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Best of Luck

The families of 24 men executed without trial by the Scots Guards in 1948 in Malaya were back in court last week. They want the British Supreme Court to order a proper public inquiry into the Batang Kali Massacre. The official British version has always been that the men were suspected communist terrorists shot while trying to escape. That version of events did not hold water in 1948, no wounded you see, and was blown out of the water in 1969 when some of the Guardsmen confessed to The People newspaper that Batang Kali was a pre-meditated massacre. A Scotland Yard inquiry into the massacre claim was quickly closed down by an incoming Tory government and in the early 1990s the British Government succeeded in foiling an attempt to Malaysian police to investigate. The cover-up, pathetic as it is, continues to this day. What is the Government hiding? The British authorities do not have a good record when it comes to protecting squaddies and in Iraq the Government fell over itself in its efforts to prosecute soldiers facing allegations of misconduct. Whoever ordered the massacre of ethnic Chinese rubber plantation workers must be dead by now. In fact, everyone directly involved in orchestrating the massacre must be dead. It is obvious from the statements of the Guardsmen who blew the whistle that the cold-blooded killings were ordered from above and were not the work of a rogue patrol. By the time The People took up the story,  the man who led the patrol, Lance Sergeant Charles Douglas, was a battalion regimental sergeant major in the Scots Guards. And when Douglas was challenged by a newspaper reporter, his responses suggests he knew he was fire-proof when it came to Batang Kali. It would be interesting to know why he was so certain he would never be held to account. The Malaysians at the heart of this case are not after money. In fact, it is the British Government which is talking money because it is threatening that the Malaysians will have to pay the government's legal bills. All the Malaysians want is the truth about why their fathers and uncles were murdered in cold blood - and an apology. Some smart alecs may say that this is all ancient history and go chuntering on about wanting compensation for the Highland Clearances. But if it is such ancient history, why is the government still fighting tooth and nail to hide the truth?

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