Sunday Independent journalist Jim Cusack has claimed several times over the past few weeks that the Provisional IRA is still in existence and operating in the border area.
If true, this could have very serious consequences for the Good Friday Agreement and could, potentially, lead to a return to conflict in Northern Ireland with all the associated death and destruction.
Obviously, no self-respecting journalist would make such a serious claim without strong supporting evidence. Sadly, it appears that Mr. Cusack is no longer the self-respecting journalist he used to be because, as far as I can see from his reports, there is not one shred of evidence to back up his claims.
So why would a previously respected journalist abandon his journalistic principles to peddle a story without any supporting evidence?
I can think of only three reasons:
One: The claim is actually true and Mr. Cusack will eventually produce credible evidence to back up his claims.
Two: He is being fooled by a source that is feeding him false information.
Three: He is being pressurised into making false claims to serve the hidden agenda of some other power.
Let’s deal with these one by one.
If Mr. Cusack’s claims are true then his story has international implications as the Good Friday Agreement involved the hard work and commitment of the United States, the European Union and the UK and Irish governments.
If the claims were true Mr. Cusack and Independent Newspapers would have immediately informed all concerned of this extremely serious reversal in the Peace Process. To my knowledge this has not happened.
Neither Mr. Cusack nor Independent Newspapers are telling the world about the sensational ‘fact’ that the IRA is still in existence, still operating as a terrorist organisation. He, and Independent Newspapers, are simply treating the story as a local Irish issue.
It is highly unlikely that Mr. Cusack is being fooled by a source feeding him false information. Even the most inexperienced journalist knows that checking information from sources is the first rule of professional journalism.
The third reason is probably the truth. Mr. Cusack seems to have abandoned his journalist integrity because he is willingly or being forced to serve the hidden agenda of somebody who has influence over him.
That agenda seems to have just one aim – to discredit and damage the credibility of Sinn Fein as a legitimate, democratic political party. The motive behind the agenda appears to be the growing fear among the ruling elite of the rise of Sinn Fein’s political popularity.
Sinn Fein, rightly angry over this campaign of black propaganda, contacted the Garda Commissioner on the issue. She replied, in writing, that Mr. Cusack’s claims had no foundation in fact whatsoever. In addition, the Commissioner quoted the conclusion reached by the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) that the Provisional IRA had indeed disbanded.
In a recent article Mr. Cusack arrogantly dismissed the word of the Garda Commissioner and the IMC, effectively accusing them of lying or, at least, covering up what he considers to be a fact based on his pathetic conclusion that the IRA is still in existence because the PSNI are (apparently) operating as if the troubles were still in full flow.
Good, professional journalism demands integrity, strong principles and an unwavering dedication to reporting the truth.
Journalists who allow themselves to be manipulated by powerful forces pushing a secret agenda are nothing more than spineless lackeys.