|By Shane Darcy|
When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in South Africa after the fall of apartheid examined the state’s use of informers, it found that the practice had been widespread over several decades, and that the recruitment of informers had often involved torture and manipulation.
The strategy of using informers served to undermine the regime’s opponents and was “highly effective in creating a climate of suspicion and breaking down trust both within and between families and communities”.
Those suspected of being informers in South Africa often paid a very high price. The commission observed how the practice of “necklacing” was specifically used to punish alleged informers and to deter others: “No act could convey a deeper sense of hatred and disrespect”. ...
... Northern Ireland is a case in point. The use of informers by the British army, the police and security forces was widespread during the Troubles, and the IRA is said to have executed dozens of alleged informers, as well as torturing and sending into exile many suspected “touts”.
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