back to article US only kidding about 'clear to fly' January deadline?

Do you feel lucky? Registration with ESTA, the US 'clear to fly' system for visa waiver programme travellers to the US, is currently optional, but as of 12th January becomes mandatory. Or possibly, not - sort of mandatory but not compulsory instead. So how does that work? ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), is …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    thank christ I'm not flying until Bush is out of office maybe I'll be ok.

    Check out the JS popup on the ESTA site. You're supposed to read that shit before clicking ok?

    I'll be flying on a different flight to anyone who looks like, sounds like or sings like Cat Stevens. Rachel would be ok though :-D

    Paris - in case Rachel ain't available!

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Customs Form

    If you think the Customs Form is bad for an "alien" try being married to a US Citizen. Travelling together? Is that one CF form (travelling as a family) or Two (different allowances given different nationalities)? Xan we go through Immigration together? If we can do we go through the US line or the "Alien" line, or do we have to go through separately and then try to explain where our partner is?

    The answer is : No-one knows. JFK are different to Dulles, Dulles is different to Boston and Boston is different every time you go there, and then when you try to explain that you were told to do something different last time they get angry. Boston is where I saw them put an 18 year old in cable tie cuffs in front of his parents and drag him off because they thought the letter from the US University he had was fake.

    So I wait in anticipation for trying to get into the country without filling in a green visa waiver form when its supposedly all electronic.

    Its going to be chaos. Any one would think they didn't want tourists

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Moral Turpitude?

    Lucky Paris is a US Citizen then!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: thank christ I'm not flying until Bush is out of office

    " maybe I'll be ok."

    No you won't. You'll still be cowardly fu*ked in the head propaganda believing Euro-trash.

    Stay home and you'll be safe and we won't have another lily-livered lefty over here to trip over.

    Maybe next time around some poor picked-on-by-Bush misunderstood goat herders will fly a couple of airliners into some buildings in London and snuff a couple 3k people for you too.

    Be interesting to see if y'all have the intestinal fortitude to do anything besides snivel and whine about how your Mama-government should have protected you and didn't.

    <obscene gesture>

  5. Laurent_Z
    Jobs Horns

    Going there soon...

    I just love the security check they have you fulfill.

    One major difference with the old "paper" edition is that they didn't ask me if I was a member of the communist party. Seem they don't care anymore.

    One addition I didn't encounter before is the part about abducting a child whose guard was given to a US citizen. What sort of problems does this country have ?

    There is the part asking me if I abuse drugs. I answered no, as I just use them.

    Also they ask if I was already refused a visa, if I was extradited from the US, or if I spent more that 5 years in prison. If you don't know, I'm not telling, guys...

    And it's only at the end of the document that you hereby agree not to ask for asylum, not to search a job in the US, and that even if you answered honestly/perfectly the custom officer at the arrival airport can refuse your entry... Great ! 8 hours in second class to be told that you can go back the same way ! As my ticket is not changeable/not refundable, does it mean I'll spend 10 days in the International part of the airport ?

    As you can see, I'm anxious to get there, even if it is for technical training.

    Any government funded anal probing will be fully documented.

    I really want to see the El'Reg Playmobile reconstitution 8)

  6. Nick


    Bah, doesn't seem to work with Chrome, although FF and IE seem to be OK.

    I wonder what would happen if all eligible people in the world applied together.

    On a plus note, the popup seems to indicate that none of the information you submit is secure. At least they're honest about it.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    @AC Posted Tuesday 30th December 2008 16:49 GMT

    "No you won't. You'll still be cowardly fu*ked in the head propaganda believing Euro-trash."

    Yeah, cos no American president has *ever* failed to tell the American public the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth have they?

    "Stay home and you'll be safe and we won't have another lily-livered lefty over here to trip over."

    Not all of us are lily-livered lefties, but that doesn't mean we want your lot to have all our details online any more than we want our own lot to do it.

    "Maybe next time around some poor picked-on-by-Bush misunderstood goat herders will fly a couple of airliners into some buildings in London and snuff a couple 3k people for you too."

    THIS is totally out of order. Our troops have put themselves on the line as much as yours, and we have been attacked by terrorists more often than Fortress America. In fact, your lot were sending boatloads of money (and weapons) to the IRA for years - and they were as bad as the bastards responsible for 9/11.

    "Be interesting to see if y'all have the intestinal fortitude to do anything besides snivel and whine about how your Mama-government should have protected you and didn't."

    From what exactly? A bunch of foreigners trying to destroy our way of life by removing all our freedoms, or the terrorists?

    I'd call you a muppet, but that would be insulting Jim Henson's creations. You are either a very stupid troll or the sort of troublemaker who should burn in hell.

  8. raving angry loony

    lesson: avoid at all cost

    The lesson here is obviously "avoid the USA at all costs". Go elsewhere. Anyone travelling to the USA risks their liberty as their ever-growing list of incorrect names continues to catch everyone from nuns to 1 year old children who they claim are "terrorists". Between confiscating all your electronic goods to indefinite detention, I'd much rather travel to some place that hasn't become a police state. Say, Cuba.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Solution? Don't go there!

    Abandon Hope All Who Enter Here!

    No thanks, I'll stay put if its all the same to you - don't want to give you my holiday money anyway!

  10. Seán


    "You'll still be cowardly fu*ked in the head propaganda believing Euro-trash."

    Self censorship must be so rewarding for you, have a c.

    As a card carrying Irishman I don't really have much time for the "hated english" but I must point out that they do have considerably more experience with the terror campaigns and bombs than you childishly frightened seppos. Also you may look up the blitz to see just how offensively ignorant you're being about your minor 11/9 incident.

    Next time you post please try to think just a little first, it's the European way.

  11. John PM Chappell

    And this would be why...

    ... I have no intention of returning to the USA until they've swept the bulk of this crap away again. Their tourism is taking a heavy hit, in spite of people being prepared to actually wade through it all, so that's probably just a waiting game.

    @AC Your 11th September incident was small fry and you'd had it coming for a long time; proper terrorism was the kind meted out by the professionals in the PIRA, who were well-funded by you cunts. You might want to get a brain and an education before shooting your mouth off, in future, but until then we'll just try and remember that most yanks are not as stupid as you.

  12. David Harper

    Re Customs Form

    I'm British and married to an American. We've been flying to the U.S. together for many years, and the procedure has always been quite clear: we complete one customs form, and I go through the "U.S. Citizens" immigration line with my wife. We've never been hassled by immigration or customs officials. But then, we're always polite and friendly and we treat the officials as human beings. You might want to try it sometime.

  13. kissingthecarpet
    Gates Horns

    re:lesson: avoid at all cost

    You're right there - my brother-in-law was one of the most pro-US right-wing conformist types I've ever met. His son, who is 9, has now been searched & questioned several times as well as him. He lives in Bermuda, and owns property in the US so he's a 'frequent flyer' there . He hasn't a good word to say about the US now & if its put him off, then it'd put anyone off.

    Surely any goodwill gained after the Sept.11 thing has been squandered by now, plus being the originators of a global recession will lower their approval rating, especially once the food riots begin.

    PS there should be a Ballmer icon with horns - he's far more representative of the Buddha-like serenity & compassion that one associates with MS and the use of their wonderful software than Gates is now. Or perhaps a flying chair.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    @ AC Post Tues 30th Dec 2008 18:01 GMT

    You are either a very stupid troll or the sort of troublemaker who should burn in hell.

    I second that (and I'm an American); and I apolgize for morons like that all over the world who mis-represent the USA.

  15. Steve

    @AC 16:49

    Operation Gladio, the IRA, the School of the Americas - sound familiar, you terrorist-funding bastard?

    If we're the "lily-livered" cowards, what is it about being terrified of everyone who might enter your country that makes you brave? You're so scared shitless of any kind of economical or political competition that your country happily funds and trains terrorists to ensure that no dissenting opinion has a chance to flourish.

