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The Killing of Kevin McGuigan

Don't Speculate!

20 August 2015

In October 2013 Kevin Kearney was shot dead in North Belfast by an anti-agreement republican group. Immediately after the killing Gerry Kelly of Sinn Fein identified the group responsible and provided detailed information about the background.

A few days ago Kevin McGuigan, was shot dead. What did Alex Maskey of Sinn Fein say? Aside from a ritual denial of involvement he said: "We must not speculate."

Sinn Fein, with a vast intelligence organization, know nothing and refused to speculate.

We should not speculate. If we did, we would almost certainly conclude that the Provos killed Kevin McGuigan and that they did so in revenge for the killing of Jock Davidson. Davidson had had McGuigan shot in the arms and legs and, 10 years ago and had ordered the killing of Robert McCartney as an act of revenge following a row in a pub.

Anyone following that line of speculation would initially be on their own.

The police, despite the fact that they warned McGuigan that his life was in danger from republicans, refused to speculate in the early days of the investigation. Robert McCartney's sister, Catherine McCartney says that the PSNI cannot properly investigate political cases.  Less than a year ago they remained puzzled when a leading UVF figure killed a young woman in the same area.

The police are not alone. DUP first minister Peter Robinson says serious consequences would follow from Provo involvement but refuses to speculate, awaiting a verdict from the police.

Essentially the Provos have a level of impunity. At the time of Robert McCartney's murder it was because political negotiations were at a delicate stage. 

Today it is quite different. The level of impunity is tied to their new role within the peace process, which in large part is one of policing nationalist workers.

  • They police the response to Orange marches.
  • Call for people to collaborate with police to suppress republican groups 
  • Campaign against the continuation of yearly internment commemorations.
  • Colluded with police to ban a republican march through Belfast.
  • Showcase loyalist and police spokespeople at festivals.

The killing of Kevin McGuigan is a dangerous moment. It opens up the possibility of further violence against political opponents of the current settlement. In the same month we had physical confrontation between Sinn Fein members, standing shoulder to shoulder with police and republican protestors denouncing the platform given to the Chief Constable. The further introduction of austerity in the North will create new tensions between Sinn Fein and nationalist workers in the ghettoes. It is significant that an armed cover organization, Action Against Drugs, has been set up in the expectation that senior figures will face physical threat.

It also indicates how ludicrous Sinn Fein claims of leftism are. They are fully integrated into a reactionary sectarian settlement controlled by British imperialism. Even if they had any doubts, for example about signing up to further austerity, the British, with full information about the McGuigan killing, have them by the throat and could quickly find them guilty of the murder and expel them from the administration. 

A sign that the pressure is being stepped up came with a PSNI statement saying that the Provos were involved and using the AAD organization as a cover. In part this is because the facts behind the killing were so self-evident that even the PSNI were finding them hard to ignore. The killers were so arrogant and stupid that they were simultaneously denying involvement and giving interviews to local journalists justifying the killing. Above all however the British are cracking the whip. They have already said that Stormont will close if Sinn Fein does not sign up to austerity. Now they have the means to expel the party with full political responsibility falling, not on gallant defenders of the workers, but on dishonest and remorseless killers.

The PSNI are holding out a lifeline. They refuse to speculate as to whether the armed group is part of a chain of command that would lead back to the Provo leadership. The DUP, while muttering about Sinn Feinís expulsion, are awaiting the decision of the PSNI. As with other corrupt movements there is no way back.  The only road for survival is capitulation Ė frantic declarations of support for the state forces linked to political capitulation on austerity.

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