The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Spooks, Spies And Spoofers


Anthony McIntyre • August 5, 2003

In the wake of the Stakeknife affair considerable public interest has alighted on the murky world inhabited by informers. The pace of the allegations thrown Freddie Scappaticci’s way was nothing if not relentless. The demeanour of confidence and certainty assumed by the media in its presentation of the case against him, coupled with some of his earlier apologists later displaying signs of second thoughts, has left the alleged senior IRA security department figure with a dearth of allies willing to defend his reputation. With this as a backdrop, enough people are no longer so quick to dismiss claims that the Provisional IRA was extensively infiltrated over the course of its campaign.

Some of this reluctance is fuelled by the titillation that intrigue offers. When the politicians are doing their utmost to smother us in ennui, the excitement induced by wondering who may have been ‘at their game’ working for ‘the other side’ punctuates the political tedium. But another factor is the result of the manner in which the republican constituency dealt with the salvo launched against Scappaticci. Prevarication and concealment have done little to assure swathes of republicans that all allegations of treachery within the ranks originate solely with those termed securocrats.

For this reason the suggestion that Belfast republican and North Belfast News editor, Sean Mag Uidhir, is an agent of the British state will pass as currency in some quarters. Given that IRA operations more often went wrong than right (some estimates vary from 80% to 90% having to be aborted), there is no deficiency of people willing to suspect and no shortage of those suspected. It is perhaps no exaggeration to suggest that everyone in the organisation has at some point crossed the ‘think dirty’ radar screen of someone else. But the wider republican constituency should think long and hard as to where exactly it wants the evidence bar placed before somebody is judged culpable in the volatile court of community opinion.

Unlike the substantive accusations made against Scappaticci, the penumbra hovering around Sean Mac Uidhir emanates from the most dubious of quarters. Significantly, this was reflected to a great extent in the Sunday papers which covered the story. The People, which moved with devastating efficiency to destroy Freddie Scappaticci‘s defence, was at best pedestrian in its thrust against Mag Uidhir. Peter Keeley - or Kevin Fulton, as the North Belfast News editor’s accuser prefers to be known - does not have the credibility in media circles that Martin Ingram possessed.

It is generally accepted that Ingram was the primary source behind a process which ultimately led to Freddie Scappaticci being identified as Stakeknife. Ironically, Ingram’s credibility was enhanced immeasurably by the Andersonstown News Group, for whom Sean Mag Uidhir is an employee. It gave the former FRU operative a platform in the pages of one of its publications from which he rightly assailed the British state on collusion. Ingram is said to be motivated by a crisis of conscience over the murderous devices through which the British implemented their security policy in the North of Ireland. By contrast, Fulton was a paid informer whose main gripe with the British military is not one of ethics but of payment - 35 rather than 30 pieces of silver. Described by Ronnie Flanagan - albeit in a very self-serving fashion - as a Walter Mitty, alleged by Nuala O’Loan to have passed on false information, and universally disbelieved in republican circles when he claims to have been interrogated by Scappaticci in 1994, nothing so far has been forthcoming that would lead a neutral party to conclude that Fulton can be relied upon to provide credible testimony.

The failure by the republican constituency to respond honestly when confronted with the Scappaticci affair and instead seek refuge in a victim’s asylum from which it could shout journocrat and securocrat at everyone not sharing its outlook, has needlessly exposed many republicans to risk. As a result, elements within the British security apparatus are now well placed to convince people that there were and are numerous agents within the IRA. Through the Scappaticci case, British military intelligence operatives have secured a strategic beachhead from which they can, if they decide to, accuse any republican of having at one time been in their pay.

As it stands the case presented against Sean Mag Uidhir is thoroughly unpersuasive. His response to the accusations has been both rapid and robust in a way that Scappaticci’s was not. For those of us who have known Sean Mag Uidhir both as a comrade or friend the allegations - conceded by The People to be unsubstantiated - that he now faces can have no bearing on how we view him. Ultimately, if those who were or are working for the British are to be exposed - as indeed they should be - there can be no concession made to unsubstantiated allegations issued by every tout who happens to be embroiled in a pay dispute with his former masters.



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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
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Index: Current Articles

5 August 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Spooks, Spies and Spoofers
Anthony McIntyre


Doing Something Right
Aine Fox


The Ideas of Frantz Fanon

Liam O Ruairc


Terrorism and Civil Society as Instruments of US Policy in Cuba
Philip Agee


The Letters Page has been updated.


29 July 2003


Our Places in the Great Wall
Seaghán Ó Murchú


Mr Michael McKevitt's Statement at the Special Criminal Court
Michael McKevitt


Crisis of Political Imagination

Liam O Ruairc


Childhood, - West Belfast, Race and 'Irishness'
Davy Carlin


Island Palestine
Anthony McIntyre


A Short History of the Global Economy Since 1880
M. Shahid Alam


Belfast's Big-headed Bully-boy
Margaret Quinn




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