I’M ALREADY LOW ON NEW YEAR OPTIMISM

“Seen this in The Sunday (lies) World and had to repost”.

IN A couple of days we’ll be taking down the decosions, locking up the 12-year-old Scotch malt that’s only brought out at Christmas and contemplating another year!!!

1483978_607635832617669_1772329918_o

The New Year is traditionally a time for optimism, sadly down the years ours has been wasted and without wishing to be a seasonal grump I’m not sure how long our optimism can take it. We’re getting used to being let down, but you have to hope don’t you? Things have to change eventually so why not in 2014. First thing that needs to change is the Chief Constable. Matt (maggot) Baggott has an unenviable task as head of the PSNI/RUC but he has shown he is simply not up to the job, whether its because of political pressure, his failure to handle the UVF has been spectacular. He was ill advised to have attended the PUP conference as the keynote speaker last year but he clearly can’t learn from his mistakes. With the UVF orchestrating night after night of street violence as the fleg protests swung into action the PSNI’s/RUC softly softly approach simply handed control of the streets to the terror group. His officers were expected to stand on the front line and take a battering – night after night – and when the PSNI/RUC did a deal allowing the UVF to police their own parades it was confirmation that the lunatics really had taken over the asylum. And if that wasn’t bad enough he insisted the UVF’s ceasefire remains intact, despite more than 30 murders since they claimed they put their guns beyond use and more recently the attemped murder of Jemma McGrath in East Belfast.

Excuse

293290_171098439636605_1085904647_nIn the wider context we need the Orange Order to wise up. The outside world looks in and wonders what these strange wee men in bowler hats and collarettes are all about. Their intolerance and open hatred of all things Catholic is hard for anyone to grasp. And accommodating tolerant Orange Order would, in one fell swoop, disarm all those who want to see it condemned to the history books. The Order gives bigots an excuse, take it away and they fall. On the other side of the house the Shinners must be hoping that Gerry Adams‘ (pedo protector) closet isn’t any bigger. With the number of skeletons already out it resembles the Tardis! The Shame Fein president has been left damaged by his continued denial of IRA membership, allegations of involvement in the abduction and murder of Jean McConville refuse to go away and his handling of sex abuse claims levelled against his brother further wrecked his creditability. He is fast becoming a leader in name only – people simply don’t trust him anymore. Maybe 2014 will be a time the Shinners started looking for a new star. It’s not asking much but if we manage to secure these changes and the North of Ireland manage to win the match 2014 mightn’t be too bad.

With many thanks to: Richard Sullivan, The Sunday World.

At Ford’s Reply to Fr. Sean’s letter.

POSTED ON BEHALF OF : by: Diann Isleñita Cook

Hot Pursuit

I accuse you of murder! And I will not rest until I bring you to justice! But, anyway, you’re free to leave. No big deal.

—–

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors will walk into an appellate court in Boston and tell a panel of judges that they are seeking evidence in an exceptionally serious crime, the murder of a widowed mother of ten who was taken from her home in Belfast and shot in the back of the head by members of the Provisional IRA. Because they are aiding police officials in the United Kingdom with such an important investigation, they will sound a note of urgency: The matter before the courts must be brought to a conclusion, because murderers must be brought to justice.

They will be full of shit.

There was a murder, and it was awful. A widowed mother was killed, and ten children were left with no parents. But is there amurder investigation underway? Is the Police Service of Northern Ireland working to bring killers to justice?

I’ve said before that you should start thinking about this claim from the moment in 1972 when McConville was taken from her home to be killed. What then? Nothing much. The police have acknowledged that they didn’t try to solve her murder until the 1990s, and even then they didn’t try especially hard, and then finally they admitted that they probably weren’t going to make a case in such an old murder that would survive in a courtroom. Now it’s 2012, and there’s somehow a serious criminal investigation underway.

But this time, let’s start the story somewhere else: February 21, 2010. That’s the date a newspaper in Northern Ireland printed a story alleging that former IRA member Dolours Price — as the paper soberly put it, a “TERRORIST IN A MINI-SKIRT” — had admitted that she drove McConville to her death. Not only that, added the Sunday Life, but she was known to have told the story to researchers at “Boston University,” which is a solid fifty percent correct. (The story isn’t online at the newspaper’s website, but you can see page scans here.)

