Tag Archives: Charlie Hebdo

France Enacts Strict Crackdown on Cash Payments Because Charlie Hebdo Attackers Used Cash

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin announced last Wednesday that France will be enacting strict limits on the use of cash in the wake of January’s Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, citing the fact that those responsible used cash to purchase equipment. According to Reuters, starting in September, France’s new cash policies will ban payments of over 1,000 euros in cash for French citizens and expenditures of over 10,000 euros for foreign visitors.

The cash crackdown also includes new monitoring provisions, requiring banks to report cash deposits, transfers, or withdrawals exceeding 10,000 euros to the government, requiring the presentation of identification for currency transfers exceeding 1,000 euros, and requiring banks to add small bank accounts to a national database. The new policies also include restrictions on the use of pre-paid cards.

Sapin said that the controls are necessary to “fight against the use of cash and anonymity in the French economy,” which he says are leading to a form of “low-cost terrorism.” He explained his views further in a press conference on the new rules and said, “It’s a terrorism that is low cost to carry out but has major impact… This low-cost terrorism feeds on fraud, money laundering and petty trafficking.”

Joseph T. Salerno at the Mises Institute wrote a sarcastic critique of the new controls and said, “It was just a matter of time before Western governments used the trumped up ‘War on Terror’ as an excuse to drastically ratchet up the very real war on the use of cash and personal privacy that they are waging against their own citizens… It seems the terrorists involved partially financed these attacks by cash, as well as by consumer loans and the sale of counterfeit goods. What a shockeroo! The terrorists used cash to purchase some of the stuff they needed — no doubt these murderers were also shod and clothed and used cell phones, cars, and public sidewalks during the planning and execution of their mayhem. Why not restrict their use?”

Photo Op: World Leaders Don’t Really Lead “Unity Rally” in Paris

On Sunday, a “unity rally” was held in Paris, France, in solidarity for the victims of the shooting that occurred at the French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, on January 7. Around 3.7 million people came to Paris to show their support, including 40 world leaders.

The leaders included Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, French President François Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Council President Donald Tusk, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

An iconic photo was taken of the world leaders in attendance, which appeared to show them leading the march. However, The Independent reported that when the camera is zoomed out to show the entire scene, it shows a “different perspective on the leader’s portion of the march,” which revealed that the front line of leaders was followed by “just over a dozen rows other dignitaries and officials,” along with a “significant gap” separating them from the “throngs of other marchers.”

Borzou Daragahi, a Middle East and North Africa Correspondent for Financial Times, tweeted a photo of the leaders, saying that rather than leading the actual march, they seemed to be conducting a photo op:

Ian Bremmer, an American political scientist and the president and founder of Eurasia Group, tweeted a similar picture, pointing out that the large gap between the leaders and the general public made it look as if the leaders were not actually “at” the rallies:

In addition to the photos that appear to show the word leaders running the march, the Jewish Orthodox newspaper Hamevaser is under criticism for a photo it published on its front page of the leaders. The photo was airbrushed to edit out the women present: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

The Associated Press posted a photo of Hamevaser’s front page, claiming that the newspaper removed Merkel and Hidalgo from the photo “out of modesty.

Courtesy of the Associated Press
Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press

The Daily Mail tweeted a photo showing the difference between the original photo of the world leaders, and the airbrushed version that was published:

Orthodox Israeli newspaper airbrushes female world leaders out of Paris march photos http://t.co/TUEwhqriUmpic.twitter.com/Pq3sDpdqRJ

— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) January 13, 2015

Tablet Magazine, an “online magazine of Jewish news, ideas, and culture,” responded by creating an edited version of their own, in which every leader had a photoshopped version of Merkel’s head:

54 Arrested In France For Hate Speech Following Weekend Unity Rallies

At least 54 people have been arrested in France for hate speech and making pro-extremist remarks in the last week, as France has instructed prosecutors to “crack down” on those types of speech.

Authorities reported the arrests after several unity rallies had taken place in Paris and throughout France last Sunday. The rallies were reported as a collection of gestures promoting solidarity, supporting free speech and confronting extremism.

