The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Debris of the Dirty War

 

Mick Hall • 7 June May 2006

Think 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.

However, 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 is infantile.

'Ingram' 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.

There 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?

As 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.

The 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.

Mr 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.

What 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.

The 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 made.




 

 


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Index: Current Articles



14 June 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

The Mark of Cain
Anthony McIntyre

Debris of the Dirty War
Mick Hall

More Claims
Martin Ingram

Case Unproven
Anthony McIntyre

Chain Gang
John Kennedy

Better to Put the Past Behind US
David Adams

The Gamblers
Dr John Coulter

Diarmaid Ferriter's The Transformation of Ireland
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Profile: Caroline Fourest
Anthony McIntyre

Le «manifeste des douze» fait réagir
Caroline Fourest

Reaction to the Manifesto (English Translation)
Liam O Ruairc

Freedom of Speech index


6 June 2006

We Believe Freddie McGuinness
Anthony McIntyre

Under Scrutiny
John Kennedy

Unionism's New Puppetmasters
Robert Matthews

Omens
Dr John Coulter

Two Peace Processes
Mick Hall

'The Beginning of the End has Past …'
Davy Carlin

How Many Grannies?
Dr John Coulter

Even the Dogs Bark in Irish?
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Bards for St Brigid's
Paul Dougherty

USA v Iran
John Kennedy

Threat to Iran Based on Duplicity
David Adams

Manifesto of the Third Camp against US Militarism and Islamic Terrorism

Profile: Bernard Henry-Levy
Anthony McIntyre

BHL: Bernard Henri-Levy
Liam O Ruairc

Freedom of Speech index

 

 

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