The RUC and the Cosa Nostra

On 6th June 1990 there were, on conservative estimates ,100  RUC informers among the PIRA in Belfast.

Each had a team of  handlers, probably four in number, to cover sickness, leave etc. Four hundred so far.

The handlers had bosses; sergeants, inspectors, chief inspectors, superintendents etc.  Let’s estimate a further fifty senior officers.

Four hundred and fifty so far.

Then the meetings had to be covered by E4A and others, each one, day by day. Maybe another 100 officers , who would have seen the likes of Scappaticci, Sean Maguire, Brian Gillen etc “singing like canaries” in car parks in Hillsborough, Holywood , Helens Bay etc.

Five hundred and fifty.

The there was the “Hen House” where women, in serried ranks typed up the transcripts of the recordings of the meetings. Another fifty, at least.

Six hundred now.

Move to the civil servants in the NIO and others who read the ‘product’.

Then the Director of Public Prosecutions and his staff…

I’m rounding it up at seven hundred.

Maybe a third are dead.

But out there , today are several hundred people who could help the victims. They could tell the awful story of state involvement in supposedly terrorist murders.

Only a few  have spoken out.

Why? Like the Cosa Nostra , the silent ones  are motivated by money. Patten payments. Big pensions.

Before turning attention and criticism on the republicans, victims should ask themselves-why the silence? The answer is that the relevant RUC officers and civil servants are corrupt. Like the Mafia.

Who? Think of Flanagan, White, McQuillan , Matchett and Mains, all still earning  from the misfortunes of the victims and failing to tell the truth.

This is the real tragedy of the Troubles.

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Marking twenty eight years

In any other jurisdiction, there are cold case reviews on a regular basis. Even the PSNI is embracing this idea , with the recent activity over the death of Inga Maria Hauser, found dead in April 1988.

As someone said , recently, sad as it is, why her?

The answer of course is that the huge lump of Troubles deaths involve the state and the vast store of documents, implicating it. There are stores  in Sprucefield, Seapark and Thiepval, where the army sits on a million copies. The state, in the form of Hamilton, Harris and the faceless people of MI5 will keep the lid on, as best they can.

All the citizen can do is keep probing.

What is additionally disappointing is that the new leaders appear to have gone to Spooks Academy.

Consider the letter written by the deputy director of the PPS in the case of Seamus Ludlow. His understanding of hearsay would shame a first year law student. How did he become deputy director and regurgitate all the lines of the state? Can you guess? Let’s hope he gets well spanked in the High Court.

As part of the week to mark twenty eight years since the murders of my parents, I am posting a secret document, giving an insight into how the state worked.

There will be other posts in this anniversary week.

 

Loughinisland, the strange case of K

Who is person K, referred to in the PONI report ?

His family live between Clough and Dundrum. He is related to Delbert Watson who was convicted of the murder of Jack Kielty in Dundrum in January 1988. Also convicted of that murder were David Curlett and William Bell, the driver of the getaway car. Doreen Watson, whose husband had been murdered by the IRA , sister of Delbert , was convicted of manslaughter.

K , according to Maguire, is a heavily traced terrorist. He has been linked to a conspiracy to murder Peter McCarthy  and the attempted murder of John Henry Smyth. He is alleged to have been involved in the murder of Peter McCormack in Kilcoo on 19 November 1992.

Police told Maguire that he was part of a UVF unit.

Dear Reader, you might pause here to wonder, if the RUC Special Branch, inter alia , was involved in collusion with terrorists, why it would divulge this information to the PONI. I leave that with you.

K and others were identified by Special Branch  to the Loughinisland MIT on the morning after the murders, as potential suspects.

K was arrested and interviewed several times on 18 July 1994. He provided an alibi for the time of the shootings. He said that he was in the Clough Inn with his girlfriend.

This alibi was not properly investigated, says Maguire . It is hard to see what the police could have done , two years later, to establish the truth of the alibi.

Maguire makes a mistake when he says at paragraph 7.169 that K’s hair sample was obtained and found to be a ‘microscopic match ‘ to a hair recovered from a holdall. The bag had not been found at this point.

The holdall was  not found until  4 August 1994. A hair found therein was examined and K was arrested again on 22 August  and the match was made. Caution should be exercised re hair matching after the FBI scandal regarding the science of hair matching.

However, police had a holdall in which they had found, inter alia,  the hair and some overalls. The overalls showed a link with the seats of a Triumph Acclaim car found in a field and bearing a resemblance to the getaway car. Close by was found the VZ58 rifle which was the murder weapon. Fibres from the rifle matched fibres recovered from the Triumph Acclaim.

It is tolerably clear that the Acclaim was the getaway car.

Also, found on a roadway , was a blanket. It has not been properly examined.

I do not know if K has a criminal record, or other matters which might be used as bad character.

I do not know if the hair provided DNA evidence to link K to the bag.

In any event, it is hard to understand why K has not been charged in connection with the murders.

Maguire provides no explanation.

Additionally he makes no case that K was in any way protected, especially by Special Branch. If there was “collusion” as widely defined by Maguire , one might have expected Special Branch to have with held information in respect of K. Instead, the morning after the murders, they tell the MIT about K. K is , one might have thought, a prime suspect.

Maguire makes no criticism of the rigour of the initial investigation.

What is always absent from these reports is the general context.

Viewed as a homicide in leafy Surrey, I’m sure there are points to be made. Northern Ireland was a different environment, with the police overwhelmed by terrorist  crime.

But the question remains.

Who is K and is he a State agent?

That, more than grandstanding by Maguire , would be a fact that the relatives of Loughinisland would prefer to know.

 

Gripping the IRA :Part II

It is useful to set out the correspondence in extenso.  [Lawyers love Latin, no more so than Lord Carswell,  that Old Instonian, whose surprising expenses claims for attendance at the House of Lords were set out in extenso in the Sunday Times.]

But I digress.

Here is the correspondence.

IMG_3486

fullsizeoutput_266bVersion 2IMG_3485What is surprising about this exchange , coming in late 1988, is the pessimism shown by Peter Bell.

Note his comment “there still remains too much adhoccery in the way Whitehall grips…the kind of problem which IRA terrorism is likely to present us with over the coming months”.

Ivor Roberts has no firm proposals, in reply, except for a jolly good lunch. [Your club or mine?]

The exchange does not sit well with the analysis by those who say that by this point PIRA was heavily infiltrated and was being paralysed.

It does, however , point to the likelihood that each of the agencies, RUC , Box and Army , were very much doing their own thing with informers. That leads on to the question whether or not the RUC, with a duty to preserve life, could ever have known if informers to the Army and Box were participating in murder.

Re the Boyd Group, TOP [I] and the Assessment Staff Machinery, that is all for another day, Dear Reader.

Danny Morrison

In December 1988, a telex was sent to Our Man in Brussels.

The subject was Danny Morrison. It was a briefing for the Ambassador.

The writer invited the Ambassador to “draw on the following background on Danny”….

It contained the following information.

“Morrison was interned between 27 November 1972 and 21 December 1973,..he was editor of An Phoblacht [Republican News] in the late 1970s [mouthpiece for IRA and Sinn Fein]…currently director of publicity for Sinn Fein-postion held since early 80s…member of Art Comhairle [Sinn Fein National Executive] for several years…in 1981 he made the infamous quote ballot box /armalite unquote speech at the Ard Fheis [Sinn Fein Annual Conference]…in January 1982 was charged with entering the US illegally and deported to Canada….known to be a quote hawk unquote rather than a quote dove unquote….involved in recent talks with SDLP …vigourous in defending ‘armed struggle’ and publicly   dismissing talk of a ceasefire….”

The author went on “You may also say unattributably that we have good reason to believe that Morrison is heavily involved in a central position on the military side of Sinn Fein’s activities”

In January 1990 Morrison was arrested near a house where Sandy Lynch [Special Branch informer] had been interrogated by Sean Maguire [state informer] and Freddie Scappaticci [state informer].

Morrison’s arrest and subsequent wrongful conviction got him off the streets and away from the centre of power. Was that because he was a “hawk”? If so , “cui bono?” The British? The Sinn Fein/PIRA doves? The “Peace Process”?

Answers on a postcard, Dear Reader.

Oh! I almost forgot. The author of the telex?

“Howe”……

 

The play wot I wrote

Here is a teaser from my latest play:

Detective Constable Gault is talking to Flora, the love of his life and describing what life was like in the RUC….

“Do you know that in my time in the force I saw forty dead bodies? Old dears, dead for days and not a fucking relative came near them. Just like a small dead dog in a nightie. One small child, cot death. What do you say to the parents? Some of my mates thought children were the worst deaths. Car crashes, motor bikers. Going to the wife’s door to tell her. Screaming, falling on the floor. Vomit, trying to get her GP. Suicides, mostly pills. Do you know I once found a man who had hanged himself by jumping off a bridge on the way to the shipyard? He was swinging on the end of a rope, his lunch box was still tucked under his arm. Bomb deaths. Some without a mark on them. Others mangled. Others in bits. You had to get big see through plastic bags for the parts. Like going to the wholesale butchers. You’d generally no idea how many bodies you were dealing with. Gunshot deaths. Wee hole on the forehead, big mess at the back. Seeing a dead mate was the worst. Davy, blown apart in the yard at Grosvenor Road. I’d just passed him when the mortar exploded. Could have been me, ten seconds earlier. I was shot up five times. Escaped without a scratch. Took the dead and wounded to the Royal, then back to the station, de-brief then a bottle of whiskey. That was health and safety and care for the employee. No shrinks, no nurses, no counselling, except the Super came and told us we were great. If the worst came to the worst, you got sleeping tablets. Oh and I got a medal from an ACC and the whole force got the George Cross. Never shot and killed anybody. I did try…. Flora laughs quietly at that. WILLIAM GAULT (CONT’D) Worst time was the hunger strikes. We were on duty for twelve hours without rest. Eating and pissing when we got a chance. Keeping the squaddies out of trouble. Meals in a tin. The squaddies loved ours, Her Majesty’s Meals Ready to Eat were shite. I couldn’t eat ours either. I had ten tins of chicken curry in the garage for years. FLORA CAIRNS Why did none of you complain? WILLIAM GAULT About the food? Flora laughs and throws a small cushion at him. FLORA CAIRNS No, you eejit, your stress! WILLIAM GAULT Nobody knew that it was dangerous, at least the rank and file didn’t. You just got pissed after an incident, you were driven home and you came back the next day. Then there were the young cons, who burned the candle at both ends. Fast cars and faster women. Guy with us, came off duty at five, drove his XR3i to Enniskillen to see his girlfriend. Wine , curry and sex. Back in the car at five AM to go on duty at seven. The old hands couldn’t do that so it was the sports club on a Saturday with the missus but the result was the same, blotto. FLORA CAIRNS Hard for any wife to take. WILLIAM GAULT Very. ”

Steven, if you read my blog, I’ll sell you the rights on condition that Jamie Doran is not cast.