Belfast Telegraph

Willie Frazer 'supplied weapons used in 70 loyalist murders'

Willie Frazer
Willie Frazer
Peter Robinson (second left) at an Ulster Resistance rally in Ulster Hall in November 1986
Johnny Adair interviewed on Spotlight
BBC journalist Mandy McAuley in Durban, South Africa
Margaret Thatcher
Ivan Little

By Ivan Little

Victims' campaigner Willie Frazer distributed assault rifles and rocket launchers from Ulster Resistance to loyalist paramilitaries who used them in more than 70 murders, according to a new BBC documentary.

Frazer, who died earlier this year, is identified in the programme as a key figure in the shadowy loyalist movement, which was initially backed by the DUP, before Ian Paisley's party tried to distance themselves from the group after it smuggled guns into Northern Ireland from South Africa in the 1980s.

The allegations about Frazer are made in the fifth episode in the BBC NI series, Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History.

It focuses on the murderous activities of loyalist terrorists and exposes the scale of collusion between them and the security forces.

Spotlight claims "multiple sources" confirmed that Frazer was Ulster Resistance's key distributor of automatic rifles and rocket launchers imported from South Africa and which were used to kill at least 70 people.

The programme charts the emergence of Ulster Resistance after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985 by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Taoiseach Dr Garret FitzGerald.

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Peter Robinson (second left) at an Ulster Resistance rally in Ulster Hall in November 1986

The treaty enraged unionists who thought it gave too much influence to Dublin at a time when the IRA was intensifying its murder campaign against their friends and family in the security forces.

Mr Paisley said Northern Ireland was on the verge of civil war and urged God to take vengeance on Mrs Thatcher, whom he branded "a wicked, lying and treacherous woman".

In November 1986 Mr Paisley and his deputy Peter Robinson were on the stage of unionism's traditional rallying point, the Ulster Hall in Belfast, as thousands of members of Ulster Resistance, some in paramilitary uniforms, mobilised amid fiery speeches from the DUP leaders.

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Johnny Adair interviewed on Spotlight

But Ulster Resistance were not all talk, and they liaised with the UDA and the UVF to bring guns into Northern Ireland.

Spotlight says that in 1987 Co Armagh man Noel Little, the father of DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly, was in Geneva and Paris with 120,000 dollars and a shopping list of arms "to defend loyalists against the IRA".

Shortly after the weapons arrived in Northern Ireland, the UDA and the UVF had most of their share of the weapons seized.

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BBC journalist Mandy McAuley in Durban, South Africa

But not Ulster Resistance, some of whose guns ended up in the hands of the UDA/UFF.

Spotlight says Michael Stone used some of the guns and grenades in the Milltown cemetery massacre after collecting them from a farm in Co Londonderry.

Other weapons were used in the loyalist murders at Greysteel and Loughinisland.

Convicted loyalist terrorist Johnny Adair told Spotlight the weapons were a godsend to the UFF and gave confidence to the organisation.

Adair doesn't confirm in his interviews that the weapons came from Ulster Resistance but Spotlight quotes a police report which says that the UFF man was receiving guns from them in the 1990s and that Frazer was his contact.

The programme says Frazer became involved with "radical loyalists" after his father and four other relatives were murdered by the IRA.

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Margaret Thatcher

In an interview from the archives, a youthful Frazer says: "I am willing to lay my life down on the line if it helps."

Journalist Mandy McAuley says she talked many times to Frazer during the two years before his death about his role in distributing weapons to loyalist paramilitaries across Northern Ireland.

She says: "He believed that Ulster Resistance had taken the war to the IRA."

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