'Britain’s New FBI'

Guest writer Alec McCrory with a piece examining the potential impact of the British state forging ahead with the imposition of the National Crime Agency on the North.

A showdown is looming between the British government and the two main nationalist parties over plans to allow the National Crime Agency (NCA) to operate in the six counties. Recent discussions at Stormont ended in deadlock when Sinn Fein and the SDLP refused to support British government proposals to establish the new crime fighting agency in ‘Northern Ireland’, much to the chagrin of their unionist counterparts.

Political opposition to this development centres on the real concerns of the parties over accountability mechanisms. Reporting for The Detail, journalist Barry McCaffery writes:

The nationalist parties refused to support the legislation claiming it would create an unaccountable second police force which would be allowed to operate without proper scrutiny from the PSNI Chief Constable Matt Bagott, the Policing Board and the Ombudsman.

Both nationalist parties are keen to promote the image of a police service accountable under the Patten recommendations to their respective supporters. Another crime agency with powers equal to those of the police and answerable only to the British Home Secretary is enough to give them nightmares.

According to McCaffrey:

If the motion for consent had been approved this would have meant NCA officers having the same powers as PSNI officers; including the authority to conduct searches and make arrests; undertake surveillance operations; recruit agents and recover assets from criminals.

The problems this would cause for Sinn Fein and the SDLP become immediately apparent at a time when the PSNI/MI5 is drawing major criticism from NGOs such as the Committee for the Administration of Justice. In a report published late last year the CAJ raised some serious questions vis-à-vis the impartiality of the PSNI under the control and direction by MI5 on matters of ‘national security’.

The report pours cold water on the claims of effective accountability by highlighting the malign influence of the British security services within state institutions, such as the police and the prisons. MI5 permeates every level of these organisations, producing serious deformities in the criminal justice system. The internment of Martin Corey and Marian Price based on secret evidence are black stains on the political landscape. Brian Shivers, Brendan McConnville, John Paul Wotton and Stephen Murney are but other examples of current state of play.

Further talks between the two parties and David Ford have failed to close the gap. It is now believed that without agreement the British Home Secretary will have to reconsider how the NCA will operate in the North once the bill is passed on Thursday.

McCaffery argues:

The nationalist parties’ decision to block the legislative consent means that the new NCA agency will only have limited powers to operate in Northern Ireland on reserved matters, such as national security, immigration and border control.

There is an interesting twist in the story; Sinn Fein and the SDLP find themselves in agreement with the top echelon of the PSNI on this matter. Matt Baggott's Assistant Chief Constable, George Hamilton, believes his organisation should have operational control over the new agency:

NCA’s operation in Northern Ireland must fit with the existing accountability structures of the Policing Board and the Ombudsman so that we can continue to maintain and build public confidence in policing.

Who is he kidding! Hamilton and Baggott are only concerned about protecting the primacy of the RUC/PSNI whenever the new agency comes into being. The jitters within police HQ are palpable. Past competition between the police and other branches’ of the security services is well documented. The protection of sources has often led to the deliberate failure to share sensitive information resulting in the murders of many civilians.

Already, the National Crime Agency is being dubbed as Britain’s new ‘FBI’. On its official website the Agency's role is being described as follows:

  • pulling together a single national intelligence picture on organised criminals and their activities.
  • having the authority to coordinate and task the national response, prioritising resources according to threat.
  • working with law enforcement partners to ensure that those who commit serious and organised crime are pursued and brought to justice, their groups and activities disrupted, and their criminal gains stripped away.

From this it is easy to see why it is being likened to the ‘FBI’, and why Bagott is anxious for it to be brought under his operational control.

Almost twelve years since the signing of GFA, the oppressive arm of the British state is expanding rather than shirking. Over the coming year, we will see the birth of a powerful parallel policing agency working in conjunction with a plethora of existing security forces in the field. Of great interest to the public will be the recruitment policy of the new organisation. Are we likely to see the rebranding of the RUC for a second time? Don’t rule it out!


