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Republic vows to oppose amnesty for Troubles security forces

  • Republic vows to oppose amnesty for Troubles security forces

    BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

    The Irish government will oppose any form of amnesty for security force members as part of measures to address the legacy of the Troubles. https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/republic-vows-to-oppose-amnesty-for-troubles-security-forces-36342375.html

    https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/article36342373.ece/2cacf/AUTOCROP/h342/2017-11-22_new_36441499_I2.JPG

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The Irish government will oppose any form of amnesty for security force members as part of measures to address the legacy of the Troubles. Dublin last night pledged to challenge the statute of limitations proposal which is to be floated in a British Government public consultation document.

Human rights and victims groups also came out strongly against the move. An Irish Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman warned it would “not look favourably” on any form of amnesty for security forces or paramilitaries.

“There are no amnesties from prosecution provided for in the Good Friday Agreement or any subsequent agreements including the Stormont House Agreement,” he said.

“The government’s position is and will remain that the rule of law, including the requirement under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, for effective investigations of unlawful killings, must be upheld by all responsible authorities.” Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams accused London of an “act of bad faith” and said neither his party nor the Irish government had been consulted about the proposal while the SDLP and Alliance also voiced their opposition. Amnesty International said any statute of limitations imposed to block investigations for killings or torture carried out by the security forces would be “an utter betrayal of victims’ fundamental rights to justice”.

Relatives For Justice said the proposal was “a slap in the face to victims of state violence – it once again casts them as second class citizens”. A range of mechanisms to deal with the Troubles legacy were agreed by the parties in the 2014 Stormont House Agreement – an amnesty was not among them. The agreed proposals included a new independent investigatory unit, a truth recovery body and an oral archive.

They were put on hold due to ongoing political disagreement with republicans fearing the UK Government would cite national security as a reason to withhold documents from victims’ families. Secretary of State James Brokenshire announced in September that he was planning to launch a public consultation exercise in an attempt to move the situation on. It was expected to focus on the Stormont House Agreement mechanisms, but Sinn Fein emerged from its meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May (above) yesterday claiming that a new statute of limitation proposal had been inserted into the consultation document.

A Northern Ireland Office spokesman said the Government believed the Stormont House Agreement proposals still represented the “best means” to address legacy issues. However, he said that for it to be an “open and meaningful consultation” the public should have its say on alternative approaches, such as the statute of limitations proposal. Support for an amnesty is strong among DUP and Tory MPs . However, UUP MLA Doug Beattie (inset) said legal experts believed it would “inevitably have to be extended to cover all Troubles-related deaths and open the door to a general amnesty for everyone, including terrorists”.

He added: “We need to be very careful that in our desire to prevent former police officers and soldiers from being the victims of a witch hunt, we do not inadvertently open the door to an amnesty for the very terrorists they risked their lives to defeat.”

SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly added: “The British Government cannot allow any amnesty for any violent perpetrators.

“Victims and survivors of the Troubles deserve truth and justice . The British state and others must deliver that justice .

No-one should be off-limits to the rule of law.” Alliance Leader Naomi Long said: “Justice and the rule of law cannot be adjusted to make people differently accountable for their actions.

“In all cases, we should follow the evidence to wherever that leads.

“Members of the armed forces should be treated exactly the same as anyone else in a similar situation.”

Belfast Telegraph

References

  1. ^ Email (www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk)

Hardware-driven security in the hybrid cloud

Sponsored One of the greatest barriers to broader cloud adoption is security.

However much the big cloud providers insist that their global networks of bit barns are more secure and tightly operated than those of their enterprise customers, it is those same customers who are ultimately liable for protecting the data under their control. For highly regulated industries like healthcare or financial services, the penalties for a data breach make it simply too risky to process sensitive data anywhere else outside their own systems . This means that they are missing out on the advantages of cloud services, such as greater operational flexibility and the potential to save on some of the capital expenditure costs of on-premise IT systems. Public cloud in particular presents a number of challenges for keeping data secure, largely because an organisation is effectively choosing to run workloads on infrastructure that it does not own or control . While an organisation can take steps to lock down its own systems and deploy tools to detect or prevent intrusion, there are limits on what a customer can do to the cloud provider s infrastructure.

