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Britain Tapped Communications 199

The BBC news is reporting (thanks to aspodf for the link) that Channel 4 News alleges that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been intercepting all phone calls between Britain and Ireland for the last 10 years. A similar article in The Independent presents similar information as fact. Apparently, the tower was used to scan every single message between Britain and Ireland for certain key words (sort of like Echelon), and the tower is now up for sale by the MoD.
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Britain Tapped Communications

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Strictly, the American Bill of Rights was derived from the British one (passed in 1689 - see http://wwlia.org/uk-billr.htm for more details).

    This removed the divine right of kings and ensured that any powers enshined in the the crown and controlled and enforced by Parliment, and in the populous.


    It also inforced the oath that politican's swear when they are elected to parliment, that they will serve the monarch and that they "do declare, That no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate hath, or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence, or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm, So help me God."

    In terms of personal freedom, one must refer to the Magna Carta (see http://www.nara.gov/exhall/charters/magnacarta/mag main.html) from 1215, and ensures that "No Freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any otherwise destroyed; nor will we pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful Judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land. " and is recognised and the main influence to the American Constitution.

    Nothing is new in this world, my friends.

    Mark



  • (erk, bad formatting on that last post - whoops).

    Perhaps not at all interesting is the fact that NTL (big phone company in the UK) launched [ntl.com] a big fat pipe [ntl.com] to Ireland in early 98.

    May or may not be related to the decommissioning of the tower mentioned in the original article.

    Whatever...

    ...j
  • On a related note, have a look at this site [menwithhill.com], set up by Mark Thomas (and chums), who does a show on Channel 4, coincidentally.



    It's about Menwith Hill, the US spy-base in the UK that supposedly taps communications all over Europe.

  • From previous poster: If you've got nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Its not like they're capturing your dirty little deeds to make them public; just the dirty deeds of a select criminal element.

    From BBC article: Channel 4 said sources told the programme that "although the primary justification for building the tower was anti-terrorism, the information it gathered was also of economic and commercial significance".

    Now what do you think that meant? (Hint: implies that industrial espionage was carried out by the *government*.)

  • Wasn't Braveheart about Scotland? :)

    Anyway, the Irish situation is a lot more complicated than most people understand. I don't think the British government would keep Ireland if there wasn't the problem that >50% of the population of Northern Ireland don't want to be part of a united Ireland. This causes problems for all concerned :|
  • Read the words: "leagal or not" - what you state is "leagal only" - which is wrong. The amount of people shot is not linear to the number of guns out there, but no one can get shot if there are no guns.

    Of course it is difficult to measure illegal gun ownership, but I rather doubt that urban per-capita gun ownership is anywhere near as high as rural per-capita gun ownership in the Great Plains or Intermountain West, even if you throw in illegally possessed guns. In some areas of the West, you've pretty much got guns in every home.

    All I'm really trying to point out is that a high level of violent crime most definitely does *not* correlate to a high level of gun ownership, as the Irish fellow had suggested.

    With your last statement i do fully agree.

    Good. That's really the important thing. People get so hung up on the gun issue, that we tend to forget about the other issues, which I think contribute much more heavily to violent crime, like:

    • Poverty
    • Cultural disintegration/lack of community
    • Lack of/poor education
    • Familial disintegration/dysfunction
    • Poor parenting
    One interesting statistic that a lot of people seem to miss is that violent crime in the U.S. is concentrated in urban areas; rural areas have *much* lower violent crime rates, nearly identical, in fact, to corresponding rural areas of Canada, and not much higher than in Europe. What is interesting about this is that it differs noticeably from the rest of the world. In most European countries, and even in Canada, urban violent crime rates tend to be somewhat lower than rural violent crime rates.

    Why do you suppose that is? (I don't have the answer, but note that my points above are much bigger problems in U.S. urban areas than in rural areas of the U.S.)

    --

  • Well, it's inaccurate. The highest murder rate in the U.S. is Washington, D.C.: the city with the most restrictive gun laws in the country (all handguns are banned).

    Of course, that didn't stop anti-gun columnist Carl Rowan from taking some pot-shots at an intruder at his Washington, D.C. home...

    --

  • Actually, I think the number of people shot is a rather linear function of the number of guns out there - legal or not.

    Incorrect. The areas of the U.S. with the highest levels of gun ownership have the lowest incidence of violent crime.

    Mexico, as I understand it, has fairly restrictive gun laws, but is a rather dangerous place nonetheless (at least certain parts of it, anyhow; a friend of mine was murdered there).

    And, as you know, even in Europe, Switzerland has widespread gun ownership, with no apparent ill effects.

    Violent crime is not a gun-related problem; it is much more complex than that.

    --

  • Not the case. I live near DC, and there was an article in the Washington Post a few months back that talked about this situation. There is a list of types of guns that aren't legal in DC. If the gun isn't on that list, it's perfectly legal to have. The manufacturers of the Tec-9 - a handgun often used by criminals - were able to get around DC gun laws by changing the name to Tec-DC9. The gun wasn't on the banned list anymore, therefore it was legal.
  • The analogy was purely hypothetical, but Quebec did come to mind due to the similarity of that situation. Except they want to join France (IIRC).

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Friday July 16, 1999 @05:36AM (#1799556) Homepage Journal

    Although the BBC article was unclear on the point, the Independant article spelled it out:

    The communications that were intercepted were those of the Republic of Ireland, not Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is part of the UK, and thus domestic, the Republic of Ireland is a sovern nation.

    I sincerely doubt that the citizens of the Republic of Ireland felt that the UK's interception of their communications (supposedly to help with a domestic issue) was a 'necessary evil' to 'protect them from harm'. Especially since the UK has no authority or desire to protect the citizens of the Republic of Ireland from anything.

    For those in the US, consider how you would feel if the Royal Canadian Mounted Police intercepted your phone calls (business, government, and private) 'to solve a Canadian problem with terrorism'. In particular, imagine this terrorism is by a group of people who want their territory to secede from Canada and become a state of the United States despite the lack of an offer from the United States.

  • The kilt isn't unknown in ireland, just far less common. Come to think of it, there's a couple of british military units that still use them in dress uniforms.

    >As I beleive one of your "founding fathers" once
    >said (and I think I'm paraphrasing)"Those
    >who would give up liberty for security deserve
    >niether."

    Benjamin Franklin. (Who might also make a more literal claim to being "Father of our country" [hmm, and parts of france, too :) ] than Washington.)
  • >Actually, Texas was independent for about 10
    >years befor it joined the US.

    So was California by the time Mexico "sold" it. THe "Bear Flaggers" had formed the California Republic, and planneed to use the Texas model.

    >But, while we're talking about returning land,
    >what about all the land that the spanish took
    >from the aztecs and incas? What about all the
    >land taken from the other indians by the british
    >and french?

    Mmm, and the land taken from the native north americans, let's give that back. Oops, can't do that, the "American Indians" killed them all off a great many centuries ago . . .
  • What about commercially sensitive information?

    What about "politically incorrect" information?

    What about politically sensitive information? (I'm sure those political parties not in power talk about more than the weather.)

  • I personally am surprised at the number of people who "aren't surprised" by this sort of thing. Sure we may be somewhat jaded, but if our 'democratic' governments can spy on our private lives without us even getting upset then we are already lost. Americans might as well give up the rights to bear arms and the French should re-open the Bastille. Privacy is a part of freedom. Sure they can already listen to anything they want to, but if we don't even get upset, then we're essentially helping them do it. Get pissed. Tell people.
  • That's really interesting. You've pegged me. I'm one of those blasted Americans. What does getting pissed refer to in Britain? It was probably a poor choice of phrasing anyway.

    "I, sir, am not a Yankee. I'm a Southern Gentlemen."

  • Who says they don't tap all the phone calls in the Mid-West? The NSA certainly has enough resources for such a task. Having freedom of information laws, these agencies have to try much harder to keep these "illegal" activities secret.

    Besides, I've heard many claims over the years that the NSA routinely intercepts all phone calls in and out of the US. Why do you think there is so much money in research for voice recognition software? The British were probably using software first developed for a US agency.
  • Statistics please? The highest rates of murder are in Louisana and Texas.
    See? I can make up figures as well.
    (well, actually, I read that at infidels.org)
  • Damm! That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard! Why don't we tap the phones of everyone in Manhattan cause one of those people committed a crime once! I think it was the pooper scooper law someone broke.

    ...listen to any conversation of mine you want. If you don't like what you hear you shouldn't have been listening. If you catch me doing something illegal or dangerous, I have no one to blame but myself for committing the act.

    If they don't like what your saying they might just take you away. I love this idea of "I'm not doing anything wrong so I'm safe!" There are evesdropping laws in the US for *GOOD* reason!

    I don't know if you noticed that they want to throw people in jail for burning flags nowadays! Please go to www.eff.org a do some reading.
  • Why not? Its not imaginary technology, so you can safely assume its there. Britain isn't a technologicaly backwards country - we did invent the computer remember? Also, it doesnt have to be a perfect system - if something sounds *close* what the hell, just record it and figure it out later.
    Has it occurred to you that you dont really need to monitor ALL calls? Part of the purpose would be to be able intercept any calls in particular you want to, without having any red tape to deal with, or anyone aware that you're at it.

    ~Pev
  • On the topic of gun control, it is interesting to note that the republic has the lowest murder rate of the top 20 industrialized nations, the UN stats are discussed in this article [ireland.com], the rest of the stats are hardly complementary unfortunately, in particular in general we are only second to the US in levels of poverty!, still at least we don't tend to go around maiming eachother fatally as a hobby :-)

    C.

  • Switzerland has a completely different culture than the rest of the civilized world.
    The suiss people have stayed in their self-chosen cultural and political isolation for longer than the USA exists. It is true that suisse has less strict gun-ownership laws than most other european laws, but the percentage of actual gun-owners is less than in the USA.


    I am not exactly sure how true that is. There are certainly quite a few gun owners in the US, but, assuming that what I hear is true about Switzerland, that every male over 18 is trained and has several types of guns, that would be somewhere about 50% gun ownership of the entire population. Then there may be a percentage of women who own guns...with that in mind, I can't see US gun ownership as a percentage of population being higher that Swiss ownership as a percentage of population.


  • The point about your criminal having a gun is interesting - but the ability to draw and shoot someone who already has a gun pointing at you is rare

    Good point, however, as many people point out, the idea is more associated with deterrence. In that infamous study from the University of Chicago (hell, can't remember who wrote it) the thesis presented was that those states which allowed concealed carrying (about 33) had lower crime rates as a result of criminals not knowing who could be carrying a gun. Take it as you like, the study was terribly controversial.

    With respect to Britain changing its gun laws as a result of Dunblane, reports here in US claim that homicides involving guns has, paradoxically, risen after those laws took effect.
  • Well the best solution to that would be to have them move from Manhattan to someplace that the US would be happy to give to Canada. New Jersey is convenient. Let's have a show of hands: who would want to keep NJ if we could foist it off on Canada?
  • Anyone recall a certain war with Mexico that
    led to a whole bunch of land being taken by the US from Mexico - you guys must have missed that
    course while you were studying British History 101 right ?

    As someone who would not be here had they been standing a few yards closer to an IRA bomb, I'd rather not hear this claptrap about British invasions of Ireland, Scotland, Wales. Get a fricken' clue. Try reading a book before spouting an opinion.
  • Does the UK have such advanced voice-recognition that they can identify words spoken at the speeds that people normally use, in a variety of different accents, over a *phone* *line* of all things? Or do they just hire a few thousand people in order to listen to each call?

    Personally, I'm skeptical. This would work if it was involving telegraphs (are they still used over there?) but not phone calls.

    Unless, of course, They, the benign aliens from Alpha Centauri, gave the UK and US advanced voice surveillance technology along with the anti-gravity Black Helicopters and the cloning tanks to breed their species on Earth. Sheesh...

    Hasn't this rumor been around in a variety of forms since the 60's?
  • To our southern neighbors, I apologize for my fellow citizen.

    "Contrary to popular opinion, the average Canadien does not consider themselves friendly to the USA. They just want our jobs."

    And contrary to *your* ignorant opinion, I, a Canadian, *am* friendly to the USA. I have many American friends, and I'm not ashamed to hold many of their values, most notably their Constitution, in high regard.

    It's people like you who really disgust me. Judging an entire nation by the acts of a few politicians or criminals is one of the worst things one can do. Imagine if all Americans judged us by the acts of Preston Manning, Jacques Parizeau, or Karla Homolka.

    The average American isn't interested in stealing jobs, they just want to live in peace and enjoy life. They're no different from us. Except that we have to shovel a bit more snow in the winter, but that's a little off-topic. (Grin)

    And it's spelled Canadian. If you're going to spout off a rant of how much "Americans suck" (to paraphrase) then please get your own citizenship straight.
  • If there is anything worse than listening to Americans talking about Ireland, it is listening to Brits do so. You're part of the problem pal -- get out of our country. That's the solution, period. And any American who points that out here is damn' right.
  • Nor do I understand what you mean by "terrorism by the British government".

    Bombs in Dublin/Monaghan 1974? Concentration camps? Systematic use of torture? Wake up, for fuck's sake.

  • ''Modern Northern Ireland is still part of the UK because the majority protestant population wanted
    it that way.''
    And got the British Army in to enforce that wish.
    ''England did let Ireland go'', gosh, you're ignorant.
    Your 'mothercountry' never 'let go' anything, it had been taken off their hands by war, in case you forgot, but oops, you will never have known anything about history in the first place.
    Did it ever occur to you that the island you obviously know only little about is Ireland as a whole and you lot should acctually pack and leave?


  • British OR Irish -- you choose. You can't be both.
  • Thank you for illustrating exactly is wrong with the continuing British occupation of Ireland. Your dismissive attitude towards the natives' national aspirations is exactly what one would expect of a British colonial. 100% British settler, 0% Irish: that's you. You can call yourself Irish; I can't stop you. You can call yourself a Koala Bear too: there are institutions where such people can get the help they need. It is amazing how you have the gall to blame the Irish for the war in Ireland. You know damn well that it's the only language you people understand.
  • We all know that privacy vanished a long while ago. It sucks, but thats life.
  • Erm, wasn't Braveheart about bonnie Scotland? ;)
  • America will always have a gun problem, because it's legal to own the damn things. Here it isn't. It doesn't stop criminals using guns just the same as making drugs illegal hasn't stopped drug taking. You're looking at it from the wrong angle.
  • It s friday afternoon. I'm tired. I'm faced with the prospect of spending a lot of money to fix my car. This damn perl script is driving me nuts. Yes, I give up that easily. ;)
  • There is absolutely nothing more irritating than listening to (or reading) Americans talking about Britain, especially when they go on about politics, and most especially when it comes to Ireland.

    1. Braveheart is about William Wallace, who is a Scottish national hero, and not Irish.

    2. The Scots, after considerable losses, and the death of Wallace, won that round, for all it matters today, and retained their independance until three or four centuries later when they voluntarily merged first the crown then the parliament with England's. Modern Scottish nationalism has nothing to do with historical conquest, and only a little to do with repression, except perhaps on the part of some extremely ignorant people.

    3. England did let Ireland go. EIRE, the Irish republic, the Catholic majority part of the country (for historical and political reasons) is independant. Modern Northern Ireland is still part of the UK because the majority protestant population wanted it that way.

    4. Irish republicans in the north are in a tiny minority, especially in their use of violence, and the British governments behaviour in the north has been essentially blameless since 1990, and can probably only be blamed with being stupid even before that. Anti-terrorist measures are accepted even by most Irish nationalists as a necessary evil.

    5. The traditional Scottish dress is a long piece of plaid cloth wrapped around the torso and waist. The kilt (not skirt, or dress) is a modern invention, which is smaller and more practical, and only goes around the waist.
  • "No selfish strategic or economic interest"
  • Would'ya stop with this stuff please ? I've seen this so many times, reading it again makes me want to scream.

    Our rights and liberties are protected by just the same things yours are - by convention. You wrote yours down, we didn't. Big deal. In any country, if the populace stop believing in its liberties, the state will take them away. Bits of paper make no difference to that at all.
  • I think I remember hearing that the current (Labour) Government were planning to bring in a Bill of Rights or a Citizen's Charter or something along those lines. Anyone else more knowledgable about politics than me?

    The government plans to integrate the European Convention on Human Rights into British law, and empower the House of Lords (in its capacity as the highest court) to enforce it.

    Regrettably the House of Lords powers are not well separated from those of the government, and therefore what happens if it comes to a fight remains to be seen.

  • This is correct. All of Northern Ireland (often referred to as "the six counties" by people in the Republic) is in Ulster. But not all of Ulster is in Northern Ireland.



    It is, however, very common practice in Northern Ireland (mostly on the part of unionists, I would guess) to refer to Northern Ireland as Ulster. For instance, they have "Ulster Television", "Ulster says no", "Ulster Unionist Party", "Ulster Defense Regiment", and so on. Its my understanding that many nationalists find this usage intimidating, and that many unionists find the name "the six counties" to be demeaning. Therein lies an example of the complexities of Irish politics ... I remember the girls at my primary school were alowed to wear any color of gingham in summer as long as it wasn't green.

  • Hey, don't blame the entire country because of one person not knowing his history.

    My apolgoies for over-generalising. I guess I was just fulfilling the opposing stereotype of the condescending European. :-) Ireland is so complicated that most mainland Brits cannot talk coherently on the subject without offending someone.

    Northern Ireland may accept it as a "necessary evil", but I could never accept that here in the States. Times are seldom to turbulent as to necessitate such measures.

    The US is lucky in having rather less history to contend with than most Europeans, though you might want to watch those Injuns (that is a joke, by the way). There are, at least in theory, pretty good safegaurds to ensure that when N Ireland finally finds a formal way of peacefully running itself the anti-terrorist laws will be dismantled. A surprising amount of similar legislation (for wiretaps, etc) does exist in the US, BTW.

  • Damm! That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard! Why don't we tap the phones of everyone in Manhattan cause one of those people committed a crime once! I think it was the pooper scooper law someone broke.

    I think you might find that if half the population of Manhattan had historical greivances to the effect that they should actually be part of Canada and not the USA, and a small group of them were prepared to go around blowing things up to prove the point, you might change your mind. Especially when the other half of the population of Manhattan started arming themselves and shooting at the Canadian faction.

  • But how would you call it if the army is involved in a violent long time fight between two groups (divised by the church)

    The British army was sent to Northern Ireland to protect the nationalist population against unionists who were burning their houses. Would you not do the same thing ?

    Officially Britain believes terrorists on both sides are just simple criminals (although of an especially dangerous kind). While some elements of the British state (especially the RUC, and N Irelands last effort at local governance) have sometimes sided with unionism to the extent of overlooking its nasty side, the official policy has never been to do so. The Downing Street Declaration recognised the principle of self-determination for N Ireland, and disowned any "selfish strategic or economic interest" in the province on the part of the British government.

    You can call it a war only if you believe a war does not have to involve a state on either side, or the conquest and occupation of territory.

    Oh, and N Irish terrorists kill in the name of politics, not religion. You will find a scattering of protestant republics and catholic loyalists if you look hard enough.

