Attempt to extradite Workers’ Party President Sean Garland to the United States

Sean Garland is an Irish citizen and is entitled to the protection of the Irish Constitution and Irish law. The decision to “snatch” Sean Garland while in Northern Ireland is a deliberate and calculated attempt to subvert Irish law and remove constitutional protection from its citizens. The British Extradition Act 2003, which is being used against Sean Garland is a controversial piece of legislation. The Act incorporates the terms of the Extradition Treaty between the US and the UK. It should be noted that the text of the Treaty was not made public until two months after it had been signed which denied the British Parliament the opportunity to debate its provisions. The Treaty and Extradition Act afford few rights or protections to any citizen requested by the US. They are heavily weighted in favour of the US and are designed to make it extremely difficult for any person to resist extradition. Not unexpectedly, US citizens are afforded greater rights under the Treaty. Even where a person is completely innocent of alleged offences, there is no opportunity for that person to contest the charges in a British court.

The Treaty lacks reciprocity. Where the UK requests the extradition of a US citizen the treaty imposes a requirement on the British to provide a “reasonable basis to believe that the person sought committed the offence for which extradition is requested”. There is no corresponding requirement for the USA. The US does not have to show a reasonable basis for requesting extradition. This removal of all protection based on prima facie evidence is a disturbing development and is deeply offensive to our laws and sense of justice. The British authorities also permit the US to take the benefits of the Extradition Treaty but the US itself has not yet even ratified that Treaty. This is a situation of one law for the Europeans and another for US citizens. It is, in effect, a one way street. Previously the US had to provide evidence sufficient to make a case to answer to the UK. This is no longer the case.

Sean Garland could be extradited to the US by a British court without even prima facie evidence connecting him with any crime, removing him to the US where it is well recognised historically that political opponents are unlikely to receive a fair trial. One need only look at the recent treatment of five Cuban men in a US court who were convicted contrary to the evidence, and sentenced to draconian terms of imprisonment which would be regarded as manifestly excessive in this jurisdiction. Sean Garland will not receive a fair trial in the US. He has already been subjected to trial by media in Ireland and the US. US commentators are already speaking of severe sentences of 20-30 years in prison – before Sean Garland has been charged, let alone tried or convicted of any offence. It is important to remember that Sean Garland denies the allegations made against him, that he has not been charged and, in common with every other Irish citizen, he is entitled, by law, to the presumption of innocence. In Europe Sean Garland is entitled to the protection of the European Convention on Human Rights. He has the right not to be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. His right to life is protected and he is entitled to a fair trial and respect for family life. It has been well stated in many cases that persons appearing before US courts have few of those protections. In the case of Soering v UK [1989] 11 EHRR 439 where the UK wished to extradite a man to the US the European Court of Human Rights found that it would be contrary to the spirit and intent of the Convention to knowingly give up a person to another state where “substantial grounds have been shown for believing that the person concerned, if extradited, faces a real risk of being subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the requesting country”. Recently, a court in the Netherlands refused to extradite a person to the US to face fraud charges because of its concerns about the suspect’s rights. These are real concerns. In recent months there has been documented evidence of memoranda and reports prepared by the US Department of Justice authorising torture techniques and coercive interrogation practices, forbidden in international law. Conditions in US prisons and miscarriages of justice are a matter of record. There is no prospect that Sean Garland, as a long-standing and vocal opponent of US foreign policy, could receive a fair trial in the United States of America in the current US political climate.

Accordingly, the attempted extradition of Sean Garland to the US must be opposed on political, moral, legal and humanitarian grounds. BRIEFING NOTE NO.1, 12TH OCTOBER 2005 The Workers’ Party wishes to express its deep concern at the arrest of the Party President, Sean Garland, in Belfast on Friday the 7th of October 2005 during the Party’s Annual Ard Fheis. There are a number of issues about the manner and timing of the arrest we would like to bring to your attention by way of this initial briefing (13/10/05), for your information. 1. An indictment was issued in the District of Columbia USA on the 19th of May 2005. The U.S. Embassy in London subsequently made a request to the British Crown Solicitors for Sean Garland’s extradition on the 4th of October, five months later. 2. Sean Garland is an Irish citizen and lives openly in the Irish Republic. The Workers’ Party sees no reason, if Sean Garland had a case to answer, that the extradition request did not issue in the Irish Republic. The Workers’ Party now share the view with others, given the generalised nature of allegations made in the Belfast County Court on Saturday 9th of October, that US Authorities had no confidence that such a request would be granted in an Irish Court. 3. A further issue related to the timing of the arrest to coincide with the first WP Ard Fheis to be held in Belfast is worth noting. Sean Garland is and has been a frequent and regular visitor to Belfast where he has played an active public role in political life. This extends to meetings with Government Ministers, Chief Constables and Secretaries of State over many years. He has never hidden during these visits and was in Belfast on a weekly basis in the months leading up to October. We conclude the arrest was timed to seek to embarrass and indeed intimidate Party members and supporters. 4. A further issue for our concern is the widespread erosion of civil liberties that we have all witnessed in the aftermath of 9/11 and the atrocities perpetrated against the American people at that time. Many voices have already been raised at a political level in Ireland, Britain and Europe about violation of National Sovereignty by external interference, human rights violations and attempts to stifle and suppress dissent to US Foreign Policy in many parts of the world. 5. At this time, Sean Garland has not been charged with any offence.

The Judge, Mr Tom Burgess in the Belfast County Court, recorded this. Sean Garland strenuously denies all allegations made against him. The US Authorities were given 65 days from the 8th of October to provide more detailed particulars. Sean Garland was then released on bail and is residing within Northern Ireland to await these further particulars to be provided to his legal representatives. The Workers Party asks the question – Why do the US authorities seek the extradition of an Irish citizen through the British courts? 6. Sean Garland has been greatly heartened by the messages of support received on a cross-party basis, from members of the Dail and the Seanad and to learn of the motion proposed by Jack O’Connor, President of SIPTU, and adopted by Dublin Trades Council opposing his extradition to the United States, and also to learn of similar resolutions going to other Trade Union and Municipal Councils. Attempts by TDs Ruairi Quinn and John Gormley to raise the matter in the House are most welcome. 7. It is also widely known that there were two television programmes, or the same BBC programme run twice, once as Spotlight and then as Panorama, which could prejudice the prospect of a fair hearing should charges be produced. The decision of BBC Northern Ireland to re-run the Spotlight programme again on 11th of October, so close to a further Court hearing, is a clear breach of natural justice and the right to a fair hearing. It is important to have some further information on the sources and events referred to in these sensationalised documentaries. 8. The Workers’ Party has never denied, or attempted to make secret, its links with North Korea and its work to promote political, social and cultural links to Ireland. Over many years, delegations from North Korea have visited Ireland, and met with Irish Parliamentarians on a cross Party basis. Cultural links have been established and exchanges taken place. In 2004, the Irish Government established diplomatic links with North Korea; something which Sean Garland worked to achieve over many years. 9. The main source for the BBC Northern Ireland Spotlight programme and its only update interviewee quoting North Korea in the re-run of Tuesday 11th October, is Bill Gertz. Gertz is the Security Correspondent of the Washington Times, which is not to be mistaken with The Washington Post. The Washington Times is owned by the Unification Church. This church is better known internationally as “The Moonies” after its Korean founder, Fun Myung Moon. 10. Gertz is also the author of the book, ‘The China Threat’. In the book he sets out his view that former President Bill Clinton and Madeline Albright betrayed the American people by opening negotiations with the North Korean Government during the 1990s in order to seek to normalise relations.

He further stated that the United States should invade China to prevent their economic and social development and the rise of the Chinese economy. 11. Gertz also claims in an article in the “World Peace Herald”, on 20th September ’05 that the BBC reported ‘last year’, it learned about North Korea printing supernotes from a ‘defector’ without mentioning his own key role in the BBC programme. 12. Gertz is also the source for material which claimed a US ‘spy in the sky’ was able to eavesdrop on a conversation being held on the ground in Beijing, China. The conversation was apparently between Sean Garland and Cao Xiaobing, Deputy Head of the International Department of the Chinese Communist Party. The restricted US Intelligence file which Gertz claims to have access to, allegedly stated, ‘unidentified business opportunities were discussed’. This has become the central allegation made by Gertz and represents the heart of this alleged conspiracy. An extract from Gertz’s book is appended to this briefing. 13. Sean Garland can confirm that he has met with Cao Xiaobing – his visit to China was open and legitimate and he has never denied it. Business links between Ireland and China have been ongoing for a long time. Cao Xiaobing has visited Ireland and met with members of the business community and politicians in open discourse. The attempt to put sinister connotation on a legitimate meeting, is no link to counterfeit currency, but more consistent and typical of the main source in these allegations by the media and Gertz in particular. 14. Gertz, on Spotlight 11/10/05, suggested US documents would be with the Belfast Court within days.

The Crown Solicitors requesting the extradition had no such information in the Court on Saturday 9th from the London Embassy and the Judge gave 65 days for such documents. As of today 13/10/05, our legal representatives have received no further particulars from the US authorities nor have the Crown Solicitors Office in Belfast. Gertz claims that there is a 23 page indictment which includes the names of other individuals as reported in the Irish Times of 12/10/05. Sean Garland has no knowledge of any of the individuals named in the Irish Times, and in spite of requests from his solicitor, we still have no further information. 15. The Workers’ Party hope to be able to say more in coming days but are operating within the constraints of the legal advice we have received. Our urgent concerns remain: the lengths that others have already been prepared to go to facilitate the arrest of an Irish citizen while attending our Annual Conference in Belfast; the timing and the rush by the BBC to re-run the Television programme for the third time. The fact that Sean Garland is not charged with any offence, and that neither the Police Service of Northern Ireland nor the Gardai in the Republic of Ireland have shown any interest in questioning Sean Garland is a critical issue. It will give everyone, in these islands and beyond, cause to be concerned about his potential extradition to the United States. This will constitute a violation of his human rights, not least his right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. 16. International support has already been received from Parliamentarians in Britain, Belgium, Greece, the European Parliament and Human Rights Lawyers in the United States.

Continue Reading

The Workers’ Party annual Northern Regional Conference at the Wellington Park Hotel

10am Arrival and Registration followed by tea or coffee. 10:30am Conference Welcome address – Tommy Owens Northern Regional Secretary. 10:45am Debate on introduction of Water Charges – Jim Walsh NIPSA 11:30am European Union – The Left and the forthcoming referendum lead by John O’Farrell Britain in Europe – David Phinnemore Institute of European affairs QUB. 1-2pm Lunch 2pm Panel discussion – Comment and Reflection on Northern Ireland Society 30 years on – Integration or segregation? Panel Chairman: Gerry Grainger Workers Party Panel – John Lowry Workers Pary General Secretary, Eileen Bell Aliance Party and Sean Morissey ATGWU. 4pm onwards Music and Craic in the bar to relax after an enjoyable day at the conference.

Continue Reading

Ballymun Regeneration – Asbestos problem should have been foreseen

The Ballymun Branch of the Workers’ Party has said it is incredible that engineers and officials planning the Ballymun Regeneration project did not foresee the need to deal with the large quantity of asbestos in the flats complexes. Ballymun Workers Party Chairman John Dunne said that it was well known that asbestos was used extensively in the construction of the tower blocks and the 8-storey spine blocks. “At that time asbestos was still regarded as a wonder material and was widely used for insulation and other building purposes. It was only later that it was realised how harmful asbestos dust could be when inhaled”, he said. “I find it hard to believe that the possibility of asbestos being present was not factored in during the planning stage of the regeneration of Ballymun. All the engineers had to do was look at any one of the flats where they would find the stuff used as insulation in the bathroom water-heating system. It is all over the place”, said John Dunne. “The most important thing now is that the removal of the material, and its disposal in a proper manner, proceeds so that the people of Ballymun are protected. However in the meantime people who had hoped to be re-housed much sooner, find that they could be waiting anything up to four years. Somebody must explain how this has occurred”, said the Ballymun WP spokesman.

Continue Reading

Bertie is Europe’s Messenger, Not its President

The Workers’ Party has said that the long-predicted creation of a Two-Tier Europe is now a reality following yesterday’s Berlin summit between the leaders of Germany, France and Britain and that Bertie Ahern’s European Presidency is no more than a sham. Crumlin (Dublin) Workers’ Party candidate Shay Kelly said that the Berlin Summit had created a Premier League within the European Union with the ‘Big Three’ of Germany, France and Britain in the driving seat, Ireland sitting at the bottom of the second division and the ten new member states will be in the third division after they join on May 1st. “Bertie Ahern loves playing the role of President of Europe, but the reality is that the Emperor has no clothes. The real power lies in the new top tier of the European Union and yesterday’s summit proved this. If the Taoiseach had any self-respect he would have condemned yesterday’s meeting in Berlin and united the other member states and applicants in opposing any move to divide the EU into layers”.

Continue Reading

Founders and members of Workers Party

The story of the modern Workers Party begins in 1982 when the Party Ard Fheis (Annual Delegate Conference) decided that its programme ,its politics and its philosophy could only be correctly understood if there was no ambiguity about the Party name. Prior to this the Party had been known as Sinn Fein -The Workers Party, partly reflecting the Party’s early origins and more significantly ideological development over the previous two decades.

Theobald Wolfe Tone


The Workers Party, like most other socialist parties, would see its ideological position as emanating from the two great strands of European thought – democratic republicanism and socialism. This is amply illustrated in the Party’s activities and programme over the past thirty years, both nationally and internationally.

Election campaigns, economic and social agitations were all fought on clear cut democratic socialist platforms. Indeed throughout the eighties and the beginning of this decade it is true to say that The Workers Party, in both Northern Ireland and the Republic, was the sole voice of the working class. The Party gained seven seats in the Irish Dail (Parliament), a European seat and a number of local authority seats throughout the Republic and in a few of the electoral districts in Northern Ireland.

Frank Ryan with Hemmingway, 1937


Internationally it allied itself with the progressive democratic forces seeking world peace and an end to imperialist exploitation. The Workers Party gave both moral and practical support to a wide range of struggles from Vietnam to latter-day Cuba. It was active in the European Committee for Security and Cooperation and in helping to build a left wing alliance in Western Europe through the European Parliament.

Unfortunately, in 1992 at the height of its parliamentary success and organisational development, major defections took place centred around the Dail group. Six Deputies supported by a section of the Party membership, largely in the Dublin area, sought to change the Party from its principled socialist position into a social democratic parliamentary party. Unable to win a majority at a special delegate conference they left and formed another party.

Party president
Current Party president
Sean Garland

Since 1992 then the Party has been engaged in the process of rebuilding and has overcome serious financial burdens and at the same time secured new headoffice premises in Dublin. Obviously the task of rebuilding has had to contend not only with the “crisis in socialism” but also with the sectarian terrorism in Northern Ireland. However the Party looks forward with confidence to the new millenium determined to win the political support of working people throughout Ireland.
Continue Reading