Combat 18

Charlie Sargent, the former leader of Combat 18, now serving a life sentence for murder, worked as a paid informer for the Metropolitan police gathering intelligence on the Ulster Defence Association, which the security services had found difficult to penetrate. Combat 18's crimes went unpunished as Sargent provided information to Special Branch according to an article by Henry McDonald in The Observer 5 April 1998.

However, only a week earlier the Sunday Telegraph had produced documentary evidence that showed that a UDA intelligence officer Brian Nelson had been the conduit through which the security forces passed on information to the UDA, the better to target republican activists. Army intelligence ran more than l00 agents, of which less than a handful have come to light. Hard to believe Nelson was the only one in the UDA.

In the early '90's McDonald claimed that Red Action had been used by the security services to spy on the INLA. In 1995 former Daily Mirror Editor Roy Greenslade was one of a number of journalists who claimed that the Sunday Times was planting false stories and was hell bent on derailing the peace process. McDonald is currently facing libel charges brought by a leading republican, as a result of a smear story written by him and printed by - the Sunday Times.

Reproduced from RA vol 3, Issue 1, June/July '98