Irish Blog Whacked

Monday, May 13, 2013


Rule Britannia For Global Crimes

By Finian Cunningham
May 12, 2013 "Information Clearing House" - It’s an anthem that is usually sung with chest-thumping pride and misty eyes by British imperialists. “Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves”. This jingoistic celebration of Britain’s former global conquest may yet degenerate into “Rue Britannia, Britannia rues the waves”.
This is because, as The Guardian newspaper reports this week, the London government has at long last been forced into recognizing compensation payments for as many as 50,000 Kenyan nationals who were victims of torture and other crimes against humanity during that country’s independence struggle in the 1950s. The eventual bill for compensation could run up to tens of millions of pounds.

But the bad news for financially bankrupt Britain does not end there. With this precedent established of compensation for past British imperialist crimes, that now leaves the way open for a global flood of similar claims.

Jingoistic British imperialists may therefore soon rue their often-made reference to Britain ruling the waves and so many countries the world over - at the height of the British Empire some 20 percent of the globe’s land mass was under colonial domination. That’s a lot of people who can claim recompense for past British horrors and deprivation.
If the bill for Britain’s crimes against humanity in Kenya alone runs into tens of millions of pounds, then we can easily multiply that sum manifold if the millions of other victims from across the world who suffered under the British jackboot come forward to claim justice.
The Guardian listed just a handful of additional class-action cases for compensation against the British government. They included the former colonies of Cyprus, Yemen, Swaziland and British Guiana. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when measuring Britain’s global legacy of crimes and human suffering. Many others would include Britain’s dirty wars and repressive colonial regimes in Bahrain, British Somaliland, Burma, Ghana, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Oman and Zimbabwe. Even that list is far from complete.

Iran presents a challenging case too. After the British-assisted coup in 1953 that led to the 26-year reign of terror under Shah Pahlavi, tens of thousands of Iranians were subjected to torture by the Western-trained and armed Savak secret police. Iranians therefore have a case for compensation against the British government.

Previously, the British House of Lords decreed arbitrarily that no cases for compensation stemming from before 1954 can be brought to an English court. Fortunately for the British establishment, that ruling excludes millions of more potential litigants from former British India, which gained independence in 1947.

Given the appalling suffering inflicted by the British overlords in India - from starvation, massacres, mass imprisonment and destruction of farming and textile livelihoods to give British exporters a competitive advantage - the resulting claims if filed to the Exchequer would definitely spell good night for Britain’s sputtering economy. Far from ruling the waves, Britannia would sink to a watery grave.
But the real point perhaps is more about principle than money - important though material redress is to victims of injustice. What the case of the Kenyans against the British government is really achieving is to strip bare the truth about Britain’s imperial legacy. British national conceit and history books are replete with double standards and moral relativism. It is too widely and fatuously assumed that Britain’s Empire represented somehow a benevolent contribution to history. British people, and unfortunately English-language academia and media across the world, tend to perceive Britain’s “decolonization” - its retreat from imperial territories - as a magnanimous gesture of granting independence. This delusional notion is best summed up in the Orwellian term “the British Commonwealth of nations”.
With conceited moral duplicity, Britain insists that Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany must pay out compensation to victims of their conquests. But no such obligation pertains to Britain, according to the British rulers. Why not? Only imperial arrogance and a certain sense of victor’s justice stemming from the Second World War are invoked to subjectively justify that contradiction. In the world of objective facts and evidence, Britain is equally liable for redress to its global victims of crimes against humanity.

When Britain set out to destroy the Mau Mau struggle for Kenya’s political independence during the 1950s, the British were not interested in benign, passive “decolonization”. For the British rulers, it was a life-or-death challenge to the entire global system of British Empire and its exploitative excrescence on the world. The same British “siege mentality” manifested ruthlessly against the independence movements in all its colonies.

Up to 300,000 Kenyans were incarcerated in concentration camps during what the British euphemistically called “The Emergency”. That same quaint word - “Emergency” - was used by the British to dissemble their barbarism and brutality in Burma against pro-independence communist guerrilla. During Bahrain and Northern Ireland’s struggle for freedom from Britain’s unlawful dominance, the preferred euphemism for repression was “The Troubles”.

But these semantics aside, the nature of repression meted out by British rulers and their officers was systematically criminal and brutal and comparable to the worst genocidal regimes the world has known.

The Kenyan Mau Mau may have suffered the most, probably owing to a twist of racist depravity among the white British counterinsurgency practitioners. Kenyan prisoners were castrated and roasted over fires by British officers using methods of torture that even classified British records explicitly sanctioned as “Gestapo techniques”.
During the British suppression of the Cypriot insurgency during the 1950s, inmates were routinely tortured by water-boarding sessions in which Kerosene was added to the drowning water. Later, during the 1970s in Northern Ireland’s conflict, Irish prisoners were incarcerated without charge and tortured by hooding, prolonged wall-standing, sleep deprivation, white noise and intimidation with guard dogs, not to mention routine physical beatings.
If such torture and generally repressive regimens sound similar to what has since been uncovered in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay it is because they are wholly consistent. These are the standard operating practices of British military doctrine and that of its close American ally.

The reason why such barbarity continues to be practiced is because of the moral duplicity and propagandized version of history that the Western media and academia instill. Barbarity is something that others perpetrate, not us.

The glacial pace of justice - as shown by the more than six decades’ delay for the Mau Mau victims of British crimes - is reflective of the massive public deception instilled by Western media on behalf of their criminal governments.

However, thanks to the courageous pursuit of justice by many people across the world, this edifice of deception will eventually be broken down. This is imperative as a matter of justice for the millions of victims of British crimes against humanity.

But, in addition, the exposure of British criminality is crucial to deleting the duplicity that serves to give contemporary British and other Western governments a veneer of legitimacy. Britain has no right to pontificate and brow beat Syria, Iran or any other nation about “international obligations”. With the full record of British criminality on display, this is a country that, far from lecturing others, should be made to hang its head in shame and remain silent.
Finian Cunningham, is a prominent expert in international affairs. The author and media commentator was expelled from Bahrain in June 2011 for his critical journalism in which he highlighted human rights violations by the Western-backed regime. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism. He is now based in East Africa where he is writing a book on Bahrain and the Arab Spring. He co-hosts a weekly current affairs programme, Sunday at 3pm GMT on Bandung Radio

Comments (9

DrS's avatar
DrS· 11 hours ago
Many now will seek compensation from the colonial powers.

It will bankrupt many and will ensure there is no recovery.

Could things be any more bleak than that?

It is understandable why many non-Westerners want justice.
Can you blame them!?
Basic James Rabbit's avatar
Basic James Rabbit· 11 hours ago
The anthem continues: "Britons never, never, never shall be slaves." But it is obviously untrue. "Anyone will tell you it's a prison island, hidden in a cloud for 10,000 years."

Jigsaw's avatar
Jigsaw· 11 hours ago
Good article The British Empire was monstrous in it's disregard for the living conditions of most of it's unwilling 'subjects' throughout the world. It was not unique in that as far as empires go but because they controlled the fate of more people so the number of casualties was much greater. One thing perhaps nearly unique about the Brit empire was it's love of settler colonialism, they wanted to eventually transform entirely - new landmasses they claimed... through eradicating the natives and importing white people to create a new nation on the old... They were the most successful in history at doing this - the scarce, marginalised populations of native peoples in N America and Australia are a testament to this.

Be thankful they do not 'rule the waves' today as they used to, bad as the yanks are at least there are still Vietnamese people abundant in Vietnam and plenty of Iraqis living a (mostly) unchanged Iraqi way of life today... Although you see in some actions like Starvation sanctions (so beloved of 'liberals') a whiff of the old British Imperial indifference to mass civilian suffering.
Ipse_Dixit's avatar
Ipse_Dixit· 1 hour ago
The Spanish and Portuguese did similar things in Latin America. And in fairness it was the United States that committed genocide rather than Britain.
Don't forget the indigenous peoples such a Australian Aborigines and Canadian Indians and Inuits.

