This Occasional Paper is intended to underline the duplicity of the Government, the Media and the ‘Church’ in reporting the State of Emergency in Kenya between 1952 and 1960. The shameful state of affairs that prevailed in Kenya and other parts of the Empire in its closing days has yet to be officially recognized. Meanwhile the great majority of the British people remain totally ignorant of the crimes committed by colonial administrators and units of the British Army at that time.
Below is a brief overview of the contents of a number of selected books relating to the end of Empire in Kenya written to enable readers to identify some of the key personalities and issues that occurred in Kenya following the State of Emergency declared by the Governor, Sir Evelyn Baring on 20th October, 1952. The aim of this Occasional Paper is to make it easier for those who have read these books to be reminded of the salient points raised by each author. It is divided into two sections, the first dealing with The General Situation and the second with War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. The references are arranged according to Page Numbers, and include my own comments on some of the issues raised by the individual authors, together with other comments made in a number of articles relating to the Emergency in Kenya. I have highlighted certain key sections. In conclusion I have added a paragraph headed “The Apologists — An Overview”.
Kenya — The General Situation
“The King’s African Rifles and The Kenya Regiment — A History” by Malcolm Page
P1 — ‘The King’s African Rifles was formed on 1st January, 1902. The original six battalions were formed out of a number of already existing military units maintained by Britain in East Africa. Recruited from local volunteers, they were led by British officers and senior NCOs seconded from the regular army. They served with distinction in both World Wars and in various other campaigns earning sixteen Battle Honours. In the First World War the regiment fought in German East Africa, and in the Second World War they fought against the Italians in Ethiopia, in Italian Somaliland and against the French in Madagascar and Mauritius. They also fought with great courage and success against the Japanese in Burma. After the war the regiment was highly praised by General Sir Gerald Templer for their part in the Malayan Emergency. During these campaigns many ‘askaris’ were highly decorated for their bravery.’
P142 — ‘In Burma the 11th (East African) Division, known as the ‘Rhino Division’, was commanded by Major General C. C. Fowkes, CBE, DSO, MC. The Division consisted of three brigades made up entirely of KAR battalions recruited from Kenya, Tanganika, Uganda, Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia. The Kenya battalion was commanded by Lt. Col. T. H. Birkbeck and was one of the first units to cross the Chittagong River. They were highly commended by Lt. Gen. Sir William Slim for their ‘splendid fighting quality’. When Maj. Gen. Fowkes was forced by ill-health to leave the Division, his final Order of the Day thanked ‘the bravery, courage, devotion and loyalty shown by all ranks during the arduous operations against the Japanese. It has been a great privilege for me to have led you in this campaign, and I wish you all good luck, good health and good hunting’. General Fowkes was greatly admired as a soldier and as a gentleman by both officers and men. At the end of the war in Burma, the ‘Rhinos’ won the Calcutta Rugby Cup, that included a number of enlisted men.’
P201-212 — ‘When Sir Evelyn Baring, the Governor declared an Emergency in Kenya in 1952, it was decided that the British Army should be responsible for the areas of British and European settlement, and The King’s African Rifles should be responsible for security in the Kikuyu Reservations. The Kenyan Police and Kenyan Police Reserve remained responsible for ‘law and order’ throughout the colony. The KAR were required to prevent food and other supplies reaching the ‘insurgents’ from Kikuyu villages in the Reserves. These co-called ‘insurgents’ were in fact Kenyans fighting to free themselves from the illegal occupation of their land as a Colony by Britain. Compare the Zionists illegal occupation of Arab Palestine! The Kenya Regiment (Territorial Army) was made up of settlers, and was increased to full strength during the Emergency. It was given the responsibility of providing ‘linguistic’ support to all British units, and provided officers to command many of the numerous Detention Camps. As a unit it worked closely with the Police. When General Sir George Erskine was appointed Commander-in-Chief in 1953 he assumed control of all operational matters carried out by the military, police and security services.’P213 — ‘In the forefront of the intelligence gathering was The Kenya Police Special Branch led by the notorious Superintendents Ian Henderson and Bernard Ruck. They were both rewarded for their crimes by the British Government with the George Medals!’P230 — ‘Many of the splendid Kikuyu recruits to the Kenya battalion of The King’s African Rifles came from the Kitui District in the Rift Valley. Intelligent, brave and loyal to the British campaigns in East Africa and Burma, they provided many of the Non-Commissioned Officers in this fine battalion.
P239-254 — ‘Chapter 13 relates to the history of The Kenya Regiment. It was formed in 1937 and disbanded in 1963, and was recruited mainly from the settler families. It was a territorial force, although greatly expanded during the emergency in Kenya. The regiment provided many officers to the KAR during the Italian East Africa Campaign and also to British Regiments and numerous other units during the Kenyan Emergency. Initially commanded by officers and NCOs from the Brigade of Guards, in 1956 this responsibility was taken over by the King’s Royal Rifle Corps (60th) and The Rifle Brigade (95th). From that date the regiment adopted the Rifles Green Beret. The Kenya Regiment’s badge was the ‘buffalo’ in honour of Lt. Frederic Courteney, the famous ‘big game’ hunter, whose name is remembered in the title given to the Selous Scouts, a Northern Rhodesian Special Services regiment. During the emergency in Kenya the regiment was notorious for the crimes committed by young men commanding the Home Guard Posts largely made up of ‘loyal’ Kikuyu, Meru and Embu tribesmen. They also created ‘Ray’ Force and ‘I’ Force’ known later as ‘pseudo-gangs’ and responsible for some of the worst atrocities against the Kikuyu. I find it obscene that former members of The Kenya Regiment still meet regularly at Winchester to ‘celebrate’ their days in Kenya. It is quite unbelievable that members of The Kenya Regiment were awarded 39 medals for ‘gallantry’ during the near genocide in Kenya, with 33 Mentioned-in-Despatches. Following a Public Enquiry into the scandalous behaviour of our forces in Kenya, these awards must be retrospectively cancelled.’
Who were these settlers that have so blackened the ‘name of England’ in the eyes of decent people around the world? For the most part, they were Englishmen who couldn’t make it on their own in their own country. They took the easy option of a life where they could acquire land cheaply in a British Colony, in a territory where they could control their own destiny and exercise unbridled control of the lives of the indigenous population. As members of an imagined ‘master race’ they would throw all rules to the wind, and pursue a hedonistic lifestyle that defies description.
“Imperial End Game — Britain’s Dirty Wars” by Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon
P191 — ‘Col. Arthur Young, Commissioner of City of London Police — Appointed by Field Marshall Sir Gerald Templer to reorganize the brutal Malayan Police Force.’
P208 — ‘On 20th October, 1952 a State of Emergency was declared in Kenya that was to last until 1960. The term ‘Mau Mau’ was used to describe the Kikuyu’s fight to rid their country of colonial rule. How the name occurred may never be known. It first appeared in a Kenya government paper in 1948 and may have derived from a European distortion of the Kikuyu word ‘muma’ meaning an oath. It is a name without any meaning in the Kikuyu language.’
P210 — ‘The initial settler community began soon after WWI, when 500 former British officers established estates on Kikuyu land in what became known as The White Highlands.’
P233 — ‘Sir Evelyn Baring was appointed Governor of Kenya in 1952 to succeed Sir Philip Mitchell. Baring was the son of Lord Cromer known as the ‘Maker of Modern Egypt’. Baring almost immediately summoned Michael Blundell, leader of the white settler contingent in Legislative Council. Oliver Lyttelton was Colonial Secretary in London during the tenure of both of these Governors.’
P237 — ‘Ian Meiklejohn and his wife attacked in Thompson’s Falls District, in the fertile Rift Valley on 22nd November, 1952. He was a retired naval officer and died the next day in Nakuru. His wife, a doctor, was wounded in the attack.’
P249 — ‘During the initial stages of the Emergency 100 Kikuyu insurgents faced 8,251 full-time and 6,484 part-time members of The Kenyan Police, 1,645 full-time members of the Kenya Police Reserve (mainly settlers), 459 part-time members of The Kenya Regiment (mainly settlers), 3,900 soldiers of the British Army and 368 Tribal Police. These numbers were greatly increased during the emergency.’
P255 — ‘In 1953 Lt. Gen. Sir George ‘Bobby’ Erskine replaced Major General W. R. N. ‘Loony’ Hinde as Commander-in-Chief of all Military Operations, including operational control of all security operations. Sir Frederick Crawford arrived in 1953 as Deputy Governor.’
P257 — ‘General Erskine sent Brigade Commander of KAR back to Britain in disgrace for brutality against Kikuyu.’
P258 — ‘General Erskine in a letter to his wife says of the settlers, ‘they are jumped-up middle class sluts and harlots, who for generations have brutally exploited the land and labour of an indigenous people who are finally striking back. I hate them all, they are virulent racists and not fit to rule over anything let alone a British colony.’
P274 — ‘General Erskine bans the practice in the military and police of rewarding units for the number of Kikuyu killed, and the cutting off of hands of those killed for identification. Erskine’s orders were largely ignored by The Kenya Police and The Kenya Police Reserve. On reading these accounts of life in Kenya during the Emergency I am immediately reminded of Joseph Conrad’s book “Heart of Darkness”, which described the appalling behaviour of the Belgians in the Congo.’
P279 — ‘Mention is made of the British government’s brutal tactics in Malaya, Aden, Yemen and Cyprus.’
“Histories of the Hanged in Kenya” by David Anderson
P3 — ‘With the National Party (Apartheid) voted into power in South Africa in 1948, Kenya’s settlers looked to Rhodesia and South Africa for examples of how they might enhance their own political representation and suppress that of the Africans.’
P5 — ‘During the entire Emergency in Kenya from 1952 to 1960 the total number of settlers who died were 32, there were fewer than 200 British soldiers and policemen killed, and 1,800 ‘loyal’ Africans. As for the Kikuyu, in a census held in Kenya after the emergency it was revealed that over 300,000 Kikuyu had been either killed or were ‘missing’. The ‘official’ figure for the number of Kikuyu who died was never known. The administration published ‘doctored’ figures to satisfy white Kenyans and the politicians in London. What a shocking indictment of colonial rule. The Kikuyu, Meru and Emba tribes were driven off their own ancestral lands and restricted to Native Reserves on poor land, often rocky and subject to erosion. The settlers confiscated the fertile land in the Rift Valley around Nairobi that became known as The White Highlands.’
P22-28 — ‘By 1940 it is estimated that over 60,000 acres of the finest grazing and crop yielding land had been set aside for white settlers. One in every eight Kikuyu was a tenant on white settler owned land, and was required to work on the white settlers’ estates. Each Kikuyu family was allowed a small plot of land called a shamba. The settlers were granted the right to expel families from their ancestral lands and villages and force them to live on remote distant Native Reserves. From 1925 the Kenya High Court passed a law denying the Kikuyu any right to appeal against eviction.’
P36 — ‘In 1946 the Kikuyu ex-servicemen formed an association called the Forty Group to defend the interests of the 75,000 Kenyans who had fought bravely for Britain in The King’s African Rifles against the Italians in Ethiopia and the Japanese in Burma. They were determined to fight for their rights in a society dominated by white settlers, but the Legislative Council in Nairobi thwarted their efforts at every turn. The settlers couldn’t see that their arrogant refusal to cooperate would eventually lead to their demise in Kenya.’
P66 — ‘The lawyers defending the interests of the Kikuyu included a number of brilliant barristers led by the Englishman Denis Lowell Pritt, QC, and included lawyers from Africa, India and the West Indies. Foremost amongst these were the Kenyan-Asian, Fitz de Souza and the Indian, Achroo Kapila. They were hated by the settlers. Throughout the emergency their defence of Kikuyu rights was thwarted by the Governor and his administration.’
P77-83 — ‘During the emergency the District and Provincial Officers traditionally responsible for ‘native affairs’, sold their souls to the hedonistic lifestyle of the white settlers. Unlike the courageous Public School men of the First World War and Second World War, who were brought up to believe in ‘justice and fair play’, and the principles of ‘noblesse oblige’, the colonial breed were a law unto themselves. What happened in Kenya has stained our nation’s reputation forever. The settler community was aptly named by one of Kenya’s most celebrated writers, Ngugi wa Thiong’o as ‘Parasites in Paradise’. As for the military, the term ‘officers and gentlemen’ no longer applies. Officers today are for the most part ‘paid mercenaries’ prepared to carry out any order regardless of the ‘rights and wrongs’ of the situation. Police officers throughout the Empire were recruited according to very different standards! Sadly many of the titled aristocrats who ended up in Kenya had either disgraced themselves in England, or had ‘fallen on hard times’. Many of the independently educated officer class from independent Public Schools were definitely not quite ‘kosher’! The Second World War saw the end of the old officer class, educated young men from ‘establishment’ families that senior NCOs and men respected and relied on to act honourably whatever the circumstances. Today we have to ask ourselves the question; is an independent education for the wealthier classes responsible for maintaining the selfish right wing attitude in our society? The evidence of the last seventy years shows that fundamental changes need to be made to safeguard the morality of Western civilization. The only sure way to do this is through enlightened education, not of a privileged few, but in the interests of the entire nation.’
P84-84 — ‘In Kenya the predominantly British population, with a few Europeans, had grown to 54,000 by 1956. General Erskine in a letter to his wife described Kenya ‘as a sunny land for shady people.’
P89-90 — ‘Ian Meiklejohn’s comparatively small estate contained a number of small Kikuyu villages. Furious that a number of families were about to be forcibly removed to a Kikuyu Native Reserve, three members of one such family decided to attack Ian Meiklejohn’s house. Not all attacks on settlers were directly connected with the fight to end colonialism; many resulted from years of oppression. Following the attack soldiers from The Lancashire Fusiliers forcibly removed 750 Kikuyu men, women and children with only their immediate belongings, pots and pans. They were forced on to lorries, their dwellings burnt down and their cattle confiscated with little or no compensation. James Cameron, the correspondent was horrified by what he saw. He wrote to the Governor, Sir Evelyn Baring saying, ‘the collective forced removal of Africans from their homes and their casual punishment is a disgrace, and would be the death of moral order, which up until now had given the Empire its only possible justification’. He also said ‘the Kenya Police Reserve was an undisciplined mob of racist settler vigilantes.’
P99-100 — ‘The Ian Meiklejohn Trial in February, 1953. It was revealed that over the past year Ian Meiklejohn had forced several Kikuyu to remove their sheep from his farm and reduce their numbers of cattle. He had already ordered the eviction of several ‘squatter’ families to Kikuyu Native Reserves. A ‘squatter’ was a contemptible name given by white settlers to tribesmen living on their own ancestral land! The real ‘squatters’ were the white settlers. Of the three accused of the killing of Ian Meiklejohn, Samuel Njehia Gachoka and Watuso Githuri were hanged and Waweru Gitau was acquitted of the charge.’
P119-130 — ‘The attack by the ‘Mau Mau’ on the Kikuyu Home Guard Post at Lari, and the Police Post at Naivasha on 26th March, 1953 were examples of the determination of the insurgents to wreck revenge on the authorities for years of oppression. The later massacre of Kikuyu detainees at Hola Detention Camp on 3rd March, 1959 highlights the bitter conflicts that took place during the Emergency in Kenya’s fight for independence from a ruthless European colonial power.’
P179 — ‘When the Emergency started in 1952 the ruthless Police Commissioner O’Rorke was already the senior police officer in Kenya, and remained so until he was replaced by Col. Arthur Young from the City of London in March, 1954.’
P277 — ‘In 1954 Winston Churchill met Michael Blundell, representing the settlers’ interests in Kenya. Churchill was of the opinion that a settlement should be reached with the Kikuyu. He told Michael Blundell bluntly that the Kikuyu were not the primitive cowardly people that many in Kenya imagined them to be, but people of considerable fibre, ability and steel. He said that the ‘white highlanders’ were just as much the problem as the ‘rebels’, and that in this he had the support of General Sir George Erskine. Churchill’s request came to nothing due to its lukewarm reception by the Governor Sir Evelyn Baring and the intransigent ‘Nairobi hawks.’
P299 — ‘With the arrival of Col. Arthur Young in 1954, General Sir George Erskine was determined to move swiftly to tackle the indiscipline in the army, and equally Col. Arthur Young endeavoured to do the same with the police force, the district administration and the Kikuyu Home Guard.’
P307 — ‘In 1952 when the Governor Sir Evelyn Baring was given permission to declare a State of Emergency, he received the full backing of the odious Oliver Lyttelton, the then Secretary of State for the Colonies. At that time Charles Chevenix-Trench was GSO2 (Civil) Director of Operations in Kenya. In Chevenix-Trench’s memoirs, endorsed by Oliver Lyttelton, he reluctantly admits ‘one or two isolated atrocities did occur’ by the security forces, but hastens to assure his readers ‘never by a nod or a wink did the administration connive at what was going on’! These two men were in fact guilty of massive war crimes, and were never brought to trial.’
P387-394 — ‘Important Chronology of Kenya from the country becoming a Protectorate in 1895 to Independence in 1963.’
