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Old 02-04-2016   #161
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Default Investigate historical crimes for all ex-soldiers say

In recent months many gained the impression that the UK and Northern Ireland political leaders were "leaning over backwards" to Republican calls for the re-investigation of security force involvement in murders plus. Now a group of ex-soldiers are demanding crimes where the PIRA and others tried to kill them:http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/ne...-34418970.html
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Old 02-12-2016   #162
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Default Security Situation Statistics in Northern Ireland

I've never seen this PSNI publication, although it appears they have been on their website:http://www.psni.police.uk/security_s...nuary_2016.pdf
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Old 04-28-2016   #163
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Default Catholics are top victims of Northern Ireland's republican terror groups

For those close to the rumbling along violence this headline will not be a surprise; based on academic research:
Quote:
Almost 80% of people shot by the New IRA and other republican terror groups in Northern Ireland over nearly 10 years have been Catholics and nationalists.
The survey results, in an analysis of fatal shootings and woundings for the journal Terrorism and Political Violence, record that in the categories “Catholics” and “criminals” the victims comprised more than 77% of the 175 people shot dead or wounded by armed dissident republicans....By contrast, police officers accounted for just over 15% of shooting casualties from 2007 to 2015...
Link:http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2...groups-new-ira
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Old 05-13-2016   #164
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Default Republican terrorist threat up from ‘moderate’ to ‘substantial’

The government decision to change the security readiness level, on the UK mainland, from ‘moderate’ to ‘substantial’ came as a surprise to many, even though some have been warning the 1916 Centenary could be marked by an attack to advance the 'dissident' Republican cause.

RUSI has a very useful commentary:https://rusi.org/commentary/new-ira-may-2016

Within is this curious passage:
Quote:
Ironically, one of the gravest threats to the New IRA comes, not from the British or Irish security forces, but from Dublin-based criminal networks which have recently assassinated a number of New IRA members.
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Old 06-25-2016   #165
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Default An 'electronic border'

A rare public statement on the Anglo-Irish border and it's electron guardians:
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A MULTIBILLION-pound electronic surveillance system operating on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic would not change if Britain exited the EU, Ian Paisley Jr has claimed.....Every single vehicular movement on the border, every single person movement on the border, is electronically recorded.
Link:http://www.thesun.ie/irishsol/homepa...-a-Brexit.html

Presumably individuals must smile as they do, so their face is recorded and have their mobile phone on too.
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Old 02-04-2017   #166
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Default The Marine who turned to terror and became a lone wolf

A long anticipated issue for the UK military; one shared by most armed services when a serving member becomes a 'lone wolf'.

As the BBC explains:
Quote:
A Royal Marine Commando from Northern Ireland has pleaded guilty to preparing acts of terrorism linked to dissident republicanism. Ciaran Maxwell's case raises alarming questions of how he was able to penetrate the ranks of an elite British military unit and smuggle out arms.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-38856986

I note he joined the Royal Marines in 2010 and was id'd as a suspect in August 2016. He pleaded guilty yesterday and will be sentenced one day.

There is a little more:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017...elated-terror/
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Old 03-22-2017   #167
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Default From killer to peacemaker

Understandably the UK press has a number of obituaries for Martin McGuinness; as The Guardian's obituary sub-title says:
Quote:
Sinn Fin politician and peace negotiator who went from being an IRA commander to serving for a decade as deputy first minister of Northern Ireland
Link:https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...nness-obituary

Or this:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-norther...itics-38640430

A more nuanced commentary behind the headline:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017...-say-families/

How this "Godfather" became the Deputy First Minister, with the late Rev. Ian Paisley, was remarkable, but this Ulsterman says - hence my emphasis:
Quote:
But perhaps more powerful than McGuinness meeting with the Queen was the moment in 2009 when he branded republican dissidents as traitors to Ireland after they killed a police officer. Shaking hands with the Queen was a potent symbol of peace-making; McGuinnesss condemnation of dissident violence had much greater practical effect. His unambiguous, impassioned statement helped protect the lives of all police officers, but particularly Catholics, whom dissidents cynically targeted as a way of undermining the transformation of policing achieved as part of the Good Friday Agreement. If dissidents could discourage young Catholics from joining the reformed service, they could hope for a return to the status quo ante a partisan, Protestant police force, from which many Catholics had turned to the IRA for protection. McGuinness spoke for the overwhelming majority of nationalists by making clear that the police were now a service for all the people of Northern Ireland. Dissident attacks on the police were thus an attack on the people they served. Everyone must therefore stand in defence of the police. It was arguably his greatest contribution to the peace process.
Link:https://theconversation.com/martin-m...al-path-74820?

Behind a "pay wall" is a hostile comment, which includes this:
Quote:
What is important, however, is to understand why a long-time hardened terrorist and brutal murderer should have decided to negotiate a ceasefire leading to a peace deal. The Army and our intelligence services had penetrated the IRA organisation right up to the governing Army Council. No one in that organisation knew who he could trust as a fellow terrorist, or who had been suborned and was a British spy.
The author, Norman Tebbitt, a former Conservative MP, was seriously injured in the 1984 bombing of the party's main Brighton hotel in 1984.
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017...ace-save-skin/
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Old 04-11-2017   #168
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Default Violence remains

An interesting overview of the situation and a reminder that the still active violent dissident republicans have no mandate for their actions.

Link:https://theconversation.com/how-northern-ireland-is-battling-the-persistent-threat-of-violence-74321?

The photo is startling enough
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Old 04-14-2017   #169
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Default Stakeknife the UK's most important spy

The BBC's documentary series 'Panorama' had a powerful programme this week, entitled 'The Spy in the IRA', who was handled or "run" by the Army (using a specialist unit, the Field Research Unit aka the "Fru") not the police and reporting to the Security Service (MI5).

From the programme's website:
Quote:
Panorama investigates one of Britain's most important spies since the Second World War. In the murky world of British intelligence during the Northern Ireland conflict, one agent's life appears to have mattered more than others. Codenamed Stakeknife, Freddie Scappaticci rose through the ranks of the IRA to run their internal security unit.He was the IRA's chief spy catcher, in charge of rooting out those suspected of collaborating with the British, who were then executed. But all the time he was in fact working for the British intelligence services - Stakeknife was their 'golden egg', the British Army's most important spy during the Troubles.
Panorama reveals that a classified report links Scappatici to at least 18 murders (out of 30). Some of these victims were themselves agents and informers. Scappaticci, the intelligence agencies who tasked him and the IRA to whom he also answered are now the subject of a new £35 million criminal enquiry.
Panorama discloses how he kept his cover by having the blood of other agents on his hands, how the intelligence agencies appeared to tolerate this and why he has been protected for so long.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...spy-in-the-ira

There is a podcast (45 mins) for UK viewers:http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...spy-in-the-ira

For others via YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rihJviC9oA0

It raises many hard questions: Were UK agents allowed to die to cover Stakeknife? How to navigate the 'moral maze' of the "greater good" coming at a price. Was the Provisional IRA / Sinn Fein 'pushed into peace' by being infiltrated? Were all parties restrained by the knowledge of Stakeknife's activities?

He is incidentally still alive and by implication living in Northern Ireland! There is a remarkably thin wiki:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddie_Scappaticci
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Old 04-15-2017   #170
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
The BBC's documentary series 'Panorama' had a powerful programme this week, entitled 'The Spy in the IRA', who was handled or "run" by the Army (using a specialist unit, the Field Research Unit aka the "Fru") not the police and reporting to the Security Service (MI5).

From the programme's website:Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...spy-in-the-ira

There is a podcast (45 mins) for UK viewers:http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...spy-in-the-ira

For others via YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rihJviC9oA0

It raises many hard questions: Were UK agents allowed to die to cover Stakeknife? How to navigate the 'moral maze' of the "greater good" coming at a price. Was the Provisional IRA / Sinn Fein 'pushed into peace' by being infiltrated? Were all parties restrained by the knowledge of Stakeknife's activities?

He is incidentally still alive and by implication living in Northern Ireland! There is a remarkably thin wiki:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddie_Scappaticci
But how much evidence is there that Scappaticci was a British agent? The PIRA seems to believe his denials and he lives in Northern Ireland. Perhaps the British were using him to cover for another source(s)? If so, was the British government subjecting him to risk of reprisal? Yet he is a murderer...

Murky indeed...
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Old 04-15-2017   #171
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Default Evidence?

In two parts:
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Originally Posted by Azor View Post
But how much evidence is there that Scappaticci was a British agent? The PIRA seems to believe his denials and he lives in Northern Ireland.
I would say there is evidence that Scappaticci was a British agent; possibly for ten years as the head of PIRA's "nutting" squad and he claims to have become inactive in republicanism in 1990. The key point for the current investigation was his activity protected and others died to do so. Evidence for that is likely to be more difficult. Will those involved in handling him (the Army) and the receivers of the information (MI5) have complete records which are handed over to the investigators?

Is there enough evidence to put him in court for murder for example?

Possibly noteworthy is that the Director of Public Prosecutions has recently been accused of being too ready to prosecute soldiers when paramilitaries are not. In the programme he explains why he has directed the investigation.

By Azor:
Quote:
Perhaps the British were using him to cover for another source(s)? If so, was the British government subjecting him to risk of reprisal? Yet he is a murderer...
Quite possibly as many have commented PIRA was emasculated by the time of the Good Friday Agreement having been infiltrated at senior levels, although he had been active for many years by then.

PIRA was ruthless at times towards spies and suspected spies, but to acknowledge a central figure, the head of its own counter-intelligence "nutting" squad, was British spy would affect their credibility even today. Few really want to open this murky world.
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Old 05-15-2017   #172
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Default Secret Victory: The Intelligence War that beat the IRA

Last week William Matchett, a thirty year veteran of the RUC / PSNI Special Branch spoke at a book launch @ Policy Exchange, London and in summary his argument is:
Quote:
Secret Victory shows what a successful rule of law approach looks like in an irregular war.
There is a 35 mins podcast (yet to listen to):https://policyexchange.org.uk/event/...liam-matchett/

The book 'Secret Victory: The Intelligence War that beat the IRA' was released in November 2016, in Ireland and has a plethora of five star reviews. Citing in part one review by Professor Michael Rainsborough, Head of War Studies, King’s College London:
Quote:
The author trenchantly, and effectively deconstructs the dirty war thesis, illustrating that much of the narrative is partial, factually flawed or often simply incoherent and contradictory. The systematic critique of this popular orthodoxy through evidence and argumentation, along with the more detailed illumination of the Special Branch’s evolution as a vital arm in the security effort, constitutes a highly original contribution to knowledge and understanding of the Northern Ireland conflict.
Link:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Vict...secret+victory

Link to USA Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Victor...secret+victory
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Old 06-21-2017   #173
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Default A woman "lone wolf": a strange tale

A strange tale that starts with:
Quote:
Northern Ireland woman who used a Swedish model’s pictures on social media to coax men into supporting her solo republican terrorist campaign against police is beginning a 16-year jail sentence. An investigation by police in Northern Ireland, West Mercia police and the FBI found that Christine Connor used a fake name and photographs of a Swedish model to solicit help through social media from an Englishman and an American, who both later took their own lives.
Link:https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...lice-bomb-plot


What is puzzling is that her two attacks were in May 2013, using blast bombs to attack the police and she was in custody on remand by July 2013. So it has taken nearly four years to get her to trial - very strange.
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Old 06-23-2017   #174
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Default Gary Haggarty: Ex-senior loyalist pleads guilty to 200 terror charges

Behind the headline (above) is a glimpse into the horrible past during 'The Troubles', including allegations of collusion between a Loyalist murder and his police handlers:
Quote:
He was given five life sentences for the murders, but these will be significantly reduced as he is an assisting offender under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA).All of the killings, and the majority of the other offences, took place while Haggarty was working as a police informer.

(Later) The BBC understands he told his interviewers that some of his Special Branch handlers not only protected him from arrest and prosecution, but also actively encouraged his activities.

Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-40379903
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #175
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Default Reassessing Counterinsurgency: Theory and Practice

This was a 2012 conference, held in Austin, Texas, with Kings College London, University of Queensland and the hosts The Robert Strauss Center. Link:https://reassessingcounterinsurgency....com/articles/

There is a strong British emphasis and several on Northern Ireland - two of which caught my attention.

One on Operation Motorman: https://reassessingcounterinsurgency...long-drive.pdf and the second on the British Army's role after 1998 i.e. after the peace agreement:https://reassessingcounterinsurgency...n-army-swi.pdf
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #176
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Default No 'comfort letter' for you

A little reported matter till this week:
Quote:
A former Northern Irish actor (James Corry)once tipped for fame has finally confessed he was involved in a 1996 IRA bombing of a British army base in Germany.....In 2003, former British soldier Michael Dixon was sentenced to six years and six months for his role in the 1996 attack.
Link:http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/ne...-35971861.html and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-40733836

This was a PIRA mortar attack, by a team of five and Corry was extradited from the Irish Republic in November 2016. It is not clear why it took so long to identify him and apply for his extradition.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #177
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Default Part 2: The Marine who turned to terror and became a lone wolf

See Post 166 above for my initial post; a serving Royal Marine helping violent Irish Republicans to be brief.

Well he was sentenced today, he pleaded guilty and declined to attend court so watched via video link and the headline:
Quote:
Royal Marine who supplied arms for Irish republican attacks jailed for 18 years
A reasonably detailed report and the judge comments included:
Quote:
Maxwell was a “quartermaster” to the Continuity IRA and engaged in “sophisticated offending on a substantial scale” for five years until his arrest in 2016. “A skilled bombmaker is of considerable importance to a terrorist organisation like the Continuity IRA....
Link:https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jul/31/royal-marine-ciaran-maxwell-arms-irish-republican-attacks-jailed?

Note is was two chance discoveries by the public of his hidden arms dumps, in Northern Ireland (there were others in England) that led to the investigation and his DNA being on record id'd him.

The BBC report has more detail:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-40774233
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