Isn’t it funny how highly sensitive and controversial issues like the deaths of 96 people at Hillsborough or the murder of Pat Finucane get kicked into the long grass when there’s a hint of political involvement?
No, not funny… convenient.
Finucane was a Northern Ireland solicitor who had become noted for representing republicans during the Troubles (although in fact he also represented loyalists).
In February 1989, while his family were enjoying Sunday lunch, loyalists burst into their home in north Belfast with a sledgehammer and shot him 14 times in front of his wife and three children.
Inquiries led by Sir John Stevens, a former Metropolitan Police commissioner, concluded that “the murder of Patrick Finucane could have been prevented” and that “there was collusion”.
In another inquiry, Judge Desmond de Silva found that “a series of positive actions by employees of the state actively furthered and facilitated his murder and … in the aftermath of the murder, there was a relentless attempt to defeat the ends of justice”.
According to Rory Cormac in his book Disrupt and Deny,
Fingers pointed towards the FRU,
[Force Research Unit, a covert military intelligence body responsible for handling British agents inside paramilitary organisations. The book says, “although it also recruited republican informants, [it] is alleged to have been involved in a number of murders, often through providing intelligence files and weapons to loyalist terrorists]
which had used Brian Nelson, the intelligence chief of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), as an informant at the height of the Troubles. Nelson used this relationship to provide loyalist terrorists with intelligence to help them target their victims, including a dossier on Finucane, and served 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder.
Some commentators have alleged collusion at the highest levels of government, almost forming a state policy.
But he stated:
This is highly unlikely. There was no policy of collusion. De Silva found no evidence suggesting that ministers tasked intelligence agencies with assisting terrorist groups in any way. Briefed only at the strategic level, ministers had no involvement in tactical aspects or knowledge of the actions of specific agents. Neither is there any evidence that ministers knew about the plan to kill Finucane. Instead, they were kept unaware of intelligence leaks from security forces to loyalist para-militaries.
That said, he continued:
British propaganda enabled collusion. Prior to his murder, MI5 had spread information referring to Finucane amongst the loyalist community. De Silva found that MI5 material “effectively involved fanning the rumours and speculation linking him to the IRA.” The aim was to discredit and unnerve him rather than to incite violence, but it ensured that loyalists associated Finucane with the activity of his clients and could also have legitimised him as a target.
Whitehall, unwittingly or otherwise, did preside over a system conducive to collusion.
Having read that, This Writer finds it very easy to believe that the system – if you can call it that – was wide open to abuse. It would have been very easy for someone with a grudge against Finucane to ensure that someone with a grudge against republicans eliminated him.
So I tend to sympathise with his family members. If it had happened to one of my relatives, I’d want to know for sure exactly who was responsible.
And Brandon Lewis’s decision not to hold a public inquiry “at this time” sets alarm bells ringing – especially when one remembers that the UK’s government committed itself to holding an inquiry 20 years ago.
Lewis says other review processes must run their course first. Do those processes refer to events that took place after this 1989 murder, or before? If before, shouldn’t the Finucane inquiry take precedence?
And it adds veracity to John Finucane’s words in the BBC article:
The British government, at every opportunity, will continue to make the wrong decision, and will put all of their efforts into ensuring that the truth as to what happened with the murder of my father – the full truth – will not see the light of day.
Source: Pat Finucane: No public inquiry into Belfast lawyer’s murder – BBC News
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