  • As pointed out by others above, with no real constitution or bill of rights in the UK, can we claim to have Freedom at all?

    Yes. Bits of paper are widely overrated. Britain has had one of the more consistently free and democratic governments in the world for quite a while.

    It's interesting to see that the Home Office spokesman sounds a bit nervous about how legitimate this would be under European Law. Just saying there have been no successful challanges doesn't mean it's legal. Does anyone know of any challanges?

    No. But if you want to mount one, I'll gladly help.

  • Right, several things. See my previous post for starters, but I'll repeat myself if necessary.

    Firstly, the IRA may consider itself to be fighting the British government (although thankfully they're on a long term cease-fire at the moment), but the British state considers itself to be fighting terrorism (the systematic use of violence as a means to intimidate or coerce societies or governments) by both loyalist (pro-British, usually protestant, but not aligned with today's British government) and republican (pro-Irish, usually catholic, but not aligned with today's Irish government) groups.

    I don't understand what you mean by the British army on the streets of Dublin. Dublin is the capital of the republic, and hasn't been part of Britain since the 1920s. Britain makes no claim to the modern Irish state, nor do most unionist groups in the north. The British army carries out some policing duties in the North because they are better trusted than the local police (especially by nationalists).

    Nor do I understand what you mean by "terrorism by the British government". Unless you're an out-and-out anarchist nothing the British government has done in N Ireland since the 1970s looks even remotely like terrorism.

    What you need to understand is that this is much a more complicated (but lower intensity) conflict than any war, in which their are four identifiable groups prepared to use force (N Irish Loyalists, N Irish Republicans, the Irish Government and the British Government). Since the 1970s the governments have done everything they can to get the two terrorist groups to stop fighting, because while they may sympathise with their aims they are opposed to their methods. Whilst the governments may disagree about methods, they are in essential agreement about priorities.

    Prior to that the situation had been basically peaceful (though somewhat unjust to people on the wrong side of the border) since the 1920s when the republic was formed.

    Your natural human desire to reduce this to a simple conflict with 2 sides is preventing you from understanding the complexity of the situation.
  • As for the police - they CAN carry firearms, but this is only done on special occasions. There is no need for the police on the beat to be armed. I can't remember the last time a member of the Gardaí was shot in the line of duty.

    The RUC (Northern Ireland's police force) are more or less routinely armed though, or at least they were before the cease-fire.

    OK, the English moved in here about 800 years ago, and for most of that time, there had been resistance. For Gods sake, there was the 1916 rising, the War of Independance in the 20's and a civil war after that. Beleive me, there was a LOT more going on than calling the English Bastards. Why don't you get a book on the subject....

    Well yes, but I think the poster was referring to the period of relative peace and stability (although not of any kind of social justice) between partition and the civil rights campaign in the North.

  • As an Irishman and a protestant it really gets under my skin when Americans who probably haven't even been to Ireland think an understanding of Irish politics can be genetically transmitted.

    Firstly let me make it absolutely clear that I believe in self-determination for Ireland (both bits), and the principle of majority consent. Can you say as much ?

    I quite agree the Brits should not ever have invaded Ireland. The world would be a much happier place. However, they did. Unless you know a way of reversing history, we have to live with the consequences. Since the majority of the population of Northern Ireland chooses to remain in the UK, the UK government has to keep them there. Do you really think anything else can be done ?

    As for the idea the British security service plants bombs, well, yes, maybe they do. It would seem pretty odd for them to go after police and army targets, or unionist bars, but yes, maybe they do. OTOH even what the IRA accepts it has done (and neither the IRA nor Sinn Fein makes any bones about supporting the use of force, even occasionally against protestant civilians) should repel any civilised person. Is the transfer of a tiny scrap of land, whose population doesn't even want it, from one western democracy to another really worth all that blood ? I'll leave you to answer that question yourself.
  • Oh and I suppose British military standing outside the polling places when the vote was taken had nothing to do with the outcome. The statistics are crap and everyone who is involved at all with the situation knows it. Tell you what I can post some quotes from Gerry Adams if you want me to. They would be just as accurate as your figures.



    To my knowledge such a poll has never been taken. Shows how much you know. However, it is a simple matter of demographics - slightly more than 50% of NI residents are protestant, and slightly less are catholic (by origin, not faith). Protestants tend to be unionist and catholics tend to be nationalist. There are (empirically - you just need to go to Ireland and ask around a bit) there are more catholic unionists than protestant nationalists.

    And if you think that fighting for freedom is terrorism then you sir are a very sad person. This is the only bloody war the whole world is not up in arms about the nationals having a right to their homeland, and it pisses me off to no end.

    Northern Irish unionists have a right to theirs too. These people's ancestors moved to Ireland, or changed their faith, hundreds of years ago. Does their distant ancestors collusion and/or profiteering deprive them of any right to the land of their birth ?

    How about it being illeagle for years and years to speak your native language in your own country, or drafting young men and sending them off to a war their homeland wasn't involved in.

    This happened around a hundred years ago. Noone alive today was even borne then.

  • ''Modern Northern Ireland is still part of the UK because the majority protestant population wanted it that way.''

    And got the British Army in to enforce that wish.

    The British army was sent in to stop nationalist houses being burned. Seems perfectly OK to me. Would you rather they not ?

    Your 'mothercountry' never 'let go' anything, it had been taken off their hands by war, in case you forgot, but oops, you will never have known anything about history in the first place.

    Thats a matter of opinion. If the British had really wanted to hold on to Ireland they would have. As far as I can tell from my reading of the history it was only the difficulty in finding a solution that would protect both nationalists and unionists that made independance take so long

    Regardless of the history, the problem is not the presence of any given group of people on any given bit of soil. The problem is violence and oppression and intolerance. There is plenty of that on both sides

    Oh, and my family is probably just as Irish as yours is. They just want to remain part of Britain. I personally don't see one bit of difference in which country N Ireland is part of as long as the violence stops.

  • IF thats what he meant he's correct. That was pretty bad. However, none of that is happening any more.
  • If there was "peace and stability" why was there a civil rights campaign???



    Because the catholic population of N Ireland was being treated unfairly (to say the least). You can have peace and stability without civil rights - it just tends not to last very long.

  • People in Manhatten do indeed blow things up, but nothing like on the N Irish scale. The IRA may be as small as Osama Bin Laden's (sp?) gang of intolerant fruitcakes, but they're better organised and probably have more money and more arms. They're definitely more active, and they actually (mostly) live in the country they are fighting against. It makes them hugely more dangerous.

