Re: AC Re: @Matt Bryasnt: JustWiz If only the NSA protected MY information with such zeal.
"....Not sure how this relates to the police reaction to the Manchester bombing...." Due to their large number of the population with both Irish roots and revolutionary tendencies, both Manchester and Birmingham received special attention during the Troubles. Manchester was viewed as both a gateway to the UK and launching point for many IRA sympathisers and activists coming over from Belfast and Eire. Instructions to the coppers were pretty minimal and "being Irish" was enough to get an extra check coming off the ferries. Any Manc copper would know that.
"....And how good was this in reducing the terrorist threat?...." The point has nothing to do with effectiveness, simply it goes to show that we had a very violent reaction and not the "kumbyah" attitude claimed by the original poster. Indeed, the Bloody Sunday events may have been kicked off by a British Army sniper - such snipers regularly shot IRA gunmen during daylight and at night throughout the Troubles, just one of the many facts most of the UK population are unaware of.
".....Not the same thing...." ??? Are you confusing the Specials (14IC) with the old police "Specials"? Yes, not the same thing, the former being an Army special services unit tasked with undercover surveillance of IRA suspects, formerly convicted IRA members, and suspected sympathisers. Oh, and supposedly the Loyalists as well for balance, though I'm reliably informed that was more for appearances. Again, an unit very few in the UK are aware of.
"....The Irish Repuplican terrorist threat most certainly has NOT gone away....." Not totally, but it is much reduced, Especially as much of the old IRA has decided drug dealing is more lucrative.
"....Just to be clear though - how much privacy has the general public had to surrender in this battle?...." Phone interception was in place throughout the Troubles, with automatic recording upon keyword available on exchanges in the Eighties at least, and possibly earlier, across the major UK cities. Anyone that came into contact with a "person of interest" was investigated, a process which could involve quite in-depth digging into your private affairs. I know that as I knew someone that lost his clearance over a girlfriend because she had come in contact with IRA sympathisers via her uni student union.