Lord Carlile: “Peace is in no small way the result of these efforts by PSNI and MI5 personnel.”

On 20th March the Order in Council extending the operations of the UK National Crime Agency to Northern Ireland came into power – despite the challenge that presents to the Speaker of the NI Assembly – bringing us into line with the rest of the UK in the process.

On the same date the NI Secretary of State of State, Theresa Villiers, made a written statement to the House of Commons on the report by Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of national security arrangements in Northern Ireland, covering the period from 1 December 2013 to 31 December 2014.  Those arrangements are still a reserved matter, btw.

From the summary of the report [added emphasis throughout]

Throughout the year I have been briefed extensively on the state of threat in Northern Ireland. The context in which national security activities are performed in Northern Ireland remains challenging. There have been successes in 2014 and a number of trials of significant alleged terrorists are pending. This is a very dangerous, unpredictable terrorist threat, though one which is much smaller than in the days of PIRA terrorist activity. The authorities are achieving a good level of attrition. Most of the public lead lives unaffected by terrorism.

I regard 2014 as a year of continuing success in thwarting and detecting terrorism. Pending trials are likely to demonstrate this, as have trials during the year. However, there is no sign of reduced ambition in the minds of terrorists, and limited evidence of a lack of capacity on their part. Attrition and continued effort against the dissident republican groups remain a paramount requirement. The number of ongoing investigations remains high. The work is painstaking and, for some involved, potentially dangerous. Peace is in no small way the result of these efforts by PSNI and MI5 personnel.

In preparing this report I have considered the current threat level, and what I have learned of events of a terrorist nature during the year. There have been several serious incidents during 2014, as well as a spate of crude letter bombs. Once again the parading season proved a challenge. Although there were some injuries as a result of sectarian clashes, it was more peaceful than in 2013, with fewer injuries to police and public.

During 2014, I have met a range of stakeholders. I have engaged with PSNI and MI5 and examined the relationship between them and others. I have held meetings with HM Inspectorate of Constabulary concerning activities relevant to this Report, and with the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Executive’s Minister of Justice, David Ford MLA. The liaison between Mr Ford and those responsible for national security issues is satisfactory. I have also engaged with the Independent Human Rights Advisor to the Northern Ireland Policing Board (NIPB) and the Board itself. The Policing Board can feel reassured that the Human Rights Advisor is well able to discharge her duties in respect of national security. The Board has been shown the material reports in relation to Northern Ireland of the Office of the Surveillance Commissioners, subject to minor redactions. Compliance is at ‘best in class’ level. I am grateful to NIO Ministers for their close interest in national security matters discussed; meetings with Ministers have occurred. Ministers are always very well informed on all material security issues.

I am satisfied that the periodic briefings provided to me have been full and not selective, and that I have a good understanding of relevant matters. I note that when matters of moment occur, active steps are taken to ensure that I am briefed. When I request access, it is given.

I have asked questions again this year about the relationship between MI5 and PSNI staff working alongside each other in security operations in Northern Ireland. Comments made to me in 2014 about the relationship between the two services were strongly mutually supportive. That they work together well and in the national interest is beyond question. The effectiveness of what they do is demonstrated by the successful disruptions that have taken place over the year.

This year once again I have reviewed in some detail the arrangements for Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS). Overall, the use of CHIS has been effective. All activity and decision making concerning CHIS are documented carefully and European Convention on Human Rights issues are fully considered. There is a rigorous legal and policy framework for dealing with CHIS. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000, and associated orders and codes, provide the legal framework for authorising and managing CHIS within the UK in a way that is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, and particularly the right to privacy. It requires that use of a CHIS is subject to prior senior officer authorisation, limits the purposes for which the CHIS may be used, ensures detailed records are maintained, establishes independent oversight and inspection, and provides an independent appeals mechanism to investigate complaints.

I have also considered a number of issues relating to terrorism prosecutions including arrangements for the continuation of the temporary and renewable non-jury trial arrangements provided under the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007. The situation continues to improve. The number of cases requiring non-jury trial diminishes. The Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland uses considerable and proper care in the identification and selection of such cases. It is fully recognised that the norm is jury trial but the residual serious and lethal threat of terrorism justifies the continuation of the non-jury system.

