PSNI prioritisation of public order over hate expression criticised in report – Investigations & Analysis – Northern Ireland from The Detail

CONTROVERSIAL: Chief Constable Simon Byrne, centre, with heavily armed officers in Crossmaglen

Article: Stakeknife police chief emerges as surprise contender to be Met Police commissioner

Stakeknife police chief emerges as surprise contender to be Met Police commissioner

The head of MI5 (inset) was questioned over IRA double agent code-named Stakeknife, (circled in Red) head of the IRA’s nutting squad who is being investigated for 17 murders.

How MI5 is helping to cover up sexual abuse

Dozens murdered by IRA as informers listed

Records state some victims were wrongly accused 

PICTURED: some of the victims who were accused of being informers by the IRA and tortured and murdered by Stakeknife and his IRA unit.

On Monday December 30th 2019 seen the release of hundreds of previously secret British government files in Belfast and Dublin from 1996. From confidential discussions about the Drumcree crisis’s devastating impact to the ‘propaganda’ war and the private views of politicians, they shed light on key events during the Troubles and the fragile years of the emerging Peace Process. Reports by political historian Dr Éamon Phonenix and the Press Association 

A LIST of dozens of people murdered by the IRA after it accused them of “informing” to the state during the Troubles has been published.

One aged 21 years from Derry and his eyes taped closed and his hands tied behind his back. Many were dumped near the border with gunshot wounds to the head. The government named the dead as part of a draft historical argument for keeping intelligence evidence secret in the face of court proceedings. The details form part of archives disclosed by the Public Records Office of NI (Proni). A draft official submission said: “The Provisional IRA themselves have made it clear on a number that where they believe people within the organisation to be agents or informers they can expect no mercy.

The head of MI5 (inset) was questioned over IRA double agent code-named Stakeknife, (circled in Red) head of the IRA’s nutting squad who is being investigated for 17 murders.

“This usually means torture, followed by a forced confession and murder. “The corpse will then be found in a ditch, often many miles from the point of their abduction.” A sample list of alleged informers murdered by the Provisional IRA from 1978 until before the 1994 ceasefire was published in official files. In June of 1978 Daniel McErlean, aged 25, from Rasharkin in Co Antrim was found dead. His body was discovered at the border near the Co Armagh village of Jonesborough. In July 1979 Michael Kearney (20) from Belfast was found dead on the Concession Road in Clones. In February 1981 Patrick Trainer (28) pictured below, from Belfast was shot dead at Upton Cottages in Belfast.

Mr Patrick Trainer (28) who was accused of being an IRA informer and murdered by the IRA in 1981

The following year John Torbitt (28) was shot dead at his Lenadoon home in the west of the city. Two months later Seamus Morgan (24) from Dungannon in Co Tyrone was found dead in the south Armagh village of Forkhill. Patrick Scott from Twinbrook was found shot dead in an entry in west Belfast in 1982. Damian McCroy (20) was shot in the head in the Brumrallagh Estate in Strabane in Co Tyrone. Patrick Murray (30) was shot dead and his body found in an entry in West Belfast in 1986, in the shadow of Clonard monastery. Eamon Maguire (33) was from Finglas in Dublin and he was accused by republicans of being a Gardaí informer. His body was found on the main Dundalk to Castleblaney Road a quarter of a mile north of the border.

Loose-talk costs lives – Whatever you say-say nothing

John McAnulty (48) from Warrenpoint in Co Down, was abducted in the summer of 1989 from a pub in Armagh. His body was recovered in Crossmaglen in south Armagh. Rory Finnis (21) from Derry was found dead in June 1991. His hands had been tied behind his back and his eyes taped closed at Central Drive in the city’s Creggan estate. He was shot in the head.

Informers will be Executed – Informers will be Shot IRA

Thomas Oliver (33) from Riverstown in Dundalk was discovered in July 1991, days after his birthday. His body was found in a field in Belleeks, a village in Co Armagh. In the same area, on the Mountain Road, John Dignam (32) was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head on the first day of July, 1992. He was from Portadown in Co Armagh. Two other alleged informers from Portadown were found dead on the same day. Gregory Burns was aged 33. His remains were recovered on the Cullaville Road, close to the border. He was shot in the head.

The IRA Green Book

Aiden Starrs was aged 29. His body was found on the Dundalk Road in Newtownhamilton, again shot in the head. Two more, Robin Hill (22) from Coalisland in Co Tyrone and John Holmes (35) from Derry were found dead in similar circumstances before the end of 1992. In June 1993 the remains of Joseph Mulhern, pictured below, were discovered at Ballymongan in Castlederg in Co Tyrone six days before his 24th birthday. He was from Belfast.

Mr Joseph Mulhern, was executed six days before his 24th birthday for allegedly being an informer he was originally from Belfast

The security forces do not normally confirm whether or not a person was an informer. The official record said: “In a number of cases, persons murdered by the IRA have not been informers. “Furthermore, in other cases alleged informers have had to leave the North of Ireland at a moment’s notice and start a new life elsewhere, knowing that they can never return to their homes without facing the prospect of torture and murder, possibly having to cut off their links with close family members in order to avoid the risk of their new location being revealed.”

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Michael McHugh for the original story 

Former MI5 head warns court action over when spies can commit crimes risks exposing informants

Lord Evans of Weardale CREDIT: DAVID MIRZOEFF/PA

A former head of MI5 has warned that a legal challenge against the security services over when spies are allowed to commit crimes risks exposing informants who have entrenched themselves

Campaigners begin their action in the courts on Tuesday over a document which was released last year which states undercover agents were permitted to commit crimes if they thought it was necessary.

It was signed by David Cameron, and human rights activists are demanding an inquiry into the transparency of the secret services and how they conduct their operations.

But Lord Evans of Weardale, who was MI5 director general until 2013, told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme certain aspects of such sensitive material through the courts could put spies in danger.

Insisting that it was right that “there’s nothing wrong with bringing a case” against potential wrongdoing and that it “up to the courts to decide what the outcome would be”, he warned that some information could out informants.

He said: “One of the concerns here is that if the exact details of the parameters that are applied are made public then we’re in a situation where a terrorist group who is trying to find out if anybody is actually giving out information could set tasks for them in such a way as to be sure that if they refuse to do that task they know they are working for the intelligence services.

“Not only would that be bad for intelligence gathering, but it would also be very dangerous for the safety of the agent.”

Maya Foa, director of Reprieve – the campaign group bringing the legal action – said she wants to know “what the limits are to this policy”.

“We have only recently discovered that there has been a policy in operation for decades authorising agents of MI5 to potentially commit serious crimes including torture and unlawful killing,” she said.

“Does it mean they can torture? Does it mean they can kill people? Can we torture a five-year-old child of a suspect?”

Lord Evans dismissed the claims, and said: “This isn’t about torture, and it’s not about killing.

MI5/MI6 GCHQ London

“If you’re going to be able to understand the nature of the details of threats to mount terrorist attacks in this country – a really important source of intelligence is humans who are part of the conspiratorial group.

“For many years, probably for decades, we’ve been in a situation where human source intelligence has been absolutely critical for keeping this country safe.”

The former head of MI5 pointed out that by infiltrating a banned group like National Action, agents are already committing a crime by merely being a member.

But pushed on whether MI5 agents are permitted to carry out a punishment beatings such as kneecapping, he said: “The rules are very clear – they are, in this game or in this process to safeguard the public and in order to keep the country safe and able to maintain the rule of law.

“So that’s the ground rules. You have to act in a proportionate way.”

He added: “There are no specific rules on exactly which crimes but there is very clear process to ensure that this is only done at a level which is appropriate, which maintains security and maintains the rule of law.”

With many thanks to: The Telegraph and Gareth Davies for original story 

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Stakeknife: Fred Scappaticci ‘facing more than 30 lawsuits’

Fred Scappaticci strenuously denies he was an Army agent within the IRA

A west Belfast man who denies being Britain’s former top spy inside the IRA is now facing more than 30 potential lawsuits, the High Court has heard.

Writs have been issued against Fred Scappaticci, 72, in 24 separate cases.

Legal action has also been threatened by a further seven individuals over alleged kidnappings and interrogations.

The scale of litigation was revealed as police sought to protect material produced by a major probe into the agent codenamed Stakeknife.

Stakeknife linked to up to 50 murders
Bedfordshire Chief Constable Jon Boutcher, who is heading the Operation Kenova investigation, believes he has uncovered evidence of criminal wrongdoing by both IRA and security force members.

A judge was told he now intends to submit a report for consideration on potential prosecutions either by the end of the year or early in 2020.

Who is Stakeknife?

Mr Scappaticci left the North of Ireland when identified by the media as Stakeknife in 2003


Fred Scappaticci is alleged to have been the most high-ranking British agent within the Provisional IRA, who was given the codename Stakeknife.

He was the grandson of an Italian immigrant who came to Northern Ireland in search of work.

He has admitted to being a republican but denied claims that he was an IRA informer.

He is believed to have led the IRA’s internal security unit, known as ‘the nutting squad’, which was responsible for identifying and interrogating suspected informers.

Mr Scappaticci left Northern Ireland when identified by the media as Stakeknife in 2003.

Mr Scappaticci is being sued, along with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the PSNI, by Newry woman Margaret Keely.

She alleges that she was wrongfully arrested and held at Castlereagh police station in 1994 following an IRA attempt to murder a senior detective in east Belfast.

Mrs Keeley was released without charge, but claims she was then taken to a flat in the New Lodge area of the city and questioned by an IRA team.

Mr Scappaticci was one of the men who carried out two debriefing sessions, according to her account.

In court on Thursday, however, counsel for the MoD revealed the current total number of lawsuits against the alleged spy.

Tony McGleenan QC said: “There are 31 claims. Some have taken the form of correspondence (but) 24 writ actions have been issued.

“All of these name the second defendant (Scappaticci).”

Mr Justice Horner was told applications for closed material proceedings – so-called secret court hearings – is being considered for some of the cases due to issues of national security.

The new figure emerged as counsel for the police set out the case for ensuring all Operation Kenova’s working papers are “ring-fenced” from disclosure in the civil claims.

An investigative team of more than 60 police and civilian personnel has secured 1,000 statements and obtained 12,000 documents and exhibits comprising more than one million pages.

Detectives have conducted hundreds of non-evidential interviews and meetings, more than 100 evidential interviews and dozens of interviews under caution.

The court heard the civil actions may have to be put on hold until decisions are taken on any prosecutions.

Adjourning proceedings, Mr Justice Horner acknowledged the potential further delay due to the issues raised.

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original story


Saoradh Béal Feirste wish to highlight two recent approaches by British Security Forces seeking to recruit informants into their murky world of manipulation and self-interest


In the first instance, Gerard Lagan a former Republican POW and the father of a Saoradh Dun Dealgan member was travelling home to Ardoyne in Belfast from North Louth on Saturday. At the Hillsborough roundabout he was blue-lighted by an unmarked car. Believing this was a continuation of Stop and Search harassment he has been enduring, he pulled in. After taking his licence from him, one militiamen identified himself as “intelligence”, stating that he wanted “to save lives” and that Gerard and him “could help each other”. He offered to meet him somewhere less obvious for “a cup of coffee”.

The Ardoyne man rightly refused to engage whatsoever, instead stating continually that he had nothing to say and repeatedly telling them to “fuck off.” He immediately contacted local Republicans on his return home, making them aware of this incident and logged it with his solicitor.

In the second such incident, which occurred this morning at 11.30am, a Saoradh member from Ardoyne was leaving the MOT Test Centre at Mallusk on the outskirts of Belfast when approached by two men in a black Vauxhall Insignia RFZ 6874. He immediately and continually told them to “fuck off” which meant they were unable to disclose which Crown Force they were harassing him on behalf of.

The men produced bundles of money, saying it amounted to £20,000, and directly asked him to work for them for financial gain. He then phoned his solicitor in their presence while still telling them he would never do any such thing and still telling them to “fuck off”.

Despite knowing he had a solicitor on the phone listening, they said they were within their right to harass him. They also made reference to two recent arrests of Saoradh members saying “your mates are getting it tight, you don’t want to end up like them.”

In the case of this Saoradh activist, this is the second such approach by Crown Forces. He has now been threatened with assassination, imprisonment and unemployment in attempts to coerce him into treachery. He is to be commended for his refusal to engage, and immediately contacted local Republicans with information on this unwanted encounter.

Anyone, Republican or otherwise, can be subject to such approaches. They are not an indicator of weakness in terms of the individual targetted, but are the result of Crown Force desperation to further infiltrate our communities. Anyone approached by any Crown Force/State Agency should immediately contact their local Saoradh representative and log the incident with their solicitor.

Locally here in the city, anyone encountered in such a fashion can also call into our Belfast office facing the Falls Road RVH office Monday-Friday from 11am-3pm where they will recieve non-judgemental help and advice.

With many thanks to: Saoradh Béal Feirste


YOU probably didn’t notice and there’s no reason why you should, but the same day that a certain loyalist blogger and serial self-publicist was giving evidence to Stormont’s Nama inquiry the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) snuck out its policy paper on implementing the Stormont House Agreement.


Needless to say it got it got virtually no coverage in the tidal wave of sensational allegations made about the alleged recipients of money from the Cerberus deal. If you’ve ever wondered why the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) decided to draft the Stormont House Agreement Bill 2015 and bring it through Westminister rather than allow the clowns in the big house on the hill to legislate, once you read the policy paper all becomes clear. Quite simply the British government intends to control the Historical Inquires Unit (HIU), on what information it can have and what it can reveal. Anyone who beleives that the Policing Board will hold the HIU accountable is living in cloud-cuckoo land. “The secretary of state will have oversight of the HIU regarding reserved and excepted matters.” The UK government will prevent disclosure of any material or information ‘likely to prejudice national security (including information from the intelligence services)’. None of this material can be published ‘without the consent of the secretary of state’. Now as we all know from past experience, ‘likely to prejudice national security’ is whatever our proconsul for the time being decides is national security. When you look at the policy paper you see it begins with a questionable statement and continues to ignore all suggestions and recommendations made by interested parties, nationalist political parties, NGOs like the Committee for the Administration of Justice and university academics. In short, it’s a classic NIO document. It begins with the unconvincing claim that ‘the institutions have the needs of the victims and their families are at their heart’. No. The needs of secrecy in the Ministry of Defence, the NIO and the Home Office are at their heart. It has never been any different in the secretive British state.

For example it was only in 2002 after Freedom of Information requests that details of Special Branch investigation into Charles Stewart Parnell and other Irish MPs were released and even then only in restricted fashion. The names of informers (touts) and amounts paid are still secret 125 years after the fact. Academics at QUB, Sinn Féin (Shame Fein) politicians and the CAJ among others recommended that former RUC and RUC Special Branch personnel be not employed in the HIU partly because they may have been complicit in collusion or cover up or both. The great merit of the Historical Enquiries Team was that its personnel were seconded from English forces and we all know why. However, ignoring all that, ‘the bill does not prohibit the HIU from recruiting persons who have previously served in policing or security roles in the North of Ireland.’

So the HIU won’t work and the NIO has made sure it won’t work because it will only investigate and publish what the NIO allows it to invstigate and publish. Then there’s the Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR). It’s modelled on the Independent Commission on the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) which has worked extremely well. However, the NIO policy paper goes out of its way to make clear that while information given to the ICIR is inadmissible in court, if that information is obtained or can be obtained by other means then prosecution may follow.

That puts the kibosh on the ICIR because given the record of the PSNI over the past four years, starting with the Boston College fiasco (all hearsay) and continuing with their apparent trawling after the killing of Kevin McGuigan with almost a score of people arrested and released, who is going to risk giving information to the ICIR to pass to families? Inevitably individuals in the PSNI/RUC would be working backwards from the material a family recieved. In mitigation it has to be said on the basis of evidence so far, that’s only likely in the case of prominent Sinn Féin figures. Buried in the policy paper is our proconsul’s admission that ‘on some detailed questions covered in the bill, there is not yet a clear consensus between the five main North of Ireland parties. Work will continue to build consensus on remaining points of difference.’ Yeah right.
With many thanks to: Brian Feeny, for the origional story, The Irish News.

Ombudsman launches legal action against the Chief Constable Matt (the maggot) Baggott and the RUC/PSNI

Watchdog says police ‘have stalled’ investigations into deaths

THE RUC/PSNI is facing legal action from the Police Ombudsman, which accuses it of refusing to provide information about more than 60 deaths. 1975096_265836583595060_1936534027_n The BBC understands that the Ombudsman has been trying to find out if police acted on information it was given prior to a dissident republican bomb attack. Weeks later, Constable Peadar Heffron was seriously injured in a car bombing. Michael Maguire has served notice on the RUC/PSNI over its alleged failure to provide his investigators with material and said his inquiries had been stalled. The ombudsman’s office’s judicial reveiw will seek to compel the RUC/PSNI to provide the ombudsman with information. Dr Maguire said: “We cannot have a situation where a public body, and particularly the police, can decide whether or not it will cooperate with a criminal or misconduct investigation, particularly where legislation requires them to do so.” The ombudsman handles complaints about the conduct of officers and has undertaken a series of hard-hitting investigations that found serious faults, although in many other cases exonerating detectives. Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) chief constable Sir Hugh Orde, who formerly headed the RUC/PSNI, has called for a similar regulatory system to be introduced across the UK. Dr Maguire, pictured below said despite repeated requests over past months, the RUC/PSNI has on more than 100 occasions either refused to provide information to his office or has said it must first explain and jusify why the material is wanted.



He said: “The police have taken the view that they will decide whether or not to provide us with information and in many cases have now decided not to.” He said the legal action was unusual and unfortunate but necessary, adding: “The many thousands of people who make complaints to us every year do so on the basis that we have access to all the police information we need to independently investigate their complaint. “That principle is enshined in law and accepted across the community. Investigation by negotiation is not acceptable.” An  RUC/PSNI spokesman said the organisation has a legal responsibility for the care and management of all information which must be taken extremely seriously. “At the same time the PSNI also recognises the statutory responsibility to provide information to the Police Ombudsman, enabling exercise of his functions and legal responsibilities. “Police are currently seeking to agree a solution with PONI around these complicated, and sometimes unfortunately competing, legal issues. “We will continue to furfil our legal obligations with the primary consideration being that of protecting life in accordance with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human rights The .” Steps to protect life taken by the police in public fora like inquests have included the ommission of the Northern Ireland Secretary, which might identify some witnesses (informers) deemed to be at risk. The police spokesman said: “Until we can get a resolution, PSNI beleives that it has resonded aporopriately to each request, giving careful consideration on a case by case basis, to ensure that the respective legal requirements are met. “PSNI will continue to work with PONI to seek an agreement over our respective obligations and ensure we both have a shared understanding of the legal framework.” In September the ombudsman signed an agreement with chief constable Matt (the maggot) Baggott covering how requests are made and related procedures. The ombudsman’s office said: “However, investigations into the circumstances surronding more than 60 deaths/murders – both those from the past and more recently – have now been stalled by an RUC/PSNI refusal to provide certain material.” A spokeswomen for the Policing Board said: “Police cooperation and provision of information to the institutions with legislative responsibility for delevering independent oversight and accountability of the PSNI is critical. “The appilcation for leave for a judicial reveiw by the Police Ombudsman is very significant and a matter of great concern. Board members will discuss this with the chief constable at its meeting this week.” Chief Constable Matt (the maggot) Baggott also anounced yesterday that he was stepping down earlily. He was due to retire at the end of August, but his departure has been brought forward. Mr Baggott was due to retire at the end of August but now will be leaving at the end of this month.

With many thanks to: Michael McHugh, The Irish News, for the origional story.

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