Nine men face terror trial after MI5 bugging operation in Newry

The nine defendants appeared at Belfast Crown Court on 28 June, 2018

Nine men are to stand trial in Belfast next year on terrorist-related offences arising from an M15 secret bugging operation.

All nine defendants appeared at Belfast Crown Court today, where they each denied charges dating back to 2014.

The terrorist charges – including membership of an proscribed organisation and conspiracy to possess firearms – are linked to a series of meetings held at a house in the Ardcarn Park area of Newry, which were recorded on listening devices hidden in the property.

A previous court hearing was told the recordings picked up suspected dissident republicans plotting to target police and members of the judicary over a period between August and November, 2014.

After each of the nine accused entered ‘not guilty’ pleas to all charges levelled against them, Mr Justice Colton was informed by a senior prosecutor that the trial is expected to last up to eight weeks, and a trial date of February 4, 2019 was set.

The Judge then told the nine defendants they were being released on continuing bail. They are:

Patrick Joseph Blair (62) from Lassara Heights in Warrenpoint. He has been charged with, and denies, 15 offences ranging from providing instruction or training in the making of an improvised explosive device to others, and membership of a proscribed organisation namely the IRA, to conspiracy to possessing explosives.
Seamus Morgan (62) from Barcroft Park in Newry, who faces a single charge of IRA membership between August and November, 2014
Colin Patrick Winters (47) from Ardcarn Park in Newry. Amongst the nine charges he faces is providing a property for the purposes of terrorism, received instruction or training in the making or use of explosives for terrorism, and conspiracy to possess explosives.
Joseph Matthew Lynch (77) from Hazel View in Belfast, who has been charged with 12 offences. These include IRA membership, engaging in the preparation of terrorist acts by attending a meeting at Ardcarn Park, and conspiring to possess firearms and ammunition.
Liam Hannaway (48) from White Rise in Dunmurry, who is being tried on 13 offences, including providing instruction or training in the making of an improvised explosive device to others, collecting information likely to be of use to terrorists, and conspiring to possess explosives with intent
John Sheeny (33) from Erskine Street in Newry, who has been charges with six offences. These include receiving training in the making or use of explosives for terrorism, IRA membership, and attending a place used for terrorist training.
Joseph Pearce (48) from Clogharevan Park in Bessbrook, is facing two counts of collecting information likely to be of use to terrorists
Kevin John Paul Heaney (44) of Blackstaff Mews in Belfast, who has been charged with belonging to the IRA between May 2013 and November 2014
Terence Marks (57) from Parkhead Crescent in Newry, who faces two counts, namely IRA membership between August and November 2014, and receiving terrorist training in October 2014.

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the origional story.


Father of IRA victim pursues perjury charges against Freddie (Stakeknife) Scappaticci

Freddie Scappaticci has publicly denied being the IRA agent known as Stakeknife

A decision not to bring perjury charges against a west Belfast man for denying his role as the top British agent Stakeknife was flawed, the High Court heard today.

Lawyers for the father of an IRA murder victim claim there was enough evidence to meet the test for having Freddie Scappaticci face criminal proceedings.

Frank Mulhern is challenging the Public Prosecution Service over its alleged failure to bring a case against the 72-year-old.

Judgment was reserved in his application for leave to seek a judicial review.

The case centres on an affidavit sworn by Scappaticci in 2003 during his own failed attempt to force the British government to state publicly that he was not the highest-ranking spy inside the IRA.

Mr Mulhern’s legal team contend that the PPS acted unlawfully when it originally decided in 2006 not to prosecute on the basis of that statement.

Even though that decision was later set aside, they argue that the continued failure to charge Scappaticci with perjury cannot be justified.

Hugh Southey QC told the court: “It does appear on the face of it there’s sufficient evidence to potentially meet the evidential threshold under the (prosecutors’) code.

“Its accepted now that the original decision not to prosecute, which was originally challenged in these proceedings, was flawed.”

