TRANSCRIPT: Michael Reade Show @LMFMRADIO Anthony McIntyre responds to Deputy Gerry Adams comments on Boston College Tapes

The Michael Reade Show
LMFM Radio 95.8FM Drogheda
28 March 2014

Michael Reade (MR) interviews Dr. Anthony McIntyre (AM) about Gerry Adams’ recent comments about the Boston College tapes.

(begin at time stamp 15:50)

MR: Now earlier this week the Sinn Féin President and TD for Louth, Gerry Adams, explained to me why he instructed his solicitor to let the PSNI know that he’s available to them if they wish to speak to him about the “disappearance” and killing of Jean McConville.

(An audio clip from that interview is played and is transcribed here)

Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams:

This arises, Michael, and it’s quite interesting. The media in The North, and I was in the North on Sunday, there was a frenzy of reportage that I was about to be arrested. And this arises from the arrest and the charging of a man called Ivor Bell who allegedly has made a tape as part of this totally bogus Boston oral project in which it’s alleged that he implicated himself in certain activities around the IRA. So there’s a big media run at this. And I simply put out a statement saying that I’ve no issue about meeting the PSNI and asked my solicitor to get in touch with them. I also, as I’ve done fairly consistently, took issue with this Boston oral history project.

You know, it’s all of those interviewed by it are avowedly anti-Sinn Féin, avowedly against the peace process, against the Sinn Féin leadership. It’s a very flawed, partisan project – shoddy and self-serving. It is not a serious or genuine, ethically based history project. (Audio clip ends)

MR: Anthony McIntyre a former IRA prisoner was the lead researcher in the Boston College Belfast Project and conducted the oral history interviews with Republicans for the archive and is with me in the studio. Good Morning to you, Anthony McIntyre, and thanks for joining us here on the programme.

Gerry Adams issued a statement in relation to all of this pretty much in line with what we’ve just heard there. You issued a statement contesting what Gerry Adams has to say.

And in case there is any confusion he is talking specifically about you.

He says the idea for the Boston oral history project originated with Paul Bew, an advisor to David Trimball, and was taken up by Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre, who conducted the interviews. Both are vitriolic critics and opponents of the Sinn Féin peace strategy, of me in particular and of Sinn Féin and its leadership. Your response to all of that.

AM: Well I don’t think that Mr. Adams would recognise ethics if it bit him in the backside.

I am very much of the view that his narrative on this is self-serving and shoddy. The real shoddy, false narrative is Mr. Adams’ narrative of no involvement in the IRA.

And in terms of it being a shoddy academic exercise allow me to quote from Judge William G. Young, who has read, unlike Mr. Adams…

MR: This is a US federal judge…

AM:   This is a US federal court judge who has read a hundred and seventy plus interviews, transcripts of the interviews that Boston College regrettably handed over when it had no need to hand (it) over to him but it is what it is.

And Judge Young said: “This was a bona fide academic exercise of considerable intellectual merit. These materials are of valid academic interest historian, sociologist, the student of religion, the student of youth movements, academics who are interested in insurgency and counter-insurgency and terrorism and counter-terrorism. They’re of interest to those who study the history of religions.”

Now that’s far removed from the characterisation of the project that has been offered by Deputy Adams.

MR: You say that the core issue in all of this is Gerry Adams’ denial of his membership of the IRA.

AM: What I’m saying is it’s not the core issue in terms of what this project was about.

But it’s certainly the core issue for Mr. Adams because he has strenuously denied that he was ever a member of the IRA.

And the day that academics and journalists and researchers and historians discover that Mr. Adams was not a member of the IRA is the same day that scientists will discover that Newton’s Theory of Gravity was wrong. That the apple, when it comes off the tree, actually goes up the way rather than fall to the ground.

MR: Is his denial of his IRA membership feeding into all of this?

You’ve been writing on your blog, The Pensive Quill, about this and how it wasn’t necessary for him to deny membership that he could have fudged the issue if you like.

But because he denies his links with the organisation and his relationship with the people who were involved in that organisation, in particular Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price, it led to what they told you, what Brendan Hughes told and what Dolours Press had told the press.

AM: Certainly in the case of Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price they were deeply unhappy that Mr. Adams had denied his membership of the IRA. They felt that all he had to say was “no comment”.

They thought that the introduction into the public discourse of such a massive dishonesty was certainly not the ethical way to go. And I suspect their decision to be revealing about Mr. Adams’ role in the IRA was in part prompted by his disavowals of association with the organisation.

MR: If Gerry Adams was Officer Commanding for the West Belfast Brigade or had any other role in the IRA why has it not been proven up to this point? There’s obviously no record of all of this.

AM: There’s a very strong record of this.

Can you name me one historian, one journalist, one researcher… I challenge you to name me one that has found…

MR: But I would go further than that and Gerry Adams has agreed with this point: There’s nobody in this country who thinks that he wasn’t a member of the IRA. Or at least the majority…he agreed with me on that point: that the majority of the people in this country believe that he was a member of the IRA.

But he denies it.

AM: Of course he denies it. He also denies being involved in the killing of Jean McConville.

Unless Mr. Adams is able to demonstrate otherwise I assign an equal truth status to each statement. Or equal untruth status. Each statement is equally true or equally untrue. Can you give me reasons as to why we should believe one and not the other?

Mr Adams has continuously denied his membership in the IRA as a means to fuel his political career. I mean it would be a major travesty of the whole intellectual community, North and South, were (we) have called it wrong on this.

And whether or not Mr Adams was not the issue for me.

Friends that would say to me or anybody trying to assert to me that Gerry Adams was not in the IRA is on par with saying Mr Paisley was never in the DUP or Margaret Thatcher wasn’t leader of the Conservative Party. It is such a recorded fact of intellectual life.

Not proven in the court. But that is secondary because I was found not guilty in a court in 1983 of being a member of the IRA while I sat in the court as a member of the IRA. I had been a longtime member of the IRA. I just don’t buy it.

MR: Gerry Adams undoubtedly is listening to this or to a recording of this and will undoubtedly respond by saying that you’re an opponent of the peace process and the direction that he’s taken the Republican Movement in…

AM: I am. Yes.

MR: …and that that is fueling your comments today and previous comments that you’ve made.

AM: No, it is not.

I believe that I have never, and I can stand over this and say that I have never written anything that I did not believe to be true. If I did believe Mr. Adams was not a member of the IRA I wouldn’t write it.

I am a critic of Sinn Féin. I am a critic of the peace process.

But I’m strongly for the peace.

Because I believe the process is, from a Republican point of view, an ideological travesty. It is an intellectual fallacy. And it’s political opportunism.

When Mr. Adams makes the allegation, as he did in The Andersonstown News a few days ago, that all the people involved in the Boston College project were avowedly anti-peace and anti-Good Friday Agreement – this was another false narrative as spun by Mr. Adams.

I’ll will give you an example: Richard O’Rawe for example, who has openly admitted being part of the Boston College project, voted for The Good Friday Agreement (and) supports the peace process. Now Mr. Adams’ issue with Richard O’Rawe is that Richard O’Rawe has compellingly constructed a narrative around the 1981 hunger strike which shows that the Sinn Féin leadership sabotaged the deal that would have brought about an end to the hunger strike and saved the lives of six men.

And Richard O’Rawe has been rubbished. Richard O’Rawe has been smeared.

Everybody that disagrees with Mr. Adams or tries to hold Mr. Adams to any sort of public scrutiny is immediately smeared or dismissed. It’s a time honoured tactic. And it doesn’t concern me in the slightest…

MR: Why? I mean if what you’re saying is correct why would he take that approach? Would it actually damage Gerry Adams to admit that he was a member of the IRA?

AM: I think there’s two aspects. I think firstly that what it would do if he was to admit he was a member of the IRA, and I would not advise him to admit being a member of the ÍRA, is that it could lead to charges from a vindictive police force in The North. There would be a howl from the Unionist community to have him charged.

But I would expect him not to introduce a massive dishonesty into intellectual or public discourse and I would expect him to simply say: “no comment” because he is ridiculed continuously over these denials.

Secondly, I think Mr. Adams is of a view that it is to his disadvantage as he tries to climb the political ladder to admit to membership of the IRA or directing the IRA campaign.

MR: Mr. Adams referred to a recent arrest in relation to the killing of Jean McConville. Did that emanate from your recordings?

AM: The police alleged that it did. But I have never confirmed that I interviewed Mr. Bell. I’ve never said that I interviewed Mr. Bell.

MR: You didn’t want these recordings to be handed over to the PSNI…

AM: Obviously not.

MR: Well, perhaps you could explain that yourself.

AM: I’m a researcher and I’m a journalist and I carried out this in good faith. And I had hoped that it would be beneficial to posterity at some point to future historians of the conflict…also as a need for truth recovery.

But as a journalist and a researcher my first ethical obligation is to protect from harm those people who participated in revealing confidential information to me. I have tried from the outset to ensure that I was successful and unfortunately the case that I had mounted in defence, along with my colleague Ed Moloney in the United States, has failed. It has curbed ultimately, the resistance curbed the amount of tapes that were handed over. But tapes have been handed over and there has been a process of arrest.

MR: Has that put you in danger?

AM: I’ve always suspected that I would be in danger as a result of this.

In the year 2000 when I was writing in West Belfast and living in West Belfast I accused the IRA of having carried out the murder, the shoot-to-kill murder, public execution, (of Joe O’Connor in)broad daylight in Ballymurphy on the thirteenth of October, 2000. And immediately at my home I was picketed by members of Mr. Adams’ party – mobs on two separate occasions surrounded it.

Mr. Adams wrote an article that the IRA was not responsible and accused me (again a smear) and of being a fellow traveler of the Real IRA because I had spoken out against a killing. The IRA leadership visited my home. One of the people in the IRA leadership is now a current senior figure within Sinn Féin. They tried to intimidate me and my pregnant wife but we resisted that intimidation.

So I do feel that there is a potential for a threat. But I don’t stay awake at night saying: well, it’s going to happen to me and I’m terrified of it. I live with the possibility but I’m not going to run around in fear.

MR: Now just to conclude in the brief time that we have…the statement that you’ve issued may beg questions of Gerry Adams. Mr. Adams may end up in the spotlight again for a short while and the comments you’ve made here this morning may even add to that. But do you accept that, as has been the case on every other occasion that these questions have been asked of Mr. Adams, it’ll fizzle out quickly enough.

AM: That’s a possibility. But I also believe that Mr. Adams has been drawn closer and closer into this and the whole issue here for Mr. Adams I think is fraught with dangers.

I would raise the question because Mr. Adams’ party members – the former Lord Mayor of Doire on his Twitter account – has been accusing the people in the Boston College project to have been involved in a touting programme. That is labeling those people informers.

The question I would put to Mr. Adams is:

If any trial ever emerges in relation to the killing of Jean McConville and people who are either charged or who have knowledge about the killing of Jean McConville are willing to use the court as a truth commission or a truth tribunal, does Mr. Adams support their right to give evidence in open court?

