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Fenian Notes

By our Washington Correspondent

Every US president has used the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for his own political purposes, though it is supposed to be a law enforcement agency. Bill Clinton is no exception and he joins a long tradition of executive abuse of an agency’s investigative powers.

The use of FBI files is one of the perks of attaining the White House. The late FBI director J Edgar Hoover kept a file on everybody in the nation’s capital. This ensured his tenure as director and the silence of those who knew Hoover’s homosexuality and cross-dressing. Many presidents worked hand-in-hand with law enforcement to victimise their perceived enemies.

The FBI reports what people tell them and then they try to verify the information. If they cannot get verification it does not stop them from using false information against targets. They merely claim that anonymous informants supplied it and they in turn must be protected.

FBI files contain not only private and sometimes embarrassing information, but also some things that are lies. Success for the FBI is to destroy a person’s character and present them in the worst possible light so that the public is given an utterly false impression.

President Richard Nixon used the FBI to attack Irish activists in the early seventies at the request of the British government. One such activist has given me access to his FBI file which shows what the Americans are prepared to do for the British.

The Brits alleged that IRA supporters in the States had obtained jobs with various federal agencies so as to benefit the IRA. This gave an excuse to the FBI to initiate surveillance on many unsuspecting citizens.

The FBI as a general course takes the comments of neighbours out of context which remain forever in their files as fact. Distortion of the truth creates a new truth in FBI files.

A member of the United States Congress made a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the FBI regarding Irish Americans and the efforts they were pursuing to overturn the Department of State denial of visas to Irish Republicans. Two documents are significant, one is unclassified and the other is classified meaning you and I are not supposed to see it. The documents were given anonymously to this writer.

Eighty per cent of the classified document was legible and the intent clear, but some words I had to envision and I believe are accurate. The classified document was intended never to go public. This writer feels it his patriotic duty to reveal the contents. The fourth, sixth and last paragraphs contained the illegible words I did my best to fill in.

“Dear Mr Congressman:
The FBI has released to you five documents found in our files pursuant to your Freedom of Information request.
From: American Consul Belfast
To: Secretary of State, Washington DC
Re: Info received from AM Embassy Dublin, AM Embassy London, US Navy Commsta Londonderry (sic)
Subject: Local newspaper reports US visa refusals
Loyalist Belfast morning Newsletter carried following front page article April 30:
America slams door on Sinn Féin. The United States State Department has refused visas to a number of people connected with the Provisional IRA and Sinn Féin in the last 18 months.

It is believed that those barred from the country include Rory O’Brady [Ruairí Ó Brádaigh], Séamus Loughran, Mrs Máire Drumm, Seén Keenan and Joe Cahill.

A State Department spokesman said that the action had been taken in each case under its authority to bar aliens who were believed to belong to terrorist organisations, or were believed to advocate the overthrow of any legitimate government.

The ban has been criticised by an amalgamation of 30 Irish Organisations in the United States. End transmission.

Mr Congressman, the FBI has a list of organisations and individuals which it plans to scrutinise through investigation and surveillance in such a way to discourage further support for the restoration of visas which has been determined a national security risk should the named individuals be allowed to speak in the US. The present administration does not want this to develop into a full-blown free speech and assembly issue.

CLASSIFIED – Washington DC May 75 (Eyes Only) Internal
From: WFO (Washington Field Office)
To: Director, FBI
Subject: Text of request by UK government to State Department – Concurrence Dublin
We would request continued visa denials Irish Republicans be maintained. Those denied are terrorists or [fellow] travellers though we [offer] only conclusions of intelligence operatives.

[Rory] Brady, in particular, is a former IRA Chief and is highly regarded by (IRA] supporters in the USA. [His] presence could make our policy untenable. [His version] would be believed by Irish Americans and [would raise their] militancy.

The Bureau [must treat most] Ir[ish] activists as a potential security problem, and Brady must be seen as a national security threat. He is a dedicated revolutionary undeterred by threat or personal risk.

In an appearance before the US Congress, Brady was accorded credibility which threatens our security operation in which we have the support of the Dublin government who believe Brady to be a threat to their state as well. Brady can be barred entry to your country as an associate of terrorists as we have suggested to you, but his psychological appeal to the Irish in America makes the campaign to win politicians for pressure on the administration is a threat. He has become a rallying point for Irish Americans. If he is kept out of the US long enough, his threat to our position will erode. The others are not as dangerous, lacking his articulate voice in presenting the dynamic of Irish Republicanism.

As you are aware the unionist community is dominant in Northern Ireland but we can control them; it is the Republicans who pose a threat to disrupt the state and are adept at using violence to attain their ends. Therefore, containing Republicanism becomes paramount. To have terrorism in a NATO ally is not good for the alliance.

We intend to maintain the status quo as the North of Ireland being British as your country would hold the six New England states. We are prepared to offer the non-violent nationalists concessions. Brady’s counterpart is John Hume who is no threat to anyone and his words are encouraged in both our countries. He is not the enemy.

Hume is accessible to us and his methods prove to be favourable to the US. We maintain contact with him along with the Dublin government. We understand Dublin provides him with funds and [covers up certain] personal problems such as his drinking habits. Think of Hume as useful.

[We appreciate the consistent] support of [the US] government in this situation. We will continue to keep the Bureau fully apprised of activity of US nationals regarding the Irish situation. We will also pass on information from our sources in the Dublin government as well. As usual we must request strict confidentiality in this matter.

The above classified FBI document speaks for itself but it serves to confirm years of suspicion of a coalition of anti-Republicans. The truth is incorruptible although the Brits would have it otherwise, so too Dublin. One truth we must face on this side of the Atlantic is that the US is never going to help us gain freedom and when we realise this we have a chance to take it ourselves. The recent case of Jimmy Smyth should put an end to the delusion of Irish American groups who think that Clinton speaking about Ireland means anything other than a man hearing himself speak.

We in the States must support the policy of real Republicans and not sit in judgement about their methods. If it is war against the Brits, we should support the freedom fighters and be proud there are those with the courage to fight, not the cowards in Dublin and the SDLP and their newly-won associates.
— Peadar Mac Fhínín
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