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24 Apr 2012
NORTHERN IRELAND Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness authorised the killings of two RUC officers in March 1989, it was claimed at the Smithwick Tribunal yesterday.
Former British intelligence officer Ian Hurst – otherwise known as Martin Ingram – claimed the intention of the IRA operation in which the two RUC officers were killed, was to abduct them, interrogate them, remove papers they were expected to be carrying and to ultimately execute them.
Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan were killed in an IRA ambush in south Armagh in March 1989, minutes after leaving a meeting in Dundalk Garda station in Co Louth. They were the most senior RUC officers to be killed in the Troubles.
The tribunal is inquiring into suggestions that members of the Garda in Dundalk colluded with the IRA in the killings.
Mr Hurst who has been given permission by the British Ministry of Defence to give evidence to the tribunal, asserted that the killings involved up to 60 IRA volunteers and supporters and the operation “was authorised at [the IRA’s] Northern command. Mr McGuinness was involved”.
He also said Mr McGuinness was “OC Northern command”, the senior IRA officer in Northern Ireland at the time.
He said he was given this information by his senior officer, known only as “Witness 82”, whose evidence is expected to also be read into the record this week.
Mr Hurst was a member of the British army’s intelligence service force research unit for three years from 1982, before he was transferred to the Ministry of Defence Middle East desk in London. While in the research unit he said he was aware of up to 10 military intelligence source reports which named Det Sgt Owen Corrigan of Dundalk Garda station as a man who had provided information to the IRA.
Some of this information was useful in organising the killings, according to the reports, he told the tribunal.
Mr Hurst also named former Sgt Leo Colton as another officer in Dundalk who was known to pass information to the IRA. He said both gardaí were described in intelligence reports as “rogue” gardaí.
He said Dundalk was referred to in Northern intelligence services as “Dodge City” and a “rat-infested hole” as it was a place where on-the-run republicans went for rest and recuperation. Others were Bundoran and Ballyshannon he said. Dundalk was also the place where the IRA’s internal security unit was based, he said.
Mr Hurst said he was aware of a call to his army unit late one evening from an RUC police officer who said he had in custody an “Alfredo Scappaticci” who had been involved in a drink-driving incident. Mr Hurst said Scappaticci was seeking the protection of the intelligence services, and used a code corresponding to the codename “Stakeknife”. He also said his superior, Witness 82, had subsequently confirmed that Stakeknife and Scappaticci were one and the same.
Mr Hurst asserted that information provided by Mr Corrigan to the IRA had been channelled through Scappaticci, who in turn channelled it to British intelligence through his own handler Witness 82. “Scappaticci was effectively the conduit for information, in other words as the handler of Mr Corrigan.”
Sinn Féin in a statement yesterday evening said: “Martin McGuinness totally rejects these allegations.”
A party spokesman questioned the bona fides of Mr Hurst. “Judge Smithwick has already been critical of the quality and nature of the evidence provided to his tribunal by the British state,” he said.
“This individual who uses a variety of names including Martin Ingram has no credibility. By his own admission he is part of a British security apparatus which played a very negative and malign role in the conflict, including widespread involvement in collusion,” he added.
25 Apr 2012
British intelligence services were operating all over Ireland and were receiving information from politicians, as well as members of the gardaí, the army and customs service, the Smithwick Tribunal has been told.
The claims were made by former British Army intelligence officer Ian Hurst during interviews with senior gardaí and in his own direct evidence.
The tribunal, which is investigating claims of collusion in the killing of two RUC officers in March 1989, heard today from retired Chief Supt Basil Walsh.
He said he met Mr Hurst twice in 2000 at his home in Carrick-on-Suir and in Waterford Garda Station.
During those meetings, Mr Hurst mentioned that a number of gardaí were passing information to the British intelligence services.
Mr Hurst said he had recruited a member of a garda task force in Donegal, who would come to Ballymena to pass on information, for which he would be paid £50 or £60.
He also said he was aware of a garda and a Senator talking to MI5.
However, the witness said Mr Hurst refused to name any of the individuals involved.
When the reading of Mr Hurst’s direct evidence to the tribunal resumed, it emerged that he said British military intelligence services had members of the Irish Army, as well as many gardaí and members of the customs service, passing information to them.
They also had sources in the RUC and customs service in Northern Ireland.
The witness served in the secretive Force Research Unit, the intelligence wing of the British Army in the North.
He said they worked on an all-Ireland basis and had bases in Sligo and Donegal.
Mr Hurst is subject to British Ministry of Defence restrictions as a result of which his evidence was heard behind closed doors last week and is now being read into the record following the removal of parts of his evidence.
Mr Hurst also reiterated his allegations against Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
He said that Mr McGuinness did not leave the IRA in the early 1970s as he claimed.
Mr McGuinness controlled Northern Command for most of the time and was also on the IRA Army Council and had responsibility for controlling people such as Freddie Scappaticci.
Northern Command would have had to sanction operations such as the use of human bombs and the ambush in which Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan died and which is being investigated by the tribunal.
It has been alleged that Mr Scappaticci was the deputy head of the IRA’s internal security unit and the most important British Army agent in the organisation.
Mr Scappaticci and Mr McGuinness both deny the allegations.
Earlier, retired Chief Supt Walsh said he was aware of Mr Scappaticci and of his involvement in the IRA.
