Boston College Belfast Project Key Procedure

Burns Librarian Robert O’Neill, writing in the Belfast Telegraph, claims “the materials [donation agreements/key to archive] were not lost; rather, they were never received, in clear violation of [Ed Moloney’s] contractual obligation.”

The contract reference is found in Agreement A , aka the Moloney Agreement, on page 2:

“The Project Director will develop a standard coding system for all interviews.

The transcribed and tape/video recorded interviews will be given an anonymous numerical/alphabetical identity and stored both in Belfast and at Boston College.

A separate key to this code shall be kept and be accessible only to the Project Director and to the Burns Librarian.

The key should be kept only in Boston and should only be transported to Boston by hand (i.e., during the Burns Librarian’s visits to Ireland).

The statements of authenticity should also be kept separate from the transcripts/tapes and stored alongside the key to the codes at Boston College.”

The standard practice was for the Burns Librarian to collect the donor agreements from the researchers during his visits to Ireland.

The Burns Librarian was to bring the hand-collected agreements, identified with their code as seen in the Brendan Hughes agreement, back to Boston College with him, where the material would be archived.

The codified transcripts/interviews were sent separately, directly to Boston College.

The Project Director was not involved whatsoever in this procedure, nor does the contract state he should be.

Note: “While that Agreement refers to interview materials being stored both in Belfast and at Boston College, in fact all of the materials were sent for deposit in the Burns Library, to assure their security and confidentiality.”
Robert K O’Neill affidavit;

“Although that Agreement provides that interview materials would be stored in both Belfast and in the Burns Library at Boston College, it was decided from the outset that for security reasons that the sole repository for the materials would be the Burns Library at Boston College”
Ed Moloney affidavit

In regards to the Dolours Price donor agreement, Robert O’Neill’s affidavit states:

“I understand that the person who interviewed Dolours Price, Anthony McIntyre, recalls that she signed a donation agreement in the form of O’Neill Attachment 2, and that he sent the form she had executed to the Burns Library. We have conducted a search of the archives of the Belfast Project and have been unable to find the form executed by Dolours Price, but we have no reason to doubt that she did sign one, just as the same donation agreement was signed by most of the other interviewees in the Belfast Project.”

Moloney’s bizarre accusations sad to witness

Moloney’s bizarre accusations sad to witness
Robert O’Neill
Letters to the Editor
Belfast Telegraph
31 JULY 2013

IN the latest, bizarre accusation, Belfast Project director Ed Moloney claims that materials for the project were “lost” by me, as Burns Librarian at Boston College (News, July 29).

As Ed Moloney well knows, the materials were not lost; rather, they were never received, in clear violation of his contractual obligation.

When this project began, I had a good deal of faith and trust in Ed Moloney. I admired his work and we became friends.

Our relationship was very amicable, but it deteriorated rapidly after the issuance of the Dolours Price subpoenas.

Ed Moloney insisted that the tapes be burned, destroyed, or returned to him. I explained that I could not violate a subpoena and, therefore, refused to return the tapes, as it would have been a crime to do so. That incident severed our relationship.

Since then, Ed Moloney has consistently deflected any blame from himself onto me and Professor Thomas Hachey at Boston College. He has made several false allegations against me.

The Belfast Project was an opportunity to record the stories of paramilitaries, which otherwise would have been lost to posterity. It was a noble effort. It involved a great deal of work and risk for all concerned and it is sad to witness it devolve into a character assassination in which Ed Moloney refuses to accept responsibility for a project he himself was entrusted to manage.

Burns Librarian, Boston College, USA

For contract reference see: Boston College Belfast Project Key Procedure

Boston tapes name gaffe: Confessions may be useless after identity codes lost

Boston tapes name gaffe: Confessions may be useless after identity codes lost
Belfast Telegraph
29 JULY 2013

In the latest twist in the battle over taped interviews made with former paramilitaries as part of a history project by a US university, doubt has now arisen as to how useful they may be to the PSNI.

It was reported at the weekend that Boston College, which holds the tapes, had lost the coded keys identifying individual participants among the dozens of former IRA and UVF members interviewed for its oral history Belfast Project.

The interviews include those of deceased former IRA member Dolours Price who alleged Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams was involved in the IRA’s 1972 slaying of mother-of-10 Jean McConville, whom the IRA regarded as a spy.

Three weeks after it was widely reported in many media outlets that a 26-month legal battle over the Price interviews ended with PSNI officers flying to Boston to take possession of them, it’s been reported that Boston College isn’t in possession of the coded keys to the interviews. It is not believed that the revelations relate to the Price interviews.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph yesterday, journalist Ed Moloney – the former director of Boston College’s Belfast Project – was adamant that the college was periodically given the coded keys when the material was presented to its archivists by the interviewers from 2001 until 2006.

