McIntyre loses IRA tapes case

McIntyre loses IRA tapes case
UTV News
Tuesday, 02 October 2012

A former IRA volunteer-turned-writer has lost his High Court bid to prevent police taking possession of his interviews with a convicted bomber.

Anthony McIntyre was seeking to restrain disclosure of confidential archived material compiled for a history project at Boston College in the United States.

PSNI detectives wanted access to all interviews he carried out with Dolours Price as part of their investigation into the 1972 murder of Belfast woman Jean McConville, one of the so-called Disappeared.

Mr McIntyre claimed releasing the tapes and transcripts to police would put him under greater threat of being killed by dissident republicans who would perceive it as a betrayal of the IRA’s code of silence.

However, a judge dismissed his case after a senior detective stated he was not aware of any current, increased risk to the researcher due to his work on the project.

Mr Justice Treacy said: “In light of the unequivocal response from the PSNI, supported by the threat assessment from the security authorities, I conclude that the applicant has failed to make out an arguable case that disclosure of the Boston College tapes would, as he claimed, materially increase the risk to his life or that of his family.”

Loyalist and republican paramilitaries gave interviews to Mr McIntyre and journalist Ed Moloney for the college’s Belfast Project, an examination of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Those who took part included Price, who was jailed for her part in a bomb attack on the Old Bailey in London in 1973.

Recordings were carried out on the understanding that they would only be made public once interviewees had died.

However, the US courts have ruled that the Price interviews should be handed over to the PSNI.

The court heard Mr Moloney has stated that his research colleague’s interviews with Price contain nothing relevant to the Jean McConville murder investigation.

Lawyers for Mr McIntyre argued that his Article 2 right to life under the European Convention on Human Rights trumped the PSNI’s legal obligation to investigate murder.

But Mr Justice Treacy ruled that the former IRA man’s rights cannot prohibit police from seeking or receiving material relevant to a serious, live criminal inquiry.

“Investigating murder and gathering relevant material is not only a requirement of domestic law, but it is also a requirement of the positive duty which Article 2 imposes upon contracting States,” he said.

Rejecting Mr McIntyre’s application for judicial review, the judge added: “On the applicant’s case the PSNI is prohibited from receiving material no matter how probative – even a confession to murder if it exists – because of the risk from the IRA, dissident or otherwise.

“The very notion that a risk generated by the perpetrators or their associates could require the PSNI, or indeed the Court, to effectively suppress material potentially relevant to murder is fundamentally inconsistent with the very nature of the rule of law and Article 2 itself.”

Despite the ruling, the PSNI will not yet automatically gain access to the tapes. Lawyers for Mr McIntyre are expected to lodge an appeal against Mr Justice Treacy’s decision.

Meanwhile, any handover of the material has also been put on hold by the courts in America, pending a further hearing before the US Supreme Court.

Mr McIntyre’s solicitor, Kevin Winters, confirmed: “We have consulted with our client and we are set to appeal.

“We also welcome the stay that has been granted in the American courts because it prevents the handover of the tapes.

“That decision assists Mr McIntyre while he deals with the outstanding appeal issues arising from today’s judgment.”

Boston College tapes: ‘writer not making big profit’

Boston College tapes: ‘writer not making big profit’
21 September 2012
BBC News

A former IRA volunteer-turned-writer has made no big profit from his interviews with a convicted bomber, the High Court has heard.

Counsel for Anthony McIntyre also accused police of being “passive, bordering on cavalier” over the alleged increased threat to him.

Police are seeking access to his interviews with Dolours Price.

They are investigating the 1972 murder of Jean McConville, one of the so-called Disappeared.

Mr McIntyre spoke to Old Bailey bomber Price for a history project at Boston College in the United States.

‘Cavalier’

He is challenging the legal bid to obtain the transcripts of interview tapes, claiming it will put his life in greater danger from dissident republicans.

A PSNI lawyer had argued that releasing the recordings and transcripts would not heighten the risk to Mr McIntyre.

Mr Justice Treacy was told threat assessments were carried out and came back negative.

But Mr McIntyre’s barrister, David Scoffield QC, contended that the PSNI position was “completely untenable”.

He said: “It shows the extremely passive approach taken by the police on this issue, bordering on a cavalier approach.

“They have a single approach and really are intent on proceeding with their (application) without any proper regard for the consequences.”

Loyalist and republican paramilitaries gave interviews to Mr McIntyre and journalist Ed Moloney for Boston College’s Belfast Project, an examination of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Recordings were carried out on the understanding that they would only be made public once interviewees had died.

However, the US courts have ruled that the Price interviews should be handed over to the PSNI.

During the hearing in Belfast Mr McIntyre’s resistance to disclosing the tapes was questioned, given that a book has already been published by Mr Moloney, Voices From The Grave, based in interviews with other ex-paramilitaries for the same project.

Competing

Mr Scoffield contended that a number of “assumptions” have been wrongly made.

He said: “Firstly that Mr McIntyre was directly involved in the Voices From The Grave publication. That is not correct.

“And that he is in some way making a large amount of money from this endeavour. That is not correct.”

At one point the judge questioned whether it was open to the court to rule against the police if it would impede on their legal obligation to investigate a murder.

Mr Scoffield responded that the competing rights had to be balanced.

“The right of someone continuing to live here and now must trump the investigation into a past death,” he argued.

Judgment on the preliminary stage of Mr McIntyre’s application for judicial review was reserved.

A temporary injunction restraining the PSNI from taking possession of the interviews remains in place pending the outcome of the case.

Tapes wanted by PSNI ‘do not mention murder’

Tapes wanted by PSNI ‘do not mention murder’
Suzanne Breen
Belfast Telegraph
September 21, 2012

A former Boston College researcher will today tell a court that no mention was made of murder victim Jean McConville in the taped interview at the centre of a massive legal row.

The PSNI has launched a transatlantic courtroom battle to obtain the tape in which ex-IRA bomber Dolours Price allegedly admitted involvement in Mrs McConville’s disappearance and claimed the killing was ordered by Gerry Adams.

But Anthony McIntyre, the ex-IRA member who interviewed Price for the Boston project, will today tell Belfast High Court that she never even mentioned the murdered mother of ten’s name once.

In an affidavit lodged in the court and seen by the Belfast Telegraph, Mr McIntyre states: “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Ms Price did not mention the case of Jean McConville during the interviews I conducted with her.”

The PSNI legal bid began last year after allegations that Price had recorded admissions regarding the murder in her Boston College interview.

Mr McIntyre said when he read the report, “I was astounded as I know that she had made no such record.”

The Price tape is currently in the possession of the US courts. Subpoenas were served on Boston College in May 2011 by the US Attorney General on behalf of the PSNI.

McIntyre’s claim raises questions that the PSNI’s costly legal battle pursuing the tape may turn out to be a wild goose chase.

It could mean the McConville family’s hopes that securing the tape will bring justice for their mother, and see her killers’ prosecuted, may also be dashed.

Mrs McConville, a widow, was abducted from her West Belfast home in 1972 and driven across the border where she was shot dead and secretly buried by the IRA as an alleged “informer”.

Mr McIntyre’s solicitor, Kevin Winters, said: “Very serious and sensitive issues have been raised by this case and we hope that further scrutiny at today’s hearing will assist in resolving these.”

Mr McIntyre’s evidence supports that of former Boston College project director, journalist Ed Moloney.

In an affidavit presented to the court, which has been seen by the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Moloney said the project’s interviewees were promised nothing they said would be revealed until after their deaths.

“However, I believe (it is) time to reveal what the interviews did not disclose,” the journalist stated. “In her interviews with Anthony McIntyre, Dolours Price did not once mention the name ‘Jean McConville’.

“The subject of that unfortunate woman’s disappearance was never mentioned. Nor so were the allegations that Dolours Price was involved in any other disappearance carried out by the IRA in Belfast, nor that she received orders to disappear people from Gerry Adams.”

Mr Moloney stated that the interviews with Price lacked “any material that could ever have justified the subpoenas”.

The journalist claimed the PSNI’s actions “may well amount to an abuse of process”. Dozens of ex-loyalist and republican paramilitaries were interviewed for the Boston College oral history project between 2001 and 2006.

They were promised their interviews wouldn’t be released until after their death and the tapes were stored in the college.

The only two interviews so far published have been those of ex-Belfast Brigade IRA commander Brendan Hughes and former UVF member and PUP leader David Ervine. The republicans were interviewed by Anthony McIntyre and the loyalists by Wilson McArthur.

Boston College Subpoenas Caused By Journalist’s Lies and PSNI Failings

Boston College Subpoenas Caused By Journalist’s Lies and PSNI Failings
Statement by Ed Moloney, former Director, The Belfast Project, Boston College
Press Statement For Belfast Court Hearing
September 14th 2012

PREAMBLE

When the US government served subpoenas on Boston College’s Belfast Project archive in May 2011 on behalf of the PSNI, the subsequent legal challenge was led by Boston College and the strategy was decided by the College’s leaders in consultation with their lawyers. These were not our lawyers, nor our strategy.

Eventually, dissatisfaction with the Boston College strategy persuaded us to break from them and to hire our own attorneys, Eamonn Dornan and Jim Cotter and to devise our own strategy in consultation with them. We had important, perhaps decisive things to say but we needed to say them in a court of law where we had a chance of overturning the subpoenas.

We had been trying to get the go-ahead from a US court to intervene at which point we could make these arguments public during a decisive hearing in an American court. So far we have not succeeded. Now that there is a possibility of a Judicial Review being held in Belfast we believe that this moment has come. Accordingly, I have sworn an affidavit for the Belfast court this morning summarizing the essential facts and my statement below goes into far more detail.

BOSTON COLLEGE SUBPOENA WAS BASED ON A JOURNALIST’S LIE & PSNI FAILINGS

When this research project at Boston College (BC) began we gave interviewees a pledge that nothing of what they said would be revealed until their deaths. I intend to keep that promise.

But the pledge did not cover what the interviewees did not say.

I now wish to make the following facts public: in her interviews with BC researcher, Anthony McIntyre, Dolours Price did not once mention the name Jean McConville. The subject of that unfortunate woman’s disappearance is not even mentioned. Not once. Neither are the allegations that Dolours Price was involved in any other disappearance carried out by the IRA in Belfast, nor that she received orders to disappear people from Gerry Adams or any other IRA figure. None of this is in her interviews with Anthony McIntyre.

The subpoena served in May 2011 by the US government on behalf of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) seeking her interviews, which was followed in August by other subpoenas seeking more interviews from the BC archive, was based upon a false newspaper report in Northern Ireland published in February 2010 alleging that she had talked about the disappearance of Jean McConville to Anthony McIntyre for the BC project.

The McIntyre-Price-BC interviews are the wellspring for this extensive legal action carried out by the British and American governments, a legal action that could do irreparable harm to the peace process in Northern Ireland, irretrievably reduce academic and media freedoms in the United States and imperil the lives of researchers and interviewees alike.

In this document I will provide evidence to show that the PSNI failed in its basic duty of establishing the reliability and credibility of the false newspaper report until fifteen months after the article had appeared and after the subpoenas had been served on BC. There is a responsibility on a police force in such circumstances to seek evidence firstly from the sources that are nearest to hand, what the American legal system calls “the least sensitive source”. This the PSNI did not do.

I will show that the PSNI moved to check the newspaper material or gather evidence only after I had placed on legal record with the District Court in Boston my belief that the basis for the subpoena was flawed and that the taped interview referred to was not from BC but was made by the Belfast daily newspaper, The Irish News. The evidence I now present establishes beyond any doubt that the first subpoena was deeply flawed.

The United States Department of Justice presumably believed that the PSNI had carried out due diligence before embarking on the subpoena route but in that respect it was either mistaken or misled. This was an egregious abuse by the PSNI of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) between the US and the UK which facilitated these subpoenas. Under the terms of the MLAT, myself and Anthony McIntyre were barred from opposing the action in court. This abuse of the MLAT by the PSNI demonstrates beyond peradventure the need for Congress to urgently rewrite these treaties to prevent a future similar injustice.

I will now describe the background to the false newspaper article that began this legal nightmare.

THE IRISH NEWS – THE SUNDAY LIFE

The newspaper report that began the saga of the BC subpoenas appeared in The Sunday Life, a popular tabloid circulated in Northern Ireland, on February 21st, 2010 under the by-line of Ciaran Barnes. The report, splashed on the front page and continued inside, alleged that Dolours Price had been involved in the McConville disappearance and several other similar events and had admitted all this in a tape recorded interview.

The article went on to claim that Dolours Price had given taped interviews to what Barnes called “Boston University” and he told his readers that he had heard tape recordings in which Dolours Price confessed her role. The piece was written in such a way as to lead the average reader to conclude that she had made these admissions on tape to BC and that Ciaran Barnes had listened to them; this assumption was subsequently shared by the PSNI and the US Department of Justice.

To quote Ciaran Barnes’ report: “Price recently gave a series of interviews to academics from Boston University (sic) about her role in the IRA. These include admissions about her role in transporting some of the disappeared to their deaths. The interviews were given on the basis that they will not be published until after her death”, and “Price, who has made taped confessions of her role in the abductions to academics at Boston University, will relay this information to Independent Commission for Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR) investigators later this week”. And also: “Sunday Life has heard tape recordings made by Price in which she details the allegations against Adams and confesses her own involvement in a series of murders and secret burials”.

Ciaran Barnes’ report featured centrally in the US government’s defence of the subpoenas when the action was challenged in the Federal District Court by BC. Here is what the US Attorney for Massachusetts, Carmen Ortiz had to say in her July 2011 submission:

“Ms Price’s interviews by BC were the subjects of news reports published in Northern Ireland in 2010, in which Ms Price admitted her involvement in the murder and “disappearances” of at least four persons which the IRA targeted: Jean McConville, Joe Lynskey, Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee. See Exhibits 1 and 2. Moreover, according to one news report, the reporter was permitted to listen to portions of Ms Price’s BC interviews.”

In other words the official US Government stance was that The Sunday Life reporter, Ciaran Barnes had listened to Dolours Price’s interview with BC and had heard her confessing to the disappearance of Jean McConville and others. Presumably this is what the PSNI told the US government and presumably the US government believed it. The subpoenas served against BC were therefore justified, the US government argued.

The truth is that the interviews that Anthony McIntyre conducted with Dolours Price are notable for the absence of any material that could ever have justified the subpoenas. In this respect it is worth remembering that when she was interviewed by McIntyre, Dolours Price was given the same confidentiality assurances as other interviewees, which was that whatever she said would not be revealed until her death. As the interviews with Brendan Hughes, later published in the book Voices From The Grave, graphically demonstrate this enabled interviewees to speak freely, fully and candidly and to talk honestly about their lives in the IRA.

(Incidentally all this nails the lie that the Belfast Project was established to “Get Gerry Adams” as people like Niall O’Dowd and Danny Morrison have alleged. As this episode demonstrates, no interviewees were ever put under pressure to implicate him or anyone else in IRA activity.)

So what was the genesis of Ciaran Barnes’ shocking misreporting?

Three days before his report appeared, on February 18th 2010, The Irish News, Northern Ireland’s daily Nationalist newspaper, published a lengthy series of articles based on an interview with Dolours Price conducted in Dublin earlier that week by one of the paper’s senior reporters, Allison Morris. The front page lead carried the headline: “Dolours Price’s trauma over IRA disappeared”. The interview was tape recorded and it has been my consistent belief throughout this affair that the tape recording that Ciaran Barnes listened to and upon which he based his Sunday Life article was Allison Morris’ tape. It certainly could not have been BC’s.

Some background is needed here. When Dolours Price’s family heard that she had given an interview to Allison Morris they were alarmed. She had a history of psychiatric problems and substance abuse. She has been diagnosed with PTSD, had been hospitalized repeatedly and was taking strong psychotropic drugs. Indeed on the day she spoke to Morris she was on day leave from St Patrick’s Psychiatric Hospital in Dublin. Her family believed that in her mental state, and because of her anger over Gerry Adams’ disavowal of the IRA, she was capable of saying literally anything and getting herself into undeserved trouble.

To cut a long story short the family intervened with the editor of The Irish News, Noel Doran and as a consequence the resulting story published by Doran was very restrained. There were no direct quotes from her and in relation to Jean McConville, the Irish News had just this to say: “Ms Price is also said to have been privy to details of the final days of mother-of-ten Jean McConville, whose remains have already been recovered”, and “She is believed to possess previously undisclosed information about at least four Disappeared victims.”

Most crucially of all, the Irish News couched its report in the context of Dolours Price taking the story of what she allegedly knew about the “disappeared” to the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains (ICLVR), a body set up under the aegis of the peace process to deal with the vexed and troubling issue of victims ‘disappeared’ by the IRA. That was crucial because the ICLVR bestows immunity from prosecution and so Dolours Price would not be subjected to criminal prosecution as a result of anything she told the Commission. And The Irish News was careful not to implicate her directly in any criminal offence.

I would like to place on record my belief is that the editor of The Irish News, Noel Doran behaved properly in all this. But sadly, the same cannot be said for his reporter Allison Morris.

All would have been fine and I would not now be writing this statement and the courts in two jurisdictions would not have had their time taken up with the case of the BC subpoenas but for the fact that three days later, The Sunday Life took the story a stage further, adding garish and gruesome detail to The Irish News story and seemingly citing the BC interviews as the source for the story.

The immediate effect of Ciaran Barnes’ reportage was to make the immunity deal arranged by Noel Doran and the ICLVR redundant. Dolours Price could not be prosecuted for what she told the commission but she could face charges over what Ciaran Barnes’ claimed she had told BC.

So why do I believe that Ciaran Barnes got his story from Allison Morris?

Well, first of all it could not have come from Anthony McIntyre’s interview with Dolours Price because it does not mention Jean McConville at all nor any of the other people disappeared by the IRA at the same time. So the idea that Barnes listened to the BC tape and used it as a source for his story is a sheer impossibility.

Barnes does however say very distinctly that he did listen to “tape recordings made by Price” admitting to the Jean McConville and other disappearances. So a tape did exist. So whose tape was it? I believe it was Allison Morris’ tape not least because Irish News editor Noel Doran admitted that Morris had taped Dolours Price in the course of a lengthy debate with myself carried out in the columns of the Irish-American website, TheWildGeese.com during 2011. (Source: http://thewildgeeseblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/moloney-vs-irish-news-final-word.html )

He wrote: “As I have pointed out, Moloney himself could have solved this ‘mystery’ through one simple telephone call. We would have been happy to tell him that PSNI detectives did attempt to obtain the Irish News tape but were informed that we were no longer in possession of any such material.” (More about this further down)

So there was a tape of the Dolours Price interview. Given that we don’t know of any other interview that Dolours Price gave and that her interview with Anthony McIntyre made no mention of the material that made up the bulk of Ciaran Barnes’ report, suspicion must inevitably fall on Allison Morris as being the source. Barnes had to be quoting from Allison Morris’ tape because there was no other tape.

There were no quotes from Dolours Price in the Irish News report of her interview with Allison Morris and that was understandable, given the deal that had been struck between her family and the paper’s editor. But why no quotes in the Ciaran Barnes’ article? After all he had seemingly gotten access to a sensational exclusive, a tape recorded interview made by a respectable and credible American college revealing the background to one of the Troubles’ most notorious killings, so why not use direct quotes from the interview to substantiate and add credibility to his story. It is what nearly every journalist I know would do, and certainly what a reputable reporter would do. Nor was he restrained by any deal made by his source or the source’s family with his editor. But he didn’t. So why not?

Well put yourself in Ciaran Barnes’ shoes. He thinks he knows Dolours Price has given interviews to BC and he guesses that she must have covered the same ground as Allison Morris did, although he can’t know that for certain. But if he uses quotes from the Morris interview and pretends they came from BC then it will be a simple matter to prove he is lying by comparing the Boston interview with the quotes he publishes. If they don’t match then he is caught with his pants down. And once found out he and his paper could face legal retribution from one of America’s wealthiest colleges. Not a nice prospect; so far better to use no quotes.

The effect of The Sunday Life story was to add lustre and credibility to Allison Morris’ scoop and not long after the two stories appeared, Allison Morris won two prestigious journalistic prizes, the National Union of Journalists’ Regional Journalist of the Year and a similar award from the Society of British Regional Editors. For each prize she submitted a three-article portfolio, one of which was her interview with Dolours Price. Now regarded as one of The Irish News’ star reporters, Allison Morris and Ciaran Barnes have come a long way since they both worked together and became friends in the west Belfast weekly, The Andersonstown News.

THE PSNI AND THE DUE DILIGENCE FAILURE

As I was putting the pieces of this story together the Leveson Inquiry had begun hearing evidence about the hacking scandal involving Rupert Murdoch’s News International and I wrote a detailed email to Lord Leveson’s team asking that this episode be included in his investigation. I did so after taking legal advice and because his inquiry encompassed both the questionable practices of some journalists and the relationship between the media and the police.

Unfortunately, this was not possible; the Leveson team told me that the appropriate place for hearings into “who did what to whom” would be in Part Two of his Inquiry which will happen if and when police investigations and criminal prosecutions have taken place. So maybe on another day the behaviour of Ciaran Barnes and Allison Morris will come under proper scrutiny.

Aside from being an egregious case of media misbehavior, the reason I wanted Leveson to have a look at the Sunday Life-Irish News case was that the PSNI had seemingly made no effort to locate relevant material right on their doorstep – that is the Irish News interview with Dolours Price and the “tape” that Ciaran Barnes had claimed to have listened to. Instead they had ignored these local sources and opted instead to seek their evidence 3,000 miles away in Boston. Why?

In my June 2011 affidavit I made it clear that I believed that Dolours Price’s interview with Allison Morris had been taped and that the tape had been passed on to Ciaran Barnes in The Sunday Life. And I added that there was no way that Ciaran Barnes could have heard her BC interview. Without spelling out the reality that Dolours Price had not talked about Jean McConville in her interviews with Anthony McIntyre, my affidavit clearly said that the basis of the subpoenas was flawed.

When The Boston Globe published an editorial urging the college to hand over the tapes I emailed Tom Hachey, the head of the Irish Studies Center and the man in charge of the archive, asking if he or someone else from the college would respond. He did not reply, so myself and Anthony McIntyre asked The Boston Globe for the right to reply which they granted.

Our article, published on August 23rd, 2011 had this to say, inter alia:

“The subpoenas that have been served are based on an unproven assertion: that an interview given to the college by a former Irish Republican Army activist, Dolours Price, could shed light on a 40-year-old murder and should be surrendered.

“The truth, however, is that the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), on whose behalf US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz is acting, does not know what Dolours Price told BC’s interviewers. Neither does Ortiz.

“They do not know because the legal basis for the subpoenas is deeply flawed, the result of either rank incompetence or sleight of hand. The authorities have justified the action by claiming that an interview with Price published in a Belfast newspaper in February 2010 about the murder was derived from her BC interview, when in fact it was based on a separate taped interview given directly to the newspaper. Price’s interviews have never been released by BC and never would be – because a guarantee of confidentiality was given to every interviewee.

“What is happening is essentially an unwarranted fishing expedition into the college archives.”

It must be clear to the reader now why we wrote those words.

But the question remains, why had the PSNI not gone straight away to the source of those two stories in the Irish News and Sunday Life as soon as they were published? When I was subpoenaed in 1999 by Scotland Yard over the Billy Stobie case because of an article I wrote, the subpoena was served within days of publication. When Suzanne Breen was subpoenaed following an interview she had with the Real IRA, again it was served within days. But after the Irish News and Sunday Life articles appeared nothing happened and the PSNI sat on their hands.

Let me be clear about one thing. While I utterly abhor the behavior of Allison Morris and Ciaran Barnes, I am not for one moment suggesting that The Irish News or Sunday Life should take our place in this awful legal ordeal. I would not wish that on anyone. I do not believe the police should have the right to demand any media material and I have long advocated for a shield law to protect the media. And had those two newspapers found themselves in our place I am sure they would have resisted and fought for confidentiality. In those circumstances I would have volunteered my support for them.

What concerns me here is the behavior of the PSNI and the question of why they did not seek material nearer at hand than Boston College?

It has been suggested that one reason is that the PSNI, battling for support from a suspicious Catholic community in the troubled wake of the peace process, is unwilling to confront and embarrass Northern Ireland’s largest Nationalist daily newspaper. Some have argued that this explains why the PSNI served subpoenas on Suzanne Breen when she wrote about dissident IRA matters but ignored Allison Morris when she wrote in a similar vein. I do not know if this explains why the PSNI went to BC rather than to The Irish News but it is an intriguing question.