Encryption of sensitive data is now routine both in the cloud and on-premise, but this largely protects data only when it is at rest, stored on disk . In order to be processed, it still has to be in the clear while in memory so that any required operation can be performed on it, whereupon it is vulnerable to being accessed by an attacker that may have compromised the system. In any case, industry experts have long realised that software only solutions simply will not cut the mustard, since they can ultimately be compromised or bypassed in some way . Instead, security needs to be rooted in hardware capabilities that cannot be altered or disabled by malicious code.

There have already been attempts at building security into silicon . Intel platforms have had Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) for some time, while chips based on the ARM architecture have had its TrustZone technology for over a decade . Oracle also added Silicon Secured Memory (SSM) into it SPARC processors when the M7 was introduced. The main purpose of Intel TXT was and is to ensure a secure startup, verifying that low-level code such as an operating system kernel or hypervisor has not been compromised . But this is not a complete solution as it does not prevent malware or an attacker from compromising the system once it is up and running.

Oracle s SSM is part of the software-in-silicon capabilities built into newer SPARC chips, and is designed to guard access to blocks of memory by associating them with a version number . Code accessing the memory block must present the same version number, offering some protection against buffer overruns . But this might not prove much protection against a determined attacker that may have compromised the system, as explained by The Register1 at the time. What is required is some mechanism that can prevent access to data while it is being processed, even if an attacker has managed to penetrate the system . This is no trivial task, since a compromise of the software stack at the operating system or hypervisor level would enable an attacker to simply pluck data out of an application s memory space.

Perhaps the most ambitious move to address this problem is Intel s Software Guard Extensions (SGX), one of the new capabilities introduced to the Xeon server platform with the latest chips based on the Skylake architecture. SGX is designed to allow the creation of isolated and protected memory blocks within the server s memory space, inside which code can be placed in order to safely process sensitive data . These memory blocks are known as Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) or alternatively as enclaves. To enable this, SGX provides a new privileged execution mode and several new instructions .

These are used at runtime to create an enclave and deploy the trusted code into it, before locking it down . Once created, the enclave memory region cannot be accessed by any other code, and functions inside the enclave can only be accessed via carefully controlled entry points. In principle, SGX is somewhat similar to ARM s TrustZone, but the latter simply divides the entire system into secure and non-secure environments, with hardware enforced separation between the two . SGX, in contrast, enables multiple applications to each have their own enclave for any portion of their code that deals with sensitive data . The upshot of this is that applications running on an SGX-enabled system are split into trusted and untrusted code, with the trusted code deployed in the enclave kept as small as possible in order to reduce the possibility of security vulnerabilities being introduced.

But the chief difference in how SGX differs from previous silicon-based security schemes is that the processor itself is the only hardware component that needs to be trusted . It does not require a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) as the root of trust or for attestation of code, for example, as TXT does. Theoretically, this should mean that SGX enclaves should be secure from prying even if the operating system, hypervisor, firmware, and even Intel s Management Engine2 have all been compromised by an attacker . This is a level of security that was not practical to achieve before chips with SGX became available. The first major outing for this technology is going to come from Microsoft .

In September, the firm announced its Azure cloud platform will be the first to support enclaves secured by Intel s SGX, using servers based on the latest Skylake Xeon processors. How this will ultimately be made available to customers has yet to be fully detailed by Redmond, but the firm said it intends to implement encryption-in-use for its Azure SQL Database service and SQL Server . Azure CTO Mark Russinovich also gave a demonstration of what this might look like at the firm s Ignite conference in September. The demo revolved around a sample HR application running queries against a cloud database with two columns – social security number and salary where the stored value was protected using the Always Encrypted feature . A Stored Procedure was deployed into an enclave then passed the encryption key over a secure channel so that it was able to process queries that reference the encrypted columns.

To date, Intel s SGX has had only limited traction, but Microsoft s Azure cloud is widely used by large enterprise firms, and seems likely to drive interest in this method for keeping data secure while it is being processed . If it proves a hit, we can expect to see it implemented in more platforms, both in the cloud and on-premise there is certainly scope for a technology that can keep data secure, even if malware has compromised the server your application is running on. No single security technology can ever be totally bulletproof .

