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Thursday, December 15, 2016

The more you shoot, the better I will like you...A licence to kill

“If  a police barracks is burned, or if the barracks occupied is not suitable, then the best house in the locality is to he commandeered, the occupants thrown into the gutter. Let them die there, the more the merrier. Should the order ‘hands up’ not be immediatey obeyed- shoot and shoot with effect. If the persons approaching a patrol carry their hands in their pockets, or is in any way suspicious looking, shoot them down. You make mistakes occasionally and innocent persons may be shot, and that cannot be helped, and you are bound to get the right parties sometime. The more you shoot, the better I will like you, and I assure you no policeman will get into any trouble for shoooting anyone.”
Lt Col Smyth in June 1920 addressing auxiliaries (black and tans) on policing matters in Galway. 

This was of course morally wrong but legally right and that was all the right that Smyth needed: A licence to kill. 


                                  Black and Tans Auxiliary Police force in 1921 Dublin

Shoot to kill- a four hour documentary in 1990 about the police in Nothern Ireland, established there was a shoot to kill policy all through the conflict. In the words of the director of this program:  "All of the people we would have wanted to interview were either dead- in that they were shot by the RUC by 1982- or they had disappeared and were given new indentities. Or they were still serving poicemen and weren’t available for interview."

What these incidents display if nothing else, that there was never a police force in Northern Ireland, and I strongly suggest there is still none on either side of the border today. What you do have is a mercenary force loyal only to each other first and last, unless they were not able to get their hands out of the cookie jar in front a crowd of ‘citizens’ with camera phones; it's not even a sure thing then. 

“But man proud man, dressed up in a little brief authority, is most ignorant of what he’s most assured. His glassy essence, like an angry ape, plays tricks before high heaven that would make the angels weep.” William Shakespeare, with that little ditty, explained that he saw it the same way too.
That is also how the old IRA and the new IRA saw it.

Another licence to kill or destroy: since 1916 to 1997 over 150,000 children were imprisoned in institutional children gulags across this small island, and in proportion to their numbers, the same applied to the north. Rape and abuse was endemic in these places, yet it was the police again that helped cover it up. This is not mud slinging, the real stuff is in the reading of the many reports on this institutional abuse. And the police are still doing it.

Black and Tans Auxiliary Police at a football match in 1921

The latest report damming the police regarding crimes of abuse, it would have been easy just to classify them all as a bit thick, and indeed many of them are. ‘Never went beyond the cross roads’ and all that while making love to their wife's with their wellies on. Gallows humour aside, the other reality is that just one policeman alone air brushed out a whole series of rape and sexual assault cases committed over a 14 year period against women and children. The few sex crimes that were investigated were by cops barely old enough to vote and would have not been allowed into many night clubs by their impish appearance. Rumour has it that some had not reached puberty either, at least in a mental sense. 

The usual ‘files have gone missing or were burnt’ tactics were employed in this latest cover up that is also current. 59 cases took over a week just to enter into a police computer system called the PULSE, except that it had no pulse, pardon the pun. Domestic violence cases were classed as the ‘non-crime’ category, and if you did nothing wrong you might as well have done something because you were going to get your pulse taken whether you liked it or not.

Of course any computer system is only as good by the information you put into it, and the investigation into the boys in blue, who should by all account be wearing grey with black striped pyjamas by now, also found widespread falsification of reports by superintendent's and district officers up an down this green land. Where is all this going to- as usual, nowhere.

Barry Clifford