Flushing out the Special Branch

 

 

Readers of this blog will know that my basic premise is that , my parents’ murders included, the State permitted or acquiesced in the deaths of its citizens “for the greater good”.

Let me again follow the logic.

You are a handler. Your tout/informer/agent-it matters not on the nomenclature, has risen to an important role within PIRA. He is part of the targeting, planning and execution process. He is telling you who are in the ASUs, who the Quartermaster is, where the explosives are stored and who is making the bombs.  If you act on this information, you could disrupt activity by seizing the Semtex. You will have no evidence to put before a court , because the Supergrass system has been discredited and in any event your informer is unwilling to give evidence.

Alternatively, you could act to thwart the operations that your informer tells you about. After a few failures, PIRA are going to put two and two together and that’s the end of your informer.

So , in the grand scheme, some attacks have to get through.

A value judgement has to be made. Who do we sacrifice “for the greater good”?

Not Bobby Carswell, Jeffrey Donaldson, Gerry Adams, Brian Gillen or …

 

As the former head of MI5 said, life can be messy.

Some unimportant people have to be sacrificed to protect the informer. The higher up in the chain of command is the informer, the greater the ‘product’ and the greater the need to protect him.

That’s my theory, Dear Reader. So let’s test some aspects of it.

What rules applied to RUC Special Branch prior to 2000?

Let’s get it from the horse’s mouth. After my last blog was republished on a site called Expose the Republican Narrative a contributor , calling himself “Angus McTavish” offered a riposte.

I have found out  who this person is, but I’m going to call him, for the purposes of debate “Jonty”.

Jonty has taken the time to offer rebuttal to most of my points, though he fails  to recognise some tongue in cheek humour. But never mind.

He does , however , provide a window into the world of Special Branch, which he says he inhabited for a quarter of a century.

This is what he says about the rules.

 

“De Siva
4.5 – at the risk of repeating myself, De Silva seems to recognise a fact that has escaped the attention of both Nuala O’Loan and Michael Maguire, when they fail to recognise sufficiently, that intelligence agents, in order to operate as agents, must show support for the aims and objectives of their terrorist grouping. Furthermore, they must, if they are to be trusted within that group, carry out at least some actions which could be described as terrorist activity. Prior to RIPA (2000), this tactical imperative was conducted under the broad scope of agent handling tradecraft and regulated by the oversight of senior officers within RUCSB. It is recognised under RIPA (2000) as legal, justified and necessary deployment of CHIS/agents/touts, call them what you will. “

 

 

He goes on:

 

  • Informers/handlers were allowed to commit crimes, including murder – “In the pursuance of a goal of public safety, agents were indeed permitted by handlers to support terrorist groups and even on occasions to engage in criminal activity on their behalf. This behaviour was neither a crime by the agent or the handler and was finally given legal protection in 2000 under RIPA. Murder was not permitted and despite the best investigative efforts of journalists galore, Human Rights organisations (both legitimate and utterly biased), the PONI and several historical inquiries and reviews, not one handler has indeed ever been prosecuted, which in itself provides strong evidence that the claims made both here and on a multitude of previous occasions, are baseless. Any evidence to the contrary, has yet to be uncovered and the mantra is wearing distinctly thin now.”

So let’s deal with Jonty’s argument. The agent must carry out “terrorist activity” and “even on occasions to engage in criminal activity on their behalf” in order  to survive. “Murder was not permitted”, says Jonty. I wonder where that is in his rule book?

Prior to RIPA the United Kingdom’s Home Office guidelines on the use of informants was the only policy the  Special Branch  had to follow. The guidelines stated the police should never use an informant to encourage another to commit a crime; police officers should not counsel, incite, or procure the commission of a crime and protecting informants does not grant the informant immunity from arrest or prosecution for the crime they fully participate in.

 

Here is the full text. The typos and strange layout are original.

 

“Our rcfncncc: POL/ 69 1050/1/1

Four rtftrtnct:

HOME OFFICE

Horsefcrry House, Dean Ryie Street, London S.W.i

Telex: 24986

Telephone: 01-834 6655, ext.

 

12th May. L969

 

Dear Chief Constable,

HOME OFFICE CIRCULAR NO, 97/1969

Informants who take part in crime

 

The Home Secretary’s attention has been drawn to judicial comment in the appeal of Cork, Colman and Macro and to criticism of police action in several other cases involving police use of informants who took part in crime . He sought information about police practice from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and through H.M. Inspectors of Constabulary. The Central Conference on 6th March gave an opportunity for a general discussion of practices and principles.

