The $10m informer who worked for FBI and MI5 inside dissident republicianism

To Real IRA leader and Omagh bomber Michael McKevitt, Dave Rupert was a dedicated sympathiser and fundraiser from upstate New York, with an eye for the ladies.

He was, in fact, the FBI and MI5’s highest-placed, and best-paid, agent inside the ranks of dissident republicanism, writes Sean O’Driscoll

Double life: American citizen David Rupert infiltrated the Continuity IRA (CIRA) and Real IRA (RIRA) while working for the FBI and MI5

 

On May 10, 1997, a passenger climbed into the back of the Belfast taxi. The driver noticed he was carrying a holdall in his right hand.

As the taxi turned on to College Avenue, the back windows smashed with a low thud. Glass flew on to the road.

Three of the passenger’s fingers were strewn around the cab and blood was pouring from his hand. He was screaming as he searched for his fingers.

Dripping blood onto the seat, he put each finger he found into his pocket.
The sports bag was in tatters; wires and a large lump of charred yellow cake could be seen in its remains.

The driver stared at the bag and then at the passenger, who opened the taxi door with his uninjured left hand. Smoke followed him.

A man walking his dog and a woman carrying her shopping stopped and stared. They saw a man limp his way down College Avenue, leaving a trail of blood.

Gerard ‘Hucker’ Moyna, barely conscious, was put in the back of a car by a dissident republican.

Hucker had already served 10 years for possession of weapons and would do life in prison if he was caught in the north. He was driven two hours west and over the border to Donegal.

As with every Saturday, Continuity IRA army council member Joe O’Neill was onstage at his pub in Bundoran, singing rebel ballads with Peggy, a local woman who sang and played the accordion.

David Rupert, an American Continuity IRA (CIRA) supporter and financier, remembers O’Neill hurriedly leaving the pub.

“Joe was in the middle of a set,” remembers Rupert. “He’s told that there is a call for him in the bar. He just gets off the stage, no explanation, and Peggy continues singing.”

O’Neill drove his Mercedes from Bundoran a short distance to Ballyshannon, where Hucker was lying in the back of a car, moaning. They drove down the street to a doctor, arriving at close to midnight. “It’s an emergency,” O’Neill said, knocking on the doctor’s door. “The man has no fingers.”

The doctor opened up a blood-soaked bandage. Hucker took the fingers from his pocket. O’Neill tried to explain that fireworks had gone off in Hucker’s hand. The doctor said that he would have to refer Hucker to Sligo General Hospital.

In Sligo, doctors could see almost immediately that the fingers could not be reattached. Meanwhile, in Belfast, the Army had arrived and sealed off College Avenue.

A robot approached the taxi and leaned its video camera in the back door. It revealed two-and-a-half kilos of Semtex, still unexploded, and a timing device. Only the bomb’s detonators had gone off. Had the Semtex exploded, it would have blown up the taxi and everyone standing nearby.

It was clear from the taxi driver’s account that the man was badly injured, missing fingers and bleeding from his hand. Sligo General Hospital told the gardai that they believed Hucker had explosives injuries.

Hours later, a group of gardai arrived at the hospital. O’Neill again tried to explain that fireworks had gone off, injuring him, but he was immediately arrested under the Offences Against the State Act and taken to Sligo garda station.

O’Neill posted bail the next morning. He drove straight to the hotel in Bundoran where Rupert was staying. Rupert was making last-minute preparations before going back to his home in the US. O’Neill had an urgent request for him: “I need you to buy the biggest firecrackers you can find, blow them up and them send them to me immediately. Immediately. Now.”

If they could get powerful American fireworks couriered overnight, they could scatter them on the beach in Bundoran and concoct a story that Hucker had blown his fingers off while lighting fireworks given to him as a gift by Rupert.

What O’Neill didn’t know was that Rupert was an FBI spy working within the Continuity IRA, and everything he told him was being reported back to the FBI field office in Chicago.

Agent Ed Buckley cleared it for Rupert to buy firecrackers in a megastore, blow them up and send them to O’Neill for Hucker’s alibi.

“You can’t get fireworks in Illinois, but across the border in Indiana they were on every street corner,” recalls Rupert. “So, I just bought some big ones, let them off across from the trucking office and sent them to Joe.”

Before O’Neill could even concoct the story, the gardai knew he was lying. The evidence against Hucker was overwhelming and they were able to show that there was no fireworks residue on the beach. Hucker pleaded guilty and was jailed for seven years.

Rupert made for an unlikely IRA member. Standing six feet seven inches tall and weighing 21 stone, the former wrestler, from Florida, was a trucking company manager in upstate New York, and had no Irish connections.

He did, however, have a very big interest in women, and that is what would eventually bring him to work for the FBI and MI5 while infiltrating the very heart of the Continuity IRA and, later, the Real IRA.

While partying in a beach bar in Florida in 1992, he happened to hear Irish folk music coming from a pub across the road. He was curious and wandered over.

There he met a beautiful Irish-American woman named Linda Vaughn.

A major Democratic Party operative, that year she ran the Florida campaign for Connecticut governor Paul Tsongas, who was running for president.

She was also a lobbyist for Noraid, the US fundraising wing of the IRA.

Rupert was besotted with her and feigned some knowledge about Ireland. They were dating from the first night and, within months, she had invited him to Ireland to meet O’Neill and her other republican friends.

After a few visits, the huge American had come to the attention of the Irish Special Branch, who covertly photographed him with O’Neill and with another republican bar owner outside a hotel in Sligo.

They passed the photographs to the FBI, who repeatedly called to Rupert’s trucking company in Chicago until, eventually, he agreed to FBI-funded trips to Ireland in exchange for small pieces of information about republicans. They even gave him $8,600 to take the lease on a pub outside Bundoran, so he had a better cover for being in Ireland and where he could get deeper into IRA circles.

After the Omagh bomb in 1998, his mission became all the more urgent. By now, the FBI had contacted MI5, who needed someone in the larger – and deadlier – Real IRA.

At the same time, many Continuity IRA members were becoming disillusioned with its narrow, anachronistic and very Catholic outlook. Rupert was good friends with one of them, who drifted over to the Real IRA and told the Real IRA chief, Michael McKevitt, about the wealthy American who was bringing envelopes of $10,000 in cash over to the Continuity IRA several times a year.

McKevitt fell for it – he wanted to poach Rupert for the Real IRA. He, Rupert and the Real IRA’s deputy leader, Seamus McGrane, had a meeting at a hotel in Monaghan. Rupert and McKevitt instantly liked each other. In emails to MI5, Rupert can barely contain his excitement. MI5 was also ecstatic.

McKevitt was married to Bobby Sands’ sister, Bernadette, who ran the Real IRA’s political wing, the 32 County Sovereignty Committee. She, too, warmed to the American, nicknamed ‘The Big Yank’ by republicans, and soon he was in McKevitt and his wife’s house in Blackrock, Co Louth, dropping off envelopes of cash, installing MI5-vetted encryption software on their computer and supplying them with a free computer.

McKevitt liked Rupert so much that he suggested, with the approval of dissident republicans in America, that Rupert sit in on the Real IRA army council to verify that the US money was being well spent – thereby avoiding the “shenangians” of the Provisional IRA, in which millions in US fundraising money ended up in the hands a few select republicans.

In my new book, The Accidental Spy, I draw on 2,300 emails between Rupert and his handlers in the FBI and M15, plus dozens of hours of interviews with Rupert, Real IRA members and security forces, to show just how close to the centre of dissident republicanism he reached.

Army council meetings were held in a cosy cottage overlooking the Cooley Mountains in north Louth, where a farmer’s wife made the army council tea while they discussed upcoming attacks in London and Northern Ireland. Rupert was also asked to procure complex bomb parts from America – sometimes from newly developed video games or personal organisers only then available in the US. That took him into the Real IRA engineering department, which met at a house in Dundalk.

At one of the engineering meetings, one of the bomb-makers became suspicious when Rupert handed them encryption software. How could they know it wasn’t tampered with? He looked at Rupert suspiciously and then began to raise his voice. Rupert shouted back.

McKevitt intervened and told them both to calm down, that Rupert had come through America and that everything was fine. It was the scariest moment in the operation for Rupert. He wondered how long he could hold on, because there was a growing chorus of suspicion about him.

McKevitt wouldn’t listen to it. He needed a US fundraising wing and Rupert had helped him snatch it wholesale from the Continuity IRA. He was their man. He even let Rupert in on his most precious secret: the Provisional IRA’s chief funder, the Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi, wouldn’t help the Real IRA, so they were on the international market looking for Saddam Hussein or some other enemy of the UK to step in.

Rupert passed on the information to M15, which immediately got to work. It had Arab agents who could impersonate Iraqi government spies, who soon made contact with McKevitt, offering millions of dollars and tonnes of weapons. They recorded 19 phone calls, in which McKevitt offered to travel to Baghdad to select the weapons to be shipped to Ireland.

In his final phone call, he was angry with the Iraqis that they had not yet sent millions of dollars to an untraceable Irish bank account, as they had promised. The MI5 agents, posing as the Iraqis, pleaded for more time, as there were bureaucratic considerations in Baghdad. McKevitt went to bed angry. The next morning, he was awoken by a thunderous knock on the door. It was the Irish Special Branch.

He was taken to a Garda station, where 700 questions had already been prepared for him. He had been arrested many times before – it was the usual. But he noticed his interviews were dwelling on one subject. “Do you know a David Rupert from the USA?” “Do you know Dave Rupert?” “How long did you know David Rupert?”

It was the first indication for McKevitt that he had been betrayed. He was taken directly to the Special Criminal Court in Dublin and charged with the new, post-Omagh offence of directing terrorism.

Rupert was being kept under very tight security by the FBI, which flew him on the US Attorney General’s plane to an RAF base in the UK and then to Ireland to give evidence against McKevitt.

The two men stared at each other across the packed courtroom. George Birmingham, the chief prosecutor, asked the question: “And for the record, can you identify the accused, Michael McKevitt?” Rupert leaned out his arm and pointed his arm at his old friend, who was sitting between two gardai. McKevitt had been warned this moment was coming. He didn’t react.

His barristers were waiting. In the longest cross-examination in Irish legal history, they tried to take Rupert apart – his four marriages, his failed businesses, his attempts to set up gambling operations on international waters, his attempts at professional wrestling, even the fact that he once owned a DeLorean car – “built by a crook and driven by a crook”, according to McKevitt’s chief counsel.

None of it stuck. McKevitt knew the sheer volume of evidence was insurmountable and, after weeks of evidence, very publicly walked out of court and back to his holding cell. The court ruled that Rupert was a “very truthful” witness and jailed McKevitt for 20 years.

Rupert and his wife, Maureen, live under multiple layers of FBI-created identities in the US. In 2008, there was an attempt by a Real IRA leader in Northern Ireland to obtain Rupert’s real social security number through an Irish-American sympathiser, but the PSNI alerted the FBI and Rupert bumped up his security – and his weaponry.

In all, he made nearly $10m from his work for the FBI, all because he happened to wander over to an Irish bar and meet a beautiful woman.

“Not in a million years could you recreate the circumstances of what happened,” he says now. “It was just one of those things – a small event led to another event to another to another.

“At the time, it didn’t seem as scary to me as it does now. I know now that I’m lucky to be alive.”

The Accidental Spy by Sean O’Driscoll will be published by Mirror Books, priced £18.99 in hardcover, on January 24

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph for the original story

Statement from the Continuity IRA POWs on the death of Declan Mc Glinchey.

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PSNI officer who tended to dying Constable Stephen Carroll admits faking documents amid survivor’s guilt – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

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Former PSNI/RUC officer John Gillespie (33).

A former PSNI/RUC officer who tended to a dying colleague after a dissident republican group CIRA shot him has addmitted faking documents and interviews during an investigation.

http://m.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/psni-officer-who-tended-to-dying-constable-stephen-carroll-admits-faking-documents-amid-survivors-guilt-31287704.html

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Constable Stephen Carroll - PSNI/RUC

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With many thanks to: staff reporter: The Belfast Telegraph.

THE GUN USED IN THE MURDER OF STEPHEN CARROLL FOUND AFTER TIP-OFF!!!

SOLICITORS acting on behalf of (Craigavon Two) two men convicted of the murder of PSNI/RUC police officer Stephen Carroll have written to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) after new details about the case were made public.

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Brendan (Yandy) McConville and John Paul (JP) Wootton - wrongly convicted of murder

Brendan (Yandy) McConville (43) and John Paul (JP) Wootton (23) were convicted of killing the officer in Craigavon in March 2009. Both men have denied any part in the Continuity IRA (CIRA) attack that claimed the PSNI/RUC man’s life as he answered a 999 emergency call. It emerged this week, in a European Court judgement, that the gun used to kill Constable Carroll, pictured below, was discovered by police after a tip-off by a suspect, who was in custody at the time.

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Constable Stephen Carroll

The suspect is referred to in court papers only as RE. The suspect was initially charged with withholding information about Mr Carroll’s murder but these charges were subsequently dropped in mid 2010. Brendan McConville’s solicitor Darragh Mackin, of KRW Law, has written to the PPS requesting notes taken during police interviews with RE and asking what happened to the charges levelled against him.
Details of the case emerged after RE took a case against the British government over concerns that the PSNI/RUC was carrying out surveillence of conversations between him and his solicitor.

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Justice for the Craigavon Two #JFTC2

The man was arrested and questioned three times in the weeks after the officer was killed. Court papers reveal that he was assesssed by a medical officer as a “vulnerable person” and therefore should not have been interviewed – unless in exceptional circumstances – in the absence of an appropriate adult. Court papers reveal that before being seen by a solicitor or appropriate adult the man asked to speak to investigating officers “off the record”. During the course of that interview he “gave information which led to the recovery of the gun used in the constable’s murder.”

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#JFTC2

His solicitors subsequently brought a separate case on his behalf to the European Court which this week found that secret surveillance carried out on solicitors and their clients is in breach of European Law. During the first two periods of detention his solicitor received assurances that consultations would not be subject to covert surveillance. During a third arrest the PSNI/RUC refused to give an assurance.
The court ruling found that the man’s Article Eight rights under the European Court of Human Rights had been violated.
Article Eight protects the right for private and family life, home and correspondence.

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Nichola Harte, of Harte, Coyle, Collins Solicitors, who represented RE, said the ruling has wider implications. “The European Court criticised the inadequate procedures currently in place in the North of Ireland for the handling, use, storage and destruction of information obtained from covert surveillance of legal consultations,” she said. “The police arrangements were and continue to be a violation of the right to respect for private life. “This landmark European ruling has implications for all legal consultations in police stations if subjected to covert surveillance.”
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News. For the origional story.

What can Anarchists learn from modern day republicanism?

Republican Sinn Fein and the Continuity IRA

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Republican Sinn Fein and the Continuity IRA

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Continuity IRA (CIRA) prisoners issue Maghaberry deal call

REPUBLICAN inmates allegned to the Continuity IRA in Maghaberry Prison have called for a deal with jail authorities to be implemented.

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The call comes as tensions in the high security Co Antrim continue to rise. Several CIRA prisoners are currently held on the Roe Three landing. In the past, prisoners have accused authorites of “reneging” on a 2010 deal to relax controlled movement and end strip searches in the prison. Concerns have also been raised about the continued detention of prisoners on the jail’s punishment block, even though no rules have been broken. In a statement, CIRA prisoners said the 2010 deal should be put in place. “We would like to highlight that there is a precedent of consequences that followed the denial of political status,”it read. “In the past these consequences have had a high price for all sides, but when it comes to our identity as political prisoners no price is too high. 10615433_327688004074992_8404733087712788629_n“With that being said we are simply asked for the implemention of what we agreed upon in the August 2010 Agreement and the only interpretation should be exactly what was agreed not only on paper but also verbally.” Prisoners also referred to a recent indepent stock take of the 2010 deal as a “failed mechanisn which was far too ambigouus to have any hope of mending the broken down agreement.” The statement said the recent appointment of Tom Miller, who is a former member of the prison’s Board of Visitors, as chair of the Roe House Prisoners’ Forum “will never be acceptable” and they not consulted before the appointment was made. Meanwhile, in a new-year statement the Republican Networkork for Unity echoed the call for the August 2010 Deal to be implemented. The republcan party also described the recent Stormont House Ageement as “nothing more than a neo-liberal orientated document set to increase the gap between rich and poor”. With many thanks to: The irish News, Connla Young, for the origional story.

CIRA ADMITS PLANTING BOOBY TRAP BOMB

‘Once again a community in this city has been ransom by those intent on creating chaos and misery – SDLP councillor Brian Heading.

THE Continuity IRA has claimed responsibility for a bobby trap bomb under a policeman’s car in West Belfast last week. 297508_1534155810484_1732476454_761722_666488 The device was discovered on the Blacks Road in West Belfast last Friday and is believed to have fallen from the underside of a car as it traveled along the route, close to Woodbourne PSNI/RUC station. Police later said the device was viable and a number of homes were evacuated while the British army (whom Shame Fein claim are no longer in the occupied six counties of Ireland) bomb squad made it safe. In a statement to the Irish News the Continuity’s IRA “GHQ leadership” claimed responsibility for the device. The statement, which was accompanied by a codeword, threatened to carry out more attacks on the security forces. The group also said it intends to target members of the Policing Board “and anybody that supports the RUC/PSNI”. The statement also said that “dole fraud squad, TV licence officers, custom and excise and bank officials are all deemed as to be legitimte targets”. The CIRA was responsible for a sniper attack that claimed the life of RUC/PSNI man Stephen Carroll (who two men are still waiting for justice on their appeal since October) in March 2009 in Lurgan. In recent years the group has reformed and weeded out some of the bad apples who were bringing their good name into disrespute. In its statement the group said its leadership is drawn from accross Ireland. “There is only one IRA that represents the four provinces of Ireland,” the statement read. SDLP councillor Brian Heading condemned last week’s devolpment. “Once againa a community in this city has been held to those intent on creating chaos and misery,” he said. With many thanks to: Connla Young, the Irish News.

CIRA VOW TO WIPE OUT DEALERS

THE Continuity IRA in Newry has claimed it will wage a campaign of terror against heroin dealers in the city. The dissident group insists it has identified those suspected of plying the deadly drug and is determined to erase them from the community.

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It has fingered members of the traveling community as some of those involved in the illegal trade. This claim comes as police begun an investigation into a suspected shooting incident in the city. Damage was caused to an unoccupied house sometime last Friday night. Locals have reported hearing three shots being fired at an address we cannot identify for legal reasons. A statement released by the CIRA stated : “This is a Statement from South Down Command of Continuity Irish Republican Army. “Last night our volunteers carried out a gun attack on a house. “The individual living in this house is a member of a traveling criminal gang who is deeply involved in the drug trade. This person unfortunately was not at home. “We would also like to claim at this time that we carried out a bomb attack in Bessbrook and the other bomb attack in the Demesne, Carnagat. All these individuals are all part and parcel of a growing heroin drug culture within the traveling community. “We will not sit by while these gangs, and other gangs inflict this on our communities. There will be no further warnings issued to these people, instead we will take direct, severe, military action”.

