Global Politics, International High Finance, Propaganda

Saturday, 3 April 2010

British Tortured Kenyans and Murdered Them

British Tortured Kenyans and also Murdered Them

(Dedicated to Julie O'Hara)
"Last year (2013), the Foreign Office agreed to pay £19.9 million in an out-of-court settlement after secret Colonial Office files revealed that the Mau Mau had been systematically tortured."
from "British law firm 'inflated’ Mau Mau compensation costs to taxpayer" By Patrick Sawer, Mark Hollingsworth 19 Oct 2014

Comment and Summary:-

The British government admitted in a British court of law that it had tortured black people.  You will see from the quotes below that the torture was extreme and done to many people.
The British government  also put black people in concentration camps and used violence to force them to do heavy manual work.  Some of them will start suing Britain for that in 2016.

BBC Kenya: White Terror

The BBC documentary above is from 2002 and titled, "Kenya: White Terror." It is about the Mau Mau detainees in Kenya in the 1950's and is based on the research of Harvard Professor, Caroline Elkins a professor of History and African and African American Studies at Harvard University.

This documentary has been part of the evidence supporting the Mau Mau case in London's High Court [see below] and was awarded the International Committee of the Red Cross Award at the Monte Carlos Film Festival. 
One part of the documentary video (around minute 25) shows a Kenyan mother describing how she was in a British concentration camp being beaten by British soldiers because she was too ill to do forced labour, when her child intervened it was stomped to death by the British Soldiers.
So - that's a British concentration camp, with only black  prisoners, no white ones. These black women and children were imprisoned and forced to do heavy manual work by British soldiers. "Forced" meaning, that they were kicked, punched and hit with sticks when they stopped working.
Forcing black people to do manual work by striking them ISN'T SLAVERY (say the British Government).
Stomping black children to death - but not stomping white children - ISN'T racism - (say the British Government).

No white women or children were imprisoned, forced to work or stomped to death. But that isn't RACISM (say the British Government).
The British government are going to fight  the claims made by these Kenyans.  (see video below)

William Hague details £19.9m payout to Mau Mau veterans  - Published on Jun 6, 2013

Although they know these claims to be true, the British government is going to drag the court process out and spend taxpayers money fighting and denying what it knows to true.

British Tortured President Obama's Grandfather

Barack Obama's father was tortured by the British during the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya

From:- Not his finest hour: The dark side of Winston Churchill By Johann Hari Wednesday 27 October 2010
Hussein Onyango Obama is unusual among Churchill's victims only in one respect: his story has been rescued from the slipstream of history, because his grandson ended up as President of the US.

Churchill believed that Kenya's fertile highlands should be the preserve of the white settlers, and approved the clearing out of the local "blackamoors". He saw the local Kikuyu as "brutish children".  
When they rebelled under Churchill's post-war premiership, some 150,000 of them were forced at gunpoint into detention camps – later dubbed "Britain's gulag" by Pulitzer-prize winning historian, Professor Caroline Elkins. She studied the detention camps for five years for her remarkable book Britain's Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya, explains the tactics adopted under Churchill to crush the local drive for independence.
"Electric shock was widely used, as well as cigarettes and fire," she writes. "The screening teams whipped, shot, burned, and mutilated Mau Mau suspects."  
Hussein Onyango Obama never truly recovered from the torture he endured.

"Mau Mau veterans to sue Britain over torture and illegal killings in Kenya" 

from Chris McGreal Fri 06 October 2006
"Martyn Day, the British lawyer representing the former detainees, said torture was not carried out by a few rogue soldiers, but as a policy."In torturing people under their control, or allowing torture to take place, the British were negligent, they committed assault, they breached the European convention on human rights"

Lawyers acting for Mau Mau veterans say they will serve notice on the Foreign Office of an intent to seek compensation for human rights abuses for a group of about 10 Kenyans, seen as a test case.

The claimants have given accounts of rape, systematic and prolonged beatings and other physical tortures that caused permanent injury and starvation as part of a British policy to break the rebellion. Some also witnessed killings.

If the case comes to court it is likely to divide Kenya by highlighting the part played in suppressing the Mau Mau by Kenyans who went on to hold senior government posts, and because insurgents killed many more black Kenyans than white settlers.

The claimants say they were held for years in detention camps during the seven years after Britain declared the "Kenya emergency" in 1952.

Jane Muthoni Mara was 15 when she was arrested for supplying the Mau Mau with food. She says a white officer ordered her torture, carried out by a black soldier who shoved a bottle into her vagina to force her to reveal the whereabouts of her brother, a member of the Mau Mau.

"There was a [Kenyan soldier] called Edward. He filled the bottle with hot water and then pushed it into my private parts with his foot. I screamed and screamed," she said. "Other women held at the camp were raped the same way. I've never forgotten it."
The Mau Mau rebellion against British rule during the 1950s was led in part by Kenyans who had served under the British flag in the second world war and returned trained to fight and with a burning sense of grievance at colonial rule.

The organisation was dominated by the Kikuyu who had suffered more than most Kenyans from the land grabbing by white settlers. The Mau Mau's killing of settlers, including women and children, at the end of 1952 and early 1953 led to its vilification in Britain as a group of savages and terrorists. But Britain's response proved no less barbaric.

Its forces killed thousands of Africans, and imprisoned tens of thousands, before the end of the rebellion in 1959.

Britain also hanged about 1,000 people as rebels although many of them never bore arms. Many were hanged for the crime of "consorting."

The government put the final death toll at 11,000 Kenyans compared with 32 white settlers and about 200 soldiers and police.

Recent research suggests up to 100,000 Kenyans died, many through torture, starvation and neglect in the British prison camps. The Mau Mau killed more than 2,000 Africans they accused of collaboration.

"UK to compensate Kenya's Mau Mau torture victims"

Thursday 6 June 2013
The turning point came when a number of historians who gave evidence as expert witnesses realised the government's disclosure of documentation was incomplete. This in turn led to the government admitting to the existence of an enormous secret archive of more than 8,000 files from 37 former colonies. (

Some of those papers corroborated the claimant's accounts of appalling abuse inflicted on inmates of the network of prisons that the British established during the insurgency.

Ian Cobain, and Jessica Hatcher in Nairobi Thursday 6 June 2013


"When the first batch of Kenyan documents was handed over to the Mau Mau veterans' lawyers, it could be seen to contain material that could only be described as incendiary. The documents detailed the way suspected insurgents had been beaten to death, burned alive, castrated – like two of the high court claimants – and kept in manacles for years.

The papers also showed that ministers and senior civil servants in London were fully aware of the details of the horrific, systemic abuse and murder of detainees during the 1950s emergency – abuses that they had repeatedly told the British public were not happening."
Comment:- This reveals that the British Government KNEW about the torture for 50 years and said nothing.  Not only that - it spent public money fighting the case in the Law Courts - EVEN THOUGH IT KNEW IT WAS GUILTY.

It is going to do the same with this new claim from the concentration camp victims

"Sins of colonialists lay concealed for decades in secret archive "

Ian Cobain and Richard Norton-Taylor Wednesday 18 April 2012

"Britain has said sorry to the Mau Mau. The rest of the empire is still waiting"
 Caroline Elkins Friday 7 June 2013
"Britain's acknowledgement of colonial era torture has opened as many doors at it has closed. Kenya was scarcely an exception. British colonial repression was systematised and honed in the years following the second world war. First in Palestine, and then Malaya, Kenya, Cyprus, Aden, Northern Ireland and elsewhere, British coercive counter-insurgency tactics evolved, as did brutal interrogation techniques. The Mau Mau detention camps were but one site in a broader policy of end-of-empire incarceration, torture and cover-up."

40,000 Kenyans accuse Britain of abuse and torture in second Mau Mau law suit 29 Oct, 2014

"Over 41,000 Kenyans have waged an attempt to sue the British government for compensation, alleging maltreatment and physical abuse during a Mau Mau uprising in the 1950s against UK colonial rule"

"As distinct from the first Mau Mau action against the FCO, the most recent claims relate to a broader array of human rights violations than physical torture alone.

Claimants are also seeking compensation for alleged imprisonment on false grounds, as well as allegations of coercive labor and breaches of the fundamental right to education"

The Hola Massacre

Comment and summary:-
The quotes below will establish that:-

  • The Hola Massacre was inflicted upon political prisoners who refused to do forced labour.
  • The prisoners knew that that the forced labour was illegal and responded with Non Violent Civil Disobedience - for which they were tortured and murdered. 
  • The British authorities in Kenya knew that the forced labour was illegal
         Under  - the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights
         Under -  the United Nations Forced Labour Convention of 1930
  • The  British authorities all the way up to the UK knew about the illegality - it was even debated in Parliament.
(Most of the following quotes are from Mark Curtis who is an author and consultant. He is a former Research Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House.)

"Short rations, overwork, brutality, humiliating and disgusting treatment and flogging – all in violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights". (A former officer in a British detention camp, Kenya, 1954-5)

The British knew that Forced Labour was Illegal.

Government attitudes to forced labour in 1950s Kenya show British elites’ basic contempt for international law equally blatant today.

In February 1953 the Kenyan colonial authorities cabled London saying they were on the verge of putting people "compulsorily to work" in "the areas being prepared for settlement by Kikuyu or other African tribes." To do this, the Governor asked London whether there was any possibility "of obtaining exemption" from the provisions of the UN’s Forced Labour Convention of 1930. The Colonial Office debated the issue and recognised that implementing the proposal would be illegal.

