Following a series of attacks that left over 100 people dead in Paris, France on Friday, French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency which closed the country’s borders and gave the government heightened access into the lives of its citizens.
Reuters reported that “about 100 people were killed in the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris” and an additional “40 others have died in other locations,” such as busy restaurants and bars in and around Paris, after they were attacked by gunmen and bombers.
After reports of multiple attacks in Paris surfaced around 4 p.m. eastern, the Associated Press reported at 6:20 p.m. eastern that one of six different attacks across the city left at least 100 people dead, “inside a Paris concert hall where attackers seized hostages,” and that “security forces have ended their assault on a concert hall filled with hostages, killing at least two attackers.”
During an emergency midnight cabinet meeting (6 p.m. eastern), roughly two hours after the attacks were reported, Hollande declared that the country was under a “state of emergency.”
“What the terrorists want is to make us afraid, to seize us with fear,” Hollande said. “There is something to be afraid of, but faced with this fear, there’s a nation which defends itself and mobilizes itself and which will once again be able to overcome the terrorists.”
Hollande called for military to assisted local police, and said that the choice to close France’s borders was “to assure ourselves that no one can enter to commit any act, whatever that may be.”
According to Article 16 of the French Constitution of 1958, when the “integrity of its territory or the fulfilment of its international commitments are under serious and immediate threat, and where the proper functioning of the constitutional public authorities is interrupted,” the French has the power to call for a state of emergency, after consulting with the Prime Minister, the Presidents of the Houses of Parliament and the Constitutional Council.
A state of emergency in France gives the government the power of censorship, as well as the authority to “regulate or forbid circulation and gathering in some areas,” close places of gathering altogether, and “conduct house-to-house searches at any time without judicial oversight.”
Earlier this month, activists with the group “Declassify the 28” had the opportunity to question Ohio Governor John Kasich and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush regarding their position on the 28 classified pages of the Senate report on the attacks of 9/11.
The 28 pages in question are a portion of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 (not the 9/11 Commission Report). Although the final report amounts to over 800 pages, the 28 pages were classified by former President George W. Bush shortly after the report was released in 2002. The 28 pages make up the bulk of a section titled “Part 4: Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters.”
Truth In Media has followed the saga of the 28 pages for several years. Officials who have seen the documents have stated that the information relates to financing of the suspected terrorists, and points a finger at members of the government of Saudi Arabia. Upon seeing the pages himself, Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie said there will be “anger, frustration, and embarrassment when these 28 pages finally come out.”
At a recent town hall meeting in Barrington, New Hampshire, Jeb Bush was asked to comment on the pages and whether or not he would fight to declassify information related to 9/11.
Amazingly, Bush responded by saying, “I don’t know what the 28 pages are.” Once the woman explained to Bush what the pages were, he responded by saying, “Look, I can’t commit to something until I see it. Since I don’t have classified information, I can’t tell you what it is or tell you whether it should be declassified.” The woman attempted to continue explaining the relevance of the pages but Bush cut her off and moved on. Watch below:
Jeb Bush’s ignorance is difficult to accept as truth. The Bush family has well-known connections to Saudi Royalty, specifically through the man nicknamed “Bindar Bush”. There are also reports that $1.4 billion was funneled from the Saudi Royal family to institutions connected to the Bush family. Lobbyists from Saudi Arabia have also given extensively to the Jeb Bush presidential campaign, with two different lobbyists giving a combined $15,000 to Bush’s super PAC, and one of them raising another $32,400 for the Bush campaign fund.
Bush was not the only politician to be questioned on the 28 pages while in New Hampshire. Ohio Gov. John Kasich was also asked about the pages at a town hall meeting. “I just want to know if you take the oath of office you will have the guts to get real with Saudi Arabia, and get some prosecutions going here and go after some of the people who were involved,” Eric Jackman asked Kasich.
The governor danced around the 9/11 question and instead gave his opinion on the United States’ relationship with the Saudi Kingdom, stating “Let me tell you my view on Saudi Arabia…I think we have coddled Saudi Arabia for too long.” However, he cautioned, “That doesn’t mean we overthrow the relationship with Saudi Arabia, because they share more things with us than they don’t.”
Despite receiving little attention from the corporate media, the battle over declassification is still being fought by intrepid activists and family members of the victims of the 9/11 attacks. In January, Congressmen Stephen F. Lynch and Walter B. Jones stood with former Senator Bob Graham and families of 9/11 victims as they announced the introduction of a new House Resolution which calls on President Obama to declassify the 28 pages.
The representatives introduced a similar resolution in 2013 and received bipartisan support. Now Jones, Lynch, and Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie are pushing House Resolution 14 which states that “declassification of the pages is necessary to provide the American public with the full truth surrounding the tragic events of September 11, 2001, particularly relating to the involvement of foreign governments.”
Graham has stated that he is convinced the government of Saudi Arabia funded “at least some of the terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks.” Graham is the former co-chairman of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into the attacks. At the time of the classification he was among 46 senators who signed a letter to Jeb’s brother urging their release. He recently told the New York Times that he was not giving up his pursuit of finding out who was funding the 9/11 attacks.
“NO. 1, I THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DESERVE TO KNOW THE TRUTH OF WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN THEIR NAME. NO. 2 IS JUSTICE FOR THESE FAMILY MEMBERS WHO HAVE SUFFERED SUCH LOSS AND THUS FAR HAVE BEEN FRUSTRATED LARGELY BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT IN THEIR EFFORTS TO GET SOME COMPENSATION.”
The former Senator also told the Times that several years ago an agent with the FBI told him to give up the investigation and to “get a life.”
“To me, the most simple, unanswered question of 9/11 is, did the 19 hijackers act alone or were they assisted by someone in the United States?” he told the Times.
President Obama, in his final press release for 2014, has said the cancellation of the film “The Interview” by Sony Pictures was a “mistake,” and the company should have talked to him before moving forward with their plans.
The president said he was sympathetic towards Sony, and all the employees who were threatened after the recent cyber attacks against the company, and understands their desire for safety. However, he then went on to say, according to ABC News, “I think they made a mistake,” with concern to the companies decision to cancel the release of the comedy movie.
Afterwards, the president stated, according to RT, “I wish they would’ve spoken with me first. I would have told them: do not get into a pattern in which you’re intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks.”
The Sony hacks and cancellation of the film though, were also said to be an example of how the U.S. needs to pass a cybersecurity bill by Congress.
“In this interconnected digital world, there are going to be opportunities for hackers to engage in cyber-assaults both in the private sector and in the public sector… We need more rules about how the internet should operate,” the president said according to Boing Boing.
Representative Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) echoed the president’s for more regulation over the internet.
“This is only the latest example of the need for serious legislation to improve the sharing of information between the private sector and the government to help companies strengthen cybersecurity,” said Sen. Feinstein. “We must pass an information sharing bill as quickly as possible next .”