Monthly Archives: March 2017

Niall O’Dowd And The Myth Of Irish Slavery

Recently, I came across a fascinating document on line by an academic at the University of Limerick called Liam Hogan. In March 2016, in the run up to St Patrick’s Day, Hogan published an open letter to The Irish Examiner, Scientific American and IrishCentral, criticising the nonsense they have promoted which claims that huge numbers […]

via IrishCentral and Irish Slavery — cassidyslangscam

A Memory Of One Of Martin McGuinness’ Previous Visits To Derry’s Republican Plot

I understand that Martin McGuinness is to be buried today in the Republican plot at the City cemetery in Derry, which is fitting given that he spent most of his adult life as a member and leader of the IRA (even though he denied it).

There will be, of course, no paramilitary trappings, no IRA beret or glove, I presume and certainly no firing party. That thought reminded me of the photo below which includes Martin McGuinness, second from the left, I believe, firing a volley over the grave of Eamonn Lafferty.

Nineteen-year-old Lafferty was the first IRA member to be killed in Derry by the British Army during the Troubles and was shot on the edge of the Bogside during a gunbattle on August 18th, 1971, a couple of weeks after internment had been introduced.

There was a heavy security presence at his funeral which made the customary IRA manifestation impossible. A few days later McGuinness and three comrades staged this salute to Lafferty. The Derry Journal was present to capture the moment and featured the photo on its front page. (Correction: The salute happened in October, two months after Lafferty’s death)

Freddie Scappaticci on Martin McGuinness – Part 1

(Parts 2 and 3, including a full 30 minute recording of Scappaticci are also on this site)

This is part of the covert recording of Freddie Scappaticci, aka Steaknife, talking to producers from the Cook Report in 1993. The recording was made in a car parked in the grounds of the Culloden Hotel, outside Hollywood, Co Down. Makes for interesting listening.

A note on the codename ‘Steaknife’. The Force Research Unit source, known as ‘Martin Ingram’, who revealed Scappaticci’s role in the IRA was enjoined by a Ministry of Defence court injunction from publicising material concerning ‘Steaknife’. To get round the injunction he changed the name to ‘Stakeknife’ and most in the media went along with the fiction.

Enjoy the tape:

Freddie Scappaticci, Martin McGuinness and Frank Hegarty – Part 3

This tape is the full covertly, tape-recorded encounter between Freddie Scappaticci and the Cook Report producers. You can appreciate how, with Scap as a source, the IRA was an open book to British intelligence. He does make one error in this conversation, saying that the Army Council has five members rather than seven. Otherwise he spills the beans and names names. Danny Morrison, he said, is ‘a pen pusher’ with ‘no balls’. Danny? Seriously?!?!

Scappaticci And McGuinness – Part 2

In this tape you can hear Freddie Scappaticci phone the Cook Report to set up a meeting in the car park of the Culloden Hotel. The latter part of the recording includes the opening minutes of the meeting in which Scap confirms that Martin McGuinness is OC of Northern Command and a member of the Army Council.


Trumpgate: Some Questions About Craig Murray From Today’s House Intelligence Hearing

This is one of those stories where you have to join the dots to see the picture. The central character is the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray who was forced out of the diplomatic service because of his protests at the use of torture in that unfortunate Central Asian country.

He is also a friend of the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and by his own admission played a seemingly crucial role in ferrying the Democratic party’s emails to Assange.

Craig Murray – the unwitting ‘cut-out’ in the Trumpgate scandal?

By all accounts and appearances, Craig Murray is a decent man whose most grievous fault was a naive belief that his protests about the brutalities of Uzbekistan’s rulers might provoke a change of heart in the ranks of British intelligence about the value of torture as a source of reliable information.

The question that arises from yesterday’s intelligence hearing in Washington is very different but equally vexing; it is whether other ruthless people made Craig Murray an unwitting accomplice in the transfer of hacked emails taken from the Democratic Party and transferred to Wikileaks, a procedure that was presented to Murray as a leak from that party rather than a hack.

The evidence is far from categorical; as I say, more a case of dots which when joined together seem to make a picture.


First of all below is the relevant extract from the transcript of this morning’s hearing of the House Select Committee on Intelligence on the alleged  involvement of Russian state intelligence in the hacking of Democratic Party emails during the recent presidential election campaign.

Congressman Adam Schiff is questioning FBI Director James Comey and the transcript is taken from the Committee’s own video of today’s proceedings, beginning at 1:29:40 and ending at 1:31:42.

The questioning concerns the role played by Roger Stone, a Trump factotum, a longtime Republican party activist, an admirer of Richard Nixon and a political operator with an alleged penchant for a dirty tricks – what was called ‘rat-fucking’ in the Nixon era.

Richard Nixon was one of Stone’s heroes, so much so that he got the disgraced president’s face tattooed on his back.

FBI Director Comey was unwilling to answer all but once crucial question in the section dealing with Roger Stone.

Richard Nixon, tattooed on Roger Stone’s back

Schiff: Mr Comey, are you aware that Mr Stone played a role in the Trump campaign?

Comey: I’m not going to talk about any particular person here today, Mr Schiff.

Schiff: I’m going to continue to ask these questions because among other things I want to make sure that you are aware of these facts, whether you’re able to comment on them or not. Have you read press reports where Mr Stone proudly boasts about engaging in political dirty tricks?

Comey: I give you the same answer, sir.

Schiff: I mentioned before that Mr Stone was in direct communication with a creature from the Russian GRU, Guccifer 2.0 and that is something the intelligence assessment talked about, the role of Guccifer 2.0. Mr Stone, on August 17th, are you aware, received a communication from Guccifer 2.0 that said: ‘I’m pleased to say that you are great.Please tell me if I can help you anyhow. It would be a great pleasure to me’. Are you aware of that communication from essentially Russian GRU, through Guccifer 2.0 to Mr Stone?

Comey: I have to give you the same answer.

Schiff: Are you aware that Mr Stone also stated publicly that he was in direct communication with Julian Assange and Wikileaks?

Comey: Same answer.

Schiff: Are you aware that Mr Stone also claimed that he was in touch with an intermediary of Mr Assange?

Comey: Same answer.

Roger Stone, a factotum for Donald Trump

Schiff: This question I think you can answer. Do you know whether the Russian intelligence service helped directly with Wikileaks, or whether they too used an intermediary?

Comey: We assessed they used some sort of cut-out. They didn’t deal directly with Wikileaks in contrast to DC leaks to Guccifer 2.0.

Schiff: In early October are you aware that Mr Stone tweeted: ‘I have total confidence that my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon. Are you aware of that tweet?

Comey: I go back to my original answer.

Schiff: And are you aware that it was only days later that Wikileaks released the Podesta emails?

Comey: Same answer.

The crucial new piece of information from this part of yesterday’s hearing is the FBI belief that the Russians used a cut-out to get the Podesta emails to Wikileaks. There are several meanings of the term cut-out in the world of spies. The meaning in this case is the simple one: ‘a person or agency used as a pawn by  intelligence agencies.’


Then read this article from The Daily Mail’s website dated December 14th, 2016:


In September last year Craig Murray was refused entry to the United States, for reasons that were never explained. The story can be accessed here.

According to Adam Schiff’s questioning of James Comey in Congress yesterday, Craig Murray’s visa denial came a few weeks after Roger Stone was in communication with the alleged Russian hacker, Guccifer 2.0 and was offered Guccifer’s assistance, and a few weeks before Wikileaks began publication of the Podesta emails, an event predicted by Roger Stone. Inbetween those two events someone in the US government decided to bar Craig Murray from entering the country.

The ban was lifted within days when liberal groups who had invited Murray to the States to address a meeting protested and the State Department relented. Murray has not revealed whether it was during his subsequent trip that he had his tryst with the Democratic party ‘leaker’ in the Washington, DC park.

According to Comey, the Russians used a ‘cutout’ to get the emails to Wikileaks. Craig Murray believes the source he met in a Washington park was somehow connected to the Democratic party and that the emails he was given were thus a leak not a hack, a version of events he has not so far deviated from.

The question is a simple one: was Craig Murray the unwitting ‘cut out’, used callously by others, not least Russian intelligence, to get the Podesta emails to Wikileaks? Unless, of course, he made the whole thing up.

(Note: In the recent past I have twice emailed Craig Murray via his blog asking for an interview about his role in this affair. Neither email was answered.)

Declassified FBI Files On Noraid – Part Two (1977-78)

The first declassified FBI file on Noraid in the Nate Lavey cache, which I published here a few days ago, begins in June 1972 and ends in August 1973.

Almost the entire file is taken up with documents dealing with the FBI’s efforts, and those of its parent body, the Department of Justice, to show that Noraid was really a proxy of the Provisional IRA and that the group’s claim that it was primarily concerned with relieving the distress of the victims of violence in the North was bogus.

Noraid, or the Irish Northern Aid Committee (INAC), was established in April 1970, just a few months after the split in the IRA which created the Provisionals, but did not register under FARA until January 1971. Under FARA, the Foreign Agent Registration Act, groups like Noraid were obliged to reveal their true patron, or principal, and disclose financial donations and their source.

Noraid described its activity as ‘collecting good, used clothing for refugees burned or driven out of (their) homes’ and to publicise conditions ‘in the 6 Co. area of Northern Ireland’. Its foreign principal, it declared to the Justice Department, was a body called ‘the Northern Aid Committee’ (NAC), based in O’Donovan Road in north Dublin, whose officers were Joe Clarke and Des Ferguson in Dublin, Sean Keenan from Derry and Jimmy Steele from Belfast.

When Steele died he was replaced by Joe Cahill of Belfast. Keenan, Steele and Cahill were all well known IRA veterans who had each served prison time on behalf of the IRA several times.

Clarke and Ferguson were listed as Sponsors of INAC and Keenan and Cahill as Trustees; the initial officer board of INAC consisted of Michael Flannery, John Magowan and Jack McCarthy, men in their seventies who were IRA veterans of the 1919-1921 War of Independence.

Money was sent to the NAC and to An Cumann Cabrach which raised money for the families of IRA internees and sentenced prisoners. According to evidence given by Noraid to the FBI, money was raised by ‘concerts, dances, cocktail parties etc’.

The FBI investigation of INAC in these years followed growing pressure on the US government, publicly from the Irish government, more discreetly from the British, to close down Noraid because of the suspicion, echoed in a November 1972 speech in New York given by Desmond O’Malley, then Irish Justice Minister, that Noraid was helping to fund the IRA’s violence.

The FBI probe brought Noraid to the Supreme Court, where for a while Justice Thurgood Marshall suspended a federal court judgement ordering INAC to hand over its records to the FBI for inspection. Much of this first file in the Lavey cache is taken up by the report the FBI complied when eventually Noraid’s records were handed over.

A key finding of the FBI final report, which was based on records eventually handed over to the government, shows that between September 1st, 1971 to July 30, 1972 – an especially turbulent period in the Troubles encompassing internment and Bloody Sunday – Noraid sent $408,299 back to Ireland. In 2016 money that would be equivalent to nearly $2.5 million.

Not every Noraid branch or chapter was happy at the idea that their money might go to buy weapons for the Provisional IRA. For example a San Jose, Ca. chapter sent $700 to New York with the following message:

‘No monies are to be used to assist in violence’ along with a request that ‘these poor distressed families in the North (send) acknowledgement of receiving these monies’.

The letter concluded:

‘…many of our members need to be assured that we are not sending money for guns, they are strongly opposed to their monies being used in that manner.’

The file’s special value is that it contains a detailed breakdown of Noraid units across the United States in 1972, just a year or so after Noraid’s formation, and what comes across quite forcefully is that Noraid in those early days of the Northern Troubles was large and active coast-to-coast, and in many areas not usually associated with Irish-American militancy. This was surely indicative of the community’s angry mood post-internment and Bloody Sunday.

The FBI probe listed sixty-six chapters of Noraid in fifteen states: California had 9; Connecticut 3; Georgia 1; Illinois 3; Massachusetts 2; Michigan 1; Minnesota 1;, Missouri 1; New Jersey 5; New York 26; Ohio 2; Oregon 1; Pennsylvania 9; Washington 1 and Wisconsin 1.

The FBI investigation concluded that Noraid was indeed a front for the IRA:

‘Every aspect of the INAC operation seems to make it apparent that it and its principal (NAC) are supporters of the Provisional wing of the IRA’.

And the FBI added:

‘It would seem that if it were to be ascertained that the official position of Britain and Ireland is as enunciated by Irish Minister of Justice, Desmond O’Malley and if the NAC there is branded as an IRA front an approach to interdicting the flow of funds could be made by invalidating the registration of INAC and invoking the neutrality laws of the United States.’

Irish Northern Aid stood on the brink of suppression but somehow the hand of the US government was stayed. Why and how are questions that must be answered elsewhere.

♦                                ♦                              ♦                             ♦                           ♦

Part Two of these FBI files (see below) opens in July 1978 and ends in November 1980 and the documents tell the story of the US government’s successful legal effort to force Noraid to register as an agent of the IRA under FARA.

While the FBI’s 1972 probe of Noraid had uncovered sufficient evidence to link the group to the IRA in Ireland and to effectively close it down, this had not happened.

Whether domestic American politics had dictated this decision, which would have been seen in Irish-America as taking Britain’s side in the Northern conflict, or the FBI had expressed a preference for keeping Noraid public and easier to surveil, the result was that Noraid survived. But it had not disappeared from the law agency’s radar.

This second FBI action against Noraid actually began in April 1977 in the early days of the Jimmy Carter administration, presumably at the urging of the outgoing Coalition government in Dublin, whose Fine Gael and Irish Labour Party leaders were virulently opposed to the Provos and had repeatedly drawn critical attention to the IRA’s support in Irish-America.

Jack Lynch’s Fianna Fail replaced the coalition in a general election in the summer of 1977 (becoming, incidentally, the last single party government in Ireland) but his administration soon showed that it would be no less hostile to the IRA.

Within a year Lynch had appointed Sean Donlon, a high-flying diplomat, Ireland’s ambassador to the US and Donlon made undermining Irish-American backing for the IRA, and encouraging support for the SDLP, the hallmark of his time in Washington. Donlon stayed in his post for over twelve years, resisting an effort by Charles Haughey to sack him for his heretical politics.

Although the British were no less hostile to the IRA’s fund-raising and political activity in the USA, both governments felt it would be counter productive for the British to take the lead in opposing the IRA in Irish-America. That role thus became almost an exclusively Irish government preserve.

Noraid’s response to the FBI/DoJ assault was to allege that the action was illegal since the charge that it was an IRA front was based on information gathered by unlawful, or ‘warrant-less’ surveillance of Noraid and its leaders, Michael Flannery, Matthew Higgins, John McGowan and four other individuals whose names are redacted in the documents.

In response, the FBI/DoJ denied that any illegal surveillance had been used and claimed that only four methods were employed to collect intelligence about Noraid, an assertion that was accepted by the court.

These were: ‘Physical surveillance of persons or places’; ‘attendance by an informant at a public meeting or gathering’; ‘attendance by an informant at a non-public meeting or gathering’; ‘interviews with or information requests upon employers, co-employees, colleges, churches, banks, neighbors etc’ and finally, ‘notation of car numbers in the vicinity of meetings or gatherings’.

That the FBI had recruited ‘informants’ inside Noraid’s ranks, and that some of these agents were active as soon as a year after the group’s formation, is more than evident in the contents of a fascinating FBI report of a Manhattan, New York, Noraid branch meeting held in August 1972 which somehow slipped through the redaction net.

(Part of the FBI report on the meeting dealt with the so-called Dallas Five, aka the Fort Worth Five, who were New Yorkers indicted in Texas on charges that they smuggled Armalite rifles to the IRA. Texas was chosen for proceedings because it had a negligible Irish population. The story of the Dallas Five, who were jailed for contempt when they refused to answer questions from a Fort Worth Grand Jury, was covered extensively in this New York Times report.)

Noraid’s membership and support had flowered in the early years of the Troubles but in the process it is clear that the FBI had managed to penetrate its ranks.

Here it is in full:

And here is the full FBI file on this episode, or at least the documents disclosed under FOIA. Enjoy: