“…significant evidence against the people responsible for these offences”

Interesting comments from the Bedfordshire Police Chief Constable Jon Boutcher who has been charged with investigating allegations relating to the activities of the head of the IRA’s crudely appellated Nutting Squad.

This week we have heard things that from what the families have told me they have never told anyone before because nobody has asked them.

What I have been told this week is significant evidence against the people responsible for these offences. He has asked the victims’ families to give him time to investigate and recover the evidence. It is incredible what I have heard.

There is a pessimism which I understand, I completely get, because people felt let down and almost abandoned.

Actually, the pessimism is real enough, and it is based mostly on lived experience of most victims of the Troubles. The public interest arguments which have been used by all sides is a particularly slippery obstacle to overcome.

As Barney Rowan notes over on Eamonn’s site:

It is also about the IRA – about those involved in interrogations and torture and about those who pulled triggers.

Boutcher will ask Sinn Fein to support his investigation, but what can he expect when he starts to ask republicans about Freddie Scappaticci or IRA internal security?

The answer to that question is silence.

The IRA (or whatever it is that remains of its interests today) is notoriously intolerant of any external investigation into its past, particularly where that past intersects with the machinations of the British secret services.

And the silence of one inevitably feeds off and justifies the silence of the other. The question is that once the investigation begins, what becomes of Mr Boutcher’s ‘significant evidence’?

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • chrisjones2

    This will be interesting

    But will it include the senior members of the IRA who gave the orders for the interrogations and killings. Indeed perhaps Steaknife may end up turning Queens Evidence and exposing the whole senior command structure of the IRA. Who knows where this may lead

  • Jollyraj

    Nutting squad?

    Are these the same chaps that some of our Republican brethern refer to as freedom fighters?

    Not much comment here from the usual suspects. Declan? Anglo? Grumpy Oul Man? Are you there, fellers?

  • the rich get richer

    Won’t this be all blocked by “Not in the interests of the State ”

    I may not have the correct legal lingo but this is how this stuff is normally blocked .

    Wasn’t there some Saudi Arabian arms deals a few years ago and the investigation was blocked stopped by this “Not in the interests of the state ”

    I wish I could pull that one out after I was caught robbing a series of well stocked banks .

  • Anglo-Irish


  • chrisjones2

    Connolly House hasnt a line yet?

  • austin mcclafferty

    Could it be the learned bobby knows a thing r2 bout what might constitute and qualify as evidence or not.

    Mr Boutcher you are approximate to a weird feeling of tumbling which will embrace your lucky ass anytime soon. Do not panic You have found yourself on the edge of the unreasonable entity, a bespoke Alice in Wonderland experience, with a norn iron stench. It may become uncomfortably awkward at times, like when you engage with a waffling process, while your mind drifts of into the clouds of a surreal world and when that knighthood arrives, sure much of the unpleasantness of it all should be relative to your past. A few have thrown a waltz down that avenue a4 ye. Orde, Stevens, Stalker,HIT. How many times this disc getn a spin anyway?.

    The cynic in me cant hardly keep a lid on some things, some times. The mulberry bush and merrygoround are putting in an appearance, again. Bit of a real life performance art production.

  • johnny lately

    Its certainly interesting that you manage to gloss over the reasons why a police investigation into the activities of British paid agent aka Steaknife who was allowed to murder up to 60 people and evade justice, was called in the first place. There’s not a snowballs chance in hell of Steaknife turning Queens evidence, perhaps you forgot all those people, Danny Morrison being one of them, who were awarded 100s of thousands of pounds each because the British government weren’t prepared to put him ( Steaknife) in the dock.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Attempting to go for the high moral ground in a cess pit, which is what Jolly appears to be trying here is an otiose exercise.


    Interesting quote in the OP;

    ” The families have told me that they have never told anyone before because no one asked them “.

    Who was conducting the investigation into these deaths?

    That would have been the state wouldn’t it?

    Not very thorough was it, if questions weren’t asked of those in a position to know things?

    Had the investigators been convinced that it was all down to ‘themuns’ why not pursue it with the utmost vigor and leave no stone un-turned?

    Perhaps there were doubts as to the ultimate guilty party?

  • chrisjones2

    Ah but which state? were not many killed in Ireland?

  • chrisjones2

    So its up to 60 now is it?

    But now he may not have a choice about going into the box as a defendant or as a witness …if what you allege is true

  • Anglo-Irish

    Well, thirty three plus an unborn full term baby were murdered in Dublin and Monaghan and the guilty parties have never been brought to justice.

    We have a very good idea as to who they were though.

    The particular ‘unit’ of the UVF that was blamed were known to be totally infiltrated by British army special services and the explosives and expertise used in the bombings were beyond the capability of ‘loyalists’ .

    By a strange coincidence the man in charge of the special forces which had infiltrated the UVF ‘unit’ did come to a rather sticky end.

    You may have heard of him, Captain Robert Niarac, who was also alleged to have been the man with the ‘ crisp English accent ‘ involved in the Miami showband murders.

    Who knows for sure about any of it and will we ever find out?

    What is certain is that if we do it won’t be a tale of Knights in shining armour whichever way you look at it.

  • johnny lately

    “So its up to 60 now is it”

    Depends on the sources but –


    “A key witness with knowledge of up to 50 murders allegedly sanctioned by Britain’s security agencies has been barred from providing testimony on the scandal by the UK government”


    “A total of eight republicans found guilty of being part of the IRA kidnap gang will share a £1.6 million payout. Their convictions were quashed as the role of the agent known as ‘Stakeknife’ was not disclosed during the original trial.”

  • chrisjones2

    “Up to” again …..

  • johnny lately

    Regurgitating the same default lines simply shows your lack of knowledge or sticking one’s head in the sand approach to the involvement of the state in dozens of murders by one of its employees.

    Perhaps it would be best if we could focus on why Bedfordshire Police Chief Constable Jon Boutcher and others are leading an investigation into the activities of Freddie Scappaticci aka Steaknife.

    If you’ve forgotten –


  • MainlandUlsterman

    Let’s hope so

    We can’t move on without some honesty from public figures about what they’ve personally done.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    looking forward to the revelations

  • Jollyraj

    Seemingly not. Thus Anglo is at a bit of a loss about what he thinks of it.

  • Jollyraj

    “What is certain is that if we do it won’t be a tale of Knights in shining armour whichever way you look at it.”

    Except the IRA of course. Even the nutting squad were warrior poets and freedom fighters in your eyes, eh mate?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    The Troubles were clearly devised and carried out entirely by the British Establishment. It saw Aghadowey as a threat to the City of London’s pre-eminence as a global financial centre. The terrorists we all think did it, who seemed to come from Northern Ireland, were in fact English plants who had their accents trained in a secret camp by Jimmy Ellis. It’s all there in the secret files, but they’ll never release them of course – they’ll claim national security, but we’ll know the real reason. To think we innocently watched Z Cars, little did we know …

  • john millar

    “Were known to be” and “alleged”

    Letting me down again not your usual standards

  • john millar

    The truth will collapse/ end the Stormont assembly probably for at least a generation.

    The UK terminated local parliament/politics in NI in 1972 It took the GFA to bring it back. /get at arms length from NI.
    The have no wish to alter the status quo.

    Bring out the truth and the disclosure of all the actions of all the parties will cause such revulsion that parties will simply be forced to walk away by public disgust,

  • johnny lately

    So do we brush under the carpet and pretend the British government did not control and protect state sponsored terrorists who murdered, (according to British government supported and paid investigators) hundreds of innocent people. Should we simply point the finger at one side, Republicanism, the usual suspects, in typical British fashion to deflect from reality and allow the same thing to happen again and again, which already is by the way, in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine resulting in hundreds if not thousands of more innocent men women and children being used as cannon fodder by a nation who regards accusations of human rights abuses by its state forces, regardless of the overwhelming evidence, as lies and propaganda all the while secretly paying out millions in compensation claims to their victims.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Anglo is perfectly able to make his mind up on issues.

    Unlike you however I tend to take facts in to consideration when doing so.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Funnily enough john I tend to post my own personal views without taking into consideration your particular requirements.

    Sorry if you find that upsetting but there you go.

    Perhaps you should lower your expectations? : )

    As for ” were known to be”,

    There was a ‘First Tuesday’ documentary hosted by Olivia O’ Leary in which an investigation was carried out into what happened.

    Two high ranking British Army officers were interviewed and both were enraged ( in that quiet, understated but seething manner that they learn at Sandhurst ) as to what they saw as clear evidence of security force involvement.

    These men were ‘old school’ army and believed in weird stuff such as honour and integrity whilst regarding special forces as a bunch of ill disciplined cowboys.

    The point was made that the explosive and methods used were beyond the capability of the UVF who were supposedly responsible. Usually following explosions of that type there is residual material from the explosive itself allowing it to be identified.

    There was none in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, military grade explosive was used,

    As for the use of the word ‘alleged’, that’s what people use when circumstantial and/or anecdotal evidence or accounts lead someone to believe that an event took place but without proof positive that it did.

    Without it, it would be difficult to comment on anything without providing sufficient proof to convince a court of law.

    From what I’ve been told personally and read about, I believe that Niarac was involved in both incidents.

    Can I provide proof? No, that’s why it’s an allegation.

  • johnny lately

    If the British government would stop obstinating and stonewalling publicly and diplomatically and give the Irish government, who have been pleading with the British government throughout the years, for Irish government or an internationally respectable agreed body, access to documents and information the British government hold in its possession regarding the Dublin Monaghan bombings then perhaps accusation about British state agents involvement in those bombings could be put to rest but unfortunately no British government in the last 42 years has been willing to grant any such access to either the Irish government or an internationally agreed body for reasons only known to the British establishment reasons which it has consistently refused to divulge.

  • Anglo-Irish

    I’m sure that we can both hazard a pretty good guess as to why the British government hasn’t done that.

    If the information in their possession completely cleared British security forces of any culpability then surely the information would be forthcoming and end the speculation.

    If on the other hand it implicates members of the security forces then we are talking about a countries armed forces carrying out an offence which is a crime under international law.

    Murdering innocent civilians in a sovereign state that you are not at war with is not something that can just be brushed away.

    I have heard the theory that in fact the Irish government have the evidence of British involvement but are choosing to hold it over the British, which is one reason why they are included in the affairs of Northern Ireland.

    Should that be true it would mean that the Irish government has placed the interest of its political influence over the interest of the victims and their loved ones.

    No idea as to whether it’s true or not, but given the Machiavellian nature of your typical successful politician I wouldn’t be totally shocked to find out it was true.

    All speculation and conspiracy theory of course but as the man said ” It’s a tangled web we weave “.

  • Anglo-Irish

    You really are as obtuse as two short planks aren’t you?

    Show me a post of mine which states anything like that.

    Because I counter some of the nonsense spouted by you and your mates, and point out Facts which prove that as bad as they were,there were worse involved doesn’t make me a supporter.

    87.2%, can’t get away from that, or the Fact that it was ‘loyalists’ that were responsible for the start of the last Troubles can you?

  • Anglo-Irish

    Are you referring to this?


    Now you know as well as I do that the British do not indulge in that sort of skullduggery.

    We leave all that sort of thing to Johnny Foreigner don’t you know.

    Straight bat, sense of fair play, stiff upper lip and playing up and playing the game, that’s what we’re known for, ask anyone.