Voicemail

This statement was released in the wake of a message being left on the voicemail of the office of the SDLP in NNearly claiming CIRA responsibility for the gun and bomb attacks. South Down MLA, Karen McKevitt said: “No group has the right to take the law into their own hands and use bombs and bullets, regardless of the seriousness of the alleged crimes. “In this sinister message, this paramilitary group claims that it carried out a gun attack in Newry on Friday last. The group also claimed responsibilty for two pipe bomb attacks, one in Bessbrook and the other in the Carnagat area of Newry. “This type of violence was a frequent part of our past, it was wrong then and it is now. The vast majority of our people rejected violence and continue to reject it. “Violence cannot be legitimised regardless of whether or not a paramilitary group has a ‘strategy’. I would urge anyone who has information about these crimes to pass it on to the police without delay,” added the MLA. “Police would appeal for anyone with information to contact them in Newry on 0845 600 800 or speak to them anonymously on Crimestoppers charity 0800 555 111,” added the spokesperson.

With many thanks to : Paula Mackin, Sunday World.

Related articles

‘CIRA’ THREAT TO TRAVELLERS CONDEMNED !

No group has the right to take the law into their own hands and use bombs and bullets – Dominic Bradley.

A SENIOR SDLP member has condemned threats against members of the Traveling community left on his office voicemail by a man claiming to be from the Continuity IRA.

Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA)

Nearly and Armagh assembly member Dominic Bradley says a man claiming to represent the republican paramilitary group left the message on an answering machine at his Nearly office on Saturday. The recording was discovered by office staff who turned up for work on Monday morning. Mr Bradley, said the caller issued the statement on behalf of the “South Down Command of Continuity Irish Republican Army” and admitted responsibility for a gun attack on a house in Crannard Gardens, Carnagat, in Newry on Friday night. The voice message also said the group was responsible for a pipe-bomb attack in Bessbrook and another in Newry’s Carnagat district earlier this year.

The caller did not use a codeword. The statement also threatened further attacks. “We will not sit by while these gangs, and other gangs inflict this on our communities,” it said. “There will be no further warnings issued to these people. Instead we will take direct, severe, military action.” On Monday night Mr Bradley ccondemned the threat. “No group has the right to take the law into their own hands and use bombs and bullets regardless of the seriousness of the alleged crimes,” he said. Police said they were investigating claims that “damage was caused to an unoccupied house” in Nearly at the weekend. “Police are investigating claims that this damage was caused by shots being fired,” a spokesman said.

With many thanks to : Connia Young, Irish News.

IRA POWs (Cabhair) set the record stright

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IRA POWs (Cabhair) set the record straight

FOLLOWING an internal discussion by CABHAIR-aligned prisoners a decision was taken to share facilities with Roe 4 prisoners, ie meals, gym facilities, exercise yard etc.

Disagreements arose with some prisoners in Roe House over the issues of parole and bail conditions. Some prisoners have recently accepted bail and conditions imposed by the prison authorities, i.e. drug tests have been taken, electronic tags accepted as parole conditions.

As Republicans we believe this is not acceptable as it is an attempt to criminalise our struggle. As some prisoners have accepted this, the prison is now using it as an excuse not to grant parole to other prisoners who are not accepting these conditions. We believe this is an attempt by the prison to foster disagreement and disunity among prisoners, to divide and conquer.

Within the prison the CIRA prisoners’ position has not changed. We are operating under our own command structure and we are fully aligned to the leadership of the Republican Movement, Republican Sinn Féin and CABHAIR. Republican Sinn Féin and CABHAIR remain the only people authorised to speak and fundraise on our behalf.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has been supportive of us in the past and ask that this support continues for us and CABHAIR.

Recently a CIRA prisoner, Damien McKenna of Lurgan, was refused parole to attend his son’s Communion, the reasons given was that he is a Category A prisoner, if released he would be a danger to the police and the public, also there was danger he would abscond. They also claimed he would not be eligible for parole until November.

These are used as excuses to deny parole, but they will use the issue of drug testing etc to block parole. This is the second time Damien has been refused parole. He was refused parole for his father’s funeral which shows the vindictiveness of the system.

At present the system of cooperation with Roe 4 prisoners is working efficiently, now we await the August 2010 agreement is to be fully implemented. We call on all Republican prisoners to work for the full implementation of the agreement.

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