Thursday, March 19, 2015

Happy Birthday to the Charges Against Ivor Bell

On March 18, 2014, the 78 year-old Ivor Bell was charged with having been a member of the Provisional IRA, and with aiding and abetting in the 1972 kidnapping and murder of Jean McConville. Today, March 19, 2015 -- a year and a day later, and 43 years after the crime -- Bell briefly returned to court in Belfast so prosecutors could ask for more time to think about his case.

No hurry, though.

Bell remains the only person charged with a crime as a result of the Belfast Project subpoenas served on Boston College. No one has been charged with actually kidnapping or killing McConville, the stated purpose of the subpoenas, and no suspects have been publicly named by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, though news reports have named Gerry Adams as the PIRA commander who allegedly ordered the killing.

A political effort continues to masquerade as a police investigation.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Highly Private Front-Page News

Below is a letter from an office of the U.S. Department of Justice, denying a FOIA request for copies of the MLAT commissioner's subpoenas served on Boston College last year for Belfast Project interviews with Winston Rea.

While the DOJ refuses to release these subpoenas, the underlying federal court case involving the appointment of an MLAT commissioner -- and the response of Boston College to the subpoenas -- remains hidden from public view. I searched Pacer today for the case (again), and it still doesn't appear.

Absurdly, while the DOJ and the federal courts treat the Winston Rea subpoena (or subpoenas) as a closely held secret, those subpoenas are regularly the topic of news stories in Ireland and the UK, and the subject of a much-discussed legal challenge in British courts. The subpoenas are not a secret -- but the federal government continues to pretend that they are. Note that the secrecy of MLAT commissioner's subpoenas is far from guaranteed, and we now have copies of the subpoenas served on Boston College in 2011. Here's an easy example.

It's long past time for the DOJ, and the courts, to make public the thing that we already know about.