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BlackEagle/BlackEagle Logistics & Procurement Branch, Data Support Section
Results of Criminal Organizations Database Search: Ulster Freedom Fighters
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Ulster Freedom Fighters #CR0002564 (Also... Some alternate names are aliases, other are names for specific subgroups or cells). Ulster Volunteer Force Royal Ulster Constabulary Ulster Special Constabulary Source: EuroTer, Interpol, MI-5 Type: Political terrorist organization. Scope: Sporadic but violent terrorist group targeting Catholic's in Northern Ireland. Affiliations: The UVF also had relations with the Red Hand Commandos [#CR0003722], who were suspected of bombing downtown Dublin and the southern Irish town of Monaghan on 17 May 1974, killing 30 and wounding 151. [Interpol] Believed to have shared training and intelligence with the French Action Direct [#CR0000821]. [MI-5] Personnel: The UVF had perhaps 500 members at its height. Operating Since: 1912, 1976 Structure: A military hierarchy of operatives, divided into squads and companies, although the numbers may be significantly less than a traditional military organization. [EuroTer] Leaders: Unknown. Legitimate Connections: Believed to be receiving funding through a variety of relief and religious channels, as well as a number of front organizations. [MI-6] Resources: Smallarms, some explosives and military equipment. Good intelligence and support. Moderate funding. Suspected Criminal Activity: On 26 May 1966, UVF shot one John Scullion, who died two weeks later, for singing republican songs in public. On 25 June 1966, Augustus Spence and other UVF members shot four Catholics leaving a pub in the Shankill area, killing one of them. The UVF then carried out a bombing campaign in 1969, which was blamed on the IRA, that forced the moderate prime minister of North Ireland, Terence O'Neill, to resign. On 31 July 1975, UVF members murdered three members of the southern Irish Miami Showcase Band outside Newry. The UVF had tried to rig the band's van with a bomb, which detonated, killing two of their own numbers as well. One of the two UVF dead happened to be a sergeant in the Ulster Defense Regiment, the successor to the Ulster Special Constabulary. The overlapping membership of the UDR and UVF and the direct material support given by UDR members to the UVF made the latter, in effect, a state-sponsored group. In 1976, it murdered a former Sinn Fein activist, Marie Drumm, in her bed at Belfast's Mater Hospital where she was being treated for cataracts. On 14 March 1984, it shot and wounded Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams as he was being driven through downtown Belfast. On 7 November 1986, two bombs planted by the UFF exploded in garbage cans on Dublin's main street causing no injuries. Two others were found and deactivated. These bombs had been planted to protest the recently concluded Anglo-Irish Agreement. On 12 February 1989, UFF members entered the home of a prominent Catholic lawyer, Pat Finucane, and killed him in the presence of his family at the dinner table. While they claimed that he had been an IRA member, this appeared to be another example of the UFF campaign of killing prominent Catholics of whatever political complexion. Additional Commentary: The UFF was a splinter group that emerged from the Ulster Defense Association [#CR0001103]. Like its parent group, the UFF was an anti-Catholic militia formed of Ulster Protestants but was much more prone to violence and rowdyism. Although the UFF was banned by the British government in 1973, it continued to carry out numerous assassinations and bombings. Some observers believe that the UFF is actually nothing more than a death squad covertly operated by the Ulster Defense Association. The UFF murdered not only IRA activists and sympathizers but also carried out random killings of Catholics not associated with anti-unionist groups in order to terrorize the Roman Catholic community. The Ulster Volunteer Force had effective state support from the Ulster Defense Regiment, an official security organization dominated by sectarian Protestant militiamen. The original UVF was formed from the unification of all Ulster Protestant militias in order to oppose the grant of an autonomous government to Ireland in which Protestants would have formed a minority. At that time many British officers gave the UVF covert support. Upon the partition of Ireland under the Irish Free State Act of 1922, the Royal Irish Constabulary was dissolved throughout Ireland while the Royal Ulster Constabulary took its place in the north. Most UVF members entered the RUC at that time and continued to fight those IRA members who rejected partition. Although the UVF ceased to exist officially, the corps of its members remained within the RUC and also later entered the Ulster Special Constabulary. A former British military policeman, Augustus Spence, declared the UVF revived in 1966 in a special newspaper advertisement on 21 May 1966. This ad declared the UVF "a military body dedicated to upholding the constitution of Ulster by force of arms if necessary" and declared war on all IRA members, threatening to kill them summarily. By the "constitution of Ulster" Spence meant Protestant supremacy in the political and social life of northern Ireland rather than any constitutional rule of law as such. The new UVF engaged in a campaign of fire-bombings of Catholic homes and businesses. The Special Powers Act (1922) banning the IRA was amended on 23 June 1966 to proscribe the UVF as well although it was legalized again in 1973. In 1976, the UVF pledged to refrain from violence; in the following three years, however, 43 members were tried and convicted on charges ranging from illegal possession of arms to murder.
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