Contradictory claims from former British handler?

An Sionnach Fionn has a lengthy article on the ‘Ingram’ document, with some interesting detail, not least because he’s spotted some contradictions between detail between claims made about the penetration levels within the document and those made by Hurst/Ingram six years ago in the Sunday Tribune:

“It’s time ordinary republicans stopped being led like sheep and started asking questions. At grassroots level, around one in 20 members are British agents. Higher up, it’s one in three.”

The claim in the Ingram document was ‘One in four IRA members was an agent, rising to one in two among senior members.’

Quite a gap.

Sionnach Fionn’s argument is that it was the IRA’s incapacity to keep up the technology race with the British Army that brought them to heel, and that at maximum there could only have been 20/30 double agents (considerably less even than Ingram’s 2006 guesstimate) in an active membership of up to 500.

That seems to me to err slightly on the other side of conservative. Technology must have played a key role in bringing the conflict to an end. No one can be sure of anything other than everyone in authority clearly wants this story to go away.

Given the fact that if the Taoiseach had had his way the inquirywould have been jugged sinceNovemeber, and there’s little in this for anyone .

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  • Pat Mc Larnon

    I remember quite well having a few altercations on this site with Mr Hurst and a quick search of previous threads will reveal that he did paint with a rather broad brush.
    He was a keen advocate of Mr Keeley who alone is responsible for the Smithwick Tribunal in Dublin. When allegations surfaced in the press about a number of North Belfast men working for the British Intelligence Services Hurst was able to substantiate [sic] these claims by claiming Keeley was able to tell by the body language of one of those named that he was an agent. All good stuff.

    When the Sunday Times and Sunday World ran with their allegations on Martin Mc Guinness the same Mr Hurst was a permanent feature on this site waxing lyrical supporting the stories. Ineed he promised to put irrefutable evidence on this site that would prove beyond doubt the role of Martin Mc Guinness. Unfortunately for him as the ST and SW didn’t take the story any further and Mr Hurst then disappeared.

    What is bizarre about the whole Hurst case is the fact that so much credence was given to a lowly NCO who, by his own accounts virtually ran military intelligence in the 6 counties and had evidence on just about everyone who happened to appear in the media.

    As it is a quick perusal of his claims show that he had a tendency to exaggerate and spoof in order to turn a pound. The surprising thing is anyone is surprised.

  • keano10

    Like I said on another thread, the propaganda war which was once so vehemently fought has now seemingly turned into a revisionist battle to decide the perceived ‘truth’ for future generations.

    The actual truth is most likely to be that there were intelligence successes on both sides and it’s going to be virtually impossible to categorise the scale of either as most of the facts relating to intelligence leaks on either side will never emerge.

    I also think that the eventual decision by SF to pursue a process which would ultimately lead to an agreement was much more to do with dealing their hand at the most appropriate point in time to gain the maximum political advantage.

    To that end, they certainly initially succeeded. How those gains will stand the test of time over the next couple of decades remains to be seen. Much may depend on their attempts to eventually gain power in a Southern Coalition.

    I think it would be wrong to over emphasise the scale of intelligence in relation to the ultimate cessation of conflict.

    Did the British succeed in gaining valuable inteeligence through technology and informers?. Yes. Was the scale of this on a par with Ingram’s (latest) claims. Most probabaly not.

    Did Republicans succeed in gaining intelligence within Government Departments and the NIO. Most probably yes. (as admitted by Ingram). Did this information significantly help them acheive their own aims. Again, most probably not.

  • I was always convinced from my discussions/arguments with him that he continued to work for British intelligence as a black propagandist. When I accused him he didn’t deny it.

  • latcheeco

    “Some say the devil is dead” so odds are you were not far wrong. But along with mischief there is clearly also a desire to prove relevance and importance which may be corporate or individual or both. However, he now has a problem in that he appears (above) to have been exposed oversalting his grits.

  • Alias

    There is only an information gap which Hurst has been correcting by meeting with members of the intelligence community over the last few years.

    A lot of what Hurst has said has been information he collected after he left the FRU, and that process of insider research is there in the leaked document. It’s work in progress.

    So it’s simply poor propaganda and even worse logic to claim that everything Hurst knew, he knew at period X.

  • latcheeco

    With respect, that’s stretching belief as much as Mr. Hurst appears now to be stretching his infiltration estimates. But it’s understandable that you might want to think the best of Mr. Hurst given that you have relied on this story as the basis for your single transferable post for the past couple of years

  • Alias

    Latch, your post is content-free.

    It is a fact that Mr Hurst is engaged in ongoing research among members of the intelligence community to ascertain the extent and nature of British state inflitration of the murder gangs.

    That means, kid, that his knowledge of the nature and extent is expanding, and his estimates vary accordingly.

    Unlike yourself, who closed his mind to new information in the 5th grade…

  • Alias

    Incidentally, PIRA had no means of detecting British agents in its ranks since Mr Adams very helpfully apointed British agents to run PIRA’s internal security/intelligence department. How could anyone be surprised that PIRA was overrun with agents when it had no means of detecting them?

    That’s like a farmer appointing a fox to gaurd the chicken coup…

  • Alias

    What do Roy McShane, Eamon Collins, Peter Keeley, Freddie Scapaticci have in common? They were all British agents who were members of PIRA’s internal security/intelligence unit.

    Even John Joe Magee, the head of the ISU, was a British Royal Marine (not disclosed to other PIRA members when Adams appointed him). If JJ was an agent too, he must have been the world’s worst agent-catcher since all of his men were British agents.

    You can only laugh…

  • latcheeco

    “Unlike yourself, who closed his mind to new information in the 5th grade…”

    You know what they say, give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man. I suppose others could judge whose post smacks more of the playground though.
    You’re clearly a big fan of Mr. Hurst which is why you expect others to believe as fact without providing any evidence the assertion that he is constantly updating his spook research (as opposed to spoof research). Oddly, expecting others to take things as fact without evidence is what he does too

  • Alias

    Latch, here’s a scene from a comedy drama featuring your loyal and clever heroes that never made it to the West Belfast Festival:

    A day in the life of a busy agent-catcher.

    JJ Magee: Lads, we’re doing a brilliant job in catching these dastardly British agents in our midst. There’s not an agent about the place!

    Freddie Scapaticci: Thanks, boss. Much appreciated.

    Roy McShane: Perfidious Albion is no match for us.

    Eamon Collins: Thanks, JJ. Do we deserve a raise?

    Peter Keeley: I f*cking hate turncoats and traitors! If I ever find a British agent anywhere near our beloved PIRA, he’ll regret the day he was born.

    JJ Magee: That’s what I like to hear. You guys are the best. Sure there never be an agent about the place atall atall as long as I pick loyal men like you to be on my team. I can smell an agent miles away!

  • latcheeco

    Very poor Alias,
    You’re clearly stronger on conspiracy theory than drama . What I can’t work out is, why a normally stolid and sensible man like yourself would be so frantic over a relatively inconsequential spoof being exposed. You seem to be taking it very personally.

  • Alias

    “What I can’t work out is, why a normally stolid and sensible man like yourself would be so frantic over a relatively inconsequential spoof being exposed.”

    I have the same problem, but the difference is that I have a fairly good idea why Shinner toadies are ignoring the fact that the PIRA had absolutely no means of detecting British agents within it ranks.

    They ignore it for a few reasons:

    (a) The leader of the Shinners appointed a British agent to run internal security/intelligence department, thereby ensuring that British ganets would not be detected within PIRA.

    (b) The leader of the Shinners kept a British agent in the role for nearly two decades, when standard procedure is to rotate vital counterintelligence roles in order to avoid long-term infilitation of them. This raises worrying (for them) questions about which side the leader was actually playing for.

    (c) British agents appointed by the leader murdered circa 50 PIRA members. All of those murders were authorised by a member of PIRA’s army council.

    (d) PIRA’s internal security/intelligence department knew everything that was going on within PIRA, so it knew more about PIRA than most of the Army Council.

    (e) PIRA’s internal security/intelligence department vetted all new members of PIRA for a period of 20 years, so all candidates were either approved or rejected by British agents.

    (f) Given that the security services were selecting new members, it is more likely they selected members who could be easily controlled by the security services. This shows the PIRA ‘cream of the crop’ to be more likely to be crud from the bottom.

    The purpose of appointing British agents to run internal security/intelligence department was primarily to ensure than British agents would not be detected within PIRA. Essentially, so that the security services would infiltrate it at all levels and could do so entirely undetected. In order to do that it is essential that you put your agents in a position where you can progress over time to the top of the organisation, and they can appoint more of your agents to executive roles within the organisation.

    The appalling vista before the averted eyes of the Shinner toadies is that they are nothing more than lackwitted puppets of the British state, now openly serving British national interests whereas before the service was hidden.

    You should thank your lucky stars that you only serve the Shinners on the net, whereas others gave up decades of their lives to serve an aim that turned out to be the opposite of the one they thought they were serving.

  • latcheeco

    Maybe, maybe not. The point, as you know, is that it’s harder to believe a conspiracy theory when the source’s (always suspect) credibility is up in the air, as it clearly now is. You are flailling around with the same old theories and schoolyard epithets but giving little proof that your revered source is anything more than a sad self-important ex-minor player with delusions of grandeur.

  • I have to agree with latcheeco. Ingram/Hurst certainly had delusions of grandeur. If you believe him, he was privy to all of the Intelligence services information. On that alone, he has to be very suspect. Ding ding.

  • Munsterview

    Alias : ‘ Incidentally, PIRA had no means of detecting British agents in its ranks since Mr Adams very helpfully appointed British agents to run PIRA’s internal security/intelligence department. How could anyone be surprised that PIRA was overrun with agents when it had no means of detecting them?

    That’s like a farmer appointing a fox to guard the chicken coup…’

    Yet again an outsiders, at best, imagined view of the IRA and how it operated. If there is not ignorance on these matters, then there is deliberate mischief making and black propaganda at work.

    I had one meeting with an infamous, self-confessed informer at his invite. I met him during lunch time and on what was supposed to be Republican business. In quick succession he had a generous glass of spirits which was followed by two pints. This man while never as important in Southern Command, never the less did at that stage have a certain amount of authority and influence.

    When it was obvious that the person concerned was already under the influence of drink, even before his lunchtime top up, I terminated the meeting and reported the event ‘up along the line’ as I considered that the man was a security risk to all in contact with him in the condition that he was in when involved in Republican Business. Not alone that I aquatinted Senior people in the Munster Region as to what happened and the risk that I considered he represented.

    From that day on neither myself or several key people in other Munster areas or indeed wider afield would deal with this person despite his ‘offecial’ status. In regard to these people referred to the term ‘Volunteer’ means just that and any Volunteer worthy of the name would put their responsibilities to The Republican Movement and their comrades before any dictates of Southern Command or Northern Command for that matter.

    Again this is for the benefit of the wider Republican community and those with an open mind attempting to get an appreciation of how various sections of the Republican Movement operated. There are issues raised here regarding propaganda and CO’IN activities that need open airing and debate. However Mick’s current rules make that impossible.

    Keno: ‘…Like I said on another thread, the propaganda war which was once so vehemently fought has now seemingly turned into a revisionist battle to decide the perceived ‘truth’ for future generations……’

    Factual but not the full facts!

    In the early sixties Rand document authored by Kitson, ( which I have frequently referenced here in slugger), the importance of public opinion and State Forces propaganda is explicitly set out and this was built on and refined throughout the Northern Liberation Struggle and Counter Insurgency Operations.

    Here again there are plenty of reference on the net to build up a month by month of the evolving Counter Insurgency Operations that any diligent person can research for themselves. misinformation, disinformation and Black Propaganda played a vital part in this Counter Insurgency.

    ‘They have not gone away, you know’…… this propaganda war never ceased and the attempted distortion and manipulation of public opinion in Northern Ireland continue unbroken across all media by the Spooks just as it was at the most active phase of the Conflict.

    The ‘Revisionism’ aspect while significant is but a very small part of this overall ‘Spook’ directed, propaganda effort.

