Anthony McIntyre RFÉ 22 April 2017

Radio Free Éireann
WBAI 99.5FM Pacifica Radio
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John McDonagh, Martin Galvin and Mary Ward, of Republican Sinn Féin, speak to Anthony McIntyre via telephone from Co. Louth and get his analysis on the call for a general election in Great Britain and on the continuing fallout from the BBC Panorama programme about Freddie Scappaticci. (begins time stamp ~ 21:10)

Audio:   Clip from the BBC Panorama programme, The Spy in the IRA, is played. (audio ends)

John:   And welcome back to Radio Free Éireann. And we’re hoping to have on Anthony McIntyre to talk about that documentary which aired last week on Panorama and Anthony played a major part in that in doing an analysis of what’s going on and I particularly like McIntyre’s take on it – it said – here’s from his website, The Pensive Quill:

The IRA should issue posthumous pardons to all those killed by its security department on the watch of the British agent, Freddie Scappaticci, a former Republican prisoner, he said. Anthony McIntyre last night said it would be hypocritical for Republicans who campaign against other miscarriages of justice to continue to rely on the corrupted and contaminated evidence. And he accused the IRA and Provisional Sinn Féin leaders of engaging in a massive cover-up when Scappaticci was identified in the media as the top British agent, Stakeknife. 

So Anthony’ll be telling us – because in the documentary it talks about Scappaticci when he’s recorded – about how he would break these Republicans. And let’s face it: They were all Republicans that were killed by him. He was the Internal Security of the IRA and if people thought another Volunteer was an informer he had to deal with them and how he dealt with them was just horrendous. And he said every man has their breaking point so people were confessing to things they didn’t do and then he would have them executed. So this is the way they were dealing with informers and like McIntyre’s saying, you’re going around condemning the British government and the kangaroo courts that they had – look what was going on in your own backyard and innocent Republicans were executed of course on behalf of the British intelligence units that were running that. But with us in the studio, before we get McIntyre on, is Mary Ward, she’s a member of Republican Sinn Féin, she’ll be speaking tomorrow up at Rory Dolan’s. Mary, a lot of people know about Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness – about Provisional Sinn Féin. Can you give us a quick history of Republican Sinn Féin?

Mary:   Republican Sinn Féin was founded in 1905. We’re the only political organisation still committed to the undiluted gospel of revolutionary Irish Republicanism and the re-establishment of the all-island republic of Easter Week. It is our duty to ensure that the message of Easter Week is carried forward and acted upon. The forces of reaction and revisionism are attempting to rob us of our history, of its meaning and relevance to make our people compliant and subservient to the present day forces of political and economic imperialism. But far from looking inward we, as Irish Republicans, are looking outward and into the future. We have a vision for the type of Ireland we wish to create. We believe Éire Nua provides the framework within which such a new Ireland can be constructed by all sections of the Irish people. We do not believe that the political and economic liberation of the Irish people can ever be delivered by participating in either Stormont or Leinster House. We believe there are no shortcuts to full freedom of Ireland. Our goal can only be achieved by adherence to fundamental principles and wholehearted commitments. One hundred and one years after the heroic 1916 Rising the continuity of Irish Republicanism, proclaimed in Easter Week, is unbroken by Republican Sinn Féin. We can trace our links back all that time.

John:   And that’s Mary Ward from Republican Sinn Féin. She’ll be speaking up at Rory Dolan’s tomorrow. I would recommend – go to irish freedom dot net if you want all the information about Woodlawn Cemetery and that. But I played a little clip of a documentary that aired about ‘The Spy in the IRA’ when it really should have been ‘spies in the IRA’ and Anthony McIntyre, longtime guest here at Radio Free Éireann, was featured prominently in it and you have Provisional Sinn Féin a lot of times condemning the British government about what’s going on, they condemned the American government about Guantánamo Bay, about black holes around the world where torture is going on where Sinn Féin hasn’t come clean about the torture that Freddie Scappaticci, under the direction of the British government, was committing torture that was just horrendous. And Anthony, in part of the clip we played Freddie Scappaticci says every man has his breaking point and I say: To what end? A breaking point? What? To confess to what you want him to confess to? Or actually confess that they were informers? And how there was a hierarchy in the IRA that some informers were allowed to walk away, like Denis Donaldson and Freddie Scappaticci, but some people who weren’t even informers were executed! Anthony?

Anthony:   Hello.

John:   Yeah. I know you were talking about it’s hypocritical of Sinn Féin to be condemning the British government for miscarriages of justice when you had Freddie Scappaticci upwards to, you could say, thirty Republicans that were executed.

Anthony:   Well that’s very true – can you hear me, John?

John:   No, no – we can hear you clear. Yes.

Anthony:   That’s very true I mean the sort of absurdity of all this came out in the excellent John Ware Panorama broadcast two weeks ago where we were exposed to this – I mean what we may describe as an appalling vista – and we now have a situation whereby many people, we have to say, are lying in graves up and down the country, sentenced to death by the Army Council of the IRA based on a trial and evidence provided by a British agent, Freddie Scappaticci. So while the British are absolutely up to their necks in this the IRA leadership have an awful lot to answer for.

Martin:   Anthony, one of the things that came out in the documentary – I know when your role in Voices From the Grave came out there were pickets in front of your home, there was a lot of intimidation – what happened – when Freddie Scappticci was revealed – there’s some sort of a press conference that goes on (just like Denis Donaldson) and then supposedly you know with Denis Donaldson, he was told to leave, but Freddie Scappaticci? There was an attempt to back him up and disclaim any problems that he had been an informer or denied that he was a spy. How did that come about?

Anthony:   Well that’s very true although the pickets at my home took place after the killing of Joe O’Connor and not after Voices From the Grave. When this guy, Fred Scappaticci, was exposed Danny Morrison and others, but Morrison was to the fore in covering for him, and saying that they didn’t buy into the allegations.

Artist: Brian Mór

And years later we have Morrison saying that he knew in 1990 that Scappaticci was an agent because he had been told by the IRA who had sent word into the prison where Morrison was. We had also a Dublin journalist, who is a lecturer – a senior lecturer of journalism, a man called Niall Meehan writing under the pseudonym Adam O’Toole in the Republican News, and he was also covering for Scappaticci and the whole Stakeknife – trying to rubbish the whole Stakeknife story – and accusing myself and Ed Moloney of having fabricated the whole thing and falling for the Brit line. Now in my view there was a reason for the cover-up and it was not so much that the Sinn Féin leadership had a great deal of sympathy for Freddie Scappaticci – I don’t believe they had any – but they wanted to cover up for him because a failure to cover-up for him would have meant a failure to cover-up for themselves and for their role in allowing this thing to continue for so long. And now we have the bizarre situation where they have colluded with a British agent in the deaths of Irish citizens and they – I mean I’m sure the Army Council unknowingly told Scappaticci to carry on – and what I mean ‘unknowingly’ they weren’t aware that he was an agent – but we have a situation now that they must have learned from and yet no moves have been made to exonerate the people from guilt and from carrying the terrible mark of informer and for their families who have suffered such an indignity to walk the Republican communities carrying the mark of Cain. And the word ‘informer’ that’s attached to anybody is a very powerful, derogatory term, a very negative symbol, and people simply must be given the benefit of doubt and there has to be an enormous amount of doubt in any situation which Freddie Scappaticci was involved in.

John:   Anthony, we always we have you on because the re-writing of Irish Republican history is going a lot faster than we can cover in the one hour. It was reported in the papers that Freddie Scappaticci reported directly to Martin McGuinness before they did these executions of Irish Republicans whether they were informers or not. But the re-writing of Martin McGuinness’ life is now getting into the bizarre range. There was a banner that was carried at his funeral saying: Martin McGuinness – Irish martyr. He did not go to war – war came to him. Blessed be the peacemaker. And then you have Martina Anderson stating in the European Parliament:  ‘…my generation went to war over discrimination, inequality, lack of civil rights and the denial of human rights.’  No where in there does it say anything about a united Ireland – that people were taking up guns and bombs to get fair housing and to get away from discrimination – and now during the week they unveiled a tombstone to Martin McGuinness and it said on it ‘Óglach na hÉireann’. Now I’m a veteran of the United States Army and when I die it’ll have ‘United States Army ’73 to ’75’. If you go to Dublin they give the years that you were in the IRA – you know, 1916 to 1918, 1921 but on Martin McGuinness’ there’s no dates when he was in it and there’s no dates when he left it. I mean even in death now they’re just putting out this mythic ‘Óglach na hÉireann’.

Anthony:   Well, that will be for internal consumption and I mean I simply don’t take Martina Anderson seriously when she makes these types of statements. I mean in a sense her generation, but not the IRA’s to which she belonged, but her generation did arise against the behaviour of the British state but I mean herself and others, myself included, over the years always argued that it was to get the British out of Ireland not to modify British behaviour while in Ireland even though the population did arise for largely different reasons and I think Ed Moloney has gone some way to explain this on your programme before. But the notion that Martin McGuinness having on his headstone ‘Óglach Martin McGuinness – Óglaigh na hÉireann’ – meaning really that Martin McGuinness was a Volunteer in the IRA – and for them to have said from 1970 to his death would have pointed out that firstly the IRA was still in existence but secondly that Martin McGuinness had been lying for decades in relation to it. And I notice that Shane Paul O’Doherty, who’s a fellow brigade officer on the Doire Brigade Staff alongside Martin McGuinness, has said that Martin did tell one ‘whopper of a lie‘ in relation to his involvement in the IRA and having claimed to have left it in 1974. So they’re not going to put up something on a headstone that would allow them to be openly mocked and ridiculed for basically saying Martin McGuinness was a liar but here we’ve buried him anyway. That’s more for internal consumption. And they’ve been going round whispering to their grassroots that basically Martin was an IRA Volunteer and he got all this Stormont thing up and running and really it’s an Army initiative – it’s not all a party initiative and people should keep faith in the programme and the project and that basically they will be telling people that they tricked Bertie Ahern and everybody else, Bill Clinton and Enda Kenny, into going to an IRA Volunteer’s funeral. And they’ll spoof things – like they put the gloves and the black beret inside the coffin – all nonsense for a gullible grassroots that’s prepared to swallow it. They’re prepared to swallow anything.

John:   Mary, go ahead. 

Mary:   Good Morning, Martin – sorry, Anthony – I have a cold here. Coming back to your original point about Martina Anderson’s joining the IRA because they were – for whatever reason she said: I, as president of Cumann na mBan back in the mid-’70’s, would have worked very closely with Martin McGuinness and I would have spoken to him quite a bit and he would have always said when I would have been proposing things or did things that I didn’t ask permission for and then had to go to apologise for doing – one of Martin McGuinness’ favourite sayings was: Why must our people always suffer? Why have we always to be on the outside? Well, I was on a different track and my late husband, Pat Ward the hunger striker, we were fighting for a united Ireland. Martin was fighting to be on the inside and all I can say is: Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis (May he rest in Peace or literal meaning: May his faithful soul be at God’s right side.) but he was hugely successful at that if one looks at the attendees at his funeral he was very successful on getting on the inside. Unfortunately, it was inside the British empire that he was – not in a united Ireland.

John:   Well as Ed Moloney brought up, or it might have been either Anthony McIntyre, that he was a failure with the Irish Republican Army because their basic goal was a united Ireland – that failed. He had the weapons surrendered to the British government and also politically he’s the one that organised the peace process, brought up Stormont, and that had to collapse because, politically, it just collapsed – yeah, Martin?

Martin:   That was Anthony McIntyre, who we have on the line, who made that point on this show. Anthony, I just want to ask you about something else: This week Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, announced that there’ll be a British general election on June 8th. It was immediately said by almost everybody that the talks between Sinn Féin, the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) whatever, are sort of – they’ll continue but nobody expects anything to happen until – well, after that election. I think now there’s a new deadline of June 29th that’s been put there by the British minister for The North of Ireland, James Brokenshire. People are being told that if they vote on the election, in Ireland in The Six Counties, that it’ll somehow have an impact on whether Brexit occurs. That seems to be just totally absurd. I just – there’s going to be almost an equal division between the DUP and whoever else, Sinn Féin, the SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party), Unionist and Nationalist parties. What do you think this election will achieve in terms of the North of Ireland in terms of Brexit?

Anthony:   It will make absolutely no difference to Brexit whatsoever. That’s the North of Ireland where people, politicians in the North of Ireland, feeling important about themselves again – their own inflated self-importance – and I mean they use issues like the peace process and they use the peace process like a begging bowl which they shake and ask people to put lots of political time inside that bowl – I think people are sort of largely fed up with the type of guff that is expressed in those sentiments. I’ve just noticed that the Brexit coordinator in the European Parliament, the former Belgian Prime Minister – a man called Guy Verhofstadt, has said that Theresa May even arguing that the general election will strengthen her hand in relation to Brexit negotiations is a total fallacy and that people simply shouldn’t believe her – that it’ll have no impact whatsoever. So if the whole Westminster Parliament being disrupted and reconfigured in the general election will have no impact it’s highly unlikely that we’re going to see that little place in The North having any impact. It’ll be a polarised election, a divisive election, whereby they’ll go out and shout about how Brexit is undermining democratic values and that The North’s democracy, as they term it, will have been undermined, has been undermined, by Brexit and now it’s time to put it right. All we’re going to have again is a sectarian headcount. Brexit does absolutely nothing. Nothing will happen as a result of that election in The North anyway in respect of Brexit. But it’ll stir up sectarian tensions and it will also put some wind in the sails of the Sinn Féin call for a border poll which will not happen until such time as the British decide, not Sinn Féin, that there will be a border poll – and even when we do have a border poll there’s no indication whatsoever that a majority of people in The North are going to vote in favour of pulling out of the British state and opting to become part of an inclusive united Ireland. So, all the same here, John. No change! (Or Martin, sorry.)

John:   Yeah well listen Anthony, thanks for coming on. We’re going to go to our in-studio guest but thanks!

Anthony:   Thank you very much.

John:   And that was Anthony McIntyre over in Dundalk. (ends time stamp ~ 41:34)

Anthony McIntyre RFÉ 25 March 2017

Radio Free Éireann
WBAI 99.5FM Pacifica Radio
New York City
listen on the internet: wbai.org Saturdays Noon EST

Martin Galvin speaks to Anthony McIntyre, former IRA prisoner now author, historian and political commentator, via telephone from Ireland about Martin McGuinness’ legacy. (begins time stamp ~ 27:08)

Audio:  Portion of Martin McGuinness’ speech at the 1986 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis is played. (audio ends)

Martin:  Alright. With us on the line from Ireland we have Dr. Anthony McIntyre; he’s a former IRA Volunteer, somebody who is an author of a blog, The Pensive Quill. He’s an author of the book, Good Friday, a great analysis of the Good Friday Agreement and Anthony, welcome back to Radio Free Éireann.

Anthony:   Good Afternoon, Martin. I’m pleased to be on.

Martin:   We’re trying to push everybody, this is a very big subject, we’ve got a number of people on, so we’re not giving anybody as much time as we would like to – what do you think, as somebody who, like Martin McGuinness, would have felt at one time that the only way there could be justice would be to end British rule and that the only way to achieve that would be to take up armed struggle – you served time in that, a number of years in that in The North – he served two separate times of imprisonment within The Twenty-Six Counties. What do you think Martin McGuinness’ legacy will be to the Republican struggle?

Anthony:  Well I think it will have, in many ways, it will have failed on two fronts: the military and the non-military. I mean Martin McGuinness was a key IRA figure – former Chief of Staff, former Northern Commander, former president of the IRA Army Council, sat on the Army Council for years. And the IRA campaign was aimed at coercing the British out of Ireland regardless of the wishes of the people in The North. The British objective was to insure that the IRA did not succeed in that campaign and that the IRA would be brought to embrace the Principle of Consent which meant that the British would only leave The North if a majority of people in The North consented to the British leaving. That means that the IRA campaign, in respect of getting the British out of Ireland, was an unmitigated failure. So Martin McGuinness failed there. Secondly, in terms of political institutions, he became the Deputy First Minister and ended up, at the end, being compelled by the force of logic and passion at the grassroots, which even surprised me, to bring to an end the institutions by coming out of his sickbed – in a very admirable manner it has to be said because it took some strength even to get from Belfast to Doire and to put on the performance that he did but that’s by-the-by – he brought down the institutions and what he brought to an end there was a period of Sinn Féin failure in government which they concede and for which they’ve been called ‘roll-over Republicans’ or ‘Martin and his Muppets’ because it’s hard to imagine a more ridiculous looking team ever on the benches of Parliament than the Sinn Féin team at Stormont and for ten years they took abuse, arrogance yet never told the grassroots about it, the voter, until such time as they decided to bring it down. And I often wonder, well I don’t often wonder but I’ve taken to wondering recently, if was Martin McGuinness was compelled to signing the closure order on essentially his own project in the manner that Jimmy Drumm was forced to signing the closure order on his ceasefire, which he was party to in 1976 when the new emerging leadership of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness forced Jimmy Drumm, against his wishes, to read out the Bodenstown commemoration speech in 1977, June 1977, and during that speech Jimmy Drumm stated that the ceasefire had been a mistake. I think there’s a possibility the same has happened in Martin McGuinness’ case. So in my view, Martin McGuinness’ leadership has been called into question on two serious fronts.

Martin:  Anthony, I should note that when I got involved working with Irish Northern Aid I was asked to train over in the Belfast Press Centre and we never even talked about consent – that was a term you would never use. You would refer to it as ‘the Unionist veto in The North’ because the majority of people – you know as the 1916 Societies and other groups proclaim now, majority of people throughout all of Ireland favoured an end to British rule and you’re not talking about getting their consent to partition you’re talking about a veto within The Six Counties. And it just shows you how that language has changed. What is your reaction to the funeral? There was a Tricolour there, there was a number of noted political figures attended the funeral, how does that funeral play into the legacy, as you’ve described it, of Martin McGuinness?

Anthony:  Well I think what happened there is that the, like much else about Martin McGuinness’ life, the IRA has been pushed to the background and the IRA was, in effect, hidden from that funeral. There may have been key IRA figures putting on the Tricolour standing at the coffin as it was leaving his home but in order to allow the dignitaries, as they are called, and the luminaries to come to bury Mr. McGuinness but not to mourn him they had to hide the IRA. And therefore there was no chance of Arlene Foster and Bill Clinton and that whole parade of politicians marching behind a coffin with the beret on it and the black gloves, the sort of standard funerary symbols of the IRA dead. Now in my view, we may well have a whispering campaign of some sort, or at least a whispering to the grassroots, that the beret and gloves were inside the coffin – basically still hiding the IRA away – and that the whispering that the IRA went up and put the Tricoulor on the coffin – this is all for people who are prepared to believe anything as long as it’s whispered to them. In terms of political reality, the people who came to bury Martin McGuinness but not mourn him were from the political class. They were those people who were authenticating the rule, the victory, the triumph of consent over Martin’s earlier life where he advocated, and was a strong advocate and a forceful advocate of the politics of coercion, the war to coerce the British out of Ireland. And I think this is what this funeral was about from their point of view and ensuring that that was the dominant political message that went out: Unity only by consent. And the sort of subtext of it was: The IRA campaign failed. The British Principle of Consent won. The British did not ever accept the IRA’s terms for disengagement from Ireland. The IRA accepted the British terms for British disengagement from Ireland and that, in my view, sums it up.

Martin:  Alright. I should note just on the BBC website there was a Martin McGuinness section on his obituary and I hit that up and it was actually – he and I carrying a coffin in 1985 at the funeral of an IRA Volunteer. And you can see people with berets, you can see a masked party of IRA Volunteers – and this was done at a time – I was banned, that’s why I was invited specifically to carry the coffin along side him in Doire under the watchful eyes of British troops – that’s a difference between the type of funeral that that might have been some time ago and the funeral that Martin McGuinness had and his legacy. Anthony, why was it, what was it about Martin McGuinness that made IRA Volunteers trust him so much to the degree that they did, that they made him so influential that they would follow him into this resolution of the conflict – this cessation that you’ve described?

Anthony:  Probably his longevity at the leadership level. I mean as far back as most people’s living memory can recall Martin McGuinness was there.  He was the alpha and the omega of the IRA in many respects. In 1972 he was already pretty famous by the time he went to London for negotiations with the British. After that he became a key figure in the minds of the Republican support base and a hate figure for the British. So people always identified Martin as ‘the IRA figure’. Someone who would be hard, someone who would be tough, someone who would have the Volunteers’ interests at heart and in that way I feel that because he had been around so long, because he had directed so many operations, because he was Chief of Staff at the time of the killings of the British paratroopers, the killing of Mountbatten, the killing of Robert Bradford – these are all things that took place on his watch – key IRA killings and I think that he was viewed very much as the man that could be trusted in a way that people came to feel Gerry Adams couldn’t be trusted because Gerry Adams began to be viewed as a politician and there was always a hostility towards politicians. But it wouldn’t have mattered had Martin went first rather than Gerry in terms of making the call for politics – he would have been mistrusted because bear in mind: Gerry Adams had the same military record that Martin McGuinness has. The two could be separated by a cigarette paper that we used to write out from Long Kesh on – two key military figures but is was the perception of Martin as, what the media would call the ‘hawk’, the guy who would never let us down.

Martin:   Okay. And just what did you think: Gerry Adams was the person who gave the oration at Martin McGuinness’ funeral. What’s your reaction to that oration?

Anthony:   Well I mean the fact that Gerry Adams gave the oration, in my view, was that he was really saying: We are burying Martin here today but what I want you to remember is me. This is all about me. And again, as is his tendency to impose himself on proceedings, I mean, on this day and at this time Gerry Adams should be letting Michelle O’Neill come to the fore. But he isn’t. He’s trying to overshadow her on everything. And there is some suspicions now being aired by people that Martin McGuinness didn’t bring down the Executive, that he in fact was ousted and was compelled by Adams and the Adams’ lobby to bring down the Executive. And now since the passing-on of Martin McGuinness, or the illness of Martin McGuinness, we’ve seen Adams come more and more to the fore. And I mean Adams does have this effect, even though he’s not personally sectarian, attitudinally he has this impact of alienating the Unionists in a way that one could say that Martin McGuinness didn’t have. So it certainly leads to an interesting time ahead and lots of things to play for. And I think the insertion of Gerry Adams back into it tends to create even more sectarian tension and inflame sectarian passions. And you cannot simply blame Adams for that – the Unionists have to take an awful lot of blame for this because their attitude has been woeful. And I know that they have decided to start to behave civilly – turning up at the funeral and so on – but the manner in which they treated that crowd of Sinn Féin people in Stormont that you had one SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party) MLA saying he was shocked as he watched all the ranks of former IRA men and women being humiliated by the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) and not a word out of them. I mean the DUP have done this and their complete arrogance has inflamed the situation in The North so I don’t know, I mean, what way it’ll go but what we can say is that high-profile funeral, the presence of people like Bill Clinton and everybody else at it, makes it very, very hard for people entering these negotiations, who are now in these negotiations, to face the blame for them going wrong. So we can see the whole thing pushed to the deadline – pushed to the point of brinkmanship. But it has to look now, one would argue, that the – I mean a possibility for a deal anyway does increase. And Sinn Féin have a get-out clause because Arlene Foster turned up at the funeral was clapped and they can say that: Well, now what we should do is – maybe we can go into government with her. She’s not so bad after all. She has come to her senses. The best situation, the best outcome for them is for Sinn Féin not to call for her to resign or stand aside and then for her to voluntarily stand aside for a period of weeks and that gets them all off the hook. And I think something like that is likely to happen.

Martin:  And that was exactly the offer that she was given by Martin McGuinness some time ago – just to stand aside for a few weeks – and just like Peter Robinson did. Had she taken that she wouldn’t have had the election, she’d still have a ten seat majority and people wouldn’t be talking about maybe replacing her in future within the DUP. Alright, Anthony, we want to thank you for that and we’ll just play one more clip and then we will be going to Ed Moloney.

Anthony:    Thank you very much.

Martin:   Thank you, Anthony. (ends time stamp ~ 42:36)