And so the Police Service of Northern Ireland, alerted to the confession of an accomplice to murder, came roaring to life and began their desperate quest to win justice in the case of Jean McConvilleGame on — justice was awake and on the hunt. The first set of interviews Boston College will potentially give up to the government when the legal appeals are over are the interviews conducted with Dolours Price. Her newspaper confession is bringing the day of legal reckoning ever closer. The newly tireless detectives have almost got their target.

Jean McConville was abducted and murdered in 1972Jean McConville

There are just a few problems with that picture, and start with the fact that the Sunday Life story ran more than a year before anyone got around to asking for subpoenas of the Boston College material. Think about this: A newspaper said on February 21, 2010, that a particular person had driven a murder victim to her death, and that there was more information available in a university archive. The first subpoenas arrived at the university archive in May, 2011. You can almost taste the urgency.

Better yet: In August, 2010 — several months after the Sunday Life story named her as an accomplice in Jean McConville’s murder — Dolours Price was in a courtroom in Northern Ireland, facing criminal charges. Here’s the story on the BBC website. Having confessed to her role in the McConville murder in a published interview, causing the police in Northern Ireland to lock onto her with their laser focus and their passion for justice, Price found herself in the hands of the criminal justice system in the very place where she was known for her role in an infamous political killing. They had her, in the flesh, the IRA terrorist who named Gerry Adams as her commander in a murder she had directly facilitated.

So go read the BBC story. What happened when the woman who drove Jean McConville to her death appeared in a courtroom in Northern Ireland? This: “Convicted Old Bailey bomber Dolours Price has been acquitted of a charge of shoplifting at Newry Magistrates Court.” The end. Terrorist in a mini-skirt!

Months after the Sunday Life story identified Price’s role in McConville’s death, nobody in the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland cared or tried to do anything about it. She went and stood in a courtroom, and no one mentioned the whole “murder of a widowed mother of ten at Gerry Adams’ command” thing. They yawned at her shoplifting charge and sent her home. Because they were so aggressively pursuing it, you see.

In its amicus brief in the legal appeal, the ACLU of Massachusetts charged that the DOJ was facilitating a political investigation, a course that could lead the United States government into ever-more-horrible involvement in appalling political repression overseas. When a foreign government asks for help gathering evidence against political organizations like the IRA, the U.S. government should think carefully about what they’re being asked to do, and the courts should take a close look at the decisions the Justice Department makes.

Here, again, is the government’s most recent brief in the Belfast Project appeal. Look at pg. 57, and let’s go ahead and add emphasis to make this easy:

Finally, nowhere in ACLUM’s argument is there a recognition that a request by a foreign sovereign under a treaty regarding a sensitive and confidential criminal matter is any different than a civil request by a private party in a mundane business matter. ACLUM’s argument, if taken to its logical conclusion, would subject even the most sensitive and urgent law enforcement requests to litigation and delay by persons with a deeply felt, but tangential interest in such a criminal investigation. Under ACLUM’s reading of §3512, criminal defendants in foreign countries, and others who disagree with the foreign policies of the United States, could tie sensitive and urgent international criminal investigations in legal knots.

There is no “sensitive and urgent” criminal investigation. The police in Northern Ireland have had forty years to investigate Jean McConville’s murder, and they have not. They had several months between the publication of a story saying that Dolours Price had driven McConville to her death and the moment when she stood in a courtroom and was available for an easy arrest. They had a year to get around to asking for subpoenas of the Boston College interviews.

Someone needs to apply some skepticism to the government’s framing of these subpoenas. Let’s hope the First Circuit manages the task.

RE-POSTED ON BEHALF OF My Photo  

Explosive Troubles interviews set to surface?

Brendan Hughes
Brendan Hughes was one of the former IRA men who took part in the project
 
In the bowels of the Burns library at Boston College, some of the most interesting secrets of the peace process, and the violence that preceded it, are held in secure storage.
 

Among the documents are the details of what happened during the decommissioning process.

The British and Irish governments agreed that Boston College, with its enduring interest in Northern Ireland, would be a suitable and safe long-term repository for the controversial papers.

Also held there are a series of candid, confessional interviews with former loyalist and republican paramilitaries, in which they chronicle their involvement in the Troubles, and name names.

The ‘Belfast Project’, was designed to become an oral history of the Troubles, directed by the writer and journalist Ed Moloney, with the interviews carried out by two researchers.

Loyalists were recorded by Wilson McArthur, republicans by the former IRA prisoner Dr Anthony McIntyre, who has since become a writer and academic.

The deal was this: The former terrorists would tell their stories in secret, on the understanding that the recordings and transcripts would only be made public after their deaths.

