Operation Kenova and The Spy in the IRA…

John Ware’s BBC Panorama investigation on Freddie Scappaticci, The Spy in the IRA, is available online, with an accompanying article on the BBC website.  Ed Moloney has some relevant posts on his blog on the programme, including criticism of the initial response by processors in the media to Liam Clarke’s scoop when he broke the story in 1999.

Not all journalists were as keen to follow the story up. Sinn Fein spread the word that Liam Clarke’s story was the work of ‘securocrats’ – remember them? – who wanted to bring the peace process crashing down.

The charge had a certain credibility because of the days that were in it. The process was still fragile in late 1999. Killings were continuing – Rosemary Nelson, Eamon Collins and Frankie Curry were among the victims that year – the Provos and Unionists were squabbling over IRA decommissioning and the formation of the power sharing Executive promised by the previous year’s Good Friday Agreement was as distant as ever.

So the sudden appearance of a claim that the British had a major spy in the ranks and that there was an associated if only implied suggestion that the spy may have helped steer the Provos towards the peace process was, immediately denounced by Sinn Fein as a dirty trick.

And a significant and influential section of the media in Northern Ireland agreed.

By this stage the media in Belfast had, in considerable measure, divided into camps differentiated by their approach to the peace process. The pro-process camp in large measure closed up shop and contented themselves with simple daily reportage of events. But no digging worth the name. The school eventually adopted the moniker: ‘Peace Journalism’.

They accused those who wouldn’t go along with this, who approached the peace process as they would any other story, as being politically motivated, propelled by a desire to do the process damage.


The man in charge of the official investigation into Stakeknife’s activities, Operation Kenova, made an appeal at the start of April for anyone who may have been involved “in any degree” to come forward.

Jon Boutcher insisted the investigation is making good progress, but urged people who may have been involved in any degree with Stakeknife’s activities to come forward.

“There would have been those who played a role on the periphery of the offending, they might have housed people involved, or held weapons which may have been used,” he said.

“We want to speak to each and every person who played a part in any of these crimes to ultimately get to the truth for the families.

“I encourage people to come forward, you will be treated sympathetically.

“I am hoping that the passage of time since these offences occurred and the realisation that these cowardly crimes were not justified in any way will mean that misplaced loyalties will have changed and people will now feel strong enough to come forward.”

On which point it seems appropriate to quote John Ware writing in the Irish Times on Saturday.

The inquiry is not the first into the secret intelligence war. However, seasoned observers of the Troubles are sceptical it will run its full course if the evidence implicates too many senior members of the British intelligence services, but also the Republican movement. Boutcher counters this concern, saying “if any of this perceived resistance happens, I will challenge it”.

By 2007, the conflict in Northern Ireland had claimed 3,720 lives. Due partly to Sinn Féin’s laser-like focus, attention on the 367 killed by British forces has eclipsed the 2,152 killed by the IRA and other republican groups.

Very little attention, by comparison, has been paid to the 1,738 members of the security forces killed by the IRA, and none at all on those murdered by the IRA for spying – some 70 people.

In Kenova’s sights are also those IRA leaders on the Provisional Army Council who sanctioned the “executions” for spying, as required by IRA General Orders.

Appeals against the death sentence were required to be heard by the IRA’s adjutant-general with a signed copy of the verdict and sentence, and a summary of the evidence.

Gerry Adams continues to deny he was in the IRA, but a multitude of ex-IRA members and police officers say otherwise, and they say that between 1978 and 1982 Adams was its adjutant general.

And, with Sinn Féin representatives regularly appearing in the media to condemn apparent paramilitary intimidation and shootings, in the same article Ware also highlights another of Scappaticci’s roles in the Provisional IRA.  From the Irish Times article

For a while, Scappaticci also exercised a kind of psychological control, if not terror, over the general population of west Belfast which went beyond the strict limits of the IRA itself.

He ran the IRA’s “Civil Administration” which policed parts of Belfast under IRA control. Ordinary “decent” crime (as it was known) was rife. Criminality gave Gerry Adams the opportunity to create “an alternative government”.

Scappaticci ran the Civil Administration “with a heavy fist”, a former IRA man who had dealings with him told me. Joyriders and drug dealers were routinely kneecapped. Civil Administration put the fear of God into locals in order to enforce collaboration with the IRA.

