Spy agencies failed to share intelligence on Omagh bombing: report

Real IRA paradeBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A new report on the 1998 bombing of downtown Omagh by an Irish republican splinter group claims that the tragedy could have been avoided had British, Irish and American intelligence agencies shared information with British police. The car bomb attack was carried out on August 15, 1998, by the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA). The militant organization consisted of former Provisional Irish Republican Army volunteers who rejected the Good Friday Agreement, part of the Northern Ireland peace process. It devastated the small Northern Irish town of Omagh, killing 29 and injuring over 200 people, including six children, several teenagers and a woman who was pregnant with twins. There have been no criminal convictions in connection with the bombing, despite the fact that it was the single worst instance of violence in the so-called Northern Ireland Troubles, which began in the 1960s and ended in 1998, largely because of the Omagh bombing. But now a new report commissioned by the families of the victims of the bombing claims that intelligence services from three countries failed to share information with British police, which could have prevented the disaster in Omagh. The report, authored by a group of retired security experts on behalf of London-based law firm SBP, says the RIRA had been infiltrated by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Britain’s Security Service (MI5) and the Irish Garda’s Crime and Security Branch. These agencies, claims the report, had at least two informants inside the RIRA: a smalltime Irish criminal named Paddy Dixon, who frequently smuggled stolen cars from Ireland into Britain for use by the RIRA, and David Rupert, an American of Irish descent. Read more of this post

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Irish police uncover Real IRA surveillance ring

Real IRA paradeBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Police in the Republic of Ireland have arrested two men suspected of spying on the operational headquarters of the Garda Siochana (Irish Police) in Dublin. The two men, aged 41 and 32, who have not been named, were arrested after one of them was recognized by police officers as a known member of the Real Irish Republic Army. The Real IRA, or RIRA, is an Irish republican paramilitary organization formed in 1997, following a split in the Provisional IRA — the armed wing of Sin Fein. It seeks to bring about a united Ireland, but is considered a terrorist group by the United Kingdom and the United States, among other countries. Gardai officers discovered that the Real IRA suspect had used a false name to book a room in a hotel directly overlooking the regional headquarters of the Gardai on Harcourt Street. The building houses, among other police units, the Gardai’s Special Branch and the Criminal Assets Bureau, both of which are used to investigate paramilitary activity in the Republic. Upon searching the room, Gardai officers reportedly found “hi-tech surveillance equipment”, including parabolic microphones and digital cameras. Anonymous Gardai sources claim the equipment was used to eavesdrop on conversations held inside the Gardai building across the street, and to record the license tags of private vehicles belonging to Gardai personnel. Read more of this post

Irish republicans used cameras to spy on MI5

Palace Barracks

Palace Barracks

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
British government officials in Northern Ireland have ordered 20 trees cut down outside a spying installation, after a number of surveillance cameras were discovered hidden among the tree branches. The trees are located around a multimillion-dollar spying base belonging to MI5, Britain’s primary domestic intelligence organization. The base, which serves as MI5’s headquarters in Northern Ireland, is located in Holywood, County Down, inside a British Army installation named Palace Barracks. Eyebrows were raised on April 12, when a dissident republican group managed to detonate a massive car bomb inside the maximum-security base. The bomb was carried into the base by a local taxi driver, who had been forced by paramilitaries at gunpoint to smuggle it into the facility. British media initially attributed the attack to the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA), but it was later blamed on Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH), which split from the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) four years ago. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #328 (breaking)

  • Breaking: Real IRA admits NI MI5 base bomb. The Real IRA has admitted it was behind a car bomb which exploded shortly after midnight local hour, outside the Palace Barracks army base, in Holywood, County Down, which houses MI5′s Northern Ireland headquarters. Police said no warning was given.
  • Venezuela releases 4 of 8 alleged spies. Four of the eight Colombians arrested by Venezuela on espionage charges last week have been released, after a judge found there was not enough evidence to take them to trial. Meanwhile Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez has said that the alleged spy ring used “secret or semi-secret codes”.
  • Analysis: Security services will determine fate of Kyrgyz uprising. Unlike the 2005 so-called Tulip Revolution, this time the anti-government protesters in Kyrgyzstan are armed. But the real question may be whether they have the support of (and control over) the Internal Security Services and the military.

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News you may have missed #0284

  • Real IRA faction killed MI5 informant, says Irish police. The Gardai have concluded that a Real IRA faction executed Denis Donaldson, a former Sinn Fein official who turned informer for MI5 and the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Last year, the Real IRA took responsibility for the 2007 killing.
  • NATO spy station up for sale. A Canadian NATO spy station in Nova Scotia that operated between 1983 and 2006 is for sale for US$1.4 million. It appears that the site’s current owner, who doesn’t want to be identified, bought it from the Canadian Defense Department after the base was closed down.
  • Analysis on the Binyam Mohamed disclosures and UK-US spy cooperation. This analysis, by Michael Clarke, director of Britain’s Royal United Services Institute, is probably the best synopsis of the meaning of the recent court order to disclose Binyam Mohamed’s torture records, which has complicated US-UK spy relations.

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Dozens of MI5 agents to testify in Real IRA trial

RIRA gunmen

RIRA gunmen

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Over 30 agents of MI5, Britain’s primary domestic intelligence agency, will be anonymously giving evidence at a scheduled trial of three men arrested in connection with a Real IRA international gun smuggling operation. The men, Paul Anthony John McCaugherty, Dermot Declan Gregory, and Desmond Paul Kearns, all from County Armagh in Northern Ireland, were arrested after a yearlong infiltration operation by MI5, involving the use of informants and surveillance equipment. The latter resulted in nearly 90 hours of recorded conversations, which the court said will take “months to transcribe”. Additionally, 35 MI5 agents have so far applied to give evidence in court, their identity concealed behind screens. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0074

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