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Wagram
06-13-2006, 05:07 AM
Moderator's Note

Today, 16th April 2012, I have merged five threads from various areas and changed the thread's title.(Ends)


I would be glad for any member to point me towards available past and present documents pertaining to the use of military and police forces in Northern Ireland.
I would be especially interested in the "Blue Book" if anybody has it.
Thank you.

SWJED
06-13-2006, 09:13 PM
.. to the board and looking forward to your contributions to the discussions here.

If I remember correctly, the Blue Book is a restricted publication and should not be passed on through unofficial channels. Would recommend the normal official means for such a request.

Best,

Dave

Strickland
06-14-2006, 12:37 PM
I echo the comments above. I believe that this is a restricted document. However, the Canadians have incorporated much of the Northern Ireland lessons learned into their Dispatches series. I would try to contact them as well. In addition, I would try to locate a copy of the UK COIN manual which should cover much of what you are looking for.

As for a book recommendation, Moloney's A Secret History of the IRA is the best book on the subject that I have read.

Wagram
06-14-2006, 05:41 PM
Thank you for the recommandations; I have read Moloney's book and found it very informative indeed; I am currently reading the updated version of The RUC: a force under fire by Chris Ryder which is quite interesting too.

If anybody is aware of personal, maybe unpublished first-person account of rural tours....I have already read the usual suspects such as Bandit Country and Brigadier Morton's 3 PARA: emergency Tour Armagh 1976" as well as a few others.

Neilg
07-04-2006, 07:42 PM
If you have any question I would be happy to try to answer them.
e-mail me at neilpresage@hotmail.com

davidbfpo
07-25-2006, 10:33 PM
Below is a list of books collected when 'The Troubles' were "hot" and I've added asterisks to the best ones - although read years ago. I've not checked their availability on Amazon.com, most were published in the U.K.

**Bandit Country: The IRA & South Armagh, by Toby Harnden; pub. Coronet 1999

**Rebel Heart: Journeys within the IRA’s soul, by Kevin Toolis; pub. Picador 1996 (explains what makes the IRA tick)

**The Irish War: The Military History of a domestic conflict, by Tony Geraghty; pub. Harper & Collins 1998)

**Shadows: Inside Northern Ireland’s Special Branch by Alan Barker; pub. Mainstream Publishing 2004 (insiders account)

**The Thin Green Line: The History of the Royal Ulster Constablulary GC by Richard Doherty; pub. Pen & Sword 2004

**Phoenix: Policing the Shadows by Jack Holland & Susan Phoenix; pub. Hodder & Stoughton 1996 (insiders account of RUC surveillance and CT work)

The Guineapigs, by John McGuffin, pub. Penguin 1972; (internment interrogation allegations)

The Informer, by Sean O’Callaghan, pub. Corgi Books 1999; (informer inside PIRA for the Garda Siochana - Irish Police)

Amush: The war between the SAS & IRA, by James Adams, Robin Morgan & Anthony Bambridge, pub. Pan 1988

Stone Cold, by Martin Dillon, pub. Arrow 1993 (Michael Stone and Milltown massacre)

Fishers of Men, by Rob Lewis; pub. Coronet 2000 (British Army FRU insiders account)

Ten-Thirty-Three, by Nicholas Davies; pub. Mainstream 1999 (FRU expose by investigative journalist)

Beating the Terrorists: Interrogation in Omagh, Gough and Castlereagh by Peter Taylor; pub. Penguin 1980 (RUC methods 1976-79, by a journalist who became a regular writer on Ulster)

A Secret History of the IRA by Ed Moloney; pub. Penguin 2002

Twenty-five years of terror: The IRA’s war against the British by Martin Dillon; pub. Bantam Books 1996

Nights in Armour by Blair McMahon; pub. Ulster Society 1993 (fiction about serving in the RUC)

14 May Days: The inside story of the Loyalist Strike of 1974, by Don Anderson; pub. Gill & Macmillan 1994

Behind the Lines: The story of the IRA and the Loyalist ceasefires by Brian Rowan; pub. The Blackstaff Press 1995

The Serpents Tail by Martin Dillon; pub. Richard Cohen Books 1995 (novel about informants)

A Testimony to Courage: The Regimental History of the Ulster Defence Regiment by John Potter; pub. Pen & Sword 2001

The RUC: A Force under Fire by Chris Ryder; pub. Methuen 1989 (several editions since then by a well known local journalist)

Dead Ground: Infiltrating the IRA by Raymond Gilmour; pub. Little, Brown & Company 1988 (informer for the RUC)

Loyalists by Peter Taylor; pub. Bloomsbury 1999 (book for the BBC TV series; similar book for PIRA)

The Long War: IRA and Sin Fein by Brendan O’Brien; pub. O’Brien Press 1993

Pig In The Middle: The Army in Northern Ireland 1969-1984 by Desmond Hamill; pub. Methuen 1985 (revised edition later)

The Provisional IRA by Patrick Bishop & Eamonn Mallie; pub. Heinmann 1987

Big Boys Rules: The Secret Struggle against the IRA by Mark Urban; pub. Faber & Faber 1992

The Dirty War by Martin Dillon; pub, Hutchinson 1988

Policing Under Fire: Ethnic Conflict and Police-Community Relations in Northern Ireland by Ronald Weitzer; pub. SUNY 1995

Any questions ask via private message.

Davidbfpo

Wagram
08-06-2006, 09:34 PM
Below is a list of books collected when 'The Troubles' were "hot" and I've added asterisks to the best ones - although read years ago. I've not checked their availability on Amazon.com, most were published in the U.K.

**Bandit Country: The IRA & South Armagh, by Toby Harnden; pub. Coronet 1999

**The Irish War: The Military History of a domestic conflict, by Tony Geraghty; pub. Harper & Collins 1998)

**The Thin Green Line: The History of the Royal Ulster Constablulary GC by Richard Doherty; pub. Pen & Sword 2004

**Phoenix: Policing the Shadows by Jack Holland & Susan Phoenix; pub. Hodder & Stoughton 1996 (insiders account of RUC surveillance and CT work)

The Informer, by Sean O’Callaghan, pub. Corgi Books 1999; (informer inside PIRA for the Garda Siochana - Irish Police)

Amush: The war between the SAS & IRA, by James Adams, Robin Morgan & Anthony Bambridge, pub. Pan 1988

Fishers of Men, by Rob Lewis; pub. Coronet 2000 (British Army FRU insiders account)

A Testimony to Courage: The Regimental History of the Ulster Defence Regiment by John Potter; pub. Pen & Sword 2001

The RUC: A Force under Fire by Chris Ryder; pub. Methuen 1989 (several editions since then by a well known local journalist)

Pig In The Middle: The Army in Northern Ireland 1969-1984 by Desmond Hamill; pub. Methuen 1985 (revised edition later)

Big Boys Rules: The Secret Struggle against the IRA by Mark Urban; pub. Faber & Faber 1992



I read the above books; thanks for the list. I found "The thin green line" very disappointing having read "A force under fire" just before. "The thin green line" seems to be a poor copy of Chris Ryder's book on the RUC with a lesser depth of analysis.

Bandit Country and Big Boys Rules were among my favourite as well as "NI soldiers talking" by Max Arthur for its "view from the ground" feel.

I will try to get some of the others.

Regards,

W

Wagram
10-11-2006, 05:07 PM
The French language magazine RAIDS has published a special issue on the Security Forces in Northern Ireland to prepare for the end of Op Banner in Aug. 2007.

http://www.histoireetcollections.net/images/produits/numero_1715_1160547005.jpg

Summary:


• Operation Banner
• Chronology of the conflict
• Republican paramilitaries
• PIRA's improvised weaponry
• Loyalist paramilitaries
• Paramilitaries' weapons
• Pre-deployment training in the British Army
• The Royal Ulster Constabulary
• The Ulster Defence Regiment
• Intelligence gathering
• Armoured vehicles of the security forces
• Border operations
• The Peace process and today's military situation


http://raids.histoireetcollections.com/publication-1715-raids-hors-serie-n-21.html

SWJED
10-24-2006, 06:00 AM
24 October Washington Times - Northern Ireland Holds Iraq Lessons (http://www.washtimes.com/national/20061023-110352-6360r.htm) by Rowan Scarborough.


Some of the Army's brightest minds gathered Oct. 16 in an auditorium in the Pentagon to hear a British general explain how Britain won in Northern Ireland after 37 years of fighting insurgents and how those lessons might be applied in Iraq...

The Army lecture featured Gen. C. Redmond Watt, Britain's top land forces commander who headed government troops in Northern Ireland when the Irish Republican Army announced disarmament last year. That 37-year campaign offered a textbook of lessons on how to defeat armed groups who use unconventional warfare to kill people, military and civilian alike.

Gen. Watt told the senior Army people, who included Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the chief of staff, that the British initially made mistakes by trying for quick tactical victories instead of embracing a long-range plan.

A person at the lecture noted that Gen. Watt said Iraq is 10 years away from a "sufficient outcome." It will take that long to bring along the Iraqi security forces, disarm militants and nurture the politicians needed to sustain a democratic society.

Gen. Watt was not invited especially because of Iraq. His appearance was part of a long-standing Kermit Roosevelt Lecture series to forge close British-American ties. But his talk did give Army officials insights into how to win in Iraq.

"Listening to a British general makes sense because the British, through a hard and long experience, discovered some of the ways to force armed groups to give up armed struggle," said Mr. Shultz, author of "Insurgents, Terrorists and Militias: The Warriors of Contemporary Combat."

He added, "The British understood there were different factions in Northern Ireland. They helped some. They worked against others. You also need to be able to degrade insurgents. That's how others have done it. This includes the Israelis and the British. The key to success was intelligence. They developed a method for local intelligence that was able to put the IRA back on its heels. The chieftains can't breathe. They have to worry about their own security. The reason the IRA finally came to the table is because they just knew they weren't going to win the armed struggle."

Iraq is just as complex, if not more so. American commanders face different types of deadly enemies. An Army officer in Baghdad said in an interview that it is now impossible to say how large the enemy is. "It's gang warfare," the officer said.

Wagram
10-24-2006, 06:01 PM
I have yet to meet a British serviceman claiming that the British army "won" in NI.

Most admit that PIRA was a very hefty opponent and that they struck almost at will in some area.

They generally speak about having reached "an acceptable level of violence" but after having lost 763 KIA in "the province", the only victory for the British army is that a political process has been followed, (the Belfast Agreement); it will eventually, in all probability, end with the Sinn Féin, the PIRA's political wing, reaching power in the near future.

I don't see any victory there. Containment for sure, but victory I think not.

Mondor
10-24-2006, 07:06 PM
I guess it is a matter of definition. If victory, meaning the political objective, was to force the armed groups to give up armed struggle then the UK was victorious. If one defines victory as militarily crushing the enemy and forcing them to accept your solution then there was/is no victory in NI.

Once the troubles started and it became clear that a military/reaction only solution was not going to work the UK government(s) shifted gear and worked to end the political support for the Provos. It took some time but I think that there are lessons to be learned here. Once the UK shifted their mind set and addressed local grievances then the support for “active service operations” by the Provos dried up. (Massive oversimplification of this conflict thrown in at no charge!)

I think we should look at both the stated and unstated goals. In Iraq the stated goal is a viable democratic Iraqi state. However the administration’s primary focus of effort seems to be on achieving a military defeat of the enemy (insurgents, terrorists, rogue militias, terrorist state proxies, etc.). Perhaps a shift to something more than the current focus on a military solution provided by the US and a political solution provided by the Iraqis might be worth exploring.

Uboat509
10-25-2006, 05:47 AM
It is dangerous to make comparisons between N. Ireland and Iraq. There are definite similarities to be sure but there are some important differences as well. The troubles were not about religion. The catholics and protestants did not hate each other because of their particular religious beliefs. For the purposes of the conflict "Catholic" and "Protestant" could be considered ethnic groups rather than religious sects. It wasn't/isn't about whether or not you believe in the saints or take communion it was/is about whether you grew up on the Falls road or the Shankill, whether or not you believe in a united free Ireland or a British Northern Ireland. I'm not saying that that is not present in Iraq but I believe that the differences in religious beliefs between Sunnis and Shia are still central the to fighting (with a healthy dose of good old fashioned racism toward the Kurds thrown in). Zarqawi (SP?) was said to have hated the Shia more than the coalition. The British had to address the political but could pretty much ignore the religious. That is not the case in Iraq where we must pay attention to both the religious and political. At least that is the way I see it.

SFC W

Mondor
10-25-2006, 08:31 PM
I’ll agree that there is a danger in comparing different conflicts, but it is not a new danger to comparative studies. Having said that, I’ll have to disagree with your analysis on the role of religion in NI conflict. Religion played a primary role in cultural identification. Victimes/casualities were nearly always identified by their religious affiliation. People refer to areas as being not just republican or union, but protestant and catholic. To ignore the impact of religion in NI would be a grave mistake. The same as ignoring the impact of the sunni and shia tensions on Islam in general or the differences between shias amongst the twelvers, the ismaili, and the zaidiyyah. Either way, the compression between the two conflicts focusing on religion as being the primary cultural identification is valid.

Forgive me if I mix my tenses here, I still have a hard time using the past tense when referring to the NI conflict.

Jedburgh
01-23-2007, 04:39 PM
From the Jan-Feb 07 issue of Military Review:

Counterinsurgency Intelligence in a "Long War": The British Experience in Northern Ireland (http://usacac.leavenworth.army.mil/CAC/milreview/English/JanFeb07/Jackson.pdf)

...The totality of the British intelligence experience in Northern Ireland, both its successes and challenges, is what makes it a valuable example from which to draw insight to shape contemporary COIN intelligence operations. Had the practices from earlier British conflicts transferred seamlessly and flawlessly into the fight against PIRA, the value of the Northern Ireland experience as a case study would likely be much more limited. Given the adaptability of insurgent groups and the specificity of local circumstances, effectively implementing COIN operations will almost always demand learning and adaptability on the part of military and intelligence organizations. These units must shape themselves appropriately for the fight, apply the right tools to collect and analyze intelligence, and use the intelligence effectively against the insurgency. The British experience provides lessons in all these areas....

SWJED
01-23-2007, 11:26 PM
Today's BBC - Northern Ireland's Lessons for Iraq (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6291839.stm) by Mike Wooldbridge.


It is not decommissioning of arms that is the crucial issue but decommissioning of mindsets, Andrew Sens like to say, quoting what he calls a wise man involved in the Northern Ireland peace process...

Strickland
01-25-2007, 12:22 AM
I think the "troubles" in Northern Ireland offer the most lessons for those making policy decisions. As for military lessons, British intelligence operations that resulted in their infiltration of every major PIRA unit are worthy of further study. It is also worth noting that "negotiations" with the PIRA that resulted in the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 were begun in the mid-80s, demonstrating how long these things take to work-out. In the end, if the Brits can tolerate Gerry Adams or Martin McGuinnes in Parliament, maybe there is hope for the Shia, Sunni, and Kurds.

jcustis
01-25-2007, 12:59 AM
Uboat, was it you who wrote something a while ago about figuring out whether we were trying to (heavy paraphrasing here) win the counter-insurgency or defeat the insurgency? I know that's not quite it, but it was similar.

To go back to the Ireland and Iraq comparisons...We don't have 37 years, or at least the American public does not have that level of patience. The coalition is so culturally distinct from the Iraqi people that there are no comparisons there either.

I think the lower-level tactics, say in terms of RUC coordination with British regular forces, have gems to look at. In terms of the strategic and political level, I think the only points to be drawn from the N. Ireland situation must be applied by the Iraqi government and security apparatus.

SWJED
02-04-2007, 07:52 AM
4 January London Daily Telegraph - Top Secret Army Cell Breaks Terrorists (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/02/04/nspooks04.xml) by Sean Rayment.


Deep inside the heart of the "Green Zone", the heavily fortified administrative compound in Baghdad, lies one of the most carefully guarded secrets of the war in Iraq. It is a cell from a small and anonymous British Army unit that goes by the deliberately meaningless name of the Joint Support Group (JSG), and it has proved to be one of the Coalition's most effective and deadly weapons in the fight against terror.

Its members - servicemen and women of all ranks recruited from all three of the Armed Forces - are trained to turn hardened terrorists into coalition spies using methods developed on the mean streets of Ulster during the Troubles, when the Army managed to infiltrate the IRA at almost every level. Since war broke out in Iraq in 2003, they have been responsible for running dozens of Iraqi double agents.

Working alongside the Special Air Service and the American Delta Force as part of the Baghdad-based counter-terrorist unit known as Task Force Black, they have supplied intelligence that has saved hundreds of lives and resulted in some of the most notable successes against the myriad terror groups fighting in Iraq. Only last week, intelligence from the JSG is understood to have led to a series of successful operations against Sunni militia groups in southern Baghdad.

Information obtained by the unit is also understood to have inspired one of the most successful operations carried out by Task Force Black, in November 2005, when SAS snipers shot dead three suicide bombers.

The killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq up until his death in June last year, followed intelligence obtained by the JSG, as did the rescue of the kidnapped peace campaigner, Norman Kember...

carl
02-04-2007, 09:20 AM
And now it appears the JSG has decided it would be useful if everybody in Baghdad looks at everybody else and wonders "could he be working for..."

bismark17
02-04-2007, 09:08 PM
So this group must be different from the 14nth Intel Company in that they are not themselves conducting surveillance operations but are just running sources? I have always been fascinated by those U/C units that operated in Northern Ireland and still think there are a lot of applicable lessons to be learned that would be relevant to my line of work. The book, Big Boys Rules, seems to be the best I have found so far on them. It discusses how some of the teams got spotted because people were running around trying to look "undercover" with beards and long hair which made them stand out.

It seems you have to fit in your AO. I went to a surveillance school back in the mid 90s which was really funny. Guys from my Department were running around in hoopdies when another Agency from a wealthier area came in with nice high end SUVs. Some of our guys started laughing at them and telling they would be getting burned right off the bat in those things. They were like...yea, but everybody in our area rides 'em...food for thought...if anyone finds anything more on this group please post it!

davidbfpo
02-04-2007, 10:48 PM
There is quite a lot in the public domain on 14 Intell Company and it's reported successor in Baghdad. On my bookshelf are four books that help:

'Ten Thirty Three: The Inside Story of Britain's Secret Killing Machine in Northern Ireland', by Nicholas Davies (Pub.Mainstream 1999) - writer is a journalist who fought a court case before publishing

'Fishers of Men' by Rob Lewis (Pub.Hodder & Stoughton 1999) - which I recall some view as an officially approved ex-members account

'Bandit Country; The IRA & South Armagh' by Toby Harnden (Pub.Coronet 1999) - general account of how the tide changed

'Shadows: Inside Northern Ireland's Special Branch' by Alan Barker (Pub. Mainstream 2004) - by ex-RUC SB officer arrested before publication, on the police's intelligence arm

More current and perplexing is the report on some RUC SB agent handling and murders, by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman (numerous Google hits).

Happy reading,

Davidbfpo

bismark17
02-05-2007, 01:25 AM
Thanks for the post! I don't have a single one of those on my shelf. I did find it interesting that my copy of, Big Boys Rules, came from a used bookstore in Hereford....I have, The Operator and one written by a former female member but can't remember the title. Ok...the super bowl half time show is over so I can get back to the game....

Mickey O'Neill
02-05-2007, 06:57 PM
I would sugges the following for a broad context while of course keeping open a copy of Kitson's "Low Intensity Operations: Subversion, Insurgency and Peacekeeping " as see how it applied itself to Ireland and the British state.

Is Mise le Meas
Mickey




Paths to a Settlement in Northern Ireland (Ulster Editions and Monographs) by Sean Farren, Robert F. Mulvihill

Ireland and Empire: Colonial Legacies in Irish History and Culture by Stephen Howe

Anti-Catholicism in Northern Ireland, 1600-1998: The Mote and the Beam
by John D. Brewer, Gareth I.
Higgins


The IRA, 1968-2000 (Cass Series on
Political Violence, 7) by J. Bowyer Bell

The Secret Army, J Boyer Bell

On the Blanket: The Inside Story of the IRA Prisoners' "Dirty" Protest by Tim Pat Coogan

The Irish War: The Hidden Conflict between the IRA and British

Intelligence
by Tony Geraghty

Contact
by A. F. N Clarke

The Dirty War - by Martin Dillon

wierdbeard
02-06-2007, 08:21 PM
"The Operator and one written by a former female member but can't remember the title."

if you could can you please post the book info on those titles? thanks

bismark17
02-06-2007, 10:42 PM
OPERATORS: On the Streets with Britain's Most Secret Service (Pen & Sword Military Classics) (Paperback)
by James Rennie

I have skimmed this and thought it was interesting but its basically more on the training and selection program by a former member of the 14nth Intel Company.


Big Boys' Rules: The Sas and the Secret Struggle Against the IRA (Paperback)
by Mark Urban

I liked this book. It's more of an overview about the various units and has some TTP/lessons learned material that I found relevant. It's my favorite of all of these books.

