6 June 2006
Liam Clarke responds to Martin Ingram's response to Clarke:
Martin Ingram writes:
Liam Clarke knows that the now Chief Constable Hugh Orde told the family of Mr Notarantonio that my claims that he featured within the Brian Nelson files -- that he had been involved in the Stakeknife story -- were true. Mr Clarke sat on that story because his sources did not want the story in the public domain.
This is not accurate. Hugh Orde, who was then in operational charge of the Stevens inquiry, is on record in the Sunday Times on October 13th 2000 as saying he had found no link between the Notarantonio murder and Stakeknife. This is the point where I first published the allegation. The Guardian reported in January 2001 that Orde had visited the Notarantonio family and told them the same thing the previous month. This covers the period when I was aware of the allegation but did not print them. There was no collateral, they were hearsay.
As far as I know nothing has occurred to stand the story up in the meantime, though it has been frequently recycled. I don t know for sure if it is true or not, but I suspect not.
I am not accusing Martin Ingram of making it up. However it is something that he heard at second hand and did not know from his own knowledge. He has now convinced himself that it is true through frequent repetition but without any new evidence. I think this is one example of a process of wishful thinking where he begins to accept familiar allegations as true.
Here is another example. He claims to have had the McGuinness/MI6 document for eighteen months to some journalists and for two years to others. Yet earlier this year he told Radio Free Eireann he suspected McGuinness of being a British agent but had no firm evidence. What has changed in the meantime? Only Martin Ingram's mind.
In a reference to McGuinnness he told the News Letter last week:-
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 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.
As for his claim that I am miffed because I did not get the story. He first read out, then faxed me the document the week before publication. From what he said this happened before it was given to the other journalists who did publish it, but perhaps this was another lie to throw me off the scent.