Veil of secrecy over Special Branch informer system lifted a chink as the Finucanes make their bid to the Supreme Court

The Guardian lead on the Walker report ( no relation), neatly coincides with the opening of the Finucane family’s bid to the Supreme Court to order a public inquiry into Pat Finucane’s murder.  The “secret”  report by a former head of MI5  complied in 1980 – nine years before he was murdered –  was  “the blueprint for making RUC special branch a ‘force within a force’, according to the human rights legal group the Committee on the Administration for Justice … Read more

“What you should not do is expose Joe Bloggs who might have been buried as a hero but was in fact an informant for the Brits.”

With this attempted distraction in mind, the latest comments by Denis Bradley make even more interesting reading. Bradley also expressed concern about the fate of thousands of one-time informers if there was “full disclosure” of all sensitive Troubles-related security files. “What Robin Eames and I found out in our investigations leading to the Consultative Group on the Past report was that at any given time there were at least 800 informers working within the ranks not only of the loyalist … Read more

Declan Kearney: “an attempt to destabilise nationalist areas in the North.”

As mentioned by Newton Emerson in Saturday’s Irish News, in an under-reported article in An Phoblacht this week, the Sinn Féin national chairperson, and MLA for South Antrim, Declan Kearney, doubled down on Roy Greenslade’s ‘policy of criminalisation‘ for dissident republicans to explain away the evident discontent the party is experiencing – adding further layers of conspiracy in the process.  Yep.  It’s the Brits the securocrats the ‘Dark Side’, again! In the article Declan Kearney claims that “republicans hostile to … Read more

Ten years after Cory: has the human rights case been lost?

The Committee for the Administration of Justice (CAJ) have just published a long delayed report on a conference held  two years ago  to review the state of accountability for covert policing for the controversial  UK Investigatory Powers Bill,   against the background of  what went on during the Troubles. They began by noting that the UK national security and crime institutions MI5 the National Crime Agency operate in the province without specific accountability to the local institutions. This is hardly news. … Read more

“as head of British intelligence, you would be derelict in your duty if you did not do everything in your power to assist that process…”

Via the Pensive Quill.  In this transcript of a discussion on Radio Free Éireann in New York, with John McDonagh (JM) and Martin Galvin (MG), veteran journalist Ed Moloney (EM) has some “stupid” questions for the leadership of Sinn Féin, British Intelligence Services, and the local media.  From the transcript EM: There’s a whole untold story of the peace process in the latter years of the IRA’s existence in relation to the influence of British intelligence – to what extent that was … Read more

Discovery of files on named politicians raises the stakes on the Kincora abuse scandal

At last . Papers naming prominent politicians of the 1970s and 80s as suspects which couldn’t be found at first have at last turned up in boxes marked “Miscellaneous” in the Cabinet Office in Whitehall. The local interest couldn’t be higher, after being stimulated by media persistence. The papers also reveal that the Kincora children’s home in Northern Ireland was at the heart of further correspondence involving the security services. Allegations of abuse and trafficking of children to England have … Read more

Kincora: The heart of darkness

Last night’s powerful Channel 4 news report has led to fresh calls for Kincora to be included in the Westminster paedophile inquiry. Richard Kerr, a victim of abuse at Kincora told Channel 4 News that he was taken from the east Belfast home to London where he was molested by members of a VIP paedophile ring. Mr. Kerr alleges that he was abused by “very powerful people” at Elm Guest House and Dolphin Square – locations at the centre of the ongoing inquiry … Read more

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 … Read more

“Something, Something, Something, Dark Side…” – redux

More sound and fury from Sinn Féin over the continuing, agreed, questioning of party president Gerry Adams, TD, about the abduction, murder and secret burial of Jean McConville in 1972.  This time the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, is recycling a 2011 phrase from his party chairman, Declan Kearney.  And, apparently, he has super-sekrit sources… Mr McGuinness, Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister, told a press conference at Stormont that the arrest of his party leader and “friend” was politically … Read more

“The family are of the view it is vital that the police ombudsman receives this journal…”

As I noted back in January this year, an inquest has yet to be held into the death of former senior Sinn Féin member, and informer, Denis Donaldson in 2006 – responsibility for which was claimed by the Real IRA.  And, despite a previous NI Police Ombudsman‘s finding that there had been no police misconduct here, the new incumbent launched an investigation into allegations that officers may have contributed to his death.  But that investigation is, reportedly, facing obstruction from the An Garda Siochana – who have refused to … Read more

The SNP cooperates, but Northern Ireland stays partly aloof from UK National Crime Agency

