RUC/PSNI murder plot discussion apparently ‘recorded by MI5’

Colin Duffy, 51, is accused of directing terrorism and being a member of the IRA

An undercover MI5 agent has told a court of how recordings were made of three men allegedly discussing a failed murder attempt on police.

Colin Duffy, 51, Henry Fitzsimons, 50, and 57-year-old Alex McCrory are on trial at Belfast Crown Court.

They face a range of terrorist-related offences connected to a gun attack on the PSNI in 2013.

All three men deny preparing and directing terrorism and being in the IRA.

Mr Fitzsimons and Mr McCrory also deny attempting to murder police and possession of two AK47 assault rifles and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

The charges relate to a gun attack on a police convoy in the Crumlin Road area of Belfast on 5 December 2013.

On Tuesday, the court heard evidence from the MI5 officer, known as witness 9281, on video and audio surveillance carried out on three men in December 2013.

Harry Fitzsimmons, 50, is accused of attempting to murder members of the RUC/PSNI Image copyright © PACEMAKER

However, before the witness was sworn in, defence lawyers said they would be seeking to exclude three audio exhibits.

They said the exhibits were at the centre of the prosecution case.

Speaking from behind a curtain, the MI5 officer said he placed 15 audio devices at a park in Lurgan in December 2013.

The security service officer also confirmed he placed video recording equipment and that its images were transmitted directly to MI5.

‘Grounds of national security’
He was asked by a defence lawyer about a statement he made saying he replaced one of the audio devices.

However, in cross-examination, he said he placed all 15 audio devices at the same time.

When asked about the technical details of the devices and their recording capabilities, he replied a number of times: “I am not sure I can answer that on the grounds of national security.”

Alex McCorey, 57, is accused of attempting to murder members of the RUC/PSNI Image copyright © PACEMAKER

The judge, sitting without a jury in the Diplock-style trial, has heard the surveillance operation was carried out the day after the gun attack on a police convoy in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast, in which 14 shots were fired at a three-vehicle patrol by two gunmen.

At an earlier hearing, the prosecution claimed the accused can be identified from the covert video footage and from an hour-long audio recording of them as they talked in a public park in Lurgan, known as Demesne Park.

Prosecution case
It is the prosecution’s case that an analysis of the audio recordings by two voice recognition experts provided strong to moderately strong support that the defendants were those captured discussing how to go forward “in light of Ardoyne, and how the leadership were regrouping”.

The prosecution lawyer further alleged this was supported by the video recordings, as the clothing worn by the three suspects in the Demense Park were similar to that seized from the defendants following their arrests.

“The prosecution case is that the three men present and recorded talking in Demense Lane are Duffy, Fitzsimons and McCrory,” counsel claimed.

“The three defendants are close associates and have been seen together by police prior to the meeting and are also friends,” added the lawyer, who further claimed the men spoke using their first names.

Further proof
The voice analysis evidence of the conversation, which the prosecution alleged was not a “normal one” as it involved “an operation which had not gone to plan, and the failings and difficulties in arming a terrorist organisation”, was further proof of the men’s guilt.

The prosecution told the court the men’s discussions lasted almost an hour and “related almost exclusively to terrorism… there was no discussion about everyday issues”.

The trial continues.

With many thanks to: BBCNI and Dan Stanton for the original story

Donegal: Three arrested in organised crime investigation

Police have released photographs of cards and documents seized during the arrests Image copyright © GARDA SIOCHÁNA

 

Gardaí (Irish police) have arrested three men as part of an international investigation into an organised crime group from Romania.

They also seized documents relating to suspected fraud in Northern Ireland.

Three Romanian men – aged 24, 25 and 31 – were arrested at a house in Letterkenny, County Donegal.

The PSNI and the European Union’s law enforcement agency, Europol, were involved in the investigation.

Telephones we’re seized during the raid at a house in Letterkenny Image copyright © GARDA SIOCHÁNA

 

In the raid on Tuesday morning, police seized a large amount of fraud paraphernalia including suspected cloned credit cards, bank account details, false Romanian identity documents, credit card machines, and suspected stolen Irish and UK passports.

Stolen driving licences were also seized, along with two cars bought on finance obtained on bank accounts opened in false names.

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original story

Two pipe bombs explode in Armagh and two found in Rasharkin

Police arrived in Rasharkin on Tuesday night Image copyright © KEVIN MCAULEY

 

Two pipe bombs have exploded in Armagh in an overnight attack, police have said.

Three people were in the house in Windmill Avenue when the explosion happened at 23:30 BST.

No-one was hurt but the front door of the house was damaged. Officers are working to establish a motive.

Two other pipe bombs were also found in a security alert overnight in Rasharkin, County Antrim.

Residents had to leave their homes in Moneyleck Park after the alarm was raised at about 22:00 BST on Tuesday.

A pipe bomb had been set on the windowsill outside a house and a second bomb was thrown through a front window, police said.

Two pipe bombs exploded at a house in Windmill Avenue in Armagh

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Insp Colin Ash said: “We received a report that a device had been left outside an address in the Moneyleck Park area of Rasharkin about 22:00 BST.”

He thanked the local community for its patience and appealed to anyone with information to contact police.

Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan said more than 20 homes in Moneyleck Park and Finvoy Road had been evacuated.

The alert has ended and people have been allowed to return to their homes.

Image Copyright ©@mcguigan__philip@MCGUIGAN__PHILIP

Report

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original story

 

Police event cancelled over Saoradh protest threat

The conference was set to take place in the Guildhall in Derry on Wednesday

 

A Londonderry youth club has cancelled an event involving police after a party representing dissident republicans threatened to protest.

The Long Tower Youth and Community Centre had planned to hold a conference for young people in the Guildhall.

But the political party, Saoradh, said it would protest at the presence of the PSNI.

The club said it had tried to discuss it with Saoradh, but was unsuccessful and had “no option but to cancel”.

‘Unfortunate’
PSNI Supt Alan Hutton said: “This event was a fantastic opportunity for young people to express their views on issues that matter to them to a range of partners and it is unfortunate that the whole day had to be cancelled.

“Our young people’s voices need to be heard.

“It would have been a welcome opportunity for young people to meet their local police officers, ask us questions, share their concerns and frustrations and to get to know us and the job we do.”

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Long Tower YC21 hours agoYouth work is about providing the platform for young people to engage directly with those who they have issues with. This has always been the basis of youth work, at no point do our youth workers allow their personal vaules to influence the work they do or how they go about their jobs.Youth work is about adopting an undue positive regard approach so that we take young people at face value and not judge them. When they present with an issue such as policing then our youth work

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Saoradh, which means liberation in Irish, was founded in 2016.

It campaigns for the release of all republican prisoners, and has the support of prisoners from the dissident group referred to as the New IRA in Maghaberry and Portlaoise prisons.

The Long Tower Youth and Community Centre said attempts were made to engage “in dialogue with the particular organisation who have a issue with this event as they have vowed to stage a protest.

“This request for engagement has been refused. Therefore we have no option but to cancel this event.”

About 20 people in paramilitary-style uniforms leading an Easter parade organised by Sarah in Derry in 2017

Saoradh spokesman Paddy Gallagher said youth clubs “should be a neutral environment for children to flourish, develop and associate with their peers. Not to be used as a political mechanism to adopt a broader acceptance of so called policing and normalisation within the Six Counties.”

The party said they had been willing to engage with the youth club “on the basis they cancelled the event first, otherwise our protest would go ahead as planned.”

With many thanks to: BBC News for the original story

Political policing is alive and well

Letters:

The Irish News 27/02/2019

When the PSNI was formed in 2001 we were promised “a new beginning to policing” and “a police force for all”.

Yet almost 18 years later, it’s obvious that the influence of the RUC still permeates throughout the PSNI.

Stop and Search of Republicans and their children has intensified.

In this past week the Police Ombudsman has announced delays to reports covering more than 20 loyalist murders (where collusion is suspected) after “significant” new information was found on PSNI computers.

Is it any wonder that the PSNI is holding back information which demonstrates the clear evidence of collusion by the RUC and Special Branch in the murders of nationalists and republicans?

Last week, almost 18 years after the formation of the PSNI, The Irish News reported that 83 per cent of the PSNI’s most senior personnel are Protestants.

Almost 2,000 employees of the PSNI are former RUC members.

How can anyone in the republican community encourage nationalists to join this political police force?

M DOHERTY
Belfast BT11

With many thanks to the: Troops Out Movement for the original story

http://www.irishnews.com/opinion/letterstotheeditor/2019/02/27/news/religion-is-an-area-where-lack-of-evidence-is-still-highly-regarded-1560595/

Derry councillor brands Police Ombudsman ‘toothless tiger with no credibility’ after decision on RUC/PSNI’s Facebook post about Tony Taylor

Tony Taylor

The Police Ombudsman’s decision to take no further action against an officer who used a PSNI Facebook account to comment on the live case of Derry Republican Tony Taylor has been described as “disgraceful”.

Independent councillor for the Moor, Gary Donnelly, said the “ridiculous decision” comes as no surprise from an organisation that “sweeps human rights abuses under the carpet”.

At the end of last year the Ombudsman’s Office confirmed to the Derry News that it had launched an investigation following numerous complaints made against a PSNI Facebook page which posted about the case of Derry Republican, Tony Taylor.

On November 9 of last year, Mr Taylor was due to attend a parole hearing which was postponed. On the same evening, the PSNI Craigavon Facebook page posted a lengthy statement in response to Irish Republican Prisoner News regarding Mr Taylor’s continued imprisonment.

Part of it read: “If you have sympathy with those who talk about ‘internment in 2018’, ask yourself the questions; WHY did the license get revoked? WHY won’t the convicted prisoner make those reasons public?

