Falkland Islands & The Idiocy of Argentina‘s leaders
UPDATE – 12-Mar-2013
May I commend to you the article below which I have unashamedly stolen from the web site of one of my favourite bloggers ‘FleetStreetFox’ who I have read for a considerable time and whose book I am greatly looking forward to as it is due for publication shortly.
I believe this and many other postings she makes deserve a much wider circulation
Only, that’s not quite what happened, is it Argentina? Someone obviously needs to remind you, and probably Mr Penn too, of the facts.
Allow me to start by saying there are probably things we can all agree on. War is bad, for example, and colonialism – aside from the roads, aqueducts, education, health reforms, economic development, culture, food, integration and innovation – tends to be a bad thing too.
We could probably avoid an argument over the fact that the Falkland Islands, in and of themselves, aren’t exactly pretty. There are no hanging gardens, no waterfalls, no exotic wildlife. They’re a windy bunch of rocks a long way from anywhere, although I grant they’re nearer to you than they are to us.
Which begs the question about why, exactly, you never bothered to settle them.
|De facto control over the Falkland Islands|
When they were first discovered by a Dutchman in 1600 there was nothing there but seabirds. No people, no cultural heritage for anyone to trample over. Just a windy bunch of rocks.
Ninety years later a British sailor was blown off course and sailed through a bit of water he named Falkland Sound, and 74 years after that the French turned up to form a colony.
WAIT! I hear you cry. The French colonised the Falklands?
Why yes, and 18th century email being what it was the British turned up two years later and built a settlement on another one of the islands and claimed the whole lot for the Crown, unaware the Frenchies were already in residence.
The French sold out to the Spaniards a year after that, who put the colony – containing French people – under control of a governor in Buenos Aires.
Three years later the Spanish picked a fight with the Brits, kicked them out and after a peace treaty let us back in. In 1774 the Brits, overstretched by the Americans kicking off, withdrew and left a plaque behind asserting their claim. Thirty two years later the Spaniards departed too, leaving another plaque, and in 1811 the last settlers threw in the towel.
We were back to empty, windy rocks known only to whalers and sealing ships, and two memorial plaques.
In 1820 an American pirate called David Jewett took shelter there, and finding the place deserted promptly claimed the islands for a union of South American provinces which later became Argentina.
You lot didn’t realise this for a year, but still didn’t settle the islands. Instead a German who pretended to be French called Luis Vernet came along, asked the Argentines and the Brits politely if they minded, and founded a little colony of his own.
It took him a few goes, but eventually he established a settlement, you named him governor and gave him the right to kill all the seals. This quite hacked off the Brits, who wanted some seals for themselves, but Vernet placated us by asking for our military protection.
It all got a bit hairy in 1831, when Vernet found some American seal ships, arrested their crews and sparked an international incident. The Americans sent a warship, blew up the settlement, and hot-headedly sent the most senior settlers to the mainland for trial for piracy.
The Argentines sent a new governor to establish a penal settlement, but he was killed in a mutiny the day he arrived. The Brits, quite reasonably, decided the whole thing was a dog’s breakfast.
And now we get to the bit you’re unhappy about Argentina, the invasion and forced expulsion.
The Brits arrived two months after this mutiny, and wrote to the chap in charge of the small Argentine garrison. The letter said:
“I have to direct you that I have received directions from His Excellency and Commander-in-Chief of His Britannic Majesty’s ships and vessels of war, South America station, in the name of His Britannic Majesty, to exercise the rights of sovereignty over these Islands.
It is my intention to hoist to-morrow the national flag of Great Britain on shore when I request you will be pleased to haul down your flag on shore and withdraw your force, taking all stores belonging to your Government.”
Now, there are many ways people can be oppressed, forced, compelled and abused – just ask Sean Penn – but a polite note is not one of them.
The Argentine in charge thought briefly about resisting, but he didn’t have many soldiers and besides, most of them were British mercenaries who refused to fight. So on January 3, 1833 you left, Argentina, with wounded pride and your nose in the air.
You had never settled the islands. Never established a colony of your own. Never guarded it with a garrison of your own soldiers. They had never, ever, been yours.
And now to the matter of that expulsion. The log of an Argentine ship present at the time records the settlers were encouraged to stay, and those that left did so of their own free will and generally because they were fed up with living on some boring, windy rocks.
Eleven people left – four Argentines, three ‘foreigners’, one prisoner, a Brit and two Americans.
Twenty-two people remained – 12 Argentinians, four Uruguay Indians, two Brits, two Germans, a Frenchman and a Jamaican.
As the imposition of colonial power on an indigenous population goes, that takes some beating. And for the sake of clarity I should point out that a human melting pot like that makes the place about as British as you can be.
A few months later HMS Beagle, taking Charles Darwin to the Galapagos for a long think, popped in and found the settlement half-ruined and the residents lawless. There were several murders, some looting, and in 1834 the exasperated British sent Lieutenant Henry Smith to run the place.
The islands have been ours ever since, and is now home to almost 3,000 people descended from settlers who came from Britain, France, Scandinavia, Gibraltar, St Helena and Chile. At the same time, you went on to fight wars with most of South America and colonise provinces with indigenous populations by killing or pushing them out.
When your government was broke and facing strong opposition in the 1980s, you invaded them to divert attention of the voters with the cost of 907 lives, and it cannot be unrelated to your letter that in a few weeks you face being ejected by the International Monetary Fund for lying over your economic figures.
At around the same time, the people who now live on these boring, windy rocks in the middle of nowhere are having a referendum about who they would like to govern them. You will ignore this, because you believe they do not have a right to make up their own minds and have repeatedly refused to talk to the islanders about your claims.
So allow me to make a couple of things clear. Firstly, the history of these windy rocks is an utter mess but someone had to take charge, and you weren’t up to the job. We did it pretty nicely, considering our record in other places.
Secondly, only jackbooted colonial scumbags refuse to listen to the democratic voice of the people who live somewhere, so you really ought to wind your hypocritical warmongering necks in.
And thirdly – well done with the wine, and the beef’s pretty good, but if you want to negotiate let’s start with you taking back your Total Wipeout, because as cultural imperialism goes it’s pretty offensive, and you might want to think about handing Patagonia back to its people as well.
After that we are quite prepared to let you come and holiday on these windy rocks, where you will be invited to pitch a tent anywhere you like within the 13 square kilometres where you left 19,000 landmines last time you visited.
We know they’re a long way away. We know there’s not much to the rocks, and there might be oil and it might give someone a claim to Antarctica.
But we also know something you don’t – which is that a well-run, law-abiding and happy bunch of rocks is the best bunch of rocks you can hope to have. You’re no more up to that job now than you have ever been.
In case our position is still not clear, the above could be summed up as: No.
To view the original of this excellent article CLICK HERE
& to read more on her blog CLICK HERE
To follow her lively & irreverent Twitter CLICK HERE
I have responded to her blog as follows:
it is astonishing how often America either promises that which is not theirs to promise or even worse beats the hell out of people to increase their arms trade or steal their minerals.
One need only look at their cowardly high level and indiscriminate bombing in Viet Nam; the gratuitous and obscene slaughter in Iraq of a beaten and leaderless army in retreat; their cowardly ‘Shock & Awe’ slaughter of men, women & children on an indiscriminate basis in Iraq; their upcoming defeat in Afghanistan, having failed to control the Country, steal their copper reserves, or convert the Pashtun (Taliban).
Little surprise then that the ONLY pretence to control of the Falkland Islands by Argentina was encourage by America, to play both ends off against the middle and justify the toxic Madelein Albright – neither of whom had any authority to even comment.
FSF’s excellent summary has taken the more professional route of not naming individuals or parallels!
Her article should be compulsory reading in schools in Britain and clearly in The Argentine, where truth has always been a hostage to their economy or whichever member of their comedy government of tyrants has been in the ascendancy and of course America where no one seems to know much about anything beyond their limited borders!
I trust you will have as much pleasure in reading FSF’s informative and irreverent blog in future as I have had to date.
OR TO PUT IT ANOTHER WAY:
1690 First recorded landing made by English navigator, Captain John Strong in his ship the ‘Welfare’. He named the channel dividing the two main islands ‘Falkland Sound’ after Viscount Falkland, then Treasurer of the Royal Navy.
1740 Lord Anson passed the Islands on an exploration voyage and urged Britain to consider them as a preliminary step to establishing a base near Cape Horn.
1764 The French diplomat and explorer, Louis Antoine de Bougainville, established a settlement at Port Louis on East Falkland.
1765 Unaware of the French settlement, Commodore John Byron landed at Port Egmont on West Falkland and took possession of the Islands for the British Crown.
1766 Captain John MacBride established a British settlement at Port Egmont.
1770 British forced from Port Egmont by the Spanish.
1771 Serious diplomatic negotiations involving Britain, Spain and France produce the Exchange of Declarations, whereby Port Egmont was restored to Britain.
1774 Britain withdrew from Port Egmont on economic grounds as part of a redeployment of forces due to the approaching American War of Independence, leaving behind a plaque as the mark of continuing British sovereignty.
1811 The Spanish garrison withdrew from Puerto de la Soledad. At this time, South American colonies were in a state of revolt against Spain.
1816 The provinces which constituted the old Spanish vice-royalty declared independence from Spain as the United Provinces of the River Plate.
1820 A Buenos Aires privateer claimed the Falkland Islands in what was probably an unauthorised act – which was never reported to the Buenos Aires government. No occupation followed this.
1823 A private attempt was made to establish a settlement on the Islands, but this failed after a few months. The organisers requested the Buenos Aires government to appoint one of their employees the unpaid ‘Commander’ of the settlement.
1825 Britain and the Government of Buenos Aires signed a Treaty of Amity, Trade and Navigation. No reference was made to the Falkland Islands.
