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A British spy, the Red Flag dossier, and Denis O'Brien - Irish Times report.

Cato

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Quite an incredible story in Saturday's Irish Times. It is one of the few stories that the Irish Times has broken in the last few years and one that required several months of research and checking by it's author Peter Murtagh. As you read it, seek, between the lines, for what has been left unsaid because of the lawyers running their ruler over it with their eye firmly on Irish defamation laws and on one of Ireland's most prolific defamation plaintiffs.

The story details the activity of a British subject engaging in espionage against members of Dáil Éireann and Irish journalists, seeking to gain information on the sources of leaks damaging to Denis O'Brien that had, and continue to be, provided to TDs within the Dáil.

Mark Hollingsworth posed as a journalist working for the UK Sunday Times (they have denied that they had anything to do with him) who was seeking to do a profile piece on Ireland's oligarch, Denis O'Brien. However, early into discussions on this with TDs, journalists, and others to the subject of the source of the leaks against O'Brien.

At some point he was provided with a file by the communications company Red Flag that contained hundreds of articles and other information on O'Brien, most of it on the public recored already. Soon after this, a memory stick containing that file presented itself on O'Brien's desk - it should be noted that O'Brien has always denied any knowledge of the provenance of the memory stick or the information on it. This led to a case being taken by O'Brien against Red Flag that is ongoing.

Murtagh goes on to detail the links between several Irish business figures, including O'Brien, a security company in London and Hollingsworth.

Denis O

For many years, Mark Hollingsworth has used his role as a journalist and author to spy on people and inveigle information useful to his wealthy clients. Hollingsworth is the only person known to have obtained directly from Red Flag Consulting the dossier at the heart of Denis O’Brien’s legal action against the company. An examination of his career and modus operandi illustrates how he operates.

When he came to Dublin in 2015 asking people about O’Brien, zoning in on the businessman’s critics and seeking to identify their sources of information, he didn’t tell anyone that he was working with a corporate intelligence company. Instead, Hollingsworth said he was working for the Sunday Timesbut that newspaper has since effectively disowned him.

...

Earlier this month, having previously made a number of overtures to Alaco during an extensive investigation, The Irish Times sent Ambrose Carey a series of specific and detailed questions about Mark Hollingsworth and his work with the business intelligence company.


They included questions asserting that Hollingsworth was gathering information about Denis O’Brien and the source of leaks about O’Brien; that Hollingsworth met an Alaco employee and gave them access to the Dropbox file with the Red Flag-assembled dossier on O’Brien; and on other matters relating to Hollingsworth’s relationship to Alaco.
Neither the company nor Carey has responded to any of our requests for comment.


When photographing the exterior of Alaco’s London offices from the roadway outside, a man approached from inside the building and said we did not have “permission”.


Mark Hollingsworth declined to be interviewed.
Like much else in Irish politics and media, it is the silence that is most informative in the manner of Sherlock Holmes's curious incidence of the dog in the night. While a highly newsworthy article, it received little to no attention from media owned by O'Brien or on the state broadcaster (there wasn't a squeak about it on Marian Finucane's show, despite further detail by Tom Lyons in the Sunday Business Post.

What does the NUJ have to say about the misrepresentation of a spy as a journalist - will they create any fuss? Similarly, will the Houses of the Oireachtas, or the Government, take any action on the activities of the citizen of a foreign state who was engaged in espionage against members of the Oireachtas? We'll see.

The article is long, but well worth a read.
 


Levellers

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GDPR

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It gets madder - Hollingsworth approached Catharine Murphy, claiming he was commissioned to write a big splash on DOB, but instead began pressing her on her sources.

She then submitted Data Protection requests to various British Intelligence agencies in London she thought Hollingsworth might be working with.. One of them, K2, told her they would pass the enquiry onto the GCHQ and the NSA ‘so they can monitor your electronic and other communication’

And thats before we get to DOB and the mystery USB stick ...
 

Jack Walsh

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This has been discussed on the Siteserv discussion already but is deserving of a seperate discussion.
It is a quite outstanding article, brilliantly and meticulously researched and very cleverly written.

While Hollingsworth and the various dark lords in UK based investigation houses give the article real colour, for me the eye opener is to show how rancid a kip IBRC was even after 2009 and in a wide sense an article that shows how elites can get business done easily even at a time when banks wouldn't even give an ordinary decent customer a 2k overdraft.
The level of access O'Brien had to the CEO Aynsley in my opinion was ridiculous and totally inappropriate.

Where was Elliot Ness aka Alan Dukes when all this was going on?
Did he approve of Aynsley and Woodhouse having apparently a bestie mate type relationship with O'Brien?

However, a blind man can see the real plus is that the IT has finally got a set of nads and put a heavyweight reporter with a long track record on investigative matters on it.
Their business reporters to me seem scared of O'B, they write probing type pieces on Digicel etc but never follow up.
It is clear to me they have now given Murtagh sole ownership of O'Brien and this is the IT finally saying "it's time we really got under the bonnet of O'B. This is perhaps the story of our times"
 
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GabhaDubh

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Hollingsworth has a lot of questions to answer.

What I don't understand is how a collection of published articles held by Redflag can justify legal action by the oligarch.
Mainly as a intimidation factor.
 

Cato

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Hollingsworth has a lot of questions to answer.

What I don't understand is how a collection of published articles held by Redflag can justify legal action by the oligarch.
The real purpose is to find out, or more precisely, to make public in a way that is legally reportable, the identity of Red Flag's client. O'Brien is also seeking to demonstrate that a conspiracy of some sort exists against him. He's also seems to be trying to find a way to breach the absolute privilege of the Dáil and hopes to do so by demonstrating that a TD misused their parliamentary privileges as part of the aforementioned alleged conspiracy.
 

Jack Walsh

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It is also clear based on the number of people Murtagh was able to get information on the record from that a wide range of journalists are now pooling together and O'Brien has a lot of people now asking legitimate questions of him
And not before time!
 

GabhaDubh

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The one big obstacle that D O"B cannot, as of yet control "The Privilege of the Dáil" we are blessed with this bulwark.
 

GDPR

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The real purpose is to find out, or more precisely, to make public in a way that is legally reportable, the identity of Red Flag's client. O'Brien is also seeking to demonstrate that a conspiracy of some sort exists against him. He's also seems to be trying to find a way to breach the absolute privilege of the Dáil and hopes to do so by demonstrating that a TD misused their parliamentary privileges as part of the aforementioned alleged conspiracy.
All that is needed now is for the alleged mastermind behind the conspiracy who commissioned the file of dodgy press cuttings to be a cut out for ...

Am I going too far ? :)
 

Mad as Fish

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It is also clear based on the number of people Murtagh was able to get information on the record from that a wide range of journalists are now pooling together and O'Brien has a lot of people now asking legitimate questions of him
And not before time!
Will we get to see just how far into the functioning of Ireland as a country he has sunk his claws? There are several cases we know about where he has been looked after by the 'establishment', it will be interesting to see what else might be unearthed. I'm sure we only know the half of it.
 

Polly Ticks

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I might just start reading the IT again!

Fair play to them.. great to see journalists doing their job.
 

cyberianpan

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Over the years I've observed significant politics. ie bias aimed towards aiding Denis O'Brien

The Irish Times has undertaken a significant investigation, culminating in today's lead story, in which unorthodox attacks, using tradecraft and so on are detailed

That such techniques are in play here is of grave concwrn, as I clearly pointed out our counter/intelligence capacity is not great

Yet, a p. ie moderator zoos it?
Ireland's ability to withstand unorthodox attacks, e.g. Mark Hollingsworth

Are p. ie moderators on "team Denis" , or merely angling for a place on it?

cyp
Second most read story on the Irish Times website has been censored by the politics.ie Moditariat

Sent to the Zoo, where significantly less than 90% of usual readers are eligible to read it...

Furthermore, my thread was on the more general issue, rather than this specific instance, thus the subject matter by definition was of equivalent or higher importance

The Moditariat hasn't been able to explain why they zoo-ed it ....

The Moditariat is an opaque body:
-it's not known who controls appointments
-the identity of the moderators is unknown, nor do they even give a rudimentary idea as to what their conflicts of interest might be
-they refuse to state rules on zoo-ability
...and they relentlessly back each other up in public, for example the Mod in question has shadily claimed he had wide but "secret" backing

I've observed dozens of coverups, all aiming to defend the status quo from examination ...again...is the Moditariat stashed fully of wallies...or knaves ?

cYp

You are now the second ex moderator to do a thread on this

The issue of p.ie moderators effectively serving Denis O'Brien's interest is significant

Why does politics. ie help Denis O'Brien so much?

cyp
 

james toney

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You can tell how corrupt Fine Gael really are..and also various arms of the state by their silence on this.

Has Denis O'Brien been asked the question by them...
Did you hire a British spy to go into our national parliament to spy on democratically elected TDs?
 

cyberianpan

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The wider issue is the ability of our State to withstand unorthodox techniques , especially tradecraft and cyber

Journalists, public servants, politicians etc are prone to having private and state intelligence operators getting the goods on them, and thus being blackmailed, e.g.
-evidence of corruption
-evidence of tax evasion or other crime
-evidence of duplicity/hypocrisy
-evidence of porn use, affairs,extreme drunkenness
-evidence of racist/sexist jokes or behavior
-and so on

cyp
 

Emily Davison

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What does the NUJ have to say about the misrepresentation of a spy as a journalist - will they create any fuss? Similarly, will the Houses of the Oireachtas, or the Government, take any action on the activities of the citizen of a foreign state who was engaged in espionage against members of the Oireachtas? We'll see.

The article is long, but well worth a read.
Where do you get that Hollingsworth is a spy?

Do you think if he managed to write a good article with insights on Redacted that the Sunday Times, Irish edition, would have paid him for the story?
 

Emily Davison

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You are now the second ex moderator to do a thread on this

The issue of p.ie moderators effectively serving Denis O'Brien's interest is significant

Why does politics. ie help Denis O'Brien so much?

cyp
I will agree with you on one thing Cyp, odd how you're thread got zooed and this one didn't. It's the same subject. But I'm not believe it's a case of p.ie being afraid of Redacted. Not when most of us have been able to post whatever we like about him (as I said to you the other day). As you know I'm no fan of his and there is no doubt in my mind how he made his money (as Toxic mentioned). So my posts about him are entirely negative. But I've self censored as p.ie doesn't scare me but he who must not be named most certainly does. So if I were a mod, I'd be even more careful.
 

bonkers

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Denis O'Brien is a threat to democracy in Ireland. How he made his money is outrageous, and Fine Gael are up to their necks in complicity. The whole thing stinks.
His citizenship should be revoked. He's a very dangerous man who has done untold damage to our country.
 


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