  1. Its coming Alec and there will be fuck all quisling $inn £ein or the stoops will be able to do about it,Westminster will overrule the puppets in Stormont,it may get dressed in a new form of clothes to allow these parties to con the people that they will be able to hold this organisation to account,the current "Fleg" dispute has shown that the policing board and the chief cuntsnotable are as effective as a chocolate tea cup, norn iorn and justice are strangers to any form of proper justice another shower of bastards trampling over our few rights will hardly make a blind bit of difference as far as the workings of the justice system here is concerned and as Alec has pointed out in the past so many agencies operating ended up almost at war with themselves and people died, are we going to have to endure this again before the people say enough is enough and toss the whole fucking lot out of here .

  2. I am not astounded at the NCA, It is common knowledge it is to be run by MI5/MI6, but, on checking on the named signatures to the document against it, I was astounded to see a name missing, for reasons known to myself and 6 others, That persons name can't be mentioned. I have been on the phone for a while trying to contact the person in question, but, to no avail, as have been 6 of my friends. I know this person very well. The bill which was put through the British parliament and passed, this is the crunch part of this bill, which is not stated is, "Secret Evidence Will Be Used" , Theresa Villiers will have no say on anything they do,she will need permission from MI5/MI6 to make comments to the media during questions, its understood she now has a standard Reply to any questions relating to this new and secret force, which will be on the line of, "For National Security Reasons, I am Unable to answer your questions at this particular time", A press release will be handed out by NCA press office pertaining to the ongoing arrests.

    Fear for the worst!, Not only SF, but every party in Stormont new about this, yet said nothing. I and my friends are in no doubt were this will lead to. Sad times ahead for all. British Imperialism is showing the sole of the boot to all, but that has been their norm, leaving there stamp of authority. Controlling of the masses. Welcome to the British SS, and, may they burn in there own ovens.

  3. Sorry Anthony I know this is of thread.

    "Man facing murder re-trial released on bail
    A man facing re-trial over the murder of two soldiers at Massereene Barracks in Antrim in 2009 has been released on bail.

    Brian Shivers, from Magherafelt, had been in custody in Maghaberry Prison awaiting the re-trial. All Charges have been dropped"

    The court of appeal quashed Brian Shivers conviction for the killings on the grounds that it was unsafe.

  4. When Gerry Adams referred to the dissadents being faced down, was this that they had in mind? Cruel Brittania, old wine new bottles? The next phase of repressive imperialist action is made public, at least that is something! This is for the public fear factor. I bet the conservatives, or better known as the self-servatives are pretty content with this. A whole new era of internment without trial, judge, jury and executorer begins on the word of the secret police. Pretty repressive stuff...

  5. itsjustmacker,

    obviously you are well informed on the marrter. However, most people I have been talking to are not aware of it and are quite shocked. Many nationalist/republicans do not have their eyes on the ball and are easily lulled in to a false sense of security. The NCA has not featured prominently in the public dicussions on policing to date. Most of the discourse releates to the PSNI and whether or not it is living up to the expectations of whichever side of the community. MI5 is the focus of some scrutiny because of the increased frequency in the number of approaches to citizens and other nefarious activities, but this new and powerful addition to the policing equation has gone largely unnoticed.

    There is a difference between operational and political control. You may be correct in saying the NCA is to be run by MI5/MI6, but the British Home secetary is the new organisation's political master. This is made clear on the offical Home Office website.

    Also, the NCA will operate, unless things change, outside of the Patton recommendations for policing 'accountabity'. This is the basis of Sinn Fein and SDLP opposition to the proposals nothing else. Sinn Fein does not, for example, object to it on the grounds of it being an addition to the many other British security services that exist here already. Nor does the party point to it being a major bolstering of the oppressive British state apparatus. It would be too much to expect it to adopt the proper republican position having accomodated itself to Bristish rule.

    Your warning to "fear the worst" is not hyperbole.

  6. More British policing, more British interference. More policing, less accountability. More draconian laws, less rights. More secret evidence, more dubious convictions. We are now witnessing the Sinn Fein strategy working in reverse gear.

    The use of secrect evidence will ultimately lead to a sharp increase in the numbers of prisoners. This is simply a mechanism for bypassing the few remaining legal safegaurds. The courts will once more act as a clearing house for the disposal of those identified as a threat to the British state.

  7. Alec:

    The NCA was debated in the English Parliament, July 2010 and plans drawn up for its creation. I have a habit of scouring for new bills which are interest and being pushed through Parliament, mostly in the late evening when only a few MP's are present, that way there is no objectors, its a cunning way they have of getting things done, and, then people say, WHAT, when did this come into LAW.

    Britain to get new FBI-style police force to tackle organised crime July 2010

    Under the Government’s proposals, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) could be stripped of many of its responsibilities for overseeing counter-terrorism strategy, with these being handed to the NCA.

    Its been said the Home secretary allowed the document to be leaked.


  8. It has been suggested that Bristow would not be leading the NCA, a chief MI5 Officer would be heading it. "The powers that Lie within the murky corridors of Whitehall"

    My Children scour for me as well, for anything with the words , "Northern Ireland" , and , Security"

    Keith Bristow will lead the agency when it starts its work in December 2012

  9. This passed into leglislation yesterday. It is now an agency in fact. The only thing that needs to be sorted out are the nuts and bolts of how it will be implemented in the North. Opposition from the SDLP and Sinn Fein require the British Home Secretary to review the terms and remit of the NCA to meet local conditions. What is in no doubt at all is the intorduction of the NCA to 'northern Ireland'. The two nationalist parties are powerless to stop this agency coming in to being. It has been legislated for already.

    As McCaffery points out, it will be responsible for what the British term as 'reserved matters' i.e, national security, immigration and border control, and there is absolutely nothing the two nationalist parties can do. The British Home Secrearty has made it clear that she plans to see the fullest remit possible agreed by everyone. It already has the support of all of the unionist parties.

    No doubt Sinn Fein and the SDLP will win a few minor alterations to allow them to save face, but it will be a Pyrrhic victory. This represent a colossal setback for the Sinn Fein strategy on policing and justice; there is no mistaking it. The whole public discourse has concentrated on the RUC/PSNI and accountable policing with very little mention of the NCA. It has snuck up on us like a theif in the night. More British policing, less accountability is the watch word of the new agency.

    Now we must blow the lid of this matter. People must be warned and made aware of the massive implication of this development. It is already to late too stop its legislative birth in the British parliament, but it is not to late to expose this betrayal.

  10. James,
    I think you have hit the nail on the head. MI5 have been running the show here for a very long time. No matter how political parties dress up their dismay about certain types of legislation and covert operations deep down they all believe the so called 'dissident' threat has to be faced down.

  11. Why do they need a New FBI. The the old FBI not up the job anymore..

  12. Instead of Eliot Ness we are going to get a Hellofa Mess.

  13. 'Both nationalist parties are keen to promote the image of a police service accountable under the Patten recommendations'

    Hah! I look forward to the spin SF put on this one.

  14. BB a cara you cant bet your arse they are keen to "promote the image of a police service accountable under the Patton recommendations" unfortunately the reemployment of the ruc and sb members and the totally inadequate two tier approach to demonstrations from the chief cuntnotsable and the policing boards inability to ask any awkward questions never mind hold anyone to account makes the current police service here look very much like the same old orange bastards with a tinge of green on the outside,

  15. Marty; agreed. But I meant I looked forward to how they'd promote the NCA since they're having such a hard job convincing anyone other than their sheep how Patten is being implemented.

    I'm away for a box of popcorn here.. To get ready for the show.

