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Now that Mr Adams is out and about again, you may want to read these interesting articles by Ed Moloney:
By Catherine McCartney
“The last posting of 2013 on thebrokenelbow.com is given over to Catherine McCartney, whose brother Robert was brutally murdered by the IRA in January 2005 and who gives her own assessment of the Redemptorist priest, Fr Alec Reid who died last November.”
**Please read on >>THE BROKEN ELBOW – ED MOLONEY
Ed Moloney has written a very moving piece on the death of Patrick Joe Crawford. Included in this post on his site at ‘The Broken Elbow’ is also a beautiful song written and sung by Belfast artist Dave Thompson. I hope you will take some time to go read and listen and think about this.
“Accused of informing but denied the opportunity to defend himself, Paddy Joe Crawford was taken by IRA comrades in the internee huts at Long Kesh in June 1973 and hanged – lynched might be a more fitting word – with all the macabre and grisly ceremonial that accompanies such executions…”
Although Ed Moloney maintains that Dolours Price never once mentioned Jean McConville by name in her Boston College taped interviews, as the following link from Slugger O’Toole explains:
‘Dolours Price’s death does offers the opportunity for her taped testimony and interviews with Anthony McIntyre to finally be released and published in book or documentary form in the short to medium term.’
For the article with many relevant links to other sources, please go here:
23 Sept 2012
**See article below this one.
”A convicted IRA bomber (Dolours Price) claimed that Adams had sanctioned a series of attacks on London in 1972, including the bombing of the Old Bailey, which killed one man and injured 200 more, according to the Telegraph.
Price has given a fresh series of interviews in which she makes claims about Adams, which she says are the same as she made in the tapes being sought by the police. The bomber, who served eight years in prison for playing a leading role in the Old Bailey bomb plot, alleged that:
Adams was her “Officer Commanding” in the Belfast Brigade of the Provisional IRA
He was involved in approving an IRA bombing campaign on mainland Britain and asked for people to volunteer for it, stating it would be a “hanging offence” if they were captured;
Adams ordered her to drive alleged informers across the border from Northern Ireland into the Republic, where they would later be executed.
Adams denies each of the allegations. A spokesman for Sinn Féin said last night: “The allegations purportedly made by Dolours Price are not new and have been vehemently denied by Mr Adams before. Mr Adams entirely rejects these unsubstantiated allegations
Price has agreed to be interviewed about what she told the Boston College researchers, and her claims of the contents of the tapes are published by The Sunday Telegraph today. They put her at odds with Ed Moloney, a documentary-maker who was commissioned to carry out the research for the college. Earlier this month, he issued a statement in which he claimed that there was no mention of Adams or Mrs McConville in Price’s testimony.
In a series of interviews at her home in a suburb of Dublin, she outlined what she said she told the researchers and outlined allegations about Adams being a key figure in the IRA during the early 1970s.
By Patrick Sawer, in London, and Bob Graham, in Dublin
23 Sept 2012
For former IRA bomber Dolours Price, who has accused Gerry Adams of betraying the cause of a united Ireland, republicanism runs in the blood.
Dolours Price pictured at home in Dublin (Photo: PACEMAKER BELFAST)
Today she looks like any other 61-year-old, the type you might pass in the street without noticing, should you be walking through the quiet Dublin suburb where she lives.
But the story which Dolours Price has come forward to tell has the potential to derail the process which has brought peace to Northern Ireland for the past 15 years.
She claims Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fein who helped bring about the IRA’s ceasefire and the Good Friday Agreement, has not always been a man of peace.
In fact Price, herself a convicted IRA bomber, accuses him not only of having approved the bombing of targets on mainland Britain – including the Old Bailey – but of personally ordering the abduction of several people the IRA considered to be traitors. Adams categorically denies her claims.
It is an extraordinary charge sheet, which has a deep personal motive behind it: she feels that Adams has “betrayed” the Republican cause by being involved in the peace process, and that he has betrayed her and other IRA members by denying he was one of their number.
The Price Sisters, Marion, Left, and Dolores, right outside 10 Downing Street in London (Camera Press/Colman Doyle)
It would be easy, therefore, to say that these are the words of an embittered woman, out for revenge – and indeed, that may be true.
But these are claims which she says are contained in recordings which the Police Service of Northern Ireland has gone to extraordinary lengths to obtain, invoking a legal “mutual aid” agreement with the American government to obtain the testimony she – and other former terrorists – gave to researchers working for Boston College in the United States.
The college made the recordings with an offer that their contents would be kept secret until the death of the 28 former terrorists from the IRA and its Loyalist equivalent, the Ulster Volunteer Force to whom they spoke.
The belief was that the offer would guarantee candour – but it also piqued the interest of the police, when a book based on the recordings of two dead terrorists was published by Ed Moloney, the documentary maker who led the research.
It disclosed that Brendan Hughes, who had been an IRA commander, spoke of the “disappeared”, the group of people killed by the IRA and buried in secret graves. He said that Jean McConville, the most high-profile of the victims, was killed by a squad called the “unknowns” and added: “Gerry had control over this particular squad.”
The allegation prompted the lengthy legal action.
However, Price has agreed to be interviewed about her knowledge of the “disappeared” and The Sunday Telegraph today publishes what she said.
Price and her younger sister, Marian, now 59, followed a family tradition of Republicanism.
“It is not enough to say we were born to be Republicans, it’s more precise to say Republicanism is part of our DNA,” she said.
“My father used to sit us on his knee and tell us stories about how he’d gone off to war in 1939 at the age of 19 to bomb the English.”
It was the reintroduction of internment in 1971, when hundreds of Republican activists, along with many who had no involvement with the IRA, were arrested and imprisoned without trial, which led Dolours and her younger sister to join the organisation.
Jean McConville , left, with three of her children (PA)
She approached Seán MacStiofáin, one of the founders of the Provisional IRA and said she wanted to be a “fighting soldier”, not part of Cumann na mBan, the women’s wing of the republican movement. An IRA Army Council was convened and Price was sworn into the organisation, followed by her sister.
Marian Price later boasted how she also used the fact she was wearing a miniskirt to talk her way through a British Army checkpoint after being stopped in a car packed full of explosives.
Speaking of the period, Dolours said: “It was an exciting time, there was no real order or structure to everyday life, the war had taken away all normal routine . . . I should be ashamed to admit there was fun in it in those days.”
In 1972 the Price sisters rose to prominence in the single bloodiest year of the Troubles.
In 1972 alone, 249 civilians were killed as a result of the conflict, among them the 13 victims of Bloody Sunday, along with 148 British security personnel, 70 Republican paramilitaries, 11 Loyalist paramilitaries and one Irish security forces member.
Price was adamant that the IRA should target mainland Britain and in particular London.
She claims the plan to bomb London was hers and was explicitly approved by Adams, in what she claims was his role as “Officer Commanding” of the organisation’s Belfast brigade.
She said: “I was convinced that a short, sharp shock, an incursion into the heart of the Empire would be more effective than 20 car bombs in any part of the north of Ireland.”
Her plan was presented to Gerry Adams and, she said, discussed and agreed by IRA commanders, before Adams convened a meeting to find volunteers.
She went on: “Adams started talking and said it was a big, dangerous operation. He said ‘This could be a hanging job’. He said ‘ If anyone doesn’t want to go they should up and leave now through the back door at ten minute intervals.’ The ones that were left were the ones that went. I was left organising it, to be the OC of the whole shebang.”
First there was a botched attempt to firebomb Oxford Street, but then came the serious attack, four car bombs targeting symbols of the British state: Old Bailey, New Scotland Yard, an Army recruiting office in Westminster, and Whitehall.
The 300lb bomb outside the Old Bailey went off at 3pm on March 8, 1973, as police evacuated the area. One man, Frederick Milton, 60, died of a heart attack and more than 200 were injured. In Whitehall, 33 were injured; the other two were found and defused.
Price and the rest of the terror gang were arrested before the bombs went off, as they tried to board flights and ferries back to Ireland, as police were already hunting them.
A police officer later recalled how, at 3pm, Marian Price looked at her watch and smiled.
Price remains unapologetic about the use of violence, stating in her memoir: “There were warnings phoned in but people had stood about curious to see, some had even stood at office windows and been sprayed by broken glass when the car went up.
“In Belfast we gave 15 minute warnings, in London we’d given them an hour.”
At their trial at Winchester Castle in November 1973, the Price sisters, along with Gerry Kelly – who went on to serve as a Sinn Fein minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly – were jailed for life.
The Prices, Kelly and fellow conspirator Hugh Feeney immediately began a 203-day hunger strike, demanding to be transferred to prisons in Northern Ireland.
Price says: “Make no mistake about it, when I made the decision we’d be on hunger-strike, I had a vision we’d starve to death, it was that simple.”
They were eventually moved to Northern Ireland, as part of an agreement struck with the IRA during its truce of February 1975 to January 1976.
In 1980 Price was granted the royal prerogative of mercy and the following year was freed on humanitarian grounds, suffering from anorexia nervosa. She had served eight years of the “minimum” 20 years of her life sentence.
However, she remained committed to her cause and during the late 1990s spoke out against the Good Friday Agreement.
