Thursday, July 09, 2015
My Book, Northern Ireland, Shoot To Kill
An article in this morning's London Guardian newspaper underlines why it is important to learn about events from 30 years ago, in order to understand what might be happening around us now.
Details of an alleged criminal conspiracy by MI5 back in the Eighties to obstruct one of the most sensitive murder inquiries of the 30 years of conflict in Northern Ireland have been exposed following the emergence of key sections of a previously secret police report on the affair
My book, Maggie's Hammer, describes how British Intelligence began its interference in political and governance matters in the late Sixties and early Seventies, through its activities in Northern Ireland.
BI became disillusioned with the way in which first the socialist British government of Harold Wilson, and then the socialistic government (as they saw it) of Conservative British Prime Minister Edward Heath, were handling the pacification of Northern Ireland.
So, they pretty much took matters into their own hands. This culminated in the alleged policy of shoot-to-kill in the Eighties, now proven by this previously secret report. The fuller details of shoot-to-kill can be found in a supplementary Guardian article.
Following interference in Northern Ireland, BI got adventurous, and began wholesale intervention in political affairs on the British mainland. My book details how Margaret Thatcher came to power with considerable intelligence assistance. And then returned the favor. Tripling the intelligence budget and giving the intelligence services carte blanche to do whatever they wanted in order to raise funds any other way they saw fit.
The latter remit, among other activities, led to all manner of involvement in the Eighties in illicit arms deals, and to the co-opting of the intelligence services, often with the open support of Thatcher, as a worldwide surrogate for US clandestine operations.
If there was a part of the world where then President Reagan and Vice President Bush wanted dirties done, away from Congressional oversight, and the price was right, then the British military and intelligence services were at their disposal, as glorified global mercenaries: killing Soviets in Afghanistan, assassinations in the Lebanon, whatever.
In addition, Britain, and especially London, became the first port of call for any nation, non-state paramilitary grouping, criminal organization, whoever, requiring mercenaries, finance or logistical support. And that is still the case today.
It is also the case that the UK continues to act as surrogate global dirty tricks meister for the US, as evidenced in an essay by noted US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh (who appears in my book), published by the London Review of Books.
I end my book with this admonition: if you want to understand what is going on in the world today, be it the War on Terror, Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Israel, international arms dealing, money laundering, or the surveillance culture in both the US and the UK, then use my book as a roadmap. It starts in the Eighties, and then follows the personalities and the money forward to now. It all connects.