In Belfast, kneecapping became a weapon. A licence for an ordinary decent “hood” to continue living in the community was to ensure their future was spent limping up and down the street on crutches. Equally, they had to limit their statements to the police after the shooting to say only that “two masked men held me down and then shot me in the back of the legs, but I don’t know their names and I can’t remember their descriptions”.

But, of course, the victim usually did know the perpetrator. The (usually) teenage culprit had actually turned up to Civil Administration HQ – better known as Sinn Féin’s HQ – at Connolly House by appointment with a parent.

There, the parent would have pleaded with the gunman not to shoot his child “here” pointing away from the joint, but “there, please” to minimise lasting damage.

Repeat offenders risked a “six pack” – six shots, one for each knee, elbow and ankle. One mother vividly described her meeting with Scappaticci after he had demanded that she bring her errant son to see him.

Scappaticci told her: “The next time we hear he’s been at it or of any complaints against him, I will personally blow the head off him.” Adams, she says, sat beside him, saying nothing. Some years later her son was shot dead.

Operation Kenova is expected to last around five years and cost £35million, and with legacy issues reportedly one of the stumbling blocks in the talks on resurrecting the Northern Ireland Executive, Newton Emerson added this in Saturday’s Irish News.

A BBC Panorama investigation into the Stakeknife case has provided an unwittingly timely reminder of one nuclear talks option.

It is clear the republican movement has been watched around the clock at every level for 40 years, leaving it vulnerable to certain kinds of ‘truth recovery’.

Chief constable George Hamilton hinted as much last year when he warned that opening up all police files on the Troubles would please nobody.

Gerry Adams has now said a deal on the past is not necessary to restore devolution.

One final point to note.  The ubiquitous image of Scappaticci remonstrating with helmeted police officers used by the media…  here is the larger picture.  Via Ed Moloney’s blog.

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  • AntrimGael

    There’s NO chance of any senior Republican, Loyalist or Intelligence Officer being prosecuted for the dirty war. Kenova will get so far and stop like Pat Finucane, Brian Nelson, Rosemary Nelson, John Stalker. Smiley’s People are the real power, not the government, and if they want to hinder, obstruct and muddy the waters they will.
    Brian Rowan and Denis Bradley have stated that if a lot of the truth about this came out it would cause ructions and bring about serious instability and possible trouble. Nothing more to see folks, move along now.

  • Sliothar

    I’m curious to know what exactly Mr Ware means by this statement:
    ‘Very little attention, by comparison, has been paid to the 1,738 members of the security forces killed by the IRA…’
    Was Long Kesh/The Maze therefore filled with ‘ghost’ prisoners? Many hundreds were charged, found guilty and sentenced as a conseqence of their actions. As far as I was aware at the time and subsequently, the police were very focussed in bringing the perps before the courts.
    Am I missing something here?

  • Korhomme

    There’s a story — I can neither confirm nor refute its accuracy — about ‘knee capping’ in a place that wasn’t west Belfast.

    There, the initial practice was a shot from behind, in the popliteal fossa. There was a good chance that the popliteal artery and/or vein would be damaged. Repair of such vascular injuries wasn’t easy; there was loss of part of the vessels, there was little tissue to cover any repair, and the wound was contaminated. The result was often amputation. It’s said that the local surgeon approached the local Bishop and discussed the nature of this injury, and apparently suggested or implied an alternative. From then on, punishment shootings were a side-to-side shot through the soft tissues of the calf. Vascular injuries with this ‘method’ were rare.

  • mickfealty

    To the conspiracy theorists, this is from Moloney and, I think, very relevant to the kinds of judgement the inquiry is likely to come to (https://goo.gl/9Z847t ):


  • mickfealty

    I think he means in terms of “the Process™”, the incessant processing of highly selective bits of the past and taboo-setting to discourage anyone stepping beyond the bounds of “Peace Journalism”.

  • Granni Trixie

    A graduated response?

  • Redstar

    I would add that all this talk of so many agents in the RA throws up other questions.

    If the British were effectively controlling the Provos then who is REALLY to blame for some of the most horrendous incidents of the troubles

    Can’t have it both ways

  • Nevin

    British double agent? That looks like an oxymoron. A double agent could have been acting for the Provos, the British intelligence services as well as for himself. It’s also conceivable that British intelligence could have assisted those Provos who favoured a change of tack to a political route in any tussle with Provos who wished to maintain the status quo. However, like Moloney’s contribution, that’s speculation. There’s many a yarn can be spun in the absence of sufficient facts.

