On this day, twenty seven years ago , the PIRA bomb team, which I have publicly named, [ all of whom are still alive, some active in the SF/IRA election campaign in North Belfast] killed my father and so wounded my mother that she died the next day.
Let’s focus on my mother, Ellen Sefton, aged 66, retired. Her only connection to “the conflict ” as SF/IRA now call it, was to be married to my father and to be a Protestant. No words of apology were ever uttered by PIRA about her death. She was the subject of a sectarian assassination involving collusion by the State, no different to those killings suggested by republicans. In all the forty years I knew her she never uttered a word against Roman Catholics. She was ahead of her time. She befriended gays and Jews and loved the heady atmosphere of New York. She loved its words and its freedom. She loved her family. She looked after her mother till she died at 92. She was full of life. She was my biggest fan. Perhaps that’s why it hurts so much.
Twenty seven years on , the State campaign of ‘forgive and forget’ is still being waged. Useful young idiots , solicitors, businessmen etc. are tapped up with promises of places on NGOs, slap up dinners, and photographs with the great and the good; if only they would embrace the “Peace Process”. The hurt and damage that these people cause is beyond measure.
For all of these 27 years the State has lied to me, about the big stuff, its involvement with PIRA, with Libya -and about the little stuff, who knew what about UCBTs. The State knows who killed my parents, why would they not? They had so many informers that by 1990 they had over run PIRA. So why don’t they come clean? What dead hand prevents disclosure? Who protects the like of Sean Maguire? To what end?
Who could believe the British Government about any security issue, old or current? A lesson that many of us have learned and many of the relatives of the dead of Manchester and London will soon learn. Nothing is ever as it seems and the State will always lie to you.
I miss my parents every day.
I’ll continue to fight for them till my dying breath. It has cost me every material thing I owned but that doesn’t matter.
If I don’t do it , who will?
And I still own myself….
It’ s hard to imagine [almost] the horror that John Finucane witnessed, although he was not by any means an isolated case.
I knew, worked with and liked his father, who was a contemporary.
Since then, John has qualified and practised as a solicitor, seemingly uninterested in politics, till now.
It would be difficult for an impartial observer to conclude otherwise than he is anti-British.
He and I have a common interest . As his mother put it, who sent the gunmen? I want to know who sent the bomb team that murdered my parents. Our common suspicion is that the State was involved.
Here, the stories diverge.
The other night, John shared a platform with two IRA volunteers, Kelly and Na Chullin. Worse, he was photographed beside Sean Maguire, who was part of the operation that killed my parents. Maguire was a prominent member of PIRA in 1990 and also an informer for the State. He was with Scap when they visited the house where Sandy Lynch was held. Maguire may be managing his publicity, I don’t know. Maguire, who ‘qualified’ as a journalist after his release from prison, benefitted from the general amnesty for touts, agreed some years ago by the Army Council and now lives in the Oldpark area of Belfast.
What sort of world is John currently inhabiting? Does he really believe his own publicity about equality and justice for all? Why does he share a platform with terrorists ? Was not his candidature agreed by the Army Council?
Is it the same old Finucane deal, Uncles John , Dermot and Seamus?
The fascinating thing that the Finucanes have in common with the Adams Family is that one outstanding family member , Pat Finucane and Gerry Adams never joined the IRA.
I wonder what the moderate Roman Catholics of North Belfast think?
And for whom will they vote?
And why is John Finucane, Human Rights lawyer, sharing a platform with terrorists?
It is useful to set out the correspondence in extenso. [Lawyers love Latin, no more so than Lord Carswell, that Old Instonian, whose surprising expenses claims for attendance at the House of Lords were set out in extenso in the Sunday Times.]
But I digress.
Here is the correspondence.
What is surprising about this exchange , coming in late 1988, is the pessimism shown by Peter Bell.
Note his comment “there still remains too much adhoccery in the way Whitehall grips…the kind of problem which IRA terrorism is likely to present us with over the coming months”.
Ivor Roberts has no firm proposals, in reply, except for a jolly good lunch. [Your club or mine?]
The exchange does not sit well with the analysis by those who say that by this point PIRA was heavily infiltrated and was being paralysed.
It does, however , point to the likelihood that each of the agencies, RUC , Box and Army , were very much doing their own thing with informers. That leads on to the question whether or not the RUC, with a duty to preserve life, could ever have known if informers to the Army and Box were participating in murder.
Re the Boyd Group, TOP [I] and the Assessment Staff Machinery, that is all for another day, Dear Reader.
In December 1988, a telex was sent to Our Man in Brussels.
The subject was Danny Morrison. It was a briefing for the Ambassador.
The writer invited the Ambassador to “draw on the following background on Danny”….
It contained the following information.
“Morrison was interned between 27 November 1972 and 21 December 1973,..he was editor of An Phoblacht [Republican News] in the late 1970s [mouthpiece for IRA and Sinn Fein]…currently director of publicity for Sinn Fein-postion held since early 80s…member of Art Comhairle [Sinn Fein National Executive] for several years…in 1981 he made the infamous quote ballot box /armalite unquote speech at the Ard Fheis [Sinn Fein Annual Conference]…in January 1982 was charged with entering the US illegally and deported to Canada….known to be a quote hawk unquote rather than a quote dove unquote….involved in recent talks with SDLP …vigourous in defending ‘armed struggle’ and publicly dismissing talk of a ceasefire….”
The author went on “You may also say unattributably that we have good reason to believe that Morrison is heavily involved in a central position on the military side of Sinn Fein’s activities”
In January 1990 Morrison was arrested near a house where Sandy Lynch [Special Branch informer] had been interrogated by Sean Maguire [state informer] and Freddie Scappaticci [state informer].
Morrison’s arrest and subsequent wrongful conviction got him off the streets and away from the centre of power. Was that because he was a “hawk”? If so , “cui bono?” The British? The Sinn Fein/PIRA doves? The “Peace Process”?
Answers on a postcard, Dear Reader.
Oh! I almost forgot. The author of the telex?
Much has been said about the security triumph which, the Brits say, halted the IRA and led to the Good Friday agreement.
In late 1988 a different picture was being painted by the Security Coordination Department of the Foreign Office. In a letter to the Northern Ireland Office , Ivor Roberts said that “MPSB, Box 500 and the RUC each have their role on the intelligence side”. He remarked that Operation Flavius was the exception rather than the rule and that operational matters such as the Eksund follow up are also “uncoordinated”. He said that the Security Service ” rarely get round to telling us what we want to know”.
Operation Flavius was the shooting of three IRA members in Gibraltar. Roberts complained that nobody would tell him of the detailed provenance of the Eksund’s cargo. On the latter point, the cargo came from Libya but it is very likely that the Secret Intelligence Service and possibly the Security Service had agents among those who purchased the arms and particularly the Semtex in Libya. This may well explain the reluctance of HMG to press for compensation for those killed and injured by PIRA Semtex bombs.
There were also issues between the Foreign Office and security coordination.
He characterised the position as “entrenched interests”.
He had no solution to propose, reflecting that the responsible ministers “are not, of course without their own vested interests.”
The image is of each party, RUC, Army and MI5 ploughing its own furrow, to the detriment of security. It gives further credence, of course, to the case that many killings and other operations were carried out by one arm of the State, unknown to another. Collusion by the State was not directed just against Republicans.
You may remember, Dear Reader, the somewhat sensational evidence given by Andrew MacKinlay, retired MP, to the NI Affairs Committee, on 14th October 2015.
Here is an example of what he said, in giving evidence about MK:
Kate Hoey: Do you think it was anything to do with a fear that , if he talked too much–all the contacts with people in Sinn Fein, IRA , for example –it might bring down the peace process?
Andrew MacKinlay: He would have known about the Semtex and the supplying of arms to the IRA over many years—and probably authorised it.
He went on to state that MK was a key member of Gadafy’s regime and he just could not understand why he was never questioned by British police.
I asked the PSNI about, inter alia, the alleged supply of Semtex and the allegation that , in effect MK conspired with Sinn Fein/IRA to murder.
The PSNI made contact with MacKinlay and here is what they told me:
“Mr MacKinlay has confirmed that he has no further information to add to his evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on 14 October 2015. Mr MacKinlay has also confirmed that he is not in possession of any evidence to suggest that Moussa Moussa committed a criminal offence”
Contrast this with the statement by our hero “this was a bad fellow, but I do not believe that the normal law enforcement agencies were given access to him”
One wonders how much other guff has been presented to the NIAC as “evidence”.