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The British royal wedding can be seen as a modern-day repeat of the “bread and circuses” policy of ancient Rome. In the waning days of that empire, the rulers sought to distract the masses from their grinding misery and the unwieldy wealth and corruption of the elite by sporadically throwing scraps of bread to the hungry public while saturating them with spectacles of gore and bloodlust at the Colosseum.
Today, the British public – grinding under massive austerity budget cuts, unemployment, poverty wages, social deprivations and crumbling services – are thrown scraps of feelgood comfort from the much-hyped wedding between Prince William and his girlfriend Kate Middleton. William is the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II and son of the heir apparent to the British throne, Prince Charles. Fawning media coverage will present it as a day of romance, nationhood, nostalgia and pride.
Meanwhile, the spectacles of gore and bloodlust – admittedly despite much public opposition – are located thousands of kilometers away in the Middle East, Iraq, Central Asia, Afghanistan, where over a million civilians have been killed in British-backed “wars against terror” that have yet to be sated even after eight and 10 years of butchery, respectively; and now the latest spectacle opens in North Africa, Libya, where over the past six weeks Royal Air Force warplanes have been bombing and killing civilians in the name of “peace” and “humanitarian concern”. The day before the wedding, the British government announced that troops are to be dispatched to the borders of Libya to provide “humanitarian corridors” for displaced civilians – many of whom will have been displaced by RAF ground attack aircraft.
Of course, the British Empire has long ago waned as a singular entity and its elite is not alone in lording over their masses. The same bread and circuses charade is being played out in varied ways by the other Western powers, the US, France, Germany, Italy, that comprise today’s global Empire of Capital.
But what should be appreciated from the display in Britain is the revelation – albeit unintended – of raw state power. Behind the translucent wedding veil, what can be seen is raw state power that blows away any vestige of illusions of parliamentary democracy, illusions that are not just peculiar to Britain, but to all the Western powers. In short, the empire of corporate and financial aristocracy that has emerged in late capitalism is now asserting itself increasingly and more blatantly as a dictatorship of Capital.
All political parties, whether Conservative, Liberal or Labour in Britain, or Republican, Democrat in the US etc., are seen to be willing servants of this dictatorship.
Bear in mind that London’s royal pageant is being imposed, without any public question, at an estimated cost of some $70 million, most of that for state security against any sign of popular protest. When the wider cost to the economy of the British government’s declared “public holiday” is factored in, the total cost may be $10 billion – this as the British exchequer is embarking on implementing austerity budget cuts of $130 billion. The bill for the royal wedding will be footed by the British public through future deeper cuts in jobs, education and health services, and social welfare programmes. This as the British government unilaterally adds to the public debt the cost of RAF bombing sorties in Libya, estimated at over $1 billion a month, and its other even more costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So where is the democracy in that? Austerity budgets imposed against public will, a deficit substantially increased from a royal pageant imposed without democratic consultation, and war expenses loaded on to the suffering public – even though these wars are opposed by the majority of voters.
That is dictatorship by elite government for an unelected elite. The same dictatorship manifests in the US and other Western powers. Ordinary Americans in particular may look at the British royal wedding pageant with mild fascination as some kind of “old Europe curiosity”. But in spite of its supposed revolution against European monarchs, the US has today reinvented its own corporate and financial aristocracy that rules and plunders without democratic accountability in alliance with the oligarchies of Europe.
The real world nexus for our global oligarchy is seen graphically in the power of oil companies and the transnational banking system. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, one of the world’s top 10 richest individuals, has a personal fortune that is reckoned to far exceed her country’s $130 billion deficit cuts. She is a major shareholder in Royal Dutch Shell and British Petroleum – these companies along with Exxon and Chevron make up the “four horsemen” of global Big Oil.
As Dean Henderson, author of Big Oil and Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf, points out:
“The Four Horsemen have interlocking directorates with the international mega-banks. Exxon Mobil shares board members with JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Canada and Prudential. Chevron Texaco has interlocks with Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase. BP Amoco shares directors with JP Morgan Chase. RD/Shell has ties with Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, N. M. Rothschild & Sons and Bank of England.”
Henderson continues: “Information on RD/Shell is harder to obtain since they are registered in the UK and Holland and are not required to file 10K reports. It is 60% owned by Royal Dutch Petroleum of Holland and 40% owned by Shell Trading & Transport of the UK. The company has only 14,000 stockholders and few directors. The consensus from researchers is that Royal Dutch/Shell is still controlled by the Rothschild, Oppenheimer, Nobel and Samuel families along with the British House of Windsor and the Dutch House of Orange.” 
Such global connections bestow on the British monarch the epithet of “the world’s ultimate insider trader”.
Scott Thompson writes: “[T]he Queen is the world’s ultimate ‘insider trader’. She not only gets tips from British financiers, but also has access to all the state secrets, through the [Privy Council] ‘boxes’. Thus, if the Queen learns from among all public and private British Empire intelligence and economic warfare entities reporting to her, for example, that Nigeria is about to be destabilized, she can immediately call her broker. Under the secrecy laws of the British Empire, it would be unthinkable for anyone to consider pressing charges of insider trading and conflict of interest against the sovereign: In fact, only a handful of trusted advisers would ever know.” 
To put these connections of the House of Windsor to the global Empire of Capital in a real world context, we should factor in the following:
1. The war in Iraq, according to recent revelations from Wikileaks, and others, was most certainly about gaining access for Big Oil and British Big Oil in particular, despite the arrogant assertions by former British prime minister Tony Blair that such claims made at the time of the US/British invasion of Iraq in 2003 were “absurd”. 
2. The present NATO war in Libya has an uncanny resemblance to British and French war planning for that country several months before any sign of alleged popular uprising. 
3. NATO’s military intervention in Libya was precipitated by Muammar Gaddafi’s move to put a financial squeeze on Big Oil to compensate for more than $2 billion in reparations extracted from that country over a frame-up for the Lockerbie bombing in 1988, according to former US intelligence asset Susan Lindauer.
4. The subjugation and integration of Libya’s independent financial system within the global banking system, the same system in which the British monarch is a major shareholder. 
5. Libya’s vast untapped oil wealth – the largest in Africa – was impeded by a leader considered unreliable to the long-term interests of Big Oil.
6. The reconquest of Libya by Western militarism provides a strategic bridgehead for global Capital to thwart pro-democracy uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa – uprising that represent threats to the profit interests of Big Oil and its shareholders, including the House of Windsor.
On the last point, it should be noted that Western governments have been aided and abetted by dictatorial monarchs from the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. The Persian Gulf monarchs are among the guest list attending the Big Day for the British royals. The delegation from the House of Saud is particularly noteworthy, given in its ongoing involvement in the vicious repression of the pro-democracy movement in Britain’s former colony of Bahrain.
But the royal wedding is not just a peculiar Big Day for the seemingly quaint House of Windsor. It is in many ways a celebration of the dictatorship of global Capital over democracy in Britain and elsewhere around the world, including the ‘Republic of the USA”. As the assorted global dictators assembled in London’s Westminster Abbey might say in harmony with the happy couple: “Till death do us part”.
Finian Cunningham is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Finian Cunningham