Home page logo

Politech mailing list archives

FC: U.K. tries to ban news article about abuses in Ireland
From: Declan McCullagh <declan () well com>
Date: Sat, 10 Feb 2001 13:51:48 -0500

John Young, who operates the cryptome.org document archive, says the
British government is applying pressure to his ISP to censor a news
article on his site titled "Enquiry: The Killing Years in Ireland."

He believes London has somehow gained access to his log files --
cryptome.org is hosted by Verio -- and has handed that information to
reporters. This comes after prior run-ins that John has had with MI5:

More on John Young:

The document in question is below.



3 February 2001

   British journalists, police officers and Army undercover intelligence
   agents are increasingly in battle with each other as an intelligence
   scandal threatens to expose a series of state-sponsored killing of the
   kind more commonly associated with former South American dictatorships
   than with a modern western European nation.
   For the last two years, British security authorities have resorted to
   legal duress and intimidation tactics to conceal the identity and
   activities of Army intelligence operators who played a key role in a
   secret unit that set up innocent civilians to be murdered, actively
   collaborated with and fed intelligence to death squads, and then set
   fire to police offices to destroy their files and prevent an
   investigation uncovering their activities.
   The secret unit, called the Force Research Unit (FRU) was a high level
   intelligence unit tasked with handling undercover agents in Northern
   Ireland and the Irish Republic. It was set up in the early 1980s to
   take over previously unco-ordinated agent running activities, placing
   them all under a single professional command structure.
   The lawless misconduct of FRU has come to light over the last two
   years as a result of an extended police enquiry into controversial
   assassinations by the Protestant terrorist organisation, including the
   Ulster Defence Association (UDA). The enquiries originally focussed on
   the slaying of prominent republican lawyer Pat Finucane in February
   It has since emerged that Finucane's killing was planned by the UDA's
   intelligence officer, Brian Nelson. But, unknown to his terrorist
   colleagues, Nelson was a British intelligence agent. He was being run
   by the FRU, to whom he reported routinely, exchanging information on
   republicans whom the UDA sought to kill. The UDA's quartermaster,
   William Stobie, who provided the murder weapons and hid them
   afterwards, was also a British agent. He worked for the Special Branch
   of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the police force of Northern
   Former members of the FRU have told journalists that up to 13 Irish
   Catholics were killed in this way. One case which came to light last
   year was the 1987 murder of a Catholic pensioner living in West
   Belfast, Francisco Notorantonio. Notorantonio, aged 66 when he died,
   had not been involved in politics for 30 years. He was set up to be
   killed by the FRU, as a sacrificial victim to protect a top British
   Shortly before the murder, FRU had been informed of a plan to kill a
   leading member of the IRA, who was secretly a British intelligence
   agent. Codenamed STAKEKNIFE, the agent was and still is British
   intelligence's longest term and most successful informant inside the
   Irish terrorist group. When they learned of the plot, the FRU
   panicked. To head the killers away from STAKEKNIFE, they prepared and
   handed over a false dossier, suggesting that the innocent and harmless
   Notorantonio would be a better target for their bullets.
   The existence and importance of Agent STAKEKNIFE has recently been
   publicly confirmed by the police investigation which is determined to
   undercover the truth of the FRU affair. The investigation is headed by
   Sir John Stevens, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan (London)
   Police. He is Britain's most senior police officer. Ten years earlier,
   when he was in a less senior position, Stevens was first asked to
   investigate the killings in Northern Ireland. As he and his team
   started to uncover the nature of Army collusion with protestant
   terrorists, he faced an arson attack. The teams' offices, which were
   located in a highly secure police headquarters building with multiple
   alarm systems, went on fire, destroying the files. The attack
   effectively brought Stevens' first enquiry to a fruitless end.
   The mystery of how sophisticated alarms had been disabled to get in
   and burn the files was solved when a former member of the FRU came
   forward and revealed that they had been responsible for the crime. The
   breaking, entering and fireraising had been carried out by a team from
   Army intelligence's CME (Covert Methods of Entry) unit. Called in by
   the FRU commander to destroy the incriminating evidence accumulating
   in police hands, the CME team flew in from England and carried out the
   arson attack on the police. They crudely attempted to disguise the
   fire as having been started by a cigarette left in a waste bin.
   Three years ago, Sir John Stevens, now promoted to be the commissioner
   of the Metropolitan police, was asked to conduct another enquiry into
   collusion in Northern Ireland, focusing on the murder of Patrick
   Finucane. Since then, he and his operational assistant, Deputy
   Assistant Commissioner Hugh Orde, have made it clear that they are not
   going to be deflected by Army dirty tricks and disinformation.
   The former soldier who came forward used the pseudonym "Martin
   Ingram". The Ministry of Defence responded ferociously. One soldier
   whom they believed to be Ingram was charged under the Official Secrets
   Act. Journalists to whom he spoke were threatened with prosecution.
   The charges meant that while one police enquiry was relying on him as
   a key witness, another police enquiry was trying to silence him.
   But, with increasing controversy surrounding British secrecy laws, the
   charges against "Ingram" had to be dropped. Harassment then started
   from a new quarter. A group calling itself "friends of FRU" started
   circulating personal information about him. One former FRU colleague
   e-mailed dozens of newspapers giving details of "Ingram" 's identity,
   address and activities. He was being set up.
   The former FRU soldier behind the e-mail campaign was arrested for
   harassment. But then the charges were dropped. Fearing that the police
   could not protect him safely, "Ingram" withdrew his evidence from the
   Stevens enquiry.
   Two weeks ago on Ulster Television, another member of FRU came forward
   to talk about what the unit had done. Agreeing that there had been a
   policy of "shoot to kill by proxy", the former the FRU member said
   that his unit had acted as "judge, jury and executioner ... [it was]
   immoral and probably unlawful".
   FRU is still operating, running agents in Ireland. Since it became
   controversial, it has adopted a new cover name. This is JCU(NI). It
   stands for the Joint Collection Unit (Northern Ireland). It works
   directly with the British Security Service ("MI5"), which also has
   offices and technical teams on the ground in Northern Ireland.
   To confuse the many British journalists who are now investigating the
   activities of FRU, another intelligence unit was renamed FIU. This is
   the Force Intelligence Unit. It has nothing to do with FRU, but runs
   more orthodox intelligence activities, such as the computer called
   CAISTER which holds "fine grain" intelligence files on most of the
   Northern Ireland population. It was formerly called 12 Intelligence
   A third group in the undercover world of Northern Ireland is the Joint
   Support Group (JSG). Formerly known by a variety of names such as "14
   Intelligence Company" or "The Dets", it provides undercover
   surveillance teams for long-term surveillance activities. Its teams
   work closely with the SAS detachment based in Northern Ireland.
   Until now, mystery has surrounded the identity of the agent handler
   who was Brian Nelson's link to the Army and who passed on the critical
   instructions and government intelligence to enable the protestants to
   murder the Army's selected targets. But the name leaked out late last
   Early in December, the government threatened legal action to gag the
   Sunday Herald, a Scottish newspaper, after former colleagues of
   Nelson's handler revealed her identity to their journalists. The paper
   was compelled under threat of legal order to undertake that it would
   not reveal her name, location or identify her by printing a
   Then the case for conspiracy to murder against her and the officers
   who gave her orders grew stronger, after police Commissioner Orde
   revealed that he had recovered boxes of army intelligence documents
   called "contact forms" and MISRs (Military Intelligence Source
   Reports). The contact forms give details of every meeting between
   agents and their handlers. The MISR reported detailed and assessed the
   intelligence provided by the agents. The police found that some of the
   reports were "incriminating".
   The officer who commanded the Force Research Unit during the killing
   years was Lt Colonel Gordon Kerr. He has since been promoted to
   Brigadier. As the British police homed on his importance, he was sent
   to the other side of the world, to serve as the British military
   attaché in Beijing.
   The intelligence operator who handled Brian Nelson - whose name is
   banned in Britain - is Captain Margaret Walshaw. Although any British
   newspaper editor who published her name is threatened with
   imprisonment, she is openly listed in the current official British
   government publication, the "Army List". At the time she ran agent
   Brian Nelson and supervised his murderous activities, she was a non
   commissioned officer (sergeant) in Britain's Intelligence Corps.
   On 1st April 1998, Sergeant Walshaw was promoted from the ranks to
   become an officer. She has also been awarded the "British Empire
   Medal" for her achievements.

POLITECH -- Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list
You may redistribute this message freely if it remains intact.
To subscribe, visit http://www.politechbot.com/info/subscribe.html
This message is archived at http://www.politechbot.com/

  By Date           By Thread  

Current thread:
  • FC: U.K. tries to ban news article about abuses in Ireland Declan McCullagh (Feb 10)
[ Nmap | Sec Tools | Mailing Lists | Site News | About/Contact | Advertising | Privacy ]