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18 April 2002 Edition

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Two cover-ups underway

Speaking at a press conference in Belfast on Tuesday, 16 April, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing, Gerry Kelly, said that "two cover-ups are now underway" after the raid on the Special Branch offices in Castlereagh.

"There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that elements of the British intelligence community are at the centre of this," he said. "The seriousness of this situation cannot be overstated, for there are at least two cover-ups involved.

"The first relates to the information stolen in Castlereagh. This was a blatantly illegal act. Despite being fully equipped for their task, this enterprise was not entirely risk free for the raiders. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that this illegal activity was in pursuit of covering up other illegal activities on a far greater scale. Clearly, the raiders believed that the information they stole was at risk or potentially at risk - information which might well shed light on the many illegal activities and human rights abuses the Special Branch have been involved in down the years.

"The second cover-up relates to the attempt to divert attention away from the perpetrators, the attempt to create a doubt as to who was responsible, the attempt to divert attention away from what was so important in the information stolen in Castlereagh that extreme measures where resorted to.

"The raids on homes and offices, the wrecking, the arrests and the unprecedented daily press briefings by the head of the Special Branch were and are part of a massive PR exercise towards that end. Those who genuinely want a new beginning to policing must by now recognise that unless the secret society behind these activities is replaced as required by the Good Friday Agreement the new beginning will be denied and we will all be condemned to a re-run of the failures of the past.

"This is not acceptable to Sinn Féin. It should not be acceptable to anyone who signed up to the Good Friday Agreement and its absolute requirement for a police service which is acceptable, accountable, representative and free from partisan political control.

"Current policing arrangements guarantee the perpetuation of the secret society's dominance and control over policing and the disasters that it has inflicted on our society."
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