16 March 2004. Thanks to A.

Transcript UTV Insight programme (Scappaticci) BROADCAST LAST NIGHT


Reporter: Trevor Birney
Producer: Ruth O'Reilly

                               'Loose Talk'


Frank Thorne: Hello?

Scappaticci: Hello, Frank?

Frank Thorne: Yes.

Scappaticci: I've been in touch with Central.

Frank Thorne: Yeah ... I gather you have a lot more important information.

Scappaticci: Well, I mean, the stuff you put in the programme was nothing ...


Silence is central to the Republican code.


Scappaticci: ... but you understand? The situation. It's very dangerous.

Frank Thorne: I know.

Scappaticci: And I don't want to talk on the phone ...


So what was in the mind of Freddie Scappaticci when he contacted a team of English journalists?


Frank Thorne: There's a car park outside. Do you know the Culloden at all?

Scappaticci: I just know the main entrance.

Frank Thorne: Yeah, well in that ? Where you could turn in there's an outside car park.

Scappaticci: Right.

Frank Thorne: I could move my car out into the car park and you could wait.

We could sit in the car and talk.

Scappaticci: Right

Frank Thorne: That way you wouldn't have to come into the grounds or be seen by anybody.

Scappaticci: Right. That'll do lovely.


Tonight on Insight, we hear the journalists' recording of their meeting with Freddie Scappaticci.

And we also hear from Mr. Scappaticci himself who, for the first time, explains what he was doing that night 11-years ago.


Frank: What will I call you, John or Jack?

Scappaticci: Jack.

Frank: Okay. Well you know I'm Frank, then. So I'll see you at seven out in the open car park.

Scappaticci: That will do lovely.



Ten months ago a blaze of publicity erupted around this man.  It was alleged that he was Stakeknife ? supposedly the most important British informant within the IRA.


I am Freddie Scappaticci. I am sitting here today with my solicitor. I am telling you that I am not guilty of any of these allegations.


For someone linked to the republican movement since the late 1960's, the claims that he was an agent were more than scandalous: over the years we have seen the outcome for many who were deemed to have been talking to the wrong person. The fact that Scappaticci was alleged to have been the man who, in many cases, pulled the trigger, only served to add a particularly grotesque dimension. Insight has been in contact with Freddie Scappaticci through his solicitor, Michael Flanigan, and he has given us a number of statements on the issues raised in this programme. Firstly, he gave us his reaction to the allegations that he worked as an informer for British military intelligence.


My life has been shattered. My family has been harassed. My house attacked. Last  year  my wife was nearly killed by a booby-trap bomb. The story isn't news  any  more but some papers seem determined to harass me just because I was  prepared  to fight the allegation. I have denied the allegation that I was an agent and I will always do so because it isn't true.


I  can't really think about the future. I am grateful for the support of my family  and  friends  without  them I couldn't have got through all this. I have  been working with the priests at Clonard and their advice to me is to take on day at a time. That is really all I can do.


He has consistently denied the informer claims, but Scappaticci has now admitted to another form of treachery at least in the eyes of the IRA. The time was August 1993. The peace process was under way, but murders were still occurring regularly and the IRA had been busy in England in the preceding months. The deaths of two young boys in a bomb attack on Warrington had galvanised the makers of The Cook Report to embark on a major project.


After several weeks of enquiries we came down to the conclusion that it had been organised and orchestrated from the highest level within the IRA, within the Provisional IRA. The difficulty was: you can't put 27 people into your programme. So at the end of the day we decided who was the main person who would be responsible, directly or indirectly in the mounting of the bombing of Warrington?


Their conclusion was Martin McGuinness. Working closely with the security forces, the Cook Report named him as the head of the IRA's Army Council and placed him at the heart of the organisation's war for most of the campaign. Most damaging was the claim that he'd talked an informer, Frank Hegarty, into moving back to Derry in 1986. Hegarty did - and was found murdered near the border three weeks later.


"Martin McGuinness was fair game, as everybody else who was involved in terrorism here, either on the loyalist side or republican side. We never took sides. All we did was expose the actions of people who we saw as terrorists. They saw themselves as freedom fighters and defenders of the status quo here. We didn't see it that way. As far as we were concerned, they were all murdering bastards."


Freddie Scappaticci contacted the Cook Report team two days after the Martin McGuinness programme was broadcast. He arranged to meet researcher Frank Thorne in a car park of the Culloden Hotel that same evening. He hadn't identified himself ? he'd agreed to be called Jack.


Frank Thorne: Hello. I take it you're Jack?

Scappaticci: Yes. (sound of windows being wound up)


Q) Were you suspicious of the motives of the person who was coming to meet you?

