Vice Website: British Gov’t Hides Number of Its Foreign Office Files, including Documents about KSA & Bahrain

2017-08-04 - 9:10 p

Bahrain Mirror: The British Vice website said that last week the British government released thousands of old files to the National Archives, where audience can now go to see them.

It indicated that there are 9 foreign office files hidden by the British government, including Saudi arms deals, as almost half of the Foreign Office's files about Saudi Arabia (17 out of 35) from 1986 are not being published.

These include four files about the "Sale of Tornado and Hawk aircraft to Saudi Arabia". These files would shed light on the relationship between Britain's most controversial ally, the House of Saud, and Britain's largest arms dealer, BAE Systems.

Recently, Amnesty claimed that the Saudi bombing of Yemen, including schools, medical facilities, mosques and markets, was helping BAE make more sales - something the company denied. And following the Manchester terrorist attacks, questions were raised about maintaining relations with a country that funds terrorism around the world. The website indicated that other missing files include one titled, "Training for Saudi Arabia special security forces".

Vice website added that "there was a total shut down on Princess Diana's visits to the Middle East. The Foreign Office has 28 files about Royal visits to the Middle East in 1986. None of these-zero-are bing made public."

Most of them are about a trip Charles and Diana made to staunch British allies Saudi, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain in November of 1986. Then, as now, these places were no shining beacons of human rights. Two Bahraini opposition activists, Radhi Mahdi Ibrahim and Dr Hashim al-Alawi, were reportedly tortured to death in the months before Princess Diana visited that small country. The Bahraini King's "terror campaign" against the Bahrain National Liberation Front saw around 100 people swept up during the year. Many of them were tortured by the Security and Intelligence Service, which was run by a British officer Colonel Ian Henderson, dubbed the "Butcher of Bahrain". A file called "Internal political affairs in Bahrain", which could perhaps shed more light on this episode, is being withheld from the public.

The Foreign Office is hiding a number of files related to British involvement in modern India's darkest days as well as the coup in Afghanistan. The Foreign Office is hiding a file from 1985 called "UK policy towards Afghanistan". There are also files about Guatemala, Hong Kong, Qatar, Nepal as well as the Yemeni discussions (most of them are about the coup, which overthrew President Ali Nasir Muhammad).

Baraa Shiban, a Yemeni expert, said it was "very suspicious" that the Foreign Office is keeping these files secret.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office told VICE that "overall we only redact around 1 percent of content across all historic files that we review". If that's the case, then in countries where they're refusing to publish lots of files, there must really be something they want to hide.

Arabic Version


المصدر: Bahrain Mirror
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