It was not my first protest—it was my first arrest

It was not my first protest—it was my first arrest.

 Yesterday, I was arrested by the U.S. Park Police for failing “to obey a lawful order.”  143 demonstrators failed to obey a police order to move off the sidewalk in front of the White House. We were demonstrating our opposition to the construction of a 1,600 mile long pipeline that would transport a highly toxic form of oil extracted from the tar sands of Alberta to the Texas Gulf coast.

President Obama, who promised in his campaign to develop cleaner sources of energy, has the power to stop the pipeline and the attendant increase in the production of the dirtiest and most environmentally destructive source of energy.

 Mr. President – keep your promise.

 There are many reasons to oppose the pipeline. For me, the most compelling is that the people who live near the tar sands have been judged to be expendable. Studies have shown that arsenic, mercury, and other highly toxic pollutants are leaking from the tar sands containment ponds and adversely affecting the health of the people and wildlife, particularly fish and amphibians, in the area.  To produce the oil trees are bulldozed wholesale and the entire surface of the earth is stripped away. It’s even more destructive than mountain top removal.

The land has been judged to be expendable. Tar sands oil production threatens not only the life of the people but their entire way of life.  Transporting the tar sands oil by pipeline requires high pressure pumping. The proposed route would place it in the middle of the Ogallala aquifer, one of the largest fresh water aquifers in the world.  If a buried pipeline were to leak there who knows how long it would take it before it was detected? If it were a large spill, we would never get the stink out.

I feel obliged to add my voice to the voices of all the people whose health and way of life will be directly affected by the increased production of tar sands oil this pipeline would bring.  I feel obliged to add my voice to the voices of all the people whose land will be taken for the pipeline without their consent.  I feel obliged to add my voice to the voices of all the people whose water will be at risk of contamination by the pipeline. Their voices have been ignored or minimized.   Let us add our voice to theirs and demand,

Mr. President – hear our voices.

____________________________

Rev. Craig C. Roshaven
Witness Ministries Director
Multicultural Growth and Witness
Unitarian Universalist Association

American Prayer Hour a Success



Hundreds of people of faith gathered on Thursday, February 4th in more than 20 cities around the country for the American Prayer Hour, an interfaith response to the National Prayer Breakfast, which also took place on Thursday morning. The National Prayer Breakfast is organized by the conservative and secretive religious group, The Family (also known as The Fellowship).

Members of The Family have been linked to the “Kill the Gays” bill, legislation proposed in Uganda that, if passed, could mean mandatory imprisonment or even the death penalty for anyone accused of being homosexual or protecting someone who is. The organization Full Equality Now, DC sponsored a Wednesday night protest at the Family’s headquarters on Capitol Hill that was covered on The Rachel Maddow Show.

Civil rights advocates had asked the President not to attend the Prayer Breakfast because of the Family’s ties the Ugandan legislation. Although President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did attend the event, they took the opportunity to speak out against the use of religion to justify violence and cruelty. The President decried the targeting of gays and lesbians anywhere in the world and expressed his disgust for laws that would do so in Uganda and elsewhere.

Back in Washington, D.C. a diverse group of religious leaders and people of faith attended the American Prayer Hour at Calvary Baptist Church. Imam Daayiee Abullah of the Al-Fatiha Foundation, which serves bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender Muslims, called the event a “rebuttal to cruelty and violence in God’s name,” and Rabbi Elizabeth Richman of Jews United for Justice declared that each one of us will not be safe, secure and valued until we live in a society where everyone is safe, secure and valued.

Rev. Elizabeth Lerner, of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring, (pictured above right with Sharon Groves, a member of All Souls Church, Unitarian), said that Thursday’s service reminded us that the only family that truly matters is our human family, and that the gathering made “a powerful statement condemning the strategies and bigotry of ‘The Family,’ and affirming that [the] persistent and triumphant message across the world’s religions is always transparent love in service of human dignity and peace.”

May that spirit of peace and dignity accompany all those in Uganda and around the world whose lives and families are endangered by those who would seek to silence and harm them.

Iranian American Journalist Freed

Last year, Iranian-American journalist Roxana Sebari was arrested in Iran for bringing a bottle of wine into the country. Sebari, who has dual citizenship with Iran and the United States had been living in Iran since 2003 as a freelance journalist for NPR and the BBC. While detained, her charges had been elevated to reporting without a license and espionage for the United State government.

