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What archives? UK ordered destruction of ‘embarrassing’ colonial papers

RT | November 30, 2013

Britain systematically destroyed documents in colonies that were about to gain independence, declassified Foreign Office files reveal. ‘Operation Legacy’ saw sensitive documents secretly burnt or dumped to cover up traces of British activities.

The latest National Archives publication made from a collection of 8,800 colonial-era files held by the Foreign Office for decades revealed deliberate document elimination by British authorities in former colonies.

The secret program dubbed ‘Operation Legacy’ was in force throughout the 1950s and 1960s, in at least 23 countries and territories under British rule that eventually gained independence after WWII. Among others these countries included: Belize, British Guiana, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia and Singapore, Northern Rhodesia (today Zambia and Zimbabwe), Tanzania, and Uganda.

In a telegram from the UK Colonial Office dispatched to British embassies on May 3, 1961, colonial secretary Iain Macleod instructed diplomats to withhold official documents from newly elected independent governments in those countries, and presented general guidance on what to do.

British diplomats were briefed on how exactly they were supposed to get rid of documents that “might embarrass members of the police, military forces, public servants (such as police agents or informers)” or “might compromise sources of intelligence”, or could be put to ‘wrong’ use by incoming national authorities.

‘Operation Legacy’ also called for the destruction or removal of “all papers which are likely to be interpreted, either reasonably or by malice, as indicating racial prejudice or bias”.

The newly declassified files revealed that the Royal Navy base in Singapore was turned into the Asian region’s primary document destruction center. A special facility called a “splendid incinerator” was used to burn “lorry loads of files”, Agence France-Presse reported.

The “central incinerator” in Singapore was necessary to avoid a situation similar to that in India in 1947, when a “pall of smoke” from British officials burning their papers in Delhi, ahead of India proclaiming independence, filled the local press with critical reports. That diplomatic oversight was taken into account, as ‘Operation Legacy’ operatives were strictly instructed not to burn documents openly.

But not all the doomed archives could be shipped to Singapore. In some cases documents were eliminated on site, sometimes being dumped in the sea “at the maximum practicable distance from shore” and in deep, current-free areas, the National Archives publication claims.

The newly published collection of documents reveals that the British cleared out Kenyan intelligence files that contained information about abuse and torture of Kenyans during the Mau Mau uprising against British colonial rule in the 1950s. A special committee formed in 1961 coordinated document elimination in Kenya. Yet some files were spared simply when an estimated 307 boxes of documents were evacuated to Britain, just months ahead of the country gaining independence in December 1963.

The existence of some remaining Mau Mau legal case documents was revealed in January 2011.

Even after eliminating important evidence half a century ago, earlier in 2013 the British government was forced to pay 23 million dollars in compensation to over 5,200 elderly Kenyans, who had suffered from Britain’s punitive measures during the Mau Mau uprising.

In another documented occasion, in April 1957, five lorries delivered tons of documents from the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur to the Royal Navy base in Singapore. Files were incinerated there; these contained details about British rule in Malaya, such as a massacre of 24 rubber plantation workers at the Malayan village of Batang Kali in 1948, who had allegedly been murdered by British soldiers.

Despite the mass document elimination, Britain’s Foreign Office still has some 1.2 million unpublished documents on British colonial policy, David Anderson, professor of African history at the University of Warwick, told AFP.

So Her Majesty’s government might still publish more valuable material that can shed more light on how one of the biggest empires in human history used to be governed. Overall, Britain had total control over 50 colonies including Canada, India, Australia, Nigeria, and Jamaica. Currently, there are 14 British Overseas Territories that remain under British rule, though most of them are self-governing and all have leaderships of their own.

November 30, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Incredible Israeli Tales of Lucky Escapes in Westgate Attack

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | October 12, 2013

In the wake of terrorist attacks that invariably seem to benefit Israel, an increasingly expected feature is the incredible tales of lucky escapes — some less credible than others — subsequently told either by Israelis or Tel Aviv’s foreign agents. Soon after the attacks on September 11, 2001, the former chairman of the United Jewish Appeal in New York explained how his wife’s insistence that he not miss a dermatologist’s appointment that morning saved him from almost certain death in the Twin Towers. The owner of the World Trade Center had spent every morning subsequent to July 26 holding breakfast meetings in the Windows on the World restaurant and getting to know his new tenants right up to the morning of September 10. Within hours of three WTC towers being demolished, Silverstein’s close friend Benjamin Netanyahu predicted that the day’s horrific events would be “very good” for Israel’s relations with the United States.

Like the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., stories have also emerged of Israelis who miraculously escaped serious harm or death during last month’s terrorist attack on the Israeli-owned Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. As Albert Attias, the head of the Jewish community in the Kenyan capital and an Israeli military veteran, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

No Jews were among the victims of the attack, according to Attias, which occurred as many community members attended the bar mitzvah celebration of an Israeli diplomat’s son.

However, one member of the Jewish community, comprised mostly of Israeli businessmen and their families, who wasn’t lucky enough to have been attending the bar mitzvah celebration hosted by the anonymous diplomat as the attack started at the Israeli-owned Artcaffe brasserie, had his incredible tale recounted by a named Israeli diplomat. Reports The Jewish Press:

Omri, an Israeli employed at the Kenyan capital Nairobi Westgate shopping center which is still under terrorist attack this weekend, told Israeli consul Sima Amitai that he saw a hand grenade rolling between his legs and exploding. Both Omri’s legs were injured in the explosion, but only lightly. “It was a miracle,” he said.

Amitai met Omri in a Nairobi hospital where he had been treated for his injuries. She then took him to recover in her own apartment in toen [sic].

A report in Israel Hayom that only refers to “Omri” as “another Israeli who suffered light shrapnel wounds in his lower limbs” provides little further explanation of the consul’s surprising move:

He was taken to a local hospital, but the Israeli consul in Nairobi, Sima Amitai, decided to transfer him to her home for the reminder [sic] of his treatment.

Interestingly, the caring consul’s previous posting appears to have been to Bulgaria, a country that also recently experienced a murky terrorist attack on an Israeli target. There are reports of Amitai attending events in Sofia in 2006 and 2009, but it is unclear whether she was still working in Bulgaria during the Burgas bus bombing on July 18, 2012, or if by then she had already been posted to Kenya.

The Jewish Press also reports that Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to Kenya Yaki Lopez and the embassy’s security officer arrived at the command center of the local security forces soon after the first reports about the attack:

“We knew the shopping center is owned by Israelis and renowned as a place where many Israelis hang out,” Lopez told Maariv. “Four of the restaurants there are also owned by Israelis and many Israelis are employed in the place. They were our main concern—but we also support our Kenyan friends and ready to assist in whichever way they ask.”

Yet despite the large number of Israeli employers, employees and customers one would normally expect to have been in the Westgate mall, “Omri” appears to have been only one of three Israeli nationals left inside the mall during the siege:

Two other Israelis had been trapped inside the mall. One, a woman, was eventually rescued by Kenyan forces. She reported hearing shots and hand grenade explosions around her hiding place. She kept in phone contact with embassy staff throughout the ordeal. A third Israeli managed to flee on his own from the mall.

Haaretz confirms the unexpectedly low Israeli presence at the time of the not unexpected attack:

Officials in the Israeli foreign ministry said that three Israeli citizens that were in the mall at the time of the attack were able to escape unharmed and were collected by the Deputy Israeli Ambassador to Kenya Yaki Lopez and the embassy security officer that were present on the scene.

Two Israeli men that managed to escape on their own and an Israeli woman that hid in one of the businesses and was rescued by the local security forces. A senior official at the foreign ministry said that the families of the Israelis that escaped the incident were informed. The ministry said that beyond these persons it is believed that no other Israelis were present.

Although Israeli police and intelligence sources are claiming that “they fell down badly in Kenya,” with Israeli security agents apparently having failed to detect extensive terrorist surveillance of the Westgate mall and the smuggling into it of large stocks of ammunition, they must at least be relieved that no Israeli suffered more than light shrapnel wounds in an attack that resulted in at least 72 deaths — and another massive boost for Israel’s already booming “security” industry.

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @O_Cathail.

October 12, 2013 Posted by | Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

On Somalia, The Opposite Is Probably True

By Stephen Roblin   ·   NYTX   ·   July 4, 2013

Evidently, in the worldview of the New York Times, the United States can play a “vital role in improving” a country despite subjecting it to mass famine death, while at the same time be a victim of the country’s internal troubles. This remarkable interpretation of recent events is implied from the few statements made about Somalia this past week.

As Carol Giacomo, a member of the NYT’s editorial board, informs us, the Obama administration “has played critical roles in stabilizing Somalia.” Elsewhere, NYT reporters cite the view of J. Stephen Morrison, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, that the administration has played a “vital role in improving Somalia, a country whose troubles have bedeviled several American presidents.” When Somalia is the topic of discussion, the views expressed here are often put forth and taken for granted.

Before subjecting these views to Obama’s actual record, let us briefly entertain a hypothetical in order to achieve some helpful perspective. Imagine that Syria was on the brink of famine. And in its effort to prop up the Assad regime and prevent aid from “benefitting” the rebels, the Iranian government prevented international humanitarian relief agencies from providing life-saving assistance to civilians in rebel-controlled territory. By doing so in this hypothetical, Tehran played a major role in causing the death of an estimated 250,000 people. Needless to say, the American press would not overlook this policy in investigating whether Iran has played a “vital role in improving” Syria.

Of course, no historical analogy is perfect. But the one drawn here is sufficiently close to illustrate how remarkable the statements cited above are in light of the Obama administration’s record on the 2011 Somali famine, which may have killed over 250,000 people, according to a recent mortality study.

Obama’s contribution to humanitarianism has been to lead an assault on the very notion of humanitarian relief. The victims of the Somali famine are part of this legacy. By instituting and enforcing “counterterrorism” restrictions on aid operations, his administration effectively criminalized humanitarian relief in regions where anyone labelled a “terrorist” resides. In Somalia, this meant criminalizing relief in Al Shabaab-controlled territory, which was nearly all of southern Somalia. Due to these restrictions and Al Shabaab’s ban on numerous Western aid agencies, the region was largely “depopulated” of humanitarian relief operations. When an “epic” drought hit the Horn of Africa in late 2010 and 2011, the conditions were ripe for famine. (For a detailed assessment of the famine’s various causes and contributive factors, see the special issue on the Somalia famine in Global Food Security.) Despite the fact that the catastrophe was predicted close to a year in advance, the U.S. refused to de-criminalize humanitarian relief in the region, even after the UN officially declared famine in July 2011.

Obama did offer nice words as the horror that he helped create unfolded. “[T]ogether, we must insist on unrestricted humanitarian access,” he declared, “so that we can save the lives of thousands of men and women and children.” Ever the moral leader, he called on us to “show that the life of a child in Somalia is as precious as any other.” His record is understood well enough to unveil the deep cynicism and contempt present in these words. (See: Ken Menkhaus, “No access: Critical bottlenecks in the 2011 Somali famine,” Global Food Security, December 2012; Roblin, “New Study Claims Over 250,000 Died From 2011 Somali Famine, U.S.-Al Shabaab Savagery To Blame,” ZNet, May 11, 2013; Roblin, “The ‘Unscandal’ of Mass Famine Deaths in Somalia,” NYT eXaminer, Jun 26, 2013; and “Horn of Africa Crisis: Somalia’s Famine,” Al Jazeera, November 29, 2011.)

It’s true that to some degree conditions in Somalia have improved, particularly on the political front. However, it’s arguable that progress in this area has occurred largely in spite of the policies pursued by the U.S. and other Western “donors,” rather than because of them. Putting aside this issue, we should recall that since 2006 Somalia has struggled to climb out of the hell that Washington and its regional client, Ethiopia, created. Indeed, Somalia has been “bedeviled” by Washington far more than the other way around–there’s simply no comparison. Here’s a quick list of some of the more notable policies pursued by Somalia’s patron saint: the closure of Somalia’s largest remittance company, Al Barakaat, in November 2001; hiring warlords to wage a dirty war on the streets of Mogadishu (2004-2006); authoring Ethiopian aggression and backing its brutal two year-long occupation (2006-2009); criminal airstrikes and drone strikes (see link); criminalizing humanitarian relief (2009 to present); and supporting Kenya’s criminal invasion that began in October 2011. (For more on this record, see my articles: “War and famine, the only option?,” part I and part IIZNet, September 2011; “Kenya’s Criminal Assault on Famine-Stricken Somalia,” Truthout, December 18, 2011; “Somalia’s ‘Climate of Impunity’ Enjoyed By More Than Just Pirates,” NYT eXaminer, August 1, 2012; and “The Maury Levy Method of Journalism,” NYT eXaminer, October 28, 2012.)

To conclude, when readers of the “paper of record” come across historical themes that concern Somalia, they should assume the opposite is true and then investigate for themselves. Last week confirmed the reliability of this heuristic device, which very well may have wider application.

July 4, 2013 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

£3K to torture victims ‘isn’t much’: British MP

Press TV – June 9, 2013

British Respect party MP George Galloway has slammed the government’s small payment of £3,000 apiece to Kenyan victims of torture and mistreatment under British colonial rule during the 1950s.

On Press TV’s weekly program Comment, Galloway reviewed the torture Kenyans experienced during the Mau Mau uprising against British colonial rule, explaining that a recent compensation of around £20 million to 5,000 victims is not enough.

“Now that sounds like a lot of money [£20 million] but it actually works out at £3,000 compensation each”, Galloway said.

“We’re talking about men who were castrated by the British colonial administration in Kenya. I’m talking about women who were multiply raped and sexually abused, for that kind of torture. £3,000 ain’t much,” he added.

Galloway also said that British Foreign Secretary William Hague did not accept the legal liability for British colonizers’ brutal crimes in Kenya.

At least 10,000 people died during the 1952-1960 Mau Mau uprising against British colonial rule, with some sources giving far higher estimates.

Moreover, Galloway highlighted that the British government still has “hundreds of thousands” of uncompensated victims of British imperial crimes around the world.

June 9, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Britain pays £20m to Mau Mau victims

Morning Star | June 6, 2013

Foreign Secretary William Hague stopped short of issuing an apology today to the elderly Kenyans tortured by British colonial forces during the Mau Mau uprising.

The Mau Mau movement emerged in central Kenya during the 1950s to get back seized land and push for an end to colonial rule. Supporters were detained in camps and thousands were tortured, maimed or executed.

Mr Hague told the House of Commons that the government had reached a full and final settlement with solicitors of 5,228 claimants totalling £19.9 million.

The government would also support the construction of a memorial in Kenya’s capital Nairobi to the victims of torture and ill-treatment during the colonial era.

But he said the British government continued to deny liability for what happened during the uprising.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said Labour supported the government.

However left Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn said it was strange of the government to offer compensation but to deny any formal responsibility.

“I’m a bit surprised,” he said, adding: “This is a very strange result, to offer compensation and a settlement for Leigh Day and at the same time deny liability,” he said.

Mr Corbyn pointed out that many MPs in the 1950s raised the issue in Parliament at the time, praising the Kenyans for their “tenacity” in seeking justice.

“When we deny rights and justice, when we deny democracy, when we practise concentration camps, it reduces our ability to criticise anybody else for that fundamental denial of human rights, and I think this is a lesson that needs to be learnt not just in Kenya but in other colonial wars as well where equal brutality was used by British forces,” he said.

Mr Hague said there was no inconsistency in recognising the suffering endured by many of the victims while continuing to deny liability.

June 7, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Over 8,000 Mau Mau victims seek compensation from Britain

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Press TV – June 5, 2013

More than 8,000 Kenyans, severely mistreated under British colonial rule during the 1950s Mau Mau uprising, are seeking compensation from the UK.

According to the reports, thousands of names have been submitted to the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), seeking multi-million pound compensation from the British government.

“The Law Society of Kenya has received lists of ex-Mau Mau fighters seeking compensation running into billions of shillings from the British government,” LSK chief Apollo Mboya said in a statement.

More names are expected to be submitted from the Kenya Human Rights Commission, the statement added.

There are also reports that Britain agreed on a compensation settlement totaling £14 million. Britain’s Foreign Office, however, has refused to comment on the issue.

At least 10,000 people died during the 1952-1960 Mau Mau uprising against British colonial rule, with some sources giving far higher estimates.

The British government has admitted to British forces’ torturing of detainees at the time following disclosure of a vast archive of colonial-era documents which the Foreign Office had kept secret for decades.

June 5, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UK in damages talks with torture victims

Press TV – May 7, 2013

Britain is negotiating out-of-the-court settlements to compensate thousands of Kenyans severely mistreated under British colonial rule during the 1950s Mau Mau uprising.

According to a letter sent to lawyers representing some of the claimants, the Foreign Office has changed its mind on appealing last October’s High Court ruling that gave victims the green light to sue the government, The Guardian reported.

“The parties are currently exploring the possibility of settling the claims brought by our clients,” Dan Leader, a partner with the Leigh Day law firm told the paper.

“Clearly, given the ongoing negotiations, we can’t comment further.” He added.

The Foreign Office has refused to comment on the issue, but admitted the victims suffered “pain and grievance” during the bloody events of the Emergency period in Kenya.

Three victims won the case to sue the government at the High Court last year.

The trio’s lawyers said one of them was castrated, antoher severely tortured and the third subjected to appalling sexual abuse in detention camps during the Mau Mau rebellion.

There was also a fourth claimant Susan Ngondi who has died since legal proceedings began.

The British government has admitted to British forces’ torturing of detainees at the time following disclosure of a vast archive of colonial-era documents which the Foreign Office had kept secret for decades.

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Karuturi: a litany of problems

GRAIN | April 22, 2013

Karuturi Global Limited, a publicly registered holding company headquartered in Bangalore, India, may be under fire from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) for tax evasion, but the complaints against it go further than that. The agribusiness firm, whose farm operations also straddle Ethiopia and India, has been dodging bullets about labour law violations, human rights abuses and environmental issues. Even the World Bank Group is no longer considering the company’s request for risk insurance for its investments in Ethiopia. This background note summarises the various problems that Karuturi has come to be known for among social justice movements around the world.

Tax evasion

Every year around US$ 1000 billion disappears without a trace from developing countries, ending up in tax havens or rich countries. The main part of this is driven by multinational companies seeking to evade tax where they operate.

The sum that leaves developing countries each year as unreported financial outflows, referred to as illicit capital flight, amounts to ten times the annual global aid flows, and twice the debt service developing countries pay each year. During 2000-2008 Africa was the region with the largest real growth of illicit capital flight, amounting to 21.9 % per year.

This money, if properly registered and taxed in the country of origin, could of course contribute to fulfilling human rights like the right to education and health care, and make a major difference in the fight to combat poverty. Due to just two forms of illicit capital flight used by corporations (‘mispricing’ and ‘false invoicing’), developing countries are losing three times the amount that is missing to achieve the UN millennium development goals (like universal education, stopping the spread of HIV, and halving extreme poverty) in tax revenues every year.

(For all facts on tax evasion above and more info on mispricing please see “Bringing the billions back: how Africa and Europe can end illicit capital flight” by Fröberg and Waris, 2011)

In 2012, the Kenya Revenue Authority developed a team of transfer pricing experts to audit accounts of companies in order to assess whether there was transfer mispricing and tax evasion taking place. Some transnational companies that export from Kenya are notoriously adept at it. However, the government has had difficulty tracing these firms’ operations due to lack of capacity and to date all audits and assessments, apart from one against Unilever, have been settled outside of public view.

On the 4th of April 2013 Karuturi filed a notice of appeal against the decision of the tax tribunal for taxes due to the Kenyan government and the Kenyan people. According to ICRA, an Indian credit rating research agency, in an October 2012 analysis commissioned by Karuturi as well as Karuturi’s 2012 annual report, Karuturi has been facing a number of potential threats to its financial viability, namely:

  • An INR 57.8 crore (= KES 975 million / USD 10.7 million / EUR 8 million) dispute from the Kenya Revenue Authority over transfer pricing
  • An INR 83.5 crore (= KES 1.4 billion / USD 15 million / EUR 11.5 million) claim on unpaid income taxes from the Indian authorities
  • A risk of default on a USD 54.7 million (= KES 4.8 billion / EUR 40.3 million) foreign currency convertible bond due for redemption on 19 Oct 2012 which was since restructured

The overall tax claims come to USD 26 million, which is about one-quarter of the multinational’s global turnover in fiscal year 2012 (USD 106 million) while the amount for Kenya amounts to almost 1 per cent of Kenya’s total annual tax collection.

Money of this magnitude could be used as additional income for development or to replace some current taxes that target the poor like value added tax or even to delay the enactment of additional taxes like the one on maize flour due to be activated in Kenya in 2015.

Land grabs

Since 1996, Karuturi’s core business has been floriculture, producing 580 million roses per year from 289 hectares of land the company leases in Kenya (154 hectares), Ethiopia (125 hectares) and India (10 hectares). In 2012, the group commanded no less than 9% of the cut rose market in Europe. Since the 2007/2008 global food crisis, Karuturi began expanding from floriculture into food production. Its plan is to set up farming operations on over one million hectares, mainly in eastern and southern Africa, to produce primarily maize, rice, sugarcane and palm oil for international markets.

The hub of this expansion is Ethiopia. In 2009, Karuturi acquired 10,700 ha of land in Bako for maize, rice and vegetable production. In 2010, it got an additional 300,000 hectares for expansion in Gambela. The company aims to farm a total of 750,000 ha in Ethiopia. This land is leased from the government at bargain prices, but local communities consider it their own.

As a result, many conflicts have emerged around compensation, displacement and the relocation of villagers and herders who suddenly found themselves fenced off of their lands by the Indian company.

In 2011, Karuturi announced it was expanding further by pursuing a US$500 million investment for 370,000 ha in Tanzania, including an initial 1,000 ha in the country’s fertile Rufiji Basin. That same year, the company announced that it was in discussions with government officials in the Republic of Congo for a farm project in a special economic zone in Oyo-Ollombo, 400 km north of Brazzaville. In addition, it has been planning fruit and vegetable farms in Sudan, Mozambique and Ghana, and, says CEO Ramakrishna Karuturi, “in Senegal, we have made an exploratory probe and in Sierra Leone we have made initial contacts.” All of these countries are rife with land grabs right now.

Labour issues & disputes

According to a 2012 report published by the London Business School, 5% of Karuturi’s workforce in Ethiopia is composed of foreigners. Karuturi has been bringing in staff and consultants from abroad, including India, to run management, irrigation & drainage operations, and logistics because they said they could not find the experience locally. Same for manual labourers. Karuturi hires Ethiopians as unskilled labour but for skilled labour it says it faces problems. At the end of 2011, Karuturi got into a dispute with the Ethiopian government because they brought in several hundred Indian farmers to work on their farms in Gambela, which the Ethiopian authorities said contravened Ethiopian law and for which they would not give the permits. Karuturi reportedly also expects to rely on Indian farmers to handle its work on oil palm.

According to media and labour organisation organisation reports, workers on Karuturi farms in both Kenya and Ethiopia have been complaining about, and initiating labour actions against, various conditions, especially related to wages and safety.

In November 2012, Karuturi reportedly began laying off about 900 of its 3,500 seasonal workers in Naivasha, Kenya, due to financial problems. The number was later reduced to 600. In December 2012, 1,000 Karuturi workers went on strike to demand action from management on unpaid salaries and poor working conditions.

Earlier, in June 2010, Workers Rights Watch, a Kenyan association, carried out focus group discussions with Karuturi flower farm workers in Naivasha and registered a mixed scorecard of positive and negative opinions about the company.

Regarding Karuturi’s Ethiopian farms, various media and research reports have exposed complaints of poor wages. For example, a solid report commissioned by the International Land Coalition shows that Karuturi pays Ethiopian farm labourers at its Bako farm ETB 10 per day (US$ 0.50) which compares with about ETB 20 per day (US$ 1.00) for labourers on commercial sesame farms in the country. Night guards for the company are said to be paid ETB 300 per month (US$ 15) if they own a gun and ETB 200 (US$ 10) per month if they do not.

Human rights violations

According to a powerful 2012 report by Human Rights Watch, the Ethiopian government is forcibly relocating thousands of indigenous people in western Gambela to new villages lacking adequate food, farmland, healthcare, and educational facilities to make way for large scale agricultural projects of foreign investors, including Karuturi. The report said, based on interviews with community representatives, that crops of local Anuak communities were cleared without consent for the Karuturi operations and that residents of Ilea, a village of over 1,000 people within Karuturi’s lease area, were told by the Ethiopian government that they would be moved in 2012 as part of its “villagisation programme”. In response, CEO Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi denied any connection between his company’s activities and the government’s villagisation programme. In conversation with the Wall Street Journal’s unit in India, he described the Human Rights Watch report as “hogwash” and “a completely jaundiced western vision”, and even denied that the villagisation programme exists.

Loss of livelihoods

Karuturi’s 10,700 ha Bechera Agricultural Development Project in the Bako Plains of Ethiopia has deprived several local communities of their communal grazing areas and access to water for their livestock, thus severely affecting their livelihoods. This comes from a study commissioned by the International Land Coalition, based on detailed discussions with local communities, local authorities and Karuturi employees. The study documents how the lands were provided to Karuturi without the consent of the local communities and without compensation. It reveals that Karuturi is refusing to implement even the most minimal measures recommended by local authorities to address some of the impacts from its operations. For example building a livestock corridor through its fields so that locals could access water sources for their animals, or allowing them to graze their animals on crop residues.

