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.

US Authorities Subpoena Anthony McIntyre’s Boston College Oral History Archive on Behalf of British

PSNI Serve ‘Fishing Expedition’ Subpoena On Anthony McIntyre –
US Agrees To ‘Star Chamber’ Hearing In Blatant Abuse of Process
April 25th, 2016

We have just learned that the British government, acting on behalf of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (“PSNI”) and the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (“DPP”) in Belfast, have served a subpoena on Boston College seeking personal interviews given by Dr. Anthony McIntyre to the Belfast Project based at Boston College, Massachusetts.

The subpoena has been served under the terms of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (“MLAT”) and the UK statute, the Crime International Cooperation Act 2003 (“CICA”).

Dr. McIntyre, who was lead IRA researcher for the Belfast project, gave a series of interviews himself which were conducted by a guest interviewer. Dr McIntyre has made no secret of this fact. He has now engaged leading Belfast human rights lawyer Kevin Winters of KRW Law LLP, to resist these efforts to raid his personal memoirs.

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. Instead the originators of this shoddy document mention matters which are so overbroad, that literally anyone alive during the Troubles in Northern Ireland could be accused of some association with them.

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. Both the US District Court and the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit clearly deemed Dr. McIntyre’s interviews not to be relevant to the Jean McConville investigation.

Under the terms of the MLAT and CICA, which the authors of the subpoena claim as their legal basis for this action, requests for assistance from a foreign power may only be made where (a) there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that an offence has been committed, and (b) proceedings have been instituted, or an offence is being investigated. There are no proceedings in being for any offences relating to Dr. McIntyre and there is no reason to believe that any current or historical offence is being investigated.

This action by the DPP and PSNI is simply a fishing expedition, which is prohibited by international law.

GAGGING NOTICE

Boston College has been ordered to appear at the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse in Boston at 10 a.m. on May 6th to deliver Dr. McIntyre’s interviews.

The DPP and PSNI have requested, and the Obama Department of Justice has agreed, to demand that Boston College keep these legal proceedings secret, away from the pryng eyes of the international press. This Press Release puts paid to those nefarious efforts.

The gag notice means that the attempts of the British authorities once again to stifle academic research into the Troubles of Northern Ireland, an essential part of the peace process, was to be conducted entirely in secret like some modern day Star Chamber.

The use of secret courts offends every principle of legal fairness and openness inherent in the American legal system, as well as best international human rights practices, and we call on the media, in particular, whose First Amendment rights to cover such events are being undermined, to protest by turning up at the courthouse at 10:00 a.m. on May 6, 2016.

Secret courts and censored hearings smack of totalitarianism and they offend the public’s right to know.

REVENGE THE ONLY EXPLICABLE MOTIVE

The British authorities, the PSNI and the DPP have had more than ample time and opportunity to subpoena Dr.McIntyre’s materials before this. This begs the question, why are the authorities doing this now?

What is the real reason for this subpoena?

One explanation which leaps to mind is that this is an act of simple revenge, motivated by anger at the fact that the resistance to the subpoenas led by Dr. McIntyre embarrassed the prosecutorial authorities in Belfast, which have so far failed to bring any prosecution beyond the preliminary inquiry stage, never mind a successful conclusion to their well-publicized efforts in raiding and destroying a valuable Oral History archive. This is pay back, in other words.

ABUSE OF PROCESS & IRISH GOVERNMENT

Abuse of process is the only term to describe the treatment of Ivor Bell, who is the only individual charged following the receipt by the PSNI of Boston College materials. Mr. Bell has vigorously protested his innocence of any charges, and his case has not progressed past the preliminary inquiry stage after years of hearings.

Abuse of process is the only term to describe this latest move against Dr. McIntyre by the DPP and Obama’s DoJ. We therefore call 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.” We have sent a copy of this statement to the outgoing Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny and to the Fianna Fail leader, Micheal Martin TD.

We also call upon all decent-minded people in the US, politicians, lawyers, civil libertarians and members of the public to protest this disgraceful action by the Department of Justice. We call upon progressive candidates seeking nomination for the US Presidency to make their views clear on this matter.

ACADEMIC FREEDOM UNDER SIEGE

This subpoena differs from all previous requests which were directed at the subjects of academic research. This subpoena is directed at an academic researcher, solely on the grounds that he attempted to record an alternative version of history. The implications for the rest of American academe are incontestable. What was it Pastor Niemoller said?

‘First they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist…..Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.’

Accordingly we appeal firstly to the Trustees of Boston College to support any legal effort to resist this subpoena. This is a matter which could adversely affect everyone teaching on Boston College’s campus. We would like to extend that appeal to the rest of American academe and ask the researchers and teachers of Higher Education in America to recognise the seriousness of this threat to researchers everywhere by making your opposition to this subpoena loud and clear.

This is a matter which directly affects academic freedom in America. This is not a time for silence or acquiescence.

Ed Moloney, former director Belfast Project
Wilson McArthur, lead UVF researcher for the Belfast Project

Boston Tapes: Shameful Prosecutorial Malfeasance In Belfast

Shameful Prosecutorial Malfeasance In Belfast
Chris Bray
chrisbrayblog.blogspot.ie
Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Public Prosecution Service of Northern Ireland has broken its own rules, and embarrassed itself in the process.

Ivor Bell was charged with IRA membership, and aiding and abetting in the 1972 murder of Jean McConville, over a year ago. He has returned to court several times since then, and in every instance, the Public Prosecution Service has asked for more time to think about the matter.

Two weeks ago, Bell returned to court– so that prosecutors could ask for two more weeks to think about the case.

This week, with that two week delay having passed, Bell returned to court again – so that prosecutors could yet again ask for another month to think about the case. Not that they promised a decision in another month, natch.

The news reports on this week’s hearing say this: “A prosecutor said a meeting with senior counsel was due to take place on April 13 to discuss a ‘very lengthy’ recommendation from the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) on whether to proceed with the legal action.”

More than a year after the PPS brought charges against Bell, they are preparing to have a discussion about “whether to proceed with the legal action.”

The PPS has posted its own “Code for Prosecutors”online.

This is what it says on pg. 9:

“Where there are substantial concerns as to the credibility of essential evidence, criminal proceedings may not be proper as the evidential test may not be capable of being met.”

In the case of the supposed evidence against Bell, a set of audio tapes from Boston College involving an anonymous interview subject, the PPS told a Belfast court that it would begin looking for a voice expert who could help them prove that the tapes contain interviews with Bell himself. To be specific, they told the court this important fact seven months after they brought the charges against Bell.

So they threw some shit at a wall, and are hoping – thirteen months later – that they can find a way to make it stick.

The decision to bring charges against Ivor Bell on unreliable evidence was unethical, irresponsible, and unprofessional. At some point, the PPS has to be forced to stop kicking that can down the road. They filed charges without knowing they could prove them. It’s time to face that shameful failure.

Jean McConville case dragging on

Jean McConville case dragging on
newsletter.co.uk
2 April 2015

A case against a veteran republican accused of involvement in one of Northern Ireland’s most notorious murders is dragging on, a court has been told.

Ivor Bell, 78, from Ramoan Gardens in west Belfast, is alleged to have aided and abetted in the murder of mother-of-10 Jean McConville, who was abducted from her home in west Belfast in 1972. He is further accused of IRA membership.

Defence solicitor Michael Crawford told Laganside Magistrates’ Court the case was centred on historic allegations.

Mr Crawford said: “Really, it is dragging on and there needs to be some focus.”

Grey haired and moustachioed Bell, who was wearing a purple coat and purple jumper with an open-neck white shirt underneath, sat impassively in the dock as the case was briefly mentioned.

The hearing lasted less than two minutes.

A prosecutor said a meeting with senior counsel was due to take place on April 13 to discuss a “very lengthy” recommendation from the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) on whether to proceed with the legal action.

Adjourning the case, district judge George Conner said he expected the final decision by the middle of next month.

The judge said: “If it is not made, I would expect to know what the delay is.”

The pensioner was released on continuing bail and left the court accompanied by a man and woman.

Mrs McConville, a 37-year-old widow, was dragged from her home in the Divis flats by an IRA gang of up to 12 men and women after being accused of passing information to the British Army in Belfast – an allegation discredited by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman.

She was shot in the back of the head and buried 50 miles from her home. The IRA did not admit her murder until 1999 when information was passed on to police in the Irish Republic.

She became one of the “Disappeared” and it was not until August 2003 that her remains were eventually found on Shelling Hill beach, Co Louth.

Nobody has ever been convicted of her murder.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was arrested and questioned as part of the police investigation into Mrs McConville’s death.

The Louth TD has consistently rejected allegations by former republican colleagues including Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price that he had a role in ordering her death.

The allegations contained part of an oral history archive collated by Boston College and the Police Service of Northern Ireland launched legal action on both sides of the Atlantic to gain access to the tapes.

Testimony from former paramilitaries had been given on the basis that it would not be made public until after their death.

The case has been adjourned until May 14.

Persecuted, unrepresented.. why loyalists feel they are backed into a corner

Persecuted, unrepresented.. why loyalists feel they are backed into a corner
By Deborah McAleese
BelfastTelegraph.co.uk
03 March 2015

Discontent within loyalism spectacularly erupted in December 2012 when Belfast City Council voted to fly the Union flag at the city hall only on a handful of designated days each year.

Loyalist communities saw this as the latest attack on their culture and identity. What followed was months of disruptive, and often violent, protests that caused massive damage to Northern Ireland’s economy and reputation.

The protesters justified their actions as a fightback against what they perceived to be the erosion of their Britishness.

Two decades on from the peace process and loyalists believe the only winners have been republicans.

They feel persecuted, sidelined and unrepresented. They are also now terrified of what could be uncovered through the Boston College interviews with former Red Hand Commando leader Winston Rea and the ‘supergrass’ case involving ex-UVF leader Gary Haggarty.

There are also hundreds of legacy cases that are yet to be investigated.

Former PUP leader Billy Hutchinson said loyalists were being “hunted down like dogs”, while republican ‘on the runs’ were handed letters “to keep them out of jail”.

Feeling cornered, loyalists have responded with veiled threats of violence, warning that these legacy investigations could have “a destabilising impact on society”.

As long as there remains no other way to address Northern Ireland’s toxic past, the PSNI has no option but to investigate unsolved crimes.

Recently, proposals emerged from the Stormont House talks that include a structure for addressing the past, involving a Historical Investigations Unit (HIU).

It is unlikely the unit will be operational before 2017. Until then it is the responsibility of the police to pursue these cases.

Elements of loyalism remain wedded to criminality. Paramilitary gangs are involved in drugs, extortion, money laundering and counterfeit cigarettes. In east Belfast it has been claimed that loyalist paramilitaries have been responsible for driving a number of business owners out of the area.

Alliance MP Naomi Long said a number of local employers had told her they had to move their businesses elsewhere because they felt they could “no longer bring a mixed workforce into the neighbourhood”.

This is costing jobs and investment in the area.

Many feel loyalist leaders should be concentrating their efforts on helping to untangle the grip paramilitaries have on their local communities instead of stirring up discord.

‘We’re being hunted like dogs while Provos get their letters of comfort’

‘We’re being hunted like dogs while Provos get their letters of comfort’
A legal tug-of-war over taped conversations with a former Red Hand Commando leader and an impending UVF ‘supergrass’ trial are stoking anger among hardline loyalists, writes Brian Rowan
Belfast Telegraph
03 March 2015

On October 13, 1994, William ‘Plum’ Smith sat at the loyalist top table as the Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) declared its ceasefire. It was a response to the IRA cessation announced at the end of August that year.

And by December, Billy Hutchinson headed a loyalist delegation that began exploratory talks with Government officials. Smith and David Ervine were also part of that delegation. And these were the first big steps out of conflict.

But, quoted elsewhere in this newspaper today, both Smith and Hutchinson have said that, if loyalists had known then what they know now, then the ceasefire may not have been called. In their internal discussions, they may not have “got it over the line”.

It is a further indication of growing anger, of a bad mood within the loyalist community, as police investigations continue to take the present back into the past. For loyalists, it means the wars are not really over.

One of those investigations is focused on Winston “Winkie” Rea, one of three loyalist leaders I met on the Shankill Road late on October 12, 1994. Back then, I was accompanied by my colleague Ivan Little and this meeting – and a statement we were given – set the scene for the ceasefire announcement that would come the following morning.

“Winston Rea played a massive role in the peace process and was involved with others in bringing about ceasefires and decommissioning,” PUP leader Billy Hutchinson told this newspaper. “The Boston [College tapes] case just shows the system will do anything to get loyalists in the dock.”

That Boston case is an attempt by police to get access to tapes Rea recorded for an oral history project. It has become a headline tug-of-war in the courts.

And those recent events are a long way removed from the euphoria and the excitement of the ceasefire announcements of 1994.

“I sat in those smoke-filled rooms leading up to the ceasefires with all shades of loyalist paramilitaries and we raised our heads above the parapet as we moved towards bringing to an end decades of conflict,” William Smith said. “It was a dangerous time and, as we talked, bodies were still piling up outside the doors.

“Many of us took risks, even amongst our own constituencies to secure that elusive peace that so many had failed to deliver previously.

“It was tough, it was dangerous, but the goal of an end to the violence for the sake of future generations was a target we believed people deserved.

“Now, 20 years on, I look back and reflect on a peace and future that is held hostage to the past.”

The Boston tapes may add little to what we already know about Winston Rea. A Google search will reveal him as the former leader of the UVF-associated Red Hand Commando.

He is the son-in-law of the late Gusty Spence, was very public in the political negotiations leading to the Good Friday Agreement and was pictured at the loyalist news conference when the UVF and Red Hand organisations confirmed arms had been decommissioned.

So Rea is one of those loyalists who reads from the chapters of war into the developing peace. That means he was part of an organisation linked to the killings of that pre-ceasefire and pre-peace period.

But will he have discussed the specifics of that on his Boston tapes? Several sources with knowledge of his contribution to the oral history project are adamant that he has not. But the loyalist mood and anger is not just about the investigation focused on Winston Rea.

There is the dark cloud of the ‘supergrass’, or assisting offender, case involving Gary Haggarty, who, like Rea, once had loyalist stripes and a leadership role. He has been in rooms with those who were the key decision-makers, with those who gave the loyalist orders and directions.

Thousands of pages of evidence have been compiled and Haggarty, who was a Special Branch agent, faces a record 212 charges. That list includes five murders, 31 conspiracies to murder and six attempted murders. And this case reads beyond Haggarty. It is about who he might name and implicate that is of most concern to the loyalist leadership.

“It will have a destabilising impact on society, not just one organisation,” Billy Hutchinson said. “It opens the door for others to do this whether republican, loyalist or other. UK legislation that allows this with people like Haggarty is wrong and should be done away with.”

So where could this case lead? Into a detailed examination of a wide range of incidents and activities spanning some 16 years before and after the ceasefires and political agreements.

An investigation of killings, arms importation, UVF membership, swearing-in ceremonies, feuding, ‘punishment’ attacks and assaults, extortion, terrorist funds and directing terrorism.

And that examination will look much wider than Haggarty. It will look at the loyalist leadership and it will look at the Special Branch.

Haggarty was a close associate of Mark Haddock, another significant UVF figure and Special Branch agent, who was investigated by the Police Ombudsman as part of Operation Ballast. And such investigations always stretch out into wider frames.

William Smith may argue that the present is being rewound into the past. But there is no agreed process to remove such investigations.

The Historical Enquiries Team has been replaced by a new Legacy Investigations Branch. And the recent Stormont House talks produced a paper agreement on a structure for addressing the past.

It will have a Historical Investigations Unit, an Independent Commission for Information Retrieval, an Implementation and Reconciliation Group and archive and acknowledgement elements.

The developing peace process has not got to the point of amnesty, of drawing any lines on pre-1998 investigations, inquiries and inquests. And so the past remains an open wound and also open to investigative scrutiny.

Long after the 1994 ceasefires, loyalists and republicans were still importing weapons, still targeting, still killing and kept their organisational structures intact. But loyalists believe they are being treated differently than republicans.

“From my point of view, we understood that by calling the ceasefires everyone would have been treated equally and we would have moved forward,” Hutchinson said.

But he points to the so-called “comfort letters” given to republican suspects on the run, “letters to keep them out of jail” while loyalists are “hunted down like dogs,” he says.

And this is the mood within the loyalist community, a mindset which has prompted this questioning of how the peace process has developed. It has made loyalists who were central to the events of 1994 think back to that period and their decision-making.

“I also doubt very much that if we had known that the ‘rewinders’ would seek out the peacemakers as scapegoats all these years later, that we could have got it (the ceasefire) over the line,” Smith said.

But today’s reality is that the peace has not moved away from the past.

There is still no process that brings all the sides to the table. And there are still many unanswered questions.

And that means, until there is something better, some different approach or new way, that police will continue to investigate.

Senior loyalists: We couldn’t have sold ’94 ceasefire if we knew what we know now

Senior loyalists: We couldn’t have sold ’94 ceasefire if we knew what we know now
By Brian Rowan
BelfastTelegraph.co.uk
03 March 2015

Senior loyalists have revealed that they would not have been able to deliver a ceasefire in 1994 had they known conflict-related investigations would still be continuing today.

