MI5 operation against "New IRA"

Submitted by R Totale on September 21, 2020

I'd pretty much missed this until now, has anyone else been following it/got much analysis of it? Obviously, I wouldn't expect people to have much sympathy for dissident republicanism as a cause, but I think it is worth being aware that all "anti-terrorist"-type powers can and will be used against any genuinely subversive movements, and that it's good practice to at the very least monitor these kind of counter-insurgency operations. It does sound like there's a strong possibility that entrapment was involved in the case against at least some of the defendants: http://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2020/08/26/news/palestinian-doctor-claims-he-was-entrapped-by-mi5-agent-2047441/


2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

no idea on this particular case, but the consensus has been that practically all of the paramilitaries have had some degree of infiltration by multiple intelligence agencies for a long time. Stakeknife is probably the most famous. Though in that case and most of the other well known ones theres a never ending argument about whether or not they were working for MI5 or were cleverly using them to murder the real defectors and informers.

And of course parallel to that there are also the negotiators and secret agreements between the big ones and the governments. And the whistle blowers, who may be acting out of conscience or may actually be telling lies to promote the agenda of the authorities. Its very murky.

Northern Ireland is often used as a sort of testing ground for all sorts of repression in the UK so it should get a lot more attention then it often does. Usually most lefty groups treat it as a foreign land far away and all they need to do is make sure they have the "correct" line on it and can call it a day. And that will oscillate between finding a group they like so they can parrot their propaganda uncritically, or declare everyone who lives there a bunch of nationalist gangsters of one sort or other so plague on all their houses, nothing of interest here.

R Totale

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, pretty much agree with that. I don't know too much about Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, but the conclusions of their statement on the case seem solid:

MI5’s activities are always focussed primarily around protecting the interests of the state rather than protecting the public or upholding the law. Its involvement in a criminal case is therefore always a cause for concern. The allegations surrounding its role in Operation Arbacia are particularly troubling and throw into question the legitimacy of the associated prosecutions.

Comment on the substance of these cases is inappropriate while legal proceedings are live. However, SACC has consistently campaigned for the repeal of Britain’s anti-terrorism laws and, pending repeal, for the laws not to be used. We believe that the best way to deal with politically motivated violence is through the ordinary criminal law. We are therefore calling for charges under anti-terrorism legislation against all the Operation Arbacia defendants to be dropped.

There are now far more terrorism offences on the statute books than there were at the height of the conflict in Northern Ireland. When the “temporary” Prevention of Terrorism Act introduced after the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974 was replaced by the Terrorism Act 2000, the change was widely viewed – despite the disturbingly broad police powers created by the 2000 Act – as reflecting a diminution of the terrorism threat in Northern Ireland and the normalisation of political life there following the Good Friday agreement. We are alarmed to find that the UK’s contemporary constellation of anti-terrorism laws – all built on the Terrorism Act 2000 – are now being used to facilitate a major intervention by UK state forces into political activity in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and that this is already impacting on political activity connected with Palestine.

We are deeply concerned at the effect that MI5 activities and Operation Arbacia may have on legitimate political activity. We agree with Saoradh that the jailing of Operation Arbacia defendants amounts to internment by remand, and we hope that the defendants will be granted bail while the courts deal with these troubling cases.