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From Chile To Chad To China More People Damn Anarchist Charlie - ''Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie... (I'm Not Charlie...)''

Muslim portal Al Wihda in Chad posted a letter of a Christian Donald Soro (in the "Christian world", freedom of speech for the publication of a letter of a Christian on the subject the situation is tight), a member of the growing Christian movement "Je ne suis pas Charlie, je suis chrétien (I'm not Charlie, I'm Christian)", condemning the militant scoffers, the "enlighten", who are sponsored by the Socialist government of France. In his letter, written in French, a Christian man in particular points out:

- "Since January 7, 2015 the world is in disarray in the face of this tragedy, which occurred in France in connection with the death of 12 draftsmen (dessinateurs), who worked for the weekly newspaper "Charlie". It was known for publishing cartoons, mainly, and for its anti-religious stance. The main target of its attacks was Christianity.

However, some time ago this weekly began publishing caricatures about Islam, depicting Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. And this, as we have seen, turned out to be more dangerous.

After this slaughter (tuerie) the whole finally alarmed world began to severely condemn the attack. In solidarity with what is seen as a violation of freedom of speech, there has promptly appeared a slogan that has spread like wildfire: "Je suis Charlie (I'm Charlie)".

This slogan appeared at the demos and in other places, where people supporting the victims and France, identified themselves with the newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Can we, as Christians, be part of Charlism movement? Can we also say: "I'm Charlie"?

As a Christian, I believe that before we identify ourselves with someone or something, we have to assure ourselves that the person or the thing we want to identify with glorifies God.

The weekly "Charlie" had its main aim an attack on Christianity. The newspaper loved publishing provocative, mocking caricatures of Jesus Christ. Most of its images have been focused on propagating adultery, perversion, sodomy, bestiality, freedom from sexual immorality. The newspaper provoked and shocked and felt untouchable. Which caused a lot of anger.

Talking about the violation of freedom of speech, injustice and terrorism, this world is really paradoxical ... It reacts to the tragedy that is certainly shocking, but still a, minor episode compared to some major events that have occurred and continue to occur in some countries.

The death of 12 persons (personnes) alarmed the whole world at the time when the killings of thousands of people in some parts of the world goes unnoticed. God's punishment (la justice de Dieu) should enable us to understand who it has touched.

We (the members of the movement "I'm not Charlie, I'm Christian" - KC) are sad for those people killed, but not because of the freedom of speech, but because they died without Christ and for the cause that is against God. God wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

Being shrewd, let's be exalted, because what we see with our eyes is not what actually happens. This world rejects God, this world is willing to spend money on some things, but not on the work of God. This world believes in the so-called freedom of speech, freedom of "love" of anyone, freedom of "marriages" with anyone, animal rights, etc., but it does not believe in God.

We will not blindly follow this world, we will look at it with the insight that God has given us: "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will".

I'm not Charlie, I'm Christian".
 
Racist, Islamophobic, Hypocritical Charlie Hebdo Draws More Damns It Deserves

A large number of people gathered outside Bradford City Hall last night to hear MP George Galloway and other speakers at a freedom of speech demonstration.

The rally was organised after the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published a cartoon of the prophet Mohammad on its front cover following the attack on its Paris office by two Islamic terrorists in which 12 people were shot dead.

Organisers say Muslims are now being victimised and green ribbons were handed out before the multi-faith protest began to show a solidarity of peace.

Alongside Bradford West Respect MP Mr Galloway were speakers from across faiths in Bradford who spoke and read out poems, in both French and English.

From the steps of City Hall, Mr Galloway said: "I am here to defend the honour of Muslims, Islams and Muhammad.

"These are not cartoons, these are obscene insults to the prophet Muhammad.

"The backlash against Muslims is under way in France and the UK.

"It seems there are limits to freedom of speech in France. That's hypocrisy, not democracy.

"For the sake of unity in our society, we have to demand from our Government the protection of our prophets."

During his 15-minute speech, Mr Galloway also criticised many of the world leaders who attended the rally for peace held in Paris only days after the Charlie Hebdo attack and another at a Jewish supermarket in which five people were murdered.

Councillor Imran Hussain, deputy leader of Labour-run Bradford Council, also spoke during the demonstration, attended by about 300 people in freezing conditions.

He said: "There is a big debate around freedom of speech. It is a fundamental right.

"Let's have freedom of speech, not freedom to openly insult.

"I was deeply insulted, deeply offended by the publication of Charlie Hebdo, in particular its depiction of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

"There has been double standards and hypocrisy here."

Charlie Hebdo A 'Racist, Islamophobic, Hypocritical Rag' - George Galloway At Freedom Of Speech Rally

Footage has emerged showing firebrand MP George Galloway condemning the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for producing "pornographic, obscene insults" against the Prophet Muhammad.

The Respect MP for Bradford West was speaking at a freedom of speech demonstration outside Bradford City Hall on Saturday.

Referencing the bloody France attacks which saw 17 people killed, Galloway said: "No person, no human being should be subjected to violence, still less death for anything that they have said, written or drawn.

"So we condemn utterly the murder of 17 people in the events in Paris. But we will not allow this Charlie Hebdo magazine to be described as a king of loveable, anarchic, fun book of cartoons.

"These are not cartoons, these are not depictions of the Prophet, these are pornographic, obscene insults to the Prophet and by extension, 1.7billion human beings on this earth and there are limits.

"There are limits. There limits to free speech and free expression especially in France."

Galloway described the newspaper's purpose as "to further marginalize, further alienate and further endanger exactly those parts of the community who are already alienated, already endangered. It is a racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag."

"Je ne suis pas Charlie Hebdo," he declared.

The newspaper has long poked fun at popes and presidents, as well as the Prophet Muhammad.

The weekly publication has a history of drawing outrage across the Muslim world with crude cartoons of Islam's holiest figure, resulting in the firebombing of its offices in 2011.

A year later, the magazine published more Muhammad drawings amid an uproar over an anti-Muslim film. The cartoons depicted Muhammad naked and in demeaning or pornographic poses. As outraged grew, the French government defended free speech even as it rebuked Charlie Hebdo for fanning tensions.

Last week the Pope suggested the murdered cartoonists were "provocateurs" who should have expected a violent backlash, adding there were limits to freedom of expression when it insults someone's faith.

Pope Francis said there was a duty to speak one's mind for the sake of the common good, but added there were "limits."

During his speech, Galloway went on to decry France's ban on the public use of veils, both face-covering niqabs and full-body burqas, pointing out: "They can wear as little as they like, but they cannot wear as much as they like."

Referencing the rampage carried out by Anders Breivik which saw 77 lost their lives, Galloway added: "Nobody blamed all Christians. Nobody demanded that Christians get down on their knees and apologise for the actions of a fascist murdering criminal and neither should they be doing so to the millions of Muslims in Britain.

"Crimes are carried out by criminals, not by their co-religionists or people of the same colour or nation as them."
 
Protests Over Charlie Hebdo 'Kill Four' In Niger, Demonstrations In Jordan, India And Sudan

At least four people have been killed after protests against Charlie Hebdo' new cover depicting Mohammed turned violent.

A police officer and three civilians died and 45 people were injured in protests against the cover in Zinder, a city in Niger, the BBC reported.

"Some of the protesters were armed with bows and arrows as well as clubs. The clashes were very violent in some places," a source told Reuters.

The deaths come after a rally by Pakistani students against the French satirical weekly's turned violent on Friday, with police firing warning shots and water cannons to disperse the demonstration. A photographer with the Agence France-Presse was shot and wounded in the melee.

Although there were concerns that rallies against Charlie Hebdo' new cover depicting the prophet — an act deemed insulting to many followers of Islam — would unravel into violence across the Muslim world, most of the protests elsewhere passed peacefully.

Pakistan has condemned the Paris massacre but many people in this overwhelmingly Muslim country view the magazine's prophet caricatures as a profound insult. Protesters took to the streets after midday prayers in the port city of Karachi, the eastern city of Lahore and the capital of Islamabad to denounce the weekly.

In Karachi, clashes erupted when the protesters started heading toward the French Consulate. The protesters began throwing stones at the police, who tried to push them back with water cannons and tear gas.

AFP news director Michele Leridon said that photographer Asif Hassan was shot and wounded. He underwent surgery and "his life does not seem in danger," Leridon said.

It was not immediately clear how Hassan was shot, and AFP said they were now trying to find out whether he was targeted or accidentally shot.

Karachi police officer, Naseer Tanoly, said some of the protesters were armed and opened fire on the police first. He said the police fired into the air to disperse the crowd. The protesters were mostly students affiliated with the Jamaat-e-Islami political party.

In Islamabad, about 1,000 people gathered after Friday prayers to condemn the magazine for what they called blasphemous images of the prophet. The demonstrators carried signs that read "Shame on Charlie Hebdo" and "If you are Charlie, then I am Kouachi" — referring to the brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi who carried out the assault on the weekly and who had told survivors they were sent by al-Qaida in Yemen.

In Lahore, about 800 people rallied against the magazine for a second day. On Thursday, Pakistani lawmakers passed a resolution against cartoons of the prophet and marched outside parliament to protest Charlie Hebdo's latest cover.

The magazine has invoked freedom of speech to defend its publications of cartoons of the prophet.

In the Jordanian capital, Amman, clashes also erupted after Friday prayers between about 2,000 protesters organized by the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest opposition group, and security forces. Riot police used batons to disperse the protesters as they tried to march to the French Embassy.

The crowd chanted slogans against Charlie Hebdo and Jordanian officials for taking part in the Paris unity march. The Jordanian royal house denounced the latest publication of Charlie Hebdo for its front cover, saying publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad was "irresponsible and far from the essence of freedom of expression" but King Abdullah and Queen Rania took part in the Paris march in solidarity with the victims of the terror attack.

In Istanbul, about 160 men held funeral prayers Friday to honor the Kouachi brothers. They shouted, "God is great," and held a banner showing former al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden's picture on one side and the Kouachi brothers superimposed over the Parisian skyline on the other. There were also smaller posters with the slogans "We are all Cherif" and "We are all Said" among the demonstrators.

In Sudan, several hundred Muslim worshippers marched briefly after Friday prayers in downtown Khartoum, demanding the expulsion of the French ambassador from the country, chanting they are ready to sacrifice their "blood ad soul to protect" the prophet.

Saudi Arabia's top council of senior clerics on Friday condemned Charlie Hebdo's latest depiction of the prophet and said it only serves extremists looking to justify murder and terrorism.

Qatar said it strongly condemned the French weekly's act and urged Western media "to respect others and their beliefs" and refrain from acts of intolerance and extremism.
 
Erdogan lashes out at Charlie Hebdo magazine

Turkish leader says magazine "wreaks terror by intervening in freedom of others", adding freedom "is not limitless".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed out at Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine, for its "provocative" publications about Islam, saying the weekly paper incites hatred and racism.

"This magazine [is] notorious for its provocative publications about Muslims, about Christians, about everyone," Erdogan told a meeting of businessmen in Ankara on Friday.

"This is not called freedom. This equates to wreaking terror by intervening in the freedom space of others. We should be aware of this. There is no limitless freedom," he said.

In its first issue since the attacks by gunmen last week on its headquarters that killed 12 people, the magazine featured an image of the Prophet Muhammad weeping on its front cover.

The cover sparked fresh controversy and protests in some parts of the Muslim world, where many find any depiction of the prophet, let alone satirical ones, highly offensive.

Erdogan said Muslims expected respect for their prophet the same way as they valued the prophets of Judaism and Christianity.

"They may be atheists. If they are, they will respect what is sacred to me," said Erdogan.

"If they do not, it means it is a provocation, which is punishable by laws. What they do is incite hatred, racism," he added.

Erdogan said the publication of the cartoons in predominantly Muslim Turkey was against law.

"Which country do you live in?" asked Erdogan in a thinly-veiled jab at the Turkish daily.

"What you did goes against law ... You are inviting provocation."
 
The Pope Blamed Charlie Hebdo Cartoonists For Provoking Attack

Pope Francis has suggested the murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were "provocateurs" who should have expected a violent backlash, adding that there are limits to freedom of expression when it insults someone's faith.

Francis spoke about the Paris terror attacks while en route to the Philippines, said there was a duty to speak one's mind for the sake of the common good, but added that there were "limits".

Indicating his friend and assistant Alberto Gasparri, who was standing by his side, he said: "If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch," as he pretended to throw a sharp hook. "It's normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others."

In the wake of the attack, where 12 people were massacred by Islamist gunmen who stormed the paper's offices, the Vatican and four prominent French imams issued a joint declaration that denounced the attacks but also urged the media to treat religions with respect. Charlie Hebdo had become notorious for printing images of the Prophet Mohammed, as well as lampooning all major world religions, the far right and the French establishment.

Pope Francis has been the target of the magazine's satirists, including a cartoon that portrayed the Argentinian as a prostitute at the Rio carnival declaring he is "soliciting clients", and the Papal conclave enjoying an enormous circle of anal sex.

But he went on: "There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others," he said. "They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to Dr. Gasparri if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a limit."

Francis said he had spoken to Vatican security officials who are taking "prudent and secure measures" against possible attacks on him. "I am worried, but you know I have a defect: a good dose of carelessness. I'm careless about these things," he said. But he admitted that in his prayers, he had asked that if something were to happen to him that "it doesn't hurt, because I'm not very courageous when it comes to pain. I'm very timid. I'm in God's hands."
 

'Free Speech' Hypocrisy In The Aftermath Of The Attack On Charlie Hebdo

By David North

The attack on the editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo has shocked the public, which is horrified by the violent deaths of 12 people in the center of Paris. The video images, viewed by millions, of the gunmen firing their weapons and killing an already-wounded policeman have imparted to Wednesday's events an extraordinary actuality.

