Britain’s ‘Dirty Wars’?

David French

in The British Way in Counter-Insurgency, 1945-1967

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199587964
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731365 | DOI:
Britain’s ‘Dirty Wars’?

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It was never government policy to allow the security forces to take their own reprisals, but charges were frequently levelled against them that they did so. Sometimes such charges were deliberately exaggerated by the insurgents. But there was often a substratum of truth underpinning them. The attitude of the authorities towards members of the security forces who were alleged to have committed deliberate acts of unofficial brutality acts was not straightforward. They did not deliberately wage ‘dirty wars’. But, by their readiness to manipulate the law in their colonies and set aside accepted human rights safeguards, they created an atmosphere within which it was easy for some elements of the security forces to operate in ways contrary to norms laid down in international law, and they did not always do as much as they might have done to forestall or punish such misbehaviour.

Keywords: reprisals; torture; interrogation; detention camps; government cover-ups

Chapter.  19962 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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