Paris terrorism abused for wars, attacks on civil liberties

This Associated Press video is called UN Secretary General [Kofi Annan] reiterates opposition to war on Iraq.

Another video used to say about itself:

Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan on the Iraq War

9 September 2012

I was completely against the war with every fiber of my being, and I was thinking, ‘How can we stop this?’ But it became clear it was unstoppable. Many nations around the world in Latin America and Africa spoke out against the war. I was relieved that the United Nations did not give approval for the war. It would have been a disaster for the United Nations. Many Americans at the time were upset that the United Nations wouldn’t support the war, but I think they now understand that we made the right decision.”

-Kofi Annan, Former U.N. Secretary General

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

A hell of our own making

Saturday 21st November 2015

This is all getting horribly predictable. The West wages war and in doing so ostracises and radicalises a new generation of terrorists who bring the war back to their front doors with a vengeance.

Said Western state condemns the attacks as cowardly assaults on their freedom and way of life and vows to escalate the bombing and crack down on civil liberties at home, thus ensuring the cycle continues in perpetuity.

Other nations jump on the band wagon and use said atrocity to ratchet up the fear quotient in their own countries as a pretext for brutal repression and the further erosion of free speech and human rights in the name of national security.

Rightwingers seize the news agenda with their denunciations of barbaric Muslims, as if there were some form of hive mind in action and billions of people around the globe thought as one in their hatred of the West.

’Twas ever thus. The enemy may change but the response and rhetoric do not.

And of course as the true extent of the sickening massacre in Paris unfolded they took primacy over attacks mere days beforehand in non-western countries including Egypt, Lebanon and just yesterday Mali, not to mention the almost daily slaughter in Iraq and Syria.

But then they’re all savages over there and that’s just what they do, right?

These atrocities warrant no more than a few column inches or a soundbite on the news, and then usually only if there are any white westerners involved.

This is despite the glaring fact that most of the fighting and factionalisation in these regions can be directly traced back to colonialism, imperialism and Western intervention.

There was no Al-Qaida in Iraq until the 2003 invasion.

For all its faults Iraq was one of the only secular states in the Middle East. Now it is riven with sectarianism and extremism by Sunni and Shia alike.

Likewise Isis did not exist until the assaults on Libya and now Syria.

No one in their right mind would attempt to justify the barbaric slaughter that claimed over 120 lives on the streets of Paris in the space of just a few hours.

The murder of innocent civilians can never be justified under any circumstances.

But there is a massive double standard at work here.

Are the appalling deaths of innocents in Paris somehow worse than the deaths of tens of thousands of blameless people across the Middle East and Africa?

Does the fact that it is the state carrying out these killings make them justifiable, merely unfortunate collateral damage as the time-worn phrase would have it?

To both of these questions I would argue that the answer is an emphatic no.

By the same token, is it more cowardly to murder civilians with assault rifles and suicide vests than from a comfortable seat thousands of miles from the carnage operating an unmanned drone as if playing the latest PlayStation game?

Or by be-suited warriors in Westminster, Washington of elsewhere giving the go ahead for indiscriminate bombing raids and pontificating about the righteousness of their cause?

I think not.

Murder is murder.

There is no grey area or ambiguity here.

At the risk of sounding cynical and indifferent there is a simple correlation here: France does not send forces to Iraq, no attacks on French soil. Sarkozy gleefully cheerleads for the bombing of Libya and the policy is extended by Hollande…

So now we face the prospect of spiralling even further into a hell of our own making.

Greater oppression, greater suspicion, further attempts to justify the intensification of the abhorrently racist asylum and immigration systems in the majority of EU states.

Closing the borders to the needy and starving, the further paramilitarisation of the police and the granting of even more invasive surveillance powers to the security forces.

It will not make a blind bit of difference in terms of preventing or deterring such horrendous atrocities, only a major shift in Western foreign policy can do that.

But then it is not really meant to. It is all a pretext for suppressing dissent and criminalising free thought.

While peoples of all nations stood in solidarity and sympathy with the people of Paris, their governments are using it as an opportunity to force through their own draconian agendas.

Now that is truly despicable.

Numerous media reports over the past several days have revealed that most of the Islamists who engaged in the suicide attacks in Paris that killed 130 people, as well as the reputed organizer of the attacks, were known to the French and Belgian security services well before November 13. But no intelligence or police agency took action against them to prevent the murderous rampage: here.

Popular frustration spread across Belgium yesterday as contradictions mounted in the official justification for the continued police lockdown of Brussels and the national state of alert: here.

After Paris attacks, Spain offers to reinforce French troops in Africa: here.

Isra Mohammed: 15-year-old Muslim schoolgirl has message for people who blamed her little sister for the Paris attacks: here.

After President François Hollande announced last month that France might deprive dual nationals convicted of terrorism or crimes against the state of French citizenship, the Socialist Party (PS) government is now considering extending that punishment to all French nationals: here.

On Friday, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls reaffirmed initial Socialist Party (PS) statements after the November 13 terror attacks in Paris carried out by the Islamist State (IS, or Daesh), that the current state of emergency in France must be made permanent: here.

By Peter Schwarz:

The end of liberal Europe

23 January 2016

The historian Heinrich August Winkler has described the history of Germany as a “long road to the West.” By “West,” the Social Democrat means parliamentary democracy, human and civil rights—as they were defined by the American and French revolutions—class compromise and social balance.

After a long Sonderweg (special path), according to Winkler’s interpretation, Germany had finally arrived in the “West” through the Constitution of 1949, the nonviolent reunification of 1991 and the integration into the European Union, which finally led the European continent to peace.

Winkler’s conception of the “West” was always ideologically driven and involved a significant glossing over of reality. However, if recent events are assessed on the basis of his criterion, then Germany and Europe have rapidly travelled the “road to the West” in reverse over recent months. Almost overnight, the political culture has been violently transformed. The social democratic and liberal Europe has collapsed.

Everywhere, the ruling elites are moving sharply to the right. Chauvinism, xenophobia, militarism and the call for a strong state are on the rise. This applies not only to the emerging ultra-right-wing parties such as the French National Front, the Alternative for Germany, the Austrian Freedom Party, the Hungarian Fidesz and the Polish PiS, but also for every establishment party, including those supposedly on the left.

Pseudo-left publications such as the Pabloite United Secretariat’s International Viewpoint are among the leading voices in the chorus calling for state intervention and imperialist war in the name of allegedly defending women’s rights.

In Germany, political parties and the media have sparked a campaign of racist incitement against refugees following the wildly hyped events in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, reminiscent of the anti-Semitic campaigns of the Nazis.

56 thoughts on “Paris terrorism abused for wars, attacks on civil liberties

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  18. One year after Charlie Hebdo attack

    Police gun down youth in poor Paris neighborhood

    By Stéphane Hugues

    8 January 2016

    On Thursday, the first anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, police gunned down a youth outside a police station in northern Paris. While government officials differed in their accounts of the motivation of the victim and how the police had killed him, witnesses flatly contradicted police accounts of the shooting and said police had shot an unarmed man without warning.

    The shooting took place at midday in front of the Commissariat of Police for a poor and heavily immigrant neighborhood, the “Goutte d’Or” in the 18th district of Paris.

    The victim was Sallah Ali, a 20-year-old Moroccan born in Casablanca but living homeless in France. He had had a single brush with the police in 2013, where he was arrested for stealing in the town of Sainte-Maxime in the Var region of the south of France. He was positively identified by his fingerprints that were taken at the time, as he had no identity papers.

    Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and the Paris prefect of Police arrived only half an hour after the killing, making clear that the highest levels of the Socialist Party (PS) government of Prime Minister Manuel Valls and President François Hollande were intervening.

    They closed down the underground Paris Metro trains in the vicinity, ordered a mass deployment of security forces, and put the entire Goutte d’Or neighborhood on lockdown. Riflemen deployed across Paris under the terms of the PS’s state of emergency were placed on alert.

