“In doing so we reaffirm the legitimacy of our tactical response…”

As has been heavily trailed in the media, and as the PA report says, The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) is to assume a non-military, civilianised role after putting its weapons beyond use beyond reach.. Full statement here Adds The PUP’s Dawn Purvis is “pleased”.. natch.. But the IICD is “concerned”.. And The Secretary of State for Wales etc seems keen to move along, now..

“I specified the UVF in September 2005 following the loyalist feud of that summer. In the light of today’s statement I will consult with the Chief Constable to review that position.”

That statement in full

“Following a direct engagement with all units and departments of our organisation, the leadership of the Ulster Volunteer Force and Red Hand Commando today make public the outcome of our three-year consultation process.

We do so against a backdrop of increasing community acceptance that the mainstream republican offensive has ended; that the six principles upon which our ceasefire was predicated are maintained; that the principle of consent has been firmly established and thus, that the Union remains safe.
We welcome recent developments in securing stable, durable democratic structures in Northern Ireland and accept as significant, support by the mainstream republican movement of the constitutional status quo.

Commensurate with these developments, as of twelve midnight, Thursday May 3 2007, the Ulster Volunteer Force and Red Hand Commando will assume a non-military, civilianised, role.

To consolidate this fundamental change in outlook we have addressed the methodology of transformation from a military to civilian organisation by implementing the following measures in every operational and command area:
:: All recruitment has ceased;
:: Military training has ceased;
:: Targeting has ceased and all intelligence rendered obsolete;
:: All Active Service Units have been de activated;
:: All Ordnance has been put beyond reach and the IICD instructed accordingly.

We encourage our volunteers to embrace the challenges which continue to face their communities and support their continued participation in non-military capacities. We reaffirm our opposition to all criminality and instruct our volunteers to cooperate fully with the lawful authorities in all possible instances.

Moreover, we state unequivocally, that any volunteer engaged in criminality does so in direct contravention of Brigade Command and thus we welcome any recourse through due process of law. All volunteers are further encouraged to show support for credible restorative justice projects so that they, with their respective communities, may help eradicate criminality and anti-social behaviour in our society.

We ask the government to facilitate this process and remove the obstacles which currently prevent our volunteers and their families from assuming full and meaningful citizenship.

We call on all violent dissidents to desist immediately and urge all relevant governments and their security apparatus to deal swiftly and efficiently with this threat. Failure to do so will inevitably provoke another generation of loyalists towards armed resistance.

We have taken the above measures in an earnest attempt to augment the return of accountable democracy to the people of Northern Ireland and as such, to engender confidence that the constitutional question has now been firmly settled.

In doing so we reaffirm the legitimacy of our tactical response to violent nationalism, yet reiterate the sincere expression of abject and true remorse to all innocent victims of the conflict.

Brigade Command salutes the dedication and fortitude of our officers, NCOs and volunteers throughout the difficult, brutal years of armed resistance. We reflect with honour on those from our organisation who made the ultimate sacrifice; those who endured long years of incarceration and the loyal families who shared their suffering and supported them throughout.

Finally we convey our appreciation for the honest forthright exchange with officers, NCOs and volunteers throughout the organisation over the past three years which has allowed us to assume with confidence the position we adopt today.

For God and Ulster

Captain William Johnston; Adjutant.”

, , , ,

  • Steaky

    Miss Fitz 1 Pete Baker 0 in the reactions test

    Next up the swimsuit contest

  • Dec

    as the PA report says, “The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) is to assume a non-military, civilianised role after putting its weapons beyond use”

    Hmm…

    From the BBC report:

    “The Progressive Unionist Party’s Billy Hutchinson said: “The weapons have not been put beyond use, but they have been put beyond reach.”

  • Pete Baker

    Indeed, Dec.

    As previous reports had pointed out

    It’s not decommissioning.

    And there’s still the stench of the Faustian pact..

  • joeCanuck

    It’s a great start< -b> guys.

  • Ginfizz

    Ridiculous. The guns should be openly and publicly destroyed. What exactly does “beyond reach” mean?

