Maurice Tugwell

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Maurice Tugwell (24 June 1925 - 10 October 2010) was a career officer in the Parachute Regiment who served in the 1939-45 war and in a succession of colonial counterinsurgency operations. Tugwell served most notably in Ireland where he headed the black propaganda Information Policy unit (1971-73 (March)) which operated covertly inside British Army HQ in Lisburn in Northern Ireland. After leaving Ireland in March 1973, Tugwell 'transferred to Iran as an instructor at the Imperial Armed Forces College', during the reign of the Shah. 'He was awarded the CBE the same year. In 1975 he went to Nottingham, and in 1976 he took up a defence fellowship at King's College, London'.[1][2] His Phd focused on revolutionary propaganda at King's College in London, following which he moved to Canada and became involved with right wing think tanks including the Centre for Conflict Studies (1980-86) and the Mackenzie Institute (1986-91).

Military career

According to his former colleague John Thompson (at the MacKenzie Institute), Tugwell's military career stretched from the 1939-45 war to Iran in the 1970s:

As a young Parachute Regiment officer he had jumped across the Rhine into Germany in the last great offensive of the War, then he had been in Palestine (in 1946-47), Malaysia fighting the Communist terrorists, sundry places in the Middle East, in Cyprus, in Ulster in the early 1970s and was attached by the British government to the Iranian military after that.[3]

According to an author note on the website, Tugwell 'was with the British 6th Airborne Division in Palestine 1945-48, and during his subsequent military career he returned to Israel on attachment to the Israel Defence Force parachute brigade.'[4]


Information Policy

Information organisations in January 1972

As Aly Renwick puts it:

In Malaya, Kenya, Cyprus and Aden inquisitive journalists had been kept away from the action, but this was not always possible now. In Northern Ireland, reporters appeared to be everywhere, and the army quickly realised that an ‘information policy’ was required. The writer Liz Curtis, in her book Ireland - The Propaganda War, detailed the build up of Army public relations in Northern Ireland:
In September 1971, soon after the start of internment, the army reorganised its information service in the North, setting up an ‘Information Policy’ department. This was initially headed by paratroop Colonel Maurice Tugwell, whose title was Colonel General Staff (Information Policy). Tugwell had previously been an intelligence officer in Palestine, and had also served in Malaya, Cyprus, Arabia and Kenya.
... Tugwell’s job as ‘Information Policy’ chief was, ... described [as] ... ‘not merely to react to the media - or to events - but to take a positive initiative in presenting the news to the best advantage for the security forces’.
... The army began training officers in how to be interviewed on television, and by the end of 1971 more than 200 officers had been through courses at the Army School of Instructional Technology at Beaconsfield. Here they were taught basic lore, such as always to look at the interviewer to give the impression of sincerity, and told how to answer ‘typical’ TV questions.[31][5]

In November 1971, Tugwell produced an appraisal of IRA propaganda that effectively labelled most nationalist spokespeople of the time as fronts for the organisation:

IRA Propaganda Organisation
7. IRA propaganda has its base in Dublin where both factions run their own information centres, both with the title "Irish Republican Publicity Bureau." Each has a full time staff and has subordinate directors in Belfast, Londonderry and elsewhere. The campaign is pushed by numerous front organisations and by Republican sympathisers who, having themselves been taken in by the propaganda, are willing to spread the word. These organisations include:
a. The Association for Legal Justice (which has been the principal agency for co-ordinating the campaign alleging brutality during internment and interrogation).
b. Republican Clubs (which have always been fronts for the Sinn Fein political party and which now help to disseminate the propaganda of whichever faction they have chosen to support).
c. The Belfast Central Citizens Defence Committee (once given a cloak of respectability as representative of the Catholic population of the city, but now heavily involved in promoting IRA interests).
d. The Irish News (a newspaper that has long represented Republican opinion in Ulster and is now an organ for printing IRA propaganda).
e. Catholic Ex-Servicemans Association (is becoming increasingly involved with the IRA as a front organisation).
f. NICRA (Directed by Kevin McCorry)
g. Various Relief and Action Committees in Catholic Areas.
h. Minority Rights Association.
j. Various regional Citizens Defence Committees working to the CCDC.
k. SDLP.
l. PD and other "New Left" organisations.
m. Vigilante or street committees, who organise allegations and fake damage, etc.
n. University groups and teachers.
o. RTE and newspapers in the Republic to varying degrees, with the Irish Press particularly active.
p. Committee for Truth (Fr Denis Faul - brutality allegations vehicle).
q. Association of Irish Priests (Ulster Branch) (Secretary Terrance O'Keefe, Coleraine University)).
r. A number of RC priests, but Frs Brady, Faul and Egan are prominent.[6]

In a 2009 article on this document, Irish News editor Noel Doran dismissed Tugwell's analysis as 'ludicrous':

“While at one level the comments from the British army source are amusing, it still has to be alarming that such ludicrous attitudes could be found at a senior level in the security establishment of the period,” Mr Doran said.
“This was a time when The Irish News was holding the line for constitutional politics in very dangerous circumstances and being castigated by republican and loyalist extremists as a result.[7]

Under cross examination at the bloody sunday inquiry Tugwell denied that he had been engaged in black operations but confirmed that such operations were never ruled out:

"black operations is an option. PsyOps... is an option, and those options just are not willed away because I was not interested in pursuing them. They were in their scabbards and stayed there, to the best of my knowledge." [8]

In a note written by Tugwell in 1972, regarding Information Policy, Tugwell commented that:

"Personal contacts will become increasingly important. We need to produce pamphlets and booklets and at brigade and unit level there is scope for letters, posters, leaflets and newsletters. 'Black' activities are unlikely to benefit us, except in rare, carefully controlled instances."


In response to questioning Tugwell denied that such instances ever arose.

Under cross-examination at the Saville Inquiry Tugwell described the IP's use of unattributable briefings:

"the unattributable briefing does allow a good briefer to inject ideas into journalists. In fact to give them a sort of lead so they go off and find the story for themselves."


'Bloody sunday' propagandist

On Monday, former British Army intelligence officer Maurice Tugwell, formerly a Colonel in the Information Policy unit admitted that the claims he made in an interview after Bloody Sunday that four of those killed were on a wanted list of IRA men were wrong. He said he had made the claims after "oral" intelligence checks.
He told the inquiry that "Later, I am not sure when, I discovered that the allegation that four men were on a wanted list could not be sustained." It was, he said, "an honest mistake".
During the radio interview Tugwell had claimed that, "One of the dead men was found in a car ... with four nail bombs in his pockets ... And of the others who are dead in the hospital, preliminary investigations show that four of them at least are on the wanted list."
"We have sent our investigators to the hospital and it is rather interesting that two of the wounded men, with gunshot wounds, have admitted that they were out on the streets armed with guns."
Speaking about the events of Bloody Sunday itself, at which he had in fact been present taking photographs of the marchers, Tugwell had told the interviewer that "Whilst they [the Paras] were on that operation, they came under fire, mainly from the area of the Rossville Flats, and there were altogether 25 shooting engagements, in 10 of which they could not identify the source of the fire and they did not fire back at all. In the other 15 they did identify and they fired back in all of them."
"On one occasion the soldier, who was armed with a riot gun which only fired rubber bullets, found himself facing a gunman with a pistol who fired two shots at him. All the bloke could do was to fire back with rubber bullets and then beat it. But on all the other occasions they fired back with live ammunition." All of this information, Tugwell admitted, came from 1 Para.[11]

Cross-examined at the Saville Inquiry Colin Wallace stated that Tugwell was the author of an article titled "The Knocking Game, a Case Study in Propaganda." Whilst ostensibly putting across the position of the Army the article congratulated the bravery of the "gunmen" supposedly present on Bloody Sunday.

Perhaps the most disgusting aspect of the Londonderry propaganda campaign is the manner in which the 'Derry martyrs' have been deprived of all credit for what were, by any standards, brave and determined attempts by some of them to defend the Bogside against a Parachute Battalion. It was foolhardy for amateur gunmen to take on some of the best trained regular soldiers in Europe. Nevertheless they seized whatever weapons were to hand and died in the attempt. Only the most corrupt and cynical organisation would deliberately set out to deny them a proper measure of respect for their sacrifice.

This was apparently intended as a more subtle way of establishing the fiction that the deaths on Bloody Sunday occurred in the context of a gun battle. (however the document appears to have been strictly for internal army use and does not appear to have been distributed to the media).

Wallace stated that he did not believe the article accurately represented the view of the army but rather was an example of Tugwell's engagement in psyops. [12]


Smearing the Green movement

Having arrived in Canada and set up the Centre for Conflict Studies in 1980 with David Charters Tugwell proceeds to engage in similar propaganda techniques to those he had used in Ireland. but this time the target and the paymaster was different. Seeking sponsorship from corporations he bagan attacking the green movement and smearing it as being linked to 'terrorism'.

Robert Stanley provides a good account of this period.[13]

Peace with Freedom

In 1988 Tugwell published Peace with Freedom, a book which criticised the Canadian peace movement as an ‘internal threat’. [14] In the book Tugwell ironically portrayed the peace movement as a threat to peace. He divided the movement movement into three categories - the churches, the mainstream, and the communists. The church and the mainstream he argued sought to leave Canada defenceless against the USSR, and were in any case influenced or controlled by the communists who were conduits for Soviet propaganda. [15] One (sympathetic) reviewer described the book as follows:

Maurice Tugwell describes, unambiguously and in detail, how Canada's

"new class" - academics and schoolteachers, politicians and manadarins, artists, clerics, journalists, retired generals and union leaders - has been infiltrated by Soviet agents and sympathizers. The book is a program guide to players in the drama of subversion that would destroy the West's

will to oppose, let alone defeat, the march of international communism. [16]


Contact, Publications, References and Resources

Maurice Tugwell: The Art of Propaganda - exposed in Nova Scotia




Internal memos and propaganda materials

Books/Chapters/Journal articles

  • The unquiet peace: Stories from the post-war army by Maurice Tugwell (A. Wingate, 1957)
  • Airborne to battle by Maurice Tugwell (Kimber, 1971)
  • Tugwell, Maurice (1973) 'Revolutionary Propaganda and the Role of the Information Services in Counter-insurgency Operations', Canadian Defence Quarterly, 3, Autumn:27-34
  • Arnhem by Maurice Tugwell (Thornton Cox : [distributed by Seeley, 1975)
  • Skiing for beginners by Maurice Tugwell (Seeley, 1977)
  • Skiing for beginners by Maurice Tugwell (Futura Publications, 1978)
  • Tugwell, Maurice (1980) Revolutionary Propaganda and Possible Counter Measures Unpublished PhD, March, King's College, University of London.
  • Tugwell, Maurice (1981) 'Politics and Propaganda of the Provisional IRA', Terrorism, 5, 1-2:13-40
  • No Substitute for Peace Tugwell, Maurice; David Charters, Dominick Graham (eds.) University of New Brunswick, New Brunswick, Canada, 1982.
  • Skiing for Beginners by Maurice Tugwell Drawings by Toby Buchan(Frederick Warne Publishers Ltd, January 31, 1985) Unknown Binding
  • Tugwell, Maurice, (1986) 'Terrorism and Propaganda: Problem and Response' Conflict Quarterly, 6, Spring: 5-15
  • Tugwell, Maurice, (1987) 'Terrorism and Propaganda: Problem and Response', in P Wilkinson and A Stewart, Contemporary Research on Terrorism, Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press.
  • A mythology of peace by Maurice Tugwell (Mackenzie Institute for the Study of Terrorism, Revolution, and Propaganda, 1987) ISBN-10: 0921877013 ISBN-13: 978-0921877011
  • Armies in Low Intensity Conflict: A Comparative Study of Institutional Adaptation to New Forms of Warfare by David A. Charters (Author), Maurice Tugwell (Author) 272 pages, Elsevier (Dec 1988), ISBN-10: 0080362532
  • Peace with freedom by Maurice Tugwell Toronto, Ont., Canada : Key Porter Books, c1988. ISBN 1550131281
  • Deception Operations: Studies in the East-West Context (Hardcover) by David A. Charters, Maurice Tugwell (Editors) 436 pages, Elsevier (Dec 1989), ISBN-10: 0080367062
  • The legacy of Oka by Maurice Tugwell (Mackenzie Institute, 1991) ISBN-10: 0921877218, ISBN-13: 978-0921877219
  • Herzl Street by Maurice Tugwell (Xlibris Corp., 1998)

Press articles and letters

  • Brig. Maurice Tugwell 'Make it "bin Laden's war"; U.S. coalition must match the terrorists' ability to use propaganda', Windsor Star (Ontario), (Ottawa Citizen) November 3, 2001 Saturday Final Edition, SECTION: Opinion; Pg. A11
  • Maurice Tugwell ‘Change name to 'Bin Laden's war': Such propaganda would make him responsible for the horrors he's unleashed’, “Edmunton Journal” (Alberta), October 27, 2001, Saturday Final Edition, SECTION: Opinion; Pg. A18
  • Maurice Tugwell ‘Irish history dictates a caution on 'historic' peace pledge’, “The Vancouver Sun” (British Columbia) September 12, 1997, Friday, FINAL EDITION SECTION: EDITORIAL; Pg. A23
  • Maurice Tugwell; Why Men Act This Way Jan 27, ‘The Airborne’, “The Globe and Mail” (Canada) February 3, 1995 Friday
  • Maurice Tugwell, ‘Responsible strategy’, “The Globe and Mail” (Canada) March 18, 1991 Monday
  • Maurice Tugwell, ‘The end of the revolution Chamorro needs time, foreign aid to heal her country’, “The Globe and Mail”, (Canada) February 27, 1990 Tuesday
  • Maurice Tugwell, ‘Communist by education’, “The Globe and Mail” (Canada) October 19, 1989 Thursday
  • Maurice Tugwell, ‘Not victory for people’, “The Globe and Mail” (Canada) March 23, 1989 Thursday
  • Maurice Tugwell, ‘McCarthyist label’, “The Globe and Mail” (Canada) December 17, 1988 Saturday
  • Maurice Tugwell, ‘W. German agency not 'political police'’, “The Globe and Mail” (Canada) June 29, 1988 Wednesday
  • Maurice Tugwell, ‘Unbalanced coverage’, “The Globe and Mail” (Canada) July 2, 1986 Wednesday, SECTION: LETTERTOTHEEDITOR; Pg. A7
  • Maurice Tugwell, ‘Maj.-Gen. L. V. Johnson is right to ask awkward questions’ (Better Option Than NATO For Canada? - Feb. 1). “The Globe and Mail” (Canada) February 23, 1985 Saturday
  • Maurice Tugwell, ‘Astonishing’, “The Globe and Mail” (Canada) August 31, 1984 Friday
  • Maurice Tugwell, ‘Insulting on IRA’, “The Globe and Mail” (Canada) December 30, 1983 Friday
  • Maurice Tugwell, ‘Prof. Donald Bates (Painted Into a Corner with Cruise Missiles - May 20) alarms me’. “The Globe and Mail” (Canada) June 18, 1983 Saturday
  • Maurice Tugwell, ‘Many facets to deterrence’, “The Globe and Mail” (Canada) October 13, 1982 Wednesday


  1. Kincoragate - Loose Ends Lobster, [Issue 4 - 1984]
  2. John Thompson,The psychological trinity in war', Mackenzie Institute, 03/17/03
  3. John Thompson,The psychological trinity in war', Mackenzie Institute, 03/17/03
  4. Herzl Street (Hardcover), accessed 5 November 2009
  5. Aly Renwick Oliver's Army Troops Out Movement, London, 2004.
  6. Maurice Tugwell, Public Opinion and the Northern Ireland Situation, A Note by the Colonel GS (Information Policy, HQ Northern Ireland), 9 November 1971.
  7. Allison Morris, Colonel claimed paper was IRA mouthpiece, Irish News, 29 October 2009.
  8. Maurice Tugwell Maurice Tugwell under cross examination at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, 30 September 2002 Pg. 73. Accessed 05 April 2014
  9. Maurice Tugwell Maurice Tugwell under cross examination at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, 30 September 2002 Pg. 74. Accessed 05 April 2014
  10. Maurice Tugwell Maurice Tugwell under cross examination at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, 30 September 2002 Pg. 74. Accessed 05 April 2014
  11. FERN LANE Suppressed Para's book cites 'Londonderry's Sharpeville' The Bloody Sunday Inquiry An Phoblacht · Thursday 3 October 2002.
  12. Colin Wallace Colin Wallace under cross examination at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, 19 September 2002 Pg. 123/4. Accessed 6 April 2014
  13. Robert Stanley Maurice Tugwell: The Art of Propaganda, New Maritimes (Nova Scotia, Canada), June 1986: p.13.
  14. Gideon Forman, ‘Opposing viewpoints on the peace movement’, Toronto Star, 4 March 1989
  15. Gideon Forman, ‘Opposing viewpoints on the peace movement’, Toronto Star, 4 March 1989
  16. Kenneth McDonald, ‘A class corrupted’, Globe and Mail, 19 November 1988
  17. Journal of conflict Studies, University of New Brunswick, Table of contents, Conflict Quarterly, accessed 2 November 2009