Once again, the British are signaling yet another whitewash of the killing of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane in Belfast in 1989.

A new opinion piece in the New York Times by columnist and author Megan Stack outlines the desperate efforts by the British government to once and for all rid themselves of the Finucane murder and continue to lie and obfuscate about the collusion between British Army intelligence and loyalist killer squads.

Pat Finucane, 39, was gunned down in cold blood at his home in Belfast as his family ate Sunday lunch on February 12, 1989. The assassins fired 14 bullets into him as his terrified family looked on.

Finucane was a brilliant lawyer who was the target because he was regularly successfully defending accused IRA men and women in court.

Several half-hearted efforts at inquiry were undermined by British refusal to follow up clear and convincing evidence that collusion in the killing between Loyalists and British secret forces was carried out.

Now, the British plan to put justice beyond reach by granting general amnesty to all who committed terrorist acts, most notably their own soldiers and their loyalist henchmen. 

Previous inquiries show that MI5 was perfectly aware of the Finucane murder plot as were the RUC Special Branch. Even the Loyalist who did the killing admitted as such.

But what is really chilling is the fact that the orders came from on high to kill Finucane. How high? Quite likely, given the frantic cover-up, that the order was given by Margaret Thatcher herself.

Weeks before the killing, Douglas Hogg, a British minister in the Thatcher government deliberately put a target on Finucane’s back.

The Stevens Inquiry led by retired police chief Sir John Stevens into the Finucane killings stated in 2003: “My Enquiry team also investigated an allegation that senior RUC officers briefed the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Rt Hon Douglas Hogg QC, MP, that ‘some solicitors were unduly sympathetic to the cause of the IRA.”

Hogg repeated this view, leading the Enquiry to conclude that “the Minister was compromised.”

In his 2012 Report of the Patrick Finucane Review, leading barrister Sir Desmond de Silva QC wrote: "My Review of the evidence relating to Patrick Finucane’s case has left me in no doubt that agents of the State were involved in carrying out serious violations of human rights up to and including murder."

Those agents did not act alone, they did so on orders from on high -- all the way to 10 Downing Street.

Thatcher’s reaction to the finding that her minister was responsible for the death of a lawyer? She promoted him to Minister for Agriculture, all the better to keep him quiet.

Hogg was not alone in fingering Finucane of course. It went much higher in the government, all the way to the top.

It was a time when Thatcher apparently believed she could win the war if only those pesky lawyers would stop getting guilty terrorists off. 

The killing was sanctioned and carried out by the British state. Of all the crimes committed in Northern Ireland, the Finucane murder is the one which successive British governments, of whatever hue, have most resisted investigating.

The leader of the gang that killed him was a British special branch agent named Tommy Lyttle. The man who confessed to being the Ulster Defense Association (UDA) hitman was Ken Barrett, also a special branch agent.

The UDA man who supplied the gun was William Stobie, also a special branch agent. He was killed by the UDA, by a British agent in 2001, when he threatened to tell the truth about what happened to Pat Finucane.

Hogg and Thatcher might as well have been in the room when the gun went off fourteen times - they were just as culpable. The naming was the equivalent of painting a target on Finucane’s back - everyone knew who Hogg meant.

The British government had made their murderous intent clear.

And all the whitewash in the world will never remove the truth about what happened to Pat Finucane. The latest New York Times expose proves this story will never go away.