01 June 2006

'I got Scap, now I'm after you'

Belfast Today

Posted by Artybhoy (Saoirse na hÉireann)

01 June 2006

Martin McGuinness has said the allegation that he was a British spy is nonsense. Political Editor Stephen Dempster talks to Martin Ingram, the man who said Freddie Scappaticci was Stakeknife and is now saying that the Sinn Fein MP and chief negotiator was a double agent

FORMER Army intelligence officer Martin Ingram said last night: "I'm going after Martin McGuinness and I will get him, just as I got Freddie Scappaticci."
The man who this week made the startling claim that the Sinn Fein MP was a British spy reiterated the allegation to the News Letter, saying he would stick by it and eventually see it proved true.
"This is a marathon, not a sprint," he said. "I was discredited and vilified over Scappaticci. It took 18 months from outing him to seeing him flee to Italy. Does anyone now dispute that he was Stakeknife?
"I have no wish to lie or make things up for the sake of it. That's not what I am about. I believe Martin McGuinness to be an agent. He has been a protected species."
Mr McGuinness has described the suggestions that he was working for MI6 as "a load of hooey", "absolute nonsense" and "total rubbish".
And he pointed the finger at a DUP/Special Branch agenda to discredit him and destabilise the peace process and republicanism – similar to previous scandals that have arisen at crucial moments in political talks.
Most people cannot believe that a man who has been for 35 years so prominently entrenched in republicanism could possibly be a British agent.
Some in the media have also dismissed Ingram's allegations and noted that the
evidence published by the Sunday World was "flimsy".
It amounted to an alleged transcript of a phone conversation between an MI6 handler and an informer codenamed J118, who a Special Branch officer has identified to Ingram as Mr McGuinness.
But given that Ingram has credibility and a strong track record in the area of outing spies and misdeeds in the shadowy intelligence world – particularly in the Scapaticci and Pat Finucane cases – the Sunday World believed in its source and published.
The News Letter tracked Ingram down and asked him if he could prove his claim, noting that Martin McGuinness said he was "one million per cent" sure there was no evidence to stand it up.
Ingram said: "I would agree with him. I will not be able to produce a document or a tape that proves he was a British agent.
"I could not do that in relation to Freddie Scappaticci, to convince everybody of what I was saying. It took time for it to sink in and be established.
"People should remember that Martin McGuinness has a history of lying throughout the Troubles and I have a history of telling the truth."
Speaking of the MI6 transcript and the verification he said he got from a Special Branch man, Ingram said: "The man is a serving Special Branch officer who's coming to the end of his time and is frustrated at what's gone on, and I have no reason whatsoever to doubt him when he says J118 is McGuinness.
"I have had this document for two years. It's not just happened overnight. Frankly, I wanted more material but things did not go just as I wanted.
"Am I in any doubt that the document refers to McGuinness? What is crucial here is what the republican movement believes. It will know."
It is understood Mr McGuinness met IRA intelligence officer Bobby Storey and Sinn Fein man Declan Kearny for a debriefing at Connolly House in Andersonstown on
Monday morning.
Ingram also claims he has been told that republicans are very suspicious on the issue.
He hinted that more could emerge on Mr McGuinness, and vowed to deal with a succession of incidents that have marked the Sinn Fein man's political and paramilitary life.
"I will address these points, given time," said Ingram, who served as a Force Research Unit (FRU) handler in Derry in the 1980s and knew of Mr McGuinness and his activities intimately. Let's take Martin McGuinness and just some of what we know. He lived in Derry from the start of the Troubles. He was an IRA commander in the city – self-confessed.
"Never interned. Never charged with any terrorist offences in Northern Ireland.
Never attacked by loyalists. But I have testaments from loyalists who say they were going to kill him but were compromised or thwarted by sudden military presence.
"Then there are the supergrasses Raymond Gilmour and Bobby Quigley, who put 50 people away in Derry and were both willing and able to testify against McGuinness on his operational role in Derry and Ireland, and the police were stopped from charging him with an offence.
"Moving on, the Cook Report in the early 90s made a string of allegations against McGuinness which led to Operation Taurus, a police investigation into him.
"The evidence gathered for prosecution was dropped because it was not in the public interest to prosecute him? What was the public interest?"
Mr McGuinness is alleged to have played a role in the murder of IRA informer Frank Hegarty.
He has always denied ordering the killing and Scappaticci denied carrying it out.
But Ingram had been Hegarty's handler in Derry, which will lead sceptics to suggest that this personal interest leaves him open to suggestions of a vendetta against Martin McGuinness.
"Look, I'm totally open about that issue. This is a very serious subject and it took the life of one of my agents," he said. "I, of all people, do not treat this stuff lightly.
"I am doing this for the truth and for justice. There's no money involved. I never sought, nor was offered a penny (for the Sunday World story]. Nor is there a book deal.
"The motivation is the truth of what has happened – though I did promise Ryan Hegarty (Frank Hegarty's son] that I would bring Scappaticci and McGuinness to justice for their roles in his father's murder.
"By that I do not mean kill them. I mean justice. I got Freddie. He is a man on the run and I am pursuing him through the courts for perjury. Now I'm going after McGuinness and I will get him, just as I got Freddie."

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