    As ‘The Great Man’ himself said ” by their fruits ye shall know them ” Problem is some people do not want to know as if they did admit this reality, it would lead to even more problems.

  • Alias

    MV, PIRA in Ireland was as deeply infiltrated as PIRA in Northern Ireland. Indeed, it’s top man – from your neck of the woods – was an agent for the intelligence agencies of two states. Your fellow local Shinner, John Corcoran, was murdered to protect his identity – and again his murder was authorised by the Army Council

    Latch, which item of fact do you think is part of a conspiracy? It is a fact that PIRA’s security/intelligence department was run by British agents.

    It is a fact that Roy McShane, Eamon Collins, Peter Keeley, and Freddie Scapaticci were all members of PIRA’s ISU. It is also a fact that they were all British agents.

    So far, no agency has outted JJ Magee (a former British Royal Marine) as an agent but it is a conspiaracy theory to suggest that he too wasn’t an agent, not to suggest that he was.

    Given that agents were working along side him, right under his nose, he was either the world’s worst agent-catcher or an agent.

  • Munsterview

    Alias : ‘ Indeed, it’s top man – from your neck of the woods – was an agent for the intelligence agencies of two states…..’

    Unfortunately Mick’s vulnerability to libel laws make explicit comment on this impossible, but it would seem that you are referring to the same individual as I did in a foregoing post. This individual while of some significance authority for a brief period, was never the less, far from being the central figure of importance that he later presented himself to be.

    The damming inditement in the Corcoran story as covered by Vincent Brown in an extensive Magill article in which VB was able to draw on State Security Forces views as well as those of Republican contacts, is that the Informer/ State asset did, at several periods during Corcoran’s captivity, inform his garda contacts as to ‘what was going down’ and where both Corcoran and himself were.

    Senior people in Southern State Security Services and The Senior Civil Service and probably some Government members of the day, decided that the unfortunate Corcoran had to die to, among other reasons, protect their more higher placed asset, the person that you are referring to.

    Like all such stories, the facts of Corcoran’s double life are far more complex than ever came into the public domain, he was blackmailed and compromised from very early on and his State ‘handlers’ continued to use him to front attempted entrapment situations that became ever more apparent, until these had the final tragic, but inevitable outcome.

    Corcoran’s death was required to protect his State ‘handlers’ recklessness and ruthlessness as much as it was the State informers identity. This is the sordid activity and human cost behind the ‘Spook’ glamor.

  • Alias

    A very sad affair for the large Corcoran family, and one where an intelligence agency of the Irish state is revealed to be as morally corrupt as those within of the UK. But then again, British intelligence hasn’t been shy about infiltrating the Irish security services either – right up to the level of a (dismissed) Commissioner. All of the folks promoted by Garvey to key positions stayed within those positions after he got fired, and two succeeded him (with one falling under Barron’s beady eye over Ludlow). Obviously, the state didn’t grasp that agents in positions of influence appoint other agents to positions of influence (and that goes for the minister too).

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    you are using the word ‘fact’ quite liberally. Very few things you have attributed as ‘facts’ have been established as such. They are at most your opinion or things you have lifted from media outlets.

  • Cynic2

    The most amazing thing about this is the ability of the Republican Movement to just carry on and ignore all these revelations. One might suspect that meetings of the Army Council (or have they gone away you know) might be in a forment to out the traitors within. But not a sign of that. Not a word of dissent from any prominent leaders.Not a call for an inquiry

    Some with attribute that to solidarity and commitment to the movement.Other, perhaps more cynical, observers will suspect its because so many of them are still working for the Brits that they are all looking skywards, whistling and hoping that a spotlight doesn’t fall on them.

    As a Unionist perhaps I should just wish them “Nollaig Shona agus Bliain Nua Chorrchoill” – with the emphasis on the prosperous bit

  • Cynic2

    “as morally corrupt”

    Depends on your morals – and the real facts dunnit

  • RepublicanStones

    latcheeco @ 8:52pm sums it up nicely.

    I have a sudden urge to watch The Tailor of Panama…

  • 241934 john brennan

    In all the above posts, a surprising omission is the name of Denis Donaldson, head of Sinn Fein administration – and there is no speculation about who, in Connolly House, collaborated with MI5 to plant the biggest ever listen device?

  • Alias

    “Very few things you have attributed as ‘facts’ have been established as such.”

    True, but then it is also my opinion that you are of the male gender, a Shinner mouthpiece, and from Northern Ireland.

    That may also be a fact, but it is not established as such.

    You could, of course, be a hunchbacked hermaphrodite pigmy, orginally from Papua New Guinea, but now living in the basement of Hillary Clinton’s appartment building in New York.

    Likewise, Freddie Scapaticci may have been a loyal provisional, as it is not an established fact that he was an agent, but it more likely that he was an agent and that is why other agents appointed him to the ISU and protected him in that position for two decades.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    A clear indication of why you post in the manner you do.

  • Alias

    It is not an established fact that I posted at all. It could be just a program on your computer than responds to keywords.

    Until you can establish the fact, remember, you must simply ignore the event, drawing no conclusions from it.

    Why do you not follow your own logic?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    You stated quite a few things as ‘facts’ which even a cursory examination show are no such thing at all.
    If you are embarrassed that has been pointed out then simply re-write your pieces or link them to the tabloids or sources where you picked the up.

  • Alias

    Really? Why don’t you point out which ‘fact’ you think is not true.

    Please specify which standard, scientific or legal, you are applying.

    I am quite confident that everything I stated is true, or, on the preponderance of the evidence, more likely to be true than false.

    To claim that something is not a ‘established’ fact is simply a technique of avoiding inforamtion that you cannot process within your comfort zone.

    So, of course, is man-playing when you can’t win the argument. We saw you engage in this practice on the Anthony McIntyre thread. But it standard policy of Shinners, isn’t it?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The point of the thread seems to have gone over your head. in that one of the people, on which you have established your ‘facts’, has been found guilty of losing the run of himself and ended up over egging the pudding and ended up forgetting what he had previously said in an ever increasingly desperate attempt to remain relevant.

    You were asked to provide links and either won’t but more probably can’t. That is fair enough. You can lay charges and in weighing up what you have written people are free to decide if your opinion is relevant or indeed apparently worthless.

    Cutting through the hot air and supposition the only thing clear is a scarcity of ‘facts’.

  • Into the west

    alias if you’re so smart, why dya keep losing the arguements to shinners?
    of all people!

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk


    “I am quite confident that everything I stated is true, or, on the preponderance of the evidence, more likely to be true than false”

    So what?, anyone could say that – in short you are offering your opinion. No matter how arrogantly you put it – it’s your opinion and nothing more.

    As someone else pointed out, you have a strong tendency to equate your opinions to facts – they are not.

    Your singular theme is Republicans/Nationalists = stupid (and a lot less to say on “Loyalist” terrorists).

    No matter how loudly and arrogantly you express your opinion, it remains your singular point of view

    You seem to throw your toys out of the pram because people don’t agree with your opinions. If you actually backed them up with real facts, you might have a case.

    The truth is that you don’t or more probably can’t.

  • Into the west

    I agree with that
    Alias describes shinners as sheep/muppets loosely and liberally.
    His starter ( premise ) is they are sectarian murderers, which is an opinion, not a FACT.
    when you build your args on sand they get swept away upon scrutiny.
    get back to the drawing board alias.
    90% of IRA ops targetted brit army/security services/prison wardens/judges
    start from there .. it makes more sense

  • Alias

    It is my opinion that a trio of Shinner stooges are a tad irrasible.

    However, it is fact that Roy McShane, Eamon Collins, Peter Keeley, and Freddie Scapaticci were all British agents, and that all of them worked in PIRA’s internal security/intelligence unit.

    I don’t really blame you for being in belligerent denial about that. Once you accept that fact, you must also accept that you were patsys for the ‘other’ side.

    Remember, boys, the emperor’s clothes are beautiful…

  • Cynic2

    “90% of IRA ops targetted brit army/security services/prison wardens/judges”

    ….and especially Catholic ones. So it was sectarian