News you may have missed #433

  • White House quiet on Pollard release speculation. The Barack Obama administration is staying silent on a reported offer from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to extend a settlements freeze in the occupied areas, in exchange for the release of Jonathan Pollard, currently held in a US prison for spying on America for Israel.
  • ‘The Secret History of MI6’ published. An authorized history of the first forty years of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, has been published by Bloomsbury. The book is written by Professor Keith Jeffery, of Queen’s University, Belfast, based on his unrestricted access to SIS archives of the period.
  • Pakistan accuses Briton of spying. Authorities in Pakistan are holding a 70-year-old Briton on suspicion of spying for almost a month in the country’s lawless tribal areas. Nicholas Bain, who claims he is an author researching a book, is suspected of “working for a British intelligence agency”, according to a Pakistani official.

British informant sues MI5 for breach of contract

RIRA gunmen

RIRA gunmen

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
An informant, who was used by British intelligence to infiltrate an Irish Republican dissident group, is suing the British government claiming he was forced to give evidence in court despite his will. The case, which is believed to be the first of its kind in British legal history, has been brought before the court by a man identified only as “Amir”. Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, MI5, has admitted recruiting Amir in 2004, and using him to infiltrate the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA), a Provisional IRA splinter group that continues its armed campaign against British presence in Northern Ireland. But the informant claims that he accepted payment from MI5 on condition that he would never be expected to testify as a witness in court. 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 #331

  • CIA deputy director to step down. The Agency has denied it for months, but now the longtime rumor that its powerful deputy director, Stephen R. Kappes, was planning to resign has came true. Jeff Stein reports that “recently, grumbling about Kappes from within the CIA and without, on issues ranging from his nit-picking management style to his ties to the old order, has gotten louder. And now, apparently, Kappes has heard enough”.
  • US eyes cash deal for Kyrgyzstan base. How will the recent coup in Kyrgyzstan affect US-Kyrgyz arrangements on the Manas Air Base? A lot will depend on oil purchase deals between the US military and Kyrgyz autocrats.
  • Court case may reveal IRA spy’s role. Freddie Scappaticci, an IRA spy alleged to be the British army agent ‘Stakeknife’ could be forced into court by the wife of another IRA informer, who claims she suffered nervous breakdown after being kidnapped by him.

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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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News you may have missed #0228

  • Irish nationalists planting honey traps on British troops? The Belfast Telegraph reports that British Army personnel have been “warned about the recruitment by dissidents of attractive females to identify soldiers at popular nightspots and lure them into ambushes” in Northern Ireland. This is highly unnecessary. Usually British troops in the North are easily identifiable by their haircuts, accents, even by their choice of beer!
  • Egyptian spy chief meets Israeli defense minister. Ehud Barak and Omar Suleiman, director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Services, met in Jerusalem on Sunday. The meeting included a “private 30-minute session” between the two men (and the eavesdroppers on either side, presumably –ed.).
  • Terror suspect David Headley was ‘rogue US secret agent’. The London Times has woken up to the rumors circulating about David Headley, a full month after Indian media began reporting them, and nearly three weeks after intelNews alerted its readers. Nice of them to catch up.

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Protestant alleges links between N. Ireland loyalists and British state

Raymond McCord

Ray McCord, Sr.

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
On November 9, 1997, Royal Air Force officer Raymond McCord Jr. was beaten to death in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by members of the Mount Vernon branch of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). McCord’s beating was one of many instances in which Northern Ireland’s most violent loyalist gang targeted members of its own Protestant community. The difference in McCord’s case was that his father, Raymond McCord Sr., decided to come forward and speak out about the decades-old collusion between Northern Irish loyalist paramilitaries and Britain’s security services. Despite repeated death threats and intimidation, McCord’s campaign prompted an official investigation into the matter by Northern Ireland’s police ombudsman Nuala O’Loan. Her 2007 report confirmed that the leader of the Mount Vernon UVF, Mark Haddock, had been repeatedly protected by police authorities, despite being routinely implicated in extortion, blackmail, drug dealing and arson, as well as in dozens of paramilitary-style attacks that resulted in 16 murders and 10 attempted murders. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0200

  • New N. Ireland justice minister wants MI5 to share data. David Ford, who appears to be the preferred choice for Northern Ireland’s justice minister, says he will “insist that MI5 share all intelligence on republican dissidents with the Police Service of Northern Ireland”.
  • Prisoners remain in CIA black site. A US military detention camp in Afghanistan is still holding inmates, sometimes for weeks at a time and without access to the Red Cross, according to human rights researchers and former detainees held at Bagram Air Base.

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Suspected IRA militant charged in undercover agent’s killing

Robert Nairac

Robert Nairac

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A man suspected by British authorities to be a former member of the Irish Republican Army has been charged with participating in the killing of a British army undercover agent, who tried to infiltrate the IRA in the 1970s. Robert Nairac, a captain of the British Army’s Intelligence Corps, was among numerous British government agents who attempted to infiltrate the IRA from the 1960s onwards. Although educated at Oxford, Nairac studied Irish republican culture and put on a convincing Northern Irish accent in order to carry out the infiltration. His activities centered on patronizing various pubs in Catholic stronghold areas of Belfast, using the cover name “Danny McErlaine”, and pretending to be a member of the Official IRA (an IRA splinter faction) from north Belfast. But on May 14, 1977, a group of IRA members abducted Nairac from a pub in South Armagh and drove him to a remote location, where they interrogated him prior to executing him. Read more of this post

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

Irish leader used British-supplied bugs to spy on opponents: book

Charles Haughey

Charles Haughey

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Charles Haughey, Ireland’s Taoiseach (head of government) in the late 1970s, and on two instances in the 1980s, used audio surveillance devices supplied by a British security officer to spy on his domestic political opponents. This allegation is made by George Clarke, a former officer in the Special Branch of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (the name of the British police force in Northern Ireland until 2001), in his book Border Crossing, which was published last week. In it, Clarke says he purchased the devices at a specialist store in London, in 1979, and later lent them to an intelligence officer in the Garda, the police of the Republic of Ireland, for use in spy operations against the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Several months later, however, when Clarke requested that the devices be returned to him, he was told that they were in the possession of Charles Haughey, and that he was so fond of them that he simply refused to give them back. Read more of this post

Analysis: Real IRA Attacks Part of Broader N. Ireland Military Buildup

RIRA gunman

RIRA gunman

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
On Saturday, March 7, two unarmed British soldiers were executed and two others seriously injured when three guerillas opened fire on them with semi-automatic weapons outside the British Army’s Massereene Barracks in Northern Ireland. Two nights later, a police officer was shot and killed in Craigavon, County Armagh, as he investigated reports of “suspicious activity” in the area. Northern Irish politics entered a new phase after these strikes, which have so far left three people dead and at least two seriously injured. Yet the attacks, which have been attributed to Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA) paramilitaries, were hardly unexpected; on the contrary, they are part of a broader pattern of intensification of covert military and paramilitary activity in the troubled region. Read article →

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