In addition to the crackdown, France has also deployed 10,000 troops and 120,000 security forces to protect “sensitive” locations such as Jewish schools and synagogues and mosques.

None of the arrested individuals were linked to the attacks in Paris.

The Associated Press reported that “the Justice Ministry laid out the legal basis for rounding up those who defend the Paris terror attacks as well as those responsible for racist or anti-Semitic words or acts” in a message to all French prosecutors and judges.

Among the arrested was comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, who has been arrested on at least 38 other occasions for violating France’s anti-hate speech laws. The comedian has denied being an anti-Semite in the past, yet is known for making references to elite Jewish “slave drivers” as well as creating a hand gesture, called a “quenelle”, that resembles an inverted Nazi salute. Dieudonné was arrested on Wednesday after writing a Facebook post that resulted in the assumption that was sympathizing with one of the gunmen in the attacks in Paris.

“Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly,” Dieudonné wrote after attending Sunday’s unity march, combining the names of Charlie Hebdo and Amédy Coulibaly, the gunman who killed a police officer and four others during last week’s attacks in Paris. That post was deleted, but Dieudonné later addressed France’s interior minister on Monday:

Yesterday we all were Charlie. We all walked and freedoms stood up for to be allowed to laugh at everything. All the Government’s Officials – you included – were walking together in the same direction. 

Yet, When I came back home I felt all alone. The Government has been targeting me for a year now and is still looking to eliminate me by any means: media lynching, ban on my performance shows, tax audits, bailiff raids, searches, indictments … More than eighty judicial procedures-have struck down on my kinfolk and me.

And the Government keeps on ruining my life. Eighty judicial procedures.

Since the beginning of last year, I have been treated as public enemy number one, when all I try to do is make people laugh, and laugh about death, because death laughs at us all, as Charlie knows now, unfortunately.

Even though I offered peace under your authority in the past weeks, I did not get any answer from you yet.

Whenever I express myself some people won’t even try to understand me, they will not listen. They try to find some kind of pretext to suppress me. I am looked upon as if I were Amedy Coulibaly, when I am no different from Charlie.

‘Semble it like you do not care about my words, UNLESS you can distort ’em and use’ em to fill yourself with indignation. Dear Minister, since it looks like I have finally earned some listening from your hand, I wish to remind you one thing: I offer peace.


Mosques Attacked In France, Reportedly In Retaliation To Charlie Hebdo Attack

Mosques throughout France were under attack on Wednesday and Thursday, according to reports from local officials.

Local newspaper Midi Libre reported that a mosque in the southern France city of Port-la-Nouvelle bordering Spain was targeted Wednesday following evening prayer by an individual who “fired twice at the door breaking the window with a light-caliber weapon.”

Three grenades were thrown at a mosque in Le Mans, about 130 miles west of Paris, early Thursday morning. A bullet hole was also found in one of the windows.

The latest reported attack was an explosion at a kebab shop located near a mosque in Villefranche-sur-Saone on Thursday, identified as a “criminal act” by local prosecutors. “I am afraid that is linked to the dramatic event that occurred on Wednesday,” Perrut Bernard, mayor of Villefranche, said.

French newspaper Ouest-France reported that the gate of a mosque in Poitiers was tagged with graffiti reading “Death to the Arabs.”

France’s Ministry of Interior stated that local police were in charge of the cases and would not make a comment regarding the reported mosque attacks. No injuries have been reported in any of the attacks.

The mosque attacks have contributed to the compounding turmoil in France. A policewoman was shot and killed on Thursday in Montrouge, and Sky News reported that the murder is linked to a suspect belonging to the same jihadist group as the suspects wanted for the shooting at the offices at Charlie Hebdo. A hostage situation has been reported at a French grocery store while a manhunt continues in efforts to track down two suspects named in the attack of the Charlie Hebdo office.

Charlie Hebdo Attack: Two Standoffs In France

Two standoffs between police anti-terror units and terror suspects are unfolding in France: two brothers are being sought in the Charlie Hebdo attack, and a hostage situation has been reported at a grocery store.

Amedy Coulibaly, a suspect wanted in Thursday’s shooting of a police officer, is said to be holding six hostages inside a kosher store.

Authorities say that the Kouachi brothers, suspects in Wednesday’s shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, are surrounded by police inside a printing business in the town of Dammartin-en-Goele.

According to CNN, as of 9:22 a.m. eastern:

• Roads were blocked off near the hostage situation at the grocery store near Porte de Vincennes, with heavily armed law enforcement seen inside.

• Meanwhile, in Dammartin-en-Goele, Brandet tweeted that negotiating teams have made it their top priority trying to establish a dialogue with the extremists inside the building. Yves Albarello, who is in France’s parliament, said on French channel iTele that the two suspects told police by phone that they wanted to die as martyrs.

• There had been no assault, nor any injuries or deaths, as of 1 p.m. (7 a.m. ET), the Interior Ministry spokesman added.

• A salesman, who identified himself only as Didier, told France Info radio that he shook one of the gunman’s hands as they arrived around 8:30 a.m. Friday at a Dammartin-en-Goele printing business — the same place where the Kouachi brothers are believed to be surrounded. Didier told the public radio station that he first thought the man, who was dressed in black and heavily armed, was a police officer.

As he left, the armed man said, “Go, we don’t kill civilians.” Didier said, “It wasn’t normal. I did not know what was going on.”

• Dammartin-en-Goele residents have been told to stay inside, and schools are on lockdown, the mayor’s media office told CNN on Friday. Shops in the town have been told to close.

• These aren’t the only incidents occupying French authorities. So, too, is the fatal shooting of a policewoman Thursday in Montrouge, a southern suburb of Paris. French police released photos Friday of a man and a woman — Coulibaly and Hayat Boumeddiene, 26 — who they believe carried out this attack and are believed to be armed and dangerous.

Google streetview of hostage location:

Hostage location

All Mainstream Media Must Publish the Hebdo Cartoons

To all those media outlets who have convinced themselves that they don’t need to publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Mohammed in reporting the recent events in Paris: you are profoundly wrong.

Your raison d’etre is to present news. The Hebdo cartoons are a natural part of the story of the murders in Paris. To assert that a description of an image is anything like the image, itself, is a rationalization of cowardice. The only reason to “describe images” without publishing them is fear of the consequences of publishing.

charlie hebdo1

The official reason offered by many Western media outlets for not showing us the images that have at least in part provided the excuse for three fanatics to murder is “so as not to cause offense”.

First, you can’t cause offense. Offense is always taken, never given. Western society depends on that – on responsibility for one’s emotions, and if not for one’s emotions, then for what one does with one’s emotions. Many of us get offended on a weekly basis. The “right” not to be offended is not a right at all. Rather it can only ever be, by definition, a claim made to limit the rights of others.

Some people and organizations do indeed get-off on causing offense for attention or for its own sake. I have little time for such behavior. Indeed, all my political work is geared to mutual respect and finding common ground.

But that is not at issue here. Any sane person can see that the presentation of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Mohammed in stories about the murders in Paris is a very natural and legitimate part of telling the story of those murders – a purpose that is entirely and necessarily consistent with the much greater and deeply necessary purpose of the media in a civilized society.

charlie hebdo2

This is all very basic stuff. Murders have been committed because (among other reasons) the murderers dislike the way their victims exercised their freedom of expression. Some media organizations whose existence depends on that freedom, and that have the greatest responsibility to defend it (because they exercise that right every day), are giving it up without a fight. That responsibility to defend it is a responsibility to self-interest, let alone to the free society that allows them to operate, and to the people from whom they gain their revenues.

If these mainstream media outlets have adopted “not causing offense” as a new standard for editorializing, then I hereby inform them that I – and millions like me – choose (because it is always a choice) to be deeply offended by much of the mainstream media’s credulous reporting of our own government’s actions – especially in foreign policy, military and civil rights matters – since 9/11.

