The British establishment has a peculiar genius for denying the existence of its imperial crimes.
It likes to suggest that its intervention in Africa has primarily been to bring democracy, rather than being responsible for creating the horrors.
Only last month foreign secretary William Hague visited the Democratic Republic of Congo and tutted at the terrible deprivation caused by years of brutal war.
Patrice Lumumba was the first democratically elected president of Congo when it won independence from Belgium in 1960.
He was a left wing nationalist, who refused to allow exploitative business to go on as usual.
Within a year Lumumba was kidnapped, tortured and executed. Mobutu Sese Seko was groomed for power. He was both a thug and a loyal ally of the West.
The complicity of Belgian intelligence, the CIA and elements of the United Nations in Lumumba’s murder has long been known. Indeed Belgium apologised in 2002.
Last week Britain’s role came to light—in a suitably establishment way—in a letter to the London Review of Books from Lord Lea of Crondall. He said the MI6 head of station in Congo at the time, Baroness Daphne Park of Monmouth, told him the truth over tea in 2010.
She admitted that not only had she known about the kidnapping, but “I organised it”.