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Seán Garland and Natural Justice: Some Personal Thoughts February 9, 2009

Posted by Garibaldy in Communism, International Politics, Ireland, Irish Politics, Justice, Seán Garland, US Politics, Workers' Party.
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As many readers of this site will be aware, on Friday January 30th 2009, Seán Garland, former General Secretary and former President of The Workers’ Party of Ireland was arrested outside the Party’s headquarters in Dublin, on foot of an extradition warrant from the United States. Since then, he has been in gaol, but a bail hearing has now been scheduled for Wednesday February 11th. As most readers will probably also know, this is not the first time that Seán Garland has been arrested at the behest of the Americans. In October 2005, he was arrested at the 2005 Workers’ Party Ard Fheis in Belfast, and an attempt was made to extradite him the next morning under the 2003 US-UK Extradition Treaty, which provides little or no opportunity for the accused to challenge the extradition in the courts. Opposition to the Treaty – which was never brought before Parliament – in Britain ranged from George Galloway to Boris Johnson, so blatantly unfair were its provisions. The campaign against Seán Garland’s extradition had wide-ranging support from politicians, trade unionists and other public figures. Permitted to travel for medical treatment to Dublin, looking at the absence of legal protection under the Treaty, Seán Garland decided not to return to Northern Ireland, issuing a statement explaining his decision. At all times, he maintained both his innocence, and his willingness to meet Gardaí at any time, informing them of this through his legal representatives. He continued to live at home and to carry out his public political activities, including attending meetings with members of the Oireachtas.

Why then should people care about this case? In a word, Justice. Seán Garland will be 75 in March, and in ill-health. He suffers from diabetes, and has been receiving treatment for bowel cancer. The persecution of someone in his condition violates the natural sense of justice and equity, and the empathy for others, inherent in all humanity. The principles of natural justice dictate that not only should he get bail, but that the government put an end to the proceedings against him.

The inhumane nature of the pursuit comes as no surprise when we consider its source. It is no accident that it was the Bush regime that sought the extradition of Seán Garland. This regime, with the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians on its hands in pursuit of its neo-con ideology and determination to reshape the entire planet in its own image, sought to use generalised allegations against an Irish revolutionary socialist as part of its policy on the Korean peninsula. The supposed case against Seán Garland has been based on exactly the same type of “evidence” that launched the war on Iraq in pursuit of non-existent weapons of mass destruction. We should remember Bush’s laughable Axis of Evil, and that it stopped being so ridiculous as the first bombs fell on Iraq. Seán Garland was first arrested at a time of major tension in the Korean peninsula, and one need only look at the use made of these allegations in the media (such as by the contemptible and Washington Times owned by people with a long history of acting in concert with the CIA over Korea), the US Congress, and by neo-con think-tanks to see that this was part of a concerted propaganda drive to try and influence the six-party talks and prepare US opinion for possible military action on the Korean peninsula. The failures of the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the accomplishment of an agreement in the six-party talks despite the Bush regime’s hosility and feet-dragging that left it isolated from its allies in the region thankfully ensured no military action was taken.

The current request for extradition was signed personally by Condeelza Rice on November 21st 2008 after the election of President Obama made it clear that the American people rejected the disastrous Bush years and opened the way for a new era in foreign relations with regimes opposed to the US from Korea to the Caribbean. Tensions on the Korean peninsula had been rising since the April election of an aggressive new President in south Korea, and only 9 days before Rice signed the extradition request, communication links between the two states had been cut. The continued persecution of Seán Garland, therefore, was a desperate and vindictive attempt by the discredited and bloodthirsty neo-cons to ensure that their policy continued to exist after their demise, like a political vampire. They hoped to use the charges against Seán Garland to limit the freedom of action of the new regime in Korea by provoking hostility there, and thus damage the chances for a permanent peace that would end any prospect of the neo-cons’ longed-for regime change. Just as in 2005, the US is seeking to use the courts of another country to extradite Seán Garland, knowing full well that a man with his politics can never receive a fair trial there. Once again, this would be a violation of the principles of natural justice.

This case, therefore, should be of concern to every citizen of Ireland, regardless of their political persusasion. Justice dictates that Seán Garland, in his seventies and in serious ill-health, should not be held in prison but should be granted bail. Not only that, the case against him – rooted as it is in political animus which will ensure he could never have a fair trial – is itself a perversion of the law, and should be dropped. More information can be found here and an online petition against his extradition here. I urge everyone to offer their support.

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1. garlandknowswhoiam - February 9, 2009

ordinarily i would be most sympathetic to sean garland, except i know that if positions were reversed, he would drive me himself to the airport and place me in my seat before going up to the pilot’s cabin to slip him a fiver if he could fly me to an american jail ten minutes faster! the sticks were ruthless and merciless when dealing with their rivals, full of lies, violence and deception. he deserves what he gets.

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2. Mark P - February 9, 2009

I broadly speaking agree. No significant or reliable evidence has been produced against Garland so far and I would be surprised if much ever is.

Contrary to a few rather odd statements I’ve seen from the Workers Party about this matter, the US doesn’t care in the slightest about one elderly Irish Stalinist or about what remains of the Workers Party. This is purely about putting pressure on the North Korean regime.

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3. Mark P - February 9, 2009

I want to make it clear that my broad agreement was with Garibaldy’s post and not with the rather spiteful comment above mine.

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4. WorldbyStorm - February 9, 2009

Like Mark P I’d have significant political differences with the WP, although no degree of hostility (not that Mark P does, but you know what I mean) and I’d pretty much echo what he says…

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5. Tim Von Bondie - February 9, 2009

There certainly should be no extradition of Sean Garland, for both political and humanitarian reasons. However whoever in the Workers Party thought that it was a good idea to proclaim that the arrest was an attempt by the government to defelect attention from the recession should be taken off PR duties. For one thing the US Marines would have to land in Gardiner Place for people to notice the WP these days and secondly there was been no bloody publicity about the case anyway.

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6. Eamonn - February 9, 2009

Is this not a criminal matter? Why is a political site discussiong a criminal case especially one concerning an individual who supports extradition and the notorious miscarriage of justices, the supergrass trials and had no problem informing against republicans to the british . Is this Just because people dislike the yankees ?

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7. Running dogs of US imperialism (Limerick branch) - February 9, 2009

Garbaldy makes an argument based partly on natural justice because Sean Garland is old and ill. Whatever about the natural desire not to persecute an elderly person, this has no basis in legality. If there is evidence against Sean Garland and it is produced then he can be extradited, whether we agree politically with it or not.
Furthermore Sean Garland endorses a political system that forcibly takes Japanese and South Korean citizens as hostages and the WP have never (certainly not according to any material I can find on-line) disassociated themselves from the North Korean dictatorship, prison pop; 200,000 and upwards. I suggest that Sean Garland will be better treated than the average political prisoner in North Korea, a state as repressive as any backed by the Americans.

According to Amnesty International a ‘South Pyongan province factory chief convicted of making international phone calls from 13 phones he installed in his factory basement was executed by firing squad in front of a crowd of 150,000 people in a stadium. In another instance, 15 people were publicly executed for crossing into China.’
Loathe as I am to see an Irish person flown off to trial abroad, I can see no reason why he is a special case.

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8. Garibaldy - February 9, 2009

I am not a lawyer, but there is plenty of precedent for stopping legal cases as it would not be in the interest of justice to continue, for numerous reasons. Very often this is because of illness. I made a case that would apply to anyone in his situation, but clearly the political element to this case applies especially because of Seán Garland’s history and politics.

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9. Colm B - February 9, 2009

I oppose the extradition of Sean Garland for three reasons and I have signed the petition on that basis:

1. Because I believe in the right to a fair trial (in as much as such is possible in a capitalist society), regardless of whether I agree or disagree with the accused. Given the nature of the US ‘justice’ system it is very doubtful that he would get anything remotely like a fair trial.

2. The extradition request is clearly political. It is targeting an elderly leader from a minor political organisation in a small country: Why? Vindictiveness? Some cynical tactical diplomacy? The Irish government once again flagging its reliable subserviance? One thing is certain: it has damn all to do with justice or the truth.

3. As a libertarian Marxist I am diametrically opposed to the WP’s politics, especially their take on foreign policy: support for authoritarian and anti-worker regimes in China and NK (been there, seen what a horrific hell it is for working people), support for Serbian chauvinists etc. etc. but I believe that we should oppose such politics by ideological struggle not by applauding/supporting the actions of imperialism against a WP member.

As a former member of the WP I can understand the bitterness that this issue arouses amongst those who were at the receiving end of the WP’s rhetoric (and worse) in the past but surely this is about more than taking satisfaction at the discomfort of the individual involved, it is about defending principles of fairness.

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10. Niall - February 9, 2009

As far as I’m concerned, Mr. Garland is not particularly worthy of sympathy, less so than most men of his age and condition if any of what is said of him is true. Anybody who in any way aids North Korea has serious questions to answer. I’ll watch the developments around his extradition with interest.

As it stands, I can’t see how anyone is served by putting the man on trial. He is suffering. There’s a relatively high chance he’ll die before proceedings would end.

And honestly, I don’t really know what Rice’s intentions were in signing the the extradition request, but if their plan involves regime change in North Korea, then that’s a plus as far as I’m concerned. Bad as the Americans and many of their proxies have been, North Korea is as bad a regime as ever has been.

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11. Seán Ó Tuama - February 9, 2009

Not convinced that there is either an issue of political principle or clear miscarriage of justice involved here. Therefore am neutral unless convinced otherwise and am willing to have the issue decided on the same basis as the principles applied by the WP to prisoners whose politics they did not like.

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12. Billy Joe Remarkable - February 9, 2009

I get the impression that the campaign to prevent this extradition is very low key compared to a few years ago, yet the chances of Sean Garland being extradited seem much higher. Given the amount of former comrades of his there are, you would think they would be speaking out. I cannot see what good would come of sending him to America, he would not get a fair trial.

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13. WorldbyStorm - February 9, 2009

Eamonn, I think, whatever position one has on Garland (and like Sean I too recognize all too many ironies in this whole situation) that this is an explicitly *political* issue. As regards taking an anti American position, well that’s certainly not my apriach to such matters but I think it’s reasonable to query issues of justice in relation to certain sorts of alleged crimes in the US criminal system particularly where there may be a political tinge to same, whether we are talking about Garland or not.

Re North Korea, myself and Garibaldy have differed on that issue here in the past but that remains tangential perhaps to the central discussion.

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14. Long memory - February 9, 2009

I oppose the extradition of Garland. He will not get justice in America.
Now, I’ve said that, but here’s the thing. In the 1980s I was a Militant supporter. In 1984 the special branch raided our offices in Abbey Street. We protested at this and asked for support from the labour movement. The WP magazine (Workers life?) ran an article poking fun at the silly trots and their office. When Kinnock was kicking us out of the Labour Party in England, the WP for some reason supported him and argued he should have done it sooner. Theres a reason a lot of people find the workers party looking for support on a civil liberties, human rights basis a bit ironic.

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15. Leveller on the Liffey - February 10, 2009

An interesting case all round.

