Why is the British Army not branded a terrorist organisation but the IRA is? Watch

bestofyou
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First of all I do not condone terrorism nor do I have particularly strong feelings of dislike towards Britain or the military. I happen to believe I am of a new generation who can think for myself and won't have my opinion plagued by the infectious sectarianism that is rife in this part of Ireland.

However, looking at some stats I stumbled across today, I had to ask why the IRA are called terrorists but not the British army.

Terrorism - 'The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.'

In NI between 1969-1998 the British army (UDR included) killed 151 civilians, that is higher than the combined number of republican and loyalist paramilitaries who died at the hands of the army.

So why do the evade the terrorist brush? People will say things like 'because the army didn't plant bombs in town centres'. However this isn't about, who is worse than who. No one will get anywhere if we want to provide each other with examples of one side doing something worse than the other. We have a special place for people who passionately engage in that kind of nonsense and it is called Stormont.

I am not asking why the IRA are called terrorists. I am asking why the British army are not.

Surely killing 151 civilians would be seen as violence and intimidation? Personally, looking at the stats, they seem no better than the IRA. What is the justification for allowing the army, or at the very least the UDR (with their 3:1 civilian:republican kill ratio) to escape the term terrorist?
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Cannotbelieveit
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The British Army is a force for good, any civilian casualties that result from their actions are unintentional and are to be prevented at all costs.

The same cannot be said for the IRA or other terrorist groups out there.
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marcusfox
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Because of the international laws such as

Laws of War: Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV); October 18, 1907
Charter of the International Military Tribunal 1945.
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 1998.
Geneva Protocol I & II 1977
Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict 1954
Zagreb Resolution 1974
United Nations Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children 1974
United Nations Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques 1977.
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by bestofyou)
First of all I do not condone terrorism nor do I have particularly strong feelings of dislike towards Britain or the military. I happen to believe I am of a new generation who can think for myself and won't have my opinion plagued by the infectious sectarianism that is rife in this part of Ireland.

However, looking at some stats I stumbled across today, I had to ask why the IRA are called terrorists but not the British army.

Terrorism - 'The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.'

In NI between 1969-1998 the British army (UDR included) killed 151 civilians, that is higher than the combined number of republican and loyalist paramilitaries who died at the hands of the army.

People will say things like 'because the army didn't plant bombs in town centres'. However this isn't about, who is worse than who. No one will get anywhere if we want to provide each other with examples of one side doing something worse than the other. We have a special place for people who passionately engage in that kind of nonsense and it is called Stormont.

I am not asking why the IRA are called terrorists. I am asking why the British army are not.

Surely killing 151 civilians would be seen as violence and intimidation? Personally, looking at the stats, they seem no better than the IRA. What is the justification for allowing the army, or at the very least the UDR (with their 3:1 civilian:republican kill ratio) to escape the term terrorist?
PIRA wasn't an organisation held accountable to a democratically elected Government. The British Army was.

PIRA wasn't bound by law in it's operations. The British Army was.

PIRA was involved in additional illegal activity such as drugs, armed robberies, extortion, prostitution. The British Army wasn't.

You claim the British Army killed 151 civilians. I never served with anybody who'd done tours in Northern Ireland who went around randomly shooting people. Anybody that did open fire only did sounder strict rules of engagement. i.e there was a threat to life. So you're definition of civilian is ambiguous. Some innocent people were killed were killed, but as they majority of your 151 were claimed by the PIRA as members of PIRA, then the classification as civilians is dubious.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...lican_Army#A_3

However as PIRA killed in excess of 350 Soldiers, Policemen , prison officers. As well as in excess of 1842 civilians. I know who I would say is the greatest evil.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Troubles
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Futility
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(Original post by Cannotbelieveit)
The British Army is a force for good, any civilian casualties that result from their actions are unintentional and are to be prevented at all costs.

The same cannot be said for the IRA or other terrorist groups out there.
"good" is just a matter of perspective. I'm sure that republican families who have lost loved ones at the hands of the British Army wouldn't call them a "force for good".
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bestofyou
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(Original post by Cannotbelieveit)
The British Army is a force for good, any civilian casualties that result from their actions are unintentional and are to be prevented at all costs.

The same cannot be said for the IRA or other terrorist groups out there.
this is quite badly misinformed and is a very typical answer to this question.

For a start, the British army massacred several unarmed civilians in the likes of the Bogside and Ballymurphy, such examples clearly indcate that they were not one off civilan deaths or that the army tried to prevent civilian deaths at all costs.

To say that any civilian death at their hand was unintentional is just about the most ridiculous thing I've heard. For example one person murdered by the army was actually shot right through the rip cage ( bullet went in one side and out the other), matching civilian claims that he had his hands in the air.

