A former Special Branch insider has opened up for the first time to reveal the story behind the RUC’s ‘secret war’ against the IRA.
In a new book exclusively serialised next week in the News Letter – Secret Victory: The Intelligence War That Beat The IRA – former SB agent handler William Matchett analyses the sectarian nature of the Provos, explains how the ‘shoot to kill’ allegations became “vulnerable to the facts” and were replaced by a ‘collusion’ campaign, and reveals the bravery of those behind the SAS operation at Loughgall which critically damaged the terrorists’ capability.
The author has worked as an advisor to police forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and sees many similarities between the tactics of Islamic insurgents and those employed by the Provisional IRA.
“Whatever way you want to look at it, the IRA was a sectarian organisation. It profited from dividing two communities.
“What we had was the most human rights compliant security response to any conflict before or since,” he said.
Rejecting claims Special Branch officers colluded with loyalists, Matchett states: “Redundant Provos in suits were put to work on a ‘collusion’ campaign guaranteed to play out favourably in the courts and media.”