a shoot-out without guns?

The police raid on the loyalist bar in Tiger’s Bay garnered the publicity it deserved, what with CS gas being used and reports of gunfire, and the 18 arrests that followed. Those arrests have now turned into charges.. 11 men charged with membership of a proscribed organisation, while 7 people were released with files sent to the PPS.. apart from that the only other reported charges are that 7 of the men arrested were “charged with wearing an item of clothing in such a way as to arose reasonable suspicion that he is a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation”.. not quite the “items of use to terrorism” that initial reports may have suggested were present.

,

  • sohnlein

    It was simply a wake up call – go out of business now, or we will close you down.

  • Comrade Stalin

    This looks like an excellent piece of police work on behalf of the PSNI. Their intelligence sources provided information, which they acted upon in a robust but measured way – no-one was hurt and no shots were fired. Given that we are dealing with a powerful and extremely dangerous paramilitary organization with a recent history of firing live rounds at police officers, the level of force shown was, as far as I can see, more than appropriate.

    However, what is quite clear about this once again is the ambivalent attitude to loyalist paramilitarism that unionist politicians show. I’ve always had a problem with the mealy mouthed equivocation that constitutes the response of unionism to ongoing loyalist paramilitarism, but this raid and the response to it has made this more clear than ever.

    Had this been a raid on a republican bar, we would have heard :

    – praise for the PSNI’s excellent and well-managed operation
    – calls for further arrests and raids
    – calls for an IMC report
    – arguments in favour of the exclusion of Sinn Fein from the assembly

    However, because the raid was not on a republican bar, unionists :

    – condemned the operation as being heavy handed
    – refused to give any indication that they supported action by the police against a clear example of ongoing paramilitarism
    – Nigel Dodds has even written to the Chief Constable to complain about the raid.

    The above responses are what I expect to hear from the likes of Sinn Fein or the PUP/UPRG. However, the DUP says that it is not linked to paramilitarism and opposes all of it. Why did it have so much difficulty in supporting an operation against the UDA ?

    It is pretty clear from the media articles on the matter here that Nigel Dodds is not happy that loyalist paramilitaries are being arrested and charged with membership of a proscribed organization. Instead, his letter seems to suggest that loyalists should be treated with the same alleged leniency that is shown to republicans (although where he gets the ideas about leniency I don’t know; I have no recollection of Mr Dodds condemning the PSNI raids of SF offices at Stormont, or the raids against those who were charged in connection with the Northern Bank robbery).

    It is unfortunate that Dodds, a person who likes people to think he is resolutely opposed to terrorism, studiously avoids calling for charges to be brought for paramilitary membership in other cases such as the example in Strabane that he mentioned in his letter.

    I hope that the unionist contributors to Slugger who believe that the DUP is consistent in it’s opposition to paramilitarism will take a long and hard think about why unionist politicians are content to act as the political wing of the paramilitary organizations in this way. Are they democrats ? Are they fit for government ? How can the DUP call for Sinn Fein to show their support for the police when they refuse to do so themselves ?

  • With the entire leadership of the north Belfast UDA out of the picture, incidentally the one’s who refused to tow Jackie’s new line, the opportunity exists for him to replace the likes of Shoukri with his stooges.
    Everyone’s happy – Jackie, the cops, the NIO and McAleese. It’s amazing the things that can be gained through partnership.

  • observer

    isnt dodds letter asking why such action not taken against the IRA who are still in operation, rather than asking why it was taken against the UDA

  • Comrade Stalin

    Observer, yes, but surely he could have asked the question at the time of the IRA incident. What do you think Dodds’ position is ?

    Dodds’ response shows a distinct lack of enthusiasm for police operations in shutting down loyalist paramilitarism. I find that very, very worrying. Loyalist paramilitaries are not merely a danger to republicans, they are clearly a danger and a blight in the areas they dominate. If the local politicians are not going to take a firm line against them, who will ?

