Garland extradition hearing finally begins

Just a quick post to note that former Irish Worker’s Party president Sean Garland’s extradition hearing began today.  It’s listed for the next 4 days.  Garland is accused by the US authorities of being the ringleader of a massive forgery racket that distributed high quality counterfeit 100 dollar bills – “superdollars”.  After being named in a BBC Panorama programme in 2004,  Garland was initially arrested in Belfast in 2005, but jumped bail.  He was re-arrested in January 2009 in Dublin and has been on strict bail conditions since February that year.  From today’s Irish Times report

In an affidavit to the court, Brenda Johnson, assistant US attorney, said: “This case involved a long-standing and large-scale supernotes distribution network (the Garland organisation) based in the Republic of Ireland and headed by Sean Garland, a senior officer in the Irish Workers’ Party.”

The US Secret Service (USSS) discovered the supernotes were sourced in the Democratic Republic of North Korea, she said, and were transported around the world by North Korean officials travelling under diplomatic cover.

They also allege Mr Garland and six co-conspirators used couriers to transport supernotes and payments to avoid detection themselves.

The international probe, which also involved the UK’s National Crime Squad (NCS) — now the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca) — and the interior ministry of Russia (MVD), found the highly deceptive counterfeit bills were in worldwide circulation from the late 1980s until at least July 2000.

Ms Johnson alleged one of Mr Garland’s alleged co-conspirators, Hugh Todd, later told investigators he purchased more than 250,000 dollars of supernotes from “the Garland organisation” which were redistributed into the world economy through currency exchanges across Europe.

 More on the US attempt to extradict Garland on those counterfeiting charges here.

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  • keano10

    Typical Stick…

  • Pete Baker

    Presumption of innocence…

    He hasn’t even been extradicted yet.

  • pippakin

    Pete Baker

    Oops! I don’t know how I could have made such a mistake.

  • So the persecution continues. This extradition attempt flies in the face of natural justice, human rights, and basic human decency. Garland is, and has been, ill with numerous serious complaints, including several types of cancer. He should not be sent anywhere, never mind somewhere where he has absolutely no chance of a fair trial. This explains the fact that over 50 members of the Oireachtas from all parties and none have joined the campaign to prevent the extradition, and why it has the support of people across the political spectrum in NI, and the UK.

    Just some basic facts. Firstly, this all has very little to do with Garland and a lot to do with the neo-con attempts to prevent peace permanently breaking out on the Korean peninsula. That’s why Condeleeza Rice signed this second request after the election of Obama but before the handover – to poison any chance of a new turn in US-Korean diplomatic relations.

    Secondly, there is no credible evidence against Garland. Had there been, it would have been offered before a court in the UK years ago. The absence of evidence explains the attempt to use the discredited, unbalanced and unjust UK-US extradition treaty, which requires no evidence against a suspect. This was why Garland stayed in Dublin after he was allowed to travel there for medical treatment for his serious illnesses.

    The Americans offer nothing but innuendo, speculation, and now the word of someone who is facing being gaoled for the same thing twice, and who will say anything to avoid that fate. This would be laughable if it were not so serious. It is, however, contemptible.

    I see Pete has missed this out from his many links, so for more info, go to

    http://seangarlandextradition.wordpress.com/

  • Pete Baker

    “So the persecution continues.”

    Yes, Garibaldy.

    I neglected to add a link to the “Stop the Extradiction of Sean Gartland!” website.

    Whoudathunkit?

  • What else would you call this Pete? Trying to use an unjust extradition treaty on a sick old man whose politics you don’t like as part of an internal political and diplomatic power-play?

    Having someone who has served time in the UK extradited from Spain to the US for the same crime so that you can force him to say things about said ill old man to try to bolster a case so weak that it couldn’t be brought in either the UK or the Republic? Not that the weakness of the case would matter in a US court once the words “communist” and “Korea” were mentioned. All to serve a broader political agenda opposed to the resolution of a decades-long political conflict.

    This is persecution pure and simple.

    As for the website Pete, I know you’re a man who values thoroughness. Just trying to help!

  • Harry Flashman

    Would the “sick old man” defence apply if he was a former general in the Argentine or Chilean governments of the 1970’s and 80’s being charged with crimes in those nations?

  • USA

    Garibaldy,
    You are reading way too much into this. Garland was up to his oxters in fake US currency and had been for decades. He financed the Workers Party with the money. Garland was playing with the big boys, he was one of the big boys. Now the Yanks are after him and I don’t see them letting go…ie Osama Bin Laden, Whitey Bulger etc.