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16. CL - February 10, 2009

Senator Eoghan Harris, a former comrade who reinvented himself as a political adviser to, among others, the former Irish President Mary Robinson, Lord Trimble and Bertie Ahern, the former Taoiseach, said: “Sean Garland hates my guts. But I still find it baffling that the USA would pursue a sick old man who led the Official IRA to a ceasefire in 1972 for the bloodless crime of forgery while welcoming, in the White House, Provisional IRA leaders who have blood on their hands and who waited another 30 years before following Sean Garland’s good example and calling a ceasefire.” -Times, 5/2/09

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17. Mark P - February 10, 2009

Billy Joe Remarkable:

I’m no expert on the subject but I would have guessed that Garland stood a bigger risk of being deported in the North because of what seems to be a very rigid extradition treaty with the US.

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18. Libero - February 10, 2009

“Justice dictates that Seán Garland, in his seventies and in serious ill-health, should not be held in prison but should be granted bail. Not only that, the case against him – rooted as it is in political animus which will ensure he could never have a fair trial – is itself a perversion of the law, and should be dropped.”

If he gets off, you can bury him next to General Pinochet. That way they can swap war stories about avoiding extradition by pointing to their age and infirmity, and casting doubts on the political motives of prosecutors.

They could also have a chuckle at how extremists of left and right, when up before a UK or Irish court, suddenly become converts to mainstream conceptions of natural justice.

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19. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

Yes, socialists believing in natural justice, and equality for all. How shocking.

Mark P is right that the Extradition Treaty makes extradition a foregone conclusion.

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20. alastair - February 10, 2009

The man’s guilty as sin. Does that play any role in ‘natural justice’?

I’m ambivalent about the whole thing, but the selective perspectives, while unsurprising, are still depressing. Being sick and old doesn’t get Maggie off the hook as far as I’m concerned, so why should Garland be any different? I’d prefer that he got tried in the UK mind – where the actual crime has some real impact.

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21. ejh - February 10, 2009

It’s the instinct of solidarity that I find most appealing in socialist politics

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22. alastair - February 10, 2009

Uncritical solidarity (instinctive or otherwise) is about as appealing as uncritical patriotism.

And any critical appraisal of the evidence against Garland lead to a clear conclusion – he’s up to his neck in criminal activity, and should answer for that like anyone else.

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23. ejh - February 10, 2009

Mmm. Most “appealing”.

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24. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

I think Alastair you missed EJH’s point about solidarity, though I may be wrong. As for your other statements, it seems that you are aware of more evidence than the UK authorities is all I am going to say about that.

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25. alastair - February 10, 2009

No, the UK authorities just don’t want to go there with a bargepole – and we both know it. It’s the standard ‘turn a blind eye’ to past indiscretions for anyone who might play a role in keeping things on an even keel in N.I. The guilt or innocence of the man is a secondary consideration.

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26. ejh - February 10, 2009

You seem very sure about that. What’s the basis on which you rest your view?

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27. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

That is, frankly, silly. Alastair, not EJH that is.

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28. alastair - February 10, 2009

http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/programmes/panorama/transcripts/superdollar.txt

Let me guess – ejh and Garibaldy – you believe that Garland and his cohorts aren’t/weren’t involved in criminality, including forgery?

Who’s silly?

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29. CMK - February 10, 2009

Alaistair, how can you be ambivalent about Garland when he’s “guilty as sin”? Don’t extradite him to the States, would be my view, given the deliberate harshness of the US prison system.

By the way and showing my age, where did the term “stickies” originate? Several people have given me vague explanations, so vague that I’ve forgotten. Has anyone here got the definitive answer, assuming one exists?

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30. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

I believe that the extradition request is politically motivated. And that to pursue a man in Garland’s condition is patently unjust. Which is the point of the thread.

And again, the only people attempting a prosecution are those with a political agenda to do so, and a history of being less than truthful when it comes to pursuing their foreign policy agenda.

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31. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

After the split, the Republican Movement used adhesive Easter lillies, while the Provisionals used ones with pins. That is where the term originates.

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32. smiffy - February 10, 2009

CMK – to the best of my knowledge (this may be apocryphal) it originated with the different kinds of Easter lillies sold after the 1970 split. The Provisionals sold ones with little pins to attach to your jacket (or whatever), while the Official lillies had a sticky back. Hence ‘Sticky’.

I’m sure someone else will be able to confirm, though.

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33. alastair - February 10, 2009

…Alaistair, how can you be ambivalent about Garland when he’s “guilty as sin”? …
I’m ambivalent about the extradition, not the man. He’s guilty of involvement in forgery, as well as the usual range of criminality that all the various private armies in N.I. engage in – which doesn’t exactly make him stand out in isolation. I don’t think the US is the best place to have a trial – but if no-one else is prepared to actually put the man on trial – I’m not going to pretend that old age or illness are valid defences.

…And again, the only people attempting a prosecution are those with a political agenda to do so, and a history of being less than truthful when it comes to pursuing their foreign policy agenda…

So where is the juristiction to try the man in (for the crimes you don’t feel the need to dispute)? The UK has had the same claims made against it, and there’s no shortage of political agendas at play in Ireland. Maybe you’re happier with the record of Russian trials?

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34. Pete - February 10, 2009

What’s the crime here? Attempting to undermine a political economic system which the last time I looked was at the center of a structure which has resulted in continuous financial hardship for the majority of the world’s population. A system which has attempted to bomb all that opposed it into submission. OK lets say it was the North Koreans that were behind this Cold War high stake poker of currency undermining – well if you believe that you’ll believe whatever. Sean Garland committed no crime in the US, yet people here are comparing him to Provo bombers who blew up kids going back to answer their crimes in the part of Ireland in which they committed the atrocity – get to fuck. What this smells off here is the people on the fringes of the Roman empire that were paraded for execution at the Colosseum or William Wallace being dragged to London to be ripped apart for traitorous activity to a country he was never a citizen off – are we to allow the yanks to continue the cold war with one of our citizens?- Free Sean Garland now.

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35. Pete - February 10, 2009

by the way my provo ones – we’re all STICKIES NOW

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36. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

Alastair,

I’ve already said that Seán Garland maintains his innocence. It’s in the original post. And the original post makes clear that I regard the whole thing as coming from sources that cannot be credited, due to the track record of Iraq. If you wish to continue to believe such people, then that is up to you. As I’ve said, I’m going to keep the focus on the main issue. Which is that I believe it is against natural justice for the Irish government to allow this case to proceed in any form.

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37. Pete - February 10, 2009

By the way i appoligise for that last bit of hyberbole about blowing up kids – that rarely occured…but the real hatred many Provos have of Sean is he saw sense while they were still ing palying soldiers against their fellow Irishmen

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38. Pete - February 10, 2009

Of course he is innocent there was no crime committed

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39. alastair - February 10, 2009

…I’ve already said that Seán Garland maintains his innocence…

Not quite the same thing.

…Of course he is innocent there was no crime committed…

Of course not. None that you believe in anyway. Even if they did take place.

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40. Ghandi of North Strand - February 10, 2009

A number of questions have been raised in these posts in relation to why this campaign has not received publicity that is a question to be directed to the media, not WP, is it not odd that on the Sunday following his arrest no Sunday paper (with the exeception of the Indo who carried the story from Saturdays Examiner) carried the story, on the saturday it received scant coverage. While on friday night it had disappeared by the 9 o’clock news. All the editors coming to the same conclusion not to carry the story?

Sean Garland has maintained his innocence of these charges from the outset and no evidence has been produced in any Court North or South to back up the allegations. All of the speculation is based on the Panorama & Spotlight programmes, which seems to now be accepted as the truth by many on this thread.

In 2005 when Sean came back to the South it was with the permission of the Belfast High Court to have some medical treatment, he then said publically taht he was not returning and that he had advised the Garda that he was available should they wish to talk to him.

He has been clear and consistant in saying that he will fight this fully through the Irish Courts where the US government will have to provide prima facia evidence something they were not required to do in the North under the US Uk extradition treaty.

It is clear that somebody of Sean’s political viewpoint will not get a fair trial in the US, and the question people shoul dbe asking is why the arrest at this time.

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41. Seán Ó Tuama - February 10, 2009

The only aspect of the case outlined that I have much sympathy for is the argument around the nature of the UK/US extradiction treaty which does appear to have some blatantly unfair aspects.

Certainly, “Defend Seán Garland and the Natwest Three” sounds like such a beautifully ironic slogan on a number of levels that I would feel tempted to support it for that reason alone.

However, if Mr Garland was convicted, I would support his right to political status!!!

In any case, I doubt very much whether he will, in practice, be extradited and suspect that in the unlikely event that he is, he is more likely to get a fair trial than many Republicans and non-Republican Irish people received in British (or Irish) courts.

After all, he has “done the state some service and they know’t”

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42. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

Yes he has done us all some service, in helping lead the transformation of the Republican Movement into a peaceful political party dedicated to promoting the interests of the people of no property, and in fighting the republican struggle against sectarianism in the north, while promoting the modernization and secularization of the south.

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43. alastair - February 10, 2009

…alongside a sideline in the odd bit of forgery and talking up genocidal tinpot dicators while scrounging from them. But let’s not focus on that.

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44. Jim Monaghan - February 10, 2009

Garibaldy “Yes he has done us all some service,”
I am afraid whatever people think of the Northern war that Garland’s solution would have led to Gulags that would have made the H-Blocks look like a holiday camp. Garland and the Official leadership sold their souls to Moscow and later North Korea.The struggle for secularism was won by a large array of organisations and individuals, I don’t recall an exceptional role played by the WP. My main memory is the witchhunting they did. They were in an unholy alliance with the Southern establishment and Britain. Even Mc Aleese was a partial victim.
Yes, I am against his extradition but not with much enthusiasm.

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45. ejh - February 10, 2009

He’s guilty of involvement in forgery

He’s accused of forgery. Some people tend to think that making assumptions of certain guilt on the basis of accusations is an unwise and potentially unjust procedure. They include some people with experience of the interface between NI politics and the UK criminal justice system.

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46. alastair - February 10, 2009

Repsol were certainly invloved in forgery – and he was Repsol. I think it’s fair to say that he has form in the field.

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47. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

You can think whatever you like, but once again you seem to have information the relevant authorities do not.

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48. ejh - February 10, 2009

That’s a little short of “guilty as sin”, is it not?

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49. alastair - February 10, 2009

…You can think whatever you like, but once again you seem to have information the relevant authorities do not…

It’s not a matter of what I think – it’s a matter of where the evidence points. The guards had the information all right – that’s how they caught the plates and the forged cash. But let’s ignore the inconvenient facts. He’s probably a changed man, who just happens to socialise with Brummie crims in Moscow. That makes much more sense.

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50. ejh - February 10, 2009

The last three sentences of your posting come under the rubric “idle rhetoric”.

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51. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

As I recall, the evidence pointed in the direction of a different individual. Anyway, this is all what Mick Fealty calls ‘whatboutery’. Once again, the focus needs to be kept on the topic at hand. Is it just that these proceedings go ahead? I believe not for the reasons outlined above.

