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Date Posted: Sun, Apr 01 2007, 20:56:17 PDT
Author: iapl_newsroom32@hotmail.com
Subject: News Update
In reply to: iapl_newsroom32@hotmail.com 's message, "Answer to McG's new buddy-Leading Bigot Paisley" on Sun, Apr 01 2007, 20:41:48 PDT

iapl_newsroom32@hotmail.com Printed: Sunday, April 1, 2007 7:51 PM

Posted April 01, 2007 10:34 AM

News about Ireland & the Irish
SL 04/01/07 Peace Process In For A R.U.F.F Time
SL 04/01/07 Special Branch Files: It Stinks To High Heaven
SL 04/01/07 Courtney Is A Tout: Victim's Mother
SL 04/01/07 MP Urged To Withdraw Slur On Tycoon
SL 04/01/07 Terror Watchdog (IMC) Set To Brief MLAs
SL 04/01/07 DUP Claims Nuala's Bin Assisting Work Of Al-Qaida!
BB 04/01/07 Six Dissidents Released Without Charge


Peace Process In For A R.U.F.F Time

[Published: Sunday 1, April 2007 - 09:48]
By Stephen Breen

A gang of bloodthirsty loyalist gunmen have vowed to plunge
Ulster into a new cycle of terror.

Just a few days after arch-enemies Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams
agreed to share power at Stormont, a spokesman for the shadowy
'Real UFF' told Sunday Life how the group had drawn up a death-

Last night the Ulster Political Research Group, which provides
political analysis to the UDA, dismissed them as a splinter group
of isolated criminals completely out of touch with mainstream
loyalist thinking.

Names who appear on the so-called 'Real UFF' hit-list include:

- UDA 'inner council' members

- Ousted terror boss Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair

- Alleged Special Branch agents William 'Mo' Courtney and north
Belfast crime boss Jim Spence

- Suspected loyalist drug dealers, and

- Continuity and Real IRA godfathers.

The terrorist spokesman - who outlined his plans at a secret
location outside Belfast - warned the loyalist splinter group had
access to a vast arsenal of weapons.

The arms are said to include rocket-launchers, AK47 assault
rifles, handguns, pipe-bombs, coffee-jar bombs and under-car
booby-trap devices.

Said the Real UFF godfather: "These are no idle threats - we have
the weapons and the manpower to cause serious damage to the
enemies of Ulster.

"We have had enough of people telling us what to do - if the
opportunity arises we will take out the entire UDA leadership
because they are selling us out.

"Protestant areas are still awash with drugs and we are not going
to stand by while so-called loyalists line their pockets.

"Adair should also be careful because he has turned his back on a
lot of good men. He is still up to his neck in drugs and we are
sick of him constantly mouthing off about operations in the past.

"We want the Protestant people to know that we are here for them
and are ready to take action.

"Our war is not with the ordinary foot-soldiers, but with the
leadership who are only worried about money.

"We have been gathering intelligence on various targets for a
long time now and we even know where the top men in the CIRA and
Real IRA eat and what cars they drive."

Last night, UPRG spokesman Frankie Gallagher challenged the
renegade loyalist group to a meeting.

He said: "Who are these people? Who do they represent and what
role do they intend to have in a peaceful society?

"They don't have any political strategy. Of course, senior
members of the UDA leadership take all death threats very

"I think these people could be supporters of the Shoukris who are
threatening people because their criminal empires have come
falling down."

Exiled terror chief Adair dismissed the group's threats, adding:
"I'm not afraid of these people.

"It was me who brought the war to the IRA, not them."

Security sources believe the rogue unit was set up by UDA members
who did not support the leadership's peace strategy.

Sources say the group was established by supporters of Adair's
former right-hand man and Holy Cross hoax bomber Gary 'Smickers'
Smith and members who were once close to the ousted Shoukri


c Belfast Telegraph



Special Branch Files: It Stinks To High Heaven

[Published: Sunday 1, April 2007 - 09:44]

Today, in a forensic science laboratory in England, DNA experts
may be - literally - a hair's breadth away from finding the
killer of Mary Travers.

It's all that remains of the physical evidence gathered from the
blood-splattered scene where the 22-year-old teacher met her
death at the hands of an IRA hit-squad.

The sun was shining as resident magistrate Tom Travers, his wife
Joan and their daughter Mary set out on the short walk home from
St Brigid's Catholic Church on Belfast's Malone Road.

