>Boeing, who make the Chinook have just agreed to pay $54Million
>to settle two lawsuits regarding defective gears in the CH-47
>that they sold to the Military.
>Since January, the Chinook fleet has been grounded due to a
>series of 'mishaps' that it was alleged caused critical
>transmission gears to fail in flight. The allegations
>were made by the US Justice Department.
>The Justice Department made this announcement August 3rd.
>The $54Million goes to the US Government, BTW.
>Expect more lawsuits over this.
And more limited hangouts too, no doubt.
David Shayler: Background To The Chinook Crash.
MI5 and PIRA - bungling or collusion? Why did HMG remove Special Branch
from overall control of anti-PIRA operations at precisely the moment
when the PIRA had been exposed - membership, sources of funding,
principal ordnance-stores - everything? [see "Phoenix" by Jack Holland]
The following is very informative - except that PC Yvonne Fletcher was
NOT shot from the Libyan People's Bureau - and it tells us nothing about
Shayler's motives for revealing all this - or MAF's for allowing them to
be printed in "Punch"!
UK Attorney-General calls for the Editor of Punch to be jailed for
The previous issue of Punch carried an article by David Shayler in which
the former MI5 officer reflected on the Bishopsgate bombing of 1993. The
blast killed one person and injured 36 others, It also caused £350
damage to the heart of the City. Shayler's article carried the headline:
"MI5 could have stopped the bomb going off".
On July 31, several days after Punch came on sale, the Attorney-General
served a writ - or claim form, as it is now known - on Punch Ltd (the
defendant) and Punch editor James Steen (the second defendant).
The Attorney-General claims that the article breached the injunction:
offending article was written by Mr Shayler and contained information
obtained by him in the course of or by virtue of his employment in and
position as a member of the Security Service which related to the
Service and to security or intelligence activities generally." Paragraph
of the claim form states: "The defendants' actions... had the effect of
publishing material which this Honourable Court intended, by means of
injunctions, not to be published pending trial in the action against Mr
Shayler and Associated Newspapers... the defendants' said actions
impeded or interfered with the administration of justice by thwarting
and/or undermining the intended effect of the injunctions."
The Attorney-General is seeking the following relief:
1) The first defendant do pay to Her Majesty the Queen such fine as
seem just for their several contempts of this Honourable Court.
2) 2) The second defendant be committed to Her Majesty's Prison for his
several contempts of this Honourable Court.
The case is due to be heard before a judge at The Royal Courts of
on September 4. Five days later and it would have fallen on the second
anniversary of Foreign Secretary Robin Cook's proclamation that David
Shayler is a fantasist.
[ Extracted from Punch, issue: 111, July 26 - August 8, 2000 ]
MI5 could have stopped the bomb going off.
The Bishopsgate blast in 1993 was one of the worst acts of terrorism in
London. David Shayler reveals the damning truth about the catastrophe.
The story begins on Friday, August 7, 1992, during an MI5 investigation
into the Provisional IRA (PIRA, the MI5 term) operation on the British
mainland. An M15 officer is on the third floor of the organisation's
building in Curzon Street, drafting the situation report for the
investigation into an active service unit (ASU), which has been
moving suspicious trucks around West London.
Reporting indicates that the ASU is planning a large-scale attack in
London, like the ones that took place six months earlier at the Baltic
Exchange in the City and at Staples Corner near the MI/M25 intersection.
The situation report will go out to all services involved in the
updating them on the state of play.
That Friday evening, all is calm. The joint Met 'S' Squad/MI5
team has tracked the lorry to a trailer park in North-West London. The
is under control and it looks like any potential attack will be thwarted
and the culprits caught red-handed.
This is the last operation with the MPSB (the Metropolitan Police
Branch), leading the intelligence investigation. Home Secretary Kenneth
Clarke has already decided to switch the roles of MI5 and the MPSB for
investigations in Britain. After October 1, 1992, MI5 will be in charge
MPSB will offer support.
That night, a special operation team makes a covert entry into the lorry
yard and drills a hole in the top of the trailer. This reveals that it
contains up to 300lbs of homemade explosive and possibly detonators.
In the MI5 jargon, this makes the lorry a "vehicle-borne improvised
explosive device". It appears to hold well over twice the amount of
ammonium nitrate and sugar (which form the explosive compound) used at
Baltic Exchange or Staples Corner.
The intelligence services do not know the actual targets of the
attack. Officers are speculating that these might include key centres of
the UK infrastructure or economy like the Telecom Tower, Tottenham Court
Road, Oxford Street, Canary Wharf or even the MI5 building itself.
Now that the special operations team has confirmed that the vehicle is
ready to be primed, it seems likely that any planned attack is imminent.
Over the weekend, the heads of the services involved meet and agree to
arrest the ASU when they return to pick up the lorry.
Sure enough, in the following days the ASU returns. The Met's
anti-terrorist squad takes control of the operation from intelligence
because "executive action" - in other words arrests are imminent. They
until the members of the ASU - around four or five individuals, some of
whom have not been identified - further incriminate themselves by
or checking the trailer.
As the targets gather around the truck, the leader of the surveillance
at the site tries to contact George Churchill-Coleman, the then head of
anti-terrorist squad and one of Britain's most senior policemen. The man
in-situ wants to brief Churchill-Coleman with the updates and ask for
permission to arrest the suspected terrorists.
He tries the operations rooms on the lath floor of New Scotland Yard. He
tries the operations room working in support at MI5's Curzon Street
building. He tries Churchill-Coleman's mobile number. It is switched
The New Scotland Yard operations room tries to track down the elusive
of Britain's terrorist policing - and fails.
The officer at the site knows that if he gives the order without first
clearing it with his boss he will be to blame should anything go wrong,
This not a matter of legal procedure or a hard-and-fast rule; the
at the scene can give the arrest order, if he wishes.
He decides against doing so. He has his future in the police to think
and, in any case, the Met should be able to track down Churchill-Coleman
shortly. The latter does, after all, know that there is a serious
counter-terrorist operation proceeding apace.
But Churchill-Coleman does not get in touch. Suddenly, the ASU start to
file out of the lorry yard. One by one they leave. None of the many of
policemen or intelligence officers present dare to give the arrest
As the final member of the ASU leaves the yard, he seems to have spotted
the surveillance. He smiles and gives a cocky thumbs-up before climbing
into a car and roaring off.
He has already been identified as Cyril "Jimmy" McGuinness. The Met has
known him for many years for his role in routine but major vehicle
This is some of the first evidence that his tricks of acquiring,
- fitting a stolen vehicle with the registration and chassis numbers of
legally registered vehicle belonging to someone else - and selling on
knocked-off cars and lorries has a more sinister purpose: that he is
carrying out these tasks in support of PIRA. Although three people are
later arrested in connection with the operation, they are released
charge. McGuinness is not among those arrested.
Fast forward to April 24,1993.
I am at home in Clapham preparing for a party, which will be attended by
MI5 officers. At around 10.30am, the windows of my flat shake. I joke to
flatmates that it's probably PIRA. The others are unaware that MI5 was,
day before, following a three-man ASU led by Rab Fryers and Gerry
(Much later, they were both sentenced to over 20 years in jail for their
part in other terrorist operations).
As the midday news bulletins go out, it becomes clear that an enormous
has gone off in the City of London. Scenes of devastation reminiscent of
downtown Beirut are to dominate the television news and the papers for
weeks to come.
For the record, the bomb consisted of one tonne of home-made explosive
10lbs of Semtex to help detonate it. It killed one person, Ed Henry, a
'News of the World' photographer, and injured 36. It also caused £350
million of damage to a million-and-a-half square feet of office space in
the heart of the City.
In a single attack, PIRA cost the UK economy several times as much as
entire Troubles had cost over the previous 20-odd years. In addition, it
all took place in front of 1,000 international politicians, businessmen
officials, who had gathered at the nearby headquarters of the European
for Reconstruction and Development.
As publicity for the Republican cause, it was far-reaching. With only
death -and that of a photographer trying to get a closer picture of the
suspected bomb lorry - it had far fewer drawbacks than the incident in
Warrington two months beforehand.
Warrington had attracted enormous condemnation as two teenagers had been
killed after the advanced code-word warning (which accompanies just
every PIRA attack) had failed to get through to the authorities. Even
IRA's supporters in the Republic of Ireland and the Six Counties had
obliged to condemn such a senseless waste of life.
On the Friday of the following week, police released video photographs
two men, their faces largely covered by hoods, jumping from the bomb
before it had exploded. These were circulated among the officers of
T2A section and the men were quickly identified as Cyril "Jimmy"
and his erstwhile sidekick, Damien "Redboy" McPhillips, another criminal
well known to the Met for car crime.
By this time, the two were also familiar to MI5. They had not been
in the wake of the North London operation's failure and had gone on to
MI5 a merry dance for six months. The service had spent millions of
on following them all over the country It had also tapped their wide
of mobile phones and tried to effect "covert entries" (or burglaries) of
their premises to gather evidence against the two.
At the same time, Jimmy and Redboy had imported and exported stolen
vehicles, either for their own profit or in support of the IRA's
bombing campaign. Stolen or "ringed" vehicles were being used
in Britain either to smuggle PIRA Semtex and weapons into the country or
transport primed bombs to their targets
Although MI5 had an abundance of information linking the two to car
it never gathered enough evidence to have them arrested and convicted in
connection with terrorist offences. At the same time, the pair appeared
to give two hoots that MI5 was watching them almost round the clock.
At one point, McGuinness led an MI5 surveillance team into a dead-end
street and then blocked its escape. The unarmed surveillance officers
became alarmed as McGuinness edged his car towards theirs, fearing he
draw a revolver and shoot them. Instead, he observed their fear,
then turned the car around and fled, losing his MI5 tail in the process.
Two months after the Bishopsgate attack, police released a photofit. It
clearly McGuinness By that time, he had gone on the run to the Irish
Republic. There was no chance of extraditing him.
At the time of the Bishopsgate attack, relations between Special Branch
MI5 were at an all-time low. Special Branch had been set up more than a
century back, precisely to deal with threats from Irish Republican
extremists. MI5 had taken primacy against the IRA from the Met six
before, undermining Special Branch's raison d'être.
Those six months had been a disaster for MI5, as it had adopted
and out-of-date warrants from the Met and had struggled to apply its
working practices to the fast-moving target of PIRA.
That period had seen more IRA attacks on the British mainland than ever
before. The devastation of Bishopsgate was, it seemed, the icing on the
cake of M15's humiliation.
The police lost no time in convincing the press of this. Stories began
appear in newspapers almost immediately, attributed as ever to anonymous
"insiders" and "security sources". A week later, the theory was
supplemented with harder information, leaked, I suspect, by the Branch.
"Cops rap MI5 'bungle"', proclaimed the News of the World, with a rag-
displaying an MI5 report sent to police forces the evening before the
Bishopsgate bomb. It warned patrolling officers to be vigilant and gave
descriptions of three men, who "will almost certainly be armed".
A senior City police officer was quoted as saying: "We're certain the
anti-terrorist boys had these men in their sights and lost them. Alarm
bells rang as soon as their warning arrived with us. The timing of it
the fact there were detailed descriptions of three suspects can mean
one thing: a cock-up."
All very reasonable, you might think, except that, as with so much of
murky world of intelligence, this is entirely wrong. The subjects whose
descriptions appear in the warning are Mackin, Fryers and another
unidentified individual, not Redboy or Jimmy.
Ironically, M15's surveillance teams were in the City on the morning of
Bishopsgate blast, following Mackin and the unidentified individual. In
fact, the many surveillance cars and "mobiles" on foot must have passed
bomb lorry, possibly more than once, without noticing anything
I don't think there is any shame in that. It is difficult enough to
a fast-moving target well versed in the techniques of anti- or
counter-surveillance without having to look out for other suspect
The truth is, the ASU that carried out the Bishopsgate attack is not
identical to the ASU described in the MI5 report. GCHQ was aware that
was at least one PIRA ASU currently active in London, but failed to
circulate sufficient detail to enable their members to be identified by
Special Branch or MI5.
Of the three UK services, GCHQ is the most infra dig. It has none of the
glamour of exotic locations which comes with working for MI6, and none
the occasional excitement open to MI5 officers in live terrorist
In 1984, during the protest outside the Libyan People's Bureau in
GCHQ had had its one chance to make a lasting contribution to
anti-terrorist work in Britain. It received information that Colonel
Gaddafi's office in Libya had asked loyal Libyans in the bureau to open
fire on the dissidents or 'Stray dogs" outside the embassy in St James's
As a prior warning of a possible attack, it was very useful
or would have been if it had been handed on in a timely fashion. But it
wasn't, because the nine-to-five bureaucrats at GCHQ had gone home. As a
result, the report did not go to the police or MI5 that day and WPC
Fletcher was shot dead from a window of the bureau. Years later, when I
working for MI5, officers continued to encounter similar problems with
GCHQ. Its staff seemed not to understand that intelligence was useless
unless it could be deployed in the field. MI5 officers were well trained
disguising sources. They had grown used to it in their work with Special
Branch officers, who were, rarely allowed to see actual transcripts of
bugging material or raw agent reports.
MI5 officers were therefore very capable of disguising any GCHQ material
that the police or any prying, unauthorised eyes would not be able to
its source. Despite this, GCHQ always displayed far too much caution
the dissemination, often refusing to allow MI5 to pass on vital
intelligence at all or allowing only a version so watered down that it
ceased to have the required impact with the organisation receiving it.
I believe the latter occurred with the Bishopsgate intelligence when, as
far as I can gather, the GCHQ intelligence was only passed on to police
the form of "at least one PIRA active service unit". No description of
McGuinness was issued neither were the 'bobbies' on the beat given any
further indication of McGuinness's intentions. There was certainly no
mention of the impending "spectacular" that weekend.
I would hope that the authorities considered having McGuinness arrested
that weekend, just in case, but it wasn't clear from the discussion in
week afterwards whether that option had been floated at all.
So what happened to McGuinness and McPhillips after they went on the run
June 1993? As with other PIRA members who suspect that the game might be
up, they stayed in the Republic until they thought the coast was clear
again. In April 1994, the police let it be known that they knew the
identity of the bombers and were still intent on putting them away.
Around this time McGuinness was finally arrested in connection with
car crime. He was charged with a variety of offences, none of them
to terrorism. Material taken from his property included lists of
registration numbers belonging to MI5 surveillance vehicles.
I don't know whether he was subsequently convicted of car crime. One
is for sure, though. If he had been arrested in North London in 1992 he
would probably have been convicted and sentenced to 20-odd years in
As a result, M15 would have been able to more effectively combat the IRA
the British mainland from October 1992, when the service took primacy
That means PIRA would have been less able to embarrass MI5, which was at
the time struggling with its new role due to inefficiency and management
failure, and been less confident in its efforts to cause mayhem on the
And maybe, just maybe, Bishopsgate would never have happened at all and
IRA would have been forced around the negotiating table much, much
[ Extracted from Punch, issue: 112, August 9 - 22, 2000 ]
Why is MI6 rather than MI5 so exercised by former M15 boss Stella
Rimington's memoirs? A couple of weeks ago, it was Foreign Secretary
Cook and not Home Secretary jack Straw, the minister responsible for
who called on her to reconsider publishing her memoirs. During a debate
Parliament, Cook told MPs that Dame Stella had not yet submitted her
to a publisher so there was "still time for her to reflect on whether it
would be right for her to do so".
But hang on. These memoirs should be of little or no concern to the
"friends", as MI6 are known in Whitehall. it is inconceivable that Dame
Stella has any specialist knowledge of its working practices, its
investigations or the identity of its agents.
At one point, M16 was calling for Dame Stella to be arrested under the
Official Secrets Act. That is really the only information, which would
rightly concern MI6 if it were to enter the public domain. But if Dame
Stella has little to say that will legitimately be of security concern
M16 then why is it so het up?
Dame Stella is, I believe, an honest woman, But her decision to publish
memoirs might have looked more credible if she had done more to open up
secret state when she was there. It is with this in mind that I believe
have cracked the code to Cook's and M16's dire warnings to Stella over
As she will inevitably have to mention the Gaddafi plot, Cook and MI6
running scared. They must know that Dame Stella will vindicate my
of the plot, as she would inevitably have been briefed on it as it
unfolded. With vindication from Dame Stella, how will Parliament and the
media be able to continue to ignore my evidence of conspiracy to murder
the part of MI6?
Punch website: www.punch.co.uk