Bugging and MI5 agent behind ‘New IRA’ arrests

THE suspected leadership of the ‘New IRA’ was bugged at two meetings and had an MI5 agent in its ranks, The Irish News has learned (pictured below).

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Some of the North of Ireland’s most prominent republicans were last night being questioned by detectives for the fourth night with the expectation that serious charges will follow.

Those arrests  include:

■ Kevin Barry Murphy from Coalisland, once described as the leader of the Real IRA in East Tyrone.

■ Damien McLaughlin, also from Co Tryone, who was cleared in 2018 of charges linked to the murder of prison officer David Black.

■ Co Armagh woman Mandy Duffy, a chairperson of the New IRA’s political wing Saoradh and a sister-in-law of veteran republican Colin Duffy.

■ David Jordan, sentenced to seven years in 2010 for dissident activity in the Republic.

■ His wife Sharon Jordan, formerly Rafferty, who was one of a gang of four jailed in 2014 for a string of offences including the setting up of a training camp at Formil Wood on the outskirts of Omagh, Co Tryone.

■ Shea Reynolds from Lurgan, the youngest of the nine. He was previously charged with being part of a terror plot targeting a retired PSNI/RUC officer.

■ Gary Hayden from Derry, convicted last year of taking part in an illegal parade organised by Saoradh in the Creggan estate in 2018.

■ Saoradh Derry chairman Joe Barr, also convicted of taking part in the 2018 parade.

■ Paddy McDaid from Derry, who in 2013 was given a 16-month suspended jail term after being convicted of managing a meeting in support of a organisation.

It is also understood that a man not originally from the North of Ireland going by the name of Dennis McFadden (pictured above) a double agent and MI5 informer  but who was often seen in the company of senior republicans has left his Belfast home.

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Allison Morris SECURITY CORRESPONDENT for the original story –a.morris@irishnews.com

Operation targeting the ‘IRA’ bugged meetings in ‘Operation Arbacia’

A MAJOR surveillance operation targeting the ‘IRA’ involved the bugging of two meetings earlier this year.

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It is understood the meetings were held at separate locations in Co Tryone and that both audio and video evidence has been gathered. Ciarán Shiels, of Madden and Finucane Solicitors, who represents one of those arrested last night said it is alleged that the chief of staff and chairman of the ‘IRA’, which is sometimes referred to as the New IRA, addressed members of the organisation’s executive at both meetings. Mr Shiels said that around 500 PSNI/RUC officers were involved in the operation which has secured 36 hours of recordings. The solicitor said an emerging issue centres on the possible activity of a British agent.

The seven men and two women were arrested in early morning raids in Derry, Tyrone and Armagh on Thursday as part of operation police have called Arbacia. It is understood the operation was conducted in cooperation with MI5. On Wednesday police were granted an extra 72 hours to question the nine, who range in age from 26 to 50. Properties in Dublin, Laois, Cork and Kerry were also searched by gardai as part of the cross-border operation. The Irish News understands that others are wanted in connection with the investigation. Four offices across the north used by hardline republican party Saoradh were also raided and one party member from Scotland was also arrested but later released without charge by the police on Thursday. Some of those arrested are members of the party’s national executive. Police on both sides of the border have said the arrests and searches are linked to an investigation focusing on the activities of the New IRA. The Irish News understands the first meeting, at a rented property between Cookstown and Omagh, took place in February. Sophisticated cameras and listening devices are believed to have been located throughout the building. A second meeting is understood to have taken place at a property in the Gortin area last month. Again, it is understood conversations between those attending were recorded.

Meanwhile, it is understood that a West Belfast man going by the name of Dennis McFadden had a role in arranging the meetings has not been seen since the middle of this week. Sources say that the contents of his home were packed into a removal van on Wednesday and that friends and acquaintances have been unable to contact him. It is understood the missing man was also responsible for transporting some of those arrested to both meetings. Mr Shiels said: “An issue that is emerging is the possible activity of a British agent provocateur in connection with the arrangement, facilitation and logistical support for both meetings and entrapment of the individuals said to have attended,” he said. The ‘IRA’ is the largest and most active of the armed groups opposed to the Good Friday Agreement. It was formed in 2012 after a merger between the now defunct Real IRA, Republican Action Against Drugs and a group of independent republicans.

