STEVENS REPORT 'A WHITEWASH' - FINUCANE FAMILY
The latest report into British collusion with unionist
paramilitary death sqauds has found that members of the RUC and
British Army worked with the largest unionist paramilitary group,
the Ulster Defence Association, to murder Catholics.
To the intense disappointment of the families of victims of
British state-sponsored killings in the North of Ireland, no new
information has been released, and the details of the report have
The Stevens team claim to have interviewed 15,000 people,
catalogued 4000 exhibits, taken 5640 statements and seized 6000
documents, but all of this is to be kept under wraps. Instead,
only a brief summary of the findings, all of which have long been
in the public domain, is to be made available.
Meanwhile, a major spin campaign is underway to distance the
British authorities from the actions of police and army units
which, it has been claimed, were "out of control".
Pat Finucane, a high-profile Catholic defence lawyer, was shot
dead by the UDA in front of his family at his north Belfast home
in 1989. The Finucane family have always believed the British
Crown forces were involved in his murder and have dismissed the
report as a whitewash.
"The public in general deserves more than a second report from
Sir John Stevens," said Mr Finucane's widow Geraldine. "They
a full public judicial inquiry where this is brought out into the
open, where everybody can lay their ghosts to rest and then
society can move forward."
Since 1989, London police chief John Stevens has been
investigating allegations that elements within British military
intelligence and the RUC's Special Branch were colluding with
unionist assassination squads.
During the course of the latest Stevens Inquiry, the activities
of the British Army's Force Research Unit were investigated. It
employed Brian Nelson, whose role was to gather information on
murder targets and provide this to the UDA leadership.
Revelations by participants in the murder plot over the years
revealed that the UDA was encouraged to shoot Pat Finucane by
members of the FRU and the RUC.
Details of the summary have again appeared in the media
overnight. In particular, the Stevens team says its inquiries
were obstructed by RUC [now PSNI] police and British army
officers, and vital evidence was concealed and destroyed. The
Stevens report says the Finucane murder could have been
Last February, prosecution papers were prepared relating to
Brigadier Gordon Kerr, head of the FRU at the time, and some 20
others have been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The Stevens investigating teams are said to have found
obstruction and harassment from both the British army and
elements of the RUC's Special Branch.
They say a fire at their offices in 1990 was arson and they feel
that throughout their inquiries, they were spied on and betrayed
by members of the RUC and British Army.
John Stevens says he is still determined to try to bring Pat
Finucane's killers to justice -- and he is still investigating
just how far up the chain of command the collusion might have
But Michael Finucane, the eldest son of the deceased lawyer,
described the latest Stevens report as "an embodiment of broken
promises and dishonoured commitments".
He said it carried the hallmark of all of Stevens' work in the
North of Ireland -- "secrecy and repression". Speaking in advance
of the delivery of the report, he stated that persistent British
claims that the publication would be extensive and frank had been
"The completion and publication of the report has been postponed
a number of times which has given rise to concerns that the
report itself was subject to political pressure.
"It is now clear that those concerns were justified as nothing
more than a 15-page summary is expected."
The only elements of the Stevens investigation that are open to
public scrutiny are the failed proceedings against journalist Ed
Moloney and the failed prosecution of the late William Stobie.
Michael Finucane, himself a practising lawyer in Dublin, said the
report was widely believed to be some sort of 'systems analysis';
an examination of what went wrong in the Six Counties and how
that can be prevented in the future.
"On this level also, Stevens' work is flawed," he said. "Nothing
went wrong. The 'system' worked exactly as intended and, in the
British Government's eyes, it worked perfectly.
"The policy in Northern Ireland was - and may yet be - to harness
the killing potential of Loyalist paramilitaries, to increase
that potential through additional resources in the shape of
weapons and information and to direct those resources against
selected targets so that the Government could be rid of its
enemies. Simple policy. Simple operation. Simply chilling.
"We are convinced beyond any doubt that Britain's policy included
amongst its victims one lawyer the rule of law could not stop. I
refer, of course, to my late father, Patrick Finucane. His murder
is just one example of what the British Government was prepared
to do in order to further its own ends, but he is not the only
"My family and I call upon the British Government once again to
establish a full independent judicial public inquiry into the
murder of Patrick Finucane and the policy of collusion with
Loyalist paramilitaries. The findings of the international judge,
Peter Cory, should also be made public at this time.
Many people were murdered by these agents of the British State
and this is the real price of Sir John Steven's report. It has
been paid for not just with public money but with the lives of
many people and it is for them and their families that the truth
must be known."
A battery of human rights groups have supported the call for a
full, public, international, independent and impartial judicial
inquiry into all the circumstances surrounding the 1989 killing
of human rights lawyer Patrick Finucane.
Amnesty International, British Irish Rights Watch, the Committee
on the Administration of Justice, Human Rights Watch and the
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights joined in the public appeal on
the eve of the summary's publication.
The groups also expressed concern that the reduced summary of the
full report being made available was an attempt to shield some of
its contents from public scrutiny.