What Thatcher knew about UDR

The Irish News has scoop of the week/month (subs needed), and publishes its second installment today. It’s front page alleges that “British prime ministers were aware of collusion between loyalist paramilitaries, soldiers and RUC officers and believed security forces were ‘handing information to’ Ian Paisley”. The story from yesterday (subs needed):

The documents reveal that military intelligence:

* estimated 5-15 per cent of UDR soldiers were linked to loyalist paramilitaries

* believed that the “best single source of weapons, and the only significant source of modern weapons, for Protestant extremist groups was the UDR”

* feared UDR troops were loyal to Ulster rather than Her Majesty’s Government

* knew that UDR weapons were being used in the murder and attempted murder of Catholics

Today it outlines:

* an army sub-machine gun was used in a sectarian murder and 11 attempted murders, with the intelligence document even listing the victims� names

* civil servants answering MPs’ questions on collusion concealed its existence

* a military dossier lists a string of incidents across Northern Ireland where arms were passed to loyalists with the collusion of soldiers

Specifically it quotes from minutes of a meeting in September 1975 when the prime minister Harold Wilson, and then secretary of state, Merlyn Rees, briefed Margaret Thatcher as leader of the opposition:

The secretary of state said that he was more worried by the current sectarian murders than by the bombings in Belfast. Unfortunately there were certain elements in the police who were very close to the UVF, and who were prepared to hand over information, for example, to Mr Paisley. The army’s judgment was that the UDR were heavily infiltrated by extremist Protestants, and that in a crisis situation they could not be relied upon to be loyal.

Steven McCaffrey has more inside. He also quotes a dialogue from an 1977 RTE documentary, in which a company officer tells the interviewer that he suspected 50% of Catholic residents of one (unnamed) district of some degree of collusion with the IRA.

More background from PA at UTV.

  • Congal Claen

    I think most Nationalist posters think that Unionists are deliberately sticking their heads in the sand over this and aren’t genuine in their interpretation of these documents. However, for what it’s worth, let me give you my Unionist perspective…

    We’re constantly being told that Britain doesn’t care about us and would rather we would form a UI. Nationalists quite often use mainland opinion surveys to bolster this view. I believe most Unionists also believe this to be the case. So then, why in the name of fek, would successive British governments be reduced to colluding with terrorists to hold onto a NI they don’t care about? I simply don’t believe that they did as I don’t think they care enough. I’ve no doubt that some members of the security forces colluded with terrorists. That it was state sanctioned is a completely different ball game.

  • Mick Fealty

    “Unionists showing themselves to be self-serving and autistic again”.

    I know it’s hard, but can we lay off the serial incivility here!!

  • Jo

    Congal

    Didnt you get what is going on here?

    No-one wants to know what Unionists think of all this. Everyone “knows” already that the government sponsored all non-republican killing.

    When a contrarian argument is raised, it is dismissed as trolling, irrelevant to the issue at hand or illogical. Moral standing and character is questioned, even when it is agreed, as you and I have done, that some collusion happened.

    But we are castigated because we wont agree that all the apples were bad ones, and by implication, that we agree that there are 500 dead UDR/RUC baddies.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Congal Claen: “We’re constantly being told that Britain doesn’t care about us and would rather we would form a UI. Nationalists quite often use mainland opinion surveys to bolster this view. I believe most Unionists also believe this to be the case. So then, why in the name of fek, would successive British governments be reduced to colluding with terrorists to hold onto a NI they don’t care about? I simply don’t believe that they did as I don’t think they care enough. I’ve no doubt that some members of the security forces colluded with terrorists. That it was state sanctioned is a completely different ball game. ”

    Its a government — it doesn’t have to make sense…

    On a more specific note, what sort of ball game does it become if the collusion is not state-sanctioned, as it wasn’t in this instance, but, to one degree or another, condoned, if only out of apathy? Now, also realize that the UDR “instance” is made up of a series of events — various transfers of weapons, a few assaults that teamed UDR personnel with Loyalist paramilitaries, some intelligence transfers between the UDR and the Loyalists, etc.

    From the Nationalist perspective, we are regularly hectored for cultivating conspiracy theories, told that collusion is essentially a non-issue, et al and ad nauseum. Yet, every so often, another instance crops up. And now we have a document from the British gov’t discussing the UDR’s activity in 72/73. It describes, as a minimum, collusion, backed by at least circumstantial evidence, that includes intelligence, weapons, training and participation in raids. 10% of the unit actively involved, plus however many turning a blind eye to the private little terror raids — something greater than the “few bad apples” arguement that gets tossed about.

    Is it any suprise there is at least a collective “AHA!” out of the Nationalists?

  • paddyjoe

    heads inthe sand. nooooo! anywhere else?

  • Spellingbee

    Without wanting to detract from the arguments,

    Jo, you made a catty remark about quobol’s spelling in your 1.38 post today. It really bugs me when people such as yourself adopt condescending attitudes towards someone else’s spelling, particularly when their own grasp of the English language is so transparently lacking. Perhaps you should take the time to think about the words you intend to use. That way you might actually use words of which you know the meaning…. see your 3.13 post…

    “Contrarian” from Dictionary.com

    “One who takes a contrary view or action, especially an investor who makes decisions that contradict prevailing wisdom, as in buying securities that are unpopular at the time.

