U.K. government forced to open end-of-empire files

Great news from London, that a landmark court case by elderly Kenyan freedom fighters has now forced the Foreign Office to confess that they have suddenly “found” what are described as “around 8,800 files relating to 37 former British administrations — including those in Palestine, Cyprus, Malaya, Nigeria and Northern Rhodesia”, dating back to the 1950s and 1960s, and that “most of them” will be made public.
(If “Palestine” is among them, that means they must include the 1940s, too, no?)
Hat-tip to Laleh Khalili, by the way. Over on Facebook one of Laleh’s other commenters and I both identified this as a sort of time-warped Wikileaks trove.
That article by AP says,

    Foreign Office minister David Howell said the search for the Mau Mau documents had uncovered around 2,000 boxes of files from the 1950s and 1960s which the office has “decided to regularize.”
    Howell said in a statement to lawmakers in Britain’s upper house on Tuesday that although colonial administrators left behind most of their papers after independence, they took certain files “not appropriate to hand onto the successor government” back to Britain.

I don’t like that word “regularize”. It smacks to me of “sanitizing.”
The article includes this:

    The British government will face its first test on whether these new files can be used against it on Thursday, when the four Kenyans — Ndiku Mutua, Paulo Nzili, Wambugu Wa Nyingi and Jane Muthoni Mara — will argue that they were severely beaten and tortured by officers on behalf of the British government trying to suppress the Mau Mau uprising. Two of them have claimed they were castrated.
    The Kenya Human Rights Commission believes 90,000 Kenyans were executed, tortured or maimed during the crackdown against the Mau Mau and 160,000 were detained in appalling conditions. Among those detained was President Barack Obama’s grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama.
    All sides declined to reveal detailed contents of the papers ahead of the court case Thursday, but [Oxford University historian David] Anderson said the documents may show evidence that people in all parts of the British government knew that captured Mau Mau fighters were being tortured.
    “I’ve heard British officials say that all the abuse was carried out by junior officials, a few bad apples,” said Anderson, whose book “Histories of the Hanged: Britain’s Dirty War in Kenya and the end of Empire” investigates the Mau Mau uprising.
    “These documents are critical — we must hope they will reveal who did or did not know about what was going on.”

18 thoughts on “U.K. government forced to open end-of-empire files

  1. bevin

    The outbreak of the “Emergency” in Malaya, neatly coincided with the establishment of the State of Israel, in 1948.
    Large numbers of the Palestine Police, which had become a sort of ‘Black and Tan’ operation, were ferried over to Malaya where they helped respond to demands for independence by developing the counter insurgency operations, that became so admired,by imperialists, that they were implemented in Vietnam-inter alia the Strategic Hamlet programme.
    Today there is a story in the Guardian about the ‘Malayan My Lai’ in which the Scots Guards massacred prisoners. And the story, which has become one of a cover-up from the very top of the Establishment, continues.

  2. Helena

    It does indeed continue. This disturbing report about abusive, US-run detention facilities is from Afghanistan today.
    Kudos to Kim Dozier.

  3. epppie

    What concerns me is how uncritically these ‘troves’ are taken. What make the wikileaks ‘trove’ particularly significant – assuming one doesn’t think that Assange is some kind of agent or patsy – is that they were not preselected by the agency that made them. This current ‘trove’ IS preselected, we must assume, which makes it not at all like wikileaks.

  4. Salah

    Let not go deep to empire history, while those war criminals still alive and have well seated in their arm chair working advisers US president office walking freely in the White House. Furthermore they rewarded for their crimes like this one:

    “Tony Blair’s commitment to reconciliation and peace in the Middle East is something we want to honor, and the Network of Purpose Driven Churches in 168 countries have chosen him as the recipient of the Third annual International Medal of PEACE,” said Warren as he presented the award.

    So today report by US state department, U.S. human rights record released on Sunday. let take close look:
    Facts and Figures: U.S. Human Rights Situation

    63 percent of people killed in Iraq war were civilians?

    Really you believe that number?
    Then let go back to war criminal that suddenly became a believer in Christianity after his wealth jumped to 50Millions after 2003 and become new Hazbra:
    Now he starts his teaching on Faith?

    “Faith teaches you to understand there is something more important than yourself, which is an important principle in working toward a better world. If individuals can see people of faith in action, helping in support of others, it makes this process of globalization easier,”

    So we have these criminal now why we silent about them and reward these for their crimes, looks things looked upside down in our world, isn’t?

  5. Salah

    انحراف بنسبة مائة وثمانين درجة!
    والواقع أن ما ذهب اليه القاضي غولدستون بعد تراجعه واعلانه الندم عن التقرير الذي حمله اسمه لا يمكن اعتباره صفعة لشخص القاضي الدولي بقدرما يمكن اعتباره أيضا صفعة للقانون الدولي وللعدالة الدولية المجهضة على عتبات المؤسسات الدولية بعد أن باتت قابلة للتطويع وفق الاهواء والاملاءات الصادرة عن تل ابيب، بل الواقع أن من تابع ردود الفعل الدولية الصادرة بشأن تقريرغولدستون لا سيما موقف واشنطن القادم من أروقة مجلس الامن الدولي سيجد بين سطوره ما يزيل كل الغموض ويسقط كل أسباب الاستغراب بشأن الاسباب والدوافع التي جعلت القاضي اليهودي الجنوب افريقي وهو المدعي العام السابق بالمحاكم الدولية ليوغسلافيا ورواندا يقبل بتشويه مسيرته المهنية والتنازل عن موضوعيته .فقد جاءت دعوة السفيرة الامريكية في نيويورك بالتخلي نهائيا عن التقرير وعدم الاقتصارعلى الغاء بعض جوانبه لتذكر الذين سمحوا لانفسهم بالانخداع بتقريرغولدستون أن يعودوا الى الامر الواقع وأن يدركوا أن ادارة اوباما شأنها شأن الادارات الامريكية السابقة لا يمكن أن تقبل باخضاع اسرائيل للمساءلة أو تحمل أدنى مسؤولية سياسية أو انسانية أو أخلاقية على جرائمها المتكررة…

  6. Salah

    Rebecca
    The veil is not Islamic Muslim dress its a customs dress were been wearied in few place.

  7. bevin

    No doubt the “veil” is simply a matter of custom. Veiled women were not uncommon in England half a cetury ago.
    But the French ban is directed specifically at muslims, to win the applause of bigots who, affecting to be equally hostile to all religious rites and customs, indulge their islamophobia in order to attract popular support to political agendas which are far more sinister than the vague yearnings of immigrant underdogs for power or even respect.
    France has a particularly nasty tradition of combining racist/islamophobic policies with imperialism. And it continues: those who weren’t noting the “burqa” ban today might have been wondering about what was happening in Cote d’Ivoire where the French violently installed another President of their own choosing.
    Currently they have their opponent im “custody.” How he is treated will be an indication of the depths of depravity to which Sarkozy has lowered his country. How the world, particularly Africa, reacts to this flagrant neo-colonialist adventure will be equally interesting.
    It is a sign of the times that Outarra(?) – whom the French have installed- is another in the growing number of former IMF/World Bank executives vaulted into power in the indebted ‘South’. They all, no doubt, have hefty pensions.

  8. Salah

    bevin,
    With all due respect of your view which I agree to some degree, but I think Islam was judging buy none Muslim looking to bad behaviours by Muslims (men/women) themselves then they start shouting and crying for what taken things against them.
    I read in somewhere that one of British religious man asking for applying the Islamic Sharia Law in Britain for the Muslims who living there, honestly I was very happy if the done this first to make no excuses of any western law that conflict with Islamic law secondly these who enjoying all the western life use their mind-set (here they use Islamic religion) to clime more than what the society have as if they have privilege over the societies they live in.
    My simple answer to any one he did not like to live or obey laws in western world simply takes your bags go elsewhere that fit your needs.

  9. Jack

    Oops! The hasbara PR machine is showing a slip up with double posting of the identical Bahai comment on the same site.

  10. Helena

    The hasbaristas are so pathetic. They don’t even attempt to do anything to link their silly statements to the actual topic of the post (as per guidelines, here and most other places) but just try to hijack any and all discussions that they can. Seems they can’t bear for people to hold any discussion that they don’t totally dominate!
    Buzz off, guys. Go talk to each other at your own sites.

  11. annie

    lol, that was funny. i’ve been reading blogs a long time but i’ve never seen a hasbara flub like that before!

  12. Mary Spigoli

    Let’s see now. With the hasbaristas now permanently
    banned from this site, we are left with just Bevin,
    Jack, Salah. Epppie, Domza, Annie and JohnH to man (and woman) the barricades. I don’t know how the rest of you feel about this, but I for one am optimistic about the future of JWN. With this good crew now permanently in charge, there can be no further improvement of any kind in the quality of thought or expression on display here.

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