Britain’s imperial role continued long after its empire ended

The British empire, which once covered vast areas of the globe, ended with the wave of decolonisations back in the 1950s and 1960s. The debacle of Suez finally drew the curtain on the British empire. However, Britain’s imperial role intervening in foreign wars and propping up dictatorships has continued. In fact, long after the guns of both World Wars One and Two fell silent, British troops continued to be deployed – secretly or otherwise – to numerous theatres of conflict.

In a long article for The Guardian newspaper, Ian Cobain elaborates how Britain has been secretly at war almost perpetually since the end of the major world conflicts. Britain’s armed forces have been engaged in armed conflicts nearly continuously, even though its role as an empire-builder drew to a close. These conflicts have all had one thing in common, apart from the use of British military forces. They have all had some strategic military or economic interests that the British ruling elite sought for commercial advantage. Supporting tyrannical regimes is not a purely military exercise – it is also good for big business.

In his article, Cobain states that:

In fact, between 1918 and 1939, British forces were fighting in Iraq, Sudan, Ireland, Palestine and Aden. In the years after the second world war, British servicemen were fighting in Eritrea, Palestine, French Indochina, Dutch East Indies, Malaya, Egypt, China and Oman. Between 1949 and 1970, the British initiated 34 foreign military interventions. Later came the Falklands, Iraq – four times – Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Libya and, of course, Operation Banner, the British army’s 38-year deployment to Northern Ireland.

For more than a hundred years, not a single year has passed when Britain’s armed forces have not been engaged in military operations somewhere in the world. The British are unique in this respect: the same could not be said of the Americans, the Russians, the French or any other nation.

Only the British are perpetually at war.

A number of Britain’s wars are well-known, acknowledged by memorials and commemorative activities, and have entered the public domain as examples of the British martial spirit – such as the Falklands war. The horrors and trauma of that war are documented and commemorated, and its British veterans honoured. Other conflicts however, remain mired in secrecy. That is because these British interventions expose the duplicitous nature of Whitehall’s foreign policy, and its willingness to sacrifice human lives for financial gain. One such war, which is worth exploring, is the British involvement in the Omani civil war, sometimes known as the Dhofar conflict.

The Sultanate of Oman, while never formally a British colony, has always remained tightly controlled and supervised by Britain. Strategically located at the south of the Arabian peninsula, Oman sits on one side of the Straits of Hormuz, through which the mass flow of oil traffic takes place. In the 1960s, a mass rebellion broke out in Oman, with nationalist Arab guerrillas attacking the Omani armed forces and seriously threatening the very survival of the Omani sultanate.

Oman at that stage had only one hospital, and millions of Omanis were illiterate. Considering that there were only three primary schools, and no high schools, this was not unexpected. The ageing Sultan of Oman was entirely dependent on British officers and intelligence staff to maintain his regime. Dissidents were savagely punished, torture was routine, and Oman remained technologically backward. In this context, the Omanis role up in rebellion in successive waves, beginning in the 1950s.

Similar to the secretive American war in Laos, Britain waged an equally covert aerial and ground war in Oman. Raids and bombings by the Royal Air Force (RAF) were common in the 1950s. When a serious and organised uprising began in the mid-1960s, the British authorities rushed to the rescue of the beleaguered sultanate. The Omani armed forces were reorganised with substantial British military supplies, training and advice.

The British were ruthless in suppressing this rebellion, an uprising led by Arab nationalists, but among whose ranks also included socialists, Maoist-style Marxists and Dhofari tribes. The Arab nationalist insurgency gained the support (limited and partial as it was) from sympathetic Arab socialist and Marxist regimes on the outside. It looked as if Oman would slip out from British control. The Labour government of Harold Wilson had a problem – while ideologically committed to decolonisation, but sought to hang on to its vassal state. It waged this war in secret.

The conduct of the British forces in Oman provides a lesson in counterinsurgency. British forces burned villages, killed civilians, poisoned wells, shot livestock, and placed the corpses of their victims on display as a salutary lesson in punishment. Civilian areas were turned into free-fire zones, and no distinction was made between rebel fighter and civilian. All were considered adoo – Arabic for “the enemy”. The Labour government was understandably anxious about publicising its role as the guarantor for a slave-owning, torture-friendly sultanate, so the British role in Oman was concealed from parliament, and from public scrutiny.