    Only 45 minutes after the shooting, French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet went on BFMTV to report that Ali, armed with a knife and an explosive belt, had shouted “Allah Akbar” (God is great in Arabic) whilst trying to assault a police officer at the entrance to the Commissariat.

    Only 25 minutes later, this account of the shooting started to fall apart. A bomb disposal unit that had arrived at the scene analyzed the belt worn by Ali and said that it contained no explosives. There was no sign of a knife, but a big butcher’s cleaver was found near Ali.

    Witnesses to the shooting contradicted Brandet’s account. BFMTV interviewed them and reported, “Many witnesses have assured BFMTV that the assailant of the Commissariat…did not cry out ‘Allah Akbar.’ Many of the witnesses said that he never even pronounced these words: ‘When he arrived, he was acting normally,’ said one of them.”

    BFMTV continued, “Witnesses state that the man was not armed. ‘He was not armed at all,’ stated a woman who had seen the assailant. The Police officers told him ‘back-up, back-up, back-up’ then ‘he backed up whilst raising his hands,’ she said. But the man moved forward again towards the Police officers and they shot him three times.”

    At about 3 p.m., the State Prosecutor’s office announced that it was charging Sallah Ali with aggressing police officers as representatives of the state. Then at 3:45, it announced that “a portable telephone and a paper that had a Daesh [Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] flag on it with a clearly formulated handwritten demand in Arabic” had been found on Ali’s body.

    The Prosecutor’s office then repeated the claim that Ali had cried “Allah Akbar” as he moved toward the Police officers. The case was then transferred to the Special Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor.

    It was later confirmed that the ISIS flag on the paper was amateurishly drawn with a marker. As for the handwritten demand, authorities said it was a pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed leader of ISIS, referring to “acts to avenge the deaths in Syria.”

    The Interior Ministry’s attempts to present Ali as a terrorist are simply not credible. One policeman speaking to the right-wing daily Le Figaro expressed disbelief at PS allegations that Ali was carrying out a terrorist attack. He said, “running at armed policemen wearing bulletproof vests wearing a fake explosive belt, is bizarre. It’s even suicidal.”

    The Prosecutor’s office’s account was also contradicted by Justice Minister Christine Taubira, who said, “What is very clear from what is known about this person, [it is that he] has no link to violent radicalization, none at all.”

    “A fake suicide belt, shouting, the statement of loyalty in his pocket, these are signs that can indicate belonging to a [terrorist] network, but they can also be signs of instability. The investigation will shed light on all of this,” she added.

    The police killing of Sallah Ali points to the vast shift to the right in the French political establishment that has taken place in the year since the Kouachi brothers carried out a terrorist attack killing 11 people at the editorial offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. The PS organized a mass national demonstration after the attack, proclaiming a period of national unity based on a police buildup, supposedly to protect free expression and liberty of the press.

    What has unfolded over the last year was not a flowering of democracy in France, however, but an accelerating movement towards police-state rule led by the PS. Law-and-order and anti-Muslim moods have helped the neo-fascist National Front (FN) to consolidate its place in the political establishment, and since the November 13 terrorist attacks, the PS placed France in a state of emergency. This gives the PS wide police powers, including to censor the press.

    The PS is proposing a measure to deprive citizens of their nationality if they carry out terrorism-related offenses. This measure was long associated with the FN and, before it, to the deprivation of Jews’ French nationality during the Holocaust in fascist Europe during World War II.

    The division inside the PS over the police killing of Ali reflects the debate that has roiled the government since then, with Taubira criticizing PS support for deprivation of nationality while the bulk of the government supported it.

    The killing of Ali emerges directly from this poisonous and reactionary political climate. As the PS promotes law-and-order hysteria to help ram through a constitutional amendment to enshrine a permanent state of emergency in the French constitution, 100,000 soldiers and police are patrolling the streets on full alert. With jittery and heavily armed men deployed across the country, it is likely only a matter of time before another person is gunned down by security forces in the streets of France.


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