Their testimonies, according to Boston College, would serve as a historic tool from which the mistakes of the past could be better understood.

Two of those interviewed, David Ervine of the Progressive Unionist Party, and the former IRA Commander Brendan Hughes have since died.

Their stories formed the backbone of a book by the project director, Ed Moloney, and of a television documentary.

In those Hughes made some frank admissions.

He said that he had organised ‘Bloody Friday’, the day on which the IRA detonated over 19 car bombs in Belfast in the space of an hour.

Nine people were killed, 130 were injured. Images of police officers shovelling the mutilated bodies of the victims into bags are some of the most enduring of the Troubles.

Hughes also spoke of his once close friend, the Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

Hughes named him as overall commander of the IRA’s Belfast brigade.

He also claimed that Mr Adams had controlled his own squad within the IRA, known by the organisation as “the unknowns”.

This, according to Hughes, was the group responsible for the ‘Disappeared’, those who were kidnapped, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA.

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams has said he has nothing to fear over the tapes

Mr Adams has strenuously denied the claims, and has pointed out that he and Brendan Hughes came to differ on the route Sinn Fein was taking.

In the latter years of his life Hughes had become an ardent critic of his former friend.

However, another former IRA member later gave an interview to a newspaper journalist, in which she admitted that she had also taken part in the ‘Belfast Project’.

Dolours Price had been one of the IRA gang that blew up the Old Bailey in 1973.

In that interview, she allegedly claimed to have been the person who drove one of the Disappeared to her death in 1972.

Jean McConville was a west Belfast-based mother of 10, who had been accused by the IRA of passing information to the British.

Her remains were found buried on a beach in the Irish Republic, 30 years after she went missing.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland says that it has re-opened the inquiry into Mrs McConville’s murder, and on that basis is seeking the transcripts of the interview Dolours Price apparently gave to Anthony McIntyre and Boston College.

Initial court decisions in the United States have accepted the PSNI’s interest as legitimate, and the tapes of the Price interview and seven others deemed pertinent to an investigation into the disappeared are now in the hands of the US federal court.

On Wednesday, Dr McIntyre and Ed Moloney will make their final arguments to three appeal judges in a bid to have those interviews withheld from the police.

They say that it breaches the agreement struck with the interviewees, that it is a violation of their right to protect their sources, and that any hand-over of the material will place them in danger of attack by republicans.

Boston College is also appealing the decision to hand over the tapes, but separately.

The college says that it has no grounds to protect the anonymity of Dolours Price, given that she effectively ‘outed’ herself in the newspaper interview.

In June, Boston College will however try to stop the handover of seven other IRA interviews, querying their value to any investigation into the disappeared.

All of this has led to a bitter dispute between the researchers on the project, and the college, both of whom accuse the other of bad faith.

Boston College says that it agreed to protect the interviewees as far as the law would allow, and that Dolours Price exhausted their ability to do so by her admissions.

Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre feel that Boston College folded without a fight, and that they have been let down by their former employers.

For his part Mr Adams insists he has nothing to fear from any disclosure, and denies all of the accusations levelled at him.

WITH MANY THANKS TO : Andy Martin BBC News.

 

Related Stories

How a noble exercise became a political act

How a noble exercise became a political act

A federal appeals judge will decide next week whether to overrule a court decision to approve the release of IRA statements made to a Jesuit university in the city

IT HAS BEEN A YEAR since the subpoena from the US attorney’s office arrived on the august campus of Boston College, an annus horribilis for the Jesuit university founded by Irish immigrants a century and a half ago.

Boston College has spent considerable time and resources building a reputation for being not just an academic observer but also an active facilitator of the Northern Ireland peace process. It has hosted, at its own expense, scores of politicians, civil servants, journalists and others from Northern Ireland and the Republic over the years. Its Dublin office, overlooking St Stephen’s Green, frequently welcomed visitors from the North. And among US universities its Irish studies programme was considered the most plugged-in and influential.

It was in that spirit, and with the belief that the Belfast Agreement of 1998 had ushered in a new era of reconciliation and reflection, that Boston College embarked on an ambitious effort to collect the oral histories of paramilitaries on both sides of the divide. Those former paramilitaries recorded their stories with the understanding that they wouldn’t be made public until after they died.

But that subpoena, delivered by US prosecutors acting on behalf of British authorities, has put everything at risk, including Boston College’s well-earned reputation for being a force for good in the peace process. What began as an academic exercise with noble intentions has degenerated into the sort of fingerpointing and recrimination that dogged the North for so long.

