The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Contra Con Artists

Part of the telling of this story is that the British and Irish governments are aware of how serious the situation is. They know because Sinn Fein has told them. There is no other information in the system on the suggested threat to the Adams-McGuinness-Kelly leadership - Brian Rowan


Anthony McIntyre • 18 November 2006

Sinn Fein's contra leadership has gone public to draw attention to what it claims are threats to the lives of some of its senior members. These threats are said to have emanated from republican opponents and recently disaffected IRA members. If such threats exist they are loathsome and should be withdrawn immediately. The war is over. Republicans lost, the Brits won. No amount of settling up with those believed to have sold out will reverse that. Besides, as Nietzsche warned, 'mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong.' Whatever the tenets of the tradition republicans hail from, there are no legitimate targets.

That said, the republican dissidents have no history of physically attacking Sinn Fein contras. But the Provisional movement of which Sinn Fein is an integral part has killed, kidnapped, degraded, intimidated, threatened and demonised republicans who dissent from the Provisionals' partitionist strategy. By way of example: Joe O'Conner murdered, Kevin Perry shot and maimed, Tommy Gorman's house besieged by a mob, Brendan Shannon kidnapped, Carrie Twomey intimidated and her home picketed by a gang, Marian Price visited by the thought police, Bobby Tohill tortured, Dolours Price threatened, Michael Donnelly left with broken limbs. And that is only chapter one of a very long book.

Former BBC security correspondent, Brian Rowan, while thinking the threat could exist, nevertheless said there was no evidence of it other than Sinn Fein's word, which is about as useful as bad breath. At the start of the week the PSNI were denying any knowledge of the threat. According to Rowan, “the Special Branch knows much about the dissident groups. They have their informers inside them - but there is no police information on this suggested threat to the most senior figures in the Sinn Fein leadership. A day or two later Hugh Orde reworked this position: “the Sinn Fein leadership say their perception is the threat against them has increased - I don't think they're wrong. Yet the PSNI have not been out to visit anyone from Sinn Fein to inform them of the supposed threat they face. In fact the only person visited by the PSNI in the past week, seemingly, was a relative of the McCartney family. He was told by the police he was under threat from the Provisional IRA.

Even if there is truth to the threat allegations, Sinn Fein leaders look ridiculous recruiting Orde to their cause after having dismissed his testimony as valueless once he had honestly accused their movement of robbing the Northern Bank. Given that they also howled for hard evidence and due process in the aftermath of the same robbery, their allegations of threats ring hollow when there is nothing other than their own worthless word to sustain them. And doubts have been further strengthened by the promotion of the following Adams porky: “I have no problem whatsoever and in fact would actively encourage very inclusive debate on every dimension of strategy and tactics. Too many will recognise in that the same truth status as underpins the threat claim.

A touch curious is Hugh Orde's timing. It comes in the wake of reports in the Sunday Tribune that he and Adams had a private tete a tete at Hillsborough Castle, during which Adams outlined the lay of the land regarding those who oppose his move to endorse Orde's British police force. Viewed in a certain way, this can be seen as Adams colluding with Orde, perhaps not for the first time, against his republican critics. Elsewhere, but in similar vein, Michael McDowell has pointed out that “the Sinn Fein leadership has stated to the Northern security authorities the view of a threat from some of their former colleagues in the Republican movement for their safety.

There is nothing strange about any of this. The story is told that during a recent radio interview a former member of the SAS, when asked about his role in the North of Ireland, said he initially thought he was shooting the enemies of the Queen only to later discover that he was in fact shooting the enemies of Gerry Adams.

Anti-PSNI republicans see Sinn Fein in witch hunting mode. The party is finding it difficult to unite cohesively and attack its republican adversaries on the grounds of policing. Support the PSNI and crush the force's republican opponents is not a cry everybody within Provisional ranks feels comfortable rallying to. So the leadership tries this hoax. It is as old as Adam and Eve. In times of trouble, close ranks and find a suitable witch to burn at the stake. Putting witches to the torch helps focus the minds of the grassroots on matters other than policing. This is a call to the party sandbags to huddle together around their leaders and protect them from the evil dissidents, a coven of who supposedly sit around a cauldron casting spells and plotting mayhem. The leader of the Sinn Fein macho group, Gerry Adams, demagogue that he is, knows how to play any fool who will listen. He will, as HL Mencken put it, preach doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.

Meanwhile, his cohort, Martin McGuinness has warned the republican constituency not to allow itself to be exploited or manipulated by republicans opposed to himself. No, just allow itself to be exploited by the leadership of which he is a part; which has manipulated the republican grassroots for decades, lying to them, taking them to places they promised never to see; covering up with more lies to mask the identity of the destination they invariably reached.

McGuinness has also expressed disappointment that some disaffected Provisionals “who should know better are standing shoulder to shoulder with dissidents. Not half as disgusted as the disaffected and the dissidents are at McGuinness seeking to stand shoulder to shoulder with the same British police force that killed, tortured, framed and jailed their comrades.

Republicans who feel betrayed by the Sinn Fein leadership do not talk about harming its leaders. What they do discuss are memories of their comrades going out in the morning to begin operations without any breakfast, patches in their jeans and cardboard lining their shoes. Later the same day they ceased to exist. They were sent out by some of the people who today have managed to prosper from their lives and deaths; people who urged them to take the risk because:

If at any time Sinn Fein decide to disown the armed struggle they won't have me as a member”, or “our position is clear, and it will never, never, never change. The war against British rule must continue until freedom is achieved.”

The 'dissident threat' seems little more than a Sinn Fein leadership ruse geared to gel those inside the tent by portraying as malign those outside it. On the other hand, if the threats are genuine, the leaders, given their wealth, will not have to run from terrace house to alleyway with holes in their shoes. They can always take refuge in Gerry Kelly's villa in the South of Spain.




Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



There is no such thing as a dirty word. Nor is there a word so powerful, that it's going to send the listener to the lake of fire upon hearing it.
- Frank Zappa

Index: Current Articles

19 November 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

The Bogeyman
Anthony McIntyre

Believe It Or Not
John Kennedy

Contra Con Artists
Anthony McIntyre

The Wrong Kind of Republican?
Ivan Morley

Equality Agenda: British Rhetoric and Reality
Martin Galvin

A Deal Done By Quislings
Mick Hall

Dr John Coulter

Deadline? Pull the other one!
David Adams

Political Policing
Martin Ingram

It's Not The Taking Part
Anthony McIntyre

Who Can Get Dr No to Say Yes?
Dr John Coulter

Equality or Equity
Michéal MháDonnáin

Michael Gillespie

Revolutionary Unionism
Dr John Coulter

Who Needs Enemies
John Kennedy

The King's Threshold
Robin Kirk

7 November 2006

When It's Time for Change, No One Is Irreplaceable
Mick Hall

Date Fixed For Flawed Landmark Case
Michael McKevitt Justice Campaign

Souper Sinn Fein
Eoghan O'Suilleabhain

Dr John Coulter

St Andrews Agreement & 'the Left'
Davy Carlin

Shotgun Wedding
John Kennedy

...and to create the space for a diversity of views...
Noel Dolan

'Undo the Great Betrayal, Free the Occupied 26'
Dr John Coulter

The Wind That Shakes the Barley
Anthony McIntyre

Power & Powerlessness
Patricia Campbell

The Constantine Institute
Terry O'Neill

Mary Robinson Spotlights Human Rights Abuses in Darfur
William Hughes

Fearless Speech
Anthony McIntyre



The Blanket




Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices