RUC trap exposed
A West Belfast man has revealed an RUC attempt to recruit him as an informer by offering him £25,000. The plan to entrap the man was exposed on Wednesday at a press conference called by Sinn Féin. The elaborate plot entailed the RUC Special Branch placing advertisements for joiners in the West Belfast newspaper Andersonstown News.
When the man, 42 year old Joe Malocco, went along for a job interview the RUC men who said they ``were representing the British government'' offered him a bribe of £25,000.
``They said they wanted me to work for them to help secure the peace process'', said Malocco at a press conference in Sinn Féin's Falls Road offices on 26 July.
Speaking at the press conference Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly accused the British government of ``failing to tackle the securocrats who are firmly in control and are doing everything they can to wreck the peace process''.
This latest revelation comes in a week when British Secretary of State Peter Mandelson has stated that the British government would not be abolishing the notorious juryless Diplock Courts. And his predecessor Mo Mowlam confirmed that she approved the bugging of a car used by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness during the negotiations. All this shows, as Gerry Kelly pointed out, that British militarists still exercise a huge influence on British government policy and are doing their best to thwart the equality and human rights agenda of the Good Friday Agreement.
According to the man at the centre of the latest revelation about the RUC, Joe Malocco, the bogus advertisement offering excellent rates of pay for experienced joiners had been running in the Andersonstown News for months but he was only attracted to it when he received a copy of the ad in the post with a hand written note saying: ``You may be interested in this''.
Malocco phoned the number given which was a mobile that was linked directly to an answering machine. He left a contact number after which a woman contacted him and offered him an interview on 7 July.
At the interview in the Butler Suite of the Forte Crest hotel in Dunmurry, outside Belfast, a man interviewed Malocco and asked him about his previous experience. ``It was a very professional set-up'' says Mallocco.
The interviewer told Malocco that his firm was offering £14.50p per hour but experienced joiners could negotiate better rates, ``I've six children'', said Malocco, ``when I heard this I thought I'd won the Lotto''.
When Malocco said he was willing to take the job offered the man left to get his boss who was introduced as `Dan'. Dan told Malocco that the firm would offer, ``big bonuses for people of your calibre'' and took £200 from his pocket which he handed across saying, ``put that in your pocket''.
It was then that Malocco realised that something was wrong and asked `Dan' who he was.
Dan said they represented the British government and stated ``We know all about you''.
At this Malocco tried to leave but at the door of the room he heard a click. ``I thought it was a gun and that I was going to be shot'', but it turned out that `Dan' had opened a briefcase and declared, ``there is £25,000 in it for you''.
Malocco left the room and went outside to await the taxi he had ordered and as he stood outside the hotel he saw the men who `interviewed' him and two other men leave carrying bags of the type used to carry video cameras and tape recorders.
According to Malocco the men who spoke to him both had English accents.
``Over the past ten years I have received constant harassment from the RUC'', said Malocco, ``I have been unemployed for years because they drove me out of work. I have worked as a taxi driver and they forced me off the road with constant harassment. I worked in White's bakery on the Lisburn Road and they told me they would set me up for loyalists. I left that job soon after I was followed to and from work one night''. He believes this was an effort by the RUC to make him vulnerable to offers of recruitment and confirms that tentative approaches were made at the time.
Speaking to An Phoblacht Mairtín O'Muilleoir of the Andersonstown News said they were ``consulting with our solicitors with a view to suing the Ministry of Defence''.
Meanwhile a North Belfast man who also attended the press conference spoke of his fears after the RUC told him three weeks ago that he was on a ``Loyalist death list''.
The man said the RUC told him to take the threat seriously but refused to tell him where the threat was coming from.
Eamon McKenna, a father of five said this was the second time the RUC had warned him of a threat to his life in the year.