    As for the historical grievances, and the bit about 'half the population', they're both true, and if you think Manhatten has anything like them, you should see the amount of hostility people give out when someone British points out that peace is preferable to violence (hint: see the rest of this thread).
  • There is plenty of evidence that the British Government planned and and patrially succeeded in an attempt to exterminate the Irish people.

    Well I don't know about exterminate. Oppress most definitely, but if there was any extermination it was throught incompetence, not intention (the potato famine, for instance).

    The IRA has no plan to discriminate against Protestants in Ireland, they will enjoy the same privledges of freedom of speach, religion and assocations as all Irish citizens in a unified country under a democratic constitution.

    No doubt, although they won't be able to have abortions. Nor would they, until recently, have been allowed to get divorced. The Republic has (from my point of view) done its fair share of oppressing in its short history - though to be fair nothing like as much as Britain.

  • Whose says, you ? why ? I'll be Irish and British and Scottish and English (roughly in the order) and proud of all of them, thank you very much.

    Its nasty parochial nationalist thinking like this that causes wars the whole world over. I can hear then now in the back of my head "you can be Albanian or Serbian, not both", "you can be Turkish or Cypriot, not both", "you can be Pakistani or Kashmiri, not both", "you can be Rwandan or Tutsi not both", on and on and on throughout history.

    Well, I guess you'll be delighted to hear you're contuing a great tradition in human affairs, you you're copying the exact mistake the British made when the invaded Ireland in the first place.
  • Ummmm. I was just trying to present an analogy, not to suggest such a situation might really occur. The previous poster was suggesting British anti-terrorist laws were unnecessary because N Ireland is no worse off than New York. That clearly not being the case, I was trying to present an analogous situation in terms of New York, hence Canada (the closest other country to New York, right ?). No slur on the national character of anyone was intended.

    I don't give a flying **** about Canadian gun deaths, that was another thread, and I'm Irish (and British) not American as should be rather clear from the rest of the thread. Do you not think you might be a bit oversensitive ?
  • That's true, but AFAIK, libel law only applies to comments made about individuals

    Erm, not true I think. Remember the McLibel case ? A well known fast food company sued a couple of environmental protesters over comments made in a leaflet they were handing out outside one of the companies outlets... I think it was one of the longest running and most expensive libel cases in the UK. The substantive point is however correct - I certainly would treat most stories in the UK press with a fair degree of scepticism and wouldn't trust the libel laws to ensure the truth.
  • This sort of thing demonstrates clearly why governments want to control individuals access to encryption. It has been said by various people that you have nothing to worry about because it would no be practical for governments to monitor all communications in this sort of trolling operation. Apparently people were wrong.

  • That depends upon your attitude. I don't think there's any doubt that MI5 has overstepped the mark in the past, in terms of surveilling and harassing innocent people and political organisations. I personally think that the reasons for this were paranoia (was it McCarthy who did the same sort of thing in the States?) and political pollution (what a terrific phrase!), which allegedly led to things like the Profumo affair, etc.

    On the other hand, these organisations are responsible for the national security of the country, and ensuring that often involves doing unsavoury things. They have to operate outside the normal bounds of law and morality. The majority of people would probably be horrified if they found out the full extent of the operations their country's intelligence services carry out, but, to my mind anyway, the end justifies the means - the good of the people is the highest law. Obviously, there are limits, but we have to trust our Congressional Oversight and Intelligence and Security committees to ensure that those limits are maintained.

    As for police files, so what? When I first came over to England, my room at university was searched, and I suspect that the college porter (an ex-military policeman) let them in. But I have no problem with that - I'm not a terrorist, and I had nothing to hide. If searching my room set their minds at rest and allowed them to eliminate me from their list of possible suspect, then I'd have handed over the keys myself. I've no doubt that MI5 have a file on me (as do several other law-enforcement agencies, including at least two in the USA, even though I've never visited the States), and I'm sure that they all know who "The Dodger" really is.

    But, because they know that I'm not one of the bad guys (even if I used to break the Computer Misuse Act occasionally), they're probably perfectly happy to leave me alone. And that includes not blocking me from jobs which involve working on law-enforcement and government computer systems.

    I think the most surprising thing about this report is the mind-bogglingly large amount of information they must have had to sift through.

    I know a guy who works at GCHQ who once had to take delivery of a Sun 10k Starfire. Yes, they do have some serious number-crunching power down in Cheltenham. Never forget that code-breaking was invented by the British.

    The Dodger


  • Wasn't there like a cool, crazy Irish guy with lots of knives or something in Braveheart? Or was that some Robin Hood movie?

    Yeah, that was me. ;-) Nah, it was actually my mate, Stephen. He's a wee bit touched. Reckons he's the High King of Ireland (hence the "my island" comments in the film).

    *tut* Feckin' eejit. Everybody knows I'm the King...

    King Dodger of Tara...


  • I think I remember hearing that the current (Labour) Government were planning to bring in a Bill of Rights or a Citizen's Charter or something along those lines. Anyone else more knowledgable about politics than me?

    I hear your point, though. And another worrying thing is the apparent subtle shift towards a situation where someone accused of a crime has to prove their innocence, rather than the onus being on the prosecution to prove their guilt. For example, the current caution given to people when arrested by the British police starts "You have the right to remain silent, but it may harm your defence if you withold something now which you later rely on in court" (or words to that effect).

    The Dodger


  • I am an Irish citizen. I dont think this a 'neccesary' evil. I think it frightening.

    Then go see/write to your TD and tell him to push for a beefing up of the Irish Security Service, beyond the half-dozen Gardai and Customs officers which it consists of at the moment.

    The Dodger


  • "Éire" is simply the Irish language word for "Ireland" (the whole island), despite assumptions to the contrary.

    You are wrong.

    Éire is the official name (as enshrined in the Irish Constitution) of the country alternatively known, and more often referred to, as the Republic of Ireland.

    "Ulster" is not the same as "Northern Ireland"

    This is correct. All of Northern Ireland (often referred to as "the six counties" by people in the Republic) is in Ulster. But not all of Ulster is in Northern Ireland.

    Bit of historial background as to what Ulster actually is. Ancient Ireland consisted of five provinces. Four of them, Ulster in the North, Connaught in the West, Munster in the South and Leinster in the East, were ruled by Kings, who paid allegiance to the High King of Ireland, who ruled directly over the much smaller province of Meath, which lay kind of in the middle-east of the island. At some point in history, Meath "merged" with Leinster, leaving four provinces.

    The Dodger


  • What does getting pissed refer to in Britain?

    It means getting drunk. If one is "pissed", then one is drunk.

    The British equivalent for the American use of the word (i.e. to mean "annoyed") would be "pissed off" - c.f. "I'm pissed off!" means that I'm annoyed.

    The Dodger


  • ... I'm sure it's out in BFE being on the coast like that.

    It's about three miles from the coast. For anyone who's interested, it's about four miles NW of Chester, at the base of the peninsual between the estuaries of the Mersey and Dee rivers, south of Liverpool.

    The Dodger


  • I'm not wrong.

    Yes you are. And you're about to go and do it again.

    Éire _is_ the official name of the state [...] which is also officially described in the constitution as constituting the whole island.


    Not any longer. The Irish Constitution was changed as part of the peace process and the clause which laid claim to the entire island of Ireland is no longer part of the Constitution.


    Let me give you a piece of advice - at least have a clue what you're talking about before you open your mouth, because you're just talking shite.


    The dodger


  • I think it's understandable that they would want to do it, after all the IRA has set off a bomb or two. As for using it for financial gain, and everything else not related to terrorism, they should string up those who abused the system, not the agency that implemented it.

    I assume the "financial gain" you're referring to is surmised from the quote "although the primary justification ... was anti-terrorism, the information it gathered was also of economic and commercial significance".

    This doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a gradual realisation that a country's national security is not guaranteed merely by it's military strength, but by it's economic independence and power as well. That is why the CIA has operated in instances such as the operations it carried out against the French during the GATT negotiations a while back.

    You can bet your last penny that the CIA has allocated a significant amount of resources to infiltrating the European Union, for the purposes of obtaining intelligence regarding European economic and monetary affairs.

    As for the whole issue of Britain spying on the Republic - it's something that's been generally assumed and accepted, for a long time, especially by us Irish. The Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) even had a turf war over who should have responsibility for intelligence-gathering operations in the Republic.

    Don't get me wrong, I loved Braveheart and think England should let Ireland go if they want to go

    Well, a lot of Braveheart was filmed in Ireland (one of the supposedly 'English' castles is actually just a few miles from where I come from), but the film was actually about Scotland's struggle for independence. :-)

    The Dodger

  • "IRA bombings and assasinations have killed thousands of people over the years"

    More like hundreds.

    "semtex is apparently as easyly available as peanut butter"

    Incorrect.

    "female crime reporters are assasinated while stopped in traffic"

    This happened once. So using the plural is a bit
    misleading.

    "But ooohhh, mustn't give working mothers a chance (or choice) to defend themselves, got to keep those guns reserved for the criminal elements."

    The simple fact is that you're about 70 times
    more likely to be shot and killed in the US then
    you are in Britain or Ireland. True, it's
    unlikely to be for political reasons. Chances
    are it'll be for the change in your pocket, or
    because you're wearing the "wrong" colour, or
    are the "wrong" colour. But that's nothing to
    be proud of.

    K.
    -
    How come there's an "open source" entry in the
  • Yep, that's war. It ain't funny, but it is the thru!

    Idiot. We're not at war with the UK.

    K.
    -
    How come there's an "open source" entry in the
  • So if I buy it, do I then get to spy on all the communications between Britain and Ireland?
  • You're as much of the problem as the 'British' in N. Ireland. Note that they've been living there all thier lives, as did their parents.
    Any time two groups claim the same land there is only one solution: ethnic cleansing. Otherwise you have an ongoing war that will never end. Or I suppose both sides could just grow up and get on with their lives, but how likely is that?


    Using Microsoft software is like having unprotect sex.

  • Thousands killed???!?? A VAST exagguration.

    OK Let me clear up some misconceptions. There have been over 2000 terrorist related murders in connection with the troubles over the past 30 years. A lot of Semtex had been used in the years leading up to the ceasefire. While the Republic has been relatively free of terrorism, there HAVE been incidents. E.g. the Parnell St. & Capel St (i think) bombings in the 70's which is believed to have been the work of the British Secret Service.

    The female crime reporter who was killed was drug related

    Very true. Veronica Guerin's murder was done by the Dublin crime underworld. But this shows that there are guns in the Republic being used by others - not just the IRA.

    As for the police - they CAN carry firearms, but this is only done on special occasions. There is no need for the police on the beat to be armed. I can't remember the last time a member of the Gardaí was shot in the line of duty.

    even though Ireland was occupied for a long time, the troubles and bombings only really took off about 30 years ago. Activity before rarely got above calling the English bastards.

    OK, the English moved in here about 800 years ago, and for most of that time, there had been resistance. For Gods sake, there was the 1916 rising, the War of Independance in the 20's and a civil war after that. Beleive me, there was a LOT more going on than calling the English Bastards. Why don't you get a book on the subject....

  • Well yes, but I think the poster was referring to the period of relative peace and stability (although not of any kind of social justice) between partition and the civil rights campaign in the North.

    If there was "peace and stability" why was there a civil rights campaign??? To be honest, I'm not sure the poster knew what he was talking about.

  • I think that should be 'get pissed OFF'.
    Getting pissed is something quite different :)
  • Sorry, there was meant to be a point to the above flippancy:

    As pointed out by others above, with no real constitution or bill of rights in the UK, can we claim to have Freedom at all?

    It's interesting to see that the Home Office spokesman sounds a bit nervous about how legitimate this would be under European Law. Just saying there have been no successful challanges doesn't mean it's legal. Does anyone know of any challanges?
  • Just in case anyone else is scratching their heads:

    US - getting pissed = getting angry
    UK - getting pissed = getting drunk

    To get angry in the UK is to get pissed off.

    This little tip may come in handy for anyone coming to the UK and being told that 'tonight we're going to get pissed' :)
  • The sooner you get used to it, the better. Actually, you just *wish* you had a declaration of independance. And we're pissing ours away ...
  • The british terrorists will suppress the Irish as long as the Irish let them. As soon as the Irish finish the job, they will be free. Not before. Power will not be given away, it must be taken back
  • Let us not forget that in the U.K. there is no Bill of Rights, and as royal subjects (not citizens), the Government can legally do pretty much whatever they want to its people.
  • This sounds like a bit of an urban legend unless the people who did the bugging were extreme amateurs.

    With the appropriate authorization (!) BT can pretty much monitor any calls to or from a particular number completely remotely, they just need an SX exchange somewhere in the way.

    More than 10 years ago they offered a service to government folks where you could dial in and checked your intercepted messages from anywhere, much like voice mail. Pretty handy :-)

    From what I understand, abuses within the telecommunications industry became so widespread that they pulled the plug on many of the remote monitoring features such that only places like GCHQ (that could be physically secured) had access.

    NB.
  • > As someone who would not be here had they been standing a few yards closer to an IRA bomb, I'd rather not hear this claptrap about British invasions
    > of Ireland, Scotland, Wales. Get a fricken' clue. Try reading a book before spouting an opinion.

    I sympathise with the fact that you were a victim of IRA violence. As I'm sure you sympathise with all the victims of Orangemen violence. (2 times the number of murders as the IRA throughout the conflict.)

    And yes, the US has many dark pages in its history too, which would in no way be an excuse for terrorist attacks on the US populace.

    But what are you saying? Are you saying that because there are violent extremists on both sides, all people of a certain ethnicity (Irish, in this case) have to foregoe their civil rights? Doesn't sound like a recipe for lasting peace to me...
  • Many of the posts on this topic have empathized with the Britich government and its security agencies for undertaking this surveillance. This is not the point. I think most of us understand why they would want to attempt to counteract terrorist threats. The issue is whether "by any means necessary" is acceptable in a functioning democracy. I feel that this has been one unrecognized aspect of the damage that the IRA has caused to citizens of both of the involved states: there have been a large number of draconian laws enacted which erode the liberties of citizens. The effect of this in the past has been that we have had censorship in both the UK and Rep. of Ireland, the adoption of the principle that silence under questioning can be taken as evidence of guilt, the corruption of police and security agencies desperate to solve a war by super-legal methods and the gradual and persistent erosion of public insistence on the sovereign rights of the citizen. I do not believe that we should place these tools in the hand of government. A previous poster relied on Congressional oversight to act as a check or balance on the use of these tools. That is asking the guardians to guard themselves and there is ample recent historical evidence that this does not work. So, we should reject this on two counts: firstly it is too dangerous to our democracies, secondly it does not work to prevent terrorist threats anyway.
  • It has to. British libel law applies regardless of whether you knew it was false, and regardless of whether you had any malice. If it's a lie, you swing for libel in Her Majesty's Realm.

    I don't care if the smarmyest tabloid on Fleet Street said it, if it's British press, I believe it until proven otherwise. They're very careful about such things....

    Try reading BBC or Rueters sometime. It's an entirely different take on the news.... there may be some spin there, but they're not going to outright lie to you. Unlike some American organizations I can think of... abc, cbs, nbc, cnn....

    warp eight bot
    clan crawford (by marriage)
    neither the green, for rome, nor the orange,
    for london, but the blue, for Ireland's own sake.
  • Um, Try going back to school. You have apparently mixed up Ireland with SCOTLAND!!!!

    Braveheart aka William Wallace was from and fought for SCOTLAND. Men in SCOTLAND wear "dresses" or as we prefer to call them kilts. SCOTLAND is attached to England in the North part of the island, Ireland is a whole separate island to the west. SCOTLAND has a separatist political party, but, unlike some fine members of the UDF or IRA, they haven't pipe bombed any school buses full of children lately (as you can see I don't particularly like either side in the Irish Troubles). By God, leave SCOTLAND out of this!

    Now that that is off my chest...

    Why is anyone surprised about this. Most of the world has known for over 10 years now, since the release of Peter Wright's book Spycatcher, about the exploits of MI5 and MI6 (except my cousin in SCOTLAND, where the book was and still is banned due to "national security"). Why should we be shocked that the British Intelligence community has listened to every phone call between Ireland and England for 10 years when they have had a duplicate key to every lock in the city of London for over 30 years (again see Spycatcher).

    Personally I find no comfort or protection in doing or saying nothing "wrong". If the state has and uses this kind of power, your innocence won't matter since they could create evidence, plant evidence or infer anything from your private communications. Planting a bomb and blowing someon e up is a crime...talking about it isn't. Don't take away my freedom for something I say I'm going to do, take it away for actually doing it.

    As I beleive one of your "founding fathers" once said (and I think I'm paraphrasing)"Those who would give up liberty for security deserve niether."

    A Canadian member of MacDonald of Clanranald.

  • On a related note, if your cable provider carries BBC News 24, give it a go. BBC journalism is first rate. Being a UK citizen, I'm kinda biased :-) Even so, give News 24 a look if you can. You won't be disappointed.
  • well - the crime rate is one thing you can look at. It might even be significant. On the other hand, look at the numbers of deaths due to weapons in the US each year and compare to Britain.

    I absolutely agree that it is the people, not the guns - but, as R Heinlein said, "Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.".

    The number of accidental shootings alone is terrifying.

    The point about your criminal having a gun is interesting - but the ability to draw and shoot someone who already has a gun pointing at you is rare - and in Britain, hardly any of the criminals have guns. If you get mugged, chances are they're gonna beat you up or knife you - either of which is less likely to kill than a gun.


    Britain has tightened up it's gun laws recently and the day they relax them is the day I leave the country.

    OTOH, maybe if I was less well endowed I'd want a membership to the NRA.
  • >but the film was actually about Scotland's struggle for independence. :-)

    Heh, I didn't think they wore kilts in Ireland :-)

  • Braveheart was about William Wallace, who was a Scot, fighting for Scottish autonomy. Nothing to do with Ireland.

    Wasn't there like a cool, crazy Irish guy with lots of knives or something in Braveheart? Or was that some Robin Hood movie?

    Don't hate the media, become the media.

  • Starting a guns discussion here might not be that wise, but 'ere we go...

    Actually, I think the number of people shot is a rather linear function of the number of guns out there - legal or not. Here in Sweden we hardly have any gun related deaths at all. And I think that is because we don't have many weapons, besides hunting rifles. Not that many people bring a hunting rifle to the disco, do they?

    If someone is caught packing a revolver or something they can probably be sent to jail for it. It's not like it's impossible to get a license for a hand gun, we just don't have that gun culture. So hardly anyone is armed.

    Now if only we could get our army to securely lock up their automatic weapons, and actually get some sort of control for the hunting weapons we'd have even less of a problem.

    I find it very tragic when the best way to stop your kids from blasting each other's brains out you americans seem to come up with is more religion in school. Not taking the guns off the street, no, some prayers and ethics pushed upon them in school will fix it all.

    I can't think of any other country more secularised (sp?) than Sweden, and still we manage to not blow each other to bits. No matter how much religion we'd be teaching in school, if every other fellow started carrying guns like in the states, I'm sure we'd have alot more people shot to death.

    I feel safe not carrying a gun, as I know hardly anybody else does it.