Overall more than 90% of the earth felt the lash of the British Empire including Britain itself.

The English ruling class today are the direct descendants of the Normans who conquered England in 1066. As Vikings (recently arrived in NW France from Scandinavia) they had no empathy with their newly defeated Germanic Anglo-Saxon peasants. Like other ethnic in-groups (Israel?) they emotionally distanced themselves from the majority of their fellows. This led them to readily extend this attitude to foreign lands when they created the British Empire.
Sadly, some of their direct descendants also formed the US elite who have continued this imperial nightmare.
No JO Jo's avatar
No JO Jo· 9 hours ago
Nazi Germany must pay out --Wrong! England and gang brother France declared war on Germany 1938 and fire bombed several German cities. Why? Because Germany invaded Poland. Germany had a good right to do it--Polish Jews were being abused and Unlce USA Scam was funding the Nazi government to send Polish Jews into Palestine--record 175,000. And what was Eng's terror business to go after Germany? Same as USA--get control of all of Europe. It did work-NATO and millions more Jews to Palestine
ian's avatar
ian· 9 hours ago
then the people can after the french for their atrocities in northern africa and while they consider that go after the italians for their brutal treatment of the libyians but tell me how can you get anyone in the US to front any tribunal when they don't recognise any international laws
BP Storm's avatar
BP Storm· 8 hours ago
The British have invaded all but 20 or so nations on Earth. That says something right there. Just ask a native Tasmainian what they think of Britain. That's a joke son, you can't ask a native Tasmainian what they think of Britain, because Britain killed them all. Marched women and children(not to mention the men) over cliffs into the Sea. The Brits will tell you that they are civilized though. Not really though, England is not Civilized. The English are just a bunch of Dandies. Like that Prime Minister they have now. The Irish called the Union Jack(and still do to this day) the Butcher's Apron. They have invaded Afghanistan at least 5 times since 1839. And they have gotten their butts kicked out everytime. They pulled out a few weeks ago leaving The Americans and NATO holding the bag, because they know what Afghanistan becomes when conquerers begin to loose power, as will happen as the US pulls out. Prince Harry in his brilliance called the Afghans a bunch of Towel Heads a few years ago, easy to see the racism involved. The only important thing to ever come out of Britain were some Rock'n'Roll bands. Everything else was crime laden.

Irish Wild Geese Still Fly

308,000 people have left Ireland in the four years before April 2012, with close to half of those, under the age 25, a new survey demonstrates.Some 87,000 people emigrated from Ireland in the year up to April 2012 alone with numbers still rising. Ireland is now among the top 10 source countries for migration to Australia, the authorities there have noted.

A poll for the National Youth Council of Ireland, found that half of those aged 18-24 are considering leaving Ireland. The primary motivation for 43 percent of those leaving, is the potential of better employment opportunities, while a further 41 percent said they would leave due to unemployment in Ireland. Over 83 percent, said the Irish Government was not addressing the issue of youth unemployment adequately, while 85 percent said, not enough was being done, to tackle the emigration.of Irish youth.

The vast majority, wanted to return home to Ireland, once the economy improved. NYCI assistant director James Doorley said; “Over 300,000 people have left the country over the last four years since the latest crisis, most of them young. We need to support them to make informed choices if they are going to places like Australia or Canada, or other parts of the world. It shouldn’t be the case that once they leave the airports here in Ireland, that they are forgotten about.”

Flight of the Wild Geese 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Flight of the Wild Geese refers to the departure of an Irish Jacobite army under the command of Patrick Sarsfield from Ireland to France, as agreed in the Treaty of Limerick on October 3, 1691, following the end of the Williamite War in Ireland. More broadly, the term "Wild Geese" is used in Irish history to refer to Irish soldiers who left to serve as mercenaries in continental European armies in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

The first Irish troops to serve as a unit for a continental power formed an Irish regiment in the Spanish Army of Flanders in the Eighty Years' War in the 1580s. The regiment had been raised by an English Catholic, William Stanley, in Ireland from native Irish soldiers and mercenaries, whom the English authorities wanted out of the country. (See also Tudor conquest of Ireland). Stanley was given a commission by Elizabeth I and was intended to lead his regiment on the English side, in support of the Dutch United Provinces. However, in 1585, motivated by religious factors and bribes offered by the Spaniards, Stanley defected to the Spanish side with the regiment. In 1598 Diego Brochero de Anaya wrote the Spanish King Philip III:
"that every year Your Highness should order to recruit in Ireland some Irish soldiers, who are people tough and strong, and nor the cold weather or bad food could kill them easily as they would with the Spanish, as in their island, which is much colder than this one, they are almost naked, they sleep on the floor and eat oats bread, meat and water, without drinking any wine."[1]
The unit fought in the Netherlands until 1600 when it was disbanded due to heavy wastage through combat and sickness.
Following the defeat of the Gaelic armies of the Nine Years' War, the "Flight of the Earls" took place in 1607. The Earl of Tyrone Hugh O'Neill, the Earl of Tyrconnell Rory O'Donnell and the Lord of Beare and Bantry, Donal O'Sullivan, along with many chiefs, Gallowglass, and their followers from Ulster, fled Ireland. They hoped to get Spanish help in order to restart their rebellion in Ireland, but King Philip III of Spain did not want a resumption of war with England and refused their request.
Nevertheless, their arrival led to the formation of a new Irish regiment in Flanders, officered by Gaelic Irish nobles and recruited from their followers and dependents in Ireland. This regiment was more overtly political than its predecessor in Spanish service and was militantly hostile to English Protestant rule of Ireland. The regiment was led by Hugh O'Neill's son John. Prominent officers included Owen Roe O'Neill and Hugh Dubh O'Neill.
A fresh source of recruits came in the early 17th century, when Roman Catholics were banned from military and political office in Ireland. As a result, the Irish units in the Spanish service began attracting Catholic Old English officers such as Thomas Preston andGarret Barry. These men had more pro-English views than their Gaelic counterparts and considerable animosity was created over plans to use the Irish regiment to invade Ireland in 1627. The regiment was garrisoned in Brussels during the truce in the Eighty Years' Warfrom 1609–1621 and developed close links with Irish Catholic clergy based in the seminary there, creating the famous Irish Colleges — most notably, Florence Conroy.
Many of the Irish troops in Spanish service returned to Ireland after the Irish Rebellion of 1641 and fought in the armies of Confederate Ireland - a movement of Irish Catholics. When the Confederates were defeated and Ireland occupied after the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, around 34,000 Irish Confederate troops fled the country to seek service in Spain. Some of them later deserted or defected to French service, where the conditions were deemed better.
During the 18th century Spain's Irish regiments saw service not only in Europe but also in the Americas. As examples, the Irlanda Regiment (raised 1698) was stationed in Havana from 1770 to 1771, the Ultonia Regiment (raised 1709) in Mexico from 1768 to 1771, and the Hibernia Regiment (raised 1709) in Honduras from 1782 to 1783.[2]
At the time of the Napoleonic Wars all three of these Irish infantry regiments still formed part of the Spanish army. Heavy losses and recruiting difficulties diluted the Irish element in these units, although the officers remained of Irish ancestry. The Hibernia Regiment had to be reconstituted with Galacian recruits in 1811 and ended the war as an entirely Spanish corps.[3] All three regiments were finally disbanded in 1818 on the grounds that insufficient recruits, whether Irish or other foreigners, were forthcoming.[4]