He said that, as the project progressed, he moved to New York, and, although he remained involved, he wasn’t party to the handing over of interviewee contracts or identification keys. He also criticised Boston College for not doing a proper inventory of the material before now.

“The project started in 2001 and we’re now in the year 2013, and it is only now that Boston College has suddenly realised ‘Oh! We don’t have the contracts’.”

Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn labelled Moloney’s allegations “reprehensible”. Mr Dunn insisted that Mr Moloney was duty-bound to make sure that the college got the contracts and identifying keys. He said: “Ed Moloney, as project director, had a contractual obligation to provide the materials and we’re going to hold him accountable to provide those materials.”

The US Department of Justice will announce tomorrow whether or not it will appeal a May 31 federal appeals court decision in favour of Boston College.

That decision restricted the scope of an earlier ruling that 74 sessions with seven former IRA members be turned over the US Justice Department, which is acting on behalf of the PSNI. The appeals court has ordered Boston College to surrender only 11 sessions.


Boston College’s Belfast Project saw two dozen former IRA and UVF members interviewed from 2001 to 2006.

Participants were assured that their interviews wouldn’t be published while they were alive.

Now it has now emerged that coded keys, identifying who’s who among the interviewees, cannot be found.

Boston College Belfast Project IRA Tapes: Row Over Interviewee Identities

Row over interviewee identities
UTV News
Published Sunday, 28 July 2013
The controversy surrounding the Boston College interviews has taken another twist after those involved refused to identify three IRA members who took part in the project.

The tapes were obtained by the PSNI under a court order in connection with the investigation into the death of Jean McConville – one of the Disappeared.

Earlier this month, two PSNI detectives travelled to the US to bring back excerpts of interviews carried out at Boston College as part of their inquiry into the murder of west Belfast woman Jean McConville in 1972.

The interviews were carried out by journalists Ed Maloney and Anthony McIntyre and the project was overseen by the college.

A court ordered the college to hand over the material following the death of one of the interviewees, the former IRA bomber Dolours Price who died in January.

The police want to review the interviews conducted with Price.

It’s believed she alleged that Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams personally ordered the IRA abduction of the Belfast mother of 10.

However, Mr Adams has always denied the allegations and of ever being a member of the organisation.

In the latest twist, it has emerged that Boston College, cannot identify three of the interviewees.

The Sunday Times newspaper has reported that a lawyer for Ed Maloney and Anthony McIntyre, who conducted the interviews, wrote to the college declining to help.

He’s quoted as saying his clients’ obligations to the interviewees require them to resist any attempts to help identify those who are still alive.

Writing on his internet blog, Ed Moloney suggested the revelation means that almost half of the nine interviews given by IRA members are now of questionable legal value.

He has suggested one of the interviewees was Dolours Price but said it was not known whether her original contract authenticating the interview was lost or never collected from researchers in Ireland.

It’s reported that researchers could face legal action by the US Government for the entire set of interviews to be handed over.

Latest on Boston College Tapes: Radio Free Eireann interview with Belfast Project Director Ed Moloney

Latest on Boston College Tapes: Radio Free Eireann interview with Belfast Project Director Ed Moloney
Radio Free Éireann
WBAI 99.5FM Pacifica Radio
New York City
Saturday 27 July 2013

John McDonagh (JM) and Sandy Boyer (SB) interviews author and journalist Ed Moloney (EM) who provides updates on the Boston College case and comments on the possible presidential candidacy of Peter King. (Eliza Butler (EB) also comments.)

(begins 2:37PM EST)

Sandy Boyer (SB): We do have Ed Moloney, author of Voices From the Grave, on the line. Ed, thanks for being with us.

Ed Moloney (EM): No problem, Sandy.

SB: Ed, there’s a piece in The Irish Times today – and we’ve been covering of course the whole Boston College project where you interviewed the people who actually participated the struggle…

EM: No. I didn’t interview anyone.

SB: You directed the project.

EM: Yes. Yes, indeed.

SB: The Police Service of Northern Ireland has subpoenaed those tapes, or some of them, and now Boston College seems very anxious to hand them over I have to say, but it was revealed that Boston College doesn’t even know who was interviewed. How can that be?

EM: Because the system that we built was designed to ensure the confidentiality and security of the people who participated in the project. That was paramount.

So people who were interviewed were given on the transcripts of their interviews an anonymous identification – usually a letter of the alphabet – A, B, C and all the way through. And then their interviews were then numbered – A1, A2, and so on and so forth.

And that transcript and the tape recordings etc which couldn’t be identified would be fedexed over to Boston College and placed in their archive.

Every now and again the librarian in charge of the archive, a man called Robert O’Neill, would travel to Ireland – which he did regularly because he had a lot of money to spend on buying artifacts and books and material like that for his library – came over to Ireland on a regular basis and he would meet the researchers, that is: Anthony McIntyre, who did the IRA interviews and Wilson McArthur, who did the Ulster Volunteer Force interviews, and collect from them separately contracts – these were contracts that were signed in the names of the people who were A,B,C and D and in that way you were able then to identify “A” and identify “B” and so on and so forth.

Now the rules that we drew up were very strict in the sense that while it was possible to fedex the transcripts and the actual tapes this identifying material had to be carried by hand from Ireland to Boston.

There was no way that you could do it any other way without infringing security.

Now initially I was supposed to be part of that but as you know – for family reasons which I think you’re very familiar with, Sandy – I had to move over to New York very shortly after the project started and therefore could not be involved in this process. And therefore I did not know the names of those who were on the contracts. I never saw the contracts. They were handled exclusively by this character from Boston College, O’Neill, who received these and took them back.

It now appears that a whole number of these contracts either were not collected or were lost in the bureaucratic mess somewhere over in Boston which means that, first of all, Dolours Price’s own interviews – there’s no contract for those. Therefore Boston College does not own those interviews, cannot make any claim to those interviews, cannot publish those interviews and indeed the legal validity of Dolours Price’s interviews as the focus of a criminal trial are now very much in question.

In addition there are seven other interviews which are still the subject of legal wrangling in the courts and we’re going to hear more of that on Tuesday I suspect. But of those seven three of them cannot be identified. They were given letters of the alphabet – I think it’s S, Y and Zed or Z as the Americans call it – they cannot be identified because the contracts don’t exist – either they’ve been lost or they were not collected by Mr. O’Neill.

Boston College is obviously trying to put the blame on myself which is not unusual because that’s been the story of this all along.

But I think an examination of the facts and the history of the whole period along with the fact that this is now thirteen years after this project started – Boston College approved of my move over to New York in the sense that they said: Okay, it’s not ideal but you can continue to run the project or direct the project from New York.

Not once in the thirteen years or so since the project started has Boston College made an issue out of this – come to me and said: Oh, listen – what about these contracts and what about the key to the identities of the participants?

And they didn’t do that because they were happy with the arrangement apparently that we had set up instead.

Not only that but the statute of limitations has expired on the contract that I had with Boston College so it’s unenforceable.

And they allowed that to expire even though it expired after the subpoenas were served by the PSNI.

So again, the evidence is there that they were satisfied with the situation and didn’t do anything about it until right now when they have finally discovered at this very late stage that they have lost these contracts and they’re looking around for someone else to blame other than themselves and of course they’ve picked on myself. So we shall see what happens. But that – it’s a complicated story and I hope your listeners will bear with me – but it is fairly simple at the same time.

SB: But Ed, if you read The Irish Times today and they quote Boston College as saying: well, Ed Moloney has the key to this. Now if I were…

EM: No.

SB: That’s what they say and I’m not saying you do – that’s what they say. If I were the Justice Department and I were reading that I would say: well what I need to do is go subpoena Ed Moloney…

EM: They very well may do something like that – I don’t know. We shall wait and see. But they’re really trying to get blood from a stone.

Because the rules of this archive said that these very important contracts could only be transported by hand from Ireland to Boston and because I was living in New York of course I could not be part of that arrangement.

Otherwise the integrity of the project, the security of the interviewees – would all be at great danger and we would actually be breaching our contract with the interviewees if we did that. So I could not be involved in that.

So the DOJ can come knocking at my door but I cannot help them because I was never in receipt of any of these contracts. I do not know who these people were and that’s just the way it is. And there’s not much I can do about that except explain to them patiently and slowly and hope that they understand. And if they don’t…well we’ll just have to wait and see.

SB: Ed, this was tried on you once before when you were in Belfast…

EM: Yes, that’s right.

SB: …to make you testify against a source and you just said: no I’m not going to do that.

EM: It was not to testify – it was to hand over notes of conversations with a man called Billy Stobie who had been involved as a Special Branch informer with the RUC in the background to the murder of Pat Finucane. And I had given that man my word like I had given the interviewees in this project – although not directly but indirectly – my word that their security and their identities would be safeguarded.

So that’s not going to happen. A) because I will not do it but B) because I just can’t. I don’t have the names. You cannot get blood from a stone no matter how hard you try but that doesn’t mean to say that the authorities won’t at least give it an effort. But we shall see.

JM: Ed, I want to finish up….I know you follow the politics here in the United States and God knows there’s been alot of delusional politicians out there in the recent weeks – people keep thinking of Eliot Spitzer or Anthony Weiner but probably the most delusional politician out there is from Nassau County called Congressman Peter King who is contemplating running for the President of the United States.

