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1999-02-16 00:00:00 - OT: South Armagh, Ireland - (Heather <hls@west-server.com>)

i know this is really off topic, but i wanted to get the word out about this. I went to a speech last night about South Armagh. i just wanted to pass on some of the unbelievable things that i heard. The two ladies that spoke were from the South Armagh Farmers & Residents Committee. they are trying to get the word out about how they live and what they have to put up with daily. Even though the 1998 Belfast Agreement and the cease-fire has happened, the people of South Armagh still have to put up with the daily abuse and harassment from the crown forces in that area. "Although the British government claims to be demilitarizing the six counties, no dividends of peace have been seen in the border regions. In fact, all the spy posts and checkpoints have been refurbished and some expanded since the cease-fire and the Agreement." Within a 10x15 mile area there are 31 spy posts, with underground barracks, 5 joint British army/RUC barracks. It is the busiest helicopter port in western Europe (Bessbrook), with over 200 helicopter flights per month into each spy post. "Constant foot patrols consisting of 40 soldiers and 4 RUC members who regularly stop vehicles, trespass on, enter, as well as take registration numbers of vehicles on private property and harass individuals." They told us stories of how several times a day helicopters fly low and sometimes land on their property. Most of these people have livestock in their fields, and this causes the animals to stampede. "There have been over 3461 helicopter flights since the July 1997 cease-fire into the Glassdrummond spy post alone. At least 38,634 livestock killed since 1994 as a result of low flying helicopters scaring them into stampedes causing irreparable injuries and damage. Scores of animals are regularly killed and injured." The British army has not given any reason why they are still there in force. From what the speakers could tell, they said that it looks like training. The speakers are just trying to get the word out that there is no sign of demilitarization in their area. They have asked us to pass on the message and to contact our government, so that they know what is going on. As an american, i cannot imagine what it is like to be stopped on a regular basis, for no reason at all and to be harrassed like that. over 200 years ago, we fought a revolutionary war to have the rights we have today. They said that they have a law called the shoot to kill law. basically that is if a british soldier thinks that you might be, have been, or will be in the future a harm to him, then he has the right to shoot to kill you. if you would like more information about South Armagh Farmers & Residents Committee then email me and i can give you their address. please send your congressman, president, and vice president an email about what is going on. if you do not live in america, contact your government and let them know. to find out who your congressman is check out this link. most of them have an email address to write. if you include your home address, they may answer you. Congress - http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/ President Clinton - president@whitehouse.gov Vice President Gore - vice.president@whitehouse.gov Mrs. Clinton - first.lady@whitehouse.gov Mrs. Gore - mrs.gore@whitehouse.gov oh and for those interested there is also going to be a protest against the "FBI training the Royal Ulster Constabulary - the illegitimate 'police' force of northern ireland, which is renowned for its human rights abuses, torture, and murder of Irish Nationalists in the 6 counties." this will take place Saturday Feb. 20th at noon in front of the White House. if you have actually read this far thank you for listening to me. any comments and discussion would be great. Please pass this story along. -- "You only get disillusioned if you had illusions to begin with." - Bono, December, 1987 I am happy to go blind. Thank you and good night.