Current Affairs History Military Politics

Satanic Masses, Devil Worshippers And British Dirty War Propaganda

As we move deeper into these post-conflict (or, arguably, intra-conflict) times, am I the only one to be struck by the sheer volume of historic accusations made against the UK forces and authorities in the north-east of Ireland that have turned out to be true? Dismissed as “republican propaganda” throughout the 1970s to ’90s by a domestic clique of politicians and journalists acting as British-apologists we now know that the claims of torture-centres and death squads, car-bombers and gunmen, were in fact correct. It seems incredible that this form of historical denialism continues to be propagated by several unionist-sympathising newspaper columnists to the present day. Yet new facts keep rolling in, particularity from a younger generation of international news media who simply don’t buy into the myth of the Pax Brittanica inter Hibernienses that the colonist-deniers want to sell.

From Vice Magazine:

“Between 1972 and 1974, rumors about black magic spread through Northern Ireland while the country was on the brink of civil war. Press headlines raising the specter of black masses, animal sacrifices, and child abductions started appearing alongside the usual articles about the political crisis and the assassination and bombing campaigns that followed.

Over the next 40 years, Richard Jenkins, professor of sociology at Sheffield University, investigated this phenomenon, gathering material in libraries and speaking to witnesses. During his research, he discovered where these fears may have originated: the British Army.

The main source of these allegations is Captain Colin Wallace, already well-known for his previous revelations about the Army’s unorthodox methods employed during the Troubles. These revelations got him sidelined and framed: he spent six years in prison on a conviction of manslaughter which was later quashed in the light of new forensic and other evidence (which was investigated in Paul Foot’s book, Who Framed Colin Wallace? ).

The former officer of information of the Army’s psychological operations unit (known as Information Policy) told Jenkins that his small team had set up mock ritual sites in various places like ruined houses or an abandoned churchyard. They hung upside down crosses made of tomato crates, drew magic circles, and displayed black candles and blood from the Army’s kitchen. They also wrote fake reader’s letters to several newspapers, provided scripts for unattributed briefings with journalists, and helped zealous citizens to write misleading ads for the press.

The Information Policy group may not have started the rumors, but they fed them in order to smear paramilitary organizations. It was only one aspect of a broader black propaganda strategy, which also relied on more “classic” defamatory rumors involving misappropriated money, communism, and drug trafficking. Their aim was to establish a link in the public opinion between the rise of paramilitary groups’ violence and things that both the protestant and catholic communities would find objectionable. Ireland’s strong religious culture and supernatural folklore gave the military the idea of this new kind of threat which could also encourage people—especially children and teenagers—to stay home at night.”

As R.W. Johnston say’s in a review of Paul Foot’s book (which the Thatcher government in Britain tried desperately to ban):

“Recruited into Information Policy, an undercover psychological warfare unit working closely with MI6, Wallace was put in charge of black propaganda operations. These consisted in feeding a host of alarmist stories about the IRA to the British press – wading through them, one begins to wonder, glumly, how far one can trust anything the British press writes about Ireland.”

On that score at least, relatively little has changed. and not just with the British press.

“The IRA not only exists but continues to operate moles in the civil service to protect and promote its huge financial network and other interests, senior garda sources have revealed.

The Garda Special Detective Unit is aware of the identity of several moles who they believe have being carrying out infiltration of the public service for years.”

Oh dear…

6 comments on “Satanic Masses, Devil Worshippers And British Dirty War Propaganda

  1. Lord of Mirkwood

    Doesn’t it sound exactly like the propaganda that said Native Americans deserved annihilation because they were “savages” with “proto-human” customs?


  2. I had heard of these stories in one area of belfast – North belfast.
    North Belfast backs on to Belfast Castle grounds and Cavehill – which until the mid-1980s were an area of planted woods gone wild, few marked trails, deaths due to falls with bodies discovered months later and at least one abandoned church. There are still wild horses living on Cavehill despite “gentrification and “taming” over the past 25-30 years”. Then, it was an area ripe for superstitious suggestion, particularly in the dark winter evenings.

    Until the 1980s-90s North Belfast was a very mixed area – Religion wise it was the Jewish quarter, running from poor, to middle-class and wealthy jewish professionals and business people. There were also rich Protestants and a few wealthy Catholic professionals and business people. Catholic and Church of Ireland bishops owned large demesnes there.Class wise there were large victorian villas with hugh gardens, tennis lawns and shrubberies, streets of middle class terraces and working-class loyalist estates that were built in the 1960s.

    The protestant working class believed the “black magic” stories more than the rest of the inhabitants – perhaps they got first hand information? The rest of the people either never heard these rumours, didn’t know where the stories started if they had heard of them from protestant neighbours and acquaintances and tended to discount them anyway. That’s first hand information.

    I have never heard of any of these stories from people living in the other parts of Belfast – nothing beyond the usual ghost stories, hauntings etc which are a strata of popular culture. Then again, Belfast people had other, much greater, worries to contend with at the time.

    So if the British Army was busy seeding horror stories – they didn’t have much purchase among the general population.


  3. is Cavehill where loyalists destroyed a coronation stone of the gaelic clan kings (or something like that)? i recall reading something along those lines many years ago, but i forget the exact details.


  4. The Throne on the Cave Hill was known as the Giant’s Chair. There is a debate whether it was the coronation throne of the O’Neills or not as there was another throne in the Castlereagh area which was said also to have been used by the O’Neills.
    Hi Martin – was this what you were thinking about?
    Ancient throning chairs were usually situated in high places with a hollow in which the foot of the would be chieftain was placed however on the Cave Hill Throne a stone had been added to it in the shape of a glove to allow the right hand to be placed in it.

    The Cave Hill Throne was destroyed by loyalists in December 1896 after a reference was made to it in an article in the nationalist paper ‘Shan Van Bocht’. Parts of it may be avilable to view at the Ulster Museum. Sir Samuel Ferguson built his house ‘The Throne’ (later a hospital, now a ruin) in reference to this feature.


  5. An sionnach, I think you could also include the phenomena of moving statues and weeping statues/trees etc especially around the 1980’s. All designed in my opinion to spook the Catholics into rejecting ‘the men of violence’ in that period. In fact if I can wear my tin foil hat for a moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Catholic Church knew all about the endgame with these phenomena and played along.
    The biggest disappointment in all of this is the very fact people are still walking around believing that loyalism and its various branches egRUC,UDR etc didn’t shoot ‘innocent’ Catholics. They still don’t wanna believe there was a deliberate terror campaign inflicted on the nationalist population by the British state no matter if you were ‘involved’ in anything or not. Whose fault is that? Well the much lauded Catholic run schools for one I’d say.


  6. If Irish people began to recognise the Irish media for what it is – a journalistic branch of British intelligence – they would stop falling for Revisionist fairy stories. A best selling book was published in Germany a couple of years ago in which a German journalist revealed that he and his mainstream media colleagues were essentially CIA assets. Does anyone seriously believe Ireland is different? Seriously? Just consider our erstwhile hardcore Stalinist Workers Party hacks of the 1970s and 1980s, who always nevertheless managed to get published in very right-wing capitalist papers such as the Irish versions of the Murdoch rags – not to mention the Irish Times, RTE, and the daddy of all British propaganda outlets, the Sunday Indo. And how come all these erstwhile rabid class warriors suddenly became equally rabid Neocon propagandists for Anglo-American wars in the 1990s and beyond? All of that is without getting into the proven and admitted (though largely ignored) links between the Workers Party/OIRA, and the British secret state.


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