Government recognition of UVF ceasefire is a "crackpot situation".

There’s a lot of coverage of yesterday’s murder in Belfast today, from the Irish Examiner to The Guardian.. and all points between.. the fourth killing by the UVF in the past 6 weeks.. but while Lord Rooker, Secretary of State the only NIO minister available, repeated the now familiar statement, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise given the IMC’s last report – and with “sources close to the UVF”, according to this Irish Independent report, making self-serving statements – “They [the LVF] have to disappear, they have abused this society for too long” – the demand for the ending of the charade of government recognition of that ceasefire should get louder.. whether government is listening is a different matter.

  • Cynic

    Is this a preview of what is to come when the Provos turn on renegades? “They have to disappear, they have abused this society for too long” – government tolerance for this sort of dirty work, saves on prison costs and avoids those nasty Human Rights cases….Should no one be alaramed that the government is content to let the UVF do its dirty work? Are the PSNI merely there for window dressing and handing out blankets?

  • circles

    Cynic:
    Just what are you on about? The article is about the UVF war on the LVF and the governments blind eye tactics to increasing loyalist violence – and somehow you manage to immediately turn this into another IRA bashing session.
    Is it not high time for a serious bit of UVF bashing round these parts? The IRA aren’t even involved in this story!!

  • Cynic

    Circles, I am concerned that the government is content to allow the UVF to openly murder and maim undesirables and I am not so blind as to deceive myself that the time won’t come soon when the government will be content to let the Provos do the same. Oh, wait, they already have been. What sort of society do we live in and again I ask, what are the PSNI therefore apart from window-dressing? Why do these groups get away with murder time and again?

    Step back from the usual whatabout bollocks and look at this for what it is. The British government happy with gangs doing its dirty work. Reduces prison costs and avoids human rights cases. How hard is that for you to understand or do you need to put down the blinkers?

  • Macswiney

    Cynic,

    Sorry but you have failed to address Circles’s point. The article exclusively deals with the UVF campaign of murder against the LVF (which by the way is not a feud as both parties have to be involved and all 4 deaths have been by The UVF). It seems you lack the courage to address this issue in isolation. Instead you create some imaginary ‘future’ campaign by PIRA against dissident groups. You then proceed bizarrely to condemn both sides!

  • circles

    I think Cynic you know that this has nothing to do with blinkers. I also think you would recognise the fact that unionists were quick to call a halt to anything that resembled cooperation at the slightest hint of IRA activity (remember the smoke and mirrors of the invisible stormont spy-ring that never was?). Pressure was always applied to the IRA and lead in no small part to their recent statement.

    I think too that you would acknowledge that similar pressure has not been applied in anyway to anyone on the unionist / loyalist side, despite their increasing violence. Indeed the silence of the good Dr.’s normally roaring voice is astonishing. Trying to reduce this to the usual childish discourse of “they did too, it not fair, boo-hoo” distracts from the urgency needed to address these UVF murders. You immediately started this thread with a subtle stroke of whataboutery – and I think whats even worse than that is that you didn’t even notice, its just a built in reflex.

  • martin

    Cynic,

    I’d say your post was a premptive strike of whataboutery

  • Jacko

    I am no friend of the Provos, but to drag them into this on whatever pretext shifts the focus from where it should remain: on loyalism in general; the UVF and their latest killing spree in particular; how in God’s name a ceasefire can still be considered intact in the light of this spree; and what the hell the police are going to do about it all.
    If the Provos had behaved anything like this during their period on ceasefire I would have been among the first to attack them. But the fact is they haven’t – thank God.

  • Cynic

    Cue the amen chorus, why expect anything more than that from this site.

    Once again, why is the government happy to allow gangs to murder and maim? Collusion is not an illusion or is it? Can you wrap your sectarian minds around the idea that the Brits don’t care about anyone here, Orange or Green, and will make deals with whoever is more powerful, and those deals include a murder here, a feud there, a bit of internal housekeeping, and oops, the odd innocent caught in the crossfire.

    Why it is tolerated is the real question. But perhaps there is too much invested in the Whataboutery. Why worry if the UVF is on the hunt against the LVF, why worry if the PIRA attacks the RIRA, why worry if the British government turns a blind eye and all the PSNI does is hand out blankets instead of using their intelligence to make arrests and convictions?

    Oh, but we couldn’t have convictions of the evil-doers because that would upset the peace process! It might expose the deals. But would anyone actually mind or bother about it? Probably not. Just keep bleating what about, what about, what about…there’s a good sheep now, baaaa….

    IN OTHER WORDS FOR THE HARD OF READING YOU ARE SO INTENT ON POINT SCORING AND SO HAPPY THAT THE OTHER SIDE IS GETTING STICK THAT YOU CAN’T SEE THE BIG PICTURE. WAKE UP!

  • merrygoroundoflove

    I would like to but your moronic arguments have a distinctly sedative effect.

  • circles

    Cynic:
    You’re certainly not the most lucid of posters, but lets see…

    Nope sorry, don’t even no where to begin – its a mixture of fact, what-ifs, supposed conspiracies, and a fair deal of frustration.

    I would agree with Jacko though – condemnation where condemnation is due. The UVF ceasefire is long since over and the necessary actions must be take – rawhide style (round em up, ride em in etc.)

  • Cynic

    Jacko, true, the loyalist feuds have been more intense and left a larger trail of dead in its wake, but don’t kid yourself about the tolerance for it regardless of what side that the government holds. The Provos are operating under different constraints because they are more in the process and the Brits want more from them, it’s quid pro quo for both in terms of how they act, but mark my words when the dotted line is finally signed they too will have a free hand to wipe out who they like and they too will be all to happy to take advantage of it. So why do we as society tolerate this, from either side of the divide? Why do we look at it from side of the divide instead of seeing it for what it is: lousy policing, a sham government, a place that already is a mafia state that is not in the process of peace but in the process of making room for another mafia to go as respectable as the one that used to run this place.

  • Jo

    Oh, we’re ALREADY a Mafia state, are we?

    My goodness that one crept up quickly – wasn’t ANYTHING like that in the 70s 80s or 90s – no bank robberies, hold ups intimidation or nuthing like that until – er – until, the IRA declared a ceasfire and the rates of killings dropped until the majority killers of the last 10 years have been…er…wait its coming..oh yes, the Loyalists! But never mind that, lets see that cyrstal ball again..oh no, look its changing..from a crystal ball…to… a load of balls!

  • pocohantas

    As a late arrival to this convo I wont bother commenting on Cynic’s nonsense remarks, on the topic of ‘what are the police doing?’ however I would ask what for suggestions about what they can realistically do.
    Short of providing a CPU officer for each LVF and UVF man they cant do much – they aren’t psychic! They are doing their best to control riots but due to the rapidly dwindling numbers of experienced police personel its hardly surprising that they’re doing a crap job!

  • susan

    I live in East Belfast and I despair at the hold the paramilitaries have on this society but I admit I have no idea on how to rid them from society. Paramilitaries aren’t easy to identify – they don’t have it written on their foreheads – maybe on their arms! Paramilitaries are my neighbours or people who serve me in shops they aren’t obviously monsters. Some of them became involved to deal drugs or make a fast buck but some of them became involved because their father or their family had always belonged or because they genuinely believed their society needed protection. Some of the young guys became involved it seemed glamorous or because they were unemployed and it was something to do. They are so closely knit in this community it wouldn’t be easy to pull them out.Condemnation by anyone; unionist, Big Ian isn’t going to stop them. They have as low an opinion of unionist politicians as you have. Like a lot of people particularly young people they see politics over here as having nothing to with them. The police in East Belfast are perceived as useless in tackling crime and there is a great deal of anger about the lack of action over assaults, rapes etc.
    Any body any constructive ideas?

  • Jo

    Susan:
    Well, they appear to know each other, and where each other lives & works, as we have seen in recent times. The (true) cynic says well let them get on with it – when the Republicans had their own internecine war, priests came in to mediate. Don’t see much chance of that in the current dispute – may well get worse before it gets better. Youre probably right about the excitement, but the jobless problem isnt what it used to be? Greed, more like.