There is no evidence of any disadvantage in terms of outcome to Defendants in the current system of non-jury trials. They are as likely to be acquitted as in jury trials, and have the advantage of reasoned judgments, and less inhibited access to appeals.

Part of the criminal justice setting in need of appraisal is sentencing in terrorism related cases. Generally such sentences are considerably shorter than comparable sentences in England and Wales, with notably different tariffs in murder cases.

I remain as concerned as before about the disclosure regime operated in scheduled cases in Northern Ireland. In England and Wales issues of Public Interest Immunity and other disclosure issues are dealt with by the trial judge, who of course is not the tribunal of fact save in the rarest of trial exceptions, or in ‘Newton’ hearings where there has been a plea of guilty on a disputed factual basis. In Northern Ireland in non-jury trials there is a separate disclosure judge. This still leads not only to delays in trials, but to a disconnect between the day by day reality of the trial and the insulated disclosure process.

I remain concerned that the disclosure issue outlined above is a real difficulty in dealing with non-jury cases. Given the high regard held generally for the quality of the reasoned judgments given in such cases, and also for the fairness of the trials, I find it difficult to accept that there would be any diminution in actual fairness if the trial judge dealt with disclosure too.

I have enquired about the use of intercept evidence. I remain satisfied that there is solid scrutiny and review of interception, in an environment in which communications technology is developing quickly.

As before, I have asked about loyalist paramilitaries. These are people and groups whose real interest is in making money from crime. The authorities are well sighted against these organisations. I have enquired about violent Islamism in Northern Ireland. For the present this is not a significant threat.

Continued vigilance and the maintenance of counter-terrorism resourcing are essential. However, once again I have drawn comfort from the successful joint operations between MI5 and the PSNI. Normality is a genuine and mostly realisable ambition, rather than merely an aspiration.

[Haven’t the PSNI and MI5 had “a sound working partnership” for some time? – Ed]  Oh, definitely for some time…  And, no doubt, the NI Policing Board will be briefed, again, appropriately [PDF file].

[But they’re the ‘Dark Side’! – Ed]  I know!  Have you seen their ‘Death Star‘!

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  • MainlandUlsterman

    Interesting comments by Carlile on non-jury trials – I’d be interested to know how many have to be done this way these days. Never ideal, but a necessity when dealing with paramilitary groups and their ability to intimidate witnesses and pervert the justice process.

    Good man, Carlile – I used to know one of his parliamentary researchers in the 90s when he was an MP, who spoke very highly of him.

  • Thomas Barber

    “As before, I have asked about loyalist paramilitaries. These are people
    and groups whose real interest is in making money from crime. The
    authorities are well sighted against these organisations”

    Just Ordinary decent criminals then who just happen to have weapons, supplied by Lord Carlile’s intelligence services, to murder and injure people who they dont like but I suppose not really a threat to British interests therefore not a threat to national security so they can be used rather than exposed and their activities brought to an end.

  • james

    Much, I suppose, as the many, many bodies in the closets of many current Sinn Fein politicians are quietly left there. I agree with you that they should be investigated.

  • Thomas Barber

    Well dont just allege without proof, put your money where your mouth is, post up your evidence of all these dead bodies that no-one else knows of, except yourself, in the closets of current Sinn Fein politicians, go on which Sinn Fein politicians are you talking about. Remember its not considered closet material if someone has previously been convicted of the offense.

  • james

    I didn’t say ‘dead bodies’, that is your own addition. Interesting, though, that you seem to be saying in your post that people who have been convicted of terrorist offences are suitable to hold office. Or am I reading you wrong? What I will say, though, since you are raising the issue is that it is true that a large proportion of SF seem to have a past which includes IRA involvement. The IRA had as one of its core aims the carrying out of violent terrorist acts, up to and usually including murder. Some of them served time when they were caught, many of those crimes went unsolved. Are you suggesting that no current SF members were involved in but not caught for such offences?

  • Focus gentlemen.
    Stop bickering, or I’ll trim the comments right back.

  • james

    Fair play. Apologies.

  • chrisjones2

    Another new poster with a set of wild allegations and no evidence. I can feel an election coming on

  • chrisjones2

    Well dont just allege without proof,

    Bit rich. See comment above.

    Now how many Shinners do you think are / were in British pay do you think?

  • chrisjones2

    The thing for me is at the end. The PSNI and MI5 have done remarkably well against the Dissers – no doubt with the benefit of community support (paid and unpaid) . I think its so bad from the Dissers standpoint that if they cannot get traction by 2016 they really are history

    PSNI and MI5 need a lot more credit for this

  • chrisjones2

    Great to see you back again after your outing on OTRs two days ago – now we have this.

    Will Connolly House now keep your battery recharged on a longer term basis or just wheel you out for special occasions when they need a bit of deniable stirring on Slugger??

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Do the maths: we know from studies like the Sutton Index of Deaths that Republicans were responsible for c60 per cent of Troubles deaths (and an even high percentage if we confine it to Troubles *murders*). We also know there are over 2,000 murders for which a conviction was never secured. So that’s comfortably over 1,000 people killed by Republicans which they have currently got away with.

    Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and Gerry Kelly were all on the Provisional IRA Army Council that ordered those murders. That’s just for starters. Other leading figures who were members of the IRA during its terrorist campaign, who one assumes must have knowledge of terrorist offences they have not shared with the public or the criminal justice system, include Jennifer McCann, Sean Lynch, Pat Doherty, Alex Maskey, Fra McCann, Caral Ni Chulin, Martina Anderson, Mary McArdle, Jackie McMullan, Pat Sheehan, Gearoid O’Hara, Sean McGlinchy, Ian Milne. (http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/regional/sinn-fein-members-with-ira-links-1-2738798)

    Oh and it’s “offence”.

  • Thomas Barber

    You have proof Gerry Adams was in the IRA and he personally ordered all those murders, please do what others have been trying for decades, bring your evidence to the British authorities who will no doubt have him in court based on your overwhelming evidence. See all those bad apples in the RUC/UDR/RIR/British army who murdered hundreds of innocent people did their Commander in Chief, aka the Queen, personally order them to carry out their murder sprees ?

    By the way can we assume Dodds, Robinson, Campbell, Wilson, Allister all carry some guilt for any deaths or injury that occurred because of the DUP involvement in the creation of Ulster Resistance who along with the UDA and UVF imported hundreds of weapons into this country which were later used to murder innocent people and who are the only group among the three who have still got their share of the imported weapons.


  • MainlandUlsterman

    you think Ulster Resistance and the IRA are … equivalent organisations?

    Yes I believe there is in existence proof that Adams was on the IRA Army Council – there are many people alive with first hand knowledge of that who could testify to it and several of them have done in interviews.

    So let’s get this straight, you think he wasn’t in the IRA? Or just that he has no membership certificate?

  • This is an attempt to distract from the content of the original post.
    Replies may be deleted accordingly.
    You have been warned.

  • Thomas Barber

    It is fair play to focus on the myth that loyalist paramilitaries are only in the game of terrorism for money and it is also fair to point out that British intelligence who the NCA are a part of were responsible via their agent Brian Robinson in aiding loyalist paramilitaries to import tons of weapons into this country, why should nationalists view the NCA any different than all the other arms of British intelligence who have operated here and abused their positions and powers actions that have led to the loss of innocent life.

    By the way Pete what about all the man playing in this thread against myself are we allowed to have a different opinion without being verbally attacked and accused of being this or that ?

  • Thomas Barber

    “you think Ulster Resistance and the IRA are … equivalent organisations”

    Why do you think they wanted to import tons of weapons into this country including automatic assault rifles, rocket launchers, grenades etc, what do you think they were going to do with them ? Why have these weapons not been decommissioned and why are they still at large, what do you think these people want to hold on to these weapons for ?

    Throw your evidence about Gerry Adams into the public domain im sure Pete would love to hear and see it especially Mick Fealty, go ahead post up your evidence.