It was clearly noted that "compulsory labour as proposed by Kenya would be a breach of the Forced Labour Convention" and "there was no procedure for claiming exemption from its provisions".

But despite this, the minutes of one meeting note that "if the measures could be introduced without publicity, or delayed until after the [UN] session, the UK delegation’s task would be easier". The Colonial Secretary then wrote to the Governor explaining that "if…the proposal for compulsory employment is to be pursued it means facing up to the fact that we shall be breaking the Convention". The Colonial Secretary declared: "The only justification I can see for sustaining this breach would be

(a) that we are dealing with very exceptional circumstances not contemplated by the Convention and

(b) that we are not offending against the spirit of the Convention which was framed primarily to prevent the exploitation of labour…

I should be grateful to know of any further considerations there may be to strengthen the case for compulsion."

The Governor replied that he had "re-examined the position" and was "very anxious not to embarrass you. I now think that by a combination of economic inducements and use of sanctions under existing law…it may well be possible to attain our objective."

The Kenyan Prisoners Knew that Forced Labour was Illegal

On 3 March 1959, 85 prisoners were marched out to a site and ordered to work. One of the detainees, John Maina Kahihu, speaking with quiet dignity described what happened: "We refused to do this work. We were fighting for our freedom. We were not slaves


"There were two hundred guards. One hundred seventy stood around us with machine guns. Thirty guards were inside the trench with us. The white man in charge blew his whistle and the guards started beating us. They beat us from 8 am to 11.30. They were beating us like dogs. I was covered by other bodies—just my arms and legs were exposed. I was very lucky to survive. But the others were still being beaten. There was no escape for them."

Afterwards 11 men lay dead and 60 were seriously injured.

The Truth is only revealed because a Red Cross Doctor was there

FROM:- Horrors of Hola detention camp Story by The Daily Nation Publication Date: 04/22/2004

"The sight of the battered bodies being brought in caused a young Red Cross doctor working in the dispensary to break down and cry. ‘I am not here to treat the dead', he said, and then carried on, with his brave nurse, to try to save the living. Without their efforts, many others would have died that day. May God bless those two, wherever they are.

"And may God bless them, too, for having had the courage to reveal the truth of Hola, after the Governor of Kenya at the time, Sir Evelyn Baring (later Lord Howick), and the entire Government of Kenya conspired to hide their treachery by telling the world that the 11 men had died from accidentally drinking poisoned water.

"When the real story emerged, the story of official murder, the British Government was embarrassed and the public shocked. Debates were held in the House of Commons, official investigations were carried out and reports issued. Journalists and doctors flew to Hola Camp to investigate the treatment of 'Mau Mau' prisoners, and the brutality which had characterised prison life in Kenya began to subside.

Also from Mark Curtis

A former officer in one of the detention camps in 1954-5 exposed routine "short rations, overwork, brutality, humiliating and disgusting treatment and flogging all in violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights". In one camp, he said: "The detainees were being systematically ill-treated, underfed, overworked and flogged by the Security Officer… The women and children, in conditions of severe overcrowding, were sleeping on the bare stone or wooden floors as the Commandant had forbidden them to construct beds… The lavatories were merely large pits in the ground… with the excreta lapping over the top."

At another camp, where forced labour was practised, "one European officer made the detainees work at pointless hard labour tasks 12 hours a day". The commandant was seen "punching and kicking detainees" and, on the orders of a European officer, warders were "sent into one of the compounds… with orders to ‘beat up’ the detainees. This they proceeded to do with sticks, lumps of wood and whips. Several European officers…joined in the beating". The order had been given "for no apparent reason". "Some African detainees had been knocked unconscious and nearly 100 were treated in hospital."



Extra. Informative Videos

1000s of Kenyans tortured by British Colonial Government

The woman raped by the bottle

Peter Tatchel William Hague Foreign Minister

Kenya unveils memorial to victims of torture in Mau Mau era - The actual memorial

Caroline Elkins - Colonial War Crimes in Kenya- Prospects for Reconciliation. Very long - 90mins November 2007


Tue 28 Feb 2017

For the past eight months, lawyers in court 17 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London have been describing the violence and suffering that occurred during the suppression of the Mau Mau rebellion against British rule.

The lawsuit brought on behalf of survivors by Tandem Law, a Manchester-based firm of solicitors, against the Foreign Office is far larger than a previous class action brought by survivors of the 1950s colonial-era independence campaign. The government ultimately paid out £19.9m to settle the earlier claims.

Next week a former district commissioner, now in his 90s, is scheduled to be the first witness to give evidence for the government in the case which is already scheduled to run into the autumn (of 2017)

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