Monday, August 08, 2005

Columbia Disaster

Not the shuttle.

They're baaaack.....

As am I. I know I've sort of been neglecting this little blog (much like the guy who left his kid in a pram in Tara St. station last week and fecked off).

So the big news recently is that the Columbia 3 are back in town. Or somewhere. We don't actually know where they are, only that they're somewhere in the country and that only Charlie Bird (Irish newsman) knows.

By the by, to anyone not from Ireland (hard luck by the way), the Columbia 3 aren't some sort of band or something. It's not like this is the Beatles reuniting for a last concert. No, no...
The Columbia 3 were charged and convicted of training FARC Guerillas a few years back. They sort of.....vanished....and were sentenced in absentia.

The 3 lads in question (and not in questioning, due to their hidden location) are all SF members and supporters. One was the party's "Ambassador" to Cuba. They were also convicted of travelling on fake Irish passports.

So the IRA declared nearly two weeks ago that the war is over, and that all its members should lay down their weapons and commit to purely peaceful means of smuggling cigarettes and sheep across the border. And now, loe and behold, a few days later the three most wanted Irishmen in the world slip home.

Our Government, taking its customary 3 1/2 month holiday, is in disarray. Partly because Michael McDowell (the most outspoken minister ever) is off on holiday and Mary Harney is left to fill his shoes up on Stephen's Green. And how much do you sympathise with whatever hotel he is staying at? He must be livid.
Our dear Taoiseach is saying little and getting nice and comfortable sitting on his upholstered fence. So the lead in this is being taken by the media, who have reported that Interpol, the Americans, the Brits and the Colombians are all demanding they be arrested.

But here's the tricky thing/lifesaver for Bertie.

We don't have any extradition treaty with Colombia. So it's not that easy to just ship 'em up on a boat and send them back. At the moment the Govt is saying that the Colombians haven't even formally requested that they do so. Which I find a little hard to believe. If they told the media they want the lads back, I assume they may have taken the time to notify Government Buildings too.
And apparently Interpol aren't demanding that they be arrested. No,no......something about a "red notice". My interest wavered, to be honest.

In effect our Government is probably collectively shitting itself in fear and confusion. Bertie doesn't want to be seen to make a decision on this, doesn't want to lose Gerry Adams' support (being practically the only party leader not to have spoken out against our bearded chum up North) and especially doesn't want to damage the rural grassroots of Fianna Fail, who might not like the "3" being sent back to Columbia to serve the sentences they were convicted of.

Now.....I'm actually not in favour of extraditing them, because I think their human rights would certianly be in danger. The UN lambastes Colombia on its record domestically and the allegations of Government supported paramilitaries bumping off opposition supporters and convicts. And that prison they're meant to be in certainly sounds like the Black Hole of Calcutta. So let them stay here then.
But let's charge and hopefully convict them ourselves. They were clearly travelling on illegal passports to get into Colombia, and I doubt they got home entirely lawfully either. Now, I know they're SF supporters and under the Good Friday Agreement they don't necessarily have to go to jail (well that seems to be Bertie and Tony's view of things), but they broke Irish law and shoudl be accountable.

Plus they're making a right fool out of the country.

And do you know the name of the last country that sheltered terrorists that America wanted brought to justice?

It was Afghanistan.

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