Sunday, May 11, 2014

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Gerry Adams And The Belfast Project – A Statement In Response

Ed Moloney with a response to Gerry Adams from his blog The Broken Elbow on 6 May 2014.

In the past few days a concerted attack has been made on the integrity of the Belfast Oral History Project, led by the leadership of Sinn Fein, in which the claim has been made that this was a ‘Get Gerry Adams’ enterprise designed to embarrass and discomfort Mr Adams.


I wish to refute this allegation in the strongest possible terms. It is a slur on my professional integrity as a journalist of over thirty years standing who has covered nearly every aspect and participant in the Troubles. It is a slur on the professionalism and detachment with which I know the lead IRA researcher Dr Anthony McIntyre approached his work interviewing the participants.

One simple reality has been overlooked. Mr Adams does not know what he is talking about. There were over 200 interviews from 26 participants housed in the Boston College archive and Mr Adams has not read them, does not know their full content and aside from two or three names that are in the public domain, does not know who was interviewed. He speaks from a position of almost complete ignorance about the archive.

Only one other person aside from myself and Dr McIntyre has read the full archive from beginning to end. That was Judge William Young who presided over the first hearing dealing with Boston College’s attempt to get the British subpoenas dismissed at the Federal District Court in Boston in December-January 2011/2012.

This is what he said about the archive: “This was a bona fide academic exercise of considerable intellectual merit.”

And he went on:

[These materials] are of interest – valid academic interest. They’re of interest to the historian, sociologist, the student of religion, the student of youth movements, academics who are interested in insurgency and counterinsurgency, in terrorism and counterterrorism. They’re of interest to those who study the history of religions.

So how does one reconcile Mr Adams’ wild and unsubstantiated accusations based on almost complete ignorance of the archive’s contents with the opinion of a disinterested American judge who has actually read the entire archive? I don’t think it is possible to do so.

Judge Young was obliged to read the archive because of an extraordinary claim from Boston College that its academics could not help him decide which interviews were responsive to the subpoena because they had not read it.

So the judge spent the Chistmas holidays reading the interviews to decide which ones should be handed over. In his judgement, which has been reproduced elsewhere on this blog. Judge Young could find only one interview that was fully responsive, i.e. that dealt directly with what had allegedly happened to Jean McConville.

Another ten or so interviews made some reference to her and because the British had asked the American courts to be “expansive” in their approach to the subpoena request he decided to also hand these over. This meant that even if an interviewee had said, 'I don’t really know much about Jean McConville other than what I have read in the papers', then that interview had to be surrendered.

Out of over 180 interviews that he read only eleven met Judge Young’s generous criteria for surrender. That is just under six per cent of the interviews reviewed by the judge. At one point in his judgement he referred to '….the paucity of information (about the McConville case) unearthed after extensive review by this court.'

If this was indeed a “Get Gerry Adams” project then all I can say is that we did not do a very good job of it.

22 comments :

frankie said...

Mr O'Neill now says that it was "a mistake" not to specify that confidentiality only extended "to the extent American law allows". He says he did not run the wording past a lawyer.

University of Limerick historian Dr Ruan O’Donnell

This is not a good precedent for long-term researchers.”
Like many others in the field, he believes historians should be granted some right to confidentiality over their sources, describing the Boston College episode as “a body blow to academic freedom”.


Gerry Adams' Arrest Calls Educational Privacy Into Question


SIMON: Are oral historians bound by some, at least morally, by some of the same ethical guarantees that reporters feel bound by? In other words, if you tell a source, I'll keep your word, they'll keep it, whatever the consequences to the reporter.

MCMURTRIE: Yes. And that raises another interesting question. If it was only an oral historian who was involved in this, if it was a single person doing the interviews and a single person who held onto the tapes, that person, specifically Anthony McIntyre, would have gone to jail to protect his sources.

"Boston College's reputation has been tarnished," concluded Beth McMurtrie.

Academic Freedom Questioned In Boston College Archive Case

Academics across the country say the BC case is undermining oral history research on sensitive subjects.

Feldman says the BC project will have a chilling effect on academic expression at universities, which are often the best repositories of oral histories.

