Chris Bray: Boston College And State Failure

Chris Bray has a very strong piece in today's Irish Times detailing what he sees as serious systemic failures underlying the Boston College tapes crisis.

Bray has proven to be one of the sharpest observers of the issue and continues in the same vein with his copy today.


  1. What a shower of bastards,those fuckers in BC should be treated like the tea 1773 and fucked overboard by people with balls enough to say fuck of to the brits.

  2. Well said marty, but if you look into the decision to hand over the recorded interviews, Note, "Only from republican's, british , eire and usa are not bothered about loyalist murders of republicans and innocent catholics, and, might i add, innocent protestants murderd by those Loyalist organisations, but also innocent people of catholic and protestant faiths were murdered/dissapeared by republicans. But, Lets not forget, those interviews were given by each individual person on the basic that, no disclosure would be given until after they had deceased, so i would like to put this over to all readers, MI5/MI6/FBI believe its now time to put the nail in the coffin of SF, whom they set a trap for on the negotiations for the GFA, or, am i wrong, did SF know of every TOP tout and allow them to operate to satisfy thjere own objective, LET 6 MEN DIE KNOWING AN Agreement was accepted by the oc, then later denied he accepted it, to get politcal power, nowing that they were gaurantted a post within the assembly and shake hands with the devil, Ian Paisley, touts paid by, ruc/mi5/mi6/fbi, to many republicans are still incarcerated to this very day on info from touts, never mind scap and co, lets look at the biggest setup , i believe in Irish History, by fbi.mi5 agent ,"rupert", in the case of Michael McKevitt, setup by the FBI and MI5, well you all know ruperts reputation, ANYTHING FOr_money.
    My moto is, every republican should stand up and be counted for every republican who is incarcerated to this very day.

  3. There was an interesting story today on BBC News Northern Ireland. The BBC it seems do not have to hand over footage of the RIRA Easter commemoration. The cops said they wanted the footage so they could identify facial features under the balaclavas and study how they walked.
    The BBC said that handing over the footage would put its employee’s lives at risk and added that the cops should not rely on journalist to do their job for them. The judge agreed and ruled in favour of the BBC.

    Considering this is a minor case, it is interesting that the BBC would successfully argue that the footage would put employee’s lives at risk.
    Using the same argument, an American judge regarding the very plausible event of Para-military retribution dismissed the same consideration.
    Given the scale of the Belfast Project, it would appear that the lives of BBC employees considered more valuable than the lives of all involved in the project. (Let alone the impact it could have on peace.)
    Obviously, it is the BBC a media Goliath and they have the power, resources, and influential friends in high places.

    The other interesting point is the Judge agreed with the BBC’s argument that the cops do their job and not rely on the media to do it for them.
    The same considerations should apply to the Belfast Project. It has already heightened tensions and regardless if republicans agree or disagree with the project personal issues should not enter into it, as this is not an assault on the project this is a methodical attempt to destroy republicanism.

  4. Tain Bo

    The real importance of what you refer is not in how powerful the BBC are but that US Judges should take their cue from their NI counterpart, who it stands to reason, hold more knowledge and experience of what the consequences could mean by ordering a hand over of material. IF local judges are aware of and sufficiently concerned about possible dangers then US Judges should not disregard that relevant and available fact.

  5. Anthony,

    'In March, the US department of justice got a request for subpoenas regarding a matter that would be useful in an attack on Gerry Adams, who had won an election in February.'

    I remain, entirely, unconvinced that an attempt to arrest Sinn Fein's recent electoral success in the Republic, by embarrassing Adams, is the driver for the issuing of the Boston College subpoenas. It appears so at variance with the idea that he is a nurtured and protected asset. If that truly is Adam's position it follows that this affair is more likely about accessing, controlling and ultimately neutralising potentially damaging material against Adams.

  6. Tiarna,

    I agree the American judge may or may not have an extensive knowledge on Para-military Northern Ireland.
    If his nose is just following American legal procedure then I doubt he would take consideration on the very possible repercussions his decisions could have in Northern Ireland.
    I am not entirely convinced he would be ignorant of the conflict.

    I just found it interesting that the BBC could argue and win and the judge was reasonable and fair with his consideration.

    I believe the American courts showed bias in dismissing the same argument and their lack of understanding Para-military law is probably part of that reasoning.
    It would be interesting to know if the American judge has consulted with any judicial experts here.

  7. Robert,

    I agree with you. The whole episode will also prevent further books being published after the deaths of more interviewees.

  8. very interesting comments.

    why dont the BC solicitors quote,

    BBC versus PSNI.

    That would be a milestone for is not a police service nor do they intend to be one, and, its upto psni to do the job which they are overpaid for.

  9. Itsjustmacker,

    Boston College folded and provided itself with the easy way out instead of fighting this case to what should be its proper conclusion.
    In other words, they left the researchers and interviewees to defend themselves.

    You can follow the case at the website below.

  10. Robert I for one could accept the statement that this whole affair is around the protection of an asset,ie Adams,by accessing,controlling and ultimately neutralising potentially damaging material, and by this action they could whisper in the judges ear or whoever needs to hear,that this will help the "peace process"like the line from the song Macarthur,s park,"cause it took so long to bake it" i.e, theres to much invested here with years of agents both covert and influence to allow any interference with the direction that qsf has been set on,and if history is to be recorded well then the old saying rings true here "we i.e, the brits will write it"

  11. Tain Bo.
    Boston College folded and provided itself with the easy way out instead of fighting this case to what should be its proper conclusion.
    In other words, they left the researchers and interviewees to defend themselves".

    I agree with you, What Boston College did was dispicable, and an insult to Ed and Anthony, also to those who gave the interviews.
    On reading what the judge had to say, especially this, "Documents relaiting to an ongoing investagation", Now i am sure you know that when Mrs Mc Conville was abducted and executed as being an informer, The R.U.C. never even investigated it, they were told by the British that it was a hoax and she was alive and well, Yet Dolours Price has admitted to Irish News and other newspapers that she was the driver of the car that took Mrs Mc Conville to the south, and that she was involved with three other abductions and exicutions, sand that she got her orders from Gerry Adams ,so you could ask , Why do the PSNI want any information which pertains to Mrs Mc Conville, they have that from Dolours Price, I just cant get to the bottom of this, do they want to surppress info contained in interviews, or, do they want to get at Adams, McGuinness and others, are they afraid that touts names, who are alive to this day being mentioned, thus upsetting R.U.C special branch and mi5/6, we can all speculate and the only people who have the truth is the interviewer and the interviewee's, two off whom have since passed away, and i have the utmost respect for Anthony and Ed in not divulging any information from those interviews, although they have not kept any info of those interviews, and rightly so, got them of to Boston College right away. so, we keep on speculating and throwing innuendos. to be honest, I Hope that nothing is handed over to the british, but then again, boston college has just received the decommissioning documents, which they say will be kept secret for thirty years, now, what if Unionist ask PSNI to seek them from Boston College?.

  12. Only time will tell what's behind it all. If the US courts hand this information over, how the Brits act on it, if they act at all that is, may well indicate why they wanted it in the first place.

  13. Itsjustmacker,

    I sincerely doubt the execution of Jean Mc Conville was out of necessity. It would be highly unlikely that she could provide the Brits with anything but low-level information that all the dogs on the street would already know. I believe her and other victims executed as alleged informers served to satisfy the IRA’s need to appear in control and more likely to keep the cover of high ranking agents who would have the knowledge of sensitive IRA material.

    Stephen Pope: Northern Ireland Office, 1974-2010 in (Voices From The Grave)
    Confirms Brendan Hughes fears that Belfast was riddled with informants.
    By stating, there was very little that was not reported on IRA activity at all levels.

    When Brendan spoke with Adams about this, Adams said he was slightly paranoid. This could be seen as one of Adams earliest denials as he knew rightly that the place was riddled with informers.

    Obviously, with the BC crisis there are many hypotheses certainly with the Brits they indeed would use this as the pursuit of “criminals” which to an extent on their part has some bearing of truth, as it would suit them to wrap up the conflict as a criminal rather than political one.

    I doubt their pursuit is a fishing expedition to solve unsolved cases from the past.
    The above acknowledgement of Stephen Pope might confirm that they knew and know about most of what went on. The same would apply to this day.
    I would think they have deeper concerns and maybe are aware of sensitive information in the archive that would shine a poor light on the Brits. Possibly exposing the dirty war/collusion/high level agents and so on anything, they might want to cover up or protect.

    What is apparent is this crisis has been a successful Brit dirty tricks department in creating even greater divisions within republicanism.

    The war may have ended but has the dirty war?

  14. Tain Bo.
    Sorry its taken so long to reply.
    I doubt the execution of Jean Mc Conville was out of necessity" Unquote

    I agree with you, about PSF trying to save faces, a tout is a tout is a tout, they didn't give two hoots who they pointed out as touts, and they are still doing it to this very day , PSF is riddled with them, starting with the top 3, but not forgetting The Gerry Kelly fella, he was the one who phoned PSNI and ask them to remove the Peaceful GARC Protest, and the Martin Mcguinness fella, standing beside the chief constable for phot call,and calling proper Republicans "Traitors", i never thought i would ever see or Hear anything like that, and i will probably be dead and the scum will still be taking the queens shilling, or should i say, "Millions", nothing but crooks, Liars, Touts ,people manipulators.

  15. Itsjustmacker,

    no, need for an apology but thanks all the same.

    It is pure bewilderment at times regarding the hypocrisy of the PSF leadership and their desperation for complete control over anything republican.
    They have and are more willing to lash out at republicans who disagree with them and their confusing actions of waving the old tri colour in one hand and proudly waving the union jack in the other.
    The one thing they have made clear is they see traditional republicanism as the enemy.

    Their spin on the Belfast project is like much else they narrate very much flawed.
    If the Brits where out to get Gerry Adams they would have done that a long time ago maybe it is a little suspicious as to why he was left alone and his comprehensive denials are accepted as truth.
    Then I would wonder why a man with so little knowledge of the PRM would have such a tight grip on the steering wheel that drove us to where we are today.