Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A "war on terror" is no excuse for murder

Fifteen years ago, the UK was engaged in its own "war on terror", in Northern Ireland. Republican and Loyalist militias were engaged in murder and terrorism in pursuit of their respective political goals of a united and divided Ireland, with the British supposedly caught in the middle trying to keep the peace. Except it turns out that they weren't "caught in the middle", or trying to keep the peace - rather, they were colluding with the violent terrorists of the Ulster Volunteer Force to cover up at least a dozen sectarian murders, as well as assaults, "punishment shootings", extortion, drug dealing, and terrorism. In other words, they were running a death squad. And now they've been found out, the best they can come up with is to say that

[have] always acted in the best interests of the pursuit of justice and [have] nothing to be ashamed of.

Which sounds an awful lot like General Pinochet, doesn't it?

What's frightening is that far too many of the people involved in this are still working in the RUC, and one is even heading the UK's Inspectorate of Constabulary, tasked with maintaining police standards. I'm sure he'll be doing a great job.

No-one who would look the other way on murder or serious crime is a fit member of any police force. Those still in law enforcement should be fired, and then, where there is sufficient evidence, they should be prosecuted for perverting the course of justice and as accessories to murder. Because if the police can't police themselves properly, then they sure as hell can't be trusted to police anyone else. In the meantime, there's a lesson here for those governments currently engaged in America's "war on terror" about the moral corruption such crusades lead to, and the need for those involved to be fully accountable and maintain a proper respect for human rights. Not even a "war on terror" is an excuse for murder, and those who think it is simply end up feeding the very beast they pretend to be fighting.


I just wonder, is there an end to all of these things? A lot of lives & future were wasted actually.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/23/2007 07:11:00 PM

The context is slightly different. Those accused were local police not 'the British' as such (meaning the forces of central govt). And of course a key target of the Republicans was the local police - RUC members was one of the biggest victim groups in NI I believe. Republicans were also particularly good at purging members of their own 'community' from the RUC so that the force became more sectarian than it might otherwise have been. So in some sense it would be human nature to ally against those who were killing/threatening your friends and colleagues.

I don't disagree with your conclusion re police credibility but the context and history of the conflict mean that moral lines can get a bit more blurred. And of course there was similar collusion in the Irish Republic between the IRA and the Garda but that has been swept under the carpet because the Irish are of course the 'victims' and have such cute accents.


Posted by Anonymous : 1/24/2007 09:56:00 AM