By the early 1970s, the Omani rebellion showed no signs of abating. The British government, though committed to a military victory, also took steps to ensure that its vassal regime in Oman did not topple over due to its own incompetence. In a coup d’état organised by British intelligence and senior military figures, the Sultan of Oman was ousted by his son, Qaboos bin Said. The latter, a former British soldier, took the reigns of power in 1970 and implemented several modernising reforms. He restructured the irrigation system in the country, abolished slavery, allowed the use of new technologies, and generally permitted a degree of political liberalisation.

By the early 1970s, the Omani rebellion had run out of steam, and the reforms implemented by the new sultan resolved a number of grievances that drove the initial uprising. Though orchestrated by Britain, the details of the coup that brought the current sultan to power remain shrouded in secrecy. It is no secret however, that Britain has retained a close and ongoing relationship with the Omani sultanate, the latter having substantial deposits of oil. Britain maintains spy bases in that country, and the armed forces of both countries train regularly with each other.

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The British ruling class, while retaining its commitment to overseas interventions, has overseen the deindustrialisation of large segments of British society, condemning its citizens to social immiseration and rising inequality. British capitalism has moved from traditional manufacturing and industrial production to making consumer spending and financial speculation the main motivators of economic growth. The City of London maintains its international position as a financial behemoth, even though it shares this position with other imperialist countries such as the United States.

The British bourgeoisie has preached cost-cutting and austerity at home, while advocating for greater military intervention outside its borders. Britain maintains it pre-eminent role as an arms exporter to tyrannical and murderous regimes, but somehow cannot find enough money to alleviate the growing social and economic problems of inequality at home. The Grenfell tower inferno stands as an indictment not only of specific council authorities, but of a system that has sacrificed people’s lives for the benefit of corporate profits. Grenfell tower represents not just a slight aberration or maladjustment of resources, but the result of neoliberalism unchained.

The massive funding that goes towards waging wars overseas is better allocated in redressing the serious social consequences of privatisation and deregulation. If investment in the production of weapons and armaments is maintained, why is there no serious effort to improve the crumbling health and education services inside Britain itself? Nostalgia for a colonial empire – a nostalgia that ignores the very real brutality, violence and exploitative nature of that empire – is no substitute for a vision of the future.

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Jeremy Corbyn, the failed war on terror, Manchester and Britain’s secret imperial wars

Back in May 2017, the Manchester terror attack shocked Britain and the international community. This was a cowardly atrocity committed against innocent civilians, and among the victims were several children. The fact that children were among the dead only served to heighten the sense of outrage at the perpetrator(s) of this bombing, and increased the need for people to come together to cope with the traumatic consequences. The grief-stricken survivors, and the wider public, were looking for answers as to why such an attack occurred.

People afflicted with grief after such an appalling event rally around to achieve a sense of purpose and closure. Vigils were held, and the politicians began to offer reasons for why such a terrorist bombing occurred, and prescriptions on how to stop them from happening again. Jeremy Corbyn, the British Prime Minister-in-waiting, offered an explanation that was powerful, novel and correct – the war on terror is not working, and British wars overseas cause blowback such as the Manchester attack. You may read his entire speech here.

Noting that the nation was united in shock and anger at this attack, Corbyn avoided the usual machismo, threatening language and blood-curdling calls for increased warfare that has become stock standard for Western politicians. In the midst of the 2017 UK election campaign, Corbyn offered the unadulterated truth – bombing countries in the Middle East, and participating in wars of aggression overseas only adds fuel to an existing fire.

He stated that this does not excuse or minimise the guilt of the perpetrator(s). Explanation of causative factors is not justification or an exercise in guilt minimisation. Corbyn’s speech was novel only because no senior politicians in the imperialist countries have the intelligence – or the courage – to plainly admit the truth.

Indeed, the link between overseas wars and terrorism is known to the public, and has been known to senior figures in the military and intelligence apparatus for years. Since 2003, the UK government has known that attacks such as the one at Manchester were likely, and they would be a direct consequence of British support for imperial regime-change wars in Iraq and Syria. The Manchester attacker, Salman al-Abedi, got his start as a foot-soldier participating in the Western-backed effort to topple the former Libyan government of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

The large community of Libyan exiles in Manchester – anti-Gaddafi exiles – were strident supporters of the British government’s decision to overthrow the former Libyan regime. The Mancunian exiles provided the on-the-ground recruits for Libyan militias and organisations fighting in the 2011 Libyan war. John Wight, commentator and journalist writing for Russia Today, wrote that with the Manchester bombing, the role of Britain in stoking and encouraging the carnage in Libya has been brought into the light for examination.

