22 August 2012
Olympic Games threat by ‘dissidents’ hyped up by MI5
'To suggest that the ‘Real IRA’ is anywhere near the operational level [of the IRA] is a travesty of reporting and has the effect of boosting the status of an organisation that has almost zero support in Ireland'
MI5 deliberately overplayed the threat from so-called ‘dissident republican’ groups in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games even though they’re not capable of mounting attacks in England.
The Irish Post weekly newspaper in Britain quoted an unnamed security source as saying:
“There was absolutely no risk because of the limited access these people have to munitions, money, safe houses, volunteers, secrecy.
“There is no basis whatsoever to support that theory. It appears to be a propaganda exercise by the security services.”
Weeks before the Olympics, Britain's Intelligence and Security Committee said they were under “unprecedented pressure” to prevent attacks by Islamic and Irish groups. Committee chair and former Tory minister Malcolm Rifkind said:
“The Security Service has reprioritised its work to enable them to counter potential threats from al-Qaeda and its affiliates, Irish republican dissidents, hostile states and others in the run-up to or during the Games.”
Just one day before the opening ceremony, journalist Henry McDonald reported in the Guardian newspaper that three micro-republican armed groups had merged to form what he described as a “new IRA”.
McDonald also claimed that his sources had told him the grouping “included several hundred armed dissidents” although these claims were rubbished by the Irish Post’s security source:
“There is supposed to be an amalgamation of some of these strands but there isn’t hundreds involved in operations. There is a very limited number involved in operations. It is clear they have not been able to acquire access to munitions abroad and that situation is unchanged.”
Meanwhile, former BBC investigative journalist Paul Larkin, author of A Very British Jihad, which exposed collusion between the British state and loyalist paramilitaries, claimed:
“Even at the height of the IRA’s campaign, there were no more than 300 Volunteers in the field. To suggest that the ‘Real IRA’ is anywhere near that operational level is a travesty of reporting and has the effect of boosting the status of an organisation that has almost zero support in Ireland.”
An initiative for dialogue
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Contributions from key figures in the churches, academia and wider civic society as well as senior republican figures
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