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Former RUC chief ‘failed to act’ over plot to kill Catholic officer

Family insist findings point to collusion

A FORMER RUC chief constable “failed to act” when he was “quite probably”aware of a plot to murder one of his own Catholic officers, a damning report has found.

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The murder of sergeant Joe Campbell – who was gunned down as he left a Co Antrim police station – was one of the most controversial killings of the Troubles. The father-of-eight was hit by a single high velocity shot to the head as he closed the main gates of Cushendall RUC police station on February 25 1977. Sgt Campbell’s family believe his murder involved collusion between rogue elements of the police and loyalist paramilitaries. In his report yesterday Police Ombudsman Dr Michael said evidence of collusion was “inconclusive” but concluded the death was “preventable”. He said there was “sufficient, reliable evidence” that the then head of Special Branch and “quiet probably the chief constable were aware of concerns, which had been documented, about the threat to his life and failed to act upon them”. The RUC chief constable at the time of the murder was Sir Kenneth Newman, a former Metropolitan Police commissioner now aged 87. He told Dr Maguire’s investigators he had no recollection of the Sgt Campbell case. In a statement yesterday the murdered man’s widow Rosemary said she was unhappy with the report, which has taken 12 years to complete, “because it does not contain the full account of the murder which I had hoped for.” Sgt Campbell’s son Tommy insisted the findings amounted to “collusion”. “If you read the report what other conclusions can you come to…. Senior officers…. decide that it’s not worth their time to stop the murder of one of their colleagues what more stark definition of collusion could you get.” RUC/PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Alistair Findlay said the report “makes difficult reading”.

Staggering revelations in Ombudsman’s report ‘difficult reading’

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The Police Ombudsman Michael Maguire said: “On the basis of the information available I can neither discount nor substantiate the allegations of a wider conspiracy into the murder of Sgt Campbell,” he said. When asked last night who was head of RUC Special Branch at the time the PSNI said it was “unable to provide that information”. However, The Irish News can reveal the man who headed the secret department was Mick Slevin who has since died. Sgt Campbell’s death sent shockwaves through the small seaside village which until that point had been relatively untouched by the Troubles. He is believed to have been gunned down by notorious UVF gunman and security force agent Robin Jackson who was associated with the infamous Glenanne gang. The report reveals that senior RUC officers were warned by concerned Special Branch members that Joe Campbell was under threat but they did not act. The ombudsman said the murder was “preventable” and that subsequent investigation into the murder was flawed on a number of different occasions”. It also emerged that police documents relating to the case have disappeared and that a retired RUC officer based in Ballymena at the time of the murder has refused to cooperate with the ombudsman’s investigation. Joe Campbell jnr, who first lodged the complaint with the ombudsman’s office in 2002, said the family’s campaign for justice for their father would go on. “Today we have got a report. What we don’t have, we don’t have the truth and we certainly don’t have any justice,” he said.

‘There was a threat on my father’s life. If you do nothing about it either before or after is it not collusion? – Tommy Campbell.

Three years after the killing retired RUC Special Branch man Charles McCormick was acquitted of Sgt Campbell’s murder. He was convicted of charges including possession of explosives and firearms and armed robbery. These were all quashed on appeal. A second man Anthony O’Doherty, originally from Portglenone in Co Antrim, was convicted of withholding information about the murder but later received a royal prerogative of mercy. A republican, O’Doherty was recruited by McCormick to become a Special Branch informer. In 2009 McCormick was rearrested and questioned about the killing and a file was later sent to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS). However, in 2013 the PPS directed that no action be taken. RUC/PSNI deputy chief constable Alistair Finlay said the report “makes difficult reading”. “It is clear there were significant shortcomings in the RUC handling of information prior to the murder and both subsequent police investigations into Sgt Campbell’s murder,” he said.

With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News,for the original story.

Who is Sir Kenneth Newman?

BORN in Sussex, Sir Kenneth Newman was a well-known and respected police officer in England before he turned his attention to the North of Ireland.