    An investment style that goes against prevailing market trends by buys assets that are performing poorly and selling when they perform well.

    An investor who decides which securities to buy and sell by going against the crowd. For example, a contrarian would tend to purchase the stock of steel companies when steel stock prices are depressed and most investment counselors are advising against them. Contrarians operate on the premise that when stocks are very popular they are overbought and when they are very unpopular they are oversold.

    an investor who deliberately decides to go against the prevailing wisdom of other investors”

  • Mick Fealty

    Aha, an ad hominem defence:

    “We are regularly hectored for cultivating conspiracy theories, told that collusion is essentially a non-issue, et al and ad nauseum”.

    Everyone’s an individual, remember?

  • Jo

    Christ give me strength..another troll!

    He is catty to me, I of course can’t be catty back, however charming and witty?

    Hope you feel better now thats off your chest! *mutters something inaudible about a waste of fcuking space…*

  • So then, why in the name of fek, would successive British governments be reduced to colluding with terrorists to hold onto a NI they don’t care about?

    Perhaps because it was the line of least resistance?

    It’s worth noting that this was the period when Colin Wallace claims that the same people involved in collusion were subverting Downing Street itself.

    From the Barron report:

    According to Wallace, MI5 was dominated by right-wing officers who deeply distrusted the Labour government of Harold Wilson. They were also opposed to the Sunningdale Agreement, and to the role being given to the Irish Government in Northern affairs. He maintains that the Ulster Workers Council Strike which commenced on 15th May 1974 was encouraged and to some extent directed by MI5 officers with the express intent of destabilizing the peace process in the North, and undermining the Wilson government. (p171)

    It emerged only this year that two BBC reporters have tapes of Wilson asking them to interview Wallace in an attempt to counter the campaign against him.

  • Rafa Benitez

    “No-one wants to know what Unionists think of all this.”

    “Thats one more reason why if I had to choose between a slightly collusive official government and a paramilitary organisation which sees itself as the vessel of an intangible and long dead “national will” I’d choose the government each time. Its accountable. Not perfectly accountable, maybe.”

    Oh, you made it quite clear what Unionists, like yourself think. ‘A slightly collusive official government’ who has assisted murder squads in every area from training to intel and arming, in carrying out terror and murder amoung it’s own citizens is a-ok with you. Thank God not all unionists think this way or we’d really be in trouble.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    We are regularly hectored for cultivating conspiracy theories, told that collusion is essentially a non-issue, et al and ad nauseum”.

    Everyone’s an individual, remember?

    Touche…

    but, now, doesn’t that make Congal Claen 3:03 post an ad hominem riposte?

  • qubol

    Jo: “He is catty to me….”
    LOL!!!! that’s made my day, felt like I was in P6 again.

    But where to begin…..
    “When a contrarian argument is raised, it is dismissed as trolling, irrelevant to the issue at hand or illogical. Moral standing and character is questioned, even when it is agreed, as you and I have done, that some collusion happened”
    Trouble is, I think you’re trying to underplay the collaboration and paint Nationalist reaction as excuse making for the IRA campaign against the UDR/RUC. Your line seems to be ‘one gun, big deal’ when we all know it was a hell of a lot more than that. The fact your opinions have been branded illogical and and trolling is testament to the fact that you have been unwilling/unable to engage with the facts at hand.

  • Jo

    “we all know it was a hell of a lot more than that.”

    Thats precisely the point. You dont, repeat dont. You have leapt to widespread conclusions with the flimsiest of evidence and were prepared to believe “hundreds of guns, hundreds of murders” before you even saw this “evidence.”

    I on the other hand am prepared to concede limited collusion but not that the RUC and UDR are/were completely corrupt because:

    (1)I am aware of the political capital to be made of these historical documents to justify current SF attitudes to the PSNI.

    (2)Those 500 dead soldiers and police were not criminal conspiracists.

    Thats the illogicallity of your position and why you flounder in tryin to justify your stance when faced with a CONTRARIAN position. 😉

    Now whatever else you want to call my posts or me, thats a fcking ARGUMENT, whether you like it or not.

    rafa aka gerry:

    Believe me if more Unionists thought like me things would be a lot better around here. Theres another site where you can experience true blue fundamentalist unionism…

  • kensei

    “No-one wants to know what Unionists think of all this. Everyone “knows” already that the government sponsored all non-republican killing.”

    No one said that. One state sponsored murder is enough for this to be an outrage. Things like that used to bring down governments.

    “When a contrarian argument is raised, it is dismissed as trolling, irrelevant to the issue at hand or illogical. Moral standing and character is questioned, even when it is agreed, as you and I have done, that some collusion happened.”

    You are not engaing in a contrarian argument. You are engaged in whataboutery. The only issues that are relevant here are what the government and the UDR is involved in. Bringing in the IRA is an irrelevance. They can be hung on their own sins when they come up.

    “But we are castigated because we wont agree that all the apples were bad ones, and by implication, that we agree that there are 500 dead UDR/RUC baddies. ”

    There were a hell of a lot of bad apples, and this is going to the top of government. At what point does bad apples become systemic problem? All the apples don’t need to be bad.

    ““We are regularly hectored for cultivating conspiracy theories, told that collusion is essentially a non-issue, et al and ad nauseum”.

    Everyone’s an individual, remember? ”

    Ok rephrase. The government has constantly asserted it has not been involved in or aware of any collusion, and that anyone who suggeste dit was a conspiracy nut. That has now proved untrue.

    The veracity and actions of the government are entirely up for question, as far as I can see.

  • Jo

    (2)Those 500 dead soldiers and police were not criminal conspiracists.’ and

    ‘Thats precisely the point. You dont, repeat dont. You have leapt to widespread conclusions with the flimsiest of evidence and were prepared to believe’

    How do you know these weren’t criminal conspirators? Using the figures, statistically about 50 of them would have been. (In no way am i justifying violence)

    This isn’t about justifying Republican violence against Unionists or stamping on dead soldiers graves. Its about Catholics not doubting their mental health any more, it wasn’t just a figment of our imagination. Instead of containment and denial you personally should reach out and offer some empathy and sympathy.

    It occurs to me that significant redundancy packages have just been handed to criminal elements within the RIR, this is morally reprehensible.

    What i want to know is about the British Government and this story is why the lying bastards have temporarily stopped lying to us?

  • Mick Fealty

    Okay,

    Here’s a question I think went unanswered for some reason, when Martin Ingram posed it earlier. What is the difference in the status between this draft report, and some like the IMC reports?

  • briso

    CladyCowboy:
    What i want to know is about the British Government and this story is why the lying bastards have temporarily stopped lying to us?

    That one at least is easy. They’re trying to knock the DUP off their high horse before the assembly is reconvened. They don’t give a monkey’s what people think of what the government of the day was up to in 1973-76. They couldn’t care less.

  • Jo

    Mick

    I have confidence in the IMC report. I believe the IRA are going or gone.

    The 70s, on the other hand, were a strange time. Each side There is still an unresolved controversy over Wilsons own position vis a vis the military/MI5…or uncharitably, are those stories now being put down to his faling health?

  • Harry

    A nationalist with a gun – now there’s a criminal!
    A report showing collusion between government and state-sponsored murder gangs – never mind, look at the nationalist criminal!

    There’s obviously no point talking to unionists. They are an untterly dishonest species. Kick in the nuts is all they deserve; perhaps it’s the only thing that would evoke an honest reaction?

  • elfinto

    Good question CC.

    Collusion occurred because:

    1. British army counter-insurgency strategy, tried and tested in Malaya, Kenya and elsewhere, was based on the use of counter-gangs to engage in deniable operations against the enemy and its perceived sympathisers – Kitson

    2. The UDA and UVF, augmented by UDR and RUC personnel and weapons and manipulated by MI were ideal counter-gangs which did not require a lot of effort to set up and maintain.

    3. The war in Ireland was bad press for Britian internationally. It intially looked like an old style colonial war. By turning it into a sectarian war Britian could argue that it was the piggy in the middle keeping the fighting Irish apart.

    4. By turning the war into a sectarian war Britian was able to seriously discredit the Provisional movement among nationalist opinion in Ireland and elsewhere.

    5. By turning the war into a sectarian war Britian was able to minimise its own casualties and prevent its own people from asking too many awkward questions.

    6. By operating a policy of terror against a civilian population, a large section of the nationalist community were reticent to have anything to do with the IRA for fear of reprisal. However the campaign of terror also helped the IRA gain recruits from embittered young men who would not be cowed. Kieran Nugent, who became the first man on the blanket protest, was shot by loyalists with a Sterling machine gun in an incident in which his 16 year old freind died, is a good example of this.

    7. By operating a policy of terror the police and army were able to pressurise republicans into confessing or even into acting as informants by putting their lives and the lives of their families and freinds under threat.

  • briso

    MF:
    Here’s a question I think went unanswered for some reason, when Martin Ingram posed it earlier. What is the difference in the status between this draft report, and some like the IMC reports?

    The IMC reports are written to acheive a political purpose dictated by the British government.

    These documents were written to be secret but were leaked to acheive a political purpose dictated by the British government.

    Do I win a prize?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Dread,

    “On a more specific note, what sort of ball game does it become if the collusion is not state-sanctioned, as it wasn’t in this instance, but, to one degree or another, condoned, if only out of apathy?”

    It would certainly still be morally unacceptable. For example, the Derek Bentley case – the government could have stepped into prevent the execution. But did nothing. The case remains a blot on UK justice. So, in the situation we are now discussing I suppose it all depends on whether the government could have done anything about it. I mean, was there evidence to convict individuals? Suspicion isn’t enough. For example, I suspect Charlie Haughey knew more about the Arms for the Ra than he has admitted. But, was there any evidence to convict him?