Key figures from that period have been speaking to the Belfast Telegraph as police continue their efforts to get access to Boston College interviews with former Red Hand Commando leader Winston ‘Winkie’ Rea.

And loyalists have also warned that the ‘supergrass’ case involving Gary Haggarty, a one-time UVF leader and Special Branch agent, could have “a destabilising impact on society”. Haggarty faces more than 200 charges and loyalists fear his information will lead to the arrests of the most senior paramilitary leaders.

“For a start, we did the right thing in ’94,” PUP leader Billy Hutchinson said.

“But in hindsight, and on reflection, had we known that republicans were going to be given (OTR) letters to keep them out of jail and loyalists were going to be hunted down like dogs, I certainly would have been opposing it (the ceasefire),” he added.

William ‘Plum’ Smith, a former Red Hand Commando prisoner and close associate of ‘Winkie’ Rea, chaired the 1994 news conference at which the ceasefire of the Combined Loyalist Military Command was announced.

“The pursuit of the Boston tapes made by Winston Rea and the resurrection of the supergrass system, albeit under a different name of assisting offender, causes collateral damage to any meaningful or constructive method of dealing with the past,” Smith said.

And with historical investigations continuing, he argued the present was being rewound into the past. He said: “I also doubt very much that if we had known the ‘rewinders’ would seek out the peacemakers as scapegoats all these years later that we could have got it (the ceasefire) over the line,” Smith said.

The legal battle to prevent police hearing Rea’s tapes is continuing.

Smith recently tweeted: “It’s off to the Supreme Court now to appeal decision in Winston Rea tapes case and then the European Court if necessary.”

It was in this newspaper more than three years ago that Rea revealed he had recorded an interview for the Boston College oral history project.

Now, police want the tapes as part of an investigation examining offences of “the utmost gravity” – an investigation that spans a period of more than 20 years.

That investigation covers murder, membership of a proscribed organisation and directing terrorism. But loyalists believe republicans are being treated differently.

“From my point of view we understood that by calling the ceasefires, everyone would have been treated equally and we would have moved forward,” Mr Hutchinson told this newspaper.

But he points to the controversial on-the-runs scheme in which more than 200 republicans received so-called comfort letters allowing them to return home in the period following the Good Friday Agreement.

But the Rea investigation and the Haggarty case mean a detailed examination of the loyalist leadership both before and after the ceasefire continues.

“Twenty years on (from the ceasefire announcement) I look back and reflect on a peace and future that is held hostage to the past,” Smith said.

Recent proposals in the Stormont House talks include a structure for addressing the past that will involve a Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) and an Independent Commission for Information Retrieval (ICIR).

The three issues

1. Gary Haggarty

He is currently at the heart of a huge supergrass trial which could take down some of the UVF’s most senior and feared figures.

Gary Haggarty – nicknamed Mr Gadget – is the man whose evidence could topple the leadership of the terror group.

The UVF has been blamed for at least 30 killings since the loyalist ceasefire two decades ago.

Haggarty was reportedly the group’s south-east Antrim commander. He agreed to turn supergrass while on remand in 2010, charged with the 1997 murder of John Harbinson in the Mount Vernon estate. Mr Harbinson was chained to railings and beaten to death with iron bars.

Under the Serious and Organised Crime Act 2005, offenders can be offered a deal involving a reduced sentence for their crimes in return for a full confession and an agreement to provide evidence against others.

During police interviews, Haggarty gave 30,000 pages of information to detectives.

One of the men Haggarty has named in his evidence is former Special Branch agent Mark Haddock. In return for giving evidence against his former peers, Haggarty is expected to be sentenced – if convicted – to as little as three years.

2. On the Runs

The so-called on the run letters (OTR) scheme started in 2000 and saw more than 200 of the letters of comfort issued by the Government to IRA suspects linked to almost 300 murders.

They told people they were not wanted at that time but did not rule out future prosecutions if new evidence became available.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair told the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee of MPs earlier this year that the scheme for fugitive IRA members “was absolutely critical” to the peace process and at certain points “became fundamental to it”.

The plan was drawn up following pressure from Sinn Fein to allow the fugitives, who, had they been in prison before 1998, would have been released under the Good Friday Agreement, to return to Northern Ireland.

An investigation was launched by MPs when the prosecution of John Downey, (inset), was halted after he received one of the on the runs letters in error.

