Most UVF leaders were British security force agents

Northern Ireland’s police ombudsman has found that most of the UVF’s senior leaders were operating as British security force agents in the 1990s. The revelation has come out as part of an investigation by Nuala O’Loan into the murder of Raymond McCord Jr in north Belfast by UVF members to cover up a drugs deal in November 1997. Belfast Gonzo blogged this very issue on Slugger last August, quoting a piece by Newton Emerson, who said this issue was a ticking time bomb for the PSNI as the initial findings, which were widely leaked two years ago, suggest that an informer in the Mount Vernon UVF has murdered at least 13 people since his recruitment in 1993. Special Branch is alleged to have covered up each case.

  • elfinto

    I never thought I would see the day when the Sunday Times, of all newspapers, would publish a story with such a headline. No quote marks, no equivocations. Just what many of us have instinctively known for the years, decades even – Most UVF leaders were British security force agents.

    Remember Bily Wright’s killing sprees in Mid-Ulster. And the Jackal before him. How many dead? How many wounded? We are talking about hundreds of people. I know that the Ombudman’s presnt report will not deal with these people but her next one should.

    Enough of the teasing Nuala. Publish your report!

    Arise Sir Raymond McCord!

  • mark

    And today armed PNI officers execute a man at a vehicle checkpoint just like doesn’t happen in Britain.

    The rules, written or unwritten, that these ‘people’ operate to need reviewed. Their leadership needs reviewed.

    They allow murderers freedom to kill and kill those that elsewhere in their ‘country’ would be alive (apart from the occasional swarthy skinned visitor to London.)

  • elfinto

    Mick, I appreciate it’s Easter Sunday and you’ve been out commemmorating Ireland’s dead / stuffing yourself with chocolate but let’s blog the PSNI press office / media response to the fatal shooting in Ballynahinch and keep a watchful eye out for a good, old-fashioned RUC style cover-up.

    The Ombudsman’s Office has been called in quickly and they have already issued a statement. Good so far!

    The BBC website is not giving the story much prominence (it’s not even on the UK News page) but it has at least stated that the man was shot dead by police. Could do better!

    UTV on the other hand are making it their top story but they are being ever so coy about what happened – ‘Man dies after police fires shots..’ No mention of how he died – i.e. the police shot him. Leaving open the possibility that he was strangled by a boa constrictor while the police coincidentally were doing a spot of shooting nearby. Must imrove!

    Sorry to divert from the original story which is so, so important, but this one also merits a thread.

  • Crow

    All facinating stuff but as far as prosecutions go, forget about it, there’s not going to be any, nada, not one, no way, never, no how. Afterall, are we sure this line of enquiry is really in the public interest? 😉

  • elfinto

    Afterall, are we sure this line of enquiry is really in the public interest? 😉

    It may not be in the government’s interest or the Special Branch’s interest but it’s 100% in the public interest.

  • The Devil

    Most UVF leaders were British security forces agents

    ########### WE ALL KNEW THAT ##############

    Most of Sinn Feins leaders are British agents

    ######### MOST OF US KNOW THAT ###########

    I didn’t get an easter egg this year

    ########### NOW ONLY I KNEW THAT #########

    THOUGHT YOU MIGHT WANT TO HEAR SOMETHING YOU DIDN’T KNOW

  • Shore Road Resident

    Elfinto’s obvious glee at the death of the man in Ballynahinch is sickening.

    The PSNI cannot say anything now that the Omnbudsman’s office has taken over the investigation, as Elfinto either should know or does know and is choosing to ignore.

  • SRR
    I don’t think you’ve shown just how elfinto is supposed to be gleeful at the death of this man, he’s pointing out the obvious bias in reporting the story, a case of man-playing on your part.

    Now apart from this slippery diversion, this is a very important revelation. Devil, we all suspected that, but to read it openly was unexpected.
    For me it removes any excuse the DUP can have at sharing power, because no-one has the moral high-ground anymore.

