what you will about the former member of British
Army Intelligence Corp who goes by the pseudonym
of 'Martin Ingram', or indeed what motivates him
in his one man campaign against certain Provisional
Republicans, whenever he has claimed in the past
a Provisional Republican worked for the British
State as an informer, he has produced evidence to
back up his claim and has been prepared to put himself
forward to be questioned, both by journalists and
the members of various internet sites, on which
he gives as good as he gets.
his latest claim that senior SF member Martin McGuinness
was a British tout during the early 1990s is based
on the most flimsy of evidence. In fact, Mr McGuinness'
name is not mentioned anywhere in the document 'Ingram'
produced to the media; instead he asks us to believe
that the individual code named J118 in the document
is Martin McGuinness. He offers no real explanation
as to how this document came into his possession,
although one newspaper wrote that it came from a
serving PSNI SB officer, which if true itself must
place a question mark over it. Unlike previously
when 'Ingram' claimed correctly that Freddie Scappiticci,
the deputy OC of the PIRA internal security unit,
was the British agent code-named Stakenife, he does
not even offer up any worthy circumstantial evidence
to back his claim about McGuinness, beyond the fact
that he served very little prison time, which in
itself means nothing at all. Are we to believe that
all volunteers who were either astute or lucky enough
not to be caught when on active service accomplished
this by being touts? That would place some pretty
able volunteers into that category, not least the
current chief of staff and a number of other veteran
Republicans from South Armagh. To put it bluntly,
to make such a supposition without further evidence
also fails to explain why an agent of Martin McGuinness'
importance is known by the run-of-the-mill ID J118,
whereas in reality he would surely, like Scappiticci,
have had his own designated code name, as any info
he produced would have almost certainly gone through
channels eventually landing on the British Prime
Minister's desk. Remember, the period we are talking
about was the early 1990s, when the Brits had all
but decided to give their Peace Process strategy
a roll of the dice.
is another point. During this period, the early
1990s, Martin McGuinness had permission from the
PIRA Army Council to meet members of MI5/6. There
is nothing secret about this; it is a matter of
public record and these meetings went on throughout
the 1990s and beyond. Now if MM was an informer
and taking into account his position within SF and
thus his potential use to his British masters as
an informer, why would he also be meeting in some
car park a middle ranking RUC SB officer or someone
similar from any branch of the British security
services with all the risks this would entail, when
the senior SIS guys who came over from head office
in London could have spoken to him within the designated
safe house in which Mr McGuinness had been given
A/C authorization to meet them?
I wrote above, by the 1990s, the British had commenced
on a political strategy to solve the NI problem,
as too had a section of the PRM leadership. Martin
McGuinness was at the top of the SF tree and thus
vital to both groups if they were to go down the
Peace Process road. Why would they, informer or
not, risk their asset, especially with the knowledge
of what they all considered to be unreliable elements
within the RUC/PSNI Special Branch? It makes no
sense, but then again, I suppose 'Ingram' might
retort many things often don't in the north east
of Ireland's dirty war.
Blanket have made efforts to contact 'Ingram'
to ask him these very questions and others that
we have worries about. Unfortunately, he has refused
to take up our current offer of an interview by
firming up a date for it to take place, implying
he is willing to meet 'some time' in the future,
which considering the topical nature of the current
brouhaha he has created is unsatisfactory in the
extreme. Thus, I have concluded it is simply not
acceptable for him to make accusations of this nature
without being prepared to answer certain questions,
both about his sources and his own life.
On a personal level we need to know where he lives,
if it is in Ireland as he claims, what period during
a year does he spend abroad, his exact family relationships,
he claims to have married into a republican family.
If he is employed, what business is he involved
in, if he is unemployed, what state benefits, pensions
or income does he live on? We have been told the
document came to him via a serving PSNI SB officer,
if so, we need to know certain details about this
individual for obvious reasons, not least how he
came across the document, or, if he was not his
source, what type of individual was his source and
why does 'Ingram' believe J118 is Martin McGuinness.
Myself, I feel 'Ingram' has become obsessed with
Martin McGuinness, instead of what he originally
claimed to be doing, i.e., fighting for justice
for the victims of UK state collusion in criminality.
'Ingram' clearly hates Martin McGuinness with a
passion, not least because he played a leading role
in the death of one of the informers (Frank Hegarty)
'Ingram' handled, and whose safety he had partial
responsibility for. 'Ingram's' challenge to Mr McGuinness
to engage in a TV debate with him reinforces this
opinion, as he would be well aware if McGuinness
accepted the challenge he would be unable to answer
questions about Frank Hegarty and other matters
concerning the PIRA for obvious reasons. Any 'debate'
would be a non starter.
In his own way, and admittedly I could be wrong,
and whilst of course having major political differences,
I still believe 'Ingram', has played a positive
role by writing his book about Stakenife and by
so doing helping to bring the British State's criminal
collusion with Irish Republican informers into the
light of day. Some people need to get their heads
around the fact he was a soldier in the British
army, and he should be judged on this basis.
McGuinness, who, informer or not, I have my doubts
about. I say this because McGuinness allegedly continued
to encourage volunteers to go out to kill and be
killed when not only did he know the war was lost,
but over. Having said this, it does not make 'Ingram'
right or McGuinness a tout.
we have here is the debris of a long dirty war and
we can expect more of it. It seems to me anyone
who considers themselves a socialist, republican,
anti-imperialist or simply a decent human being,
will need a bit more than a flimsy document and
the word of a former member of British army intel
with a known grudge to brand a man as an informer.
fact is during the course of the long war, anyone
could have become an informer. All it would have
taken would be for all the right pieces to have
been in place. Myself, I am thankful I have never
been put into such a position and I for one will
not sit in judgement now the war is over. For me,
such people have to live with their own consciences.
I just pity them and theirs and have no wish to
dance on their graves. This being so, it is imperative
when someone shouts tout, we examine the facts in
fine detail before making any judgement. If we are
unable to do so, then the individual so named must
be given the benefit of the doubt and be able to
carry on as if no such accusation had ever been