Category: Archive

‘Committee’ source stands by 1st story

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Anne Cadwallader

BELFAST – The U.S. publishers of a book claiming widespread collusion between the RUC and loyalists say their initial source of information has now made more detailed claims about police involvement in the murder 10 years ago of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane.

The source, a loyalist called Jim Sands, has signed a sworn affidavit in Washington, D.C., accusing the RUC of threatening his life unless he agreed to recant his original claims on collusion.

Roberts Rinehart, the Colorado-based publishers of the book "The Committee," say the new evidence vindicates their book’s earlier claims, and that Sands has identified by name some of the RUC officers who allegedly conspired to murder Finucane.

Sands was the main witness and source for an explosive television documentary and the later book by journalist Sean McPhilemy claiming a conspiracy calling itself "The Committee," comprising loyalists, RUC men, businessmen, politicians and others who systematically targeted Catholics for murder.

Sands, however, later dramatically recanted and claimed he had invented the story. This led to widespread skepticism about McPhilemy’s claims in political and media circles in Britain and Ireland, a libel suit against the British Sunday Times now before the London courts and another such suit in Washington brought by two Northern Ireland businessmen named in the book.

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In another reversal, however, Sands now says that events in the North, a moral imperative and developments in his own personal life have caused him to come clean, even though he believes he risks prosecution and possibly even death.

Sands claims that RUC officers told him if he did not recant, loyalists could kill him.

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