12/11/2013 Spotlight


Hard-hitting investigations on the major stories affecting life in Northern Ireland. Ciaran Tracey investigates the security services' fight against dissident republicans.

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Tonight, dispatches from the covert war between the security forces and


dissident republicans. And we ask, who is winning the war in the


shadows? These days, political violence is


supposed to be a thing of the past. But not everybody wants it that way.


From hoaxes to bombs, from mortars to murder. Dissident Republicans are


capable of being ruthless. The dissidents are back, bringing


disruption to the streets. All they need is one success and one success


will bring mayhem to the country. There is nothing in this world that


can prepare you for that. They took away my future. But MI5 says it has


a plan to keep the pressure on. These people will eventually either


give up or piquant. It is a battle, fought in secret, relying on


intelligence. But is this what success looks like? I do not think


that anybody here would expect me to be grateful. Some of the most


serious cases of dissidents terrorism remain unsolved. So how


successful is this secret war and do victories on the ground resist --


damage secret policing? I'm going to Northern Ireland's high security


prison, to meet a man officially classified as one of the country's


most dangerous dissident Republicans. Martin Corry is a


63-year-old man from Lurgan. He was a grave-digger until 2010, when he


was arrested at his home. He may not be the most high-profile Republican


in Northern Ireland, but nowadays, his image is plastered, posted and


painted across the heartlands of Northern Ireland. He is a convicted


killer, freed on licence but then put back in prison on the basis of


secret evidence. Martin Corey's family maintained that he does not


know the specifics of the charges against him but from the court


papers we have seen, it is possible to get an insight. He is accused of


papers we have seen, it is possible being a continued IRA leader, of


trying to recruit members and procure weapons. But he has not been


questions, and has not faced trial for any of it. He has been there for


three and a half years. If he has committed a crime, but the charges


to him. So what is so sensitive about Martin Corey's alleged


dissident terrorist activity, and why can it not be made public? I am


on my way to find out from the man himself. Martin Corey was originally


jailed 40 years ago for the murders of two RUC officers, ambushed by the


IRA. He was released in 1992 of two RUC officers, ambushed by the


licence, winning that if he breached certain conditions, the government


could return him to prison. 18 years later, that is what they did. They


revoked his licence, because they felt that he was a risk to society.


Who felt that he was a risk to society? The law is the law. Nobody


is above it or beyond it. Everybody has the right for their day in


court. Martin Corey's licence was revoked on the basis of an


intelligent smile submitted by the security service. A judge said that


that procedure was unfair and ruled that Martin Corey should be freed on


bail. That decision has been overturned and he is still inside. A


handful of people have seen the secret in Telecom


handful of people have seen the Corey. I would be aware of all the


material in respect to that case. I am satisfied that it was sufficient


that the revocation of his licence should be examined. It has also been


seen by a security cleared lawyer. As recently as yesterday. But the


substance of the allegations against him remains hidden. This case tests


the traditional standards of justice against the needs of an intelligence


war. For most people, justice means evidence tested in open court. But


intelligence agencies want to keep their secrets in order to disrupt


terrorist groups. And when they get the upper hand, the question is, in


the long term, will it make things better or worse? Taking Martin Corey


off the street has led to Republicans coming onto the


streets, and that gives Sinn Fein's opponents the potential to start up


a Republican base. Secret evidence is wrong, regardless of what reason


they give for it. Secret evidence and secret police, that is the stuff


you want to relegate to history. That should not be happening in a


normal society. Sinn Fein supports the campaign to release Martin


Corey, not least because they argue that actions like this detention


undermine national list confidence in policing. We have seen a number


of high-profile cases. We are seeing policing being polluted, and the


undermining of confidence. policing being polluted, and the


is to enforce policing. It is not helped by the interference of MI5


and imaginations. -- their machinations. The difficulty for


Sinn Fein is that it highlights an issue that is at and Republicans use


against them, the fact that most sensitive security matters remain


with London. The PSNI has the operational lead against dissident


Republicans meaning that they carry out arrests and investigations. But


MI5 is in charge of gathering intelligence. People sleep easier in


their bed at night in Northern Ireland because we have people


watching, listening, observing what is going on. There are people alive


in Northern Ireland today, even in recent months, because the security


services were able to intercept what the dissidents were up to and were


able to prevent terrorist attacks. The Security service is the official


name for what is more commonly known as MI5. It was put in charge of


intelligence gathering on dissidents because the threat is considered a


matter of UK national-security. But Nationalist critics say that MI5's


reputation during the troubles means it cannot be trusted. It is very


important in a situation like Northern Ireland, where there is a


history of abuse, that the control and current ability mechanisms


should be here within Northern Ireland, not outside. And we do not


have that here as far as intelligence gathering is concerned.


This building is the heart of MI5 in Northern Ireland. At the last Kent,


it had about 500 employees. It is about a fifth of the organisation's


total resources. What that is in pounds and pence is a state secret.


All that effort is being pumped into what one former head of MI5 called a


strategy to squeeze the energy from the dissidents by 2015. They are


operating a policy of disruption. They are not necessarily that keen


on filling jail cells full of people for all sorts of different


offences. They are more keen on planting the seeds of dissent. The


question is, is it working? It seemed to in the summer as headline


events went off without a hitch. seemed to in the summer as headline


in recent weeks, there has been a resurgence in dissident attacks,


forcing people from their homes and taking life on the streets.


According to MI5's new boss, who used to run the Northern Ireland


operation, the security forces are winning. The number of terrorist


attacks in Northern Ireland is diminishing as we crack down and the


number of people in the courts is going up. Another dissident groups


have been closely monitored by the security services and the PSNI. That


has significantly restricted their capacity to engage in the type of


high-level terrorist activity that they would like to be engaged in.


Secret surveillance and undercover operations are a key element in the


strategy to squeeze them. Michael Campbell was jailed in Lithuania for


trying to buy weapons in an MI5 sting. He was cleared last month


when a judge ruled he had been entrapped, but even though his


conviction fell, the operation appears to have advanced MI5's


strategy because it's so is doubt about the dissidents. It is as much


a psychological war as anything else. Michael Campbell, his


conviction was overturned. But if you are in the real IRA you are


reluctant to engage in any act of tea with somebody you do not know.


Yet, they have continued to strike. The murder of a prison officer,


David lacked was a chilling and unpredicted attack. His killers came


from a new IRA, said to be a particularly dangerous alliance of


dissidents. But we have learned that group has already fractured, in part


because of distrust about which members are compromised by working


for the intelligence services. The dissident groups at the moment are


fragmented. They have had a project to create a new IRA. That has effect


every ended now. With had not worked out. A lot of these people, even


within individual groups don't trust one another any more. The group


within individual groups don't trust behind David Black's murder has been


damaged, but no one has been convict did. That failure raises questions


about whether disruption really works alongside securing


convictions. And which of those is MI5's priority. David lacked's case


is not the only one unresolved. Nobody has been convicted of the


murder of police constable, Roman care. When you see them walking out


smiling, it is a smack in the mouth to ordinary people. The lack of


conviction for David lack an Ronan Kerr, what does that point to? We


have convictions for possession of explosions and firearms. We work


hard at preventing attacks happening. Right now the most


significant remaining dissident conviction, that of two men for the


murder of PC Stephen Carol hangs in the balance. The Court of Appeal is


considering the convictions of John Paul Wotton and Brendan McConvill.


What happened on the night of the murder brought the night -- Secret


Service is out of the shadows, laying bare the potential tension


between intelligence agencies and their need to gather information,


against the police's their need to gather information,


evidence fit for open court. Stephen Carol was shot dead almost four


years ago when he came to this Craigavon housing estate to


investigate a broken window. They took away my future, as they have


done to other people. They did not care whether they killed one


policeman, my husband, or whether they killed how many in that car.


The extraordinary thing about Stephen Carol's murder is that at


the very moment he was shot, a secret surveillance operation was


already underway. But some of the evidence from that operation has


disappeared entirely, for reasons no one has explained. At the time of


the killing, a car belonging to John Paul Wotton was being trailed. A


sophisticated, covert tracking device was hidden in the cart


beaming out its location every two minutes. It had been placed by a


secret army units, probably a special reconnaissance Regiment.


According to the judge, at PSNI investigator could not get their


hands on the tracker information immediately after the killing. Some


of the data was handed over to investigated -- investigators two


weeks after the murder, but it was four months until detect this could


get the actual device from the Army and only after they threatened to


get a warrant. Security services should cooperate where evidence they


held would assist the police. should cooperate where evidence they


that is not happening, that is something that I as a member of


Parliament would be concerned about. The data showed the car had parked


near the murder scene before the killing. But ten minutes after


Stephen Carol were shot, it was on the move. Over the next three hours,


the cart moved around Craigavon, making four separate stops. At


trial, the prosecution alleged he was transporting Stephen Carol's


killer. The tracker's readings said it stop here at 1:15am. We know the


cart was moved after that, but information from the tracker stops


here. According to the judge there was no data after 1:15am.


That left a gap of more than 14 hours between the last known


movements of the car and be addressed the next day. I gap


created because someone had deleted the tracker's data. The soldier who


placed the tracker told the court he had taken it out of the car after


the arrest and left it on the table while he went on leave. When he came


back, the tracker had been deliberately wiped, including the


data on the car's last movements. But no one could explain why. If


there is a suggestion evidence was wiped, that sounds to me like gross


incompetence. Or it could we more sinister. It could be that the


evidence was removed to cover somebody, to protect somebody. I


don't know, I don't know the inside story. But the kindest words with


the gross incompetence. But if you look on the other side of the coin,


is it a cover up? Sinn Fein said the actions of the intelligence unit


undermined the PSNI, a police force they support. They remain deeply


sceptical about the methods and object is of British intelligence.


In my opinion they know exactly why it was wiped. But the underlying


point is this is a modem -- modus operandi of MI5. An army unit had a


tracker on John Paul Wotton's car, did the PSNI know about that? Yes we


did, and we had control of that entire operation from start to


finish. Do you know information was wiped? No, because by that time


there was a huge police operation in place and I am convinced I had


access to all material and there is no ulterior motive or other agenda


running in respect of this. Something had been deleted? I cannot


say I was pleased about that, but we went down other evidential routes to


prove the actual movements of that particular vehicle. For


nationalists, the presence of a secret army reconnaissance unit is


controversial, made worse by the apparent absence of independent


scrutiny of its activities here. That is because of a specific legal


loophole. The UK's secret intelligence gatherers, including


MI5 are sub host to a range of watchdog bodies and commissioners. A


key figure is the intelligence services Commissioner who oversees


the conduct of MI5 and others. But he is specifically prevented from


investigating Ministry of Defence personnel in Northern Ireland and


that means the undercover army unit that lost the tracker's data. The


former independent overseer of UK terror law says he is not aware of


the detail of the case, but the tracker should not have been wiped.


If anything was deliberately deleted, it should not have been


deleted at all. It is the only deleted, it should not have been


useful comment I can make. The police and security service in


astonishingly difficult circumstances sometimes, work well


together and have a united leadership on these issues. It was a


year after Stephen Carol's murder that Martin Corey was returned to


jail. One of the few known reasons for his arrest is he associated with


a Lurgan Republican, a man police believe was involved with Stephen


Carol's killer, but has not been brought before the courts. I have


been in to see Martin Corey, but I was not allowed to record the


conversation of ring in a pen and paper, but we did talk for over an


hour. I had my fingers scanned, I was given this little bit of paper


to produce to go in and visit Martin Corey. I found him a very entrenched


Republican, old school. He said he was a leader of the continuity who


was trying to buy weapons and trying to recruit members. One of the


surprising things he told me, he believes he is back in jail because


he refused to become an informant. He said he was approached approached


repeatedly by two plainclothes PSNI operators. He refused to give


information and they threatened him that his licence would be revoked.


He says it is because of this he is back in jail. The PSNI said they


don't comment on intelligence matters, but they use of agents is


governed by the matters, but they use of agents is


legislation. Martin Corey's situation has led some to invoke one


of the most divisive memories from Northern Ireland's troubled past. He


is being detained as a result of intelligence reports, intelligence


sightings, what ever you want to call it. But that is not evidence.


That is an important point to make, because this is effectively


internment without trial. To use the word interment, it is a big


accusation? I think I am using it accurately, not just as a politician


but is also as a lawyer. I don't believe there has been due process.


The fact remains, although evidence is secret, the process is legal.


Licences are not revoked in the court of public opinion. They


revoked by people who the law charges for taking those decisions.


It is ridiculous to suggest a man has been denied his Liberty based on


an arbitrary decision. The people taking this decision take it on the


evidence presented to them. Gerry Conlon of the Guildford four is


worried about justice not being seen to be done. I have been imprisoned


for 15 years for something I did not do. Totally innocent man. I watched


my father die in a British prison for something he did not do. He is


back in court these days as an observer, worried about the use of


shadowy intelligence in observer, worried about the use of


cases. British justice has always been based on that you know the


accusations you are facing and you face your accusers. Even though what


happened to others was wrong and the law was subverted in order to secure


conviction, British justice when it is applied in its proper context, is


probably the best judicial system in the world. How can you say it is the


best in the world? British justice, if it is run as it should be, and I


have no doubt in most cases it is, it is probably one of the best legal


systems in the world. But we live in a democracy and it is not good


enough to say we have had secret information we cannot share. This


enough to say we have had secret going down the Guantanamo Bay


route. A Sunday in north Belfast and Republicans gather for a ceremony to


remember Thomas Begley, the IRA bomber. Some of these people used to


trouble MI5, but now they are mainstream and they are dismissive


of the dissidents. They are not having any effect, not going


anywhere. The people who are involved in these other republican


groups are entirely wrong. A week later, and evidence that Sinn


Fein's critics are attempting to use allegations of interment as a


rallying cry. Supporters of Martin Corey have organised a picket along


the road. It was built on a world Corey have organised a picket along


record attempt, but the numbers are less than overwhelm and. It is about


getting people who have political dissent of the street. Putting them


in jail and scaring other people from joining in. The police say


there is no substance to that allegation and anyone jailed will


have gone through the proper judicial process. These people know


we are constantly working towards building a case against them. We


have charged 261 people since the 1st of April, 2010, of axe of


terrorism. That is a chunk of people who have been active in the


dissident groups. Although many have been charged, few have been


convicted and some claim that suits MI5.


In County Tyrone, I meet a man who was remanded in jail after the


police said his fingerprints were found on a plastic bag containing a


new type of bomb. A man who accepts the title of Dissident Republicans


publicly but denies any role in terrorism. The messages on the wall,


do you feel you have been at the sharp end?


The writing is not from a bygone area. But the someone who has spent


nine months on numerous charges, I have never seen any of the evidence


that was used against me. What is notable about this case is that


after spending months in jail on explosives and terrorist charges,


his case was dropped. We don't even know if the evidence exist. I don't


think there was ever enough to hold me. I think they knew that and they


used the remand period to inter me because of my political beliefs. Why


would you become a target? With these powers, it is a case of who is


giving us trouble in what areas and who isn't singing off him switch --


hymn sheet. I have seen absolutely no evidence of arrest to be used as


a technique of disruption. If I did, I would criticise it severely


and I do not believe ministers either locally, or UK ministers


would support it. This problem is, the criminal justice system is so


slow that it is possible these cases are just normal. I think you can


certainly said the slow system creates a temptation for the police


and intelligence agencies to kick people into the long paperwork, if


you like. You need to be an angel to resist that temptation, perhaps.


Whatever their tactics, the security services strategy seems to have


lowered the death toll inflicted by dissidents. I think police on both


sides of the border and security services in Northern Ireland are


fighting a different type of war against Dissident Republicans. I


think that the moment it is being successful. As long as the dissident


threat remains in Northern Ireland, so should MI5, say their supporters.


The security services are saving lives in Northern Ireland. Their


work is preventing many attacks by Dissident Republicans. No citizen in


Northern Ireland who operate within the law has nothing to be frightened


about with these operations. But MI5's presents a road 's efforts at


giving the police the confidence of their communities. What good are


they doing? In my opinion, non-. We need to worry about who is looking


at the bigger political picture. MI5 can be affect did in disrupting the


dissidents the years, but if they are using secret evidence, a


political issue builds up that needs to be addressed and we don't have


the mechanism to address that. Secrets and violence flourish in


darkness. The hope must be the war of the shadows gives way to the pale


dawn of peace. That no more lives are lost and that the battle for


hearts and minds is a victory for us all.


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was then, and remains today, a phenomenon.


They're almost all Jewish, but the great exception that makes


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