  • Pete Baker

    noc

    The legal advisors of the Sunday Times seem to think differently, if you read that report – “He cannot be named because he is before the courts on unrelated charges.”

    I’d suggest that, for now, it would be better not to try to second guess them on this particular matter.

  • TAFKABO

    Elfinto.

    I first noticed the story on the BBC UK news page.
    It’s still there now.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/default.stm

    Why you claimed it wasn’t there I have no idea.
    Well, I do have a little idea…..

  • noc

    Pete Baker,

    Load of crap. Public domain in a non-jury trial.

    http://debates.oireachtas.ie/DDebate.aspx?F=DAL20051027.xml&Node=1144

    I suggest Slugger readers click the above link (but now Slugger’s is censoring links and the known you may never read this post) or google ‘Mount Vernon UVF commander’ if they wish to see what Mr Baker has decided you can’t read or know.

    Public domain. Non-jury trial. BS censorship from idiots (an idiot?).

    [If you are going to use annonymity to make attacks on individuals you can take your business elsewhere. – Mick]

  • The BBC website is not giving the story much prominence, but it has at least stated that the man was shot dead by police
    C’mon TAFKABO get your specs on.
    ~Now back to the initial STORY, any comment from you hey?

  • noc

    SL,

    We are barred from commenting fully on this story with anything other than superficial rubbish.

    Mr Baker has decided because the Times doesn’t understand the legal system here that Slugger/he will follow its lead and bar naming the individual and discussing his history.

    We are discussing a high level informers protected by the PSNI, outted by amongst others his former handler, named in various publications and the Dail.

    Mr Baker believes because the Times says so we can’t name him.

    Mr Baker is wrong. Completely. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, in this case it would be a starting point for Mr Baker.

  • noc

    Mick,

    Mr Rabbitte, Mr McCord and Jonty Brown named the man.

    Anonymous my arse.

    His accusers are open about it. Slugger’s is protecting him.

    Links have been provided and deleted.

  • c’mon peteb, Slugger makes the news. wassup?

  • observer

    How many leaders of SF were memebers of the IRA, how many killed for their so called cause, how many continue in public life now?

    As the governemnt have given up chasing down SF/IRA killers so they will not purse UVF/RUC agents

    IF they did the “peace process” would definaltey be dead as scores of SF memebrs were lifted

  • Brian Boru

    Why am I not surprised? We had a lucky escape down here.

  • joinedupthinking

    Looks like we’ve got a few tossers on board full of easter drink. Let’s hope the only Prods they can attack tonight are on the web.
    The unity of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter my arse.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    noc,

    Calm down.

    This is a touchy subject. Your first post just named the man, without any back-up. It was rightly taken down. I took down a set of serious allegations against a senior IRA man just yesterday for the same reason.

    So far as I’m concerned, the allegation stands ‘as an allegation’ in the Dail. But that really does not excuse the hail of abuse you sprayed in the direction of Pete.

    Given your experience of Slugger, you should know better!

    Mick

  • Mick
    Hi could you please do a quick thread on the dead man the police shot, because what’s happening here is attempts to distract from the main story, and we’re getting the two over-lapping in quite man-playing ways I’d suggest.
    Thanks

  • TAFKABO

    C’mon TAFKABO get your specs on.

    Uh, Nothing wrong with my eyesight, here’s what it says in the post 3.

    The BBC website is not giving the story much prominence (it’s not even on the UK News page)

    Note the claim in brackets, and the link I posted which shows this is wrong.
    Spirt Level old chum, Looks like you’re the one that shoulda gone to specsavers.

  • noc

    Mick,

    I’ve taken this to email. The thread has already been completely diverted from discussing the UVF commander/s, who, what, where, when and why despite my attempts to solely stay on that issue.

  • ingram

    Happy Easter

    LOL

    Marty

  • TAFKABO
    Full marks for tangentalism , there’s obviously nothing wrong with your trigonometry 😉
    Could I perhaps draw you into addressing the thread, or are you having too much fun running rings round me?