  • jocky

    Susan, its a similar situation in many deprived communtities throghout the UK, where the police for whatever reason (namely cant be bothered, to much effort for too little benefit) have all but abondoned whole areas to gangs. Obviously the problem is excerbated in N.I. due to the degree of organistion and histroy of the gangs involved.

    The only wat to sort it IMO is for the police to prove that they give a feck. Set up shop in these areas and prove they will be there for the community for the long haul and work with the community.

    Unfortunately normally a cost/beneift analysis is done and its not deemed worthwhile, after all the majoirty of people are sufficently disenfranchised not to vote and hence matter.

  • susan

    Jo
    I agree about letting them get on with it but unfortunately they are somebody’s father or son and they just become a martyr and create more like them. A lot of these paramilitaries are 2nd generation – their dad was killed so they joined to avenge him and so it goes on. The jobless problem is bad in pockets. Its ok if you have qualifications but if you have no qualifications its tough out there. The paramilitaries pay their volunteers – I don’t how much or who to – I am just going by rumour. Anyway getting the young hoods some education or a trade would be a start. But then you have to convince them that the boring alternative of education is worthwhile!

  • Dessertspoon

    Jocky I think that’s a very obvious line to take. The Police need the support and it’s no good blaming the Police if you won’t support them. They do “give a feck”.

    The Police have a thankless task – Nationalists/Republicans won’t talk to them most would rather throw things at them, Loyalists/Unionists won’t talk to them most would rather throw things at them. Nationalist politicians don’t want to help them or support them just attack them. Loyalist/Unionist politicians don’t want to help them or support them just attack them. Bit of a catch 22 really. Is it any wonder they just sit out on the road with their speed cameras. So I suppose we start by endorsing the Police, by supporting the Police and letting them know it’s OK to go and get these thugs, charge them and jail them. It’s OK no-one will hinder the investigation by starting a convenient riot, people can and will talk to them.

    I know it’s a crazy idea but this is a crazy mixed up world we live in. I know the Police have not been the bastions of fair play and credibility over the years but they are changing (no really they are and it’s not just the uniform and the badge) so we need to move a little too.

  • Jo

    Susan:
    Its hard to match the lifestyle and glamour of the alternative with a boring day job isnt it? I know trades have been maligned in favour of an acdemic education but I earn less in my office job these days than a good brickie or joiner!

    People are always pretty clear on whats to blame for the roblems – not going to church etc, too much money, but there are careers in the police for young people who can make a real difference to their community..sadly, if your dad was a hood and you admire that or have been drafted into his shows, not much chance of getting that job….

  • martin

    Mc DOWELLS HOWLS ABOUT Loyalist violence are as loud as ever

  • Niall

    *“Short of providing a CPU officer for each ……they cant do much – they aren’t psychic!”
    Posted by: pocohantas at August 16, 2005 04:24 PM*

    I didn’t think that the police needed to be psychic as they had a good insight to the mentioned gangs. Aren’t the police assumed to run many of their operatives in these gangs? One of the problems is that the police can’t take action against their own spies and informers?

  • Gonzo

    Note Hain’s comment “gangsterism masquerading as loyalism”.

    By making it clear that these crimes are not ‘political’ (not that a British minister ever should have implied that murder is anything less than murder), Hain absolves the Government from having to make any pronouncement on the state of the UVF ceasefire.

    Hitting the PUP in the pocket won’t help, but let’s not kid ourselves – the UVF is at war, not with the IRA, but the LVF. In the bizarre moral desert of Northern Ireland, if two terrorist groups go to war and they’re the same religion, it somehow doesn’t count as a ceasefire breach.

    A big hand to the deathbed-ridden Mo Mowlam, who introduced us to the concept of a post-ceasefire paramilitary licence to kill without political (errrr… or ANY, really) consequences for the perpetrators.

  • Jo

    Hey Gonzo, i sure hope none of your family have cancer anytime soon!!!

