Cumann na Saoirse Náisiúnta

National Irish Freedom Committee

Irish Republican Information Service 


In this issue: 5/14/2012

In this issue:

1. Media black-out of Republicans

2 . Derry, NOT Londonderry!

3. Say No to the Austerity Treaty

4. Bobby Sands remembered in Dublin

5. A celebration of the life and times of Brian Mór Ó Baoighill

6. Brian Mór - A Man You Don't Meet Every Day

7. Families reject shoot-to-kill verdicts

8. HET review must be independent say victims' families

9. Many appeals likely in Section 29 cases

10. Jail scanners to be put on trial in Six-County jails

11. Basque loses extradition appeal

12. Third time the charm in BC archives battle?


 

1. Media black-out of Republicans


 

IN A letter to the Irish Times on May 5, 2012, Des Dalton, President, Republican Sinn Féin, said:


 

Sir, your editorial of May 1 entitled ‘Still a capacity for mayhem’ displayed an inability to draw any lessons from our history coupled with an unwillingness to even acknowledge the existence of, let alone engage with, the Éire Nua proposals for a Federal Ireland as a credible and coherent alternative to the present failed partitionist set-up.


 

In the past Republican Sinn Féin offered to engage in debate through the offices of your paper on the merits of the Éire Nua, an offer, which, sadly was not taken up.


 

You declare that Republicans who have rightly identified the failure of the Stormont Agreement to deliver a just and last peace for the people of Ireland “appear beyond talking to”. This is indicative of a mindset which in the past condemned generations of our people to conflict and war because of its unwillingness to engage with all of the issues including the fundamental cause of that conflict and war – that is continued British occupation and partition. It is in short the mentality which gave rise to the Section 31 broadcasting ban on Irish Republicans.


 

With honourable exceptions the mainstream media have simply parroted official line peddled by Stormont, Leinster House and Westminster that the Six-County state is now a normal democratic society. The reality is far removed from this. The Six-County State remains an undemocratic and sectarian statelet. The Stormont Assembly has an executive with no opposition while implementing a system which forces people to designate themselves along sectarian lines. The state itself continues to rely on draconian legislation, non-jury courts and a paramilitary police force to enforce its writ. The internment without-trial of Republican veterans such as Martin Corey and Marian Price along with the ongoing struggle for political status by the Republican prisoners in Maghaberry prison all point to the abnormality of this state.


 

In 1998 during the two state referenda on the Stormont Agreement and the amendment of Articles 2 and 3 of the 1937 26-County constitution Republican Sinn Féin pointed out that the agreement failed on two levels. 1. It failed to address the root cause of conflict in Ireland, which was and remains British rule and partition. 2. The agreement served only to institutionalise sectarianism and would lead only to an increased polarisation of the two communities. This is an analysis, which has been borne out by a number of independent studies including figures released by statutory bodies within the Six Counties.


 

As an alternative to all of this Republican Sinn Féin have consistently advocated the Éire Nua programme as a non-sectarian and democratic way forward. With its provision for decentralisation of decision making powers from national to provincial, to regional, right down to local or community level it gives all sections of the Irish people a real voice and involvement in the decisions that affect them. On each occasion these proposals have been put to unionists they have been acknowledged as a workable alternative and indeed your one of your columnists, David Adams writing in the Irish Times on December 3 2009 said that it was the only serious attempt to outline what a united Ireland would mean: “The Éire Nua document, authored by Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Dáithí Ó Conaill in the 1970s, remains the only serious bid by any strand of nationalism or republicanism to address the issue at all.”


 

Éire Nua includes a Draft Charter of Rights and would include the European Convention on Human Rights in the domestic law of a New Ireland. In retrospect, the only problem with Éire Nua was that it was produced by the “wrong” people, those who have been labelled disturbers, subversives, dissidents and terrorists – all undesirables in the eyes of the Establishments. Yet, it has been admired and praised by many scholars and academics It needs to be promoted vigorously.


 

The old order is being questioned more and more, people are receptive to new ideas and the circumstances are opportune again. Republicans have never advocated simply attaching the Six Counties to the existing 26-County state. We believe both states are part of the same problem and have clearly failed. The Irish people are in need of a beacon of hope now more than ever and way out of the tired and failed politics of partition. At a time when we are being squeezed by the old imperialism of British Rule in the Six Counties and the new imperialism of the EU/IMF we believe Éire Nua along with our social and economic programme Saol Nua are a blueprint for making the All-Ireland Republic set out in the 1916 Proclamation a reality for all of the Irish people. As in the past we are proud to provide leadership based on principled and coherent policies.


