ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS
BREHON LAW SOCIETY
IRISH AMERICAN UNITY CONFERENCE
June 8, 2013
Honorable Robert Menendez
Chairman, Foreign Relations Committee
U. S. Senate
Washington, D. C. 20510
Dear Chairman Menendez:
This will serve to follow-up our letter of March 20th regarding the British use of the U.S.-U.K. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) to obtain records from the Irish archives of Boston College.
We hope you will reiterate to Secretary of State Kerry the same concerns you expressed to Secretary Clinton about the British subpoenas.
We believe it is time for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to undertake a comprehensive look at the progress being made in fully implementing the 1998 Belfast Agreement between the U.K. and Ireland, and in the workings of the U.S.-U.K. MLAT amended and signed on December 16, 2004 and ratified by the Senate in May, 2008 (Exec. Rept.110-13).
The former treaty, called the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), has been supported by three U.S. Presidents, by Congress, and by the American taxpayer, but has not been critically examined in any detail in terms of its achievements or difficulties.
The more recent MLAT treaty has been the subject of legal challenges related to the British request for documents at Boston College.
We believe that in the instance of this British subpoena, the Cameron government has misused or been duped into a political use of the MLAT which was to be primarily dedicated to the ongoing prosecution of major transnational crimes related to money laundering, drug, or human trafficking, or terrorist investigations.
As we have previously indicated, the Committee on the Administration of Justice in N.I. has provided substantial documentation to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe of how exactly the British have undermined the goals of key ‘justice’ provisions of the GFA.
Not only have they failed to fully cooperate as in the Dublin-Monaghan bombings, but they are actively covering up the crimes intended to be investigated by the Historical Enquiries Team.
And in a supreme act of hubris, the Cameron government unilaterally dismissed a solemn obligation of the U.N. registered Treaty to allow a public inquiry into the murder of attorney Patrick Finucane.
Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, questioned how this could be indicating, “[T]his was a dark moment in the country’s history…..far worse than anything that was alleged in Afghanistan.”
It is our position that Britain’s actions, with respect to these justice provisions in the 1998 Belfast Treaty and the 2011 MLAT request for documents from Boston College, reflects a nation that is committed neither to the letter nor spirit of treaty requirements.
Why indeed would Prime Minister Cameron use a treaty intended primarily for ongoing investigations of major terrorist and money laundering crimes to seek records of dubious value for a killing 40 years earlier while the British Army was violently crushing the N.I. civil rights movement?
We hope the Committee can explore whether this subpoena request has more to do with political smear and malice than with a burning desire for the rule of law.
Moreover, we believe the Committee should clarify whether Congress ever intended for the MLAT to be used to trample constitutional liberties and permit the corruption of law in the process.
This vigilance is necessary.
Ms. Jane Winter of Human Rights Watch, an independent NGO, recently stated:
“Friends in N.I., the U.S., and the Republic shouldn’t take their eye off the ball [the GFA] …especially those in the U.S. who made …[the Agreement] … possible and kept it alive. Their scrutiny is vital to insuring that N.I. doesn’t slip back into undeclared war.”
Former Senator George Mitchell stated it more succinctly at a public symposium in NYC recently: “It is not over!”
As you know, the Chairs of the Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affair and the Friends of Ireland have recently expressed similar concerns for progress on the peace pact and the mischievous nature of the MLAT request.
We hope the Committee will consider these issues and choose to shed more light on the subject with public hearings.
If there are any questions or we can provide further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
As always we will be happy to meet at any time to discuss this further.
Mr. Brendan Moore
Ancient Order of Hibernians
Mr. Sean Downes Esq.
Brehon Law Society
Mr. Thomas J. Burke Jr. Esq.
Irish American Unity Conference
cc: Senator Bob Corker, R.M.