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UK GOVERNMENT PLANS to commission an ‘official’ history of the Troubles

  • 27-11-2021 10:46pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,037 ✭✭✭ Harryd225


    It has been described by academics as an “almost impossible” task and part of a “worrying trend” of politicising issues in Northern Ireland.

    I wonder how much of the so called official history will show the extent of how much loyalist paramilitaries were actually being controlled by MI5 and the other intelligence services?

    Of the 210 loyalists arrest by the Stevens inquiry (an official inquiry set up by the British government to investigate collusion after overwhelming international pressure over the murder of Pat Finucane) all but 4 of them were agents working for MI5, the Stevens team had been lied to and deceived for his whole investigation and later claimed his offices had been burnt down by the intelligence services.

    There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that loyalist paramilitaries were little more than psuedo gangs controlled by the state in an attempt to use psychological warfare against the IRA.

    Brian Nelson who had previously served 3 years of his 7 year sentence for torturing an innocent Catholic man to death is one of the most well documented cases of collusion When the Stevens Inquiry Team arrested and interrogated Nelson, he claimed that he had been acting on behalf of the British government which later turned out to be true.



Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,574 ✭✭✭✭ end of the road


    the answer is none of it.

    it will contain nothing that shows the involvement of the british government or any other agents, it will just be IRA bad everyone else good.

    discrimination against catholics and nationalists probably wont be part of it either, it will just be about how the IRA wanted a UI.

    julian the journalist asange is innocent, free julian the journalist.



  • Registered Users Posts: 21,323 ✭✭✭✭ Esel


    I really hope DC does not pollute this thread.

    A nice Cold War urban/ asymmetric warfare training ground for the British Army is what it really was.

    Not your ornery onager



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Have they got around to doing an official history of the British army in other places they occupied yet?



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,037 ✭✭✭ Harryd225



    Not really as the IRA were hitting right at the heart of the British establishment killing top politicians and members of the Royal family, it was routine for British politicians to check under their car with a mirror for car bombs everytime they went to drive their car.

    Also the British army took nearly twice as many casualties in northern Ireland in the 25 years up to ceasefire than they lost in 20 years in Afghanistan.

    Not to mention all the bombs that were taking out infrastructure regularly in England, the war in Northern Ireland probably had the biggest impact on Britain by far since WW2.



  • Registered Users Posts: 21,323 ✭✭✭✭ Esel


    They sowed the wind, and reaped the whirlwind.

    Not your ornery onager



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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,426 ✭✭✭ maestroamado


    I seen a prog done a few years ago about British history in Ireland up to the forming of the state... I thought it was well presented and factual...

    Forgot to say it was presented by Portillo...



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,601 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Manic Moran


    The British Army have already released their report on operations in Northern Ireland, it came out a few years ago. Since it was written as much for future politicians as military education, it's not too long and written in plain English.

    I found it to be overall quite a fair overview, particularly with regards to the errors made in the late 1960s.

    https://www.youtube.com/redirect?event=video_description&redir_token=QUFFLUhqbGNVNDlJd2xzNHNpMkxHdEZxVnJqTlNLZjh4d3xBQ3Jtc0trQ2tBVlB1NllrdFM4UG1aeDd6czdmUHFkc0h2em8xSXlzWHhPMzgyVXNJQ0NtbDBtYkhGQUNOaHJnSkVTZjFVbUlrNms1YWNnVEpTdVRFWlQ3ajJJSHYtTWNxaWpKbDZMa3FUUHFKRHE3VHhTUEtaVQ&q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vilaweb.cat%2Fmedia%2Fattach%2Fvwedts%2Fdocs%2Fop_banner_analysis_released.pdf



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,189 ✭✭✭ Brucie Bonus


    It's like asking Mossad to write the history of the Gaza strip or the Stasi to do one on East Germany.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,189 ✭✭✭ Brucie Bonus


    With the likes of this, who will take their 'history' seriously?





  • Posts: 1,263 ✭✭✭ [Deleted User]


    To be followed by a Provisional History of the Troubles, I presume?



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,037 ✭✭✭ Harryd225




  • Registered Users Posts: 5,189 ✭✭✭ Brucie Bonus


    Nobody has the brass neck of the British establishment.



  • Registered Users Posts: 27,472 ✭✭✭✭ steddyeddy


    But that's a report compiled and written against a belligerent which has had many allegations of colluding with terrorists made against it. It's not a neutral source.



  • Registered Users Posts: 578 ✭✭✭ dog_pig


    What do you make of their analysis of British collusion with Loyalist paramilitaries?



