“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 … Read more

“The truth remains that Adams will only reveal his past if it suits his own agenda.”

We might never know the truth about the suggestion that Gerry Adams was responsible, directly or indirectly, for setting up the Provisional IRA’s East Tyrone Brigade for ambush as they tried to blow up a police station in Loughgall in May 1987.  Sinn Féin have dismissed the claims as “utter nonsense”, and some of the usual suspects have busied themselves playing the man – and/or the media. Meanwhile, Ed Moloney provides some useful background, and reproduces the chapter in his book ‘A Secret … Read more

Belfast man sentenced in Germany for 1996 Provisional IRA attack on army barracks

A timely lesson from the German authorities on dealing with Northern Ireland legacy issues…  Having successfully extradited 48-year-old James Anthony Oliver Corry from the Republic of Ireland in December last year, the Belfast man has now been convicted and sentenced for his role in the Provisional IRA mortar attack on a British army barracks near Osnabrück, Germany, in June 1996. From the Irish Times report A Northern Ireland man has been convicted in Germany of attempted murder for participating in an IRA attack on a British army barracks in the … Read more

Extradited Suspect Admits Role in 1996 Provisional IRA Mortar Attack in Germany

Unencumbered by the Belfast Agreement, ‘comfort’ letters, or any proposals on legacy issues, German authorities sought and, last year, secured the extradition of  a suspect in the Provisional IRA mortar attack on a British army barracks near Osnabrück, Germany, in June 1996. James Anthony Oliver Albert Corry, from north Belfast, had been arrested in Killorglin, Co Kerry, in October 2015, on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by German authorities. At the start of his trial today in a court in the city … Read more

Shock horror EXCLUSIVE! MI5 had Jeremy Corbyn under surveillance into the 1990s, for “links to the IRA”

Billed as  “Exclusive, MI5”, the Daily Telegraph  splashes with a predictable twist on an ancient theme, that Jeremy Corbyn had been under surveillance for having “ links” to the IRA. This is the flip side of the super-patriotic  coin that supports army veterans in their campaign, backed by Theresa May, against prosecutions for illegal actions in Northern Ireland and now supported by the Commons Defence Select Committee. It’s so much easier than thinking to take sides and leave it at … Read more

It’s easier to get rid of a hard border

Vincent Boland has written a major piece for the FT magazine (£) entitled “Dividing Line: Brexit and the threat to the Irish Border“. The article is all more absorbing for being written for the casually interested globalised audience that is the FT’s typical readership. Boland doesn’t deal in economic statistics or confusing politics but on the intense, often harrowing experience that remains the living legacy of the Troubles on both sides of the physical border. And here he identifies the … Read more

Moving on and forgetting the old soldiers of the Provisional IRA…

If you missed this from Shane Paul O’Doherty a week or so back, then it’s worth catching. You should try and read the whole thing. But I think this paragraph is worth highlighting… The IRA from the period 1969-2005 is the first version of the IRA where the leadership has distanced itself from the armed struggle and its fighters, has claimed to have exited the IRA halfway through the campaign or has even entirely denied membership and command and control … Read more

Operation Kenova and The Spy in the IRA…

John Ware’s BBC Panorama investigation on Freddie Scappaticci, The Spy in the IRA, is available online, with an accompanying article on the BBC website.  Ed Moloney has some relevant posts on his blog on the programme, including criticism of the initial response by processors in the media to Liam Clarke’s scoop when he broke the story in 1999. Not all journalists were as keen to follow the story up. Sinn Fein spread the word that Liam Clarke’s story was the work of … Read more

Peter Taylor: “Gradually I got used to reporting death. But I never became insensitive to it.”

In advance of the broadcast on BBC Radio 4 tonight, 8pm, of Peter Taylor’s documentary, Fifty Years Behind the Headlines – Reflections on Terror, the renowned journalist has written an article on the subject for the BBC website.  Most revealing, on many levels, is the part in which he recounts the “interview [which] affected [him] personally above all others.” The blanket protest by the IRA prisoners in the Maze started in 1977. They refused to wear prison uniform, insisting they were political prisoners and … Read more

Irish State Papers: The Anglo-Irish Agreement, Sinn Féin and the Provisional IRA

In part 1 of 2 reports RTÉ’s round-up of the newly released confidential Irish State papers from 1986 includes a couple of items worth highlighting in relation to the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement.  First up is an account of a meeting in Belfast in April 1986 between David Barry, of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Anglo-Irish division, and solicitor PJ McGrory – whose son Barra McGrory, also a solicitor, has previously represented Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, and in 2011 was appointed Northern Ireland Director of … Read more

“More important, though, is to never forget the monstrous things that can be done by apparently affable family men, who write poetry and enjoy fishing.”

