The public response to the fatal attack on the offices of the satirical comic book Charlie Hebdo in Paris on 7th January has been a heartening assertion of the necessity for free speech and, in particular, the freedom to satirise establishment entities and people alongside a determination to disassociate the actions of the attackers from the religion they claim inspires them. The reaction from the public has been the same as the reaction in Australia after the deaths of two hostages at a coffee shop in Sydney (Sydney siege) in December last year and the same as the reaction in Canada after the death of a security guard close to the Canadian parliament in Ottawa in October last year.
The positive and intelligent behaviour of people in response to such acts does not appeal to the agendarist puppets in government, in the media, in the business of “national security” and in tailored propaganda think-tanks. An array of unsurprising faces, some of whom are pictured below, has jumped at the opportunity for them to promote anti-Islam rhetoric in order to use it as either a tactic of distraction to shift the direction of blame, or to use it as a spurious excuse to further reduce civil liberties and attack freedom, or to just be a bigot.
Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu recalled his deceitful and disgusting address at the UN in September 2014 wherein he tried to justify Israel’s carpet-bombing of civilians in Gaza as being the same as the war against ISIS. (Netanyahu UN speech). He repeated his description of Hamas, the elected authority in Gaza, as “terrorist fanatics” and made clear his claim that Israel’s terrorism against Gaza was the same as fighting the assailants who carried out the attack in Paris. (Netanyahu Paris comments). Thus, Netanyahu is using the deaths of the Hebdo cartoonists as tools to reverse legitimise the deliberate targeting of civilians and infrastructure in Gaza.
National security versus freedom
Fans of greater intrusions into freedom via stronger “security” legislation are popular among the most illiberal politicians. Canada’s prime minister Stephen Harper intends to “tighten anti-terrorist measures at home, promising a broader range of legislated powers for security forces to identify potential terror threats, to boost powers of detention, arrest, and other actions where necessary.” (Harper comments). His justification for these new “powers” is “the international jihadist movement has declared war on any country like ourselves that values freedom, openness and tolerance.” Australia’s prime minister Tony Abbott was less detailed about what changes he wants; “we have to strengthen our security intelligence services” was his only comment, but his analysis of the assailants in Paris echoed his Canadian counterpart (and political ally): “These are people who hate us, not because of anything we have done, but because of who we are and how we live.” (Abbott comments).
In Britain, Conservative MP David Davies has attacked access to basic human rights, including the right to asylum, even when facing severe penalty, including possible death, if the claimant is returned forcibly to his country of origin. His comments, including an incident he recalls when working as a special constable – are such appointments not vetted? – are plainly stupid and despicable, and to use the attack in Paris as an excuse to spout such drivel is disgusting. (David Davies comments). He blithely opines that “there must be huge numbers of people in Britain who have been members of extremist Islamic organisations.” This is an elected MP speaking! His opposition to basic human rights is enhanced by his desire that “we should state that anyone suspected of links with any militant Islamist organisations should be prevented from entry under any circumstance into Britain.”
Andrew Parker, the Director General of MI5, claimed that the terrorist threat has “evolved significantly,” “a group of core al-Qaida terrorists in Syria is planning mass casualty attacks against the West” and “we still face more complex and ambitious plots,” alongside a boast that “spies have foiled four terrorist plots against the UK in the past year that would have certainly resulted in deaths.” None of these claims can be verified but Parker’s motivation is revealed, after further pseudo-dramatic portents of doom, by the ominous request that “we need to be able to access communications and obtain relevant data on those people when we have good reason to do so.” (Parker comments).
Some people just don’t like Muslims
Whether as a distraction technique to create an enemy to divert attention from the real enemy, the financial gangsters of the City Of London and Wall Street, or as simple rancid bigotry, many grotesques have spewed forth their bile against Islam. French racist Marine Le Pen said “the absolute rejection of Islamic fundamentalism must be proclaimed loudly and clearly.” So, not enough for her that violent attacks are stopped but strong commitment to the Islamic faith is also to be denied. She then suggests a return of the death penalty in France, which would certainly deter the suicide bombers I suppose. (Le Pen comments). UKIP’s lead drunkard Nigel Farage blamed “really rather gross policy of multiculturalism” for the creation of “a fifth column living within these countries.” He described Islam as “a deeply unpleasant and anti-Christian heritage culture” and concluded that “we come from countries with Christian culture and Christian constitutions and we’ve got to start standing up for that.” Farage’s arrogant anti-Muslim rant was supported by racist website Brietbart’s chief troll and coward James Delingpole, who, with his usual Nick Griffin-like political stance and similar thuggery praised Farage’s filth as “honest and principled” and stated that what Farage said “has the benefit of being entirely true.” (Delingpole/Farage comments). UKIP’s culture spokesperson – not an oxymoron, apparently – Peter Whittle states that the Paris attack is against “our values.” In a tweet wherein he condemns the attack he is methodical enough to remember to add a UKIP hashtag; perhaps, one of the values that Whittle wishes to protect is one where mass murder is a good opportunity to promote your political party. (Whittle comments).
Rupert Murdoch’s Fox news had a huge circle jerk of appalling anti-Islam ejaculations. Steve Emerson was so disappointed that many world leaders didn’t stoop to his preferred language when describing the assailants in Paris; Emerson is so keen for the word Islam to be used. He then chose to describe every Muslim group that doesn’t cower under the US or Saudi boot as a terrorist group, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. (Emerson comments). Emerson’s job appears to solely consist of presenting a fraudulent representation of Islam. Shannon Bream’s main concern was that, if the terrorists are wearing ski masks, how can the colour of their skin be determined to see if they “look like typical bad guys?” (Bream comments). Eric Bolling lamented the scaling down of racial profiling during police stop and frisk, (Bolling comments), and Fox’s “military expert” – I think Fox has a different definition of the word expert – Tom McInerney riled against political correctness, agreed with Emerson’s view that the word Islam isn’t used often enough when describing terrorism and said that the “Arab world and the Muslim world” should be held “accountable.” (McInerney comments). McInerney also would like to see a lot less democracy and a lot more military dictatorships like Egypt.
David Aaronovitch’s motivation for anything he says or writes is always elusive. In a rambling article in the Times, (Aaronovitch screenshot), he appears to be constructing an excuse for anti-Islam prejudice of the type enjoyed by Marine Le Pen, and expressing disappointment that over the last few decades people haven’t been ruder to Muslims. I assume he gets paid by the word.
Back at Breitbart, Robert Davi, an actor in Hollywood films but also a right-wing ranter – the Ted Nugent of acting, cannot contain his joy that the slaughter of innocent French cartoonists and a police officer has given him another burst of energy to climax over his keyboard in a frenzied diatribe at Islam. “We all know that the Jews, Christians, and the West are under attack,” Davi proclaims, he has “been writing about the danger of not calling things what they are for years” and he has “continually written about how important it is for our immigrant population to assimilate,” to the Borg, presumably. “I have spoken about the danger of closing Guantanamo Bay, about how New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stopped the surveillance of mosques in New York” he says, thus using the attack in Paris as justification for the illegal detention at Guantanamo Bay and for harassment of Muslims as they pray. Davi’s utterances read like a parody of a deranged Fox News talking head, but it isn’t a parody. He concludes by praising the military dictator Sisi who stole power in Egypt recently from an elected president. Egypt is, of course, a big customer for the US arms trade. (Davi comments).
As I write this two of the attackers of the cartoonists’ office have taken hostages after a confrontation with police and there is a possibility of further deaths. It is a truly horrific incident, and not the first, or the last, of its kind. The opportunists, lying in wait in their respective gutters, always reveal their true intentions at a time like this. It is important not to forget what they think.