So now we’ve had the publication of the latest report into the killing of Pat Finuance in 1989 courtsey of Rt Hon Desmond de Silva QC (full text here).Â The surprise thatÂ David CameronÂ articulated in the Commons today, much like with Saville, is merely the formal admission of what has long been accepted by most other people.
Pat’s widow Geraldine made a statement on behalf of the Finucane family today, which can be viewed here. The Finucanes are critical of the reports methodology and the convenience of some of its conclusions, where those who played keyed roles either happen to now be dead, or, where it is a corporate role, a defunct agency.
In her statement, Geraldine says:
“Yet another British government has engineered the suppression of the truth …Â The dirt has beenÂ beenÂ swept under the carpetÂ without any seriousÂ attemptÂ to lift the lid on what really 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”
The report itself is 500 or so pages, but a quick read through suggests that, even in its current form it throws up very challenging reports of security force direction of UDA/UFF and UVF targeting policies:
Nelson claimed to have received assistance from his handlers in relationÂ to specific targeting operations. These include:
- That A/02 told him a UDA target, T/01, had moved address: âA/02 told me Iâd be wasting my time, T/01 had moved to Downpatrick and was no longer living at Rutland St â.
-That âthe Bossâ (an unidentified member of the security forces) told him that âthe UDA should think about undertaking an âŠ bombing campaign on âŠ situated targetsâ in Eire because this âwould cause the Eire government to have a re-thing [sic] on their extradition policyâ.
-That in relation to the targeting of T/26, A/02 told him ânot to go near [T/26âs] house, he would get the photograph for me and I could give [L/49 the UFF Commander] the complete targeting packâ. The journal goes on to allege that A/02 subsequently traced an outline of a photograph of T/26âs house.
And an example of RUC and FRU input into the specifics of particular targets:
On 7 August 1987 Lyttle told Nelson that a policeman had said: âWe are aware you are targeting Sean Keenan, however you have the wrong first name.â Lyttle then showed Nelson a photograph of Thomas Keenan and said: âThis is the one we want.â On 6 April 1988 the FRU learned that L/41âs contact in the RUC had told him that the local RUC station reacted slowly to shootings of PIRA members,Â and on 2 March 1989 that detailed information on Keenanâs weekly meetings at a university had come from the RUC.
And in this excerpt where UDA West Belfast commander Tommy ‘Tucker’ Lyttle recounted how the idea to target Pat Finucane arose:
âLyttle âŠ confirmed that the original idea to murder Patrick Finucane cameÂ from two RUC detectives. While a prominent UDA gunman was being heldÂ in Castlereagh, an officer entered the interrogation room and said to hisÂ colleague: âHave you put it to him yet?â They then suggested that the UDA shoot Finucane. Lyttle said that he was so astonished at this suggestionÂ that he informed a regular contact in the RUC Special Branch: âI told him:Â âWhat the hell is going on in Castlereagh? Why is Finucane being pushed?âÂ The officer said that it would be âa bad blow for the Provos [the IRA] to haveÂ Finucane removed.â Did that amount to approval that he should be shot?Â âPut it this way,â said Lyttle, âHe didnât discourage the idea that he shouldÂ be shotâ
Whilst even Cameron made clear that Pat Finucane was targeted at the suggestion of the RUC, even at first glance, the level of interaction between security force agencies (like the Forces Research Unit) and the RUC and loyalist paramilitary groups appears so common place that encounters have a Â casual, informal, habitual air to them (like those described above).
The, as yet unexplained,Â Decision J before Motorman in 1972 put some form of suitable indemnification (against prosecution) in place for the army, and was more or less strictly adhered to ever afterwards. But it is not yet clear, from de Silva or the previous reports, where corporate decision-making to incorporate loyalist paramilitaries into operational activities of the security forces took place, when it began and when, if ever, it actually ended.
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