More paramilitary power plays

With £1.2million of public funds already promised by the Secretary of State for Wales etc, the UDA has announced it has expelled two figures in the South East Antrim area of that organisation – recently reported to have been in contact with Ihab Shoukri. Those figures are identified in the BBC report as the UDA leader in that area, Gary Fisher, and his political advisor Tommy Kirkham. As the Belfast Telegraph reminds us, it’s a by-now familiar pattern and with a reported rally planned in Rathcoole this weekend, the possibility for another power play confrontation can’t be ruled out.. no doubt the police will be better prepared this time..

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  • marty (not ingram)

    Kirkham wanted £8.5m to wind down the UDA in his area. I wonder how many other members of the UPRG are on the make?

    If there are signs that another feud is about to kick off then the Gov’t may want to cancel that cheque for the £1m.

  • I wonder how many periods of power-play the UDA are allowed, before having to play the boundary game like the rest of us.

  • BogExile

    When little people pay protection money it’s called criminality.

    When PIRA gets protection money, it’s called bank robbery.

    When Governments pay protection money to the UDA, what is it called?

  • joeCanuck

    It’s called either Danegeld or whatever word is used to describe the Romans employing the Visigoths to “protect” them.

  • loftholdingswood

    “If there are signs that another feud is about to kick off then the Gov’t may want to cancel that cheque for the £1m.”

    Very naive. This has all been choreographed to the letter. There will be no feud or falling out. The members of SEA are now free to return to the fold and take part in the conflict transformation process. They have already been made well aware of all developments and are fully supportive.

  • Sean

    I see the UDA apologist has returned

  • loftholdingswood

    I was not aware that I had been away. And I am certainly not an apologist for the UDA as I fully support the process that they are undertaking.

  • protorious

    It seems the UDA’s attitude to decommissioning is that the most important thing is to dispose of the undesirable elements in their organisation (that is those who they find undesirable)as opposed to the actual arms…

    An attitude which can only really be seen as logical when you understand the warped mentality of the UDA…

  • Lumpenprole

    HMG announcing the money for the UDA was absolutely disgraceful. This is an organisation that has been responsible in part and in some areas in totality for the decline of working-class Protestant communities, through their insidious leeching/drug dealing and extortion.

    They shouldn’t be getting one single penny.

  • loftholdingswood

    Clearly people have not read any press statement, CTI booklet or even bothered to listen to the spokesperson on the television last week. If they had they would have seen clear and not so subtle hints that this was part of a process to build confidence within both the UDA and the wider community that would ultimately see the eradication of the need to hold arms (as in guns, not just holding hands) as to transform is to change. Or as the dictionary on my computer puts it;

    “transform |transˈfôrm| verb [ trans. ] make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character of : lasers have transformed cardiac surgery | he wanted to transform himself into a successful businessman. • [ intrans. ] undergo such a change : an automobile that transformed into a boat. • change the voltage of (an electric current). • Mathematics change (a mathematical entity) by transformation.”

    Note the word ‘dramatic’. What would be dramatic about change in the UDA? A new flag perhaps? A new song maybe? Or perhaps something so radical, so historical that it will take a wee while to put it into practice? I wonder what that could be?

    In constantly deriding statements or sticking up the usual insults I am afraid sluggerites (or slugerettes) fall into the dim and sad category. Dim insomuch as they do not quite understand the complexity of what is taking place (and the magnitude and the precision to maintain discipline) or just plain old sad because they are not in the loop and are missing out on things).

    Someone once said that everyone is entitled to an opinion. Not so. Everyone is entitled to an informed opinion.

  • protorious

    loftholdingsword,

    I am aware that this process is designed to win the confidence of both the government and the people that the UDA is attempting to transform itself dramatically from what it was.

    I am merely attacking their technique, the selective dismissal of violent elements from within the UDA and the subsequent intimidation that has forced these individuals out of Northern Ireland all together. I find this insane at best.