The same actually can be said for the IRA (all be it to a lesser degree). Hence why they gave warnings when there was bombs to evacuate the area. Events such as Kingsmill certainly can be used to keep the term terrorism over their name.
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bestofyou
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(Original post by marcusfox)
Because of the international laws such as

Laws of War: Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV); October 18, 1907
Charter of the International Military Tribunal 1945.
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 1998.
Geneva Protocol I & II 1977
Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict 1954
Zagreb Resolution 1974
United Nations Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children 1974
United Nations Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques 1977.
I don't see who any of these are relevant given that the were broken when some of the civilians were killed. Now I haven't read anything in there but I can't imagine that the rain causing your finger to slip, pull the trigger and kill a man walking home or killing someone waving a white flag are included as legitimate acts of war. The may, Marcus, be relevant in coining the IRA as terrorists, but that is not what I asked.

(Original post by MatureStudent36)
PIRA wasn't an organisation held accountable to a democratically elected Government. The British Army was.
PIRA wasn't bound by law in it's operations. The British Army was.
PIRA was involved in additional illegal activity such as drugs, armed robberies, extortion, prostitution. The British Army wasn't.
You claim the British Army killed 151 civilians. I never served with anybody who'd done tours in Northern Ireland who went around randomly shooting people. Anybody that did open fire only did sounder strict rules of engagement. i.e there was a threat to life. So you're definition of civilian is ambiguous. Some innocent people were killed were killed, but as they majority of your 151 were claimed by the PIRA as members of PIRA, then the classification as civilians is dubious.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...lican_Army#A_3
However as PIRA killed in excess of 350 Soldiers, Policemen , prison officers. As well as in excess of 1842 civilians. I know who I would say is the greatest evil.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Troubles
So why are the Zulus or the Sioux warriors for example not terrorists? Genuine question btw. Or perhaps they are?
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by bestofyou)
So why are the Zulus or the Sioux warriors for example not terrorists? Genuine question btw. Or perhaps they are?
They were a nation state that was at war.

Definition of terrorism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_terrorism

"there is neither an academic nor an international legal consensus regarding the definition of the term "terrorism"

UK's definition of terrorism.

The use or threat of action designed to influence the government or an international governmental organisation or to intimidate the public, or a section of the public; made for the purposes of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause; and it involves or causes:

  • serious violence against a person;
  • serious damage to a property;
  • a threat to a person's life;
  • a serious risk to the health and safety of the public; or
  • serious interference with or disruption to an electronic system.
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username1230506
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every army that's ever existed is a terrorist organisation according to the OP's logic.
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by bestofyou)
I don't see who any of these are relevant given that the were broken when some of the civilians were killed. Now I haven't read anything in there but I can't imagine that the rain causing your finger to slip, pull the trigger and kill a man walking home or killing someone waving a white flag are included as legitimate acts of war. The may, Marcus, be relevant in coining the IRA as terrorists, but that is not what I asked.



So why are the Zulus or the Sioux warriors for example not terrorists? Genuine question btw. Or perhaps they are?
International law doesn't state that civilians can't be killed. It goes along the lines of everything that can be done to safegaurd their well being should be done. That's why if you decide in a state of war to bomb a factory full of civilians that are making armaments, then they're fair game. If you kill some by accident, as long as you didn't intentionally do it on purpose then that's ok.

To my knowledge all innocent civilans killed by the security forces in NI were done so by accident. All were robustly investigated and if foul play was found to be at hand, legal action was taken. And it was taken as there are quite a few soldiers who ended up serving prison time for their actions.
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Genocidal
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Terrorism is just a word governments use to describe organisations dedicated to violence which are not part of any government, or are part of a hostile government which everyone else considers hostile, such as a pariah state. If the IRA was a branch of the Irish army and they started bombing things, that wouldn't be terrorism. That would be a declaration of war by another army.

It's all just definitions really. Regardless of who you support, it's just a load of idiots with weapons on both sides risking their lives for leaders who couldn't care less if they live or die.
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marcusfox
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(Original post by bestofyou)
I don't see who any of these are relevant given that the were broken when some of the civilians were killed. Now I haven't read anything in there but I can't imagine that the rain causing your finger to slip, pull the trigger and kill a man walking home or killing someone waving a white flag are included as legitimate acts of war.
Well, if members of the British Army are found to have broken those laws, they will be punished according to those laws.

Unlike the IRA and other terrorist organisations, as a general rule, members of the British Army sought for breaches of International Law whilst on duty don't go on the run and end up in armed confrontations with those trying to bring them to justice, and they certainly aren't sheltered by the British Army whilst evading capture.
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ImNew
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(Original post by MatureStudent36)
International law doesn't state that civilians can't be killed. It goes along the lines of everything that can be done to safegaurd their well being should be done. That's why if you decide in a state of war to bomb a factory full of civilians that are making armaments, then they're fair game. If you kill some by accident, as long as you didn't intentionally do it on purpose then that's ok.

To my knowledge all innocent civilans killed by the security forces in NI were done so by accident. All were robustly investigated and if foul play was found to be at hand, legal action was taken. And it was taken as there are quite a few soldiers who ended up serving prison time for their actions.
Why are there groups in Syria we have labelled terrorists because they are associated with Al-Qaeda apparently (no proof of this) yet they have always targeted military targets and any civilian deaths would have been accidental. So why is it okay to label these terrorists?
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bestofyou
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(Original post by MatureStudent36)
They were a nation state that was at war.
[/LIST]
So the Europeans such as the British army who first arrived were the terrorists?

I'm going to ignore the UK's definition of terrorism since we are trying to find out why the British army is not a terrorist group. On that basis I may as well try and find out what the IRA's definition of terrorism is in order to clear their name of the term purely for arguments sake. Obviously the UK definition will not include their own military as a terrorist organisation. That is why I used the definition that came up on Google.

(Original post by MatureStudent36)
International law doesn't state that civilians can't be killed. It goes along the lines of everything that can be done to safegaurd their well being should be done. That's why if you decide in a state of war to bomb a factory full of civilians that are making armaments, then they're fair game. If you kill some by accident, as long as you didn't intentionally do it on purpose then that's ok.

To my knowledge all innocent civilans killed by the security forces in NI were done so by accident. All were robustly investigated and if foul play was found to be at hand, legal action was taken. And it was taken as there are quite a few soldiers who ended up serving prison time for their actions.
Well you're knowledge isn't fully correct then as civilians were killed on purpose in NI, I am sure not all 151. I would also like to see sources for the soldiers serving time in prison for killing civilians. Not that I don't believe, I just never heard of any.
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by Obiejess)
*cough* Bloody Sunday- Brit Army ******* murderers *cough*

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Cough Warrenpoint.
Cough Guidlford
Cough Birmingham
Cough Brighton Bombing.
Cough http://victims.org.uk/s08zhk/index.p...=183&Itemid=81

Cough. Demonstrations combined with situations where people have to be armed in order to defend themselves when dealing with demonstrations is never a good mix.

Interestingly enough though, I served with somebody who was their and got called the the inquiry. He still maintains he heard 4 to 5 rounds from a Thompson sub machine gun first, and it was also odd that only fighting aged males were shot. However I believe that the full background of Bloody Sunday will never be fully known.
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by bestofyou)
So the Europeans such as the British army who first arrived were the terrorists?

I'm going to ignore the UK's definition of terrorism since we are trying to find out why the British army is not a terrorist group. On that basis I may as well try and find out what the IRA's definition of terrorism is in order to clear their name of the term purely for arguments sake. Obviously the UK definition will not include their own military as a terrorist organisation. That is why I used the definition that came up on Google.
You can't be a terrorist if you have government backing. It's like saying that the Wehrmacht was a terrorist organisation. In some eyes it was, but not legally.

The word terrorism get's poorly used by people from all area's now. It's like Fascist and Racist. They get used incorrectly to such an extent now that the populous don't understand their real meanings anymore.
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Obiejess
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(Original post by MatureStudent36)
it was also odd that only fighting aged males were shot.
Think that may have been so the guns they planted looked realistic.

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GR3YFOXXX
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(Original post by marcusfox)
Well, if members of the British Army are found to have broken those laws, they will be punished according to those laws.

Unlike the IRA and other terrorist organisations, as a general rule, members of the British Army sought for breaches of International Law whilst on duty don't go on the run and end up in armed confrontations with those trying to bring them to justice, and they certainly aren't sheltered by the British Army whilst evading capture.
The British army has never seen a single prosecution for;

-Bloody Sunday
-Operation Motorman
-Loyalist collusion
-Miami show band massacre
-Ballymurphy massacre
-Murder of Pat Finucane
-Activities of the Glenanne Gang
-Infiltration by Loyalist paramilitaries

etc etc etc...
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ImNew
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(Original post by MatureStudent36)
You can't be a terrorist if you have government backing. It's like saying that the Wehrmacht was a terrorist organisation. In some eyes it was, but not legally.

The word terrorism get's poorly used by people from all area's now. It's like Fascist and Racist. They get used incorrectly to such an extent now that the populous don't understand their real meanings anymore.
Ahh so the Taliban aren't terrorists.
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MatureStudent36
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(Original post by ImNew)
Why are there groups in Syria we have labelled terrorists because they are associated with Al-Qaeda apparently (no proof of this) yet they have always targeted military targets and any civilian deaths would have been accidental. So why is it okay to label these terrorists?
The use or threat of action designed to influence the government or an international governmental organisation or to intimidate the public, or a section of the public; made for the purposes of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause; and it involves or causes:


  • serious violence against a person;
  • serious damage to a property;
  • a threat to a person's life;
  • a serious risk to the health and safety of the public; or
  • serious interference with or disruption to an electronic system.



Technically even the rebels involved in Syria are terrorists by Syrian law. But as Syria isn't a democracy there is a grey area for rebels and terrorists.

AQ elements in Syria tend to be foreign fighters. i.e. they're not Syrian. They're there to support a political/relgious Islamist agenda.
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