Until now Price, who claims to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of being force fed, and has attempted suicide on a number of occasions, has said little publicly about her role in the IRA. Between 2001 and 2006 she agreed to be interviewed for the college’s oral history Belfast Project.
In 2010, she offered to help the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains to find the graves of three men abducted and killed by the IRA, Joe Lynskey, Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee – although she has not offered to co-operate with the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Dolours’s sister Marian is currently in prison hospital in Northern Ireland after falling ill while on remand for charges relating to aiding the dissident Real IRA’s campaign of violence.
Adams denies Price’s claims. He said: “I reject again, as I have consistently rejected, the allegations contained in The Sunday Telegraph interview.”
Price herself remains unrepentant about her role. Asked if she is happy that what she now says may disrupt the peace process, she says: “I don’t believe in the process. ,” she said. “I think the process should be undermined, I think the process should be destroyed in some way and I think Gerry Adams, deserves to admit to his part, in all of the things that happened.”
By Nic Robertson and Ken Shiffman
25 May 2012
Editor’s note: Watch how Northern Ireland’s dark past could threaten the peace process as victims look for closure from tapes made by former combatants on both sides of the sectarian divide. “World’s Untold Story” on CNN International at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET on Saturday May 26, or Sunday at 6 a.m. ET.
Belfast, Northern Ireland (CNN) — Audio recordings locked inside a college library in the United States might help solve a decades-old murder mystery, but the release of those tapes could damage the fragile peace in Northern Ireland.
In December 1972, the widow Jean McConville was taken from her home in Belfast and her 10 children.
“They came about tea time and they dragged her out of the bathroom and dragged her out,” remembers McConville’s daughter, Helen McKendry, who was then a teenager.
Ever since, McKendry has been on a 40-year quest for answers.
“All I ever wanted was to know the reason why they killed my mother,” McKendry explained.
“I’ve lived all my life in fear,” McKendry added. “They destroyed my mother’s life, my family life.”
McKendry believes tapes locked away in Boston College’s library may hold the truth about her mother’s fate. But there are fears that the tapes may also cause embarrassment or worse for Gerry Adams, the prominent Catholic politician who helped broker peace in Northern Ireland.
The recordings were made as part of the Belfast Project, which is a collection of interviews conducted with former Northern Irish paramilitary fighters. They provide an oral history of the decades of sectarian fighting that became known as The Troubles.
Northern Ireland is part of Britain and Protestant fighters wanted to keep it that way. Catholics were fighting to force the British out and reunify the north with the rest of Ireland.
The former combatants believed that their recorded interviews would be kept secret until their death. But that may no longer be possible as Northern Irish police are asking the United States government to hand over some of the tapes.
The police say they were alerted to the secret archive by the book, “Voices from the Grave,” written by Belfast Project archive manager Ed Moloney, which is based on transcripts from two of the recorded interviews. One of those featured is Brendan Hughes, a now-deceased former commander of the Irish Republican Army or IRA, a Catholic paramilitary.
Hughes told his interviewer: “I have never, ever, ever admitted being a member of the IRA, ever. I’ve just done it here.”
And he talked about Jean McConville’s murder, stating: “I knew she was being executed. I knew that. I didn’t know she was going to be buried or disappeared as they call them now.”
Hughes went on to allege Gerry Adams was involved: “The special squad was brought into the operation then, called The Unknowns. You know when anyone needed to be taken away they normally done it. I had no control over this squad. Gerry had control over this particular squad.”
Hughes added he regretted what happened: “Looking back on it now, what happened to the woman was wrong.”
Hughes said in his taped interview, McConville was killed because the IRA believed she was working with the British army. The McKendrys do not believe she was a spy, saying she was too busy looking after her 10 children to be an informer.
Gerry Adams, leader of Northern Ireland’s Sinn Fein party, refused to be interviewed by CNN for this story. But, he has said many times before that he was never in the IRA and never involved in the death of Jean McConville, and has labeled as libelous any allegation he was involved in the McConville murder. His spokesman goes further, labeling Adams’ critics as anti the peace process.
Adams’ denial of IRA membership angers his old comrades like Hughes. “It means that people like myself had to carry the responsibility of all those deaths,” Hughes said on the interview tape. “Gerry was a major, major player in the war and yet he’s standing there denying it.”
The Northern Irish police vow to “follow the material in the Boston Archives all way to court if that’s where it takes them … they say detectives have a legal responsibility to investigate murders … and follow all lines of inquiry.”
The British government’s most senior politician on Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson told CNN that no one person is above the law.
“There can be no concept on amnesty, so we have to support the police to have complete operational independence in pursuing every line of inquiry in bringing those who committed crimes to justice,” Paterson said.
Right now the Boston archive manager, Ed Moloney, is furious with Boston College for initially giving in too quickly to subpoena’s demanding they hand over some of the tapes to a U.S. judge. He says it puts lives in danger, damages the future of truth recovery, oral histories and academic research.
Moloney — who is appealing to try to stop the court from handing the tapes it has to police — wants the tapes handed back to the people who told their stories.
“Boston College is no longer a fit and proper place to keep these interviews,” Moloney insists. “The archives should be closed down, and the interviews should be returned to the people who gave them because they’re not safe.”
But there seems to be little chance of that, Boston College’s spokesman Jack Dunn blames Moloney.
“From the beginning, we said to the project organizer, who approached us with this idea, that there were limitations regarding the assurances of confidentiality under American law,” Dunn said.
But what worries Moloney is that if the police get tapes relating to Jean McConville’s murder, they could quickly find other crimes to investigate implicating more political leaders and the police could soon demand all the tapes in the archive.
Few believe the police will get Adams to court in part because he is inoculated from prosecution by his central role silencing IRA guns and delivering peace, and in part because the tapes alone cannot secure a conviction.
Former IRA man Richard O’Rawe recorded a statement for the Boston College archives and says lawyers told him under UK law the tapes cannot be used in court.
“I find it just imponderable, why the police are going down this road when they must know that there is no chance of obtaining any convictions at the end of this,” O’Rawe says.
Like many other Catholics, O’Rawe thinks the police are biased against them, trying to settle old scores and bring Adams and others down. But for Helen McKendry, herself a Catholic getting access to the tapes is about so much more.
For her, it’s not only about justice but a release from the pain of never knowing the truth.
“They tried to destroy what life I have now,” she says. “They are the people who committed the crimes in this. They should be worried.”
By DENISE LAVOIE
3 Apr 2012
BOSTON (AP) — An attempt by British investigators to get recorded interviews with former members of the Irish Republican Army has turned into a complicated court battle. And for Carrie Twomey, the legal fight is personal.
She’s the wife of Anthony McIntyre, a former gunman for the IRA who conducted the interviews for an oral history project at Boston College. Twomey has played a key role in trying to sway U.S. politicians that turning over the recordings could endanger her family.
“This isn’t just some dusty old papers in a library,” Twomey says. “This is people’s lives. This is my family.”
Twomey has managed to get backing from some powerful people. Seven U.S. politicians, including Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Charles Schumer of New York, have written letters to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging them to persuade British authorities to withdraw their request for the recordings.
McIntyre and Irish journalist Ed Moloney, who directed the project, are asking a federal appeals court to block the handover. Arguments are scheduled Wednesday before the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.
The history project, which began in 2001 and was completed in 2006, is intended as a resource for journalists, scholars and historians after the death of the participants. But Northern Ireland police probing the IRA’s 1972 killing of a Belfast woman want access to the interviews for their investigation.
Moloney says the recordings are explosive enough to damage Northern Ireland’s unity government, in which Sinn Fein represents the Irish Catholic minority. Its stable coalition with the British Protestant majority is the central achievement of the 1998 U.S.-brokered peace accord.
Moloney has said that the interviewees include many IRA colleagues of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and that public release of the testimony could lead to a victims’ lawsuit against Adams, the conflict’s leading guerrilla-turned-peacemaker.
Twomey worries her husband and other former IRA members could be attacked or killed if the recordings are turned over and then used in prosecutions. Some in Ireland have already branded her husband as a “tout,” an informer, because of his role in the Boston College project, she says.
“My husband isn’t an informer, nor are the people who participated in this project — it’s a history project — but police using it as evidence, that changes it dramatically and makes it very dangerous,” says Twomey, 41.
“Traditionally, the penalty for informing is death.”
Twomey grew up in southern California. She met her husband about 12 years ago after reading critical commentary he had published on the way the peace process was being managed and wrote him a letter. They’ve been married for almost 10 years and have two children, an 11-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy.
McIntyre spent 17 years in prison for killing a Protestant militant in a 1976 drive-by shooting.
The couple initially lived in West Belfast but moved to the south five years ago when McIntyre found a job in construction in Drogheda. McIntyre, who left the IRA when the 1998 Good Friday agreement was signed, said their neighbor’s house in Drogheda was smeared with pig excrement in 2010, after portions of the memoir of former IRA member Brendan Hughes — one of the people McIntyre interviewed — were published in a British newspaper.
The vandals probably meant to send him a threatening message but got the wrong address, McIntyre says.
“Carrie wasn’t involved in the project, nor were our children,” McIntyre says. “Her fear and my fear, too, would be the morphing of research into evidence substantially changes the ballgame and would open up the possibility of an attack.”
Twomey’s husband is not allowed to travel to the United States because of his IRA conviction. So for the past three months, she has shuttled between the United States and Ireland, hoping to pressure the U.S. government to drop the bid to turn the recordings over to Northern Ireland police investigating the IRA’s killing of Jean McConville, a mother of 10 who had been branded as a British Army spy by the IRA.
Kerry and other U.S. politicians say they are concerned that release of the recordings could undermine peace in Northern Ireland.
“It would be a tragedy if this process were to upset the delicate balance that has kept the peace and allowed for so much progress in the past fourteen years,” Kerry wrote in his Jan. 23 letter.
Prosecutors declined to talk about the case before Wednesday’s hearing.
In an interview in January, Assistant U.S. Attorney John McNeil said American authorities must provide IRA testimony about McConville’s killing to British authorities as part of treaty commitments to aid each other’s criminal investigations.
“The UK is investigating serious crimes: murder, kidnapping, McNeil said. “The court has already found that it’s a bona fide investigation and that there’s no other source for this material.”
McIntyre and Moloney say Boston College promised the interview subjects strict confidentiality until their deaths, while Boston College officials say they made it clear they would protect the confidentiality only to the extent allowed under U.S. law.
Boston College initially tried to quash subpoenas from U.S. prosecutors seeking the recordings but later decided not to appeal a judge’s order to turn over the interviews of convicted car bomber Delours Price. The same judge dismissed a separate lawsuit by Moloney and McIntyre.
Spokesman Jack Dunn said Boston College decided not to appeal because Price had given a widely distributed newspaper interview in which she implicated herself and Adams in McConville’s abduction and murder. Adams has denied that.
By Jude Collins
19 Jan 2012
So – what do you make of this Boston tapes thing, eh? You know the project: journalist Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre got together and arranged interviews with a number of former republican and loyalist combatants in our Troubles.
These were recorded and lodged with Boston College, with the promise that they’d not see the light of day until the interviewee was dead. And so, for a time, it proved. When Brendan Hughes died, Ed Moloney wrote a book in which his recorded testimony featured prominently. A lot of republicans were very unhappy with it, because Hughes essentially claimed, among other things, that over half the hunger-strikers in 1981 should not have died and it was all Sinn Féin’s fault. What couldn’t be disputed was that Moloney had kept his promise to Hughes, that nothing would be revealed until he had died.
But now, hard though it is to believe, all bets are off. The US government has laid legal claim to the tapes and may pass them to the PSNI. The assurances of confidentiality have melted away like snow off last year’s ditch.
Anthony McIntyre was on BBC Radio Ulster/Raidio Uladh on Sunday and made a number of references to the collation of the tapes as “research”. An odd term for the project. As Anthony probably knows, one of the basic building blocks in research is the choice of sample. For example, if you were in the US right now and you got a sample of 30 people to fill in a questionnaire about the race for the White House, the value of your “research” would depend, among other things, on who the 30 people were who filled in the questionnaire. If you’d chosen your 30 because you knew they detested black people in general and Barack Obama in particular, your sample would be skewed and your research worthless. It might be a powerful piece of propaganda but it wouldn’t be research. From what I hear – and I’ll be happy to hear otherwise, if anyone knows – the Boston interviews were conducted with people who, if they didn’t detest Sinn Féin in general and Gerry Adams in particular, were – how shall I say? – some way from supportive of them. If that generally-accepted fact is true, then don’t call it research. Use another word.
Two other points. First, on Sunday’s radio programme, McIntyre conceded that he and Moloney had made an error of judgement in not taking legal advice about their and Boston College’s ability to control these tapes. That I find astonishing. In their shoes, wouldn’t you have worn out your knuckles hammering on the door of the smartest lawyer in town before embarking on a project so controversial? It’s equally astonishing that the people who agreed to be interviewed didn’t first say, “Mr Moloney, Mr McIntyre, show me the legal document that guarantees my words will be kept under lock and key for my lifetime, would you?” If they didn’t, they were very gullible. If they did… I’m stumped there. If they did, what answer were they given? And did the people giving the answer know what they were talking about?
Second point. Anthony McIntyre claimed that if the tapes fall into the hands of the PSNI, his life would be in danger; Danny Morrison speaking on the same programme, said it won’t. I don’t know who’s right, but I do recall an occasion some eight years ago, when I wrote a piece for the Daily Ireland newspaper in which I was critical of Anthony McIntyre. Shortly afterwards I got a long, hostile email from Moloney in New York, accusing me of – you guessed it – putting Anthony McIntyre’s life in danger. I considered the charge daft and time has proved me right. In making up your mind whether McIntyre’s life would be in danger this time, it might be important not to listen to Ed Moloney.
