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Stakeknife: Britain's Secret Agents in Ireland

Stakeknife: Britain's Secret Agents in Ireland [Kindle Edition]

Greg Harkin , Martin Ingram , Ian Hurst
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'A sequence worthy of Catch-22 has the same agency employing agents on both sides, knocking off each other, so that one is left wondering who was really running the war, and for whose benefit. But then, Catch-22 was farce -- this is serious business, and murder.' (Senator Maurice Hayes Irish Independent)

Product Description


An explosive exposé of how British military intelligence really works, from the inside. The stories of two undercover agents -- Brian Nelson, who worked for the Force Research Unit (FRU), aiding loyalist terrorists and murderers in their bloody work; and the man known as Stakeknife, deputy head of the IRA's infamous ‘Nutting Squad', the internal security force which tortured and killed suspected informers.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2219 KB
  • Print Length: 268 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0862788439
  • Publisher: The O'Brien Press (15 Oct 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0862788439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0862788438
  • ASIN: B009SS4NGC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,608 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars revelations about northern irelands informers 21 Feb 2004
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
Recommended. One of the authors Martin Ingram(a pseudonym) was a member of the FRU(Force Research Unit),a british military intelligence outfit which recruited informers within northern irelands paramilitary organisations. This book looks at the cases of many informers but has most details of the 2 most famous. After chapters on the authors FRU training in recruiting and running informers,we get a number of chapters on STAKEKNIFE. This informers name has been in the public domain for nearly a year,and the book confirms his identity. STAKEKNIFE was the supreme irony. He was the deputy of the Irish Republican Army's internal security unit(the so called nutting squad),which was tasked with finding informers within the IRA. It lists 35 alleged Informants who were executed by stakeknife,so as to maintain his cover within the IRA. The book also confirms the identity of other informers,some are named,others are given pseudonyms whilst their activities are described. There are a number of chapters on Brian Nelson,who infiltrated the loyalist/protestant Ulster Defence Association. Great value.I recommend this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read 22 Jan 2014
By tommy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This not only gives the story of 2 British agents, one Loyalist the other Republican, their handlers from the British army, and those they murdered, or set up to be murdered, it also goes a long way in explaining why those actions took place. Written by someone who was there during the actions, and who took part in the operating of those agents, it gives a first hand account of how the British army took the fight to the Republicans front door, literally. The first of these agents....Stakeknife....was a close friend of Gerry Adams, and head of the IRA nutting squad. His job was simple, to squeal on IRA members and movements, and to shoot anyone who got close or became a nuisance. This he done on numerous occasions with Gerry's blessing. It must be hard on Republicans to know that many of the men he killed as traitors, were actually not traitors, and they were murdered on the asking of the British army, and with the blessing of the IRA. Confusing?....That`s why it was called the Dirty War, and why the book is so good as it explains why these things happened. Stakeknife is one of the highest ranked Republicans ever to work for the British Government, though i suspect others will come out in time. Many suspect Gerry Adams himself as being a top informer, and the reason why he has lived so long, or why the British army choose to save his life. It would also explain why he is allowed to still openly deny he was ever a member of the IRA, when, with so many agents so close to him, taking orders from him, the British army could prove this to be a lie many times over, leaving him open to prosecution. The one thing you learn most of all, is not to believe everything you hear or see on the news.
As for the other agent, he was a Loyalist UDA intelligence officer.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 14 Oct 2011
I've read a number of books about the 'Dirty War' in Northern Ireland, and this ranks right at the top of the list Most books on this subject concentrate on the links between the RUC/MI5/FRU etc and Loyalist Paramilitarys but this deals mainly with the link between the Security Services and the IRA (although there is a chapter devoted to Brian Nelson and the UDA)

What this book shows is that once someone decides to become an informer('Tout')they almost inevitably sign their own death warrant The information they pass on to the Security Services via their 'handlers' will identify them sooner or later to the organisation they are 'betraying' (UNLESS they are very high up in the organisation and able to 'set up' colleagues)

They will then be interrogated by the IRA's internal Security Unit and usually killed Despite assurances from the Security Services that they will be whisked away to the mainland with a false identity and £30,000 a year for life, the reality is that once an Agent's cover is blown they are of no further use to security services and are 'expendable'

As Stakeknife ran the Internal Security Unit (The 'Nutting Squad') he was in a unique position to say who lived or died

What this book shows quite clearly is that Stakeknife was not only used to gather information about IRA operations but also to torture and assasinate other British Agents to protect his own identity, and to 'dispose' of Agents surplus to British requirements He may have used people for his own ends but he was also used, unwittingly to him, by the security services

A number of 'innocent' people were killed including a well known Derry Republican who was tortured for seven weeks by the IRA's Internal Security 'Nutting' squad, run by Stakeknife, before he
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book let down by poor writing 24 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Do not want to enter into the was he / wasn't he an agent debate and I will leave judgement on the rights and wrongs of the actions in the book for the individual reader to determine for themselves. My main complaint with this book was the tone and the style of writing. The subject matter - ones opinion and viewpoint to oneside - is fascinating but I found that it was let down by a style that was bitty, text that was poorly written. The result of this was that I found it more of a slog to get through than I had anticipated. A shame really, but I would still say that this book is worthy of a read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Steaknife
Outstanding book, fascinating insight into the world which now public never sees. I would highly recommend this book. Very good
Published 2 days ago by Mr. P. J. Goodall
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Spot on!!!
Published 11 days ago by Francis Brady
5.0 out of 5 stars Okay
There are better books out there but this one was perhaps amongst the first. It does not go into exacting detail (as at the time this might have been difficult for them to do) but... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lamboozler
5.0 out of 5 stars you will not put it down
A well writen book with plenty of twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat! A must own book!
Published 3 months ago by Claire Cleaver
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting
I found this book very informative. Unsure the truth behind it all, but it was a good and interesting read.
Published 3 months ago by MISS S.
3.0 out of 5 stars OK
This book covered some very interesting and controversial subject matter in regard to the conflict in Northern Ireland. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nico
5.0 out of 5 stars Die stake knife ???
I grew up in belfast thts my reasons for getting this book , also was a great read finding out how thing were . Read more
Published 4 months ago by eamon
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, easy to read
Really well written and interesting insight into the activity of various groupings during the troubles not just the Intelligence Services. Read more
Published 6 months ago by PDiddy
5.0 out of 5 stars good read
not as informative as i would have thought but powerful stuff. who would have thought that all this highrarchy coluding was going on!
Published 7 months ago by markquo
3.0 out of 5 stars Informative but you wonder as to the motivations of the author?
A rather schizophrenic book. Ingram just can't seem to make up his mind on his viewpoint. He criticizes the conduct of the FRU yet accepts that their actions save many lives. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Patrick W. E. Walker
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