Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Why can't we bring terror godfathers to account over foul crimes?

Soldiers walk past floral tributes outside the barracks in Woolwich (PA)
Soldiers walk past floral tributes outside the barracks in Woolwich (PA)

In coverage of the aftermath of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in a London street, various national outlets have raged against the "preachers of hate" who they claim, have "blood on their hands".

This is, of course, nonsense.

Preachers of hate rarely have blood on their hands. They make damn sure not to. They whip up others to do their barbarous deeds. They keep their own hands and noses clean.

To use the cliché of the day, young men and women have been "radicalised" by preachers of hate online and in England.

"Radicalised" is such a sanitising word. It almost sounds like a good thing. Brain-washed is closer to the mark. Duped, incited, urged on and, in some cases, coerced.

We know this from experience in our own place where the paramilitary preachers of hate on both sides sent their disciples out to do their dirty work.

Many of these were young people, fired up, sucked in by manipulative godfathers.

None of that, it has to be stressed, excuses individual crime. But the vast majority of those who actually carried out the attacks here (and did the time) were the paramilitary foot soldiers ordered out by terror chiefs cute enough to keep themselves right. And how that has paid off for them.

For a considerable number of former PoHs on both sides, the peace process has become their pension plan.

In terms of truth discovery regarding the past, you would think the focus would not just be on those who carried out the crimes – but primarily on those who gave the orders. Surely that should be the starting point in uncovering what went on.

Oddly it isn't.

In England they can see that it's not just the madmen on the television screen who have blood on their hands.

Why not here?

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