A) Yes, we were. You get lots of calls after a programme from people who are interested to a greater or lesser degree. And in this particular case we were intrigued, because this person was quite adamant that we had only scratched the surface and that he knew a great deal.


Entwistle joined them a couple of minutes later and Scappaticci started to talk freely about the IRA's structures and leading figures. The names he sprinkled about are a Who's Who of Irish republicanism.


Scappaticci: Nothing happens in Northern Command that McGuinness doesn't OK. But there's another person there too, who's sort of ? I would say more militarily involved in Northern Command. He's his adjutant, a fella called Sean "Spike" Murray from Beechmount. Do you know of him?

Clive Entwistle: We know of him.

Scappaticci: Right. Anything that would happen, Murray would have the say-so, Right? Would OK it with McGuinness. He meets McGuinness once, twice a week in Belfast, right? This is a regular arrangement, right? McGuinness would come to Belfast. Used to be he, McGuinness, would come to Belfast on a Tuesday, every week. He stayed two days. Him and Murray would do what they have to do, right? But what they've basically done is they've cut up the Northern Command area, right? Murray's more of less looking after Belfast.

Clive Entwistle: Since Danny Morrison went down or before?

Scappaticci:  No. Danny Morrison had nothing to do with it. Nothing to do with it. He was director of publicity, but he was also on the IRA Army Council. But he'd no balls. That's basically, right ? he was a pen-pusher if you want to put it that way, right?


We felt if this man had something interesting, it was important to have a precise record of what he said. What we did was wire up the air vents in the front of the car with a microphone playing into a tape recorder going into the glove department.

Q) Do you think this was unfair to him?

A) No I don't. He quite openly came. He knew the risks. He'd no objections to us making notes. He didn't ask us if we were recording him or not.


But it's now all a matter of huge regret for Scappaticci himself.


Firstly, I didn't know I was being recorded. I suppose I was naïve, but the original Cook programme was about Martin McGuinness and I had no reason to think that I would be recorded. I regret ever having spoken to the Cook reporters but I did and I realise that it was a mistake. I now know that it has left me vulnerable to the charge of being an informer. The fact that I did speak to these journalists more than ten years ago has been used against me throughout the entire Stakeknife affair.


Scappaticci appeared to have a desire to talk about a number of IRA members, however, the Cook Report team was only interested in one man: Martin McGuinness.


Scappaticci: There's a five-man Army Council. He's one of them. Adams is another, right?

Frank Thorne: He wouldn't be responsible for English operations, but he would be part of the team that sanctioned them?

Clive Entwistle: Exactly. That is the point we were making.

Scappaticci: What happens is ? I'll explain the situation to you, right, that IRA Army Council meet and say, `This is what our strategy should be for the next year. We'll have to do this, blah, blah, blah. We think there should be a bombing campaign in England. We think the operations should be concentrated in England or the Continent or whatever,' right? That then filters down to the people who control it, who I told you is Tommy Murphy and a fella called Tommy Keenan, right, who's living in Carlingford at the minute. He moved out of Belfast.

Clive Entwistle: Tommy Keenan? Any relation to Brian?

Scappaticci: No, no, no, no. Brian has another brother called Sean, who's involved in the IRA, who's actually a technical officer, right?


He was extremely confident. He wasn't afraid of us. He had obviously taken precautions. He recced the car park. He made sure there was nobody else there.


So what had motivated Scappaticci to break the IRA code of honour? Why had he put in his own life in danger by stripping away the mysique which has surrounded the organisation?


I believe that he came either because he had been elbowed or side-lined within the organisation and felt bitter and actually came and wanted to put the boot into McGuinness, to somebody he didn't like at all.


Clive Entwistle: Were you side-by-side with McGuinness?

Scappaticci: No, no, no. He's the type of person you don't get side-by-side with. He's a very cold person. He doesn't have friends within the IRA. He has what he calls comrades. He doesn't have friends as such. He frowns on womanising. He frowns on drinking people and stuff like that. A very moralistic person.


The Cook Report two nights earlier had tapped into Scappaticci's low regard for Martin McGuinness.


Frank Thorne: We, in the end, took the decision to concentrate on just one man because of the hypocrisy of the political situation where our top politicians know that Sinn Fein is just a charade for the Provisionals.

Scappaticci: That's right.

Frank Thorne: So, and you have to say the resulting furore of publicity and debate, it's helped.

Scappaticci: It's done no harm. You know what I mean? It's done no harm and it exposed him for what he is. And see that woman that came on? She was right in what she was saying, like, he is an evil person.


Frank Thorne: Is there something ?? We would very much like to hit him again.

Scappaticci: I know you would. And I would like to do so myself ?


We asked for Mr Scappaticci why he said what he did. His response reflects a disaffection at that time with his former comrades.


