My response to a counter terrorism expert's article on the Belfast oral history projectRegarding Timothy Hoyt’s article on the Belfast oral history project for the "War on the Rocks" website
Timothy D. Hoyt is Professor of Strategy and Policy and John Nicholas Brown Chair of Counterterrorism at the U.S. Naval War College, and his article can be read here -
-----------Paul Larkin’s response:
Professor Hoyt has written a quite fair and interesting article on the Belfast oral history project, particularly for a non-Irish audience. However, I'm surprised that there is no mention of the fact that Boston College has completely disowned the Belfast oral history project.
In so doing College elders made a direct reference to the highly questionable selection of IRA members interviewed - i.e. the overwhelming majority being anti-Gerry Adams "dissidents". There was no attempt at balance in other words. This, for example, is what Professor Emeritus and former chair of Boston College’s history department Peter Weiler had to say:
“The project didn't observe normal academic procedures into projects of oral history. Questions asked were often very leading, and there was no attempt at balance.”
See for example:
Professor Hoyt further compounds this oversight by making a clearly incorrect statement when describing the former IRA activist Brendan Hughes thus:
"Brendan Hughes, the latter a close friend, ally, and confidante of Adams throughout the Troubles."
It is a matter of record that Brendan Hughes, whilst being a close ally of Gerry Adams for a large part of the Troubles, became his bitter, not to say vituperative, opponent in the late 1990s. In fact, until his death in February 2008, Hughes would sometimes publicise his anti-Adams views in a website called "The Blanket", which was operated by none other than Anthony McIntyre who was the oral history project’s interviewer for IRA activists. It was McIntyre, in other words, who interviewed Brendan Hughes for the Boston College project. McIntyre is himself a longstanding and bitter critic of Gerry Adams. (See Boston College's critique above regarding balance and academic procedures.)
In other words, Brendan Hughes fiercely opposed Gerry Adams for a decade or more. That is some oversight on the part of Professor Hoyt.
The article is also incorrect is saying that Ed Moloney initiated the oral history project. The records show that the person who proposed the project in the first instance, whatever about his subsequent role, was Lord Paul Bew. Lord Bew was Anthony McIntyre's PHD adviser at Queens University Belfast
I might say finally that, whilst few commentators doubt that Gerry Adams was a senior member of the IRA, what happened to Adams during his arrest (where police sought to pin general blame on him for offences as a "manager" of the IRA) gives Adams a clearly explicable reason for not making such an admission of IRA membership. I am not a lawyer or attorney, but I believe that citizens in the United States still have the right not to incriminate themselves.
Is the 5th Amendment not a cornerstone of US law?