of the recurring elements in the Steak Knife story
has been speculation as to whether his unmasking has
done more harm to the Provisional IRA than to British
Intelligence. But another question we in the media
might ponder is whether the greatest damage of all
has not been done to ourselves.
Saturday afternoon, four newspapers were considering
whether to name Freddie Scappaticci as Steak Knife---the
Sunday People, the Tribune, the World
and, over in Glasgow, the Sunday Herald. Two
of the editors have explained publicly why they went
ahead. Andrew Jaspan of the Herald says that
he went into print after receiving confirmation from
the Ministry of Defence that Scappaticci had been
moved to safety in England. "It was quite important
to us to know that he was out of harm's way,"
he told the Guardian.
editor Paddy Murray was, he says, "120 percent
certain" Scappaticci was Steak Knife. He decided
to name him once it was established that he had been,
quote, "spirited out of Belfast...We were exposing
a wrongdoer, but ethically it made it easier that
he wasn't at risk."
concern for the safety of a man they were about to
identify as a cruel torturer and a mass murderer is
strange. The same consideration didn't apply to, for
example, the men Panorama purported to out
last year as the Omagh bombers. It was Steak Knife's
assumed connection to the security forces, then, which
made the difference, which entitled him to special
Scappaticci, it now seems, hadn't been spirited away
anywhere. In this, at least, the MoD, or "security
sources", had been lying. And the lies have been
published across the media as flat fact.
of the security agencies involved in all this is MI5,
which worked in the closest cooperation with the FRU,
the outfit which, we are told, ran Steak Knife. By
bizarre coincidence, MI5 and Military Intelligence
witnesses have been testifying this past fortnight
at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry. It's been a bizarre
spectacle. One MI5 witness told the Tribunal that
his key statement was drawn up BY MI5 and presented
to him for signature. Another, testifying as to the
credibility of the informer code-named Infliction,
volunteered that lawyers for the Tribunal invited
her to read over the statements of other MI5 witnesses
before making her own statement.
from sparking a media outcry, these astonishing admissions
have gone virtually unreported.
inquiries, if any, are launched into the Steak Knife
affair, there's need for us in the media to inquire
into ourselves, and to ask why it is we are such easy
meat for manipulation by the shadowy forces of a ruthless
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