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What Was the Message Behind the Real IRA's Latest Bomb?

Discussion in 'Anarchism and radical activism' started by punkmar77, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. punkmar77

    punkmar77Experienced Member Staff Member Uploader Admin Team Experienced member




    Nov 13, 2009
     United States
    Re-posted from TIME.com

    Just three months ago, the people of Londonderry were celebrating jubilantly after their troubled city was selected as the inaugural U.K. City of Culture. Since then, however, Londonderry's new image as a forward-looking cultural powerhouse — in the words of the city's successful bid, a place of "hope, optimism, determination, enquiry, history and joy" — has been tainted by serious dissident republican violence. In August, a car containing 200 lb of explosives went off outside a police station, with no casualties. And on Monday night, another car bomb exploded near a branch of the Ulster Bank on Culmore Road, one of the city's main thoroughfares. It went off about an hour after a warning had been given to police — nobody was hurt, but the blast was so strong that a police officer standing close to the cordoned-off area was knocked off his feet

    In one sense, the bomb — for which dissident republican terror group the Real IRA has claimed responsibility — was not unexpected. Londonderry is known as a hotbed of republican terrorist activity. This is not the first time the Ulster Bank has been targeted: last year, the Real IRA admitted to sending bullets to relatives of police officers working in the Culmore Road branch. In a September interview with the Guardian newspaper, a spokesman for the terror group said its attacks would involve military, political and economic targets, adding, "The role of bankers and the institutions they serve in financing Britain's colonial and capitalist system has not gone unnoticed." And over the last eighteen months, the Real IRA and similar groups have meted out more than twenty so-called "punishment shootings" — which usually leave victims alive, but severely injured — in some of the city's nationalist working class areas. The dissidents are also prepared to use lethal force. In March 2009, the Real IRA claimed responsibility for the execution-style murder of two soldiers at a British army base in County Antrim, and last February, the group said it had killed Ciaran Doherty, a Derry man who claimed that the U.K. intelligence service MI5 tried to recruit him as an informer.

    However, the motivation for Monday's bombing has left some analysts perplexed. There is "no obvious rationale" for it, says security and policing expert Chris Ryder. "There is a growing sense of anger and frustration in the city at what is seen as an entirely pointless attack which only affects ordinary people and does nothing to advance the prospect of a united Ireland." Despite the public's impatience with the rows, rivalry and wrangling which have characterized the power-sharing government between the Catholic-backed Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party — in particular the deadlock, finally resolved earlier this year, over the devolution of policing and justice powers — there is broad support on both sides of the community for making the devolved Northern Ireland Assembly work.

    Ryder says there could be several possible reasons for the timing of the latest bombing. Some observers think it was timed to precede Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness' address to the Conservative party conference in Birmingham on Tuesday. Others point to the fact that it's the 42nd anniversary of the first civil-rights march held in Londonderry on Oct. 5 1968. "It could even have been intended as a belated two fingers up to Bill Clinton," says Ryder. Clinton was in Derry on Sept. 29 to speak at the University of Ulster's Magee campus on how to build economic prosperity. "But essentially there seems to be neither rhyme nor reason to the attack."

    But experts warn that just because the attack seems random, it's not any less serious. The Real IRA insists that support for the group among young disaffected nationalists is building — although there's debate over whether that claim is more propaganda than fact. "The threat assessment concerning dissident republicans has risen in recent times," says security writer Brian Rowan, noting that the terror threat level in Northern Ireland is at "severe," while last month Britain's threat level from Irish-related terrorism was raised from "moderate" to "substantial". "MI5 says that they pose a real and rising security challenge. But what we are seeing is intermittent activity. They are not capable of a sustained campaign."

    Rowan dismisses the speculation that the bomb was timed to coincide with Martin McGuinness' speech to the Tory conference: "That would take far too much planning." Speaking from Birmingham, McGuinness — who last month launched a draft Regeneration Plan for Londonderry designed to build a healthier economy — condemned the attack as "the futile activities of conflict junkies." "The objectives of these people are to destroy the peace process; to break the unity of the [Assembly]; to turn back the clock on policing and to embarrass Sinn Fein," he said. "On all four counts they have been failing miserably."

    But as the dissident terrorists continue with their attacks, the real question is: What do they think they can achieve? "After all, the IRA was armed by Libya, and they still reached a stalemate," says Rowan. "The dissidents don't have the wherewithal the IRA had, in terms of expertise, arms, financial and community support. So if they have no answer to that crucial question — well, then they are just trying to kill for the sake of killing."