  • SleepyD

    No steps forward, two steps back. God, it’s so depressing.

  • Sliothar

    But that’s exactly the problem, Mick. You think, I think… The loose wording leaves it wide open to all sorts of interpretations. For example, as I commented previously, that facts are that people were convicted and sentenced but that didn’t seem to click with those former members of the security forces on the demo last Saturday at Belfast City Hall where several of their spokesmen, incl Doug Beattie MLA, gave the impression that NOTHING was done to follow up on past attacks against themselves and their colleagues. Now the two (the exposé and the demo) may not be connected but, with both fresh in my mind, hence my reason in asking for clarification. Coincidence or conspiracy? Ha! And in relation to the ‘processing of highly selective bits of the past’, both sides play it and play it loudly.
    Regarding a resolution of all the other questions that the Steaknife affair throws up, I’m at one with Barney Rowan and others that nothing will ultimately be done about it as it’s much too embarrassing for all concerned and, if a report is ever written, the authorities will do a ‘John Stalker’ on it.

  • the rich get richer

    Were the Brits actually shooting themselves………?

  • Redstar

    My point is how do we know who was really responsible for what

    We will never know. I somehow cannot see the British for example admitting their role in bombing Dublin/Monaghan

  • eireanne3

    and then negotiating with themselves to arrive at the GFA/Belfast Agreement?

  • the Moor

    ‘Everyone lies.’ That’s a fact.

  • Redstar

    All of the above are possible

    Bottom line is even IF any side ” came clean”- would/could you believe them?

  • Granni Trixie

    The more important question is if the acknowledgement and what is gleaned from “coming clean” helps survivors.

  • Redstar

    Well not really -not if it cannot be proved true or not, otherwise you might as well just go through a make believe process of telling people what you think they want to hear

  • hugh mccloy

    The past and how to deal with it, the very quick retreat by Gerry was noticeable and still shows that quicker than a heart beat the British Government could sink him.

    So that leaves the Irish language Act as only stumbler unless RHI is still an issue, is it ?

  • Granni Trixie

    But if relevant people agree to tell the facts and answer victims it can’t all be fiction? You’re talking as if we shouldn’t try which I think would be both wrong and unhelpful for the future.

  • mickfealty

    You’ve obviously read far too many John Buchan novels Nev. Informants aren’t all agents in the Ian Fleming mould, i.e., acting under direct orders.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Indeed – the misapprehension at the heart of the “collusion” narrative. It seems some imagine an agent is always someone controlled by state handlers. But in reality an ‘agent’ can be anyone helping the state in any way.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You think it would be just the authorities wanting to keep it quiet?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    The Brits are responsible for everything, including Republicanism … ?

    You’re tripping up, I think, in the phrase “controlling the Provos”. Needs a lot more drilling down, what level of control etc, what autonomy did Adams, McGuinness etc have.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    We’ll certainly never know if continuing omertà is countenanced like that.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I guess one’s response to the running of agents inside the paramilitaries in the knowledge they were still killing – and had to be, to maintain their positions – depends on where you sit on this ethical dilemma:
    I think I go utilitarian on this stuff – particularly as the use of agents was really the only way there was to even attempt to save lives. But anyone portraying this as an easy ethical problem for the state to have to make choices on is being disingenuous.

  • AntrimGael

    Facts seem to prove otherwise Mick. It’s coming out through media investigations and digging from good, honourable people like Nuala O’Loan that Stakeknife and the Mount Vernon UVF DID act under direct orders from their FRU/RUC Special Branch handlers.

  • file

    Steak Knife Steak Knife Steak Knife Steak Knife Steak Knife … if Slugger keeps getting it right (as some posters have), maybe the mainstream media will catch on?

  • Sliothar

    The authorities are the only ones in control of the report, in case you hadn’t noticed. They can choose to do what they want with it as no one else has the power. Of course SF would also like it kept quiet – I thought the words ‘all concerned’ would have covered that.

  • mickfealty

    That’s a gross generalisation of how the relationship between informers and handlers work. I don’t imagine the outcomes of this will be as dramatic as people think right now.

    A lot of trouble has been gone to to keep the lid on the conflict and stamp on any contagion that it might give rise to. If we’re lucky we’ll get a clearer idea of such matters, and maybe some folks will go to the wall.

    I expect “national security” will be used to screen the really juicy details from the public gaze.

