THE ROYAL NAVY PUNISHES THE AMERICAN TOWN OF FALMOUTH
[ 17 October 1775 ]
On 6 October 1775, a squadron of Royal Naval ships, commanded by Captain Henry Mowat, sailed from Boston. Vice Admiral Samuel Graves ordered Mowat to discipline coastal towns deemed sympathetic to the American Revolutionary cause, which earlier that year had erupted into a full scale war against the tyranny of British colonial rule.
JAMAICAN WOMAN HUNG FOR LISTENING TO A REBELLIOUS PREACHER
[ 17 October 1865 ]
On 17 October 1865, British troops at Morant Bay in Jamaica were interrogating black Jamaicans, following a mass protest earlier in the month by black workers against their brutal treatment and working conditions. The soldiers subjected one woman, Sarah Francis, to a particularly savage flogging. According to a report in the Daily News, ‘after the most infuriate floggings well laid on by four blue-jackets… the poor woman confessed to a knowledge of Paul Bogle ( a black preacher who was demanding justice for workers ) and his brother and of meetings at which oaths were administered, ‘but beyond that she knew nothing.’ A ‘subaltern in epaulettes’ immediately ordered her to be hung, and according to the newspaper, ‘she met her death as coolly as possible.’1
ROUTINE USE OF TORTURE IN ULSTER EXPOSED
[ 17 October 1971 ]
Today in 1971, the Sunday Times published a front page article entitled ‘How Ulster Internees are Made to Talk,’ in which former detainee Pat Shivers recounted how, over a period of several days, he was hooded and forced into agonizing stress positions and fell unconscious repeatedly.2
THATCHER INSISTS SHE CAN’T MEET THE ‘TERRORIST’ A.N.C.
[ 17 October 1987 ]
On 17 October 1987, at a press conference at the Vancouver Commonwealth Summit, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher called the African National Congress ‘a typical terrorist organisation,’ adding that she would have ‘nothing to do with any organisation that practices violence. I have never seen anyone from ANC or the PLO or the IRA and would not do so.’3
- The Daily News quoted in The Nautical Magazine and Naval Chronicle for 1866, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2013, p. 71.
- Ian Cobain, Cruel Britannia: A Secret History of Torture, Portobello Books, 2013, pp. 146-147.
- John Campbell, Margaret Thatcher, Volume Two: The Iron Lady, Vintage Books, London, 2008, p. 329, ‘Margaret Thatcher: Press Conference at Vancouver Commonwealth Summit,’ The Margaret Thatcher Foundation accessed online at url https://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/106948 and Elizabeth M. Williams, The Politics of Race in Britain and South Africa: Black British Solidarity and the Anti-Apartheid Struggle, I.B. Tauris, London and New York, 2015, p. 56
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