    It doesn’t matter what I think, its about the evidence, and I dont think you have any evidence.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You haven’t answered my question though: do you think he was in the IRA? Yes or no …

    I’m not a supporter of ridiculous stunts like Ulster Resistance, but just to put the farcical suggestion to bed that it had some sort of equivalence with the Sinn Fein and the IRA. Its members got hold of weapons (some 16 years into the IRA’s “armed struggle” after the IRA had already killed over 1,500 people) but as far as I can tell, it never actually attacked anyone, let alone injured anyone, let alone killed a single person. The DUP severed its links with it in 1987.

    Why did they get hold of the guns? A classic Paisley-ite piece of sabre-rattling and taking the law into their own hands. They made fools of themselves again. They were idiots. But it was largely bluster. You might as well ask, as they had the weapons, if they wanted to use them, why didn’t they?

    This was a farcical and criminal escapade and its buying of guns and consorting with terrorists in the process was a serious crime. But to compare that with a 28-year IRA campaign that killed around 2,000 people is ridiculous. I suspect you’re saying it because you want to find an equivalent on the unionist side to the SF-IRA link. There is one: the PUP and the UVF. But you don’t want to go with that, because the PUP never got enough votes and that makes unionist voters look sensible. You may not be so comfortable with that. The fact is unionist and nationalist attitudes are not mirror-images. The DUP has been pretty dodgy and I would never vote for them for that reason. But let’s be clear, they weren’t the UVF or UDA.

  • Thomas Barber

    “but as far as I can tell, it never actually attacked anyone, let alone injured anyone, let alone killed a single person. The DUP severed its links with it in 1987”

    Thats a something that you simply dont know a bit like your evidence about Gerry Adams. Its not surprising though you are trivialising and downplaying the fact that Ulster Resistance aided others in supplying the weapons to murder innocent people but got your drift just brush the dead bodies under the carpet, nothing to complain about as they were only Catholics and after all the DUP only created the monster they apparently, according to the DUP abandoned and cut their links with but the reality is no-one knows if they really did your just taking the word of a party that you already admit are dodgy and who you wouldn’t vote for. A party who David Ervine, leader of the the political wing of the UVF revealed that the same DUP advised them not to call a ceasefire when they were murdering Catholics daily.

    “You might as well ask, as they had the weapons, if they wanted to use them, why didn’t they”

    How do you know they haven’t and wont in the future and those supplying weapons that are used in murder are classed as no different than those who pull the trigger after all didn’t some branch of RUC special branch tamper with the firing mechinisms of some of the weapons from the same batch imported by Ulster Resistance that were used in eight murders in the Mid Ulster area.

    No I dont know if Gerry Adams was in the IRA, did he say he was, I dont know the man and I simply have no evidence that he was other than your overwhelming evidence of a nudge nudge wink wink take it from me I know someone who knows someone that knows he was kinda evidence, perhaps you could bring that evidence to the attention of the PSNI.

  • “PSNI and MI5 need a lot more credit for this”

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You think the suggestion he was in there IRA is all a mirage? Not according to, among many, many others: historians of the Troubles Ed Moloney, Peter Taylor, Mark Urban, Richard English (and actually pretty much all of the historians of the Troubles); then there are the testimonies of former IRA members like Sean O’Callaghan, Anthony McIntyre, Richard O’Rawe, Peter Rogers, Brendan Hughes (this despite the infamous Republican omertà); and pretty much any senior police officer north or south of the border who’s seen the files.

    I think the only people claiming he *wasn’t* in the IRA are Adams himself and your good self. I’m glad he has company 😉

    As for your suggestion that Ulster Resistance actually did murder people but somehow no one knows about it, that is a bit risible. Even if they had, you can’t seriously be suggesting their deeds are comparable to the IRA’s? Really?! 🙂

  • Thomas Barber

    “then there are the testimonies of former IRA members like Sean O’Callaghan, Anthony McIntyre, Richard O’Rawe, Peter Rogers, Brendan Hughes (this despite the infamous Republican omertà); and pretty much any senior police officer north or south of the border who’s seen the files”

    Well im sure then you can accept as 100% fact John Weirs testimony which exposes the existence of government-backed death squads in Northern Ireland including the RUC links to the Dublin Monaghan bombings and the involvement of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen in turning a blind eye to the murderous activities of the Glenanne gang or the very real possibility that this is true –


    Its interesting your support for Ulster Resistance though even though you must know that supplying the weapons thats used in murder carries the same life sentence as those who pulled the trigger and no I dont compare Ulster Resistance to the IRA I just dont unlike yourself attempt to cherry pick who’s terrorists and who’s not nor do I see any difference between those who pull the trigger and those who supply the weapons.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    As I’ve already said very clearly, I don’t “support” UR; nor am I cherry-picking terrorists, or indeed state agents acting like terrorists – I want them all to face justice equally. So please refrain from the suggestion I’m being partial here, you have no basis for saying that.

    On the Glenanne Gang, we can all agree those in it or involved in any way with it should face the full force of the law. But you describe it as “government-backed”. I’m no expert, but I haven’t seen that established in the bits and pieces I’ve read about it. The only allegation I’ve seen that gets anywhere near such a claim is one of the guilty men, Weir, trying to suggest there are others in the RUC who knew and turned a blind eye. Who knows, it might be true and if so I hope they are prosecuted and serve a long time in jail. But from what I saw, even Weir isn’t claiming they were ‘government-backed’ – and if he were, would I necessarily believe him? Not so sure.

    I wouldn’t want to second-guess what happened, but it might be instructive to look at Bloody Sunday, where there widespread and widely believed allegations that the shootings were ordered at a senior level. The Inquiry established the absolute untruth of that.

    It comes with the territory that where there were rogue members of the security forces committing murders in the Troubles – and even at the wildest top end of estimates, this was still statistically a very small part of the overall violence of the Troubles – both they and Republican conspiracy theorists are keen to show it went right to the top. This theory is not born of hard research, or because of some unquenchable thirst on their part for the truth, but born of worldviews in which a grand conspiracy theory serves a function. David Aaronovitch’s “Voodoo Histories” is a good read on that mindset and that way of making sense of the world. (Here’s Giles Foden’s review of it in the Guardian if you’re interested: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/may/02/voodoo-histories-david-aaronovitch)

    In Northern Ireland, the whole idea that the state was directing everything that Loyalists did is of course very popular with self-aggrandisers among both loyalist and Republican terror supporters – but particularly on the Republican side. It is mistaken, because it massively underestimates ground-level hatred of the IRA among Ulster Protestants and their ability and willingness to take the law into their own hands in countering them – or more often making cack-handed attempts to do so which were better described as disgusting sectarian slaughter. Republicans want the conspiracy to go bigger and take in more of the Loyalist terror because Republicans’ primary target in re-spinning the story of the Troubles is the British state. The story they don’t want is the one that predominantly happened: Loyalists killing Catholics off their own bat, of their own volition and without help from some Moriarty figure in the shadows. Loyalists themselves like to play up the supposed security force angle, because it makes them, the Loyalists, seem legitimate – the “we were just doing their dirty work” argument.

    If you’re looking for conspiracies, how about this one: the mutual interest of former paramilitaries and their apologists in exaggerating the level of involvement of people attached to the security forces in Troubles crimes, as a smokescreen for paramilitaries’ own guilt for the vast, vast majority of the crimes of the Troubles.

    Oh and I don’t think Finian Cunningham is the final word on unbiased, neutral Troubles reporting, no harm to him. That was some article you linked to there 🙂

  • chrisjones2

    So that would be Weir and the Glenanne Gang – scumbags to a man and woman – who were allegedly ‘government backed’ British agents but who were investigated, caught and prosecuted by the RUC and the British DPP. Some mistake surely

    Weir then made a series of allegations against police officers some of whom had been involved in investigating him / bringing him to justice. Quelle surprise.

    Still it shows the drones desperation and isn’t it strange that he has suddenly appeared on here with all these allegations. Been bottling them up for 30 years have we?

  • chrisjones2

    “why should nationalists view the NCA any different than all the other arms of British intelligence” ….. that is a matter for them. If they are still stuick 50 years in the past as you seem to be good luck to them but the law has been passed so live with it

    PS Shouting “Hes a murderer hes a murderer ……but don’t criticize me here as that is ‘man playing” carries little credibity

  • Thomas Barber

    Wooh that was one long long way to say well the evidence is there but I’ll just do what all unionists do and put my blinkers on and ignore it. The fact is that British intelligence and the RUC special branch were the biggest source for loyalist weapons and intelligence including being controlled and directed by them and no amount of smoke and mirrors from the likes of yourself can change that fact Im sorry but the facts and history dont agree with your analysis that security force involvement in hundreds of murders is a conspiracy its not as if it didn’t happen and not as if it hasn’t happened before –


    Dont worry though its only yourself your fooling, well and your side kick troll below, it must be a unionist/loyalist affliction, just like these idiots who think they can pull the wool over everyones eyes too –


  • MainlandUlsterman

    So in summary: you’re not going to answer my points and you’re not going to apologise for your mistakes. And you’re going to randomly abuse another Slugger contributor for good measure. Nice one 🙂

    You quote this pro-Iran propaganda guy Finian Cunningham again, I see. Northern Ireland, the Middle East: you have to hand it to him, he’s not afraid to bang a partisan drum. I don’t think he’s exactly Woodward and Bernstein though, Thomas.

    If you want to understand Loyalism, I suggest you read a properly researched work by someone like Steve Bruce (a sociology professor in Aberdeen and the acknowledged expert), Peter Shirlow of QUB, or even for something more journalistic, Peter Taylor.

  • Thomas Barber

    You want me to apologise to you who’s trivilizing the actions of the DUP in creating a terrorist organisation that along with other terrorists including help from British intelligence imported tons of weapons into this country, weapons that were later used to murder innocent people. I dont think so and your side kick troll has no problems abusing me, jesus the victim mentality from unionist loyalists is not unexpected but its still frustrating.

    Pro Iran propaganda ! Well I dont expect a unionist to believe anything other than propaganda with a British tint but if its evidence you need look no further –


    or –


    The truth always emerges in the end and Britain’s dirty secrets in Ireland will become public knowledge just like every other country it invaded and terrorised the local populations and unionists will as usual refuse to believe but whats new in the world.

  • MainlandUlsterman


  • MainlandUlsterman

    if you think all academic work on NI is pro-British propaganda, fine. Just don’t expect to persuade too many people who can read and think.

  • Thomas Barber

    Who said it was, thats your own imagination running away with itself, perhaps you need to reflect on what I actually said rather than what you imagined I said.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    we’re just bickering now, let’s stop there. More heat than light.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    But for the record, you did say: “I dont (sic) expect a unionist to believe anything other than propaganda with a British tint” – that was just after I’d referred to the work of two reputable academics and a reputable, experienced journalist. So you were clearly implying they write propaganda, as that’s the work I had been praising.

    That’s leaving aside the sweeping insult directed at all unionists.

    Is it possible that some people may disagree with you who are neither ogres nor stupid, Thomas? I think you have to allow for that possibility, surely …

  • Thomas Barber

    Indeed but reputable to whom, to you, I can say the same and I dont need anyone to tell me about loyalism I’ve lived in Ireland all my life my own eyes and experiences count for a lot more than Steve Bruce, Peter Shirlow or Peter Taylor. No I dont see everyone as either ogres or stupid and I dont expect everyone to agree with me but you just cannot hide from the truth about Britain being the most dangerous and devious country in the world.


  • Thomas Barber

    When was Chief Superintendent Harry Breen charged ? By the way your just a Johnny come lately on Slugger too another who sticks his head in the sand when faced with reality, John Weir might not be your kind of star witness but he nevertheless was incredibly accurate with his revelations.


  • chrisjones2

    Nonsense…the same allegations are endlessly regurgitated.

    Was Harry Breen charged? Not to my knowledge because I assume there was never any evidence beyond the rantings of a proven killer and psychopath with a grudge