Evidence from US witness sought in Jean McConville case

Evidence from US witness sought in Jean McConville case
The Irish Times
Mon, May 16, 2016

Efforts are being made to obtain evidence from an American witness in the case against a veteran republican charged over the killing of Jean McConville, a court heard today.

A prosecution lawyer disclosed attempts to have them compelled to testify about alleged offences linked to Ivor Bell.

The 79-year-old faces charges of soliciting to murder connected to an allegation that he encouraged or persuaded others to kill Mrs McConville. The victim, a mother of 10, was seized by the IRA from her Divis Flats home in west Belfast in 1972 after being wrongly accused of being an informer.

Following her abduction she was shot dead and then secretly buried. Her body was discovered on a Co Louth beach in 2003.

Mr Bell, from Ramoan Gardens in the Andersonstown district of the city, was arrested and charged in March 2014. The case against him centres on an interview he allegedly gave to US researchers from Boston College as part of a project with former paramilitaries about their roles in the Northern Ireland conflict.

Transcripts

Although transcripts were not to be published until after the deaths of those who took part, a US court ordered the tapes should be handed over to PSNI detectives investigating Mrs McConville’s killing.

It is alleged Mr Bell is one of the Boston interviewees, given the title Z, who spoke about the circumstances surrounding the decision to abduct her. A voice analyst has been enlisted as part of the case.

The accused – who is currently on bail – denies any role in events surrounding the murder, claiming he was not even in the city at the time. His lawyers contend that he does not have a case to answer.

They are expected to mount an attempt to have the charges thrown out at a preliminary inquiry hearing where witnesses can be cross-examined in a bid to test the strength of the evidence.

At Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Monday, prosecution lawyer John O’Neill provided an update on proceedings. He indicated that efforts have been made to compel an unnamed witness from America to give evidence. However, that person remains unwilling to comply with requests.

An application may now be made to have this evidence admitted on a hearsay basis.

The case was then adjourned until next month when the prosecution is expected to finalise its position.

Boston College tapes: Police bid for access to former IRA man’s interviews just ‘fishing expedition’, court hears

Boston College tapes: Police bid for access to former IRA man’s interviews just ‘fishing expedition’, court hears
By Alan Erwin
BelfastTelegraph.co.uk
Published 10/05/2016

Police attempts to gain access to a former IRA man’s interviews for an American university project are just a “fishing expedition”, the High Court heard today.

Lawyers for Anthony McIntyre insisted recordings of his activities stored at Boston College only contain details of offences for which he has already served a prison sentence.

They are taking legal action to stop efforts by the PSNI and Public Prosecution Service to gain access to the tapes.

McIntyre, who is from Belfast but now lives in the Irish Republic, was one of the main researchers in the major project to compile an oral history of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Dozens of loyalists and republicans provided testimonies to Boston College on the understanding their account would only be made public after they died.

But those assurances were dealt a blow when legal battles resulted in police securing transcripts and tapes of interviews given by former IRA woman Dolours Price and ex-loyalist prisoner Winston “Winkie” Rea.

Now the authorities want access to McIntyre’s recorded recollection of his own IRA activities.

A subpoena seeking copies of his interviews has been served on Boston College by the British government.

The move involves a so-far undisclosed International Letter of Request (ILOR) setting out alleged offences being investigated.

The College has until May 26 to file a motion to quash those proceedings in the United States.

Meanwhile, McIntyre’s lawyers have launched legal action at the High Court in Belfast.

They are seeking to judicially review the PSNI and PPS for issuing the ILOR.

Ronan Lavery QC said that unlike the Rea case, the authorities have decided not to disclose details of the letter.

He told the court it was suspected the stance was taken because the ILOR reveals no specific offences.

According to the barrister McIntyre was in jail between 1976 and 1992, and has only been questioned about another alleged offence committed within prison.

“In June 1978 he was questioned about possession of an imitation firearm found in a pair of platform shoes,” Mr Lavery said.

“There’s no suggestion of any offence committed since that date.”

Based on the American proceedings taking place later this month, Mr Justice Maguire was told the judicial review application was no longer so urgent.

Mr Lavery contended, however: “We say it’s a fishing expedition, and has no specific (charge). But we won’t know that until we see the ILOR.”

Tony McGleenan QC, for the Chief Constable, responded that the court should wait until American proceedings are exhausted.

“At which point we will know if there’s a need for a hearing in this jurisdiction,” he explained.

Peter Coll QC, representing the PPS, agreed with his assessment, adding: “There’s no immediate urgency in this matter.”

Adjourning the case, Mr Justice Maguire noted that a future hearing may be required at short notice, depending on the outcome in the US.

Belfast Project Protection of Research Letter From American Sociological Association Presidents

Belfast Project Protection of Research Letter From American Sociological Association Presidents

May 5, 2016

To Whom It May Concern:

As the elected presidents of the American Sociological Association, we are profoundly disturbed by the effort to subpoena Dr. Anthony McIntyre’s recordings, collected as part of Boston College’s “Belfast Project,” an oral history of the political and sectarian violence in Northern Ireland decades ago. The research for that project was conducted with a guarantee that the information interviewees provided would not be released until after their deaths. Such guarantees are a core component of efforts by historians and social scientists to develop the research-based knowledge that is critical to an informed society.

This principle of protecting the confidentiality of information obtained from human research subjects is an important part of U.S. federal law and regulation governing research. It is intended to ensure that people who voluntarily participate in research may do so without the threat of harm while also maintaining their right to privacy. Additionally, it is intended to ensure that researchers may conduct studies involving human participants without threats to their ability to develop valuable scientific and humanistic knowledge. Such scholarly freedom is essential to both an informed and a free society.

The ASA, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a scientific discipline and profession, and promoting the contributions and use of sociology to society. As the national organization for over 13,000 sociologists and related scholars and researchers, the ASA takes the responsibility of researchers to protect the confidentiality of research data extremely seriously—this principle is at the heart of the American Sociological Association Code of Ethics, which is enforced by the ASA Committee on Professional Ethics. Similarly, the ASA works vigorously on behalf of scholars and researchers whose efforts to protect confidential data obtained from research participants have been challenged.

As elected officers of the ASA we support Boston College’s effort to protect confidential research information from subpoena. The release of the “Belfast Project” interview data threatens the academic freedom to study difficult and controversial topics. It undercuts the willingness of potential participants in future research to share valuable information. In the short run, such intrusion in research seeking to understand past tragedies can harm the processes through which Northern Ireland now seeks political stability. And in the long run, we must weigh the potential damage to social science that can provide a firmer knowledge base for avoiding these types of conflicts in the future.

For these reasons, we hereby affirm the right of research confidentiality, which is fundamental to social research.

Respectfully,

Ruth Milkman
President
Professor of Sociology,
City University of New York Graduate Center

Paula England
Immediate Past President
Professor,
New York University

Michèle Lamont
President Elect
Professor of Sociology
Harvard University

American Sociological Association
1430 K Street NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 383-9005
(202) 638-0882 fax
executive.office@asanet.org
http://www.asanet.org

Boston College opposes legal moves to seize IRA tapes

Boston College opposes legal moves to seize IRA tapes
A subpoena has been served on the US college to hand over recordings from ex-IRA prisoner turned academic Dr Anthony McIntyre
Henry McDonald
Ireland correspondent
The Guardian
Thursday 28 April 2016

US university Boston College has confirmed it will oppose legal moves to seize tapes from an ex-IRA volunteer turned academic for a controversial archive of former paramilitaries.

A subpoena was served on Boston College earlier this week from the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Public Prosecution Service in Belfast to hand over recordings from Dr Anthony McIntyre for the Belfast Project.

The college has now said it will file a motion to have the subpoena quashed.

The subpoena to obtain McIntyre’s personal interviews has been served under the terms of a UK-US legal assistance treaty and the Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003.

Boston College has been ordered to appear at the John Joseph Moakley courthouse in the city on 6 May to deliver McIntyre’s interviews.

As well as conducting interviews with other former IRA members, McIntyre himself gave interviews to a guest researcher.

Set up in 2001, the Belfast project interviewed those directly involved in paramilitary violence between 1969 and 1994 in Northern Ireland. Participants were promised that the interviews would be released only after their death.