“Imperial Reckoning — Britain’s Gulag in Kenya” by Caroline Elkins
P11 — ‘Early white settlers in Kenya envisioned a ‘plantocracy’ similar to what had once existed in the southern states of the United States. They hoped that Ian Smith in Rhodesia and South Africa’s ‘apartheid policy’ would create a white dominated society throughout the region, despite an overwhelming African population. In Nairobi and on their estates in the White Highlands the settlers pursued a degenerate lifestyle that begged the question ‘Are you married or do you live in Kenya’! The excessive limits of sexual debauchery, drugs, and drinking were never defined. All this at the expense of the native population that they treated with utter contempt and who they required to work on their plantations under virtually slave conditions. Kikuyu land was originally leased to settlers by the Kenyan government on a 99 year lease, but this was soon increased to 999 years! The white settlers ‘drank champagne and pink gin for breakfast, drank heavily, gambled at cards, and at weekends party guests were ‘expected’ to exchange partners. Cocaine was distributed ‘at the door’ and women vied with one another to list the many men they had slept with. I hasten to recommend a fictionalised film about the hedonistic lifestyle in Kenya, called “White Mischief”!’
P22 — ‘The Kikuyu had to abandon their traditional farming practices and cultivate the poor land on African Reserves.’
P24-28 — ‘The settlers and the government in Nairobi attempted to win justification for their defence of colonialism by publishing details of the primitive ritual oaths taken by the Kikuyu to ensure support for their determination to rid themselves of their white masters. By 1953 about 90% of the 1.5 million Kikuyu had taken an oath to end the colonial occupation of their country. The main thrust behind the emergency declared in 1952 was to identify those Kikuyu who had taken the oath and force them to recant. A naturally superstitious people they took their oaths seriously, and believed that they would die if they were to break it. About 1,800 Kikuyu were killed by their own people for refusing to take the oath. The oath was taken in the name of their ‘creator god’ Ngai, and basically required the initiates to eat the flesh and drink the blood of a sacrificed goat. But let us not forget that equally superstitious people in the ‘Anglican Church’ have taken similar ‘mythical oaths’ called ‘communion’ for thousands of years. In this they ‘eat the flesh and drink the blood’ in the form of ‘bread and wine’ in remembrance of a man called Joshua (Greek Jesus). According to their ‘mythical beliefs’ Joshua, the humble son of a carpenter, was raised to the status of the son of their ‘mythical god Jehovah’. The Kikuyu oaths to their ‘creator god Ngai’ echoed the ‘mythical beliefs’ of the settlers ‘creator god Jehovah’. Let us not forget that ‘believers’ in the Middle Ages were equally reluctant to recant their beliefs and were willing to be ‘burnt at the stake’. You can readily see the similarities between these two opposing forces in Kenya. On the one hand you have an indigenous people fighting for freedom from a brutal occupying European power, and on the other a racist society, who believed they were ‘god’s chosen people’. Where have we heard that before?’
P49 — ‘The well-known journalist Anthony Sampson during a brief stop in Nairobi in 1954 said that ‘the settlers and colonial officials were treating the Africans as vermin and animals. Everywhere I heard white settlers talking about how many Kukes they had winked (killed) today, as if they were big game hunting. There can be no future for this colony.’
P54 — ‘General Sir George Erskine particularly detested The Kenya Regiment, made of young settlers, many becoming ‘pseudo-gangsters’ led by the infamous Ian Henderson. He was later ousted and despatched to Bahrain to command the tiny protectorate’s security forces!’
P71 — ‘J. A. Rutherford was another brutal and despicable member of notorious The Kenya Regiment. He was appointed with white provincial and district officers to command one of the ‘loyal’ Kikuyu Home Guard Posts. After the emergency he wrote a scandalous ‘History of the Kikuyu Home Guard’, in which he completely expunged the dreadful tortures, rapes and killings that took place in these ‘denizens of hell.’
P138 — ‘In July, 1954 the equally odious Alan Lennox-Boyd took over from Oliver Lyttelton as Secretary of State for the Colonies in London. He and Governor Sir Evelyn Baring were both determined to maintain the ethos of Empire whatever the cost to the indigenous people of Kenya!’
P142 — ‘The German sociologist Wolfgang Sofsky in writing about Nazi Concentration Camps exposed the system in which a selected few detainees were encouraged to discipline their own people in return for minor rewards. This system was present throughout the camps in Kenya. In Athi River Camp Major James Breckenridge and his wife were rare examples of compassion being shown to detainees.’
P149-153 — ‘A notorious system of Detention Camps called the ‘Pipeline’ operated within the Prison System to hold Kikuyu suspected of having sworn an oath against colonialism. They were spread over the Rift Valley and Central Provinces and totalled over 100. Although primarily for male detainees, a woman’s camp existed at Kamiti for a few thousand detainees and for male children at Wamumu. In fact many children were detained in Detention Camps with older men. The Kenyan administration attached great importance to a ‘black’ detainee admitting to having taken an oath. If he did, he was categorized as ‘grey’ and moved up the ‘Pipeline’ ladder, although his treatment remained equally brutal.’
P181 — ‘Homosexuality was rife in many camps, where the Camp Commandant and other white officers had male ‘wives’ amongst the detainees, who were accorded lenient treatment in the appalling conditions that prevailed.’
P246 — ‘A number of Kikuyu Headmen and Chiefs remained ‘loyal’ to the administration in Nairobi. Their ‘loyalty’ had been obtained through concessions and bribes, and as such enjoyed the protection of the Security Services. Their brutal behaviour towards the detained Kikuyu was legend, especially to any women who refused their sexual demands.’
P247 — ‘The Kikuyu women detained during the emergency called all British officers and soldiers in the army, the white officers in The Kenya Police and The Kenya Police Reserve, The Kenya Regiment and the King’s African Rifles ‘savages.’
P275-310 — ‘Barbara Castle, MP writing in “The Tribune” in September, 1955 said, ‘In the heart of the British Empire in Kenya there is a police state where the rule of law has broken down, where the murder, rape and torture of Africans by Europeans goes unpunished and where the authorities connive at its violation’. At the end of the summer in 1955 the British Labour Party’s outrage at what was happening in Kenya exploded, despite the fact that the Conservative Party and the House of Lords denied that anything was amiss. When Col. Arthur Young resigned from his position as Commissioner of Police in Kenya in December, 1954 less than a year after he was appointed, ‘the bells began to ring’ in Whitehall. In his letter to the Governor Sir Evelyn Baring he said ‘the security forces were uncontrolled and were committing crimes of violence and brutality that were totally unjustified and abhorrent’. Col. Arthur Young frequently referred to the settler community as ‘racist scum and white trash’. Alan Lennox-Boyd took advantage of the Official Secrets Act and forced Arthur Young to agree to a statement that glossed over the reasons for his resignation and never mentioned the detailed crimes that were taking place! Eric Griffith-Jones replaced Col. Arthur Young as Commissioner of Police in Kenya. Arthur Young’s friend John Whyatt, the Attorney General in Kenya, was shipped out of Kenya to Singapore as Chief Justice and replaced by Richard Catling from Malaya. Duncan McPherson, who had been requested by Young to act as his Assistant Commissioner of Police from his post in Hong Kong remained in Kenya, but was powerless against the new ‘right-wing’ appointees of Alan Lennox-Boyd. The triumvirate of Baring, Richard Catling and Griffith-Jones ensured that nothing would change in Kenya, and even Leonard Beecher, the Archbishop of Mombasa eventually balked at criticizing the Governor, and became the star witness for the British Government’s defence of its policy in Kenya despite the onslaught of allegations.
However others did not hesitate to break the silence, including Eileen Fletcher, a former Rehabilitation Officer in Kenya who roundly condemned the brutalities she had witnessed in her book “The Truth About Kenya”. Aneurin Bevan, one of parliament’s greatest orators, supported Eileen Fletcher and gave a withering reply to Alan Lennox-Boyd’s scurrilous defence of what had happened in Kenya. Another unlikely stalwart in the condemnation of the government was a Captain Philip Meldon, who had been a temporary officer in the dreaded Kenya Police Reserve. In a letter to Major James Breckenridge he said, ‘I have given this matter a lot of consideration, but my conscience will not let me keep quiet any longer’. He provided a detailed account of what he had experienced in his book “My Two Years in Kenya”, including a long list of specific British officers who had perpetrated crimes in Kenya’s camps! During these debates Hugh Gaitskell and Harold Wilson were never to the forefront in condemning the behaviour of British forces and settlers in Kenya! When will these criminals be brought to trial?’
P363 — ‘In the immediate aftermath of the emergency and the granting of Independence on 12th December, 1963 the reigns of power did not flow to those who had fought and died for independence. The entrenched so-called ‘loyalists’ were in a position to fill the vacancies left by the colonial power. By keeping a low profile these horrendous characters were well placed to assume the rolls played by the departing British in both urban and rural communities. The Kikuyu, who had been brutalized by the British, were too traumatized to take full advantage of their freedom. In 1959 Sir Patrick Renison briefly took over as Governor of Kenya, and in Britain Prime Minister Harold Macmillan appointed Iain Macleod to replace Alan Lennox-Boyd as Secretary of State for the Colonies. In Britain there would be no soul-searching or public accounting for the horrors that had been perpetrated in Kenya. The ignorance of the majority of British people about the appalling crimes that were being carried out in Kenya during the Emergency was the direct result of a combined policy by the British Government and the British Press to hide the details from them. This led almost the entire nation to support ‘British settlers and the British Army’, whose unspeakable behaviour had been responsible for one of the worst crimes in the history of our Empire!
It was not until 2012 that High Court in London finally lifted the led on the crimes that had been committed in Kenya, and that a grave miscarriage of justice had taken place in one of our African colonies. This whole issue has yet to be resolved and may yet force the government to hold a Public Enquiry and issue a public apology along the lines of the appalling tragedy that occurred over many years in Northern Ireland. For many British Regiments the brutality and flagrant disregard for humanity shown by their officers and men will remain as a mark of shame that can never be expunged. All those involved in this terrible affair must eventually be brought to trial, and receive sentences commensurate with the death and suffering of a nation that they nearly destroyed. One can see the roots of this ‘evil’ today in the megalomania of the American ‘Tea Party’ and our own country’s wretched ‘Little Englanders’.
“Cruel Britannia — History of Torture” by Ian Cobain
P79 — ‘Reminds readers of the hedonistic lifestyle of the great majority of British and European settlers. Describes the fertile land stolen from the Kikuyu called later the White Highlands, as supporting 2 white settlers ‘per square mile’ compared with the poorer land on the Kikuyu Reserves that supported 300 Kikuyu.’
P80 — ‘British colonial racism’s barbarity on an unimaginable scale described by one of Col. Arthur Young’s recruited London Inspectors as ‘matching the Gestapo’, and another as ‘far worse than anything I experienced as a prisoner of the Japanese’. Records details of the torture of President Barack Obama’s grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama.’
P82 — ‘General Erskine did not end the policy of screening and forced detention, and the brutality committed by settler militias and the ‘loyal’ Kikuyu Home Guard. General Erskine described ‘the deployment of troops working with the police as ‘evil’ and that any investigation would be shattering to the British public! The savagery and sexual violation of women was horrendous’. The Kikuyu Home Guard was recruited from ‘loyal’ members of the tribe, but this was a misnomer for miscreant Kikuyu, who saw an opportunity to protect themselves and their families from the terrible fate that was being enacted on their brothers and sisters. In many cases they carried out the most frightful crimes against their own people in many cases paying off old scores. Several ex-prisoners from Kenyan jails were recruited to serve in Home Guard.’
P85 — ‘In March, 1954 Col. Arthur Young arrived in Kenya to try and bring the Kenyan Police under control. His failure to convince Governor Evelyn Baring of the ‘unjustified and abhorrent’ crimes being committed by them, and that the Governor had no intention of bringing the torture and killing to an end, forced him to resign in December, 1954 and return to England after less than a year in Kenya. When Barbara Castle, MP raised these matters in the Commons the Government under Alan Lennox-Boyd, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and Governor Baring denied all the charges.’
P87 — ‘Enoch Powell, MP said, ‘any nation behaving in the way we have in Kenya does not deserve an Empire’. It was not until 1959 that Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister replaced Alan Lennox-Boyd with Iain Macleod and the process started for an independent Kenya.’
P88 — ‘Court proceedings in London later revealed the terrible state of affairs that had taken place in Kenya. Successive governments had tried to hide the evidence in papers stored at Hanslope Park. Eric Griffith-Jones, the Attorney-General in Kenya, had issued a secret memo urging Governor Baring and Alan Lennox-Boyd to make sure that as few people as possible knew what was going on in Kenya. An interesting reflection by Carl Jung writing in 1925 who said, ‘ The white man’s hatred of the Africans stemmed from a deep down realization of their own spiritual emptiness.’
Kenya — War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity
The full story of what happened during the War of Independence in Kenya has yet to be told. Much of the material relating to the shameful acts and crimes that were committed in Kenya were destroyed by the colonial administration. Successive British Governments not only destroyed many damning documents on the orders of Government Ministers at the time, but their very existence was denied. The Law Lords later compelled the Government to release files unlawfully concealed at Hanslope Park, Buckinghamshire. The Foreign Secretary, William Hague has only recently apologized to the Kenyans. ‘The British Government sincerely regrets that torture and other forms of ill-treatment took place at the hands of the colonial administration in Kenya, and that these abuses marred Kenya’s progress towards Independence. We unreservedly condemn these abhorrent violations of human dignity’. One of the claimants, Matheng Irengi aged 81, whose arm was twisted until it became dislocated, was brutally tortured and castrated with pliers, said afterwards, ‘I am very surprised at this apology. The British, never normally never ever say sorry to anybody. They can say sorry individually, but never as a country’. Other claimants witnessed fellow prisoners being roasted alive. Claims against the British Government can now be made for similar crimes committed in Cyprus, Yemen and Aden. So far £13.9 million has been paid out in compensation to 5,228 Kenyans. The British Government has announced that it will pay all legal costs. They have agreed to fund the construction of ‘a memorial to the Kenyan victims of colonial-era torture’. I wonder where this memorial will be located.
Decent people will be horrified at reading the following extracts from published accounts of the atrocities perpetrated upon the Kikuyu people by British soldiers, police, district commissioners and the white settler community. So-called ‘loyal’ Kenyans in Home Guard units were equally barbarous. We should remember the total numbers of those who died or were murdered. Out of a white population numbering about 6,100 by 1960, a total of 32 British settlers were killed during the eight years of the emergency, including a few European settlers. The Kikuyu were taking revenge for the brutal treatment they and their families had suffered at the hands of the settlers. This included the killing, flogging, maiming and forced eviction of families from their ancestral homesteads. The Kikuyu were responsible for the death of less than 200 police and soldiers, including members of The King’s African Rifles. They also killed 1,819 of their own people, who refused to take an oath to fight for the end of colonialism. The sheer scale of attrition taken out against the Kikuyu by the ‘white’ settlers, police and British Army can best be assessed by a census taken out at the end of the emergency. Over 300,000 Kikuyu had been killed or could not be accounted for. Even allowing for a few who must have fled into neighbouring territories, the figure is staggering! This is an appalling indictment of colonial rule by a so-called civilized society, where settlers had taken for themselves the fertile land of the Rift Valley called the “White Highlands”, and restricted the Kikuyu, Meru and Emba people, who were in fact the ancestral owners of the land, to isolated Native Reserves.
“Imperial End Game — Britain’s Dirty Wars” by Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon
P248 — ‘The day after Rodger Ruck and his family were killed on 24th January, 1953, the settlers marched on Government House on Nairobi demanding that the Governor, Sir Evelyn Baring ‘put the troops into the Kikuyu villages and slaughters 50,000 men, women and children!’ Rodger Ruck and his wife were typical of the hedonistic lifestyle of the settler community. He was a member of the notorious Kenya Police Reserve. In the light of the increasing attacks on the settlers, the Governor asked Oliver Lyttelton, the Colonial Secretary in London to appoint a new military commander with responsibility for both the army and police. Major General W.R. N. Hinde was appointed from Malaya, but was replaced within six months by General George Erskine. Sir Evelyn Baring had no respect for the settlers, whose wives he once described to his wife as ‘harlots’. Major General Hinde had become too friendly with the settlers and the police with the result that tension in the colony continued to rise.’
P257 — ‘When General Sir George Erskine was appointed he was appalled by the ‘indiscriminate shooting by the security forces and their lack of discipline’. British officers were paying £5 for each Kikuyu killed regardless of the circumstances, and their hands were ordered to be cut off for later identification. Captain G. S. L. Griffiths of the King’s African Rifles was court-martialled for cutting off the ears of two Kikuyu detainees before shooting them at close range. He spent the next five years in a London prison. His Brigade Commander was dismissed and also returned to England.’
P280 — ‘A total of twelve battalions of the British Army were deployed at various times in Kenya, and six battalions of The King’s African Rifles with British officers and senior NCOs. In April, 1953 two battalions of the 39th Brigade arrived in Kenya from Malaya. They consisted of the 1st Bn. The Devonshire Regiment and the 1st Bn. The Royal East Kent Regiment (The Buffs). The Devonshire Regiment left Kenya in February, 1954 after being deployed for about eleven months. Meanwhile they were soon to re-earn their regimental nickname “The Bloody Eleventh”. Lieut. David Larder served in The Devonshire Regiment in Kenya, after being drafted from Colchester. He was one of the last breed of officers that could be properly called ‘gentlemen’, he was appalled at the brutality and callous indifference to the plight of the Kikuyu by his fellow officers and particularly The Kenya Police. Soon after his arrival he was present at an operation in the early hours of the morning, when his regiment cordoned the shanty slum dwellings of Kikuyu families living in Nairobi. These families had already been forcibly removed from their tribal lands to make more land available to the settlers. At gunpoint the families had to immediately leave their homes with what they could grab, many were young women with babies. The Kenya Police treated them like cattle, they were herded on to trucks provided by the government, but not before having to bribe the Indian truck drivers for a place on their vehicle! The families, less a number of their men folk who were detained men, were then driven away to Kikuyu Native Reserves as they watched their homes being destroyed and bulldozed.
On other occasions the regiment were told to shot on sight any Africans that they saw regardless of the circumstances. On one occasion they were ambushed and in the mêlée the body of one young dead Kikuyu landed on David’s chest. He had no weapons, only a ‘Bible’ text in his pocket. David was ordered to burn and bury his body near the nearby farm where he worked. His Company Commander ordered him to cut off his hands for identification. At other times they randomly stopped men to check their ‘kipandi’ passes, and if they did not have one they had to examine their penises to see if they were uncircumcised and therefore boys who did not require a pass. Such senseless humiliation!
Later David’s regiment became responsible for clearing a forest area in the Aberdare Mountains. Before going on patrol, David was concerned for the welfare of one of his men who was not fit enough to undergo a three-hour steep climb through the jungle. His Company Commander laughed at the idea and insisted that he went with the rest of his platoon. He later died in David’s arms from a heart attack. Because of David’s attitude he was ordered to take his body, tied to a mule, to regimental headquarters a week’s march over the mountains. The lad’s mother was told that he had died a hero on active service! Sickened by his experiences of War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and the breakdown of military justice, David started to question and disobey the orders of his senior officers. He was court-martialled and dismissed the service in Kenya. Stripped of his uniform he was ordered to make his own way back to England. Thanks to the intervention of Bessie Braddock, MP, David was allowed to wear his uniform and fly back to Britain on an RAF plane. David Larder was now free to speak out against what was happening in Kenya, but his ordeal was not yet over. He received new call-up papers as he had not finished his National Service. Furious at the way he had been treated he was allowed to register as a Conscientious Objector ‘against colonial warfare’. David Larder should be honourably re-instated to his former rank, and his senior officers should be immediately arrested and brought to trial for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity.’
It is important to list the Regiments of the British Army that served in Kenya during “The Mau Mau Uprising” 1952-1956. They were responsible for many of the War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity that took place during that period. Following a Public Enquiry in Britain all Officers, NCOs and Enlisted Men should be brought to trial and those found guilty ordered to serve long prison sentences. I have not listed supporting units of the British Army and other Services, or The King’s African Rifles who will also stand trial and if found guilty will be similarly sentenced. The British Regiments involved were The Devonshire Regiment, The Royal East Kent Regiment (The Buffs), The Black Watch, The Lancashire Fusiliers, The Inniskilling Fusiliers, The Northumberland Fusiliers, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, The Gloucestershire Regiment. The King’s Shropshire Light Infantry and The Rifle Brigade. In November 1956 the remaining British units withdrew from forest operations in the Central Province. In January 1960 the State of Emergency ended. A Public Enquiry must also investigate the crimes committed by The Kenya Regiment, The Kenya Police, The Kenya Police Reserve, all the ancillary units and particularly the ‘role played by the settlers’.
When a full enquiry is eventually ordered by the British Government into the conduct of British forces deployed in Kenya, the future of those regiments involved must be in question. The Army will have to be completely reorganized in the light of these trials and equally appalling reports of torture, murder and rape in Aden, Yemen, Cyprus, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Americans will have to resolve their own appalling crimes in Abu Ghraib (Iraq), Bagram Air Force Base (Afghanistan) and Guantanamo (Cuba) and the whole issue of ‘rendition’ and the diabolical use of drones. We can no longer justify an army ‘of men officered for the most part by semi-educated racist ‘bounders’. Many officers today are no more than professional mercenaries. The enlisted men of any army are entitled to believe that their officers are well educated and that they would never allow them to be committed to any action that is not morally just. Since the end of the Second World War this trust has been broken. We now have an army where the ‘ruling class’ no longer provide officers to the armed services. Most officers in the United States Army are promoted from the ranks, with a nucleus of regular officers from West Point Academy. These officers are usually the sons or friends of Congressional politicians. The role of the officer has been reduced to that of a mercenary, drawn from ‘god knows where’ to carry out the orders of a corrupt ‘ruling class’ hell bent on world domination. They are certainly not ‘gentlemen’. How can the Army and the other services begin to regain their past Battle Honours from fighting in ‘just wars’?
We must return to ‘the old school of officers and gentlemen’. This has nothing to do with ‘class’, but has everything to do with education in its fullest sense. Young men who have been well educated in the real meaning of ‘justice and fair play’ and for whom a military career is an honourable profession, immediately earn the respect of those they command. NCOs and enlisted men particularly value being led by educated officers from more privileged backgrounds who are prepared to endure the rigours of active service and share the same dangers with them It is vitally important that the sons of the wealthier members of society are fully represented in the army, and subject to the same ‘life and death’ decisions that effect us all in times of national crisis. Compare this with the United States where the sons of the ruling class, college and university undergraduates are never required to serve their country in their armed services! I would welcome a return to the unspoken rules of life in an officer’s mess, where ‘women and shop (military matters)’ were never discussed. The mess was a gentleman’s club, where the day-to-day demands of army life were briefly put aside. From the days of ‘gentleman rankers’, the opportunity of promotion for some enlisted men to the rank of officer within the army is an essential ingredient of army life and must be encouraged. If we are to rebuild trust in our armed forces after the shameful use of our young men in ‘unjust’ wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the immediate reorganization of our ‘officer class’ is long overdue!
“History of the Hanged — Britain’s Gulag in Kenya” by Caroline Elkins
P5 — ‘The disruption wrought upon Kikuyu society during the emergency was almost unimaginable. At least 150,000 Kikuyu were detained at sometime or other during the emergency under the most appalling conditions. Draconian anti-terrorist laws were introduced suspending the human rights of suspects, imposing collective punishments, facilitating detention without trial, permitting the seizure of property without redress and vastly extending the death penalty for a wide range of alleged offences. Kenya had virtually become a Police State within the British Empire.’
P7 — ‘Although many of the records relating to these horrors were destroyed by the Kenyan Colonial Administration and by the British Government, some transcripts have become available and their details are horrifying. From these documents we know the names of 1,090 Kikuyu men sent to the gallows, but not the names of those summarily murdered by the authorities. Women charged with similar offences were imprisoned for life. Those men and women found not guilty were normally re-arrested on minor charges and spent the remaining years of the emergency in the notorious detention camps commanded by the British Army and the Police, many of whom were drawn from the settler community. The names of the Police officers responsible for the interrogations and prosecutions are known, and should be brought to trial if they have not already died. The Kikuyu martyrs of this rebellion against colonialism are for the most part unknown. It is hard to believe that these horrendous activities took place in the British Empire!’
P82-86 — ‘The white settler population grew from about 40,000 to 61,000 during the emergency, of who a few worked in the professions and commerce in the larger towns and Nairobi. In 1952 there were fewer than 2,200 white farms. These new white immigrants were determined to maintain their privileged status. The 32 settlers killed in the emergency were considerably less that the number annually killed in road traffic accidents! The settlers who served in The Kenyan Police, The Kenyan Police Reserve and The Kenyan (TA) Regiment played a significant role in the counter-insurgency campaign. When General George Erskine became responsible for the overall command of the security forces, he was particularly concerned at the brutal behaviour of The Kenyan Police Reserve, and in writing to his wife described Kenya as ‘a sunny land for shady people’! A colour bar, similar to South Africa, existed in hotels, restaurant, clubs and sporting events.’
P114-8 ‘A very few members of the judicial community questioned the arbitrary powers given to the police, and particularly the abuses arising from so-called ’protective custody’, but despite appeals from the Asian lawyers the gross injustices continued.’
P260 — ‘The police use of unmitigated violence against the Kikuyu caused some British soldiers to question the morality of their mission. A soldier in The Devonshire Regiment writing home to his family said. ‘the violence shown by the police to prisoners was shocking, they treat them like animals and goodness knows what happens to these poor buggers when they get them behind closed doors. Some of my colleagues let their prisoners go rather than commit them to the ‘care’ of the notorious Kenya Police or Kenya Regiment’. General George Erskine wrote to this wife, ‘the administration in Kenya is rotten and dominated by members of the settler community, I hate the guts of all of them, the civil servants and police should be immediately replaced. The settlers are racist and their wives and girl friends middle-class sluts.’
