Private Eye: MI6 Killed Congo President, Patrice Lamumba

Away from it’s cover spoofing Trump, there’s a rather more serious, and very interesting little article, Killing Times, on page 20 of this fortnight’s Eye. It’s about the American’s refusal to get drawn into supporting Britain’s denunciation of Putin for ordering the assassination Litvinenko. The Eye ascribes this to the Americans recognising that if they did so, Putin would respond by reminding them of their own sordid history in these matters. Such as the various CIA assassination attempts on Fidel Castro, and a 1960 plot, instigated by President Eisenhower, to kill the first democratically elected president of the Congo, Patrice Lamumba. The article goes onto inform it’s readers that it wasn’t just the Americans, who wanted to kill the African premier. The article goes on:

The British would never sanction such “uncivilised behaviour”, of course. Except, er, they did. In September 1960 Howard Smith of the Foreign Office’s Africa department wrote a memo to senior Whitehall officials and the Lord Privy Seal, Edward Heath, advocating a “simple way to stop Congo’s PM getting too friend with the USSR – “ensuring Lumumba’s removal from the scene by killing him. This should in fact solve the problem.” Was Smith instantly dismissed for his illegal proposal? He later became ambassador to Moscow and then head of MI5.

Soldiers from Belgium, the old colonial power, were present at the eventual murder of Lumumba in January 1961. But Britain did its bit. In 2013 the Labour peer Lord Lea revealed in the London Review of Books that three years earlier, shortly before her death, he had discussed Lumumba with Daphne Park-fellow peer, MI6 stalwart and British consul in Leopoldville at the time of the killing. “I mentioned the uproar surrounding Lumumba’s abduction and murder and recalled the theory that MI6 might have had something to do with it.’ We did,’ she replied, ‘I organised it’.”

See that, Mr Putin? That is how truly civilised countries behave.

This is interesting and important. America and the CIA are notorious for organising a series of assassinations and coups throughout the developing world. The various attempts to kill Castro are perhaps the best known, along with the overthrow of President Allende in Chile by General Pinochet and the coup against Benz in Guatemala. But in fact you can add a long string of other nations, including Brazil and Iran. In a speech I reblogged, the Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, criticised this history of political murder and made it clear that for the sake of peace it should be abandoned.

You hear much less about British involvement in these matters, and you could be forgiven that we don’t do any such thing. This piece from the eye show how wrong this assumption is. Britain was involved with the coup against Mossadeq in Iran in 1953. Lobster has also covered in its pages a plot against Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe in 1979 or so, as well as what seems to have been the assassination of Republican leaders by death squads deep within the British army in Northern Ireland. But that’s it. Mostly such pieces are confined to Lobster, which gets its information from bits and pieces released in the press, and tucked away in books about foreign policies, or the memoirs of former spies, ministers and civil servants. This secret history isn’t as well known as America’s. My guess is that the main reason for this is, unlike America, the ruling class were better over here at maintaining the cloak of secrecy. We didn’t have a Freedom of Information Act until Tony Blair, and that was rather milder than the American version. And unlike America, Britain hasn’t suffered the trauma of seeing a head of state impeached and put on trial, like Nixon at Watergate. The lives and reputations of the politicos and mandarins, who may have organised atrocities like Lamumba’s assassination have been preserved, because the British public have been kept – and most likely are still being kept – from finding out about them.

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3 Responses to “Private Eye: MI6 Killed Congo President, Patrice Lamumba”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Funnily enough.. I was listening to a short clip on Allan Dulles (the longest reigning CIA director) and CIA’s involvement in Lumumba’s death a few days ago, including info about Iran from David Talbot, about ‘how Dulles’ time at the CIA helped shape the current national security state’:

    The after recently reading about more Shankhill revelations and how the UK’s secret services had infiltrated the IRA (but didn’t stop the bombing) and also how the Observer newspaper didn’t publish (autumn 2002) their correspondent Ed Vulliamy’s info but instead eventually supported the Iraq war:

    “Ed Vulliamy found confirmation of a terrible truth many of us already suspected. In a world-exclusive, he persuaded Mel Goodman, a former senior CIA official who still had security clearance at the Agency, to go on record that the CIA knew there were no WMD in Iraq. Everything the US and British governments were telling us to justify the coming attack on Iraq were lies.”
    REF: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2015-09-20/guardians-terrible-dilemma-over-corbyn/#sthash.vTdrFa5T.dpuf
    It makes me wonder what sort of power crazed bubble such characters operate in (such cruel, ugly vision) and who they really operate with and for and how the media self / censorship operates…
    BTW: Interesting comments on why the Observer didn’t tell the story from page 348 in the book Flat Earth News, this link should take you straight to that page: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=U2E79Pq0ZDwC&pg=PA348&lpg=PA348&dq=Ed+Vulliamy+mel+goodman&source=bl&ots=wrjzc13mRb&sig=wuqJ__-9rMdQwhiCrtVnb6S3DB8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwimj5ectuPKAhUIQBoKHaFjBDoQ6AEIPjAF#v=onepage&q=Ed%20Vulliamy%20mel%20goodman&f=false

    • beastrabban Says:

      Thanks for all that information, Michelle – this is going to make very interesting reading and viewing.

      • Michelle Says:

        And thanks to you for your thought provoking blog – we have some similar inquiries so your prompts are very helpful, a happy surprise.

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