Monthly Archives: June 2015

‘An Phobcrapt’ – A Further Thought On Who Wrote It

A further thought or two on the MI5/UDA spoof paper An Phobracpt, these derived from a more forensic examination of the writing style that can be found in the British black propaganda exercise, compared to what was usually on offer from the UDA’s editorial offices.

The first excerpt (see below) is taken from what is believed to be the inaugural edition of An Phobcrapt which appeared around December 1988. The second comes from an editorial that appeared in the UDA magazine, Ulster about a year earlier. Both publications were ostensibly edited by Sammy Duddy, a well known UDA activist and the organisation’s former intelligence officer. He was also believed by some UDA colleagues to be working secretly for the British, presumably MI5.

The second excerpt, from Ulster magazine, contains spelling mistakes and, while not wishing to disparage or belittle the late Sammy Duddy’s writing skills, is not the most elegant piece of prose to grace the English language. Also, notice how, like all Loyalists, Duddy simply refers to the Provos as ‘the IRA’ while An Phobcrapt employs security-speak: ‘PIRA/Sinn Fein’.

Not only that but the An Phobcrapt extract has no less than two references to Marxism or Communism in some 120 words – and Communism was, next to the IRA, MI5‘s big bugaboo. By contrast, as anyone who has had dealings with them can testify, the UDA rarely if ever mentioned the Provos and Marxism in the same sentence. Republicanism or anti-Protestantism, yes, but Communism, no.

It is though the writing style of the An Phobcrapt extract that is perhaps the real give-away. I mean read this sentence from the black propaganda excerpt and ask yourself if Sammy Duddy or any other UDA man you have crossed paths with would pen language like this: “….fictitious, verbose diatribes, ranting editorials, distinguished distortions of the truth, and marvelously malevolent hypocrisy….”, or, “We are proud to be able to inform our readers that the same perverted mixture will continue to be on sale….”

No, my money says that this part of An Phobcrapt at least was composed by some ex-public school, Boris Johnson clone sitting up in that building next to Stormont House and having great fun with his mates enjoying this latest jape. If so, then this would mean that not only did MI5 supply information for An Phobcrapt, but they helped write it.

Here are the two extracts, first from An Phobcrapt:

AP/RN is proud to announce its acceptance of the distinguished Libyan award for inventive and imaginative Marxist journalism. The Semtex Trophy will be presented by Colonel ‘Mad’ Ghaddaffi in Tripoli to our editor Rita O’Haywire, on January 13. The citation states that AP/RN has ‘upheld throughout the past year the high standards of Communist press-reporting with fictitious verbose diatribes, ranting editorials, distinguished distortions of the truth, and marvelously malevolent hypocrisy over the heroic murders by brave PIRA/Sinn Fein of Loyalists, civilians, little old ladies and other enemies of the Libyan-Irish peoples’. We are proud to be able to inform our readers that the same perverted mixture will continue to be on sale every week (except July 12) in 1989.

The Ulster editorial:

Many people sincerely hope that the Enniskillen massacre will be a turning point in the Ulster ‘troubles’, and if hoping were enough it would be – but the reality of the suggestion suggests that it will not. It will fail to be a turning-point because O’ Faich (sic) and Hume (et al) refuse to cease peddling Nationalism the intellectual ‘heroin’ which has always doped the IRA into its murderous acts. Even the recent statement from the Heirachy (sic) – that it was sinful to join or support the IRA – was not only twenty years later it was merely another head of the nationalist hydra.

The Wonderful World Of Barra McGrory’s Public Prosecution Service

Following Barra McGrory’s grilling by the Stormont Justice Committee following publication of the NI Attorney-General’s report on his PPS’ handling of the Liam Adam’s prosecution, Peter Sefton asks some pertinent follow-up’s:


Aside from the considerable interest the press and public would have taken had Barra appeared as a witness for the defence or the prosecution  [see Larkin para 4.49-4.51] in the trial of Liam Adams, a number of other points arise from the Starmer and Larkin reports.

1. Why was Gerry Adams, Barra’s former client, not called in the second trial? The answer to the justice committee from the Deputy director was “technical reasons” [ a well known legal term] and the volume of potential disclosure. One wonders if this disclosure related to Gerry’s terrorist activities and/or his usefulness to the state. It may well be another example of where intelligence held by the state intrudes into the administration of justice.

2. Whilst taking responsibility for the AA/BB/Cahill shambles Barra blamed the two prosecuting barristers. Asked by the justice committee about his civil servants , his response was that of the…

View original post 519 more words

‘An Phobcrapt’ – The MI5/UDA Black Propaganda Sheet

In his often revealing, but just as frequently opaque report on the killing of Belfast lawyer, Pat Finucane, Sir Desmond de Silva devoted an entire chapter to what he called ‘Security Service Propaganda Initiatives’ in Northern Ireland.

Translated into ordinary language that reads: ‘MI5 Black Propaganda’. He drafted this chapter because Pat Finucane was a target of this black propaganda as were two other prominent Belfast solicitors, Oliver Kelly and PJ ‘Paddy’ McGrory.

Oliver Kelly, one of three lawyers targeted by UDA

Oliver Kelly, one of three lawyers targeted by UDA

All three lawyers have since passed away but they shared two other characteristics: they specialised in defending IRA and other republican clients and were well known for doing so, and at one time or another they were all targeted for death by the UDA.

Paddy McGrory. Also targeted by UDA and smeared in MI5 black propaganda sheet

Paddy McGrory. Also targeted by UDA and smeared in MI5 black propaganda sheet

Unfortunately, and frustratingly, de Silva does not spell out the exact nature of these ‘propaganda initiatives’ developed by MI5 but enough leaks have happened for us to identify at least one of them.

This was an eight-page take off of the weekly Sinn Fein-IRA paper, An Phoblacht-Republican News which the UDA dubbed ‘An Phobcrapt-Murderers News‘. It started to appear about Christmas time 1988 and was published on an erratic basis until after Pat Finucane’s assassination, i.e. for about a year or so.

At least that is what we think. The Linenhall Library’s Political Collection has archived the only available issues and there are about three that the library has been able to trace. Thanks to Alistair Graham at the Collection for digging them out.

We do know who the editor was, however. Sammy Duddy, a well known UDA figure originally from North Belfast, was given the job of putting ‘An Phobcrapt’ together and he combined that task with editing the UDA’s regular magazine ‘Ulster’.

Sammy Duddy - former UDA intelligence officer and editor of 'An Phobcrapt'

Sammy Duddy – former UDA intelligence officer and editor of ‘An Phobcrapt’

Duddy was an interesting and possibly obvious choice as editor of ‘An Phobcrapt’. His last job for the UDA was as its chief intelligence officer until he was replaced by Brian Nelson who was a double agent working for the British Army’s Force Research Unit, an outfit whose role in the killing of Pat Finucane (not to mention the handling of Freddie Scappaticci) is a matter of such controversy.

Brian Nelson/ Succeeded Sammy Duddy as UDA intelligence chief. Duddy became editor of MI5's 'An Phobcrapt'

Brian Nelson. Succeeded Sammy Duddy as UDA intelligence chief. Duddy became editor of MI5’s ‘An Phobcrapt’

In an hour-long tape-recording passed on to this writer, Tommy Lyttle, the UDA’s West Belfast Brigadier and briefly Andy Tyrie’s successor as overall head of the UDA, said he believed Duddy was an informer. Duddy died in October, 2007. Tommy Lyttle died in 1995 from a massive heart attack, not from the assassin’s bullet that he feared.

UDA chief, Tommy  Lyttle. Identified Sammy Duddy as a British agent

UDA chief, Tommy Lyttle. Identified Sammy Duddy as a British agent

Tommy Lyttle appears to have been on the button. ‘An Phobcrapt’ was, according to sources I have spoken to, an MI5 operation whose purpose, inter alia, was, according to de Silva, to disrupt and unnerve IRA activists by passing their details on to the UDA for publication and to assist in the recruitment as agents, IRA members who had been resistant to MI5’s approaches:

….propaganda against specific PIRA figures was a tactic that could be used against individuals who were either assessed to be unrecruitable as agents or who had been approached and had refused to become agents.

Sir Desmond de Silva

Sir Desmond de Silva

De Silva claims that, of course, there never was an intention on the part of MI5 to pass on intelligence to the UDA that could be used to attack or kill republican targets but such a claim defies common sense. Once you give a Loyalist paramilitary group details about an IRA suspect, you must expect that they will then try to kill that person. It is what they do.