    What does a civilianised role mean? Are they going to intimidate kids/business owners with cold stares now rather than the threat of a knee-capping? Drugs to be sold via eBay rather than in illegal shebeens?

    This organisation has no right to exist. It should cease to do so.

  • Ginfizz

    I have to say, nowhere have I seen a statement from the Provo’s indicating that they will continue as some sort of a community organisation. What we have here is a load of useles thugs in both the UDA and UVF trying to carve out a niche for themselves and a legitimate way of continuing their insidious community control.

    Cue Hain et al. throwing millions at them to enable them to do just that!

  • nmc

    It has to be welcomed, Ginfizz. As for the other problems you mention, they are no longer a case of breaking the law for ‘the cause’ or whatever, and will become a case of illegal behaviour carried out for personal profit – as such to be dealt with by CRJ and the police.

  • Ginfizz

    CRJ?!!!! Are you for real? CRJ will be one of the main areas where these gangsters will be looking to get involved! Wake up and smell the coffee!

  • Ginfizz

    I note that you placed CRJ before the police as a means of dealing with illegal activity. That speaks volumes.

  • nonsense

    Ginfizz thats exactly what the IRA have been doing, they just didnt say it, tyhe UVF are actively encouraging their members to take on a more positive community role, nowhere does it say ‘control’ quite the opposite, they have been encouraged to fit in with existing programs.

  • Ginfizz

    Sorry nonsense, but you’re living up your name with that last one. I come from a loyalist area, don’t try and tell me something which I know to be totally untrue. These gangsters have no role to play in our community. They are not leaders in the community, except in the sense that they are feared by local people. I understand that s-c-u-m is a word that is not allowed on Slugger, but I feel that strongly about this.

  • Niall

    “reiterate the sincere expression of abject and true remorse to all innocent victims of the conflict”

    Didn’t this organisation have a policy of targetting innocent civilians in the first place?

    “all intelligence rendered obsolete”

    That was pretty obvious from a long time ago.

  • nmc

    Nonsense:

    exactly right. The IRA started taking steps, and things started looking up. The UVF are taking similair steps, and hopefully in time all the various groups will be out of the picture.

    Apart from the community work that both sides take on. In the Republican movement, it is not unusual at all for ex-prisoners to be involved in community work.

    It may not go down well, but many paramilitaries (presumably) from both sides of the conflict will have gotten involved in order to protect their communities. There may be sectarian lunatics in the ranks, but there are also people who do it for love of their own people.

    These people are entitled to be involved in community work, they may well be the most dedicated people to a given community available.

  • Ginfizz

    “a more positive community role”

    G-d, it really makes me want to puke. I feel like the child pointing at the Emperor’s nudity! These people have role to play in our community, other than to get off it’s back and leave us alone. They are a vicious, nasty, little criminal sub-caste.

  • Ginfizz

    no role to play – sorry

  • veloso

    To pick up on Pete’s extracted headline, ‘… we reaffirm the legitimacy of our tactical [b]response[/b]’.

    Exactly what was the modern UVF [i]responding[/i] to when it reformed and commenced its campaign of sectarian violence in 1966? Was it the spent force of the ‘old’ IRA, whose border campaign had ended ignominiously four years earlier? Exactly how did the murder of a Catholic barman in the Shankill offer a response to a defunct – and southern-based – IRA? Or is it the case that the murder of Peter Ward, simply because he was a Catholic, was just the extreme end of a Unionist campaign to intimidate and bully the Catholic minority away from their growing demands for civil rights? The Civil Rights movement (the NICRA) was not formed until February 1967, eight months after the reformation of the UVF. And the PIRA was not established until 1969. So exactly which group was ‘responding’ to violence, and how does sectarian murder and intimidation ‘augment accountable democracy’? While today’s announcement should be welcomed, the attempts to write a history of the UVF as some sort of noble defenders, responding legitimately to a nationalist threat, does not stand up to historical scrutiny.

  • overhere

    It beggers belief and I don’t want to get into the “whataboutry” thing but if the IRA had issued this statement it would have been rejected out of hand. Yet here and in the previous statement almost everyone is patting themselves in the back about a job well done.

    So when Captain William Johnson goes to the British Government and asks for money will those weapons still be “out of reach” no matter what the answer is?

    Another small point should it not have ended “for God and Northern Ireland”

  • Ginfizz

    overhere

    One Unionist on this thread agrees with you.

  • Ian

    The pike-in-the-thatch approach to the IRA’s weaponry wasn’t deemed acceptable by Unionists – I take it we can expect similar indigation from that source now that the UVF have adopted the same principle?

    Today’s statement talks about Republicans finally accepting the principle of consent, but by keeping arms “out of reach” but not “out of use”, it sounds like the UVF only conditionally accept the PoC, the condition being as long as it yields a Unionist majority. The moment that a Nationalist majority looks probable, we can expect these weapons and others to be “within reach”.

  • Am I right in understanding that this statement means: (i) the UVF will continue to exist but at the moment they have decided not to kill anyone else (ii) they will continue to have access to weapons but have decided at the moment not to use them (iii) they will resume killing people if they decide it’s necessary (iv) there has been no independent verification of the way in which weapons have been put ‘beyond reach’?

    Not really good enough, is it?

  • Ginfizz

    Jenny

    Correct.

  • Globetrotter

    Ginfizz,

    Totally agree. I have to sit in my local bar each weekend watching these low life gangsters drinking, intimidating locals and generally living the life of Reilly, all with no visible means of support, naturally.

    There was never any justification for these people, their grandiose words make me feel physically sick.

  • BonarLaw

    I’m with Ginfizz.

    I’ve been up close to this organisation and its’ members and a more repellant bunch I have yet to encounter. As a unionist I am ashamed that my community could produce this mafiaosa but heartened that their support at the ballot box is minimal and that they will never be near the Executive table.

    These “volunteers” should hang their heads, pack up and don the “sackcloth and ashes” previously demanded of others. While they’re at it, provide photographic evidence of decommissioning in accordance with the legislative scheme. And donate their ill gotten gains to their local communities. God knows they need it.

    Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God go.

  • Myself I welcome this statement whilst sympathizing with the comments made by Ian. [post 19] I feel that in the past the main unionist polititians were quite content to turn a blind eye to the UVF/UDA terror tactics and indeed at times benefited indirectly from them. But that was in the past, however, it makes me sick to hear some of them now growling at the Loyalist paramilitaries, for when such words were needed the likes of Paisley and Trimble etc were no where to be seen.

    As to the Pike in the Thatch, it has been the traditional Irish method for centuries of disposing of arms after an insurgency has ended; and I would have preferred the Provos to have gone down this road and who knows perhaps they did to a certain degree.

    I feel most will accept the statement at face value but base their final judgement on how things pan out on the ground, much as the Unionist community did when the PIRA said the war was over, and they would be correct to reserve their judgement in this manner.

  • overhere

    Ginfizz, thank God for that, I thought I had somehow woke up this morning in a parallel universe where I was the odd one out

  • Dec

    It does have the ring of one of those old riddles:

    What am I?
    I am beyond reach
    But I am not beyond use
    .
    .
    .

  • protorious

    Is anyone honestly suproised that the UVF are simply putting their guns ‘beyond reach’?

    The UVF are one of the last embodiments of the ‘frontier mentality’ in Northern Ireland, a paranoid obsessive fear of being ‘overwhelmed’ and their values obliterated by hostile external forces. This fear of cultural death, a feeling of being marginalised by the government and a healthy disdain for the police all combine together so that for the UVF putting their guns out of use would be the equivalent of suicide.

    I think if we push the UVF on complete disarmament what we will see instead of the desired result is the UVF splintering even further than it has already. After all it is not an organisation combined by concrete political goals, rather an abstract idea of protecting “Ulster”, something very open to interpretation among its membership.

  • Ginfizz

    overhere/BL

    Thank Goodness – I thought I was the only one!

  • the Emerald Pimpernel

    Beyond reach? Does that mean they are going to hide it under the widows bed?

    This is just want my cake and eat it to

  • “We welcome recent developments in securing stable, durable democratic structures in Northern Ireland “.
    Terrorists supporting a government including terrorists. Now there’s a surprise.

  • SuperSoupy

    Beyond reach?

    They are under the control of ‘brigade quartermaster’ and not monitored by the IICD.

    Surely they mean beyond the reach of some?

  • whatabout

    ginfizz

    you have a point….to a point there are lots of loyalist paramilitaries who are a drain on our communities…but what this statement does is remove their cover, the UVF has said they are no longer acting in their name and cannot do so…..wheel in the PSNI to clean up what ginfizz calls ‘s.c.u.m.’ and let those UVF members who want to become involve in more positive endevours do so.

  • A N Other

    http://www.bebo.com/Profile.jsp?MemberId=4007937919

    ..They haven’t gone away you know!

  • Its staggering how little comment there has been among the media this morning about the victims of UVF violence (in comparison to the coverage which was given to victims after the IRA cessation). I am among the 500 families who lost someone to the UVF. My uncle, (an innocent Catholic victim) was abducted and murdered by them in the 70’s.

    This is the organisation that produced The Shankill Butchers, arguably the most horrific and sick killing machine ever to emerge on this island.

    So, not much talk about ‘victims’ today, either from them, or from parts of the mainstream media. I welcome this statement (if it is genuine), but we should not forget the hundreds of innocent Catholics that they butchered and murdered during their tainted existence…

  • John East Belfast

    “In doing so we reaffirm the legitimacy of our tactical response to violent nationalism, yet reiterate the sincere expression of abject and true remorse to all innocent victims of the conflict.”

    Totally contradictory statement this in that part of their tactical response was to kill as many “taigs” as possible so as to bring terror on the Catholic Community.
    If you could kill a Provo or a SF member even better but if not it was a case of any taig will do.
    So who exactly were their ‘innocent victims’ ? – a prod caught in cross fire ?

    If you ever cornered these people in debate their masks drop and they will ultimately tell you that this very tactic brought an end to the Provos campaign.
    They genuinely believe they won the war via these tactics – and I know the odd constitutional unionist who even think this to be true.

    The bottom line is they had no legitimacy to ‘take the law into their own hands’ or to exact revenge. They were criminals guilty of the crimes of murder and assorted violence and this statement is an insult to this community.

    However I suppose we should be thankful for small mercies and thank goodness they have no meaningful mandate.

  • Butterknife

    No doubt the DUP asked for a photo of a tall UVF member holding a gun just out of reach of his smaller colleage.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    JEB: “If you ever cornered these people in debate their masks drop and they will ultimately tell you that this very tactic brought an end to the Provos campaign.
    They genuinely believe they won the war via these tactics – and I know the odd constitutional unionist who even think this to be true. ”

    Somewhere in the training these mooks received from their handlers should have been a course or two in counter-insurgency. If anything, random killings aided PIRA, not discouraged it. The UVF (re-formed 1966, predating the Troubles) *JUSTIFIED* the existence of PIRA in some quarters — why would a community need defenders, unless there was aggressor to fend off?

    JEB: “However I suppose we should be thankful for small mercies and thank goodness they have no meaningful mandate. ”

    Which brings us to the inevitable demand for money so they can do “good works in the community,” what would ammount to a gov’t subsidized drive to curry local support.

  • Their only crime was Loyalty…

    …and er… murder.

  • Their only loyalty was crime.

  • nix

    Should have been sooner, could have been more definite on decommissioning, and of course it would have been so much better if there had been no UVF / UDA / PIRA / INLA etc. etc. in the first place, BUT the progress from daily killings back in the 70s, 80s, 90s to a more normal and peaceful society needed this step. Like the IRA announcements, cautious welcome is a better response than either happy-clappy optimism or cynical disbelief. There may be some face saving and internal negotiation around ‘legitimacy of our response’ and ‘beyond reach’, but I think the message is pretty clear – the decision has been made to pack up this obsolete ‘military’ outfit and to get on with something else. For some that might be positive contributions to their communities (people do change), for some perhaps just sitting around in nostalgic Somme associations, and no doubt for some it will be criminality. However, all societies have criminality – that’s what the police is for, as the statement says.

