Menendez Fires Volley Across British Bows On Boston College Archive

Menendez Fires Volley Across British Bows On Boston College Archive
Ed Moloney
The Broken Elbow

Senator Robert Melendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress has dramatically intervened in the Boston College subpoenas case by outlining a series of conditions that he says the US should impose if any further interviews from the Belfast Project archive at Boston College are handed over to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) on foot of British subpoenas.

Menendez’s intervention came in the wake of the Boston-based First Circuit Court of Appeal’s June decision to impose separate limitations on the handover – reducing the number of interviews scheduled for handover from 85 to 12 – and only days after PSNI detectives had traveled to Boston to pick up tapes and transcripts of interviews made by the late Dolours Price, a former IRA member who in media interviews last autumn claimed to have helped ‘disappear’ alleged British Army informer Jean McConville in 1972.

The conditions outlined by Menendez were made in a letter sent to Secretary of State John Kerry on June 28th but only released last night to the media and they are sure to provoke controversy and opposition in some quarters in both parts of Ireland not least because the Senator lays claim to a US stake in the peace process and Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.

He wrote: “Our country made a significant diplomatic investment in resolving ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. It would be a terrible error of judgement if the United States was not to engage now in the due diligence necessary to protect our investment in this hard-won peace.” With this language the Senate leader is saying unequivocally that the US has an interest in the possible negative effect on the peace process of handing over the Boston College tapes.

Menendez makes two important demands of Kerry and the Obama administration. One is that the State Department should vet the interviews scheduled for handover to determine whether their release would damage inter-communal relations or be counter to US national interests. He went on: “I share the concerns of many in the Irish-American community who have asserted that the nature of this request raises doubts about the wisdom of the British government’s Northern Ireland policies.”

But it is his second demand that will anger some in Northern Ireland. He says that the US should invoke a clause in the Treaty with Britain which allows for the transfer of the interviews only for purposes which the US approves and has given consent to.

This clause would allow the United States to bar the British authorities from releasing the interviews for civil proceedings. Although Senator Menendez does not go into detail it is clear that the effect of this condition would be to stop the family of Jean McConville from suing Gerry Adams or any of the interviewees in a civil court, an outcome the family and their supporters have openly admitted is something they hope to see happening.

In a short statement Boston College campaigners Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre welcomed Senator Menendez’ intervention and said they hoped and expected to see his letter soon translated into action.

Here is the full text of Senator Menendez’s letter:

Dolours Price tape handed over to police

Dolours Price tape handed over to police
Will Pavia, New York
Times of London
8 July 2013

Tapes of interviews with an IRA car bomber that were conducted as part of an oral history project and kept locked in a Boston university archive have been handed over to detectives investigating the murder of Jean McConville, a mother of ten who was shot by paramilitaries in 1972.

The interviews contain potentially explosive claims made by Dolours Price, an IRA member who was convicted and jailed for a car bombing of the Old Bailey and who died in January. Though she consistently refused to cooperate with the police, she repeatedly claimed in interviews with journalists that she was the driver in the killing of Mrs McConville and that the murder was ordered by Gerry Adams.

She participated in taped interviews with oral historians seeking to document the Troubles, on the understanding that the tapes would be kept locked in the archives of Boston College, beyond the reach of the authorities, until after her death.

Mrs McConville’s son, Michael, told the Irish Mail on Sunday: “If Price mentions Gerry Adams in the tapes, that he was in some way involved and if it can be proved, he should be tried.”
For his part, Mr Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, has always denied that he ever belonged to the IRA or that he had any involvement in terrorist murders.

Yesterday the Police Service of Northern Ireland said two detectives from its serious crime branch had travelled to take possession of the tapes as part of their investigation into the murder of Mrs McConville.

The journalist Ed Moloney and the former IRA member Anthony McIntyre, the leading researchers behind the Belfast Project, had believed their work would remain beyond the reach of the police until after the deaths of the interviewees.

However, in late 2011, Boston College submitted to an order from a judge to hand over the tapes to police in Northern Ireland under the terms of a treaty obligation.

The researchers sought to challenge the ruling in the American courts, warning that the release of the tapes could have serious repercussions for both the peace process and the personal safety of Mr McIntyre.

“I carried out the interviews in circumstances of the greatest secrecy and confidence,” he said last year. His wife said she now lived in “constant fear… of him being shot in the street”.

Earlier this year the Supreme Court cleared the way for the tapes to be handed over to the police. However, last month a federal appeals court in Boston ruled that only 11 of the 85 interviews were relevant to the police investigation and needed to be surrendered – a decision that may yet itself be appealed.

“They have only handed over the Dolours Price tapes,” Mr Moloney said yesterday. “The rest of the tapes have not been handed over.”

After Ms Price died in January, the university was apparently free to hand over her interviews, although Mr Moloney said: “There was no obligation to make them available.”

He added: “It’s none of their damn business. This is a private archive. It’s being looked for by a police force whose Historical Enquiries Team, which is also run by the PSNI, has been found by the British Inspectorate of Constabulary to be operating double standards. They are treating killings committed by security forces in a much more relaxed and lenient way.”

Crisis In Historical Enquiries Team Probe Of NI’s Past Shows Need For A Fresh Start And An End To Boston College Probe

Crisis In Historical Enquiries Team Probe Of NI’s Past Shows Need For A Fresh Start And An End To Boston College Probe
July 5, 2013
Statement from Ed Moloney & Anthony McIntyre on the failures of the Historical Enquiries Team (HET):

Following the decision by the Policing Board of Northern Ireland to suspend all reviews by the HET of military cases and in light of the board’s expression of no confidence in the leadership of the HET on foot of a damning report by the British Inspectorate of Constabulary into the HET’s performance, we call upon the British authorities to immediately suspend the ongoing PSNI investigation resulting from the subpoenas served on Boston College.

We also urge both the US and British governments to immediately withdraw the subpoenas served against Boston College’s Belfast Archive.

It is clear from the HMIC report, from the rigorous investigations carried out by Dr Patricia Lundy, from our own examination of the HET’s record and from the response of public and politicians to this crisis that there is no confidence in the way the British authorities are dealing with the sensitive and all important issue of Northern Ireland’s troubled past.

The way the authorities have invested so much time and money pursuing the Boston archives is in stark contrast to the slipshod and half-hearted efforts that the HET has put into investigating state sponsored violence, especially killings carried out by the British Army. This, we believe, is symptomatic of the double standards that have infected the HET-based approach to dealing with the past.

We urge the British and Irish governments to suspend all criminal and non-criminal inquiries into the past until agreement has been reached by all parties on a credible way forward and a mechanism to deal with the past has been created in such a way that it commands widespread confidence and support.

Boston College, The AP & James Rosen Cases And The Wikileaks Connection

Boston College, The AP & James Rosen Cases And The Wikileaks Connection
Ed Moloney
The Broken Elbow
May 21, 2013

From the outset of the affair over the Boston College archives one aspect of the business has puzzled me and that was the apparent failure or refusal of the Obama Department of Justice (DoJ) to realise that the PSNI subpoeanas had the potential to cause big problems for one of the US’ few positive foreign policy successes in recent years (as opposed to negative successes like winning a war in Iraq at the cost of alienating and angering half the world).

It is, I would submit, undeniable that the peace process in Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement that it produced were in large measure the result of direct US involvement in Northern Ireland, firstly by the Clinton White House which broke the ice by giving Gerry Adams a visa to visit New York and then by the Bush administration, whose ambassador to the process, Mitchel Reiss arguably forced Adams and the Provos to complete IRA decommissioning, thus paving the way for the power-sharing, DUP-Sinn Fein government that currently sits at Stormont. Without these efforts it is very questionable that the process could have succeeded.

So why was the Obama DoJ, the Attorney-General, Eric Holder and the US Attorney’s office in Massachusetts so uncritically bent on going down a road that a few moments of due diligence would have revealed was littered with political tank traps that could quite readily destroy or seriously harm a project that American diplomats and politician were justifiably proud of, a project that set a positive example elsewhere in the troubled world that America polices?

After all we have all known since at least 2002 that any serious probe of the disappearance of Jean McConville would lead back to Gerry Adams, the principal architect and instigator of the IRA’s journey out of war but also the man, according to Brendan Hughes, who gave the order to disappear the alleged British Army spy. A threat to Adams, the Kim Il Sung of the Provos, is by extension a threat to the process. And to those who would say that the British would never countenance such a move I ask: well then why have they persisted with the subpoenas?

And it has also been evident since 2010 that if the British finally do shrink from prosecuting Adams, which is of course very possible, then there are others in the wings all too ready to take on the task. One of those is ex-Chief Superintendent Norman Baxter, the PSNI’s former liaison with those nice fellows in MI5, who publicly called for Adams’ prosecution for war crimes in 2010 and failing that endorsed Helen McKendry’s threat to sue Adams in a civil court for her mother’s murder and secret burial.

Indeed there are reasons to suspect Baxter’s hidden hand at work somewhere in this whole business and that a civil action was always the real if hidden goal of the action. He was the senior detective in the failed Omagh bomb trials which ended when the families, frustrated at the failure of criminal prosecutions, successfully took a civil case against the chief suspects. Is it beyond the bounds of credence that this subpoena effort had its genesis in his Omagh experience and the knowledge that if criminal proceedings fail or never materialise there is the alternative of a civil action against Adams, a person whom Baxter makes no secret of loathing?

Baxter knows that in a civil case the standard of proof is much less rigorous than for criminal trials: ‘on the balance of probabilities’ as opposed to ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’, a very telling advantage in a case that would be reliant almost entirely on peoples’ ancient recollections. And he knows that in all the important ways, for instance evidence would be presented in court by police witnesses, the proceedings would differ from a criminal prosecution only in the punishment available to the court. And if you don’t believe that, go ask O J Simpson.

Assuming the DoJ did its due diligence – and I am not assuming that it did – all this would have been quickly apparent to Eric Holder’s people but notwithstanding the risk that Obama’s White House could be remembered, at least in Ireland, for undoing all the good that Clinton and Bush did, it perservered. And not just perservered but pursued the case relentlessly even when opportunities to retire gracefully presented themselves (as with the death of Dolours Price).

One possible explanation of why the Obama administration has acted so evidently against US’ foreign policy interests by pursuing the BC tapes has emerged in the last fortnight or so with the chilling stories of the DoJ’s pursuit of the American news media for doing its job, i.e. unearthing government secrets and telling the public.

First there was the revelation that the DoJ had secretly acquired the work, home and cell phone records of some twenty journalists at the Associated Press in an effort to trace the leaker of a story that the government was planning to make public anyway, that it had, with the help of an agent, sabotaged a plot by Al Qaeda in Yemen to bomb a US-bound aircraft.

The government complained that the story endangered the life of its agent but it was going to do that itself by boasting about its achievement, something that automatically would have alerted Al Qaeda to the possible presence of a traitor in its ranks. (Ask the IRA: whenever a plot is interdicted in such a way the automatic assumption is that it was betrayed internally)

Then in the last day or so we have learned that in 2010 the same DoJ used a search warrant to acquire the email and phone records of a Fox News reporter, James Rosen in pursuit of a leaker who told him….now hold your breath….that North Korea might respond to new UN sanctions with more nuclear tests. Now even I, whose knowledge of North Korea is confined to writing stories about some dodgy bank notes that circulated in Ireland a while back by people not a mile away from the current leadership of the Irish Labour Party, could have written that story but nonetheless the brave folk in DoJ pursued Mr Rosen undaunted.

The worst aspect of the story however is that in order, it seems, to avoid a court challenge to the search warrant the DoJ accused Rosen of being a co-conspirator of the leaker and had aided and abetted the alleged breach of security. What Rosen did is what every journalist does, or, if they have any sense of self-worth, what they should do, which is to encourage holders of secrets to let them go.

The Obama DoJ’s action effectively threatens to criminalise the media in an unprecedented way. Obama had already, pre-Rosen, chalked up the worst record since Richard Nixon of pursuing journalists who had gotten hold of government secrets and leakers who provided them. But arguably Obama is worse. With Nixon you got what you expected and at least in his case he was fighting for his own survival. Obama, he of “Change We Can Believe In” and “Yes, We can”, was supposed to be different but now the hypocrisy (or is it cowardice, as in the act of a Black President seeking to assure the White establishment of his trustworthiness?) is breaking through, becoming visible even to his most zealous supporters.

The action against Rosen unquestionably pushes Obama ahead of Nixon in the creepy president stakes but it also sets the stage in a very convenient way for the prosecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, if or when he is extradited from Sweden, via the UK, to the US. Assuming Bradley Manning is convicted of the spying charges he faces then Assange could, like Rosen, be accused of aiding and abetting Manning’s treachery. That compelling case is outlined here.

Which brings me back to the Boston College case. I am not arguing that it is on the same level as Wikileaks or the AP and Rosen cases but it does strike me that a DoJ in hot pursuit of Wikileaks, that is determined to bring Assange to his knees and, with threats and intimidation, to plug for evermore leaks from government – and in the process is ready to alienate what is normally a tame, well-behaved media and outrage both left and right – is more likely than not to take a very uncompromising line in any legal action it is involved in which undermines the ability of non-government agencies, like Boston College, to claim the right of confidentiality. Even more so if the foreign government behind the action is one the US is dependent on to send Assange to Sweden and thus to a federal court.

And if all that implies a willingness to do damage to something like the Irish peace process then so be it. As the man said “Yes, We Can”.

Fran McNulty reports on further developments to the Boston College Belfast Project

TRANSCRIPT: Fran McNulty reports on further developments relating to the Boston College Belfast project
This Week
RTÉ Radio 1
Sunday 21 April 2013

Fran McNulty (FM) interviews journalist and former director of The Belfast Project Ed Moloney (EM) about the status of the archive presently under subpoena by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in the wake of the US Supreme Court decision not to hear his case. Host Gavin Jennings (GJ) provides interview framework.

Legend: Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams (GA)
Male voice reading from US Senator Robert Menendez’ letter (MV)
Female voice reading responses from HET and PSNI (FV)
Boston College spokesperson Jack Dunn (JD)
The Belfast Project Lead Researcher Anthony McIntyre (AM)

Gavin Jennings (GJ): This week the US Supreme Court rejected an appeal against a decision of a lower court to release archived interviews with the now deceased IRA member Dolours Price. Today this programme can reveal that much more information about the disappearance and murder of Belfast mother Jean McConville than initially thought is actually contained in the Boston College archive where the Price interview is stored as part of the so-called Belfast Project. Reporter Fran McNulty has more.

Ed Moloney (EM): I have been able to share some of this with the American government.

And I can tell you, Fran, when I tell them this particular set of details, the people that I’ve had conversations with, who I then hope will take this further up the chain in the American political system, have immediately understood just how dangerous the contents of these interviews can be.

Fran McNulty (FM): That’s Ed Moloney, the man who oversaw The Belfast Project. This weekend he warns the institutions in The North could fall such would Unionist reaction be to what Dolours Price revealed in her archived interviews.

EM: The consequences of this for the peace process, and I know there are lots of people in Ireland who are rubbing their hands in glee at the anticipation of the fall of Gerry Adams over all of this but with Gerry Adams will also fall the peace process and the power-sharing government. There’s a very distinct possibility of that happening.

FM: Is that not an overstatement?

EM: Not if you knew what was in the interviews and the impact that they will have and once they get out.

And they will get out. They will get out I’d imagine reasonably quickly, they will be leaked, and once they get into the political stew in Northern Ireland there’s no removing them, they are stuck there and the consequences will be there. There’s material there about the story of one of these incidents that’s at the basis of the subpoenas.

People think they know the full story. They don’t know the full story.

