Cameron owes me an apology: I was right about collusion

A piece from regular contributor Dr John Coulter on collusion which first appeared in the Irish Daily Star on 18 December 18, 2012 

I want an apology from Brit PM Dandy Dave Cameron because I was right about collusion!

That's also the message I am sending to the two police officers who formally interviewed me about collusion allegations in 1991. I was part of the Channel 4 Dispatches research team which probed the solicitor Pat Finucane's murder by the UDA in February 1989.

The then-RUC was livid about my interview with a leading member of an organisation called the Inner Circle, which I exposed in the programme, aired in October 1991. Even before the programme was shot, a security source "advised" me not to make the show. Collusion was then a taboo subject in the media.

In his apology to the Finucane family, Dave Cameron said: "Collusion should never, ever happen."

But it did, so can I have my apology, too, Dandy Dave now you have proved that my research was correct?

The peelers who interviewed me about my role in the Dispatches episode even offered me a deal - say that I had made up the research about collusion and there won't be any charges!

Maybe these police officers would like to visit prominent QC Sir Desmond de Silva who drew up the 500-page review of the Finucane murder and offer him the same deal!

Of all the collusion killings, Pat Finucane's is the one I remember most. He died a month before I was married.

Such was the level of collusion, it took me two years between when I first met the Inner Circle contact until when I felt able to publish the first story in 1988.

But was collusion simply about killing as many republicans as possible? There was a bigger agenda,  one which would eventually leadto the IRA ceasefires and Sinn Féin peace process.

In 1991, I posed this question to the Inner Circle source: 'What will the Inner Circle's future strategy be?' His answer: 'The objective of the Inner Circle will be basically to ensure that the hawks in the republican movement are killed and this will leave the talkers.'

What was exceptionally clear from my conversations and interviews with the Inner Circle was that there was a systematic agenda to the loyalist death squad targeting, not a random Shankill Butchers-style selection of innocent Catholics.

It was equally clear that that if Sinn Féin was to be properly drawn into a peace process, and the Provos were to quit their terror campaign, certain key republicans would have to be silenced.

Pat Finucane's widow, Geraldine, has fought a long campaign to get a public inquiry into her husband's murder. The fallout from my collusion probe could not be compared to her personal loss. But I, too, went through a living hell as a result of investigating collusion.

The most bitter medicine to swallow came from some journalistic colleagues who told me I had got the whole story wrong and that collusion simply didn't exist.

Then there was the professional price. I was told my career as a full-time reporter was over. The choice was simple. If I wanted toremain a journalist, then clear off to Canada. If I wanted to stay in Ireland, then leave full-time reporting and get a job in public relations or tele-evangelism. I chose the latter.

A number of my confidential sources in loyalism turned against me, with one telling me I was to be shot dead for my involvement with the programme.

The social price was also heavy. One of my close chums was a peeler's son, but he told me never to come near the house again for fear of his dad being branded as my source.

The de Silva report may still be a far cry from what the Finucane family wants, but at least the critics who branded me a liar for saying there was collusion are strangely silent. I wonder why!


  1. One of John,s better posts,collusion would not have been hard to work out when you consider that it is the natural progression after you set up illegal militia,s,this was/is the brits standard modus operandi in every country that their presence has sullied,with exactly the same results no truth or real Borneo,India, Aden ,Kenya,Ireland etc,John its not just you that the brits need to apologise to ,its more than half of this planet..

  2. Dr Coulter.

    Do you mean the same inner circle i am thinking of, General Command,UVF/UFF/RHC/UDA?.
    That same high command was supposed to be meeting above that shop on the shankil road which was bombed killing innocent people.

    "but at least the critics who branded me a liar for saying there was collusion are strangely silent. I wonder why!"

    Maybe its the same inner circle I'm thinking about, most of whom were paid by the british!, who set up one of there own in the kesh for INLA to sort out!, collusion was in there as well. At least you stuck to your guns and got your story out, I appreciate that.

  3. John,

    Are you going to demand an apology from fromer friends and colleagues too?

    Fair play to you for investigating the Fincane murder/collusion. When I read this piece last night I went to my good friend Google and re-read this (I first stumbled on the cryptome web site around the same time as I discovered the Blanket. It was when I found out Martin Ingram's real name is Ian Hurst).

    but at least the critics who branded me a liar for saying there was collusion are strangely silent. I wonder why!

    They'll use excuses like "Sorry John can't talk it's a question of National Security" or "Sorry John I can't divulge any info due to 'me' signing the offical secrets act"...

    From a layman like myself, and from what I've read in books, online and documentaries I've seen there is more than 'reasonable doubt' that state forces acted well outside the law in a shoot to kill/silence anyone who gets in their way/asks too many questions.

  4. Collusion and silencing the media (so much for a free press) went hand in hand. Only need to take a look at Liz Curtis book Ireland The propaganda war - the British media and the battle for hearts and minds. From Programmes pulled from schedules (still today - given the secret war programme pulled the other night) to disinformation fed to the media.
    Collusion between state forces and loyalist paramilitaries is still one the British government at senior level won't admit to - responsibility is deflected to FRU or special branch individuals - The stalker affair was possibly an opportunity to make the British come clean but john stalker in a smear campaign had misconduct allegations made against him stopping him getting close to any evidence of collusion and shoot to kill and links to high level government.
    Insurgency/collusion, MI5,MI6 it
    still goes on its the British modus operandi - Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ireland.
    It would be hoped more journalists like Dr coulter would speak out how they were stopped from revealing state collusion.

  5. Dingo:

    John Stalker Beat that allegation by (MI5) and he knows it was MI5 who put that story out to the press. WHY?, because he got to the truth of Collusion, and, you are 100% correct They,MI5 are still at it to this very day, and Agents are still on the ground in the North as well as the south of Ireland, also England ,Scotland and wales, they frequent any Irish Bar, they have the gift of the gab, Beware of the person who asks too many questions.

  6. Dingo/itsjustmackers...

    I remember seeing this first time it was aired (TV movie about Stalker, unfortunatly it's in 10min sections but it's all there). After watching it again and the Death on the rock. I'm inclined to believe that Thames and Yorkshire TV both lost their license's becasue they made programs like those I've mentioned.

    What I didn't know was that the DOE had to build a road around Highfield in Ardoyne (itsjustmackers for some nostalgia, fast foward until 10mins, I forgot how filthy the outside was). I was too young to even think about drinking there but I passed it many a times cutting across 'the dam' to climb over a wall in to the egg factory and steal crab apples...

  7. The idea that the Brits were trying to "mould" some sort of leadership they could work with is a frightening thought, not because of the notion that to so would involve wilful murder but because it would require intelligence as to who was who from people within the army. Are these people still involved in the republican movement? When you think about it like that it's no wonder the likes of Paraig McKearney and Jim Lynagh were taken out - they'd never have went along with what's come to pass. I have a special affinity with the Harte family from Loughmacrory, two brothers from this family were assasinated in an SAS shoot-to-kill operation outside Omagh in 1988. Where these lads and thgeir comrade Brian Mullin taken out for such reasons? My God that would be a very hard thing to stomach if it ever came out people within the army were setting up their fellow volunteers for murder on this basis. No doubt the Brits are capable of anything but they'd also need help here to implement such a policy. Scary stuff. I've heard all the rumours about agent J118 but regarded as disinformation but I suppose you just never know anymore. One thing for sure is that he was in a position to do damage but he wasn't the only one. There's no real way to tell

  8. Sean bres a cara I,ve just read your post and its what a lot of republicans have been saying for a very long time, the outcome of our recent struggle is exactly what Kitson had in mind when he produced his low intensity operations insurgency and peacekeeping proposal.he and the brits have staged managed the "war to this particular outcome using agents placed at every level in the prm and the loyalist camps ably aided and abetted by greed and ego, the fact that Adams and his cronies were willing to allow six of the bravest men die a slow and painful death should answer any query you have about what these people were/are really capable of,I am of no doubt that if it suits their purposes we i.e.anyone not singing from their hymn sheet will be dealt with.and that would already have happened but for the fear that this time they may just not get away with murder. your question about Martybhroy is answered by his words and deeds if he wasnt j118 then he is now...

