It was a dirty war. It is a Republican story, and there are other damning stories about the Republican movement's tactics, but this is a true story and needs to be known. All of the violent groups in this struggle for power committed immoral and criminal acts, and "all" includes the British state itself.
Morrison reveals how the British and the Unionists used entrapment, made false charges, committed perjury, used intimidation, conducted kidnappings and cover-ups of attempted murders, conducted cover-ups of murders, even committed murder. Subsequently, they 'block[ed] evidence from trials and inquests in order to cover up state terrorism'.
The British and the Unionists knew that the Republican wanted to meet the informer to arrange a press conference (to expose British state police's shoot-to-kill policy), but they accused the Republican of wanting to assassinate the informer. The "informer" was actually a British agent, who testified in court that 'he agreed to do a Sinn Fein press conference but really believed that he was to be killed'.(1)
In terms of incompetent and uncoordinated action, once, '[t]wo undercover police units,... neither aware of the other's covert presence, had opened fire on each other and killed a colleague.'
As for cold-blooded, shameless complicity in murder, instead of withdrawing a vulnerable agent, 'British intelligence officers... redirected the assassins [away from their agent] to another target, an innocent 66-year-old west Belfast Catholic, Francesco Notarantonio, who was shot dead.' (And in an out-of-control system that increased hatred and prolonged the conflict, the state police in Northern Ireland, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), colluded with Unionist/Loyalist extremists in murder - even of human rights lawyers - and its cover-up.)
As for murder itself, the chief Irish Republican Army (IRA) interrogator was actually British state informer "Stakeknife", '[Freddie] Scappaticci... who was allowed by his British military intelligence handlers to capture and kill suspected informers (usually those whose usefulness to the state had expired) in order to maintain his cover within the IRA.'
- It's not clear how much control Peter Lynch had at this point. It's possible that his British state bosses were using him rather than employing him. 'Scap[paticci] had offered Lynch the opportunity of appearing at a Sinn Fein press conference and then sent for [Sinn Fein].' But he was the one who kidnapped and attempted to murder Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) fighter Peter Duggan. He was no naive innocent.