Thanks for your response Ireland. But also let ME clear up[ a few points too! Namely,
"The media covering of the IRA's decommissioning was more news worthy than loyalists for the simple reason no IRA no need for any loyalist groups to "defend" their community against them"
Though I accept you put the term 'defend' in commas, bear in mind that to begin with it was catholic communities that needed defending from loyalists - as you will recall, those burned out of their homes en masse in the early days of the troubles; in addition the civil rights protestors who were attacked for demanding what we all now take for granted. The IRA was moribund at the time - remember "I Ran Away"?
There was no need for loyalists to defend anything, just a real need for them to be fair and treat their fellow countrymen as human beings. Rather than do this, many decided to attack them instead. Peace could have been had way back then had some people been willing to give the steam off their pee (sorry about the expression, it's just the best metaphor to hand). One can't have it both ways - try to suppress a large part of the population and yet expect a peaceful existence. I'm not trying to excuse the violence that followed BTW, just partly to explain some of it and secondly to state the logic of it.
In my opinion it is this loyalist line that 'we need to defend our communities' that needed to be addressed in the media over the last 30 years. Instead it went practically unchallenged by a media and body politic that was more interested in defeating the IRA than in seeking genuine justice and peace. Both media and body politic IMHO are as guilty of what followed as the actual gunmen.
""fatal ambush by SAS of PIRA at Loughgall" would you prefer that the IRA had bulldosed the gate and slaughtered those inside the police station?"
I dunno how you get that from what I was saying. But let me clarify anyway. No, of course not, I was just saying that to me the ambush was a clear military action by the SAS, and as such couldn't be classified as murder of the kind more frequently carried out by loyalist groups.
Regarding the so-called Republican propaganda machine, yes of course republicans had their propaganda and occasionally their efforts at hyperbole would unmask this rather more clearly as when in one issue of IPRN they described loyalist killers 'intent on wiping out the whole family' rushing past the young daughter in the hallway t shoot her father and brother. But surely if they were intent on wiping out the family...??
But another side of this coin can be found in Liz Curtis' study on the media coverage of Northern Ireland "Truth the first casualty" , the efforts of the FRU and Colin Wallace to put out disinformation etc., Also check out "War and Words: The Northern Ireland Media Reader" edited by Bill Rolston and David Miller. The British government was also VERY active in this area, and thus IMHO helped prolong the conflict as I said above by making it difficult for the average voting mainland Briton to get any real handle on what was happening.
Book links -
War & Words
Sorry, can't find link for Curtis book yet
In answer to your last question, Yes.
BTW - happy to hear your brother survived.