Denial has helped Northern Irish terrorism flourish

The full extent of Republican terrorist violence in Northern Ireland has been spelt out in the Independent of Sunday (IoS) today.  But before we go into the details, it is important to apply some necessary context and explain where blame resides.

Anyone who has read Heather Brooke’s excellent book ‘The Silent State’ will remember her examples of how authority tries to hide the reality of crime and makes it all but impossible to get meaningful information about what crime is being perpetrated and where.

The approach makes it easier for the authorities to proclaim their approach to reducing crime is working – even though crime figures are nothing more than the extrapolated findings of the regular British Crime Survey of around 40,000 people .  Crime hotspots are missed, certain offences are excluded (such as murder) and until recently crimes against minors were not counted.  The reality on the ground for people living in our neighbourhoods does not tally with the impression of sunlit uplands presented by the government.

This has long been the case in Northern Ireland.

The difference with Northern Ireland is that there has been a collusion between the authorities and the media to play down the simmering violence that has continued in the years since the Good Friday Agreement. The authorities wanted to portray Northern Ireland as having thrown off terrorism and having moved into a era of peace and prosperity.

The reality on the ground was very different, but outside of Northern Ireland people looking on the BBC NI web pages would have long thought the official line was the truth.  Incidents that were taking place around the province were being reported in the local media – after all the reality could not be hidden from locals – but there was a blackout elsewhere in the UK.

Now that has all changed.  The extent of the violence and significance of the terrorist incidents could not be hidden any longer once the Police Service of Northern Ireland starting asking for more money and resources to combat the ‘dissident’ threat after pressure from the Northern Ireland public. With the cat out of the bag the BBC finally started filing news stories that reflected the reality of the low intensity conflict.  But the damage had already been done. Many people in the UK are left with the impression that the Republican terrorists have spontaneously re-emerged to shatter the peace, when all along peace was an illusion.

The only thing that has changed is the Republican terrorists have enhanced their capability and, rather than just injuring PSNI and military personnel, have been successful in killing soldiers and police officers.  There has been an increase in incidents, but there was always a substantial number of incidents taking place.

What has prompted this post today?  It is nearly six months since this blog explained the reality of the situation and added that:

The breakneck effort to drawdown security forces in Northern Ireland and decommission assets necessary to combat terrorist activity has given the republican groups the space to recruit, train and carry out attacks.  The pandering to IRA/Sinn Fein by the Labour government, which is carrying on under the faux Conservatives, has increased the threat in Northern Ireland and restored a threat to mainland Britain.

Does anyone think this security force drawdown would have been allowed to happen if the UK public were more aware of what was really going on in Northern Ireland?  Does anyone think the increased tempo of Real IRA and Continuity IRA attacks would have happened if the drawdown had not taken place?

The BBC should shoulder a substantial proportion of the blame because anyone in the UK reading its Northern Ireland news page would be shocked to learn what the IoS has reported today.  For we learn that between 2008-2010 there were no less than 272 paramilitary attacks – around two per week – and of those only 12 cases have been solved by the PSNI.  In 2010-11 alone there were 100 incidents involving bombs.

The BBC only started reporting stories in detail when they could no longer be hidden away with one paragraph snippets buried with obscure one line headlines.  Despite its best efforts to hold the line for the establishment, the BBC has finally been forced to lay bare the truth. A comment by Terry Spence, chairman of the Police Federation of Northern Ireland, validates everything this author has been asserting here and elsewhere for some years:

“We are extremely concerned at the growing level of violence, over 200 bomb and gun attacks on police, Army and civilian targets over the past 18 months… We are back to looking under our cars again.” He accused the Government of having an “over-eager desire to portray Northern Ireland as a normal trouble-free society, when there is evidence of a growing terrorist threat which points to the contrary.”

Sadly, although he has spoken about this before in 2009 and 2010, Mr Spence was at least two years late in going public with comments on this subject.  Denial by the government, PSNI and media has allowed terrorism in Northern Ireland to flourish, and we have the latest lethal example of how the establishment has failed the people it is supposed to serve.  Instead too much focus was devoted to self serving agendas.  How can people have any trust in the politicians, police and media when their spin has been so comprehensively shattered?

11 Responses to “Denial has helped Northern Irish terrorism flourish”


  1. 1 Time Traveller 05/06/2011 at 10:12 am

    A great article AM. I’ve long believed that the BBC (and the MSM generally)was complicit with the Labour government in suppressing the reality of the Good Friday Agreement.

    Who would have thought that it would be the IOS to break the story?

