#Lethal Allies: this is not collusion.

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This is much worse.

The publication of Ann Cadwalladers Lethal Allies last month by Mercier Press was always going to have a relatively predictable reception. In many ways, nationalists and republicans have largely accepted that there was participation by members of the security forces in providing intelligence, weapons and targeting information to loyalist/unionist paramilitary groups from the late-1960s onwards. In some cases, it was even clear that either officially or unofficially, security force members and agents being run by the security services directly participated in killings and bombings. There was also some high-level strategic direction being given to those activities.

The short-hand for this process has been to use the term collusion, which features in most of the reportage around the launch of Lethal Allies, despite the fact that the term is very poorly defined (eg see a previous post on it here or a blog on it by Mark Devenport). This is largely because ‘collusion’ is not defined anywhere in law as a criminal act, making it’s definition such a fugitive concept. In many ways this lends itself to a certain type of public debate since, with ‘collusion’ so hard to define, the level of public debate never really descends beyond the semantics that proliferates where there is such vagueness. In actual fact, what is being called ‘collusion’ is a cumulative assessment of a litany of unpunished criminal acts.

Similarly, unionist reaction to Lethal Allies has largely gone to script, dismissing Cadwallader’s work as either a distortion, or trying to minimise it by saying it was really just a tiny number of security force members. Writing in today’s Irish News (behind the paywall), Alex Kane neatly captures unionism’s failure to comprehend what is going on here:

Given the nature of terrorist and counter-terrorist campaigns it’s not surprising that they often involve what is described as ‘dirty war’ tactics: they aren’t conducted under the normal rules of warfare, so it’s almost inevitable that combatants will, quite literally, resort to the rules of the jungle and a dog-eat-dog approach.

Once read, Lethal Allies quickly disabuses the reader of a couple of key concepts. Ann Cadwallader constructs a crushing inventory of criminal acts perpetrated by individuals who combined membership of the security forces and loyalist paramilitary groups, utilising security force weapons, intelligence and training. They were immune from punishment even when sufficient corroborating evidence was in place to meet a test for prosecution, never mind in instances where their criminal actions were simply not investigated. Cadwallader does this by simply gathering together strands such as ballistics reports, eyewitness statements and other forensic evidence that was all available at the time to the RUC and other investigative authorities if they chose to act up on it. In many places she augments this with eye-witness accounts and other material, such as HET reports.

One of the key themes that emerges from Lethal Allies, though, isn’t ‘collusion’. That individuals like Robin Jackson were so impervious to any investigative or judicial restraint over such a wide area and long period of time underscores the connivance of the security forces in the violence they perpetrated. However, this was no ‘dirty war’ tactic, as alluded to by Alex Kane in the Irish News (see quote above). The normal subtext to discussing ‘collusion’ is that the security forces participated in extra-judicial killings of members of the IRA or other combatants by using proxies to get around restraints placed on them (with the hint that those restraints were somehow inappropriate). When challenged about collusion on television recently, Mike Nesbitt retorted that if there had been no IRA, there would have been no collusion.

Cadwallader completely debunks that whole concept (and in many respects part of unionism’s cherished and heavily curated myth of victimhood). Practically none of those killed by the security force members and loyalists were combatants by any stretch of the imagination, let alone active members of the IRA. The targets were well-to-do farmers, successful businessmen and other upwardly mobile members of the Catholic communities that were being attacked. Nor is this type of targeting in any way new in the north. Denise Kleinrichert’s work on internment in 1922-24 demonstrated how it was used to economically remove Catholic professionals, farmers and business people from particular areas (release from internment often being conditional on exclusion from the six counties).

In reality, what Lethal Allies illustrates isn’t collusion. It’s called total war.

As ever, read the whole thing.

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  • between the bridges

    So John just how many of the 100,000 plus security forces members were rampant loyalist paramilitary’s? how did these vast numbers of armed personnel fail to match the death and destruction total of the tiny number of active PIRA members…

  • Son of Strongbow

    Nuala O’Loan interviewed on BBC radio following the publication of Cadwallender’s book said that despite many investigations into the RUC she had found no evidence that pointed to an official policy of criminal activity by the police.

    But enough of facts, allow me to jump on board the speculation special; why given the police intelligence on nationalist terrorists did they not attack known individuals rather than confining themselves to random Catholics?

    Who presented the most threat to them, Catholic Joe Public or the local village Provo?

    Why was the collusion machine so unproductive? Many, many thousands of armed police and soldiers in a ‘target-rich’ environment, unafraid we are told of legal sanction, seemingly unable to get on with the ‘job’.

    And finally all these commentators so sure of their facts and replete with ‘evidence’, surely they will name names? After all should they be challenged they’ll have their day in court to bring the guilty to book.

  • gendjinn

    John,

    Judge Cory gave a great definition of collusion in preparing his reports. This has becoming the working standard for investigations since.

    It’s fascinating that despite their own prime minister admitting there was collusion between the British state and terrorists in committing murder, unionists still cling to the denial that it never happened.

    Despite the overwhelming evidence of facts – terrorists provided with weapons, with intelligence documents (which were then plastered all over east Belfast, literally), help from RUC, UDR, MI5, FRU.

