Wednesday, January 19, 2005

THE BRITISH ARMY - LONG HISTORY OF USING TORTURE




Photos: Kenya, www.leighday.co.uk/cat.asp?cat=921,
Iraq http://www.iraqirabita.org/english/index.php?do=arti,
Dresden www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWdresden.htm

The British army has a long history of using torture.

The writer Mark Curtis says that in 1971 an official British investigation found that the British army's torture techniques "played an important part in counter-insurgency operations in Palestine, Malaya, Kenya, Cyprus and the British Cameroons (1960-1), Brunei (1963), British Guiana (1964), Aden (1964-7), Borneo/Malaysia (1965-6), the Persian Gulf (1970-1) and in Northern Ireland (1971)".

KENYA

The British used beatings, sexual humiliation, hooding, sleep deprivation, and bombarding with white noise.

32 Whites were killed by the Mau Mau during the five-year state of emergency. More whites died in traffic accidents in the capital city, Nairobi.

Kenyans were forced into concentration camps and routinely tortured. Some 150,000 Africans died as a direct result of the British policy.

There was a "constant stream of reports of brutalities by police, military and home guards", wrote Canon Bewes, a British missionary. "Some of the people had been using castration instruments and two men had died under castration."

Other brutalities included slicing off ears, boring holes in eardrums, flogging people to death, pouring paraffin over suspects and setting them alight and burning eardrums with cigarettes.

A British district officer admitted, "There was outright abuse of power and some of the crimes committed were horrific. One day six Mau Mau suspects were brought into a police station in the neighbouring district to mine. The British police inspector in charge lined them up against a wall and shot them."

A mobile gallows travelled the country. Over 1,000 were hanged, their bodies displayed at crossroads and market places.

MALAYSIA

The British used terror in Malaya.

This involved aerial bombing, massacres of villagers, dictatorial police measures and the "resettlement" of hundreds of thousands of people.

CYPRUS

During the state of emergency, from 1952 to 1957, the British army used torture.

Cypriot Nicos Koshies: "They took me to the Special Branch and they started beating me. They took off all my clothes, they tied my hands and feet. They asked somebody to come in. He was taking a stick to put up my bottom, he was putting cloths in water and putting them on my face so I could not breathe, he threw me down and danced on my stomach when he was wearing boots. After 12 days I could not recognise myself."

James Callaghan in the House of Commons: "On 29 June 1957 an inquest was held into the death of Nicos Georghiou. Dr Clearkin said in evidence that bruises in the head were sufficiently severe to have caused the injuries to the brain, perhaps bumping the head against a hard object."

IRAN

In 1953 a coup organised by the British and the USA overthrew Mossadeq and gave power to the Shah.

British SAS forces trained the Shah's Savak secret police. SAS officers helped train the Iranian army in special operations against the Kurds. The Shah's regime used torture until it was overthrown in 1979.

ADEN/SOUTH YEMEN

In Aden, later known as South Yemen, SAS squads used terror against local villages.

An official investigation found that from 1964 to 1967 detainees at a British interrogation centre were routinely tortured. Their eardrums were burst. Others were forced to lean against walls with their fingertips for day and subjected to white noise for hours.

BAHRAIN

Former detainees in Bahrain have described being beaten, electrocuted, whipped, tied in excruciating positions for days on end, kept awake, starved and having their toenails torn out.

NORTHERN IRELAND

The Compton official inquiry acknowledged that the army hooded suspects, fed them on just bread and water and blasted them with noise.

An Amnesty International report said, "It is because we regard the deliberate destruction of a man's ability to control his own mind with revulsion that we reserve a special place in our catalogue of moral crimes for techniques of thought control and brainwashing. Any interrogation procedure which has the purpose or effect of causing a malfunction or breakdown of a man's mental processes constitutes as grave an assault on the inherent dignity of the human person as more traditional techniques of physical torture."

A European human rights report found that British army techniques amounted to "inhuman and degrading treatment" causing "at least intense physical and mental suffering".
 
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