US House of Representatives calls for Public Finucane Murder Inquiry

The United States House of Representatives has called on the British government to hold an independent public inquiry into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

Following Finucane’s death, evidence apparently emerged that British police and military intelligence agents had colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in his murder with allegations of an official cover-up of such collusion.The House voted 390-31 for a resolution urging British Prime Minister Tony Blair to widen the scope of the controversial Inquiries Act, under which the British government intends investigating the allegations.

Human rights group Amnesty International has already denounced the Inquiry Act as a “sham”.

US Republican Chris Smith, who introduced the resolution, said: “Finding answers to the questions surrounding Mr Finucane`s murder will help restore full confidence in the rule of law in the North of Ireland and ensure that any agents of the government who may have colluded in the murder of a defence attorney are held accountable.”

  • David Michael

    High time. Sad though that it had to go that far for justice.

  • Westchick

    Aside from whether or not there should be a Finucane inquiry, what gives the American government ANY right to say what the British government should do? What are they going to do, invade England if Tony Blair refuses to comply?
    Someone needs to remind the Americans to put their own house in order before telling others what to do

  • David Michael

    Westchick, it’s about seeking justice. What could be wrong with that? We’re a big global village now you know.

  • Westchick

    David,
    I understand seeking justice. I want to see a full public inquiry into Pat Finucane’s death, but it sticks in my throat that the Americans are once again telling another country what to do. How patronising and controlling. They have been doing this for years and they will keep doing it til someone stands up to them

  • David Michael

    I understand completely, Westchick. That’s why I said it’s sad it has to come to this. But who else is going to take the British government to task? I think they’ll only listen to someone carrying a bigger stick 🙁

  • Westchick

    Fair point david, although in principle we as the people who elect them should be able to make them listen, it doesn’t (or hasn’t) work that way.
    I appreciate that all efforts have to be tried to get this going, it just sticks in my throat to see the Americans interfering again. It’s starting to look like they are actually the supreme rulers of the whole world (well in their heads anyway) they dictate to governments around them world who we are at war with now and the countries follow blindly. They issue threats against other governments to make them toe the line and when they don’t they take out those big sticks.
    Like I said, if TB doesn’t authorise the inquiry are we going to be invaded for our own good?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Westchick: “it sticks in my throat that the Americans are once again telling another country what to do.”

    Realpolitik time — all countries try to tell other countries what to do, if only to tell them to sod off. Secondly, its not as if telling England that they ought to do the right thing in this affair is a controversial notion — I notice you’re not complaining about Amnesty International or the Republic of Ireland’s “intereference” in the Finucane affair.

    If all it takes to get things moving is a straw vote from one of the more exclusive political clubs in the United States, then good for them.

    Besides, its not as if other countries, including England, don’t natter on at the United States, seeking to tell them what to do. So long as the “requests” flow both ways, I’m not sure what you have to complain about.

  • David Michael

    “Like I said, if TB doesn’t authorise the inquiry are we going to be invaded for our own good?”

    LOL (or maybe not)

    Mr Cthulhu says it all really. I’d just add that since the US and UK are allied over Iraq etc, it wouldn’t do to have the UK looking bad over a justice question in front of the fuzzie-wuzzies, to borrow a colonial term.

  • Markkus

    > what gives the American government ANY right to say what the British government should do?

    What gives Amnesty International the right to say what any country should do? But I’m glad they do…

  • Pete Baker

    To channel Slugger regular, Smilin’ Jim, for a moment..

    It’s not about us.. it’s about their [and Chris Smith’s in particular] campaigns for re-election to the House of Representatives in November.

  • Canadian

    The USA telling other countries what to do has just about as much effect as the UN does.

    None.

    Just ask Iran and North Korea.

  • John

    “what gives the American government ANY right to say what the British government should do?”

    World War 1 and 2.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Canadian: “The USA telling other countries what to do has just about as much effect as the UN does.

    None. ”

    No strictly speakingly true — I would offer Taiwan and Libya as counter-examples.

    The difference between the US and the UN is that the US, on occasion, will follow through on its words. The UN is simply a corrupt talk-shop where even the silverware and comestibles aren’t safe from the diplomats in the event of a black-out.

  • Canadian

    I agree Dread but, there’s a difference. Although useless the UN is made up 180 countries (don’t know exactly) and is international organization not one loan country leaning on other’s to get what they want.

