Thursday, April 24, 2008

Taking Their Ball And Going Home

Loyalists, in league with British security forces, murdered Pat Finucane in front of his family in 1989. No one was ever charged with the crime. No one ever will be.

With the peace process active in the north of Ireland, victims of sectarian violence are seeking justice. In the case of Mr. Finucane, there was evidence that the very government that was supposed to protect all citizens was actually working to eliminate a few of the troublemakers. People like Pat Finucane, who defended nationalists in British courts.

Independent inquiries were launched for other crimes, but the Crown suddenly decided that it had to change the rules in the middle of the game when the Finucane family started asking questions. After all, when it's your boys who are looking guilty, you want to protect them from prosecution and jail time.

We'll be happy to inquire, said the Crown, but it's got to be in secret. No public hearings. No evidence released to the public. If you don't like it, we're taking our ball and going home. There'll be no hearing.

Can you say cover-up, boys and girls? The Finucane family could certainly smell it, and they refused to accept the new rules that would have made a mockery of the hearings.

Peter Hain, the Secretary of State in 2006, must have known that the family wouldn't stand for such shady dealings. He quashed the investigation, and never bothered to let Mrs. Finucane know.

On the other hand, an inquiry into Rosemary Nelson's murder is going forward. She too was murdered at the hands of loyalist thugs and colluding British forces. Why the difference? Why is one case of collusion being examined under existing rules of an open, public hearing, while another is treated like it's radioactive?

Makes a person wonder who was in charge of the colluding, and just how high up the chain of command an inquiry would climb. And who is so keen to keep their involvement a secret forever.

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