OMAGH POTREBBE RIPETERSI
Norman Baxter invita il governo a non sottovalutare la minaccia dissidente
Norman Baxter, che ha condotto l’inchiesta sulla strage di Omagh del 1998, ha allertato il governo a riconoscere l’effettiva pericolosità dei dissidenti, rivolgendosi ad una commissione investigativa riunita per discutere del tristemente famoso attentato.
“Sarebbe una dimenticanza da parte mia, non avvertire questa commissione, che tra 10 anni potremmo essere seduti nuovamente quì a discutere di atrocità, perché il governo e le autorità non sono riuscite a riconoscere ciò che sta accadendo.”
Baxter che è stato anche l’ex capo del PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch, ha ricordato come la politica in materia di sicurezza stia scendendo al livello del 1990, con il rischio di arrivare a ripetere gli stessi errori di quell’epoca.
Riallacciandosi al discorso sulla strage di Omagh, Baxter, pur sostenendo che l’attentato sarebbe stato comunque inevitabile, è convinto fosse mancato un qualsiasi tentativo di intervenire sostenendo come nemmeno l’intelligence sia stata messa a disposizione del team tutt’ora predisposto alle indagini, “ma se le cose, come numeri di telefono, sia il giorno o nel periodo precedente ad Omagh, erano disponibili all’interno della comunità di intelligence e avrebbero dovuto essere condivise con gli investigatori in una fase molto precoce”.
Omagh bombing ‘could be repeated’ (BBC News Northern Ireland)
Another attack like the Omagh bomb could happen because a blind eye is being turned to dissident republicans, a former senior policeman has claimed.
Norman Baxter, who led the investigation into the 1998 atrocity, said the government needed to recognise the danger posed by dissidents.
Mr Baxter made his comments to an MPs’ committee investigating intelligence surrounding the 1998 Omagh bombing.
He also warned them the border area of NI was again vulnerable to attack.
“We have a blind eye being turned to dissident activity and I have to say that the border is exposed again,” he said.
“It would be remiss of me not to advise this committee that you could be sitting here in 10 years time discussing another atrocity because the government and the authorities have failed to acknowledge what is happening.”
Mr Baxter, who is also the former head of the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch, said there was a policy of running down security in Northern Ireland which dated back to the 1990s.
He told the Commons committee it was inspired by political thinking and he warned that, in light of the dissident threat, the government was repeating the same mistakes now.
He said the situation was like the “Emperor’s New Clothes” where everyone carried on pretending everything was normal.
Referring to the Omagh bombing, he said the security policy at the time was a failure.
He told MPs that the government and the authorities “took their eye off the ball” before the Real IRA bomb attack on 15 August, which killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins.
Mr Baxter said that whilst he believed the bombing could not have been prevented, opportunities to intervene in the run up to Omagh were missed.
He also said intelligence was not made available to the team who were investigating the atrocity.
“I’m not in a position to know what was or was not being conducted by the intelligence community, but if such things as telephone numbers, either on the day or in the period leading up to Omagh, were available within the intelligence community that should have been shared with investigators at a very early stage,” he said.
“It is my view that those numbers, or any information, on this gang which was in existence should have been shared with investigators.”