SHE WHO DARED: Covert Operations in Northern Ireland with the SAS (Hardcover)
by Jackie George (Author)

This also covers the author's experiences of selection and training for the unit. Very little on TTPs and actual operations.

I'm sure you are already aware of the book, Immediate Action, by Andy Mcnabb. It also had some information on their operations.

wierdbeard
02-07-2007, 08:21 PM
thanks for the information, i am really interested in the TTP's and actual operational stuff as opposed to the selection for some of those types of units. if you have any other suggestions i would greatly appreciate it.

Jedburgh
07-10-2007, 06:31 PM
Operation Banner: An Analysis of Military Operations in Northern Ireland (http://wikileaks.org/leak/uk-operation-banner-2006.pdf)

The military operations which started in Northern Ireland in 1969 will, without a doubt, be seen as one of the most important campaigns ever fought by the British Army and its fellow Services. That campaign is the longest to date; one of the very few waged on British soil; and one of the very few ever brought to a successful conclusion by the armed forces of a developed nation against an irregular force. This publication is a reflection on that campaign that seeks to capture its essence; it does not claim to be the definitive analysis....

......The immediate tactical lessons of Operation BANNER have already been exported elsewhere, with considerable success. Operations in the Balkans, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq have already demonstrated both the particular techniques and the levels of expertise learnt through hard experience, both on the streets and in the fields of Northern Ireland. This publication does not seek to capture those lessons. Instead, it considers the high-level general issues that might be applicable to any future counter insurgency or counter terrorist campaign which the British armed forces might have to undertake....

Uboat509
07-11-2007, 05:29 AM
I don't have time to read the whole thing but it would appear that the assertion of this papper is that the insurgency was defeated by military action rather than the political process that ultimately robbed the insurgency of its popular support. News to me.

SFC W

Jedburgh
07-11-2007, 12:34 PM
I don't have time to read the whole thing but it would appear that the assertion of this paper is that the insurgency was defeated by military action rather than the political process that ultimately robbed the insurgency of its popular support. News to me....
It is usually better to read the entire document before rendering judgment on its content:

...It should be recognised that the Army did not ‘win’ in any recognisable way; rather it achieved its desired end-state, which allowed a political process to be established without unacceptable levels of intimidation. Security force operations suppressed the level of violence to a level which the population could live with, and with which the RUC and later the PSNI could cope. The violence was reduced to an extent which made it clear to the PIRA that they would not win through violence. This is a major achievement, and one with which the security forces from all three Services, with the Army in the lead, should be entirely satisfied....

Uboat509
07-11-2007, 05:01 PM
As I stated I do not have time to read a 93 page document on a conflict I am not currently involved in which is why I said it APPEARS to be saying that. I skimmed what I could and everything that I saw was focused soley on the purely miltary aspects.

SFC W

wm
07-30-2007, 11:33 AM
Saw this BBC on line story

The British Army's emergency operation in Northern Ireland comes to an end at midnight on Tuesday after 38 years.

The link is here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/6921702.stm)

. . .And folks in the the US are getting antsy after only 6 years in AF and 4 in IZ.

tequila
07-30-2007, 12:32 PM
Operation Banner is the Army's longest continuous campaign in its history with more than 300,000 personnel serving and 763 directly killed by paramilitaries.

The intensity and pace of operations is an order of magnitude lower. The monthly KIA average in Northern Ireland was 1.67, for instance. The total number of people, civilians and combatants included, killed in NI over a thirty-year period is under 4,000 --- that would be a decent two-month stretch in Iraq.

wm
07-30-2007, 01:25 PM
The intensity and pace of operations is an order of magnitude lower. The monthly KIA average in Northern Ireland was 1.67, for instance. The total number of people, civilians and combatants included, killed in NI over a thirty-year period is under 4,000 --- that would be a decent two-month stretch in Iraq.

Your point about the order of magnitude is true, in absolute terms. However, I suspect that in relative terms (size of forces engaged, total populations, etc), the impact may be more comparable. Also, I suspect that using a monthly KIA average is misleading. Were one to plot British Army deaths over the 38 years, it would probably show a curve skewed to the left (i.e., many more deaths early on in the 38 years).

Granite_State
07-30-2007, 11:03 PM
Your point about the order of magnitude is true, in absolute terms. However, I suspect that in relative terms (size of forces engaged, total populations, etc), the impact may be more comparable. Also, I suspect that using a monthly KIA average is misleading. Were one to plot British Army deaths over the 38 years, it would probably show a curve skewed to the left (i.e., many more deaths early on in the 38 years).

I'm sure you're right, but I still question what kind of value Northern Ireland holds in looking at Iraq. Fighting a terrorist group with sometimes barely 100 active members (Provisional IRA), an hour's flight from your capital, versus counter-insurgency/sectarian peace-keeping with 150,000 troops thousands of miles from home? Doesn't seem like much to draw on there, in a strategic sense anyway.

tequila
07-31-2007, 10:32 AM
Your point about the order of magnitude is true, in absolute terms. However, I suspect that in relative terms (size of forces engaged, total populations, etc), the impact may be more comparable. Also, I suspect that using a monthly KIA average is misleading. Were one to plot British Army deaths over the 38 years, it would probably show a curve skewed to the left (i.e., many more deaths early on in the 38 years).

This is possibly true, but still I think Iraq represents a massively different sort of fight. The worst year in NI for the British was 1972, when 149 soldiers were killed out of a force of 30k or so. No other year comes close to this in NI, and this still represents a casualty rate below a similar year for the U.S. in Iraq.

Moreover, you never saw anything like this (http://youtube.com/watch?v=l2dtMaBClK0&mode=related&search=)in Northern Ireland. Can you imagine 500-lb. bombs hitting snipers in Derry or British tanks firing main gun rounds in Belfast? Combat simply was never at that high of a level. The horrific Omagh bombing that finally put an end to violent Republicanism killed 29 people. 58 Iraqis were killed yesterday, pretty much without any news coverage at all because of the soccer win. The level of violence, both against U.S. forces and within the Iraqi population, is vastly different. The best evidence, beyond the daily body count, is in the size of refugee flows. AFAIK there never was any significant mass refugee flow out of NI. Compare that to over 4m Iraqi displaced, 2m outside of the country.

wm
07-31-2007, 11:49 AM
This is possibly true, but still I think Iraq represents a massively different sort of fight. The worst year in NI for the British was 1972, when 149 soldiers were killed out of a force of 30k or so. No other year comes close to this in NI, and this still represents a casualty rate below a similar year for the U.S. in Iraq.

Moreover, you never saw anything like this (http://youtube.com/watch?v=l2dtMaBClK0&mode=related&search=)in Northern Ireland. Can you imagine 500-lb. bombs hitting snipers in Derry or British tanks firing main gun rounds in Belfast? Combat simply was never at that high of a level. The horrific Omagh bombing that finally put an end to violent Republicanism killed 29 people. 58 Iraqis were killed yesterday, pretty much without any news coverage at all because of the soccer win. The level of violence, both against U.S. forces and within the Iraqi population, is vastly different. The best evidence, beyond the daily body count, is in the size of refugee flows. AFAIK there never was any significant mass refugee flow out of NI. Compare that to over 4m Iraqi displaced, 2m outside of the country.

Again, no disputing your points. But, the devastation in SWA is half a world away, and the co-citizens of the military intervention force being killed in SWA tend to be contract help and reporters who largely have chosen to be there in order to fatten their wallets or their prestige--a freely chosen risk. In NI, everyday British citizens were unwilling targets in a location just a short boat ride or airplane flight away from the big island.
I also do not think that the "vote with your feet" position that results in refugees is germane in NI--most of the folks there were too committed to a lifestyle choice to be able to pick up and run to escape the violence.

LawVol
07-31-2007, 11:59 AM
I read something some time ago that essentially argued that a nation's public posed less of a problem for operations of a smaller scale with less PR despite the length. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I do not have more than a basic understanding of the NI operations, but does this ring true for the British? Perhaps this is a lesson we can take from it? Also, did the British employ more police-like tactics rather than all out combat tactics?

tequila
07-31-2007, 12:05 PM
I highly doubt "lifestyle choice" was that great of a deterrent factor for potential Northern Irish refugees. I think it was the fact that the average NI citizen did not feel threatened enough by daily violence to make leaving worthwhile.

Everyday British citizens, while they did have to live with an ever-present Irish terror threat, never died at anywhere near the rate that American soldiers are dying in Iraq today.

Note also that the British ended by negotiating a settlement with the enemy, not defeating them.

slapout9
07-31-2007, 01:03 PM
LawVol, Jedburgh posted this a couple of weeks ago. It is full of details and their tactics. You might want to take a look.

http://www.patfinucanecentre.org/misc/opbanner.pdf

Granite_State
07-31-2007, 01:18 PM
I read something some time ago that essentially argued that a nation's public posed less of a problem for operations of a smaller scale with less PR despite the length. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I do not have more than a basic understanding of the NI operations, but does this ring true for the British?

Seems like it to me. I think Max Boot made that point well in his The Savage Wars of Peace, about the many small wars America fought pre-WWII, mostly with Marines in Central America, and largely out of the public eye.

Whether this still holds true in the age of the internet and instant global media coverage is another question.

Steve Blair
07-31-2007, 01:28 PM
Seems like it to me. I think Max Boot made that point well in his The Savage Wars of Peace, about the many small wars America fought pre-WWII, mostly with Marines in Central America, and largely out of the public eye.

Whether this still holds true in the age of the internet and instant global media coverage is another question.

This has come up before, and I tend to believe you're correct, GS. Although there are other factors that can come into play as well (mainly politics). For example, if a popular leader sends troops into an area where only a few are killed over an extended period (and that leader enjoys the support of the press), the situation is manageable. If those conditions are not in place (as in media interest, lack of domestic popularity and/or a sudden spike in losses) then it's not so easy to maintain.

Tom Odom
07-31-2007, 02:35 PM
This has come up before, and I tend to believe you're correct, GS. Although there are other factors that can come into play as well (mainly politics). For example, if a popular leader sends troops into an area where only a few are killed over an extended period (and that leader enjoys the support of the press), the situation is manageable. If those conditions are not in place (as in media interest, lack of domestic popularity and/or a sudden spike in losses) then it's not so easy to maintain.

There is also the reverse of this rule, especially in the golden age of European imperalism and colonialism. What I am referring to was the role of the jingoistic press (also very real in the US). Three cases pop into mind:

A. The British press and Chinese Gordon's failed attempt--he paid with his head--attempt to embarrass #10 Downing into intervening against the Mahdi.

B. The follow up to the Gordon episode some 15 years later when the French sent a mission to claim Fashoda'; this threatened the UK considered its own turf in the Sudan and Uganda. This necessitated the reconquest of the Sudan. The British press role in whipping up the enthusiasm for this was large. Indeed it was Winston Churchill's first stab as a correspondent; one literally nearly cvut short in his ride with the ill-fated 21st Lancers at Omdurman. (see photo below of Omdurman monument)

C. In the case of the US, one has to look no farther than the USS Maine as a cause celebre for getting the US into a war with Spain.


I would say in the modern age, the same reverse rule can apply. Consider our intervention in Somalia, once driven by the viedo camera and pictures of dying Somali chldren. Our exit from Somalia would be driven by the very same phenomenon, media coverage of the Task Force Ranger fight.

In the backlash of Somalia, we would not respond to the Rwandan genocide six months later despite media coverage of the slaughter until the refugee crisis (again covered by the media) made it impossible to ignore.

Finally I would offer that similar pressures continue to push for an intervention in Darfur.

Best

Tom

LawVol
07-31-2007, 04:18 PM
I agree that the press can and is playing a role in the Darfur issue. I can definately envision US troops there. However, I don't think these people have thought this through, which seems surprising given the backlash with Iraq. If we intervene in Darfur, we will certainly face opposition that will likely take the form of an insurgency (Janjaweed) with support by the Sudanese government. This is essentially a mirror image of Iraq. And when it happens, the two-headed monster of the press will turn on the military. Its a lose-lose situation.

Tom Odom
07-31-2007, 04:42 PM
I agree that the press can and is playing a role in the Darfur issue. I can definately envision US troops there. However, I don't think these people have thought this through, which seems surprising given the backlash with Iraq. If we intervene in Darfur, we will certainly face opposition that will likely take the form of an insurgency (Janjaweed) with support by the Sudanese government. This is essentially a mirror image of Iraq. And when it happens, the two-headed monster of the press will turn on the military. Its a lose-lose situation.

You are correct in saying that Darfur is not the good guys--bad guys scenario played out in the media and among the various interest groups looking to stimulate an intervention. Recent reporting (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=3358) suggests that supposed enemies have allied with each other in attacks on others. the complexity of the Sudanese arena is deceptive. Various interest groups in the US and elsewhere have for years portrayed the North-South dispute as one of Muslim versus Christian, prompting an almost knee jerk response from interest groups to "save" the southernors. Neither side in that dispute had or have clean hands and the southern rebels themselves killed many a fellow southernor over the years. The Darfur/Kordofan dispute was pretty much an Arab versus Arab affair but it too has morphed and developed linkages with the North-South conflict. I would offer that our best course of action is to support the African forces already deployed and stay the hell out of the arena.

best

Tom

Granite_State
07-31-2007, 05:05 PM
I agree that the press can and is playing a role in the Darfur issue. I can definately envision US troops there. However, I don't think these people have thought this through, which seems surprising given the backlash with Iraq. If we intervene in Darfur, we will certainly face opposition that will likely take the form of an insurgency (Janjaweed) with support by the Sudanese government. This is essentially a mirror image of Iraq. And when it happens, the two-headed monster of the press will turn on the military. Its a lose-lose situation.

If this is to be believed, troops (not US) are on the way: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article2174209.ece. Started a thread about it in the Africa section.

Jedburgh
01-03-2008, 02:48 PM
From the Jan-Feb 08 issue of Military Review:

Northern Ireland: A Balanced Approach to Amnesty, Reconciliation and Reintegration (http://usacac.leavenworth.army.mil/CAC/milreview/English/JanFeb08/Clark_IrelandEngJanFeb08.pdf)

Since 1969 the United Kingdom has attempted to resolve conflict in Northern Ireland through amnesty, reconciliation, and reintegration (AR2). Conflict resolution in Northern Ireland presents valuable lessons for any student of AR2 because it is a rare example of such processes in the context of a Western liberal democracy. This discussion surveys British AR2 efforts, framing them as a case study to help with understanding how these three concepts functioned in leading to peaceful resolution.....

William F. Owen
01-04-2008, 07:28 AM
Operation Banner: An Analysis of Military Operations in Northern Ireland (http://www.patfinucanecentre.org/misc/opbanner.pdf)

The author of this report is a very good friend of mine, and it's about the best COIN study ever done by the UK.

However, there are simply too few, if any, similarities between NI and Iraq. The UK fired more rounds in 1 year in Basra than they fired in 30 years in Northern Ireland.

The real benefit of NI to other COIN environments was that the UK has developed a highly effective and professional approach to COIN that most other armies, (exception being the IDF) have lacked. When, at the height of the violence, PJHQ asked UK troops if they thought the ROE were too restrictive, the answer was generally no. Everyone understood what was professional, and what was not. - That is about the best lesson anyone can take away from the UK NI experience.

...and yes, I think we won. We convinced the IRA that whatever they did, the British Army would never leave.

Uboat509
01-04-2008, 06:51 PM
...and yes, I think we won. We convinced the IRA that whatever they did, the British Army would never leave.

Do you think that is what did it or do you think that once the Catholics felt included in the political process that the support for the Provos dried up?

SFC W

William F. Owen
01-05-2008, 12:25 AM
Do you think that is what did it or do you think that once the Catholics felt included in the political process that the support for the Provos dried up?

SFC W

Definitely a factor, as concerns the moderate Catholic community, but the Republicans, in the shape of Sinn Fein, never gave up there support for the (P)IRA

Jedburgh
12-02-2008, 05:06 PM
JSOU, Oct 08: What Really Happened in Northern Ireland’s Counterinsurgency: Revision and Revelation (http://jsoupublic.socom.mil/publications/jsou/JSOU08-5henriksenNorthernIreland_final.pdf)

.....The lavishly praised techniques of the British Army in Northern Ireland were deemed applicable to the blast-furnace streets of Iraq. The acclaimed British military historian John Keegan opined: “As the entry into Basra was to prove, the British army’s mastery of the methods of urban warfare is transferable. What had worked in Belfast could be made to work also in Basra, against another set of urban terrorists, with a different motivation from the Irish Republicans though equally nasty.” Until recently this represents the prevailing consensus about Britain’s counterinsurgency prowess in Northern Ireland and elsewhere....

.....Rather than dealing with Iraq or Afghanistan, this essay seeks to strip away some of the overly varnished veneer from the Northern Ireland example or at a minimum present a deeper understanding of Britain’s much proclaimed counterinsurgency effectiveness in attaining peace and stability. Let us look beneath the plaudits for the British Army’s small-unit patrolling and keen intelligence capability to examine what changes took place within the society itself to bring about tranquility and peace to that troubled corner of Ireland.....

davidbfpo
12-02-2008, 09:07 PM
This latest commentary will take time to print and read. First glance the language is rather odd, especially for an author from that conservative think tank viewpoint.

Another time.

davidbfpo

davidbfpo
02-25-2009, 05:53 PM
Came across this podcast by Peter Hain, the former Northern Ireland Secretary, talking in London in December 2008 on the peace process: http://www.mtcmedia.co.uk/icsr/seminar.php and the podcast is 27 minutes long. Interesting summary and points.

This thread could fit elsewhere and took time to choose here.

davidbfpo

davidbfpo
07-27-2009, 07:42 PM
Op Banner was the British Army's name for their operation in Northern Ireland and one of the army's authors of a report on the conflict recently spoke:
http://www.militaryhistorysociety.com/0906MeetingNotes.doc

davidbfpo

davidbfpo
08-20-2009, 09:42 PM
Earlier in 2009 at the University of Oxford, as part of a series by a specialist department on war, there was a seminar on 'Detainees in Northern Ireland' by a historian from the UK Staff College and just found a short report. The seminar is a rather bland title for internment and hard interrogation in 1971: http://ccw.politics.ox.ac.uk/events/reports/ht09_bennett.asp

This is from the conclusion:
Enacting deep interrogation in Northern Ireland, despite warnings about the consequences from military advisers, proved a hugely symbolic moment in alienating an entire community. Once allowed the notorious five techniques by their political masters, military commanders were reluctant to give them up, devising elaborate schemes for retaining them in the face of widespread political outrage in Britain and abroad.

davidbfpo

davidbfpo
09-17-2009, 01:51 PM
Comments on the peace process in Northern Ireland / Ulster pop up in the oddest places. This might be better in a thread on talking to he taliban, but there isn't one - according to my memory.

Published earlier in 2009 was a book 'Talking to Terrorists: Making Peace in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country', by John Bew, Martyn Framptom, and Inigo Gurruchagaby. The book's website: http://www.talkingtoterrorists.org/blog/main.php

In a review by the conservative US think tank, AEI, on their new defence site, note the author Gary Schmitt is is ex-Project for the New American Century: http://www.aei.org/article/100871

The review highlight:
According to this marvelous new study, there are serious reasons to doubt that the model of conflict resolution relied on here is an accurate account of what actually happened in Northern Ireland and, therefore, a realistic guide for dealing with similar terrorist insurgencies.

Another UK conservative comment: http://www.henryjacksonsociety.org/stories.asp?id=1194
On the basis of the British experience in Northern Ireland, it is now widely argued that talking to terrorists is a pre-requisite for peace, and that governments should avoid rigid pre-conditions in their attempts to bring extremists into the political process...But does this understanding really reflect how peace was brought to Northern Ireland? And can it be applied to other areas where democratic governments face threats from terrorist organisations?

In challenging this idea, the authors of "Talking to Terrorists: Making Peace in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country" suggest that what really matters is not the act of talking to terrorists itself, but a range of other variables including the role of state actors, intelligence agencies, hard power and the wider democratic process. In some cases, talking can do more harm than good. But above all, there is a crucial difference between talking to terrorists who believe that their strategy is succeeding and engaging with those who have been made to realise that their aims are unattainable by violence.

Clearly some of the lessons learned could apply to Afghanistan as Schmitt's review indicates.

davidbfpo

Wargames Mark
10-11-2009, 02:50 PM
In some cases, talking can do more harm than good. But above all, there is a crucial difference between talking to terrorists who believe that their strategy is succeeding and engaging with those who have been made to realise that their aims are unattainable by violence.

I think that says most of it.

davidbfpo
10-12-2009, 04:43 PM
Twentyfive years ago today the Provisional IRA (PIRA) nearly decapitated the UK government, with a bomb left in the hotel used by Mrs Thatcher and others: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brighton_hotel_bombing

Lord Tebbitt has written this article, he was trapped in the blast, with his wife: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/6303778/Will-we-ever-learn-from-the-Brighton-bomb.html

A shorter podcast is within this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8301851.stm and an excellent, fifty minute documentary by Peter Taylor: http://www.viddler.com/explore/An_Finineach/videos/7/

Patrick Magee the man convicted of planting the bomb was released as part of the Good Friday Agreement.

davidbfpo

Rex Brynen
06-15-2010, 04:49 PM
After 12 years and thousands of witness statements, the official "Bloody Sunday" inquiry report was issued today--you'll find the full text here (http://www.bloody-sunday-inquiry.org/).

