Do You Trust Your Government?
Should you trust your government? Would you trust a government that has hidden agendas that harms its citizens? It’s easy to point fingers at other governments. Communist governments like China, dictatorships like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq or Muhammar Qaddafi’s Libya. They’re the bad guys. But we’re the good guys, aren’t we? Our western democratic governments would never do anything to harm us.
At least, that’s what we tell ourselves. And it should be true. But it’s not.
History Is Written By The Victors
History, they say, is written by the victors. But who is looking over the victors’ shoulders as they write it? Our government, along with the governments of the UK, the US, and many others, have untold numbers of official documents that the public have not been allowed to see, hidden truths that are deemed secret for national security purposes.
But secrecy is used to hide crimes. It is reputations that are protected, not national security.
As you read this series of articles, you may find that what is written is incredulous. It may fly in the face of all that you have believed to be true your entire life. You may want to dismiss it out of hand. That’s how I used to feel. I don’t ask you to believe it without question. On the contrary, I would like you to question it. Then I encourage you to investigate it. You have the internet at your disposal. Seek the truth for yourself. It’s out there.
Can Anyone See A Trend Developing Here?
Part 1 – The Falkland Islands
The undeclared war between Argentina and the UK in 1982 over the Falkland Islands – Las Malvinas, if you’re Argentinian – was nearly 300 years in the making. Britain’s desire for Empire was at the root of it. If it wasn’t for Britain’s empire-building, England’s Captain Strong probably wouldn’t have claimed them in the name of England when he landed on the unpopulated archipelago in the southern Atlantic ocean back in 1690. Then he sailed away without looking back.
A French navigator, de Bougainville, settled the East Falkland in 1764. The Brits settled West Falkland in 1765. The Spanish bought the settlement from the French in 1767 and got rid of the Brits in 1770. The Brits came back in 1771 and re-staked their claim, but then left again voluntarily in 1774. Without renouncing their claim.
Can anyone see a trend developing here?
Spain maintained a settlement on East Falkland until 1811, then decided it was too much trouble and left.
Argentina declared its independence from Spain in 1816, and declared sovereignty over the archipelago in 1820.
In 1841, a British lieutenant governor was appointed, and some 40 years later, there was a self-supporting community.
Argentina regularly protested the British occupation.
What we have here is a group of islands that no-one really wants. Certainly not Britain. There were attempts at diplomatic solutions and in the decades leading up to the war, Britain actually tried to convince the islanders to join Argentina. But a 1968 agreement that guaranteed the islanders would have the final say over sovereignty proved problematic. The islanders wanted to be British. A lease-back arrangement, whereby Argentinian sovereignty was acknowledged but the islands remained under British administration, was scuppered.
Distraction – It’s The Oldest Trick In The Book
Then came 1976.
Under the government led by Isabel Perón, crime, violence and increasing instability led to a military coup, known as the National Reorganisation Process. Argentina was a military dictatorship, which General Galtieri assumed control of in 1981.
The military may be good at organizing troops and fighting, but they’re not good at running economies. The economy was a hot mess and getting worse. Galtieri was highly unpopular and coming under increased pressure. In an effort to take the blowtorch off himself, he resorted to distraction. As any magician will tell you, it’s the oldest trick in the book.
He sent in some scrap metal workers to raise the Argentinian flag at an abandoned whaling station on South Georgia. When that was ignored, Argentinian forces moved in.
This happened while discussions were still underway to find a peaceful resolution.
Initially, the invasion was popular in Argentina, and the anti-junta demonstrations were replaced by patriotic demonstrations in support of Galtieri. The distraction worked. Galtieri didn’t expect Britain to respond militarily.
Thatcher Had Her Own Problems
Unfortunately for Galtieri, UK Prime Minister Thatcher was suffering her own political problems. She, too, was unpopular with many of the English voters, being attacked by the opposition and starting to come under pressure from within her own party. She, too, needed a distraction.
Nothing pulls a nation together like war, so it was a good ploy from both sides. And it worked for Thatcher.
While it’s true that 649 Argentinians, 255 Brits and 3 islanders died in the conflict, as The Smithsonian Magazine says,
“Three days after Argentina invaded the Falklands, a survey of British citizens watching the events from home found that 88 percent of those polled felt the U.K. had an ‘obligation’ to support the islanders. 70 percent advocated sinking Argentinian ships if necessary, and 41 percent called for the immediate use of government force. In other words, the Falklands War was highly popular in an otherwise increasingly divided country.”
Thatcher won, but Galtieri made the mistake of losing the war. Within days of losing, he was removed from power.
The sovereignty of the Falklands is still in dispute. All the ships and planes lost, all the missiles fired, all the fuel burned. And the human cost. What was it for? Political gain. All the dead and permanently disabled are just an unfortunate consequence of political necessity.
Then there’s the peacetime economic cost. 20 years later, there were 2,000 British troops stationed on the Falklands – more than there are Islanders. Even today, there are still 1,200 British troops stationed there.
A Biased View
There are those people who will say I have no basis for attributing Thatcher’s actions to political motives. That Argentina carried out an overt act of aggression and Britain needed to act. I have no proof of my assertions. But if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, one should at least consider the possibility that it might be a duck.
Certainly, Argentina did carry out an overt act of aggression. However, the UN were already involved and the security council resolution demanded that Argentina pull its head in and withdraw. Britain had everything going for it in terms of international support. Galtieri was on his last legs and this action was, at best, delaying the inevitable for him. Apart from raising the flag and removing the British garrison (which was done without any casualties), there is little more he could have done. There was no pressing need for Thatcher to take such precipitous action for the sake of Empire and, in the end, she was lucky.
Militarily, many defence analysts have concluded that Argentina should have won the war.
HMS Sheffield – Sunk In Action
What happened to HMS Sheffield should not have. Details of what happened in the lead up and during the attack are available from multiple sources online. I won’t go into them here. Following the loss, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) convened a board of enquiry early in June of 1982. They reported their findings late in June of the same year. But the report was not released to the public. It wasn’t until 2006 that the MOD, under UK Freedom of Information laws, released a heavily redacted summary of the board’s findings. What they released concealed all of the board’s key conclusions and criticisms, including findings of negligence.
What was concealed only became known in 2017, when a complete copy of the report was issued, some 35 years after the event. Ex-RN personnel and their families – families of the men who died on that ship – had to wait until then for the facts to be told.
It is reputations and subsequent actions by the British Government that were protected, not national security.
Should UK citizens trust their government?