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Legal Vultures
by David Vance
14 September 2003Vultures

A law firm that made its name defending terrorists in Northern Ireland is now helping families of Iraqis shot at a checkpoint to mount legal actions against the American military.


The perverse prism through which the left views the war in Iraq is crystallised in the news story that a law firm which made its name defending terrorists in Northern Ireland is now helping families of Iraqis shot at a checkpoint to mount legal actions against the American military. Once again the global dimension to terrorism, and its many apologists, is apparent.

Madden and Finucane, founded by Pat Finucane, the Catholic solicitor allegedly shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in 1989, is planning a $15m (£9.5m) suit in the American civil courts for a family shot at an American checkpoint last month. This firm has been feted by the British and Irish Governments as champions of truth and justice! The British media sycophantically takes their every utterance as gospel, instead of treating it with an appropriate degree of suspicion, if not outright contempt.

A three-man team from Madden and Finucane met lawyers and “human rights” groups in Iraq last week. One of the solicitors who compiled a dossier on the checkpoint shooting, said: "When unarmed civilians are killed by soldiers it creates resentment which only intensifies the conflict. Our experience in seeking justice in cases in Northern Ireland is invaluable in similar situations such as this."  What he means is that having been indulged by successive UK governments afraid to stand against terrorism, his firm now thinks that the US government will also cave-in. Putting the boot into Bush earns brownie points within the Irish republican constituency.

The firm represents most of the families of the 13 people killed on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972 and is thought to have made a small fortune from the work. Its lawyers have also advised the three IRA suspects on trial in Colombia for allegedly aiding terrorist bombers. From Belfast to Bogotá and now to Bagdad, the forces of law and order are under attack from those who call themselves lawyers.

It has appeared to skip the minds of these intrepid lawyers that in a battle zone, the Queensbury rules do not apply. The US troops involved were risking their lives to liberate a nation from the Saddam diktat but that is reason in itself for the hard left to find ways to undermine and attack these brave soldiers.

The Baghdad killings took place on August 7. According to the families of the victims, the cars in which they were traveling arrived at an American roadblock manned by the 1st Armoured Division which was raiding a suspected hideout. The car, containing three men, was riddled with bullets when it failed to slow down, resulting in the death of Saif Raed Azawi, 21. Ali Hekmet, 31 a passer-by, also died. A second car containing members of the Al Kawas family was also shot at, resulting in the deaths of Adel Abdul Kareem, 43; Hadir, 18; Ola, 16; and Mervit, 8. Another child and a pregnant woman survived.

The law firm concerned said: "The events constitute a grave breach of the Geneva Convention. Such breaches are commonly referred to as war crimes. We are currently discussing with legal contacts in America how to pursue a case for sizeable compensation. That does not overcome the need for an independent investigation to bring those responsible for these killings to justice."

So there it is. The US/UK forces of liberation are actually “war criminals.” The total silence of these legal wannabe human rights champions during the years of the Saddam dictatorship is evidence of their absolute moral equivocation. Why didn’t they send a team out to investigate the thousands being slaughtered by Saddam? Don’t say their dedication to truth and justice is only applicable when the targets are the US or UK governments?

Where were they when the Taliban brought Afghanistan back to the Stone Age?

The American military argues that under military rules none of the people at the checkpoint is eligible for compensation for wrongful death because they stumbled into a military operation. A week after the incident, the commander of coalition forces, Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez, said the procedure for setting up "hasty checkpoints" would be changed.

The reality is that US and UK troops are being killed by the Ba’athist debris that has survived Saddam's fall. When our forces establish checkpoints, they must not be put in a position where they risk sacrificing their lives rather than offend left-wing vultures scavenging on the international battlefield.

David Vance is a UK-based political commentator. Having previously been the Deputy Leader of the UK Unionist Party, he decided it is better to be outside the tent peering in! His web site is A TANGLED WEB
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