Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Britain very quietly admitted that it is gradually erasing the history of the war crimes committed by its armed forces and members of the secret service of the kingdom. The other day the department was forced to confirm the destruction of hundreds of documents connected to the dark affairs of the British during the suppression of the revolt of Tamils in Sri Lanka. But you won’t find this sensation in the main newspapers of the country. They are busy with other things.
The latest erasing of history was revealed by the Morning Star newspaper. Yes, this same publication of communists via which not only one generation of Soviet citizens learned English. Now this newspaper is experiencing a Renaissance, having become the main mouthpiece of the radical left-wing that the success of the leader of Labourists Jeremy Corbyn is based on. The other day the newspaper published exclusive material that the Foreign Office admitted the fact of the destruction of nearly 400 files featuring documents about the role of the British government and secret service in the suppression of the revolt of Tamils in Sri Lanka. But this sensation was reported by only some Sri-Lankan newspapers so far.
Civil war in Sri Lanka lasted for a quarter of the century since the 1980’s, having claimed tens of thousands of the lives. The revolt of Tamils was suppressed by the local authorities, but the role of London in these events always raised a mass of questions. According to British legislation, confidential files must be published 30 years later. Respectively, the time came to become acquainted with the documents about the participation of the government of Margaret Thatcher in this war. But Morning Star found out that in the process of approaching the date of declassification many documents disappeared. Forever.
In particular, in 2014 a folder about the secret visit of the Minister of Defence of that time of Sri Lanka to Belfast, where he became acquainted with the experience of suppressing the mutiny of the Northern Irish, was supposed to be declassified. But it’s unlikely that we will learn the details of this visit, because the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs destroyed the entire folder on the eve of the date of its declassification.
We will especially note that this erasing happened literally several weeks after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Britain publicly apologised in front of historians for burning a mass of documents connected to the cruel suppression of the revolt of Kenyans against the British colonialists in the 1950’s — so-called revolt of Mai-Mai. The indigenous people of Kenya opposed the occupation of their lands by English colonists. Over eight years the British army methodically destroyed the revolters and the peaceful civilians who adjoined them. Tens of thousands of Kenyans (some historians prove that it was hundreds of thousands) were killed and tortured to death in concentration camps. Moreover, the British army used the most barbarous methods of torture and mockery towards those who was suspected of participating in the mutiny.
The documents about these crimes against humanity should have been declassified long ago. But over decades the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Britain lied, saying that they “are lost”. And only quite recently several Kenyans who survived those far years brought the matter to the London court. The latter forced the Foreign Office to “find” some of the files that had by some miracle remained intact. These documents confirmed the cruelty of the British and also the fact that colonial officials hid crimes. For example, the appeal of the Prosecutor-General of the British administration in Kenya was found: “If we are going to sin, we must sin quietly”.
However, documents were also “found” in such a cunning way so that the persons guilty of crimes against Kenyans were relieved of responsibility. In August of last year the court rejected the claim of victims in connection with the expiration of a 50-year limitation period of the crime.
As we see, Britain does everything in order to totally whitewash its history — even decades later. It’s more than just decades: in December 2016 when the 100th anniversary of the murder of Grigory Rasputin was commemorated, The Times newspaper urged the British secret service to finally declassify the documents about their participation in this mysterious crime. The appeal of the newspaper wasn’t heard. But after all, already a century passed and the participants of that operation, nor their closest descendants are not alive anymore, and it is impossible to explain secrecy by referring the safety of implicated persons. It is clear that London protects not people any more, but its own historical reputation.
All of this visibly disproves the myth about the “openness of western society” that our many Russian liberals like to spread. For example, the Russian Americanist Nikolay Zlobin on the air of a political talk-show tried to convince people that in the US after 25 years nearly all documents are automatically declassified. Oh yes, it’s not for nothing that Trump for such a long time sought the disclosure of classified information about the murder of Kennedy.
In reality the list of exceptions from automatic declassification is so great that under it it is possible to add any paper to it connected to the activity of the secret service or State Department. In particular, it is impossible to publish documents that “can cause serious damage to relations between the United States and a foreign government”. And it is easy to put anything under this definition, regardless of the period of their prescription, which, in fact, western governments are doing — contrary to the sacred belief of Russia’s pro-Westerners about the “total openness” of that society.
… George Orwell, who worked in official propaganda structures of Britain and knew them from within, made a formula: “The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth”. This formula works there still to this day.
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