Chris Bray: The People Who Ratified the US-UK MLAT Think the DOJ Is Wrong About What the Treaty Means

At the bottom of this post, a strong letter sent yesterday by Senator Charles Schumer to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric "La La La I Can't Hear You" Holder regarding the Belfast Project subpoenas served on Boston College. Schumer makes his position plain, asking Clinton and Holder to "work with the British authorities to have this MLAT request withdrawn." Read the whole thing, but one paragraph in particular wages a direct assault on the arguments made in court by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts:

During the ratification of this treaty we in the United States Senate made clear that provisions of this treaty, and other[s] with the UK, should not be invoked pursuant to political goals related to Northern Ireland. In particular, the Senate resolution that accompanied the ratification of the extradition treaty in 2007 states that, "The Senate understand that the purpose of the treaty is to strengthen law enforcement cooperation between the United States and the [U]nited Kingdom by modernizing the extradition process for all serious offenses and that the treaty is not intended to reopen issues addressed in the Belfast Agreement, or to impede any further efforts to resolve conflicts in Northern Ireland.

Schumer has framed the question widely, addressing his concerns about the mutual legal assistance treaty between the US and the UK with a quote from the Senate resolution regarding a different treaty. But his argument is still specifically sound: A few years ago, the Senate ratified a treaty between these two nations regarding a matter of international cooperation in internal criminal justice matters. Doing so, they make explicit their intent to keep "issues addressed in the Belfast Agreement" -- like the past activities of paramilitaries that fought during the Troubles in Northern Ireland -- out of the bucket of things for which the treaty would assure police cooperation. So why would the same United States Senate ratify a different treaty, just a few years earlier, with an entirely different intent?


  1. Looks like the effort put in by yourselves and Carrie agus Chris is starting to gather a head of steam a cara,it will show if nothing else that this whole stinking affair is not going to fade away quietly, good on you all for sticking so doggedly with this issue,

  2. Marty,

    there was a good piece in the Irish Times today acknowledging Carrie's role on the lobbying front in the US. Both her and Chris have been outstanding in their application

  3. *Chris Bray: The People Who Ratified the US-UK MLAT*


    The effort was demanding and we had to dig deep psychologically to get to where we are. It was a traumatic experience and there is still more to come. But people like you and others were there to give solid support when it was needed – you even put on the best fry I have had in years! Carrie and Ed should be going into the court any minute now.