Category Archives: Books on the Troubles of Northern Ireland

Robin `The Jackal’ Jackson – Life & Death

Robert John Jackson

  Robert John Jackson (27 September 1948  – 30 May 1998) ] also known as The Jackal, was a Northern Irish loyalistparamilitary who held the rank of brigadier in the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) during the period of violent ethno-nationalist  conflict in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles.

He was the commander of the UVF’s Mid-Ulster Brigade from 1975 to the early 1990s, when Billy Wright took over as leader.

From his home in the small village of DonaghcloneyCounty Down, five miles southeast of Lurgan, Jackson is alleged to have organised and committed a series of killings, mainly against Catholic civilians, although he was never convicted in connection with any killing and never served any lengthy prison terms.

At least 50 killings in Northern Ireland have been attributed to him, according to Stephen Howe (New Statesman) and David McKittrick (Lost Lives).

 David McKittrick (Lost Lives).

An article by Paul Foot in Private Eye suggested that Jackson led one of the teams that bombed Dublin on 17 May 1974, killing 26 people, including two infants.

Journalist Kevin Dowling in the Irish Independent alleged that Jackson had headed the gang that perpetrated the Miami Showband killings, which left three members of the cabaret band dead and two wounded. Journalist Joe Tiernan and the Pat Finucane Centre alleged this as well as Jackson’s involvement in the Dublin bombings.

When questioned about the latter, Jackson denied involvement. Findings noted in a report by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) (released in December 2011) confirmed that Jackson was linked to the Miami Showband attack through his fingerprints, which had been found on the silencer specifically made for the Luger pistol used in the shootings.

See : Miami Showband Killings – The Day The Music Died

Jackson was a former member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), but had been discharged from the regiment for undisclosed reasons. It was stated by Weir, as well as by others including former British Army psychological warfare operative Major Colin Wallace, that Jackson was an RUC Special Branch agent.

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Colin Wallace – Colin Wallace (left) with Field Marshal Lord Alexander of Tunis

Royal Ulster Constabulary Special Patrol Group (SPG) officer John Weir (who was also involved in loyalist killings), also maintained this in an affidavit. The information from Weir’s affidavit was published in 2003 in the Barron Report, the findings of an official investigation into the Dublin bombings commissioned by Irish Supreme Court Justice Henry Barron.

See: the Barron report

— Disclaimer –

The views and opinions expressed in this post/documentaries  are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.

Early life and UDR career

Jackson was born into a Church of Ireland family in the small hamlet of the mainly Protestant Donaghmore, County Down, Northern Ireland on 27 September 1948, the son of John Jackson and Eileen Muriel.

Some time later, he went to live in the Mourneview Estate in Lurgan,  County Armagh before making his permanent home in the village of DonaghcloneyCounty Down, five miles southeast of Lurgan. Jackson married and made a living by working in a shoe factory and delivering chickens for the Moy Park food processing company throughout most of the 1970s.

The conflict known as “the Troubles” erupted in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s, and people from both sides of the religious/political divide were soon caught up in the maelstrom of violence that ensued. In 1972, Jackson joined the locally recruited Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), an infantry regiment of the British Army, in Lurgan.

He was attached to 11th Battalion UDR. On 23 October 1972, a large cache of guns and ammunition was stolen during an armed raid by the illegal Ulster loyalist paramilitary organisation, the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), on King’s Park camp, a UDR/Territorial Army depot.

It is alleged by the Pat Finucane Centre, a Derry-based civil rights group, that Jackson took part in the raid while a serving member of the UDR. Journalist Scott Jamison also echoed this allegation in an article in the North Belfast News,  as did David McKittrick in his book Lost Lives.

UVF history

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Around the same time Jackson was expelled from the regiment for undisclosed reasons, he joined the UVF Mid-Ulster Brigade‘s Lurgan unit. The UVF drew its greatest strength as well as the organisation’s most ruthless members from its Mid-Ulster Brigade, according to journalist Brendan O’Brien.

The Pat Finucane Centre‘s allegation that he had taken part in the UVF’s 23 October 1972 raid on the UDR/TA depot indicates that he was most likely already an active UVF member prior to being dismissed from the UDR.

Anne Cadwallader states in her 2013 book Lethal Allies that Jackson was expelled from the UDR on 4 March 1974; by then he was discernibly involved in UVF activity.

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As the Provisional IRA continued to wage its militant campaign across Northern Ireland throughout 1972, many loyalists felt their community was under attack and their status was being threatened and sought to retaliate against Irish nationalists and republicans by joining one of the two main loyalist paramilitary organisations, the illegal UVF or the legal Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

The proscription against the UVF was lifted by Merlyn ReesSecretary of State for Northern Ireland, on 4 April 1974. It remained a legal organisation until 3 October 1975, when it was once again banned by the British government.

Many members of loyalist paramilitary groups such as the UVF and UDA managed to join the UDR despite the vetting process. Their purpose in doing so was to obtain weapons, training and intelligence.

 Vetting procedures were carried out jointly by the Intelligence Corps and the RUC Special Branch and if no intelligence was found to suggest unsuitability, individuals were passed for recruitment and would remain as soldiers until the commanding officer was provided with intelligence enabling him to remove soldiers with paramilitary links or sympathies.

Operating mainly around the Lurgan and Portadown areas, the Mid-Ulster Brigade had been set up in 1972 in Lurgan by Billy Hanna, who appointed himself commander. His leadership was endorsed by the UVF’s supreme commander Gusty Spence.

Hanna was a decorated war hero, having won the Military Medal for gallantry in the Korean War when he served with the Royal Ulster Rifles. He later joined the UDR, serving as a permanent staff instructor (PSI) and holding the rank of sergeant. According to David McKittrick, he was dismissed from the regiment two years later “for UVF activity”;

The regimental history of the UDR confirms this although journalist/author Martin Dillon states in his book, The Dirty War, that at the time of his death Hanna was still a member of the UDR.

Hanna’s unit formed part of the “Glenanne gang“, a loose alliance of loyalist extremists which allegedly functioned under the direction of the Intelligence Corps and/or RUC Special Branch.

See: The Glenanne Gang

It comprised rogue elements of the RUC and its Special Patrol Group (SPG), the UDR, the UDA, as well as the UVF.

The Pat Finucane Centre (PFC), in collaboration with an international panel of inquiry (headed by Professor Douglass Cassel, formerly of Northwestern University School of Law) has implicated this gang in 87 killings which were carried out in the 1970s against Catholics and nationalists.

The name, first used in 2003, is derived from a farm in Glenanne, County Armagh, which the UVF regularly used as an arms dump and bomb-making site. It was owned by James Mitchell, an RUC reservist.  According to John Weir, the gang usually did not use the name UVF whenever it claimed its attacks; instead it employed the cover names of “Red Hand Commando“, “Protestant Action Force“, or “Red Hand Brigade”. Weir named Jackson as a key player in the Glenanne gang.

He had close ties to loyalist extremists from Dungannon such as brothers Wesley and John James Somerville, with whom he was often spotted drinking in the Morning Star pub in the town. 

Alleged shooting and bombing attacks

Patrick Campbell shooting

He was first arrested on 8 November 1973 for the killing on 28 October of Patrick Campbell, a Catholic trade unionist from Banbridge who was gunned down on his doorstep. Jackson’s words after he was charged with the killing were:

“Nothing. I just can’t believe it”.

Campbell’s wife, Margaret had opened the door to the gunman and his accomplice when they had come looking for her husband. She had got a good look at the two men, who drove off in a Ford Cortina after the shooting, and although she identified Jackson as the killer at an identity parade, murder charges against him were dropped on 4 January 1974 at Belfast Magistrates’ Court.

The charges were allegedly withdrawn because the RUC thought Mrs. Campbell knew him beforehand. Jackson confirmed this, saying that they had met previously on account that he worked in the same Banbridge shoe factory (Down Shoes Ltd.) as Patrick Campbell.

 It was suggested in David McKittrick’s Lost Lives that some time before the shooting there may have been a “minor political disagreement” between Jackson and Campbell while the two men were on a night out.

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Raymond Murray, in his book The SAS in Ireland, suggested that his accomplice in the shooting was Wesley Somerville. Irish writer and journalist Hugh Jordan also maintains this allegation.

When the RUC had searched Jackson’s house after his arrest they discovered 49 additional bullets to those allotted a serving member of the UDR. A notebook was also found which contained personal details of over two dozen individuals including their car registration numbers.

Dublin car bombings

RUC Special Patrol Group officer John Weir claimed to have first met Jackson in 1974 at Norman’s Bar, in Moira, County Down.