And as I brought up at the beginning of the show this is the same Peter King who was very favourable to Irish Northern Aid. I’ve talked to people in Irish Northern Aid and he would have met Joe Cahill when Joe Cahill was out here. And now it’s come up in the trial up in Boston that Joe Cahill was meeting with Whitey Bulger and other drug dealers up in the Boston area.

And here is “Mr. No More Immigration” – “Mr. No This and That” – meeting with Joe Cahill – probably at dinner dances here in New York at the Irish Northern Aid – probably was responsible for getting Joe Cahill a visa to come into the United States – and now it’s coming out that he was running up to Boston and meeting with Whitey Bulger in order to get drug money to have IRA weapons shipped over to Ireland. It’s a very strange thing that Peter King actually thinks that he’s going to run for President.

EM: Well that’s only the half of it because Peter King, who I actually have a soft spot for because in his dealings with Ireland he was very honest and very straightforward I think with a lot of people, and he came to the Irish situation not via the usual route – which is the Sinn Féin offices on the Falls Road – but he came over by himself and he made contacts in areas of West Belfast where most of these sort of visitors would never dare go.

And he met genuine IRA people and then he got very friendly with people on the border in South Armagh.

He became very friendly with Slab Murphy who was ultimately Chief of Staff. He was very friendly with Michael McKevitt and his wife, Bernadette Sands, who’s the sister of Bobby Sands. He brought alot of these people over to the United States. He stayed with them in their homes when he visited Ireland. And only very late on in his association with Ireland did he actually get to meet people like Gerry Adams – who I think actually sought him out rather than him seeking Adams out – which is contrary to the usual pattern of these things.

The people that he was knocking around with were heavy, heavy duty IRA people.

I mean McKevitt and Slab were involved in the Libyan arms importation. And while they were one night sitting down for fish and chips with Peter in their home in County Louth a few days later McKevitt would be in Tripoli meeting Libyan intelligence to go through the inventory of weapons to be smuggled over courtesy of Colonel Gaddafi who, needless to say, was never one of America’s closest friends. So drug dealing in Boston for sure but also arms dealing in the Middle East. And these are people he was very friendly with.

JM: (quips) I don’t know if you can use that as a campaign slogan but you never know what works here in this country!

EM: Indeed! Indeed! But given what’s happened in Libya now perhaps that sort of association is even less respectable but we shall see.

SB: Ed, thank you very much and we appreciate your participation on the show and your regular participation and it makes alot of difference to our audience. And so thank you.

EM: You can come and visit me in gaol, Sandy, as well when the DOJ puts me there.

SB: We will probably do that.

EB: It won’t be our first or last guest in gaol.

JM: (quips to Sandy) You’ll be arrested as you’re coming out after visiting Ed and held!

(ends 2:49PM EST)

Boston College Loses Contracts, Throwing Jean McConville Probe Into Disarray

Boston College Loses Contracts, Throwing Jean McConville Probe Into Disarray
Ed Moloney
The Broken Elbow
July 27, 2013

Boston College does not have in its possession the contract Dolours Price signed with the university that established the authenticity and ownership of the interview about her life in the IRA conducted by researchers from the college, can now reveal. It is not known whether the contract has been lost or was never collected from researchers in Ireland.

This disclosure follows revelations in The Irish Times this weekend that Boston College also cannot locate the contracts that identify three out of the seven IRA interviews that have been successfully subpoenaed by the PSNI and the United States’ Department of Justice in an effort to solve the forty year long IRA murder and disappearance in 1972 of Jean McConville, a Belfast widow and mother of ten whom the IRA accused of spying for the British military. These interviews are still the subject of legal argument in the United States.

This means that four out of the nine interviews or sets of interviews – nearly half of the interviews successfully subpoenaed as being relevant to the McConville murder investigation – are now of dubious legal and evidential value despite a lengthy and expensive legal battle fought by the PSNI and their allies in the Obama White House over the past twenty-seven months.

These revelations also raise questions about how many other interviewee contracts with participants unconnected with the McConville investigation or who were part of the UVF section of the archive that so far has escaped PSNI attention have been lost or were never collected by Boston College.

Amid efforts, so far resisted by Boston College, on the part of interviewees to get their interviews returned and to force the closure of the archive, legal sources say that the inability of Boston College to prove that contracts exist will result in the automatic return of these interviews to those who gave them.

All these twists and turns add appreciably to the embarrassment of Boston College’s authorities over a project that has been roiled in controversy over assurances of confidentiality that were given to interviewees by the college in order to persuade them to participate.

