A dhow passes the Musandam peninsula (Photo: Gunter Fischer / Getty)

Stealing a nation – the secret SAS mission to capture the Middle East’s oil artery

Fifty years ago, US troops began building a military base on the Chagos Islands, a British territory in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Its inhabitants, who numbered several thousand, were forcibly removed to make way for a naval station.  They received almost nothing in compensation for the loss of their homeland, but Britain did […]

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Prince Andrew rushed to Saudi Arabia after King Abdullah (right) lost his brother Nayef. (Photo: Getty)

Prince Andrew’s Saudi trip made Foreign Office “extremely grateful”

Andrew, the Duke Of York, rushed to Jeddah in June 2012 to pay tribute to Crown Prince Nayef, who had passed away months after overseeing a brutal crackdown on Arab Spring protesters.  Among those arrested for organising demonstrations was 17-year-old Ali al-Nimr who would be sentenced to death by beheading and crucifixion. Now a diplomatic […]

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Revealed: The secret Whitehall committee that holds ‘no records’

Declassified has discovered a secret UK government committee that held meetings with an arms dealer, former oil executive and ex-spy — but parliament is told there are ‘no records’ of what was discussed.

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Gulf spymaster who bought John Terry’s £16m mansion challenged over corruption

Middle East spy chief who bought a palatial property in the UK from former England football captain John Terry is being accused of corruption and human rights abuses, Declassified UK can reveal.

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Northern Irish police trained Gulf regime ahead of crackdown

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is facing fresh scrutiny over its long-standing ‘public order’ and security training of Omani police, following last month’s suppression of protests in the country.

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Aircraft carrier base threatens endangered whales

British officials did not consider the environmental impact of a new naval base in the Indian Ocean, despite evidence it will have ‘large adverse’ consequences for a species of whale ‘at high risk of extinction’, Declassified has found.

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Largest protests since Arab Spring sweep Oman as UK support for regime rises

As Oman’s UK-trained police confront popular protests against unemployment and corruption in the dictatorial Gulf state, the British military prepares to deploy an aircraft carrier to a new UK naval base in Oman, and the head of the Royal Air Force praises his Omani counterpart.

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Boris Johnson’s new ethics adviser made secret trips to Gulf dictatorship

Lord Geidt, tasked with investigating government sleaze, did not tell parliament he was counselling an Arab autocrat. Whitehall insists he complied with transparency rules, but is this what the evidence suggests?

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‘Colonialism never ended’: The elite British cabal propping up a Gulf dictatorship

Some of the most senior figures in the British establishment have secretly served as ‘privy councillors’ to a highly repressive dictatorship in the Gulf state of Oman. The elite UK group has included heads of MI6 and the military, a foreign minister, an oil executive, the ex-governor of the Bank of England and one of Queen Elizabeth’s closest aides.

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Queen Elizabeth’s support for Gulf kings ‘puts love of horses ahead of human rights’

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As new evidence emerges of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed holding his adult daughters ‘hostage’, Declassified has found that Queen Elizabeth has met the repressive leader on at least 10 occasions since the 2011 ‘Arab Spring’.

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Prince Andrew helped deepen UK relations with Gulf regimes for eight years after Epstein scandal

The queen’s second son has held 70 meetings with repressive Middle East monarchies in the decade since the Arab Spring uprisings. Most meetings took place after Prince Andrew’s role as official trade envoy ended in 2011 amid the Epstein scandal, with UK diplomatic support for his Gulf trips lasting into 2019.

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British royals met tyrannical Middle East monarchies over 200 times since Arab Spring

Britain’s royal family has met members of autocratic Middle Eastern monarchies nearly once a fortnight since the crackdown on ‘Arab Spring’ protests began 10 years ago this month. Their visits have often coincided with human rights abuses in the Gulf, where pro-democracy activists are punished for criticising the Windsor ties to regimes.

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John Major praised Gulf ruler’s power grab, newly declassified files show

Former British prime minister John Major praised Oman’s dictator, Sultan Qaboos, for passing a law that gave him absolute power, describing it as ‘clearly a most imaginative and constructive step forward’. The law enacted in 1996 by the close British ally effectively banned political parties, independent media and criticism of the ruler.

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British spy agency refuses to acknowledge its bases in Gulf dictatorship

Britain’s largest intelligence agency, GCHQ, is refusing to publish details of its bases in Oman, where it is believed to operate three surveillance sites.

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Revealed: How the British military supplies ‘mercenary’ forces to a Gulf dictatorship

Britain has 91 troops ‘on loan’ to Oman, where serving UK military pilots are flying Omani fighter jets, helicopters and military transport planes under a secretive scheme designed to bolster the repressive monarchy, Declassified UK can reveal.

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How the UK press is misinforming the public about Britain’s role in the world

Britain’s national press consistently portrays Britain as a supporter of noble objectives such as human rights and democracy. The extraordinary extent to which the public is being misinformed about the UK’s foreign and military policies is revealed in new statistical research by Declassified UK.

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‘The benefits of doing nothing at all’: Why Britain is unlikely to support a ban on Russian mercenaries 

The rise of Russian mercenaries in conflicts across Syria, Ukraine and numerous African countries is concerning the UK’s Ministry of Defence, yet Britain appears unlikely to support a ban on such mercenaries because of its own private security industry.

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Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said (Photo: Oman News Agency)

Britain mourns its favourite Middle Eastern dictator

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Not one UK national newspaper has described Sultan Qaboos as a dictator, despite his being the Middle East’s longest-serving autocrat, having taken power in 1970. Qaboos’ half century in power was more than twice as long as Saddam Hussein’s 24-year-rule in Iraq and even surpassed Muammar Gaddafi’s 42 years in Libya. Qaboos acted as Oman’s […]

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British government continues to aid repression in human rights-abusing countries, new data shows

The British government is continuing to approve the export of hi-tech surveillance equipment and software of the type that is being used by states abusing human rights to monitor and repress dissent, new government figures show. The government’s exports of ‘telecommunications interception equipment’ to repressive states are likely unlawful.

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