FM: But heretofore we’ve been told that the full story was that Dolours Price didn’t tell interviewer Anthony McIntyre anything about the murder of Jean McConville. That is true. But now we do know that she did tell someone else. From his home in the United States Ed Moloney has cast new light on the subject.

EM: What I have said all along is that in her interviews with Anthony McIntyre as part of the Boston archive she did not talk about Jean McConville.

FM: So if we restrict our comments to that particular interview is what you’re saying that there are other people speaking about the disappearance of Jean McConville?

EM: Or, the other possibility is that there are maybe other Dolours Price interviews that were not part of the project that happened to be deposited in the Boston archive.

FM: Are there?

EM: Well, that’s something which people can speculate on now, can’t they?

FM: Ed Moloney is holding back information as he’s entitled to.

But this programme understands that an A to Z of what happened on the night Jean McConville was disappeared from her home and murdered is contained in the Boston College archive. The lengthy interview mentions names and places and in it, Dolours Price refers to Gerry Adams. Before her death she told a Belfast newspaper Gerry Adams was her Officer Commanding in the IRA, something the Sinn Féin leader has consistently denied. It’s a subject Mr. Adams has in fact spoken to this programme about:

Gerry Adams (GA): Look, I’ve said it for years, for decades, I learned a long time ago not to worry about things you have no control over.

FM: Dolours Price’s interview in the archive is causing concern in the United States.

Male Voice (MV) reading Menendez letter: Mr. Secretary, For over a year I have monitored the government of the United Kingdom’s efforts to subpoena the documents and recordings of the Boston College oral history project…

FM: The Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has written to the Secretary of State, John Kerry, on the issue.

MV: The United Kingdom’s request for material could have the effect of re-opening fresh wounds and threatening the success of the Good Friday Accords. Sincerely, Robert Menendez.

FM: Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre have been assisted greatly by Irish-America groups to lobby US politicians on this issue.

But interestingly, Boston College is taking a similar approach. It is trying to stop the release of further material beyond the Dolours Price interviews – both legally and diplomatically. College spokesperson is Jack Dunn:

Jack Dunn (JD): The Secretary of State of the United States is John Kerry. John Kerry is a graduate of Boston College’s School of Law. He knows our feelings on the matter. So we’ve worked through diplomatic channels including the State Department and other areas that I won’t get into specifics now.

So it’s a two-pronged approach now. We are looking for a legal resolution to the case through the court of appeals and we are also looking for a resolution through various diplomatic channels.

FM: Mr. Kerry himself when he was Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wrote to the then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the issue and expressed concern about the impact of releasing (the) tapes. Would that give you any hope?

JD: We certainly hope so. He understands how important this is. He was involved during the Clinton Administration in helping to broker the Good Friday Agreement. So he understands completely the importance of what’s at stake here. And our hope is that he will use his influence to get the Police Service of Northern Ireland to get law enforcement in Great Britain to work with the Department of Justice to re-evaluate the need for these tapes to go through.

FM: The family of Jean McConville have insisted the tapes should be released. They want those responsible for their mother’s murder brought to justice. Anthony McIntyre interviewed numerous people who were involved in The Troubles for the ill-fated archive. He, too, can see The McConville’s point of view.

Anthony McIntyre (AM): If I was in the position of the McConville Family I would probably be doing the same. And I think people would understand it that way. But there are wider issues at stake here, wider ethical issues. I mean, the same could be applied to the…an argument, for example, could be made that should we torture suspects to get the information that the McConville Family require? Well obviously no, we can’t. There’s certain things that cannot be violated. And I don’t think journalistic research, academic research should be violated by these types of demands.

FM: With the US Supreme Court clearing the way for the release of the Price tapes many now want to know what the next step will be. We asked the Historical Enquiries Team in The North. Their response was brief.

Female Voice (FV) reading PSNI statement: The PSNI are dealing with the issues you’ve asked about not the HET.

FM: So if the Historical Enquiries Team aren’t interested in the interviews what will the PSNI’s next step be? Their response to that questions was, too, very brief.

FV: We’re making plans to take possession of the material and proceed with our enquiries.