Weir stated in an affidavit that Jackson was one of those who had planned and carried out the Dublin car bombings. According to Weir, Jackson, along with the main organiser Billy Hanna and Davy Payne (UDA, Belfast), led one of the two UVF units that bombed Dublin on 17 May 1974 in three separate explosions, resulting in the deaths of 26 people, including two infant girls. Close to 300 others were injured in the blasts; many of them maimed and scarred for life.

Journalist Peter Taylor affirmed that the Dublin car bombings were carried out by two UVF units, one from Mid-Ulster, the other from Belfast.

The bombings took place on the third day of the Ulster Workers Council Strike, which was a general strike in Northern Ireland called by hardline unionists in protest against the Sunningdale Agreement and the Northern Ireland Assembly which had proposed their sharing political power with nationalists in an Executive that also planned a greater role for the Republic of Ireland in the governance of Northern Ireland.

In 2003, Weir’s information was published in the Barron Report, which was the findings of an official investigation into the bombings by Irish Supreme Court Justice Henry Barron.

 Justice Barron concluded Weir’s “evidence overall is credible”.  An article by Paul Foot in Private Eye also implicated Jackson in the bombings.

The producers of the 1993 Yorkshire Television documentary, The Hidden Hand: The Forgotten Massacre, referred to Jackson indirectly as one of the bombers. However, three of his alleged accomplices, Billy Hanna, Harris Boyle, and Robert McConnell were directly named.

Although the incriminating evidence against Jackson had comprised eight hours of recorded testimony which came from one of his purported chief accomplices in the bombings, the programme did not name him directly during the transmission as the station did not want to risk an accusation of libel.

The programme’s narrator instead referred to him as “the Jackal”. Hanna, Boyle, and McConnell were deceased at the time of the programme’s airing.

According to submissions received by Mr. Justice Barron, on the morning of 17 May 1974, the day of the bombings, Jackson collected the three bombs and placed them onto his poultry lorry at James Mitchell‘s farm in Glenanne, County Armagh, which had been used for the construction and storage of the devices.

He then drove across the border to Dublin, crossing the Boyne River at Oldbridge. The route had been well-rehearsed over the previous months. Billy Hanna, then the Mid-Ulster UVF’s commander and the principal organiser of the attacks, accompanied him.

At the Coachman’s Inn pub carpark on the Swords Road near Dublin Airport, the two men met up with the other members of the UVF bombing team.  Jackson and Hanna subsequently transferred the bombs from his lorry into the boots of three allocated cars, which had been hijacked and stolen that morning in Belfast. The Hidden Hand producers named William “Frenchie” Marchant of the UVF’s A Coy, 1st Battalion Belfast Brigade, as having been on a Garda list of suspects as the organiser of the hijackings in Belfast on the morning of the bombings.

The cars, after being obtained by the gang of hijackers, known as “Freddie and the Dreamers”, were driven from Belfast across the border to the carpark, retaining their original registration numbers.

Journalist Joe Tiernan suggested that the bombs were activated by Billy Hanna.  Sometime before 4.00 p.m., Jackson and Hanna headed back to Northern Ireland in the poultry lorry after the latter had given the final instructions to the drivers of the car bombs.

 Upon their return, Jackson and Hanna went back to the soup kitchen they were running at a Mourneville, Lurgan bingo hall. With the UWC strike in its third day, it was extremely difficult for people throughout Northern Ireland to obtain necessities such as food. Neither man’s absence had been noticed by the other helpers.

Following Hanna’s orders, the three car bombs (two of them escorted by a “scout” [lead] car, to be used for the bombers’ escape back across the Northern Ireland border) were driven into the city centre of Dublin where they detonated in Parnell StreetTalbot Street, and South Leinster Street, almost simultaneously at approximately 5.30 pm.

No warnings were given. From the available forensic evidence derived from material traces at the scene, the bombs are believed to have contained, as their main tertiary explosive a gelignite containing ammonium nitrate, packed into the usual metallic beer barrel container used by loyalists in prior car bombings.

Twenty-three people were killed outright in the blasts, including a pregnant woman and her unborn child; three more people would later die of their injuries. The bodies of the dead were mostly unrecognisable. One girl who had been near the epicentre of the Talbot Street explosion was decapitated; only her platform boots provided a clue as to her sex.

The bombers immediately fled from the destruction they had wrought in central Dublin in the two scout cars and made their way north using the “smuggler’s route” of minor and back roads, crossing the border near Hackballs CrossCounty Louth at about 7.30 pm. 

Thirty minutes earlier in Monaghan, an additional seven people were killed instantly or fatally injured by a fourth car bomb which had been delivered by a team from the Mid-Ulster UVF’s Portadown unit. According to Joe Tiernan, this attack was carried out to draw the Gardaí away from the border, enabling the Dublin bombers to cross back into Northern Ireland undetected.

Jackson was questioned following the Yorkshire Television programme, and he denied any involvement in the Dublin attacks.[ His name had appeared on a Garda list of suspects for the bombings.  Hanna’s name was on both the Garda and the RUC’s list of suspects; however, neither of the two men were ever arrested or interrogated in connection with the bombings. The submissions made to the Barron Inquiry also stated that one week before the Dublin attacks, Jackson and others had been stopped at a Garda checkpoint at Hackballs Cross.

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As it turned out, nobody was ever convicted of the car bombings. Years later, British journalist Peter Taylor in an interview with Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) politician and former senior Belfast UVF member David Ervine questioned him about UVF motives for the 1974 Dublin attacks. Ervine replied they [UVF] were:

“returning the serve”.

Ervine, although he had not participated in the bombings, explained that the UVF had wanted the Catholics across the border in the Republic of Ireland to suffer as Protestants in Northern Ireland had suffered on account of the intensive bombing campaign waged by the Provisional IRA.

On 28 May 1974, 11 days after the bombings, the UWC strike ended with the collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the power-sharing Executive.

See: Dublin and Monaghan Bombings

John Francis Green killing

Statements made by John Weir affirmed Jackson’s active participation in the killing of senior IRA member John Francis Green in Mullyash, near CastleblayneyCounty Monaghan.

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John Francis Green

On the evening of 10 January 1975, gunmen kicked down the front door of the “safe” house Green was staying in and, finding him alone in the living room, immediately opened fire, shooting him six times in the head at close range. The bullets all entered from the front, which indicated that Green had been facing his killers.

The UVF claimed responsibility for the killing in the June 1975 edition of its publication, Combat. Green’s killing occurred during an IRA ceasefire, which had been declared the previous month.

Assassination of Billy Hanna and leadership of UVF Mid-Ulster Brigade†

Ulster Volunteer Force mural. Robin Jackson led the UVF’s Mid-Ulster Brigade from 1975 to the early 1990s.

Subsequent to his alleged killing of leader Billy Hanna outside his home in Lurgan in the early hours of 27 July 1975, Jackson assumed command of the Mid-Ulster Brigade.

Hanna and his wife Ann had just returned from a function at the local British Legion Club. When he stepped out of the car, Jackson and another man approached him. After asking them “What are you playing at?” Jackson produced a pistol, walked over and shot him twice in the head; once in the temple and afterwards in the back of the head, execution style as he lay on the ground. His wife witnessed the killing.

Joe Tiernan suggested that Jackson killed Hanna on account of the latter’s refusal to participate in the Miami Showband killings. Hanna apparently suffered remorse following the 1974 Dublin bombings, as he is believed by Tiernan to have instructed one of the bombers, David Alexander Mulholland to drive the car which exploded in Parnell Street, where two infant girls were among those killed.

 According to Tiernan and the Barron Report, David Alexander Mulholland was identified by three eyewitnesses. Tiernan also suggested that Hanna and Mulholland became informers for the Gardaí regarding the car bombings in exchange for immunity from prosecution. He added that although the British Army was aware of this, Jackson was never told, as it was feared he would decide to become an informer himself

Investigative journalist Paul Larkin, in his book A Very British Jihad: collusion, conspiracy, and cover-up in Northern Ireland maintained that Jackson, accompanied by Harris Boyle, had shot Hanna after learning that he had passed on information regarding the Dublin bombings.

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Martin Dillon also claims this in The Trigger Men. Dillon also stated in The Dirty War that because a number of UDR/UVF men were to be used for the planned Miami Showband attack, the UVF considered Hanna to have been a “security risk”, and therefore it had been necessary to kill him.

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David McKittrick in Lost Lives, however, suggested that Jackson had actually killed Hanna in order to obtain a cache of weapons the latter held.

The UVF drew its greatest strength as well as the organisation’s most ruthless members from its Mid-Ulster Brigade according to Irish journalist Brendan O’Brien.

