Lost causes

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THERE’S no doubt the winners write the history books and the winners wear white, while the vanquished enemy is always portrayed in black. 

Unusual then for atrocities such as the Batang Kali massacre, when 24 Chinese plantation workers were shot in cold blood, to come to light (“New plea over Malaysian massacre by Scots Guards”, 22 April), and credit to the six Scottish soldiers who brought it to our attention at the time of the US army massacre at My Lai, Vietnam.

But the real credit must go to the relatives of the massacre victims and their dogged fight for justice. They have never sought revenge and do not want any of the six soldiers – who admitted they executed the plantation workers, under orders – tried for murder. 

Rather, as Cathy Gordon reports, they simply want an independent inquiry into the shootings at Batang Kali, Malaya, in December 1948 so that the truth may come out.

If they are successful in their appeal to the Supreme Court, any future inquiry will not be helped by the fact that documents relating to the events at Batang Kali appear to be among the papers lost by the Metropolitan Police. 

This followed the Mets’ investigation arising out of the intervention of the Labour Secretary of State for Defence Dennis Healey in 1970, which was scrapped when Edward Heath’s Tory government came to power.

Missing criminal investigation files, Metropolitan Police, Tory politicians, this all has a very worryingly, familiar, ring doesn’t it?

Tom Minogue

Victoria Terrace

Dunfermline, Fife