I've read a number of books about the 'Dirty War' in Northern Ireland, and this ranks right at the top of the list Most books on this subject concentrate on the links between the RUC/MI5/FRU etc and Loyalist Paramilitarys but this deals mainly with the link between the Security Services and the IRA (although there is a chapter devoted to Brian Nelson and the UDA)
What this book shows is that once someone decides to become an informer('Tout')they almost inevitably sign their own death warrant The information they pass on to the Security Services via their 'handlers' will identify them sooner or later to the organisation they are 'betraying' (UNLESS they are very high up in the organisation and able to 'set up' colleagues)
They will then be interrogated by the IRA's internal Security Unit and usually killed Despite assurances from the Security Services that they will be whisked away to the mainland with a false identity and £30,000 a year for life, the reality is that once an Agent's cover is blown they are of no further use to security services and are 'expendable'
As Stakeknife ran the Internal Security Unit (The 'Nutting Squad') he was in a unique position to say who lived or died
What this book shows quite clearly is that Stakeknife was not only used to gather information about IRA operations but also to torture and assasinate other British Agents to protect his own identity, and to 'dispose' of Agents surplus to British requirements He may have used people for his own ends but he was also used, unwittingly to him, by the security services
A number of 'innocent' people were killed including a well known Derry Republican who was tortured for seven weeks by the IRA's Internal Security 'Nutting' squad, run by Stakeknife, before he 'confesssed' to being a 'tout' which he almost certainly was not along with other individuals who died in similar circumstances
This book is an absolutely indispensible read to anyone interested in the Northern Ireland 'Troubles' especially the role that human intelligence played during the conflict and of the murky world that exists between the State and the Paramilitary organisations
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