Boston College: A glimpse of the archive…

Let’s keep the dialogue ‘hinged’ this time.  With Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre aiming to try to head the US Government off at the pass, the legal battle over each ruling along the way continues in the PSNI/HET’s attempt to access some of the material in the Boston College Belfast Project archive.

In the meantime, however, Boston-based lawyer, Ted Folkman has been following the legal arguments.  And he’ll be live-blogging today’s hearing [7pm GMT – Added link].

He’s already noted something which may be of interest from the outcome of Judge William Young’s in camera review of the interviews of former members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army in the archive.  From Ted Folkman’s blog 21 January

According to BC’s second motion to quash, the subpoena called for:

  1. Original audio and visual recordings of “any and all interviews containing information about the abduction and death of Mrs. Jean McConville.”
  2. Written transcripts, summaries, and indices of such interviews.
  3. Records that describe the arrangement and circumstances of the recordings and the chain of custody of the recordings.

(The first subpoena, in contrast, called for the interviews of Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes, and thus it hardly gave room for debate about what was or was not within its scope).

Judge Young found, following his review, that of the 176 interviews of 24 interviewees submitted for review, only 6 interviewees mentioned the McConville incident at all. Of these, one interviewee provided clearly responsive material. Another interviewee provided “information that, if broadly read, is responsive to the subpoena.” Three others made “passing mention of the incident”, though it is unclear whether they had personal knowledge of it. Judge Young ordered that the complete set of interviews of these five interviewees must be produced. the sixth “does nothing more than express personal opinion on public disclosures made years after the incident.” Judge Young held that that interviewee’s materials need not be produced. The judge also ordered that two additional interviews [that] mentioned “a shadowy sub-organization within the Irish Republican Army that may or may not be involved in the incident” must be produced, though the entire set of interviews for those interviewees need not be produced.

As I read it those would be interviews with individuals other than Price and Hughes.  

Ted Folkman later noted that the US Government has filed a motion to reconsider, pointing out that “Boston College had not reviewed the “non-IRA” interviews, or certain interviews that have not yet been transcribed, for responsiveness”.

As an aside, Folkman’s attentive scrutiny of the case has earned him a “reply” from Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre.  To his credit, he takes issue with the criticism “over-the-top ad hominem attack” in the comments zone there.

Update  From Ted Folkman’s live-blog of today’s hearing in Boston

The court rules that neither Mr McIntyre or Mr. Moloney have standing under the MLAT. So the government wins. Beyond that, on the merits, “I am satisfied that as a matter of law, the Attorney General has acted appropriately as to the steps he has taken, and I can conceive of no different result, applying the hightened scrutiny that I think is appropriate. Judgement for [the] United States, and an appeal may be taken.


So on to the First Circuit!

Adds  And Ted Folkman has a wrap-up on today’s hearing.

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