Wight examined the strong connections between the British intelligence community, and the Libyan Manchester exiles. The anti-Gaddafi effort would require the active participation of Libyans dedicated to the overthrow of the former Libyan socialist regime. The London government provided the necessary financial, travel and military services needed to ferry people over to the Libyan nation in order to fight in that particular regime-change war.

Wight notes that:

Even more damning, in the wake of the Manchester terrorist attack, are new revelations exposing the existence of a nefarious relationship between Britain’s security services and anti-Gaddafi militants of Islamist persuasion living in the UK, who were allowed to travel from the UK to Libya to join their cohorts in the campaign to topple the government in 2011. Among those militants was Ramadan Abedi, father of Salman Abedi, the perpetrator of the aforesaid Manchester terrorist atrocity, which killed 22 and injured 159, many of them children, at a pop concert in the city.

Back in May 2017, Middle East Eye reported that the British government maintained an ‘’open door” policy with regard to British Libyans. What does that mean? The British government willingly allowed British Libyans to travel to their country of origin without any examination or scrutiny of their motives or membership in proscribed terrorist organisations. The militants of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) – officially listed as a terrorist organisation by the UK government – were permitted to travel to Libya to participate in the British-supported regime-change war in 2011. One of those persons was Salman al-Abedi.

In this regard, it is interesting to note that the Home Secretary at the time of this “open door” policy was current Prime Minister Theresa May. This raises serious questions regarding what the government knew about the LIFG, the impact of participating in warfare on the returning British Libyans, and the extent of ideological radicalisation among them. The propensities of the LIFG could not have been unknown to British authorities. After all, the LIFG was banned as a terrorist organisation in the wake of the “war on terror”.

John Pilger, veteran journalist and foreign correspondent, wrote in an article about this issue that:

The overthrow of Gaddafi, who controlled Africa’s largest oil reserves, had been long been planned in Washington and London. According to French intelligence, the LIFG made several assassination attempts on Gaddafi in the 1990s – bankrolled by British intelligence. In March 2011, France, Britain and the U.S. seized the opportunity of a “humanitarian intervention” and attacked Libya. They were joined by NATO under cover of a United Nations resolution to “protect civilians.”

The war-torn chaos and fragmented anarchy of the Libyan state after the 2011 war demolishes the lie that the Western-backed war for regime change in Libya was motivated by humanitarian considerations or dedication to Lockean democratic ideals. The British government’s efforts in Libya are by no means an aberration, nor are dubious methods adopted unusual. Britain has a longstanding alliance of convenience with the most fundamentalist strand of political Islam, namely the House of Saud and its Wahhabist philosophy. Saudi Arabia is the principal ally of the British state in the region, but Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and the other petro-monarchies are no less important to Britain.

Britain’s Libyan adventure is part and parcel of the imperialist state’s long history of secret foreign interventions. Britain’s empire ended a long time ago, but its role as an imperialist garrison-state did not. Ian Cobain, writing in a long article called “Britain’s Secret Wars”, states that the British have deployed their troops to foreign countries at least since the end of World War One.

Cobain, examining Britain’s imperial wars, notes that:

In fact, between 1918 and 1939, British forces were fighting in Iraq, Sudan, Ireland, Palestine and Aden. In the years after the second world war, British servicemen were fighting in Eritrea, Palestine, French Indochina, Dutch East Indies, Malaya, Egypt, China and Oman. Between 1949 and 1970, the British initiated 34 foreign military interventions. Later came the Falklands, Iraq – four times – Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Libya and, of course, Operation Banner, the British army’s 38-year deployment to Northern Ireland.

We will have more to say about Britain’s secret imperialist wars in the next article – stay tuned. For now, suffice it to say that not only should this failed “war on terror” end as Corbyn suggested, but the deceitful and duplicitous British foreign policy should be terminated. Propping up tyrannies that trample human rights and shackle popular aspirations in order to gain commercial and financial advantage for British corporations is a longstanding practice that must be reversed.

