Britain's Colonial Cover-Up


The Guardian reports:

Gad, sir, Nixon is right!

Thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments, an official review has concluded.

Those papers that survived the purge were flown discreetly to Britain where they were hidden for 50 years in a secret Foreign Office archive, beyond the reach of historians and members of the public, and in breach of legal obligations for them to be transferred into the public domain….

The papers at Hanslope Park include monthly intelligence reports on the "elimination" of the colonial authority's enemies in 1950s Malaya; records showing ministers in London were aware of the torture and murder of Mau Mau insurgents in Kenya, including a case of a man said to have been "roasted alive"; and papers detailing the lengths to which the UK went to forcibly remove islanders from Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean….The documents that were not destroyed appear to have been kept secret not only to protect the UK's reputation, but to shield the government from litigation.

More from the BBC and The Independent.

NEXT: Jacob Sullum on the Federal Law You're Breaking Right Now

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  1. In particular, the first batch of papers reveal:

    Official fears that Nazis – pretending to catch butterflies – were plotting to invade East Africa in 1938

    Sounds like a sweet movie

    1. I *hate* buttefly-catching Nazis.

      1. Not to worry. They were just pretending.

    2. Sounds like Papillon with a German accent.

    3. Someone thought the Nazis might not be all rainbows and sunshine in 1938? Quick, get to the Romero-copter.

  2. Sounds like a sweet movie

    Wasn’t it a broadway musical within a broadway music (Springtime for Hitler).

  3. Were the British copycatting Lenin’s Red Terror, or did he copy them?

  4. At first I thought “Flown discreetly to Britain” must be a mistake as I misread the article to be about British colonial abuses in America. Then I thought, if they were this bad in the 20th century, what did they get away with in the 18th?

    1. I dont recall any such atrocities committed by the british against the colonists in the 18th….there may have been, but I have looked around a little and not found them. Instead, the atrocities were mostly of the heavy-handed legal sort we are experiencing today from our own govt. . That isnt to say they werent above heavy handed enforcement, but I dont think they roasted any colonists alive.

      The americans of the day were of a different sort than we are now, and didnt tolerate that shit the way we do. But then, George wasnt giving everyone in the colonies free shit.

      1. Well, these abuses recently uncovered were only uncovered because some documents survived. The British had enough control in America for long enough to evacuate incriminating evidence long before the Revolutionary War was over. Just sayin’. There’s a reason this stuff went unpublicized for so long.

        1. True, but since we won it seems unlikely that the americans would not have documented such things. Winners write the history and all….

          1. Right. Likely these abuses were inflicted on colonies that were not made up of people of British descent.

      2. Check out the British prisoner of war ships – more Revolutionary soldiers died there than in battle. They make Andersonville and Elmira look like school picnics.

      3. Actually, some versions of the story have it that George had indeed been “giving everyone in the colonies free shit”, viz, defense against the French and Indians, among other things.

        The colonists were just pissed that parliament was expecting them to pony up some dough to pay for it all.

  5. BTW, I’m going to shoot me a motherfucking squrrel when I get home. How many times can a post not go through?

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