It is a pattern with which I am familiar.
A telephone call and a meeting place arranged – this the prelude to another statement being read and another threat made.
I have been through this communication process many times before with the IRA, the loyalist organisations and other groups and, on Tuesday, I met with representatives of the dissident IRA.
This time, it was in a dark and windy corner of west Belfast.
One of the men took a statement from inside his shoe and another shone a small torch onto a handwritten note.
As he read, I wrote – his words describing an ambush on police on the Falls Road last Friday night.
Many people in the different corners of Belfast heard that explosion after a mortar-type device was triggered by command wire.
The dissidents claim the bomb – an explosively formed projectile or EFP to use their words – struck the police vehicle, but the PSNI describe only minimal scratch damage, caused by shrapnel and not by a direct hit.
Yesterday evening, as I scribbled the words of that statement onto scraps of paper including the back of a receipt, another element to the ambush was explained.
This group, that now claims the IRA title, said it had a second active service unit close by armed with automatic weapons and planning to open fire on any officers who might emerge from police vehicles at the scene.
There is no way of verifying that claim.
It might just be words, but it could also be true and this is why the police response times in these situations have to be thought through – why every step has to be carefully measured.
It is too easy for others to criticise when they don’t have to consider the implications of a potential ambush – when their lives are not on these thinnest of lines.
On Tuesday, this statement from the dissident IRA was stretched out into a wider frame.
It wasn’t just about what happened last Friday, but what might happen next and, again, it is too soon to judge whether these are just words or whether there is the potential for a step change in the dissident war plays.
Part of the briefing was about a new supply of the explosive Semtex and new detonators – supposedly among the components of the device fired on Friday.
Again, we don’t know but, now, that this dissident IRA faction has made public that claim, it will be assessed by MI5 and police intelligence officers.
Across the many dissident groups, there is a pattern of arrests resulting from intelligence, weapons seized, bombs that malfunction or that are abandoned.
A recent security briefing reported by the Belfast Telegraph Political Editor Liam Clarke suggested a dissident endgame – that they were running out of Semtex and had hardly any guns.
So, is this what has prompted these new claims and boasts from this IRA faction, why they speak in their statement of a “substantial weapons inventory”?
All of this will take time to properly assess. If there has been some re-arming then the dissidents will want to prove it.
What they do have is a capacity to kill – and this particular dissident group has been linked to the attack on Massereene Barracks and the killings of prison officer David Black and police constable Ronan Kerr.
“The IRA has demonstrated its ability to execute PSNI personnel in the past and will continue to do so in the future,” was the last line of that handwritten note.
There are, of course, many other lines missing from that statement read to me in the dark and the wind.
What is it they think these war plays will achieve?
Who is their real enemy?
Of course the Security Service and PSNI Intelligence will be reading between the lines of this statement, trying to assess the truth or otherwise of claims made, but the endgame will not be delivered in a security or intelligence victory.
Engaging the dissidents should be an Adams and McGuinness priority; not simply statements on a willingness to talk but making that happen.
The broad republican community has to make the dissidents stop and before any more lives are lost.
He’s a quare journalist, having to write statements on the back of receipts!