Saturday, 25 March 2017

About Martin McGuinness

Martin McGuinness, then the IRA’s  Deputy Commander for Derry at a funeral in 1972

"Martin McGuinness never went to war. The war came to him. It came to his street, to his city" - Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein President.

"(Martin McGuinness) was a coward and a murderer" - Norman Tebbitt, former British Conservative Party government minister.

What made Martin McGuinness a "formidable foe" also made him a "formidable peacemaker" - Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister.

From the moment the death of Martin McGuinness was announced, it was a given certainty that the eulogies -in the widest possible sense of that word- would range from descriptions of his having been among the fiercest of the modern Irish Republican freedom fighters to that of a common terrorist-murderer.

But to friend, foe and neutral must have been unanimity in acknowledging an aura and legend surrounding the man. This after all was a person who rose to the ranks of the Irish Republican Army at a very young age. He was apparently a man of great charm and ruthless cunning. And his levels of personal discipline, organisational resourcefulness and ability to command loyalty did not escape the attention of the British intelligence services; his MI5 file recording the view that his talents as a strategic thinker made him “officer material”.

Attached to McGuinness was much in the manner of myth and mystery. Questions arose over the years about his specific role in various aspects of the conflict. Did he fire the first shot on Bogside during the 1972 demonstration when British paratroopers massacred innocent Catholic demonstrators? Did he ever remove himself from the decision-making structure of the IRA as he repeatedly claimed he had done at an earlier stage of the conflict? And given the increasingly high level of penetration achieved by British intelligence as the conflict endured, did he at some point in fact become an asset of his sworn enemies?

These are but a few of which some resolution has been forthcoming. The Saville Inquiry into the ‘Bloody Sunday’ massacre on Bogside made the finding that McGuinness was “probably armed with a (Thompson) sub-machine gun but that there was insufficient evidence to prove that he fired it. McGuinness himself vehemently denied firing a gun on that fateful day.

Of the commonly asserted British claim of his long-term membership of the IRA’s Army Council including a spell in the role of Chief of Staff, McGuinness also offered a consistent denial, insisting that he left the organisation in 1974. But he often asserted his pride at having been a member of the Derry Brigade of Oglaigh na hEireann. His influence endured even after he relinquished direct operational control of the organisation.

The claim that he was a British informer was based on the revelations of an IRA turncoat who accepted the purported evidence implicating McGuinness in good faith, but which was later pronounced as being a forgery.

Much opacity however continues to surround the specific decisions McGuinness may have made in a brutal conflict which encompassed bombings, shootings, executions, and kneecappings. What many of McGuinness’ opponents find hard to forgive or forget is the legacy of the slaughter of innocents; those non-combatants killed in bomb attacks and drive-by shootings as well as those disappeared and given secret burials.

The revival in the late 1960s of the Irish Republican Army of which Martin McGuinness would become a key player was a continuum of centuries of episodic violence within a province that is part of an island considered by republicans to be England's "first and last colony".

McGuinness unlike Gerry Adams did not come from a family steeped in republican history and instead represented an example of the radicalisation of many Catholic youth at a time of great social ferment.

It should not be forgotten that the ugliness which accompanied what came to be known as 'The Troubles' came after Protestant resistance to a civil rights movement led by figures in the Roman Catholic community who were seeking to end discriminatory practices in housing, employment and policing.

Alienated by the intransigence of a system seemingly bent on maintaining Protestant privilege at all costs, the likes of McGuinness turned to violence when the spectrum of disaffection had crossed the threshold of maintaining faith in the possibility of a legal and political solution to the causes of their grievance.

The power sharing arrangement that followed the Good Friday Agreement, of which McGuinness was the chief negotiator for Sinn Fein, included measures such as the reform of policing in Northern Ireland and more or less achieved what had been sought by the civil rights movement three decades earlier.

There are diehard Republicans who will cast him as a traitor for compromising on the ideal of only giving up the fight with the achievement of a united Ireland. This was the charge which had cost Michael Collins his life. Yet McGuinness and his long term collaborator Gerry Adams became peacemakers as had Collins before them and as did ANC leader Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

The background to what prompted the peace process is subject to partisan disputation. What the British establishment and Protestant loyalists see as the defeat and surrender of the IRA, republicans view as a compromise.

It is clear that the IRA's declaration of an unconditional ceasefire was brought about by the simple fact that it had been shorn of its capability of continuing as an effective guerrilla force. The British state had seen to that by waging a 'dirty war' which included orchestrating the compromise of many figures at all levels of the IRA.

Impending defeat and involvement in the peace process is claimed by McGuinness’ detractors as a self-serving and cowardly manoeuvre designed to save himself from responsibility for his crimes as the leader of a terror group.

Yet this view refuses to take into account the personal risks that both McGuinness and Adams were taking in starting the peace process, a process which after all could have led to his assassination by disaffected republicans.

Norman Tebbitt’s bitter denunciation of McGuinness on hearing of his demise can be contrasted with that of the daughter of a victim of the IRA’s bombing of Brighton’s Grand Hotel in 1984 who is one of many convinced by the sincerity of his role as a peacemaker.

But it is unsurprising that uncompromisingly negative views of McGuinness persist. There is perhaps something to the argument that once the peace agreement had been achieved, he and Adams should have stepped down and handed over the reins of leadership to a younger generation of nationalist politicians.

The bitter legacy of homicidal violence is not one which can be placed exclusively on the shoulders of McGuinness and his comrades in the IRA. There is still much to be unearthed about the conduct of the British state in its handling of the republican insurgency.

For instance, there are grounds for believing that the bombs which went off in near synchronous fashion in Dublin and Monaghan in May of 1974 killing 33 people were facilitated by agents of British military intelligence.

Kevin Fulton, the pseudonym of a British controlled double agent who had infiltrated the IRA, claimed that the security forces had agents embedded within the ‘Real IRA’ at the time of the Omagh Bombing atrocity of 1998. Fulton, whose real name is believed to be Peter Keely, a Catholic who had joined the Royal Irish Rangers and later co-opted into the intelligence corps, had been a member of the British Army’s Force Research Unit.

The FRU as was the case with several other concoctions of British Army Intelligence such as the Military Reaction Force (MRF), the Special Reconnaissance Unit (SRU) and 14 Intelligence were part of a ruthless counter-insurgency strategy pioneered by General Sir Frank Kitson.

Utilising amoral methods based on the idea of fighting terrorists by means of terrorism, Kitson’s concept of the ‘counter-gang’, provided the theoretical template for a strategy that included permitting extra-judicial killings through the use of loyalist terror proxies. These actions also involved the killing of innocent civilians.

It is while bearing this in mind that in the final analysis, Martin McGuinness will not be the only key player in Northern Ireland's recent troubles to die with blood on his hands.

(c) Adeyinka Makinde (2017)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Adeyinka Makinde - Updated Academic Profile (March 2017)