Would he think they’re right to do that? And if he does think they’re right to do that would he then ensure, or would he insist on his party desisting from calling the people who participated in the project touts or anybody that decides to give evidence in court as part of a truth commission…will he desist in calling them touts?

MR: You’ve told me that you’ll be happy to come back and discuss this with Gerry Adams if he’s available to do that. We’ve put that as a proposition to Mr. Adams already and perhaps we’ll talk again. But thank you indeed for coming in today.

AM: Thank you very much.

MR: Thank you indeed. So that’s Anthony McIntyre, former IRA prisoner himself, who was the lead researcher in the Boston College Belfast Project and conducted the oral history interviews with Republicans for the archive.

(ends at time stamp 31:25)

News of Interest: Magnotta case precedent setter: “Researcher-participant confidentiality privilege” formally recognized

Magnotta case a precedent setter: “Researcher-participant confidentiality privilege” now formally recognized in Canadian common law, to be evaluated case-by-case

Magnotta ruling protects ‘cornerstone’ of research: profs
By Neco Cockburn
January 22, 2014

OTTAWA — A Quebec court decision that keeps a confidential academic research interview of accused killer Luka Magnotta out of police hands protects the “cornerstone” of study work, say the University of Ottawa criminology professors involved in the case.

“It’s a principle of research. We can’t betray the trust participants give us when they share their stories with us,” said Chris Bruckert, who, with Colette Parent, carried out a study titled Sex Work and Intimacy: Escorts and Their Clients between 2004 and 2008.

The research included interviews with 20 female escorts, 20 male escorts and 20 clients of escorts who agreed to speak confidentially. Magnotta was interviewed in March 2007 under the pseudonym Jimmy.

After police arrested Magnotta, now 31, in connection with the death and dismemberment of Concordia student Lin Jun, 33, in May 2012, officers acted on a tip from a student research assistant about the interview and executed a search warrant to seize the audio recording and a paper transcript.

Bruckert and Parent asked a court to quash the warrant, arguing that the circumstances supported a researcher-participant confidentiality privilege.

“This is the cornerstone of doing research — that you protect the confidentiality of your participants, and if you can’t do that, then not only does it threaten research, but it’s ethically unacceptable to do research if you can’t protect the confidentiality of people,” Bruckert said Wednesday.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Sophie Bourque sided with the researchers’ challenge this week, finding the evidence demonstrates “that the public interest in respecting the promise of confidentiality is high.

“On the other hand, the interest of society in the investigation of serious crimes such as the one (contemplated) in this case is high, but the probative value, if any, of the Confidential Interview in the pursuit of that interest is, at best, minimal and marginal both theoretically and factually,” the decision stated.

Such decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis, weighing protection of the relationship with other matters of public interest such as a criminal investigation, public safety or national security, Bourque wrote.

The court, which examined the content of the otherwise-sealed interview, concluded “that the potential relevancy of the Confidential Interview is minimal at most and marginal” to the Crown’s interests.

Magnotta is awaiting trial in September and has pleaded not guilty to five charges, including first-degree murder, interfering with a dead body, mailing obscene matter, publication of obscene material and criminal harassment.

He was arrested in Berlin in June 2012, following a manhunt that was reported around the world.

Bourque found that the researchers’ work “contributes not only to the academic community’s understanding of the sale and purchase of sexual services, but also to the broader public policy and society-wide discussions on this important, and controversial, aspect of Canadian life.

“Promises of confidentiality are integral to (the researchers’) work because it involves acquiring essential information from a marginalized population working in a stigmatized sector. Most participants like Jimmy would not agree to be interviewed in the absence of a promise of confidentiality and anonymity,” the decision states.

Protecting the confidentiality of research subjects is “crucial,” Parent said. If participants fear that confidentiality will be breached, “they won’t give an interview. It took us four years to do our interviews, and we are connected with sex workers’ organizations. This is a population who have a lot of reasons to stay in the shadows,” she said.

The decision makes clear the test that’s to be used in protecting the confidentiality of research subjects, said Bruckert.

“Courts have recognized the social importance of journalists being able to protect confidential sources, and this decision extends a similar recognition to academic researchers,” stated James Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, in a news release.

Luka Magnotta’s confidential academic video interview not for police: judge
By The Canadian Press
January 22, 2014

MONTREAL – A judge has prevented Montreal police from getting their hands on a confidential academic video interview with accused killer Luka Rocco Magnotta.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers welcomed the Quebec Superior Court decision, saying it upholds researchers’ rights to protect confidential information needed for their academic work.

The association’s executive director says in a statement the ruling represents the first court recognition of researcher-participant privilege.

Montreal police had sought to gain access to a copy of the interview for evidence they’re still gathering against the 31-year-old Magnotta, who is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying and dismemberment of Chinese engineering student Jun Lin.

Lawyers representing University of Ottawa criminologists had argued the 2007 interview with a subject known under the pseudonym “Jimmy” should be kept confidential.

The attorneys said Magnotta participated in the study as part of a survey of sex workers under the condition his interview would remain confidential.

“The impact of this decision is that researchers can now have confidence that courts will recognize and will treat seriously promises of confidentiality vital to the conduct of their research,” James Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, said in a statement Wednesday.

“Courts have recognized the social importance of journalists being able to protect confidential sources, and this decision extends a similar recognition to academic researchers.”

The news release published by Turk’s association said that, in her ruling, Justice Sophie Bourque noted “much academic research… provides useful information on certain aspects of the human condition that are normally kept silent.”

The Bourque ruling was also quoted by the association as saying: “The evidence demonstrates that much of the research involving vulnerable people can only be conducted if human participants are given a guarantee that their identities and the information that they share will remain confidential.”

What’s New to Boston College Subpoena News – The Latest Additions to the Site


28 AUGUST 2012

 Civil Suit

The subpoena of Boston College’s oral history archives are rooted in a desire to sue Gerry Adams, and the criminal case, where the archives will have no value, is being used to access the archives for use as evidence in a future civil suit.

❡ Key Articles


Related News

❡ Peace Process

❡ Transcripts and Videos

 US Congress


 Boston College

 Moloney & McIntyre

 First Circuit ruling coverage:

9 July 2012


 Key Articles

- Summary Overview: Free speech claims tossed in N.Irish “Troubles” case

- Room for Obama, Holder, and Clinton: Hillary and Holder Now Free to Stop Boston College Subpoenas

- Supreme Court a Possibility: US Supreme Court appeal possible in Boston College IRA case

- Unionist Reaction: PSNI to get Price interview

- Chilling Effect on History: Disclosure of IRA testimony held in Boston could stall search for truth

- Judicial Review in Belfast: Ex-Provo’s life is at risk over IRA tapes row, court to be told


  The First Circuit have issued their ruling on the Moloney & McIntyre Appeal

Full Coverage: 


  Lead Researcher Anthony McIntyre has filed for a Judicial Review in Belfast.

30 June 2012

Still awaiting verdict from First Circuit Court of Appeals.


Watch CNN’s Special Report on the Boston College subpoenas


A selection of articles


To date 18 members of Congress have publicly called for the withdrawal of the subpoenas. 


Irish America has continued to be active on the issue



After the April Appeals Hearing, the US Attorney sent a follow up letter to the court, and Boston College filed their Appeal brief, which is to be heard in September.


Chris Bray and others observe 

9 April 2012


 Last week Moloney & McIntyre’s appeal was heard. Audio and transcripts of the hearing are available:

 Press Coverage of the hearing:

 Boston College Law Student Frank Murray argues for a Constitutionally rooted researchers privilege in his law review note on the Belfast Project Case. This is a work in progress.

 Press previews of the hearing:


 Boston College case raised with the Taoiseach; Congressional pressure kept up on Holder, Clinton


 Coverage of Boston College faculty call for investigation into administration’s handling of the Belfast Project and subpoenas


 Comment on the PSNI’s involvement in the case:

30 March 2012

The Moloney & McIntyre hearing in the First Circuit Court of Appeals is next week, Wednesday, April 4th. Oral arguments will be presented to a panel of judges: Chief Judge Sanda L. Lynch, and Circuit Judges Juan R. Torruella and Michael Boudin.

Over the last month there has been more political movement from members of Congress, questions over Boston College’s credibility were raised, the last filings from the US Attorney and Moloney and McIntyre were submitted, Irish America kept the pressure on, and more. Here’s a round-up of the issues covered:


 Jack Dunn’s statements questioned; BC’s commitment to Confidentiality; Origins of Project; BC Faculty Call


 Irish America turns up the heat; Congress keeps the pressure on; Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson is interviewed



 Chris Bray’s analysis of US filing:

 Ed Moloney looks at the case:


 “The dominant issue in the Irish-American community today.” John Dearie

24 February 2012

❡ Court Documents:

❡ Issue raised in the Dáil:

❡ Congress:

❡ Legacy Issues:

❡ Academic Issues:

❡ Boston College’s decicision to Appeal:

❡ Chris Bray:

1 February 2012


❡ JANUARY 23 – FEBRUARY 1, 2012:

23 January, 2012


Over the weekend, Judge Young ordered at least a third of the Republican archive to be turned over; in a rare Saturday filing, the Department of Justice immediately asked for even more of the archive. Loyalist interviews are also involved. Currently, Moloney and McIntyre’s lawyers have obtained a Motion for Stay in the Appeals Court which means no material will be moving from the court until that Motion is heard in March.

Findings and Order

Government’s Motion for Partial Reconsideration of Findings and Order Dated January 20, 2012

❡ Chris Bray comments on the movement: Nom nom nom

Tomorrow, January 24th, Judge Young will be holding a hearing regarding Moloney and McIntyre’s Complaint and the Department of Justices’s Motion to Dismiss. Former Belfast Project Lead Researcher Anthony McIntyre’s wife, Carrie Twomey, will be in attendance. Dr. McIntyre’s wife and their two children are all American citizens and Ms Twomey has been in Washington DC this week raising her concerns for the safety of her family. The Irish American Unity Conference, the Brehon Society and the Ancient Order of Hibernians will hold a press conference after the hearing which is being held at Boston College.

“In attendance will be Ned McGinley, former National President of the AOH representing Seamus Boyle current National President; Jim Cullen representing Robert Dunne, President of the Brehon Law Society, and Michael J. Cummings representing Thomas Burke, President of the Irish American Unity Conference.
This coalition of Irish-American groups has been joined by journalists, historians involved in Oral History projects, law professors, and human and civil rights activists in protesting this politically motivated fishing expedition which it is feared will destabilize a peace process that is only beginning to take root in the North.
Moreover it is believed that it would be unconscionable forAttorney General Holder to respond to this British request in light of Prime Minister Cameron’s refusal to hold a promised public inquiry into the murder of attorney Patrick Finucane (a murder in which he admits the government collaborated) and the refusal of the Prime Minister to respond to the Unanimous Declaration of Dail Eireann (Irish Parliament) for information on the Dublin Monaghan bombings.”



❡ JANUARY 14 – 23, 2012:


The leader of Fianna Fáil, Micheál Martin, has questioned whether the IICD’s deposit of the politically sensitive decommissioning documents at the Burns Library in Boston College will be protected by the embargo promised by Boston College.

“What is of major concern is that these papers have been given to an institution outside the island of Ireland which is now involved in a major controversy about protecting the integrity of its sealed archive.”
“[...] the fact that there is a question mark over the ability of Boston College to protect sensitive political papers in their archives from premature release is an issue of real concern.”

Boston College, for its part, believes that the British and Irish governments will not attempt to access the documents:

In a statement to the BBC, Boston College said: “There is no conceivable reason why the British or Irish governments, which set the terms for the International Independent Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) papers when they were sent to the college, would break those terms.”

However, it must be remembered that, prior to being served with a subpoena from the US Department of Justice, Boston College could not imagine a conceivable reason why the British or Irish governments would attempt to access the Belfast Project archives, either. And, to add insult to injury, when questioned about the possibility of a the British Government using the US Department of Justice to issue a second subpoena seeking broader access to the full archive, Boston College believed that it was unlikely to happen.

“I continue to hold out the hope that the verbal assurances I have received from practiced lawyers that any further incursions into our archive by British authorities could only happen if there were further voluntary admissions by participants themselves.” Professor Thomas Hachey, responding to Project Director Ed Moloney’s concerns about the possibility of a second subpoena

Yet a second subpoena did arrive and Boston College has since given the archive to the US Court. Its handover to British authorities is currently being contested by the project director and researcher – not by Boston College. So if the decommissioning archives were sought by anyone – not necessarily the British or Irish Governments – Boston College’s ability, and willingness, to keep them secure is dubious, as dubious as Boston College’s understanding of the risk posed to their embargos.


“The transcripts of interviews with Irish Republican Army and Ulster Volunteer Force veterans, most of whom were operationally active, are housed at the University’s Burns Library and are subject to prescriptive limitations governing access. Boston College is contractually committed to sequestering the taped transcriptions unless otherwise given a full release, in writing, by the interviewees, or until the demise of the latter.”
“Boston College has had a long interest in Ireland and offered a welcoming and neutral venue in which participants felt a sense of security and confidentiality that made it possible for them to be candid and forthcoming.” – Professor Thomas Hachey and Robert O’Neill, director of the John J. Burns Library, Preface to Voices From the Grave.


Chris Bray in the Irish Times:


❡ JANUARY 9 – 14, 2012:

9 January, 2012


❡ The US Government has filed a Consolidated Memorandum in Opposition to the Motion for Preliminary Injunction and in support of a Motion to Dismiss. Judge Young has set a hearing for January 24, 2012, to take place at Boston College.


❡ JANUARY 4 – 9, 2012:


❡  November, 2011: Irish Radio Network interview with Belfast Project Director Ed Moloney
❡  November, 2011: Radio interview with Irish advocacy groups, Michael Cummings, John Foley

3 January 2012



❡ JANUARY 1 – 3, 2012:




❡ Moloney and McIntyre file Appeal and Complaint for Judicial Review


❡ Key Articles:


❡ Background on Threats to Researcher updated


❡ December
❡ November

19 October 2011

Political movement and background information feature in this week’s update.


❡ The Irish American lobby has held a series of meetings with political representatives, including Senator Kerry (D-MA).

In the Irish Echo, Attorney Tom Fox lays out the background surrounding the assurances secured in relation to the Good Friday Agreement, the 2003 Extradition Treaty and the MLAT, and its relevance to the subpoenas:

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a series of hearings on the subject. The Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Brehon Law Society, and the Irish American Unity Conference led the opposition to the new treaty.
On at least eight occasions during the hearings, the British Government and the U.S. Justice Department assured the Senate that pre-GFA offenses arising from the conflict in Northern Ireland would be off the table for extradition under the new treaty.
The Senate eventually ratified the 2003 Extradition Treaty in 2006. The Senate partially accepted Britain’s assurances about pre-GFA offenses being off the table, but felt compelled to incorporate those assurances into the treaty ratification, itself.
The whole story is laid out in Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, “Extradition Between the United States and Great Britain: The 2003 Treaty”.
The Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) and extradition treaty are closely connected. They were negotiated, signed, considered by the Senate, and ratified contemporaneously.

It appears that the Boston College subpoenas are the first time that Britain has sought U.S. subpoenas for offenses stemming from the conflict in Northern Ireland, ostensibly ended with the GFA 13 years ago.
When the MLAT was signed and approved by the U.S. Senate, there was no ostensible reason to believe that the MLAT would be used for subpoenas for pre-GFA offenses, especially in light of Britain’s assurances that pre-GFA offenses were off the table.

The Irish American Unity Conference (IAUC) appeals directly to Secretary of State Clinton:

“Release of the materials sought by the subpoenas would be contrary to the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States because they have a high potential for severely undermining the peace process which has been an important foreign policy objective of the United States for the past fifteen years. As you are aware, the United States, under the administration of President Clinton, was a principal architect of the Good Friday Agreement, or “GFA” (also known as the Belfast Agreement) signed in 1998 by the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. The results of this historic agreement have been the establishment of stability and relative calm to the North of Ireland.”

“In sum, the information sought has a serious potential for destabilizing the peace process and, by extension, U.S. national security interests.”

❡ The AOH is also concerned about the implications of the subpoena:

According to Ned McGinley, a former national president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, another group contesting the subpoena, releasing the documents could endanger the people interviewed.
“Those interviews are not evidence. They were not taken under oath,” McGinley said in a phone interview. The subpoenas are “really objectionable for three reasons. The principle reason being of course the subpoenas have nothing to do with foreign policy and national security of the United States. The release of those oral histories could endanger the lives of those who provided them.”


Belfast Project Director Ed Moloney was interviewed by The Wild Geese. Moloney followed up this interview with a longer piece on his blog, The Broken Elbow, in which he discusses the Irish News interview with Dolours Price, which was passed to the Sunday Life tabloid paper. It is believed the contents of the Sunday Life publication led to the subpoena of the Boston College archive.


❡ The 2010 interview with Dolours Price conducted by Allison Morris of the Irish News is a central issue to the foundation of the subpoena. The first subpoena was served on 5th May, 2011, after proceedings were initiated on the US side at the end of March, 2011.

In the Motion to Quash the subpoena filed by Boston College on 7 June, 2011, Ed Moloney states in his affidavit:

31. In February 2010, I learned that Dolours Price had been interviewed about her life in the IRA by a Belfast morning daily newspaper called the Irish News. This report made no mention of the fact that she had been previously interviewed for the Belfast Project even though she had told this to the Irish News, but that fact was later published in the Sunday Life, a small Sunday newspaper in Belfast which had been made privy to the unpublished parts of her Irish News interview. The interview had been tape-recorded, I understand, by the Irish News and the tape passed on to the Sunday Life by the reporter for the Irish News who had interviewed Dolours Price. It was, to the best of my knowledge, the Irish News tape that the Sunday Life reporter referred to having heard and this was the source of their report that she had been interviewed by the Belfast Project. Neither newspaper could have heard her Belfast Project interviews because the only tapes and transcripts of those interviews are stored at the Burns Library at Boston College. I did not know about the Sunday Life story or the details of what it had published until recently. (Sec 31, page 10)

The US Government, in its Opposition to the Motion to Quash argues:

Ms. Price’s interviews by Boston College were the subject 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 whom 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 Boston College interviews. Id. (Page 4)

Boston College elaborates in its reply to the Government’s Opposition:

4. Dolours Price had no ability to, and did not, disclose tape-recordings of her Belfast Project interviews to a newspaper reporter.

To sow doubt whether Dolours Price in fact expected and relied on the confidentiality of her Belfast Project interviews, the Government mistakenly asserts that “according to one news report” a reporter has been “permitted [by Dolours Price] to listen to portions of Ms. Price’s Boston College interviews” (Gov. Op. at 4, citing Exs. 1 and 2 to the Government’s Opposition).

The Government’s sole support for this mistaken assertion is a news clipping (Exhibit 1 to the Government’s Opposition) of an article in the February 21, 2010, edition of Sunday Life, a small Belfast weekly newspaper (Moloney Affidavit (D. 5-5), ¶ 31). But that article does not say that the tape recordings heard by the reporter were from Dolours Price’s Belfast Project interviews. The Government assumes that the article’s report of the reporter hearing certain tape recordings of Dolours Price (Ex. 1, ¶¶ 3, 7, and 20) refers to the same tape recordings that the article later describes as Dolours Price’s “taped confessions of her role in the abductions to academics at Boston University [sic]” (id., ¶ 30). That assumption is wrong.

Anthony McIntyre, the person who interviewed Dolours Price for the Belfast Project, swears that neither Dolours Price nor any of the others he interviewed for the Belfast Project were provided the tape recordings of their interviews (McIntyre Affidavit (D. 5-4), ¶¶ 10 and 14). In his affidavit in support of Boston College’s Motion to Quash, the Director of the Belfast Project, Ed Moloney, explains that Dolours Price gave a tape-recorded interview to a reporter for a different newspaper, the Irish News, that the tapes of that interview were passed on to a reporter for Sunday Life, and that it is the tape recordings of Dolours Price’s interview with the Irish News that the Sunday Life reporter apparently was allowed to hear (Moloney Affidavit (D. 5-5), ¶ 31).

There is no evidence that Dolours Price has disclosed the tapes of her Belfast Project interviews to anyone. (Sec 4 page 6)

It is now understood that the PSNI approached Allison Morris of the Irish News in June, 2011, after the subpoena was served on Boston College and after Boston College’s Motion to Quash, including Moloney’s affidavit, was filed. Morris has written: “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.”

The two publications are available to read in their original formats: Irish News and Sunday Life.

9 October 2011

The latest additions to the site this week focus on Court Changes, new filings, the Irish Presidential election, and a look at the documentary based on two of the Boston College tapes.


❡ In an oddly timed move, occurring some 3 months since he was first assigned to the case, Judge Joseph L. Tauro has recused himself from the case. His son is a partner at the same firm representing Boston College. Why did this take 3 months to become an issue? And who requested he remove himself? Not even the judge knows; the submissions arguing for and against are sealed. He is replaced by Judge William G. Young. This is now the 3rd Judge the case has had since Judge Richard G. Stearns was added on 31 March. Stearns also lasted a little over 3 months – will Young go the distance?


❡ The US Attorney has filed a motion opposing the Intervenors motion to file a reply. Echoing Emperor Joseph II’s complaint of Mozart’s work from the movie Amadeus, “Too many notes!”, the government would prefer to see a speedy resolution involving less documentation.

“Having already filed 157 pages of pleadings and attachments with their initial motion [D.18], the putative intervenors now seek to file an additional pleading of unspecified length. [D.25] The grounds for their request essentially are that there are “substantial issues at stake” and “matters of first impression” at issue. [D.25 at 1-2]. The putative intervenors neither claim that the government’s response raises any new issues, nor that there are any issues which now need to be briefed of which they were not aware at the time they filed their initial brief. Allowing a reply memorandum would simply delay resolution of this matter, permit duplicative and unnecessary briefing in this case, and reward the putative intervenors for failing to state their complete case in their initial pleading.”


Dublin’s Evening Herald raises the issue of the Boston College tapes in the context of the current Irish Presidential election. Martin McGuinness, well known as a senior member of the IRA with a history that goes back to the early 1970s, is running as an ‘independent’ candidate. He has temporarily stepped down from his post as Deputy First Minister in the Stormont Executive, a position he holds in his capacity as a Sinn Fein leader. Because of his involvement in the IRA, his bid to become President of Ireland means his past is being looked at with renewed interest. The Herald suggests the Boston College tapes could play a part in the election: “A US COURT could seriously hamper Martin McGuinness’ presidential hopes if it rules to release confidential IRA tapes to the PSNI.” Its headline suggests McGuinness could face questioning.

❡ David McKittrick, while not discussing the Boston College tapes, writes in the Irish Independent about McGuinness’ past and explores reasons why he is lying about it now. This link is included in our ‘News of Interest’ section, where recent stories covering issues relevant to the Boston College issue are noted.


❡ Two of the interview series contained in the Boston College archives were made into the book and documentary of the same name, Voices from the Grave. This award winning documentary was first aired in October, 2010, on the RTE network in Ireland. Based on the interviews with Brendan Hughes and David Ervine, the documentary’s power derived in part from being able to hear these two men speak. The documentary is now available online in 9 parts on YouTube: Voices from the Grave

3 October 2011

This week has seen more court filings and news coverage. Constitutional issues and threats to civil liberties feature.


❡ Following last week’s Government Opposition to Moloney and McIntyre’s Motion to Intervene, a Motion of Intervenors to File Reply has been lodged.

9. In their Motion for Leave to Intervene, the Intervenors seek to raise substantial questions with regard to their constitutional rights under the First and Fifth Amendments; the rights or obligations of both the U.S. and the U.K. under another bilateral agreement relating to the subject matter of the subpoenas; whether the request for assistance (a) would impair the essential interests of the United States (b) would be contrary to important public policy considerations of the United States; and, (c) is directed to an offense of a political character; whether the Government’s actions were arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law; and whether the request for assistance is unreasonable or oppressive contrary to F.R. Crim.P. 17(c)(2).10.

Note: all Court Documents are available on Boston College Subpoena News and added to the site as they are filed.


❡ The Irish Echo has reported on Irish American groups coming together to support Boston College’s fight against the subpoenas:

“Leaders of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Irish American Unity Conference and the Brehon Law Society have joined in protesting subpoenas of records and tapes held by the Burns Library archives of Boston College.
After a series of meetings, representatives of the groups agreed that not only were there valid legal arguments for opposition to the subpoenas, but also foreign policy and morals grounds for doing so.”

“Jim Cullen, spokesman for the Brehon Law Society, acknowledged in a statement that other Brehon lawyers and those designated by the AOH and IAUC, were in agreement that meetings with U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and U. S. Representative Richard Neal (D-MA). chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Irish Affairs, and others would be undertaken in order to fight the release of any records to the British government “and/or whatever rogue or dissident elements of the PSNI” may have prompted the subpoenas.”

❡ Sandy Boyer, New York activist and host of WBAI’s Radio Free Eireann, looks over the case for the Socialist Worker. He highlights the dangers the US Attorney’s arguments have in regards to civil liberties:

Brian Rowan from the Belfast Telegraph has described why journalists, especially in Northern Ireland, need to be able to protect their sources: “If people want to read, listen to and watch the news, then they need to understand what gathering that news entails. That it involves going into dangerous situations. It means protecting sources in order to gather the best information to inform those who are reading, listening and watching.”
Ed Moloney, who directed the Boston project, told Radio Free Eireann that this case goes beyond Northern Ireland:

“This has huge implications for historians and journalists in America. It is going to make it far more difficult to get the stories of the actual people who participate in conflicts. If you are interviewing a Black activist from Brooklyn or the Bronx, you are going to be looking over your shoulder because the New York Police Department can come after it to put him in jail.”

Now there is an even more alarming threat to civil liberties. The latest Justice Department legal brief contends that not even the courts can review the attorney general’s decision in this case. It argues: “The determinations of the Attorney General challenged in this case are textually committed entirely to his discretion.”
It claims the courts have absolutely no role: “To recognize a right to judicial review of such determinations would entangle the courts in national policy decisions.”
If the courts accept this, it will mean that anytime a foreign government wants information, the attorney general, at his or her sole discretion, can force it to be handed over. It will become a political decision based entirely on U.S. foreign policy.


❡ Last May, the Brehon Society wrote to the Acting Director of the Public Prosecution Service, Northern Ireland, raising their concerns about the case and how it was being handled. Their concerns focused on the impact that the subpoena would have on the peace process and questioned the legal value of unsworn oral histories. The Brehon Society followed up this letter over the summer, meeting with the PSNI in Belfast:

“Former U.S. Army JAG Corps general, James Cullen, has presented the force with a letter of protest written by him and on behalf of the Brehon Law Society.

Cullen said he had been “frank” during a meeting with Chief Superintendent Alan Todd at PSNI headquarters in Knock. Cullen said that he had outlined the Brehon position as to why the force should refrain from seeking the Boston College archive material by means of a subpoena issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston.

“Americans can be known for their frankness, and I was exactly that with Chief Superintendent Todd about the feelings of the Brehon Society, and Irish America in general, over this issue,” Cullen said.
“Have the PSNI really considered the impact that seeking to access these tapes will have? People are beginning to ask is this a legacy of the old RUC creeping back?
“The subpoena will make those in universities who wish to conduct valuable research into the conflict here, research that can even aid peace and reconciliation, impossible,” he said.”

25 September 2011

Court documents, analysis and background information are new to the site this week.


❡ The Government filed their opposition to Moloney and McIntyre’s Motion to Intervene (& Complaint).


❡ Chris Bray: “Where the Fourth Amendment Goes to Die”

The implications of this argument are extraordinary. If it’s correct… Okay, let me start over again: If it prevails, then once the DOJ agrees to a foreign request, you have fewer rights against legal proceedings requested by foreign governments than you do in legal proceedings undertaken solely by your own government. If the British want your documents, and the DOJ says yes, that’s it.
So the premise here is that foreign governments have essentially unrestricted rights to obtain legal evidence in the U.S., subject only to the discretion of Eric Holder, and the courts and those subject to search and seizure have no avenue by which they can restrict the performance of the searches and seizure in question. I know I’m saying the same thing over and over again in different words. I mean to.
If it succeeds, this argument is the death of the Fourth Amendment — the death of it, period — in legal matters originating with foreign governments.


❡ The Jean McConville Investigation:

18 September 2011

Background information, news coverage and a little history feature in the latest updates to the site.


❡ Fearghal McGarry’s book, Rebels: Voices from the Easter Rising, based on the oral histories gathered by the Bureau of Military History, was reviewed in the Irish Times this week. It was these records that Boston College’s Belfast Project modelled itself after: History Remembered by the People Who Were There


A number of pages have been added to the Background section, including:

❡ Who was Brendan Hughes? His interviews for the Belfast Project were one of the archives sought under the first subpoena served to the Burns Library. After his death in 2008, which lifted the terms of the confidentiality agreement, the book and documentary, Voices from the Grave, were published. In April, 2011, the Family and Friends of Brendan Hughes held their first annual Brendan Hughes Debate and Discussion at the historic Conway Mill in West Belfast. They asked lead researcher for the Belfast Project, Anthony McIntyre, to deliver the inaugural lecture. Brendan Hughes: A Life in Themes

❡ At the end of March, 2011, the Burns Library was chosen to house the papers of the IICD, a body set up by the British, Irish and US governments to disarm the IRA and other paramilitary groups. Confidentiality was, and remains, a key part of their ability to decommission paramilitary weapons. In May, 2011, a month after the IICD’s embargoed papers were deposited at Boston College, the US Attorney served the first subpoena on behalf of the British Government seeking access to the library’s confidential oral history archives. Final Report of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning

“We have not included with this report copies of correspondence sent to the Commission by private individuals as these might be subject to privacy considerations. Also as directed by Ref. D, we consulted with the Northern Ireland political parties at the outset of our mandate and received from them papers setting out their views on decommissioning. These were provided in confidence and along with the private correspondence they will be deposited with our files for safekeeping by Boston College, Massachusetts, USA, subject to an embargo on their disclosure for thirty years.”

❡ The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains expressed concerns over the impact the Boston College subpoena is having on their work. Background on the Commission and details of their issues: Concerns Expressed by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains

“… the police efforts to use the Boston College archive in a criminal investigation could, he said, deter others from helping the commission.
“We’ve had some concerns expressed to us, very serious concerns, by intermediaries and others who we deal with on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
“They have flagged this up. We were concerned about it, they too have flagged it up, without any prompting from us.
“And we appreciate that this will put people off, or potentially put people off, from contacting us with information. But it’s our lifeblood. It’s what we survive on.”
He added: “If it’s putting them off, we need to make it absolutely clear that it’s not the way we do things.
“We appeal for information always. We don’t adopt the sort of approaches that are clearly being adopted here. It’s not what we would do.”
Mr Knupfer said he was unaware if any cases had already been adversely affected by the issue.
But he said losing contact with potential sources of information could endanger the chances of securing closure for the families of the remaining Disappeared.
“Of course it might. The whole ethos of this is information. It’s based on information and if the information isn’t available, then sadly we can’t do an awful lot to resolve the heartache of the families concerned.”
The commission investigator said he had no reason to believe Boston College held information which may be of help to his work.”


A number of articles gave coverage to the case in the news media this week:

❡ On Monday, the New York Times featured the Boston College case as a teaching example for their Learning Network in Historic Headlines – key events and their connections to today. Students are asked:

“Do you believe that those who committed crimes in the past should be granted amnesty or anonymity for their testimony under certain circumstances? Why or why not? How do you think a country or group of people can most effectively address past injustices to lay the foundation for a more just future?”

❡ The Irish Emigrant on Tuesday did a comprehensive overview of where the case is currently: Boston College IRA tapes: Researchers seek separate review

❡ Noted historian and author Terry Golway wrote a strong piece for the Irish Echo on why Boston College should fight to protect its archive: Boston College Should Stand Its Ground

“There’s no reason why the U.S. has to be party to this investigation. Boston College is right to resist the demands of both the Justice Department and the PSNI. After all, if Washington and London can keep secrets in the interests of peace or public order, or whatever other reason they might have, an academic institution has a right and a responsibility to keep confidential files confidential.”

❡ Private Eye in the UK is on the case: Boston Strangled

“The Eye has also learnt that the subpoenas are based on a false claim that one of the interviews with Price, published in the Sunday Life newspaper in February last year, was based on an interview with the Boston College project – suggesting it had already put recordings in the public domain. That is not true; and no doubt the college will hope that this fundamental flaw in the legal process could lead to the quashing of the subpoenas.”

❡ The week ended with Radio Free Eireann, broadcasting on WBAI out of New York, devoting Saturday’s show to an examination of the case, interviewing Belfast Project Director Ed Moloney, Lead Researcher Anthony McIntyre and their lawyer, Eamonn Dornan. The program can be downloaded as an MP3 file here – right click, save as:

Irish Radio Network, USA: Interview with Carrie Twomey

Irish Radio Network, USA – Adrian Flannelly Show
January 21, 2012

The Saga of the Boston College Belfast Oral History Project continues:
Carrie Twomey is the US citizen wife of Dr. Anthony McIntyre, former IRA volunteer and ex-prisoner who spent 18 years in Long Kesh, 4 years on the blanket and no wash/no work protests which led to the hunger strikes of the 80s. He then completed a PhD at Queens upon release from prison. Anthony McIntyre is the main researcher of the Oral History project at Boston College. He and his family are under death threat and the Northern Ireland Peace process will be challenged, should the US Federal Court subpoenaed confidential tapes be turned over to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Download: Carrie%20McIntyre-Boston%20NI.wma

Listen to the archived show here:


Adrian Flannelly (AF) interviews Carrie Twomey (CT) about the subpoenas served on Boston College to obtain the archive known as The Belfast Project.

Adrian Flannelly (AF): Friends, you’re listening to Irish Radio Network USA. My guest is Carrie McIntyre, wife of Dr. Anthony McIntyre, former IRA Volunteer and ex-prisoner. Anthony McIntyre spent eighteen years in Long Kesh, four years on the blanket and he was very much was considered to be one of the patriots of Northern Ireland. And his wife, before we go into it much further, we’d like to point out that his wife, who is with us today, Carrie, is an American citizen, the mother of two American citizens. And somebody who is here very specifically at this point. You know, the Boston College, the tapes, the Oral History project of Boston College, has had many twists and turns and it is obviously very timely that you are here with us today because we have heard the manifestations, the positions of the three governments, Northern Ireland, the southern Ireland government, our own United States, Washington, State Department, the waters are very muddied. But this is not a casual visit of yours. You’re here very specifically because all of this is coming to a head Two hearings which will determine for history how a project, which everybody agrees was a great idea, has now turned into a Loch Ness monster. First of all you’re welcomed and I would be delighted if you’d share with us your side of the story, which to date, it looks like somehow there is a massive screw-up here; that fingers are pointing at Anthony McIntyre, they’re pointing at Ed Moloney, the journalist, who was a guest of ours on the program some time ago. It would appear though that you are not and have had not much of a voice in explaining how this is affecting you, as an American citizen, and your kids and your husband. Perhaps you will just maybe give us capsule, first of all, of your understanding of what brought about the Oral History program and what role your husband played in all of this.

Carrie Twomey (CT): Thank you very much, Adrian, for having me on the program. As you explained, this isn’t a casual here visit to The States, to America. I’m here specifically because I am extremely concerned for the safety of my family. As you noted, I’m an American citizen, as are my two children. And I have been lobbying in DC, meeting with Congress people, to protest this action which directly places our lives in danger. The Oral History project, as you noted, is a very valuable resource, not alone for Irish history, but for people that are studying conflict zones around the world and seeking to understand how people get involved in conflict and how to learn from the mistakes of the past. It’s a terrible shame that this action is having such a chilling effect on people being able to coming forward.

This project was started because Boston College had commissioned this and they had given cast iron guarantees of confidentiality until participants had either died or had given expressed written permission for these records to be released. This was something that Boston College was always very forthright [about]; that the confidentiality was something that they would protect. There has been some waters muddied, as you say, and fingers pointed, but from our position Boston College was always clear: that it was a tabernacle. They had agreed with Ed Moloney, they would draw up contracts guaranteeing to the extent of American law that the interviews would be kept confidential. And then they drew up those contracts which they gave to each participant. And those contracts were very specific. And they said that the confidentiality was guaranteed until the death of the participant or written permission had be given by that person for the records to be released. Nowhere in the contract that they drew up, that they have with each individual participant in this project, did it say there was any caveat, that there was any possibility that these records could be released in any other conditions. Even in the preface of Voices From the Grave….

AF: Which is the book written by Ed Moloney.

CT: Sorry, I was just saying even in the book, the preface, the librarian and the professor that were in charge of this, had said, and it’s in the first paragraph, that Boston College were contractually obligated to protect the confidentiality.

AF: Now it would appear, hindsight being a great thing, that Boston College is now saying and maintaining, that it was made very clear, that they were obviously not superseding any US laws which would be subject to subpoena so they’re saying: “Well, we’ve kept our end of it. Obviously this is the tabernacle, this is what…as far as we knew…this is something but heck, if we get a subpoena from the Attorney General of the United States, that’s out of our hands.”

CT: Well, I totally disagree. If they get a subpoena they’re obligated to fight it. And they’re obligated to use all of their powers, and contacts, and every ounce of their ability that they have to fight it. They have an obligation, which they had given when they had given the promise of confidentiality, to protect it. And this area of the law is nebulous; it’s not fully defined. We’re having a case of first impressions going on right now. And, in fact, our lawyers were able to secure a Motion for Stay that has stopped this hand-over. So there is room to fight this. And Boston College has the resources and ability to fight it and they have not.

I am extremely angry at the way that they have rolled over on this. They’re just playing with people’s lives. They made a corporate decision, just like Penn State. And instead of doing the right thing, instead of fulfilling their duty of care, they made a corporate decision to protect their institution and protect their funding and throw people’s lives to the winds over it. And that is just morally wrong and it’s completely unethical and I’m extremely angry about their behaviour.

AF: There’s enough anger from all sides and I’ve tried to give this platform to those of varied and very strong opinions and I must say though that, from the beginning, I did think that the curious initiation of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the suspected rogue elements within that institution, that somewhere along the line, either somebody dropped the ball, somebody perhaps naively rubber stamped the request and even, we had the Secretary of State from Northern Ireland and when he was here he pretty much said: (paraphrasing Owen Patterson) “Well, we didn’t start it. This was something that happened. And obviously if you have a police investigation and if they’re to do their job well then that’s not for us to tell them how to do it and whatever.” Let’s talk about the rumour, let’s talk about your own reaction to those who say, that the release of those tapes could, in fact, bring down, demolish the peace process as we know it in Northern Ireland. Is that a common point of acceptance among all the varied now fighting groups, including…?

CT: Absolutely. Absolutely. The Good Friday Agreement effectively drew a line over the past and said pre-1998, we’re going to leave in the past where it belongs. More than ten years later, to start raking up the past, and start doing selective prosecutions, and start aiming to bring somebody like Gerry Adams in front of a criminal court or, as we suspect, in the Omagh style, bringing him in front of a civil court. It’s going to be hugely destabilising on the peace process. All three governments have invested in bringing Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein to the table and getting them into political power so that we could have peace; so that Nationalists and Republicans would have a voice in government. And then to turn around and put the leader of this party into the court is just madness! It will open up room. The Unionists can bring down the institutions. It will cause problems within Republicans ranks. We’ve already seen that the area is completely unstable. We had two bombs in Derry last night, with the horrible economy in Ireland, which leaves (us) with a lot of angry people that would be looking for somewhere to vent their anger. This is just complete madness to open up this can of worms to satisfy some rogue elements in the RUC that are still are in the HET. I mean, there’s a huge controversy going on right now with the amount of former RUC people that are being hired by a recruitment agency and filling the ranks of the PSNI.

AF: Somebody filled out the initial form. Somebody’s signature is on it. Do we know who that is?

CT: No we don’t. The subpoena was sealed. And this is one thing that we are seeking in DC: we want a Congressional hearing into finding out who approved this on both sides of the water. Who failed to ask the questions? Who failed to look at the political implications of this? Who failed to recognise the treaty aspects that relate to the Good Friday Agreement? Who did not consider the sense of the Senate when they passed the extradition treaty at the same time as the MLAT where the British government said we’re not looking at pre-1998 crimes? Who was the person that presented this as purely criminal, as a hot investigation, that needed to be solved immediately and did mention the fact that this was a crime that occurred in 1972 and had not been investigated by the police for forty years? Who is responsible for this? And who, basically, failed in their duty? Because a lot of people did fail in this duty and did not ask the right questions when this landed on their desk.

AF: We have seen a reversal in the very infamous Finucane case, which has been going on for more than twenty years. We saw something which was announced as the final decision from 10 Downing Street where the Finucane family, who had wanted and had asked for an independent investigation into the murder of Pat Finucane, the lawyer. We have seen and experienced first hand, and very recently, open and shut cases: (mimicking the Brits) “This is the way that it is. We are going to have our own investigation. We don’t particularly care that you and your supporters and that those who are interested in human rights and civil rights.. we don’t care about all of that. This is what we’re going to do….end of story.” And we see, that with appropriate pressure and much to the chagrin I am sure, of the British government, that they have backed down and said: (mimicking the Brits) “Okay, now we’re going to have..yes, we’ve re-thought it.” There are some cynics ho say wthat say somehow the coincidence of that decision being made this week as the eruption of and the significance of the Boston tapes that maybe there’s some connections there and maybe the issues of the Boston tapes which some would say well this is much ado about nothing because these are just the factions within the Northern Ireland peace process and, in fact, well… should Carrie McIntyre have a vested interest in the outcome of this?” But generally speaking, if we were to weigh, now the level of interest and the level of support for both cases here, the Finucane case and the reversal and this, this is something which is garnering much more interest than the hot potato that is and will be rolled out as the result of the release of the Oral History tapes at Boston College.

CT: Well, of course I have a vested interest in this. I have no problem admitting (that) up front. I do have a very vested and very personal interest in this because this will directly affect the safety of my family. However, it’s good that you bring up the Finucane case because it shows the British double standard at work. They are refusing to hand-over their papers on the Finucane case. As they are refusing to hand-over their papers on Dublin-Monaghan. Again, this is selective prosecution. This is selective investigation. This is selective truth. This is something where the wider society needs to be able to get to the truth so that rather than putting a chilling effect, which is what this subpoena is doing, on any future abilities to get people to tell their stories, this is putting a kibosh on it. But this is while the British state is protecting their own interest. Even Sammy Wilson, interestingly enough, when the House of Commons were discussing aspects of a truth commission, came out and said that he is very against the idea of subpoenas because of the danger to the British state that that poses.

He made the point, that in general, there are no records for the other organizations but there are records for security forces, and British military and the British state and they can be subpoenaed. And this sets a precedent that is not in the UK’s interest in that sense because people can then bring action against them. So this is insane for all governments involved. This is so destabilising. And American foreign policy? This completely goes against all the good work they have done in attempting to get peace in Northern Ireland. And in terms of America’s own self-interest: there are Oral Histories currently being collected from Iraq war veterans; from veterans of Afghanistan. When the US Attorney makes the argument there’s no such thing as an academic embargo, this is going to put American people in jeopardy as well. Nobody is thinking to the future. You have this knee-jerk, bigoted reaction from rogue RUC elements that are looking for vengeance or retribution pursuing this, they’re not looking beyond their nose on this. People who have common sense or in positions of responsibility, need to be acting in the interest of the wider picture.

AF: Your husband, Dr. Anthony McIntyre, how would you define his role in the establishment of the tapes, the Oral History tapes and Boston College? Can you walk us through that?

CT: My husband, as you noted his past, he spent eighteen years in Long Kesh, four years of that on the blanket and no-wash protest, which was not an easy thing to do or go through. He earned his degree, his first degree, while he was in prison and he completed a PhD upon release. He is one of the foremost experts on Irish Republicanism, modern Irish Republicanism. (quips) He doesn’t like it when I say that but, you know, I’m his wife, I’m entitled. He is academically trained and qualified; he is an historian, [and] he is a writer. He also has the IRA background which made him perfectly positioned to be able to compile an Oral History like this which is so unique and so valuable because of that. You have academics that come from either outside Ireland or who did not grow up in The Troubles or did not have a background such as his and their understanding and the questions that they would be asking are very different from what his experience and his academic training would allow him to be able to ask. And in addition to that, the answers that he would be given would be very different. It allows a more thorough and interesting probing of history which is what made this so incredibly valuable and so special for the future. And there was a reason that the confidentiality was not say [the same as], for example, the decommissioning papers, are in the same library under a thirty year embargo. The Oral History ones are until death. This is something that is so highly sensitive but so important for history. We would be so worse off without having these kind of Oral Histories combined.

AF: Explain to me why the terms of the contract which each of the participants for this Oral History, and this was just not from the Republican side this was from all those involved in the armed struggle in Northern Ireland, why did somebody not stand back from that in the beginning and say: “Wait a minute, if the Oral History of any of the participants can be and should be released at the death of the first participant, won’t that open up a whole mess?” that would invariably, even at a fairly naïve approach, when the first of those tapes are released wouldn’t that involve you, the safety of your family? Why wasn’t there an embargo on that for twenty years or thirty years or something?

CT: Well, Brendan Hughes and David Ervine are the only tapes that have been publicly released. And Brendan Hughes actually had wanted his released before he died but he was cautioned against it because of the safety of the rest of the people that had participated in the project.

AF: In hindsight, though, wouldn’t that kind of defeat the whole purpose? Why should the tapes be released upon their death if in fact…?

CT: Because part of the way that the confidentiality works is that the individual interviews are anonymous. They are anonymous until the death of the participant. So as long as the interviewees remain anonymous…up until the subpoena came and Boston completely rolled over and gave everything to the court, up until that point, it was not known how many people participated in this project; it could have been three, it could have been a hundred, nobody would have known. But Boston rolled over and gave everything to the court and now the specific details of that are known.

AF: Why would Brendan Hughes want to have his tapes released before his death or immediately upon his death?

CT: Upon his death. Because Brendan Hughes was somebody who was very, very strongly of the opinion that you should speak your conscience and you should speak your truth.

AF: What about the jeopardy level that that puts everybody else in?

CT: Because he was speaking his story. He wasn’t speaking anybody else’s story. And the other interviewees remained anonymous and, to a large extent, are still anonymous. So it was not putting theirs in jeopardy. The existence of the project was known, it was not widely known but it was known that this project existed before he died and then with the publication of it…it was known. It was a safety concern, yes. And in fact, my neighbours’ house was attacked with faeces on the date of the publication, we believe it was a mistake and they meant to get our house; their letter box, and their car, and their door was smeared with excrement. And there were threats made to my husband at the time of the publication which we were very concerned about. You can look on my affidavit and you’ll see the headline “You’re Dead!”, which was not comforting to see. My husband did not participate in any of the press of the time of the book for the concerns of safety. It’s a fine line to straddle because it is important. And I think Brendan Hughes was 100% right when he said if there’s something that you disagree with or if there’s something you believe in you need to speak out and follow your conscience. And that’s very much what that book was Brendan doing. And there are times you have to stand up and face risk. And this is part of why we’re fighting this case as hard as we are, too. We can’t do what Boston did and roll over. We have to stand up and face things and fight for what is right.

AF: But you’ve been down that road. You’ve had very prominent, good, reliable lawyers (I don’t know if you want to mention them by name or not) but you’ve had a great level of support from Irish-America and still it would appear that your case got very little attention paid to it by virtue of the over-all, the fact that Boston College didn’t link up with you and that your lawyers would not, that your lawyers went down a different road than Boston College that wound up to be counter-productive.

CT: Our lawyers have actually secured far more than Boston College has. Boston College tries to paint the fact that they had to give over everything to the Judge as some sort of victory; which is not a victory. Our lawyers, who we are very grateful to, Eamonn Dornan and Jim Cotter, they have presented an excellent argument. And we are fighting an admittedly uphill battle. But we are still in the ring and we are still fighting. And they were able to secure a Motion for Stay that stopped the hand-over. We are hopeful they’re going to be successful in this complaint that is going to be heard on Tuesday in Boston.

AF: On this Tuesday…

CT: On this Tuesday in Boston. And then the hearing on the Motion for Stay will be heard in March. So we’re still in with a fighting chance. And it is down to the good work that has been done by Eamonn Doran and Jim Cotter and those people in The Brehon Society, like Jim Cullen, who’ve been supporting [our case]; and the Irish-American Unity Conference, I mean, we have had a tremendous amount of support from Irish-America which we are so, so grateful for.

AF: Hey! The bottom line is: the tapes turned over to the courts, the courts adhering to the request, all of this goes back to Northern Ireland to the PSNI, most definitely it will result in another investigation involving Gerry Adams.

CT: This subpoena is specifically about the McConville case. And specifically about the allegations made that Gerry Adams ordered… (AF interrupts)

AF: Tell us about McConville.

CT: Jean McConville was the mother of ten who was abducted and murdered by the IRA for being an informer. And the problem for Gerry Adams is that he is alleged to have been the IRA Chief who ordered her disappearance. And specifically her disappearance because unlike most informers, she was “disappeared”. She was not left out on the road as a message or a warning to people. And that’s going to cause huge problems if this ever goes into a court for Gerry Adams. Especially with all his denials of having never been in the IRA. And those denials are something that do not set well with the rank and file grass roots. And it really didn’t set well with people like Brendan Hughes. It’s a very deep betrayal for people that followed Gerry Adams’ leadership in the IRA, followed his orders, for him to turn around and continue to deny ever having been in the IRA.

AF: You realise by that your saying this right now…you are, in fact, you’re feeding an element that says: Okay, obviously the the McIntyres and the Moloneys and so forth could care less about the fact that they’ve already, you’ve already taken sides, and that in fact nobody believes stronger than your good self, that Gerry Adams ordered that murder; that Ed Moloney has all but said that he believes that Gerry Adams was in that position. So therefore, those who might normally be very supportive of you and the real danger you are in, and many others, it’s not just you but many others, that obviously there are two factions that are there: you’re on one side and the Gerry Adams’ followers would be on the other.

CT: This is an historical project. This is a project of history not a project of fiction. I’m sorry but the fact that Adams was never in the IRA is a piece of fiction. What would be the point of creating an historical archive that was fictional? There would be no point. Niall O’Dowd had a piece in The Irish Echo last week which I found just…(AF interrupts)

AF: The Irish Voice.

CT: The Irish Voice, you’re right, I’m sorry. He had a piece in The Irish Voice which was just amazing because in one paragraph he says that Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre are legally inexperienced. And in the next paragraph he says that Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre were able to dupe the gullible Boston College. So what is it? Are these people legally inexperience, stupid, unintelligent or are they so legally experienced and so intelligent that they are able to dupe a law school into this? I mean this is just absolutely ridiculous…(AF interrupts)

AF: An internationally renown…

CT: Law School! That was the one that drew up the contracts. This is something that they do this all the time. I’m glad you sort of came back to this because the decommissioning papers that were put together under the Irish and UK law. And in Ireland and in the UK they have confidentiality laws that were written to protect these decommissioning papers. They were deposited in the same library, under the same librarians as the Oral History project and under similar conditions. The only difference being that there’s a thirty years embargo versus an until death embargo. Now, there’s a big problem: because there’s no such thing as an academic embargo according to the US Attorney. And the UK laws and the Irish laws that were written to protect the confidentiality of the decommissioning body are UK and Irish laws, they are not American laws. These papers are in American jurisdiction. These papers are under the same arguments that the US Attorney is now making saying that they’re not protected. So what is to stop people from following same path as the HET did and subpoenaing these papers?…(AF interrupts)

AF: What’s the HET?

CT: The Historical Enquiries Team, the arm of the PSNI that’s investigating the McConville case. What is to stop somebody like Jeffery Donaldson upsetting that apple cart and saying we want to get information about the weapons that were decommissioned. Okay, Micheál Martin, leader of Fianna Fáil, posed these same questions. He says there’s a huge problem with the integrity of Boston College; they’re obviously not willing to protect the material and he’s put it to the Minister of Justice, Alan Shatter: what are you going to so about this? What’s going to happen? And Alan Shatter has said we are prudently watching this, we’re okay with it but we’re keeping an eye on it. He says he doesn’t think it’s conceivable that the British would want to break this embargo and get…(AF interrupts)

AF: Somebody does.

CT: Well, here’s the thing: exactly! Boston College didn’t think it was conceivable that the British would want to get into the Oral History archive and here they are. But in terms of the decommissioning papers it doesn’t even have to be the British or the Irish. Say a victims’ group goes to somebody in Germany who was a victim of the IRA. And German citizens petition their government and the German government goes to the American government under the same treaty and puts the same arguments that the US Attorney is using right now and says we want access to the decommissioning papers to see if there is any relevant information about the weapons that were used in the attacks on German soil.

AF: Okay, so far we have not addressed and I would like you to address, where the real power and where the real strength is, and we have our own Attorney General in the United States could have put and “X” through this to begin with. We have obviously a Secretary of State, Senator Hillary Clinton and President Clinton, who invested a tremendous amount of their efforts and energies, the United States, there would not be, and I say this without fear of contradiction, there would not be a Good Friday Agreement, there would not be a Belfast Agreement, for those who would prefer to see it in that light, were it not for the United States, were it not for George Mitchell, Senator George Mitchell, were it nor for President Clinton and now Secretary of State Clinton. Why is it, that with that level of interest with all of those who have taken big chunks out of their lifetimes, out of their careers, to insure something as extraordinary, in the real sense, as the Good Friday Agreement, the peace process in Northern Ireland. How is it that we’re still messing around with what appears to be factions and nitpicking while something which could bring down and totally disrupt at best, and in fact, shatter the peace process in Northern Ireland? Why?