    How exactly does the UDA intend to win public confidence if they still employ the tactics of organised intimdation?

    All they are doing is removing those that disagree with the leadership NOT transforming their basic attitudes to politics…

  • fair enough loftholdingwood, but people do want to see results. So a redoubling of efforts would be in order.

  • Lumpenprole

    The “community” who does the UDA speak for other than themselves and their own selfish, twisted agenda?

  • Lumpenprole

    Refusing to decommissionj isn’t the only gripe I have with the UDA, Loft. Perhaps you can tell us when we can expect and end to the extortion rackets and the drug-dealing, seeing as your “in the loop” so to speak.

  • Ulster McNulty

    lofthold….

    “that would ultimately see the eradication of the need to hold arms (as in guns, not just holding hands) as to transform is to change….he wanted to transform himself into a successful businessman”

    I like the sound of that.

    “UDA & Sons”

    You could open a head office in Dublin to take advantage of the low rate of corporation tax.

  • Lumpenprole

    Ulster

    The lack of response to legitimate questions indicates to me that behind all the high-sounding political talk, this is nothing more than a pay-off. They (the UDA) have already recieved millions indirectly through “ex-prisoners” projects funded by Europe, PBNI etc and what has the result been? More drug-dealing, more extortion and more intimidation. The UDA is not a political organisation, it is a rag-bag group of thugs using politics as a cover for their crime.

  • marty (not ingram)

    LHW,
    Very naive. This has all been choreographed to the letter. There will be no feud or falling out. The members of SEA are now free to return to the fold and take part in the conflict transformation process. They have already been made well aware of all developments and are fully supportive.

    Why forgive me LHW, it’s not like the UDA has previous in this area, is it? And the Tele tells us that “A senior loyalist source said the UDA is aware that the Fisher leadership plans some kind of a rally in Rathcoole this weekend – designed to demonstrate that they are still in charge and that they have support in the area.”

    So it would seem that somebody hasn’t told Fisher about the choreography.

    Note the word ‘dramatic’. What would be dramatic about change in the UDA? A new flag perhaps? A new song maybe? Or perhaps something so radical, so historical that it will take a wee while to put it into practice? I wonder what that could be?
    Let’s cut the crap and get to the bottom line – the UDA haven’t and don’t intend to hand weapons in. Until they do you can talk about “CTI” until the cows come home but you’ll have zero credibility, because if you were serious about the conflict transformation that you’re so keen on, you would get rid of the weapons as a first step to prove your bona fides.

  • loftholdingswood

    Two fair minded and good comments that include reasonable questions. So I’ll answer them!

    Selective dismissal is unfortunate but do not be under any illusion that previous attempts at bringing these people into line have been rebuffed. And I mean bringing them into line by discussion and consensus not violence. The whole consultation process that was undertaken in the last 6 months (as previously noted – over 4000 members took part in a debate and evaluation – including questionnaires!) was in order to understand what the UDA wanted, where it wanted to go and how it could get there. To transform. Every area took part with the exception of SEA. But the members of SEA were kept informed and were fully supportive of the process. The leadership of that particular area did not want debate or discussion or even the odd funny comment. It was a dictatorship designed to protect a crumbling empire. If you are confident of your position you tend to want to talk about it and debate it. These people did not want to talk to their members, they hated even seeing them. The membership wanted back into the fold and their wish has been given public approval.

    Winning public confidence? I suppose what the public wants is no violence, no guns, no drugs, no dominance of a particular community. The shackles left off in other words. One DSD official told me that when he saw the CTI presentation and the proposals contained therein he asked some hard hitting questions and what struck him was the openness and honesty of the people that were there. They accepted that in defending a community they had (inadvertently) caused harm to that community. One person stated that he wanted to firstly heal the wounds in his organisation but then he was keen to heal the wounds inflicted upon the community itself. But then talk is cheap and it is the radical ideas put forward that truly need to take hold and that will come about by the employment of the progressive element within the UPRG to continue to push the boundaries.