    Despite the coverup of the Bloody Sunday murders by the British government & judiciary, and the continuing failure by the British state to prosecute the paratroopers for murder.

    Denial.

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    “The short-hand for this process has been to use the term collusion, which features in most of the reportage around the launch of Lethal Allies, despite the fact that the term is very poorly defined (eg see a previous post on it here or a blog on it by Mark Devenport). This is largely because ‘collusion’ is not defined anywhere in law as a criminal act, making it’s definition such a fugitive concept.”

    John, very good post. My problem with many of the people that I’ve engaged on this site about collusion is not that it didn’t exist, but that any interaction between loyalists and the security forces other than simple arrest and prosecution is treated as collusion, but similar acts between republicans and the security forces are treated as something completely different.

    What you hint at in the end is not so much total war as war being utilized for private economic advantage as often happens in civil wars from the American Revolution to the Spanish Civil War, the Irish Civil War, and the Cuban Revolution.

  • cynic2

    Clearly the hated RUC colluded with Loyalists and corrupt officers in their own ranks and the Army by arresting those involved and, where there was evidence, bringing them before the courts to get convictions. Of course this was a tad more difficult than making assumptions and selecting evidence from a report 40 years later.

    My personal favorite is where one witness (who went though an awful ordeal heaven help him) suggests the killers were police me because they were wearing the type of boots that policemen wore then. What? Black leather boots like scores of other people and jobs? My apologies to the victim. i am sure it is his genuine belief but its just Codswallop. They could have been police or soldiers or security guards or anyone else

    And if they have all these HET reports from which tasty morsels have been carefully picked for our delectation, why not publish the rest of them? Why not let us see it all and in context of the whole HET reports

    And while we are on the subject of collusion, I have trawled the Pat Finucane site for cases they have taken up of Unionists murdered by the IRA. So far I can find only one (if others find more I will be delighted to look at them).

    This was the case of an 8 year old boy blown up in South Armagh by a huge landmine while playing in a field.

    So what did the brave upholders of human rights do in that case? Did they ask HET to rexamine it? Raise it with PSNI?
    Nope. FRom their website it doesn’t seem so anyway. They had a chat with senior members of the IRA (how did they know them and know they were genuine?) who had a chat with their people and issued a statement admitting it was a mistake (but unfortunately not something they could have prevented as it was the Army’s fault for not walking into their trap) and apologized.

    Did the Pat Finucane Centre then report all this to police and give them the details of who they spoke to? That might be a good starting point for a new investigation to bring the killers to justice? After all Lord Stevens definition of collusion includes

    “the willful failure to keep records, the absence of accountability, the withholding of intelligence and evidence”

    So did they tell the police or did they collude? Well? Will we ever know

  • tacapall

    Great post John.

    The Glenanne gang which was composed of RUC officers, UDR personell and UVF members and directed by senior members of the RUC, who unfortunately cannot now answer for their crimes, being either murdered by the IRA or British intelligence. John Weirs avidavit shows that this was not only collusion but state involvement in arming, directing and carrying out acts of terrorism on the Catholic community by those who were employed by the state to uphold the law

    From Joh Weirs avidavid -

    ” I contacted Armstrong who soon arrived with McClure at Newry RUC station. Armstrong had a conversation with Chief Inspector Breen, whom he knew well, and the three of us went to McBride’s house where we collected the guns. These sub-machine guns were transported to Mitchell’s farmhouse where I later test fired them in a hayshed. They worked perfectly. Mitchell subsequently sold these weapons to Jackie Whitten, a UVF paramilitary leader in Portadown for 100 pounds each. I then gave the 400 pounds to McBride so that the money could be used for the manufacture of further weapons. In summary, Down Orange Welfare was using RUC officers in Newry RUC station – McBride, Breen, myself – and another RUC officer, Sergeant Monty Alexander from Forkhill RUC station – to supply weapons to the UVF in Portadown. I later learned that these weapons were being manufactured by Samuel McCoubrey in Spa, Co. Down.”

    http://www.nuzhound.com/articles/irish_news/arts2005/oct6_Loyalists_hold_on_to_weapons.php

    “In 1990 former UDR soldier Samuel McCoubry was jailed for 14 years for operating the largest weapons factory ever found in the north.

    More than 30 Sten guns and parts for over 1,000 Uzi-type rapid-fire machine guns were found during a search of McCoubry’s farm outside Ballynahinch.

    Up to 800 machine guns were being completed on McCoubry’s premises at the time of his arrest.

    Four bullet manufacturing machines were also uncovered during the search.

    McCoubry is thought to have been manufacturing guns for loyalist paramilitaries for nearly 20 years.

    It later emerged he had been subsidised through LEDU (the Local Enterprise Development Unit) in his legitimate saw-making business.

    Both the UDA and UVF are understood to have received weapons from McCoubry.”

    The Mount Vernon UVF, also controlled and directed by RUC special branch who allowed their agents to murder 12 innocent people’

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/22_01_07_ballast.pdf

    The UDA who were armed by RUC special Branch with weapons that were later used in the murder of 7 innocent people including a 15 year old child in the Ormeau road bookies massacre and the attempted mass murder in the Devinish arms.

    “RUC whistleblower calls for collusion prosecutions”

    http://www.nuzhound.com/articles/irish_news/arts2007/jun27_whistleblower_call_prosecutions.php

    It wasn’t just collusion, it was state involvement in terrorism.

  • Son of Strongbow

    The Pat Finucane Centre is a single agenda (f…. the Brits) nationalist pressure group. It is unfair to judge it on the basis that it is about balance or human rights (those are the rights that apply to all humans and not simply to those who subscribe to a partisan political agenda).

    As for ‘collusion’ the definition is so wide as it renders the word meaningless in the NI context. In nationalist newspeak any interaction between the security services and terrorists (particularly loyalist terrorists) is collusion.

    Take the example of the South African arms incident. Security service agents lure loyalists into a deal to import weaponry from South Africa. When the arms are brought into NI the vast bulk of them are immediately seized at RUC ‘routine’ checkpoints and those in possession of them are arrested.

    Notwithstanding the fact that the operation was not 100% successful, some arms were not recovered immediately, the import gang was broken up and more importantly a message was sent to the terrorist organisation (which had been trying to source weapons for a long time) that they were being watched and they could expect further disruption of their activities in the future.

    In any other jurisdiction this high risk cat and mouse operation against terrorists would have received widespread plaudits. Perversely in NI the reaction by some nationalists is to cry ‘collusion’!

    Perhaps the security services should just have let them get on with it? Of course in the collusion-tinted view the cops organised the weapon importation in the first place. The police at the checkpoint at Sprucefield must have missed the memo to wave the cars loaded with guns through (with a sneaky thumbs-up to the occupants naturally).

    Those Nationalists see the clandestine world of counterterrorism in very black and white terms, particularly as I’ve already noted in regards to loyalist terrorism.

    They see an environment where everything is transparent, everything and everyone is known to the police and they maintain a God-like control over events and they sum up their view in a snappy, easy to remember single word ‘collusion’.

  • Morpheus

    Nothing like reinforcing a stereotype boys, keep it up

  • gendjinn

    Morpheus,

    the upside to their behaviour is the negative impact it has on Nationalists supporting the existence of the Northern Ireland state.

    The truth of state collaboration with terrorists and state direction of murder squads is rationally undeniable and the overwhelming majority of Nationalists know this. When Unionists and their leadership continue to deny it, it only serves to reinforce the belief that the NI state is corrupt and incapable of reformation.

    Between fleggers and this – cynic2, son of strongbow and between the bridges (oh where is ulster press center?) are our best allies in achieving a re-unification.

    Thanks all! Keep up the great work!

  • DC

    i havent read the book but does it derive its analysis of the security forces from a moral and legal points of view?

    (Republicans have a tendency to make judgements of the past and past actions of the british state from a legal and moral point of view, while almost never applying this moral and legal frame of reference to itself, its cause – militant republicanism and its conduct.)

    If it is, it is likely that the book has been written to provide a basis on which persons affected can seek compensation from the british government.

    If I may detach myself from having to judge on heated moral grounds and may use a cold rational approach instead in a bid see if john’s total war analysis can last the pace, my thinking is if this was the policy to collude in a ‘total war’ – why did the ‘lethal allies’ not do it properly – actually wipe out aspirational non-combatant catholics – deemed as potential belligerents – night after night in such numbers so as to wipe out nationalist communities in these areas with impunity?

    using the total war analysis, is it not the case the IRA killed more catholics than any other force, what does this make the IRA? Not so lethal?

    (something needs to be done to move things on from a narrow moral analysis of state actions and out on to wider terrain – a general unpoliticised explanatory narrative of northern ireland’s past. one that avoids heavy moral, legal and emotional baggage. republicans tend to view the northern ireland state as immoral and imposed immorally yet here it is today still standing and that begs questions itself. in fact the only trick up nationalists’ sleeve is demography and voting ni out of existence using ethnically chauvinistic behaviour, if northern ireland were to be united tomorrow using that approach, most of the six counties would be turned into Donegal overnight becoming actually relatively impoverished. and i think that would actually be immoral – just as immoral as institutional discrimination.)

    it is time that the likes of Arkiv got off the ground and attempted to pull together all of this fragmentary knowledge on northern ireland’s past into a whole. there really is a need for some group of historians to attempt an objective historical reality.

    As David McCann points out elsewhere, the past is a foreign country they do things differently there, therefore the retrospective imposition of liberal democrat norms and values onto northern ireland’s past and its security position, when no such norms existed, seems like judging out of context, despite these fragmentary ‘facts’ doing the rounds.

    Anyway it would seem British Unacceptable Use of Armed Struggle = Pounds Out for the Pat Finucane Centre?

  • drmisery

    Republican acts are and were inhuman. Sorry violence is wrong full stop.
    Maybe read the book… open your mind, try and extend your viewpoint instead if narrowing it.

    State sponsored violence is wrong and was/ is (?) A reality.

    Time for honesty. Out the bad apples, the paedophiles, the thugs, if “theres pus about let it out” otherwise nothing heals. Face up to the reality of yhe dirty war.

  • DC

    Republican acts are and were inhuman.

    Were they immoral and legally wrong?

    Where do those who suffered at the hands of IRA – in pursuance of militant republican ideology – turn to for some form of restitution, redress or other, when they rule out compensation from the british government, as taking money from the british would not suffice neither would accepting an apology or explanation from it, as it did not carry out the harm inflicted?

    Finucane Centre is geared up to get the pounds out and that’s as well for those that use that centre and want it that way, isn’t it?

    Those that suffered at the hands of the IRA might want as suitable restitution some of that northern bank £26.5 million instead?

  • tacapall

    DC you think its all just about making money for the relatives, its about getting the truth out in the open. Are the unionist population not demanding money off the Libyian people for the actions of their government even going as far as suggesting to the new interm government after the overthrow of Gaddafi that they should honour commitments made by him to compensate those who were killed by weapons that the lybian provided to the PIRA. So whats your problem with Nationalists doing the same thing ?

    Lethal Allies according to Unionism especially SOS, Cynic2 and the bold DC -

    http://www.smoking-mirrors.com/2009/07/irish-and-new-world-order.html

  • RepublicanStones

    she had found no evidence that pointed to an official policy of criminal activity by the police.

    But of course, i doubt we’ll ever find that kind of smoking gun document. Policy makers for the dirty war would hardly incriminate themselves with such naive record keeping. And as we’ve seen in its other colonial conflicts, Britain attempted to do away with the incriminating evidence.

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/apr/18/britain-destroyed-records-colonial-crimes

    As for ‘collusion’ the definition is so wide as it renders the word meaningless in the NI context.

    Afraid not. but your claim is a revealing insight into a certain mindset that would rather narrow the definition of collusion. Why? Well by narrowing the definition it exempts masses of personnel who would rather be guilty of it, thus such an attempt can be seen for the crude narrative re-enforcing exercise it clearly is. By narrowing the defintion of collusion you have a greater chance to sell the ‘few rotten apples’ myth. As i posted on the Glennane thread…
    Any decent moral person should accept that collusion involves not just those who pulled triggers, planted bombs, passed on intelligence for targeting etc – but it also involves those tasked with carrying out investigations who then carried out the investigation in a manner designed to accommodate and camouflage the full extent of facts and collusion evident. Collusion also involves those in the many command roles who were cognizant of the facts of street-level collusion among their subordinates and either facilitated it or brushed it under the carpet. Collusion also involves those at the highest levels in London who were receiving reports of it and did nothing about it. There is street-level collusion where the badges met the balaclavas, but there was also administration and command level collusion, where it could have been nipped in the bud by those in senior positions and in Govt but either wasn’t or was actively facilitated. With all this in mind, Unionists who peddle the ‘few rotten apples’ myth are as laughable as Gerry claiming he wasn’t in the Provos.

    I would also add that whilst talking about the covert collusion many ignore the earlier more overt forms of collusion, that which see the ‘security’ forces actively facilitate and enable unionist/loyalist violence against the civil rights campaign. Furthermore as Ciaran MacAirt brilliantly documented in his book, appeasement of loyalism was official policy. This included disinformation campaigns that we know attempted to label loyalism terrorism as being republican. That in itself is also collusion.

    As i said earlier, the ‘few bad apples’ myth is akin to Gerry’s ‘I wasn’t in the provos’ claim.

  • DC

    In relation to Libya i imagine all unionists can do is appeal to reason and petition libya as there is no legal recourse or framework to go through; however i imagine due to the legal set up in the uk and ni being a part of the uk the finucane centre has a much more realistic route to compensation on behalf of total war victims, whose background I need to read up on. although that will be difficult as i dont want to buy the book, whose author had no doubt free access to sources cited and perhaps even having her time used up in writing it paid for out of pat finucane centre resources, again i don’t know? or maybe book sales to be split between her and the finucane centre? how is the finucane centre funded – again i don’t know? what is the pat finucane centre? who was pat finucane, how did he conduct himself?

    i wish total war victims all the best in their endeavours in getting to the end of the rainbow.

  • http://www.openunionism.com oneill

    “The publication of Ann Cadwalladers Lethal Allies last month by Mercier Press was always going to have a relatively predictable reception.”

    When exactly was it published John?
    Why did the PFC specifically wait until (Wednesday) 23rd October to deliver its verdict?

    Not read it yet, plan to do so soon

  • RepublicanStones

    Why did the PFC specifically wait until (Wednesday) 23rd October to deliver its verdict?

    Would the reception have been any different on any other date?

  • DC

    I’ll maybe request it from my local library.

  • http://www.openunionism.com oneill

    “Would the reception have been any different on any other date?”

    No, probably not.

    Still… why pick a Wednesday when generally a Tuesday or a Thursday are considered the most *friendly* “media-savvy” days to get a reaction?

    And why that Wednesday and not, for example, Wednesday 30th October?

  • Son of Strongbow

    My thanks to Republican Stones for again restating that for some ‘collusion’ involved everyone (including Constable Uncle Tom Cobley I suppose).

    Every cop a UDA man has a pleasing ring for the believers I expect.

    I can of course see the attraction of a catch-all term that can be applied to any and all situations that themuns involve themselves in. Simple messages are the best, and, let’s be honest Shinnerdom have never been noted for drilling down very far for the réalité.

    I can also understand the attraction of the imperative that drives the collusion bandwagon. In order to reinforce the mythology built on the ‘gallant band of bhoys’ fighting for Old Ireland they have to be opposed by an enemy worthy of the nationalist songbook.

    The police and Army doing their job could never be enough on their own. They had to be the mere spearhead of a host that includes every possible Prod devil conjured within the most fevered nationalist mind.

    gendjinn,

    Surely you flatter? Little old me the catalyst for a united Ireland? I’ll expect you to lead the annual parade in my honour. A latter day Wolf Tone/Bodenstown as a template might just work.

    bogha láidir ár laoch on the monument perhaps?

  • RepublicanStones

    SoS claiming that for some ‘collusion’ involved everyone (including Constable Uncle Tom Cobley I suppose) is what I wrote demonstrates again his need to narrow the definition.

    What I wrote was this….
    Any decent moral person should accept that collusion involves not just those who pulled triggers, planted bombs, passed on intelligence for targeting etc – but it also involves those tasked with carrying out investigations who then carried out the investigation in a manner designed to accommodate and camouflage the full extent of facts and collusion evident. Collusion also involves those in the many command roles who were cognizant of the facts of street-level collusion among their subordinates and either facilitated it or brushed it under the carpet. Collusion also involves those at the highest levels in London who were receiving reports of it and did nothing about it. There is street-level collusion where the badges met the balaclavas, but there was also administration and command level collusion, where it could have been nipped in the bud by those in senior positions and in Govt but either wasn’t or was actively facilitated. With all this in mind, Unionists who peddle the ‘few rotten apples’ myth are as laughable as Gerry claiming he wasn’t in the Provos.

    I would also add that whilst talking about the covert collusion many ignore the earlier more overt forms of collusion, that which see the ‘security’ forces actively facilitate and enable unionist/loyalist violence against the civil rights campaign. Furthermore as Ciaran MacAirt brilliantly documented in his book, appeasement of loyalism was official policy. This included disinformation campaigns that we know attempted to label loyalism terrorism as being republican. That in itself is also collusion.

    Now SoS i have not claimed ‘everyone’ as you sought to infer. Perhaps you could tell us all exactly which parts of my obviously too broad for you, definition of collusion you disagree with…

  • tacapall

    British police and British intelligence’s defination of terrorism –

    http://www.businessinsider.com/greenwald-partner-terrorism-uk-documents-11

    “We assess that Miranda is knowingly carrying material the release of which would endanger people’s lives,” the document continued.

    “Additionally the disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism…”

    What would providing loyalist paramilitaries with intelligence on individual Catholics targets putting their lives at risk mean, or arming loyalist paramilatries putting innocent lives at risk or controlling loyalist paramilitaries, directing loyalist paramilatries, ensuring terrorists evaded the rule of law, actions that were designed to influence a government and for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause.

    Seems pretty clear to anyone what collusion would then mean.

  • drmisery

    Is the sand not getting up your nose yet lads?. Where is my ECT? Read some books instead of lighting bonfires with them (to paraphrase). Jesus wept. Sad and pathetic inability to face up to dishonesty. I suppose if you had to do that you might start questioning your belief structure. God forbid.

  • DC

    anyone on here read the book and know the periods researched, number of alleged killings by state forces?

    is it possible to do a breakdown of all troubles-related killings that took place in the areas referenced over the same time period?

  • drmisery

    You miss the point konigsberg. It doesnt matter. These deaths were all tragic, its not about scorecards. If helped by servants of the state then it is more tragic. How is any catholic meant to swear allegiance ro any flag or British ness when the state is turning a blind eye (at the very least) to killings of their felliw Mass goers. Lester maddox eh DC?

  • looneygas

    What’s the big deal about collusion anyway?
    The way I see it, the British had two choices.
    A:Be a neutral referee trying to keep the two sides from killing each other, in which case the Loyalists would’ve flipped their lids, shouted “but we’re the good guys” and in short order killed as many soldiers as possible.
    B:Demonstrate that the IRA and their sympathizers were the bad guys, allowing them British) to face down the bad guys, without fear for their backs from the “good” guys.
    Anything short of collusion and co-operation with the Loyalist paramilitaries would be seen as treachery by the native-born Brits/Proddies/Norn Irish/Whateveryacallems.
    It all seems pretty natural and predictable. Not a big shock surprise or in any way difficult to believe.

  • drmisery

    Correct but they would have killed more Catholics as was and is the well documented behaviour throughout the ages. Thats the truth, the British government has always feared the backlash of loyalist sectarian killings..

    What about the ira? Always wrong to kill. Can I make that any clearer? They killwd more people. They killed more “innocent” people. Killing is wrong.

    but the State should not have indulged/permitted/ turned a blind eye to…
    It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and a moment to lose it. British justice /fairness was starting from such a low point I suppose there was little to lose but they could have tried.

  • drmisery

    . ..To distance themselves from the lester maddox types in good old ulster

  • aquifer

    “It’s called total war.”

    The numbers would have to be bigger for that.

