misleading – they are the interests of a commercial and political elite. The policy making system in Britain is so undemocratic that decision-makers are simply able to get away with these policiesYou’ve written a great deal about how British foreign policy serves the interests of state-corporate power, rather than the interests of the general public. What are the specific concentrations of socio-economic power that shape British foreign policy? What forms of influence do they bring to bear on government? And how do the relevant influential vested interests vary from one policy area to the next? This question would be worthy of a book-length study. British elites have of course long shaped their foreign policy to promote commercial (trade and financial) enterprises overseas. Obviously, this was central to the period of formal imperialism and colonialism and to a large extent the role of British companies in the global economy is a legacy of that. A large number of major British companies are dependent on the global economy and financial order and thus have a major interest in ensuring that the shape of that order functions in their interests. British banks, mining companies, food companies, oil companies, and, more recently, sectors such as supermarkets – to name but some – occupy many dominating positions in global supply chains. There is also a big ‘revolving door’ of executives in the key corporations (especially in the mining and arms sectors) and Whitehall. This degree of dependence on ‘succeeding’ in the global economy is more marked for Britain than probably for any other Western country, with the exception of the US.
[ed notes:click link for whole article just citing a few paragraphs...i should also note,that the authors claim 7/7 attacks werent a govt false flag,is a carefull lie hes injecting or an absolutly ignorant opinion on his part..both london and madrid bombings clearly show that those govt were behind them and botched real investigations to cover up their role..why he claims evidence of theories aluding to those facts dont stand up,could mean hes possibly a double agent for mi6..he could be using misdirection by exposing those govt collusion with extremist groups and client regimes abroad,to downplay their biggest crimes ,engineering false flags against their own citizens..by exposing their crimes abroad doenst bring those govts down,since the imperial neocolonial policeis they have engaged in have taken place for so long without any accountability,where as staged false flags events in order to pursue those interest,if publicly proven could bring them down..hes definatly suspect in my opinion..
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