THE TORY defence secretary Ben Wallace has been ordered by a judge to come up with an explanation as to why the British government has deliberately withheld evidence that indicates UK special forces troops executed 33 civilians in Afghanistan in 2011.
The court gave Wallace until the autumn to explain why key emails and documents relating to these killings had been withheld in a long running case brought by a relative of four men from one family killed in a night raid by SAS soldiers.
In one of the hitherto undisclosed emails an SAS sergeant-major described this as ‘the latest massacre’ the morning after the killings – a clear indication that this massacre was not an isolated incident.
In documents that were first revealed by the BBC Panorama programme and the Sunday Times it turns out that a secret review had been carried out of ‘suspicious’ killings and other ‘related incidents’ carried out while SAS troops searched the houses and compounds of Afghans on the pretext of searching for arms.
According to this review, between January and April 2011 in three of these operations, 23 civilians were killed while only 10 guns were discovered. The author of this report wrote: ‘In my view there is enough here to convince me that we are getting some things wrong right now.’
In another document an SAS commander wrote to his superiors in London warning that there was ‘possibly a deliberate policy’ and that SAS soldiers had possibly been guilty of ‘indefensible behaviour’ that could be ‘criminal’.
The SNP defence spokesman Stewart McDonald said that these documents amounted to ‘allegations of war crimes’ that appeared to suggest that ‘the SAS was employing a “deliberate policy” to shoot dead unarmed men in such night raids’.
McDonald added: ‘It is now clear that when ministers have repeatedly told parliament that credible evidence doesn’t exist, that that credible evidence doesn’t just exist but it has been sitting in the Ministry of Defence the entire time.’
This lying claim that evidence of atrocities committed by British soldiers did not exist was used by the Tories to shut down in June Operation Northmoor which was supposed to investigate 675 allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan.
Last year the BBC and Sunday Times said their investigation revealed that the Iraq historic allegations team (IHAT) – set up to investigate war crimes committed in Iraq – had found evidence of murders by SAS soldiers along with deaths in custody, beatings, torture and sexual abuse.
IHAT was also closed down and now the Tories are preparing to pass a law granting an amnesty against prosecution for soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and any other war fought abroad by British imperialism.
The working class must take a warning from this.
Just as the murderous war against the Kenyan people in the 1950s during the Mau Mau uprising against imperialist rule provided the army with training in counter-insurgency techniques that would be used against the people of the north of Ireland in the 1970s, so the brutal training of special killer squads will be used by the capitalist state at home.
Already in America we have seen President Trump turning to the special forces of the Homeland Security service to put into practice techniques employed in Iraq and Afghanistan to try and intimidate peaceful protesters in Portland with the threat of using it in cities across the country.
Protesters snatched, forced into unmarked cars, and driven off to secret locations before being released with no explanation or charges is straight out of the CIA and special forces handbook developed in imperialism’s wars.
In its historic crisis, the capitalist state is fast shedding the veneer of democracy as it is forced to take on and defeat workers who are refusing to allow their lives to be destroyed to keep the bankers and bosses in profit.
It is clear to workers that capitalism in its final and most degenerate imperialist stage is the real war criminal and that the only way to put an end to these crimes against humanity is to smash capitalism and imperialism through the victory of the socialist revolution.