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Col Richard Kemp CBE

British Army, 1977 - 2006


From Wikipedia


Kemp was attached to the Cabinet Office from 2001–2006, with a six-month posting to Afghanistan in 2003. At the Cabinet Office he worked for the Joint Intelligence Committee and the national crisis management group, COBR, during the period of the 2005 London bombings and a series of high-profile kidnappings of British nationals in Iraq and Afghanistan. While working at the Cabinet Office his responsibilities included Iraq, and he made several visits to Baghdad, Fallujah and Mosul. He was involved in devising and developing government strategies and policies on counter terrorism. He was promoted colonel on 30 June 2004, and retired from the army on 30 March 2006.


Kemp was Commander of the first Task Force Helmand in Afghanistan in 2003.[12] He was responsible for some British forces deployed in Afghanistan, including a patrols unit operating under ISAF in Kabul, a training group working within the US-led Afghan National Army training mission, and a Provincial Reconstruction Team based at Mazar e-Sharif. During his tenure he also acted as Military Attache, working closely with the British Ambassador to Afghanistan and with the US Task Force Commander at Bagram and the UN Secretary General's Special Representative.

Kemp set up and led an ad hoc joint counter-terrorist operations group comprising forces from the US Marine Corps 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Antiterrorism) and the British Army, which achieved a number of successes against Al Qaeda-associated extremists in Kabul. While Commander in Afghanistan, he devised a doctrine for combating suicide attack, which did not previously exist in the British forces. That doctrine was subsequently taken into general use in the armed forces, promulgated by the Permanent Joint Headquarters.


Richard Kemp led a campaign in 2007 and 2008 to recognise the sacrifice of British troops killed and wounded in action by the award of a medal similar to the US Purple Heart.

The campaign gained the support of the majority of Members of Parliament, through an Early Day Motion in the 2008–2009 parliamentary session;[15] as well as widespread support among serving and retired military ranging from Private Harry Patch, last survivor of the Battle of Passchendaele to Field Marshal Sir Edwin Bramall, former Chief of Defence Staff.

The campaign also prompted specific debates in the House of Commons [16] and the House of Lords, and led to the MOD announcement in 2008[ of a new award to be made to the next of kin of British soldiers killed in action, which was launched in July 2009.The award, called the Elizabeth Cross, is the first decoration to be named after a reigning monarch since the institution of the George Cross in 1941. The award was back-dated to the end of the Second World War. The Government has so far rejected calls for a new medalnot previously exist in the British forces. That doctrine was subsequently taken into general use in the armed forces, promulgated by the Permanent Joint Headquarters.


Kemp testified before the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, denying allegations that Israel engaged in war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Gaza War in December 2008 to January 2009. Kemp based his assessment on publicly available information from both sides, press reports and his 30-year experience of counter-terrorism operations and planning. In June 2009, Kemp wrote "HAMAS, THE GAZA WAR AND ACCOUNTABILITY UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW" for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs In this paper, Kemp accused Hamas of deploying women and children as suicide attackers, and wrote that "women and children are trained and equipped to fight, collect intelligence and ferry arms and ammunition between battles".

In October 2009, Kemp made a presentation to the United Nations Human Rights Council in response to the introduction of the Goldstone report in which Israel and Hamas were accused of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the Gaza War. Kemp spoke to the UN HRC on behalf of UN Watch. Kemp said: "Of course innocent civilians were killed. War is chaos and full of mistakes. There have been mistakes by the British, American and other forces in Afghanistan and in Iraq, many of which can be put down to human error. But mistakes are not war crimes...Based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in the combat zones than any other army in the history of warfare".

Kemp also claimed to have relied on Israeli expertise in Afghanistan. He said he received help from an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) anti-suicide bombing expert and the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, following the 2005 London bombings. Kemp was highly critical of the "automatic assumption that everything the IDF does is illegal." He said "there is harsh criticism against the US and British armies as well, but they are given the benefit of the doubt. Israel is always automatically condemned, no matter what. It's a joke. Even the conspiracy theory that the one responsible for the 11 September attacks is not al-Qaeda but Israel refuses to die out, it's unbelievable".


On November 18, 2012, during Operation Pillar of Defense, Colonel Kemp told IDF military reporter Yair Barzilai: "In this current operation, Hamas is repeating old tactics of placing civilians in the line of fire and is responsible for their lives. At the same time, it deliberately fires missiles at the Israeli civilian population, without provocation and with no just cause." He added that "the ordinary people of Gaza are not at liberty to say what they really think if they are questioned by the media or if they are questioned by investigators. They are under so much pressure to say what Hamas requires them to say."

Asked about his pro-IDF point of view, Kemp responded: "I consider myself as having an objective view of what's happening over here. The IDF does not need me to defend them; they have proven it over the years," he said. "It's the dispassionate military perspective that I bring." Regarding media bias, he said: "It was clear to me that there was a great deal of propaganda that was being generated against Israel, and then being exploited by people who didn't understand military matters and didn't want to question it, it suited their agenda to vilify Israel


Kemp was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), Military Division, on 25 April 1994 in recognition of his intelligence work in Northern Ireland in 1993,[33] and was awarded the Queen's Commendation for Bravery for service as a commander in the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia in 1994. He was promoted Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), Military Division, in the New Year Honours 2006. In addition, he is a member of the International Advisory Board of NGO Monitor and of the Board of Advancing Human Rights (NGO). He received an honorary doctorate from Bar-Ilan University in 2015

Two Views of the Israeli Military
Col Richard Kemp
Prager U 2015 (5.23)

Col. Richard Kemp on the
IDF & Hamas in Gaza
StandWithUs, 2014 (46.52)