1920-1939 | Backing dictatorships | Backing repressive regimes | Media propaganda

Mussolini’s fascists praised in 220 British newspaper reports*

*That includes only those pro-fascist articles noticed in selected British newspapers over a period of 16 months. Newspapers searched for pro-fascist content include the Times, the Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Illustrated, the Observer, the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror, the Daily Herald, the Daily Mail and a number of regional newspapers including…

2000-2009 | Arms exports | Backing repressive regimes | Blair's crimes | Indonesia


19 May 2003 On 19th May 2003, Indonesia deployed Hawk-200 fighter jets, supplied and made by the U.K., to front its assault on the Free Aceh Movement.  The Guardian’s John Aglionby observed that ‘ the Hawks were used primarily to scare and intimidate people on the ground by flying low over targets already attacked with rockets…

1940-1949 | Backing repressive regimes | Churchill's crimes | Civilians slaughtered | Greece

28 civilians shot dead in Athens by British armed Nazi collaborators

3 December 1944 Winston Churchill’s legendary qualities of courage and defiance are often celebrated. It is taken for granted that he was motivated primarily by a moral repugnance to Nazism. If so, it’s difficult to understand his decision in 1944 to release around 12,000 Nazi collaborators from the prisons in Athens and have them uniformed…

1960-1969 | Arms exports | Backing repressive regimes | Nigeria

Minister – oil means we must back Nigeria’s junta against Biafra

8 August 1967 Today in 1967, the Commonwealth Minister George Thomas submitted a confidential memo to Prime Minister Harold Wilson reminding him that Shell-BP, then partly owned by the British government, ‘have much to lose if the F.M.G. (Nigeria’s Federal Military Government) do not achieve the expected victory’ against Biafra, which had declared independence after…

1960-1969 | Arms exports | Backing repressive regimes | Nigeria

Memo – We want to help Nigeria’s junta ‘any way we can’

7 July 1967 On 7 July 1967, the British government decided to explain apologetically to Major-General Yakubu ‘Jack’ Gowon, the leader of Nigeria’s military junta, that although it strongly sympathised with his efforts to crush any attempt by the persecuted Igbo population of Biafra to secede as an independent state, it would be diplomatically awkward…

1980-1989 | Backing Apartheid | Backing repressive regimes

Thatcher welcomes Apartheid leader P.W. Botha

2 June 1984 On 2 June 1984, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher greeted the apartheid leader of South Africa, P.W. Both, at her official country estate at Chequers.  An estimated 40,000 protesters, furious at the government’s implicit endorsement of the regime, took to the streets of central London. Contrary to subsequent assertions, there is absolutely no…

1960-1969 | Arms exports | Backing repressive regimes | Nigeria

Harold Wilson lies to cover up British complicity in Biafran war crimes

27 March 1969 On 27 March 1969, Prime Minister Harold Wilson lied in a press interview, to cover up the huge scale of British arms exports to the Federal Military Government (FMG) of Nigeria, which was waging a war of genocide against the secessionist state of Biafra causing over two million deaths from famine. The…

1970-1979 | Backing Apartheid | Backing repressive regimes

Callaghan – ‘I won’t be pushed’ into sanctions on Apartheid South Africa

[ 17 February 1978 ] On 17 February 1978, Prime Minister James Callaghan made it clear that he would not sacrifice British business interests to help end apartheid through the imposition of sanctions. ‘Why do it for political reasons ?’ he asked at a Cabinet Committee meeting on South Africa, adding ‘I won’t be pushed….

2000-2009 | Backing repressive regimes | Colombia

Minister in photo op with Colombian death squads general

11 February 2008 On 11 February 2008, the Guardian published a photo of a smiling Foreign Office minister, Kim Howells, posing alongside General Mario Montoya, head of the Colombian Army, along with soldiers from the High Mountains Battalions (HMB). These were infamous elite units which had been associated with the disappearance and extra judicial executions of dozens…