Washington DC

It wouldn’t be a glorious St. Patrick’s Day without a political donnybrook and this year’s involves an old nemesis at center stage in the White House. U. K. Prime Minister David Cameron is in town with a shopping list that includes securing records held from Boston College’s Irish archives.

Irish American groups are irate with Attorney General Holder who issued a sealed subpoena to get confidential tapes for the British. That’s right. The man whose plate, politically speaking, includes the Fast and Furious scandal, suing States for crackdown on illegal immigrants, failure to defend the Defense of Marriage Act and giving a wink and nod to the British release of the Pan Am bomber has now managed to annoy Senator John Kerry, Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations. He was a key vote in 2006 for the ratification of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, intended for drug money laundering prosecutions, which Britain is now using to extract records from Boston College.

The Senator smells a rat. First, the request emanated from the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the most lawless and political police force in Europe and was NOT drug related. Second, a disgruntled former RUC officer and MI-5 liaison seeking revenge sought the records about a 1972 killing of a British spy, months after the British Army’s Bloody Sunday rampage. The records purportedly implicate Gerry Adams, an architect of the 1998 peace pact. But why use this Treaty and why go to the U. S. when the best evidence would be the sworn testimony of the interviewee who lives in Ireland? The British tried it the easy way by slipping the request past the clueless Holder. Why? So Adams could be politically smeared in time for the 2011 Irish General Elections. Dare we note the Sinn Fein party platform was incandescent with rhetoric about payments to British banks for the crisis bailout?

The United States, much to British dismay, was instrumental in crafting the 1998 Agreement which silenced the arms and demilitarized the six counties of Ireland. Britain since then seems determined to ignore key provisions or undermine the spirit of the accord. President Obama said little of the peace process during his 48 hour stopover in Ireland last year but he has heard an earful since of fears that Holder’s subpoena of Boston College records makes the U. S. complicit in Britain’s malicious mischief. Consider Cameron’s first two years:

• Britain finally stops lying about Bloody Sunday but holds no one accountable for 13 murders and the awards for slaughter stand;

• Cameron refuses the promised public inquiry into the murder of human rights lawyer Patrick Finucane admittedly by British ‘security’ forces;

• the British refuse to provide information to the Irish government about the British Army role in the Dublin-Monaghan bombings, the conflicts largest loss of life; and

• political prisoners Gerry McGeough and Marian Price are locked up in solitary in ill health and law and logic are twisted to keep them mysteriously detained.

President Obama declared March Irish-American Heritage month so what better time to remind the British Prime Minister of America’s commitment to the Irish peace process founded on the American values of truth, justice and the rule of law. Senator Kerry has his questions but it remains to be seen if the President does. Either way Mr. Cameron has a lot of explaining to do to Irish Americans.