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Bloody Sunday (30 January 1972, Derry)

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McGrath of Harlow 12 Feb 01 - 07:02 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 12 Feb 01 - 06:48 AM
Wolfgang 12 Feb 01 - 03:41 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Feb 01 - 07:48 PM
Shields Folk 09 Feb 01 - 08:25 PM
Grab 09 Feb 01 - 04:23 PM
InOBU 09 Feb 01 - 12:20 PM
Grab 09 Feb 01 - 09:18 AM
Wolfgang 09 Feb 01 - 09:16 AM
Fiolar 09 Feb 01 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,Keith 09 Feb 01 - 07:54 AM
InOBU 09 Feb 01 - 07:51 AM
GUEST,Keith A at work 09 Feb 01 - 07:42 AM
Brendy 09 Feb 01 - 06:59 AM
Brendy 09 Feb 01 - 06:57 AM
Grab 09 Feb 01 - 06:43 AM
Brendy 09 Feb 01 - 06:05 AM
Fiolar 08 Feb 01 - 10:19 AM
GeorgeH 08 Feb 01 - 08:12 AM
Grab 08 Feb 01 - 08:04 AM
Monashee 08 Feb 01 - 04:25 AM
Brendy 07 Feb 01 - 10:27 PM
InOBU 07 Feb 01 - 06:02 PM
Grab 07 Feb 01 - 05:49 PM
InOBU 07 Feb 01 - 01:56 PM
Wolfgang 07 Feb 01 - 12:59 PM
InOBU 07 Feb 01 - 12:22 PM
InOBU 07 Feb 01 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,Keith 07 Feb 01 - 03:19 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 06 Feb 01 - 06:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Feb 01 - 01:26 PM
GUEST,Keith at work 06 Feb 01 - 12:03 PM
Grab 06 Feb 01 - 08:46 AM
GUEST,Fionn (in Co Down) 06 Feb 01 - 08:04 AM
GUEST 06 Feb 01 - 08:03 AM
GUEST,Keith at work 06 Feb 01 - 07:25 AM
Brendy 06 Feb 01 - 06:20 AM
Snuffy 05 Feb 01 - 06:57 PM
Brendy 05 Feb 01 - 03:31 AM
Dave the Gnome 02 Feb 01 - 01:27 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Feb 01 - 01:15 PM
Fiolar 02 Feb 01 - 12:50 PM
GUEST,Bun 02 Feb 01 - 12:00 PM
Fiolar 02 Feb 01 - 09:47 AM
InOBU 02 Feb 01 - 08:11 AM
Grab 02 Feb 01 - 07:52 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 02 Feb 01 - 06:29 AM
GUEST,JTT 02 Feb 01 - 06:28 AM
Brendy 02 Feb 01 - 03:08 AM
Brendy 02 Feb 01 - 03:03 AM
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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 07:02 AM

It all gets complicated with the names, Wolfgang. Strictly speaking there is no political entity "Great Britain" or even "Britain" for that matter.

No part of Ireland has ever been part of Great Britain, hence the term "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", or before that "Great Britain and Ireland". I don't think any native of Northern Ireland would describve themselves as a Brit, however Loyalist or Unionist they might be.

The term "Great Britain" refers to the big island, and its various attached smaller islands like the Isle of Wight and Anglesey and the Scottish ones, but never the Isle of Man, nor the Channel Islands, which in theory have no real link with the Westminster government, but only with the Crown, a bit like Canada etc,).

"Great Britain" is essentially a geographical rather than a political term, and means the same as Britain. I've always understood that the Romans just called it Brittania, and that the "Great" bit is to distinguish it from Brittany.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 06:48 AM

"Great Britain," Wolfgang. The sovereign state as recognised in international law and at the UN is the UK - which is the United (or not so united) Kingdom (well queendom to be precise) or Great Britain and Northern Ireland. "England" "Scotland" "Great Britain" are mere geographical entitities.

I don't think many would object to GB being described as the mainland in purely geographical contexts, much as for instance Spain and Portugal may be grouped together as the Iberian countries. But there's been a tendency by the "Protestaant Ascendancy" to use the term politically in a deliberately patronising way, or maybe I'm too sensitive.

I thought we'd got to the end of this thread. If we're nearly there now, I should just say thanks for some great posts from all sides. Yes, including yours Brendy - I've appreciated all those links.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Wolfgang
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 03:41 AM

'British Mainland' (Never: English Mainland) has been in use since ages among cartographers as a name for the largest island in that group of islands west of the European mainland (I hasten to add that the use of 'mainland' for Europe doesn't imply any possession of these isles by any part of Europe). The name for this island before that was 'Great Britain' since the times of the Romans ('Britannia major'), but this name was not considered a good name for there were too many confusions with the political entity 'Great Britain' which consisted of many more islands.

I'm curious: What is the PC name for that island (Britannia major) from the point of view of a North of Ireland nationalist.

By the way: The Isle of Man is not a part of the UK and to say that this island 'belongs' to Britain is considered an insult by some people from there.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Feb 01 - 07:48 PM

Everybody knows the war is over. And that's probably the only good thing we have going for us at this point is that the war is over.

Those aren't the words of someone who wanted to keep the war going. As I understand Bernie's position it's that what should have happened would have been a ceasefire declared by the IRA, but not a deal that includes an involvement in a devolved government, acceptance of the Union, and an abandonment of the position that there is one Ireland, and it includes all of Ulster.

I remember an article by Bernie a couple of years before the ceasefire in which she suggested that the best solution for the troubles would be a reunited Ulster, independent of London and Dublin. Such a statelet would have as many Protestants as Catholics, and there would be all, kinds of practical economic advantages in terms of natural links across what has so long been an arbitrary and unnatural border that virtually turns Donegal into a separate island. In fact you could say she's one of the few real Ulster Unionists around (as opposed to that lot who want to keep the rump of Uklster attached to England, and use that name, with no historical or geographical justification.)

I quote that to indicate how you can't sum up her thinking as just kneejerk unthinking traditional Republicanism. Whether one agrees with her or not, it's a lot more complicated than that.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Shields Folk
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 08:25 PM

Is it true that Gerry Adams has launched an inquiry into the Omagh bombing! It's obvious that an IRA soldier has never shit himself whilst carrying out an order,the police in the Republic have never fucked up under pressure and Englishmen in Ireland (or North London)have the greatest respect from there Irish cousins.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Grab
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 04:23 PM

Fiolar and Brendy, I didn't mean to offend you. I was talking from a UK perspective, where England, Scotland and Wales are the "mainland", and Northern Ireland, Jersey, etc are not. Since NI is in the UK, and England, Scotland and Wales form the largest part of the UK, it's not too strange for it to be the "mainland". Certainly if you live in Eire, then you're on your "mainland" already! :-) I'll refer to E,S&W as "Britain" instead, if that's better.

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: InOBU
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 12:20 PM

Och it is a shame, isn't Fiolar!
Everyone knows that Hitler was PM of Britain in the 1980's! (Sorry... I could help myself... )
remorsefully
Larry


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Grab
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 09:18 AM

Brendy, my point is that NO SIDE can EVER get 100% of everything they want. If NI was signed over to Eire tomorrow, as the Republicans would like, 53% (is that the current figure for the Protestants? certainly the majority) of the population would rise up against it. Compromise means accepting something which gives both sides something good, whilst not being exactly what either side would like. Establishing the terms of the compromise is another matter altogether - I couldn't begin to say whether the terms for either side were adequate - but recognising that a compromise is necessary is the key. Certainly both sides will duck and dive to try and get the best deal they can, but in the end they'll tend towards a single position.

But Bernadette McAlesky's statement in that speech is that compromise is unacceptable - it's her way or no way, and anyone who chooses compromise is selling out. Ian Paisley is equally staunch on the other side. No settlement EVER is going to please both of them. Therefore the peace process involves trying to find a position which DOESN'T satisfy either of them, but pisses them both off equally. Finding this kind of position indicates a decent middle ground, and the majority - that is, the ppl on the ground, who are not the extremists that these two are - then find that they can live with the compromises they have to make, knowing that the other side is having to live with similar compromises.

No riots spring immediately to mind in those places, Brendy - plenty in London, Durham, Yorkshire and Manchester though. There weren't the same levels of protest in Scotland, Wales and Cornwall though. The miners went on strike in Wales too, but I don't think there were the same kind of hostilities as in England (although the police were still out in force against the miners) - anyone in Wales with more info? although that's thread drift. The point is that strong-arm policing was the norm for Britain then - the attitude now is getting on with the locals, and if you do screw it up then you can expect enquiries and severe shitstorms. Incidentally, Cornwall is part of England, and has been for an awfully long time!

KeithA, I'm flattered, but I wouldn't call myself either of those. For the Army's role in her shooting, a recent documentary reported one of the other Army on the scene saying he asked a patrol member, "How did they get past you?" and the patrol member answered with a straight face, "We must have looked the other way for a minute". This is one of those "perhaps, who knows" things. As Brendy says, the Army did a lot of stuff which should never have happened and sicken everyone. Certainly the first aid the soldiers provided saved the lives of both of them though.

I'd guess (hope?) that the differences between me and Brendy aren't that great, despite all this. We're both prepared to discuss it, and we're both reasonable ppl (I hope - if Brendy turns up with a big stick, I'd better start running! only joking ;-) For all that the anti-British sentiment comes up (and I do understand it, given what the Army's done), I'd rather we were talking than not.

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Wolfgang
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 09:16 AM

Although no proof exists, it is widely believed that Adams rose quickly to a high position in the IRA, proving himself a brilliant tactician and a natural leader.

This citation from Forbes Magazine is in my eyes the best summary of the state of public knowledge on Adams' position in the IRA. Brendy knows well that there is no proof of Grab's assertion possible at the moment.

When in 1972 an IRA delegation went to London to see William Whitelaw for negotiations, it's seven members included Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams (Adams had to be released from prison to be delegate). It stresses imagination to believe that Mr. Adams was only there as a carrier of suitcases.

Sean MacStiofain the leader of the IRA delegation was quite explicit in a later interview with Peter Taylor:

PETER TAYLOR: All were IRA?

SEAN MacSTIOFAIN: Yes, not Sinn Fein but IRA.

PETER TAYLOR: All of them.

SEAN MacSTIOFAIN: Yes.

PETER TAYLOR: Including Martin McGuiness?

SEAN MacSTIOFAIN: Oh, yes.

PETER TAYLOR: Including Gerry Adams?

SEAN MacSTIOFAIN: Well, all. All of them.

Well, even an interview with a former IRA leader is not conclusive proof, but at least a kind of strong indication that Gerry Adams was a (I have good reasons not to use 'is' or 'the') leader of the PIRA.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Fiolar
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 08:55 AM

I get very tired when people talk and write about the "Mainland of Britain" and the "Mainland of England." The phrase "mainland" apparently was never used before the advent of Thatcher. Ireland is a sovereign state (at least the 26 counties are) and as such is not an island dependent on "Great" Britain. To use the phrase is an indication that the "offshore island of Ireland" is one of Britain's possesions say like the Isle of Wight or the Isle of Man. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised really when a recent survey carried out among children aged up to 18 years of age, found that a fair number were under the impression that Adolph Hitler was the Prime Minister of GB during the second world war.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: GUEST,Keith
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 07:54 AM

Black Day meaning Bloody Sunday. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: InOBU
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 07:51 AM

Fiolar a chara:
Historical correction, You are of course right, however, writing off the top of my head, I was refering to the end of the 1919 Anglo Irish War, and subsiquent transfer of arms. The point was not the dates, but the point that Burnadette was refering to the fact that decomisioning of arms as a prerequisit for an end to the hostilities is a non-issue. The presence of Republican guns is not the key to peace when there are thousands of "legal" loyalist arms. The key to peace is talk and equitable societies, good government are responciveness to marginalised voices.
BUT, I agree, it is important to have an accurate time line of history. Having a degree in Political Science and History, I suppose I should write with greater care about such things, but I always concindered this place a chat around the table in the side room of the pub, rather than - say an artical...
All the best
is mise, le meas
Larry


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: GUEST,Keith A at work
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 07:42 AM

Grab, I find your posts full of insight and knowledge, but I note you tacitly accept that the army was complicit in the shooting of Bernadette. Perhaps, who knows? Can we at least exonerate the patrol of paratroopers whose swift arrival on the scene probably prevented her attackers completing their bloody business, and whose prompt and effective first aid certainly saved her life. She herself expressed her gratitude with crates of beer.
On the subject of unsubstantiated allegations, can anyone give the lie to that outrageous but persistent rumour that Martin Mcguinness, once high profile PIRA(admitted at the time Brendy) and now Minister Of Education for Northern Ireland, has privately admitted instigating the shooting on that black day.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Brendy
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 06:59 AM

In fact, you're always talking about England, when you refer to 'the mainland', aren't you?

B.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Brendy
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 06:57 AM

So Bernadette's point is not quite simply stated, after all, Grab.

"The only thing that the Republicans and Loyalists could agree on was that the other side was getting a better deal from the British government!"

10% of nothing, is still worse than 100% of everything, Grab. You did take Bernadette's point, didn't you, about all the red herrings that would be thrown into the soup at certain times?

"Why Scotland, Wales and Cornwall, in particular?" Call me an old stickler for convention, if you will, but I assumed that when you referred to The British Mainland, you had these places in mind.

You were talking about England, I take it?

B.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Grab
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 06:43 AM

Brendy, her assertion is that the peace process is designed to destroy Republicanism, and that they would have been better not to start the peace process. But the options available are either (a) all sides try to work it out (aka a "peace process"), or (b) all sides keep fighting. (b) is the status quo - once everyone's got a damn good grudge against the other side, it doesn't require any effort to keep it going. (a) requires effort and willpower to break the cycle. She believes that option (a) is reducing the power of the Republican movement, which only leaves that option (b) maintains their power.

The message from the British government has been "when _you_ and the Loyalists are serious about resolving your differences, you know where we live". The only thing that the Republicans and Loyalists could agree on was that the other side was getting a better deal from the British government!

Why Scotland, Wales and Cornwall, in particular? Does this affect the fact that strong-arm tactics were a standard feature of British policing for several decades?

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Brendy
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 06:05 AM

I wouldn't take it all that lightly, Grab. Ignorance is a dangerous thing. Especially when you start passing on that ignorance to the future generations, and claim it as fact
"...and Gerry Adams was the leader of the IRA"
You need to give proof of this, Grab. "Bernadette McAlesky's point is quite simply stated - it was better for the IRA to be shooting loyalists and soldiers to keep power than for the civilians they claimed to be representing to be accorded the power to make their own decisions in the ballot box."
Nonesense, Grab. You don't get it, do you? Read Larry's post again...and again, if necessary.
And try reading her words, this time, and not what you believe is between the lines.
"..the British mainland had a good number of protests disrupted by violent police response"
Can you tell me what parts of Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall were affected by such protests, Grab?

B.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Fiolar
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 10:19 AM

To inOBU - check again. The English did not leave until 1921 after the signing of The Treaty and even then they held on to some Irish ports until about 1938.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: GeorgeH
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 08:12 AM

As one who postings here have sometimes been seen as anti-Republican, I would observe that Bloody Sunday is possibly the most shameful single incident in the recent British involvement in Northern Ireland; the subsequent cover-up is more shameful still (if only because responsibility goes even higher), and it won't be laid to rest untill there is a completely OPEN enquiry. Which, sadly, there are signs that the present one won't be.

G.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Grab
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 08:04 AM

I'll take that lightly, Brendy! :-)

Larry, I'd certainly agree with you - there's problems need to be solved. However, those problems can only be solved through talking, not through a return to violence - that goes for all sides: Army, Loyalist and Republican. Violence hasn't won anyone anything. I'd certainly agree with the hard-arm government during the 60s, 70s and 80s - the British mainland had a good number of protests disrupted by violent police response. The question is whether times have changed. I'd say they have - Thatcher would never have talked to Gerry Adams, but John Major was willing to take the chance, to start the peace process. The thing is, Blair's government is highly driven by opinion polls - it makes them lightweights, but does occasionally have some uses - and the opinion over here is that we want this over with. Politically, he'd not get away with restarting hostilities, and even through various bombings and attempted bombings, there's been the will to stick to the peace instead of being provoked by the extremists.

As far as her argument goes, that the peace talks are designed to undermine Republicanism - hmm. Certainly, the very word "Republican" has problems if the Republic won't take them!

The trouble is, the politics of Bernadette McAlesky and of Ian Paisley are the politics of extremism. She believes that if she has to share power with the Unionists, she's lost. He believes that if he has to share power with the Republicans, he's lost. But they're both talking about the same area of land! The battle over the last 30 years has been for who gets absolute control, and the moral to be drawn is that absolute control can't happen - both sides have to compromise. The Israelis and Palestinians have the same problem - both want absolute control over Jerusalem, and aren't prepared to share in it.

As for the "marching in the wrong direction", I guess I'm wrong. Anyone can say it. But no-one can insist that the ppl change direction - all you can do is let them see the consequences, and change their minds later. As an example, Prohibition in the US was voted in by a large majority, and was voted out later by a large majority! If Bush proves to be as much a nutter as he seems, the US will vote him out in 4 years time, and learn from it. The ppl may make mistakes or change their minds, sure, but that's democracy. One person saying "I know best" is called a dictatorship (unless it's called a monarchy! :-), and whilst it may be a benign dictatorship, it's still dictatorship.

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Monashee
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 04:25 AM

It is my hopes and prayers that we might find an end to all pain suffering. May peace grow and dwell in all hearts~ *Sláinte ;)


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Brendy
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 10:27 PM

Well, Grab, what can I say?
"Spoken like a ......"

I must say, I'm overwhelmed at your 'depth'

B.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: InOBU
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 06:02 PM

Well Grab: I am fighting some small virus, a real bad headache the past few days, so I will have to be brief (trying to get 100% for the gig on Sat... another plug for my band!) But, as to a nation marching in the wrong direction, we all often say that of our nation, down to calling the people of that nation ignorant etc. Look, this is a bad time to tell a person with a US passport that it is a rehtorical error to say a nation is marching in the wrong direction and the people are ignorant. I would direct you to www.bushorchimp.com to comepletly fill out my point...
I will reread Bernie's comments, but in my experience, I have alwasys heard her say, even before the cease fire, that war is the inevitable conclution of the combination of hard arm government and people being denied basic rights. She gave a wonderful talk at NYU, in fact, I brought her to speak to a standing room only audience at the lawschool, and she said that when she set out on the non-violent peace movement in the 60's the older folks said, "If you do this Brurnadette, there will be war. We said, Oh no, old man, Oh no, old woman, is is a new day and all we have to do is expose the wrong to make it right... and sure enough, our peacemovement led to a war."
It is not that she indorces a return to war. I have heard her again and again, even in the above talk, say that the best thing that is happening now is peace. But, problems left unsolved, can, may, hopefully not will, lead to war.
We are seeing this in Isreal. The fact that both sides keep putting off the hard work of an equitable solution to a divided Juruselum, will lead to a cost in human life, until both sides put all on the table and want to work together for peace.
Well, put though, Grab.
All the best,
Larry


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Grab
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 05:49 PM

Interesting Larry. It certainly forms the basis of a whole new discussion! I'm afraid I'm not as restrained as Wolfgang though - I'll steam right in, and damn the torpedoes! :-) Flame city, here we come...

For good or ill, John Major was the leader of the British Parliament, and Gerry Adams was the leader of the IRA. As leaders, each had, not the right, but the _obligation_ to do what he believed was best for the ppl he represented. The result was a peace process, however shaky it may be, and however much the parties mistrust each other.

Bernadette McAlesky's point is quite simply stated - it was better for the IRA to be shooting loyalists and soldiers to keep power than for the civilians they claimed to be representing to be accorded the power to make their own decisions in the ballot box. "Winners" and "losers" is irrelevant - everyone's lost, every side has suffered. Mrs. McAlesky's funnel was not created by the British government, but by the ppl of NI who didn't want any more bombs or shooting, who wanted the soldiers out, who wanted peace. Once ppl have experienced peace, why should they choose to go back to violence? And if the ppl want peace, the leaders can't afford to head back to war, otherwise they'll cease to be leaders PDQ!

How constitutional politics can be a failure, I really don't know. She calls voters "ignorant", "stupid" and "insulting", whilst saying that she's supporting the ppl on the ground. Erm, if the majority vote against you, surely that's the ppl on the ground saying that more ppl are against you than for you? The implication is that she knows what's good for them better than they do, regardless of whether they've told her they don't want what she wants. Fine for handling your 5-year-old children, but not much cop for adults.

On the "rule imposed from above" end, NI will have its own parliament to make its own decisions, the same way parts of the UK like IOM and Jersey do, with more powers than the fairly weedy parliaments for Wales and Scotland. I'm sorry if she thinks she shouldn't be a part of the UK bcos she's Catholic, but there's plenty of Catholics here too, and they're not fighting to become part of France. If NI wishes to secede from the UK, then it'd need to vote to do it, to establish that it's the will of the pppl on the ground. An armed group saying "We want out, and we're representing the ppl on the ground, and we'll shoot you if you disagree with us, and we'll shoot the ppl on the ground if they don't follow us" isn't good.

As for her view of Eire, I'm amazed. She wants a unified Ireland, but says that you can't trust the Irish ppl or the Irish politicians! If the Irish don't want NI in Eire, what's she proposing to do? Bomb Dublin until they let her in?! The mind boggles.

The British CANNOT run NI very easily. The Army's expensive, the police are expensive, the fire brigade are expensive, clean-up operations after bombs are expensive. But most expensive of all is unemployment. Where foreign companies or English companies or Irish companies would normally be investing in manufacturing, no-one's willing to touch NI. Workers get shot or beaten up. The IRA and/or Loyalists demand protection money, and burns places down if they don't pay. Stuff gets torched or blown up anyway, regardless: witness a coach operator last week whose company was trying to show off the beauty of NI to foreign visitors, when all his coaches got torched - what kind of example is that? So unemployment is at amazingly high levels in the North, while the South is finding plenty of foreign investment in IT and electronics.

Larry, she's certainly interesting, and she certainly has very strong views. I can't blame her for her implacable opposition to the British government - if the Army had been complicit in the shooting of myself and my spouse, I can't honestly say what I'd have done. Ian Paisley also has strong views, only he sees the whole scenario as a "Papist plot" instead of a plot by the British government. Both have such strong views that no amount of argument will change their viewpoint. But in between, there's the rest of the world, who'd like the chance to hear both sides of the story and make up our own minds.

I'd agree perfectly with Charles Parnell's words. But equally, no-one has the right to tell a nation, "You're marching in the wrong direction."

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: InOBU
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 01:56 PM

Hi Wolfgang... I believe she means in terms of Irish history. In the past what became of arms after uprisings was an interesting issue. For example when England left in 1919 they turned their arms over to the pro treaty forces in the then burgoning civil war.
All the best,
Larry


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Wolfgang
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 12:59 PM

It is always interesting to read the opinion of a dissenting republican like Bernadette McAliskey. She hasn't in my eyes changed a lot since 1996 when she formulated her position in a nutshell:

I am not intellectually incapable of understanding the peace process. I understand it, and I reject it, because it has ... been a process whose aim is to eradicate republicanism....

I don't want to argue with her opinion. It is clearly stated, a fine piece of rhetoric and everybody can judge for herself. But she clearly errs when she claims that the word 'decommissioning' didn't even exist before the peace process. Look into any old dictionary and you'll find out yourself. I only hope her other statements of fact are better researched.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: InOBU
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 12:22 PM

I never miss an opportunity to share the words of my friend Bernadette McAliskey on important issues. With your indulgence, I post her observations on the peace process, which has come into this disscussion...
Bernadette McAliskey spoke at a local Irish Pub, Rocky Sullivan's on May 3, 2000 about the British "peace process".

Bernadette Devlin McAliskey:"A great deal has been written about the peace process and I've not written a lot, but what I've written I think has mattered and you can read it if you like. For where the peace process is, indeed what the peace process is, very much depends on yourselves and where you are.

Some people think the peace process is the successful culmination of the 30-year struggle for self-determination, sovereignty, social justice, equality-nevermind socialism and all the hard bits-and that we are looking within the peace process at the culmination of the success, at the just achievements, won again through hard struggle and sacrifice.

Other people, and here I'm talking about people on our side of the line if you want to put that at its broadest point, other people within the broad civil rights, civil libertarian, progressive democratic movement will say that the peace process is the worst thing that has happened to us since we lost the 1798 Rebellion. Others would say, well not quite, but certainly since we lost the War of Independence; and others would say, well maybe not quite, but certainly since we lost the Civil War.

So where you are in the peace process, as I say, is really a test of where your own politics lies. And that makes it quite different and quite difficult for people to address the whole process, because what ought to be an ideological, a political or even a pragmatic debate becomes very much a personalized debate. And those of us who have right from the outset warned against the dangers of embarking on this particular strategy to bring the war to an end have been on the receiving end of considerable personal animosity-based, I think, on people not being quite sure of themselves about the nature of the political debate. So I'm going to talk about things tonight and I'll be taking some questions and answers later. I would like to exclude as much as possible that kind of approach from the discussion.

I don't think anybody involved in the struggle over the past 30 years has set about consciously to betray the struggle. I don't think anybody who has been part of the struggle for over 30 years is about to trade in a good set of clothes and annual wage for their principles. I don't think that's where it is at all. I think the real issue is about the process itself. The real issue is to try and analyse and understand what exactly is happening here and whose peace it is we are currently processing. And if you look at it from that point of view, I think some very serious questions have to be asked.

At the minute, within the peace process, we're sort of at a point where the key issues appear to be things like 'decommissioning'. Decommissioning is very interesting because prior to the existence of the peace process, the word itself did not exist. Not even the process, not even the strategy, but the word did not exist. Decommissioning, like a whole lot of words, are themselves the product of the Irish peace process. There used to be commissioning, like you could be a commissioned officer in an army or you could commission services-but you either did or you didn't. So the opposite of commissioning was not to bother. You didn't actually commission and then decommission. If you commissioned something and then decided not to commission, it wasn't decommissioning, it was changing your mind and deciding not to commission after all. So when we talk about the IRA decommissioning, we're really talking about whether other people are changing their minds about whether they will commission the IRA or not. When you see it like that, you say,

'Look what has this got to do with any kind of realism?'

Decommissioning is not a real word; decommissioning is not a real concept; and, decommissioning is not a real issue.

But at the minute, people get bogged down in it because it has been a consistent pattern from the beginning of this whole process to create a situation for the simple purpose of diffusing it.

And many people, if they can move outside the complexities of the Irish situation will understand this better from the concept of their own lives. How many people, for example, have been told in their working lives, that things aren't going well, the workers will have to take a wage cut. And everybody gets ready to seek, and wish they had joined a union, and wonder how they could get into one quick, and start to worry about their wages getting cut. Now at somewhere in their heads they had been just about to ask for a wage rise; but before they got time to ask for it, the employers came along and

announced that it was going to be necessary to have a wage cut. There is a whole battle which ensues. The union leadership gets everybody to join and declares a victory-that in order to maintain the solidarity of the workforce and the recognition of the work that everybody has done, everybody's wages are going to remain static for the next three years. And, everybody thinks they have won because they haven't had their wages cut. And, everybody forgets that the discussion actually started with people being entitled to more money.

If you're merely a consumer and you've gone into the shops to buy things, the same policy works-people will tell you the cost of food is going to rise dramatically. You want to rent an apartment; rents are going to go up dramatically. And, when it doesn't happen, you think you have won something-even though they go up a bit. The whole peace process has worked on the same basis.

The unionists say hell will freeze over before we share power with the republicans. Now I don't recall any fundamental tenet of republicanism ever being that we would assist the unionists in sharing out British controlled power. It was never a part of the discussion, but somehow because the unionists said, they got the first blow in, they said, oh not till hell freezes over will we allow the republicans to assist us to administer British rule. Oh no we wont. Oh never, said Mr Paisley, never never never! And the republicans said, Oh yes you will. And so we had the 'Oh no we wont-Oh yes you will' debate which led to a republican 'victory'.

The republicans won the right to assist the British government in administering British rule and sharing British power with the unionists-or as much as the British would allow either of them to have. And so when we lost, we thought we had won.

And then having got the principle over, and if you go back to the beginning you'll remember it, it was John Major, who with a straight face in Parliament, said talking to Gerry Adams would make his stomach heave. His stomach had been heaving for 6 stricken years, because that's how long he'd been in discussions with the republican movement! But he said publicly that his stomach would heave if he had to talk to Gerry Adams and everybody got upset. Decent American people got upset too, and said how dare you be so rude and so racist and say that you wouldn't talk to Gerry Adams. So the republicans demanded, and the democrats demanded, that John Major talk to Gerry Adams. But of course he'd been doing it for 6 years. Now if that hadn't happened, we may all have taken a different point of view when we discovered that Gerry Adams was talking to John Major. But by the time we discovered it, we were on a whole different debate-we were on the 'right to be talked at'. As part of our human rights now, we have a right to be talked at! We have a right to be sitting at every meeting and allowed to put an opinion on every issue, none of which will be taken into account. But it is our basic human right to be there.

We all have a right-there is not a single party to be held in Washington, not a cupcake to be eaten, not an invitation to be sent out-that we have a fundamental freedom, and human rights under the United Nations Charter of Human Rights, to an invitation. And we have secured victory, because we got those things. And bit by bit, people have convinced themselves that we have won major victories.

Step back a minute and ask ourselves: what this was, what it was all about? I mean, if all we wanted was to help the unionists share power in the Northern Ireland Assembly, why didn't we democratize Ulster when Cathal Goulding asked us to? They were all there, this is not a new idea (and Cathal Goulding had better politics, if you don't mind me saying so, when he was attempting to share power!) But if that's what we wanted to do, why didn't we do it before 30 years of conflict and dying and killing and going to prison all happened? Why didn't we do it then? If that was all that we wanted-was to share power with Fianna Fáil in the South of Ireland, what was the difference between sharing the power now, Fianna Fáil now, and sharing power with Cumann na nGaedheal then? What did we fight the Civil War for, if we were prepared to administer shared power in a partitioned state within the social order imposed upon us by the British government?

So never mind what did we fight this war for, what did we fight the Civil War for? Why didn't we listen to poor old Michael Collins? Because we're not saying anything different than he said then. The freedom to win freedom, the freedom to work for freedom.

And I don't have a difficulty about people saying, 'Time goes on Bernadette, and we get older, and we get wiser, and we realize that maybe that's what we should have done'. I have absolutely no problem with that. I think that's inherent in everybody's right to say if I had it to do again, I might have done it differently. Maybe in retrospect, looking at the way things happened and looking at the forces of power that developed, maybe we should have gone down the 'democratization of Ulster' road in the early '70s. Maybe if we're in a position now, where if we really want to, at any cost, take the SDLP's clothing and be the biggest social democratic and vaguely Catholic party in the North of Ireland. Why didn't we do that in '72? In fact, why didn't everybody just join the SDLP and elbow John Hume aside years ago?

If people want to say to me, that is maybe in retrospect what we should have done, that's fair enough. What worries me is when people say no no, that's not what we're saying, what we are saying is that this is fundamentally different-ideologically, socially, politically and economically different-this is victory, this is victory for republicanism. And I have to say, right, let's go back to that very bottom point because republicanism itself is not a flawless ideology. Republicanism comes of the days of Thomas Paine and republicanism itself is being revised as we go along.

When we were coming in, just as an aside, when we were coming in to JFK, probably those of you who live here don't notice it anymore but the beginning of the American Constitution is written along the wall, and as you're going along the walkway, you can read it you know. And my husband, Michael, was suggesting, since this was his first time in through that airport, he was suggesting that of all the ideas that we get from America these days, we ought to incorporate this one so when people arrive in Northern Ireland, the Special Powers Act should be written along the wall!

So people would know where they were coming. And it would say, 'Welcome to Northern Ireland. Police may enter your house at any time, they may come and take you away. Aye, you can be interned, you will not get a lawyer. You can be shot in the street. We run a shoot-to-kill policy here. Don't send for a lawyer, we shoot them too,' and incorporate that good American idea!

But looking along, as I was looking at it, there are things we forget about flaws in republicanism itself. The words in the American constitution are actually very beautiful about equal rights and the rights of people to secure their person, and the fundamental freedoms, and the right of citizens to bear arms, and all this was written against a background of slavery. All of this was written against the background where key elements of our society got left off the equality equations. And, republicanism as a concept has moved on in it's best form to recognize those weaknesses, and then as far as it can to incorporate equality for all citizens, for all human beings. And that kind of republicanism over the years has become socialist republicanism. And republicanism in crisis has only one of two ways to go. In crisis, republicanism as a democratic ideology will move towards socialism and equality or it will move towards nationalism.

And, when republicanism is forced to move, either left or even right, the reality of our history is that Sinn Féin as an organization has never moved any way but right.

James Connolly was not a member of Sinn Féin, ladies and gentlemen, and Sinn Féin at a crucial point in their existence took their politics back into the constitutional movement. So don't be too hard on Gerry Adams; he's going the way of his forefathers. Every last one of them in the leadership of the organization went that way. And every last one of them, within the leadership of labor movement as well, can have that path laid out in front of them. I can see as clearly as they must be able to see, as anybody who wants to look at it outside of issues like trust and loyalty and pragmatism and personalities, that this is not about good men or bad men or difficult women. This is about politics.

And right through the history of our country at moments of clear crisis, the republican ideology has been submerged. The republican ideology has been abandoned for constitutional, nationalist all-class alliances.

Every single time that this new alliance has been created, the people who have suffered have been the poor in Ireland. The dissidents in Ireland. The radicals in Ireland. The women in Ireland. And at every single point, this kind of politics has been bad for the people who have always mattered to us-bad for the people that mattered to the leadership of Sinn Féin, and bad for republican politics-bad for republicanism.

You would imagine that people would approach this with due caution and care and be very very careful not to fall for any of the tricks of the trade that have been pulled out in the past. And yet that hasn't happened. The people have not staggered, they have virtually stampeded towards pacification.

Everybody knows the war is over. And that's probably the only good thing we have going for us at this point is that the war is over. Nobody likes war and nobody wants war. The war came and the war is now over, but the war is not won. And time will tell, in the fullness of time whether or not the war was actually lost. But the war is over-win, lose or draw.

The struggle continues and the struggle is immeasurably weakened by the peace process. Immeasurably weakened. When the Downing Street Declaration was first written, I wrote a small piece in response to it, and I said the purpose of the Downing Street Declaration and the peace process which it created was to demobilize, demilitarize and demoralize the republican people of Ireland-and it has done all three.

At this point, people will say to you, 'Is the peace process stalling?' No, it is not. The peace process is exactly where it is; it is exactly where those who are controlling it want it to be. It is not stalling. There is no panic here. This is just part of the choreography that has taken place. It will go on whether the IRA part with a single bullet, part with a single Armalite, part with a single ounce of Semtex-wont make any difference, the peace process will go on and Sinn Féin will continue to be drawn further and further into it. And they are now so far into it, it is highly unlikely a) that they can be got out of it and b) that even if they got out of it, its unwavering movement forward to advance the shared power interest of the British and Irish governments, and the class of people they represent, can't in the short or relatively long term, be stopped, or even be slowed down.

How do I know the peace process will continue? It is important to the Irish government that it continue. Not because their heart bleeds for me or you, for the people who went to prison-these are the same class of people who executed Joe McKelvey. This is the same class and government of people that took republicans out during the war and shot them. This is the government, the ideology and the politics that filled New York and Chicago and San Francisco with the political dissidents it wouldn't allow to earn a living at home, and with wave after wave of immigrants it wouldn't share wealth with. And now those who have made their money are invited home to join the wealthy. But let me tell you this, you see if you're not hacking it here folks, don't count on Bertie pulling you out when you get home! It will be up to Darndale, along with the rest, is where you'll be and learn to pull your socks up. These things aren't different.

So why is Bertie stuck to enacting the peace process? It gives him a stable society. It brings all the strands of nationalism back under his leadership. What is the big discussion in the revolutionary leadership of the most consistently fought struggle against British imperialism in the history of Ireland? What is the key internal debate in the organization at the minute? On what terms will they sit in government with Fianna Fáil? I have the simple answer to that for them all: Don't lose any sleep over it boys, it'll be on the terms that Bertie lets you in! That's the terms you'll sit with Bertie-on the terms he lets you in. And the terms he lets you in are that you sit in power in the North first, that you go through the cleansing ritual and be a safe pair of hands for government. And that means, whether you like it or not, there'll be less talk about socialism, unless its me that's doing the talking, there is no talk about socialism anyway. And unless you're buying Fourthwrite (second issue which will be out very shortly) there's nobody writing about socialism.

But what does it mean for the people? What does it mean for the people on the ground, apart from that the fact the war is over and that there are maybe less soldiers on the street that can be brought out. That maybe fewer people are being killed by loyalists because its not politically suitable. But there is nothing in place to stop those things from all coming back again, if and when we need to be threatened. So all that we have at the minute is the absence of war and the existence of large amounts of European money.

So what do the British get out of the peace process? The de-militarization, the de-radicalization, the de-mobilization of the resistance movement in the North. It is demoralized. The most radical thing it can do now is vote to increase the Nationalist agenda by moving 1) Sinn Féin, 2) SDLP-as if we were all mates out of the same stable or 1) SDLP and 2) Sinn Féin because there are no differences, no ideological differences between these people any more, because there's no war.

So what did the British get?

The British got, as I say, stabilizing, demilitarizing, mobilizing and caught in the expenditure of war. That has great feedback in inward American investment, which is what the Americans got as well. They got rid of the annoying and irritating insistence constitutionally by the people of Ireland that the territory didn't belong to them. It's gone.

Now we used to have these debates about whether or not you would go to the United Nations on the basis of the Constitution. That debate is no longer valid because of people of the South of Ireland, while Sinn Féin kept its mouth shut, dropped a right that they didn't even own! And, that was a right to abandon the North-but it's gone.

So if the peace process falls apart and the North's teachta go with it, and the ministerial North-South-East-West Council of something or other goes with it, and we have to go back to the drawing board, by what right is Bertie Ahern at the table? By what right, if this agreement goes by the board, and it's back to the drawing board and start again, and all the interested parties who have a right to determine the future of the North of Ireland are called to another conference? What will be on the invitation to the government of the 26-county Republic of Ireland? What will distinguish them from the French government or the German government or any other member state of the European Union to come in and mind somebody else's business? They have no standing if this agreement falls to play ball in the next round.

So Britain got pacification, got a stable society, got rid of the annoying interference such as it was or potential interference from the South. It doesn't actually have to put up with unionist rule because it may never happen. The British don't care if it doesn't happen. The place is actually cheaper to run the way it is now. Pay the secretary of state, pay the civil service. It would be a bonus if you could get somebody else to take the blame for political and social and economic weaknesses of the country. But it's not necessary. The British can run the country very easily. So it doesn't matter if the peace process doesn't move another inch, it actually doesn't matter-the British are in a better position than they were in before they started it.

Now as I say, the Irish government from our point of view is in a worse position because we don't have the constitutional position on which to push the government into constitutional action, into non-violent, political international action. We don't have it. But they may not want it-the Irish government to be able to get up the next time around and say, 'Look I'm very sorry, it's not our fault. The people voted.' And so they did; it's the people's fault, and ignorance is no defense, and stupidity is less. The people voted to abandon the North, and it remains abandoned. Now the people have to vote in a referendum to change it; but, the government has to hold the referendum first. Do you think that any government in the South of Ireland is going to hold a referendum to ask the people to allow them to get themselves into the mess it taken them all this time to get out of. So they're alright.

But if all falls through, and Sinn Féin stops jumping through hoops, what position will they be in? What of the gains that they have made for themselves or for the people will they be able to hold on to? American visas? Not a chance. They'll not be let into this country if they don't behave themselves. We've all been there, we know what that's like. They'll be no more big dinners courtesy of the Democratic Party because it will not be fashionable any longer to be seen on the arm of shinners. All that they have in this myth of American support can go like that. And of course the good people who fought the good fight to get them the visibility and get the doors opened that were opened will continue that fight. But the door will be shut.

Peter King will always be there doing what Peter King has always done, but Peter also remembers when the door was shut in his face. And that door can be shut again, and voting is a great invention.

There are people in this room and people not in this room, who want to know whoever gave the people the vote anyway, because they do the most ridiculous things with it. And, the people who have gone out in their droves and voted for Sinn Féin, who never lifted their finger for human rights. And there are many hundreds of people, thousands of people, who voted for Sinn Féin when the penalty for it was getting shot. And, there are many decent men and women standing for Sinn Féin in elections now who stood for election when the penalty for standing for election was getting shot. And there were kids and older people who went out and worked and put up posters for republicans when you got crucified for it.

But there is a new breed of voter, who used to vote for the SDLP, now they're voting for Sinn Féin-not because they had a radical change of heart, but because Gerry Adams is younger, smarter and better looking than John Hume. And he's going to be around longer. Now once he cannot deliver, once he cannot deliver, that insulting vote will walk away again-will walk away again to a safer pair of hands, and they'll be back where they started.

And so you say, how did they get in to the peace process and why don't they get out of it? At some point there is a dignity in when you can do nothing else, gathering your dignity and walking away. And even of this era, if they could do that, instead of running off to Westminster demanding that Stormont be put back together again so they can sit in it and play revolutionary politics. Why don't they just send a message to Mr Blair saying, 'look, been there/done it, when yous are serious about resolving, conflict resolving problems, you know where we live,' and then just walk away from it? They can't. They can't because so much energy has been vested in it. They can't because it's a very seductive system and far too many of their own people now like it.

When I came here in whatever it was, '94, and I said at the time where it was all going, nobody believed me. I counseled them not to be blaming Gerry Adams when it went to where it was inevitably going, because it was very clear that that's where it was going and when it would come to this point, he would have very few choices left because it's like a funnel.

There will be people in the four corners of the world in military and political academies studying the absolute genius of this British strategy. And when they get up to draw the diagram, the diagram will be the funnel. How people were got to the lip, and each option they made, and each choice they made, actively limited the number of choices then open to them, and increased the chances of them having to choose the only choice the British wanted them to make the next time around. And each time they did it, the funnel got narrower.

And Sinn Féin are now hanging by their finger nails. You know the wee narrow bit that goes right inside the neck of the bottle? That's where they are. And the slope down has got steeper. They're already inside the bottle but they're still hanging on to the funnel. And it's very very hard for them to start that climb back. If Gerry Adams, I believe, turned now, the majority of his own party wouldn't come with him because for some it's too steep a climb back and for others there's a nice warm breeze, and nice smell, and I don't know what it is in that bottle, but far too many people like it and they're happier to move on in.

The reality, however, is that it has nothing to do with politics as we know it, nothing to do with the things that those of us who are republicans believe in, nothing to do with carrying forward the ideology and the struggle and the capacity to create an independent, sovereign, free and socialist Ireland. Not even an independent, free and democratic Ireland. The game has changed. And as I said at the beginning, every human being is entitled to change their position in life. Everybody is entitled to say, 'Could you stop the bus for a moment? I want to get off here.' But nobody is entitled, and there's a man at the top of O'Connell Street who says it all the time, 'nobody even looks the road he's on.' Charles G. Parnell said, 'nobody has a right to put a halt to the march of a nation.' And Sinn Féin do not have the right, and the peace process does not have the right to say, 'this is where the bus stops, this is the terminal, this is where everybody gets off,' because this has nothing to do with the things we struggled for. This has nothing to do with equality, nothing to do with human rights, nothing with the working class, nothing to do with socialism.

This is how yet again the British buy in to constitutional politics the leadership of the revolutionary movement. Its about nothing more and nothing less. And it is a measure of the length of the struggle, the loyalty of the people and the calibre of the leadership that so many people followed them to their own destruction. Thank you."
And thanks to you all who had a moment to read this... Larry


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: InOBU
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 12:02 PM

Hi Kev. Great post. In fact all war is a criminal undertaking, and we get lost in arguing who should ask for peace first. As many know, I have argued for nuetral concepts of human rights and right and wrong to be applied, which often opens me up to charges of being partisan... however, to put some perspecitive on things, the present Provisional IRA would presnetly have much more trouble in American courts if in fact, as has been charged, they are responcible for the death of O'Connor. Some of us, here in New York have been joining with a few voices in Ireland to call for an international inquest, as peace should not come at the cost of human rights. Not that peace should be endangered, but I don't believe it is a trade between one thing or the other. In every one of England's colonies, in the aftermath of wars of independance, there has been terrible bloodshed over the divisions wars create.
I hope that Irish and English citizens and subjects are in the forfront of calling for unilateral peaceful avenues of change. I think that in order to defuse the violence of the situation, there has to be an end to cover up and silence. The AIDS slogan, silence=death is apropriate here. One has to tuen light on all the issues, talk, bang heads together, because if that does not happen, the feeling of dismpowerment leads to violence.
I also don't say this in a vacume. In New York we are trying men who blew up our embassys in Africa. If the United Sates citizenry were more aware and responcive to the hardships we casue around the globe, we would be alot safer. But, we don't talk about the issues and folks die.
Oh my, well, back to singing about it...
All the best to all,
Yours, In One Big Union
Larry


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: GUEST,Keith
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 03:19 AM

Fionn, insensitive of me to ask .Sorry. And thanks for your wise words.
Best wishes, Keith.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 06:56 PM

Good last post Kevin. Armmies will always be as bad as, or worse than, those they're fighting - it's bred into them. If an elected government decides to deploy its army to police a demo, it has a responsibility to hold that army accountable, otherwise we might as well have a police state.

It's not realistic expecting paramilitary factions to uphold similar standards, Grab, which is one reason why I tend to favour lumping them all together as "criminal" rather than "political". (I'm talking about in a democracy, however badly flawed that democracy might be.) The IRA were not there when there was arguably a case that they should have been. And in my view all the subsequent steps towards a fair resolution of the problems would have been achieved without them, through peaceful protest.

Keith, I was with the demo, not the army, that day. I saw no shots fired - just people who had been shot. They and their friends and relatives were obviously neither freedom fighters nor terrorists. Everyone around me said the firing came from the city walls, but the way sounds reflect, and in the real confusion and terror that takes over, I didn't have a clue what was happening - except that the noise definitely didn't all come from one gun. I am equally certain that if I'd been killed, Widgery would have said I had been carrying a gun.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 01:26 PM

Armies are supposed to behave better than "terrorists". They don't, but that is the theory, and that is the propaganda line that is passed out to the public day-in day-out.

Until, that is, it becomes crystal-clear that an army has in fact itself been involved in terrorism - and at that point the line shifts, and the argument is that it's unreasonable to expect the agents of the state to comply with the law, because their opponents don't.

The thing is, when a state crosses over the line and itself adopts terrorist tactics, it does so with a level of resources that is vastly greater than their opponents. That makes it especially important to identify whether terrorism is the outcome of indiscipline at a relatively low level, or policy at a higher level.

What complicates it is that typically cover-ups are carried out at a relatively high level - and the typical end-story we are expected to believe is that though the cover-up was at a high level, it was to mask a breakdown in discipline at a low level.

In this case we can expect to be left with a finding that it was all down to a few low-level perpetrators, who won't be named, who acted in an indisciplined manner of their own accord, and a dead judge who can't say who gave him his orders to arrange a cover-up.

Meanwhile in Israel a war criminal with direct responsibility for appalling atrocities far worse than Bloody Sunday has probably been elected Prime minister.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: GUEST,Keith at work
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 12:03 PM

Thanks Fionn I had missed that you were there.
Did you see soldiers shooting? My understanding was that one Private soldier fired most of the rounds. What was your impression ?


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Grab
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 08:46 AM

And the "Dirty Tricks Brigade" in defence of the Republicans, Brendy? Gunmen giving families an hour to leave their home or be killed. "Punishment beatings". Financing itself through drug-dealing and protection rackets. The IRA is STILL doing these, even after the ceasefire. The ceasefire has just said they'll stop bombing and shooting, not that they'll stop using violence as a tool to further their aims, and criminal activities to finance them.

I'm not saying the British Army is anywhere near perfect, or that their commanders are, or that the politicians are, or trying to justify anything. My point is just that if anyone's going to sit in judgement, we need the same standards applying to all sides: IRA, UVF, RUC and Army. The attitude of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness is that they've given up violence and that's enough. I'm quite prepared to accept that, and I'll respect them for seeing that ppl should be free to choose their leaders in the ballot box, not through intimidation by the gun and bomb (or the Army and police, if it comes to that). But if they then say that the Army's actions during that time demand investigation of the leadership, whilst the IRA under their command killed hundreds over the same period but they are held blameless, then I'd call that hypocrisy.

Basically, the awakening needs to be bilateral. If the British Army accepts that it can't behave that way, will the IRA give up the gun, bomb, baseball bat, drugs and protection rackets for good? I'm not sure it can. If Gerry Adams launches a war on organised crime in the IRA, I'll have a lot more respect for him. Trouble is though Brendy, you did sum it up in saying that ppl who like power get to places of power. That means that the thugs and organised criminals are the ones in positions of power in both paramilitary organisations, so he'd never be able to swing it. Trimble's miniscule attempts at reform got him sat on quite comprehensively, so what chance do you think any more wholesale internal reforms of the paramilitaries have? If the Army left, would both sides stop fighting, or would the 60s Catholic-Protestant thing start all over again as a drugs turf war?

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: GUEST,Fionn (in Co Down)
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 08:04 AM

That was me - my cookie seems to have gone AWOL.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 08:03 AM

I hear you Keith, but I'd be truly amazed if that has anything to do with what happened on Bloody Sunday. I was there, and my first theory at the time was that some squaddies heard the sound of a low-flying helicopter, wafting between buildings, mistook it for automatic weapons, (which it could cetainly sound like) and consequently opened fire. I just couldn't comprehend that even the paras would open up on an obviously peaceful demo. Everything I have heard since then, including the eye-witness accounts of soldiers that have been broadcast, makes my theory laughably naive.

I think you might have been surprised at how un-fazed soldiers were, even in incredibly tense situations, bearing in mind, as you say, that some were very young. It was as if their training had brainwashed them into responding like automatons when pointed at the enemy, and on Bloody Sunday the demo was the enemy. You have to remember that some on duty that day would have taken part in house searches (the usual retaliation if a soldier got shot - and in Belfast it could be hundreds of searches in one night). Each search trashed a house - typically at four in the morning. Floorboards came up, loos were moved, mattresses torn,and the coup de grace would be to piss on the beds - all done methodically amid a din of hysterical screaming. The occupants would then sign a form listing damage, and several months later they usually got cheques. It may seem a big leap from one situation to the other, but I believe that soldiers who could behave like that in homes full of kids, old folk etc, would be fazed by very little.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: GUEST,Keith at work
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 07:25 AM

It's not a misconception that soldiers can be frightened. They really can. And confused. And they make mistakes because soldiers are human too. There really are young inexperienced soldiers even in 1 Para. One of the paras in action in Sierra Leone last year was just out of basic training without even his parachute training.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Brendy
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 06:20 AM

Which is precisely why we need this inquiry, and others like it, Snuffy, so as to find out where these people are, and try to ensure that this kind of thing must not be allowed to happen again.

An awakening is needed. Not just to provide the bereaved of the Bloody Sunday massacre with some basic answers, but to document the antics of the 'Dirty Tricks Brigade' in general, which in turn, will knock away any preconceptions one might have about 'frightened soldiers', 'wet triggers', and what one's descision-makers think are acceptable rules of engagement in their "Defence of the Realm".

B.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Snuffy
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 06:57 PM

But not just in the UK, Brendy, they're everywhere.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Brendy
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 03:31 AM

"There are surely some English ppl who do unreservedly hate the Irish - however, they'll likely be the same who unreservedly hate everyone: blacks, Indians, Pakistanis, Chinese, other football clubs, etc. Luckily those aren't the majority!"

They may not be in the majority, Grab, but such people have a tendency to actively seek out careers that affords them the opportunity to indulge in their favourite pastime.

And you can take it from me, that the vast majority of the British Army, the UDR, and the RUC, that I came into contact with enjoyed their work immensely.

In every newspaper I pick up, these days, there is always something about the growing rise in Neo-Naziism.

I find nothing new in these stories. My experience of it has been at the hands of organised Government, and its' all too willing foot-soldiers.

They may not be in the majority, but they're there where it matters.

B.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 01:27 PM

Watch it at airports, Brendy - My mate Martin was stopped on his way into Australia for looking like a hippy and carrying a guitar case

Usual 'purpose of visit', 'what's in the case' type stuff followed by

"Do you have a criminal record?"

"Din't know you still bloody needed one..." countered Martin

2.5 hours and a fll body search later....

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 01:15 PM

I have never met a more bigotted people in all my life. Not only do the north hate the south and vice versa, they hate pakistanis, indians "brits" and the people who come from the next village! Myself, I've never in m y life met "a people", and I never expect to. Generalisations like that Bun, are crap and I'm sure you know it.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Fiolar
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 12:50 PM

The evidence of the tourist trade to Ireland doesn't seem to bear your comments out. If Irish people are so bigoted, why do many tourists visit year after year. I'll always remember one comedian's favourite phrases was, "I'm not bigoted, I hate everybody."


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: GUEST,Bun
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 12:00 PM

the majotiry of my family - both father and mother are irish. Fathers side come from southern Ireland, mothers from the north.
I love the Irish - both north and south...BUT!!!
I have never met a more bigotted people in all my life. Not only do the north hate the south and vice versa, they hate pakistanis, indians "brits" and the people who come from the next village!
I have also been in involved in one of their protests and lost two friends,three relatives and gained several scars, its notBLOODY WORTH IT
bun


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Fiolar
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 09:47 AM

Just wonder how Frank Black and the Catholics who will be playing at various venues in England later this month would do in the North?


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: InOBU
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 08:11 AM

Hi Fionn: I hope folks don't think I mean realease ONLY the Stalker report! I must say that often, even the realise of files and reports so long held by the government ... well I can't say I trust the chain of evidence. The released Kennedy assasination files I don't think, were complete. But, we have to start the process of throwing light on this somewhere. As to the moor murders... I remember them well. My wife, the year before we got together spent the summer, unwittingly hitchhikeing in Manchester, right at the hight of those times. One fellow who picked her up, told her all about the dangers of hitchhiking in light of the unaprehended murderer, so of course, wee Genie is scared to death that the fellow driving her, is the culprit, So, she immediatly takes the next bus to Cornwall.
Yup, Mick, this is our usual in depth conversation, and I wish more folks were on Mudcat, as I am convinced this kind of examination by the people is the process of truth and reconcilliation.
Best to all,
Larry


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Grab
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 07:52 AM

OK Brendy, sorry if I/we took on a bit over the "true Brit" thing. Always the problem in text - you don't get inflection and stuff. Nice story BTW! :-)

There are surely some English ppl who do unreservedly hate the Irish - however, they'll likely be the same who unreservedly hate everyone: blacks, Indians, Pakistanis, Chinese, other football clubs, etc. Luckily those aren't the majority! The worrying thing for those of us over here is that the more militant members of the Protestant and Catholic communities do seem to have political power and are thought of as leaders of their communities - whether this is a misconception, I don't know.

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 06:29 AM

Larry, Stalker didn't have enough clout for the task. Hermon ran rings round him. Stalker was also handicapped by a boss back in Manchester who was near as damn it mad, and an unhealthy obsession in the Greater Manchester Police with the moors murders (Brady/Hindley) - an incredibly high-profile case in the UK that stirred up professional jealousies and poisoned working relationships.

And the fact is that Stalker did fraternise with a local businessman who was under police investigation from before Stalker was assigned to the shoot-to-kill inquiry. A bad call by Stalker. I think the businessman was Kevin Taylor - I didn't know he was ever "cleared," Kevin McGrath? The BBC reporter Peter Taylor got as near the truth as anyone, and concluded that the GMP had had legitimate reason to investigate Taylor and that this pre-dated the Stalker inquiry in Belfast. Stalker simply had a skeleton in his cupboard, and it played into the hands of those who wanted to shut him up.

If there were similar skeletons in Stevens' cupboard, I think they'd have been found by now. He has been promoted into the top police job in Britain during the course of his inquiry, and I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell of him being discredited by those who don't like the report when it comes out. The fact that files in his office (at Carrickfergus RUC barracks) were lost in a mysterious fire would suggest he is getting near the truth. One of his stunts, incidentally, was a dawn raid on Army HQ at Lisburn.

Anyway it was pretty obvious the RUC was shooting first, asking questions later, whether Stalker got to say so or not. What Stevens is on to is systematic collusion by police, Army and other intelligence services, with out-and-out thugs of one particular persuasion - which went as far as setting up the cynical murders of entirely innocent people, just to take the heat off one of their agents. I reckon the Stevens report will be as interesting as anything we've seen yet.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 06:28 AM

No, not Arthur Young. This was a cop brought in purely to investigate Devenney's beating to death.

Young was the head of the RUC.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Brendy
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 03:08 AM

Ah, what the heck. Why stop now?

Heeeerrrre's Scarman!!!

B.


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Subject: RE: Bloody Sunday
From: Brendy
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 03:03 AM

And last, but not least, The Hunt Report itself. Courtesy of the CAIN website.

Happy reading!

B.


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