The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

In the Underworld with the Trigger Men

Book Review
The Trigger Men by Martin Dillon, Mainstream Publishing, £7.99 hbk

Sean Mc Aughey • 6 January 2005

In "The Trigger Men", Martin Dillon, skilfully stretches investigative journalism to the ultimate "hair line crack" where libel law and the public interest meet. Dillon has "lifted stones and peered under them" to study the highly sordid and clandestine world of the State Counter Insurgency and Intelligence Forces, its personell, Political policy advisors, Military advisors and its vast network of informers and agents. An Intelligence apparatus of the state that ranges from collusion with Loyalist Paramilitaries to FRU, MRF, 14th Inst, MI5, MI6, SAS, RUC Special Branch also includes the conglamorate of individual British Political leaders and overlords in GEN 42.

Dillon moves from the fixed axis of the narrow North of Ireland blame game by foccussing on the hideous crimes of the state security services and their agents and indeed the active involvement of the more commonly called "spooks" and "securocrats" in the conflict. The dirty war was says Dillon, "a direct consequence of the policies of the Heath Government, which allowed the intelligence apparatus of the state to operate without judicial oversight." Dillon's account clearly demonstrates that the British Intelligence Forces and their overlords both utilised and employed hate filled Unionist psychopaths, Clerymen and paedophiles "who undertook assassinations on behalf of the state" in a British colonial war of terror against primarily the Catholic population in the North of Ireland.

Dillon's convincing insight and scrutiny will undoubtedly leave even the more informed readers with a deep sense of betrayal or vulnerablity. Especially, when it is clear that highly placed Government Ministers are not only continuously developing but also adherring to policies, which sanction the murder and brutilisation of its own citizens. Furthermore, it is deeply disturbing that the same "invisible hand" of such unaccountable "spooks" and "securocrats" remain not only an "ever present" influence on British policy in a "peace-time" North of Ireland but according to Dillon such British policies were responsible for "some of the darkest episodes of the conflict ". Which says Dillon "have been deliberately covered up" and must become "opened up to honest scrutiny", or there will remain "a lingering doubt about the willingness of the British Government to admit to past crimes."

The rise and fall of some notorious Loyalist leaders are also profiled by Dillon in an endeavour to unearth their underlying motivation and ideology which accounts for the murder of hundreds. Prominent leaders and trigger men, such as John Mc Keague, William Mc Grath, Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair, Billy 'King Rat' Wright Shankill 'Butcher' Lenny Murphy, Michael Stone and the murder gangs under their control share a broad centre stage with the influence of Paisleyism that shaped their sectarian outlook. This is controversially entwinned with a background for some of the notorious leaders who Dillon claims had emanated from a dysfunctional family or they were a victim of sex abuse as children which progressed in adult life to noxious sexual perversion, paedophile rings or greed as the gun and bible psyche of British loyalists.

It is apparent that Dillon's scrutiny of Republicans is the lesser plot. In a chapter on Domninic McGlinchy, Dillon includes a personality profile on Francis Hughes. Elsewhere in the book, Dillon outlines the murderous efforts of the British intelligence services and its agents to protect a highly placed agent within the Provisional IRA called "Stakeknife" with the IRA green book published for good measure. Therefore, it is clear that "The Trigger Men' is more concerned with the hideous underworld of loyalist collusion with the Intelligence/security services and at times, the book resembles a revisitation to "The Shankill Butchers" twenty years on.

However, Dillon's journalistic professional "never burn bridges style" with contacts is most notable if not frustrating for some throughout the book. It is clear that Martin Dillon is restrained in revealing only what can be legally revealed which leaves the impression that the author knows much, much more. Dillon obviously seeks to serve the public interest and further the rights of investigative journalists. Which is better said by Dillon himself in a poem he dedicates to murdered Irish journalist Marty O Hagan.

To Martin O' Hagan

We lived with conflict, you and I,
wrapped in a war over space,
clothed in a history made by others,
We lifted stones and peered under them,
knowing St Patrick left behind vipers,
venonmous and angry in ignorance.
A firestorm was in Manhattan
with another God in the mix.
Ours was in bullets waiting for you.

Martin O' Hagan was murdered by the Loyalist Volunteer Force on September 28th 2001. It would fully concur in the context of Dillon's Book that ironically the National Union of Journalists in the North of Ireland are still seeking the truth behind the murder of their esteemed member, Martin O' Hagan.




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

7 January 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

Northern Bank - Open All Day Monday
Anthony McIntyre

2005: New Year's Statement from the 32 County Sovereignty Movement
Francis Mackey

In the Underworld with the Trigger Men
Sean Mc Aughey

Racism as a Prelude to War Crimes
Ghali Hassan

Palestinian Elections: Charting the Future of Palestine
Haithem El-Zabri

2 January 2005

The Thing About History
Tom Luby

Do Not Be Afraid to Face the Truth
Mick Hall

Past Time to Deliver an Outcome
Davy Adams

Reclaiming Irish
Dr. John Coulter

Anthony McIntyre

Response to Anti-Semitism
Brian Kelly



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