IMC on PIRA – The bad news

Now, the bad news. Discuss.Previously: IMC on PIRA – The good news

Quote:

3.19 There are however a number of less satisfactory indicators both of the behaviour of PIRA as an organisation and of the conduct of some of its members. We referred in our last report to intelligence gathering. We believe that the organisation continues to engage in it, and has no present intention of doing otherwise. This is an activity which we believe is authorised by the leadership and which involves some very senior members. While some of it may be for defensive purposes, it is predominantly directed towards supporting the political strategy. It involves among other things the continuation of efforts to penetrate public and other institutions with the intention of illegally obtaining or handling sensitive information. This raises the question of whether the commitment to exclusively democratic means is full and thorough going, or whether there remain elements of a continuing subversive intent going beyond the boundaries of democratic politics, a matter we addressed in paragraph 8.13 of our Fifth Report 10. The organisation continues to accumulate information about individuals and groups, including members of the security forces, though as we indicate above we do not think there is any intent to mount attacks. We also think that the organisation remains concerned about the potential for action by dissident republican groups and that it continues to monitor their activities, as it does those of some drug dealers.

(Footnote) See paragraph 8.13 of the Fifth Report, which set out the following questions. How does Sinn Féin now view the claim made by PIRA to be the lawful government and representative of the people in Ireland North and South? Does the party seek power in Ireland North and South using paramilitary muscle to back its participation in the political process? Does it ultimately intend to participate fully in democratic politics, and to observe all the standards that requires, but to reach that position maintaining for the time being some form of slimmed down military capability? Or is it now ready to ensure that PIRA ends all forms of illegal activity and to engage whole heartedly in democratic politics and in policing?

3.20 Despite the instructions to which we refer above, the occurrence of at least 6 unreported assaults has come to our attention. These have mostly been the spontaneous result of personal disputes and have been without leadership authority or planning, though in the process some can carry with them the aura of PIRA threat. We believe the attack on Jeff Commander in September and the associated intimidation was undertaken by current and former PIRA members unsanctioned by the central leadership. Exiling has not been lifted and some relocation of people who are seen as troublesome individuals and families continues. PIRA has used other methods of exercising community control such as “naming and shaming” and we believe the organisation has encouraged members to engage in community restorative justice as a means of exerting local influence. There are thus some signs of an organisation which wants to maintain its traditional role within its communities. It does not yet appear ready to change its long standing opposition to the PSNI though the attitude on the ground is variable and appears often to depend on local circumstances or personalities; in some cases there are clear indications of a growing community readiness to engage with the police.

3.21 There are indications that in some areas PIRA units have been closing down criminal operations and clearing stocks of contraband goods, and we have no reports of PIRA sanctioned robberies in the period under review. However, members and former members of PIRA continue to be heavily involved in serious organised crime, including counterfeiting and the smuggling of fuel and tobacco11. As in the past, we are not able to say confidently to what extent the substantial proceeds of crime are passed to the organisation.

3.22 PIRA continues to raise funds and we also believe that it looks to the long term exploitation of the proceeds of earlier crimes, for example through the purchase of property or legitimate businesses. Some senior members are involved in money laundering and other crime. Money has become a key strategic asset. There has been some restructuring in the finance department, possibly in reflection of the changing circumstances. PIRA also seems to be using experts and specialists able to assist in the management of illegal assets.

(Footnote) Overall, taking the activity of paramilitary and other organised crime as a whole, there appears to be no diminution in the amount of these illegal goods.

3.23 We referred in our previous report to the significant act of decommissioning reported by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) on 26 September 2005. We have since received reports that not all PIRA’s weapons and ammunition were handed over for decommissioning in September. These reports are not able to indicate precisely what is the nature or volume of any remaining weapons but suggest two things: first, that there is a range of different kinds of weapons and ammunition; second, that the material goes beyond what might possibly have been expected to have missed decommissioning, such as a limited number of handguns kept for personal protection or some items the whereabouts of which were no longer known. We recognise that if these reports were confirmed the key question would be how much the PIRA leadership knew about these weapons. These same reports do not cast doubt on the declared intention of the PIRA leadership to eschew terrorism. For our part, we are clear that this latter is their strategic intent.

3.24 We understand that the IICD has made a report to the two Governments and gather that they intend to publish it at the same time as this report. Over the coming period we will examine any implications that the IICD report or any other developments may have for our work.

3.25 To sum up, the position is not entirely straightforward. We see a number of definite signs of the organisation moving in the direction indicated in the 28 July statement. We see other signs which we would describe as neutral and some which are more disturbing. For example, some members continue to be engaged in significant crime and occasional unauthorised assaults. Whereas these assaults are not in our view sanctioned by the leadership, and may be directly against its wishes, the contrary appears to be the case with some other criminal activities such as the exploitation of financial assets PIRA had previously acquired or the illegal gathering of intelligence. The indications that PIRA appears to retain long term intentions to gather intelligence is also in our view a matter for concern. On the other hand we believe there is a clear strategic intent to turn the organisation on to a political path and there is good evidence that this is happening even given such constraints as there may be on the leadership in this regard.

