DISSIDENT IN DOCK AS COPS HACK CODE PHONES

MAN HELD ON DRUGS RAP

Gangs use £3.5k handsets in crime network

An PSNI/RUC investigation into organised crime has exposed a Europe-wide criminal network.

Follow this link to find out more and see what he looks like: https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3200933933319692&id=100002093504519&set=a.439170419496071&source=48

Cops here were the first to put people before the courts based on a breach of a secure mobile phone network called EncroChat. The arrests were part of a Europe-wide operation aimed at organised crime gangs – the largest of its kind ever carried out. Police services across the UK have seized weapons and huge amounts of drugs and cash in what is being seen as one of the most significant and successful operations aimed at taking down criminal crime lords. At the centre of it is EncroChat, an encrypted mobile phone network shared by criminal bosses across the continent. The system is WiFi-based and does not rely on a mobile network, users can only communicate by text or pictures, and cannot make a voice call. According to security sources the system is set up entirety for the benefit of criminal gangs – some of whom operate in the North of Ireland.

Handsets can cost up to £3,500 a piece and joining the network is by invitation only. Cracking the code has exposed a vast network of criminal enterprises and a higher level of co-operation between organised crime gangs than previously believed. Operation Venetic in the UK has been overseen by the National Crime Agency who have been working in partnership with police forces across Europe including the Gardaí. To date six people in the North of Ireland are facing charges as a result of cops breaching EncroChat. This week a dissident republican appeared in court as a result of Venetic. Prosecuting lawyer Robin Steer told Craigavon Magistrates Court last week that having accessed messages and images in an encrypted phone, police believe that Bryan McManus is involved in the “transport and shipment of large quantities of drugs and cash,” adding that “we say he is connected to a criminal network”.

McManus appeared at court via videolink from police custody and confirmed that he understood the 12 charges against him. The 642-year-old, from Aileen Terrace in Newry, was charged with nine drugs offences including the importation of cocaine and cannabis. The Co Armagh engineer, who has previous convictions for possessing handguns and ammunition and supplying funds or property for a terrorist organisation, was also charged with possessing criminal property and conspiring to convert and conceal criminal property. Intercepted messages referred to amounts of money up to £300,000 while others referred to “cocaine testing kits and a metal press used to make blocks of cocaine”.

JAILED

Turning to McManus’s previous record, the court heard that he was jailed for six and a half years in 2013 for firearms and terrorist offences and is the subject of a “terrorism notification order for 15 years”. Six mobile phones which had been seized “are still to be assessed. He conceded that another man arrested as part of the same operation has been freed on bail but Mr Steer highlighted how that defendant, Victor Notorantonio, has numerous health difficulties. McManus was remanded into custody until July 31st 2020. Security sources have told us there is ‘minimal’ involvement of paramilitary gangs, which highlights the increasing level of international organised crime in the North of Ireland.

“While the paramilitaries remain a significant criminal enterprise, and they are getting more sophisticated, it is the prevalence of international crime gangs that is most significant,” a security source told us. It is understood the NCA is frustrated that details of Venetic have emerged before the operation is complete. Last week French and Dutch authorities presented the results of a joint investigation to dismantle EncroChat. Millions of messages exchanged between criminals to plan serious crimes were analysed. A large number of suspects have also been arrested in a number of countries across Europe including the UK, Sweden and Norway. Many of these investigations were connected with international drug trafficking and violent criminal activities. The interception of EncroChat messages came to an end on June 13th 2020 when the company realised it had been compromised.

With many thanks to the: Sunday World and Richard Sullivan for the EXCLUSIVE original story 

Follow these links to find out more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-21858909

(2)-: https://fiannaiochta.wordpress.com/tag/dissident-republican/

(3)-: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-13120646

(4)-: https://www.thejournal.ie/belfast-sentence-terrorism-842310-Mar2013/

‘Less just’ non-jury trials not for England, Wales but we’re another story

OPINION 

Colin Duffy (52)

 

 

 

A ROW has broken out in England after a former judge suggested using non-jury trials to relieve a backlog in the judicial system.

Diplock Court’s – non-jury trials

His honour Michael Heath suggested that suspending trial by jury on a temporary basis could help alleviate the problem. Mr Heath said that while jury trials are “the cornerstone of our criminal justice system will implode”. However, while Covid has contributed to the backlog of cases in England and Wales it is certainly not completely responsible. I say England and Wales because that was the jurisdiction that Mr Heath was talking about when he made his ‘radical’ suggestion. His comments drew criticism from a number of quarters. Among them the Secret Barrister, an online cover name for a serving QC responsible for a best selling book about the workings, and at times shambolic, nature of the judicial system (His/her book is very good, I highly recommend it). The Secret Barrister argued that while the backlog of cases is unacceptable, “tearing up the right to jury trial, and replacing it with trial by a single judge and two magistrates” was not the answer. “It would be a disaster. Make no mistake.

Laganside Court House in Belfast

“Whatever the arguments for and against jury trial, it is beyond dispute that trial by a single judge and two magistrates is a lesser form of Justice” the Secret Barrister added. There was a flurry of comments agreeing with the online expert about this proposed perversion of justice. Meanwhile in the North of Ireland we’ve had non-jury trials since 1973, and they remain in place 22 years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. The government technically abolished the old Diplock Courts in 2007. However, it give the Director of Public Prosecutions power to decide when cases should be tried without a jury, particularly if there was a chance of jurors being intimidated. That has to be reviewed every two years with it next under consideration in April 2021. And so if the argument is that dispensing with a jury speeds up the process, then the state of the North of Ireland’s judicial system would suggest that is simply not the case, not the sase 

European Court of Justice

The trial of Colin Duffy (52) and his co-defdants Alex McCory (58) and 51-year-old Harry Fitzsimons is still ongoing in a Diplock Court in Belfast. The three men were arrested after an attack on a police patrol in north Belfast in December 2013.

Alex McCrory (58)
Henry Fitzsimons (51)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is now June 2020, any verdict in that trial is likely to coincide with the seventh anniversary of the gun attack the three men deny taking part in. And so the removal of a jury is certainly not the magic wand to speedy justice, not in the North of Ireland anyway. The underfunding of the legal system over many years has placed enormous stress on the system. But it goes deeper than that as anyone that has ever worked in a court in the North will tell you. The wheels of justice turn painfully slow in this part of the world.

Belfast High (Crown) Court

There are plans under way to try and rectify that, to do away with committal hearings in serious cases that spend months bouncing around a Magistrates Court before being sent to the Crown where they were destined for anyway. A consultation is to be carried out to consider a strategic approach to restorative practices for adults in the criminal justice system.

Laganside Courts

Diversionary orders could be used to deal with less serious cases where there is no risk to the public. But all of this takes time, requires proper funding and a buy-in from all involved agencies. In the interim, victims often drop out of cases or are put through further truma having to live with the anxious anticipation of giving evidence for months, even years – a completely unacceptable situation. A decision on returning to the use of juries for serious or paramilitary trails remains years away. Will we once again have the extension of a ‘lesser form of Justice’ here in the North of Ireland, where there are frequent reminders that despite the words of Margaret Thatcher, when it comes to equality under law we are definitely not “as British as Finchley”.

AWith many thanks to the: Irish News and Allison Morris Security Correspondent  for the original story 

Follow these links to find out more: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/courts/alleged-recordings-of-republicans-compared-in-belfast-police-murder-bid-trial-38947538.html

(2)-: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/terror-trial-second-voice-analyst-links-recording-of-police-murder-bid-to-alleged-dissidents-38968712.html

 

USELESS VIOLENCE

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Vor den Wahlen: Wie die Paramilitärs Nordirlands vom Brexit profitieren | Tageblatt.lu

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Former Real IRA commander: Even cameras on masts would be seen as ‘spy posts’ in border regions

Former dissident warns of massive recruitment drive

A ONCE senior dissident republican, jailed for his part in a bombing plot, has said a hard Brexit would be used by armed republican groups to stage a “massive recruitment drive”.

