Group 13

From: "Scott Lavers"

Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 01:31:11 -0000



In 1991, private investigator Gary Murray decided to write a chapter for his book, Enemies of the State - an expose of the covert activities of the British security services - on a shadowy UK paramilitary unit called Group 13. The sole purpose of this ultra-secretive unit is believed to be state-sponsored assassination, but so little is known about its operations that Murray knew it would be a daunting task. However, as a former civilian undercover agent for the security services, he was resonably confident that he would succeed. He soon changed his mind.

One day, while he was gathering material for the chapter, Murray was forcibly dragged into the back of an unmarked van and had a gun thrust to his head. A voice told him it would be unwise for him to continue with his project. Sensibly, Murray took the warning seriously and decided to abandon his research into Group 13 altogether.

Group 13 is generally believed to have evolved from former SAS soldiers, security, and intelligence operatives who were once active in Northern Ireland during the mid-to-late 1970's when a labour government was still in power. The SAS had been sent to Northern Ireland in 1969 to perform covert operations against the IRA. To cover their deployment to such a politically sensitive area, the SAS chose the guise of 'training teams'. A succession of cover names were used over the next two years - such as the Military Reconnaissance Force, the 14th Intelligence Unit, and the Fourth Field Survey Troop, Royal Engineers (FFST).

Fred Holroyd, a Captian in British Army Intelligence who served in Nothern Ireland in the mid-1970's, claims that the FFST was an SAS undercover unit stationed at the Royal Engineers base at Castiledillion, in Armagh. Holroyds brief was to develop informers and other intelligence sources connected to the IRA. It was inherently dangerous work, made worse by a territorial battle between factions inside MI5 and MI6 for control of the Northern Ireland 'patch'. When interviewed Holroyd recalled incidents where one of these factions would plant a bomb, and then place the blame on the IRA. Holroyd is doubtful that the FFST went on to become Group 13, but there are a number of other possible origins for the covert assassination team.

The election victory of the Labour Party in February 1974 was closely followed by rumours of an impending coup d'etat by right-wing groups operating in the shadows of power. These groups viewed Prime Minister Harold Wilson as a Communist taking orders from Moscow, and saw a coup as the only way of keeping Britain out of Moscows wily grasp.One of these groups was named GB75, and was organized by David Sterling, founder of the SAS.

Significantly, GB75 had close contacts with the British intelligence community, from which they probably received unofficial support.

Another group, founded in 1970, called itself the Resistance and Psychological Operations Committee (RPOC). According to one former member, RPOC had a clandestine section, which formed an underground resistance movement in the event that Russia invaded the UK. With tacit approval from the Conservative government of the day, the RPOC formed close ties with the British security and intelligence apparatus, and '…forged close links with the SAS's… own secret intelligence network'. Little is known about this network, apart from one enlightening publication.

In his book, The Feather Men, Ranulph Fiennes, the Arctic trekker and one-time member of the SAS, reveals the existence of an unofficial group of ex-SAS officers and soldiers. This covert group, Fiennes claims, were tasked with protecting members of the SAS whose lives were under threat as a result of their activities. Fiennes goes on to explain that, when a freelance team of assassins was sent to kill him, this secretive ex-SAS group had more or less 'mopped up' (that is, killed) the would-be assassins. Fiennes further alleges that this SAS team had been founded by David Sterling. It is not possible to say with any certainty that this team - or elements within it - evolved to become Group 13. However, the associations are clearly similar.

The exsistence of both these groups is highly unofficial but desirable to certain factions within the government. Both groups are said to be responsible for political assassinations in Northrn Ireland and elsewhere. And both appear to lean towards right-wing agendas.

Despite the thick smokescreen that Group 13, speculation is rife about its alleged 'targets'. High on the list is the murder of defense journalist Jonathan Moyle in a hotel room in Santiago, Chile, in March 1990. Moyle had been gathering damning evidence of British involvment in equiping helicopters for Iraq. Although his killers were never found, US State Department and CIA documents reveal that, shortly before he was mudered, Moyle's hotel was regularly visited by two men with known British security and intelligence connections.

Another operation that may be linked to Group 13 is the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan People's Bureau in London 1984. In a courageous piece of television, Channel Four broadcast a Dispatches programme in 1996 that suggested that WPC Fletcher was murdered by elements inside British and American intelligence. Among other startling facts, the programme stated that the shot that had killed Fletcher may have been a 'terminal velocity' round. This technique reduces the sound of the gunshot and creates the impression that the shot was fired from a considerable distance. It is a known technique of SAS snipers.

Fresh information about Group 13 came to light in Febuary 1996 following the publication of the Scott Report on the arms-to-Iraq affair. During a lenghty interview, Gerald James, the former Chairman of Astra Holdings Plc - one of the British munitions manufacturers implicated in the illegal weapons trade - told how he had been ousted from the board of Astra in 1990. He alleges that his removal was orchestrated by a former member of Group 13, who had extremely high-level contacts in the intelligence community and the government. In written evidence presented to the House of Commons Trade and Industry Commitee Inquiry into arms exports to Iraq, on 5th February 1992, James claimed that he had learned through reliable sources that Group 13 is 'apparently a hit or contract squad for the Foreign Office and Secuirity Services'.

In his explosive book, In The Public Interest (1995), which blows the lid off British involvement in Arming Iraq's Saddam Hussein, James writes that 'The Foreign Office is said to draw Group 13 operatives from the SAS as well as from private security firms'. He adds that Group 13's duties involve 'service to the nation of a kind only given to the most ruthlessly experienced SAS officers'. The Foreign Office reference clearly points to a MI6 connection. Known also as the Secret Intelligence Service - a name well known by lovers of the Bond movies - MI6 comes under the control of the Foreign Office. Perhaps the infamous '007: License to Kill' pedigree has evolved from those fictional suave men in black bow ties and tuxedos, to become those all-to-secretive men in camouflage smocks and beret badges inscribed with the motto "Who Dares Wins".


Ther is some evidence to suggest that UK Secret Service hit squads have links with similar groups in the US. According to J. Olin Grabbe, a retired American professor, a highly secret US assassination team operates out of the NSA. The unit, Grabbe claims, is called I-3 and is thought by some to have connections with Britain's Group 13. Also, ex-CIA operative Gene 'Chip' Tatum maintains that he was a member of an American-based, international assassination team. The team, Tatum claims, is called Pegasus and operates around the world. Targets are normally influential politicians and financiers. Tatum also has stated that the British end of Pegasus was run during the mid-1980's by a high-ranking British government official.


If Group 13 exists who could they be allied to, from article above, connections with the NSA could point to MJ-12's NRO SECTION DELTA, or if Group 13 looks after SAS personnel as also stated, they could be used as allies against the possible Shan infestation of British Intelligence, possibly even helping the Army of the Third Eye. Your thoughts and comments would be appreciated.

From the Ice Cave.

See Also:
The Silent 13

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