Rondo dla Margaret Thatcher!
Whatever her critics might say, however, Mrs Thatcher also got the big picture right. She stood on the side of the angels in the Cold War
the ANC is a typical terrorist organisation… Anyone who thinks it’s going to run the government in South Africa is living in cloud cuckoo land
It was you who brought democracy to Chile
But new evidence, reported in Monday’s SPIEGEL magazine reveals British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was suspicious about the influential movement and Lech Walesa, the man who later became a Nobel Laureate.
In September 1981, British Premier Thatcher even considered supporting the Eastern bloc regime in Warsaw in quelling Solidarity, a German Foreign Ministry document, long treated as classified, showed.
According to the document, Thatcher’s Foreign Secretary, Lord Peter Carrington, told colleagues in New York that Britain sympathizied with Solidarity. But if Solidarity got out of control and the government had to take repressive measures, it might make sense to help the government, he added.
Until 1989, the British role in Cambodia remained secret. The first reports appeared in the Sunday Telegraph, written by Simon O’Dwyer-Russell, a diplomatic and defence correspondent with close professional and family contacts with the SAS. He revealed that the SAS was training the Pol Pot-led force. Soon afterwards, Jane’s Defence Weekly reported that the British training for the „non-communist” members of the „coalition” had been going on „at secret bases in Thailand for more than four years”. The instructors were from the SAS, „all serving military personnel, all veterans of the Falklands conflict, led by a captain”.
The Cambodian training became an exclusively British operation after the „Irangate” arms-for-hostages scandal broke in Washington in 1986. „If Congress had found out that Americans were mixed up in clandestine training in Indo-China, let alone with Pol Pot,” a Ministry of Defence source told O’Dwyer-Russell, „the balloon would have gone right up. It was one of those classic Thatcher-Reagan arrangements.” Moreover, Margaret Thatcher had let slip, to the consternation of the Foreign Office, that „the more reasonable ones in the Khmer Rouge will have to play some part in a future government”. In 1991, I interviewed a member of „R” (reserve) Squadron of the SAS, who had served on the border. „We trained the KR in a lot of technical stuff – a lot about mines,” he said. „We used mines that came originally from Royal Ordnance in Britain, which we got by way of Egypt with marking changed . . . We even gave them psychological training. At first, they wanted to go into the villages and just chop people up. We told them how to go easy . . .”
The Foreign Office response was to lie. „Britain does not give military aid in any form to the Cambodian factions,” stated a parliamentary reply. The then prime minister, Thatcher, wrote to Neil Kinnock: „I confirm that there is no British government involvement of any kind in training, equipping or co-operating with Khmer Rouge forces or those allied to them.” On 25 June 1991, after two years of denials, the government finally admitted that the SAS had been secretly training the „resistance” since 1983. A report by Asia Watch filled in the detail: the SAS had taught „the use of improvised explosive devices, booby traps and the manufacture and use of time-delay devices”. The author of the report, Rae McGrath (who shared a joint Nobel Peace Prize for the international campaign on landmines), wrote in the Guardian that „the SAS training was a criminally irresponsible and cynical policy”.