While the Iranian government has arrested foreign reporters in the past, most of them had been deported to their home country. Ms. Sebari, on the other hand, stood trial. She was found guilty of spying and was sentenced to eight years in prison. The United States government immediately called for the release of Ms. Sebari, insisting that she has never worked for the government in any form, especially as a spy. After her trial in January, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad filed for an appeal–a move unheard of in modern Iranian history.

The appeals court rejected the initial sentence of eight years and called for the immediate deportation of Ms. Saberi. On Monday, she was released from jail to the custody of her parents and will return home to the United States this week.

Analysts say this is an important milestone in Iranian/American relations. President Ahmedinejad is up for re-election next month and his hard line rhetoric of his early administration has fallen away in response to falling approval ratings. The Iranian president has made many gestures to normalize relations with the American government. His election-night call to President Obama was the first call of congratulations an American president has received from Iran since the revolution of the 1970′s. The United States has continued to welcome Iran as a partner in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their continued participation has helped us stay an accountable partner in the region.

We, at the UUA, applaud the release of Ms. Saberi. We also encourage increased diplomatic negotiations with the Iranian government. We believe the United States can be a good model of religious freedom and tolerance to the Iranian government and they, in turn, can be important allies in ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We hope the US State Department and Iranian Supreme Council will continue to work toward normalized relations.

Truth? Yes. But, Reconciliation?

Last week, the White House released memos dating back from the previous administration proving that the government promoted the use of extreme interrogation tactics. These tactics, as described in the memos are easily considered torture. The memos have been read and analyzed by many in the media and you can find many reviews in a lot of places. I will not continue that discussion today.

Instead, I want to touch on a question that a lot of people have been asking: “What next?” How will we respond to this information as a government and a people? How should we punish those responsible? Who is responsible, exactly?

With all this uncertainty and murkiness, it seems like a truth and reconciliation commission similar to what happened in post-apartheid South Africa should occur. Through that process, we can find who is truly culpable and create closure on this gruesome period in our history. It makes sense for the Unitarian Universalist Association to call for truth, reconciliation, and repair since we are attempting to use that model in concerns of our racial history.

However, this model may not be the correct one in this case of a government sponsoring and endorsing torture of their prisoners. Traditionally, truth and reconciliation (T&R) commissions are reserved for societies where there is no government able to investigate, try or prosecute those responsible. In cases of failed democracies, such as South Africa, or in non-nation state-based communities, such as religious bodies, T&R allows a community to admit wrongs, forgive or punish as they see fit. An important element of T&R procedures is restorative justice where the suspected perpetrator is allowed to admit their deeds and apologize to the offended parties. By apologizing and receiving forgiveness, they receive amnesty and immunity from a prison sentence. It is a process that is long, grueling, and spiritually draining, but ultimately healing. It allows a community to admit their communal mistakes and receive a “do-over” with everything out in the open.

In the case of the Bush-era torture, the culpability is easily investigated. There is already a short list of people who could be caught red handed. Just off the top of my head, I would personally send to the witness stand: President Bush; Vice- President Cheney; CIA Director George Tennet; Secretaries of State Rice and Powell; Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld; White House Counselors Yoo and Meirs; and Attorneys General Gonzales and Ashcroft. In this case, we still have a justice system that works. The DOJ and courts still function and Congress still sits. A truth commission followed by a trial can be completed easily.

The ultimate question at hand is: “Can we reconcile torture?” Is this a time in which we can just forgive heinous and murderous actions endorsed by our government? When I read about actions inflicted on prisoners and the way these techniques affect the performers of the actions, and considering what could have been accomplished without these techniques, I think that we cannot just forgive it away. There seems to be no reconciling this–as long as we can really punish those responsible. It is important here to note that reconciliation and forgiveness are not always the same thing. One can reconcile differences without forgiving and vice versa. And even proponents of T&R would admit that the process is not for every one or for every situation.

What we have here resembles the Nuremburg Trials of the 1940’s. Now, I am not one to fall into populist rage and I consider myself pretty even handed. I am also not one to compare folks to the Nazis unless they have been responsible for the attempted annihilation of an entire race of people. That being said, we have a clear chain of command responsible for a specific action that has a concrete set of documents proving their intention. If that is not worth investigating and punishing, I am not sure what is. And so, by calling for a truth commission and a war crimes trial, we use the systems in place to resolve the problem at hand. That is why we at the UUA, along with our partners at UUSC, TASSC and NRCAT, are calling for a truth commission and justice for the victims—including the soldiers who were ordered to inflict these deeds. It is the very least we can do. To learn more and join our call for a truth commission please visit our partners at NRCAT.org.

President Obama Takes a Long View on Military Policy.

When President Obama left Istanbul on Tuesday, he hosted a town hall meeting with Turkish students. He was asked a lot questions about the U.S.’s relationship with the world. One student asked the President how he was different than his predecessor, George W. Bush.

That is a question a lot of folks in the United States are asking these days with Obama as Commander in Chief.

Since the President entered the Oval Office, we have seen him taking a firmer stand on Afghanistan. He has committed to an increase of 51,000 American troops as well as 5,000 NATO troops to the region. We have also seen several bombings of Al Qeada camps in Pakistan, with more scheduled soon. This should not come to any one as a surprise as the President campaigned with a platform that was tough on Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The President also issued a 19 month plan to bring an end to the war in Iraq. But the plan includes 50,000 troops to stay in the region as peacekeepers for an additional two years. For many who want to see an immediate end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, these plans have us stay in these lands for far too long.

But the President told the Turkish student that he is looking to the long term on military policy and people of the United States and the world should do the same.

While in Prague, in the Czech Republic, the President pledged the United States to be the moral example in ridding the world from nuclear weapons. He promised the United States and Russia would enter negotiations by the end of the year to reduce their nuclear arsenals.

Many people note that the President has increased the military spending budget by over $20 billion compared to last year’s Bush Administration budget (from $513 billion in FY09 to $534 billion in FY10). I would agree this is a disturbing trend that should be reversed. But I take pause and rethink this when I find this spending increase would help give benefits to soldiers and vets and would include improvements in the lagging Veteran’s Affairs and hospitals.

In fact, the President has told Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to cut out costly and unnecessary weapons systems. Secretary Gates passed the message to the Pentagon and told Congress to resist the urge to increase military spending in the budget. Many Republican Congress Members, including Saxby Chamblis (R-GA) expressed their dismay that the Pentagon would no longer be buying F-22 stealth jets (a plane never used in combat).

In January of this year, Secretary Gates said, “…the spigot of defense spending opened after 9/11 is closing.”

In the short run, I am extremely disappointed by the President’s military policy. I think the troops should come home and a surge of diplomats, engineers, and educators should help secure Afghanistan and Iraq. But in the long term, I am thrilled.

I hate knowing that my tax dollars are wasted on useless missles systems, jets and nuclear warheads. I think these changes are crucial steps to reversing the out of control spiraling military budgets.

U.S. and Iran Share Table at Afghanistan Meeting

This week The Hague, Netherlands, hosted a meeting to discuss the future of Afghanistan. Attendees included representatives from 73 nations, 11 international organizations and several observers from non-governmental organizations.

This meeting was very important and we at the UUA applaud the use of multi-lateral discussions and diplomacy to find a speedy and responsible end to the war in Afghanistan.

The UUA also approves of the United States and Iran joining together in dialogue over this cause. Iran has become an important ally in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. At this meeting, Iran has agreed to strengthen its control of the Afghani/Iranian border to prevent the opiate and heroin trade.

Reports indicate that the U.S. Envoy to South Asia, Richard Holbrooke, shared a short conversation with the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister, Mehdi Akhundzadeh. If this is true, this would signal a monumental shift in U.S. foreign policy with Iran. In previous years, Iranian and American officials never spoke with one another. A mending of relations between the United States and Iran after a thirty year rift is crucial to the progress and security of the Middle East. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said the meeting between Akhundzadeh and Holbrooke was “cordial” but “unsubstantive.”

However, today the Iranian government denied any such meeting happened. While Iran is committed to working alongside the United States to bring peace to Iraq and Afghanistan, Iranian officials refuse to meet directly with American officials.

We encourage the Obama Administration to continue working with Iran and opening up relations between the two countries. As one of its legislative objectives for the 111th Congress and the Obama Administration, the UUA calls on the government to “…prevent armed conflict with Iran, through multilateral diplomatic engagement.”

Witnessing on the Sixth Anniversary of the War with Iraq—Fulfill the Promise: End the Occupation

By Susan Leslie, Director, UUA Office for Congregational Advocacy & Witness

On Saturday, a coalition of Unitarian Universalist congregations from the Mass Bay District and the UUA, Military Families Speak Out, and United for Justice with Peace (a MA coalition of peace and justice organizations) gathered on the Boston Common and read the names of all the US military personnel killed in Iraq since the war began six years ago.

There were eight UU parish ministers and representatives and groups from 15 UU congregations (Marblehead, Dedham, Cambridge, Concord, Arlington Street Church, Community Church, First Parish Arlington, Sharon, Jamaica Plain, Sherborn, Middleboro, Beverly, Bedford, No Andover, and Stow). A group of UU young adults who had heard about the event on Facebook came together from Western MA to the Metro Boston area. College students from Bridgewater State also picked up on the Facebook listing, checked out www.uua.org/socialjustice and came carrying peace signs.

The names were read for six minutes at a time, followed by the ringing of a gong. Every hour there was a minute of silence for the Iraqi victims. Members of military families spoke gave testimonials including Bonnie Gorman and Gold Star Mother Malida Arredondo. [The Arredondo family circled the Common with their flatbed truck exhibit for Gold Star Families to End the War and sent passersby over to our Witness event.] They spoke of the pain and suffering of losing loved ones in an “ill-begotten war” and they called for healthcare and jobs for returning soldiers. Patrick Daugherty, of Iraq Veterans Against the War, called for a justification for President Obama’s plan to leave 50,000 troops in Iraq.

Rev. Wendy von Zirpolo, minister, UU Church of Marblehead, MA, presided over the event and began by saying:

We gather today in worshipful remembrance of those lost in the United States war with Iraq. Although it seems unreal that we mark a sixth year of US Occupation, the consequences are all too real for many here. We mark with great sadness over 4300 US deaths. We mark with a different sadness all the Iraqi deaths. Some reports are of up to 1 million victims. Neither lesser or greater, but each arriving with a host of other emotions. We gather for more than remembrance of these lost lives, however. We come here with a call to Fulfill the Promise, to End the Occupation, to recognize the cost of the occupation upon Iraq and stand accountable. to tell the truth about those who have returned and how we as a nation will own their stories and tend to their needs. We gather because it matters. We gather because it was on our watch that we arrived in Iraq and we must be quite sure that we bring them home. Thank you for joining us here today.

She ended our time together with these words:

We gather with heavy hearts.
Among us, those grieving the unimaginable. Those who have lost loved ones.
Among us are those who served alongside comrades who would not return, and those who would return, forever altered..
Among us are those who know war too well. Those who served faithfully and know death in ways that inhabit nightmares and on some days, waking hours.

We gather with hopeful hearts as well.
Among us, those looking to a new way of being in the world. A way that will lead to a more rapid return of our soldiers.
Among us, those looking with new eyes at raising awareness of the needs of those already home, but facing economic and health issues that should shame our nation.
Among us, those who know that change will not arrive without our voice – our call to fulfill the promise, end the occupation, tell the truth and take good care.

A picture and caption of the event was featured in The Boston Sunday Globe on March 22nd. We also got some good Indy coverage including a You Tube posting with lots of footage of Rev. Wendy and others.

Mass Peace Action posted a photo album of the witness.

It felt good to be standing with UUs and partners as we work to help President Obama end this immoral war that he too opposed. We remain faithful in our witness to end this war.

My Vision on the Anniversary of the War in Iraq

On this sixth anniversary of the Iraq war, guest blogger David Pyle, military veteran and candidate to be a UU military chaplain, shares his perspective.

I remember watching television six years ago today as the U.S. Military crossed the border into Iraq, in an operation known later as “Iraqi Freedom”. I remember feeling a conflict between my identity as a military veteran and my identity as a Unitarian Universalist. My growing Unitarian Universalist faith had brought me to a commitment never to personally carry a weapon again, and yet seeing those young men and women going into harm’s way, I felt that somehow I was supposed to be there with them.