From the mid-17th century or so, France overtook Spain as the destination for Catholic Irishmen seeking a military career. The principal reason for this was that France was an ascendant power, rapidly expanding its armed forces, whereas Spain was a power in decline.
France recruited many foreign soldiers; Germans, Italians, Walloons and Swiss. André Corvisier, the authority on French military archives, estimates that foreigners accounted for around 12% of all French troops in peacetime and 20% of troops during warfare.[5] In common with the other foreign troops the Irish regiments were paid more than their French counterparts. Both Irish and Swiss regiments in French service wore red uniforms, though this had no connection with the redcoats of the British army.[6]
The crucial turning point came during the Williamite War in Ireland (1688–91), when Louis XIV gave military and financial aid to the Irish Jacobites. In 1690, in return for 6,000 French troops that were shipped to Ireland, Louis demanded 6,000 Irish recruits for use in the Nine Years War against the Dutch. Five regiments, led by Justin McCarthy, Viscount Mountcashel formed the nucleus of the French Irish Brigade. A year later, after the Irish Jacobites under Patrick Sarsfieldsurrendered at the Treaty of Limerick in 1691, they were allowed to leave Ireland for service in the French Army. Sarsfield's "exodus" included 14,000 soldiers and 10,000 women and children. This is popularly known in Ireland as the Flight of the Wild Geese.
The main difference between the Irish Brigade and the Wild Geese was that the Brigade was already formed up and serving in France by 1691, but the Wild Geese comprised a disparate group of individuals with similar aims that served in the armies of several countries, not just France. In time the distinctions became blurred, as Irish recruits joining the Irish Brigade in the 1700s were sometimes known as Wild Geese.
In 1718-20 the Wild Geese in the French service found themselves allied with their arch-enemy Hanoverian Britain during the War of the Quadruple Alliance.
Up until 1745, Catholic Irish gentry were allowed to recruit soldiers for France in Ireland. The authorities in Ireland saw this as preferable to the potentially disruptive effects of having large numbers of unemployed young Catholic men of military age in the country. However, after a composite Irish detachment from the French Army (drawn from each of the regiments comprising the Irish Brigade and designated as "Irish Picquets") was used to support the Jacobite Rising of 1745 in Scotland, the British realised the dangers of this policy and banned recruitment for foreign armies in Ireland. After this point, the rank and file of the Irish units in French service were increasingly non-Irish although the officers continued to be recruited from Ireland.
During the Seven Years' War efforts were made to find recruits from among Irish prisoners of war or deserters from the British Army. Otherwise, recruitment was limited to a trickle of Irish volunteers who were able to make their own way to France, or from the sons of former members of the Irish Brigade who had remained in France. During the Seven Years War the Irish Regiments in French service were: Bulkeley, Clare, Dillon, Rooth, Berwich and Lally. Additionally, there was a regiment of cavalry, Fitz James. By the end of the 18th century even the officers of the Irish Regiments were drawn from Franco-Irish families who had settled in France for several generations. While often French in all but name, such families proudly retained their Irish heritages.
Following the outbreak of the French Revolution the Irish Brigade ceased to exist as a separate entity on 21 July 1791 when the 12 non-Swiss foreign regiments then in existence were integrated into the line infantry of the French Army, losing their distinctive status, titles and uniforms. Many left the service in 1792 when Louis XVI was deposed, as their oath of loyalty was to him and not to the French people. Napoleon Bonaparte subsequently raised a small Irish unit composed of veterans of the Irish Rebellion of 1798. This "Irish Legion" was primarily composed of Cavalry units. Count Paul Francois O'Neill, the French 5th Comte de Tyrone and his two sons, Jacques and Francois, all joined the Legion for four years.
Throughout this period, there were also substantial numbers of Irish officers and men in the armies of the Austrian Habsburg Empire, many of whom were based in Prague. The most famous of these was Peter Lacy, a Field Marshal in the Imperial Russian Army, whose son Franz Moritz Graf von Lacy excelled in the Austrian service. General Maximilian Ulysses Graf von Browne, the Austrian commanding officer in the Battle of Lobositz, was also of Irish descent. Recruitment for Austrian service was especially associated with the midlands of Ireland and with the Taaffe O'Neillan and O'Rourke gentry families[citation needed]. However, Count Alexander O'Nelly (O'Neill) came from Ulster. He commanded the 42nd Bohemian Infantry Regiment 1734-1743. Much earlier, in 1634, during the Thirty Years' War, Irish officers led by Walter Deveraux assassinated general Albrecht von Wallenstein on the orders of the Emperor. In the 19th century, further Irish officers served in the Habsburg Empire, so Laval Graf Nugent von Westmeath and Maximilian Graf O’Donnell von Tyrconnell, who saved the life of Emperor Franz Joseph I during an assassination attempt. Gottfried von Banfield finally became the most successful Austro-Hungarian naval aeroplane pilot in the First World War.
In 1609, Arthur Chichester, then Lord Deputy of Ireland, deported 1300 former rebel Irish soldiers from Ulster to serve in the ProtestantSwedish Army. However, under the influence of Catholic clergy, many of them deserted to Polish service.
The Catholic Irish troops in Protestant Swedish service changed sides during a battle[clarification needed] against largely Catholic Poland, the only European country with statutory freedom of religion at the time.[citation needed] The Irish then served in Polish service for several years during the Polish–Muscovite War (1605–1618), until their wages went unpaid.[7]
Despite being less studied, the ancient and traditional "mestiere delle armi" in Italy was also a well-known profession by the Irish. The "tercio" of Lucas Taf (around 500 men) served in Milan towards 1655. The Army of Saboya included also Irishmen, but in Italy the Irish were organized basically by the Spanish administration. In 1694 another regiment in Milan was exclusively composed by Irishmen. Around the 3-4% of a total of 20.000 men were Irish in the Spanish Army of Milan. It is not a high figure, but it was important as regards quality. In this context, James Francis Fitz-James Stuart (1696-1739), Duke of Berwick and of Liria is just one example of this success. He began to serve the Monarchy in 1711 and succeeded in becoming General Lieutenant (1732), ambassador in Russia, in Austria and in Naples, where he died.[8] In 1702 an Irish grenadier company led by Francis Terry entered Venetian service. This company ofJacobite exiles served at Zara until 1706. Colonel Terry became the Colonel of a Venetian Dragoon Regiment, which the Terry family mostly commanded until 1797. Colonel Terry's Dragoons uniforms were red faced blue in the Irish tradition. The Limerick Regiment, of Irish Jacobites, transferred from Spanish service to that of the Bourbon king of Sicily in 1718.

Irish recruitment for continental armies dried up after it was made illegal in 1745. In 1732 Sir Charles Wogan indicated in a letter toDean Swift that 120,000 Irishmen had been killed and wounded in foreign service "within these forty years",[9] with Swift later replying:
"I cannot but highly esteem those gentlemen of Ireland who, with all the disadvantages of being exiles and strangers, have been able to distinguish themselves by their valour and conduct in so many parts of Europe, I think, above all other nations."[10]
It was some time before the British armed forces began to tap into Irish Catholic manpower. In the late 18th century, the Penal Lawswere gradually relaxed and in the 1790s the laws prohibiting Catholics bearing arms were abolished.
Thereafter, the British began recruiting Irish regiments for the Crown Forces — including such famous units as the Connaught Rangers. Several more Irish units were created in the 19th century. By 1914 specifically Irish infantry regiments in the British Army comprised thePrince of Wales's Leinster Regiment, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, the Irish Guards, the Royal Irish Regiment, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, the Royal Irish Rifles, the Royal Irish Fusiliers, the Connaught Rangers and the Royal Munster Fusiliers. With the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922 five of the above regiments were disbanded, with most of the remainder undergoing a series of amalgamations between 1968 and 2006. The United Kingdom still retains three Irish regiments: the Irish Guards, the Royal Irish Regiment, and the London Irish Rifles.