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8 May 2003 Edition

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Second FRU agent named

BY LAURA FRIEL

Details of another FRU agent working high in the ranks of the UDA began to emerge this week. According to Henry McDonald of the Observer, a UDA commander based in Lisburn, Ned Greer, was operating as an FRU agent at the same time as Brian Nelson.

Like Nelson, Greer was supplied with detailed intelligence material by his FRU handlers that in turn was fed to the South Belfast UDA. According to McDonald, Greer ran a "terror cell" within the UDA, responsible for at least the killing of half a dozen Catholics in Lisburn.

The UDA unit also extended its murderous activities to within the 26 Counties. John McMichael brought Greer into the UDA in the 1980s but his role as an agent continued well into the 1990s. After McMichael's death in 1987, Greer became second in command within the Lisburn unit.

Greer is identified as a key organiser in the killing of Donegal Sinn Féin councillor Eddie Fullerton, who was shot dead at his home in May 1991. According to the report, the four-man murder team sailed across Lough Foyle in a dinghy and were taken to Fullerton's home on the back of a farm trailer.

Amongst the team was the UDA's South Belfast Brigadier, a close colleague of Greer and a Lisburn gravedigger, a known UDA gunman regarded as "a top assassin". Intelligence from the FRU and information from the locally recruited UDR helped the UDA target Pádraig Ó Seanacháin, who was shot dead as he travelled to work at Killen, Castlederg in August 1991.

In 1993, Greer was 'rescued' by his FRU handlers from a housing estate in Lisburn after he had been spotted driving into a heavily fortified British Army barracks on the outskirts of Lisburn and his cover as a FRU agent was blown.

Before his death, John McMichael was also working closely with another FRU agent. According to a UDA source, Brian Nelson regularly turned up at UDA Headquarters in Gawn Street on the Newtownards Road.

In the Gawn street HQ, McMichael had an office with a computer; at the time computers were rare. Nelson was the only person given access to McMichael's computer.

It has now emerged that two different FRU handlers were involved in three separate reconnaissance missions to the home of Pat Finucane. One experienced FRU officer accompanied Nelson on two car trips to the street where the Belfast defence lawyer and his family lived.

In a third trip, another FRU officer posing alongside Nelson as window cleaner offered their services to Finucane's neighbour in order to check out the rear of the house.

According to a source described as "close to the Stevens team", there are still hundreds of undercover agents, mainly within loyalist groups, in place. "Some terrorist units seem to have as many agents as members," said the source.

"If the police aren't careful, they will end up with agents practically running terrorist organisations, rather than informing on them, with the danger of perpetuating terrorism rather than putting a stop to it," said the source.

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that "almost all of the loyalist paramilitary activity over the last 30 years was largely secretly and carefully controlled and organised by British intelligence," said Tom McGurk of the Sunday Business Post.

According to McGurk, years ago a former British Intelligence officer, Colin Wallace, claimed "the sheer strategic requirements of containing two opposing underground forces would be impossible, and the only realistic military option was to infiltrate one in order that it could be used to target the other."

Meanwhile, another British FRU agent, known as 'Kevin Fulton', has threatened to identify another agent allegedly working within IRA and Sinn Féin and known only as 'Stakeknife'.

According to Neil Mackay of the Sunday Tribune, Fulton is threatening to expose Stakeknife because he claims the British MoD has failed to honour a promise of a relocation package after his cover was blown.

Stakeknife has been described as "the jewel in the crown" of British infiltration into the IRA and was sanctioned to carry out killings of other members of the British Crown forces and civilians in order to preserve his cover.

The media is linking Stakeknife to over 40 killings that include British soldiers, RUC members, civilians and republicans. A British Intelligence source is quoted as saying that Stakeknife's handlers knew he was killing security force personnel and civilians in order to keep his cover.

If his identity and activities were exposed, "it would be a public relations nuclear meltdown", said the source. Threatening to expose Stakeknife appears to have become common currency when dealing with the British authorities.

In a second threat, a North Belfast man whose son was killed by the UVF, Raymond McCord, claims his son's killing was carried out on the orders of a senior member of the UVF who is also a RUC/PSNI informer. The bereaved father says the failure to prosecute his son's killers has urged him to issue this threat.

Ambiguity at the heart of the Stevens' report was exposed again this week by the comments of a British Army spokesperson following the death of Brian Nelson, the British agent at the heart of the current collusion controversy.

Repeated attempts by victims and relatives of victims to establish the British Army status of Brian Nelson at the time of his death have been met with official stonewalling.

Responding to media requests for clarification, a British Army spokesperson claimed that Nelson was "unlikely to get a military funeral" and "did not know" if Nelson's family was entitled to his army pension. Repeated inquiries were finally curtailed when the British Army claimed they did not know if Brian Nelson was dead.

Nelson's sisters have complained that two weeks after the announcement of their brother's death in the media, they were still waiting for official notice.

Commenting on Nelson's arrest and subsequent conviction in the early 1990s, after which he was relocated and given a new identity by the British government, his sister Carole Creighton said at the time the British Army had "tried their best to get him out" and "lobbied to the very top".

Meanwhile, according to the Sunday Times, Gordon Kerr, the British Army Brigadier and former head of the FRU, also led a 'rogue' spying mission against Russia after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The whistle was blown by another former British intelligence officer in Germany, Squadron Leader Geoff Currums, after Kerr had asked him to process illegally taken pictures of Russian troops.

But far from being rewarded, after informing his superiors of Kerr's activities, the squadron leader found his career blighted and after unsubstantiated allegations of mental ill health, Currums was forced to resign.

Brice Dickson, the head of the Human Rights Commission, has urged Stevens to publish his full report. Of 3,000 pages, only 15 pages were presented for public scrutiny. In a letter, the commissioner reminded the Met chief that he had received guarantees from the Stevens' team that all aspects of the report that did not threaten British security would be published.
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