Could Republican and Loyalist terrorism be contained, if Sinn Fein pushed for unification?

There is a misconception that the entire British security apparatus was involved in collusion/agent running, call it what you will, such that whenever the cops eventually collared some particularly egregious psychopathic clown like Johnny Adair it might be said, "see they aren't colluding".

But of course this was not the case, in the RUC, what might be described as the "green police force", most officers were unaware of what Special Branch would be doing, and given that the SB knew a lot of what they were doing shaded the line of criminality they weren't about to tell their colleagues what they were up to. They could try to obstruct investigations, shield agents and basically run interference (qv Police Ombudsman's report http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/22_01_07_ballast.pdf ) they couldn't just step in and blatantly prevent a police patrol stopping a car load of rifles.

Johnny Adair was caught because he talked too much to local detectives who were not in the SB circle. Adair was horrified when he discovered all his blabbering was actually being recorded and was used as evidence in court, he simply assumed all cops were on his side and that when a friendly detective called around to his house for a cup of tea and a chat about the latest Fenian he had stiffed that the cop was one of his buddies who was protecting him. In the face of the evidence that the pea-brained oaf freely gave to honest detectives there was little the Branch could do to save him.

Same with the Army's agents, do you think Gordon Kerr was ringing up the local superintendent and letting him know what one of his agents was planning for the night? Of course not.

But anyone who thinks that the huge volumes of well-researched evidence about what the Special Branch and FRU were up to in the province is nothing but a load of "Provo propaganda" is either a naive fool or just an old-fashioned bigot, plain and simple.
 
According to the conflict archive CAIN only 30 loyalist paramilitaries were killed by the IRA. I believe this is bourne out by the detail in Lost Lives.

The IRA were apparently more effective at killing their own - some 59 suspected informers for example.

There is also a tendency to conflate 'agents' with 'informers'. The two are significantly different and were used and indeed organized differently by the RUC.

On Brian Nelson there is more not known or acknowledged about him than is appreciated. The claim that he was first recruited by the FRU in 1986 has both some truth and yet in the grand scheme of things is also utter ballox.

Smoke and mirrors gentlemen......or is that mirrors and smoke? Doubt we will ever know.
I could never see the point of the FRU. Shouldn't all informers be handled by RUC SB. Wouldn't they be in competion and duplication with SB.
 
There is a misconception that the entire British security apparatus was involved in collusion/agent running, call it what you will, such that whenever the cops eventually collared some particularly egregious psychopathic clown like Johnny Adair it might be said, "see they aren't colluding".

But of course this was not the case, in the RUC, what might be described as the "green police force", most officers were unaware of what Special Branch would be doing, and given that the SB knew a lot of what they were doing shaded the line of criminality they weren't about to tell their colleagues what they were up to. They could try to obstruct investigations, shield agents and basically run interference (qv Police Ombudsman's report http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/22_01_07_ballast.pdf ) they couldn't just step in and blatantly prevent a police patrol stopping a car load of rifles.

Johnny Adair was caught because he talked too much to local detectives who were not in the SB circle. Adair was horrified when he discovered all his blabbering was actually being recorded and was used as evidence in court, he simply assumed all cops were on his side and that when a friendly detective called around to his house for a cup of tea and a chat about the latest Fenian he had stiffed that the cop was one of his buddies who was protecting him. In the face of the evidence that the pea-brained oaf freely gave to honest detectives there was little the Branch could do to save him.

Same with the Army's agents, do you think Gordon Kerr was ringing up the local superintendent and letting him know what one of his agents was planning for the night? Of course not.

But anyone who thinks that the huge volumes of well-researched evidence about what the Special Branch and FRU were up to in the province is nothing but a load of "Provo propaganda" is either a naive fool or just an old-fashioned bigot, plain and simple.
I recently read a paper which made an important distinction between 'agents and 'informers'. The two terms are often used interchangeably, even by experienced academics. But they are not the same thing. With specific regard to the RUC it was explained that only the SB were allowed to run 'agents' - described as people who will undertake actions and report on the results - their misdemeanours often overlooked. Informers on the other hand were the preserve of the CID who used the information thus provided to follow case to its conclusion at which point the relationship was at end unless or until further information was sought from the same source on a different matter. Informants were however duly nicked if they stepped out of line.
 
There is a misconception that the entire British security apparatus was involved in collusion/agent running, call it what you will, such that whenever the cops eventually collared some particularly egregious psychopathic clown like Johnny Adair it might be said, "see they aren't colluding".

But of course this was not the case, in the RUC, what might be described as the "green police force", most officers were unaware of what Special Branch would be doing, and given that the SB knew a lot of what they were doing shaded the line of criminality they weren't about to tell their colleagues what they were up to. They could try to obstruct investigations, shield agents and basically run interference (qv Police Ombudsman's report http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/22_01_07_ballast.pdf ) they couldn't just step in and blatantly prevent a police patrol stopping a car load of rifles.

Johnny Adair was caught because he talked too much to local detectives who were not in the SB circle. Adair was horrified when he discovered all his blabbering was actually being recorded and was used as evidence in court, he simply assumed all cops were on his side and that when a friendly detective called around to his house for a cup of tea and a chat about the latest Fenian he had stiffed that the cop was one of his buddies who was protecting him. In the face of the evidence that the pea-brained oaf freely gave to honest detectives there was little the Branch could do to save him.

Same with the Army's agents, do you think Gordon Kerr was ringing up the local superintendent and letting him know what one of his agents was planning for the night? Of course not.

But anyone who thinks that the huge volumes of well-researched evidence about what the Special Branch and FRU were up to in the province is nothing but a load of "Provo propaganda" is either a naive fool or just an old-fashioned bigot, plain and simple.
Even if FRU, MI5 or SB were allowing certain individuals to "get away with murder". Do you think the confict, would've been gradually wound down, towards the ceasefires, without those people under the control of the state?
Would we still be in a state of conflict?

If Martin McGuinness was an agent and the RUC had arrested him and placed him in the maze for 20 years, he'd have just been replaced by his 2ic.

What good would that have done in the long run?

How many lives were saved during his time outside the Maze, due the PIRA strategy, possibly being engineered by the intelligence services.

There are rumours that Adams set up the Loughgall ambush..if he was a tout, was a greater good done in the long run?

You could also say that about Scappatecci, Donaldson and the others at the top of the paramilitaries, calling the shots.
 
I could never see the point of the FRU. Shouldn't all informers be handled by RUC SB. Wouldn't they be in competion and duplication with SB.
I suspect it had more to do with practicality, security and trust. There had long been an element of mistrust between the army and police generally - fuelled at,the political level as much as on the ground. Add to that the practical limitations of trying to recruit agents from a community that would have nothing to do with the police and were fearful of their sincerity about security. Passing them over to RUC SB may have been counterproductive. Indeed I would think that because of the poor relationship between the nationalist community and the police, the SB may well have asked the army to take an agent on from time to time otherwise they could have been lost.

In a structural sense the army would need a suitable organization to facilitate such activities, and indeed it needed a centralized capability to oversee what had been a fragmentary approach to military agent handling. At one time individual battalion IOs were running agents while Brigade MILOs,had their own stall, the MRF had their 'Freds' and prior to that the 'Bomb Squad' were also running theirs. Agent handling was also part of the brief for the SRU and I very much suspect that by the time the need for a dedicated proffessional 'surveillance' capability resulted in 14 Int, the baggage of 'agent handling' was correctly seen to require a 'skill too far'. Hence enter the FRU with its dedicated selection and training regime.
 
Last edited:
I suspect it had more to do with practicality, security and trust. There had long been an element of mistrust between the army and police generally - fuelled at,the political level as much as on the ground. Add to that the practical limitations of trying to recruit agents from a community that would have nothing to do with the police and were fearful of their sincerity about security. Passing them over to RUC SB may have been counterproductive. Indeed I would think that because of the poor relationship between the nationalist community and the police, the SB may well have asked the army to take an agent on from time to time otherwise they could have been lost.

In a structural sense the army would need a suitable organization to facilitate such activities, and indeed it needed a centralized capability to oversee what had been a fragmentary approach to military agent handling. At one time individual battalion IOs were running agents while Brigade MILOs,had their own stall, the MRF had their 'Freds' and prior to that the 'Bomb Squad' were also running theirs. Agent handling was also part of the brief for the SRU and I very much suspect that by the time the need for a dedicated proffessional 'surveillance' capability resulted in 14 Int, the baggage of 'agent handling' was correctly seen to require a 'skill too far'. Hence enter the FRU with its dedicated selection and training regime.
Sounds good, but wouldn't the army handlers change over every 2 years while RUC SB handlers be there for the long haul. Most of the blowback seems to be directed at the FRU.
 
Even if FRU, MI5 or SB were allowing certain individuals to "get away with murder". Do you think the confict, would've been gradually wound down, towards the ceasefires, without those people under the control of the state?
Would we still be in a state of conflict?

If Martin McGuinness was an agent and the RUC had arrested him and placed him in the maze for 20 years, he'd have just been replaced by his 2ic.

What good would that have done in the long run?

How many lives were saved during his time outside the Maze, due the PIRA strategy, possibly being engineered by the intelligence services.

There are rumours that Adams set up the Loughgall ambush..if he was a tout, was a greater good done in the long run?

You could also say that about Scappatecci, Donaldson and the others at the top of the paramilitaries, calling the shots.
I will concede that yes it was the agent-running that eventually led to the end of the conflict, having undermined the two sides, the state was able to control and give direction to them to call it a day, undoubtedly.

So why the continual denials here that the state was to all intents and purposes running both paramilitary campaigns?

I understand why the RUC and Army would quietly wish to gloss over what was done but I fail to understand why posters here, with their healthy cynicism about the world in general, their robust attitude to life and their in-depth knowledge of what went on in the Troubles suddenly come over all coy and parrot the usual establishment bullshit about how everything was entirely above board.

No one stepped over the line, no shortcuts were taken, no cops or Brits ran rogue operations, any deaths that occurred were tragic but unavoidable and everyone played by the rules and happily as it turned out everything ended up just the way the security services wanted it. That will do for Daily Mail readers, the rest of us have a bit more common sense.

Anyone with two functioning brain synapses and an IQ above the level of amoeba knows damn well what went on, who was doing it, pretty much when they did it and why, so can all we stop pretending now?
 
Passing them over to RUC SB may have been counterproductive. Indeed I would think that because of the poor relationship between the nationalist community and the police, the SB may well have asked the army to take an agent on from time to time otherwise they could have been lost.
That of course was the case with Willie Carlin in Derry, who was happy to work with the Army but who absolutely loathed the RUC and wouldn't give them the time of day.
 
RUC SB ain’t there none more, they all left and ended up in places like Iraq.

PSNI ain’t the old RUC and would fail dismally at containing anything more than some rowdy tracksuitted nackers,
 
RUC SB ain’t there none more, they all left and ended up in places like Iraq.

PSNI ain’t the old RUC and would fail dismally at containing anything more than some rowdy tracksuitted nackers,
How do you know how they would fair?
The RUC had the same problem, yet wrote the rule book for the future.
 
But of course this was not the case, in the RUC, what might be described as the "green police force", most officers were unaware of what Special Branch would be doing, and given that the SB knew a lot of what they were doing shaded the line of criminality they weren't about to tell their colleagues what they were up to. They could try to obstruct investigations, shield agents and basically run interference (qv Police Ombudsman's report http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/22_01_07_ballast.pdf ) they couldn't just step in and blatantly prevent a police patrol stopping a car load of rifles.
The car with the UDA weapons in it was stopped by E4B (part of Special Branch), who had been tasked to stop it by RCG (part of Special Branch) based on intelligence provided by Special Branch.

When you have no idea what you are talking about, you should probably stop talking.
 
How do you know how they would fair?
The RUC had the same problem, yet wrote the rule book for the future.
they lost their institutional experience en masse.
they were the best, arguable in the western world, now? No better than the Met, and arguably worse.
 

skid2

LE
Book Reviewer
Not sure, I only came across it recently. Haven't heard the Donaldson angle before - though I don't know that much about him..............yet!
See if you can dig up the tale of how they turned him, if it’s true it was a master stroke. A definite 6.
 

skid2

LE
Book Reviewer
I think people have missed the obvious or something.
PIRA started a terrorist campaign to secure a United Ireland. Imagine if it had been successful.
How on Earth was an organisation illegal on both sides of the border supposed to deliver the defeated six counties to the Irish Republic.

Would the Dublin government say thanks very much and lock up those who turned up with the north’s surrender document.

Would they just let the Army Council run the show. Given that Sinn Fein were very much the junior and not much thought of aside to PIRA.

Until the Armalite and ballot box strategy took hold! Sinn Fein was populated with Irish language activists, beardies in Aran jumpers and people who thought Ireland really had fairies and leprechauns. They weren’t very well thought of until transformed with community workers, welfare activists, computer geeks and street workers.


Had the military campaign looked like succeeding, there would have been no need for SF. Nor a political strategy. That political strategy took 25 years..

Would the Irish Government go into a coalition with a previously illegal terrorist organisation?

What were the U.K. U.S. and Eu people doing while all this was going onThe IRA

The social and economic rationale for a campaign was disappearing fast, there was no longer discrimination in jobs and housing. And money was coming in to improve the social and community infrastructure. That took time to bed in but it worked too.
People became less inclined to let them fire an RPG in a recently built and decorated living room.

Even loyalist areas, where there would have been a bonfire on almost every street corner. As house prices increased, people became less inclined to have one on their doorstep.

The IRA never had a chance of succeeding. All we had to do was contain it, run intelligence and interdiction and eventually they’d run out of people.
 
Was that the one called "Nae mair kaflicks' that got turned into a song for Trainspotting 2?
We hate Kafflicks..apparently everybody hates, Roman Kafflicks?
 
I think people have missed the obvious or something.
PIRA started a terrorist campaign to secure a United Ireland. Imagine if it had been successful.
How on Earth was an organisation illegal on both sides of the border supposed to deliver the defeated six counties to the Irish Republic.

Would the Dublin government say thanks very much and lock up those who turned up with the north’s surrender document.

Would they just let the Army Council run the show. Given that Sinn Fein were very much the junior and not much thought of aside to PIRA.

Until the Armalite and ballot box strategy took hold! Sinn Fein was populated with Irish language activists, beardies in Aran jumpers and people who thought Ireland really had fairies and leprechauns. They weren’t very well thought of until transformed with community workers, welfare activists, computer geeks and street workers.


Had the military campaign looked like succeeding, there would have been no need for SF. Nor a political strategy. That political strategy took 25 years..

Would the Irish Government go into a coalition with a previously illegal terrorist organisation?

What were the U.K. U.S. and Eu people doing while all this was going onThe IRA

The social and economic rationale for a campaign was disappearing fast, there was no longer discrimination in jobs and housing. And money was coming in to improve the social and community infrastructure. That took time to bed in but it worked too.
People became less inclined to let them fire an RPG in a recently built and decorated living room.

Even loyalist areas, where there would have been a bonfire on almost every street corner. As house prices increased, people became less inclined to have one on their doorstep.

The IRA never had a chance of succeeding. All we had to do was contain it, run intelligence and interdiction and eventually they’d run out of people.
Skid in relation to bonfires in Loyalist area's the reason they have largely disappeared is due to there simply being less and less land to put them on.

Where I am on the Lower Newtonards Rd, we have a bit of tarmaced land set aside in between the new houses and the play park for a bonfire.

The appetite is still there to celebrate the 11th of July as long as it's done correctly and led responsibly by the local communities.

I think it showed how much local communities still want, well organised bonfires, when half of the Albertbridge Rd turned out to stop the Avoniel bonfire from being lifted.
 
We hate Kafflicks..apparently everybody hates, Roman Kafflicks?
I gave you a funny becsuse there is nowt with tears on it. When my son was in his mid twenties he asked 'what's the difference between a protestant and a catholic.?' I told him that by asking the question he had confirmed I had brought him up correctly.
Then I said, but if you ask my Granny the same question she will tell you the Catholics 'hae twa heeds'.
 
I gave you a funny becsuse there is nowt with tears on it. When my son was in his mid twenties he asked 'what's the difference between a protestant and a catholic.?' I told him that by asking the question he had confirmed I had brought him up correctly.
Then I said, but if you ask my Granny the same question she will tell you the Catholics 'hae twa heeds'.
It's their eyes being closer together is the dead giveaway o_Oo_O
 

Latest Threads

Top