“Stealing is theft… the felonious taking of the…property of another, without right…or consent of the owner…” Black’s Law Dictionary.
There is a huge brouhaha going on at the moment. No, I’m not referring to Prince Charles’ planned marriage to his mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles. I’m talking about whether the IRA pulled off a bank heist in the British-occupied north of Ireland. The loot taken from the “Northern Bank,” in Belfast, on Dec. 20, 2004, was about $50 million in U.S. dollars. The IRA has denied any involvement. More print space and keyboard punching, however, has been exhausted by UK editorialists, self-righteous moralists and out-and- out Irish haters, condemning the IRA about that incident, than was ever spent ranting about all of WWII! Well, at least, it seems that way to me.
What struck me as ironic about this over-hyped affair is that the Brits stole Ireland from the Irish people, which they later partitioned. Naturally, they don’t see it that way. The British elite claim that their “right” to murder the Irish, starve them to death, steal their lands, crush their culture, prohibit their Catholic religion, destroy their Gaelic language, bar them from public office and void their ancient customs, was legally justified. The Irish, you see, were the “sworn enemy” of British Imperialism, just as were many other unfortunate subjugated peoples around the globe. (1)
I strongly disagree with the Brits’ propaganda about the Irish and about Irish history. My family on my father’s side, the Clan Hughes, O’Aodha in the Irish, had their origins in the north of Ireland. They were forced off their fertile lands there and out to County Mayo, in the West, during the Cromwellian Settlements. (2) This was one of the reasons why I wrote an article entitled, “Ethnic Cleansing in Ireland: A Millennium Perspective.” (3)
Nevertheless, the Brits’ legal fiction to justify their wrongdoing in Ireland over the centuries is based, in part, on the so-called, “Law of Conquest.” Sir Edward Coke, then Lord Chief Justice of the Realm, put the proposition this way: “…If a King hath a Christian kingdom by conquest, seeing that [he] hath power of life and death, he may at his pleasure alter and change the Laws of that kingdom…as King Henry the Second had Ireland, after King John had given unto them, being under his obedience and subjection… a distinct kingdom…the title thereof being by Conquest…” (4)
A street-level way to explain the elitist Brits’ view on the Irish question, (and any Mafia thug would recognize its logic,) is this: The British defeated the Irish “enemy,” and the Brits now stand ready, via armed military forces, to beat the Irish down again, if they dare to challenge London’s hegemony over them. It’s this second part that clinches, as a practical matter, the Brit’s “rights” to Northern Ireland. Simply put, it’s might that makes right, according to the British Imperialists. That is really Whitehall’s position, immoral and unjust as it is. They also do a very good PR job of disguising their colonial sourced Irish connection with bogus legalisms.
On the other side, the IRA could just as easily say, assuming for the moment that it did pull off the bank job: “We are the army of the Irish people in the Occupied North. On Dec. 20, 2004, we exerted our ‘right of conquest,’ as defined by Justice Coke. We claim title to the fruits of the ‘Northern Bank’ robbery – the $50 million dollars – in the name of all the Irish people.” It seems to me that an IRA claim to the moneys based on this so-called “right of conquest,” would have about as much legitimacy as does the Brits’ justification for being in the North of Ireland. That is to say: none at all!
The truth is, and it needs no citation of legal authority, that it is a crime, a wrong against the Natural Law and principles of fundamental justice, to take someone’s else property, personal or real estate, without their lawful consent. It is a crime to do it, whether it is British Imperialists seizing Ireland under a phony cover of conquest and then partitioning it. Or, the IRA robbing a bank, (and again, I’m not saying that it did), because it believes it is the only “genuine authority” in the Occupied North and that the Brits are arrogant trespassers (ab initio) and unlawful usurpers in Ireland.
Meanwhile, the hypocrisy of some of these UK-based critics of the IRA’s supposed bank robbery, is simply breathtaking! Just look at what the Brits, in 1953, (with their senior American crime partner in the lead), did to Iran! They orchestrated an illegal coup against Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh. Why? He had dared to nationalize the country’s oil industry, which was then dominated by grasping Anglo-American interests. The coupists, led by the CIA, replaced the patriot Mossadegh with their own stooge, the corrupt Shah. Of course, they didn’t have the consent of the Iranian people before stealing the lawful government away from the Iranians. It was all about the Brits (and Americans) getting their dirty hands on Iran’s enormous oil wealth. The lame excuse for the duo’s evildoing in Iran: Mossadegh was allegedly “soft on communism.” Many see that British-assisted and cosponsored coup, as a gross insult to the peoples of the Muslim World, and the wellspring of Islamic extremism that has followed. (5)
And then, there is another relevant example: Iraq – with one of the largest oil reserves in the world waiting to be looted. (6) Did the Americans, (again with their junior crime partner, the Brits, in tow), seek the consent of the Iraqi people before invading and laying waste to that country? No, they did not! As a result, Iraq is now a total basket case, with hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis dead; their major cities, like Fallujah, destroyed; 1,495 American and 86 UK soldiers killed; hundreds of billions of U.S. and UK taxpayers dollars tossed away. Not one reason publicly given by either government for their unjust Iraqi invasion, on March, 20, 2003, was based on the truth! They were all lies! Some of their lies are so big, that they would shame the devil himself.
Before the storm over the Belfast bank robbery has faded from the headlines, this question deserves to be asked of the UK’s ruling clique: “When is stealing not a crime?” Answer: It would appear from all of the above, that it isn’t a crime when the ruthless, amoral and elitist British Imperialists do it to the Irish, to the Iranian and to the Iraqi peoples!
. John Michael’s “The Way of the Aggressor.”
. “Irish Pedigrees,” Vol. II, by John O’Hart.
. “The Selected Writings of Sir Edward Coke,” Vol. I., pp. 207-08, Calvin’s Case, Edited by Steve Sheppard.
. “All The Shah’s Men,” by Stephen Kinzer.
. Chalmers Johnson’s “The Sorrows of Empire.”