From Pretoria to Belfast: The Same Old Story
The film ‘Breaker Morant’ will be shown next Friday (5th Nov. 2021) on the ‘Great! Movies Action’ TV channel at 9.55am. ‘Breaker Morant’ features events during the Boer War, when Australian mounted troops were ordered ‘to take no prisoners’ by the British high command. But, subsequently, to facilitate peace talks starting, some were charged with ‘war crimes’ and two were shot by a military firing-squad – the trailer can be viewed here:
A Wikipedia article about the film can be seen at:
In our own time ‘Private Eye’ have just published the following article about another soldier, Colin Wallace, who served in a ‘psychological operations’ unit in Northern Ireland:
A Wikipedia article about Colin Wallace can be seen at:
‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ is a documentary film by Michael Oswald about Colin Wallace, a former Senior Information Officer at the Ministry of Defence, UK. As part of his work Colin Wallace spread fake news, created a witchcraft scare, smeared politicians and attempted to divide and create conflict amongst communities, organisations and individuals. The film shows what happened when Colin Wallace objected to some of his tasks and he had a falling-out with sections of the British intelligence community. See the trailer:
Most people will know about some of the killings carried out by British Troops throughout their history, like the massacres at Amritsar in India 1919, Batang Kali in Malaya 1948 and Bloody Sunday in Derry 1972. There were various other allegations of killing, abuse, cruelty and torture towards native peoples and detainees, many were raised post WW2 in Malaya, Kenya, Aden and Cyprus – later, they surfaced again in Northern Ireland, Iraq and then Afghanistan. While there were differences in the locations and circumstances, the details of the allegations of brutality and torture were remarkably similar.
It is clear there is a chasm between the ‘official version’ of what happens in these kind of conflicts and what actually occurs. All this points to the fact that this type of oppression is systematic and is covertly instigated and sanctioned by those in authority – Westminster Governments, the MoD and the top-brass. Extreme violence is used to get the desired results, with a blind eye being turned towards it by the higher-ups – with denials issued and cover-ups attempted, if any wrong-doing, or ill-treatment, threatens to be exposed.
If the exposures of killings and brutal treatment becomes difficult to refute, however, it is apparent that those at the top do not really care if a few lower-rank soldiers end up in the dock for ‘getting carried away’ and using ‘excessive force’. All steps will be taken, though, to ensure that the role of the politicians and the top-brass in the process stays hidden. And while their role remains obscured, you can be sure that these events will continue to happen again and again.
Therefore, if we want to stop such killings, brutality and torture happening, the most important link to expose is how the orders and sanctions come down the chain-of-command. And serving members of the Armed Forces, along with veterans, can play a unique and principal role in doing this. Which could help to prevent such tragedies happening again – to both civilians and troops.
Information compiled and written by VFP member, Aly Renwick, who joined-up aged 16 and served for 8 years in the British Army from 1960-68.