IMC report on Bobby Moffett’s murder

The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that the Independent Monitoring Commission’s investigation into the murder of Bobby Moffett has concluded that his murder was sanctioned by the UVF leadership.

From The Belfast Telegraph:

The IMC has found that the UVF leadership decided Moffett should be shot to eliminate the threat he posed to individual members of the organisation and to send a wider message to the loyalist community that the UVF would not tolerate its authority being flouted.

If anyone hoped that this hardly startling revelation would result in the IMC deciding that the UVF ceasefire was no longer valid, they may be disappointed. The Telegraph further reports:

Although the IMC has concluded that the murder of Moffett was extremely serious, it has decided not to recommend that the Northern Secretary Owen Patterson should “recategorise” the UVF as an organisation not on ceasefire.

The distinct impression is left that the IMC are happy to pretend the UVF are on ceasefire provided they restrict their criminality to murdering working class unionists, drug dealing, racketeering, prostitution and the like. It looks suspiciously as though the problems faced by working class unionist communities do not matter to the IMC. This should hardly be surprising: there have been multiple previous murders by the “on ceasefire” loyalist terrorists.

Mick pointed out below that the McClean enquiry redefined collusion as sins of commission. It seems however, that the IMC define the commission of murder sanctioned by the UVF leadership as not a corporate sin at all. The IMC should maybe reflect on the implications of its finding: the logic could have profound consequences for the concept of Common Purpose in law. It implies that a criminal ordering a murder is not remotely the same thing as committing it.

Clearly the law is not going to be changed but the hypocrisy of Lord Alderdice and his cohorts in the IMC is utterly nauseating. The report states:

We are aware of the view that the murder was the result of particular
circumstances and will not be repeated.

Since there have been almost two dozen murders since the loyalist “ceasefire” that can only be described as utterly dishonest nonsense except of course that the UVF cannot murder Mr. Moffett again: just whomever else they may chose to instead.

The IMC further states (20):

We still believe that the leadership of the organisation wants to pursue the 2007 strategy

The UVF 2007 strategy (helpfully stated in part 14 of the report) was:

Paramilitary activity such as recruitment, training and targeting
would stop;
– So-called active service units would be stood down and the
organisation would be down-sized;
– The involvement of members in crime would be in contravention of
the “command” of the leadership.

Exactly how the UVF leadership’s belief in the above can be squared with Moffett’s murder is difficult to establish though one expects criminals to tell lies. The fact that Lord Alderdice claims the UVF leadership supports its strategy places him in as dishonest a position as the UVF leaders.

Maybe one day there will be a serious attempt to stop the general criminality of loyalist terrorists by robust police action. However, whilst the IMC, which was set up to adjudicate on the ceasefires, continues to participate in and even coordinate the utterly dishonest game of see no evil, hear no evil; there is little chance of that happening.

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  • DC

    Paramilitarism 1 effectiveness of the Police Service 0

  • Turgon

    I agree but it is almost worse than that. Not only are the police failing to stop loyalist (and republican) criminals (sins of omission) but in addition those quangos and the like set up to monitor the situation are quite clearly actively discouraging robust police action. It looks as if Lord Alderdice and the IMC are the ones colluding with terrorists in what looks much more like a sin of comission.

  • Rory Carr

    “…the IMC has concluded that the murder of Moffett was extremely serious,”

    I expect that if Mr Moffett had the time before death took him he might have concluded much the same thing

  • DC

    My reading of your blog post is that the IMC is turning a blind eye because Mr Moffett might have been about to or had been able in the past to cause more trouble than the combined authority of the UVF – so the UVF saw to it and snuffed him out.

    Therefore alles in ordnung.

    The word on the street I’m hearing is that the new PSNI play the paramilitaries off against themselves and only intervene whenever the groups they use through proxy are being attacked by the more violent nasty micro-groups within the UVF and UDA groups. For instance, bar brawls – if it is nasty loyalist paramilitaries being beaten up by the goodies – the goodies that ‘police with the community’ – the PSNI stand back and wait till the kicking has ended. Then they come over and say: “you alright mate”.

    I’m not entirely sure it will work as the level of criminality and aggressiveness of it all is generally quite caustic regardless of those ‘good or bad’ elements.

    But this is what happens whenever you have an arm’s length police service, a PSNI centrally recruited via 50:50 – all this surprisingly enough for the aim to only get 30% nationalists on board.

    Wouldn’t it be better to open up the PSNI more into 3 tiers. Perhaps the first tier could be the security/strategic level, centrally recruited – fine. Its operations properly firewalled at a regional level – fine.

    The secondary level – broken down into cities and towns etc with different logos and police cultures reflecting the area and knowledge of the populace. So essentially you open recruitment up as far as is practicable to local people who want to join to make a positive difference (and actually prepared to take a bullet in the head regardless) – perhaps recruited at officer level p/time. So you have knowledgeable locals trained up for community policing and properly drilled and versed in human rights ethos and practice. For instance why should the people of West Belfast not be allowed to police their own area, or the people of Carrickfergus likewise. What there is at the mo is strangers in uniform coming in from various parts of NI and it takes 2-3 years to become knowledgeable at which point in their career they move on. PSNI and policing isn’t just a job or about employment it is about representing the area and intervening in an effective way.

    Finally, perhaps a third level auxiliary staff, beneath grade of officer/constable and not as costly to recruit or train up to constable level skills, but still operating and employed within PSNI ethos.

    Because at the moment it’s:

    Paramilitary Policing 1 Policing with the Community 0

  • Johnkingii

    The entire scenario paints a dangerous picture for all of us. The organisations have not gone away. And while I understand the governments good paramilitary bad paramilitary game it is a dodgey one to play. All it takes to go wrong is a dissident republicN gun or bomb attack to go wrong or right depending on circumstances or a pipe bomb in Antrim from the dissident loyalists to succeed a major riot or standoff at a parade and large number of other scenarios and we will be at least back at Whiterock 2005 or even worse Drumcree 1996. All those young men marching with flutes need is the order from Eastern Europe for contraband cigarettes replaced with an order for AK47s. It is not the possession of weapons it is the desire to use them the world is full of guns take Mexico as example. Unless we come to an understanding of each other we only have ourselves to blame

  • Seosamh

    A Specials, B Specials, and C Specials?

  • slappymcgroundout

    Do you read what you cite? From your cited Wiki page:

    “In this situation the participants are jointly liable for all that results from the acts (but not omissions, you cannot conspire to omit) occurring within the scope of their agreement.”

    Sins of omission? So who did the redefining?

    Next, since once again a fail:

    With the report in mind, could YOU be more dishonest? What you left out:

    We are aware of the view that the murder was the result of particular circumstances and will not be repeated. But we are bound to view with scepticism the suggestion that there could never again be a reversion to old ways of settling scores or demonstrating control. If this murder is to mark the end of the use of physical force it will require a more profound change of culture and attitude by the leadership and the organisation. It remains to be seen whether the UVF leadership is slipping back from, or will press ahead
    with, the full implementation of the May 2007 strategy.

    So you quoted the first line and didn’t include the remainder, which remainder paints an entirely different picture.

    And paragraph before that one, which you failed to cite, provides:

    This makes the conclusions we draw above about the murder of Mr Moffett all the more disappointing. The murder does not blind us to the progress the UVF has made hitherto or of itself mean that the process will be reversed.
    But it does call into question the reference in the May 2007 statement to becoming a civilian organisation and shows that when faced with what it saw as a challenge to its standing and authority, the organisation reverted to
    physical force. The instincts learnt during the Troubles once again guided the organisation. The murder thus also casts some doubt on what we said a year ago about seeing an organisation “on its way to going out of business as a
    paramilitary organisation”. This was the action of an organisation which, when put under pressure, failed to throw off its violent propensities.