However, he disputed several claims made by Mr Hurst in his evidence.
He said there was no mention of Owen Corrigan during their meetings. Mr Corrigan is one of three gardaí being investigated by the tribunal and he denies the claims that he passed information to the IRA.
The witness also denied saying that gardaí had tried to remove Mr Corrigan but could not because of political pressure.
Former Chief Supt Walsh also said he could not have been present at a third meeting that Mr Hurst said he was because he had retired from the gardaí at that time.
25 Apr 2012
Sinn Fein rejected the allegations against Mr McGuinness
Martin McGuinness was involved in authorising “human bomb” attacks, an ex-intelligence officer has told the Smithwick Tribunal.
Ian Hurst – also known as Martin Ingram – told the tribunal that contrary to Mr McGuinness’ claims, he did not leave the IRA in the 1970s.
More evidence given in private last week has been read into the tribunal.
Similar allegations which emerged on Tuesday were rejected by Mr McGuinness.
A Sinn Fein spokesman said Mr Hurst’s claims were “more lies from an individual with a highly dubious track record”.
The tribunal was established in 2005 to investigate allegations of Garda collusion in the murders of RUC Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and RUC Superintendent Robert Buchanan.
According to evidence read at the tribunal on Wednesday, Mr Hurst claimed Mr McGuinness had still been officer commanding of the IRA’s northern command for “the vast majority of the time”.
Under cross-examination, Mr Hurst reiterated his belief that the murders of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan by the South Armagh brigade of the IRA would have to have been authorised by the IRA’s Northern Command, becuase they would have needed “political cover”.
He told the tribunal that “human bombs (were) also authorised by Martin McGuinness… he controls northern command for the vast majority of the time.
“Contrary to what he’d have you believe that he left the IRA in the 70s, it’s not true. He was a member of northern command and the Provisional IRA Council responsible for controlling people like Mr Scappaticci,” he said.
Mr Hurst also claimed that Freddie Scappaticci was the Army agent within the IRA known as Stakeknife.
He said Mr Scappaticci may have been aware of the plan to kill the RUC officers in advance, but he had no evidence of this.
The tribunal also heard that British intelligence services collected information on a 32-county basis, and had sources in the Republic ranging from a senator to revenue and customs officials and members of the Irish army and gardai.
The myth that the IRA was riddled with spies feeds the ire of those who oppose the Good Friday agreement with violence
Comment is free – Guardian
13 Feb 2012
**Paul Larkin is the author of A Very British Jihad, which alleged systematic and sectarian collusion between the security forces and loyalist paramilitaries. He works as an author and translator and lives between Dublin and the Donegal Gaeltacht.
An RUC policeman stands next to an armoured Land Rover in Northern Ireland, 1998. (Photograph: Alastair Grant/AP)
The refusal of the star witness, journalist Toby Harnden, to undergo cross examination at the Smithwick tribunal in Dublin has thrown the whole inquiry into disarray and leads to questions about holding one in the first place.
The tribunal was set up by the Irish government to investigate claims that in 1989 a member of the Garda Síochána (Irish police) helped the IRA to murder two high-ranking RUC officers: Harry Breen and Ken Buchanan. This is despite the fact Canadian judge Peter Cory had already investigated these killings in 2003 and ruled that the IRA did not need the help of a traditionally hostile southern Irish police force to kill the two officers.
In a now familiar pattern, the Garda/IRA story was first circulated by former low-ranking agents of the British army’s force research unit (FRU). Most Irish people saw the decision to extend the Cory investigation as a sop to unionists – a perverse quid pro quo for all that Irish republican fuss about Pat Finucane and the hundreds of other victims of Britain’s dirty war. Speaking to an expectant Irish public, bizarrely, via his Facebook page rather than bothering to turn up at a tribunal his work helped instigate, Harnden tells us he still stands by his allegations.
Perhaps the Irish government should have listened more closely to Judge Cory, who cast doubt on Harnden’s evidence in relation to the murders, saying he took unattributable testimony from security force or intelligence sources and repeated these as fact: “Statements and allegations were put forward as matters of fact, when in reality they were founded upon speculation and hypothesis.”
Here lies the heart of what, I believe, has not just duped Toby Harnden but a whole raft of otherwise sagacious scribes: much of the narrative of our most recent Troubles is being dictated by those same FRU spooks whose testimony is not only driven by an anti-Good Friday agreement animus but is also often incorrect.
In the case of the two murders, for instance, FRU operatives say the formidable IRA units from north County Louth and South Armagh, which carried out the killings, were “riddled with spies” and that their favourite spy for Britain in the IRA, Freddie Scappaticci, knew all about these killings. This is pure fantasy; deadly IRA cells would have no need or desire to consult with anyone before launching this kind of attack – least of all a Belfast man like “Scap”. Territory is important in Ireland.
But don’t take my word for it. A high-ranking RUC Special Branch officer (witness 62) told the Smithwick tribunal: “No agent of the state or anyone who was recruited at that time was in any way involved in the shooting.” But guess what? The “riddled with spies” mantra got all the headlines and witness 62 was mostly ignored – even by the Guardian.
Many books have been written by experienced journalists that regurgitate the farrago of lies, half truths and speculations by maliciously motivated FRU operatives. All intone that Freddie Scappaticci more or less ran the IRA – ergo MI5 controlled the IRA.