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52. alastair - February 10, 2009

Whatever – we both know the man is certainly guilty of the following:

1. Previous form in crimality – including forgery
2. Skipping bail
3. Getting caught by investigative journalist with his finger in the forgery pie, long after any political justification could be claimed.
4. Bleating about political conspiracies when he was happy enough to see any opposition extradited or face trial.

No-one is going to convince me that there’s a convergence of international puppetmasters and unhappy co-incidences at play here, when occam’s razor indicates a rather less fantastic possibility.

In other shocking news – the provos stole that Northern bank dosh!

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53. ejh - February 10, 2009

I can as it happens recall at least one notorious instance in which allegations of criminality made in a television programme against a political outsider were later demonstrated to be wholly synthetic. It doesn’t follow that the same is true again: it does however follow that “of course he done it, I saw it on the telly” is not a terribly reliable way of determining somebody’s guilt.

There is a phrase “a case to answer” with which Alistair should probably acquaint himself. With perhaps special attention paid to its meaning and its limitations.

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54. ejh - February 10, 2009

Incidentally, Occam’s Razor deals with the balance of probabilities and is by definition not the standard by which criminal guilt or innocence is determined.

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55. alastair - February 10, 2009

…Once again, the focus needs to be kept on the topic at hand…

Which is?

He’s a poor harmless ould fellah in bad health?
Not anything to do with his alledged crime.

He couldn’t stand fair trial in the US?
Where then? Is it better that his crimes get passed over for political expediency? Where’s the ‘natural justice’ there?

Sean Garland is a nobody as far as the Yanks are concerned. They might well like to expose another smelly aspect of the North Koreans to the world, but they certainly don’t need Garland to do that job for them – no-one (sane) can stand over the record of the North Korean state. That bird has flown.

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56. alastair - February 10, 2009

Incidentally, Occam’s Razor deals with the balance of probabilities and is by definition not the standard by which criminal guilt or innocence is determined.

No – a trial by jury is – and that’s what Garland is being offered.

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57. ejh - February 10, 2009

…Once again, the focus needs to be kept on the topic at hand…

The focus is wherever anybody else choose to place it, and that includes the weaknesses in your argument. It is not your ball and you do not choose the game.

no-one (sane) can stand over the record of the North Korean state. That bird has flown.

One would have said the same about the Iraqi régime some years ago, and yet it was found necessary to manufacture evidence in that instance. Incidentally the point you are making appears to be contrary to the point you make earlier in the same paragraph.

and that’s what Garland is being offered.

He is, however, being offered a trial in a patently political case and those are not circumstances where anybody can rely on a fair trial, in the US or quite likely anywhere else. And that renders the case problematic whether you like it or no.

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58. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

In fairness to Alastair EJH that thing about the focus was a quote from me. What I meant to say was that I would not let the whataboutery distract me from the issue at hand. Which is as you say the impossibility of a fair trial in the US in this case, and the political reasons for it, which have nothing to do with justice.

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59. More At Cedar Lounge « Garibaldy Blog - February 10, 2009

[…] At Cedar Lounge By Garibaldy Just a quick link to a post I’ve put up on Cedar Lounge with some personal thoughts on the attempt to extradite […]

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60. ejh - February 10, 2009

I should add that the point about Occam’s Razor is that “he’s as guilty as sin” is a position that one cannot reach by using it, as indeed one cannot reach it by watching a television documentary (and still less by reading a transcript). This being so, I am not sure how Alistair has got there.

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61. alastair - February 10, 2009

Can anyone tell me what state you would have Garland tried in – given that there’s clearly a case to answer? Because I’m guessing the naysayers don’t like any of the options.

Garland won’t stand trial here or the UK because there’s too much wound up in the peace process and the hornets nest that applying the law implies.

I don’t buy that the US see this as a golden opportunity to beat Kim Jong-il around. For a start he’s quite possibly got his own health problems and isn’t for this world much longer anyway, and secondly, like I’ve said already – no-one needs convincing that NK is a bad set-up on account of one micky mouse forgery scam. It’s rather more likely that they don’t like people messing with their federal notes – end of.

That said – I have reservations about the extradition process – but none about the accusations against Garland. If he isn’t extradited (which he won’t be), he should really be tried in the UK.

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62. Pete - February 10, 2009

“Getting caught by investigative journalist with his finger in the forgery pie, long after any political justification could be claimed.” – has it really the last time I looked the Yanks were still a threat to much of the world’s masses. But if you have the “political justification” its alright to commit mass murder? Let’s deal with all the issue here, this “crime” was not to help NK but to mess up the world’s ultimate Imperialist power. If a “crime” has been committed in Ireland or Britain as defined by these state’s penal codes well let the man stand trial – why send him to a country which he has never step foot in in his life? – to appease our betters?

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63. alastair - February 10, 2009

…or because they actually don’t care about the niceities of the peace process and feel put out that the man was stealing from them?

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64. Seán Ó Tuama - February 10, 2009

EJH

Incidentally, Occam’s Razor deals with the balance of probabilities and is by definition not the standard by which criminal guilt or innocence is determined.

Actually, Occam’s Razor is more about the elimination as superfluous of any additional explanation when an existing simpler explanation is sufficient to explain a phenomenon, than the balance of probability as such.

In any case, I suspect that Mr Garland’s only use for Occam’s Razor would be to use it on a political opponent.

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65. ejh - February 10, 2009

Garland won’t stand trial here or the UK because there’s too much wound up in the peace process and the hornet’s nest that applying the law implies.

I don’t see that this is so. I don’t doubt that there has been (and presumably is) reluctance to pursue people in the circumstances and for the resons you describe, but people haven’t got impunity (else a lot more things would go on than actually do) and I can’t see that alleged forgery in the service of Pyongyang would be considered an untouchable act.

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66. Pete - February 10, 2009

Yes he was stealing from them – as part of the political ideology he has held since his youth, and not for his own enrichment but because he believes their system has robbed from many for much longer. I personally support his position on this because i believe it is the correct anaylsis for a Socialist.

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67. ejh - February 10, 2009

Actually, Occam’s Razor is more about the elimination as superfluous of any additional explanation when an existing simpler explanation is sufficient to explain a phenomenon, than the balance of probability as such.

That’s a fine posting, but something of a fine distinction nonetheless, do you not think?

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68. alastair - February 10, 2009

…Yes he was stealing from them – as part of the political ideology he has held since his youth…

Glad we’re in agreement about the actual crime/political act then. If the law has a position on forgery/counterfitting, then he’s subject to that law like everyone else.

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69. Seán Ó Tuama - February 10, 2009

EJH,
You are the one who usually likes to criticise everyone else on this site for their lack of precision. I therefore think that my point is a valid one to make.

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70. alastair - February 10, 2009

I can’t see that alleged forgery in the service of Pyongyang would be considered an untouchable act.

In isolation – perhaps not – but it raises uncomfortable parallels about activities undertaken within some partners in government – both here and in N.I.

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71. ejh - February 10, 2009

Mmm. But the law – which works on higher standards of proof than “I saw it on the telly” requires evidence to be produced in court and for the case of the defendant (or potential defendant) to be heard. It also in cases of extradition (though no longer in the UK, where requests from the US are concerned) requires arguments to be heard about the purpose of prosecution and possible abuse of process.

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72. ejh - February 10, 2009

In isolation – perhaps not – but it raises uncomfortable parallels about activities undertaken within some partners in government – both here and in N.I.

I’m far from sure that that’s a strong enough argument to support your claim, certainly not without specifics.

I therefore think that my point is a valid one to make.

Perfectly valid sir, it’s just that you may be making a distiinction that is not a difference.

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73. Pete - February 10, 2009

As I have attempted to outline was it really in the service of NK? Or a political ideology which is profoundly opposed to US imperialism? Should we extradite a man who, whatever people may think of the outcomes, dedicated his life to the pursuit of Republican ideals to a much less bloody end than the state which which wishes to try him has pursed its ideological principles or many of those who would now condemn him. To condemn Sean Garland is to condemn the Fenian tradition, if that must be done let it be in Ireland and not by our Imperial overlords.

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74. alastair - February 10, 2009

…the law – which works on higher standards of proof than “I saw it on the telly” requires evidence to be produced in court and for the case of the defendant (or potential defendant) to be heard…

Ignoring the ‘I saw it on the telly’ business (he’s already got proven connections with the forgery game, and loses any plausible deniability when a bunch of new circimstantial evidence becomes available – through the goggle box or otherwise), no-one is demanding anything other than a day in court for the man.

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75. alastair - February 10, 2009

…To condemn Sean Garland is to condemn the Fenian tradition…

You’re either with us or against us?

No thanks – I turned down that offer from Bush.

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76. ejh - February 10, 2009

e’s already got proven connections with the forgery game

Could you be specific?

and loses any plausible deniability when a bunch of new circimstantial evidence becomes available

Ah, this isn’t true, is it? If somebody were to be convicted of breaking and entering, it wouldn’t make them guilty if tere were a subsequent burglary in their street.

no-one is demanding anything other than a day in court for the man.

Well, some people are claiming that they already now the man is guilty, which strikes me as a little more than a demand that he have his day in court.

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77. alastair - February 10, 2009

…Could you be specific?…

Printing plates for tax books and chequebooks were found at the Repsol/WP offices by the guards in ’83 – a follow-up raid in Ringsend uncovered £1.7 million in forged five pound notes – and a Repsol print press. Now Repsol wasn’t exactly a large operation, and Garland was both a director, and manager of the business.

…it wouldn’t make them guilty if tere were a subsequent burglary in their street…
Not at all. But it would be perfectly valid for me to make a personal judgement given the full background and context.

…some people are claiming that they already now the man is guilty, which strikes me as a little more than a demand that he have his day in court….

Last I heard, every person up in court was claimed to be guilty by someone beforehand – that’s how it works.

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78. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

Alastair’s logic above means that any of us who have ever worked or been at school with people involved in crime have proven links to them. Hmmm.

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79. ejh - February 10, 2009

Last I heard, every person up in court was claimed to be guilty by someone beforehand

So they are. But the people who make the claim are those both acquainted with the evidence and charged with the responsibility of making the case against the defendant. Everybody else is instructed toassume inocence. That is how it works.

1983 is a long time ago, by the way. I was still at school at 1983 (well, part of it). Doesn’t it strike you as likely that somebody witha liking for forgery might have been the subject of allegations between 1983 and the present business?

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80. alastair - February 10, 2009

You went to school/worked in a single room with a couple of fellow students/workers, managed their daily activities, and failed to notice the forgery business going on – even though there was forgery plates lying around your office?

Unfortunate then that you were caught in dealings with another bunch of counterfit currency criminals a few years later, isn’t it?

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81. alastair - February 10, 2009

Everybody else is instructed toassume inocence

No they aren’t. The jury is – everyone else can form whatever opinion they like.

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82. alastair - February 10, 2009

Doesn’t it strike you as likely that somebody witha liking for forgery might have been the subject of allegations between 1983 and the present business?

Umm. They were.

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83. ejh - February 10, 2009

The jury is – everyone else can form whatever opinion they like.

In fact the judge is also under the same instruction, as you recall. This is useful to remember, since it reminds is that this is how cases are actually heard. Judges and juries don’t watch telly programmes and then declare people on “guilty as sin” on the basis of their opast record. They hear evidence and the defence. This is a sounder means of proceeding, I think, than yours.

Umm. They were.

Specifically? You mentioned no date later than that in your posting above.

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84. Seán Ó Tuama - February 10, 2009

Have not noticed such passion from EJH on any issue regarding British oppression in Ireland. Has our nitpicking pedant become a WP useful idiot or is this a genuine concern coming from a position of political principle?

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85. alastair - February 10, 2009

…Judges and juries don’t watch telly programmes and then declare people on “guilty as sin” on the basis of their opast record. They hear evidence and the defence. This is a sounder means of proceeding, I think, than yours…

All the more reason to provide a day in court.

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86. Dunne and Crescendo - February 10, 2009

Ejh just likes being annoying and clever clever. I suspect he knows not a lot about the case which he is discussing.

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87. ejh - February 10, 2009

Dunne – sorry, do you have a point here? Seán certainly has a political grudge, but I’m not quite clear what your angle is. It would be usefu lto know as it might help explain your similarly content-free posting.

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88. alastair - February 10, 2009

Specifically? You mentioned no date later than that in your posting above.

WP themselves concede that these accusations come ’round regularly.

The current extradition request stems from an investigation begun in ’96 and focussed on Garland specifically in 2001/2002.

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89. WorldbyStorm - February 10, 2009

On the broader issue I do have some sympathy for Alastair’s point, i.e. it’s a bit hard to take seriously the old ‘wasn’t us gov, honest’ line when it comes to various activities which any of us who went through the party were fairly aware were going on albeit on the periphery. And that makes a solidarity campaign a much harder sell than it might otherwise be.

In a way it’s not that it’s Garland that sways me one way or the other – although I think that it’s profoundly unhelpful in the current disposition in the north and appears markedly opportunistic and partisan (although on whose behalf is difficult to judge) but simply that the case itself is a lot less clear cut than it might appear – worth reading not only the transcript above but also subsequent material available on the internet which points the finger *away* from NK and that the US justice system, no doubt admirable in many parts, is problematic in such cases.

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90. alastair - February 10, 2009

…but simply that the case itself is a lot less clear cut than it might appear…

Yeah – to a man with a basement full of WP gold bullion. I’ve seen you down there Uncle McScrooge!

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91. ejh - February 10, 2009

WP themselves concede that these accusations come ’round regularly.

So no specifics then? No names, facts, numbers, arrests, court appearances, convictions or acquittals?

It’s not a lot to go on, is it?

Obviously I’m aware that not everything that people do is subsequently revealed, but at the same time, you know, we’re not short of material about thew activities and alleged activities of poitical groupings in NI over the past (say) forty years. There’s a mountain of books, biographies, autobiographies, interviews, documents and depositions of all sorts. Given that, I’d hope at least for a little more detail, would that be unreasonable?

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92. Dunne and Crescendo - February 10, 2009

Are you an expert on the WP’s history ejh? I’m certainly no expert on Oxford Utd so I don’t pontificate on them. You like to debate for the sake of debating and at post 90 and counting its not clear where any of this is going.
My only comment is that several of the most angry posters can’t actually remember the events they are getting angry about and the discussion will simply go around in circles until someone realises that if you a) support the WP, then you will support Sean Garland or b) if you hate them, you will tend not to care what happens to him.

On a slightly related note there is an outside chance of a national public sector strike, backed up by the most widespread anger I have seen in my life, which carries the slight chance of breaking Fianna Fail’s hold on a large section of the Irish working class. Anyone want to talk about that?

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93. alastair - February 10, 2009

Not at all – but you’d need to check with WP – I doubt that they’d make up claims against themselves in this regard – I can’t see the milage.

It’s also worth pointing out that there’s only a few years between the fallout of the fivers and the emergence of the Korean notes – with the rather large distraction of the Russian gold claims to muddy the waters – let alone the split and feudin’, and the other Officials crime spree to distract from any funny money activites.

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94. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

D&C,

There is of course a third position, which is to decide on the fairness of this extradition attempt. Hence the reason I made this post.

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95. ejh - February 10, 2009

Are you an expert on the WP’s history ejh?

No. So what? I do have a certain layman’s knowledge of law and the experience of the political issues involved that one accumulates from a quarter of a century’s involvement. But that’s not so important, what’s important is that things are discussed rationally, without prejudice and without resort to cheap ad hominems. No?

Anyone want to talk about that?

Presumably there are threads on which one could do so?

(PS I’ve sent an email to WbS, would appreciate it if it were read.)

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96. ejh - February 10, 2009

It’s also worth pointing out that there’s only a few years between the fallout of the fivers and the emergence of the Korean notes

Perhaps odd though that if it’s been going on so long, it’s taken so long for anybody to act. Do you not think?

and the other Officials crime spree to distract from any funny money activites.

I don’t see that at all, how would that work?

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97. alastair - February 10, 2009

…Perhaps odd though that if it’s been going on so long, it’s taken so long for anybody to act. Do you not think?…

Seen much speed on the Stardust tribunal progress – any personal extra-legal opinions about who might be culpable, based on widely known evidence? How about instituional child abuse, or brown envelope political corruption?

This is the norm, rather than the exception.

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98. CL - February 10, 2009

Fairness has nothing to do with it. Like all extraditions and deportations its a matter of the foreign policy of the Irish state.
Ireland (both states) are firmly within the ‘Anglo-Sphere’, culturally, linguistically, politically and economically. And Ireland’s legal system, just like the U.K. and U.S. is Anglo-Saxon. So because Ireland is so firmly within the Anglo-American sphere does this mean that Garland will be extradited? Very doubtful. The Irish tribal tradition is also very strong. Harris’s statement above is an expression of this. Tribalism will probably trump Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence. With obfuscations, delays, appeals etc. Garland will very likely have joined that gallant band of Plunkett, Pearse and Tone before any final decision is made.

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99. ejh - February 10, 2009

This is the norm, rather than the exception.

I don’t think it is: of course criminal cases involving financial shenanigans habitually take rather longer to resolve (and indeed to come to light) than, say, burglary cases, but even so this seems abnormally long. That’s part of the problem, see – it has the air of something old warmed up, or something previously abandoned but dug up for the occasion. That’s the aspect I don’t like much.

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100. alastair - February 10, 2009

There is of course a third position, which is to decide on the fairness of this extradition attempt. Hence the reason I made this post.

You’ve made a couple of cases:

The health/old age one – which I personally wouldn’t tolerate in the case of Pinochet, so don’t see why it should apply here.

The US/Bush/neo-con/anti-NK conspiracy one, which, aside from being rather long-winded (they need the compelling indictment of an old Irish commie-nationalist to make a persuasive case against the legitimacy of the NK regime!?), is also rather outdated by electoral events in the US. It also pre-supposes that the US judicial system is more inclined to leverage political considerations over legal argument in criminal cases than would happen in the UK or Ireland – which seems rather opposed to the history of these things – especially in recent years.

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101. ejh - February 10, 2009

Isn’t the point about Pincohet that he actually wasn’t ill?

If he had been – well, even a Pinchet might actually be too old and sick to stand trial. But whether a judge took that view might depend not just on the degree to which a defendant was considered inform, but on the seriousness of the case. In Pinochet’s case he was accused of crimes against humanity. In Garland’s case, he’s accused of making dicky dollars. I think the bar might be at a different level, do you not?

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102. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

If you are going to summarise my arguments Alastair, try not to misrepresent them. Reading them carefully can help with that. Also, Garland (or anyone else for that matter) as a commie-nationalist is quite an entertaining concept, and makes me doubt your grasp on the politics involved.

I’ll summarise for myself though if it helps:

1. Is it fair that someone in Seán Garland’s health should face legal proceedings?
2. Is it possible that someone with Garland’s politics and history can get a fair trial in the US?
3. Given the provenance and timing of the request, and the nature of the supposed evidence, is it just to act on it when it is clearly politically motivated?
4. In light of all the above, should the Irish state not just bring an end to the whole thing?

That is what I think justice dictates.

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103. alastair - February 10, 2009

…Reading them carefully can help with that. Also, Garland (or anyone else for that matter) as a commie-nationalist is quite an entertaining concept, and makes me doubt your grasp on the politics involved…

Meoww! I could counter that simply summoning up the spectre of the nefarious neo-con conspiracy doesn’t neccessarily make it so, and that yes, Garland came from both the nationalist and communist traditions, so I fail to see the problem there.

I also note that you once again fail to grasp the issue of the charges levelled against the man – it’s like they’re unimportant to you at all. Strange when the matter of justice is being bandied about.

Anywy:
1. Sure. He was hearty enough to skip bail and keep active in the meantime.
2. Sure – there’s a long enough history of republicans doing pretty well out of the US legal system, thank you very much.
3. After a clearly more pragmatic administration has come into office, and those scary ‘neo-cons’ lost most of their influence before that last term of office for Bush? Don’t see why not.
4. Not really. They should look at the merits of the extradition request like any other. And the case looks to have at least some merit here.

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104. Niall - February 10, 2009

Garibaldy, I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you, but with regards point 1, the problem many people would have is that it depends on the offense. Many felt cheated when Pinochet got away with murder because he was an old, sick man, so it seems that many of us don’t feel that somebody’s health is necessarily a key factor in deciding whether or not he should face trial. The problem is that everybody is innocent until proven guilty, so to say that Pinochet or Garland should be treated differently is difficult to justify.

Regarding point 2, could we not say the same thing about a trial for someone like Garland in Ireland? Or Britain?

Regarding point 3, some DPP prosecutions in Ireland are affected by politics. That doesn’t really affect whether or not the verdict of a trial is just or not.

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105. ejh - February 10, 2009

Well, re: 2 there would certainly have been a point (indeed, “point” is rather an inappropriate term) in which no Irish person could get a fair trial in a UK court in a politically-related trial. And I would be less sanguine than Alistair about the likelihood of a fair trial in the US.

Incidentally, when deciding whether to take a case to court (or allow it to proceed) the legal official involved, be they prosecutors, judges, magistrates or what you will, do take into account questions such as the age and health of the defendant and the public interest in allowing a case to proceed (or otherwise). So they can’t just be shunted aside.

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106. ejh - February 10, 2009

Incidentally I’m impressed with Alistair’s ability to assess Mr Garland’s health from in front of his keyboard. Truly medical science has made great strides of late.

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107. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

Alastair,

Garland rejected nationalism when he became a socialist. Kind of been one of the main planks of his politics for four decades. Do you think my comment about the supposed evidence might reflect my view of the charges (which also relates to your response to points three and four)? I just see on Channel Four News that the new regime is seeking to preserve the process of extraordinary rendition.

Niall,

As EJH points out, these types of consideration are taken account of as standard practice, and this should be all the more the case in the instance of extradition, which will involve a change of doctor and possibly a dimunition of quality of healthcare, separation from family at a time when ill etc. As regards the fair trial issue, I would say that any trial in the US would become regarded as a test of patriotism, especially when words like communist and Korea are mentioned. It is absolutely impossible for a fair trial there.

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108. WorldbyStorm - February 10, 2009

Alastair, re 90, funnily enough although I saw the 80s printing press(es) I never saw the bullion… an opportunity missed there I think 😉

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109. alastair - February 10, 2009

You saying he hasn’t been active over the past two years? he’s been out and about on WP business, and was arrested in the office – not his deathbed.

I’m curious how you can verify Garland’s state of health as being so poor as to justify his not facing a trial – maybe you have access to a special doctor’s cert of your own?

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110. alastair - February 10, 2009

…Garland rejected nationalism when he became a socialist. Kind of been one of the main planks of his politics for four decades….

So – he’s a nationalist who saw the light in the form of communism (let’s not dress it up as socialism – I’ve read the literature) , that’d make him a nationalist-commie, no? As far as I’m aware, WP policy is still that of attaining a 32 county state – albeit after power has shifted to the workers, natch.

…I just see on Channel Four News that the new regime is seeking to preserve the process of extraordinary rendition….

What’s that got to do with the US legal system – how many victims of extraordinary rendition have faced trial by jury in the US?

And while you continue to avoid engaging with the evidence against the man, you also choose to ignore the Irish legal process for assessing the justification for extradition. We’ve our own due process for determining whether the case and the likelyhood for fair trial lend themselves to following through with extradition.

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111. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

Rejecting nationalism would make him a nationalist-commie? No, it wouldn’t. It would make him one and not the other.

Yes the aim is a Republic, but the politics are internationalist. Part of the reason, of course, that we are in this situation in the first place.

As for the rendition. It suggests worrying things about the way the US is still determined to treat those it sees as its enemies despite the change of regime.

I am well aware that there are better safeguards in the Republic than in the UK, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t offer my opinion, or lobby for the whole venture to be dropped.

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112. Free Finglas - February 10, 2009

Can anyone answer why Sean Garland should face a court in a country he has never visited? Seems hard to commit a crime there when you have never actually been there. Can we now expect Bush bin Bush to be extradited to Iraq? Why is the Irish government even giving this crap the time of day.

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113. Dunne and Crescendo - February 10, 2009

Its quite possible to be a nationalist and a commie. Ho Chi Minh was both, as were eventually Fidel and Che. The French Communists traded quite heavily on French nationalism for a long time and the CPI have been known to do the same. The only reason your so upset with the use of the term is that because in Ireland you associate it with the Provos, the SDLP or other political enemies/rivals of the WP. On the CLR elsewhere there is a document from Liam McMillen where he waxes lyrical on the positive effect of nationalist sentiment in Belfast. In the late 1960s the likes of Johnston and Coughlan talked about nationalism in positive terms. Just because its politically verboten for WP members to call themselves nationalists now doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t in other circumstances. What was that great idea from the late sixties again? Oh yeah, the National Liberation Front.

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114. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

You are assuming D&C that national liberation and nationalism are the same thing. Socialism is an internationalist doctrine, as indeed is republicanism, but both are based on the sovereignty of peoples. Hence opposition to imperialism. I would dispute the the Cubans in particular are nationalists – one need only look at their aid to other countries to see that their vision is far wider. Language has changed since the 1960s with greater political clarity.

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115. Dunne and Crescendo - February 10, 2009

The Cubans considered themselves first and foremost nationalists, hence their lionising of Jose Marti. The CP opposed the revolution initially and Fidel only hopped on that bandwagon during 1960. I suspect Sean Garland would call himself a nationalist if the political circumstances were different. Anyway I hope he gets our tomorrow.

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116. Dunne and Crescendo - February 10, 2009

I mean ‘out’ tomorrow.

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117. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

We can certainly agree on the last line.

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118. alastair - February 10, 2009

…Rejecting nationalism would make him a nationalist-commie? No, it wouldn’t. It would make him one and not the other…

It’s not clear to me that Garland rejected nationalism at all. He might have stated his opposition to ‘other’ nationalist groups, and opposed sectarianism clearly, but the endgame for WP is still framed in a 32 county goal – they just don’t make such a big deal of it anymore.

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119. alastair - February 10, 2009

…I am well aware that there are better safeguards in the Republic than in the UK, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t offer my opinion, or lobby for the whole venture to be dropped…

Who’s stopping you doing just that?

My point is simply that you make your case without any real reference to the context and evidence of the charges, and that you frame the whole thing in some nebulious neo-con conspiracy. Maybe the state dept are just understandably pissed that oul lads are running around diluting their greenbacks without any slap on the wrist by the locals?

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120. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

nationalism is based on the idea that the nation is a harmonious, organic entity. Socialism is based on a class analysis. The two are contradictory. At least that is how The WP understands them. Desiring a state controlled by workers to encompass the whole island does not make one a form of nationalist.

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121. alastair - February 10, 2009

…Desiring a state controlled by workers to encompass the whole island does not make one a form of nationalist…

Sure – it just walks and talks like a nationalist. Capitalism is based on an internationalist premis as well, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a capitalist nationalist either.

Let’s put it this way – to an American audience, is Garland about island-of-Ireland politics, or not? We’d have to say that he’s very much a small niche player in a small niche nation (and that disputed corner of the UK for good measure) – so the frame is that of nationalist politics – evolved from a clear republican strain of nationalism prior to that. Is his party aligned with an international block of socialists or communists? – you’d have to say aligned with the communist block of parties. Which manner of pseudo-socialist states has his party sung from the hymnsheet for over the years – typically the most depostic of supposedly communist regimes.

My hunch is that the broad brushstroke of a nationalist-commie wouldn’t be too far off the mark for any (probably disinterested)American observer.

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122. Garibaldy - February 10, 2009

I hadn’t realised we were judging this on the basis of the average political understanding of Americans. That’s a horse of a different colour.

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123. Seán Ó Tuama - February 11, 2009

“Desiring a state controlled by workers to encompass the whole island does not make one a form of nationalist.”

I have been out for a few hours and am now back to catch the latest episode of the Seán Garland show. Apart from the fact that I have personally no great problem with calling myself a nationalist in an oppressed nation, although I prefer the term Republican for historical reasons, can Garibaldy give us any significant examples of workers’ control in the states he so much admires as opposed to parties who claim to act on behalf of the workers?

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124. alastair - February 11, 2009

I reckon that’s about as much political store as the average State Dept honcho places on Garland – he’s a nobody politically to them – which is important in judging their motives. Given that any reading of the situation has him up to his neck in circumstantial evidence, it’s rather more likely that a cigar is simply a cigar in this case. He helped steal/undermine their money – they want to make him pay for that crime (or they want to tarnish the otherwise good name of a despotic genocidal regime that otherwise looks like a shining beacon of liberty). You get to pick the more likely scenario.

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125. Garibaldy - February 11, 2009

Seán,

I’m not really interesting in having that type of discussion on this thread. Another time, sure. Maybe if I post something on Cuba, for example.

Alastair,

Funny then how the tempo of these requests lines up with international political developments. Such a coincidence on the timing that, and after a gap of years.

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126. Seán Ó Tuama - February 11, 2009

I’m not really interesting in having that type of discussion on this thread. Another time, sure. Maybe if I post something on Cuba, for example.

In the context of this particular discussion, and in honour of your great leader,it might be more interesting to have some examples from North Korea and Russia (I won’t call it the Soviet Union)?

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127. Mick Hall - February 11, 2009

My how the venom flows, I find it amusing that those who often claim to be against personalizing politics are often the biggest culprits, reading some of the above I could say I rest my case.

The government of GW Bush demanded that Garland be extradited to the USA, that bastion of the rule of law. Let me run that past some of you leftists again. G. W. Bush, who is without doubt at this time the no 1 criminal in the world.

That fact alone should be enough for any socialist to offer support to Garland and in truth I do not give a flying fuck if he has been producing dollar bills in his back room or is totally innocent of the crimes he has been accused of. The USA is no longer a country were the rule of law prevails, whether it returns to being one under Obama time alone will tell.

If so we can return to Sean Garlands extradition in three or four years, in the meantime anyone who calls themselves a socialist should oppose his extradition and if they do not, then they should take a close look at their politics, because a comrade they ain’t.

Just so there is no mistake I have no time for Garlands Stalinist politics, but I feel perhaps some comrades would do well to reread the poem Niemöller’s is famous for.

Comradely regards to all.

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128. Garibaldy - February 11, 2009

That’s a fine contribution Mick, one of a number on this thread, amid a lot of animus.

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129. Seán Ó Tuama - February 11, 2009

They came for Seán Garland and there was nobody left to protest because he had eliminated the rest of the opposition?

More seriously I think that socialist politics should be built on more than automatically supporting anybody the US does not like.

As I said before I think that the US/UK extradition treaty is unfair but other than that am not particularly worried about what happens to the Great Leader.

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130. Bakunin - February 11, 2009

Garland makes one cringe, but forgery (as far as crime goes) is alright.

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131. Bakunin - February 11, 2009

Mick,

“The USA is no longer a country were the rule of law prevails, whether it returns to being one under Obama time alone will tell.”

Come on, we have over 2 million in prison — the one thing that the US has is the rule of law. It may be bad law, but it is the law. Just ask someone in the can. We constantly have to fight the law!

Obama? He can’t even control the politics around a stimulus bill. No savior there.

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132. Mick Hall - February 11, 2009

Bakunin

131/ Game set and match to you 😉

Mick

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133. Mark P - February 11, 2009

I’m a bit irritated by some of the posts here.

Not because I am a supporter of the Workers Party. As the various rows I’ve had here with Garibaldy and other WP supporters should make clear. But because some people, in their hatred for the WP have forgotten basic principles of solidarity. Sean Garland is an old, seriously ill, man. The US is trying to extradite him because he’s a useful stick to beat the North Korean regime with. Another group I’ve no time for at all.

But remember, no significant evidence against him has so far been produced. And the crime he has been accused of is not the same as murder or mass murder. The loathing expressed on this thread has more to do with hatred of his politics than it does with any reasonable assessment of current extradition attempts.

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134. Bakunin - February 11, 2009

I think Mick and Mark are correct. Garland’s politics should have nothing to do with our position on his extradition. The US wants to use him as a political pawn. That should be opposed.

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135. Baku26 - February 11, 2009

I agree with Mark P. Socialists should remember the concept of solidarity. They should also remember something else, a basic concept of fairness and justice. Sean Garland has expressly stated that he is innocent of the charges alleged. In this jurisdiction there is a presumption of innocence. If some of the posters here disagree with that principle then let them state so clearly. That presumption asserts that Sean Garland is innocent. It matters not whether you admire or despise the person accused the principle remains the same.

Secondly, what is the prospect of a fair trial in the US given the state and media inspired fear and hostility towards “North Korea”, Marxism in general and the US obsession with “the dollar”, particularly in the current climate. The European Convention on Human Rights confers the right to a fair trial which will be lost in the event that Sean Garland is extradited to the US. Contrary to the observations of some posters the health and other relevant circumstances of a person accused of any offence is an important matter both in terms of human rights and humanitarian law.

Sean Garland had no prospect of defending himself in Northern Ireland or a British court. The UK-US Treaty of March 2003 expressly abolished the requirement for evidence of a prima facie case in requests from the United States. That is why the US chose to act in Northern Ireland rather than the state were Mr Garland lived and was a citizen.The position was effectively outlined in a JUSTICE (scarcely a Marxist front) Briefing on the Treaty in July 2003. The Briefing, by respected independent lawyers, noted that “the United States is not accountable to any international court and has shown in the past its disregard for judgments from international tribunals sauch as the International Court of Justice”.

Finally, I am aware that the Workers’ Party expressly condemned “supergrass trials” so that old canard will not provide a figleaf to those who oppose the defence of Sean Garland in this instance. It might be more honest for those who take that view to concede that their position is based on personal prejudice rather that a reasoned and principled consideration of Sean Garland’s case.

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136. ejh - February 11, 2009

I’m curious how you can verify Garland’s state of health as being so poor as to justify his not facing a trial – maybe you have access to a special doctor’s cert of your own?

I’m not sure to whom Alistair addressed this, though it’s a rather odd comment from somebody who is able to state confidently that the man’s in good health despite, er, not having seen any doctor’s opinion. I don’t suppose he saw something on the telly?

Of course Garland is 75 and at that age it’s possible for one’s health to deteriorate quite swiftly under the pressure of an illness or other medical condition. Or it may be that the man is perfectly OK. I don’t know, which I why I’ve not chosen to prejudge his medical examination on the basis of bugger all, and why Alistair should not have.

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137. Justin - February 11, 2009

Bakunin says
“Garland makes one cringe,”
This is a serious contribution to the debate? “Bakunin” makes me …(supply own ending)

More to the point, aside from issues relating to Sean Garland’s health and age, the evidence against him is non-existent. John McGlynn,an independent journalist from Tokyo, who has, to my knowledge, no personal interest in the WP and Sean Garland and has no time for the DPRK, has written a detailed analysis of this non-existent case against Sean Garland. It’s at http://www.japanfocus.org/_John_McGlynn-North_Korean_Criminality_Examined__the_US_Case__Part_I

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138. alastair - February 11, 2009

…More to the point, aside from issues relating to Sean Garland’s health and age, the evidence against him is non-existent…

Nonsense. That article (from a blog with a clear position in relation to US foreign policy) makes clear that there’s much circumstantial evidence against Garland, that he may well have been distributing forged notes, but that the link to NK is less well laid out in the indictment papers. It also points out that, unsurprisingly, much of the evidence would not be revealed until he showed up in court – which is normal enough under any jurisdiction.

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139. alastair - February 11, 2009

…why I’ve not chosen to prejudge his medical examination…

You haven’t?
Because I’m pretty sure you’ve been making the case that he’s too ill to face trial?

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140. ejh - February 11, 2009

You’d like to provide me with references?

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141. alastair - February 11, 2009

…I agree with Mark P. Socialists should remember the concept of solidarity. They should also remember something else, a basic concept of fairness and justice. Sean Garland has expressly stated that he is innocent of the charges alleged. In this jurisdiction there is a presumption of innocence…

Not this red herring again.

There is no presumption of innocence outside a courtroom. OJ Simpson claims he’s innocent too. The mechanism for testing that claim is a court of law.

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142. alastair - February 11, 2009

…You’d like to provide me with references?..

Apologies – It’s Garibaldy making that claim.

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143. ejh - February 11, 2009

There is no presumption of innocence outside a courtroom

There isn’t, but there is an understanding of why that presumption exists. I don’t think we’re ethically entitled to just say “he did it” on the basis of accusations. Of course we will have suspicions and make personal judgements (which we may make either way) but at the same time a fair bit of caution is quite important, is it not?

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144. alastair - February 11, 2009

…Funny then how the tempo of these requests lines up with international political developments. Such a coincidence on the timing that, and after a gap of years….

Not really. If you look for a supposed conspiracy, you’ll never have difficulty in conjuring one up. Garland was indicted while known to be in the UK so the inconvenience of having to go through the Irish extradition process could be avoided – nothing conspiratorial in that – just common or garden pragmatism. The subsequent delay in issuing extradition orders aren’t out of the ordinary – it took nearly a year for the extradition request in relation to the Colombia three to come through – and that was where they had fled a court decision, rather than an impending trial.

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145. alastair - February 11, 2009

…at the same time a fair bit of caution is quite important, is it not?..

Who’s being incautious? The evidence against the man may or may not be sufficient for a conviction – only the court will determine that, but it’s enough that an extra-legal presumption of innocence would be rather strange to say the least.

In the words of that fine orator:

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, it’s probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on … shame on you. It fool me. We can’t get fooled again.”

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146. skidmarx - February 11, 2009

“OJ Simpson claims he’s innocent too.”

When he was on trial the first time, I thought he seemed guilty as sin up to the point where the prosecution got him to try the gloves on, and they didn’t fit. I then began to develop a reasonable amount of doubt, and also a renewed belief that we should generally offer all criminal defendants the presumption of innocence, inside and outside the courtroom. How one treats people politically when we appear to have hearsay knowledge that suggests they are a serial offender in precisely the area they have been charged with is a more complicated question, though I would caution that it is easier to fit people up if they have form, and one thing I learned from studying the sociology of deviance was that it is a widespread practice for the police to identify a suspect and then do everything they can to convict, must usually by obtaining a confession. Hackney Community Defence Association in London once suggested that the police’s investigatory powers should be separated from the power of arrest (not just the decision to charge) to create a less biased criminal process.

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147. ejh - February 11, 2009

Who’s being incautious?

Ah, whoever used the phrase “guitly as sin” and conceivably whoever was “sure” about Mr Garland’s fitness to stand trial…

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148. alastair - February 11, 2009

Guilty as sin as far as I’m concerned – and for anyone who has the honesty to look at the evidence and context. If you chose to take your blinkers off, you’d admit the same. Nothing incautious about that.

And again – he’s been politically active and showing up at the office for WP business post his ‘too-ill-for-trial’ bail skipping adventure, so if he’s fit enough for that…

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149. alastair - February 11, 2009

…When he was on trial the first time, I thought he seemed guilty as sin up to the point where the prosecution got him to try the gloves on, and they didn’t fit. I then began to develop a reasonable amount of doubt, and also a renewed belief that we should generally offer all criminal defendants the presumption of innocence, inside and outside the courtroom…

No doubt I’ll be accused of more incaution, but shrunk gloves didn’t impact on my absolute belief that OJ was a guilty as sin too. And no-one is asked to presume innocence of others outside a courtroom – why you feel the need to do so. I’ll stick with critical analysis in each instance.

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150. ejh - February 11, 2009

Nothing incautious about that.

Of course not. Nothing blinkered either. When you say “for anyone who has the honesty to look at the evidence and context” you might like yourself to look at all of it and not just the bits you like. Hence when you write…

with critical analysis in each instance

…you seem to forgotten the prefix -un.

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151. alastair - February 11, 2009

What evidence do you believe exonerates Garland? – I’m seeing precious little. And please – no grand conspiracy theories – just the actual evidence.

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152. ejh - February 11, 2009

I don’t recall using the term “exonerates” or any synonym thereof at any point, Alistair. I just find myself seeing nuances, and complications and cotnradictions, where you prefer not to see them. Perhaps that is because I can see that there is quite a lot of middle ground between “exonerates” and “guilty as sin”. Perhaps you do not. Perhaps this is your loss.

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153. Justin - February 11, 2009

Alistair,

Perhaps I should have written that hard evidence against Sean Garland is non-existent. Evidence based on the word of convicted criminals with a reason to lie is a different thing.

According to McGlynn:

“the “Superdollar Plot” [TV programme] relies on charges others have made of the North Korean regime’s criminality, weak circumstantial evidence, unproven allegations, and interviews with two anonymous North Korean defectors … even if the North Koreans were engaged in a Moscow-based counterfeiting conspiracy, evidence of a Garland connection is mysteriously missing.”

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154. Ghandi of North Strand - February 11, 2009

Bail hearing adjourned until tomorrow, The State are strongly opposing Bail, onteh basis that Garland jumped Bail in the North. Judge Mc Menamin requesting the Garda to enquire into electronic tagging.

Alistair asks “what evidence exonerates Garland”, again the obvious must be stated, no evidence has been put before any Court North or South or to Garland which shows any involvement in any crime.

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155. Garibaldy - February 11, 2009

Alastair

Garland did not not return to the north because of ill-health. It did it because of the impossibility of challenging extradition under the treaty. His health has subsequently worsened, with the development of bowel cancer.

The mechanism for testing whether a person is guilty is (a) that there is enough reliable evidence to warrant a trial in the first place – something which only the neo-cons seem to think is the case and (b) that any trial be fair. This cannot happen for Seán Garland in the US.

You call on others to look at the context, but insist on ignoring the political context for this attempted extradition, and I find your explanation that a three year delay is normal laughable. As for the attempt in the north. Garland was in the north regularly for years before that, including at meetings with British Government ministers and local political parties, and at WP events where his presence was advertised in advance. Funny how the attempt was made during the nuclear crisis in Korea and a series of conetmporary allegations about criminality, and funny again how this one coincided with another time of raised tensions there. Choose not to see the connection if you wish. But don’t try to suggest that it is unreasonable to note the connection. Especially given the Iraqi example. Or actually, do. It shows youand your arguments up more and more.

Ghandi,

Thanks for the info. Sorry to hear that, althoughhopefully the fact the judge is thinking about tagging indicates that he is open to granting bail.

I’m afraid I’ll have to miss most of any further debate today.

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156. Ingy - February 11, 2009

I have just read all the messages post over the last 2 days, some of them well debated. But I would like to know what the hell Sean Garland, has done on that guy Alastair to provoke such vindictive, venomess, hateful comments on a Man we are very proud of. Sean is ill, but I know he does not need his medical condition to exonerate him.

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157. alastair - February 11, 2009

…The mechanism for testing whether a person is guilty is (a) that there is enough reliable evidence to warrant a trial in the first place – something which only the neo-cons seem to think is the case and (b) that any trial be fair. This cannot happen for Seán Garland in the US…

Rubbish. There are many who believe that there’s ample evidence of Garland’s guilt – that the only prty prepared to hold him to account are the US isn’t particularly surprising – they don’t have to take account of peace process considerations – and they’re the prime injured party in the counterfitting scam.

…You call on others to look at the context, but insist on ignoring the political context for this attempted extradition…

No – your ‘supposed’ political context – Garland is a nobody politically to the State Dept, and it’s a nonsense to suggest that a trial would impact on the diplomatic standing of NK in any meaningful sense. There’s no shortage of reasons to dislike NK – and this falls well down the pecking order – like no-where.

…Funny how the attempt was made during the nuclear crisis in Korea and a series of conetmporary allegations about criminality, and funny again how this one coincided with another time of raised tensions there….

Oh please – this investigation has stretched over years – neatly bracketing period of crisis and periods of calm – it’ll ‘funnily enough’ keep co-inciding with whatever you care to reference, until the awkward matter of Garland’s involvement in crime is played out in a court.

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158. alastair - February 11, 2009

…vindictive, venomess, hateful comments on a Man…

Eh? I’ve simply pointed out that the man is up to his neck in a crime, has previous form in that crime, and should be held to account for that. Beyond that I couldn’t give a tuppeny toss about the man.

