DELIVERED BY GERRY GRAINGER TO A FRINGE MEETING ORGANISED BY THE RMT AT THE TUC CONFERENCE MANCHESTER 2010
by John McManus of the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation (MOJO)
Garland is a veteran Irish socialist and republican who faces an application for his extradition from Ireland to the USA.
is 76 years of age, in poor health, suffering from angina and diabetes and he has been diagnosed with cancer.
Garland has been involved in political activity throughout his adult life.
the 1950’s and 1960’s he was a member of the IRA but became part of a group in that organisation in the 1960’s
which saw the need to move from militarism into political work.
believed that the struggle for an Irish Republic had to be for a Socialist Republic
and had to be founded on the active participation of the Irish working class, regardless of religion.
was one of those convinced of the need for a socialist programme and the need to build a strong party of the working class.
its early stages Sean Garland was a proponent of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland. He was, in the tradition of Wolfe Tone, a bitter opponent of sectarianism. He was an enthusiastic advocate of the
huge trade union tax marches in Southern Ireland and the trade union campaigns for peace and work in Northern Ireland.
was instrumental in building the Workers’ Party which campaigned around the slogan “Peace, Work and Class Politics”.
For Sean Garland republicanism did not mean narrow nationalism – it was socialist, secular and internationalist.
was a supporter of liberation struggles in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Chile, Cuba, Latin America and the Middle
East. He was a firm opponent of US imperialism throughout the world.
the 1980’s he took an interest in the tense and difficult situation in the Korean peninsula. He was appalled by the
suffering and destruction caused by the Korean War and the continuing massive presence, including nuclear presence, on the
peninsula. He campaigned actively for the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and worked to encourage and develop cultural
exchanges between Ireland and the DPRK.
19 May 2005 a US District Court filed a warrant for Sean Garland’s arrest. This was
after a Federal Grand Jury had secretly indicted him for allegedly trading in forged $100 bills (so-called “super-notes”).
Grand Juries have long been criticised as unfair and unjust because the defendant is not represented by counsel and does not
have the right to call witnesses or to make representations. These juries are a throwback to feudal times. A former Chief
Judge of the New York Court of Appeals has stated that “a Grand Jury could be persuaded to convict a ham sandwich”.
proceedings were in secret. Jurors are not challenged as to their beliefs and prejudices. The jurors were effectively briefed,
through the prosecution, by the US Secret Service. It is clear from the indictment that Sean Garland’s political history
and beliefs were emphasised. Sean Garland was indicted, in absentia, and the indictment was sealed and again rendered secret.
allegations were bizarre, namely that Sean Garland was involved in a conspiracy with North Korea to counterfeit $100 bills – an allegation which Sean Garland vehemently denies.
of this was made public until Sean Garland was arrested in the full glare of publicity at his Party’s Ard Fheis (Congress)
in Belfast on 7 October 2005.
course, the allegations scuppered the six party talks between the US, China, Russia, the two Koreas and Japan – which is exactly what they were designed to do. There have been several reports, including a report from the
US Congressional Research Service, which records that hawks within the Bush administration wanted to destroy any progress
in the six party talks. Even south
Korea distanced itself from the
the allegations were made public various independent experts and commentators began to examine the details of the US claims. It was established that the origin of the accusation came from a Korean who was described by a human rights
researcher who lived with him as a liar. Another person who knew this man described him as “mentally unstable”
and another that he fabricated the story for cash.
asked at an International Conference in France to produce evidence of the alleged counterfeiting by North Korea the US experts present could provide no evidence to substantiate their case.
analysts who have examined the allegations as to the printing press and ink allegedly used by North Korea have concluded that
the ink used in the manufacture of the so-called “super-notes” is an exact match of that manufactured for the
US and that only the US itself could have access to the paper, ink and primary press necessary to produce such notes.
Sean Garland was arrested in Belfast. The US made clear why that was. They feared it would be more difficult to extradite him from the Republic
of Ireland – and the way was made easier by the “new” Extradition Act
2003 which was introduced as part of the Bush-Blair “love-in” and which abolished the requirement to provide prima
Garland was permitted to travel to Dublin for urgent medical attention. He decided not to return to Northern Ireland where under the present UK-US extradition arrangements he might now be languishing in a prison in the US.
he did not hide away. He informed the Irish police and Irish authorities of his whereabouts. He maintained a political presence.
He publicly explained the reasons for not returning to the jurisdiction of the Northern Ireland courts, highlighting the devious attempts of the US and UK authorities to deprive him of his constitutional rights and protections as an Irish citizen.
US then did nothing, until, in the last days of the Bush administration in November
2008, Condolezza Rice issued a new warrant for the arrest of Sean Garland. On 30 January 2009
Sean Garland was again arrested. He was held in prison in poor conditions until he secured bail under draconian terms.
- Sean Garland is innocent and deserves the presumption of innocence.
- He is in poor physical health.
- Despite court appearances in Belfast and Dublin not one iota of evidence has been produced against him.
- A request for evidence has been refused.
- What chance has a life long revolutionary, committed to Marxist principles, accused
of working with North Korea to undermine the “beloved dollar”, however untrue such allegations,
of securing a fair trial in the USA?
- A US defence attorney has sworn
an affidavit averring that:
- “The difficulties Mr Garland can expect in obtaining medical care will be perilously compounded by the likelihood
that his current medications will no longer be available to him.”
- “Even apart from the severe threat to his life due to deficiencies in medical care, I also apprehend the distinct
possibility that … Mr Garland will not receive a fair trial.”
- “There are a number of disturbing parallels between his case and the case of the Cuban Five.”
- Extradition will pose a “deadly risk.”
This campaign to Stop the Extradition of Sean Garland has received wide support in Ireland, Britain, Europe and throughout the world.
- From political parties across the globe.
- Cross-party support in parliamentary bodies in Northern and Southern Ireland and Europe.
- From the trade union movement in Ireland, Britain and internationally.
- From trades councils, local authorities, significant figures in culture, arts, the media
and the world of academe.
- A comprehensive list setting out a sample of the names of sponsors and supporters is available.
The struggle is on-going. We need your support.
- Write to your MPs and MEPs.
- Sign the Petition, either on paper or online.
- Help financially, politically – any way you can!
I would like to thank the RMT for facilitating this fringe meeting and my fellow speakers for their support.
SUPPORT THIS CAMPAIGN – Stop this injustice. Prevent the extradition of a man who has committed his life to the
struggle for his class.
Paddy Hill of the Birmingham Six
Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four
Bob Crow, General Secretary of the RMT