 

2* The Conference fully recognised that informants, properly employed, were

essential to criminal investigation and that, within limits, they ought to be protected. The risks attached to their employment were obvious, however, and safeguards were needed before use was made of an informant taking part in crime.

The Conference appreciated that circumstances varied so widely that it was difficult- to establish rules of general application; but the discussion

 identified the principles listed in the next paragraph.

 

  1. The Conference in general agreed on the following points.

 

(a) No member of a police force, and no police informant, should counsel,

incite or procure the commission of a crime.

 

(b) Where an informant gives the police information about the intention of

others to commit a crime in which they intend that he shall play a part,

his participation should be allowed to continue only. where :-

 

(i) he does not actively engage in planning and committing the crime;

 

(ii) he is intended to play only a minor role; and

 

(iii) his participation is essential to enable the police to frustrate

the principal criminals and to arrest them (albeit for lesser offences

such as attempt or conspiracy to commit the crime, or carrying of

weapons) before injury is done to any person or serious damage to

property.

 

The informant should always be instructed that he must on no account act

as agent provocateur , whether by suggesting to others that they should commit offences or encouraging them to do so, and that if he is found to have done so he will himself be liable to prosecution.

Ac) ,

The Chi- f Constable

(c) The police must never commit themselves to a course which, whether to

protect an informant or otherwise, will constrain them to mislead a court  

in any subsequent proceedings* This must always be regarded as a prime

consideration when deciding whether, and in what manner, an informant may be used and how far, if at all, he is to be allowed to take part in an offence.

If his use in the way envisaged will, or is likely to, result in its being

impossible to protect him without subsequently misleading the court, that must be regarded as a decisive reason for his not being so used or not being

protected.

(d) The need to protect an informant does not justify granting him immunity

from arrest or prosecution for the crime if he fully participates in it    with the requisite intent (still less in respect of any other crime he has committed or may in future commit),

(e) The handling of informants calls for the judgment of an experienced

officer, there must be complete confidence and frankness between

supervising officers and subordinates, and every chief officer of police

 should ensure effective supervision of his detectives; a decision to use a participating

informant should be taken at senior level.

 

(f) Payment to informants from public funds should be supervised by a

Senior officer.

 

(g) Where an informant has been used who has taken part in the commission

of a crime for which others have been arrested, the prosecuting solicitor,

counsel, and (where he is concerned) the Director of Public Prosecutions

should be informed of the fact and of the part that the informant took in the commission of the offence, although, subject to (c) above, not

necessarily of his identity.

(h) Careful instruction should be given to detectives in training.

 

  1. The Home Secretary fully endorses these broad principles. He feels sure that

they are already widely applied in the police service; but in view of recent public

interest he thinks it right to bring them to the notice of all chief officers of police. He asks that you will find means of commending them to everyone who may be concerned in your force. He has instructed H.M. Inspectors of Constabulary to pay particular attention, in the course of their inspections, to the arrangements made in police forces for supervision and training in these matters.

 

Yours sincerely,”

 

Here is what Chief Constable George Hamilton said in a speech in may of this year:

“The problem was much bigger and more complex than the “few bad apples” analogy that has been articulated previously. In the absence of any regulatory framework for managing “agents” police officers were left to set their own standards, they were unaccountable to the law because there was no law. They were unaccountable to their fellow citizens. Policing was being done in a vacuum that allowed unregulated practice. Honest individuals were placed in impossible situations, having to choose between bad and worse. Many people lived; but some people also died as a result of that practice.

The environment in which they worked was chaotic – terrorist attacks were happening on a daily basis, and many lives were being lost. Investigations struggled to keep pace with the rate of murder and serious injury.  The pressure was extreme. In these extraordinarily difficult and dangerous circumstances, the intent with which the vast majority of decisions were made was for the protection of the community. But they were, on many occasions, decisions and judgements that should not have been taken; and, I believe, would not have been taken if there had been a proper regulatory framework in place.

The RUC recognised the almost impossible situation they were in and the Da Silva Review makes reference to the fact that the RUC had asked Government for a framework, guidance or legislation on many occasions. Nothing was forthcoming.”

 

First, he is wrong and completely misleading to suggest there were no rules, secondly he appears to admit that agents were allowed to kill or be involved in killing.

Additionally, Northern Ireland had an interesting piece of legislation. The Criminal Law Act  (Northern Ireland) 1967, Section 5.

 

Penalties for concealing offences etc.

