UK state: Northern Ireland
michael.keaney at mbs.fi
Fri May 16 01:46:00 MDT 2003
Ex-agent reports Stakeknife to police
Allegations that Scappaticci made threats to kill
Rosie Cowan, Ireland correspondent
Friday May 16, 2003
The former British army agent known as Kevin Fulton yesterday told police in
London that notorious IRA man Freddie Scappaticci threatened to kill him in
1994 because he suspected he had thwarted the attempted murder of a senior
Mr Fulton [a pseudonym] told the Guardian he did not know at the time that
Mr Scappaticci was the top military spy known as Stakeknife. But Mr Fulton,
who also infiltrated the IRA, is now convinced that not only is this the
case but that his [Fulton's] army handlers knew this and were prepared to
sacrifice him to protect Stakeknife.
His explosive claims will open a whole new can of worms in the Stakeknife
affair, which sources say will rock the military and intelligence
establishment because of allegations that the agent was allowed to murder
with impunity and that innocent people died to protect his identity.
Mr Scappaticci, 59, who security sources say could be linked to as many as
40 murders and was paid £80,000 a year by the government for his
intelligence information, disappeared from his west Belfast home on Sunday
morning. Whitehall sources told the Guardian he was in a safe house under
the protection of the security agencies.
But he reappeared at his solicitor's offices in west Belfast on Wednesday
where he categorically denied all the allegations against him, claiming he
had never been a British agent. He said he had not been involved in the
republican movement for 13 years.
Mr Fulton exposed how Northern Irish special branch ignored intelligence
warnings prior to the Omagh bomb but has strenuously denied "outing" Mr
Scappaticci as Stakeknife.
Yesterday, Mr Fulton claimed he foiled the IRA's attempt to murder a senior
policeman, Derek Martindale, in 1994 by reporting the terrorists' plans to
his handlers so that they were arrested on their way to shoot the officer in
Mr Scappaticci was then deputy head of the Provisionals' feared internal
security unit, the infamous Nutting Squad, charged with sniffing out and
Mr Fulton said he and a family member, who he refused to identify, were
summoned to two meetings with Mr Scappaticci at Unity Flats in Belfast. He
knew the west Belfast builder because he had encountered him many times in
Co Down and south Armagh.
"The other party was totally uninvolved in anything but we were told if we
didn't turn up, they would come and drag us there," said Mr Fulton. "It was
an invitation you didn't refuse.
"We were blindfolded, and Freddie Scappaticci interrogated us, the first
time for two hours, and on the second occasion, for four hours. He brought
up other IRA operations in Newry that had 'gone wrong'. He poked me with his
fingers and threatened to 'put me down a hole' if I was to blame.
"I am 100% certain it was Freddie Scappaticci. At that time, I only knew him
as one of the Nutting Squad. I was terrified. I thought we were going to
die, but I knew if I broke down and admitted anything, I was a goner.
"He let us go but when they told me to come back a third time, I knew that
if I went I would never come back alive. I didn't know he was Stakeknife but
I am sure my handlers knew. They said 'Go, you'll be all right. We have the
inside track.' But I went awol. I knew if I went I would never have returned
"I think now that my handlers were quite prepared to let me die because
Stakeknife was more important to them. I was set up to take the fall."
Mr Fulton said he had not reported the incident to police at the time
because his army handlers were aware of it and he though they would sort it
out. But nothing was done.
"I have now gone to the Met to force the police to investigate. They will
have to tell the Police Service of Northern Ireland and they should arrest
Freddie Scappaticci immediately."
Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly has said he accepts Mr Scappaticci's statement but
grassroots republicans say Mr Scappaticci has questions to answer.
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