Dead man talking: The Brian Nelson files - Sunday World obtains secret confession

NewsBy Jim McDowell
Superspy Brian Nelson
Superspy Brian Nelson

This week the Sunday World publishes the most damning indictment of Britain’s undercover role in Ulster’s ‘dirty war’.

UDA top ‘Intelligence Officer’ and notorious double agent Brian Nelson was run by what he called ‘BMI’ – British Military Intelligence.

Now, from the grave, we have Nelson’s own handwritten files – a dead man talking.

And we reveal today how supertout Nelson set up: 

- EIGHT people for murder.


- Targeted THIRTY-EIGHT more for UDA death squads.


- Was involved in two more attempted murders.


- And, crucially, all the time during the Troubles, was run by British army spooks – who not only helped set up, but sanctioned the blood-letting.

Plus, Nelson claims that the ‘Boss’ of his British army handlers suggested in 1987 that the UDA should bomb targets in the Republic, including an oil tank terminal in Cork – and that was THIRTEEN years after the UVF Dublin and Monaghan bombs which left 33 innocent people dead and an unborn baby dead, and almost 300 people injured.

In his own hand Nelson details the journey of a spy through Ulster’s Troubles – murder, mayhem and political intrigue.

For six years the Belfast man was the jewel in the crown of British Military Intelligence – in partnership with his spymasters Nelson has the blood of at least eight people on his hands.

Together with his handlers they played judge, jury and executioner.

For the first time the Sunday World reveals in minute detail and in his own words the career of superspy Nelson. With exclusive access to his personal files we unmask the most notorious spies of the conflict.

Trusted by the UDA but in the employ of the state, Nelson had licence to kill.

With ruthless efficiency he earned a position of trust within the loyalist terror group – only to betray them to his spook bosses.

In more than 120 pages of handwritten notes Nelson coldly and calmly details the life of a state-sponsored assassin.

He names the men who pulled the triggers and how they were acting often with impunity.

And today we reproduce his dossier of death, a database for murder that reads like a who’s who of nationalist community leaders and prominent republicans.

The list of targets includes the likes of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane, murdered in 1989 by a UDA hit team controlled by British Military Intelligence.

Sinn Fein chief Gerry Adams – targeted twice by Nelson – and party colleague Alex Maskey are also listed, as is one-time Sinn Fein communications director Danny Morrison. He also plotted to kill now Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness by storming a Sinn Fein leadership meeting in west Belfast. Prominent republicans targeted include former IPLO chiefs Hugh Torney and Martin O’Prey.

The IRA’s chief in Belfast, Brian Gillen – suspected of having sat on the Provos’ ruling Army Council – is also targeted.

He tells how Jack Kielty, a Dundrum car mechanic and father of comedian Patrick, was murdered and how even his loyalist killers – whom he names – admitted they killed an innocent man.

It also reveals how loyalists planned to assassinate prominent west Belfast priest Fr Des Wilson. Often members of all branches of the military – the army, RUC and UDR – were involved in helping set up murders.

He tells how he was working in Germany when British Military Intelligence asked him to return to Belfast and join the UDA, where he was appointed overall head of intelligence of the terror group. With the help of his handlers, he drew up a detailed hitlist of around 200 republicans and nationalists.

And his handlers allowed him to distribute that list to UDA units. He tells how he informed his handlers of UDA Inner Council meetings and the names of killers – and again nothing was done.

The shocking Nelsongate revelations will rock the British and Irish political establishments, shock relatives of those maimed and murdered – and send a rocket through the ranks of the UDA godfathers, still living, who he names in his own, meticulous handwriting.