Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Pete Sessions votes NO to justice in Northern Ireland

Occasionally, Congress will vote on a resolution urging another country to take action on a particular matter--in this case, asking the U.K. for an independent inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane, a human rights lawyer who was killed in his home by pro-British loyalists in 1989.

Collusion between British security forces and loyalist terrorists during Northern Ireland's "troubles" has been proved in one investigation after another, most recently in a report by Police Ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan, the result of a three-year inquiry proving collusion between the Special Branch and the UVF. (For more information, see this article from The Guardian, Northern Ireland Police Shielded Loyalist Killers).

On the heels of this recent report, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced a resolution into the murder of Pat Finucane. It received overwhelming bi-partisan support, as do most resolutions supporting the ongoing peace process in Northern Ireland. His co-sponsors are one of the most diverse groups you'll ever find supporting a bill, including Black Congressional Caucus members Sheila Jackson (D-TX) and Donald Payne (D-NJ), who always support civil rights in Northern Ireland (Congressman Payne served as an International Observer the same year I was over, although I did not get to meet him).

Who would vote no to a resolution calling on the British government to live up to its commitment -- as part of the Northern Ireland peace process -- to implement a public, independent, judicial inquiry into the murder of courageous human rights attorney and activist, Patrick Finucane? I'm sure Congressman Smith described for his colleagues in the House how Pat Finucane was shot dead in his home, in front of his wife and children, as they sat together at the dinner table on a Sunday evening. Who could vote no to finding out who shot this man?

Twenty-five members of Congress--who perhaps didn't feel knowledgable enough about the case to cast a vote--abstained from voting by saying "present" when their names were called. It takes a really hard-hearted person to say no to finding out the truth about a man shot to death in front of his family.

Pete Sessions voted no. That pretty much sums up everything you need to know about Pete Sessions. If anyone asks you, "What kind of person is Pete Sessions," you can honestly say that he's the kind of person who doesn't care if defense lawyers get murdered in front of their families, and will even go against members of his own party to vote "no" to finding the killers and putting them to justice.

(Roll call information: H CON RES 20, Roll Call 63, 30-Jan-2007 4:17 PM. BILL TITLE: Calling on the United Kingdom to establish a full, independent , and public judicial inquiry into the murder of Northern Ireland defense attorney Patrick Finucane).

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