  • UVF R.I.P. (rest in pieces beyond reach, not beyon

    So, not much talk about ‘victims’ today, either from them, or from parts of the mainstream media. I welcome this statement (if it is genuine), but we should not forget the hundreds of innocent Catholics that they butchered and murdered during their tainted existence…

    Maybe wee Willie Rua and his amorous agents at Love Ulster will allow these people to march with them in their second attempt to well, God only knows, considering they hadn’t a clue what they were marching for the last time. It was meant to be about victims initially until they got a little too excited and invited everyone else.

  • I Wonder

    “Exactly what was the modern UVF responding to when it reformed and commenced its campaign of sectarian violence in 1966? ”

    According to one extreme Unionist, who regularly contributes here and to another site, it was a reaction (and apparently an entirely legitimate one) to the sabre rattling of the Republic in the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Rising.

  • I Wonder

    Lest we forget, the late David Ervine, in his UVF days, was apparently made aware of the wallpaper in a certain leading Unionist politician’s Belfast home…

  • atlast

    nix

    finally someone with a reasonable analysis of what happened today, lets not get over excited, at the same time lets not harpoon it.

    I think the response to this announcement both on slugger and our radio call in shows (setting aside the shortcomings of the statement itself) illustrate how angry and largely unconstructive our political commentators and bloggers actually are. Very few people have actually analyzed this properly, most people have just responded very simplistically and so the debate around it has been very disappointing.

    Lets not forget as far as most people are concerned these people have come from nowhere to somewhere positive. They have not had the government pressure or political strength counterweight, they have not asked for any monetary gain like the UDA. They have jumped at least 2/3rds of the way the IRA have gone (in some aspects further) wihtout any of the hand holding and buy offs that Republicans received.

    Added to that most people especially here think that they are nothing but drug dealing thugs and gansters…so what is their motivation for doing this, they are hardly doing it for public praise as they have never had it and hardly expect it.

  • Steaky

    I wonder if Andre and Ihab will be recieving their invites to the official wrap party.

    “a tall UVF member holding a gun just out of reach of his smaller colleage.”

    Love that image, I imagine the doodlers at Hearts and Minds are furiously rearranging this evening piece as we speak.

  • protorious

    I Wonder,

    The 1966 reformation was in part a reaction to the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. It was also largely a visible protest by grass-roots opposition to the increasing thawing of relations between North and South under O’Neill and Lemass… the idea of a former anti-treaty leader who helped form Fianna Fail visiting Belfast after being invited by the acting Prime Minister angered quite a few people…

    Though in saying that it was in its very inception it was a violent organisation positioned to oppose any reconciliation with the Republic of Ireland.

  • I Wonder

    …a bit like the original UVF, then, whose gunrunners and supporters went on to form the governing party in NI until 1972?
    Except of course, Gusty’s men had fewer guns!

  • It has been said that paramilitaries need political direction as part of an evolution process to transform; having said that you got to wonder what would have happened if Dawn Purvis and the PUP had been shunned at the polls for an-other party.

  • “Brigade Command salutes the dedication and fortitude of our officers, NCOs and volunteers throughout the difficult, brutal years of armed resistance. We reflect with honour on those from our organisation who made the ultimate sacrifice; those who endured long years of incarceration and the loyal families who shared their suffering and supported them throughout.”

    The Captain forgot to include a relevant line in the above that should have made mention of the gullibility of their members to be manipulated by the oh so very vociferous reverend in his quest to stifle an oh so very violent catholic opposition.

    The reverend is indebted to those loyalists who he moved with his misguided rhetoric to further his own political religious belief, much of which now appears unfounded and upon looking back it seems somewhat flawed save the fact that he now has raised a wealthy empire based on it.

  • Steaky

    Interesting (and probably true) reaction on the BBC website from Raymond McCord.

    “There’s only one reason the UVF are hanging on to the weaponry and that’s to keep control of the Protestant areas.

    You know, their members are still under orders from the UVF leadership.

    The business they’ve set up, the racketeering and extortion, are still in place. They’re a gangster outfit who, unfortunately, are the same religion as me.”

  • nix,
    “However, all societies have criminality – that’s what the police is for, as the statement says.”

    The UVF reaffirming its “opposition to all criminality” (as the statement says) is disgusting.

    Since when did that bunch of murdering drug dealers oppose “all criminality”?

    And not one public reprehensive to challenge or expose this sickening statement.

    Forget all the crimes they have committed and pat them on the back for not murdering Fenians any more.

    Charming.

  • protorious

    Democratic,

    I always saw them as throwbacks to the old school of Craig and the “Protestant State” as well as larking around pretending to be highly organised soldiers…

  • “For God and Ulster”

    I’m sorry Captain but I really don’t think God is going to be too impressed with what you’ve been up to in Ulster, if you’re lucky you will get some serious affirmative action to correct your way of thinking.

    Or perhaps, you can join P O’Neill and his gang in the downward shute to the hot and nasty Department of Sinners.

  • confused

    The announcement today is an improvement on yesterday and perhaps next week/month will be even better.
    We are moving in the right direction.
    Having arms is a criminal offence and PSNI should go after all illegally held arms loyalist or republican to complete the transition to peace now that all former combatants support law and order.

  • jaffa

    There’s a nice new sign on a chipper on Albertbridge Road called “for Cod and Ulster”.

  • nix

    Hanson,

    In my world view and belief system, the UVF’s (and the IRA’s) violent actions throughout the troubles have been morally wrong. They have also been criminal, because the state rightly defines murder, beatings etc. as criminal.
    However, in the world view of the UVF (or IRA) membership and their supporters, their violence (or most of it) has been justified by a political agenda, in the same way that many British people believe that violence of the British state in (say) World War II was justified by a political agenda of defeating Hitler / fascism. (Personally, I am a pacifist, but that’s getting rather off the point).

    I think what the past fifteen years or so have shown decisively in NI is that recognizing the political agendas of paramilitary groups, whilst still condemning their actions, is a more effective means of ending violence than pretending that those political agendas don’t exist and the IRA / UVF / whoever are ‘just criminals’. If these organisations had no political support, it would be a damn sight easier for their members to be caught and convicted.

    Yes, in my world view and yours, the UVF condemning criminality is disgusting and hypocritical, but I can also see that in their world view there is a distinction between political violence and criminality. And I for one am glad if the political violence is ending.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    nix: “In my world view and belief system, the UVF’s (and the IRA’s) violent actions throughout the troubles have been morally wrong. They have also been criminal, because the state rightly defines murder, beatings etc. as criminal. ”

    Then, arguably, the excesses of the B-Specials, Special Branch and other state-supported organizations have also been criminal. When the state is willing to condone criminal activities performed in its name by its servants, what re-dress do the ruled have?

    nix: “However, in the world view of the UVF (or IRA) membership and their supporters, their violence (or most of it) has been justified by a political agenda, in the same way that many British people believe that violence of the British state in (say) World War II was justified by a political agenda of defeating Hitler / fascism. ”

    PIRA, for good or for ill, could indicate excesses committed by the UVF and certain arms of the state to rationalize their actions. The UVF, however, was re-formed during the lull between the end of the border campaign and prior to the NICRA marches and the start of the Troubles. What *legitimate* function did the UVF fufill that was not being fufilled by the police or other branch of that state?

    nix: “(Personally, I am a pacifist, but that’s getting rather off the point). ”

    It’s not, actually…

    nix: “I think what the past fifteen years or so have shown decisively in NI is that recognizing the political agendas of paramilitary groups, whilst still condemning their actions, is a more effective means of ending violence than pretending that those political agendas don’t exist and the IRA / UVF / whoever are ‘just criminals’.”

    Ah, but the UVF did not have a “political agenda,” as such. They were defenders of the status quo who would like the public at large to ignore their murder of civilians and drug-dealing activities and think of them as little different from auxilliary police.

    nix: ” If these organisations had no political support, it would be a damn sight easier for their members to be caught and convicted.”

    That is naive, at best. All the UVF need to do is make a few “examples” and suddenly there are far fewer witnesses against them. The proof of their political support, or, in the UVF’s case, lack thereof, is properly measured at the ballot box. Lacking a political agenda, they have no real manifesto. They have one “national” level rep — admittedly, that is one more that UPRG, but pales in comparison to SF. The UVF’s political support is meagre, their ability to intimidate far outstrips it.

    nix: “Yes, in my world view and yours, the UVF condemning criminality is disgusting and hypocritical, but I can also see that in their world view there is a distinction between political violence and criminality. And I for one am glad if the political violence is ending. ”

    Please, my tolerance for political naivete and sanctimony only goes so far.

    In matters not if your hit during a “political” bullet or an “ordinary decent criminal” bullet.

  • 0b101010

    nmc: “There may be sectarian lunatics in the ranks, but there are also people who do it for love of their own people.”

    The “own people” mindset described is the root of sectarian lunacy.

    macswiney: “should not forget the hundreds of innocent Catholics that they butchered”

    Why not remember all the innocent people they murdered?

    atlast: “They have jumped at least 2/3rds of the way the IRA have gone (in some aspects further) wihtout any of the hand holding and buy offs that Republicans received.”

    Do we know this?

  • nix

    Dread Cthulhu,

    I’d agree with your first point entirely. I’d also agree that there are differences in the relationship between the political agendas and paramilitary groups in loyalism and republicanism respectively. Its difficult to get every nuance in a posting, and I was becoming windy already. I also agree (must be all that naivete shining through) that threats to witnesses is a major reason, in both communities, for them not coming forward. However, I think it is an oversimplification on your part to say that political support does not also play a part.

  • stephen

    it’s very simple.

    They have seen the gravy train that is open to UDA and want some of it, plus they realise that the the north of ireland is moving on from their narrow sectarian but criminal agenda ( politically at least) and they are frightened of being left out of the table settings.

    It is too little too late, better still they just announce that they were criminals all along, used the conflict to cloud this by killing the odd catholic every now and then and now want to concentrate on communiity work ( dealing as much as they can within their own areas whilst robbing and intimidating without having to try and put it in some false “political” context.

    I would rather an honest gangster, than a dishonest “patriot”

  • dermy

    Will the uvf now be putting the paramilitary bands beyond use ??

  • Whta’s the craic with Billy Hutchinson these days? For a long time he seemed to completely drop off the PUP radar. Even after David Ervine’s death he was virtually anonymous. He is never interviewed about PUP policy issues, he seems to be purely and solely a spokesman on UVF-related matters these days.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    dermy: “Will the uvf now be putting the paramilitary bands beyond use ?? ”

    They can’t even put the weapons beyond use, merely “beyond reach,” which leaves me with the image of a pack of malignent little hunch-backed dwarves clambering, child-like, for the weapons atop the fridge.

    nix: “However, I think it is an oversimplification on your part to say that political support does not also play a part.”

    You’re indulging in bootstrap levitation, nix. You assume they must have political support, then base in on behaviors that have more than viable alternate explanations. Are there a supply of Neaderthals to fluff their ranks and do their dirty work? Yes, but most criminal organizations can find the same. Do people not rat out the UVF? Sure, but neither do the local population tell tales about the Mafia or the drug cartels, no political support involved.

    Their political footprint in small in the case of the UVF (and near non-existant in the case of the UDA). They have power because they have weapons and are willing to use them on whomever suits their purposes.

    Their political support, measured by ballots, is near non-existant.

  • bertie

    Gizfizz

    I totally agree with you These bastards think that they were justified in murdering people. But, hey! Who cares about such trivialities?