19 March 2004. A. writes:
[D] is Sean 'Spike' Murray
[C] is Hugh Brady
See also a transcript of a March 15, 2004, TV show on the topic:
And a technical surveillance countermeasure analysis of the audio:
14 March 2004.
A 31:30-minute recording allegedly of Freddie Scappaticci, alleged to be the secret agent Stakeknife:
Cryptome's source claims the recording was secretly made by the British Army; Clive Entwhistle in an e-mail to Cryptome claims it is a bootleg copy of the recording by the 'Cook Report' team.
A small part of this recording is transcribed below, as excerpted from the book, Stakeknife: Britain's Secret Agents in Ireland, by Martin Ingram and Greg Harkin, O'Brien Press, 2004, pages 68-81.
Most of the transcript appears to be from a second recording reportedly to be made public in the near future.
Identification of [D] on the recording is mixed -- variously said on the recording to be Sean, Morrie and Stakeknife. Cryptome welcomes correct interpretations; send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bracketed [italics] are by Cryptome.
The ['Cook Report'] journalists were surprised that a senior republican would willingly come out into the open, even under an assumed name. This casual approach seems to imply that Scappaticci was acting with his handlers' knowledge. He would also not have wanted to upset his employers with this type of activity if it was not authorised. This man had made a career from not making mistakes - you do not survive over two decades as an agent in the IRA by being casual and reckless. This action seems reckless at best, although it was highly unlikely any republicans would have been in the hotel, or would have had access to the journalists he was meeting. It is impossible to be sure what Scappaticci's motivations were.
Below is a transcript of parts of Scappaticci's conversations with the 'Cook Report' team. He is remarkably outspoken in his allegations, which are denied by McGuinness and others. He makes a number of statements which are inconsistent with facts, for example his claim that he was no longer in the IRA. He also makes several errors or slips of the mind regarding details, mentioning the 'five-man' Army council rather than seven, forgetting that Northern Command covered eleven counties rather than nine, ie, the 'war zone' - the six counties of Northern Ireland and the five bordering counties in the Republic of Ireland. These slips, of course, undermine his validity as a credible witness on any issue, but despite this, the interview does give us Scappaticci's own voice and attitudes, his vindictiveness, and his hatred of McGuinness. Of course, Scappaticci was covering his own back, presenting his own case to his interviewers, but I include it here to give the flavour of his thinking at this time. I would caution readers to be circumspect regarding the allegations made by Scappaticci below. Because of his unreliability we have removed names. [Cryptome has added names on the recording in red italics omitted by the Stakeknife authors.]
The first interview took place on 26 August 1993 at the Culloden Hotel in Cultra, County Down, about six miles from Belfast. TV director and producer Clive Entwistle and award-winning ex-Daily Mirror reporter Frank Thorne were with former Daily Mirror crime correspondent Sylvia Jones. 'The Cook Report' had earlier broadcast allegations that Martin McGuinness was involved in the murder of FRU agent Frank Hegarty in Donegal, an agent handled by me whose case is dealt with in more detail in Chapter 6.
[Transcript starts at 8:18 into the Cryptome recording.]
'Cook Report' team: You've known our friend a long ...
Scappaticci: McGuinness? Oh, I know him very well. I know him about twenty years, you know. Basically, see the thing you were putting across on the programme the other night, that he's in charge of the IRA. He's not as such. It's a technical thing, right. The IRA's split in two. There's another command, a Southern Command. He's in charge of Northern Command. He's the Northern Command OC. There's a Southern Command, it has nothing to do with the Northern Command. The Northern Command basically takes in the nine counties of Ulster, right. He controls all of that. He's also on the IRA Army Council. There's a five-man Army Council. He's one of them. Nothing happens in Northern Command that he doesn't okay, and I mean nothing. Now, he's nothing to do with England. See what happens in England, he's nothing to do with that. The person who controls England is a south Armagh fella, right?
'Cook Report' team: So who would be responsible for [the bombing of] Warrington?
Scappaticci: A fella called [A] [Tommy Murphy] in south Armagh. He actually controls all aspects of what happens in England and on the Continent. Him and another guy called [B] [Tommy Keenan]. [B] [Keenan] is an ex-Belfast fella now living in Carlingford, right. They are the people who control what goes on in England.
'Cook Report' team: Does McGuinness have anything to do with that though?
Scappaticci: Well, he would have an input obviously.
'Cook Report' team: He's involved?
Scappaticci: Well, I mean, yes. He's involved as such that he's an IRA man.
'Cook Report' team: And he's on the [Army] Council?
Scappaticci: Oh, yes, he's on the IRA Army Council. They have to give the go-ahead for what happens in England, right. Basically, I felt see, the programme itself, it didn't go deeply enough. If you want to take in Martin McGuinness, you have to take in a couple of other people.
'Cook Report' team: That was one of the problems we had. We have a lot of evidence on people like [C] [Hugh Brady] and so on.
Scappaticci: No, no, no, not [C] [Hugh Brady]. [C] [Hugh Brady] is nothing. I'm talking about the likes of a guy called [D] [Stakeknife] ...
[Gap in transcript]
I was explaining to Frank, McGuinness is on the IRA Army Council. He also controls the Northern Command which takes in the nine counties of Ulster. That was formed in 1977 by Ivor Bell, split Northern/Southern Command. There's a five-man Army Council which McGuinness is part of. Nothing happens in Northern Command that McGuinness doesn't okay, but there's another person there too, who's, I would say, more militarily involved in Northern Command. He's his [McGuinness's] adjutant, a fella called [D] [Sean Murray] from Beechmount. Do you know of him?
'Cook Report' team: We know of him.
Scappaticci: Anything that would happen, [D] [Murray] would have the say-so. Right? Would okay it with McGuinness. He meets McGuinness once or twice a week in Belfast. This is a regular arrangement, right? McGuinness would come to Belfast. Used to be McGuinness would come to Belfast on a Tuesday. Every week. He stayed for two days. Him and [D] [Murray] would do what they have to do. But what they've basically done is, they've cut up the Northern Command area, right? [D] [Murray]'s basically looking after Belfast. [D] [Murray], since he come out of jail - he's out of jail almost seven years - he's Adjutant of Northern Command, operates under McGuinness. He [D] [Murray] more or less controls Down, Armagh, Tyrone. They sort of broke it up into two halves. McGuinness would look after the top half, Derry ...
'Cook Report' team: Do you mind if I make some notes?
Scappaticci: No, that's okay. Derry, Donegal. They more or less split up the Northern Command into two. It's to facilitate both of the ... because McGuinness, obviously from Derry, looks after Derry, Donegal.
'Cook Report' team: But is McGuinness in overall control of Northern Command?
Scappaticci: He is the Northern Command OC. There's a five-man Army Council, he's one of them. Adams is another.
'Cook Report' team: He wouldn't be responsible for English operations, but he would be part of the team that sanctioned them?
Scappaticci: What happens is, I'll explain the situation to you, right? The IRA Army Council says: This is what our strategy should be for the next year. We'll have to do this, blah, blah. We think the operations should be in England or the Continent or whatever. That then filters down to the people who control it, who I told you is [A] [Tommy Murphy] and a guy called [B] [Tommy Keenan], right, who's living in Carlingford at the minute. He moved out of Belfast.
Scappaticci: ... Now you see that guy Rob Friars that was caught in England with a bomb about six or seven weeks ago? Remember he was caught at the bus stop in London? Cannon fodder, know what I mean? But a big mate of this guy [D][Murray]. And it was actually [D] [Murray] who recommended him for the England thing to [A] [Tommy Murphy], as [D] [Murray] moves in and out of the south Armagh area a lot. See, if they are carrying out any interrogations of so-called informers, that's where they do it, in that area, mostly. The likes of Derry people would be done in Donegal, but it would be the same team that would do the whole lot, right, and it's under the control of [D] and they're the ones that do that type of thing.
So as I was trying to explain, by just saying McGuinness, I don't think you went deeply enough into it, you know what I mean? It done no harm and exposed him [McGuinness] for what he is. And, see that woman that came on [Rose Hegarty], she was right in what she was saying, like, he is an evil person.
'Cook Report' team: Mrs Hegarty?
Scappaticci: Yes, because he gave the go-ahead for Frank Hegarty, right? Well, I'll tell you what I know about it, right ... There was weapons caught in Donegal. It was 150 rifles caught. Hegarty was the one that gave the information on that. He was then taken out, brought to England and missed his common-law wife. So he kept phoning back. So McGuinness got on the phone and says, "Come back, you'll be okay, blah, blah." Convinced him he'd be okay, convinced the mother. He [Hegarty] then came home and McGuinness was the instrument of him being taken away and shot.
'Cook Report' team: How do you know this?
Scappaticci: I know it because for a long time I was at the heart of things. I'm no longer at the heart of things, right. Haven't been for two or three years, right. But I know what I'm talking about, right.
'Cook Report' team: When you say you were at the heart of things, how close were you to McGuinness?
Scappaticci: Well, let's say I served on the same thing he's on.
'Cook Report' team: The Army Council?
Scappaticci: No. The Northern Command.
'Cook Report' team: So you were part of the decision team to get Hegarty then?
Scappaticci: No, no, no. You see, that's a totally different thing. You have to know the workings of the IRA to know what happens.
'Cook Report' team: What is McGuinness up to at the moment?
Scappaticci: Well, he's still Northern Command CC, but there was a decision taken four year ago that McGuinness was going to step back from things on the military side and take a political role.
'Cook Report' team: Why was that?
Scappaticci: Sinn Fein, the popularity they had in the early eighties started to wane and they were realising this. McGuinness is fairly popular in Derry because he won the election up there and all that, so what was decided was that he should have a bigger role alongside Adams, to try to get Sinn Fein going and put gee-up into it, right? So they were grooming yer man [D] [Murray] to take over as OC of Northern Command and what you see now is that [D] [Murray] has basically taken the reins of Northern Command and McGuinness has more or less stepped out. McGuinness still has to okay everything but he's more or less stepped back and is more in a political role. But he's still in the IRA. Deep there, like, you know. Very deep.
'Cook Report' team: 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 - a very moralistic person.
Scappaticci is asked about getting his story on screen.
Scappaticci: Well, you see, things that I would be giving you would be people's lives being taken, you see,
[Cryptome recording ends.]
[Book transcript continues.]
that he [McGuinness] gave the go-ahead for doing it, you know. Bombing city centres, he gave the go-ahead for doing it. Decisions are taken, Army Council makes a decision, then there's a Northern Command meeting called and the Northern Command meeting is told, "This is the craic, we're gonna concentrate on city-centre bombs. This is what we have to do." And there would be a one-day coordinated strike - that's what they call it - in the Six Counties of bombs being put out in different towns, different cities for mass devastation. The reason they come back on this seventies thing of bombs in the city centres is because they see how hard it is hitting the British government moneywise, plus the effect it has. Now, you notice there's not many British soldiers being killed now, because they haven't got the expertise in Belfast to do it, the likes of that. Okay, they have in south Armagh and places like that, but they change their tactics every now and again.
At this point, the transcript notes that Scappaticci says that people thought the first post-election bomb in the city of London was a reaction to Peter Brooke, but that in fact it had been planned weeks earlier.
Scappaticci: The media love to have these theories, that the IRA are masterminds. They're not. Okay, sometimes things fall into place and they can claim afterwards, "we did it for that reason," but they didn't do it for that reason.
Here the tape runs out on the first meeting. Clive Entwistle takes a shorthand note of what is said next: Scappaticci claimed that Martin McGuinness would be paid £20 a week, plus expenses, have a car and driver provided, expenses for petrol, etc. If he went into a bar or local butcher's he would get given drinks or meat free. So he lives for free.
Scappaticci: He is ruthless. I can say this unequivocally. He has the final say on an informer, whether that person lives or dies. If it is an IRA volunteer who admits it [informing] he is court-martialled. Only two key people on the Army Council - that is, Martin McGuinness and Gerry Kelly, who acts as Adjutant General-make the decision. If he is not an IRA volunteer, it is Martin McGuinness who gives the say-so. It just needs McGuinness, he has the final say. That is 100 percent. If McGuinness is not about, [E] gives the order.
Hegarty was an affront. He [McGuinness] took it very personally. There is something quite wrong with his head. He talks to you very quietly, very softly, but he would think nothing about putting us [the three in the car] down. He would be praying in chapel one minute, go outside and think nothing about ordering a shooting. Before Hegarty was shot I knew about it. A friend of mine was to interrogate Hegarty, but McGuinness, [A] and [F] interrogated him. McGuinness ordered his shooting.
The reason they gave was because of the arms shipment found in Sligo. He had to be made an example. McGuinness was instrumental in getting him back. He engineered getting him back and talking to him on the phone. He [Hegarty] was knocking around [in the early 1970s]. Ivor Bell, ex-chief of staff, blocked Hegarty coming in. Bell didn't like his [Official IRA] background. He just didn't fancy him. When Bell went Hegarty started working for a fella from Derry. He's now in Strabane ... Hegarty started helping on the QM [quartermaster] side and got more deeply involved.
'Cook Report' team: Clive asks how big a blow the arms find was.
Scappaticci: Jesus, it was a major blow, that arms find, because at that time we didn't have many. Before that there was only a small amount of arms. It only came out then that there was all this stuff from Libya. It wasn't McGuinness who felt responsible, it was just that Hegarty had been responsible [for Gardai finding more than 100 weapons in Roscommon and Sligo] and something had to be done.
'Cook Report' team: Clive asks about current strategy.
Scappaticci: All plans have to be sanctioned by McGuinness. Any change in strategy would have to be made by McGuinness. They are very sensitive about publicity. There was a groundswell recently to shoot unionist politicians like Sammy Wilson and SDLP. But Army Council will not let them do it.
'Cook Report' team: Scappaticci is asked why he had left the organisation after 22 years.
Scappaticci: There are more things in life than killing.
'Cook Report' team: Had he killed?
Scappaticci: No answer.
'Cook Report' team: Clive asks more questions.
Scappaticci: A culture has built up. McGuinness is now famous. He gets a kick out of it, out of killing. Where would he be today? Still a butcher's boy. Where would Gerry Adams be? Working behind a bar. He was a barman. I would say if there was a free vote tomorrow it would be a massive yes to stop the violence. Adams would stop it but McGuinness would not. I have been at meetings with him, Adams and Sean Maguire, and the whole atmosphere of the armed struggle and how it was going to be developed was discussed. I was at two meetings. He [McGuinness] is a cold person. One minute he would be in church and next he would say 'stiff him'.
['Cook Report' team:] We tried to get conversation going again, but he just wasn't interested. All he wanted to do was get away - so did we.
'Cook Report' team: Clive is told that Scappaticci attended meetings to discuss targeting Wimbledon, Buckingham Palace and the attack on Downing Street. Killing Thatcher was also discussed.
Scappaticci: But she was too well guarded. You might get a meeting where everything is in the melting pot.
'Cook Report' team: Was McGuinness involved in the mortar bomb attack on Downing Street?
Scappaticci: [A] [Tommy Murphy] and [B] [Tommy Keenan] worked out the strategy. Rob Friars welded up the mortar. They use people not known in England who can come and go unnoticed, who are not going to break. Bombings ... would come personally from Northern Command, so McGuinness would automatically know about them. If [A] or [B] wanted, say, six men who were unknown, they would go to McGuinness who would go around the local OCs in Northern Command and ask them to find six suitable men. They would be told to say they had got disillusioned with the organisation and dropped out, or say they had got a job in Germany or Dublin or wherever. We used to take people across [to Britain] in fishing boats but I don't know how they travel there now.
Scappaticci says the meeting has gone on too long and ends that meeting.
Next meeting: 28 August 1993, east Belfast.
Present: Clive Entwistle, Sylvia Jones, Frank Thorne and 'Jack', aka Freddie Scappaticci.
Scappaticci: Hegarty came back because he was given assurances that he would be safe. You think life is sweet when those assurances come from the top man - Martin McGuinness. He gave his word of honour. McGuinness told Frank and his family he would be taken over the border to meet three prominent people in the IRA Army Council. McGuinness was part of the Army Council who first interrogated Hegarty, court-martialled him and then ordered him to be shot. Inside the IRA it was known from the moment those guns were found that Frankie was 'going for his tea'. That was it. He was a dead man. It's not important who pulled the trigger. McGuinness wouldn't dirty his hands with that. Hegarty was court-martialled because he was an IRA volunteer. He threw himself on the mercy of the Army Council. They went into another room, said, 'No - take him out and give him it.' A real kangaroo court. They would have blindfolded him and assured him they were taking him home, then would have taken him from the car and told him to keep walking ... a bullet in the back of the head. Four bullets is normal, usually by two people so that they are both implicated in the murder.
On McGuinness giving Hegarty and his family the word that Frank would be safe, Scappaticci scoffed:
Scappaticci: See if someone in the IRA says, 'I swear to God,' or, 'I swear on my mother's life,' then you know you are getting double-crossed. That's the code word. You say, right - bolt. Bolt.
He said McGuinness would not normally be personally involved in interrogations.
Scappaticci: In the final analysis in the Northern Command, he [McGuinness] would have to give the go-ahead for them to be shot.
Entwistle: How many executions would you say McGuinness has authorised over the years?
Scappaticci: How many executions have there been, you tell me? I can't keep a score of them. Forty? Fifty? Sixty? A hundred? You look at every British soldier shot, every policeman shot, every booby trap or whatever. McGuinness is ultimately responsible for all of it. It's all under his control.
Entwistle: So the thousands of people who have died, McGuinness is responsible for their deaths?
Scappaticci: He's responsible for the majority. If you met him in his role in Sinn Fein, he is a nice plausible person. But in his role in the IRA, he is a cold, ruthless person. He sends a shiver down your back. At IRA meetings, he is businesslike. You don't get much chit-chat out of him.
Entwistle: How damaging was the arms find? How damaging was that information which Frank [Hegarty] had given at that time?
Scappaticci: The decision was taken for McGuinness to be more political. Sinn Fein had started to decline. They thought that Adams had too much of a workload and needed more help. And there was also schemes brought forward for the IRA to contribute to help pull them back together again. The IRA appointed a person in Belfast and his sole job was to look after Sinn Fein/IRA-type things - coordinate publicity campaigns, etc. If Sinn Fein wasn't doing too well in an area, the IRA could be deployed in that area to do various things, to work alongside Sinn Fein.
Entwistle: To whip up support?
Scappaticci: Oh, aye.
Entwistle: Was it done as threats?
Scappaticci: Part of this coordination would have been 'civil administration' - that is, the people who knee-cap people, baseball-bat people who break legs, arms, is what their'civil administration' is. There you are. The IRA made a conscious decision along with Sinn Fein to clean up the Divis Flats because of the crime and drug dealing. An IRA man was put in to call on people to band together and make the Divis Flats a hoods-free area. The hoods showed out and the IRA moved in and knee-capped four or five people. Then they gave a particular drug-dealing family forty-eight hours to get out of Belfast or be 'stiffed'. They left. The Lower Falls became quiet. Sinn Fein got their act together and got two seats in the Lower Falls.
Entwistle: People have told us the link between Sinn Fein and the IRA is inseparable.
Scappaticci: It's inseparable. Many Sinn Fein councillors are in the IRA. Martin McGuinness is on the IRA Army Council. [He names others but adds that some councillors are not IRA.] If you look at the IRA - you look at the 1970s - it's still the same people who are coordinating and controlling things who were operating in the seventies and they are set in their ways.
Scappaticci was more nervous this time. He cut the meeting short. His claims were clearly designed to damage the republican movement, and in particular Martin McGuinness, at a time when republicans were moving towards calling a cease-fire and kick-starting the peace process. His animosity towards McGuinness is clear and not in any way guarded, and his intent is evidently to place pressure upon McGuinness at what was a very delicate time, with the fledgling peace process still finding its feet. If this meeting with the journalist was authorised by FRU operations, it would seem to be an attempt to destabilise the buds of peace from flourishing by the very people who are invested with the responsibility to establish peace. If it was not authorised, it is transparent evidence of one element of the agent's motivation.
What makes Scappaticci's conversations with these journalists truly remarkable was that Scappaticci had told his handler in the FRU that the man who actually pulled the trigger on the gun that killed Frank Hegarty was none other than Scappaticci himself. The FRU were well aware that he would be involved in the interrogation of Hegarty. One FRU agent had killed another. Hegarty could have been saved, but somewhere a decision had been taken that it was better for him to die to help maintain Scappaticci's position. The Gardai could have rescued Hegarty if they had been given details from the northern side of the border, but that information was never passed on. Coincidentally, his demise saved the State quite a lot of money in pension and resettlement payments.