  • mark

    I assume as Mick has allowed the Dail link to stand the content can be discussed.

    In the Dail debate Mr Pat Rabbitte (leader of the Irish Labour party) stated that based on evidence from which he named two sources, Mr Raymond McCord snr and Mr Johnston Brown (a former senior RUC officer), that Mr Mark Haddock, allegedly the UVF commander in Mount Vernon, was turned and protected as a result of his involvement in the murder of Sharon McKenna in 1993.

    Subsequent to that period Mr Rabbitte, Mr McCord snr and Mr Brown allege he was involved in many murders (13+?) some raised in the Dail debate and each one covered up by the RUC to maintain his position within the UVF.

    The allegations also extend into his drug dealing, the motivating factor they raise in the murder of Mr McCord jnr both of which he seems to have carried out with impunity.

    Mr Mark Haddock is currently facing charges over an unrelated killing in a juryless trial and is expected by many to receive a lenient sentence.

    Mr Brown, as Mr Mark Haddock’s initial RUC handler, believes he was allowed to carry out acts of murder with impunity for many years.

    The other senior members of the UVF who may be referenced in Mrs O’Loan’s report are not named in any documents I can find but according to the Times and other reports they encompass the vast majority of the leadership in the UVF and seem to have been allowed to kill Catholics with impunity for a long period.

    A big story? One that deserves open discussion?

  • TAFKABO

    Spirit level.

    It’s only fun when there’s an element of challenge.
    As for the thread?

    Meh, What’s to discuss?
    It could almost be argued that calling it news breaches the trades descriptions act.
    I think I’ve said this before, but the sad truth is that we have to accept that since these things go all the way to the top, they will always be subject to the interference of the powers that be, and the powers that be always cover their own arses.This is true of governments, political parties, paramilitary organisations, or combinations of the same.

    So what do we do?

    Scream and shout for an inquiry that will only happen if it’s guaranteed not to have any chance of success, or ensure that some poor low level bastid takes the full rap for anything that comes to light?

    I’m not try to make excuses or be flippant here, I’m just trying to point out that no amount of debate on Slugger or elsewhere is going to make one iota of difference.
    It sucks ass, but the bad guys (all the bad guys) have come out of this cesspit called the troubles smelling of roses.And the rest of us are left with a nasty smell of shit in our noses and f*ck all we can do abut it.

  • There is thermodynamic beauty to this closed system.

    HMG does the rebelling.

    HMG quells the rebellion.

    All you guys have to do is the dying.

  • “Mr Mark Haddock, allegedly the UVF commander in Mount Vernon”

    Is it just me or is there something distinctly fishy about yer man ?

  • Quite brilliant TAFKABO.
    I would have thought that both tribes would quickly want to get devolution going and give the middle finger to these Brits Agents whatever, as these revelations futher reveal just how much bullshit is going on, and we’d be 100% better off running our own affairs.
    I’d prefer to go straight to a united Ireland, and then we can really RUN our own affairs.
    United in heroic brotherhood and all that sweet romantic bollox 🙂
    The case is surely overwhelming.

  • elfinto

    Unfortunately there is still no thread on the fatal shooting today.

    Before I comment further on the UVF stuff I will respond briefly to a couple of earlier remarks which were well wide of the mark.

    SRR,
    I have no glee whatsoever at the death of this person, whoever it may be (and so far no-one is wrong). Far from it. Your comment is out of order.

    Takabo,
    As of 4pm today this story was not on the BBC UK News page. Your comment with regard to my supposed motviation is also out of line.

    With regards to the alleged UVF agents their names were put into the public domain last year after Pat Rabbitte named them in the Dail. A number of newspapers subsequently published their names.

  • TAFKABO

    As of 4pm today this story was not on the BBC UK News page. Your comment with regard to my supposed motviation is also out of line.

    I made my post just under an hour after you made yours, but I’m happy to take your clarification and accept that it must have been posted there in the intervening sixty minutes.
    If I was out of order with my comments about your motivation then I can only offer an apology, but I also think you may have been a tad too hasty to find fault with the presentation of a story that was pretty fresh.

  • elfinto

    tafkabo,

    Fair enough. Easter Sunday is a slow news day. I have been unable to find any information about who the victim of the shooting was. No doubt more details will become available tomorrow.

    I stand over what I said about the UTV article though.

    Mick,

    Sort it out and start a separate thread for this incident. Please.

    elfinto

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Fintan,

    I’m trying to take some time away from Slugger. It can wait, this story is not going to go away you know!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Smilin’ Jim: “There is thermodynamic beauty to this closed system.

    HMG does the rebelling.

    HMG quells the rebellion.

    All you guys have to do is the dying. ”

    Don’t forget that, through their pawns, they take part in the drug trade, the rackets and all their other activities…

  • fartrick

    some of you might want to chill out a bit and have a laugh…take a look at this little clip (2mb)

    Suspected Terrorists
    h**p://rapidshare.de/files/18198505/Suspected_Terrorists.rar

    change the stars to t’s

  • abucs

    When people talk of some ‘terrorists’ on both sides being as bad as eachother i hope we can also include some government and security forces in this.

    This doesn’t mean that the majority of policeman or soldiers aren’t good brave people or any different from each of us.

    Nationalists will maintain that at the start of the troubles their was a partizan policeforce that reacted badly to civil rights groups and not strongly enough to prevent expulsion of residents from their homes. There was then HMG soldiers instigating curfews and shootings and bashings and torture in gaol alla Iraq today. When this didn’t work they effectively ran the loyalist paramilitaries and presented themselves as ‘honest brokers’.

    Now i know the above is hopelessly onesided and lots of mud, quite rightly, can be thrown back the other way. Once people get caught up in this crap they are only too willing to castigate the other side and make excuses for ones own.

    I only hope that all sides can act honourably now and create inclusive politics, under the GFA that will build on the common decency we share and not the common injustices we have each sufferred. If we can agree on this much only, then the bad days can be left as an embarressment for all.

  • aquifer

    I hope that the police ombudsman’s enquiry gets to the bottom of this. Unionists for the most part did not publicly endorse sectarian paramilitary terrorism, but it seems that the state was quietly and effectively sponsoring it. Disgraceful.

  • heck

    since out unionist brothers and sisters(as well as others) like to refer to sinn fein as SF/IRA can we now replace all references to the PSNI with PSNI/UVF and all references to the british government with british government/UVF

    after all fair is fair

  • TAFKABO

    If we are going to be absolutaly fair, should we just say Brits/Shinners/IRA/Loyalists ?
    Or if we conflate British/UVF/drug dealing then at least have Shinner/IRA/Britagents/fuelsmugglers/bankrobbers

  • Dread Cthulhu

    TAFKABO: “If we are going to be absolutaly fair, should we just say Brits/Shinners/IRA/Loyalists ?
    Or if we conflate British/UVF/drug dealing then at least have Shinner/IRA/Britagents/fuelsmugglers/bankrobbers.”

    Fairly makes a body’s head spin, trying to keep track of which faction is in bed with which.

    Although it does beg the question, if the British security forces were leading both PIRA and the Protestant paramilitaries, should we not lay credit / blame where it is due — with the British-contollers of both sides of the war? I’d hate to think the last, what 30+ years of conflict has all been some British shadow-play, adding foolish to the futility… or would that be the other way about?

  • TAFKABO

    I’d hate to think the last, what 30+ years of conflict has all been some British shadow-play, adding foolish to the futility… or would that be the other way about?

    Why?

