“Do the right thing”, Irish American Coalition asks Secretary of State Kerry

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS • BREHON LAW SOCIETY • IRISH AMERICAN UNITY CONFERENCE

March 20, 2013

Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
Office of the Secretary
U. S. State Department
2201 C Street, NW, 7th Floor
Washington, D. C. 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:

We are following up on our previous letter of February 7th in which we seek an opportunity to meet with you to discuss our concerns with British government misuse of the U.S.-U.K. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in the case of the Boston College subpoenas. You will recall that in our conference call in January, 2012, you indicated you spoke with the Attorney General who at the time assured you that no documents secured as a result of the subpoenas would be turned over to England without him first speaking with you. Mr. Holder has chosen not to communicate at all on this matter except to indicate through subordinates that the matter is currently in litigation.

Now as Secretary of State you have the duty, the statutory obligation, to consult with Attorney General Holder if you have concerns about those subpoenas that would compromise American values and undermine those U.S. policies in support of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. You indicated as much in your letter to former Secretary Clinton. However, you had the additional experience of listening to British representatives assure the U.S. Senate during ratification of the U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty that it was not their objective to pursue prosecutions pre-1998. This combined with their failure to comply with the Treaty obligation to provide a public inquiry into their admitted murder of attorney Patrick Finucane renders the credibility of the United Kingdom in this matter untrustworthy.

This is an American issue where our laws are being violated and our policies being undermined. We feel we have time and again identified the specific ways in which this is being done but would be willing to sit down again to make those arguments. The British government has publicly claimed in NYC that it had nothing to do with the subpoenas but the Home Office processed them. Home Secretary May is fully aware that the instigator of the request is a former Royal Ulster Constabulary commander with links to the much discredited Special Branch and to MI-5, the service that admittedly was involved in the conspiracy to murder Patrick Finucane. Isn’t anyone in the Department of State connecting the dots?? Isn’t it enough that the subpoena request has NOTHING to do with the purposes of MLAT as explained by Ms. Warlow of your Department to the Senate during that treaty’s adoption?

We deeply appreciate the principled stand that you took in opposing these subpoenas not alone as a misuse of MLAT but for the threats posed to academic integrity and to constitutional freedoms. Everything that has been learned about these scurrilous subpoenas since has confirmed your worst fears! We ask again that you take the necessary action to affirm America’s support for the Irish peace process, to uphold the MLAT obligations of a Secretary of State and to not compromise our values of justice and respect for the rule of law.

We stand at the ready to meet with you and your staff at any time to insure that the U.S. “does the right thing.”

Sincerely,

Mr. Brendan Moore
National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians

Mr. Robert Dunne, Esq.
President
Brehon Law Society

Mr. Thomas J. Burke Jr. Esq.
National President
Irish American Unity Conference

 

Irish American Coalition to House Committee on Foreign Affairs: Hold Hearings Now

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS • BREHON LAW SOCIETY • IRISH AMERICAN UNITY CONFERENCE

March 21, 2013

Honorable Chris Smith
House of Representatives
2373 RHOB
Washington, D. C. 20515

Dear Representative Smith:

We have sent a number of letters to you in the past 9 months regarding our concerns for Britain’s misuse of the U.S.-U.K. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty for a political fishing expedition in the Irish archives of Boston College. Although we have had several conversations with Mark Milosch on this matter and the issue of Britain’s undermining of the ‘justice’ provisions of the Good Friday Agreement, we have yet to receive a response to our request. We have recently learned that you may be considering the conduct of a hearing on such matters. This would be a welcome circumstance which we would like to know more about.

As we have noted in previous correspondence and commentary both mailed and faxed to your offices, there are four issues relating to the Agreement that a congressional hearing might shed some light on. They are:

  • England’s failure to provide complete records to the Irish government on the British Army role in the Dublin-Monaghan bombings;
  • Britain’s refusal to provide a public hearing on the murder of attorney Patrick Finucane;
  • the British corruption of the HET process which was to review the killing of over 800 Catholics; and
  • the continued internment of Marian Price and the abuse of her human rights and corruption of law to keep her in custody.

Not content with shredding these provisions for which they have not been held to account, Her Majesty’s government has sought Attorney General Holder’s assistance in enforcing subpoenas requiring documents from the Irish archives of Boston College. This mischievous initiative is prompted by the same security forces that killed Patrick Finucane and Rosemary Nelson.

American involvement in the crafting of the Irish peace pact is gradually being eroded and a mockery is being made of the tireless efforts of two Presidents’ to insure that U.S. resources helped to tangibly express that commitment.

We believe these topics should be the focus of a full House Foreign Affairs Committee and formally conducted with invitations to both the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic as well as to organizations like ours to attend and/or give testimony. A suitable time frame to allow for travel would also be appropriate.

To this end we are copying Chairman Royce and Ranking Minority Member Eliot Engel as well the Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe Senator Benjamin Cardin with whom you also serve. We would like to sit down to further discuss not only the merits of such an investigation but the logistics of insuring that all voices are heard and that the testimony and documentation is provided in full in the Congressional Record.

Thank you for your past efforts to expose some of the injustices of the conflict in Ireland. We look forward to working with you to conduct the most inclusive and productive inquiry into the 1998 Belfast Agreement and American support.

Sincerely,

Mr. Brendan Moore
National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians

Mr. Robert Dunne, Esq.
President
Brehon Law Society

Mr. Thomas J. Burke Jr. Esq.
National President
Irish American Unity Conference

 

 

Irish American Coalition letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Menendez: Congressional Hearings Needed Now

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS • BREHON LAW SOCIETY • IRISH AMERICAN UNITY CONFERENCE

March 21, 2013

Honorable Robert Menendez
Member, U. S. Senator for New Jersey
Washington, D. C. 20510

Dear Senator Menendez:

We have sent a number of letters to you in the past 9 months regarding our concerns for Britain’s misuse of the U.S.-U.K. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) for a political fishing expedition in the Irish archives of Boston College. We have also raised the issue of the British government undermining the ‘justice’ provisions of the Good Friday Agreement. Your letter to Secretary of State Clinton last year was most welcome in regard to these matters but there still has been no resolution or exposure of these issues. We seek your assistance in two ways. First, as we indicated in our previous letter, we trust you will send to Secretary of State John Kerry a letter similar to the one you sent to Secretary Clinton. We are not taking for granted his support in the past on this issue. While the merits of the issue are as strong as ever, he now has a President to report to who may have differing priorities.

Secondly, we have noted in previous correspondence and commentary both mailed and faxed to your offices, there are four ‘justice’ issues relating to the Agreement on which a congressional hearing might shed some light. They are:

• England’s failure to provide complete records to the Irish government on the British Army role in the Dublin-Monaghan bombings;
• Britain’s refusal to provide a public hearing on the murder of attorney Patrick Finucane;
• the British corruption of the HET process which was to review the killing of over 800 Catholics; and
• the continued internment of Marian Price, Martin Corey and others, the abuse of their human rights and the corruption of law to keep them imprisoned.

Not content with shredding the above peace pact provisions, England has now enlisted the U. S. government to undermine the accord; a unique success story for American foreign policy. The mischievous Boston College subpoenas initiative is prompted by the same security forces that killed Patrick Finucane and Rosemary Nelson. As a result, the tireless efforts of two Presidents’ to insure that U. S. resolve and resources fortified that commitment are being mocked.

We believe these topics should be the focus of a hearing by the Foreign Relations Committee and would welcome the opportunity to amplify the justification for doing so. We would hope that such a hearing would invite testimony from the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic as well as invite organizations like ours to attend and/or give testimony. A suitable time frame to allow for travel would also be appropriate.

We would like to sit down to further discuss not only the merits of such an investigation but the logistics of insuring that all voices are heard and that the resulting testimony and documentation is provided in full in the Congressional Record.

Thank you for your past efforts to expose some of the injustices of the conflict in Ireland. We look forward to working with you to conduct the most inclusive and productive inquiry into the 1998 Belfast Agreement and its American support.

Sincerely,

Mr. Brendan Moore
National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians

Mr. Robert Dunne, Esq.
President
Brehon Law Society

Mr. Thomas J. Burke Jr. Esq.
National President
Irish American Unity Conference

Boston College Subpoena Case: Request for Senate Hearings Made

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS
BREHON LAW SOCIETY
IRISH AMERICAN UNITY CONFERENCE

AOH, IAUC & BREHONS CALL FOR HALT TO HOLDER SUBPOENAS & BRITISH MEDDLING

SENATE HEARING REQUESTED

The fight to stop the enforcement of the Holder subpoena of tapes from the Irish archives of Boston College has reached a pivotal point. Despite the serious constitutional issues raised in litigation by Moloney & McIntyre and our specific public policy justifications for NOT processing the subpoenas, the Attorney General appears poised to ignore both and fan the flames of dissent to the Irish peace process.

Brendan Moore, National President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), stated: “We strongly reject this unprecedented abuse of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) to maliciously meddle in the affairs of the U. S. and Ireland.” In 14 months the Attorney General has ignored the failure of the U. K. to justify use of this Treaty and has failed to recognize the real harm done to the Office of Attorney General by colluding with the most discredited police force in Western Europe.

“We have concluded,” stated the National President of the Irish American Unity Conference (IAUC) Thomas J. Burke Jr. Esq., “that Mr. Holder’s view of upholding the rule of law, justice and democracy may not be shared by Members of Congress. If this U. K. request is allowed to proceed, it is likely to unravel one of America’s significant foreign policy successes.”

Mr. Robert Dunne, the President of the Brehon Law Society indicated that after two meetings with the Department of State there has been no response to our substantive arguments or the documents we have submitted. State lamely insists they are monitoring the situation. We are submitting a request as soon as possible to Senator John Kerry (D-MA) Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a hearing on this proposed MLAT request. The coalition leaders indicated a willingness to discuss the matter at any time but with little interest exhibited by the Obama administration they see the letters released today as a final appeal.

Attachments
Letter to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton
Letter to Attorney General Eric Holder

Appeal to Clinton: Stop Subpoenas For Congressional Hearing

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS
BREHON LAW SOCIETY
IRISH AMERICAN UNITY CONFERENCE

September 6, 2012

Ms. Hilary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Department of State
2201 C St. NW, 7th Fl.
Washington, D. C. 20520

Dear Madame Secretary:

Nearly a year ago the Presidents of our constituent organizations wrote to you individually with our concerns about Attorney General Holder’s subpoena of records held in the Irish archives of Boston College. The request was made by Britain pursuant to a U. S.-U. K. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). We have since joined together to advise you of our concerns not only for the blatant misuse of the MLAT (see attached letter to Attorney General Holder) but for the larger context of the conflict and threats to the Irish peace process.

In response to our letter of April 18th, our organizations, along with others, were invited to an off the record meeting with Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, Jake Sullivan. Although other issues were raised, it was apparent that all attendees shared our deep concern for the Holder subpoenas. Our letter of May 4th appealed again for your action to oppose his subpoenas. Little follow-up from your staff occurred until a meeting in July with Mr. William Gill and Barbara Cordero. We reiterated our specific reasons and justifications for opposition to Mr. Holder’s subpoenas. We strongly believe Mr. Gill’s current information on events in Ireland and his description of a “robust” peace process are very much at odds with the reality on the ground.

Madame Secretary it is for that reason we ask you to appeal to Attorney General Holder to thoroughly examine the validity of the British request and ask you to share with him the concerns we have for the justice provisions of the Belfast pact.

Our concerns are well documented by the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), the Relatives for Justice (RFJ), the Pat Finucane Center for Human Rights (PFC), the British-Irish Civil Rights Watch (BICRW) and Professor Patricia Lundy of the University of Ulster. Their testimony and documentation were submitted and can be accessed on the website of the Committee for Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission) co-chaired by Representative Chris Smith (NJ) and Senator Ben Cardin (MD). Assistant Secretary Michael Posner is a member of the Commission and should be familiar with this material.

These ‘justice issues” of the 1998 Agreement are as follows:

  • The work of the Historical Enquiries team has been seriously compromised by bureaucratic and legal manipulation. Of particular concern is the use of retired Royal Ulster Constabulary officers to review murders during the period when they served, which murders were never adequately investigated by any professional standard known to modern police forces. We fear yet another whitewash is at work with many murders in which police collusion is suspected while they focus attention on a 1972 killing that was ignored at that time.
  • Prime Minister Cameron unilaterally dismissed the 1998 accord requirement for a public inquiry into the murder of attorney Patrick Finucane. He did so while casually acknowledging British ‘security’ forces colluded with loyalist vigilantes in Finucane’s murder. Yet another cover-up of the security forces dirty work is in process.
  • The United Kingdom continues to obstruct and delay Ireland’s efforts to obtain British Army records on the no-warning Dublin-Monaghan bombings, still the largest act of carnage in the 40 year conflict. This monstrous act of slaughter was a British Army production and hiding the truth and avoiding accountability is not acceptable. The British government has a moral obligation to cooperate fully in the Irish government’s investigation.

Discontent by dissident republicans and their recent declarations of possible disruptions and the pushback by loyalist paramilitaries are not indicative of a robust peace process but one that is in retreat. To the above we add concerns for the internment of Gerry McGeough, Marian Price and Martin Corey by a British Minister using the much disputed Closed Material or secret procedures in defiance of law and judicial rulings. Their continued imprisonment directly contradicts representations made to U. S. Senator John Kerry, then Senators Biden and Dodd during ratification of the US/UK Extradition and MLAT treaties in 2006 and, more importantly, violates the letter and spirit of the Belfast Agreement.

Madame Secretary, it is clear to us that the question of responding to this British request can not be reasonably considered without reference to these other matters which are at the core of the peace process gradually taking hold in Ireland. We therefore respectfully request the Administration hold off processing these subpoenas so the Senate Foreign Relations Committee may hold hearings into their use and the implications for peace. We believe its members are entitled to discern from the UK the specific justification of the request, the use of MLAT and their commitment to the principles of the so called Good Friday Agreement as an instrument to restore justice, democracy and the rule of law.

Other groups like ourselves and including the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts would also be invited to testify. It is our belief that the concerns of Senator Kerry and the other Members of Congress who have joined our appeal in opposition would be satisfied with such an agreement.

Madame Secretary, Britain’s request is not a legitimate law enforcement inquiry. We do not seek to interfere in the internal affairs of another country as was suggested by Mr. Gill, but we do object to the British government interfering in the internal affairs of American institutions under false pretenses and interfering in a Irish peace process that has rightly become a cornerstone of American foreign policy. We simply ask that in your consultative role spelled out in MLAT you exercise the same discretion that was exercised by President Clinton in stimulating a new direction in the conflict in Ireland.

Mr. Peter Sheridan, the CEO of Co-Operation Ireland recently stated: “The growth in violent extremism has the potential to be a longer term threat to the economy than the current recession. The dissidents are growing in strength and capability.” We renew our request for your help in insuring that the U. S. does all it can to insure that violence does not escalate and that American laws and institutions are not used to destabilize a peace that is finally beginning to take root.

Sincerely,

Mr. Brendan Moore
National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians

Mr. Robert Dunne, Esq.
President
Brehon Law Society

Mr. Thomas J. Burke Jr. Esq.
National President
Irish American Unity Conference

Attachment: Letter to Attorney General Eric Holder

Holder Told: Congressional Hearing Wanted

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS
BREHON LAW SOCIETY
IRISH AMERICAN UNITY CONFERENCE

September 6, 2012

Mr. Eric H. Holder Jr.
Office of the Attorney General
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Rm. 5115 .
Washington, D. C. 20530

Dear Attorney General Holder:

Nearly a year ago the Presidents of our constituent organizations wrote to you with our concerns about subpoenas of records held in the Irish archives of Boston College. The subpoenas were issued by you for a British request made pursuant to a U. S.-U. K. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). We have since joined together to advise you of our concerns not only for the serious misuse of the MLAT (see attached letter to Secretary of State Clinton) but, in the larger context, to the threats to the Irish peace process.

We ask you primarily to review the actual purpose of these subpoenas requested by the Northern Ireland police and to weigh their motivation in terms of the stated objectives of the MLAT. Secondly, we ask you to take into account that fulfilling this request would require cooperating with a politicized police force in Northern Ireland with a long and well documented record of human and civil rights violations and a long history of lawlessness, including admitted collusion in the murders of innocent people. Thirdly, we believe Secretary Clinton shares our concern for Britain’s failure to address the key confidence-building justice measures in the series of 1998 Belfast Agreements which ended the armed conflict. America played a substantial role in securing that peace and should not now be used as a tool to undermine the work of Secretary Clinton and so many others… American, Irish and some British.

We contend that:

  • Article I of the U. S.-U. K. MLAT is NOT to be used where a prosecution is unlikely. The Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland in 2003 concluded in a report that there had been no investigation of the killing that is purportedly at the heart of the U. K. request. In 2006 the former Chief Constable Hugh Orde stated that “no successful prosecution could be mounted for the 1972 killing.”
  • The ratification documents of the MLAT stipulate that the Agreement is not intended to re-open the past and forswore the prosecution of acts preceding the 1998 Belfast Agreement. Senator Kerry and now others believe they were misled by British officials who misrepresented their intended use of the MLAT.
  • Article I of the MLAT indicates that a request for assistance should be denied if it is contrary to important public policy. The negotiations leading up to the Belfast Agreement were led by former Senator George Mitchell with the active participation of President Clinton. The peace process which has been ongoing since 1998 has been supported by two U. S. Presidents and funds from five nations including the U. S. Enforcement of these subpoenas will only benefit those who oppose the peace process.
  • The British request now appears without doubt to have originated with a rogue element of the most discredited police force in Western Europe. Unfortunately there was never any effort to weed out the bad apples of the predecessor Royal Ulster Constabulary who participated in or orchestrated so many horrible crimes before they were re-branded. The Justice Department is being asked to cooperate with Bull Connor’s soul mates all dressed up in new uniforms It ill becomes the United States to make common cause with dangerous elements of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

You will find the concerns expressed above and others are well documented by the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), the Relatives for Justice (RFJ), the Pat Finucane Center for Human Rights (PFC), the British-Irish Civil Rights Watch (BICRW) and Professor Patricia Lundy of the University of Ulster. Their submitted testimony and documentation can be found on the website of the Committee for Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission) co-chaired by Representative Chris Smith (NJ) and Senator Ben Cardin (MD). Some highlights, for example:

  • The work of the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) of the PSNI has been seriously compromised by bureaucratic and legal manipulation. They were charged with investigating old killings. The HET was originally staffed solely by policemen from England because it was recognized members of the old RUC could not be trusted to investigate politically related killings in which they or their colleagues might be involved. This policy was conveniently and quietly changed. Thus it was no surprise that the issuance of these subpoenas followed the hiring of retired Royal Ulster Constabulary officers to review murders during the period when they served; murders which were never adequately investigated by any professional standard known to modern police forces. We fear yet another whitewash is at work while they focus attention on a single 1972 killing that the RUC chose to ignore at that time.
  • Prime Minister Cameron has ignored the 1998 accord requirement for a public inquiry into the murder of attorney Patrick Finucane. He did so while casually acknowledging British ‘security’ forces colluded with loyalist vigilantes in Finucane’s murder. Yet another cover-up of the security forces dirty work was admitted in the public press and yet the U. S. is asked now to cooperate with the same police force responsible for Mr. Finucane’s murder.
  • The United Kingdom continues to obstruct and delay Ireland’s efforts to obtain British Army records on the no-warning Dublin-Monaghan bombings of 1974, still the largest act of carnage in the 30 years of conflict. This slaughter used materials, technology and coordination only within the control of the British Army even though Loyalists acting as agents of the Army planted the actual car bombs. The British government has refused to cooperate with the Irish Supreme Court justice appointed by the government to investigate these murders. Hiding the truth and avoiding accountability is unacceptable. The British government has a moral obligation to cooperate fully in the Irish government’s investigation.

To add to the above concerns we must note in particular the internment of Gerry McGeough, Marian Price and Martin Corey by a British Minister using the much disputed Closed Material or secret procedures in defiance of Britain’s own law and judicial rulings. These cases, we believe, violate both the letter and spirit of the Belfast Agreement.

We therefore respectfully request the Administration discontinue processing these subpoenas so the Senate Foreign Relations Committee may hold hearings into their use and their implications for the peace process. We believe the Committee’s members are entitled to discern from the UK the specific justification for the request, the possible misuse of MLAT and their commitment to the principles of the Belfast Agreement as an instrument to restore justice, democracy and the rule of law.

Other groups like us as well as the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts would wish to testify at such a hearing. It is our belief that the concerns of Senator Kerry and others in Congress who have shared these concerns would be satisfied with such a hearing.

Mr. Peter Sheridan, the CEO of Co-Operation Ireland recently stated: “The growth in violent extremism has the potential to be a longer term threat to the economy than the current recession. The dissidents are growing in strength and capability.” We renew our request for your help in insuring that the U. S. does all it can to insure that violence does not escalate and that American laws and institutions are not used to destabilize a peace that is finally beginning to take root.

Sincerely,

Mr. Brendan Moore
National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians

Mr. Robert Dunne, Esq.
President
Brehon Law Society

Mr. Thomas J. Burke Jr. Esq.
National President
Irish American Unity Conference

Attachment: Letter to Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton