Friday, December 23, 2005

British intelligence in Northern Ireland

A high-level Sinn Fein official named Denis Donaldson has admitted that he was a spy for British intelligence, thus confirming complaints made by Northern Irish republicans for years that politics in Northern Ireland was completely manipulated by London (in particular in the operation known as 'Stormontgate', which involved Donaldson and which simultaneously achieved a number of British goals, including embarrassing the IRA, sowing dissension in republican politics, and bringing political power over Northern Ireland back to London). Sinn Fein has been noticeably quiet about the matter, perhaps reflecting embarrassment about being so infiltrated, or perhaps reflecting internal finger-pointing at who was responsible for allowing this to happen. Jonathan Freedland suggests there could be a number of possibilities:

  1. the British security establishment does infiltrate and manipulate republican politics; or

  2. Donaldson was outed by British intelligence so the predictable violent retaliation against him would prove how nasty the IRA is and delay the blessing by decommissioning commissioner General de Chastelain; or

  3. the IRA really was involved in spying at Stormont, and British spy Donaldson had to go along with it in order to preserve his cover (which would explain why Sinn Fein doesn't want to see a big investigation which would prove it really was spying); or

  4. Denis Donaldson was originally a British agent but was 'turned' back to Sinn Fein, possibly to avoid being killed when he really was betrayed, and this is a Sinn Fein propaganda operation (but based on the truth that Donaldson was a British spy).

The last issue raised by Freedland is that Blair and Adams have become all too comfortable with the status quo, which looks after their own personal interests while denying self-rule to the people of Northern Ireland.

For another example of the same type of spying, see the saga of Stakeknife.