“If the person who is speaking thinks that the material may be disclosed that is going to simply undercut their capacity to speak at all,”


Seem to me that the only people who are trying to rubbish the Belfast project are PSF (they probably have most to lose)

Mac Tíre said...

Ed Moloney suggests that the recent criticism of the integrity of the Belfast Oral History Project,

“Is a slur on the professionalism and detachment with which I know the lead IRA researcher Dr Anthony McIntyre approached his work interviewing the participants.”

I would like to point Ed to his “Boston Tapes Exclusive!” that was posted here on Wednesday 7th May 2014, where he published Judge Young’s findings. One thing that jumped out at me was the part in Judge Young’s summary of the subpoenaed interviews which states that;

“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!”

I will now provide a definition of “leading question” by the Cambridge online dictionary.

leading question
noun [C] /ˌliː.dɪŋˈkwes.tʃən/
A question that tricks someone into answering in a particular way

Why would an impartial interviewer feel it necessary to ask leading questions? Is this not the sort of practice reserved for court cases and interrogations? Should an academic researcher be leading and manipulating the people they are interviewing?

This coupled with the interviewer’s track record of attacking Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin, and building a career in doing so, would suggest that the Belfast Oral History Project is not as neutral as you would have us believe. Before you write about the integrity of the interviewer why don’t you take a look through this blog at the list of previous posts? Attack after attack on Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin! It is your own naivety and/or indifference to the real agenda of your chosen interviewer that is a slur on your professional integrity Ed!

frankie said...

Mac Tire,

I'd like to agree with you but then we'd both be wrong.

frankie said...

Mac,
What are leading questions that either of the interviewers asked? I don't know what they are. have you first had knowledge or going on hearsay? While I have your attention what makes you think that the Belfast Project is a 'Get Adams' project?

What I know is this....Anthony, Ed' & Judge Young have read the complete Project from start to finish. Winston Rea has read the complete Loyalist transcript and the PSNI have read 6% of the project. I also learnt over the past week or so is that without Gerry Adams around PSF are rounding around like headless chickens and are lost. be honest with yourself Mac, they (PSF leadership) didn't know their arses from their elbows. The antics of Miniskirt Martina and her long face because Adams was in a crime suite complaining about food!!!! Someone should contact Hollywood and say "Hey, if you need an actress who can play the part of a grief stricken woman who lost her favourite pet rabbit then give PSF HQ a bell and ask for Martina"

You, like the rest of us mortals have read what is in print from the transcripts, namely 'Voices'. What flew out of the pages for me in Voices was when Brendan Hughes said to Gerry Adams that something was deffo. very wrong because his (Hughes) spiderman sense was ringing in his ears louder than the alarms sounding in the room where Sandy lynch was being held when Morrison walked in. And Gerry Adams told Brendan Hughes "Sorry Brendy, but you got it wrong, everything is fine, I think your time in jail has clouded you judgement".. Then Brendan Hughes outted Joe Fenton and still no one listened.

I tend to keep things as simple as possible, it's easier to understand, a bit like doing fractions etc in maths, I look common denominator's. And the only two constants I can find anytime there has been contact between the British & Republicans are messers Adams and McGuinness. While some people dismiss what Ian Hurst (Martin Ingram) say's, most, if not all the time he was very close to the truth when he mentioned British spies within the ranks of the Provisionals. I believe Ian Hurst claim that Martin McGuiness was (is) Agent J118. Not because I want to believe it, it's becasue my spidey sense tells me it true..

Ask yourself this question Mac.. Your niece goes and say's to you "Excuse me uncle Mac, but your brother, my father is raping me." Would you at least break his legs before going to the police or play party politics and send him to work with more kids??????

Mac Tíre said...

Frankie asks,

"Mac,
What are leading questions that either of the interviewers asked? I don't know what they are. have you first had knowledge or going on hearsay? While I have your attention what makes you think that the Belfast Project is a 'Get Adams' project?

What I know is this....Anthony, Ed' & Judge Young have read the complete Project from start to finish."

Frankie I would like to reiterate what I once said about you when I first encountered you!

If you had brains you'd be dangerous!!!!!

If you read my comment before replying you would realise that it was one of the three people who have read the transcripts, namely Judge Young, who concluded that two individuals had responded to leading questions!