  16. Nuala,

    I think both you and Marty have a point. There are Republican Provos and there are Catholic Provos. The Catholic crowd went stater and the republicans pulled way from them.

  17. BB,

    just finished a bowl of poporn and M&Ms!!

  18. Mackers,
    Is this a follow on from the comment I made on the cranks page?
    If it is I am getting even more confused! Republican and Catholic Provos, I knew people who were both and they were genuine decent people who did not betray anyone or anything.

  19. MPs have this evening voted to back plans to allow more civil courts to examine secret intelligence in private, despite calls for more safeguards.

    I would say the meaning of this is, "GUILTY" every time, MI5 and their spies will be believed every time.

    Secret Evidence to be heard in all UK courts, norm Iron included

  20. Yes Nuala, it is a follow on. Sorry for not making that clear.

    When we refer to Catholics we are talking political Catolics rather than religious ones. Republican Provos can be religious Catholics. The Catholic Provos are those who want a better deal for the nationalists and will happily settle for it within the British constitutional framework. They might be driven by defenderism, a sense of commitment to their community, a dislike of injustice, whatever. But primarily they operate as reps of the Catholic community. Any Republican Provo has long since left the Provisionals. They would have a wider ideological lense than the one with a narrow focus on the Northern Catholic community.

    Without being judgemental about it I don't see any republicans in the Provos, just a lot of Communalist Catholics. Their ideological constituency is the Catholic community and their struggle is essentially against the Protestant community for resources and power distribution. This is why there is no real escape from sectarianism.

  21. Mackers,
    That's what I was asking why have SinnFein got the title Provos? It is as if it is the people in their ranks are now being credited with fighting the entire war.

  22. Nuala,

    I think it is shorthand. There is a tendency now to distinguish between Provisionalism and republicanism. There is a view that the Provos basically had their origins in Belfast Catholic defenderism, flirted with republicanism along the way and then reverted back to form. And the republicans departed, leaving only the Catholics.

  23. Where does people like McKee fit in that theory? Adams the man who undoubtedly destroyed the Provisionals does not fit either?
    A lot of those who enlisted in the Provos were Catholic reactionary but a lot were not and maybe that's why it's a bit more difficult to see it now being reduced to a comic strip.

  24. Billy is a Republican.
    Gerry is a Catholic.

    Both are political terms

    The republicans have left the Provos. Can you think of one that remains?

  25. Mackers,
    I have never heard those terms! Anyway that's not what I am asking, why should they be credited with having the name Provisonal when the sold every principle that the Provos were built upon.
    When I think of Provos I think of Billy, Brendan, Dolours

  26. Still on phone and that's why I'm sending these before I finish.
    I don't think of the Provos as the sell out brigade and that is why I did not find that post funny.

  27. AM..I have been following this thread and to me it makes fascinating reading. In your last comment you explain with great insight and clarity YOUR opinion of the make up of " Republican Provos". I have to say that there are none of those sentiments that I would disagree with and would actually concur. I mean how can a current Provo consider himself a true Republican whilst he supports and indeed implements British Rule? It is a nonsense. What is also interesting though is your assertion that because the Provos ideological stance is around protection of the Catholic community--and therefore against the Protestant community--there can be no real escape from sectarianism. Is this the same group who ere not sectarian during the conflict as I have intimated in other posts?

  28. Stephen Ferguson,
    Most of the people who formed the Provos had already been lifelong Republicans. The man credited with forming the Provisionals was not catholic reactionary.
    Granted a lot who later came along into the ranks were not Republican and maybe that's why they departed from the principles so readily?
    Having said that all who fought in that campaign under the banner Provo did not sell out! So why are the ones who did accorded the title.
    If anything this theory buys into their rhetoric that it was they who won the war and won the peace.

  29. Stephen,

    there has always been a sectarian mindset within the Provisional movement. I have witnessed it all my days, subscribed to it at one point as well. Sometimes it is more pronounced than it is at other times.

