Media frenzy blasted as Belfast man denies allegations
Republicans have refused to accept stories inspired by British agents
in the media over the weekend identifying a west Belfast man as a
senior British informer in the IRA, known as 'Steak-knife'.
Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams has said he accepts a statement by Alfredo
'Freddie' Scapatticci that he was not a spy for the British forces, and
that people should be judged to be innocent until proven guilty.
Unlike his accusers, Mr Scapatticci has come forward to speak to the
media in public and has denied all allegations against him.
There is growing suspicion that the story was planted to distract from
the British government's cancellation of elections in the North of
Ireland. After a blizzard of contradictory rumours and unsupported
allegations, the actions of the mainstream media has now been strongly
Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly on Wednesday evening said that the media had
been manipulated by faceless people intent upon damaging the political
process. "What I am arguing for is that files need to be opened on
those faceless and nameless people," he said.
"All I know is that the people who made the accusations certainly
an agenda in doing so."
Earlier, Freddie Scapatticci spoke to journalists Brian Rowan and Anne
Cadwallader in the Falls Road office of his solicitor, Michael
Flanigan. In a statement, Flanigan said his client had not been in
hiding, had not left the Six Counties and would be issuing defamation
proceedings. He had been forced to leave his home on Sunday morning
"solely because of the media onslaught on his character". The
added that the allegations had been published with no regard for his
client's position or the harm it could cause to him or his family.
"The past three days have been very traumatic for Mr Scapatticci
his family," said Flanigan. "He now intends to resume his private
Speaking after his solicitor's statement, Scapatticci said:
"I am sitting here today with my solicitor and I am telling you I
not guilty of any of these allegations.
"I have not left Northern Ireland since I was challenged by reporters
on Saturday night.
"Nobody has had the decency to ask me if any of these allegations
true and why the police had not come to question me about these
Responding to questions, Scapatticci said he did not know why the
allegations had been made. He said he was not an active member of the
republican movement. "I was involved in the republican movement 13
years ago but I have had no involvement this past 13 years," he said.
Commenting afterwards, Sinn Fein representative Gerry Kelly said:
"Last weekend, British Intelligence comprehensively briefed the British
and Irish media. Faceless and nameless securocrats in British
Intelligence made a raft of serious but unsubstantiated allegations
against Freddie Scapatticci.
"This storm of accusations and allegations against Freddie Scapatticci
has been accepted and repeated as fact by a large section of the media
without question, without criticism. Mr Scapatticci has denied the
allegations in categoric terms. These allegations were made by the same
* killed Pat Finucane;
* ran Brian Nelson and used him and other agents to control and direct
loyalist death squads against republicans, nationalists and Catholics;
* continue to control and direct the unionist paramilitaries;
* continue to target and gather intelligence, not just on Sinn Fein,
but also on their own government;
* at every turn of the peace process maliciously leak and brief
misinformation to create crises and to bolster anti-Agreement elements.
"Even before these recent events, there was a clear need for full
disclosure of the activities of these faceless and unaccountable
agencies. That case is now overwhelming. The files must be opened up.
There must be full disclosure."
'DIRTY WAR' CONTINUES
Meanwhile, British 'spooks' appear more active than ever. A group of
men were found spying on Sinn Fein's headquarters from a building
overlooking party offices on the Falls Road in west Belfast, it has
Several men were found hiding in the loft of the library building when
it was being examined for a suspected insect infestation on Wednesday
night. Four men were discovered, one of whom spoke with an English
accent. Without any explanation as to what they were doing there, the
men left the building and got into a waiting car.
Sinn Fein councillor Fra McCann said it would not be the first time
that the loft had been used for spying.
He said: "In and around that area, over a long period of time, there
have been many recorded incidents of British intelligence using houses,
buildings and properties as spy posts on the local community.
"In people's minds this was probably a planned, calculated operation."
In other news, a Belfast businessman has revealed that PSNI police
attempted to recruit him as an informer after raiding his premises.
The west Belfast man, who did not want to be named, said that the
approach was made last Friday by two detectives who told him that he
had only a "short time left" to consider forming a "long-term
relationship" with the British security forces.
He said it happened after he had voluntarily gone to a police station
in east Belfast to confirm if invoices seized from his accountant's
office belonged to him.
"I arrived there at about 7.30pm and met the detective who had a
holding the invoices. I looked at them and told him they were mine.
"He took some notes and then said there were two other people who
wanted to see me."
The detective left the room and two other men, one with an English
accent and one with a northern Irish accent, entered and introduced
themselves as Tim and Steve, he claimed.
"The only thing they told me about themselves was their names,"
"Steve, who had the Irish accent, said - 'We know everything about
private life, your business life and your future business plans'.
"'We know that you are not interested in money but we have the
resources and we could be of help to you in many ways.'
"When he said all that I started getting frightened and looked down
the table, not at them.
"Tim then told me - 'I can tell you now you are going for a custodial
"This really worried me because I had cooperated with the police
throughout and had not even been cautioned or charged with anything."
He claims Tim continued: "I know you are not going to talk to us
know you are listening. What we talking about here is a long-term
relationship. You have a short time left to consider this."
Since then, the man said he has had no further contact with police and
feels "frightened and disillusioned".
"There's a difference between trying to recruit someone to be an
informer by putting pressure on them and them volunteering to do it,
like Steak-knife is supposed to have done," he said.
"People who do that sort of thing end up with a bullet and I want
part of that.
"I support the political proc-ess and the Good Friday Agree-ment
per cent and we've got policing boards and so on, but I honestly
thought this sort of activity was a thing of the past.
"When those who make the law break the law there is no law."