Loyalist decommissioning must be upfront and open

Like many things in Northern Ireland the arrangements around the decommissioning were made entirely in secret, and not simply the act itself, but who was chosen and when. That secretiveness alone is what makes it suspect in eyes of Unionist observer, argues Lindy McDowell. She ends with a typically wry but sharp perception:

Meanwhile, it is weird, is it not, to hear Gerry invoking British intelligence assessments as proof that the Provies have indeed come up with the goods. When Gerry cites the “securocrats” you know it has to be seismic.

More seismic still though is the opportunity this week’s move provides for pressure to now be piled upon the loyalists to handover their arms too. And you can forget the negotiation, Mr Hain, the behind-the-doors toadying to them. Round up the brigadiers and assorted officers commanding and hold them until the weapons are produced.

In a way that, this time round, truly is “transparent and verifiable.”

  • Betty Boo

    When I read something like this I can’t help feeling the urge to hand out a history of the troubles or the Index of Death. It is very one sided because from what I can see the suffering received and distributed was not. But maybe I’m the one “peering into a pair of binoculars with the caps still in place”.

  • phone india

    Pah, if they decommissioned how are they going to protect their drugs empire?

  • Lhiannan-shee

    Isn’t it a fact that the weapons held by the Loyalist paramilitaries are such rubbish (compared to the sophisticated armoury of the Provies) that they are too embarassed to produce them for decommissioning?

  • Betty Boo

    They seem to do the job allright.
    But since everyone is asking for the inventory of the IRA arms decommissioned, I remember hearing that a full inventory would be published when all paramilitary weapons are destroyed.
    So in case your are right, we are in for a long wait.

  • Ginfizz

    Lindy McDowell is rapidly replacing Alex Kane as my favourite Unionist comentator. I only but hte BT when she’s writing in it.

    Excellent article – especially the point about wanting to keep Unionists uneasy and distrusting – Anthony McIntyre made the same point.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Lhiannan-Shee,
    Your comment, “the weapons held by the Loyalist paramilitaries are such rubbish” makes me think that you are either one of two possible individuals:

    (1) You are misguided and ignorant to the fact that both the UDA and the UVF have major arms contacts in Scotland, Germany, Croatia and South Africa to name but a few off the top of my head;

    or,

    (2) Perhaps you are more sinister than that and a republican trying to play down the operational capabilities of the Loyalist organisations…the IRA never recognise the Loyalist organisations than anything other than tools of the “Unionist establishment” and the British government. This is because they don’t want the outside world to be made aware that there are indigenous counter-terrorist organisations willing to give their lives to remain free from being coerced into accepting a so-called “United” Ireland. They portray themselves as Irish freedom fighters against oppression and the British presence in Ulster-they don’t want the truth to be known that they were also fighting a “war” against other Northern Ireland citizens who despised them and everything they represented…

  • Jo

    Given that some Unionists will be satisfied with nothing less than the imprisonment or execution of Adams and McGuinness, can the % of Unionists who are reasonable stand up now, please?

    Perhaps the BT will run another poll shortly.

  • Henry94

    Concerned Loyalist

    there are indigenous counter-terrorist organisations willing to give their lives to remain free from being coerced into accepting a so-called “United” Ireland.

    And which one of them is selling whatever is it you’ve been smoking?

  • Overhere

    It is pretty much from the same stable as the DUP. Who or what are we going to blame now for the years of neglect to our community while stoking the fear and bigotry? Who are we going to frighten the community with now we can no longer tell them they are all going to be murdered in their beds? Well lads and lassies you can’t one day soon you are going to have to put your hands up and say yes it is our fault because if you look over the wall you will see that “themuns” are now just as impoverishted as yourselves. No you are not the “chosen race” we fed you a lie for the last 70 odd years and you never thought to question it.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Henry 94,
    Ball and not the man comes to mind. A non-educated, delinquent, sectarian thug like myself can play by the rules…so should you.

  • foreign correspondent

    ´´there are indigenous counter-terrorist organisations willing to give their lives´´

    From what I remember they were a lot more disposed to cruising around the streets looking for someone, anyone, as long as it was fairly sure they were a ´´Taig´´, and murdering them, rather than risking their own lives. I have no time for the Ra either before you start, but give the heroification of scumbags a rest, please.

  • red kangaroo

    CL “This is because they don’t want the outside world to be made aware that there are indigenous counter-terrorist organisations willing to give their lives to remain free from being coerced into accepting a so-called “United” Ireland.”

    “counter-terrorist” is that over the counter or under the counter??

  • Belfastwhite

    Overhere

    Interesting observation I was watching Mississippi Burning the other night Gene Hackman was telling the story of how his father had poisoned his black neighhbours mule because “If you’re not better than a nigger who are you better than son!”. His father could accept being poor as long as black people were poorer. Kind of reminded about the situation here as well.

  • Betty Boo

    Red,
    Thanks for the laugh. But you do wonder, don’t you.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Concerned Loyalist:

    there are indigenous counter-terrorist organisations willing to give their lives to remain free from being coerced into accepting a so-called “United” Ireland.

    More likely a band of unemployable juvenile deliquents who, for the price of a few bottles, few quid, a few guns and a few rousing speeches, were willing to join the state-sponsored terrorism set in place to “teach the Taigs their place.”

    Pity them, for they are a dying breed — Austropithicus amongst the Cro-magnan. They have no unity, no discipline and purpose. They fight now over drug turf and, if’n you put your mind to it, will realize there is no way for these thugs to bomb and brawl their way to forcing Britain to maintain the Union. You must admit, their options are running a trifle thin; if they attack the Catholic minority, they will build sympathy for that community and allow Adams & Co. to bask in the heavenly light of the moral high ground. They attack the police / British army and that will be all she wrote — their assault on the police puts pay to the lie of calling them “Loyalist.”

    So, for the foreseeable, they will take door number three — grouse a bit and attack each other, like the degenerate thugs they are, occasionally sallying-forth to do Big Ian’s bidding — a riot here, an arson there, only to be cut off at the knees when Big Ian needs to look respectable again. Sad, really.

  • overhere

    Belfastwhite

    It does make you think. Another example of how we are really all the same is the reaction you hear overhere in England. Only “themuns” over here are the immigrants and it is the same old litany “how come they are getting everything and we are get nothing”

  • red kangaroo

    Overhere

    “It does make you think. Another example of how we are really all the same is the reaction you hear overhere in England. Only “themuns” over here are the immigrants and it is the same old litany “how come they are getting everything and we are get nothing” “

    Considering some of the seemingly racist posts in other threads from so called irish nationalists I have observed that immigration mught be the answer to sectarianism in NI. After all at least “themuns” are white and sorta like us. We share a hatred we all understand, unlike these real foriegners

  • martin

    I thought it was a rather cunning ploy on the part of de Chastelaine and co to not publish the inventory of the IRAs weapons until all Loyalist weapons are decommissioned–it means that if Paisley wants to know what was decommissioned badly enough–he will have to push for Loyalist decommissioning to begin asap–this is an area he has absolutely no previous experience in–and to push for some Loyalist decommissioning-(I wont hold my breath) would cost him many votes in the future.

  • an cearrbhach

    Lindy McDowell? She’s not exactly Spinoza. Is this the best liberal unionism, the Belfast Telegraph’s presumption of itself, can come up with? Not much hope there then.

  • maca

    Lhiannan-shee
    “isn’t it a fact that the weapons held by the Loyalist paramilitaries are such rubbish”

    Many photos show them carrying SA-80’s, a modern and fairly decent assault rifle. They also have Ak’s, a weapon of choice for todays terrorist. Few weapons are actually rubbish, even WW1 & WW2 weapons are every bit as lethal as any more modern weapon if they are well maintained.

  • lhiannan-shee

    Concerned loyalist: wrong on both counts. I heard the poor calibre of Loyalist arms stated as fact by none other than Michael Mates, former Tory minister here, on the BBC Radio Four Programme “The long View”
    He also said that was why the suybject of Loyalist decommissioning had been treated with kid gloves by successive British governments – to avoid embarassing the Loyalist thugs.
    It made a lot of sense. If they had any decent weapons surely they would have used them instead of throwing pipe bombs

  • Betty Boo

    Is it anywhere written down that a full inventory of all arms decommissioned will be published when they are all decommissioned?

  • maca

    “I heard the poor calibre of Loyalist arms stated as fact by none other than Michael Mates”

    Methinks he was talking through his arse.

    “If they had any decent weapons surely they would have used them instead of throwing pipe bombs”

    Are you joking?

    AK’s
    http://www.nireland.com/petemc/uvf(1).jpg
    Ak & some SMG’s
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/890000/images/_892131_feuduff300.jpg
    SA80’s & handguns
    http://cfrterrorism.org/images/photos/uvf_pic.jpg

  • lhiannan-shee

    I don’t see why Michael Mates should say that if it wasn’t true! I reckon he forgot that there are some people here who listen to Radio Four and so said something we weren’t supposed to hear. It’s a recognised syndrome.
    I’m not suggesting they have no arms or that you can’t kill someone with a blunderbuss, or even a bow and arrow, just that the big brave boys who terrorise women and old men on Protestant estates know that their arms cache is not as glamorous as the IRA’s and are reluctant to reveal it. I think it’s known as “mine’s smaller than yours” in male circles.

