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.
With many thanks to: staff reporter: The Belfast Telegraph.
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.
With many thanks to: staff reporter: The Belfast Telegraph.
A YOUTH worker has accused the PSNI/RUC of putting his life at risk after saying he “may be a member of a paramilitary organisation”. North Belfast man Sean Montgomery said police made the claim after he applied to Access NI to be vetted to work with young people.
Access NI carries out background checks on people hoping to work in particular fields, including for criminal records. The agency, which is managed by the Department of Justice (what fucking justice), works closely with the PSNI/RUC. Mr Montgomery beleives an 18-month delay in issuing a certificate to him could put a recent job offer at risk. The cross-community youth worker has vowed to take legal action over the claims contained in two letters sent to him by the PSNI/RUC last month. Mr Montgomery said the letters, which were contained in the same envelpoe but signed by different people, were posted to his home by recorded delivery. One claimed that “police hold information which indicates that Mr Montgomery may be a member of a paramilitary organisation”. The second letter said he is “suspected to be involved in drugs”. He denies both claims.
Mr Monntgomery served a paramilitary sentence for possession of weapons in the 1990s and is a former member of Shame Fein. He left the party in 2005 over its stance in policing. Mr Montgomery said he has made no secret to his opposition to the PSNI/RUC, and he refuses to be involved in projects that engage with the force, but he challenged police to back up their claims. “This puts my life and livlihood and that of my family, in danger,” he said. “If I am a drug dealer or involved at present in republican paramilitary activity, why am I not arrested?” In the past Mr Montgomery has worked closely with Co-operation Ireland and the centre for conflict research. Co-operation Ireland chief executive Peter Sheridan, who is a former member of the PSNI/RUC, said Mr Montgomery should be issued with a certificate by Access NI. “It’s important when we are trying to get people jobs that all the statutory agencies ensure their systems are sufficiently swift that allow that to happen and don’t prevent people trying to move on,” he said. Mr Sheridan also said that the youth worker has “done a lot of good work in the area” in his field. A spokesman for the PSNI/RUC said it “does not discuss the details of vetting applications”. A DOJ spokesperson said all applications go through “a formal process”. Mr Montgomert’s solicitor Michael Brentnall said his client has “no other choice but to issue High Court proceedings aganst the PSNI/RUC and Access NI in order to compel the disclosure of a certificate”.
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News.
Two shots struck a Land Rover when gunmen opened fire on the Suffolk Road in West Belfast at around 11.45pm on Friday. A day eariler, a “Kalashnikov-style” automatic weapon was used to fire at least 10 rounds at three police vehicles as they passed along the Crumlin Road in North Belfast. It later emerged that gunmen had set up a makeshift platform to fire over a wall at the vehicles. No-one was injured during either attack. A 34-year-old man was arrested in North Belfast yesterday morning in connection with Thursday night’s attack on police. He was still being questioned at Antrim police station last night. It emerged last night that separate investigations have been launched into the gun attacks. A police spokeswoman said: “Police are not formally linking the attacks and both investigations are at a very early stage”. Dissident republicans are being blamed, with Chief Constable Matt Maggot warning recently that different groupings appear to in some form of competition with each other to ensure they have a profile. In recent weeks there has been a upsurge in republican paramilitary activity in Belfast.
In October ‘The IRA’, which was formed last year after the Real IRA, Direct Action Against Drugs and other independant republicans merged, claimed responsibility for shooting dead alleged drug dealer Kevin Kearney in North Belfast. Another group, Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH), last month said it was behind an attempted car-bomb attack at Victoria Square shopping centre in Belfast city centre. West Belfast SDLP assembly member Alex Attwood said Friday’s ambush could have resulted in fatalities. “Thosse engaged in this type of reckless violence are not advancing any political ideal, they are hurting the community they claim to represent,” he said. “A worrying trend is beginning to appear in regards to such attacks on the police accross the city.” Shame Fein assembly member Jennifer McCann said those behind the attack “are not motivated by a disire for Irish freedom”. “If they were they would listen to their communities who overwhelmingly endorsed the Good Friday Agreement and a political path towards achieving that goal. “Instead they have endagered anyone in the area of the Suffolk Road at that time for their own agenda. Fortunately nobody was injured.” PSNI Chief Superintendent George Clarke described Friday night’s ambush as “reckless”. “For the second night in a row, dedicated community police officers have found themselves under attack from terrorists,” he said. “It is fortunate that we are not dealing with fatalities this morning and those responsible are to be utterly condemned for their evil and reckless actions. “These officers go out each day to serve this community and they should be free to do so without the threat of attack. “I again urge the community to support us. We need information from the community to help us defeat those who seek to take us back to the past by showing them that they do not represent the wishs of this community.”
With thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News.
GUNMEN built a makeshift platform to launch a carefully planned attack on police in a built-up area of North Belfast. A rifle found a short distance away from the attack in Ardoyne on Thusday night was thought to have been dumped by the gunmen as they fled.
The military issue Kalashnikov-style automatic weapon was taken away for forensic examination. It was found in an alleyway a short distance from Butler Walk where the gunmen had erected a platform from scaffolding at the side of a high wall. Shots were fired at a convoy of police vehicles at around 7.10pm as they traveled along the Crumlin Road en route to the loyalist protest camp at Twaddell Avenue in North Belfast. Police said three armoured vehicles came under fire, two of which were towing illuminated warning signs towards the Ardoyne interface. At least 10 bullets hit two of the vehicles. While no-one was hurt, Assistance Chief Constable Will Kerr said the officers were shaken by the attack. “These dissident republicians have absolute contempt for their own community”, he said. “They fired military grade weapons, in a highly built up area. “There is no doubt the principle target was police officers.” The senior officer said he beleived the weapon recovered was linked to the attack. A silver Passat car hijacked on Thursday morning in the Poleglass area of West Belfst was also found burning in Elmfield Street in Ardoyne.
The attack was launched out of range of the Twaddell camp occupied by loyalists protesting against a ban on parading through Ardoyne. Around 40 familes in the area were moved from their homes, with many not permitted to return until yesterday evening while police carried out follow-up searches at several locations. Holy Cross Primary School was also forced to close as a result of the police operation. SDLP councillor Nichola Mallon said the people of Ardoyne want those responsible to “get off their backs”. “This is the latest incident to cause major disruption in the area,” she said. “Between the nightly protest parades and the car that was hijacked in Jamaica Street and used to transport the bomb into the city centre, people are concerned things are spiralling, that every time Ardoyne appears on the news it is for negative reasons and that is not an accurate reflection.” Shame Fein assembly member Gerry (the mouthpeice) Kelly said the attack “endangered the local community in Ardoyne”. “Anyone could have been in the vacinity of Holy Cross Chapel at this time which was the direction in which the shots were fired,” he said. “The PSNI were traveling to Twaddell Avenue where they are in place each night in order to prevent illegal marches past Ardoyne. The people of Ardoyne understand this. “Whoever was behind this attack need to come forward to this community and explain their actions.” DUP MP for North Belfast Nigel Dodds said: “This would obviously appear to be the work of dissident republicians and I would hope that the community in Ardoyne will stand against those responsible and with police as they carry out their investigations.”
With many thanks to: Allison Morris, The Irish News.
REPUBLICAN prisoner campaigners have claimed a forced strip has been
out on a female republican inmate at Hydebank Wood Prison.
