David Cameron

David Cameron

THAT BRITISH Tory politicians should call for a halt to British arms supplies to Israel is most unusual, coming as it does from those who normally support Israel regardless of whatever military atrocities they commit. Britain’s support for Israel depends on it abiding by international humanitarian law, threatened UK foreign secretary David Cameron, most unusually. That the deaths of six of the seven aid workers killed by Israeli air strikes recently were Western is not unique, although it is not typical. But the anger of the British government with Israel is most unusual. Why so?

A spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees could not explain when asked why comparatively so little attention was paid to the 175 of its aid workers killed by Israeli forces. The standard, racist explanation is that Palestinian lives are less important than white Europeans. But does this really explain media and government outrage in the UK?

The Phoenix recently reported that many British media outlets had published a raft of stories last October about the SAS being deployed on standby in Cyprus in case they were needed to rescue British hostages seized in Gaza. However, a sudden silence descended on the UK media, which was explained by the issuance of a D Notice (see edition 8/3/24).

From Ukraine to Afghanistan and Belfast, undercover special forces of the SAS and other units of the British Army have been deployed in various civilian roles, often as community volunteers and the like. The description of World Central Kitchen personnel as aid workers is truthful but it is not the whole truth. They were in fact security workers on a contract for their employer, Solace Global. While they may indeed have been motivated by charitable ideals, their military history and that of the principals in Solace Global indicates an enduring relationship with Britain’s armed forces.

One was Derek Chapman, who was reported in the Guardian as being a member of the SAS before he moved into private security work. James Kirby had been a sniper with the British Army in Bosnia and Afghanistan, and James Henderson had served with the elite commandos of the Royal Marines before working with private security firms in various hot spots. The three were regarded as having skills learned in Britain’s special forces.

Solace Global’s managing director of its maritime section is Paul Queen and his firm boasts that he began learning operational and other skills in the Royal Marines. Martin Veale’s title is operations director – risk, with Solace Global boasting that, “following a successful career… in the Royal Marines and UK Special Forces, Martin has worked as a security consultant and advisor to military units, governments and blue chip companies. After a period working in the Middle East, Martin took the opportunity to join Solace Global Risk as head of operations.”

Veale’s blurb on the company website gives a clue to the relationship between Solace Global and various “military units” and “governments”, doubtless all western.

The three men who were killed by the Israelis were obviously engaged in security work protecting aid workers in Gaza. But the western world, and especially Britain, is full of private security firms staffed by former military and intelligence operatives in their countries’ armed forces and these firms invariably retain links with state security forces.

We may never know the precise relationship that their firm may have enjoyed with British state security and its interests in Gaza.

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