    To me, things just don’t seem to stack up for widespread terrorist/security force collusion. How come so few Ra members were killed if the loyalist terrorists were getting so much help? How come the loyalist terrorists blew the lid on the montages after Loughlin Maginn was killed? I also noticed someone mentioning Brian Nelson’s involvement with the SA guns. From memory that was another fiasco – 2 Granadas with their boots trailing the ground, they were so overloaded. It didn’t look to me to have any “professional” help. If they were colluding they weren’t very good at it were they? If collusion took place on the level being bandied about here I would’ve expected most “well known” Ra men to have bitten the dust a long time ago. Why did events like Gibraltar or Loughgall take place? Surely, it would’ve made more sense to use loyalists? How come loyalist terrorists seemed so amateurish with all the professional help?

  • elfinto

    “This isn’t about justifying Republican violence against Unionists or stamping on dead soldiers graves. Its about Catholics not doubting their mental health any more, it wasn’t just a figment of our imagination.”

    Thats a good way of putting it Cowboy. Living in constant fear, not being believed, takes it toll on an individual. Except you don’t to have to be a Catholic to go through the paranoia engendered by these death squads (though it’s proabably easier).

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Elfinto,

    “Collusion occurred because: ”

    From the opinion that GB doesn’t give a fek about NI, would it not have been easier to have just pulled out?

    Do you seriously believe that the “war” wasn’t sectarian from the start?

  • briso

    CC
    How come loyalist terrorists seemed so amateurish with all the professional help?

    They seemed professional enough to me and the people I knew growing up. I was frightened of them as a boy and as a teenager and I was also frightened of the UDR. It was not pleasant as anyone from either community over the age of 35 will testify.

  • kensei

    “Here’s a question I think went unanswered for some reason, when Martin Ingram posed it earlier. What is the difference in the status between this draft report, and some like the IMC reports?”

    Aside form what has been said above, how about how the governemnt responded to it? Surely that is the one of the key issues?

  • Harry

    Indeed. I grew up always being aware of whether the window in the car passing was being wound down or not. Or standing at a corner talking to friends you were always aware of cars stopping and just generally looking about you. Northern ireland imposed a level of alertness and paranoia on you that loyalists and the british too must answer for.

    But anyway, never mind that, about the nationalist criminal….

  • paddyjoe

    how come loyalist terrorists seemed so amateurish with all the professional help? answer. lowest common denominator, the knuckle dragging neanderthals who probably were sent out high as kites to do their bit for god and ulster. yabba dabba do any taig will do and all that shite.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Heya Congal,

    “To me, things just don’t seem to stack up for widespread terrorist/security force collusion. How come so few Ra members were killed if the loyalist terrorists were getting so much help?”

    If you believe the statistics, its because the Loyalists weren’t all that picky about who they shot. Just because you’ve got hte gun and the training, it doesn’t mean you know who to shoot.

    “From memory that was another fiasco – 2 Granadas with their boots trailing the ground, they were so overloaded. It didn’t look to me to have any “professional” help.”

    Comme ci, comme ca — they couldn’t very well show up with a military deuce and a half and drop the stuff off in its original crates.

    “If collusion took place on the level being bandied about here I would’ve expected most “well known” Ra men to have bitten the dust a long time ago. Why did events like Gibraltar or Loughgall take place? Surely, it would’ve made more sense to use loyalists? How come loyalist terrorists seemed so amateurish with all the professional help?”

    The level that’s being bandied about is the ranks, by and large. As for the intel, if you have a good source, it needs protecting — like the cracking of ENIGMA in WW2 — unless you have the information from other sources to tout, you end up “burning” your source. As for specific instances, I can only imagine that the worst case scenario in Gibralter meant it should be handled by the professionals, not amateur hour. As for how professional the paramilitaries aren’t/weren’t, its because they are PARA-militaries — back in 73, they all prolly had day jobs. Professional soldiering requires discipline and more training that you can expect from a part-time UDR who is not a formal instructor who can’t impose military discipline and punishments upon his charges. Besides, you can lead a gunsel to training, but you can’t make him think.

    In a sense, this last irritates me more — what idiot gives an organization high-powered rifles for discharge in an urban setting without a) adequate training and b) tighter controls. Its a round meant for sniping and open battlefield use, effective out to 800 to 1000 yards, muzzle velocity in the 2800 fps range. This is not the round you let inspired amateurs play with in an urban setting.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Briso,

    I’m over 35. For example look at the attempt to kill Gerry Adams – not only did they fek that up, they managed to shoot one of themselves. Then they were apprehended by the security forces. Not exactly professional or clinical and not much help offered by those who arrested them. If there was widespread collusion I would’ve thought that a hit on Gerry Adams would’ve been carried out by a professional unit.

  • Harry

    I heard a statistic some time ago that 90,000 guns have gone missing from barrackes over the last 35 years. It’s hardly believable but who knows. If only 20,000 went missing that’s bloody outrageous.

    Anyone know how many guns have gone missing/been given to loyalists & unionists in n. ireland?

  • Jo

    For what its worth – but then again reading that all I deserve appaently is a kick in the non-existent nuts, thats prob. not a lot – I and many I know were pleased to see an ending of the p/t element of the former UDR.

