That little confusion with the IICD

A little clarification over the arms that weren’t decommissioned:

We referred in our Eighth Report to our having received reports that not all PIRA’s weapons and ammunition had been handed over for decommissioning in September 2005. We did not say three months ago that the PIRA leadership had in any way given instructions to retain arms. Indeed, our present assessment is that such of the arms as were reported to us as having been retained, would have been withheld under local control despite the instructions of the leadership. We note that, as reported by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD), the leadership claimed only to have decommissioned all the arms “under its control”8.

The relevant points are that the amount of un-surrendered material was not significant in comparison to what was decommissioned and that these reports do not cast doubt on the declared intention of the PIRA leadership to eschew terrorism and to follow the political path.

,

  • missfitzslugging

    This might appear to clarify the situation to some people, but I have no doubt that for others it will indicate that ‘full’ decommissioning did not occur.

    I think that this idea of the connection between an individual and an organisation needs to be explored further, and indeed taken further for fuller clarity.

    In other words, we need to come to a point where we accept that an individual’s connection with an organisation does not imply the sanction of the organisation for every act committed by the member. However, at what point does an organisation officially distance itself from a member whose activity they disagree with?

    I’m not thinking exclusively of the IRA, but am also minded of the conversation about the Orange Order on another thread.

  • Bemused

    Interesting, concise, fair and clear-headed report. The interesting point for any fair and objective reader must surely come from the various ‘league tables’ printed towards the reports end – loyalists are clearly out-performing republicans hand over fist in the violence, murder and intimidation stakes. Yet – surprise, surprise – the usual guldering Unionist clowns continue to bleat about ‘Sinn Feinn/I.R.A. etc. etc. ad nauseum.

  • Mick Fealty

    That particular view is re-iterated throughout the report.

  • Henry94

    A total climbdown from the IMC and a resounding vindication of the position of General DeChastelain.

  • Bemused

    It really is astounding that Paisley/Robinson/Empey et al continue to splutter on about ‘Sinn Feinn/IRA’ while their only comment on loyalism seems to be ‘oh yes, they need lots and lots of taxpayers money and maybe, hopefully, possibly then they’ll stop being naughty boys”. This really is Emperor’s New Clothes territory.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Bemused: “It really is astounding that Paisley/Robinson/Empey et al continue to splutter on about ‘Sinn Feinn/IRA’ while their only comment on loyalism seems to be ‘oh yes, they need lots and lots of taxpayers money and maybe, hopefully, possibly then they’ll stop being naughty boys”. This really is Emperor’s New Clothes territory. ”

    Oh, you dasn’t say *that*, Bemused… someone will come along and start accusing you hatred for pointing out the Emperor is in his all-together.

    It really is starting to reach mote and plank territory, isn’t it?

  • Harry

    There are 144,500 legally held guns in northern ireland. The vast majority are undoubtedly in unionist hands. The PSNI have access to around another 20,000 – 30,000 – also overwhelmingly unionist.

    Appaently taigs are required to undergo a rectal examination every 5 minutes for weapons but unionists are allowed to have at least 160,000 guns, even though they’re basically just half the population.

    This discrepancy will only be allowed to continue for around another 2 years. After that I suspect – unless unionists disarm – there will be the beginnings of trouble.

  • Brian Boru

    Well whatever they Provos decommissioned one thing is certain – it’s going to be infinitely more than the UVF or UDA have decommissioned. But they don’t come under half the pressure the PIRA does. Typical.

  • Brian Boru

    Still waiting for the Ulster Resistance and Third Force weapons to be destroyed too.

  • DK

    Harry said: “There are 144,500 legally held guns in northern ireland. The vast majority are undoubtedly in unionist hands”

    Your trollish implication is presumably that there is a vast unionist army ready to spring up and start killing fenians? Unlikely, as that role is already being performed by the loyalist paramilitaries with their ILLEGAL guns.

    Of your 144,500 legally held guns, most are likely to be those held by farmers. I have heard that farmers encompass both communities and neither, so not all in “unionist hands”.

    Also, legally held guns are registered and easy to track, and as someone pointed out on a previous thread, there are precious few cases of legally held guns being used by their owners to commit crimes.

  • ingram

    Hi,

    Quote”Still waiting for the Ulster Resistance and Third Force weapons to be destroyed too

    Why? They are mostly all legally held all part of the doomsday cache.

    The PIRA weapons issue is in truth not that important beyond the principle that they were made to decommission. It was important to break the, Not an ounce not a bullet mindset.

    The problem for Republicans remains, a very large well trained body of men and women with access to vasts amount of Arms and munitions .These individuals, rightly or wrongly feel bitter and resentful towards them.

    The know they have the upper hand and will not allow that to drift. 2016 for a Adams United Ireland is as likely as No low level dissident Republican activity in the coming years.

    Martin.

    PS Well done you Gunners.

  • Intelligence Insider

    Harry,

    As a holder of three of the 144,500 firearms legally held in Northern Ireland, two of which are shotguns used solely for sporting purposes, the other, a handgun, because I was informed of a threat from nationalist criminals/terrorists, I have to ask what the fu@k is your point???

    The rectal examination you refer to may be of use in finding your brain.

    As has already been said, legally held weapons account for a miniscule percentage of gun related deaths. The threat to lives comes not from the holders of legally held weapons but from those who are members of criminal empires such as the PIRA.

  • Harry

    More self-serving unionist nonsense. There are 50,000 farm workers in northern ireland, on a total of 27,000 farms. If every single one of them had a gun that still leaves nearly 100,000 guns out there. Plus the 20,000 – 30,000 PSNI weapons. Plus illegal weapons, missing weapons and army weapons.

    On the other hand, nationalists have next to none.

    Unionists’ attempts to say this is not an issue when one of the most significant events in Irish history is the Larne gun-running is simply disingenuous.

    We all know why unionists have those guns, don’t we? And equating nationalist’s ability to be assertive with loyalism is a sleight-of-hand that is similarly disingenuous.

    The number of weapons being issued legally is in fact going up, not down.

    Unionists are arming themselves against any likely coercion from nationalism, as they see it. They should be made to disarm if they are serious about a deal. Unionists introduced the gun to modern irish politics, they should be required to take it out of politics once and for all.

  • barnshee

    Ther is not the proverbial snowball in hells chance of protestant disarmament it just will not happen and the bastard brits will do sfa about it

  • lib2016

    For at least a decade unionist paramilitaries backed by the subversion of various British secret services whipped up a sectarian killing campaign. Considering their resources and the damage they did to the loyalist community they were extraordinarily ineffectual against nationalists, who thankfully refrained from panicking or retaliating.

    Does anyone, apart from those forced by economic circumstances to live on an interface, seriously fear the mighty powers of the Love Ulster campaign? If unionists have the means to defend themselves against attack from men from Mars or whatever it is they fear then good luck to them.

    In any UI which I could support they have nothing to fear and no reason to use whatever arms they have. If they need a security blanket let them have it.

  • Harry

    A security blanket can easily become a veto. That’s the problem. If that’s the case, the spiral downwards begins.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Harry: “A security blanket can easily become a veto. That’s the problem. If that’s the case, the spiral downwards begins. ”

    Historically, arms and the threat of violence has been the Unionist “veto.” The whole reason the partition evolved in the first place was not solely that the Unionists objected, but because they threated, credibly, to back that objection with force of arms.

  • Harry

    It’s a likely probability that if partition hadn’t happened we wouldn’t have seen the economic underperformance, social rigidity and emigration we saw in the south. We also wouldn’t have had so much nationalist emigration from the north, all things being equal.

    Over the last 80 years the south has lost 3 million people, the north about 200,000 nationalists if not more. Along with their children/grandchildren those people account for a loss of around 5.5 million people. And for what? To satisy the fears of a mere 900,000 unionists? 10.5 million Irish people have their futures stunted and violated by a collection of unionists whose main characteristics are that they are narrow-minded, paranoid and heavily armed by the british. This shit isn’t on!

    Unionists have done great violence to the Irish, not just through the centuries but through the last decades. It stops with this generation.

  • lib2016

    The threat of unionists threatening to bomb their way back into the British Empire is not something that keeps me awake at night. Northern Ireland was set up because it suited the Conservative Party and an Anglo-Irish clique of officers in the British Army.

    The sectarian pogroms which accompanied it’s beginnings were connived at and led by the civil authorities of the time. This is not 1920 and no-one is going to face a 25 year sentence from a judge in the Hague for the sake of UDI.

    There is not going to be a violent counter-revolution because the current revolution, the one which will be successful, is a (green) velvet one and we are living in Western Europe at the beginning of a new century. 😉

  • Harry

    I’m afraid that’s not entirely correct lib2016. Britain held onto northern ireland for strategic reasons. Until and throughout WW2 a military foothold in ireland was important for its dominant position on the north atlantic, it’s value as the entrance to the northern approaches to western britain (Irish Sea), it’s closeness to the atlantic telephone cable (north of Ballykelly I believe) and irelands potential as a base for invasion of britain (9 miles at its closest point). After WW2 ireland was strategic as being slap-bang in the north atlantic air route for NATO and for all of the same reasons just outlined.

    Now ireland is strategically important because it still dominates the atlantic and, while britains relationship with europe evolves but is not fixed, it is not guaranteed what that future relationship is going to be. There is much euroscepticism in britain. One presumes that eventually that the british will come closer to europe but it is by no means a foregone conclusion. Britain has also over the last few years formulated a strategy for restructuring its military for the forseeable future as a subset of american needs.

    Ireland by contrast is firmly in the european camp. A united ireland, under europe, could potentially cut off britain from direct air contact with america. Unlikely of course but possible, and while things remain unclear and relationships evolve Britain will still have a reason to hang onto us.
    Which means that britain has a reason to foment discord, at least at some level.

    A pessimistic view perhaps and one that need not necessarily come to pass, but we are not out of the wood yet.

  • lib2016

    Harry,

    The NATO listening devices have been on Malin Head for twenty years. Since around the time of the Anglo-Irish Agreement strangely enough.

    You suggest that the British have an independent foreign policy. That day has passed and the battle in Washington has been won long since.

  • Harry

    No, I suggested the british have decided to subjugate their foreign policy and military structures to american aims for the forseeable future. Our position, as Irish, is not the same.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Since around the time of the Anglo-Irish Agreement …

    They also had one in Cork that was bombed by the INLA (I think) in the 1980s.

    And ‘coincidentally’, also around the AIA, a large airport was built in an area of no civilian need, but at one of the closest points to the north Atlantic sea-routes. It is not (yet) used by NATO, but the conspiracy theorist in me believes that that was a large part of its purpose. I’m referring, of course, to Knock airport.

  • seabhac siulach

    “Our position, as Irish, is not the same.”

    Not counting, of course, that part of Ireland that is daily supporting US foreign policy: Shannon airport…
    Let’s face it…Ireland is firmly in the US camp.
    Our foreign and economic policy could be written by the yanks and probably is…

  • Harry

    Yes and no. Our position is on the fence, which suits both america and europe – and us – at the moment. What that position will be in 15 or 25 years time is another matter.

  • DK

    Can this nationalist circle-jerk by Harry, Lib, etc please make some substantive point about the thread or else find a motel room.

  • Harry

    Too intellectually demanding DK? Too true perhaps? OK, go back to your whinging about paramilitaries if you wish. The sharp end of the British army is our area of expertise after all.

  • TAFKABO

    This has been the funniest thread for days.
    If it’s not paranoid rants about Prods with rods, it’s conspiracy theories about Yanks with tanks.

    Keep ‘er lit.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    DK: “Your trollish implication is presumably that there is a vast unionist army ready to spring up and start killing fenians?”

    What “spring up?” Who needs an army to “spring up?” There is no shortage of “Loyalist” paramilitaries, armed and occasionally directed by the UK, still under arms and hanging about at loose ends, still involved in extortion and drug-dealing and bored so silly they’ll shoot one another in the absence of Nationalist targets.

    DK: “Unlikely, as that role is already being performed by the loyalist paramilitaries with their ILLEGAL guns.”

    Ok, to continue to move away from Harry’s thesis, which, frankly, is much ado about little, what do you propose be done about all those illegal guns in the possession of the loyalist paramilitaries, DK? I did a quick media research check — last time disarmament of the pro-Union paramilitaries was discussed on a level to make the news was roughly a year ago, give or take, with the Rt. Rv. Paisley saying the DUP *might* talk to the paramilitaries. Not for nothing, but when should the rest of the Ulster “alphabet soup” gangs have to learn to play nicely with the other children?

  • lib2016

    Taf,

    Still not found anyone suffering from Stockholm Syndrome? How disappointed you must be.

  • DK

    Dread,

    The point is that the legally held weapons mean nothing as there are already armed loyalist paramilitaries with illegal guns. Legally owned arms are owned by all sections of the community and, by dint of being legal, are easily traced and accounted for.

    What to do about the illegal arms held by the loyalists. Try to find them and take them off them? Kill all loyalists? Get some unionist group to a Sinn Fein and persuade them to put them beyond use? (Imagine the cry of hypocricy if the DUP attempted this) I dunno – what do you propose?

  • English

    Harry,

    I do not believe that England has any selfish economic or strategic interest in Northern Ireland anymore. The strategy of the government is based on solid co-operation between London and Dublin, with the latter having an increasing influence on decision making.

    Internally in Northern Ireland the Labour government is trying to keep all sides happy, but this is a fine balancing act. I think that they are doing a good job in providing checks and balances in society such as the Parades Commission, Policing Boards, troop withdrawal and the new Super Councils (balanced evenly between Unionist/Nationalist). People have been given time to restore devolution, but time has run out and joint Anglo-Irish decision making is around the corner.

    This is not the behaviour of an imperialist power intend on holding onto strategically and/or economically precious land. In contrast, Peter Hain is a minister deliberately appointed with the intention of enforcing British Government strategy, which is clearly most unpleasant for all Unionists.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    DK: “The point is that the legally held weapons mean nothing as there are already armed loyalist paramilitaries with illegal guns. Legally owned arms are owned by all sections of the community and, by dint of being legal, are easily traced and accounted for. ”

    They’re not nothing, but I agree they’re not a lot… what’s the old joke — why discuss draining the swamp when you’re up to you a$$ in aligators? I confess to not knowing all the ins and outs of legal gun ownership in NI… do they maintain a database of extractor marks, firing pin marks and barrel marks, or are they just limited to knowning that “X number of people own a firearm in y caliber?”

    DK: “What to do about the illegal arms held by the loyalists. Try to find them and take them off them? Kill all loyalists? Get some unionist group to a Sinn Fein and persuade them to put them beyond use? (Imagine the cry of hypocricy if the DUP attempted this) I dunno – what do you propose? ”

    I’m not sure — *THAT’S* why I asked the question.

    But, since you threw out some alternatives, lets work through them. Take the guns from the loyalists — sounds good — if they are illegal, it would be difficult for any party to make to big a stink over the weapons being taken away, now would they? Second – kill all the unionists? Not that attractive, leastwise to me and, presumably, you… David Vance did forward an plan similar to this regarding the proper “decomissioning” of IRA members, but I think we can write him off as something of a crank in this instance. As for the last — that actually would be the ideal answer — someone on the Unionist side of the fence convince the Unionists to disarm. I mean, aren’t there those in the Unionist community who declaim repeatedly their disgust at paramilitary violence and that all paramilitaries violence is to be abhorred?? Should they put their money where their mouth is, at some point?

  • aodh macsiomaine

    the comments about legally held unionist firearms reminded me of the report in the now defunct right wing british magazine ‘now’ produced by james goldsmith in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s; february 1981 ‘paisley’s unholy alliance’ had pictures of ‘dr’ (£2.50 from billy-bob university)paisley, dressed as his hero carson (not sure if it was frank or eddy but he was not in his usual abbott and costello bowler hat outfit) addressing 500 supporters in the dead of night on a windswept hill. reporter christopher dobson, one of 5 invited reporters, witnessed paisleys crew waving their firearms certificates to show that they were armed and (if they had brains) ‘dangerous’. dobson did say that many of the firearms certificates looked like driving licences but the message was clear; the ‘christian’ paisley was parading a junior version of carson’s ulster volunteers (force). i still don’t understand why, if ‘ira/sinn fein’ is a legitimate label, ‘paisley/fpc/dup/uvf/uff/bhh (black hand gang)’ is not also used to describe this continuing religious/political/paramilitary collaboration. is it because the paisley version would have so many initials that it would be more than a mouthful for the average unionist.
    by the way, my many english friends can’t understand the unionist fetish outfit of bowler hat, umbrella, and pin stripe suit. i explained that they all want to be british and they think that is how the british dress. “so they’re like the young kids who want to emulate their older brothers by dressing up like them…only to discover the brother has moved onto another ‘fashion’ leaving the kid looking like a dork?” suggested one!!