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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.
ENQUIRY : THE KILLING YEARS IN IRELAND
3 February 2001
By ANON = MAHARAJAH
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
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.
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- FC: U.K. tries to ban news article about abuses in Ireland Declan McCullagh (Feb 10)