A Mercopress article about how, half a century ago, Brazil virtually legalized torture and censorship caught my eye and following it up through Wikipedia, I discovered that President Marshall Artur da Costa e Silva had been awarded Honorary Knight Grand Cross of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (United Kingdom, 5 November 1968).
The British prime minister at the time was Harold Wilson, himself plotted against by both MI5 and the CIA, as they suspected him of being a KGB plant. In fact, this became so real that a British coup d'etat was planned:
The great and the good feared that the country was out of control, and that Wilson lacked either the will or the desire to stand firm. Retired intelligence officers gathered with military brass and plotted a coup d'etat. They would seize Heathrow airport, the BBC and Buckingham Palace. Lord Mountbatten would be the strongman, acting as interim prime minister. The Queen would read a statement urging the public to support the armed forces, because the government was no longer able to keep order.
Successive enquiries have given MI5 a clean bill of health. Of course they have.
His secretary Marcia Williams, with whom he was probably having an affair, was also targeted, with MI5 bugging phones, spreading black propaganda throughout the press (sound familiar?) and accused Wilson of being an IRA sympathiser. And don't forget, this was 1968 - Vietnam, Flower Power and a vastly changing world.
In fact, Wilson turned down LBJ's request for assistance in Vietnam, and didn't send over so much as a cook. It's said that LBJ punished him for it. But in what way? The KGB connection, possibly?
But what strikes me as odd, is why Wilson would award a Brazilian tyrant a knighthood. I've been trying to discover whether he personally gave the award, with no success. Ultimately of course, all such 'gongs' are approved by the Queen.
Wilson was known for having handed out some strange awards. In fact, Marcia Williams was made a baroness and the establishment never forgave him for that.
But the question remains, why did the tyrant get that knighthood?
It's interesting what you discover when you start digging.