    Don't hate the media, become the media.

  • As I've understood this matter (I'm merely an outside observer) people from the United States put another meaning to 'getting pissed' than people from the British islands.

    Personally, i prefer getting pissed the british way.

    Don't hate the media, become the media.

  • This doesn't really surprise me at all. When it comes down to it, there are no rules when it comes to 'national security'. Check out this link for more details of British surveillance operations. It's scary how much info they were collecting. http://jya.com/irish-war.htm
  • Hee, hee -- nothing backs up an argument better than suggesting that people who disagree with you have small genitalia. :)
  • 1/ The reduction in civil liberty related to the intelligence campaign against republican and/or unionist terrorism extends far beyond this. And in general the public have accepted it as a necessary evil.

    2/ Braveheart was about William Wallace, who was a Scot, fighting for Scottish autonomy. Nothing to do with Ireland.

    3/ The vast (like 80 or 90%) majority of the population of Nothern Ireland (aka Ulster) don't want to leave the Union (of Great Britain and Nothern Ireland, not of England and Northern Ireland). It's nothing to do with 'England letting Ireland go'.

    Feel free to comment on paranoia, civil liberty, etc. Stay way from commenting on other stuff which you clearly know nothing about.

    Apologies in general for the tone of this comment, but this sort of wildly inaccurate rubbish really gets my back up... :(

    Paul
  • There was, but he was just fighting for the fun of it. Well something like that, but the point was that Braveheart was about the Scots.

    If I remember correctly, the Irish Protestants are actually originally from Scotland (or vice versa), but that is all far to complicated... :)
  • I am an Irish citizen. I dont think this a 'neccesary' evil. I think it frightening.

    OK, not necessary, but better-than-the-alternative. And yeah, it's frightening too. What's really frightening is the things that people on both sides will do to other human beings in the name of a cause.

    Hmmmm.....

    OK - my numbers are slightly way off. But my point is that a majority (although a less significant majority than I thought) are in favour of union with GB.
  • after all the IRA has set off a bomb or two

    You have no clue who the IRA are, or who Sinn Fein are, or what the politics involved have been coming to for years. As an Irish-American (Third Generation) it really gets under my skin when people make comments like this. The Brits souldn't be in Ireland in the first place, and there are plently of bombs that no-one ever took the credit for, maybe the Brits planted them theirselves to make the world believe it was the IRA and support the Brits even more. Any way Braveheart was about Scotland, you have probably offended every Irishman that read your post.

  • The vast (like 80 or 90%) majority of the population of Nothern Ireland (aka Ulster) don't want to leave the Union (of Great Britain and Nothern Ireland, not of England and Northern Ireland). It's nothing to do with 'England letting Ireland go'

    Oh and I suppose British military standing outside the polling places when the vote was taken had nothing to do with the outcome. The statistics are crap and everyone who is involved at all with the situation knows it. Tell you what I can post some quotes from Gerry Adams if you want me to. They would be just as accurate as your figures.


    2/ Braveheart was about William Wallace, who was a Scot, fighting for Scottish autonomy. Nothing to do with Ireland.

    That is SIR William Wallace, he was kinghted by the Lords in Scotland

    1/ The reduction in civil liberty related to the intelligence campaign against republican and/or unionist terrorism extends far beyond this. And in general the public have accepted it as a necessary evil.

    Oh really, I think you are talking out your arse on this one. The "general public" have not a single clue as to what is going on in the name of "intelligence gathering" and if they did people would be very close to revolting. And if you think that fighting for freedom is terrorism then you sir are a very sad person. This is the only bloody war the whole world is not up in arms about the nationals having a right to their homeland, and it pisses me off to no end. You want to talk about civil liberties, how about the men being help prisoner in Britain accused of being memebers of the IRA, you know the ones that are moved every time their family moves closer so they can see them. How about it being illeagle for years and years to speak your native language in your own country, or drafting young men and sending them off to a war their homeland wasn't involved in. I guess you think one more right taken away is no big deal. I am sick of bleeding hearts like you that are willing to sacrifice civil liberties for a "greater good". What if I did not think that your good was greater than my freedoms.

    Feel free to comment on paranoia, civil liberty, etc. Stay way from commenting on other stuff which you clearly know nothing about.

    You would do well to follow your own advice. I will not apologize for the tone of this comment, nor will I apologize for my views on Ireland.


  • As an Irishman and a protestant it really gets under my skin when Americans who probably haven't even been to Ireland think an understanding of Irish politics can be genetically transmitted.

    How did I know this would come up, I have my grandfather to speak to about politics and converse on a regular basis with my relatives in Ireland. I do not think that any understanding of the politics comes to me genetically, far from it. I have a cousin in prison, accused of being a mamber of the IRA. I have been to Ireland and your assumptions are crap.

    Firstly let me make it absolutely clear that I believe in self-determination for Ireland (both bits), and the principle of majority consent. Can you say as much ?

    It is not a question of what I believe now is it ? It is a question of forcing a so called majority opinion down the throats of people who love their country and want to see it free.

    I quite agree the Brits should not ever have invaded Ireland. The world would be a much happier place. However, they did. Unless you know a way of reversing history, we have to live with the consequences. Since the majority of the population of Northern Ireland chooses to remain in the UK, the UK government has to keep them there. Do you really think anything else can be done ?

    A majority, well there are many opinions on how that majority was reached, it is only a majority if you believe that is was fair. Since Britain has always been fair to Ireland (yeah right) I guess you got me there.

    As for the idea the British security service plants bombs, well, yes, maybe they do. It would seem pretty odd for them to go after police and army targets, or unionist bars, but yes, maybe they do. OTOH even what the IRA accepts it has done (and neither the IRA nor Sinn Fein makes any bones about supporting the use of force, even occasionally against protestant civilians) should repel any civilised person. Is the transfer of a tiny scrap of land, whose population doesn't even want it, from one western democracy to another really worth all that blood ? I'll leave you to answer that question yourself.

    You mention that the population doesn't want this, well some of them do. What better targets for British Intelligence to choose ? As for the issue of spilling blood, yes it is worth it, I would be willing to give mine, are you willing to give yours to get it stop ? My guess would be, no. Lets get one thing straight before we continue any further in this discussion, the only reason I live in the USA is because I don't have the money to move to Ireland as of yet. I will be there by August of next year. I do not think that my heritage gives me any knowledge beyond what I have studied on my own. However the point is not for me to die for the cause, now is it ?
  • You give up that easily?
  • omigod
    Masters of Downloading has the tower!?
    They are so l33t!

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