#Fascism: They Are Not British Terrorists, They Are British Paramilitaries – An Sionnach Fionn

ansionnachfionn.com_2016-05-19_06-45-02.jpgThey Are Not British Terrorists, They Are British Paramilitaries – An Sionnach Fionn

The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) is the largest British terrorist organisation in Ireland. From its establishment in 1971 to a nominal ceasefire in 1994 the grouping killed and wounded hundreds of Irish men, women and children. Despite the declaration of a formal end to its campaign of violence in 2007 the UDA continues to carry out low-level intra-communal attacks, from punishment beatings to assassinations, many related to the importation and distribution of drugs. These criminal enterprises are now the primary source of its income and fund the lavish lifestyles of several well-known figures in the group. During the height of the conflict the UDA held the unique position of being western Europe’s only legal terrorist movement. This allowed it to commit murders under the cover-name of the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) while openly organising, recruiting, training and maintaining offices under the public name of the UDA and its affiliates. The grouping’s lawful status gave it a certain cachet in the eyes of the pro-unionist media and political classes in Britain. The UDA were not “terrorists”, they were “paramilitaries”, ones with whom British journalists, politicians and officials could legitimately interact. This of course also made it useful as a quasi-legal proxy in the counter-insurgency war with the (Provisional) Irish Republican Army and its offshoots from 1966 to 2005. Despite diplomatic pressure from governments in Dublin and Washington the authorities in London and Belfast refused to ban the body for most of its active existence, only agreeing to do so in 1992 as part of the covert negotiations with the representatives of (P)IRA and Sinn Féin.

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