Put yourself in the policing shoes of Chief Constable George Hamilton.

Posted By: November 25, 2015

“The case Congress cannot ignore: Stakeknife —The British Government’s paid assassin and executioner.

 Irish-Americans demand that Congress takes action on this outrageous case of State-sponsored terrorism.”

— Fr. Sean Mc Manus, Irish National Caucus.
Stakeknife – a colossal Scandal

Ulster TV. Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Belfast man Scappaticci was named as agent Stakeknife in 2003 - an allegation he has always denied.
Belfast man Scappaticci was named as agent Stakeknife in 2003 – an allegation he has always denied. ©Presseye

Post by Brian Rowan @BrianPJRowan, Belfast

Since his promotion to the top post within the PSNI, he has been trying to move the past out of today’s policing.

Now, he is left with the fallout of yet another failed political negotiation and the investigative challenges of getting to the truth of the ‘Stakeknife’ scandal.

This is precisely one of the national security nightmares that the Government tried to close down in the draft legislation it presented to the negotiations – legislation that would create the new Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) and Independent Commission for Information Retrieval (ICIR) but within very strict disclosure parameters.

The label of “fresh start” applied to last week’s political agreement does not stretch to legacy issues. Here again there was a false start – yet another false start, leaving the mess and the poison of the past in the policing lap.

In October the Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory requested investigations into Stakeknife; not just the activities of the Army’s agent inside the IRA but what was known across the intelligence agencies – military, MI5 and Special Branch. 

This scandal is when the dirty war becomes the filthy war.

Stakeknife operated inside the IRA’s internal security department; the department responsible for the culling of agents; finding them, interrogating them and presenting them for execution.

The bodies were dumped at road sides and on country lanes.

“It’s colossal,” was one description of the investigation, an investigation into 20-plus killings with an expectation that figure could double.

And, yet in terms of an unanswered past, it is but part of a picture.

The Chief Constable will have to explore funding for the investigation and then build a team of detectives from outside Northern Ireland.

All of this will take time. Policing has been left with the past.

As political trumpets were sounded to herald last week’s agreement, this fact – policing left with the past – represents another failure.

Will an investigation get to the truth of Stakeknife? Not all of it.

Will policing deliver all the answers on the past? The answer is no.

Is the past just about national security and disclosure? Again, the answer is no.

Do we know what the IRA and the loyalist organisations will contribute to a process on the past? The answer is no.

All of this was left behind in the so-called fresh start.

More than a decade ago, republicans and others couldn’t get Freeddie Scappaticci out of Belfast quick enough.

He left denying he was Stakeknife, but that denial was dismissed by others, including those in positions to know.

Now the scandal is back in the headlines; with policing, not politics, left with the mess.