My column printed in the Scottish Sun on Sunday 8th June 2014
Special relationship with the US-Do we really want it?
This week President Obama intervened in the independence debate telling us we are better together, hoping that nothing would harm the special relationship with the UK.
It’s always interesting to hear each American President talk about their special relationship with the UK, yet to me it has always seemed a pretty one sided relationship.
Granted one of the greatest hours of that friendship was represented by the Normandy landings commemorated this week.
Without the USA it is more than likely that we could not have withstood Nazi Germany. But following the Second World War there was great hope that the USA would bring peace to the world, sadly it hasn’t quite turned out like that.
Millions were killed in Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia with the US playing a key role. There was of course another 9/11 on the same date in 1973 when President Nixon sponsored a military coup by General Pinochet in Chile, overthrowing the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. The General’s regime of terror sanctioned the murder, torture and detention of thousands of innocents.
In 1982 they funded and armed Israel when it invaded Lebanon, killing 17,500. In 1990 they killed 200,000 of Sadaam’s defenceless Iraqi conscripts fleeing on the road to Bagdad in Operation Desert Storm.
But the USA had created the monster that was Saddam Hussein by backing the Iraqi Baath party, providing him with lists of socialists and trade unionists to be eliminated.
The biggest monster they created, actually fought the Russians on their behalf in Afghanistan but went on to become Al Qaeda.
Since 9/11 each President has used the climate of the war on terror as an excuse to curtail civil liberties.
The CIA as part of this new war practiced “extraordinary rendition” — kidnapping suspects, shipping them out to secret prisons abroad for torture and interrogation. But our Government denied all knowledge of CIA rendition flights passing through British airspace.
Tony Blair said “I have absolutely no evidence to suggest that anything illegal has been happening here at all. All this stuff about camps in Europe or something — I don’t know, I’ve never heard of such a thing. I can’t tell you whether such a thing exists because I don’t know.” Such denials were an implicit part of that ‘special relationship’
But we now know that since the beginning of the “War on Terror” the CIA secretly transported prisoners around the globe in jets, some of which refuelling at our very own Prestwick Airport.
Their passengers were quite literally kidnapped off the street and sent to countries where the torture was outsourced so that the CIA (or MI5 part of that cosy relationship) didn’t have to get their hands dirty.
This was hardly a secret to our governments, the special relationship meant turning a convenient blind eye to illegal wars and the dark arts of the CIA or playing a role as a junior partner.
Special relationship with US-You’re either with us or against us
9/11 was the dawn of George W Bush’s era: “You are either with us or with the terrorists”. Like many I had hoped that when Obama became President of the most powerful nation on the planet this would be the start of a new era.
Sadly although Bush may be gone his rotten legacy remains which desecrates the memories of the innocent lives lost in 9/11.
Maybe Obama intervened at the right time so that we can ask if we really want such a one sided uncritical ‘Special relationship with the US’. The only way we can change that of course is if we vote for Independence.