Saturday, 9 January 2010

The Hypocrisy of Imperialism and the British Establishment

About 10 days ago I read a quote from (Sir) Richard Dalton, Britain's former Ambassador to Iran, saying how we, i.e. Britain, couldn't ignore repression in Iraq and had to support those on the streets of Tehran.

Well this was late at night, or rather early in the morning, and I became even more irritated and annoyed than normally at reading such tripe and hypocrisy. I know that hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue, but even the worst vice has its own code and limits.

Dalton explained that the British Establishment can't ignore repression and terror. Where, I wondered, has the good ex-ambassador been? Maybe he hasn't heard of Craig Murray, previously our man in Uzbekistan, who was sacked by Jack Straw when he insisted on drawing attention to such quaint practices of their leader, such as boiling his opponents alive.

But one doesn't have to turn to Uzbekistan. Iran has plenty of examples to show that Dalton is just another example of the British Establishment at its hypocrital best. Not for nothing were we known as 'perfidious Albion' as we made promises to everyone and kept them for noone.

MI6, together with the CIA, were directly responsible for the overthrow of Mossadegh, the nationalist Prime Minister of Iran in 1953, when he insisted on nationalising the Anglo-Iranian oil company. The Shah had a secret police called Savak, who had a lovely little method of interrogation. No waterboarding for them. On the contrary, they tied their victims to a toaster and grilled them. I can't remember the protests of Dalton and his equally hypocritical predecessors.

When the Shah was overthrown in 1979 we still had a Labour Government with Dr 'Death' Owen, who later formed the Social Democratic Party, a split off from Labour when it turned left under the influence of Tony Benn. And Old Labour was just as much a supporter of repression as its New Labour inheritors.

Dalton spent 36 years, from 1970-2006 in the Diplomatic Service, including a stint as Consul General in Jerusalem and Ambassdor in Libya, before becoming our man in Tehran. He knows very well what Britain's record was in Iran, a record that directly led to the seizure of power by Khomeini and the medievalists who are presently clinging onto power.

Dalton is a fellow of Chatham House, Britain's key foreign policy establishment. The very saying 'on Chatham House terms' means anything said within its portals is confidential and not to be quoted. That is the way our ruling class discuss their options without suffering the embarrassment of being held to account for their opinions and views.

Looking at his entry on the Chatham House web site, it is noticeable that he is specialising now in the stand-off with Iran over the question of nuclear arms. He has issued a Report: 'Iran: Breaking the Nuclear Deadlock', under the Chatham House imprint in December 2008 and among current projects of his are listed
Now Dalton is a clever fellow, as are most of those associated with Chatham House. He knows full well that the real issue with Iran has little to do with nuclear weapons. After all, if that was the problem, then Israel would be experiencing sanctions. It is about oil and the ability of individual regimes to deny the regional policeman - the USA.

Well at least The Independent published my letter in yesterday's edition!

Tony Greenstein

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