If you can read the following from my original post again carefully I would be much obliged.

"I would like to point Ed to his “Boston Tapes Exclusive!” that was posted here on Wednesday 7th May 2014, where he published Judge Young’s findings. One thing that jumped out at me was the part in Judge Young’s summary of the subpoenaed interviews which states that;

“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!”"

You'll have to excuse me now Frankie. I don't particularly enjoy debating with pseudo republican chicken hawks like your dear self! Especially when you don't have a clue what you're talking about!

Peace!
Mac Tíre

Dixie said...

Mac Tíre said...

"This coupled with the interviewer’s track record of attacking Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin, and building a career in doing so..."

And Adams built a career carrying the coffins of IRA volunteers many of whom were never told he was secretly seeking peace...

Dixie said...

On another note I see the Adamsites have rid themselves of Cllr Michael Henry McIvor...

http://www.tyronetimes.co.uk/news/tyrone-news/sinn-fein-unveil-20-candidates-for-mid-ulster-super-council-1-6023265

He's removed his Facebook page but over on the Tout Forum he had this to say when it was put to him...

"Some don't have to stand in this years elections to remain a councillor-"

Did someone put a soothing hand on his shoulder and say..."MH, sure up here (pointing to his head)you'll always be a councillor..."

Ah well Seabird could always make him a Mod...

frankie said...

pseudo republican chicken hawks

Mac,
Ask other TPQ-ers what have I always classed myself as on here. I bet most will say something like..."He's always called himself nothing more or less than a Belfast rockabilly." That's what I am Mac, a long legged, left handed, guitar pickin' Belfast rockabilly. I'm not a pseudo republican, a wanna be provo or anything else that falls in between. I'm a Belfast rockabilly

I've been following the Belfast Project since I first heard about it ( just before Voices came out) and the legal wranglings that went on since. You say you've read Judge Youngs report you stopped short in quoting him correctly and took things out of context. But that's for another day.

If you read my comment before replying you would realise that it was one of the three people who have read the transcripts, namely Judge Young, who concluded that two individuals had responded to leading questions!

Mac, every now and then someone 'flag's' things that I missed for one reason or another. If you bother to click on the link and read the piece, you'll discover the questions the Judge thought of as leading questions, don't actually lead anywhere...(some how I doubt anyone else who reads the piece will find them leading questions<--stand to be corrected).

One thing that jumped out at me was the part in Judge Young’s summary of the subpoenaed interviews which states that;

This was a bona fide academic exercise of considerable intellectual merit. That are of interest – valid academic interest. They’re of interest to the historian, sociologist, the student of religion, the student of youth movements, academics who are interested in insurgency and counterinsurgency, in terrorism and counterterrorism. They’re of interest to those who study the history of religions.”

I'm glad we agree it was a 'bona fide, academic excercise of considerable merit...

I also notice you didn't answer any of the other points I made. I'll take it you agree with me on those.

(Many moons ago on the TPQ there was a mactire, any relation?)

frankie said...

Dixie,

I seen that about Cllr McIvor..

Michael.. for you

DaithiD said...

Adams ego is telling him the whole archive is about him, he would probably hurt more to find out it isn't.

frankie this made me laugh,
Your niece goes and say's to you "Excuse me uncle Mac, but your brother, my father is raping me." Would you at least break his legs before going to the police or play party politics and send him to work with more kids??????
I suspect it won’t be answered,but it raises an interesting point, whether one can have public virtue without private virtue.

frankie said...

Mac,
You come on here and finger wave about whoever disaggree's with PSF that they are out to get Gerry Adams. Call peoples integrity into question. I've also read yourself and others in PSF from the top down going on about "Ed and Anthony make money from writing books or other.' And? Thats what they do for a living. They write. A brick layer gets paid for laying bricks. An artist paints pictures and sells them. Johnny Cash got paid for being the man in black.

Mac, put your party politics to one side. The question about Gerry Adams membership, the disappeared and everything else about the conflict, put all that out of your head for 30seconds. Now tell me why are you defending a man who protected a child rapist? That's what you are doing. Dress it up any way you want. Gerry Adams knownling protected a child rapist. And when you keep that in mind, it isn't a great stretch on the imagination to believe he is capabale of disappearing people and allowing six men to die in 1981.

larry hughes said...

Frankie

In relation to the 'income' side of things. An article in the Sunday World last Sunday and apart from slinging the 'tout project' line of SF all over the place it was stated that 26k was paid a year for doing the project. Well either the woman who wrote the article has never done post grad education and tried to run a house and travel and research paying hostels or B+B on a student research grant or she is just a very nasty piece of work. Possible both I suspect. A post grad annual grant is not the euro millions. Gerry and Marty live off that type of income.

Mac Tíre said...

Frankie you come on here to shout more than anyone else on this site. You are the first to attack the actions the IRA had to take, such as dealing with informers while you were at home listening to your music! Then when you are called on your inactivity as a republican you revert back to the old "sure I'm only a Belfast rockabilly" line!

Either grow a pair and nail your colours to the mast or stop dabbling rather amateurishly in republican politics!

I also think your remarks regarding Áine Tyrell are a disgrace. A young child was abused by her da and you are on here using it to try and score points? And you even gave DaithiD a chuckle at your remarks? What the fuck lads?

I'll say this much. Áine and her mother went to the RUC in 1987 and they failed to act, horrible bastards that they were! Áine was failed by the system, not Gerry Adams.

So back to Anthony and his leading questions? What are your thoughts Frankie? Or are you wearing your rockabilly hat today?

larry hughes said...

Mac Tire

'Áine was failed by the system, not Gerry Adams'.

IF YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE THE SICK ONE.

Had you been living in the Murph raping your 4 year old daughter I'd bet Liam would have been the first to your door to drive you out or worse. Or do you think Gerry and the RA would have promoted you in SF and youth clubs after such an exposure?

Gerry/Mi5 let the wee girl down for political ends. Get REAL!!

DaithiD said...

MacTire, the disgrace is all Gerry Adams, not anyone posting on this site. The Provisionals administered harsh justice to those guilty of lesser crimes, if this justice is selectively applied it is no longer justice but tyranny. That is why you wont give an answer to a simple question, one answer despite the many you demand of others.

frankie said...

I also think your remarks regarding Áine Tyrell are a disgrace. A young child was abused by her da and you are on here using it to try and score points?

Mac, let's keep this simple. This has sweet fcuk all to do with politics. I think the same way about Catholic priests who covered up child abuse. Gerry Adams had this to say about Cardinal Brady's position “Speaking personally, I do think he should (consider his position), of course he should,” said a pensive sounding Mr Adams.. In a nutshell Mac... One man who holds a public office who covered up/protected a child rapist telling another man who coved up/ protected child rapists, he should resign from his position in public office. Can't you see the hypocrisy Mac.

I'll say this much. Áine and her mother went to the RUC in 1987 and they failed to act, horrible bastards that they were! Áine was failed by the system, not Gerry Adams.

Anie was failed by both (an others) Mac. If I was Gerry Kelly, at the next policing board meeting I'd ask to see the file on the original investigation and then call in the RUC officers who only asked LEADING QUESTIONS Mac, one question.." Who told you not to charge Laim Adams with child rape" Then I'd make sure everyone involved got charged with covering up child abuse. Politics have nothing to do with how I think about Gerry Adams today.

And you even gave DaithiD a chuckle at your remarks? What the fuck lads?

Mac, I think DaithiD probably gave a wry smile and thought to himself.. "Don't expect a straight answer (or any answer). Frankie"..<--stand to be corrected. Sometimes Mac it simply comes down to what is right or wrong. It is wrong to cover for someone who has raped a child. No matter who that person is. If you found out a work mate, a drinking friend had raped a child and you bumped into him. Would you shake his hand or other Mac? I'd break his legs and not even bother calling the cops Mac..

frankie said...

Mac,
At least you got one thing . Right now I'm at home listening to music. Some people read books, some people go for a run, some people like going for a swim, I like listening to music. It helps me relax. Mac, some of the people carrying out 'nuttings' in the name of the Provisionals or the INLA were not always Irish Republicans. Sometimes there was British agents shooting dead other British agents while advancing a British agenda, which had nothing to do with Irish Republicanism.

