Tag Archives: Force Research Unit

Pat Finucane – 12th February 1989 Executed by the UFF

Patrick Finucane

Image result for patrick finucane

Patrick Finucane (1949 – 12 February 1989) was a Northern Irish human rights lawyer killed by loyalist paramilitaries acting in collusion with the British government intelligence service MI5

In 2011 British Prime Minister David Cameron met with Pat Finucane’s family and admitted the collusion, although no member of the British security services has yet been prosecuted.

Image result for David Cameron belfast

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 – Disclaimer –

The views and opinions expressed in these pages/documentaries are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.

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Finucane’s killing was one of the most controversial during the Troubles in Northern IrelandFinucane came to prominence due to successfully challenging the British government in several important human rights cases during the 1980s. 

He was shot fourteen times as he sat eating a meal at his Belfast home with his three children and his wife, who was also wounded during the attack.

In September 2004, an Ulster Defence Association member, and at the time of the murder a paid informant for the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Ken Barrett, pleaded guilty to his murder. 

After much international pressure, the British government eventually announced that an inquiry would be held. This was one result of an agreement made between the British and Irish governments at Weston Park in 2001. The British government said it would comply with the terms agreed by the two governments at Weston Park.

They agreed to appoint an international judge that would review Finucane’s case and if evidence of collusion was found, a public inquiry would be recommended.  The British government reneged on this promise to Finucane’s family after the international judge found evidence of collusion.[10] The Daily Telegraph quoted Prime Minister David Cameron saying:

“[there are] people in buildings all around here who won’t let it happen”.

Two public investigations concluded that elements of the British security forces colluded in Finucane’s murder and there have been high-profile calls for a public inquiry. However, in October 2011, it was announced that a planned public inquiry would be replaced by a less wide-ranging review.

Image result for Desmond Lorenz de Silva

This review, led by Desmond Lorenz de Silva, released a report in December 2012 acknowledging that the case entailed:

“a wilful and abject failure by successive Governments”.

Finucane’s family called the De Silva report a “sham

Background

Born into a Catholic family in 1949, Finucane was the eldest child, with six brothers and one sister. He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin in 1973.

One of his brothers, John, a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) member, was killed in a car crash in the Falls Road, Belfast, in 1972.

Another brother, Dermot, successfully contested attempts to extradite him to Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland for his part in the killing of a prison officer; he was one of 38 IRA prisoners who escaped from HMP Maze in 1983.

A third brother Seamus was the fiancé of Mairead Farrell, one of the IRA trio shot dead by the Special Air Service (SAS) in Gibraltar in March 1988.  Seamus was the leader of an IRA unit in west Belfast before his arrest in 1976 with Bobby Sands and seven other IRA men, during an attempt to destroy Balmoral’s furniture store in south Belfast.

Image result for Finucane's wife, Geraldine,

He was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment. Finucane’s wife, Geraldine, whom he met at Trinity College, is the daughter of middle-class Protestants; together they had three children.

His uncle Brendan ‘Paddy’ Finucane was an ace fighter pilot praised by Churchill for his heroism.

Pat Finnucane with Patrick McGeown

 

Pat Finucane’s best-known client was the IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands. He also represented other IRA and Irish National Liberation Army hunger strikers who died during the 1981 Maze prison protest, Brian Gillen, and the widow of Gervaise McKerr, one of three men shot dead by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in a shoot-to-kill incident in 1982.

In 1988, he represented Pat McGeown, who was charged in connection with the Corporals killings, and was photographed with McGeown outside Crumlin Road Courthouse.

Killing

Finucane was shot dead at his home in Fortwilliam Drive, north Belfast, by Ken Barrett and another masked man using a Browning Hi-Power 9mm pistol and a .38 revolver respectively. He was hit 14 times.

Image result for Browning Hi-Power 9mm pistol

The two gunmen knocked down the front door with a sledgehammer and entered the kitchen where Finucane had been having a Sunday meal with his family; they immediately opened fire and shot him twice, knocking him to the floor. Then while standing over him, the leading gunman fired 12 bullets into his face at close range.

Gerldine Finucane

Finucane’s wife Geraldine was slightly wounded in the shooting attack which their three children witnessed as they hid underneath the table. The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) immediately launched an investigation into the killing.

The senior officer heading the CID team was Detective Superintendent Alan Simpson, who set up a major incident room inside the RUC D Division Antrim Road station. Simpson’s investigation ran for six weeks and he later stated that from the beginning, there had been a noticeable lack of intelligence coming from the other agencies regarding the killing.

