Celebrating 70 years of British massacres!
History is not history if it informs the present. Elizabeth's UK is not one of human rights and Western ideals, but the same imperialist-minded entity that caused massacres around the world in the past 70 years, just as it had in its colonial heyday.
What’s past is past. Why go into the bloody history of the UK if it’s just that: history?
Why go into Britain’s bloody massacres in Africa? Its slave trade? Or that Winston Churchill blamed India’s Bengal famine in World War II (1943), which was caused by food being exported to Britain from India, on the Indians themselves, as he famously said: “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.”
The major thing about history is that it’s so important because it informs the present, particularly when you choose not to apologize for it and continue the same traditions you once upheld. Particularly, in this instance, I’m referring to Britain’s lively tradition of imperialism that still informs its worldview and foreign policy.
Perhaps it is telling that a YouGov poll conducted in 2016 found that the British public is proud of the history of the British Empire and the role their country played in colonialism, with 43% of Britons saying they were “proud” of it, while only 21% said they regretted that it happened.
It is also telling, and amazingly so, that the British Ministry of Defense has claimed that its bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq between September 2014 and January 2021 resulted in 4315 casualties, only one of which was a civilian.
When asked by London-based research charity Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) for the number of civilian casualties that the British military caused around the world in the past 20 years, the MoD said that these numbers are not recorded.
However, digging a bit deeper into the history of UK interventions in the past 70 years, since Queen Elizabeth II took the throne, anyone can clearly see that there is a recurrent pattern of UK forces massacring civilians and trying to hide it under the pretense of the requirement of hard evidence to prove they are responsible.
This isn’t to suggest that the queen herself was behind these massacres, as her role is largely a ceremonial one. But she is, nevertheless, an influential figure in British politics and the Commonwealth Realm, and her silence on such matters as Britain causing irreparable harm to the world merely reflects an ambivalence that is characteristic of Britain’s attitude toward other nations.
The Mau Mau rebellion (1953)
It has been almost 69 years since the Mau Mau rebellion took place in Kenya. Many atrocities were committed by the British army in the African country, many of which included mass murder, the use of concentration (forced labor) camps by the British, and various torture methods.
Although the number of those killed during the rebellion is disputed by experts, they are estimated to be between 25,000 and 50,000 deaths, half of which were children aged 10 and below, and were due to malnutrition, starvation and disease.
One of the most well-known massacres that happened at the time, which was covered up by the British military, later came to be known as the Chuka massacre. It raised questions about the actions of the British forces operating in Kenya in the 1950s.
It is 2022, and Britain still refuses to own up to its atrocities.
In short, in the Chuka massacre, British soldiers attempting to clear the Chuka area of “rebel” activity, were searching a nearby forest with the help of two recently captured rebels. After torturing the rebels, the soldiers came upon a village on June 17, 1953, and a dispute broke out with the locals. The soldiers arrested 10 men, told them to lie face-down, and severely beat them. Later, they were taken to a camp and ordered to lie face-down again and were shot in the backs of their heads.
The following day, on June 18, the soldiers stole food from another group of civilians. When they protested, one of them was shot, and another 10 were taken captive: nine adults and a boy. They were taken near a farm and were killed by the British soldiers.
The villagers informed the authorities, but in the end, this only culminated in a light sentence of seven years’ imprisonment for the company’s commander, while none of the 12 other British men were tried.
Britain’s disinformation campaign in Indonesia and the killing of hundreds of thousands (1965)
Though Britain had long denied it had anything to do with the strife that took place in Indonesia in 1965, recently declassified documents show that it was in fact behind the disinformation campaign that brought down the left-leaning Sukarno government, according to a report by The Guardian.
Ed Wynne was a specialist sent to Indonesia by the British Foreign Office’s Information Research Department (IRD) in an effort to prevent a “domino effect” of Communism’s growing influence in Asia. The IRD was closely associated with MI6, and its main area of expertise was disinformation campaigns.
Using a small team, Wynne set up a disinformation newsletter, the origin of which was disguised by sending it to Indonesia via cities like Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Manila. The newsletter was given the appearance of being produced by ‘patriotic Indonesians living abroad' and targeted as many influential people in the government hierarchy as it could.
In 1965, the time came to take advantage of the momentum it was able to accumulate, and after producing a radio broadcast and a special edition of the newsletter, the IRD took advantage of a military coup in Indonesia to call for violence against the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI)
“No, we do not cry out for violence,” the IRD propagandists wrote, “but we demand in the name of all patriotic people that this communist cancer be cut out of the body of the state.” The PKI “is now a wounded snake”, they wrote: “Now is the time to kill it before it has a chance to recover.”
The disinformation campaign continued to incite readers of the need to continue with the killing “Unless we maintain a vigorous campaign to eradicate communism … the red menace will envelop us again.”
It was not just communists, any leftists were now targeted and killed. In the troubles that followed, hundreds of thousands of Indonesians were killed, because of the British IRD’s disinformation campaign.
Britain’s involvement in the affair was only revealed when the documents were declassified after being held far beyond the 20-year rule for declassification.
War in Afghanistan (2001-2021)
There are many episodes that bear testament to the British military’s disregard for civilian life, including the Bosnian War, the Kosovo war, and the Yemen revolution in the 1960s, but as there are no exact figures on the impact of Britain’s direct involvement, or no detailed investigations that reflected the number of civilian casualties, there is not much to do in terms of discussing British massacres during those wars.
This takes us straight to the war in Afghanistan, where the evolution of media allowed for more accountability in terms of revealing the extent of Britain’s involvement in the deaths of innocent civilians. Had it not been for the work of many independent organizations and journalists, many of these deaths would have gone unreported or would have had civilians grouped together with non-civilian targets.
In fact, the UK’s troops, during their presence in Afghanistan, had a “deliberate policy” of killing unarmed men.
This case in particular, which the BBC refers to, was brought up by one Saifullah Ghareb Yar, who says that British forces murdered four members of his family on the night of February 16, 2011. Meanwhile, the British government maintains that they were killed in "self-defense".
Saifullah's uncle, an elderly survivor of the night in question, says his hands and feet were tied and he was moved to a holding area with women and children. He heard gunshots soon after. Two of Saifullah's brothers were found dead in a nearby field, his cousin was found dead in a neighboring home, and he found his father lying face-down, dead, in his own home.
A report by The Guardian also showed that the British Army was found directly responsible for at least 300 civilian deaths in Afghanistan, due to documents that showed that paltry sums were given to bereaved Afghan families, in compensation for killing their family members, including dozens of children.
War on Iraq (2003 - )
In January 2004, mobile phone footage revealed how nine British soldiers dragged four boys into their barracks and beat them senseless. Eight carried out the beating and one was filming and imitating the boy's cries as they were pleading for them to stop. When the case was brought to public attention a couple of years later, it was said that the statute of limitations had expired and that it was not in the public interest to prosecute the soldiers.
The camera zooms in and out as the soldiers beat them. A soldier walks up to one boy and kicks him between the legs. Another punches a boy in the head and stomach. The soldier filming keeps up a steady patter. “Oh yes! You’re going to get it,” he says. He imitates their screams for mercy. “Oh please! Please no!” Other soldiers pass in and out of shot, apparently indifferent.
Stories began to leak over the years of the involvement of British soldiers in abuse, murder, and torture against Iraqi civilians.
It was revealed that in fact, British soldiers had a shoot-to-kill policy against unarmed civilians in Iraq, particularly during the British occupation of Basra between 2003 and 2007.
“I was one of the people who were targeted while I was walking in Al-Zubair Bridge area in Basra. They targeted passersby with bullets,” one Iraqi said. “There were a lot of civilians in the area which is near [the station].
“This was in April 2003. The British were killing anyone who was just walking around."
Amnesty International also revealed this back in 2004, clearly pointing out that British troops were involved in the killing of Iraqi civilians.
Moreover, hundreds of Iraqis detained during the Iraq War revealed that British soldiers tortured them, with some being awarded compensation by the UK, or agreeing to settle out of court. However, nothing substantial took place in terms of accountability, despite the ICC finding that indeed war crimes had been committed by British soldiers in Iraq.
A slush fund for terrorists in Syria (2011 - )
As for Britain's most recent adventure, investigative journalists from Declassified UK were able to uncover that the UK has funded terrorists aiming for regime change in Syria, with 350 million pounds being spent in the years from 2016 to 2021 alone.
Although the UK has refused to say which opposition groups it has aided in Syria, the documents reveal that this huge slush fund was directed toward areas where terrorist groups were prevalent. Perhaps more astonishingly, the project's launch coincided with the resurgence of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham.
UK intelligence agencies were also found to have been funding the same opposition groups as Swedish national Bherlin Gildo, who was on trial on charges of terrorism.
Moreso, the report says that "the figure of £350-million is an underestimate since it does not include activities financed from the UK’s so-called 'black budget', including intelligence operations."
Britain's involvement in massacres, atrocities, and war crimes around the world in the past 70 years is there for all to see. However, the extent of Britain's involvement, and how much it has been able to cover up over the years remains a mystery.
Elizabeth's Britain isn't a story of human rights, development, and a change in the course of British history. If anything, it is merely an extension of Britain's colonial, imperialist past, albeit under a new guise.