News Release

Behind the “Special Relationship”


Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. His investigative reports appear on BBC Television and in the Guardian Newspapers of Britain. He said today: “Blair, like Margaret Thatcher before him, faces revolt within his own party. They believe he lied to get Britain into Bush’s war in Iraq. And just as bad, Bush is seen as taking Blair for granted; ‘Dubya’s poodle’ is the common phrase. Worse, Britons are seething over what they see as raw treatment on other issues. For example, Bush’s steel tariffs and legal attack on the banana trade infuriate Britons. Add to that the reports that Halliburton and other Bush favorites are sucking up all the spoils in the Iraq reconstruction, and Blair’s in hot water unless he publicly disses his guest (unlikely); or comes up with some concessions on Iraq and trade that he can pass off as having squeezed out of the President.”
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Curtis is the author of the recently released book Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World and a former research fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. He said today: “The essence of the special relationship is British support for U.S. aggression. This role goes back to the beginning of the postwar world when British planners recognized in secret files that they should be the ‘junior power in an orbit of power predominantly under American aegis.’ London’s support for Washington’s war in Iraq is simply historical routine. Britain provided various covert support to the U.S. in the Vietnam War while publicly wanting to appear more neutral and also provided covert support for U.S. aggression against Central America in the 1980s. MI6 worked alongside the CIA in secretly bolstering the mujahidin in Afghanistan and took over from the U.S. the secret operation to train Cambodian guerillas allied to the Khmer Rouge in the 1980s. Britain was the only major state to support the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989 and allowed U.S. bombers to use British bases to strike Libya in 1986. Blair’s support for Washington has gone even beyond Thatcher’s, however — never before has a British government so frequently committed its military forces to essentially U.S. operations, in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. In a very real sense, Britain under Blair is now acting as a U.S. military proxy or satellite, having lost even the pretense of an independent foreign policy.”
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Chair of the Oxford Research Group, Elworthy said today: “Public resistance to the visit is greater than for any state visit ever, mainly because the British public massively opposed the war in Iraq…. We are fully aware of the neo-conservative agenda in Washington, and regard it as highly dangerous and provocative. Current U.S. policy is making Americans at home and abroad less safe rather than more. Instead we have asked our government to follow a non-military approach to states like North Korea, Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia — and this is already becoming apparent in our foreign minister’s successful negotiation with Tehran over nuclear capabilities.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167