The Secret Army (2024) Movie Script

Is there anything unusual about
the IRA and its terrorist movement,
compared to the others
you've covered?
The IRA is different in that
it's the dream of all intellectuals.
It's a working-class movement,
which has advantages in that
the people of no property
are very difficult to corrupt...
..since they tend to find in the
dream, the ideal, great rewards.
The Army are up here in the middle
of Lenadoon Avenue.
They'd come here...
..after an earlier confrontation
down the end.
One of the world's most
feared guerrilla armies.
In 1972, the IRA made
an extraordinary decision... make a documentary.
Connect one end to
the battery terminal.
And the other wire
to the terminal on your timer.
Proclaiming this would be
their year of victory,
forcing the British
out of Northern Ireland,
they allowed the filming of
IRA missions from start to finish.
He's just put a bomb in
the Queen's University Sports Club.
It's set to go off in 20 minutes.
They even put on show the men
secretly running the organisation...
And the cordtex in turn
will detonate the gelignite.
..right up to their
supreme commander.
The men are mainly idealists
because they agree with the aims
and objects and methods of the IRA.
They trusted American academic
J Bowyer Bell to make the film.
What do you think
of what the IRA does?
You try to be as little
judgmental as possible.
I would prefer that
no-one got killed.
If you're going to kill people,
I would have prefer
that you be efficient.
The whole endeavour
made very little sense...
..when they knew intelligence
agencies were trying to spy
on everything they were doing.
The girl in this car will take
the bag containing the bomb
into the building.
These seasoned guerrillas,
who relied so much on secrecy,
went before the cameras
and, you know,
in effect, put their heads
on the block.
Did they really know the
film-makers they'd invited
into their secret world?
My antenna told me he was a wrong
'un the moment I laid eyes on him.
This is the story of how the IRA
were risking their inner secrets...
..for a film, which then strangely
vanished for almost 50 years.
I've spent years investigating
stories about the IRA.
But the making of this film,
The Secret Army, is a mystery.
Its disappearance
is even more peculiar.
My inquiries began five years ago.
It's taken since then to locate
the original film reels.
Now, this says Secret Army,
reel two of the cutting copy.
So this would have been
the next-to-last stage
in the production process.
Look at the rust on that.
But inside...
..this looks OK.
And this is...
..what should be the best
guaranteed quality copy.
This is the entire film.
Look at that, it looks really clean.
The man in the film is Des Long,
but he was more than
an arms instructor.
In one of the most significant
events in modern Irish history,
in these sheds in 1969,
the Provisional Irish
Republican Army was formed.
Des long was there that night.
There were maybe 29 or 30 of us,
we had a long discussion
from about 8.00 till 1.00.
Those present elected an Army
Executive and an Army Council
of seven members.
There was a great cheer went up.
The fighting IRA was established
an IRA that was prepared to
carry on a military struggle.
I was proud that I,
in some small way, contributed
to the Irish Republican Army
back as a fighting unit.
Operating from the Irish Republic,
Des Long helped drive the IRA's war
to end British rule
in Northern Ireland.
Hello. How are you?
How are you?
Ah, ref!
After giving away - they'll score
three points out of this.
I was running training camps
for the IRA and then I went on
to headquarters and I became,
first of all, director of publicity,
and then eventually became
director of finance from then on.
That's the stuff!
Well done, lads!
Can you just tell us about
the job you had in the IRA?
As finance director, what would
the IRA need the money for?
The purchasing of weapons.
They make sure that training camps
and make sure that volunteers
had some finance
for transfers and all that.
Where did most of the money
come from?
We got a lot of it from America.
How much money are you
talking about?
I'm not prepared to comment
on figures.
But you're talking thousands?
Hundreds of thousands.
Lights, cameras, action!
Weapons used by active service units
in the northern conflict
have been secured by IRA organisers
with great ingenuity and daring.
Some were brought into the country
from the United States
and Western Europe, but most
have been acquired in raids
on British military barracks
or clashes with troops
in Belfast and Derry.
I was giving them basics
on weapons, you know?
When they were making it, he
told me to do that and I said,
"I want a mask."
"Oh", he said, "I'll tell you",
he says, "You're going to be shown
from the chest down."
That was a verbal promise from him
and it meant nothing.
Annette, what did you think of Des'
decision to take part in it?
Well, I think he got a promise,
didn't he,
that he wouldn't be shown,
his face wouldn't be shown.
I mean, if you make a promise,
normally you keep it, you know?
I'm pretty sure that Des
was on the run at that time
when that was filmed.
I was, yeah. Were you?
Yeah, yeah.
I was.
What do you think would have
happened if the Irish authorities
I'd say he would have been
locked up for a very long time.
Wouldn't you?
Yeah. Yeah.
Five, six, seven years.
And the fact that you were
in possession of weapons...
The whole thing was just...
Well, it should never
have been made.
I'm sorry to this day
that I ever took part in it.
Londonderry, or Derry,
as most in the city call it.
It's where Bowyer Bell's team
first filmed the IRA in action.
They ran much of this city,
Free Derry.
Here, Catholics who suffered
discrimination by Northern Ireland's
Protestant-controlled government,
barricaded state forces out.
Now, that is Martin McGuinness.
Though only 21 years old,
Martin McGuinness was the dominant
IRA leader in the city.
Later, he would become one
of the most significant figures
of the entire conflict.
But here, it's his front-seat
passenger doing the talking.
Martin McGuinness died in 2017,
but could his passenger
still be alive?
I discovered he is still in Derry.
No, I don't believe it,
I don't believe that.
Tony Devine was one of the
first recruits to the IRA
when the conflict
got under way.
So what time are you thinking,
are yous going up the town?
No, we're not going to bother.
John was saying there was
a great crowd up yesterday.
Oh, Daddy, I was so glad.
It was mental, though.
Aye, but everybody was having a
great time.
They were all enjoying themselves.
I was 17 or 18.
Only just starting
to discover girls.
And then along comes this war.
Go and ask Damon and Ciaran if
they've set up the fireworks thing.
I was forced into it, by the way
we were being treated
as second-class citizens.
We had no work.
And we had the British Army
kicking our doors in.
They took our country
and we wanted it back.
I mean, if you beat somebody
often enough and long enough,
of course, they're going
to bite back.
And that's exactly what we did.
We bit back.
British Fireworks Association.
That's the only time you can
blow something British up
and nobody will complain about it.
Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho!
Heavy-duty stuff there.
There we go.
Here's one I prepared earlier.
That was scary there.
Bloody hell!
They're a danger to work with.
The danger of working with
fireworks, that's the end of that.
Go and get me the rescue cream,
in the drawer. You burn yourself?
It scared me more than anything,
to be honest with you.
Put that on.
There we go.
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.
Thank you.
By reputation, Tony Devine
was a committed IRA man.
Rising up the ranks as they fought
the British Army.
Do you remember that day, Tony?
I do surely, aye.
What actually happened was,
10 or 12 of the Creggan volunteers
had set up an ambush
behind these houses.
They were shooting away
at the helicopter.
Somebody says, "You're wasting
your time firing at helicopters.
"The bullets don't do no good."
And it was then one of the boys
turned round and says,
"Aye, but we're firing
armour-piercing shells."
How did the camera crew behave?
They were up our ass.
No matter where we went,
they were there.
IRA operations launched
from inside Free Derry
were controlled by
Martin McGuinness.
Now as the officer commanding the
Derry part of the IRA Provisional
operation, can you say whether
the bombing is likely to stop
in the near future in response
to any public demand?
Well, we will always take
into consideration, the feelings
of the people of Derry and
these feelings will be passed on
to our GHQ in Dublin, you know?
Me and Martin hit it off.
We were just like two brothers.
That's Martin in the middle there.
I'm at the end.
I suppose at that stage, he was
probably the most sensible one
amongst us, he had
a good head on him.
Were you close to him back then?
Oh, definitely, aye.
My hero, actually,
to be honest with you.
And I says, "All right."
I think Martin actually
asked me to do the talking.
God love them,
they were so innocent.
It still does look a bit strange
that you're showing these children
guns and bullets and stuff.
No, but the kids got used to us.
They got used to the units
that were walking around.
The kids used to follow
the guys everywhere.
It was all part of the thing.
You got used to it
after a while.
No police were allowed
into the area.
Tony Devine outlines how his IRA
unit dealt with those accused
of criminal behaviour.
This is the reality
of Belfast today.
Bombs in the city centre.
So much disruption,
so many explosions.
From time to time, you forget that
it's become part of everyday life.
As Northern Ireland's largest city
reeled from the bombings...
..Bowyer Bell was secretly filming
with the IRA during every stage
of another attack.
He's just put a bomb in
the Queen's University Sports Club.
It's set to go off in 20 minutes.
I've always been taught by nuns
since I started school,
and I'm taught by the
Sisters of Charity now.
This is the red-haired girl
portrayed in the bomb attack.
I do commercial subjects
and languages.
They're always very useful.
I'm a member of an IRA
active service unit
in the Andersonstown area.
As far as the active service unit
is concerned,
there's not much
to be said about them.
Not really, you know.
Besides, it's a great honour
to be in it.
I find that I am more sure of myself
now than I was beforehand.
At least I'm doing something,
even if it's not much.
She's Geraldine Hughes.
She was 17 when ordered
to take part in the film.
# There is a red-haired girl
# More sweet than you
could find... #
A song, The Red Haired Girl,
complements her
freedom fighter image.
# my mind
# I take her to the mountains... #
She died in 2006.
