The PSNI stands accused of exaggerating the significance of an object found in County Armagh for its own purposes.
Images of what the PSNI said was a dangerous device outside Camlough appear to show little more than a beer keg with a pair of jump-start cables attached to it. Nevertheless, the find prompted a three-day invasion of the area by the PSNI and British Army, amid warnings that the device could have caused “serious harm”.
A similar object was later located close to Lough Neagh at Maghery. An area around Camlough lake was sealed off while a bomb squad settled in to ‘defuse’ the devices.
The DUP chimed in with claims the devices had “obviously been designed to injure or kill” and were a “very real threat to public safety.”
Sinn Féin’s Declan Murphy dismissed the claims and said he had been privately told by the PSNI that the device in Camlough “did not contain explosives”.
“Local residents and I are extremely concerned as to how this incident was reported to the public by some elements within the PSNI,” he said.
“From the outset, terms such as ‘viable device’ were being fed to the media despite the fact that the object wasn’t examined for over 24 hours.
“After it has been examined and cleared, my colleague Oonagh Magennis and I were told by the PSNI that the device did not contain any explosives, nor did it have a detonator.
“It is very clear that this is a hoax and could not ‘cause serious harm’ to either people or property.”
And he claimed: “This feeds into the security agenda and the well-worn practice of demonising our area and our communities.”
Concern over a return to a psy-ops agenda by the Crown Forces comes after MI5 provocateurs were accused of attempting to escalate tensions between republicans and loyalists in Belfast.
Phoenix magazine reported that British military intelligence were seeking to direct loyalist anger towards nationalist targets, specifically by issuing fake threats in the name of republicans.
The magazine warned of a classic “strategy of tension” which it said was aimed at effecting the removal of the Brexit protocol on Ireland.
It cited a recent case of the PSNI passing along ‘information’ about a non-existent republican threat to a west Belfast loyalist –– who then happened to be shot in an internal loyalist feud, leading some loyalists to wrongly blame republicans.