Agent Stakeknife & intelligence war in NI

#1
I’ve been keeping an eye on this over the past few months. While nothing surprises me with regards to the intelligence war that was fought during Operation Banner, the ongoing Smithwick Tribunal set up by the Irish Govt. to investigate if there was Garda collusion in the deaths of two senior RUC intelligence officers in 1989 following a meeting with the Gardai in Dundalk, is raising some potentially sensitive matters.

Of note recently The Belfast Telegraph has had two articles in which Stakeknife (aka Freddie Scappaticci) has been implicated in the murders by Ian Hurst, a “military intelligence whistleblower “ and also, supposedly through rather deceptive means, by former commander of UK Land Forces General Sir John Wilsey who was Army commander in Northern Ireland from 1990 to 1993.

Freddie Scappaticci was our most valuable spy in IRA during the Troubles: British Army chief - Northern Ireland, Local & National - Belfasttelegraph.co.uk

More:

Secrets of a long-running intelligence war laid bare - News Analysis, Opinion - Belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Short BBC piece:

BBC News - Army agent gives Smithwick Tribunal evidence in private

While this will not come as a great surprise to many with even some familiarity with the ‘troubles’ in NI, I was a somewhat surprised to learn that Hurst is claiming that up to 4 of the IRA active service unit that planned and executed the attack on the two policemen were working for one of the various British intelligence agencies operating in the province.

If this is true, it does raise certain questions, not to mention exactly who (if at all) was deciding who lived and who died in order to protect sources, and if it is found that these two policemen were killed with the knowledge of the British Intelligence (in whatever guise) can it be justified?

It seems to be likely that Scappaticci (by all accounts a nasty piece of work) as head of the IRA internal security team on numerous occasions tortured and killed ‘volunteers’ that he (and his handlers) knew were British informers/agents, in order to protect his senior position in theIRA.
Few are party to the quality/volume of information he was feeding military intelligence and the good that it did in saving lives and bringing hostilities to a conclusion. But on the basis that this man and others like him did save lives (many British forces for that matter) should it make him/them deserving of some respect/recognition?

If Martin McGuinness was found to be a ‘tout’ who fed high grade intelligence to us over the past 20-30 years, should our views towards him change?

Thought I’d share and interested to know members thoughts, particularly those that served during Op Banner. Not sure where I stand.
 
#2
Ahhhh welcome to the dirty war..... still being fought on the streets of Northern Ireland......
 
#3
I can't say I have any direct experience of these matters, just following it through the media.

It's always been claimed that a garda sergeant in Dundalk was feeding info to the Provos, and that this lead to the assassination of the two RUC men. The (now retired) Irish cop presented himself to the Smithwick tribunal to defend himself from these claims, and (if I recall correctly) was previously cleared by two internal Garda investigations.

However, if there is truth in the Belfast Telly's claims that Provos in South Armagh were British military intelligence assets (not shared with RUC Special Branch), then it begs the question: who did the Irish cop think he was talking to?

I admit I'm going out on a completely speculative wing here, but could it be that Irish cop spoke to someone he thought was British intelligence about the RUC officers' visit?

At the same time, I'd be very wary of any story in the newspapers where the source appears to be 'Ian Hurst'.
 
T

Tremaine

Guest
#4
Tours there and for some of the worst events, especially 80-83 and 87-1990. As a squaddie nobody tells you and ordinary people doing ordinary things weren't privy to the big players and grown ups. Some big surprises and you didn't even know what the guy/girl in the other section was up to. It was never as simple as we thought and it was surely a dirty war. Who really knows where they stand, except it's quieter.
 
#5
Just came across this piece; McGuinness denies killings link - Yahoo! News UK

McGuiness denying any involvement, I personally don't believe there will be any semblance of normality over there until the likes of McGuiness and Co cough up their involvements in events over there. One thing to note that IMHO, if the UK had the public relations bods that PIRA/Sinn Fein had, we would have done a damn sight better than we did, Those Fekkers always seemed to come out smelling of roses whilst the politicians over here were always shooting themselves in the foot.
 
#7
#9
Just came across this piece; McGuinness denies killings link - Yahoo! News UK

McGuiness denying any involvement, I personally don't believe there will be any semblance of normality over there until the likes of McGuiness and Co cough up their involvements in events over there. One thing to note that IMHO, if the UK had the public relations bods that PIRA/Sinn Fein had, we would have done a damn sight better than we did, Those Fekkers always seemed to come out smelling of roses whilst the politicians over here were always shooting themselves in the foot.
Strange as it may sound at one point during the peace the British government was tutoring the provisional movement on how to critize the British government


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#10
Strange as it may sound at one point during the peace the British government was tutoring the provisional movement on how to critize the British government


Sent from my iPhone using ARRSE app
They seem to have a history of doing pretty good without our assistance. the amount of propaganda own goals we scored on the likes of Gibraltar & Loughall etc, makes you wonder if PIRA infiltrated the UK press office?
 
#11
They seem to have a history of doing pretty good without our assistance. the amount of propaganda own goals we scored on the likes of Gibraltar & Loughall etc, makes you wonder if PIRA infiltrated the UK press office?
Oh I dunno - the "PR" of Loughall, followed by others like Coalisland and the Ballygawley Rd was clear enough. In an age before Spin dead Provos was message enough for most.
 
#12
I just remember things like the laundry service that 14 int (?) were running.
4 Square has had honourable mentions in NI open source material. That project was pre formation of 14 Int.
 
#13
This is an extract from a Kevin Myers article, published last year -

" As the Sinn Fein movement trembled on the verge of destruction from the sheer weight of informers in it's upper ranks, with each meeting of the IRA Army Council resembling a liaison committee co-ordinating the different branches of British Intelligence."

Those chinook trips to Scotland were meant to minimise the chances of blue on blue incidents in the humint world.
 
#14
possible, been a while since I read it, I just remember things like the laundry service that 14 int (?) were running.
Was Four Square Laundry not FRU?
 
T

Tremaine

Guest
#15
Alec settles a lot of questions for me and maybe a lot of people, who had the pleasure of stagging on with HM Forces on Banner.
Great women, great scenery and coastline, the Ports and Morelli's. On the other hand, death, skulduggery and dread, at a time when sensible young lads should have been back home. Nine to five, shagging birds and drinking in safety. On second thoughts , **** that.
 
#16
When you look at the high profile incidents such as Loughall Coalisland Gibralter its clear that there was a high level of humint sources throughout PIRA though i do think there was less success in South Armagh.

I like many of those who served in NI during op banner knew/know the threat levels passed on prior to patrols and sanger bashing were much more than educated guess work ( most of the time)

At a guess i personally think probaly 1 in 5 PIRA at one stage or other had been a source but that is an opinionated guess so no need for some journo to type the line ( a military source said) some may have a better basis to surmise on the level of players who passed info on.
 
#17
Collusion, Conspiracy and Cover-up in 'Northern Ireland'
One of the best books on Ulster.Out of print best to kindle it.
"A Very British Jihad:Collusion, Conspiracy & Cover-up in Northern Ireland" by Paul Larkin shines more light on state sponsored murder in Ireland than any other work to date

Paul Larkin devotes several chapters to Pro-British death squad boss the late Billy 'Rat' Wright. (Billy Wright was later spectacularly assasinated by the INLA while still held in Long Kesh prison.)

The late Martin O'Hagan, a journalist assasinated by Billy Wright's LVF paramilitary murder gang. Martin O'Hagan passed Wright's codename to Larkin & it is disclosed in his book.

The Drumcree disturbances are dealt with in Larkin's book

The chapter "Sticking to their Guns" deals with the Workers Party's not so secret links to the Official IRA!

Collusion



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Review
A Very British Jihad: Collusion, Conspiracy and Cover-up in Northern Ireland ranks as one of the best ever exposes of state-sponsored murder available on the market, written by award winning journalist Paul Larkin, a former producer of the BBC's Spotlight current affairs programme. A Very British Jihad is 300 odd pages of compulsive reading for anyone with even the most casual interest in Irish affairs. The author comes across as a decent, honest human being whose role as Truthseeker led him to some very dark and sinister places within the British colonial establishment's so-called Counter-terrorism community. The title refers to the undercover war, fought with almost religious zeal by the British occupational forces in Ireland and their 'loyalist' allies.

A Very British Jihad delves into a murky world of spooks, agents, Loyalist bosses and sectarian murder, where the blurred edges of their dubious morality was refracted by much smoke and splintered mirrors. It's 22 chapters surpass anything thrown up in Martin Dillon's 'The Dirty War', which always struck me as merely hinting at collusion , in a very timid fashion. Paul Larkin builds a much more solid construct of British state-collusion in sectarian murder, which compliments and even surpasses Sean McPhelimy's groundbreaking 'The Committee.'

Larkin begins his book with his arrival on the Belfast political journalistic scene, where he meets his first Loyalist/military contact, the closet homosexual taxi driver and shady former UDR soldier 'Howard, ' literally before he even exits the cab he had hailed from the city's Central station! In the following chapters Larkin interviews the late Billy 'King Rat' Wright in his ultra-camp, yet fortress-like home in Portadown. As Larkin narrates, readers are left in no doubt that Wright was the epitome of the 'British Jihadist'.

The author meets a brace of assorted Unionist paramilitaries, spies, touts,Special Branch men, 'Stickies', South African Apartheid-era hit-men and bizarrely, the UDR on 'peacekeeping' duty in Bosni,a plus many other assorted and unsavoury characters. Even the most streetwise and politically savvy readers will feel like they have sampled a parallel world, where the lights are constantly dimmed and there are no friendly faces for the likes of us or anyone else to the Left of Eugene Terreblanche!

The chapter "A very fine Soldier" deals with British infantryman Cameron Hastie's trial for involvement in a state-sponsored murder conspiracy and his subsequent unduly lenient sentence. Larkin devotes several chapters to pro-British death squad boss, the late Billy 'Rat' Wright . (Billy Rat was later spectacularly assassinated by the INLA while still held in Long Kesh prison camp.) The late Marty O'Hagan, the Sunday World journalist assassinated by Billy Wright's LVF, gets numerous positive mentions in Larkin's book. The author reveals how Jim McDowell, the Northern editor of the Sunday World, effectively handed several pages of the Northern edition over to the then mid-Ulster UVF and Billy Wright, to clarify their threats against his exiled colleague, Martin O'Hagan! These dubious actions by McDowell were doubly ironic, as the late Martin O'Hagan read of the UVF's 'clarification' in his own newspaper, while he was in hiding in Cork under threat from Wright's paramilitary gang. O'Hagan passed Wright's Special Branch 'codename' to Larkin and it is exclusively disclosed in his book.

Another chapter "Sticking to their Guns" deals with the Workers Party's not so secret links to the Official IRA and Larkin narrates of a very close shave with already media angered Sticks during an encounter at their now, raised to the ground, Twinbrook social club.

Copies of Paul Larkin's excellent expose A Very British Jihad are now retailing for between £60 to £80 used on Amazon, presumably this meteoric rise in value from it's original retail price of £10.99 is because it has gone out of print. Hopefully A Very British Jihad will sometime soon be available at less extortionate prices. Anyone who has a copy should treasure it as it is an invaluable insight into the neo-Kitsonian collusion model that few of us get to understand concisely.

Readers are left in no doubt that all Republicans and numerous apolitical Catholics were targetted by a British state-sponsored murder machine. All it took was a name to be entered into the 'system' on the most spurious of suspicions at a British military checkpoint or a sighting in the supposed 'wrong company', for the gears of a Kitsonian sectarian murder-machine to rotate into action. In the not too distant past, many people only knew they had been included in that murderous 'project' when it was much too late and the state-sponsored Loyalist murder gangs had departed, leaving splintered doorframes and shattered lives.

In conclusion, A Very British Jihad should be compulsory reading for anyone wishing to scratch beneath the surface of 'authorised' and revisionist versions of the period of Anglo-Irish conflict popularly known as 'The Troubles'. Larkin's book exposes the British counter-insurgency 'jihadists', which the establishment unleashed in post-1969 Ireland and leaves the reader in no doubt of their hidden hand in a plethora of Loyalist paramilitary murders.
 
#19
Was Four Square Laundry not FRU?
Emphatically not, however there were Int. Corps reps controlling the 'Laundry' teams. FRU and 14Int. were later 'lessons learned' derivitives of the MRF and early Int. Corps FINCO experiences. Some seriously brave people amongst those teams, especially the home grown NI military male/female operators.
 
#20
when was that then ? I had to do my own laundry!
Early 70's old chap.
Yup four square laundry, will have to dig the book out and give it another read, I do remember seeing the Int corp digs in Bessbrook Mill very plush indeed, while we had the joys of old bunk beds and cold showers.
 

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