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A bit about British atrocities - highlights from:|
Britain: imperial nostalgia
By Seumas Milne
...But even more bizarre is the implication that Britain is forever apologising for its empire or the crimes committed under it. As with other European former colonial powers, nothing could be further from the truth. There have been no apologies. ....
The Wall Street Journal even illustrated an editorial on the subject with a picture of the British colonialist Lord Kitchener, who slaughtered the Mahdi’s followers in Sudan a century before.....
By spring 2002 Blair’s foreign policy adviser and Afghan envoy, Robert Cooper (now working for Javier Solana at the European Union council of ministers), published a pamphlet making the case for “a new kind of imperialism, one acceptable to a world of human rights and cosmopolitan views”, while the prime minister privately argued in favour of military intervention in the former British colonies of Zimbabwe and Burma.
... the latest research on the huge scale of atrocities committed by British forces during the Mau Mau rebellion in colonial Kenya in the 1950s: the 320,000 Kikuyu held in concentration camps, the 1,090 hangings, the terrorisation of villages, electric shocks, beatings and mass rape documented in Caroline Elkins’s book Britain’s Gulag - and well over 100,000 deaths. This was a time when British soldiers were paid five shillings (equal to $9 in today’s money) for each Kikuyu male they killed, when they nailed the limbs of African guerrillas to crossroads posts. And when they were photographed holding severed heads of Malayan communist “terrorists” in another war that cost over 10,000 lives.
Even in the late 1960s, as veterans described in a recent television documentary, British soldiers thrashed, tortured and murdered their way through Aden’s Crater City; one former squaddie explained that he couldn’t go into details because of the risk of war crimes prosecutions. All in the name of civilisation. The sense of continuity with today’s Iraq could not be clearer.
Such evidence is a timely corrective to the comfortable British mythology that, in contrast to France and other European colonial powers, Britain decolonised in a peaceful and humane manner. It’s not as if these end-of-empire episodes were isolated blemishes on a glorious record of freedom and good governance, as Ferguson and other contemporary imperial torchbearers would have us believe. Britain’s empire was in reality built on genocide, vast ethnic cleansing, slavery, rigorously enforced racial hierarchy and merciless exploitation. As the Cambridge historian Richard Drayton puts it: “We hear a lot about the rule of law, incorruptible government and economic progress - the reality was tyranny, oppression, poverty and the unnecessary deaths of countless millions of human beings”.
So, contrary to what a poster here claims, that Western atrocities are about the past, such atrocities have actually continued to the present day. Another commentary (abridged) from James Petras in:
Iraq : The Irony of History
Among the most insidious lies and distortions which the Bush/Blair regimes and their mass media outlets have spouted to justify this genocidal war is the notion that the Iraqi people would welcome the invaders as liberators and they (especially the Shiites) would rise up to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein. When neither events took place - the Iraqi population is hostile to the invaders - the Anglo-US state media campaign claimed it was due to their fear of the Iraqi army, the Baath Party cadres, and the local militia. The media continued to picture the Iraqi people 'terrorized' by Saddam Hussein and waiting for the US to destroy his regime before expressing their 'true feelings' of gratitude to the invaders, their tanks, missiles and fragmentation bombs.
The heavy bombing of Basra and the British siege of the city was due to the fact that citizens, militia and soldiers fought together - not out of coercion by Saddam Hussein - but because they were Iraqi patriots defending their families, communities and nation from genocidal invaders. Whatever opposition to the regime that may have existed disappeared in the face of the massive bombardment, killing and maiming of thousands of Iraqi children, women, elders and ordinary citizens. Rumsfeld's 'total war' united the diverse political and social sectors of the Iraqi population in villages, towns and cities. Elderly peasants shot at convoys, pregnant women blew up U.S. Marines, adolescents shot at helicopters from rooftops…In the south Basra, Al-Najaf and large parts of Al-Nasiriya have not been taken despite weeks of aerial and artillery bombardment. The US-Anglo invading forces finding universal hostility and rejection have begun to indiscriminantly shoot young men for wearing the wrong type of boots and women with their huge flowing robes; above all the general command directed the airforce to use fragmentation bombs to decimate urban neighborhoods.
The local militia are not merely Baath activists, they are mostly non-political Iraqis infuriated by the death and mutilation of friends and family, the destruction of homes, schools, factories, offices and their livelihood. Baath activists mix with thousands of volunteers from poor neighborhoods and middle class exiles who have returned to fight for the Iraqi nation.
The distinctions that Western media make in portraying Iraqi resistance is false - under the conditions of a genocidal war - because bombs and missiles make no distinctions in their murderous assaults.
The Western state mass media portray Saddam Hussein as a 'dictator', a tyrant, a 'Hitler' who is hated by his people. That might have been the case among some sectors of the population before the war, but faced with the Anglo-US terror bombing, the seizure of oil wells, the occupation of the country and destruction of water, electrical and food supplies, Saddam Hussein's rejection and resistance has converted him into a popular national hero.