A major group of American academics has, through their professional association, come out in support of Dr Anthony McIntyre, the former Boston College researcher whose own interviews with the college have now been subpoenaed by the PSNI in a move widely seen as a punitive ‘fishing expedition’.
Declaring itself ‘profoundly disturbed’ by the subpoena, the American Sociological Association, which represents 13,000 scholars and researchers throughout the US, says it has been moved to support Dr McIntyre over concern at the threat to research confidentiality posed by the PSNI move which is being supported and facilitated by the Obama Department of Justice.
“The research for (the Belfast Project at Boston College) was conducted with a guarantee that the information interviewees provided would not be released until after their deaths”, the ASA wrote. “Such guarantees are a core component of efforts by historians and social scientists to develop the research-based knowledge that is critical to an informed society…..Such scholarly freedom is essential to both an informed and free society.”
The ASA move comes after Boston College let it be known that it would challenge the McIntyre subpoena in the courts, a marked change in approach which along with the ASA’s letter, suggests that American academe may have woken up to the grave threat posed by the PSNI decision to pursue the Belfast Project.
Here is the full letter sent to our campaign by the ASA: