Pat  Finucane was a good lawyer;  good enough to successfully oppose the British Government in several important 1980s human rights cases. Doing so showed lots more heart than most Irish lawyers cared to exhibit. His best-known client was IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands. But Finucane didn't discriminate; he represented Loyalist prisoners as well.

He was shot 14 times. Two gunmen knocked down the front door to his home with a sledgehammer and ran into the kitchen where Pat was at Sunday meal with his family. They shot him twice, bringing him to the floor; then one gunman stood over him, firing another dozen magnum bullets directly into his face. This was beyond murder; it was British Protestant retribution. Pat's wife Geraldine, a Protestant, was wounded in the attack. She and their three children  who crouched beneath the table had to witness this horror.

The Ulster Defense Association/Ulster Freedom Fighters (UDA/UFF) ultimately claimed responsibility. Fourteen years later in 2003, the British government's Stevens Report stated officially what was long known "by the dogs in the street"- that the killing was carried out with the collusion of police. (The Anglo-American media, ever sensitive to nomenclature, have always substituted that less familiar word "collusion" for "conspiracy".)

In 2001 retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory was appointed to investigate. Cory's report in April 2004 recommended public enquiries be established. And former policeman and UDA member Ken Barrett then pled guilty to murdering Finucane (after his taped confession, "lost" since 1991, suddenly "re-surfaced"). Barrett was given life with no possibility of parole for 22 years.

Calls for an independent inquiry grew louder. Britain enacted a convenient new law, the "Inquiries Act" which received the Queen's assent in April 2005. It granted the government power to block any investigation into actions by the state. (This act finally affirmed in law the centuries old doctrine of British infallibility in matters of torture and murder of Irish Catholic citizens.)

In June 2005, Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told a US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland that “everyone knows” the UK government was involved in the murder. But it wasn't until May 17, 2006, that the US House of Representatives passed a resolution calling on the British government to hold an independent public inquiry into Finucane's murder.

 Six days later, in a further insult to the Finucane family, to justice and to Irish Catholics, the Sentence Review Commission endorsed the shooter, Barrett for early release, and he exited Northern Ireland for parts unknown.

On  October 11 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron invited the Finucane family to meet at 10 Downing Street and issued them an official apology for state collusion in Pat's murder. But Michael Finucane said he and the family were "genuinely shocked" to learn that Judge Cory's recommendation for a public inquiry, accepted by Tony Blair, was out. Instead a simple "review" of the Stevens and Cory case files was planned. Mrs. Finucane labeled the proposal "nothing less than an insult...a shoddy, half-hearted alternative to a proper public inquiry".

On December 12, 2012, the government released results of this "Pat Finucane Review", conducted by Sir Desmond de Silva, Queens Counsel and Knight of the Most Venerable (Protestant) Maltese Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. Cameron read excerpts of the report in Parliament: 'DeSilva was asked to review whether the state was involved. 'The answer is simple: yes, it was'.

De Silva describes FRU handler Brian Nelson, hired to streamline the UDA killing machine, as "to all intents and purposes a direct state employee". MI5 used him to orchestrate arms shipments from South Africa to loyalist gangs. (While US judges were aiding Britain by jailing Irish Americans for daring to help those at home with funds and arms, the British state was feigning peacekeeping while re-arming the Protestant paramilitaries.)

De Silva insisted that ministers could not have known who was being targeted because "no records have been identified" of ministers being briefed. Yet he records a security policy meeting attended by the Northern Ireland secretary and the heads of the security forces, called precisely to discuss the traffic in information.

Cameron continues: 'Sir Desmond describes - and I quote' - "an extraordinary state of affairs... in which both the Army and the RUC Special Branch had prior notice of a series of planned UDA assassinations, yet nothing was done by the RUC to seek to prevent those attacks".

Why would Sir Desmond or Cameron think this "extraordinary"?  It's obvious that if British security provided virtually all the intelligence for the murder squads, and knew in advance of planned assassinations based on those files, and also supplied weapons and cleared getaway routes, then the British government was de facto in charge of those gangs. The UDA, UFF, UVF, Red Hand Commandos and other Protestant gangs killing Irish are (with 'plausible deniability') allied with, if not run, by London, Westminster, #10, and the Royal Family. And Pat Finucane's was a single horrific murder. What of the evidence that Britain was behind the most atrocious mass murders in modern Ireland, the bombings of Dublin-Monahan and Omagh?

Cameron focuses blame on "that terrorist group" the IRA, and pays tribute to all those officers "who defended democracy and the rule of law". He disagrees with the Finucane family's call for a public inquiry: "Indeed, the history of public inquiries in Northern Ireland would suggest that had we gone down this route, we would not know what we know today."

Does Cameron mean that had there been an actual inquiry, his government would have ensured that documents allegedly viewed in secret by Sir Desmond could have gone permanently missing, like those rifles used on Bloody Sunday, held under tight security by the Ministry of Defense, and "accidentally" destroyed before they could be examined by Lord Saville's Inquiry? Britain's vaunted "rule of law" is exposed as farce, a drug potion for the gullible.

Cameron ends up with a most vomitous demonstration of the fine British art of the big lie:  "If we as a country want to uphold democracy and the rule of law then we must be prepared to be judged by the highest standards. And we must also face up fully when we fall short."

One can dream that Irish-Americans might just this once take a moment to assess these events in their ancestral island, and express some outrage to the London government. A line or two of protest from those practicing the law, including some who regularly troll Irish newspapers and websites for new clients, might prove helpful.

Geraldine Finucane, widow of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, with her children John, Katherine and Michael Photo: REUTERS

Mrs. Geraldine Finucane: "I regret to say... yet another British government has engineered suppression of the truth of the murder of my husband... It is clear that this report has done exactly what was required: to give the benefit of doubt to the state, its cabinet and ministers, to the army, to the intelligence services, to itself...The dirt has been swept under the carpet without any serious attempt to lift the lid on what happened to Pat and so many others. This report is a sham. This report is a whitewash. This report is a confidence trick dressed up as independent scrutiny and given invisible clothes of reliability. But most of all, most hurtful and insulting of all, this report is not the truth."

© Mike Morley 2013          



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