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Finucane's murder by the state within the state

A state within a state signifies the fact that sections of the armed forces, police or intelligence services are running their own agenda, often with deadly consequences. They take it upon themselves to defeat perceived enemies of the state.

Britain is home to such a state, as is clear from the de Silva report into the murder of the lawyer Pat Finucane in 1989. Although the report is only a review of documents and not the public inquiry the family wanted, it is devastating enough.

The report uses the term “collusion” to describe the role of the RUC Special Branch, the British army’s agent-running section (FRU) and the intelligence service MI5. But it amounts to a state conspiracy to kill Finucane, who acted for Republicans in Northern Ireland.

The report shows that:

The report concludes:

The real importance, in my view, is that a series of positive actions by employees of the state actively furthered and facilitated his [Finucane’s] murder and that, in the aftermath of the murder, there was a relentless attempt to defeat the ends of justice.

So is all this in the past? Is the state now more transparent in the way it conducts its operations? Are the politicians in the know? Is the state within a state a thing no more? To think that would be a grave mistake.

Only yesterday, the actions of the secret state led to a £2 million pay out to a man who was subject to rendition – aka kidnapping – and despatched to Libya, where he was tortured and jailed. British agents have been directly involved in torturing terror suspects and helping the US in rendition operations.

Agents provocateurs have more recently infiltrated environmental activists, encouraging them to break the law, and disrupting their campaigns. They infiltrate political movements and encourage internal dissension. If a demonstration gets out of hand, you can be sure that Special Branch had a hand in winding up the action.

The state within a state is there to defend and serve the interests of the status quo of capitalism, whether or not the political will exists. Their loyalty is to the state itself, not to governments. Without a democratic transformation, the state will remain a clear and present danger to the rest of us as well as a barrier to a future without capitalism.

Paul Feldman
Communications editor
14 December 2012

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