Category: Archive

FBI duped in Nelson case: congressmen

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Susan Falvella Garraty

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three months to the day after the car-bomb assassination of lawyer Rosemary Nelson, a group of U.S. congressmen denounced the investigation into her death with one stating that the FBI was used as mere window dressing in its early stages.

The congressmen, together with Irish-American activists and Belfast attorney Padraigín Drinan, who has taken over Nelson’s law practice, gathered outside the House of Representatives Tuesday to slam the investigation, which has yet to produce arrests.

"Immediately after the murder of Rosemary Nelson [Northern Ireland Secretary] Mo Mowlam promised to use the FBI in the investigation. That has never taken place. It was nothing but window dressing," said New Jersey GOP Rep. Chris Smith.

New York Democrat Joe Crowley said that the Clinton Administration had little time left to utilize its good relationship with Mowlam and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"The RUC has blood on its hands. The best thing we can do for Rosemary Nelson is to conduct a credible investigation," said Crowley. He said the U.S. must push for such a development.

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During the press conference, organized jointly by the Irish American Unity Conference, the Rosemary Nelson Campaign and the group of seven congressmen, including Crowley and Smith, a letter from Nelson’s widower, Paul, was read out. In it, he called for an investigation into his wife’s death that would not include the RUC.

Meanwhile, President Clinton leaves for Europe this week for a week-long trip that includes the G-7 summit. The White House expects the president and Prime Minister Tony Blair to hold extensive talks on Northern Ireland when the two meet in Germany.

"They’ll see each other Friday, and we expect them to carry out meetings all weekend about the North," said a White House official.

"The discussions are very high on our agenda."

White House officials have noted the steady stream of violence perpetrated against Catholics over the last few months. There is great concern that the current pattern of violence mirrors last

year’s prelude to the marching season

Against this volatile backdrop, meanwhile, new faces will be working on Irish issues for the Clinton administration. Lawrence Butler of the National Security Council’s European Directorate will step down and be replaced by Dick Norland. Both worked under Jean Kennedy-Smith when she was U.S. ambassador in Dublin.

Butler’s stint in Dublin made him a point man on Ireland during his two-year stay at the White House. A career foreign service officer, he will move on to become the No. 2 officer at the U.S. embassy in Copenhagen.

After leaving his post in Dublin, Norland, also a career foreign service officer, came to Washington to work at the Bureau of Oceans and Environmental Science. While on assignment in Ireland, Norland was the senior political advisor in the U.S. embassy.

Meanwhile, the discovery phase of a $100 million libel suit arising from the controversial book "The Committee" went a step further last week in the U.S. Superior Court in Washington.

Sean McPhilemy, author of "The Committee: Political Assassinations in Northern Ireland," was deposed by attorneys for the parties bringing suit against him, David and Albert Prentice, from Portadown, Co. Armagh.

McPhilemy alleged in his book that the Prentice brothers were two of the 24 members of the Ulster Loyalist Central Coordinating Committee — a group that allegedly targeted leaders in the nationalist community for assassination.

Attorneys for the Prentices, who are wealthy car dealers, say they now have concerns over personal safety for themselves and their families in addition to a clouded business reputation since the book’s publication.

"Our clients have not been given notice that they will be deposed at this time," said an attorney from the office Zuckerman, Sp’der, Goldstein, Taylor and Kolker, the firm representing the Prentices.

Of McPhilemy’s deposition, the attorney said that the deposition could take several days to complete. He would not say whether any effort to come to an agreement outside of court was taking place between the author and the brothers.

In another development linked to the D.C. case, Unionist leader David Trimble has started legal proceedings against Amazon UK, the British arm of Amazon.com Inc. Trimble is taking on the internet’s largest book retailer because it sells "The Committee" online.

"As a politician I am forced to bear the burden of many lies that arise out of my being in political office,” Trimble said in a statement.

"The magnitude of the horrendous allegations made about me in the book are such that I cannot ignore them.”

Trimble, Nobel Peace Prize winner and the North’s first minister designate, is alleged in the book to have been complicit in loyalist violence in the past. His attorneys said Amazon UK was

actively promoting the book on its web site and thus wrongly highlighting their client’s alleged crimes.

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