 

2. Derry, NOT Londonderry!


 

IN A statement on May 5 Michael Rooney, PRO, Mayo Republican Sinn Féin, condemned the use of the British colonial naming of our city of Derry as Londonderry in their booklet advertising An Post Rás 2012.


 

Michael Rooney stated, “This calling of in Irish city by the name forced on it by an invader cannot be accepted. The calling of Derry by its British name by a government body is the same as saying that the Irish have no place in Ireland.”


 

“The city name of Derry was agreed when the city council democratically voted to drop the name of Londonderry as it showed an English connection to the city that the English only have by force.”


 

“I am calling on the management of An Post and the government minister to openly proclaim that our city of Derry is not preceded by the name of London and that they reissue the timetable leaflet with the proper map of Ireland showing the rightful city name of Derry.”


 

3. Say No to the Austerity Treaty


 

IN A statement on May 5, 2012, Republican Sinn Féin Galway County Councillor Tomás Ó Curraoin has called for a No vote in the forthcoming referendum on the Austerity Treaty:


 

“Republican Sinn are calling for a rejection of the Austerity Treaty on May 31 as we believe it represents yet another attempt to enslave the Irish people in order to prop up a failed and undemocratic EU. Since the 26-County state first joined the then EEC,


 

“Republican Sinn Féin have consistently pointed out that the true purpose of the project was the creation of an undemocratic superstate at the expense of the Irish people. In the years since these warnings have been borne out. We have seen our fishing industry decimated, thousands of families forced off the land and the end of our sugar beet industry as just part of the price to be paid.


 

“The referendum on the Austerity Treaty is an important part of the fight back. Already we have seen Irish people organising themselves in both rural and urban Ireland on issues such as the septic tank charge, the household charge and the right of communities to cut their own turf in defiance of an attempted EU ban.


 

“This referendum will give people an opportunity to send out a clear message that they still believe in the words of the 1916 Proclamation: ‘The right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland.’”


 

4. Bobby Sands remembered in Dublin


 

THE Annual Bobby Sands Commemoration was held in Dublin on May 5 on the traffic-isle in front of the GPO, watched by a crowd of about two-hundred people in total

At about 1.45pm, led by a piper, an Republican Sinn Féin colour party , uniformed representatives from Cumann na mBan and Na Fianna Éireann , the parade left the Garden Of Remembrance in Parnell Square and marched down O'Connell Street to the GPO where were chaired by Paddy Tidd.


 

Paddy recited the names of the 22 Irish Republicans who died on hunger strike for justice between 1917 and 1981. Stirring orations were delivered by Republican Sinn Féin Vice-President Fergal Moore and Ard Chomhairle member Cáit Trainor.


 

5. A celebration of the life and times of Brian Mór Ó Baoighill


 

A CELEBRATION of the life and times of Brian Mór Ó Baoighill was held on May 7, 2012 in Connolly’s at 121 W. 45th Street in midtown. Many New York and Irish notables attended including John McDonagh and Sandy Boyer, host and co-host of Radio Free Éireann on WBAI 99.5 fm.


 

Liza Butler, recording engineer at WBAI, Martin Galvin, Larry Kirwan of Black 47, former Irish National Liberation Army member Larry Lynch; Helen McClafferty, chairperson of the Free Gerry McGeough committee; Joe Flaherty of the Waterbury, CT Ancient Order of Hibernians; Vic Sackett, Nassau County Ancient Order of Hibernians; Irish American artist Marty Walsh; Gaire Ó Dubhshláine of Clan Na Gael; Mícheál Ó Coisdelbha, Tom Costello, Pádraig MacLiam, Josh Jacobs, Dominic Bruno, Maggie Trainor, Liam Ó Murchadha, Séamus Ó Dubhdha and Jane Enright of Cumann Na Saoirse Náisiúnta; Chris Byrne, member of the band Seanchai and co-owner of Rocky Sullivan’s in Brooklyn, and Mary Ward of Republican Sinn Féin.


 

Mary travelled from Ireland to meet with Congressmen in Washington, DC on May 2nd on behalf of the Éire Nua programme and for the celebration of the life of her long-time friend. Mary’s husband Pat Ward died in 1988 on hunger strike in the 26 counties. Also attending was a teary eyed Joanie, Bernie’s long-time partner. In all there were probably 100 people who attended to honor Bernie.


 

Bernie shocked America at Christmas 1983 when he rented an electronic sign in Times Square that read “Seasons Greetings to Irish Prisoners of War” that prompted Bill Buetel of WABC Channel 7 to remark on the air “IRA hijacks sign in Times Square, more at Eleven”.


 

6. Brian Mór - A Man You Don't Meet Every Day


 

TO say that an era passed when Bernie Boyle died would be a cliché, and yet

Bernie, aka, Brian Mór, was a Republican activist, an artist and a veritable force of nature.


 

I first met him in The Bronx in a pub called Durty Nelly's, though I'd been aware of him for some time. The guy was hard to ignore. A big hulking presence he kept his cards close to his chest until you passed some unspoken test.


 

I was playing in a duo called Turner & Kirwan of Wexford back then. Bernie used to take in a set occasionally. Coming of age in the 60's he knew his music and his taste was broad. Turner & Kirwan's particular sound and fury, however, seemed to confound him Irish acid rock tended to do that.


 

Bernie must have finally judged that it was not without merit for one night he nodded at me and we began to talk. Once you had passed his litmus test he took you totally into his confidence. In that one conversation I learned his political views, ideas on art, and his rock-ribbed abhorrence of any compromise, pomp or shallowness.


 

There was something about the man that made you want to be better than yourself in order to live up to his expectations. Once you were one of his people you could change your point of view, disagree with him, but on no account could you let yourself down.



 

Later that night he took me down the street to The Bunratty. That pub opened my callow brain to the wonders of traditional Irish music. Back in Wexford jigs and reels were nailed to the floor and drained of their vigor by very nice and proper musicians; in the wild North West of the Bronx traditional music was unhinged and unfettered, mad as the mist and snow.


 

Bernie's often-hooded eyes gleamed as he watched characters and players the like of Johnny Cronin, Banjo and Accordion Burke knock my socks off. That was a gift he gave me and I still owe him big-time for it.


 

There were few stauncher Republicans. He was from the breed that initiated the Border Campaign of the 1950's and he remained uncompromising until the very end. He aspired to a 32 County Republic and would settle for nothing less. All gains and losses were measured against this golden grail.


 

He never seemed to have any doubts that unification could be achieved, whereas I was full of them. I think that was where his calling as an artist stood to him - when things were at their worst he could lose himself in the fine strokes of some painting and emerge renewed and even more ready for combat.


 

The great sadness of being part of the broad New York coalition against British intransigence and entrenched Ulster unionism was that when the peace process began former comrades turned against each other. It was inevitable, I suppose, for as one wise old Republican stated, it's a lot easier be against something than for it.

Bernie knew exactly where he stood and he could be harsh in his judgments of others, suspicious too of their motives. But as long as he felt you weren't letting yourself down he wouldn't turn his back on you.


 

At an award dinner in Queens some years back he presented me with a painting that stunned me. There in his fine hand and lovely brush work he had composed the story of my life as he knew it, from my love of James Connolly back in Wexford to the madness of the Lower East Side, from forming Black 47 with Chris Byrne on Bainbridge on down through the obvious successes and attendant failures.


 

It hangs on my wall and I treasure it; but I'll take it down and bring it to Connolly's on May 6th just as so many others will bring theirs when we commemorate a towering man and a great Irish-American during his month's mind.


 

Clichés be damned! There's no way we'll never see the like of Brian Mór Ó Baoighill again.

-- Larry Kirwan of the band Black 47, May 6, 2012


 

7. Families reject shoot-to-kill verdicts


 

THE families of shoot-to-kill victims Martin McCaughey and Dessie Grew rejected an inquest jury’s verdict that SAS soldiers had used “justifiable force” in shooting them dead.


 

On May 9 an inquest jury ruled that SAS soldiers had been justified in shooting the two men dead at a mushroom shed near Loughgall, Co Armagh on October 9, 1990.


 

It later emerged that the SAS soldiers had fired 70 shots during the incident while the men had not opened fire.


 

The dead men’s families claimed the SAS had shot them as they lay fatally wounded on the ground rather than arresting them.


 

However the inquest jury rejected the families’ claims and found the SAS had used “reasonable force” in shooting the IRA men dead.


 

“Mr Grew and Mr McCaughey put their lives in danger by being in the area of the sheds in the vicinity of a stolen car, which was expected to be used in terrorist activity,” the verdict stated. “They were both armed with guns, wearing gloves and balaclavas and were approaching soldiers who believed that their lives were in immediate danger.”


 

However the families rejected the jury’s verdict and questioned why key evidence was withheld from the inquest.


 

Speaking for the first time since the ruling, Martin McCaughey’s brother Peter said:


 

“We had fought for more than 20 years to get an inquest which could deliver an effective verdict, which properly reflected the evidence which was presented.


 

“My father Owen successfully took the Chief Constable all the way to the House of Lords to ensure that the [RUC/]PSNI handed over all documents concerning Martin and Dessie’s deaths.


 

“Yet not a single police or army log, which would have contained crucial contemporaneous information concerning the killings, could be apparently found.


 

“My father died without having seen an inquest.”


 

In 2011 Martin McCaughey’s mother Brigid took another legal challenge to the Supreme Court ( formerly House of Lords) to force the British colonial police and British army to explain what plans they had made to arrest the two IRA men.


 

“Despite this allegedly being an arrest operation, not one soldier who gave evidence could articulate what the plan was and the jury has failed to deal properly with that,” said Peter McCaughey.


 

During the inquest Mrs McCaughey was forced to take another legal challenge to ensure the families’ legal team were allowed to question the SAS soldiers about their involvement in previous fatal killings in Northern Ireland.


 

Soldier `A’, who led the SAS unit which shot Grew and McCaughey, had previously been involved in the shooting dead of another IRA man Francis Bradley four years earlier.


 

`A’ initially gave evidence at the inquest but failed to return to the hearing after it was ruled he could be questioned about his involvement in the Francis Bradley shooting and evidence appearing to show that all three IRA men had been shot while lying fatally wounded on the ground.


 

Insisting the families would not be deterred by this week’s verdict, solicitor Fearghal Shiels of Madden & Finucane, said:


 

“We’re very disappointed that the jury has returned a verdict which fails to deal with critical aspects of some of the evidence.


 

“In dealing with the shooting of Dessie Grew, Soldier `A’ said that one of his unit had shot Mr Grew, not because he presented any threat, but because he showed “signs of life”.


 

“That was a clear and unequivocal account of the unjustified shooting of a wounded man which occurred after `A’ had ordered a ceasefire".


 

“Soldier `D’, who administered what was effectively a coup de gras to Dessie Grew, could have kicked away his weapon had he genuinely believed that he posed any threat”.

Challenging the jury’s findings that the SAS had only opened fire on the IRA men as they walked towards their position, Fearghal Shiels said:


 

“Two pathologists, Dr Derek Carson, former Assistant State Pathologist in Northern Ireland and Dr Nat Cary both gave agreed evidence that the only wound which Martin McCaughey positively sustained whilst upright had entered his back and exited his chest.


 

“Clearly Mr McCaughey was not facing the soldiers when he sustained that wound and clearly therefore was not advancing towards soldiers when he was shot.


 

“Both pathologists agreed that the remainder of his wounds were not inconsistent with him having being shot whilst on the ground and that he received a fatal head wound from a position in which no soldier admits to having fired a shot.


 

“This case is already before the European Court of Human Rights, and that court will decide whether the state has breached the right to life, under the convention.”


 

8. HET review must be independent, say victims' families


 

FAMILIES of people killed by the British army in the Six Counties have called for an independent review of claims that the Historical Enquiries Team gives former soldiers preferential treatment.


 

RUC Chief Constable Matt Baggott has asked the British Inspector of Constabulary to carry out a review after criticism in a University of Ulster report.


 

However, relatives of some of those killed say that is not good enough.


 

Soldiers killed more than 150 people in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s. The killings were investigated by the Royal Military Police, but nine years ago a court ruled that those investigations had been inadequate.


 

The Historical Enquiries Team (HET), set up as an independent mechanism to review all deaths during the Troubles, established an independent team of former police officers from outside Northern Ireland to re-examine the deaths.


 

Dr Patricia Lundy is a senior lecturer at the University of Ulster who spent more than two years reviewing how the HET conducted the investigations. Her findings, published last month, made uncomfortable reading for the team.


 

She has produced a report which questions the independence of its work.


 

“I don't believe it is independent. The research indicates that the interviews with soldiers are not impartial, they are not effective and they are not transparent,” she said.


 

She claimed the HET gives soldiers special treatment by providing them with much more pre-interview material than in cases where republican or loyalist paramilitary killings are being investigated, and criticised the fact that soldiers were questioned as witnesses rather than as suspects.


 

“It is of considerable concern that there appears to be inequality in treatment where state agencies, in this case the military, are involved, compared to non-state or paramilitary suspects,” her report states.


 

Relatives of a number of people killed by soldiers met Patricia Lundy in west Belfast on May 2 to discuss her report and the chief constable's response.


 

The meeting was organised by the campaign group, Relatives for Justice, which has said the HMIC is not independent because it is a police oversight body.


 

One of those attending was Margaret Kennedy. Her mother, Maura Meehan, and her aunt were shot dead on the Falls Road in October 1971 when Margaret was nine years old.


 

She has met the Historical Enquiries Team to discuss the killings, but is not not satisfied with their response.


 

“I have no confidence in them whatsoever,” she said. “Our family has been engaged with the HET team trying to get things sorted. They actually know the names of the soldiers involved in my mother's shooting and know where they are, but they haven't interviewed any of them.


 

“We need an independent body to come in so that families will have more confidence. The HMIC is not independent.”


 

Shauna Carberry, a legal case worker with Relatives for Justice, said all of the families the group represents have the same view.


 

“They all feel very let down. Many of them had overcome many, many personal hurdles in order to come to the HET table, so for them this is a grave disappointment,” she said.


 

“Their confidence in the HET is very much at an all-time low and I think that confidence will only be restored if there is a fully independent review.”


 

 

THE 26-County police and Department of Justice are blaming each other for a massive legal error which could lead to the release of prisoners already convicted or awaiting trial.


 

Someone in either the Garda Síochána or Department of Justice apparently ignored, or forgot, one of the key warnings in Justice Frederick Morris's 2008 report into gardaí in Donegal, that arrest warrants commonly used by gardaí were unconstitutional.


 

Potentially, hundreds of cases could be involved as there are about 300 appeals to the Court of Criminal Appeal each year and those who were arrested under the “unconstitutional” arrest warrant -- Section 29 of the Offences Against the State Act (OASA) -- are likely to be freed.


 

The first case to be tested since the Morris recommendation was heard before the Supreme Court in February and it agreed with the judge that Section 29 warrants were “repugnant” to the 26-County Constitution's rulings on the inviolability of the family home.


 

In February, the Supreme Court threw out the State's case against Ali Charaf Damache, from Waterford, who was charged in 2010 with conspiracy to murder the Swedish newspaper cartoonist, Lars Vilks. Ali Damache's lawyers won their judicial review and the Supreme Court struck out the charge against him.


 

Since then, three other cases have fallen apart and another appeal is awaiting judgement.


 

The Section 29 arrest warrant was part of the State's Offences Against the State legislation dating from 1939 and allowed a garda of superintendent rank, or above, to sign a warrant allowing gardaí to enter a suspect's house and make an arrest in a case where it was believed firearms or explosives were involved.


 

Since the mid-Seventies the Section 29 warrant has been used widely.


 

Justice Morris made his recommendation after considering the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Frank McBrearty during the investigation into the death of cattle dealer Richard Barron in Raphoe, Donegal, in October 1996.


 

The judge found that the signing of such warrants had become a “mere formality” for gardaí. He also found that having considered the matters surrounding Frank McBrearty's arrest and other arrests also made under the same type of warrant, “that Section 29 warrants are not only open to abuse but have been abused in the past”.


 

He recommended “that urgent consideration be given to vesting the power to issue warrants under Section 29 in judges of the District or Circuit court”.


 

It is not clear what became of the Morris recommendations but senior detectives were not directed to reduce or end their use of Section 29 warrants. Gardaí continued using the warrant, according to sources, in a high proportion of serious criminal cases and in almost all Republican arrests.


 

On May 10 the Court of Criminal Appeal in the 26 Counties quashed the conviction of Timothy “Ted” Cunningham, found guilty of offences allegedly connected with the 2004 Northern Bank robbery.


 

The appeal court ordered a retrial in the case of nine charges of money-laundering. However, there will be no retrial on a 10th count involving £2.4 million..


 

The convictions were quashed because a key search was granted in 2005 under Section 29 of the OASA.


 

The warrant was deemed invalid in light of the Supreme Court decision in another case (the Damache case) that section 29 (1) of the Offences Against the State Act was repugnant to the Constitution.


 

Ted Cunningham’s appeal was the first to be brought on the basis of the Damache decision and the three-judge appeal court, with Justice Adrian Hardiman presiding and sitting with Justice Michael Moriarty and Justice Gerard Hogan, ruled that Ted Cunningham was entitled to rely on the Damache ruling.


 

10. Jail scanners to be put on trial in Six-County jails


 

ON May 4 it was reported that Stormont justice minister David Ford had given details of two new search technology pilot projects within prisons

.

The first, involving Millimetre Wave Body Scanners, will be operational in both Magilligan Prison and Hydebank Wood Young Offenders’ Centre during the summer.


 

The other pilot, involving Transmission X-Ray technology, can only start when the necessary authorisations have been obtained under the current regulations. There is currently no timeline for its introduction but it will also be piloted at Magilligan.


 

11. Basque loses extradition appeal


 

BELFAST High Court judges on May 3 dismissed arguments that an invalid European Arrest Warrant was issued against Jose Ignacio de Juana Chaos.


 

Claims that it would be unjust or oppressive to surrender him to the Spanish authorities due to his mental state were also rejected. Nothing has been heard from the 56-year-old since the Recorder for Belfast granted the extradition request in March 2010.


 

De Juana, who was jailed for his part in an ETA campaign of 25 murders, had been bailed to live with his wife in the west of the city while fighting the proceedings.

However he is believed to have left the Six Counties.


 

Justice McCloskey, sitting with Lord Chief Justice Morgan and Lord Justice Higgins, held that he was entitled to have the merits of his appeal considered in his absence.


 

De Juana is wanted over the contents of a letter read out in his name at a rally in San Sebastian in August 2008 which allegedly called for the armed struggle to continue.


 

He faces the possibility of further imprisonment if convicted of the public justification of terrorist actions which caused humiliation and intensified the grief of victims and their relatives.


 

Judges ruled that while the European Arrest Warrant was “unquestionably imperfect”, it was nevertheless valid.


 

In their view de Juana's surrender to Spanish authorities would advance the aims of promoting public safety, preventing disorder or crime and protecting the rights and freedom of others under the European Convention on Human Rights.


 

Issues about his mental health can be raised before the Spanish judicial authorities, the court held.


 

De Juana's legal team later confirmed they will now consider whether to try to take their challenge to the Supreme Court in London.


 

12. Third time the charm in BC archives battle?


 

THE coalition of Irish American groups spearheading the drive against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s subpoena of records in the Boston College Irish archives case has released its response to what it describes as “his inaction and indecision.”


 

“Our nation’s chief law enforcement officer,” stated Séamus Boyle, National President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, “has a duty, a legal obligation pursuant to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, to oppose any request from a country (Great Britain) that is working night and day to corrupt the Irish peace process.”


 

Boyle, in a statement accompanying the letter to Holder, pointed out that the record of Congressman Christopher Smith’s most recent hearing was replete with documentation of “British efforts to undermine the rule of law and deny justice to the victims of their misrule.”


 

Jim Cullen of the Brehon Law Society said: “Mr Holder has chosen to ignore our request and, indeed, the requests of other members of Congress including the chairman of Senate Foreign Relations, by alleging he is constrained from acting due to litigation before the federal Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit. We know of no legal reason restraining him from withdrawing his subpoena, and there are ample policy reasons for doing so spelled out in MLAT documents.”


 

President Thomas J Burke Jr., National President of the Irish American Unity Conference, welcomed the support of senators and representatives “who have joined our appeal including Representatives Sires (D-NJ) and Murphy (R-PA) and Senators Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Lugar (R-IN).”


 

Continued Burke: “Our impression is that the litigation is being used by the State Department as a rationalisation for inaction and inappropriate deference of important policy considerations to the Department of Justice’s narrow focus on legal technicalities.”


 

The coalition members also announced a nationwide “Contact a Consulate (British) campaign,” this in addition to their appeals to members of Congress for letters of support.

Here is the text of the letter to Attorney General Holder: “This is a follow-up to our letters of October 20th of last year and January 26th of this year which you replied to, through Ms Mary Ellen Warlow, Director of your Office of International Affairs, on December 8th and March 7th respectively.


 

“The letters were unresponsive to our request. We join again in asking for your withdrawal of the subpoena which you issued to Boston College pursuant to a request from the United Kingdom. Your letter noted your obligations to the United Kingdom pursuant to the Mutual legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). We have asked that you first consider your obligations as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. The actions we submitted for your consideration are, we believe, your primary obligation to the United States pursuant to the MLAT.


 

“The Treaty obligations that must be fulfilled on your part are three-fold and are included in the ratification documents. The Attorney General is to determine whether the request is for a legitimate prosecution of a crime, most notably, money laundering drug crimes cited frequently in the Senate colloquy on the Treaty.


 

“Even the judgment of a former Chief Constable of the RUC, that a prosecution would be unlikely for the crime for which documents were requested did not persuade you that the request was suspicious and, in fact, politically motivated. In your capacity you are to determine if fulfilling the request would undermine the values that support the American justice system. Mr Holder, Northern Ireland’s legal system is to law what military music is to music. Juryless courts which the NYC Bar Association urged be abandoned in the 1990s remain in place and are proving useful in the imprisonment of political prisoners Gerry McGeough, a former candidate for office, and Marian Price, a political dissident whose views annoy the British.


 

“Moreover, the most casual observer of the conflict in Ireland quickly learns that the police force in the North was lawless and corrupt beyond measure and remains so to this day. So evident is this lawlessness that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, publicly admitted that there was collusion between the murderers of solicitor Patrick Finucane and the same police who now beg this favor of you. What message is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States sending to the rest of the world if it does the bidding of a police force who murders officers of the court Patrick Finucane?


 

“Solicitor Rosemary Nelson was murdered by the same hidden hand just months after testifying before Congressman Christopher Smith about the death threats to her from members of the police force in Lurgan, Northern Ireland. Your lightening-like issuance of not one, but two subpoenas to such a contemptible police force is unthinkable and unconscionable. Finally, you are obligated to assess whether the fulfillment of the request would impair or conflict with important public policy of the United States. The United States has played a pivotal role in crafting and protecting the Irish peace process which resulted in the international treaty of 1998 and evolves precariously today.


 

“The threats to the peace process are manifest in the British failure to fulfill key justice provisions of the Belfast Agreement and its various codicils. They have chosen to ignore provisions dealing with the assassination of Patrick Finucane, the mass murder of the Dublin-Monaghan bombings and are doing what they can to bury the legacy of the Royal Ulster Constabulary in murdering hundreds of innocent Catholics.


 

“If you had consulted with the Department of State in these matters, as Ms Warlow’s letter suggests, you no doubt were made aware of all the potential ways this request not only makes a mockery of the 1998 peace pact, but serves to embolden its dissidents. We would certainly appreciate a copy of such a consultation with the Department of State, or a summary of it.


 

“Ms Warlow ends her letter suggesting further comment would be inappropriate as the matter is subject of litigation before the court. The litigation does raise important points with respect to the individuals seeking to be heard and the Attorney General’s obligations. But, as noted previously, we believe your primary obligations are much broader than those raised in the litigation.


 

“On the hand, the actions of United States Attorney General Carmen Ortiz in sending an ex parte communication to the Court of Appeals panel is an extraordinary attempt to influence the panel after arguments were finished. It is such actions by the Attorney General and not those requested by our organizations which are inappropriate and prejudicial.


 

We would appreciate the favor of any early reply to this request. If you have any question regarding the issues raised, please do not hesitate to contact us.”


 

The letter is signed by Séamus Boyle, Thomas J. Burke Jr. and Robert Dunne, who is president of the Brehon Law Society.


 

The Boston College case centers on federal subpoenas seeking oral history archived material related to the Troubles that was given to the compilers on the understanding that the material would remain confidential until after the death of the material provider. The US Department of Justice and the district Attorney in Boston have been acting based on a request for archived material from the RUC/PSNI.


 

 


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National Irish Freedom Committee, P.O. Box 358 Bronx, NY 10470

website: www. irishfreedom.net   --  email: nifcmem@optonline.net

The NIFC does not accept responsibility for the content of linked websites