Need for Caution

D OC donaloc at
Fri May 23 03:58:30 MDT 2003

A chairde,

This attempts to address the recent spate of publicity around allegations of
British spies within the IRA. I don't think anyone ever believed that there
weren't such things present, indeed, it's part and parcel of everyday
Republican activity to almost universally suspect people.

Michael Keaney has been posting a series of articles which have been carried
by British press, most of which are based on 'shadowy' sources disclosing
politically-directioned allegations. What is also clear is that the
individual at the heart of these allegations has been adamant of his
innocence and have remained 'in situ'. Something most informers would be
very disinclined towards given the usual reward for such individuals.

As such, we must see these allegations in a context. Michael has attempted
to portray them as attempts from a nascient British ruling class to smear
more old-fashioned British Empire Loyalists. As I have said before, this is
an opinion which might well be true. The first thing we must be aware of is
that the British state is not entirely monolithic.

On the other hand, the sort of gutter journalism which gave us allegations
that 'stakeknife' was only Britain's fifth most important spy in the IRA or
that someone who is almost universally acknowledged as having left active
Republicanism years ago was still in charge of internal security are pretty
nonsensical. Similarly are Michael's (baseless and extremely incredible)
remarks that Maggie Thatcher might have known about Airey Neave's impending
assassination (and let us remember that it was not the IRA but the INLA who
was responsible for that). For those of an interest, Airey Neave was a deep
personal friend to Thatcher and considered one of her closest advisor to

What we are seeing in these manic newspaper articles is the 'dirty war'
conducted between Irish Republicans and British Imperialists now being
conducted through the pages of gullible newspaper journalists. There may
well be truth to some allegations (indeed, when telling a lie it is always
best to mix it up with a little truth) but to endorse and reprint such
allegations in an almost unqualifiable manner is to be equally idiotic as
the British media themselves. I am sure that Michael (whom I have a great
deal of respect for) would certainly not fall into such a trap but I do feel
that this sort of posting and the remarks purporting to lurid, almost
sensational, conspiracy-type theories which are being developed are not of
huge benefit to the intellectual product of this list.

There is no doubt that a very significant element of the British state
remains committed to achieving a military victory over the IRA. There is no
doubt that this element might gain from potential internal unrest within
Republicanism arising from allegations that the Peace Process was somehow
'engineered' or brought about through British covert-intervention in the
Armed Struggle. In the context where the Brits have taken 200,000 votes off
the electoral register (clearly aimed at reducing the electoral growth of
Republicanism in the North) and have banned an election twice on the grounds
of potential growth of the extremes (Pinochet only cancelled one election I
think). I think its foolish to talk about Britain looking towards
Republicans to perform a partnership to oversee the transition to a
bourgeois Irish state. It is particularly galling to hear this when Irish
Republicanism has never been so politically isolated since the initiation of
the second cease-fire and when anyone close to the party can see it
developing a solid range of radical policies which are applicable to the
here and now.

There may be a group of British securocrats wishing to advance a British
withdrawal process. If so, fair dues to them. My experience, however, is
that their rivals are in the ascendency at this time and there are massive
uncertainties about the future direction of the whole process. With all this
talk of 'spies', we are getting obscured to the fact that the British State
which touts of its commitment to democracy is scared of elections in the Six
Imperial-architect Richard Haas (although I think he prefers the word Empire
to Imperial).

Le meas,

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