Irish Republican News · December 3, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
We will never be allowed to hear the truth

By Brian Feeney (for the Irish News)

You have to admit they did it well, the so-called Inquiries Bill, that is. Knowing it would be a big issue for nationalists, the British government snuck it out at their favourite time for bad news, Friday, the worst news day of the week when it was certain to be buried, as indeed it was.

By Monday it was all ‘Gerry Adams at Downing Street meeting Hugh Orde’. There’s another wee twist. It’s openly admitted that the queen’s speech was really a cynical Blairite election manifesto designed to wrong-foot the Conservatives by capturing Laurna Order and that only a fraction of the thirty-odd bills promised will make it to law before the election. It’s quite likely the Inquiries Bill will be one of those that won’t make it.

So add another year’s delay to the prospects of a Finucane inquiry.

Such an elaborate encrustation of dishonesty to confirm what we all know: that the full facts of what happened in the run-up to the Pat Finucane murder in 1989 will never emerge. The new bill makes that outcome certain. The more elaborate the British government protestations of frankness, the more obvious their chicanery.

The bill is designed to hand control of inquiries to government. A minister can step in at any time and impose a ‘restriction notice’ on any inquiry. The NIO claims ‘nothing will be withheld’ from an inquiry. Really? Even if it were true, and no one believes them, who will know? A minister can specify restrictions on ‘attendance, disclosure or publication’ of anything he chooses.

Oh yes, there’s gobbledegook about allaying public concern, but in fact in the bill a minister’s powers to restrict material or access are drawn just about as widely as possible.

Needless to say, they include matters of ‘national security’. Needless to say, matters of national security are whatever any British minister at any time says are matters of national security.

We will never know the truth. Furthermore, when a restriction notice is served on an inquiry,

then the matters restricted are held secret for 30 years unless a minister places an earlier date on their release. Yeah, sure.

The bill is a perfect device to keep dirty deeds secret until they’re ancient history.

Here’s a vomit-inducing piece of effrontery from the NIO: ‘The government wants the inquiry to be able to get at the full facts of what happened.’ No, sorry. The evidence points in the opposite direction, namely that British governments will do anything to prevent anyone here getting at the full facts of what happened. Haven’t they spent 16 years at it? The reason? It’s because British governments know what happened and how awful it was: Lady Hacksaw’s government which was responsible, John Major’s and Blair’s. They know what happened because in some cases they presided over the events, or in the case of Blair’s sickening lot, Sir John Stevens has told them what happened.

That’s why they’re determined the public will never know.

The fragment of Stevens’s report that the public was allowed to see, issued in typical sneaky fashion on the day parliament rose for the Easter recess in 2003, told us that the British government allowed its agents to kill its citizens, that ‘even in their own terms’ the intelligence agencies had the ‘wrong people’ killed, that the agencies allowed people to be murdered to protect their own agents.

The cult of secrecy at whose shrine Blair’s lot worship will ensure that any report into the Finucane murder will, like the various Stevens reports, be a report to the government, not the people. Big Brother knows best.

No one knows if anyone acted on any recommendations in any of Stevens’ reports. How would they? What did we get, one per cent of the last Stevens report, 30 pages out of 3,000? How can there be democracy without accountability? How can there be accountability if anything that concerns the public is shrouded in secrecy?

So look forward in a few years time to a report on the Finucane murder with the majority of it ‘redacted’, a tawdry new Blairite word for blanked out. The people who ordered Finucane’s killing and the other murders Stevens found out about and the subsequent cover-ups will walk away. Unless of course you count the present British administration which we know has organised this latest cover-up to protect the agents who were working for Thatcher.

By the way, the Inquiries Bill allows any other inquiry already begun to be ‘converted’ into the new useless secret kind.

So much for the Hamill, Wright and Nelson inquiries.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News