The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Story with rusty British blade has Irish adherents

(Please note, "Adam O'Toole" is a pseudonym: see editorial- Ed.)

"Adam O'Toole" • 29.05.03

While Anthony McIntyre "love(s) to whine" (letter) about the outcome of a chance meeting on the street with Sinn Fein's Tom Hartley, he has remained silent on criticism in An Phoblacht of The Blanket's promotion of misinformation.

Readers can read what follows and make up their own minds.

'Stakeknife' turns out to have blunt British blade
Media begins to ask: "Where's the beef?"

By Adam O'Toole

The naming of 'Stakeknife' exposed the way the media spreads misinformation through un-attributed sources and becomes a willing participant in the so-called 'dirty war'. Journalists claiming to have anti-imperialist credentials have used the 'Stakeknife' story to launch attacks on Sinn Fein. For some, criticism of the Peace Process and of Sinn Fein has become a funnel through which British misiniformation is spread.

Peace Process threat

The British Establishment considers the Process to be a threat to its rule in the North, not least because it fragments and disorientates unionism. They have sought to consolidate unionism since the Agreement was signed by continuing the overt and covert campaign against Sinn Fein. British strategy has sought to re-incorporate the Dublin government into this strategy, whose aim is to preserve the political integrity of sectarian unionism and to marginalize Irish republicanism.

Elements of the British establishment are attempting to re-engineer the political isolation and demonisation that republicans experienced prior to the Good Friday Agreement. The Unionist paramilitaries have been used as part of this strategy to put continuing violent pressure on republican areas, with the hope of disrupting and destroying the republican ceasefire.

MI5 speaks with forked tongue

However, the plan to 'save Dave' has left Britain dangerously exposed politically. It required the cancellation of an election, a basic denial of the right to vote. This action was accompanied by John Steven's report on British collusion with unionist paramilitaries. The revelation from Michael Stone that he was directed to Milltown Cemetery in 1988 to kill mourners by the RUC emerged the same day the 'Stakeknife' story appeared.

An attempt at attention diversion was put in place by the 'naming' of 'Stakeknife'. A large sucking sound accompanied the story, which pulled in every gullible journalist and media organisation.

The purpose of the story is to demoralise northern nationalists with the mistaken idea that they are not authors of their own political destiny and to take the focus off nationalist political anger.

Daily Torygraph

Ed Moloney wrote for the pro-unionist Daily Telegraph on May 15th supporting the 'Stakeknife' revelations, or 'Steak Knife' as he insists on calling it. Moloney wrote an earlier Telegraph piece attempting to partially discredit the BBC's Panorama, which exposed the FRU/Nelson relationship with unionist paramilitaries. Moloney deliberately undermined the expose. He wrote that Nelson's task was to protect 'Stakeknife', while the UDA organised the shooting of Pat Finnucane, Francisco Notarintonio and other nationalist victims. That piece deflected responsibility away from Britain's dirty war. The Telegraph, as media representative of the right wing of the British establishment, was happy to print it.

Southern anti-republican writers like Eoghan Harris, Fintan O'Toole and Colm Tobin have promoted Moloney's recent work, as has David Trimble's advisor (in the Telegraph), Paul Bew and Daily Telegraph, former Ireland correspondent, Toby Harnden. Moloney sees the Peace Process as a British plot and promotes the conspiratorial fantasy that Sinn Fein is controlled by highly placed British spies. The anti-republican commentators named above praise his delusional and patronising findings. It is classic example of persistent misinformation.

Moloney has an inflated sense of his own importance. He told The Sunday Tribune after the publication of his book on Gerry Adams, that "he would be exposing himself and his family to "obvious dangers" if he worked in the north again.... ". It is not that I think the IRA would order action - they are not that stupid - but that some 'Saturday night hero' might try to impress his bosses by taking his own action, " he said." (Irish News Sep 7 2002)

The only people to attack and kill journalists have been unionist paramilitaries under the control of British intelligence. Moloney knows this. His comment was both self-serving, ego-fuelled and a typically casual smear.

Those who ran with the 'revelation' and the blatant lies and falsehoods that accompanied it continue to treat this bag of smoke in a room full of mirrors as a fact. Wild-eyed Irish journalists were seen on British television demanding that the IRA conduct a prolonged investigation and enquiry into a story that fell apart within days of its appearance. Curiously, the clear evidence of penetration of dissident republican organisations, and the splits engendered, has not lead to similar demands from these same 'anti-imperialist' media pundits.

007 school of politics

Undaunted by setbacks in the 'outing' of 'Stakeknife', proponents of the 007 school of politics have started to claim that we should examine the whole box of cutlery. The anti-republican journalist Jim Cusack in the Sunday Independent tried to salvage the story. The IRA's GHQ was "riddled with informers", he said in a futile attempt to derive more column inches from this securocrat fantasy.

