Irish Republican News · April 21, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: COLLUSION 2007
COLLUSION 2007

Two members of the British Crown forces are involved in the latest intelligence gathering operation to obtain the personal data of over 150 nationalists from the PSNI police computer system and deliver it to a unionist paramilitary death-squad.

This week, PSNI police employee Aaron Hill was charged with possession of records containing names and addresses “likely to be of use to terrorists”, which were found in the hands of the UVF.

In a mounting scandal over the case, it was also revealed that a British soldier was part of the scheme to target nationalists and republicans.

Names, addresses and car registrations were found on five hand-written documents during a search at the County Antrim bus-making firm Wrightbus, along with 30 rounds of ammunition.

Last weekend, warnings were issued to an initial 117 people about their safety after the data was uncovered.

At the bail hearing of the first man to be arrested in the case, Wrightbus manager Darren Leslie Richardson, it was revealed that a serving British soldier was also involved. It is believed this individual has still not been charged in an apparent attempt to limit the fall-out from the case.

“As far as we know [the soldier] continues to serve in his regiment with access to confidential documents and files,” said Sinn Féin’s Daithi McKay.

“This is unacceptable. This individual should be suspended from his position immediately until this entire web is unravelled. Many will suspect that it is his involvement in the British army which has prevented him being charged to date.”

A number of senior republicans and Sinn Féin politicians have been informed that their personal details were contained within the files.

Mark Thompson, the director of human rights group Relatives for Justice, was also among those informed that his name was on the UVF hit list.

He said it could be connected to recent sensitive work with unionist families.

“I would see this in the context of the work that Relatives for Justice and myself are doing, particularly over this past number of months, in which we have been working with a range of families across the community, particularly within the unionist community,” Mr Thompson said.

“They are providing sensitive information to us in relation to the murder of their loved ones.

“This takes us into a terrain that we have never been into, in terms of some of that information.”

Eleven workers employed by a Toome-based manufacturing firm, along with two former employees, were on the UVF hit-list, prompting concerns that the firm is being spied upon.

Deputy first minister-designate Martin McGuinness, who met the 13 men on Thursday, said he would seek a meeting with management of the firm.

Details on the son of republican election candidate Paul McGlinchey were also collated.

Mr McGlinchey, who ran for the Assembly as an independent opposed to Sinn Féin’s acceptance of British policing, said he was “totally gobsmacked” to find his 20-year-old son, Sean, is one of those under threat.

“If they’d come about me, I wouldn’t care. Everybody knows who I am. But the cub’s not into politics, he’s been through enough with me being in jail,” he said.

Sinn Féin called on British Secretary Peter Hain to make a detailed statement on the scandal.

© 2007 Irish Republican News