    Now, why don't you run along and cry about how everyone's picking on you because we're "anti-American"?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Our troops have put themselves on the line as much as yours"

    Bullshit. You Brits send a few troops to hole up in Basra airport and some more to get their arse shot off in Afhganistan until a US helicopter turns up to pull them out. Meanwhile the US fight and die all over Iraq.

  17. Neoc
    Thumb Down

    Why, oh why...

    ...are the USA using a system which relies on the fact that terrorists will be using their real name to travel?


    Maybe they think "tourist" and "terrorist" sounds too similar to be just a co-incidence. Someone should point them to G&S and tell them that "Pilot" and "Pirate" sound similar too, so all airline pilots should be sued by the RIAA/MPAA.

  18. James


    A warm welcome to you sir.

    Gentlemen and women always appreciate a 12-16 year old calling them cowardly fu*ked in the head propaganda believing Euro-trash...

    Especially when its aimed at a person who just said something pretty fair, of their own opinion and not containing rude words.

    Lots of Love,

    A kind friend.

    (PS. note the in the address it's a hint)

  19. Dave


    If you don't declare something and they find out, you get to avoid the US for several years afterwards. You might have gotten away with it a few years ago, but they've probably got the entire prison history of the UK for the past fifty years in a database somewhere, even if the UK hasn't officially given it to them.

  20. Graham Marsden

    Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 30th December 2008 16:49 GMT

    Why don't you just build a five mile high wall around your country and then you can *really* convince yourself that there's nothing else in the world and nobody else would have to worry about a country with such a balanced personality that it has a chip on *both* shoulders!

    (Joke ahead icon because there's no "responding to a complete joke" one...)

  21. Amanda


    Oh, goody. My German in-laws to be are supposed to come over for our wedding in May. Note that they are all 65+ years old, and most of them are very mistrustful of a) the Internet and b) the US government. I'm really hoping the ones born in German cities that are no longer German cities don't have a special fun time.

    Me, entering Germany: Queue no longer than 15 minutes even in the non-EU line, hand over US passport, border police officer swipes code, glances at me, asks me about my general destination and plans, stamps it, hands it back and waves me through. Time without passport in hand: 20-30 seconds. Bags are automatically routed to destination airport - no mucking about with customs while trying to make a connecting flight.

    Me, returning to the US: Queue for up to 30 minutes, hand over passport, get a few minutes of questions about what I was doing outside the US, then try to find bags before joining a second queue to discuss what I might have brought back, recheck bags. If one or more checked bags not available, wait in intermediary queue to report missing/delayed bag, then go through cusoms queue with form stating that I reported missing/delayed baggage. Run like the wind to catch connecting flight.

    When Germany makes your own country look like a police state...

  22. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Up

    Sealed the deal!

    Well done US! You've sealed the deal, you obviously don't want any tourists or visitors to bring in what may be only a small amount of foreign money. Given the current state of most economies, I would have thought anything is better than nothing!

  23. Stuart Van Onselen

    re: Everyone's fav troll/moron

    All these replies, and no-one has commented on the irony of being called cowardly by some-one too scared to put even his registered *pseudonym* on his rantings?

    I comfort myself these days with the thought that many of the fuCk-you-foreigners, America-first, "all things things are permissible 'cos of 9/11", "genocide is OK if it's against brown people", "Jesus and George Bush are my saviours" - type pond-scum are having apoplectic attacks at the thought of Hussein Obama taking over the White House.

    For everyone of those that dies of stroke, that's one less dose of Darwin-chlorine needed for the human gene-pool.

  24. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @Laurent_Z

    If they've got the entire prison history of the UK for the past 50 years somewhere, the Ministry of Justice ought to buy it off them. We sure as hell haven't even got a decent database of the current prison contents, and given our track record the chances of us ever successfully building one are slender. (-:

  25. Mike


    1. Not all Americans are idiots, but the loudest usually are;

    AC Posted Tuesday 30th December 2008 16:49 GMT

    I really hope this was a troll, if so it was genuinely funny because of the irate responses, if not my head is in my hands.