Finucane’s killing was widely suspected by human rights groups to have been perpetrated in collusion with officers of the RUC and, in 2003, the British Government Stevens Report stated that the killing was indeed carried out with the collusion of police in Northern Ireland.

The Ulster Defence Association/Ulster Freedom Fighters (UDA/UFF) claimed they killed the 39-year-old solicitor because he was a high-ranking officer in the IRA. Police at his inquest said they had no evidence to support this claim. Finucane had represented republicans in many high-profile cases, but he had also represented loyalists.

Image result for sean o'callaghan ira

Several members of his family had republican links, but the family strongly denied Finucane was a member of the IRA. Informer Sean O’Callaghan has claimed that he attended an IRA finance meeting alongside Finucane and Gerry Adams in Letterkenny in 1980.

However both Finucane and Adams have consistently denied being IRA members.

In Finucane’s case, both the RUC and the Stevens Report found that he was not a member of the IRA. Republicans have strongly criticised the claims made by O’Callaghan in his book ‘The Informer’ and subsequent newspaper articles. One Republican source says O’Callaghan:

“…has been forced to overstate his former importance in the IRA and to make increasingly outlandish accusations against individual republicans.”

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Patrick Finucane and State collusion

 

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Later investigations into the murder

In 1999, the third inquiry of John Stevens into allegations of collusion between the security forces and Loyalist paramilitaries concluded that there was such collusion in the murders of Finucane and Brian Adam Lambert.

As a result of the inquiry, RUC Special Branch agent and loyalist quartermaster William Stobie, a member of the Ulster Defence Association was later charged with supplying one of the pistols used to kill Finucane, but his trial collapsed because he claimed that he had given information about his actions to his Special Branch handlers.

The pistol belonged to the UDA, which at the time was a legal organisation under British law. A further suspect, Brian Nelson, was a member of the Army’s Force Research Unit. He had provided information about Finucane’s whereabouts, and also claimed that he had alerted his handlers about the planned killing.

See : Force Research Unit 

In 2000, Amnesty International demanded that the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Mandelson, open a public inquiry into events surrounding his death. In 2001 as a result of the Weston Park talks, a retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory was appointed by the British and Irish governments to investigate the allegations of collusion by the RUC, British Army and the Gardaí in the killing of Finucane, Robert Hamill and other individuals during the Troubles.

Cory reported in April 2004, and recommended public enquiries be established including the case of the Finucane killing.

In 2004, a former policeman, Ken Barrett, pleaded guilty to Finucane’s murder. His conviction came after a taped confession to the police, lost since 1991, re-surfaced.

In June 2005, the then Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told a US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland that “everyone knows” the UK government was involved in the murder of Pat Finucane.

On 17 May 2006, the United States House of Representatives then passed a resolution calling on the British government to hold an independent public inquiry into Finucane’s killing.

Initial investigations

A public inquiry was announced by the British Government in 2007, but it was halted under the Inquiries Act 2005, which empowers the government to block scrutiny of state actions. Finucane’s family criticised its limited remit and announced that they would not co-operate. Judge Peter Cory also strongly criticised the Act.

Amnesty International logo.svg

Amnesty International has reiterated its call for an independent inquiry, and have called on members of the British judiciary not to serve on the inquiry if it is held under the terms of the Act.

Finucane’s widow, Geraldine (born 1950), has written letters repeating this request to all the senior judges in Great Britain, and took out a full-page advertisement in the newspaper The Times to draw attention to the campaign. In June 2007, it was reported that no police or soldiers would be charged in connection with the killing.

On 11 October 2011, members of the Finucane family met with Prime Minister David Cameron in Downing Street. Cameron provided them with an official apology for state collusion into Pat Finucane’s death. Following the meeting, Finucane’s son Michael said that he and the family had been “genuinely shocked” to learn that the Cory recommendation of a public enquiry, previously accepted by Tony Blair, would not be followed, and that a review of the Stevens and Cory casefiles would be undertaken instead.

 Geraldine Finucane described the proposal as:

“nothing less than an insult…a shoddy, half-hearted alternative to a proper public inquiry”.

The following day, the official apology was given publicly in the House of Commons by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson.[35]

De Silva report

Sir Desmond de Silva

On 12 December 2012, the government released the Pat Finucane Review, the results of the inquiry conducted by Sir Desmond de Silva.

The report documented extensive evidence of State collaboration with Loyalist gunmen, including the selection of targets, and concluded that “there was a wilful and abject failure by successive governments to provide the clear policy and legal framework necessary for agent-handling operations to take place effectively within the law.”

