Thursday, September 10, 2009

Martin McGartland Warns IRA Still A Threat

Ex-spy warns IRA still a threat

HUGE bomb twice size of Omagh device & designed to kill dozens is made safe in Ulster

Published: 10 Sep 2009

THE dark days of terrorism once again hang ominously over Northern Ireland after the discovery of a massive 600lb bomb in South Armagh. Believed to have been the work of dissident republicans, it was even bigger than the Real IRA device that killed 29 and injured hundreds in Omagh in 1998. Here, former spy Martin McGartland - who infiltrated the IRA in the 1980s for the British secret service - explains why he believes the terrorist cell behind the latest bomb must have been well organised.

THERE has been a suggestion from the police that the people behind this bomb do not have the sophistication, expertise or resources to carry out this kind of bombing. I disagree.

To be able to put a bomb like this together in the first place is one of the biggest hurdles they have to cross.

The fact they went to a vantage point to look for police or army patrols shows they have a lot more expertise than people are letting on.

The terrorists will go to a disused location, say a farm, and construct the bomb over about ten hours in the night.

The Sun
Shock ... Sun report on bomb find

It involves a big team of people. They will have four or five guys working inside building the bomb and three or four more outside patrolling the perimeter.

I have information from people I speak to that the police and Special Branch are greatly concerned that people from the IRA bomb teams from the 1980s and early 90s have moved across to current dissident republican groups.

My understanding is that the people behind the latest bomb are from a much smaller group. But in my opinion they are all linked to the IRA in some way.

If any of these splinter group become a serious embarrassment, the IRA will close them down.

The IRA are still active with punishment beatings and are making plenty of money from crime. They are still powerful. Bad things are going to continue to happen.

But, thankfully, it will never be like it was in the past when someone was being murdered every day.

These small groups have been recruiting people who are local criminals, which the IRA would not have done in the past. They are desperate for people to come on board.


I don't think they have much support.

I found people in the IRA to be macho, but they didn't want to go to prison and they would never blow themselves up like Muslim extremists. So it's a different threat than the one posed by Islamic terror.

I believe the security services might already have infiltrated these gangs.

I know that after those two young soldiers were murdered in March, the security services were working overtime to recruit people on the fringes of these dissident groups.

I used to get weapons and explosives from the IRA and take them to the Army to deactivate the firing systems. A lot of planning and effort goes into making a bomb. Bombs don't just get found, they don't just not go off.

This find could have come about as a result of an informer.

The security services are generally aware of who the main members of these groups are - they just have trouble finding enough evidence to bring them to court.

But I believe the Government will crack down on them before we return to the dark days of terror.

Martin's book Fifty Dead Men Walking, about his time as a spy, is out now.

Story Link:-


Martin McGartland was Shot by the PIRA in June 1999. Northumbria Police, Mi5 and the CPS continue to cover up the McGartland case. No one has ever been charged for Martin's 1999 attempted murder. Follow Martin on Bebo; search for Martin 'Marty' McGartland.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cover-up claims turn railway battle between Sunderland supporters and police into a legal fight

Posted by; David Conn

Wednesday 26 August 2009 00.10 BST

The Guardian

Force is accused of holding back CCTV footage which may reveal how and why three fans were hospitalised

Sunderland supporters are continuing to dispute Northumbria police's account of an incident at Newcastle Central station this month, when police with dogs and wielding batons left several of their number injured, including three who required hospital treatment, two reportedly for serious head wounds.

A number of the fans, who were returning from Sunderland's pre-season friendly at Hearts on 8 August, have provided consistent accounts and statements to the Football Supporters' Federation alleging that the police action was unprovoked, brutal and excessive. These accounts have come from supporters who were on a train that left Edinburgh at 6:30pm bound for Sunderland and which was diverted to Newcastle. The supporters allege that their train was held at the station for 20-30 minutes before the doors were opened, and that they were then met by police with dogs and batons.

The fans' accounts say they were pushed from behind by one line of police but that officers in front pushed them back. Some fans admit they became frustrated, but all have denied that there was any violence until police officers allowed their dogs to begin biting supporters. Then fans describe police hitting them with batons. Several accounts, which the Guardian has seen, include very similar graphic descriptions of one man with blood spurting from his head after being hit with a baton, then collapsing and lying on the platform in a pool of blood. The supporters have also accused the police of failing to attend to the injured man for some minutes.

Northumbria police has emphatically denied that its actions were excessive. In a series of statements, the force has said its officers mounted an operation to deal with a section of around 40 Sunderland supporters who had arrived on an earlier train, intending, according to police intelligence, to have a pre-arranged fight with Newcastle fans. This section of fans, the police said: "Became violent towards officers who reacted to stop the situation from escalating further."

The police did say, in a later statement, that there was a second train, but stated there was no trouble at all or any action against the fans who came off it. Chief superintendent Neil Mackay described that train as having contained "around 400 genuine football supporters", and said: "These supporters were taken to the Metro station without incident."

That is bitterly contested by supporters who arrived on that second train, some of whom have described what followed as the most traumatic violence they have ever witnessed. The FSF has been advised not to publicise the names of fans who provided statements because of the possibility they might give evidence in future court actions, but has released some extracts. In one, a supporter claimed: "The police, for reasons best known to themselves, launched a vicious assault on some of our fans with their batons and let their dogs repeatedly bite some of the fans who had already received severe head wounds or were already lying prone on the ground as a result of being caught up in the melee the police had created."

The incident was referred automatically to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) because of the injuries sustained by members of the public. Last week Gary Garland, the IPCC commissioner for the North-east, cleared the police of any wrongdoing saying that having viewed "conclusive" CCTV footage, the action was justified.

"The video footage is conclusive that the police in this instance were subjected to a high level of violence by people intent on causing disorder," Garland stated. "In such circumstances the force the officers chose to deploy in defending their position and preventing a further escalation of disorder was understandable, proportionate and justifiable." He went on to praise the policemen's "professionalism and courage", saying it had prevented more serious disorder, and concluded that the IPCC will not be investigating.

"I appreciate for any innocent football supporters who may have been caught up in the trouble the incident would have been traumatic," Garland acknowledged. "However, it is clear a significant number of so-called supporters were intent on causing mayhem. There is no evidence whatsoever to support allegations that the police officers instigated the violence."

Malcolm Clarke, the FSF chairman, yesterday wrote formally to the IPPC calling for a "new thorough investigation", for the full CCTV footage to be released, and to lodge a formal complaint against Garland.

"The police and IPCC version of what happened completely conflicts with all the accounts from supporters," he said. "They have all stated independently that the police action was against people arriving on the second train, and that it was brutal. We do not believe the IPCC has fulfilled its duty by exonerating the police in glowing terms without even talking to witnesses, and we believe there should be a full independent investigation. We do not expect to see football supporters with serious head injuries from police batons." The IPPC has already issued a statement saying Garland stands by his decision.

Supporters caught up in the trouble have also complained bitterly about the police's public statements that followed the incident. Three days afterwards, on 11 August, the force's first press release focused on four police dogs; Earl, Cleo, Floyd and Diesel, which, it said, had been assaulted by "a section of around 40 Sunderland fans". This first statement did not mention a second train, nor a pre-arranged fight with Newcastle fans. Chief superintendent Graham Smith said: "Around 40 fans set upon the officers and dogs, kicking and punching them, and causing injuries to the dogs." After dealing in some detail with the dogs, whose injuries, it said, were not serious, the press release added: "During the disturbance, three Sunderland fans out of the group received hospital treatment. Their injuries are not thought to be serious."

In fact, according to the FSF, one of those in hospital was given 36 surgical staples to bind wounds in his head, while another lost seven pints of blood. Asked why the statement concentrated on the dogs before mentioning that three Sunderland fans had ended up in hospital, a spokeswoman said: "Our dogs were injured as a result of being attacked during the incident and we put out the press release to appeal for witnesses and information. The people who suffered injuries were part of the group who were involved in the attack on dogs and officers. Officers had no option but to respond." She added that officers had administered first aid to the injured people "as soon as they could".

Northumbria police has also released a brief video clip of fans milling around on the platform, and another apparently showing Newcastle supporters preparing to meet them. Neither, however, shows any violence, the police actions, or how the fans, or the dogs, sustained their injuries. A spokesman for the force said the full CCTV footage is not being released because it is being used in the ongoing criminal investigation. The police have not so far explained how the Sunderland fans ended up requiring hospital treatment.

No footage has emerged from any witnesses who independently captured what happened.

Two of the supporters who were treated are understood to be taking legal advice about a possible assault claim against the police and a challenge to the IPCC's decision not to supervise an investigation. Three members of the public have made complaints to the police. A spokeswoman for Northumbria police said an internal investigation is being conducted.


This Is the letter sent to the IPCC by the FSF's Michael Clarke:-

Text of Football Supporters Federation letter of complaint to the Home OfficeThe FSF's complaint against Commissioner Gary Garland concerning the incident at Newcastle Central station involving police and Sunderland fans.

By recorded delivery

Commission Secretariat

Independent Police Complaints Commission

90 High Holborn

London WC1V 6BH

Cc. M. Craik Esq

Chief Constable

Northumbria Police

Bryan Drew, UK Football Policing Unit

Home Office

25 August 2009

Formal complaint against Commissioner Gary Garland

Incident at Newcastle Central Station 8 August

I write on behalf of the Football Supporters Federation to lodge a formal complaint against Commissioner Gary Garland and to request a course of action in relation to the very serious incident involving Northumbria police and Sunderland football supporters at Newcastle Central Station, 8 August 2009.

Sunderland AFC played a pre-season friendly game in Edinburgh on 8 August to which some of their supporters travelled by train. At the stadium a Tannoy announcement was made to the effect that a train additional to the scheduled services, departing 18.30 hours, would take them directly to Sunderland.

