It is useful to set out the correspondence in extenso. [Lawyers love Latin, no more so than Lord Carswell, that Old Instonian, whose surprising expenses claims for attendance at the House of Lords were set out in extenso in the Sunday Times.]
But I digress.
Here is the correspondence.
What is surprising about this exchange , coming in late 1988, is the pessimism shown by Peter Bell.
Note his comment “there still remains too much adhoccery in the way Whitehall grips…the kind of problem which IRA terrorism is likely to present us with over the coming months”.
Ivor Roberts has no firm proposals, in reply, except for a jolly good lunch. [Your club or mine?]
The exchange does not sit well with the analysis by those who say that by this point PIRA was heavily infiltrated and was being paralysed.
It does, however , point to the likelihood that each of the agencies, RUC , Box and Army , were very much doing their own thing with informers. That leads on to the question whether or not the RUC, with a duty to preserve life, could ever have known if informers to the Army and Box were participating in murder.
Re the Boyd Group, TOP [I] and the Assessment Staff Machinery, that is all for another day, Dear Reader.
In December 1988, a telex was sent to Our Man in Brussels.
The subject was Danny Morrison. It was a briefing for the Ambassador.
The writer invited the Ambassador to “draw on the following background on Danny”….
It contained the following information.
“Morrison was interned between 27 November 1972 and 21 December 1973,..he was editor of An Phoblacht [Republican News] in the late 1970s [mouthpiece for IRA and Sinn Fein]…currently director of publicity for Sinn Fein-postion held since early 80s…member of Art Comhairle [Sinn Fein National Executive] for several years…in 1981 he made the infamous quote ballot box /armalite unquote speech at the Ard Fheis [Sinn Fein Annual Conference]…in January 1982 was charged with entering the US illegally and deported to Canada….known to be a quote hawk unquote rather than a quote dove unquote….involved in recent talks with SDLP …vigourous in defending ‘armed struggle’ and publicly dismissing talk of a ceasefire….”
The author went on “You may also say unattributably that we have good reason to believe that Morrison is heavily involved in a central position on the military side of Sinn Fein’s activities”
In January 1990 Morrison was arrested near a house where Sandy Lynch [Special Branch informer] had been interrogated by Sean Maguire [state informer] and Freddie Scappaticci [state informer].
Morrison’s arrest and subsequent wrongful conviction got him off the streets and away from the centre of power. Was that because he was a “hawk”? If so , “cui bono?” The British? The Sinn Fein/PIRA doves? The “Peace Process”?
Answers on a postcard, Dear Reader.
Oh! I almost forgot. The author of the telex?
“When I use a word” , Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone,”it means just what I chose it to mean, neither more nor less”. [Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and through the Looking -Glass]
For a masterly summary of the position, see Ed Moloney in today’s Irish Times.
And so to George Hamilton’s finessing of Supt Geddes’ last statement. Goodness know how many lawyer hours went into it. How many drafts the SOS rejected. What Box had to say about it.
George says that PIRA is a paramilitary organisation, devoted to peaceful means, just like the Salvation Army.
Here are my questions for George:
- Has this organisation access to arms and explosives?
- Has it killed anyone in the last twenty years?
- Who shot Martin McGartland?
- If PIRA is committed to politics, who are its politicians?
I’ll bet that I won’t get a reply.
Hamilton says that they will go where the evidence leads. It’s a statement like Hercule Poirot saying ” I suspect everyone and I suspect no-one” [you do the Belgian accent].
In the twenty five years since the murder of my parents, the police have declined to follow the evidence, to the Belfast brigade of the IRA and onwards to McGuinness. What hope is there that anything has changed?
So, when George uses a word, it means precisely what his political masters, who appointed him and who control him, want it to mean.