 

William Stobie.jpg

See : William Stobie 

 

Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged “shocking levels of collusion” and issued an apology.

However, Finucane’s family denounced the De Silva report as a “sham” and a “suppression of the truth” into which they were allowed no input.

In May 2013, state documents dated 2011 disclosed through the courts revealed that David Cameron’s former director of security and intelligence, Ciarán Martin, had warned him that senior members of Margaret Thatcher’s government may have been aware of “a systemic problem with loyalist agents” at the time of Pat Finucane’s death but had done nothing about it.

Posthumous

Finucane’s law firm, Madden & Finucane Solicitors, led by Peter Madden, continues to act for those it considers to have been victims of mistreatment by the State, or their survivors. The Pat Finucane Centre (PFC), named in his honour, is a human rights advocacy and lobbying entity in Northern Ireland.

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 – Disclaimer –

The views and opinions expressed in these pages/documentaries are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.

“Stakeknife” – Is time running out for Freddie Scappaticci ?

Will the IRA’s ‘double-agent assassin’ face justice at last?

TO the IRA, he was one of their trusted, cold-blooded killers — yet to the British military, “Stakeknife” was their top informant.

  “Stakeknife

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Freddie Scappaticci Stakeknife Secret Recordings.

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See Martin McGartland and Republican Informers

See Brian Nelson

The Nutting Squad

Freddie Scapatticci British Agent License to Kill

That was the codename given to Alfredo “Freddie” Scappaticci by his spy handlers at the top secret Force Research Unit (FRU).

As chief of the IRA’s Nutting Squad, who shot victims through the head, he is thought to have killed at least 40 people over 25 years.

Yet at the same time Stakeknife — who always taped his victims screaming for mercy as he tortured them — was pocketing £80,000 a year from the Brits for information that led to the deaths and imprisonment of dozens of IRA members.

Families of some of his victims claim Stakeknife was allowed to get away with murder because he was the “jewel in the crown” of informants.

Britain has always said it did not deal with the IRA during the Troubles, but a new probe could blow that assertion out of the water

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Gen. John Wilsey confirms: Stakeknife is Freddie Scappaticci

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This week Northern Ireland’s director of public prosecutions, Barra McGrory, ordered an inquiry into Stakeknife. He announced he had asked PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton to look into the case.

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton

It comes as three investigations into alleged police and Army collusion in around 24 murders have been collectively examined by Northern Ireland’s Police Ombudsman.

A major Stakeknife investigation promises justice at last for the relatives of his victims, who will finally hear just how much he and British military intelligence were involved in Northern Ireland’s “dirty war”.

Shauna Moreland,

People like Shauna Moreland, 31, whose mother Caroline was tortured then executed by Stakeknife and his Nutting Squad in 1994, two months before the IRA ceasefire.

The bloodied body of the 34-year-old mother of three was found dumped on wasteland in Co Fermanagh. She had been held and tortured for 15 days for telling police about the location of a single rifle.

In one of Stakeknife’s sick recordings, released after her death, Caroline is heard pleading for her life.

Victim ... Caroline Moreland
Victim … Caroline Moreland

Remembering the last day she saw her mother, Shauna recalls: “It was just a normal day. She was in the kitchen ironing. She was going off for the day on a bus run somewhere.

“I was going over to my granny’s. It was just the normal getting stuff together, giving her a kiss and a hug and saying ‘I love you, goodbye’.”

She adds: “I was ten at the time she was killed. She was missing for 15 days and I don’t have memories of all that time, it was a hard time.

“She is on my mind always, it is every day. And I have a memory of the day I found out she was dead.”

Shauna believes her mother, like many of Stakeknife’s victims, was “sacrificed” by the British military to protect their agent.

When Stakeknife, now 68, was finally unmasked in 2003, he was allowed to flee Northern Ireland to a safe house abroad amid allegations that the British secret services were protecting him.

Martin Ingram, the former FRU member who first outed Stakeknife, said the double agent was allowed to kill because he was too valuable an agent to British military intelligence.

It is alleged that even when they had prior knowledge of his actions they did not stop him. And his victims are said to have included other military intelligence agents.

Martin says: “He was an agent who killed his own people. Simple as that.”

Shortly after he was outed as Stakeknife, Scappaticci — or “Scap” to his IRA pals — undertook a High Court action in the UK asking the British Government to publicly deny he was an agent. They refused, saying to do so would put other agents in danger.

They have consistently refused to comment on Stakeknife but it was revealed in court documents during another case that Scappaticci was being given security by the British Government at that time.

Since then there have been constant calls for Stakeknife to be prosecuted for the crimes he allegedly committed.

Shauna Moreland says: “Someone, somewhere is sitting in an office and deciding what I can and cannot know about my mother’s murder. That’s hard, really hard.” Earlier this year she confronted former IRA commander and Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, demanding something was done about Stakeknife.

Shauna said McGuinness assured her he was “looking into it” but she has heard nothing since.

Though pleased with this week’s announcement that Stakeknife WILL finally be investigated, she adds: “Justice is going to take a while, it’s not going to happen overnight.

“But I am hopeful we will get there in some way. There will be some sort of closure to this, I have to believe that . . . My hope is that one day the public might be told exactly what happened and wh

Why someone turned a blind eye, despite knowing the identity of those involved in her mother’s murder, before and after it took place.

Martin Ingram

Talking about why he unmasked Stakeknife, Martin Ingram says: “Certain activities of the FRU sickened me.I believe genuine secrets deserve to be protected, acquiescence in murder does not.”

Martin had not handled Stakeknife but was aware of his existence and what the FRU was doing with him.

He outed him to a journalist in 2000 after picking up Killing Range, a book by IRA member Eamon Collins in which Stakeknife was said to have joked about the killing of an informer. It horrified Martin because he knew Stakeknife had been the FRU’s top grass.

When he tried to whistleblow in the Press he was prosecuted by the British Government, his house burgled and important documents stolen. It was three years later that Stakeknife’s identity was finally revealed in the newspapers.

When Stakeknife was outed Scappaticci was, according to sources, ordered by the IRA to “go on the attack and brazen it out”.

He spoke to reporters on his doorstep. He pointed to the brickdust stains on his shorts and said, matter-of-factly: “Listen, I’ve been building blocks all day. Does it look like I’ve been getting £80,000 a year?”

He also said he was suffering “depression and stress” as a result of the allegations, and told Irish paper the Sunday Business Post: “My life’s been turned upside down.

“I’m not a religious person but I’ve been in touch with the priests. It’s for spiritual help.”

Scappaticci later said: “According to the Press I am guilty of 40 murders. But I am telling you this now, after this has settled I want to meet the families of the people that they said I murdered.

“And when I do I will stand in front of them and say, ‘I didn’t do it. I had no part in it’. And I will look them straight in the eye when I do it.”

But within weeks he had gone into hiding. His whereabouts remain unknown. Among those who would like to look him in the eye is the brother of Robin Hill, who was executed by the Nutting Squad in 1992.

Robin was kidnapped and held for a week before he was shot dead and dumped in a back alley in the Beechmount area of West Belfast.

Speaking of Stakeknife, Randolph Hill, 54, said, yesterday: “If I knew where he was, I would call at his door. It is good that the police are looking into all of this but there is a lot to get through to get to the bottom of it.

“The only thing that would satisfy me is an international investigation, an outside police force, outside the UK or Ireland, looking at it.”

Original story by The Sun

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Freddie “Stakeknife” Scappaticci

Bomb plot foiled, but at what cost?

SHORT, stocky and swarthy, Freddie “Stakeknife” Scappaticci is an unlikely looking secret agent.

His Italian grandfather was an ice-cream seller who migrated to Ireland in the 1920s and Freddie grew up in a small, red-bricked terraced house in West Belfast.

In his youth he was a talented footballer who tried out for Nottingham Forest.

A builder by trade, Freddie joined the IRA in 1970 and was interned twice — once with current Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

A committed republican, he quickly rose through the ranks to become chief of the Nutting Squad, but after falling out with a fellow IRA man he was given a brutal punishment beating.

He approached British military intelligence in around 1976 and was handed over to the FRU, which gave him his codename.

Such was the quality of Stakeknife’s information that soon a whole department, known as the Rat Hole, was set up to handle him. One of his biggest “successes” as far as the FRU was concerned was the “Death on the Rock” SAS ambush of three IRA members, believed to be planning a bomb attack in Gibraltar in 1988.

Stakeknife’s tip led to the three, who included a woman, being killed before they could carry out the murderous plot.

Such coups are said to be why even when Stakeknife warned the FRU he had been asked to target a suspect informer — even requesting the person be moved to the UK — the killing was allowed to go ahead.

Some of the victims are said to have included people the FRU knew were British agents, sometimes working for the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

The FRU is said to have gone to extreme lengths to protect its “golden egg”.

In one case it is said to have set up an innocent 66-year old pensioner to be assassinated instead of Stakeknife.

Having got wind of a plot by the Ulster Freedom Fighters to assassinate the top agent it handed over a fake dossier suggesting the target was actually another Italian — retired taxi driver Francisco Notorantonio, who died in a hail of bullets.

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Additional Information

Stakeknife[1] is the code name of a spy who infiltrated the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) at a high level, while working for the top secret Force Research Unit (FRU) of the British Army. Reports claim that Stakeknife worked for British intelligence for 25 years.[2]

Stakeknife had his own dedicated handlers and agents and it was suggested that he was important enough that MI5 set up an office dedicated solely to him. Rumours suggested that he was being paid at least £80,000 a year and had a bank account in Gibraltar.[3]

Serious allegations have emerged to the effect that the British government allowed up to forty people to be killed via the IRA’s Internal Security Unit or “Nutting Squad” to protect his cover.[4] In 1987 Sam McCrory, an Ulster Defence Association/”Ulster Freedom Fighters” member, killed the 66-year-old Francisco Notarantonio at his home in Ballymurphy in West Belfast.[5] The UDA/UFF had discovered that a senior IRA member was working for the FRU.[clarification needed] It has been alleged that FRU agent Brian Nelson gave Notarantonio’s name to the UDA/UFF to protect the identity of the real spy.

On 11 May 2003, several newspapers named Freddie Scappaticci as Stakeknife. Scappaticci denied the claims and launched an unsuccessful legal action to have the British government state he was not their agent.[6] He later left Northern Ireland and was rumoured to be living in Cassino, Italy. There were also reported sightings in Tenerife.[7]

A report in a February 2007 edition of the Belfast News Letter reported that a cassette recording allegedly of Scappaticci talking about the number of murders he was involved in via the “Nutting Squad”, as well as his work as an Army agent, had been lodged with the PSNI in 2004 and subsequently passed to the Stevens Inquiry in 2005.[8]

The former British Intelligence agent who worked in the FRU known as “Martin Ingram” has written a book titled Stakeknife since the original allegations came to light in which it says Scappaticci was the agent in question.

In October 2015 is was announced that Scappaticci was to be investigated by the Police Service of Northern Ireland over at least 24 murders.[9]

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Force Research Unit

Republican mural explaining collusion between Force Research Unit operatives and the Ulster Defence Regiment

The Force Research Unit or Field Reconnaissance Unit (FRU)[1] was a covert military intelligence unit of the British Army that was active during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It was established in the early 1980s by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence and was a successor to similar units such as the MRF and SRU. The FRU was part of the British Army’s Intelligence Corps and was based at Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn. From 1987 to 1991, it was commanded by Gordon Kerr.

The FRU used double agents to infiltrate Irish republican and Ulster loyalist paramilitary groups.[2] Its existence was revealed in the 1990s by the Stevens Inquiries. The inquiries found that—in its efforts to defeat the Provisional IRA—the FRU used these agents to help loyalists to kill people, including civilians. This has been confirmed by some former members of the unit.[3] The unit also mounted undercover surveillance operations.

Training

Because this unit was an Intelligence Corps-sponsored unit, all FRU personnel were trained at a “Top Secret” intelligence facility in Templer Barracks, Ashford, known as the Specialised Intelligence Wing (SIW)[citation needed] (often wrongly called the Special Intelligence Wing[citation needed]). The Specialised Intelligence Wing was part of the School of Service Intelligence within Templer Barracks and was commanded by an Intelligence Corps Lieutenant-Colonel. The Senior Instructor was always an Intelligence Corps officer but Directing Staff (DS) were drawn from a variety of British Army units, including Special Forces. The unit was simply referred to as “The Manor” by soldiers because the unit was based in Repton Manor, a grade 2 listed building. Repton Manor also contained the Photographic Section run by Royal Air Force personnel. There were additional pre-fabricated buildings at the rear of the manor house used by SIW’s L Branch who had the responsibility of re-settling and protecting former high-value Irish informers and agents throughout the United Kingdom and abroad. Much FRU training took place nearby at the Cinque Ports Ranges in Hythe and Lydd (Northern Ireland Training and Advisory Team) and at Overhill Camp, Cheriton, Folkestone (an Intelligence Corps sub-unit). The barn and stables behind Repton Manor were used to keep surveillance-adapted cars and vans which were used by soldiers for surveillance tasks.[citation needed]