P270-1 — ‘When Col. Arthur Young came out from London to take over as Police Commissioner from Michael O’Rorke, one of his immediate concerns was the Kikuyu Home Guard. Recruited from ‘loyal’ Kikuyu, the settlers were desperate ‘to keep on board’ by offering them bribes and granting small favours. Even by 1954 they had recruited 20,000 to guard the fortified posts in the Reserves to control their fellow Kikuyu ‘brothers’, who were fighting for independence from a colonial rule that had taken away all their best land and ‘their rights as human beings’. Their behaviour towards their fellow Kikuyu was ruthless as they settled old scores and ‘showed support for their settler masters’ to keep on the ‘right side’ of the white settlers ‘war of survival’ against the indigenous Kenyan people. A white settler or district commissioner was responsible for every ten fortified posts, with the support of police officers and members of The King’s African Rifles. Arthur Young was frustrated at every turn in his efforts to reorganize and discipline all aspects of policing.’
P299 — ‘General George Erskine in the army, and Col. Arthur Young in the police and auxiliary units were both faced with the deeply imbedded impunity with which officers carried out their brutal outrages against the Kikuyu local population without fear of ever having to face the consequences. At least in the army it was possible to reign in many of the excesses. Arthur Young met resistance to his plans in every quarter, but did manage to separate the CID from the main body of the security forces with the help of his friend the Attorney-General John Whyatt. Without an independent CID it was impossible to mount prosecutions against the entrenched settler controlled administration and police, but the changes had little effect. Within the year it became obvious that his position was impossible and he resigned. When Col. Arthur Young was sent to Malaya to reorganize The Malay Police, he met a force totally out of control and ‘a law unto themselves’. When he left they could be relied on to serve the interests of General Sir Gerald Templer. His efforts in Kenya to try and control the excesses of The Kenya Police, The Kenya Regiment and the settler community were met with open hostility. His contempt for the settlers was such that he frequently referred to them as ‘racist scum’.
“Imperial Reckoning — Britain’s Gulag in Kenya” by Caroline Elkins
P47-9 — ‘The settlers’ mistaken belief in the supremacy of the white races dominated the laws of the colonial administration, particularly in Africa. Viewed against the hedonistic lifestyles of supposedly educated Europeans, decent people must wonder how it is that ‘ruling classes’ can so easily sink into morally unjust attitudes towards their fellow human beings. How can a small minority exercise such brutal control, surrounded by squalor of their own making?’
P51-6 — ‘When General Sir Gerald Lathbury took over from General Sir George Erskine in 1965 the Emergency Regulations had been in place for nearly three years. To the detriment of the Kikuyu people, they included provisions for communal punishment, the control of movement within the colony, the confiscation of land and property, all Africans had to have a pass, political organizations were banned, strict censorship on publications was enforced, the rights of ‘due process’ in law was suspended and people could be detained without trial.’
P67-72 — ‘Another of The Kenya Regiment’s ‘pseudo-gangsters’ was known as ‘Dr. Bunny’, nicknamed the ‘Joseph Mengele of Kenya’. He ‘torched and burnt the skin off live suspects and forced them to eat their own castrated testicles! Screening was frequently carried out on the farms of the white settlers. On one occasion Margaret Nyaruai, a young women whose husband had already been detained, was interrogated and beaten by a white settler. Sharp banana leaves were forced into her vagina and rectum, and her breasts were squeezed with pliers. Despite confessing what she knew about her husband’s activities, she was forced to labour on his plantation without pay for the rest of the emergency. From time to time she continued to be assaulted and hot eggs were forced into her vagina.’
P72-73 — ‘The King’s African Rifles led by British officers and NCOs were as ruthless as the police. In March 1954 twenty-two civilians in the Nyeri District were massacred. The files relating to the subsequent court-martial remain sealed to this day in Britain’s Public Record Office. Women were stripped naked and forced to run the gauntlet between rows of British and African troops, where they were maliciously beaten whilst their children watched this horror. British officers then ordered that those that had died were to be buried in the road, which was then tarmacked over, although for a longtime you could still see the dried blood that had oozed out from this massacre.’
P85-92 — ‘Even the Governor, Sir Evelyn Baring admitted that the Kenya Police and Kenya Police Reserve, largely made up of young settlers, were ‘absolutely rotten’. They included the American, William Baldwin, and the South Africans, Heine and Van Zyl known in the Special Branch as ‘Kenya’s SS’. They set dogs on detainees and laughed as the dogs ripped open their throats, and particularly enjoyed putting metal buckets on a man’s head and beating it until he collapsed. The brutality was unbelievable, one member of The Kenya Regiment witnessed a Kikuyu being slowly electrocuted to death, his testicles had already been cut off, he had no ears and one eyeball was hanging out of its socket!’
P131-145 — ‘The colonial administration in Kenya admitted that by 1954 over 52,000 Kikuyu were held in Detention Camps, but the figure was possibly twice that number. The Anglican Church knew damn well what was going on, as African ‘converts to their church’ were regularly included amongst those detained. Their failure to do anything about it stands as a lasting indictment of colonial racism and ‘mythical religions’. The screening teams stopped at nothing to obtain a confession from a Kikuyu that he had taken an oath to end colonialism. Suspects were whipped, sodomized, burned, forced to eat their own faeces and drink their own urine, scorpions were forced up the rectum of those being interrogated. In the camps no effort was made to get rid of solid and liquid excrement, the conditions and smell were appalling and dysentery was rife. Medical assistance just didn’t exist. Men were forced to undergo incessant roll calls under a blistering sun and burning sand with their hands clasped over their heads. If they relaxed for a moment they were beaten senseless.’
P208 — ‘Sexual violence was a recurring theme in detainee accounts of the crimes committed on the orders of British officers, the police and settlers. In order to subjugate the Kikuyu it became the policy of the security services to violate the ‘manhood’ of the Kikuyu, and to subject their women and children to the most appalling cruelty as a ‘warning’ against threatening the future of the colony under white rule. No control was employed by the authorities to stop white settlers and their families maintaining a stranglehold on the indigenous Kikuyu. The men were sodomized by their guards, and with bottles, brooms, animals and insects forced into their rectums. They were pinned to the ground or tied to tables whilst their penises and testicles were beaten and torn from their bodies.’
P221 — ‘Sir Evelyn Baring would sometimes visit these camps under ‘sanatized’ conditions, including the women’s camp at Kamiti. Two detainees Shifra Wametumi and Helen Macheria were present at one of these visits and said, ‘the Governor must have noticed the matted hair of the women, their bodies encrusted with excrement, their skin covered with boils and scabs walking around like paranoid creatures, always jerking their heads from side to side for fear of being clubbed or whipped by the guards.’
P245-263 — ‘In Kikuyu villages within the Reserves, Kikuyu Headmen retained their position by showing their ‘loyalty’ to the colonial power by exercising the harshest treatment on their communities. Many were brutal in their demands for sexual favours from Kikuyu women. If they resisted they were beaten and beer bottles were thrust up their vaginas, and if they still refused his advances they were killed and hastily buried outside the village. Today bodies are constantly being unearthed in the shamba allotments. British soldiers called ‘Johnnies’ by the Kikuyu women, were as ruthless as the police and the Home Guard. When Mau Mau fighters were captured they were brought back into their own villages clubbed with rifle butts, and often tied to the back of Land Rovers and driven around the village until they died, leaving parts of their bodies on the ground. Young children were slaughtered and their bodies skewered on spears and paraded around the village squares. The ‘Johnnies’ made the men and women run around with toilet buckets on their heads, and when the contents spilled over their faces they were forced to eat the contents. White officers without any shame raped women in full view of everyone. When British soldiers were on the rampage some women covered themselves with dirt and faeces to avoid the sexual desires of these ‘savages’. Mothers and daughters were raped side by side, whilst others fearing death reluctantly submitted to the soldiers demands.
Another variation of public humiliation and terror was for British officers to unearth the decomposed bodies of the insurgents, and force the men to carry the bodies on their backs around the village shouting ‘This is Independence’. This was repeated by British officers with the women carrying the dead bodies of villagers of all ages and children! British officers burned the women with cigarette butts and made them walk barefoot on beds of hot coals. Others were swung around and around by their hair screaming. On other occasions men and women were stripped naked, formed into a long line and then forced to rape one another, to the laughter of the ‘security’ forces. Anyone reading these accounts of life under Kenya’s settler regime must be sickened by the level of brutality in our much vaunted Empire.
British District Commissioners were closely involved in the brutality handed out to the very people they were entrusted to protect. To ‘amuse’ themselves they forced Kikuyu women at gunpoint to suck the penises of their fellow white officers. Before the murdered Kikuyu were thrown into pits, their naked bodies were displayed in the villages with men laid out on top of women in an act of copulation! The women were employed to bury the dead.
