The bare faced effrontery of the British Prime Minister last week
in the house of commons was breathtaking even by his standards. Asked
about the allegations against the British Army over abuse of prisoners
in Iraq he replied that the allegations 'did nothing to tarnish the
overall reputation of the British Army' implying that if wrongdoing
had occurred it was down to a few bad apples.

However within days there were further allegations and the Army has
already faced civil litigation in relation to a number of deaths.
I is not just in Iraq. Last year the British military faced scrutiny
of the record of its soldiers using exercise facilities in Kenya.
Over many decades, it is alleged, scores of rapes of Kenyan women
ocurred, and a number of legal actions are ongoing.

What was also surprising last week was that when Blair made his
statement it was greeted with murmurs of support from all sides of
the House. Even Nationalist MPs from Wales and Scotland, to their
shame, were silent.

The truth is of course that the British Army has murdered, raped and
brutalised civil population from Malaya to N. Ireland over the past
half century. Far from being the actions of a few bad apples it
that violence is an institutionalised feature of the service to the
extent that it is even practised against its own recruits. The Deepcut
affair if nothing else proves this.

Two months ago, long before the latest Iraq allegations surfaced,
the Celtic League wrote to Goeff Hoon asking about statements made
in a television documentary which reported on British army actions
in Aden thirty years ago. Specifically we asked what investigations
were made into alleged beatings and murder of detainees at that time.
A reply is still awaited.

Perhaps when Mr. Hoon does respond he will repeat the Prime Ministers
mantra about a few bad apples. However this excuse for the deplorable
behaviour of Britain's Army, which has the singular policy amongst
NATO countries of allowing convicted murderers to serve in its ranks,
is starting to wear a bit thin.

J B Moffatt
Secretary General
Celtic League


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries of the
western British Isles and Brittany. It works to promote cooperation
between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political,
cultural and environmental matters. It targets human rights abuse
and monitors all military activity within these areas
TEL (UK)01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609
Internet site at

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