Environmental & health concerns

Karuturi operates one of the largest flower farms in the Lake Naivasha Basin in Kenya, the country’s second largest freshwater lake. The flower farms are blamed for causing a drop in the lake’s water level, for polluting the lake with pesticides and chemical fertiliser runoff and for affecting the lake’s biodiversity. Workers at Karuturi’s flower farms in Naivasha who spoke with Muungano wa Wanavijiji, a local partner organisations of Forum Syd, in February 2013 said that the dilapidated condition of the Karuturi operations and poor protective clothing puts them at risk to exposure from chemicals. They say the company does not seem to care about their concerns.

For its farm in Gambela, Ethiopia, Karuturi has developed an irrigation system with 50km of canals, 50km of drainage, and 40km of dykes, to pump a reported 22,000 litres of water per second from the Baro River, a crucial source of water for people dependent on the White Nile. Karuturi’s smaller 10,700 ha farm in Bako also generates significant issues related to access to water and water quality for the local communities. Although environmental impact assessments are usually required for irrigation projects in Ethiopia, Karuturi reportedly did not undertake any such assessment prior to constructing its farming complex in Bako.

Investor confidence

Karuturi and its shareholders have been waiting since at least May 2011 for the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) to approve the company’s long pending bid for political risk insurance for its Ethiopian operations. According to Sai Karuturi, as of 2012 the application had still not been approved due to Karuturi’s plans to produce palm oil — a sensitive issue for which the Bank would require the Ethiopian government to put in place environmental protocols. Karuturi explained that he was therefore advised by MIGA to omit palm oil from the application for now and so he did. If MIGA protection fails to materialise, the company told investors that its fallback option would be to seek support from India’s Export Credit Guarantee Agency. On 29 January 2013, MIGA informed GRAIN, flatly, that Karuturi’s application “is no longer under consideration”.

In March 2013, Bloomberg reported that Karuturi was seeking “hundreds of millions” of fresh investment dollars from an unnamed sovereign wealth fund after yet another unnamed development bank refused it a loan.

In April 2013, the Indian paper Business Today reported that Karuturi was thinking of taking the company private.

April 23, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Britain covered up a brutal Kenya massacre

By Will Stone | Morning Star | November 30, 2012

Never before seen files on Britain’s cruel colonial grip on Kenya have revealed a desperate attempt to cover up the massacre of unarmed prisoners during the Mau Mau uprising.

Eleven prisoners at the Hola detention camp were brutally clubbed to death and dozens more injured by prison wardens on March 3 1959 after they refused to work.

One of three elderly Kenyans, who last month won a High Court ruling to sue the British government for damages over torture, claims he was beaten unconscious during the incident.

Despite the overwhelming evidence nobody has ever been prosecuted.

Shockingly, the previously secret documents show that British colonial officials refused to identify individuals involved and attempted to blame the deaths on the prisoners “drinking too much water.”

The prison camp was one of many built during the uprising in which suspected rebels were detained by British colonial forces, often in dire conditions.

Shortly before the Hola deaths, a plan had been drawn up by colonial authorities allowing prison staff to use force to make detainees work if they refused, the Foreign Office files released by the National Ar­chives show.

Prison officer Walter Coutts told the inquest into the Hola deaths that the detainees either “willed themselves to death or had died because they drank too much water.”

But a colonial official’s assistant, Kenyan Johannes Ezekiel, said he saw camp commandant Michael Sullivan moving between groups of prison warders, and could “see perfectly well what was going on.”

Mr Ezekiel’s comments were discounted by attorney-general Eric Griffith-Jones, who was in charge of criminal prosecutions, as he was “strongly suspected” to have links with Kenyan nationalist opposition politician Tom Mboya.

After post-mortem examinations revealed the deaths were caused by violence, the commissioner of prisons, who authorised the plan to use force, claimed that he had warned there were risks.

To make matters worse the attorney-general caused uproar in Britain after announcing that no charges could be brought against any individuals.

He said in a secret letter to the Kenyan chief secretary: “No evidence was available to establish whether any, and, if so, what, injuries had been inflicted by the beating in question or on whom.”

The Hola deaths signalled the beginning of the end of Britain’s clampdown on the Mau Mau uprising as colonial authorities began to close prison camps around Kenya in the following years.

Kenya declared independence from Britain just over four years after the Hola deaths, on December 12 1963.

Separate government files, also released for the first time today, show that colonial officials in Cyprus had considered producing adventure comic books and running an essay competition in the 1950s as part of a propaganda bid to stop youngsters rebelling against British rule.

Cyprus won independence from Britain in 1960.

December 1, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Empirical evidence: Top-secret colonial files missing in UK

RT | December 1, 2012

Boxes containing top secret files about former British colonial rule have gone missing, with those relating to Singapore possibly destroyed. Declassified colonial Kenyan files earlier played a key role in proving the UK responsible for grave abuses.

Britain has admitted that it was aware that 170 boxes of files were transferred to Britain from former colonies. But the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Minister David Lidington said that the government did not know what had happened to the files afterwards.

“It remains the case that the FCO is still unable to confirm the existence or destruction of 170 boxes of top secret colonial administration files known to have been returned to the UK,” Lidington told AFP.

“There is some evidence that the Singapore-related top secret colonial administration files were destroyed as part of a review of FCO post files in the 1990s.”

The FCO is continuing the search for the files and any evidence relating to their possible destruction.

The revelation comes after files relating to British rule in Kenya and Cyprus were declassified, made public and played a key in a court case by three elderly Kenyans who say they were tortured during the British army’s suppression of the 1950s Mau Mau Rebellion.

At the court hearing an archive of 8,800 secret files were examined. The released documents proved attempts by UK authorities to cover-up the killings of 11 prisoners during the uprising and showed that detainees had been battered to death by warders at the Hola detention camp.

A British court granted a historic victory to the three Kenyans, allowing them to claim damages for the suffered abuses when imprisoned during the Mau Mau uprising, including castration, beatings and severe sexual assaults.

The Kenyan case set a historical precedent and it is estimated that 2,000 other surviving Kenyans imprisoned during the Mau Mau insurgency can know sue the British government, which could have significant consequences for the government.

Overall, Britain used to have total control over 50 colonies including Canada, India, Australia, Nigeria, and Jamaica. Currently, there are 14 British Overseas Territories that remain under British rule. However, all have their own internal leadership and most are self-governing.

December 1, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Britain admits atrocities in Kenya

Press TV – July 18, 2012

Britain has admitted that Kenyan prisoners were tortured and sexually abused under the UK rule in Kenya, local media reported.

For the first time ever, British ministers were forced to issue a public confession admitting that atrocities were carried out ‘at the hands of the colonial administration’.

The admission came via a Whitehall lawyer addressing three elderly Kenyans who had gone to the High Court in London to demand damages and an apology.

Now in their 80s, one of them told the court how he had been brutally castrated in a British detention camp during the Mau Mau rebellion – Britain’s bloodiest colonial war.

If the trio win their case, it would open the door to up to 20,000 Kenyan survivors of the Mau Mau purge to sue Britain for millions of pounds, using no-win, no-fee lawyers.

The Foreign Office is contesting the case because it officially denies liability and maintains the Kenyans have left it too late to make claims.

Yesterday, each of the three claimants walked slowly to the witness stand to deliver their graphic testimony.

But before Guy Mansfield, the Foreign Office’s QC, cross-examined them, he said: “I wish to make it clear that the British government does not dispute that each of you suffered torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of the colonial administration.”

The Mau Mau uprising began in 1952 to end British colonial rule. Britain initially dismissed reports of unrest, but later declared a state of emergency – introducing the death penalty for Mau Mau members. The violence ended in 1956, but the state of emergency was only revoked in 1960.

July 18, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

UK annihilates records of colonial crimes

Press TV – April 20, 2012

Thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments, an official review has concluded.

Those papers that survived the purge were flown discreetly to Britain where they were hidden for 50 years in a secret Foreign Office archive, beyond the reach of historians and members of the public, and in breach of legal obligations for them to be transferred into the public domain.

The archive came to light last year when a group of Kenyans detained and allegedly tortured during the Mau Mau rebellion won the right to sue the British government.

The Foreign Office promised to release the 8,800 files from 37 former colonies held at the highly-secure government communications centre at Hanslope Park in Buckinghamshire.

The historian appointed to oversee the review and transfer, Tony Badger, master of Clare College, Cambridge, says the discovery of the archive put the Foreign Office in an “embarrassing, scandalous” position.

“These documents should have been in the public archives in the 1980s,” he said. “It’s long overdue.”

The papers at Hanslope Park include monthly intelligence reports on the “elimination” of the colonial authority’s enemies in 1950s Malaya; records showing ministers in London were aware of the torture and murder of Mau Mau insurgents in Kenya, including a case of aman said to have been “roasted alive”; and papers detailing the lengths to which the UK went to forcibly remove islanders from Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

April 20, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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