Many supporters welcomed this because it was more convenient to be taken all the way to Sunderland. This included some supporters who had tickets for the 18.00hrs scheduled service but chose to wait for the special.

In fact, for whatever reason, the train terminated at Newcastle, not Sunderland. Upon arrival at Newcastle, the supporters were not allowed to disembark the train for a considerable period, estimated by them to be 15-20 minutes. When they did, they were met by police including dog handlers and armed with batons.

A very serious incident then ensued, which resulted in three supporters receiving serious head injuries from police batons requiring hospitalisation and a number of supporters suffering dog bites, in one case with quite serious wounds. One supporter required surgery. In all three cases of the baton injuries, they have continued to suffer adverse reactions. To our knowledge two of the supporters injured by batons have so far sought legal assistance.

The police issued a statement on 11 August which said, inter alia, "A section of around 40 fans set upon the officers and dogs, kicking and punching them, and causing injuries to the dogs" and that "the fans arrived at the station intent on violence".

The police position therefore is that some of the supporters launched an unprovoked attack on unmuzzled police dogs and officers armed with batons.

We have received accounts of this incident from supporters on that train, many of which are in writing. These were made independently by people most of whom did not know each other.

These accounts are startlingly different from the account given by the police. There are some common themes to these accounts which raise three particularly serious issues:

a.It is alleged by the supporters that police at the back were aggressively pushing fans forward towards the police at the front who were either not letting them come forward or were pushing them back. This caused squashing and some fans tripping over.

b.That, in this situation, two police officers allowed their dogs to start biting the supporters, and it was this which triggered the violent confrontation between the police and some of those supporters.

c.That the police failed to tend to the injured supporters on the floor or to quickly summon medical assistance, despite it being obvious that they had serious head injuries. For example, one supporter alleges that he was actually prevented by a police officer from rendering assistance despite telling the officer that he had extensive experience as a TA medic. The officer then failed to take the necessary action himself, despite being advised by the supporter what to do.

Northumbria police rightly referred this matter to the IPCC. We were expecting at the appropriate point to hand the written accounts we have received over to whoever the IPCC appointed to investigate this matter, subject of course to obtaining the permission of the supporters concerned.

We were therefore astonished when Commissioner Garland publicly announced within a very short time that he had concluded an examination of the video evidence on the basis of which he has completely exonerated the police from any blame for the incident and went as far as praising the courage of the police officers. He did so without examining any of the evidence from the supporters, let alone interviewing them. He announced that the IPCC is happy to let Northumbria police conduct their own investigation and that the IPCC will have no further involvement with the matter.

Our legal advice is that the IPCC does not have the option of having no further involvement, and that any investigation by the police must be either managed or supervised by the IPCC.

What is beyond doubt is that by publicly exonerating and praising the police in the way that he did, Commissioner Garland has prejudged and tainted any investigation by the professional standards department of Northumbria police. It is now clearly impossible for ourselves, any Sunderland supporter or indeed any member of the public to have any confidence in an investigation by the Northumbria force, because Mr Garland has already pronounced on the matter.

Indeed one supporter has already told us that he does not wish to proceed with his complaint because he has no confidence in the process and fears that he may be harassed by the police if he makes a complaint. In the light of Mr Garland's action, it is very difficult to present a counter-argument to that supporter.

We believe that because of his unprofessional action in what is an extremely serious matter, Mr Garland should resign as an IPCC commissioner. Regardless of whether he does so, we request that the IPCC appoint another commissioner from another area of the country who does not have a relationship with the Northumbria police to take over this matter and that if the investigation is undertaken by police officers, it should be done by officers from another police force. Nothing less can rescue the process from the situation created by Mr Garland.

There are some further matters which require investigation. First, the police said that they had intelligence that supporters from Sunderland travelling on that train had planned disorder with Newcastle United supporters in the City, and have told the media that this justified their presence on the station to meet that train, and their response to the supporters on it. No one, so far as I know, has questioned the appropriateness of a police presence on the station. That is not the issue.

I have no way of knowing the nature or reliability of any intelligence received by the police. However, what is clear is that the supporters on that train decided to travel on it in the belief that it was going to Sunderland not Newcastle. Any supporter planning disorder in Newcastle would have joined the normal scheduled service not this train. This inconsistency in the police version of events remains unexplained.

In a further statement issued on 17 August, the police now give a different version events from that previously put out by them. The statement says that the train from which supporters were not allowed to disembark for "20 mins" contained "several hundred genuine Sunderland supporters" (very different from "the fans arrived at the station intent on violence") and that "those passengers were taken to the Metro without incident"

Supporters who have given statements to us are crystal clear that they travelled on the special train, whose doors were kept closed for 15-20 minutes and that the incidents with the police occurred with supporters from that train. If the police are not even clear from which train this incident occurred, it is raises serious questions about the accuracy of their understanding of the situation. At the very least it underlines the case for a thorough, independent investigation into exactly what happened.

Second, the police issued a public statement saying that the injuries to the supporters "were not thought to be serious". This statement was untrue and the police had no basis for making it.

Third, the police issued a picture of one of the 'injured' police dogs being petted by a WPC. Such a blatant attempt to play upon public emotion rather than concentrating on a professional investigation of exactly what happened has only inflamed the situation in the eyes of Sunderland supporters and does the force no credit.

Fourth, a limited amount of CCTV footage has been released by the police. This is not helpful. If any footage was to be released, it should be all the footage available, unedited, and that is what should now occur. The public should not be invited to reach conclusions on small amounts of footage chosen by one of the parties involved.

Fifth, we aware that a 16-year old supporter was pulled out of the crowd at Sunderland's game with Chelsea and required to give their details to a camera, in connection with an investigation into this incident. We are advised that this is unlawful and request that the IPCC investigate this incident.

In conclusion, I would stress that the FSF is, and always has been, totally opposed to football-related violence and disorder, wherever it occurs and by whoever it is committed. We have a track record of working closely with the police and the Home and Foreign Offices at national and international levels on football policing issues.

I am also well aware that we have not seen the full CCTV of the incident at Newcastle, and we are certainly not drawing any conclusions at this stage about exactly what caused the incident or whether any offences may have been committed by either supporters and/or police officers or whether police officers breached their own guidelines.

It is however very clear that there is a huge gulf between the versions independently given by supporters and that given by the police and IPCC about the cause of this incident. Head injuries to football supporters caused by police batons are, fortunately, rare in this country, unlike some other countries, because most British police forces tend to be more skilled and experienced in managing situations than some of their foreign counterparts.

For that reason, when such a serious incident as this occurs, it is vital that it is thoroughly and professionally investigated and is seen to be so. If this does not occur then the confidence of football supporters, not only in Sunderland but nationally, in both the police and the IPCC will be seriously eroded, which is not in anyone's interest. And it will fuel the belief that there is in some police forces some institutionalised prejudice against football supporters as a whole. For that reason we request a new thorough investigation by the IPCC conducted by people from outside the north-east, and we lodge a formal complaint against Mr Garland.

The summary of the areas which we believe should be the subject of such an investigation are:

1. Whether the overall management and response of the police to the supporters disembarking from the football special was proportionate and appropriate to the situation and in line with police training and best practice.

2. The circumstances of the serious head injuries to three supporters and whether the use of batons by officers which caused them were justified and lawful.

3. Whether the use of batons, in particular their use on the head, was in line with police training.

4. Whether the use of dogs and their biting of supporters was in line with police training, and, specifically, whether allowing dogs to bite supporters triggered the disorder in this incident.

5. Whether it is true that the supporters were pushed forward from the back whilst officers at the front either did not allow them to move forward or pushed them back, and what role, if any, this played in the disorder.

6. Whether the police properly exercised a duty of care towards the seriously injured supporters and how long it took for them to summon medical assistance.

7. An explanation as to how the police could have intelligence that some people on that train were planning to cause disorder in Newcastle when the people on the train had boarded it in the belief that it was going to Sunderland?

8. Clarification, or otherwise, that the disorder occurred following disembarkation from the special train which was held for 20 minutes not a scheduled train.

9. The circumstances of the police issuing a statement that the injuries to the supporters were not serious.

10. The appropriateness of the use by the police of emotional PR material on the injuries to the dogs.

11. The appropriateness of issuing selective CCTV footage into the public domain.

12. The lawfulness of police actions in requiring supporters, including a minor, to answer questions in front of a camera at a subsequent football match.

(Dr) Malcolm Clarke FRSA, MIBC



Marty Says; "How can anyone ever trust Northumbria Police, it's cover-up after cover-up. Northumbria Police continue to protect IRA murders, bombers in my 1999 attempted murder case. Northumbria Police, if they wanted to, could arrest those who attempted to murder me. Northumbria Police know who they are and where to find them."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ronan Bennett "AN Irish republican sympathiser..." - ""... would not hand over the Omagh bombers to the RUC. "

Martin; Re:- Ronan Bennett. Martin Says; The review you are about to read was written by a Ronan Bennett and published in The Guardian newspaper on friday 3 April 2009. I had never heard of Ronan Bennett before then. I was concerned by his review and I wanted to find out more about him. A search on google (Ronan Bennett) found that Ronan Bennett had stated; "... would not hand over the Omagh bombers to the RUC. Dismissing the province’s police as a “completely discredited force”, he was forced to issue an apology to the families of the victims. This too was attacked for being half-hearted."

The Omagh bombing;

The Omagh bombing was a paramilitary car bomb attack carried out by the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA), a splinter group of former Provisional Irish Republican Army members opposed to the Belfast Agreement, on Saturday 15 August 1998, in Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Twenty-nine people died as a result of the attack and approximately 220 people were injured. The victims included people from many different backgrounds—Protestants, Catholics, a Mormon, nine children,a woman pregnant with twins, two Spanish tourists,and other tourists on a day trip from the Republic of Ireland.

