Tuesday, July 10, 2007

British army report says it did not defeat the Irish Republican Army

Eoin Burke-Kennedy:

The 98-page analysis of Operation Banner , the army's code name for its activities in the North, describes the Provisional IRA as "professional, dedicated, highly skilled and resilient" and one of the most effective terrorist organisations in history.

While the loyalist paramilitaries presented themselves as the protectors of the Protestant community, it said, they were in practice often little more than a "collection of gangsters".

But the study, which covers the period between 1968 and 2005, makes no mention of alleged British army collusion with loyalist paramilitaries.


The analysis cites Bloody Sunday, however, where 13 innocent civilians were shot dead in 1972, as an example of poor military decision-making. It concludes simply that the manner in which the arrest operation was conducted, using vehicles to approach the crowd was with hindsight "heavy-handed".

The report, which was commissioned by then chief of staff, General Sir Mike Jackson, also describes the introduction of internment in the early 1970s as a "major mistake" which had a major impact on popular opinion across Ireland, in Europe and the US.

Glaring omissions from analysis

Wrongly accused local man finally has his name cleared


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