Monday, 27 August 2012

SPANISH police have launched a major investigation after exiled drugs boss 'Fat' Freddie Thompson returned to Ireland using an illegal passport.


BREACH: Freddie Thompson allegedly skipped bail to return to Ireland


BREACH: Freddie Thompson allegedly skipped bail to return to Ireland

SPANISH police have launched a major investigation after exiled drugs boss 'Fat' Freddie Thompson returned to Ireland using an illegal passport.


The Sunday World can reveal that the 31-year-old slipped back into the country last week despite being legally required to remain in Spain while cops investigate him. Thompson was extradited to Spain last November for questioning about his role in Christy Kinihan's drug empire. He was released without charge pending further investigations by Spanish cops, on condition that he surrender his passport, stay in Spain and sign on at a police station twice a month.

However, last week Thompson breached his bail conditions by using one of three passports he has in different names to fly into Belfast airport from Malaga. He was picked up in Belfast by a close associate and driven to Dublin, wearing a wig to disguise his identity.


Sources say that the criminal spent four days in Dublin and stayed with a friend of drug boss Greg Lynch in the Marylands area of Dublin 8. The safe house was just around the corner from his family home and he made his way to see his mother each day by climbing through back gardens, so he would not be seen on the streets.

Greg Lynch is regarded as being a key associate of Thompson and gardai believe he is in regular contact with him in Spain and is involved in the running of Freddie's drugs gang from Dublin. It is understood that his criminal cronies held a massive party for Freddie last weekend before he travelled back to Spain last Sunday and signed in with police in Estepona the following day.

Gardai only learned of Thompson's return on the day he departed and investigations have confirmed that he was illegally back in Ireland.


DRUG EMPIRE: Christy Kinihan


DRUG EMPIRE: Christy Kinihan

If the Spanish police can confirm that Fat Freddie did leave the country then he could be jailed while the investigation into his Kinihan links is completed. This could take another year, so Thompson is facing the possibility of a long stretch in a tough Spanish jail, which would be a massive blow to him.


A source said: "We have confirmed that Thompson was back and spent most of his time visiting his family and, more worryingly, his close gang associates, including Greg Lynch. He was staying with a close friend of Lynch's very near to his mother's house.

"We know he has three passports, but we didn't think he would be mad enough to come back."

Freddie has been living it up in Marbella, spending days working out in the gym and organising drug shipments, while hitting the town at night. He is regularly in the company of Irish criminals Gary Hutch and his cousin Liam Byrne and several gardai on holiday in Marbella have seen Thompson partying hard in the company of several women.

The father of one was extradited to Spain last November on foot of a European arrest warrant. He was questioned on suspicion of participating in a criminal organisation, the illegal transportation of drugs and the illicit trafficking of weapons.

However, despite the seriousness of the charges, the maximum sentence that the mobster is facing is just nine years in prison. The Spanish authorities did not provide any direct evidence to show Thompson is a key member of the Kinihan gang.

They claim he is a "trusted right-hand man" of Kinihan and acted as his bodyguard and chauffeur and was a senior player in the gang. They accuse him of drug and gun trafficking, but the only evidence they cite is a vague recorded conversation between Thompson and Gary Hutch about a gun not being as "big as expected".

Spanish cops say it is possible to "infer" from this that Freddie is responsible for sourcing the gang's firearms. Spanish police also say that they have recorded conversations that reveal Freddie travelled to Amsterdam to "weigh up the possibility of preparing a
large shipment of drugs which was to be picked up in Ireland".

However there is no physical evidence linking Freddie Thompson to any drugs.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Estepona Wild Fires rage on a 2km front

Police and Ambulances hurried to evacuate as wild fires quickly spread our reporter on the scene photographer the devastation


Estepona on Fire

We had a tiny little fire today, which they put out.

Then an hour later, it restarted, and spread along 2 Klm of the coast.

It was horrible seeing old people being run out of their homes, and carried through the smoke by police and ambulances.

The pictures really doesn,t do show bad it really was.many houses have gone



Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Forest fire outbreaks worsened by budget cuts