INTERVIEW: John Connolly

Fermanagh man John Connolly was at one time considered the most dangerous and active member of the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA). In November 2000 Connolly was arrested at the Teemore crossroads in Co Fermanagh by undercover soldiers in possession of a large mortar bomb containing around 100 kilos of homemade explosives. He received a 14-year jail term for the bomb plot, two other men who were with him received 13 years. while in jail he became the spokesperson for the Real IRA prisoners. In an interview with online news site The Journal, (link below), Connolly said he cut all ties with armed groups after being released from prison in 2007 and did not wish to see a return to violence. However, he said that, based on his own experience, any form of physical infrastructure at the border would be seen as the manifestation of “a foreign occupying military force”.

“Cameras would be regarded as spy posts and removed by the local population in border areas”, he said. “The British government don’t seem to have learned from the past. From oppression grows resistance. It definitely does. We’re living in peaceful times at the minute an no-one wants to go back to the war years.” Connolly was sentenced to a five-year term in prison in the early 1990s for gathering information on behalf of the Provisional IRA, but broke away in 1997 to join the RIRA. He said he “did not agree with the decommissioning of IRA weapons”. “That’s why I broke all contact with the Provisional movement,” he said. “You do have armed groups out there that are continuing the struggle. But I am not in support of armed struggle myself. “I’ll not condemn people who are… I would be a hypocrite if I did, especially with my past of being involved in armed actions myself.”

With many thanks to: Allison Morris Security Correspondent and The Irish News for the origional posting.

https://www.thejournal.ie/real-ira-brexit-border-john-connolly-4495704-Feb2019/

Omagh Bombing ‘could have been prevented’ had the security forces done their job correctly ‘

Archive photo showing the aftermath of the Omagh Bombing in 1998.

The Omagh bombing was carried out by dissident republicans several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement

The Omagh bomb could have been prevented if the security forces had acted differently, a former police ombudsman has claimed.

Baroness Nuala O’Loan made the comments on the 20th anniversary of the greatest single loss of life in the Troubles.

The chief constable rejected her claim and said her comments would further “traumatise” victims’ families.
A woman pregnant with twins was among 29 people killed in the dissident republican attack on 15 August 1998.

In Omagh, a bell will be rung 32 times in memory of the victims later on Wednesday.
The additional, single peal will be rung for all who have lost their lives in atrocities around the world.
‘Could have been stopped’

Baroness O’Loan who investigated the police’s actions in the lead up to the bombing, said: “When I reported on Omagh I said we didn’t know whether the bomb could have been prevented.
“It is now my very firm view that the bomb could have been prevented.”
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The men behind the attack
Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt was responsible for the Omagh bomb, a High Court judge found in a civil case in 2009.

Liam Campbell, Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly were also found liable for the attack.
Seamus McKenna was cleared. He died in 2013.

The four men were named by Mr Justice Morgan in a ruling made as part of a landmark case taken by some of the families of the victims.
The 12 relatives were awarded more than £1.6m in damages for the attack but to date none has been paid.

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“There was sufficient intelligence to take action. The taking of that action could have prevented the bomb from exploding.
“This wasn’t just a random bomb. The police knew an awful lot about the activities of the IRA in this area.”
Baroness O’Loan repeated her calls for a public inquiry to be held.

When she was police ombudsman, her office carried out an investigation into the police’s handlings of warnings before the bombing.
She said the intelligence services were tracking the movements of the car containing the bomb from the Republic of Ireland.

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A painful day
By BBC News NI’s Julian Fowler , in Omagh
Omagh’s Market Street is busy with shoppers as it was on this date 20 years ago.
Relatives who have organised today’s event say it is about remembrance, hope and moving forward, recognising the forgotten people of the Omagh bomb, such as the emergency services and the ordinary people who helped in the aftermath.

Flowers at the Omagh memorial

A small bouquet lies at the foot of the memorial in Market Street.

For some the anniversary is too painful to join the public commemoration.
They will remember their loved ones in their own way.

This morning one person came alone to lay a bunch of flowers at the memorial.
Others will spend the afternoon at the graveside of their loved ones.

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‘Why now?’
Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Constable George Hamilton rejected the idea that police could have prevented the bomb.
“If it is factually true and can be proven to any standard of proof whatsoever, why did she not say it in 2001 when she published her report?,” he told The Nolan Show on BBC Radio Ulster.

“Then, when she held the office, when she had access to all the material, she came to the conclusion that she could not know based on all that information if the bomb could have been prevented.
“She now has changed her position on that, without real explanation.”

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Omagh bomb timeline
15 August 1998 – A large car bomb explodes on a Saturday afternoon in the centre of Omagh, County Tyrone, fatally wounding 29 people
18 August 1998 – The Real IRA claims responsibility for the bomb

6 August 2003 – Alleged founder and leader of the Real IRA Michael McKevitt is found guilty of directing terrorism
Read more

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Kevin Skelton, whose wife Philomena died in the Real IRA atrocity said that Baroness O’Loan’s comments do not “make any difference”.
“Telling us now that the bomb could have been prevented is a bit late,” he told BBC Radio Foyle.
“It should have been prevented at the time.
“It won’t bring my wife back.”

Floral tributes were placed in the town’s memorial garden.

A town remembers
The Omagh bombing was carried out by the dissident republican Real IRA, several months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
The bomb, which was packed with 225kg of explosives, detonated in a vehicle parked in the middle of the main street just after 15:10 BST on 15 August 1998.

A warning had been called in 40 minutes earlier but had given the wrong location of the car containing the bomb.
The dead included three generations of one family.

No-one has been convicted over the bombing.
The bell-ringing event is part of a public vigil to be held at the bottom of Market Street, beginning at 14:55.
The bell will stop ringing 15 minutes later, at the time of the explosion, and will be followed by a two-minute silence.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/embed/p06h6dy6/45144511

Omagh bomb: Community Youth Choir 20 years on

Flower petals will be distributed, which people can scatter in the river, or place in the pond of a memorial garden created to remember the victims.
These event is being co-ordinated by a group of organisations, including Omagh Support & Self Help Group, Families Moving On and the Omagh Churches’ Forum.

On Sunday, a cross-community service was held at the town’s memorial gardens.
Victims and their families were remembered with prayers, music and speeches.

Omagh tribute: A child leaving a tribute during Sunday’s memorial service.

Each year over the past 20 years, people have come together to mark the anniversary, but this year’s event in the memorial garden will be the last to take place on this scale.

Last year, relatives of the victims announced they would sue George Hamilton for failings they believed allowed the killers to escape justice.
Mr Hamilton said on Sunday he understood why the families would feel “angry and let down”, adding that even the huge amount of investigative effort – with 99 arrests and 11,000 investigative actions by the PSNI and An Garda Síochána (Irish police) – “is not good enough”.

“People have not been brought to justice… but the families have an assurance from me that if new evidence emerges, we will actively pursue that. But it is also fair to say, and realistic, that as time goes by, the chances of a criminal justice outcome reduces,” he said.

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original story.

Liam Campbell cannot get a fair trial in Lithuania

Stop the extradition of Liam Campbell to Lithuaina

Liam Campbell, an alleged Real IRA leader, will argue that he cannot receive a fair trial in Lithuania because his brother’s terrorism conviction was found to have been based on entrapment.

Campbell, 54, of Upper Faughart in north Louth, who was found liable for the 1998 Omagh bomb in a civil action eight years ago, appeared in the High Court in Dublin yesterday to contest his extradition to Lithuania, where he is accused of a Real IRA plot to buy large quantities of explosives and weapons.

Brian Gageby, his barrister, told the court that he wanted an adjournment while he sought an English translation of Michael Campbell’s trial and appeal in Vilnius. Mr Gageby is preparing to argue that Liam Campbell cannot receive a fair trial, which is required under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Campbell’s brother was convicted in Lithuania in 2011 of conspiracy to buy weapons and explosives, following a joint MI5-Lithuanian police operation. Michael Campbell was jailed for twelve years but his conviction was overturned on appeal in 2013 on the grounds that he was entrapped by MI5. Liam Campbell is now seeking a transcript of that appeal to use in his case.

Since Michael Campbell returned to Ireland the highest court in Lithuania overturned the appeal, finding that the appeal court erred in putting too much weight on entrapment defence. As a result Michael Campbell may also be extradited back to Lithuania.

Judge Aileen Donnelly agreed to adjourn Liam Campbell’s case for a month yesterday to allow the state and the defence to prepare documents.

Campbell is receiving free legal aid to fight extradition, claiming that he will not get a fair trial and also that prison conditions in Lithuania are so bad that they violate Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The article prohibits extradition if there is a “substantial risk” that the person will undergo inhumane or degrading treatment.

