Anthony McIntyre discusses the suggestion that the New IRA is a pseudo-gang.

Earlier this week, some dude stepped out at the front of a pro-Trump rally in the US urging it to “kill the Democrats.” My wife immediately said: ”that’s the FBI agent “ The sentiment resonated with me firstly because it seemed so obvious, and secondly because of how the possibility of a similar situation is being played out in the North.

On a number of occasions in conversation with republicans and their critics, academics and journalists the suggestion has been floated that the latest manifestation of the IRA tradition might be a Kitsonian type pseudo-gang, effectively managed and kept in place by the British security services. Its function: to operate as a fly trap for anybody considering using arms as a means to express their opposition to the involvement of the British state in Ireland.

The suspicion is undoubtedly fuelled by the organisation’s inability to conduct its business as most people imagine a serious guerrilla organisation would. Had the Provisional IRA campaign produced so little in terms of quality operations, the British would have never entertained the peace process as a means to bring the Provisional IRA to heel. In fact, the British would have considered it “job done.”

Not given to conspiracy theories the only answer that I can proffer to the pseudo-gang suggestion is that while I genuinely do not know, I do not believe it to be the case. It seems that almost 70 years after the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya where the tactic was employed, the modern British state is hardly in need of pseudo-gangs or the opprobrium certain to come once they are caught running them. Effective control of an organisation can be attained without managing it. The use of control gates effectively precludes a movement going in the direction it might wish to proceed.

Having watched these things develop over the course of decades, the obvious elephant in the room is not those against whom the surveillance trap was sprang on this occasion, but those against whom it was not. Without any hard evidence – just a steadfast belief that the current IRA is as penetrated as the former IRA – it appears that the British security agencies are doing one of two things. They are clearing out the top tier in order to create space for their own people to move in. Or they are clearing out the top tier and using control gates to ensure that the people most suitable for their objectives get into position. The first type would be agents, but not the second. Either way the control panel is at the fingertips of the British, not the current IRA. The aim is not to decapitate the organisation per se but to allow it to grow a new head, one that from its own perspective is docile, not on the road to a united Ireland, just on the road to nowhere, a road littered with botched operations and PR disasters. 

In terms of effect, although not intent, the main purpose that the group calling itself the IRA serves is not to prosecute a guerrilla war: it simply does not do that. In the final year of the former IRA’s armed campaign against the British state, its level of activity was so poor that a senior RUC figure described it as a pathetic grubby little war. Yet even at such a poor operational level it was much more effective than anything the current IRA can muster. What the current IRA does do is provide the British security services with a training ground where they can practice their surveillance techniques for use elsewhere in real wars, to the point where they will be both effective and cross examination resilient.

With legislation being introduced by the British to enable them to jail teens "guilty of terrorism" for their entire lives, some serious thinking needs to be done. In the current IRA young people stand less chance of being sent out on successful operations than they do to prison. Setting aside the ethics and wisdom of it all, even the horrific effect on the victims of IRA activity, the leaders of the current IRA have an obligation to their members and anybody who might think of joining to ensure that they are not something for the British security services to practice on before they end up doing seriously long stretches in prison.  

If this interpretation is correct, and the current IRA is controlled rather than handled, the value of controlling an organisation that proclaims its adherence to armed actions is that people who think of such means are likely to gravitate to the organisation shouting loudest. That brings us back round to the guy in the Trump crowd. 

⏩Follow on Twitter @AnthonyMcIntyre

Same Outcome Whether Managed Or Controlled

Anthony McIntyre discusses the suggestion that the New IRA is a pseudo-gang.

Earlier this week, some dude stepped out at the front of a pro-Trump rally in the US urging it to “kill the Democrats.” My wife immediately said: ”that’s the FBI agent “ The sentiment resonated with me firstly because it seemed so obvious, and secondly because of how the possibility of a similar situation is being played out in the North.

On a number of occasions in conversation with republicans and their critics, academics and journalists the suggestion has been floated that the latest manifestation of the IRA tradition might be a Kitsonian type pseudo-gang, effectively managed and kept in place by the British security services. Its function: to operate as a fly trap for anybody considering using arms as a means to express their opposition to the involvement of the British state in Ireland.

The suspicion is undoubtedly fuelled by the organisation’s inability to conduct its business as most people imagine a serious guerrilla organisation would. Had the Provisional IRA campaign produced so little in terms of quality operations, the British would have never entertained the peace process as a means to bring the Provisional IRA to heel. In fact, the British would have considered it “job done.”

Not given to conspiracy theories the only answer that I can proffer to the pseudo-gang suggestion is that while I genuinely do not know, I do not believe it to be the case. It seems that almost 70 years after the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya where the tactic was employed, the modern British state is hardly in need of pseudo-gangs or the opprobrium certain to come once they are caught running them. Effective control of an organisation can be attained without managing it. The use of control gates effectively precludes a movement going in the direction it might wish to proceed.

Having watched these things develop over the course of decades, the obvious elephant in the room is not those against whom the surveillance trap was sprang on this occasion, but those against whom it was not. Without any hard evidence – just a steadfast belief that the current IRA is as penetrated as the former IRA – it appears that the British security agencies are doing one of two things. They are clearing out the top tier in order to create space for their own people to move in. Or they are clearing out the top tier and using control gates to ensure that the people most suitable for their objectives get into position. The first type would be agents, but not the second. Either way the control panel is at the fingertips of the British, not the current IRA. The aim is not to decapitate the organisation per se but to allow it to grow a new head, one that from its own perspective is docile, not on the road to a united Ireland, just on the road to nowhere, a road littered with botched operations and PR disasters. 

In terms of effect, although not intent, the main purpose that the group calling itself the IRA serves is not to prosecute a guerrilla war: it simply does not do that. In the final year of the former IRA’s armed campaign against the British state, its level of activity was so poor that a senior RUC figure described it as a pathetic grubby little war. Yet even at such a poor operational level it was much more effective than anything the current IRA can muster. What the current IRA does do is provide the British security services with a training ground where they can practice their surveillance techniques for use elsewhere in real wars, to the point where they will be both effective and cross examination resilient.

With legislation being introduced by the British to enable them to jail teens "guilty of terrorism" for their entire lives, some serious thinking needs to be done. In the current IRA young people stand less chance of being sent out on successful operations than they do to prison. Setting aside the ethics and wisdom of it all, even the horrific effect on the victims of IRA activity, the leaders of the current IRA have an obligation to their members and anybody who might think of joining to ensure that they are not something for the British security services to practice on before they end up doing seriously long stretches in prison.  

If this interpretation is correct, and the current IRA is controlled rather than handled, the value of controlling an organisation that proclaims its adherence to armed actions is that people who think of such means are likely to gravitate to the organisation shouting loudest. That brings us back round to the guy in the Trump crowd. 

⏩Follow on Twitter @AnthonyMcIntyre

1 comment:

  1. I can’t understand why republicans keep telling us to never forget our history when that’s exactly what they themselves do, if republicans were to study their history, they would see that what former their settled for was sell out or defeat, so why do they feel that their present leaders won’t settle for same, the mind boggles

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