The contracts at the centre of this controversy tell interviewees that their control and ownership of the interviews they gave was absolute until their death, after which ownership and control reverted to Boston College. It was this contract, drawn up by Boston College’s own legal advisers, which persuaded the researchers, Ed Moloney, Anthony McIntyre and Wilson McArthur, as well as the interviewees, to take part in the project as it seemingly offered protection against official intrusion.

At the outset of the project in 2001 another part of the arrangement, drawn up in contracts, stipulated that the Project Director, Ed Moloney would create a key for Boston College that would identify all the participants who otherwise would only be identified by letters of the alphabet and numbers for the number of interviews they gave.

The key would be created via the contracts which the researchers, Anthony McIntyre and Wilson McArthur, would ask each interviewee to sign. The arrangement was very strict about one point: for security reasons the contracts and the key they created could only be hand delivered to Boston from Ireland by the Boston College librarian, Robert O’Neill, who traveled regularly to Ireland on shopping expeditions for the college.

In other words McIntyre and McArthur would provide the signed contracts, Moloney would create a key from them and O’Neill would carry all this back to Boston where the documents would be lodged, at least in theory, in the college archive.

Almost at the outset however the arrangement was altered by changes in the domestic arrangements of Ed Moloney, who was obliged for family reason to relocate from Belfast to New York in the summer of 2001, by which time the IRA part of the archive was just a few months old.

Because the security of the project and the guarantees given to interviewees necessitated that the all important piece of information identifying each participant be taken to Boston only by hand this meant that Moloney, now residing in New York, could no longer be part of this process and it was left to O’Neill, the Boston College librarian and the man in charge of the project, to collect the contracts and create the key. Had Moloney been involved this would have meant that security would have been compromised since the ‘by hand only’ rule would have been breached, with potentially harmful consequences for the interviewees.

It is interesting to note that the subpoenaed IRA interviewees not identified by contracts are all at the end of the alphabet, suggesting that they were started long after he had arrived in New York and when he was no longer in a position to be given copies of their contracts. In practice he was not informed of the names of participants although he did suggest names of potential candidates and needs and did read transcripts which were sent in an encrypted form. However identities could never be sent encrypted or in any other way as the security risk was too great.

Boston College went along with this arrangement. Again for security reasons none of this was described in writing or email but was done orally. Proof that it was acceptable to Boston College lies in the fact that never once, from 2001 onwards, did the college ever demand the key from Ed Moloney. This was because de facto the job was O’Neill’s. During Moloney’s stay in New York he traveled numerous times to Boston College, gave lectures to students and had meetings with those in charge of the project and never once was this issue or problem raised.

Had the college been so exercised by the failure to provide this key its lawyers could have sued for breach of contract but they allowed the statute of limitations to expire in 2012, a year after the PSNI/DoJ subpoenas were served. This suggests that the college was not then concerned about the matter.

It also means that from 2001 until 2013, and even after a foreign police force had requested access to its archive, the fact that a significant number of interviews lodged in Boston College had no contracts attached to demonstrate Boston College’s ownership or to establish the identity of the interviewees went completely unnoticed by the authorities on campus or was not regarded as being of concern.

Collection of the contracts and therefore compilation of the key became the responsibility of Robert O’Neill, the college librarian. Did he collect the contracts and then lose them or ‘forget’ or somehow fail to collect the contracts? We don’t know. It does however seem logical that McIntyre – and also McArthur – did have an incentive to ensure that contracts were signed and collected.

The contracts were the guarantee of security and safety and it was in their interests to ensure that each interviewee was both aware of the text of the contract and had signed them – this was the way, after all, in which they could assure interviewees that it was safe to participate. Equally it was in their interests to ensure that the contracts were lodged at Boston College.

Doubtless aware of how damaging all this extraordinary chapter in the IRA archive story is to Boston College’s reputation, the university has turned on its researchers as it has done repeatedly during this sad story.

This time the reason is clear. Earlier this summer, the First Circuit Court of Appeal in Boston reversed a District Court judgement of 2011 that authorised the wholesale handover of IRA interviews – eighty-five in total. That judgement had said that if interviewee ‘A’ mentioned Jean McConville in only one of 18 interviews then all 18 interviews should be handed over. The First Circuit, very sensibly, said that only that single interview should be conceded.

Following this Boston College appears to have discovered that thanks to the contracts snafu, it cannot identify three of the interviewees. Anxious that once again the college will be exposed as alarmingly bungling and incompetent, Boston College is trying to shift the blame on to its researchers and in particular project director Ed Moloney.

On the foot of what looks like a tip off to the DoJ from Boston College, the researchers’ legal advisers have been warned that the US government may well go into court next week to ask that in the case of those three interviewees their entire set of interviews should now be handed over so they can be identified. Boston College is telling our legal team that we can stop this happening if we identify the three interviewees. Failing that there is the threat in the background of a subpoena, with jail time if it is defied, against the Project Director Ed Moloney.

This is how far Boston College has sunk. And as this happens US academe stands silent, acquiescing and in effect collaborating.

Boston tapes useless in tracing Jean McConville’s IRA murderers

Boston tapes useless in tracing Jean McConville’s IRA murderers
Boston College blames project director Ed Moloney for anonymous voices on key recordings
By PATRICK COUNIHAN, IrishCentral Staff Writer
Saturday, July 27, 2013

Anonymous voices that can not be identified may render the Boston College tapes useless in the search to find the IRA killers who murdered Belfast mother Jean McConville.

Historian and author Chris Bray claims in the Irish Times that some of the voices on the tapes are of little legal value. An attorney has described the tapes as “meaningless” without the identity of thise speaking.

The recordings, made by journalist Ed Moloney, were claimed by Northern Ireland police after a legal battle in the US Supreme Court.

Bray says the audiotapes from the Boston College archive are supposed to answer questions about McConville’s 1972 murder at the hands of the IRA who accused her of being a British Army informant.

But BC says the voices of the former militants on the tapes are difficult to identify.

The report says the police will receive the subpoenaed material but some of the voices are anonymous.

American lawyer Eamonn Dornan, who was involved in the legal battle over the tapes, said: “It certainly greatly diminishes the value of the evidence.

“If they can’t be identified, they’re meaningless, or almost meaningless.”

The report says the very nature of the tapes, known as the Belfast Project, have contributed to the current issue.

Bray says that in the archives, interview materials were marked only by a coded letter and court documents have used that coding to discuss which of the tapes Boston College is to provide to the Government.

But Boston College does not have a key to connect those coded identities to the real identities of the interviewees.

Boston lawyer Jeffrey Swope, who represented the university in the proceedings, has acknowledged that the school’s archivists have never had that identification key.

The Irish Times also says that no contracts exists for some of the key participants in the project although it does have contracts that identify the subjects of four other sets of subpoenaed interviews.

The American university says writer and filmmaker Moloney was obligated to provide the paperwork under the terms of his contract as the research director of the Belfast Project, which was concluded in 2006.

Swope said: “Under the agreement between Boston College and Mr Moloney, Mr Moloney promised to provide a ‘key’ to the code assigned to each interviewee that gave the interviewee’s name. Mr Moloney failed to do.

“Mr Moloney did provide Boston College the donation agreements for some, but not all, of the interviewees.”

Moloney replied that the project ended in 2006, the subpoenas were served in 2011 and only now has Boston College realised that its archivists do not know what is in, or has gone missing from, the college’s own archive.

He said: “Not once in all these years did the college ask me for the key to these interviews and that is because they knew that when I moved to New York at the outset of the project, for family reasons, I could not be involved in a process which stipulated that, for security reasons, contracts could only be taken by hand from Ireland to Boston.

“This is an attempt to divert attention from the college’s own incompetence, one of many during this sad saga.”

The report adds that Boston College is trying to find out whose tapes it has in its archives.

The college has asked Moloney to provide them with the missing identification key.

Swope added: “Mr Moloney has refused to do so.”

Value of Boston College tapes diminished by anonymous voices

Value of Boston College tapes diminished by anonymous voices
Chris Bray
Irish Times
July 27, 2013

There are voices and they talk about the death of Jean McConville. It may not matter. After two years of legal proceedings in the US, a set of audiotapes in a Boston College archive are supposed to answer questions about McConville’s 1972 murder by members of the IRA, who claim they suspected her of informing for the British army in Belfast.

The voices on the tapes are said to belong to former militants from the organisation that took McConville from her home, shot her dead and then buried her on a beach in the South.

But the prolonged court battle may produce evidence of questionable legal value, as Boston College now says it is unable to identify some of the interviewees.

Assuming no further legal wrangling in the US, police in Northern Ireland are set to receive subpoenaed material in which unidentifiable voices anonymously discuss a decades-old murder.

“It certainly greatly diminishes the value of the evidence,” says Eamonn Dornan, a lawyer who has participated in some of the American legal proceedings involving the subpoenas. “If they can’t be identified, they’re meaningless, or almost meaningless.”

The inability of Boston College archivists to identify some interviewees from the venture known as the Belfast Project grows from apparent failures in a system that was designed for the very purpose of masking the identity of research subjects.

In the archive, interview materials were marked only by a coded letter and court documents have used that coding to discuss which of the tapes Boston College is to provide to the Government.

Among the interviewees who discuss McConville’s death, which American courts have concluded from a review of the material, are those known as S, Y, and Z.

Nowhere, however, does Boston College have a key that connects those coded identities to the real identities of the interviewees.

