US gave N. Ireland police weapons, spy equipment, despite Congress ban

Royal Ulster Constabulary forces in the 1980sBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | |
Declassified documents show that thousands of American-made weapons, as well as spy equipment, ended up in the hands of Northern Ireland’s police force in the 1980s, despite a strict ban enacted by Congress. The ban was passed in 1979, following strong pressure by organized groups in the Irish-American community. The latter accused Northern Ireland’s police, known as the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), of severe human rights violations and systematically excluding Catholic recruits. But internal government documents released in Northern Ireland this week, reveal that thousands of pieces of American-made weaponry, as well as surveillance equipment, continued to get into the hands of the RUC, despite the official ban. According to the documents, which were released under the UK’s 30-year declassification rule, the RUC eventually managed to collect all 6,000 Ruger revolvers it had ordered from American manufacturers before 1979, when the Congressional ban was enacted. The weapons continued to be shipped to Northern Ireland by way of “third-party suppliers”, who sent them secretly and in small quantities, so as not to arouse suspicion. The documents also state that the RUC was able to “receive [from the United States] some US equipment for surveillance work which is arguably more sensitive than guns”. The documents do not specify if the White House was aware that the Congressional ban against selling weapons to the RUC was being broken, or if the weapons were being surreptitiously smuggled by the British government, which hid the shipments from Washington. But The Belfast News Letter, which accessed the declassified documents, said it spoke to “one former senior RUC officer” who said that “the Reagan Administration was aware of the shipments” and had “turned a blind eye to the issue”. If the Reagan Administration did in fact consciously sidestep the Congressional ban on weapons sales, it would not be the only time. IntelNews readers who were around in the 1980s will remember that members of Ronald Reagan’s government also broke the so-called Boland Amendment, which banned most forms of US government assistance to the Contras paramilitary force in Nicaragua. This in turn led to the Iran-Contra scandal that nearly cost Ronald Reagan his presidency.

4 Responses to US gave N. Ireland police weapons, spy equipment, despite Congress ban

  1. Anonymous says:

    scandalous, but sure what government aint?

  2. Kidd says:

    RRs voice : “Well Ollie, this is another fine mess you got us into “

  3. Sal ibn Hari says:

    The US Congress didn’t stop the IRA collecting tins circulating in New York either.

    I wonder how the US would create if al Qaida collection tins were circulating in the UK to enable them to take action against the US?

  4. Joe Kerr says:

    Actually Al Qaida is actively recruiting and collecting funds in THE USA via Saudi govt sponsored programs and the PLO used many criminal scams from the 70’s thru to today… when caught they are shutdown- if it’s proven. The IRA used thinly veiled front orgs. that were occasionally shutdown when it could be proven they werent really charity orgs. Back to RUC they werent an official terrorist org despite the Kennedys and other Irish-American dimwits claims- still nothing is ever what it seems. The UK was up in arms over the private funding of IRA and now the usual suspects are bonkers about secret govt support FOR A KNOWN ALLY! And the so-called free state or Irish Republic what have you- officially denounced the IRA long ago but no one in their right minds believes they werent actively helping them …. so take a nice deep yawn and move along!

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