The Sinister Agenda Behind Colombian Three Hearing

Posted By: March 29, 2013


Father Sean Mc Manus

It is vitally important that Irish-Americans fully comprehend the sinister agenda behind that Congressional Hearing on the Colombian Three, April 24 2002, before the House International Relations Committee (HIRC): “International Global Terrorism: Its Links with Illicit Drugs As Illustrated by the IRA and Other Groups in Colombia”.

The very title of the Hearing reveals its malicious intent and biased purpose. But there is a whole history of dirty tricks behind the Hearing, which Irish-Americans simply cannot ignore — if they are to be true to American values and the cause of justice and peace in Ireland.

The Hearing was predicated on a Report prepared in advance by one of the staff of the HIRC — not a Member of Congress and commonly referred to a Staffer. He has been falsely described and promoted in the Irish/British media as ” a senior American official”.

This Staffer leaked his Report to journalists in the media, known to be strong critics of the Irish peace-process and of Sinn Fein. Then for months we were told that the Congressional Hearing would make shocking and devastating revelations about how the IRA was — organizationally– involved in both international terrorism and the international drug trade in Colombia.

The day before the Hearing the same Staffer in an interview with The Washington Post said:”… the U.S. government was convinced of organized IRA involvement in Colombia…”. (“Lawmakers Dispute Report Linking IRA, Colombia Guerrillas”, Karen De Young, April 25, 2002).

But at the actual Hearing the Head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Asa Hutchinson, and the U.S. State Department’s Deputy Coordinator for Counter Terrorism, Mark Wong, both categorically denied the Staffer’s allegation.

And the same Washington Post article says:” Another witness [at the Hearing] Colombian Joint Chiefs of Staff head General Fernando Tapias, said he had no information about organizational links between the IRA and Colombian terrorists”.

Congressman Bill Delahunt (D-Ma.) — who, despite my best efforts, had initially pushed for the Hearing — amazed everyone by charging ” the purpose of this Committee Hearing is not to determine the facts, but to rubber stamp conclusions already drawn by Staffers…[the Report] is short on facts, replete with speculations, and surmise and opinion, much of which I disagree with”.

So what on earth was going on here?

Do you remember Ollie North, the White House Staffer who ran the rogue operation on behalf of the Contras?

Well something similar was being attempted here. This particular Staffer was playing Ollie North — at the expense of the Irish peace-process. He wanted to ” prove” that the United States must get involved militarily in Colombia because ” the IRA had global reach and was operating in Colombia”.

Now while I can understand why the Unionists — and even the SDLP and political Parties in the Irish Republic–might want to pounce on all that dis-information so as to embarrass Sinn Fein in the upcoming elections, it would nonetheless be very short-sighted. There is something far more important at stake here.

In order to complete his specious argument as to why the U.S. must get militarily involved in Colombia, the Staffer then logically had to try and get the IRA declared a terrorist group. So in a memo, dated April 15 2002, he wrote to HIRC Chairman, Henry Hyde (R-Il.):” We suggest that you request both our Department of Justice and Department of State witnesses to review and evaluate the IRA’s continued absence from the U.S. State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) in light of our findings”.

Look at what the implications would be if the U.S. were to put the IRA on the FTO list: The U.S. would have to pull out of the Irish peace-process and so would the British and Irish governments; David Trimble would pull out of the Northern Ireland government, the institutions would collapse and The Good Friday Agreement would be dead… and despair and destruction would stalk the land again.

Irish-Americans, therefore, must be in no doubt as to what was going on. Quite simply, there was a deadly sinister attempt by rogue agents to use the U.S. Congress to subvert the Irish peace-process in order to accomplish a right wing, Ollie North-type agenda in Colombia.

That it failed is due to some dedicated Members of Congress and to some Irish organizations worth their salt.

But we are still left with the disturbing reality that an attempt to subvert the Irish peace-process had been attempted at all. And it raises serious questions about the stewardship and intentions of Chairman Hyde in relation to justice and peace in Ireland.

The author is the President

of the Irish National Caucus.