UK Military & Spy Agencies Wrap Themselves in ‘Woke’

British military policy organizations exploit the struggles of marginalized people while remaining complicit in savaging the same communities abroad, writes Freya India. 

Royal Air Force on parade during the 2014 London Pride event. (SAC Ash Reynolds, Defence Imagery, Flickr, C CC)

By Freya India
Declassified UK

“Our girls are spending the summer learning code and growing the sisterhood,” the feminist nonprofit, Girls Who Code, tweeted recently. “And it’s all thanks to partners like @raytheontech, who keep supporting our girls no matter what.”

Raytheon Technologies, one of the world’s largest arms companies and a major supplier to the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), recently teamed up with Girls Who Code to close the gender gap in science and technology. 

The weapons company also works closely with the Girls Scouts, combining their “vision about making the world a safer place” with “the girl scouts’ vision of making the world a better place.” 

Together they hope to “inspire the next generation”.

Whenever Raytheon isn’t inspiring young girls, though, it keeps itself busy by manufacturing guided missiles. In 2014, Raytheon U.K. secured its first export contract for the Paveway IV missile to Saudi Arabia — a £150 million deal for the sale of 2,400 bombs.

Since then, Raytheon has been a reliable supplier to Riyadh’s military campaign in Yemen, where thousands of civilians have been killed in air attacks.

The company supports young girls “no matter what” — that is, apart from those who were obliterated at a funeral service in 2016 when bombs traced back to Raytheon killed over 140 people. 

Or those who were burned alive and torn apart when Raytheon-made bombs hit a wedding party in 2018. 

Apparently, though, none of this is at odds with the company’s feminism. In fact, just two days after the wedding airstrike, Raytheon was busy tweeting about its new program being “all the inspiration a girl scout needs.”

This partnership may seem ludicrous, but it is just one example of a growing trend. 

In recent years, organizations like the Government Communications Headquarters, (GCHQ), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and other arms companies like BAE Systems have allied themselves with progressive causes, championing social justice issues from feminism to LGBT rights. 

Ironically, the rise of “woke” politics has been a blessing for these organizations: the perfect guise of progressivism to mask the dark underbelly of British “defence” policy.

GCHQ – ‘Dare to Think Differently’

In celebration of #LGBTHistoryMonth in February, GCHQ – Britain’s largest intelligence agency – tweeted in memory of Alan Turing. 

The tweet commemorated Turing not just as the war hero who cracked the Enigma code, but as an “LGBT icon” and “inspiration to those who dare to think differently.”

But wasn’t this very same LGBT icon hounded by the secret services for his sexuality? 

GCHQ excitedly invites new recruits to come and walk in Turing’s footsteps — forgetting, it seems, that such footsteps include being convicted by the Establishment for his sexuality, accused of “gross indecency,” being chemically castrated and later committing suicide. 

Not only did GCHQ treat Turing horrifically, it banned LGBT individuals from joining the agency until the 1990s.

Yet apparently GCHQ is now a beacon for LGBT rights. In 2015, the spy agency’s building was lit up with rainbow colours to celebrate IDAHOBiT (International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia) and to “show the U.K. that GCHQ is a place that values diversity.”

GCHQ illuminated its building with the colors of the rainbow for IDAHOBiT day in 2015. (GCHQ)

Last year it went even further, unveiling a mural of Turing — a huge, 3D, 10m-by-10m rainbow-colored art piece inspired by the LGBT flag — at the center of its headquarters. 

The agency has also sponsored the LGBT awards, along with MI5 and MI6, delivered LGBT+ Awareness Courses and Trans and Non-Binary talks to hundreds of employees, introduced gender-neutral toilets and celebrated Asexual Awareness Week.

These might be laudable efforts in themselves, and perhaps GCHQ’s activism is honest atonement for past attitudes. That might just be believable if the agency wasn’t still closely aligned with countries in which “daring to think differently” could get you executed. 

Artwork celebrating Alan Turing in the middle of GCHQ’s Cheltenham headquarters in 2021. (GCHQ)

GCHQ has three spy bases in Oman, for example, where homosexuality is illegal, and a security pact with Qatar, a country in which homosexual acts are punishable by imprisonment, public whippings, and even the death penalty under sharia law.

Just how big would a mural need to be in order to compensate for that?

“Defence is at its best when it is diverse,” declares the Ministry of Defence, which runs the British armed forces. The architect of unlawful wars in Libya and Iraq believes diversity is the “right thing to do from a moral perspective” and wants to be “recognised as a force for inclusion.” 

Last year, for example, the MoD released a document setting out politically correct language for its personnel. 

The paper reminded staff to announce their gender pronouns at meetings, and that “not all women are biologically female,” warning that referring to women as “females” reduced them to their “reproductive parts.”

Despite being deeply offended by sexist, old-fashioned terms, the MoD doesn’t seem to mind cozying up to Saudi Arabia, one of the most archaic and misogynistic regimes in the world. 

The MoD is providing arms, training and advice to Riyadh’s military campaign in Yemen, which is so lethal it has left women to give birth in caves to hide from the bombs. 

Tragically, women and children account for some 33 percent of the direct casualties in Yemen, despite not being combatants, and make up 76 percent of the millions of displaced persons. 

U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss meeting with Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulazziz bin Salman in Riyahd, Oct. 20, 2021. (Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street)

Yet the U.K. government continues to station military personnel in the kingdom, with the MoD revealing last year that the U.K. has even trained Saudi air force personnel in the use of the Paveway IV.

Its feminism may be a little flimsy, but the MoD still claims to be a moral voice for LGBT rights. To honor “#TransDayofRemembrance” last year, for example, it flew the trans flag on its building, tweeting: “To our Trans, Non-Binary and Intersex colleagues on #TransDayOfVisibility: We see you. We hear you. We celebrate you.”

But does it see, hear or celebrate the LGBT communities persecuted in the oppressive regimes it props up? Apparently not. 

“A safe environment for all LGBT+ people is not only welcomed, it’s vital,” the MoD declared in July 2020, just over a week after resuming arms sales to a regime which has publicly beheaded gay people. 

In fact, the MoD loans personnel to various militaries across the world including Oman, Kuwait and Brunei, which persecute homosexuality. 

In Brunei, acts of homosexuality are punishable by public whippings and even stoning to death. Strangely, though, none of this stops the sultan of Brunei from being “a great friend” to our “gay-friendly” government.

BAE Systems – Loving the Saudis

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson visiting BAE visits BAE Systems at Warton Aerodrome, Preston, March 2021. (Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street)

“Love Conquers Hate,” claims BAE Systems, Britain’s largest arms manufacturer. Who better to choose as a lead sponsor of Pride Month than BAE, a company whose biggest market is Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most viscerally homophobic regimes? 

Since Riyadh began bombing Yemen in 2015, BAE has sold weaponry worth £17.6 billion to the Saudi military. 

Somehow, the company is both a “Stonewall Diversity Champion” and a major supplier to a regime in which homosexuality is punishable by public whippings, beatings, torture, chemical castrations, life imprisonment and vigilante executions.

But at least the team supplying the bombs is diverse. Feminists at heart, BAE aims to “inspire the next generation of female engineers,” pledging for women to make up more than 30 percent of its workforce by 2030. 

Again, it is difficult to reconcile BAE’s celebration of women with its development of weapons that obliterate mothers, wives and daughters.

But the weapons giant doesn’t seem to see an issue. In fact, BAE sees itself not just as an inspiration for women, but for an entire “generation of young people.” 

As well as other arms companies like Lockheed Martin — the supplier of a bomb that killed 40 children on a school bus in Yemen — BAE is touring U.K. schools, providing careers advice and workshops for kids as young as 9. 

BAE’s top priority is the future of the next generation, we’re told, with the small exception of those 85,000 children under the age of 5 who have died from starvation and other diseases as a result of the Yemen conflict. 

Perfect PR Tool

LGBTQ+ campaigners in 2019 protesting sponsorship of LGBT Pride events by arms dealers. (

The U.K.’s Foreign Office has recently announced it is to host the “first global LGBT conference” in June. 

The event, “Safe To Be Me,” “will be the largest event of its kind and will focus on making progress on legislative reform, tackling violence and discrimination, and ensuring equal access to public services for LGBT people”, the government says.

This is the same foreign office that is practically joined at the hip with the Saudis and which has close alliances with various other regimes attacking LGBT rights.

This superficial activism is nauseating enough from multinational corporations, but it is obscene from government agencies backing dictatorships, spy agencies and the armaments industry. 

Forget about the deceit, dodgy deals and human rights violations, what counts is that GCHQ is “hiring spies on the autistic spectrum” and that the British military is making vegan pancakes.

These “defence” corporations may claim good intentions, but considering the flow of arms continues and war crimes rage on suggests this isn’t part of an authentic progressive shift. 

Their ethics are hollow: while boasting values of “transparency” and “integrity,” these organizations continue to be intimately involved with sinister regimes and profit off of rising civilian deaths.

The reality is, the collision of social media and “woke” politics has been all too convenient for the military establishment. It is the perfect PR tool: mercenary motives can now be concealed beneath a veneer of rainbow flags, family-friendly sponsorships and social justice platitudes. 

Military tycoons can now appear socially conscious without changing from within, effortlessly earn praise from the mainstream media and stifle public scrutiny, all without sacrificing profit or self-interest.

Not only are these organizations deceiving the public, they are exploiting the struggles of marginalized people to do so, while remaining complicit in savaging the same communities abroad and propping up some of the most repressive regimes in history. 

For that there is simply no defence, no matter how large the murals or extravagant the flags. 

Freya India is an independent writer based in England. She has written for various publications with a focus on politics, psychology and cultural issues.

This article is from Declassified UK.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

16 comments for “UK Military & Spy Agencies Wrap Themselves in ‘Woke’

  1. Mark Stanley
    April 4, 2022 at 11:37

    Jimmy Dore did a report on the salaries of (dozens) Girl Scouts of America executives based in New York. Mostly with nonsense job titles–all over 200,000. The CEO over 900,000. All from the sales of cookies. The girls do and learn nothing but sell cookies. They receive no compensation, which essentially makes them slaves. Folks buy the cookies because the girls are cute. They are being played. It’s a scam, and the executives are in a kind of club. How does one get one of those jobs?

    • Roy Matola
      April 5, 2022 at 05:51

      You sell cookies and climb up the dough ladder

  2. Eddie S
    April 4, 2022 at 00:20

    If (as-is all too common here in the US) in this era of ‘virtual information overload’, people want to knowingly adopt a willful naivety and believe that their country’s military is primarily some benign organization that goes around the world helping people be ‘inclusive’ , then we’re pretty much doomed. While I believe that militaries will be an unfortunate necessity for the foreseeable future, they need to be a minimal size necessary, and be recognized as an organization of legitimated violence needed to defend against other violent organizations, not be hyped as a social-welfare entity or ‘democracy builder’. Militaries forte is their ability to kill and destroy, which sadly is required on rare occasions, but it shouldn’t be their primary international diplomatic tool, as it virtually has become here in the US.

  3. Caliman
    April 3, 2022 at 12:02

    As a culture who prosecuted and rated homosexuality a disease of the mind within most of our lifetimes, we have incredible gall trying to use our newfound wokeness as a new tool to cudgel others into obedience to empire. So the issue is not selling weapons to execrable outfits like the Saudi sheiks … the issue is the very incredible hypocrisy of utter evil entities like a weapons manufacturer corporation or a spy agency with the blood of thousands on its record being looked up to as sources of moral values! Indeed the ability of such outfits to smoothly pivot to support the latest woke shibboleths should warn that the latter are either meaningless or indeed retrograde.

  4. Joseph Cullen
    April 2, 2022 at 22:28

    Britain has been an imperialist culture for a very long time. The Brits have been the cause of oceans of pain
    and misery for millions , from the Irish to the Kenyans for centuries. And, unfortunately, the Americans
    seem to be following in their bloody wake! God help us!

    • Whatatumble
      April 3, 2022 at 09:58

      “the Americans seem to be following in their bloody wake! God help us!”

      What seems to be is often deceptive.

      If you can access the minutes and subsequent documents informed by the meeting of the Imperial General Staff with “observers but not Soviet “allies” held in London in March 1943, just over a month after German forces and their associates surrendered in Stalingrad and its environs, it was more hand in hand than following in their bloody wake and this continues to today.

      This was/is partly facilitated by “disappearing and photoshopping” the minutes and subsequent documents informed by the meeting of the Imperial General Staff with “observers but not Russian “allies”, held in London in March 1943, including but not limited to inserting photographs of different meetings which included some Soviet attendance – an old trick still alive and hoping to be still kicking in Ukraine and elsewhere, at least for the folks back home.

      Initially there was some sharing of previous experience which some have “weaponised/mythologised” as following in their bloody wake for some of the folks back home – particularly the “Irish diaspora” some of whom like Mr. McGovern’s relatives observed that:

      The sun never sets on the British empire as God wouldn’t trust them in the dark.

      reprised when shifting of blame/covering of inherent ineptitudes was required including blaming Mr. Philby by both MI6 and the CIA to minimise assigning blame to one another, although Mr. Eisenhower didn’t buy the narrative, nor to some degree did Mr. Kennedy lately of this planet.

      Some are of the view that this was progress of a sort in a continuing linear process – from assassinations of character to assassinations of characters.

  5. rosemerry
    April 2, 2022 at 15:10

    It is very interesting to see the criticism of Russia for its old-fashioned adherence to “traditional family values” and rather evident scorn for her emphasis on “woke” culture. Now we can see in graphic videos the behaviour of some of “our democratic partners” in Ukraine not only ill-treating civilians, but torturing, injuring and even castrating captured Russian soldiers (prisoners of war). Some of these men may be gay, others everyday heterosexual family men. If lives matter, treating humans in a humane way needs to apply to all, of all ages and sexes.
    At least our US ally Mr Biden is able to show that he is an all- inclusive murderer-all ages and genders in all the wars he enjoys-Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and he adds to the inclusive deaths by sanctions on Iran, Venezuela , Cuba of course and many others whose loss of lives from lack of medicines and other necessities because of the illegal sanctions run into the hundreds of thousands.

    • Joseph Cullen
      April 2, 2022 at 22:35

      Very well articulated my friend. The sad thing about Americans is that they think they are exceptional
      which makes them even more dangerous!

      • Whatatumble
        April 3, 2022 at 09:18

        “The sad thing about Americans is that they think they are exceptional
        which makes them even more dangerous!”

        Some would say not sad, but more predictable and vulnerable, but I hear “everyone is entitled to their own opinion as long as they don’t act on it.”

  6. Whatatumble
    April 2, 2022 at 08:24

    ““UK Military & Spy Agencies’ Wrap Themselves”

    In a reprise and development of insertion into various “feminist” organisations and self-perceived as “revolutionary organisations” during the 1970’s and subsequent, through the vectors including but not limited to “lonely unmarried mothers”, also rolled out against the “IRA” and their associates, partly based on the efforts of Mr. Templer and Mr. Kitson’s “counter insurgency/low intensity operations” in Malaya and Kenya during the 1950’s, which were incorporated into “the copybook”.

  7. TP Graf
    April 2, 2022 at 06:29

    This child’s brainwashing has been brought to by Raytheon Technologies … One thing I’ve learned in my 60+ year observation of non-profit causes is, when in doubt, look the other way. Scrutinizing sponsorships and grants might tear into one’s conscience if you have any integrity to the cause you purport to represent. Thank you, Ms. India, for exposing the stark reality of the hypocrisy inherent in so much of the “wokeness” movement. What comfort we can draw from knowing our young girls in the “advanced” western world can grow up to be weapons engineers and slaughter the young girls of lesser nations!

  8. George F Galan
    April 2, 2022 at 02:55

    The weaponization of neo-liberal culture to futher Western power expansion is an egregious exploitation and betrayal of the very values they ostensibly espouse. Shameless duplicity at the heart of Western defense pulling the wool over the sheep´s eyes. The Woke movement has itself become too politicized and even totalitarian in its aim to convert the world to its view cancelling anyone who doesn´t adhere to it. Indeed, what better weapon for western governments to get other nations to toe their line. All part of the West´s global hegemonic architecture.

    • Bob - Enough
      April 2, 2022 at 10:49

      I agree totally, but will also add specifically that it is to both further their destruction of the family nucleus, Christianity and advance their depopulation agendas..

      • April 3, 2022 at 11:02

        I agree but would not limit it to destruction of Christianity. You may not have noticed but the western governments and their woke patrol are targeting Muslim lands with propaganda and bombs. For the woke crowd, the agnenda is the destruction of anyone who doesn’t agree with them and the western government and the corporations are willing to ride that wagon to their ultimately goal of worls domination. Unfortunately Churches have submitted to the secular agenda and lost their principles. In my opnion, every society should be able to live according their own values and no nations should dictate others on how to live. Not everyone wants to live in a society that has no boundaries.

    • Jan
      April 2, 2022 at 10:55

      George, very well put, I completely agree with you. To the woke movement I would add the Net Zero push by the UK government, only there to rob the sheep hypnotised into a state of fear by television. The public, in distressingly large numbers, has become infantilised by their dependence on government – they are happily sliding into full totalitarian control.

  9. George F Galan
    April 2, 2022 at 02:48

    The weaponization of neo-liberal culture to futher Western power expansion is an egregious exploitation and betrayal of the very values they ostensibly espouse. Shameless duplicity at the heart of Western defense pulling the wool of the Sheep´s eyes. Great article!

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