Interesting revelation from court documents released in Belfast (via the Detail), where Ciarán Martin, the former Security and Intelligence adviser to British prime minister David Cameron, admits that British terrorist groupings operating in Ireland during the conflict in the north-east of the country did so with the backing and support of Britain, perhaps up to the highest levels of government. Writing in a redacted letter to PM Cameron, dated July 8th 2011, Martin admits in relation to the 1989 assassination in Belfast of the Irish human rights lawyer Pat Finucane that:
“Even by Northern Ireland standards the facts are grisly. Moreover, in terms of allegations of British state ‘collusion’ with Loyalist paramilitaries, this is the big one… whilst we know of no evidence of direction or advance knowledge of the murder by ministers, security chiefs or officials, exhaustive previous examinations have laid bare some uncomfortable truths.
Paid state agents were directly involved in the killing, including the only man ever convicted of involvement in it.
[official investigations paint]…a picture of a system of agent-running by the RUC’s Special Branch and the Army’s Force Research Unit that was out of control… There is plenty of material in the public domain to this effect. …the evidence available only internally could be read to suggest that within government at a high level this systematic problem with Loyalist agents was known, but nothing was done about it.
It’s also potentially the case that credible suspicions of agent involvement in Mr Finucane’s murder were made known at senior levels after it and that nothing was done; the agents remained in place. These two points essentially aren’t public.”
In a follow up letter, dated July 9th 2011, the special advisor and Cameron confidant states that the prime minister:
“… like virtually everyone else outside MoD [Ministry of Defence] shares the view that this was an awful case and as bad as it gets, and was far worse than any post 9/11 allegation.”
The issue of Pat Finucane’s murder by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), a British terrorist organisation in Ireland long known to have been controlled by Britain’s Intelligence services, drew an official apology from the London government earlier this year, and was recently discussed again by the United States Congress and its Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Of special significance in all this is the UDA’s former status as the largest and most active British terrorist group on the island of Ireland while simultaneously being a legal paramilitary organisation under British law and jurisdiction. Despite its involvement in hundreds of gun and bomb attacks (and the demands of the International community that it be banned) the terror faction was able to openly organise, recruit and train in the north-east of Ireland and in Britain; frequently with the assistance of serving or former British paramilitary police officers or soldiers. Its notoriously public headquarters in the middle of Belfast city was a regular venue for interviews with gunmen and bombers by members of the International media, and its overall existence was based on a continuous supply of money, arms and intelligence data from the British military and security services.
Without the UDA, and the other British terror factions, Britain’s counter-insurgency war in Ireland would have been impossible. And that is why no one seriously doubts that support for these groups came from the highest levels of the British government and across all party political divides and ideologies.
- Michael Finucane testifies on Capitol Hill (irishtimes.com)
- Chilling testimony before congressional hearing on Pat Finucane death – New hearings told how informer was murdered before he could give evidence (irishcentral.com)
- Officials ‘turned blind eye’ to Pat Finucane killing (telegraph.co.uk)
- US Congress critical of UK inquiry into 1989 killing of Pat Finucane (guardian.co.uk)