REPORT RECOMMENDS TRIAL WITHOUT JURY FOR IRISH TERROR SUSPECTS
On 20 December 1972 a parliamentary commission on terrorism headed by Lord Diplock recommended that a suspect’s ancient right to trial by jury, enshrined in British law by Magna Carta, be abandoned for Irish terror suspects.(1) This recommendation became law the following year in the Emergency Powers Act, which was applied almost exclusively to Nationalist suspects opposed to British rule, while loyalist terror suspects were still dealt with by the criminal courts.
LORD KITCHENER DECEIVES SOUTH AFRICAN BOERS WITH EMPTY PROMISES
On 20 December 1900 Lord Kitchener issued a propaganda proclamation in which he promised that South African Boer insurgents who surrendered voluntarily would be allowed to live in government camps with their families while their property and cattle would remain theirs and be paid for until the war ended and they were able to return to their homes.
The reality, however, was rather different. The following day however Kitchener issued a memo recommending that Boer women, children and men “unfit for military duty” be interned in concentration camps so as to isolate the civilian population from the rebels. Those families who did not have members known to be fighting against the British were to be given priority to what was available of the limited shelter and food available. (2)
BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH VIETNAM DEFENDS THE DIEM DICTATORSHIP.
20 December 1961 – Ambassador Hohler wrote to Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home maintaining that
“We should not be too greatly moved by complaints that the Vietnamese authorities are holding large numbers of individuals in detention camps. At the worst period in Malaya we had over 10,000 people in detention without trial.”
The Diem regime had rigged elections the previous April to retain power despite its lack of public support, which increasingly favoured the insurgents of the People’s Liberation Army (referred to derisively as the Viet Cong). In July 1961, even the Foreign Office had recognised that the Diem government was “a clumsy and heavy-handed dictatorship which is conspicuously lacking in popular appeal.” It maintained its position with a combination of massive US military aid and brutal repression, having already murdered an estimated 66,000 dissidents and suspect insurgents during the previous four years.(3)
( see also 7 May 1962 – Harold Macmillan writes letter of support to dictator Diem)
- Tim Pat Coogan (2002) “The Troubles: Ireland’s Ordeal and the Search for Peace,” Palgrave, London p180-181
- “Women and Children in White Concentration Camps During the Anglo-Boer War 1900-02. https://www.sahistory.org.za/topic/women-children-white-concentration-camps-during-anglo-boer-war-1900-1902
- Statistics and correspondence quoted in Mark Curtis (2004) “Unpeople: Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses,” Vintage, London p203-204