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Who Killed Airey Neave back in March 1979?

category international | crime and justice | opinion/analysis author Tuesday February 04, 2014 06:13author by Nuala Report this post to the editors

The case remains ‘unsolved.’
‘Unsolved,’ in 1970s parlance, means no innocent people were framed for it.
But why? Why this departure from standard procedure in 1970s England?
What was so special about Airey Neave - that they made an exception in his case?



Being as brief as possible, we’re talking here about England in the 1970s.
If a heinous crime was committed by anybody in the 1970s, the system in
England back then was that if the real culprits could not be found
quickly, then some vulnerable innocent people would be selected and
falsely convicted, to ‘balance the books.’

Ask Dick Holland. Ask Stephan Kiszko. Ask Anthony Steel. Ask Judith Ward….
etc. etc….

That was the culture of the 1970s, the system of ‘justice’ in England in
the 1970s.

The Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four had already been falsely
convicted, to ‘balance the books.’

The Peter Sutcliffe Myth / The Yorkshire Ripper Cover-up was still to

But in between those events, there was a slight discrepancy in 1979.

A little glitch.

A strange departure from the norm.


The case remains ‘unsolved.’

‘Unsolved,’ in 1970s parlance, means no innocent people were framed for

But why?

Why this departure from standard procedure in 1970s England?

What was so special about Airey Neave - that they made an exception in his



Responsibility for the murder of Airey Neave was immediately claimed by
INLA (so the media told us).

Who were INLA?

[I’m much too tired to look up everything. I’m writing from memory.
Correct me if I’m wrong about any non-essential detail.]

John Stephenson, the English *ruling group stooge* / MI5 plant / Special
Branch sleeper, orchestrated the split in the IRA Army Council in Dublin
in 1970. After that, for a while, we had the Provisional IRA and the
Official IRA.

After Aldershot and Bloody Friday in 1972, the Official IRA, who were more
emotionally mature and more politically sophisticated than the Provos, saw
the futility of further violence, and their leadership - Cathal Goulding,
Tomas Mac Giolla, and some less public figures, - called a ceasefire,
while retaining their guns in the north and reserving the right of
defensive action.

Some rank and file elements in the Official IRA in Belfast were
disgruntled at the ceasefire. They were burning with hate and craved
action. Some of them defected to the Provos. Some other ‘Officials’ set up
a splinter group titled the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). Their
political arm was the Irish Republican Socialist Party.

The Officials, along with elements of IRSP, evolved into The Workers Party
in the south of Ireland. This group in general were often referred to as
“The Stickies” - a derogatory term relating to their practice of using
stick-on labels for their Easter Lily badges at 1916 commemorations. The
stick-on labels distinguished them from the Provos, who were still using
old fashioned pins to stick the Easter Lily badges onto the jackets of
reluctant and unwilling donors outside the church……..



Could a bunch of uneducated, emotionally immature, bumbling, amateurish
yokels in Belfast such as INLA have penetrated the security of the car
park at the Palace of Westminster in 1979, at the height of the IRA scare
in London, and placed a bomb under Airey Neave’s car, walking in and out
like The Invisible Man?

The bomb was a highly sophisticated device. It had a mercury tilt switch,
meaning that as soon as the car drove onto the non-horizontal ramp leading
out of the car park, the mercury in the detonator flowed under gravity and
tilted the switch to close an electrical circuit, activating the bomb.

Could INLA, a bunch of uneducated, immature yobs in Belfast, have
constructed such a sophisticated bomb, and then walked into the car park
at the Houses of Parliament, placed the bomb under Airey Neave’s car, and
then walked out again without anyone seeing them?



Given that it was standard practice in England in the 1970s to frame
innocent people for outrageous crimes, to ‘balance the books,’ WHY WERE NO

Why this departure from standard procedure?

Airey Neave was the highest ranking English politician ever to be
assassinated. He was Margaret Thatcher’s right hand man. Everybody knew
Thatcher was going to win the election.

Airey Neave was destined to become a very powerful man if he had lived to
become a member of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet. A man who would be
listened to. Perhaps even a future prime minister of England.

He was a military man.

He’d been in Colditz.

He knew things about the British military establishment.

He knew about things that had happened in World War Two.

Many Welshmen of his generation were dogmatic in their sense of right and

Such men would tell the truth regardless of who’s toes they tread on.


At the time of his assassination, Airey Neave was an obscure figure,
largely unknown to the general public.

INLA, the bumbling, amateurish yokels in Belfast, had never even heard of
Airey Neave.

I still remember the BBC / ITN news broadcasts at the time - the reporters
nervously fumbling to find a ‘reason’ why such a man - a man almost nobody
had heard of before then - had been targeted for assassination by an
obscure bunch of uneducated yokels in Belfast who seemingly had the powers
of The Invisible Man ……….

The BBC / ITN TV reporters in 1979 were not total fools. They were clearly

It didn’t add up………

etc. etc. etc.


Some people need killing, from the viewpoint of the ruling group.

For example, John Lennon. Imagine … what John Lennon would be saying today
if they had not bumped him off……

Airey Neave as prime minister of England? Imagine what he would have said.


INLA, those cheap *corner boys* in Belfast, had never even heard of Airey

But INLA and PIRA and OIRA were riddled with infiltrators from the very

etc. etc. etc. …………

author by Nualapublication date Tue Feb 04, 2014 06:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors


AIREY NEAVE, supplemental:

Everything points to a ‘hit’ on Airey Neave by elements of the British ruling group.

First, we were expected to believe that INLA, a bunch of *corner boys* in Belfast who looked no further than defending their local ‘turf’ against the Provos, had achieved the following:

1. INLA supposedly gained the technical know-how to construct a highly sophisticated bomb with a mercury tilt switch - in 1979.

2. INLA supposedly had the astuteness and the resources to mount surveillance on a senior British politician and to identify and track his car, without making themselves conspicuous.

3. INLA supposedly developed the powers of The Invisible Man, walking into the car park at Westminster, painstakingly attaching the bomb, then walking out again without being seen.



INLA, like the Provos, was already well infiltrated by RUC / MI5.

It was the double agents within INLA who put out the statement claiming responsibility for the Airey Neave killing. The mass media were ordered to repeat it, parrot fashion. (Alistair Burnet in particular looked painfully embarrassed while reading the news that night.)

The general membership of INLA were more astonished than anyone when the media started proclaiming that INLA had killed Airey Neave.

Correct me if I’m wrong about this next bit - it’s a question:
were some prominent members of INLA assassinated in Belfast in the months that followed, and were their killings dismissed as being the result of INLA’s feud with the Provos (or with the remnant of the Officials)? If true, it would have been a good way for MI5 to silence their double agents in INLA, so that the truth about the Airey Neave assassination would never come out.

The other reason why INLA never said “it wasn’t us” was simply that they were competing for prestige with the Provos and INLA were proud to have apparently ‘stolen a march’ on the Provos by being thought of as the more advanced guerrilla army who had the know-how to kill Airey Neave.
As INLA sank into obscurity afterwards, the Provos became highly sophisticated bomb makers in the 1980s.
The Airey Neave affair spurred the Provos into outdoing INLA’s alleged technical know-how.



INLA was a small organisation, more easily infiltrated and managed by double agents than the Provos, and more easily silenced by assassinations of selected INLA members as necessary.



What also points to an MI5 job on Airey Neave is the simple observation that although INLA - supposedly - had developed such highly sophisticated bomb-making techniques, such highly sophisticated surveillance techniques, as well as the powers of The Invisible Man - there were no more ‘spectaculars’ from INLA and they dropped into obscurity after that.



MI5 had already pushed their luck. They now wished to draw a line under it. If they had followed the standard practice of framing innocent Irish people for terrorist offences, the victims might have been able to prove their innocence later, thus reopening the case. MI5 knew they’d pushed their luck, and they wished us all to move on and draw a line under it by leaving the case ‘unsolved.’ So the word went down to chief constables all over England and Northern Ireland that on this occasion they were NOT to follow the standard procedure of framing innocent Irish people.


Many Welshmen of Airey Neave’s generation took a doctrinaire view of what is right and wrong. No compromise, no in-between state. Such men are much needed in a world of *airy fairy* consensus politics, if they don’t go too far.
Margaret Thatcher had that *all-or-nothing polarity* in large measure. Yet, as it turned out, she occasionally pulled back and compromised.

However, if Airey Neave had lived to become her right hand man, the two of them would have potentiated one another. The *whole* would have been greater than *the sum of its parts*. The Conservative government after 1979 would have been a steamroller with those two at its helm.

A political *folie-a-deux* in the making?

The Thatcher government was emasculated and reined in to some extent by the elimination of Airey Neave.


All in all, if we say the official version of the Airey Neave assassination doesn’t add up - that’s the understatement of the century.


author by anonpublication date Wed Feb 05, 2014 00:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Wikipedia page for Airey Neave covers the possible motive quite well and what it says is that it was clear the conservatives were about to win the election and Neave was destined to be head of the intelligence services and according to a reporter that said he had advance information of a plot to kill him, Neave had plenty to completely shake up the intelligence services and root out corruption and that he wouldn't be doing things by half measures and there would be some big names exposed.

If that is the case, then that alone would probably be sufficient motive and the 'services' would definitely have the technical means and access to carry out the assassination.

It was always odd that the INLA apparently achieved such sophisticated capability and then never repeated that capability again.

The Wikipedia page also mentions Enoch Powell's suspicion from the start over the killing and this link http://spookterror.blogspot.ie/2009/10/americans-murder....html covers some of that and the killing of Mountbatten too.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airey_Neave
author by Krummipublication date Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think you're pretty spot on in your research OP , the full has never been told as they say in relation to local and international history. Our small island has been and is a testing ground for some pretty shady practices and the machine refined a lot of techniques here , from mass surveillance to infiltrating resistance movements whether they were paramilitary or non violent. Unfortunately very few people are willing to dig that bit deeper , most people's source of information comes from a very narrow band in a tightly controlled media.

We're at a crisis point in our history and I really feel that the next couple of years will see a lot of buried information coming to the surface and we'll have to see how the public react , but will it be enough to inspire the masses to wake up and stop giving their power away to the machine?. I think that the culmination of environmental change and breakdown of control structures may just bring people together in a common purpose.

From the very foundation of the Fenian movement there has been infiltration and control by sinister elements of the church and establishment in general , even though there were well intentioned people working for the greater good also. This practice of infiltration and subversion isn't something new it goes back to the destruction of the Celtic\Coptic Christian church and while I hate to agree with Ian Paisley 'Rome rule' , it's a dire testament to the power of mass hypnosis that the pews were full while they buggered our children and preached morality and piety from the pulpit.

author by Mike Novackpublication date Thu Feb 06, 2014 15:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Be careful about some of your reasoning (when you say silly things calls into question other things you say)

Unless you have evidence that the mercury tilt switch was custom made for the job and not simply an ordinary "silent switch" as could be had at any hardware store, at least that was true over here.

Silent switch (mercury switch), toggle switch to arm, and level bubble to show safe to arm. All could be had easily enough, not high tech.

And highest ranking British pol ever assassinated. REALLY? I don't live on your side of the pond and I know British/Irish history better than that!

One prime minister was assassinated. OK, even I can't remember his name and I think that was early 19h Century and maybe you were thinking 20th Century. Then how about Lord Moyne? (Walter Guiness, ever drink the stuff). OK, so your boys didn't kill him; ours did.

author by Contrarianpublication date Thu Feb 06, 2014 23:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

While it is possible that the CIA/MI5/6 killed Airey Neave, the evidence for this conspiracy theory is a bit thin to say the least and really amounts to no more than idle speculation. Nothing wrong with idle speculation of course, but that's all it is. I would also be highly sceptical of anything that's largely based on Enoch Powell's paranoia - if the USA really wanted a United Ireland, we'd have had one by now.
By the way, a mercury tilt switch was not exactly the height of sophistication back then. They were common even in the 70's - I remember playing with one during a physics class in about 1975.

author by serfpublication date Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

training for the mossad were we contrarian? :-)

author by Nualapublication date Tue Feb 11, 2014 15:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors



England died on 30 March 1979.

It’s true.

But what does that statement mean?


In USA in the 1960s, when John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assassinated, in fairly swift succession, as they became a perceived threat to the ruling group……. meaning a perceived threat to the existing power relationships between ruling group and ruled…. …….. when that happened in the 1960s the more thoughtful Americans made statements such as the following:




Those Americans thereby had come to understand clearly that their country is not a democracy but is controlled by a shadowy coalition of invisible ruling groups who will murder anyone who is about to introduce radical and fundamental changes to the existing balance of power between ruling group and ruled.


In England we tend to be a bit more reticent about such matters.

The corresponding event in England was the assassination of Airey Neave.

England died that day.

The England some of us thought we were living in - died that day.


As far as I know, there has been a near-total silence in England on the Airey Neave affair all through the years since it happened.

At least there’s been a strange reticence - considering this was the most senior British politician ever to be assassinated.

For those who understood what it was about, that was the day England died, the day some of us, we who love England ....... privately thought the following thoughts to ourselves:




The expression of acute embarrassment on Alistair Burnet’s face as he read the ITN news that night, and the way his voice faltered as he read out the obvious lie that INLA - a bunch of amateurish *corner boys* in Belfast - had murdered Airey Neave….

……. that sad, embarrassing performance by Alistair Burnet on the News at Ten that night was the EPITAPH of the England some of us thought we were living in.


The factions of the invisible ruling group throughout the world keep a close eye on ‘rising stars’ in political parties, and ‘sound them out’ to see if they can be controlled if they get into so-called ‘government.’

This is not about fiery rhetoric. For example, men such as Tony Benn, Arthur Scargill, and even Mick McGahey…. were completely acceptable to the ruling group. The ruling group was very pleased to have these men ranting and raving as the voice of the *armchair revolutionaries* - thus blowing off steam harmlessly and guaranteeing a state of no change.

By contrast, Airey Neave was his own man. No ruling group scripts for him.

He had to go, to keep everything the same as it is.

And Alistair Burnet's embarrassment sounded *the last post* / England’s epitaph ..... that night on the News at Ten - the epitaph of the England some of us thought we were living in.


Just as the murders of John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Mr King were intended as a warning to 'rising stars' in politics, so also English politicians got the message and they stuck to the script after the Airey Neave affair.

It was the day England died, the England some of us thought we were living in.

30 March 1979: The Day England Died.


author by Nualapublication date Fri Feb 14, 2014 15:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sorry, there was an error of non-essential detail there.
Airey Neave was not "the most senior British politician every to be assassinated.

Spencer Perceval was prime minister of UK when assassinated in 1812.

Then even in terms of the 20th century, Henry Wilson, assassinated 1922, was a more prominent politician and soldier than Airey Neave. (Henry Wilson was primarily a soldier but was briefly a Unionist politician.)

OK, sorry, an error of non-essential detail, but not detracting from the essence of the original post.

author by Joe Mcpublication date Sat Feb 15, 2014 15:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nuala thinks that very few people had ever heard of Neave before he was killed , but that isn't at all the case. He was a very well known confidante of Margaret Thatcher .In fact he was her main ideologue and she worshiped him . Any shake up of the security services this extreme right-winger ordered would have involved unleashing their most ruthless elements - especially as far as Ireland was concerned. Nationalist areas of the north celebrated when the announcement of Neave's death came ,they knew very well who he was and what he represented.
Nuala thinks that no innocent Irish person was framed up for the assassination , but that's because as a reprisal the British shot dead the man they thought had arranged the bombing , namely Ronnie Bunting , the then-head of the INLA . English accented "terrorists" -widely believed to have been the SAS - shot Bunting in bed (along with his wife Susanne who survived the attack ) .It was made very clear to the INLA by the British army afterwards why they had done it : i.e. for Maggie .
A youtube link to Thatcher's weeping tribute to her mentor immediately after the bombing :

author by Phil Tafanipublication date Sun Jul 27, 2014 09:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On page 141, footnote 8, of Deadly Divisions by Holland and McDonald, one reads: "Contrary to what has been claimed, Bunting himself took no part in the murder of Neave. But he was one of the few people who knew most of the details of the assassination plot."

On pages 139-140 they place Bunting on the falls road as news of the assassination comes out on the radio.

Furthermore on p138 they assert that the INLA had utilized mercury tilt switches twice before: "...in the wounding of a prison officer in Lisburn in December 1978, and in Portadown on 6 March [1979] when the INLA planted one under the car of Robert McNally, a UDR man."

Of course one should be skeptical of every source, but that goes double for conspiracist claims on the internet.

Related Link: http://books.google.com/books/about/INLA.html?id=QIwXPwAACAAJ
author by Turpinpublication date Sun Nov 23, 2014 08:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is the case that in 1972 Welsh Regional Crime Squad encountered Special Branch warnings to drop inquiry against Leonard Cheshire and Sue Ryder Homes.

(The Sue Ryder charity founding trustees were Neave and Harry Sporborg both later among the group who steered Thatcher to power)

RCS inquiries were into GP death registration practices and suspected identity thefts. In the wake of a release scheme, from german postwar internment run by Airey Neave and official Sue Ryder.

To that extent it appears Neave's activity was protected from proper police inquiry by a national reporting and monitoring exercise run by MI5 through Special Branch liaison. Two people who formed suspicions of a hidden agenda within the charity died and got suicide verdicts. Volunteer Matron Mary McGill at the HQ Care Home in Suffolk and the Welsh RCS Det sgt who defied Special Branch warnings to drop inquiry.

Of course this is now a topical matter as what are the chances MI5/Special Branch with the charity under their wing did not know about Jimmy Savile abuse at the Sue Ryder child hospice in Leeds 1970s ?

The Searchlight factor may be that they take the truth and crab sideways with imagination to discredit the truth by incorporating it into conspiracy theory.

In fact the GLADIO network was the brainchild of Harry Sporborg of SOE in 1944 (Later Neave's co-founding trustee of Sue Ryder charity)

But I have been approached by press and withdrew when I sussed they wanted to claim that I suspected Sue Ryder and Leonard Cheshire charities were assets of the Vatican ratlines. The journo said he had been briefed by "Impeccable intelligence sources". They had given birth to the potential mischief in press.

The other fact re GLADIO is that Nov 22nd 1990 the EU passed a resolution for it to be investigated and dismantled. UK did not comply. If it had complied then press could have reported on the progress and findings of proper inquiry. As opposed to ringing out the Searchlight dishrag.

author by Turpspublication date Sun Nov 23, 2014 23:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

All very interesting technical details and speculation - but is this sort of story relevant at a time of political crisis in Ireland? The opinion polls reveal that mainstream voters are further disenchanted from the political parties and more are inclined to vote for independents and left groups (in some constituencies at any rate). So why drag up the Airey Neave assassination at the present time?

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