Tuesday, December 20, 2005


   The earth-shattering news about Stormontgate broke last week. Denis Donaldson, a senior Sinn Fein official with very close ties to Mr. Adams and Mr. McGuinness, has been a spy for the British government since the 1980's. When the democratically elected assembly in Northern Ireland was dissolved in 2002 on the grounds of an "IRA spy ring" (which I called bullshit on immediately), three men went to trial and were acquitted. Turns out Donaldson was the central figure here, and as the short summary by Niall Stanage from the Guardian Unlimited below tells us, he was pivotal in the only spying occuring in Stormont: British spying.
   Frankly, I don't think a graver scenario exists. For the umpteenth time, we can all acknowledge that the British continue to subvert the inner workings of their Northern Irish territory, to the detriment of every single citizen who voted for that assembly. It's despicable, evasive, horrendous & 100% British. Not since the days of Iron Thatcher and her "Let them (hunger strikers) die" doctrine has Downing Street sunk so sickeningly low. 
  And what news from the Right Honourable Mr. Blair & Co.? The usual "we're not at liberty to say" bit. We may have trouble stomaching the facts, but, let's be frank: we weren't surprised. Sinn Fein wasn't surprised. Hell, the DUP wasn't surprised. I can only hope that hell is unleashed upon MI5 and Tony Blair, and that they pay for this blatant attempt to foster anarchy in an already chaotic state.
The story has sparked doubt, confusion and rampant speculation; some hard facts are worth emphasising. In October 2002, about 20 police officers raided Sinn Féin's offices at Stormont, which houses the Northern Ireland assembly. The raid was part of a series of operations that, it was claimed, uncovered a republican spy ring. The IRA, it was alleged, had garnered confidential information that could be used to target prison wardens, police officers and others. Four people were charged, but that dropped to three. When the case finally came to court less than a fortnight ago, the prosecution declined to offer any evidence. The three were acquitted.
Last Friday, a bombshell dropped. The key figure in the trio, Denis Donaldson, who was Sinn Féin's head of administration at Stormont, owned up to a double life. He said that he had been a paid agent of British intelligence and Northern Ireland Special Branch since the 80s. His exposure turned the accepted version of events on its head. As things stand, the only proven spying operation at Stormont was run by forces of the state. And a paid agent of the state had been pivotal in the unravelling of a democratically elected administration. It is hard to imagine a graver scenario.



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