It was Sunday April 8, 1984, and the family - devout Catholics -
had just attended noon Mass.

They were shaken by a loud bang, then Mary saying: "That man's
got a gun."

As Mr Travers recalled later: "At that time, Mary lay dying on
her mum's breast, her gentle heart pouring its pure blood on to a
dusty street in Belfast.

"The murderer's gun, which was pointed at my wife's head,
misfired twice. Another gunman shot me six times. As he prepared
to fire the first shot, I saw the look of hatred on his face - a
face I will never forget."

Mr Travers recovered from his physical wounds, but admits he
remains broken-hearted at the loss of a daughter who'd spent her
final morning happily looking forward to helping primary school
children attend their first confession.

After the murder, the IRA tried to justify Mary's death by saying
she was killed by a bullet that had struck her father first. This
was not the case.

Twenty-three years on and there is new controversy surrounding
the murder - not least because of claims being made about the
killers, Special Branch officers and agents.

Even the Police Ombudsman has found herself at the centre of the
controversy amid claims of an investigation that appears to be
going nowhere.

Mary Ann McArdle (19) was arrested soon after the murder near the
Botanic Inn further down the Malone Road from the murder-scene.
She was in possession of two guns and a wig.

There is speculation that McArdle was "thrown to the cops" by a
rogue element in the hit-team who was a security force agent - a
collar for CID. Certainly, she was seen talking to someone at
Malone Avenue after the attack, but somehow failed to escape the

Was she left behind? Was someone supposed to collect her?

Ms McArdle - released early from her life sentence under the Good
Friday Agreement - may well know the answers.

In the hours after the murder CID officers were given
unprecedented support in the area in their hunt for the killers
as public outrage spread.

Many witnesses came forward, passing on descriptions of up to
seven people involved in the killing.

But Sunday Life can reveal today that vital information obtained
by Special Branch was never passed on to the CID team
investigating the murders.

One incident in particular is most alarming. In the early evening
of April 9, a dedicated Special Branch officer got a tip-off from
one of the most important agents inside the IRA, Joseph Fenton.

Fenton was a prolific worker for the security forces, helping to
prevent dozens of murders and bombings across Northern Ireland.

He was opposed to the IRA's 'armed struggle' and hoped one day to
leave the country and start a new life in Australia.

What he had to offer the Branch that evening appeared to be a
breakthrough in the hunt for the rest of the gang: he had been
ordered by the IRA to go to an apartment at Malone Avenue, remove
items from the scene and clean it thoroughly.

At enormous personal risk, Fenton offered the Branch access to
the premises before any clean-up. But his handler would need
clearance from another officer.

Astonishingly, it is now claimed this request was refused.

Subsequently, the other officer says he doesn't recall the
request. A third officer says he doesn't remember the incident

Tom Travers, however, believes what Fenton's handler has told

Even though he believed the task given to him by the IRA may have
been a test, Fenton was willing to help. Reluctantly, the officer
could not interfere with the clean-up operation. Details about
the address at Malone Avenue (the exact address is known to
Sunday Life) were never passed on to CID and the premises were
never searched.

Material removed by Fenton and later dumped could almost
certainly have provided vital clues to the identities of the rest
of the gang, and, more importantly, forensic links which could
have led to further prosecutions. It is possible it included more
weapons and more of the disguises used by the gang.

A second house was also used by the murder gang at nearby
Eglantine Avenue. However, it was only searched in late May 1984
- several weeks after the murder - after a recovering Mr Travers
passed on information that gang members had stayed there.

At the trial of Mary McArdle and Joseph Haughey two years later,
overcome with emotion, Tom Travers wept in the dock as he
described the murder of his daughter.

However, his identification evidence - naming Haughey as one of
the killers - was dismissed by the trial judge who said there was
a possibility Mr Travers was mistaken. Haughey has maintained his
innocence since, and has publicly denied claims that he was an
agent working for the security forces, specifically Special
Branch or MI5.

It is a claim being investigated by the Ombudsman and,
separately, by the Historical Enquiry Team.

Tom Travers has continued to press for new leads in the
investigation into his daughter's murder.

He did, however, lose faith in Nuala O'Loan and her team. Mrs
O'Loan's decision, on March 7, to send 18 police officers in a
raiding party to the home of a former cop who had given the
family new information about the murder was the final straw.

"I had asked her (Mrs O'Loan) not to arrest this man, but she
went ahead anyway, knowing full well my feelings. I was also
afraid that such a high-profile arrest would only put off any
chance of other people coming forward. The arrest put paid to
that (possibility)."


The arrested officer has refused to talk about the incident to
anyone other than Tom Travers. He is due to answer bail in May.

However, a former senior RUC officer told Sunday Life: "This man
saved dozens of lives and worked at the coal face in the fight
against the paramilitaries.

"He was trying to help a grieving family and his reward is a raid
on his home by officers in three-piece suits and cufflinks who
treated him like a criminal."

The Ombudsman's behaviour is odd to say the least. It is just the
latest in a series of inconsistencies in the investigation.

For a start, numerous allegations were made to her office four
years ago, yet no action appears to have been taken. An initial
statement was followed by another detailing the Malone Avenue
incident, yet no written record appears to exist, even though a
tape-recording of the interview appeared to be taking place.

But this is not the first time Ombudsman investigations have
appeared - on the surface at least - to have been stalled without

Four years ago, I watched as Ombudsman's officers met with a
former member of the security forces at a hotel in Co Kilkenny.

Allegations about the role of Freddie Scappaticci in a number of
murders and kidnappings were given to Mrs O'Loan's
representatives. A tape-recording of that meeting exists as proof
that it took place and it records how Special Branch officers
were aware of serious crimes including murder.

Yet Mrs O'Loan has only now - April 2007 - announced that she is
looking at the role of Scappaticci, the agent known as

Her office has also known about claims relating to Haughey for a
similar period of time, not least claims from a former NIO-based
intelligence officer that he saw files on Haughey while working
undercover in Northern Ireland the 1980s. Again, only now is an
investigation under way. The Ombudsman's raid on the former
Special Branch officer has strained still further relations
between the force and the watchdog.

A number of former officers who wanted to shed new light on
murders during the Troubles are now holding back as a result,
and, for some families, that will mean they will never get the
closure they seek.

But anger is not confined to former officers.

A serving Special Branch officer revealed that he was among
dozens of officers who confronted Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde
at a recent meeting at Garnerville police base in east Belfast.

They were furious at Orde's carte blanche acceptance of a damning
report from Mrs O'Loan surrounding the murder of Raymond McCord

These officers did not contend that a few 'rotten apples' had
colluded with UVF killers, but believed the Ombudsman had made
allegations way beyond the body of evidence her investigators had
turned up.

During the meeting - according to an officer who spoke to Sunday
Life - Orde was forced to accept that there were flaws in
O'Loan's assessment. When he did so, he was accused of misleading
the public.


The respected serving officer told us: "It was put to him (Sir
Hugh) that he couldn't tell the public one thing and then tell us
another at Garnerville - that he had to go public with what he
was telling us, if that is what he believed.

"Our concern, too, is clear - who polices Nuala O'Loan? No one."

Another officer told Sunday Life: "Politicians can do what they
like - at Stormont or at Westminster - but the past hasn't gone
away, you know."

It is the apparent slowness of Ombudsman inquiries which
frustrates many who make formal complaints.

In the case of Mary Travers, the gun used to kill her was
available for collection by Ombudsman's officers from 2005.

But it was a year later before those investigators decided to
actually go and pick it up - but by then it had disappeared.

No blame for its 'disappearance' can be attached to Mrs O'Loan.

However, had an attempt to collect it earlier been made, perhaps
it would still be available. Perhaps new DNA techniques would
have yielded new clues. We will never know.

Guns and evidence have a habit of disappearing in the Travers'

In 1995, a decision was taken to destroy the other gun used that
day - the gun used to shoot Tom Travers.

As guns go in Northern Ireland, this was a particularly important
gun, and a particularly big decision.

The same weapon was used to murder - among others - Judge Billy
Doyle, who was shot dead outside St Brigid's Church 15 months
before Mary Travers' murder, and the Rev Robert Bradford, the
Ulster Unionist MP for South Belfast, shot dead at a community
centre in Finaghy in November 1981

We will never get to hear Joseph Fenton's version of events. He
was shot dead by the IRA in February 1989 - lured to a west
Belfast house by Freddie Scappaticci.

Perhaps there could be one final breakthrough.

A wig recovered from Mary Ann McArdle was also destroyed, but a
single hair on forensic tape has somehow survived the conspiracy
of time at least.

It will take some time for the world's leading DNA experts to
work on it - perhaps several more months - but it may well
contain the DNA of the gunman who shot Mary Travers.

Her father, still grieving, can only wait.


c Belfast Telegraph



Courtney Is A Tout: Victim's Mother

[Published: Sunday 1, April 2007 - 09:49]
By Stephen Breen

The mother of Alan 'Bucky' McCullough last night branded his
killers police informers.

Barbara McCullough made the claim after loyalist William 'Mo'
Courtney was jailed last week for eight years over the killing.

Mrs McCullough insisted Courtney and others in the six-strong UDA
gang were police agents.

The mum-of-six - who is set to meet the Police Ombudsman next
week over her son's case - also plans to write a book about the

The Shankill woman's son, a pal of ousted terror boss Johnny
Adair, was shot dead and buried in a shallow grave outside
Belfast, in May 2003.

McCullough had fled Northern Ireland earlier, following the
murder of UDA boss John 'Grug' Gregg, but returned after
receiving assurances from Courtney that he would not be targeted.

Said Mrs McCullough: "It is our family's opinion that Mo Courtney
was an agent of the state at the time of my son's murder, and
also during the 1990s.

"But we also believe that some of the other UDA men who were
involved in Alan's murder were police agents. We will inform
Nuala O'Loan of everything we know and have learnt since 2003.

"We feel sorry for Courtney's family because he has lied to them
all along. He told them a pack of lies and always said he would
not be going to jail over Alan.

"UDA elements from north Belfast, west Belfast and south east
Antrim were involved in the murder and we are determined to see
them all in court. We even know who the gunman was.

"Courtney's plea shows that we have been telling the truth all
along but this is not the end of it."

Courtney pleaded guilty to manslaughter after being cleared of
murdering McCullough.

c Belfast Telegraph



MP Urged To Withdraw Slur On Tycoon

[Published: Sunday 1, April 2007 - 09:50]
By Stephen Breen

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson has been urged to withdraw a
slur that led to the "vilification" of a top Ulster businessman.

The demand - by a leading Alliance Party member - came as
Sheridan Group chairman Peter Curistan continued his fightback
against baseless Provo " money-laundering" allegations.

The East Belfast MP made the claims under Parliamentary privilege
13 months ago.

Mr Curistan - who inspired Belfast's showpiece Odyssey Arena -
later saw his 'preferred developer' status for a second multi-
million pound waterfront development abruptly axed.

But last night veteran east Belfast Alliance councillor Mervyn
Jones said: " The way this man (Curistan) has been treated is
grossly unfair.

"Comments made under the cloak of privilege have led to his

"What happened to the golden thread of British justice - innocent
until proven guilty?

"There hasn't been a single shred of evidence to support the
claims made against him.

"Even senior police officers have made it clear the allegations
are groundless."

Mr Curistan (51) was last week given the go-ahead for a legal
challenge against the decision to withdraw Sheridan's preferred
developer status.

The legal showdown - scheduled for June - pitches Sheridan
against the Department for Social Development (DSD) and the
Government's Laganside Corporation.

Sunday Life understands that Sheridan's case accuses the DSD and
Laganside of abuse of power by acting on the "false and
scurrilous" allegations.

Sunday Life revealed in February that Chief Constable Sir Hugh
Orde's deputy, Paul Leighton, has already given Mr Curistan and
Sheridan a clean bill of health.

A DSD spokesman had no comment to make last week.


c Belfast Telegraph



Terror Watchdog Set To Brief MLAs

[Published: Sunday 1, April 2007 - 09:30]
By Alan Murray

Assembly members are to be given access to confidential security
briefings provided to the Independent Monitoring Commission.

The secret briefings, which help the IMC assess the level of
activity within the IRA, UVF, UDA and other terror groups, will
be given to a select number of MLAs.

But to the DUP's anger, Tony Blair is refusing to introduce
legislation that would lead to the exclusion of Sinn Fein
ministers from the new Executive if there was fresh evidence of
unlawful activity by the IRA.

One unionist politician has warned that the Prime Minister's
stonewalling on the sanctions issue is risking the collapse again
of the entire Executive and Assembly.

Sources close to the negotiations say the Prime Minister has
agreed that the IMC will give confidential briefings to the

It's not clear whether the briefings will be given only to the
Executive or to a special Assembly Committee set up to monitor
loyalist and republican paramilitary activity.

But informed sources say that the IMC members will be available
to answer questions from MLAs.

The IMC members will also be asked to suggest appropriate
sanctions if a paramilitary group continues to be actively
involved in violence or racketeering.

One politician familiar with the discussions revealed: "It's been
agreed that the IMC will play a much bigger role with the
Assembly and will give briefings on what each paramilitary
organisation is up to.

"We will also be able to see the details of briefings given
directly to the IMC to allow us to formulate our own opinion on
whether all paramilitaries are scaling down and ending their
terrorist activities. "

The DUP wants the Assembly to have the power to expel Ministers
from the Executive if their party is linked to a paramilitary
organisation which keeps a structure and sanctions illegal

That would specifically impact on Sinn Fein and Dawn Purvis,
leader of the UVF-linked PUP, if the IRA or the UVF was found to
be involved in any unlawful activity.

Evidence of unlawful activities, such as racketeering, could also
trigger sanctions which could involve the withholding of
financial handouts to loyalist groups like the UDA, which is
poised to get a cash injection from the NIO.

But Downing Street has refused to draft legislation which would
allow sanctions to be imposed and ministers expelled from the
Executive for a period of time.

Tony Blair's officials have argued that a new law isn't necessary
because the circumstances that would justify the suspension of a
Minister are unlikely to arise.

"They are stonewalling on that bit, which is risking the collapse
again of the entire Executive and Assembly.

"The monitoring and briefing dimensions are agreed, but the
sanctions element is missing," one senior unionist politician

This week the political parties will outline their nominations
for the 10 ministerial portfolios in the new Executive.

c Belfast Telegraph



DUP Claims Nuala's Bin Assisting Work Of Al-Qaida!

[Published: Sunday 1, April 2007 - 09:38]
By Stephen Gordon

The Police Ombudsman has been accused of revealing "sensitive"
security information that could be useful to al-Qaida or other

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson launched the attack on Nuala O'Loan
claiming the Ombudsman's website is compromising the war on
terror by publishing " vital intelligence-gathering techniques"
used by the security services.

The allegation has been dismissed by the Ombudsman's office.

The Lagan Valley MP made his claims during a House of Commons
discussion on the Ombudsman last week following the publication
of a report by retired police officers, rebutting claims in her
Operation Ballast report on informers in a murderous UVF gang.

Widening his criticisms of Mrs O'Loan's office, the leading DUP
man said: " Let me voice my deep concern about the way in which
the Ombudsman's office is used to publish reports on paper and on
the internet that expose vital intelligence-gathering techniques
employed by the police and intelligence services.

"That leaves this country vulnerable, because it is not only law-
abiding people who read those reports.

"If I were in al-Qaida or were a terrorist in the UK who sought
to understand the methodology of the security services, I would
need go no further than the website of the Police Ombudsman for
Northern Ireland to find out a lot more about the methodology
adopted by our security services."

Mr Donaldson highlighted the Ombudsman's report on the murder of
soldier Stephen Restorick, who was shot by an IRA sniper in
February 1997 in Bessbrook, Co Armagh. He was the last soldier
killed by the Provos.

The MP claimed the December 2006 report contained detailed
information about intelligence-gathering methods which are still
used by the security services across the UK.

"In the context of the war on terrorism, that is a dangerous
thing - it is a matter of grave concern that the Government need
to examine closely.

"Of course there is a need for openness, but we must protect our
country and our security services, which are doing invaluable
work to save lives.

"That aim is being compromised by the lack of accountability of
the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and by
the publication of sensitive information."

In response to an intervention by SDLP leader Mark Durkan, the
DUP man said his point was not about the findings of Mrs O'Loan's
investigations, but the information she publishes.

He told MPs: "My concern is that such publications potentially
compromise our security services in their war against terrorism.
It is not necessary to publish such information in order to give
the findings of a report."

A spokesman for Mrs O'Loan dismissed the claim the Ombudsman's
reports potentially compromised the security services in the
fight against terror.

The spokesman said: "We do liaise with the relevant authorities
to ensure that no information or details about methodology are
released that should not be released."

c Belfast Telegraph



Six Men Released Without Charge

Six men arrested in connection with an investigation into
dissident republican activity in County Armagh have been released
without charge.

They were arrested during an intelligence operation in Lurgan
which began on Thursday night and ended on Saturday.

The railway line between Lurgan and Portadown was shut as army
bomb experts searched the area.

Police were attacked with petrol bombs during searches in the

They began a security operation near the Kilwilkee estate.

Eyewitnesses said a large number of police officers in six cars
were involved in the arrests.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/01 09:03:39 GMT

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