Sunday, February 12, 2006

The spin from the News of the World: the British army does not have a long history of using torture?

British troops are filmed giving a brutal beating to Iraqi children in their early teens.

The News of the World puts the story on its front page.

The paper refers to 'a soldier in a floppy hat' who is watching the beatings. This could be an officer linked to the security services?

Then the Murdoch-owned News of the World starts to spin the story.

The News of the World refers to the soldiers as a 'rogue unit'. This suggests that it is not the normal policy of the British army to beat people up.

The News of the World has an article by Chris Ryan, SAS veteran. Ryan claims that the beatings incident is "something I have never experienced in 20 years of soldiering..."

The News of the World Editorial states: "British troops are the best in the world."

The British military has a long history of using torture in order to hold on to countries with oil and other strategically important commodities.

British army sargeant Tracy Perkins was convicted at his court-martial of ordering two Iraqis thrown in the Tigeris River. One, Zaidoun Hassoun, drowned. The court sentenced Perkins to six months in jail and he will keep his job in the military.

Let us not forget Baha Mousa, an Iraqi former hotel receptionist, who reportedly was one of those who died in British custody after suffering "severe beatings".

Amnesty International UK has raised concerns about the conduct of British troops.



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.


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.


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."


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.


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.


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.