1980-1989 | Backing dictatorships | Pakistan

Margaret Thatcher toasts Pakistan’s dictator Zia

8 October 1981 On 8 October 1981 British prime minister Margaret Thatcher attended a banquet hosted by Pakistan’s military dictator, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.  In an after dinner speech, she urged other governments to join her’s in supporting the regime, which Britain was already supplying with a large amount of weaponry.  She finished by proposing a…

1980-1989 | Backing terror operations | Northern Ireland

The UK refuses to proscribe the UDA after finding a large cache of weapons

26 May 1981 Today in 1981, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) raided the headquarters of the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Defence Association (UDA) in Belfast, discovering a large cache of lethal weapons, including a Thompson sub-machine gun, six Sten guns, a revolver and 550 rounds of ammunition.  This came just a week after its supreme commander,…

1980-1989 | Backing terror operations | Ireland | Northern Ireland

MI6 warns of UDA terror but the UK refuses to proscribe the organisation

12 February 1981 On 12 February 1981, David Wyatt of MI6 warned the Northern Ireland permanent secretary that ‘UDA/UFF (loyalist) gunmen, with the full blessing of Tyrie (head of the Ulster Defence Association), are going to continue murdering identified Republicans.’ His statement was yet further confirmation of the already overwhelming evidence the government possessed that…

1980-1989 | Northern Ireland

5 MAY

BOBBY SANDS MP DIES AFTER 66 DAYS ON HUNGER STRIKE [ 5 May 1981 ] On 5 May 1981, the Sinn Fein MP and Irish Republican prisoner Bobby Sands died on the 66th day of his hunger strike at the H-Block Prison hospital at Long Kesh. At the age of ten, Sands and his family…