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159. alastair - February 11, 2009

…Alistair asks “what evidence exonerates Garland”, again the obvious must be stated, no evidence has been put before any Court North or South or to Garland which shows any involvement in any crime…

Except that Garland hasn’t made it into a court yet – he did a runner from the one court that has evidence to be presented. There’s ample evidence outside the courts to indicate that Garland, at a minimum, has questions to answer in a court.

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160. skidmarx - February 11, 2009

Sometimes what seems to be irrefutable evidence turns out to be nothing of the sort. Such as the now discredited forensic tests that appeared to show that suspects had handled nitroglycerine when it could just as easily have been nitrocellulose from playing cards. One of OJ’s lawyers wrote a book about a whole number of ways in which defendants could be wrongly convicted after apparently fair trials; in each case DNA evidence showed that the police had got the wrong person.

If you need a primer in why those arrested need their rights respected, trying reading the US supreme court judgement in the case of Miranda, from where we obtain the American term for the rights an arrestee has to be read by police:
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=384&invol=436

What’s wrong with a presumption of innocence? Unless you’ve actually seen the man commit the offence that he is currently under investigation for, you are in a worse position than any jury to put aside your preconceptions and judge whether the evidence (rather than hearsay or the commissionof similar offences) justifies the charge.

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161. ejh - February 11, 2009

I’ve simply pointed out that the man is up to his neck in a crime

You’ve not “pointed out” anything – you’v alleged it, on grounds that are less than wholly convincing.

Garland is a nobody politically to the State Dept

You’ve said this a lot, as if it were meaningful. But actually the US has spent quite a lot of time recently (and not just recently) taking action, for political reasons, against people of questionable guilt who were nobodies, politically or any other way. This is true of Guantánamo but not just of Guantánamo. You can choose to say that you don’t think this is relevant, and in this instance you may or may not be right. But other people aren’t obliged like you, to see only what they choose to see.

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162. skidmarx - February 11, 2009

From Jim Dwyer,Peter Neufeld,Barry Scheck; “Actual Innocence”:
“Sometimes eyewitnesses make mistakes.Snitches tell lies.Confessions are coerced or fabricated. Racism trumps the truth. Lab tests are rigged.Defense lawyers sleep. Prosecutors lie. [DNA] is a revelation machine. And the evidence says that most likely, thousands of innocent people [in the US] are in prison, beyond the reach of the revelation machine, just as there are more stars beyond the sight of the most powerful telescope. Most crimes, after all, do not involve biological evidence which means there is no genetic material to test.”
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2000/sep2000/inno-s14.shtml

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163. Billy Joe Remarkable - February 11, 2009

Where are all of Garland’s old comrades? At least Harris has spoken out. What about De Rossa, Rabbitte, Gilmore, Lynch, McManus and the rest?

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164. Baku26 - February 11, 2009

Alastair just doesn’t seem to get the concept of justice. Or innocence. It doesn’t mastter what “many” believe. If that were the standard then many an innocent person would have suffered grave injustice. In general terms the onus or burden of proof rests on the state to prove all the elements necessary to establish its case. It must do that before a person accused of any offence is required to give evidence. There is, accordingly, no legal basis for the contention that Sean Garland has “questions to answer” or that he is required to provide evidence in “exoneration”. Neither did Sean Garland “do a runner from the one court that had evidence to be presented”. The point was that that court was not presented with any evidence in the papers relied on in that court. That is why the US chose Northern Ireland to make its move.

If Alaistair cannot conceive of any reasonable alternative legal or humanitarian view then perhaps we should leave him be to his own devices.

Irish extradition proceedings are not criminal proceedings. Sean Garland is not accused of a crime in Ireland and is not before a criminal court. Sean Garland has never been convicted of any offence relating “to previous form in that crime”.

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165. alastair - February 11, 2009

…Neither did Sean Garland “do a runner from the one court that had evidence to be presented”….

What would you call skipping bail when summonsed to court to face charges then? The US court will be presented with the full set of evidence, as would Garland’s lawers, had he not run away from the US courts and a UK court order.

And no-one made any claim that Garland had been convicted of forgery – just that he’s got a history of being up to his neck in it – and if you’re being honest – we all know this to be true.

Feel free to keep ignoring the elephant in the room.

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166. alastair - February 11, 2009

…You’ve not “pointed out” anything – you’v alleged it, on grounds that are less than wholly convincing…

I’m not going to convince anyone if they choose to ignore the entirely factual history of Garland’s connections with forgery in the past, and the evidence of recent contacts between himself and convicted criminals, involved in distributing counterfit notes – those are facts – not allegations. Caught twice with his fingers all over the same activity – and fleeing his day in court – he does an admirable job of convincing on his own.

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167. ejh - February 11, 2009

I rather fear Alistair that you do not understand the difference between factual and circumstantial evidence. Actually there’s quite a lot of differences that you don’t understand. It’s that nuance thing again.

What we reckon, Alistair, ain’t what’s proven. More than that, it ain’t even always what’s so.

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168. Starkadder - February 11, 2009

Billy Joe Remarkable:
“Where are all of Garland’s old comrades? At least Harris has spoken out. What about De Rossa, Rabbitte, Gilmore, Lynch, McManus and the rest?”

God help poor Sean if only Ego-han Harris is sticking up for him!

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169. Baku26 - February 11, 2009

Alastair continues to miss the point. Sean Garland did not “run away” from a US court and Garland’s lawyers were not presented with any evidence in a UK court despite Mr Garland being before that court and insinuations to the contrary.

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170. alastair - February 11, 2009

…ou do not understand the difference between factual and circumstantial evidence…

heh. Come again?

Fact – closely bound to a proven counterfitting operation in ’83. Evidence right under his nose, his presses involved in printing the stuff.

Fact – caught slap bang in the middle of a counterfitting operation in Moscow. Evidence of phone records, travel details of the players, and recorded statements of some of those involved

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171. alastair - February 11, 2009

…Sean Garland did not “run away” from a US court…

Of course not. He didn’t lie to the UK court when he said he wouldn’t skip bail, and he didn’t land those who stumped up the bail money in the lurch. Brave Sir Robin ran away.

…Garland’s lawyers were not presented with any evidence in a UK court despite Mr Garland being before that court and insinuations to the contrary…

Eh? who said they were? The evidence was to be presented to his lawers prior to his trial in the US courts.

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172. Garibaldy - February 12, 2009

Caught slap bang being in Moscow, and meeting political contacts there. As for the recorded statements. Would these be the ones where one of the supposed authors has denied making the statement, claiming it was falsified from his computer? Or perhaps the denial of one of the people from the case examined on Panorama that Garland was involved? By your logic Alastair, as I’ve said before, then there are tens of thousands of Catholic boy scouts, orangemen, GAA members, NI policemen (who use their recreational club), schoolteachers and pupils, workers etc etc etc who are guilty of hiding weapons, money, and related items during the Troubles. Because such material turned up in all those places.

I think though perhaps Baku26 was right when he suggested we leave Alastair to his own devices.

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173. ejh - February 12, 2009

Indeed. He really doesn’t understand the difference between accusation and proof, nor cares to.

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174. alastair - February 12, 2009

…Caught slap bang being in Moscow, and meeting political contacts there…
Heh – Terence Silcock is a political contact now?

…As for the recorded statements. Would these be the ones where one of the supposed authors has denied making the statement, claiming it was falsified from his computer? Or perhaps the denial of one of the people from the case examined on Panorama that Garland was involved?…

Links please? I’m referring to the recorded statements from Hugh Todd and Terence Silcock. Not to mention the supporting statements from the Russian Interior Police, and the National Crime Squad.

…By your logic Alastair, as I’ve said before, then there are tens of thousands of Catholic boy scouts, orangemen, GAA members, NI policemen (who use their recreational club), schoolteachers and pupils, workers etc etc etc who are guilty of hiding weapons, money, and related items during the Troubles. Because such material turned up in all those places…

Yeah because the small print shop that Garland ran/managed in a daily basis, and that had forgery plates mysteriously lying around – was ‘just’ like a scout hall with a gun under the floorboards. Repsol was a tiny operation – you’d need to be opposed to common sense to claim that the manahement of that operation were unaware of exactly what was coming off the presses. Let it go – the lies aren’t good for your soul.

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175. ejh - February 12, 2009

Was he convicted for his crime back in 1983?

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176. alastair - February 12, 2009

No he wasn’t.

Nobody was – the crime was still real enough.

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177. Ghandi of North Strand - February 12, 2009

Hearing again adjourned until tomorrow, garda stated no tagging available here, Judge enquired about mobile phone tracking.

Adjourned as Judge wants to see Garland’s passprt and deeds to his house.

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178. ejh - February 12, 2009

No he wasn’t.

Nobody was – the crime was still real enough.

Muy bien.

Any idea why they failed to convict him, this being before the peace process and all?

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179. alastair - February 12, 2009

…Any idea why they failed to convict him, this being before the peace process and all?…

No doubt because the WP/Repsol crew were completely innocent of any involvement, and mischievous pixies / conspiratorial neo-cons left the counterfitting kit and forged notes amongst their legitimate print operation.

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180. Joe - February 12, 2009

Any idea why they failed to convict him, this being before the peace process and all?

Ah, EJH, not only did they fail to convict him, they didn’t even charge him. Presumably because they didn’t have evidence enough to justify a charge. IIRC they charged no-one with anything. There was talk of someone they were looking for but couldn’t find. Which kind of talk is always entertaining because one week you’d hear that he was in East Germany and the next you might here that someone met him in Croke Park at the match on Sunday…

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181. ejh - February 12, 2009

Jolly good. Anyway, I’m off to watch the news, have a siesta and maybe take a couple of photos of my local snow-capped mountains, and if you’ve not given me a better answer (and perhaps one free of rhetoric) by the time I’m back I shall consider myself entitled to assume you haven’t got one.

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182. Andy - February 12, 2009

Although “guilty as sin” is going a bit far, there is clearly a case to answer. He should face a trial by Jury. He can be “presumed innocent” and if there is not enough evidence produced in the trial he will be acquitted.
I fail to see how he will simply “not get a fair trial”.

The idea that this is a politically motivated process falls down as no-one gives a f*ck about the WP in the US. The US simply dont need Garland to make NK look bad. Virtually No-one thinks the NK is anything less than a brutally repressive regime.

Mick Hall raises an interesting point about solidarity – but what solidarity did Garland or his ilk show towards other socialsits or republicans in their time? None – they cheerily referred to the RUC as “the best community police force in the world” and supported their extradition

Re: repsol and the peace process. I would agree that events in 83 shouldnt be used to judge someones guilt in 09- but it does show a link between the WP generally and forgery. IMHO the peace process is abit of a red herring in this case – in reality the peace process marked the decline in importance of the WP – they were useful to the establishment North and South for their unquestioning anti-provo stance, which waned once the provoes came off the war path.

I should probably point out here that the Provos are actually supporting Garland in his fight against extradition. What chance the same would have happened were the positions reversed and some senior PSF member was facing extradition?

The people hear shouting that Garland is clearly innocent and shouldnt even face a courtroom just remind me of the “Columbia Three are birdwatchers” or ” the Provos didnt do the Northern Bank Job” crowd.

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183. alastair - February 12, 2009

..if you’ve not given me a better answer (and perhaps one free of rhetoric) by the time I’m back I shall consider myself entitled to assume you haven’t got one…

Heh – unless you think I’m posting from Harcourt street, I don’t see how you can expect any other answer – common sense should inform that there was criminal activity undertaken at Repsol, and that the manager of that operation can’t plausibly have been unaware of what was going on in a one room print shop.

Honestly – the contortions required to ignore the bleeding obvious are something to behold.

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184. ejh - February 12, 2009

Returning, I declare that “not a better answer”, once again rhetoric taking centre stage (“es la protagonista”, they say here) rather than any proper explanation as to how the law managed to ignore the bleeding obvious in 1983.

We’ll move on.

The idea that this is a politically motivated process falls down as no-one gives a f*ck about the WP in the US.

Yeah, but that’s looking through the wrong end of the telescope. The point isn’t Garland, or the WP, it’s North Korea, which people in the Us do give a fuck about. If there were a politically-motivated process in action (and I think there probably is, regardless of the facts or otherwise of the case) then it’s not Garland that’s important to them here.

but what solidarity did Garland or his ilk show towards other socialsits or republicans in their time? None

Firstly, is “none” actually true? Secondly, isn’t that response – “they didn’t help us so we won’t help them” – somewhat lacking in perspective?

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185. alastair - February 12, 2009

…rather than any proper explanation as to how the law managed to ignore the bleeding obvious in 1983…

The law didn’t ignore anything – that’s why WP were raided and the forgery/forged materials siezed. And once again – you’d need to be diectly involved to know the precise reason why Garland wasn’t charged – if you really would rather insist on unknowable reasons that focus on the facts on the ground (and the bleeding obvious point they make), that’s your business. As I say – keep ignoring that elephant in the room.

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186. alastair - February 12, 2009

eh – thaN focus on the facts…

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187. Andy - February 12, 2009

hello ejh
OK I take your point re: the focus on NK with Garland being a type of almost collatoral damage. However I address that in my next sentence – they dont really need to make NK look any worse. Virtually everybody thinks NK is a brutal stalinist dictatorship.
You mention Iraq and various WMD fabrications above. The fact is, the US needed to fabricate that evidence to “justify” the invasion. They dont need to fabricate evidence of NK beign linked to superdollars – what purpose would it serve? The world knows that NK was testing nuclear weapons. Superdollars are small beer in comparison.

Second
I think “none” is true. I will bow to any evidence showing that they did actually help other socialist or republican groups (rather than shoot them – not that they were alone in that of course).

In regards to it lacking in perspective – I dont think so. Mick talked about Pastor Niemollar before. Surely Garland is in Niemollar’s predicament ( i’m not saying we’re living in the third reich etc -and i realise the limitation of the analogy). Garland was happy to see his political opponents extradited – and so has used up a lot of goodwill which otherwise could have been used to support him. Also I think I my point was more along the lines of “they wouldnt help us so why should we spend effort helping them”.

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188. ejh - February 12, 2009

you’d need to be directly involved to know the precise reason why Garland wasn’t charged

To know the precise reason, perhaps. But awhat you don’t grasp, Alistair, is that in the absence of any conviction nor any convicing explanation of its absence, then people can’t just take what you reckon. That’s the real elephant, Alistair. You’re in the position of saying “look, look, this is obviously true!” and when people say “well OK Alistair, if it’s obviously true could you provide us with a convincing case” and your reply is “look, look, it’s true!!!” again.

It’s probably better to do this on the internet than in the street.

Also I think I my point was more along the lines of “they wouldnt help us so why should we spend effort helping them”

Oh for sure. But while an understandable argument it’s not in fact a good one.

The fact is, the US needed to fabricate that evidence to “justify” the invasion.

I doubt they “needed” it – they didn’t convince people with it, anyway, and they still went ahead with the invasion. It would have been helpful to them, for sure. And to be honest it would probably be helpful to them to demonstrate that NK was actually acting against the US in some way rather than just being nasty to its own people.

It’s hard to know. I’m vaguely reminded of this case, by the way. Nobody “needed” to pursue her, either, but they did.

Yo may be right that there’s a case to answer, but it may also be that there’s enough reasons not to allow that case to proceed. It’s not straightforward but my inclination is to look rather askance at this process and the way it’s proceeded and hence to see little merit in allowing it to conitnue.

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189. Andy - February 12, 2009

this seems to be a fairly low profile case. Is there any evidence that any not-already-politically-involved people are interested in Garland’s fate?

dont mean to speak for Alastair, but re: repsol – most people would say the convincing case is that of the printing plates found there. I dont think anyone is denying that are they?
I really cant see how anyone non-partisan could deny this evidence. Was it planted there? I would have thought the WP would have made that case pretty strongly if it was the case

By the way – i couldnt get the link to work – which case are you referring to?

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190. ejh - February 12, 2009

I can’t get hardly anything to work today, it’s not a Good Internet Dayat all. It’s the Roisin McAliskey case.

It seems to me straightforward enough that if nobody was convicted of anything in 1983 then we can’t just take it as “well, he must have done it”. He may or may not have, but in the circumstances, assuming guilt is pretty obviously not reasonable.

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191. alastair - February 12, 2009

…in the circumstances, assuming guilt is pretty obviously not reasonable….

So, you never presume guilt without a conviction? I guess all the awkward, and irrefutable, connections with forgery, both in ’83 and ’99 are for naught then. The same must therefore be true for the Anglo-Irish boys, Haughey, P Flynn, Bertie, and every other shade of chancer who hasn’t seen a conviction, and ‘maintained their innocence’.

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192. ejh - February 12, 2009

<i<So, you never presume guilt without a conviction?

For about the fourth time this thread, Alistair, that’s not an opinion I’ve expressed.

It would be fair to say that unless I have a better reason for the absence of a conviction than you’ve given me (which is absolutely none, despite sundry invitations to improve your mark) then I’m not going to presume anything, and nor would I or anybody else be justified in doing so. At the moment, your case rests on “because Alistair says so” which is not likely to be considered a powerful argument by anybody not named Alistair.

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193. alastair - February 12, 2009

…then I’m not going to presume anything….

So – you do believe Bertie won that money on the horses and forgot about it? Because although the evidence would suggest otherwise, you couldn’t possibly presume – after all he hasn’t even been charged with anything.

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194. ejh - February 12, 2009

Ah, an internet “so”.

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195. alastair - February 12, 2009

I’ll take that as a ‘no’ then. The old selective standards at play.

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196. yourcousin - February 13, 2009

I don’t really have too much to contribute but for shits and grins I’d like to see this thread hit 200 comments as I think that it might be the highest I’ve seen on CLR. So come ejh and alastair, keep it up ( at least for a few more posts).

I think it would go a long way if the supporters of Garland were at least forthcoming in admitting that Garland and co. were not always the best comrades when the shoe was on the other foot. I would also argue that guilty until proven guilty would mean that no one should insinuate let alone accuse the Provos of the Northern Bank job, Robert McCartney or Paul Quinn until the accused are found guilty in a court of law. Now anyone with an iota of common sense would say that this isn’t the case as we’re all pretty much in agreement that the Provos did all of these things.

As for age and sickness. It’s true that those can and should at times play a factor. But if Garland was still engaged in WP business then he should be able to account for WP “business”. The peace process meant that alot of people got away with murder, but Garland, like the SDLP of late have discovered that unless you can really upset the apple cart no one gives a shit what you think or do and you dont get the special Number 10 Downing Street treatment.

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197. ejh - February 13, 2009

<i<I think it would go a long way if the supporters of Garland were at least forthcoming in admitting that Garland and co. were not always the best comrades when the shoe was on the other foot.

I take it you haven’t seen the other post on the subject?

re: Alistair, unfortunately I can’t come out to play today as I have a social security office to attend. However, as Alistair by and large prefers to invent arguments for me rather than attend to theones I’ve actually made, in all probablility my absence won’t actually inhibit him to much.

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198. Ghandi of North Strand - February 13, 2009

Your Cousin

I think that people have said that Sean was not the best of comrades in other situations, and I have no difficulty in saying that at some points the positions put forward were wrong.

What WP have said in this matter is that Sean is fully prepared to fight this thrugh the Courts here, at that point one can see if the evidence (if there is any) stands up. Most peoples view of the alleged offences is based on their position on Garland & WP, again the only evidnece put forward is the Spotlight & Panorama programmes.

The current issue is whether Sean should be held in jail pending those hearings, which will take a number of years.

Hopefully a finale to the Bail application this morning.

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199. alastair - February 13, 2009

…However, as Alistair by and large prefers to invent arguments for me…

Heh – just following through the logic of your supposed ‘position’.

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200. Tim Von Bondie - February 13, 2009

Just to make it 200

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201. Ghandi of North Strand - February 13, 2009

Bail Granted, very onerous conditions:

His own cash lodgement of €25k
Surrender deed of house
Surrender Passport
Report daily to Navan Garda Station
Carry mobile phone at all times and be available to take call from Garda at anytime

3 x independent surities of €75k each + each suriety to lodge €25k cash.

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202. alastair - February 13, 2009

…His own cash lodgement of €25k…

Dollars not accepted, I’d guess?

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203. Garibaldy - February 13, 2009

Stiff conditions, but great news. Very pleased.

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204. Dunne and Crescendo - February 13, 2009

Good news. Very harsh conditions, drug dealers and peados get less.

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205. Justin - February 13, 2009

Excellent news that Sean Garland is out of prison.

Oh dear, Alistair. The Internet must have come as a godsend to you and those like you.

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206. Ghandi of North Strand - February 13, 2009

Not quite out yet, the €100k in total has to be raised and lodged in cash

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207. Garland Granted Bail « The Cedar Lounge Revolution - February 13, 2009

[…] by Garibaldy in Human Rights, Ireland, Workers’ Party. trackback Good news in the comments on this thread from Ghandi of North Strand. Seán Garland has been granted bail, albeit it under extremely onerous […]

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208. Pete - February 13, 2009

Excellent news – now the Garda may have some time to deal with those involved in the 7 billion fraud

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209. alastair - February 13, 2009

…Oh dear, Alistair. The Internet must have come as a godsend to you and those like you…

Don’t blame the messenger – No-one forced Garland into this position.

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210. John Moran - February 19, 2009

He is out and will be staying out. Like it or not, thats for you to deal with. Have a nice day, as they say in the US.

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211. Stop the Extradition of Seán Garland: National Committee Formed « The Cedar Lounge Revolution - March 30, 2009

[…] Chris Hudson is now a Presbyterian Minister in South Belfast, but before that he was an official with Communications Workers’ Union in Dublin. Hudson has a strong track record of opposing violence and promoting human rights. He played a key role in the peace process, helping persuade loyalists to abandon violence, and acting as a go-between the Irish government and loyalists, including at several dangerous points where the process may have failed. I don’t know this for sure, but it seems to me that his involvement is a recognition both of the work of Seán Garland and The Workers’ Party in standing up for Peace, Work, Democracy and Class Politics over several decades, the humanitarian issues raised by Seán Garland’s age and health, and concern at the ludicrous nature of the accusations, and the vindictive and underhanded way in which Garland has been pursued by the Bush regime discussed here. […]

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