Democratic Travesty: Good Friday Agreement

For thirty years the British army was deployed in Northern Ireland in an attempt to bring peace to the area.  Granted this didn’t work very well, causing the conflict to spiral out of control and leading to a timeline of conflict that we call today “The Troubles”.  For many the scars of this conflict still impact those involved personally today, and they carry that burden with them.  Those who were born after the troubles are still affected by the times, especially when it comes to the political impact on Northern Ireland.

Recently though the arrest of an ex-member of the Parachute Regiment has just made a mockery of the entire process.  The idea of the Good Friday agreement was to bring all members, of all sides together, and move forward.  Each side treated equally, moving to bring justice to those who have suffered, and peace to those who detested the conflict that marred their homeland.  There is a slight problem with that though, a problem that makes the issue one-sided.  Soldiers have names, numbers, ranks, order, signed orders and thanks to those things, they have a responsibility for what has happened, and the outcome of orders they follow.  So this soldier who took part is what is known as “Bloody Sunday” has been arrested due to the deaths that occurred that day, so following the justice part of the entire “Good Friday” agreement, why is that so wrong?

Well where are the terrorist arrests?  Most of them have been released due to lack of evidence, or as part of the Good Friday agreement.  The problem with Terrorists is they don’t have names, number, ranks; they have orders, but they have no responsibility.  Thanks those who wish to make a mockery of any move forward, they will not name those people as guilty.  They won’t stand up and say “He was a member of the IRA and killed people” because they feel they have “Won”.  Well this confirms the victory of Terrorism over Democracy, by allowing someone who was ordered to do something to go to jail.

Why not drag out Jerry Adams, the man who hides behind children and a known member of the IRA and put him in the dock?  Martin McGuinness, gun runner and bomb suppler, caught and convicted, yet apparently not a member of the IRA, why hasn’t he been arrested and convicted?  Well let me tell you why; that wouldn’t be PC, nor would it move the peace accords forward.  What is happening here is victimisation of those who are forgotten, those who can afford to be lost to provide peace.  No one dares to stand against the Northern Irish “Democratic Terrorism”, where the terrorists are allowed to dictate policy, including the detainment of those who served against the IRA during Bloody Sunday.

The IRA have been the driving factor against peace in Northern Ireland.  They want to get democracy through blackmail, and its what they have done since day one.  Historically I am one of the first people to agree that we had no place in Northern Ireland, however I cannot change history, I can just look forward.  What is happening now doesn’t support a true democratic process; it makes a mockery of those who have died to bring peace.  It mocks those who obeyed orders from the side of order.  Granted not every soldier was a saint; bring them to the dock.  However as it stands we pander, daily, to the terrorists from Northern Ireland.

Its a time to take a stand, its time to back the true democratic order.  I support peace in Northern Ireland, but it needs to be an equal peace.  It needs to be peace where members of the following organisations are brought to justice equally, not just those who fought within the British Army:

Members of the above organisations have as much blood on their hands as any serving/ex-serving member of the British army.  No one is innocent but lets not stand by and allow those who followed orders, who were ignored during enquiry after enquiry, suffer & pander to terrorists.

If you live in Northern Ireland and want peace; agree to equally prosecute anyone who took part in the troubles.  If you live in Northern Ireland and want to bring justice to those who caused suffering; agree to equally prosecute anyone who took part in the troubles.  Don’t hide people because they are family; because they fought “The good fight”.  In war there is no “Good fight” there is only fighting.  No side is right, no side is wrong; conflict is resolved through either totally victory, or a discussed peace.  If you support the arrest of a ex-British Army soldier who was part of the “Bloody Sunday” massacre, then you support the terrorists that also committed atrocities during the troubles.  You don’t want peace, you just want to place the blame on someone and move along.

That isn’t true peace, that’s a democratic travesty.  One that is tied up in militarist-political lies, sold by terrorists to a tired people, eager for anything but violence.  Is that the Northern Ireland you want?  Well if this carries on, it’s what you will have.


Eye Opening “Citizenfour”

So tomorrow I start my new job, fingers crossed I’ll never have to work a weekend again (apart from if I manage to get back into the Army Reserves; but I want to do that, its not really work).  I decided that I would treat myself, and be a teenager again, stay up late and catch up on TV.  Working in retail, late nights are a not really an option.  4am wake ups are common place, especially when the masses need their coffee.  However now I have a new job, I thought I’d treat myself to Match of the Day, and to finally watch “Citizenfour”.

Wow, what an eye opener.  Last night my entire opinion of Edward Snowden was changed by Laura Poitras, massively hard hitting documentary.  As I put it on, I was generally disinterested, expecting it to be another “Talk to the viewer” documentary, where its just facts and figures thrown at you by someone who has no great understanding of how things work.  This was an outstanding documentary, one where you followed the path that Laura walked along, from prior to her actually receiving the original e-mail from Citizenfour, through to him ending up on Moscow.  I watched how the NSA attempted to tell four judges it was okay for them to ignore constitution and law.  As the documentary progressed, I was, honestly, on the edge of my seat, hooked.  I watched Edwards journey from US citizen, to lost soul in an airport and I felt his pain.

Now, for those of you that no me, I am not usually an emotional soul, but this film really hit home.  I was shocked that the NSA, and GCHQ, are using such tactics, and actively. Now I’m not am American, sometimes I wish I was, but watching this I am damn glad I live on this side of the pond.  Well, I was until I learned of “Tempora”, and how the evidence released in the documentary point to that we’re tapped often, frequently and this meta-data is collected.  As was stated, how can people educate themselves, when they live in fear of being spotted looking at something they shouldn’t.  It pushes them underground, it criminalises them in the eyes of said governments.  Don’t get me started on that stupid “1918 Espionage Act”, what hell is wrong with American law?

“Hey, we are charging you with breaking the 1918 Espionage Act.”, “Well alls I did was tell the truth.”, “Yeah, by the way, any defence, is no defence.  So your guity, that is the only outcome.”

What.  The.  ?!?!  On how many levels of wrong is that?  You’ll happily debate about random unimportant issues, like computer game certificates, yet sensible changes on the law, nope.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for you Independents across the ocean.  We’ve been together since, well, hundred & odd years ago, and I can’t see that relationship souring.  However considering you are all meant to be the shining example of civil liberty, I cannot see that after watching “Citizenfour”.  You are the opposite.  If the NSA aren’t reigned in, if they aren’t stopped and the people who allowed it happen brought to justice, you are one step from creating Big Brother.  How long until peoples doors are being kicked in because they searched the word “Jihad”, under the patriot act and arrested indefinitely.  The fact you have charged a US citizen with something he is automatically guilty of, because he told THE TRUTH.  He showed your nation, he showed the world, they you have lied to everyone who trusted in you, and what do you do?  You commit the one single act that screams against every single, civil liberty that you threw the shackles of colonialism off for; Freedom.  You have ruined a man’s life, because he told the truth, because you didn’t like it.

Well, Obama may be President, but he could have pardoned Snowden, as he revealed the issue within the NSA.  Instead he has allowed this charade to continue, and has even supported the legal side of the affair against Snowden.  Any person with an ounce of intelligence knows he’ll be put in jail, or worse, put in jail and disappear.  America has egg on its face, they know it, the world knows it, why can’t the US just do the one thing it never has; Put its hands up and say “Yeah, we messed up.”.

I hope that Snowden eventually gets to where he wants to get too, somewhere he can call home, that isn’t another oppressive, insecure state.  If you haven’t already watched “Citizenfour”, watch it.  Don’t hesitate, don’t wait, just go and sit down now and let your mind do the rest.  This isn’t some Zeitgeist BS that I’m asking you to watch, its a documentary.  Something that happened, see how it impacts you, them, Snowden, Poitras, Greenwald and the US.

Time for some gaming me thinks.

Can Britian be proud of its role in Afghanistan? (The Big Question; BBC)

So after returning from church this morning, the TV was on and a television show called “The Big Question”, hosted by Nicky Campbell.  When I read the title, it immediately registered an interest, so I stood want watched the unfolding conversations take shape.  Several points were raised and I will cover those that were an interest to myself.