    2. "Bullshit. You Brits send a few troops to hole up in Basra airport and some more to get their arse shot off in Afhganistan until a US helicopter turns up to pull them out. Meanwhile the US fight and die all over Iraq."

    178 British troops killed in iraq to date, several suicides, several "friendly fire", several accidents, some natural causes but mainly hostile attacks, mainly Basra, these people are dead, because of a (some would say illegal) war that the US started, compared to approaching 4500 US troops, higher percentage of suicides and "friendly fire".

    What does this mean or prove? people are dead, people who don't deserve to die (some estimates, an ORB survey indicates over a million people have died as a result of the war), 9/11 is insignificant compared, statistically, a few of the 3000 9/11 victims were probably a murderers, rapists or paedophiles and perhaps may have deserved to die, over 3000 children die from drinking dirty water every day, liklyhood was they are far more innocent get your head out of your arse, nobody, not even those "evil, muslim speakers*" should die because of foreign policy.

    *yup, actually heard this one first hand

  26. Jemma Silver badge

    "There now follows a Party Political Broadcast for the Monster Raving Reality Party."

    /Rant On


    You know it makes perfect sense... all the countries dumped all their idiots in the New World (TM) - and they bred... and this is the result.

    I remember bomb threats at least once a month when I was at school from the IRA. You know, the IRA the the americans funded... yes.. that would be you lot.

    I remember bombings that killed children, pregnant women - guess who again.. the american funded IRA. A 8 1/2 month pregnant woman writhing on the pavement with both her legs blown across the other side of the street... that was you that was!

    As to this Iraq shite - let me be brutally and completely honest.

    1.) you brought it on yourself

    2.) you brought it on yourself

    3.) you brought it on yourself

    did that part get through yet?

    4.) and then you dragged the UK into it.

    As to the Great American Squaddie - I live in an army town, its common comment amongst the british army soldiers I have spoken to that most of your lot couldnt hit a barn door with a bazooka from the inside of the barn, unless, and this is an important point, it was painted in allied colours. And lets not even start on the Jessica Lynch situation.

    Not to mention raping, beating and murdering civilians (oh yeah, and the rape part includes men)..

    You dragged europe into your war and I lost a good friend because of it... a perfectly innocent girl just going to work... not to mention all the army soldiers slaughtered for no good or legal reason. Do you think I like the image of one of my best friends dead and having to identify what was left? not really, I have nightmares about it over a year later.

    I am SICK and TIRED of listening to all this bushite crap about Iraq doing this and Iran doing that... when even some Americans have figured out that if the 9/11 bombers were all saudi and the money tracks back to a saudi... it could mean the saudi's were involved....

    Please someone... set a real life version of the film 28 days later in America... the rest of the world will be able to sleep safe in their beds.

    As to this airline crap.... lets see .... oooh you are a teenage german girl... you must be Waffen SS, it was 3. PanzerGrenadier Totenkopf wasnt it? crashingly superb bunch of blokes!

    You have a mental illness? but that precludes all Americans from travelling then...

    I have a condition that comes under the banner of Intersex... which means rednecks with room temperature IQ's and 1953 crashbox Chevys would just love to do me harm... because Jesus dont like people like me.... so thats me stuck then aint it, cos by USA HLS rules I am a danger to myself for existing ... Oh yeah, and by religious belief I am Pagan... wut-oh... So because of a bunch of bigots in the US I am a danger to the sovereign nation of the US of A??! (dont ask what the 'A' stands for by the way)

    And you know the worst part? Because the UK is so far up the US Govt's behind we need shit-flippers.... its now ok for the british police to shoot unarmed brazilians and get away with it... not to mention the whole free speech for a given value of free speech thing (aka, you get it when you are white and in the police)

    If Epic Fail was an artform the US Government would be the fleshie equivalent of the roof of the Sistine Chapel (point of fact they'd probably weigh the same too)...

    /Rant Off and thank you for listening...

    ----- "this was a party political broadcast for the Monster Raving Reality Party" ----

  27. Anonymous Coward

    In Defence of the Americans....

    Can we please try to remember that 99% of Americans are actually decent people.

    I'm British... I'm soooo against the Iraq war I have trouble typing. I'm against our own Government trying to surrender all our freedoms, and my personal opinion is that Bush is a complete bloody idiot.

    But all but a few yanks are okay. There are a couple of right-wing muppets, but we get that in any country. Don't let those taint your opinion of the rest of them.


  28. Mike


    Most excellent post, and I agree (almost) completely, I think that we have to temper some of the comments (mind you, you did say it was a rant!), when you said "you brought it on yourself" it's a little unfair, because the American public is so manipulated by government and media that they genuinely think that they have something to fear and are scared, rather than the fact that "it's all about oil", with an average IQ of 98 the american people don't always understand the issues, not what's behind it, and no matter how misguided they are, they are still having loved ones killed, in some respects the US are our idiot cousins, do we condem their deeds or pity their ineptitude?

    >its now ok for the british police to shoot unarmed brazilians and get away with it

    OK, a bit OT but let's be fair about this, the armed police followed their orders and believed the information they were told, that's why they were not prosecuted (did they shout "armed police"?, maybe not, but that's almost accedemic), if they had the correct information then an innocent man would still be alive, the failing was above them, the system failed them too.

    >Please someone... set a real life version of the film 28 days later in America... the rest of the world will be able to sleep safe in their beds.

    There are too many people in this world, perhaps it is time, I'd guess that something like this will happen, some kind of mutated gene therapy based on virus delivery, the really scary thing is that it's totally possible (more likely "survivors" than "resident evil" 'tho), what happend to sars and bird flu? that's all gone a bit quiet!

  29. Andus McCoatover
    Thumb Up


    Wish I could write as concise and meaningful as that. Well put.

    (Hope the pregnant mother and child survived)

    Thanks - sincerely.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @moron bullnecked AC 16:49

    Two of my classmates at school were very, very close to a certain IRA department-store bomb when it went off.

    My last girlfriend had a previous boyfriend killed in a another IRA bomb. She hadn't much time for the IRA, as you'd expect, but would get hugely pissed off when americans would start mouthing off righteously about terrorism. Can you guess why, my witless, uneducated colleague?

    It's ok if others get impoverished, bereaved, blown up, shot, starved, raped, imprisoned or tortured so long as it's not you or your countrymen and you don't have to see it happen (very important, that).

    I wish to make clear that most americans I've met are not like you.

    @Jemma: nice post.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    @ AC - Tuesday 30th December 2008 16:49 GMT

    As one American to another. Go @$@# yourself. Oh and take that DUMB F@#$@! Bush with you. You F@#$@ed up my country enough.

  32. Anonymous Coward



    Please someone... set a real life version of the film 28 days later in America... the rest of the world will be able to sleep safe in their beds.


    Thank you for reminding the world that others besides Americans are dumb. Let me remind you that Europeans decided to kill each other a couple time last century. I think that they have names for those little incidents - WW I and WW II... (Yes - we had our bloody Civil War.) Or the fact that Europe decided that IT owned the rest of the world. Africa still loves you all. Oh and to those bitching about the IRA - I wonder what caused the hatred? The Americans are not pure on this - but neither are the Brits or the Irish. Many of the Irish diaspora in the USA decided to help their former home. Why did they leave Ireland?

    Have a Potato - and happy new year.

    Pirates - cause there were so many good pirates in the past.

  33. Mike

    @George Schultz

    Thank you for yet again showing that Americans have no idea about the "Troubles", which explains why they funded this terrorism, it's ironic that IRA designed bombs are now killing American troops in Iraq.

  34. Jemma Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    In response...

    Yes... we did have two wars in the preceding century... WWII being the one where the Americans werent going to support europe AT ALL until Hitler declared war on the US - not the other way around.... not many people know that... but BOTH of those were legitmate conflicts if any can be called such - not attacking someone because you had a bad case of piles and wanted to take it out on someone else. And as to that 'support' we were still paying it off until 2003... some special relationship. I am not gonna get started on all the wars the Americans got into because the PTB 'didnt want the other guys to have what we havent' - Vietnam/korea ringin' any bells... anyone?

    As to the pregnant woman - neither of them survived. Shes out of it, but I feel horribly sorry for the husband - I know some of what me must of been through since I lost my partner, Sasha, to cancer 3 months ago at the age of 22.

    As to De Menezes - Brazilians dont look like Asiatics generally - they are from different stock entirely, different facial structure, build and other things. And personally I dont think re-enacting a fight scene from Underworld: Evolution is the way to deal with anyone - terrorist or otherwise. Even, and I want to make this absoolutely clear, even if the 'token female cop' is as hot as Kate Beckinsale in leather.... (sorry Monty Python). I shudder to think what the cops will do when they finally realise there are special edition Moslems walking around in 'two tone chav-pink and white' bodywork..

    The police in the UK are inherantly racist and bigoted ... even they admit it, and make it blatantly obvious at every turn... why do you think I am getting out of the UK for safer climes?

    I have been to the states a few times ... most of the people are fine ... until you disagree with what they have been fed by the government and then all hell breaks loose... or what about the time the people I visited saw nothing unusual about having a loaded/chambered 9mm in the house with a 3 year old girl wandering about... I rest my case.

    Please not Survivors..... the whole of england will be populated by whiney blonde wannabe models with a bad case of wallet induced nymphomania ..... oh, wait... and the less we say about 'im not a doctor/lesbian/intelligent lifeform' girl the better, although implied Grace Jones axminster-age is very agreeable image ... now Resident Evil I could live with, specially if they have cloning by then... Milla dear, just come here a minute lol. Strange thing, the girls only 2 months older than me and we share almost the same build... another pointless factoid.

    Whoever made the comment about the Potato Blight needs to read their history a little better. It was a failure of the crops from a suspected new strain of blight and the total inability (whether they had wanted to or not) of the govt of the time to be ABLE to support Ireland that caused the Irish who went to Australia or America to go. That and sectarian infighting between Catholics and Protestants... quelle surprise. You know its interesting... tell people in ireland you are Christian... and they'll ask you what denomination... tell them you are Pagan... and the first thing you get is enough Guinness to sink the British High Seas Squadron circa 1916 and a pub full of best mates. But I digress.

    And Finally. America as a whole IS reponsible for Iraq and Afghanistan. You voted in a president twice (or at least might have done...ish... sorta) that would be mentally challenged at an amoeba's dinner party. You swallowed the Govt newspeak hook, line and sinker and all in all you enabled an inadequate force to go into the two most dangerous places on planet earth that have resisted every empire from the English to the Soviets to the Romans on up and wondered why you got your behinds handed to you on a plate, with a nice side salad and selection of desserts from the trolley.... all in all the dumbest decision since Abraham Lincoln said 'Im sick of kicking around the house all day... lets go take in a show..." (Cpt. E Blackadder quotage).

    But lets ride the Blackadder comparison until it falls apart or is taken over by a Yahoo! executive; for the last eight years America has been controlled by someone, and I mean controlled in the literal sense - who has the emotional maturity of Baldrick and the IQ of his favourite Turnip. Its been run into the ground like a second hand Chevy Nova, and like a Chevy Nova bits are starting to fall off and the heater doesnt work.

    This period will be seen I hope as a warning from history - when countries that are your best friends tell you to get the hell out of it and go sit down on the naughty chair... my advice is it might be worth listening... because 3000 people does not a terrorist campaign make... trust me on this, I have been there, done that, got the bloodstains and am still dealing with the PTSD. Oh yeah, and the really fun part? It was the Americans that made 20 years of school-kids being blown to smithereens possible.... GO 'MERKIN'S... Paybacks a bitch aint it..?


