New Omagh intelligence inquiry must unlock a chain reaction of truth

It seems to have come as a surprise to at least one minister. “We are not immediately attracted to the idea of a public inquiry,” security minister Paul Goggins said for publication only this morning. Sure enough, the inquiry by retired Appeal Court judge Sir Peter Gibson the Intelligence Services Commissioner announced by the Prime Minister after yesterday’s visit to Belfast isn’t to be held in “public:”

“to review the intercepted intelligence material available to the security and intelligence agencies in relation to the Omagh bombing and how it was shared.”

But it’s right on the button of the Panorama report, it’s time-limited to three months and the Prime Minister has promised to report to Parliament. On the face of it, this is a significant move, but there are plenty of caveats.
There are two principal linked questions emerging from the RUC account given to Panorama:: Why didn’t GCHQ pass on their monitoring to the police immediately to cut off the bombers – if they were listening live? And two, why did they not share, promptly and in full, the results of their monitoring to the police, if not for use in court which was banned, then to help in the hunt for the bombers while it was still hot? This is a top secret area. Sir Peter Gibson has not been one for pushing out the envelope. In his annual report last year he “declined to reveal the number of bugs these agencies had planted, on the grounds that to do so would “assist those hostile to the UK”. In other words, he could submit his report under secrecy.

But Gordon Brown can hardly get on his feet in the Commons a couple of weeks before Christmas and say “ the guys done ok, I can tell you no more.” He has to explain in full was meant by GCHQ’s alleged deadly, terse admission: “ We missed it”

For a decade, the Omagh families have been given a horrible run- around by the celebrity bit players in the tragedy, the presidents, princes and prime ministers who by their hurried visits to inconveniently sealed off Omagh streets lent credence to the view that “no stone would be left unturned.” Their torment is all the more exquisite for the truth allegedly lying just out of reach. This particular inquiry is about one link in the evidential chain. Yet if truth emerges about this one, pressure will inevitably mount for a chain reaction of truth to run right along the length of this terribly botched disconnected investigation, through the old SB, the CID, Sir Ronnie Flanagan and the Gardai. The police and security establishment will be expecting no less. They must be prevented from exploiting this inquiry just to settle old scores. Under revised rules, intercept evidence can now be used in court but only with the permission of the agency involved. If GCHQ has such evidence it is their bounden duty to reveal it. Either way the time has come – is long overdue – for telling the real story either in court prosecutions if possible or if not, as much of it as the law allows in public. Anything less would be the most hollow of mockeries. Gordon Brown cautious champion of openness, has a chance here to do himself proud. He could leave a much worse legacy.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    [i]”There are two principal linked questions emerging from the RUC account given to Panorama:: Why didn’t GCHQ pass on their monitoring to the police immediately to cut off the bombers – if they were listening live?”[/i]

    Maybe GCHQ were breaking rules by listening in while the bombers were in the Republic? Maybe GCHQ were relying upon the Garda to provide them with information before the switchover?

    “[i]And two, why did they not share, promptly and in full, the results of their monitoring to the police, if not for use in court which was banned, then to help in the hunt for the bombers while it was still hot? “[/i]

    isn’t this really the same leading question as the first one, just with more clarity?

  • It’s a bit more complicated than that, Brian.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    [i]”The Irish government was in secret indirect negotiations with the Real IRA in the weeks immediately preceding the Omagh bombing on August 15. [u]The Belfast Redemptorist priest, Fr Alex Reid acted as an intermediary and documents from the Office of the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, were handed over.”[/u][/i]

    There’s that Pan Nationalist front priest Reid again. I heard tell of certain Priests being in demand for civic functions and the like, but this priest seems to be the chosen one by both the PIRA and the Real IRA.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    ….Will Father Reid make it a quartet and become the chosen Father to meet with the CIRA and the INLA too?

  • UMH, I suspect web is a more relevant metaphor than chain in this tragic affair. There are so many cross-links that it may well be impossible to link cause and effect, even if everyone revealed what they knew – which they won’t.

  • Brian Walker

    Nevin, so….???

    Are we supposed to fall down and worship at some secret contacts? Have we never heard of these before? I think people like these angles because they can go ho hum, stroke their chins and feel all-knowing and superior ( not you of course nevin). I doubt if there was a chain of suppression running from Dublin to Cheltenham. If there was and it makes GHHQ look bad, the odds are we’ll get to hear of it somehow, now that the words “inquiry” and GCHQ” have been linked. That’s why there’s a chance of chain reaction.

  • I find this assignment by the PM to the Security Services Commissioner bogus in the extreme.

    Brown would never have done what he did if it had not be for the most uncalled statement by the Security Minister Paul Goggins, stating that there was little official interest in a public inquiry.

    And what kind of position does Sir Peter Gibson have if he has to be instructed by the Prime Minister what clearly he should have done on his own.

    Gibson sounds like another Whitehall flunkey who does whatever Downing Street tells him – like Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, who was given the assignment of determineíng if Mike Todd’s womanizing interfered with his job performance after he mysterious died. Any word on this yet? Flanagan got the position after the Omagh screwup to keep the coverup going.

    And how can anyone have any confidence in what the beleaguered PM may volunteer to the Commans in December? He might not even be PM by then.

    This is just more posturing by the British government over its incredible performance in this tragedy, from its beginning to end.

  • You’re quite right, Brian, I’m not the ‘ho hum’ sort. However, I think you’ve opted for the wrong metaphor.

    Also, it may be necessary to widen the focus and look not just at the Omagh bomb but also at the related attacks and events which preceded it.

  • Democratic

    “British government over its incredible performance in this tragedy, from its beginning to end.”
    I love it when people refer to republican atrocities like this as a “tragedy” – much like the tidal wave in Thailand or the earthquake in Pakistan…those were a tragedy…the Omagh bomb and its like were terrorism pure and simple or if you are of the “legitimate struggle” mentality then substitute terrorism for war crime….

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Brian, you might also want to look at the political stalemate of the time. We’re all old enough to remember what happens when IRA/Sinn Fein don’t get what they want. They bomb the hell out of the place, creating an environment where they dominate the leverage in negotiations. The year of 1993 tells us how they worked on multiple fronts, bombing and negotiating until they got what they wanted.

    Why should we think IRA/Sinn Fein planned their route to the table any different in 1998, Omagh?

  • lorraine

    the tragedy in all this is the omagh relatives will NEVER get access to the truth. if british intelligence is somehow tied in with what happened at omagh they will guard their role and the relatives of the dead will endure with the knowledge that nobody will be held culpable because there is official government involvement somewhere along the chain, and the government can never admit to that!

  • The Omagh bombing became a tragedy, Democratic, like the 9/11 attacks, when the government in charge not only aided and abetted it, but also covered up everything as best it could despite the pleas and anguish of the survivors.

    You have another think coming if you think I justify in even the slightest way what the RIRA did. I am just appalled the the Britsh government was in bed with it all along.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]I am just appalled the the Britsh government was in bed with it all along.”[/i]

    You don’t know how much or little the Britsh government knew or how soon they knew it or who they depended upon to know it, yet you’re willing (like the rest of the media reports so far) in blaming everything on the British intelligence.

  • Democratic

    You have another think coming if you think I justify in even the slightest way what the RIRA did. I am just appalled the the Britsh government was in bed with it all along.

    Never said that Trowbridge – just wanted a spade called a spade that’s all…

    I would also be horrified IF my own govenment was in bed with the bombers as you put it – what exactly do you mean by this? – that the British helped build, plan and place this murderous device or that they helped the RIRA murderers cover their escape for longterm politcal expediency or simply that they covered up their own shortcomings in their preventative procedures on the day?
    Which of these would you regard as deeming the B.G. as equally culpable as the RIRA terrorists?
    For me only the first two would hold any water whatsoever and only the first one would truly show them “in bed” with the RIRA…perhaps you have something more than distinctly dodgy comparisons with the 9/11 atrocity conspiracy theories to offer?

  • Panorama report on youtube

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “……yet you’re willing (like the rest of the media reports so far) in blaming everything on the British intelligence.”

    Unlike yourself of course UMH, who would never express an inquisitive interest let alone critical opinion of British intelligence or MI5/MI6/GCHQ/ etc.. covert operations in Ireland (and indeed the world over) past and present!
    For they can do no wrong in Ireland, says you! For queen and country and the defence of the realm, says you!

  • ‘John, we are going to let this one go through.’ Observer

  • barnshee

    “John, we are going to let this one go through”

    Oh -dear time to add the garda/Govt of the ROI to the list of defendants?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    ‘……yet you’re willing (like the rest of the media reports so far) in blaming everything on the British intelligence.’

    [i]”Unlike yourself of course UMH, who would never express an inquisitive interest let alone critical opinion of British intelligence or MI5/MI6/GCHQ/”[/i]

    Bla, Bla, Bla. When do I join your gang? Is it when I first oppose British things/people or when truth wins?

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “Oh -dear time to add the garda/Govt of the ROI to the list of defendants?”

    True, but it’s really time to realize that ye can’t believe in the integrity of governments and their cohorts.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “Bla, Bla, Bla. When do I join your gang? Is it when I first oppose British things/people or when truth wins?”

    Is that all ye can muster verbally?

    ….having a bad day are ye? LOL

    🙂

  • RepublicanStones

    Perhaps he should have joined one of Kitsons pseudo gangs.

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    This will be a far-reaching enquiry and heads will roll. Oh, yes.

    UHM: http://www.theonion.com/content/news/local_idiot_to_post_comment_on

  • [aside]TMP has some interesting clients.

  • heck

    were are all the unionists who claim the IRA was run by british intelligence? (ingram maybe)

    maybe the reason the british let this happen is that it ended the rira campaign.

    maybe there is a reason the call was’nt heard right.

    cui bono (no not the singer) was the latin phrase to guess who was responsible

  • Democratic

    “cui bono (no not the singer) was the latin phrase to guess who was responsible”

    I would like to think that anybody (outside the Irish Republican persuasion of course) would quickly come to the conclusion that those who planned, constructed, transported, planted then detonated the bomb (the RIRA) in a market town on a Saturday afternoon are comprehensively responsible for the atrocity – whether or not the British (and maybe even the Irish) governments have their own skeletons to hide are an aside to the undeniable and indisputable guilt of the bombers. IF the British intelligence services let the bombers throught their net through choice or through incompetence then yes – heads should roll of course with my full support – this however does nothing, NOTHING whatsoever to lessen, excuse or put into any kind or “perspective” the actions of the Real IRA terrorists – any attempts of muddying the water are quite frankly sickening….

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]I would like to think that anybody (outside the Irish Republican persuasion of course) would quickly come to the conclusion that those who planned, constructed, transported, planted then detonated the bomb (the RIRA) in a market town on a Saturday afternoon are comprehensively responsible for the atrocity – whether or not the British (and maybe even the Irish) governments have their own skeletons to hide are an aside to the undeniable and indisputable guilt of the bombers. “[/i]

    Don’t forget the Vatican, they had their guys placed right in the middle?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    …remember the Priest was bringing about peace, even although no reconciliation had taken place or has taken place. Remember it’s peace, a Priest was present, there’s not need for reconciliation.

  • Democratic

    Eh???
    No idea what you are on about UMH – maybe you should talk to Trowbridge about conspiracy theories – he’ll put you right about who really did Sept 11th too…

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    UMH
    Take of the blinkers, you seem to think that the british spooks can do no wrong. If they were listening live, which I believe they were, how in under gods name could they not have known that there was a bomb run on the way. The code phrase ” The brick is in the wall” you think they actually thought that there were two cars driving to Omagh on a Saturday evening to put one brick in a wall. Catch yourself on

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]If they were listening live, which I believe they were,2[/i]

    sinse when did you speak for intelligence?

