Suzanne Breen this week has the detailed story of the Dave Rupert-like approach by various agencies to Armagh man Martin Winters, in a bid to get him to inform on dissident republicans. David Rupert is an American used by the FBI to entrap RIRA figures in the past and has become part of the Michael McKevitt and Omagh trials. This story comes on the heels of another Rupert-like spy story, that of IrishRepublican.net, and alleged to be a Sinn Fein front for gathering intelligence and monitoring activities of dissident republicans. Martin McGuinness’s infamous ‘traitor’ comment at the side of the PSNI Chief Constable was a public symbol of where the Provisionals loyalites and therefore current activities lay: the pursuit of and crushing of dissident republicans. Winters’ tale shows the amount of money and energy being expended by the security services into the same. It is probably a safe assumption that Winters is not the only person being targeted for recruitment – he is just one who said no. Those who have said yes in the past, by the way, find themselves shafted by those same services today.
[Ex-republican informer Raymond Gilmour] accused the security forces of indifference: “They don’t give a s**t about us. After Massereene, I asked for an alarm system to be installed in my home. They said I didn’t need one but they’d ‘monitor the security situation’.
“After the Real IRA threat last weekend, I asked for bullet-proof windows and a reinforced door. They again repeated this mantra that they’re ‘monitoring the situation’.”
Gilmour said he hasn’t the money to install such security measures himself: “I’ve a heart problem and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I live a very sad life on benefits. People like myself and Martin McGartland, who put our lives on the line, are treated worse than enemies of the state.”
Gilmour continued: “During my time as an agent, I destroyed the IRA and INLA in Londonderry. Now those for whom I worked refuse to take basic measures to protect my life.”
While the security forces are stingy with money once an informer has been used, The Sunday Tribune has examples of no expense being spared in recruitment today:
“…the offer that followed, he says, stunned him a six-figure sum and a home abroad if he provided the security forces with enough information to arrest, convict, and imprison X for life, and thus help close down the Real IRA.
The security services regard Winters (58) as a senior Real IRA figure, a claim he denies. The Sunday Tribune meets him at a location near Dundalk, Co Louth. He’s extremely nervous. Although he lives in Newry, he refuses to meet in the North because he believes the briefcase he’s carrying would be seized by the security forces there. He empties the contents onto a table.
There’s a brown envelope containing £1,000 in £20 notes which, he says, he was given as “a taster”. Then, a scrap of paper with the telephone number of an alleged intelligence officer; and another note with contact details relating to an apparent MI5/Special Branch/FBI attempt to recruit him as an informer in the US.
But that’s not all. He lifts out two devices that appear to be electronic tracking and listening equipment which were attached to his car. It’s a tale which spans five years and two continents. ..”
“… Last August, he says, he was driving his car when he heard a rattle. “I got under the car, thinking the exhaust was loose but it was fine. Then, I noticed something with wires coming out of it hidden under the bumper. There were two pieces of equipment which, he believes, were listening and tracking devices.
The Sunday Tribune asked a security expert, with a British military background, who now specialises in electronic surveillance, to examine photographs of the devices. He was unsure what the smaller one was but he described the larger item, which is wrapped in black tape, as “an extremely viable piece of surveillance equipment” which appears to have military origins.
“The plug-like shape in the middle is a GPS (global positioning satellite) receiver which connects with satellites in the sky to pinpoint a vehicle’s location. Those who planted this device would be able to log onto the internet and track the car’s movements on their pc. The movements could be logged up to every 10 seconds,” he says.
“There are six HP7 batteries at the bottom to power the unit. At the top is what seems to be a mobile-phone aerial and also a piece of wire which would have been attached to a microphone. The microphone would pick up conversations in the car.
“I believe there’s a Sim card buried inside this unit. Whoever planted it could ring the Sim number and listen to what was being said in the car.” The security expert said a smaller, more sophisticated device, “the size of a slimline mobile phone” without batteries because it would run off the car’s battery could have been planted but that would have needed 15 minutes working on the vehicle without being spotted. Whereas the equipment in the photograph could have been fitted in seconds. …”
Political policing….it hasn’t gone away, you know.