A recent announcement in the Daily Star newspaper that British troops were still operating in the North of Ireland has come as a surprise to some, which is understandable as there seems to be media blackouts when it comes to reporting on the situation here.
Not too long ago, Martin Mcguinness says he never hears of British troops on our streets anymore unless it’s the Bomb Squad. Well Martin, British troops never left Ireland. Yes, they aren’t as visible as they once were, but this does not mean they are gone, far from it..
Since the signing of the “Good Friday Agreement,” the role of British troops on the ground may have been massively rolled back, but not completely removed.
The role of intelligence agencies like MI5 has taken a front seat in the fight against “dissident” Republicans. More and more underhand tactics are being employed in our communities – where once there would have been army patrols and checkpoints, there is now undercover military units and agents in place of them working among the people.
It is a new kind of warfare being waged by the Intel services – a dirty war of working in the shadows among the people, infiltration and “close, aggressive surveillance.” The SRR (Special Reconnaissance Regiment) is just another extension of this.
The secrecy behind this special military unit is even greater than that of the SAS Very little is known about the SBS. The unit it was setup around 2005 with very little information about it leaking into the public domain.
In this new type of warfare state of the art technology is used to closely monitor targets and as this has been demonstrated in local districts with people finding that their cars have been bugged, or that there is listening devices in their homes. This is not an new tactic, but the technology is far superior to that of which was used back at the height of the troubles.
People may then find themselves being approached by intel services with information on their activities, and anything on their record that may be used against them is capitalized on by British Intel to try and turn the person into a state asset – in other words a tout/informant.
The SRR unit also absorbs the 14th Intelligence Company (‘The Det’), a special plainclothes surveillance unit created in 1973. This company is no stranger to the North of Ireland as they have been operating here for decades.
These people are also no strangers to controversy either. In July 2005, Brazilian man Jean Charles Demamenezez was shot dead as he ran to catch a train in the London underground, but what was not mentioned is that this man was being monitored by the SRR.
Although at the time the official IPCC report into the Stockwell incident did not mention the SRR, instead identifying the surveillance operatives involved as being from S012 (Special Branch) and S013 (Anti-terrorist Branch) (both now combined into S015 Counter Terrorism Command), some reports indicate that the SRR provided ‘technical assistance’ to the Police.
Another incident occurred in September 2005, in which 2 of the SRR operatives – now thought to have been members of the SAS – were caught and detained by Iraqi police but after diplomatic means failed to get the release of the two operatives, the SAS launched an operation to spring them from prison.
What is clear is that the British establishment will use every means possible to crush dissent in our communities through any means they deem necessary.
Yes, the bulk of British troops which remain in Ireland are locked up in their barracks, but as pointed out above, some units still work in our communities. They have not left Ireland, the conflict has simply morphed.
The same line by the establishment is that we have moved on from the past etc., but just how much have we actually moved on when British troops still operate here in the shadows.