• Jude Collins blogs at www.judecollins.com
By Liam Clarke
4 January 2012
**Poster’s note: I have a simple question: Why should the truth of the Troubles be covered up? Who gives anyone the right to keep silent when they know such things? The whole premise of this project is faulty as far as I am concerned. First we have the originators going on about how sacrosanct these oral histories are. Now they want them destroyed so the information contained in them will not get out. What and who does this remind you of?
A controversial US project which contains the testimonies of Troubles era terrorists should now be wound up, according to the men who founded it.
The three men involved in the oral history project have said Boston College’s decision to hand over material to the US authorities after requests from the PSNI has betrayed the trust of those involved.
Investigative journalist Ed Moloney is the former director of the project that aimed to document the conflict through the eyes of those involved.
Dr Anthony McIntyre interviewed former IRA members, while Wilson McArthur spoke to former loyalist paramilitaries for the archive under promise of confidentiality until death.
They said: “We are, all three of us, now strongly of the view that the archive must now be closed down and the interviews be either returned or shredded since Boston College is no longer a safe nor fit and proper place for them to be kept.
“We made a pledge to our interviewees to protect them to the utmost of our ability and we will stand by that pledge firmly and unalterably.”
All three are bitterly resentful of Boston College for releasing incriminating tapes, transcripts and DVDs without exhausting all possible legal channels.
The material was requested by the British Government on behalf of the PSNI after a Historical Enquiries Team review of the murder and secret burial of Jean McConville by the IRA in 1972.
Mr Moloney and Mr McIntyre have now won a stay of execution while the American courts consider whether to hand the tapes over to US attorneys, who will give it to the British.
They are arguing that doing so would endanger the researchers’ lives and impact on the peace process.
They also believe it could breach laws which prohibit the extradition of people accused of Troubles era offences from the US.
William ‘Plum’ Smith and Winston Rea, two former loyalist prisoners, have already said that they want their testimonies back.
However, the Belfast Telegraph has learned that Boston College has already handed the entire archive over to the US courts to decide what is relevant to the McConville investigation.
“I was appalled,” Mr Moloney said.
“The college was asked for relevant material and said that the librarian had not read it. So the court got everything.”
He hit out at Boston College for not going far enough to protect the material in his view.
“Implicit in the pledge of confidentiality was that it was non-negotiable,” he said.
“Boston College therefore had a duty to fight to preserve it to the utmost, in effect to challenge any adverse legal decisions all the way up the legal chain, as far as the Supreme Court if necessary.
“BC’s failure to appeal in my mind robs the college of any moral right to hold on to the archive.”
Boston College Belfast Project controversy …
Your questions answered.
Q What is Boston College’s ‘Belfast Project’?
A The archive contains the testimonies of around 30 former Northern Ireland terrorists in which they recounted their careers in the belief that it would not be made public until after their deaths.
The project was an initiative of journalist Ed Moloney and Lord Bew, a Queen’s University professor of history.
It was funded by Boston College and is housed in the college’s Thomas Burns Library.
The republican interviews were carried out by Dr Anthony McIntyre, a former IRA prisoner, while Wilson McArthur carried out the loyalist interviews.
Mr Moloney also carried out some video interviews, for instance with the former IRA bomber Dolours Price, which were not formally part of the archive.
Q Why is it in the news at all?
A Boston College has handed over parts of the archive relating to the murder of Jean Mc Conville to US attorneys acting, ultimately, on a warrant issued by the PSNI.
Mrs McConville was a west Belfast mother-of-10 abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in 1972 on suspicion of being an informer.
The material handed over included the testimony of Brendan ‘the Dark’ Hughes, a local IRA commander now dead, and Dolours Price, an IRA activist at the time.
Both accuse Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president, of involvement in the planning of the murder and the decision to secretly bury her, though Mr Adams has consistently denied this, just as he denies ever being in the IRA. He says Mr Hughes was a friend and fellow republican, nothing more.
Q Wasn’t it meant to be confidential?
A Dr Mc Intyre said: “People spoke frankly to me on the strict understanding that nothing they said would be revealed in their lifetimes without their written authorisation. I wouldn’t have been involved without legal assurances.”
Interviewers and interviewees signed an undertaking not to “disclose to third parties the existence of the project without the permission of the sponsor”.
Q How did the news leak out?
A There were rumours about the project when the interviews were being carried out.
After Brendan Hughes, the IRA leader, and David Ervine, a loyalist politician and former UVF bomber, died Mr Moloney wrote a book entitled Voices From The Grave based on their testimonies.
Later, Dolours Price gave an interview in which she revealed that she had made a tape which was in the archive.
Q Who could be affected by this?
A If reports of the contents of the archive are correct, then Gerry Adams and others could face police questioning.
3 Jan 2012
Author and researcher Ed Moloney has said Dolours Price has been “badly let down” after Boston College handed over transcripts of interviews carried out with the former IRA member to the police.
Along with 25 other IRA members, Dolours Price spoke at the US school as part of an oral history project.
Now prosecutors in America have demanded access to any information contained in the interviews which relates to the murder of mother-of-ten Jean McConville, who was disappeared by the IRA in 1972.
At a recent court hearing the judge recommended Boston College appeal the decision to allow police to gain access to the transcripts, however the college did not continue with an appeal.
“From our point of view that was astonishing and deeply disturbing because it was not what we expected or wanted and we feel very badly let down as a result.”
He added that the interviewers and their subjects are “deeply alarmed” by the consequences of revealing the texts to authorities.
Mr Moloney, whose discussions with Brendan Hughes and David Ervine formed his book Voices from the Grave, said the interviews were only carried out on the basis that it was legally safe, and the subjects had a “pledge of confidentiality [that] is utterly non-negotiable”.
“We’re reassuring them that if there is any attempt to groom any of us into any sort of criminal process by the PSNI, or whoever is behind this, then they can go and knock on other doors because they’re going to get no satisfaction and no joy from us.
“Our cooperation with the authorities on this will be non-existent and zero,” he added.
Speaking to UTV, Mr Moloney said the action taken by the PSNI has “destroyed all possibility now of any truth-telling process”.
“There is no way that anyone with sane mind is going to take part in any sort of process of truth recovery about the past while the PSNI are behaving like this.
“Whoever did this within the PSNI should now reflect on the foolishness of their actions.”
Mr Moloney denied claims that the publication of his book, in which Brendan Hughes claimed Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams was implicated in Jean McConville’s murder, led to police demanding access to the other interviews.
“It was the culmination of a promise that was made by ourselves to Brendan Hughes that we would, as soon as possible after his death, make his interviews publicly available.
“In my view it wasn’t this that led to the subpoenas, it was something entirely different, another event involving other newspapers which led to this and we’ll talk about this at some other stage,” he said.
“At this point, we’re intent on putting all our energies into the process, we’ve got a stay and some very good lawyers working on this.”
North Antrim MP Ian Paisley said Ed Moloney’s decision not to pass evidence to authorities is “unacceptable [and] intolerable”.
“Those who practice journalism are like professionals in any other field whether it is doctors, nurses, lawyers or anyone else. Any assurances given to people that their interviews would not be shared with the lawful authorities have no legal force whatever.
“If Ed Moloney has information that could assist in securing justice for innocent victims he has a moral as well as legal obligation to hand the same over.”
“We must remember that this involves the withholding of information relating to terrorism. These are crimes of the most serious nature,” the DUP MP said.
UUP Lagan Valley MLA Basil McCrea says US authorities should hand material contained in the archives of Boston College over to the PSNI.
“If we must confront the past in order to clear the pathway to the future, then the material contained in the Boston College archive is extremely relevant and not part of some abstract or historical academic exercise and several implications flow from this,” he said.
“There are serious implications for certain individuals, as to who was really a member of which terrorist organisation, what role they played, who gave who orders and what those orders were.
“I have no doubt that the PSNI will be extremely interested in the information contained in the Boston College archive.”
2 Jan 2012
Today’s Belfast Telegraph splash headline, “Fury as IRA tapes turned over” (not online) follows a piece in yesterday’s Irish edition of the Sunday Times, “Tale of the tapes” (behind a paywall).
Yet the story deserves wide readership by journalists and journalism academics because of its ethical ramifications.
As so often with matters related to the Northern Ireland conflict it is complicated to unravel, not least because of the underlying politics.
Let’s begin at the end, so to speak. A federal judge in the United States has ordered Boston College to surrender taped interviews with an ex-IRA member, Dolours Price.
She was one of 26 former IRA volunteers to give a series of interviews – between 2001 and 2006 – as part of a research study, called the Belfast Project.
The interviewees, who signed confidentiality agreements, were given an assurance that the tapes would not be released until after their deaths.
What they were not told is that there was no guarantee that the interviews could be protected from court orders. Boston College would have to comply with the law.
It is thought that many of the interviewees who, naturally, have many secrets to tell, were unusually candid about their activities on behalf of the republican movement.
Even so, as one would expect, there was no assurance that they were telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They did not speak under oath.
It means that some may have made allegations about named, living people being guilty of criminal offences. None of these accusations were able to be independently verified by the researchers.
The interviewees could, in effect, say what they liked about anyone. That is not to devalue oral histories as such, but given the nature of a conflict in which so many people were killed in secret operations in what everyone regards as having been a “dirty war”, the project was bound to be of questionable merit.
