With publication of the Kenova report – an investigation into the activities of notorious British agent Freddie Scappaticci - imminent, Richard O’Rawe’s book ‘Stakeknife’s Dirty War: The inside story of Scappaticci, the IRA’s nutting squad and the British spooks who ran the war’ is cogent, comprehensive and well-timed.
As illuminating as it is compelling, ‘Stakeknife’s Dirty War’ is a valuable addition to the literary canon of Irish and British political science - and maybe political psychology, too.
It was US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Robert Makros who described ‘clean war’ as “the unicorn of armed conflict”. Writing in 2017, Makros said there was “no such thing as a ‘clean war.’”
Nowhere is this analysis more accurate than when a methodical and even-handed O’Rawe interrogates the suggestion the British state acted as agent provocateur during the war in the North.
Speaking to this paper before the book’s Derry launch on Saturday, in the Ex-POP Centre in William Street, O’Rawe cited the case of Patsy Gillespie from the city.