John McDonagh (JM) and Martin Galvin (MG) interview Anthony McIntyre (AM) via telephone from Ireland about the Freddie Scappaticci Steaknife inquiry and the latest on the Boston College tape case. (begins time stamp ~ 47:57)
MG: Anthony, are you there on the line?
AM: I am indeed.
MG: Anthony, we had actually contacted you about the Boston tapes and to get the latest about what’s happening to you but John told me that he was listening to RTÉ yesterday – another investigation – that into Freddie Scappaticci: He was a member of the IRA who is being investigated for, so far, about fifty murders using, saying that he was dealing with, discovering, uncovering informers when at the same time he would have been one of the biggest informers of them all and that investigation was launched and he said that you were one of the people who were brought in to give expert commentary on that so we wanted ask your reaction to that report. (With the announcement of that investigation, sorry.)
AM: Well Freddie Scappaticci, who was a senior informer, most likely not the most senior informer in the armoury of the British state but a very senior informer and certainly the British Army’s most senior agent within the ranks of the IRA. And he for long was crucial to British state strategy in encouraging a move away from a military activity on the part of the IRA towards the docile type of set up that they have now within the Republicanism of Sinn Féin and in that sense he would have been crucial to the British state’s cultivation of the peace process even though he wouldn’t have thought about it in terms of the peace process himself. And this investigation will certainly open up a can of worms because I don’t have any faith in it delivering justice or much truth for the relatives, ultimately, of the dead. At the end of the day I have no real experience of the British state willing to divulge its innermost secrets in relation to the Northern conflict. And I noticed today that Mr. Adams has been trying to infer or imply that the investigation is about the use of agents and, therefore, the British should open up their files on this.
But it’s not really about the use of agents. It’s about the killings that agents were involved in and George Hamilton, the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) Chief Constable, has made it very clear and has been making it clear in the past year that the investigation into Freddie Scappaticci, part of the remit, part of the terms of reference is that because it’s investigating not the use of state agents but the killing by state agents in the pay of the British is that the people who were also involved in those killings, the hierarchy of the IRA, the people who on the Army Council who signed off on it and who Scappaticci knows signed off on it, these people are all being brought into the frame now so I think that it has serious repercussions and I think to some extent it explains Sinn Féin’s willingness back in 2003 to cover up for Freddie Scappaticci. I mean this was a man at the heart of British state atrocities and yet we had Sinn Féin trying to pretend that it was all a British state myth. We had Danny Morrison and Gerry Adams pretending that it was all a myth although Morrison now tells us he knew that Freddie Scappaticci was an agent as far back as 1990 yet thirteen years later he was covering for him? At the same time we had a journalist/lecturer called Niall Meehan in Griffith College, Dublin writing under the name Adam O’Toole in the Republican News trying to rubbish the whole notion that Freddie Scappaticci was a British agent and simply suggesting that the Steaknife story was an elaborate British hoax. I think all these people are going to find themselves having serious questions to answer as to why they covered for the British state’s one of the most notorious agents that the British state had operating in this country and most murderous – he’s being investigated in relation to fifty killings!
JM: Anthony, I wanted to refer back to the coverage in the Twenty-Six Counties and the Six Counties. Yesterday I was listening to RTÉ and BBC Ulster. RTÉ opened with this investigation on Scappaticci with you – you knew him in the ’70’s. And then at twelve o’clock BBC Ulster came on and it was about the 4th story down – the Queen’s ninetieth birthday party, a plane crash, the Northern Ireland football team in France but then they had an interview with Jeffrey Donaldson who said he was grateful for IRA informers because the police were able to tip him off that he was to be assassinated and he’s forever grateful for that IRA informer – and it just showed the different way of covering it in the Twenty-Six Counties as to the Six Counties saying this was great that the state did this.
AM: Well, I mean I think RTÉ, at times, have been less than good in their presentation of what goes on in The North or what has gone on in The North and sometimes the BBC have been good, in particular to some of the Spotlight programmes that they’ve brought out and they have brought out a lot of good stuff in relation to Freddie Scappaticci and murky activities. Yesterday’s manner of reporting was, to say the least, very, very strange and I don’t know why they prioritise the things that they do. But you would imagine coming the day after the Loughinisland announcement by the Police Ombudsman, Dr. Michael Maguire, you would have imagined that this would have had more coverage – would have been prioritised – pushed up to the top of the news line in the Northern news – it wasn’t. I think that the public was badly serviced yesterday.
MG: Alright, Anthony, we just want to get to your own situation with the Boston tapes. The British are trying to get a federal court to force Boston College to hand over tapes of interviews which you gave. They have an International Letter of Request (ILOR) which is supposed to outline the reasons why they’re seeking this subpoena. But now they want to apply some kind of censorship legislation, a Public Interest Immunity Certificate (PII), to say that you should not be told or no one should be told or become aware of the reason why they need these tapes to investigate. What is your reaction to the latest in this development? (I have to tell you – we just have one minute to summarise all that.)
AM: The British are not investigating me at all they’re using this as a wedge, a mechanism to try and prise an opening just to read what my interviews have been. There is no investigation. They’ve been lying through their teeth and they’ve been lying on the ILOR as well.
MG: Alright, Anthony, on that note we want to thank you. We want to follow-up. (ends time stamp ~ 55:20)