Tag Archives: France

Paris Attacker Is Chechnya-Born French Citizen Known To Authorities

(DCNF) The man who went on a stabbing rampage in central Paris on Saturday night is a Chechnya-born French citizen whose radical views were known to authorities, French officials said.

Investigators are looking into the attack, which left one person dead and four others wounded, as an act of terrorism.

The suspect is a 20-year-old man who was born in 1997 in Chechnya, the Muslim-dominated Russian republic, reports France24 News, citing judicial sources. Although he did not have a criminal record, the man was on France’s so-called “S file” of people suspected of radicalized views who pose a terrorism risk, the sources said.

The attacker’s name has not been released to the public.

Saturday’s attack occurred near Paris’ main opera house, in a lively neighborhood full of bars, restaurants and party-goers. It was the latest in a string of Islamist terror attacks in France that have killed more than 200 people since 2015.

The attacker shouted “Allahu akbar” — “God is greatest” in Arabic — as he stabbed several bystanders with a knife, French prosecutors said, citing witnesses to the attack. Police reportedly tried to subdue the suspect with a Taser but were forced shoot and kill him when the non-lethal option failed.

Hours later, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, calling the perpetrator a “soldier of the Islamic State” who had responded to the group’s call to attack countries that were bombing its fighters in Iraq and Syria. (RELATED: French Gov’t Has Paid Out Nearly $600,000 To ISIS Fighters In Syria)

It was not immediately clear when the attacker moved to France from Chechnya. His parents have been detained for questioning, reports Agence France-Presse, citing police sources.

France has been on high alert in recent years due to a string of Islamist terror attacks, including two with an extraordinarily high number of casualties: the November 2015 attacks that killed 130 in Paris, and the 2016 Bastille Day truck attack in Nice that killed more than 80.

There have also been several less deadly attacks carried out by lone wolf jihadists, most of which were claimed by ISIS and carried out in the group’s name.

A 29-year-old French man was killed in Saturday’s attack, authorities said. A 34-year-old man from Luxembourg and 54-year-old French woman were seriously injured. A 26-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man were slightly wounded.

All four of the wounded are “out of danger,” French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told reporters.

Written by Will Racke. Follow Will on Twitter


This article was republished with permission from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Jesse Hughes: Bataclan Security ‘Had a Reason Not to Show Up’ on Day of Paris Attacks

Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes implied in an interview, which aired Wednesday on Kennedy on Fox Business Network, that six Bataclan security guards that reportedly skipped work on the day of the Paris terror attacks might have known about the plot in advance.

When Kennedy asked Hughes if anything seemed “strange or off” about the night, Hughes said that he takes venue security very seriously and found it unusual that a security guard did not try to stop and identify him before allowing him to walk backstage.

When I first got to the venue and walked in, I walked past the dude who was supposed to be the security guard for the backstage. He didn’t even look at me. … I didn’t like him at all, and so I immediately went to the promoter and said, ‘Who’s that guy? I want to put another dude on,’ and he goes, ‘well some of the other guards aren’t here yet,’ and eventually I found out that six or so wouldn’t show up at all,” Hughes said.

[RELATED: French Prosecutor: Suspected ‘Mastermind’ of Paris Attacks Killed in Police Raid]

He added, “You know, out of respect for the police still investigating it I won’t make a definite statement, but I’ll say it seems rather obvious that they had a reason not to show up.

The November 13 tragedy at the Bataclan, part of a series of coordinated terror attacks that rocked Paris that day, left 90 dead and hundreds injured at the venue.

[RELATED: Eagles of Death Metal Vocalist Says Gun Control Did Not Save Lives in Paris Attacks]

A representative from the Bataclan reacted to what Hughes said in his interview on Kennedy, calling it “insane,” and told Variety, “Jesse Hughes spread some very grave and defamatory accusations against the Bataclan teams. A judicial investigation is undergoing. We wish to let justice proceed serenely. All the testimonies gathered to this day demonstrate the professionalism and courage of the security agents who were on the ground on November 13. Hundreds of people were saved thanks to [these agents’] intervention.

Follow Barry Donegan on Facebook and Twitter.

Obama Defends US Involvement in Libya, Blames Europe for Aftermath

by Jason Ditz

A new round of wide-ranging comments on his assorted wars in The Atlantic saw President Obama defending America’s involvement in the 2011 NATO-imposed regime change in Libya, saying he had a UN mandate and it only cost $1 billion, which “is very cheap.”

And while Obama conceded that Libya turned into a “mess” in the aftermath, he sought to shift blame for that onto Europe, particularly Britain and France, saying he had “more faith in the Europeans, given Libya’s proximity, being invested in the follow-up.”

He was particularly open about France’s involvement, saying then-President Nicholas Sarkozy wanted to brag about all the flights France was launching, dispute waiting until the US wiped out all air defenses in the country. Obama said allowing France to take credit for more than they actually did was a way to “purchase France’s involvement” in the war.

He also took shots at British Prime Minister David Cameron, who he said “stopped paying attention” in Libya after the war, and ended up “distracted by a range of other things,” as well as other unnamed nations who were pushing the US to act but didn’t “have any skin in the game.”

One Dead, Five Seriously Ill in Synthetic Cannabis Alternative Drug Trial Gone Wrong

Five volunteers have been hospitalized and are in serious condition and another is dead after participating in a clinical trial of an orally-consumed experimental painkiller at the Biotrial laboratory in the French city of Rennes.

Though French officials have not yet released the name of the drug, France’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health Marisol Touraine said at a Friday press conference, seen in the above-embedded video, that the drug “acts on natural systems which fight pain, a system called the endocannabinoid system.

While cannabis also functions by acting on the endocannabinoid system, she added, “But I must stress, there is no cannabis in this drug.

Touraine noted that the drug had previously been tested on animals prior to the Phase 1 trial on humans.

Agence France-Presse is reporting that the volunteer who died was first admitted to the hospital in a brain-dead state, but passed away a week later on Sunday.

[RELATED: DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz Opposes Legal Cannabis, Cites Heroin Epidemic]

The drug was developed by the Portuguese pharmaceutical company Bial, which noted that the drug is a fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitor.

According to The New York Times, volunteers, all of whom are males aged 28 to 49, began taking the drug on Jan. 4, with 90 participants taking the medication itself and 38 participants taking a placebo.

Some of the six participants who fell ill began showing symptoms the following Sunday, and the trial was subsequently halted the next day. Those participants were reportedly healthy prior to consuming the drug.

Following the accident, the six men were admitted to Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Rennes in Brittany. MRI results, which are not yet conclusive, suggest that three of the men may have suffered permanent brain damage.

[RELATED: Truth In Media Accelerates National Cannabis Discussion]

France’s General Inspectorate of Social Affairs, its National Agency for Medicines and Health Products, and the Rennes and Paris prosecutors’ offices have sparked investigations into the trial.

A statement by Biotrial read, “During a FIM study which was being conducted for a sponsor, serious adverse events related to the test drug have occurred in some volunteers at our CPU. The trial has been conducted in full compliance with the international regulations and Biotrial’s procedures were followed at every stage throughout the trial, in particular the emergency procedures for the transfer of volunteers to the hospital. We are in close and regular contact with the Health Authorities and Ministry in France. The priority at Biotrial remains the safety of our volunteers. We are very grateful for the support we have been receiving from our clients and partners today.

Attorney Jean-Christophe Coubris told Vice News, “To my knowledge, this case is a first in France. Whatever contract these patients may have signed, they will be protected by French legislation in the case of proven misconduct.

[RELATED: Truth in Media: Feds Say Cannabis Is Not Medicine While Holding The Patent on Cannabis as Medicine]

There is a major problem — massive, unprecedented in France — and we must understand what happened, but there is nothing to justify stopping clinical trials,” said Marisol Touraine.

Faced with such a serious situation, we would expect the laboratory to approach the health authorities more quickly,” she added. Agence France-Presse pointed out the fact that Biotrial waited 4 days after the first volunteer was admitted to the hospital to report the incident.

On my behalf and the behalf of Bial, I would like to express my deepest apologies to the family of the volunteer who died after participating in the Phase I trial of our experimental molecule,” said Bial CEO Antonio Portela.

France Applies Emergency Anti-Terror Laws to Confine Activists

FRANCE, November 29, 2015– Ahead of planned United Nations climate talks, the French government is utilizing emergency laws put in place after November’s Paris terror attack to hold climate activists under house arrest.

Immediately after the November terror attacks, the French government declared a state of emergency based on a rarely used 1955 law that allows the state to conduct warrantless searches of private property, impose curfews, restrict public gatherings and movements of people, confiscate weapons at will and take over the press.

Legal activist Joel Domenjoud said he had been served with a restraining order describing him as a “principal leader of the ultra-left movement,” a title he disputes, only a couple hours after a judge refused to hear an appeal against the ban on the climate demo Domenjoud had petitioned for. A neighbor informed Domenjoud that a swam of police were lined up the stairs waiting for him to arrive home.

“I feel angry about it because I think they made a big mistake,” Domenjoud said. “They weren’t looking for people like us activists– or if they were, it shows that they can target people for no reason at all and our civil liberties are in danger.”

On Saturday, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed that the French government had used the recently enacted emergency laws to place at least 24 Greenpeace activists under house arrest.

Cazeneuve claimed the activists are suspected of planning violent protests at the talks which kicked off on Sunday- a day ahead of the opening ceremony- and is scheduled to run through December 11.

“These 24 people have been placed under house arrest because they have been violent during demonstrations in the past and because they have said they would not respect the state of emergency,” said Cazeneuve.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace France director Jean-François Julliard says the activists under house arrest had never committed violent acts, nor had they ever been charged with anything.

“We have the feeling that [the government] wants to stifle criticism from the militants, but they are going about it in the worst possible way, this is repression,” Julliard said on BFM television.

Several sources claim that officers have also raided three squats in Paris- and more across the country- seizing computers, documents and personal items.

Regardless of the threat of house arrest, some climate protesters still took to the streets.

According to the Interior Ministry, more than 300 people have been placed on house arrest since the declaration of a state of emergency just over two weeks ago.

FOLLOW MICHAEL LOTFI ON Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.

French Foreign Minister Suggests Using Assad’s Troops to Fight ISIS While Ousting Assad

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Friday that the coalition fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) could be strengthened by the help of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, but only if it was done while replacing Assad.

Fabius made the comments during an interview with RTL radio, where he indicated that while ground troops fighting against ISIS cannot be from France, they can be from other places such as Sunni Arab states and Assad’s regime.

“Troops on the ground cannot be ours, but [there can be] Syrian soldiers from the Free Syrian Army, Sunni Arab states, and why not regime troops,” Fabius said.

[RELATED: Truth In Media: Origin of ISIS]

Fabius also noted that in order to use Assad’s troops, he believes Assad can no longer be the leader of Syria.

“If we want to go towards a free, united … Syria, it cannot be he [Assad] who is at the origin of 300,000 deaths and millions of refugees that can lead,” Fabius said. “Assad cannot be the future of his people.”

[RELATED: Reps Gabbard, Scott Introduce Bill to End U.S. Effort to ‘Overthrow Syrian Government of Assad]

An official in the French Foreign minister’s team told France 24 that Fabius was “reiterating France’s long-standing position that there could be no cooperation with Syrian government forces to battle the IS group until a unity government was in place.”

“It could only happen in the framework of a political transition,” the official said. “Fabius stresses that this transition is urgent and indispensable.”

During Friday’s interview, Fabius claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin asked France to provide Russia with maps of the locations of the non-terrorist groups fighting ISIS in Syria. “He asked us to draw up a map of forces that are not terrorists,” Fabius said. “He committed to not bombing them once we’ve provided that.”

[RELATED: Reality Check: Proof The U.S. Government Wanted ISIS To Emerge In Syria]

In a recent Reality Check segment, Ben Swann looked at a leaked Pentagon report from 2012 which stated that opposition forces to the Assad regime, including the United States, the Saudis, Jordan and Qatar, wanted a “fundamental Islamic group to take over eastern Syria in order to isolate and overthrow the Syrian President Assad’s regime.”


France Will Accept 30,000 More Syrian Refugees After Paris Terror Attack

FRANCE, November 19, 2015– On Wednesday, French President Francois Hollande announced that France would still accept upwards of 30,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years despite the recent ISIS terror attacks on Paris that left at least 129 dead.

“30,000 refugees will be welcomed over the next two years. Our country has the duty to respect this commitment,” said Hollande.

Receiving a standing ovation, Hollande made the announcement while meeting with mayors from across France.

“We have to reinforce our borders while remaining true to our values,” said Hollande as he noted that it was France’s “humanitarian duty” to honor their commitments to refugees.

Meanwhile, the majority of American governors have called upon the federal government to not place Syrian refugees in the respective states.

[RELATED: Judge Napolitano: States Cannot ‘Refuse’ Refugees Under Federal Law]

While President Obama has made attempts to paint the refusal of accepting refugees as a partisan issue driven by Republicans, a handful of states controlled by democratic state legislators and governors have also demanded that no refugees be placed within their states including Massachusetts and Maryland, which are considered the most democratic states in America.

“As governor of Maryland, the safety and security of Marylanders remains my first priority,” said Maryland’s Democrat Governor Larry Hogan. “Following the terrorist attacks on Paris just four days ago, and after careful consideration, I am now requesting that federal authorities cease any additional settlements of refugees from Syria in Maryland until the U.S. government can provide appropriate assurances that refugees from Syria pose no threat to public safety.”

As of Tuesday, more than two dozen governors issued statements saying that they would not be accepting refugees. Meanwhile, another half dozen say they will, but not without increased vetting.

The move by these governors has created a constitutional crisis of sorts. Many, including President Obama, say that states have no say in the matter. Meanwhile, others disagree and believe the issue may make its way to the Supreme Court.

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French Prosecutor: Suspected ‘Mastermind’ of Paris Attacks Killed in Police Raid

The suspected mastermind behind the terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 129 last Friday was killed in a police raid on Wednesday, according to a Paris prosecutor.

The suspect, Abdel Hamid Abaaoud, a 28-year-old Belgian militant, was killed after police investigations led them to the Paris suburb of St. Denis and “heavily armed officers stormed the building before dawn, triggering a massive firefight and multiple explosions.”

“Abdel Hamid Abaaoud has just been formally identified, after comparing fingerprints, as having been killed during the raid,” Paris Prosecutor François Molins said in a statement. “It was the body we had discovered in the building, riddled with bullets.”

Police “fired around 5,000 rounds of ammunition in the confrontation and used strong munitions that spurred a floor to collapse,” but that the exact way Abaaoud died is unknown.

The statement from Molins claimed “We still don’t know whether Abaaoud blew himself up or not.”

[RELATED: France Moves to Strip Citizens of Civil Liberties After Paris Attacks]

There was one other fatality in Wednesday’s St. Denis raid: a woman identified as Hasna Aitboulahcen.

Three police officials have reportedly said Aitboulahcen was Abaaoud’s cousin, and one official said she is “believed to have detonated a suicide vest after a brief exchange with police officers.”

[RELATED: France Declares State of Emergency, Military Enacts Full Control]

Following the attacks last Friday, France declared a “state of emergency” which gave the government the authority to utilize censorship, regulate circulation and gathering in some areas, close places of gathering altogether, and to conduct house-to-house searches at any time without judicial oversight.

At an assembly meeting, where a three-month extension of the “state of emergency” status was being debated, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned that “we must not rule anything out” when looking at the prospect of terrorists “using chemical weapons.”

“France has been attacked,” Valls said. “French people are under shock. They are expecting from all of us some strong, quick and effective reactions.”

France Moves To Strip Citizens Of Civil Liberties After Paris Attacks

By Rachel Stoltzfoos  French President Francois Hollande proposed constitutional amendments and a three-month extension of state of emergency measures Monday that will severely limit the civil liberties of French citizens.

After a series of coordinated terrorist attacks left 129 dead in Paris Friday, Hollande immediately declared a state of emergency, based on a rarely used 1955 law that allows the state to conduct warrantless searches of private property, impose curfews, restrict public gatherings and movements of people, confiscate weapons at will and take over the press.

By law the state of emergency cannot last more than 12 days, but Hollande asked for a three-month extension Monday. He also proposed a series of constitutional amendments to increase the state’s surveillance powers and give it power to strip convicted terrorists and bi-nationals who commit hostile acts toward France of citizenship.

Hollande said the amendments are necessary so the state doesn’t have to “resort to the state of emergency” to deal with terror threats. “We must change our constitution to act against terrorism,” he said Monday.

The proposed amendments will also give the state “more sophisticated methods” to crack down on weapons trafficking, a quicker way to deport foreigners considered a threat, and the ability to bar bi-nationals considered a terror risk from entering the country.

French conducted 168 raids Sunday night, turning up cash, bulletproof vests, various types of guns and a rocket launcher, reported The Wall Street Journal. Police put 104 people on house arrest and detained 23 others.

Hollande has promised a “merciless” fight against ISIS in response to the attack. French fighter jets dropped 20 bombs on the group’s defacto Syrian capital of Raqqa Sunday night, destroying a command center and training camp.

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Iraqi Foreign Minister: France, U.S., Iran Were Warned About Impending Attacks

Iraq’s Foreign Minister has stated that Iraq’s intelligence service shared details of impending attacks within France, the United States and Iran.

Speaking at this weekend’s peace talks in Vienna, Austria, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Iraq received intelligence about possible attacks and shared the information with the respective governments.  The comments came one day after attackers in Paris, France killed 129 people using firearms and suicide bombers.

“Information has been obtained from Iraqi intelligence sources that the countries to be targeted soon, before it occurred, are Europe in general, specifically France, as well as America and Iran,” Jaafari said in Vienna. Reuters first reported on the comments. Similar statements can be found in a post on Jaafari’s website.

Jaafari did not elaborate on the intelligence but called for a “global response” to the Islamic State.

France has now declared war on the Islamic State, and President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin are reportedly in talks to formulate a strategy to resolve the civil war in Syria and the growing threat from IS. In addition, world leaders met this weekend to discuss a timetable for elections and a transition government.

Missing from of the conversation surrounding the attacks in Paris is an acknowledgement that the U.S. government has helped fund rebels which led to the creation of the Islamic State, as well as helped created the situation through disastrous foreign policies as part of the failed War on Terror.


France Declares State of Emergency, Military Enacts Full Control

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.”

Breaking, Developing: Paris Under Attack; Dozens Killed, Hundreds Held Hostage

Update, November 13, 5:47 p.m.: The death toll has climbed to 60, according to CNN affiliate BFMTV.

Update, November 13, 6:31 p.m.: 5 more explosions and reports of automatic gunfire at theater with 100 hostages. Hostages possibly being killed one by one.

Update, November 13, 8:19 p.m.: France Declares State of Emergency, Military Enacts Full Control

Paris- Paris is under attack in at least three simultaneous attacks. As of this posting (and that number continues to change), at least 35 people are dead and possibly another 100 hostages are being held after three separate violent attacks.

paris hostage shooting map

Police say the gunmen—as many as six—were armed with kalashnikovs and grenades. They are all currently on the loose.

At least one of the gunman opened fire at a restaurant near a soccer stadium.  The soccer game between France and Germany was taking place at the time.  Early reports indicate that a Kalishnikov rifle and grenades were used in at least one attack.

Paris’s deputy mayor says it is too early to say if the attacks were coordinated acts of terror, but that it looks that way. US officials state the attacks were coordinated.

Truth in Media will provide updates as the story is developing.

U.N. Security Council Unanimously Votes To Endorse Iran Nuclear Deal

The 15 members that make up the United Nations Security Council voted in favor of adopting a deal between Iran and major world powers that intends to limit Iran’s nuclear ability, in exchange for lifting international oil and financial sanctions.

The deal, which was called “historic” by both the European Union’s foreign policy chief and Iran’s foreign minister, was settled on Tuesday between Iran, the United States, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom after 20 months of negotiations, four target dates and three extensions.

The Hill reported that the vote “sends a strong signal of international support for the agreement,” and that some U.S. lawmakers have criticized the Obama administration for “pushing for U.N. action before Congress has a to chance to weigh in.

Reuters noted that the UN will be able to re-impose penalties “during the next decade if Tehran breaches the historic agreement” and that no sanctions relief can be implemented until the International Atomic Energy Agency “submits a report to the Security Council verifying that Iran has taken certain nuclear-related measures outlined in the agreement.”

U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power said that although the deal “does not address many of our profound concerns,” it would ultimately make the world “safer and more secure.”

Power also said that if Iran “abides by the commitments” that it agreed to in the deal, then it will find both the international community and the United States “willing to provide a path out of isolation and toward greater engagement.”

The nuclear deal, also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will start lifting sanctions on Iran in 90 days, after the “respective capitals and legislatures have had a time to review the deal’s provisions,” according to Power.

While several members of Congress were irked at the fact that the U.N. Security Council was taking a vote on the nuclear deal before they had time to weigh in on it, Secretary of State John Kerry said that he felt it was their right to vote.

“I mean honestly, it’s presumptuous of some people to suspect that France, Russia, China, Germany and Britain ought to do what the Congress tells them to do,” Kerry said. “They’re individual countries and they have sovereignty. They’re members of the United Nations and they have a right to have a vote.”

Along with Republicans in Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been very critical of the nuclear deal, calling it a “historic mistake for the world,” and saying it will not stop “Iran’s aggression.”

Beginning Monday, Congress has 60 days to review the deal’s provisions before Obama can begin removing congressional sanctions. Obama has said that he will veto any congressional legislation seeking to block the agreement.

The Hill noted that President Obama, Vice President Biden and other officials have recently begun an “aggressive lobbying push to rally Democrats,” including a “rare golf outing” over the weekend between Obama and three Democratic House lawmakers.

Greece Rejects Further Austerity Measures

In a landmark referendum, Greek voters rejected a bailout deal on Sunday that was proposed by the European Union and International Monetary Fund and would have required greater austerity measures in exchange for emergency funds.

The vote signals a victory for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who promised to reject further austerity when he came to power in January. Although there were rumors from opposition parties that Greece was voting on whether to remain a part of Europe’s joint currency, Tsipras said that the vote was not requiring a “rupture” with Europe.

Following the vote in which over 61 percent of voters favored rejecting a bailout that would lead to greater austerity in the country, Tsipras called the results a “victory of democracy,” and said the country has “proved even in the most difficult circumstances that democracy won’t be blackmailed.”

The New York Times noted that despite several stories from the country’s media- which is “dominated by Greek oligarchs”- about citizens not having access to deposits and losing gasoline and medicine after the European Central Bank severely limited financial assistance to Greek banks a week before the referendum, many voters were “tired of more than five years of soaring unemployment and a collapsing economy,” and did not want to accept the EU’s bailout offer because it would impose even more “pension cuts and tax increases, without debt relief.”

Despite the country’s vote to reject the EU’s bailout, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis resigned on Monday under pressure from European leaders after he infuriated them when he “compared Greece’s creditors to terrorists,” according to The Guardian.

Varoufakis announced his resignation in a blog post, writing that he will considers it his duty to “help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum,” and that he will “wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.”

“Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my… ‘absence’ from its meetings,” Varoufakis wrote. “An idea that the prime minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.”

Varoufakis, who said that Tsipras thought his absence from Eurogroup meetings could be helpful in “reaching an agreement,” will be replaced by Euclid Tsakalotos, Greece’s deputy foreign minister for international economic affairs.

The Guardian reported that in speculating a further deal, “European leaders are calling on Athens to make the first move,” and while French finance minister Michel Sapin said it was up to the Greek government, Finland’s finance minister Alexander Stubb said talks could only restart when Greece agrees to “necessary reforms,” German chancellor, Angela Merkel, will begin talks with French president François Hollande on Monday evening.

All 19 Eurozone leaders are expected to gather on Tuesday for an emergency summit to discuss possible reform proposals from the Greek authorities.

U.S. and Europe Investigating Possible New NSA Whistleblower

New documents from the National Security Agency outline how the agency was spying on the most profitable companies in France for “economic intelligence” purposes.

The documents were shared with French outlets Libération and Mediapart, via WikiLeaks. The NSA was interested in companies that signed high-priced export contracts for industrial goods. France’s security agency Anssi said the agency may have spied on hundreds of companies.

TechCrunch reported:

“According to an economic espionage order, the NSA intercepted all French corporate contracts and negotiations valued at more than $200 million in many different industries, such as telecommunications, electrical generation, gas, oil, nuclear and renewable energy, and environmental and healthcare technologies.

A second economic espionage order called “France: Economic Developments” shows that information was then shared with other U.S. agencies and secretaries, including the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Commerce, the Federal Reserve and the Secretary of Treasury. Eventually, this data could have been used to help sign export deals.”

The latest document dump comes one week after WikiLeaks released documents proving that the NSA spied on France’s most recent presidents, including Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande.

Hollande said the spying was “unacceptable”. RT reported that the French justice minister said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden could be offered symbolic asylum in the country.

Following the recent leaks, officials with the U.S. and Europe announced an investigation into the existence of second NSA whistleblower.

Reuters reports:

“The U.S. and European sources cautioned that they did not know for sure that Assange (Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks) had developed a source other than Snowden inside U.S. intelligence. Assange has been in contact with associates of Snowden and helped arrange for him to flee from Hong Kong to Russia, where he was later granted asylum.”

The existence of a second whistleblower was first noticed in late July 2014 as a 166-page document related to terrorism watch lists was released through The Intercept. TruthInMedia reported on the second whistleblower in October 2014:

“Michael Isikoff reported for Yahoo! News that the FBI searched the home of  a federal contracting firm employee suspected of being the source of documents provided to Jeremy Scahill, Ryan Devereaux and The Intercept. Scahill, Greenwald and film-maker Laura Poitras are the editors for the adversarial journalism site The Intercept, founded in February. Isikoff says that federal prosecutors in Northern Virginia have launched an investigation into the situation.

The document could not have come from whistleblower Edward Snowden, as it is dated August 2013, after Snowden left for Russia. At the time The Intercept only referred to the whistleblower as “a source in the intelligence community”.

The documentary Citizenfour also confirms the existence of the latest whistleblower. The film details the story of whistleblower Edward Snowden and his efforts to contact Laura Poitras. In the film journalist Glenn Greenwald tells Snowden about the second source.”

Whether a second whislteblower exists or may have already been arrested by the authorities remains to be seen. Americans concerned with the loss of privacy and growing surveillance state should remain vocal supporters of Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers that put their lives on the line in an attempt to reduce government tyranny.

French Salafist Attacks US Plant in Lyon: One Beheaded

Attacker Worked for Transport Company, Slain Man Was His Boss
by Jason Ditz, June 26, 2015

Yassine Salhi, a French Salafist who was the subject of three years of surveillance by the government from 2006-2008, was arrested today as the apparent attacker in a strike against the US-owned Air Products plant in France’s Lyon region.

Salhi worked for a transportation company which did business with the plant, and used one of the company’s vehicles to infiltrate the site. He rammed some gas tanks at the plant, causing an explosion, though reportedly it did not do the massive amount of damage he anticipated.

The severed head of Salhi’s boss at the transportation company was found at the scene, with Arabic writing on it. Two flags covered in writing were also found at the scene, though so far officials have not revealed what any of them said.

The attacker apparently almost escaped the site after the attack, but was caught by one of the firefighters who arrived to deal with the explosion, and was transferred to police. No group has claimed responsibility for the strike yet, and it is unclear if this was an orchestrated strike for some faction, or a lone wolf incident.

French National Assembly Votes Near-Unanimously to Ban Self-Service Soda Fountains, Free Refills

In France on April 1, UDI member of parliament Arnaud Richard introduced an amendment to a French healthcare law that would ban publicly accessible self-service soda fountains and free soda refills in restaurants. According to The Independent, the measure passed overwhelmingly through France’s National Assembly and, if it passes the Senate, will become law.

“Whether they are paid for or not, self-service fountains dispensing drinks with added sugars or artificial sweeteners are banned in all public places or those which are open to the public,” read the amendment. Though the exact list of drinks affected by the ban has yet to be outlined by French lawmakers, Le Monde noted that the ban would cover those drinks that “contribute to the development and maintenance of an appetite for sweet taste.”

French policymakers claim that the policy move is aimed at promoting public health. “It is the role of the law to establish a framework to protect the population against a trade-upmanship that tends to make the ‘free’ surplus of food supply… an argument to attract consumers and encourage them to excessive consumption which can be harmful to health,” said a representative from France’s National Health and Nutrition Programme.

However, The Washington Post’s Rick Noack pointed out the fact that the ban may actually be motivated by xenophobia, anti-Americanism, and the interests of French restaurant owners. Noack wrote, “France considers its cuisine exceptional and has fought for centuries to preserve it from foreign trends. But the struggle has intensified in recent decades with the globalization of fast-food chains… When American-style ‘free refills’ were recently introduced by fast-food restaurants in France, the backlash was swift and sustained.” He also noted that French “restaurant owners have taken the lead” in pushing for the ban on free refills, now that American fast food chains like Kentucky Fried Chicken have begun to offer them in France.

The German publication Deutsche Welle noted that a 2011 study of worldwide obesity rankings from the medical journal The Lancet found that France already ranked among the lowest countries in Europe in terms of obesity.

French Prosecutor: Germanwings Co-Pilot Deliberately Destroyed Flight 4U 9525


On Thursday, Marseilles prosecutor Brice Robin, who is investigating the crash of Germanwings flight 4U 9525, which crashed into the French Alps and killed all 150 people on board on Tuesday morning, said that first pilot Andreas Lubitz “deliberately destroyed” the plane.

The plane, an Airbus A320, was flying from Barcelona, Spain, to Düsseldorf, Germany, when it crashed and killed all 144 passengers and six crew members instantly. Aside from the names of the pilots, the airline has announced that it will not release the names of the passengers who were on board, “not only due to data protection but above all to honor their privacy.”

