“In Kenova’s sights are also those IRA leaders on the Provisional Army Council who sanctioned the “executions” for spying…”

The BBC reports that Freddie Scappaticci has been arrested in England by the Operation Kenova team and is being questioned “in connection with the investigation into allegations of murder, kidnap and torture”. [Scappaticci is pictured above – bottom left with dark moustache at funeral of Provisional IRA member Larry Marley]

The investigation team confirmed that a 72-year-old man had been arrested.

The BBC understands the man being questioned is Fred Scappaticci and that he was arrested in England.

The investigation team said the arrest was “in connection with the investigation into allegations of murder, kidnap and torture”.

A statement from the investigation team added: “He is currently in custody at an undisclosed location and will be interviewed in relation to the investigation. No further details of the place of arrest or where he is being held will be released due to security reasons.”

As Ed Moloney surmises

Scappaticci was responsible for the deaths of an unknown but decidedly large number of people some of whom may have been informers and some who were probably not.

His story covers one of the darkest and dirtiest chapters of the British state’s secret war against the IRA in which the republican movement’s top spycatcher was in an ideal place to subvert his own comrades, giving British intelligence an unprecedented opportunity to manipulate IRA policy and personnel.

During that enterprise it is more than likely that British intelligence allowed Scappaticci to kill people and may even have connived at others’ deaths in order to promote their intelligence goals.

In that capacity he was in a position to help British intelligence advance the careers of other informers, halt or divert the careers of those who were not and, arguably, help shape IRA military and political policy. He was probably the most valuable British spy of the Troubles.

And, an interesting point from John Ware, as noted in April last year

The inquiry is not the first into the secret intelligence war. However, seasoned observers of the Troubles are sceptical it will run its full course if the evidence implicates too many senior members of the British intelligence services, but also the Republican movement. Boutcher counters this concern, saying “if any of this perceived resistance happens, I will challenge it”.

By 2007, the conflict in Northern Ireland had claimed 3,720 lives. Due partly to Sinn Féin’s laser-like focus, attention on the 367 killed by British forces has eclipsed the 2,152 killed by the IRA and other republican groups.

Very little attention, by comparison, has been paid to the 1,738 members of the security forces killed by the IRA, and none at all on those murdered by the IRA for spying – some 70 people.

In Kenova’s sights are also those IRA leaders on the Provisional Army Council who sanctioned the “executions” for spying, as required by IRA General Orders.

Appeals against the death sentence were required to be heard by the IRA’s adjutant-general with a signed copy of the verdict and sentence, and a summary of the evidence.

Gerry Adams continues to deny he was in the IRA, but a multitude of ex-IRA members and police officers say otherwise, and they say that between 1978 and 1982 Adams was its adjutant general.

Read the whole of that post from April.  It includes this ‘prediction’ from Newton Emerson

A BBC Panorama investigation into the Stakeknife case has provided an unwittingly timely reminder of one nuclear talks option.

It is clear the republican movement has been watched around the clock at every level for 40 years, leaving it vulnerable to certain kinds of ‘truth recovery’.

Chief constable George Hamilton hinted as much last year when he warned that opening up all police files on the Troubles would please nobody.

Gerry Adams has now said a deal on the past is not necessary to restore devolution.

That was in April last year…  Meanwhile, Ed Moloney clears up an occasional point of confusion

In the meantime we should pause for a moment and recall that it was an ex-British soldier, a former member of the Force Research Unit, Ian Hirst who, using the pseudonym ‘Martin Ingram’, exposed the Scappaticci story to daylight. Without his bravery the Scappaticci story would have been buried as deeply as many of his victims.

Efforts by the British Ministry of Defence to silence Hirst led to a court injunction forbidding him to use or promulgate Scappaticci’s code name, ‘Steak Knife’. So instead he called ‘Scap’ ‘Stakeknife’ and the media followed suit. ‘Scap’s’ real code name though was ‘Steak Knife’.