    It was from the start an avenue for the former B-men who most police never really had much time for. The local B man that my father knew was a comical character, coat too big, gun bigger still…I could never reconcile the need for soliderly discipline with being part-time, however genuine and zealous and brave those part-timers were. There has been a militia in ireland for hundreds of years and they have been in the “neigher fish nor fowl” category for most of that time. Hopefully we will not see the need for such in the current century.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Mick Fealty: “Here’s a question I think went unanswered for some reason, when Martin Ingram posed it earlier. What is the difference in the status between this draft report, and some like the IMC reports? ”

    The folks writing about the IMC have no authority over their subjects — the various and sundry paramilitary organizations. This report, however, was prepared by those who had, if not direct authority over the subject of their report, were preparing it for those who did, both on the military and civilian sides of the government. As a unit under military discipline, even without dragging folks to courtmartial, there were acts within their authority that could have reined in this collusion, ranging from tighter security on armories to transferring bad eggs to duties of locations that kept their hands from mischief to re-equipping the unit in a fashion more in line with their duties, all without a “by-your-leave” from those impacted, since the order of the day would be “shut up and soldier, soldier.”

  • elfinto

    CC,

    One thing all British governments, regardless of persuasion, agreed on was that they would not give in to the IRA. For Maggie Thatcher it became a mantra.

    Pulling out was never a realistic option as it would have meant a wider war which Britain inevitably wuld have been involved in anyway. Containment was, and still is, the British (and RoI) objective. I think if Britain could have pulled out cleanly they would have done so long ago.

    Part of the containment strategy meant turning a blind eye to some of the excesses of the security forces. Dirty operations had to be deniable.

    As for the war being sectarian. Well, I wasn’t around for the start of it but it follows that, as the state was thoroughly sectarian any attempt to overthrow it will be sectarian. It’s a bit like saying that the ANC are racist!

    British counter-insurgency policy ensured that the war became even more sectarian through the operation of counter gangs and by following an Ulsterisation policy even though they knew the UDR and RUC were embrolied in collusion.

  • DK

    Congal,

    I think you’re getting confised. What the report says is that 15% were loyalists and UDR men, not that they got special training from the government (who seemed to be more concerned at their existance rather than viewing them as any sort of asset).

    Given the standard of loyalists, they were probably the grunts, or PBI, lowest of the low in the army. Day job = UDR, night job = drinking and shooting random catholics (and each other).

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Heya, Congal,

    “I’m over 35. For example look at the attempt to kill Gerry Adams – not only did they fek that up, they managed to shoot one of themselves. Then they were apprehended by the security forces. Not exactly professional or clinical and not much help offered by those who arrested them. If there was widespread collusion I would’ve thought that a hit on Gerry Adams would’ve been carried out by a professional unit. ”

    Let us start with basics. REAL anti-terrorist soldiers, as opposed to the Loyalists, train for *years*. The Green Berets and the SAS take, what, one or two out of 100 applicants, looking for a mixture of brains, mental stability and physical prowess? I doubt the Loyalist murder gangs are so exacting — and this is just the “raw material” START of the process. This isn’t counting the training they go through once they clear this first hurdle.

    Do you honestly think some part-time UDR soldier, no matter how earnest or well intentioned, could raise Loyalist street thugs to that level of ability?

  • mickhall

    Does not the very term, “the Ulsterization of the conflict” infer a certain amount of State collusion with loyalist murder gangs.
    Jo writes the 1970s were funny times, implying the use of these local criminal gangs by the British State is a thing of the past. Many Iraqis, some even Pro US/UK occupation seem to believe the occupation forces, both US and British are operating such a strategy in Iraq. Indeed some have raised the question about Abu Musab al-Zarqawi real loyalty.

    If there is some truth about US/UK collusion with murder gangs in Iraq, the British government is hardly going to authorize an enquiry worthy of the name into what went on in the north/NI, now is it?

  • Harry

    The simplest way of resolving these difficulties and ensuring we are not subject to ‘dark forces’ in future is to drive the british out of ireland. It is they who have made our lives a misery.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi PaddyJoe,

    “lowest common denominator, the knuckle dragging neanderthals who probably were sent out high as kites to do their bit for god and ulster. yabba dabba do any taig will do and all that shite.”

    Exactly Paddy. Do you not think the professionals would’ve suggested this wasn’t really an effective method of eliminating enemies?

    Hi Dread,

    “If you believe the statistics, its because the Loyalists weren’t all that picky about who they shot. Just because you’ve got hte gun and the training, it doesn’t mean you know who to shoot.”

    But this is the conundrum Dread. If there was widespread collusion the Loyalists would’ve known who to kill. After Loughlin Maginn was killed I can remember the police describing him as an innocent Catholic to make out that it was just another sectarian killing. Why would they do that if there was widespread collusion with the killers? And then why would the UFF post the montages to suggest otherwise?

    “Comme ci, comme ca—they couldn’t very well show up with a military deuce and a half and drop the stuff off in its original crates.”

    True, but I would have expected the shipment to be split almost immediately. And why would the security forces even have stopped the cars if there was widespread collusion. It just wouldn’t make sense to. What is being suggested is that the security forces helped source weapons for loyalists and then when they had them, stopped them and had them arrested. What sort of collusion would that be?

    “The level that’s being bandied about is the ranks, by and large.”

    I could understand that Dread. But, in the above example we’re talking about MI involvement in the gun running.

    “As for specific instances, I can only imagine that the worst case scenario in Gibraltar meant it should be handled by the professionals, not amateur hour.”

    I didn’t mean loyalists going to Gibraltar. I meant why weren’t the loyalists helped to kill them in NI in somewhat less dramatic circumstances if there was such widespread collusion?

  • mickhall

    Those who are running with this amateur night argument are not understanding the purpose of the loyalist killer gangs, they are there to put the fear of god into the British States enemies and their supporters and their is little doubt by the 1990s they had all but achieved this. The arsehole al-Zarqawi hacks peoples heads off for the same reason thus it is not unreasonable to question his allegiances.

    Loyalist terror gangs wether we like it or not played a big role in bringing SF in from the cold. The fact they were willing to kill in such a violent manner was all that was required of them, make no mistake they lived up to there reputation, it was well deserved

    The fact that Mr Adams escaped death had little to do with the competence of the hit squad and every thing to do with the British state wishing him good health.

    regards.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Dread,

    “Let us start with basics. REAL anti-terrorist soldiers, as opposed to the Loyalists, train for *years*. The Green Berets and the SAS take, what, one or two out of 100 applicants, looking for a mixture of brains, mental stability and physical prowess? I doubt the Loyalist murder gangs are so exacting—and this is just the “raw material” START of the process. This isn’t counting the training they go through once they clear this first hurdle.

    Do you honestly think some part-time UDR soldier, no matter how earnest or well intentioned, could raise Loyalist street thugs to that level of ability?”

    The point is they wouldn’t have had to. Shooting an unarmed man in the back, the usual terrorist method of choice, doesn’t take a big skill level. Just no morals.

  • heck

    Mick

    you complained about incivility and everyone being an individual but this issue does raise an issue of collective unionist opinion.

    that collusion between the government and loyalists is now an estabilished fact it seems that the unionist view is to deny, trivialize and ignore it. MI mentioned the editorial decision at the news letter to ignore collusion and unionist bloggers on this site want to trivialize it.

    From that it follows that “no terrorists in government” and parties “must end criminality” stands are hypocritical shams and are not the real reasons the GFA is in suspension.

    I have proposed that the real reason is a(collective) unionist view that irish nationalism in not legitimate. (I call it bigotry in some posts)

    This is my view of the COLLECTIVE unionist mind set. I don’t think I am being uncivil in saying so.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Mick,

    “Those who are running with this amateur night argument are not understanding the purpose of the loyalist killer gangs, they are there to put the fear of god into the British States enemies and their supporters and their is little doubt by the 1990s they had all but achieved this.”

    I take it you mean me? Loyalist terrorism was minimal by 1985. It was the Anglo Irish Agreement that reinvigorated it. Check the stats. So in the world of collusion and conspiracy do you reckon HMG signed the AIA just to rile the Prods up so that they could play at collusion again?

  • Many Iraqis, some even Pro US/UK occupation seem to believe the occupation forces, both US and British are operating such a strategy in Iraq.

    There was an intriguing report on British operations in Southern Iraq/Iran by Mahan Abedin of the Jamestown foundation, in the Asia Times last year.

    In one case, it is claimed, the IRGC even detained two British soldiers (of Gujarati origin) who were presumed to be involved in a Force Research Unit (FRU) operation in Khuzestan. The IRGC wanted to publicly humiliate them, but was overruled by senior officials, who delivered the captured soldiers to the British Embassy in Tehran.

    If nothing else, it shows that their reputation precedes them.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Heya Congal,

    “True, but I would have expected the shipment to be split almost immediately. And why would the security forces even have stopped the cars if there was widespread collusion. It just wouldn’t make sense to. What is being suggested is that the security forces helped source weapons for loyalists and then when they had them, stopped them and had them arrested. What sort of collusion would that be?”

    Couple of point here.

    1) We’re talking collusion at the level of the rank-and-file here, not General So-and-so, who would have the power to do as you describe.

    2) I don’t think anyone on this list has gone so far as to say the whole of the security forces were colluding, venal or even apathetic. Thusly, I would have to call your efforts to expand any examination of the contents of this document to the whole of the security forces is erecting a strawman.

    “I could understand that Dread. But, in the above example we’re talking about MI involvement in the gun running. ”

    Maybe its as simple as a couple of “rude mechanicals” in the ranks didn’t get the memo. That said, the list is discussin UDR involvement in Loyalist activities and MI’s assessment thereof.

    “I meant why weren’t the loyalists helped to kill them in NI in somewhat less dramatic circumstances if there was such widespread collusion? ”

    Any number of reasons — lack of a second source to lay off their initial intelligence, bad intelligence — any sort of cock-up.

    More sinister — who says they didn’t *try?*

    Besides, these are the same intelligence blokes who have had eyes, ears and, in some cases, hands on both sides of the conflict, killing folks like its free, depending of who you want to believe. It also depends on the relationship you perceive existing.

    “The point is they wouldn’t have had to. Shooting an unarmed man in the back, the usual terrorist method of choice, doesn’t take a big skill level. Just no morals”

    My comment was in regard to your example of the effort to “hit” Gerry Adams. You stated, specifically, “not only did they fek that up, they managed to shoot one of themselves. Then they were apprehended by the security forces. Not exactly professional or clinical and not much help offered by those who arrested them. If there was widespread collusion I would’ve thought that a hit on Gerry Adams would’ve been carried out by a professional unit.”

    As for “shooting an unarmed man in the back of the head,” the devil is in the details. You need to get the shooter near the target with a good shot. Assuming the shooter isn’t disposable, you’ll need to get him back out again, ways to neutralize bodyguards, distract the local constabulary and dispose of any actionable evidence. It may be as simple as waiting in an alley to plonk ‘im as he walks by, assuming a predictable target…

    …but its never that easy, not even in real life, let alone fiction. Some folks need a little “Dutch courage” or other “mood enhancer.” A single change — a kid wandering in the alley, a stray dog taking a disliking — the smallest bits of chance, can cock-up the most brilliant plans… and the Loyalists aren’t exactly known for brilliant planning, are they?

  • Intelligence Insider

    Congal,
    On the attempt to kill Adams, some have said that there was a certain amount of military intelligence involvement in this. IE – the UDA ammunition was tampered with leaving the bullets ineffective.

    You’d almost think they were protecting an asset there! ?????????????????????????????????????????

  • elfinto

    Mick,

    I’ve got to take issue with you when you say that the loyalist death squads were part of the reason why ‘SF came in from the cold’. It only aggrandises pricks like Johnny Adair. The simple fact is that the IRA ‘came in from the cold’ because the ‘armed struggle’ was failing to realise its objectives as Britain was not going to ‘surrender to terrorism’.

    Gerry Adams was shot four times so if the Brits were trying to keep him alive they didn’t do a very good job.

    Back to the arms shipment. The IRA got the Libyan arms shipments. MI provided the death squads with the guns and intelligence they required. Cue – lots of dead bodies.

    As for the cops who stopped Davy Payne and co. They were just doing their job that day. Believe it or not, not every RUC officer was in cahoots with paramilitaries, otherwise the loyalist wings of various prisons would have been empty.

  • Jo

    “Believe it or not, not every RUC officer was in cahoots with paramilitaries”

    Reassuring. Also lets not forget that the success rate against Loyalists was way higher than against Republicans. Hardly something that would have happened had the % of baddies been signifciant. I guess after all we have to thank 95% for doing a good job holding the line. 🙂

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Mick

    “What is the difference in the status between this draft report, and some like the IMC reports?”

    The IMC’s reports on the IRA are based on information they have been given by the enemies of the IRA. (ie the various security forces)

    Whereas Steven McCaffery’s revelations (terrific investigative journalism by the way – possibly the most important scoop in years) relating to the security forces are based on evidence from within the security forces.

    The difference is this: this isn’t an allegation made by an enemy. This is proof from within the British security forces that longstanding allegations of collusion made against them were known to be true, even while they were officially denied.

    The equivalent would be if a journalist uncovered documentation of Gerry Adams saying “of course me and Marty robbed the Northern”.)

  • TAFKABO

    BillY.

    It might be worth pointing that in both cases we have information supplied by a specific source with its own agenda.
    Now, do you need really need me to take you by the hand and ask to understand that the Brits don’t do anything out of a sense of morality or decency?
    A couple of us have tried to make the point on this thread more than once that it’s not so much the information being released that we should be talking about, rather why it has been allowed to be released in the first place.

    But hey, if you and everyone else wants to continue salivating at the mouth now that Albion has rung the bell, go ahead.

  • elfinto

    “Believe it or not, not every RUC officer was in cahoots with paramilitaries”

    Reassuring.

    Jo, it’s not at all reassuring because many RUC men were in cahoots with paramilitaries (look out for the Ombudspersons forthcoming report into the murder of Raymond McCord) and some are still serving in the PSNI.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    TAFKABO: “Now, do you need really need me to take you by the hand and ask to understand that the Brits don’t do anything out of a sense of morality or decency?”

    No, this was done out a bureaucracy — 30 years were up and the pencil-pushers pushed it out.

    TAFKABO: “A couple of us have tried to make the point on this thread more than once that it’s not so much the information being released that we should be talking about, rather why it has been allowed to be released in the first place. ”

    Time was up, it doesn’t particularly sting the British, since it doesn’t really break new ground as much as it confirms a bit of the “what everybody knows” in the N.I. “light of mind.” And just because you don’t like it or it doesn’t serve your purpose doesn’t make it false.

  • Harry

    Nationalists are hounded because their eyebrows look too close together.

    Unionists are found to have colluded in murder, intelligence gathering for the purposes of murder and weapons theft – and it makes it to one newspaper and no more.

    44% of the population are supposed to accept living in such a state seemingly, even in 2006.

    The GFA is doomed.

  • Harry

    TAFKABO informs us:
    “it’s not so much the information being released that we should be talking about, rather why it has been allowed to be released in the first place.“

    So the information is not important we’re told – paddys are legitimate targets anyway, so nothing new there.

    No, what’s important we’re told is thinking about something else other than its contents. That’s what’s important.

    Unionists really are a profoundly dishonest people.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Dread,

    “I don’t think anyone on this list has gone so far as to say the whole of the security forces were colluding, venal or even apathetic. Thusly, I would have to call your efforts to expand any examination of the contents of this document to the whole of the security forces is erecting a strawman.”

    I accept what YOU are saying here Dread. Members of the security forces were prosecuted. So, it’d be ridiculous to suggest otherwise. However, this certainly isn’t what other posters have indicated. I believe the phrase I’m reacting to is “not the few rotten apples, rather the whole barrel was rotten”. Quite a few posters seemed to jump on that bandwagon.

    Hi Billy,

    The equivalent would be if a journalist uncovered documentation of Gerry Adams saying “of course me and Marty robbed the Northern”.

    Would it not be more equivalent to a journalist uncovering documentation/evidence that the security forces/government knew Gerry and Marty robbed the Northern?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Congal Claen: “I accept what YOU are saying here Dread. Members of the security forces were prosecuted. So, it’d be ridiculous to suggest otherwise. However, this certainly isn’t what other posters have indicated. I believe the phrase I’m reacting to is “not the few rotten apples, rather the whole barrel was rotten”. Quite a few posters seemed to jump on that bandwagon. ”

    First of all, if you’re problem is with Harry, take it up with Harry. Its a bad analogy anyway, since his point was not that the whole of anything was “bad,” but that there was sufficient Loyalist sympathizers up and down the chain from beat cop to prosecutor to judge to prison service that the appearance that “all” was “bad” could be derived. The recent stonewalling of investigations, such as into the murder of Billy Wright, where the PSNI and the British security apparatus are both playing silly buggers with the discovery process.

    That fact is is that there was sufficient “wrong” to put forth a rancid scent. Even is cases where it is obvious that something was “bad,” as in the case of Billy Wright, there are those who are making an effort that the public not know just how bad. I think TAFKABO is asking the wrong question when he asks “why this now?” Firstly, that’s just a shell game to distract and, secondly, the question that makes me quesy is just how much worse is the material their stonewalling. If *this* is insufficiently embaressing, how bad is the ugly crap they want to keep under the rug?

  • aquifer

    So the British armed a local militia to ensure that the state could not be overthrown by an armed sectarian gang. They seem to have regarded the risks to the population of open sectarian civil war as greater than the risks from state arms and intelligence leaking out from notionally disciplined state forces.

    Was this calculation wrong?

    If you believe your particular armed sectarian gang labour under an historic imperative to overthrow the state, the state was never going to be in the right. It then had a duty both to get out of the way and to protect the catholic population from reprisal. In a deeply divided community this is more than asking an awful lot and must be regarded as cynical or if not, then delusional.

    In relation to the numbers of UDR and weapons, the arms/ armed offences committed by soldiers, and in very troubled times, did not seem to be very large at the time, and the recent ‘intelligence’ does not seem to change this. The proddie paramilitaries seemed much better at getting caught and prosecuted than the IRA.

    No-one seems to have established that many people in the UDR above private soldier level conspired to murder within the UDR.

    One advantage of the IRA’s long war strategy, which was eventually to be checked in part by protestant paramilitaries using security force targetting materials, is that memories fade and proportion is lost. There was a terrible and random killing rate in the early years of these ‘troubles’, and a real sense of social crisis.

    But to pretend with sectarian murder that the general Unionist or protestant population were all ‘in on it’?

    That slander is just Sinn Fein xPIRA having their faces done before they go up on political stage again.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    aquifer: “So the British armed a local militia to ensure that the state could not be overthrown by an armed sectarian gang. ”

    That’s a funny way to characterize corruption and the passing of intelligence to allow Loyalist street-gangs to “steal” weapons from UDR personnel and armories…

    aquifer: “In relation to the numbers of UDR and weapons, the arms/ armed offences committed by soldiers, and in very troubled times, did not seem to be very large at the time, and the recent ‘intelligence’ does not seem to change this. The proddie paramilitaries seemed much better at getting caught and prosecuted than the IRA. ”

    Incompetence does not excuse intent. Additionally, 15% (the upper extreme of their estimate), sounds uncomfortably high. The fact that these yahoos were handing out SLR’s as if there were two-a-penny candyalso doesn’t sit well. It also sounds like you are trying to paper over the collusion, violence and murder.

    aquifer: “No-one seems to have established that many people in the UDR above private soldier level conspired to murder within the UDR.”

    One also notes there was not much of an effort made to investigate it, beyond this “estimate.”

    aquifer: “But to pretend with sectarian murder that the general Unionist or protestant population were all ‘in on it’? ”

    Ah, but when you back out those who perform it, those who approve of it, those who are apathetic about it and those who fear to do anything concrete about it, how many Unionists or protestants do you have left? I mean, we have some who talk a good game, expressing outrage at each attack, but, beyond a good sound-bite, how much changes between iterations?

    aquifer: “That slander is just Sinn Fein xPIRA having their faces done before they go up on political stage again. ”

    Another one of the tin-foil hat brigade… Aquifer, do you *honestly* believe that someone wrote this up, what, almost 35 years ago, expecting the Ulster unionists and loyalists would have to be taken down a few pegs?