“It’s not for us or others to do so, it’s for the prisoner to do. Their silence on the matter should tell you what you need to know.

“There is of course a simple alternative to license. Serve the sentence in full first time. Would RSF (Republican Sinn Féin) prefer that? I’m sure a judge would be only too happy to grant the wish of, ‘Actually your worship, I’d much rather just do the full whack first time.’”

The post was subsequently removed and the PSNI passed the matter on to the Ombudsman’s Office.

Mr Taylor was detained in March 2016 after his early release licence was revoked by then secretary of state Theresa Villiers. He was sentenced to eighteen years in jail in 1994 for IRA activity and again for three years in 2011 for possession of a rifle.

No further charges were brought against him and he did not face trial but remained in Maghaberry prison for almost 1,000 days before his eventual release on November 27, 2018.

At the weekend the Police Ombudsman said the investigation had concluded and it found the Facebook post was “neither prejudicial nor breached privacy”.

The statement read in full: “We received a complaint which stated that the Facebook post had included a number of political comments and suggested that it had breached privacy. There has also been public comment that the post was prejudicial to the parole process.

“We have considered these issues and concluded that the post was neither prejudicial nor breached privacy. It referred to information in the public domain while setting out the processes involved in the revocation of a licence.”

‘Public attack’

In response, Cllr Donnelly described the decision as “disgraceful but not unexpected” and questioned past decisions by the Ombudsman’s office.

He commented: “For many in working class community this ridiculous decision is what we have come to expect from this office. The ombudsman’s office is a toothless tiger which has a track record of impotence.

“Whether it’s investigating withholding information about mass murder or inquests, the use of child informers, the targeting of children of Republican activists in aggressive house raids or stop and searches by the PSNI, this office has no credibility.”

He continued: “They operate safe in the knowledge that apart from some faux outrage near election time by constitutional Nationalism their ineffectiveness along with the human rights abuses will be brushed under the carpet so as not to upset the normalisation policy.

“The facilitation of a public attack on Tony Taylor on social media by the PSNI while he was enduring a tribunal lacking the very basic tenants of justice is typical of what passes for so called policing and justice in this failed statelet.”

With many thanks to: Derry Now for the original story

The North of Ireland police accused of concealing data on loyalist murders

Watchdog widens inquiry after RUC/PSNI ‘failure to disclose’ information on 1992 mass murder at Belfast betting shop

The North of Ireland’s police recently released information on the 1992 murder of Catholics at a Belfast betting shop

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is facing a barrage of criticism and questions for failing to disclose to a police watchdog “significant” information about loyalist paramilitary murders during the Troubles.

The head of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Michael Maguire, on Wednesday asked the Department of Justice for an independent review into why the force did not share information about a mass shooting of five Catholics at a betting shop in Belfast on 5 February 1992.

The PSNI has apologised and blamed human error, citing “complex challenges associated with voluminous material”. It denied deliberately withholding information.

The release of the information has prompted the ombudsman to pursue new lines of inquiry into about 20 loyalist murders across Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic in the 1980s and 1990s. Ombudsman reports into those killings, which were expected in coming weeks, have been delayed.

“It would seem information which police told us did not exist has now been found,” said Maguire.

The ombudsman’s office learned of the information when police prepared to disclose it to relatives of those killed in the 1992 attack as part of civil proceedings.

“Following a request from this office police released this material to us which helped identify significant evidence relevant to a number of our investigations,” said Maguire. “Following on from this police have now also identified a computer system which they say had not been properly searched when responding to previous requests for information.”

The Good Friday agreement is 20 – and Britain can’t afford to forget it

The ombudsman called for an independent review in the interests of “public confidence” into a force set up after the 1998 Good Friday agreement, in the hope the force would win more support from Catholics and nationalists than its predecessor, the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

The PSNI responded swiftly on Wednesday with an apology and promise to overhaul the way it disclosed information.

“We deeply regret that the researchers responding to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland’s request were unable to find and disclose it,” said the deputy chief constable, Stephen Martin. The varying levels of experience and knowledge of researchers accounted for the ombudsman receiving incomplete information but ombudsman staff would now receive “full and unfettered access” to material relating to the crimes, he said.

But groups representing victims expressed dismay and said the incident revived concerns about police collusion with loyalist paramilitaries. The Committee on the Administration of Justice said: “[It] is deeply shocking and the claim that it is due to human error simply insults our intelligence.”

Another group, Relatives for Justice, said there was a systemic problem in disclosure of details about killings involving collusion. It said the independent review should start as a matter of urgency.

Tommy Duffin, whose father, Jack, was one of those killed in the attack at the Sean Graham betting shop, on Ormeau Road, told the BBC that relatives were frustrated by the decades’ long quest to uncover details about the massacre. “All we have got is knock-back after knock-back, and this has nearly broken the camel’s back.”

Sinn Féin requested an urgent meeting with police chiefs to discuss what it termed an “appalling and unacceptable” failure.

With many thanks to: The Guardian for the original story