Republican News · Thursday 24 Novemeber 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Colonel `J' exposed

This is the British Army officer at the centre of the collusion controversy in the North of Ireland. It was under the command of Brigadier Gordon Kerr, formally known only as Colonel `J', that one of the British Army's most covert units, the Force Reaction Unit, colluded with loyalist death squads in the killing of Irish nationalists and republicans.

Gordon Kerr, from Aberdeen and a former Gordon Highlander, was in charge of the FRU from 1987 to 1991. Now in his early 50s, Kerr was a graduate and career officer who moved into the Intelligence Corps. As a member of the SAS-run 14th Intelligence, a unit created by the FRU, Kerr first honed his trade in counter insurgency. Between 1985 to 1986, Kerr was a senior instructor with the Special Intelligence wing.

As commander of the FRU, Kerr not only knew men under his command were actively colluding with loyalist gunmen in the killing of Six County citizens, he also sanctioned FRU operatives crossing the border on illegal reconnassance missions in the south of Ireland.

Kerr's FRU is at the centre of an inquiry by the Stevens team investigating whether the FRU were colluding with loyalists as part of a state-sanctioned murder campaign. A covert unit specialising in breaking and entering attempted to destroy an earlier investigation by the Stevens team. Offices used during the investigation were set on fire and vital evidence destroyed in a desperate attempt to protect one the FRU's key agents, Brian Nelson.

The killing of Belfast human rights lawyer Pat Finucane was planned by Brian Nelson who, in his role as UDA intelligence officer, selected targets and provided key information to aid loyalist gunmen carry out murderous attacks. At least two other Scots FRU soldiers and a Scottish RUC officer were involved in running Brian Nelson.

Nelson is currently living in Germany in hiding.

The FRU's activities were run under Kerr's immediate charge but there was also an unbroken chain of command running from handlers through to the British Army's top brass in the Six Counties, to MoD Chiefs of Staff, the NIO Secretary of State to the British Prime Minister.

At the height of the FRU-inspired campaign of killings, General John Waters was the GOC in the North of Ireland, George Younger was the British Secretary for Defence, Tom King was Under Secretary for Defence and Margaret Thatcher was the British Prime Minister.

Information about Kerr and the FRU appeared in Scottish newspapers last weekend. The details emerged just days after a former FRU soldier, Philip Campbell Smith, was charged in connection with intimidating another former FRU operative, known as Martin Ingram, who is currently co operating with the Stevens inquiry.

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