In the months that followed, I wrestled with whether my faith called me to a personal pacifism, or whether I should re-enlist in the Army to be with the soldiers I had once trained as they went to war. The political questions about the conflict, the justifications made, the words said by politicians… all of this was distant compared to this deep spiritual question: Which is greater, the responsibility I feel to my self and my faith, or the responsibility I feel to those young men and women with whom I had once served?

As “Shock and Awe” was talked about and images of combat and falling statues dominated our media, I sat at my television in this spiritual conflict. I talked to recruiters about how I might put the uniform back on, and I kept silent at church for fear they would not understand. Over a period of months, I came to the realization that my personal faith would not allow me to carry a weapon ever again. That seemed to be the end of the question, until I realized over a year later that it was possible to do both, as a Unitarian Universalist Minister serving as a Military Chaplain.

One of the most common questions that Unitarian Universalists without military experience ask about military ministry is whether our liberal faith is attractive to or can be understood by those serving in the military. Unitarian Universalist military veterans never ask this question, because they know from their own lives how much our faith can speak to the military experience, how it can even seem like salvation. Even with my own experience as a soldier, I do not think I realized the profound depth of what Unitarian Universalism offers to those who serve until I began presenting weekly Unitarian Universalist Worship at the Great Lakes Naval Station, Recruit Training Command.

For over two years, students at the Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago and members of the Unitarian Church of Evanston, Illinois have facilitated a Sunday Morning Unitarian Universalist worship service for the naval recruits going through basic training. Begun by myself and a fellow UU seminarian and military servicemember, Seanan Holland, the service reaches almost 1000 young women and men per year with a message of inherent worth, interdependence, love, and hope. Though some of our recruits have been life-long UU’s or attended UU churches before, the vast majority are encountering our liberal faith for the first time. Depending on the time of year, each service draws between 20 and 90 recruits every Sunday morning.

If there is one thing I have personally learned from being with these young women and men these past two years, it is that Unitarian Universalism speaks deeply to who they are, and what they are facing in basic training and in the years to come. A faith that recognizes the inherent worth of all is profound, because they are often questioning their own worth. A faith that teaches interdependence is profound, because they are learning to be interdependent upon one another. A faith that challenges them to spiritual growth is profound, because basic training is a time of deep personal transformation. It is empowering to show that they can have a profound impact on who they want to be in this world.

In the last six months, we have encountered a new trend among the recruits who attend UU Worship. Many are seeking ways that they can continue to practice and identify as Unitarian Universalists in the years to come. They ask for help in finding the nearest UU congregation to their next assignment. They ask for a way to connect with the Church of the Larger Fellowship while they are serving overseas (www.clfuu.org/military). They ask for a symbol of a chalice that they can wear on their Identification Tags. While we can help with the first two, we do not have the funding to provide the ID Tag Chalices… yet.

Because for me, this ministry is about planting a seed of Unitarian Universalism, a seed of liberal faith. That seed may grow now, in the case of those who are asking for ways to identify with and connect to our religious movement beyond basic training. That seed may also grow later, when the experiences of their lives show them that they need a faith and a church with the healing message of universal love and grace. Such a seed sprouted in me, almost ten years after a military chaplain first said “Unitarian Universalism” to me, and was a part of my healing after I served as a Peacekeeper in Bosnia y Herzegovina.

I believe that there is no more profound act of social justice than bringing our values and principles into communities where they are needed, before they are needed. If we begin these young men and women on a path of thinking of the inherent worth and the interdependence of all at the beginning of their military service, perhaps we bring the military as a whole closer to our values and principles. And maybe, just maybe, bringing our principles and values into our military communities can bring our world closer to healing and peace.

This is my vision on this anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War.

Yours in Faith,

David Pyle
MOD Minister, Great Lakes Military Ministry
Candidate for the UU Ministry
U.S. Army Chaplain Candidate

Sixth Year in Iraq This Week

This week, we mark the sixth year our forces have acted as an occupying force in Iraq. Since the initial invasion we have seen thousands of US, Coalition and Iraqi lives lost. We have seen billions of dollars wasted and lots of lost opportunities.

