ANALYSTS at US intelligence firm Stratfor discussed Kieran Doherty’s murder, the Ulster Bank bomb and the likelihood of Moscow funding the Real IRA in a series of emails published by Wikileaks, the Sentinel can reveal.
A Tactical Analyst at the Texas-headquarterd firm sent an ‘Assessment of nationalist militants’ on October 20, a fortnight after a 200 pound Real IRA car bomb exploded outside the Ulster Bank on the Culmore Road.
“Most recently, the Real IRA detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in a vehicle in Derry, Northern Ireland, in an attack that caused only property damage due to the fact that militants called the attack in ahead of time.
“Shortly after the attack, a spokesman for the Real IRA warned of an increase in attacks and even targeting London.
“There are certainly conditions in place that could allow the Real IRA to expand their operations, but the group also faces limitations, making it highly unlikely that we will see a return to the troubles of the 1970s and 1980s. Nicely done with the trigger,” the confidential email read.
The analyst went on to refer to the murder of Kieran Doherty by the Real IRA in February 2010. Mr Doherty was abducted by his former comrades, shot dead and his body then dumped at Termonbacca on the outskirts of Londonderry.
The intelligence analyst wrote that the: “RIRA assassinated one of their own Ciaran Doherty [sic] after he was linked to marijuana fields and approached by the MI5.”
In an earlier email an analyst warns about the correct use of terminology when referring to various IRA splinter groups.
He wrote: “So when you just say the ‘IRA’ you are essentially saying that a bunch of guys who are for peace committed the bombing. Has been coming up in the news recently, as they detonated a car bomb in the Northern Ireland town of Derry on October 5 and have issued threats against banks and London.”
By the time of the synopsis on nationalist violence, however, all local IRA groups are appropriately categorised.
Intriguingly, it’s suggested in the email correspondence that Russia may be tempted to bankroll the Real IRA.
“Russia may re-emerge as benefactor for the RIRA as it continues to reassert itself on the world stage and as STRATFOR pointed out in 2008,” wrote one intelligence expert.
He elaborated: “They can, and they have the links, but to do so would require Moscow to be even more pissed at the UK than it is. I would rephrase to say more in terms of ‘and Moscow could be tempted to reactivate old links if the relationship with the UK deteriorates sufficiently.’”
The internal Stratfor correspondence also shows that the firm believed the economic downturn in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland could be used by the Real IRA and other dissident groups as a recruiting sergeant.
“Around 32 percent of the Northern Ireland workforce is employed in the public sector and depends on 16 billion pounds (25.6 billion dollars) worth of transfer payments from London each year.
“This dependency on London is the result, in part, of the United Kingdom’s attempt to pump enough cash into the province, and provide enough jobs, to mitigate sectarian tensions.
“These looming budget cuts could therefore have a direct impact on the Northern Ireland’s jobless rate, driving up discontent and anger towards London.
“Those kinds of sentiments are exactly what the RIRA can prey upon, might want to add ‘for recruitment purposes,’” one Stratfor observer explained.
Another put it more bluntly stating: “If you want to talk grievances here, you may want to bring up the fact that Ireland is absolutely F****D when it comes to econ [sic].
“They are bailing out banks at an incredible clip, we’re talking Iceland style. Only difference between Iceland and Ireland is that the Irish like to shoot people.”
Other emails published by the Wikileaks group show that Stratfor acknowledged unrest over the Twelfth. trade union protests, a vigilante pipe-bombing and a dissident republican attack against police - all in Londonderry - over the last few years.
They also referred to the closure of City of Derry Airport as a result of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic ash cloud in 2010. Stratfor has refused to comment on the documents published by Wikileaks or to say whether they were authentic or inaccurate.