Fake News: 60’s British Gov disparaging Africans as savages


‘Fake news’, was not a term many people used until very recently, but it is now seen as one of the greatest threats to democracy, free debate and the Western order. The Russian Government’s manipulation of ‘Fake new’s, particularly spread throughout social media, has been widely credited for having a decisive impact on the US Presidential elections that witnessed Donald Trump come into power, and, closer to home, the Brexit decision that has caused the biggest rupture in British and potentially European politics in generations.

But recently released secret Government documents have demonstrated that in the 1960’s the British Government, through its Secret Service was engaged in deliberately spreading completely untrue stories to undermine Governments whatever the cost maybe .

During the late 1950’s and early sixties many African countries were making the transition from British Colony to Independent State. The Soviet Union was openly courting these new formed countries to come into the orbit of Communism rather than Western democracy. The British plan, hatched and delivered from the Information Research Department –IDU –was to feed false information about what communist countries and groups were saying about African’s.

In one state the news read that the Africans:

emerging from the jungle darkness of want, [they] were not equipped to understand that food, fuel and clothes were not freely attainable..."

Understandably African Nations were furious about what they saw as offensive white supremacy from Eastern European countries. The secret memos now released show the IRD unit was completely pleased with their work and its outcome.

Fast forward nearly 50 years, and it is with some irony that the targeted victim, Russia- African people and countries were just collateral damage in the Cold War- is now using the very same tactics, ‘divide and rule’, by sending misinformation and Fake news to stir racial and religious unrest, to destabilise Western Governments around the world.

Sadly, this is another shameful episode by the British Government to undermine and disparage African counties and its people, for no other reason than to undermine the power of the Soviet threat.

Simon Woolley