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War of Words Continues Over British War-Crimes Warrants

IDF delegation cancels trip

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Just when you thought it was safe for senior Israeli political and military officials to travel to Great Britain, a delegation of IDF officers canceled its trip for fear of being arrested on war-crimes warrants of the sort a court there issued against Tzipi Livni last month. The current situation makes it “difficult for the two countries to maintain a normal relationship,” Israel’s deputy foreign minister told British officials (in Jerusalem, wisely). One of those officials, a British attorney general (it has more than one), told a group at Hebrew University that Britain was committed to ensuring that current and former Israeli officials, and, more broadly, current and former Israeli soldiers—which is to say, most Israelis—could feel secure traveling to Britain. If commitments were horses …

Deputy FM: Arrest Warrants Harming Britain-Israel Ties [Haaretz]
British AG: Change Policy That Allows Arrest Warrants Against Israeli Leaders [Ynet]

Earlier: UK Court Issued Warrant for Livni

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Arrest the queen while we are at it for British Crimes against Kikuyus(kenya)

When I reported from Kenya earlier this year, I met elderly people who still shake with fear as they talk about the gulags. William Baldwin, a British member of the Kenya Police Reserve, wrote a memoir in which he cheerfully admits to murdering Kikuya “baboons” in cold blood. He bragged about how he gutted them with knives while other suspects watched. Another British officer, Tony Cross, proudly called their tactics “Gestapo stuff”. For the civilians outside, life was only slightly better. Women and children were trapped in 800 “sealed villages” throughout the countryside. They were surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards, and forced at gunpoint to dig trenches that sealed them off from the world.

There was always another, honourable Britain that fought against these crimes. The Labour left – especially Barbara Castle and Nye Bevan – fought for the camps to be exposed and shut. They didn’t succeed until the British imperialists were finally forced to scuttle away from the country entirely. We will never know how many people they murdered, because the colonial administration built a bonfire of all the paperwork on their way out the door. Elkins calculates it is far more than the 11,000 claimed by the British Government, and could be as many as 300,000.

Yet in Britain today, there is a blood-encrusted blank spot about Empire. On the reality show The Apprentice, the contestants recently had to pick a name for their team, and they said they wanted “something that represented the best of British” – so they settled on “Empire”. Nobody objected. Imagine young Germans blithely naming a team “Reich”: it’s unthinkable, because they have had to study what their fathers and grandfathers did, and expunge these barbarous instincts from their national DNA.

This failure to absorb the lessons of Empire is not only unjust to the victims; it leads us to repeat horrifying mistakes. Today, we are – with the Americans – using unmanned drones to bomb the Pakistan-Afghan borderland, as we did a few years ago in Iraq. Nobody here seems to remember that the British invented aerial counter-insurgency in this very spot – with disastrous consequences.

In 1924, Arthur “Bomber” Harris bragged that all rebellion could be stopped with this tactic. We have shown them, “what real bombing means, in casualties and damage: they know that within 45 minutes, a full-sized village can be practically wiped out and a third of its inhabitants killed,” he said. Yet instead of “pacifying” them, it radically alienated the population and lead to an uprising. If we knew our history, we would not be running the same script and expecting a different ending.

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War of Words Continues Over British War-Crimes Warrants

IDF delegation cancels trip

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