Friday, July 27, 2012

Files reveal brutal treatment meted out by British forces in 1950s Cyprus

Note: We disagree with the term "terrorist" used by the newspaper. EOKA was a national-liberation movement with the purpose of establishing self-determination for the Cypriots. EOKA has not been involved in atrocities against non-military personnel, even the families of soldiers and officers. 
Files reveal brutal treatment meted out by British forces in 1950s 
Documents released by the National Archives describe incidents of abuse by British forces against opponents of colonial rule
Fresh evidence of brutal treatment meted out by British forces to opponents of colonial rule in the 1950s has been revealed in secret files showing how they attacked and killed with impunity in Cyprus, where their victims included a blind man and a 17-year-old youth.

The incidents are among many disclosed in hitherto highly classified documents released at the National Archives in the wake of a court case relating to the other contemporary anti-colonial struggle – the violent repression of Mau Mau rebels in Kenya.

They describe how in July 1958, on a dark night but "with a bright moon", a patrol of soldiers from the Royal Ulster Rifles came across a group of Greek Cypriots, who started throwing stones. Two of them grabbed one of the soldier's guns and "hand-to-hand fighting took place", according to a report on the incident.
"A shot was fired … the fallen man was shot through the head." The Cypriots backed away but apparently ignored orders to stop. "This had no effect. One man, who was urging the others to attack the patrol and was obviously the ringleader, was selected and four shots were fired at him." The man was blind.
At the subsequent inquest, the coroner, James Trainor, said the corporal who killed "these two unfortunate people … had no other choice". He had showed "courage and very commendable restraint … At the least, he would have lost his company's arms and there was a grave possibility that they might have been all killed had he acted otherwise," the coroner stated.

He added: "There seems to be no doubt that one of the deceased was blind, but the fact that he got where he did get [moving across rugged countryside and over a ridge] suggests a fanaticism which would fully explain the description given to me of his standing in front of the crowd and waving it forward."

Andreas Louca, a 17-year-old Greek Cypriot, was fatally wounded when a soldier fractured his skull in clashes following the death of the wife of a British sergeant. Catherine Cutliffe was shot in the back in a Famagusta street in October 1958.

A young British army officer recorded seeing 150 soldiers indiscriminately "kicking Cypriots as they lay on the ground and beating them in the head, face, and body with rifle butts".

The officer described how he "forcibly restrained several such groups of soldiers who had completely lost their heads. Many of them were screaming abuse and the whole area resembled a hysterical mob … Several [Cypriots] appeared to be unconscious and bleeding profusely."

One report describes how a group of military police were seen "wantonly damaging windows and furniture" of the local "Communist Club". Even allowing for propaganda and exaggeration British troops behaved "brutally", a confidential official report noted. Trainor, who was also a judge, this time described the degree of force used by British soldiers as "entirely unjustified".

These incidents stand out from voluminous reports suggesting that most of the complaints made against British troops were indeed exaggerated and used as propaganda. However, the files show that the colonial authorities were seriously concerned about the number of genuine incidents of abuse by British forces.
London tried to brush them aside expressing the hope in a 1957 white paper on reports of brutality by British forces that it could "rely on the worldwide knowledge of their traditions of humanity and decency to convince the public of the free world of the falsity of allegations".

The documents released on Friday show how the colonial authorities covered up incidents by blocking visits to detention camps by MPs and journalists.

"I think that the best thing will be to refuse all permission for as long as we can," noted Hugh Foot, the governor of Cyprus (and father of the radical journalist and campaigner Paul Foot) in 1958.

The files show how the colonial administration in Cyprus played down the significance of a visit to the camps by the International Committee of the Red Cross and blocked independent inquiries.

A note from the governor's office in 1957 shows how British officials chose to regard the conflict in Cyprus. A senior official described it as "a hard and bitter struggle between the forces of law and order and an utterly ruthless terrorist movement and a political movement run by a church that is prepared to use any means to secure its political ends".

The terrorist movement was EOKA, led by Georgios Grivas whose aim was Enosis (Union with Greece. The church was the Cypriot Orthodox led by Archbishop Makarios. The files include a note by Foot about how Barbara Castle, a leading radical MP and future Labour cabinet minister, told him that Makarios had said at a meeting in Athens that he had decided to renounce Enosis but press for an independent Cyprus. The archbishop did so soon after in a move that finally led to the island's independence in 1960.

Many of the files, including those believed to refer to Cypriots who were informers for the colonial forces, have been withheld. Colonial files released at the National Archives also include papers relating to Basutoland (now Lesotho), the Cameroons, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Fiji, the Gambia, Gilbert and Ellice Islands (Kiribati and Tuvalu) and Gold Coast (Ghana). Many files were destroyed by British officials shortly before these countries gained independence.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Apology demanded from the `Daily Mail`

Greek-Cypriot journalist Fanoulla Argyrou demands an apology from the ´Daily Mail´ for an article on Cyprus. 

Dear Editor,

“Northern Cyprus” is non existent and under Turkish invasion and occupation since 1974
I refer to your item “It's poison, help me! Holiday mother's final words after drinking from a water bottle filled with cleaning fluid” of July 17/18,  2012.  At a time when a Public Inquiry is still ongoing, so much is being focused for the need of proper and accurate reporting,  I find your misrepresentation of facts in this report suspicious the least.  This is grossly offending to the Republic of Cyprus. The so called “Northern Cyprus” is an illegal area under Turkish invasion and continued occupation since July and August 1974.  The hotels and the ancient ruins you mention are stolen land of the Republic of Cyprus and properties belonging to their Greek Cypriot owners who were uprooted and forced to abandon them by the use of armed force by the advancing Turkish invading army in 1974.

Your reference “A mother died on a five-star holiday to Cyprus after she drank from…” is misleading and despicable.  You give the false impression that the death and negligence occurred in the Republic of Cyprus promoting bad reputation to the otherwise excellent conditions existing in the free part of the Republic of Cyprus,  whilst you consciously conceal from the reader the information that the occupied area of Famagusta (part of the 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus)  is under Turkish occupation since 1974. g

I expect you to publish a proper apology and correction to this end.

Yours sincerely,

Fanoulla Argyrou, 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Cancel the "Sailing with Paul" tour of the Biblical Archaeology Society

We are writing concerning the trip that you organize to Turkey and then Cyprus (June 1-15, 2012), entitled “Sailing with Paul in the Mediterranean”.
 It appears from the documentation that we have seen that you may not be aware of certain facts that are important to bring to your attention. The reference to “Northern Cyprus” constitutes, in fact, the area of Cyprus under Turkish military occupation since 1974. It is recalled that the secessionist entity in the occupied areas of Cyprus was condemned by the United Nations Security Council, in its resolutions 541 (1983) and 550 (1984), as “legally invalid” and is not recognized by any international organization or country, other than Turkey which is the occupying power.

Furthermore, we wish to respectfully bring to your attention that the airport through which you intend to arrive in Cyprus has been declared by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus as an illegal point of entry into and exit from the Republic. The legal points of entry into the Republic of Cyprus to which visitors should use are Larnaka and Paphos airports and the ports of Larnaka and Lemesos.

Moreover, this illegal airport is not recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and its illegal operation causes serious risks to flight safety in the region.

It is also important to stress that this illegal airport is located on property belonging to a significant number of Greek Cypriot refugees who were forcibly expelled from the property by the invasion forces in 1974.
These refugees remain the legal owners of their properties, as it has been confirmed by numerous relevant Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, and have not consented to the construction of the illegal airport.

Furthermore, the organization of such a trip by an archaeological society is particularly offensive to the local and international community of archaeologists working in Cyprus, due to the destructive consequences that the Turkish occupation has caused to the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the island.
In the occupied area, archaeological sites and monuments, including churches, have suffered severe destruction and violation, museums have been looted and destroyed, and antiquities continue to be illegally exported.
We wish to express our opposition and disappointment with the planned trip to the occupied areas. We sincerely hope that with the explanations outlined in this letter you will reconsider your planned visit to the occupied areas and arrival into Cyprus through the illegal ports of entry.
We also hope that you will show greater sensitivity toward issues that have such legal and ethical ramifications.

