Human Rights and Justice by Michael J Cummings




John M. Corcoran Esq.  Chairman

Michael J. Cummings, Secretary

Here’s a fun fact for  political junkies.    Massachusetts Members of Congress have  a rich legacy of standing up against bullies in the fight for  human rights, justice and democracy around the world.  Of course,  O’Neill, Boland, Moakley and McGovern  and others always spoke up for Ireland but to date the British have been able to bury their lawless legacy in Northern Ireland.    Chairman of Ways & Means Richie Neal of Springfield and Speaker Pelosi may raise the price for approval of any proposed US-UK trade deal and  demand   transparency and accountability from British bullies as did those “fab four”.  

In  1965, Springfield’s Ed Boland walked with John Lewis in Selma but he was better known for battling  President Reagan’s CIA  funding of the Contras in a misbegotten scheme to restore  Nicaraguan dictator Somoza.    Before becoming a Member of Congress,  Jim McGovern from Worcester  worked for Boston’s Representative Joe Moakley in exposing the corrupting role of American aid in El Salvador where U. S. trained  Army leaders backed death squads that murdered thousands including   six Jesuits teachers and employees of the Central American University. Elected as  a Representative  in  1996, McGovern  fought against any arms sales to  Saudi Arabia in opposition to their  senseless  slaughter and starvation of civilians in Yemen. Secretary of State Pompeo used a false declaration of an emergency to approve it.    Not to be deterred, McGovern  helped  craft  two  Magnitsky’s laws enabling  the U. S.  government to   sanction  foreign individuals or governments who have committed human rights abuses and corruption.   

I grew up in  Springfield, MA  and if you had any Irish heritage that meant  you were a Democrat, even if your parents strayed from the “faith” occasionally.  I remember my Dad once saying:  “With  Kennedy in the White House and  ‘Tip’ O’Neill  and  Ed Boland in the House…God is in heaven and all’s  right with  the world!”   Politics was local and foreign affairs only became ‘table talk’  during the Hungarian revolt and the Cuban missile crisis. My Dad’s sole recognition of his Cummins, Keough, Kiely and Finn heritage  was to sing Galway Bay on St. Patrick’s Day.  If the words “troubles” ever was used it was thought to be an illness.  My long journey of involvement  with the Northern Ireland conflict made clear to  me  that  ‘illness’   was British lawlessness and treachery.   

 In 1988  Richie Neal  succeeded Boland   and carries on this unique tradition of  fighting  injustice and armed bullies.   Britain used State sponsored  executions using hired thugs like those  in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Saudi Arabia.   But he was also part of the solution supporting the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.  With  Britain’s  promise to repeal the Human Rights Act of 1998 and grant amnesty to all soldiers involved in killing civilians in N. I., mostly Catholic, Neal  fears   a  new cycle of violence.     In a recent trip  to London and Dublin,  Neal and  Speaker Pelosi  publicly advised the British  that using Brexit as an excuse to punish Ireland economically or to scrap the GFA  would jeopardize a trade pact.  The Chairman and the Speaker seem ready for their close-up! 

Michael J. Cummings

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