US prosecutors want any and all information contained in the oral histories about the 1972 disappearance and murder of Jean McConville, a Belfast widow whose 10 children were scattered after the IRA accused her of informing. At least two of the 26 former IRA members interviewed for the project accused the Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams of giving the order to kill McConville, a charge Adams categorically denies. A judge has ruled that seven other interviews contain information germane to a PSNI investigation into McConville’s murder and should be turned over.

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court in Boston will hear arguments from the researchers Boston College hired to gather the oral histories.

It is, according to lawyers, the last, best chance to preserve the confidentiality that the former paramilitaries who told their stories believed they had. But it is a legal effort separate and apart from Boston College.

When the US government first demanded access to just two of the oral histories, the university and its researchers, the journalist and author Ed Moloney and the former IRA prisoner turned academic and writer Anthony McIntyre, were unified in their opposition to what they called a cynical government fishing expedition. The idea that an American university was being used as an intelligence or evidence gathering arm of a foreign government was widely considered outrageous.

But there were cracks in that unified front from the beginning. Boston College officials were keen to address the matter quietly, and were miffed when Moloney, the longtime Belfast-based journalist now living in New York, helped the New York Times break the news about the subpoena.

There was an even more fundamental disagreement. Moloney and McIntyre saw the demand for the records as a crass political act, one meant to embarrass if not prosecute Adams after his election to the Dáil. They believed the legal fight against it should be just as political, especially given the role the US played in brokering the Belfast Agreement. Boston College’s lawyers took a different tack, and when they agreed to let a federal judge review some of the records in private, the break between the two sides was irreparable. Moloney and McIntyre accused Boston College of folding without a fight, of abandoning them and those they interviewed without using its considerable resources to stand up to the US justice department and, by extension, the British government.

College officials say they had no choice, given that the initial demand was for the accounts of Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price. Hughes had died in 2008, and so with him did the pledge of confidentiality.

Price, meanwhile, had given an interview to the Irish News in Belfast, saying she had made her allegations against Adams known to Boston College, in effect outing herself.

Even before the college agreed to let US district judge William Young examine the archive in private to determine what should be turned over to authorities, Moloney and McIntyre had concluded the college’s interests were not theirs and mounted their own defence, stressing the danger they said McIntyre and his family, those interviewed and the peace process itself would face if the oral histories were made public.

Slowly but surely, Moloney and McIntyre have attracted a stable of prominent supporters. Earlier this year, McIntyre’s wife, Carrie, an American citizen, spent time in Washington DC, New York and Boston, pleading with politicians and Irish-American groups for backing. The lobbying paid off, nowhere more prominently than with Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the Senate foreign relations committee. Kerry has asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to block the subpoena on the grounds that turning over the records to UK authorities undermines US foreign policy.

Last week, the New York senator Charles Schumer joined the chorus, saying the records grab contravenes “the spirit of the Good Friday Accords . . . Many have taken enormous risks in the name of moving Northern Ireland away from war and towards peace, and requests like this can have the effect of undermining that effort,” Schumer said in a letter to Clinton and the US attorney general, Eric Holder.

Kerry and Schumer say the treaty between the US and UK that authorities have cited in demanding information relevant to a criminal investigation “is not intended to reopen issues addressed in the Belfast Agreement, or to impede any further efforts to resolve conflicts in Northern Ireland”.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts has also filed a brief in support of Moloney and McIntyre. Harvey Silverglate, a well-known civil-liberties lawyer who first raised the prospect of the civil liberties union getting involved, is critical of the college. “Boston College’s haphazard and half-hearted defence of the fundamental importance of academic freedom has embarrassed the institution, threatens to harm academics everywhere and, not so incidentally, endangers the lives of people brave enough to reveal, for posterity, important historical truths.”

Silverglate suggests the problem in crafting a unified front is philosophical. He says no one at the college was willing to risk legal sanction, including jail, to defy government intrusion.

Journalists, he said, consider doing such things a badge of honour.

Moloney, in fact, stared down police in Northern Ireland when threatened with jail if he didn’t turn over his notes about a murder more than a decade ago. He refused, and the police eventually backed down.

Jack Dunn, a Boston College spokesman, declined to respond to Silverglate’s charges. He said the college had handed over the material of Hughes and Price because it had no legal recourse but that it was still fighting an order to turn over seven other IRA interviews.

It is unclear whether all this new-found support for Moloney and McIntyre will convince the appeals court to overrule the decision by a district judge to approve the release of the records to the British government.

But it’s their only shot.

WITH MANY THANKS TO : The Irish Times.com, KEVIN CULLEN in Boston.

Create a PageBoston College Subpoena News

McConville death secrets in Boston archive

McConville death secrets in Boston archive

January 24, 2012 Leave a Comment

McConville death secrets in Boston archive

Boston College Logotype


Newsletter
Published on Tuesday 24 January 2012

SEVERAL former terrorists did speak about Jean McConville’s murder on secret tapes held in Boston College, an American judge has dramatically confirmed.

The contents of the tapes were meant to remain in a vault at the US university until each paramilitary’s death, but the judge deciding whether they should be given to the PSNI has revealed some details of what they said.

The revelation comes as Northern Ireland’s former Police Ombudsman gave her backing to the detectives’ attempts to access the tapes – a bid that appears more likely to succeed in light of Judge William G Young’s written ruling.

Baroness Nuala O’Loan told the News Letter that police have a duty to pursue all avenues of inquiry when attempting to solve crime and that there should be no amnesty for terrorists.

The solicitor said that there was no legal basis on which academics or journalists could tell former terrorists that information about murders would be kept away from the police.

The secret recordings of former terrorists speaking candidly about their actions during the Troubles were given on the belief that they would be held in a vault at the American university until after each individual’s death.

However, a PSNI legal bid to access the archive in an attempt to solve the 40-year-old murder of Jean McConville is on the verge of being successful. A final appeal, lodged by two of those involved in the interviews, journalists Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre, is due to be heard in the coming days in what may be a final bid to prevent the tapes’ release after the college declined to appeal an earlier judgment in favour of the PSNI.

In his ruling, Judge William G Young said: “…only six interviewees even mention the disappearance of Jean McConville that constitutes the target of the subpoena.

“One interviewee provides information responsive to the subpoena. Another proffers information that, if broadly read, is responsive to the subpoena.

“Three others make passing mention of the incident, two only in response to leading questions. It is impossible to discern whether these three are commenting from personal knowledge, from hearsay, or are merely repeating local folklore.

“In context, the sixth interviewee does nothing more than express personal opinion on public disclosures made years after the incident.

“The court concludes that the full series of interviews of the five interviewees first mentioned above must be disclosed and that the interview with the sixth need not be produced.

“Moreover, two other interviewees mention a shadowy sub-organisation within the Irish Republican Army that may or may not be involved in the incident.”

However, Judge Young said that the references were “so vague” that it was almost inconceivable that UK law enforcement did not already have the information.

In the House of Lords, Baronness O’Loan – who sits as a crossbench peer but whose husband Declan was until last year the SDLP MLA for North Antrim – said that the Boston College tapes could be recovered by the police.

Baroness O’Loan raised the Boston College tapes in the context of the difficulties in “managing the past”. She cited it alongside the recent release of 1981 hunger strike Government papers which “appears to indicate that lives could have been saved”.

“Despite the facts that some of those involved [in the hunger strike] are still alive; there is no threat of prosecution; and that no amnesty is required – we do not have an agreed version of what happened,” she told the Lords.

“The second involves the recent controversy surrounding the British application for the tapes recorded by former IRA member Dolores Price and stored in an archive at Boston College in the United States.

“Since making that tape, Ms Price has indicated that she drove a number of the Disappeared to their deaths at the hands of the IRA. Police investigating the abduction and murder of Jean McConville, a mother of 10, require access to the tapes for investigative purposes.

“The Boston project was predicated upon assurances that the tapes would not be disclosed until after a period of 30 years, or the death of the individual.

“It is obvious that such assurances could not lawfully be given. Journalists and academics are subject to the rule of law, as the rest of us are, and material can and will be recovered by the police according to the law for investigation purposes.”

Speaking to the News Letter, Baroness O’Loan said that the police were right to ask for the tapes.

“The police are under a duty to seek evidence if it can be secured and they are complying with that duty,” she said.

“This is a perfectly proper request on the part of the police. I think that if we have rules of law then the application of that law should be applicable to everyone — that should be the beginning and the end of it. Let the courts decide.”

Baroness O’Loan also told the Lords that the Government needed to “establish the rule of law” so as to deter recruitment by both dissident republican and loyalist paramilitaries.

And she said that suggestions of a truth commission — something supported by Sinn Fein and the Eames-Bradley report — were deeply problematic.

“It is now being suggested that the only way to deal with the past would be a truth commission, with an amnesty for all individuals who appear before it.

“To suggest this is to ignore international law, which provides that you can have no amnesty for gross violations of human rights.

“The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which is often held up as a model, would not satisfy the requirements of international law. If we did what it did, we would have to establish an amnesty committee that would sit in public, before which people would have to appear to seek amnesty, and in the course of which they could be cross-examined by victims and their families.

“In South Africa 7,000 people applied; 849 were granted amnesty. Such hearings in Belfast could hardly be expected to consolidate the peace process.

“The consequential truth commission would hear testimony from individuals who chose to appear. Experience to date suggests there would be a very low participation rate.”

Caught in a Tug of War

Caught in a Tug of War

January 24, 2012 Leave a Comment

Caught in a tug of war
By Kevin Cullen
Boston Globe
JANUARY 24, 2012

Carrie Twomey left her home in Ireland to attend a court hearing about Boston College oral history project about the conflict in Northern Ireland for which her husband Anthony McIntyre was a researcher. She says her family will be in danger if the tapes are given to British authorities.

Carrie Twomey got off a train at South Station yesterday and walked down the platform of Track 5 enjoying, just for the moment, something she’d give anything to have permanently: total anonymity.

Her grandfather was from Lynn and her relatives worked at General Electric and the shoe factories. She grew up in California and married an Irishman named Anthony McIntyre and they made a life together in Ireland, first in the North, now in the South. She came to Boston because she believes the only way that life will be secure is if a bunch of tape recordings remain secured at the Burns Library at Boston College, and not turned over to the British government.

The fate of those tapes, in which former Irish Republican Army members discuss what they and others did during the war in Northern Ireland, has been cast as a legal drama, a precedent-setting case with potentially chilling effects on oral history and the peace process. But it is also very much about a family, about Carrie Twomey, her husband, and their two kids, a 10-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy.

Anthony McIntyre, who served 18 years in prison for IRA activity before getting his doctorate in history, was the researcher hired by Boston College to interview former IRA volunteers for an ambitious oral history project. He did this after BC guaranteed him and those he interviewed that those tape recordings would remain sealed until their deaths.

But last year, police in Northern Ireland started fishing for details in the BC archives about the IRA’s 1972 abduction, killing, and secret burial of Jean McConville, a Belfast mother of 10 accused of being an informer.

US prosecutors, acting on a British government request, demanded BC turn over the tapes. At first, BC said it wouldn’t. Then its lawyers claimed it had to, at least those of Dolours Price, a former IRA volunteer who told a newspaper that she had told BC that Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams ordered McConville’s slaying.

Adams has denied this, and whatever Price or anybody else told McIntyre for an academic project will not stand up in court, but that’s not what this is about anyway. It’s not about justice, it’s about revenge, and Carrie Twomey’s family is caught in the middle of pure politics masquerading as a search for truth.

US District Court Judge William Young occasionally holds motion hearings at local law schools, so students can get a sense of the real world. By sheer coincidence, today’s hearings, which include one on the BC tapes, will be held at BC Law School, and Carrie Twomey will be there.

She hopes part of that real world experience will include acceptance of the real possibility that her family is in danger if these tapes make it into the hands of British authorities and lead to either public disclosures or public prosecutions. For carrying out research for an American university that has been cynically turned into an intelligence-gathering operation for a foreign police force, her husband has been branded an informer by some in a culture where that can get you killed.

“Anthony’s been made into a hate figure,’’ she said. “Someone with a grudge, someone who wants to make a name for themselves, someone who’s unstable, that’s who we have to worry about.’’

She is not here to testify as a witness but to bear witness, to let the lawyers know there are real people involved. She says BC is too busy worrying about its institutional concerns to advocate for her family.

“I’m here to show that this isn’t just dusty old legal papers,’’ she said. “This is a real family.’’

Beyond the danger to her family, Carrie Twomey worries about the prospect of truth and reconciliation in a country where truth has become a political football, that Seamus Heaney’s poem about Northern Ireland will become self-fulfilling: Whatever you say, say nothing.

Complaint for Judicial Review

Complaint for Judicial Review

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
———————————————————————xED MOLONEY AND ANTHONY MCINTYRE,Plaintiffs,-
vs. -ERIC H. HOLDER, JR., ATTORNEY GENERALOF THE UNITED STATES, and JOHN T. McNEIL,COMMISSIONER IN RE: Request from the UnitedKingdom Pursuant to the Treaty Between theGovernment of the United States of America and theGovernment of the United Kingdom on MutualAssistance in Criminal Matters in the Matter of Dolours Price.Defendant.:::::::::::::::::::
ECFCOMPLAINT FORJUDICIALREVIEW UNDERTHEADMINISTRATIVEPROCEDURESACT, FOR ADECLARATORYJUDGMENT, WRITOF MANDAMUSAND INJUNCTIVERELIEF
28 U.S.C. §220128 U.S.C. § 13615 U.S.C. §70228 U.S.C. §1331———————————————————————x
 PLAINTIFFS’ COMPLAINT FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW UNDER THEADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES ACT, FOR DECLARATORYJUDGMENT, WRIT OF MANDAMUS AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
Plaintiffs Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre, by and through theirattorneys, Dornan & Associates PLLC, and the Law Offices of James J.Cotter III, as and for a Complaint against the Defendants, the AttorneyGeneral of the United States, and the Commissioner so described, herebymove the Court for judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act,5 U.S.C. §702
et seq,
as well as a Writ of Mandamus under 28 U.S.C.

BC subpoenas are legally dumb and dumber

Slowly, but inexorably, the penny is dropping, both here in the United States as well as back in Ireland.

The Boston College subpoenas seeking access to oral history interviews with former IRA activists on behalf of the police in Northern Ireland are about the dumbest things that have ever happened in the long relationship between the United States, Britain and Ireland.

The difficulty is not how to describe why they are so dumb, but in counting the ways in which they are so dumb.

First of all, this is not the way in which to heal a conflict like that in the North of Ireland.

Over 3,000 people died and tens of thousands were scarred, physically and mentally, by a war that was undoubtedly one of the longest and most violent, if not the most violent in Irish history.

But the war has now ended, peace reigns and there is a desperate need for dealing with the past in a way that solidifies that peace and ensures an untroubled future.

The British have chosen a way that does the opposite. The Boston College subpoenas symbolize an approach to this issue based on revenge and the view that alleged combatants in that war should be dragged before the courts, convicted and jailed.

To do this, they created a special police unit, the Historical Enquiries Team (HET), put it under the control of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and authorized it to dig up evidence to support criminal prosecutions.

The emphasis in this approach is on retribution and punishment. Yet anyone who has had dealings with victims of the violence in Northern Ireland knows full well that most just want to know what happened to their loved ones. Who killed their father, brother, son, mother, sister, wife? Why did they do it, and did their loved one suffer?

There are exceptions of course but most I have had dealings with seek the truth, not revenge, and I strongly suspect they are in the majority.

What they want most of all is a proper truth recovery process. South Africa provided one model, a truth and reconciliation commission in which perpetrators were offered an amnesty in return for full candor about their deeds.

They could have chosen the British version and opted to scratch away at barely closed wounds but did not, knowing that to do so would mean that South Africa could never put the past behind it, that the past would continue to haunt the present and the future with catastrophic consequences for all South Africans.

The second way in which the Boston College subpoenas are dumb is because they are so politically stupid. Ostensibly, the subpoenas are in pursuit of the perpetrators of the murder of Jean McConville, but anyone who is familiar with the case knows that it is really about getting Gerry Adams who is alleged to have given the order to “disappear” Mrs McConville, an accused spy for the British Army.

Whatever one may think of Gerry Adams and his misguided efforts to deny any past association with the IRA, the reality is that Northern Ireland would not now be enjoying peace without his efforts.

He may have been less than straightforward with his IRA comrades; he may even have been duplicitous and furtive in his dealings with them, or

have exaggerated the political benefits of the Good Friday Agreement, but the stark truth is that he did bring this awful war, this endless bloodshed, to an end. I doubt that anyone else could have.

Yet the logic of the Boston College subpoenas is to drag him before the criminal or civil courts and stain him with the McConville murder. So the architect of a peace process centered on compromise ends his political life arraigned or sued for murder courtesy of the same government with whom he compromised. And this is supposed to cement the peace in Northern Ireland?

What message does that send to IRA dissidents who have long accused Adams and his colleagues of naivety in their dealings with the British? What they will say is this: “You trusted the Brits, Gerry. You accepted their deal and their terms and now look what they are doing to you? Once they had you where they wanted you to be, they stuck the knife into you.”

And this is supposed to strengthen the peace in Northern Ireland? If this is the logic behind the Boston College subpoenas then truly the lunatics are now running the asylum.

There will be those, of course, who will say that if Gerry Adams did order Jean McConville’s “disappearance” then he deserves to be prosecuted. In a normal society, one ruled by a normal government, that would be a difficult argument to answer. But Northern Ireland is not, even with the peace process, a normal society and nowhere is this more evident than in the administration of justice.

The plain, undeniable fact is that there are double standards in the way justice is doled out in Northern Ireland.

As myself and researcher Anthony McIntyre were battling in the Boston courts against the PSNI subpoenas last fall, the British prime minister, David Cameron, summoned the family of slain Belfast attorney, Patrick Finucane to Downing Street. Finucane had been shot dead by loyalist gunmen in 1989 but it is now widely accepted that British intelligence and the police in Northern Ireland, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), had foreknowledge of the murder plot and allowed it to happen. Finucane was a legal thorn in their flesh and what better way to remove it than by way of loyalist bullets?

Such was the concern about this level of collusion in an attorney’s murder, not least here in the United States, that Cameron’s predecessor, Tony Blair, was obliged to announce that there would be a public inquiry into Pat Finucane’s slaying and we would all get to know just what part the RUC and British spooks had played in this dirty deed.

But Cameron’s summoning of the Finucane family was not to tell them of a date for the beginning of this inquiry, but to inform them that he was withdrawing Tony Blair’s promise. There would be no inquiry into Finucane’s death.

So those who say that the PSNI has a right to rummage through Boston College’s files for the names of the killers of Jean McConville must also justify the denial of that same right to Pat Finucane’s family to scour the files of MI5 and the RUC Special Branch for the names of those who colluded with his killers?

Pat Finucane was a high profile victim of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, but not so Patrick McCullough. Who is Patrick McCullough, I can almost hear the reader ask? Well, he was a 17-year-old Catholic boy, just starting his first job in life, when he was shot dead in a loyalist drive-by shooting near his North Belfast home.

Patrick died in June 1972, six months before Jean McConville was “disappeared” by the IRA. No-one has ever been held accountable for his killing and, unlike Jean McConville, there has been next to no publicity about his killing. He was his parents’ first-born and most loved child, the first of fifteen children when his life was suddenly and brutally ended. His mother and father never recovered from his death, and their loss was every bit as tragic and wrong as that suffered by Jean McConville’s family.

I learned about Patrick McCullough’s death from a poignant letter his younger brother, Fr. James McCullough, a member of the missionary Kiltegan Fathers, wrote recently to the Irish Times newspaper seeking an inquiry into official indifference towards his brother’s killing. I contacted the priest to talk about his experience.

When his brother was killed, the police never once visited the family home to tell them what was happening in the investigation. The only visit the family had from the security forces was shortly after the funeral when their home was raided by the British army. Fr. McCullough suspects that their purpose was to plant weapons in the home so as to justify his brother’s murder.

When the British government set up the Historical Enquiries Team, Fr. McCullough wrote to the then PSNI Chef Constable, Sir Hugh Orde. His letter was forwarded to the HET which wrote to him saying they would be in touch. That was in 2006. Since then, neither Fr. McCullough nor any of his family have heard a word from the HET or the PSNI. He described his treatment at the hands of the PSNI and the HET as “abysmal.”

The killers of Patrick McCullough are well known. An investigation in 2003 by the Belfast newspaper, the Irish News, discovered their identity while noting that no-one had ever been arrested or charged. Recently, the reporter who wrote the story confirmed to me that neither the HET, nor the PSNI, had ever contacted her to discover their names. There have been no subpoenas for Patrick McCullough.

The silence from the police lasted until Fr. McCullough’s letter appeared in the Irish Times. Then, suddenly, he was phoned by an HET investigator who offered a meeting. When Fr. McCullough complained about the indifference shown by the RUC towards his brother, the HET man replied, according to Fr. McCullough: “……that he had never experienced sectarianism in the RUC or PSNI.”

On the HET’s promotional video, the unit’s commander, former Scotland Yard detective Dave Cox, addressed the issue of how the HET dealt with allegations of police collusion in murders in this way: “Most times we are able to actually answer and dispel those worries.”

In other words, it never really happened.

This is the last and most compelling reason why the Boston College subpoenas are not only dumb, but morally wrong. The HET is not a fit and proper body to deal with Northern Ireland’s past because it operates double standards. And Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice should not be helping these people do their dirty work in Boston.

It is up to Irish America to make sure Holder gets that message.

WITH MANY THANKS TO : Editorial | By Ed Moloney | March 14th, 2012
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