  9. I don't know if Martin McGuiness is or was J118. I personally doubt it. Although Derry was riddled with informers. The run down in the 'war' effort in Derry under his control is strange considering he was always talked about being in the camp of the 'hawks' in the media. I've never understood (one day I hope to) is why the so called back channel was a Derry connection and not a Belfast or Dublin one. That has never added up in head (and its not for the want or trying to understand why).

    As for the British ear marking certain republicans who they could do buisness with...maybe they watched the split in the IRA more closely than people give them credit for. Gerry Adams was one of the last to 'jump ship' and side with the provisionals. Isn't it more than possible that they figured Gerry should be an untouchable from early on..


    Your frightening thought about intelligence leaks, Freddie Scappaticci, John Joe magee and Denis Donaldson spring readily to mind. And the three were more than able to tell Mi5/6 & RUC Special Branch who was more than likely to upset their apple cart. I have no doubt that certain PIRA volunteers were silenced in a hail of SAS/HMSU bullets so their agenda was carried through..

    Wasn't it the then SOS Peter Brook in 1990 who said...

    "Britain had no selfish or strategic or economic interest in Northern Ireland"

    Yet Britain build an 'annex' for Mi5 a few miles from Belfast..?

    Can anyone throw some light on why Ivor Bell was side lined?

  10. Frankie:

    " don't know if Martin McGuiness is or was J118. I personally doubt it."

    Good God, No disrespect to yourself, But only a Brit would say that.

    He was the only IRA man to go to court Charged with being a member of the IRA, he denied he was in the IRA and got of. Now what doe's that tell you?. to me it was nod nod wink wink.!

  11. Sean bres,

    The Brits have always tried to mould a leadership they could work with. Seems it is part and parcel of counter insurgency strategy. It doesn’t necessarily mean that working with leads to the leadership working for the Brits. Don’t be surprised at the notion that people still in the movement may have been behind setting their comrades up. If they can do what they did during the hunger strike there are people who are literally quite capable of anything.

    I recall the Harte brothers being killed with Brian Mullin. I was in jail with Brian's brother Pat, now deceased. He was also a blanket man.

    I think the J118 was nonsense. If he is a wrong man it is not because of that.

  12. Itsjustmacker,

    I firmly believe the J118 story was a hoax and wrote so at the time.

  13. A hoax or not Mackers theres serious questions now being asked among old hands here in Derry about McGuinness's history of avoiding jail.

    As I've pointed out before he was on BBC at least twice in 1972 alone talking on behalf of the IRA. Then there was his part in the IRA Leadership talks with the British at that time. Yet he was never interned.

    He was able to walk the streets of Derry at a time when Gilmore and Quigley were emptying them of Republicans.

    The list of questionable events is even longer yet he seemed safe as houses.

    If he wasn't a tout then the Brits had their eyes on him for a hell of a long time. The question is why?

  14. Anthony:

    is Martin McGuinness a British agent

    Martin Ingrams revelations

    Tony Blair was a spy

    Makes you wonder what is the truth and what is disinformation.

  15. Anthony:

    Sorry about that, the links are not working, when I first made the post , I clicked "Post Comment". I got the message, http is not allowed, so I deleted the http and reposted. can you see the links?, if so, please post them as text if you can, users can then copy and paste, otherwise I will have to re-do it myself.

  16. Dixie:

    is mcguinness a tout

    if the above link does not work, copy and paste the link below, for some reason I am getting the message, "http" not allowed.

    You are correct about him being on tv and never be lifted in the 6 counties, except for being charged with being a member of the IRA, which he denied and was found, NOT GUILTY!

    you are right about 1972, he was on camera twice stating

  17. Anthony:

    these links should work.

    Is McGuinness a British agent?
    martin mc guinness

    Martin Ingrams revelations

    spies within

    the spy station re tony blair and others

    tony blair etc