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Rule of law

News of large scale arrests of criminals in Baghdad carried out by Iraqi police are welcome, provided there is due process and it is not simply a trawling operation. It does however demonstrate the differing priorities of an army of occupation versus a police force.

The International Herald Tribune article taken from the New York Times also mentions a drop in ‘spectacular’ terrorist attacks over the past three weeks. Those of us who consider that terrorist groups usually prosper in a climate of lawlessness will ponder the Iraqi situation and reflect on Northern Ireland.

There is little doubt that massive police activity will uncover some terrorist networks and disrupt potential attacks: for example raiding the home of a criminal can turn up equipment intended for terrorist actions.

In Northern Ireland all sorts of crimes, from welfare benefit fraud, fraudulent elections, fire insurance scams, drug dealing, protection rackets, unlicensed gambling and alcohol premises, contract killings and woundings, are tolerated on the grounds that the ‘peace process’ must be kept going.

For the first time in months, I get the sense that Iraq may be going in the right direction. I wish this were the case of Londonderry and Belfast. I have felt for a long time that the violence in Northern Ireland should be considered a law-enforcement problem, separate from politics.

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8 comments to Rule of law

  • Joseph

    While the whole lot is praefoetal history for me, isn’t Lord Mason of Barnsley remembered for following this policy in Northern Ireland from 1976-1979? Instead of treating terrorists like special cases he treat them like ordinary criminals.

    By simply enforcing the existing laws against, say, murder, unlawful arms, drug-running, extortion inter alia, he managed to bring the situation under control. Even the IRA, sorry Sinn Fein, credit him with turning them to politics as the paramilitarism payoff declined.

    All terrorists should be brought up on the charges laid against them, even though some may be senior politicians accused of sanctioning murders. Though I would find it better at this point to say that I am in favour of Irish unification, and the sooner Britain leaves the better.

  • Cydonia

    “drug dealing, … unlicensed gambling and alcohol premises,”

    It seems odd for a libertarian to complain about the non-enforcement of laws against drug dealing, alcohol and gambling.

  • William Dacre

    Though I would find it better at this point to say that I am in favour of Irish unification, and the sooner Britain leaves the better.

    Rather a lot of us were born here so ‘leaving’ is really not an option. We will be part of the UK or we will be independent but we will never be ‘unified’ with the republic. That is why we have guns so that the likes of you can go hang if you think we can be sold to a people alien to us. Neither Britain nor the Irish Republic nor SinnFein/IRA nor Joseph has the power to force us in to a union we will never accept. We have to live with them but that does not and will never mean being ‘unified’ with them. Get that through your thick heads and proceed from there.

  • Cydonia: I think you are missing the point… Antoine is not ‘complaining about the non-enforcement of laws against drug dealing, alcohol and gambling’ but pointing out that the reason the state tolerated them was because they were how the para-military groups raised their money and hense shutting them down would be seen as being ‘provocative’.

    The para-military groups in Ulster are just gangsters. That is also why they find it so easy to start working as politicians… they understand that being a politico just means the people who enforce your protection rackets just wear blue uniforms instead of plain clothes.

  • Antoine Clarke

    Whether Northern Ireland is part of the UK, or independent, or part of a united Ireland is not something that I wish to preach about. My personal hunch is that it would probably be better all round if Ulster were independent (especially for the people of Ulster).

    I oppose the War on Drugs on the grounds that it creates career opportunities for criminals. The terrorist gangs exploit criminal activities as means of raising funds, recruiting personnel, undermining the communities they wish to control and softening up the population for accepting ‘peace at any cost’.

    I don’t think I am inconsistent in believing that ‘victimless crimes’ should be decriminalised, but that tolerating terrorist gangs that operate criminal enterprises in the name of appeasement is wrong.

  • Joseph

    To William Dacre:

    I never said that I wanted the men of Ulster to come back, nor am I too bothered whether north and south are actually united. All I want is Britain and North Ireland to be disunited.

    Ulster has to rate as the biggest waste of time and money in post-war Britain. I would rather throw money at the NHS (and that is saying something) than waste it on policing the kind of religious and ideological intolerance that makes Cromwell blush.

    Don’t get me wrong, both sides are as at fault. You waste my taxes so I have a right to complain.

  • My personal hunch is that it would probably be better all round if Ulster were independent (especially for the people of Ulster)

    I agree with you and the ironic thing is that although few in NI actually want independence, at least as a first preference, I reckon if there were a weighted referendum* on the future of NI, Independence would win as everybody’s “least worst” alternative option.

    * you get to vote for and against options 1,2,3

    1. Continue Union
    2. Unite with RoI
    3. Independence

    1. and 2. would tend to cancel each other out.

  • john dombot

    where can i get info on the laws against unlicenced premises in ireland