  Isn’t  this amazing? Here we have a Scottish government poised for a referendum on independence, yet in the meantime enthusiastically co-operating with making the new UK National Crime Agency effective in Scotland. A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The introduction of Serious Crime Prevention Orders will give law enforcement agencies another vital tool in their kit. “The Scottish Government is consulting on their introduction, which we hope will follow a similar format to those in place in England and Wales, in the … Read more

The Haass agenda on the past. The release of documents must include MI5’s and others in the secret state

The remarks by Teresa Villiers on dealing with the past will surprise no one. They serve as a reminder of who is ultimately in charge, despite bashfully standing on the sidelines.  The era of public inquiries is over. For good or ill there will be no public inquiry into Finucane, the “Ballymurphy massacre” or any other terrible incident with major question marks hanging over it.  Since Savile, the limitations of inquiries have been demonstrated at a cost of another hundred million pounds. … Read more

Chief Constable: “You can’t separate the counter-terrorism efforts from organised crime.”

The PSNI has already warned of the potential consequences of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s restricting of the activities of the UK’s new National Crime Agency here.  Now, as the Belfast Telegraph reports, it’s the turn of the Chief Constable, Matt Baggott, to address the issue. Speaking at the launch of the Organised Crime Task Force’s (OCTF) annual report at Crumlin Road jail yesterday, Mr Baggott said any NCA work carried out in Northern Ireland would be done “with complete transparency”. And he warned … Read more

Police Ombudsman to re-investigate misconduct allegations in Denis Donaldson case

As far as I can tell, an inquest has yet to be held into the death of former senior Sinn Féin member, and informer, Denis Donaldson in 2006 – responsibility for which was claimed by the Real IRA.  But, despite a previous NI Police Ombudsman‘s finding that there had been no police misconduct here, the new incumbent has reportedly launched a new investigation into allegations that police officers may have contributed to the death of Denis Donaldson.  BBC NI home affairs correspondent Vincent Kearney … Read more

Belfast Court refuses to order Liam Campbell extradition to Lithuania

Lithuanian authorities may be regretting their apparent preference for dealing with the Northern Ireland Courts in the attempt to extradite Liam Campbell, one of the men held to be responsible for the Omagh bombing, on weapons and terrorism charges.  As the BBC reports, Mr Justice Burgess has refused to order Liam Campbell’s extradition to Lithuania on the grounds that he was likely to be held in inhuman and degrading conditions. [Liam Campbell’s] lawyers resisted extradition proceedings by arguing that it would … Read more

Lord Chief Justice: “These are allegations of specific conduct. We cannot infer that the disclosure was inadequate”

Having sought, and been granted, a stay on July’s judicial review ruling for unconditional bail for Martin Corey until an appeal could be heard, the Court of Appeal has now ruled in favour of the Northern Ireland Secretary of State.  From the BBC report The Court of Appeal had to decide whether the process undertaken by the panel, involving a gist of the information, was flawed. Judges carried out the assessment without access to the closed material. Delivering judgment on Friday, … Read more

After Finucane, “a new disaster waiting to happen, ” warns Justice lobby group. But why not a new inquest?

The de Silva report  presents a challenge to the legal establishment and others in Northern Ireland over how to proceed in the light of the UK government’s refusal to hold a public inquiry. Accountability concerns are not confined to history. They remain a live issue today since the devolution of policing and justice. One of the key issues is to how to subject the police and security service’s covert operations to critical examination  to prevent such gross abuses in future. “Moving … Read more

“the learned judge who granted bail [] did not have the power to do so in the particular circumstances of this case”

Despite earlier reports that the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, had ordered Martin Corey’s re-arrest following the judicial review ruling for unconditional bail in the case, it appears he merely sought a stay while an appeal was prepared.  The Belfast Telegraph notes the Appeal Court’s initial ruling A judge who granted unconditional bail to a convicted double murderer did not have the power to do so, the Court of Appeal has ruled. Martin Corey is now expected to remain … Read more

Denis Donaldson inquest adjourned for ninth time…

I had lost count…  There was no sudden flurry of activity, unlike that which accompanied last year’s adjournment, but yesterday a Garda Superintendent did seek, and was granted, a further 6 month adjournment of the inquest into the death of former senior Sinn Féin member Denis Donaldson in 2006 – responsibility for which was claimed by the Real IRA.  From the RTÉ report Supt Michael Finan told Coroner Dr Denis McCauley in Letterkenny today that he was seeking a further adjournment of the inquest … Read more

“…involved in criminal activity of any sort within G District from July 1, 2010 to July 28, 2011”

Given the PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggot’s current concern about certain communities, and confidence, here’s a Londonderry Sentinel report that may be of relevance.  It relates to an incident in the city in August 2010 which, at the time, was blamed on dissenting republicans.  From the Sentinel report At the time locals said that around 20 masked men appeared in the Campion Court area having disembarked from a white van. They began to remove materials intended for use at a bonfire … Read more