Wildfires in Spain this summer have so far claimed the lives of nine people and laid waste 132,399 hectares (510 square miles) of land across Spain, three times more than last year according to Environment Ministry figures. It has been the worst season for fires in a decade, with more than 8,000 individual outbreaks so far, some of which have decimated national parks and nature reserves. Recriminations have broken out between local authorities and the Popular Party (PP) government, with all blaming one other for exacerbating the destruction by imposing cuts to fire prevention and protection services and failing to respond quickly enough. The latest fires on the island of La Gomera in the Canary Islands have destroyed 4,800 hectares (18 square miles), or over 10 percent of the island. Some 5,000 people fled from their homes—a quarter of the population—have been compelled to evacuate. The Garajonay National Park, a United Nations World Heritage site and home to hundreds of plant species, many unique, has been devastated. It could take up to 100 years for the destroyed areas to recover. The fire on Gomera has raged for two weeks and could continue for weeks more. Seven seaplanes and six helicopters have been involved in dumping water on the fire, but complications have arisen because of the porous nature of the volcanic soil. “We have a front that is moving through the subsoil that is giving us much trouble,” said Garajonay National Park director Angel Fernandez. “We are studying alternatives, and have brought an expert analyst here to see how to fix this.” The Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) president of La Gomera Island Council, Casimiro Curbelo, criticised central government for following a “scorched earth” policy and delays in sending help. He said the “eight or ten” seaplanes sent to the island were “insufficient” compared to the 12 sent to Andalusia, where the threat was less and demanded “a permanent presence of aircraft” on La Gomera. Officials from the PP government denied they had been slow to help. Environment Minister Miguel Arias Cañete declared that his department had “met all requests for Canary promptly, without delay.” Cañete claimed somewhat disingenuously, that “In a year when my department’s budget was cut by 29.5 percent, the only part that was raised was the part for forest fires”—from €71 million to €74 million ($90 million). There can be few occasions when boasting of being spared the axe of an overall budget cut of almost a third is seen as a retort to criticism. Shifting the blame for the disaster on the regions, he added, “Each one decides freely where it will make cuts. Each region will have to analyse whether its fire prevention measures are sufficient.” Elsewhere, a smaller fire has burned hundreds of hectares on the neighbouring island of Tenerife, an important tourist destination. On the mainland two fires were extinguished last week in Cuenca and Cuidad Real after destroying over 600 hectares. In Alicante a forest fire claimed the lives of an environment department worker and a fireman, and left three injured. The country’s biggest fire so far this year, and the largest since 1991, started at the end of June. It has ravaged 49,000 hectares (nearly 200 square miles) in Cortes de Pallás and Andilla in the eastern region of Valencia. Around 1,300 personnel, including firemen, police, Red Cross and civil protection officers, along with 40 airplanes, participated. Thousands of people were forced to evacuate the area. Palls of smoke spread northwards along the coast, blocking out the sun above holiday resorts. In the north-eastern region of Catalonia two fires destroyed 10,000 hectares of land in La Jonquera, close to the French border and the coastal town Portbou, claiming four victims, all French, and injuring 24 others. Hundreds of cattle were killed. The ash and fumes reached the city of Barcelona over 150 kilometres away. With no defence of the cuts possible, politicians and ministers have attempted to blame the fires on arsonists, “irresponsible individuals”, strong winds, and high temperatures combined with a dry winter. Typical was Catalonian Interior Minister Felip Puig, who declared the fires the work of a human hand, “most certainly by a flicked cigarette” before ordering the police to pursue “those responsible”. There are, of course, environmental factors precipitating this disaster. This winter has been the driest in 70 years; temperatures have risen well above 30 degrees at the same time as humidity has remained less than 30 percent and winds have been blowing over 30 kilometers per hour. But a major factor exacerbating the extreme ecological conditions has been the austerity measures that have been imposed. In mid July, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced a new €65 billion ($79 billion) package of cuts, the third since his election last November. The latest measures came on top of previous cuts, amounting to €48 billion, agreed between the central government and 17 autonomous regions. The cuts, which have helped plunge Spain into the second deepest recession in its history, are being made to meet the demands of the “troika”—the European Union (EU), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB)—which act as enforcers for the global banks and speculators. In Catalonia, the regional government has cut between 25 to 34 percent of its budget for prevention of fires and firefighting, according to the two main unions, the CCOO (Comisiones Obreras—Workers’ Commissions) and the UGT (Unión General de Trabajadores—General Union of Workers). Back in February, at a public hearing (video), Catalan firefighters warned of the consequences of the cuts, saying that there was “an imminent problem” with regard to this year’s high-risk season. So drastic were the cuts that there were not enough funds to cover the cost of uniforms this year. According to Antonio del Río, UGT firefighters representative, “There were some people who couldn’t help extinguish the flames because they had no boots or gloves.” In Valencia, the regional government has cut €15 million from its firefighting budget, resulting in the loss of 700 jobs linked to firefighting and three fewer airplanes. According to Francisco Caballero, UGT secretary of the firefighting sector in Valencia, retirees have not been replaced, meaning that “at least 10 percent of the professionals have been reduced.” Valencia was the first region to ask for emergency funding, estimated to be around €3 billion, from the recently created €18 billion Regional Liquidity Fund (FLA). Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro has made it clear that the region will “be obligated to follow new conditions”, i.e., new austerity measures. Last week, the indebted central region of Castilla-La Mancha announced plans to cut its number of firefighters by almost a third.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Sinaloa drug gang had been arrested in Madrid

Spanish police officers working with the F.B.I. have halted an attempt by a major Mexican drug smuggling and distribution ring to establish a European operation, the authorities said Friday. The Interior Ministry announced that four people suspected of being members of the Sinaloa drug organization had been arrested in Madrid but offered few details. The ministry said the group wanted to make Spain a gateway for operations in Europe, even carrying out test runs using shipping containers without drugs. With information provided by an F.B.I. investigation that began in 2009, the Spanish police located the suspects and monitored them closely. In late July, investigators intercepted a container carrying 822 pounds of cocaine, and then moved in to make the arrests. One of the four suspects is said to be a cousin of the leader of the Sinaloa drug organization.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Masked Spanish police taking one of the two Chechen suspects, out of view, to a court in Madrid on Sunday.