    This is getting a trifle rambling now so I will leave it at that.

    Yes Parcifal, a redoubling of efforts is called for. I’d go further. We need to move at a far faster speed and engage with as many people as possible as soon as possible. And that includes Sinn Fein. We must engage in the political sense. Our community and our people demand rapid change.

    God I sound like Tony Blair. I swore that I would never sound like that.

  • marty (not ingram)

    I see the UDA apologist has returned
    I don’t agree one iota with LHW however I do think it’s welcome that he comes here to state his case

  • marty (not ingram)

    Our community and our people demand rapid change.
    Yet they never vote for you. Ever.

  • loftholdingswood

    ““UDA & Sons”

    You could open a head office in Dublin to take advantage of the low rate of corporation tax.”

    I quite like the idea of that. After all, we tend to be in Dublin a fair bit nowadays.

    marty (not ingram),

    No doubt he will try a wee bit of an uprising but, between me and you, it will have little support, if any. Yes, CTI will become a buzz word now for the foreseeable future. Better get used to it.

  • loftholdingswood

    “I don’t agree one iota with LHW however I do think it’s welcome that he comes here to state his case”

    Thank you. Likewise.

  • Crataegus

    There are quite a few people in the business community who could do very real damage to NI PLC by simply selling up and leaving. Any little sweetners coming our way?

    If this is a return to normality I must have had a sheltered up bringing. Basically this is buying off parasites, people you have oppressed the communities they infest. These are the people who have caused the run down of areas like the Crumlin, Shankill, York Road. Look at anywhere that they have hold and you see decline and rot.

    If you want to support the regeneration of these areas, if you want to provide better opportunity for the young these are not the people you should support.

    The best place for criminals is in prison. It is that simple. Of course we come back to the core of the problem collusion. So perhaps this should simple be seen as payment for services rendered and don’t go talking about it?

  • marty (not ingram)

    Yes, CTI will become a buzz word now for the foreseeable future. Better get used to it.
    Sorry for sounding like a stuck record, but what about the weapons? There would no better way to start to build confidence.

  • Lumpenprole

    “Defending a community”? – are you for real? What has the UDA ever done to defend the integrety and vibrancy of communities like Tullycarnet and Sandy Row? Operating illegal sheebens? Extorting money from local businesses? Shooting kids in the knees for seeling cannabis to their mates – not because this was wrong, but because it threatened their monopoly on the drug trade!

    How much money has the UDA already indirectly recieved through projects such as EPIC, “Gae Lairn” etc. and what has the result been? Have we seen any evidence at all to indicate that the UDA is even one step down the road towards abandoning vioelnce.

    I’m sorry Loft, but it just won’t do. The UDA is a parasitical presence in working-class Loyalist areas – their political front-men have been summarily rejected at election after election – they have no support whatsoever within the community and ordinary working-class Prods (myself included) just want you and your fellow-travellers to decommission and disappear.

  • loftholdingswood

    “Sorry for sounding like a stuck record, but what about the weapons? There would no better way to start to build confidence.”

    I agree with you. I have personally expressed this position. I will continue to do so.

    “I’m sorry Loft, but it just won’t do. The UDA is a parasitical presence in working-class Loyalist areas – their political front-men have been summarily rejected at election after election – they have no support whatsoever within the community and ordinary working-class Prods (myself included) just want you and your fellow-travellers to decommission and disappear.”

    And this CTI process is designed to basically do just that. Understand that the UDA consists of 10,000 men (give or take), plus families and friends and previous comrades. Not even Tommy Cooper in his heyday could make them all disappear. They all have to be reintegrated back into society with the same rights (and responsibilities) as everyone else. That will take time.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LHW: “Clearly people have not read any press statement, CTI booklet or even bothered to listen to the spokesperson on the television last week.”

    Mayhap that is because what the UDA does (demand money from the public purse, continue their local extortion schemes, etc.) is more important that what they say. And all the booklets in the world are not enough to paper over the contradiction between the two.

