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A devastating report from the police ombudsman in Northern Ireland could derail the peace process in the troubled province of the United Kingdom. Nuala O'Loan has connected the Royal Ulster Constabulary with several Unionist gangs that committed murders and mayhem over the last several years, acting to protect the terrorists while using them as informants:
The Royal Ulster Constabulary Special Branch protected a paramilitary gang linked to 15 murders while members were run as police informers, a report said today.
One agent, referred to as "Informant 1" in the report but known to be Mark Haddock, a former Ulster Volunteer Force commander, was paid at least £79,840 as an agent while he was involved in the north Belfast loyalist terrorist unit.
The report published today by Nuala O’Loan, Northern Ireland’s police ombudsman, revealed the extent of police and UVF collusion that gave Haddock and his henchmen a form of immunity from the law.
Police agents with the Mount Vernon UVF were linked to 10 murders, 10 attempted murders, 13 punishment attacks, a bomb attack on Sinn Fein offices in Monaghan, drug-dealing, criminal damage, extortion and intimidation.
The three-year £2 million investigation also said there was less reliable evidence to link Informant 1 and his associates to another five murders.
Northern Ireland had just put its self-government process back on a slow track towards restoration. Now, however, the report may convince republicans that the British-backed police forces are too corrupt to trust, The RUC has already been disbanded in favor of a new agency, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, but Nationalists will undoubtedly feel that the same impulses will exist in any Union-backed police force.
It's a mess, and one complicated by the existence of terrorists on all sides. Just as in the Palestinian Authority, these groups offer social services on one hand while wielding instruments of terror on the other. And just as with Hamas and Fatah, the Irish gangs have deteriorated into common Mafia-like organizations, extorting money from the frightened populace on both sides.
This report will serve to undermine even further the Unionist argument in Northern Ireland. If the government of the UK cannot administer Ulster without allying itself with terrorists, then it has little moral authority to rule there at all. Unfortunately, there seems to be few rational alternatives.
UPDATE: Good conversation and more background on this from Lexhamfox and Coisty in the comments.Sphere It View blog reactions
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