    Seems to me that it’s a f*ck up for no good reason whichever way you look at it.The more I think about it, I’d be more upset if someone was able to come up with some argument that justified all those deaths.I prefer to go with the notion that it was insanity writ large, makes it so much easier to try and convince people not to do it again.
    And no, I don’t think the Brits were running anything, no more than anyone else was.I always opt for the cock up theory of history, everyone ran around doing this and that, things happened and then all interested parties spend the next decade or so lying through their teeth that this is exactly what they had planned from day one.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    TAFKABO: “Seems to me that it’s a f*ck up for no good reason whichever way you look at it.The more I think about it, I’d be more upset if someone was able to come up with some argument that justified all those deaths.”

    Better an honest f*ck up than a manufactured and stage-managed one. Better this be the result of honest intention then a bunch of puppets in a shadow-play.

    TAFKABO: “I prefer to go with the notion that it was insanity writ large, makes it so much easier to try and convince people not to do it again.”

    For the former, all I can say is that either was you slice it, it *IS* insanity, writ large. As for the latter, all I can do is call you an optimist.

    TAFKABO: “And no, I don’t think the Brits were running anything, no more than anyone else was.I always opt for the cock up theory of history, everyone ran around doing this and that, things happened and then all interested parties spend the next decade or so lying through their teeth that this is exactly what they had planned from day one. ”

    Ah, but if the British are organizing, supplying, instigating and protecting their pieces in the grotesque version of “the Great Game,” do they not then share a share of their pawns guilt? If what has been said is true, then the Brits have more than a little to answer for, controlling killers on both sides of the sectarian divide.

  • elfinto

    The British and NI security forces used agents within the IRA to undermine the IRA from within.

    The British and NI security forces used agents within loyalist paramilitary organisations to fight a dirty war against the IRA and the nationalist community in general.

    Two quite different things really.

    I refer you Gangs and Counter Gangs and Low Intensity Operations by General Frank Kitson.

  • TAFKABO

    Elfinto.

    The suggestion that the brits used agents within the Loyalists to wage war upon the nationalist community, as opposed to republican paramiltaries is one which disturbs me greatly.
    nevertheless, as it become increasingly clear that they had agents at all levels in every loyaloist paramilitary organisation, I can’t simply dismiss it out of hand.
    Can you posit a theory as to what reason they could have for doing this?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    TAFKABO: “The suggestion that the brits used agents within the Loyalists to wage war upon the nationalist community, as opposed to republican paramiltaries is one which disturbs me greatly.
    nevertheless, as it become increasingly clear that they had agents at all levels in every loyalist paramilitary organisation, I can’t simply dismiss it out of hand.
    Can you posit a theory as to what reason they could have for doing this? ”

    Counter-terrorism in the literal sense of the term — terrorism with the intent of countering terrorism. The Loyalist paramilitary theory that “any Taig will do” as part of a reprisal attack was intended to cow / intimidate the Nationalist population into submission. Apparently, given the presence of British agents, a certain level of tacit approval could be reasonably implied.

  • elfinto

    TAFKABO

    There are a number of reasons for the adoption of a counter-insurgency policy targetting civilians:

    1. The IRA wanted to protray the conflict as anti-imperialist in nature. Britain wanted to portray the conflict as being sectarian nature in which it is ‘the pig in the middle’ trying to bring peace. Increased sectarian strife was in Britain’s interest internationally.

    2. Drawing the IRA into sectarian conflict discredited that organisations anti-imperialist credentials and alienated moderate nationalist opinion at home and abroad. Militarily it diverted the IRA’s efforts away from attacking the British army.

    3. Attacking the nationalist community showed that the IRA were unable to defend that community and increased pressure on the IRA to call off its campaign from within the nationalist community.

    4. Creating a climate of terror within nationalist communities increased the ability of the British and NI security forces to create demoralisation within republican ranks. Threats of assassination against individuals, their relatives and friends were a key element in casuing people to opt out of the republican movement and, in many cases, were used to blackmail people into working as informers.