Adeyinka Makinde LL.B (Hons) of the Middle Temple, Barrister has been a Visiting Lecturer at Westminster Law School since 2002. He has served as the Module Leader for Criminal Law and Public Law on the Solicitors Exempting Degree. Prior to this, he delivered the Public Law option on the ILEX programme from 2002 to 2009.
His teaching specialism in constitutional law allied to long term interests respectively in international politics, political history, military history and the history of espionage has over the course of time germinated into a research interest in the genre of ‘intelligence and security studies.’
In May 2013 he was invited to present a paper at the biennial international conference on security issues held by the Centre for International Intelligence and Security Studies (CIISS) under the auspices of the University of Aberystwyth where his paper, "Intelligence and Accountability: From the Cold War to the War on Terror" was presented as part of the theme, ‘The Past, Present and Future of Intelligence’
His analysis of the dangers of war between NATO and the Russian Federation was the subject of an interview he gave to the Voice of Russia. This was reported by RIA Novosti, Russia's international news agency.
He has peer reviewed articles for journals including the International Journal of Criminology and Sociology.
He has authored two books on pugilists and has written numerous features on boxing and produced articles on international relations, history and culture. He has served as a programme consultant and provided expert commentary for BBC World Service Radio, China Radio International and the Voice of Russia.
He was a talking head on 'The Rivals', an IMG Sport-produced documentary on boxing rivalries which was made for Sky TV in 2007.
He is among a group of scholars and journalists approached to contribute to the Cambridge Companion Series on the sport of boxing which is scheduled for publication in 2016.
Adeyinka’s writings, encompassing books, essays and commentaries have been cited by a host of researchers ranging from scholars to established writers for trade published books. These include a memoir by the world renowned literary figure Chinua Achebe and an activist advocating constitutional reform in Australia. The citations span books, academic journals, an academic textbook as well as miscellaneous reference books.
His biography on a world champion boxer, Dick Tiger: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal, was designated as required reading for the topic “Sport, Migration, Post-Colonial Strife” on a course on Modern African Sports History at the University of Florida.
He has delivered talks before audiences in the United States and the United Kingdom. These have included GMB Trade Union-sponsored Black History Month workshops covering the connection between sports and the American Civil Rights Movement, a lecture given under the auspices of London’s Jewish Museum concerning the alleged Hebraic origins of the Igbo people of Nigeria and a book launch at the Jersey City Main Library in which he presented the findings of his research into the officially unsolved murder of a Mafia-connected boxer.
Subjects Taught
  • GDL Public Law
  • ILEX Public Law
  • LL.B Solicitors Exempting Degree Criminal Law
  • LL.B Solicitors Exempting Degree Public Law
  • LL.B Criminal Law
  • LL.B Public Law
Research interests
  • Intelligence & Security
  • The History and Culture of the sport of Boxing
JERSEY BOY: The Life and Mob Slaying of Frankie DePaula (iUniverse) 2010, ISBN: 978-1-45020-637-2, 274pp including b/w photographs
DICK TIGER: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal (Word Association) 2005, ISBN: 978-1-59571-042-0, 312pp including b/w photographs
News magazine articles
"A Night To Remember But.." (Commemorating the semi-centennial of Black Africa's first world championship boxing contest fought between Nigeria's Dick Tiger and the American Gene Fullmer on August 10th 1963). Africa Today, Vol. 19, No. 0809, August/September (2013) 31-34.
Journal articles
"Old Man of Biafra" (Chapter Excerpt from the biography Dick Tiger: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal). African Renaissance, Vol 2, No 5 September/October (2005) 124-130
"Boxing: Rousing the Nigerian Giant." African Renaissance, Vol 2, No 2 March/April (2005) 68-73.
Book reviews
"On Intelligence: The History of Espionage and the Secret World"​. Global Security and Intelligence Studies Journal, Vol 2, Number 1 (2016)103-105.
"Empire of Secrets: British Intelligence, the Cold War and the Twilight of Empire." Covert Policing, Terrorism and Intelligence Law Review, Vol 2, Issue 2 (2014)159-161.
Textbook contributions
"Pug of Ages: Weep for Me." Essay reproduced in Writing the Synthesis Essay, edited by John Brassil et al. New Jersey: Peoples Education, 2008 13-15.
Encyclopaedia articles
"The Africans: Boxing and Africa" in The Cambridge Companion to Boxing, edited by Gerald Early, New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017.
"Jose Torres: The Boxer as Writer" in The Cambridge Companion to Boxing, edited by Gerald Early, New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017.
Conference Papers
"Intelligence and Accountability: From the Cold War to the War on Terror." Presented at 'The Past, Present and Future of Intelligence' on 25th May 2013 at Aberystwyth University under the auspices of the Centre for Intelligence and International Security Studies (CIISS).
Work cited: DICK TIGER: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal. Word Association, May 2005.
Cited in the following books:
Lis, Daniel. Jewish Identity among the Igbo of Nigeria: Israel's "Lost Tribe" and the Question of Belonging in the Jewish State. Africa World Press, Nov. 2014.
Oliver, Brian. The Commonwealth Games: Extraordinary Stories Behind the Medals. Bloomsbury Sport, May 2014.
Torromeo, Dario; Esposito, Franco. I Pugni Degli Eroi. Absolutely Free Editore, Dec 2013.
Achebe, Chinua. There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra. Allen Lane, Sept. 2012.
Hall, Karen L. Game Plan: A Social History of Sport in Alberta. University of Alberta Press, Jun 2012.
Hudson, David L. Boxing in America: An Autopsy. Praeger Publishers, Jun 2012.
Redner, Charles. Down But Never Out. Open Books Press, Feb. 2010.
Work cited: Democracy, Terrorism and the Secret State: From the Era of Gladio to the War on Terror., Jan. 2013.
Cited in the following book:
Paterson, Graham L. A Constitutional Journey. Xlibris, Feb. 2013.
Work cited: The Politics of Anthony Mundine., Oct. 2001.
Cited in the following book:
Sarra, Chris. Strong and Smart - Towards a Pedagogy for Emancipation: Education for First Peoples (Part of New Studies in Critical Realism and Education Series). Routledge, Aug. 2012.
Academic Journals
Work cited: DICK TIGER: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal. Word Association, May 2005.
Cited in the following journal:
Gennaro, Michael. "The Whole Place is in Pandemonium: Dick Tiger versus Gene Fullmer III and the Consumption of Boxing in Nigeria." The International Journal of the History of Sport, Volume 30, Issue 16 2013.
Work cited: Retreading Hagler Versus Hearns., Apr. 2002.
Cited in the following journal:
Ehrlichman, Brad. "In This Corner: An Analysis of Federal Boxing Legislation." Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts. May 2011.
Academic Textbooks
Work cited: Pug of Ages: Weep For Me., Oct. 2002.
Reproduced in the following textbook:
Brassil, John et al. Writing the Synthesis Essay. Peoples Education, 2007.
Reference books
Work cited: DICK TIGER: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal. Word Association, May 2005.
Cited in the following books:
The Editors of Salem Press. Great Athletes - Boxing & Soccer (Volume 1 of a 12-Volume set). Salem Press, Sept. 2014.
Grasso, John. Historical Dictionary of Boxing. Scarecrow Press, Jan. 2014.
Akyeampong, Emmanuel K.; Gates, Henry Louis (Editors). Dictionary of African Biography. Oxford University Press, Dec. 2011.
Hudson, David L. Combat Sports: An Encyclopedia of Wrestling, Fighting and Mixed Martial Arts. Greenwood Press, Apr. 2009
Gates, Henry Louis; Higginbotham, Evelyn Brooks (Editors). The African-American National Biography. Oxford University Press. Mar. 2008.
© Adeyinka Makinde (2017)