In relation to the contents, you have to understand that when I spoke to the journalists, I had been out of the movement for about three years. I felt disillusioned and it's fair to say that I left on bad terms. A lot of what I said was untrue and to a large extent, having seen the first programme it was what the journalists wanted to hear.


Before then, Freddie Scappaticci had appeared to move in harmony with fellow republicans. Many still remain sceptical of the Stakeknife claims. But one former comrade ? now himself ostracised from the movement ? is among those who believe Scappaticci was an informer.


I knew Freddie Scappaticci many years ago. I have been involved in IRA activity with Freddie Scappaticci and I don't feel I'm talking out of school now, because it's well-known that Freddie Scappaticci was a member of the IRA. I knew him when I was a young volunteer at 16.

Q) What was your impression of him then?

A) In 1974 Freddie was quite a respected person but Freddie Scappaticci also asked me to drive a car as a 16 year-old to kill a British agent, a suspected British agent, in the Markets, and I couldn't drive but I hijacked a car and learnt to drive on the operation.

Q) Freddie Scappaticci directed you to do that?

A) Yes. Freddie Scappaticci, who is now a British agent, yes.

Q) What was his role then?

A) I think he was Battalion Intelligence Officer. At the time I don't believe he was working for the British. I certainly hope not.


Q) You had some respect for Freddie Scappaticci at that point during the mid-'70s?

A) Well I used to have respect for them all. Now I have respect for none of them. But yes, I did have respect for Freddie Scappaticci because I, at that time, believed that leading people within the IRA were incapable of being compromised. I look at them now and now just shake my head and say, `Well, I'm glad that I didn't get killed as a result of anything that any of these leaders ordered me to do'.

Q) So what was your last memory of Freddie, or when were you last in contact with Freddie Scappaticci?

A) When he sent me across the Border: Fortunately, not the way in which he sent many others across the Border. He sent me across the Border to go on the run.


Scappaticci doesn't deny that he was a leading figure in the IRA's Internal Security Department ? and the tape would suggest that that's where his expertise lay. He referred to the murder of Frank Hegarty, implicating Martin McGuinness who has always denied having anything to do with it.


Scappaticci: So McGuinness got on the phone and says, `Look, you'll be ok, blah, blah, blah'. Convinced him he'll be ok and convinced the mother. Then, came home and McGuinness was the instrument of him being taken away and shot.

Clive Entwistle: That's right. I mean, do you know that story because we know it?

Scappaticci: No, no, no.

Clive Entwistle: Because, the family have told it, I mean you know it, because McGuinness told you?.

Scappaticci: Well, I know it because, if we want to be straight here, I was at the heart of things for a long time, right? I'm no longer at the heart of things, right? I haven't been for two or three years, but I know what I'm talking about, right?

Clive Entwistle: You say you were at the heart of it. How close were you to McGuinness?

Scappaticci: Well, let's say I served on the same thing that he is on.

Clive Entwistle: The Army Council.

Scappaticci: No. Northern Command.


What soon became apparent was Scappaticci's quite chilling familiarity with the workings of the IRA's Internal Security Department. He also made extraordinary claims about how Sinn Fein centres were used by the IRA.


Scappaticci: They don't talk in the centres, right? Now, they do a lot of business in their centres. But hard IRA business they don't do. They do, right, if you want to talk, it might shock you, but run of the mill stuff about kneecapping people and stuff like that, you know, that's done in their centres, you know what I mean. But not actually going out to murder people and stuff like this here. That's never done there.

Clive Entwistle: And other things, kangaroo courts?

Scappaticci: Well now, what would you say now, kangaroo courts? What do you mean about kangaroo courts?

Clive Entwistle: Well, what we would call a kangaroo court. It's not an official court, but where people are, having been?.


Scappaticci: Well that's a start. See, when they have. The standard procedure is to strip then and de-bug then, just to see if they're wired up, right and usually put a boiler suit on them. Then, after that, put them in a chair facing the wall, right, and go from there.

Clive Entwistle: Then, go for the arms?

Scappaticci:  Well,  now  see,  where people say now that they use a lot of violence, they don't really. Physical violence they don't use now. They use mental violence obviously, you know?

Clive Entwistle: It becomes psychological?

Scappaticci: Exactly. It is a psychological thing you see. They get you into a room; they blindfold you, right; strip you; they have you sitting there, right? Maybe the room's cold. They make you all sorts of promises and everybody being what they are, everybody has a breaking point, you know? They think they are going to go home, but they don't.


Despite the gravity of what Freddi Scappaticci had just said, the journalists pressed him no further on that subject. Instead, they steered him back onto Martin McGuinness.


Clive Entwistle: What is McGuinness up to at the moment, do you know?

Scappaticci: Well he's still the Northern Command OC. But there was  -- this was what I was trying to explain -- There was a decision taken four years ago when McGuinness was gonna start to step back from things on the military side and take a more political role.

Clive Entwistle: Why was that?

Scappaticci: Well, what was happening was Sinn Fein wasn't -- See the popularity it had, say, if you want to put it in the early '80s, right? It started to wane, right? And they were realising this. McGuinness: he's fairly popular in Derry, right, because he won the election up there all that craic, right? So what they decided was that he should have a bigger role within Sinn Fein alongside Adams, right, to try and get Sinn Fein going, a gee-up into it, right? So this is what they were grooming your man, Sean Murray to take over as the OC of the Northern Command. And what you basically see now is that Murray has more or less taken the reins of the Northern Command and McGuinness has more or less stepped out. McGuinness has to okay everything, right, but he's more or less stepped back and is more in a political role. But he's still in the IRA. Deep there, very deep.


With no fresh evidence against Martin McGuinness, the Cook Report team fished for gossip.


Frank Thorne: Would there be a situation, for instance, I mean this may be completely wild and it may be wrong of me to raise it, Clive, but like, he's got a mistress somewhere -- if he's that holy a guy?

Scappaticci: No, he hasn't

Frank Thorne: There would be something secret that I could get ?


At this point, the tape ran out. Scappaticci was recorded at a second meeting two days later but the journalists say that tape has been lost. However, unknown to Scappaticci, by the time of the second meeting, the Cook Report team say they'd established who he was. While he'd been in the car, a researcher, Sylvia Jones, was with a senior police officer in a room at the Culloden. Scappaticci's car registration was passed to the policeman, who ran a trace on it which set alarm bells ringing.


The Police Officer when we came was very worried and asked us to be co-operative. Now there is no reasons why we shouldn't have been co-operative and to protect this man's identity because, as he told us he was a high-ranking informant, he was somebody that British Intelligence relied on a great deal. And for his identity to be made public and the fact that he had even talked to us would be made public would result in his death, not only in his death but his death would mean that a vital source of information would be cut off to British Intelligence.  It was spelt out to us very plainly how important this man was.


However, having agreed to the RUC's request not to name the alleged informer, the tape of the first meeting lay in a drawer for ten years, until the stories of Stakeknife emerged and Freddie Scappaticci appeared on television. As the media frenzy engulfed Freddie Scappaticci, the three journalists felt no need to protect their source.


Q)  Did  you  have any qualms at all about releasing the tapes or releasing the transcripts?

A) No qualms, simply because the world has moved on and in many ways, Stakeknife/Scappaticci has outed himself.  He has been outed, I think, through his own actions and also by other news media, I don't think that the release of the tapes is putting his life in any more danger than it already was, because people within the organisation within the Provisional IRA, knew what this man did, knew what this man had done in intimate detail and therefore if they wanted to kill him, he was already outed, they would do it anyway.


Freddie Scappaticci may have admitted to loose talk - a crime the IRA would in the past have punished with death - but that's still some distance from being the British Army's most important mole in the IRA. Scappaticci is still vigorously denying the Stakeknife allegation. In the world of espionage, it can be difficult to get past the smoke and mirrors and find the solid facts. The Metropolitan Police chief, Sir John Stevens indicated in Belfast last month that he may have already questioned Stakeknife as part of his long-running investigation into collusion. But we've seen correspondence from the head of the enquiry to Scappaticci's solicitor which appears to confirm that they haven't yet spoken to his client nor seem to be interested in doing so. Meanwhile, for the first time, Scappaticci has given us his view of what the Stakeknife affair is about.


I think that it is about the peace process and attempts to de-stabilise it. You have to remember at the time of the original allegation Stakeknife was supposed to be someone close to Gerry Adams and involved in the Peace Process. I have been out of things for years since before the Peace Process was even thought of. All I can say is that every application I made to court has been opposed by the MoD and the Security Minister and I can only assume that at the moment it suits them to have me labelled Stakeknife.


I simply ask myself, what was the difference between Freddie Scappaticci and the present Sinn Fein leadership? You know, what did he want that they didn't want? They wanted - he and they wanted - houses in another jurisdiction; they wanted prosperity; they wanted the IRA guns give away and they wanted an end to the IRA. In my view, Freddie Scappaticci shouldn't be killed: Freddie Scappaticci should be on the Sinn Fein negotiating team.


If Freddie Scappaticci wanted to embarrass the republican movement the day he drove into the Culloden car park, he certainly succeeded. And if the Stakeknife affair is a plot to demystify the IRA's campaign, then it's had a measure of success too. Or perhaps it's one of his observations from that fateful meeting that haunts Freddie Scappaticci when he examines the situation he finds himself in.


Scappaticci: The media love to have, fucking, these theories, you know, that the IRA are masterminds and that. They're not! They're not, you know.