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,601 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Manic Moran



    It's not, but it's still a reasonable assessment by a professional military to figure out what went wrong and right, you won't find a better document on the subject. Army operational levels of collusion with the various loyalist paramilitaries also were nowhere near the same levels as were coming from other British government agencies, this document focuses on the Army's operations, not the overall situation of Northern Ireland with all the various hands which had their fingers in the pie. Don't write it off until you read it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 578 ✭✭✭ dog_pig


    I should clarify: I'm referring to British Army units such as the Military Reaction Force and the Special Reconnaissance Unit. What's your take on how they dealt with those matters in the report?



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,601 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Manic Moran


    It's a document designed to make people understand the 'why', not the 'what.' However, it describes the Loyalists thusly:

    "Loyalist paramilitaries continued to operate against the catholic community but on a fairly limited scale. They presented themselves as the protectors of the protestant community but in practice were often little more than a collection of gangsters, a description which could also apply to a number of republican terrorists."

    The report correctly emphasizes the practical need for intelligence in order to operate successfully, and reaffirms civilian deaths at the Army's hands as counter-productive. The details of the MRF and SRU activities specifically are below the level of the report. Even much bigger specific issues like internment are dealt with briefly, with a couple of paragraphs ending with "Put simply, on balance and with the benefit of hindsight, it was a major mistake."

    Again, this the high points of a 30-year-military operational strategy condensed into under 100 pages. As the introduction states, "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. It is not intended as a history." and "It is important to learn from their successes, which were considerable. It is no less important to learn from mistakes, where they were made, and to ensure that they are not repeated. The publication seeks to stimulate thought and will have failed if whatever is written is slavishly and unthinkingly applied to future operations".

    So we're talking as much things like "In the absence of such deep understanding the British tended to underestimate the differences between the Irish and themselves. One commentator observed that Englishmen, especially, tend to view the Irishman as a variant of a Briton rather than as a foreigner" and the problems that causes, or "Tactically the Balkan Street Search was a limited success. However, it was a significant reverse at the operational level. It handed a significant information operations opportunity to the IRA, and this was exploited to the full."



  • Registered Users Posts: 21,323 ✭✭✭✭ Esel


    ^ What was the "Balkan Street Search"?

    Not your ornery onager



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,049 ✭✭✭✭ raind


    The were all lovely chaps and they civilised all these wild types. Bringing cricket to India, they should be thankful, what ho



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,601 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Manic Moran


    Quite probably the single biggest unforced (and understandable) error the British Army did in the early Troubles, which turned the Catholic community from viewing them as saviours from the RUC to being the enemy. Also known as the Falls Curfew. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falls_Curfew

    Basically, they went to search for illegal weapons and to remove 'no-go' areas which the lawful authority (i.e. the RUC) could not enter. Those weapons were being held by Catholics because past experience had shown that they could not rely on said lawful authorities to protect them, either because they were simply not inclined to (eg RUC) or were not present in sufficient numbers (Army), as the just-prior Short Strand battle had indicated. Worse, it was a Scottish regiment which conducted the search, which at the time were considered far more hostile to Catholics than the English units were.

    Things escalated from there, with the search of a house turning into a search of an entire neighborhood. Tactically, it was a success, as quite a lot of weapons and explosives were found, but in doing so, the Army turned a community against them.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,037 ✭✭✭ Harryd225


    British Army log sheets reveal that the troops were ordered to "be aggressive".

    The army had shot about 60 people mostly civilians 4 of which died, over 1,000 houses were searched and soldiers had also been involved in large scale looting of those houses and there were hundreds of complaints of soldiers hitting, threatening, insulting and humiliating residents, 12 soldiers were shot by the IRA, thousands of rounds exchanged and another 6 soldiers had their legs blown off with grenades.

    A famous video from a elderly woman interviewed at the time where she claimed ''the black and tans were bad but they were nothing compared to this''.

    Can anyone seriously try and tell me that the people did not have the right to resist this oppression?



  • Registered Users Posts: 16,957 ✭✭✭✭ Tony EH


    "Loyalist paramilitaries continued to operate against the catholic community but on a fairly limited scale. They presented themselves as the protectors of the protestant community but in practice were often little more than a collection of gangsters, a description which could also apply to a number of republican terrorists."


    The report correctly emphasizes the practical need for intelligence in order to operate successfully, and reaffirms civilian deaths at the Army's hands as counter-productive. The details of the MRF and SRU activities specifically are below the level of the report. Even much bigger specific issues like internment are dealt with briefly, with a couple of paragraphs ending with "Put simply, on balance and with the benefit of hindsight, it was a major mistake."

    Even from those two paragraphs, you can tell that there's an awful lot left out of that report and it's probably little more than an extremely beige recounting of what went on.

    A "collection of gangsters" the Loyalist paramilitaries may have been. But that "collection of gangsters" was actively supported by the British government and their military. In addition the phrase "counter-productive" in conjunction to civilian murder is just as weaselly a phrase as "collateral damage".



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