  • lah dee dah

    Any politico will encourage votes from those who may vote for him or his party – that’s democracy. Potential voters from the ‘other side’ could be said to be a lost cause. In light of events is Dodds action not ‘robust but measured’?

    Is there anything the police could do on any of our paramilitaries that would not be criticised by someone?

  • Comrade Stalin

    In light of events is Dodds action not ‘robust but measured’?

    I think the IMC should be asked to make a determination into whether or not the DUP is committed to exclusively peaceful and democratic means, and whether or not it upholds the authority of the police.

    I don’t know how you can talk about sides and votes. The people who were arrested last night are a danger to non-republicans.

    Dodd’s position is hypocritical. On the one hand, those who apologize for terrorism and refuse to support the police are said to be unfit for government. On the other hand, DUP politicians carefully avoids backing efforts by the security forces to squash loyalist paramilitarism, and criticize the police when they do so.

    How can the DUP be considered fit for government on the basis of their own policies ?

  • observer

    when was the last time anyone got arrested for being a memebr of the IRA?

  • urquhart

    “7 of the men arrested were “charged with wearing an item of clothing in such a way as to arose reasonable suspicion that he is a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation”.. ”

    We’re in for an interesting marching season!

  • elfinto

    The DUP need an armed UDA just in case the two governments move towards joint authority in the absence of devolution.

    That’s why Paisley made his comments about the IRA having guns ‘for use against Protestants’ – his code language for ‘hold onto your guns boys’.

    That’s why Dodd’s criticises the PSNI and treats the UDA with kid gloves. One day soon the DUP might just need a bit of muscle to thwart the governments’ plans. No use in alienating them.

    An age old unionist tactic.

  • Pete Baker

    elfinto

    There are too many people treating the UDA with kid gloves.. and they’re not all in the DUP, or Unionists.

  • Comrade Stalin

    There are too many people treating the UDA with kid gloves.. and they’re not all in the DUP, or Unionists.

    The problem is the DUP’s hypocrisy. If the DUP admitted to being the effective political wing of the UDA, then perhaps we could get somewhere, without all of this silly holier than thou nonsense they go on about concerning democratic and peaceful bona fides.

  • pacman

    I don’t really undertsand the argument on here at all. Everyone knows that the DUP are de facto the political wing of most of the loyalist paramilitaries and Sinn Fein are the political wing of the IRA. The one thing that has always united both parties is their pathetic attempts to distance themselves from the aforementioned paramilitaries and to take a moral high ground on condemning each others associations.

    What amuses me is that in 2006 people are still gullible enough to defend both of their moral high-grounds as if the dogs in the street might actually believe them. But unfortunately, of course, their electoral mandates would lead me to conclude that they’re clever at what they do.

    Paramilitarianism keeps money in all the right pockets and lets the rest of us know exactly where our place is on our respective communities.

    Never bite the hand that feeds and the British Government has very large pockets.

  • pacman

    The above post is mine

    Pacman

  • elfinto

    Urquhart,

    The charges are about as dodgy as the people charged and the goons will walk. But it was goos to see some intent from the PSNI at long last. Was it a one off or will it be followed up?

    CS, Pacman

    The intelligence services must have tonnes of dirt on the DUP’s links with paramilitaries. It’s long past time that some of it was put in the public domain.

  • alfredo

    yes i agree with the implicit sentiments of comrade stalin – once again this is the securocrats at work, raiding a uda bar knowing there was nothing really there and then going softly-softly on the thugs rehearsing for their show so that the contrast with their behaviour towards republicans in the same sitiation – dead bodies everywhere – would be impossible to ignore – the result is that sinn fein’s noble enterprise of re-erecting the GFA is frustrated – is there nothing, no level too low, that the securocrats will not do or reach to frustrate the will of the risen people!! comrades, beware the securocrats, they are everywhere. just listen to comrade stalin and his wise friend pat mclarnon and you won’t go wrong – and if you do, expect a visit from big bobby!

  • Belfast Gonzo

    None of this, I am sure, is designed to help the golf-playing wing of the UDA who might benefit if certain people due in court later today were offside for a while.