  • mickfealty

    This is the secret state battling an equally secret anti state organisation. It’s in the nature of the territory that we cannot see all the movements on the chessboard. It’s brace of Barra to have started the ball rolling on this. As he and Ware have both noted, the Adjutant General of the IRA is more directly culpable for these murders than the state.

  • mickfealty

    I think Newton rightly lampooned this idea that the IRA was merely a British conspiracy against itself. So, yes, you can’t have it both ways.

    We’re in that awkward space after the conflict were everything looks very different to how it felt at the time when all of these foul deeds were done.

    There was a time when the prevalent theory was that Stakeknife was solely about the killing of good volunteers. Now it appears the IRA’s chief spy catcher actually did catch fellow British spies.

    It seems as though if they got as far as Scap they were already as good as dead. Consideration will presumably be on those case where a viable escape was possible but ignored.

    The abiding image from the programme for me was McIntyre’s description of the British having the IRA’s wedding tackle in their hands. It was clearly the grade of information he was supplying that meant those other informers lives would have to be expended.

    And presumably that shared information is why he was able to come back to Belfast for a family funeral unmolested. It’s staring us all in the face that the British know who is not only compromised by their former lives in the Provisionals, but how their non prosecution post Agreement is dependent upon their continued co-operation.

  • Deeman

    I have heard this story many times, changing between the local bishop, local teacher, local SF councillor to local bar man.

  • Deeman

    Human bombs are one that sticks out in the memory. What republican thought this would ever be an acceptable tactic to Irish people or Irish america in the ‘struggle’? It’s bizarre and very suspicious.

  • AntrimGael

    Once a ‘State’ becomes complicit in the murder of innocent citizens it
    immediately loses the right to claim the higher moral position and becomes a player. It should then be subject to the same laws, domestic and international, as others. That’s why last Friday’s demonstration by ex-military and police in Belfast city centre was so sickening for many. The simple fact is that these people, or the institutions they served, were above the law and allowed to break them at will. Over the course of the conflict only about 5 or 6 members of Britain’s security forces went to jail and for them to cry about witch hunts is just nauseating.

  • Granni Trixie

    The police were there policing. Why would you have a problem with that?

  • Sliothar

    Despite McIntyre’s well-documented, anti-SF agenda, I would tend to agree with his summation of the compromises that SF were apparently forced to make due to the actions of deeply planted informers such as Scappaticci and Donaldson. However, evidence is scarce and therefore most opinion is necessarily based on pure speculation.

    Nonetheless, how else can the continued cooperation of SF in Stormont be explained in the face of countless insults from the DUP and the non-implementation of the various agreements. Several SF supporters have said to me that MMcG was trying to prove that he could work the institutions but it was clear to me they were speaking through clenched teeth. When the whole charade collapsed in January, it should be noted that it was the backlash from ordinary SF supporters and, imo, the broader Nationalist population which brought it to a head. The words and actions of Foster and Givan were insults just too far below the belt. This wider section of the electorate will have to be reckoned with from now on and the numbers are increasing year by year. MMcG, and SF, belatedly recognised this outrage by acknowledging that there could be no return to the status quo.

    And so to the current impasse. Let’s say for the sake of argument that senior SF members were in fact compromised and, as a consequence, were forced to follow the accepted (British) line. However, should the government, with the backing of the DUP, try to use the same leverage this time around, they could find they’ve run out of track. Senior SF members are getting on in years, their successors may not carry the same amount of baggage from the war and thus won’t have similar pressure points. The Brokenshire/DUP alliance could well overplay its hand as I don’t think SF can back away from its declared stance. Scap & Donaldson’s actions may well have seriously undermined the narrow SF project, but where else can the broader Nationalist electorate go to, given that the SDLP still don’t look like winners. Their views, not necessarily based on the old SF party line, will need to be heard.

