British Government to seek to have intelligence gathered on the Omagh bombing assessed in private, court hears - Belfast Telegraph
The British Government is to seek to have some intelligence gathered on the Omagh bombing assessed in private, the High Court heard today.
Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers plans to apply to have a closed material procedure form part of a challenge to her refusal to hold a public inquiry into the atrocity, a judge was told.
Confirmation of the move came as lawyers for the father of a young man killed in the Real IRA attack accused the authorities of "massively dragging their heels".
Michael Gallagher has mounted a legal action in a bid to force the government to order a full inquiry.
His son Aiden was among 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, killed in the August 1998 outrage.
In September 2013 Ms Villiers rejected calls for a public investigation, deciding instead that a probe by Police Ombudsman Michael Maguire was the best way to address any outstanding issues.
Last October Dr Maguire published a report where he found RUC Special Branch withheld some intelligence information from detectives hunting the bombers.
No one has ever been convicted of carrying out the attack, but Seamus Daly, a 44-year-old bricklayer from Cullaville, Co Monaghan, is currently charged with the 29 murders which he denies.
Central to the bid to have Ms Villiers' decision judicially reviewed is a contention that the British Government has a duty under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights to protect lives and investigate the bombing.
Mr Gallagher's lawyers claim a range of intelligence from British security agents, MI5 and RUC officers could have been drawn together to stop the killers in their tracks.
An alleged gap in the information relates to any monitoring of the bomb and scout cars as they crossed the Irish border into Omagh on the day of the attack.
It has been suggested that a BBC Panorama documentary has raised the possibility of other intelligence than the intercept material which has been the subject of investigations to date.
In court today Paul Mclaughlin, for the Secretary of State, confirmed her intention to seek a closed material procedure before the full hearing can take place.
The process, brought in under the Justice and Security Act, can assess whether public disclosure of some information would be damaging to national security.
But with the other side in proceedings kept in the dark about the contents, some have claimed it could give rise to secret courts.
Mr McLaughlin stressed that a special advocate has to be appointed by the Advocate General for Northern Ireland before the application is made.
He added that an "intensive" review of all available material has been carried out.
"We have been going through a difficult process of trying to work out what evidence there is, and what evidence can be served in open as opposed to what is required to be filed in a closed hearing," the barrister said.
"We are trying to put together an enormous jigsaw of what material exists and who it has been examined by."
During exchanges Mr Justice Treacy emphasised how the case centred on whether all intelligence material was made available.
"If the intelligence services don't know what they shared and who with, that would be deeply troubling," he said.
Ashley Underwood QC, representing Mr Gallagher, argued that the Secretary of State should have already notified the Advocate General.
Instead, he claimed: "She has just been sitting on her hands."
Mr Underwood also contended delays in the process were "ludicrous".
Attributing no blame on the government's legal representatives, the barrister added: "I have no doubt there are people behind them that are dragging their heels, but nonetheless heels are being dragged massively."
The case was adjourned for a further review in two weeks time.
Britain’s Weaponising of Ignorance
By Finian Cunningham
April 16, 2015 "ICH" - "SCF" - - The contract killing of two opposition figures in Kiev this week is stark evidence that the country under the Western-backed regime is descending into a fully-fledged state of chaos and criminality.
We have already seen the rise of Neo-Nazism militarism, and now the assassination of political opponents on the streets of Kiev. Yet, still, the Western governments and their dutiful news media steadfastly refuse to deal with the grim reality. Instead, they continue to regurgitate slanderous aggression against Russia. And when the West cannot cope with explaining reality they simply disparage Russia for telling lies and «weaponising information». But the truth is that it is the West that is «weaponising ignorance». Wilful, unabashed, woeful ignorance.
Former Ukrainian newspaper editor Oles Buzina was gunned down reportedly by two masked assailants near his home in the Ukrainian capital on Thursday.
Only the day before, former parliamentarian Oleh Kalashnikov was also murdered at his Kiev home. Both men were known for their outspoken critical views of the ultra-rightist regime that seized power last year with the backing of Washington and Brussels. Kalashnikov had been a senior member of the Party of Regions – the party of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.
The latest execution-style killings follow a spate of at least four suspicious deaths among other former parliamentarians who had also belonged to the Yanukoych government before it was overthrown in February 2014 in a Western-sponsored coup.
The new regime has gone on to oversee a state of illegal war waged against the dissident pro-Russian eastern Ukraine regions, as well as teetering bankruptcy, widespread social and economic misery, the rise of private militias under the control of competing corrupt oligarchs, and the systematic glorification of former Nazi collaborators. The formation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which perpetuated mass killings on behalf of the Nazi Waffen SS during World War Two, has been made into an official public holiday in commemoration of that death squad.
Last week, the regime’s parliament in Kiev, which is dominated by openly fascistic parties, voted to ban Communist organisations and to erase all symbols of Soviet-era history. Public statues of Soviet leaders and Red Army heroes who liberated Ukraine from Nazi domination have been obliterated. The regime is planning to spend more than $200 million purging cities and towns of their Russian place names.
Now the assassination of political opponents who are deemed to be «pro-Russian» takes the Kiev regime to a new level of lawlessness and ideological extremism.
For the past year, Western governments and media have persisted in branding the regime in Kiev as a «pro-democracy» vanguard that was endeavouring to orient the former Soviet Republic towards «Western values», membership of the European Union and joining the UK-led NATO military alliance.
The Western depiction of developments under the Kiev regime is a stupendous feat of denial over what is really happening in Ukraine. The practice of oligarch-banditry and the surge in Nazi-styled paramilitaries, brashly donning SS insignia and carrying out war crimes against the ethnic Russian population; the indiscriminate shelling of eastern Ukrainian cities and villages under the orders of Kiev leaders; and the economic blockade of the breakaway region in a Nazi policy of collective punishment – all these violations have been comprehensively denied by Western governments and their mass media.
The West’s preferred distortion is to invert reality by accusing Russia of «invading» Ukraine and sponsoring proxy pro-independence rebels in the east. No matter that there is no credible evidence to support such claims; no matter that Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations, including this week by President Vladimir Putin in his annual public Q&A conference; no matter that the eastern Ukrainian rebels deny the «Russian proxy» charge; no matter that the monitors of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe can’t find evidence of Russian invasion; no matter that the head of French military intelligence Christophe Gaumard just this week told his country’s National Assembly that there is no evidence of Russian military incursion in Ukraine, or even plans for such an incursion.
However, with the emergent campaign of murder against opposition politicians and journalists in Kiev, the Western distortion of reality stretches its elastic credulity to breaking point.
Innocent, unarmed civilians are being gunned down in the streets of Kiev for the sole reason that these individuals have expressed political views that are critical of the Western-installed Kiev regime. If that isn’t evidence of the regime descending into the fascist practices that it eulogises then what is?
Ironically, against this appalling background of Western collusion with atavistic Nazi barbarism in Kiev, the United States Congress this week held hearings on what it called Russia’s «weaponisation of information».
Speakers told the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee of their fears that Russia was winning a propaganda war. Their evidence? Well, because reputable Russian news channels, such as RT, Itar-Tass and Sputnik, were reaching Western audiences with an alternative perspective on the crisis in Ukraine. A perspective that actually explains the nature of the Ukraine conflict in a credible geopolitical context of Washington seeking regime change for its wider pursuit of global military dominance vis-a-vis Russia.
Just because Russian media do not peddle an anti-Putin, anti-Moscow narrative – as the Western outlets shamelessly do – then that is construed as «evidence» that the Kremlin is conducting an information war and «weaponising information».
Earlier this year, US Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress that «Russia’s military aggression is matched only by its propaganda». Kerry appealed for more than $630 million to counteract the influence of Russian news media on the American public by setting up Russian-language satellite TV stations that will beam Fox-News-style into Russia.
Kerry’s chain of thought based on false assertion leading to false conclusion is espoused unanimously among the White House, the State Department, the US media and the two chambers of Congress – the Senate and House of Representatives. In other words by the entire American political establishment.
Last month, the House of Representatives voted by a landslide calling on President Barack Obama to send lethal weapons to support the Kiev regime «against Russian aggression».
One of the Representatives, Republican party member Steve Pearce (New Mexico), had this to say to a concerned American citizen, who had written to Pearce deploring Congressional support for the Kiev regime and the drive for war with Russia.
Disturbingly, Pearce’s letter reveals an astounding dearth of knowledge. He writes:
«Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding Ukraine. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue…
»On February 22, 2014, the Ukrainian parliament unanimously voted to impeach President Viktor Yanukovych, following months of protest. Former President Yanukovych has since fled to Russia – with Russia now challenging the sovereignty of Ukraine. It is very concerning that Russia is acting in Ukraine and not allowing the will of the people to determine the future of the nation. The United State [sic] should stand up, and let it be known that we will not tolerate Russia invading its neighbors. Ukraine has the right to determine its own course».
Note how there is no mention by the Congressman of how the US State Department funded the violent Maidan protests in Kiev at the end of 2013, or how the CIA colluded with Pravy Secktor Neo-Nazi paramilitaries to violently topple the constitutionally elected Yanukovych government.
The concerned US citizen who shared this correspondence, Randy Martin, a social media activist, said of Congressman Pearce’s reply: «In his response to my letter, he apparently had no clue about the US role in backing the Neo-Nazi coup that has resulted in the overall collapse of the Ukraine economy, a brutal civil war and genocide against Russian-speaking people in Ukraine, and the fact that the US military is now actively training the only standing Neo-Nazi military in the world».
The Congressman – as with the rest of the ruling elite in Washington – evidently lives in a state of blissful ignorance about what is really going on in Ukraine. Yet based on this ignorance, he and his fellow Congressmen voted for the supply of billions-of-dollars-worth of weaponry to the Nazi-adulating Kiev regime – a regime where opposition politicians and journalists are being gunned down in their homes.
Across the spectrum of official American politics and that supposed pillar of democracy – the news media – what we see is «systematic ignorance».
Never mind American claims that Russia is «weaponising information». Britain is weaponising ignorance on an industrial scale.