Securocrat and media circles are more than happy to promote the 'Stakeknife' theory. It has the potential to send republicans into a frenzy of self-recrimination and fruitless speculation about spectres and phantoms - if republicans were foolish enough to fall for it.

Martin McGuinness ate my hamster

Anther curious example of persistent misinformation is from this website. The website hosts mutually self reinforcing praise from Bew and Harnden for the Steakeknife' theory, reprinted from the Daily Telegraph - not usually thought of as a source of pro-Irish nationalist, never mind republican, information.

An uncritical response to British propaganda has developed alongside a relationship with Liam Clarke (Ireland Editor of The Sunday Times) and his partner Kathryn Johnston. Clarke openly claims to write for a paper with "a robust anti-nationalist line". He regularly contributes un-checkable 'security' sourced stories, in which facts' are not facts at all, just guesswork. Clarke 'revealed' the existence of "Stakeknife" four years ago in The Sunday Times.

A recent interview on this site with Clarke and Johnston, after their arrest by the PSNI team investigating the publication of the McGuinness-Mowlam tapes, turned into a diatribe against Martin McGuinness.

The website's friendly association with Clarke & Johnston began with the publication of a positive review of Clarke and Johnston's 'biography' of Martin McGuinness. The book claimed that Martin McGuinness started the Bloody Sunday massacre. The review was written by a member of RSF and said that McGuinness was a "censor" for advising people not to talk to Clarke and Johnston.

It's the PSNI and British Army, stupid!

The interview tries to shift responsibility for the PSNI's treatment of the intrepid pair on to Martin McGuinness. This is the way Clarke-Johnston wrote about Bloody Sunday. The Irish Democrat noted that, "smears. are delivered without fanfare [and] arrive in the company of known facts". This latest smear is published without critical comment. Perhaps, to borrow a phrase from the piece, this is an example of how "chummy" relations have become.

It should be obvious, but Sinn Fein is not responsible for treatment meted out by the PSNI and the British state, or, for that matter, for what happened on Bloody Sunday. The Brits are to blame.

Provos, Paras - spot the difference

It remains for us to speculate about the upcoming participation by Clarke and Johnston in the Saville Tribunal, announced by Johnston on a TV programme. In it Johnston tried to rehabilitate the Widgery Tribunal and consistently attacked the IRA, whose guns were silent during the march.

Clarke and Johnston plan to contradict the evidence of Derry people and will support the British view that 'the Provos' were partly to blame for Bloody Sunday - if it were not so serious this 'evidence' should turn out to be a real laugh (and a half). It has to be asked if the participants in this website are going to continue to collude in a gross historical fabrication.

The attempt to deflect British responsibility for Bloody Sunday on to the IRA is part of Britain's dirty war. The attempt to conceal, or to deflect attention away from, collusion with unionist paramilitaries is also part of that war. Unfortunately, there are some who claim to know better who have been deflected into the political cul-de-sac of an endless spy hunt.

Where's the beef?

Two questions can be asked. Why did British sources release the 'name' of 'Stakeknife' and then do nothing to protect their 'superspy' - did they want a dead body on republican hands? Second, why do so-called purer-than-the-driven-snow dissident 'republicans' promote pro-British propaganda and propagandists? Those who are blind to the relevance of the first question are incapable of self-reflection in relation to the second.

British spies and informers are a fact of British rule in Ireland. So too is misinformation and the tactic of divide and rule. The British still carry out both an open and a clandestine struggle against the advance of Sinn Fein. Open in the demand for sanctions and the denial of the right to vote. Clandestine in the direction of unionist paramilitaries, attacks on nationalist areas and the continuation of the dirty war and the media war.

This is not the action of people who think their opponent has sold out. You don't fight a dirty war against an enemy that has given up. The securocrats will not succeed. Exposure of their activities will enable more people to open their eyes to the nature of British rule in Ireland.

Commentators like Liam Clarke and Ed Moloney are so fixated on tripping up their biographical subjects, Adams and McGuinness, that they are increasingly blind to political reality. Luckily most of the rest of us can read between the lines.

Liam Clarke and Kathryn Johnston reply, see Wishful Thinking and Shades of 1984



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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles

30 May 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Andersonstown News Moves to Censor The Blanket
Anthony McIntyre


Security Lapse Endangers Republican Prisoner

Martin Mulholland


Britain's Dirty War in Ireland

Irish Republican Information Bureau (IRIB)


Story with rusty British blade has Irish adherents
Adam O'Toole


Wishful Thinking

Liam Clarke


Shade of 1984
Kathryn Johnston


Stop Attacks on Bus Drivers

Sean Smyth


Spooks are not so easy to spring from their closets

Eamon McCann


23 May 2003


Lynch Pins
Eamon McCann


Send in the Sandbag
Anthony McIntyre


Trial By Media

British Irish Rights Watch


We Love the Andytout News Information Minister
Comical Livvy


The Letters page has been updated.




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