Boston Tapes Exclusive! Content Of Interviews Sought By PSNI Revealed!

The days since the arrest of Gerry Adams for questioning about his alleged role in the abduction, death and disappearance of Jean McConville have been distinguished by some of the laziest and sloppiest journalism I have ever experienced.

Unchecked allegations nestle comfortably beside outright lies as one journalist after another has speculated in particular about the contents of the interviews that were unfortunately and unnecessarily handed over to the DoJ/PSNI by Boston College.

Many journalists have gone to print without even a phone call to myself to check facts or allegations. Nor have they bothered to avail themselves of the mountain of information and original documents stored on the website created and studiously tended by Carrie McIntyre, partner of Anthony McIntyre.

Had they bothered to give the computer keyboard a couple of clicks they would have been able to access the most accurate and complete description of the content of the surrendered interviews available anywhere.

Only one person, other than myself and Anthony McIntyre has read the entire archive and that was the US Federal Court judge, William Young who heard the case seeking the dismissal of the PSNI subpoenas in December 2011.

Judge Young was obliged to read the entire archive after Boston College made the extraordinary claim (initially contained in a sealed affidavit to spare the college embarrassment but revealed inadvertently during proceedings) that it could not help him choose which interviews to hand over since the responsible staff member, college librarian Bob O’Neill, had never read them!

In his final judgement delivered in late January 2012, Young outlined his reasoning for choosing the interviews to be given to the PSNI and in so doing gave us a pretty good idea what was in them. This very important clue was hiding in plain sight on the website.

Since I have now done their work for them, perhaps journalists covering the story can now be a little bit more accurate in the reportage of what is and what is not in the interviews handed over to the PSNI. My apologies if what Judge Young has to say lacks the drama and sensation that reporters clearly yearn for.

Here then is the relevant part of Judge Young’s judgement.  I reproduce it without comment. These interviews discussed by Young were sought by the PSNI under a second subpoena served two or more months after the first. The first subpoena dealt with Brendan Hughes’ and Dolours Price’s interviews with Anthony McIntyre. I wish to repeat again for the umpteenth time: in her interview with Anthony McIntyre for the Belfast Project she did not, repeat not, that is NOT, even mention Jean McConville’s name much less describe her death.

Here is Judge Young’s summary of the contents of the subpoenaed interviews:



10 responses to “Boston Tapes Exclusive! Content Of Interviews Sought By PSNI Revealed!

  1. Pingback: Gerry Adams interviewed by PSNI re Jean McConville - Page 482

  2. Pingback: Niall O’Dowd’s Bile Explained | The Broken Elbow

  3. You’ve identified one of the ways the press has been soft and pliable in the latest, but there are so many others. I was particularly struck by the seamless shift made this week from the narrative of “the family of Jean McConville wants to find out the truth about what happened to their mother” to the narrative of “Helen McKendry recognized the men who took her mother and is ready to name them to the police.” Sometimes those two narratives appear together, interwoven: They want to learn the truth, and they’re ready to reveal the truth.

    Also, I’m struck by the stories that flatly reject the possibility that McConville was actually an informer. Here’s the Independent, for example:

    “Mrs McConville was dragged screaming from her children in the Divis flats in west Belfast by a gang of up to 12 men and women after being wrongly accused of informing to the security forces during the height of the conflict.”

    There’s a carnival atmosphere to the whole thing.

  4. Was she an informer or not? Surely someone must know.

    • indeed, someone must know. nuala o’loan says no, the ira leadership and those involved in killing her say yes. the british army told the ruc in march 1973, that she was safe and well, that it was all an elaborate hoax, presumably self-concocted. the military’s side in the whole story badly needs exploring. but the documents and files are blocked.

    • I would have to guess that a set of taped interviews exploring McConville’s death and who ordered it would also include some discussion of *why* the order was given. The great irony would be for the New Model RUC to take a run at Adams, fail to nail down charges against him, and yet force the disclosure of interview material that describes, in detail, reckless British government behavior that exposed a widowed mother of ten children to danger.

  5. Ed
    Is it also true the RUC failed to conduct a proper inquiry when Mrs McConville was first reported missing?

    • hi mick – the story is incomplete but from nuala o’loan’s report it appears that what killed off any security force interest in her fate were two intelligence reports from the british army in march 1973, three or so months after her disappearance. the first report said: “…information was received from the military suggesting that the abduction was an elaborate hoax” and separately ten days later that “further information was received from the military stating that the abduction was a hoax, that mrs mcconville had left of her own free will and was known to be safe”. those two reports were the last entries in the jean mcconville file, suggesting they had killed off any possibility of an investigation. they also imply that jean mcconville had arranged her own disappearance. anyway whatever the truth of that, it stayed that way for two decades or so.
      before those military reports ruc intelligence was remarkably accurate, given that it was 1972 and the police weren’t exactly thick on the ground in west belfast back then. the police had intel, according to o’loan, that she had been abducted because she was an informer and was being held in dundalk, both accurate pieces of information. but for the later military reports it is possible this could have been the basis for further inquiries.
      there are obvious questions arising from the military intelligence reports. did they just get bad information which they recycled or was there a darker motive? according to brendan hughes, a radio transmitter, a small pocket radio, was found in her flat and she subsequently admitted being an informer and using the radio to communicate with her handler. hughes gave her a warning and let her go. apparently some time later the ira believed she had gone back to her spying activities and that led to her abduction, death and disappearance. the question then is, if this is correct and true – if jean mcconville was an informer and the ira account is accurate – did her army handler know about her narrow escape?
      if she did have a transmitter how did she explain its disappearance and what arrangements were then made to communicate with her handlers? did the british army continue to use her as an agent even though they knew her life was in danger? if so, then the british military are guilty of criminal negligence; if so the british army helped kill jean mcconville. if so, then the march 1973 intel reports may have been intended to kill off any possibility of investigation and exposure of this embarrassing revelation.
      the irony of this is that if this version cum theory is correct then the british army had as much interest as the ira in ensuring that jean mcconville’s body remained hidden in the carlingford lough beach grave dug by her executioners.
      but as i say we don’t know – but the answers are surely hidden away in the still embargoed military files at the kew archive!

  6. Pingback: New Take on the Boston Tapes | the

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