Sharon Rafferty, of Cavana Linn in Pomeroy, was forced to remove her clothes before and after making a court appearance in Omagh, Co Tyrone, last month. Supporters say the 38-year-old refused to take off her cloths voluntarily female prison officers forcibly removed them down to her underwear. Ms Rafferty is facing charges relating to republician paramilitary activity in Co Tryone. Since her arrest in May last she has been detained on a separated wing at Hydebank Wood Prison on the outskirts of Belfast. It has also emerged that a second republican prisoner, Christine Connor, missed a hospital appointment last month after refusing to be strip searched. The 27-year-old is facing two counts of attempted murder and possession of pipe bombs in relation to an attack on the PSNI in North Belfast in May. The Irish News understand both wimen have indicated they will not voluntarialy submit to strip searches in furture.
On Wednsday night Mandy Duffy from the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association (IRPWA) sais Ms Rafferty felt like she had been “sexually assaulted” after the search. “She feels very strongly she should not have to remove her clothing,” she aid. The prisoner campagner says Ms Connor will also continue to resist strip searches. “Christine feels she is being denied the right to medicial treatment which is a basic human right,” she said. “She is on medication and needs to see a specialist.” The last high-profile female republican prisoner to be subjected to strip searches is believed to be Roisin McAliskey – daughter of former Mid Ulster MP Bernadette McAliskey – who was searched more than 70 times while pregnant in custody awaiting extradition to Germany in connection with an IRA mortar attàck in 1996. She was released wîthout charge in 1998.
In November last year male republican prisoners in Maghaberry Prison ended an 18-month no-wash protest sparked by a number of complaints about the jail regime, including the use of strip searches. A spokesman for the Department of Justice (DOJ) said: “The Prison Service Full Search Policy for women prisoners has developed a two stage full search procedure. A stage one search requires the woman to remove her outer clothin; however she would not be requied to remove her underwear. If staff have suspicions or intelligence has been received to suggest that the woman could be concealing items in her underwear she would be required to proceed to a level two search. “This would require her to remove the clothing from her top half of her body, including her underwear. When dressed she would remove the clothing from the bottom half of her body, including her underwear. While we cannot comment on specific individuals, at no stage has a level two search been deployed in Ash House in recent weeks as is being claimed in some quarters.”
With many thanks to : Connla Young, The Irish News.
A REPUBLICAN prisoners welfare group have claimed that a forced strip search carried out on a Pomeroy woman last month amounted to a “brutal sexual assault”.
Sharon Rafferty (38) of Cavana Linn in Pomeroy is currently awaiting trial on five charges related to alleged dissident republican activity in Tyrone.
Detained in Hydebank Prison on remand since May 2012, on August 14 she left the South Belfast prison for the first time in 15 months for a preliminary investigation hearing at Omagh Courthouse alongside her co-accused Gavin Coney, Aidan Coney and Sean Kelly.
According to Mandy Duffy of the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association (IRPWA), prior to her departure from the prison, force was used after Rafferty refused to remove clothing in her cell. The procedure was repeated upon her return according to the spokesperson, who regularly visits the 38-year-old.
Describing the procedure as “degrading and humiliating”, Ms Duffy said the Pomeroy woman had not reported any physical injuries, but had been left “distressed” by the ordeal.
It’s understood to be the first time in recent years that a female republican prisoner has been made subject to a strip search.
In a statement, the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) said it could not comment on individual prisoners.
Strip searching of female prisoners became one of the most controversial features of the troubles when it was introduced in Armagh gaol in 1982.
In more recent times the practice came under the spotlight in 2005, when the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) helped non-republican prisoner Karen Carson bring a judicial review before the High Court in Belfast, claiming frequent strip searching in Hydebank was in violation of articles three and eight of the European Convention on Human Rights, which relate to torture and privacy.
While Justice Girvan said that the articles had not been breached, in his judgement he found that the existing policy “cannot be demonstrated to be proportionate and necessary”.
The comments prompted a review of the NIPS policy for strip searching female prisoners, which led to new policy being introduced in September 2010.
According to the Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland, the new policy had by 2011 ended routine strip searching of all new arrivals at Hydebank.
Random searches were also scaled back, but the policy of strip searching has been retained, albeit under a new two stage procedure, with the initial stage allowing the prisoner to retain their underwear.
However according to the Department of Justice, “If staff had suspicions or intelligence has been received to suggest the woman could be concealing items in her underwear she would be required to proceed to a level 2 search. This would require her to remove the clothing from the top half of her body including underwear, when dressed she would remove the clothing from the bottom half of her body including her underwear.”
The new provisions also still allow for prisoners to be forcibly strip searched if they refuse to comply with a full search, using “approved control and restraint techniques”.
Speaking to the Tyrone Herald, a spokesperson for the NIHRC said it supports the Prison Review Team’s 2011 recommendation to find an effective and less intrusive alternative to strip searching.
“The Commission’s 2005 research revealed the traumatic impact of strip searching on women and recommended that its use should be exceptional and restricted.”
It said while it had not received any complaints about the use of strip searching on women prisoners in recent times, the body intends to raise the issue of Sharon Rafferty’s forced search on August 14 during a visit with the Prison Service later this month.
Mandy Duffy said both male and female republican prisoners refuse to submit to strip searching, claiming that scanners exist that deem the practice unnecessary. On August 14, she said Rafferty’s three co-accused were also similarly strip searched by force at Maghaberry Prison after refusing to comply with requests to remove clothing.
“There is technology in place that removes the need for any prisoner to remove their clothing,” said the IRPWA spokesperson, “Sharon said she did not want to humiliate herself.”
The fallout over strip searching resulted in male prisoners at Maghaberry Prison staging a dirty protest over 18 months, which came to an end last year when the Department of Justice launched a trial of two millimetre wave scanners at Hydebank. However in February, the department said the scanners would not replace full body searches after a Prison Service report emerged claiming that just 57 per-cent of items tested had been detected.
Republican prisoners at both Hydebank and Maghaberry are currently held in separate wings from the main prison population.
The separation resulted in Sharon Rafferty, as the only republican prisoner in Hydebank, spending more than one year in effective isolation, until she was joined in June this year by a second female republican prisoner, Christine Connor. Mandy Duffy claimed Connor was denied a hospital appointment on August 23 after she refused to comply with a strip search on departure from the prison.
“With the policy now that they are going to be asking republican prisoners to comply with strip searches, that they will refuse, this is going to have an impact on hospital appointments and doctors appointments,” she claimed.
“Christine does have medical concerns. She has kidney problems and she does need to attend her appointments. Therefore she is being denied her rights to medical attention.”
Former Republican prisoner speaks out on Maghaberry protests
With many thanks to -:
The Ulster Herald | 12-14 John Street |
T: +44 (0)28 8224 3444
WHIMPERING UVF boss Colin ‘Meerkat’ Fulton is hauled away as loyalist mob rule strangles Belfast city centre. The UVF High command was on parade on Friday night as the city centre was ripped apart – cars hijacked, bars attacked, people hospitalised – proof that the paramilitary organisation orchestrated and controlled seven hours of sickening street riots.
The Sunday World can reveal that high ranking UVF figures including Shan kill chiefs Joe ‘No Neck’ McGaw, and ‘Harmless’ Harry Stockman were among hundreads of loyalists coralled on Belfast’s Royal Avenue.
Fulton’s UVF boss Eddie ‘Onions’ Rainey was also there. The paramilitary ledership watched as paving stones were ripped up and gratings used as missiles to hurl at police. Rampant loyalist mobs smashed windows at the Hudson Bar on Gresham Street stealing beer kegs which were also used as weapons. Customers in the Sunflower Lounge on Union Street had a lucky escape as a baying mob tried to smash windows. The police fired 26 plastic bullets and made seven arrests as the over-stretched force tried to contain the trouble. One unsuspecting German tourist was hauled from his car on North Street and his hire car set on fire; two American police officers who had been taking part in the World Police and Fire Games looked bewildered as violence erupted. Other Games athletes were barricaded into a city centre bar, unable to gain access to a youth hostel on Kent Street just off Royal Avenue. PSNI/RUC Chief Constable Matt Baggott ( who was fishing at the time), described the violence as “mindless anarchy” and “thugery”. He praised his officers, saying they had put their lives on the line to protect the rule of law. “I want to commend my colleagues for their immense courage last night. I have no doubt whatsoever that they prevented that anarchy from spreading and without that courage, many lives may well have been lost,” Mr Baggot said. Loyalist ‘Paster From Hell’ Clifford Peoples was also on the ground taking pictures of police officers and journalists as trouble erupted.
The roly poly paramilatery apologist has spent 10 years behind bars for a string of terrorist convictions and even boasted that he “blessed” bombs and guns used in loyalist terrorist atrocities. But it is Fulton’s arrest that caused the most comment. The South Belfast terror boss was seen mouthing off at riot cops as police tried to force the crowd down Royal Avenue. But once he was snatched from behind loyalist lines, Fulton was a different man. As our exclusive pictures show Fulton didn’t put up any struggle as he was led away. Gone was the bravado as he pleaded with officers to “go easy.” “No need to push,” he bleated, “I’m not resisting arrest, there’s no problem.” The UVF/Protestant Coalition orchestrated the riots in response to an anti-Internment parade which left Belfast city centre like a war zone. The republican parade which was due to pass through Royal Avenue was re-rourted and was subsequently held up and attacked by loyalist bigots at the bottom of the Shankill. Then police pushed the bigots back up the Shankill to allow the anti-Internment parade to pass through. There was over 5,000 republican activists took part in the march, and showed dignity and restrint at the provokacation by loyalist rioters.
Dozens of police officers were injured 56 in total during the protests. 26 plastic baton rounds were fired by police, two water cannons and dogs were deployed during the disorder. Only seven people were arrested and detained on suspicion of offences including riotous behaviour, disorderly behaviour and hijacking and are expected to appear in court later today. Secretary of State Theresa Villers described the violence and attacks on police as “shameful”. She said what had happened was a “hugely regrettable step backwards” after the North of Ireland‘s recent successes at hosting the G8 summit and World Police and Fire Games. The Sunday World now understands that the Orange Order is becoming increasingly concerned at the amount of control exercised by the paramilitaries. Meetings are now planned to discuss a ‘new way’ of securing the future of loyalist parades. The Parades Commission which had given permission for six loyalist protests ( even though they were not passing any loyalist areas) against the republican parade will now reveiw their decision as police struggled to maintain order. A further concern is that police resources are being stretched to the limit. One officer speaking to the Sunday World said he had two days off since the start of December.
The woman who said her drink was spiked, was arrested outside a club after she ran in and out of a road. Officers (apperently) believed she had drugs hidden in her clothing and she was stripped in her cell with the CCTV images broadcast to the custody desk at Chelsea Police Station. The woman complained about her treatment and the Independent Police Complaints Commission ruled the search was carried out without justification. IPCC commissioner Derrick Campbell said: “I find it difficult to understand why officers think they have the right to strip a young woman leaving her naked and then expose her to being filmed.” The case has been referred back to the Met and five PCs and a duty sergeant will face a misconduct hearing.
A CAR was hijacked and set alight, roads blocked and a police officer was injured during a third night of loyalist violence. Loyalists threw petrol bombs and other missiles at police in the Woodvale area of North Belfast shortly before 11pm yesterday.