(1)Subject to the succeeding provisions of this section, where a person has committed [F1a relevant offence]F1, it shall be the duty of every other person, who knows or believes—

(a)that the offence or some [F2other relevant offence]F2 has been committed; and

(b)that he has information which is likely to secure, or to be of material assistance in securing, the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of any person for that offence;

to give that information, within a reasonable time, to a constable and if, without reasonable excuse, he fails to do so he shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment according to the gravity of the offence about which he does not give that information, as follows:—

(i)if that offence is one for which the court is required by law to sentence an offender to death or to imprisonment for life or to detention during the pleasure of the Governor of Northern Ireland, he shall be liable to imprisonment for not more than ten years;

(ii)if it is one for which a person (of full age and capacity and not previously convicted) may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of fourteen years, he shall be liable to imprisonment for not more than seven years;

(iii)if it is not one included above but is one for which a person (of full age and capacity and not previously convicted) may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of ten years, he shall be liable to imprisonment for not more than five years;

(iv)in any other case, he shall be liable to imprisonment for not more than three years.

So Jonty is wrong in so many ways.

  • There were rules
  • The rules did not permit the carrying out of continuous crimes by agents
  • Handlers broke the law if they turned a blind eye
  • RIPA did not provide legal protection for criminality by agents

The awful truth is that Special Branch were told that the “ordinary” rules regarding informers or agents did not apply to them.

 

I’m sure Dear Reader , you will look forward to a cogent reply from Jonty, Dr William or Dr Tim or any other member of the RUC who claims to have been at the cutting edge of Special Branch.

 

Next up for the blog will be a demolition of George’s recent speech.

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The realities of life-the facts that the Belfast News Letter would rather you did not know

The realities of life-the facts that the Belfast News Letter would rather you did not know

Sinister forces at work in Northern Ireland

In his novel  “1984”, George Orwell wrote:

“Hardly a week passed in which the Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak-‘child hero’ was the phrase generally used-had overheard some compromising remark and denounced its parents to the Thought Police.”

A recent Metropolitan Police anti-terrorism campaign encouraged law-abiding citizens to look through each others’ bins to check for “suspicious items such as chemical bottles and to report any troubling findings to the police” Fake blondes-hide that peroxide bottle! I’ve struggled to find the Troubling Findings Act.

China’s Ministry of Supervision has a discipline watchdog which opened the “unified informant hotline” for the public to report discipline offences of civil servants and officials.

Eavesdropping and informing on each other to the Stasi was a way of life in East Germany.

Stalin’s regime relied on “mutual surveillance” urging families to report on each other about ‘disloyalty’.

So how grateful must we be to live in a liberal democracy.

Not so. This blog is not about the programme of informers during the Troubles. Like Scap, Donaldson , Sean Maguire and Brian Gillen, they got their money and , those still alive are living a comfortable life, protected by the British State.

This blog is about what is happening in our communities  now. It is about democracy, freedom of speech and the ability to protest.

Many Loyalist areas of Belfast have taken the Queen’s Shilling in return for compliance. The Greater Shankill is an example of that. The killing of Bobby Moffett has been swept under the carpet so long as  the locals support the GFA. The Spectrum Centre doles out nearly a million pounds  each year ,to the locals in wages. The UVF and Arlene are at peace.

Other communities are not GFA supporters. The result is that they are subject to harassment by the PSNI, as an arm of the State. Frequent use of the Terrorism Act 2000, in dubious circumstances. Searches of legitimate community facilities for “loyalist paraphernalia”. The stop and search of  individuals on a regular basis, in breach of the codes of practice. Stops by ‘Road Policing’ with bogus allegations of no insurance or road tax.

It’s not a crime, of course, to oppose the GFA.

Or is it?

Lets read a new document. It is entitled:

“THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE (ON BEHALF OF THE TACKLING PARAMILITARISM PROGRAMME BOARD)

Building capacity in communities in Transition Project (2017-2021)

Information Memorandum

Tenders are invited to support the delivery of this project.”

The programme “is committed to promoting the use of peaceful and democratic means and upholding the rule of law across all communities”

So consider this , Dear Reader. In the proposals which tenderers can make , is the requirement that they show an “outline of how information will be shared with police on individuals who do not support transition”

“Transition” is not defined anywhere.

The Board is chaired by the Department of Justice and is comprised of civil servants and the PSNI.

So , if you want to get your community nose  into this particular trough you will have to undertake to snitch on those who are not supporting “transition”.

“Feed your Snout-be a Tout” might be the catch phrase.