If your decision is still to proceed with your visit, we would ask that you enter the island through the international and recognized airports of the Republic of Cyprus.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

The Biblical Archeology Society (BAS) supports a travel program that will enter the Republic of Cyprus via illegal ports of entry located in the illegally Turkish-occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus. The specific travel program in question is “Sailing with Paul in the Mediterranean” which takes place June 1-15, 2012.  The tour will travel from Antalya Airport in Turkey to the Turkish-occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus, continue its route to the areas under the control of the Government of Cyprus, and return back to the occupied territory before departing for Turkey.
The legal ports of entry into the Republic of Cyprus are the airports of Larnaca and Paphos and the ports of Larnaca, Limassol, Latsi and Paphos, which are situated in the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.
To date, BAS continues to support the travel program “Sailing with Paul in the Mediterranean” and its current travel itinerary which has the tour entering the Republic of Cyprus via illegal ports of entry.
We urge you to contact Mr. Hershel Shanks, founder, Biblical Archeology Society, to convey the severe effects that this kind of illegal activity can bring to the overriding goal of reunification and respect of international law.

Place a concise and courteous phone call to BAS Founder Hershel Shanks at 202-364-3300 utilizing the talking points listed below.
Mr. Hershel Shanks
Biblical Archaeology Society
4710 41st Street NW
Washington, DC 20016
FAX: 202-364-2636
  • Cyprus has been illegally divided and occupied since 1974 when Turkey invaded the island in violation of international law, including the U.N. Charter.
  • The invasion and continuing occupation of 37% of the northern part of Cyprus’ sovereign territory by a force of 43,000 Turkish troops has resulted in:
    • the mass violation of the human rights of the Cypriot people;
    • the forcible expulsion of approximately 200,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes; massive colonization through the illegal implantation of more than 300,000 Turkish mainland settlers in the occupied areas of Cyprus;
    • trespassing and illegal exploitation of property belonging to Greek Cypriot refugees;
    • cultural destruction and religious desecration;
    • suffering of a great number of families whose relatives remain missing since 1974 and whose fate is still unknown; and
    • forcible ethnic segregation and division of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.
  • No country other than Turkey recognizes the so-called illegal “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.”
  • A trip conducted in this illegal manner undermines the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus and disrespects international law and relevant UN Resolutions instead of highlighting the archaeological significance of the region.
  • The legal ports of entry into the Republic of Cyprus are the airports of Larnaca and Paphos and the ports of Larnaca, Limassol, Latsi and Paphos, which are situated in the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.
  • The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) designated Turkey a “country of particular concern” in its 2012 annual report due in part to the restriction of religious freedom and religious and cultural destruction that has occurred in Turkish-occupied Cyprus.
  • An estimated 500 churches and religious sites belonging to Christian and Jewish communities have been desecrated, pillaged, looted and destroyed in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus.
For further information or questions, please contact AHI, (202) 785-8430, or email

source: American Hellenic Institute (11/05/2012) «Contact the Biblical Archeology Society to convey severe effects of travel program’s entry into Republic of Cyprus via illegal ports of entry in Turkish-occupied area»

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bankers are the dictators of the West

Robert Fisk
source: London Independent (10 December 2011)

Writing from the very region that produces more clichés per square foot than any other "story" – the Middle East – I should perhaps pause before I say I have never read so much garbage, so much utter drivel, as I have about the world financial crisis.

But I will not hold my fire. It seems to me that the reporting of the collapse of capitalism has reached a new low which even the Middle East cannot surpass for sheer unadulterated obedience to the very institutions and Harvard "experts" who have helped to bring about the whole criminal disaster.