According to the BBC report of PM Cameron's statement to the House of Commons:


Bloody Sunday killings 'unjustified and unjustifiable' (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/northern_ireland/10320609.stm)
Page last updated at 16:06 GMT, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 17:06 UK


The Bloody Sunday killings were unjustified and unjustifiable, the Prime Minster has said.

Thirteen marchers were shot dead on 30 January 1972 in Londonderry when British paratroopers opened fire on crowds at a civil rights demonstration.

...

Fourteen others were wounded, one later died. The Saville Report is heavily critical of the Army and found that soldiers fired the first shot.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "deeply sorry".

He said that the findings of the Saville Report were "shocking".

A huge cheer erupted in Guildhall Square in Derry as Mr Cameron delivered the findings which unequivocally blamed the Army for one of the most controversial days in Northern Ireland's history.

...

Mr Cameron said:


No warning had been given to any civilians before the soldiers opened fire
None of the soldiers fired in response to attacks by petrol bombers or stone throwers
Some of those killed or injured were clearly fleeing or going to help those injured or dying
None of the casualties was posing a threat or doing anything that would justify their shooting
Many of the soldiers lied about their actions
The events of Bloody Sunday were not premeditated
Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein, was present at the time of the violence and "probably armed with a submachine gun" but did not engage in "any activity that provided any of the soldiers with any justification for opening fire"

The head of the Army, General Sir David Richards, said he fully supported Mr Cameron's apology.

...

JMA
06-15-2010, 06:40 PM
The sad follow on from here is that:

Bloody Sunday: Soldiers may face prosecution over 'unjustifiable' killings (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jun/15/bloodysunday-northernireland)

I agree with the following quote from the news article:

Lord Maginnis of Drumglas, an Ulster Unionist peer, said the report was "one-eyed" in its emphasis on just 14 of the 180 violent deaths in the province in the preceding year.

As per my comments on Algeria... why single out these acts?

By all means prosecute these soldiers if there is a case to answer but lets see the next inquiry into the other deaths begin immediately.

Red Rat
06-15-2010, 07:20 PM
Unsurprisingly the strong feeling in my quarters is that it would be duplicitous at best if soldiers were prosecuted for past wrongs committed in the heat of the moment, when under the Good Friday Agreement terrorists received an amnesty.

It will be interesting to see what the various Republican agendas in Northern Ireland will make from this.

Of note, although it rarely makes the news, is that the levels of terrorist violence in Northern Ireland have (IMHO) now passed those seen in the 1990s and are approaching 1980s levels. They do not make the news because they do not have the Sein Feinn propaganda machine behind them and they have been largely ineffective in killing people (although marginally more effective in maiming). As ever though, with trial and error they are gaining in competence.

Rex Brynen
06-15-2010, 08:38 PM
Of note, although it rarely makes the news, is that the levels of terrorist violence in Northern Ireland have (IMHO) now passed those seen in the 1990s and are approaching 1080s levels.

1080s levels? Bloody Vikings! :D

davidbfpo
06-15-2010, 11:33 PM
An interesting viewpoint by General Sir Michael Rose, a soldier who served in Londonderry on the day and rose to fame later, notably in Bosnia:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1286646/BLOODY-SUNDAY-INQUIRY-Brave-British-soldiers-branded-criminals.html

Will Saville like enquiries re-appear in today's campaigns?
Nor should the effect of the Saville Inquiry on the British soldiers fighting today in Afghanistan be underestimated. Some will be the sons and even grandsons of those being accused of unlawful killing.

Even if they are not, they will be asking themselves whether each time they open fire on the Taliban, they might not, in some distant future inquiry, be asked to justify their actions. This is no way to go to war.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1286646/BLOODY-SUNDAY-INQUIRY-Brave-British-soldiers-branded-criminals.html#ixzz0qy1gnPm5

I have not read today's news, but do recall watching from the "mainland" how Northern Ireland plunged into violence after 'Bloody Sunday'.

The points made in a pre-publication article in The Spectator strike a chord with me:
(On Pg.5) In 1999, in an otherwise unwise Radio 4 interview, Colonel Wilford, the man who commanded 1 Para that day, gave vent to the feelings of many. ‘I have to ask,’ he said, ‘what about Bloody Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and every day of the week?

‘What about Bloody Omagh? What about Bloody Warrenpoint, Enniskillen, Hyde Park, or Bloody Aldershot and Brighton — bloody everything the IRA have ever touched.’

It is a good question. Colonel Wilford, like his men, lives in his retirement wondering whether the law will come for him. Yet one other commander, a paramilitary commander, has, like certain other men who fired that day, never looked back and shares none of the worries of British soldiers. The man I watched grandstanding in the Guildhall of Londonderry is too busy being Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland. And nobody, but nobody, would order an inquiry into him. Or any of the other bloody things he and his bloody movement ever bloody touched. This is one-directional justice. Each individual will have to work out for themselves whether this constitutes the mature behaviour of a democracy at its very best, or a wasteful exercise in appeasing a political sympathy that has been appeased for too many years.

Link:http://newstaging.spectator.widearea.co.uk/the-magazine/features/6070108/well-never-know-the-truth-of-bloody-sunday.thtml

Rex Brynen
06-15-2010, 11:48 PM
Nor should the effect of the Saville Inquiry on the British soldiers fighting today in Afghanistan be underestimated. Some will be the sons and even grandsons of those being accused of unlawful killing.

Even if they are not, they will be asking themselves whether each time they open fire on the Taliban, they might not, in some distant future inquiry, be asked to justify their actions. This is no way to go to war.

Of course, it might also be argued that had some of the paras "thought twice" in 1972 some of the Troubles might have been a little less troubled.

Ken White
06-16-2010, 01:44 AM
which is why it's a really bad idea to send them if you do not want want dead bodies at the destination...

This is not really a threadjacking, it is a reminder that using general purpose forces as police is fraught with potential problems. The Paras were sent, they did what Paras do and they pay the price while the politicians that caused them to be there left for comfortable retirements with no after effects.

Still, it's all a matter of the right tool for the job because in some circumstances they can be helpful:

JJackson
06-16-2010, 07:24 PM
Having spent a few hours reading the report – obviously only a small part – I hope the current generation of soldiers do take note. More importantly I hope it is read by lots of politicians and they take Ken’s point that these people were not cut-out for crowd control. They ignored their rules of engagement and, after the event, closed ranks and lied about what had occurred. Never having served I do not know if this was just poor unit discipline or is it part of esprit the corp that you lie to cover for your mates. The report also looked at the arrests and came to the conclusion that the abuse of prisoners was institutionalised rather than specific to this incident. If this is how the troops were treating the locals it is little wonder it took so long to resolve. If it is typical, and ongoing in Afghanistan and elsewhere, then we will never win militarily or by COIN and should withdraw before we do any more harm.
At £190 million this has not been a cheap exercise but if we actually learn something form it I am happy to have contributed to it in a small way.

jmm99
06-16-2010, 08:15 PM
From Time, Northern Ireland: Bloody Sunday Inquiry Says Victims Were Innocent (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1996752,00.html?xid=rss-topstories) (15 Jun 2010):

From near the end:


But the latest Bloody Sunday inquiry is not without its critics. Intended to only last a year, it took 12 to complete, at a cost of almost $295 million. Most of the money was spent on lawyers' fees. As Northern Ireland seeks to move on from decades of sectarian conflict, many have also questioned the merit of revisiting such a painful episode of its past.

Barf.

Mike

JJackson
06-16-2010, 08:51 PM
It was needed. The actions of our troops were bad enough but the government of the day then rubbed salt in to the wound with the Widgery Inquiry. This one may have been costly and time consuming but reading it I have little doubt it is an honest attempt to find out what happened - which the first report was not. This is a dark episode in our history and Catholic community deserved the apology and a truthful report. The rest of us need the honesty if we do not want to risk simmering resentments leading to new round of 'the troubles'.

JMA
06-16-2010, 11:15 PM
Unsurprisingly the strong feeling in my quarters is that it would be duplicitous at best if soldiers were prosecuted for past wrongs committed in the heat of the moment, when under the Good Friday Agreement terrorists received an amnesty.

Yes the Good Friday Agreement. You are saying it was not a general amnesty?


It will be interesting to see what the various Republican agendas in Northern Ireland will make from this.

Hay?


Of note, although it rarely makes the news, is that the levels of terrorist violence in Northern Ireland have (IMHO) now passed those seen in the 1990s and are approaching 1980s levels. They do not make the news because they do not have the Sein Feinn propaganda machine behind them and they have been largely ineffective in killing people (although marginally more effective in maiming). As ever though, with trial and error they are gaining in competence.

Very interesting... and whom may I ask is behind this?

JMA
06-16-2010, 11:17 PM
which is why it's a really bad idea to send them if you do not want want dead bodies at the destination...

This is not really a threadjacking, it is a reminder that using general purpose forces as police is fraught with potential problems. The Paras were sent, they did what Paras do and they pay the price while the politicians that caused them to be there left for comfortable retirements with no after effects.

Still, it's all a matter of the right tool for the job because in some circumstances they can be helpful:

I agree with you on this, Ken

jmm99
06-17-2010, 01:08 AM
once upon a time, in 1967 in Detroit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1967_Detroit_riot), the Paras were called in, showed professionalism, coolness and restraint - an outstanding performance for a non-gendarmerie unit. But, those Paras had one Ken White among them - so, all is explained. :D

Regards

Mike

-----------------
PS: Loved the 82nd Airborne poster (http://www.517prct.org/documents/82nd_airborne_poster/82nd_airborne_poster.htm), which is from the Battle of the Bulge for anyone who doesn't know the story. The 82nd and the 30ID (my dad's division) were tasked to box in the German advance in the northwest part of the salient - 82nd on west, 30ID on north.

1117

I have a nonagenarian client who was with the 82nd there. He still is lively and puts the make on my paralegal when he comes in. As you say, Paras do what Paras do. :D

Pete
06-17-2010, 01:41 AM
Bloody Sunday reminds me in some respects of the Kent State incident in 1969, when the Ohio National Guard opened fire during a disturbance on the university campus during protests against the U.S. incursion into Cambodia. All it takes is for one guy to open fire on a crowd and then have others join in to produce lots of casualties during a very brief period. The missteps or bad judgement of one side at a civil disturbance does not necessarily imply that virtue is on the other. If I recall correctly Army training for responding to civil disturbances, particularly regarding the loading of weapons, was said to have been revamped after Kent State.

William F. Owen
06-17-2010, 05:12 AM
Having spent a few hours reading the report – obviously only a small part – I hope the current generation of soldiers do take note.
I do not know about the current generation, but back in the 1980's those of us serving basically knew the whole story. We knew this was how NOT to do it, and most of the sentiment was "why shoot un-armed Civvies running away? That's not hard."

They ignored their rules of engagement and, after the event, closed ranks and lied about what had occurred. Never having served I do not know if this was just poor unit discipline or is it part of esprit the corp that you lie to cover for your mates.
I have not read the report, but it has again been common knowledge within the British Army that the Battalion concerned "had issues" concerning discipline - otherwise what happened simply would not have occurred.
Yes, you do lie to cover your mates. It's not right, but some time in uniform is pretty essential to understanding why.

If it is typical, and ongoing in Afghanistan and elsewhere, then we will never win militarily or by COIN and should withdraw before we do any more harm.

Based on what I know, I do not believe it is, in theatre at the moment, but for where it has gone wrong, look at the British Army prisoner abuse allegations in Iraq.
Prisoner handling is a specialist skill. It needs training.

Red Rat
06-17-2010, 11:46 AM
Yes the Good Friday Agreement. You are saying it was not a general amnesty?
I don't think so. Under the terms terrorists convicted get an early (immediate) release, so we can still prosecute terrorists for past crimes but it is not really achieving anything. Of course if the cease-fire goes then the early release goes. The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) does not apply to members of the security forces.



Very interesting... and whom may I ask is behind this? CIRA and RIRA, the 'Continuity' and 'Real' IRA respectively. Some hardline Republicans were against the GFA and went their own way, they have got better over the years and seem to be tapping into some PIRA expertise and stores. No strong polical support, but enough bored youths in Counties South Armargh, Fermanagh and Derry to keep things ticking over.

Red Rat
06-17-2010, 11:51 AM
The rest of us need the honesty if we do not want to risk simmering resentments leading to new round of 'the troubles'.

Apart from the fact that Republican violence has not finished, if we are not careful the next round of Troubles will come from an increasingly beleagured and embittered Loyalist community who feel sold out by the Good Friday Agreement.

Honesty cuts both ways, Martin McGuinness was interviewed in his capacity as OC Derry PIRA in the 70s and several well researched books have stated the both Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness were members of the PIRA 'Army Council'. If we want to reconcile communities then we need to reconcile the two Northern Irish communities to each other as well as recociling one of them to the British Government.

davidbfpo
06-17-2010, 06:22 PM
A more nuanced, short review of the Saville Report and interesting as it accepts some myths why have now been shown to be false. I do wonder how the report appears to push much of the blame so far down the army command chain. No doubt the author has had time to read the report volumes.

Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/tom-griffin/bloody-sunday

AdamG
07-14-2010, 12:50 PM
DUBLIN -Northern Ireland police came under live fire during a third straight night of Belfast unrest in scenes that a Catholic priest described Wednesday as "a Disney theme park for rioting." ... The Rev. Gary Donegan said violence that continued until 2 a.m. Wednesday in Ardoyne featured rioters aged 8 to 18 — backed by crowds of girls capturing the mayhem on their cell phones for posting on social networking Web sites.
"Recreational rioting is the term," the 46-year-old priest said. "It was like a Disney theme park for rioting. It was ludicrous." ...The priest said girls, many of them dressed for a night out — "At one stage it looked like a Milan catwalk," he quipped — had come to watch the boys riot. The boys in turn appeared determined to impress the girls with their bravery. He said alcohol and drug abuse fueled their dangerous behavior as police doused the crowd with jets from a water cannon.

http://www.aolnews.com/story/police-dodge-gunfire-in-3rd-night-of/871411?cid=13

Red Rat
07-14-2010, 01:53 PM
." ... The Rev. Gary Donegan said violence that continued until 2 a.m. Wednesday in Ardoyne featured rioters aged 8 to 18 — backed by crowds of girls capturing the mayhem on their cell phones for posting on social networking Web sites.

Fantastic! We no longer have to film them for evidence purposes, they do it themselves! :D

Probably not on the wider news network is two sizeable viable devices in the last two weeks. One of which was in a house and an attempt to get police into the house (a 'come on'), and a second which blew up in situ but prematurely on a country road. Plus 4 rounds fired at a police patrol with a short barrelled weapon. All in the last 2 weeks and separate from the well publicised rioting.

It is likely to get worse before it get better. The N Ireland property bubble has burst and the economy depends heavily on public sector jobs (of which Britain expects to shed 750,000 in the next two years). With increased deprivation we can expect an increase in crime as well more extreme politics.

JMA
07-19-2010, 12:45 PM
Unsurprisingly the strong feeling in my quarters is that it would be duplicitous at best if soldiers were prosecuted for past wrongs committed in the heat of the moment, when under the Good Friday Agreement terrorists received an amnesty.

It depends doesn't it. Which government department would be doing the prosecuting? Now if it were up to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office...

JMA
07-19-2010, 12:56 PM
Fantastic! We no longer have to film them for evidence purposes, they do it themselves! :D

Probably not on the wider news network is two sizeable viable devices in the last two weeks. One of which was in a house and an attempt to get police into the house (a 'come on'), and a second which blew up in situ but prematurely on a country road. Plus 4 rounds fired at a police patrol with a short barrelled weapon. All in the last 2 weeks and separate from the well publicised rioting.

It is likely to get worse before it get better. The N Ireland property bubble has burst and the economy depends heavily on public sector jobs (of which Britain expects to shed 750,000 in the next two years). With increased deprivation we can expect an increase in crime as well more extreme politics.

Can't believe what I see on TV about what abuse the police must be prepared to take and DO NOTHING! Now if I threw a petrol bomb at someone and it set them alight (I have a long list) I guess I would be up for attempted murder or at least assault GBH. Why don't the yobs on the streets of Northern Ireland not get held to the same standard?

So forget about the X-13 tazer shotguns (like from the Moat incident) and speak nicely to your good uncle Sam and see if he will sell/loan/give you some of these babies.

Active Denial System (https://www.jnlwp.com/ads.asp)

"The ADS projects a focused beam of millimeter waves to induce an intolerable heating sensation on an adversary's skin, repelling the individual with minimal risk of injury."

Red Rat
07-19-2010, 02:08 PM
Generally UK Police forces prefer to contain public order situations, preventing damage to property and minimising risk to life. They prefer a longer term solution which sees them contain the situation and then with things have died down they go in days and weeks later and arrest those involved using evidence they have gathered during the riots.

In the old days when the army supported the RUC we were often deployed to knock heads if things did get bad, allowing the RUC to keep their hands unsullied and mend fences later (Many a happy summer spent with the jocks skulking with intent in support of the RUC!). But again, there had to be risk to life or property for us to get involved. Where I was based (Londonderry) we just used to bottle them up in the 'Bogside' and let them vent there. They would throw petrol bombs we would fire baton rounds. We would go in to disperse only if they were trying to get into the city centre for pillage or trying to cross sectarian divides for pillage, arson and rape.

What is more ominous is this, reported in the Daily Telegraph:


It was a brief verbal exchange that spoke volumes. By a burned-out car that still smouldered, its blackened bonnet strewn with broken bottles that the night before had been fashioned into lethal Molotov cocktails and hurled at police officers, the pair stood face to face, only inches apart. One, grey-haired and balding, 6ft 4in with a distinctly age-stooped gait, folded his arms across his chest and narrowed his eyes in a flinty glare. The other, a swaggering teenager in a hoodie, his face swathed in a Manchester United scarf to conceal his identity, stared straight back. "Shove off, old man," he said mockingly. "Sure, you sold out your community. Just so that the likes of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness could parade about in posh suits and sit up in Stormont. What do they care about the Ardoyne now? You lot don't speak for us any more. Why don't you just f––– off.''

It wasn't the response the older man, Bobby Storey, had expected. Nor the reaction to which he was accustomed. Storey, a veteran IRA man, a legendary godfather of terror in the nationalist heartland of north Belfast, is not a man many would challenge.

Known in paramilitary parlance as "The Enforcer", Storey served 18 years for gun attacks on the Army. In 1983 he was among 38 Provisionals who escaped from Northern Ireland's Maze prison – the largest jailbreak in British history. Maudlin republican ballads eulogise his terrorist exploits, and his portrait glares down from the gable walls of republican west Belfast.

In short, among the nationalist community, when Bobby Storey, in his trademark low, menacing voice, says jump, the required response is: "How high?"

Here, however, in the riot-scarred streets of Ardoyne, the young pretender in his hoodie and mask was far from intimidated. All week he had led locals, some as young as eight, in pitched battles against the police – hurling stones, bricks and home-made grenades.

Bristling with bravado, he jabbed a stubby finger into Storey's chest and told him: "We rule our own roost here, Storey. Back off. Nobody cares what you think."

This was not just the common confrontation of age and youth one witnesses in Northern Ireland's tribal sectarian strongholds. Instead this was the IRA's dissident offspring telling the veteran forefathers of Northern Ireland's Troubles that they no longer commanded respect. That their word was no longer law. That the day to which Sinn Féin's time-honoured slogan, Tiocfaidh ár lá ("Our day will come") refers had been and gone – and a new generation are preparing to have theirs.

Today, the republican men of violence who orchestrated the terror campaign that punctuated the Seventies and Eighties are respected ministers and MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly) in the Province's fledgling government. The men of war now speak the language of peace. Except the dissidents are not listening. And it is the shadowy "new-style" IRA who have whipped up passions among disaffected youngsters in north Belfast, where unemployment is still high and allegiances to a 32-county united Ireland are still an impassioned aim.

Leaders from the Real and Continuity IRA run regular training camps in counties Louth and Monaghan in Eire, where a new generation of terrorists eagerly learn the lessons and logistics of terrorism. As one senior security source points out: "We know the IRA dissidents are plotting a major bombing campaign to derail the peace process. And to do that they need to win over hearts and minds in the nationalist community. So they've come into Ardoyne to ferment unrest and dissent.

"Intelligence chiefs have warned ministers that splinter groups like the Real and Continuity IRA are on the verge of a wave of killings. We believe a new generation of republican fanatics are planning a campaign. The hardcore are in their twenties and they are building bombs from designs pioneered by the PIRA. Recent bombings, like the bridge at Cullyhanna, show they are overcoming their technical problems with detonators. Our big fear is an attempt to emulate the 1984 Brighton bomb attack. And those preparing for the Conservative conference in Birmingham in October have factored the threat into their security preparations."

Link:www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/northernireland/7896588/Sinn-Fein-are-yesterdays-men.htm

davidbfpo
07-19-2010, 04:09 PM
Red Rat partial citation:
Generally UK Police forces prefer to contain public order situations, preventing damage to property and minimising risk to life. They prefer a longer term solution which sees them contain the situation and then with things have died down they go in days and weeks later and arrest those involved using evidence they have gathered during the riots.

Yes, on the mainland UK there has been a strategy and practice of containment and post-event arrests using CCTV, photos etc. This can work in some situations, partly as few in the crowd appear to consider the consequences of identication and predictably stern sentencing by the courts. Police forces across the mainland have used this, not always successfully as large numbers of rioters remain unknown; it probably best works with predictable crowds, notably football match day violence as the numbers are small and often very well known.

For reasons that are not clear there has been a far more offensive strategy and practice for public disorder, often when political causes are involved, from the protests outside arms fairs to large-scale demos in London. This has led to much criticism, from across the spectrum and not the "usual suspects" e.g anti-hunting ban demo in London a few years ago, with baton charges, on a largely rural, conservative, white demo. The policing of the G8 protests in London being a cause celebre and the resulting report by the Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) documents this very well. The report is:http://www.derbyshire.police.uk/sei/s/760/f1120.pdf

There's also a KoW item on this, wider issue:http://kingsofwar.org.uk/2010/05/on-crowds-and-coin/

Yes, the police can contain or disperse and other options. What is the level of support they have, from the local community to the national level?

Turning to the short spasm of rioting in Northern Ireland, if the police (PSNI) had taken the non-containment route what support would they have had? It is apparent from previous incidents that "community leaders" and youth workers have been able to reduce the level of violence and numbers involved.

Red Rat
07-19-2010, 04:26 PM
Turning to the short spasm of rioting in Northern Ireland,

My friends in Belfast are adamant that this was 'recreational rioting'; hopefully when I am across there this weekend I will not get involved in any recreational batoning:D

Of more concern is the lack of control by Sinn Fein; better the devil you know...

JMA
07-19-2010, 05:56 PM
In the old days when the army supported the RUC we were often deployed to knock heads if things did get bad, allowing the RUC to keep their hands unsullied and mend fences later (Many a happy summer spent with the jocks skulking with intent in support of the RUC!). But again, there had to be risk to life or property for us to get involved. Where I was based (Londonderry) we just used to bottle them up in the 'Bogside' and let them vent there. They would throw petrol bombs we would fire baton rounds. We would go in to disperse only if they were trying to get into the city centre for pillage or trying to cross sectarian divides for pillage, arson and rape.

"Jocks"? Yes out of all the Brits that came out to Rhodesia the jocks as a group were nicely "aggressive". Perhaps it was the unintended consequence of Hadrian's and Antonine's walls that protected the jocks from the deleterious effects of enforced Roman civilization around 122-142 AD? If one was to recruit a force of independent units to take on the Taliban on equal terms I couldn't think you could do better than with a few thousand highland maniacs.

Rape? Must admit my ignorance in this out of NI. Wow, and the degree of prevalence?

JMA
07-19-2010, 06:05 PM
My friends in Belfast are adamant that this was 'recreational rioting'; hopefully when I am across there this weekend I will not get involved in any recreational batoning:D

Of more concern is the lack of control by Sinn Fein; better the devil you know...

Be aware the situation is not like the ANC in South Africa.

The ANC leadership fill parliament and government positions and pay lip service to everything that keeps international opinion sweet while the "Youth League" are total nutters behaving and saying the most outrageous things. The ANC leadership say they are just kids and will grow up in time while the general opinion is that the youth league are speaking and behaving the like the ANC leadership would love to still be doing. Maybe a similar situation in NI?

davidbfpo
07-19-2010, 07:54 PM
JMA cited:
The ANC leadership fill parliament and government positions and pay lip service to everything that keeps international opinion sweet while the "Youth League" are total nutters behaving and saying the most outrageous things. The ANC leadership say they are just kids and will grow up in time while the general opinion is that the youth league are speaking and behaving the like the ANC leadership would love to still be doing. Maybe a similar situation in NI?

No, there is little similarity between the ANC and Provisional Sein Fein (PIRA). What we do have is history repeating itself, with nationalist supporters splitting over peace now and unification etc later -v- stay at war and we will get unification. The Provisionals split off from the Official IRA:
It emerged out of the December 1969 split of the Irish Republican Army due to differences over ideology and over how to respond to violence against the nationalist community.

From:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provisional_Irish_Republican_Army

Now the Provisionals face the rump of "let's fight on" and their campaign to recruit new supporters in Northern Ireland. It is quite clear there remains support in the Irish Republic.

jmm99
07-19-2010, 08:39 PM
from David
It is quite clear there remains support in the Irish Republic.

and how many phone booths do these SIRA (Splinter IRA) supporters occupy in the Republic ?

We have to work our way through from the start.

Irish Republican Army - Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Republican_Army). This divergent bunch (the Óglaigh na hÉireann) then split because of the Civil War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Civil_War), with the majority going with the Treaty Government and remaining the Óglaigh na hÉireann - the official Gaelic for the Irish Defense Forces (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Defence_Forces):


The pro-treaty IRA soon became the nucleus of the new (regular) Irish National Army created by Collins and Richard Mulcahy. British pressure, and tensions between the pro- and anti-Treaty factions of the IRA, led to a bloody civil war, ending in the defeat of the anti-Treaty faction. On May 24, 1923, Frank Aiken, the (anti-treaty) IRA Chief-of-Staff, called a cease-fire. Many left political activity altogether, but a minority continued to insist that the new Irish Free State, created by the "illegitimate" Treaty, was an illegitimate state. They asserted that their "IRA Army Executive" was the real government of a still-existing Irish Republic. The IRA of the Civil War and subsequent organisations that have used the name claim lineage from that group, which is covered in full at Irish Republican Army (1922–1969).

Irish Republican Army (1922–1969) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Republican_Army_(1922%E2%80%931969)), which didn't amount to much. Victor McLaglen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_McLaglen) in The Informer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Informer_(1935_film)) drew better reviews and much more in revenue and support.


In the 1960s the IRA once more came under the influence of left-wing thinkers, especially those such as Desmond Greaves active in the Connolly Association in London. This move to a class-based political outlook and the consequent rejection of any stance that could be seen as sectarian — including the use of IRA arms to defend the beleaguered Catholic communities of Belfast in the Northern Ireland riots of August 1969 — was to be one of the factors in the 1969 split between the Provisional IRA wing of the republican movement, with some subscribing to a traditional republican analysis of the situation while the others embraced Marxism.

The Provisional IRA embarked on a thirty year armed campaign against the British presence in Northern Ireland that claimed 1707 lives.[6] In 1997 it announced a ceasefire which effectively marked the end of its campaign. In 2005 it formally announced the end of its campaign and destroyed much of its weaponry under international supervision. The movement's political wing, Provisional Sinn Féin, is a growing electoral force in both Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The Official IRA mounted their own armed campaign in the Troubles up to 1972, when they called a ceasefire. However, their members on the ground engaged in some armed activities for the rest of the 1970s before effectively disbanding[7]. By the 1980s, they were an essentially political movement and distanced themselves from traditional republicanism, re-naming their political wing Sinn Féin the Workers Party in the Republic of Ireland in 1979 while in Northern Ireland they were known as Republican Clubs until 1981 and The Workers Party Republican Clubs until 1982 before both Northern and Southern sections became The Workers' Party in 1982.

Provisional Irish Republican Army (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provisional_Irish_Republican_Army), which brings us to David's point and to its offspring, 1986 Continuity IRA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuity_IRA), and 1997 Real IRA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_IRA).

So, we are dealing with splinter groups (CIRA, RIRA, etc.) of a splinter group (PIRA) of a splinter group (IRA 1922-1969) of a non-splinter group (IRA) - not much tradition there for substantial support in the Republic. I'd wager a quid that an unbiased poll in the Republic would show a majority against an actual takeover of the North - like right now today, not in some dim constitutional future. Who would want it and why ?

Nonetheless, I expect the North will continue to generate its young jerkoffs until the North is made part of the Republic. At that point, the young jerkoff will say FOAD to the Garda and Óglaigh na hÉireann - and the young jerkoff will meet the fate of Cathal Brugha (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathal_Brugha).

Regards

Mike

davidbfpo
07-20-2010, 10:46 AM
JMM,

You partly cited my comment on:
support in the Irish Republic and asked:
how many phone booths do these SIRA (Splinter IRA) supporters occupy in the Republic ?

I did not qualify or attempt to quantify the level of support in the Irish Republic, from this "armchair" I would speculate a few hundred who are prepared to assist directly, e.g. fund raising and a slightly larger audience who are only prepared to applaud. That is alas enough to keep the "hardliners" active.

There is a very good book on the motivation of the Irish Republican movement, by a US journalist, 'Rebel Hearts; Journeys within the IRA's soul' by Kevin Toolis (Pub. 1995). What I learnt from that in particular was how the appeal of the 'fight' lived on in memories far stronger further away from Northern Ireland.

Steve Blair
07-20-2010, 03:00 PM
I did not qualify or attempt to quantify the level of support in the Irish Republic, from this "armchair" I would speculate a few hundred who are prepared to assist directly, e.g. fund raising and a slightly larger audience who are only prepared to applaud. That is alas enough to keep the "hardliners" active.

This is something that should be obvious based on the survival of groups like the RAF and Red Brigades. Sadly it doesn't take much to keep the wild-eyed splinter groups active and spun up enough to set bombs and whatever.

davidbfpo
07-20-2010, 09:39 PM
Steve Blair posted:
This is something that should be obvious based on the survival of groups like the RAF and Red Brigades. Sadly it doesn't take much to keep the wild-eyed splinter groups active and spun up enough to set bombs and whatever.

Steve,

That is almost spooky as I am currently reading 'The Baader-Meinhof Complex' by Stefan Aust and it is a good read on small group radicalisation, let alone how the then modern state reacted. A longer review when finished.

We all too easily forget that splinter groups, even individuals like the Unabomber, can create mayhem and take time to dismantle - the Greek November 28 group comes to mind. For later see:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3299349.stm

In that sense we are lucky that splinter groups are so few, maybe excluding the Corsican separatists whose activities run and run on the island mainly.

Steve Blair
07-20-2010, 09:47 PM
Steve Blair posted:

Steve,

That is almost spooky as I am currently reading 'The Baader-Meinhof Complex' by Stefan Aust and it is a good read on small group radicalisation, let alone how the then modern state reacted. A longer review when finished.

We all too easily forget that splinter groups, even individuals like the Unabomber, can create mayhem and take time to dismantle - the Greek November 28 group comes to mind. For later see:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3299349.stm

In that sense we are lucky that splinter groups are so few, maybe excluding the Corsican separatists whose activities run and run on the island mainly.

I think there's something of a tendency to forget that, in some ways at least, we've been here before when it comes to terrorists (at least in terms of small groups being able to move, self-replicate, and cause all sorts of mayhem).

davidbfpo
07-21-2010, 08:07 PM
This item could go elsewhere as it fits in several threads IMHO.

'Countering Terror or Counter-Productive? Comparing Irish and Muslim Experiences of Counter-insurgency Law and Policy'


This report is a record of, and reflection on, two days of discussions that took place in Belfast in June 2009 between a group of Irish human rights and community activists and political ex-prisoners, ... and representatives of a number of Muslim groups working on similar issues today.

(from the summary)The aim of the event was to explore comparisons between Irish and Muslim experiences of the impact of counter-terror measures. Three key themes were established; The Nature of Counter-insurgency Law and Policy Experiencing Counter-insurgency Policies: ommunities, Prisoners, Families and Young People Counter-insurgency, Campaigning and Communities. The idea to hold such a meeting emerged after initial conversations about the potential value of bringing together people from the North of Ireland and Muslim communities in Britain who had experience in dealing with the impact and consequences at a community evel of state anti-terror (or counter-insurgency) strategies.

Yes, some of the groups involved come from a particular strand of opinion. So the activities of paramilitaries appear rarely - on a quick read. Making such comparisons are not unknown, in the academic world and amongst community groups.

Link:http://www.ihrc.org.uk/publications/reports/9384-comparing-irish-and-muslim-experiences-of-counter-insurgency-law-and-policy

davidbfpo
07-28-2010, 05:39 PM
Red Rat, Post 12, stated in part:
Generally UK Police forces prefer to contain public order situations, preventing damage to property and minimising risk to life....then with things have died down they go in days and weeks later and arrest those involved using evidence they have gathered during the riots.

The police (PSNI) have started their arrests for the violent disorder two weeks ago:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-10791364

Referring to a juvenile arrested and at court opposing bail:
A detective sergeant who said he could connect him with the offences told the court: This individual I would say, having examined CCTV footage, would be one of the most prominent individuals within that riot. From the very start right through until the early hours of the morning his activities were wide-ranging from attacking police officers with poles, pipes and other materials to the hijacking of the vehicle which was set alight.

davidbfpo
08-16-2010, 07:55 PM
Comments made after another bomb and criticism of the lack of intelligence on the 'new' enemy in 'old bottles'; link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/northernireland/7948537/Real-IRA-using-Omagh-style-tactics.html

The bombing:
The fact that police received a warning that a device was left in one area and a device actually exploded in another has similarities to the Omagh bombing that we would not like to see repeated.

On the criticism:
It is time for everyone to face up to some inconvenient political truths about this violence. It is now very clear that MI5 is not up to the task of leading intelligence-gathering in the north. The SDLP believes we need an aggressive, high-profile, all-Ireland intelligence-gathering operation based on the bond of trust which has grown between police and public.

Elsewhere some, hopefully good news:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-10984738

davidbfpo
09-06-2010, 09:40 PM
As former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's memoirs sell well amidst the vairiety of reviews is this rather pithy comment on his part in the Northern Ireland peace process:http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/robin-wilson/blairs-flawed-approach-to-peace-in-northern-ireland?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzEmail&utm_content=201210&utm_campaign=On-Demand_2010-09-06%2012:17

What struck me was the final comment:Citing the SDLP leader Seamus Mallon
In reality his whole strategy in terms of resolution of the Northern Ireland problem—I don’t use the term peace process—was “who do I buy and who do I sell”?

Sorry to be so cynical or critical that sounds like an Afghan exit strategy.

davidbfpo
11-17-2010, 10:15 PM
From ICSR @ Kings College London, a new paper on the situation in Northern Ireland:
On Thursday, BBC Newsnight featured an exclusive report based on ICSR’s latest publication, Return of the Militants: Violent Dissident Republicanism, by our Associate Fellow, Dr Martyn Frampton.

According to the report, which is released today, the danger posed by groups such as the Real IRA and Continuity IRA is at its greatest level in over a decade, and is likely to increase. In the recent National Strategic Defence and Security Review, ‘residual terrorism linked to Northern Ireland’ was identified as a Tier One risk to national security. MI5 has also raised the official threat level from dissident republican groups from ‘moderate’ to ‘substantial’ and warned against the real possibility of a strike on the British mainland, in addition to the ongoing threat posed to the police, army and security services in Northern Ireland.

Return of the Militants is the most authoritative and comprehensive attempt to address the recent upsurge of violent republicanism to date. It analyses the origins and the nature of the threat posed by violent dissidents, provides a timeline of recent dissident republican activities, and introduces the various groups involved. Drawing on the expert testimony of former security service personnel, the report also examines the changing security environment and evaluates potential responses to the increase of the threat.

Link to report:http://icsr.info/paper/return-of-the-militants-violent-dissident-republicanism

Link to a nine minute BBC Newsnight report:http://www.youtube.com/user/ICSRLondon#p/u/1/AUAeQl0RZlg

Red Rat
11-18-2010, 04:56 PM
Approx 110 attacks in 2009.
180 plus attacks this year and counting.

For those who know the history of 'the Troubles' the same places are cropping up; West Belfast, Londonderry, S Armagh.

History repeating itself. Mainstream Irish Republicanism comes to terms, becomes part of the establishment. Fringe element dislike the terms, proclaim themselves the 'true Republicans' and carry on the struggle.

JMA
11-18-2010, 07:45 PM
Approx 110 attacks in 2009.
180 plus attacks this year and counting.

For my edification, what constitutes an "attack" by definition?

davidbfpo
11-18-2010, 09:57 PM
JMA asked:
For my edification, what constitutes an "attack" by definition?

I expect there is an official definition, but here goes. Attack will include: bombs, sniping, possibly armed robbery for funds, but not the preparations. Not sure about bomb hoaxes and civil disorder / rioting.

Might even be a military definition back from "The Troubles" and not the criminal law definition.

Red Rat
11-19-2010, 09:13 AM
There probably is an official definition but the stats I use look at the following:

Bombs (including: UVIEDs, RCIED, proxy and VOIED and ranging from small (pipe bombs) to large (500lb culvert bombs and bigger)).

Shoots

Hoaxes and criminality (even if conducted by Republican groupings) are not included. Rioting and paramilitary style 'civil-action' beatings are also not included.

JMA
11-19-2010, 11:29 AM
There probably is an official definition but the stats I use look at the following:

Bombs (including: UVIEDs, RCIED, proxy and VOIED and ranging from small (pipe bombs) to large (500lb culvert bombs and bigger)).

Shoots

Hoaxes and criminality (even if conducted by Republican groupings) are not included. Rioting and paramilitary style 'civil-action' beatings are also not included.

180 such incidents so far this year. That's a well kept secret.

I also don't hear about casualties. Are there? If not how so?

Red Rat
11-19-2010, 04:58 PM
more then anything else. It is not widely reported because there have been few casualties. Sometimes the bomb does not go off, sometimes it does but there is no-one there. Their standard of shooting leaves a little to be desired as well .

Off the top of my head there have been two serious casualties this year, both policemen. One suffered serious leg injuries when his car was blown up and the other suffered serious arm injuries when his patrol was attacked with an explosive device.

Last year I think we lost two soldiers killed and one policeman.

JMA
11-21-2010, 07:54 PM
more then anything else. It is not widely reported because there have been few casualties. Sometimes the bomb does not go off, sometimes it does but there is no-one there. Their standard of shooting leaves a little to be desired as well .

Off the top of my head there have been two serious casualties this year, both policemen. One suffered serious leg injuries when his car was blown up and the other suffered serious arm injuries when his patrol was attacked with an explosive device.

Last year I think we lost two soldiers killed and one policeman.

These guys are at the bottom of a learning curve then. They should be leaving evidence lying around at the scene?

Red Rat
11-22-2010, 08:34 AM
I do not know.

The police have conducted several high profile anti-terrorist operations over the last 12 months in N Ireland (NI News (http://www.4ni.co.uk/northern_ireland_news.asp?id=117540)) so it is as likely as ever that 'every contact leaves a trace' as we used to say.

I would surmise that there is a combination of Irish Republican 'diehards' with previous PIRA experience and capabilities who provide the core, and a whole host of young bloods coming in. Looking at how PIRA operated and the Active Service Unit (ASU) cell structure, then depending on who split from whom and who is doing what now, will reflect on what expertise is available to the new terrorist groupings and how competent they are. And of course they are learning all the time.

JMA
11-22-2010, 09:23 AM
I do not know.

The police have conducted several high profile anti-terrorist operations over the last 12 months in N Ireland (NI News (http://www.4ni.co.uk/northern_ireland_news.asp?id=117540)) so it is as likely as ever that 'every contact leaves a trace' as we used to say.

I would surmise that there is a combination of Irish Republican 'diehards' with previous PIRA experience and capabilities who provide the core, and a whole host of young bloods coming in. Looking at how PIRA operated and the Active Service Unit (ASU) cell structure, then depending on who split from whom and who is doing what now, will reflect on what expertise is available to the new terrorist groupings and how competent they are. And of course they are learning all the time.

Are the Brits prepared for round two?

Red Rat
11-23-2010, 11:24 AM
The problem is much smaller then it was so maybe Round 1.1 :rolleyes:

The worry is what the overall impact of the economic crisis in the Republic and wider Europe will have on the politics. Gerry Adams (Sinn Fein) has stated an intent to stand in any election in the Republic of Ireland. Although Sinn Fein may be regarded as moderates compared to some of the splinter Republican groupings Sinn Fein is not as moderate as the mainstream Irish political parties. In times of turmoil and economic hardship extremists tend to thrive - witness the 1920s-30s.

The UK government's austerity measures will also start to bite in N Ireland in the next two years. And N Ireland relies disproportionately on public sector employment.

So economic hardship (crime does pay and all terrorist groupings in Ireland are heavily involved in organised crime) and extreme politics make for interesting times ahead.

JMA
11-23-2010, 12:28 PM
The problem is much smaller then it was so maybe Round 1.1 :rolleyes:

The worry is what the overall impact of the economic crisis in the Republic and wider Europe will have on the politics. Gerry Adams (Sinn Fein) has stated an intent to stand in any election in the Republic of Ireland. Although Sinn Fein may be regarded as moderates compared to some of the splinter Republican groupings Sinn Fein is not as moderate as the mainstream Irish political parties. In times of turmoil and economic hardship extremists tend to thrive - witness the 1920s-30s.

The UK government's austerity measures will also start to bite in N Ireland in the next two years. And N Ireland relies disproportionately on public sector employment.

So economic hardship (crime does pay and all terrorist groupings in Ireland are heavily involved in organised crime) and extreme politics make for interesting times ahead.

Don't suppose a HVT assassination programme against radical republican splinter group leadership (like the one in Afghanistan) will be possible in NI? Pity.

davidbfpo
12-09-2010, 09:46 PM
The wheels of justice move slowly:
Two men accused of killing two soldiers at Massereene army barracks in Antrim last year (March 2009) are to stand trial for the murders...The case against the men centres on DNA evidence found inside the car used in the attack.

Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11962757

Incidentally JMA a HVT assassination policy against the Republican splinter groups leadership is not a good option, leaving aside principles, politics (many I expect reside in the Republic), the key point is the retention of to date massive public opposition to renewed violence.

JMA
12-10-2010, 11:23 AM
Incidentally JMA a HVT assassination policy against the Republican splinter groups leadership is not a good option, leaving aside principles, politics (many I expect reside in the Republic), the key point is the retention of to date massive public opposition to renewed violence.

Well if it is true that these groups still make most of their money from crime and extortion then perhaps that is the immediate route to pursue in attempting to put them away?

davidbfpo
12-14-2010, 09:42 PM
Catching up and in response to JMA's comment:
Well if it is true that these groups still make most of their money from crime and extortion then perhaps that is the immediate route to pursue in attempting to put them away?

The multi-agency approach in Northern Ireland took time to gain momentum IIRC, not helped by the size of the drug demand. I've not seen anything on whether this approach is still active. I suspect the 'Peace Dividend' led to a reduction in capability, political will is another matter.

On reflection will the 'new' hard-line Republicans have a corner of the crime and extortion rackets? Might the less hard-line ensure competition is discouraged?

JMA
12-15-2010, 06:41 AM
Catching up and in response to JMA's comment:

The multi-agency approach in Northern Ireland took time to gain momentum IIRC, not helped by the size of the drug demand. I've not seen anything on whether this approach is still active. I suspect the 'Peace Dividend' led to a reduction in capability, political will is another matter.

On reflection will the 'new' hard-line Republicans have a corner of the crime and extortion rackets? Might the less hard-line ensure competition is discouraged?

They got Al Capone foir tax evasion. Short of HVT assassination I would think that the criminal prosecution route is a good one to follow... but being aware not to create martyrs like they are busy doing with Assange.

davidbfpo
04-03-2011, 11:16 AM
After months of trying to kill a police officer (PSNI, formerly RUC) a so far unknown group has killed a Catholic officer, with an IED under his own car in Omargh; an officer with less than a year's service:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-12948992

Amidst the comments is that of Martin McGuinness, ex-PIRA / Sinn Fein, which may sound trite to some, but indicates how much has changed:
In joining the PSNI this young man sought to protect and serve the community; to be part of defining a better future for us all," he said.

Whoever carried out this act offer nothing to the community and have no role to play in our future.

They have betrayed the community and set themselves against the will of the people of Ireland. No cause is served by this act and let no excuse be acknowledged.

While those behind this act seek to promote division and conflict let us state clearly, they will fail. The process of peace building will continue and the community is united in rejection of them.

Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-12947646

Added later; statement by Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein President condemning the murder:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/northernireland/8424785/Omagh-bomb-this-murder-must-be-the-last.html

Of note IIRC for the first time he calls for Catholics to join the PSNI and appealed for the public to help the police find those responsible.

jmm99
04-03-2011, 07:22 PM
Hi David,

Thank you for the update.

Martin McGuinness has been critical of these "Splinter IRA" for a relatively long time. Two years ago (in the context of another PSNI murder), he called the perps "traitors to the island of Ireland" - Monkey do; monkey do ... (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=67979&postcount=26)

As I commented here (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=103394&postcount=48), the only legitimate descendants of the IRA are the Republic's defense forces. Those who today call themselves "IRA" are splinters of splinter groups.

I also don't recall Gerry Adams being "positive" on the PSNI in the past; but he clearly is saying that today. In retrospect, things have improved over the last 15 years, back when my teacher on Northern Ireland was a moderate man of peace - the former pastor of a former constable named Ronnie Flanagan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronnie_Flanagan).

Regards

Mike

Red Rat
04-05-2011, 01:20 PM
N Ireland, like the remainder of the UK has local elections in May. It is entirely possible that Sinn Feinn will end up as the largest single party due to the fragmentation of the unionist vote. Martin McGuinness is already positioning himself as a possible First Minister (and has mooted the possibility of being a Joint First Minister in a sop to unionist sensibilities).

I have heard a lot of concern from friends resident in N Ireland about the effects of the UK Govt's austerity programme. N Ireland is heavily dependent on the public sector and UK Govt cutbacks may deprive this and in turn feed the extremism.

The successful attack on the PSNI will be a significant boost to the dissidents who have lost perceived credibility with their inability to prosecute attacks for some months and a considerable degree of degradation and disruption achieved by security forces against them over the Christmas period.

Linking on to JMA's point, criminality and terrorism are inextricably linked in N Ireland and the multi-agency approach was very successful in the closing years of The Troubles. In particular tracing and attacking the sources of revenue and confiscation of assets proved very successful (shades of Al Capone's conviction for tax evasion). This approach continues to be continued, but it must be noted that the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is but a shadow of what it's forerunner the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) was. Many of the most experienced RUC detectives and CT experts left in the late '90s when the force was restructured and the PSNI remains a young police force unversed in coping with a significant terrorist threat. I believe that the Chief Constable of the PSNI is on record as requesting significant additional resources to help him cope with the increased threat.

davidbfpo
04-07-2011, 08:45 AM
The article's full title 'United by the blood of one of its sons, Ireland, North and South, grieves':http://www.scotsman.com/news/United-by-the-blood-of.6747350.jp

Not unexpected and as symbols vital:
...respects were paid by the heads of the Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist churches; the commanders of the police forces in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland; the new prime minister of Ireland, Enda Kenny; and Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness....Mr McGuinness was accompanied by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, who was also attending his first police funeral. They walked up to the church side by side with Mr Robinson and Mr Kenny.

More tellingly the family priest commented:
Seeing him sitting behind the wheel of the police car, I thought to myself: There is the new symbol of Northern Ireland. A young man living out his childhood dream to be of service to others, to help protect others. To be a peace-builder in communities, and between communities.

davidbfpo
04-07-2011, 08:51 AM
In an unexpected development, with one man arrested and currently not charged:
Police hunting the killer of a Catholic policeman murdered in a car bomb in Northern Ireland arrested a 26-year-old man in Scotland after uncovering a major arms cache containing high explosives and Kalashnikov rifles.
The arrest of the unnamed man - who was said to have been living near Loch Lomond for several months - raises (my emphasis) the possibility that dissident republicans could have been using Scotland as a base to plan their attacks.

In the past both Loyalist and Republicans IIRC had a presence in Scotland, not the dissidents though.

I shall watch to see what develops.

Link:http://www.scotsman.com/news/Scots-terror-swoop-after-murder.6747349.jp

Red Rat
04-07-2011, 08:54 AM
My (civilian) friends in N Ireland tell me that the funeral has had a huge impact.

Peter Robinson (Unionist (Protestant)) the Northern Ireland First Minister attended the Requiem Mass together with Martin McGuinness (Deputy First Minister (Sinn Feinn (Catholic)). Peter Robinson expended a large amount of political capital in doing so and the impact is thought to be significant.

The honour guard and pall beareres were a mixed guard of PSNI (still perceived as establishment and predominantly unionist) and Irish Footballers (Gaelic Athletic Association) - perceived as staunchly Republican. The dead police constable was a member of both and again the symbolism of having an intertwined honour guard from these two traditionally very opposite groupings is huge.

davidbfpo
04-12-2011, 02:20 PM
The IED that killed PSNI Constable Kerr appears to have used Semtex and taken from an ICSR mailing (not yet on their website):
Use of Semtex may be a sign of ‘the Libya legacy’ rather than new stockpiles

The history of the dissidents over the last thirteen years shows the difficulty faced by groups seeking to import new weapons into Northern Ireland, with a number of plots foiled by the security services.

However, when Michael McKevitt and others left the Provisionals, many within the security services believe that they took stocks of weaponry and explosives with them, including materials acquired from Col. Gaddaffi’s Libya, such as Semtex. The recent attack is therefore likely to be an enduring legacy of the Provisional IRA’s Libyan ‘link up’.

This is not the first time that dissidents have used Semtex. As early as 1999 it was clear that some of this had made its way into their hands; and previous attacks have deployed the substance (see, for example, an August 2008 attack in Co. Fermanagh).

Prefaced by a list of dissident Republican incidents:


Since the March 2009 murder of two British soldiers and a policeman by the dissidents, various groups have been operating at a tempo which reflects their growing confidence and capabilities. Even before the murder of PC Kerr, dissidents have been responsible for the following incidents:

• The wounding of a woman in east Belfast by an under car bomb
• A 400lb bomb partially exploding at the HQ of the Policing Board in Belfast
• The serious maiming of Police Constable Peadar Heffron
• Repeated gun and bomb attacks on police stations and patrols in rural areas such as Crossmaglen, Newtonhamilton, Bessbrook and Keady in South Armagh
• The detonation of a 250lb car bomb outside Newry courthouse
• The murder of Kieran Doherty in Derry
• A 50lb car bomb that exploded outside the regional HQ of MI5 in Belfast
• Organised, sectarian rioting in Belfast
• One 200lb car bomb that narrowly failed to detonate outside a Co. Tyrone police station (Aughnacloy); and another that did explode outside Strand road police station in Derry
• Booby-trap bombs left under the cars of a serving police officer (Kilkeel) and an army major (Bangor) in Co. Down, and another that targeted a civilian security worker in Co. Tyrone (Cookstown)
• The partial detonation of a bomb outside a school in Lurgan, Co. Armagh, which injured three children
• A 200lb car bomb that exploded outside the Ulster Bank in Derry
• A bomb attack on the ‘City of Culture’ offices in Derry
• An attempted ‘double tap’ bomb attack on police officers in North Belfast, which was only aborted at the last moment due to the presence of a civilian woman

There appears to be a self-limiting press embargo on full coverage of such incidents, akin to "denying them of the oxygen of publicity" and no doubt to the satisfaction of the UK government, who would rather that Northern Ireland remains off the agenda and TV screens.

davidbfpo
04-22-2011, 12:30 PM
After a lull and no doubt an extended period in custody for questioning a man has been charged with firearms and explosives offences - relating to a car bomb found in Ulster, but not the murder of Constable Kerr. Two others released:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-13166401

Digging though the reports the man arrested in Scotland was released without charge:http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5g-PZwGSz7eLNCkym2W1QkmfZkpOQ?docId=N0019121303229538 284A

davidbfpo
05-23-2011, 09:51 PM
A RUSI backgrounder 'Understanding the Dissident Republican Threat to the UK and Ireland' by Mark Lynch, with a precis:
The rising threat of dissident Republican activity in Northern Ireland comes at a time when the vast majority of Northern Irish people are moving towards a more normalised political environment. To challenge the threat, we need a more nuanced understanding of dissident republican motivations.

Link:http://www.rusi.org/analysis/commentary/ref:C4DD28EFBE1860/

davidbfpo
06-30-2011, 08:35 AM
Here in the UK we had a few glimpses of some limited rioting in East Belfast last week, where a small Catholic enclave abuts a "hardline" Protestant 'Loyalist' area.

This article makes an intriguing observation that violence has gone up when all the political and para-military groups are in governance.

The graph of bombings and shootings 1995-2011, based on PSNI (police) data I've not seen before; there is a link to the data.

back to why the rioting:
And more recent history is part of the explanation for the events of this week. An Historical Enquiries Team within the police is investigating crimes committed since the onset of the ‘troubles’. This may implicate UVF members who had thought they had escaped punishment when the Belfast agreement released their imprisoned confrères within a couple of years. The orchestrated rioting has been a very public way of saying ‘back off’.

Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/robin-wilson/why-sectarian-fight-persists-in-northern-ireland

davidbfpo
08-05-2011, 02:22 PM
From the BBC:
As Northern Ireland sees an upsurge in dissident republican attacks, here are some of the most serious incidents to take place since March 2009.

Includes a small map, photos; alas without a link to previous reports for more details:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-10866072

A recent arrest operation explained, with two charged over possession of a 0.22 cal. rifle:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-14421746

davidbfpo
01-07-2012, 02:30 PM
A different outlook on achieving peace in Ulster / Northern Ireland in a short paper by ICSR's John Bew, entitled 'Collective Amnesia and the Northern Ireland Model of Conflict Resolution' and concludes in part:
. In summary, therefore, this paper stresses two dimensions of the Northern Ireland story, which are often sidelined in the prevailing narratives – the unpalatable and the boring.

Later on:
Rather than discuss the ‘lessons’, what I am primarily interested in is the ‘what happened’ side of things. Above all, I want to question the influential and oft-stated idea that the magic solution in Northern Ireland – and the key lesson for the rest of the world – was that ‘talking to terrorists’....

Link:http://icsr.info/news/attachments/1324380339DrJohnBewLSEIdeasPaper.pdf

davidbfpo
02-21-2012, 07:20 PM
I missed the initial report last Friday:
The officer is an Irish language specialist for the PSNI and captain of the PSNI GAA team. Mr Heffron has been in the police for 10 years and recently married. He is related to a senior Sinn Fein member.

Link:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8457169.stm

jmm99
02-22-2012, 03:58 AM
from the Kerry GAA (http://kerrygaa.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=classic&action=print&thread=2701) (better the Cork GAA, but one has to take online what one gets):


Post by flemishgael on Jan 11, 2010, 11:00am

worst of all is that is most likey dissident republicans who are responsible.

I would understand it if they would target the actual PSNI HQ but they do not have the courage for that. Though I understand the sentiments of dissident republicans I do believ that the time for carbombs is long over.

Sinn Féin are being criticized for selling out and actively supporting discussions regarding policing but I think that if they really want a long lasting peace that is only to be applauded.

The torunament between the London Met, PSNi, an Garda Siochana and NYPD is a very good event and a huge step forward.

This is definitely a step back.

I go to Randalstown often to ride horses since a friend of mine is involved with the local ponyclub there and since Peadar was stationed in West Belfast it is likely I have seen or met him recently.

It is a cowardly attack on a young man with his whole life still in front of him.

He just married and was planning a family. It's disgusting!
And, similar sentiments were voiced by the Sinn Fein group of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness (from Irish Republican News (http://republican-news.org/current/news/2010/01/psni_man_injured_in_attack.html)):


...
Oglaigh na hEireann said it had planted the bomb which exploded under the car of a PSNI Irish language specialist as he drove to work on Friday morning.
...
Last year, Mr Heffron was the main spokesman at an extraordinary meeting of the Policing Board in Derry conducted in Irish.

During the meeting he delivered a talk on the importance of Catholics joining Britain’s police force in Ireland.

“There is undoubtedly a challenge before the PSNI to promote a career or profession in the PSNI in a community where such a possibility would have been impossible a few years ago,” he said at the time.

He was [sic! is] also a cousin of Sinn Fein national chairman Declan Kearney and Ciaran Kearney, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams’s secretary.
...
Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness said: “The man injured today in this attack contributes positively to the community.

“The people who carried out this attack make no contribution.

“These actions serve no purpose and will not further any cause.

“My thoughts are with the injured man and his family. I pray he makes a full recovery.”

And, more recently (7 Feb 2012), Martin McGuinness asks for prayers for Ian Paisley and family (http://newswireni.com/content/martin-mcguinness-asks-prayers-ian-paisley-and-family). The prayers seem to be working (BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-17110120))

Most have come a long way from the 1920 wall graffiti: "Join the RAF, and see the World. Join the RIC, and see the Next". Some still remain fixed in that time warp.

And, David, you will check those years again. :)

Regards

Mike

davidbfpo
08-08-2012, 12:40 PM
Last month was the annual 'Marching Season' in Northern Ireland, when the potential for inter-communal skirmishing is high, this year it was largely avoided and mobs in a few places clashed with the police.

There have been a few bomb and gun attacks by dissident nationalists on the PSNI; alongside an announced merger of such groups, minus two of them:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-19009272

The response of Sinn Fein North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly:
"They come together and go apart almost as a matter of course"....He said that collectively the dissident groups had "actually killed more civilians and people from their own community than those they would call the enemy...I have an absolute belief in dialogue. I don't want to see more people being killed"

The scene is not set for a good article 'The long war gets longer: the campaign of violent dissident republicans', which explains how violence lingers on, taking some diversions to faraway experiences:


Why then do they persist?...Dissident republicans are also practised in making the facts fit within a set understanding of the world....In this scenario, they are not dissenting, or resiling, from the core republican narrative; rather it is Sinn Fein that has deserted the cause, and, by accepting the six county state, it is Sinn Fein who have become the dissenters.

This is a classic IMHO claim to legitimacy:
When asked in a Channel 4 interview if the military campaign did not require a degree of support at the ballot box, the Republican Sinn Fein spokesperson Cait Trainor replied “Certainly not. We have a mandate stretching right back to 1798. We really don’t need the public to rubber stamp the republican movement.” (Channel 4 News, 24/9/2010).

jmm99
08-10-2012, 12:45 AM
That has been the theme from Charles William St. John Burgess (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathal_Brugha) in 1922 (of the first IRA splinter group, from which all others are descended) to 2012 Cait Trainor.

They have "legitimacy" only to themselves.

Regards

Mike

davidbfpo
11-24-2012, 05:58 PM
Three interesting developments in cross-border relations.


The prime minister of the Republic of Ireland and his deputy have taken part in Remembrance Sunday services in Northern Ireland......Hundreds of people gathered at the (Enniskillen) war memorial where 25 years ago an IRA bomb killed 11 people.

Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20286788

It is 25 years since the Enniskillen attack:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20245308

Earlier:
On 1 July, the Irish Minister for Transport, Alan Kelly, became the first member of the Republic's government to take part in the annual Somme commemorations at Belfast City Hall.....Soldiers from the 36th (Ulster) and 16th (Irish) divisions fought in the battle between 1 July and 13 November 1916.

Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20264639

Sinn Fein still stays away from such commemorations.


Simon Coveney has become the first Irish government minister to attend and address a DUP conference.....who is the Irish Republic's agriculture minister...further proof of the increasing trust among politicians in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20451361


The decision to invite a member of the Irish cabinet to speak at this weekend's party conference is the latest sign of changing times in Northern Ireland. When Ian Paisley founded the DUP 40 years ago, the party's attitude to co-operation with the Irish government was, to use his own phrase, "never, never, never".

Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20473710

The venue was the La Mon hotel - where twelve people were killed and many more badly burned on 17 February 1978 - in a PIRA bombing.

davidbfpo
12-20-2012, 11:33 PM
Not unexpected, but still a reminder that some events are not being laid to rest; the BBC News report's title:
Bloody Sunday: Soldiers face questions in police murder investigation

Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-foyle-west-20794517

The investigation will take an estimated four years, partly due to the complexity of the incident in 1972 and the evidence given to the Saville Enquiry (which took 12 yrs) cannot be used in a prosecution, so new witness statements are required. It will be interesting to see if such co-operation is gained from all those involved.

jmm99
01-19-2013, 09:38 PM
A succinct summary of Ulster's flag problem by the NY Times, New Violence in Belfast May Be About More Than the Flag (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/19/world/europe/new-northern-ireland-violence-may-be-about-more-than-the-british-flag.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0) (By JOHN F. BURNS, January 18, 2013).

First, a very short backgrounder (skipping past the violence summary to its immediate cause):


The crisis began modestly enough. The Belfast council, its pro-British members outvoted by a coalition of republicans and a small liberal bloc, decided in early December to limit the flag flying to 18 days a year, as specified by London for all of Britain. Through the decades when the council was dominated by Protestant unionists, committed to links with Britain, the flag flew from the pinnacle of the building every day of the year.
...
Under Britain’s strict rules about flying the national standard on public and private buildings, not even the Parliament buildings in London fly it on any but government-designated days. But the hauling down of the Belfast flag provoked a furious reaction, the most protracted period of unrest in many years in Northern Ireland. ...

The underlying reason for the council's flag-limiting majority having a majority lies in demographics:


They say the council’s decision on the flag, made possible by the fact that nationalists now hold 24 seats on the council, compared with 21 for the unionists, reflects the rapid growth of the Catholic population in the years since the Good Friday agreement, unsettling the long-held assumption among unionists that Protestants would constitute a permanent majority in the province.

The most recent census results, released last year, showed that 48 percent listed themselves as Protestant or brought up Protestant, down 5 percentage points from the 2001 census, while 45 percent of the population listed themselves as Catholic or brought up Catholic, a 1 percentage point rise. In Belfast, many say, Catholics are already a majority or nearly so and could form a majority across the province within a decade.