Boston College challenges tape subpoena

Boston College challenges tape subpoena
By Vincent Kearney
BBC News NI Home Affairs Correspondent
BBC News

A legal bid by the public prosecution service (PPS) and PSNI to gain access to interviews recorded by a former IRA member as part of the Boston College project is to be challenged by the American university.

Anthony McIntyre was one of the main researchers in the project.

A subpoena was served on the college at the weekend demanding access to interviews about his IRA activities.

The college says it will file a motion to quash the subpoena.

McIntyre’s legal team in Belfast also plan to lodge papers in the High Court challenging the legality of a decision by the PPS to use an international treaty to seek assistance from the US authorities.

The subpoena was served on the college by a lawyer acting on behalf of the British government.

It compels a representative of the college to appear in court in Massachussets next Friday to provide the material requested.

Anthony McIntyre’s lawyers team say that request was unlawful.

What are the ‘Boston tapes’?

Dozens of former paramilitaries were interviewed in Belfast and other cities and towns from 2001-2006 as part of an oral history project known as the Belfast Project.

Details about internal politics and activities of the IRA were revealed on tape, including accounts of a hunger strike in prison in the 1980s.

Overall, the project cost about $200,000 (£118,520), mostly provided by an Irish-American businessman.

Each interview was transcribed, sent by encrypted email to New York and then the material was sent to Boston College, where it was placed under lock and key at Burns Library.

Following a lengthy legal battle with the college, the Police Service of Northern Ireland gained access to a small number of the interviews in 2013.

A legal firm acting for Boston College, Locke Lord, has confirmed in a letter that it will also oppose the subpoena.

“I can confirm that Boston College will file a motion to quash the subpoena that seeks Anthony McIntyre’s Belfast Project interview recordings, transcripts, and related materials,” the letter states.

“No such materials will be produced pending a ruling on that motion.”

Anthony McIntyre recorded a number of interviews detailing his own activities during the Troubles, as well as interviewing others.

He served 18 years in prison for IRA offences, and insists the police have already questioned him about all of the issues listed in a subpoena served on Boston College.

Police in legal push for Boston College tapes of ex-Provo McIntyre

Police in legal push for Boston College tapes of ex-Provo McIntyre
PSNI in new move over Boston College project
By Suzanne Breen
BelfastTelegraph.co.uk
26/04/2016

The Public Prosecution Service and the PSNI have launched a legal bid for the taped interviews of the ex-IRA man at the centre of Boston College’s controversial Belfast Project.

A subpoena has been served on the college demanding it hand over the material relating to Anthony McIntyre. The case is due to go before a US court in 10 days’ time.

Although the lead researcher in the project, in which 40 former republican and loyalist paramilitaries spoke about their roles during the conflict, Mr McIntyre himself gave a personal interview about his own activities to a guest interviewer.

The subpoena states that the tapes are being sought as part of an investigation into attempted murder, the possession of explosives with intent to endanger life, conspiracy to cause an explosion, possession of an imitation firearm, and membership of a proscribed organisation.

Mr McIntyre, who served 18 years in jail for murdering UVF man Kenneth Lenaghan in 1976, is now an outspoken critic of the Sinn Fein leadership and opposes the republican “armed struggle”.

Originally from the lower Ormeau in south Belfast, he now lives in Drogheda, Co Louth, with his wife and two children. If the material is handed over, the PSNI may seek his extradition from the Republic. Campaigners for Mr McIntyre have already contacted acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin about the case.

Taped interviews with IRA members Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes have already been handed over to the PSNI by Boston College following a lengthy legal battle.

They had been requested by officers investigating the 1972 abduction and murder of mother-of-10 Jean McConville. The current legal action is unrelated to the McConville inquiry.

Mr McIntyre last night said: “I have spent almost two decades in jail and the British authorities are looking for me about 1970s stuff. Not one police officer has spent a day in jail for the torture of people in Castlereagh in the Seventies and Eighties, torture that has been proven by numerous human rights organisations.

“The State is busy covering up their role in murder in the dirty war yet they are portraying themselves as the good guys coming after me in the name of justice. If it wasn’t so serious, it would be farcical.”

Mr McIntyre, who claimed he would challenge the subpoena through his lawyers, said he was not surprised by it. He alleged it was about “settling scores” over the resistance he had mounted to handing over any of the Boston tapes in previous legal hearings.

He said that, if he was arrested, he would refuse to co-operate with police.

“I will not speak even one word to them. I will remain totally mute,” he said.

Former loyalist and republican paramilitaries provided testimonies to Boston College researchers compiling an oral history of the Northern Ireland conflict. They made taped recordings about their activities from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Interviews were given on the understanding that the tapes would not be made public until after the interviewees’ deaths, but those assurances were dealt a blow in 2013 when detectives investigating the McConville murder secured Dolours Price’s tapes.

The tapes of Brendan Hughes and seven other republicans, who had referred to the McConville murder in their interviews, were also handed over. Veteran republican Ivor Bell is currently facing charges of aiding and abetting the murder of Mrs McConville based on material in the recordings.

Other republicans, including Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, have been arrested by detectives investigating her death but they have all been released without charge. Last year the PSNI also won a court battle to secure access to interviews given by former loyalist prisoner Winston Rea.

Mr McIntyre, who has a PhD from Queen’s University Belfast, carried out 25 of the 26 interviews with republicans for the Belfast Project. The 14 loyalist interviews were conducted by Wilson McArthur. The interviews were carried out between 2001 and 2006.

The subpoena for Mr McIntyre’s taped interview has been served under the US-UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. Boston College has been ordered to appear before a court in the city on May 6 to deliver the recording and any other material relating to it.

What the Anthony McIntyre Subpoena is Not

What the Anthony McIntyre Subpoena is Not
Chris Bray
chrisbrayblog.blogspot.ie
Monday, April 25, 2016

British and Irish newspapers have begun to cover the latest subpoena served on Boston College for Belfast Project materials, and some are getting big parts of the story wrong. Most egregiously, David Lawler writes in the Telegraph that the newly subpoenaed materials “could shed light on the infamous abduction of Jean McConville in 1972.”

Doubling down, Lawler’s story later ascribes this view to the Police Service of Northern Ireland: “The PSNI believes McIntryre’s interviews with former IRA members could indicate what role, if any, Gerry Adams had in the kidnap and murder of McConville.”

Not true. Not close to true.

Start with the subpoena itself, which directly declares the categories of crime that are supposedly under investigation:

The subpoena sent to Boston College tells us that police are investigating “alleged violations of the laws of the United Kingdom, namely, attempted murder, possession of explosives with intent to endanger life, possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence, and membership of a proscribed organization.”

Notice the absence from that list of the crimes of kidnapping and murder, the two things that were done to Jean McConville.

But that’s only one of the reasons we know this new subpoena isn’t about Jean McConville. Recall that Boston College received two sets of subpoenas back in 2011: A first set for particular interviews undertaken with Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes, and a second (and later) set requesting all interviews that described the McConville matter.

Burns Librarian Robert O’Neill, the university official responsible for archiving the Belfast Project, told the federal district court that he was unfamiliar with the collection he had spent years receiving and cataloging. That claim led Judge William Young to perform a complete in camera review of every IRA interview in the collection, personally determining which interview materials were germane to a request for evidence in the McConville case. Young ordered all of those materials sent to the PSNI.

Now: The PSNI has returned to Boston, through the agency of the US Attorney’s Office, to seek Anthony McIntyre’s interviews, so…

1.) The PSNI doesn’t already have McIntyre’s interviews, but

2.) Four years ago, every Belfast Project interview with material about the McConville murder was sent to the PSNI.

Therefore, McIntyre’s interviews were not among those that contained material about the McConville killing. Because they would already be in Belfast, lodged with the police, if they did.

Anthony McIntyre’s interviews don’t contain information about the McConville killing, and the new subpoena doesn’t mention kidnapping or murder. It’s not at all correct to link this new subpoena for McIntyre’s interviews to McConville. Stop doing it.