In fact he was a member of a debrief unit that questioned IRA volunteers after certain operations and in certain areas. He was never briefed about upcoming operations. He was never in a so-called “nutting squad” and never in a position to walk into a particular area and demand prior details of an operation or the head of an IRA volunteer on a plate. Yet this FRU-inspired myth has become the accepted narrative.
But it’s not just a question of journalistic standards. The repeated (and incorrect) assertion that MI5 was running the IRA and pushing the peace process feeds the ire of armed groups in Ireland who oppose the Good Friday agreement. A headline that says “IRA riddled with spies” is, in that sense, an incendiary device and undermines our democratic all-Ireland decision to try another, unarmed, way to find justice and peace and ultimately end partition.
The reality is that we will probably never get further than what Judge Cory discovered about the Breen and Buchanan killings, but the Smithwick tribunal may have served a purpose if it finally exposes the undue influence that a devious and anti-Irish-unity group of spooks has had on the Troubles narrative.
8 Feb 2012
A FORMER assistant chief constable of the RUC has said Freddie Scappaticci was a member of the notorious “nutting squad” which enforced discipline within the Provisional IRA.
Richard White told the Smithwick Tribunal that Mr Scappaticci worked alongside John Joe McGee in the “nutting squad” and both were members of the IRA.
However, Mr White, who acknowledged he had access to intelligence reports on the activities of the double agent known as “Stakeknife”, refused to comment on speculation that Mr Scappaticci was Stakeknife.
Asked if he would like to say anything about speculation that Stakeknife was a British double agent Mr White replied: “No comment”.
Later when counsel for An Garda Síochána Diarmaid McGuinness SC put it to Mr White that he was unable to positively identify Stakeknife as Mr Scappaticci, he replied “I didn’t say I am not able to. I said I am not prepared to.”
The tribunal is inquiring into suggestions of collusion between members of the Garda or other employees in the State in the murder of two RUC officers, Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan, in March 1989.
Mr Scappaticci, who is legally represented at the tribunal, has consistently denied that he is or was Stakeknife, or that he was ever a member of the IRA.
Commenting on relations between the RUC and the Garda he said co-operation in the 1970s had been lacking in official “infrastructure”, taking their lead from “frosty” political relationships.
Mr White said he believed there was some “empathy” among Southerners for those who fled Northern Ireland and settled in the Dundalk area but not for the violence espoused by paramilitaries. He said he had heard the name of Det Sgt Owen Corrigan of Dundalk Garda station in “gossip” in the context of someone who should not be trusted. But he said he had no evidential basis for this.
The tribunal heard journalist Toby Harnden, whose book Bandit Country – the IRA and South Armagh alleged collusion between a Dundalk garda and the IRA, had declined to give evidence.
8 February 2012
A FORMER RUC Assistant Chief Constable has named Freddie Scappaticci and John Joe Magee as members of the IRA’s infamous “nutting squad”.
Raymond White made the claim yesterday at the Smithwick Tribunal in Dublin.
He served as chief of RUC Special Branch in Belfast in the 1980s before going on to head up CID as Assistant Chief Constable in the 1990s.
Yesterday, Mr White concurred with barrister Richard Smith, who is representing former agent Peter Keeley, also known as Kevin Fulton, when asked if, to his knowledge, the two men – Freddie Scappaticci and John Joe Magee – worked in the IRA’s internal security unit.
However, Mr White said he was not prepared to say that Mr Scappaticci was the agent known as Stakeknife.
Mr Scappaticci has consistently denied being a member of the IRA. He has, in the past, been linked to the agent known as Stakeknife who was a member of the IRA’s nutting squad, but Mr Scappaticci denies this.
John Joe Magee, now dead, was a Belfast republican who lived in Dundalk.
Mr Scappaticci is legally represented at the Smithwick Tribunal in Dublin, which is probing claims that the IRA team which murdered RUC Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan were assisted by a rogue garda officer.
The two policemen, who were the most senior RUC officers to be murdered by the IRA during the Troubles, died in an ambush on March 20, 1989 as they drove back to Newry following a meeting at Dundalk garda station.
Mr White also revealed to the tribunal yesterday that there were high levels of frustration within the RUC that the spot from which the 1979 Narrow Water bomb was detonated – across Carlingford Lough, in the Republic – was so contaminated that evidence could not be gathered from it.
Eighteen soldiers were killed by two remote controlled bomb explosions close to Warrenpoint on August 27 – it was the Army’s greatest loss of life in a single day in the Troubles.
It is understood that the tribunal will hear more about the Narrow Water atrocity over the course of this month.
Mr White also told the tribunal that he was aware of three cases in which RUC officers had been suspected of colluding with terrorists. He said in dealing with such suspicions the officer would be monitored for change in behaviour. There had been circumstances where covert surveillance was placed upon an officer or his phone monitored.
Even if no evidence of collusion was found, he said, they would be transferred to another posting as a precaution.
Mr White further told the tribunal the IRA funded itself mostly via black taxis and shebeens. He said the IRA had “an annual turnover of £9 million” in the 1970s.
He revealed that, during the 1980s, Special Branch in Belfast had up to 200 registered informers, and each of these had two to three officers handling them.
Meanwhile, the tribunal heard yesterday morning that journalist Toby Harnden, whose book Bandit Country reignited the garda collusion debate when it was published in 2000, has declined to give evidence to the tribunal.
Judge Smithwick was told that Mr Harnden had been scheduled to give evidence for two days this week – Wednesday and Thursday. But counsel for the tribunal Fintan Valentine said this would not happen as Mr Harnden had now said he was unavailable.
Mr Valentine said Mr Harnden’s withdrawal appeared to have been decided after consultation with the journalist’s new employers, Associated Newspapers.
But in a statement yesterday Mr Harnden rejected this and also said he stands over everything in his book.
He now works as a journalist for the Daily Mail, based in America, and was yesterday covering the US Republican Presidential race.
“The decision not to appear before the Smithwick Tribunal is mine and mine alone,” he said, adding that he believes evidence already heard at the tribunal from former members of the RUC and garda backs up what he wrote in Bandit Country.
Freddie Scappaticci, who denies being British agent inside IRA known as Stakeknife, may give evidence in police collusion investigation
16 Dec 2011
A man accused of being a British agent operating inside the IRA known as Stakeknife may give evidence to a public tribunal in Dublin investigating alleged collusion between the provisionals and members of the Garda Siochana.
During evidence on Friday at the Smithwick tribunal, counsel for Freddie Scappaticci – accused of being the former head of the IRA’s spy-catching team and an agent for Britain – indicated his client might give evidence.
Freddie Scappaticci, aka ‘Stakeknife’
As his lawyer, Martin O’Rourke, applied for a second counsel for Scappaticci, the judge heading the tribunal asked about his client’s willingness to co-operate with the inquiry.
When the tribunal chairman, Judge Peter Smithwick, asked if Scappaticci would make a statement to the inquiry or turn up to give evidence, O’Rourke replied: “That is being given active consideration by my client.”
The presence of Scappaticci at the tribunal would enable lawyers for the families of two police officers the IRA murdered in 1989 to quiz him about his alleged role as the provisionals’ spy hunter and claims he was at the same time one of the British state’s most important agents inside the republican terror group.
The Belfast republican has always denied he was the agent known as Stakeknife, even though several former IRA members and former members of the army’s force research unit have claimed he was working inside the provisionals for the British state.
His atttendance would also allow the families’ legal team to question him over his role in the IRA at the time of the double murder and his dealings with other senior provisionals, some of whom were also and remain prominent members of Sinn Féin.
The Smithwick tribunal was established to investigate claims that a Garda “mole” set up Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan after they left a police station in the Irish Republic.
The suggestion that Scappaticci might attend came on the third day of evidence to the tribunal from Newry man Kevin Fulton, a former British agent who admits he infiltrated the IRA.
He repeated claims that Scappaticci was a British agent in the IRA known by the code name Stakeknife. At the time of Breen and Buchanan’s killing, Fulton claims Scappaticci was aware of the plot to ambush and kill the two senior Royal Ulster Constabulary officers on the border.
The tribunal was told of an IRA death threat sent to Fulton’s address in Newry in February 2001.
“You have been sentenced by court martial in your absence. You are charged. General order no 5 part 5, general order no 11, on both charges you were found guilty. The penalty for both charges is death. Sentence to be carried out at our convenience.”
The letter was signed “P O’Neill, Oglaigh na hEireann”.
When asked why he had travelled from the UK to give evidence to the tribunal, Fulton said: “I started something and I had to finish it.”
When asked what the IRA would think about what he was doing in giving evidence, Fulton said: “It’s treachery. They would kill me.”
He denied he was lying about the collusion allegations he made against a former Dundalk-based garda who has consistently denied any wrongdoing or links with the IRA.
17 Dec 2011
FREDDIE SCAPPATICCI, the man who denies he was a British double agent in the IRA known as “Stakeknife”, may give evidence to the Smithwick Tribunal.
The tribunal was yesterday told Mr Scappaticci was in fact “Stakeknife”, regardless of his consistent public denials. Kevin Fulton, who worked as an informer for British security services after infiltrating the IRA in the Dundalk area in the 1980s, said Mr Scappaticci was a member of the IRA’s internal security, or “nutting squad”.
But in an occasionally heated exchange with Martin O’Rourke SC, counsel for Mr Scappaticci, Mr Fulton said it was “an actual fact” that “your client is an informer and he is Stakeknife”.
Following a break for lunch Mr Scappaticci’s legal team applied for additional legal representation. When tribunal chairman Judge Peter Smithwick asked if this meant Mr Scappaticci would make a statement and appear as a witness, he was told by the legal team that this was “under active consideration”.
Mr Fulton had earlier told the tribunal he also believed convicted IRA volunteer Patrick “Mooch” Blair was effectively another British agent who was “being protected by some state agency – North and South”.
Mr Fulton said Blair had made a bomb just days before the Omagh bombing and he believed this had in fact been the Omagh bomb. He and his M15 handlers had then decided to target Blair for arrest.
An elaborate sting involving the sale of £10 million worth of Viagra tablets was set up, but he said all his efforts to target Blair were thwarted, usually by police north and south of the Border.
He told Michael Durack SC, for the Garda, that he had been eventually told by his handler: “I am not to talk to you anymore.” Mr Fulton said he came to believe Blair was protected by State agencies and “walked on water” and was “more or less an agent”.
Mr Fulton – who is also known as Peter Keeley – has also alleged retired detective sergeant Owen Corrigan of Dundalk Garda station was an IRA mole in the Garda. But he agreed with Mr Durack that when he sought Garda help in securing “a financial package” from the British in 2002, he hadn’t mentioned any Garda-IRA collusion.
The tribunal is inquiring into suggestions of collusion between members of the Garda or other employees in the State in the murder of two RUC officers, Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan, in March 1989.
Peter Keeley has refused to withdraw his claim at the Smithwick Tribunal that Owen Corrigan passed information onto the IRA which led to several murders.
15 Dec 2011
The former British agent who worked undercover within the IRA has refused to withdraw his claim at the Smithwick Tribunal that a now retired Detective Sergeant passed information onto the IRA which led to several murders.
Peter Keeley, who also uses the name of Kevin Fulton, was asked by Jim O’Callaghan, Counsel for Mr Corrigan, to “withdraw your false statements and false claims”.
However, Mr Keeley replied: “Absolutely not. I can’t.”
The witness has said he believed Mr Corrigan passed information onto the IRA which led them to murder RUC officers, Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan, just minutes after leaving a meeting in Dundalk Garda Station in March 1989. His allegations led to the establishment of the Smithwick Tribunal.
He also claimed Mr Corrigan told the IRA that a Cooley-based farmer, Tom Oliver, was passing information to the gardaí and that he removed evidence to protect IRA members.
During his cross-examination this afternoon, Mr O’Callaghan accused Mr Keeley of making false accusations against his client to further his own agenda and disputes with his former employers.
“Effectively you’ve accused him of being a murderer,” said Mr O’Callaghan, to which Mr Keeley replied “yes.”
During his evidence today, Mr Keeley said Mr Corrigan had also removed fingerprints from a 1,000lb bomb being made in Omeath, Co Louth, when it was found by the gardaí and that he removed evidence from the vantage point used by the IRA in the Narrow Water attack where 18 British soldiers were killed by two large bombs.
Mr O’Callaghan has insisted that his client had no involvement in the first case and only interviewed one person in the second case.
Under cross examination by Michael Durack, Counsel for the Garda Commissioner, Mr Keeley claimed that he was told that the Real IRA had one million Viagra tablets to sell and as it was believed he was now working as a drug smuggler he was asked to try and find a buyer.
He got four tablets from Patrick ‘Mooch’ Blair and it was checked that the tablets were genuine. They sold legitimately for £10 each but he told Mr Blair he would get £5, which would have raised £5m for the paramilitary group.
Mr Durack said there was no record in the Garda Fraud Bureau about anything like this. Mr Keeley suggested there was a problem with the record keeping in the bureau.
He also alleged that when in the IRA he was involved in a deal with the mafia. To ensure that no one had any recording devices on them, they all had to strip naked and jump into a swimming pool before any talks took place.
Mr Keeley claimed that in his IRA unit there was at least one person, or maybe two other people, supplying information to the security forces. Mr Durack asked him did that concern him.
“No,” he replied “why would it?”
“Because you were in the internal security unit. Isn’t that what they’re supposed to find out?” said Mr Durack.
Mr Keeley replied that his only involvement with the unit was to provide transport and other items like food when people were being questioned.
Keeley denies ‘liar’ claim
Earlier, Mr Keeley denied that he is a “pathological liar”.
Mr O’Callaghan accused Mr Keeley of being an “attention seeking, egotistical, fantasist and liar.” Mr Keeley rejected the assertion.
Mr O’Callaghan also put to Mr Keeley another claim he was in a car with IRA member Patrick ‘Mooch’ Blair when Mr Corrigan got in and told them Tom Oliver was passing information to gardaí.
But Mr Corrigan was on extended sick leave when the witness said this happened, so his evidence was that of a “pathological liar” according to Mr O’Callaghan.
The witness was adamant what he said was what happened and he denied lying to the tribunal.
It was also put to him that he was part of the IRA internal security unit who murdered Mr Oliver.
In his book ‘Unsung Hero’, Mr Keeley said he was in Ireland when Mr Oliver was kidnapped and murdered but said in direct evidence he was in Paris at the time.
Mr Keeley said there were inaccuracies in the book.
“You had a man tied up, in your own words, like a chicken in the back of a van and you drove him to his death,” said Mr O’Callaghan.
Mr Keeley insisted he was not involved in what he said was the second “arrest” of Mr Oliver and his subsequent murder.
It was also put to Mr Keeley that his claim Mr Corrigan had helped remove incriminating evidence from a bomb found in Omeath could not be true because Mr Corrigan was not involved in the investigation.
The witness said he was told that “our friend” had removed fingerprints and that “our friend” was Owen Corrigan.
High Court rejects Scappaticci review
The High Court has rejected an application for a judicial review brought on behalf on Freddie Scappaticci, the man who denies he is the British agent known as ‘Stakeknife’.
He brought the action following the decision of Judge Smithwick yesterday not to allow the legal teams observe Peter Keeley while being cross-examined by all lawyers at the Smithwick Tribunal.
Mr Keeley is giving evidence from behind a screen and only when cross-examining him can counsel see him.
Its been alleged at the tribunal that Mr Scappaticci was a member of the IRA and its internal security unit known as the ‘nutting squad’.
Mr Scappaticci has denied the claims or that he was the highly-prized British agent known as ‘Stakeknife’.
16 Dec 2011
FREDDIE SCAPPATICCI, who denies he was a British army agent within the IRA known as “Stakeknife”, has been refused leave to bring a High Court challenge arising from the Smithwick Tribunal’s decision allowing witness Kevin Fulton to give evidence from behind a screen.
Mr Scappaticci claimed his lawyer’s inability to see Mr Fulton, a former British army agent also known as Peter Keeley, while Mr Fulton was giving evidence to the tribunal was “procedurally unfair”.
He sought orders which would have the screen before Mr Fulton set up to allow lawyers representing all parties to see Mr Fulton while he was giving evidence.
In dismissing Mr Scappaticci’s application for leave to bring a judicial review challenge, the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, said the issue was a matter for the tribunal itself.
The tribunal was set up to inquire into suggestions that gardaí or other employees of the State colluded in the fatal shootings of RUC Chief Supt Harry Breen and RUC Supt Robert Buchanan in March 1989. Mr Fulton began giving evidence to the tribunal on Wednesday.
Mr Scappaticci also sought to prevent the tribunal proceeding with Mr Fulton’s evidence until that evidence was provided in a manner fair to Mr Scappaticci.
Yesterday, Mr Justice Kearns was told the screen around Mr Fulton was set up so that he could not be seen by the public. Only the lawyer asking Mr Fulton questions, the chairman of the tribunal, and tribunal staff were able to see the witness.
Lawyers representing Mr Scappaticci argued that allowing Mr Fulton to give his evidence in that manner was unnecessary, unduly restrictive and ignored the rights of lawyers to see the witness.
The court was told that, in his statement to the tribunal, Mr Fulton had made serious allegations of criminal participation against Mr Scappaticci who had been given representation at the tribunal as his character may be impugned by evidence given by Mr Fulton.
In an affidavit, Michael Flanigan, a solicitor acting for Mr Scappaticci, said his client disputed the allegations against him. Mr Fulton’s credibility is a central issue in the proceedings and there was no reason to screen Mr Fulton from other parties’ lawyers.
Mr Fulton had not objected to being seen by legal representatives from various interested parties, he added. The tribunal could sit in a court where appropriate screening would be set up allowing lawyers see Mr Fulton while he was giving his evidence, he added.
December 14, 2011
A British agent who infiltrated the IRA revealed there “wasn’t a day” when the terror group was not trying to kill a member of the security forces.
Peter Keeley, who is also known as Kevin Fulton, told a tribunal into alleged Garda-IRA collusion in Ireland that he was recruited for intelligence shortly after he joined the British Army in 1980.
He said he first started putting names to faces in photographs taken from dole queues in his home town of Newry before he was given false discharge papers from the army so he could begin infiltrating the terror republican group.
Giving evidence at the Dublin inquiry behind a screen to protect his identity, the 51-year-old said the republican group did not just make bombs.
“They shot people and targeted people,” he said.
“There wasn’t a day they weren’t trying to kill a member of the security forces.”
The Smithwick Tribunal is investigating allegations of Garda collusion over the IRA murders of senior RUC officers Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan on the Irish border in 1989, minutes after a Garda meeting.
Allegations by Mr Keeley that retired Dundalk-based Detective Garda Sergeant Owen Corrigan had assisted the IRA led to the establishment of the tribunal in 2005.
Mr Corrigan and two other named gardaí, former sergeants Leo Colton and Finbarr Hickey, all deny any collusion.
Mr Keeley told Judge Peter Smithwick he became very good friends with convicted IRA bomb-maker Patrick “Mooch” Blair in 1982/83.
“His reputation was that of an IRA man, it would have been an inroad. He took me under his wing,” said Mr Keeley.
The former British agent was jailed for two years for his role in a smuggling operation before being finally ‘green booked’ by the IRA in the mid-1980s by an unidentified member (known as Man A in the tribunal) and Mooch.
Mr Keeley revealed he helped out with the terror group’s notorious internal security unit, driving suspected informers to two properties for interrogation, but denied ever taking part in them. He also claimed Freddie Scappaticci and the late John Joe Magee were in the internal security unit.
“They (suspects) would be arrested, blindfolded, sometimes cable tied – the guy in the back would always have a pair of scissors in case we were stoppered, it would be a snip, and their hands would be free,” he continued.
Interrogators also used voice stress analysers, like polygraph, Mr Keeley added.
He said he was later taught by Mooch to make fire bombs and mercury tilt switch bombs.
While always made in the Republic, particularly in Dundalk and Omeath, they were sent north – but Mr Keeley stressed he did not know where the bombs he helped make were detonated.
Mr Keeley told the tribunal that by the early 1990s he wanted out because he was stressed after a couple of incidents went wrong.
He took a job at Disneyland Paris where he got a post painting movies and the Big Thunder Mountain ride.
“I wasn’t there too long and newspaper stories appeared ‘IRA gang was in Euro Disney’,” he added.
“We lost our jobs.”
He claimed the tip-off to the Sunday Express came from the security forces.
“I was trying to rebuild my life… It was to drag me back in,” he added.
An ex-Army intelligence officer can give evidence openly in London but not in Dublin. Just what are the authorities afraid of? Henry McDonald reports
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
Two public inquiries on either side of the Irish Sea – the same witness speaking openly at one and being gagged at the other. This is the Kafkaesque scenario facing the former Army intelligence officer Ian Hurst.
At the start of last week, Hurst gave open, public evidence in front of the Leveson inquiry in London, which is investigating press standards following the phone hacking scandals last summer.
The ex-member of the Army’s secretive Force Research Unit (FRU) had been the target of phone and computers hackers working for News International.
Hurst’s evidence concerned the hacking of his computer using a so-called ‘Trojan’ virus after he had been outed as a whistleblower.
Hurst is famous (or notorious) for providing critical information on two scandals involving the security forces during the Troubles: the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane and the exposé of the agent known as Stakeknife operating within the IRA.
Among others Hurst provided evidence of how most of the UDA unit involved in murdering Finucane in front of his family were working for one or more branch of the security forces at the time.
In relation to the revelation that Freddie Scappaticci – the IRA’s chief spy hunter – was himself a long-term British agent, Hurst played a central role in bringing this to light.
Given his background and knowledge of the undercover war against the IRA and loyalists (which often entailed the morally dubious practice of allowing state agents to commit crimes up to and including murder), Hurst became the focus of attention by the News of the World.
Essentially, this meant spying on Hurst, ironically using a former colleague in the now-disbanded FRU to infiltrate and read the ex-soldier’s email system – presumably to glean what he was saying to journalists, politicians, human rights organisations and campaign groups about the Stakeknife scandal.
During his testimony to Leveson Hurst repeated allegations aired a few months earlier in the BBC’s Panorama programme about how the Irish end of the News of the World had spied on him illegally.
Hurst is convinced that such practices – directed not only at himself, but also at the likes of former Labour Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain – posed a serious threat to both national security and the security of individuals working in the twilight world of intelligence.
For those in the Republic observing another tribunal currently running in Dublin, the contrast between Hurst speaking freely and unfettered was glaring.
Hurst wants to give evidence in person to the Smithwick Tribunal in Dublin, which is exploring how the Provisional IRA killed RUC officers Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan in 1989.
The inquiry is investigating allegations a garda mole provided the IRA with information to target the two police officers for murder. Yet Hurst has been told he can only deliver his testimony in Dublin behind closed doors, away from the media and the public.
Hurst claims to have evidence of Stakeknife’s role in the Breen/Buchanan killing and how the murder-plot was known to the highest-ranking members of the IRA and Sinn Fein at the time.
This he contends, is due to the fact that Stakeknife was also aware of the plan to ambush and kill the policemen on the Louth/south Armagh border.
In turn, Hurst has refused to go to Dublin unless he is allowed to speak in the open and under the scrutiny of the media like every other witness.
He has stated he believes the tribunal’s refusal to let him do so is politically motivated; that this reticence flows from the official policy of protecting key figures in the Northern Ireland peace process. There is a further contrast between the strictures the Smithwick Tribunal wishes to impose on Hurst and the way it treated other recent witnesses – no more so than the founder of the Real IRA, Michael McKevitt.
The inquiry even moved out of its usual location in Dublin’s Blackhall Place to another location close by to hear McKevitt’s evidence – the Republic’s heavily-guarded Special Criminal Court, where terrorist trials have been heard since the Troubles erupted.
McKevitt was the Provisional IRA’s so-called ‘quartermaster-general’ at the time of the Breen-Buchanan murders and lived in the north Louth area not far from Dundalk Garda Station.
He was a leading figure in the Provisionals in the late-1980s and would have had knowledge of many IRA operations in the border region.
Under the glare of the gathered media in open court, the convicted Real IRA member was cross-examined over allegations that he benefited from Garda tip-offs about raids on his home and that, implicitly, he and the local Provisionals had some ‘friendly’ police officers in the frontier zone.
The brother-in-law of the IRA icon Bobby Sands was afforded the opportunity to strongly deny such collusion existed which, of course, goes to the heart of Smithwick’s investigation.
However, an Army intelligence officer who ran operations to counter the activities of McKevitt and his ilk is offered no such opportunity to speak in public. This begs an important question in relation to the whole nature of the Troubles’ secret war: just what are the authorities in Dublin afraid of in regard to Hurst talking in public under privilege?
**Because Blogsome is closing, I wanted to make sure I had the information I previously posted on this man. It seems few of the original links are working, so here is just a little of what I have, and this is mainly to remind readers that searches for other older articles which are missing here can be successfully done on the other two SAOIRSE32 locations. The Atlantic article is intact and available at the source, but I will also re-copy so it is not lost. I have always wondered why the big Provos never went after Scap. It makes you wonder, yes?
**”Like Fulton, Scappaticci fled Northern Ireland. Rumors circulated that he had gone to Italy, specifically to a certain Hotel La Pace in Cassino…”
Please read: ‘Double Blind’ — The Atlantic
Media ban on ‘Stakeknife’ suspect”
BBC (link no longer works)
Posted 29 June 2006
The High Court in Belfast has imposed a media ban on publishing anything that could reveal the whereabouts of Freddie Scappaticci.
The Belfast man went into hiding after he was accused of being Stakeknife, a leading republican who was also a British informer within the IRA.
Mr Scappaticci has always denied those claims.
The ban also prevents the publication of any pictures taken of him within the last three years.
Scap spied at seaside resort
Sunday Life (link no longer works)
21 May 2006
Outed IRA spy Freddie ‘Stakeknife’ Scappaticci has been making frequent visits to a secret bolt-hole in PORTRUSH.
But his regular trips to the seaside resort have sparked a bitter war of words within the Security Services.
Furious MI5 officials have berated the Ministry of Defence after the former IRA ‘nutting squad’ boss and top Army agent moved into the seaside town.
Sunday Life has learned that Scappaticci, currently being investigated by the Stevens Inquiry, the Police Ombudsman and the PSNI in relation to various offences including murder, has been using the Co Antrim resort for rendezvous with family members.
He has been flying into various airports, but MI5 are said to be ‘livid’ and fear a Denis Donaldson-style assassination bid by disgruntled IRA members.
Scap has been spotted in Portrush on a number of occasions in recent weeks, by both police officers and by members of the public.
One Belfast man on a day trip to the town with his family said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw Stakeknife “walking along the promenade as if he hadn’t a care in the world.”
He added: “I thought it was stupid. He was along with a woman and there were other people there too.”
There have been other sightings of the IRA’s most wanted man in the town in recent weeks.
Scap has been living between Manchester, where he has relatives, and the Italian town of Cassino, where his father came from.
He has also been sighted holidaying in the Canary islands.
But it is his weekend trips to Portrush which has set alarm bells ringing inside MI5.
A senior security source told Sunday Life: “It is utter madness for Scappaticci to even consider visiting Ireland, never mind Portrush.
“He may have thought he could melt into the background in what is an overwhelmingly unionist town but his face is so recognisable.
“MI5 are very unhappy with his frequent visits there and have made their feelings clear to the Ministry of Defence who are Scap’s spymasters.”
The top republican, who once struck fear into IRA active service units, was paid £80,000-a-year for passing on republican secrets to the British.
However he has been linked to up to 40 murders during his time as an agent and his role in killing IRA members — many of whom were not informers — has led to a number of police investigations.
Families of several Provos killed by Scap have also been demanding an internal IRA inquiry, which has been resisted by the group’s ruling Army Council.
Stakeknife shadow leaves Smithwick in a dark place
The role of IRA double agent Freddie Scappaticci hangs over the Smithwick Tribunal in Dublin, writes Alan Murray
Tuesday, 21 June 2011
The provision of a statement last week by a former member of the Army’s agent-handling Force Research Unit leads the Smithwick Tribunal into a forbidding area.
While the statement, by Ian Hurst, is for ‘investigatory’ purposes only and cannot be used as evidence, it nevertheless leads the tribunal’s lawyers towards documents which might in themselves become evidence exhibits.
They will become evidence if they show a link between IRA members operating along the border and any Garda officer they compromised, or had contact with, in the period before the murders of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan.
The March 1989 ambush by the IRA followed a meeting arranged just hours earlier between Breen and Buchanan and their counterparts at Dundalk Garda station.
In spite a threat hanging over the tribunal by the Republic’s justice minister, Alan Shatter, that it could be wound up by November, concluded or not, little has emerged to date that throws new light on alleged collusion behind the killings. Hurst’s statement will take the tribunal into the area of CFs (contact forms) MISRs (Military Intelligence Source Reports) and RIRACs (Special Branch SB50 forms provided to the Army for intelligence purposes) – all of which remain secret.
How many classified registers of MISRs the tribunal will be allowed to see in London remains unclear. It is an area Judge Smithwick and his team of lawyers might have chosen not to enter, but circumstances have propelled them into the bowels of the Ministry of Defence.
Whether they turn up documents linking Belfast republican Freddie Scappaticci – known as ‘Stakeknife’ to his handlers – to one or more Garda officers then serving along the border is the key question.
Hurst is not allowed to speak about his military service in either Londonderry or Enniskillen between 1982 and his last tour of duty in 1990 as a member of the Force Research Unit. What we do know is that one Garda officer in particular has denied any link with Scappaticci and the IRA.
But the tribunal has other evidence which it can more easily produce which corroborates the reports that both Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan were concerned about the activities of the same Garda – to the extent that Buchanan raised his concerns with an officer of equivalent rank in Louth six months before his murder.
Last week, following just one day of evidence-taking in public, the tribunal’s lawyers travelled to London to interview at least one Army officer who, like Hurst, served here in the 1980s as a FRU officer and who reportedly was Scappaticci’s handler.
Whether Major David Moyles freely volunteered that information to Smithwick’s lawyers, or advised them that Scappaticci admitted to him that he met the Garda officer under suspicion, we will not know for some time.
Ten days ago, after former RUC assistant chief constable David Cushley had given evidence challenging the evidence of another former assistant chief constable, Archie Hayes, about arrangements for the fateful Dundalk meeting, a lawyer representing Garda commissioner Martin Callinan questioned him, not about arrangements for the meeting, but about Scappaticci. Did Mr Cushley know Scappaticci? Had he had dealings with him?
Is there some matter about Scappaticci which could emerge that would cause acute embarrassment to the Garda commissioner?
Ian Hurst may know the answer, but for the moment his testimony is denied to the tribunal following several High Court injunctions and other legal mechanisms which restrain his availability to give evidence. Witnesses are expected to appear in Dublin over four days this week as the meaty work of the tribunal gathers pace.