FM: The Dolours Price interviews will be handed over unless there is high-level political intervention. And Ed Moloney isn’t hopeful.

EM: I’m watching this situation from three thousand miles away and watching Dáil debates and what’s said in Dáil debates etc and I can see quite clearly that some of the leadership of the political parties in the Dáil are rubbing their hands in anticipation and glee at all of this stuff coming out to do down Gerry Adams. Well, I can understand that. They’re under political pressure, they’re under electoral pressure from Gerry Adams’ party.

But so far the Irish government has had no contact with me at all. Not one single Irish diplomat has rung me up and said: Look, Ed, can we have lunch and would you mind, like, telling us why you’re saying this stuff? Not one has shown any interest at all.

FM: Should they?

EM: Well, don’t you think if you were the Irish government and this thing is happening and that someone is saying these interviews could have this potentially devastating impact on the peace process that you invested so many years to create…you’d think you might have a little curiosity about what’s being said?

GJ: Journalist Ed Moloney speaking to Fran McNulty from his home the United States. Well in response, the Department of Foreign Affairs here has told this programme that it would be inappropriate for the Irish government to interfere or get involved in a case which was before a court of law in a foreign country.

(ends)

TRANSCRIPT: IRA DOCUMENTS – CBC Radio’s As It Happens interview with Ed Moloney

TRANSCRIPT: IRA DOCUMENTS – CBC Radio’s As It Happens interview with Ed Moloney
As It Happens
cbc radio
16 April 2013

Host Helen Mann (HM) interviews Ed Moloney, (EM) journalist and former director of The Belfast Project, an oral history project archived at Boston College and presently under subpoena by the police in Northern Ireland. Host Jeff Douglas (JD) sets the stage for this interview.

Jeff Douglas (JD): Northern Ireland’s police are one step closer to getting their wish.

Boston College’s Belfast Project was designed as an oral history of The Troubles in Northern Ireland. That oral history includes interviews with former IRA paramilitaries, including IRA bomber Dolours Price, who died in January.

For years Northern Ireland’s police have tried to get their hands on the transcripts of Ms Price’s interview. Last year they obtained a US Appeals Court ruling requiring The Belfast Project to hand over those documents. Researchers involved with the project have been resisting and they were hoping to appeal the court decision. However yesterday, the US Supreme Court said that it would not hear any appeal.

Journalist Ed Moloney was the director of Boston College’s Belfast Project. We reached him in The Bronx, New York.

Helen Mann (HM): Mr. Moloney, before we get into Monday’s decision could you just remind us who Dolours Price was?

Ed Moloney (EM): Yes, Dolours Price was a very well-known member of the IRA from West Belfast who I suppose gained notoriety in 1973 when she led the first IRA bombing team to London where she and her colleagues in the IRA planted three quite large car bombs causing alot of damage and one person died of a heart attack as a result of that.

She was caught and has come or came to prominence recently because of newspaper interviews that she gave revealing that she had been interviewed by Boston College and that in her interviews with Boston College she had talked about one of the most notorious killings of The Troubles in Northern Ireland: the disappearance of an alleged British Army informer and housewife called Jean McConville who was killed by the IRA and then her body was “disappeared”, buried in an unmarked grave where it lay for the best part of thirty years.

And it’s the interviews that she gave plus other interviews related or allegedly related to the incident which are the subject of a PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) subpoena which was served on Boston College and which myself and the researcher more or less by ourselves, along with alot of pro bono legal help, have been fighting.

HM: Now you and Boston College have been trying to keep these interviews out of the hands of Northern Ireland police but you lost at the appeal court level and that’s how you ended up at the Supreme Court yesterday.

EM: Correction: myself and the researcher have been fighting to keep the interviews out of the hands of the PSNI.

Boston College conceded a long time ago the right of the PSNI to have these interviews. They’re only quarreling with the PSNI over the extent of the interviews. A legal argument which I compare to the condemned man arguing with the hangman about the length of the rope. No. We are the only ones who are actually resisting this.

And you’re right, we took it all the way to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court decided not to grant us permission to appear before them and argue our case which is essentially that we should have been allowed to have standing in this case.

We were denied standing by the lower courts and that meant that we could not argue own own case but they’ve decided not to do so.

And we are now left with the political fight which was the other track of our campaign.

From the outset we decided that if we were going to have a chance of defeating this very stupid and foolish action by the police in Northern Ireland, very potentially destructive and destablising action by the police in Northern Ireland, we would have to fight it on two grounds: 1) legal, which we’ve done and I think we’ve probably have exhausted that and the other is political and we’re still fighting that.

HM: Okay. And how is that working? What do you hope to achieve that way?

EM: Well, what we have done in the past few weeks is that we have managed to persuade very senior figures in the United States government, in the United States political establishment, very convincingly from their point of view, that handing over these interviews could in fact have the potential to destabilise the power-sharing government in Belfast.

The power-sharing government composed of Unionists who favour Northern Ireland remaining with Britain and Sinn Féin, who were the political wing of the IRA, who gave up their violence in order to go into this arrangement. There’s been a power-sharing government there since 2005-2006. We believe that the effect of these interviews and the revelations that they contain could imperil the stability of that and we were able to convince the American government of that and we hope that will impact on the fate of these interviews.

HM: That suggests that what Dolours Price had to say was incredibly damning to some parties.

EM: Yes, yes she did. But not the only one.

But the important interviews are the interviews that Dolours Price gave – that’s for sure. She did not give them, incidentally, to Anthony McIntyre who was the main researcher and I am again not at liberty to discuss the full circumstances of the other interviews but sufficing to say that what she has to say is absolute dynamite.

HM: One thing that did come out was she claimed that Gerry Adams was an IRA member and that he headed a unit that kidnapped and killed. Gerry Adams as we know has denied that.

How would the release of these transcripts to the Northern Ireland police affect Gerry Adams’ position?

EM: That’s what I’m talking about in relation to the stability of the power-sharing government.

You know this government, this peace agreement, the Good Friday Agreement exists only because the IRA, under the leadership of Adams, made huge ideological compromises to the extent that there were people who left their organisation in disgust and anger at what they regarded as a sell-out.

If we end up in a situation where the one person who was able to sell this compromise is, a few years after abandoning their armed struggle, abandoning their campaign to get the British out of Ireland, making huge ideological and political compromises, is hauled up in court by the same government to whom he gave those compromises, i.e the British government, ask yourself a number of questions: Could his party remain in government in those circumstances? I doubt it very much.

Will the British government come under immense pressure from hardline Loyalists and Unionists, people that Adams’ party are sharing with power with in Belfast, to prosecute him? Of course they will.

Just look at today’s headlines in The Irish Times: the fragility of the power-sharing government is there for all to see.

You had two very senior ministers in the Unionist part of this power- sharing government holding a press conference today admitting that their relations with their partners in government, Sinn Féin, were at the lowest since this thing started, that there were very deep strains in the coalition government, in the power-sharing government.

All these things are in the mix there and it’s a very delicate, very sensitive and very dangerous and very volatile situation into which to be injecting these interviews.

HM: But we’ve known of Dolours Price’s allegations for…

EM: You don’t. You don’t know them…

HM: Well we’ve had suspicion of them…

EM: No. You only think you know them.

You’re quite right, her allegations about Gerry Adams being involved in the IRA, Gerry Adams being her commander, Gerry Adams ordering them to take Jean McConville across the border to “disappear” her are all well known.

What is not well-known is what hasn’t come out yet. And what hasn’t come out yet, and I’ve been trying to tell you this, is dynamite and remains to be seen.

Hopefully this stuff will never come out. But I can assure you that when this other material comes out it’s going to have just the most dramatic and traumatic effect on politics in Northern Ireland.

HM: Ed Moloney, thank you very much for speaking with us.

EM: No problem.

JD: Ed Moloney’s a journalist and he was the director of Boston College Belfast Project which ran from 2001 to 2006. We reached Mr. Moloney in The Bronx, New York. (ends)