Colin Wallace

Colin Wallace

OPERATION KENOVA investigated a string of murders perpetrated by Freddie Scappaticci and his associates. It did not result in a single criminal prosecution. Scappaticci, a member of the IRA, worked for British intelligence. He died in April 2023.

Operation Kenova was led by Jon Boutcher, now chief constable of the PSNI. Boutcher also led Operation Denton before his appointment to the top PSNI post. Operation Denton is looking at the actions of the Glenanne Gang, a group made up of UVF members with links to the UDR and RUC. The probe is examining the extent to which this network was controlled by the British state. Its report is due for release later this year.

The key figure in the gang was ‘The Jackal’. Readers of The Phoenix were informed as long ago as May 25, 1984, that his “real name is [Robin] Jackson”, he possessed information about “the vehicles used in [the] Dublin bombings” of May 1974 and had “fled to foreign climes”, ie South Africa. He had, however, “returned to his native soil, unable to settle down” abroad. Jackson’s group had also “been linked with weapons in the possession of SAS Captain Robert Nairac”.

In 2021, Colin Wallace, a psychological operations officer at British Army HQNI in the 1970s, spoke to officers from Operation Denton and provided them with records from the 1970s concerning members of the gang. The officers told Wallace twice, at the end of last year, that they fully intended to have a further meeting with him but, since then, they have not found the time to do this.

Wallace knows what is written between the lines of these documents. He was central to the psychological operations launched against loyalist murder packs in the 1970s. Wallace also sought clearance to target members of the Glenanne Gang, only to be told to stand aside. The killers were allowed to continue their ghastly work for the next 20 years.

A “secret” letter dated December 12, 1989, has emerged from Britain’s National archives (see The Phoenix 24/2/23). It was written by Tom King, a Conservative MP who served as secretary of state for NI (1985-89) and as defence secretary (1989-92). It assured UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher that a then forthcoming inquiry into false accusations against Colin Wallace would not examine “alleged assassinations”.

For decades the UK has denied that British officials ran assassination programmes in collusion with loyalist paramilitaries. This myth has been demolished in recent years by the British government itself, which has handed over millions in compensation to victims of collusion. The survivors and relatives of the Miami Showband are the most high profile of those compensated thus far. Three band members were murdered in 1975 by Jackson’s crew.

Colin Wallace is still available to talk to the investigators from Operation Denton. Tom King should also be in a position to comment on the “alleged assassinations” to which he referred in his “secret” letter to Thatcher.

The scorching hot issue for Denton is whether it will reveal that Jackson and others in the gang were British agents.

Ozone 03-22-24

Related Articles: