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100 years ago this month July 4, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This snippet from a longer and fascinating piece on the Special Infantry Corps on The Irish Story website is telling, is it not?

The Free State was concerned from its earliest days about left-wing subversion as well as ‘Irregular’ IRA military action. In July 1922, Michael Collins, then Commander in Chief of the National Army detailed his then Director of Intelligence Liam Tobin to tap the phones of ‘well known anti[Treatyites]s, Bolsheviks, Fianna, Cumann na mBan and the IWW [International Workers of the World].’[28]


1. terrymdunne - July 4, 2022

Telling in many ways! Interestingly, prior to the Four Courts the decision had already been made to send National Army in against the occupations in Tipperary, which would have made for a different history (though I suspect this was to assert authority over largely anti-Treaty held area as well as to crack down on workplace occupations).

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2. yourcousin - July 4, 2022

And it’s the Industrial Workers of the World, not *International*. This mistake always happens.


terrymdunne - July 4, 2022

In the debate on the bombing of the Four Courts in the House of Commons, Churchill, and others, made reference to the Independent Workers of the World (the Soviet Army came into it too).


3. The Broken Elbow - July 4, 2022

Tap phones in 1921? Was that possible back then?

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WorldbyStorm - July 4, 2022

That’s a very interesting question. Would it have been at the exchange?


terrymdunne - July 4, 2022

Goes back to the 1890s, here is the New Yorker from 1938 on it:

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Wes Ferry - July 4, 2022

Might ‘tap the phones’ be a modern-day writer’s take on operators simply listening in to phones of particular people of interest to the authorities?

That said (and FWIW), there’s this from Wiki about the practice in the USA: “Telephone wiretapping began in the 1890s, following the invention of the telephone recorder, and its constitutionality was established in the Prohibition-Era conviction of bootlegger Roy Olmstead.”

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4. Blade Sprinter - July 4, 2022

The father came up in the P&T. Said in the 1970s every exchange he ever did work on had illegal taps. Some of them would play dumb and remove the wires because there was no paperwork, guv’nor. Plenty others went along with it.

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