Next: IMC on Loyalist Paramilitaries

  • J Kelly

    Who are the IMC, who gives them their information, is the information that the dup continually recieve from sources illegal. This report is a joke just like the previous reports.

  • J Kelly

    General John de Chastelain, head of the international decommissioning body, carried out an investigation when accusations against the Provisionals were made to him by security sources in Northern Ireland last week.

    Republicans questioned IRA commanders as part of their own inquiries and later insisted no guns had been retained and hidden in secret hide-outs.

    At the same time, police in the Irish Republic also said it had no intelligence to back up the claims, according to Gen de Chastelain.

    http://www.utvinternet.ie/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=69927

    Who is telling the truth IICD or IMC

  • Butterknife

    Or, conversely: IMC on PIRA – The bad news is good news for the DUP, while … The good news is the bad news for the DUP:0)

    Is it just me or is Sammy Wilson a hateful git?

  • Bretagne

    “We have since received reports that not all PIRA’s weapons and ammunition were handed over for decommissioning in September. These reports are not able to indicate precisely what is the nature or volume of any remaining weapons but …..”

    Does anoyone remember somrthing like this…

    “We have since received reports that not all Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction were decommissioned following the first Gulf War. These reports are not able to indicate precisely what is the nature or volume of any remaining weapons but these may be deployable within 45minutes”

    This is dodgy dossier stuff.
    Is there not a better way – through parliamentary privelege or another route to name individuals, those who sanction the criminality.

    I mean reading this turgid stuff – even the IRA couldn’t figure out which of their own men to shoot (though that of course would be a big mistake).

    Any suggestions on a better way than Alderdice and the lads writing pages of this stuff?

  • Realist

    J Kelly.

    Are you categorically stating that no guns whatsoever are in the possession of PIRA Volunteers today?

  • Betty Boo

    J Kelly

    The IMC used among other sources MI5. What makes the spying issue rather laughable.
    There might be also a lack of trust in the nature of MI5 truth involved.

  • Yokel

    It says it all……as of 12.52pm 5 comments on the ‘bad news’post, nothing on the good news post from either side of the political fence on this forum. If this is social experiment on how miserable the people in this sodding land are then its just been demonstrated.

  • Yokel

    12.55pm..no change….

  • J Kelly

    Realist i do not know but i believe the IICD, the two churchmen and the IRA. Would the IRA take a chance on holding onto weapons and allow the whole process to be thrown up in the air.

  • BogExile

    Mr Hain said there was “enough evidence of progress to make the process of political talks meaningful”.

    Of course the report does not paint a picture of perfection and frankly I did not expect it to. It will take more than six months to see a closing down of the activities of such a complex organisation.” BBC

    Why does it take an organisation which says it has completely stopped its paramilitary activities even 6 days to stop, let alone 6 months. Either they are serious about peace or they aren’t. If it smells like a sow’s ear and looks like a sow’s ear, its’a sows ear.

    The perma-tanned one is getting increasingly ludicrous. When we’re finally rid of him he has a bright future in the Silk Purse industry.

  • Henry94

    This report is an interesting trap for unionists. If they act in their traditional manner they will put all their chips on a few minor quibbles in an otherwise positive report.

    They will prove what we laready knew, that they are scared of power-sharing.

    But when the next report eliminates the quibbles they won’t have a leg to stand on.

  • Mickhall

    This report allows enough space for the Assembly administration to get going again. If anyone thought the PIRA could be shut down over night as if one was turning a living room light off and shutting the door behind one then they are fools. It will take time and the analogy of a super tanker used in the IMC report is correct. If you take away the northern gloom, in many ways this is a very optimistic report [unless you believe in the armed struggle] almost every mention of PIRA mentions a down-sizing of its activities.

    However I say again, If this report is not good enough for the British government to insist the Assembly ‘government’ is up and running again, then I doubt anything will satisfy them nor their allies in the Unionist Parties.

    If the latter is the case, then SF should consider devising a new political strategy that does not repeat placing themselves in their current predicament, which to outsiders looks very much like when the British government says jump, Gerry and Martin reply “how high”. Unfair perhaps, but how many compromises can someone make when engaged in negotiations, before they lose all credibility both with those they are negotiating with and those they represent.

    Regards

    From IMC report,
    “Like an oil tanker, the organisation will take a while to turn completely, and there is likely to be added turbulence in the wash as it does so. It would not therefore surprise us if the picture at this stage, while positive overall, was somewhat mixed.