He won on Article 3 grounds when Lithuania sought to extradite him from Northern Ireland, after which he was released by the High Court in Belfast and was rearrested in the Republic. Campbell’s co-accused, Brendan McGuigan, 36, of Omeath, Co Louth, was previously released by the High Court in Dublin, also because prison conditions in Lithuania would be a violation of his rights under Article 3.

Both men are wanted in Lithuania for allegedly organising a Real IRA explosives and weapons importation scheme. A Lithuanian arrest warrant read in court states that Campbell “made arrangements for illegal possession of a considerable amount of powerful firearms, ammunition, explosive devices and substances” to be exported from Lithuania to Ireland for use by a “terrorist grouping”.

The cargo was allegedly to include sniper rifles, rocket launchers, RPG-7 rockets, hand-grenades and Semtex explosives.

Campbell was allegedly a senior Real IRA member when the offences were committed in late 2006 and early 2007 and is alleged to have met with a British intelligence officer posing as an east European arms dealer.

with many thanks to: Irish Republican Prisoner News.

Real IRA promises bloodbath after associate of Alan Ryan stabbed / Sunday World

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http://www.sundayworld.com/news/real-ira-threatens-bloodbath

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With many thanks to: Sunday world.

Special forces are ‘tracking dissidents across Belfast’ – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

Special forces has links to SAS

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http://m.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/special-forces-are-tracking-dissidents-across-belfast-34119705.html

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Red Cross to chair forum seeking solution to Maghaberry dispute.

Red Cross to chair forum seeking solution to Maghaberry dispute.

THE International Committee of the Red Cross has agreed to chair a prison forum involving republican inmates in a bid to ease tensions at a Co Antrim jail.

The Red Cross took on the role after being asked by justice minister David Ford and receiving the backing of republican prisoners in Maghaberry. The involvement of the internationally recognised humanitarian organisation comes after years of conflict at the high security prison. The establishment of the forum was recommended by an independent ‘stocktake’ published last year. However, republican inmates refused to take part in the forum after a former member of the prison’s Board of Visitors, Tom Millar, was appointed as chairman without consultation. It is understood both prisoners and senior jail officials will take part in the forum which will discuss the stocktake. Republican prisoners are currently held in the prison’s Roe Four and Roe Three landings. The forum will be chaired by Geoff Loane, who is the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) head of office in Belfast. “The ICRC believes such a role fits within the organisation’s humanitarian mandate and is compatible with its fundamental principles of neutrality, independence and impartiality,” he said.
“After having consulted on this matter, the ICRC accepted the position of chair for a six-month period on the basis that all parties to the forum agree to the ICRC taking up the role. He said the forum is “now addressing substantive issues on the basis of an agreed agenda.” In the past Mr Loane has overseen ICRC visits to the US-run Guantanamo Bay. He has also worked in conflict zones including the Balkans, Middle East and the Horn of Africa. The Red Cross has been active in the North of Ireland since the 1950s and undertook prison visits until 1999, a year after the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) was signed. The Geneva-based organisation set up a full-time office in Belfast in 2011. Last year’s stocktake was carried out by an independent assessment team appointment by justice minister David Ford to look at a deal struck in 2010 to relax strip searches and controlled movement in the prison. Republicans claim that authorities have failed to implement the 2010 agreement. They also say that prison chiefs have failed to act on the last year’s stocktake. In 2012 republican prisoners ended a no-wash protest weeks after prison officer David Black was shot dead by the ‘IRA’ as he travelled to work at Maghaberry prison along the M1 Motorway. Tensions in the jail boiled over earlier this year after prisoners claimed that movement was restricted during building work. Last week republicans held protests after claims that two inmates were forcibly moved from their cells. A spokesman for the DoJ said: “The minister of justice has asked the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to act as independent chair to the prisoners forums for separated prisoners. “The ICRC has agreed to this request in its neutral and impartial role.” Mandy Duffy from the Irish Republican Prisoners’ Welfare Association (IRPWA) said: “Republican  political prisioners will not be drawn into a situation which is all process and no progress even if it is chaired by an independent body such as ICRC.” Connla Young, The Irish News. For the oranginal story.

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