# I spread the world
before her...#
But who composed the soundtrack
to her life in the IRA?
# I sit beside the stream... #
Finding the people who made
this film, more than 50 years ago,
is a struggle.
Most have died.
The man I'm looking for
is 88 years old,
now living on the edge of
Arizona's Sonoran Desert.
SAT NAV: After 200 yards,
turn right.
Then you have reached
your destination.
Hello, how are you? I'm good.
I'm Darragh.
Mr Jacob is waiting for you.
Oh, fantastic.
Well, how are you?
Good, how are you?
Great to see you.
You got my piano out.
Let me see if I can play.
Take your time.
There you go.
I'm a little rusty on my playing.
Oh, boy!
I'm rusty. What can I say?
You so have not lost the touch.
Oh! That's...
You should have heard me
when I was really playing.
Oh, that was brilliant,
Well, thank you.
I was the composer of the music
for the film, Secret Army.
And Bo Bell is the fellow
who made the film.
This is J Bowyer Bell.
Dr Bell.
He asked me if I would go to Ireland
and record the music there,
and I said, "Absolutely."
It sounded like a fabulous
project, to me.
Bo had brought me up-to-date
on what the situation was
and the terrible injustice
that was being done by the British
to the Irish people.
The first body I saw was that of
a youth being carried out by other
civilians, with a priest in the
waving a bloodied handkerchief
as a white flag.
Worldwide attention followed
the killing of 14
unarmed civilians -
Bloody Sunday,
which defined for many,
Britain's attitude to Ireland.
I think the purpose of doing
the film was trying to show
the legitimate cause of the IRA.
And the...
..non-legitimate ownership
by the British of Ireland.
But if somebody had been killed,
how would you have felt?
Terrible about their being killed
but I still thought the cause,
the cause of the fighting was just.
I was in sympathy with the IRA.
I've an opportunity to learn more
about Bowyer Bell's work in Ireland,
from his family.
So, up this hallway,
you'll find books on Ireland.
Pretty much all these books.
His first book was on
the Civil War in Spain.
So he does have some of that.
But the vast majority is on Ireland.
We get back to his studio...
..where we have
hundreds upon hundreds of paintings.
He would just love to paint.
This was my dad taken
not long before he died,
I think probably
in the late '90s.
He is looking right at us,
isn't he? Right.
It's quite an inscrutable look.
We found these going
through his papers.
They seem to have been
taken at the time
that The Secret Army
was being filmed.
What do you remember about the film,
The Secret Army?
I remember us all being very
"Daddy's going to do a movie!"
you know?
But then we were all waiting for it
to be on TV and it never was.
It was a big disappointment.
He actually had access
to these people.
It took him a long time,
but he got them to trust him.
And I think that was exceptional,
that he was able to get people
whose business it was
to not be known,
to talk to him in person.
And he would go on these meetings.
You know, he had to sort of
learn how to be secretive.
And I'm sure, you know, he was sure
people were following him.
Bowyer Bell used
counter-surveillance tactics
from the moment he collected
Jacob Stern at Dublin Airport.
Bo had said to me, "If you
look out the back window,
"you'll see that tan-ish automobile
behind us
"and it's Irish Special Branch."
And behind that car,
there was another automobile.
And Bo said, "That's British MI6."
And I said, "Oh."
And we pulled up in front
of the sandwich shop,
and I thought we were going
to go in and get a sandwich.
But no, no.
We walked in the front door
and straight through the shop,
out the back door, and there was
a car waiting for us there.
And we got in it and drove out
a different street.
So this is somewhere
in the backstreets of Derry.
And a man on the left,
a tall man with that slight stoop,
is the unmistakable figure
of Martin McGuinness.
I think it was Bo himself said,
we're going to show you something
that's never been seen before,
the first filming of a car bomb
that the IRA is going to set of.
They'd stolen a car
from a carpet salesman.
The IRA put together a bomb and put
them under the samples of a carpet,
so you couldn't even
tell anything was there.
Not all bombs go off
as they're supposed to.
So I was in a heightened state
of alert and worry.
Is this where that bomb
would have been prepared?
This is where they moved the carpet.
Around here.
Around here? Aye, aye.
I was standing back,
watching it happening.
There was a unit that was preparing
an explosive device to be taken
out into the city centre.
It would have been a five-minute
run, if all went well.
The unit would have,
they would have come up here.
They could have been stopped
at any stage?
They could have been stopped
at any stage.
Once they got into the car,
they were committed.
And this is where, the bomb
was just down here on the right?
It was exactly there where that,
see that trading place there?
Just here? Aye.
Could I tell you
how long it took us to get here?
It took us four minutes
to get here. There you are, aye.
I saw people walking in
from the other end of the block
and I was very worried about
whether they're going to get
injured or killed.
But we were well back behind the IRA
at the top of the block.
Did you see the bomb go off?
Yes, I did.
It was a hell of an explosion.
The unit made phone calls,
they phoned the newspapers,
they phoned the radio stations.
And there was a good amount of time
allowed for civilians to get out,
get out of the way.
An Irish TV news crew at
the other end of the street
captured the same bomb.
There were people hurt
and injured that day.
26 people, at least
26 people were injured.
The unit didn't set out to do that.
And to this day, I can't
understand why,
because there was plenty
of warning given.
But still, people would get injured
because that's the way of things
with bombs, you can't
control everything.
I mean, we know that.
I know that.
All you can do is try
and do your best.
Do you understand that, you know,
the bombing of a city,
to know of it in advance,
and not to attempt to stop it
or not to attempt to alert
the police to it,
that was a criminal offence.
I didn't know that.
You know, I couldn't possibly
have alerted anybody
without blowing the whole thing.
And we were never given that much
advanced knowledge of something.
The bomb filmed by Bowyer Bell
was part of a two-day blitz
that left eight people dead.
The British Government
chose this moment to close down
Northern Ireland's parliament.
All of us have been horrified
by the violence in Northern Ireland
and by the suffering it has caused.
The Government here in London
is therefore obliged to take over
for the time being, full
responsibility for the conduct
of affairs in Northern Ireland.
The IRA had broken what
they saw as Protestant rule.
Ending British rule was
their main objective,
and that's what they wanted
the film to capture.
Bowyer Bell knew the IRA
leadership personally.
He'd spent four years researching
a book on the organisation.
Few knew the IRA better.
Were you ever involved
in the planning of an IRA bombing?
I've known about them before they
happened, but not in the sense that,
well, he knows about it and is
walking around and innocent people
are going to get killed.
I've known a situation where
I couldn't have done anything
if I had been of a mind to do so.
But, you know, I'm all right.
Bowyer Bell first published his
book, also called The Secret Army,
in 1970.
Geraniums are great.
They don't need much water.
That same year, Tim Pat Coogan
also wrote a book on the IRA.
But the IRA only cooperated
with Bowyer Bell.
I wasn't going to let that stop me.
I went to other sources.
I got police records.
After all, remember, I was an
active journalist.
I had my methods.
And some American
academic wandering
into Ireland wasn't going to stop me
writing my book.
Is it a good book?
I think so.
I mean, if you if you want to know
about the IRA in Ireland and, erm,
you were handed Bowyer Bell's book,
you know, you'd learn something.
You'd have to say that he did a fair
job on it.
I wouldn't have approached it,
obviously, the way he did.
But then, we're two different
It bolstered his reputation
within the IRA to the extent
that he got permission to do
this extraordinary feat
of photographing what was meant
to be underground guerillas.
You wouldn't know what
Bowyer Bell told them.
Did they think there was going
to be a Hollywood bonanza
from this film? That money would
flow into the coffers?
MUFFLED AUDIO: You know who your
target is.
You know what to do.
The IRA did make clear
what they expected to get
from the film.
They wanted a more favourable
opinion in America
of what they were doing
and how they were doing it.
And maybe they could raise
more money that way.
That's propaganda.
Oh, I think so.
That's what they w...
I think that's what they would
have liked best of all.
Straight propaganda.
But you're not a propagandist?
No. I do music!
Do they trust you?
To a degree.
I've been there so long
and I've written the book on the IRA
that they have to look up
if they have any questions,
that it's sort of too late
to keep anything much from me.
As far as our fringe area
is concerned...
IRA trust in Bowyer Bell only
went so far.
They insisted on controlling
the film's content.
They said, "We will see the finished
"And when it's...when we've
approved it..."
the whole film would be mixed,
so it couldn't be changed again.
I've independently confirmed that
Bowyer Bell
conceded control to the IRA.
He must have known his film's
integrity was shattered...
Tonight's class... on engineering...
..resulting in scenes like this.
If you give the volunteer a basic
knowledge of engineering...
Paddy Ryan was one of the seven top
commanders on the IRA's ruling
Army Council.
To prevent any attempt to re-edit
the film
after it was finished, the IRA
threatened the production team.
They said if any separate parts
of the film
were attempted to be taken
separately to America,
that we would be all shot
at the airport.
"We're going to kill you."
But the IRA's attempt to control
the making of this film failed.
Bowyer Bell's film reels needed
developing before editing.
There were no colour laboratories
in Ireland.
Instead, these canisters reveal
he chose a London facility.
10 School Road, London, NW10.
That decision put the IRA's
security at risk.
The address on the cannisters
back up an astonishing account
the film's executive producer
outlined to me five years ago.
He said Bowyer Bell
and the film's Director
told him British intelligence
had intervened in London.
Mr Gildin?
Lovely to meet you.
Thank you. My pleasure. Right.
Both men told
you that the intelligence services
of the United Kingdom viewed...?
The material. Yes.
Both of them said to you that the
British intelligence services saw
this footage after it was developed?
Yes, absolutely.
Did they give any explanation
or did they give any indication
about how they felt about the fact
that British intelligence was seeing
all their footage?
I have to assume that the producers
of the film had no alternative...
..but to turn the material
over to British intelligence,
if British intelligence said,
"We want to see it."
I don't think that it was a betrayal
of any confidence
or anything like that.
I just think had they developed
it in Dublin...
..erm, perhaps no-one would have
seen it.
By virtue of it being developed
in London...
..that's where British intelligence
got their hooks into it.
Leon Gildin's revelation
is incredible.
British intelligence in London
would have been able to watch every
scene, including footage the IRA
would have cut from the final film.
The timing of the making of the film
has even more significance
because it coincided with secret
contacts the IRA
were having with their
British enemy.
It should convince them that
they haven't beaten the IRA,
that they're not going to beat
the IRA, that the only way to
establish peace in Ireland is to
sit down and talk to the leadership
of the IRA.
Those secret contacts led to a
ceasefire and footage from
The Secret Army was central to its
announcement in America.
Walter Cronkite's
CBS News was supplied film
clips by Bowyer Bell.
We have an unusual picture report
of the kind of thing the IRA
was doing before today's
The film of this secret bombing
operation was shot by an independent
television crew and is narrated
by CBS News
correspondent John Laurence.
This is what happens on an actual
bombing operation.
The scene is Londonderry,
inside the isolated Catholic enclave
known as the Bogside.
The team of IRA men work openly,
for Army patrols stay
out of the area.
And this is what happens
when a bomb goes off.
Terrified people, unaware
that a bomb has been planted,
run for cover.
After tens of millions of Americans
saw this, the IRA may have believed
they were on the verge of a major
propaganda coup.
While their bombings appeared
to have persuaded
the British to negotiate.
IRA leaders were flown to London
by the British Government for
face-to-face talks.
As I was told, the British
would have already seen four of them
in the intercepted footage.
A security breach of this magnitude
makes me wonder if the film-makers
ever told the IRA all the footage
had been sent to London.
And if they didn't, why not?
It's becoming clear that Bowyer Bell
could be more than just an author.
That's it.
BBC, that's why. Press from the BBC.
This is BBC? Yeah. Oh, OK.
Harvard University is where
he once worked.
I discovered they've retained some
of his personal correspondence.
And I think we have some
specifically from the folder
on Jack...
Bowyer Bell, that's correct, yeah.
Bowyer Bell, OK.
Here's something.
This is his CV from 1991.
A consulting firm focused
on problems of conflict set
up and ran from 1976 that was
advising on terrorism, conflict
generally, for private
and government clients.
This is interesting.
1974, a consultant to the Department
of State, Department of Energy,
the CIA, the Department
of Justice, Department
of Defense, and others.
This guy is seriously connected.
His security clearances,
in brackets, lapsed,
for the Department of Energy, the
CIA, and the Department of Defense.
I mean, that tells you this guy
is clearly tied in and trusted
by the CIA.
Why would he have been advising
the CIA on terrorism,
with top security clearance?
A lifelong friend of Bowyer Bell
knows more.
Be careful now.
Roberto Mitrotti has kept some
of Bowyer Bell's original artwork...
OK. All right, I'm going to hand
them over to you.
..painted while he was associated
with the CIA.
Yeah, this painting is really
about the core of his work.
His expertise was terror,
was irregular warfare.
Part of him was pretty...
..pretty shitty.
I mean, some of the work he did
was pretty shitty, if he advised
the Department of Defense.
What do those guys...? What do those
guys want, you know?
They want to - the CIA - they want
to create, you know,
they want to eliminate.
How many tanks
do we need to eliminate?
How many things...? How many people
do we have to get out of the way?
How many bombs?
So this is what Bo did.
But let me show you a picture
of Bo in front of his art,
which, there are very few.
And I think this is the only one
I managed to ever
get my hands on. Here, look.
Oh, wow.
In front of a big painting.
This is the catalogue of
the exhibition in 2007.
Here we have Agency Arena.
This was, this was brilliant, too.
This says, look, you can be as
covert as you want, but I know
where you are.
I know where to find you.
I can see your... I can see your
finger everywhere, you know?
Was he CIA, do you think?
You've known him for 40 years.
I think he was...
He was too smart to be a servant
of an American agency.
So he might have taken money
from them at some point, to provide
certain services, provided
the services were in the abstract.
But he would never, knowing him,
I don't think he would betray,
he would sell people,
human beings, in the service
of the CIA idea.
Was he kind of walking,
always walking,
some sort of fine line? Yes.
How would you describe it?
He loved it.
He was really talking
like a CIA agent.
He was talking the talk
and he lived it,
and he was good at it.
He was a character in his own movie.
Taking money from the CIA
for services in the abstract.
Was Bowyer Bell more than
just an adviser?
As I look at who his main
collaborator on this film was,
the mystery deepens.
Bowyer Bell's choice of director
is startling.
The first thought come into my head,
you know, was that I was caught,
that they'd caught me.
I mean, I wasn't scared of
being shot, or anything.
I really wasn't.
This IRA member, Rita O'Hare, is
being interviewed by the director,
Zwy Aldouby, an Israeli
writer and journalist.
His own back story
could be from a spy novel.
He was involved in a plot
to kidnap a notorious Nazi.
The CIA were actually gathering
intelligence on Zwy Aldouby.
And here they identify
who he was connected to.
This is a declassified CIA document.
Spooling through here, we find
a source telling the CIA that
"Aldouby was part of a team
based in Vienna...
"..hunting Nazi war criminals,
and working under the guidance
"of Israeli intelligence."
What's baffling is that Zwy Aldouby
doesn't appear to have any
experience in film-making,
yet he's inside the IRA
as the director
of this extraordinary film.
I find myself wishing that I really
knew more about my own father.
He's really,
I'm tempted to say, like
Austin Powers:
International Man of mystery.
Who was Zwy Aldouby?
What do you think, Corey?
As far as me saying how my father
died, like, penniless and stuff -
is that something we want
them to air?
No. I think let it be told.
Just the true story.
Well, you heard from the boss there.
I did.
My father was born in Romania.
He escaped the Nazis.
However, the Nazis did manage
to kill most of his family.
He had an uncle who had
a connection that managed
to get him into Israel.
And I think because he saw
the terrors
that the Nazis inflicted
on his family, it caused him to
really be patriotic for Israel.
He became involved in the Haganah.
The Haganah was the beginning
of the military force of Israel
and ended up in the Mossad.
Do you think it's possible
that your dad was part of some
conspiracy involving intelligence
agencies to infiltrate the IRA?
I would say there would be a strong
possibility because there is
a connection of the IRA and Israel,
and that connection
would be Gaddafi.
At that point, Gaddafi was selling
or giving arms to terrorists
that were attacking Israel,
and Gaddafi was also giving arms
to the IRA.
And Israel at this point was
in a very precarious state.
So... father, if he worked with
or collaborated, or worked with
the Mossad or Israeli intelligence,
it would be a clear fit.
Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi
was viewed by Western intelligence
agencies as a major
international terrorist.
Zwy Aldouby was actually working
inside the IRA when Gaddafi first
declared his support for them.
Five months later, one of those
appearing in Bowyer Bell's film
oversaw the first consignment
of Gaddafi's weapons.
We organised a plane to fly
to Libya to collect them.
Well, we got 490 RPG warheads,
which is rocket-propelled grenade,
and 25 launchers.
A training camp was arranged.
Two of the volunteers were given
instructions to fire the rocket.
And they fired it from over there.
And as you can see here,
there's a hole here in this wall
about an inch-and-a-half
in diameter.
And that's where the first rocket
hit the wall and penetrated it.
It could penetrate armour and that
was what it was designed for.
And when it would penetrate
the armour, it would explode
inside the vehicle, killing those
and injuring those inside.
The attack came without any warning
at 9.35, and it was a lucky fluke
shot which killed Constable Keys.
The Government said he died
when the police station was hit
by an anti-tank rocket.
His was one of at least ten police
stations and Army posts that came
under such rocket attacks.
Constable Robert Keys, a father
of six, was killed by a rocket
from this first of many deadly
arms shipments by Gaddafi.
Mossad deny that Zwy Aldouby
was in their organisation.
A former CIA deputy director
who was monitoring Gaddafi
from the 1970s, knows how Israel
gets its intelligence.
Is it possible that Aldouby
was spying on the IRA
when he was filming them,
and feeding information back
to his former comrades?
Almost a certainty.
Mossad, they have long ties
and connections.
They maintain those.
I don't think many of them
have left totally.
They're still involved,
supporting Israel.
So, Zwy Aldouby could have
been spying for Israel.
And because of Gaddafi,
the CIA also kept watch on Ireland.
We were very interested in Gaddafi
anyway, in terms of funding
or collecting arms,
or just general support,
cos you had this interesting
phenomena that the IRA...
..tended to look to him as a
supporter and an ally.
Would you have had an officer
or officers based in Ireland
at this time?
We had a chief of station
in Ireland.
Would you have had that
as far back as 1972?
Oh, yeah.
Despite all the shadowy intelligence
undercurrents around this film,
it did arrive in America,
where a sales campaign began.
I like to go to church, go to Mass.
It's a unifying factor.
As well as IRA attacks,
TV executives saw a pious
IRA leadership.
When I come home, I try to spend
some time with the children.
Six is a good number by
what are called modern standards.
A US broadcast seemed imminent...
..until what happened next.
The IRA's talks with the British
about a peace deal, collapsed.
The IRA response -
more than 20 bombs in Belfast
one Friday afternoon.
Nine people were killed,
many dozens injured.
The scale of death and injury
was a public relations disaster
for the IRA.
But they were in Bowyer Bell's film,
rationalising the risk to civilians.
Well, the simple fact is that a
young lad,
before he sets out to plant a bomb,
he takes every precaution possible
to ensure that there will be no
civilian casualties resulting
from that bomb.
One cannot be completely satisfied
that the element of responsibility
is totally removed.
But yet, one bears in mind
that eventually that the innocent
civilians pay a price,
that that price is not in vain,
that from that sacrifice a better
form of society will evolve.
The rising toll on civilians
was undermining the film's portrayal
of the IRA.
Can you clear back, please?!
Made worse by the fact that the only
death featured in the entire film
is that of an IRA man
killed by the British.
The selling of the film
was now in jeopardy.
We had a neighbour who was one of
the chiefs in control of CBS News.
I took it to his house
and handed it to him.
He gave it back to me and said,
"It's too romantic."
"It's too..."
You know, "It doesn't seem real."
And... know, I was, I was upset about
Because by this time I was
emotionally involved
in the success of it.
# And soothe her every care... #
It was my job to go out
and try and sell it.
And I went to a new company
that had just been formed... the name of Viacom.
And I showed it to them
and they loved it.
And they immediately offered me
a contract for worldwide rights.
I don't remember if they paid
anything or not.
They prepared a lovely
four-page brochure.
Oh, wow.
I don't know if you've ever
seen that.
I've certainly never seen that.
Well, that's from Derry
the day the bomb went off.
And there's footage from it.
We thought it was a pretty
good documentary.
But what happened after that,
I suppose we can discuss here today.
Viacom took it for worldwide rights
and never sold a copy.
The commercial failure left
Bowyer Bell and Aldouby in debt.
Both had borrowed money to make it.
Later, Bowyer Bell confided
the reason no American broadcaster
bought it was British intelligence.
What did he say to you happened?
The British Government was
too afraid of the repercussions
that the film could have with the
Irish community in the US,
which was a very powerful,
wealthy community.
So they, the British Government,
the Foreign Office, decided to clamp
down on it and put pressure on
the US Government to stop the film.
Whatever the reason for
its rejection,
the film then seems to vanish.
Despite some private screenings,
it didn't emerge into public view
until almost 50 years later.
The bombsite itself, Free Derry
to those who have maintained it
as one of the most notorious
of Northern Ireland's no-go areas,
has been ringing from the sound
of pneumatic drills today as Army
engineers tackle the toughest
of the barricades.
The IRA's attempt to make
the ultimate propaganda film failed.
Their hopes of ending British rule
in Northern Ireland
in 1972, also vanished.
It's clear that the Army intends to
stay and to stay in force.
They've taken over more buildings
and set to to turn them
into fortified strong points.
More than 25,000 British
troops seized back control
of IRA strongholds.
Their no-go areas were now gone,
I want you to get the feel
of that weapon as well.
This is an ideal weapon
for assault groups
in close-up fighting and it's a good
weapon for street fighting.
In 1986, Des Long's life
also changed.
Younger IRA leaders wanted much
more emphasis on politics
and forced him from the top
of the IRA and out of the movement.
Sources in Northern Ireland
are taking seriously a claim
earlier this month from a group
calling itself the Continuity
Council of the IRA that they carried
out the bombing at the
Killyhevlin Hotel in Enniskillen.
In 2001, Des Long was charged
with membership of the IRA breakaway
group behind this bombing.
MUSIC: Symphony No. 6,
Second Movement, by Beethoven
This one is called The Brook.
Second movement.
My phone is tapped.
And find that Special Branch
are passing your house
on a regular basis.
It's all constant watching
and watching.
I can't go to England.
I know that if I went to England,
I would be stopped and arrested.
I'm banned out of America.
I consider that a badge of honour,
I'll be honest with you.
I am not in great health.
I'm 82 years of age.
But I would support anybody
who is prepared
to resist British occupation
of my country.
Full stop? Full stop.
No qualms about it.
You know, a lot of people would
say you're a bit of a dinosaur.
A lot of people say lots of things.
Having organised IRA shootings
of alleged criminals in Free Derry,
in 1984, it was Tony Devine
facing IRA justice.
Accused of breaching discipline,
his own life was at stake.
And what they did was they asked
for the death penalty.
You know, and I couldn't believe it.
He escaped a death sentence,
but was dismissed from the IRA
and ordered to appear
for punishment.
This is where my life changed
This is where the, the deed took
The guy said to me, "You know,
you're getting shot in both legs."
I went, "All right, then."
And he said... Both legs?
Aye, he says,
"I was told to break bone."
I went, "All right."
So he shot me in the ball of leg.
The ball, what do you mean
by the ball?
The ball of me leg,
the calf of me leg.
And then he shot me in me left leg
and he broke it.
In The Secret Army,
you talk about how people
get shot in the legs.
There's an irony that... Aye,
what goes around, comes around.
Aye, that's true.
Well, I mean, you have to
take it all, like.
You can't say to somebody,
"It's not right for you to do it,"
and then I go and do it, you know.
Everything was aboveboard.
You know, if you stepped
out of line in any way at all,
you were punished for it.
Tony Devine and his IRA commander
never spoke to each other again.
Martin McGuinness eventually
led the IRA to peace.
Decades later, as a leader of
a new Northern Ireland government...
..he was meeting Queen Elizabeth.
Good evening.
Hello, how are you? Are you well?
Thank you very much.
Well, I'm still alive, aren't I?
Nice to see you again.
Well, you're quite busy.
Yeah. There's been quite
a lot going on.
I'm really sorry I let Martin down.
Martin McGuinness
was a brilliant guy.
He really was.
Sorry about that.
The IRA must have calculated
the publicity from this film
was worth exposing its members,
like Des Long and Tony Devine.
But did they fully consider
how hidden enemies might exploit it?
As the years went by,
I would say that at all times
I had some suspicion of Bowyer Bell,
and as the years passed,
and I learned more
about how the CIA operated
or how intelligence
services work,
I got...I was more and more
suspicious of him.
In fact,
I wasn't in any doubt
that he was a CIA agent.
Straightforward duplicity.
He was fooling the IRA
and he was acting as a spy.
My immediate reaction is
absolutely not.
Bo would not betray anyone.
What sort of a man was he,
as far as you're concerned?
Extremely, extremely brilliant.
Bowyer Bell knew he was suspected
of spying.
Years after the film,
he acquired Irish citizenship,
and would dismiss allegations
of betrayal as fantasy.
He did work for the CIA,
didn't he?
Yeah, well, I mean,
it's on his resume,
because that was one of the ways
he made money.
This was after,
this was after the film.
He came home basically
as an academic
without being a professor.
The only thing you can do
is consult, write books.
One way to make money was to run
a war game
for the Defense Department
or consult with the CIA about
terrorist mindsets or whatever,
or go to a conference and give
a speech on the subject,
or be a talking head on TV.
Like all revolutionary
they tend
to be incompetent.
Secrecy and underground
movements always are,
and they kill a lot
of people by mistake,
which doesn't make it any nicer.
In fact, it may make it worse.
He wrote proposals to
the CIA saying, you know,
"I can teach a course in your
class about, you know, terrorism."
He was open about it.
But that's a completely different
thing from being a spy.
And he was never that, you know.
I mean, he probably wouldn't
have told me if he was,
but I just can't even imagine it.
For one thing, he was not
spy material, you know!
I've contacted
the intelligence agencies.
None admit involvement in the film.
ON RADIO: The bomb wrecked
Queen's University Sports Club
in Upper Malone Road.
I'm certain Becky Waring is telling
the truth as she knows it.
And according to Bowyer Bell's
own resume,
there was a two-year gap
between filming with the IRA
and when he began working
with the CIA.
But that may not be true.
"CIA, Justice and Defense."
My God.
The paperwork here
confirms what I thought.
I see that Bowyer Bell was very much
tied up with the CIA.
He had security clearance.
There's no doubt about it,
he was definitely up to his eyes
with it.
No, I never thought he was an agent
of the CIA,
but I thought he certainly
was giving information to the CIA.
And this would confirm it.
They would be gathering
"What about so-and-so?
What about so-and-so?
"Did you meet so-and-so?"
That's not just listening to him,
they were gathering intelligence.
I'd love to see their file.
I'd say it wouldn't fit
in this room.
Top Secret. Department of Defense.
And Top Secret again.
I mean, there's no way...
He must have been.
He was working for the CIA,
I believe,
without a shadow
of a doubt.
Knowing what I know now,
you know,
never in a million years should
they have been allowed
to film what they filmed.
You know, reading this here,
you know, we were idiots.
No, but that's in hindsight.
You know, and I'm just wondering
what people...
Mossad? Come on, like.
A bunch of teenagers
in the Bogside.
Mossad, the CIA, MI5.
That's all James Bond kind of stuff,
you know.
It's impossible to be definitive
about the making of this film.
Evidence of intelligence agencies'
involvement in it,
unbeknownst to the IRA,
is compelling.
Bowyer Bell may have been more than
a consultant to the CIA.
But it's also possible he too
was manipulated,
along with everyone else,
by the spy masters.
Technically, I am an academic.
I associate with gunmen.
No-one is sure whether I am
smuggling arms,
representing the IRA,
or what I say I am,
which is an author.