Washington to move on Garland extradition?

Via Newshound there’s a [slight] hint of a possible development in the case of the on-the-run Irish Worker’s Party president Sean Garland. The Financial Times’ man in Washington, Demetri Sevastopuloin, reports “A State Department official told the Financial Times that Washington planned to formally ask Ireland to extradite Mr Garland, although the official declined to comment on the timing. The US attorney for Washington DC and Justice Department declined to comment.” The FT also managed to get a rare quote from the Taoiseach on the issue of Garland’s extradition during his St Patrick’s Day visit.

Speaking outside the White House during a visit to Washington on St Patrick’s Day, Bertie Ahern, the Irish prime minister, said he had not discussed the case with George W. Bush, US president. Mr Ahern added that he would not become involved in the case, saying it was a matter for the Irish courts.

“We follow international obligations in cases, but it’s the courts that make decisions,” Mr Ahern said.


  • Simon

    “A State Department official told the Financial Times that Washington planned to formally ask Ireland to extradite Mr Garland, although the official declined to comment on the timing.”

    Indeed. I remember that those Colombian allies of the US were always telling us how they were pushing for extradition too. Funny the way nothing ever came of that either.

    One might have thought that those with a history of telling lies would not be believed the next time, and certainly not time after time after time.

    But apparently not. Not in Irish “journalism” anyway.

    What is so special about these sorts of stories that people in Irish journalism find them so useful, that they throw all common sense out the window every time?

  • Yokel

    It’ll take years if it happens at all..he was seized in the North for a reason…

  • darth rumsfeld

    yes! Exradite Roy Garland now!!

  • Yokel

    no no, he’s going to go to Guantanamo! We must stop it. I remember driving up West Belfast months ago and seeing the banners & posters suggesting they had to stop him going to Guantanamo. You know was remarkable, its such bollocks yet they pump it out there witout a trace of even a smile that says ‘yeah its bollocks but its good bollocks’..how do they do that?

  • Garibaldy

    Let’s not forget what’s really at stake here. The prime target is not Garland, but the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The US has around 10% of its nuclear arsenal aimed at Korea, which sought to develop its own deterrent. The Americans reneged on a deal to provide a light water reactor, they have refused to give a guarantee that they will not launch a war of aggression, and despite the disaster of Iraq, they have stepped up their propaganda against the DPRK, which is clearly on the neo-con hitlist, though now perhaps after Iran. The accusation is part of a concerted US propaganda effort to make it easier to launch another war. Garland’s long-term connections to the DPRK, and his role in helping that state develop diplomatic links with Ireland and other EU countries has made him a juicy additional target.
    The Guantanamo poster may be hyperbolic, but given Bush’s Axis of Evil speech, why wouldn’t he send Garland there?

  • JD

    Will the US extra-ordinarily render Sean Garland, for the unaware, that means kidnap him, fly him to a third country for torture, then bring him to an offshore prison were he will be held of an unlimited time period.

  • Garibaldy

    One can only hope that if their attempts to extradite Garland from the Irish Republic fail due to the fact that, unlike the UK, Ireland still requires some actual evidence of wrongdoing before it will extradite its citizens, then the Americans will not seek to kidnap him.

  • yokel

    Garibaldy..first bless ya for naming your self after a biscuit and Italian revolutionary (supported quietly by the nasty imperialist british funnily enough) bt is all at kneejerk reaction from you based on your political theooloy rather than the practical reality

    Reasons why the USA will not and can’t invade North Korea unilaterally….this war of aggression…

    1. It’ll bring China in…
    2. They don’t have the resouces to invade
    3. They dont have the logistics to invade..it requires a jump off point..South Korea and its not going to be available
    4. They’ll get no support anywhere
    5. They might not win it by the yardsticks that US miltary camapigns are measuerd by the miliart themselves the public and the politicians.

    There is no point in apparently not guaranteeing that you wont start a war of aggression (wars of course can be non aggressive..apparently?)when you can’t launch one anyway and its blindingly obvious that you can’t.

    I think that the DPRK is of course a belagured country, deliberately being starved to death by the evil USA, the fact that it feeds it soldiers but not its peasants has nothing to do with it. I can also see how a force of 45000 Americans in South Korea is going to take ot one of the worlds largest standing armies, invade and occupy it, easy peasy.

    It’s obvious that the DPRK is trying its best..by building big roads for all or those cars or possibly tanks to drive on that its miltary budget is hugely disproportionate to its total wealth.

    Speaking of extraordinary rendition…the DPRK did it too..called kidnapping South Koreans & Japanese people so they could train the North on how to, er, fit in because of course the North wanted its people..or was that spies..to fit right in when they visited said countries.

  • Garibaldy


    My monkier is more a comment on my sadly thinning and receding hairline than an identification with the risorgimento. Prefer the Machiavelli of the discourses myself. And of course, Britain had no strategic interest in the Med whatsoever.

    I agree that it would be an act of gross stupidity for the Americans to invade Korea, that it would result in a bloodbath but listening to some of the noises coming from the neo-cons, I can’t say for certain that’s that how they see it. The main American journalist on the Garland story sees China as the main threat to the US, and there are circles that think like him who want to see the Americans take on the Chinese while they can. Of course the state department and sensible people do not think like this, but then again the same was true of Iraq. The project for a new american century looked like a bunch of cranks when it was launched, and look where we are now.

    As for any putative invasion of Korea, the Americans have refused to rule out the possibility of nuclear strikes. Certainly one way to even up the numbers a little more. And having 1 million soldiers wasn’t much use to Saddam in 1991. Would the Americans attempt to occupy, or leave the running of the place to Seoul? I suspect the latter.

    In terms of the army first policy – is it really that unreasonable to prioritise defence when agreements made with the hyperpower have been broken, and other wars have been launched on weak states that America has had ongoing disputes with?
    As for the kidnappings of Japanese citizens, I could have sworn that the Koreans have been attempting to make amends.

    As for defensive wars, what do you call a war when someone invades you? A war of aggression? Surely the difference between aggressive and defensive wars is obvious, and has long been recognised.

    I’m not here to defend the DPRK. But the Garland case has a wider political purpose and significance. And there is ample evidence that his human rights would be violated. After all, orange jump suits and chains are familiar to prisoners in the US as much as Guantanamo. That is the practical reality.

  • Yokel

    Ok, let me put this another way. No invasion, doesnt matter what the neocons say, it isnt going to happen, even they know it wont succeed. There will be no nuclear strike without the North Koreans rolling oer the Southern Border and using biological/chemical or nuclear strikes themselves. A lot of these neo cons are armchair generals anyway who still believe they won in Vietnam because they never lost a straight conventional military battle…In the words of a North Vietnamese officer when faced with this claim ‘true but it is also irrelevent’

    Point taken on defensive/aggressive wars.

    Garland is a side show, yes hes part of a wider play but he is no way significant to it at all. He’s the equivalent of one the geezers in the crowd scene..in an epic movie.

    Guantanamo as agreed is a complete different thing to where Garland would go, ie a regular prison. But its just academic, I doubt he’ll go anywhere.

    Finally, the North Koreans are nothing like the Iraqis, they are unlikely to melt away. Despite the fact that the invasion of Iraq in itself was one of the most stunning military successes of the 20th/21st century (unlike the occupation), at least half the iraqi army didnt stand and fight in an organised form, it disappeared. The rest that did fight either couldnt fight anyway or quite simply got bypassed or rendered ineffective by bombing before landd forces roll ove them. In short barely a single division of the iraqi the army fought as a proper unit and the outcome became certain. The North Koreans would suffer the same splintering but would as a appear less likely to disintegrate. The US also dont have open flat land to drive over.

    Finally, as for army first, if that approach went away and the army was mainatained at a size proper in proportion to its direct defensive needs, have no doubt the Americans would be out of Korea in a substantial way. As it is the US land forces represent around 10% or less of the total combined standing US/South Korean forces (around 500k in total coimared to standing total of 800k for the North) and this is being reduced as it is. Of that US force only a fraction, less than 50% is actual US combat units and again these are being taken out of Korea because the US miltary is stretched. The difficulty on the North Korean side is that they fail to understand the American psyche which is largely act big but don’t actually shed their blood on the world stage unless they are pushed. The only reason why Iraq happened is because they thought it would be fast in and fast out and it isnt like that.

    And lastly, it would hep if the configuration of North Korean divisons was essentially offesive in nature, similar to the Soviets during the cold war

  • Garibaldy


    I think, and hope, you’re right, that there will be no invasion. I think your analysis of the likely difference between the Korean and Iraqi response to invasion is correct. However, it is easy for us to say from where we are that the Americans will not invade, and that the Koreans could afford to scale down their military. They can’t be so blase, and have to plan for all contigencies.

    Hence I think an American declaration of no intent to launch military action, and the provision of the light water reactor that was promised for Korean electricity needs, would be a fantastic step towards the removal of tensions in Korea.

    It seems fairly clear that Japan and Seoul want to see such steps taken, but that the Americans are pursuing their own agenda for their own, primarily ideological reasons, eg the Seoul government saying that no counterfeiting is taking place, and the fact that no other government supports the farcical US claim that the Koreans might sell WMD to Islamist terrorists. So it seems that it is neo-con ideology that it preventing progress in the region.

    As for Garland, the Guantanamo poster was a great piece of propaganda, and got the messaage about the political nature of the action against him across simply and perfectly.

  • Garibaldy

    Evidence that American military manoeuvres are less than helpful

    DI article link

    [Please try to avoid using lengthy urls. They play havoc with the page – edited Moderator]

  • Yokel

    Missed the link but I’m fairly well aware of the miltary situation between the two Koreas. I’m also very aware that South Korea is playing its own game away from the USA

    The information that I have as regards the light water reactor (the BBC for this particular issue) suggests that there was all kinds of unravelling and not just an American refusal that broke the apparent agreement apart. The whole point was that the Light Water reactor equals power without nuclear fuel refining capability and I know has been offered elsewhere before as part of no nuclear weapons deals to other states.

    Between them, the Japanese and South Koreans do have the capability to supply this without the USA and they could, on paper, go ahead. I believe should Korea and Japan wish to formulate a joint policy they can do a large amount of sidelining of the USA in the situation. The feeling in the power corridors in South Korea overall (from what I can read) is that while the US security guarantee is good its only critical in principle (ie brought into effect in a war) rather than too much in practice in a peacetime state.

    I can guarantee you, with a tenner if I’m wrong for whats it worth (just as a token of the principle) that the US has no chance of invading short of the North driving South or preparing a launch of some kind of WMD. They’d have to bring the South with them never mind the USA and it will take something for the South to buy in, enough to have the South involve its own military.