Monday, 27 February 2017

Mythical Gods of the Yoruba

Opon Ifa (La Mesa de Ifa in Latin America) divination tray

A friend in the United States recently sent me an email informing me that he was almost done reading his latest book Fingerprints of the Gods which he finds to be “dry and repetitive”.

But he is also appreciative of the background concepts behind the book which according to him “are the most interesting and unbelievable FACTS in the history of mankind that I have ever encountered.”

This includes aspects of congruence between the pyramids and structures found in both Central and South America and in Ancient Egypt even though the two cultures never interfaced.

It got me thinking and I sent him a reply including the following about the similarities in culture and belief system between the Yoruba and the Ancient Greeks and Aztecs. Leo Frobenius who made the claims of an African Atlantis did theorize the link with Africa in a decidedly racist manner:

“Did the narrative stray into the realms of Atlantis? The German archeologist Frobenius postulated a link between Yoruba civilization and that of Etruria, that is, the Etruscans, the pre-Roman era inhabitants of northern Italy. Yorubaland is mostly in modern south western Nigeria. He believed that both were provinces of Atlantis.

The Yoruba and Etruscans share a similar culture and spiritual belief system. For instance that of lightning emanating from the sixteen regions of the sky. Their cities are divided into 16 (the Yoruba have 16 ancient kingdoms) and the 16 regions of the sky each have a deity representing a distinct character-personality.

There are many similarities between the gods of the Yoruba, the Aztecs, the ancient Greeks and the Etruscans.

The Yoruba god of heaven is Obatala whose equivalent Uranus, is the primal Greek god of the sky. And Hephaestus, the Greek god of blacksmiths is the counterpart of Ogun, the Yoruba god of iron who in the modern syncretized Yoruba religions in Brazil, the Caribbean and southern United States is the patron deity of smiths and craftsmen. Olokun is the god of the sea whose rule of the oceans is complemented by the goddess Yemanja, the role fulfilled by Poseidon, and Shango is the god of lightning as are Zeus and Thor respectively of Greek and Norse mythology.”

© Adeyinka Makinde (2017)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Review of On Intelligence: The History of Espionage and the Secret World By Adeyinka Makinde

The field of intelligence studies is a relatively new academic discipline that has developed an identifiable intellectual community. It has served as a conduit through which the history of war, the development and decline of empire as well as the calibration of foreign policy have been subjected to fresh formats of inquiry and analysis.

The study of the relationship between the practice of intelligence and its impact on state policy in so far as military action is concerned is one, given the repercussions, respectively of the attack on 9/11 and the decision to go to war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, that is of particular interest to scholars, policymakers and practitioners of the craft.

It is also a subject area of inestimable fascination to a general reading public with a ready appetite for stories on espionage and accustomed to a market in which there has been a surge in the popular history genre. This has meant that studies on the history of military intelligence, as is the case with other genres of history, have been divided into those that fit alternately into the academic and popular writing categories.

John Hughes-Wilson, a retired British Army Intelligence Corps colonel whose career spanned active service in the Falkland Islands and Northern Ireland as well as administrative postings in Whitehall and NATO, is an author whose offerings on military intelligence history fit into the popular writing category.

His brief but robust introduction offers no apologies for avoiding “getting completely lost in the thickets of philosophy and Hegelian dialectic” as an academic text might tend to do. Instead, his work adopts a case study approach to explain and analyze the operation of the intelligence apparatus within the context of espionage and the conduct of war.

Before this, he takes the reader through preliminaries: a chapter on a condensed history of the development of what he refers to as the “Second Oldest Profession” from biblical times to the modern era, followed by a brief consolidating chapter stressing the importance of intelligence in national self-defense by references to statements written by Machiavelli and Sun Tzu while at the same time offering words of rebuke for the shortcomings of Clausewitz’s 1832 masterwork, On War.

He provides a lucid overview of the fundamentals of the intelligence cycle, providing admittedly simplified diagrammatic representations of the process, a collection plan as well as an indicator and warning display. These are tools he deploys to function as key reference points for analysis when he explores the different themes which he proceeds to set out.

His consideration of HUMINT and the factors typically enabling intelligence agencies to penetrate their competitors is predicated on the traditional MICE acronym: Money, Ideology, Compromise/Coercion and Ego. These factors provide the backdrop to his retellings of major espionage failings and successes of American and British intelligence agencies including that of the Walker family’s betrayal of U.S. Navy secrets and Oleg Penkovsky’s role in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Hughes-Wilson is particularly adept at fleshing out the historical development of SIGNIT and IMINT from the most rudimentary technology to the highly advanced equipment of today. His case study on how signals intelligence was crucial in ensuring the victory of the U.S. Navy over the Imperial Japanese Navy at Midway is particularly gripping. It is also enlightening about the organizational pathologies perpetually at play in contemporary intelligence structures, one aspect of which relates to the vexed question of the ownership of SIGNET: does it reside with the communicators and signallers on the one hand or with the intelligence people?

Hughes-Wilson is an engaging writer who brings the reader inside the mind of the prudent intelligence operative: consistently asking questions and performing an officious bystander test as he sifts through large amounts of information. He is very good at guiding the reader through the practical application of the theories undergirding the intelligence process.

This is particularly illuminating in regard to his summation of the severe deficiencies in the American intelligence apparatus in 1941 on the eve of a war that all knew was coming. For it is the case that the problems leading up to Pearl Harbor, including those of over compartmentalization and inter-organizational rivalries, are ones of enduring relevance and  bring into focus the need for all-source integration and assessment; an ideal which is difficult to achieve within any national security establishment.

