According to 'sources'…

Some interesting claims in the Sunday Business Post today.
Most interesting is the claim that the IRA never expected to get so much money which changed what would have been merely another deniable robbery to catastrophe. IRA’s own goal .

With the medium-term prospects of a deal with unionists now dead, the robbery is viewed by IRA sources as a massive own goal.

These sources claim that the Sinn Féin members with alleged dual roles in the IRA leadership would not have sanctioned the robbery had they known how much was going to be stolen.

But the sources conceded that Sinn Féin members almost certainly knew that smaller, so-called ‘deniable’, operations were going to happen after the breakdown of the talks on power-sharing nearly two weeks before the robbery.

As well as discussing claims that the IRA were serious about disbanding

The Sunday Business Post understands that the IRA was on the verge of complete disbandment before the talks broke down. This was communicated to volunteers in the Republic in face-to-face briefings by senior figures in the Belfast-based leadership.

“I was visited [by a figure within the IRA leadership] and told that the whole movement was going to be dismantled – the structures, the lot,” said an informed source.

“I was asked if there was anything I wanted, anything they could do for me.

“There would be just a small team left to protect the core leadership from assassination.”

The post also reveals tensions within the movement.

When asked what the money would be used for when it was cleaned, a bemused IRA source said: “That’s an interesting question. It’s a lot of money.” Before the ceasefire, the stolen funds would have paid for arms and the day-to-day living and travel expenses of volunteers.

In the post-1997 ceasefire era – in which IRA volunteers have access to jobs and arms are being destroyed, rather than bought – the IRA’s financial health has never been better.

“It begs the question: what was the point of doing it?” one IRA source said.

“There’s a lot of resentment out there. Money is going to election candidates. I know of some who are getting €30,000 a year while the on-the-runs [IRA members in exile abroad] are not getting a look-in.

“The political fall-out from the robbery has highlighted the widening gap between Sinn Féin and the IRA. Something like this [the Belfast raid] happens and the suits are getting all squeamish and uppity about it.

“These people only joined the party [Sinn Féin] after the ceasefire. But this is what we’ve been doing for 30 years.”

  • ulsterman

    How nauseating and repulsive.

  • Robert Keogh

    Interesting article. In all these articles I wish I knew which source was actually telling an approximation of truth. If this one is true then the heist wouldn’t have happened if the DUP had trusted the word of de Chastelain like they do that or Hugh Orde.

  • Henry94

    Leaving aside the question of who did it I find it hard to believe that a gang who knew so much about the bank would not know how much they expected to get.

    The are said to have done two trips in the van. That would have to have been written into the timeline of the plan so it must have been expected.

  • ShayPaul

    “The two trips in the van” really kills me. Apart from the obvious implication that the cash was offloaded to awaiting dumps or distribution (evidently the propaganda objective of this spin) we are expected to believe that these cool operators hung around whilst the delivery van made a round trip before reloading, and this in a city renowned for the saturation of security force personnel from more agencies than any of us are capable of naming.

    As for the irrefutable intelligence, why no arrests, why no concrete leads, why no …..

    We have been often treated to the hypothesis that the IRA were infiltated, beaten, driven by security force efficiency into surrender and thereby obliged to consider the peace process as the only way out. The founding premises of this theory are all blown out of the water by the new hypothesis that they did this deed…

    Do you ever get the feeling that we aren’t being told the whole story ???

  • DCB

    H94 – I agree. They had so much inside information, they must have known what the ballpark figure was.

    It’s hardly unusual for a central branch to have huge amounts of cash over the Christmas period.

    While the planers of the operation would have known what sort of cash they were going to get it is possible that it was sold to those who oked the job as being a plot to pinch a lot less. Perhaps it was sold as a case of – they’ll never ever catch us so we can just deny, deny and deny.

    Again while I can’t believe that it wasn’t the PIRA I still can’t believe that SF would be so stupid as to have acquiesced to it. Nor to I believe the fanciful claims that the circle can be squared by secrocrats. If there is a secrocrat agenda it is most certainly to appease SF/IRA at almost all costs. Who cares in London if NI is a maffiased society as long as nothing happens to the City of London.