Counsel questioned how the alleged agent could mount a defence to any charge by relying on a claim of acting out of necessity based on fears for his life.

Earlier this year Scappaticci was reportedly arrested, questioned and released on police bail as part of a major and ongoing investigation into Stakeknife’s activities.

Codenamed Operation Kenova, the probe headed up by Bedfordshire Chief Constable Jon Boutcher is examining dozens of IRA murders linked to the undercover agent – including the killing of Mr Mulhern’s son in 1993.

Joseph Mulhern (23) was abducted, interrogated and shot by the IRA, who accused him of being a police informer.

His body was dumped on a remote hillside near Castlederg, Co Tyrone.

Scappaticci left Nothern Ireland in 2003 after he was named in the media as Stakeknife.

Before quitting his home he vehemently denied being the spy while in charge of the IRA’s internal security team, the so-called ‘Nutting Squad’.

Focusing on the issue of any alleged perjury, Mr Southey claimed the failure to bring charges was difficult to justify.

“When looking at a decision of this nature and whether it’s in the public interest, public confidence in the independence of the prosecution service and it’s willingness to hold other public authorities to account is obviously very important.”

During exchanges, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said there was “no doubt” Mr Mulhern and other bereaved relatives are regarded as victims of the murders allegedly committed by Stakeknife.

But he questioned whether they have the same status when it came to consultation about any decisions on suspected perjury.

Mr Southey responded that his client and the other families should “absolutely” be characterised as victims.

“They have a real interest in knowing (about the alleged perjury),” he insisted.

Counsel for PPS previously confirmed the legal challenge was being resisted due to Operation Kenova’s continuing inquiries.

He argued that the proceedings were an attempt to compel the Director of Public Prosecutions to take a decision before an investigation which is examining the perjury claims is completed.

Sir Declan, who heard the case with Mrs Justice Keegan, is expected to deliver judgment within weeks.

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the origional story.

Chief Constable tries DUPing Glenanne victims’ families

This letter appeared in The Irish News today Thursday January 4th 2018

FIFTY Glenanne victims’ families, with ‘Justice for the Forgotten’ and the Pat Finucane Centre, appealed (December 8) to constabulary chief George Hamiliton.

They asked him to aid their inquiry into crown collusion in the Glenanne Gang murders and stop stonewalling grieving families with frivolous delays. Mr Hamilton wants to make these families wait for the sort of watered-down inquiry that the DUP will agree.

He followed the script by James Brokenshire and British officialdom to block progress towards nationalists rights, much less national reunification – blame divisions and claim nationalist rights require a DUP permission slip. Crown officials think they can DUPe nationalists.

Mr Hamilton addressed his replay (December 15) to “elected representatives with responsibility for policing”, implying it was their problem not his. Two years ago, gifted a major platform at the West Belfast Festival, Mr Hamilton boasted: ” I’m not going to be fettered by secretaries of state, prime ministers or anyone else.”

Now he blames being fettered by politicians, judges, courts, budgets, too few detectives, political vacuums, lack of structures, legal challenges and the inability of political leaders to reach agreement.

Some of the innocent victims of the Glenane Gang

The implications of Glenanne Gang collusion are stark. This criminal gang tallied more than 120 murders, like the Dublin-Monaghan bombings, Miami Showband etc. It included members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Ulster Defence Regiment and paid agents, all supporting British rule. Any genuine police service would want to uncover the full scope of the British collusion network needed to committ and get away with so many murders.

European law and Belfast judges say these families have a right to know. Mr Hamilton, like Mr Brokenshire, pretends such rights can be ignored without DUP agreement. What can the Glenanne families expect from a DUP-agreed inquiry? While vetoing inquest funds Arlene Foster said: “a lot of innocent victims feel that their voice has not been heard recently and there has been an imbalance in relation to state killings as opposed to paramilitary killings”.

Would she agree to any inquiry that might uncover British state forces’ complicity in 120 loyalist killings? Does Ms Foster think Glenanne victims innocent or feel since supporters of British rule targeted them, they must be guilty of something? No matter the issue, British officials think they can blame divisions and play their sham DUP veto to trample nationalist rights. Can we prove them wrong?

With many thanks to: MARTIN GALVIN New York.

International Treaties and the Royal Prerogative


Select Committee on Constitution Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Mr A Dakers

International Treaties and the Royal Prerogative

Ministers of the Crown have, from time to time entered into treaties on behalf of the UK. It should be noted that the Ministers concerned must seek authority from the Crown by the Royal Prerogative before signing. Because the Monarch is constitutionally bound to respect the provisions of the common law, which were recognised in Magna Carta and declared in the Bill of Rights, such Royal Prerogative has the following restrictions. (The term “prerogative” means a right or privilege exclusive to an individual or class).

(a)  Prerogative cannot be used in an innovatory way. If this were not so, the executive could dispense with Parliament and Judiciary and become an unlimited tyranny. Any future Attorney General could claim that an edict was part of a treaty and it would become unquestionable.

(b)  The use of Prerogative power may not be subversive of the rights and liberties of the subject. (The case of Nichols v. Nichols stated “Prerogative is created for the benefit of the people and cannot be exercised to their prejudice”.)

Royal Prerogative may not be used to suspend or offend against Statutes in Force. This comes from the Bill of Rights and the Coronation Oath Act which specifies the following form of words; “Archbishop: Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the peoples of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland . . . according to their respective laws and usages.” Prospective Monarch: “I solemnly promise so to do.” Note the similarity to the Judicial Oath. This is because the Courts dispense justice on behalf of the Crown.

The Limitations of Royal Prerogative are clear:

“No prerogative may be recognised that is contrary to Magna Carta or any other statute, or that interferes with the liberties of the subject. The courts have jurisdiction therefore, to enquire into the existence of any prerogative, it being a maxim of the common law that the King ought to be under no man, but under God and the law, because the law makes the King. If any prerogative is disputed, the Courts must decide the question of whether or not it exists in the same way as they decide any other question of law. If a prerogative is clearly established, they must take the same judicial notice of it as they take of any other rule of law.”

Bowles v Bank of England (1913) confirmed that, “the Bill of Rights still remains unrepealed, and practice of custom, however prolonged, or however acquiesced in on the part of the subject can not be relied on by the Crown as justifying any infringement of its provisions”.

The Bill of Rights 1688 is a declaration of the common law. It is also an operative Statute. It contains the Oath of Allegiance, which is required by Magna Carta to be taken by all Crown servants including members of the Armed Forces, MP’s, and the Judiciary. They are required not to “take into consequence or example anything to the detriment of the subjects liberties”.

The Oath required of Crown servants includes “I will be faithful and bear true Allegiance . . . “The qualification “true” confirms that allegiance is not required to a Monarch whose actions are unlawful.

It can be shown that we have recently had a coup-d’etat in this country. This was accomplished when the Government took control over the armed forces to use them for political purposes.

The Bill of Rights allows the Crown a standing army in peace time and who’s members swear allegiance to defend Her “in person Crown and dignity against all enemies”. No one else (except the Duke of Argyll), is allowed an army.

The Armed Forces Act 1996 purports to allow the Crown to set aside the requirement for annual army acts. It states that the Crown may authorise the armed forces by “Order in Council“. This provision would permit the Government to use the Armed Forces even if Parliament was suspended, and is contrary to the intent of the Bill of Rights.

Various defence reviews have resulted in the Government issuing mission statements that claims that the forces role in future is to defend the Realm and “to implement Government policy, in particular foreign policy”. This is from documents published by the MOD and available from them and on the Web. It means that the Government is now claiming that it can use the Army for its own purposes where the safety of the Realm is not threatened. Serving members of the Forces have been invited to sign new contracts agreeing to this new arrangement. Recent recruiting adverts for the Forces reflect this. A recent cinema advert for the RAF depicts a foreign “peace keeping” operation and has the slogan “Their country needs you”.

This is a equivalent to a coup.

13 August 2005