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Connla Young for the original story –@c.young@irishnews.com

Follow these links to find out more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-53875031

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Damien McLaughlin: Man jailed on weapons offences wins right to challenge illegal legislation

A Co Tyrone man who served a prison term for weapons offences has won the legal right to challenge new powers aimed at cracking down on terrorist activity.

Damien McLaughlin was granted leave at the High Court to seek a judicial review of legislation police can use to obtain search warrants.

Lawyers for the 43-year-old claim his right to privacy is being breached by a regime which also means he must inform the authorities about any foreign travel arrangements.

In 2011 McLaughlin, from Kilmascally Road in Ardboe, received a four and a half year sentence for having rifles and possessing articles for use in terrorist purposes.

Seven years later he was cleared of separate charges linked to the November 2012 killing of prison officer David Black.

But at one stage, while on bail, McLaughlin went missing for nearly four months.

He was detained again in Co Donegal in March 2017, and extradited back to Northern Ireland for a trial which ultimately collapsed.

McLaughlin is now challenging the PSNI and the Home Secretary over provisions contained within the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019.

His legal team contend that police can obtain a warrant to search property without having to show reasonable suspicion.

Issues have also been raised about a requirement to provide personal details and information on any planned trips.

The new regime is unfair and incompatible with McLaughlin’s human rights, it was claimed.

Counsel for the authorities under challenge, Neasa Murnaghan QC, insisted the powers were aimed at “frustrating” terrorism.

But following submissions Mr Justice McAlinden ruled that an arguable case had been established.

He granted leave to apply for a judicial review, with a full hearing listed for later 

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the original story 

Judge says man facing extradition over David Black murder could be subjected to ‘inhuman and degrading conditions’ in Maghaberry.

Co Tyrone man Damien McLaughlin was arrested in Co Donegal in March on foot of a European Arrest Warrant after going missing from a bail address in west Belfast last November

Damien McLaughlin David Black High Court
A judge in Dublin has said a man facing charges over the murder of prison officer David Black could be subjected to “inhuman and degrading conditions” in Maghaberry Prison if he is extradited to the north.

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly was delivering judgment in the Republic’s High Court in a hearing involving Co Tyrone man Damien McLaughlin (40).
Maghaberry has been at the centre of a bitter protest with republican inmates in the segregated Roe House demanding an end to strip searches and controlled movement.

A father-of-four from Ardboe, McLaughlin (40) was arrested in Co Donegal in March on foot of a European Arrest Warrant after going missing from a bail address in west Belfast last November.
He is facing allegations that he aided and abetted in the murder of Mr Black on November 1 2012, and was in possession of an article suspected of being for the commission of the act of murder.

The prison officer was shot dead on the M1 as he drove to work in Maghaberry jail by the republican group known as the ‘IRA’.
He is also charged with ‘engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism’ and of being a member of a proscribed organisation.
It has emerged that in a judgment delivered last Friday, Ms Justice Donnelly expressed concerns about strip search procedures at Maghaberry.

She had heard evidence from several sources including a member of a joint Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan.
In November 2016 the committee heard submissions from figures including solicitor and former Sinn Féin election candidate John Finucane, trade unionist Peter Bunting and businessman Conal McFeely.

In her concluding remarks, the judge said she was “satisfied” that evidence presented to the Oireachtas committee “amounts to objective, reliable, specific and updated information that rebuts the presumption that full-body searches are necessary on entry and exit to Maghaberry (in the absence of specific indications of the need for such a search) due to available technology.
“This means that the general conditions in Roe House in so far as they relate to strip searching raise a real risk that this respondent could be subjected to inhuman and degrading conditions on surrender.”

However, the judge added that she has requested that the Irish government provide information about body scanning technology used in the Republic, which has also been discussed for use in Maghaberry.
“I will seek further information from the United Kingdom,” she said.

Mr McLaughlin’s solicitor Peter Corrigan last night said: “Strip searching is inhuman and degrading and should be stopped immediately in light of this judgment.”
A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Prison Service said: “NIPS do not wish to comment.”

With many thanks to: The Irish News, 

HMP Maghaberry- Civil rights founder calls for fact-finding mission

N.B. –Media contacts should view EXTRA @ end.32 CSM in defence of the Nation

There was, at least superficially, what appeared to have been a genuine bid to avoid conflict between protesting supporters of non-conforming republican prisoners and participants at a loyalist order march, on the streets of Derry, on August 12th 2010. Such resulted in long negotiations before an agreement was formally established. All those involved in these negotiations; the prisoner representatives, the facilitators and the gaol/N.I.O representatives all signed up to it, as a bond of their sincerities.

As part of the arrangement it was “agreed” that a new technology led search would replace the humiliating strip searches in place prior to 12th August. Since Sept 2010 that agreement has been reneged upon. On as many as 40 occasions, political prisoners have
been subjected to brutal forced strip searches, while leaving for and returning from court and hospital appointments.

Within the prison and within merely four weeks, this alleged agreement seemed to have been completely abandoned, by the POA-Prison Officers’ Association. Since then there has been what can only be described as a deafening silence from certain quarters. This is certainly the case with a number of political representatives who assured both the prisoners and their families that they would be monitoring the situation and would challenge any human rights violations against prisoners. There should be no hiding place for anyone committing such offences against prisoners, and therefore an urgent need for a humanitarian fact-finding delegation to visit this prison at the earliest possible opportunity.

Towards the end of February, as a co-founder of NICRA in 1967, and co-ordinator of the Derry & N-West Civil Rights Network, I penned, what has become known as a “global letter”. In such, I endeavoured to highlight known facts pertaining to HMP Maghaberry.

The letter commented: “There was a promise that strip-searches would be replaced by the use of airport-style, electronic scanning. No doubt many members of the public breathed a sigh of relief that the prison authorities had abandoned their ‘old ways’ of carrying out body-searches.

A recent letter, no doubt smuggled out of that institution, signed by Damien McLaughlin, was highly upsetting and graphic in its detail. In short, this man has been subjected to ten violent strip searches in the previous twelve weeks, before his letter was posted on the Internet as recently as February 13th.

The men are led to a small cubicle by two prison officers and held there for around an hour if they refuse to co-operate, and at times a governor will read them the prison rules. Outside a riot squad consisting of eight members is getting ready. They enter in full riot gear, helmets, shields, and body protection to overpower each individual prisoner. Their jeans and other outer garments go first, then shoes, socks, vests and even boxer shorts are embarrassingly forcibly removed, while one officer holds down the head, and others tightly grip arms and legs.

The prisoners describe this modus operandi in different ways, speaking of it as “agony” or “extremely painful”. They write that often it is “hard to breathe because of gloves covering face and mouth”. On occasions their clothes are actually cut off. When returned they are escorted to their cells, more times than not, suffering great stress and pain. What their relatives are going through I can only guess at and no wonder they are protesting. As in the civil rights days the streets will undoubtedly become the only reliable parliament for bringing grievances and issues unto the public arena.

I ask myself. My God, what has changed for the political prisoners? What are ‘our’ politicians saying or doing on this issue? Has the local media taken a “Three ‘wise’ monkeys” approach for one dubious reason or another?

Agree or disagree with their political perspective, Irish prisoners should not be so brutally abused. These strip searches are not merely inhumane and degrading, but, in my humble opinion, amount to torture, plain and simple. Mr. McLaughlin’s letter is a wake-up call to all of us. We know too well from recent history that the plight of prisoners, in the here and now, can only be ignored at our peril”.

Alleged abuses need to be highlighted publicly by everyone as and when they happen. Those who gave those assurances in August 2010 should now be challenged to publicly condemn such barbaric treatment and hold to account those who have perpetuated such acts. A special onus falls on those who profess to be advocates of human rights, therefore this appeal, “To Whom It May Concern”.

Is Mise,
Le Meas,

Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaighaigh, B.A. [Hons.],
Address supplied.

Mobile: 07783660181

EXTRA: Sent to: David Ford, MLA, Minister for Justice-david.ford@allianceparty.org; International; secretariat, Amnesty International; CAJ-Committee on the Administration of Justice [N.I] Adrienne@caj.org.uk; leading politicians including SDLP executive & MLAs; local, national & transnational media.

PUBLISHED ON BEHALF OF :   Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh.

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