  • looking in

    rapidly dwindling numbers of experienced police personel

    Well today on way to and from work I saw 10 cops out and about in cars – problem was only two were uniformed beat officers – the other 8 – yep plain clothes personal protection bod driving the unworthy and unneedy around the town at tax payers expense. I note Order raised this many months ago but like all perks those benefitting have squealed and he’s silent on this resource

    So please less of the emasculated cops – they have more per capiata than rest of UK constabularies IIRC – it just seems that they stand around doing twat all. What the reasons for that are are being debated here, elsewhere and in communities under attack from hoods of all sides

  • peteb

    Gonzo

    Note Hain’s comment “gangsterism masquerading as loyalism”

    Noted. But it’s from a previous statement.. not a new one.

  • looking in

    I note tonight that dep-leader of DUP has been busy putting pen to paper and exercising his political intellect on the real life-death issue (excuse pun) affecting his own constituients and wider unionist community today – a whole page in the Bel. Tel on the subject of the Dail speaking rights!

    Let me blaspheme – jesus fecking FFS – where is this noddy living – just the sort of leadership credentials on display that shows why the DUP are a bunch of deranged crackpots and bampots

    Who is to deny if it had been “the other side” that had shot his constituient yesterday he and the other muppets in dup would be saturating media and airwaves with vitriol.

    Predictable, sad and ultimately wholly depressing little community we live in……

  • Gonzo

    Jo

    Just stating a fact, and it is sad that Mo is not long for this world. I know it’s painful to watch someone deteriorate due to uncurable disease. I think she will be remembered in a positive light. I met her a few times when she was secretary of state, and she was always very down to earth, chatty and pleasant – although she certainly rubbed her fair share of people up the wrong way in Stormont too. There is some twisted kind of admiration for someone who could make politicians squirm and civil servants fume impotently in silence…

    Nevertheless, her ‘internal housekeeping’ remark many years ago has left us with a situation today where we have a government policy that means paramilitary groups can continue to kill with relative impunity – as long as the victim shares his killer’s religion or perceived political background.

    Basically, what it boils down to – and what we’ve been dicussing during the current loyalist feud – is that paramilitary groups can kill people on their own ‘side’ without fear of political consequences.

    It was originally devised to protect Sinn Fein from political sanction because of IRA activity.

    IIRC, specifically, I think Mowlam’s comments followed the killing of Charles ‘Chuckie’ Bennett in Belfast. The IRA had accused him of being an informer, and there was a furore over his cold execution. However, it was more politically convenient at the time for the Government to have republicanism inside the tent pissing out, instead of outside, pissing in.

    Whether innocent or guilty of the charge, it demonstrated that the IRA was still very much in control and held a position of authority over the State as judge, jury and executioner in republican areas.

    Bennett’s killers will never be caught.

    Two days ago, we had a man blown to pieces by loyalists at the door of his workplace. But because he was killed by the UVF and it was assumed that he was connected to the LVF, his murder by a terrorist group (with political advisors who hold elected positions) is not regarded by the Government as a ceasefire breach. Any political penalties are largely cosmetic and shortlived – and it’s hard to say whether they make the situation better or worse.

    A bit of a blot on Mo’s copybook.

    After her comments, paramilitary groups realised they could kill alleged informers, drug dealers and members of rival paramilitary groups – as long as they didn’t cross the sectarian divide. Of couse they took advantage, and I suspect the initial softly-softly approach by the Govt led to people dying. As ‘internal’ killing continued, especially in loyalism, and paramilitary criminality was ignored for so long, the control paramilitary groups held after the ceasefires did not diminish.

    This led to a kind of crisis of political confidence in the Agreement. Unionists (and many others) believed that democratic principles, the rule of law and State authority was subservient to political convenience – ie, the need to keep the political associates of paramilitary groups ‘on board’.

    This lack of public confidence in the political process eventually forced the Government to do something about it. It set up the Independent Monitoring Commission to report on paramilitary activity and the Assets Recovery Agency (and the national Organised Crime Task Force is also pretty busy here).

    While the ARA can chip away slowly at criminal activity by paramilitary groups, the IMC reports will be acted on by a Government that doesn’t really want to punish Sinn Fein or the PUP. Now we seem to have moved to a different situation – where the UVF clearly doesn’t give a toss how the Government sanctions the PUP.

    Since the PUP no longer has any restraining influence over the UVF as it continues to kill perceived LVF members, the Government must be asking itself “what is the point of the PUP?” Perhaps it isn’t too bothered about two group of loyalist paramilitaries trying to wipe each other out. Perhaps it might even tie up some awkward loose ends on a permanent basis. Who knows? NI is still a place apart as far as the Govt goes. Always has been.

    The police are claiming to have already stopped a number of potential killings in this current feud. But crime solving isn’t as easy as it used to be with all those dead or retired informers not providing information any more; a peacetime budge that makes prevention of activity – such as the cost of staffing the patrols needed during a feud when information in not specific – take out a bigger proportion of the budget than it used to; and a high proportion of new inexperienced officers coupled with the retirement of those with experience.

  • Jo

    Gonzo
    Its entirely wrong to personalise a wide range of policies with reference to someone like Mo, who not only is dying, but was a member of a Cabinet which had/has collective responsibility. You will recall how much TB was personally involved in things here and to assign responsibility to a woman, who is terminally ill, rather than the PM, reeks of chauvinism, entirely misunderstands the nature of relations at the level of the political executive and is just downright nasty. Kicking someone when theyre dying, not just down is quite simply, low.

  • DCB

    Jo

    I agree that the “internal housekeeping” policy can’t be blamed all on Mo, (indeed I think that British NI policy has largley been set and shaped by civil servents) however I think Gonzo raises some very valid points none the less.

  • Macswiney

    Whatever the stark realities of Mo’s condition may be, I find it insensitive and unnecessary of may of you making reference to what you perceive to be her imminnent death. Even those who have defended her are all too happy to point this out. Is some respect out of the question…?

  • Sean Fear

    Gonzo’s basic point is correct, except I’d go a bit further. It would seem that anything done by NI terrorist organisations is okay, as far as the NIO is concerned, save for (a) bombs on the mainland and (b) attacks on the security forces.

    I find it hard to feel much sympathy for politicans and commentators who complain about this fact, yet who have for years been urging us to turn a blind eye to terrorist activity in the interest of the peace process.

  • Michael

    I take it the IMC are on holiday or they have just decided once again that Loyalist Violence isn’t really anything to do with them. I think they should be renamed the “IMC for Republicans”. When the aduction of Tommy Tohill took place and the IRA were apparently involved they produced an extra report, when the northern bank robbery took place and the IRA were apparently involved they produced an extra report. But yet !!!!!! when loyalist gunmen are killing people (4 so far) that doesn’t need a report to review the situation of thier ceasefires.

  • Fanny

    Shinner calls for IMC report shock.

  • redfoot

    Unionists finally aknowledge violence within their own community shock.

    They tell them to ‘wise up’

  • Fanny

    Mine was funnier.

  • redfoot

    I agree

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s a good month into the feud and only now are unionist politicians hinting that they think the UVF’s ceasefire needs to be reviewed, and Eames finally finds the time in his busy schedule to issue a condemnation of the feud.

    It does not bode well for our country when people can’t bring themselves to take a serious attitude to politics.

  • middle-class taig

    Just read the comment by DCC Paul Leighton in the UTV report on Ahoghill. Apparently it’s not really particularly sectarian what’s happening up there, just a case of a neighbourly dispute. That’s a relief.

    “Mr Leighton, who was in the village to reassure residents that police were doing everything possible to end the violence, insisted: “We don`t believe these attacks are being carried out by an organisation. There`s no doubt that there`s an element of sectarianism, but also an element of people just not getting on with each other.”

    Apparently, according to the insightful Leighton, there’s also a bit of “faults on both sides” at play here.

    “”This is much more sinister than ethnic cleansing, this is real hatred BETWEEN COMMUNITIES in Northern Ireland.”

    Ridiculous them fenians in Ahoghill letting their houses, churches and schools be attacked to demonstrate their hatred for other communities.

    Unbef*ckinglievable!!

  • Michael

    “FANNY” What is it that makes you think I am a Shinner, you are totally wrong. An apology would be nice.

  • Fanny

    An ice cream would be even nicer.

  • barnshee

    mct
    “This is much more sinister than ethnic cleansing, this is real hatred BETWEEN COMMUNITIES in Northern Ireland.”

    This is the fact what is so

    Unbef*ckinglievable!!” about it there is more genuine hatred between the communities than ever.