The dual citizenship controversy – the Trumpland effect on Australian politics

Over the last few months, the Australian political class has been consumed by an unprecedented crisis that reveals much about the character of our political life. This controversy involves those parliamentarians who hold, or are entitled to hold, dual citizenship. Those persons who hold Australian citizenship and can have, or do have, citizenship of another country, have been subjected to an extraordinary campaign of media questioning and scrutiny – bordering on McCarthyite hysteria.

Over the months of June and July, two serving Greens Senators, Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters, were informed that they were no longer eligible to continue their parliamentary terms. They resigned their positions soon after. What was the reason for this? Both were entitled to hold, or did hold, dual citizenship. Ludlam, born in New Zealand, has lived and worked in Australia since infancy. Waters, born in Canada to Australian parents, has also resided in Australia since she was an infant. She has never lived or worked in North America.

These resignations occurred within the context of an already bitterly divided and unstable Australian Senate. The Turnbull government called a double dissolution election in July 2016, proposing the rationale that the previous Senate was too divided and unstable, making it impossible to govern effectively. Whether that was the case or not remains debatable. Be that as it may, Turnbull displayed his particular genius – for taking a messy, unworkable situation, and making an even greater catastrophe out of it.

The July 2016 reduced the Turnbull government to a razor-thin majority of one seat – and produced an upper house composed of a collection of right-wing populists, anti-immigrant politicians, Christian fanatics and independents. Since then, the Australian federal government has been wracked by crisis and infighting, with various political groupings vying for influence as Turnbull scrambles to implement his government’s programme. It is in this context that the media campaign, primarily lead by the Murdoch flagship The Australian newspaper, against dual citizenship has taken place.

This furore over dual citizenship, emerging out of unclear circumstances, has now engulfed politicians from the major political parties as well. While the Greens Senators were the first victims, currently politicians of all persuasions are hurriedly scrambling to ‘prove’ that their ‘Australianness’ is unsullied by any association or connection with a foreign power. Even the serial pest, climate-change denier and all-round buffoon Malcolm Roberts is being grilled about his connection – to Britain. The One Nation senator is guilty of many things – he is an ignoramus, an embarrassingly ill-informed conspiracist and anti-immigration racist. There are many reasons to oppose him. Is he a servant of a foreign power? No, he is not.

It is interesting to note that with the case of Ludlam and Waters, the countries that relate to this dual citizenship controversy are New Zealand and Canada. The allegation, underlying much of this manufactured furore, that dual citizens pose a dangerously disloyal, potentially treasonous element in the body politic is preposterous in the extreme. It is worthwhile to note some relevant background here.

Australia is one of the countries that actively participates in the Five Eyes agreement. This is a multilateral intelligence-sharing arrangement where the involved parties cooperate in intelligence-gathering, military and espionage matters. The countries involved in this arrangement are the United States, Britain, Australia and – New Zealand and Canada. The latter countries share aspects of common law, colonial-settler history, and political loyalty at least since the end of World War Two. However, we are lead to believe that any Australian who holds citizenship with these countries is a potential traitor.

Perhaps we should be worried about foreign espionage in Australia, but we are examining the wrong people. There are spies in Australia – working for the United States. The latter country has a long history of recruiting, among others, persons inside the labour movement, to provide information and intelligence. For instance, none other than former Foreign Minister, Sydney-born Bob Carr, was marked as a Washington asset inside the NSW labour movement. For over 40 years, Carr provided information the internal politics of labour organisations, and he has dutifully served as a ‘moderate’ – that is to say, pro-American – influence inside the Labour Party.

The disqualification of the Greens Senators – and the current threat looming over other politicians – is the result of Section 44 of the Australian constitution. This section – an archaic clause in an equally archaic document – states that “Any person who is under acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or citizen entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.” This section is part of a document that was drafted by people who defined the newly emerging Australian nation as an outpost of British colonial rule – the First nations of Australia were excluded as a matter of course.

The 1901 constitution, composed by the founding fathers of white Australia, was never intended as a document to include non-British nationalities – far from it. This constitution was created precisely to preserve the British character of the new nation, and it reflects the ideology of the newly-rising Australian capitalist class of the time – as an outpost of the British race, opposed to any intrusion by any non-white influence, in particular Asian migration. It is no accident that the authors of the constitution saw themselves as British subjects first. One of the authors of the constitution, and first prime minister of Australia, Edmund Barton, made his views very clear about maintaining the purity of the white race in frequent debates in the Australian parliament.