The interrogation centres in the barracks of The Kenya Regiment were witness to the rampant rape of Kikuyu women by white members of the regiment, then by men of The King’s African Rifles and then finally handed over to ‘loyal’ black Africans to be gang-raped with impunity. Many were tied up by their feet to rafters and constantly beaten with whips, clubs and rifle butts to force confessions of involvement with the insurgents, whether true or false. Men were also subjected to being hung from rafters, only salt was rubbed into their backs as they were being beaten, tearing off pieces of flesh with every stroke with blood pouring from their eyes, noses, ears and mouths. Other ‘popular’ forms of torture were for men to be stripped naked and held by the neck whilst their heads were banged together until they became unconscious. Another disgusting practice exercised by these racist morons took place at Thigio and Ruthigiti Police Posts where women were forced to take fingerprints from the decomposed bodies of their men lying in burial pits. This served no purpose other than humiliating Kikuyu women. They carried out this grizzly task on the flesh of rotting corpses, surrounded by flies and scavenging dogs. The slimy skin of the dead Kikuyu stuck to the hands of the women, all the while being watched over by white men joking and laughing casually smoking cigarettes. Women at these interrogation centres were held down by the guards, ordered to separate their legs and raise their knees whilst bottles filled with a mixture of pepper and water were emptied into their vaginas. The white officers laughed as the women groaned with agony and vomited. The white soldiers, police and settlers who committed these heinous crimes must be brought to trial together with those who were responsible for ordering these despicable crimes against humanity. Decent civilized people cannot allow these people to still exist in their communities. They must be put away for life in conditions that match those that they created in Kenya.
P266 — ‘In September, 1955 Carruthers ‘Monkey’ Johnson was promoted to the new position of Commissioner for Central Province, responsible for the suppression of the Insurgency in the Kikuyu Reserves by the Governor, Sir Evelyn Baring. Included in his mandate was the reorganization of Kenya’s Resettlement Committee that included the carrying out of The Swynnerton Plan devised in 1953 by R. J. M. Swynnerton, Kenya’s then Assistant Director of Agriculture. The intention was to reclaim the land not wanted by the settler community, in order to provide land for the ‘loyal’ Kikuyu after the emergency, on which they ‘could employ former militant Kikuyu as labourers’. Much of this land was subject to erosion in bad weather. The plan was shamelessly political. Over 150,000 Kikuyu had been forcibly driven off their ancestral lands in The White Highlands. The land that was going to be made available to the Kikuyu would be grossly overpopulated. The government decided that they would partly rescind the order that prevented the Kikuyu from planting tea, coffee and rice and allow the ‘loyalists’ to do so to in order to ensure their continued support after the end of the emergency. The intention was to create two classes of subordinate African Kenyans. The fertile and productive land farmed by the settlers in The White Highlands was to be sacrosanct to British and European settlers. The Asian population of the colony, who had supported the white dominated settlement of Kenya, were already aware that their days in the colony were numbered, and many were already making plans to move to England or return to India and Pakistan. Carruthers ‘Monkey’ Johnson had been educated at one of Britain’s finest Public Schools, and after Oxford pursued a career in the Colonial Service. He was much admired by the degenerate racist white population of Kenya, despite his unfortunate physical appearance.
Another scandalous aspect of this rehabilitation process was the forced adoption of ‘half-caste’ children resulting from the wholesale rape of hundreds of thousands of Kikuyu women by British and African soldiers, police, white settlers and ‘loyalist’ Kikuyu camp guards. The ‘half-white’ children could be easily recognized, and also the non-Kikuyu ‘half-caste’ children born after being raped by fellow Africans. It was thought by the authorities in Nairobi that children forcibly adopted by ‘loyal’ Kikuyu women would grow up supporting the white administration. No doubt racist ‘apologists’ in the United Kingdom would view this as acceptable in their twisted minds!’
P280 — ‘One of the lasting indictments against the Governor, Sir Evelyn Baring and Eric Griffith-Jones, his Attorney General was ‘The Amnesty Law for Crimes Committed Prior to January, 1955’, that had already been approved in London by the Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill and Alan Lennox-Boy, the Secretary of State for the Colonies. For white and black members of the security forces the amnesty meant that they would remain wholly unaccountable for any torture, rape or murder committed against the Kikuyu in detention camps and on the reserves up to that date. But this did not stop the appalling treatment of the Kikuyu, as the security forces believed another amnesty would eventually be enacted at the end of the Emergency.’
P293 — ‘After Aneurin Bevan’s blistering parliamentary attack on the British Government’s brutal policy in Kenya in 1959, books and articles began to appear exposing the horrendous massacre of the Kikuyu in Kenya, by people who had actually taken part in these crimes or were witnesses. They included Thomas Garrett Askwith, Captain Philip Meldon, James Breckenridge and Eileen Fletcher. Their testaments listed hundreds of white officers responsible for the crimes they exposed.’
P294 — ‘The racial hatred of the Kikuyu by the white settlers, whose ancestral land they had stolen, was present long before the emergency. It was not only morally unacceptable, but sealed the fate of any future for them in Kenya. The Kikuyu had traditionally been the largest tribe, most intelligent and hardworking of all the peoples in Kenya, and were absolutely essential to the economy of the colony.’
P302 — ‘Although the Anglican Church in Kenya eventually listed the atrocities committed in Kenya, for the most part they turned a ‘blind eye’ to what was going on. Leonard Beecher, the Archbishop of Mombasa, and the local ‘saving souls’ missionaries were ambivalent to what was happening under their very eyes, and refused to utterly condemn what had transpired in Kenya! ‘Mythical believers’ pretend to be ‘mystified’ when their white flock morally transgress the norms of civilized behaviour, but generally support the ‘ruling classes’. Witness the ‘studied indifference’ of the Roman Catholics in Germany during the holocaust, and the support given to apartheid in Palestine by the ultra right-wing Hasidic ‘Jewish’ community, who incidentally never have to serve in the Israeli armed services!’
P308 — ‘The ‘ruling class’ conservative press in England kept the true story of what was happening in Kenya hidden from the British public and fed them with the lies that ‘the Mau Mau were slaughtering British settlers in vast numbers as the administration fought against ‘evil’ insurgents’. Nothing was further from the truth; the insurgents were fighting for independence and the return of the fertile land stolen from and years of virtual slavery. “The Daily Mail” was particularly deceitful in not exposing the immoral behaviour of the settlers and their brutality towards the indigenous Kikuyu. Even the usually balanced ‘Manchester Guardian’ spoke in support of the administration in Nairobi! The British public were completely unaware of the callous and inhuman crimes of the security services in Kenya. After World War II the conservative British press made sure that public in this country were unaware of the human rights abuses that were occurring throughout the Empire. Even people like Harold Wilson and Hugh Gaitskell were never openly honest and critical of the barbarities being perpetuated in Kenya and elsewhere in the dying days of Empire. Sadly in this country there are people who still refuse to face the reality of what really happened.’
P312-327 — ‘During the final years of the Emergency there was no let up in the brutality shown to detainees. At Mageta Island Camp, which was one of the ‘hard core’ camps administrated by Carruthers ‘Monkey’ Johnson, he had appointed British officers chosen for their cruelty, including the notorious white man nicknamed ‘Gosma’, and another called Leslie Whitehouse. The swamp surrounding the island was infested with mosquitoes Amongst their ‘favourite’ methods of torturing detainees was to shackle men to posts and order the African askaris to take the sap from a certain leaf and rub it all over the bodies of the detainees. Within no time they would be covered with mosquitoes. It was a truly terrible scene, their bodies were literally devoured. Another punishment was to pin down detainees on their backs facing the pitiless sun; if they closed their eyes they were beaten. On other occasions men endured hours of ‘bucket fatigue’, where detainees stumbled around a circle holding buckets loaded with stones on their heads to the amusement of their guards. After undergoing these most disgusting forms of torture, the white officers and the guards continued to ‘amuse’ themselves by forcing these wretched people to ‘sing and dance’. Those who were so badly beaten that they could not even nod their heads in time with the music were beaten again!
One of ‘Monkey’ Johnson’s trusted colleagues was Terence Gavaghan, a District Officer shunned by other British colonial officers as he had not been to a ‘Public School or Oxbridge’. He was a loner with an ‘insatiable sexual appetite’ and considered by ‘Monkey’ Johnson as just the man for Gathigiriri Camp, one of five such camps in the Mwea district, that had been set aside for breaking the hard core Kikuyu, using a diabolical system he had devised called ‘dilution technique’, which aimed to break even the most uncooperative detainees. Another equally odious character who was in charge of implementing this method of interrogation was a British officer called John Cowan. The change in technique meant that detainees were brutally tortured by ‘teams of prison officers’ for hours without interruption until a detainee either confessed or died! A bizarre aside to ‘Monkey’ Johnson’s relationship with Terence Gavaghan occurred when he was visiting him in hospital following an accident in a squash court, when ‘Monkey’ gave him a copy of Philip Mason’s book “The Men Who Ruled India”!