    [i]”how in under gods name could they not have known that there was a bomb run on the way.”[/i]

    The Irish government could have prevented it.

    “[i]The code phrase “ The brick is in the wall” you think they actually thought that there were two cars driving to Omagh on a Saturday evening to put one brick in a wall. Catch yourself on”[/i]

    That phrase does not prove anything. It could have been used in the Republic 2 hours before the bombing, no-one knows when it was used.

    DID THE IRISH GOVERNMENT LISTEN IN 2 HOURS BEFORE THE BOMB? WHAT DID THEY HEAR?

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    ”If they were listening live, which I believe they were,2

    sinse when did you speak for intelligence?

    I never said I spoke for British Intelligence (an oxy moron if ever there was one!)I said I believe they were listening, I base that assumption on the fact that they recieved a tip off beforehand that there was a bomb run happening on the 15th so I assume that of all days for them to listen live the 15th would be the day to do it.

    That phrase does not prove anything. It could have been used in the Republic 2 hours before the bombing, no-one knows when it was used.

    DID THE IRISH GOVERNMENT LISTEN IN 2 HOURS BEFORE THE BOMB? WHAT DID THEY HEAR?

    How could the Irish Government have prevented the bomb, did you actually watch the programme? Not only can GCHQ listen live to the phonecalls but they can track the phones movements by sat nav so they knew were they were when they were on the move. What chance would the Irish authorities have of being privy to that info when GCHQ didnt even share it with the RUC till a week after the explosion

  • Pancho’s Horse

    UMH, your heroes Carson and the likes were not above using threatening behaviour and accepting arms from Britain’s enemies when they didn’t get their own way. Always remember that you are a guest in our country and have the manners to behave yourself.

  • lorraine

    UMH

    you are a sad individual: no intelligence, no capacity for reason, just blind sectarian hatred and the philosophy of “my country right or wrong” –

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    UMH appears to be suffering from acute paranoia of ‘catholic priests’ and all things ‘Irish’ at the mo! BTW, why are you so contadictory again with your opinions UMH?

    British Intelligence is in question here, which appears to have had it’s fingers in all the pies, with spies and agents in the Republican movement and successive Irish governments over the years. Well so Unionists claim too! Denis Donaldson etc.., the supergrasses etc.., ah sure who knows, maybe Gerry and Martin and the like are head of MI5/MI6, probably in line for a knighthood too for their services.

    Regarding the Omagh atrocity, while those who planted and detonated the bombs are indeed responsible for the murder of all those people, were they just puppets who’s strings were being pulled indirectly by their masters in British Intelligence. If this is the case should past IRA murder missions be called into question.

    It’s all very sinister indeed and puts into perspective the Troubles and indeed the plight, welfare and treatment of Ireland (and Northern Ireland) by London.

    Regarding the secret services of western democracies, we have seen the cavalier actions of the CIA in Central and South America over the years, the French Secret Service with Greenpeace, etc…
    Britain would be no different when it came to her security. But it’s rather sickening to think that Ireland (and Northern Ireland) may have been just a pawn in the London administation’s security interests. Common peoples lives didn’t matter….and probably still don’t!

    Of course UMH would never question anything of the like!

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    This whole tragedy stinks to high heaven of a state cover up. The whole thing just didn’t add up from the start. Why would the RIRA have intentionally set out that day to kill on a large scale in a predominantly nationalist town.

    Even through the worst of the troubles most of the bombings carried out by the provos which claimed multiple innocent victims were botched operations. Incidents like La Mon, Enniskillen, Bloody Friday were operational fuck ups and were a PR nightmare for their propaganda dept.

    What would the RIRA have gained from killing on that scale? At the time the news outlets were reporting that the RIRA intentionally gave a false bomb location so that the RUC would move the people down to that part of town, I don’t think that is the case at all either the warning was too vague or the location given was not the same as the one given to the RUC that day, I would like to see the transcripts from the bug in the phonebox along the border that was used to ring in the warning that day.

  • Democratic

    “were they just puppets who’s strings were being pulled indirectly by their masters in British Intelligence. If this is the case should past IRA murder missions be called into question.”

    Yeah I’m sure that idea sounds very soothing to those republicans who struggle to reconcile themselves with the murderous atrocities their armed representatives commited back in the day -convince yourselves the British did it really….
    This type of wishful hang-wringing garbage is what really takes me to the fair…and probably why reconciliation here is generations away…..maybe one day when both sides admit to themselves that all paramilitaries were murdering scum without trying to tie buts, whatabouts and finger pointing along the lines of “themmuns made us do it” there may be a future here…

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Democratic

    Can you not grasp the fact that if an IRA cell had had a spy within its ranks who was forwarding on information to British Intelligence, in order to protect that spy certain operations by the Provos would not have been intercepted or averted for fear of arousing sucipicion of that particular spy.

  • Dave

    Ah yes… and who was in charge of the ISU whose role was to detect British agents within PIRA? A British agent who had the right of access to the details of every PIRA operation and every PIRA member, with a remit that could not be countermanded other than by the express order of the Army Council.

    When your primary means of detecting British agents within your organisation is a British agent, you shouldn’t be too surprised if British agents go undetected at every level within it. The only thing that should surprise when your organisation is compromised on every level via the ISU is that there were any non-agents left within it after British agents had the free run of it for decades. 😉

  • Democratic

    “Can you not grasp the fact that if an IRA cell had had a spy within its ranks who was forwarding on information to British Intelligence, in order to protect that spy certain operations by the Provos would not have been intercepted or averted for fear of arousing sucipicion of that particular spy.”

    Of course I can grasp the concept – but it still ultimately comes back to the fact whether the British did not stop the “operation” in order to protect a mole which would indeed be a crime in itself certainly – the IRA still PLANNED IT, STILL EXECUTED IT AND SHOULD BE BIG ENOUGH TO ACCEPT THE CONSEQUENCES WITHOUT TRYING TO SAY THE BRITISH SHOULD HAVE STOPPED US DOING IT IN THE FIRST INSTANCE….

  • Since Democratic continues to maintain that I am a wild conspiracy theorist with no credibility while implying that I am a supporter of republican terrorists, I should inform posters that I have written two articles about the 9/11 cockup:

    l. “11 September The Prelude: Major feature by Eye Spy on the opportunities missed to stop the terrorist attacks last year,” Eye Spy, Issue Eight, pp. 26-33.

    2. http://codshit.blogspot.com/2004/08/911-report-another-whitewash.htm

    And I think and shall be writing about the similar Omagh cockup by British intelligence services where they all were pursuing their own agenda with the RIRA, resulting the terrorists slipping through the security net,and pulling off the worst terrorist act during The Troubles.

    And anyone who has any confidence in what PM Gordon Brown has ordered on the spur of the moment when his political career is in the balance with a three-month inquiry by a spread-out justice who has no legal background in security affairs really buggers belief.

    The whole flare up caused by Security Minster Paul Goggins’ statements could just have been an attempt to help unseat Brown.

  • The claim by the service provider for this site that the codshit article does not exist – what I have just seen – is untrue.

    It can be found as the first item if one types the following thread on the address line of google. com: 911report: another whitewash

    Apparently, GCHQ and NSA are going to even greater lengths to keep us from knowing and spreading the truth.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]UMH appears to be suffering from acute paranoia of ‘catholic priests’”[/i]

    Well, I don’t like the methods they use to collect St. Peters pence, Greagoir. I knew a man who’s bank account was emptied by a Priest in order to pay for his dead wifes exit out of purgatory.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Regarding conspiracy theories, etc…but the covert actions of western governments must be considered since 9/11. For with 9/11 there are so many discrepancies, inconsistancies, etc…that don’t add up. Check out too the CIA’s terrorists actions in Central and South America and how it toppled and destablized democratically elected governments in the pursuit and control of cheap oil. There is a litany of abuse!

    British agents are no different. Rememeber this story folks of the 2 British soldiers in Basra…..Read this again!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4263648.stm

    If this is going on in Iraq today, who knows what British agents got up too in Northern Ireland!

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Tir Eoghain Gael

    “[i]This whole tragedy stinks to high heaven of a state cover up. The whole thing just didn’t add up from the start. Why would the RIRA have intentionally set out that day to kill on a large scale in a predominantly nationalist town.”[/i]

    For the same reasons PIRA bombed Strabane and Armagh in 1993. To get the Nationalist community behind the peace process.

    “[i]What would the RIRA have gained from killing on that scale?”[/i]

    They would have gained nothing, IRA/Sinn Fein were the ones who gained.

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    UMH
    ”UMH appears to be suffering from acute paranoia of ‘catholic priests’”

    Well, I don’t like the methods they use to collect St. Peters pence, Greagoir. I knew a man who’s bank account was emptied by a Priest in order to pay for his dead wifes exit out of purgatory.

    The first thing about that story which is unbelieveable is the fact that you actually know a catholic

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “Well, I don’t like the methods they use to collect St. Peters pence, Greagoir.”

    I don’t like it either UMH….it’s exploitation of people!

  • Democratic

    I see I am not getting anywhere here so I’ll leave it – the circling of the wagons appears to have begun – tell yourselves the British are responsible for the Omagh atrocity if it pleases you – I will remain confident that any outsiders looking in will quickly come to the correct morality in regards to the overall responsibility of the Republicans who planned, built, transported, planted and then detonated this bomb in a market town on a business afternoon while realizing that any other issues regarding British Intelligences’ failure intentional or otherwise to thwart the attack are a separate concern.

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    Democratic
    You seem to be in denial like UMH, You are typical of most unionists who are in denial about the role that the british had in the nasty little war we have came through.

    Its not that many years ago that the very mention of state collusion with loyalists was silenced by the likes of yourself and dismissed as republican propaganda. It is now a given that it happened and it wasnt just a few bad apples as was claimed by unionists.
    Sure you dont deny that RUC/loyalist collusion happened, do you?

  • Democratic

    Tir Eoghain Gael,
    Your post to me about denial on this thread is positively ironic given the attitutes of certain republicans and their inability to accept what was done in the name of their cause in places like Omagh and their transparent attempts to apply equal and collective guilt to as many other parties as possible for THEIR actions….BTW don’t suppose to try and de-stabilise my credibility on this issue based on your assumptions of my views on other matters – they are quite frankly irrelevant….

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Democratic…

    I think you may be believing that some folk (including myself) are trying to score points in favour of Irish Nationalism regarding the Omagh bombing by somehow putting the blame on the British security forces. Please, but this is not the case. I came to re-reading Irish history again within the last few years and approached it with a fair and open mind. But the fact is Ireland and her people throughout the centuries always got a raw deal from London right up till partition and the Troubles. The UK is Anglocentric, England and her security comes first and foremost, everyone else is to toe the line within the UK. Regarding Ireland, we have all been victims here through religion, allegiance, etc…both Unionist and Nationalist alike. England, GCHQ, MI5/MI6 etc….is the top dog that really matters, they call the shots and everyone else is to jump. Don’t get me wrong, there is no anti ‘British’ or anti ‘English’ sentiment here for we can all identify with English culture etc…and many of us in Ireland have relatives there too. But it is London’s governance and administration of Ireland that is the problem and alot of Irish folk have an issue with this! Irish folk have been treated like shit throughout the centuries, including the past decades…..again both Unionist and Nationalist alike!