Spotlight- William Frazer and the problem of different evidential ‘bars’…

The Spotlight episode of 8th October 2019 raises many questions. Coming from a Unionist and Loyalist perspective however what concerns me most is how the evidential bar is allowed to slip up and down depending who or what is being discussed.

The headlines in newspapers and the social media by-lines are that William Frazer overnight has become a Loyalist Godfather, responsible for supplying the UDA with reams of guns. And this tornado of positively gleeful coverage is based on what exactly?

It is based on hearsay, conjecture and unsubstantiated allegations against a man who is now unable to defend himself. The evidential standards of some in the media have been reduced to ‘well we are journalists, we are above reproach, and that’s that’.

Willie counted his enemies much more easily than his friends. In the public sphere politicians, funders and the ‘establishment’ equally regarded him as a thorn in their side at best or a hateful nuisance at worst.

Is anyone seriously suggesting that if evidence existed that Willie would not have been hauled before the courts? There was ZERO information provided on William that would pass even the minimum evidential standard for a court of law.

Beyond that, this is part of an ever-increasing in prominence narrative that points everything in the direction of the ‘big bad Brits’. For sheer madness and conspiracy, this is quietly reaching towards the “man-never-walked-on-the-moon” level!

It is well documented that Republicans were responsible for the majority of deaths (58% says Lost Lives) during the Troubles. Less well understood is how they planted a vast majority of bombs, accounting for an enormous number of the injured on all sides.

Between the supposed Glenanne Gang and Willie, it was implied that they were culpable for hundreds of murders! If that sort of quasi-military capability and ability was achievable by a handful of people, then there would never have been an IRA in the first place

The ‘numbers’ just don’t add up.  At this point I usually direct people to have a look at Henry McDonald’s piece in Fortnight magazine (436) from Jun-Aug, 2005: Where are all the Dead Provos? Infiltration, as someone has already written, is not the same as collusion.

Now please note carefully, because I don’t want the waters muddied in any way, ALL murder is wrong and without exception. But the overall narrative in this series in no way reflects the suffering endured by the people I grew up with.

That a man like William comes out looking worse than the self-confessed commander of the Derry Brigade of the IRA, which sent many to their graves and blew the city’s economic heart to kingdom come, will only delight those who thrive on half-truths about the Troubles.