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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Victim or Pawn?

Unionist Revisionist Dr John Coulter addresses the issues of who will benefit from the brutal murder of former Sinn Fein super spy Denis Donaldson in Donegal, and how the formation of a United Unionist Coalition at Stormont could save both the Executive and the Union itself.

Dr John Coulter • 10 April 2006

In the murky Northern world of spies, agents and informers, the brutal slaying of Sinn Fein super spook Denis Donaldson cannot be conveniently dismissed as a mafia-style grudge killing.

It would be all too easy to close the Donaldson file as the tout who confessed, but got murdered by his own before he could escape Ireland.

In this respect, we would compare the Donaldson killing to that of former INLA Chief of Staff Dominic 'Mad Dog' McGlinchey, shot dead in similar mysterious circumstances in Drogheda in February 1994.

Just as McGlinchey had murdered his own kind to enforce his rule over the INLA, Donaldson must have condemned fellow republicans to capture or death by the security forces or loyalists.

Sinn Fein had nothing to gain and a lot to lose by sanctioning Donaldson's death, and the finger of suspicion points firmly in the direction of disgruntled republicans rather than dissidents or mainstream elements.

But there's a long-term question - who will benefit most from Donaldson's horrific demise? Put in this light, the faceless figures running the British intelligence community begin to emerge from the shadows.

Again, was Donaldson sacrificed by his British handlers because he knew too much; could he possibly identify other agents within the republican movement, or did he know the identities of informers who were being transferred from mainstream republicanism into the growing dissident movement?

How many security forces personnel and former touts have made lucrative book deals by writing 'kiss and tell' accounts of their activities and experiences?

A Donaldson blockbuster could have really blown the lid on how deep British intelligence had infiltrated the IRA and Sinn Fein.

The historical clocks have to go back to 1916 to witness Dublin Castle's extensive network of spies within SF, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, Irish Citizens Army and the Irish Volunteers. Is it any wonder the Easter Rising was a flop?

Given the number of Provo spies who have been unearthed since the Good Friday Agreement, again the haunting question returns to plague Sinn Fein - who is really running the republican agenda, the Army Council or British intelligence?

Was Donaldson deliberately sacrificed to protect a 'deep throat' informer even higher up in the republican echelons? Does British intelligence even have a direct line to the Army Council itself?

Unionists have reacted with their usual scepticism about IRA denials of involvement in Donaldson's killing. His death has been a timely God send to dissident anti-Agreement unionism, especially within the DUP's fundamentalist faction.

But was Donaldson deliberately murdered before the Blair Ahern blueprint to ensure a 'No' reaction from hardline Paisleyites?

Just as the Maryfield Secretariat near Stormont was the cross-border lynch pin of the '85 Anglo-Irish Agreement, so the cross-border institutions set up by the '98 Belfast Accord would be a vital springboard to any future joint authority of the North should the Assembly fail.

The London and Dublin governments learned one vital lesson from the late 1980s. Tens of thousands of Unionists tramped Northern streets for months with Ulster Says No rallies.

They formed various groups such as Ulster Clubs, Ulster Resistance, United Unionist Action Committees, and the Movement for Self-Determination.

They embraced equal citizenship, devolution, integration and even the idea of an independent Ulster - but nothing even rattled Maryfield.

Establishing cross-border bodies was the swot to take the sting out the tale of unionist and loyalist wasps.

Donaldson's death may have thrown cold water on the long-term success of a voluntary coalition, shadow assembly or even a power-sharing Executive involving Paisley and Sinn Fein.

But his murder has ensured in the event of the Assembly falling, the cross-border bodies based in Armagh will go from strength to strength.

As Donaldson lay dying in a bleak Donegal cottage, did he have time to ponder if he was merely the victim of a vendetta, or the sacrificial pawn in a much larger political chess game controlled by British intelligence?

Another prickly question which must be finally answered by 24 November is whether the DUP can actually create an Executive within the Blair and Ahern time frame – otherwise thousands of pounds of MLAs' salaries and expenses will be permanently axed along with the Assembly itself.

In this respect, the two premiers have a moral imperative to do whatever they can to support the modernising wing of the DUP reaching an agreement with the republican movement.

The hard reality which DUP modernisers must face is that to preserve the Union after 24 November, they must form a United Unionist Coalition in the Assembly with the UUP.

The modernising wing could probably count on the support of about half of the DUP's 32 MLAs, which along with the UUP's 24, David Ervine of the Progressive Unionists and possibly Newry and Armagh Independent Unionist Paul Berry would give the UUC a considerable power block of more than 40 MLAs – enough to outvote hardline fundamentalists who want no deals with Sinn Fein.

In the coming weeks, especially after the Assembly is recalled on 15 May, all eyes will be focused not so much on Ian Paisley, but on the speeches and statements of his deputy Peter Robinson, who could become First Minister in a UUC/Sinn Fein Executive along with the republican movement's chief negotiator Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister, with Empey holding the crucial post of Finance Minister.









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Index: Current Articles

11 April 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

Shed No Tears for the Donaldson Family
Geraldine Adams

Buried in Secret
Anthony McIntyre

The Donaldson Dilemna
Bill Ashe

Motive for Murder
Mick Hall

Victim or Pawn?
Dr John Coulter

Agent of the Peace Process
Anthony McIntyre

Happy Easter
John Kennedy

Where, O Where, Is Our James Connolly?
Paul Maguire

Nice One, Tony
John Kennedy

Putting on the Poor Mouth
Seaghan O Murchu

Spare Us the Cures from Quacks
Dr Seamus Kilby

Profile: Antoine Sfeir
Anthony McIntyre

The Letters page has been updated:

Standing Up to the Enemies of Free Speech


Irish Republicanism and Islam


Real human rights - without any religious blackmail


Resisting Censorship


and more...

Freedom of Speech index

4 April 2006

Interview with Michael McKevitt
Forum Magazine

Catching the Monkey
Anthony McIntyre

Policing the Status Quo
Mick Hall

John Kennedy

T.W.A.T and the problem with Leopard spots
Eamon Sweeney

Bigotry Imperils the Union
David Adams

'Fury over British PM bigot remarks'
Michaél MhaDonnáin

Then Why Is My Colour On Your Flag?
Derick Perry

Exorcise the Ghosts to Revive the Party
Dr John Coulter

How the Irish Screwed Up Civilisation?
Seaghan O Murchu

Play Ball
John Kennedy

Cumann Frithdheighilte Na h-Eireann - An outline
Fionnbarra O'Dochartaigh

Irish Prisoner Suffering Extreme Medical Neglect in English Prison
Paul Doyle

Profile: Maryam Namazie
Anthony McIntyre

Freedom of Expression: No Ifs and Buts
Maryam Namazie

Manning the Firewalls
Anthony McIntyre

Ulster Muslims' Fury at Web Cartoons
Elham Asaad Buaras

Freedom of Speech index



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