Sen. Menendez asks Secretary of State for help in release of IRA interviews

Sen. Menendez asks Secretary of State for help in release of IRA interviews
By Jordy Yager
The Hill
07/11/13

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) has asked Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene as the United States considers giving British authorities access to a series of interviews with former Irish Republican Army (IRA) soldiers.

The release of the interviews, which were conducted in confidence by Boston College researchers, could “damage inter-communal reconciliation and might run counter to our national interests,” Menendez wrote in a letter to Kerry.

A federal appeals court last month shot down a majority of the oral interviews that the U.S. will be allowed to give British officials, narrowing the scope from 85 to 11 interviews.

But Menendez, who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations panel, said he fears that British authorities could use the contents of those 11 interviews to take retroactive criminal action against the IRA interviewees.

“I remain concerned that the United Kingdom’s request for the material may still have the effect of threatening the precious peace won by the Good Friday Agreement,” wrote Menendez.

Menendez asked Kerry to pressure the Justice Department, which has the final say on how many of the interviews to release, to ask the British government for an assurance that the interview contents will not be used or released as part of any civil proceedings.

“Our country made a significant diplomatic investment in resolving ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland,” Menendez wrote in the letter, which was posted online by the BC SubpoenaNews group.

“It would be a terrible error in judgment if the United States was not to engage now in the due diligence necessary to protect our investment in the hard-won peace.”

The DOJ in 2011 subpoenaed interviews conducted by researchers hired by Boston College as part of its “Belfast Project.”

The project was designed to conduct and archive oral interviews with people who were directly affected by The Troubles, a time period that spans from the late 1960s though the late 1990s during which violent conflict erupted between Irish nationalists and pro-British loyalists in Northern Ireland. Militant Irish nationalists, including the IRA, aimed to erase the border in Ireland, making the territory of Northern Ireland part of an all-Ireland state. They were unsuccessful in that quest, and their political representatives instead ultimately accepted a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland.

Those interviewed by Boston College-hired researchers were promised that their remarks would not be released to the public until they had died, for fear that they would face prosecution charges.

The DOJ’s subpoena for the interviews came after it received a request for them from the British government under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), which allows for cooperation between two or more foreign governments during criminal investigations that have transnational implications.

Boston saga proves law trumps academic works

Boston saga proves law trumps academic works
The PSNI’s seizure of the Dolours Price interview tapes represents the triumph of international treaties over pork barrel politics
Jim Dee
Belfast Telegraph
10 JULY 2013

When PSNI officers flew to Boston to take possession of Boston College’s long-sought Dolours Price interviews, they not only laid down a key marker regarding unsolved Troubles killings; they also highlighted how much Washington’s cherished peace process role has changed.

On the face of it, Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland as a whole remains very much on Washington’s radar. Barack Obama’s recent visit – making him the third sitting US president in a row to drop in on the province – underscored that.

And Washington’s bureaucracy – of a size and scope that is, arguably, unparalleled on the planet – has the staff and the capacity to juggle many balls at once, including any Irish peace process hiccups that may occur.

Past presidential appointments of special envoys, like George Mitchell, Jim Lyons, Richard Haass, Mitchel Reiss and Declan Kelly, proved that Washington is willing to throw its weight behind the peace process when needed.

And maintaining the attentions of members of Congress, such as Richard Neal of Massachusetts or New York’s Joe Crowley, still matters when Stormont ministers drop by the US capital seeking a hand in attracting inward investment.

Turn on National Public Radio’s flagship nightly business programme, Marketplace, and you’ll regularly hear a plug for Northern Ireland as a prime place to invest.

But the announcement in April that the Supreme Court had turned down a request to hear an appeal by Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre against the surrendering of the Price interviews underscored another – perhaps more important – reality.

The Supreme Court, like the US Justice Department and the State Department, are first and foremost legal animals.

And, in their eyes, clearly the obligations of the US-UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (US-UK MLAT), the vehicle the PSNI used to pursue the Price tapes, trumped any considerations, however noble and worthwhile, regarding academic freedom and the value of oral histories. As for Boston College’s Belfast Project oral history scheme, the PSNI has now succeeded in prying it open and its secrets may be sought again, now that a precedent has been set.

It is true that the June appeals court ruling in Boston College’s own attempt to block broader access to the archive did reduce the number of interviews to be surrendered.

The court ordered only McConville-related material must be handed over. The US-UK MLAT has proven a formidable tool, indeed. There is no indication that the PSNI will request further material from the Boston College archive relating to specifics unsolved cases.

But the Price interviews saga has very clearly been a victory for the PSNI. And it wouldn’t take much of an imagination stretch to envision future subpoenas being served to the college as part of PSNI probes into other unsolved killings.

Meanwhile, hopes that Secretary of State John Kerry might ride to the rescue have all but faded.

While a Massachusetts senator, he wrote to his State Department predecessor, Hillary Clinton, urging her to use here powers of persuasion to get Britain to drop its quest for the Price interviews.

But now that he’s at State’s helm, Kerry – a Boston College alumnus, like most US secretaries of state – has found that he has a pretty full slate of pressing crises that make issues like the Boston College tape saga pale in comparison.

The fallout from the Edward Snowden scandal, escalating violence in Egypt and Syria and Kerry’s own efforts to revive Middle East peace talks will, no doubt, keep him amply occupied in the weeks and months ahead.

However, all is not lost. Politics is the art of navigating flux and motion. And with speculation rife that Ireland-smitten Hillary Clinton may mount another run for the White House in 2016, Northern Ireland’s star at the highest level of US politics may yet again rise.

NEW US ENVOY ON NI’S PAST MEANS BOSTON COLLEGE CASE MUST BE SUSPENDED

NEW US ENVOY ON NI’S PAST MEANS BOSTON COLLEGE CASE MUST BE SUSPENDED
WEDNESDAY, JULY 10, 2013

Statement from Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre on the appointment of Dr Richard Haass as the new US special envoy to the North.

Following the appointment of former diplomat Richard Haass as new US special envoy to Northern Ireland, Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre call on the American and British authorities to suspend attempts to subpoena IRA interviews from the Belfast Project archive at Boston College until Dr Haass has completed his task of outlining an agreed and effective way to deal with the past.

We also call on the PSNI to similarly halt its criminal investigation of the Jean McConville disappearance.

We welcome the appointment of Dr Haass and hope that he succeeds in his task of creating a mechanism for dealing with the past that is not based on unconditional prosecutions. Pursuing the past by treating it as a series of crimes will deter and obstruct the search for truth while keeping the conflict alive in another guise. Failing to deal with the past in a way which neutralises it means that it will continue to haunt both the present and the future.

At the same time it is incumbent upon all parties to the conflict, paramilitary and security forces, from leaderships down to rank and file to commit themselves unalterably to the truth and make their records available to any investigatory process set up as a result of Dr Haass’s efforts. There must be openness and an end to implausible life stories. The dead and maimed of Northern Ireland deserve better.

Robert Menendez voices strong opposition to IRA Boston College tapes handover

Robert Menendez voices strong opposition to IRA Boston College tapes handover
Interviews could run counter to US national interests Menendez claims
By IrishCentral Staff Writers
Irish Central
Published Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Chairperson of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee Robert Menendez raised his concerns yesterday over the release of interview tapes of former IRA paramilitaries from the Boston College archive.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Menendez said he is concerned that the release of material from the archive could ‘still have the effect of threatening the precious peace won by the Good Friday Agreement.’

In his letter Menendez appealed for State Department experts on Northern Ireland to examine whether the details contained in the interviews could damage reconciliation or ‘run counter to our national interests.’

If the material is handed over Menendez asked that a section of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty be invoked, which would block the material contained on the tapes from being used in civil proceedings.

In his letter Menendez tells Kerry that the U.S. government should ‘impress upon the British government’ that the release of the material is conditioned on the fact that it would not be used in a civil case.

Concluding his letter, Menendez said it would be a ‘terrible error in judgment’ if the U.S. did not engage in what he called ‘due diligence’ to protect ‘our investment in this hard-won peace.’

A report by the Associated Press at the weekend claimed the Boston College tapes are now in the possession of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. However Jack Dunn, director of public affairs at Boston College, told IrishCentral that Boston College itself has had no part in the alleged handover.

‘The Dolours Price tapes have not been handed over to the PSNI by Boston College,’ Dunn told IrishCentral. ‘If they have been given to the PSNI they have been supplied by the Department of Justice. It has been inaccurately reported that PSNI detectives came to Boston over the weekend and took tapes from us. That is completely untrue.’

Two sets of tapes are in question, the first set contain the interviews given by Dolours Price, a former member of the IRA who passed away in January. The second set of tapes were conducted with other former paramilitaries and have been edited into segments that are unlikely to aid criminal prosecutions sources say.

‘The tapes at Boston College from the second subpoena are still here at Boston College and will remain here until we make a determination of what we will do regarding the favorable court ruling in June,’ Dunn explained.

‘I don’t know if the PSNI have approached the Department of Justice about the Price tapes and it’s not my place to speak for them. They could have. The DOJ have been in possession of the Price tapes for more than a year. They’ve had them since January 2012. The DOJ will have to answer that question.’

For Dunn and for Boston College the Dolours Price tapes are a settled court matter. ‘The agreement was the tapes would be held in confidence to the extent that American law would allow until the death of the participant. Dolours Price has passed away so it’s really a moot point,’ Dunn said.

Dunn added that the contents of the Price tapes have already been widely reported on in Ireland, where she gave extensive interviews to the Irish media.

‘She referenced the tapes in those interviews and mentioned she drove a get away car and she implicates Gerry Adams in the tapes too. Those things have been disclosed repeatedly. There’s nothing on the Dolours Price tapes that will be a surprise. There’s no reason for the tapes not to be sent to law enforcement because the legal recourse of the United States has been exhausted regarding the Dolours Price tapes.’

On the second set of subpoenas for the remaining tapes the attorneys for Boston College won a favorable ruling where they reduced to just segments eleven interviews with former IRA participants that mentioned the abduction of Jean McConville.

‘The college has until the end of the month to decide whether to accept or appeal that court ruling. We’re in the process of making the determination as to what we will do over the course of the next several weeks,’ Dunn concluded.

Meanwhile Brendan Moore, National President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians expressed his concern about the PSNI’s apparent determination to pursue the matter.

‘We really feel that this serves no positive purpose whatsoever,’ Moore told the Voice. ‘It has all the makings of a witch hunt. The only positive thing that I see is that far fewer of the original documents that have been requested by the PSNI have actually been cleared to be given to them.’

The PSNI is more and more being recognized as a discredited operation, Moore continued and prosecution moves like this do it no favors. ‘Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies found the procedures being used by this police service just incredible, contrary to all kinds of guidelines. And now we’re handing over documents that never should have been in their hands and won’t be used for a positive purpose? That could undermine to a great extent so much that has been accomplished by the peace process. It’s entirely regrettable.’

So many people have worked so hard and pulled back from their own hardened positions to accommodate the peace process, Moore added. ‘And here we are watching the PSNI tearing it down? It’s so unfortunate,’ he said.

Release of Boston College tapes could threaten Northern Irish peace – US senator

Release of Boston College tapes could threaten Northern Irish peace – US senator
US secretary of state warned that oral history interviews may threaten ‘hard-won peace’
Simon Carswell
Irish Times
Wed, Jul 10, 2013

Senate foreign relations committee chairman Robert Menendez: “It would be a terrible error of judgment if the United States was to not engage now in the due diligence to protect our investment in this hard-won peace”

A high-ranking US senator has warned US secretary of state John Kerry that the release of the further Boston College interviews with former IRA members could threaten the peace in Northern Ireland.