I have listed only a fraction of the appalling crimes recorded in Caroline Elkins’ book, which should be compulsory reading for all sixth-form students in our schools, especially by the so called independent Public Schools, whose contribution to this brutal mayhem in the closing years of our Empire was so viciously prominent.
“Cruel Britannia — A History of Torture” by Ian Cobain
P81-90 — ‘A few hundred policemen were recruited from London to work with The Kenya Police during the emergency, one of them Harry Cross said, ‘it is not uncommon for detainees to die in the cells during interrogation; the methods employed must be reminiscent of the Gestapo’. Men, women and children suspected of taking ‘oaths’ to end colonial rule were sent to specially designed ‘screening camps’ run by British officers of the King’s African Rifles, The Kenya Police, The Kenya Police Reserve, District Commissioners and white settlers with ‘loyalist’ Kikuyu Home Guards. These screening units are remembered with particular horror by the Kikuyu. Men were whipped, clubbed, mauled by dogs and subject to electric shocks to gain ‘confessions’. Some were chained to vehicles and dragged around the compounds. Pliers were used to crush testicles and remove fingers. Women were sexually violated with bottles filled with boiling water and boiled eggs! One District Commissioner, who witnessed this brutality, said that it was far worse than when he was a prisoner of the Japanese during the war. President Barack Obama’s father Hussein Onyango Obama was detained in one of these camps for six months and was beaten by white British soldiers, had pressure put on his testicles, and was at one time tied down and manacled whilst nails and pins were driven into his body!’
General Sir George Erskine sent a memo, soon after he arrived in Kenya, to Antony Head the Secretary of State for War in London and included the fact that ‘Detachments of the army have been working with the police with evil results. If an independent enquiry were to be held by Her Majesty’s Government the revelations would be shattering.’ This report was not de-classified until 2005. They had been responsible for surrounding 850 villages in the Kikuyu Reserves with barbed wire. These villages became virtual camps officered by white officers and guarded by ‘loyal’ Home Guard units in order to prevent supplies reaching the insurgents. During interrogations ‘Mickeys’, the slang name for Mau Mau fighters, were subjected to brutal and degrading conduct by the police, who shot anyone who showed the least willingness to cooperate with their demands. Eric Griffith-Jones, who was Attorney-General before the arrival of John Whyatt, was a particularly sadistic member of the Kenyan administration. He was responsible for many of the unjustified and abhorrent rules applying to interrogation techniques. When London began to discover the real truth behind what was happening in Kenya, Barbara Castle, MP told Parliament that ‘Kenya is now a police state where the rule of law has broken down, where the murder of Africans by British and European settlers goes unpunished and that the authorities connive at these violations’. The government under Alan Lennox-Boyd brazenly denied this, despite an avalanche of allegations in the British press. A few days later in February, 1959 the International press reported ‘a massacre of detainees at Hola Camp in Kenya’. The British press had to reluctantly admit the deaths, which one newspaper described as ‘a brutal slaughter in a British Concentration Camp’! The Camp Commandant at Hola was Michael Sullivan. He was arrested, but when the case came before the Courts a few weeks later, no witnesses were prepared to testify against him and the prosecution’s case was dropped. Nevertheless Michael Sullivan was immediately ordered to retire with no loss of income and on a full pension! When Enoch Powell, a Conservative MP heard the facts, he said, ‘this country no longer deserves an Empire’. Shortly afterwards Iain MacLeod replaced Alan Lennox-Boyd.
When the ban on membership of the Mau Mau was lifted in 2003, a group of five ex-prisoners, who had suffered physical and sexual abuse in Kenya, brought civil proceedings against the British government. During the court proceedings it was revealed that sixty-three boxes of incriminating documents has been spirited away after independence, and had been stored in a secret research centre at Hanslope Park, where MI5, MI6 and GCHQ hide their own dastardly secrets. In the name of justice, all those people involved in these heinous crimes committed in Kenya together with all those in the United Kingdom who acquiesced in what went on, must be brought to trial if they are still alive. On conviction they must be stripped of any assets acquired during this dreadful period, including decorations and awards, and serve appropriate sentences for their crimes. This will remain one of the blackest marks in our nation’s history, and must be taught in all schools as a reminder of the depths of depravity that a so-called civilized state can descend.
When these documents were found at Hanslope Park, a further 2,000 boxes were unearthed which relate to similar instances of criminal behaviour in at least three dozen other former colonies and dependencies! A fully independent enquiry must be held in order to bring to trial all those responsible for these horrendous crimes, including the monumental ‘cover-up’ by successive British Governments and the British Press.
The Apologists — An Overview
It is important to trace the background to the recent phenomena of ‘apologizing for War Crimes and Human Rights Crimes’. The United States of North America is a ‘nation of apologists’. The crimes for which they are accused are staggering in extent and brutality. A record of their crimes is available on Oliver Stone’s very recent DVD “The Untold History of the United States”. The DVD covers the contents of a book of the same title written in conjunction with Professor Peter Kuznick. I have lived in America for nearly twenty years and was only too well aware of the extraordinary lengths to which the United States Government and the Press covered-up their crimes. No wonder the average American ‘appears to be surprised’ when they are confronted by the truth. The ‘psyche’ of this mixed race society needs to be explained. From the initial days of British colonialism the settlers illegally occupied a vast continent that had been home to indigenous tribes of Native Americans for thousands of years. During the colonial period the British Government made repeated efforts to define boundaries between the land-grabbing brutal colonist settlers and the Native Americans. After Independence their fate was sealed and eventually led to the near genocide of an entire nation.
The ‘settler mentality’ has never entirely gone away. Male dominance has always been a major feature in the lifestyle of North Americans. Over fifty per cent of women admit to having been sexually abused as children by members of their own family! To understand this appalling indictment I recommend “Justice Denied — What America Must Do To Protect Children” by Marci A. Hamilton, and “Secret Survivors — Uncovering Incest” by E. Sue Blume. When I was living in America I was amazed at the number of women who admitted to me that they had been raped by their fathers or male relatives when they were children. Traditionally their mothers did nothing about it ‘to keep the family together and a roof over their heads’. Not only the girls, but many of the boys were also sexually abused. What a society! It is hardly surprising that rape has become ‘par for the course’ for GIs serving abroad. Again I would recommend “War Without Fronts — The USA In Vietnam” by Bernd Greiner, and “Taken By Forces — Rape By American GIs In Europe During World War II”. American ‘apologists’ rely on the lies emanating from Hollywood for their utterly false image of themselves and their history. They have the temerity to call themselves God’s chosen people! In this I am reminded of the South African Afrikaner Prime Minister F. P. Botha saying. ‘God is on our side’! The United States has completely lost its moral compass, and needs a second revolution to sort out the ‘wheat from the chaff’.
A recent article in “The Guardian” revealed that this Government are spending millions of pounds on compensation for War Crimes and Human Rights Crimes committed by our armed forces over recent years, including Kenya. There are known to be over a hundred court martial cases currently being heard by the Army Legal Corps, about which we know very little. Many of them relate to crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Apart from our armed services’ illegal operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the United States of North America, we must address the activities of the CIA, MI6 and Mossad. For many of us who have served in the British Army during and just after the war, these organizations are Terrorist Organizations and should be disbanded immediately and their members brought to trial at The Hague.
The settlers in Kenya were equally ruthless in taking land from the indigenous population, whilst turning their hedonistic sexual practices upon one another. But who are these “Little Englanders”, who ‘apologize’ for crimes committed in Kenya? Many are loners, racists and ‘white supremacists’, who find it very difficult to relate to their own people, let alone other cultures. Racists are in the main intolerant, bigoted and very unsure of their role in society. They are ‘apologists’ for an England that has long been dominated by a dubious class system. As arriviste ‘camp followers’ they like to be seen ‘rubbing shoulders’ with any racist power base. Today many seek a measure of independence from multi-cultural Europe, and support closer ties with the brutal and undemocratic United States of North America.
The recent death of Nelson Mandela reminds me that we have barely started to bring to trial those responsible for Crimes Against Humanity in not only the United States of North America, but in the United Kingdom and the illegal apartheid State of Israel. I was appalled at the number of Western ‘leaders’, who attended Nelson Mandela’s funeral who in the past had tacitly supported apartheid in South African. What hypocrisy! The framework for a lasting peace in South Africa requires a complete re-writing of the Constitution, whereby for a start the Government nationalizes the Banks and Mining Companies. The policy of ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ was forced upon the indigenous population of South Africa by the West, and will not solve the long term interests of the country until Apartheid criminals are brought to trial. Controlling their own vast resources black and white South Africans can then look forward to proper housing, good education, jobs and a bright future.
28th December, 2013