3. Winston Rea and the Boston tapes

LAST week police won the right to listen to taped interviews by loyalist Winston ‘Winkie’ Rea which had been given as part of Boston College’s Belfast Project.

However, the tapes remain secret, for now, to allow for a possible appeal.

Rea is among a group of loyalist and republican former paramilitaries who were interviewed as part of the project.

The accounts were given on the understanding their content would not be made public until after their deaths. During judicial review proceedings last week the court was told an investigation has been launched into serious crimes stretching from the 1970s to the late 1990s.

The alleged offences include murder, directing terrorism, membership of a proscribed organisation and robbery.

An international request for the tapes said police have information Rea was a member of the Red Hand Commando whose interviews would assist investigations into those crimes.

Boston Tapes Lead Researcher Comments On Winston Rea Case

Boston Tapes Lead Researcher Comments On Winston Rea Case
Jason Murdock
Off The Record
27 February, 2015

The PSNI has been granted access to the recordings of former loyalist prisoner Winston Rea, however due to an appeal from Rea’s lawyers to the Supreme Court, the tapes from the Boston College archive will remain secret pending further legal proceedings.

UTV News report thatthe tapes will remain in secure storage at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast until Rea’s final legal options are exhausted. PSNI detectives had been in court ready to take possession of them in the same bag in which they were brought back from the United States. Rea was among dozens of loyalists and republicans who provided testimonies to Boston College researchers compiling an oral history of the Northern Ireland conflict

I contacted the former Lead Researcher of the Boston College’s ‘Belfast Project’, Anthony McIntyre, who alongside journalist and Project Director Ed Moloney, set out to compile an oral history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The project featured oral testimonies from both loyalists and republicans with the assurance that the recordings would not be released until the subject had passed away. Mr Moloney previously wrote about his time with the project on Off the Record here.

Mr McIntyre told me the judicial decision was “no surprise”.

“Again it shows the extent to which the PSNI is a player in thwarting truth recovery by its manipulation of the legal process to restrict the emergence of truth by hounding those who might come forward with it. I would describe the PSNI stance as one of prosecuting truth rather than procuring truth. Where it does seek to procure truth it does so in a very limited and partisan fashion, concentrating on non-state actors and shielding state actors.”

When asked about what is likely to happen next Mr McIntyre said that “the ball is out of our court”.

“If the cops decide to charge Winkie Rea or even arrest him to balance up the political stunt they pulled with Adams, it will add to what is already a diminution in confidence in policing and justice within loyalism.

I think the role of Relatives For Justice in seeking to attach itself to the PSNI attempts to secure the Rea interviews will enhance the feeling within loyalism that the legacy issue is very much a political football used for recrimination rather than reconciliation.

These are all destabilising particles being sprayed over the political atmosphere which serve only to pollute rather than purify.

How they settle or what they form into is beyond my predictive powers. There is nothing to suggest they will reach a point of critical mass but they help maintain the simmer for no societal advantage that I can see. But the penumbra that emits from them more resembles crisis building measures than Confidence Building Measures.”

Speaking at the hearing on Friday, Lord Justice Coghlin affirmed that the tapes will remain secret until Mr Rea’s legal options run out, saying “there will be an order that the materials are not disclosed to the PSNI, and be kept where they are at the minute in a secure place in this building.”

What is the Boston College Belfast Project?

The project, launched in 2001, set out to record the oral history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It featured testimonies from both loyalist and republican paramilitaries about their roles during this dark time in Northern Ireland’s history. The initial deal was that these testimonies were to be kept secret until those involved had passed away. After the death of former IRA commander Brendan Hughes the content of his recordings came to light via books and documentaries. They implicated Gerry Adams in events including the death of ‘the disappeared’ Jean McConville. The PSNI engaged in a long court battle to gain access to the recordings and this eventually led to the arrest of Mr Adams just before the 2014 local and European elections. The Sinn Féin President was released without charge.

 

Winston ‘Winkie’ Rea: Police win right to hear Boston tapes: battle moves to Supreme Court

Winston ‘Winkie’ Rea: Police win right to hear Boston tapes
BBC News
27 February 2015

Police have won the right to listen to Boston College interviews by loyalist Winston “Winkie” Rea.

However, for now, the tapes remain secret to allow for a possible appeal.

On Friday, police were in court with a bag to take away the tapes – but were told to wait in case Winston Rea’s legal team appeals to the Supreme Court.

