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The death has occurred of Sir Anthony Hart, the retired judge who oversaw the Hart Inquiry into child sex abuse in NI. Village  has written extensively about the findings of the Hart Inquiry since it was published in 2017. In the main we were critical of Hart’s findings, especially in so far as they related to Kincora Boys’ Home in Belfast. Kincora was exploited by MI5 and MI6 for a variety of reasons. Hart believed that there was no interference or knowledge on the part of the intelligence services into what had happened.

Regrettably, Hart was 100% wrong. Two stories we published in 2017, ‘Hart Attack’  and  ‘NItrigue’  contained our initial response to the Hart Report. They were not put up on this website but will now be added to it shortly

What was it we believe Hart got wrong?

First, Kincora was not an isolated abberation as Hart believed. A large paedophile network did surround it and it was allowed to continue to prey on children throughout the 1970s by the intelligence services. This occurred not just at Kincora but also at Williamson House, Shore House, Portora Royal school and elsewhere. One of the main perpetrators of the abuse was Eric Witchell who is still alive and living in London. Unfortunately, Hart never spoke to him. Many other witnesses refused to co-operate with him for a variety of reasons.

Second, Kincora was used to gather information about some of the high-profile abusers who were involved in Unionist politics. They were placed under surveillance at the Park Avenue hotel and elsewhere in NI. Some of the dirt gathered by MI5, MI6 and the RUC Special Branch (SB) was intended for release to undermine Unionist opposition to the Sunningdale Agreement in the 1970s. The name applied to this event was  Operation Clockwork Orange.  However, when Harold Wilson of the British Labour Party returned to power in the UK, MI5 decided to shelve Clockwork Orange because it was felt if the Sunningdale-inspired Power Sharing Government of NI failed, it would reflect badly on Wilson. The extremists in MI5 actually believed Wilson was a KGB stooge. The infamous Peter Wright of MI5 was deeply involved in the plot against Wilson and almost certainly knew about Kincora. In all probability, Wright was one of the most senior MI5 officers in charge of the scandal. Interested readers should search this website for further details about Wright and Kincora.

Third, MI5 allowed the exploitation of the children to continue so that they could record and then blackmail some of the abusers including John McKeague, perhaps the most significant Unionist terrorist of the late 1960s and early 1970s. There were undoubtedly others. Again, readers are invited to explore this website for further details.

Fourth, the boys at places such as Kincora were exploited by paedophiles and pederasts who worked at the NIO. They included Peter England. Another suspect was John Imrie, also of the NIO. Imrie was later convicted of flashing at men in a toilet at a train station in London. While he worked at the NIO, he was in fact an MI5 officer. See  MI5’s Flasher-General  on this website.

Northern Ireland Paedophile Gallery:  Eric Witchell, William McGrath, Joe Mains, Raymond Semple, Dr Morris Frazer, Pastor Billy Mullan, John McKeague, Alan Campbell, Joss Cardwell, Knox Cunningham MP, Peter Montgomery and Enoch Powell MP.

After the Kincora scandal broke in the early 1980s, a massive cover-up began. It continues to this day. The latest development is the forthcoming book by Lyra McKee, Angels With Blue Faces. All the signs are that McKee was not taken in by the dismissive findings of the Hart Report. Her book is expected to shine further light on this murky subject.

The cover-up involved the manipulation of statements by the residents at Kincora. MI5 and the RUC Special Branch were behind this aspect of the cover-up. They ensured that statements were only taken from boys who said that they had been abused by the staff members. There was also forgery of statements, a story Village  will be returning to the near future. At least one boy who was abused by non-staff members was told to stay away from Belfast during the trial of the three Kincora staff members. He was physically assaulted by an RUC officer who administered this warning to him.

There have been numerous inquiries at various levels into Kincora but three of particular note. The first was the utterly corrupt one conducted by Sir George Terry, a senior English police officer. The second one was conducted by Judge Hughes in the 1980s. It was not corrupt. Initially Hughes was asked to look at the allegations of intelligence involvement in the scandal but his terms of reference were changed secretly and the cover-up continued as he was not allowed look at MI5 and MI6 complicity in the network which swirled around Kincora. He was also fed the manipulated statements by the former residents which hid the existence of the wider network.

The scandal never went away. Witnesses kept coming forward including Brian Gemmell, a former military intelligence officer, and Richard Kerr, a former resident who had been abused by non-staff members. Pressure built up behind the scandal again and helped the Hart Inquiry come into existence. Inevitably, Hart was fed the manipulated statements which he relied upon them to a great extent to rule out the existence of the wider network. His report was also littered with mistakes. However, it must be stated – and we did state while he was alive – that there was never any question mark over Hart’s personal integrity. He was simply outmanoeuvred by MI5 and MI6 who told him series of blatant lies and fed him fraudulent documents.

The picture is not all black. Hart did obtain a number of useful records which he did not bury, opting instead to release them to the world via  the website overseen by his inquiry. Those documents have been of great use in digging up further aspects of the truth and for this Hart is to be commended.

The truth about Kincora was probably just too awful for a man of integrity and naiveite like Hart to comprehend.

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Hart report into Kincora naively believed MI6 that it never blackmailed ‘homosexuals’ but contains nuggets of insight, nevertheless

By Joseph de Búrca

Part I

1.SIR DICK WHITE’S CONFESSION

Sir Anthony Hart has just delivered his report on historical sexual abuse in Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, the media have largely ignored it because it appeared on the same day as the inauguration of Donald Trump. A large part of it dealt with the Kincora Boys Home scandal. In early 1981 Joseph Mains, William McGrath and Raymond Semple, all of whom worked at Kincora, were convicted for the rape of some of its residents. Allegations have circulated ever since that MI5 (which is attached to the British Home Office) and MI6 (which is attached to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) knew about the abuse but covered it up to blackmail Loyalist politicians and paramilitaries. One of those implicated in the alleged cover-up was Sir Maurice Oldfield, the Chief of MI6, 1973-1978 and Northern Ireland (NI) Security Coordinator 1979-1980.

Hart found no evidence that MI5 and MI6 had known about the abuse before it came to public attention in 1980. Among other things, he relied on assurances from MI6 in arriving at this conclusion. Unfortunately, his faith in MI6 was misplaced for they lied to him. According to paragraph 237 of chapter 28 of his Report, an anonymous representative of MI6, “Officer A” assured him that MI6 did not “use homosexuality to pressurise an individual, but because homosexuality would make others vulnerable to blackmail it would be of interest” to it.  No less a figure than Sir Dick White can be cited to contradict this assertion. White sat at the summit of the intelligence community in the early 1970s as Intelligence Co-ordinator at the Cabinet Office. Uniquely, he had served as both Director-General of MI5 and Chief of MI6 before this. He was a pivotal figure in the intelligence overhaul which took place in NI in the early 1970s. White told his biographer, Tom Boyer, author of The Perfect English Spy (1990),that MI6 had blackmailed Archbishop Makarios of Cyprus into signing the 1959 Lancaster House Agreement which had curtailed the independence of Cyprus and granted Britain a number of military bases on the island because of “information about his homosexuality”. (231)

  1. THE IRISHMEN BEHIND THE BLACKMAIL PLOT

London had gathered the blackmail material on the Archbishop during Operation Sunshine which was run jointly by MI5 and MI6. One of the protagonists was Bill Magan, an Irishman from Athlone, who ran MI5’s Colonial Affairs Department. Quite a lot is known about him because he wrote a string of books including one about his military exploits during WWII and another in which he claimed that his family had descended from the McDermott Roes; yet he never wrote about his career in MI5. The Magan family had once presided over Killyon Manor in Meath, though by the time of Magan’s birth, they were living at a mill house at Levitstown, near Athy. One of the books Magan wrote, An Irish Boyhood, described the Spartan upbringing he had endured, notably eating boiled sheep’s heads.