Jeffrey Swope, a lawyer in Boston who represents the university in the proceedings over the subpoenas, acknowledged this week that the school’s archivists have never had that identification key.

In some instances, university archivists are able to identify Belfast Project interviewees by the research contracts they signed. For the subjects known as S, Y, and Z, however, Boston College acknowledges that it doesn’t have interview contracts, although it does have contracts that identify the subjects of four other sets of subpoenaed interviews.

The American university is blaming an Irish journalist for the missing documentation, saying that the writer and filmmaker Ed Moloney was obligated to provide the paperwork under the terms of his contract as the research director of the Belfast Project, which was concluded in 2006.

“Under the agreement between Boston College and Mr Moloney, ” wrote Swope in an email on Wednesday, responding to questions, “Mr Moloney promised to provide a ‘key’ to the code assigned to each interviewee that gave the interviewee’s name. Mr Moloney failed to do. Mr Moloney did provide Boston College the donation agreements for some, but not all, of the interviewees.”

In response, Moloney said that the project ended in 2006, the subpoenas were served in 2011 and only now has Boston College realised that its archivists do not know what is in, or has gone missing from, the college’s own archive.

“Not once in all these years did the college ask me for the key to these interviews and that is because they knew that when I moved to New York at the outset of the project, for family reasons, I could not be involved in a process which stipulated that, for security reasons, contracts could only be taken by hand from Ireland to Boston,” says Moloney.

“This is an attempt to divert attention from the college’s own incompetence, one of many during this sad saga.”

Forced to turn over interviews with research subjects it can’t identify, Boston College is trying to find out whose tapes it has in its archives. The university has asked Moloney to provide them with the missing identification key. “Mr Moloney has refused to do so,” according to Swope.

Swope also provided a copy of Moloney’s contract with Boston College, noting that it required the research director to provide the identification key.

He did not respond to subsequent queries asking why Boston College was bringing the absence of that key to Moloney’s attention in 2013, seven years after the end of the project he ran.

Several Boston College officials, including archivist Robert O’Neill and spokesman Jack Dunn, also did not respond to phone calls and emails this week. Neither did officials at the US Department of Justice.

Dornan, who represents Moloney in litigation over the subpoenas, said this week that neither the US Department of Justice nor Boston College are likely to succeed in any effort to force a key to interviewee identities from the former Belfast Project director.

Moloney won’t co-operate and his long-expired agreement with the university is unenforceable due to the statute of limitations on contractual obligations.

As for American prosecutors, Dornan says, the law only permits them to subpoena “documents which are in existence”. And the identity key doesn’t exist. Other avenues may be available to the Government, including a subpoena forcing Moloney to testify in court, but “there are a lot of procedural difficulties” .

Those legal hurdles will be complicated, Dornan adds, by a new political climate in the US following two years of controversy over the subpoenas.

Whatever legal developments come next, they are unlikely to be resolved quickly. The death of Jean McConville is, 41 years after the event, a story that still resists its ending.

Chris Bray is a historian and journalist.

Moloney and McIntyre seek access to British regiment’s war diaries

Moloney and McIntyre seek access to British regiment’s war diaries
Documents could assist in establishing true details about murder of Jean McConville, they contend
Gerry Moriarty
Irish Times
Mon, Jul 15, 2013

A journalist and former IRA prisoner are to lodge a freedom of information inquiry with the British government in an effort to cast further light on the IRA murder of Jean McConville.

Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre have invited members of the McConville family to join them in the freedom of information request to access the war diaries of the British army’s First Gloucestershire
Regiment who were operating in west Belfast for periods in 1971, 1972 and 1973.

The diaries, which record daily military events during a regimental tour, cannot be opened until January 2059. They are the only regiment to have served in Divis in west Belfast around that period and whose war diaries have been embargoed in this way, according to journalist Mr Moloney and former IRA prisoner and academic Dr McIntyre.

They have approached the McConville family seeking their support for the request while former Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland Baroness Nuala O’Loan has told them that in principle she would support the opening of the diaries if they served a useful purpose.

“The First Gloucesters served in the Divis Flats area of west Belfast at the time Jean McConville came under IRA suspicion of working for British military intelligence and was subsequently abducted, murdered and her body hidden in a secret grave,” Moloney and Dr McIntyre said in a statement yesterday.

They said they wanted to access the diaries to see if they contained any information which might indicate what happened to Ms McConville, the widowed mother of 10 who was abducted from her apartment in the Divis Flats, shot and buried in a Co Louth beach.

The McConville family has always insisted that their mother was not carrying out such work and that she was killed by the IRA because she had comforted a British soldier who had been wounded outside her door.

Baroness O’Loan in her 2006 investigation found that Ms McConville was not acting in any informer capacity for the British army. She questioned what value the diaries might be as the First Gloucesters were not actually in west Belfast when Ms McConville was abducted sometime in late November/early December 1972. They served from December 1971 to April 1972 and from April 1973 to August 1973, she said.

Nonetheless, Baroness O’Loan added that if it could assist the murder investigation such documents should be handed over to the PSNI while, with possible redactions because of threat to life considerations, they could also be made available to Mr Moloney and Mr McIntyre. “Anybody who has any information about what is a murder investigation should hand that information over,” she said.

Sinn Fein’s dismissal of Boston College tapes is utter hypocrisy

Sinn Fein’s dismissal of Boston College tapes is utter hypocrisy
John Downing
Irish Independent
15 JULY 2013

SINN Fein is among the many individuals and groups who rightly argue that the contents of the Anglo Irish Bank Tapes, revealed by this newspaper, must be promptly and fully investigated. But the party is not at all as keen to see the contents of another set of tapes – the so-called Boston College tapes – examined and discussed.

Ten days ago, Sinn Fein TD Mary Lou McDonald was asking in Dail Eireann why certain, key people around Ireland’s banking system ‘sang dumb’ about the Anglo Tapes. Ms McDonald, Sinn Fein’s vice-president, is unlikely to pose the same question to her party president, Gerry Adams. We must assume she accepts her boss’s insulting assertion, rejected by most other people, that he was never in the IRA.

The Boston College tapes were part of an oral history project on the Northern Ireland Troubles and involved veteran journalist and author Ed Moloney and others. The original idea was that the tape contents would not be released until after the death of the interviewees because of the explicit content relating to their involvement in some very serious crimes.

But the Northern Ireland authorities, involved in investigating historic serious crimes, began a marathon legal battle to get these tapes which went all the way to the US Supreme Court. Last week the first of the tape contents were handed over to the Police Service of Northern Ireland and it is widely expected that the rest of this material will also be handed over in due course.

The tapes raise serious questions about Mr Adams’s role in the IRA – a role he continually insists he never had. They also raise serious questions about his potential links to some heinous crimes in the early 1970s in Belfast which involved the so-called ‘Disappeared’.

These were people believed to be helping the British security services in the North and working against the IRA, who were abducted, tortured, murdered and secretly buried. The most notorious case among these was the story of Jean McConville, a widowed mother of 10 children.

Six of her nine children were taken into care after her abduction, torture and murder in December 1972 and many of them grew up with little knowledge of one another. In March 1999, as implementation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement was in crisis over IRA arms decommissioning, the IRA offered to help locate nine of the ‘Disappeared’.

At the time the move was seen as an IRA gesture of good faith in the absence of movement on weaponry. But location details about a beach near Carlingford, Co Louth, proved too vague despite extensive searches. Ultimately, Ms McConville’s body was found by accident in August 2003, and it appears that winter storms had washed away part of a car park which had later been built over her makeshift grave.

The issue has been periodically in the news for the past three years. In April 2010, Ed Moloney published ‘Voices From The Grave’ which included the accounts of two paramilitary leaders, Brendan ‘Darkie’ Hughes of the IRA, and David Ervine of the UVF.

Hughes’s account deals with the McConville case and makes serious allegations implicating Mr Adams in what happened. In 2012 another IRA veteran, Dolours Price, gave similar accounts and made comparable allegations against Mr Adams in an interview with a British Sunday newspaper. Both accounts also named Mr Adams as a senior IRA commander at that time.

Mr Adams and Sinn Fein have always denied these allegations – insisting that he had no involvement in what happened to Jean McConville and he further, always and everywhere, insists that he was never in the IRA.

Sinn Fein has said that Mr Hughes, who died in February 2008, and Ms Price, who died last January, were both very ill people who had vehemently opposed the IRA and Sinn Fein’s involvement in the Good Friday Agreement. In sum, they had personal and political reasons to try to discredit Mr Adams.

Mr Adams often describes recurrent questions to him about the issue as a media obsession which has no popular resonance. He points to his poll-topping, 15,000-plus votes which saw him elected TD for Louth in February 2011 among evidence for this argument.

In the past week, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin again questioned Mr Adams in the Dail on this issue. Some people have since described this questioning as Fine Gael and Fianna Fail just seeking to make political gains and do down an opponent which threatens their vote-share.

Sinn Fein and critics of the main parties question the potential legal validity of these tapes and their dubious status in a court of law. This may be true – but it is hardly an argument for ignoring them.

But Mr Martin’s comments last week were interesting as he argued that Mr Adams’s denials lacked credibility and then he went on to say: “Were it any other politician who stood accused of what Mr Adams is, they would be facing, at a minimum, a Dail inquiry or a commission of inquiry.”

Now, that is rather like what Sinn Fein has to say about the Anglo Tapes.