    My guess is that this is an attempt to disrupt the north Belfast UDA – essentially an organised crime gang – which might give more politically-minded UDA leaders a chance to get a grip on the organisation.

    Just a hunch, but isn’t a dove in the hand worth two Bush in the bar? :o/

  • aquifer

    “Had this been a raid on a republican bar, we would have heard :

    – praise for the PSNI’s excellent and well-managed operation
    – calls for further arrests and raids
    – calls for an IMC report
    – arguments in favour of the exclusion of Sinn Fein from the assembly ”

    Yes, but what from Sinn Fein et al?

    – the peace process is in crisis?

    Our politicians are unfit to hold policing powers.

    That Dodds would write in complaint about this brave and effective police action is an utter disgrace.

    By humiliating paramilitaries this operation may well have put some teenagers off the bling and blow choice and rescued them for life.

    Nice Work.

  • fair_deal

    CS

    People allegedly doing something illegal were caught, the PSNI did there job. However, the PSNI said they adopted such tactics because the individuals were armed but it would seem they weren’t (not even replicas).

    It probably wasn’t such a great intelligence coup either, most of the Belfast media knew about it that morning.

    observer

    “when was the last time anyone got arrested for being a memebr of the IRA?”

    You can’t be arrested for this as you can’t be charged with it. If your ceasefire is recognised by the government then you cannot be charged with membership of that group.

  • Bemused

    Ihab Shoukri now confirmed as having been released ‘pending a report from the PPS’. How the fuck can Order continue to stand over this sort of nonsense. Ihab Shoukri is currently on bail. One of his bail conditions is that he does not associate with loyalist paramilitaries. Last year a High Court Judge practically directed the police to arrest him for breaching his bail conditions so appalled was he by the way in which Shoukri was breaching them willy nilly on a daily basis. Now – yes you’ve guessed it – he breaches his conditions in the most spectacular fashion possible and what do the cops say – “sorry about that Ihab, on your way now.”

    This is fucking Garnerville and ‘fire blankets for taigs’ all over again. The PSNI might as well just shut up shop and go home.

  • elfinto

    Perhaps Mr Shoukri has been assisting the police and has been given the benfit of the doubt.

  • urquhart

    elfinto: “Was it a one off or will it be followed up?”

    A very good question. Although they have s et a prcedent and described it in terms that’s going to make it difficult to wriggle out when the ‘traditional’ shows of strength appear on the streets this summer.

    Is there any word of what happened in Strabane re th Provo parade? Are there going to be charges brought against those who arrested were “wearing an item of clothing in such a way as to [cause] reasonable suspicion that [they were] a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation”

  • urquhart

    The above post (Comrade Stalin 1) is from urquhart

    The second para should read:
    Is there any word of what happened in Strabane re the Provo parade? Are there going to be charges brought against those who were “wearing an item of clothing in such a way as to [cause] reasonable suspicion that [they were] a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation”

    Sorry

  • Concerned Loyalist

    An absolute disgrace. As the North Belfast UPRG representative Sammy Duddy said, the PSNI must of thought they were taking part in a shoot-out at the OK-Karal (no idea how to spell it but I know it was a Western). There were children playing on bikes outside at the time and the PSNI thought nothing of firing indescriminantly at the Alexandra – they might have been “non-irritant” rounds but if they’d ricocheted they could have injured the children.

    Would this have happened in a nationalist/republican area at a Provie bar…me thinks not – it seems what applies to “The Bay” doesn’t apply to the nearby New Lodge.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    The 2:41pm post came courtesy of “Concerned Loyalist” and not “Comrade Stalin3”

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Comrade Stalin,
    You obviously have no idea of the history of either the DUP or the UDA. The two have had a tempestuous relationship over the years, with leading UDA figures rightly feeling aggrieved at the DUP and their “Grand Old Duke Of York” tactics. I support the work of the Ulster Political Research Group who give political analysis to the Association, and would vote for UPRG activists who stand as Independents at council elections. However, I would vote for the DUP at Assembly and Westminster elections as the UPRG do not contest these and because I feel that, for all my misgivings over their mixed messages to young, impressionable loyalists over the years, the DUP are the strongest voice for Unionism at this present time and for the forsseable future.

