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Britains Dirty War

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Irish Books Discussion:     Britains Dirty War

A selection of books on the subject of the british systems undercover involvement in Ireland, both recently in the North to the distant past in Irelands history of spies, counter spies, double agents working for the land known today as Britain.

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Customer Rating of Stakeknife:
Summary: A good book about the intelligence war between the IRA and Britian.
Comment: This is an interesting book, that shows the cunning and skill of both British Intelligence and the IRA. The first part of the book examines how in the late 1980's, British Intelligence (MI5) was frustrated by thier inability to defeat or even weaken the IRA. British Intelligence decided to work with the Army to recruit Loyalist terrorists as a "secret army" against the IRA. As the book shows this idea backfired with horrendous consequences. the plan fell apart when The amateurish UDA and UVF members recruited by MI5, proceeded to kill only a few IRA/Sinn Fein members while killing dozens of innocent civillians. The book looks at how the IRA responded with a vicious assassination campaign of thier own against the UDA and UVF, which led to the deaths of dozens of Loyalists and many civillians who were caught in the crossfire. The second part of the book deals with a top level IRA "Internal Intelligence" man named Freddie Scapaticci, who was recruited by the British Army in the 1980's. The book explains how this was done, and how other people within the IRA were recruited. The book also shows the other side of the intelligence war, focusing on the IRA's ability to root out and kill many top level informers, while missing a few like Scappaticci. The author also points out that the cell structure of the IRA, allowed for even high level spies like Scappatici to do only moderate harm to the overall organization. It is a good book about the tactics and skill used by both Britian and the IRA during the tragic conflict in the north of Ireland.

Editorial Reviews of Stakeknife::

An explosive exposé of how British military intelligence really works-from the inside. This book presents the stories of two undercover agents: Brian Nelson, who worked for the Force Research Unit (FRU), aiding loyalist terrorists and murderers in their bloody work; and the man known as Stakeknife, deputy head of the IRA's infamous "Nutting Squad," the internal security force that tortured and killed suspected informers.

This book is copublished with O'Brien Press, Dublin and is for sale only in the United States, it's territories and dependencies, Canada, and the Philippines.

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Fifty Dead Men Walking

Fifty Dead Men Walking : The True Story of a British Secret Agent Inside the IRA

Summary Fifty Dead Men Walking : The True Story of a Bristish Secret Agent Inside the IRA
: Linda (A Scot In U.S.A)
Comment: Tremendous book . I had Read It Several Years ago , When i was in the Uk, saw it on Amazon , and read it again .
Martin Mc Gartland is a tribute to the Irish People .
A young man who became an agent for the special branch, knowing that if he was found out by the IRA it would mean Torture , then certain Death.....
He was known as 'agent Carol' and gave vital information which saved many lives both protestant and catholic.
His title of the book "Fifty Dead Men Walking" is an understatement , i truly believe he saved alot more than fifty.
It is an essential read, and also to read his second book "dead Man Running" Thankyou Martin , for all you have sacrificed.....

Summary Fifty Dead Men Walking : The True Story of a Bristish Secret Agent Inside the IRA
: Outstandingly gripping.
Comment: The moment I started to read this book I couldn't put it down. I read it in a day and even now months later I remember it like I read it yesterday. The images Martin McGarland created will stay with me for a very long time. This book is not only an education into the troubles in Ireland it is also a testament to the strength and courage of an amazing man. I would recommend this book to everyone and anyone.

Summary Fifty Dead Men Walking : The True Story of a Bristish Secret Agent Inside the IRA
: McGartland leads an exciting double life
Comment: I liked this one! It shows how McGartland, an intelligent soul, was plucked from his lifestyle by British Intelligence to became "Agent Carol", the government's best informant in Ulster for decades.

Comment Fifty Dead Men Walking : The True Story of a Bristish Secret Agent Inside the IRA: Reading this in America, only my travels in the north of Ireland added the background complexities of "the troubles". McGartland fails to provide a window for an outsider to understand the root causes (current and historical) but that isn't his job in this book. He does provide incredible insights into the day to day complexities, the cross purposes, the loyalties real/broken/false/phony, the compromises, the illogic, the cheapening of life, the mindless results of vague and often misstated goals. After all my travels in those lovely but sometimes violent counties, I can only shake my head and cry "why?". After "why don't you nice folks leave?" I ask myself "would I leave my home here?", "why don't I leave my home because of the gang violence in Phoenix?" Why indeed. McCartland does transmit the horrors of living a double(triple?) life in his home. Could this have been written by someone who hadn't done these experiences? I doubt it.
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Editorial Reviews of Fifty Dead Men Walking : The True Story of a Bristish Secret Agent Inside the IRA

Memoir of a young Irishman. For more than 4 years, Martin McGartland lived a dangerous double life.

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Editorial Reviews:

In this explosive book, Alan Barker gives a gripping inside account of the inner workings of the Royal Ulster Constabulary’s elite Special Branch and its struggle against terrorism, a struggle which resulted in those who waged that war feeling ultimately betrayed and let down.

The SAS In Ireland

Summary of The SAS in Ireland:
Sobering and thought-provoking
Comment: "The SAS in Ireland" is a detailed examination of the activities of the SAS in the north of Ireland from the perspective of the author, who is Irish, a priest, and a long-time human rights activist. Specifically, Fr. Murray asserts that wide-spread human rights violations have occurred in the north of Ireland because of policies empowering the SAS to employ interrogation by torture and to shoot-to-kill-on-sight suspected members of the IRA. The book is not a diatribe; rather Fr. Murray strives to prove his assertion through an extensive examination of SAS involvement in specific incidents. As the activities of the SAS in the north of Ireland have been and are cloaked in secrecy, the author has had to infer the involvement and actions of SAS personnel from court testimony and from the statements of eyewitnesses and victims. While such an analysis applied to a few incidents might leave one unconvinced of the author's basic premise, the cumulative effect of the many incidents the author examines - the book's page count is actually 500, not 240 - is compelling. And the author cites his sources: there are over 100 footnotes and an extensive bibliography and index. Some of you at this point may be possessed of something less than sympathy for Fr. Murray's claims, and you may say: Let's not lose sight of the fact that for decades the IRA have conducted a war of terrorism against the government and the people of grate britain. Surely, the British government has a right, an obligation, to protect itself, and to use whatever instruments, such as SAS, it has at its disposal. Here you will have touched upon the larger question that hovers over this book: how should a democratic government, a civilized people, respond to terrorism? Fr. Murray believes, as do many others, that we must, even when dealing with terrorists, hew to codes of behavior that are absolute. Others, including many among the military, believe that it is foolish and dangerous to play by the rules when one's adversary does not. I placed myself firmly in the latter camp before reading this book, but now I am not so sure. This book is sobering and thought-provoking, and destined, I suspect, to reach all too small an audience.
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Editorial Reviews of The SAS in Ireland:

This book traces the history of the British Army Special Air Service Regiment, the SAS, in Ireland over the past twenty years. It details their activities – intelligence gathering and surveillance, their links with British intelligence, notably MI5 and MI6, their connection with sectarian murders and many other deaths.

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