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1 December 2015 Edition

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Westminster cover-up prevents proper scrutiny of its ‘Dirty War’

British Military Intelligence agent Brian Nelson’s handwritten journal exposes British Army plan to bomb South and murder Sinn Féin leaders

• Top British Army agent Brian Nelson selected who and what would be targets for UDA death squads

Twelve years after former London Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens sent 25 names (including senior Intelligence personnel) to the Director of Public Prosecutions, not one has been prosecuted

IT IS IRONIC that the revelations involving such an important British agent as Brian Nelson should come in a Sunday newspaper the weekend that the British Government conclusively reneged on the commitments arrived at during last year’s Stormont House talks when the architecture for the disclosure of information for the families of people killed in the conflict was agreed.

Pulling the shutters down on legacy issues and truth recovery by claiming ‘national security’ concerns and the right to censor information before giving it to the families of the dead means that the British Government will decide what will be revealed and what will likely never see the light of day. 

The British Government’s actions are a cover-up that prevents proper scrutiny of its ‘Dirty War’. 

BRITISH MILITARY INTELLIGENCE chiefs controlling notorious Ulster Defence Association/Ulster Freedom Fighters agent Brian Nelson encouraged him to carry out bombing raids in the 26 Counties and sanctioned the assassination of at least eight people in the North with members of all branches of the crown’s state forces – British Army, Ulster Defence Regiment and Royal Ulster Constabulary – all involved in targeting people for murder.

Details of Nelson’s activities as a UDA intelligence officer operating under the control of the British Army’s secretive and elite counter-insurgency Force Research Unit (FRU) were revealed on 15 November in a Sunday newspaper reporting access to Nelson’s own handwritten journals.

Nelson’s dossier is said to contain details of meetings with his handlers – senior and powerful British Army officers – when he outlined plans to kill leading Sinn Féin figures, including Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and Alex Maskey. His controllers’ only concern was for Nelson’s personal security as they didn’t want his usefulness compromised.

Both Adams and Maskey were shot in separate attacks carried out by UDA death squads. In a further attack on Maskey’s home, in June 1993, Sinn Féin activist Alan Lundy was shot dead as he carried out security repairs.


• Gerry Adams TD, Martin McGuinness MLA and Alex Maskey MLA

Detailing the genesis of the plot to carry out an economic sabotage bombing campaign in the South, the dossier maintains that after a routine debriefing with one of his handlers (codenamed “Mags”), in which he discussed bugging Sinn Féin offices, “the Boss” came along and suggested to Nelson that the UDA should think about an economic campaign across the Border.

The Whiddy Island oil terminal in Cork was mooted as a possible target.

The rationale for the campaign, according to Nelson’s diary, was that “it would put an enormous strain upon an already troubled economy and would cause the Éire Government to have a rethink on their extradition policy”.

Reacting to the disclosure that Nelson was encouraged by British Army special operations officers to bomb economic targets in the South, Sinn Féin’s Justice spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD challenged to Taoiseach Enda Kenny to demand “full disclosure” from the British Government.

“The revelations exposing a British Military Intelligence plan for a bombing campaign in the South points up the necessity for the Dublin Government to hold the British Government to account.”


Victims: Alan Lundy and Jack Kielty

In Belfast, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly MLA demanded to know why not one of the 25 people (including senior Intelligence personnel named in files sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions by former London Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens) has been prosecuted.

Stevens investigated the Pat Finucane assassination by the UDA and collusion between the British Army and RUC with Nelson. He sent files to the DPP in 2003 yet, says Gerry Kelly, “12 years later, despite mounting evidence of collusion between Military Intelligence and unionist death squads, there has been no progress made in prosecuting those at the heart of this”.

As well as Pat Finucane, a number of other nationalists were killed by the UDA operating on Nelson’s intelligence, including County Down businessman Jack Kielty, father of comedian and TV presenter Patrick Kielty. The agent’s diary says that the UDA killers, one of whom was Ken Barrett (also one of the gunmen involved in the Finucane shooting) admitted that Kielty was “innocent”. It is believed that Kielty was shot dead because he refused to hand over cash to UDA racketeers.


• The family of IRA Volunteer  Martin ‘Doco’ Doherty, shot dead by the UVF in 1994 as he prevented a bomb attack on a packed Widow Scallan’s pub in Dublin, is suing the PSNI Chief Constable over collusion between loyalists and the RUC.

The family say the Police Ombudsman in the North identified collusion between the UVF and RUC Special Branch and the attack could have been prevented if the RUC had passed on information it had to the Garda.


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