    And the ballgame isn’t over, since you also left out:

    We will keep the matter under close review and will return to it in our next full report on paramilitary activity in some two months time. As previously, we will not hesitate to recommend that the UVF should be re-specified if we judge this to be the correct course of action in accordance with the legislation.

    Lastly, there is robust police action, or weren’t you aware that some had been arrested for the murder? Nothing in this report otherwise says that those who ordered the murder should be exempt from criminal prosecution. So what profound consequence are you talking about? The profound consequence that they appear to be talking about is in footnote 12, about specification and release of prisoners. More specifically, from the footnote:

    The Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act of that year made
    prisoners eligible for early release so long as a number of conditions were met. Key among these were that the person was not a member of a specified organisation and, if released, was not likely to become a supporter of one.

    So if they respecify the UVF, then all who are in the UVF and out on license, well, do they go back to jail?

    The Secretary of State may suspend a licence under section 4 or 6 if be believes the person concerned has broken or is likely to break a condition imposed by this section.
    (3) Where a person’s licence is suspended-
    (a) he shall be detained in pursuance of his sentence and, if at large, shall be taken to be unlawfully at large, and
    (b) he may apply to Commissioners to consider his case.

    As related, one of the conditions is not being in a specified organization. Can you see the concern? If you can’t, one of the “hopes” here is that since this is supposed to be a structured organization, then maybe some can keep some others in line. Yes, I know, cruelly ironic re Mr. Moffatt. I get that. But there might some other boyos who are only towing the line owing to their perceived need to be in the organization and their desire to toe the organization line. Cutting them loose might create a whole new set of problems. So it’s a little more complicated a picture than the one you paint.

  • billy

    Watch how this thread withers and dies through lack of interest.

    No SF connection here you see, so the Slugger Bedsit Army have nothing to say.

    Pathetic hypocrites.

  • DC

    You’re wasted on this, you should be on a stage!

  • Alias

    The core problem is that the British state simply cannot be trusted to administer its own law. As there is no international law that mandates the state upholds a right to justice for its citizens, the family of Mr Moffett should not expect any justice to be delivered to them by the state.

    The state has made a bold declaration that it knows who murdered Mr Moffett but tells us that it is not in the public interest that his murderers should be held accountable for their crime. Indeed, the state gives the impression that it approves of the murder. It regards it as ‘the good UVF’ putting manners on its members, ensuring that the bulk of the murder gang behave as the state directs them to behave.

    Murder as a method of controlling its citizens is acceptable to the British state, and it acts to protect those who use such methods to further that state’s interests.

  • barnshee

    “. As previously, we will not hesitate to recommend that the UVF should be re-specified if we judge this to be the correct course of action in accordance with the legislation”

    Whay not do it now?

    especially like
    “So if they respecify the UVF, then all who are in the UVF and out on license, well, do they go back to jail”

    Answer yes -do it now.

  • JJ malloy

    Why did they kill this guy? What was he doing?

  • The core problem is not that the British state can’t administer the law that would be bad but understandable. The real core problem is they can’t be bothered! As long as it is loyalist murdering loyalist or republican murdering republican the British and the Irish governments can congratulate themselves the process is working.

    As for the IMC it was only ever meant to be a fig leaf, that it is now in danger of redefining criminal law is typical of unintended consequences.

    A man was murdered his politics like his religion are irrelevant. His murderers should be hunted down and arrested with the approval of all members of every community.

  • Turgon

    I could be wrong on this and would be delighted if I am but my understanding is that even if the UVF are declared to be no longer on ceasefire that would have no effect on getting the released prisoners back into gaol.

  • Granni Trixie

    I wonder what it was that made this murder the last straw for Dawn Purvis,given she presided over the PUP for years previously.

  • joeCanuck

    An underlying message here is that the “High Commands” of the loyalist terror groups are still in existence and that this is accepted by the “authorities”. How this is squared with the justifiable calls for an end to the IRA “Army Council” some time ago, I do not understand.
    As for the “good” terrorists versus the “bad” ones; who decides? Is there a group of securocrats (for want of a better word) in the NIO who meet on a regular basis to decide? What is the role of the OFMDFM in this?
    How is the decision and any resultant instructions conveyed to the PSNI. Is the Justice Minister involved? If so, shame on him. If not, what is the nature of the parallel line of command to “friendly” senior PSNI officers?
    Is all of this just “realpolitik”? Try explaining that to those mourning the loss of Mr.Moffett.

  • billy

    Slugger priorities:

    Loyalist hood gets blasted to death in the street last year by an organisation full of similar loyalist thugs supposedly committed to peace – 14 posts.

    Tenuous, spurious allegations linking a Shinner to a priest facing similarly unproven allegations to an incident nearly 40 years ago – 350 posts.

    Says it all really.

  • Johnkingii

    The reality is this all the organisations still exist but they have been coerced assimilated call it what you will into the so called peace appease murderers process I was on the orange side of the fence during the twelfth/ardoyne situation without it being done. We would be back 10/20 or god forbid 30 years. It’s not right far from it but until we learn to live together instead of playing a game of one uponeship kulcurkampf it’s the best we have.

  • tacapall

    Turgon why would Lord Alderdice and Co rule against agents of the British Government, after all who pays him and his colleagues wages and whats the point in paying those wages if you dont get certain perks. Im sure if certain armchair generals in the UVF were to threaten to reveal all about their connections with the many arms of the British security services the British government would make sure they suffered the same fate as Bobby.

  • joeCanuck

    And does this supposed ability of the loyalist thugs to successfully blackmail the British Government extend to the OFMDFM? If so, who’s really in charge?

  • tacapall

    The problem with some quangos, like the problem with some ‘armchair generals’ is they sometimes take on a life of their own and become unmanageable. If/when that happens government has to decide: is the devil you know actually better, would any upstart replacement be worse? Bearing in mind it is often the level of violence that decides ‘promotion’ it must be a tough decision!

    The IMC whilst not violent offers the same problem, would any replacement be better. FMDFM aught to be making a huge fuss, they are not.

  • tacapall

    ” Supposed ” Just why then Joe were the Mount Vernon UVF almost all of whom were Special Branch agents able to murder at will with the full knowledge of their handlers and who were then protected from prosecution. How were the murderers of Pat Finucane again who were all Special Branch agents acting on orders and information given to them by British intelligence agent Brian Robinson able e to evade capture.

  • joeCanuck


    I don’t know. Many of us would like to know as well as know the truth behind events like the Claudy bombing. I suspect it will take a long while, if ever, before official documents are released. There is too much dirt all around; it’s disgusting but what can we do. Perhaps historians will make some sense of it all but, by then, I’ll be long gone.

  • tacapall

    Perhaps you’re right Joe but the real spanner in the works would be the truth about who was all involved in the Dublin Monaghan bombings and all fingers point to the British Government and their agents in the UVF.

  • tacapall

    Why would they make a fuss Pippakin, Bobby Moffett was a dissident loyalist, he was killed by the good guy paramilitaries, you know the ones sponsored by the government.

  • tacapall

    Yes I do know it just emphasizes the point. The FMDFM aught to be in a position to demand the rights of all members of their constituency, that they do not makes one suspicious. of both of them.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I was shocked by the IMC comments which basically implied that one or two shootings here and there should be set aside in the context of an organization making progress. It’s a seriously ill-judged thing to say, especially given that Dawn Purvis’ resignation.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The legislation does not provide for this. Each case is reviewed on an individual basis. Which seems fair enough to me, there are plenty of released prisoners who no longer play any active role in the UVF and likely want nothing further to do with it.

