Boston Tapes: Police may seek immunity over interviews

Boston Tapes: Police may seek immunity over interviews
By Will Leitch
BBC News NI
7 June 2016

The PSNI may apply to keep the reasons they want access to some of the Boston Tapes a secret, a court has heard.

Lawyers acting for a former IRA member were given a heavily redacted copy of the legal document on Monday.

But after demands were made to see the full version on Tuesday, the PSNI and Public Prosecution Service said they could apply for a Public Interest Immunity Certificate.

This would mean that the sections would remain blacked out.

At the High Court on Tuesday, lawyers for Anthony McIntyre said they wanted to see the full document, which lists the reasons why the PSNI and Public Prosecution Service want to seize some of the tapes.

Mr McIntyre was one of the main researchers who worked on the Boston College project.

The project contains candid interviews with loyalist and republican paramilitaries and were held in a library at Boston College.

In 2011, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) began a legal bid to gain access to the tapes.

Mr McIntyre’s lawyers are taking legal action to prevent his interviews being handed over to police.

On Monday the loyalist Winston “Winkie” Rea, 65, denied charges of murder dating back more than 20 years at Belfast Magistrates Court.

The charges were brought after the PSNI gained access to tapes of interviews Mr Rea had given to the Boston College “Belfast Project”.

Ulster loyalist’s murder case ‘cynical attempt’ to protect police, court told

Ulster loyalist’s murder case ‘cynical attempt’ to protect police, court told
Henry McDonald Ireland correspondent
the Guardian
Monday 6 June 2016 14.57 BST

The prosecution of a veteran Ulster loyalist in connection with two murders is designed to protect the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s image among Irish-Americans, it has been alleged.

Winston ”Winkie” Rea appeared at Belfast magistrates court on Monday charged with murdering two Catholics in the city in 1989 and 1991.

A fresh investigation into the deaths was prompted by information contained on tapes the PSNI obtained from Boston College in the US.

Ed Moloney, the award-winning journalist and director of Boston College’s ”Belfast Project”, in which ex-IRA and Ulster Volunteer Force members gave frank testimony about their role in Troubles-related violence, described Rea as the “token Prod” arrested for political reasons only.

Rae stands accused of murdering John Devine in 1989 at his home in west Belfast and taxi driver John O’Hara, who was shot dead while answering a bogus phone call in 1991.

Other charges brought against Rea include the attempted murders of Malachy McAllister in Belfast on 2 October 1988, and of an unknown male in the city’s Falls Road area sometime between 1 January 1971 and 23 February 1973.

He also faces counts of membership of a proscribed organisation on dates between 1973 and 1996, possession of an AK47 assault rifle, three revolvers, a 9mm Browning pistol and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

A further charge of possessing information useful to terrorists relates to claims that between 1984 and 1986 he had documents containing the identification and address details of suspected members of the IRA.

The 65-year-old denied all 32 charges put to him by PSNI detectives. Under questioning from a defence lawyer, a detective admitted that Rea made no admissions to any of the charges brought against him.

Officers from the PSNI’s legacy unit, which is tasked with investigating unsolved crimes from the Northern Ireland Troubles, arrested Rea at his home in Groomsport, County Down, last Tuesday.

The veteran loyalist was a one-time member of terror group the Red Hand Commando, a satellite organisation of the larger and oldest pro-union paramilitary movement, the Ulster Volunteer Force. He was one of dozens of Ulster loyalists and Irish republicans who were interviewed by researchers from Boston College’s Belfast Project. They gave full and frank testimonies about their role in paramilitary violence during the Troubles on condition that their taped interviews would not be made public until they were dead.

Moloney said charging Rea was part of a “cynical attempt by the PSNI to show even-handedness in their pursuit of the Boston College tapes.”

The author of the award-winning A Secret History of the IRA and Belfast Project director said: “Available evidence shows that the PSNI only moved against Mr Rea – nearly four years after the first subpoena was served against Dolours Price (IRA Old Bailey bomber arrested in connection with the murder of widow Jean McConville in 1972) – when the force’s handling of the Boston College archive was criticised by establishment figures in Irish-America for being one-sided.

“Mr Rea is in the unfortunate position of being the ‘token Prod’, to be sacrificed to protect the PSNI’s image and to preserve establishment Irish-American support for the force,” Moloney said. “The decision to prosecute Mr Rea was taken for solely political reasons.”

Moloney said Monday’s court case would further undermine efforts to set up a truth and reconciliation process to deal with the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

“The damage done by the PSNI to any credible effort to tell the truth about the Troubles is now beyond calculation, thanks to this blinkered pursuit of alleged activists, both state and non-state, via criminal prosecution.

“Who in their right minds would contribute to a truth-telling process in Northern Ireland in such circumstances? Thanks to the PSNI it seems Northern Ireland is forever condemned to be haunted and cursed by unanswered questions from the past.”

Granting bail, district judge Fiona Bagnall agreed to excuse Rea from attending the next hearing in eight weeks’ time. She released him on a £500 surety and banned him from any contact with prosecution witnesses.

Rea must also notify police if he plans to be away from his home address for more than 24 hours.

Loyalist in wheelchair charged with Troubles murders released on bail

Loyalist in wheelchair charged with Troubles murders released on bail
BelfastTelegraph.co.uk
Published 06/06/2016

A wheelchair-bound veteran loyalist has been released on bail after appearing in court charged with two Troubles murders.

Winston “Winkie” Rea is accused of murdering John Benedict Devine in the Fallswater Street area of West Belfast on July 23 1989, and John Joseph Gerard O’Hara in the Dunluce Avenue area of South Belfast on April 17 1991.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard the 65-year-old from Springwell Crescent in Groomsport, Co Down faces a total of 12 charges for offences allegedly carried out between 1971 and 1991.

Police Service of Northern Ireland Detective Inspector Neil McGuinness said he believed he could connect the accused.

Rea was interviewed by police some 32 times and made no admissions, according to his defence lawyer.

He made a statement of denial in his final interview, the lawyer added.

Grey-haired Rea, who was dressed in a dark suit with red checked open neck shirt was pushed into the dock in a wheelchair.

He suffers from a raft of ailments, the court was told.

Only one charge, membership of the proscribed Red Hand Commando, was read out and when asked if he understood what was being said, Rea tapped tapped his ear signalling that he could not hear.

The loyalist was moved further into the dock where he pressed his ear against the toughened glass.

The charge was put a second time and he nodded.

Throughout the brief hearing, the high profile loyalist held on to the dock and listened intently, occasionally glancing up towards the public gallery where relatives were seated in the public gallery.

Just a few seats away were relations of both alleged victims.

A prosecutor said bail was agreed subject to strict conditions including surrendering his passport to the court, residing at a known address and notifying police if he is away from his home address for more than 24 hours.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall released Rea on his own bail of £500 and adjourned the case until August 1.

The judge also excused Rea from his next court appearance because of his failing health.

A fresh investigation into the two deaths was prompted by information contained on tapes the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) obtained from Boston College in the US.

In 2001, the college in Massachusetts commenced a five-year oral history project aimed at documenting perspectives on the Troubles from those involved in the conflict.

Former paramilitaries, both republican and loyalist, were interviewed about their roles in the 40 years of violence which blighted Northern Ireland on the understanding that their accounts would not be made public until after their deaths.

But subsequent court rulings in the US rendered that undertaking useless after the PSNI was awarded custody of the tapes for investigative purposes.

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.

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.