The Telegraph noted that the flight, which crashed near Digne-les-Bains in the French Alps, was one of France’s worst aviation disasters.

During a press conference on Thursday, Robin said that after investigating the plane’s black box recorder, he determined that the crash was “not an accident,” and that Lubitz seemed to have deliberately destroyed the plane.

Robin explained that prior to the crash, Lubitz was alone at the controls, after the captain of the flight, Patrick Sondenheimer, left to use the restroom. Robin said that Lubitz “voluntarily refused to open the door of the cockpit to the pilot and voluntarily began the descent of the plane.

“For the last 20 minutes the conversation was normal, courteous, nothing abnormal,” Robin saidHe explained that it was not until the captain left to of to the restroom and Lubitz was alone, that he began to manipulate the flight monitoring system, and put the plane into descent mode.

“The action of this selection of altitude can only be deliberate,” said Robin, who went on to say that in the minutes before the crash, there was “absolute silence in the cockpit,” and that while Lubitz’s breathing was detected on the recording from the black box, he sent no distress signal.

Robin said that there is no evidence to suggest Lubitz had links to terrorist groups, or that this was a terrorist act.

The Guardian reported that Lubitz, a 28-year-old from Germany, clocked a total of 630 flying hours, and had been flying for Germanwings since September 2013, after receiving training from the airline’s parent company Lufthansa.

The Independent reported that the flight’s captain, Patrick Sondenheimer, was a married father of two, who had completed more than 6,000 flying hours, and had been flying with Germanwings since May 2014, after working with both Lufthansa and Condor. The black box recording indicated that after attempting to return to the cockpit, and finding that the door was locked, Sondenheimer knocked, received no response from Lubitz, and then tried to break down the door before the plan crashed.

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?”

Paris Mayor To Sue Fox News Following Network’s Incorrect “No-Go” Muslim Zone Commentary

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced on Tuesday that she plans to sue Fox News for the network’s inaccurate commentary regarding Muslim “no-go zones” in Europe.

“When we’re insulted, and when we’ve had an image, then I think we’ll have to sue, I think we’ll have to go to court, in order to have these words removed. The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced,” Hidalgo told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. When Amanpour asked which network Hidalgo planned to bring to court, Hidalgo specified Fox News.

Fox News aired a segment last week in which host Jeanine Pirro and pundit Steven Emerson discussed the existence of hundreds of “no-go zones” in France and throughout Europe.

“You basically have zones where Sharia courts are set up, where Muslim density is very intense, where the police don’t go in, and where it’s basically a separate country almost. A country within a country,” Emerson said.

“It sounds like a caliphate within a particular country,” responded Pirro.

“I got into a Tweet fight with the French Ambassador who denied that there are any such things as no-go zones, except on the French, you know, official website it says there are and it actually has a map of them,” said Emerson.

“And in Britain, it’s not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in. And, parts of London, there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim, religious Muslim attire. So, there’s a situation that Western Europe is not dealing with,” said Emerson.

Critics quickly challenged Emerson’s comments about the city of Birmingham; according to Birmingham’s census, “46.1% of Birmingham residents said they were Christian, 21.8% Muslim and 19.3% had no religion.”

Fox News has made several on-air apologies for the network’s circulation of various misinformation, including one from anchor Julie Banderas regarding errors in reporting on Europe’s Muslim population:

Jeanine Pirro issued an apology as well for Emerson’s errors, and for not questioning Emerson’s claims about Birmingham:

Fox and Friends anchor Anna Kooiman issued yet another apology for the network displaying a map of France highlighting its supposed “no-go” zones:

Michael Clemente, Fox’s executive vice president, said that “We empathize with the citizens of France as they go through a healing process and return to everyday life. However, we find the mayor’s comments regarding a lawsuit misplaced,” according to a statement issued to CNNMoney. Fox host Bill O’Reilly said that France’s mayor is a “socialist” and “Fox News isn’t even seen in France” on his show on Tuesday.

A successful legal claim could prove difficult in a United States court. Anthony Fargo, director of the Center for International Media Law and Policy Studies at Indiana University, pointed out that the SPEECH Act, passed in 2010, “was designed to protect American publishers from defamation lawsuits overseas.” Jeff Hermes of the Media Law Resource Center said that a defamation claim from France “would never succeed in a United States court because there’s no such thing as defamation” of a municipality.