    The question remains and has always been, did that sectarian mindset manifest itself in target selection? Were people targeted because they were Protestants? As I have suggested you made a weak case whereas Robert taking a more nuanced approach made a stronger case.

    The Provo defenderism did not merely pitch them into defence against loyalism but to a greater degree into defence against the security forces. There is an interesting 1973 exchange between journalists and Seamus Twomey, then IRA chief of staff, about a shift in Provo discourse away from defence and retaliation and toward the more traditional 1916 discourse. That it came so late is revealing for a host of reasons.

    There are some facts we seem unable to get away from: The bulk of the people killed by the Provos were combatant/security force people. The bulk of the people killed by loyalists were non-combatants/members of an unarmed civilian population. I think ultimately that as a peace time moral calculus is applied to a war time situation (without the often necessary filters and contextualisers that might help better explain matters) this is an issue that loyalism is going to have to grasp. I also feel that republicans are facing the same difficulty but to a lesser degree because of the nature of targeting.

  30. AM--I feel like I am labouring the point here and you have given me a long and from your point of view plausible reasoning around the Provos mindset covetring sectarianism during the troubles. I have never opposed your view that the Provos main target was Army/Police..and sometimes working class catholics..I have also AGREED with you that the Loyalist campaign was a hugely sectarian one. But I have consistently maintained that within that movement there was a karge element of sectarianism which manifested itself when it suited. I feel that much of that may have been down to geographics and control of units by certain individuals. But it was there none the less. And AM..you cannot justify it by saying--it was only a wee bit and anyway not as bad as the Prods. It was either there or not...and it was. Undeniably--as i pointed out from 1971 until 1994.

  31. Mackers,
    Strange how we were one of the districts that bore the brunt of the loyalist, b special onslaught and yet we were not sectarian .
    If anything the IRA put less emphasis on retaliating to the murder of its own community that it did in targeting the British.
    I'm sure there were people with a sectarian mindset but I wonder where we got that novel idea from could it be we lived in a state ravaged by sectarian bigots who were born and bred with the mentality the only good Catholic is a dead one!

  32. Stephen,

    your original point if I am not mistaken was that the Provos waged a campaign that was sectarian not that there was a sectarian mindset. This has in my view proved an unsustainable assertion. If it is true it will need to be substantiated with more evidence than has been presented up to now.

    Not only was the loyalist campaign largely sectarian but it focussed on an unarmed civilian population which in ethical terms makes it worse than being merely sectarian.

    I think what we see today is not a case of the Shinners being sectarian because they hate Protestants but because they are locked into a zero sum sectarian outcome. I think the PUP suffer in the same way but it is impossible to argue that the PUP is filled with sectarian bigots. I know too many of them to believe that.

    And there are always degrees Stephen. In any situation one bad act is by degree much less severe than 100 bad acts. We all oppose torture but are forced to concede that a situation in which it happens once is a better situation than one where it happens a hundred times. So in terms of sectarian actions the Provos emerge much less sullied than the loyalists. And I want to make a point here rather than score one.

    But at the end of the day, to the victim it hardly matters if they are targeted because they are a this rather than a that. The one positive step that all can make is to agree that there are no legitimate targets.

    Once that is accepted as the bedrock I am sure we can manage even if it involves some muddling our way through.

  33. Mackers,
    Was Lenny Murphy and his elk not legitimate targets?
    What about the corrupt murderous police force?
    The soldiers who turned from peace keepers to ready made killers at the turn of a Government.
    Maybe I am still confused and thinking about a very different war!

  34. AM..I feel we are going to have to call it quits on this one. I have an opinion that you strongly disagree with..but I also feel that you ARE point SCORING by your repeat. However I agree 100% with your closing statements that there should be NO targets and although there may be muddy waters it does no harm whatsoever to try our best to clear them.

  35. Nuala,

    it is a term I have come to detest and would never again use. The notion of self appointed bodies deciding who will die and who will live holds little attraction for me. The right to kill (even after a trial) is something we won't even afford to a state. Hence our opposition to capital punishment. Why would we allow some body in society to take that right on itself? What is to stop that body proclaiming abortion doctors as legitimate targets?

    Having said that, I know I am somewhat unfairly asking you this through the prism of a peace time moral calculus when you are discussing a war time situation.

    I think that when we eventually do get to grips with the past we are going to apply our calculus in a calibrated fashion and will conclude that some 'legitimate targets' were less legitimate than others.

    I can at present think of no other way.

  36. Stephen,

    we must agree to differ and leave it at that.

  37. Nuala,

    what ever did Lenny's elk do to anybody? I have a dog and wouldn't like to think it was a legitimate target because of me!!

  38. Anthony, Stephen, a chairde what is the control we would use to calibrate our moral compass on deciding what determines a legitimate target,I cant think of any,might it be that we will have to except that we are all mea maxima culpa,and chuck out the muddy water along with the sectarian baby and start again!

  39. Marty..sounds good to me..clean water and a fresh start all round mo chara.

  40. Mackers,
    I think you know I meant ilk but it sort of enabled you to avoid that particular question so the humour was not lost.
    Mackers you are not asking me unfairly I don't need a moral calculus to remember why a piece of filth like Murphy went the way he did.

  41. Nuala,

    of course I knew you meant ilk. But you got the answer I opted to give in the previous comment. The joke was a stand alone.

    I have no sympathy for Lenny. He was a war criminal of the worst possible type that emerged from the war. But you still need a moral calculus to justify it or any other action you decide to take during a war. Justification is the application of a moral calculus just as much as condemnation is.


    a very good question. But a starting point would be along the lines of something you alluded to in an earlier post when we were discussing mitigation or justification. If we were to chart a graph with legitimacy on the Y axis and longevity on the X axis I think there would be a dip the further along the X axis we go.

    In all of this a factor would seem to be what was it that allowed a group to kill with such conviction but abandon that conviction so readily when a leadership in front of their eyes pissed down their back and told them it was raining. How come about 1300 members of the British security forces were killed because amongst other things they were defending the consent principle and now many of those who killed them or supported killing them want people jailed for attacking those who are defending the consent principle? The killers of those who defended the consent principle are now defending the consent principle. There is a serious ethical leap here that has yet to be satisfactorily explained.

  42. According to the cops that arrested the creature Murphy he did not emerge from the war neither did his elk.
    He was of the opinion as was Brendan Hughes that they would have been psychopaths in any given society.
    Wonder what calculus guided Lenny?

  43. Anthony we may hear long winded and opinionated explanations but a satisfactory one will never be forthcoming I,m afraid its like the truth a complete stranger in this seedy affair called the troubles, big news tonight on the BBC Harry Fitz scooped in Italy on £450 mill property and fraud charges thats gonna make a hole in the retirement funds...

  44. Nuala,

    I think that people see the name as going with the organisation. And when they describe the organisation as the Provisionals they are asserting their own republicanism. Also as the Provos make a play these days of not liking being called the Provos, there might be an element of flipping the bird at them.

    I think there was a sectarian strain that ran though the organisation. Many people in the North and East of Belfast had a very sectarian outlook at times. Derry men in the jail were often perplexed at the Belfast sectarianism. At the same time it was Belfast people including people from around Clonard or close enough to it who opposed the descent into sectarianism that they believed to be happening in the mid 70s.

  45. Nuala,

    the moral calculus of a war criminal. Without wars there are no war criminals. They may well be something else equally as bad but it is war that gives rise to war crimes.

  46. Nuala,

    for those who think there was a sell out it is valid to argue that the Provos as an organisation sold out. When I claim the Provisionals picketed my home I am right to do so even though all Provisionals did not Picket it nor did all of them agree with it.