With former Sinn Féin MLA, Daithí McKay [now a Slugger contributor… – Ed], speculating elsewhere that the, as yet unspecified, illness that caused the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister to pull out of December’s NI Executive Office trip to China at the last minute may force him to step down in 2017, Eilis O’Hanlon takes a pre-emptive look at Martin McGuinness’ “mixed legacy“. McGuinness has been lucky. Adams is widely mocked for denying that he was ever in the IRA. McGuinness was … Read more

German Police Formally Arrest Extradited Suspect in 1996 Provisional IRA Mortar Attack

Rather less widely reported than developments in certain other legacy cases was Dublin High Court recent ordering of the extradition of a suspect in the Provisional IRA mortar attack on a British army barracks near Osnabrück, Germany, in June 1996. James Anthony Oliver Albert Corry, from north Belfast, was arrested in Killorglin, Co Kerry, in October 2015, on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by German authorities. The Belfast Telegraph has the latest update via a PA report German police have arrested a … Read more

“What you should not do is expose Joe Bloggs who might have been buried as a hero but was in fact an informant for the Brits.”

With this attempted distraction in mind, the latest comments by Denis Bradley make even more interesting reading. Bradley also expressed concern about the fate of thousands of one-time informers if there was “full disclosure” of all sensitive Troubles-related security files. “What Robin Eames and I found out in our investigations leading to the Consultative Group on the Past report was that at any given time there were at least 800 informers working within the ranks not only of the loyalist … Read more

Dublin High Court orders extradition of suspect in 1996 PIRA mortar attack in Germany

Not much coverage of this so far, but the Irish Times reports that the High Court in Dublin has ordered the extradition of a suspect in the Provisional IRA mortar attack on a British army barracks near Osnabrück, Germany, in June 1996. In October last year, James Anthony Oliver Albert Corry (46) was arrested in Killorglin, Co Kerry, on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by German authorities. Later that month, Mr Corry, who is from north Belfast, spoke to a reporter … Read more

“Better to criminalise rather than politicise.”

Here’s something you might have missed last week.  In an interestingly timed, if much belated, intervention in the Guardian, professor of journalism at City University, self-declared Sinn Féin supporter and, in the late 1980s, a pseudonymous contributor to An Phoblacht, Roy Greenslade channels his inner Thatcher for a call for media [self] censorship when reporting on still violent dissident republican groups.  From the Guardian article In other words, by referring to “dissidents” – disparate overlapping groups that use IRA or similar in their self-descriptions – media outlets are investing them with an undeserved political … Read more

Operation Kenova: “I do not underestimate the huge task of establishing the circumstances behind how and why these murders occurred during those dark days.”

In a recent post Brian mentioned briefly the launch of the investigation into the activities of ‘Steaknife’ – the alleged British Army’s highest ranking informant within the Provisional IRA.  Named in the media as Freddie Scappaticci, originally from west Belfast, Scappaticci has denied the allegations. Operation Kenova, as it’s been named, will be headed by Chief Constable Jon Boutcher, from Bedfordshire Police and, according to reports, is expected to last around five years and cost £35million. The BBC report notes [The] investigation into the alleged … Read more

Raymond McCreesh play park: Council and Equality Commission’s decision goes to judicial review

The ongoing saga of the Raymond McCreesh play park took another turn yesterday. Bea Wotton the now 88 year old mother of one of the IRA victims at Kingsmills was granted leave for a Judicial Review of the decision to name a play park in Newry after McCreesh. The park was named after the IRA Hunger Striker (who was arrested in possession of one of the weapons used in the Kingsmills murders) in 2001. In 2014 the Equality Commission ruled … Read more

“as head of British intelligence, you would be derelict in your duty if you did not do everything in your power to assist that process…”

Via the Pensive Quill.  In this transcript of a discussion on Radio Free Éireann in New York, with John McDonagh (JM) and Martin Galvin (MG), veteran journalist Ed Moloney (EM) has some “stupid” questions for the leadership of Sinn Féin, British Intelligence Services, and the local media.  From the transcript EM: There’s a whole untold story of the peace process in the latter years of the IRA’s existence in relation to the influence of British intelligence – to what extent that was … Read more

Gerry Adams’ White House ‘controversy’: “Quite apart from being bumptious, paranoid and absurdly self-pitying…”

In the Irish News Newton Emerson highlights the unintended consequences of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams’ intemperate outburst following his recent misunderstanding with security at the White House.  From the Irish News GERRY Adams could have been pragmatic and diplomatic about being locked out of President Obama’s St Patrick’s Day reception and simply laughed it off. It is all too believable that the White House has the same hapless jobsworths in its security hut as everywhere else – and that has … Read more

US President Bill Clinton: “We’ve all taken our licks for Gerry”.

The BBC’s freedom of information specialist, Martin Rosenbaum, has been reading through transcripts of calls and meetings between US President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, between 1997 and 2000, which were released following a BBC freedom of information request to the Clinton Presidential Library. As he notes, [The transcripts] contain substantial redactions, especially of Mr Blair’s remarks… From the BBC report Much of their discussion was about the Northern Ireland peace process, in which President Clinton played a significant part. … Read more