New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez, chairman of the powerful US senate committee on foreign relations, noted the ruling of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit that only 11 interviews from the college’s oral history of the Troubles should be handed over to the Northern Irish authorities.

He told Mr Kerry in a letter he remained “concerned that the United Kingdom’s request for the material may still have the effect of threatening the precious peace won by the Good Friday Agreement.”

Interviews

The Police Service of Northern Ireland sought the interviews conducted by journalist and author Ed Moloney and historian Anthony McIntyre as part of the investigation into the 1972 killing of Belfast widow and mother of 10 Jean McConville, one of the most notorious murders of the Troubles.

Senator Menendez said in his June 28th letter that the interview materials “should be carefully weighed by State Department experts on Northern Ireland’s peace process to determine whether their release could damage inter-communal reconciliation and might run counter to our national interests.”

In a second letter to Mr Kerry on the issue, Mr Menendez said that if the US administration has no further legal grounds to withhold the release of the interviews, he hoped that the secretary would engage with the Department of Justice to “minimise the potential damage these documents might do”.

McConville investigation

He told Mr Kerry that the Department of Justice should impress upon the British government that the records can only be used in the McConville investigation and on the agreement that “they will not released for use in any civil proceedings”.

“Our country made a significant diplomatic investment in resolving ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland,” Mr Menendez wrote. “It would be a terrible error of judgment if the United States was to not engage now in the due diligence to protect our investment in this hard-won peace.”

The PSNI travelled to Boston last month to collect tapes and transcripts of interviews given by the late Dolours Price, a former IRA member who claimed to have been involved in the abduction of McConville. The interviewees had agreed to speak as part of the college’s Belfast Project on the condition that the content of their interviews would be kept private at the college until they had died.

Menendez Fires Volley Across British Bows On Boston College Archive

Menendez Fires Volley Across British Bows On Boston College Archive
Ed Moloney
The Broken Elbow

Senator Robert Melendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress has dramatically intervened in the Boston College subpoenas case by outlining a series of conditions that he says the US should impose if any further interviews from the Belfast Project archive at Boston College are handed over to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) on foot of British subpoenas.

Menendez’s intervention came in the wake of the Boston-based First Circuit Court of Appeal’s June decision to impose separate limitations on the handover – reducing the number of interviews scheduled for handover from 85 to 12 – and only days after PSNI detectives had traveled to Boston to pick up tapes and transcripts of interviews made by the late Dolours Price, a former IRA member who in media interviews last autumn claimed to have helped ‘disappear’ alleged British Army informer Jean McConville in 1972.

The conditions outlined by Menendez were made in a letter sent to Secretary of State John Kerry on June 28th but only released last night to the media and they are sure to provoke controversy and opposition in some quarters in both parts of Ireland not least because the Senator lays claim to a US stake in the peace process and Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.

He wrote: “Our country made a significant diplomatic investment in resolving ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. It would be a terrible error of judgement if the United States was not to engage now in the due diligence necessary to protect our investment in this hard-won peace.” With this language the Senate leader is saying unequivocally that the US has an interest in the possible negative effect on the peace process of handing over the Boston College tapes.

Menendez makes two important demands of Kerry and the Obama administration. One is that the State Department should vet the interviews scheduled for handover to determine whether their release would damage inter-communal relations or be counter to US national interests. He went on: “I share the concerns of many in the Irish-American community who have asserted that the nature of this request raises doubts about the wisdom of the British government’s Northern Ireland policies.”

But it is his second demand that will anger some in Northern Ireland. He says that the US should invoke a clause in the Treaty with Britain which allows for the transfer of the interviews only for purposes which the US approves and has given consent to.

This clause would allow the United States to bar the British authorities from releasing the interviews for civil proceedings. Although Senator Menendez does not go into detail it is clear that the effect of this condition would be to stop the family of Jean McConville from suing Gerry Adams or any of the interviewees in a civil court, an outcome the family and their supporters have openly admitted is something they hope to see happening.

In a short statement Boston College campaigners Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre welcomed Senator Menendez’ intervention and said they hoped and expected to see his letter soon translated into action.

Here is the full text of Senator Menendez’s letter:

US Senator warns Boston Tapes could threaten NI peace

US Senator warns Boston Tapes could threaten NI peace
RTE News
Tuesday, 09 July 2013

Robert Menendez says he is concerned the tapes could damage reconciliation in the north

The Chairperson of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee has raised concerns over the release of interview material from the Boston College archive.

Robert Menendez said he is concerned that the release of material from the archive could “still have the effect of threatening the precious peace won by the Good Friday Agreement.”

In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Mr Menendez appealed for State Department experts on Northern Ireland to examine whether the details contained in the interviews could damage reconciliation in the North or “run counter to our national interests.”

Furthermore in the event material is handed over, the Senator asked that a section of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty is invoked which would block the material in the interviews being used in civil proceedings.

In his letter, the chair of the influential committee tells Mr Kerry that the US government should “impress upon the British government” that the release of the material is conditioned on the fact that it would not be used in a civil case.

Concluding the letter, Mr Menendez said it would be a “terrible error in judgement” if the US did not engage in what he called “due diligence” to protect “our investment in this hard-won peace.”
The PSNI has taken possession of a series of interviews with convicted Old Bailey bomber Dolours Price.

However, interviews with a further seven people are also due to be handed over, with a decision on whether or not they will be released expected in the coming weeks.

Two officers from the PSNI Serious Crime Branch travelled to the US in the last week to collect the Dolours Price interviews.

President Obama’s visit to North comes at a critical time for peace process

President Obama’s visit to North comes at a critical time for peace process
Hopes that he can help stop slow slide into the dark side
Periscope by Niall O’Dowd
Irish Central
Monday, June 17, 2013

Don’t look now but President Obama’s trip to Northern Ireland is coming at a critical time.

Contrary to some opinion it is a vital visit.

His speech at Waterfront Hall was less significant for what he said rather than the fact that he made it.

When the President of the United States pays attention to an issue then everyone else does too.

It is American soft power at its best and it has always worked in Northern Ireland.

It was no coincidence that British leader David Cameron met Northern Ireland’s two leaders, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness, last week and announced a major economic package.

In addition, he announced an investment conference for October aimed at bringing new industry to Northern Ireland.

The announcement came after strong pleading from the North that the gains of the peace process were endangered if there was not a significant increase in economic activity leading to jobs and opportunity.

It is doubtful that the new initiatives would have happened if the United States president was not on his way.

Northern Ireland has languished out of the headlines and a gradual erosion of the peace process has taken place.

Most serious was the issue of securocrats attempting to undermine the peace agenda.

Last month Irishman John Downey was arrested in Gatwick Airport and charged with the Hyde Park bombings and death of four soldiers in 1982.

Deeply significant was the fact that Downey had been assured in a letter that following the peace process, he was free to come and go in the general amnesty that prevailed.

There are many horrific and unsolved murders from all sides during The Troubles. Clearly there are groups within the British establishment, given the Boston College subpoenas and now John Downey who want to start the war all over again.

That is why the visit of President Obama is so vital.

Coverage of Northern Ireland exposes these latest negative developments and also forces politicians there on all sides to make greater efforts to reach agreement on issues.

It was thus during President Clinton’s time when many major developments occurred in the arc of a visit by the U.S. president. George Bush, in fairness, also helped achieve breakthroughs.

Now it is Obama’s turn and his visit is a critical moment in cementing a peace that has looked even more uneasy in recent times.

LETTER: Senator Menendez told Congressional Hearing Needed into Eric Holder’s UK MLAT Subpoenas

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS
BREHON LAW SOCIETY
IRISH AMERICAN UNITY CONFERENCE

June 8, 2013

Honorable Robert Menendez
Chairman, Foreign Relations Committee
U. S. Senate
SD-444
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.

We have attached our most recent letters to Attorney General Holder and Secretary Kerry.

Sincerely,

Mr. Brendan Moore
National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians

Mr. Sean Downes Esq.
President
Brehon Law Society

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

cc: Senator Bob Corker, R.M.

LETTER: Secretary of State John Kerry Asked to Intervene on Boston College Subpoenas

ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS
BREHON LAW SOCIETY
IRISH AMERICAN UNITY CONFERENCE

June 5, 2013

Mr. John Kerry
Secretary of State
Office of the Secretary
U. S. Department of State
2201 C St NW
Washington, D. C 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:

As you know, the litigation challenge to the British subpoena request for records held in the Irish archives of Boston College is near an end.

However, Britain’s misuse of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty and the broader policy implications if the subpoena request is granted are still of great concern to us.

As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee you were the first Member of Congress to register objections to the sealed subpoenas with Attorney General Holder and with your predecessor Secretary of State Clinton.

Your fears for the Irish peace process, progress on the Belfast Agreement, truth and reconciliation, academic inquiry and constitutional liberties are as valid now as they were when you expressed them in January, 2012.

This is an American issue.

It is in America’s best interest to not enforce but return the subpoenas to the United Kingdom.

At a recent congressional hearing, Representative Chris Smith, the Co-Chair of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, spoke of Britain’s refusal to hold anyone accountable for the murder of Patrick Finucane stating, “…the decision not to proceed with the public inquiry is a glaring public breach of faith …calling into question the British government’s commitment to peace and reconciliation.”

Indeed, Mr. Secretary, you have correctly identified this subpoena issue as another example of how Britain is slowly and systematically disassembling the Belfast Treaty.

These are but two of many examples of how the Cameron government is abusing America’s trust, mocking our commitment to the Belfast Agreement and damaging our credibility with other nations.

During Secretary Clinton’s term we met twice on this issue with State officials.

Mr. Jake Sullivan and Mr. William Gill were present but were unable or unwilling to answer our most basic questions.

They seemed unfamiliar with the progress of the Irish peace process and were unfamiliar with any of the reports of the Committee for the Administration of Justice which depict in great detail how Great Britain is observing neither the letter nor the spirit of the 1998 Belfast Agreement (as amended).

We hope that your familiarity with this issue and long association with the workings of the peace process will mean a fresh examination of the facts and a fresh approach.

As you know, the Secretary of State has a key role to play in any U.S. response to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) request, and your objections to the satisfaction of these Boston College subpoenas must be weighed by Attorney General Holder before complying and submitting any documents obtained by him.

We include our letter to the Attorney General citing what we view is a misuse and misapplication of the treaty’s purpose particularly where it conflicts with the spirit of the 1998 Agreement and representations made to you in the Senate during ratification of the U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty in 2006.

Your former colleagues in Congress who also have joined the subpoena opposition reflect our determined attempt to garner bi-partisan support to stop their enforcement.

Indeed, the Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Committee of Irish Affairs, Representatives Chris Smith and Peter King, as well as the Co-Chairs of the Friends of Ireland, Representatives Richard Neal and Joseph Crowley, have recently adopted resolutions reiterating their concerns for the Good Friday Agreement and citing the failure of the British government to abide by its terms particularly with respect to the Finucane murder.

Neal and Crowley have specifically expressed their opposition to the subpoenas and their potential to undermine the Irish peace process.

Last year many Member of Congress voiced their opposition to the Russian killing of attorney Sergei Magnitsky and then affirmed their commitment to the rule of law and justice by adopting statutory sanctions against those identified as responsible.

Such a measure may not be necessary in the Finucane case but America can underscore its commitment to the Irish peace process, the rule of law and justice by withholding any support of the MLAT subpoena request unless and until the Good Friday Agreements terms are respected and fulfilled.

We renew our request to meet at any time to discuss this further or answer any questions you may have.

Sincerely,

Mr. Brendan Moore
National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians

Mr. Sean Downes Esq.
President
Brehon Law Society

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