Explosive collusion allegations have been published by a US Congress body as part of its examination of a loyalist murder case dating back 12 years.
Members of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs were recently addressed by Raymond McCord over the police's failure to bring his son's UVF killers to justice.
A sub-committee of the Washington body has now published online his written submission to its inquiry, detailing a string of serious allegations.
Using the Congress equivalent of Parliamentary privilege, Mr McCord claimed:
- The UVF's long-standing top commander — named in his written statement as Shankill loyalist John ‘Bunter’ Graham — has been a long-term “agent of the state” .
- The murder of Mr McCord's son Raymond jnr was carried out on the orders of north Belfast UVF man and Special Branch informer Mark Haddock.
- Haddock's main Special Branch handler — named in Mr McCord's statement as an ex-RUC Detective Sergeant — spoke up for the loyalist when he was arrested on suspicion of terrorism in 2000.
- Mr McCord also posed questions for ex-Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan on what he had known about the activities of police informers within the UVF.
His claims have been made to the Congress Committee's Subcommittee on International Organisations, Human Rights and Oversight, which is examining collusion allegations here.
McCord jnr, a 22-year-old former RAF man, was beaten to death by a UVF gang in Newtownabbey in November 1997.
His father has campaigned for years for a public inquiry on the case, and to expose collusion between the police and a vicious UVF unit centred in north Belfast's Mount Vernon estate.
His chief allegations against Special Branch were vindicated in a damning report issued in January 2007 by Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan. Mrs O'Loan has also given evidence to the Congress sub-committee.
In his now-published written submission, Mr McCord alleged Haddock was “the leader of Mount Vernon UVF” and had been “part of the British security forces' intelligence services for at least 12 years”.
He also claimed that John ‘Bunter’ Graham has been an agent “for years”.
“He is the man who controls, and has run, the UVF for years,” the submission added.
“The list goes on. Many of the leading UVF men were in fact Special Branch informants, who were also involved in murders, drug dealing, beatings and extortions. How many innocent lives have been sacrificed so as not to expose these informers?”
He also claimed that a suspect in his son's murder, whom he named as Willie Young, was not interviewed by police for eight days despite being “easily accessible”.
Mr McCord's written statement further stated that Haddock was accused of having information likely to be of use to terrorists in 2000, in relation to possession of a vehicle's registration details.
He alleged Haddock’s senior handler, named as Detective Sergeant Phil Scott, “prepared a confidential document that was forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions”.
It said there were “no sinister motives behind the possession of the vehicle registration number” and expressed the opinion “that the informant will be of great value in the future”, he stated.
Mr McCord's submission to the Congress sub-committee also challenged Sir Ronnie Flanagan, asking: “Did he not know that Haddock was a major suspect in many murders? Why did he continue to allow Special Branch to keep him on as a paid Special Branch informer?
“How many more ‘Mark Haddocks' were there working for the police? How can Ronnie Flanagan wash his hands of all this and pretend he did not know?”
Mr McCord acknowledged that changes have been made in the handling of informants as a result of the Police Ombudsman probe.
But his submission added that the Government has still not publicly admitted to collusion.
“I believe one of the most important aspects of this case is for the British Government to hold up their hands, come clean, and tell the truth.
“They did collude with terrorist organisations and should now apologise and compensate the victims’ families,” he added.