I don’t expect them to be very bothered by that, of course, because it’s not the causing of offense that concerns them – and all editors know as much from a moment’s introspection. They’re not concerned by my taking offense because I, being a civilized human being whose mind has not been ossified by religious orthodoxy and fundamentalism, am not going to use my offense as an excuse for violence against them.

Everyone who’s working at these media outlets realizes that one goal of the attacks in Paris is to render the Western press unfree, or to punish it for exercising its freedom (which is exactly the same thing). Now, by definition, only the media, and those who work in the media, can decide whether to give the attackers what they are demanding – a veto by one group on everyone else’s freedom of expression.

A media executive might protest that his job is not to take political, cultural or religions sides … that the presentation of information doesn’t entail direct engagement in such controversy. And that is correct … and that is why the editors should do their job without fear or favor, which is to tell the story in full. It’s by not publishing those cartoons, therefore, that media outlets are acting politically and morally – and they are doing it for the wrong side.

When George Bush famously said, “either you are with us or you’re with the terrorists”, he was profoundly wrong. At that time, the media collectively failed us miserably by promoting the fear-driven propaganda that resulted in the deaths of many American servicemen, many more innocent foreigners, and the take-down by our government of the very rights that the terrorists in Paris would also like to see taken down as they establish their silly caliphate.

But now if you’re in the media, there is a clear sense in which “either you are for freedom of the press, or you are with the terrorists” – because you can’t be for freedom of the press if you would prefer not to do the proper job of the press so as to avoid the possible consequences of defending press freedom by exercising it.

Think about that. If you’re an editor who’s not publishing those cartoons today, you’re not just failing to defend press freedom, you’re acting against a free press because you’re giving up your job to tell the whole story at the very time when the story is about the freedom on which your job depends.

That is not a neutral position.

As Sartre said, “What is not possible is not to choose”.

This is not about multiculturalism or cultural sensitivity. It is not about imposing images of a prophet on people who don’t want to see them. My deep sensitivity and respect for the values and lives of Muslims around the world, many whose lives have been destroyed by Western policies that I oppose, in no way requires me to engage in a wholesale suppression and denial of my own values – which include media that tell the truth without knowing distortion by either falsity or omission.

Ironically, perhaps, in the next few days, the media’s actions will speak louder than their words. And to turn to another idiom, a picture is worth a thousand of those. Right now, then, one cartoon is worth even more than that – but, crucially, no cartoon is worth an order of magnitude more.

Much of the American media, in particular, spent many years rather uncritically providing platforms for people who have asserted that defense of our freedom requires killing innocent Muslims abroad – while legislatively compromising away those very values that we were purportedly defending… without any of the sensitivity to Muslim sensibilities (let alone lives) that they have found over a few images.

The events in Paris have shed light on something that has always been true: that the fight to maintain our liberties can ultimately only be won or lost in the minds of the people whose liberties they are. They are won or lost whenever people choose to preserve those liberties by exercising them even when doing so feels risky, or when, alternatively, people decide not to exercise them because they are less important than avoiding discomfort.

So media, are you with us, the People, and our freedom of speech – which is also yours, or are you with the terrorists? Because if you will not do your job at this time when your freedom even to be the media is attacked – then what the heck are you for?

And please don’t come back with the tired trope about protecting your employees. If they don’t like the fact that their organization is choosing to do the right thing, rather than fall into gross hypocrisy, then they can exercise another beautiful freedom … the freedom to get a job that suits them better.

Nous Sommes Charlie: Offence is Never Given – Only Taken

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are like all other rights: to keep them you have to exercise them – and sometimes that takes courage and involves risk. We should be profoundly grateful to those who help keep that right for us by exercising it.

And today, our thoughts are with our French friends – and especially with the families and friends of those who have been directly attacked for using that most important of freedoms – freedom of speech – to stimulate our use of another – freedom of thought.

And we don’t lose sight of the fact that we must stop ceding the moral high-ground in fighting against such an attack on liberty through a foreign policy that makes terrorists by killing innocents. Nor do we forget the impingement on the same liberty by our own politicians.

Offense is Always Taken – Never Given… but if it can be given, it is given by physical aggression against innocent people.