The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Hypocrats Accuse West Belfast Man Of Being RUC Tout

Is it too much to hope that the hapless Brits who’ve spent the last seven years hiding in the Falls Road may have popped downstairs to check out the word hypocrisy in the dictionary
- Andersonstown News

Anthony McIntyre • 02.06.03

In the immediate aftermath of the media having 'outed' the man they claimed to have been the British agent Stakeknife - Freddie Scappaticci - the Andersonstown News in a bid to con us into thinking that it alone had seized the moral high ground of journalistic ethics, launched a vitriolic attack on those elements within the media who broke the story. Its editor, in the manner of the babbling buffoon of Baghdad, ranted and raved about hacks and nameless and faceless sources. Readers were regaled with lurid tales of the 'yellow Press - those worthless rags, tabloid and broadsheet, which fill column after column with material that would be laughable if it wasn’t endangering the lives of countless people.' And, with as much false virtue and pseudo indignation as he could muster, he admonished his 'shameful' colleagues in the journalistic profession. He alone stood pure and uncontaminated by the 'sources' disease.

One banner headline, aimed at highlighting the supposed superior ethical standards of the Andersonstown News vis a vis its competitors, proclaimed 'Lies, damn lies and the media'. The paper also provided Freddie Scappaticci with a platform to explain his position. Those that run the Teach Basil business concern seemed oblivious to the anomaly of giving one person the right to reply and informing others that they are officially banned from the paper - unless of course they are the victims of accusations through its pages and then the no right to reply rule kicks in.

Scappaticci's interview in the paper was described by the editor as 'frank and outspoken ... We ask him tough questions he gives us straight answers.' That none of this was true is neither here nor there at the moment. The same editorial (May 19) hurled invective at the media, alleging a 'press pack drip-fed ‘exclusives’ by faceless sources.' Now apart from the irony of the paper perhaps being binge fed its own world exclusive from the most prized asset of those same sources, there is a further little matter of brazen inconsistency and downright hypocrisy.

The sources for the 'Stakeknife is Scappaticci' story - one of whom was allowed to write his own commentary piece in the Andersonstown News in 2001, only then he was a source alleging British state collusion with loyalists - were described as opting to 'hide behind gullible hacks who are more interested in shifting papers than getting to the truth of Britain’s Dirty War.' Readers were assured that the media had 'disgraced themselves ... And when the dust has cleared from this Stakeknife affair (if indeed it ever does) will those journalists who have fed us four days of lies and deceit from ‘security sources’ throw away their contact books and try instead to talk to people who will tell them the truth? You can bet your boots they won’t.' And who would that teller of 'the truth' be? The editor of the Andersonstown News? Are we to believe that because his paper would never accuse anyone of being an informer on the basis of information provided by unnamed sources he can claim to avoid dishonesty like the plague and is therefore more reliable than those ’hacks’ he condemns?

This would be all very well if it were not for that little matter of inconsistency referred to above. In September of last year a West Belfast man was convicted of killing a member of the RUC. Charlie Pollock was sentenced to life. In a post-trial edition of the Andersonstown News a headline ran, 'Cop killer was RUC's ''top tout''.'

The death riding maniac jailed for murder this week was the RUC’s top local tout when he ran over and killed a cop on Kennedy Way in August 2000 ... The Andersonstown News can exclusively reveal that 27-year-old Charlie Pollock had been working as an informer for over a year before he mowed down Constable Norman Thompson (34) on Kennedy Way in August 2000 ... A former close associate of Charles Malachy (Charlie) Pollock (27) has told the Andersonstown News that Pollock was the RUC’s eyes and ears in West Belfast even as he terrorised the streets in stolen cars and peddled drugs to young children. Our source described Pollock as the RUC’s “top tout” in the city. He said Pollock extricated himself from a number of tight corners by activating a panic button supplied by the RUC for use in the event of his being apprehended by local republicans or community watch activists … A former criminal associate of Pollock has now come forward to describe Pollock “evil and manipulative” and had boasted of being “untouchable.” Our source says Pollock was responsible for bringing large amounts of drugs into West Belfast including ecstasy and cocaine, and had close contacts with loyalist paramilitaries.

Gullible hacks, liars, purveyors of deceit, disgraceful journalists using nameless and faceless sources to accuse someone of informing? Let the gander sup its own sauce. It is becoming evident that through the pages of the Andersonstown News the people of West Belfast are being offered an ersatz news service. The readership is subject to manipulation rather than information. Pravda was arguably less subject to political control. The paper’s hardworking and poorly paid base level journalists are the only people to emerge with integrity from the squalid business enterprise that sits on Hannahstown Hill.

What shall the paper tell its readers if it is established that a British agent used its pages to push a line aimed at concealing the true extent of British state involvement in the murder of people it claimed were its own citizens? And how would it explain that he never faced a serious question? Shall we get a rare confession that there was a hidden agenda or will we be palmed off with what we know already - that the interviewer was an idiot? The Andersonstown News has fallen far short of the lonely but elevated moral plateau it claimed to occupy in the wake of the Stakeknife story. But as Nietzsche once said, those who are born to crawl shall never fly. What emerges from this sordid affair is that in the Andersonstown News you start at the bottom and work your way down - all the way to the editor’s chair.




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles

2 June 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Nameless, Faceless
An Apology to Our Readers

Carrie Twomey


Hypocrats Accuse West Belfast Man of Being RUC Tout
Anthony McIntyre


Connolly and the First World War: Political Lessons for Today

Liam O Ruairc


I Got Your "Stake Knife"
Brian Mór


Hey, Fugheddaboutit
Brian Mór


It Wasn't Me
Brian Mór


The Chessboard: Another Great Game

Davy Carlin

The Last Time I Saw Mu`ab
Annie Higgins


30 May 2003


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




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