    Ultimately, as you say, the outcome is all in the ownership of the British government. They can play the game in any way they want. They can pursue the inquiry to its bitter end and publish it if they so wish. So, in the end, what will this accomplish? That the state deliberately closed its eyes and acquiesced in the murder of many of its own citizens plus the definite possibility of a wholesale destabilisation of Nationalism with internal feuds, settling of old scores and blood on the streets. It’s as if a Russian doll was also stuffed with several cans of virus-filled worms.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    O’Loan is honourable but I do think very unsympathetic to and unrealistic about what is involved in anti-terrorist intelligence work. Da Silva indeed found there were all sorts of problems with leaks, a lack of accountability in agent handling, straying into complete misconduct and collusion by a few of the handlers, particularly in the FRU over Brian Nelson, unchecked by Special Branch. There were mistakes and there was serious criminality by members of the FRU in West Belfast in the late 80s in particular. But at the same time, da Silva also found that the overall agent-running efforts of the state constrained the paramilitaries on both sides and degraded their capacity overall, the mis-conduct of some agents and handlers notwithstanding:
    “5.19 – … I have no doubt that the action taken by the security forces did frustrate loyalist terrorists and significantly reduce their operational capacity in Northern Ireland as a whole.
    5.20 Any attempt to crudely describe loyalist terrorists as simply ‘State-sponsored forces’ is, in my view, untenable and fundamentally at odds with a substantial body of contemporary evidence and the historical context of the relationship between loyalists and the security forces during this period (see Chapter 2) …”

    As with the Scapaticci stuff (watching the John Ware programme on my computer last night), it seems to me there is a tendency in the story-telling over informers, a desire to mischaracterise what the security and intelligence services were doing in N Ireland. One side of the debate on this seems to me intent on some kind of partisan opposition to the security forces’ work. Sorry to be simplistic but I’m afraid that’s what it boils down to.

    And here’s the giveaway: these unswerving guardians of justice and peace invariably have little constructive to suggest on the subject of how to thwart and catch more terrorists. Being balanced and fair means focussing attention in the right proportions to the right places. When a forensic lens is placed on the detail of the security forces work, a quick wave of the hand with “of course the IRA did a lot of wrong too” is not anywhere near good enough.

  • Nevin

    Mick, perhaps you are associating double-agents with spies and informants – or the derogatory informers/touts ie mere carriers of information. I’m thinking of the earlier meaning ie players for both teams.

    PS re.John Buchan reference:

    “Winner: NALIL (North Antrim Local Interest List).

    This began as the blog of a group interested mostly in genealogy but also in history, culture and current affairs in the immediate area of North Antrim. It’s compiler and writer Nevin Taggart however has taken the blog far beyond the confines of local interest. Only just over a year old it began running some tightly researched stories about the plans for the Giant’s Causeway Visitors Centre which whetted the appetites of investigative journalists in the mainstream media and further research led to several stories in the print media and an edition of the BBC Spotlight programme.”

    The Rathlin ferry contract saga whetted the appetite of a young Sam McBride but, sadly, he was the only one to see the mistreatment of whistleblowers and the true nature of an ‘independent’ investigation. What the BBC Spotlight team ‘pulled’ was also of some significance.

  • Nevin

    Not so much restorative justice as restorative surgery, Korhomme.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Hardly – this was an exceptional situation where people doing basic jobs for the state in the police or armed services were not only coming under daily attack, but were under a public duty to tackle Europe’s most lethal, brutal and heavily armed paramilitary gangs. The vast majority of their work, as found in report after report after report, was highly praiseworthy, honest and brave. And reports like Da Silva show it had an overall positive impact and was applied with equal vigour against Loyalists and Republicans. But we don’t want to to read those bits, we skim over it to get to the instances of negligence or dereliction of duty.

    Insisting on the full truth of all the positive service people gave us being reflected in our narratives of the period is now portrayed as somehow sectarian in motivation or part of a conspiracy to cover up mistakes. It really isn’t, and if you read intelligent unionist opinion carefully you’ll see a ready acknowledgement of wrongs committed. But what unionists insist on is for the security forces to be treated in a non-partisan way and acknowledged more broadly for their amazing work and sacrifice – work that is barely discussed on fora like this, it’s just not part of the conversation. They are, nearly all of them, heroes of the Troubles – quietly and undemonstrably taking on huge pressure and risk so that the rest of us could get on with a semblance of normal life amidst the brutality of terrorism. The fact that some of those at the very cutting edge became callous about the lives of the terrorists they had to police –
    and a few got corrupted completely – is not the big picture. Beware partisan “Brits Bad” voices who go at the Troubles more selectively to produce a skewed picture of what really went on. It fuels a convenient narrative for the Republican terrorists whose campaign it was.

    For perspective, some figures:
    British security forces lost 1,111 people and took 363 lives (note, number of culpable homicides perhaps half of that latter figure?)
    Loyalists lost 133 people and took 991 lives (pretty much all murders)
    Republicans lost 387 people and took 2,043 lives (pretty much all murders)

    And it seriously bothers you that former members of the security forces should protest about being made out to be as bad as the terrorists?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    There seems, Ware implies, to have been a decision taken somewhere in government that exposing Adams et al could scupper the “peace process” and bring new violent people to the fore within Republicanism. Government seems to still believe the Republican community capable of producing large scale terrorism again. I wonder if that’s right? No idea on that one.

  • Mike the First

    Where did the odd (but practically ubiquitous) mis-spelling originate?

  • Sliothar

    The implication is there, for sure. Whether it’s true or not, no one’s saying. And for obvious reasons.
    Regarding violence, it really will depend how the British handle Brexit and the border issues. There’s a lot of dissatisfaction at ground level at the way in which the majority vote here was totally ignored after the referendum. But I couldn’t say if the outcome would actually result in a resumption of violence. Different parameters exist now in Spooksie Ireland than in the 60s.
    With the declaration of a general election in the middle of our local negotiations, where does anyone stand now? We’re at the very bottom of the food chain and, if May gets a larger majority as seems likely, who needs the DUP?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I’m hoping we’ll get a softer Brexit as a result – May will have a free hand and won’t have to listen to the swivel-eyes on the back benches.

  • Sliothar

    Only on the ‘back’ benches…? 😉

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Interesting that we have 44 comments to date on this thread – healthy but it hasn’t caught fire. Perhaps we should be grateful the Troubles now embarrasses Republicans?

    Watching the Ware documentary was a welcome reminder of the kind of horrors Republicans (and Loyalists) carried out in the Troubles as a matter of course. It was also, as Mick has referred to, a very different picture of the Troubles than many have come to reassure themselves with today. It showed up today’s saccharine reworkings of the Troubles, fashioned by the former paramilitaries and their apologists, for the utter fantasy they are.

    Reality is always a breath of fresh air, even when the reality being talked about is unedifying and inglorious stuff.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Very one dimensional MU! Rather than fingertip control of informants, the issue of collusion would be more that handlers knew what violence an informant was engaged in and did not interfere when so alerted, as this would endanger their source. So in full knowledge of harm intended against the public, the security services stood back and let violence occur in the interests of protecting those members of the public who were to affected directly through the possibility of speculative future information. This is the moral ambiguity at the core of normal everyday collusion in intelligence activity, which will allow harm to be done to the public in the interests of protecting them public. I’m sure the dead of the Coventry raid were seen as an acceptable sacrifice to prevent the Germans from realising we had the Enigma codes, but there comes a point where the defence of such inaction becomes lazily overplayed, as it appears in the case in much of what happened here.

  • grumpy oul man

    Well no a agent can’t be just anybody helping the state in any way, a agent implys someone in the employment of the state (or whoever they are agents for) so someone using the confidential telephone now and then wouldn’t be a agent merely​ a good citizen.
    Likewise a informer (which has a definition and handling protocols ) would not be a agent (although being a agent would involve passing on information) so not just anyone being useful.
    A agent would be attempting to influence things to reach the goals of his/ her master’s.
    Sometimes agents killed people with the knowledge of those who ran them, sometimes they killed people on the orders of their masters, this is called murder.
    The Mt Vernon gang and Scap seem to fall into this category which makes them murderers and it also makes the handliers murderers as well.
    Now these agents killed a fair amount of people.
    Which means the state murdered a fair amount of people,

  • mickfealty

    The Russian doll analogy also occurred to me. Very apt.

  • file

    No idea, Mike. But the less attention paid to it the better.

  • PeterBrown

    Did Eamonn McCann not implicitly accept that this was an accepted and authorised PIRA tactic in the McGuinness documentary a few weeks ago when he said he tackled a local PIRA leader the next day who justified the death of Patsy Gillespie?

    Unfortunately much as some republicans would like to rewrite history unfortunately not all PIRA members were the messiah some were actually very naughty boys and not every Troubles related death by everyone as now appears to the narrative can be laid directly or indirectly at the door of the security forces!

  • Deeman

    Maybe true Peter. It just seems bizarre that the militants would lack such basic intelligence to think that such tactics would be acceptable to Irish Republicans, Irish America, Irish nationalism in NI. Maybe the secretive bland cellular structure allowed the madmen a degree of impunity.

  • Steven Friare

    Looks like Adams can be controlled pretty effectively with this type of information.