Let's kick off with the "Arab Spring" – in itself a grotesque verbal distortion of the great Arab/Muslim awakening which is shaking the Middle East – and the trashy parallels with the social protests in Western capitals. We've been deluged with reports of how the poor or the disadvantaged in the West have "taken a leaf" out of the "Arab spring" book, how demonstrators in America, Canada, Britain, Spain and Greece have been "inspired" by the huge demonstrations that brought down the regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and – up to a point – Libya. But this is nonsense.

The real comparison, needless to say, has been dodged by Western reporters, so keen to extol the anti-dictator rebellions of the Arabs, so anxious to ignore protests against "democratic" Western governments, so desperate to disparage these demonstrations, to suggest that they are merely picking up on the latest fad in the Arab world. The truth is somewhat different. What drove the Arabs in their tens of thousands and then their millions on to the streets of Middle East capitals was a demand for dignity and a refusal to accept that the local family-ruled dictators actually owned their countries. The Mubaraks and the Ben Alis and the Gaddafis and the kings and emirs of the Gulf (and Jordan) and the Assads all believed that they had property rights to their entire nations. Egypt belonged to Mubarak Inc, Tunisia to Ben Ali Inc (and the Traboulsi family), Libya to Gaddafi Inc. And so on. The Arab martyrs against dictatorship died to prove that their countries belonged to their own people.

And that is the true parallel in the West. The protest movements are indeed against Big Business – a perfectly justified cause – and against "governments". What they have really divined, however, albeit a bit late in the day, is that they have for decades bought into a fraudulent democracy: they dutifully vote for political parties – which then hand their democratic mandate and people's power to the banks and the derivative traders and the rating agencies, all three backed up by the slovenly and dishonest coterie of "experts" from America's top universities and "think tanks", who maintain the fiction that this is a crisis of globalisation rather than a massive financial con trick foisted on the voters.

The banks and the rating agencies have become the dictators of the West. Like the Mubaraks and Ben Alis, the banks believed – and still believe – they are owners of their countries. The elections which give them power have – through the gutlessness and collusion of governments – become as false as the polls to which the Arabs were forced to troop decade after decade to anoint their own national property owners. Goldman Sachs and the Royal Bank of Scotland became the Mubaraks and Ben Alis of the US and the UK, each gobbling up the people's wealth in bogus rewards and bonuses for their vicious bosses on a scale infinitely more rapacious than their greedy Arab dictator-brothers could imagine.

I didn't need Charles Ferguson's Inside Job on BBC2 this week – though it helped – to teach me that the ratings agencies and the US banks are interchangeable, that their personnel move seamlessly between agency, bank and US government. The ratings lads (almost always lads, of course) who AAA-rated sub-prime loans and derivatives in America are now – via their poisonous influence on the markets – clawing down the people of Europe by threatening to lower or withdraw the very same ratings from European nations which they lavished upon criminals before the financial crash in the US. I believe that understatement tends to win arguments. But, forgive me, who are these creatures whose ratings agencies now put more fear into the French than Rommel did in 1940?

Why don't my journalist mates in Wall Street tell me? How come the BBC and CNN and – oh, dear, even al-Jazeera – treat these criminal communities as unquestionable institutions of power? Why no investigations – Inside Job started along the path – into these scandalous double-dealers? It reminds me so much of the equally craven way that so many American reporters cover the Middle East, eerily avoiding any direct criticism of Israel, abetted by an army of pro-Likud lobbyists to explain to viewers why American "peacemaking" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be trusted, why the good guys are "moderates", the bad guys "terrorists".

The Arabs have at least begun to shrug off this nonsense. But when the Wall Street protesters do the same, they become "anarchists", the social "terrorists" of American streets who dare to demand that the Bernankes and Geithners should face the same kind of trial as Hosni Mubarak. We in the West – our governments – have created our dictators. But, unlike the Arabs, we can't touch them.

The Irish Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, solemnly informed his people this week that they were not responsible for the crisis in which they found themselves. They already knew that, of course. What he did not tell them was who was to blame. Isn't it time he and his fellow EU prime ministers did tell us? And our reporters, too?