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He moved through the ranks becoming a sergeant in the 1950s, before being appointed a detective inspector with the Vice Squad in the early 1960s and later becoming a superintendent and chief-superintendent. In 1973, during the early years of the Troubles, his policing career saw him move to the North of Ireland where he took up the positition of deputy chief constable of the RUC. Within three years he became chief constable of the force. During this time he introduced the policy of Ulsterisation, a strategy aimed at giving the police a greater security role. The strategy saw the RUC replace the British army as the dominant security force in the North of Ireland. Sir Kenneth left the RUC in 1980 during the Hunger Strike period and returned to England. He then served for three years as inspector of constabulary and commander of Police Staff College at Bra shill in Hampshire. During his time at Bramshill he honed his public order skills. In 1982, he became commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and subsequently initiated a major reform. His reform included disbanding the controversial Special Patrol Group – a specialist serious public disorder team – replacing it with the Territorial Support Group. He also established an area-based policing plan, which moved resources into eight geographical areas. Having been knighted in 1978, he retired in 1987.

With many thanks to: Marie Louise McCrory, The Irish News.

RUC/PSNI forced into U-turn are now to probe activities of shadowy MRF

 “Any ‘fair-minded’ person can see that these people firing were from a ‘renegade unit’ within the British army” – Patrica McVeigh.

RUC/PSNI is to investigate the activities of a shadowy British army unit operating in the North of Ireland in the 1970s – despite earlier ruling out action against former soldiers.

The RUC/PSNI had ruled out an investigation into the actions of members of the Military Reaction Force (MRF) despite alleged admissions of criminality by soldiers during a television documentary. During the Panorrama programme ex-members claimed they “took the war to the IRA” in the early years of the Troubles. Some soldiers from the controversial unit, which apparently disbanded after 14 months, told journalist John Ware about their involvement in the MRF, including shooting dead several unarmed civilians. Director of Public Prosecutions Barbra McGrory, took the unprecedented step of asking police to investigate the contents of the documentary. However, the families of two unarmed civilians murdered by the undercover unit were told there would be no investigation after Chief Constable Drew Harris said there was no evidence of any crime. Solicitor Padraig O Muirigh, who represents the families of Pat McVeigh (44) and Daniel Rooney (18) said at the time they planned to apply for a judicial review into the decision. Mr O Muirigh, had voiced concerns that no investigative steps had been taken and no effort made to trace or question the former soldiers who had participated in the documentary.

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However, as they were preparing to launch a High Court challenge to force the police to investigate the contents of the programme, the RUC/PSNI confirmed they would now investigate the army unit. The Public Prosecution Service confirmed in writing this week that they had been given assurances by the RUC/PSNI that a full investigation would now commence and steps taken to identify the soldiers. Senior RUC/PSNI officer Detective Chief Inspector Brian Hanna has been appointed to take on the case and draw up an “investigative strategy”. “I am now satisfied with these steps and I will keep the matter under review”, Mr McGrory said in a letter informing the families this week. Patricia McVeigh’s father Pat, who was one of those murdered by an MRF patrol, welcomed the development. “We hope Brian Hanna will do a good and thorough job in investigating these men. We would also request a meeting with Mr Hanna and the new chief constable as soon as possible. “We were fobbed of for six months as indeed was the DPP Barbra McGrory. “Any ‘fair-minded’ person can see these people firing were from a ‘renegade unit’ within the British army”. Mr O Muirigh said the new investigation must look at the entire 40-man unit and not just isolated incidents. “What we don’t want is for this investigation to be placed into the hands of the Historical Enquiries Team (HET). We’ve been told a senior investigating officer has been appointed and that’s to be welcomed,” he said. “It is also important that the families meet with the senior investigating officer and the incoming Chief Constable George Hamilton at the soonest opportunity for reassurance that a thorough investigation will now be carried out. “We will be calling for this investigation to look at the entire unit and not just those who took part in the Panorama programme.

With many thanks to: Allison Morris, The Irish News, for the original story.

