Dear, Oh, Dear. No matter how often one's intellect
tells one's self an organization like Sinn Fein
must be thoroughly infiltrated at all levels with
touts, due to it having in a previous incarnation
challenged with arms one of the more powerful, economically
and militarily nations on earth, it still comes
as a shock when the tout takes human form and is
laid out bare before us. The more so when they turn
out to be an actor on the main Republican stage,
and not some desperate corner boy who has been bullied,
bribed and threatened by Betty Windsor's finest
to sell their friends, families and fellow countrymen
for pennies or freedom from jail which in reality
is no freedom at all.
fact is, ever since Philip Agee broke with the CIA
in the late 1960's and published 'Inside the
Company, A CIA Diary', in which he cataloged
the names of the touts the CIA ran in South and
Central America within the region's political parties,
business organizations, trade unions and the revolutionary
left, it has been public knowledge the security
services of all major powers behave in a similar
manner throughout the world. (Touts: these days
the security services call such people 'agents of
influence', which is how Mr Donaldson described
himself in his Dublin statement, perhaps giving
us some idea as to who actually wrote it.)
the Provisional Republican Movement has been and
still is a prime target of infiltration by the British
security services surely surprises no one, nor that
these spooks use this leverage to push the political
agenda of their master in Whitehall. Whether this
should continue well after the military wing of
SF has declared the war is over and stood their
volunteers down is another matter.
appears to be happening is whenever SF refuses to
go in the political direction the British government
wish it to, or when it starts getting uppity, the
British expose an agent within their midst to throw
SF into temporary turmoil and remind them who is
master of the peace process. We saw this when Freddie
Scappaticci was first exposed at a time when PIRA
were refusing to move fast enough for the Brits
on decommissioning and standing down. Now we have
the British desperate to get SF to accept the PSNI,
coupled with fears about its growth electorally.
the reasoning behind the latest kerffufle, is it
not time the British State recognized SF as the
legal political party it has become and treated
it as such?
Whilst as I have already said, all governments attempt
to recruit sources within political parties the
world over, indeed it is one of the main functions
of embassy staff. However, to continue to run touts
who were first recruited during the PIRA military
insurgency is not only unethical, it must also surely
undermine any pretense of building a normal democratic
society within the north of Ireland and indeed hinder
democratic accountability in the Republic of Ireland.
role touts played within the PRM, at leadership
level, in enabling the political agenda propagated
by the Adams leadership faction, is for those who
may have been victims of such manipulation and for
history to decide. Today's political activists must
deal with the world as it is, not as it was 15 to
20 years ago, nor as we wish it to be.
we must ask ourselves a number of questions, not
least what benefit will it bring to the nationalist/republican
working classes if SF implodes or fails to gain
ground. Is their another political party as ready
to argue on the behalf of its working class constituents?
If so, fair enough, but if not, it will not be the
suits who suffer if the party implodes or is further
discredited en masse, as such people always find
a safe bearth. But what of millions of ordinary
workers north and south who will have no political
representatives to fight their corner when central
government, their local authority, landlords, etc
has done them an injustice?
the national stage, it would do no harm to ask ourselves
if there really is another political party which
is putting re-unification as vigorously as SF onto
the national agenda.
to Sinn Fein's rank and file membership, they have
an enormous responsibility here, and it is high
time many of them took off their rose-tinted spectacles.
When their leadership demands of them, as they will,
that they must put all the brouhaha about Mr Donaldson
behind them and again circle the wagons and show
loyalty to the leadership, the membership should
refuse and question those who are pushing this agenda,
and demand of them: Why?
is the time to cease treating the leaders of Sinn
Fein as if they were an Army Council, worthy of
military discipline and automatic respect due to
their rank. This leadership needs to be told there
are more important things than political office
in the northern statelet. To have directed all political
activity to attain this, as the current SF leadership
has done, has resulted in mantraps, pitfalls and
SF needs to do now is to open itself up democratically.
The era of the leadership plotting against internal
critics and deciding party policy in secrecy, which
is then handed down by their minions as if from
on high, needs to be brought to an end. This inevitably
gives an advantage to touts and those they serve.
It also gives touts the opportunity if they are
highly placed to manipulate party policy without
the mass of members being aware from whom party
policy or strategy emanated. Thus, every failure
becomes an orphan and all success is laid at the
feet of the leadership.
if SF goes down the democratic and open road there
will be arguments, disagreements, defections, disappointments,
and, yes, more touts will emerge, but that is life.
Any democratic party worthy of the name should reflect
such goings on within its ranks, not be some sort
of cabal whose rank and file is forever on group-speak.
any case, what is the alternative, if SF carries
on as it has? The British State will be able to
reduce it to crisis and turmoil whenever it so wishes
simply by outing one of its touts within SF, or
by getting them to act as agent- provocateurs and
carry out some despicable act which will reflect
badly on the party in the Public eye.
is every thing to gain from an open and democratic
turn and little to lose, as Mr Donaldson must already
have passed on the majority of the inner-most secrets
of the current leadership to the British State.
problem is, not only does SF's secretive and undemocratic
nature make it an unattractive place for gobby youngsters
first entering the political fray, especially if
they have no Republican history within their families,
it also all but encourages the British State to
recruit disaffected or vulnerable individuals within
SF as touts.
a 'normal' democratic party, what goes on behind
the scenes is an open secret to the media, thus
eventually the public. All this secrecy on the part
of the Adamsites leaves them wide open to be infiltrated.
What is the good of Security Services running touts
if the info they gain is common knowledge to the
Sinn Fein, democratic accountability and openness
is the only way they can successfully defeat this
problem. If the party does not recognize this fact,
it is finished as a vehicle for progressive change
within Ireland. Sinn Fein must move beyond being
little more than a political replica of Oglaigh
na hEireann if we are to live to see and hear the
laughter of all of the nation's children.