Declassified files have revealed the shocking level of collusion between the British Army’s UDR regiment and loyalists. Micheál Smith is the author of a new book on the subject (for the Irish Times). For some, the conflict in Northern Ireland was characterised by an impenetrable jumble of abbreviations. Amid the alphabet soup of loyalist paramilitary […]A powerful weapon in Britain’s ‘dirty war’ against the Irish: The Ulster Defence Regiment
SPY IN THE BAG “What really happened to MI6 agent”
MI6 and a senior detective have been accused of failing to disclose vital evidence in the death riddle of spy Gareth Williams.
A coroner suggested that the counter-terror officer, Detective Superintendent Michael Broster, was not being “completely impartial” towards secret services during the Scotland Yard inquiry.
Coroner Fiona Wilcox and the family’s lawyer both delivered angry outbursts after it emerged that nine computer memory sticks and a black bag were overlooked for 21 months after the death.
The lead detective on the case was told about the evidence only on Monday.
With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and Tom Morgan
Follow this link to find out more: https://m.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/spy-probably-killed-unlawfully-28744840.html
A REVIEW into the funding of a group linked to former loyalist victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer has yet to be completed. The Victims and Survivors Service (VSS) withdrew its backing for the Family Research and Policy Unit (FRPU) last May. The service was supposed to provide funding to community and voluntary organisations which deliver “support and services in a wide range of areas including health and wellbeing and advocacy support”. The FRPU, which is based in Markethill, Co Armagh, has received more than £542,000 in funding from VSS since 2015. This cash was allocated on a quarterly basis between 2015 and 2019.
Before the funding was cut concerns were raised with VSS in relation to public comments made by Mr Frazer by relatives of people killed during the Troubles. Mr Frazer, who died last June, was an outspoken campaigner for loyalist victims and often made wild claims on social media. He previously came to prominence with victims’ body Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (Fair) in South Armagh. Controversial Pastor Barrie Halliday, a former UDA member who was Mr Fraser’s friend, has also previously been linked to the FRPU. In a statement VSS last night said it “provides funding to organisations on a quarterly basis, covering a range of costs associated with staff, administration and project delivery”. “Following cessation of funding expenditure has been reviewed and a significant element has been confirmed as eligible,” a spokeswoman said. “We are continuing to work through final queries, to conclude on eligibility of the remaining expenditure, and to determine whether any claw back is required.” BBC Spotlight revealed that Willie Frazer – a prominent campaigner for IRA victims – was secretly supplying UDA boss Johnny Adair with guns smuggled in by DUP-linked Ulster Resistance. Those guns were then used in massacres of innocent Catholics.
Glennane gang: Jon Boutcher to head collusion investigation
Former Bedfordshire Police chief Jon Boutcher will head an inquiry into the activities of the Glenanne Gang.
In July, the Court of Appeal said a full, independent investigation must be held.
The loyalist paramilitary gang has been linked to up to 120 murders and included some serving members of the police and security services.
Mr Boucher is separately investigating the activities of an Army agent within the IRA, known as Stakeknife.
Glenanne gang victims win legal challenge
PSNI ‘must complete Glenanne Gang probe’
‘Establish the truth’
Mr Boutcher said the review would have the “interests of the victims, and their loved ones at its very heart”.
He said: “I will do everything I can to establish the truth about who was responsible for these terrible crimes.
“For the families that especially means finding out about what, if any, assistance was given to the Glenanne Gang by others in any manner whatsoever, and that will include whether people turned a blind eye to what was happening.”
An investigation into alleged security force collaboration with the gang was started by the now defunct Historical Enquiries Team (HET).
However, the HET was later abolished and the report, thought to be 80% complete, was shelved.
Families argued they were promised an investigation.
Initial legal proceedings against the PSNI were taken by Edward Barnard, whose 13-year-old brother Patrick was killed in the Hillcrest Bar bombing.
The boy was one of four people to die in the no-warning explosion on St Patrick’s Day, 1976.
Five years later, Dungannon Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) member Garnet James Busby received a life sentence after admitting his role in the bombing and other terrorist offences.
July’s Court of Appeal ruling upheld a previous court’s decision that had been challenged by the former PSNI Chief Constable, Sir George Hamilton.
Assistant Chief Constable George Clarke said the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s thoughts “first and foremost are with all of the families affected by these incidents”.
He added: “Following the Court of Appeal judgment on 5 July the chief constable undertook to commence work to appoint the Independent Police Team and he has now asked for the assistance of Jon Boutcher to head this team to conduct the analytical report on collusion as ordered by the court.”
The Glenanne Gang is believed to have been responsible for the murders of 33 people in the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
It has also been linked to a number of other atrocities, including the 1975 Miami Showband Massacre in which three members of the popular group were shot dead.
With many thanks to: BBC NewsNI for the original story
A former head of MI5 has warned that a legal challenge against the security services over when spies are allowed to commit crimes risks exposing informants who have entrenched themselves
Campaigners begin their action in the courts on Tuesday over a document which was released last year which states undercover agents were permitted to commit crimes if they thought it was necessary.
It was signed by David Cameron, and human rights activists are demanding an inquiry into the transparency of the secret services and how they conduct their operations.
But Lord Evans of Weardale, who was MI5 director general until 2013, told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme certain aspects of such sensitive material through the courts could put spies in danger.
Insisting that it was right that “there’s nothing wrong with bringing a case” against potential wrongdoing and that it “up to the courts to decide what the outcome would be”, he warned that some information could out informants.
He said: “One of the concerns here is that if the exact details of the parameters that are applied are made public then we’re in a situation where a terrorist group who is trying to find out if anybody is actually giving out information could set tasks for them in such a way as to be sure that if they refuse to do that task they know they are working for the intelligence services.
“Not only would that be bad for intelligence gathering, but it would also be very dangerous for the safety of the agent.”
Maya Foa, director of Reprieve – the campaign group bringing the legal action – said she wants to know “what the limits are to this policy”.
“We have only recently discovered that there has been a policy in operation for decades authorising agents of MI5 to potentially commit serious crimes including torture and unlawful killing,” she said.
“Does it mean they can torture? Does it mean they can kill people? Can we torture a five-year-old child of a suspect?”
Lord Evans dismissed the claims, and said: “This isn’t about torture, and it’s not about killing.
“If you’re going to be able to understand the nature of the details of threats to mount terrorist attacks in this country – a really important source of intelligence is humans who are part of the conspiratorial group.
“For many years, probably for decades, we’ve been in a situation where human source intelligence has been absolutely critical for keeping this country safe.”
The former head of MI5 pointed out that by infiltrating a banned group like National Action, agents are already committing a crime by merely being a member.
But pushed on whether MI5 agents are permitted to carry out a punishment beatings such as kneecapping, he said: “The rules are very clear – they are, in this game or in this process to safeguard the public and in order to keep the country safe and able to maintain the rule of law.
“So that’s the ground rules. You have to act in a proportionate way.”
He added: “There are no specific rules on exactly which crimes but there is very clear process to ensure that this is only done at a level which is appropriate, which maintains security and maintains the rule of law.”
With many thanks to: The Telegraph and Gareth Davies for original story
Follow these links to find out more: https://thebreakingnewsheadlines.com/blog/mi5-role-before-london-bridge-attack-of-legitimate-concern/
A man who narrowly escaped death in the Loughinisland massacre has asked to meet with a UUP council candidate after a suspect in the loyalist atrocity was pictured helping put up his election posters.
Ulster Unionist Alan Lewis said he did “not wish to comment” on the photograph of Ronnie Hawthorn, who was named by a major documentary in connection with the 1994 attack, erecting his posters close to the south Down village.
A former member of Ukip, Mr Lewis is running as a candidate in the Slieve Croob area of Newry, Mourne and Down council in next month’s local government elections.
Hawthorn was named in No Stone Unturned as a suspected member of the UVF gang said to have been responsible for the attack on the Heights Bar in Loughinisland, when six men were shot dead while watching a World Cup match.
He has described the allegations in the film as “unfounded” and said it represented “a speculative, reckless, and irresponsible attempt at an expose, which now is the subject of a police investigation”.
Hawthorn was pictured erecting posters in support of Mr Lewis in a move described as a “distressing and hurtful” by one of the survivors of the Loughinisland attack.
Aidan O’Toole, who was seriously injured while working behind the bar, said he was “saddened” when he heard the news.
“This is such a small community and when something like this happens news gets around very quickly. I’ve spoken to other victims’ families who are just as devastated as I am by this news,” he said.
“Does Alan Lewis realise how insensitive this is and how retraumatising it is for us as victims?
“I still have my good days and bad days – things like this can be a real set back for us all.
“I wonder has Mr Lewis even bothered to watch No Stone Unturned, and would he maybe like to take the time to meet the families so we can explain to him at first hand the hurt his association with Hawthorn is causing us all.”
When contacted by The Irish News, Mr Lewis – who describes himself as a ‘Victims Advocacy Officer’ – said he had put his own posters up along with his wife, before saying he “didn’t want to comment”.
The Irish News also contacted Ronnie Hawthorn and the UUP for comment but they did not respond.
Two journalists, Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey, were arrested by police in relation to documents used in the making No Stone Unturned, which named a number of suspects including Hawthorn.
With many thanks to: The Irish News and Allison Morris for the original story