Royal Marine convicted of murdering (in cold blood) an injured Afghan prisoner named !!!

alex+blackman

Alexander Blackman murdered (executed) in cold blood an innocent Afghan injured prisoner. Guilty of murder.

http://www.independent.ie/world-news/royal-marine-convicted-of-murdering-injured-afghan-prisoner-named-29812856.html

#justicefortheballymurphymassacrevictims

#endimpunityofbritishsoilders

UDA agent ‘mentally unstable’ according to British army files!

‘We will have to study this new information and see what course of action we take as a result – John Finucane.

Newly discovered military documents reveal that British agent Brian Nelson had previously been discharged from the army after suffering serious mental illness.

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Records obtained by victims campaigner and researcher Ciaran MacAirt show that when Nelson left the ranks of the Black Watch in February 1970 he had suffered a breakdown. Despite this he was issued with a legally-held firearm and later recruited as a British army agent, going on to be involved in the shipment of arms and multiple murders, including the 1989 shooting of human rights solicitor Pat Finucane. On the orders of his handlers Nelson had infiltrated the UDA gang which shot dead the father-of-three. The murdered man’s son, solicitor John Finucane, said the family would be asking for clarification about the new information. The murder was the subject of a recent British government-ordered review by barrister Sir Desmond de Silva. However, no mention was made of Nelson’s medical condition.”This is certainly disturbing and something that the MoD [Ministry of Defence] would need to explain. It is also now for Desmond de Silva to state whether he was aware of this,” Mr Finucane said. “We will have to study this new information and see what course of action we take as a result.”

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The documents show that when Nelson, from the Shankill area of Belfast, was “mentally and emotionally unstable”. Medical assessments carried out in November and December 1969 recommended he not have any overseas combat postings. In the space of a month his condition was found to have deteriorated from ‘very serious’ to the gravest category. The December 1969 examination showed that his mental breakdown was so serious he was recommended for discharge just weeks later. Mr MacAirt said: “Nelson, British army number 24032542, was very far from the model soldier. “His military records display a litany of misdemeanours, including the serious ‘absent without leave’ and criminality. “During his short, four-year military service he had served 128 days in military detention – more than 8 per cent of his total service. “What is most interesting, though, is that we learn of the reason for his final discharge. It was not due to his poor service history or that he went AWOL as has been thought. “The reason for his discharge has serious ramifications for the de Silva report and calpability in litigation that is being brought befor the court against the British State. “Brian Nelson’s military file records that he was discharged from the British army as he was mentally and emotionally unstable.” Despite his mental condition, Nelson was recruited by the British army’s Force Research Unit (FRU) in 1984, but not before he had been involved in serious sectarian attacks including the ‘romper room’ torture of Gerard Higgins, who was registered blind, in a Shankill Road drinking den. Mr Higgins was beaten, burned and electroucuted by Nelson and a gang of loyalists before being taken away in a car. The car, which belonged to the former soldier, was intercepted by a British army unit. Nelson was found to be armed with a legally held weapon. Transcripts of his police interveiws, obtained by Mr MacAirt, reveal that he told the RUC he had been given the weapon for his own protection. Nelson was sentenced to serve seven years for the 1973 attack on Mr Higgins of which he served half. Charges of conspiracy to murder against him were dropped. “How could Nelson have been issued with a gun if, as his military record tells us, he was mentally and emotionally unstable and discharged from the British army because of this?” Mr MacAirt said. “The revelations of Brian Nelson’s mental and emotional instability and the questions raised about his convictions go to the very foundation of the de Silva report and his examination of Nelson as an agent.”

with many thanks to: Allison Morris,The Irish News

R.I.P Peter McBride Murdered in cold blood by the British Army on this day 4th September 1992.

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Ireland’s Own

Remember Peter McBride today. On 4 September 1992, the unarmed, 18-year-old father of two young daughters was shot dead by two Scots Guardsmen in the New Lodge area of Belfast. Guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher stopped, searched and questioned McBride; and then, as he was walking away, Wright and Fisher shot him dead from a range of 70 yards, hitting him twice in the back.

The two soldiers were taken to Girdwood Army Barracks, where the RUC were denied access to them for at least 10 hours. But the next day, Wright and Fisher were charged with 999457_162285820642051_466863143_nmurder.

In February 1995, Wright and Fisher were convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. At their trial, the two claimed that they shot at McBride because they believed he was “carrying a coffee-jar bomb.” However, Lord Chief Justice Kelly concluded that Wright and Fisher had plenty of time to determine what McBride was carrying, if anything, when they searched him. Moreover, in his ruling, Kelly wrote that the two guardsmen had “lied about critical elements of their version of events…and deliberately chose to put forward a version which they both knew to be untrue.”

Still, Wright and Fisher each served only six years of their life-term sentences! In September 1998, just two days before the sixth anniversary of McBride’s murder, the two were released and permitted to resume serving in the british army, where they both received promotions!

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In 2003, Wright was discharged from the army for medical reasons following a shooting injury to his wrist that he sustained in Iraq, but Fisher remains as a soldier serving in the British army

THE GRIM REAPER – Greysteel psycho is freed from jail….again

Greysteel killer walks free for second time as prison staff tell us “He’s a nasty nutter”

TRICK OR TREAT‘ 

HORROR GUNMAN

RELOADED – SO HE

COULD KILL MORE

TWISTED Grey steel killer Stephen Irwin is back walking the streets of Ulster, we can reveal. The 40-year-old UFF murderer walked out of Maghaberry Prison on Wednesday, in a shock decision which is certain to cause distress for the families of his eight victims.

RETURN OF THE REAPER

Irwin was responsible for one of the darkest days of the Troubles when he walked into the Rising Sun Bar on Hallowe’en night in 1993 armed to the teeth. Wearing a boiler suit and a balaclaver he fired around 44 shots, killing eight innocent people, and even stopped at one stage to replace his magazine clip so he could cntinue his bloody rampage. Last night the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) confirmed Irwin had been released. The Sunday World has learned that Irwin – regarded as a hero within some loyalist circles – was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement for a SECOND time. Irwin – who revelled in the nick-name given to him ‘Stevie Greysteel’ – was released after convincing a panel of Sentence Review Commissioners (SRC) that he was fit to be set free.

The move has shocked senior prison officers who say Irwin is “extremely violent”. Irwin had already been given an undeserved second chance when he was originally released under the terms of the 1998 peace agreement. But the blood-thirsty thug was returned to jail to serve out the remainder of his eight life sentences when he was involved in a vicious knife attack during the Irish Cup Final in 2005. He was given another four years on top for slashing the throat of another football van in a frenzied attack in Windsor Park. But he was told at the time of that court case that even after the four years had been served he would have to convince the SRC that it was safe for him to be set free. It means instead of serving the other eight life sentences Irwin is currently living in the Shankill area of Belfast.

Refused

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After he was released from prison the first time he refused to return to his home in Co Derry and instead moved into the Shankill because he had fallen in with Johnny Adair and his ‘C’ Company crew inside. There had been speculation within Maghaberry Prison that Irwin had been released on the orders of the Secretary of State, Teresa Villiers. However a spokesperson for the NIO said Ms Villiers had no involvement in Irwin’s release. The spokesperson said: “Mr Irwin applied to the Sentence Review Commissioners (SRC) for early release under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. “The SRC is an independent body and it is for them, not the Secretary of State, to determine prisoners ‘ suitability for release.”The Sentence Review Commissioners determined that Mr Irwin’s application for early release should be granted.” Last night prison sources said officerd in Maghaberry said they were shocked Irwin had been deemed fit for release. “He had a very bad reputation inside the jail,” said the source. “In fact the prison officers used to call him Stevie ‘what the f**k are you looking at ‘ Irwin because that’s usually how he spoke to people. “He was a real nutter, an nasty little piece of work when he was in here and was responsible for a number of assaults. “Nobody could believe it when they heard he was being let out. “And nobody will be remotely suprised when he walks back through the gates at Maghaerry!” The UFF targeted The Rising Sun Bar in Graysteel because it was a Catholic area, however two of the eight people murdered were Protestant. Irwin subsequently bragged to his fellow inmates about how he prepared for his deathly bussiness when he opened fire on drinkers in the pub. The incident became known as the ‘Trick or Treat’ murders because Irwin messed up his speech.

