Archive for the ‘northern ireland’ Category

The book I read to research this post was Stalker by John Stalker which is an excellent book that I bought from a local secondhand bookstore. This book is around 280 pages so is a decent length and was published in 1988. This book is mostly about the Stalker Inquiry when it was allegded there was a shoot to kill policy by the RUC in Northern Ireland of suspected terrorists that John Stalker a senior police officer in the Greater Manchester Constabulary was investigating. Since this enquiry the rules governing inquiries into the police have been improved. There were 3 allegded incidents where there appeared to have been suspected IRA members shot. In one incident the bullet they alleged had killed the driver of the car was still embedded in the car. In another incident they claimed men had gone through a checkpoint without stopping which was a fabrication. In Northern Ireland the police routinely carried guns and in any other country would have been regarded as soldiers. There role was very different to the police on mainland Britain. They also had very unique problems in doing their jobs not shared by the other constabularies. As an investigating officer Stalker was investigating in what was basically another country and had little legal powers as a police officer investigating. He couldn’t compel officers to c-operate. What should have been a 6 month inquiry took 2 years mainly through him being obstructed. He knew one of the shootings had been recorded on a surveillance tape that was motion and sounded activated and had a hell of a job getting access to the tape. Just as he was getting to the end of the enquiry he was suspended with spurious charges. It was probably people panicking at the possible outcome and Northern Ireland is a very volatile place. In one of the shootings they established the supposed IRA members had travelled into Eire and been followed by this special unit of the RUC. He also established there had been 2 RUC policemen blown up by a mine and 4 of the men who had been accused of planting the mine by an informant. There was no other evidence whatsover to support this and he suspected the informant was at the very least exaggerating to make himself more important. Somebody else took over the enquiry and Stalker did get his old job back but found the Chief Constable who was his immediate superior wasn’t keeping him informed what was going on so he resigned. He was left with a huge legal bill which it doesn’t say if that got sorted out or not. Stalker had a hugely stressful time but did become a bit of a celebrity and people he could comment honestly about police work. He did work with the television and newspapers. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it.

The book I read to research this post was The Nemesis File by Paul Bruce which is the best military memoir I have ever read and I bought it from kindle. This is the perfect history book for me to be blogging about. As many of you may know I like controversial history books especially military operations. This book is about someone who joined the SAS after doing time in the Engineers or REME and the book looks at the SAS selection procedure in a lot of detail. Especially the interrogation tests where they aren’t it is a part of the selection process and are accused of having been mouthing off about being in the SAS. The author at first thought he was being interrogated for real and it was only when they accused his partner of having numerous affairs which he knew was rubbish that it was part of the test. Later when he got badged into the SAS he was in an execution squad with the codename nemesis and told if they were picked up by the army they were to quote the name and tell them to get in touch with their regiment. They were told to execute IRA members and dispose of the bodies where they couldn’t be found. Often they were weighed down under undergrowth and dumped in lakes where gas would escape from the bodies and the fish would gradually nibble them and what was left would sink to the bottom of the lake never to be found. I think as with almost all wars it was a very dirty one with atrocities on both sides. Apparently this book has caused quite a stir especially in Northern Ireland where many people want closure on what happened to these people and often know they are probably not going to get justice but just want to get them a decent burial. There were many catholic people from Northern Ireland who joined the British Army and faced retribution either to themselves or their families. I think this book looks at the problems in Northern Ireland quite realistically and from both sides. I did thoroughly enjoy this book and think especially if you are interested in the army this book is essential reading.

The book I read to research this post was The SAS 1947 To The Present by Anthony Kemp which is an excellent book which I got from the library. This book is the second in a 2 part series on the SAS and most of the book consists of various true stories about the SAS in action.

There was an incident in northern ireland where a 16 year old lad found a stash of weapons in a churchyard under a headstone. He told his dad who then told the police. Then 2 four man teams were flown in by helicopter and they took it in turns to watch the stash & see if anyone came to collect them. Anyway I assume this lad didn’t know the SAS were there but anyway he returned to have a look at the weapons and according to the SAS he picked up a rifle and pointed it at them so they shot him dead. The forensics couldn’t conclusively prove whether they had shot him from the front as was claimed or shot him with his back turned. It became the only incident where SAS men – the 2 that fired the shots – were tried for murder in a northern ireland court although they were acquitted. The judge did say one of the SAS accused was an unreliable witness. Needless to say the government & the SAS were quite embarrassed by the incident.