  • Nunoftheabove

    “So the persecution continues”. That about covers my main diagnotic points for me thanks; key symptoms include grandiosity, paranoia and relentless self-pity. Tendency to delusions.

    The politics doctor prescribes the patient 3 Repsol tablets, thrice daily, medication to be paid for (cash) in advance (no dollar transactions please).

    Should the patient endure side effects such as insomnia, sustained reading of the 1908s/1990s magazine “Making Sense” is highly recommended. Should the patient feel nauseous, s/he ought to discontinue reading “Making Sense” any further. May induce pipedreams and other side effects such as criminality.

  • I think I still have a recording of the Panorama programme, if anyone wants to see it.

    It was pretty convincing: at least in respect of the English criminals who passed on the counterfeit bills for a cut, and witness reports on visits to North Korea and its embassy in Moscow. The North Koreans imagined that flooding the world with fake US dollars would bring down the economy. It didn’t work, it took clever bankers to do that.

    But, of course, a convincing TV programme is not the same as evidence. That would have been tested in a UK court, if he hadn’t jumped bail.

  • Davenewman,

    No it wouldn’t have been tested in a UK court. That was part of the point. The Extradition Treaty allows for people to be sent to the US with NO evidence, merely proof that the person before the court is the person that the Americans want. That, of course, isn’t a reciprocal relationship.

    Harry,

    The sick old man argument is about human rights, so it applies to whomever it concerns.

    USA,

    You seem to know a lot about this. Care to offer any actual proof?

    There’s a lot of sound and fury here, but a total failure to address any of the actual relevant points. Just a hostility due to Garland’s promotion of peace, work, democracy and class politics for decades, and his recognition long before others that the violence was merely breeding sectarianism and division.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Garibaldy

    Individuals and groups not dissociated from the Workers Party have been engaged in organized criminality for 40 years, much of which the state turned a blind eye to, but leaving that aside entriely, the WP conception of lefist politics is almost entirely Stalinist. It is fairly unapologetically sentimental for the soviet bloc era and, in particular, the money that flowed from the state capitalists of the Kremlin to the WP over many years. The apparent flirtation with the totalitarian nightmare of North Korea is entirely consistent with that outlook, this is no aberration.

    I have no doubt that a good many of the ordinary working class citizens who joined the WP did so with the best of intentions and with a genuine wish to change Ireland for the better. They have remained consistently and resolutely non and to be fair anti-sectarian throughout many years. They’d have done themselves – and others – a favour by ditching the likes of Mr Garland a very long time ago in my opinion.

  • PeterBrown

    “The sick old man argument is about human rights, so it applies to whomever it concerns”

    So sick old men are above the law and can do what they want? Michael Stone and Gerry McGeough didn’t seem to benefit from that….

  • Nobody said they were above the law, Simply that people in that condition should not be extradited, especially when the alleged crimes fall under Irish law, and there has been no case in Ireland as there is no case to answer that would even come close to standing up in court. This is all more true when we remember how vicious the ordinary US penal system is, never mind the prospect of somewhere like Guantanamo (still open by the way).

    Just to be clear, human rights and medical conditions should be taken account of in all cases.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Garibaldy

    Like we should also do with Ratko Mladic and Charles Taylor you mean ?

  • If we judge society by its treatment of prisoners, then I see no problem with judging such matters according to basic human rights.

    Having said that, I find these attempts to compare the case of Garland to various war criminals a bit silly to be honest. There’s simply no comparison, and the attempt to make them is the construction of the flimsiest of straw men. It’s only one step away from asking if I would let Hitler off if he turned up alive tomorrow.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Garibaldy

    You flagged age and apparent infirmity as mitigants in the Garland case, I’m asking where where the line begins and ends with much better known cases where international legal issues are at stake. Interesting that you would project into that any comparison between the cases, not something which I did – or ever would – infer. Are you saying that he jumped bail on account of his health too or do you buy into the hilarious pretext-for-attacking-NK conspiracy nonsense ?

    I’d be interested in any comparison you may wish to make on the standards of justice and human rights in the USA and those available in, say, North Korea. Or Cuba, for that matter.

    How’s estranged Comrade Harris keeping these days ? I undertand he’s saying all manner of nice things about oul’ Seany now that he’s in a spot of bother. Touching really.

  • aquifer

    Fighting electons against Sinn Fein and the DUP in the name of workers unity. I can think of no finer use for fake capitalist currency. It would almost be a shame to be found innocent.

  • Would he be this Seán Garland – civil rights in one hand and an armalite in the other?

  • Nunoftheabove

    Nevin

    That’s the very chap.

    aquifer

    Yes I think the “in the name of” is rather key there, as opposed to, say “on behalf of and with a substantial mandate from”. I trust that the WP devotees are also thrilled about this very clever currency ruse on account of it probably making a small if indirect contribution to further exacerbating hunger and deprivation among their brother and sister workers of the world – the nightmarishly oppressed citizens of North Korea – through rewarding the Stalinist totalitarians who rule that state but sure why would they bother themselves about that unduly ?

  • Just quickly. The WP acts to promote workers unity, so in that sense it stands in elections on behalf of it. Alas, it no longer enjoys substantial working class support as it did in the 1980s, but you do what you can.

    One very concrete step towards this has been the changed nature of LookLeft, designed to promote left unity and class consciousness. It’s now available to buy in Easons north and south, and in many other shops. The current edition has substantial information on the Garland case, including the fact that the person who oversaw it originally went on to be Bush’s advisor on Homeland Security. There’s more than enough evidence to show that this was used as a point in diplomatic power plays. It’s neither mad, nor a theory. The reality of that is plain.

    As for Korea. The best thing that could happen for all the people of Korea would be for the US to agree a permanent peace treaty, and to formally disavow any intention of launching a strike on the DPRK. It might also help not to try and tie food aid to political changes.

    As for the speech Nevin links to, it’s quite clear if you look at what was happening at that time and being said at that time, such comments were about an ultimate confrontation between the forces of socialism and capitalism on the island, rather than a campaign in the north.

  • Open Letter from three of Ireland’s leading trade unionists opposing the extradition – President of SIPTU, Regional Secretary of UNITE, and General Secretary of TEEU.

    http://seangarlandextradition.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/open-letter-of-support-from-siptu-unite-and-teeu-unions.pdf

    Some vital points raised there, including the likelihood that documents would be withheld from Garland’s defence in a US court on grounds of national security. Impossible for him to get a fair trial.

  • From an Irish Examiner article on 28 June 2010
    http://www.irishexaminer.com/world/kfcwmhojojey/rss2/#ixzz0wCKDMJuf

    QUOTE: “Mr Gilmore, whose political journey through the decades from Official Sinn Féin to the Workers Party to Democratic Left to Labour has been little short of fascinating, is sanguine about the possibility, insisting he was never asked to join the Official IRA.

    However, along with his parliamentary party, he does oppose the extradition of former official IRA leader Sean Garland to the US on counterfeiting allegations: “He’s an elderly man and I know that Ruairi Quinn and Joanna Tuffy have taken a strong stand and I support them on that,” he said.” END

    Quite remarkable really as Gilmore’s colleague, Pat Rabbitte brought down Albert Reynold’s government in 1994 by making a false allegation of a conspiracy between Cardinal Cahal Daly and AG Harry Whelahan to prevent the extradition of Fr Brendan Smyth. UK cultural historian Richard Webster described that fiasco as follows:
    http://www.richardwebster.net/brynestynireland.html

    QUOTE: “Another country which has developed a particularly intense and dangerous crusade against child abuse is the Republic of Ireland. Here, as in almost every modern instance, the collective fantasy which has been progressively developed has a core of reality. The beginnings of the story go back to 1994 when the authorities in Northern Ireland sought the extradition from the Republic of Father Brendan Smyth, a Catholic priest who was facing a number of counts of child sexual abuse to which he would eventually plead guilty. It would appear that he had previously been protected against allegations by his own Norbertine order, which had moved him from parish to parish as complaints arose, and failed to alert the police.

    “Perhaps because of the age of the allegations, which went back twenty years, there was a delay of several months during which the Irish attorney general took no action in relation to the extradition request. Unfounded reports began to circulate in Dublin that the process was being deliberately delayed in response to a request made at the highest level by the Catholic Church. An Irish opposition deputy, Pat Rabbitte, then referred in parliament to the possible existence of a document that would ‘rock the foundations of this society to its very roots’. He apparently had in mind the rumoured existence of a letter written by the Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Cathal Daly, to the attorney general in Dublin. In this letter the Cardinal had supposedly interceded on behalf of Father Brendan Smyth and requested the delay in his extradition which had in fact taken place.

    “No evidence has been produced that any such letter ever existed. Yet, as a direct result of the rumours which now swept the country, confidence in the ruling establishment was undermined and the Fianna Fail government of Albert Reynolds fell, amidst talk of a dark conspiracy involving politicians, members of Opus Dei, the Knights of Columbus and others. This conspiracy was allegedly seeking to cover up the activities of paedophile priests” END

    Ruairi Quinn was ALSO up to his neck in promoting that hysteria and I see he opposed the extradition of Sean Garland as well. Gilmore, Rabbitte and Quinn are ALL Government Ministers now. Perhaps there is a conspiracy between them that would rock the foundations of this society to its very roots?

  • From an Irish Examiner article on 28 June 2010
    http://www.irishexaminer.com/world/kfcwmhojojey/rss2/#ixzz0wCKDMJuf

    QUOTE: “Mr Gilmore, whose political journey through the decades from Official Sinn Féin to the Workers Party to Democratic Left to Labour has been little short of fascinating, is sanguine about the possibility, insisting he was never asked to join the Official IRA.

    However, along with his parliamentary party, he does oppose the extradition of former official IRA leader Sean Garland to the US on counterfeiting allegations: “He’s an elderly man and I know that Ruairi Quinn and Joanna Tuffy have taken a strong stand and I support them on that,” he said.” END

    Quite remarkable really as Gilmore’s colleague, Pat Rabbitte brought down Albert Reynold’s government in 1994 by making a false allegation of a conspiracy between Cardinal Cahal Daly and AG Harry Whelahan to prevent the extradition of Fr Brendan Smyth. UK cultural historian Richard Webster described that fiasco as follows:
    http://www.richardwebster.net/brynestynireland.html

    QUOTE: “Another country which has developed a particularly intense and dangerous crusade against child abuse is the Republic of Ireland. Here, as in almost every modern instance, the collective fantasy which has been progressively developed has a core of reality. The beginnings of the story go back to 1994 when the authorities in Northern Ireland sought the extradition from the Republic of Father Brendan Smyth, a Catholic priest who was facing a number of counts of child sexual abuse to which he would eventually plead guilty. It would appear that he had previously been protected against allegations by his own Norbertine order, which had moved him from parish to parish as complaints arose, and failed to alert the police.

    “Perhaps because of the age of the allegations, which went back twenty years, there was a delay of several months during which the Irish attorney general took no action in relation to the extradition request. Unfounded reports began to circulate in Dublin that the process was being deliberately delayed in response to a request made at the highest level by the Catholic Church. An Irish opposition deputy, Pat Rabbitte, then referred in parliament to the possible existence of a document that would ‘rock the foundations of this society to its very roots’. He apparently had in mind the rumoured existence of a letter written by the Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Cathal Daly, to the attorney general in Dublin. In this letter the Cardinal had supposedly interceded on behalf of Father Brendan Smyth and requested the delay in his extradition which had in fact taken place.

    “No evidence has been produced that any such letter ever existed. Yet, as a direct result of the rumours which now swept the country, confidence in the ruling establishment was undermined and the Fianna Fail government of Albert Reynolds fell, amidst talk of a dark conspiracy involving politicians, members of Opus Dei, the Knights of Columbus and others. This conspiracy was allegedly seeking to cover up the activities of paedophile priests” END

    Ruairi Quinn was ALSO up to his neck in promoting that hysteria and I see he opposed the extradition of Sean Garland as well. Gilmore, Rabbitte and Quinn are ALL Government Ministers now. Perhaps there is a conspiracy between them that would rock the foundations of this society to its very roots?

  • Nunoftheabove

    I would have thought that the best thing that could happen in North Korea was that progressive forces could be supported to overthrow the wicked regime which is in place there. It’s perfectly true that the West ought not to be directly or indirectly threatening to starve North Korean civilians as a consequence of a stalemate relating to conventional or nuclear weapons. By the same token, for so long as that aid can or is used to condition reasonable behavior, it can also be extracted from the west – a straightforward protection racket in other words. The NK state has a plain interest in prolonging this stalemate and no intention whatever of concluding it.

    The arguments which Mr Donohoe makes in LookLeft regarding Wainstein and Rice are fairly thin. What was being implemented was US foreign policy and it had been so since October 1998; substantial majority in the House of Representatives, unanimously carried in the Senate.

    I bear Mr Garland no personal ill will at all. In my view the entirely flawed political perspective of his party on communism over the years and cosy relationship with the British state in the North has set the cause of the Irish left, such as it now is, back by a very long way. I do wish they’d at least come clean on some of their very oily Stalinist credentials and shady past dealings though. Deceit is never a terribly good basis upon which to base a political party as the WP has itself discovered.