Ronan Bennett, said a senior republican; "He has always been seen as someone who would bat for Sinn Fein,” Ronan Bennett was has also been dismissed by unionists as an IRA apologist. The Daily Telegraph refered to Ronan Bennett as; "AN Irish republican sympathiser..."

Ronan Bennett is also refer to as a friend of Gerry (I have never been in the IRA) Adams.

Marty was not going to let the Guardian newspaper or Ronan Bennett off the hook. A letter was sent to
The Guardian newspaper. However, the newspaper was standing behind Mr Bennett and were not willing to publish Martin's letter. The Guardian, including its legal team, only agreed to publish Martin McGartland's letter after he told them that he would be taking legal action against them and also Ronan Bennett.

The Guardian published the following letter on Wednesday 3 June 2009

When reviewing "Fifty Dead Men Walking" (The trouble with the Troubles, Film & Media, April 3), the film loosely based on my life as an RUC agent, Ronan Bennett discussed the cultural and political significance of informers, who, he observed, have rarely been viewed sympathetically on screen or - when he refers to criminals he met in the Old Bailey - in real life. Mr Bennett may have been commissioned on the strength of his many writings about Ireland but it would be understandable if his negative personal experience of the RUC, in that he was wrongly accused of murdering an RUC officer in the 1970s, had left its mark on him. While I have every sympathy for anyone who is mistakenly charged, I believe it would have been relevant here for the Guardian, or Mr Bennett himself, to point out this background either in the course of the review or as a footnote.

I can be distinguished from the fictional police informers, including those Ronan Bennett says were depicted in the film Battle of Algiers and the novel The Informer and to whom he compares me in this review. Unlike them, I joined the IRA only to infiltrate it, acted consistently to combat terrorism and save life, and did not betray my friends or my beliefs. On the contrary I am proud of my undercover role inside the Provisional IRA as a police agent between 1987 and 1991.

Martin McGartland

Address withheld



The trouble with the Troubles

Fifty Dead Men Walking is based on an IRA mole's true story. So why, asks Ronan Bennett, does it rehash so many hoary old cliches?

Ronan Bennett

The Guardian, Friday 3 April 2009

Scene from Fifty Dead Men Walking Hitting a brick wall ... Fifty Dead Men Walking
A letter clarifying Martin McGartland's views in respect of this article was published on 3 June 2009.

In the subterranean warren of the Old Bailey, many years ago, I briefly shared a holding cell with two east London armed robbers who between them had just been sentenced to several decades in jail. Early in their trial, a third defendant had decided to sell them out and "gone QE" - turned Queen's Evidence - in the expectation of lighter punishment. The robbers were naturally contemptuous of their former associate - toerag, slag, grass, prick, never had the bottle, couldn't even look me in the eye - and so, to their surprise and guffawing delight, was the judge, who told their treacherous friend: "The police say you have helped convict two dangerous criminals. But as far as I am concerned you are just a sneak." The sneak got 15 years.

That is the critical problem the informer faces the world over. No one really likes him, not even the people to whose side he has defected. No one trusts him or his motives, no one can fully find it in their hearts to forgive or overlook his past, no one really finds betrayal - even betrayal of the enemy - truly admirable. Of course, the state's agents - police, special branch, military intelligence, security services - will pretend to the informer that he is very well liked, esteemed, respected, important. Once they have identified the potential asset, they will court him with the ardour of generous and infatuated lovers. In the first flourishing phase of the relationship they will praise and coddle; there will be presents. They will express tender concern for his well-being. They will be understanding, they will be family and will promise to cherish him through thick and thin.

It is all a lie. The informer's fate is to be chewed up and spat out, and he comes inevitably and bitterly to apprehend the true nature of the regard in which he is held by those for whom he has risked everything. In Ireland, the informer is an especially reviled figure. Gypo Nolan in Liam O'Flaherty's novel The Informer - personified on screen by Victor McLaglen in John Ford's 1935 Oscar-winning adaptation - is the archetype: a weak, pitiful and shameful figure, a Judas. The cowering, speechless figure in Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 masterpiece Battle of Algiers, who, at the bidding of his French masters, consigns his former comrades to torture and death, is made of the same brittle stuff as Nolan. Even Richard Harris's James McParlan, an infiltrator rather than informer in The Molly Maguires (1970), is portrayed as being less than Sean Connery's Jack Kehoe, the man he betrays.
Watch the trailer for Fifty Dead Men Walking Link to this video

The informer's standing is memorably captured in Kari Skogland's new film Fifty Dead Men Walking by a father grieving at the graveside of his executed son. "I don't blame the RUC for turning him into an informer," the father laments. "I don't blame the IRA for killing him. I blame my son for the choices that he made." The informer's acts of betrayal can only sever him from family and community.

In another early scene in Skogland's film, a joint RUC-British Army patrol confronts Skogland's protagonist, the real-life informer Martin McGartland, in the back streets of republican Belfast. McGartland, for reasons that are not entirely clear, bolts for it, leading to a thrilling and well-mounted chase. The authenticity of the sequence is somewhat undercut by the fact that in those days the pursuing soldiers and police would simply have shot the fugitive dead, but it gives the Canadian-born director the opportunity for a powerful visual metaphor. McGartland turns a corner into an alley, at the bottom of which is a door. He yanks the door open only to discover it has been bricked up. There is no escape, no way out. Over the course of the film McGartland will learn to his cost - almost to the cost of his life - that all he has ahead of him are more walls to run into.

Fifty Dead Men Walking is "inspired by" the book of the same name written by Martin McGartland, who joined the IRA in the late 80s and was exposed as an informer in 1991. The title refers to the 50 people now alive who, McGartland claims, would now be dead were it not for him. However, McGartland, who has lived in hiding for 16 years, has denounced the film as misrepresenting his career and his motives. While he admits to having been a petty criminal, selling knocked-off goods door to door, McGartland wants to be seen as more McParlan than Nolan - someone who, determined to do right, sets out on a dangerous mission to infiltrate the IRA rather than a disgruntled member who was suborned, bribed or intimidated into working for the state. The distinction may be important to McGartland's heroic self-image, but it seems unlikely that cinema-goers will make much of it.

The young English actor Jim Sturgess, whose Belfast accent has been brought to perfection by the legendary dialogue coach Brendan Gunn, plays McGartland as a nervy, lovable tearaway. Sturgess turns in a highly watchable performance, full of cocky self-assurance, backchat, conflicted loyalties, roguish charm and vulnerability. Partnering Sturgess is Ben Kingsley as McGartland's special branch handler, code-named "Fergus". The relationship between the two males leads is at the film's heart. In an extended voiceover at the start, Fergus claims to have spotted something maverick and untameable in McGartland that makes him specially suited to the role of infiltrator. McGartland's motivation is never clear. (Motivation is always fraught, always ambiguous: we persist in looking for consistency in people when experience should tell us that we are much more capricious than we imagine or would like ourselves to be.)

Nevertheless, it's hard to avoid speculating that Skogland herself, who wrote and directed the film, couldn't decide what prompted her protagonist's choices. In the film, he is shown witnessing a friend being kneecapped by the IRA for "antisocial behaviour", but Fergus also offers him money and a car, which he accepts (and which the real-life McGartland tends to downplay). Or perhaps the fuzziness is a result of McGartland's complaints after seeing the first cut? Either way, it's a smear in the film's canvas.

Once Fergus and McGartland start working together, the bond between them becomes stronger, and we are asked to be believe that a real affection springs up. Their friendship is confirmed later when Fergus reveals his real name - Dean.

Watching Kingsley, you do not hesitate for a second to believe that Fergus will do everything he can to save his informer. But it's a fabrication. In reality, after the IRA became suspicious, McGartland was abducted and brought to a flat in Belfast. He would have undoubtedly been executed had he not jumped from the toilet window and crashed three stories to the street below. Where was the real Fergus when this happened? He certainly wasn't waiting, with a gun in his hand to fight off the IRA and nurse him back to health.

And what of the IRA in this film? What of the world McGartland has smuggled himself into? In the opening sequence Fergus voices a version of recent Irish history that would not embarrass a Sinn Féin assembly member: Protestants controlled the jobs, Catholics were discriminated against, the IRA was a formidable fighting force. But once the story gets underway, context, history and political motivation are abruptly dropped. The director's palette comes straight from the gangster movie. The locations are the portable fixtures from the underworlds of London, Paris, Belgrade, New York, Moscow: pool halls, boxing clubs, warehouses, empty ruined buildings, drinking clubs.

Leather-jacketed IRA volunteers are either psychopathic or morally derelict. "IRA squad leader" Mickey is a sentimentalist, who cries when his protege is sworn into the organisation. "Intelligence officer" Grace, man-eating and ruthless - "she uses her body like Mata Hari", according to Fergus - is pure erotic fantasy.

In this sense, Fifty Dead Men Walking, so accomplished in other respects, is a disappointment. It rehashes cinematic stereotypes which, with lengthening distance and perspective, we might have expected to have been rethought. The sullen, corrupt godfathers and brutal, apolitical soldiers from Harry's Game (1982), Nothing Personal (1995) and The Boxer (1997) reappear unreconstructed in Fifty Dead Men Walking. On a basic creative and artistic level, they contrast unfavourably with the IRA hunger strikers in Steve McQueen's superb Hunger (2008) and the young UVF paramilitaries in the forthcoming BBC film Five Minutes of Heaven. In both of these, the film-makers have approached the question of the characterisation of difficult, politically contentious subjects with freshness, refusing the easy options and giving their screen characters what they need to bring them alive for audiences - real inner lives.

Skogland ends her film with a series of captions outlining the political progress made since the first IRA ceasefire of 1994. It's a clumsy device, one that may well be there to satisfy financiers worried that audiences "won't understand", and it's somewhat undermined by recent events in the north of Ireland.

But the moments preceding these have a memorable and haunting impact. The IRA track down McGartland, now in hiding. The already battered body receives yet more terrible wounds. A woman rushes to the scene to help him and asks who his family is, who should she contact? Dean, the stricken McGartland whispers, who is now the informer's only family.

• Fifty Dead Men Walking is released on 10 April.


Marty Says; "A Man with such a past should not be writing reviews, stories on such issues without ensuring the readers are fully aware of his background."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

McGartland Letter:- wholly misrepresents my career and motivation for working with the Security Services

Letter from Martin McGartland to the Evening Standard

Published 16.04.09

The film Fifty Dead Men Walking (reviewed by Derek Malcolm, 9 April) gives the impression that it is an accurate portrayal of my life.

In fact as I have already made clear it wholly misrepresents my career and motivation for working with the Security Services.

It is on public record that I was already an established Security Services agent for two years before I made contact with the IRA, having been recruited by British intelligence to infiltrate the organisation.

Martin McGartland.


Martin McGartland says; "The Film, Fifty Dead Men Walking, is as near to the Truth as Earth is to Pluto. Kari Skogland, film-makers were forced into, by the IRA, to make a film that suited the IRA. Why would the IRA terrorist help, protect Skogland and her crew by acting as security ... Moreover, why would Skogland, her crew, allow herself to get so close to terrorist. Skogland claims she spoke with Special Branch office. However, I understand she did not. I and my legal team ensured that Skogland, filmmakers made last minute changes to film and they had to add disclaimers to start and ending of the film, to make it clear that I was not involved with the film. The film makers were ordered to pay me compesation."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Martin McGartland ... calls for a correction - Fifty Dead Men Walking

Martin McGartland of Fifty Dead Men Walking calls for a correction

Posted in Film by Hank Sartin on August 31st, 2009 at 4:04 pm

As editor of the film section, I get some pretty unusual phone calls, like a reader asking about when a movie is coming to Chicago or a guy who made a movie in his basement assuming I’ll want to write an article about him.

But today’s phone call takes the cake. Martin McGartland, in hiding from the IRA for 20 years, just called me for a correction.

Who is he? McGartland grew up in Northern Ireland in an area where the IRA held a lot of power. McGartland was approached by British Intelligence, who knew that he was of interest to the IRA. (Note my cautious phrasing here.) McGartland joined the IRA as an infiltrator and relayed information to the British. Eventually, the IRA worked it out and McGartland had to go into hiding. He has been living in hiding from the IRA for 20 years. Attempts have been made on his life. He wrote a book about his time in the IRA called Fifty Dead Men Walking.

The book was made into a film, also called Fifty Dead Men Walking. I reviewed the film last week. My review, unfortunately, starts off thusly: “As IRA terrorist and British informant Martin McGartland, [Jim] Sturgess…” You can see the problem from Martin’s point of view; I’ve made it sound like he was a terrorist who became an informant. Wrong order of events. He went in under instructions from British Intelligence.

Therefore, Martin called me to ask for a correction. Um, holy shit.

He was very pleasant and polite (”I’m not trying to make any trouble for you, but you have to see this from my point of view…” he said several times) and I was apologetic. We chatted a bit, just long enough for him to restate his point a few times and mention that he’s trying to get another book published, so any public reference to him matters, especially when it makes him sound like he was a terrorist first. Boy, did I feel bad. So, our review online will be corrected, and I’ve asked for a correction on our letters page. And if you’re still checking back, Martin, my apologies for my unclear phrasing.

By the way, Martin also did a very interesting phone interview with our colleagues at Time Out London, in case you want to read his about larger issues with the film Fifty Dead Men Walking.

Link here;-

Friday, April 3, 2009

British Agent Martin McGartland has been shot six times and kidnapped by ruthless killers. (NORTHUMBRIA POLICE COVER UP - MARTIN MCGARTLAND)

Message of hope ... hero Martin McGartland who saved dozens of lives

I was shot six times for spying on the IRA...but today's splinter groups will never win


Published: 03 Apr 2009

HE'S been shot six times and kidnapped by ruthless killers intent on his torture and murder.
Agreeing to spy on the IRA also cost Martin McGartland his wife and children and led to him fleeing Northern Ireland for his life.

But while the Belfast-born Catholic's bravery in working for the British secret service has seen him pay a high price, it has also saved the lives of dozens of servicemen and RUC officers.

Now Martin explains why the surge in terrorism in Northern Ireland - when two soldiers and a policeman were killed by splinter groups the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA less than a month ago - can be defeated.

Martin, 39, who says he is still in regular contact with the secret services, said: "These dissidents are a very, very small number.

"The Real IRA and the Continuity IRA don't have the ability or expertise to launch a real threat to the British economy or establishment. I think it will all be over soon."

He says people want to be senior IRA men for the glamour.

"When they see people getting arrested, there will be a lot of people walking away."