  • JD

    Peter Hains demands of loyalists are meanless without the British coming clean on collusion. This is a case of give us our guns back.

    Maybe Gordon Kerr (FRU) should be appointed to the IICD so that can verify that the amount of arms being decommissioned by loyalists is accurate.

  • George

    Will the British secret services not be quicker looking in the mirror and quizzing themselves than asking loyalists to tell them where their arms caches are and how many weapons they have?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    lhiannan-shee: “I heard the poor calibre of Loyalist arms stated as fact by none other than Michael Mates, former Tory minister here, on the BBC Radio Four Programme “The long View”
    He also said that was why the suybject of Loyalist decommissioning had been treated with kid gloves by successive British governments – to avoid embarassing the Loyalist thugs.
    It made a lot of sense. If they had any decent weapons surely they would have used them instead of throwing pipe bombs”

    Couple simple points… the fact that some of the Loyalist arms are not the latest and greatest is something of a red herring. Firstly, it don’t matter if you’re shot with the latest and greatest or some ancient, rusted P.O.S. or some cobbled-together zip gun, you’re still shot. Secondly, a well-maintained weapons is like a diamond — its forever, or so close as makes no odds. Thirdly, designs for some weapons have not changed much over the years — the Colt 1911a .45 and the AK-47 being two prime examples. Lastly, I personally suspect that Loyalist reluctance has more to do with the source of the arms, rather than the age — because I suspect that a number of these weapons will turn out to have come from across the Irish Sea.

    As for the pipe-bombs, they would be a substitute for grenades, not small arms.

  • Dec

    CL

    (1) You are misguided and ignorant to the fact that both the UDA and the UVF have major arms contacts in Scotland, Germany, Croatia and South Africa to name but a few off the top of my head;,

    I hope for your sake no-one from Special Branch is reading this thread. Next time the PSNI have to ‘discover’ some loyalist weapons (keeping up appearances and all that) you might be getting a knock on your door, such is your apparent knowledge of the global arms trade.

  • maca

    DC
    “Colt 1911a .45 and the AK-47”

    Browning HP 9mmm is of the same era as the colt I believe, and is still in use with the Irish Army and possibly also the British Army. The Colt was only replaced a short while ago (80-90’s?) by the US Army.
    The FN (60’s) & Bren (30-40’s!!) are as lethal (higher calibre actually) as the Steyr Aug or SA80 which are currently being used by the Irish & British armies. Old weapons like the Lee Enfield (.101″) while being a heavy brute of a weapon and very old is as accurate as a sniper rifle and packs a fair punch.

    lhiannan-shee, you can believe Mates but did you look at the photos I inkied to?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Maca: “Old weapons like the Lee Enfield (.101″) while being a heavy brute of a weapon and very old is as accurate as a sniper rifle and packs a fair punch”

    Isn’t that the Lee-Enflield .303″? 😉

    Seriously, tho… you make my point — firearms are like family jewelry — properly treated, they’ll last for generations. Likewise, I really don’t care what’s being fired if I’m the poor fella downrange.

  • walter

    “This is because they don’t want the outside world to be made aware that there are indigenous counter-terrorist organisations willing to give their lives to remain free from being coerced into accepting a so-called “United” Ireland.”

    Yeah cl,

    The loyal sons of ulster really struck a mighty blow towards saving the union when they tried to murder a 2 year old protestant toddler in Ballymoney, last night.

    Drugs, extortion and prostitution has nothing to do with being loyal.

  • lhiannan-shee

    Maca :Yes I looked at the photos. The same 5 guns in every picture?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    “Home attack treated as murder bid

    A pipe bomb attack on a family in Ballymoney is being treated as attempted murder, police have said.
    No motive has yet been found for the attack on the house, but loyalist paramilitaries are being blamed”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/4292528.stm

    Ah, yes, those brave sons of the Empire, who come in the dark of the night to blow up toddlers.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Lianan-shee:

    “Maca :Yes I looked at the photos. The same 5 guns in every picture?”

    Well, Lianan, lemme let you in on a little secret here in the post-Industrial Revolution, mass production era. One weapon of a given design pretty much looks like every other example of that design, with some tolerances. They;re a little like cars — you have the plain vanilla model, to which you may add a few options, but that’s about it.

    Similarly, even if they were building their own Sten guns in someone’s metal shop, would that make a difference to those who have been shot?

  • aquifer

    Given that military style thugs cling to the advantage of having unarmed or unprepared opponents, it’s hardly sporting to use a gun at all. At least suicide bombers show some personal commitment to the work in hand.

  • Thomas from Texas

    úrnua tuaisceartach reabhlóid