While we mourn the loss of lives and resources, we also celebrate our successes. President Obama may have inherited this war, but he is acting quickly to end it in a safe and responsible manner. He has promised a redeployment home of 12,000 military personnel this summer followed by a near complete withdrawal of troops by the end of 2010. However, we are disappointed that a total of 50,000 troops will remain without a clear and concrete mission or time line.

We encourage your congregation to participate in the Iraq Memorial To Life and work to finish the job in Iraq in a timely manner.

Please visit our Iraq War pages at uua.org/socialjustice to find out how you can recognize this milestone as well as support our veterans and reconciliation with the citizens of Iraq.

Violence Returns to Northern Ireland

When I speak with ministers or seminarians, they all agree: their clinical pastoral education turned their theology lessons from theory to reality. There is nothing like comforting the dying, praying with a prisoner, or helping a student discern her calling to experience the beauty and grace of the divine.

For me, as someone who studied peace theory in college, my theory did not become reality until I went to Northern Ireland. Peace, there, was always a tenuous ideal despite the fact that it had been a little less than a decade since Catholic and Protestant leaders signed the 1998 Peace Accord, creating a power sharing agreement between Catholic Nationalists and Protestant Unionists.

Violence in Northern Ireland definitely had been reduced, but had not disappeared. While violence based on religious backgrounds had grown out of societal favor, we had seen increased hate crimes against recent immigrants and surrounding perceived gender and sexuality. The drug trade and organized crime also lead to an increase of street violence.

For the people of Northern Ireland, politics, religion and culture is a big stew of memory and hurt. While the dividing systems of The Troubles are under deconstruction, it is nearly impossible to fully bring together such a divided and segregated society. Even if every sectarian mural was painted over, every “security fence” taken down, and every bench scrubbed clean of graffiti, it would be a herculean task to reconcile a city such as London/Derry, which has literally polarized its different factions of population on opposite sides of a river.

During my time in Northern Ireland, people were happy for the peace accord. Democracy was blooming as power sharing negotiations had begun again and the local government returned to order after a five year hiatus. People were hopeful again.

But tension lingered. Sectarian violence always seemed to be a possibility. Anger and frustration churned just below the surface, like a pot of water just before it starts to boil. The question was: would sectarianism ever come to the surface and erupt again?

Last Sunday, two British soldiers were gunned down by the Republican paramilitary, RIRA (Real Irish Republican Army), stationed in Northern Ireland’s County Antrim before they left for Afghanistan. And again, the next day, a different Republican paramilitary, CIRA (Continuity Irish Republican Army) took credit for the first murder of a police officer in over ten years.

Immediately the leadership of Sinn Fein, the majority Catholic Republican party in Northern Ireland, denounced the violence. Martin McGuinness, former leader of the Provisional IRA and Deputy Leader of the party called the dissident Republicans “traitors” to the peace process. He added that the CIRA and RIRA “don’t deserve to be supported by anyone.”

Strong words from a man convicted in 1987 of setting bombs that killed eleven.

As the Northern Ireland Assembly met at Stormont (the Capitol building of Northern Ireland) on Monday, the Sinn Fein Leadership stood and offered a moment of silence for the fallen soldiers and police officer. Republican Leadership offering a moment of silence for fallen British soldiers was a sight unthinkable as little as five years ago.

I was deeply moved by seeing the Nationalist and Republican responses to this violence. It is a strong testament to the peace process and the power of reconciliation. Yesterday, a friend in Northern Ireland posted pictures from the rally in Belfast. All over the province, over 200,000 people (about 1/6th of the population of Northern Ireland) came out for a silent protest against the violence.

As Minister McGuinness put it, in many ways this violence has “strengthened the peace process.”

Many people wondered what the radical Loyalist factions would say about the killings. Thus far, they have been positive.

Jackie McDonald, head of the largest Loyalist paramilitary–Ulster Defense Association (UDA)–has echoed Minister McGuinness’ statements saying, “The IRA blew the two communities apart during the Troubles but the Real IRA and Continuity IRA have actually united the people like never before.”

While the major political leaders and much of the population have decried the violence, it is not over yet. A threat of a “major” and “considerable” bomb being smuggled onto the island by CIRA and/or RIRA has caused a cross-border task force of the Northern Ireland Police Service and the Republic of Ireland’s Garda Siochana (Guardians of the Peace). So far, two people have been arrested in connection to that threat but no device has been found.