    I am not alone. UDA members and supporters would, in the vast majority of cases, vote for the DUP over the UVF-aligned PUP or Ulster Unionists. This is because the UUP are yesterday’s men and because grassroots UDA men and women feel the socialist ideals of the PUP are alien to them. Another equation to factor in is this; since the inception of the UDA in 1971 the UVF have been less than committed to maintaining a United Loyalist Front, but seemingly more intent on renewing old rivalries between the two organisations by threatening taxi companies owned by UDA members (for example on the Shankill Road) and by trying to exercise their control over “no-man’s land” loyalist areas where there are a similar number of UDA and UVF members living. Relations between the two organisations are better now though since the removal of protaganists on both sides, in particular a certain John James Adair, and the setting up of a Provost Marshal system where, for example, the UDA would know if the UVF had a problem with a member or team of theirs, and a course of action would be agreed upon.

    Saying that UDA members would, on the whole, vote for the DUP over the other unionist parties does not mean that the DUP is the UDA’s political wing however. Unlike Sinn Fein/IRA there is not dual membership between the organisations and there is not a planned politico-military strategy between the two. UDA members and supporters vote for the DUP because there is a lack of representation for grassroots loyalism and the DUP are the only viable option if we want to maintain our way of life, free from Dublin interference…

  • elfinto

    Basically, the UDA are tripple-jobbing. They do the FRU’s, the Special Branch’s and the DUP’s dirty work and it’s all deniable. It can be a good living as long as you can keep the drug-taking and gambling under control but if you overstep the mark and get sent down all of the above wash theirs hand of you.

  • elfinto

    DUP = the Organ Grinder
    UDA = the Monkey

  • Gonzo

    Won’t someone think of the chihuahua!

  • elfinto

    Is there any truth in the rumour that the paramilitary display was to be a beautifully choreographed dance on ice featuring the legendary Samantha and her retinue?

  • Realist

    “UDA members and supporters vote for the DUP because there is a lack of representation for grassroots loyalism and the DUP are the only viable option if we want to maintain our way of life, free from Dublin interference…”

    The reason why many unionists with vision do not support the DUP is because we wish to maintain our way of life, free from UDA interference.

    In many unionist/loyalist communities, the UDA offer up a far greater threat to life, let alone way of life, than the Dublin Government ever could.

    Duddy sounded like a Provo when he was interviewed after the PSNI show of strength at the Alexandra.

  • pitt park

    cl

    You forgot to mention the uda poisoning a whole generation of working class loyalist kids with cocaine and heroin, forcing teenagers to work in uda run brothels, punishment attacks, slowing the building of public housing in loyalist areas because contractors cannot afford the huge money demands from the uda for working in ‘their’ area and the never ending extortion of local businessmen who are trying to dig themselves out of the poverty they grew up in.

    Scum like Shoukri and McDonald have nothing to offer, apart from continued deprivation and fear.

    The more ‘Alexandra Bar’ operations the better.

  • Dec

    because grassroots UDA men and women feel the socialist ideals…are alien to them

    Can’t think why…

  • Comrade Stalin

    However, the PSNI said they adopted such tactics because the individuals were armed but it would seem they weren’t (not even replicas).

    The PSNI were quite right not to take any chances. If you met the UDA in a dark street in the middle of a loyalist area would you bank on being safe ? Do you think they’d get you with a Super Soaker ?

