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12 June 2003 Edition

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Sinister break-in

Covert British Intelligence operatives illegally entered the home of a leading member of Sinn Féin and took detailed notes and sketches of doors and locks of the house in Derry.

Raymond McCartney, a former hunger striker and Sinn Féin Assembly candidate, became aware of the break-in when he and his family returned home after being away at the weekend.

"When I returned home on Sunday night I noticed a notebook lying in the kitchen," said McCartney. "I examined the notebook and found that it contained sketches and precise measurements of the keys of my doors."

The nature of the notebook has led McCartney to conclude that members of British Military Intelligence, engaged in a covert operation, illegally entered his home to scrutinise the family's security arrangements.

"I believe that this burglary was carried out by members of British Intelligence, who have increased their surveillance of me since I was nominated to stand as a candidate in the election," said McCartney.

The Derry politician said he had carried out a detailed examination of his home but had found no further evidence of surveillance equipment.

"Given the history of collusion between British Intelligence and Special Branch with unionist death squads, my family now believe that the security of our home has now been breached and that this information will be handed over to unionist paramilitaries," said McCartney.

Meanwhile, in a separate but related incident, a local criminal came forward to Sinn Féin and handed in a sheet of paper containing the names, addresses and car registration numbers of 24 people from Derry.

The man told Sinn Féin that he had taken the list of names from a car thief. According to the criminal, the car thief was given the list from a Special Branch member who told him that if he was going to steal cars, then he should steal them from the people on the list.

Raymond McCartney's details were on the list supplied by the Special Branch man.


Scappaticci in court




Freddie Scappaticci, the West Belfast man named by the media as the British agent known as 'Stakeknife', has launched legal action to clear his name.

Scappaticci has strenuously denied the allegations of newspapers, which have claimed that that he was recruited by British Military Intelligence to infiltrate the IRA.

To date, the British government has refused to comment on the allegation, insisting that it never comments publicly on intelligence matters.

A lawyer acting for Scappaticci at Belfast High Court last Friday sought to press ahead with a judicial review application to force the NIO Security Minister Jane Kennedy to confirm or deny the allegation.

Barrister Michael Lavery told the court that the NIO Minister's refusal to comment amounted to a failure to protect his client's life, one of the cornerstones of European human rights legislation.

The barrister rejected a proposal by the British government's legal team that Freddie Scappaticci should seek disclosure by mounting an appeal under the Data Protection Act.

"Mr Scappaticci is seeking a simple statement that he wasn't Stakeknife," said Lavery, "he is well aware of the risk that the [British] government may give the wrong answer."

The barrister insisted that no threat to British national security was involved in such a declaration. Presiding Judge Kerr delayed making a ruling on the application for a week.
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