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/ ... z11WUVdMt0

  2. killedbydeath

    killedbydeathActive Member Forum Member




    Sep 14, 2010
    i don't know... maybe to raise awareness to their cause/ inspire new recruits?

    let people know that they're not dead.
  3. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member




    Jun 21, 2010
    Hard to say what's going on there, but following the readmore-link I found and article about the former british prison Maze, where 1981 the IRA-hungerstrike took place. Bobby Sands died there with nine other IRA-volunteers and the whole story may still have consequences for the situation in North-Ireland today.
    We watched the movie "Hunger" (made by british director Steve McQueen) dealing with Bobby Sands death a few days ago - WARNING:
    "Hunger" is not entertainment, it's no documentary either, but it's a nearly realistic third-person view about what it means to be part of the conflict between republicans and unionists.

    Unlike the european continental militant movements, the IRA was really a kind of a peoples army, rooting in the Irish people and supported by a large part of the Irish population, well organized, highly motivated and very determined about their aim.
    They not only fought the british by any means and at every opportunity (punishment shootings for inhuman prison guards for example), they also tried to suppress the mafia-organized drug buisness in catholic areas and used public arts and traditional music for propaganda.
    (strongly recommended: Owen McDonagh & The Bogside Men: Songs Of Irish Civil Rights 1973).

    What they did was something above "terrorism" or militant struggle, I think it was a real war they fought.
    The IRA didn't loose but also they didn't win the war - Sinn Fein declared a ceasefire and started to negotiate with the unionists and the british and at least the fighting and killing stopped step by step.
    I don't agree with their separatism/nationalism or the unclear aspect of the struggle between catholics and protestants, but I respect them for their courage and resolve, in war and ceasefire alike.
    The situation now is still a consequence of this war, the Irish are still unprivileged and disadvantaged, old wounds have not healed and the story about the former Maze prison is a perfect example for this.
    Since the early seventies there have been other dissident groups splitting from the IRA, frustrated about a less militant phase in the struggle - and today it's nearly 15 years since the cease fire bagan.
    So maybe it's a small group of veterans frustrated by the slowly growing and uneasy success of Sinn Fein, trying to get the militant struggle running again - but now without the broad support the IRA had in the past.
    I hope they don't succeed in gaining new recruits because economy is still low, unemployment and lack of perspectives are serious problems.
    If the majority of the Irish in N-Ireland wants to continue the co-existence/cooperation with the unionists/british, it would be an isolated, avantgardist and useless struggle, the same failure like the one made by the raf/germoney or brigate rosse/italy.
  4. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member




    Jun 21, 2010
    For my taste, the IRA was always a bit too militaristic, with an elaborated chain of command up and down - but yes, most probably that some veterans didn't really ended "their" war with the british.
    200 lb of explosives? - Didn't the Irish disarm themselves and only UDF (unionist/pro british) kept their arsenals?
  5. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member




    Jun 21, 2010
    I'm not thaaat sure about their militarism too, but I think they kept the tradition of the forces that drove out the british 1919 - 1921 from the country that became the Republic Of Ireland.

    I was really surprised by this (and I decided to close my obvious gap in education):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ir ... s_of_staff

    and checking out the german wik-article I found much more information about the IRA's disarmament:

    "only two very small dissident groups insisted on maintainance of the belligerency: The Real IRA and the Continuity IRA. At a car bomb attack of the dissident group that called itself "Real IRA" in august 1998 at the north irisch town of Omagh 29 people were killed.

    "On 28th july 2005 the IRA declared the end of the armed struggle. "All IRA-units are ordered to lay down their arms", is said in a statement of the IRA on this date and further: "We believe that there is now another way (...) to end the british dominion in our country."

    "On 26th september 2005 the complete disarmament of the IRA was declared in public by the leader of the international disarment-committee, the canadian general John de Chastelain. The protestant priest Harold Good was also a member of this committee.

    The radical leader of the protestants, pastor ian paisley critisized the lack of transparence of the disarment, because - according to the agreement - no photographs or detailed information about the amount of weapons that were handed over are avaliable.

    On 29th. october 2005 the leader of Sinn Fein Gerry Adams said for the first time, that the war of the IRA is "obviously over". This is a formulation that was called for by the british unionists for years, if the IRA and its struggle was discussed.

    In early march 2009 new terrorattacks happened, for which the Real IRA claimed responsibility."

    I also found some Scottish and Irish forums with discussions about the new wave of militant attack, but the statements are very hard to evaluate, I think the bitterness of the struggle is still relevant on both sides, making it almost impossible to get a realistic point of view.
  6. Kobac

    KobacExperienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member




    Nov 7, 2009
    I think that message from IRA is:BOOM,you re dead!!!
  7. vAsSiLy77

    vAsSiLy77Experienced Member Uploader Experienced member Forum Member




    Jun 21, 2010
    I guess it was rather "BOOM, you're deaf!" 'cause they called in a hour before the bomb went up, so nobody got injured...