History Military Politics

The British Attempted To Defeat The UDA? The British Were The UDA!

Mhairi Black MP, the left-wing political poster-child of the SNP, writing in Scotland’s pro-independence National newspaper, explaining her opposition to Britain’s decision to launch token air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria:

“Can you imagine if we had applied the logic we are applying to Syria to Ireland during the Troubles? If in our attempt to defeat the IRA or the UDA, would we willingly launch a bombing spree on Dublin, or Omagh?”

Would that be the same Ulster Defence Association, or UDA, which was the largest British terrorist organisation in the north-east of Ireland from the early 1970s onwards? The grouping that numbered former and serving members of the UK military and paramilitary forces among its numbers? The terror gang that sourced two-thirds of its arms and explosives directly or indirectly through the UK’s Royal Ulster Constabulary, Armed Forces, Security Service (MI5) and Ministry of Defence? The group that relied on the UK’s RUC Special Branch, successive military intelligence units, MI5, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and the eavesdropping GCHQ for four-fifths of its intelligence information? The several hundred-strong network of gunmen and bombers who were able to openly organise, fund, recruit and train in the UK and the British occupied north of Ireland from 1971 until 1992 because the government of Britain refused to ban their movement? Would this be the same legal British terrorist organisation which shot and bombed thousands over the course of twenty-one years, nine-tenths of whom were entirely innocent Irish civilians?

The British attempted to defeat the UDA? The British were the fucking UDA!

Joint footpatrol of British UDA terrorists and British Army soldiers
Joint footpatrol of British UDA terrorists and British Army soldiers, British Occupied North of Ireland, 1970s

22 comments on “The British Attempted To Defeat The UDA? The British Were The UDA!

  1. mhairi’s a bright girl and as an MP – her heart’s in the right place !
    maybe she’s got her knickers in a twist over NI history .


  2. Ahem robert nairac? Ahem the dublin and monaghan bombings? Ahem brian nelson? She might be the rising star of the SNP but perhaps one of her more senior colleagues should take her aside and educate her on the british state’s grisly history in Ireland.


  3. Lord of Mirkwood

    Wow, clearly you’ve got some hot takes on that sodding UDA!

    What surprises me most is that this verbal diarrhea is coming out of a Scottish Nationalist. Since when do they make excuses for the British Empire?


  4. BampotsUtd.wordpress.com

    Reblogged this on Bampots Utd.


  5. Gents, I’m a former British soldier, having served in the Gordons in the mid-80s, including a five-month tour in west Belfast. I’m also a member of the Scottish National Party.

    In her defence, she is very young, and from a Protestant background. Consequently, she has much to learn about Britain’s appalling history in Ireland.

    For my own part, since my tour, I’ve learned about this history, and it’s to my eternal shame that I was part of it. I apologise profusely!

    I wish your movement well and I wish Ireland well.



    • Hi , Richard, and thanks for the Comment. Black wasn’t the real object of the post, rather the ignorance of Britain’s role in the conflict in the north-east of Ireland, and the myths that exist, even in progressive nationalist circles. I suspect if one were to inform Black that the British MoD paid for a British agent-cum-terrorist to fly out to apartheid-era South Africa to purchase arms for the pro-UK terror gangs in Ireland she would be astounded. Yet, thanks to pioneering journalists and official enquiries, we know that it did in fact happen and with fatal consequences for dozens of Irish men and women when those arms finally arrived on this island nation.


  6. Don’t know on what info the assertion is based that the U.D.A., despicable though they undoubtedly were, “shot and bombed thousands.” The statistics given in the “Lost Lives” volume has them responsible for 431 deaths and if my memory of “The Troubles” is accurate they rarely used bombs, which were more commonly deployed by the I.R.A. and the U.V.F. The Dublin/Monaghan bombings were carried out by the latter group, not the U.D.A..


    • When one calculates the total number of casualties inflicted by the UDA-UFF from 1971 onwards, that is everything from shootings to beatings, it surpasses two thousand victims, though fatalities account for less than a quarter of that number. I will amend the sentence to make that clearer. Wikipedia, etc. may claim that the UDA-UFF preferred gun-attacks over bomb but that does not mean that they did not employ the latter. Yes, they were rarer compared to the former but they did happen. Of course the British wanted them to happen a lot more, as reported by the Sunday World newspaper:

      “British intelligence spooks told Brian Nelson to get the UDA to bomb the Republic.
      And they even suggested a strategic economic target – an oil terminal in Cork, thought to be the Whiddy Oil terminal.

      Revelations that elements within the British military establishment were advocating bombing raids on a neighbouring state will stun observers.

      The cross-border raid was intended to pressurise the Dublin government into rethinking its extradition policy.”


  7. Then why did the Brits arrested and imprisoned U.D.A. members?
    Like this guy:


    • The UK had its practice of “weeding the lawn” in relation to its counter-insurgency proxies. The US used proxy-forces in Iraq towards the end of the war but it still turned on them, or some of them, as and when required. It is worth noting, as other informed observers and analysts of the Long War have remarked, how few known British agents in the UDA-UFF, UVF, etc. served jail-sentences once they were formally recruited. In contrast non-agents, and those inquiring into suspected agents, frequently came to an untidy end. Payne was a victim of the in-fighting between the RUC SB, the RUC as a whole, SIS-MI6, SS-MI5, etc. which swirled around the South African arms imports escapade.


  8. To show that they were “honest brokers”. Complete farce of a situation which they managed to sell to the rest of the world, the Republic included I’m ashamed to say.
    Far more violence was perpetrated on the Nationalist communities in the North at the start of the Troubles than on the Unionist. Loyalist death gangs were killing uppity taigs in the mid 1960s before the IRA was even back as a fighting force. Far more Catholics burned out etc. Yet when internment came in it was 100% directed at Nationalists.


    • But why would I work for a country that would send me to prison in exchange for my services?


      • As usual, you are being obtuse.

        The organisation was controlled, armed, directed and financed by the British.

        Some of its members were unaware of this and when they were apprehended they were sent to prison to give the appearance of fairness – as mentioned above – to give the appearance the British were merely honest brokers.

        Many others were British agents within the organisation and either did not go to prison or, if they did, were paid handsomely for their services.


        Others were British agents/part time British soldiers/part time police men who never spent a day in prison.


  9. I’m not sure why you chose Davy Payne as an example as the Wiki entry you link to shows that his arrest was just part of a UDA clearing house operation, probably planned in conjunction with British intelligence – exactly what SF was referring to.
    His hateful “career” is also a roll-call of collusion with British Army, RUC and various intelligence agencies.


  10. Of course, many Republicans were British agents as well and colluded with the army, R.U.C. and intelligence services.


    • Yes, And from that it would appear that the British didn’t Like us very much. or at least didn’t/ doesn’t have our best interests at heart.
      Us being Irish.
      Since the implication of the entire thing is that the Brits were pulling the strings.
      If the wool ever drops from people’s eyes in the “loyalist/ Unionist” community and this view was to gain traction.
      Where would we be????
      An interesting dilema which will have to be faced at some point.
      From my POV.. I cannot understand why anybody would be “loyal” to britain.
      Not with these factors.
      Ofc No doubt you will say the Free State was/is a worse propostion.
      Either way it’s a fool’s paradise for Nationalists and Unionists.
      A real poisoned chalice. or hornets nest.
      I see no endgame in sight.


    • True, Ginger, but quantify that “many”. Take the usual allegations made in relation to (P)IRA double-agents which are repeated almost every week in the press, all on the basis of the claims by the British “super-spy” Ian Hurst:

      “Hurst himself has issued so many versions of his claims about the FRU’s (undoubtedly murderous) actions in Ireland that he frequently finds himself slipping into self-contradictions. In 2006 he claimed that one in every twenty IRA Volunteers (soldiers) was a British spy, while “higher up” it was one in every three. Yet by 2011 he was claiming that it was one in every four Volunteers, while one in every two senior officers was an agent of Britain.

      All of which stands in stark contrast to the genuine analysis by British Intelligence of its war efforts as detailed in the de Silva report where the British express frustration at their inability to penetrate the Irish Republican Army’s ranks. This is stated without dispute in a confidential note from the head of MI5’s operational section in Ireland, one of the most senior British Intelligence people in the struggle against the IRA, to his bosses in London. It dates from the late 1980s:

      “15.19: …recruitment of PIRA players has proved impossible””

      Similar internal assessments by the UK can be quoted from elsewhere, dating from the 1970s to 1990s. Even academics with access to sources and information within the British intelligence community have described the impact of spies and informers as negligible, and largely a propaganda weapon.

      On the other hand we know that the UDA, by the UK’s own admittance, was in the case of some units almost entirely staffed with British agents, some unaware that other members of the same unit were also agents. Of the thirty or so men in the UDA-UFF unit which assassinated Pat Finucane twenty-nine were working for the British Forces. That is 96%!


  11. Added to that if there was ever a detailed study done of a comparison of prison sentences between unionists and republicans on similar charges, I would bet there would be a huge difference. Throw in those unionists who used the old nutshell of ‘finding god’ to excuse a lenient sentence and it becomes even more starker. Speaking of those who ‘found God’, Allen Oliver could shine a light on British dirty tricks if he was genuine.


    • The British decision to ban the pro-UK terrorists of the UDA in 1992, as part of the initial negotiations of the Irish-British Peace Process, illustrates exactly its function: a state-sponsored counter-insurgency terror faction working at Britain’s behest in Ireland. For decades governments in Dublin, Washington and elsewhere demanded its banning and were stonewalled until it suited the UK to switch off its support for the group. As I said – the British were the UDA, and the rest. As you indicate, everything should be examined through that understanding.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: