Showing posts with label malaya. Show all posts
Showing posts with label malaya. Show all posts

Monday, May 07, 2012

Scotland's My Lai Massacre?

It has been dubbed “Britain’s My Lai massacre” a reference to the infamous murders by US forces in Vietnam.

The 16-man patrol of  the 7th Platoon, G Company of the 2nd Scots Guards, on 12 December 1948 were conducting military operations to combat the post-Second World War Communist insurgency of the Malayan Emergency. Soldiers surrounded the rubber estate at Sungai Rimoh in Batang Kali and shot dead 24 unarmed villagers before setting light to the village. The bodies of several  villagers were reportedly mutilated.

"So cruel those British,"
Foo Moi keeps repeating, "so cruel." An eyewitness, now aged 89

The British then introduced an extraordinary retrospective "licence to kill" law interpreted by lawyers as a clumsy bid to render legalise the killings that had already occurred. .

The colonial Attorney General who exonerated the British troops of any wrongdoing at the time privately believed that mass public executions might deter other insurgents.

Former defence secretary Denis Healey instructed Scotland Yard to set up a task team to investigate the matter while Labour was in power, but an incoming Conservative government dropped it in 1970 due to an ostensible lack of evidence. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has argued it cannot be held legally liable and that legal responsibility was transferred upon independence in 1963. On January 30, 2009, the Foreign Office in Britain rejected a call for an inquiry into the massacre of villagers. The UK government’s refusal to hold a formal investigation into the killings is being challenged during a two-day judicial review hearing.

Although the Emergency was a war, it was never officially called one out of regard for the London insurance market that the Malayan economy depended upon for cover. Insurance rates covered losses of stocks and equipment through riot and civil disobedience in an "emergency".