  • heck

    Westchick,

    “what gives the American government ANY right to say what the British government should do? ”

    the same think that gives the british government the right to tell the syrian government to hold an inquiry about murders in labanon.

    Syria is cooperating with the the UN inquiry into the murder of the former labanese PM.

    Honest Tony makes brutal middle east dictators look good.

  • irish in America

    Rep. Chris Smith shouldn’t have any problem getting re-elected with or without the Finucane Bill.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Canadian: “I agree Dread but, there’s a difference. Although useless the UN is made up 180 countries (don’t know exactly) and is international organization not one loan country leaning on other’s to get what they want. ”

    Mayhaps, but the idiot chorus telling the US to work through the UN, which we both acknowledge is as useful as teats on a boar hog, make it clear they want no solution, ala China and Russia vis-a-vis Iran’s nuclear (bomb) program.

    Besides, look at the recent members of the UN Committee on Human Rights… this I should take seriouslly?

  • Canadian

    Dread I think were getting off topic. Anyway I’ve
    had enough of talking about the US of A. I do think they should either revamp the UN or scrap it.

    I await becoming the 51st State ;0

  • Barcas

    “what gives the American government ANY right to say what the British government should do? “

    I am sure I saw and heard Tony Blair, only a day or so ago, advising the Americans to close Guantanamo prison because, in his (TB’s)opinion, it is illegal.

    Correct me someone, if I am wrong.

    Barcas

  • David Michael

    There’s a precedent here. In the early 1980s a number of US senators protested to HMG over internment without trial.

    Full circle Guantanamo?

  • Westchick

    Barcas,
    Has the UK government passed any resolution urging the US to close Guantanamo? No. Why? cos it’s not really their business. (and maybe cos tony doesn’t want to upset big george…)

    Dread

    “Realpolitik time—all countries try to tell other countries what to do, if only to tell them to sod off. Secondly, its not as if telling England that they ought to do the right thing in this affair is a controversial notion—I notice you’re not complaining about Amnesty International or the Republic of Ireland’s “intereference” in the Finucane affair.

    If all it takes to get things moving is a straw vote from one of the more exclusive political clubs in the United States, then good for them.

    Besides, its not as if other countries, including England, don’t natter on at the United States, seeking to tell them what to do. So long as the “requests” flow both ways, I’m not sure what you have to complain about. ”

    All countries usually do tell other what to do, and sometimes that’s called an act of war. I’m not saying that the ROI government have any jurisdiction in calling for an inquiry but they have a much greater interest in the affairs of NI (being on the same piece of land) and surely with all the joint declarations that have been made between Britian and ROI they should be able to comment on some of the events that happen up here.
    As for not condemning Amnesty, they aren’t a government. Amnesty is a NGO made up of people around the world who look to change injustice. Democracy in action. I would like to see the Finucane inquiry set up and I would like to think that groups like Amnesty would mobilise enough public support for it.

    My point is not that governments make requests from other countries, but that with the Americans it seems to be very one sided. They tell us (and others) what to do and don’t listen to requests from anyone else. (Kyoto, the WTO, even the UN). It galls me that they are setting themselves up as the legislator for the world without looking at the problems within their own country

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Westchick: “My point is not that governments make requests from other countries, but that with the Americans it seems to be very one sided. They tell us (and others) what to do and don’t listen to requests from anyone else. (Kyoto, the WTO, even the UN). It galls me that they are setting themselves up as the legislator for the world without looking at the problems within their own country.”

    For starters, NO ONE is taking Kyoto seriously, even the nations that are making all the “proper” clucking noises on the subject. By objective standards (those laid out in the Kyoto treaty), the United States is doing better than most of the same nations that are criticizing it for not ratifying the treaty and entering into its strictures, measure of a basis of actual As for the WTO, I think you will find that most nations have at least one violation, although France seems single-handedly working on crippling the whole with their agrarian protectionism and nostalgia and, as for the UN, its a impotent and corrupt talk-shop dominated by tin-pot dictatorships.

    I always find the whole “yankee go home” and “yankee shut up” mentality amusing, in so far as that on those occasions when the Americans actually decide they might take their ball and go home, the tune suddenly changes.

    As Pete Baker suggested, this is mostly about getting three hundred some odd US representatives re-elected in about six monthes, and not an effort at “telling England what to do.”

    Besides, without the United States to hold its hand, the EU lacks a great deal of political will and and almost any military prowess — take the intervention in Balkans. The EU initially told the US to stay out, this was a European problem and Europe would handle it. After a couple years of dithering, it became NATO’s (and hence, The U.S.’s) problem to solve. Funny thing, that.

  • Canadian

    Dread,

    I think that one of the reasons why people dislike the US interfering is because they only like to take action when it serves them.

  • David Michael

    Explain Croatia and Somalia then.

  • Canadian

    Talk’n to me David?

    I’m not say’n they have altrier motives all the time. How many people had to die? how much international pressure was put on them before they stood up to the plate.

    This is from the US Army website:

    “American interest in the Horn of Africa region dates back to the Cold War when both the Soviet Union and the United States competed to gain allies and influence throughout the world. In the early 1960s”

    http://www.army.mil/cmh/brochures/Somalia/Somalia.htm#p5

    Explain to me Rowanda and Darfur.

  • David Michael

    Sorry, Canadian, it was that “only” in your previous post that confused me.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Canadian: “I think that one of the reasons why people dislike the US interfering is because they only like to take action when it serves them. ”

    Sure… the billions they pump into the UN and to alleviate AIDS in Africa and hunger relief and disaster relief… they get a whole lot of “service” out those acts…

    lip service at best.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Canadian: “I’m not say’n they have altrier motives all the time. How many people had to die? how much international pressure was put on them before they stood up to the plate. ”

    Actually, the U.S. was invited to let Europe handle the Balkans by the EU, which was feeling all billy and wanted to show they could handle matters in their own back-yard, delaying any concrete action in the region whilst Europe dithered.

    This leads to a larger question — everyone wants the U.S. to be cop of the world, except when they don’t. American blood and gold is supposed to alleviate all the troubles in the world, except when it makes someone else feel bad or embaressed.

    Hey, Canadian — try and picture a world where the U.S. didn’t get involved, preferring the policy of isolationism. No Unicef donations, no food relief, no AIDS relief, no worries about what the rest of the world wanted or didn’t want — just kept to their own interests and let the rest of the world go hang.

    Now look at the world today. Which would you prefer?

  • David Michael

    My, but we have travelled far from Pat Finucane’s murder! Now I understand why it’s taking so long to set things right, ‘fess up and face, er, justice 🙁

  • Dread Cthulhu

    David Michael: “My, but we have travelled far from Pat Finucane’s murder! Now I understand why it’s taking so long to set things right, ‘fess up and face, er, justice 🙁 ”

    So long as Honest Tony wants to hide the truth, nothing you or I or 300 some odd elected officials in the US say is going to change that.

    As someone asked on another thread, if the UDR report is the dirt their willing to reveal, how ugly are the things they want to hide?

  • Canadian

    Hey Dread

    Lots of countries give aid all the time and the US is right at the top of that list. It doesn’t mean it’s ok to throw their wait around. Is it? I wish I could argue my point with you Dread more but, unfortunately I’m at work 🙁

  • Bunter

    Even the dogs on the street know what happen WHY? do we need the yanks telling us what to do? They havent told us who really killed JFK, Martin Luther King or were Sadam has those gynormous stock piles of WMD hidden.

    We have Bush,Cheney and their cirlce of friends raking in MILLIONS of dollars daily in war profiteering, from the misery of Iraq and their own boys dieing for OIL! talk about holding inquiries??

    Again so typical of the Mick Yanks who haven’t set foot back on Irish soil for 200 bloddy years. Clean up your own hugely corrupt house & Government before even daring to tell the British Government what to do about an IRA sympathiser who was murdered by scum UFF no minds, with the help of FRU and the RUC. See sorted. That simple inquirey rests!

  • Brian Boru

    I am grateful for the support of the US Congress and especially the Irish-American caucus. Their ancestors who were starved out of Ireland would be very proud of their role in helping to bring justice to their homeland. Sadly though I don’t think the Brits will listen without pressure from the top, and needing Blair to act as political cover over Iraq may well deter Bush from turning the screws. Also I think that much of the Establishment are involved in Finucane up to their eyes so they won’t want their skeletons to be released from their closets. Such is the sinister secrecy of the British state. Oh well.