27 AUGUST

GENERAL ERSKINE ADVISES WAR OFFICE NOT TO INVESTIGATE WAR CRIMES

Erskine watches operations against Kenyan insurgents.
© IWM (MAU 821)

[ 27 August 1953 ]

On 27 August 1953, General Erskine, commanding British forces in Kenya in a counter insurgency campaign to quell an anti-colonial insurgency, advised the War Office not to investigate the war crimes of the police or the King’s African Rifles, a British led military regiment, too thoroughly.

‘My predicament,’ he explained ‘is that the application of the law to the obedience of an unlawful order will not be understood by the African Askari (militia and soldiers). I may have to condone this attitude because failure to so would, or might, have very serious repercussions on the K.A.R (King’s African Rifles).’1 It seems that Erskine didn’t hesitate to sacrifice any concerns he held for human rights, including the thousands of rebel suspects subjected to torture, to the axiom that his white British officers should command unquestioned obedience.

MP AND MI6 OFFICERS MEET EGYPTIANS IN PLOT TO MURDER EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT NASSER.

Nasser cheered in Cairo. The British wanted to murder him.
Photo – US Federal Government via Wikimedia Commons.

[ 27 August 1956 ]

Today in 1956, the Conservative MP and former intelligence officer Julian Amery, along with two MI6 officers, met dissident Egyptian officers at a villa in the South of France to discuss assassinating Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. The plan was that following his murder, he would be replaced by a more ‘friendly’ government which would be led by Saleh ed-Din, Egypt’s former Foreign Minister.2

FOOTNOTES

  1. Cited in ‘Witness Statement of Huw Charles Bennett,’ in Ndiku Mutua and Others V Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Claim no: HQ09X02666 p29 https://www.leighday.co.uk/LeighDay/media/LeighDay/documents/Mau%20Mau/Historian%20witness%20statements/Dr-Bennett-3rd-statement-FINAL.pdf?ext=.pdf
  2. Scott Lucas (Editor), Britain and Suez: The Lion’s Last Roar, Manchester University Press, Manchester and New York, 1996, p. 59.

Please feel welcome to post comments below.  If you have any questions please email alisdare@gmail.com

© 2020 Alisdare Hickson All rights reserved

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