Of course , the document is keen to espouse the rule of law.  The rule of law encompasses ‘no punishment without law’.

What law is being broken which requires the citizen to “share information” with the PSNI about an individual who does not support transition?

The answer is that this programme , aside from offering monetary bribes, further undermines the rule of law. The PSNI willingly particpates , not only by harassment but by being part of the supervising body. The Stasi would be impressed.

The lesson is that you can be a paramilitary as long as you are a State approved-GFA loving paramilitary. Otherwise you are in big trouble.

It’s unlikely that any mainstream politician will put his/her head over the much funded parapet about this.

Approximately  one third of the workforce depend on the State for their mortgage. In addition, vast swathes of the middle classes , including journalists ,are paid fees by the BBC, the Housing Executive and every other public body for services rendered. The country is in the grip of the Security Service, forget about Brokenshire. Even Stalin would be impressed with such a compliant body, when it is allied to the likes of the Greater Shankill Partnership Soviet.

It’s hard not to conclude that democracy  and freedom of speech died in Northern Ireland years ago.

 

 

Is John Finucane a SF/IRA dupe?

It’ s hard to imagine [almost] the horror that John Finucane witnessed, although  he was not by any means an isolated case.

I knew, worked with and liked his father, who was a contemporary.

Since then, John has qualified and practised as a solicitor, seemingly uninterested in politics, till now.

It would be difficult for an impartial observer to conclude otherwise than he is anti-British.

He and I have a common interest . As his mother put it, who sent the gunmen? I want to know who sent the bomb team that murdered my parents. Our common suspicion is that the State was involved.

Here, the stories diverge.

The other night, John shared a platform with two IRA volunteers, Kelly and Na Chullin. Worse, he was photographed beside Sean Maguire, who was part of the operation that killed my parents. Maguire was a prominent member of PIRA in 1990 and also an informer for the State. He was with Scap when they visited the house where Sandy Lynch was held. Maguire may be managing his publicity, I don’t know. Maguire, who ‘qualified’ as a journalist after his release from prison, benefitted from the general amnesty for touts, agreed some years ago by the Army Council and now lives in the Oldpark area of Belfast.

What sort of world is John currently inhabiting? Does he really believe his own publicity about equality and  justice for all? Why does he share a platform with terrorists ? Was not his candidature agreed by the Army Council?

Is it the same old Finucane deal, Uncles John , Dermot and Seamus?

The fascinating thing that the Finucanes have in common with the Adams Family is that one  outstanding family member , Pat Finucane  and Gerry Adams never joined the IRA.

I wonder what the moderate Roman  Catholics of North Belfast think?

And for whom will they vote?

And why is John Finucane, Human Rights lawyer, sharing a platform with terrorists?

The Bar Standards Board and Bart Simpson

The BSB does not believe in the presumption of innocence nor in the right to silence.

In the saga which is known as “Peter Sefton Q.C. and Carmen Mazo” they have denied both rights to me.

I’m sure it’s not because I’m a Paddy. I think.

Firstly, they produce an inaccurate article from the Daily Telegraph and ask me to explain myself.

Secondly, they tell me that if I don’t explain myself , it will be a further instance of professional misconduct.

So, while our clients charged with , say, fraud, can say “prove your case” and when allegations are put by police in interview can say nothing , no such benefit is offered to members of the English Bar.

If the BSB had made the most cursory enquiry it would have found the answer to their question. Even the Irish News, minus Allison Morris, could solve the puzzle. How difficult could it be?

For my part, threatened with a further charge of professional misconduct, I resorted to that hero of our times, Bart Simpson.

“It wasn’t me, I didn’t do it.”

Let’s see what Chief Wiggum of the BSB has to say.

Four things you didn’t see by today

On 28th March I predicted that, before today,  you would not see a female High Court Judge, an apology from the Irish News re Winkie Rea , disclosure in the Kingsmills case and a Willie march in Dublin.

Four out of four isn’t bad.

I’m sure Dec will fulfil his promise to the Assembly soon, though , given the apparent separation of powers , so loved by constitutional lawyers and almost entirely absent here, I’m not sure why he had to make that promise and where that takes us. Look out for ‘the people’ [that is the assembly]  taking over the disciplining of lawyers and their appointments to the Bench. Will this break the stranglehold of the big flagship grammar schools? Don’t hold your breath!

Poor old Willie is battling two states, not one. If he thinks that the Republic is likely to disclose more than his beloved Queen, he is living in a dream world.

Re Winkie, the fight is not yet over.