    On the point about Shoukri’s bail, Orde has now apparently lodged papers to have it revoked. About time too. I’d like to hear what Nigel Dodds thinks about that.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Concerned Loyalist:

    There were children playing on bikes outside at the time

    I know the Shore Road pretty well and I’ve never seen children playing outside that bar – I do see kids around Deacon St etc but never on the road. I have some trouble believing your interpretation of events; responsible parents would have their kids indoors by 7pm when it was (and still is) pitch dark, and in any case the Shore Road is quite a busy thoroughfare. If you want to direct blame about endangering the lives of children, I suggest you direct it at the loyalist paramilitaries who get kicks out of firing live rounds during bonfire events while women and children are present. Maybe in your fit of desperation to apologize for the acts of dangerous paramilitary organizations, you don’t think they matter.

    Would this have happened in a nationalist/republican area at a Provie bar…me thinks not – it seems what applies to “The Bay” doesn’t apply to the nearby New Lodge.

    Are you kidding me – the chuckies are constantly complaining about heavy handed raids by the police and never shut up about plastic bullets. If you’re the best example of spokesperson the death squads can muster I’m afraid they’re not going to get too far.

    You obviously have no idea of the history of either the DUP or the UDA. The two have had a tempestuous relationship over the years, with leading UDA figures rightly feeling aggrieved at the DUP and their “Grand Old Duke Of York” tactics.

    I am quite well versed in the history of the DUP, thankyou very much, which is a party up to it’s neck in arms-length relationships with paramilitaries. UDA members and their supporters are all quite happy to vote DUP. The reason why Dodds avoids supporting the police when they raid loyalists is because he would lose votes from the large number of unionists who are sympathetic to the UDA’s aims and objectives – it’s pretty obvious.

    I support the work of the Ulster Political Research Group who give political analysis to the Association

    Political analysis me hole, they are all one and the same, even more so than SF and the IRA.

    However, I would vote for the DUP at Assembly and Westminster elections as the UPRG do not contest these and because I feel that, for all my misgivings over their mixed messages to young, impressionable loyalists over the years, the DUP are the strongest voice for Unionism at this present time and for the forsseable future.

    This is precisely my point – the DUP is the voice of paramilitary thug scumbag elements. Whenever you lads are out dealing drugs or shooting people, it issues glib equivocal condemnations. If it took the same kind of stand against you that it takes against republicanism, you’d quickly stop voting for it and that is precisely what it is scared of.

    The unionists on here are going to be annoyed with you for letting the side down.

    I am not alone. UDA members and supporters would, in the vast majority of cases, vote for the DUP over the UVF-aligned PUP or Ulster Unionists.

    Your honesty is refreshing, but I am well aware that this is the case. What do you think people are, idiots ? You see, unionists who contribute to Slugger are always telling me that most unionists hate the UDA and UVF and want nothing to do with paramilitarism. But here you are conceding the point that the DUP serves as the political wing of the UDA in all but name.

    blah blah the UVF have been less than committed to maintaining a United Loyalist Front blah blah

    I can assure you that I have no interest whatsoever in the silly tin-pot toy soldier games of a group of jumped-up drug dealers and criminals. When are you going to drop the paramilitary hard-man macho talk and get around the table to sort out the problems in our country ? Unionist people require representation and leadership. You should support political leaders who provide it.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Concerned Loyalist :

    Saying that UDA members would, on the whole, vote for the DUP over the other unionist parties does not mean that the DUP is the UDA’s political wing however.

    Indeed, but the point is irrelevant.

    The issue here is that the DUP shout out “clean out the terrorist scum and send them back to jail” yet the terrorist scum keep voting for them. There are only two possible conclusions :

    (1) loyalists are stupider than a large pile of very stupid bricks and vote for people who want them out of the picture. I don’t believe that one.

    (2) the DUP tell their supporters different things privately than they say in public. The not-so-well hidden message is that when the DUP talk of coming down on the terrorists, they only mean republicans. That seems a lot more likely.

    The reason why this is important is because the DUP’s entire policy at the moment rests on refusing the rights of those who are supposedly not committed to peaceful means. Going by your contribution here, they seem somewhat hoisted by their own petard.

    Unlike Sinn Fein/IRA there is not dual membership between the organisations and there is not a planned politico-military strategy between the two.

    There was a planned politico-military strategy in 1978 when Paisley teamed up with Mr Tyrie, there was one in 1985 with Ulster Resistance and there will be one again.

    Look, all of this is by the by. When are you going to stop trying to kill people and instead try to sort out the problems here ?

  • Reader

    Comrade Stalin: The issue here is that the DUP shout out “clean out the terrorist #### and send them back to jail” yet the terrorist #### keep voting for them. There are only two possible conclusions
    But UDA supporters voted for Joe Hendron in West Belfast once. Don’t you think you need to generate a third conclusion?
    You may have all sorts of reasons to despise and distrust the DUP (same here!), but an anti-agreement party is going to get anti-agreement votes – that proves nothing more.
    (Reader)

  • Comrade Stalin

    But UDA supporters voted for Joe Hendron in West Belfast once. Don’t you think you need to generate a third conclusion?

    No, because that’s a different situation.

    You may have all sorts of reasons to despise and distrust the DUP (same here!), but an anti-agreement party is going to get anti-agreement votes – that proves nothing more.

    No, it proves a lot more. It proves that unionism has no right to demand that other parties commit to exclusively peaceful and democratic means while it refuses to do so itself. That point alone is the crux of the problems in our process here at the moment – the complete failure of unionism to address the paramilitarism in it’s midst, over what essentially amounts to denial.

    Comrade Stalin

  • andy

    CS
    Excuse the personal question, but have you ever thought of standing for elected office with the alliance party?
    (My memory was that you had previously mentioned you were a member – please accept my apologies if this is wrong)

    andy

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Comrade Stalin,
    You whined:
    “When are you going to stop killing people”

    That comment is nothing short of libel. I have never killed anyone in my life and don’t intend to so I think an apology is in order…

    “I think I know the Shore Road quite well”

    How nice for you. The Alexandra Bar is on the York Road so I am miffed as to why you are letting me in on this titbit self-aggrandizing your geographical knowledge of North Belfast!

    “When are you going to drop the paramilitary hard-man macho talk and get around the table to sort out the problems in our country”

    I am sure the UPRG or the UDA would talk to anyone if they felt it would further the peace process. Invariably however, the Provos, the INLA and the other dissident republicans only listen when they are looking down the barrel of the gun.

    I want peace just as much as you Comrade Stalin, but at the current juncture I, like most other loyalists, feel that the NIO are prosecuting a policy of marginalization of the loyalist community. Many in my community feel that the so-called “Peace-Process” could be more aptly titled the “Appesement-Process”. Having said that we should never give up as I believe peace is attainable…one day…

    The Sword Is Sharper, But The Pen Is Mightier

  • fabulous_diva

    “That comment is nothing short of libel”

    Can libel occur against someone whose identity is unknown?

  • CL,

    I have to admit that your hardline attitude in general scares me a little bit. By my reckoning you would have been about 9 years old when the first IRA cease fire came about in 1994, it’s frightening to think that your hardline stance has been transmitted to you, not through direct experience of living through the worst of the troubles, but from elsewhere, peergroup for instance? Please don’t be fooled by the romanticisation of phrases like “prepared for peace, ready for war” just be thankful that you are a lot less likely to be killed in a bombing or shooting (at least from the “other side”) than you would have been had you been born, say, 10 years earlier.

    I hate to see hardline attitudes in the young, the political vacuum has allowed a distance from the violence of the past, without a visible benefit (who knows who would be alive or dead if the war was ongoing?). This distance allows the violence to be romanticised, and the open hardline stance you take against such things as “Dublin Interference” is a lot easier than in the past when you may have been looking at a violent campaign waged against the state you are loyal to.

    It’s terrible that so much time has passed that the young think they have it bad, believe me CL, you have it a lot better than any generation since the founding of your state, especially the years from 1968-1994.

    I can only hope that it doesn’t take another thirty years of bloodshed for you to realise how good you have it now. Appeasement indeed, a nice simple soundbite, but unfortunately life is not simple.