In an article published on the Guardians Comment is Free web site, Mick Fealty of Slugger O’Toole wrote that whilst the exposure of yet another informer within the SF hierarchy “will not upset any constitutional apple-carts [as] Paisley’s Democratic Unionists are committed to working with their former enemies almost come what may.” it does once again highlight “Sinn Fein’s: violent past” “That fresh start promised by the St Andrews Agreement, is no longer fresh nor the clear cut break with the past that many within Sinn Féin would have wished for. Each time another fragment of its “secret history” becomes public, its democratic credentials tarnish just a little bit more.” *
Indeed, but surely due to this continuos drip, drip of allegations about informers within Sinn Fein, it is time the debate was moved on to question just why the British Security Services, with the North of Ireland peace process securely bedded down, would wish to continue to out its own informers who worked within the Provisional Republican Movement. A practice which seems to go against all known procedures that have been used by security services worldwide. For anonymity must be the single most important factor when an individual decides to become an informer and if MI5 can no longer guarantee that, only a complete idiot would agree to freely tout for them
How ever the British Security Services have been known to squeeze every last drop of advantage out of their informers and assets before agreeing to pension them off; up to and including at times their life’s blood. For example a low level tout was said to have been sacrificed to protect the informer Freddie Scapiticci who at one time helped run the Provo’s security department; and there are those who claim that Scapiticci himself was finally sacrificed by the Security Services to protect an informer within the leadership of SF. Could it be a variation of this tactic we are witnessing here?
We should also not loose sight of the fact that whenever a high profile informer has been outed in recent years they have in the publics minds eye become closely associated with Gerry Adams. Never mind that Republican informers like Denis Donaldson and Roy McShane would have also been associates of all who are members of the tight northern PRM leadership clique, but in the public mind due to the way the media has handled the story they were Adams men.
For it is this aspect of their work within the PRM above all others that the media have concentrated on. For example it is general knowledge that Roy McShane was a member of the Provo’s security department, his membership of which could have lead to a far bigger can of worms than him being merely Gerry Adams driver, but it is the latter the media has concentrated on.
I have written before about the similarity between the Good Friday Agreement and the Oslo Accords, both of which in my opinion were designed to shut an insurgency down whilst maintaining the Status Quo* and in the process over time discrediting those who had the temerity to rise up against the British and Israeli States.
Both the PLO and the PRM had a charismatic leader who was susceptible to flattery, however both men were only willing to go so far in compromising their cause. In Arafat’s case he refused to sign away the rights of the Palestinian Diaspora to return home and for this he was destroyed both politically and physically. Has Gerry Adams reached a similar fork in the road over policing/whatever, and if so has the British State decided to destroy him and remove him from the political scene to be replaced by a more pliable fellow. One only has to witness the way the British media has been portraying Martin Maginness of late to understand he has become the flavor of the month.
Is Gerry Adams about to get the Arafat treatment, after a decade of invites from the great and good and being welcomed in the worlds political Chancellories are Mr Adams powerful political ‘friends’ refusing to return his calls.
That the British Security Services main priority during the long war was to recruit and infiltrate informers into the PRM is taken as read, as is the fact that they had considerable success in doing so. Although it should not be over looked for every informer there were thousands of volunteers and members of SF who were totally loyal to the struggle. Now that the war is over it is hardly surprising that MI5 wish to portray there own role in the war as noble and just; and that their ‘all seeing tentacles’ stretched into every corner of the Republican Movement. What better way to discredit the PRM than to create in the public consciousness that the man who was at the centre of that Struggle for four decades [Gerry Adams] was surrounded by informers who reported back his every thought and move to their masters in the security forces.
Whilst there may or may not be some truth in the aforementioned it is clearly far from the whole story, for if the security services were all seeing and powerful how can they explain that the war went on for almost four decades and it was only towards the latter years that informers began to undermine the struggle. By saying this I am not suggesting that Adams coterie and the wider Provisional movement were tout free, for we know that was not the case. But before progressive minded people whether Socialists or Republicans start tut tutting and join in the disapproving chorus when yet another informer is exposed, we would do well to ask ourselves who gains by outing such a sad, unfortunate specimen of a human being.
Increasingly the British are attempting to rewrite the history of the north of Ireland and not without some success, take the recent commemoration of the NICRM, people who really should know better have portrayed this organization through rose tinted spectacles. Almost totally ignoring that it was the British and their Unionist acolytes who first introduced violence to the street of the north, not the PIRA. The implication being every thing was going fine until those dastardly republicans gave the nationalist working classes the means and opportunity to fight back, a point Brian Kelly made powerfully at a recent NICRM meeting. **
** That status quo in Palestine was the continuation of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and in the six counties to set in stone the British presence in Ireland.