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.
Mr. Brendan Moore
Ancient Order of Hibernians
Mr. Robert Dunne, Esq.
Brehon Law Society
Mr. Thomas J. Burke Jr. Esq.
Irish American Unity Conference
Attachment: Letter to Attorney General Eric Holder