So Teresa Villiers has asked Security Service to be part of the assessment of structure, role and purpose of “paramilitary” organisations.

Coming a few short months after the most intense period of legal and media focus on the policy of collusion it is pretty stunning she gets away with it.  But of course she does, under the cloak of state impunity for collusion. And SS is the most untouchable of all collusive agencies.

Security Service along with RUC Special Branch and the British army’s Force Research Unit were the unholy trinity that oversaw all state covert activity, agent handing and direction. Security Service had the least number of agents but the agents they had were seen as strategic. From Page 61 of the De Silva report you get a fair idea of what they were at – Google it, it’s all there. SS had representatives stationed in RUC headquarters Knock and in British army HQ in the North. They were very hands on. It was their intelligence reports that were the reports that went to government ministers and contributed to security policy.

So while a lot of attention has been paid rightly to RUC Special Branch and their agents, and to British army FRU and their agents, security service and its role manages to receive less scrutiny. Which is exactly how they like it.

Security Service fought with the British army’s GOC when UDA quartermaster Brian Nelson was being re-recruited to assist with the Dirty War effort. SS wanted him as their agent. The resulting deal in who would run him involved full shared knowledge of all he got up to. There are hundreds of grieving families including those of Pat Finucane and Gerard Slane who have questions about that sickening time when the last phase of conflict collusion was so micro-managed by the three arms of the state.

What we officially know about collusion fairly much ends with the arrest of Brian Nelson. No other official investigation has taken place. But that does not mean that we do not know that subsequent hundreds of deaths were at the hands of state agents and a result of state policy. When republican activists, their families and hundreds of other civilians were all deliberately targeted before the ceasefires in an attempt to weaken republicanism in the peace process. And when SS was at meetings every single week with the heads of RUC Special Branch and the GOC of the British army and when they gave reports to Tory Party ministers as a result of each of those meetings.

So fast forward to now. Same agency, same territory. And still without any scrutiny or accountability.  And we are absolutely in the territory of British state interests and state agents. Any notion that a report on “paramilitarism” can ignore the role of the state or the use of state agents should be laughable. But I for one am not laughing. This is not only a political stunt it is a perpetuation of state impunity and the lie that the state is neutral.

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