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10 May 2003. British FRU secret agent/killer Stakeknife has been named:

4 March 2001. Thanks to A.


01 Mar 2001


A British Army whistleblower who worked for the shadowy organisation involved in the murder of Pat Finucane has told the Andersonstown News that he’s not a murderer or a traitor.

Writing exclusively for us today, Martin Ingram (not his real name) says he had never been involved in either murder or conspiracy to murder.

Outlining his reasons for today’s article, Mr Ingram said that he wanted it to be read by republicans and he wanted them to know that to brand whistleblowers as murderers would be effectively to deter others involved in intelligence work for the British Army from coming forward.

Mr Ingram is now working closely with the Stevens Inquiry. He said he was appalled that his name had been placed alongside those of UDA commander Billy Stobie – who’s been charged with the murder of human rights solicitor Pat Finucane – and British Army double agent Brian Nelson.

British Intelligence whistleblower speaks out

Lifting the lid on the dirty war

On one thing the family of Pat Finucane and the British Intelligence Service are united: the former FRU soldier known as Martin Ingram has enough information to blow the lid on the dirty war. Indeed, so devastating is the information he possesses that the British Government has served gagging orders on the Sunday People and Sunday Times to prevent them reporting on his disclosures.

In the closed shop of military intelligence, he is the weakest link; his erstwhile colleagues would like nothing more than to say goodbye to a former agent willing to spill the beans on a deadly and unlawful conspiracy.

For the Finucane family and the other victims of FRU agent Brian Nelson, Ingram is their trump card: an insider who saw his Army colleagues use loyalist paramilitaries to murder those deemed enemies of the state.

Ingram’s detailed account of Army collusion with loyalist gun-gangs is truly shocking to anyone who believed the British were here to uphold the rule of law.

For his disturbing catalogue of allegations about the Army’s handling of UDA Intelligence Officer Brian Nelson show that the FRU — set up in 1980 to gather intelligence on the IRA — was a law unto itself.

As Pat Finucane’s son Michael observed, “one line after another was crossed and eventually the line between right and wrong disappeared completely”.

According to Ingram, Nelson was ‘run’ by FRU Commander Col Gordon Kerr — now British military attaché to Beijing — and Captain Margaret Walshaw, now believed to be based at the British Embassy in Athens.

Every newspaper in the North of Ireland and Britain, with the exception of the North Belfast News and Andersonstown News, have refused to name Captain Walshaw at the request of British Intelligence.

Both have been interviewed during previous inquiries into RUC collusion with loyalist paramilitaries carried out by Sir John Stevens — the first inquiry resulted in the arrest of Nelson — but were not charged. But it is believed they could face charges as a result of the latest, and third, inquiry being carried out by Stevens into the murder of Pat Finucane. The case against the pair may rest on the evidence provided by Ingram.

Before Christmas he stated that he was withdrawing his statements from the Stevens inquiry because his life had been threatened. However, he is now working closely with the inquiry again.
Ingram will reveal that while FRU was supposed to be using Brian Nelson to stymie the activities of the UDA they were in fact providing him with Special Branch and Military Intelligence files which made it possible for him to have loyalists assassinate republicans and nationalists. One of FRU’s first actions when Brian Nelson was infiltrated into the UDA in 1987 was to take away that organisation’s intelligence files and return them updated — courtesy of government intelligence.

Ingram’s allegation that FRU encouraged the UDA to target Ballymurphy grandfather Francisco Notarantonio — murdered in his bed in October 1987 — rather than an IRA informer codenamed Steak Knife has also sent shockwaves through the British Intelligence community.

The determination of former FRU officer Martin Ingram to blow the whistle may yet expose the awful truth about Britain’s dirty war.

Opening Pandora’s Box


By Máirtín Ó Muilleoir

The former Military Intelligence officer known as Martin Ingram has told the Andersonstown News he has just given the Stevens Inquiry a seven-hour interview on the “unlawful” activities of the secret Force Research Unit (FRU) which ‘handled’ UDA commander Brian Nelson.

Set up in 1982 to combat the IRA, FRU has already been rocked by Ingram’s allegations that it colluded with loyalists to murder Pat Finucane and others seen as a threat to the state. But now the former soldier who served two terms in the North says his taped interview and accompanying 26-page statement on the FRU blows the lid off the secret assassination campaign carried out by British Intelligence.

And in a special article (below) written for the Andersonstown News, Martin Ingram takes to task republicans who have branded him a murderer. “I want the Andersonstown News to publish this article because I want it to be read by republican activists,” he said this week. “I am not a murderer and was not involved in murder. To say otherwise will only act as a deterrent to others in the Security Forces who may be prepared to come forward...One other person was on the verge of adding to the stories but vitriolic attacks are a disincentive.”

While he says there were “no rules” governing the operations of FRU, Ingram says “99 per cent” of its activities were within the law. But in the case of Nelson and others, laws were broken. “People need answers and the nationalist community needs to be told the truth.”

The Intelligence whistleblower says the three “primary handlers” of Nelson (Kerr, Walshaw and one other) were once his good friends. And while all three may now face charges arising from the Stevens Inquiry, Ingram says the full truth will only come out in the type of public and independent inquiry demanded by the Finucane family or from a South African-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

While unable to reveal the full details of his statement to the Stevens Inquiry for fear of putting lives at risk, Ingram says he has information about unlawful activities which are “far more damaging” than the Brian Nelson case. The ‘handling’ of Steak Knife — allegedly the highest-placed British Intelligence mole within the IRA — will reveal lawbreaking ten times worse than in the Nelson case, he says.

A question mark still remains over the very existence of Steaknife, though the Stevens Inquiry day-to-day operational head, Commander Hugh Orde, has told the Notarantonio family he believes Steaknife does exist. “Steak Knife is a destabilising factor,” says Ingram, “and he should be removed from the theatre in a responsible way.”

Last year, Ingram’s house was burgled. A manuscript of a book he was writing went missing...only to turn up later in court in the hands of prosecution lawyers who obtained an injunction preventing him from publishing his memoirs. He has also received threatening emails from a former colleague in FRU. Nevertheless he remains adamant that the truth will out. “I should have opened my mouth at the time,” he says in regard to the ‘running’ of Nelson, “but you view things in a different perspective when you’re part of the intelligence community. Now as long as I have a breath in my body, I will take up the cudgel for the truth.”

Who guards the guards?

By Martin Ingram

To be labelled traitor by those in the Army and a murderer by An Phoblacht/Republican News is not a pleasant experience, especially when there is no truth in either position.

I am neither a traitor nor have I been personally involved in the act of conspiracy to murder or indeed any murder. I am a person who dislikes injustice or an abstract of the truth being fed to an innocent public as the genuine article. It is time for both the Army and the republicans to take a reality check.

When I committed myself to signing the Official Secrets Act upon joining the Army, it was as a young soldier wet behind the ears and barely out of his teenage years. In truth, as a young man I did not sign that document ever believing that I would at some juncture in the future, let alone nearly a decade after I left the forces be arrested for alleged offences under the Official Secrets Act.

I also did not believe as a young soldier that I would have to place in the public domain information which was of public interest because the Army that I served was intent on lying and avoiding its responsibilities to society as a whole. To spend days in a prison cell for these alleged offences was a chastening experience.

Today I am a lot older and fatter and probably wiser with a more liberal sprinkling of stubbornness introduced into my character than when I agreed to maintain and keep custody of the State secrets. I would like to believe that if I had known that the document I was being asked to sign was intended and designed to prevent disclosure of ILLEGAL acts, that I would have had the moral backbone and courage to have declined the offer. In reality, I signed the Official Secrets Act not believing MY government was capable of waging war on one section of a community. Today I believe differently. Successive governments have lied and deliberately engaged in a series of cover-ups to frustrate innocent people from discovering the truth about the circumstances that led to the deaths of their loved ones. It must stop.

To those in the Army who question my motivation, I say this: There are many in the press and other forms of media who confirm I am not financially motivated.

To those in the Army who suggest I am a disgruntled ex-soldier, I say, please remember I left the Army with my last confidential report which, fortunately, I retained. This report was prepared, ironically, by Brigadier Kerr, and was a recommendation for promotion.

I will not bore you with Brigadier Kerr’s glowing testimonial for me. Suffice to say that it was welcome and accurate. In conclusion, my home has been burgled, I have been threatened, my family has been threatened, yet revenge forms no part of my motivation and if you must continue to question my motivation, take a close, long look at Steak’s file. Need I say more?

To republicans I say this: Éist liomsa anois. Yes, I was part of an Army that fought a war on your land and I apologise. If you desire, as I believe you do, peace and justice then you must let go of the old rhetoric and enter a new era of understanding and tolerance. To discover the truth surrounding the last 30 years you must accept people like me have a role in exposing the wrongdoings of the past and not label every soldier of the FRU a murderer, because they were not.

To place me alongside (William) Stobie or (Brian) Nelson is repulsive and unfair. To those in the Republican News who suggest I made public information because I was at the bottom of a food chain or from a fear of prosecution, I say: you are wrong. I currently face no prosecution for any alleged offences and to suggest otherwise will only act as a deterrent to others in the Security Forces who may be prepared to come forward and deliver the information that is required to inform those that have a moral right to that knowledge.

An old intelligence story seems applicable. In the bitter cold of the Russian winter in a small village, during a howling gale and with darkness falling, a Russian peasant wandering home sees a small game bird on the ground and nearly dead from the cold. The peasant picks up the bird and warms it. At that moment a herd of cattle comes by and one of them drops a large dollop right in front of him.

He puts the bird in the steaming dollop so that it will stay warm and then fly away. But a second peasant comes along and, hearing the bird chirping happily in the dollop, seizes it, breaks its neck and takes it home for supper.

The story has three morals:

  • Don’t believe everybody who drops you in the shit is your enemy;
  • Don’t believe everybody who gets you out of the shit is your friend;
  • Whenever you are in the shit, keep quiet about it.

Once the truth has emerged from Northern Ireland, as it surely will one day, there will be an outrage and society will question why people who sign the Official Secrets Act have no forum to register their concerns. It is time there was an independent body formed with powers to investigate any allegations of illegality.

This body would act as a safety valve. Genuine secrets deserve to be protected.

Unlawful and dastardly deeds deserve no such protection. In principal there is a valid reason for imposing restrictions on the free flow of information. That said, the government must strike a balance because if the presumption in favour of freedom of expression and of access to information is to be respected as this government would have us believe, you should not object to a forum being established free from political interference, in a similar way to the Privy Council.

My experience is of a state which prefers to gag the individual by means of civil injunction and to browbeat our media into not reporting to the public information which they have a right to. Every democracy requires citizens and soldiers to be informed, for one very good reason: so that they can exercise their right to participate in a democratic society.