Miami Showband massacre

See: Miami Showband massacre

Links to Captain Robert Nairac

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It was stated by The Hidden Hand programme that Jackson had links to British Military Intelligence and Liaison officer Captain Robert Nairac.

The Hidden Hand alleged that Jackson and his UVF comrades were controlled by Nairac who was attached to 14th Intelligence Company (The Det). Former MI6 operative, Captain Fred Holroyd claimed that Nairac admitted to having been involved in John Francis Green’s death and had shown Holroyd a colour polaroid photograph of Green’s corpse to back up his claim. Holroyd believed that for some months leading up to his shooting, Green had been kept under surveillance by 4 Field Survey Troop, Royal Engineers, one of the three sub-units of 14th Intelligence.

This unit was based in Castledillon, County Armagh, and according to Holroyd, was the cover name of an SAS troop commanded by Nairac and Captain Julian Antony “Tony” Ball. Nairac was himself abducted and killed by the IRA in 1977, and Ball was killed in an accident in Oman in 1981.

Justice Barron himself questioned Holroyd’s evidence as a result of two later Garda investigations, where Detective Inspector Culhane discounted Holroyd’s allegations regarding Nairac and the polaroid photograph. Culhane concluded that the latter had been one of a series of official photographs taken of Green’s body the morning following his killing by Detective Sergeant William Stratford, who worked in the Garda Technical Bureau‘s Photography Section.

Weir made the following statements in relation to Jackson and Nairac’s alleged mutual involvement in the Green assassination:

The men who did that shooting were Robert McConnell, Robin Jackson, and I would be almost certain, Harris Boyle who was killed in the Miami attack. What I am absolutely certain of is that Robert McConnell, Robert McConnell knew that area really, really well. Robin Jackson was with him. I was later told that Nairac was with them. I was told by … a UVF man, he was very close to Jackson and operated with him. Jackson told [him] that Nairac was with them.

In his 1989 book War Without Honour, Holyroyd claimed that Nairac had organised the Miami Showband ambush in collaboration with Jackson, and had also been present at Buskhill when the attack was carried out.

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Bassist Stephen Travers and saxophonist Des McAlea, the two bandmembers who survived the shootings, both testified in court that a British Army officer “with a crisp, clipped English accent” had overseen the operation. However, when shown a photograph of Nairac, Travers could not positively identify him as the soldier who had been at the scene.

Martin Dillon in The Dirty War adamantly stated that Nairac had not been involved in the Green killing nor in the Miami Showband massacre.

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The Barron Report noted that although Weir maintained that Jackson and Billy Hanna had links to Nairac and British Military Intelligence, his claim did not imply that the British Army or Military Intelligence had aided the two men in the planning and perpetration of the 1974 Dublin bombings. While in prison, Weir wrote a letter to a friend claiming that Nairac had ties to both Jackson and James Mitchell, owner of the Glenanne farm.

The 2006 Interim Report of Mr. Justice Barron’s inquiry into the Dundalk bombing of 1975 (see below) concluded that Jackson was one of the suspected bombers:

“reliably said to have had relationships with British Intelligence and or RUC Special Branch officers”.

In 2015, a biography of Nairac entitled “Betrayal: the Murder of Robert Nairac” was published. Written by former diplomat Alistair Kerr, the book provides documentary evidence that shows Nairac as having been elsewhere at the time the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, John Francis Green killing and Miami Showband ambush took place.

On 17 May 1974 he was on a months-long training course in England; 10 January 1975 there were three witnesses who placed him on temporary duty in Derry for a secret mission; and on 31 July 1975 at 4am he had started on a road journey from London to Scotland for a fishing holiday.

Other killings

1975

The 2006 Interim Report named Jackson as having possibly been one of the two gunmen in the shooting death of the McKearney couple on 23 October 1975. Peter McKearney was shot between 14 and 18 times, and his wife, Jenny 11 times. The shooting took place at their home in Moy, County Tyrone; Jackson was linked to the 9mm Sterling submachine gun used in the killings. “Glenanne gang” member Garnet Busby pleaded guilty to the killings and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

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John Weir

John Weir claimed that Jackson led the group who bombed Kay’s Tavern pub in Dundalk on 19 December 1975, which killed two men.  Barron implicated the “Glenanne gang” in the bombing, however, Jackson was not identified by any eyewitnesses at or in the vicinity of Kay’s Tavern.[

Gardaí received information from a reliable source that Jackson and his car – a Vauxhall Viva with the registration number CIA 2771 – were involved in the bombing; yet there were no witnesses who reported having seen the car. The RUC stated that Jackson had been observed celebrating at a Banbridge bar at 9.00 pm on the evening of the attack in the company of other loyalist extremists. The implication was that they were celebrating the Kay’s Tavern bombing.

1976

The following month, on 4 January 1976, Jackson supposedly organised the “Glenanne gang”‘s two co-ordinated sectarian attacks against the O’Dowd and Reavey families in County Armagh, leaving a total of five men dead and one injured.

 Weir maintained that it was Jackson who shot 61-year-old Joseph O’Dowd and his two nephews, Barry and Declan, to death at a family celebration in Ballydougan, near Gilford; although Jackson had not been at the scene where the Reavey brothers had been killed twenty minutes earlier.

The day after the double killing, ten Protestant workmen were gunned down by the South Armagh Republican Action Force, who ambushed their minibus near the village of Kingsmill. The shootings were in retaliation for the O’Dowd and Reavey killings. The Glenanne gang made plans to avenge the Kingsmill victims with an attack on St Lawrence O’Toole Primary School, Belleeks. This plan, which involved the killing of at least 30 schoolchildren and their teacher, was called off at the last minute by the UVF’s Brigade Staff (Belfast leadership), who considered it “morally unacceptable” and feared it would have led to a civil war.

Based on the description given by Barney O’Dowd, a survivor of the shooting attack at Ballydougan, one of the weapons used in the O’Dowd killings was a Luger with an attached silencer.  The findings noted in the HET Report on the Miami Showband killings revealed that on 19 May 1976, two fingerprints belonging to Jackson were discovered on the metal barrel of a home-made silencer constructed for a Luger pistol.

Both the silencer and Luger, as well as more firearms, ammunition, a magazine, explosives, and bomb-making material, were found by the security forces at the farm of a man by the name of Edward Sinclair, a former member of the “B Specials“. The exhibit, however, was mistakenly labelled indicating that his prints had been found on the black insulating tape wrapped around the silencer rather than the silencer itself.

After several unsuccessful attempts to apprehend Jackson between 20 and 30 May, Jackson was arrested at his home on 31 May under Section 10 of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1973; he was taken to Armagh Police Station. This was when the amended information regarding his fingerprints was delivered to Detective Superintendent Ernest Drew at Armagh. Drew and Detective Constable William Elder both questioned him; Jackson denied ever having been at Sinclair’s farm whilst admitting knowing him through the Portadown Loyalist Club which they both frequented.

When shown the Luger, silencer and magazine (but not the insulating tape), Jackson denied having handled them. When asked by Detective Superintendent Drew to provide an explanation should his fingerprints be discovered on either pistol or silencer, Jackson told him that one night at the Portadown Loyalist Club, Sinclair had asked him for some adhesive tape and Jackson claimed

“I gave him part of the roll I was using in the bar”.

Jackson had allegedly been using the tape whilst lapping hoses for beer kegs at the bar. In his statement to Detective Superintendent Drew, Jackson claimed that one week prior to his arrest, two high-ranking RUC officers had tipped him off about his fingerprints having been found on the insulating tape wrapped around the silencer used with the Luger. Jackson went on to say that he was forewarned, using the words:

“I should clear as there was a wee job up the country that I would be done for and there was no way out of it for me”.

On 2 June, Jackson was charged with possession of a firearm, a magazine, four rounds of ammunition and a silencer with intent to endanger life. He was detained in custody and went to trial on 11 November 1976 at a Diplock Court held at Belfast City Commission, charged only with possession of the silencer. Although the judge initially rejected his defence that his fingerprints were on the insulating tape and had “been innocently transferred to the silencer”, he managed to avoid conviction when he was acquitted of the charge.

The trial judge, Mr Justice Murray, had said: “At the end of the day I find that the accused somehow touched the silencer, but the Crown evidence has left me completely in the dark as to whether he did that wittingly or unwittingly, willingly or unwillingly”.

As a result of the judicious examination of forensic ballistics procured from original RUC reports and presented to Justice Barron, the 9 mm Luger pistol, serial no. U 4 for which the silencer was specifically made, was established as having been the same one used in the Miami Showband and John Francis Green killings.

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According to journalist Tom McGurk, Miami Showband trumpeter Brian McCoy was shot nine times in the back with a Luger pistol.  The Miami inquiry team was never informed of these developments and Jackson was never questioned about the Miami Showband killings following the discovery of his fingerprints on the silencer. The Luger pistol serial no.U 4 was later destroyed by the RUC on 28 August 1978.

Barney O’Dowd claimed RUC detectives in the 1980s admitted to him that Jackson had been the man who shot the three O’Dowd men, but the evidence had not been sufficient to charge him with the killings.

In 2006, Barney O’Dowd spoke at the public hearings of the Houses of the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on the Barron Report Debate. He maintained that in June 1976 an RUC detective came to see him at his home and told him the gunman could not be charged with the killings as he was the “head of the UVF” and a “hard man” who could not be broken during police interrogation. Additionally the UVF had threatened to start shooting policeman like the IRA were doing if the gunman was ever charged with murder.

Weir stated in his affidavit that on one occasion some months after he was transferred to Newry RUC station in October 1976, Jackson himself, and another RUC officer and “Glenanne gang” member, Gary Armstrong, went on a reconnaissance in south Armagh seeking out the homes of known IRA members, with the aim of assassinating them. Jackson, according to Weir, carried a knife and hammer, and boasted to Weir that if they happened to:

“find a suitable person to kill”, he [Jackson] “knew how to do it with those weapons”.

They approached the houses of two IRA men; however, the plan to attack them was aborted and they drove back to Lurgan. They were stopped at an RUC roadblock near the Republic of Ireland border, but the three men were waved through, after an exchange of courtesies, despite the presence of Jackson in the car with two RUC officers.

1977 and the William Strathearn killing

The village of AhoghillCounty Antrim, where the William Strathearn killing took place

He was implicated by Weir in the killing of Catholic chemist, William Strathearn,  who was shot at his home in AhoghillCounty Antrim after two men knocked on his door at 2.00 am on 19 April 1977 claiming to need medicine for a sick child.

Strathearn lived above his chemist’s shop. Weir was one of the RUC men later convicted of the killing, along with his SPG colleague, Billy McCaughey, and he named Jackson as having been the gunman, alleging that Jackson had told him after the shooting that he had shot Strathearn twice when the latter opened the door.

Weir and McCaughey had waited in Weir’s car while the shooting was carried out. The gun that Jackson used had been given to him by McCaughey, with the instructions that he was only to fire through an upstairs window to frighten the occupants and make sure they “got the message”, and not to kill anyone. As in the Dublin bombings, Jackson’s poultry lorry was also employed on this occasion, specifically to transport himself and Robert John “R.J.” Kerr, another alleged accomplice, to and from the scene of the crime. After the killing, Jackson and Kerr went on to deliver a load of chickens. Kerr was allegedly Jackson’s lorry helper, assisting in loading and unloading chickens which Jackson sold for a living.

Jackson was never questioned about the killing. According to an RUC detective, he was not interrogated for “reasons of operational strategy”. Weir suggested that “Jackson was untouchable because he was an RUC Special Branch agent.”

The Barron Report stated that Weir had made an offer to testify against Jackson and Robert John “R.J”. Kerr, but only on the condition that the murder charge against him was withdrawn. This offer was refused by the Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions who said

Kerr and Jackson have not been interviewed by the police because the police state they are virtually immune to interrogation and the common police consensus is that to arrest and interview either man is a waste of time. Both men are known to police to be very active and notorious UVF murderers. Nevertheless the police do not recommend consideration of withdrawal of charges against Weir. I agree with this view. Weir and McCaughey must be proceeded against. When proceedings against them are terminated the position may be reviewed in respect of Jackson and Kerr.

It is noted in the Barron Report that Northern Ireland’s Lord Chief Justice Robert Lowry was aware of Jackson and Kerr’s involvement in the Strathearn killing, and that they were not prosecuted for “operational reasons”. Mr. Justice Barron was highly critical of the RUC’s failure to properly investigate Jackson.

Weir declared:

“I think it is important to make it clear that this collusion between loyalist paramilitaries such as Robin Jackson and my RUC colleagues and me was taking place with the full knowledge of my superiors”.

1978–1991

The interior of Crumlin Road Prison in Belfast. Following his arrest in 1979 for possession of guns, ammunition, and hoods, Jackson was remanded in custody to the prison to await trial

Journalist Liam Clarke alleged that in early 1978, Weir and Jackson traveled to Castleblaney with the intention of kidnapping an IRA volunteer named Dessie O’Hare from a pub called The Spinning Wheel. However, when Jackson and Weir arrived, they discovered the publican had been warned of the kidnap plot and they were ordered to leave the premises.

Jackson’s sole conviction came after he was arrested on 16 October 1979 when a .22 pistol, a .38 revolver, a magazine, 13 rounds of ammunition, and hoods were found in his possession.He was remanded in custody to Crumlin Road Prison in Belfast to await trial. On 20 January 1981, Jackson was brought before the Belfast Crown Court on charges of possession of guns and ammunition, and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

 He was released on 12 May 1983.

A man whose description matched Jackson’s was seen behaving suspiciously in the vicinity of Lurgan RUC barracks close to where three prominent republicans were later ambushed and shot by masked UVF gunmen after they left the police station on 7 March 1990. The republicans had been signing in at the station as part of their bail conditions for charges of possession of ammunition. Sam Marshall was killed in the attack; Colin Duffy and Tony McCaughey were both wounded. Although the shooting was claimed by the UVF, the gunmen were never caught. Two UVF members were later convicted of having supplied the car used in the ambush.

He reportedly perpetrated his last killings in March 1991, with the fatal shootings of three Catholics, Eileen Duffy, Catriona Rennie, and Brian Frizzell, at a mobile shop in Craigavon. Duffy and Rennie were teenage girls.

 Weir’s affidavit contradicted this as it pointed out that although Jackson was aware that the killings were to take place, he had not been at the scene of the crime; a solicitor informed Weir he had been with Jackson at his home at the time the shootings occurred to provide him with an alibi. Investigative journalist Paul Larkin suggested that the shooting attack against the shop was organised by Jackson upon receiving complaints from UDR soldiers after they had been refused service and insulted by the mobile shop employees.

Larkin identified one of the hitmen as Mark “Swinger” Fulton. Although the RUC initially arrested UVF members associated with Jackson, they then focused their attention on the men belonging to the Mid-Ulster Brigade’s Portadown unit led by Billy Wright. Fulton was a prominent member of this unit and served as Wright’s right-hand man.

Reputation and further allegations

Designated by Weir the “most notorious paramilitary in Northern Ireland”, at least 50 killings were directly attributed to Jackson, according to journalists Stephen Howe in the New Statesman,  and David McKittrick in his book Lost Lives.

Kevin Dowling in the Irish Independent, dubbed Jackson the “Lord High Executioner of the North’s notorious murder triangle”, adding that he was infamous from Belfast to the Irish border for “the intensity and fury of his instinct to kill”.

A former UDR soldier who had served with Jackson described him as a sectarian killer who had a visceral hatred of Catholics but that :

“you were always glad to have him with you when you were out on patrol”.

Unnamed Intelligence officers personally acquainted with Jackson stated that he was a psychopath who would often dress up and attend the funerals of his victims because he felt a need “to make sure they were dead.”

 Described as a sardonic man who was extremely dedicated; physically he was dark-haired, blue-eyed, “small, but firmly-built”. Suspicious by nature, he repeatedly advised his associates that they should never reveal secret information to anyone. His paranoia and fear of recognition by his potential victims was such that he attempted to destroy all photographs of himself including school and family pictures.

Psychological warfare operative Major Colin Wallace corroborated the allegations, stating that

[E]verything people had whispered about Robin Jackson for years was perfectly true. He was a hired gun. A professional assassin. He was responsible for more deaths in the North [Northern Ireland] than any other person I knew. The Jackal killed people for a living. The State not only knew that he was doing it. Its servants encouraged him to kill its political opponents and protected him.

Wallace also named Jackson as having been “centrally-involved” in the Dublin bombings, but like Weir, suggested that the principal organiser had been Billy Hanna.  Wallace’s psychological operations unit typically targeted loyalist extremists; however, during the period of 1973 and 1974 he was refused clearance to target principal members of the Mid-Ulster UVF despite an increase in paramilitary activity from the organisation.

In June 1974, a month after the bombings, Wallace was denied permission to target key loyalists including Jackson and Hanna, as their names were on a list which excluded them from being targeted for psychological operations. This appeared to indicate that in practice, those members of paramilitaries whose names were listed were also excluded from being targeted for prosecution.

Liam Clarke of the Sunday Times made the following statements regarding Jackson and his reported special relationship with the security forces and military intelligence:

Jackson had many allies still serving in the UDR and close links to special forces soldiers. These included Bunny Dearsley of military intelligence and Robert Nairac, Tony Ball and other soldiers attached to the undercover 14th Intelligence Unit. These officers met him at a bar in Moira and many suspect that he was involved in murders set up by military contacts at that time. In the late 1970s, he [Jackson] was a binge drinker and sometimes boasted to UVF associates of “someone looking after me”. Some took this as a reference to God, or even the Devil, but the most likely explanation is that it referred to members of the Army’s intelligence corps.

Originally nicknamed “Jacko”,  Jackson was given the more sinister sobriquet, “the Jackal” by Sunday World newspaper’s Northern Ireland editor Jim Campbell when he investigated and exposed Jackson’s alleged paramilitary activities – including his involvement in the Miami Showband killings – and links to British Military Intelligence.

 In retaliation, Jackson reportedly approached members of the violent loyalist Shankill Butchers gang in Belfast, who (at Jackson’s request) shot and seriously wounded Campbell on 18 May 1984.  According to journalist Joe Gorrod of The Mirror, it was reported in the Irish Times that the SAS took Jackson abroad where he received specialist training. In the late 1980s, he was also sent by MI5 to South Africa and Australia to buy weapons that were shipped back to loyalist paramilitaries and Ulster Resistance in Northern Ireland.[130]Gorrod wrote that Jackson kept hidden files that incriminated the politicians and businessmen who were involved with Jackson in the loyalist arms shipments.

In his book Loyalists, British journalist Peter Taylor devotes pages 187–195 to the loyalists’ South African arms deals which had taken place in the late 1980s. Jackson’s name does not appear in the account nor is Australia referred to. Joe Gorrod is the only journalist to make these allegations although Henry McDonald (of The Guardian) affirmed that Jackson lived for a period of time in South Africa during the 1980s.

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The purported files, which were kept with a friend, would have ensured Jackson that he would never be sentenced to a lengthy imprisonment.

Weapons used in the 1994 UVF shooting attack on patrons in the Heights Bar at Loughinisland were later found to have come from the South African arms shipment that had ended up in the hands of Robin Jackson.

Succeeded by Billy Wright

In the early 1990s, he handed over command of the Mid-Ulster UVF to Portadown unit leader Billy Wright, also known as “King Rat”. Wright formed the breakaway Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) in 1996. This was after he and his Portadown unit had been stood down by the UVF’s Brigade Staff in Belfast on 2 August 1996, following the unauthorised killing of a Catholic taxi driver by members of Wright’s group outside Lurgan during the Drumcree disturbances when the UVF were on ceasefire.

Although Wright took the officially-disbanded Portadown unit with him to form the LVF, Jackson, despite being on friendly terms with Wright, remained loyal to the UVF leadership as did most of the other Mid-Ulster Brigade units. Wright was shot dead inside the Maze Prison on 27 December 1997 by Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) inmates while waiting in a prison van which was transporting him to a visit with his girlfriend. Wright had been sentenced to eight years imprisonment for having threatened a woman’s life.

Jackson was confronted in 1998 by the son of RUC Sergeant Joseph Campbell, a Catholic constable gunned down outside the Cushendall, County Antrim RUC station in February 1977, as he was locking up. It was rumoured that Jackson had been the hitman sent to shoot Campbell on behalf of an RUC Special Branch officer.

Weir, in his affidavit, claimed Jackson, prior to Campbell’s shooting, had informed him of the RUC officer’s request. Jackson, by then dying of cancer, told Campbell’s son that he had not been involved in the killing. The UVF, at a secret meeting with journalists, declared that Jackson had no part in Campbell’s killing. The case was later placed under investigation by the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.

See: Billy Wright

Death

Jackson died of lung cancer at his Donaghcloney home on Saturday, 30 May 1998 and was buried the following Monday, 1 June in a private ceremony in the St. Bartholomew Church of Ireland churchyard in his native Donaghmore, County Down. His grave, close to that of his parents, is unmarked apart from a steel poppy cross. 

He was 49 years old. His father had died in 1985 and his mother outlived him for five years.

After his death, a friend of Jackson told Gorrod that Jackson had no regrets about his UVF activities; however, due to his religious upbringing he was tormented by feelings of remorse on his deathbed believing that he had been “drawn into a world of evil that wasn’t of his making”. One of his last wishes was that the secret documents incriminating the politicians and businessmen with whom he associated be released to the public. Liam Clarke suggested the killing of Billy Hanna was the only killing Jackson ever regretted, admitting it had been “unfair” to kill him.

Journalist Martin O’Hagan had been in the process of writing a book about Jackson but his assassination by the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) in 2001 prevented its completion. Along with Billy Hanna and other senior loyalists, Jackson was commemorated in the UVF song Battalion of the Dead. In May 2010, angry relatives of UVF victims unsuccessfully sought the removal of the song from YouTube.

See : Miami Showband Killings – The Day The Music Died

See: The Glenanne Gang

See: Dublin and Monaghan Bombings

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The Girl Who Escaped ISIS – Farida Khalaf

The Girl Who Escaped ISIS 

 Farida Khalaf 

I have long followed with sympathy the plight of the Yazidi people of Iraq and I watched with horror and a heavy heart as the madmen  of Islamic  State turned its twisted , pitiless hatred on these gentle folk and the genocidal  destruction of their families , communities and very cultural.
 
Crimes against humanity were committed on an industrial scale  and the Yazidi people were easy targets for the bullies  and worthless  losers  of Islamic Sate or should that be
” Islamic Failed State”  .
Hundreds were killed , fathers and sons separated from their women and children  and slaughtered without  an ounce of mercy. Their wife’s and daughters  enslaved and bought , sold and resold within the slave markets of an Islamic  Hell on earth .
 
Farida Khalaf   survived this nightmare ordeal and against all the odds she escaped and was reunited with her mother and surviving brothers in an Iraqi refugee camp .
This is her incredible story

 Farida’s Story

 

Image result for farida khalaf the girl who escaped isis

In August 2014, Farida was, like any ordinary teenager, enjoying the last days of summer before her final year at school. However, her peaceful mountain village in northern Iraq was an ISIS target as their genocide against the Yazidi people began.

The Catastrophe

ISIS murdered the men and boys in the village, including Farida’s father and brother, and took the women hostage. Farida was one of them. She was held in a slave camp, in the homes of ISIS members and finally in a desert training camp. Continually she struggled, resisted and fought against her captors, showing unimaginable strength and bravery.

This is my Story

Eventually, Farida managed to plot her escape and fled into the desert with five young girls in her care, but defeating ISIS was just the first step in her journey. In this book she tells her remarkable and inspiring story.

Extracts
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Reviews

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Farida Khalaf

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Farida Khalaf (born circa 1995) is a Yazidi woman who was abducted by ISIS in 2014 and sold into slavery. She escaped to a refugee camp, and in 2016 published a book about her experience, The Girl Who Beat ISIS.

Khalaf grew up in the village of Kocho in the mountains of Iraq. In 2014, when she was 18, ISIS invaded her village. The jihadists murdered all the men and boys of the village, including her father and brother. Single women and girls, including Farida and her friend Evin, were forced onto a bus at gunpoint and brought to Raqqa, where they were sold into sexual slavery.She was once beaten so badly by her captors that she lost sight in one eye, and could not walk for two months.

The young women managed to escape to a refugee camp in northern Iraq, and Khalaf was reunited with surviving family members. Among members of her community, however, she was seen as having brought dishonor to her family by having been raped. She subsequently moved to Germany, where she hopes to become a mathematics teacher.

 

The IRA Greenbook

The IRA Greenbook

IRA Green Book poster

The Green Book is a training and induction manual issued by the Irish Republican Army to new volunteers. It was used by the post-Irish Civil War Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Cumann na mBan, (“League of Women”), along with later incarnations such as the Provisional IRA (PIRA). It includes a statement of military objectives, tactics and conditions for military victory against the British government.

— Disclaimer –

The views and opinions expressed in this post/documentaries  are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.

This military victory was to be achieved as part of:

“the ongoing liberation of Ireland from foreign occupiers”

The Green Book has acted as a manual of conduct and induction to the organisation since at least the 1950s.

Extracts

What A Volunteer Should Do When Arrested!

1. The most important thing to bear in mind when arrested is that you are a
volunteer of a revolutionary Army, that you have been captured by an enemy force,
that your cause is a just one, that you are right and that the enemy is wrong and
that as a soldier you have taken the chance expected of a soldier and that there is
nothing to be ashamed of in being captured.

2. You must bear in mind that the treatment meted out to you is designed to break
you and so bleed you of all the information you may have with regard to the
organisation to which you belong.

3. They will attempt to intimidate you by sheer numbers and by brutality.
Volunteers who may feel disappointed are entering the first dangerous threshold
because the police will act upon this disappointment to the detriment of the
volunteer and to the furtherment of their own ends. Volunteers must condition
themselves that they can be arrested and if and when arrested they should expect
the worse and be prepared for it.

 

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History

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Because the IRA and later republican groupings have been identified as illegal organisations (the PIRA, IRA & Cumann na mBan have been proscribed – declared illegal – in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and a number of other countries)

 

The Green Book has been distributed and published secretly. It is published at unknown printing presses and distributed to or shared with IRA volunteers as they are accepted for active duty. Due to this secrecy only two editions of the Green Book have so far been released into the public domain. The first, published in 1956, appears to be intact.

Image result for Seamus Twomey ira

The second, publication date unknown but dating to the 1977 detention of then IRA Chief of Staff Seamus Twomey, has only been released in three parts (referred to here as the 1977 edition). With the beginning of the latest IRA ceasefire and the 2005 ending of their campaign, it seems unlikely that a new edition of the manual will have been issued in recent years by the IRA. However, it is possible that known/unknown groupings have issued a more recent version.

Volunteers’ treatment of the Green Book

The Green Book is issued to IRA volunteers as part of their training and is considered a secret document which should not be revealed to, or discussed with non-IRA members. In order to protect the organisation, disclosure of its training material and any other training documents, including the Green Book, would most likely carry stiff penalties up to and including Court Martial. Once issued, each volunteer is expected to study and learn from his/her copy of the manual, to apply the rules given in it, and to apply lessons learnt from it. While the manual is clearly not all the training a volunteer could expect, it gave a broad overview meant to go some way to preparing the volunteer for active duty with the organisation.

1977 and 1956 editions

Both known issues of the Green Book were in existence while the IRA, (in the case of the 1956 edition), and the PIRA, (in the case of the 1977 edition), were engaged in a military campaign. In 1956, this was the Border Campaign, in the 1970s it was the Provisional IRA campaign 1969-1997.

Commonalities and differences exist between the two documents. This demonstrates that the Green Book is a living document updated periodically. These updates are made to reflect changes in;

  • political policy and social structure,
  • military strategy and tactics of the organisation,
  • military strength of the organisation and,
  • the technology/tactics of the organisation’s enemies,

While splits in the IRA since 1922 up to the 1950s do not appear to be noted in the 1956 document, developments in the fields of insurgency and counter-insurgency are. Both T. E. Lawrence and Field Marshal Sir William Slim are quoted.

The 1977 edition appears to have been more heavily influenced by the work of Brigadier General Frank Kitson.

By the 1977 edition, the document had increased in scope with length remaining around the same. Some doctrinal sections from the 1956 edition were still appearing, while new sections aimed at combating the counter insurgency efforts of the British Army and RUC had appeared. Notably the 1977 edition would have existed alongside the IRA’s change in tactics towards the entirely self-reliant cell structure.

The 1956 edition on the other hand discusses the use of the IRA flying column – en masse attacks by large groups of volunteers against concentrations of the enemy. Another notable facet of the 1977 edition is the attention paid to mental preparation of IRA Volunteers, this being the time of the IRA’s “Long War” strategy. Readers of the 1977 edition are warned:

“The Army as an organisation claims and expects your total allegiance without reservation. It enters into every aspect of your life. It invades the privacy of your home life, it fragments your family and friends, in other words claims your total allegiance. All potential volunteers must realise that the threat of capture and of long jail sentences are a very real danger and a shadow which hangs over every volunteer…”

“..Another important aspect all potential volunteers should think about is their ability to obey orders from a superior officer. All volunteers must obey orders issued to them by a superior officer regardless of whether they like the particular officer or not”.

The 1956 edition, contains no such warning but appeals to the “Guerrilla code.” In ‘Chapter Five – Organisation and Arms’ the reader is advised:

“Leadership will not come so much by appointment as by the trust the guerrillas place in their commander. He must be worthy of that trust if he is to succeed. Instead of discipline of the regular army type there will be a more stern battle discipline: agreement on the job to be done, and the need to do it, and obedience to the guerrilla code, these take the place of the unthinking army type discipline. Breaches of the guerrilla code — desertion, betrayal, breach of confidence in any way — must be severely dealt with on the spot”.

Contents of the Green Book

The book contains information on:

  • political philosophy of the IRA,
  • Irish history in terms of struggle against the occupation of Ireland,
  • the military objectives of the organisation,
  • the military strategy for Guerrilla fighters,
  • the military equipment and tools that can be used by Guerrilla fighters,
  • the military equipment and training for tools available to the IRA,
  • propaganda techniques within the theatre of operations,
  • interrogation techniques and how to resist them.

The book has also included references to the training, development, and tactics employed by Regular & Irregular/Specialist forces in modern armies – particularly those of the British Army.

Green Book historical context

The 1956 document couches the violence and occupation of the island of Ireland in a long history of armed resistance to occupation. The first Chapter is entirely taken up with providing this history from the viewpoint of the organisation. It provides information on the Kerne, the battle of the Yellow Ford, Owen Roe O’Neill, the 1798 Rebellion and United Irishmen, James Fintan Lalor, and the Tan War.

All are described as being within the context of legitimate resistance to the occupation of Ireland. This discussion is largely romanticised and aimed at demonstrating a lineage of “armed struggle” from which the IRA assumes its legitimacy in the fight against “occupying forces in Ireland”.

One entry in this discussion is the fact that the efforts of IRA guerrillas were the direct cause in ending the British occupation of the 26 counties of Ireland—the territory that would become the Irish Free State, and later the Republic of Ireland. The 1956 manual also implies that the bulk of the IRA’s work in “freeing Ireland from occupation” is over. This indicates both a “southern” perspective on Irish independence and an underestimation of the resistance they would encounter during the Border Campaign, that was aimed at the end of British rule in Northern Ireland. With the publication of the 1977 edition this assumption of an easy victory in ending partition had been dropped and the “Long War” strategy adopted.

The 1956 edition summarises the result of the violence during the 1919-1921 Irish War of Independence (referred to by republicans, who considered independence as having been only partially achieved, as the Tan War) with this passage:

“The hammer blows of the guerrillas destroyed the British administration. The guerrillas acted in small numbers in the right localities and compelled the British to disperse to find them. Then as the British searched, they hit them at will by means of the ambush. Communications were systematically destroyed and even the British army’s transport system in the country was disorganised.”

“The enemy’s intelligence service was completely dislocated. The R.I.C.– the eyes and ears of British rule- was demoralised. British justice courts could not operate–for the people ignored them. The British gradually were forced to evacuate the smaller, more isolated garrisons. They concentrated in the larger towns. The areas evacuated came under sole control of The Republic. The next step was to isolate the larger centres and keep cutting communications and constantly hitting the enemy. In time these would have been evacuated too. Thus ended the last great phase of guerrilla operations against British rule in Ireland.”

Compare to the Marxist intrepretation in the 1977 edition, published during a new campaign and new conditions of waging war. The “struggle” is couched in more socio-economic terms, terms which would have made more sense to a generation living through unemployment and economic hardship in post industrial revolution Northern Ireland (referred to here as the “six counties”). It is also an indication of the influence of Marxist Philosophy that permeated the IRA in the late 1970s:

“The objective of the 800 years of oppression ‘is economic exploitation with the unjustly partitioned 6 counties remaining Britain’s directly controlled old-style colony’ and the South under the ‘continuing social, cultural and economic domination of London’. This last led to Irish savings being invested in England ‘for a higher interest rate’ and many hundreds of thousands of boys and girls from this country had to emigrate to England to seek the employment which those exported saving created.”

“Another aspect of economic imperialism at work is the export of raw, unprocessed materials: live cattle on the hoof – mineral wealth, fish caught by foreign trawlers, etc. Further, from 1956 on, the Free State abandoned all attempts to secure an independent economy, and brought in foreign multi-national companies to create jobs instead of buying their skills and then sending them home gradually. Africanisation’ is the word for this process elsewhere. Control of our affairs in all of Ireland lies more than ever since 1921 outside the hands of the Irish people. The logical outcome of all this was full immersion in the E.E.C. in the 1970s. The Republican Movement opposed this North and South in 1972 and 1975 and continues to do so. It is against such political economic power blocks East and West and military alliances such as NATO and the Warsaw Pact.”

While the 1956 edition does not engage in any legitimisation of the struggle beyond the historical context of resistance to occupation, the 1977 edition does – claiming direct legitimacy from the members of the Second Dáil who transferred their authority to the IRA in 1938 after the takeover of the IRA Army Council by Seán Russell.