The 26 probably had different reasons for giving interviews. Some may simply have wanted to get things off their chests. Some may have regarded it as a valuable historical academic exercise. Some, motivated by malice, may have wished to settle accounts with the former IRA leadership they now despise.
Price, for example, was a noted critic of the peace process and, particularly, of one of its main architects, the Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.
Similarly, so were two of the project’s key participants and interviewers – the journalist Ed Moloney and a former republican prisoner, Anthony McIntyre.
That very salient fact has not gone unnoticed. See, for instance, Danny Morrison’s pieces – ‘Baloney College Archive’ and ‘Why the Boston College Irish oral history project should be discontinued’ – in which he points to the political bias of Moloney and McIntyre.
He finds it blackly ironic that the two men, having created the project, are now screaming about the US court’s decision.
They have been critical of Boston College for its willingness to comply with the court order. However, some US academics have been just as critical of the researchers, arguing that it was, at best, naive and, at worst, manipulative, to give interviewees a guarantee of confidentiality.
One quoted by the Sunday Times – John Neuenschwander, professor of history at Carthage College in Wisconsin – said: “You need to alert the people who you seal the interview for that you may not be able to prevent it from being picked up by a subpoena and going to court.”
The drama began when Price told a Belfast newspaper that she had been involved in the “disappearance” of several IRA victims, including Jean McConville, and – in so doing – incriminated Adams.
The Northern Ireland police (PSNI) decided to act, and the British government agreed. It began a legal action in the States to order Boston College to surrender the Price interview tapes and any others relevant to the murder of McConville.
Leaving aside the obvious dispute about the motives of Moloney and McIntyre in obtaining the interviews and whether they acted properly, the case raises a hugely important question about the validity of academics giving people guarantees of confidentiality in order to persuade them to speak.
It touches directly on the problem all journalists face in protecting confidential sources and, in my opinion, we journalists ought to condemn both the British government for pursuing the action and the US judge for acceding to its request.
31 Dec 2011
An appeals court in Boston yesterday blocked the release to US prosecutors of interviews former IRA member Dolours Price gave an oral history project at Boston College after a researcher said that he and his family in Ireland would be in danger if the interviews were made public.
Acting on a last-minute legal intervention by author and journalist Ed Moloney, who directed the project, and Anthony McIntyre, the writer and former IRA prisoner who interviewed former IRA members for it, the First Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay and scheduled a hearing for Friday. It put on hold the order that the college give records to prosecutors seeking them for British authorities.
By Anne Madden
Friday, 30 December 2011
Jean McConville (left) with three of her children before she was abducted and killed by the IRA in 1972. Her body was found in 2003. (Photograph: PA)
An American university has until today to hand over recorded interviews with a former IRA member to assist the investigation into the murder of Belfast mother-of-10 Jean McConville.
Boston College was ordered by a federal judge to turn over recordings, transcripts and other items related to Dolours Price to federal prosecutors in Boston.
The material which was collected for the Belfast Project, an oral history project about the Troubles, was subpoenaed on behalf of the British Government.
Judge William Young of the federal court in Boston noted in his ruling earlier this week that a treaty between the USA and the UK requires the two nations to share information relevant to ongoing criminal investigations.
Boston College said it is disappointed by Judge Young’s ruling, arguing it “could have a chilling effect because people could be reluctant to participate in oral history projects moving forward”.
The Belfast Project’s organisers, which included author Ed Moloney and former IRA prisoner Anthony McIntyre, had promised their subjects they would keep identities and material confidential until the person had died.
The college is not appealing the decision. Prosecutors had asserted in court filings that the material sought is relevant to a probe into Mrs McConville’s death. She disappeared in 1972. Her body was found in 2003.
The IRA said it killed McConville because she was suspected of being an informer.
Price and another former IRA member, Brendan Hughes, have said that her abduction, execution and burial was ordered by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.
According to court documents, Price admitted in news reports in Northern Ireland that she had driven the abducted McConville to the place of her murder.
Mr Adams, who was elected TD for Louth earlier this year, has repeatedly denied the allegations that he ordered the killing.
A Sinn Fein spokesman said it had no comment to make.
“It doesn’t concern Sinn Fein at all,” he said. “It is a matter between Anthony McIntyre, Ed Moloney, the PSNI and Boston College.”
However, DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said he welcomed the finding of the court, adding it is up to police alone to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bring a public prosecution.
Story so far
Police believe the material held by Boston College will assist an ongoing investigation into the 1972 abduction and murder of Belfast woman Jean McConville. The US federal judge who made the decision, William G Young, ruled he will make further orders for the release of information from the oral history project of the Troubles.