Listening device found in dissident republican’s car…

RECENT revelations about a former Sinn Fein driver’s role as a British spy led many to recalling the bug found in a car used during political talks. Yesterday, dissident republicans revealed a similar bugging device has been found in a vehicle used by a member of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, widely regarded as the political wing of the Real IRA (and widely suspected of being riddled with informers). Some close-up pics at the 32CSM site and Cryptome.

  • DC

    Looks a bit big for a 2008 method of surveillance.

    Any proof that this is true. Most circuit boards etc can run more efficiently now off longer life low powered batteries.

    For example you need only look to laptop sizes and indeed phones to see the transformation in downsizing over the last 10 years especially.

    It seems a bit suspect…but who knows.

  • Steve

    seems very crude by government standards.

    perhaps if it is real it was planted by an NGO or even by someone else in the 32CSM

  • fair_deal

    “Listening device found in dissident republican’s car…”

    Good. Next.

  • DC

    “Listening device found in dissident republican’s car…”

    Silver IPod?

  • What did they expect? An Easter egg?

  • Looks to me much more like an old style GPS Tracking device than a listening device. They are widely available for sale to anyone at around the £400 mark. Absolutely unlikely to be used by any Intelligence Agency, even the poorly equipped Irish ones. An inside job seems much more likely to me.

  • joeCanuck

    Would it not be more correct to say “…widely regarded as an arm of MI5 (and widely suspected to be riddled with a few dissident republicans)”

  • Sorry, I meant GSM Tracking and about £100.

  • The most advanced security system – in 1996

    Then again the previous owner, a Mr G Adams, might have been using it as part of a health check monitoring system 😉

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Fair Deal

    Pithy, but I liked the pics. Thought they might be of interest, maybe to DUP sorts the next time they open the bonnet(!)

  • DK

    Love the way they used a cigarette lighter for scale. I guess the packet of rizlas was in use….

  • west belfast

    Glad to see someone is bugging those three cause theyve been bugging me for ages.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “perhaps if it is real it was planted by an NGO [b]or even by someone else in the 32CSM[/b]”

    take a look at the photos on the 32CSM site, Steve. Not a glove in sight!

  • McGrath

    It is not a listening device, it is a telemetry device used to report a vehicles location. It is not crude or old technology, its just that the assembly has been improvised (ex. batteries added)

    The cellular modem (marked 3034591) will have a serial number, it will also have an IP address or an actual cell phone number depending on the service provider. With that information is is a simple matter of looking up who the IP address or phone number is registered to. Ease of access to that information will tell you who is paying the mobile bill!

    All mobile phones can report their location based on signal measurement from 2 or more signal repeater points, it has nothing to do with GPS. (Although some phones do now have GPS built into them)

    Additionally, the modem could possibly have been set up to make phone calls to release data packets to a DAQ system. If there is memory in the design (flash / eeprom), then that can possibly be accessed to see what data was being stored and to where it was being sent.

    There has to be a fairly sizable antenna for the set up to work. That and the size of the unit tells me it could be a common unit used for tracking the location of haulage trucks or it could be a bit of a homemade effort. (More pictures required) Although the most sophisticated telemetry devices are not than much different in design.

  • west belfast

    So McGrath, are you saying this is just crap satnav?


    Why would anyone need to plant a bug to track the movement of the 32csm ?
    Sure, doesn’t everyone know they’re going nowhere?

  • joeCanuck

    That is funny, TAFKABO.
    Joke of the day.

  • McGrath

    So McGrath, are you saying this is just crap satnav?

    Posted by west belfast on Mar 25, 2008 @ 03:48 PM

    Nope, SatNav is GPS based.

    Telemetry devices typically report position and time. It can be used to follow a vehicle, or using simple tracking software you can log its position over time. One of the most common commercial applications is in haulage, so you can keep an eye on where your drivers really are.

  • Yes, McGrath, pretty sure it’s a GSM Tracker as I suggested. All you need to track the vehicle is a Sim card placed in the unit. You ring the number and it tells you the approximate position of the unit. All very, very old hat!

    If you check Nevin’s link, referring to a 1996 device, you will also find that it refers to a M2050 device, a number clearly visible in the pictures provided by the 32CSM.

  • McGrath

    If I had to guess, it would seem like an internal affair, as the real spokes would only have to make a phone call to learn the whereabouts of any particular person of interest.

    All of this simply implies that dissident republicanism is in a state of disarray, which is a good thing.

  • saveus

    Well indeed, hardly the real spooks but what impact would it have if it were discovered that the IRA planted this device, in keeping with Caoimhign O’Cs “dissident” theory. Would this be viewed as a breach of the ceasefire?? what would the IMC think??

  • fair_deal


    “Thought they might be of interest, maybe to DUP sorts the next time they open the bonnet(!)”

    I sincerely doubt anyone has to go to those lengths to find out what is going on in any Unionist party.

  • Dr Strangelove

    Check out last year’s AGM photos on the 32CSM website… that has to be some sort of record for the lowest attendance at such an event.

  • Diluted Orange

    As an electronic engineer by trade I have to laugh at this ‘listening device’! It’s huge – I’d have expected the British to have been using devices this size to listen to the Nazi’s during WWII. So either this device has been planted by the 32SC themselves or the British wanted them to find it.

    Seriously, if M15 wanted to bug you nowadays you wouldn’t know about it – microphone devices less than a few mms squared in area can be manufactured quite easily these days. There’s now way M15 would use something as big as that to bug someone.

  • RepublicanStones

    Im sure MI5 are saving the good gear for the bugging of Muslim MP’s these days…..

    and as regards the size of this yoke, either it was bought out of LIDL or it was envisioned to remain in situ for a lenghty period, which would necessitate a larger power supply, thus increasing the size of it.

  • The Ericsson device is a radio modem for the Mobitex network, a very low bandwidth (8Kbits/s) system used for things like fleet-management and alarm applications. Rather, I recall being very surprised to hear of someone using it still in 2006.

    Ericsson sold a hell of a lot of them to Thomson Electronics to go in vehicle alarm systems back in the mid-90s.

  • BfB

    That’s the latest, bleeding edge, Tattler 1000. Available in Moscow for $10,000 Euros. I found one on Ebay for $2.50, $15.00 shipping.

  • king rollo

    I think that it im important that these stories are followed up. It looks like the so called sophisticated listening and bugging device was nothing more than an old remote car alarm!!!

    “A little research reveals that the top component is an old Ericsson radio-modem (M2050 Mobidem c.1996-97) made for the UK market (425-460 MHz). “a small low power radio modem that can be built into PC or other equipment. It has no power source of its own. It does not have its own antenna, which must be designed specifically for the host equipment. It has rated data transfer rates of 1200 to 9600 bps. It supports Mobitex MACS, AT and X.28 protocols.”

    According to a press release, “Ericsson has signed an order with Thorn Security Ltd., a leading provider of security services in the U.K. market, for 5,000 Mobidem M2050 radio modems to be used for the company’s new Siteguard Smart Signaling alarm services. The new services will be available to Thorn’s thousands of customers throughout the U.K. in mid-September.

    With the announcement of its new Siteguard Smart Signaling alarm portfolio, Thorn Security has scored a first in the industry. The system uses a self-checking alarm signaling technique that provides intelligent mutual monitoring between wireless data links and landline communications at the customer site. This virtually eliminates line errors and guarantees that the alarm system is functional at all times.”

    The batteries are 4 “D” cells, rechargeable lead-acid type.

    Given the age of the main component, identifying information was left on it (unusual for professional bugging devices) and that similar-looking auto alarm systems exist, its real purpose can be questioned. Is it a bug, or did someone buy a used car not knowing it was outfitted with an alarm system at one time?”