book by Margaret Urwin dated November 2012
ISBN: 978-0-9570274-1-1 Subjects: Northern Ireland
, Military Reaction Force
, Special Reconnaissance Unit
, SAS Source: Spinwatch
A joint publication by Spinwatch
, Justice for the Forgotten
and the Pat Finucane CentreWikispooks Comment
Based on years of work including interviews with former members of the security forces and extensive documentary research, this report is the most comprehensive study available about the Military Reaction Force and its successor the Special Reconnaissance Unit.
Key Findings include:
- Senior Army officers at Headquarters Northern Ireland instructed subordinate commands in late 1971 to develop informal contacts with loyalist paramilitaries, described as ‘unofficial unarmed bodies... ...working in the public interest.’
- The Army created plain-clothes Military Reaction Forces (MRF) in late 1971. The subsequent exposure of MRF activities led to their replacement a year later by a larger and more professional organisation: the Special Reconnaissance Unit (SRU).
- The SRU relied heavily on SAS manpower. Successive governments went to great lengths to conceal this fact from UK/Parliament and the media in order to be able to deny an SAS role in Northern Ireland.
- Deliberately misleading information about the undercover units was fed to the press as part of a black propaganda campaign. The resulting press stories included information that would have enabled the IRA to identify Louis Hammond as an MRF agent in their ranks. Hammond was shot shortly afterwards.
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Counter-Gangs: A history of undercover military units in Northern Ireland 1971 - 1976
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