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Silent Defenders

In a whitewashed barn decked out with Ulster flags, Union Jacks and pictures of the Queen, their leader in charge of this meeting sat at an old table. He pressed a button on a tape recorder. A voice boomed out:

I address you as the commander in chief of the organisation, Silent Defenders.

Author Ciarán MacAirt investigates a shadowy Loyalist paramilitary group made up of former RUC Specials and British soldiers.

He tracks the gang from a newspaper article in March 1972 through British military intelligence files and on to the streets of Belfast in the bloodiest month of the conflict.

The paper trail leads to a sectarian gang of Red Hand Commandos, British soldiers of the Ulster Defence Regiment and a series of murders and attempted mass murders of teenagers in north Belfast.

But all is not what it seems as there were other killer gangs on the loose…

Who were Northern Ireland’s Silent Defenders as we stared into the abyss in the summer of ’72?

Visit Paper Trail to find out >>