    LHW: “What would be dramatic about change in the UDA?”

    The surrendering of all arms and the wrapping up of all criminal endeavors. Anything less is simple window dressing.

    Demanding funds from the public purse while still armed is simply a step up from shop-keepers.

    LHW: “I quite like the idea of that. After all, we tend to be in Dublin a fair bit nowadays. ”

    Drug trade doing well, then?

    BTW, LHW< you never answered -- are there any independent, third party reports on this "grand transformation," or is it all Potemkin village smoke and mirrors?

  • protorious

    Loft,

    I understand that the SEA dismissals are due to their refusal to participate in the UDA’s attempts to transform itself but I still take issuse with the fact that they were carried out.

    If the UDA wished to truely transform itself it would simply expel these leders from the UDA, not launch the kind of organised progroms against individuals such as Adair or the Shoukris which amount to intimidation.

    Instead what the UDA presents is a ceratin self-aggrandising attitude that it is there duty to purge these dangerous individuals from Loyalist society. They act like they have been given a public mandate to act as a social police force, an idea which is tenuous at best when you look at the electoral success of the PUP (who are their closest affiliated political partner).

    At least the social policing of the PIRA can be rationalised by some by the electoral success of SF and the essential vote of confidence it gives the PIRA. The UDA do not have this rationalisation, instead they simply presume that it is there role to preserve society based on an arrogant assumption that they are most apt force to carry this out.

    This idea is a reflection of their militant thuggish outlook which deems the surrender of arms a step too far in the current climate…

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LHW: “And this CTI process is designed to basically do just that.”

    Not to mention milking the honest tax-payers of millions.

    LHW: “Understand that the UDA consists of 10,000 men (give or take), plus families and friends and previous comrades.”

    Why, pray tell, do the “friends” of the UDA enter into the equation? This is starting to sound like the drinks and nose-candy are on the house, with the gov’t buying, with every two-bit hanger-on and wannabe getting a piece of the action.

    LHW: “Not even Tommy Cooper in his heyday could make them all disappear. They all have to be reintegrated back into society with the same rights (and responsibilities) as everyone else.”

    *snicker*

    Given the on-going criminality and refusal to disarm, I wouldn’t trust them to turn oxygen into carbon dioxide, let alone trust them with the responsibilities of an ordinary citizen.

    They are thugs and hoods, LHW. No matter how completely you shellack the turd known as the UDA, its still a turd. They have no support at the grass-roots. They are roundly rejected at the polls. They control those areas they do not by the ballot box but through fear and intimidation.

    It would be better to simply give them a “Drop dead” date for all criminal operations and let the chips fall as they will.

    LHW: “That will take time. ”

    And money… strangely enough, they want millions, this unelectable collection of goombahs. I guess extorting shop=keepers lost its luster, what with all the lucre they hope to get off the gov’t.

  • heck

    the UDA were the foot soldiers and trigger men for the governments anti IRA death squads. Ingram’s buddies were the puppet masters, the UDA were the puppets.

    If the UDR have been paid off why not the UDA?

  • loftholdingswood

    protorius,

    Some very well put points. I’ll digest them during lunch and get back to you.

    Dread,

    Did you ever contact the DSD? Farset? Dr Joe Camplisson (google him)? Somehow I doubt you did. They may have given you the impression that this project was achieving something and capable of achieving more. But then that would disappoint your mindset and upset your equilibrium and you would have no one to vent your frustration with. Take a deep breath, it will pass.

    heck,

    Your point was too subtle for me but thanks for the kind wishes.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LHW: “Did you ever contact the DSD? Farset? Dr Joe Camplisson (google him)? Somehow I doubt you did.”

    Did you provide any third party information after it being requested? I know you did not.

    LHW: “They may have given you the impression that this project was achieving something and capable of achieving more.”

    Ah, but are they independed sources? Are their findings independently verifiable? Or just another tour of Potempkin village?

    All of this, however, neglects the obvious points. The UDA is demanding monies from the government whilst adamantly refusing to disarm and quietly maintaining their drug and extortion businesses, leastwise if the police and the BBC are to be believed. Why should I believe what the UDA has to say when confronted by what they do? Actions, even ones quietly executed, speak far louder than even the prettiest of your words, LHW.

  • Crataegus

    loftholdingswood

    Understand that the UDA consists of 10,000 men (give or take), plus families and friends and previous comrades. Not even Tommy Cooper in his heyday could make them all disappear.:

    Firstly I question the 10,000 figure, what proof do you have? Secondly very easy to make the UDA disappear, if you behead it and ruthlessly pursue its criminal activities. In those circumstances I bet much of the token support would soon disappear like snow of a ditch. In my experience it is an organisation that is reviled.

    I very much believe that working class areas need proper representation and support, but there is a big difference between supporting those that are pursuing a constructive agenda and those who are criminals. The UDA should disarm and disband.

    The main card the UDA have is not its grass roots support but past collusion.

  • Crateagus
    The main card the UDA have is not its grass roots support but past collusion
    That’s the scary bit, they know too much !

  • interested

    LHW
    “They all have to be reintegrated back into society”

    But I thought the mantra was that paramilitaries are part of society blah blah blah and they’re not martians from another planet….. They’re either part of society or they’re not.

    “with the same rights (and responsibilities) as everyone else. That will take time.”

    Exactly what rights are UDA members (or those from any other loyalist or republican murder gang) denied that I or any other normal member of society have? It would seem actually that they have more rights than the rest of us. The right to hold weapons with little or no chance of arrest and the right to torture communities who clearly don’t support them. They also seem to have the right to attempt to extort money from the Government as ‘reward’ for this.

    Yes, it is good if the UDA are seriously trying to move away from crime etc etc, but they just p*ss off ordinary Prods when they try to claim credit for doing so.

    Attempting to learn MOPEry from the Provos doesn’t really fit either.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    interested: “But I thought the mantra was that paramilitaries are part of society blah blah blah ”

    A claim readily torpedoed by their poor showing in the polls…

    interested: “Exactly what rights are UDA members (or those from any other loyalist or republican murder gang) denied that I or any other normal member of society have? It would seem actually that they have more rights than the rest of us.”

    Apparently the dole isn’t good enough for the big men of the UDA. When they close dows a construction project, that’s all the carpenters put out of work get. Apparently, Jackie’s thugs deserve better than the ordinary, law-abiding citizen.

  • Comrade Stalin

    lofty:

    Selective dismissal is unfortunate but do not be under any illusion that previous attempts at bringing these people into line have been rebuffed.

    What line where they being brought into ? Would you mind explaining exactly who is fickin’ who ?

    Yes Parcifal, a redoubling of efforts is called for. I’d go further. We need to move at a far faster speed and engage with as many people as possible as soon as possible. And that includes Sinn Fein. We must engage in the political sense. Our community and our people demand rapid change.

    All very sensible talk. I last heard that kind of talk from Gary McMichael and David Adams. The UDA went over their heads and wound up their party. Why did they do that ?

    While I appreciate that your personal aims may be well-intended, the fact remains that the UDA has no mandate. Loyalists and their supporters do not vote for UDA candidates to any significant extent. You say there are/were 10,000 UDA men plus their families and supporters – so how come the politican representatives cannot get at least 10,000 votes ?

    If the UDA can’t get together the organizational discipline to get its membership to turn out and vote for it at elections, how on earth can it get the discipline to enforce and maintain a ceasefire or disbandment order ?

  • the accountant

    If the UDA are getting £1.2 million, how much did the Brits give the IRA to go away? There are no poor ex Provos where I live. They all own their houses, no obvious means of income etc.

  • Sean

    like I said before

    LHW UDA apologist

    Or maybe thats excusist

    look ma I just made a new word