Declassified files have revealed the shocking level of collusion between the British Army’s UDR regiment and loyalists. Micheál Smith is the author of a new book on the subject (for the Irish Times). For some, the conflict in Northern Ireland was characterised by an impenetrable jumble of abbreviations. Amid the alphabet soup of loyalist paramilitary […]A powerful weapon in Britain’s ‘dirty war’ against the Irish: The Ulster Defence Regiment
FEARS MOUNT THAT ALL-OUT WAR IS ABOUT TO ERUPT BETWEEN TERROR GROUP’S NORTH ANTRIM FACTIONS AFTER SPATE OF VIOLENT INCIDENTS
POLICE are on high alert as a bitter UDA internal feud looks set to explode.
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Last week the PSNI/RUC dealt with two separate security alerts after fears two rival North Antrim factions were set to go head-to-head with guns and explosives.
On Sunday, a Ballymoney hotel was targeted in a hoax bomb call while punters, including families, were packed inside. Police claimed to have received “low-grade intelligence” that a device had been left on the premises, but within a short space of time determined the tip-off to be false. Two days later, a small pub in the nearby village of Dervock was the subject of a major police operation over false claims that terror weapons and bombs were being stored inside. A number of loyalists have also been formally warned by police that their lives are in danger. There are now genuine fears the simmering feud is about to turn bloody. Tensions peaked after one of the village’s bands, Dervock Young Defenders (DYD), officially aligned itself with West Belfast UDA for the first time.
On Monday, July 13th, DYD Flute Band took to the streets for the Twelfth celebrations wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the notorious West Belfast UFF paramilitary badge. The band marched through Ballymoney – a town aligned with North Antrim UDA – led by a man carrying a sinister UFF flag – a loyalist killing machine responsible for countless sectarian murders. Pictures and videos of the terror display – which was in blatant breach of the Terrorism Act – were posted on social media. The militant message angered North Antrim bosses who saw it as the biggest sign yet that Shankill UDA bosses are still making moves to muscle in on their turf.
Last month the Sunday World revealed how the UDA brigade in Ballymoney – whose members have previously maimed and murdered drug dealers – believe its Belfast HQ want to put narco teams onto the streets in North Antrim. The Shankill goons are on a money-making mission after expanding their drug supply network to satellite areas outside of its West Belfast stronghold. Tigers Bay, Newtownards and even parts of Bangor have been overtaken by the ‘D’ Company paramafia pushers who have set their sights on “unspoilt” areas within North Antrim.
Ballymoney, Bushmills and surrounding rural areas have remained relatively drug dealer free over the last eight years, with loyalists attacking – and even killing – those suspected of being involved in the trade. Recent Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF) operations against West Belfast UDA have put a huge dent in the Shankill unit’s pockets. The constant raids have forced the loyalist drug gang’s new boss to eye up areas outside of its usual criminal network. Sources within the Dervock area say they fear the tiny village is now in the frame to be used as a potential “satellite” base which would give the gang access to a “gold coast” for death pushers. “The very fact that one of our own bands is openly supporting the Shankill has worried everyone in the area,” one resident told the Sunday World. “We don’t want a drug dealing gang having any influence in this area.” Last week a local newspaper reported how a collective of voluntary and statutory agencies in the Co Antrim village had come together to combat “organised crime and drug dealing/substance misuse”.
One of those, Dervock and District Community Association, said in a statement it had been forced to make a “public announcement” on the levels of “illegal and prescription drugs” within the area. “These are being pumped into the village from outside sources within North Antrim,” the statement in the Ballymoney Chronicle said. “This issue is not going away unless we show a united front and isolate these individuals and report all drug related and other illegal activities to the authorities. “These ‘Peddlers’ masquerading as ‘activists’ are deliberately preying on the most vulnerable individuals in our society. “Over the last month there have been several families within the village that have had children and parents split by statutory agencies – due to alcohol and substance abuse.” The statement then listed off a number of agencies, organisations and groups which it said supported its call.
A Co Antrim Orange lodge was also included in the statement, as well as a local primary school. Also named was Dervock Young Defenders Flute Band, which just the week before openly supported West Belfast UDA – a faction targeted regularly by the PSNI/RUC over its drug dealing activities. Sources say the inclusion of the band following its public support of the criminal paramilitary gang “made a mockery” of the message. It led to senior staff of the school named contacting community reps and demanding that no future reference to the primary be made alongside anyone associating itself with a terror group.
A well-placed source said: “Of course the school and its staff support the fight against drugs, but it will not be aligned with anyone who supports a terror organisation, especially one that is known to deal in drugs. “To be honest, people in the area are confused at how members of a band, who openly endorse the Shankill, could be taken seriously in any anti-drugs message.” The Sunday World contacted a representative of Dervock and District Community Association over the concerns raised. The spokesman declined to comment. DYD Flute Band was also contacted for comment over its Twelfth endorsement of the Shankill UFF. No one responded to our query. The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland was also contacted, but did not respond to requests for comment. The PSNI/RUC confirmed it carried out a search at licensed premises in the Dervock area on Tuesday, July 21st. “Nothing was found,” the spokesperson confirmed. They added: “A search was also carried out at another licensed premises in Ballymoney on July 19th and nothing was found.”
With many thanks to the: Sunday World and Patricia Devlin for the EXCLUSIVE original story –firstname.lastname@example.org
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FEARS are growing of another loyalist feud erupting in a Co Antrim town. Tensions are running high after the recent erection of LVF flags in Ballymena.
The flags have been put up on lampposts in the Doury Road estate, an area regarded locally as a UDA stronghold. The LVF flags were put up in the Camberwell Way part of the estate. The move is being blamed on an LVF faction who recently moved from Co Antrim. “They are blow ins,” revealed our source. “Whether they moved of their own free will or where put out no one knows. “But there is no way the UDA will put up with that.
“Doury Road has always been an area with big support for the UDA.” There are fears that the actions will antagonise UDA members into action. “It is only a small group but I’ve been told more are expected to arrive from Antrim,” added our source. “Hopefully nothing kicks off but people with authority in the organisation are monitoring the situation closely.”
There has been no love lost between the rival paramilitary organisations over the years. The LVF built up a strong affiliation with Johnny Adair’s Shankill Road UFF unit. And it was the unveiling of an LVF flag outside a bar during a show of strength which sparked the vicious feud which ultimately led to Adair’s exile. Now there are fears that Ballymena could be about to become the centre of another violent loyalist dispute.
With many thanks to the: Sunday World and Richard Sullivan for the original story.
Michael Stone is self-isolating behind bars
Milltown massacre gunman Michael Stone fears he could die from coronavirus in jail.
The seriously ill multiple killer is among dozens of prisoners petitioning Justice Minister Naomi Long to be freed until the Covid-19 crisis ends.
Mrs Long announced on Monday that some prisoners are to be released temporarily from Northern Ireland’s jails in response to the crisis – but it will apply to “fewer than 200 individuals” who are entering the last three months of their imprisonment.
But because the 64-year-old loyalist was convicted of terrorist offences he will have to remain behind bars under new release criteria, which also excludes prisoners convicted of murder and sex offences.
Stone’s wife Karan told Sunday Life that her husband is now self-isolating in his cell at Maghaberry fearing that if he becomes infected with Covid-19 he will die.
Speaking on behalf of him and other “vulnerable prisoners”, she said: “Michael falls in the vulnerable prisoner category, and is trying to self-isolate and repeatedly requesting face masks and hand gel.
“He has always been fatalistic with a ‘you play, you pay’ attitude, but he should have the same basic human rights as anyone else. He is a husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.”
Up to 200 prisoners set for early temporary release in Northern Ireland
Stone, who suffers from a heart condition, the rare debilitating Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2F, and can barely walk, had an early release application turned down by the Sentence Review Commission (SRC) last September.