Nervous

He was supposed to read out a prepared UFF speech but got nervous and shouted ‘Trick or Treat’ instead. A woman in the bar, who thought it was a Hallowe’en prank said, “that’s not funny” and Irwin shot her first. It followed an IRA bomb attack on the Shankill Road in West Belfast just days earlier in which 10 people, including one of the bombers, were killed. One of his accomplices, Torrens Knight, was handed 12 life sentences for his part in the massacre and for his role in the separate murders of four workmen. He too was returned to jail in 2009 for attacking two woman who rowed with him and his wife in a bar. He also applied to the SRC and was released a year later. In 2006 the Sunday World published photos of Stephen Irwin inside the Old Maze prison partying with other loyalists and taking drugs. At the time it had been claimed he had penned a sick poem called ‘The Reaper’ which glorified the Greysteel massacre. His mother had contacted the Sunday World to deny her son had had anything to do with the poem. But we recieved photos of him sitting in his cell with the gruesome poem painted on his cell wall aloneside another of a gravestone with the words Trick or Treat – Rest in Pieces on it. Former inmates told us he bragged about his heinous crimes. “He was very proud of what he did at Graysteel and he showed no remorse at all,” said a former inmate. “He told everyone how he practised for a whole week to change the magazine on his AK-47 so he could re-load and kill as many people as possible,” said the former inmate. “He said he needed to be able to do it in five seconds just in case anyone tried to attack him when the first clip ran out. He said he practised it over 200 times.”

With many thanks to : Steven Moore, Sunday World.

UTV Live – McGurk’s anger

English: Plaque commemorating the victims of t...

Families of victims of the McGurk’s bar bombing say they’ve been left with no option but to take legal action to get access to a report about the atrocity.

McGurk families take HET to court

Relatives want access to atrocity report

RELATIVES of those killed in the McGurk’s Bar bombing are to issue High Court proceedings to gain access to a Historical Enquires Team (HET) report on the atrocity.

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The families were told that the HET investigation into the 1971 bombing of the family-run Belfast pub in which 15 men, women and children died had beencompleted in December last year. The HET began investigating the attack in 2006. The bombing was carried out by the UVF but the RUC brifed media outlets that it had been an IRA ‘own goal’. Despite repeated requests to both the HET and Chief Constable Matt Baggott’s office the report has still not been made available to the ffamilies. They have also lodged a complaint to the Police Ombudsman‘s office. The families claim the report’s release is being deliberately blocked from public scrutiny. Last month HM Inspectorate of Constabulary issued a damning report into the poor performance of the HET which concluded that the body had failed to properly investigate state killings.

There were calls for thecold case murder team to be scrapped in light of the report and because of a lack of public confidence. “We can confirm the families have instructed us to commence legal proceedings in the High Court in Belfast to get access to the report,” solicitor Kevin winters, who represents some of the families, said. “They do so reluctantly but have no choice.” Some of the families also plan to lodge an additional complaint today with the Policing Board. Ciaran Mac Airt, whose grandmother Kathleen Irvine died in the atrocity, said: “The state and its security forces conspired to criminalise our loved ones when they fabricated a story that the bomb was in transit and that customers were being schooled in bomb making. “To clear their good names or families have been forced to campaign against police lies and intransigence for two generations. “By blocking the release of the HET report into the death of our loved ones, the chief constable of the reformed Police Service of Northern Ireland is quite simply retraumatising our family members. “Our families have suffered enough.”

With many thanks to : Allison Morris, The Irish News.

TRIBUTES TO MOTHER OF THREE SON’S MASSACRED BY LOYALISTS

‘ The one thing she insisted on was that nobody would try to take revenge for the loss of her sons – Eugene Reavey

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A SOUTH Armagh woman whose three sons were shot dead by loyalists during the Troubles has been described as an “inspiration” after she passed away eearlier this week. Sadie Reavey died peacefully in Daisy Hill hospital overnight on Monday surrounded by members of her family.

Three of Mrs Reavey’s sons, John (24),  Brian (22) and Anthony (17), died after being shot by loyalists during an ambush on their White cross home in 1976. The murders were committed by the notorious loyalist the Glenanne Gang, which included members of the UVF, UDR and RUC. No-one has ever been charged in connection with the murders. Mrs Reavey suffered more heartache when her husband Jimmy died prematurely in 1981. There was yet more tragedy for the south Armagh woman in 1994 when her daughter Una McKenna died after losing a battle with cancer aged just 31. Mrs Reavey’s son Eugene last night said his mother always carried her grief with dignity. “She was a very strong person and a lot of people got a lot of inspiration from her over the years,” he said. “The one thing she insisted on was that nobody would try to take revenge for the loss of her sons.” Mr Reavey described his mother as a “descent woman” who was “well thought of” by neighbours and friends.

“Her life was a life well lived. She had a very strong faith and she would have prayed all day and all night,” he said. “That’s what got her through all those bad times.”She went to help other people to deal with her own ccommunity.” Former deputy first minister Seamus Mall on knew Mrs Reavey for many years. “She was a remarkably fine woman who withstood the agony of the murder of her three sons,” he said. “She always showed dignity and herself and her husband Jimmy were an example to the entire community in the way in which they dealt with the murder of their three sons.” Mr MMall on said Mrs Reavey was an example to others. “She was a tolerant woman and a person in the community that people admired respected and loved.” Earlier this year Mrs Reavey was visited in her home by shadow secretary of state Vernon Croaker. Mr Croaker also meet 90-year-old Mary O’Hare, whose daughter MA Ella was shot dead by British soldiers near Whitecross as she made her way to church in 1976. After the meeting Mr Croaker said both woman had handled their “grief with great dignity and compassion”. Requiem Mass for Mrs Reavey will be celebrated at St Brigids‘s Church, Whitecross, at 11am tommorow.

With many thanks to : Connla Young, The Irish News.

IGNORING THE DIRTY SECRETS OF STATE MURDER

HET FINDING ITS HANDS ARE TIED

NOBODY likes to talk about the elephant in the room – you know, the big issue that none of us can deal with. In our case it’s the past.

THE TRUTH COST NOTHING COVER UPS COST MILLIONS

The damning report by Her Majesty‘s Inspectorate of Constabulary into the working practice of the Historical Enquires Team should not come as a surprise to anyone. People talk about a hierarchy of victims and comment about how all murders should be treated equally. A fine sentiment. However, the truth is that murders ordered, facilitated, carried out by government agencies ARE different. We have no choice but to trust those who govern us, we have to abide by their laws, so yes it is different when a killing carried out by the State is not properly investigated. It may be argued that the soldiers or individuals who physically carried out the act are not as culpable as those who ordered them.

But the notion that because a killer wore a uniform means he or she should not be subjected to the full rigour of investigation is ridiculous, the fact that they weren’t sets those killings apart. State murder is differnt and it always will be, and the State will forever cling to their dirty secrets – we know that, it is the same the world over. I know victims’ families – on both sides – who have spoken very highly of their experience with the HET which leds me to a very obvious conclusion – this is an organisation operating with one hand tied behind its back. It is inconceivable that any attempt to properly investigate State murder is blocked, or hampered. The past isn’t going to go away, so we can only hope that someday the truth will come out. Sadly that is unlikely to happen until all those with too much to lose are dead and gone. For now the HET is being hung out to dry, the real answers lie further up the food chain.

With many thanks to : Richard Sullivan, Sunday World.

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