Mr Rea is among dozens of loyalists and republicans who provided testimonies to Boston College’s Belfast Project.


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.


The interviews were given to researchers compiling an oral history of the Northern Ireland Troubles, on the understanding that tapes would not be made public until after their deaths.

However, in 2013, detectives investigating the 1972 abduction and murder of Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville secured the transcripts of former IRA woman Dolours Price’s account.

The material was handed over following court battles on both sides of the Atlantic.

In January 2015, Mr Rea, a former prisoner and son-in-law of the late UVF leader Gusty Spence, secured a temporary injunction as police flew out to collect tapes from his interviews.

He is seeking to judicially review the Public Prosecution Service’s attempts to obtain his interviews.

He claims that a subpoena for the material is unlawful and lacking in any specifics about why it is being sought.

Boston College: PSNI win access to Winston Rea’s interviews – but tapes still to remain under lock and key

Boston College: PSNI win access to Winston Rea’s interviews – but tapes still to remain under lock and key
By Alan Erwin
BelfastTelegraph.co.uk
27 February 2015

A former loyalist prisoner today lost his latest legal bid to stop police accessing interviews he gave to an American university project – but the tapes are still to remain under lock and key.

Judges at the Court of Appeal rejected Winston “Winkie” Rea’s claims that the material should not be handed over to detectives investigating murder and other paramilitary crimes because it would breach his right to privacy.

However, they also ordered the Boston College recordings should not be disclosed pending the outcome of a planned Supreme Court challenge to their decision.

The tapes will remain in secure storage at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast until Rea’s final legal options are exhausted.

PSNI detectives had been in court ready to take possession of them in the same bag in which they were brought back from the United States.

Rea was among dozens of loyalists and republicans who provided testimonies to Boston College researchers compiling an oral history of the Northern Ireland conflict.

Interviews were given on the understanding that tapes would not be made public until after their deaths.

But those assurances were dealt a blow in 2013 when detectives investigating the abduction and murder of Belfast mother-of-ten Jean McConville back in 1972 secured the transcripts of former IRA woman Dolours Price’s account.

That material was handed over following court battles on both sides of the Atlantic.

Rea, a son-in-law of the late UVF leader Gusty Spence, claimed a subpoena for his tapes is unlawful and unspecific.

During judicial review proceedings the court was told an investigation has been launched into serious crimes stretching from the seventies to the late nineties.

The alleged offences include murder, directing terrorism, membership of a proscribed organisation and robbery.

An international request for the tapes said police have information that Rea was a member of the Red Hand Commando whose interviews would assist investigations into those crimes.

Earlier this month a High Court judge threw out his challenge after holding that the legal test for seeking the material had been met.

Following that verdict two PSNI detectives boarded a flight to Boston to collect the recordings.

But with their flight mid-Atlantic Rea’s legal team secured a last-minute order restraining any handover while they contested the ruling.

In the appeal hearing counsel for the loyalist argued that prosecuting authorities were acting on a hunch rather than any firm knowledge that the tapes contain information relevant to any investigation.

He also claimed the request, made under the Crime (International Co-operation) Act, breached Rea’s right to privacy under European law.

However, a barrister representing the Public Prosecution Service claimed Rea had no reasonable expectation of privacy around what he told the Boston researchers.

The three judges hearing the appeal agreed to lift the injunction so that PSNI officers travelling back from Boston could bring the unopened tapes with them.

The material was to be deposited with the American Consulate and remain on American territory until a decision is given in the appeal.

Those arrangements were then changed so that the sealed container was taken to be guarded by senior officers at the courts.

Delivering judgment in the appeal today, Lord Justice Coghlin said: “Even on the assumption that the issue of the International Letter of Request may have infringed the applicant’s right to privacy, we are entirely satisfied that any such interference was in accordance with law and necessary in the interests of prevention of crime.

“Accordingly, the application will be dismissed.”

Following the verdict Rea’s barrister, Ronan Lavery QC, confirmed plans to go to the Supreme Court in London and sought an order for the tapes to remain out of police hands until then.

He said: “The detectives are ready in the building to receive the tapes.”

Although Lord Justice Coghlin acknowledged there are victims seeking a resolution, he ruled that the recordings should not be handed over yet.

“There will be an order that the materials are not disclosed to the PSNI, and be kept where they are at the minute in a secure place in this building.”