Outcome of IMC report is very predictable
Everyone's waiting with bated breath for next week's performance of the NIO's puppet theatre, the so-called Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC). Will it, won't it, support the view of one of our district commissioners, turn-coat Tory Shaun Woodward, that the IRA as an organisation is no longer involved in criminal activity?
It's clear both Dublin and London have already decided that there will be enough in the IMC report to enable them to arm-wrestle the DUP to the conference table. Bertie Ahern's response in India to the Policing Board leak made that obvious. Besides, Tony Blair is visiting Ireland tomorrow to start the ball rolling. Most bet it will have rolled into a bunker by St Patrick's Day. All very predictable.
What is equally predictable is that all concerned will turn a blind eye to that part of the IMC report which will certainly state that the UDA and UVF are still up to their necks in murder, drug-dealing and racketeering. It will also confirm that there is no UVF ceasefire. Just as both the DUP and UUP paid no attention to the alleged remarks of assistant chief constable Sam Kincaid about continuing loyalist activity in his briefing to the Policing Board, so they will say nothing about the contents of the IMC report which relate loyalist terrorist groups.
It's a perfect example of the despicable quality of unionist political representation. The UVF and their horrible little client, the Red Hand Commando, whose activities the security forces have always ignored, continue along with the 'wee teams' of the UDA to batten on the districts unionist politicians represent. There, extortion and violence ensure that no investment goes into those districts which sink deeper and deeper into poverty and dereliction. Yet not one word from unionists about loyalist gangsters. Instead, unionists remain obsessed with the IRA which now has no impact whatsoever on their districts.
It's not just the usual parts of Belfast, south Antrim and north Down which suffer from the depredations of loyalists. Take Ballymena. It has one of the worst records for hard drugs in the north. Have you ever heard a speech from any of the Paisley family addressing the issue of hard drugs in their own bailiwick? You can hardly say 'back-yard' since Paisley pere lives in east Belfast. Well have you? Have you heard them demanding the police round up the loyalist gangs which control the drug trade in Ballymena? Does it strike you that the Paisley family spend more time pontificating, sorry, preaching, about what's going on in nationalist constituencies than in their own?
Mind you, unionist politicians are not alone in their total disregard of the threat loyalists pose to the people they represent. Magistrates regularly let known loyalists walk free from court or with suspended sentences. Judges blithely believe loyalist thugs who claim to have been operating under duress and pat them on the head.
As for the shiny new police service, it's an open secret that still today it harbours within its ranks officers who have protected from prosecution loyalist killers who have been and remain informers. Who have they killed in recent years? Why, none other than fellow unionists. Do we have to wait for the police ombudsman to reveal as much as she can about UDA and UVF killers who have enjoyed immunity because of their role as informers? Why can't the chief constable take action against these police?
After all, Sir Hugh Orde knows more than anyone else about the, shall we say, unorthodox methods police here have always used to run informers. It was Sir Hugh who did the spade work for the various Stevens's inquiries. If he doesn't know, then no-one knows. Oh yes, you might say, those inquiries covered events 15 and more years ago. Fair enough.
What about events since Sir Hugh took over?
Do we really have to wait for the ombudsman's report to tell us how many ordinary Protestants have been killed in recent years by loyalist gangsters who are police or MI5 agents? Does the chief constable not know? If he doesn't, why not? One thing you can be sure of is that no unionist politician is going to be bothered asking any of these questions.
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