He argued that he should be freed on compassionate grounds because of his ill-health having already served 26 years of a minimum 30-year sentence for six sectarian killings, and the attempted murders of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness in 2006.
The ex-UDA hitman, who was convicted of six murders including three in his gun and grenade attack at the west Belfast graveyard, was originally freed early in 2000 as part of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement arrangements.
Six years later, however, he was sent back to jail after trying to enter Parliament Buildings at Stormont, armed with explosives, knives and an axe, in an attempt to murder the Sinn Fein leaders. He denied it had been a bid to kill the politicians, instead claiming it was an act of performance art.
After the SRC rejected his release bid Stone said he was resigned to being locked up until 2024.
But the threat of Covid-19 has led him to accuse the justice system of sentencing him to death should he not be among the dozens of prisoners released because of the crisis.
His wife Karan added: “Vulnerable prisoners of all ages and religions across Northern Ireland are being kept behind bars despite warnings that an outbreak in the jails is inevitable, and most likely ferocious given the lack of control over a spread.
“Last year alone saw a whole block at Maghaberry incapacitated by flu, and some inmates were hospitalised.
“So why are vulnerable prisoners any exception? Why should they be left just to serve their time? What a reckless and disgusting attitude.”
Members of the Assembly Justice Committee were briefed last Monday about plans to release dozens of inmates in order to relieve pressure on prisons during the Covid-19 crisis.
This is because Maghaberry, Magilligan and Hydebank jails are at breaking point with 165 prison officers – more than 10 per cent of the workforce – self-isolating with possible symptoms of the killer illness.
The dire situation is expected to get worse in the coming weeks as the infection rate in Northern Ireland soars.
To cope with this the Department of Justice (DoJ) has banned prison visits, while courts have scaled back on remanding suspected criminals into custody.
But by far the most drastic measure being implemented by justice chiefs is the release of some of Northern Ireland’s 1,600 prison population. However, this number will not include inmates convicted of terrorist offences, sex offenders, or domestic abusers.
Karan claimed: “This will lead to many more deaths in custody, something the Prison Service in Northern Ireland has become all too familiar with.
“These people have not lost their right to health or life. It’s about time these vulnerable prisoners were given a voice. They should all be released at this time. A jail sentence is not a death sentence.”
Asked about the criteria around the impending prisoner releases, a spokesperson for the NI Prison Service said: “In response to Covid-19 the focus for the Northern Ireland Prison Service is to protect and promote the health and safety of staff and the people in our care.
“The Prison Service has also taken significant steps to reduce the number of people coming into our prisons.
“No decisions have been taken regarding prisoner releases. Any decision will be based on a strict criteria and will be taken in full consultation with the Justice Minister.”
One inmate at Maghaberry Prison is currently in specially located accommodation away from the general population as “a precautionary move”. There have been no confirmed Covid-19 cases in jails here yet.
Prison staff share the same fears as inmates with several contacting Sunday Life to complain about feeling at risk due to a lack of personal protection equipment.
Desperate to avoid any more employees phoning in sick, prison bosses are offering big bonuses to those who remain in work. The payment structure is broken down in a leaked document seen by this newspaper.
It includes an extra £150 per month to any prison officer asked to work in a “contaminated environment”, and a further £160 for any member of staff required to accompany an ill inmate to “bed watch”.
Governors are also benefiting from the bonus with an added £1,000 per month for those remaining on duty during the Covid-19 crisis.
A second jail source also explained how strict social distancing measures were being ignored in the training of new officers.
The insider said: “A new group of 20 recruits started last Monday and will be in close contact for nine weeks. They may have been seated two metres apart in the classroom but this cannot be sustained during searching and handcuffing tutorials.”
Acknowledging the havoc caused by Covid-19 in prisons, Justice Minister Naomi Long said: “We have to manage this very carefully to make sure public safety is maintained and that we don’t overwhelm our prison service and that we’re also able to keep all those in our care safe and look after them.”
With many thanks to: The Sunday Life and the Belfast Telegraph and Caran Barnes for the original story
Judge Neil Rafferty told the pair it was time for them to “grow up”
A man who was caught with balacavas and UDA documents was jailed yesterday as a judge told him and his co-accused to “grow up”.
Judge Neil Rafferty branded those who persist in living in the terrorist past as “wrong-headed”.
He told Desmond John William Lundy, 41, and 52-year-old Brian David Dean: “Both of you have reached an age where it is long since past time for you to grow up and put away childish things.
“Such days are in the past and in the past [they] must remain.
“Terrorism, from whatever extreme, from either side, is a scourge and blight on our community.”
The pair had initially been charged with being, or proporting to be members of the UDA but this was not proceeded with after they pleaded guilty to possessing articles and documents useful to terrorists.
They included balaclavas, gloves and jackets with UDA emblems and documents, some to be used in a form of “swearing-in” ceremony “for those foolish to consider joining such an organisation”.
Judge Rafferty told Belfast Crown Court some of the documents were “almost laughable” in that the section identifying the UDA and UFF was left out but which was something even “a child would have made out”.
Prosecutor Sam Magee said Lundy and Dean’s fingerprints were found on the documents which included a “Code of Conduct of the Ulster Defence Association”, a “Plegde of Allegence” to the terror group and a copy of the “Monkstown Agreement”– allegedly between the UDA, UVF and Red Hand Commandos.
Lundy, of Abbey Ring, Holywood, Co Down, who had possessed 10 balaclavas, 18 pairs of black gloves and multiple UDA emblemed jackets, in addition to the documents, was sentenced to 15 months, split equally between custody and parole.
Dean, from Ainsworth Avenue, West Belfast, who had three balaclavas and documents received a nine-month prison term suspended for three years.
Counsel for both men said the offences dated back to September 2016 when police officers raided their homes and there was “no tangible reason” for the delay, described as “huge” in dealing with their case.
With many thanks to: Belfast Live and Michael Donnelly for the original story
Don’t Be Conned
With the recent Betrayal Act proposed by Boris and his cronies galvanising a renewed unity of unionists and loyalism in Northern Ireland and further afield the local gutter press has made it very clear that their agenda will be to attempt to drive division amongst the rank and file loyalists in Ulster.
The Sunday papers are alive with fanciful stories of Commanders stepping on each other’s toes, turf wars between the UDA and UVF and even plainly stating that, without justification or proof, that any congregation of like minded unionists, the likes of which was held in the Conn Club last week will most probably descend into wanton violence, the likes of which the country has never seen. Taking the biscuit however has got to be the ‘sensational exclusive’ of how one of the main reasons for a convicted drug smuggler’s descent into her personal hell (sic) in Peru stemmed from fleeing loyalists to that well known reclusive place of refuge and sanctuary, Ibiza.
One of the main proponents to peddle this poo is Richard Sullivan, ‘Journalist’ for the Sunday World and other works of fiction.
Richard has no fewer than five stories in this weeks rag, all of which are a testament to his amazing imagination and complete disassociation with reality.
Of course, no edition of the ‘Sunday Stickie’ would be complete without the bar stool ranting of the self appointed voice of the people himself, champagne socialist Jim Mcdowell whose email address featured under his column header is aptly titled email@example.com. Jim must surely live in a different world if he believes the wide range of people who attended the unionist event in the Con club last Monday night (some from as far afield as County Fermanagh) from all walks of life including women, armed forces veterans, loyal orders and an array of political parties are “mafia”, and, the 1974 Ulster Workers Council strike was a “euphemism for a street campaign of balaclava-clad bullying and intimidation”. For someone who falls back on his working-class unionist background when the occasion suits, no-one does falsely stereotyping and caricaturing of that community better.
Do not be taken in by these fables which are only of worth and merit in the land of Hans Christian Anderson, as more of these desperate attempts to weaken the growing spirit of united unionist resolve will surely appear in the coming days and weeks.
Don’t be fooled by agenda media.
Don’t be Conned.
With many thanks to the: Unionist Truth Forum for the original posting