U.S. Representative Peter King (R-Seaford, NY) suggested last week that the FBI should increase surveillance of the Muslim American community to better prevent terrorist attacks such as last month's attack at the Boston Marathon.
King, a conservative mainstay in his 11th term in the House, is chairman of the House's Sub-Committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. He has been an outspoken supporter of Irish republicanism for decades, and is chairman of the Congressional Friends of Ireland Caucus. He was an important intermediary between Sinn Fein and American and... [Link to New York Times story.]
Above, shot from Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, a once-heavily Irish-American enclave dominated by the feared Westies mob syndicate, looking north from between 47th and 48th street along Ninth Avenue. Coutesy of Roger Rowlett / Wikimedia Commons
King posited in recent remarks that such monitoring of ethnic communities is not unprecedented.
"When the FBI was after the Westies they went to the Irish community," King said on Fox News recently. "When they went after the Mafia they went to the Italian community. If you know a threat is coming from a certain community, that's where you have to look."
However, not all in the Irish American community concur that the analogy is apt.
Writer T.J. English, author of "The Westies: Inside New York's Iris..."It's a misinformed statement on so many levels. Law enforcement efforts to take down organized crime, whether it was Italian or Irish, never involved going after an entire community. It always involved dealing with the criminal element within a community as a very specific aspect of the community."
So what do you think about King's remarks and suggested approach to domestic efforts at counterterrorism, and the comparison he makes to the FBI's takedown of the Westies in the '80s and '90s?
American law enforcement's efforts also included Irish rebel activities within neighborhoods in Boston, NYC, etc. such as Northern Aid. I disagreed then with the feebies et al. Now with Muslims trying to kill us, I agree partially. It depends on whose ox is getting gored.
A related bitch is I also do not like the amount of Big Brother (cameras everywhere, use of cash regulated, regulations, regulations, etc.) foisted on Americans lately.
Rod, were you involved with Irish Northern Aid, which, of course, since the Good Friday Agreement, is now seen as American as the local St. Patrick's Day Parade?
I donated and have friends who were involved in fundraising. I always had some reservations with the IRA because on matters other independence, they were almost Marxist. Sinn Fein still is.
Yes, an interesting cultural divide between the IRA's American supporters and Sinn Fein -- the former being socially and politically conservative and the latter what some might call socially and politically progressive. What united them, solely, it would seem, was hatred for British rule in Ireland.
Yes. And a love for the Ould Sod and all its wonderful heritage.