  2. 2 Katabasis 05/06/2011 at 12:56 pm

    “authority tries to hide the reality of crime and makes it all but impossible to get meaningful information about what crime is being perpetrated and where…..The reality on the ground for people living in our neighbourhoods does not tally with the impression of sunlit uplands presented by the government.”

    Great post AM. The above is also true of neighborhoods across the UK, though not in as stark violent terms as N.I. many places experience serious ongoing frission, yet are told by the Smart Set that they’re just imagining things, or that their area is an exception.

    Also I was pleased to find out that you had also read the Silent State. I’m wondering – in the spirit of the right-leaning blogosphere being reinvigorated by new initiatives perhaps we should also consider voting for a trio of books all of the bloggers should read ASAP so we find ourselves with a common understanding on certain issues. My recommendations would be – ‘The Silent State’, ‘The Triumph of the Political Class’ and ‘Flat Earth News’.

  3. 3 Span Ows 05/06/2011 at 2:58 pm

    You miss the other possiblity that the BBC are now more open because their own party isn’t in power. The swept it under the carpet before, now they have an oppourtunity to lay the blame with the current government: fits their agenda perfectly.

  4. 4 Span Ows 05/06/2011 at 3:01 pm

    That was a bit off topic, more anti-BBC than reply on topic.

    AM, your post and analysis are excellent. I posted on the BBC newsboards more than a few times in the last 6 or 7 years (before the boards were closed) that the probelms have not gone away. Having Northern Irish friends and business contacts helps.

  5. 5 Edward 05/06/2011 at 4:01 pm

    Can any of this be of surprise to anyone with half a brain?

    Ole jug ears [no brain] was oh so accommodating!

    An amnesty [no less!] for the release of thugs and killers, talking of which, the biggest party representing one side of the divide, is headed by two former terrorists with much blood on their hands, says it all really.
    But what of the beeb? That, arm of the ministry of propaganda and disinformation, gleefully propagated the myth: “Piece of Northern Ireland”.
    The eye was taken off the NI ball, when 9/11 happened, cos it was all so nicely, nicely in NI![innit]

    Well I’ve always thought, they were one terrible atrocity away from civil war in NI and I’ve not changed that opinion, the other half of the divide can only put up with so much.
    Trouble is, we’ve sold our Army down the river: of integration. Into an pan-European force – the Royal Navy is well down that road now.

    Crime on Britain’s streets? In microcosm – yes the streets are so safe, mad Hattie had to wear a stab proof vest, that is what the elite really think about our streets [hypocritical scum], crime survey – BS!
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-552428/Harriet-Harman-takes-flak-PMQs-Tories-strike-wake-stab-proof-vest-disaster.html

  6. 6 David 05/06/2011 at 7:30 pm

    And also in the Indy report was the fact that a large number of civilians have been granted gun licenses for self protection. Where the fcuk is OUR right to protect oursleves with firearms from the Islamic terrorists roaming OUR streets? I though we were all supposed to be equal under the law?

  7. 7 Liz Elliot-Pyle 05/06/2011 at 7:37 pm

    I love the idea of a sort of ‘book club’ that we all should read and then comment on. I would suggest Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, which is ATROCIOUS as literature, but makes some very valid points about humankind/greed/socialism etc.
    I also suggest Chris Mullin’s diaries.
    And Andrew Rawnsley’s 2 books – which would make your hair stand on end (if you hadnt become accustomed to the shenanigens following 13 years of NuLabour). It was his first book, Servants of the People, that made me take an interest is politics.

  8. 8 Edward 05/06/2011 at 8:49 pm

    Good point David,

    I’ve a very bad feeling they will be needed and sooner rather than later.
    Trouble is, the people who have [illegal firearms] them are trouble and the law abiding cannot access firearms to protect themselves, because when the **** hits the fan – the police SERVICE will be exactly NOWHERE.
    It will come to pass, the UK government is going to have to arm it’s citizenry to keep the peace.

  9. 9 TheRagingTory 06/06/2011 at 12:28 pm

    “Does anyone think this security force drawdown would have been allowed to happen if the UK public were more aware of what was really going on in Northern Ireland?”

    On the other hand, news of attacks in Afghanistan generaly meets calls for withdrawl…..

  10. 10 Robert 06/06/2011 at 10:11 pm

    There are the conspirators at the BBC and in New Labour. What about the ones over the border?

    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/kevin-myers/kevin-myers-no-limit-to-this-nauseating-provo-hypocrisy-2663786.html


  1. 1 Denial has helped Northern Irish terrorism flourish « Autonomous Mind | Today Headlines Trackback on 05/06/2011 at 4:45 pm
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