CT: This is why I’m asking for a Congressional hearing to be held enquiring into this. Did this happen? Why go against American foreign policy? You’re 100% right that Americans were extremely instrumental in bringing the Good Friday Agreement together. We all know how many years George Mitchell spent, The Mitchell Principles are named after him on that. So we want to get to the bottom of this and find out who wasn’t thinking on this.

AF: But who wasn’t thinking now? Look, the subpoenas can be withdrawn…today…tomorrow.

CT: Yes. Which we highly recommend that the Department of Justice do so and that White House get involved and tell them: Hey, withdraw this. This is going against our interests. I think there’s alot of conspiracy theories, there’s alot of speculation; I tend to find the simplest explanation is generally the truest one. And in terms of bureaucracy and government…I think that this slipped through. I think that there was some shenanigans played on the UK side. I think they presented it as a purely criminal investigation; they did not alert the US side to the political implications and whoever’s desk it landed on didn’t think to ask. And it was just a complete screw-up.

AF: There’s a hearing this Tuesday. Explain what that is.

CT: Tuesday’s hearing: We had originally filed a Motion to Intervene on the original subpoena case which was denied on the same day that Boston College’s Motion to Quash was denied. So we immediately filed an injunction and we filed our own separate complaint which is going to be heard on Tuesday in the lower court by Judge Young, the same Judge that heard the Motion to Quash. The DOJ filed a Motion to Dismiss. So this is being heard in Boston on Tuesday. Funnily enough, it’s being heard at Boston College, of all places.

AF: You don’t expect to get a cup of tea and a sandwich there, do you?

CT: Oh, I will be there. I will be there. This is part of why I’m here. Because this is not about papers in an archive. This is about people’s lives. And I’m going to be sitting there and I am going to be making it very clear.

AF: I am very understanding and in full sympathy. I clearly understand where you are. I would hope that this will go away on Tuesday. I hope that this does not have to drag on into March. I can also say, though that , if I were in your position, I would definitely understand that this about you, this about your husband, this about your two kids, and rightly so. For those of us who have invested a lot of our time and our energy and our support and those of us who are delighted that there is a Good Friday Agreement in addition to supporting you, your family. I also think that somebody is not looking at the gravity of the situation and if we don’t we’re walking into an horrific situation here. You’re here, I’m delighted you’re here, but I’m also delighted that you are getting to speak to say, Peter King, somebody who again, was one of many, when you have the Jim Cullens, when you have all of those, The Brehon Law Society. This is a community that has invested a lifetime of careers in getting us to where we are today. In a few days from now…in three day’s time this can boil over, this can be very destructive or this can be a focal point where somebody gets real here and knows that this is not just a mother and a wife but that this is a situation which is already out of hand, there’s no point in saying it’s not. This is one that has taken off like a very destructive fire. For those who are listening to this program I think that we really have to do something. We can’t sit back and see how this is going to play out.

CT: No, we can’t. And this would undo all the good, hard work that has been done over the years by specifically Irish-Americans to bring peace to Northern Ireland, to set up these institutions. In a sense I am here directly to plead for my life and my family’s life. But I’m here also as a surrogate for everybody else who participated in this project. We are very concerned about the safety of the Loyalists who participated in this and all the other Republicans that participated in this. And wider than that, all the people that could be directly affected by this. And especially if this upsets the apple cart and totally ruins the stability which is very fragile, very, very fragile in the North. Things are not bedded down. Things are not bedded down there and they can go off at any minute and we do not want to see this Boston College issue to be the spark that sets off the tinderbox.

AF: I wish you luck. (CT interjects: Thank you.) And I hope that sanity will prevail. And I don’t want to be among those who points my own finger at whatever. All I know this is an horrific situation and somewhere and somehow is shifting the blame from one to the other, we’ll have plenty of time actually to analyse that if the subpoenas are withdrawn. We can then at our own ease, we can take sides. Right now this is life threatening, lives are going to be affected; the safety, the security. But above and beyond all of that, the Good Friday Agreement, the peace process in Northern Ireland, will definitely not be what it is today. And has the potential, and I don’t want to be scaremongering here, but it does have the potential of having a terrible crash which won’t take years at all. This is going to come down on top of us. Whereas it is relatively simple right now. And I think we should look directly at Washington we should look directly at our political leaders, all who have a rightful place in celebrating the American contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process. And they have to get off their backsides, right now.

CT: Write your Congress people, call your Congress people, call your Representatives, raise this issue. Ask them to do whatever they can to get this withdrawn. This is for peace in Northern Ireland. This is for peace and stability. Another sad thing about this is that this is: a truth commission is something really, really needed. Which is going to make it impossible for people to get. That is the vital ingredient of any peace process: is to be able to deal with the past. And this needs to be withdrawn. And that is something that is a vital ingredient at the end of any peace process. This needs to be withdrawn. It’s a huge wall that has been built, damage that it has been done in terms of a truth commission people willing to come forward. The Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains has already been publicly saying that this has had a terrible effect on people coming forward to them helping families finding their loved ones. This is just so the wrong thing to so. And any help people can give…

AF: In order of importance we need to get immediate action and we need to get those subpoenas withdrawn, withheld, put in the bins, whatever that takes. And then hash out…there’s no rush on this. I don’t know who feels that all of this is due yesterday. It appears that all involved have spent much more time either pointing fingers, getting out from under…and then in the meantime this is disasterous on the personal level. I obviously hope that for you, for your family. And for all the families in the same position. It’s not like it’s just your family.

CT: No, there’s far too many.

AF: And again, rather than us waiting to see what the hell is gonna happen next Tuesday or what’s gonna happen in March, we’ve got to get to those who, many of whom aren’t even aware of the severity of the situation. We need to get to them and we need to make sure, and again without taking sides situation we need to get to them and again without taking side

CT: That’s missing the point of the Big Picture. The Big Picture is exactly what you’re talking about. We need to have the stability. We need to have the peace process. We can fight this out afterwards; but the Big Picture. And specifically for Americans that maybe not have been following the peace process: You have the issue of a foreign government who is using a treaty to invade American academic libraries. You have the issue of the First Amendment. You have the issues of the protection of sources. You have the chilling effect on Oral History; which is a history that is important to all cultures around the world. You have the fact that conflict zones from around the world, not just Ireland, depositing their papers here in the US. This is a much bigger issue. There are things that while we may that we disagree on the internal aspects of the Irish dimension This thing is something we can all agree; we need to put aside whatever differences on.

AF: Above all, as I see it, we need to make sure that anything that America contributes to will not jeopardise one more life in Northern Ireland.

CT: Exactly.

AF: Friends, you’re listening to Irish Radio Network USA.

(Interview ends)

Boston College Must Release Oral-History Records, but Court Will Review Them First

Boston College Must Release Oral-History Records, but Court Will Review Them First
By Jennifer Howard
Chronicle of Higher Education
December 19, 2011

A federal court has denied Boston College’s motion to thwart a government request for sensitive oral-history records. But the court will review those records confidentially on Wednesday before it decides what, if anything, must be handed over to federal authorities.

A spokesman for the college said it was happy with the decision because the court acknowledged the need to protect confidential research.

Friday’s ruling, by the U.S. District Court in Boston, rejected the college’s request to quash the subpoenas for material from what’s known as the Belfast Project. In the project, from 2001 to 2006, researchers and journalists conducted interviews with paramilitary fighters and others who lived through the decades-long sectarian conflict Northern Ireland, always with the promise that the talks would be confidential until they died.

Boston College holds the tapes and transcripts of the project, including interviews with two members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes. They alleged that Gerry Adams, head of Sinn Fein, the IRA’s political arm, ran a kidnapping ring suspected of involvement in the death of Jean McConville, a Protestant mother of 10 who was kidnapped and killed in 1972. Mr. Hughes died in 2008, and the college has turned over the records of his interviews.

The U.S. Department of Justice subpoenaed the interview records on behalf of the British government. Under what’s known as a mutual-legal-assistance treaty, the two countries help each other in certain criminal proceedings. The Belfast Project records are being sought “in reference to alleged violations of the laws of the United Kingdom,” the court said, including kidnapping and conspiracy to commit murder.

‘Heightened Scrutiny’

The case has created concern among scholars, especially oral historians, who rely on confidentiality in the conduct of their research. Chris Bray, a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of California at Los Angeles and a regular contributor to the history blog Cliopatria, has been a vocal critic of the proceedings.

The court’s ruling “means that there’s no such thing as confidential research, if a foreign government wants your research material,” he wrote in an e-mail to The Chronicle. “Academic researchers have fewer protections from foreign governments than we do from our own government. The way the DOJ [the Justice Department] applies mutual-legal-assistance treaties, and the way the courts interpret them, the door to the archives is wide open.”

In Friday’s ruling, Judge William G. Young agreed with Boston College’s position that requests for “confidential academic information” must be treated with “heightened scrutiny.” He noted that forced disclosure generally hurts “the free flow of information.” But he also said that the allegations involved were serious and “weigh strongly in favor of disclosing the confidential information.”

Boston College is “very pleased” with the decision, according to the spokesman, Jack Dunn. “It’s the outcome we hoped for,” he said. “In agreeing to review the research materials in camera,the court granted Boston College the relief it was seeking by providing us with guidance on what materials, if any, are relevant and need to be produced.” The ruling “recognizes the importance of protecting academic research and oral-history projects,” he said.

The college will not seek a stay of the ruling, Mr. Dunn said. “We took this legal position,” he said, “to protect the enterprise of oral history, to protect the participants who had been assured of confidentiality, and to protect peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland that we have promoted as a university for more than four decades.”

Boston College (Cont.): Fixing a Broken Frame

Boston College (Cont.): Fixing a Broken Frame
Cliopatria – History News Network
Chris Bray

News reports frame the federal subpoena for confidential interview materials at Boston College as a threat to oral history scholarship. This is how the framing began; nearly two months later, this is how it continues.

But this framing misses the point. The Department of Justice did not say, in its friday court filing, that academic freedom is a meaningless claim of privilege in cases involving oral history research. What they said is that academic freedom is a meaningless claim of privilege, full stop. They did not say that the courts have no role in evaluating foreign requests made under the terms of mutual legal assistance treaties for oral history materials; they said that the courts have no role in evaluating foreign requests made under the terms of mutual legal assistance treaties.

Confidential oral history materials are at risk. So are embargoed correspondence, memoirs, journals, and other personal papers given to archives. So are the research notes of academics who study war crimes and dissident political movements overseas. Why on earth not? What does anyone see in the government’s claims, here, that draws a clearly bounded target around oral history alone?

