The role of the British government in supporting death squads in Northern Ireland was shown in a documentary broadcast in the Irish Republic this week.
Former Special Branch head Raymond White said he personally asked the Thatcher administration for a legal framework for the handling of agents within paramilitary groups.
He said the attitiude was “‘carry on, but don’t get caught’. Is that fair comment?”
The documentary also featured claims from a member of the gang responsible for the Dublin/Monaghan bombings in 1974 that the intention was to foment a civil war.
Former Northern Ireland police chief constable Hugh Orde said a former head of the army’s secret Force Research Unit (FRU), Gordon Kerr, should have been put on trial.
Kerr went on to run secret military squads in Iraq. The FRU recruited and ran agents within paramilitary organisations during the Troubles.
In 1987 Kerr recruited former soldier Brian Nelson as an agent. Nelson’s job was to infiltrate the loyalist terror group UDA.
Kerr regarded Nelson as his jewel in the crown.
For the next three years Nelson colluded with murder gangs.
Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane was one of those killed.
In a prison journal Nelson claimed that Kerr had suggested that the UDA should carry out a bomb attack on an oil refinery in Southern Ireland.
The cops won’t say if they are spying
More than 20 fake phone towers, which indiscriminately hoover up information from phones, have been found active in London.
It’s unclear who is operating them.
The Stingrays, also known as IMSI catchers, work by tricking phones into think that they’re phone masts.
When phones connect to them, they are able to pick up all of the data that is flowing through them.
But the people using them would have no idea that it is happening.
The Metropolitan Police was reported in 2009 to have bought some Stingrays.
The Met would not confirm or deny that it was using the technology.
It said that it wouldn’t comment because “the only people who benefit are the other side”.
Veterans minister is top of the poppies
Tory minister Anna Soubry claimed the cost of delivering Remembrance Day poppy wreaths to constituents to honour the war dead on her behalf.
She was veterans minister at the time and claimed £14.54 for travel expenses for the 32.3-mile trip last November.
Soubry was on a salary of £98,740 when the trip was made.
Arise Sir Kenny
A strike by Royal Parks was cancelled last Friday. The workers will no doubt be cheered that her majesty rewarded GMB union general secretary Paul Kenny with a knighthood.
It was for services to trade unionism.
In 2013 he criticised the Labour leadership as “the people who brought us the cash for honours scandals”.
The GMB gave £7.5 million to Labour after backing Ed Miliband.
The Tories are hardly in a position to criticise—the list also contains four Tory donors.
Labour’s Andy Burnham’s campaign team moved to their shiny new office on Victoria Street, where Blairite organisation Progress used to be based.
Burnham won’t feel too homesick —he used to be the organisation’s vice chair.
They were, however, quite surprised to find out who had also just moved in a few floors below them—Liz Kendall’s campaign team. Kendall is current head of the think tank.
No one knows for certain where the Edstone is, or whether it exists or has been pulverised.
But Lord Ashcroft has made a tentative step towards preserving this historic item for the nation, saying that that if Labour would care to auction it, he would start the bidding at £100,000.
Troublemaker offers 50p.
How much does Tony Blair cost?
Tony Blair’s security detail to follow him around the world costs us £16,000 a week.
He is visiting up to five countries a week with a team of police.
Blair, his advisers and consultants cost some £57 million in salaries and expenses over four years. That is the equivalent of £350,000 for each of his staff.
When asked if Blair ever stayed in British embassies on his jaunts, Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood said, “The information is not held centrally and can only be collated at disproportionate cost.”
The Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war has yet to be published.
Bosses’ pay still going up
Fatcat bosses are earning on average 149 times more than workers. The widening pay gap between top chief executives and workers has reached “astonishing” levels, said a study.
Bosses of the 100 biggest stockmarket-listed companies earned 149 times more than their average employee last year.
In 2009 it was 120 times. The widest gap is between advertising agency chief Sir Martin Sorrell and his staff.
His £42.9 million pay is 810 times his average worker’s, said the High Pay Centre.