One officer was injured. Police fired two baton rounds. Earlier the disorder spread to Newtownabby, Co An trim, where a car was set alight, blocking the main O’Neill Road. Youths gathered near the road and began throwing stones and other missiles. There were unconfirmed reports of a second car being torched. Five men and boys, aged between 15 and 25, were arrested on suspicion of riotous behaviour. Large crowds blocked Albertbridge Road in east Belfast late on Sunday night, close to the interface with nationalist Short Strand where violence broke out on Friday and Saturday evenings. There were also reports that loyalists had blocked roads in Antrim, the Mount Vernon area of Newtownabbey and the Square in Ballyclare. Members of the Orange Order have ccontinued to take part in street protests in north Belfast despite the Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast having called a halt to all action following the weekend’s rioting. The order released a statement at 1am on Saturday after six hours of sustained violence in north and east Belfast, saying it was “suspending” all further action.”In support of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland appeal for calm, the Ligional lodges with the full support of the County Grand Orange Lodge in Belfast have decided to suspend their protest in relation to the determination for the Crumlin Road,” a spokesman said. About 50 people including members of the order wearing collarettes and holding banners aloft gathered at Twaddell Avenue on Sunday, ignoring the Grand Lodge’s call.
During the protest community representives were at the nationalist interface to prevent sectarian clashes. Police continued to maintain a large-scale security presence at Woodvale Road where loyalists have clashed with police for the past three nights. A small loyalist protest took place at 3pm on the Crumlin Road. Six people draped in the union flags stood in the middle of the road watched by police in Land Rovers parked nearby. No spokesman for the order was available for comment on Sunday. Sunday night’s violence and roadblocks came after First Minister Peter Robinson called for an end to rioting following the annual Twelfth demonstrations. He said protesters needed to follow the Orange Order’s call for the suspension of demonstrations over restrictions on a parade past the Ardoyne shops flashpoint in north Belfast. “It’s very important that cool heads prevail in these circumstances and I hope people will obey the announcement and statement by the Orange institution that people should desist from violence,” he said. “The only kind of protest that is ever justifiable is a lawful and peaceful protest.” Mr Robinson’s comments come after he Tweeted on the evening of the Twelfth claiming that nationalists from Short Strand had attacked an Orange Order parade on lower Newtownards Road.
With many thanks to : Claire Simpson and Allison Morris, The Irish News.
A US university student visiting a penpal in Hydebank women’s prison has been arrested by detectives investigating dissident republican activity. Zach Gevelinger was arrested after visiting Christine Connor who is on remand accused of trying to kill two police officers in a pipe-bomb attack
Ms Connor (27) appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court last month charged with two counts of attempted murder and possession of pipe bombs in relation to an attack on police in the Ballysillan area on May 28. Although it is believed that Mr Gevelinger, from Wisconsin, had been ccommunicating with the North Belfast woman on social networking sites prior to her aarrest, this was his first meeting with her. He arrived in Dublin last Wednesday before traveling north. He made contact with Ms Connor’s mother who arranged a prison visit with her daughter for Saturday afternoon. However, afterwards Mr Gevelinger was met in the car park of Hydebank Wood detention centre, on the outskirts of south Belfast, by detectives from the serious crime unit and taken to Antrim Police Station for questioning.
Police searched a room at Benedict’s Hotel in south Belfast where he had been staying and seized his belongings, which included ccomputer equipment. The US consulate in Belfast is liaising with the PSNI which successfully applied for an extension on Monday to hold the 24-year-old for a further 72 hours. Independent Lisburn councillor Angela Nelson has been in contact with the consulate on Mr Gevelinger’s behalf. “This is a young man who was visiting Ireland as a tourist. His only alleged crime appears to be being online friends with someone who is perceived to be a republican,” she said. “He has now been held since Saturday using draconian anti-terrorist legislation in a strange country without any family support. He should be released immediately.” A police spokesman said officers from the serious crime branch had been “granted a further 72 hours to question a man in his twenties arrested in the Belfast area on Saturday July 6”. Last month Lesley Concannon (32) from the US state of West Virgina was released on £25,000 bail after being charged in connection with dissident republican activity. The Zumba teacher was charged with her husband Kevin Barry Concannon (39) after police raided their home at Beachwood Avenue in Derry. The court was told that Ms Concannon first came to Ireland onholiday three years ago and meet her future husband during that visit.
With many thanks to : Allison Morris, The Irish News.