Garda Keith Harrison
On RTÉ Radio One’s This Week.
John Burke reported that Garda whistleblower Keith Harrison, who lives in Donegal, believes he was placed under surveillance when he went to Galway for a meeting with members of GSOC earlier this year.
Garda Harrison met members of GSOC, which has its headquarters in Dublin, in March to discuss his complaints which were being handled by GSOC.
Mr Burke reported:
“[Following the meeting] on his way back to Donegal, he believed then that, as I understand it, he identified an unmarked Garda car which was following them from Galway back to Donegal which would indicate that they had actually followed them down there also. The complaint was then made to GSOC that, by Garda Harrison’s lawyers, that they believe their client had been followed, that this was a matter of deep concern, if it was the case that a guard who had made a protected disclosure to GSOC was being kept under surveillance whilst attending what should have been, from GSOC’s point of view and the garda’s point of view, a highly confidential meeting with GSOC.”
“An indication of how serious GSOC treat the confidentiality of those meetings is actually outlined in documents which we’ve also seen which show that that meeting was booked via a private travel company using none of the names of the four participants at the meeting to GSOC officials, Garda Harrison and his solicitor. Nobody else, other than those four people, it seems should have known that that meeting was taking place.”
GSOC couldn’t comment on the allegation, RTÉ reported.
You may recall how just under two weeks ago Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly told the Dáil:
Nineteen times myself and Deputy Wallace have raised what has been happening to whistleblowers Nick Keogh and Keith Harrison, who’s out two years surviving on a pittance with a young family. His post has been opened. Garda patrol cars cruising down a lane where he lived 25 kilometres from the nearest Garda station. The HSE called to his kids – all on Commissioner [Nóirín] O’Sullivan’s watch.”
You may also recall how, during her appearance before the Oireachtas joint committee on justice, Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan had the following exchange with Sinn Fein TD Jonathan O’Brien:
Nóirín O’Sullivan: “Am I aware of any…”
Jonathan O’Brien: “Whistleblowers being put under surveillance?”
O’Sullivan: “Absolutely not, deputy.”
O’Brien: “Ok, are you aware of any intelligence files being opened in relation to whistleblowers?”
O’Sullivan: “Deputy, I’m aware of suggestions in the media, and in public commentary, but I am personally not aware.”
O’Brien: “And if there are intelligence files in relation to whistleblowers, will they also be handed over?”
O’Sullivan: “Deputy, I believe there are no intelligence files but if Mr Justice O’Neill requires any access to any area of An Garda Siochana, he will be made fully aware, given full access.”
O’Brien: “Will you undertake to find out if there are any intelligence files in relation to whistleblowers?”
O’Sullivan: “I am not aware of any intelligence files, deputy.”
Readers may also recall how, on April 30, 2014 – at which point former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan had already stepped down as Garda Commissioner on March 25 – then Independent TD Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan told the Dáil that earlier that day he had been to the offices of GSOC on Upper Abbey Street in Dublin 1.
Mr Flanagan said he went to GSOC, with Garda whistleblower John Wilson, because he had been approached under the Garda Síochána Act by a serving member of the Garda with a serious allegation of corruption within the National Drugs Squad.
He told the Dáil that, while they were in an Insomnia café, adjacent to the GSOC offices – the same café whose Bitbuzz wi-fi network was claimed to have caused one of the GSOC ‘bugging’ security issues – Mr Flanagan and Mr Wilson felt they were being followed by an unmarked Garda car.
During his response, Taoiseach Enda Kenny suggested maybe the gardaí thought someone was dealing drugs.
Mr Kenny was asked to withdraw the comment by several TDs, including Independent TD Mattie McGrath, Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin and then Independent TD Roisin Shortall, while the then Independent TD Finian McGrath called the remark ‘out of order’.
Mr Kenny did not withdraw the comment.
Listen back in full here
Previously: Protecting Disclosures
Former Group Chief Executive Officer of Independent News and Media, Gavin O’Reilly
[Gavin] O’Reilly faced some bizarre obstacles during his years as INM chief executive. For a while, he was under surveillance by a team of people led by a former MI5 intelligence officer.
The matter came to a head on June 2, 2011, the day before INM’s annual general meeting, when O’Reilly was followed into the city centre by a group of men. This led to the Gardaí being alerted, and the men following him being questioned. Does O’Reilly know what it was all about?
“We found out quite a lot,” said O’Reilly, “and the Garda Síochána found out quite a bit. But as to who the paymaster was? No. I can only speculate, but whoever they were and whatever they wanted to do, I suspect they were probably disappointed by what they found.”
“Maybe they thought I frequented houses of ill repute, or something like that [laughs]. Probably what they found was me going into the office every morning at seven o’clock. But yeah, it was strange.”
INM said in January 2014 that it had carried out an extensive investigation of the matter and that the issue was closed.
Gavin O’Reilly in yesterday’s Sunday Business Post.
There you go now.
Previously: Gavin Gone
Today’s Irish Daily Mail
Ali Bracken and Eamon Donoghue, of the Irish Daily Mail, report [not online] that they’ve seen video footage of security staff filming protesters at Irish Water protests in Dublin.
In one video obtained by this newspaper, a [Irish Water] contractor in Swords, north Co. Dublin, assisting the water meter installers in July tells assembled protesters: “I want to make you aware you are in breach and you are being video-recorded at this moment of time and you are being video-recorded being told – and in some point in the future we may take you to court, it is an offence [against] section 12 [of the] Water Services Act.’
The worker continued: ‘But video evidence can be used at any time. I just want you to be aware of that. We now have video evidence of you breaching these rules…I’m not threatening you but I reserve the right to prosecute, and this is a promise is what I’m making (sic).’
Irish Water confirmed to the Mail last night that a contractor hired by them was recording some of the protesters. The semi-State company said in a statement that under section 12 of the 2007 Water Services Act, it is an offence for anyone to obstruct or interfere with a water services authority.
Previously: Thicker Than Uisce
Mark Dennehhy writes:
Seems the GCHQ [UK intelligence] were watching all of us through our webcams from 2008 to 2012 and shipping the data back to the NSA. And 3% to 11% of the images “contained undesirable nudity” (begging the question, what do the NSA class as “desirable nudity”?). …Charles Stross, sci-fi writer of some renown from Scotland, has the best take yet on this:
Turns out, UK law on child pornography and the GCHQ’s status as a defence agency and not a law enforcement agency, makes for a bad combination from GCHQ’s perspective (they may just have become the worst case study in child pornography in the history of the UK).
And the automatic porn filters that GCHQ were trying to use on the images collected should result in future Al Queda videoconferences being held “in the nude, on Yahoo! video chat” :D
“In a country where we expect free wifi with our coffee, why shouldn’t we have it in our schools?” —President Obama in North Carolina today
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 7, 2013
We are not questioning the legality under the Patriot Act of the court order disclosed by The Guardian. But we strongly object to using that power in this manner. It is the very sort of thing against which Mr. Obama once railed, when he said in 2007 that the surveillance policy of the George W. Bush administration “puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide.”
President Obama’s Dragnet (Editorial, New York Times)
The front page of the Huffington Post showing their feelings about the latest intelligence gathering revelations in the US. The New York Times also posted a critical opinion of their president. Ironically, Barack Obama’s office tweeted about providing wifi in schools earlier.
NSA taps in to internet giants’ systems to mine user data, secret files reveal (Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill / The Guardian)
Guardian pic via Simon N Ricketts
Previously: They’re Bugging Everyone