UK War Crimes

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LAST night’s BBC Panorama programme revealed yet more evidence of unlawful killings of Afghans by members of the Special Air Service (SAS) during the illegal invasion of the country by US and British imperialism.

According to the investigation, a pattern has emerged involving SAS special forces engaged in night raids. One newly obtained report seen by the BBC suggests that one SAS unit serving in Afghanistan between 2010 and 2011 killed around 54 people in six months in suspicious circumstances.

The pattern that the BBC has discerned is that in these night-time raids on the homes of Afghan citizens, men detained by the troops suddenly produce, from behind curtains or under beds, automatic rifles or grenades that justify the SAS shooting them dead.

One individual who served with the SAS during deployment in Afghanistan told the BBC that weapons were planted at a scene to justify the killing of unarmed people and that SAS squadrons had competed with each other to get the most kills.

This source told the BBC: ‘Too many people were being killed on night raids and the explanations didn’t make sense.’

One internal email seen by the BBC referred to reports of these killings as the SAS squadron’s ‘latest massacre’, while a high ranking Special Forces officer warned in a secret memo – also seen by the BBC – that there could be a ‘deliberate policy’ of extrajudicial killings.

In order to quell any concerns amongst its own ranks the army ordered a rare internal review to be carried out by a Special Forces officer. However, reports the BBC, this ‘appeared to take the SAS version of events at face value.’

Evidence emerging from this review was classified and not shared with the military police – who conducted a separate murder investigation in 2013.

The massive amount of evidence of war crimes committed by British troops, not just in Afghanistan but in Iraq, forced the Tories to set up two inquiries – Operation Northmoor, which was supposed to investigate 675 allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan, and the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), set up to investigate war crimes committed in Iraq.

Operation Northmoor was abruptly closed down by the Tories in 2019 using the lying claim that evidence of atrocities committed by British soldiers just did not exist.

Similarly, IHAT was closed down, despite the fact that the investigation had found evidence of murders by SAS soldiers along with deaths in custody, beatings, torture and sexual abuse.

Shortly after closing down these investigations, the Tories launched the Overseas Operation Bill which gives complete immunity from prosecution for soldiers accused of war crimes who served in Iraq, Afghanistan or any other war fought abroad by British imperialism.

Accusations of war crimes committed by Russia are used to try and whip up a war hysteria designed to convince the working class that they must make sacrifices to pay for the imperialist war to weaken Russia, while the truth is that the biggest war crimes are being committed by the imperialist powers of the UK and US along with their obedient attack dog Israel.

The Israeli state which daily kills innocent Palestinian men, women and children is given a free pass by the US and Britain with their crimes brushed aside and any attempt to bring them before the International Criminal Court thwarted by the US and UK governments.

In the same way, the war crimes committed by the Ukrainian fascist Azov brigade, responsible for leading the attacks on workers in the Donbass region killing 14,000, are swept under the carpet and instead these fascists are hailed as ‘heroes’ in the bourgeois media.

These latest revelations by the BBC about the war crimes committed by British troops and sanctioned by the British state make it clear to the working class that capitalism in its final and most degenerate imperialist stage is the real war criminal.

The only way to put an end to imperialist war and all the crimes against humanity that result is to put an end to capitalism through the victory of the world socialist revolution.

This is the only way forward.