Andersonstown News Group
17 September 2004

`Barrett Plea was to protect UDA boss'

The protection of a loyalist godfather and his Special Branch cohorts
was the reason Pat Finucane's killer Ken Barrett pleaded guilty to
his murder this week, according to loyalist sources.

They say Barrett, who was sentenced today for murder, but who could
be out within months will go into hiding for life to avoid
being "whacked" by his former UFF associates.

He is currently in isolation for his own safety in Maghaberry jail
In December 2001 special branch agent and UDA quartermaster Billy
Stobie was shot dead outside his Forthriver home by the UFF.

Stobie had been acquitted of the murder of Pat Finucane amid
recriminations from the Finucane family that the British government
was attempting to stall a public inquiry into his killing.

It's believed that the then head of the UDA in West Belfast would be
a central figure should there be any inquiry into the killing of Pat

Some 20 more files on individuals in the British security services
were passed onto the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) 20 months
ago, but no action has been taken to prosecute or drop the action.

That will put off any inquiry indefinitely, aiding the stalling
tactic of the British, say the Finucane family.

The North Belfast solicitor was shot dead in his Fortwilliam home in
February 1989 in front of his wife and children.

Last year, retired Canadian Judge Peter Corey recommended a public
inquiry into his killing to expose the murky world of the British
army's Force Research Unit (FRU), RUC Special Branch and collusion
with loyalist death squads. Supporters of the Finucane family claim
the securocrats' resistance to a public inquiry is because any proper
probe would lift the lid the whole way to the top.

According to the Stevens III investigation the leader of the team who
targeted Finucane in 1989 was "one Eric McKee", so-called "military
commander" of the UFF.

But it was the West Belfast head, not McKee, who had suggested they
attack Finucane said the Metropolitan Commissioner's probe.

McKee was reported to have said, around six weeks before the
killing: "I have been told by someone ... 'Get Finucane. He is the
brains behind the IRA. Forget about [Gerry] Adams'."

That someone is believed to have been a member of special branch.
Barrett told BBC Panorama in secretly recorded meetings that the West
Belfast UDA man, who had suggested the murder, had been primed by a
Special Branch contact from the RUC.

Barrett said he himself had been introduced by the UDA's head man in
the west of the city to an officer who told him Pat Finucane was a
member of the IRA.

One senior UDA source told the North Belfast News it was "obvious to
everyone" this week's guilty plea was brokered with the security

"Barrett would have loved to have made a big story out of the whole
thing, but he knows this is the way it has to be.

"The only one left is the then head of the UDA in West Belfast,
that's who is being protected. I don't think we'll see Ken Barrett

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