Someone is trying to stir the pot in Northern Ireland again. Considering the history of this conflict, there may be more here than meets the eye. MI5 has long been involved in the organization of the IRA at the top, so they may very well be behind the reactivation of the ‘Real IRA’.
Flashback: Not very cricket: Witnesses report Pakistani security abandoned convoy prior to attack | Irish Police Protest And Call The Government A Criminal Accessory | Huge protest over Irish economy, pension clawback | EU tries to isolate Irish after treaty rejection
The Times UK
March 9, 2009
Armed security guards employed to protect the military base in Northern Ireland where two soldiers were shot dead did not open fire on the terrorists, even when they stood over the injured men and fired further shots.
Two soldiers and two deliverymen were also injured in Saturday’s attack, for which the dissident republican group the Real IRA claimed responsibility. The Army and police confirmed that no shots were fired in retaliation. The Real IRA described the Domino’s Pizza deliverymen as “collaborators of British rule in Ireland”.
Army sources said that it was the first time that the Northern Ireland Security Guard Service (NISGS) had had to deal with a direct attack on a base. The service took over responsibility for security of barracks from soldiers more than ten years ago.
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The speed and audacity of the attack not only exposes a gaping hole in the intelligence picture of republican terrorist activity but also raises questions about why barracks throughout the UK are protected by civilians.
The sources said that the soldiers from 38 Engineer Regiment were not carrying weapons when they left Massereene Barracks in Co Antrim to take delivery of pizzas, but that the NISGS guards were routinely armed.
An army spokesman would not give details of the security guards’ rules of engagement other than to say that they were allowed to open fire in self-defence.
Army sources said that an investigation would be opened into why there was no armed response and also why four soldiers walked unarmed out of a barracks only days after the Irish terrorist threat level had been raised from “substantial” to “severe”.
The soldiers were about to be deployed to Afghanistan. After the pizzas, they were due to travel to RAF Aldergrove to join the rest of 19 Light Brigade, which is taking over from the Royal Marines in Helmand. Their next of kin have been informed.
Patrick Mercer, a former infantry regiment commanding officer and now chairman of the Commons Counter-terrorism Sub-committee, told The Times: “We have to question the efficacy of this guard force if it is not prepared to fire on the enemy. How will this force be a deterrent in the future if terrorists know they are not going to be shot at?”
Mr Mercer said that the Real IRA appeared to have deliberately picked a soft target – an engineering base with minimal protection.
Although the threat level had risen to “severe” because of intelligence of dissident republican plotting, sources said this did not mean that every base was on high alert. Alert status depended on a range of circumstances, including location and an assessment of risk.
Jonathan Evans, the Director-General of MI5, warned of the rising risk from Irish dissidents in January.
On Friday Sir Hugh Orde, the Chief Constable of Northern Ireland, announced that the Armed Forces Special Reconnaissance Regiment was being drafted in to watch suspected dissident republican terrorists. His statement, made after the deployment was leaked to the BBC, is thought to be behind the timing of the attack.
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