As The Register reported earlier this year, researchers found a way to extract information from an SGX enclave3 using a fiendish side-channel attack .

However, such attacks can be mitigated if the rest of the platform is carefully designed, and SGX means that Intel s latest Xeon chips offer the best foundation currently available for a platform capable of keeping the most sensitive data secure.

Sponsored by Intel

Sponsored: Getting the most value from cloud phone systems4

References

  1. ^ The Register (www.theregister.co.uk)
  2. ^ Intel s Management Engine (www.theregister.co.uk)
  3. ^ extract information from an SGX enclave (www.theregister.co.uk)
  4. ^ Getting the most value from cloud phone systems (go.theregister.com)

PSNI condemn Omagh cenotaph security alert as ‘sickening attempt to create fear’ on Remembrance Sunday

  • PSNI condemn Omagh cenotaph security alert as ‘sickening attempt to create fear’ on Remembrance Sunday

    BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

    Police have condemned a bomb alert near a cenotaph in Omagh as a “sickening attempt to create fear” on Remembrance Sunday. https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/psni-condemn-omagh-cenotaph-security-alert-as-sickening-attempt-to-create-fear-on-remembrance-sunday-36311666.html

    https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/incoming/article36311942.ece/dd8ba/AUTOCROP/h342/omagh-alert-009.jpg

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Police have condemned a bomb alert near a cenotaph in Omagh as a “sickening attempt to create fear” on Remembrance Sunday. A suspicious object was discovered on Sunday morning in the Drumragh Avenue area of Omagh and officers are at the scene.

Chief Inspector Graham Dodds said at this stage he is unable to say if or how the Remembrance event at the Cenotaph will be affected. The Remembrance Day wreath laying ceremony has been postponed. Cordons remain in place at Drumragh Avenue, Mountjoy Road, Sedan Avenue, George Street and High Street.

He said: Police would like to thank members of the public for their patience whilst we continue to work at the scene . The safety of the community is of paramount importance and we will not take any risks.

“I am aware many people are due to attend today s event at the Cenotaph however at this stage I am unable to say if or how the occasion will be affected.

” I would like to reassure the public that we are working hard to make the area safe and that we will continue to provide updates on any impact to today s event.

“This is a sickening attempt by cowards to create fear and disruption on a day when many gather to pay their respects to the brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice and must be unreservedly condemned. The alert is ongoing and police are continuing to work with the Royal British Legion and local elected representatives regarding the Remembrance event. West Tyrone DUP MLA Tom Buchanan said he was disgusted at the alert which has disrupted the annual Remembrance Sunday commemoration.

Mr Buchanan said: Remembrance Sunday is a day when we pause to commemorate all those from every background who paid the supreme sacrifice . It is disgusting that anyone would target a war memorial at any time, but on Remembrance Sunday it is an act of particular hatred.

“Omagh has a long association of service within our Armed Forces and those who served came from all backgrounds and traditions . The cowardice of those who left this device stands in stark contrast to the bravery of those who are commemorated today.

“Whilst the annual Remembrance Service has been able to continue in Omagh Academy, there has been an impact on the events which would normally take place . It is right that the security forces take all the necessary precautions and I would pay tribute to their efforts in keeping people safe. Sinn Fein MLA Catherine Kelly said those behind the alert had shown “complete disregard” for all people in the community.

She said: “The ongoing security alert in the Drumragh Avenue area has caused significant disruption to local residents and to Remembrance Day commemorations.

Everyone has a right to remember their dead with dignity and respect and those responsible for this security alert have shown complete disregard for all the people of this community.

The alert has seen the closure of Drumragh Avenue, Mountjoy Road, Sedan Avenue, George Street and High Street.

“If this does prove to be a viable device those responsible must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.”

Alliance West Tyrone representative Stephen Donnelly said urged anyone with information to contact police immediately. He said: This is a disgusting move by people who represent nobody, intended to cause as much disruption as possible for those attending the parade.

Those behind this have no regard for the lives of others in the community people are sick of this sort of behaviour and have voiced their opposition to it in the past . There can be absolutely no justification for it and I would appeal for it to stop.

My thanks go to the police and security services for their work in keeping local residents safe . If anyone has any information on this incident, I urge them to contact police immediately.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

References

  1. ^ Email (www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk)