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.
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.
I’ve just got around to reading the full text of your speech of 15thMay.
Straightaway, you mention transparency. That doesn’t sit well with me. Perhaps it’s because since I started communicating with the PSNI in 2002, your force has been opaque.
But let’s leave that for now.
I’m glad that you agree with me that something untoward was happening in policing during the Troubles and that it was not restricted to a few bad apples.
But then I’m puzzled. You say “In the absence of any regulatory framework for managing ‘agents’ police officers were left to set their own standards.”
Then you say that “there was no law” a few lines later you say “ there are [sic] a range of charges that can be brought”
You see, George, the persons who murdered my parents, whose names you can find on my blog, most of them had a handler and some of those handlers were police officers and you know who they were. Those officers knew, if not before , then certainly afterwards, the identities of the perpetrators. They , the police officers, committed most of the range of offences you enumerated above.
Records: lets dwell on that for a second. Prof Lundy and other academics have commented on those records which you say the Police Ombudsman has “unfettered access to”. No he doesn’t. Are you telling the public that the Ombudsman’s representatives roam the stores at Sprucefield and Seapark at will? What about your gatekeepers? The old SB guys. What about your chief spook, Drew Harris? Don’t they keep tabs on the files? What about the ‘difficult’ files which the Security Service has removed from you and now stores at Loughside?
Although you admit that you know of no legal definition of collusion, you say that it “signals malevolent intent”. What’s your authority for that proposition , George? I know why you say it. The secret is in the next bit. You want us to think about all the brave officers. It’s not about bravery , George.
You can give me no lessons on what a brave officer looks like.
It’s not long before you return to your old unapologetic self. You say that the police were operating in a vacuum. The police had no “framework, guidance or legislation”
I’ve news for you , George. The Human Rights Act of 1998 simply put on the British statute book the provisions of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms which had long been recognised by British courts and a good read of it by senior officers might have given a hint about how to police. Anyway, allowing an agent to kill doesn’t take much of a look at a moral compass to know that it is wrong .
Frankly, I got weary of the same old words at this point, George. Why? Because for almost twenty eight years your force and its predecessor and every chief constable has lied to me.
So, on close inspection, I’m as unimpressed by this speech as I have been by all the rest.
Take your own advice, get out of your own comfort zone, be selfless and open the files on James and Ellen Sefton.
Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour and reputation were clearly common knowledge among the Hollywood set.
It took one woman to speak out. Then many others spoke out and then the ‘set’ admitted that they knew.
So too in Northern Ireland. Everyone knows that the IRA army council runs Sinn Fein. Everyone knows who is on the army council. They can be seen at Stormont any day of the week.
Everyone knows that many of them are MI5 agents, paid for by you and me.
Everyone knows that they were sometimes allowed, by their British masters, to kill. Police officers , soldiers, civilians and children were their victims. Everyone knows.
But nobody will tell.
Every informer had a state team around him. Several handlers. Minders. Back up. Senior detectives who approved recruitment and payment. MI5 operatives who de-briefed them.
Lots of people who now live comfortably on a pension could unwrap hundreds of cases. The relief to the ageing families would be immense.
The PSNI won’t do it. The HET didn’t do it, [described by an army council member as a sop to the loyalists]. PONI doesn’t deliver and the HIU is a distant and flawed dream.
So I’m appealing to all those retired RUC men and women. All those soldiers who served here, many of whom are outraged at their treatment, compared to informers and on the runs.
As with Harvey, it just needs one to speak out. To tell us of the crimes of Donaldson, Scappaticci, Sean Maguire and Brian Gillen, all paid killers of the state.
Then the rest will open up.
Isn’t it time you salved you conscience?
“A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory” Mark Twain.
In his novel “1984”, George Orwell wrote:
“Hardly a week passed in which the Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak-‘child hero’ was the phrase generally used-had overheard some compromising remark and denounced its parents to the Thought Police.”
A recent Metropolitan Police anti-terrorism campaign encouraged law-abiding citizens to look through each others’ bins to check for “suspicious items such as chemical bottles and to report any troubling findings to the police” Fake blondes-hide that peroxide bottle! I’ve struggled to find the Troubling Findings Act.
China’s Ministry of Supervision has a discipline watchdog which opened the “unified informant hotline” for the public to report discipline offences of civil servants and officials.
Eavesdropping and informing on each other to the Stasi was a way of life in East Germany.
Stalin’s regime relied on “mutual surveillance” urging families to report on each other about ‘disloyalty’.
So how grateful must we be to live in a liberal democracy.
Not so. This blog is not about the programme of informers during the Troubles. Like Scap, Donaldson , Sean Maguire and Brian Gillen, they got their money and , those still alive are living a comfortable life, protected by the British State.
This blog is about what is happening in our communities now. It is about democracy, freedom of speech and the ability to protest.
Many Loyalist areas of Belfast have taken the Queen’s Shilling in return for compliance. The Greater Shankill is an example of that. The killing of Bobby Moffett has been swept under the carpet so long as the locals support the GFA. The Spectrum Centre doles out nearly a million pounds each year ,to the locals in wages. The UVF and Arlene are at peace.
Other communities are not GFA supporters. The result is that they are subject to harassment by the PSNI, as an arm of the State. Frequent use of the Terrorism Act 2000, in dubious circumstances. Searches of legitimate community facilities for “loyalist paraphernalia”. The stop and search of individuals on a regular basis, in breach of the codes of practice. Stops by ‘Road Policing’ with bogus allegations of no insurance or road tax.
It’s not a crime, of course, to oppose the GFA.
Or is it?
Lets read a new document. It is entitled:
“THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE (ON BEHALF OF THE TACKLING PARAMILITARISM PROGRAMME BOARD)
Building capacity in communities in Transition Project (2017-2021)
Tenders are invited to support the delivery of this project.”
The programme “is committed to promoting the use of peaceful and democratic means and upholding the rule of law across all communities”
So consider this , Dear Reader. In the proposals which tenderers can make , is the requirement that they show an “outline of how information will be shared with police on individuals who do not support transition”
“Transition” is not defined anywhere.
The Board is chaired by the Department of Justice and is comprised of civil servants and the PSNI.
So , if you want to get your community nose into this particular trough you will have to undertake to snitch on those who are not supporting “transition”.
“Feed your Snout-be a Tout” might be the catch phrase.
Of course , the document is keen to espouse the rule of law. The rule of law encompasses ‘no punishment without law’.
What law is being broken which requires the citizen to “share information” with the PSNI about an individual who does not support transition?
The answer is that this programme , aside from offering monetary bribes, further undermines the rule of law. The PSNI willingly particpates , not only by harassment but by being part of the supervising body. The Stasi would be impressed.
The lesson is that you can be a paramilitary as long as you are a State approved-GFA loving paramilitary. Otherwise you are in big trouble.
It’s unlikely that any mainstream politician will put his/her head over the much funded parapet about this.
Approximately one third of the workforce depend on the State for their mortgage. In addition, vast swathes of the middle classes , including journalists ,are paid fees by the BBC, the Housing Executive and every other public body for services rendered. The country is in the grip of the Security Service, forget about Brokenshire. Even Stalin would be impressed with such a compliant body, when it is allied to the likes of the Greater Shankill Partnership Soviet.
It’s hard not to conclude that democracy and freedom of speech died in Northern Ireland years ago.
Readers of this blog will have read my previous articles about the murders of my parents and my attempt to obtain justice for them.
During this campaign I have engaged, inter alia , the RUC, the PSNI, the HET , the Police Ombudsman and others.
A recurring theme, like “Blackpool” through a stick of rock , has been that there is no intelligence as to the killers. Every organisation has said the same thing.
Consider this. The two most deadly areas of conflict in the Troubles were South Armagh and North Belfast. It is likely that these two areas received the most attention from the security forces.
The “supremo” re intelligence in the PSNI is Drew Harris. He is presently Deputy Chief Constable.
In 2014 , when he was an ACC , I raised with him , again, the issue of intelligence, either before , during or after the murders. I had pointed out the persons whom I alleged were informers to the PSNI, MI5 or the Army. [See previous blogs]. All agencies had told me that no such intelligence existed.
He said in a letter to me dated 11th August 2014, “Whilst is [sic] not appropriate to comment upon the governance arrangements that exist in relation to the exchange of intelligence between agencies, I can assure you that both the SCRT and the HET had full access to all available information and intelligence during the course of their respective Reviews.”
I recommend to you that you read Ed Moloney’s blog entitled “The Tom Oliver Killing-Transcript of Drew Harris’ Testimony to the Smithwick Tribunal”
Aside from the specific references to the killing, Mr Harris is plainly uncomfortable about the twenty pieces of intelligence [not silver] which had lately been laid before the tribunal at his hand.
Where have they been all these years, was one question.
Mr Harris placed these items of intelligence before the tribunal in October 2012. When his testimony was read into the record, the tribunal had been hearing evidence for 124 days.
More importantly, North Belfast was riddled with PIRA informers. Sean Maguire, now SF/IRA publicity director , operated there. The command structure encompassed Gillen, Spike Murray, Scap and McGuinness. All likely informers.
To suggest that no intelligence exists for 1990 in North Belfast , comparable to that in 1989 in South Armagh, is a lie and a desecration of the memory of a man who served the RUC and of a woman who was an “innocent victim”
It’s time ‘men’ like Harris and others who populated Special Branch stood up and admitted what they did and the level of collusion between the State and PIRA.
Or are they just happy to spend their pension in Marks and Spencer ?
Does National Police Memorial Day prick any conscience?