The latest British inquiry into the death of Pat Finucane is again leaving massive questions unanswered.
The Guardian newspaper editorial headline said it best; “Pat Finucane murder: collusion, contrition, but not the whole truth.”
My strong belief is that the whole truth is that Margaret Thatcher ordered the Pat Finucane murder on February 12, 1989.
That is the key reason that no British Prime Minister will ever allow a public inquiry into the killing of the Belfast civil rights lawyer gunned down in front of his wife and children at his home.
He was shot 14 times while his widow, Geraldine, who was injured, tried to save him.
His only offense was to defend suspected IRA men and women too well in their court hearings.
I am not at all surprised that David Cameron uttered words of regret and then refused a public inquiry after the Da Silva report was issued yesterday.
Geraldine Finucane, a woman of immense courage, called it for what it was.
“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. Most of all, most hurtful and insulting of all, this report is not the truth,” she told reporters afterwards.
She knows what the truth is. The order to kill her husband came all the way from the top and David Cameron or any other British Prime Minister can never allow that truth to be revealed.
He can’t admit the British kill civil rights lawyers, can he?
Patrick Finucane was bringing the case of the Gibraltar 3, three IRA members shot dead in cold blood in March 1988, to Europe, which was going to be a massive embarrassment for Thatcher, who very likely gave the order for them to be shot dead also.
That court later found the three had been shot unlawfully. They had their hands up in surrender when they were shot down.
Finucane was doomed by a top government official. A member of Thatcher’s government Douglas Hogg, a Home Office minister, stood up in the House of Commons three weeks before Finucane was murdered and stated that some lawyers in Northern Ireland were "unduly sympathetic" to Irish Republicans.
He was directly referring to Finucane and signaling the killers to go ahead.
The new inquiry shows that MI5 was perfectly aware of the Finucane murder plot as were the RUC Special branch.
The Stevens inquiry into the Finucane killings stated, “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.”
Mr Hogg repeated this view...and the Enquiry concludes that “the Minister was compromised.”
In this latest enquiry, Sir Desmond Da Silva 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. She also faced massive embarrassment in Europe over the Gibraltar killings.
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 government, of whatever hue, have most resisted investigating.
Pat’s problem was that he was too good at his job of defending Irish men and women arrested for alleged crimes against the state.
He had to be got rid of. 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 hit man 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 preference known.
And all the whitewash in the world will never remove the truth about what happened to Pat Finucane.