    PS: Thank you for the nice comments those who made them :)

    --- "oooh look, they are size 10's" ---

    George Bush: 101 most intelligent comments - available from Amazon & good bookstores...

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @George Schultz

    Whilst your reminder that no-one's pure is salutory, it misses the point totally. What my ex-girlfriend objected to was the utter fucking two-facedness of condemning terrorism (the sort that kills americans or affects their collective interests negatively) while permitting funding of another (the sort that kills non-us citizens) with legal backing.

    Except after sept. 11th suddenly that sort of cute, faraway terrorism was suddenly not so cute and that a few months later the status of the IRA in US law was changed (IIRC february 2002).

    The FBI's definition of terrorism is: 'The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.'

    Rather covers the entire Iraq war, don't you think. And don't give me the shit about removing dictators, oppressed populace etc. He just wasn't 'your sonofabitch'.

  36. Anonymous Coward


    Jemma Dear - and the cowardly AC - Guess what.... Lend-lease. Go look it up.

    As for the IRA. I did not fund them. I did not cause the hatred either.

    The Irish potato famine

    The Scottish potato famine

    Funny how the cause was the same: "This was because they had been deprived of access to most of the land they had worked in previous centuries and were expected to subsist on very small areas of land."

    And who caused this?

    My point - which you ignored! - is that no one was a saint. The US has messed up in the Mideast - and G Bush is a #$$# moron. He has been a disaster for the US. However, next time you claim that the Brits are pure and innocent - go read some history. Try the history of India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, a bunch of Africa.... Most of these 'countries' are your former colonies. Look at how they were divided and governed and how that is affecting the world of today. You set them up so that the tribes would war against each other - and that no one could rule - except you. The French did the same. This is why Iraq for instance has three groups of about 30% each in it. This is also why the Kurds are divided into three countries.... The Pashtuns in Pakistan and Afghanistan are in the same boat. Funny how we are still fighting there.

    I know I have my library card in one of these pockets...

  37. Jonathan McColl

    Meanwhile, back at the article ...

    The vituperative comments up and down this section point up the emotions raised nationally and individually by the horrors of politics+war. I'm Irish. I'm Canadian. I'm Highlands-of-Scotland. I'm a historian. I'm educated. I'm more than half a century old. All the countries have done bad things both officially and unofficially. We at least are permitted to rant, and I put my name to mine.

    I wish the hypocrisy of freedom v/s Gitmo and 9/11 vs Saddam Hussein would stop. I wish border controls in the USA were not apparently in the hands of gorillas and I wish that the bravery of Tom Clancy characters were more evident in these pieces. I wish the UK wouldn't just bend over and take the US demands to control all of us. I'd like to call US arrivals 'aliens'.

    But then I also wish Britain weren't moving into a databased, camera-ridden security zone that has actually not improved the border controls or benefit fraud or road deaths or hospital infections.

    Maybe there's a better way? Answers on a postcard please ...

  38. Mike

    @George Schultz

    >As for the IRA. I did not fund them. I did not cause the hatred either.

    Nope, but your countrymen did, and you don't condem it, you're just as complicit.

    >Funny how the cause was the same: "This was because they had been deprived of access to most of the land they had worked in previous centuries and were expected to subsist on very small areas of land."

    Nope, in both cases the cause was potato blight, no biological diversity means devastation, people were repressed and bled dry by their landlords, but the famine was caused by the blight, after all the landlords would have prefered their tennants to stay alive and pay their dues, surely?

    >My point - which you ignored!

    Your point is moot, if you think that colonisation by portugese, french and english 400/300/200/100 years ago somehow justifies the US causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians in the birthplace of civilization, in modern times, then you need a checkup from the neckup.

    We can argue if Handing Hong Kong back to the Chinese is a good or bad thing, we can argue if handing back land to native Africans has been benificial to their country or not, we can argue that the Falklands should be handed (back?) to Argentina, giving back the Elgin marbles etc. but times have changed in the last 400 years, these are modern times, maybe the portugese, french and english did what was appropriate at the time, maybe not, and if not, it as sure as hell isn't appropriate now.

  39. toyah
    Gates Halo

    Re: Bah!

    Yes Nick you're 100% correct, Google may taking over the world (books, people pissing in the street, telling me where i live, thought control etc etc), but the US government still only wants to work with the boys at Redmond. Chrome tells me the ESTA site is unavailable.

    Oh and having a wife as a US citizen just made the site explode.... oh well!

    Bill - thanks to his products, our holiday can go ahead

  40. Jemma Silver badge

    In response 2.0


    Re the Irish Famines. My father is an agronomist, my mother a historian ... they both have more of a clue than the wikifiddlers because both of them actually have either experience in the field or know how to do research that is not somewhere to the left of guesswork. As it stands at the moment I am an author, geologist, designer and mechanic and god knows how many other things... I love nothing more than learning about and understanding things. There simply wasnt the structures needed available to deal with that sort of crisis. Its arguable that it wasnt until the blockade of Berlin post war (1946 I think from memory) that this sort of intervention was even possible

    So please dont patronise me. I know about lend lease.. I know how it worked, and also that for the most part the stuff we got lumbered with was second rate or so old it was worn out. Grant tanks that managed about 300 yards before they detonated their transmissions.... or destroyers so ancient that even commanders in WWI put them in mothballs ... thats what we got, at least at first.

    I personally HATE the british empire and all it stood for. I have good reason to. I have to fight every day of my life just to survive because of the thoughts and theories of the people who ran it... that have propagated down to now.

    But you want to know the difference between the British Empire and the Wannabe American one? its quite important really. The British truely thought they were improving peoples lot in life - shoving god-botherage down their throats and killing off native traditions. BushCo just wants two things: money (and by extension, oil) and to give Islamic countries a good kicking. For heavens sake europe havent had a crusade since the northern crusades around 1250 or so... it would be nice if the US could drag themselves out of the ancient past..

    And George - I know all about Afghanistan and the fighting 44th - and the soviet invasion, you know, the one where the US funded the Mujahaddeen (sp?) who turned into the very people who caused 9/11... The only person who actually managed to sucessfully invade either of these two countries is a lad called Alexander who did it by the expedient method of 'just keep going'.

    *sigh* The majority of the inter-tribal wars were going on long before the Empire turned up. They are still going on now and they still will do into the future. Why? because if you put people on marginal lands they are going to fight, end of story. It is probably true that the British 'helped things along' a little and used these conflicts for their advantage, but they certainly didnt start them off. Regards the history of India - look up the Hijra... and then think on... from being a revered religious caste to what they are now... dont you just love western 'civilisation'?

    Alot of the time I think it would be better if the entire world was one huge country with the same laws and one judicial control - where everything was done sensibly - but it will never happen because even if it was paradise - someone wouldnt like it.

    I am several different races rolled into one - at least Irish, english, danish/swedish and probably a soupcon of prussic german to taste. I am also British English by nationality. However I cant say I am proud of being British, far from it. Most of our history is a national embarrassment... but it happened and there is nothing I can do to change it. The problem now is dealing with the fallout and trying to stop the same thing happening again.

    Its also to stop bitching and fighting with other people simply because they believe in a different version of the same God... for heavens sake thats like shooting the network admin down the road because he likes Windows NT and you want to use Vista.

    I have a copy of the Koran that was given to me by a Moslem, and which was his personal copy. He gave me rules to abide by regarding its treatment.. and I keep them religiously, not because I am Moslem, but in respect for the fact he gifted it me.

    Before I go I will just say one more thing. You will be familiar with the word 'Jihad'. What you likely wont be familiar with is its actual meaning or translation. It means 'holy works' not holy war - but it has been hijacked and repurposed to mean just that in the modern world.... and a word to the wise, it was first used in that sense when the knights of Western Christendom invaded... talk about history repeating itself.

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