1826 Louis Vernet, a naturalised citizen of Buenos Aires (originally French with German connections), undertook a private venture and established a new settlement at Puerto de la Soledad.
1829 Buenos Aires appointed Vernet unpaid Commander of his concession in the Falkland Islands and Tierra del Fuego, on the grounds that they claimed all rights in the region previously exercised by Spain. Britain registered a formal protest, asserting her own sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.
1831 Vernet seized three American sealing ships, in an attempt to control fishing in Falkland waters. In retaliation, the US sloop ‘Lexington’ destroyed Puerto de la Soledad, and proclaimed the Islands ‘free of all government’. Most of the settlers were persuaded to leave on board the ‘Lexington’.
1832 Diplomatic relations between the US and Argentina broke down until 1844. Supporting Britain, the US questioned the claim that all Spanish possessions had been transferred to the Government of Buenos Aires and confirmed its use of the Falklands as a fishing base for over 50 years. The US declared that Spain had exercised no sovereignty over several coasts to which Buenos Aires claimed to be heir, including Patagonia.
1833 Commander Mestivier had been murdered by his own men by the time Captain Onslow sailed from Port Egmont in the warship ‘Clio’ and took over Port Louis, claiming the Islands for Britain.
1845 Stanley officially became the capital of the Islands when Governor Moody moved the administration from Port Louis. The capital was so named after the Colonial Secretary of the day, Edward Geoffrey Smith Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby.
1914 Battle of the Falkland Islands, one of the major naval engagements of the First World War in which British victory secured the Cape Horn passage for the remainder of the war.
1965 United Nations Assembly passed Resolution 2065, following lobbying by Argentina. This reminded members of the organisation’s pledge to end all forms of colonialism. Argentine and British Governments were called upon to negotiate a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute, bringing the issue to international attention formally for the first time.
1966 Through diplomatic channels, Britain and Argentina began discussions in response to UN Assembly pressure.
1967 The Falkland Islands Emergency Committee was set up by influential supporters in the UK to lobby the British Government against any weakening on the sovereignty issue. In April, the Foreign Secretary assured the House of Commons that the Islanders’ interests were paramount in any discussions with Argentina.
1971 Communications Agreement was signed by the British and Argentine governments whereby external communications would be provided to the Falkland Islands by Argentina.
1982 On 2 April Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and diplomatic relations between the two nations were broken off. Argentine troops occupied the Islands for ten weeks before being defeated by the British. The Argentines surrendered on 14 June, now known as Liberation Day.
1990 Diplomatic relations between Britain and Argentina were restored.
1999 At the instigation of Falkland Islands Councillors, a Joint Statement was signed between the British and Argentine Governments on 14 July. This was designed ‘to build confidence and reduce tension’ between the Islands and Argentina. Two Councillors from the Islands witnessed the signing on behalf of the Falkland Islands Government.
2009 Following almost ten years of discussion and negotiation, a new Constitution for the Falkland Islands took effect on 1 January 2009. Marking an important milestone in the history of the Falkland Islands, the new Constitution provides enhanced local democracy and internal self-government, and enshrines the right of self-determination.The Sun took a different line by placing an advert in an Argentine newspaper:
The full text of The Sun’s letter
Here is a clear statement of the duplicitous ex PM of Britain the war criminal guilty of crimes against humanity and telling lies to Parliament, our Monarch and the peoples of these United Kingdoms and our alies, Anthony Charles Lynton BLAIR further betrayed Britain and our peoples as follows:
Blair’s Falklands Support Is All Lies 2 April 2007
Posted by David in Labour.
Tony Blair now says the Falklands War was the “right thing to do” – it’s what he would have done. Except that second part is a lie. In the 1982 Beaconsfield by-election, Labour candidate Tony Blair said “I want a negotiated settlement and I believe that given the starkness of the military options we need to compromise on certain things.” Comprimise, with fascist dictators? How very 1930s.
He then added: “I don’t think that ultimately the wishes of the Falkland islanders must determine our position.” Isn’t that nice, hey? We don’t care what you want, we know best. How very Labour.
But look at his 1983 election leaflet, which we’ve sourced here, to see yet more opposition to liberating British territory from fascists.
Opposing the Falklands was Labour policy, and no candidate ever agrees entirely with the manifesto, but if they don’t agree with a policy they don’t use that as a main plank of their campaign. Ken Clarke didn’t use Save the Pound, for example. Blair was an appeaser. Thank God he and his Labour traitors weren’t in power.
Sourced at CLICK HERE
REFERENDUM – March 2013:
After a two day internationally supervised vote by the peoples of The Falkland Islands in a turnout of 92% of the eligible (by age & residency) 98.8% of the voters voted for YES to remaining associated with The United Kingdoms.
The result was announced in Britain in the early hours of the morning of 12-Mar-2013.
Let us see what value is placed upon democraticy and the rights of a people to self determination in The Argentine, UN, EU, South America & The USA will be!
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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