When Republicans have held their own type of 'HET' inquires into Republicans who had been executed as informers or other. As in the cases of both Anthony Braniff and John Fennell . Republicans held their hands up, apologized to the family And made their findings public..

I've said that disappearing anyone is a war crime. I haven't argued against an informer being shot dead. Most armies in the world have shot dead informers when they have been ousted at sometime or other. Thats part of the rules of war Mac. The war crime was committed when people were disappeared. That is the part thats wrong.

Either grow a pair and nail your colours to the mast or stop dabbling rather amateurishly in republican politics!

Do I buy in to PSF's school of thought. Nope. Mac, I live on the third rock from the Sun on a planet called Earth. You should visit it sometime. PSF are anything but Republican today. They now call themselves 'Euro Critical'. . That in short Mac Tire, means in an 'In' or 'Out' vote on Europe, PSF will vote to stay in. The Sinn Féin manifesto describes the party as "Euro critical". It accuses Brussels of a "power grab" and argues more powers should be returned from the European Commission to the member states. But it also says that Ireland's place is in the European Union..

Show me where in the 1916 Proclamation it mentions handing powers over to unelected quango's or other? Show me where it mentions handing over any part of Irish sovereignty to Brussels, Strasbourg or other? I think it's PSF, not me who are dabbling rather amateurishly in politics, while pretending to be Irish Republicans.

frankie said...

Frankie you come on here to shout more than anyone else on this site. Then when you are called on your inactivity as a republican you revert back to the old "sure I'm only a Belfast rockabilly" line!

Mac, I come on here and say things as see it. I don't read from scripts. When ever anyone has pointed out to me that I was wrong, I've held my hands up. What is your problem with me calling myself a Belfast Rockabilly? I know people who call themselves Jedi knights. Not Irish Republicans, Loyalist, Punk or other. In fact the last census carried out in the six counties 1,462 people admit to being Jedi knights. Would you have a problem if someone came out of the closet and said "I'm a Jedi Knight"...?

So back to Anthony and his leading questions? What are your thoughts Frankie?

I guess Mac, if I was Anthony and people asked me "What in the vaults of Boston." I'd say to the person/s something like Hank Williams . once sang about, then take a cold beer from my fridge. Then I'd probably read a book.

Tain Bo said...

Frankie,

Apart from rockabilly I don’t recall you describing yourself as anything else. Not that it matters as no one owns republicanism.
I doubt you will get a realistic answer on why he was one of the protected species though I am sure In time answers will surface.

Just curious where did the term rockabilly evolve?

grouch said...

frankie, ur a belfast rockapublican.

frankie said...

Larry,
I've given up trying to understand peoples shock when they find out two or three journalists who were commissioned to do reasearch in to 'The Troubles' got paid for it .

Same as people calling anyone who was involved in the Belfast Project 'touts'. Either the likes of Danny Morrison, Gerry Adams and who ever else are ill informed or they suffer from selected amnesia. In 1992 in London I picked up a copy of Martin Dillions 'The Dirty War' and I was like 'Fcuk, that happened.". The person who is meant to have given Dillion help with the Republican narrative is Brendan Hughes.

Hughes would appear to be a key source for a similar account of this episode in Ed Moloney's A Secret History of the IRA and perhaps also for the account in Martin Dillon's, The Dirty War

If that is true then some of the people who are calling for Anthony's head today for allowing Voices to be released and calling anyone living or dead involved in the Belfast Project touts must have given Brendan Hughes clearence 1989/1990 to do exatly the same (talk to a journalist).

frankie said...

Grouch,
I'll convert you to rockabilly..Forget all about Northern Soul (come over to the dark side)

Tain,
The word 'rockabilly' came about by taking the Rock from Rock'n'roll and the billy from Hillbilly. It had a 'life span' of about 18 months, from July '54 until the end of 1956-start of 1957. There were exceptions to the rule such as Carl Perkins. Rockabilly was kinda like punk in the late 70's, that only lasted for about 18mths before it too became commercialized.

This Tuesday at 10pm on BBC radio 2 there is a show called 'The Guitar that changed the world'..It's about Scotty Moore..Here is preview...