"I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth." (Karl Popper)

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Provos and British intelligence

In recent days several reports have claimed that Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein's lead negotiator and (according to several studies, including those by Ed Moloney and Peter Taylor) a central figure in the leadership of the Provisional IRA during its terrorist campaign, was in fact a spy for British intelligence. McGuinness yesterday stridently denied the suggestion; he said he was "a million per cent sure" that the stories were false. Whilst not suggesting that we should necessarily take his denial at face value, nothing has yet been proved.

But let's consider what is known. The claim seems to have emanated from a figure who calls himself Martin Ingram, a former British intelligence operative in Northern Ireland. The same ran other IRA spies, including Frank Hegarty and Freddie Scappaticci. As Ingram pointed out on the radio yesterday, McGuinness promoted Hegarty within the IRA over the suspicions of others; he personally vouched for Hegarty's trustworthiness at a time when the latter was an informant. Scappaticci was close to McGuinness in the organisation. At no time has any criminal or terrorist charge been brought against McGuinness in Northern Ireland, or Britain; several loyalist plots to kill him were foiled, it is claimed, by security forces. There has long been a fear in the highest levels of the Provisional organisation that a very senior member was an informer, dating back to the betrayal in 1987 of the Eksund, a boat from Libya laden with arms. Recalling this suspicion, I wrote recently, after Denis Donaldson (a Sinn Fein administrator) was murdered shortly after admitting publicly that he had been a spy for British intelligence:
One theory at the time was that he [Donaldson] was "outed" so as to prevent another British spy farther up in Sinn Fein/IRA from being exposed. If one reads
Ed Moloney's Secret History of the IRA, it becomes clear that during the IRA's armed campaign, there was a British agent in a high position in the Provisional organisation. That much has been suspected by the leadership since at least 1987 when the Eksund, a ship carrying weaponry from Libya, was betrayed and intercepted. What if that agent is still in place and sanctioned a unilateral operation (i.e. without the sanction of British intelligence or of the Provisional leadership) to get rid of Donaldson, in order to avoid himself being exposed. I admit this suggestion can be criticised as being a conspiracy theory. And I admit I'm only hypothesising. But there is, I bet, a lot we don't know - and may never know - about the extent and consequences of British intelligence successes against the Provisional IRA.
The recent claims may or may not be true, but I think it's safe to say that when it comes to the Provos and British intelligence, we don't know the half of it yet. Expect more revelations.


Blogger Omaniblog said...

This is the first time i've come across your blog. I found you via Cork Blogs. Must say thank you for summarising so well what I heard on radio, and would not have been able to remember. I like your reference back to your previous post.
It's an intriguing story. But, if there is truth in it, Martin is a dead man. It's very hard to clear your name. But no one knows how it is better than Martin himself, I suspect.
Thanks again.

Wed May 31, 10:55:00 AM GMT+1  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Martin Ingram and Jack Grantham and British Imperialism in Ireland.For more news of Martin Ingram and Jack Grantham go to


Mon Sep 18, 04:27:00 PM GMT+1  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Martin Ingram aka Ian Hurst is a liar
The person who calls himself Martin ingram but is in fact ex Int Corps SSgt Ian Hurst (known as rocky) is a liar of the highest order. His book STEAKNIFE is almost complete fiction, as are his assertions that Martin McGUINNESS was an agent of the state. He is dementedly lying completely about his past service in FRU. He only ever served in sleepy backwaters of the Province and never came face to face with anyone except low level eyes and ears agents. He never ran STEAKNIFE or even met him. In short, his book is a complete fabrication based on god knows what. He endangers the lives of serving and former soldiers as well as civillians with his ridiculous fairy tales. Hopefull he will appear in court at some of the current inquiries and investigations so he can be shown to be the liar he really is.This news from this website http://ingramis.blogspot.com/2006/09/martin-ingram-aka-ian-hurst-is-liar.html
Posted by http://jackgrantham.blogspot.com/

Sat Sep 23, 10:11:00 PM GMT+1  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its hardly suprising that Sinn Fein consider rumours about their political leaders to be "nonsense" in considering the debacle that surrounds the steaknife affair. On what basis could the British Government decide that it would be appropriate to tout the informant name of its most prized agent inside the IRA to the national press which consequenced in those same agents, allegedly, being named and their lifes put in danger. Why would the British government/security services set out to destroy its own credibility by having its own "national assets" lifes put in danger? What about the very substantial interests that the IRA has in the drug trade? Check out www.marginalfootnotes.com and follow the links at the bottom of the page. The whole story reaks of bullshit. Whats the meat of story is what the general public wants to know. What has this steaknife done requiring such transparent plots to be hatched? Is steaknife the steak and knife? Was steaknife involved in the Manchester bombings in the 1990's? Was it his idea? What about the Omagh bombings? Was that his idea? - i mean look what actually happened there. Did steaknife mastermind the 911 hijackings resulting in the death of around 3,000 people? "Dont be so ridiculous" you say? "Steaknife was a national asset as if he would do that"!!! The British government should concentrate on protecting their assets and where appropriate those of their allies, not fabricating bullshit stories to protect weak, but obvioulsy well connected agents that should never been recruited into the intelligence services and should never have been supported by us in their terror campaigns.

Fri Oct 27, 11:55:00 AM GMT+1  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Fri Oct 27, 12:01:00 PM GMT+1  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home