Kenova investigation avoids questions about senior figures

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The police investigation known as ‘Operation Kenova’ is not interested in getting to the truth about Stakeknife or other British agents within the Provisional IRA, according to an intelligence veteran who says his evidence has been ignored.

In an interview published this week, the RAF veteran alleges the supposedly independent investigation into murders committed by ‘Stakeknife’ is reluctant to question the most senior British commanders who were in charge of the double agent.

Geoff Currums, a military surveillance specialist, said that British detectives “weren’t interested” in hearing his evidence about the collusion of senior British army officers in murders in Ireland. He decided to speak out after giving two interviews to police officers from ‘Operation Kenova’, led by Jon Boutcher (pictured), the former chief of Bedfordshire police.

‘Operation Kenova’ is supposed to be investigating the activities of the British army’s most senior spy inside the Provisional IRA. That is widely believed to have been Freddie Scappaticci, the head of the IRA’s Internal Security Unit. Scappaticci has denied being the agent who carried out killings on behalf of the British Army while working undercover at the heart of the IRA.

Stakeknife was handled by MI5’s murderous ‘Force Research Unit’ (FRU). Currums, who knew several FRU members, said Kenova detectives “weren’t interested” in hearing his evidence about who ultimately was in charge of the operation.

“They don’t want to go there,” Currums said. “I told them exactly who was in charge. They weren’t interested. They were concerned about the murders that Stakeknife, Freddie Scappaticci, had created. They were not looking for the intelligence officers who managed him.

“I was astonished at their lack of knowledge, and lack of interest, in who managed Stakeknife and other informants, and who authorised it – how high up it went.”

In June 2020 Boutcher appeared to be getting ready to wind down his investigation when he told MPs that he expected any prosecutions “to be very much the exception”.

According to Currums, the Kenova detectives held to the belief that Gordon Kerr, the head of the FRU, was directly responsible for Stakeknife.

“They wanted to know about Kerr, because they were convinced that he ran Stakeknife, which he didn’t... the detectives knew nothing, absolutely nothing, about the inner workings of the army intelligence service. I made clear who ran Stakeknife in the intelligence corps, and that was Colonel Colin Parr.

“He ran all of that, and he was senior to Gordon Kerr. Colin Parr was the key man for army intelligence in Northern Ireland.”

As head of army intelligence, Parr had close links to Stakeknife and shared this information directly with the most senior British commander in Ireland, General Sir John Wilsey.

Wilsey confirmed that in the early 1990s, following a request from Parr, he had personally reassured Stakeknife about “the value of his work” to the Crown. He described Stakeknife as “our best agent… a golden egg, the one thing that was terribly terribly important to the [British] Army… We were terribly cagey about Fred [Scappaticci]… he was our most valuable asset.”

Currums added that he believes that photographic records are key to understanding the extent of collusion by the Crown Forces. He told Kenova detectives that thousands of photographs from official surveillance operations should be held by the PSNI police, the successor to the RUC.

“If it’s destroyed then there has to be a record of its destruction. And that would apply equally to anything given to the FRU by RUC Special Branch and vice-versa.”

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