    Which does lead me to believe somewhat ironically that Dublin would perhaps be best placed to deal with post-ceasefire crime

    So there you go SF/IRA uniting both parts of the Island in a shared revulsion of them.

  • ShayPaul

    In this article :
    Heist
    , from the same paper, I am intrigued by the line about the “North Dundalk unit helping with the logistics, the same unit that was involved with logistics for canary wharf”.

    I will now take a risk and propose 2 angles on this :

    1. Disinformation that underlines the spin at the moment in order to reinforce the perceptions at large, this would imply security force involvement.

    2. Real information, which would suggest that the IRA are involved, and decided to underline their dissatisfaction with the way in which the two governments are acting. A Canary wharf or Heathrow mortars would be considered too much, a record heist under the noses of the security forces would underline that the organisation was not to be dismissed as already moribund.

  • DCB

    ShayPaul – I think option 2 is far more likely.

    When even the Sunday Business Post beleives it was the IRA.

    Imagine the impact of a “spectacular” on Britain now. Find it hard to beleive that members of the IRA think that they can go back to business as usual.

  • ShayPaul

    DCB

    In that case, the security forces aren’t worth a monkeys, which is also a win situation for the secorocrats !!!!

    Increased spending on security, overtime, more touts …..

    That makes me believe a little more in solution 1.

  • mickhall

    Question, who exactly are the securocrats. The only flesh and blood example given so far seems to be this man Joe Pilling. Whose CV looks like that of normal British civil service bureaucrat? This is a genuine question because if MM means MI5, well it appears to me they have jointly with SF and others been one of the motors that has driven the Peace Process, particularly in its early days.

    Regards to all.

  • ShayPaul

    mickhall

    Are you suggesting that you are unaware of security personnel or agencies that have acted in such a way as to thwart or oppose the process ??

    It is incongruous in the least to imply that such a situation has never existed, and mischievous to leave the impression that such a scenario is not credible.

    Or do you have a particular agenda to play ?

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    While it is significant that the traditionally SF sympathetic SBP are continuing to take the line that the robbery was the work of the IRA, some of this article really does push the envelope. For example I doubt that SF would be stupid enough to fund their election campaigns out of illegal finances, seeing as electoral expenditure is very tightly regulated these days, and the Assets Recovery Agency are sniffing around everywhere.

  • mickhall

    shay paul,

    If you cannot answer the question say so, im not interested in your childlike attempt at a diversion and I doubt anyone else is. It was a simple question, who are these securocrats that im forever hearing SF leaders talking about. Was the individual who Mr McGuinness negotiated with behind the backs of the SF membership a securocrat, if so are there two types of securocrats, i e pro and anti peace process? What SF leaders seem to be implying by the use of this term is that there is a section of the British security services that is out of control. Which most British Parliamentarians and members of the UK press, who keep an eye on this organisation regard as fanciful to say the least? Indeed they feel the opposite is true and the problem with British intelligence as highlighted by the WMD in Iraq fiasco, is that the British security services are in Prime Minister Blair’s pocket to a degree that is detrimental to their work.

    So I ask you again Shay Paul, who do you mean when you use the word securocrats? Finally I would just add, like you I am well aware of the disgraceful campaign of collusion by British military and civil security organisations with loyalist death squads, etc. Although unlike SF I believe only an international public enquiry is likely to bring this to light.

  • Davros

    Roger : if some/many of those claiming to be voluntary workers are receiving money from illegal sources auditing of the official books won’rt show a dickie-bird.

    Could this be a command structure problem ? There have been problems in the past with North/South authority.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Davros, indeed but then such people are potentially going to be subject to the usual “how do you finance your lifestyle without having a job?” stuff from the ARA.

    I don’t doubt there could be a command structure problem.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Mickhall,

    I would imagine that the people who bugged SF offices and homes while at the same time negotiating the GFA and promising to work the agreement could be termed securocrats. Or I suppose they could the labelled Mossad or the CIA.

  • George

    Roger,
    give a thousand election workers a couple of 100 quid each and there will be nobody from the ARA or CAB bothered either way.

    They will only get involved if the sums involved clearly show the person couldn’t have amassed such wealth.

    South of the border, banks only look for evidence of where money came from when over 5,000 euros is deposited in an account. Even then they can get mum to say it was a gift.

  • ShayPaul

    mickhall

    As for childlike behavior, ball not man please.

    Your line reads something like :

    Name the members of the security forces who have a vested interest in slowing or hindering the implementation of the agreement, otherwise your argument doesn’t stand up.

    Well that doesn’t wash mick, to compound it you yourself state :

    “I would just add, like you I am well aware of the disgraceful campaign of collusion by British military and civil security organisations with loyalist death squads, etc.”

    Please name them .

    The same names will appear on both lists.

    I cannot speak for SF definition of securocrats, my own follows :

    Members of the security forces who have a vested interest in maintaining their jobs and position and consider the status quo as the best guarantee of that. I do not pretend that all the said are deliberately constructing an unstable society, but it is inevitable if such people gain a foothold in power that at some stage the end justifies the means and further down the road security agencies becomes an end in themselves.

  • IJP

    Members of the security forces who have a vested interest in maintaining their jobs and position and consider the status quo as the best guarantee of that. I do not pretend that all the said are deliberately constructing an unstable society, but it is inevitable if such people gain a foothold in power that at some stage the end justifies the means and further down the road security agencies becomes an end in themselves.

    I’m not at all sure this is what SF means, but I would agree to this definition and, on that basis, to the entire paragraph.

    Indeed, most of the problem in the North is that there are so many people, both directly and indirectly, linked to this ‘securocracy’, by no means all or even mostly Unionist.

    In short, as Labour MP Diane Abbot put it on the Politics Show just before Christmas, the main problem with NI is that too many people don’t want a solution. People don’t want to believe that, but I agree 100%.

  • ShayPaul

    Sadly IJP I’m afraid you’re spot on.

    Too many have a vested interest in the status quo, and place this above and beyond the interests of the people.

    When sclerosis sets in to this extent only Leadership can get things moving, and unfortunately we have never been very good at producing Leaders here.

  • mickhall

    Pat,

    I would have thought the people you mention would best be described as spooks, agents, operatives, that type of thing. I have no doubt such people are bugging SF and countless others. However this in no way then means the reason they are doing so is to bring down the GFA, in my opinion far from it. It is what security services do, they bug friend and foe, the purpose being to gain an edge/etc during any negotiations, plus who to help up the political ladder and who to knock down via the media. Again I can see no reason why they would, at this stage wish to harm the current SF leadership as they all support the GFA. Although it is increasingly thought by many, myself included the money spent on bugging etc would be better spent taking out a subscription to the worlds main newspapers and satellite news channels.

    Shay,

    I did not ask you to name individual securocrats, what I asked is who are these people (in general). The reason I did so is by using the word securocrats you are implying that they are somehow different from the average spook/agent/civil servant etc. What is so special about these individuals that differentiates them from the aforementioned security officers of the Bettany type, who work in the north.(before he decided to approach the soviets) Plus what gives them the power to disrupt the GFA? You see your own analysis could fit many people who had a vested interest in seeing the troubles continue as the were. This was especially true of those who worked in the prison service and police, but it has become clear that neither of these groups had the pull to divert British policy in the North.

    This is not a trivial question nor is it unreasonable to ask it. The SF leadership and membership are continuously publicly putting every difficult situation down to these so called securocrats, without giving us any understanding of what type of people they are and where they work. In the admission of the SF leadership, the British intelligence service was their main conduit to the UK government at the start of the Peace process, So Brit security were willing participants in the PP back then so what has changed since then. This is why I asked you if you feel the securocrats are a section of Brit security who have gone native.

  • ShayPaul

    mick

    I think I answered your question, do you agree ?

  • mickhall

    Shay,

    No, I do not think you have, or not at least to my satisfaction. I understand the point you are making, but the word securocrats implies some secret group that work in tandem within the security services and the NI office, there purpose being to undermine and I presume eventually destroy the GFA. That is why I keep asking you if you feel they are a group of security service officers and civil servants who have gone native. Because if not, and they are as you claim a diverse group of people acting across the board as individuals, then I cannot for the life of me see how they could have the immense power your party claims they have let alone the ability to work in secrecy.

    Think about what you seem to be saying. These securocrats have the power and influence to if not organise the recent bank raid, then certainly to cover up the guilt of the real culprits and direct the blame onto the PRM. The reason being to discredit SF and negate that party’s influence within the GFA negotiations etc. Do you really believe this?

    Of course there are disgruntled current and former members of the security services, but in the main they work as the former head of the SB does, not in some massive secret conspiracy that can make white vans disappear. In anycase, as the British and ROI governments are four square behind the GFA, why would they allow them to behave in this manner?

  • mickhall

    Sorry about the above, im not sure what has happened, is it possible for someone to remove two of my last posts?

    Yes A.U.

  • Davros

    Davros, indeed but then such people are potentially going to be subject to the usual “how do you finance your lifestyle without having a job?” stuff from the ARA.

    The use of the ARA is a potent threat, but probably of little value against small fry Roger.

  • ShayPaul

    mick

    The term “securocrats” for me is similar to “bureaucrats”. It implies what I said earlier :

    Members of the security forces who have a vested interest in maintaining their jobs and position and consider the status quo as the best guarantee of that. I do not pretend that all the said are deliberately constructing an unstable society, but it is inevitable if such people gain a foothold in power that at some stage the end justifies the means and further down the road security agencies becomes an end in themselves.

    “Because if not, and they are as you claim a diverse group of people acting across the board as individuals, then I cannot for the life of me see how they could have the immense power your party claims they have let alone the ability to work in secrecy.”

    3 points :

    1. On what basis to you link me to any party ?
    2. You should not underestimate the principle of vested interest and collective cohesion within the security services, and the power generated by such.
    3. As in all organisations it is possible that certain zealous individuals push this to extreme limits.

    As for your other extrapolations, consider this :

    a) Given that the present impasse means that little or no progress is likely in the short term, both governments have a vested interest in discrediting SF before elections in the Republic.

    b) The governments rely heavily on the information received from intelligence services (remember Iraq, Dublin, Monaghan, Stephens, Stalker, Widgery, Guildford, Birmingham, Gibraltar, ……) and are also victims of this dis/information.

    I would simply caution anyone taking anything for granted simply because the “caped crusaders” in the security services say so.

    If they have been so successful in infiltrating the para-militaries, then why did they not stop the “heist” given the implications for the agreement they fight so hard to protect as loyal servants of the government ?

    Complicit inaction or incompetence ?

    I’ll let you choose.

  • mickhall

    shay,

    Im sorry if I wrongly linked you with SF and it offended you, I just formed a judgement by your posts to slugger. Nor was it an attempt on my part to slur SF members, many of whom I hold in high regard despite political differences.…

    I take the points you have made but I can see little point in returning to them as it would be like turning the sod of an already ploughed field. I did however find the following interesting,
    “I would simply caution anyone taking anything for granted simply because the “caped crusaders” in the security services say so. If they have been so successful in infiltrating the para-militaries, then why did they not stop the “heist” given the implications for the agreement they fight so hard to protect as loyal servants of the government ? Complicit inaction or incompetence ? I’ll let you choose.”

    I think here you have nailed down one of the mysteries about this robbery and much else besides. I suppose it boils down to whether you are an advocate of the conspiracy theory of history or the cockup version. Myself I feel that they both probably play an equal part, although that still places me in the position of being unable to answer your question. As im sure you are aware complicit inaction could have been the best of all the worst options open to the ‘securocrats’ 😉 if they were to protect their asset’s. Having said this, the last sentence really was supposition on my part, just like most of the media’s meandering’s on this subject.

    Best Regards.

    AU, cheers for sorting me out

  • IJP

    we have never been very good at producing Leaders here.

    Also an important point. Or at least, not Leaders who can get us away from the status quo.