    3.16 There are a number of signs that the organisation is moving in the way it had indicated in the July statement. Although some other signs are at best neutral and a few are more disturbing, most are in a positive direction. We are of the firm view that the present PIRA leadership has taken the strategic decision to end the armed campaign and pursue the political course which it has publicly articulated. We do not think that PIRA believes that terrorism has a part in this political strategy. It has issued instructions to its members about this change of mode, and has engaged in internal consultation to support the strategy.”

  • martin ingram

    Hi,

    Like I said months ago anyone who believed the IRA was going to decommission in full ( And we are not talking about a few hand guns here) would also believe in the tooth fairy.

    The general and the Two witnesses can not be faulted, they can only report upon what they see destroyed.

    Mick,

    Quote”This report allows enough space for the Assembly administration to get going again”Unquote

    The tooth fairy comes to mind again.

    Henry,

    Quote”But when the next report eliminates the quibbles they won’t have a leg to stand on”Unquote

    I will guarantee by the time of the next IMC report the DUP will have kept both feet on the ground and if the IRA just over steps the mark in the slightest way Big Ian will be singing from the roof tops.

    He is the man with the cards and the best hand.He is playing them very well at the moment, unlike Gerry and Martin he is not scared of the papers every morning.

    Martin

  • martin ingram

    Mick,

    We have spoke about this before but it looks like the Sinn Fein Blogging committee are upto their old tricks here. Please check the ISPS of the last two Ingram posts Thanks Martin.

  • heck

    sorry about the double posting–this is the first time I have done it but I believe this belongs here.

    This thing is a frankenstein. This nonsense will be used by the DUP and their allies in the “security forces” to stop progress.

    para 3.19 Republicans want to know what is happening in Northern Ireland–shock and horror.

    para 3.20 a few republican got into fights

    Mickhall. I think you are to optimistic about the outcome. This will be used to prevent progress. If SF respond positively to this shite I will lambast Gaskin and McLarnon on this site.

    para 3.21 Someone from crossmaglen bought cigarettes in dundalk and took them home

    para 3.22 Sinn Fein took up a collection in a bar in west belfast.

    para 3.23 all the international witnesses are wrong and we are right because we got some information from Honest Tony’s spies. (after all we believe them because the were sooo accurate on iraq.)

    This thing is a load of bollocks. It will provide cover to the DUP

  • Brian Boru

    “The organisation continues to accumulate information about individuals and groups, including members of the security forces, though as we indicate above we do not think there is any intent to mount attacks. We also think that the organisation remains concerned about the potential for action by dissident republican groups and that it continues to monitor their activities, as it does those of some drug dealers.”

    This shouldn’t go on, but isn’t relevant to the powersharing issue unless there is an intent to carry out violence, which there isn’t according to the IMC report.

    The order part questioning intent to take power on the island by paramiliary means is nonsense. If it had that intent, why did it surrender its guns, or are a small number of guns sufficient to achieve that goal? I am not a SF voter down here but I believe Adams said on TV a few years ago that it was not true that he regarded the IRA as the legitimate government of Ireland.

    I have deep suspicions about the “security sources” in the North as many are opposed to the Peace Process and have therefore an incentive to rant like this. They should be replaced by politically-neutral people – preferably from outside NI so that they don’t have baggage.

  • Henry94,
    Good analysis,
    Our best bet is to exploit the fact that the DUP are living in cloud cuckoo land. They are now completely isolated. The question is how to take advantage?
    Marty, seems to me DUP are scared and are bluffing, else why the statement last night and why the belligerence today?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘If SF respond positively to this shite I will lambast Gaskin and McLarnon on this site.’

    Heck, if you feel like unburdening yourself take it to Connolly House or if you prefer The Samaritans.

  • heck

    Sorry Pat, I deserved your comment. I read that report and had visions of SF humiliating themselves, and non aligned republicans like myself, and jumping though hoops to try and pander to this nonsense. I got angrier and angrier as I read it and I lashed out at the only 2 SF party members I know.

    I saw on another thread that Martin McGuinness has called it what it is.

    It’s now time for the pressure to be applied to the DUP and British government, one to get back into government and the other to kill this body and reform the RUC.

    Please accept my apologies.

  • Mick Fealty

    Martin,

    This guy is persistent. He’s already had some posts taken down before. He is a Republican supporter who normally posts under another name, but I’d guess (and hope) not a member of Sinn Fein.

    He does his cause no good. And if he does it again, he’ll be banned.

  • Slugger’s coverage of the IMC report is bizarre in the extreme.

    Instead of treating it in the order in which it appeared, it treats it in just the reverse, talking about the PIRA’s bad news before its good – making the less important the more important throughout, and the viewers on this site predictably went wild.

    Then Martin Ingram, after apparently posting the predictable disinformation he posted everywhere about its alleged critical character of the Provisionals, complains about TWO posts that someone apparently posted in his name when, it seems, there was only one, and sleepy Mick takes up the complaint with all seriousness – though my complaints about how he handled my corrections of Anthony McIntyre’s latest distortions have gone unanswered.

    What is going on, here?