Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.
It has always struck me that many people on the British left know far more about US foreign policy horrors than those committed by this country. This is, perhaps, unsurprising since the mainstream media and British academics systematically keep the public in the dark about such abuses.
Although Britain clearly has much less power, its policies are often worse than those of the US. British policy towards Iraq is not an aberration: violating international law and the UN, supporting repressive regimes and promoting a neo-liberal economic order are all permanent features of British foreign policy.
My view is that the left needs to expose this more, to mobilise larger numbers of people to demand radical change. The chronology below highlights some of the key events in British foreign policy over the last 10 years. We have to ensure that what is done in our name over the next decade is nowhere near as horrific.
1994: Britain increases arms exports to Turkey just at a time when the latter is undertaking major operations against its Kurdish population, destroying 3,500 villages and killing thousands.
April 1994: A million Tutsis die in Rwanda. Instrumental in reducing the size of a UN peacekeeping force in the country, and in making sure the UN does not use the word “genocide’ to describe the atrocities (which would obligate international intervention in the country), Britain is effectively complicit in the slaughter.
1992-1995: British policy contributes to the destruction of Bosnia, and tens of thousands of deaths, by preventing both the lifting of an arms embargo against Bosnia and international military action in its defence.
1996: A British military training team is sent to Saudi Arabia to help Riyadh with “internal security’.
February 1996: An MI6-backed bomb attack on Colonel Gaddafi of Libya kills six innocent bystanders.
September 1996: Britain supports US cruise missile attacks against Iraq.
August 1998: Britain supports US attacks against al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan.
December 1998: Britain and the US launch an aerial bombing campaign in Iraq.
March 1999: Britain and Nato bomb Kosovo, thus precipitating a humanitarian catastrophe that the bombing was supposed to prevent.
August/September 1999: Five thousand are killed in East Timor and 500,000 flee Indonesian-backed terror in the run-up to an independence referendum. Britain continues arms sales to Jakarta before agreeing only to delay and not stop them. Downing Street tries to take credit for stopping the violence in East Timor by helping to establish a UN peace-enforcement mission there.
October 1999: Chinese premier Jiang Zemin visits Britain. The government refuses to raise Chinese human rights abuses with him, while police deny protesters the right to peaceful assembly.
1999: The UN estimates that more than half a million people have died from sanctions against Iraq maintained largely by Britain and the US.
January 2000: Chinese defence minister general Chi Haotian, who commanded the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, visits Britain to explore EU-prohibited “military cooperation’ between the two countries.
February 2000: As Russian forces flatten the Chechen capital Grozny, foreign secretary Robin Cook says he “understands’ Russia’s problems.
May 2000: A unilateral British intervention helps stabilise security in Sierra Leone. Britain had previously rejected proposals to beef up a UN force in the country.
July 2000: Briton Ian Henderson resigns after a career as head of repressive security services in Bahrain.
November 2000: The High Court rules against the government and decides that Chagos islanders be allowed to return to some of their Indian Ocean homelands. They were evicted by Britain between 1967 and 1973 to allow the US to build an air base on Diego Garcia, from which the islanders continue to be barred.
2001: British arms exports reach £5 billion.
February 2001: Major US and British bombing in Iraqi no-fly zones.
August 2001: Further increase in bombing Iraqi no-fly zones.
October 2001: US and British bombing of Afghanistan. Civilian deaths greater than those killed in the US on 11 September.
2001: British arms exports to Israel are twice those for the year before, reaching £22.5m as Israel steps up aggression in the occupied territories.
2002: Britain gives £3m military aid to Nepal, whose forces are responsible for the majority of deaths in a vicious civil war with Maoist rebels.
August 2002: The US and Britain secretly increase their bombing of Iraqi no-fly zones.
March 2003: The US and Britain invade Iraq.
May 2003: Indonesia intervenes in Aceh province, using British aircraft and tanks.
June 2003: Amid mounting violence, rigged elections in Chechnya are welcomed by Britain as Russia widens its war in the Caucasus to the neighbouring Russian republic Ingushetia.
June 2003: With human rights atrocities by government and allied forces proliferating in Colombia, Britain organises international donors to increase support to the government of Colombian president Alvaro Uribe Velez, and steps up covert military aid to Bogota.
2004: Occupation and corporate invasion of Iraq deepen, with increasing human rights violations committed by British and US forces.
'Docs Not Cops' write that we must resist attempts to make our NHS any less universal
Louis Mendee explains the real human costs of climate change for the global south.
From climate change to automation to demographic shifts, Mathew Lawrence explains the challenges our economy will face in the coming decade.
Fifty years after the Abortion Act, women are still dying from being denied basic services, write activists from Feminist Fightback
We need to tackle the patronising ideology that lets Tory think-tanks sneer at social tenants, writes Emma Dent Coad
Acid Corbynism allows people to imagine a future beyond the paltry offerings of capitalism, writes Keir Milburn
'We wanted to use a shared love of the beautiful game to stand in solidarity with those living under occupation', writes Kate Hadley.
Priti Patel's shady deals are business as usual. Enough is enough, writes Eleanor Penny
Boris Johnson is a local disaster and a national embarrassment. He must go, writes James Clouting
The global elite have been stealing from society on an unprecedented scale, writes Tom Walker
Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism
Catalan independence is not just ‘nationalism’ – it’s a rebellion against nationalism
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte argue that Catalonia's independence movement is driven by solidarity – and resistance to far-right Spanish nationalists
Tabloids do not represent the working class
The tabloid press claims to be an authentic voice of the working class - but it's run by and for the elites, writes Matt Thompson
As London City Airport turns 30, let’s imagine a world without it
London City Airport has faced resistance for its entire lifetime, writes Ali Tamlit – and some day soon we will win
The first world war sowed the seeds of the Russian revolution
An excerpt from 'October', China Mieville's book revisiting the story of the Russian Revolution
Academies run ‘on the basis of fear’
Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) was described in a damning report as an organisation run 'on the basis of fear'. Jon Trickett MP examines an education system in crisis.
‘There is no turning back to a time when there wasn’t migration to Britain’
David Renton reviews the Migration Museum's latest exhibition
#MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny
Meet the digital feminists
We're building new online tools to create a new feminist community and tackle sexism wherever we find it, writes Franziska Grobke
The Marikana women’s fight for justice, five years on
Marienna Pope-Weidemann meets Sikhala Sonke, a grassroots social justice group led by the women of Marikana
Forget ‘Columbus Day’ – this is the Day of Indigenous Resistance
By Leyli Horna, Marcela Terán and Sebastián Ordonez for Wretched of the Earth
Uber and the corporate capture of e-petitions
Steve Andrews looks at a profit-making petition platform's questionable relationship with the cab company
You might be a centrist if…
What does 'centrist' mean? Tom Walker identifies the key markers to help you spot centrism in the wild
Black Journalism Fund Open Editorial Meeting in Leeds
Friday 13th October, 5pm to 7pm, meeting inside the Laidlaw Library, Leeds University
This leadership contest can transform Scottish Labour
Martyn Cook argues that with a new left-wing leader the Scottish Labour Party can make a comeback
Review: No Is Not Enough
Samir Dathi reviews No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics, by Naomi Klein
Building Corbyn’s Labour from the ground up: How ‘the left’ won in Hackney South
Heather Mendick has gone from phone-banker at Corbyn for Leader to Hackney Momentum organiser to secretary of her local party. Here, she shares her top tips on transforming Labour from the bottom up
Five things to know about the independence movement in Catalonia
James O'Nions looks at the underlying dynamics of the Catalan independence movement
‘This building will be a library!’ From referendum to general strike in Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte report from the Catalan general strike, as the movements prepare to build a new republic
Chlorine chickens are just the start: Liam Fox’s Brexit trade free-for-all
A hard-right free marketer is now in charge of our trade policy. We urgently need to develop an alternative vision, writes Nick Dearden
There is no ‘cult of Corbyn’ – this is a movement preparing for power
The pundits still don’t understand that Labour’s new energy is about ‘we’ not ‘me’, writes Hilary Wainwright
Debt relief for the hurricane-hit islands is the least we should do
As the devastation from recent hurricanes in the Caribbean becomes clearer, the calls for debt relief for affected countries grow stronger, writes Tim Jones
‘Your credit score is not sufficient to enter this location’: the risks of the ‘smart city’
Jathan Sadowski explains techno-political trends of exclusion and enforcement in our cities, and how to overcome this new type of digital oppression
Why I’m standing with pregnant women and resisting NHS passport checks
Dr Joanna Dobbin says the government is making migrant women afraid to seek healthcare, increasing their chances of complications or even death
‘Committees in Defence of the Referendum’: update from Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte on developments as the Catalan people resist the Spanish state's crackdown on their independence referendum