The federal government has shoved open a door to archives and research material, period.

And the potential damage keeps going. On both sides of the Irish border, an independent commission is searching for the bodies of the Disappeared, relying on information from confidential informants to find the bodies of people killed and buried by paramilitaries during the Troubles. The lead investigator for that commission is now warning that the Boston College subpoenas are a threat to the commission’s sources, as former paramilitary members worry that promises of confidentiality are made to be broken.

The threat is not simply to oral history. It goes on and on.

Boston College (Cont.): AUSA Todd Braunstein, the Infamous Irish Politician

Boston College (Cont.): AUSA Todd Braunstein, the Infamous Irish Politician
Cliopatria – History News Network
Chris Bray

One new fact, twice the clarity.

In two previous posts, I argued that the federal subpoena for confidential oral history materials held at Boston College was probably not what it seemed. Pursuing the records of historical interviews with former members of the Provisional IRA following a request from the British government, the Department of Justice claims to be aiding a murder investigation; the more likely reality is that they’re helping to frame a purely political case against Sinn Fein after its recent successes during the February election in the Republic of Ireland. I won’t rehash that claim here, but you can follow the two links above for background.

So then, on Friday, the DOJ filed its response to BC’s motion to quash the subpoena. I discussed that response here, if you missed it.

But here’s one more exceptionally interesting thing about that response, which you can read here. It’s on pg. 2, at the start of the section titled, “Procedural History” (emphasis added): “On March 30, 2011, the United States submitted an application to the Court pursuant to the Treaty Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland…”

Before the DOJ filed this response, all that was known publicly was that BC got a subpoena in early May; the first news stories appeared around the middle of that month. But now it’s clear that the DOJ first walked into court with their request a little over a month earlier. Subtract a week or two for the DOJ to process the request and prepare its filing. Subtract a week or two for the British government to decide on, prepare, and transmit the request.

The general election in the Republic of Ireland that brought Gerry Adams into the Dail took place on February 25, 2011.

The murder of Jean McComville went without investigation for nearly forty years.That fact is undisputed. But then, at the very moment that Gerry Adams was elected to a parliamentary seat that he was willing to take — in an election that brought Sinn Fein back from the dead in the Republic of Ireland — it became suddenly urgent to get to the bottom of the McConville murder. And the way to do that was to subpoena only the interviews of the very two people who are publicly known to have said that Adams approved the killing.

The British government is engaged in politics, not a murder investigation. No one is going to be convicted on murder charges as a result of the DOJ’s subpoena. Everyone involved knows that. The point is politics. And the DOJ is playing along.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Braunstein, you got a request for a subpoena of material that would damn Gerry Adams, and you got it immediately afteran election that saw a significant new political development for Adams and Sinn Fein — and you couldn’t figure out what you were being asked to do?

Or he knew exactly what he was being asked to do, and he cheerfully did it anyway. Which would be worse?

It’s a shameful abuse of power in either case.

DOJ on Boston College: Academic Freedom a Legally Meaningless “Quasi-Privilege”

DOJ on Boston College: Academic Freedom a Legally Meaningless “Quasi-Privilege”
Cliopatria – History News Network
Chris Bray

On Friday, the Department of Justice filed its response to the motion by Boston College to quash a federal subpoena for confidential oral history materials related to Northern Irish paramilitary violence. The government’s response is unmistakably aggressive in tone and in scope. Read the briefhere. The most remarkable claims, with emphasis added:

  1. In its Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the United Kingdom, the federal government has traded away the role of the courts, leaving discretion only in the hands of the executive branch: “Notably, the US-UK MLAT reserves the authority [to] decline a MLAT request, or to limit its scope, to the Attorney General, not the courts” (pg. 8). Under the terms of the treaty, an assistant U.S. attorney is acting as a “commissioner” to make a determination regarding the validity of the request and to act upon it (pg. 3). Federal law “does not vest the U.S. courts with discretion to evaluate MLAT requests where none exists under the applicable treaty” (pg. 9). Federal case law reflects “the narrow scope of the Court’s discretion in this case,” concluding “that district courts should not evaluate MLAT subpoenas under the standards applicable to domestic subpoenas” (11-12). Furthermore, the courts may not evaluate the political implications of information sought by a foreign government under the terms of an MLAT. “This is precisely the type of assessment left to the Central Authority of the United States, here the Attorney General, and the Central Authority in the UK” (pg. 19, and  pg. 2). In short, the federal government has granted the British government a mechanism to obtain what are effectively writs of assistance, subject to mandatory execution and beyond review or protest. This is an ironic historical development.
  2. Academic freedom is a legally meaningless “quasi-privilege,” and BC’s attempt to apply protected status to academic research makes “no claim of a cognizable federal privilege” (pp. 10-13, with quotes from the beginning and end). Academic researchers have fewer protections against compulsory disclosure than journalists, since “the courts have long recognized the unique role which news reporters play in our constitutional system.” In contrast, “[t]he limited protections afforded news reporters in the context of a grand jury subpoena should be greater than those to be afforded academics engaged in the collection of oral history” (pg. 14). Journalism is a protected activity; academic research is not.
  3. While the courts have no discretion in considering subpoenas issued pursuant to MLATs, the executive branch doesn’t have much, either: “In this case, the US-UK MLAT requires that, ‘the Requested Partyshall take whatever steps it deems necessary to give effect to requests received from the Requesting Party’…Under the US-UK MLAT, the United States is obligated to obtain the documentary evidence requested in this instance and provide it to the authorities in the UK” (pp. 6-7; emphasis in original).

So when foreign governments that have entered into MLATs with the United States wish to demand access to confidential academic research materials, the executive branch is compelled by treaty obligations to say yes, the courts have no discretion to say no, and “academic freedom” is a meaningless claim.

Clear enough?


Cliopatria – History News Network
Chris Bray

Watch this difference very closely.

Here’s the New York Times describing the Belfast Project, oral history interviews conducted under the aegis of Boston College regarding the Troubles in Northern Ireland: “Boston College filed a motion this week to quash a federal subpoena seeking access to confidential interviews of paramilitary fighters for the Provisional Irish Republican Army… Academics, historians and journalists conducted the interviews from 2001 to 2006. Known as the Belfast Project, its goal was to interview members of the I.R.A., the Provisional Sinn Fein and other organizations about their activities during the Troubles.”

Here’s the Irish Times describing the same project: “In a case being watched closely by academics around the world, Boston College has asked a judge to quash subpoenas demanding it turn over to British authorities records from an oral history project involving republican and loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland.”

In American news accounts, the project produced interviews of former republican paramilitary gunmen (and vaguely identified others), and the Department of Justice is trying to get IRA interviews on behalf of British authorities who wish to investigate violent crimes from an era of anti-government terrorism.

But in Irish accounts, the project produced interviews of former republican paramilitary gunmen and former loyalist paramilitary gunmen, while British authorities are only trying to reel in the interviews that might incriminate the republicans. An honest effort to examine the era would closely investigate both — the violence of loyalist paramilitaries is well known.

This information makes it quite a bit harder to believe that the British government is motivated by a desire to produce impartial justice; as BC’s lawyers wrote in support of their motion to quash the DOJ’s subpoena, the effort to compel disclosure of some interviews but not others is a “classic fishing expedition.” The police project here seeks political ends, not a disinterested settling of all accounts.

There are clearly a number of contests going on in this exchange that are not visible to outsiders, and the politics of the matter are not clear to me. But it is absolutely clear that politics is exactly the heart of these subpoenas: someone is out to settle a score, and they’re trying to use a body of academic research to do it. And yet the academic response is unmistakably muted.

The haphazard and foolish G.O.P. effort to target William Cronon for political retribution over his engagement in Wisconsin state politics produced waves of frantic commentary decrying the threat to academic freedom. That effort has ended; Cronon was not destroyed, not damaged, not silenced. No one could ever have seriously believed that a distinguished senior historian would be driven to the shadows by some fools with a computer and a postage stamp.

But here, the potential chilling effect is perfectly clear, and the political nature of the inquiry is unmistakable. And yet, compare this to this, or thisto this. Why is this subpoena producing so little discussion?

ADDED LATER: An earlier New York Times story on the subpoena did note that the BC interviews were of participants from both sides, and the subpoena was only for accounts from republicans.

Notes from a Balinese Cockfight, Officer

Notes from a Balinese Cockfight, Officer
Cliopatria – History News Network
Chris Bray

Congratulations — you’ve been deputized. You might want to buy some handcuffs.

In a May 23 op-ed piece at the Boston Globe, guest columnist Juliette Kayyem argued that Boston College should just shut up already and hand the federal government their tapes and notes from interviews with members of the Irish Republican Army. Researchers from the college made poorly considered promises of confidentiality that they cannot keep, and that’s that. “Little will be gained by a drawn-out fight in court. BC should hand over the specific tapes requested and, in the future, require greater oversight and transparency on research projects implicating criminal conduct.”

Beats me what any of that means, because Kayyem doesn’t bother to say. Who should provide this greater oversight, and in what form? When does a project implicate criminal conduct, and where do researchers locate the threshold for that determination? If you’re interviewing former Black Panthers, should you just stop right now, or should you wait for them to say something incriminating before you rip the tape out of the machine and run to fetch the authorities?

But anyway, Kayyem writes, none of this talk is worth the candle: “Terrorist organizations kill innocent victims; it’s what defines them. Replace IRA with Hamas and we wouldn’t be having this theoretical debate.”

Replace the IRA with Hamas, and the debate still isn’t “theoretical.” Government can conduct its own investigations. Scholars aren’t cops, and aren’t adjuncts to law enforcement agencies. Manning Marable spent yearstrying to figure out who killed Malcolm X. Should the FBI have grabbed hisnotes and tapes a few years ago, as a substitute for their own investigation? Robert Churchill, a history professor at the University of Hartford, studies both the early American militia and contemporary militia groups. Clearly, a federal grand jury should start going through his scholarship. Name your own examples — I can think of a dozen of the top of my head. In the meantime, feel free to study any group that has never angered or opposed any government anywhere. Oral history of a Scottish knitting club that firmly supports the police? You are conditionally cleared to begin. But be careful.

By the way, the Globe doesn’t mention Juliette Kayyem’s background and credentials at the bottom of the essay that casually argues for Boston College to stop resisting the government and start condemning IRA interviewees to death (not that she mentions that last part). But they’ve offered that information at the end of some of her other columns: “Juliette Kayyem, a guest columnist, is former homeland security adviser for Massachusetts and most recently served as assistant secretary at the US Department of Homeland Security.

In a thoughtful op-ed piece, a recent senior official of the Department of Homeland Security encourages academic researchers to immediately hand over to the federal government a set of notes and tapes that will provide evidence of criminal activity. Maybe we can get some of those cool junior federal agent badges as a trade-off.

And maybe oral history subjects should be Mirandized.