It is true that we have come a long way since then. However, the current dual citizenship outcry and the demand for ‘true blue’ politicians serves two purposes. Firstly, the conservative government is using undemocratic measures to oust its opponents in the federal parliament. Having lost his July 2016 gamble, Turnbull and his political allies are attempting to undermine whatever opposition exists in the senate to shore up his crisis-ridden, scandal-plagued and incompetent government.

Secondly and more importantly, we are witnessing the Trumpland effect on Australian politics. The anti-immigrant xenophobia is being ramped up by political parties that are posturing as opponents of the unequal status quo. In earlier articles, I described this effect as the Ukip-ization of Australian politics. That phrase was coined by sociologist and blogger from Britain, Richard Seymour. In Australia, we have focussed our anger and energies on migration, and turned it into a toxic issue. Turnbull has adopted one of the central planks of Trumpland – turning immigration into a security issue. Immigrants are no longer viewed as people making a life for themselves, but as potentially disloyal elements in the wider society.

That last point leads us to make a final observation. Turnbull is not the Trump of Australia, but he is following in the footsteps of Enoch Powell. Known for his stridently anti-immigrant views and a champion of Friedmanite free-market libertarian economics, Powell gave rise to Powellism – the view that immigration undermines a socially cohesive society. The modern proponents of Powellism are either unaware, or wilfully deny, that social cohesion is undermined by economic policies that promote inequality. It is this growing inequality – not mythical ‘swamping’ by migrants – which requires the immediate attention of all politicians, and the necessary measures to reverse this increasing gap. Reversing Powellism demands that we follow the lead of Jeremy Corbyn.

The 1989 US war against Panama set the template for future US invasions

In May this year, former Panamanian military strongman and long-term CIA asset, General Manuel Noriega, passed away after brain surgery. He was 83 years old. The death of General Noriega, the former ruler of Panama unseated by the 1989 US invasion, was announced by current Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela. The latter, referring to Noriega’s passing, made the pointed comment that Noriega’s death closes a particular chapter in Panama’s history.

In a way, President Varela is right – there are events that serve as bookends if you will, closing off a chapter of history. Noriega’s death received minimal attention in the corporate press, and the events leading up to the 1989 US invasion have faded from collective memory. However, this is an unfortunate situation, because the issues of the 1989 attack on Panama have contemporary relevance. The political and economic causes of the US intervention – named “Operation Just Cause” – require careful consideration in order to understand the pattern of US invasions over the last 28 years.

Writing in Jacobin magazine, Jonah Walters states that the 1989 American invasion of Panama set the template for imperialist wars; unilateral military intervention became an accepted measure not only on the conservative side of US politics, but also on the supposedly softer, liberal side. He writes that:

The invasion of Panama inaugurated a new period of American empire-building. The worst of the Cold War tension finally relieved, conservatives and liberals alike accepted unilateral military intervention as a core feature of American foreign policy, deploying specious appeals to humanitarianism to override historical claims to sovereignty.

As Walters elaborates, perhaps the current President of Panama can close the chapter on that particular turbulent episode in Panama’s history. However, the targets of US interventions and victims of the US military-industrial complex, must regard the 1989 invasion as the opening salvo in an ongoing story. It is interesting to note that the US incursion into Panama occurred just as the rival superpower, the Soviet Union, was withdrawing from its traditional ‘buffer zone’ of Eastern Europe. This change in international relations allowed US imperialism to go on an ideological and military offensive.

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Let us be clear – there are no tears for the passing of the former general. Noriega began his career under the tutelage of the United States – or more correctly, the American military-intelligence apparatus. Informing on leftist students in the 1950s, Noriega went on to attend the US Army School of the Americas – the academy that has churned out murderous despots, criminal officers and uniformed thugs throughout Latin America.

Noriega’s rule in Panama was characterised by the repression and torture of dissidents. He closely aligned his administration with the objectives of US foreign policy in the Central American region. When, in 1979, the Nicaraguan Sandinista revolution toppled the hated rule of the pro-American dictator Somoza, Noriega did not hesitate to come to the aid of the Nicaraguan Contras, the collection of former Somoza regime rebels, killers, torturers and drug traffickers.

Noriega was one of many players embedded in the clandestine network that helped to carry out the Reagan administration’s Iran-Contra affair – the political scandal that involved the secret funnelling of American arms to Iran, and the use of the proceeds to surreptitiously fund the Contras. General Noriega’s abuses of human rights did not trouble his American patrons. Noriega’s Panama was a necessary and valuable conduit for American money, armaments and military personnel.

Noriega’s value as an unswervingly loyal American asset began to change in the late 1980s – he became the man who knew too much. He asserted that the Panama Canal zone, an important arterial waterway in Central America, should revert to the control of the Panamanian authorities. The dutiful servant began to make demands of his own – and this political disloyalty had to be punished. Increasingly bombastic, Noriega’s paymasters decided to take action against their wayward asset.

The invasion and subsequent war were reasonably short – and the Bush Senior administration had domestic political considerations on their mind when conducting this war. In the immediate aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the United States now had a chance to vanquish the ‘Vietnam Syndrome’– namely, the reluctance of the financial-military oligarchy to launch wars overseas. This military intervention was meant to demonstrate an unmistakable change in America’s view of the world – that it was no longer constrained by anti-war opinion at home.

The 1989 invasion was intended to reverse the series of military defeats and debacles that the US military had suffered in the 1970s and 1980s, namely in Vietnam, but also the defeats of US-backed regimes in Central America, and the withdrawal of US Marines from Lebanon. The assault on Panama set the template for subsequent US invasions around the world. The attack on Panama was promoted by the United States as a reluctantly undertaken but necessary military action to stop a regime engaged in narco-trafficking and criminal activities.

The Panama attack was the earliest contemporary example of a ‘television war’; the main American media outlets basically served as adjuncts of the US military and administration. Churning out images and pretexts uncritical of the invasion, it was an exercise in corporate propaganda – and we will come back to that later in this article. The corporate media invited its audience to marvel at the new range of high-tech weaponry deployed by the US military.

One American general quipped that his soldiers were mesmerised by firepower – all these computer-software guided missiles and stealth fighters were required to minimise the chances of civilian casualties. The 1989 Panama invasion was almost the first real-life computer-game war, with the audience bedazzled with the supposedly sophisticated weaponry mimicking the fictitious counterparts in computer games of the time.

Greg Grandin explained in his article about the Panama invasion that high-tech weapons or not, Panamanian casualties amounted to between 300-500 combatants. For the United States, 20 soldiers died. Until today, the civilian death toll is unconfirmed, because the US military did not bother to count the civilian casualties.

What is known is that the US air force indiscriminately bombed the Panamanian barrio of El Chorrillo, a predominately poor area. The University of Panama, using their seismographic equipment, monitored 442 explosions in the first 12 hours of the invasion. Fires engulfed the barrio, and countless civilians were burned. Bulldozers were deployed after the invasion to bury the corpses in mass graves.

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The defeat of Noriega was a foregone conclusion; with his defeat, a more compliant Panamanian financial kleptocracy has been installed – compliant with the aims of the United States that is. If Operation Just Cause was undertaken to stop a regime from carrying out criminal activities, then that invasion must be judged to be a failure. The recent revelations of the Panama Papers reveal the extensive and clandestine network of financial crimes and corporate conspiracies that have found a safe haven – a tax haven – in Panama after the overthrow of Noriega. Panama was, and is, a suitable location for money laundering – one of the principal practices of capitalist neoliberalism.

Earlier in the article, we used the word propaganda to describe the ideological leadup to the Panama invasion. This word has ugly connotations – something that happens exclusively in Communist countries, or in totalitarian dictatorships where the state controls the media outlets and the flow of information. This definition is too narrow in scope and simplistic.

Propaganda is deployed very effectively in capitalist societies – only it is not called by that name. Public relations, advertising and perception management are the tools of the corporate propagandist, the financial speculator and militarist war-maker. This propaganda is subsidised by the private sector, and engulfs public space with images and messages designed to disguise the financial motives of the sponsor.

John Pilger has written that much of what masquerades as journalism today can be accurately described as propaganda; the so-called ‘information age’ has truly become warfare by media. The US invasion of Panama, cloaked by noble intentions, was an exercise in super-charged militarism. We must dig deep into contemporary history to uncover the deceptions deployed by the US for that war, and subsequent invasions. We require, to use John Pilger’s words, not a journalism that serves as a mouthpiece for the rich and powerful, but an insurrection – an uprising of subjugated knowledge.