    I found Marty very witty with his earlier commentary.

  47. Mackers,
    I found Martys piece in poor taste, but that does not mean other people would not find it witty sadly. I just re-read it and to be honest it sounded as bad on the second read just like me repeatedly spelling Ilk wrong it does not make me a bad person but I always find predictably in certain contexts annoying.

  48. Mackers,
    That's the point he was not a war criminal, all who knew him including the arresting cop said Murphy would have murdered and in the most savage manner in any society.
    Brendan Hughes reiterated this believe in relation to Bates they were not products of war they were full blown psychopaths.

  49. Nuala,

    I thought it funny particularly in the comment about taking you to the wrong destination. But we have a pluralist ethos here and what pleases one may not please another.

  50. Nuala,

    I disagree. For decades I have viewed him and the others butchers as war criminals. I think one of the PUP criticised me for saying Bobby Bates was a war criminal after he had been shot dead. The war didn't make Murphy a criminal or a psychopath. But it made him a war criminal. The acts he carried out were carried out by one of the organisations that was involved in the war.

    While on a different scale Reinhard Heydrich was a criminal of unspeakable barbarity and may well have been a psychopathic killer without the war, but the war made him a war criminal.

    Wars being violent dirty affairs which allow people the opportunity to indulge in violence open up space that people like Murphy are eager to fill.

  51. Mackers,
    I made a perfectly valid point a few weeks ago and it seemed as if spirits were being conjured up to respond can of worms being an understatement but you take it on the chin.
    I did not like the underlying connotations it made me feel uneasy, other people found it hilarious. If I'm at fault will then it's straight down the line fault not recruited.

  52. Nuala,

    I didn't agree with you then and don't agree with you now. Differences of opinion are just that: differences. Different opinions only become a problem when we are not allowed to air them

  53. Mackers,
    What opinions I have I air them under my own name and I don't enlist pseudonyms to rally round me.
    People who know me well and read into those posts agree with me , as a matter of fact some pointed it out before I seen it.
    That's in another memory now but I won't go along with something and think something else, there's a name for that.

  54. Nuala,

    you seem to be defending yourself against claims that nobody has made - certainly not on this blog that I can recall.

    Nobody has said you enlist pseudonyms to rally around you.

    Nobody has said you think something but go along with something else.

    So I don't really know what you are talking about.

  55. I thought it was obvious even if neither here or there!
    I was making the point that I never stooped that low but those who did seem the better thought of, again neither here or there.

  56. I am in no doubt that, If they were alive (Shankill Butchers) today They could be charged as war criminals, It makes no difference if they were deluded sectarian psychopath murderers.

  57. I think it would be incredibly difficult to charge anyone as a war criminal during the troubles, as it was never acknowledged as a war by anyone other than the Republican soldiers fighting it. For a very long time, Reinhard Heydrich operated under the cover of a legitimately elected government that went on to occupy other territories, including Bohemia and Moravia, where Heydrich was finally assassinated. Even the Geneva Conventions do not provide the protection of prisoner of war status to freedom fighters whose countries have been invaded (as the north of Ireland was by Britain).

  58. Nuala,

    without anything substantive backing you claim that you are thought less of than others who post we can only let it pass.


    nobody will be charged with war crimes because officialy and legally inscribed across the charge street would be the imprimatur of war. The Brits will never do that.

  59. I'm not claiming that and it would not bother me if I was so by all means let it pass!

  60. Former IRA leader continues to deny being in the IRA

  61. Poor Gerry Adams TD, He will go down in the annuls of history as being a Habitual Liar. It beggars belief how he continually denies , Not Just Being In The RA, but being an OC, The British Know, there are those of us who know, so the main question is, "IS HE BEING PROTECTED" , he worked a flanker by standing in a safe seat in the Dail, He has washed his hands of the North.

