The killing of Ian Ogle in East Belfast’s Cluan Place in the same week that four members of the UDA were sentenced to life imprisonment for their involvement in the killing of Colin Horner, is indicative of how loyalist militias continue to hold sway over and intimidate people within the community from which they hail.
The two dead men were well known in the world of loyalism which allows for the possibility that both died as a result of loyalist feuding. True or not, of more importance is why there are still thriving bands of loyalist militias that are able to feud and kill members of the unionist community in the first place.
Attacked by five men, Ogle sustained a fractured skull and eleven stab wounds to his back. Frenzied, vicious and very public. By all accounts he was no saint and indeed was described as lacking in saintly qualities by someone who knew him. If saints are like priests, then lacking the credentials for sainthood is laudable. There is no doubt, Ogle rubbed shoulders with more than a few unsavoury characters and it seems likely he knew his killers. At one time he had been instructed by the UVF to turn up by appointment to be punished which he refused to do. That raises the possibility that he was murdered by appointment, possibly lured to his death. This was most definitely not stranger danger.
The UVF has been placed in the frame for his killing but has denied any involvement. This has been rubbished by his daughter Toni Johnston, who very convincingly provided the BBC with a history of the threats and intimidation Ogle and his family had endured. For eighteen months he had feared being killed and was deeply worried about the safety of his son. Ms Johnston said that while she did not believe the UVF had sanctioned the killing of her father she was certain they were using the cover of the UVF for their nefarious deeds.
What I have to say to the UVF, what I have to ask from the UVF, is why these thugs were able to terrorise this community for so long. I am not blaming the organisation as a whole, but they were using the name of the UVF. I blame the UVF for protecting them.
There are echoes here of the killing of Robert McCartney in a bar about less than half a mile from the scene of Ogle’s killing, an incident that saw the PSNI initiate a prosecution designed to fail.
A variant of PSNI complicity is also at play in the backdrop to the killing of Ogle. Although the force is making its obligatory call for assistance from the public, the same public understand only too well – because they are victims of the process – that the PSNI has entered into a Faustian pact with loyalist militias. Despite the belief from within unionism that "a policing operation could put loyalists out of business" there is not the slightest indication of anything of the sort.
A University of Ulster Report in 2011 concluded that PSNI inertia was largely responsible for this stasis. The PSNI are not inert however when it comes to stop and search, house raids and arrests within the nationalist community. For the Police Service of Northern Inertia, being inert is a choice. A resident from a working class loyalist community cited in the University of Ulster report pointed out the consequences of inertia.
I would say every area is the same. Every area has got a paramilitary influence . . . and the politicians, the bosses in the PSNI are burying their heads. I live in a Loyalist working class area and it (policing) hasn’t changed one bit and, if anything, it has got worse … This paramilitary influence has been brushed under the carpet by the politicians and the police don’t deal with it and it’s business as usual.Same old, same old, move along, nothing to see here. The thin blue line will place itself between people and harm but only if in doing so it is not harmful to the peace process and the careers that racket has spawned.
Anthony McIntyre blogs @ The Pensive Quill. Follow Anthony McIntyre on Twitter @AnthonyMcIntyre
The ordinary decent Loyalist people are sick to death of these drug dealing gangs of thugs being immune from the Law as well. While not sanctioned, what difference does it make when members invoke the shield of an organisation as justification?ReplyDelete
The PSNI know full well who was responsible, most of East Belfast does, I had family members attend the vigil for Big O and the mood was simmering. The cops are being lazy, saint or not due process must be undertaken.
The paramilitaries will always be present in some form in our communities. I was back two years ago after many years away and nothing had changed save more grey hairs on the local volunteers. What really got me was the rampant drug dealing in open view in the neighbourhoods, none of which could possibly have gone ahead without direct involvement or taxation by the same so called 'loyalists'.
The last time I saw a drugs 'boom' there was when Wright split the Mid Ulster Brigade away into the LVF- synonymous with drug dealing even today. From what I understand that cancer spread and the lure of money turned the head of loyalists who should have known better.
How can you claim to defend a community and poison it at the same time? Loyalists my fucking hole.
Steve R ,ReplyDelete
Sadly drug dealing and the misery it brings is cancer on the society in which we live , it's everywhere Steve , almost every crime committed is drug related , the cops aren't interested as their tax on the dealers is intelligence and information rather than the financial demands placed on them by the paramilitaries.
The cities are bad enough but the country towns are a hell of a lot worse , the paramilitary godfathers dictate who deals and who doesn't and most of them have a fetish for the marching powder anyway , as for the murder of Ian Ogle , why are people shocked , the U.V.F has always had blood thirsty butchers in its ranks , so no surprise there , the peelers will go through the motions like they have been doing in every killing the Provos or the U.V.F have been involved in over the past 20 years the end result being no convictions or convictions on a much lesser charge , the world we live in , eh.
Totally agree Staffenberg. I think though the daughter's video that can be found on youtube or social media was haunting, and her pain evident. She is known as a nice wee girl to use the Belfast vernacular. The transition from 'para-militarism' to the omerta of an organised crime gang is very little.Delete
But you are right, they have replaced a fondness for ANFO for a Colombian Export, and as it's an Ego drug this just fuels their own narcissism and sense of entitlement thus becoming the cancer of the working class right across the divide.
Staffenburg - "...as their tax on the dealers is intelligence and information .."...seriously, are you serious? There was a case recently of a middle range dealer who was openly allowed to deal by his handlers as long as he procured information for them. They even arrested potential competition....in his words they never seemed to do anything with the information...the monies generated by drug dealing can be abused by those in authority too...sure if you have previously murdered people with state sanction a few quid is nothing!Delete
I have no sympathy for Ogle...how many did he hurt in a similar manner and where was the public outcry for them....I reserve my sympathies when bullies get what they deserve....
Good critical piece....
Niall - thanks for that. I am not sure Staffenberg has said a lot different from you. He said the tax was the acquisition of the information, not the use or lack of use of what they obtain. Your lack of sympathy for Ogle reminds me of the Salman Rushdie maxim that when tyrants fall only hypocrites grieve. I think it is the default common sense position of most people.Delete
I'm actually in agreement with you as Anthony has pointed out , I didnt know Ian Ogle and I don't know his history but 15 stab wounds in the back tell me that those responsible didn't have the balls to look him in the eye as they dispatched him to eternity.