Thursday, September 10, 2009

Martin McGartland Warns IRA Still A Threat

Ex-spy warns IRA still a threat

HUGE bomb twice size of Omagh device & designed to kill dozens is made safe in Ulster

Published: 10 Sep 2009

THE dark days of terrorism once again hang ominously over Northern Ireland after the discovery of a massive 600lb bomb in South Armagh. Believed to have been the work of dissident republicans, it was even bigger than the Real IRA device that killed 29 and injured hundreds in Omagh in 1998. Here, former spy Martin McGartland - who infiltrated the IRA in the 1980s for the British secret service - explains why he believes the terrorist cell behind the latest bomb must have been well organised.

THERE has been a suggestion from the police that the people behind this bomb do not have the sophistication, expertise or resources to carry out this kind of bombing. I disagree.

To be able to put a bomb like this together in the first place is one of the biggest hurdles they have to cross.

The fact they went to a vantage point to look for police or army patrols shows they have a lot more expertise than people are letting on.

The terrorists will go to a disused location, say a farm, and construct the bomb over about ten hours in the night.

The Sun
Shock ... Sun report on bomb find

It involves a big team of people. They will have four or five guys working inside building the bomb and three or four more outside patrolling the perimeter.

I have information from people I speak to that the police and Special Branch are greatly concerned that people from the IRA bomb teams from the 1980s and early 90s have moved across to current dissident republican groups.

My understanding is that the people behind the latest bomb are from a much smaller group. But in my opinion they are all linked to the IRA in some way.

If any of these splinter group become a serious embarrassment, the IRA will close them down.

The IRA are still active with punishment beatings and are making plenty of money from crime. They are still powerful. Bad things are going to continue to happen.

But, thankfully, it will never be like it was in the past when someone was being murdered every day.

These small groups have been recruiting people who are local criminals, which the IRA would not have done in the past. They are desperate for people to come on board.


I don't think they have much support.

I found people in the IRA to be macho, but they didn't want to go to prison and they would never blow themselves up like Muslim extremists. So it's a different threat than the one posed by Islamic terror.

I believe the security services might already have infiltrated these gangs.

I know that after those two young soldiers were murdered in March, the security services were working overtime to recruit people on the fringes of these dissident groups.

I used to get weapons and explosives from the IRA and take them to the Army to deactivate the firing systems. A lot of planning and effort goes into making a bomb. Bombs don't just get found, they don't just not go off.

This find could have come about as a result of an informer.

The security services are generally aware of who the main members of these groups are - they just have trouble finding enough evidence to bring them to court.

But I believe the Government will crack down on them before we return to the dark days of terror.

Martin's book Fifty Dead Men Walking, about his time as a spy, is out now.

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Martin McGartland was Shot by the PIRA in June 1999. Northumbria Police, Mi5 and the CPS continue to cover up the McGartland case. No one has ever been charged for Martin's 1999 attempted murder. Follow Martin on Bebo; search for Martin 'Marty' McGartland.