We should be swift to condemn atrocity, whether from East or West (and West has been guilty of plenty) but slow to jump to conclusions as to perpetrators or motive of violent outrages such as this one today, in the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the French weekly satirical magazine. Recent history and events have taught us that, at least.
The reality is that these barbarous acts are embedded in, and cannot be extricated from, the whole Middle East mess, for which we cannot escape partial responsibility. The bottom line is that the role of France and other Western countries in Syria and elsewhere has probably more to do with today’s outrage than a few cartoons and the issue of free speech to which the public’s attention has been directed.
“France 24” reports the incident as follows:
“At least two masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday (7.1.2015) killing 12 people and injuring 11 more before escaping in a car. It was France’s deadliest terrorist attack in decades. Some of France’s most prominent cartoonists were among the dead, including the magazine’s director Stéphane Charbonnier, known as “Charb”. Seven other journalists were killed along with two police officers, a guest at the Charlie Hebdo offices and the building’s receptionist. The gunmen reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) during their deadly rampage. Charlie Hebdo had been a target of Islamist extremists ever since it published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, Islam’s holiest figure, in 2006. Its previous headquarters were fire-bombed in 2011. A massive police operation was still under way Wednesday evening, with more than a thousand officers hunting the attackers, who abandoned their car in the north-east of Paris. France’s security alert has been raised to its highest level. President François Hollande called the slayings “a terrorist attack without doubt”, adding that several other attacks had been thwarted in France in recent weeks. He announced a national day of mourning on Thursday.”
In many ways this was a fairly typical “terrorist attack”: unannounced, targeted, brutal, transitory, irrational – catching the authorities off guard. Another example of the “banality of evil” in Hannah Arendt’s famous phrase, yet leaving emotional devastation in its wake.
The official line is that this is a terrorist attack by an off-shoot of Al Qaeda based in the UAE as “punishment” for the magazine carrying disrespectful cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. The fact that it was subject to an earlier arson attack lends credence to this version of events but may not be the complete picture. Terrorist attacks are seldom explained with the most obvious explanations. Long experience has taught us to be very wary of jumping to conclusions as to perpetrators or motive until all facts are revealed, if they ever are.
It should be noted that some witnesses have reported hearing the attackers not only shout “Allahu Akbar”, that may be translated as “God is Great” and commonly uttered whenever a violent assault is being carried out, but also that they claimed they were from a Yemeni Al Quada off shoot. Some might think this was rather too convenient and that given the reportedly “Bad French”, North Africa or Syria might be a more likely country of origin. This is rather supported by amateur images of some of the assailants who appear to be fit, athletically built, young men, dressed in black, very reminiscent of those in recent ISIS “execution” and other videos. To date however, no organisation has claimed responsibility.
The gunman share a remarkable likeness in garb, including top fashion trainers (!) to the people we have seen representing “ISIS” in all its forms. From the amateur video it looks like the near side shooter even lost his trainer as he got out his vehicle and retrieves it after the deadly deed, before getting back in. There will be people studying that new distinctive trainer I am sure.
It has already been noted that this was no “lone wolf” operation or the result of offended or irrational individuals. Clearly all the signs are this was a coldly calculated and planned operation by military trained operatives. Note how two advance on the injured policeman on the ground who surrenders but is still ruthlessly dispatched by bullet(s) to the head (we are told).
These are likely army-trained mercenaries, used by States to carry out atrocities to elicit predictable public opinion and policy results. More anti-Muslim rhetoric, more repressive laws with correspondingly unrestrained policing powers, less opposition to foreign military intervention supposedly intended to tackle the root of the problem but with very different political/economic aims can be expected to follow. It is the essence of “False Flag” philosophy.
What we witnessed in Paris, via an (innocent?) by-stander’s mobile phone is classical military training linked to desensitised, callous, intentional, murder. Why shoot the policeman in the head when he was already disabled and unable to pose a threat particularly as they were about to leave? It shouts detailed planning and co-ordination.
Rather akin to the Woolwich incident, where extreme brutality sits cheek by jowl with inoffensive, even considerate behaviour, they reportedly look into other rooms and ask for directions without threatening or injuring the occupants . This effectively rules out from a psychological standpoint, mental imbalance or irrational hate motivated violence. They have a plan; they are following instructions. The question is who actually gave them their instructions?
French/Syrian connections are so well known that this makes this source perhaps more likely than far-off UAE. If there is anything to to this, the alarm bells should start ringing. We should be aware of claims that ISIS is in fact an American/Israeli front organisation, with specific global aims in the region, agreed with neighbouring Turkey over a year ago. Redirecting the blame towards the UAE rather than an essentially US directed ISIS might of course have a certain attraction.
“Another, unnamed witness from an office across the corridor said she and her colleagues had heard “a huge boom. Then someone opened the door to our office and asked where Charlie Hebdo was. He had a rifle. We backed away. Afterwards he left, we heard gunfire. We went to the windows, there were two men running with guns, speaking in bad French … They were shouting outside, and shooting again. Afterwards I saw someone leaving the building with his hands covered in blood.””
Significantly on the same day, at least 37 people were killed and 66 others injured by a car bomb blast outside a police academy in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa carried out, it is claimed by a “Al Queda affiliates”. Of course the Yemen has recently been the focus of numerous deadly US drone attacks and other confrontation. Except that these are directed at essentially rebellious Shia tribesmen from the mountainous north, not the Saudi Arabian Sunni Al Qaeda people closely connected to leaders of the remarkable ISIS, ISIL, IS, or whatever they are called, that emerged as an unstoppable military force almost overnight.
Nor should we interpret it as necessarily a response to anti-Muslim satire or attack on Western ideas of free speech. It is much more complicated and contrived than merely that. Sure, certain publishers intentionally put their heads above the parapet, so to speak, and become useful targets of those who wish to promote and intensify anti-Muslim feeling, but one only needs to compare the outrage generated by this event as compared to the Sanaa same-day incident killing 66, to see which is more effective at getting a Western reaction.
We must ask “who benefits” from these attacks, if we wish to gain real insight as to who or what is behind them. Religion is merely the useful veneer behind which much more profound global schemes are played out.
Chilling, cold-blooded murders. We can only feel for the innocent victims and their loved ones, whilst condemning the brutal act that caused it. There are men and organisations that defy description, some of whom did much the same at Chevaline. (There are many parallels in that still unresolved notorious event and may even be tenuously connected) They are devoid of all empathy and mercy and deserve only utter contempt.
But at the same time we must be alive to the possibility that explanations and reactions by governments may not be all they seem to be and wary too of the policy consequences that they seek to persuade us are necessary on the back of them.END