Dirty tricks used to hide UK se­crets

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

LON­DON: Bri­tish of­fi­cials burned and dumped at sea doc­u­ments from colonies that were about to be­come in­de­pen­dent in a sys­tem­atic ef­fort to hide their “dirty” se­crets.

Newly re­leased files showed yes­ter­day un­der “Op­er­a­tion Legacy”, of­fi­cials in Kenya, Uganda, Malaysia, Tan­za­nia, Ja­maica and other for­mer Bri­tish colo­nial ter­ri­to­ries were briefed on how to dis­pose of doc­u­ments that “might em­bar­rass Her Majesty’s Gov­ern­ment”.

Newly de­clas­si­fied For­eign Of­fice files re­veal how the “splen­did in­cin­er­a­tor” at the Royal Navy base in Sin­ga­pore was used to de­stroy lorry loads of files from the re­gion.

Other of­fi­cials wrote of doc­u­ments be­ing dumped “in deep and cur­rent-free wa­ter at the max­i­mum prac­ti­ca­ble dis­tance from shore”, ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ments in the Na­tional Archives.

One dis­patch from Kenya in 1961 men­tions the for­ma­tion of a com­mit­tee deal­ing with “dirty” as­pects of pro­tec­tive se­cu­rity” which would “clean” Kenyan in­tel­li­gence ac­cord­ing to The news­pa­per.

The Bri­tish gov­ern­ment agreed ear­lier this year to pay £14 mil­lion (R233m) in com­pen­sa­tion to more than 5 200 el­derly Kenyans who were tor­tured and abused dur­ing the 1950s Mau Mau up­ris­ing against colo­nial rule.

The files re­leased yes­ter­day are the fi­nal batch of a col­lec­tion, the ex­is­tence of which was re­vealed by the For­eign Of­fice only in Jan­uary 2011 as part of the Kenyan

files, Times ac­tion.

A Colo­nial Of­fice tele­gram of May 3, 1961 stated the gen­eral guid­ance for keep­ing pa­pers out of the hands of newly elected in­de­pen­dent gov­ern­ments.

Among the guide­lines were: items should be dis­posed of if they “might em­bar­rass mem­bers of the po­lice, mil­i­tary forces, pub­lic ser­vants or oth­ers, eg po­lice in­form­ers; might com­pro­mise sources of in­tel­li­gence”; or might be used “un­eth­i­cally” by in­com­ing min­is­ters. – Sapa-AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.