    The state was trying to stop the Provos attritional ‘long war’ campaign of murder armed blackmail and sectarian polarisation by a variety of means, including assuring Catholics of equal opportunity, and ensuring that the Provos saw a price being paid for their actions, while managing the protestant wish for revenge for the Provo assault on ‘democracy’. e.g. The state assisting loyalist paramilitaries in targetting known Provos, which was noted as having an effect on Provo morale.

    There were clearly also killings of Catholics by protestant members of the security forces in some areas, which is disgusting.

    But for PIRA, conspiracy to murder was the rule, not the exception.

  • gendjinn

    aquifer,

    But for PIRA, conspiracy to murder was the rule, not the exception.

    Then why did they phone in bomb warnings?

  • drmisery

    Combatants, non combatants whatever. Killing was wrong. Phone warnings, warnings and destruction of property, wrong. Yes , correct the state’s position difficult, but saying nothing when the unionist government at best tolerated Catholics in a statelrt, again and let’s state the truth again, borne out of intransigence, violence and non democracy, wrong. So plenty of wrongs, very little right.

    But here we are again picking berrys instead of looking at the huge herd of buffalo. Again, let’s start with the basics. No side had a monopoly on wrongness. One can excuse it with whataboutery but here is where I break from the alliance party, the sins of unionism are at best ignored rather than denied fueling disbelief in my co catholics. I certainly am no victim but I can assure all pul people out there the lack of irony and acknowledgement of those sins will further place me on a road firmly out of the uk. By the way im not foreseeing any movong house.

  • socaire

    Tá socaire ar ais arís i ndiaidh coicise san fhásach. A CHASTENED AND MANNERLY BOY. God is good.

  • DC

    OK I’ve had a bit of a listen to Anne Cadwallader on Pat Kenny’s audio.

    http://www.newstalk.ie/player/podcasts/The_Pat_Kenny_Show/The_Pat_Kenny_Show_Highlights/36592/2/Anne_Cadwallader's_explosive_new_book_on_the_Troubles

    First up, out of the clip lasting 28 mins and 56 secs only about 28 seconds is allowed during the debate with pat to focus on republicans killing the ‘offspring’ of protestant farmers in the area – which is quickly dismissed on the basis of the inquiry focusing on the state as “one side is meant to abide by the rule of law and the other side paramilitaries….” Listen in at 23:18 to 23:46.

    However, at the start 4:42 Anne trots out sagely “collusion solves nothing all it does is prolong conflict fuel conflict…and that meant more support for violent republicanism….”

    Now!

    Here’s why a bit of wider historical knowledge or knowledge of other facts might be important before judging on things entirely.

    The Sunday World reports that Jean McConville in 1972 was killed on the sanctioning of or perhaps even by Gerry Adams himself based on a BBC investigation coming out tomorrow. The paper goes on to say that Jean McConville may not have even been an informer but killed to make an example so that other would-be informers wouldn’t grass up the IRA.

    Surely to correct or revise Anne Cadwalladers logic – what also solves nothing all it does is prolong conflict fuel conflict is shooting dead innocent persons to spook would-be informers, informers who might want to think about coming forward and tipping off the police and security forces that could lead to the apprehension of men doing acts of brutality and criminality or terrorists – or people self-identifying as irish and engaged in militant republicanism.

    Jean McConville was killed was it December 1972? The discriminatory Stormont state was prorogued March 1972?

    Surely the key to any functioning liberal democratic justice system is the freedom to come forward and report crimes without fear of intimidation or murder and that bit was clearly missing across the range. It would have been helpful to the cause of peace surely if those groups that the british had infiltrated and had informers in did not have their informers killed. Killing them must have been as harmful perhaps more so than collusion and doing that only served to ‘prolong conflict fuel conflict’.

    That then is one reason why it is important to broaden out the debate on the past and to draw on wider historical knowledge, other fragmentary facts should be pulled together along side Anne’s take of things.

    Basically if the IRA didn’t shoot informers and spook would-be informers this would have led to less conflict or a more accurate taking out of ‘combatants’ than civilians on a reliance on ropey evidence and collusion? Is it not the case that the IRA became so infiltrated in the end that that did indeed assist with its winding up?

    So Anne from a moral view point if paramilitaries – republican paramilitaries – whom you discount in your study – didn’t actually kill people with information – accurate information – which given they were killed seemed to suggest they were intent to pass this info on to the state or had done, yes, if these guys weren’t killed things would have been settled cleaner and much much sooner.

  • cynic2

    “Surely the key to any functioning liberal democratic justice system …..”

    I agree with your thesis but I am afraid the analysis is wrong. At that point – until they realized it wouldn’t go down well with gullible Irish Americans – PIRA were (or aspired to be) revolutionary Marxists. A liberal democracy wasn’t the aim – it was a dictatorship established by force with them in charge North and South. who

  • cynic2

    “Then why did they phone in bomb warnings?”

    Errrr first of all the bombings were wrong too

    Second – they didn’t always eg La Mon, the Abercorn, Bloody Friday etc etc etc

    Third – they sometimes gave warnings because otherwise they might kill Catholics. They were a sectarian / racist gang. Dead prods were just ‘collateral damage’ Dead Catholics might damage support and had to be avoided

  • DC

    hi cynic

    yes i agree – if you look further up i tapped out the following ‘As David McCann points out elsewhere, the past is a foreign country they do things differently there, therefore the retrospective imposition of liberal democrat norms and values onto northern ireland’s past and its security position, when no such norms existed, seems like judging out of context.’

    And by that i mean the book probably is written from a legal and moral point of view with a view to getting compensation out of the british for failings but the pay out will be based on a failure of the state to live up to liberal democratic norms – when none actually existed, well none is too extreme but the circumstances were such that a peaceful liberal democratic approach to things was just pure fantasy!

    the point being republicans were as much a factor in taking this place over the abyss – and the british SoS was right to snub Anne’s book chat request.

  • tacapall

    Er Cynic and DC in case you dont knowthe thread is about Anne Cadwalladers facts about security force collusion and participation with loyalists in acts of terrorism, including murder.

    “that there was participation by members of the security forces in providing intelligence, weapons and targeting information to loyalist/unionist paramilitary groups from the late-1960s onwards. In some cases, it was even clear that either officially or unofficially, security force members and agents being run by the security services directly participated in killings and bombings. There was also some high-level strategic direction being given to those activities”.

    Trying to lead the thread down the garden path to some other topic doesn’t change the facts that Anne Cadwallader writes about.

  • gendjinn

    cynic2

    “Then why did they phone in bomb warnings?”

    Errrr first of all the bombings were wrong too

    Second – they didn’t always eg La Mon, the Abercorn, Bloody Friday etc etc etc

    You left out the important sentence I was replying to:
    But for PIRA, conspiracy to murder was the rule, not the exception.

    Phoning in warnings does not jive with the usual propaganda line that the PIRA were bloodthirsty, racists, sectarian, psychopaths out to kill as many people as possible. Nor does it jive with the other line about how the PIRA murdered more Catholics than any other group.

    And all bombings were wrong? I don’t think you’ll find many in the Nationalist/Republican community will join you in condemning the Warrenpoint ambush. Especially as it will be the only justice we get for Bloody Sunday.

  • gendjinn

    tacapall,

    they can’t acknowledge that reality. It’s just not possible for them. We will have to wait for the next generation before the truth of the last 50 years can be honestly examined.

    It’s only in the last decade that Britain has been able to begin honestly confronting it’s imperial genocides & crimes.

  • DC
  • drmisery

    Sorry gendjinn, Warren point was both wrong and heinous. What happened on bloody sunday and the pathetic aftermath of British justice could never justify the killing of others.

    Let’s try something, let’s all just say that collusion wss something to keep historical academics in a job, and really a few bad apples. Let’s say there was no State involvement in any of the profile murders. Let’s just say the fenians are just uppity and don’t know how good they’ve got it.

    Okay then, Konigsberg et al, which one of you is the De Klerk. Show me your vision for my kids and grandkids, sorry make that our kids and grandkids. Show me the future which unionism will embrace its irish countrymen… Was that a Tumble weed? Ok right flags back up, god save the queen played again at Queens, lprotestant selection in the judiciary, well ok…marching the Queens highway as it should be, seal that border…96% protestant police force., yeah ok it worked before. And the sad thing is all the closet unionist bigots are rubbing the tears from tbeir eyes thinking thinking, “wheres that damn flux capacitor? ” . Sad but true. Its a pity the train has left the station. I was hoping that old Presbyterian and Lutheran ability to free think was still there…. hypogonadotropic unionism …

  • drmisery

    Hopefully when people READ the book people may see that perhaps their viewpoint can change even a degree, a little, un petit peu. God forbid if you read dare I the orange state ( a properly researched book) or even Susan mckay an unsettled people or The dirty war)
    ALL LIES!

  • gendjinn

    drmisery,

    cannot agree with you there. La Mons, Enniskillen, Birmingham, etc were & are wrong but Warrenpoint which only targeted and only hit paratroopers, can’t condemn that one.

    Thing to remember is the people that apologise for Bloody Sunday, condemn Warrenpoint as terrorism are the very same people that think the firebomings of Dresden & Hamburg, Operation Carthage and the sinking of the Cap Arcona are perfectly legitimate military operations that do not require even a scintilla of condemnation.

  • paulG

    DC,

    How many sons of Protestant farmers do you estimate were murdered by Republicans ? I first heard this theory in the mid eighties but never detected any dicernable pattern to support it (and of course neither did Kenny substantiate it).

    As for Pat Kenny and the “Triangle of Death”, well, he really is such a twat.

  • DC

    don’t know mate and that’s why there needs to be a wider inquiry into the past – turgon might be able to provide more insight.

    (of course secret armies don’t leave tracks and don’t want things to be discerned, do they?)

  • drmisery

    Gendjinn
    “If you seek revenge dig 2 grave s”

  • DC
  • paulG

    Well said, that man!

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    John,
    A bit of context:
    In the Troubles, 3 security force members were killed for every one life they took.
    Republican terror groups, by contrast, killed 5 for every one of them that died.
    Ignoring the big picture leads to wrong conclusions about the facts that emerge. I think that is unionism’s issue with the focus on collusion. It did happen and books like this have value in establishing more of the facts, but the macro-analysis, from what I can tell, seems weak. The big problem is, Republicans have always underplayed for ideological reasons that Loyalists acted in the vast majority of cases completely autonomously. So I’m skeptical about macro-analyses that appear to be still flogging that dead horse.

    Republicans were the driver of violence, if not initially, certainly by mid-1970 – and they were the one party whose stopping would have halted the whole thing. Take any other party out of the equation and the IRA campaign still continues, because as we know from January 1970 the IRA leadership’s plan was a violent anti-British terror campaign to overturn the democratic wishes of the Northern Ireland people. As Richard English, Malachi O’Docherty and others have shown, the IRA offensive (both in the conceptual planning and in the nascent terrorism of 1969-70) pre-dated the brutality of the security force response subsequently claimed to have “provoked” it.

    But say we took the Republican view on collusion, and say we were to notionally re-allocate half of Loyalist killings to the security forces – far-fetched, but just supposing. That would put the security force proportion of killings up from 10 per cent to 24 per cent. But Republicans themselves are still on 59 per cent. (Loyalists in this scenario would be down to 15 per cent.)

    Whichever way you look at it, Republicans were responsible for the bulk of The Troubles – both in overall death tolls and as authors of the “Armed Struggle” strategy. By 1971, pretty much everything else in The Troubles was a response in some form or another to this massive orgy of anti-British violence.

    The mistakes and crimes of the security forces in the process of protecting the public from the terrorists are regrettable and they shame the people involved. But they do not characterise the fantastic, brave work of the security forces overall – tens of thousands of diligent, decent people working every day to protect the public from these maniacs, for over 30 years. The effort and the scale of the good work done was absolutely vast. The collusion set out so far, while bad, represents a very small proportion of Troubles deaths but also a very, very tiny proportion of the overall security force actions during the period. Many of us, Catholic and Protestant, owe our lives to them. No one owes their life to the IRA, UVF or any other terror gang.

  • Jagdip

    “In recent weeks the allegations that members of the security forces were part of a murderous gang which killed more than 100 people in the 1970s have been given further currency in the recently published book to which you have referred to.” British defence minister Anna Soubry
    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/regional/durkan-challenges-mod-on-truth-about-murderous-glenanne-gang-1-5677342
    “giving currency” as defined by freedictionary
    “to spread a story around. (With a negative if there is doubt about what is said.) I can’t give any currency to anything Ralph Jones says. We give no currency to those stories. His actions gave currency to the rumor that he was about to leave.”
    I have not read Lethal Allies yet, it has just been reprinted after selling out. But I understand the book to be based on a responsible analysis of historical documents.
    Is it acceptable for a British minister to dismiss it as “giving currency” to allegations of collusion. Why the negativity?

  • John Ó Néill

    Mainland Ulsterman – sorry just saw this now.

    Sorry, but that simply does not stand up.

    “…3 security force members were killed for every one life they took…” I’m afraid this is not currently possible to quantify with any accuracy. As Lethal Allies and other pieces of research clearly illustrate, where can you draw the line between a killing carried out by members of the security forces on duty, a killing carried out by members of the security forces off duty, a killing carried out by others using intelligence and/or operational information and/or weapons supplied by the security forces, and, even killings carried out where security force policy was simply not to undertake any substantive investigative process (thus ensuring that those that carried out the killing were free to continue in their actions).

    “…Loyalists acted in the vast majority of cases completely autonomously…” is another conclusion that is becoming harder and harder to sustain (for instance, the source of weapons in some areas was solely ‘stolen’ weapons from the UDR and RUC. I use inverted commas as there is little evidence that these ‘thefts’ were ever investigated as such. Similarly, it has been assessed that 85% of the intelligence used by loyalists came from security force sources.

    “The mistakes and crimes of the security forces in the process of protecting the public from the terrorists are regrettable…” like a lot of the points you are making, they require a very narrow pro-union reading of events to arrive at such a conclusion. All but one of the victims (of loyalists) described in Lethal Allies were not in any way involved in politics (to take one example, since the book covers only a limited geographic area and period of time). With security force involvement, either directly in the killings, or in facilitating future killings by making no attempt to either investigate the killings or act upon evidence that could have put those involved in prison or even directly prevented further killings, how does that in any way equate to ‘protecting the public’?

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    I finally received my copy of Cadwallader’s book from the UK months after Christmas and had time to read it. I was much more impressed with the first part than with the second. She did manage to convince me, something that J. Bowyer Bell failed to do in his book on the subject, that there was collusion in the Dublin-Monaghan bombing because of the examination of the forensic evidence by a former Br army explosives expert who said that the bombs were much more similar to IRA bombs than to loyalist bombs based on the material used. The problem with most of the second part was that she made this long history of British usage of pseudo-gang warfare in colonial conflicts, but she obviously didn’t understand it. To have pseudo-gang warfare in NI would mean using former IRA/INLA members as part of teams employed against the republicans. All of the republicans who were turned were kept in place as informers rather than used to work with teams of security force personnel as was done in Kenya, Rhodesia, and Namibia. So, I would say she definitely demonstrated collusion between RUC and UDR figures in the mid-Ulster area. She claims that there was much wider collusion but doesn’t really establish it.