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Spy me to the moon
Why those who believe Martin McGuinness was a British agent are on a day-trip from reality
Eamonn McCann, 20 Jun 2006
There was this fellow rigging up lights and a camera in the kitchen at 10 Downing Street when who should walk in but Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. They put on a kettle and made themselves coffee. Maxwell House, he thinks.
The chap was working on a programme which involved Jamie Oliver cooking a meal for a State occasion. He recalled: ‘I assume they were waiting to see somebody who wasn’t ready for them, so they’d been told to go on into the kitchen and make themselves a cup of coffee. They paid no attention to me, but I was thinking, ‘Weren’t their lot firing mortars at this place a while back?’’
The scene may tell us as much as we need to know about the suggestion that Martin McGuinness is a British spy.
In the course of an hour-long argy-bargy on a New York radio show with Martin Ingram – the retired British spook who made the suggestion in the first place – I said I’d need a mountain of evidence before I’d entertain the possibility of there being a sliver of truth in his tale, but that Ingram had produced no evidence of any kind. An undated document of doubtful provenance recording an ambiguous conversation between two unidentified men, one said by Ingram to have been named by an anonymous cop as Martin McGuinness, doesn’t amount to evidence but to a load of oul shite.
Naturally, there are takers for the tale. People who have been involved in conspiratorial politics tend to see conspiracies everywhere. Others just find spooksville endlessly fascinating. So much more exciting than mundane engagement with the issues of the day.
The politics of the Sinn Fein leadership and of a section of the British establishment have been on converging trajectories for some time. As far back as the early ‘70s it dawned on some Provo leaders that the Northern Catholics weren’t up for a war for a united Ireland and that the armed struggle was a waste of time. The British, too, wanted the armed struggle over. So the adversaries have had plenty to talk about, even as war rumbled on. This didn’t remotely resemble ‘collusion,’ but reflected a common purpose which it would have been politically impossible for either side publicly to acknowledge. The wool had to be pulled over myriad eyes.