Daithi O’Donnabhain looks over the recent arrest of British Army spy in the Provisional IRA, Freddie Scappaticci aka Stakeknife. 

On Wednesday 5th December, the British Army’s top informer within the Provisional IRA, Freddie Scappaticci (Codename Stakeknife), pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing extreme pornography contrary to Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. The charges relate to the period between November 2015 to January 2018. He was sentenced to 3 months in custody, suspended for 12 months.

Out of the 329 extreme pornographic images found on Scapaticci’s computer, none involved children but did include bestiality. This allegedly represented a fall from grace for the British Army’s so called “Golden Egg” according to the judge, who in contravention of all the evidence, saw a prior 50 years of good character in the defendant. Incidentally, given the bestiality angle to some his fap collection, it appears the “Golden Egg” moniker foreshadowed something sinister, given animal cavities are indeed where he dreams to lodge.

It is worth noting that his predilections in this area appear to have been known for a while (1). It is alleged he was caught spying through cracks into a women’s changing room at a venue that was hosting a PIRA Belfast Brigade meeting. This should have raised alarm bells for his superiors in PIRA, given evidence of sexual ‘misdemeanours’ were often sought by the security services to identify those more susceptible to becoming informers.

A full list of section 63 is given below. One of the worrying classes of extreme image are those pertaining to violence. Stakeknife was ‘torturer in chief’ for the PIRA security department, known colloquially as the Nutting Squad, and amongst other duties was tasked with finding informers. In this role he had free reign to inflict extreme violence on those he was interrogating, And once a confession was obtained, the Army Council (PIRA) gave the sentence of death. In this way the killing of eighteen people was directly linked to him, although this seems somewhat of an underestimate too given his longevity in the role, and the 70 or so killings carried out by this department.

Not all of Scapaticci’s victims were ‘guilty’ of informing, and he used the role's lack of oversight to obscure any evidence of the security services/military penetration of PIRA that could implicate him. Were any of these poor wretches left alone with him, either alive or dead? Did Scap get a sexual thrill from what he was doing in these interrogations. And so, was creating his disgusting library of 329 images of human debasement evidence of him trying to access his glory days vicariously?

To do cruel things others, most need to frame their actions within ideological expedience and/or ‘dehumanising’ their victims. Scap would have had none of that psychological protection with those he knew were innocent or were previously friends and neighbours of his (Anthony McKeirnan, Vincent Robinson), so was he instead fuelled by a need for sexual gratification that allowed him to power through trauma inducing scenarios?

63 Possession of extreme pornographic images (2)

(1) It is an offence for a person to be in possession of an extreme pornographic image.

(2) An “extreme pornographic imageis an image which is both :

(a)pornographic, and

(b)an extreme image.

(3) An image is “pornographicif it is of such a nature that it must reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal.

(4) Where (as found in the person's possession) an image forms part of a series of images, the question whether the image is of such a nature as is mentioned in subsection (3) is to be determined by reference to

(a) the image itself, and

(b)(if the series of images is such as to be capable of providing a context for the image) the context in which it occurs in the series of images.

(5) So, for example, where

(a) an image forms an integral part of a narrative constituted by a series of images, and

(b) having regard to those images as a whole, they are not of such a nature that they must reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal,

the image may, by virtue of being part of that narrative, be found not to be pornographic, even though it might have been found to be pornographic if taken by itself.

[F1(5A) In relation to possession of an image in England and Wales, an “extreme image” is an image which—

(a) falls within subsection (7) or (7A), and

(b) is grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character.]

(6)[F2 In relation to possession of an image in Northern Ireland, an] “extreme image” is an image which

(a)falls within subsection (7) [F3 or (7A)] , and

(b)is grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character.

(7) An image falls within this subsection if it portrays, in an explicit and realistic way, any of the following

(a) an act which threatens a person's life,

(b) an act which results, or is likely to result, in serious injury to a person's anus, breasts or genitals,

(c) an act which involves sexual interference with a human corpse, or

(d) a person performing an act of intercourse or oral sex with an animal (whether dead or alive),

and a reasonable person looking at the image would think that any such person or animal was real.

[F4(7A )An image falls within this subsection if it portrays, in an explicit and realistic way, either of the following

(a) an act which involves the non-consensual penetration of a person's vagina, anus or mouth by another with the other person's penis, or

(b) an act which involves the non-consensual sexual penetration of a person's vagina or anus by another with a part of the other person's body or anything else,

and a reasonable person looking at the image would think that the persons were real.

(7B) For the purposes of subsection (7A)

(a) penetration is a continuing act from entry to withdrawal;

(b) “vagina” includes vulva.]

(8) In this section “image” means

(a) a moving or still image (produced by any means); or

(b)data (stored by any means) which is capable of conversion into an image within paragraph (a).

(9) In this section references to a part of the body include references to a part surgically constructed (in particular through gender reassignment surgery).

(10) Proceedings for an offence under this section may not be instituted

(a) in England and Wales, except by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions; or

(b) in Northern Ireland, except by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland.


Daithi O’Donnabhain describes himself as "a regular sh*tposter on TPQ."

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

16 comments to ''Fapaticci"

  1. Thanks for juggling this one AM.

    I’m wondering whether his handlers could of arranged for this case to go away but chose not to? Despite the light hearted tone of the article , Scaps story represents a mire so dark perhaps Tom Barry couldn’t of imagined possible.
    It’s said he was protected from much scrutiny by the Provo leadership who thought his actions so extreme the British could not possibly risk association if they ever came to light. Now we know how far into the mire the British will go, we can reasonably conclude the Irish are not designed to survive in Scaps Lair.

  2. I.e so following them into the mire is no longer the laudable thing it once was.

  3. DaithiD - is there any innocent explanation for the British charging him?

    They have known about his predilections from Belfast. It was reported to them by one of his victims. They may have used that to turn him as the walk in story never added up.

    So - to me the plausible explanation lies in their calculations. They either want him to top himself before Kenova concludes on the Stalinist basis of no man no problem; they want to so discredit him so that his evidence against those the British want to protect will be called into question.

  4. AM, that recent BBC doc (by Donal McIntyre I think) suggested he was turned over tax irregularities with his builders business. Then there was the previously assumed walk in story that centred on him getting a beating by senior Provo and turning tout in revenge. But for the State Forces to pass on the potential leverage over sexual deviance for those seems less than plausible. To find other potential touts still hidden, We might then ask, whom else in a leadership role did rumours of sexual deviance circulate around?

  5. Daithi,

    Toto Riina was just evil and perverted as Scap. Antonino Calderone an infortmant in Italy , described Riina as being "unbelievably ignorant, but he had an intuition and intelligence and was difficult to fathom ... very hard to predict". Some people have noted the same about Scap….

    Eilis O'Hanlon recently wrote in the Belfast Telegraph a piece titled Terrorism has always provided the perfect cover for sociopaths like Freddie Scappaticci to perpetrate the basest acts..

    The end of the article reads like this....

    His excuse to police was that he only looked up obscene images of bestiality because he was suicidal and depressed, though other sources say his interest in pornography was long-established; fellow inmates in the Maze have also spoken of his overbearing egotism. His behaviour seems consistent with the man, rather than a digression from the norm.

    Whatever the reality, it's intriguing that his former handlers in British Intelligence have exposed him to public shame in this undoubtedly dramatic way.

    Is something else going on here that we don't know about yet? Or will it be that, like most elements of our so-called "dirty war", we'll never be told the whole truth?


    the plausible explanation lies in their calculations. They either want him to top himself before Kenova concludes on the Stalinist basis of no man no problem

    Sounds more plausible than not....

  6. Standard spook MO. If an individual cannot be taken out of circulation due to profile, mark the profile bit by bit. If scap is as egotistical as is reported then it will be well known to his former handlers. They will gradually up the ratchet on him until he cracks. His ego will be used against him. He's a liability now, dead by his own hand or in jail within 2 years.

  7. Life imitating art? In the famous play "Stalag 17" the traitor/spy also turns out to be the security officer in charge of detecting and dealing with informants. This suggests that in any organisation with such a person, that person should always be considered to the the most likely person to betray the organisation.

  8. frankie, I did not know that, it ties in with what AM had suggested too. I thought it odd that his handlers allowed the prosecution to go ahead in the first place.

  9. Steve , shot twice in the back of the head and ruled suicide probably.

  10. I noticed the BBC referred to him as a "British Army Agent" in their headlines for years until he was prosecuted for extreme pornography and then they called him an "IRA spy".

  11. Simon , it’s leaves them room to add “alleged” or “so-called” before IRA spy , I wrote this as a joke, but as I get to post it, it’s probably coming isn’t it?

  12. Daithi,

    Unlikely. If he meets a violent end it would put off any other potential future touts. He will be pressured into taking his own life or going completely loopy.

  13. Daithi, I am usually a little slow with your sarcasm which is more my fault than anybody else's but "alleged" brings up another question:

    He was outed by the security services so how sure are we, the uninitiated or out of the loop punters, that he is actually an informer? Would it be a complete surprise that his outing was a check-mate "FRU style" manoeuvre to get someone who wasn't an informer killed? It certainly would be form for the authorities to do so.

    People have practically bayed for his blood online (no pun intended) without so much as understanding enough to make a firm judgement. How can people jump on the bandwagon so quickly purely because he was a scumbag? He was probably over-qualified for the role.

    Although I am sure the spook had Scap's best interests at heart and wanted to make sure he no longer damaged what was left of the Republican Movement you wouldn't put it past the strategists to try their luck. I understand they say he was past his usefulness but why put him in danger if, as Steve says, it puts others off?

    Seriously though, I understand there is a prima-facie case but if he is indeed an informer I bet this ruse was either successful in the past or will be in the future.

    I am not saying I believe any of this just playing Devil's Advocate.

    I think the comment that the walk-in story didn't stand up is on the button maybe because the authorities don't wamt the public to be aware of their methods.

    I am reminded of a story from Palestine where the Israeli soldiers paid the equivalent of hundreds of dollars to young Palestinians to collect a jar of sand and bring it to them from a certain area.

    The Palestinians were keen at times because what harm would it do? The reason for the sand was that, when tested, it would show if it was from an area with tunnels. Boom!

    The Palestinians were now informers based on an innocuous game and couldn't look back. Like in Palestine the most well meaning people can be turned and not because they're bitter with their fellow combatants or because they are caught doing something that is morally reprehensible or that carries a prison sentence. Certainly not to save lives.

    Technology is a strange beast, like the use of infrared goggles by the Brits in the North before it was common knowledge, the unknown can make the innocuous a death sentence.

    Different from informers is loose talk and different again is those who are trapped by situation and who otherwise wouldn't be informers in a million years.

  14. Simon , interesting point , when I listened (listening betrays the hesitancy) to Ian Hirst’s secret recording of Sir John Wisely, it didn’t seem the slam dunk confirmation it is claimed to be, if it was a trial his method of “questioning” could be claimed to be leading the witness. Whether he is Stakeknife or not, he definitely presided over sham trials.

  15. As an aside Simon, my mind always returns to this dichotomy when thinking about this subject : the need to ‘incentivise’ resisting interrogation with the need to not become a monster doing so.

    I don’t know how to square the circle , when you understand a bit of the hell the boys and girls faced in prison , you automatically want to do anything that’s seen as prohibiting the option for vols to cooperate, how can this be done without appealing to a sense fear? Given that compassion for their comrades as a reason to resist is clearly not enough in every instance.

    In this small aspect many Republican thinkers I admire are overly harsh on Adams, how can one not be a monster and do everything to keep those under ones charge out of torture in jail? He was the monster we needed, im just glad I never had to manage this area.

  16. Wherever there is justice there will be miscarriages of justice and these miscarriages can only be mitigated in systems of transparency, accountability and checks and balances.

    When these safeguards are lacking or non-existent coupled with a risk of nepotism or personal grievance the risk of a miscarriage of justice renders such a system practically useless as a way to achieve what the protagonists consider justice, never mind what outsiders think which is probably a lower estimation.

    I guess without state of the art forensics to decide whether such a "trial" takes place aggravates any misjudgement.

    Opening the shooting gallery for the spooks.

    Everybody should move on and shun the methods of the past no matter how much it was or wasn't needed.

    Violence these days would be self-defeating and divisive particularly at a time when many from traditional unionist backgrounds are more open to the idea of a United Ireland.

    These aren't entrenched idealists but pragmatic people who should be welcomed and accommodated in a United Ireland. People like Stakeknife should be sent to live in the lands of their masters and we should mould a future with our progressive neighbours.

    As comedian Jeremy Hardy says "I am in favour of a United Ireland as I have seen the aerial photographs".


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