    We’re now a good 12 years after the releases. Chances are a good few those who are active in this way haven’t done time yet.

  • Munsterview

    Seosamh 15 September 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Yes, a bit over the top…… could have confined your remarks to the ‘B’s …… at least you did not mention the UDR……. a bit of sensitivity here O’K !

  • joeCanuck

    Constructive ambiguity hasn’t quite “gone away, you know”.

    When does it all end?

  • Alias

    The folks who decide those matters are in the branch of the British state that is unaccountable to anyone in NI – the security services and the British government. The local security hacks simply follow policies that originate elsewhere. It’s all about defending the realm (British sovereignty and territorial jurisdiction), not the citizens of NI.

    The British state controls the murder gangs in NI, not the local thugs who merely front those groups. For example, Taca mentioned Pat Finucane. Well, the director of intelligence for the UDA who organised that murder was a British agent, Brian Nelson. He was working for a branch of the British state’s army called the FRU. Gordon Kerr, head of the FRU, told the judge at the trial of Brian Nelson that his activities had saved hundreds of lives. The judge was so impressed by this that he gave Nelson a lenient sentence for activities that resulted in dozens of murders.

    The official line is that the state directs the murder gangs in order to save the lives of its citizens. This is the line that Kerr proffered to the judge. He told the judge that Nelson passed on “730 reports concerning threats to 217 separate individuals” and these lives were saved by the FRU via its agent Brian Nelson.

    So while a branch of the British state (the army) will openly lie to another branch of the British state (the courts) in order to protect its agents, other branches of the British state are more respectful of the law:

    Sergeant Benwell of the Stevens Inquiry which investigated FRU activity said “I could only find maybe two cases where the information given by Nelson may have been helpful to the Security Forces in preventing attacks.”

    Two lives saved by the FRU’s role in running the UDA and dozens of lives lost. Incidentally, one of those two lives saved by the FRU running the UDA’s intelligence department was the life of Gerry Adams. It is clear that the state has another role in running the murder gangs and that it has absolutely nothing to do with saving lives.

  • Munsterview


    “…….How is the decision and any resultant instructions conveyed to the PSNI. Is the Justice Minister involved? If so, shame on him. If not, what is the nature of the parallel line of command to “friendly” senior PSNI officers?……..”

    Remove the PSNI as the specific named force and when ever was it different on this island.

    One law for the Crown, another for the Crown ‘useful idiots’ and yet another for the Wood Kerns ! In fact has there not always been a specific law or arrangement that could be interpreted to suit a Crown interests?

    Come on Joe, you expect that situation to really change while the Union Jack is still flying over the Six Counties ? What is the Gerry McGeough case about if not as they say down this neck of the woods, ‘new faces. same old capers’ with the RUC / PSNI.

    Saying from over the door in a Middle-Eastern Mosque……. ” and Jesus, peace be upon him, said, this world is but a bridge…… use it to cross over, do not build your house upon it ”

    Same with the GFA…. the last of whatever goodwill there, was hollowed out with the St Andrews ‘agreement’. I get the impression these days that what is left is the (mainly) unspoken ‘inconvenient truths’ and a weary determination to see this phase through on the part of republicans.

    In this last phase the Brits will still do as they did on every one of the dozens of ex- Colonial country they were kicked out of, they will continue to play silly buggers all the way up the ramp of the ferry and then continue to interfere where possible and their interests dictate from outside.

    This also means like it did in the Wigery Tribunal in covering up the Bolldy Sunday massacre, that the ‘Law’ will continue to be used and abused as they see fit.

  • Munsterview

    Joe C
    Same as everywhere else it did……. with the union jack hauled down at midnight and presented to Charles, William or whoever the designated Royal waster will be !

  • redhugh78

    Imagine the political storm there would be had the IMC linked a recent murder to the IRA, not to mention the posts ad nauseum from Pete Baker et al.
    Double standards all round but am I surprised? not a jot.

  • JJ malloy