Collusion with loyalist paramilitaries

A mural of the UDA/UFF

In the mid 1980s, the FRU recruited Brian Nelson as a double agent inside the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). The UDA was a legal Ulster loyalist paramilitary group that had been involved in hundreds of attacks on Catholic and nationalist civilians, as well as a handful on republican paramilitaries. The FRU helped Nelson become the UDA’s chief intelligence officer.[4] In 1988, weapons were shipped to loyalists from South Africa under Nelson’s supervision.[4] Through Nelson, the FRU helped the UDA to target people for assassination. FRU commanders say their plan was to make the UDA “more professional” by helping it to kill republican activists and prevent it from killing uninvolved Catholic civilians.[2] They say if someone was under threat, agents like Nelson were to inform the FRU, who were then to alert the police.[2] Gordon Kerr, who ran the FRU from 1987 to 1991, claimed Nelson and the FRU saved over 200 lives in this way.[2][5] However, the Stevens Inquiries found evidence that only two lives were saved and said many loyalist attacks could have been prevented but were allowed to go ahead.[5] The Stevens team believes that Nelson was responsible for at least 30 murders and many other attacks, and that many of the victims were uninvolved civilians.[5] One of the most prominent victims was solicitor Pat Finucane. Although Nelson was imprisoned in 1992, FRU intelligence continued to help the UDA and other loyalist groups.[6][7] From 1992 to 1994, loyalists were responsible for more deaths than republicans for the first time since the 1960s.[8]

Allegations exist that the FRU sought restriction orders in advance of a number of loyalist paramilitary attacks in order to facilitate easy access to and escape from their target. A restriction order is a de-confliction agreement to restrict patrolling or surveillance in an area over a specified period. This de-confliction activity was carried out at a weekly Tasking and Co-ordination Group which included representatives of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, MI5 and the British Army. It is claimed the FRU asked for restriction orders to be placed on areas where they knew loyalist paramilitaries were going to attack.[9]

Alleged infiltration of republican paramilitary groups

FRU are also alleged to have handled agents within republican paramilitary groups. A number of agents are suspected to have been handled by the FRU including IRA units who planted bombs and assassinated.[citation needed] Attacks are said to have taken place involving FRU-controlled agents highly placed within the IRA. The main agent to have been uncovered so far was codenamed “Stakeknife“. There is a debate as to whether this agent is IRA member Freddie Scappaticci or another, as yet unidentified, IRA member.[10]

“Stakeknife” is thought to have been a member of the IRA’s Internal Security Unit – a unit responsible for counter-intelligence, interrogation and court martial of informers within the IRA. It is believed that “Stakeknife” was used by the FRU to influence the outcome of investigations conducted by the IRA’s Internal Security Unit into the activities of IRA volunteers.

It is alleged that in 1997 the UDA came into possession of details relating to the identity of the FRU-controlled IRA volunteer codenamed “Stakeknife”. It is further alleged that the UDA, unaware of this IRA volunteer’s value to the FRU, planned to assassinate him. It is alleged that after the FRU discovered “Stakeknife” was in danger from UDA assassination they used Brian Nelson to persuade the UDA to assassinate Francisco Notarantonio instead, a Belfast pensioner who had been interned as an Irish republican in the 1940s.[11] The killing of Notarantonio was claimed by the UFF at the time.[12] Following the killing of Notarantonio, unaware of the involvement of the FRU, the IRA assassinated two UDA leaders in reprisal attacks. It has been alleged that the FRU secretly passed details of the two UDA leaders to the IRA via “Stakeknife” in an effort to distract attention from “Stakeknife” as a possible informer

See Martin McGartland and Republican Informers

See Brian Nelson

See Raymond Gilmour

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The Dirty War

Click to buy this book

1969 was a year of rising tension, violence and change for the people of Northern Ireland. Rioting in Derry’s Bogside led to the deployment of British troops and a shortlived, uneasy truce. The British army soon found itself engaged in an undercover war against the Provisional IRA, which was to last for more than twenty years.

In this enthralling and controversial book, Martin Dillon, author of the bestselling The Shankill Butchers, examines the roles played by the Provisional IRA, the State forces, the Irish Government and the British Army during this troubled period. He unravels the mystery of war in which informers, agents and double agents operate, revealing disturbing facts about the way in which the terrorists and the Intelligence Agencies target, undermine and penetrate each other’s ranks.

The Dirty War is investigative reporting at its very best, containing startling disclosures and throwing new light on previously inexplicable events.

 

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