The condition appears to have ravished Morrison’s intellectual existence to the point that, as we often say, ten out of every eight people don’t believe the old diseased dissembler. When assessing his words, whether written or spoken, the basis on which to proceed is this: there is a slight possibility that he is telling the truth but an enormous probability that he is not. Therefore unless independent verification of anything he says is forthcoming, you will rarely be caught short by just treating whatever he says as a lie.
The latest bout of Morrison mendacity takes place against a background of media discussion about British state penetration of the Provisional IRA, kick started by The Irish News coverage of a British agent the paper alleges was at the heart of the IRA’s Shankill bombing operation in 1993, which claimed the lives of ten people including that of the IRA member bearing the device.
Invariably, in these matters it is never long before the spectre of Stakeknife begins to stalk discussion. In relation to Freddie Scappaticci, Danny Morrison has lied so much in his public discourse that his latest contribution to confusing public understanding has seemingly produced just one enthusiastic taker: the English fantasist Paul Larkin, for whom buyer beware is a concept with only minimum traction.
In 2003 when Scappaticci was first outed in public Morrison too went public in his defence: “If Scappaticci is Stakeknife how come they are confirming it?” Informers were “all low-level people running for four or five years”. The charges being made against Scappaticci were “unfounded allegations.” It was all "bizarre and without any proof."
Now Morrison has come up with a wholly different version in a blog piece adorned with affected outrage in a bid to give some emotional oomph to what is essentially brazen deception.
Given current claims about Scappaticci, it is thus extremely important to make this statement.
BBC’s Spotlight, and other programmes, talk about Scappaticci’s activities in the 1990s and his alleged involvement in the arrest and interrogations of suspected informers, or telling relatives about the killings of their loved ones.
I do not believe this to be true. The IRA told me that Scappaticci was redundant after 7th January 1990.
Perhaps the IRA forgot to tell Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams. Then again, as both men were not members why would the IRA tell them? They too were stating their acceptance of Scappaticci’s denials, Adams going as far as to chide the media that they were being used and would need to redeem themselves and behave presumably as the Andersonstown News had done, and all but prove Scappaticci innocent, something Allison Morris, who worked with the paper at the time, now suggests was a farcical cover up.
Neither the IRA nor Morrison seem to have told Morrison's co-accused Gerard Hodgins that Scappaticci was an agent. The former H Block hunger striker in yesterday’s Irish News flatly denied knowing anything about what the IRA told Morrison.
There was never any word sent in to the prison that Scap had been stood down and never any suggestion he'd been the informer in our case. When the news about Scap did eventually break I read it in the paper like everyone else, it was a bit of a relief to finally know because I'd always been sure that there was at least one informer involved.
A full thirteen years after Morrison found out, Gerard Hodgins discovered the identity of at least one of those who had set him up - and he read about it in the very press reports that Morrison sought to rubbish. In fact Morrison then was whispering that North Belfast man Sean Maguire was the informer, thus deflecting attention away from Scappaticci. This perhaps fed into allegations that later emerged in the press about Maguire and which the North Belfast man fiercely disputed.
Scappaticci was involved in IRA activity long after the January 1990 date proffered by Morrison for his jettisoning. In fact the person who seems to have been sidelined after 1990 was Morrison himself.
Although he claimed that other people involved in the case were sent to Dundalk under a cloud of suspicion, he too appears to have undergone banishment to a Dundalk of a non-geographical sort for reasons which are still camouflaged by waffle and guff.
Gerard Hodgins stated:
I've no idea why these claims are only surfacing now, but you can be sure someone, somewhere has decided it would be politically advantageous to claim Scap was out of the loop by 1990.
Consequently, it seems clear that the purpose of Morrison’s intervention is to minimise the length of time Scappaticci was working as an agent and to marginalise the significance of his function.
A Belfast journalist who since 2002 at least has suspected Morrison of having an “inappropriate relationship” with the British intelligence services expressed the view to me yesterday that:
I suspect this is about the killings of Chris Hart, Joe Mulhern and Caroline Moreland. They are desperate not to have it become established that they were still using Scap after Sandy Lynch ... because it would show they knew him to be an agent and were tolerating it.
Why they might do any such thing is a matter of speculation. One possible explanation is that implementing the peace process culture within the militaristic ranks of the IRA required the close control and management of volunteers. Scap, working for the Brits, with the knowledge of the leadership would ensure that no one got through that neither the leadership nor the Brits wanted. The application of a let-well-be-alone principle that suited both Brits and republican leaders just fine. And Scappaticci appears to have done his job well despite Morrison's insistence on his ineffectiveness: "the question has to be asked: what actually did Freddie Scappaticci stop? Who did he save?"
In their book Stakeknife, Greg Harkin and Martin Ingram claim that Scappaticci was not stood down until 1996, a full 6 years after Morrison asserts.
George Hamilton, the PSNI chief constable, has announced that Scappaticci is being investigated for as many as 50 killings over a 17 year period from 1978 to 1995. He is hardly being investigated for his life outside the IRA after he was no longer a member.
Gerard Hodgins too refutes Morrison’s assertions. Perhaps even more telling is this account provided to The Pensive Quill from IRA personnel with first-hand knowledge of Scappaticci’s role.
Some years after the ceasefire, one of the IRA brigades in the North were responsible for the kidnapping of a man who while not a volunteer was suspected by many in the organisation of being an agent amongst other things. While stripped to his underpants and trussed up in the back of a van, the vehicle was waved through a security force checkpoint in Armagh city and allowed to continue its journey. Eventually the kidnapped man was taken across the border and handed over by two IRA volunteers to none other than Scappaticci. The kidnap victim was previously known to Scappaticci who slapped him on the back of the head to the words ‘Nice to see you Tommy, nice to see you.’
Tommy was then take deep into County Louth where he was interrogated in what was yet another example of agent interrogating suspect agent, before being set free.
The IRA volunteers who kidnapped Tommy and ferried him to Scappaticci were not privy to the information that Morrison had in his possession and claims the IRA also had in its possession. They were exposed to serious risk.
There is a parallel with this and the H Block prison protests where Morrison also withheld vital information from IRA and INLA volunteers on hunger strike, resulting in the deaths of six of them. In a forerunner of what Morrison would later do to him in terms of withholding information, Gerard Hodgins, who joined the hunger strike, was also not made privy to that knowledge.
Danny Morrison is right in one respect, Freddie Scappaticci was 10 Downing Street’s killer. He was also the IRA army council's killer which gives the Scappaticci project of "murder on an industrial scale" the imprimatur of joint enterprise. Scappaticci is a state sponsored killer who very much has a lethal ally in the person of Danny Morrison, who to this day continues to minimise his murderous longevity and marginalise his efficacy.
Danny Morrison is using his agency as an influencer to cloud in a fog of deception the extent of British state terrorism in Ireland. Contrary to his posturing he ranks among the treacherous of the earth, not its wretched.