The second Irishman involved in Operation Sunshine was John Prendergast. Born in Gorey, County Wexford, in 1912, he was posted as an assistant district commander in Palestine in 1946 before moving to the Colonial Police Service with an assignment on the Gold Coast. He then served on “special duty” with MI5 in Egypt in 1952. In 1953 he became the Director of Intelligence in Kenya, a post he held until 1958 when he was put in charge of the intelligence apparatus in Cyprus.

During the operation, Makarios’ phone lines were tapped by Peter Wright of MI5 and Peter Wyke of MI6. All the calls Makarios made of an intimate nature were recorded. In addition, Stephen Hastings of MI6 (who later became a Conservative MP) was running an agent inside Makarios’ inner circle.

Final negotiations about the future of Cyprus took place at Lancaster House in England where, on 18 February, 1959, it looked like an agreement had been reached. At the last moment Makarios threw a spanner in the works by withholding his signature. The chairman was prevailed upon to extend the negotiations for a day. Makarios repaired to his luxury suite at Claridge’s where, some time over the next few hours, MI6’s blackmailers struck. Makarios returned the following morning and told the conference that he “had decided to relent”.

3.THE DIRT BOOK

MI5 and MI6 were not the only British powerbrokers who gathered information for blackmail: it was a commonplace practice at Westminster. Ted Heath, who served as Tory chief whip, 1956 to 1959, brought a professionalism to the task by assembling what became known as the Dirt Book, an encyclopaedia of embarrassing information about his colleagues, designed to stop them stepping out of line. It was exploited during the Suez Crisis.

When the Labour Party took over, Edward Short (later Deputy Leader of the Labour Party) became the new Chief Whip. He was repelled by the ‘dirty book’ and discontinued the practice.

When the Tories returned to power again, William Whitelaw stepped into the post of Chief Whip.  He unashamedly confessed to the BBC in 1995 that he continued the practice:

“The Dirt Book is just a little book where you write down various things you know or hear about people that may or may not be true. I think you could make a very good guess what sorts of things it contains”.

We know exactly what it contained: one of Whitelaw’s successors, Tim Fortescue MP, who occupied the post of whip between 1970 and 1973, made it abundantly clear on camera to the BBC:

“Anyone with any sense, who was in trouble, would come to the whips and tell them the truth, and say, ‘Now I’m in a jam. Can you help?’ It might be debt, it might be [..] a scandal involving small boys [author’s emphasis], or any kind of scandal in which [..] a member seemed likely to be mixed up. They’d come and ask if we could help, and if we could, we did”.

Fortescue’s reference to “small boys” implies that blackmail material was gathered about MPs who were having sex with boys who were probably a lot younger than 21, the then legal age of consent. He also confessed that “scandalous stories” were of great assistance to whips.

“When you are trying to persuade a member to vote the way he didn’t want to vote on a controversial issue – which is part of your job – it is possible to suggest that perhaps it would not be in his interest if people knew something or other – very mildly”.

William Whitelaw became Northern Ireland Secretary, 1972-1974. Hence by 1972 both the British PM and the NI Secretary were experienced sexual blackmailers, hardly a deterrent to anyone in the intelligence community who wanted to engage in sexual blackmail.

  1. MI5’s TRINITY COLLEGE BLACKMAILER

There are other examples of MI6 involvement in sexual blackmail, often run in conjunction with MI5.

Christopher Herbert served as MI5’s Security Liaison Officer (SLO) with the RUC, 1968-1970. He had been educated at Trinity College Dublin where he had obtained a first-class degree in experimental science. He subsequently gravitated towards MI5’s surveillance department which employed burglars and locksmiths. Peter Wright, who had tapped Makarios’s phone in Cyprus, was one of its officers. In Spycatcher Wright described how for five years he and his team had “bugged and burgled our way across London at the State’s behest, while pompous bowler-hatted civil servants in Whitehall pretended to look the other way”.He also revealed that the most“extensive microphoning operation [we] ever undertook was in Lancaster House [..] which hosted the Colonial conferences of the 1950s and 1960s”. He installed a “comprehensive microphoning system throughout the building” which was used “throughout the rest of the 1960s and 1970s, whenever high-level diplomatic negotiations took place in London”.

Herbert returned to London from Belfast in 1970 and was assigned to K Branch where he oversaw the blackmail of a Soviet agent, Oleg Lyalin, in London. In Spycatcher Wright revealed how MI5 and MI6 placed him and his secretary Irina Templyakova with whom he was conducting an illicit affair, under surveillance. When they felt they had enough material to blackmail him, he was confronted and coerced into working for them. Lyalin supplied a list of KGB officers in the UK, and in September 1971 Edward Heath expelled over 105 of them from Britain.

Another Soviet that MI5 tried to blackmail was Sergi Grigovin. Peter Wright described how MI5 burst in on him during one of his extramarital trysts in London. The naked spy immediately claimed diplomatic immunity and demanded his clothes back while his erstwhile companion was ushered from the building. After two hours of trying to browbeat him, MI5 gave up, returned his clothes and let him go.

Another example of MI5 sexual blackmail involved the well-known case of Andrew Ward, one of the central figures in the Profumo sex scandal. Ward, whose family came from Ireland, had befriended Eugene Ivanov, the Soviet military attaché at the British Embassy in London. When MI5 learned of this, they approached Ward to help them ensnare Ivanov. The operation was cancelled when MI5 discovered that the Conservative Minister for War, John Profumo, was also involved with Ivanov’s lover, Christine Keeler. This discovery came too late and the affair spun out-of-control and ended in the resignation of Profumo.

5.HER MAJESTY’S BROTHELKEEPERS

Ireland did not escape sexual blackmail. In the summer of 1970 ads began to appear in Belfast newspapers advertising massage parlours. What the customers did not realise was that the establishments had been fitted out with surveillance equipment. It is not clear whether MI5 or MI6 ran the operation.

One brothel, the Gemini Health Studio was located on the Antrim Road. When it opened its doors in the summer of 1970 it promised “very attractive masseuses’ in advertisements in Belfast newspapers. Another more upmarket brothel was located on the Malone Road. The Gemini was closed down after the IRA attacked it in 1972.

Peter Wright was probably the leader of the surveillance teams which set up the monitoring stations at the brothels and other honeytraps in NI. In his memoirs he revealed that MI5’s D Section employed a string of prostitutes. He was also the man MI5 used to give warnings to important people who were due to travel behind the Iron Curtain about the likelihood they would be targeted by KGB sexual blackmailers.

  1. SIR MAURICE OLDFIELD AND THE “KBH HEAD”

The Hart Report contains some significant new information about Kincora. MI5 carried out an enquiry into the conduct of the former MI6 Chief Sir Maurice Oldfield after it discovered in 1980 that he had been lying about his homosexuality for decades during routine positive vetting and – in their eyes  –  had potentially opened himself up to blackmail by rival foreign intelligence services. MI6 reviewed their files relating to the matter in 2011. According to Hart:

“Officer G [of MI6] examined four ring binders with material relating to Sir Maurice Oldfield, including the 1980 MI5 investigation. Officer G made the following comments at the start of his note.

“The relationship [Oldfield] had with Kincora boys’ home (KBH) in Belfast and subsequent “rent boy scandal” is, in my view the only remaining potential sensitivity in the papers.

“The sensitivity being that [Oldfield] may have a link (by association through his friendship with the KBH Head) to the alleged crimes at the boys’ home. Given the current climate surrounding similar cases, it may at some point emerge as an issue” (Chapter 28, Paragraphs 619 ).

Hart noted that paragraph 5 of the MI6 review paper contained the following comment:

“More worryingly is the small collection of papers in file three which relate to the relationship [Oldfield] had with the Head of the Kincora Boys’ Home (KBH) in Belfast.”

Hart concluded that this was not evidence of MI6 involvement in Kincora because Officer G had made a mistake and was merely referring to allegations about the relationship Oldfield had had with the “KBH Head” (620).

However, neither MI6 nor the Hart Report has quoted any contemporaneous report alleging a friendship between Oldfield and the Warden of Kincora, Joseph Mains, the only man who fits the description of “KBH Head”.

LAYING THE SCANDAL TO REST?

Despite the foregoing criticisms, there are a great number of commendable aspects to the Hart Report, not the least of which is the exposure of Sir George Terry’s misconduct of his investigation into the Kincora scandal in the early 1980s. Throughout the report Hart provides logical reasons for his decisions and fair-minded people can make their own minds up by reading them. Unfortunately, the combination of the lies fed to him by the intelligence services, a string of missing documents and the unwillingness of a number of vital witnesses to cooperate, renders it unlikely his report will lay the Kincora scandal to rest.

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ON FEBRUARY 12, a criminal trial of twelve Catalan independence leaders, ten of them elected representatives, commenced before the Spanish Supreme Court. Though it is dressed up as a judicial process clearly it has political motivations and implications.

It is clear there are systemic problems with the Spanish legal system. Village interviewed Olivier Peter, a Geneva-based lawyer representing an activist jailed 17 months ago without bail on implausible charges of rebellion and sedition.

Jordi Cuixart, a long-time activist, pacifist and human rights defender is President of Omnium Cultural which is a cultural and civil rights organisation, not funded by government, with 160,000 members.

Olivier Peter is a Swiss lawyer who says he got involved when he received an invitation to visit Cuixart in prison.

“We had a long discussion on political trials and the international dimension of the case, and here I am”. After the referendum on Catalan independence in 2017 Peter says Cuixart was arrested: “He was ordered before a tribunal and sent to prison without bail. 17 months later he’s still in jail”. The charges were rebellion and sedition, “for participating in a demonstration and calling people to participate in the referendum. The charge said that on October 1 2017, the day of the referendum, voters built a ‘human wall’” and threw themselves against the Spanish officials and Spanish institutions. But there was no violence from the Catalan side and numerous media outlets have published a video of Cuixart climbing on top of a car to ask demonstrators to remain peaceful. It went around the world.

This violence narrative continues to be spread by the Spanish government and parts of the press.

The Spanish prosecutor is seeking a 17-year jail sentence.

Peter says fundamentally the Spanish court is conducting itself illegally:
“Firstly, it is judging activists when the Court is only competent to try elected representatives. And even when trying elected representatives, such as Carles Puigdemont, it is only allowed to do so if there is an “external” angle, which it is contriving by looking to the role of international observers in the independence referendum. It seems willing to convict people for exercising their fundamental rights to demonstrate and protest. And it is not allowing them the right to appeal the conviction”.

The Supreme Court is a “tribunal d’exception”. Peter considers that there is a problem with its composition. GRECCO, the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body, has criticised Spain for the lack of judicial independence in the appointment of judges, in particular the appointment of judges with ties to the Partido Popular (PP), which was voted out of power last year. Some of the judges leading the case are particularly well-known for their political links. He says that “Many of its judges have been chosen because of their ideology and their links to Spanish unionist parties. As recognised by the Senate spokeperson of the Partido Popular, the Party’controls the Criminal Chamber from behind’”. There are significant procedural flaws in the running of the case. Cuixart was given only six working days to prepare the trial. The Court has contrived to hear the matter which normally would be heard in a regional court on the spurious basis that, since the events in question affect Spain as a whole, it will hear the case as it is the highest court in the land: the Supreme Court.

Peter again emphasises that as a lawyer his concern is not politics or independence, it is legal propriety and human rights.

“This is not about independence, it is about democracy and human rights. 41 French senators called for a political and not judiciary solution last week and we hope that more European democrats will ask Spain to respect human rights”.

Several UN special rapporteurs have called on Spain to respect human rights, though perhaps the most shocking thing is the failure of the European Union and its members to express concern. Nevertheless Peter says he has “no doubt that if Catalans leaders are convicted, the European Court of Human rights would condemn Spain”.

Most of the Spanish media has not covered the trial properly. As to what Spain should do now, Peter says it should “Do what Amnesty, Front Line Defenders, the World Organisation Against Torture and the overwhelming majority of Catalan society are asking: drop the charges and immediately free the prisoners”. He thinks the EU should denounce human rights violations by a Member State.

Ultimately Peter says, “This is a political trial. The conviction sentence has already been written. But we keep faith in civil society and international opinion. With enough pressure, things can change”.

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ON FEBRUARY 12, a criminal trial of twelve Catalan independence leaders, ten of them elected representatives, commenced before the Spanish Supreme Court. Though it is dressed up as a judicial process clearly it has political motivations and implications.

It is clear there are systemic problems with the Spanish legal system. Village interviewed Olivier Peter, a Geneva-based lawyer representing an activist jailed 17 months ago without bail on implausible charges of rebellion and sedition.

Jordi Cuixart, a long-time activist, pacifist and human rights defender is President of Omnium Cultural which is a cultural and civil rights organisation, not funded by government, with 160,000 members.

Olivier Peter is a Swiss lawyer who says he got involved when he received an invitation to visit Cuixart in prison.

“We had a long discussion on political trials and the international dimension of the case, and here I am”. After the referendum on Catalan independence in 2017 Peter says Cuixart was arrested: “He was ordered before a tribunal and sent to prison without bail. 17 months later he’s still in jail”. The charges were rebellion and sedition, “for participating in a demonstration and calling people to participate in the referendum. The charge said that on October 1 2017, the day of the referendum, voters built a ‘human wall’” and threw themselves against the Spanish officials and Spanish institutions. But there was no violence from the Catalan side and numerous media outlets have published a video of Cuixart climbing on top of a car to ask demonstrators to remain peaceful. It went around the world.

This violence narrative continues to be spread by the Spanish government and parts of the press.

The Spanish prosecutor is seeking a 17-year jail sentence.

Peter says fundamentally the Spanish court is conducting itself illegally:
“Firstly, it is judging activists when the Court is only competent to try elected representatives. And even when trying elected representatives, such as Carles Puigdemont, it is only allowed to do so if there is an “external” angle, which it is contriving by looking to the role of international observers in the independence referendum. It seems willing to convict people for exercising their fundamental rights to demonstrate and protest. And it is not allowing them the right to appeal the conviction”.

The Supreme Court is a “tribunal d’exception”. Peter considers that there is a problem with its composition. GRECCO, the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body, has criticised Spain for the lack of judicial independence in the appointment of judges, in particular the appointment of judges with ties to the Partido Popular (PP), which was voted out of power last year. Some of the judges leading the case are particularly well-known for their political links. He says that “Many of its judges have been chosen because of their ideology and their links to Spanish unionist parties. As recognised by the Senate spokeperson of the Partido Popular, the Party’controls the Criminal Chamber from behind’”. There are significant procedural flaws in the running of the case. Cuixart was given only six working days to prepare the trial. The Court has contrived to hear the matter which normally would be heard in a regional court on the spurious basis that, since the events in question affect Spain as a whole, it will hear the case as it is the highest court in the land: the Supreme Court.

Peter again emphasises that as a lawyer his concern is not politics or independence, it is legal propriety and human rights.

“This is not about independence, it is about democracy and human rights. 41 French senators called for a political and not judiciary solution last week and we hope that more European democrats will ask Spain to respect human rights”.

Several UN special rapporteurs have called on Spain to respect human rights, though perhaps the most shocking thing is the failure of the European Union and its members to express concern. Nevertheless Peter says he has “no doubt that if Catalans leaders are convicted, the European Court of Human rights would condemn Spain”.

Most of the Spanish media has not covered the trial properly. As to what Spain should do now, Peter says it should “Do what Amnesty, Front Line Defenders, the World Organisation Against Torture and the overwhelming majority of Catalan society are asking: drop the charges and immediately free the prisoners”. He thinks the EU should denounce human rights violations by a Member State.

Ultimately Peter says, “This is a political trial. The conviction sentence has already been written. But we keep faith in civil society and international opinion. With enough pressure, things can change”.

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POLITICS MATTERS. It has the potential to iron out the unfairnesses of nature and luck. We talk a lot about it. We’ve achieved a lot with it. There is an undercurrent of politics that moves irrepressibly towards respect for all – sex, sexuality, race are no longer the barriers they were recently to equal treatment. But overall it is frustrating and its returns are diminishing, particularly in terms of fairness, and the environment.
This is disappointing in a world capable of great sophistication.

Engineering is more effective for purpose

Engineers build bridges and planes that stay where they are supposed to. They rarely make mistakes and almost always do what they are supposed to do seamlessly and flawlessly.

Dangerous duds

On the other hand politics brings us Trump, Putin, May, Bolsonaro, and their policies.

And the visionless

It would be unfair to include Varadkar in such company as he is a democrat, and sharp. However, he hardly undermines the caricature of politician self-servers who prop up the status quo.

Ineptitude

Sometimes it is difficult to see if politicians are useless – on some issues competing views are sustainable and you can disagree while conceding someone you disagree with at least has a point. But two topical issues yield insights into how definitively inept our politicians are: Brexit and climate change. If politicians are this bad on these issues we can see there are systemic problems.

Brexit

After two years of negotiations politicians in the UK have not agreed what they want from a Brexit whose complex adverse economic consequences they clearly were too ill-informed to understand.

Climate change

On climate change, politics has shown itself incapable of moving quickly enough to deal with what the Science and the facts have shown to be imperatives for the most important issue of our age, perhaps of all ages, one that imperils humanity.

Clearly there is a range of issues where our politics abjectly fails.

Political journalists

It is worth emphasising that is not just politicians who sell the common good short. Globally, political journalism brings us timeservers who advance primarily the status quo and vested interests: on Brexit, on climate change, on the notable international move away from liberal democracy in several cases towards proto-Fascism. The casual regurgitators of counterfactuals.

Unspoken media ‘ideologies’

Media have, mostly undeclared, biases. The New York Times is East-Coast- liberal, anti-radical and po-faced. Irish media are far from the worst though they are typically confused and incoherent.

RTÉ promotes the status quo, old ideas and the reputations of the most privileged and richest. The Irish Times promotes the evolving liberalisms of the ‘South County’. The Irish Independent promotes populist conservatism and low taxes. And so on and so on.

They refuse to acknowledge their ideologies, and have, and are accepted as having, no independent notion of the common good.

This is no particular criticism. It is the way it is done; few are activated against it, fewer still cogently. But it doesn’t position them well to oppose the single-minded politics of the gutter that now engulfs the discourse.

How to enshrine the common good: cast votes for it

Politics is generally conducted in ways that are not ideologically well-defined and simple. If we are serious about eradicating the politics of the gutter – to find a definitive better way – we need to think afresh, to coalesce on some sort of a model.

What if voters were allowed, or forced, to make political preferences only after suspending their material interests and their gnarled psychologies? What if everyone’s politics enshrined the common good and the public interest driven by optimisation of the potential of humanity and the planet and the facts including natural and social science? What might the conclusion be?

If people were shielded from the distortions of their own material interests, capacities and psychologies they would tend to choose substantive equality, equality of position or equality of outcome. Experiments show that people cast very different votes if voting for the common good rather than voting for their own selfish interest.

Democracy must factor this into its processes. Otherwise – like any experiment carried out in sub-optimal conditions – it will produce a sub-optimal result.

So how are we doing?

Equality

We are not doing well on equality. Just 26 people own more than the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. The figure fell from 61 in 2016 to 43 in 2017 to 26 last year. The World Inequality Report 2018, co-authored by Thomas Piketty, showed that between 1980 and 2016 the poorest 50% of humanity obtained 12 percent of global income growth. By contrast, the top 1% captured 27 percent.

Certainly in 2015, the leaders of 193 governments promised to reduce inequality under Goal 10 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. However, according to a The World Economic Forum (WEF) index the gap in income between rich and poor has risen or remained stagnant in 20 of the 29 advanced economies while poverty increased in 17. Although 84% of emerging economies registered a decline in poverty, their absolute levels of inequality remain much higher. In addition, the report states, both in advanced and emerging economies, wealth is significantly more unequally distributed than income: This problem has improved little in recent years, with wealth inequality rising in 49 countries.

Income inequality has increased more rapidly in North America, China, India and Russia than anywhere else. There is a notable difference between Western Europe and the United States.

“While the top 1% income share was close to 10% in both regions in 1980, it rose only slightly to 12% in 2016 in Western Europe while it shot up to 20% in the United States. Meanwhile, in the United States, the bottom 50% income share decreased from more than 20% in 1980 to 13% in 2016”. There is some received wisdom but it is not universally acknowledged, still less applied: continental Europe, the report emphasised, saw income inequality moderated by educational and wage-setting policies that were relatively more favourable to low and middle-income groups”, according to the World Inequality Report.

Sustainability is a subset of equality

In passing we might notice that handing on the earth’s resources/environment to the next generation in as good a condition as that in which we found them is a central tenet of (intergenerational) equality. If people were shielded from the distortions of their own material interests and psychologies they would conclude that the planet must be preserved, at least in part for the benefit of humanity.

Sustainability

Climate
And yet, as the climate and species loss show, one generation, our generation, is destroying the viability of the planet for life as we know it. 2015 to 2018 were the four hottest years ever recorded, due to climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says a 1.5°C average rise above pre-industrial temperatures may put 20-30% of species at risk of extinction. If the planet warms by more than 2°C, most ecosystems will struggle. The rate of sea-level rise has risen from about 2.5mm per year in the 1990s to about 3.4mm per year today.

If the rate of ocean rise continues to change at this pace, sea level will rise 65cm by 2100 — enough to cause significant problems for coastal cities, and swamp 40% of productive land in the southern region of Bangladesh for example.

Species loss
Humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature. Accelerating consumption of food and resources by the global population is destroying the web of life, billions of years in evolution.

Equality, sustainability, accountability

All of the above is why Village promotes equality and sustainability.

Where to look and not to look

George Monbiot puts it well:
“The oligarchic control of wealth, politics, media and public discourse explains the comprehensive institutional failure now pushing us towards disaster. Think of Donald Trump and his cabinet of multi-millionaires; the influence of the Koch brothers in funding rightwing organisations; the Murdoch empire and its massive contribution to climate science denial; or the oil and motor companies whose lobbying prevents a faster shift to new technologies.
It is not just governments that have failed to respond, though they have failed spectacularly. Public sector broadcasters have systemati- cally shut down environmental coverage, while allowing the opaquely funded lobbyists that masquerade as thinktanks to shape public dis- course and deny what we face. Academics, afraid to upset their funders and colleagues, have bitten their lips”.

In a world of such ephemeral and cynical distortions it is difficult to know where to look for political wisdom. In 1989 Francis Fukuyama disgracefully heralded the End of History in Capitalism’s ubiquitous triumph. He had no place for equality or sustainability. Capitalism was an ugly and shifting goal but he was widely celebrated by the party generations. In fact after the elite flogged Capitalism just unto the point where they needed to be bailed out, demagoguery and shallowness triumphed. Civilisation came to a full stop.

The only questions are what and who, next?

One, coherent, option is equality and sustainability. Who will champion that?

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IN 2018 award-winning journalist Gemma O’Doherty wrote several articles for Village magazine. She was easy to work with and produced good copy. Like many contributors she generously did not charge the magazine for her work. She brought a large social-media followership with her, writing pieces on human-interest stories – on Madeleine McCann; on Sophie Toscan du Plantier; on sex abuse in Donegal and in a Dublin rugby school; and she wrote about her experience before the Charleton Tribunal, with which she was not impressed. She had given evidence about how she was removed from her position as Chief Features Writer of the Irish Independent in 2014 after she door-stepped the former Garda Commissioner about the wiping of his own penalty points. Around that time sadly her husband Peter Carvosso, a well- respected editor, who also worked for the Irish Independent, had died. It must have been a very difficult time for her.

O’Doherty writes well. Some elements of the stories she submitted to Village were less definitively backed up than was ideal, though they were always scupulously researched and coherent. Her story on rugby trainer John McClean was excellent and was helpful in bringing about long-stalled charges against him for abusing boys in Terenure College. She never ventilated any sort of political view in these articles.

When she ran for the Presidency on an anti-corruption ticket expressing her lack of faith in Irish media, Village felt the media should give her a hearing. There were mutterings that she was quietly anti-abortion, anti-vaccination but she denied this, particularly in interviews with online news service, Broadsheet.ie which supported her Presidency bid.

She did not do well in the Presidency election – she only received one of the four requisite nominations – and was predictably snookered by the media she loathes for stating, without evidence, that journalist Veronica Guerin had been killed by “the State”. She never got a chance to air her politics or her platform. That was a pity, from all perspectives.

It was after that election that her politics appears to have turned. Perhaps this was a reaction to the success of the nastiness of Peter Casey’s campaign which placed him second. She first toured the country with other anti-corruption activists giving talks, and more recently has established an ambitious new platform called Anti-Corruption Ireland with 2000 online members – a “political movement” which intends to field candidates at local, national and European elections.

Village is driven by politics not personalities. It promotes equality and sustainability.

Gemma O’Doherty derides the equality agenda, believes climate action has gone too far and that wind farms are an over-subsidised scam.

It is not clear how she funds herself: and she is peripatetic. Nor is it clear who she is accountable to or what she regards as her ethical parameters. She provocatively claimed that anti-racism protesters at a rally in Rooskey, Co Roscommon after an asylum centre was burnt, were not locals. A piece about this in Broadsheet was removed after legal correspondence. In early April she was cut off mid-stream by Sligo’s Ocean FM when she mentioned Mary Boyle. On the same trip to Sligo, she says Twitter shadowbanned the notice of the Anti-Corruption Ireland meeting. In mid-March a hotel in Cork cancelled a meeting she planned because she was inflaming the situation after the Christ church murders – and she has run into trouble with Youtube which closed down her channel because of her incendiary videos. She organised a small sit-in at Google, Youtube’s parent, in Dublin in protest.

She loathes George Soros, an agent of global liberalism who “uses NGOs to undermine democracy”. Presumably she prefers direct democracy and its voguish manifestation, populism. She can’t get enough of the gilets jaunes. She lists an array of media and political villains: the Irish Times, RTÉ, INM, Communicorp, Virgin Media, FG, FF, Sinn Féin, Labour, the Green Party and she has a particular antipathy to the Social Democrats, People before Profit and the Anti-Austerity Alliance who, with others, she sees as ‘Cultural Marxists’. She has promoted protests outside the houses of political leaders including Bruton and Varadkar.

As of now O’Doherty is promoting a God and Country agenda, though her journalism on McClean suggests she is no clericalist. She believes Ireland will become Muslim majority and questions the National Planning Framework which posits radical population targets that depend on wholesale immigration as part of an insidious globalist agenda. She dislikes secularism, highlights alleged high rape rates in Scandinavian countries linked to Muslim immigration and draws attention to violence perpetrated by Muslims in Western countries. She has no qualms retweeting people who believe Africans are inferior to Caucasians. She believes Irish people should “reclaim their Irishness”, saying “if that’s racist, great, bring it on!”.

She considers the appalling Christchurch massacre was a “false flag’ operation designed to disguise the actual source of responsibility.

She is in bed with conservative commentator John Waters who appears regularly on her long but rollocking podcasts. This relationship encapsulates her political trajectory. At one time she was lionised in Broadsheet.ie. a liberal website with a following that varies from libertarian to leftist but which does not embrace conservatism, the Church or John Waters who it has pilloried, characteristically and in particular for his stance on PantiBliss whose denigration of Waters as homophobic grounded a defamation payout. Now Waters and she make ideological twins and he appears regularly on her Youtube channel. In Irish terms this amounts to a 180-degree rotation. She also has an intense affiliation with someone called Amazing Polly, a Canadian version of herself who often appears on her videos, and she often retweets contrarian Katie Hopkins.

Her approach is somewhat tribal and, though she is an attractive and fluid speaker, she also makes for an impressively lethal antagonist. Legal Blogger Gavin Sheridan recently ungallantly tweeted (a lot of this stuff happens in the ethereal world of social media): “If you’re still following Gemma O’Doherty after her descent into the abyss of far-right conspiracy nonsense, false narratives, and absolute fucking bullshit, then you’re a) an idiot and b) should unfollow me”. The hounds of hell were unleashed on Sheridan centring on his work for Rupert Murdoch- funded Storyful. She has opened up some dead-end discussions. She seems to have decided that unicorns are insidious symbols of transsexualism and that CO2 is not pollution, for example.

The only parts of O’Doherty’s agenda that continue to meld with Village’s are her anti-corruption and media-sceptical stances, and perhaps her acute scepticism about the Garda. Her opposition to globalism tends to be tribal. Village’s anti-globalist concerns would be cultural and socio-economic.

Some people have speculated that Gemma O’Doherty is understandably still suffering after her bereavement, job loss and the obloquy of her Presidential campaign. Whatever the reason, she has transformed herself into perhaps the most controversial force in Irish journalism. She has made many enemies, both powerful and powerless, and alienated the media. It is unlikely this will end well.

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Larry Wren has become front-page news again as the Garda Commissioner responsible for driving Majella Moynihan to despair such that she attempted suicide five times, and once ended up in St John of Gods after the witch-hunt to which he and the Garda top brass subjected her in the 1980s when she became pregnant out of wedlock.

Larry Wren and Michael Noonan Minister for Justice

The signs were always there. Daniel Costigan, who was Garda Commissioner between 1952 and 1965, knew a rotten egg when he saw one, and he saw one in Wren. Costigan was outraged at Wren’s bullying behaviour as a superintendent in the early 1960s. Wren had been inspecting a number of gardaí on parade and, as usual, he found one whom he deemed to have an insufficiently clean uniform. Stepping back, he lifted his gloves and slapped the young garda across the face with them. After Costigan heard about the incident, he asked the young garda to make a statement so Wren could be prosecuted for assault but he declined. Had Wren been prosecuted and found guilty, he might have been drummed out of the Garda. At the very least, the incident would have been put on his record and damaged his prospect of any further promotion

 Daniel Costigan

This was far from an isolated incident: Wren had a habit of creating such misery in the ranks that grown men were often reduced to tears. His maltreatment of those under him in Limerick, Cork and elsewhere was legendary. In an earlier piece, The Trial of Larry Wren,  which is posted on this website, we described how one man was driven to despair and anger, getting so drunk he discharged a shotgun at Wren after a mock trial had ‘sentenced’ Wren to ‘death’ for his behaviour. The man ended up in an asylum.

Also, as described in our earlier piece, Wren was a right-wing Catholic bigot. If anything, we underestimated his fundamentalism. We have now learnt that he actually told gardaí attending criminal investigation lectures: ‘I want each one of you to attend mass on Sundays’.

Wren liked to promote religious gardaí up the ranks. This became such a well-known trait, it could be exploited. One garda – described by his colleagues as a ‘wild’ man who liked a drink – took advantage of it. He pitched up at Wren’s Church one day with a friend. When he saw Wren outside it collecting for St Vincent de Paul he seized the opportunity. “Give me a few bob”, he said to his friend and was handed a pound note which he presented to Wren. A short conversation ensued during which Wren established that the man was a garda. A promotion to sergeant followed hot on the heels of the donation. The joke in the Force was that the sergeant had “purchased his promotion for a pound”.

Magdelene Laundry slaves who escaped were rounded up by the Gardai and returned to captivity. They had committed no crimes and their detention was egregiously illegal.

In the past questions have been raised about the complicity of the Garda in hunting down the women who managed to escape the clutches of the Magdalene laundries where they were being exploited as slave labour. The presence of Wren and religious zealots like him in the ranks provides the answer. And how many children were raped because gardaí in thrall to the Church turned a blind eye to clerical child abuse?

Like all bullies, Wren liked to kick those beneath him while engaging in stints of sphincter oscillation for the pleasure of those above him. He perfected the art of brown-nosing in Limerick with the O’Malley clan of Fianna Fáil. One of his tricks was to display a copy of the Irish Press each morning on his desk. This was a signal to Fianna Fáil that he was one of theirs. Things changed when the government rotated. He would tell Fine Gael TDs canvassing his home in Dublin in later years that he was one of them.

Wren’s political skills made up for his shocking failure as a Garda intelligence officer. He became Head of C3, the élite overarching Garda Intelligence department, in 1971. At the time someone – or more likely a group – was leaking State secrets about the IRA to the British Government. Jack Lynch found out and asked John Fleming, the Head of the Special Branch, to find who the ‘spy in the camp’ was. Eventually, a Garda who worked for Wren, Patrick Crinnion, was blamed for the leaks. Crinnion never denied he was in contact with an MI6 officer as part of his intelligence-gathering duties. Assuming he was telling the truth – and he almost certainly was –  it means that someone planted incriminating evidence in Crinnion’s car to make him look like the leaker. The car was parked outside the hotel where he was to meet Wyman and was taken away from the hotel by the Garda after they arrested Crinnion. There was plenty of opportunity to plant the files in the car after its removal. Whether Wren provided the files so they could be planted in the car or not, it is a fact that Wren committed perjury at Crinnion’s subsequent trial.

Crinnion was a maverick Garda Intelligence officer who reported directly to Wren. It is inconceivable that Wren did not know about the contact with MI6. Crinnion was in and out of Wren’s office every other day reporting on his work which involved thwarting IRA gun-running. Crinnion would claim at his trial that his contact with Wyman was for the purpose of gathering useful information for the Garda and that he did not pass Irish state secrets to MI6. At the trial Wren described Crinnion as a mere clerical officer.  This was a blatant lie but it gave the impression that Crinnion’s contact with Wyman the Spyman was illicit. Why else would a clerk have been meeting an MI6 officer but to pass secret files to him?

As described in our earlier piece, Wren was also complicit in handing over a file to an MI6 agent which enabled MI6 to kidnap an Irish citizen suspected of subversive activity. The handover of the file took place at a meeting in Garda HQ in 1974 or early 1975. Even if Wren didn’t frame Crinnion, here he was now doing precisely what he had accused Crinnion of doing – passing files to MI6.

In 1975 Garvey passed 200 files on the INLA to MI6. Those files came from C3.

John McKeague of the Red Hand Commando (RHC). The RHC murdered Seamus Ludlow in the Republic in 1976.  McKeague was an MI5 asset and proxy assassin. Wren later passed on a gold-plated opportunity to solve the Ludlow murder. Why?

Then there was the Ludlow affair, one of the sickest crimes of the Troubles. The very best that can be said about Wren’s handling of it was that he was utterly, totally and completely inept. Seamus Ludlow was murdered by a Red Hand Commando (RHC) gang in the Republic in 1976 (see Wikipedia for details.) Ludlow was a much-loved Fine Gael supporter, a kind man who played Santa Claus at Christmas for local kids and had no involvement in subversion. The RHC gang picked him up at random late at night on a dark road as he headed home and killed him simply because he was a Catholic. At the time the RHC was led by John McKeague, a sectarian serial-killing psychopath. Village readers will be more than familiar with McKeague who was one of the paedophiles involved in the rape of children at Kincora Boys’ Home. He was recruited as an informer by British military intelligence in the early 1970s and blackmailed into becoming an MI5 agent in 1976. (In this context an informer informs out of choice; an agent takes direction from his controllers.)  The Garda were offered the opportunity to solve the Ludlow killing in 1979 but Wren failed to grasp it. Wren’s gyrations at the Barron Commission for his failure were laughable. If you have time, read the Barron Report on Ludlow. At worst, Wren was doing a favour for his friends in MI5. MI5 did not want one if its most prized proxy assassins or any member of his organisation to face the spotlight of extradition. Instead, McKeague went on to rape children and organise sectarian murders until 1982 when he was shot dead by what are believed to have been MI5 assets inside the INLA. At the time McKeague was threatening to expose the truth about Kincora if he was prosecuted. What he knew was that MI5 was exploiting the misery of the children at Kincora and other homes to gather blackmail material on Loyalist politicians and paramilitaries who were abusing the children. As leader of the RHC, he obviously knew the inside story of the RHC attempt to blow up Charles Haughey’s yacht in Dingle in the summer of 1981. That operation had the benefit a large dossier on Haughey, his habits and movements.  MI5 and MI6 could have compiled the Haughey Dossier. The RHC certainly did not have the resources to create one. (See also, ‘Profiled: The Men Who Tried to Kill Haughey’ on this website) .

 Wren at a Dail Committee session. Haughey’s yacht which was the target of the Red Hand Commando

Wren’s other great failure was to fail to solve the 1972 Dublin bombings which Jack Lynch suspected had been organised by MI6 – and had stated so publicly. Wren had the fingerprint of one of the bombers but it went missing. He also had a photo-fit of the man which he did not circulate to the press. Why?

As Head of C3 throughout the 1970s Wren was responsible for wholesale tapping of the phones of journalists, trade union leaders and lawyers. His victims included Vincent Browne, editor of Magill,  and Tim Pat Coogan, editor of the Irish Press. Vincent Browne sued and was awarded compensated for the intrusion. Yet, when his successors continued the practice of tapping journalists – at a much reduced rate – Wren and his lackey John Paul McMahon (another friend of MI6 – especially in his days as Chief Superintendent in  Monaghan) leaked details to the press and toppled a Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner. This was just as well for Wren, as the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner were about to swoop on him for leaking State secrets and his involvement with MI6 dating back to the Crinnion-Wyman incident. The Deputy Commissioner had been given orders after his appointment as head of C3 to find out what “had been going on inside C3”. They came to refer to him as ‘The Mole’. Instead of facing the music, Wren became Commissioner.

Wren tapped Vincent Browne’s phone. Why?

The Majella Moynihan and Kerry Babies cases soon followed.

As Commissioner he managed to fool the press into believing he had a bad relationship with the RUC but his was most likely a cover for his illicit friendship with their masters in MI5 and MI6. This became blatantly obvious during what became known as the Moyna bugging when a group of gardaí bugged the home of Mackey Moyna while Seamus Mallon, the Deputy Leader of the SDLP, was staying at his house during the New Ireland Forum. The Moyna affair is too complex to even attempt to summarise here. Suffice it to say, the gardaí who bugged the house were acting for MI5. Wren covered the whole sordid affair up with his newly appointed intelligence chief Stephen Fanning. To preserve the skins of the real culprits, an attempt was made to frame some Republicans for the bugging. They were put on trial but acquitted.

The files on Majella Moynihan which she sought again two years ago have still not turned up. A lot of reputations are on the line.

 Majella Moynihan and Jack Marrinan of the Garda Representative Body. He has been disowned by the GRA for his shameful remarks about her case. He kicked her when she was down rather than help her face the onslaught unleashed by Wren.

One reputation which is now in tatters is that of Jack Marrinan of the Garda Representative Association. He snidely denounced her in 1985 when the matter drew front-page headlines stating, “We would expect our ban-ghardaí to be moral in every way and we would not think that their morals are always or necessarily their own private business”.  When Marrinan died the Irish Times described him as “a key moderniser of policing in Ireland”. That nearly betters the paper’s description of Wren as having had a reputation as a “straight dealer”.

What did Fine Gael and Labour do for Majella Moynihan back in 1985?

Are there any files in the Department of Justice about Majella Moynihan?

Fianna Fáil have now proposed that she should be granted an enhanced pension. That might suffice for a start. But what about compensation?

  • What price for driving her to attempt suicide five times?
  • For the loss of her child?
  • For driving her into St John of Gods?
  • For ruining her career? She retired early in 1998.

Front page news, 6 February 1985. Fine Gael and Labour can’t deny they knew about the Majella Moynihan case. What did they do?

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No one who had the misfortune to serve in the Garda during Larry Wren’s bible thumping Reign of Terroras Garda Commissioner, 1983 – 1987, is in the least bit surprised by the Medieval cruelty meted out to Majella Moynihan by Wren and his lackies.

Wren was a near daily communicant at St Brigid’s Church, Blanchardstown.  No wonder he consulted the Archbishop of Dublin, Kevin McNamara, about the Moynihan case. McNamara told him not to fire her in case it might encourage others to have abortions.

Other women were treated horrendously by the Garda before the Wren era began but it was only under his commissionership that a young woman garda was:

  • Coerced into giving up her child;
  • Charged with the offence of having sex;
  • Charged with giving birth to a child.

And, as the world now knows, Majella Moynihan was dragged into a room full of middle-aged men, sat down in the middle of them and grilled about her sex life.

But did you know that Wren was once put on trial himself by the Gardai? The prosecution was held in absentiaby a group of his Garda subordinates who could not tolerate his nasty, malicious and mean-spirited ruling hand. One night a group of them found themselves in a pub after hours and had the bright idea of ‘putting’ him on trial. One after another they took their pint glasses into the impromptu ‘witness box’ to disclose one true-life horror story after another. The verdict at the end was a swift ‘guilty’; the punishment ‘death’.

One unfortunate participant had imbibed so much alcohol, he could not distill reality from fantasy and went off and got a gun. He went to Wren’s home, called him to the window and then literally – yesliterally– discharged a shot at him.

How Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald and Tánaiste Dick Spring (of the Labour Party no less) saw fit to appoint this relic from the past as Garda Commissioner in 1983 is a mystery. Another riddle is how the staff of The Irish Timesrejoiced at his appointment.

The Kerry Babies scandal also took place under Wren.

In retirement Wren displayed his piety and Christianity at the daily mass at St Brigid’s. He became President of the North Dublin Conference of the St Vincent de Paul and, like the hypocrite he was, served as a member of the Third Order of St Frances. Laughably, he led the Garda Pilgrimage to Lourdes. One shudders to think of how much fun those trips were.

When Wren died, he was described by The Irish Times as having had “a clear, incisive mind and a reputation for straight dealing”. Yes, ‘straight dealing’. In reality, Wren was more than just a misogynistic, extreme Catholic bigot. He was in fact a criminal to whom ‘straight dealing’ was an alien concept. Sneakiness was his true hallmark. This charge is not levelled lightly. One day Villagewill tell the story of how Wren and another senior officer conspired with an agent of MI6 to kidnap an Irish citizen. The plot was hatched in Garda HQ with the MI6 agent present, having been smuggled into Garda HQ in the back of a car by the ‘Badger’, the well-known MI5/6 agent in the Garda. The true story of how he manoeuvred in the background to position himself to become Garda Commissioner will also be disclosed. It will add a new dimension to the word ‘sneaky’.

When Majella Moynihan sought her personnel file a number of years ago, parts of it were copied but vandalised by redactions before being handed over to her. The file has since allegedlydisappeared. It is to be hoped that there will be an inquiry and the names of all of those present at the Kangaroo court which roasted her will be named. Villagehas the names of many of those who conspired with Wren to assist MI6 dirty tricks in the Republic. It will be fascinating to see if misogyny, hypocrisy and illicit co-operation with British Intelligence went hand-in-hand.

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Lyra McKee’s book ‘Angels With Blue Faces’ is the result of a five-year investigation into what Robert Bradford MP was digging into before he was murdered. It is quite possible that she uncovered one of – if not – the  most putrid British Intelligence dirty-tricks operations of the entire Troubles. If not for her, the truth about this grotesque event might have remained buried forever.
Bradford, a Unionist MP,  had campaigned against child pornography. What was going on at Kincora Boys’ Home clearly appalled him.
He was ideally placed to inquire into the shadowy world that lurked  behind Kincora as he was not merely a senior Unionist politician but also a British Israelite. The paedophile ring that preyed on the boys at Kincora – and other homes – included William McGrath, an Orangeman, friend of James Molyneaux MP, Ian Paisley MP, and other political figures. More importantly, McGrath was also a British Israelite.
Once McGrath was arrested by the RUC’s Criminal Investigation Division, Bradford was in a pole position to pick up on the decades of gossip which had surrounded McGrath in Unionist political circles.
The UVF, UDA, Red Hand Commando and other  paramilitary groups also knew of his links to British Intelligence. The UDA even had Kincora under surveillance, an easy task as it was located at a cross roads.
McGrath had also dug a hole for himself by boasting of his links to Britain’s spy agencies. By late 1981 hundreds if not thousands of Loyalists knew of McGrath’s bragging.
In the very early 1970s the UVF had been allied to McGrath’s paramilitary organisation Tara but had distanced themselves precisely because of McGrath’s links to Britain’s spy agencies. Publicly, they walked out as a group from a Tara meeting on the basis that McGrath was a homosexual not a British asset because they did not want to highlight the intelligence connection. (See ‘Her Majesty’s Hatchetman’ on this website for the wider story of the UDA’s knowledge of Kincora.)
Bradford and thousands of others knew all of this. Would MI5 possibly have deployed its Provisional IRA agent to murder him merely because of this? Hardly.
Did they do so  because as a sitting Westminster MP he could raise the issue in the House of Commons and had discovered a lot more?
McGrath’s trial was set for December 1981 along with that of two other Kincora staff members. Bradford was clearly not going to interfere with a looming trial. But after it, the gloves would come off.
Bradford was rubbed out a few weeks before the trial commenced.
Lyra McKee’s investigation will add greatly to our knowledge of these murky events and uniquely, what Bradford was probing.
Her book is now available for pre-purchase from Excalibur.

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EXPOSING THE MOST SINISTER & HITHERTO SUPPRESSED SCANDAL OF THE TROUBLES

Lyra McKee’s book on the murder of Robert Bradford MP is to be published shortly. Copies of it can be pre-booked by visiting the Pegasus website. Pegasus are her publishers. The book is called ‘Angels with Blue Faces’. Those  interested would be well advised to pre-book it as it is sure to sell out quickly when it reaches the bookshops.

Bradford was shot by an IRA unit in public in broad daylight in front of multiple witnesses. The faces of the hit squad were neither disguised nor concealed. They clearly believed they had little to fear from the RUC. They were never apprehended. One of the assassins has since been identified by a witness as a notorious British agent. Lyra McKee’s book will undoubtedly flesh all this out.

The date upon which Bradford was murdered is crucial:  14 November 1981. At that time MI5 and MI6’s  involvement in the intelligence cesspit that swirled around Kincora Boys Home, Wi

lliamson House and other tortured children’s homes in NI was still a secret, at least insofar as the public was concerned. In the background the Kincora cover-up was firing on all four cylinders.

The trial of three of the staff at Kincora took place the following month. MI5 and the RUC were determined to control the evidence so that it would appear that the only abuse that had taken place was that perpetrated by the staff at the home.

One key RUC Kincora investigator assaulted at least one former Kincora boy, Richard Kerr. He did so in Preston, England. Kerr had been abused by politicians, paramilitaries and others. The RUC officer told Kerr to keep away from the trial in Belfast and even threatned to arrest him for engaging in homosexual acts. Pause and think about that for a moment: the boy had been abandoned by his parents; raped by an adult male at Williamstown House as an 8 year old while clutching a soft toy, and then pimped out for the next decade to Loyalist terrorists, a high profile and still popular British TV star, a number of Tory MPs among many, many others. The RUC officer who assaulted him is alive and well. He can rely on the RUC/PSNI and MI5 to safeguard him from inquiry in return for keeping their most vile secrets under wraps. (See also ‘Kincora Survivor’ and ‘How the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring Operated’ and ‘Suffer Little Children’ on this website.)

The TV star has been involved in a child charity in recent years. Richard Kerr is prepared to name him and identify the address in London where he was abused by him, to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse. So far, it does not appear interested.

Also in the months in the run up to the trial, William McGrath, the  sadistic ‘Beast’ of Kincora prowled around Belfast hunting his former victims down in a vehicle driven by a group of hoods. They menaced and threatened at least one of the boys to stay silent. That victim told his story to Chris Moore who published it in his book on Kincora. The thugs were probably Tommy Lyttle’s UDA henchmen. (See ‘Her Majesty’s Hatchetman’ on this website for further details about Lyttle and MI5.)

As part of the Kincora cover-up, McGrath’s friend and supporter, the Reverend  Ian Paisley descended upon the Cumberland Hotel in London to bully Richard Kerr into keeping quiet. He warned him not to tell anyone about the ‘Englishmen’ who had abused the boys he knew. (See ‘Blackmailed’ on this website.)

Two Englishmen, Peter England and Robert Imrie from the Northern Ireland Office were named in the House of Commons by Ken Livingstone in respect of Kincora a few years later. (See ‘MI5’s Flasher-General’ on this website.)

The RUC also forged at least one witness statement purporting to be that of an Englishman with access to files on McGrath who was stationed at Lisburn Barracks where Britain’s military and civilian services were based. Village will be reporting on this in the near future.

One of the most depressing Kincora stories is that of Stephen Waring. The RUC did not need to threaten him for he had committed suicide by jumping from the Monarch Belfast-Liverpool car ferry in 1977 rather than suffer any more rape.

Crucially, the RUC only interviewed boys who had been abused inside the home by the staff. Richard Kerr, the boy assaulted in Preston by the RUC officer, had been one of a smaller sub group taken to the Park Avenue Hotel, the Europa Hotel, a hotel in Bangor and other venues to be abused by paramilitaries such as John McKeague and also a senior DUP figure. Stephen Waring was also part of this group. It was a quite small one. A number of them have since died – apparently by suicide –  but at least two are  alive.

The key point of this article is that by November 1981 MI5 and the RUC’s multifaceted cover-up of Kincora  was holding fast. Robert Bradford MP may have been on the verge of exposing it. Then, he was killed by the MI5-controlled hit team, the Kincora trial proceeded without exposing the MI5 dimension to the scandal.

When John McKeague – the most important Loyalist terrorist of the late 1960s and early 1970s – threatened to expose what he knew shortly after the trial if he was to be arrested, he was shot dead by MI5 agents in the INLA. His death occurred in February 1982. (For more information on McKeague see ‘Profiled, The Men Who Tried to Kill Haughey’ on this website.)

Joss Cardwell, the senior Unionist politician who ran Belfast’s children’s homes, committed suicide a few weeks later (or so we are led to believe) when the Kincora focus fell on him. He was a key figure in trafficking Kincora boys such as Kerr and Waring to London. It was on one such trip that the flamboyant TV star abused Kerr.

The media, however, were onto the story. In the Republic the Irish Times published a series of revelations. In NI Chris Moore dud the same on BBC NI.

Colin Wallace who worked as a PSYOPS officer at Lisburn had tried to expose McGrath in the 1970s. After the Kincora story broke, he was framed for manslaughter and sent to prison. His conviction was later overturned. It is possible to detect the hand of the intelligence community in his framing. The killer of the deceased man in the Wallace case has never been found.

The Terry, Hughes and Hart inquiries  into Kincora dismissed MI5 and MI6 involvement in the scandal on a number of grounds including the existence of the selective and manipulated statements compiled by the RUC.

Lyra McKee was not impressed with the results of any of these inquiries. Her forthcoming book now threatens to demolish what must be the most repugnant and shameful secret of the Troubles: the murder of a sitting Westminster MP by MI5 to conceal the MI5-MI6-RUC Special Branch exploitation of a NI paedophile network and the blackmail,  murders and State-terrorist collusion that swirled around it. Put simply, it  threatens to capsize the most garguantan cover-up of dirty tricks in the history of British Intelligence.

More on the incendiary significance of Lyra McKee’s book will be posted shortly. The book may yet prove to be the rock on which the Kincora cover-up finally flounders.

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