20 DECEMBER

LORD KITCHENER DECEIVES SOUTH AFRICAN BOERS WITH EMPTY PROMISES

[ 20 December 1900 ]

On this day in 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 along with their families ‘until such time as the guerilla warfare now being carried on will admit of their safely returning to their own homes.’1

BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH VIETNAM DEFENDS THE DIEM DICTATORSHIP

[ 20 December 1961 ]

Today in 1961, Ambassador Henry 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.’2

REPORT RECOMMENDS TRIAL WITHOUT JURY FOR IRISH TERROR SUSPECTS

[ 20 December 1972 ]

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.3 Instead, the suspect would be tried before either a High Court Judge or a County Court Judge, sitting alone. This recommendation became law the following year in the Emergency Provisions Act (EPA), but it was applied almost exclusively to nationalist suspects opposed to British rule, while loyalist terror suspects were still dealt with by the criminal courts. The EPA enabled a ‘conveyer belt’ system of justice, under which thousands of Catholics were detained and brutally interrogated under mere ‘suspicion’ of an offence, with the Act not even stipulating that the suspicion needed to be ‘reasonable.’ The no-jury courts were also virtual ‘rubber stamps’ for fabricated police ‘evidence.’4

FOOTNOTES

  1. ‘ Proclamation of Lord Kitchener,’ St James’s Gazette, 27 December 1900, p. 9.
  2. Correspondence cited in Mark Curtis, Unpeople: Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses, Vintage, London, 2004. pp. 203-204.
  3. Tim Pat Coogan, The Troubles: Ireland’s Ordeal and the Search for Peace, Palgrave, London, 2002, pp. 180-181.
  4. Unknown author, The Irish Freedom Movement Handbook: The Irish War, Junius Publications, London, 1987, p. 149.

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© 2020 Alisdare Hickson All rights reserved

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