  62. Anthony/Itsjustmackers;

    'Former IRA leader continues to deny being in the IRA'

    He's consistent. Ill give him that!

  63. AM,
    It would seem that you have inadvertently become a better Christian than an atheist these days although that rule below was written for the Hebrews and it could be argued that it is non-applicable to, blah, blah, blah. Just curious, does your reasoning, and I’m not being facetious, make you a double murderer and nothing more?
    “Thou shall not Kill” – and just below in ever so small and just about discernible print and which Moses failed to mention – THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS, PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Murphy et al (his elk - I thought it was a black taxi they used!) were by no means psychotic...this was an excuse used by the British to cover the fact that these people committed such hate driven barbarous and brutal murders, that British Unionism culture couldn't be seen to have created them....they were the product of a culture of pure hate and in turn allowed to vent that hatred by the British security forces to scare the Nationalist community in to submission….the RUC knew from the very beginning who they were as the whole of the Shankill Road did…the emergence of a surviving witness was the spanner in the works…..Murphy et al were no psychopaths – an establishment excuse to excuse a brutal and vulgar culture spawned and nurtured by Britain.

  64. Niall,

    that suggests that Christianity may be more moral than atheism, not a view I would subscribe to.

    No, given my own views, it would not put me in that category. For me to look at it that way would be to drain a violent political conflict of its politics and in its place put an explanation that would amount to an aggravated crime wave.

  65. Anthony in relation to your last comment a cara "for me to look at it that way would be to drain a violent political conflict of its politics and in its place put an explanation that would amount to an aggravated crime wave" exactly what quisling $inn £ein have done are are doing with the current conflict.

  66. AM,

    Not my intention to suggest anything of the sort….God forbid ……sorry, sorry, wrong term! In turn, you also suggest that atheism is more morally correct…..don’t know about that as there have been just as many immoral atheists as there have been immoral Christians…. Mmmmm, not too sure about atheism being the moral king of the castle….. but Christianity certainly isn’t either.
    Aggravated crime wave….certainly SF/MI5’s actions today in acceptance of the legitimacy of Britain’s presence would imply such for that in turn reduces all political past actions to actions within a generally accepted civil society which is tantamount to terrorism and criminality…..and actually the behaviour of some of our glorious past Republican icons especially those recently in the public eye such as that pompous narcissist McFeeley adds weight to the argument. But can we condemn the actions of those today and justify our own past actions…….if it’s never morally correct to take a life then would all wars not be demoted to criminality.

  67. Niall,

    I have not suggested that atheism is superior morally. Atheism is just a disbelief in any god. My point is that Christianity can not lay claim to any moral status that would elevate it above atheism. A more focused point I would make is that people do not need to believe in a god to behave justly. Atheists can be as moral as anybody else, sometimes more so and sometimes less so. They are not morally disadvantaged by being atheistic.

    Sinn Fein's actions today call into serious question the legitimacy of the IRA campaign to force the Brits out of Ireland and coerce the unionists into a united Ireland. SF defend the consent principle the IRA killed many combatants for defending. It has greater difficulty undermining the legitimacy of IRA actions that were simply the outworking of popular grievance inspired insurrection. I think this is why SF try to redefine the struggle as one of equality: it is easier for it to stand over armed actions that were strategic rather than traditional.

    The actions of the 'glorious past republican icons' invite the perspective of the present to very much write the past. I am sure there are people who have concluded that the many of the past republicans had they survived would do this sort of thing.

    Is it ever morally correct to kill someone? I would try not to phrase it that way. But your question is no less valid for that. I can think of many circumstances where it would not be morally wrong. And the difference then seems paper thin. I think the second position Niall probably contains within it a reluctance towards killing people where the language of it being morally correct to kill people seems to be more positive towards it and therefore opens up a worrying vista.

    But I don't have the answers that would satisfy me thoroughly much less persuade anybody else. I think about the questions more than I come up with the answers.