CRIMES BY SOLDIERS (AND PARLIAMENT) by Donal Kennedy


On Saturday  19  September ,  THE TIMES caried a letter  from  six Anglican Bishops  expressing  concern at the  Overseas  Operations  (  Service  Personnel and Veterans) Bill  then shortly to have its Second Reading in Parliament,  particularly in its “departure from the prohibition  on torture in international law.”

They point out  that the UK is a signatory to the UN convention against torture that provides there should be no bar to bringing torturers to justice or any conferral of immunity.. And they refer to a TIMES report of the previous day that Field Marshal Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank, a former chief of the defence  staff, described the Bill as creating “de facto impunity for such crimes.”

The Bishops bear witness to the Creed that all persons  are made in the image and likeness of  God and a bill that violates that sacred principle should be resisted.

On behalf of the victims of torture they urge the government to think again. They believe that the “deeply flawed bill ” will damage their country’s ” standing in the world as an upholder

of freedom, justice and democratic  freedom.”

God Bless their little cotton socks! As for  Field Marshal Lord Guthrie! – Where did he learn his Latin?  English and British soldiers, sailors and marines since time immemorial, and airmen for over a century, have enjoyed de facto immunity for murder, torture, robbery and rape and have  inflicted them with impunity, overseas and across the Irish Sea. 

THE TIMES itself in its laudatory obituary of Lord Carrington credited him with authorising systematic torture in Ireland, and  Merlyn Rees  described it thus among friends.

THE TIMES a few weeks after that obituary worked itself into a lather over cruelty to pigs in British slaughter house. British swine matter to  British media with their penchant for porky pies. 

Three Labour MPs,  Junior Shadow Ministers, voted against the Bill on its second  Reading. They have been dismissed by Keir Starmer, a professed believer in fair play and the rule of law.

 Sir Keir says he was named after the Labour Party’s  first MP and leader, Keir Hardie. Hardly. I suspect that his dad, knowing the old Socialist had been born out of wedlock,  intuitively reckoned that the little bugger, whatever the circumstances, would prove himself a right-wing bastard.

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