Boston College ordered by US court to hand over IRA tapes

Boston College ordered by US court to hand over IRA tapes
Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondent
The Guardian
Monday 25 April 2016

An American university has been ordered by a court to hand over sensitive tapes of a former IRA prisoner talking about his role in the republican movement during the Troubles.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is seeking to force Boston College to release the interviews with Anthony McIntyre, who was the lead researcher in the Belfast Project, a recorded oral archive of IRA and loyalist paramilitary testimonies.

The subpoena to obtain McIntyre’s personal interviews has been served under the terms of a UK-US legal assistance treaty and the Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003.

Boston College has been ordered to appear at the John Joseph Moakley courthouse in the city on 6 May to deliver McIntyre’s interviews, it was confirmed on Monday.

As well as conducting interviews with other former IRA members, McIntyre himself gave interviews to a guest researcher.

Set up in 2001, the project interviewed those directly involved in paramilitary violence between 1969 and 1994 in Northern Ireland. Participants were promised that the interviews would be released only after their death.

However, the PSNI has been using the US courts in an attempt to obtain the tapes, succeeding up to now only with tapes they claim are related to the 1972 IRA murder of Jean McConville.

McIntyre, who has instructed lawyers to fight the subpoena request, called the PSNI’s pursuit of the tapes “vengeful and vindictive”. “I will not be cooperating in any way,” he said. “I will not break breath to them.”

The Boston Project’s director, Ed Moloney, and researcher Wilson McArthur, said in a statement that the legal move to seize McIntyre’s interviews was a “PSNI fishing expedition”.

“The subpoena request provides no details of specific charge, investigation or offence of which Dr McIntyre is accused, no names of alleged victims, no dates, no places,” they said.

Moloney and McArthur warned that academic freedom was “under siege” due to the pressure on Boston College and challenged the university to resist the subpoena.

The PSNI aka Keystone Kops: Stumbling Back to Boston

Keystone Kops III: Stumbling Back to Boston
Chris Bray
chrisbrayblog.blogspot.ie
Monday, April 25, 2016

Incredibly, Boston College has been served with a new Belfast Project subpoena, following a request from the British government to American authorities under the terms of the US-UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.

The latest demand for archived materials seeks the interviews that were conducted with a primary researcher on the project, Dr. Anthony McIntyre. A Queen’s University history PhD, McIntyre is himself a former member of the Provisional IRA, once imprisoned by the British government for 18 years. McIntyre interviewed former IRA members for the Belfast Project, and was also interviewed himself by an as-yet-unidentified guest researcher.

The absurdity of the new subpoena would be hard to exaggerate. Dated April 21, and signed by First Assistant United States Attorney John McNeil, the subpoena seeks “evidence regarding alleged violations of the laws of the United Kingdom,” including “membership of a proscribed organization.”

This isn’t a joke: In 2016, the British and U.S. governments are working together to try to figure out if Anthony McIntyre was ever a member of the IRA.

It’s like the FBI suddenly deciding to assemble a major case squad to see if Huey Newton ever had anything to do with that whole Black Panther thing. Was Nathanael Greene somehow involved in the American Revolution? An urgent government investigation is underway!

(Personal aside to Police Service of Northern Ireland: Try looking here. If that’s too much reading, this confidential law enforcement source might also help.)

The new subpoena follows several earlier waves of equally ridiculous subpoenas, which began in 2011 and first sought information on the long-ignored 1972 kidnapping and murder of Jean McConville. Several years after receiving subpoenaed interviews that discussed the McConville killing, authorities in Belfast have charged precisely no one with those crimes – and the available evidence strongly suggests that they never will.

The Public Prosecution Service of Northern Ireland did charge a single person, Ivor Bell, with aiding and abetting in the McConville murder, but police and prosecutors have never said who Bell was supposed to have aided and abetted; they have brought charges for helping with a murder, but they have not brought charges for the murder itself. Even that weak and tangential case is evaporating in painful stages: Bell was charged in March of 2014, but — more than two years later — has yet to receive so much as a preliminary inquiry, much less a trial. Bell’s lawyers now seek to have the charges thrown out of court, an outcome that seems increasingly likely.

More recently, law enforcement officials in Belfast used the MLAT process to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to obtain the Belfast Project interviews of former Loyalist paramilitary commander Winston Rea.  Police in Belfast got the Rea tapes nearly a year ago. The tapes have not been spoken of since, and no charges have been filed.

And so Northern Ireland’s Keystone Kops return to the same dry well that has served them so well in the past, demanding tapes that may reveal Anthony McIntyre’s involvement in the IRA.

I keep trying to decide if this is a tragedy or a farce. It may be both. One thing that it certainly isn’t: A legitimate police investigation.

Boston College subpoenaed for Anthony McIntyre interviews

Boston College subpoenaed for Anthony McIntyre interviews
British government seeks access to taped interview by former IRA prisoner
Gerry Moriarty
The Irish Times
Mon, Apr 25, 2016

The British government has lodged a subpoena with Boston College seeking access to taped interviews given by former IRA prisoner Dr Anthony McIntyre, it was stated on Monday.

Ed Moloney and Wilson McArthur, who were centrally involved with the Belfast Project – an oral history of the Troubles – said that the British government, acting on behalf of the PSNI and the office of the North’s Director of Public Prosecution, had served a subpoena on Boston College seeking access to Dr McIntyre’s personal interviews.

Former director of the project Mr Moloney and Mr McArthur, who interviewed former UVF members for the oral history, accused the authorities of engaging in an illegal “fishing expedition” in seeking access to Dr McIntyre’s tapes.

Boston College’s spokesman Jack Dunn said that the “subpoena was issued in proceedings that the United States District Court ordered sealed, and Boston College was requested to treat the proceedings and the subpoena as confidential”.

“Nevertheless, the university notified Mr McIntyre of the subpoena because it concluded that he should know that his materials had been requested. Given that the pending proceedings remain under seal, Boston College is not able to comment further on the matter,” added Mr Dunn.

Historian Dr McIntyre, who served time in prison on an IRA murder conviction, and Mr McArthur respectively interviewed 26 republican and 20 loyalist former paramilitaries for the project.

Dr McIntyre also gave an interview about his IRA involvement during the Troubles to another interviewer as part of the project.

Interviewees were given commitments that there would be no disclosure of their interviews until after their deaths. Two of those who gave interviews were former senior IRA figure Brendan Hughes and former UVF member and Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine.

After their deaths their testimonies were included in a book by Mr Moloney called “Voices From the Grave” which contained information from Mr Hughes about the IRA’s abduction, murder and disappearance of Jean McConville in 1972.

Subsequently, as part of its investigation of Ms McConville’s murder the PSNI sought access to the Boston tapes. Ultimately under legal pressure Boston College handed over a number of tapes that are believed to contain reference to Ms McConville.

The release of the tapes also resulted in the arrest of veteran republican Ivor Bell (79) who also engaged with the project. He is charged with aiding and abetting in Ms McConville’s murder as well as membership of the IRA. His trial has yet to take place.

“This action by the DPP and PSNI is simply a fishing expedition, which is prohibited by international law,” said Mr Moloney and Mr McArthur.

“We do know, in particular, that this request does not have anything to do with the disappearance and murder of Jean McConville, which was the event that motivated this PSNI trawl five years ago,” they added.

“The subpoena request provides no details of specific charge, investigation or offence of which Dr McIntyre is accused, no names of alleged victims, no dates, no places. Instead the originators of this shoddy document mention matters which are so over-broad, that literally anyone alive during the Troubles in Northern Ireland could be accused of some association with them,” said Mr Moloney and Mr McArthur.

They added that Dr McIntyre has engaged Belfast human rights solicitor Kevin Winters “to resist these efforts to raid his personal memoirs”.

Mr Moloney and Mr McArthur said the arrest and charging of Mr Bell was an “abuse of process” as was the action against Dr McIntyre. They called on the Irish Government “not to co-operate with the British authorities should any effort be made to extradite Dr McIntyre from his home in Drogheda to Belfast for the purposes of yet another futile and inordinately expensive show trial”.

They added that the DPP and PSNI had requested, and the US Department of Justice had agreed, to a “demand that Boston College keep these legal proceedings secret, away from the prying eyes of the international press”.

The PSNI said it was not “commenting on the matter” while the DPP’s office was not in a position to comment at this stage. At the time of writing there was no response to queries from the Northern Ireland Office.