Britain’s Secret Terror Force BBC 1 9pm. Leo Telling Producer and Director.

The Troubles. 1972. The IRA set off 1800 bombs in Belfast that year. They set up roadblocks to protect Catholics from the tit-for-tat drive-by shootings from Loyalists. The British Government or British Army decided to introduce the counter-insurgency tactics used in Kenya by Brigadiers with hyphenated names. But this was closer to home and it wasn’t blacks that were being shot, albeit it was working class Catholics. Hard working fathers like Patrick Veight. Children like eighteen-year old Daniel Rooney. Geoffrey Johnson stands up in the Houses of Parliament and tells its members that there was no shoot to kill policy operating in Northern Ireland. That somehow sounds vaguely familiar. The Parachute Regiment shooting unarmed civilians in what became known as Bloody Sunday. Death on the Rock of Gibraltar.   

            Here elite British soldiers seconded  to  the Military Reaction Force (MRF) seven men interviewed, said plainly they had a job to do and they done it. That job was killing people. They did their job and had no regrets. I have no argument with those soldiers. There was an almost comic interlude when the reporter John Ware was sent somewhere in Australia to interview a closed front door. Behind that door was Clive (Tap) Williams he refused to be interviewed as was his right. He was also named as the shooter and tried for the murder of Daniel Rooney. At the trial his weapon of choice for black ops such as this was shown to be the Thomson Machine Gun—favoured by the IRA.  Unfortunately, for him the weapon was traced and the casings forensically matched with a weapon he claimed not to have, but admitted later he did have. Routine forensic hospital swabs of those injured or killed in sectarian shootings also showed another consistent pattern, the victims had not handled weapons or explosives. Tap Williams was not convicted of any offence. This is the equivalent of the dog ate my homework routine. Follow the career paths of those in the MRF such as Tap Williams and Lieutenant Hamish McCurrach who like most upper-class chappies admitted to having a Thompson machine gun in his armoire and had loaned it to Tap for the night, as one does,  and you’ll find a path of career promotion. Tap gets promoted. Lieutenant Hamish become Brigadier General McCurrach.  

            So to draw a line under all this. We had The Shankhill Butchers, Mad Dog and the Reverend Ian Paisley (now residing in a segregated heaven). We had Gerry Adams and the IRA blowing everybody up. We had the British Army and Tap doing whatever the hell they wanted, because they were in the right. It was illegally legal. Something like the Jerremy Kyle show with souped up Cortinas of the seventies Sweeney era,  Thomson machine guns and shooting out of car windows at men with long hair, that look a bit suspect and probably aren’t even working.   God help us. It could never happen now (Discuss).


Yes, God help us ( if She is paying attention!). The TV that got it right for me was a 1 hourly 6 part drama series called Lost Belongings. It was broadcast twice a week in the summer of 1986. Lots of angles, interlinked by the characters, sharp, sometimes funny often grim. The waste of talent in young people was a key theme amongst many themes and truths; far too much of their life and energy often distorted to suit the faction they happened to be born into; sometimes literally shot to hell. There is bound to be some U-tube link I say optimistically        Elsie

Yeh, sad in so many ways Elsie.


A further twist in the tale is that the IRA were heavily infiltrated by British Intelligence  - Jimmy Savile used to boast of his IRA connections too... it was a dirty phoney war.


cheers cannonette. that's interesting, but is this disinformation (for whatever reason). Doesn't really matter to us. No doubt there was immense suffering and no easy answers. 


Why would they want us to think the IRA was run by the British I wonder? The same as Al Qaeda being set up by the CIA?  Lies and disinformation so we don't know what hell's going on.


circles within circles. I'm not sure of the answer, which is an answer of sorts.


Why is Northern Ireland still owned partially by the British? Why is there such violence bewteen the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland? We all believe in the same God. We all love to divide. The Irish are very divisive too. You can't always blame the United Kingdom for all your problems. Ireland has to find cohesion in itself. It's true that the United Kingdom divides and conquers and so did the Romans, Athenians, Jews, Japanese, Chinese etc etc etc including all the African nations. Yeats found hope in the Celtic Revival. Joyce found hope in Eastern mysticism although Finnegan's Wake is really a multicultural nightmare with people literally developing multi-personality complexes. C.S. Lewis wrote Mere Christianity which defines the beliefs of all Christians. Like Gandhi, I really believe in "passive resistance." If you don't like something, don't buy it. If you believe that Abercrombie and Fitch is racist, don't buy their clothes and protest and then go home and do your work and live a quiet life. Violence breeds violence. In war, the old bury the young, the antithesis of renewal.


I've no answers Steve, just questions.