In an exclusive interview with The Sun just days before a new edition of his hit memoir Fifty Dead Men Walking is published, Martin, recounted his remarkable exploits and revealed he doesn't regret becoming an IRA informer.

Martin, who lives in England under a new identity, said: "I have been shot, I have been kidnapped, my family have been beaten nearly to death and as bad as it seems I will never say I regret what I have done.


"I don't know exactly how many lives I saved, whether it was 30 or 50 or 70, but I know I can get up in the morning and look in the mirror and know that I never, ever did anyone any harm.

"I have never understood why anyone has wanted to support a terrorist organisation. They just bring misery and mayhem."

Back in 1987, Martin was a bit of a wheeler dealer living on the Ballymurphy Estate in Belfast, which was a virtual no-go area for the Royal Ulster Constabulary and British Army.

Martin hated the Republican terrorist organisation because they would beat up or kneecap locals who stepped out of line.

He recalled: "People who I grew up with who were into petty crime were beaten, shot and virtually left for dead.

"Most of them were beaten for little or no reason. There were a couple of people I knew who were beaten up simply because they were going out with an IRA man's daughter and he didn't like them.

"When I saw this, I turned against the IRA. I had a real, deep hatred for them."

British secret services needed spies on the estate and the RUC Special Branch asked Martin, then aged just 16, if he would help them.

He said: "I did not hesitate to work for them. I knew exactly what I was doing. And I didn't just do it for the money. Any person with respect for human life would do it."

At first he was identifying IRA men for Special Branch. But after Martin got more friendly with the terrorists, he was invited to join the paramilitary organisation in 1989.

Special Branch told him he should accept the offer and for two years Martin provided information about planned attacks, such as the bombing of British forces heading from Scotland to Northern Ireland or assassinations of RUC officers.

Vigil ... tributes at Antrim base
Those murders were prevented by changing troop movements or moving RUC men to new homes. But his fellow IRA cell members grew suspicious because none of the operations Martin was on ever worked out.

When Martin's information prevented a machine-gun attack on a pub full of British squaddies in Bangor, County Down, in 1991, his time was up.

He was taken to an IRA safe house to be interrogated, but escaped by leaping through a third-storey window.

Martin said: "Felix, who was my handler, kept telling me that if they capture you they are going to torture you really, really badly - they will squeeze your balls with pliers.

"Every minute I was lying on that sofa waiting for the IRA security team to come I knew I was another minute close to death.

"When I jumped out of that window I didn't hesitate. If I stayed I would have two bullets in the head." Instead, the 40ft fall left Martin unconscious for ten days, with a fractured jaw, broken teeth and several wounds to his head and body.

Special Branch arranged for he and his partner Angela, then aged 21, and their two children Martin and Padraig - just two, and nine months old at the time - to move to England.

But his family got homesick and returned to Belfast. He has not seen them since 1992.

Martin commented: "I would love to be able to see my children again, but because of my situation, which I got myself in, I can't do that."

Even his younger brother Joseph was targeted. In 1996, aged 21, he was dragged from his Belfast home, gagged and held at gunpoint by the IRA.

Martin said: "They took him away, hung him upside down from a tree and beat him.

"They smashed all his ribs and left him in a wheelchair.

"He was so frightened he left Northern Ireland with his kids. That was because of me. They are heartless."

The reality of the risk to Martin became clear in June 1999, when an IRA hitman shot him six times in the chest and arms outside his then home in Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear.


He has been left with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder and physical disabilities.

Despite all that, Martin continues to support the peace process.

He said: "I have accepted that the people who shot me could be arrested tomorrow if the authorities wanted to. But I know it wouldn't serve any purpose and I am happy for them to walk the streets if it keeps the peace."

However he believes the Government should stop "turning a blind eye" to the punishment beatings and mafia-style operations still being carried out by the IRA.

'Naive' ... Jim Sturgess plays Martin in film
Martin claimed: "If you are a successful businessman living in an area controlled by the IRA they will say, 'we know you are making £1,000 in profits. Except, now you are not. You are only making £700. The rest of it is going to be given to us.'

"'If you don't, we are going to burn your business down, kill your kids and probably kill you as well.'"

A film "inspired" by Martin's book opens on April 10, but Martin is angry that its director Kari Skogland, radically altered the story in his book of the same title.

There are several fictionalisations of events in the film that annoy Martin.

The main one is that it suggests he was a member of the IRA before joining Special Branch's payroll and that he failed to pass on information about a planned attack.

He said: "The film is as close to the truth as Earth is to Pluto. Although, it is a good film if you are looking at it as a fictional film."

Martin is equally enraged that Surrey-born actor Jim Sturgess, who plays Martin, said the IRA men who chaperoned him while filming were some of "the nicest people" he'd ever met.

He fumed: "The IRA are not lovely people. They are still today, behind the scenes, intimidating people.

"Jim Sturgess is very naive. When his mother was putting powder on his bum, those IRA men were putting powder in their guns."