Indeed one of the issues of ‘An Phobcrapt’ carried the photo of Pat Finucane leaving court with a client, the late Pat McGeown, which Brian Nelson then passed on to his killers so they could identify the person they wanted to assassinate, i.e. Pat Finucane.

Pat Finucane

Pat Finucane

So in that episode almost the full gamut of collusion is evident. MI5 give their agent Sammy Duddy a photo of Pat Finucane – called ‘Pat O’Cocaine’ in ‘An Phobcrapt’ – to publish in his black propaganda sheet and the photo is passed on to the lawyer’s killers by a man working for British military intelligence. The circle is complete.

(‘An Phobcrapt’ is peppered with other photos of republican activists, details of their lives are given and, in the case of lawyers who MI5 would have known were on the UDA’s hitlist, their home addresses are published for all of Loyalism to see. In the case of Pat Finucane, he was, of course, shot dead in his home. How could de Silva absolve MI5 of any responsibilty for his killing in the light of this?)

The rest of this blog post is devoted to reproducing the available issues of ‘An Phobcrapt’ so readers can see for themselves what MI5 and the UDA were up to. The sections are divided into Pre-Pat Finucane Killing and Post-Pat Finucane Killing. Following that are the relevant extracts from the de Silva report with explanatory notes by myself prepared for RTE.

Pre-Killing (click to enlarge):


AP01AP02AP03AP04AP05AP06AP07AP08AP01AP02 AP03AP04AP05AP06AP07AP08

De Silva on MI5, UDA and ‘An Phobcrapt’ initiative. De Silva’s comments are highlighted in yellow. All else are my notes:

The Tuzo Plan, 1972: Extirpate The IRA And ‘Turn A Blind Eye To UDA Guns’

First of all, credit where credit is due. The excellent military historian, Huw Bennett, now of Aberystwyth University, was the first person to discover this extraordinary document in the files at the Kew archives and to him should go the plaudits for bringing this important archive to light.

James Kinchin-White excavated it for during one of his many expeditions to Kew, and it was made available by myself to RTE for their recent documentary, ‘Collusion’, which was screened this week.

To call the Tuzo plan extraordinary seems somehow inadequate. In fact its brutality and cynicism makes perfect sense when viewed through the prism of Tuzo’s background and experience as a member of the British military elite during Britain’s painful, post-colonial retreat from world power to America’s junior military ally.

General Harry Tuzo, with escorts, circa 1972

General Harry Tuzo, with escorts, circa 1972

Prior to his posting as General Officer Commanding (GoC) of British troops in Northern Ireland (where he took over from someone rejoicing in the name of Vernon Erskine-Crum, an Indian Army veteran and aide to Lord Mountbatten when he was Viceroy to India), Harry Tuzo commanded a Gurkha Brigade in Borneo during an insurgency in the late 1960’s, which the British claimed had been inspired by an Indonesian regime suspected of being under Communist influence.

Born in Bangalore, India in 1917, Tuzo was a child of the British Raj, the colonial class which ruled the sub-continent from the days of the East India Company in the late 18th century onwards. His father was a British officer in the Royal Sussex Regiment and civil engineer who also saw service in East Africa. His mother, a memsahib, was the daughter of the Raj, her father an official in the Indian civil service. As a child, Harry Tuzo was sent home to England to prepare for a life of imperial service and was schooled at Wellington College and Oriel College, Oxford.

As things turned out Tuzo reached the apex of his miltary service in the twilight of empire. Like so many of his contemporaries, Northern Ireland was to be the last hurrah of a generation whose like would never be seen again: Tuzo, Kitson, Ford, Freeland, King, Wilsey and Creasey. Such names to conjure with!

Sliding effortlessly after Oxford into a military career that was guaranteed to bring rank and honours, and, in the aftermath of World  War II, moving from one post-colonial skirmish to another, Tuzo was, in the summer of 1972, charged with devising a plan to combat and annihilate the Provisional IRA, in much the same way as his Gurkhas disposed of Indonesian rebels in Borneo, with maximum force and minimum fuss.

There are so many striking features of this episode that it is hard to know where to start, except to say that had Tuzo got his way, and had the IRA not pre-empted his scheme with its own piece of madness, Northern Ireland would almost certainly not be the place it is now; whether better or worse is a more difficult question to address.

To begin with, there is an assumption underlying the plan, which must have taken many days to prepare but which was presented to NI Secretary William Whitelaw only the day before the Lenadoon confrontation that brought the IRA’s ceasefire to a violent end; this was that the ceasefire was, in British eyes, never going to last and that the British were ready, even eager, for its end, and possibly conspiring to bring it to an end.

Whether that realisation dawned on the British after the futile meeting between the IRA’s leadership and Whitelaw at Cheyne Walk, just two days before, or that the ceasefire, dubbed ‘the Initiative’ by the British for some intriguing but unexplained reason, was never a serious proposition in their eyes, it is clear from Tuzo’s detailed and intricate proposal that the military had been anticipating a breakdown and the resumption of hostilities for some time before Lenadoon. And it is hard to read Tuzo’s plan and not think that the British military at least, were also eagerly anticipating such an outcome.

There are so many facets of the Tuzo plan worthy of discussion that it is hard to know where to begin. My inclination, however, is to let the reader absorb this document by him or herself rather than to steer them in any one direction. But a couple of features stand out.

One was that the British were prepared to kill on a massive scale. The contemplation in the Tuzo plan of using Carl Gustav recoilless rifles in built-up, heavily populated areas such as the Bogside or Creggan allows for no other conclusion, for instance – and that is before you read about the creation of free-fire zones, the suspension of Yellow Card rules and legal changes that would entirely remove criminal or civil liability for soldiers who killed during the operation.

Below, see a more modern version of the Carl Gustav in action in US army hands and imagine it in use in Derry or West Belfast:

The other striking and politically significant aspect of the Tuzo plan is his willingness to use the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), which in 1972 had started to kill Catholics just because they were Catholics, as a de facto ally in the plan to extirpate the IRA.

So we read, for instance:

The major threat from the UDA is that their militant action will lead to widespread intersectarian conflict and eventually civil war, although strenuous military action against the IRA should prevent the latter…..It will be even more necessary to acquiesce in unarmed UDA patrolling and barricading of Protestant areas. Although no interference with security forces could be tolerated, it would be as well to make the best of the situation and obtain some security benefit from UDA control of their own areas. Indeed it is arguable that Protestant areas could almost entirely be secured by a combination of UDA, Orange Volunteers and RUC. It may even be necessary to turn a blind eye to UDA arms when confined to their own areas.

Shades of 1912, sixty years on, and a hint of an ambivalence towards Loyalist violence that would characterise British security policy thereafter and which now has returned to haunt British ministers and the search for a deeper, more firmly rooted peace in Northern Ireland.

General Harry Tuzo’s extraordinary plan to defeat and extinguish the IRA was never put into operation. We don’t even know whether William Whitelaw gave it his approval – the available documents say nothing about his response.

As it happened IRA militarism rendered the Tuzo scheme unnecessary. The bombs and carnage of Bloody Friday later that July turned the Catholic middle class and the SDLP decisively against the IRA and even sapped the enthusiasm of hardline IRA supporters; Tuzo was able to launch Operation Motorman with almost no Nationalist opposition, political or military.

The no-go areas of Derry were dismantled, Republican Belfast became one huge military base and the UDA returned to what it knew best, the random killing of innocent Catholics.

But in his ambitious plan, General Harry Tuzo revealed an essential truth about British policy in Northern Ireland: the British still would not take on the Loyalists.

Tuzo 01Tuzo 02Tuzo 03Tuzo 04Tuzo 05Tuzo 06Tuzo 07Tuzo 08Tuzo 09Tuzo 10Tuzo 11

Tuzo 12Tuzo 13Tuzo 14

Tuzo 15 Tuzo 16Tuzo 17Tuzo 18Tuzo 19Tuzo 20Tuzo 21Tuzo 22Tuzo 23Tuzo 24

Tuzo 25Tuzo 26Tuzo 27

“We Can’t Take On Both At Once” – The Nield Letter On IRA and UDA

By Ed Moloney and James Kinchin-White

Over the next two or three days, will make available documents and material that featured in RTE’s recent documentary ‘Collusion’, which dealt with the lengthy and tangled story of British security force alliances with, cum toleration of Loyalist violence.

The first of these documents, discovered by James Kinchin-White at the Kew archive, is a letter written by the Permanent-Secretary at the Northern Ireland Office, William (later Sir William) Nield to the British Cabinet Secretary, Sir Burke Trend and copied to Sir Robert Armstrong, Secretary to the then British prime minister, Edward Heath.

Sir Burke Trend, Heath's Cabinet Secretary

Sir Burke Trend, Heath’s Cabinet Secretary

The letter is dated July 10th, 1972, just a day after the collapse of that year’s IRA ceasefire. The ceasefire broke down after a confrontation between the British Army and Republicans in Lenadoon, as the Republicans were attempting to re-house Catholic refugee families in vacant public housing.

(It was also written as UDA pressure on the British to dismantle the no-go areas of Derry was being ratcheted up. The IRA ceasefire had ended, the Provos were back to war and the Loyalists were threatening to escalate their violence unless the British invaded the Bogside, Creggan and other Republican areas.)

The Ulster Defence Association, which had successfully confronted British troops in the middle of the Shankill Road just a few days later, was opposed to this re-housing effort and the response of the British Army in repulsing the Republican cavalcade, was seen widely in Catholic communities as indicative of the British taking the side of Loyalists.

Secretary of State for N Ireland, William Whitelaw, visits British troops serving in Derry. Major General Robert Ford, Commander of Land Forces accompanied him. The no-go areas of Derry were the focus of his trip and pressure from the UDA would force Whitelaw to take action against them

Secretary of State for N Ireland, William Whitelaw, visits British troops serving in Derry. Major General Robert Ford, Commander of Land Forces accompanied him. The no-go areas of Derry were the focus of his trip and pressure from the UDA would force Whitelaw to take action against them. This was the source of concern that provoked the Nield letter.

The significance of the Nield letter is that it puts all this into words and the implied policy conclusion, that the British would concentrate their firepower on the IRA rather than the UDA, would characterise British policy in ensuing years.

Sir Robert Armstrong, Heath's private secretary. He would later become famous for coining the phrase 'economical with the truth'.

Sir Robert Armstrong, Heath’s private secretary. He would later become famous for coining the phrase ‘economical with the truth’.

Nield writes to express the concerns – he uses the word ‘anxiety’ – felt by his Secretary of State, William Whitelaw at the prospect of the British being faced by both the IRA and the UDA, two well armed forces, in the period following the ceasefire breakdown and concludes:

…..nor can they take on both at once with anything like their present strength, quite apart from the considerable sympathy for the UDA which 2 1/2 years of bombings has aroused in the Army’s auxilliary security forces, i.e. the Ulster Defence Force (sic) and the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

An IRA checkpoint in Derry, behind the barricades that made much of the city a no-go area fro British forces

An IRA checkpoint in Derry, behind the barricades that made much of the city a no-go area for British forces

The next document we publish, the so-called Tuzo plan, takes this thinking to its next logical step and introduces the idea of using the UDA as an ally in the war against the IRA.

The implication in the Nield letter is clear: we can’t fight on two fronts, the UDA is much bigger than the IRA while the RUC and UDR (not UDF as Nield called it) sympathise with Loyalist paramilitaries and if we don’t do something to satisfy the UDA, like taking on the no-go areas controlled by the IRA, we’ll be in serious trouble – so let’s concentrate on defeating the IRA. It was not a huge leap between that logic and the idea of using Loyalists against the IRA.

Here is the Nield letter. Click to expand and enjoy:

UDA letter page oneUDA letter page two

How The North’s DPP, Barra McGrory Nearly Gave Evidence For Liam Adams In Rape Trial!

You really couldn’t make this one up.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have, from time to time, commented on the inevitable difficulties, both in perception and practice, of having appointed as Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland, a lawyer who, before taking up his post, was the attorney for a figure who was both the political leader of, and main strategist for the paramilitary group at the centre of the conflict in NI, and a man around whom controversy swirls on an almost daily basis.

Barra McGrory - Gerry Adams' lawyer when Liam Adams was exposed, now the North's  DPP

Barra McGrory – Gerry Adams’ lawyer when Liam Adams was exposed, now the North’s DPP

I was, of course, referring to Barra McGrory who, prior to becoming DPP, was lawyer to Gerry Adams and to quite a few of his republican colleagues and this while the war between the IRA and the British, while not quite raging, was far from at an end. Put it this way, he was Gerry’s lawyer while Gerry was still on the Army Council and the IRA was less than united on the idea of embracing peace as the way forward; i.e. from 1994 onwards, after his father, the esteemed Paddy McGrory died.

I have lost count or track of the number of cases that Barra McGrory has had to recuse himself from, due to the fact that this or that player in the case was a former republican client, or was close to a former republican client, since his elevation to the DPP’s office in 2011.

Liam Adams - told his brother Gerry that he had abused his daughter

Liam Adams – told his brother Gerry that he had abused his daughter

One of those cases centred around Liam Adams, the brother of his client Gerry Adams (and for all I know maybe Liam had been on his books at some time as well), who was charged with raping his daughter Aine when she was an infant.

Gerry Adams ended up giving evidence for the prosecution in Liam Adams’ first trial (but strangely and inexplicably, not the second trial) and now we learn, courtesy of NI Attorney-General, John Larkin’s report on the PPS’s handling of Gerry Adams’ possible culpability in the whole affair, that Barra himself might have ended up in the witness box, giving evidence for Liam against Gerry.

Gerry Adams - didn't tell police about Liam and was not charged with withholding information, like we would be........

Gerry Adams – didn’t tell police about Liam until 2007 and was not charged with withholding information

Imagine that! The North’s Public Prosecution Service, headed by DPP Barra McGrory (although suitably recused), charges Liam Adams with raping his daughter and the DPP may have been obliged to testify on his behalf at the trial and be quizzed by a barrister briefed and paid for by Barra McGrory’s PPS!

As I said, you couldn’t make it up!

The story is told in three succinct but telling paragraphs, 4.49 to 4.51 in John Larkin’s report.

I will try and summarise what he had to say thus and then reproduce those paragraphs below.

John Larkin, NI's Attorney-General

John Larkin, NI’s Attorney-General

Essentially, it all arises from the fact that in 2007 Gerry Adams sought advice from his lawyer Barra McGrory prior to going to the PSNI, which Sinn Fein had just recognised, to tell them of what he knew about his brother Liam’s sexual misconduct with his daughter Aine.

Gerry first heard, allegedly, about the allegations of abuse by his brother at a family conference in Buncrana, Co Donegal in 1987, attended by himself, Aine and Liam’s ex-wife Sarah. Aine told him, according to her own words, that Liam had raped her, or as she put it, he had, “put his thing inside her”.

Liam Adams’ lawyers raised this matter first on the grounds they had reason to suspect, “the credibility, reliability and truthfulness” of the statement that Gerry gave to the PSNI; or to put it another way, if what Gerry had told Barra in 2007 did not accord with what Gerry told the PSNI not long afterwards, then something was really wrong and Barra should be interviewed by the PSNI and then could be called by Liam’s legal team to rebut Gerry’s evidence for the prosecution! Whew!

Alternatively, if what Gerry told Barra was the same as what Gerry told the PSNI, then Barra could be called as a rebuttal witness by the prosecution, i.e. by Barra’s own PPS, if Gerry’s truthfulness was questioned by Liam’s counsel.

Either way Barra could have been a key witness in a criminal trial which his own PPS had instigated.

It all ended up with Barra making a statement to the PSNI, as Liam’s lawyers had suggested, which is passed on to his own PPS and then made available to Liam Adams’ lawyers. Barra refuses, however, to have a face-to-face with Liam’s lawyers, saying “….there was nothing which the DPP could usefully add to the statement which he had made to the police…..”

As things turned out, none of these possibilities came to pass. Barra was never called as a witness for one side or another. But the point is that he could have been called; and some, doubtless, think he should have been called. We don’t know why Barra never appeared in a witness box but there is little doubt that if he had, his stature as the DPP would never have been the same.

I think I once wrote that appointing Barra to the DPP’s post probably fell into the category of: “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Let me withdraw that. It was never a good idea. And he, of all people, should have known that.

Here are the relevant extracts from John Larkin’s report:

44.50a4.50b 4.51

Shocking Visualization Of World War II Deaths: Russians Suffered Most