Willie Frazer, a prominent loyalist who in recent years described himself as a ‘victims campaigner’, secretly helped funnel weapons to loyalist paramilitary groups in the early 1990s, according to a BBC television news investigation.
Frazer (pictured, inset) appeared regularly in the pro-British media in the north of Ireland until his death in June of this year.
‘Ulster Resistance’, a paramilitary group, imported the arsenal via South Africa which were used in dozens of sectarian murders. The programme also featured a report on the Democratic Unionist Party’s ties to the organisation.
The documentary claimed that multiple sources had confirmed Frazer was Ulster Resistance’s key distributor of automatic rifles and rocket launchers, many of which were passed to the death squads of the UDA.
DUP leaders – Ian Paisley Sr, Peter Robinson and Sammy Wilson – helped launch Ulster Resistance in 1986. Their weapons were used in more than 70 atrocities.
The group’s chief arms smuggler was Noel Little, according to the programme, citing French secret police documents relating to a South African arms dealer. Little is the father of the DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly.
Aontú Councillor Denise Mullen said the revelations of the very clear connections between mainstream unionism and violent organisations like Ulster Resistance “cannot be allowed to pass without scrutiny”.
“The DUP and wider unionism certainly has questions to answer when it comes to their relationship with those who killed people to pursue their objectives of maintaining partition and instilling terror in the hearts of a whole section of the community,” she said.
“To date, mainstream unionism has failed to distance itself sufficiently from sectarian and violent acts carried out under the guise of preserving the British union.”