Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tagged under: , ,

Can Of Worms

Writing shortly after the arrest of a top British agent and senior IRA security figure  Mick Hall said:

For both British army intelligence and the IRA the arrest of Scappaticci would open a can of worms, it's unlikely he will end up in a court of law.

Freddie Scappaticci.

Earlier this week it was reported Freddie Scappaticci had been arrested. Codenamed Stakeknife by his handlers in the army intelligence corps, he was one of the British state's most important informer's within the IRA.

A statement was issued by Operation Kenova, a task force led by Chief Constable Jon Boucher of Bedfordshire Police confirming “a 72-year-old man has been arrested.”

Boucher went on to say:

He is currently in custody at an undisclosed location and will be interviewed in relation to the investigation. No further details of the place of arrest or where he is being held will be released due to security reasons.

The Army’s former Commander of Land Forces in Northern Ireland, General Sir John Wilsey in a phone conversation with Martin Ingram (real name Martin Hurst) once described Scappaticci as:

“Our most important secret, he was a golden egg, something that was very important to the Army. We were terribly cagey about Fred.” Indeed they were cagey as the British security forces in Ireland colluded with "Fred" when he committed crimes up to and including murder.

The Chief Constable of the Bedfordshire Jon Boutcher, the man who is heading the investigation into Scappaticci has JFC Chicksands on his patch, it's home to the Joint Intelligence Training Group, the Headquarters of the Intelligence Corps, several operational units and elements of the Reserve Forces.

As Scappaticci was, and in all probability still is, an important asset of the Intelligence Corps it's unlikely they would have allowed him to be questioned outside their jurisdiction. Thus the army base at Chicksands which is just up the road from the chief constables office would be regarded as the ideal place for old friends and new to chat over a cup of tea.

Forgive my cynicism but the fact Scappaticci was later released on bail even though he is allegedly being investigated for upwards of 40 murders sums up which section of the UK's hard state is actually controlling this investigation.

Senior members of the Provisional IRA from Scappaticci's day must have hoped they had heard the last of him, as his arrest may raise fresh questions not only about the possibility of more informers within the upper echelons of the IRA, [and Sinn Féin] but also why it's Army Council left Scappaticci in place for so long.

Given it was inevitable a volunteer in such a position would have been a priority target of the RUC and the British intelligence services, not least because Scappaticci as a long time member, and later head of the IRA internal security unit had access to information from individuals with closely guarded secrets. The unit were also tasked with verifying the credibility of new recruits. The names of which he would have passed on to his British handlers in the Force Reaction Unit.

Ed Moloney looks at the British army base at Chicksands in Bedfordshire where Scappaticci was debriefed after being first exposed as a tout.

Mick Hall blogs @ Organized Rage.

Follow Mick Hall on Twitter @organizedrage


Steve R said...

If Ed's book is correct, scap would have been left alone for so long because that's what britinel wanted. There was deep penetration at all levels by the spooks.

Staffenberg said...

I should imagine he would have simply given a NO COMMENT interview as he would have been advised to do this , yes for sure , any volunteers he vetted , their details would surely have been passed on to his handlers , in turn this information would almost certainly have been passed on to Brian Nelson so without a doubt , Scap and his handlers could be looking at being investigated for conspiracy to murder , alternatively and given the deep penetration of the I.R.A by British Intelligence it would be just as easy to have volunteers set up for arrest on operations.

A lot of attention is paid to Scaps activities from mid to late 80s , at that time in Belfast there were several informers who's identities are known , Fenton , Lynch , McGarrigle , McShane , McGartland and of course Dennis Donaldson , all bar one of these guys were major players , in fact 2 of them were part of a unit which operated not just in Belfast but all over the North and under the direction of G.H.Q ,

It beggars belief that so many members of that unit over a period of 2 or 3 years were arrested on operations , some given long prison sentences and no one at G.H.Q level could work out the common denominator , for example , who had prior notice , who put the op together and who kept getting away , a 5 year old could have worked it out long before even Lynch was rumbled.

Niall said...

Often wondered that myself but the simple answer is of course is that there were so many touts it was damn difficult to spot the Volunteer!

Staffenberg said...

Indeed Niall ,

Happy St Patrick's Day by the way. At 72 years old it's highly unlikely Scap will ever face a court and the same can be said of those who were running him , I notice though not much attention appears to be given to victims not accused of being informers , for example if Scap and other agents had identified safe houses and sympathizers to their handlers , was this information passed on to Loyalists and how did they act on such information.

I don't believe the remit of Kenova will allow it to investigate everything surrounding Scap and others but I do believe certain individuals within the provisional movement will be sweating a bit should their own treachery ever be discovered.