This had always been the official ideology of the IRA, however after the split between the Provisional IRA and the Official IRA in 1969 it was probably deemed necessary to lay more of a claim to the historical struggle than the pre-split IRA had felt necessary. The 1956 edition would have also been published for use during a period when the failed S-Plan or Sabotage campaign was within living memory of younger IRA volunteers. Newer volunteers needed to be reminded of previous IRA activity in the “struggle for liberation”:

“The moral position of the Irish Republican Army, its right to engage in warfare, is based on:

  • (a) the right to resist foreign aggression;
  • (b) the right to revolt against tyranny and oppression; and
  • (c) the direct lineal succession with the Provisional Government of 1916, the first Dáil of 1919 and the second Dáil of 1921″.

“In 1938 the seven surviving faithful Republican Deputies delegated executive powers to the Army Council of the I.R.A. per the 1921 resolution. In 1969 the sole surviving Deputy, Joseph Clarke, reaffirmed publicly that the then Provisional Army Council and its successors were the inheritors of the first and second Dáil as a Provisional Government.”

In November 2003 during testimony to the Saville Inquiry on the events of Bloody Sunday alleged former Chief of Staff of the IRA, Martin McGuinness, denied that he had ever read such a book before he claims to have left the IRA in the 1970s. McGuinness reportedly said:

“When I was in the IRA there was no such book, I don’t know when it came into existence.”

When asked what the phrase “green book” meant, he stated: “I think it means the book was green.”

Extracts

Court Martial Procedure.

14. At any time it so desires, the Court may go into private session to decide on points
which may arise, such as the admissibility of evidence.

15. When all witnesses have testified, Defence Counsel will sum up and make closing
address to the Court. This will be followed by summing up and closing address of the
Prosecuting Counsel. The Court then goes into private session to consider its verdict and
sentence.

16. For breach of any General Army Order, the Court shall not have power to impose a
lesser penalty than that laid down in such order.

17. The verdict and sentence of the Court shall be set down in writing and signed by the
three members. This, together with a summary of the evidence, must be forwarded by the
President to the Convening Authority. Sentence is subject to the ratification of the
Convening Authority. Note: In the case of the death penalty, sentence must be ratified by
the A/C.

18. The accused may forward an appeal against the verdict or sentence or both to the
Adjutant-General who will place it before the Competent Authority. The appeal should
be forwarded by accused through his O/C. who in return will forward it to the AdjutantGeneral
with a signed copy of verdict and sentence and a summary of the evidence. The
Competent Authority may order a new trial or reduce the penalty but may not increase
the penalty imposed by the Court.

The Guerrilla / The Volunteer

The 1977 edition of the Green Book is very much focused on the mental strength of the volunteer. The manual is eager to draw a clear distinction between volunteer and his enemy:

“A member of the I.R.A. is such by his own choice, his convictions being the only factor which compels him to volunteer, his objectives the political freedom and social and economic justice for his people. Apart from the few minutes in the career of the average Brit that he comes under attack, the Brit has no freedom or personal initiative. He is told when to sleep, where to sleep, when to get up, where to spend his free time etc.”

In the 1977 edition the term Guerrilla is dropped in favour of “volunteer”, the new edition also stresses that this volunteer is part of a movement with common aims and objectives. From the PIRA’s point of view this would have been necessary to combating competing interpretations encountered in the community and the propaganda efforts of the enemy it faced:

“Before we go on the offensive politically or militarily we take the greatest defensive precautions possible to ensure success, e.g. we do not advocate a United Ireland without being able to justify our right to such a state as opposed to partition; we do not employ revolutionary violence as our means without being able to illustrate that we have no recourse to any other means. Or in more everyday simple terms: we do not claim that we are going to escalate the war if we cannot do just that; we do not mount an operation without first having ensured that we have taken the necessary defensive precautions of accurate intelligence, security, that weapons are in proper working order with proper ammunition and that the volunteers involved know how to handle interrogations in the event of their capture etc, and of course that the operation itself enhances rather than alienates our supporters.”

The 1956 edition on the other hand stresses the physical aspects of IRA operations:

“Outside of the support he [the Guerrilla] gets from the people among whom he operates-and this support must never be underestimated for it is vital to his eventual success-he fights alone. He is part of an independent formation that is in effect an army by itself. He must be self-contained. If necessary he must act alone and fight alone with the weapons at his disposal- and these very often will not be of the best. He must find his own supplies. His endurance has to be great: and for this he needs a fit body and an alert mind. Above all he must know what he is fighting for- and why.”

Military objectives in the Green Book

The 1977 edition describes the military objectives of the IRA as:

“The position of the Irish Republican Army since its foundation in 1916 has been one of sustained resistance and implacable hostility to the forces of imperialism, always keeping in the forefront of the most advanced revolutionary thinking and the latest guerrilla warfare techniques in the world.”

The enemy is described as:

“The establishment is all those who have a vested interest in maintaining the present status quo in politicians, media, judiciary, certain business elements and the Brit war machine comprising, the Brit Army, the U.D.R., R.U.C. (r) [reserve], Screws, Civilian Searchers. The cure for these armed branches of the establishment is well known and documented. But with the possible exceptions of the Brit Ministers in the ‘Northern Ireland Office’ and certain members of the judiciary, the overtly unarmed branches of the establishment are not so clearly identifiable to the people as our enemies as say armed Brits or R.U.C.”

The military objects of the IRA in 1977 are presented as closely tied to the political objectives of politicising the citizenry. Rather than the tactic of surgical strike, the tactic of continuous escalation or the strategy of what has been called the PIRA’s Tet offensive is preferred:

“By now it is clear that our task is not only to kill as many enemy personnel as possible but of equal importance to create support which will carry us not only through a war of liberation which could last another decade but which will support us past the ‘Brits Out’ stage to the ultimate aim of a Democratic Socialist Republic.”

“The Strategy is:

  1. A war of attrition against enemy personnel which is aimed at causing as many casualties and deaths as possible so as to create a demand from their people at home for their withdrawal.
  2. A bombing campaign aimed at making the enemy’s financial interest in our country unprofitable while at the same time curbing long term financial investment in our country.
  3. To make the Six Counties as at present and for the past several years ungovernable except by colonial military rule.
  4. To sustain the war and gain support for its ends by National and International propaganda and publicity campaigns.
  5. By defending the war of liberation by punishing criminals, collaborators and informers.”

The 1956 edition stresses the military objective and barely mentions political objectives. It contains a lot of practical advice on operating as a Guerrilla fighter and how to inflict damage on targets. No mention is made of the establishment of “a Democratic Socialist Republic”. This can probably been seen in the context of the IRA keeping pace with social changes and the material aspirations of Irish men and women living within the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

At the time of the Border Campaign the communities the IRA came to rely on were not politicised to the same degree as those in 1977. A lack of support within their host community is commonly given as the reason for the failure of the Border Campaign. This edition of the Green Book even goes so far as to announce the aim of restoring the Irish language as the national language, an aim not mentioned in the earlier edition.

Military equipment in the Green Book

The 1977 edition of the Green Book makes little mention of arms and equipment available to the volunteer. The one entry that does appear deals only with the issue of tactics as affected by lack of weaponry:

“Tactics are dictated by the existing conditions. Here again the logic is quite simple. Without support Volunteers, Dumps, Weapons, Finance, etc., we cannot mount an operation, much less a campaign. In September 1969 the existing conditions dictated that the Brits were not to be shot, but after the Falls curfew all Brits were to the people acceptable targets. The existing conditions had been changed.”

The 1956 edition goes into a lot of detail on arms that the volunteer can expect to encounter and how to use them. Explosives are detailed alongside what the Guerrilla should know about handling & preparing them. The sabotage techniques and weaponry available at the time had mostly ceased to be commonly used by the late 1970s, namely:

Detonators are also detailed with physical descriptions, handling instructions, and burning rates. Detonators covered include: Cordtex and FID.

Small arms listed range from the revolver, to the shotgun and submachine gun up to the flame thrower, which was almost never used, except for an attack on British soldiers of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers. It can be assumed that the use of these weapons, or at least supplies of them, had been diminished when the 1977 edition was published. Given that the organisation was having troubles with internal security, it may have also been considered a security risk for the IRA to detail its available weaponry too closely.

A generation earlier, IRA units operating during the S-Plan / Sabotage campaign did not have access to the above material, with the exception of Gelignite. IRA explosive devices of the 1930s and 1940s were prepared using materials such as Potassium chlorate, Carbide, Saxonite, Iron Oxide, Aluminium, sulfuric acid etc. By the time of the Northern Campaign (IRA) c. 1942, IRA Eastern Command, in cooperation with IRA Western Command could raise 12 tons of weapons and explosives at short notice. This was excluding the tons of weapons and explosives seized during the S-Plan campaign.

When the IRA split in the early 1970s into the Official IRA and Provisional IRA they divided the arms held in IRA weapons dumps. The Provisional IRA got the majority of these weapons. For details on the types of arms recently decommissioned by the IRA as part of their permanent cesation of violence see the article on the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning and a breakdown of the PIRA’s weapons before decommissioning took place in September 2005.

Propaganda techniques in the Green Book

The 1977 edition stresses that the volunteer is ultimately responsible within the framework of the movement for ensuring the formulation, dissemination and efficiency of propaganda. This process was to begin within the mind of the volunteer himself:

“A new recruit’s immediate obstacle is the removal of his (her) ignorance about how to handle weapons, military tactics, security, interrogations etc. An O.C.’s [Commanding Officer] might be how to put a unit on a military footing; an I.O.’s [Intelligence Officer] how to create an effective intelligence network; a Cumann na mBan Chairman’s how best to mount a campaign on a given issue, e.g. H Blocks etc., and for all members of the movement regardless of which branch we belong to, to enhance our commitment to and participation in the struggle through gaining as comprehensive an understanding as possible of our present society and the proposed Republican alternative through self and group education.”

The stated war objectives of the IRA within the 1977 document included the success of national and international propaganda as a war objective:

“We exploit these mistakes [mistakes by the British Army] by propagating the facts. So it was with their murderous mistakes of the Falls Road curfew, Bloody Sunday and internment, which were exploited to our advantage support- wise as was the murder of John Boyle in Dunloy.”

The 1956 edition is a lot more practical, suggesting a more limited, less well oiled organisational machine of the IRA then than today:

“The main channels of information available to the guerrillas are newspapers, leaflets, radio, word of mouth. Other methods may be worked out and new ones invented. For example: Painting of slogans, proclamations and manifestoes and so on. All the means of winning the confidence of the people must be utilised. The ideas of the movement must be so popularised that no one is in doubt-least of all the enemy-that it will win eventually.”

“This information service must function continuously to get maximum results. Among the things it must do are:

  • Show weakness of enemy position and propaganda used to bolster that position.
  • Show what is wrong with political and social order.
  • Suggest remedies and how they can be brought about.
  • Be in touch all the times with thinking of the people.”

“The world must know and understand what is being done, what the enemy is trying to destroy and why, and the way these things can be ended and peace restored and freedom won. The use of regular bulletins for foreign newspapers and news-agencies becomes a necessity. The bulletin should be of the documentary type: no room for emotional pleas or the like. Just the facts.”

While IRA volunteers also engaged in the above efforts, the techniques are not described in the 1977 Green Book.

Interrogation techniques

The 1956 edition contains no details on how to react to internment, capture, interrogation, or interrogation techniques. This was no doubt an oversight on the part of the IRA, one which they came to regret with the successful interrogation of IRA volunteers captured by their enemies.

By 1977, with the launching of the IRA’s campaign in Northern Ireland in 1969, the technical capabilities & anti-insurgency apparatus of the RUC, as well as the Regular and Specialist forces of the British Army had advanced. Coupled with this were technical advances in the intelligence gathering and interrogation techniques of those forces. The combination of these factors alongside political determination to capture and kill IRA forces and subdue the nationalist population of Northern Ireland led to changes in the Green Book.

Much more stress was placed on resisting interrogation in what has been called The Green Book II.[7] If captured, the PIRA volunteer is warned to remain mentally implacable:

  1. “The most important thing to bear in mind when arrested is that you are a volunteer of a revolutionary Army, that you have been captured by an enemy force, that your cause is a just one, that you are right and that the enemy is wrong and that as a soldier you have taken the chance expected of a soldier and that there is nothing to be ashamed of in being captured.
  2. You must bear in mind that the treatment meted out to you is designed to break you and so bleed you of all the information you may have with regard to the organisation to which you belong.
  3. They will attempt to intimidate you by sheer numbers and by brutality. Volunteers who may feel disappointed are entering the first dangerous threshold because the police will act upon this disappointment to the detriment of the volunteer and to the furtherment of their own ends. Volunteers must condition themselves that they can be arrested and if and when arrested they should expect the worse and be prepared for it.”

A series of tactics employed by interrogators are listed along with the stages the interrogation process the volunteer should expect to go through: physical torture, subtle psychological torture, and humiliation.

The remainder of the document persists in a similar vein, constantly stressing the dangers of submitting to interrogation techniques. This highlights the increasing threat the PIRA realised interrogations were having against the organisation. Most likely this was a result of experience gained throughout the 1970s and during the Border Campaign when arrest and imprisonment of IRA/PIRA volunteers seriously impacted the operational effectiveness of the respective organizations.

See also

The Green Book (Muammar Gaddafi)

IRA Nutting SquadIRA Nutting Squad

nutting squad

 

 

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Books on the Northern Ireland Troubles

Click anywhere to buy the book

    

A Secret History of the IRA

Books on the Troubles
Books on the Troubles

Synopsis

For decades, the British and Irish had ‘got used to’ a situation without parallel in Europe: a cold, ferocious, persistent campaign of bombing and terror of extraordinary duration and inventiveness. At the heart of that campaign lies one man: Gerry Adams. From the outbreak of the troubles to the present day, he has been an immensely influential figure. The most compelling question about the IRA is: how did a man who condoned atrocities that resulted in huge numbers of civilian deaths also become the guiding light behind the peace process?
Moloney’s book is now updated to encompass the anxious and uneasy peace that has prevailed to 2007.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780141028767

Books on The Troubles of Northern Ireland

The Shankill Butchers

I was terrified of The Shankill Butchers .
I was terrified of The Shankill Butchers .

The Shankill Butchers was an Ulster loyalist gang—many of whom were members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)—that was active between 1975 and 1982 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was based in the Shankill area and was responsible for the deaths of at least 23 people, most of whom were killed in sectarian attacks. The gang was notorious for kidnapping and murdering random Irish Catholic civilians; each was beaten ferociously and had his throat hacked with a butcher’s knife. Some were also tortured and attacked with a hatchet. The gang also killed six Ulster Protestants over personal disputes, and two other Protestants mistaken for Catholics.

Extract from Belfast Child

The story of my life long search for my missing Catholic mother and our eventual reunion.

I lived just opposite the community centre were the butchers dumped many of the  bodies and I use to be terrified on dark winter nights, when I had to walk past the centre and every sound and shadow had me on tender hooks. Once my cousin Sam and I were playing in a building site and we ran into a half completed house to hide from our mates. All the walls and floors were covered with blood and gore and on one of the walls it looked as those someone had tried to write “Help Me” in their own blood. We knew we were in a room that had been used to torture someone and we both yelled and ran all the way home………………………………………………….

Please come back for more soon and share, I want to reach as many people as possible and tell my story.

Books on the Troubles of Northen Ireland

the Dirty War

A great read if you want to know more about the British Army and undercover operations in Northern Ireland.

1969 was a year of rising tension, violence and change for the people of Northern Ireland. Rioting in Derry’s Bogside led to the deployment of British troops and a shortlived, uneasy truce. The British army soon found itself engaged in an undercover war against the Provisional IRA, which was to last for more than twenty years. In this enthralling and controversial book, Martin Dillon, author of the bestselling The Shankill Butchers, examines the roles played by the Provisional IRA, the State forces, the Irish Government and the British Army during this troubled period. He unravels the mystery of war in which informers, agents and double agents operate, revealing disturbing facts about the way in which the terrorists and the Intelligence Agencies target, undermine and penetrate each other’s ranks. The Dirty War is investigative reporting at its very best, containing startling disclosures and throwing new light on previously inexplicable events.

Books on Norther Ireland Troubles

making sense of the northern Ireland Troubles

The Northern Ireland conflict was one of the most bloody, protracted, and bitter campaigns of terrorist violence in modern history. Rooted in the partition of Ireland in 1921, over 50,000 people were killed or seriously injured because of the hostilities between Catholic nationalists and Protestant unionists. Despite the landmark Good Friday Agreement in 1998, violent incidents are still rife and new paramilitary groups are becoming ever more emboldened.

This landmark introduction uses the latest archival material to chart the history of “The Troubles” and to examine the possible factors behind the political compromise of Sinn Fein and the DUP. Exploring the legacy of sectarian violence and inconsistent British intervention, the authors assert that, unfortunately, Northern Ireland is perhaps as fiercely segregated as ever.

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loyalist book

This title is based on a series of frank interviews with both the paramilitary leaders who lead loyalist strategy and the gunmen who carried out the bombings. There are also interviews with loyalist and unionist politicians who operated centre-stage, with an account of the violence of the paramilitaries.