I personally think that the war in Afghanistan was worth it, for many reasons, some not worth mentioning here.  Thanks to the US, UK and many other UN nations taking part in the Afghan War, millions more are now educated.  People seem to forget that since those first shots were fired in 2001, it has been thirteen years since it started.  Within that time an entire generation was born and another came of age, and thanks to the sacrifices of those soldiers who have laid their lives down for the protection and security of those people, they can be educated in a fair and just way.  Not only are more people able to read (literacy has increased hugely since 2001) & write, but females are able to do so as well, which is thanks to the military again.  Women before 2001 were third rate citizens in the eyes of the Afghanistan population, mostly due to the rules, regulations and laws passed by the controlling Taliban.  Democracy has taken root, granted many will say that this was force, but yesterday millions of Afghan’s went into polling stations to vote for THEIR president.  Not a western sponsored president, but an Afghan native, who wants to put his own rules, regulations and laws into effect, who wants to build the Afghan nation back up again.  The people, not the Taliban, now have a right to choose who that president is, something which pre-Taliban era, they wouldn’t have had hope of doing.  Again, Women were permitted to vote, something which would have be a crime punishable by death before we entered into Afghanistan.  Individual freedoms are evident as well, over two million mobile phones are now owned and used actively within Afghanistan, radios are permitted to be listened too and newspapers can be printed and purchased by the public.  All three things would have been punishable crimes beneath the Taliban.  So yes, the nations that have sacrificed their sons and daughters to the war in Afghanistan have something to be proud of.

There is a darker side to the freedoms that have been given to the Afghan’s.  Granted they themselves have lost sons and daughters during these troubles, from both the soldiers whom have come to free them and the Taliban/Al-Qaeda forces that have fought so hard to maintain a foothold in a land that no longer welcomes them.  Corruption is rife, both at the high level and lower levels of the Afghan government.  This is a sad fault of the amount of aid that has been granted and given to the Afghan government, and with a reduction of aid would come less corruption.  If we reduce the aid and now just leave Afghanistan, how can we be proud of our achievement?  Someone mentioned that we need to look back in ten, twenty years time and see what Afghanistan is like then.  Only then can we see if all the sacrifice was worth it, but already with the minor freedoms that have been granted to those living in Afghanistan at the moment, it is worth it. 

A point which I would like to touch on was David Cameron’s speech regarding leaving Afghanistan in 2014 “Come what may”.  This is why the world cannot have true justice and protection.  Our foreign policy is a hypocritical mess, shrouded in honest intentions and just causes.  How many times has a population sat in a country, being murdered by its own military/police/government and we have sat by and done nothing?  Partially we can blame that on the media for not giving it the coverage it requires to allow the normal public to understand and feel empathic towards the cause.  Mostly we can blame the government for making the decision to ignore the plight of a nation in need or help.  We went into Afghanistan to flush out Al-Qaeda and we did a great job of it, at first it was difficult, but with the elections that we saw yesterday the proof of success is right there to be seen.  Kosovo we went into the country to protect the people being murdered, a little too late, but we went in.  What next?  We allowed Russia to annex the Crimea despite the Ukraine pleading for help.  We allow atrocities to occur all over the African continent and yet, we never intervene.  So what is our foreign policy based around?  Is it based around what we can take or get from the country, which brings to question our long standing deployment into Afghanistan.  Should we have left much earlier and handed it over to the Afghans?  What happens if another nation, say South Korea, requires military aid against North Korea or China, will we decide that we cannot aid them because it will cost us too much in military spending?

What is the price for a human life?  What is the price for a hundred lives?   The UK has stood at the forefront of protecting smaller, weaker nations from enemies, or even an indigenous population from its rulers, for a long time.  Alas we haven’t had a great history at treating indigenous populations perfectly in the past, but maybe its atonement for what we have done.  Maybe its not.  That’s for you to decide.  I honestly would like to see the UK take more of an interest in world policing, many will disagree, but we have the best armed forces, within the entire world, for a reason.  We have one of the longest standing, most organised and well drilled armies in the world.  We’ve fought in more conflicts than any other nation on the globe.  We understand hearts and minds better than any other nation and we understand rebuilding nations from the ground up.  What is an army for if it sits inside the walls of a barracks doing nothing?  Yet people will stand with their “Anti-War” banners and flags declaring that a military budget isn’t required and that war is wrong.  Yes, war is wrong, people die and that’s unacceptable on so many levels.  I ask you, what is worth more?  The life of a youth who hasn’t lived, or the life of a soldier whose trained for this moment?  I would prefer to wear a uniform and lay my life down for someone who may go on to do great things with the life I saved, sacrificing mine.  So many before have done this, and I think we can all look to the conflicts on the past to see how they impacted on the free world.

I digress, Afghanistan should have had a longer time with sustained support from the countries that have fought through her and in her.  We’ve pulled out suddenly, with little preparation and left it to the Afghans with little support from outside elements.  Going back to the foreign policy of our government, this is unacceptable, for if within the next three to five years the Taliban return and take over, we only have ourselves to blame.  Or more accurately the Conservative government.

I hope that the Afghan’s have a peaceful and prosperous future ahead of them.