Since the Good Friday agreement specified that the province would remain part of Britain as long as a majority of the province’s people and of the population of the whole of Ireland wished it to be, the reasoning goes, Protestants who are resolved never to accept a united Ireland could be right in seeing the flag dispute as a harbinger of their worst fears.

The top two political leaders spoke out against the demonstrations:


With no end in sight, leaders of the power-sharing government have voiced anxiety that the protests, by whipping up antagonism among Protestants, could threaten the peace process. But the top two officials in the power-sharing administration — Peter Robinson, the unionist first minister, and Martin McGuinness, the republican first deputy minister, who is Mr. Robinson’s effective coequal — vowed in the province’s assembly on Monday that their commitment to the peace agreement would not be shaken.

Mr. Robinson was unsparing in his rebuke to the protesters.


“You do not respect the union flag if you are using it as a weapon,” he said, adding that the protests were “a cynical cover for the real political agenda, which is to destroy the political process.”
Mr. McGuinness, a former chief of staff of the Irish Republican Army, seemed eager not to draw sectarian comfort from the turmoil in the unionists’ political base.


“I do not believe for a moment that they speak for the vast majority of unionists,” he said of the flag protesters, dismissing their efforts as a crude challenge to the power-sharing arrangements “from people who do not have a mandate and speak for nobody but themselves.”

The demonstrations are of far more substance (in the larger picture of Northern Ireland) than the "splinter IRA" actions over the past couple of years.

Regards

Mike

davidbfpo
01-23-2013, 10:51 PM
Mike,

Apologies for the delayed response, hopefully it will have been worthwhile.

I don't dispute the facts in report, it is the explanation on offer - which led you to conclude:
The demonstrations are of far more substance (in the larger picture of Northern Ireland) than the "splinter IRA" actions over the past couple of years.

First of all yes all politics in Northern Ireland is incredibly "tribal" to outsiders. So we wonder why the decision by a majority of Belfast City Council led to a series of violent outbreaks. After all we are told the standard national flag display regulations are simply being followed. Symbols are a vital part of daily life, differing symbols too.

Significantly the violence, from those who declare themselves Loyalists, is confined to a very small number of hotspots, principally around the Short Strand in East Belfast. Short Strand is a small Nationalist enclave amidst a vast swathe of Belfast that is Protestant, so there a potential for inter-communal tension and disorder (and demands for defence solidarity from other Nationalists). This link helps as it has a map and more:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-21028811

So why this concentration and the accusations that one Loyalist paramilitary faction, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF, who are on a ceasefire) are behind the disorders? Part of the answer comes in the statement made by the PSNI Chief Constable now two weeks ago:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20929658

Thanks now to a helper. There is a current "super grass" trial about to start or indeed under-way, where a former UVF 'brigadier' will give evidence against his former comrades - he is charged with a sectarian murder in 1997 - and they fear the investigations by the HIAT will lead to more trials. See:http://www.belfastdaily.co.uk/2012/11/22/uvf-supergrass-sensation-brigadier-gary-haggarty-released-on-bail/

The suggested explanation is that the violence is part of a campaign against the use of "super grass" evidence in the current case and any future court cases.

Note the same newspaper reports larger scale demonstrations if those involved in the recent disorder are identified, arrested and charged: http://www.belfastdaily.co.uk/2013/01/23/psni-warn-union-flag-protestors-of-large-scale-arrests/

(Note I am not aware of this newspaper's bona fides etc. It does appear to "stir up" a lot).

It is a sad fact that a tiny minority amongst the Loyalist population are effectively spoiling for a confrontation, if not a fight or more likely what is called "recreational rioting". This minority is trying to pull in others and to discourage any opposition from the vast majority of Loyalists, hence the statement of the First Minister and note the other Loyalist paramilitary group, the UDA:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-21003296

Yes demography is changing in Northern Ireland. For sometime now the western half of the province has had a potentially Nationalist voting Catholic majority. Some argue that since 1998 the labels of religion and politics are no longer so powerful - peace is wanted by almost all.

I would contend that the activities of the violent nationalist fringe is at a far higher level of lethality, as shown in their attacks on the police. For several reasons this new generation are harder to "catch & convict". They are a mix of "old hands" and youngsters who were born after 'The Troubles', which ended in 1998 with the Good Friday Agreement.

jmm99
01-24-2013, 08:35 PM
David,

I'll grant you that focus on the law enforcement aspect in Ulster requires a focus on the violence level, especially those attacks targeting police officers. We have no argument as to that point of view taken separately.

However, my focus was on the political picture, in both North and South. In that portrait, demographics play a huge role - especially the apparent trend toward future demographics. Still, demographics are not the overriding factor that will overcome all else. One has to take into account the perceptions and beliefs of the Ulster Unionists (which underlie the demonstrations).

Thus, I concluded:


The demonstrations are of far more substance (in the larger picture of Northern Ireland) than the "splinter IRA" actions over the past couple of years.

Those demonstrations (leaving aside the violence) are based on deeply-held Unionist beliefs, as the Ulsterman from Shankill Road (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/19/world/europe/new-northern-ireland-violence-may-be-about-more-than-the-british-flag.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&) states:


On a stretch of the road punctuated with memorials to Protestants killed in the Troubles and to Ulstermen who died in World War I, Paul Shaw, 33, owner of the Shankill Band Shop, boasted of doing a roaring trade during the upheaval, selling thousands of flags and other loyalist memorabilia, including DVDs of patriotic songs sung by Ulstermen on the battlefields of the Somme.

“It’s our flag, our identity; it’s been flown above City Hall every day since 1906, and it’s being stripped from us,” he said. With nods from others clustered around him, he compared the flag battle to the fighting on the Somme. “If we lose this one, we’ll have a united Ireland in 5 or 10 years, and we won’t accept it,” he said. “We’ll die to defend the flag. If we have to, we’ll go back to the graveyards and the jails.”

His perceptions (and fears) were certainly fortified in the days of Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution of Ireland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Articles_2_and_3_of_the_Constitution_of_Ireland) [1937-1999 version], which provided:


2. The national territory consists of the whole island of Ireland, its islands and the territorial seas.

3. Pending the re-integration of the national territory, and without prejudice to the right of the parliament and [Irish Republican] government established by this constitution to exercise jurisdiction over the whole territory, the laws enacted by the [Irish] parliament shall have the like area and extent of application as the laws of Saorstat Eireann [Irish Free State] and the like extra-territorial effect.

Needless to say, those provisions (especially Article 2) were an "in the face" to Ulster Unionists.

For the post-WWI constitutional history of Ulster, see R.W. McGimpsey, Northern Ireland And The Irish Constitution: Pragmatism Or Principle? - :the McGimpsey Case (http://arrow.dit.ie/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1025&context=aaschssldis) (2010)(182 pp.). The McGimpsey Case was brought by two Ulstermen (the McGimpsey brothers) in the Irish Supreme Court to force Southern consideration of a better approach by the South to the North than the high-handed force of Articles 2 and 3.

The Good Friday Agreement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belfast_Agreement) required a Southern referendum on what became the Nineteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteenth_Amendment_of_the_Constitution_of_Irelan d).

The referendum requirement was a Unionist incentive to eliminate the unacceptable language of Articles 2 and 3. The Southern referendum passed with 94% of the vote.

Thus, the resultant clauses ended up as follows:


Substitution of new Articles 2 and 3

2. It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish nation. That is also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to be citizens of Ireland. Furthermore, the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage.

3.1. It is the firm will of the Irish nation, in harmony and friendship, to unite all the people who share the territory of the island of Ireland, [I]in all the diversity of their identities and traditions, recognising that a united Ireland shall be brought about only by peaceful means with the consent of a majority of the people, democratically expressed, in both jurisdictions in the island. Until then, the laws enacted by the Parliament established by this Constitution shall have the like area and extent of application as the laws enacted by the Parliament that existed immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution.

3.2. Institutions with executive powers and functions that are shared between those jurisdictions may be established by their respective responsible authorities for stated purposes and may exercise powers and functions in respect of all or any part of the island.

I expect the "majority vote" requirement is the best known of the new Articles 2 and 3. That requirement is where demographics come into play. If the future demographics of all Northern Ireland resemble those of the present Belfast City Council (and they are trending that way), it is possible that a Northern referendum would approve unification. Note that would be a narrow vote of approval, which might not be acceptable to the South.

One may have misplaced faith in assuming the South's automatic approval of unification. The North is not exactly an economic prize, especially given the South's own problems. Add in the real threat of a Unionist insurgency, and all bets would be off. The South is not going to risk a repeat of Four Courts and the 1922-1923 Irish Civil War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Civil_War); nor, is it any more likely to march North than Hubert Gough was in 1914.

The key, of course, is whether the language "in all the diversity of their identities and traditions" will have real meaning in application - and will be perceived as such by the various hyphenated Irish: Anglo-Irish, Gaelic-Irish, Norman-Irish and Scots-Irish. Giving real meaning to those fine sounds requires acceptance of the 36th (Ulster) Division (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/36th_(Ulster)_Division), the Orange Sash, the 12th of July as it yearly doth come, etc. ... And, of course, to be able to chuckle one's way through the lyrics of The Old Orange Flute (http://www.elyrics.net/read/c/clancy-brothers-lyrics/the-old-orange-flute-lyrics.html).


In the county Tyrone, in the town of Dungannon
Where many a ruckus meself had a hand in
Bob Williamson lived there, a weaver by trade
And all of us thought him a stout-hearted blade.

On the twelfth of July as it yearly did come
Bob played on the flute to the sound of the drum
You can talk of your fiddles, your harp or your lute
But there's nothing could sound like the Old Orange Flute.

But the treacherous scoundrel, he took us all in
For he married a Papish named Bridget McGinn
Turned Papish himself and forsook the Old Cause
That gave us our freedom, religion and laws.

... (and on and on) ...

I conclude that the Ulster Unionists who make their points via speech and demonstrations (but by eschewing violence) are exercising smart politics.

Regards

Mike

davidbfpo
01-24-2013, 09:17 PM
Mike,

Nor should one assume that all Catholics / Nationalists would actually vote for a united Ireland. Indeed in some elections it has been quite clear there has been voting across the communal divide; even the Rev. Ian Paisley (when a MP) had a following, more for his known hard work for all constituents, rather than what he said.

I can recall sometime ago Unionists referring to how the Protestant minority in Eire had steadily diminished since 1921 and today had little "clout".

One of the spin-off's from The Good Friday Agreement in 1998 has been the change of the Irish official and public attitude to the commemoration of all those who fell in the World Wars. The Queen's visit to Eire being the most notable illustration of the changing attitude.

davidbfpo
02-01-2013, 01:12 PM
A commentary from RUSI, which opens with:
Are the latest violent disturbances in Northern Ireland a serious threat to the decade-long peace process? Not necessarily, but the flags issue is a distraction from deeper underlying social problems; such as poverty and entrenched sectarianism.

The author, Margaret Gilmore, does not refer to the "super grass" trial factor, but notes:
Elsewhere in Northern Ireland the UFV has with some lesser exceptions managed to keep the lid on the trouble - persuading members to stick to non-violent protest.

Link:http://www.rusi.org/analysis/commentary/ref:C50FFCAA8D4A49/#.UQu2Mh26eSo

jmm99
02-01-2013, 08:56 PM
Assuming arguendo that Ms Gilmore is bang on point with her "deeper underlying social problems; such as poverty and entrenched sectarianism," one (rather important, don't you think) question is under which flag (the British flag, the Irish flag or an Ulster flag) will those problems be better ameliorated.

If Ms Gilmore's basic argument is really "why can't we all just get along", her name should be Pollyanna.

The "flag issue" is symbolic - lots of things in politics are symbolic.

Regards

Mike

davidbfpo
06-05-2013, 08:25 PM
The union that represents rank and file police officers in Northern Ireland, the Police Federation chairman, Terry Spence, said:
There has been a tactical operational failure in how we first handled these public order confrontations....To put it bluntly, we were policing public order in Northern Ireland according to guidelines more appropriate for the rest of the UK..

Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-22781555

In reply Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie:
There are things that, perhaps with the benefit of hindsight, if we'd known this was going to go on for so long, if we'd known that certain things were going to happen in between, of course there are things we might have done differently....But at a strategic level I'm confident we were doing the right things.

Just as the UK is mobilising police officers from the 'mainland' to assist the PSNI.

davidbfpo
07-06-2013, 04:03 PM
Gardai (Irish Police) are satisfied that a search of a New IRA alliance depot has yielded the most significant seizure of arms and explosives from dissidents for more than a decade.....seized more than 15kg of Semtex explosive as well as a machine gun, at least four handguns, a couple of shotguns, a hand grenade, and a huge amount of assorted ammunition.

Components for eight pipebombs and another three pipebombs that had been fully assembled ......a significant amount of sophisticated electronic equipment.

Link:http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/dissident-arms-haul-is-biggest-in-over-10-years-29399359.html

The BBC News has a report, which gives no details of what was found:
Eight men appeared before two special sittings of the Special Criminal Court in Dublin on Friday charged with offences linked to a police operation against dissident republicans in the city.

Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-23196946

davidbfpo
08-13-2013, 11:28 AM
Every July the "marching season" returns to the streets of Northern Ireland, not only in Belfast, the other cities, but in smaller towns and a few places in the Irish Republic. Those marching come from both sides of the community, needless to say the people in the middle don't march; anecdote suggests quite a few Ulster residents leave for a holiday to escape.

As the geography of communities has changed over the years the 'traditional' routes taken are now contested, often violently and the police are in the middle. The BBC News has ample illustration of what happens.

Michael Dewar, a former soldier and military historian has written a good piece looking at what has been achieved, how little apparent integration of he "two tribes" exists and the threat from the "men of violence":http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10237755/Ulsters-two-tribes-are-as-far-apart-as-ever.html

davidbfpo
08-13-2013, 11:42 AM
If you want a video that helps explain the "marching season" and how tribal Northern Ireland is watch this video, 57 minutes:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9fReiHb_NE

The BBC journalist, Alys Harte, is quite remarkable, she is an Irish Catholic who "embedded" herself with a Protestant marching band:
Before the rioting, Alys had been following one of the loyalist marching bands involved - Pride of Ardoyne - all summer, interviewing individual members, socialising with them, and attending their parades. It wasn’t always easy – as a Catholic from the Republic of Ireland, and a woman, she’s the last person you might expect to be accepted into the inner circle of a band like Pride of Ardoyne. But on the Twelfth of July, the day the violence ignited, she was the only outsider permitted by the band to walk alongside them. In the end, Alys follows the Pride of Ardoyne as they march into the eye of a storm.

Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2013/32/petrol-bombs-peace.html

davidbfpo
11-22-2013, 11:24 PM
A series of press reports have returned 'The Troubles' to the foreground this week, the juxtaposition of them makes one wonders if there is coordinated attempt to change public policy.

The common factor is that the reports remind us of the "Dirty War" waged to counter the campaign way-back in 1972 by the Provisional IRA. Yesterday my home city, Birmingham marked the thirty-ninth anniversary of the 'Birmingham Pub Bombings', when PIRA left bombs in packed city centre pubs and killed twenty-one, with hundreds injured.

From the BBC: On the 20th 'NI attorney general John Larkin calls for end to Troubles prosecution':http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-24999051

On the 21st 'Undercover soldiers 'killed unarmed civilians in Belfast', with a hour-long documentary being aired:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24987465

On the 22nd 'NI DPP asks police to probe undercover Army unit':http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-25058721

Ruth Dudley-Edwards, a historian, has a good background commentary and argues that justice should be for all:http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/ruthdudleyedwards/100247155/ulsters-dead-deserve-justice-whether-they-were-killed-by-the-british-army-or-the-ira/

In the background is the possibility that soldiers involved in 'Bloody Sunday', in 1972, who were condemned by the Saville Inquiry, face prosecution:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-24231492

jmm99
12-04-2013, 04:33 PM
From BBC, Smithwick: Collusion in Bob Buchanan and Harry Breen murders (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25199800) (3 Dec 2013):


Irish police officers colluded in the IRA murders of two senior Northern Ireland policemen, an inquiry [held in Dublin] has found. Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan were shot dead in an ambush in March 1989 in south Armagh. The attack happened as they crossed the border into Northern Ireland after a meeting in Dundalk Garda station.

In the report of his inquiry (http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/mediazone/pressreleases/name-19473-en.html), judge Peter Smithwick said he was "satisfied there was collusion in the murders".

Judge Smithwick said the circumstances suggested information was leaked to trigger the IRA operation, and the timing suggested it was "more likely that the information came from Dundalk Garda station". He said the two policemen had arrived at the station no earlier than 2.20pm, and ten minutes later, the IRA had placed gunmen on the road where they were killed. "This was as a direct result of confirmation having been received that the officers had arrived at Dundalk," he said.

He added: "Either the IRA did have an extraordinary piece of good fortune, or Harry Breen was the target of this operation. I believe that the evidence points to the latter conclusion. "I also think that this makes it significantly more likely that the Provisional IRA knew that Chief Superintendent Breen was coming, and were not simply waiting on the off-chance that he might turn up."

The judge said he believed Harry Breen was the IRA's target, as after the killing of eight IRA men and a civilian in Loughgall, County Armagh, by undercover soldiers in 1987, he had been pictured with weapons recovered by police.

In summary:


Collusion: Peter Smithwick said that while there had been no "smoking gun" he was "satisfied" that there had been collusion by one or more Garda officers in the murders

Former garda sergeant Owen Corrigan: "I also find that what may have started out as a professional relationship with subversives for the legitimate purpose of intelligence-gathering ultimately developed into a relationship of an inappropriate nature"

Earlier investigations: O'Dea and Camon investigations were "inadequate"

Missed opportunity: "The best opportunity of establishing the truth of the matter arose in the days and weeks following the ambush. In these circumstances, it is particularly regrettable that both police services acted swiftly to dismiss speculation of the possibility of collusion rather than to deal with that by means of a through and credible investigation"

Culture: "The culture of failing adequately to address suggestions of wrongdoing, either for reasons of expediency or by virtue of misguided loyalty, has been a feature of life in this state"

Peter Southwick was the President (chief judge) of the Republic's District Court (minor criminal and smaller civil cases) in 1995-2005. His investigation has been criticized for its high fees and costs (multi-millions of Euros), including his own.

Regards

Mike

davidbfpo
02-01-2014, 06:55 PM
A rare article on the success of the security forces, it is from The Belfast Telegraph, unlikely to appear on the "mainland" and a "taster":
The charging of republican Colin Duffy with conspiracy to murder and IRA membership. Two other men were separately charged in connection with a murder bid on a police patrol in north Belfast, when shots were fired at officers at a sectarian interface.

The discovery of materials allegedly designed for homemade explosives. A couple were arrested following the cross-border operation which resulted on the raid on a property in Forkhill, south Armagh.

The sentencing of Gavin Coyle to 10 years in jail after he admitted having guns and explosives with intent to endanger life. It followed the discovery in 2011 of a major haul which included assault rifles and Semtex high explosives.

Link:http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/dissident-republicans-behind-bars-police-and-mi5-surveillance-the-weapon-disrupting-terror-plots-29966725.html

davidbfpo
07-13-2014, 01:55 PM
I thought the issue of the 'comfort letters' had been raised here, apparently not on a quick scan. The 'letters' were issued by the Northern Ireland government without public knowledge, after a secret agreement with PIRA / Sinn Fein:
...almost 200 IRA terrorism suspects were told they were not wanted by police

Some may argue this was part of the "price for peace", the whole issue is to say the least murky and now Tony Blair comes into focus, as the British Prime Minister who agreed to them:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/tony-blair/10964233/Tony-Blair-must-explain-IRA-comfort-letter-deals-say-MPs.html

davidbfpo
09-01-2014, 09:57 PM
Blimey it is twenty years since the PIRA ceasefire:
Sunday marks the 20th anniversary of the IRA calling a "complete cessation of military operations".It was the beginning, violence continued in Northern Ireland on the 'mainland' with the February 1996 Canary Wharf or London Docklands bombing.

Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-28948900

Note the cited documentary is only being shown in Northern Ireland and is not yet on BBC I-Player.

davidbfpo
09-03-2014, 08:40 PM
An update on this strange part of the peace process, the so called 'comfort letters' issued by the Northern Ireland government without public knowledge, after a secret agreement with PIRA / Sinn Fein.


The Northern Ireland Secretary confirmed the Government was effectively annulling the assurances given to the so-called IRA “on-the-runs” that they no longer faced prosecution.

The Daily Telegraph disclosed on Wednesday that recipients of the letters, sent out in the years after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, are to be told they are not worth the paper they are written on and they will still be pursued by police.


Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/11073389/IRA-suspects-protected-by-human-rights-as-comfort-letters-are-annulled.html

davidbfpo
09-22-2014, 07:40 PM
A short reflective article on policing, on a website dedicated to security sector reform (SSR) which was found today:http://www.ssrresourcecentre.org/2014/09/18/policing-the-past-and-present-in-northern-ireland/


Northern Ireland’s police reform is often held up as a model for other post-conflict countries. Indeed, the transformation of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has been mostly successful. Following the reforms, the PSNI emerged as more accountable, professional, and legitimate police service than its predecessor. However, despite the significant gains made in transforming the police, the events of the past continue to resurface.

(Ends) As Chief Constable Hamilton indicated, if the PSNI is to survive the current turmoil, something new needs to happen. In his view, unless politicians and civil society can resolve the past, policing will always remain susceptible to the political machinations of peace processing, no matter what reforms are developed. Lessons from the PSNI indicate that unless new ways are found to deal with past crimes, policing the present will also become more difficult.

davidbfpo
10-11-2014, 08:33 PM
Peter Taylor, a BBC journalist has made a hundred films on 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland and now his latest is available, which is a personal assessment of who really 'won the war', with "talking heads" and some grim reminders of what the 'troubles' meant.

I assume it is available beyond the UK, oddly - again - it was not shown on the 'mainland':http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04jy8hf

It is fascinating to contrast the views of those involved then and now, whether they are paramilitaries or politicians. Particularly poignant are the convicted murderers who now say it was not worth it.

There is a linked series of film clips on 'What turns a civilian into a paramilitary', which are not included in the main film:http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zghnn39#zqr44wx

As Peter observes rolves have been reversed for the Protestant, loyalist working class; now their flag waving, bands playing marches are stopped by the police - sometimes with violence.

This was a stand-alone thread and was merged to here.

Talking to terrorists is a political option, starting covertly and is the theme of a new book by Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair's assistant 'Talking to Terrorists: How to End Armed Conflicts'. I've only seen one review in The Spectator, entitled Dirty dealing; it is nevertheless even-handed:http://www.spectator.co.uk/books/9328482/dirty-dealing/

davidbfpo
01-15-2015, 08:04 PM
A detailed report on Tony Blair's reluctant, delayed appearance last week before a House of Commons committee, which is reviewing the "On The Run" or "Comfort" letters - which has enabled suspects to escape prosecution:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-30776891


One of the most controversial elements of the Good Friday Agreement was the early release scheme for hundreds of republican and loyalist prisoners but it crucially did not deal with so-called On the Runs. After negotiations between the government and Sinn Fin, Tony Blair gave Gerry Adams a personal assurance, an undertaking, that he would take steps to resolve this issue.
His government then set up a scheme whereby Sinn Fin could submit the names of individuals who wanted to check their legal status, to see if it was safe for them to return to Northern Ireland or if they could face arrest or questioning if they did so.

davidbfpo
01-15-2015, 08:08 PM
In a somewhat bitter and very direct commentary Norman Tebbitt argues the Good Friday Agreement was a betrayal, as indicated by the sub-title:
By letting up with the IRA/Sinn Fein on the verge of defeat, they undid years of good work by the intelligence services

He writes, as a taster:
The truth is that they knew that the IRA – all the way up to the Army Council on which they sat to plan and authorise the bombings, tortures and killings – had been penetrated by British intelligence, and none of them could any longer trust another.

davidbfpo
02-07-2015, 11:20 PM
Compared to the volumes of commentary and publicity at times for the violent Republicans, notably the Provisional IRA, since the Good Friday Agreement, there has been little written about the "Loyalist" paramilitaries.

Arraon Edwards in his blog UVF: Behind the Mask (https://uvfbook.wordpress.com/) has a series of artricles that provide an explanation. in particular their role in reconciliation:https://uvfbook.wordpress.com/author/aaronedwards2012/

davidbfpo
02-17-2015, 05:41 PM
The August 1998 bombing in Omagh's main street is remembered for the twenty-eight deaths and injuries as the Real IRA's attempt to derail the Good Friday Agreement. Shortly after Prime Minister Tony Blair vowed those reponsible would face justice.

The criminal investigation meandered along, it is known to rely on forensic evidence and cell phone analysis. Frustrated with the slow pace a private prosecution was launched, which found several men liable in 2009 and re-affirmed in an appeal in 2013.

More details here:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/10758911/Republican-charged-over-Omagh-bombing.html

Now a criminal court hearing is expected next month, for one man, Seamus Daly, who maintains he is innocent:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/11417770/Omagh-bombing-trial-of-Real-IRA-suspect-Seamus-Daly-will-go-ahead.html

davidbfpo
03-22-2015, 11:59 AM
The use of 'comfort letters' continues to roll along; they provided an assurance to paramilitaries that prosecution would not happen, all part of the peace process we are assured by Tony Blair and others.

Now we are told for a small number the 'letters' will not stop a prosecution:
Six IRA terror suspects thought to be behind some of the worst atrocities committed on mainland Britain are facing major new police investigations, the Telegraph can disclose.....PSNI now believed there to be no barrier to prosecuting OTR suspects who had been sent “comfort letters” – because Coalition Government ministers have recently said the letters had no legal force.
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/11488072/Police-target-six-key-IRA-suspects.html

This has nothing to do with the forthcoming parliamentary report on the 'letters', let alone the General Election:wry:.

davidbfpo
04-15-2015, 05:08 PM
An exclusive in The Guardian as another "pandora's box" is to be opened and the sub-title says it all:
Northern Ireland’s police ombudsman is focusing on role of double agent Stakeknife, British intelligence’s top spy in the IRA
Link:http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/apr/15/northern-ireland-police-ombudsman-investigation-murders-informants-troubles

I am not convinced that this helps peace and reconciliation. The only "side" in the frame are the UK security forces.

davidbfpo
06-13-2015, 06:56 PM
Now three weeks ago the BBC's leading current affairs programme, Panorama, run a hour long 'Britain's Secret Terror Deals', which made a number of allegations, few of which had not been heard before, although one clip was astonishing:
British security forces have been accused of involvement in dozens of murders during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.The documentary is available as a podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhPMb0W9kJE (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05x8gzs)

The clip that astonished me was Lord Paul Stevens giving evidence to parliament that in his external police investigation into collusion between the security forces (mainly the UDR) and 'loyalist' paramilitaries that "of the 206 people we arrested only three were not informants for the security forces".

An ex-RUC SB senior officer was cited:
...the state “recruited people with blood on their hands” in order to save lives. “That’s what we were employed to do, to get information and the best information comes from within organisations. That’s the reality of the life in which we lived"Such allegations led to an exchange in Northern Ireland; so here are two opposing articles. First from a 'Loyalist' sceptic and critic:http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/regional/rewriting-of-history-causing-anger-ringland-1-6771770

An alternative, sympathetic view:http://sluggerotoole.com/2015/05/29/panoramas-exposure-of-greater-collusion-was-a-fine-effort-but-it-will-make-no-difference/

davidbfpo
06-20-2015, 07:18 PM
Just attended a two day conference 'How Terrorist Groups 'Learn': Innovation and adaptation in political violence' at the British Academy, London and Northern Ireland featured almost as much as ISIS. Several snippets came up and maybe of interest.


Irish republican dissidents have updated their technical expertise by studying improvised explosive devices used by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Islamic State-inspired militants in Iraq, according to the most senior police officer in charge of anti-terrorist operations....Link:http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/18/irish-dissident-groups-ira-learning-taliban-isis-police-officer

A US-funded research project on PIRA and Tactical Innovation found that 70% bombers travelled less than two miles to a target and it took thirty months for an innovatio(IED) to move from Belfast to South Armagh. The study is on an open access article:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jocb.28/full

Or the BA PPT:https://prezi.com/kh72gxvrfwk5/diffusion-of-tactical-innovations-within-the-provisional-iri/

Long ago a PIRA recce team supported the ANC MK (armed wing) attack on the symbolic key economic target, the SASOL coal to oil plant in June 1980:http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ira-aided-anti-apartheid-bombing-claimed-asmal-1.609314

In a fascinating aside one speaker, Professor Adrian Guelke, added that the PIRA strategy of the 'Armalite and the Ballot Box' led to an unexpected adjustment to PIRA's path. When canvassing door to door many people stated they supported their objectives, not the way it was being pursued.

The British government eventually recognised this too.

davidbfpo
07-10-2015, 08:12 PM
The title is from The Guardian, in a 'long read' on an incident in 1982, which still resonates today, in part due to a mainland police officer John Stalker starting an investigation and suddenly withdrawn amidst much "smoke". The inquests into this and another shooting have yet to happen.

The incident strated with two young men visiting a local hayshed, with one of them shot dead by the police, alerted by a MI5 bug inside and:
But Michael Tighe’s death was different, because the shots that killed him, and the subsequent cover‑up, were part of a dark episode in the undeclared war in the north, in which it was possible to glimpse the British state fighting terror with terror.....Stalker began to think that special branch, supported by MI5, might be using informants to lure terrorism suspects into pre-planned ambushes, mounted by police officers who were indeed shooting to kill.

The survivor from the hayshed reappeared years later:
...had trained the Marxist Farc guerrilla army in the construction and use of home-made mortars that fired gas cylinder bombs.
Link:http://www.theguardian.com/news/2015/jul/09/northern-ireland-terror-shoot-to-kill?

davidbfpo
07-20-2015, 03:33 PM
An interesting BBC report:
Three men have been found guilty of planning to murder two ex-leaders of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). Antoin Duffy, 39, his cousin Martin Hughes, 36, and Paul Sands, 32, all denied plotting to kill Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair and Sam McCrory in Scotland.
They were convicted after a nine-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow.


It appears likely that the plot was notified to the Security Service (aka MI5) after criminals learnt of it:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-33594180

davidbfpo
08-13-2015, 07:23 PM
Baroness O'Loan, a former police ombudsman, argues that it's only by confronting the past that people in Northern Ireland will drag themselves clear of it:
If you don't deal with the past then the trauma, the disability, the pain, everything continues; and as that continues in society it leaves a sense of injustice. And if you leave a sense of injustice, you leave a gap into which paramilitarism of either kind, loyalist or republican, can move.

Last weekend alone, 140 parades were held. It's the height of the marching season, when Unionists and Nationalists alike celebrate their heritage...There were 94 shootings by paramilitaries (48 loyalist, 46 republican) and 26 bomb attacks; 58 firearms were found as well as 23kg of explosives and nearly 5,000 rounds of ammunition.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-politics-33881429

In the middle the police and their Chief Constable made some public remarks:
It feels to me like broader society places all the responsibility, wrongly, at the police service's door. I know we have a critical part to play, but the legislative framework and the budget allocation comes from another arena, called politics.

davidbfpo
08-23-2015, 12:24 PM
An article from Ireland, after a murder in Blefast of a former-PIRA hardman, apparently the result of a feud within the Provisionals and the on the record PSNI investigator's statement, so:
it is clear the PSNI believes it has serious grounds for including the Provisional IRA in its short list of suspects.

Link:http://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/no-they-havent-gone-away-ira-leadership-still-rules-crime-world-31469819.html

davidbfpo
09-13-2015, 09:26 PM
An explanation of why a dispute within PIRA has led to the Good Friday Agreement cracking:http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/13/kevin-mcguigan-death-assassin-belfast-political-strife

The sub-title:
The claim that the former IRA gunman was shot by his ex-comrades has thrown Stormont into turmoil. But the manoeuvring is far from over

Revenge, drugs and power - a heady mix.

davidbfpo
09-16-2015, 05:27 PM
A "lurker" asked for my comments on the current political situation in Northern Ireland this week and below is my response.

The politics in Northern Ireland are not like the rest of the UK and never will be.

As a society Northern Ireland have long historical memories, invariably not shared between the two main communities. This is most marked in the 'Marching Season' each July, when a few marches cause tension and disorder - mainly in Belfast along the "confrontation" line. Politics is also very partisan and with a few known public exceptions splits along religious lines.

One of the weaknesses of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) is that power-sharing has steadily reduced the role and strength of the "moderate" middle. Before the GFA, let alone back in 1969 when 'The Troubles' re-started, few thought the Provisional Sinn Fein (PSF is the political arm of the Provisional IRA) would share government with Rev. Ian Paisley and the DUP.

The GFA stipulates "power sharing" and with a few short exceptions has been pursued by the UK government (plus the Irish Republic). There is ample evidence, including polling data, that the overwhelming majority of the population in Northern Ireland want peace. I am less sure that "power-sharing" is seen as the only way ahead.

A new younger generation are being attracted to the Republican cause, without any experience or understanding of the GFA and there is a small hard core of militants who have rejected peace.

The latest two murders between feuding PIRA personalities reflect their recent memories, that recourse to murder is considered to be OK, even without risk from the state and quite possibly with a strong assumption that the public would not see anything.

Was the motivation personal, political or criminal? A mixture I suspect.

These murders appear to have broken the Unionist concensus that "power sharing" was acceptable to them and their voters. Recent events I expect have eroded patience and have led to a stronger personal and public stance that "enough was enough".

The Unionists have argued that too many concessions have been made to PSF & PIRA, such as the "Comfort Letters", the Saville Enquiry and London's apparent agreement to review deaths at the hands of the security forces.

Here in the rest of the UK there is little sympathy, let aone understanding of what is going on. This has not been helped by the reluctance of the UK media to report regularly on the scale even if small of political violence in Northern Ireland, reportedly with the government's encouragement.

National governments of all colours do not want a return to violence, nor the reappearance of the military on the streets - except for specialists, for e.g. EOD and I think helicopters. Hence IMHO the crazy police 'mutual aid' from the mainland to the PSNI during 'The Marching Season'.

davidbfpo
02-04-2016, 12:30 PM
In recent months many gained the impression that the UK and Northern Ireland political leaders were "leaning over backwards" to Republican calls for the re-investigation of security force involvement in murders plus. Now a group of ex-soldiers are demanding crimes where the PIRA and others tried to kill them:http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/calls-by-150-exsoldiers-to-probe-troubles-attacks-on-them-could-bring-psni-to-a-standstill-34418970.html

davidbfpo
02-12-2016, 09:57 PM
I've never seen this PSNI publication, although it appears they have been on their website:http://www.psni.police.uk/security_situation_statistics_to_january_2016.pdf

davidbfpo
04-28-2016, 10:12 AM
For those close to the rumbling along violence this headline will not be a surprise; based on academic research:
Almost 80% of people shot by the New IRA and other republican terror groups in Northern Ireland over nearly 10 years have been Catholics and nationalists.
The survey results, in an analysis of fatal shootings and woundings for the journal Terrorism and Political Violence, record that in the categories “Catholics” and “criminals” the victims comprised more than 77% of the 175 people shot dead or wounded by armed dissident republicans....By contrast, police officers accounted for just over 15% of shooting casualties from 2007 to 2015...
Link:http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/apr/28/catholics-top-victims-northern-ireland-republican-terror-groups-new-ira

davidbfpo
05-13-2016, 09:17 PM
The government decision to change the security readiness level, on the UK mainland, from ‘moderate’ to ‘substantial’ came as a surprise to many, even though some have been warning the 1916 Centenary could be marked by an attack to advance the 'dissident' Republican cause.

RUSI has a very useful commentary:https://rusi.org/commentary/new-ira-may-2016

Within is this curious passage:
Ironically, one of the gravest threats to the New IRA comes, not from the British or Irish security forces, but from Dublin-based criminal networks which have recently assassinated a number of New IRA members.

davidbfpo
06-25-2016, 12:55 PM
A rare public statement on the Anglo-Irish border and it's electron guardians:
A MULTIBILLION-pound electronic surveillance system operating on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic would not change if Britain exited the EU, Ian Paisley Jr has claimed.....Every single vehicular movement on the border, every single person movement on the border, is electronically recorded.Link:http://www.thesun.ie/irishsol/homepage/news/6905663/Northern-Ireland-border-surveillance-would-not-change-in-event-of-a-Brexit.html

Presumably individuals must smile as they do, so their face is recorded and have their mobile phone on too.:wry:

davidbfpo
02-04-2017, 12:45 PM
A long anticipated issue for the UK military; one shared by most armed services when a serving member becomes a 'lone wolf'.

As the BBC explains:
A Royal Marine Commando from Northern Ireland has pleaded guilty to preparing acts of terrorism linked to dissident republicanism. Ciaran Maxwell's case raises alarming questions of how he was able to penetrate the ranks of an elite British military unit and smuggle out arms.Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-38856986 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-38856986)

I note he joined the Royal Marines in 2010 and was id'd as a suspect in August 2016. He pleaded guilty yesterday and will be sentenced one day.

There is a little more:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/03/royal-marine-admits-preparing-northern-ireland-related-terror/

davidbfpo
03-22-2017, 09:50 AM
Understandably the UK press has a number of obituaries for Martin McGuinness; as The Guardian's obituary sub-title says:
Sinn Fin politician and peace negotiator who went from being an IRA commander to serving for a decade as deputy first minister of Northern IrelandLink:https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/21/martin-mcguinness-obituary

Or this:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-politics-38640430

A more nuanced commentary behind the headline:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/21/martin-mcguinness-took-ira-victims-secrets-grave-say-families/

How this "Godfather" became the Deputy First Minister, with the late Rev. Ian Paisley, was remarkable, but this Ulsterman says - hence my emphasis:
But perhaps more powerful than McGuinness meeting with the Queen was the moment in 2009 when he branded republican dissidents as traitors to Ireland after they killed a police officer. Shaking hands with the Queen was a potent symbol of peace-making; McGuinnesss condemnation of dissident violence had much greater practical effect. His unambiguous, impassioned statement helped protect the lives of all police officers, but particularly Catholics, whom dissidents cynically targeted as a way of undermining the transformation of policing achieved as part of the Good Friday Agreement. If dissidents could discourage young Catholics from joining the reformed service, they could hope for a return to the status quo ante a partisan, Protestant police force, from which many Catholics had turned to the IRA for protection. McGuinness spoke for the overwhelming majority of nationalists by making clear that the police were now a service for all the people of Northern Ireland. Dissident attacks on the police were thus an attack on the people they served. Everyone must therefore stand in defence of the police. It was arguably his greatest contribution to the peace process.Link:https://theconversation.com/martin-mcguinness-the-ira-commander-who-walked-down-a-political-path-74820?

Behind a "pay wall" is a hostile comment, which includes this:
What is important, however, is to understand why a long-time hardened terrorist and brutal murderer should have decided to negotiate a ceasefire leading to a peace deal. The Army and our intelligence services had penetrated the IRA organisation right up to the governing Army Council. No one in that organisation knew who he could trust as a fellow terrorist, or who had been suborned and was a British spy.The author, Norman Tebbitt, a former Conservative MP, was seriously injured in the 1984 bombing of the party's main Brighton hotel in 1984.
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/21/martin-mcguinness-coward-sued-peace-save-skin/

davidbfpo
04-11-2017, 04:59 PM
An interesting overview of the situation and a reminder that the still active violent dissident republicans have no mandate for their actions.

Link:https://theconversation.com/how-northern-ireland-is-battling-the-persistent-threat-of-violence-74321? (https://theconversation.com/how-northern-ireland-is-battling-the-persistent-threat-of-violence-74321?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20 for%20April%2010%202017%20-%2071635414&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20f or%20April%2010%202017%20-%2071635414+CID_0e2827597b9489332c4e3c567bb68110&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=How%20Northern%20Ireland%20is%20battling% 20the%20persistent%20threat%20of%20violence)

The photo is startling enough
https://cdn.theconversation.com/files/160987/width926/image-20170315-5328-1lbx1ax.jpg

davidbfpo
04-14-2017, 07:04 PM
The BBC's documentary series 'Panorama' had a powerful programme this week, entitled 'The Spy in the IRA', who was handled or "run" by the Army (using a specialist unit, the Field Research Unit aka the "Fru") not the police and reporting to the Security Service (MI5).

From the programme's website:
Panorama investigates one of Britain's most important spies since the Second World War. In the murky world of British intelligence during the Northern Ireland conflict, one agent's life appears to have mattered more than others. Codenamed Stakeknife, Freddie Scappaticci rose through the ranks of the IRA to run their internal security unit.He was the IRA's chief spy catcher, in charge of rooting out those suspected of collaborating with the British, who were then executed. But all the time he was in fact working for the British intelligence services - Stakeknife was their 'golden egg', the British Army's most important spy during the Troubles.
Panorama reveals that a classified report links Scappatici to at least 18 murders (out of 30). Some of these victims were themselves agents and informers. Scappaticci, the intelligence agencies who tasked him and the IRA to whom he also answered are now the subject of a new £35 million criminal enquiry.
Panorama discloses how he kept his cover by having the blood of other agents on his hands, how the intelligence agencies appeared to tolerate this and why he has been protected for so long.Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08l636g/panorama-the-spy-in-the-ira

There is a podcast (45 mins) for UK viewers:http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08l636g/panorama-the-spy-in-the-ira

For others via YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rihJviC9oA0

It raises many hard questions: Were UK agents allowed to die to cover Stakeknife? How to navigate the 'moral maze' of the "greater good" coming at a price. Was the Provisional IRA / Sinn Fein 'pushed into peace' by being infiltrated? Were all parties restrained by the knowledge of Stakeknife's activities?

He is incidentally still alive and by implication living in Northern Ireland! There is a remarkably thin wiki:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddie_Scappaticci

Azor
04-15-2017, 12:48 AM
The BBC's documentary series 'Panorama' had a powerful programme this week, entitled 'The Spy in the IRA', who was handled or "run" by the Army (using a specialist unit, the Field Research Unit aka the "Fru") not the police and reporting to the Security Service (MI5).

From the programme's website:Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08l636g/panorama-the-spy-in-the-ira

There is a podcast (45 mins) for UK viewers:http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08l636g/panorama-the-spy-in-the-ira

For others via YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rihJviC9oA0

It raises many hard questions: Were UK agents allowed to die to cover Stakeknife? How to navigate the 'moral maze' of the "greater good" coming at a price. Was the Provisional IRA / Sinn Fein 'pushed into peace' by being infiltrated? Were all parties restrained by the knowledge of Stakeknife's activities?

He is incidentally still alive and by implication living in Northern Ireland! There is a remarkably thin wiki:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddie_Scappaticci

But how much evidence is there that Scappaticci was a British agent? The PIRA seems to believe his denials and he lives in Northern Ireland. Perhaps the British were using him to cover for another source(s)? If so, was the British government subjecting him to risk of reprisal? Yet he is a murderer...

Murky indeed...

davidbfpo
04-15-2017, 10:28 AM
In two parts:
But how much evidence is there that Scappaticci was a British agent? The PIRA seems to believe his denials and he lives in Northern Ireland.

I would say there is evidence that Scappaticci was a British agent; possibly for ten years as the head of PIRA's "nutting" squad and he claims to have become inactive in republicanism in 1990. The key point for the current investigation was his activity protected and others died to do so. Evidence for that is likely to be more difficult. Will those involved in handling him (the Army) and the receivers of the information (MI5) have complete records which are handed over to the investigators?

Is there enough evidence to put him in court for murder for example?

Possibly noteworthy is that the Director of Public Prosecutions has recently been accused of being too ready to prosecute soldiers when paramilitaries are not. In the programme he explains why he has directed the investigation.

By Azor:
Perhaps the British were using him to cover for another source(s)? If so, was the British government subjecting him to risk of reprisal? Yet he is a murderer...

Quite possibly as many have commented PIRA was emasculated by the time of the Good Friday Agreement having been infiltrated at senior levels, although he had been active for many years by then.

PIRA was ruthless at times towards spies and suspected spies, but to acknowledge a central figure, the head of its own counter-intelligence "nutting" squad, was British spy would affect their credibility even today. Few really want to open this murky world.

davidbfpo
05-15-2017, 09:25 AM
Last week William Matchett, a thirty year veteran of the RUC / PSNI Special Branch spoke at a book launch @ Policy Exchange, London and in summary his argument is:
Secret Victory shows what a successful rule of law approach looks like in an irregular war.There is a 35 mins podcast (yet to listen to):https://policyexchange.org.uk/event/secret-victory-the-intelligence-war-that-beat-the-ira-with-dr-william-matchett/

The book 'Secret Victory: The Intelligence War that beat the IRA' was released in November 2016, in Ireland and has a plethora of five star reviews. Citing in part one review by Professor Michael Rainsborough, Head of War Studies, King’s College London:
The author trenchantly, and effectively deconstructs the dirty war thesis, illustrating that much of the narrative is partial, factually flawed or often simply incoherent and contradictory. The systematic critique of this popular orthodoxy through evidence and argumentation, along with the more detailed illumination of the Special Branch’s evolution as a vital arm in the security effort, constitutes a highly original contribution to knowledge and understanding of the Northern Ireland conflict.Link:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Victory-Intelligence-that-beat/dp/1527202054/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494839181&sr=1-1&keywords=william+matchett+secret+victory

Link to USA Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Victory-Intelligence-that-beat/dp/1527202054/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494839982&sr=1-1&keywords=william+matchett+secret+victory

davidbfpo
06-21-2017, 09:42 AM
A strange tale that starts with:
Northern Ireland woman who used a Swedish model’s pictures on social media to coax men into supporting her solo republican terrorist campaign against police is beginning a 16-year jail sentence. An investigation by police in Northern Ireland, West Mercia police and the FBI found that Christine Connor used a fake name and photographs of a Swedish model to solicit help through social media from an Englishman and an American, who both later took their own lives.
Link:https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/21/belfast-woman-christine-connor-posed-as-model-to-lure-men-help-police-bomb-plot


What is puzzling is that her two attacks were in May 2013, using blast bombs to attack the police and she was in custody on remand by July 2013. So it has taken nearly four years to get her to trial - very strange.

davidbfpo
06-23-2017, 11:58 AM
Behind the headline (above) is a glimpse into the horrible past during 'The Troubles', including allegations of collusion between a Loyalist murder and his police handlers:
He was given five life sentences for the murders, but these will be significantly reduced as he is an assisting offender under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA).All of the killings, and the majority of the other offences, took place while Haggarty was working as a police informer.

(Later) The BBC understands he told his interviewers that some of his Special Branch handlers not only protected him from arrest and prosecution, but also actively encouraged his activities.


Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-40379903

davidbfpo
07-26-2017, 11:09 AM
This was a 2012 conference, held in Austin, Texas, with Kings College London, University of Queensland and the hosts The Robert Strauss Center. Link:https://reassessingcounterinsurgency.wordpress.com/articles/

There is a strong British emphasis and several on Northern Ireland - two of which caught my attention.

One on Operation Motorman: https://reassessingcounterinsurgency.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/rainsborough-motormans-long-drive.pdf and the second on the British Army's role after 1998 i.e. after the peace agreement:https://reassessingcounterinsurgency.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/rainsborough-irwins-forgotten-army-swi.pdf

davidbfpo
07-27-2017, 02:17 PM
A little reported matter till this week:
A former Northern Irish actor (James Corry)once tipped for fame has finally confessed he was involved in a 1996 IRA bombing of a British army base in Germany.....In 2003, former British soldier Michael Dixon was sentenced to six years and six months for his role in the 1996 attack.
Link:http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/northern-ireland-actor-admits-helping-to-bomb-british-army-base-in-germany-35971861.html and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-40733836

This was a PIRA mortar attack, by a team of five and Corry was extradited from the Irish Republic in November 2016. It is not clear why it took so long to identify him and apply for his extradition.

davidbfpo
07-31-2017, 04:37 PM
See Post 166 above for my initial post; a serving Royal Marine helping violent Irish Republicans to be brief.

Well he was sentenced today, he pleaded guilty and declined to attend court so watched via video link and the headline:
Royal Marine who supplied arms for Irish republican attacks jailed for 18 yearsA reasonably detailed report and the judge comments included:
Maxwell was a “quartermaster” to the Continuity IRA and engaged in “sophisticated offending on a substantial scale” for five years until his arrest in 2016. “A skilled bombmaker is of considerable importance to a terrorist organisation like the Continuity IRA....Link:https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jul/31/royal-marine-ciaran-maxwell-arms-irish-republican-attacks-jailed? (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jul/31/royal-marine-ciaran-maxwell-arms-irish-republican-attacks-jailed?CMP=share_btn_tw)

Note is was two chance discoveries by the public of his hidden arms dumps, in Northern Ireland (there were others in England) that led to the investigation and his DNA being on record id'd him.

The BBC report has more detail:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-40774233

davidbfpo
12-15-2017, 04:16 PM
An update on Post 174, a BBC News item on the value and dangers of recruiting an informant in a CT campaign:
The most senior loyalist ever to agree to become a so-called supergrass volunteered to kill a Catholic to cover up the fact he was an informer.....He worked as an informer for 13 years...has pleaded guilty to 202 terror offences, including five murders, as his part of a controversial state deal that offered a significantly reduced prison term in return for giving evidence against other terrorist suspects.
He is said to have provided information on:


55 murders
20 attempted murders
56 conspiracies to murder
24 bombing offences

Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-42337250

This also appear on the HUMINT thread.

davidbfpo
01-31-2018, 01:26 PM
Post 174 being Part 1.

On the 29th he was finally sentenced:
A loyalist "supergrass" who admitted the murders of five people among hundreds of offences has had a 35-year jail term reduced to six-and-a-half years for helping the police.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-42857474

Local comment has been critical, enhanced as he is likely to be released in weeks; The Good Friday Agreement provisions apply to his crimes, as they did for many others, he is just the latest beneficiary.

davidbfpo
01-31-2018, 01:29 PM
Posts 169-171 refer to previous, recent posts.

Now:
One of the British state’s most important agents inside the IRA, “Stakeknife”, has been arrested by detectives investigating 18 murders during the Northern Ireland Troubles.Republican and security sources in Belfast confirmed on Tuesday that a 72-year-old man detained by police officers working for Operation Kenova is Freddie Scappaticci.

Accused of being the IRA’s chief spycatcher, the Belfast man stands accused of being a double agent who was working for the security forces while overseeing the murder of informers within the republican movement.
Link:https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/ira-informer-‘stakeknife’-arrested-in-murder-investigation/ar-BBItYyq?

(Added later)

The Irish journalist Ed Moloney, now in NYC and a SME on the IRA, has a boogsite and has commented upon the arrest.
Link:https://thebrokenelbow.com/2018/01/30/scappaticci-arrested-the-questions-that-follow/

davidbfpo
02-22-2018, 11:19 AM
A wider commentary on Brexit and Northern Ireland has this stunning passage, with my emphasis:
As its 20th anniversary looms within weeks, after all, the agreement is not functioning, with neither the Northern Ireland assembly and executive nor the North-South Ministerial Council in being.
Indeed, what remains is the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Ironically, this is because policing was so difficult an issue in the talks leading to the agreement—going as it did, as with the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons, to the heart of the contest over the state—that it was passed to an impartial independent commission to solve. Informed by the region’s human-rights lobby born of the ‘troubles’, the consequent Patten report led to the old, overwhelmingly Protestant and ‘securitised’ Royal Ulster Constabulary being transformed into a police service founded on human-rights principles and committed to neighbourhood policing. Far from adequate, it is however the one institution—despite the still hugely controversial nature of Northern Ireland’s decades of lead—still standing.
Link:https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/brexitinc/robin-wilson/left-should-think-more-carefully-before-defending-good-friday-agreement?

davidbfpo
03-06-2018, 02:51 PM
A rare public comment by a former PIRA volunteer on the success of British intelligence infiltration; he ends with:
They didn’t come out and say that they were penetrated. Yes, the IRA volunteers knew there was penetration, as that was par for the course, but I don’t believe the volunteers on the ground knew the extent of the penetration, and to a large extent the leadership concealed the level of penetration from them.
Link:https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/crime/ex-ira-man-ira-members-believed-leadership-guff-despite-setback-in-gibraltar-1-8402927

davidbfpo
03-14-2018, 06:32 PM
An excellent article on the history of informants after the Haggerty case and trial recently (see previous posts).
Link:https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/08/how-many-murders-can-a-police-informer-get-away-with?

davidbfpo
04-23-2018, 05:42 PM
There have been 158 "security-related" deaths in Northern Ireland since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, according to independent research. The majority of the deaths were murders carried out by republican and loyalist paramilitaries, who mostly targeted victims within their own communities....up until April of this year, republican paramilitaries were responsible for 74 deaths while loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for 71....There have been 68 Catholic civilians killed - 38 have been the victims of republican organisations operating within those same communities. "There's a further 22 who have been killed by loyalists and then two where attribution is not possible....But, in total, 41 loyalist paramilitaries have been killed. Every single one of them has been killed by other loyalist paramilitaries.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-43862294? (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-43862294?ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbc_news_ni&ns_source=twitter&ns_linkname=northern_ireland)

davidbfpo
05-03-2018, 07:28 PM
Transparency of sorts after a legal action:
Police have agreed to release a secret special branch report on agent-handling during the Troubles that allegedly protected paramilitary informants from arrest. The 1980 report, drawn up by the senior MI5 officer Sir Patrick Walker, is believed to have established agent-handling practices that have since been widely criticised as prioritising intelligence-gathering over other concerns.
The Walker report was commissioned to improve intelligence penetration of paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland when IRA (https://www.theguardian.com/uk/ira) activity was high.
Link:https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/may/03/northern-irish-police-troubles-walker-report-informants?

davidbfpo
05-07-2018, 09:05 AM
A short article, summarising a new book, and the full title of the article is 'Counter-Insurgency Against Kith and Kin’: British Army Combat and Cohesion in Northern Ireland'. The focus is on the early years:
During my research for a book on small unit cohesion in Northern Ireland – comparing operational watchkeepers’ log-books, other unit reports and interviewing soldiers who served in Northern Ireland during the exceptionally violent years of 1971-1973 – I observed that the Army would often use hundreds, and occasionally thousands, of rounds of ammunition, in exchanges of fire with IRA units along the border.

A reminder how bloody that period was for the British Army:
the British Army suffered more operational fatalities in one year – 134 in 1972 – than in any year during the recent campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Link:https://defenceindepth.co/2018/05/07/counter-insurgency-against-kith-and-kin-british-army-combat-and-cohesion-in-northern-ireland/

The book is actually titled 'An Army of Tribe: British Army Cohesion, Deviancy and Murder in Northern Ireland' and the author Edward Burke is a Professor at Nottingham University.

A link to the book publisher's website found in the summary:
The central argument of this book is that British Army small infantry units enjoyed considerable autonomy during the early years of Operation Banner and could behave in a vengeful, highly aggressive or benign and conciliatory way as their local commanders saw fit. The strain of civil-military relations at a senior level was replicated operationally as soldiers came to resent the limitations of waging war in the UK.
Link to UK option:https://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/products/108172

(https://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/products/108172)Published in the USA in August 2018:https://global.oup.com/academic/product/an-army-of-tribes-9781786941039?cc=us&lang=en&

davidbfpo
05-09-2018, 06:45 PM
A wide-ranging review by a UK academic familiar with the issues, so a few sentences:
On an autumn evening in late October 1972, Michael Naan was working on his isolated farm a few miles from the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic with Andrew Murray, a young hired laborer, when they were set upon, beaten, and stabbed to death.
In his fascinating new book, An Army of Tribes: British Army Cohesion, Deviancy and Murder in Northern Ireland, Ed Burke explores why these soldiers committed the murders and what consequences their actions had for the local community. Burke places the actions of the soldiers in two overlapping contexts — the institutional framework of the British Army and the historical environment in which they found themselves deployed.
An Army of Tribes is a rigorous work of painstaking scholarship that places the security dimension of the Northern Irish Troubles in much greater tactical and operational context than ever before. In assessing the micro-ethics of soldiering in such a local setting, Burke also provides us with a rich glimpse into how military operations shaped strategy, and vice versa.
Link:https://warontherocks.com/2018/05/why-did-this-band-of-brothers-turn-to-murder/

davidbfpo
05-14-2018, 08:32 AM
The "sore" of historical allegations rumbles on. There are many who argue on each side; should criminal allegations (including murder) from 'The Troubles' be investigated, indeed prosecuted today - especially after the amnesty to the paramilitaries in the Good Friday Agreement? Politics aside there is a current prosecution for a 1974 incident where a soldier shot a youth dead, amidst controversy.
Link:https://theconversation.com/amnesty-for-british-soldiers-fuels-division-over-dealing-with-northern-irelands-past-96425? (https://theconversation.com/amnesty-for-british-soldiers-fuels-division-over-dealing-with-northern-irelands-past-96425?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20 for%20May%2014%202018%20-%20101618924&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20f or%20May%2014%202018%20-%20101618924+CID_ee4614d77c826b5235dc885bd881011f&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=Amnesty%20for%20British%20soldiers%20fuel s%20division%20over%20dealing%20with%20Northern%20 Irelands%20past)

davidbfpo
06-26-2018, 12:47 PM
One of the sources cited by Dr. Matchett is the "Walker Report", a document prepared in 1980-1981 by a then senior member of the British Security Service (MI5) and following a lengthy legal case a redacted copy is now in the public domain. It is relatively short and opens with:
In January 1980 the Chief Constable commissioned a report - known as the Walker Report - on the interchange of intelligence between Special Branch and CID and on the staffing and organisation of units in C1(1) in Crime Branch.
Link:http://www.patfinucanecentre.org/policing/walker-report

The legal case is explained here:https://caj.org.uk/2018/05/01/psni-agree-to-release-walker-report-to-human-rights-group/

Two journalists from 'The Guardian' have written an overview, it starts with:
A secret MI5 report that resulted in Northern Ireland’s police covertly prioritising intelligence-gathering over fighting crime has been made public after almost 40 years. The report resulted in detectives of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) – now the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) – being ordered never to arrest a suspected terrorist without consulting the force’s intelligence-gathering section.

Detectives were also told that anyone who was arrested could be recruited as an agent rather than charged with a criminal offence.
As a consequence, a number of British agents are now known to have been involved in murders, bombings and shootings, while continuing to pass on information about their terrorist associates.
Link:https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jun/26/special-branch-ruc-put-evidence-before-arrest-walker-mi5-report-northern-ireland?

There are a number of similar MI5 reports cited which remain secret.

Informant handling is always an activity fraught with risks, even more so in CT / COIN and 'The Troubles' lasted a very long time, with the UK fighting a very capable enemy, PIRA and often violent Loyalists who waged their own campaign.

davidbfpo
06-26-2018, 12:51 PM
There is a current, parallel thread on intelligence in Northern Ireland, based on a book published in 2017. Which is mentioned in the post above copied over.
Link:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?26048-%91The-neglected-cure%92-to-the-Irish-insurgency-intelligence

davidbfpo
08-29-2018, 07:46 AM
Two articles on an incident many had forgotten, it occurred just after Internment was introduced and in summary:
More than 40 years after the shootings in a west Belfast neighbourhood, the Guardian has reconstructed the events surrounding what appears to be a killing spree by soldiers of the Parachute Regiment, just months before Bloody Sunday

This is a 'long read', not too long and in places admits the Army were fired upon - before the disorder and the "killing spree":https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jun/26/-sp-ballymurphy-shootings-36-hours-west-belfast-northern-ireland-10-dead

(https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jun/26/-sp-ballymurphy-shootings-36-hours-west-belfast-northern-ireland-10-dead)The second is based on a new film on the incident by Callum Macrae, a film maker with many awards:https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/28/bloody-sunday-ballymurphy-british-soldiers-belfast-derry

davidbfpo
09-24-2018, 12:03 PM
I rarely catch this publication and whilst the level of violence has dropped, it remains painful for many - mainly from "punishment" attacks - and that only 10% are charged rate for those arrested for terrorism.
Link:https://www.psni.police.uk/globalassets/inside-the-psni/our-statistics/security-situation-statistics/2018/august/security-situation-statistics-to-august_2018.pdf

davidbfpo
01-26-2019, 09:04 PM
Violence from the Republican "dissidents" has happened before, with several deaths (policemen, soldiers and others) and this week a "spectacular" bomb outside the courthouse in Londonderry (Derry to some). See:https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-46937061 and:https://thedefensepost.com/2019/01/19/suspected-car-bomb-derry-northern-ireland/

Understandably as the author has been researching her book on the "dissidents" for years she has been busy and her book 'Unfinished Business – The Politics of ‘Dissident’ Irish Republicanism' is due out next month.

A "lurker" recommends the book. Here are a couple of sentences as a "taster":
The principle of consent was anathema – the onus remained on dissidents achieving unity by the Armalite (or Kalashnikov) rather than the ballot box.
They will say it could have succeeded if it were not for decisions taken by the leadership.
Link:https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/inside-dissident-republican-groups-a-new-book-throws-light-on-their-thinking-1.3770643

davidbfpo
02-05-2019, 10:02 PM
A good overview of whether the "dissidents" pose a real threat to the peace; with a mass of links within:
In sum, there will be no return to a higher frequency of attacks. Dissident republicans will continue with occasional attacks, such as they do for the past 20 years (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09546553.2016.1155940?journalCode=ftpv20), with or without a hard border. Hence, all warnings that Brexit "could revive the Troubles (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lloyd-ireland-commentary/commentary-could-brexit-revive-irelands-troubles-idUSKCN1HD2CY)" do not reflect existing research (https://www.amazon.de/dp/B07CHWS2RR?ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_-NYrCbYAQTXQC&tag=thewaspos09-20&linkCode=kpe).
Link:https://www.rte.ie/eile/brainstorm/2019/0204/1027467-will-brexit-increase-the-threat-from-dissident-republicans/? (https://www.rte.ie/eile/brainstorm/2019/0204/1027467-will-brexit-increase-the-threat-from-dissident-republicans/?fbclid=IwAR0_DA4jJTBq9FbXC2Is6BAe6vAwNR0ZUCq5SOwQ d9kn3N9bReG2tJgeJ9o)

davidbfpo
03-14-2019, 07:40 PM
After a long wait ‘Soldier F’ of the Parachute Regiment is to be prosecuted in Northern Ireland, for murder and attempted murder over 1972 killings in Derry and the UK MoD will pay his legal costs. This follows the 12-year-long Saville inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday, which found the killings were unjustified and that none of the 14 dead was carrying a gun, no warnings were given, no soldiers were under threat and the troops were the first to open fire. Other charges of perjury may follow.

Link:https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-47540271 and https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/mar/14/one-soldier-to-face-charges-over-bloody-sunday-killings

(https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/mar/14/one-soldier-to-face-charges-over-bloody-sunday-killings)