  • heck

    TAFKABO: If you believe the tale that the Brits were running both the IRA and loyalist paramilitary organizations then you believe they are more evil than even I would claim. What reason would they have to run both sides of a war other than some sort of sick experiment? If a unionist makes that claim then he is saying he wants to be part of a country that is responsible for ALL the deaths in NI and has completely lost his mind. Even republicans don’t make such wild claims.

    What you are doing is trying to deflect the argument that the UVF was a subsidiary of MI5 and the special branch. You can’t deny the facts so you make silly arguments about Britain running everything.

    Of course there were British agents at high levels in the republican movement but this was designed to defeat the IRA. (I don’t want to give too much credibility to Ingram, but this technique succeeded in some areas but not in others, like South Armagh.) However to suggest that Bobby Sands died to further a British agenda is nonsense, while Ken Barret makes plain that he killed Pat Finucane because the police wanted him dead.

    The UVF was used as an off the books death squad by Britain to murder republicans and intimidate the nationalist community. Jonty brown claims that 1 in 5 loyalists was a police agent, Ingram claims 1 in 3 and now we have the police ombudsman claiming that the UVF leadership were almost all police agents. These people were armed by the British with arms from South Africa.

    Lets face it Britain is no different from a South American dictatorship, running death squads against its enemies.

    The term PSNI/ UVF is a good one as is British government/UVF. It suggests an intimate relationship not just infiltration.

  • TAFKABO

    Heck

    You said

    If you believe the tale that the Brits were running both the IRA and loyalist paramilitary organizations then you believe they are more evil than even I would claim. What reason would they have to run both sides of a war other than some sort of sick experiment? If a unionist makes that claim then he is saying he wants to be part of a country that is responsible for ALL the deaths in NI and has completely lost his mind. Even republicans don’t make such wild claims.

    But what I originaly said was…..

    And no, I don’t think the Brits were running anything, no more than anyone else was.

    Can you see where you went wrong in your reply?

  • heck

    OK tafkabo you are correct
    you said

    “If we are going to be absolutaly fair, should we just say Brits/Shinners/IRA/Loyalists ? ”

    you are right –there was a question mark after your statement. I apologise. But in answer to your question -no we should not.

    The Brits infiltrated the IRA–they ran the loyalists!! (there is a difference).

    They armed them–from south africa, they supplied them with intelligence (police information), and they used them to kill republicans.

    And the British parliament passed the inquiries act to cover up for them.

    We should use the term PSNI/UVF and british government/UVF!!.

  • TAFKABO

    The Brits infiltrated the IRA–they ran the loyalists!!

    Yeah, I see what you mean, the ran the loyalists, past tense, but they’re still running the republicans, at least according to some commentators.

    Just as it is alleged that the leader of the UVF was allowed to get away with murder….that would never happen with republicans.

    **Cough** Frank Hegarty **cough**

  • Roger

    Were the Brits running the loyalists any more than they were running the IRA? The leaders may have been informants, but that doesn’t mean they were only informants or that they told the British everything. That applies to both sides. After all, a quarrel in an armed group could lead to a feud. On the other hand, if you denounce them to the army and get them killed you’ve got rid of your opponents without loss and acquired a few handy heros for future use.

  • gareth mccord

    the government have alot to answer for especially when the evidence is crystal.
    the u.v.f. murders under the alledged command of “bunter” and “haddock” commited alot of murders in the 90,s under the r.u.c.command of ronnie flanagan. who is now a police advisor for the british establishment and in iraq. this is the man who turned a blind eye to his special branch allowing thier informers to continue to murder.FACT backed up by jonty brown and trevor mcillwrath. if the net of the ombudsman report fails to catch alot of rats then justice in this country can never be rellied upon again. it is just a pity that all families who have been affected by these people dont show thier loved ones the respect we have shown our raymond. we will never give up until we get raymond justice by what ever means i just wish the other victims families would honour them by demanding justice the same volume as ours. it is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.