Sinn Fein and the IRA

Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness are often quoted in the US media as spokespersons for Sinn Fein. However, most Americans only have a dim idea who they are or what the history is. Sinn Fein was and is the aboveground legal political arm of the IRA. The IRA itself is an underground paramilitary, currently in a ceasefire, but often engaged in open warfare against the British in Northern Ireland. Even if you despise what they stand for, it’s clear that Adams and McGuinness are battle-hardened veterans of decades of military and political struggle.

Gerry Adams  He currently is president of Sinn Fein.

Adams has stated repeatedly that he has never been a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), but British and Irish state papers released under the “thirty year rule” named him as a senior IRA figure in the early 1970s. Following the introduction of internment without trial in 1971 under the Special Powers Act, Adams was briefly interned in 1972 on the Maidstone, a British prison ship.

He was released in order to take part in peace talks in 1972, but was again arrested and interned from 1973 to 1977 at Long Kesh internment camp, and again briefly in 1978.

Adams remains the all-Ireland head of Sinn Féin, with Caomhín Ó Caolain serving as Sinn Féin parliamentary leader in Dáil Éireann, and Martin McGuinness the party’s chief negotiator and effective party head in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Martin McGuinness

For many years, leading unionists have labelled Martin McGuinness a member of the IRA’s Army Council and, on one occasion, the “IRA godfather of godfathers”.

The one-time IRA commander went from the riots of the Bogside during the 1970s to the very heart of government, having become one of Sinn Fein’s two ministers in the first power-sharing deal.

More from Wikipedia

He joined the Provisional IRA in the 1970s, and negotiated along with Gerry Adams in 1972. He was convicted by a Republic of Ireland court in 1973, after being caught with a car with 2500lb of explosives and 50000 rounds of ammunition. He was sentenced to 6 months, and refused to acknowledge the court. Throughout the 1970s he was convicted of multiple murders and bombings throughout Northern Ireland.

After his release, and another conviction in Ireland – this time for being a member of the PIRA, he became increasingly prominent in Sinn Féin, the political wing of the IRA.

He had become Sinn Féin’s chief negotiator in the time leading to the Belfast Agreement. He became MP for Mid Ulster in 1997, and after the Agreement was concluded, was returned as a member of the Assembly, and nominated by his party for a ministerial position in the power-sharing executive. He was re-elected to the Westminster Parliament in 2001, but along with the rest of his party has refused to take his seat, because it would mean swearing an oath of alliegance to the Queen.


An opposition spokesman in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, Narynbek Kasymov, said that about 600 protesters had peacefully taken control of the (administration) building, and that police had gone over to their side.

If at least some of the police are supporting the insurgents, then the collapse of the government would appear to be near, especially since they seem unwilling or unable to use serious force to stop it.

Geopolitics at heart of Kyrgyzstan unrest

U.S. influence is very strong in Kyrgyzstan — a number of non-governmental organizations are active on its territory, and they they are financed by U.S. organizations. They are the Soros Foundation, and Freedom House. The printing press that prints opposition newspapers is actually owned by Freedom House. The head of this organization is James Woolsey, the former CIA director. And congressmen who have criticized the Kyrgyz government are in fact quite close to these power structures.

In particular, such statements were made by Senator John McCain.

In other words, these are many of the very same folks who organized the collapse of governments in Georgia and Ukraine. However, it’s not a given they have control over the insurgents this time, maybe no one does. And there are other major players too.

The anarchy that is happening there is first of all convenient for the narcotics trade. And it’s the narcotics party that has really won from all this. The road from Afghanistan to Russia goes through the Ferghana Valley.

New levels of geekness

I blogged the two following posts from my laptop at the breakfast table logged in via gotomypc to a desk computer in my home office, where this blog lives. Wheee.

One handy, smart feature of Radio UserLand, the software this blog runs on, is that the installation doesn’t update anything in the Windows Registry, and only puts files in the installation folder and subfolders. Thus, if I want to move Radio from my desktop to the notebook, all I do is copy the install folder and the blog is up and running. Nice.

Free hosting for podcasts

OurMedia. “The global home for grassroots media.”

“We provide free storage and free bandwidth for your videos, audio files, photos, text or software. Forever. No catches.”

They launch officially on Monday. The site provides blogging, video and mp3 storage, all apparently for free. They have a lot of good ideas, marred a bit by a confusing login procedure and sometimes oddly acting pages. However this is still in alpha, and I expect they’ll get the bugs out soon enough. hosts podcast mp3s for free. While not specified, all their podcasts are political and tilt heavily leftward.

Upcoming podcasting expos

Podcasting featured at GnomeDex 5  Jun 23-25, Seattle.

Chris Pirillo has announced the Gnomedex 5.0 keynote speaker – seminal podcaster Adam Curry. Curry is expected to discuss podcasting and the views of a Net entrepreneur.

Gnomedex is a relatively small IT convention, but it consistently attracts an interesting collection of speakers, presenters and attendees. The theme of this year’s convention is “Producing, Consuming, & Monetizing Technology.”

Gnomedex 5.0 is being held in downtown Seattle, June 23-25, and is limited to 300 registrants. Topics of focus will be Grassroots of RSS, Blogging, Podcasting, BitTorrent, & Media.

Gnomedex 5.0

I’m going. The speaker lineup is seriously good and the price quite reasonable.

Podcast and Portable Media Expo. Ontario Ca, Nov 11-12.

“showcases the present and future of portable content with demonstration exhibits and conference sessions devoted to creating, editing, delivering, viewing and profiting from unique audio and video media.”

Conference tracks:
Content Creators: “Producing Compelling Content”
Content Marketers: “Business Models for Podcasting & Portable Media”
Technologists: “The Technology Side of Podcasting & Portable Media”

Also quite reasonable. $149. Ontario is near L.A., so this one is easy for me to get to.

So, many are thinking, how can podcasting be used to make money, an obvious enough thought. Will it become over-commercialized, with large companies overwhelming small indie content. Probably. But given the very DIY decentralized nature of podcasting and blogging, there’s lots of room for everyone (I hope!)

Adam Curry mentioned on his podcast recently that the subscriber base for even the biggest podcasts can’t yet justify major advertisers and maybe never will, but that companies can and will be forming to help people and business learn to podcast and blog.