Masked Spanish police taking one of the two Chechen suspects, out of view, to a court in Madrid on Sunday.
Andres Kudacki / AP

Masked Spanish police taking one of the two Chechen suspects, out of view, to a court in Madrid on Sunday.


The history of terror plots is filled with unusual schemes, from an underwear bomber to model planes filled with explosives, showing how would-be attackers are constantly hatching ideas to catch authorities by surprise.

Now questions are being raised about whether two Chechens held on terror charges in Spain were planning to launch airborne attacks with paragliders.

The two Chechens took paragliding lessons this year in a southern Spanish region renowned for the sport, authorities said over the weekend. A Turkish engineer also under arrest paid for the lessons.

Spain's Interior Ministry declined comment on whether investigators believe Eldar Magomedov and Mohamed Ankari Adamov were using the paragliding lessons to train for an attack.

But Spanish television station TVE and other media outlets say the suspects had planned to drop explosives on a shopping mall in the British colony of Gibraltar during the London Olympics.

Paragliding pilots said in interviews that the Chechens probably wouldn't have raised red flags at paragliding schools because it's easy to sign up for lessons.

There are no criminal background checks for would-be paragliders.

Students generally only have to be physically fit and able to speak English or the language of the country where the courses are taught.

Europe already has at least 100,000 licensed paragliders, many using gliders that fold up and fit into car trunks.

No attacks have been carried out using paragliders, experts said.

The chances of success of such a plot would be severely limited by the difficulty handling the gliders over cities, terrorism and paragliding experts said.

However, paragliding did feature in one recent stunt by an environmentalist that must have given chills to authorities.

The activist was arrested in May after dropping a billowing smoke bomb onto the roof of a French nuclear reactor.

Video footage captured the activist on a motorized paraglider after he dropped the smoke bomb. He circled the reactor before making a wobbly descent to the ground.

His glider's parachutelike wing was emblazoned with the name of the environmental advocacy organization Greenpeace.

Paragliding was banned in and around New Delhi during the 2010 Commonwealth Games "to provide security against any sort of terror attacks," said police spokesman Rajan Bhagat.

And authorities in Denmark banned paragliders from flying above Copenhagen in 2009, when the International Olympic Committee met to pick the winner of the 2016 Summer Games.

They prevented the use of the motorized gliders the pilots planned to use because of worries the aircraft might be able to land inside the security perimeter of an opening event attended by U.S. first lady Michele Obama and the presidents of Brazil and Russia, said Rasmus Rohlff, general secretary of the European Hangliding and Paragliding Union.

"I asked if we could fly to honor them," Rohlff said. "The Danish police said no, that they were concerned that we would be able to land in a small area, leave something there and fly off."

At the London Olympics, all aircraft, including hot air balloons and paragliders, need prior approval from authorities to fly from, into or within the restricted zones of central London and the Olympic park, according to Britain's air traffic control agency, NATS.

The restrictions are monitored by Britain's Defense Ministry, which can scramble military jets or helicopters to intercept any aircraft that enters the no-fly zone without permission.

Spanish officials haven't said where the Chechens took their lessons, but the Turkish engineer was living just outside Gibraltar in the city of La Linea in Spain's Andalusia region.

Andalusia is a popular paragliding area for tourists from across Europe, said Daniel Blanco of the Andalucia Federation of Air Sports.

"Any tourist can do paragliding, and it's an important source of income here," he said. "To learn, they'd just have to speak Spanish or English, and buying a paraglider is easier than buying a car or a motorcycle."

Licenses to fly are granted by paragliding federations in each European country under rules set by civil aviation authorities, with no criminal background checks, said Eugenio de Almeida, president of Portugal's Free-Flight Federation, which covers paragliding.

Learners must provide an ID, an address and a medical certificate, then just a photo to go with the license.

They spend about 40 hours in classes and at least 40 hours flying with an instructor to get a basic license.

Taking off with as much as 80 kilograms of explosives would be possible on a paraglider designed for a pilot and a passenger, de Almeida said.

He characterized the idea of terrorist paragliders as "not an unspoken issue" but "not a topic that's on our minds."

Experts said the Spain allegation shows that attacks by paragliding terrorists shouldn't be ruled out.

The Turkish suspect had also flown remote-controlled model airplanes, Spanish authorities said.

"It sounds like an innovative terrorist tactic to be taken seriously," said terror expert Fernando Reinares of Madrid's Elcano Royal Institute. "Suicide bombers using paragliders may not provoke devastating, catastrophic attacks, but [they] can still cause an important number of fatalities in crowded places and generate widespread panic."


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