So what did the PSNI ever do about checking the veracity of the Irish News and Sunday Life articles and tracing their sources? Well, we know from Irish News editor Noel Doran’s article in TheWildGeese.com that, as he put it: “….. PSNI detectives did attempt to obtain the Irish News tape but were informed that we were no longer in possession of any such material”.

But the crucial question is when did that happen? Surely, if the PSNI was up to scratch, it had to be not long after the articles appeared? The answer was provided by none other than Allison Morris who wrote in the Irish News on October 19th, 2011 the following: “Moloney has suggested there is some sort of mystery as to whether the PSNI has attempted to obtain material from the Irish News. In fact the Irish News was approached by the PSNI in June this year. The police were informed I had not retained any material in relation to my discussion with Ms Price and had nothing further to add to what had appeared in the Irish News in February 2010.”

Two things jump out from Morris’ article and both raise serious questions about the PSNI’s Crime Branch, currently led by Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris, which is in charge of the Dolours Price investigation. The first is that the PSNI waited until June 2011, before it got round to checking with the Irish News about the paper’s interview with a person who is allegedly at the centre of one of Northern Ireland’s most notorious killings and the subject of an unprecedented transatlantic legal action. The Irish News interview appeared in February 2010, PSNI detectives eventually tracked down the newspaper in June 2011. That is a gap of fifteen months. Fifteen months!

The other is the date, June 2011. What else happened in June 2011? Well one thing that did happen that month was that my affidavit, setting out the claim that the Sunday Life article was based on the Irish News’ taped interview with Dolours Price was lodged with the District Court in Boston and made available to the PSNI’s ally in this affair, the US Attorney’s office. Now it may be that a little bird landed on Drew Harris’ shoulder and whispered into his ear that he better send some of his guys round to the Irish News but I’d bet the mortgage that it was my affidavit landing on his desk c/o the US Attorney that sent detectives scurrying to Allison Morris’ desk. In impolite circles this is called ‘Covering Your Arse’.

While we do not yet know whether the PSNI ever got round to talking to Ciaran Barnes about his sources there are really only two conclusions possible about the PSNI’s handling of this matter. One is that its Crime Branch is seriously incompetent. The other is that something more sinister is going on. I could speculate about what this could be but I won’t. But it ought to be investigated by someone. This was the reason I tried to refer all this to the Leveson inquiry. Either way the PSNI’s handling of the matter suggests that something is very seriously amiss in its Crime Branch.

BOSTON COLLEGE REDUX

Throughout the last year or so of legal struggle myself and Anthony McIntyre knew full well that in her interviews as part of the Belfast Project, Dolours Price had made no mention of Jean McConville or her disappearance. But we were not alone. BC also knew this. The academics and administrators there knew that when Ciaran Barnes suggested that she had implicated herself in the McConville disappearance in her interviews with McIntyre that this was complete rubbish and possibly deliberate lies.

In such disgraceful circumstances the claim that she had also admitted giving interviews to BC ought to have been treated with skepticism and at the very least Dolours Price should have been given the benefit of the doubt. But BC chose to believe Ciaran Barnes in this matter despite the fact that his central charge against her was invented, that he had not produced one quote from her in his report to substantiate the claim that she had talked about her BC interviews, and that he even got the name of the college wrong, calling it “Boston University”.

Having invented the contents of her interviews with BC, Ciaran Barnes could just as easily have made up the claim that she had admitted giving the interviews, especially if the goal was to hide the real source for his article, Allison Morris’ taped interview.

The existence of the BC archive was well known by that time and Morris herself had phoned me more than once in early 2010 in an effort to learn what Brendan Hughes had said in his interviews, then about to be published in Voices From The Grave. It would have been natural to link Dolours Price with BC, or have guessed that she might be an interviewee, without having definite knowledge.

Despite all this, BC decided to throw Dolours Price to the wolves. When the college eventually decided to launch a limited appeal to protect the content of other interviews subpoenaed by the PSNI, she was deliberately excluded on the grounds that she had compromised her confidentiality. Not one scintilla of evidence was provided, other than Ciaran Barnes’ yellow journalism, to back up this claim.

Amidst the failure to stand by its own research project by fighting this case to the highest court in the land, the abandonment and disparagement of its researchers and research subjects and the failure to fight for academic freedom on behalf of all America’s scholars, this moment was surely the lowest in BC’s ignoble odyssey through the PSNI subpoenas.

Price ‘did not mention Jean McConville’ in Boston College tapes

Price ‘did not mention Jean McConville’ in Boston College tapes
BBC News
14 September 2012

IRA bomber Dolours Price did not mention murder victim Jean McConville in interviews for Boston College, it has been claimed.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is seeking access to tapes of the interviews as part of the investigation into Mrs McConville’s murder.

“Dolours Price did not once mention the name Jean McConville,” said Ed Moloney the research project’s former director.

Mrs Conville was abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1972.

“The subject of that unfortunate woman’s disappearance is not even mentioned. Not once,” Mr Moloney said in a statement.

“Neither are the allegations that Dolours Price was involved in any other disappearance carried out by the IRA in Belfast, nor that she received orders to disappear people from Gerry Adams or any other IRA figure,” he added.

“None of this is in her interviews with Anthony McIntyre.”

Mr Moloney is challenging a PSNI legal bid to obtain a transcript of the interview with Old Bailey bomber Dolours Price.

That and other interviews, part of a research study called the Belfast Project, are held securely at the Burns Library at Boston College, where the intention was to preserve them for future academic research

Participants were told the content of their interviews would be confidential and not be made public until after their deaths.

Ed Moloney has always refused to say which former IRA and UVF members had taken part in the project.

Police became interested in the tapes after a newspaper reported interviewing Dolours Price, who confirmed that she had been one of the interviewees.

Furthermore, the paper claimed that in the Boston interview, she had admitted to having played a role in the disappeared, people abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA, and specifically the abduction of mother of ten Mrs McConville.

‘No increased threat’ to ex-IRA researcher

‘No increased threat’ to ex-IRA researcher
UTV News
Published Friday, 14 September 2012

A former IRA volunteer-turned-writer is under no increased threat from police attempts to take possession of his interviews with a convicted bomber, the High Court has heard.

PSNI lawyers claimed a risk assessment of Anthony McIntyre had come back negative, with the only possible attack intended for him being the smearing of excrement at a neighbour’s house.

Police are seeking access to all recordings he carried out with Dolours Price as part of their investigation into the 1972 murder of Jean McConville, one of the so-called Disappeared.

Mr McIntyre interviewed Price for a history project at Boston College in the United States.

He is challenging the legal bid to obtain the transcripts, claiming it will put his life in danger.

But Peter Coll, counsel for the PSNI, argued on Friday that releasing the material would not increase the threat to Mr McIntyre.

He said: “Is there any evidence to demonstrate it could result in an Article 2 (of the European Convention on Human Rights) risk to his life?

“His cupboard is threadbare evidentially.”

Loyalist and republican paramilitaries gave interviews to Mr McIntyre and journalist Ed Moloney for the college’s Belfast Project, an examination of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Those who took part included Price, who was jailed for her part in a bomb attack on the Old Bailey in London in 1973 which injured more than 200 people.

Recordings were carried out on the understanding that they would only be made public once interviewees had died.

However, the US courts have ruled that the Price interviews should be handed over to the PSNI.

Mr McIntyre’s barrister, David Scoffield QC, disputed suggestions that his client would not be in danger because the decision to disclose is out of his control.

He contended that there will be those “who say you were instrumental in coaxing out of former comrades things” that they would otherwise not have said “and you made that available to the PSNI.”

But Mr Coll countered that a review of the threat status against Mr McIntyre in July had come back negative.

He identified only one incident which coincided with Mr Moloney’s book Voices From The Grave, based on interviews with other ex-paramilitaries for the same project.

“The day Mr Moloney’s book was published a neighbour (of Mr McIntyre) had excrement sprayed over his car and into his house,” the barrister disclosed.

“That is not to minimise how horrendous that is, but we say it falls very, very far short of establishing the high threshold of risk required under Article 2.”

It was also set out in the hearing how Mr Moloney has claimed that his research colleague’s interviews with Price contain nothing relevant to the Jean McConville murder investigation.

Mr Justice Treacy said this appeared to be “at odds” with the view taken by an American judge who reviewed the material and concluded it should be handed over.

He ordered Mr McIntyre, who attended court with his wife Carrie, to file a sworn affidavit by Monday in an attempt to clarify the position.

The judge stressed: “It would be incumbent on Mr McIntyre, if he knew otherwise, in the discharge of his duty of candour to the court, to indicate whether that averment by Mr Moloney was correct or not.

“If it wasn’t correct and he knew if wasn’t correct and he didn’t take the opportunity to make it clear to the court that would be a serious matter not only for him but for Mr Moloney if it turned out not to be so.”

The judicial review hearing was adjourned until next week. A temporary injunction restraining the PSNI from taking possession of the interviews remains in place pending the outcome of the case.

Boston College project: Legal appeal over Delours Price interviews

Boston College project: Legal appeal over Delours Price interviews
Police investigating the 1972 abduction and murder of Jean McConville want access to the recordings
BBC News
14 September 2012

A legal appeal to prevent interviews with an IRA bomber from being handed over to the PSNI continues in Belfast on Friday.

The interviews were with former republican and loyalist paramilitaries as part of a history project for Boston College.

Lawyers are appealing the decision in both the US and Northern Ireland to hand over the tapes to the PSNI.

One of the interviews is with convicted bomber Dolours Price.

She agreed to take part on the condition that her account would remain confidential until after her death.

The PSNI is seeking her transcripts as part of their investigation into the IRA murder of Jean McConville in 1972.

Last week, a High Court judge granted a temporary injunction to stop police taking possession of interviews with Ms Price.

Mr Justice Treacy restrained the PSNI from receiving the tape recordings.

The order will remain in place until a legal challenge by one of the researchers, Anthony McIntyre.

Mr McIntyre, a former IRA man turned writer, is seeking to judicially review the police over moves to gain the material for their investigation into the 1972 abduction and murder of Jean McConville – one of the so-called Disappeared.

His lawyers argued that disclosing the transcripts will put his life at risk.

Loyalist and republican paramilitaries gave interviews to Mr McIntyre and journalist Ed Moloney for the college’s Belfast Project, an examination of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Those who took part included Price, who was jailed for her part in a bomb attack on the Old Bailey in London in 1973 which injured more than 200 people.

Recordings were carried out on the understanding that they would only be made public once interviewees had died.

In July, a US appeal court ruled that the Boston College interviews should be handed over to the PSNI.

McConville family call for arrest of SF leader Adams

McConville family call for arrest of SF leader Adams
By Tim McKenzie
Irish Independent
Thursday September 13 2012

GARDAI will have to arrest Gerry Adams if secret IRA tapes held in the US are handed over to the authorities in the North, the family of murdered Jean McConville has claimed.

Relatives of the mother of 10 have said the onus will eventually be on gardai to question the Sinn Fein president over her kidnapping, disappearance and murder back in 1972.

Ex-IRA members including the late Brendan ‘Darkie’ Hughes have claimed Mr Adams gave the order for Ms McConville to be “disappeared” after being murdered. She was branded an informer, a claim which has been disputed by her family for four decades

The US Supreme Court is to rule this autumn on whether tape recordings of IRA activists held by Boston College can be handed over to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The PSNI wants to obtain recorded material in the college’s archive that relates to Ms McConville’s murder.

The PSNI is now only one step away from seizing the tapes that could prove highly damaging to Mr Adams’s claim that he was never a member or active inside the IRA.

Journalists and academics who set up the archive known as the “Belfast Project” have campaigned on both sides of the Atlantic to prevent the tapes being seized.

The daughter and son-in-law of the murdered widow believe the buck will ultimately stop with the gardai if the PSNI wins the legal battle.

They point out that her remains were found on Templetown beach in Mr Adams’s Louth constituency, and that all the evidence shows she was murdered in the jurisdiction.

Disappearance

Seamus McKendry wrote a book on his mother-in-law’s disappearance and the search for her remains.

He said the family has also been told by security sources that the fatal shots were fired into Ms McConville’s body in Louth once she had been smuggled across the border from Belfast.

“I sat through every single day of Jean’s inquest and it was quite clear to me that the murder weapon was fired in and around that area.

“The forensic evidence from the inquest points to that. The crime was committed in the Republic of Ireland so the onus is on the gardai to conduct the inquiry and that means it is they who will have to arrest and question Adams about what he knew relating to Jean’s disappearance.

“I accept that this will be politically explosive but justice must be seen to be done. It doesn’t matter if he is a member of the Dail or not.

“Eventually, if the United States holds firm and gives those tapes to the PSNI, the gardai will have to come on board.”

Mr McKendry and his wife Helen, who was 14 when her mother was dragged away from the family home in front of her screaming, terrified siblings, called on the US authorities to resist demands that the tapes remain in Boston.

“These tapes contain important information about what happened to Jean so there is a duty to hand them over,” the couple said.

Louth TD and Sinn Fein chief Mr Adams has repeatedly denied claims by his former friend and fellow Long Kesh prisoner Brendan Hughes that he ordered Jean McConville’s murder.

Last week, the North’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness claimed in the US that the Boston College tapes could be used to destabilise progress in Northern Ireland.

Belfast Court Issues Stay On Materials

Belfast Court Issues Stay On Materials
By David Cote
News Editor
The Heights
Published: Sunday, September 9, 2012

Editor’s Note: This story is part of an ongoing series about the subpoenas of the Belfast Project.

As the legal battle over the fate of the Belfast Project tapes continues in the United States Court of Appeals in Boston, and an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is in the works on behalf of researchers Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre, the two earned a small victory on Friday in the Belfast courts. The Irish High Court issued an injunction on Friday afternoon, temporarily preventing the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) from accessing any interviews from the project that may be turned over as a result of the subpoenas.

The injunction will prevent any and all tapes, including those recorded with former IRA member Dolours Price, from falling into the hands of the British authorities, despite the U.S. appeal court ruling last month that the tapes be handed over.

According to arguments made by lawyers on behalf of Moloney and McIntyre, releasing the tapes to the PSNI would put the lives of the researchers and those who participated in the interviews at risk due to the sensitive nature of the material disclosed.

“The PSNI seeing or receiving this material is going to be putting the applicant’s life at risk,” said David Scoffield on behalf of McIntyre, according to the BBC.

In addition, Scoffield argued that the injunction he wished was only temporary, until Moloney’s judicial review could be assessed.

Judge Justice Treacy pointed out that the appeal in the Belfast courts seemed to be a direct response to recent rulings in the U.S. preventing Moloney and McIntyre from interceding in the Belfast Project case.

“It seems a bit rich, having taken that step, then coming to this court having failed in America, to seek to restrict the police access to this material in discharging their obligation to investigate serious crime,” Treacy said, according to the BBC.

Treacy granted the temporary injunction, but emphasized that the injunction is directed only to the PSNI, and not American authorities.

“There is no question whatsoever of this being an injunction directed towards any American authorities,” Treacy said. “The interim relief is directed solely at the PSNI and any other relevant UK authorities.”

While the stay remains in place, two legal cases continue in the U.S. The first, involving lawyers representing BC, seeks to reverse Judge William G. Young’s ruling that seven Belfast Project tapes should be handed over to the PSNI in relation to the investigation of the murder of Jean McConville in 1972. BC has argued that the tapes have “limited probative value” to the investigation and should remain confidential.

The second case, proceeding on behalf of Moloney and McIntyre, seeks a stay on all Belfast Project tapes, including those with Price.

“In Boston, attorneys Eamonn Dornan and JJ Cotter have filed a petition to the First Circuit Court of Appeals seeking a stay on the handover of the Price interviews as well as those that are the subject of Friday’s appeal by Boston College, until the Supreme Court considers a bid to hear the case, which has huge constitutional, legal and political consequences, in front of America’s highest court,” Moloney said in a press release dated Sept. 6.

The temporary injunction issued by the Belfast court will remain in place until the researchers’ judicial review challenge is heard.

Radio Free Eireann interview with Belfast Project Director Ed Moloney

Radio Free Eireann interview with Belfast Project Director Ed Moloney
Radio Free Éireann
WBAI 99.5 FM Pacifica Radio
New York City
8 September 2012

Ed Moloney, the director of the Boston College Oral History Project on the Northern Ireland conflict, was interviewed on Radio Free Eireann, Saturday September 8 at 1pm ET on WBAI 99.5 FM and wbai.org. A tape recording of a key interview with Dolours Price which reportedly implicates Gerry Adams in a spectacular IRA killing came within hours of being handed over to the British government on Friday when a Belfast court issued a temporary stay. As this is being written, the First Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing a motion to bar the tapes from being handed over to the British pending an appeal to the Supreme Court.


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John McDonagh (JM) and Sandy Boyer (SB) interview Ed Moloney (EM) about the legal updates in the case of The Belfast Project, the oral history archive which is the subject of a subpoena from the PSNI.

(1:38 PM EST)

Sandy Boyer (SB): We’re talking to Ed Moloney, the author of Voices From the Grave, and the Director of what’s become known as The Belfast Project, the unique oral history project of The Troubles, the Northern Ireland conflict, which tried to record it from the point of view of the people who actually did the fighting in the IRA and The Ulster Volunteer Force.

And we’ve been covering it of course for months it seems like, the attempt of the American government to get especially one tape from that project turned over to the British intelligence, the British police, and that’s an interview with Dolours Price.

And this Friday, Ed, you were in court in both Belfast and Boston and it seems at times you might have been very close to having that turned over!

Ed Moloney (EM): Yes. I guess we were within hours of Dolours Price’s interviews being handed over to the PSNI. But we were able, first of all in Belfast, we have been planning for a long time to try to get a judicial review of the PSNI decision to subpoena Boston College.

That means a judge examines the matter, our lawyers argue why the PSNI should be stopped and he makes a decision. We were facing a situation where there was a gap of seven days between the hearing which will decide whether we can have that judicial review and the handing over of the materials. So we needed to stop the PSNI from getting their hands on the interviews for at least for that period of a week or so.

Our lawyers, lead by Kevin Winters in Belfast, who I’m sure people in New York familiar with Irish politics and the whole court situation in Northern Ireland will know him, he was able to persuade a judge to impose an injunction on the PSNI stopping them having any access.

At the same time, Eamonn Dornan and Jim Cotter in Boston applied to the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston for another Stay pending our application to the Supreme Court to hear the case. That is being decided I guess early next week.

If the First Circuit Court of Appeals turns us down, which they’re very probably going to do, we then go straight to the Supreme Court and ask the Supreme Court for a Stay. And a single judge, in this case I understand it will be Mr. Justice Breyer who’s actually from Boston, will make the decision. And we’re obviously hoping that he imposes a Stay. Because if he doesn’t, then going to the Supreme Court becomes moot. The cat is out of the bag as the lawyers say in the sense that we’re not able to hold onto the tapes.

So those are the two legal actions that are going on. We’re obviously hoping that both will progress. We’re going to have to wait and see. Next week is going to be, I think, be quite crucial.

SB: Ed, one of the arguments you’re making is that if this tape handed over to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, first of all, Anthony McIntyre, who was the lead researcher who did many of the interviews, his life could be in danger and the lives of some of the people who participated could be in danger.

And you know, it’s been widely reported, I know you can’t comment on this, but it’s been in the press that these tapes might include something saying Dolours Price alleging that Gerry Adams was involved in the killing of Jean McConville. That would be explosive!

And if one looks at who Dolours Price is, I mean, she was involved in an IRA bombing operation in London and I’m not saying this is true, but if hypothetically, she were to say – I know who gave the orders – that might be very badly looked at by some people.

EM: Let’s assume that what you’re staying has a basis in fact and I’m not going to comment as to whether or not that it does.

But as you know, the reason why we have these subpoenas in the first place is that a couple of articles appeared in the Belfast newspapers; The Irish News followed by The Sunday Life. It’s a very complicated story which I will tell at some point and I think people will have their toes curled when they hear the full story. And in those articles it was alleged that Dolours Price had made all these claims about Gerry Adams.

And if that’s the case, and I was talking to a lawyer I respect during the week about all of this, about what possible criminal charges could follow if it goes down this particular road. And this lawyer said well, normally an aggressive prosecutor would want to implicate everyone involved in this offence in criminal charges.

And I said: well how could that be possible if there is no direct evidence?

It all falls under the rubric of a conspiracy charge. In other words, if you can establish that there was a conspiracy to let’s say, disappear Jean McConville or blow up London in 1973 or whatever, then it means that Gerry Adams could be facing a charge, a conspiracy charge, quite realistically.

Then on the other hand, if they decide to charge everyone else except him and all that evidence comes out and assuming that the evidence says what you have said it says, it’s going to raise a major political row of double standards. So either way this is like a huge hot potato for politics in Northern Ireland.

And the more you think about it, when you step back and look at what has happened in the last year, year and a half or so that we’ve been battling these subpoenas, and look at the way that the policing service is moving in Northern Ireland, a process of what alot of people are describing as the re-RUC-ing of the PSNI. The primacy of RUC voices in places like The Historical Enquiries Team, which is the unit that is behind this particular move and the role of former RUC officers who all resigned and are now back in.

You remember when the PSNI was set up the RUC officers were given the opportunity to resign early or retire early and they’d get huge, big golden handshakes which a lot of them did. Well, they took those golden handshakes and now they’ve been re-hired on a sort of out-sourcing basis by a private company. And they’re back in there and they’re in back in areas like intelligence gathering in particular in places like The Historical Enquiries Team.

You look at all of that and you wonder what on Earth is going on here and when are people in Northern Ireland going to wake up and realise just exactly the potential of what is happening here? Because if this all does happen, it’s going to be explosive. There’s no doubt about it.

John McDonagh (JM): Ed, we’re talking about what’s going to happen if Boston College turns it over to the PSNI.

But what are the ramifications for American historians or even other historians that want to do this type of research on conflicts anywhere?

EM: You’re absolutely right John to asking that question because unfortunately it has not yet penetrated…or I think it actually has penetrated and the American media consciousness and I just get the feeling that they’re just wary of it. Because I was talking again to a lawyer about this last night about our bid to go to the Supreme Court.

And he was saying that one of the major reasons why we think it could end up in the Supreme Court, and you know you have to be realistic here, only a tiny, tiny fraction of cases that are sent to the Supreme Court for consideration actually do get a hearing, right?

So the statistical odds are very, very much against us. But it does depend on the quality of the arguments, and the issues and the gravity of the issues involved.

And this is really about a lot of unsettled business relating to the law and journalistic and media rights. And the First Circuit ruling in our case makes it impossible for journalists of any stripe, any colour to hide behind the confidentiality agreement with a source. It makes it absolutely impossible.

Previous law or previous judgments had opened up windows of opportunity to use confidentiality. The First Circuit slammed those windows tightly shut. And that’s the significance of the case. It obviously has ramifications for academic life. But you know? Don’t worry about academics because from my experience of them in the last year and a half, they couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag.

But I am concerned about journalism because it is my trade and from that point of view it’s an extraordinarily important case. So it may be for that reason that it will end up in the Supreme Court. But I don’t know. It really does depend upon factors out of our control. I certainly hope it goes there and I hope that we win.

SB: And Ed, you’re also concerned about the lives of your researchers and people who gave interviews.

EM: Oh absolutely.

SB: Why?

EM: Oh absolutely. There’s no doubt that someone like Anthony McIntyre could very much be in danger.

And this is not the danger that, you know, the week after the interviews are handed over like there’s a burst of machine gun through his front door window.

It’s like five years down the road and he steps off the pavement and he gets hit by a car which speeds off into the distance. It’s that type of situation that you’re worried about. We all know how these people operate. And how they wait and take their time and bide their time and take their opportunity if and when it produces or provides itself.

So it’s not an immediate threat that we’re talking about but it is a very real threat. And the same applies of course to any of the interviewees who are identified as a result of this.

Because if they have talked freely about IRA matters then the IRA will regard them as having been informers and subject to the same IRA discipline as they did when they were active in the IRA. So it’s a very, very dangerous situation and there literally could be people killed as a result of this very foolish and I think politically motivated action by the PSNI.

SB: Well, Ed, look, we’re going to keep on this and we’ll obviously be talking to you I’m sure in the future. So thanks very much for coming on.

EM: No problem.

(1:48 PM EST ends)