The choice of case studies tailored to fit a particular theme of the intelligence process, whether related to failures or successes, provides the basis for a series of illuminating deconstructions. For instance, the failure of the political leaders of the Soviet Union and Israel to predict the oncoming onslaughts, respectively, of Operation Barbarossa in 1941 and Operation Badr in 1973 was due, Hughes-Wilson argues, not with non-possession of the correct information predicting enemy intentions but instead centered on the translation of information into intelligence.

In the former case, it hinged on a developed organizational culture of only reporting information which the dictator found palatable while the latter was caused by the monopolization of all-source intelligence by Israeli Military Intelligence. On the issue of protecting state secrets, he uses the recent high-profile cases of Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden as exemplars explaining the impact of an inadequate security checking mechanism, the increasing difficulty of securing masses of electronically collected data in the high-technology age and the eternal dilemma of balancing national security concerns with that of protecting whistleblowers acting in the public interest.

For deception, the Allied planning of the highly risky, but ultimately successful, D-Day landings is used while the area dealing with intelligence fiascos considers the U.S. Special Forces operations in Son Tay, Vietnam and Iran at the time of the hostage crisis. The author also provides an excoriating analysis of the role played by the leaders of the British intelligence community in enabling the administration of Tony Blair to produce a “dodgy dossier” which led the country into a war of dubious legality against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 2003.

The issue of intelligence and the challenges posed to national security by terrorism and by cyber warfare are also given consideration by the author.  He provides a thoughtful summary on the grievances and “catalysts for conflict” that often form the backdrop to terror campaigns before focusing on the contemporary security concerns associated with the “War on Terror”. He is adept at summarizing the interrelatedness of cyber war, cyber terrorism and cybercrime. Here the threats posed by China, the Russian Federation, and North Korea are pointedly noted as he stresses the complexities associated with tracing the source of attacks and the severe consequences that could impinge on civil and military capacities in the event of an all-out war.

Hughes-Wilson provides a lengthy but highly readable consideration of military intelligence that succeeds in giving the reader a fairly comprehensive overview of the practice of intelligence and security.

While it falls short of the rigor expected of an academic text in terms of theoretical detail and the provision of a comprehensive bibliography and citations, it cannot be faulted for being unchallenging or lacking in analytical content. The revolutionizing effect of technological advancement on the gathering, dissemination, and evaluation of intelligence is cogently explained as indeed is the underpinning rationale of his assessment that Julian Assange’s “Wikileaks” project has succeeded in redefining security.

But it does have its shortcomings. For instance, there is no discernible standard regarding the selection or non-inclusion of case studies. Also, given the contemporary prevalence of asymmetric warfare, an examination of the role of intelligence in conflicts between state and non-state militaries would have been apt. The conflict in 2006 between Israel and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah would have presented an ideal case study. It is clear to military analysts that a series of skillfully planned deceptions and security strategies on the part of Hezbollah provided the means for the militia to withstand the might of the Israeli Defence Force.

A thorough consideration of intelligence ought arguably to have included an appraisal of the darker aspects of the use of intelligence gathering in counterinsurgency strategies. U.S. military intelligence covertly orchestrated death squads using a recurring modus operandi to tackle insurgencies in Vietnam, Central America, and Iraq while British army officer Frank Kitson’s concept of “gangs and counter-gangs” was ruthlessly employed in Kenya and Northern Ireland.

In a similar vein, the use of anti-Warsaw Pact “stay behind” cells under the command of NATO during the Cold War-era communist containment strategy is not mentioned.

Still, as a work which covers a great deal of ground and one that attempts to synthesize a narrative and analysis of the broad aspects of process and organizational efficacy within the political contexts of the day, it is likely to be of interest not only to the connoisseurs of popular history, but also to scholars and practitioners in the field of intelligence.

John Hughes-Wilson (2016), On Intelligence: The History of Espionage and the Secret World, First Edition. London: Constable. ISBN: 978-1-472-11353-5. 528 pages. £25.00

This review appears in the fall 2016 edition of Global Security and Intelligence Studies Journal.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2016)

Adeyinka Makinde is a London-based law lecturer with interests in military history and intelligence & security studies