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April 22, 2007

Special Branch Files: Bordering On Farcical!

News About Ireland & The Irish

SB 04/22/07 Special Branch Files: Bordering On The Farcical!
BN 04/22/07 Garda McCabe’s Widow Forgives His Killers
RT 04/22/07 SF's Ferris Suspected Of Drink-Driving
BN 04/22/07 Book Documents Turbulent Times In Irish History
BB 04/22/07 Titanic Memorabilia's Record Sale


Special Branch Files: Bordering On The Farcical!

[Published: Sunday 22, April 2007 - 09:52]

Later this year, lawyers at the Criminal Cases Review
Commission in Birmingham are expected to send one of the
most controversial cases of the Troubles back to the Court
of Appeal.

It involves the one-time director of publicity for Sinn
Fein, Danny Morrison, and how Special Branch, Army
Intelligence and their informers were responsible for
putting him behind bars.

Martin Ingram and I devoted an entire chapter to the case
in our book Stakeknife - not least because it gave a
fascinating insight into the world of Freddie Scappaticci,
who led a double life as interrogator for the IRA's
internal security unit and informer for the Army's Force
Research Unit.

Scap featured heavily in the testimony at Morrison's trial.

Today, however, for the first time new light can be shed on
evidence that has just emerged which will almost certainly
see Morrison's conviction for false imprisonment

All day Sunday January 7, 1990, Morrison - the propagandist
who declared war on the British "with an Armalite in one
hand and a ballot box in the other" - was harassed by IRA
members asking him to attend a house in Carrigart Avenue,
west Belfast.

In the spare bedroom of the Martin family home at No 124,
Special Branch agent Alexander 'Sandy' Lynch was awaiting
the verdict of an IRA court martial.

There are two versions of what was going to happen next.

The RUC believed that a member of the IRA's 'Army Council'
would be summonsed to pronounce sentence. Morrison insists
he was asked to organise a Press conference.

Whatever the truth of what was going to happen, it never

Shortly after 5pm, Morrison and Anto Murray entered
Carrigart Avenue.

A couple sitting in a car looked straight at them, and the
two republicans became very nervous. As they walked up the
pathway to No 124, Morrison muttered he didn't "like that
(the car)."

The Sinn Fein PR man walked through the outer front door
and was only in the house a matter of seconds when a joint
RUC/Army raiding party arrived. Special Branch had got
their man.

We will never know what would have happened had Morrison
simply turned around and stepped back outside the house,
but instead of doing that he walked through the house and
out the back door, where he was spotted by two soldiers. He
jumped over a fence and entered No 126.

At 5.35pm he was identified by a Private Cairns and 30
minutes later was arrested by two RUC officers who had been
assured by a member of the Martin family that they did not
know the man standing in their living room.

Lynch had been 'rescued' - and one of the most elaborate
security force operations of the Troubles was at an end.

Forty-eight hours earlier Lynch had been 'arrested' by the
IRA as he entered the house at Carrigart Avenue around 7pm
on Friday, January 5. Scappaticci and a second man pushed
Lynch onto a bed in an upstairs room.

He was blindfolded with bandages and cotton wool and his
hands were tied behind his back. He was stripped naked and
his clothes were searched.

In Stakeknife, I gave a lengthy account of Lynch's
interrogation, some of it based upon transcripts from the
Morrison trial.

There is no doubt that Lynch was terrified, but his terror
was mitigated by the fact that he knew he was being watched
by Special Branch.

But only now - 17 years later - can we reveal just how
'watched' he was.

Scappaticci, working for Army Intelligence, was in on the
plot. Three separate, reliable sources - none of them known
to each other - have now confirmed that his other
interrogator was also working for Special Branch.

When he was being searched in the bedroom, Lynch told CID
officers later a bug detection device used by 'Scap' went

"I heard a voice, which I believed to be Scappaticci. He
was swearing and saying the anti-bugging device was going

Sunday Life can reveal that it was the second man who was
wearing the bugging device. It would be normal IRA policy
to abort an interrogation if a detection device responded
in the way that it did. Scappaticci and the other man chose
to continue.

Here we had two agents starting the interrogation of
another agent.

One commentator described such a scenario as "like
something out of Monty Python". Lynch knew Special Branch
were watching over him, but he had no idea until later that
Scappaticci and the second man were on his side. Scap knew
Lynch was a tout - but Scap had no clue of the other man's

The second man - now a community activist - had been
involved in a seemingly bizarre incident with Lynch on his
way to Carrigart Avenue.

Lynch arrived in Belfast from his home in Magherafelt
around 6.30pm that Friday and was ordered to travel with
the other IRA man to check out a 'drug dealer's' house in
Upper Dunmurry Lane.

When they arrived at that house, the IRA man got out of the
car, leaving Lynch alone for several minutes. This was a
breach of the IRA's strict rules when luring a suspect into
the hands of the so-called 'nutting squad'.

Lynch made no effort to escape. We can now reveal the
reason the second IRA man left Lynch alone. He used this
opportunity to meet his own Special Branch handlers and he
was given just one warning - to be out of the house at
Carrigart Avenue as soon as Lynch confessed.

Lynch did made a quick confession, not seeing any reason to
suffer at the hands of the internal security unit when he
was promised that he would be rescued.

We now know that Lynch was detained at the house for
another 40 hours after his initial confession. Morrison had
received several requests to attend the house that Sunday,
but was unable to do so for family reasons. It was teatime
before he could go there.

During this period Scappaticci's Army handler had several
heated telephone conversations with Special Branch,
believing that Lynch's life was in danger. Special Branch
insisted they had the situation under control.

By the time Morrison and Murray arrived at No 124 Carrigart
Avenue, Scappaticci and the second man had left the

Both men were named at the trial of Morrison and the others
as being part of the abduction and interrogation team. In
fact Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Hutton expressed regret
that they were not before the court.
Sir Brian had not been told of the secret roles of
Scappaticci and the second IRA man. The defence,
prosecution and even the CID officers who began
investigating the case once Lynch was rescued were also
kept in the dark, and played no role whatsoever in the

Lynch even pulled the wool over the eyes of CID officers by
giving a false description of Scappaticci that would never
have stood up in court. Neither Scappaticci nor the other
man were charged with any offence in relation to the

Morrison continues to insist he was asked to go to
Carrigart Avenue that evening to set up a Press conference
at which Lynch would be paraded. Certainly, that was what
was offered by interrogators from the IRA's northern
command in the darkened room where he was held.


At his trial Morrison's lawyers argued that Lynch's
evidence was tainted by inconsistencies and his reputation
was damaged by the fact he had been involved in the
shooting of Peter Duggan in Downpatrick in January 1988
when Lynch was working for the Branch inside the INLA.

Sunday Life can now reveal that Lynch was actually a
double-killer - a fact known to the senior ranks of RUC
Special Branch.

Documents show that Lynch was one of the gunmen who opened
fire on notorious IPLO leader Gerard 'Dr Death' Steenson -
shot dead along with Anthony McCarthy in west Belfast in
March 1987.

When questioned about his role in the double-murder, Lynch
admitted his involvement. Special Branch detectives
reported this admission but were ordered by senior officers
to keep using Lynch as an agent. Police Ombudsman Nuala
O'Loan did investigate the Morrison case, but the
investigation was cut short when it was taken over by the
Stevens Inquiry because of Scappaticci's involvement in the

Before the investigation ended, however, her officers found
that the DPP had issued a Public Interest Certificate (PIC)
agreeing to a Special Branch request for the details of
Scappaticci the second man's roles as agents be withheld
from CID and the court.

It is all these new facts which will lead to the case being
referred to the Court of Appeal.


Once there, there are two options for the Crown - a re-
trial, which would expose the role of agents in the case,
giving official and public confirmation to the roles of
Scappaticci and the second IRA man as informers and chief
prosecution witness Lynch as a double murderer. Or the
Crown agrees to drop all charges and Morrison's conviction
is quashed. Few would be surprised if the second option is

Morrison was sentenced to eight years for false
imprisonment. Five other co-defendants were also jailed -
James Terence O'Carroll (28), Daniel Caldwell (34), Gerard
Hodgins (31) and John Anthony Murray (40).

The owner of the house Lynch was held in, James Martin
(54), was also convicted of false imprisonment. Martin's
wife Vera (45) and their 27-year-old son Liam had pleaded
guilty to the same charge.

In his book All The Dead Voices, Morrison recalls that
after his release from prison he met the detective who had
charged him back in 1990.

He had declined several requests to join CID Inspector Tim
McGregor at a Belfast restaurant one evening, but accepted
a present - it was the court artist's impression of him at
his trial. "I got that after the trial and kept it for
you," said McGregor.

Morrison thanked him and before leaving the premises joked:
"Off the record, where exactly is Sandy Lynch living these

The former Sinn Fein leader revealed why he had refused the
request to join McGregor, another detective and a
journalist at their table that night.

He wrote: "I felt that their confidence in having me, with
my reputation, at their table vaguely suggested the
magnanimity of the victor. I felt that the bonhomie was
tenuous and that conviviality with former enemies, for whom
I feel no bitterness, suggested not quite collaboration,
but could be misunderstood by republicans and my community
as having potentially compromised myself.

"But what I thought about most was the dead: theirs, in the
broadest sense, whom we had killed, and ours, in the
broadest sense, whom they had killed - as if the dead were
sitting in their mortal prejudices, looking down on us and
saying: 'How dare you. How could you? Did our sacrifices
amount to nothing - did our suffering and death and manner
of death not matter?'"

c Belfast Telegraph


Widow Of Garda McCabe Says She Forgives His Killers

22/04/2007 - 11:45:36

The widow of former Garda Jerry McCabe has said that she
forgives the men that killed her husband in a raid in
Limerick 11 years ago.

Anne Mc Cabe's statement comes just weeks before some of
those convicted of his manslaughter are due for release.

"Certainly what they have done was the worst thing they
could ever have done to my family - but we have moved on as
best we can. You have to forgive, I guess, at some stage,"
she said.


SF's Ferris Suspected Of Drink-Driving

Sunday, 22 April 2007 14:13

The Sinn Fein TD for Kerry North, Martin Ferris has
confirmed to RT News that he was arrested on suspicion of
drink-driving early today.

Mr Ferris was arrested in Ardfert Village in north Kerry at
around 2am this morning.

He was subsequently taken to Tralee Garda Station where he
gave a sample which will be sent for analysis.

The result will determine whether or not he is prosecuted.

Mr Ferris told RT that he would be making a statement
through the Sinn Fein press office later today.


Book Documents Turbulent Times In Irish History

22/04/2007 - 12:40:08

Dramatic first hand accounts of people caught up in the War
of Independence have been collected in a book documenting
one of the most turbulent times in Irish history.

Including rare photographs, Comrades - Inside the War of
Independence by retired teacher Annie Ryan vividly relates
the guerilla tactics, reprisals and day to day lives of the
foot soldiers.

The book draws on official witness statements taken in the
late 1940s and held in the National Archives for decades
before being released to the public in 2002.

It details ambushes, flying columns, the Black and Tans and
also gives an insight into the minds of those running the
struggle such as Michael Collins.

"There were ferocious things happening, it wasn't a nice
war. In one instance there was a reprisal in Newry where
nine Protestants were killed in a farmhouse, that was
terrible," Ms Ryan said.

"But I try to keep my opinions out of it and let the
testimony speak for itself."

The book also includes many rare and unpublished images
from the time.

"The men were enjoying it from time to time - well at least
it reads like that," Ms Ryan said.

And it also has an account of the overlooked Battle of
Pettigo the only orthodox pitched battle of the war years
and revelations about the final stages of the Treaty

"That was a fascinating and extremely strategic battle.
About 100 IRA men held the town for over a week," the
author added.

"They had everything thrown at them. In the end there were
tanks, and aeroplanes - there was everything and they held
it for a week."

The events are written geographically covering all the
areas of conflict with a chapter also dedicated to the
significant role played by women throughout the conflict.

The book, a companion to Ms Ryan's hugely successful
Witnesses: Inside the Easter Rising will be launched by
Senator Martin Mansergh in the National Library on Tuesday.


Titanic Memorabilia's Record Sale

Keys belonging to the post room of the Titanic have sold
for a record œ100,000 at auction in Wiltshire.

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said the previous record for the
amount paid for memorabilia from the liner was œ57,000.

Also under the hammer in Devizes was a final letter from a
passenger who described Titanic as "positive danger", which
sold for œ28,000.

The Titanic, on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New
York, sunk on 15 April 1912 after hitting an iceberg.

"I had a little feeling that it might do something serious
but I never expected it to do the œ100,000," said
auctioneer Andrew Aldridge.

"This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire a
Titanic item of this importance."

Mr Aldridge said the keys held a particular significance to
collectors as the doomed ship's post office staff are
reputed to have carried on working even as the vessel sank.

They were bought by an anonymous buyer from overseas.

The letter was written by wealthy farmer and landowner
Alfred Rowe, 59, to his wife Constance, on 11 April 1912
from Queenstown, Ireland, the ship's last port of call
before it sank with the loss of 1,522 lives.

In it he also complains of the ship's vast size: "My
dearest girl, she is too big, you can't find your way about
and it takes you too long to get anywhere."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/22 10:25:25 GMT

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