In the immediate aftermath of the shootings, the state and media are seeking to exploit the fear and the confusion of the public. Once again, the political bankruptcy and essentially reactionary character of terrorism is exposed. It serves the interests of the state, which utilizes the opportunity provided by the terrorists to whip up support for authoritarianism and militarism. In 2003, when the Bush administration invaded Iraq, French popular opposition was so overwhelming that the government led by President Jacques Chirac was compelled to oppose the war, even in the face of massive political pressure from the United States. Now, 12 years later, as President François Hollande is striving to transform France into the United States' principal ally in the "war on terror," the attack in Paris plays into his hands.

In these efforts Hollande can rely on the media, which in such circumstances directs all its energies toward the emotional manipulation and political disorientation of the public. The capitalist media, skillfully combining the suppression of information with half-truths and outright lies, devises a narrative that is calculated to appeal not only to the basest instincts of the broad public, but also to its democratic and idealistic sentiments.

Throughout Europe and the United States, the claim is being made that the attack on the magazine Charlie Hebdo was an assault on the freedom of the press and the unalienable right of journalists in a democratic society to express themselves without loss of freedom or fear for their lives. The killing of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and editors is being proclaimed an assault on the principles of free speech that are, supposedly, held so dear in Europe and the United States. The attack on Charlie Hebdo is, thus, presented as another outrage by Muslims who cannot tolerate Western "freedoms." From this the conclusion must be drawn that the "war on terror"—i.e., the imperialist onslaught on the Middle East, Central Asia and North and Central Africa—is an unavoidable necessity.

In the midst of this orgy of democratic hypocrisy, no reference is made to the fact that the American military, in the course of its wars in the Middle East, is responsible for the deaths of at least 15 journalists. In the on-going narrative of "Freedom of Speech Under Attack," there is no place for any mention of the 2003 air-to-surface missile attack on the offices of Al Jazeera in Baghdad that left three journalists dead and four wounded.

Nor is anything being written or said about the July 2007 murder of two Reuters journalists working in Baghdad, staff photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver Saeed Chmagh. Both men were deliberately targeted by US Apache gunships while on assignment in East Baghdad.

The American and international public was first able to view a video of the cold-blooded murder of the two journalists as well as a group of Iraqis—taken from one of the gunships—as the result of WikiLeaks' release of classified material that it had obtained from an American soldier, Corporal Bradley Chelsea Manning.

And how has the United States and Europe acted to protect WikiLeaks' exercise of free speech? Julian Assange, the founder and publisher of WikiLeaks, has been subjected to relentless persecution. Leading political and media figures in the United States and Canada have denounced him as a "terrorist" and demanded his arrest, with some even calling publicly for his murder. Assange is being pursued on fraudulent "rape" allegations concocted by American and Swedish intelligence services. He has been compelled to seek sanctuary in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, which is under constant guard by British police who will seize Assange if he steps out of the embassy. As for Chelsea Manning, she is presently in prison, serving out a 35-year sentence for treason.

That is how the great capitalist "democracies" of North America and Europe have demonstrated their commitment to free speech and the safety of journalists!

The dishonest and hypocritical narrative spun out by the state and the media requires that Charlie Hebdo and its murdered cartoonists and journalists be upheld as martyrs to free speech and representatives of a revered democratic tradition of hard-hitting iconoclastic journalism.

In a column published Wednesday in the Financial Times, the liberal historian Simon Schama places Charlie Hebdo in a glorious tradition of journalistic irreverence that "is the lifeblood of freedom." He recalls the great European satirists between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries who subjected the great and powerful to their withering scorn. Among their illustrious targets, Schama reminds us, were the brutal Duke of Alba, who in the 1500s drowned the Dutch struggle for freedom in blood; the French "Sun King," Louis XIV; the British Prime Minister William Pitt; and the Prince of Wales. "Satire," writes Schama, "became the oxygen of politics, ventilating healthy howls of derision in coffee houses and taverns where caricatures circulated every day and every week."

Schama places Charlie Hebdo in a tradition to which it does not belong. All the great satirists to whom Schama refers were representatives of a democratic Enlightenment who directed their scorn against the powerful and corrupt defenders of aristocratic privilege. In its relentlessly degrading portrayals of Muslims, Charlie Hebdo has mocked the poor and the powerless.

To speak bluntly and honestly about the sordid, cynical and degraded character of Charlie Hebdo is not to condone the killing of its personnel. But when the slogan "I am Charlie" is adopted and heavily promoted by the media as the slogan of protest demonstrations, those who have not been overwhelmed by state and media propaganda are obligated to reply: "We oppose the violent assault on the magazine, but we are not—and have nothing in common with—'Charlie.'"

Marxists are no strangers to the struggle to overcome the influence of religion among the masses. But they conduct this struggle with the understanding that religious faith is sustained by conditions of adversity and desperate hardship. Religion is not to be mocked, but understood and criticized as Karl Marx understood and criticized it:

"Religious distress is … the expression of real distress and also the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of spiritless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

"To abolish religion as the illusory happiness of the people is to demand their real happiness. The demand to give up illusions about the existing affairs is the demand to give up a state of affairs that needs illusions. The criticism of religion is therefore in embryo the criticism of the vale of tears, the halo of which is religion." [Contribution to Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Law, in Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3 (New York, 1975), pp. 175-76]

One has only to read these words to see the intellectual and moral chasm that separates Marxism from the unhealthy milieu of the ex-left political cynicism that has found expression in Charlie Hebdo. There has been nothing enlightening, let alone edifying, in their puerile and often obscene denigration of the Muslim religion and its traditions.

The cynically provocative anti-Muslim caricatures that have appeared on so many covers of Charlie Hebdo have pandered to and facilitated the growth of right-wing chauvinist movements in France. It is absurd to claim, by way of defense of Charlie Hebdo, that its cartoons are all "in good fun" and have no political consequences. Aside from the fact that the French government is desperate to rally support for its growing military agenda in Africa and the Middle East, France is a country where the influence of the neo-fascist National Front is growing rapidly. In this political context, Charlie Hebdo has facilitated the growth of a form of politicized anti-Muslim sentiment that bears a disturbing resemblance to the politicized anti-Semitism that emerged as a mass movement in France in the 1890s.

In its use of crude and vulgar caricatures that purvey a sinister and stereotyped image of Muslims, Charlie Hebdo recalls the cheap racist publications that played a significant role in fostering the anti-Semitic agitation that swept France during the famous Dreyfus Affair, which erupted in 1894 after a Jewish officer was accused and falsely convicted of espionage on behalf of Germany. In whipping up popular hatred of Jews, La Libre Parole ["Free Speech"], published by the infamous Edoard Adolfe Drumont, made highly effective use of cartoons that employed the familiar anti-Semitic devices. The caricatures served to inflame public opinion, inciting mobs against Dreyfus and his defenders, such as Emile Zola, the great novelist and author of J'Accuse.

The World Socialist Web Site, on the basis of long-standing political principles, opposes and unequivocally condemns the terrorist assault on Charlie Hebdo. But we refuse to join in the portrayal of Charlie Hebdo as a martyr to the cause of democracy and free speech, and we warn our readers to be wary of the reactionary agenda that motivates this hypocritical and dishonest campaign.

* David North is an American Trotskyist. He is the national chairman of the Socialist Equality Party in the United States (SEP), formerly the Workers League. North is also the chairman of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, where this article was first published.

 

Charlie Hebdo: Some Tough Quandaries

By Boaventura de Sousa Santos

The heinous nature of the crime against the journalists and cartoonists from Charlie Hebdo makes it extremely difficult to offer a cool-headed analysis of what is entailed in this barbaric act, its context and precedents, as well as its impact and future repercussions. Still an analysis is urgently needed, lest we fan the flames of a fire that one of these days may well hit our children's schools, our homes, our institutions and our consciences. Here are some thoughts towards that analysis.

THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM: TORTURE AND DEMOCRACY

One cannot draw a direct connection between the Charlie Hebdo tragedy and the fight against terrorism waged by the US and its allies since September 11, 2001. It is a known fact, however, that the West's extreme aggressiveness has caused the death of many thousands of innocent civilians (mostly Muslims) and inflicted astounding levels of violence and torture on young Muslims against whom all suspicions of wrongdoing are speculative at best, as attested to by the report recently submitted to the US Congress. It is also well known that many young Islamic radicals claim that their radicalisation stems from their anger at all that unredressed violence.

In view of this, we must stop and consider whether the best way to bring the spiral of violence to a halt is to pursue the same policies that have driven it so far, as has now become all too evident. The French response to the attack shows that democratic, constitutional normalcy is now suspended and an undeclared state of siege is in place; that this type of criminal should be shot dead rather than incarcerated and brought to justice, and that such behaviour in no way seems to contradict Western values. We have entered a phase of low-intensity civil war. Who in Europe stands to gain from it? Certainly not the Podemos party in Spain, nor Greece's Syriza.

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

The freedom to express oneself is a precious commodity, but it, too, has its limits, and the truth is that the overwhelming majority of those limits are imposed by those who advocate limitless freedom whenever their own freedom is curtailed. The examples of such limits are legion: in England a demonstrator can get herself arrested for saying that David Cameron has blood on his hands; in France Islamic women are not allowed to wear the hijab; in 2008, cartoonist Siné (Maurice Sinet) was fired from Charlie Hebdo for writing an allegedly anti-Semitic article. What this all means is that limits do exist; it's just that they vary for different interest groups. Take Latin America, for example, where the major media, which are controlled by oligarchic families and by big capital, are the first to cry out for unrestrained freedom of expression so that they can throw abuse at the progressive governments and silence all the good that these governments have done to promote the well-being of the poor.

It seems that Charlie Hebdo knew no limits when it came to insulting Muslims, although many of its cartoons were racist propaganda and contributed to feed the Islamophobic, anti-immigrant wave now sweeping over France and Europe in general. Besides many cartoons in which the Prophet is shown in pornographic poses, one in particular was very much explored by the far right. It depicted a group of pregnant Muslim women presented as Boko Haram sex slaves, their hands resting on their belly bump, screaming "Hands off our welfare benefits". At one stroke, the cartoon stigmatised Islam, women and the welfare state. As was to be expected, over the years the largest Muslim community in Europe saw this editorial line as offensive. On the other hand, however, its condemnation of this barbaric crime was immediate. We must therefore reflect on the contradictions and asymmetries of the lived values some of us believe to be universal.

TOLERANCE AND 'WESTERN VALUES'

The context of the crime is dominated by two currents of opinion, none of which is conducive to building an inclusive, intercultural Europe. The more radical of the two is openly Islamophobic and anti-immigrant. These are the hardliners of the far right all across Europe and of the right wherever it feels threatened in upcoming elections (as is the case of Greece's Antonis Samara). For this current of thought, the enemies of European civilization are among 'us'. They hate us, they wield our passports, and the situation cannot be solved unless we get rid of them. The anti-immigrant overtones are unmistakable. The other current is that of tolerance. These people are very different from us, they are a burden, but we have to "put up with them", for, if nothing else, they are useful; we should do it, however, only if they behave moderately and assimilate our values.

But what are "Western values"? After many centuries of atrocities committed in the name of such values both within and outside Europe – from colonial violence to the two world wars – a degree of caution and much reflection are in order about what those values are and also about why, depending on the context, now some of them, now others, tend to take precedence. For example, no one questions the value of freedom, but the same cannot be said for equality and fraternity, the two values underlying the welfare state that prevailed in democratic Europe after World War II. In recent years, however, social protection – which used to ensure high levels of social integration – began to be questioned by conservative politicians and is now seen as an unaffordable luxury by the parties of the so-called "arc of governance". Isn't it true that the social crisis caused by the erosion of social protection and by growing unemployment, especially among youth, is like fuel to the flames of radicalism found among the younger generations, who, in addition to unemployment, are the victims of ethnic and religious discrimination?

A CLASH OF FANATICISMS, NOT OF CIVILIZATIONS

What we are facing now is not a clash of civilizations, because Christian and Islamic civilization share the same roots to begin with. What we have before us is a clash of fanaticisms, even if some of them are just too close to us to be recognized as such. History shows that many fanaticisms and the way in which they clashed were related to economic and political interests, which in any event were never beneficial to those who suffered most at the hands of fanatics. This is the case, in Europe and its areas of influence, of the Crusades and the Inquisition, the evangelisation of colonial populations, the religious wars and the conflict in Northern Ireland. Outside Europe, a religion as peaceable as Buddhism has legitimised the slaughter of many thousands of members of Sri Lanka's Tamil minority; in 2003, Hindu fundamentalists also slaughtered the Muslim populations of Gujarat, and the likelihood of their rise to power as a result of President Modi's recent victory makes one fear the worst. It is also in the name of religion that Israel is carrying on with its unpunished, ethnic cleansing of Palestine and that the so-called Islamic Emirate is slaughtering Muslim populations in Syria and in Iraq.

Could it be that the defense of unrestrained secularism in an intercultural Europe, where many people do not identify with this particular value, is itself a form of extremism? Do extremisms oppose one another? Do they interconnect? What relationships are there between the jihadists and the Western secret services? How come the jihadists of the Islamic Emirate, who are now seen as terrorists, used to be freedom fighters when they were fighting against Gaddafi and Assad? How is it that the Islamic Emirate is funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Turkey, all of them allies of the West? This being said, the fact remains that, over the last decade at least, the overwhelming majority of victims of all fanaticisms (including Islamic fanaticism) belonged to non-fanatical Muslim populations.

THE VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE

The absolute, unconditional revulsion experienced by Europeans in the face of these deaths should make us wonder why they do not feel the same kind of revulsion in the face of a similar, if not much higher, number of innocent deaths caused by conflicts that, at bottom, may have something to do with the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. On that very same day, 37 young people were killed in a bomb attack in Yemen. Last summer, the Israeli invasion caused the death of 2,000 Palestinians, including about 1,500 civilians and 500 children. In Mexico, 102 journalists have been murdered since 2000 for speaking up for freedom of the press, and in November 2014, 43 young people were killed in Ayotzinapa, also in Mexico. Surely the difference in those reactions cannot be based on the notion that the life of white Europeans, coming from a Christian culture, is worth more than the lives of non-Europeans or of Europeans of another colour, whose culture originates in different religions or in other regions. Is it because the latter live at a remove from the Europeans and are less familiar to them?

On the other hand, does the Christian injunction to love one's neighbour provide for such distinctions? Is it because the big media and the political leaders in the West tend to trivialise the suffering inflicted on those others, or even to demonise them to the point of making us think that they had it coming?

* Boaventura de Sousa Santos is a Professor of Sociology at the School of Economics, University of Coimbra, Protugal. Sousa Santos has taught in various universities including Yale, Wisconsin-Madison Law School and University of Warwick.

 
Déjà Vu In France: What Both The British Empire And The French Empire Had Produced

By Jacob G. Hornberger

I'm getting a big déjà vu feeling in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo killings in France.

The French government is declaring war on terrorism. It's militarizing French society. It's proposing a Patriot Act. It's supporting a mass surveillance scheme. It's advocating killing more people in the Middle East. There is even talk of using military tribunals to try terrorism cases.

Hey, those were all things that U.S. officials did after the 9/11 attacks. No wonder I'm getting a déjà vu feeling!

I'll bet the German people are getting a bit of déjà vu too. That's because their former president, Adolf Hitler, took the same sort of measures after the terrorist attack on the Reichstag. That's what the Enabling Act was all about.

After the terrorists firebombed the Reichstag, Hitler told the German representatives that it was imperative that he be granted special powers to wage the war on the terrorism. Just before the vote on whether to grant Hitler extraordinary powers, he reassured the Reichstag:

The government will make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential for carrying out vitally necessary measures. The number of cases in which an internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is in itself a limited one.

In a 441-84 vote, the Reichstag gave Hitler his extraordinary powers to wage the war on terrorism. As part of his plan to defeat terrorism, Hitler organized special tribunals to try cases involving terrorism. He called it the People's Court. That's where Hans and Sophie Scholl and the members of the White Rose were put on trial, convicted, and executed.

This quote by Hitler's Nazi cohort Hermann Goering is apt:

It is always a simple matter to drag the people along…. the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

Indeed it does. The last thing people want to do is confront the notion that their very own government is at the heart of the problem. Their government is their everything. It is their provider. It is their papa.

This is especially true in France, where the government takes care of people by providing them with their retirement pay, healthcare, job protection, economic regulations, and education. The last thing people are going to do is point to the government's very own policies abroad as the root cause of the anger and hatred that drives people to commit acts of terrorism.

After all, what if the government were to get angry and terminate the dole on which people are dependent? The situation is akin to a child who throws temper tantrums but never challenges his parents at a fundamental level for fear that his parents will no longer take care of him.

It's much easier for the French people, like all too many Americans after 9/11, to swallow the government's line hook, line, and sinker — that the terrorists just hate France for its freedom and values and that the anger and hatred have nothing to do with all the people that the French government, in combination with the U.S. government, has been killing, maiming, and torturing in Afghanistan and the Middle East for the past 13 years.

What's this much-vaunted free society that French officials say the terrorists have attacked?

Well, let's see.

There are the laws that criminalize the questioning of the Holocaust. If you do that in France, they will take you into custody, prosecute you, and jail you, even if you are a foreigner. What they mean by freedom of speech in France is the freedom to say whatever you want so long as it's approved by the government.

There is strict gun control in France. The idea is that if guns are made illegal, there won't be anyone being killed by guns. Just think: Every one of those people at Charlie Hebdo was legally prohibited from defending himself from murderers who obviously didn't give a hoot about France's gun-control laws.

There is the welfare state, a socialist economic system that plunders and loots people with income taxation and other taxes in order to provide a dole to people. The welfare state, combined with France's highly regulated economic system, is the reason that the country has been mired in an economic morass for centuries.

When they established the United States, our American ancestors fully and completely rejected European statism. But our ancestors weren't naïve. They knew that the federal government would inevitably attract statists, just like those in France and other parts of Europe. That's why our ancestors ensured the passage of the Bill of Rights — protect our rights and freedoms from American statists within the federal government.

It's also why Americans lived without income taxation, welfare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public schooling, gun control, fiat money, a central bank, and all the other attributes of European statism for more than 100 years. Our ancestors had had enough of European statism.

And that's not all. Our ancestors also rejected the old, bankrupt ideas of empire, militarism, standing armies, secret police, and foreign interventionism. They had seen what both the British Empire and the French Empire had produced: endless terrorist blowback arising from anger and hatred for imperialism as well as ever-increasing expenditures, taxes, and borrowing and ever-growing infringements on the rights and liberties of the citizenry, including such things as warrantless searches, mass surveillance, gun confiscation, taxes, and fiat money. That's in fact why the British colonists in America seceded from the British Empire in 1776.

It's time for the American people to wake up and rediscover their roots and their heritage. It's time to reject European statism, just as the Founding Fathers and the Framers did. It's time to dismantle, not reform, the American welfare-warfare state, including the income tax, the IRS, and the Federal Reserve, which provide the revenue for this monstrosity. It would be the best thing we could ever do for ourselves and for the world.

 
Free Speech In America? What About Lynne Stewart?

By Jacob G. Hornberger

In the aftermath of the terrorist attack in France on Charlie Hebdo, U.S. officials are telling the world how committed they are to the principles of freedom of speech.

Really?

How about Lynne Stewart, the New York lawyer who was convicted and sentenced to serve time in a federal penitentiary for doing nothing more than speaking the following words to the press:

I am not withdrawing my support of the cease-fire, I am merely questioning it and I am urging you, who are on the ground there to discuss it and to include everyone in your discussions as we always have done.

The "I" in those words referred to a convicted terrorist named Omar Abdel-Rahmanj, who Stewart, a famous New York lawyer, was representing. Those specific words that Stewart spoke to the press were actually a note that her client had written and asked her to read to the press.

What was Stewart convicted of? Supporting terrorism.

One obvious question arises: What else did Stewart do to deserve her criminal conviction, her time in jail, and her disbarment as a lawyer?

Did she participate in planning sessions for terrorist attacks? Did she serve as a recruiter for terrorists? Did she herself initiate terrorist attacks?

The answer is no to those three questions. She didn't do anything else. All that Stewart did was to speak those particular words to the press.

So, the next question arises: What in particular makes those particular words a crime to speak to the press? Let's analyze each phrase:

I am not withdrawing my support of a ceasefire.

What's wrong with not withdrawing support for a ceasefire? I can sort of see some federal prosecutor wanting to make a federal case out of someone withdrawing his support for a ceasefire. But I'm not sure how one makes the case that terrorism encompasses not withdrawing support of a ceasefire. Doesn't a ceasefire connote the absence of violence? If someone is supporting a ceasefire, or nonviolence, why is that terroristic?

I am merely questioning it and I am urging you … to discuss it.

How is questioning a ceasefire and urging people to discuss the ceasefire terroristic? Doesn't questioning involve nothing more than a mental process on the part of the utterer? Can thinking really be considered a criminal act?

Moreover, why is simply discussing whether a ceasefire should be ended considered a criminal act? What if the discussions end up with everyone supporting the ceasefire? Should that matter?

Here is what the presiding judge in the Stewart case said:

A rational jury could have inferred that, by relaying a statement withdrawing support for a cessation of violence by an influential, pro-violence leader of a terrorist group, Stewart knew that she was providing support to those within the IG (Islamic Group) who sought to return to violence…."

But wait a minute! That isn't what Stewart did. She didn't relay "a statement withdrawing support for a cessation of violence." She did the exact opposite! She specifically said: "I am NOT withdrawing my support of the cease-fire…."

It would seem that in the Orwellian world of the U.S. national-security state and the much-vaunted "war on terrorism," yes means yes and no means yes.

But let's assume that the note read as that judge said it did. In fact, let's assume the worst. Let's assume that the note that Stewart read to the press expressly called on people to end all ceasefires and to violently overthrow the government.

What then?

Well, under U.S. national-security law it would depend on which government Stewart was referring to. If, for example, she was referring to Cuba or Venezuela, then U.S. officials would never have prosecuted her because in that case, her words would not be considered a criminal offense under U.S. national-security law.

Indeed, that's precisely what the 54-year-old U.S. embargo against Cuba is all about. Its very purpose is to inflict as much economic harm on the Cuban people as possible, in the hope that the Cuban people will rise up and violently overthrow the Castro regime. That's what the CIA's sneak attack on Cuba in 1961 was all about — getting the Cuban people to violently overthrow their own government. In fact, ever since Castro took power, U.S. officials, including the CIA and many members of Congress, have gone out of their way to exhort the Cuban people to violently overthrow the communist regime in Cuba and re-install a pro-U.S. dictator, similar to the pro-U.S. dictator who Castro ousted, Fulgencio Batista.

So, why then was Stewart prosecuted, convicted, and jailed for doing nothing more than speaking words to the press, words that did nothing more than express her client's continued support for a ceasefire and calling on his followers to question it and discuss it?

Under U.S. national-security law, Stewart's offense was in picking the wrong country and the wrong regime. She picked Egypt, which has long been run by one of the most brutal and corrupt military dictatorships in history, one that has long been notorious for disallowing elections, murdering peaceful protesters, shutting down critical newspapers, running torture chambers, operating commercial enterprises, maintaining strict secrecy on military expenditures, and all the other things that military dictatorships do.

Why was Egypt treated differently from Cuba and Venezuela insofar as Stewart's words are concerned?

Egypt is a pro-U.S. military dictatorship, one that is a loyal partner of the U.S. government, while Cuba and Venezuela have steadfastly chosen to remain independent of the U.S. national-security state. In fact, it would be difficult to find a dictatorial regime that has proven more loyal to the U.S. government than that of Egypt.

Consider just one example: When the U.S. national-security state needed foreign regimes to torture people as part of its war on terrorism after 9/11, Egypt eagerly and loyally came forward to volunteer to be part of the U.S. national-security state's rendition-torture program and, in fact, actually tortured people at the request of and on behalf of the U.S. government.

In fact, it's been the U.S. government that has long provided the resources, primarily in terms of weaponry, that has enabled the military dictatorship to remain firmly in control in Egypt. Even to this day, U.S. taxpayer monies in the form of weapons continue to flood into the regime to help it maintain its iron military grip over the Egyptian people.

Under U.S. national-security law, no American will be permitted to call for the violent overthrow of a loyal and patriotic ally and partner like the Egyptian military dictatorship. Lynne Stewart, who ended up receiving 10-year jail sentence, learned that lesson. She should have known that when Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that people everywhere have the fundamental right to overthrow a tyrannical regime, he obviously meant to exclude tyrannies that are partners of the U.S. government. He also obviously meant to say that the exercise of fundamental, God-given rights such as freedom of speech has its limits.

 
Paris Attacks: Let's Talk About The 'War On Terror'

By Hamza Hamouchene

Like any marking moment in history, especially shocking episodes, the attacks on the weekly French magazine Charlie Hebdo and the Kosher supermarket have been (and will be) instrumentalised in different ways to pursue insidious agendas. Attempts to occult the context and to evacuate the underlying systemic causes that lead to such violence are underway. We urgently need to understand why this violence is happening and keeps recurring and to do so is neither a justification for any crime nor an apology of violence.

"CLASH OF CIVILISATIONS" AND ATTACK ON "FREE SPEECH", REALLY?

For instance, some pundits and politicians have caricatured what happened along the lines of "Clash of Civilisations" between enlightened and freedom-loving Westerners on one hand and Violent and Evil Muslims in the other hand, as if there is something inherently violent in Islam that pushes Muslims to commit these atrocities. This shameless essentialisation of Islam and misguided culturalist interpretations of events deceitfully shift the discussion from the political to the cultural sphere and dismisses any serious exploration of the "Why" of such acts. The result is a racist backlash against Muslims and humiliating exhortations towards them to denounce and distance themselves from the terrorists. Did it occur to anyone to ask "Christians" in Norway to distance themselves from Anders Breivik who killed 77 people in the name of Islamophobia and White supremacy?

Similarly, we saw a clear pattern in the mainstream media that tried to reduce what happened to simply an attack on freedom of expression, a "sacred" and "absolute" value in the Western liberal democracies, something we must strive to preserve against those fundamentalists who cannot bear their religion be mocked. There is a certain dishonesty with this framing. What of "free speech" when multinational conglomerates and rich men control the majority of media outlets in the world (including in France), thus limiting alternative voices from emerging?

Free speech is not intrinsically good or noble. It is its use that defines if it is progressive and just or reactionary and hateful. In that respect, freedom of expression is not beyond criticism. Recognising this is by no means a call to limit this freedom as it has been shown throughout history that criticism of religion is a key historical condition for the advancement of knowledge, political emancipation and women's liberation, and condemning free speech or putting a limitation on it (caricaturing it as swearing or blasphemy) just because some use it in reactionary way is not justified.

WE ARE ALL CHARLIE! WHO IS CHARLIE?

That brings us to the slogan "We are all Charlie" that is being insensitively deployed all over the place in the last few days. We must not confuse between defending freedom of expression and identifying with a racist and Islamophobic institution. Denouncing the violence against Charlie Hebdo does not mean ignoring their contribution to the Islamophobic climate in France (and Europe) today. There has been a lot of rationalisation around this role played by the magazine advancing the argument that it targeted all religions without discrimination. But we must not forget that criticism of religion is racialised and differential in a context of an existing extreme Islamophobia and an imperialist assault on Muslim-majority countries.

The magazine subscribed to the "War on Terror" and with its satire added to the oppression of already stigmatised and persecuted Muslim communities. Satire should target the oppressor, the powerful not the oppressed and the weak. "Freedom of Expression" therefore comes with a responsibility and the latest depiction of the prophet Mohamed in the first cover since the attacks demonstrates how this context of Islamophobia is completely brushed aside. We cannot appreciate the situation fully without considering this climate of growing state Islamophobia (the law of the veil in 2004, the discourse around the urban revolt in 2005, law on Niqab, debate on national identity, exclusion on veiled mothers from school trips, banning of protests in solidarity with Palestinians....) that has been normalising Muslim bashing in the last few decades as well as the massive inequalities in the society that produce socio-economic marginalisation. We were not Charlie yesterday and we are not today!

The biggest and criminal instrumentalisation of all is the "republican march" where more than a million people marched in the streets of Paris to denounce the atrocities. They marched behind world leaders whose imperialist management of the world caused the chaos and devastation, the majority of the planet lives in. In denouncing Islamist extremism and defending "freedom of expression", they marched alongside war criminals, racists, Islamophobes, fascists, Zionists and dictators. The march was hijacked by hypocritical transnational political elites in order to score points, potentially signalling stormy days to come, additional curtailment of civil liberties, more discrimination, more Islamophobia and a further legitimisation of the "War on Terror". This ludicrous show of "unity" between the world leaders is reminiscent of the Manichean motto "You are either with us or against us" proclaimed by President Bush after the 9/11.

Beyond the political hijacking of the emotion and the strong display of solidarity, one cannot help but notice the telling absence of indignation and/or the unequal outrage at the destruction and millions of deaths caused by the Western imperialist wars in the last few years: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, Central African Republic and Yemen.etc. It only suffices to point the scant coverage of the massacre of an estimated 2,000 people by Boko Haram in Nigeria that happened in the same week as the Paris shootings to illustrate the hierarchies of the global (dis)-order we live in, an order of selective outrage and sheer indifference. Those victims from the global south are the voiceless, the silenced majority and the un-people of our time.

WHAT ABOUT THE "WAR ON TERROR"?

If we are really serious about attempting to understand such violence, we need to explore the link it has with the disastrous Western foreign policies that fuel more violence and give rise to terrorism in the first place. Islamist terrorism wouldn't have reached the proportions we see today without Western support. How can one pretend to fight this terrorism while continuing to hold strong ties with Saudi Arabia, a state-sponsor of different Jihadist groups, the most fundamentalist state on earth the and prime exporter of a reactionary and obscurantist Wahhabi ideology that preaches violence and nurtures extremism?

Different fundamentalist groups have been backed, trained and financed by the West (including France) for decades against Arab nationalism and against "godless" communism. This support took dramatic proportions after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda, the global terrorist organisation that was created by Bin Laden in Afghanistan emerged out of this war.

The Western imperial interventions in Muslim-majority countries created immense suffering, destruction and mayhem (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Iraq); and exacerbated the threat from international terrorism. Libya has become an exporter of terrorism to the Sahel region after the NATO intervention. Foreign meddling in Syria (which France championed) and Iraq by colluding with terrorist group, created the Islamic State (IS) that is recruiting Jihadists from Europe. It appears that the partner of Coulibaly (the gunman who murdered four hostages in the supermarket and who declared his allegiance to IS) travelled to a part of Syria that is controlled by IS.

Moreover, indefectible backing to apartheid Israel, drone attacks on innocent civilians and the massive rendition/torture program only create discontent and provide a fertile ground to recruit Jihadists that will go and fight the new "crusaders". What these interventions end up doing is unifying the diverse Jihadist groups under the Umbrella of Al Qaeda or IS.

The global war on terror is clearly no such war at all; it is a war between barbarisms[/url], a conflict with enemies designated by the West. It is about justifying interventionism and maintaining Western hegemony, which enforces the brutal neoliberal global order, the plunder of natural resources and the support to repressive regimes

It is this context of imperialist violence and cruelty, the belligerent foreign policy and attempts to maintain the West's global power that gives rise to Islamist terrorism. If not addressed, the infernal cycle of violence will continue and will cause more suffering all over the world.

* Hamza Hamouchene is an Algerian writer, activist and co-founder of Algeria Solidarity Campaign (ASC). This article was previously published by Huffington Post.
 
The Charlie Hebdo white power rally in Paris: A celebration of Western Hypocrisy

By Ajamu Barak

The "civilized" have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their "vital interests" are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death; these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the "sanctity" of human life, or the conscience of civilized world.

— James Baldwin


I have witnessed the spectacle of Eurocentric arrogance many times over my long years of struggle and resistance to colonial/capitalist domination and dehumanization. The grotesque, 21st Century version of the "white man's burden," which asserts that the international community (meaning the West) has a moral and legal "responsibility to protect," is one current example; the generalized acceptance by many in the West that their governments have a right to wage permanent war against the global "others" to maintain international order is another.

Yet, when I think I have seen it all, along comes the response to the attack at the racist, Islamophobic publication Charlie Hebdo. Even though I shouldn't be surprised, I am still left in complete wonderment at the West's unmitigated self-centeredness and self-righteous arrogance.

The millions who turned out on Sunday claimed to be marching in solidarity with the victims at Charlie Hebdo and against terrorism. They were joined by political leaders from across Europe, Israel and other parts of the world – on the same weekend reports were emerging that 2,000 Nigerians may have lost their lives at the hands of Boko Haram, another Muslim extremist group.

Surely there would be expressions of solidarity with the survivors in Nigeria at a gathering ostensibly to oppose terrorism and uphold the sanctity of life. But the expressions of solidarity never came. In fact, based on the attention the massacre received from the Western press, it was as if the massacre had never happened.

It is clear that there was a different agenda for the march and a different set of concerns for Europe. The people of France mobilized themselves to defend what they saw as an attack against Western civilization. However, the events in Paris did not have to be framed as an existential attack on the imagined values of the liberal white West. Providing some context and making some political links may have been beneficial for attempting to understand what happened in the country and a political way forward beyond the appeal to racial jingoism.

The attack could have sparked an honest conversation about how many Muslims experience life in contemporary France and viewed French policies in various Muslim and Arab nations. It could have examined the relationship between the rise of radical Islam and the connection of that rise to the activities of various branches of the French intelligence services. An open discussion might have framed it as a classic blowback operation resulting from the weaponization of radical Whabbanism as a tool of Western power from the late 1970s to its current assignment in Syria. But those ideas were not allowed a forum on that massive stage.

JE SUIS CHARLIE: EUROPEAN LIVES HAVE ALWAYS MATTERED MORE THAN OTHERS

The Je Suis Charlie slogan like one of those mindless advertising themes meant to appeal to the unconscious and the irrational, nevertheless, has to have cultural reference points, culturally embedded meanings that evoke the desire to want to buy a product, or in this case to identify with an imagined civilization. It does not matter that the supposed superiority of Western civilization and its values is based on constructed lies and myths; it is still the basis of a cross-class, transnational white identity.

The white identity is so powerfully inculcated while simultaneously invisibalized that identification is not seen as the essentialized identity politics that people of color supposedly engage in, instead it is just being "human." And as we witnessed this weekend and throughout the colonial world, identification with whiteness is not limited by one's racial or national assignment.

It is not necessary in this short essay to even address the contradictory nature of the European self-understanding, how that self-perception is utterly disconnected from its practice, and how many people in the world see the 500-years European hegemony as an interminable nightmare.

However, for those folks who believe the simple assertion that black lives matter and that "racial progress" will be realized through progressive legislative reform derived from a better understanding of the harmful impact of racially discriminatory practices, the unfiltered expressions of white solidarity and the privileging of white life should be a wake-up call.

The humanity and cultures of Arabs and Muslims have been denigrated in France for decades. Full recognition of the humanity of Arabs and Muslims has always come at a cost – Arabs and Muslims are required to "assimilate," to mimic French lifestyles, embrace the language, adopt the values and worldview of their cosmopolitan patrons. Older generations of fully colonized individuals subjected themselves to that degrading ritual, but later generations see this requirement as the colonial assault on their being that it is and have resisted.

It is the arrogant lack of respect for the ideas and culture of non-European peoples that drove the French ban on the wearing of the niqab and other traditional veiling clothing for Muslim women, just one example of the generalized discriminatory treatment of Arabs and Muslims in France. In this lager context, Charlie Hebdo's blatant disregard and disrespect for another religion, shielded by an absolute commitment to freedom of speech that gives them blanket immunity, is now compounded by the "Je Suis Charlie campaign," orchestrated in the name of upholding the values of liberal, Western civilization.

What it means for many of us in the Black community is that Je Suis Charlie has become a sound bite to justify the erasure of non-Europeans, and for ignoring the sentiments, values and views of the racialized "other." In short, Je Suis Charlie has become an arrogant rallying cry for white supremacy that was echoed at the white power march on Sunday in Paris and in the popularity of the new issue of Charlie Hebdo.

A shared ethical framework under the system of capitalist/colonial white supremacy is impossible. Deeply grounded in the European psyche and in the contradictions of its "humanist" traditions, who was considered fully human always had qualifications, and equality was always a nuanced concept.

The contradictory ethical framework that informs the world view of Parisians is grounded in the colonial division of humanity that emerged out of the liberal humanist movement of the 18th Century. This tradition allowed for humanity to be divided into those people who were considered fully human with rights that should be respected and those peoples consigned to non-being. Those non-beings became eligible to have their lands taken, to be enslaved and murdered at will.

The valuation of white life over everyone else is a fundamental component of white supremacy and not limited to those people that might be defined as white. That is why no one cares about the families that weep for their love ones in Nigeria and no one marches for them. That is why anti-Muslim and anti-Arab violence has exploded across France but the only mention in the Western press is the supposed fear in the Jewish community. And that is why that after the attack in Baga, Nigerian authorities were largely silent until Nigerian President Goodluck finally issued a statement on terrorism where he forcefully condemned the attack in Paris!

* Ajamu Baraka is a long-time human rights activist and veteran of the Black Liberation, anti-war, anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity Movements in the United States. This article was previously published by Dissident Voice.
 
Charlie Hebdo: "Je Suis White People"

By Margaret Kimberle

Don't kill white people. After all is said and done, the Charlie Hebdo outrage, the hashtags, and the million person marches amount to that simple but very powerful dictum. In the eyes of the governments that do most of the killing on the planet and the corporate media who act as their scribes, there is nothing worse than targeting even a handful of white people for death.

Charlie Hebdo is a supposedly satirical magazine published in Paris, France. It was little known to Americans until January 7, 2015 when two gunmen attacked its offices and killed twelve staff members. Charlie Hebdo was well known for intentionally violating the Islamic prohibition of depicting the prophet. According to survivors, the killers announced themselves as members of al-Qaeda and said they were avenging the prophet Muhammad. A policewoman and four more people were killed the following day when another gunman took hostages in a kosher supermarket.

One look at Charlie Hebdo cartoons shows that the word satire is being used very loosely. The depictions of cabinet minister Christiane Taubira as a monkey, and the kidnapped Nigerian school girls as pregnant welfare recipients make a mockery of the world satirical. Regardless of how many French politicians are skewered in its pages, it must be pointed out that Charlie Hebdo indulges in racist hate speech.

Their reputation for insult and offense was quickly forgotten and the call to unquestioningly identify with the victims was immediate. Within a few days, #Jesuischarlie was tweeted more than one million times. The propaganda onslaught created an awkward example of hypocrisy for world leaders who are always the worst killers of all.

Barack Obama trotted out tired denunciations, calling the attacks "cowardly" as he claimed to stand up for the rights of a free press. These were strange words coming from a man who on seven occasions has used the discredited Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers who leak to the media.

Americans were not alone in hypocritically condemning murder. The convenient selective amnesia of the French people is as stunning as their sense of feeling more aggrieved than anyone else in the world.

France was a party to every atrocity and genocide committed by Europeans in history. France played a major role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade[/url], kidnapping approximately 1,250,000 Africans and sending them to work under barbaric conditions in their American territories.

After being forced out of Haiti by the world's most successful slave rebellion, France then held that nation hostage under threat of re-enslavement and demanded a payment of $60 million which were paid from 1838 to 1947. Haiti remains poverty stricken to this day as a result.

France was at the table during the 1884 Berlin Conference which chopped Africa up into European spheres of influence. France engaged in mass slaughter again and again as it attempted to prevent colonies such as Vietnam and Algeria from gaining independence.

After NATO murdered Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, French president Nicolas Sarkozy traveled to Libya to personally gloat over the country he helped to destroy. He was joined by UK prime minister David Cameron, who was also among the killers-in-chief who arrived in Paris looking solemn. France and the UK are part of the NATO effort to destroy Syria and turn it into a chaotic ruin as they have done to Libya.

The corporate media determines who is and who isn't a worthy victim and people with dark skin rarely make the cut. The thousands of Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza included members of the press. Seventeen journalists were killed in Gaza in 2014 alone, yet Israeli president Netanyahu was allowed to join the "unity march" in Paris as if he too were an innocent.

There is enough horror in the world to cause outrage but the level of outrage seems to depend on who is being treated horribly and who is carrying out the atrocity. The worst acts of terror are committed by heads of state who don't kill seventeen people as these attackers did in Paris. They kill in the thousands yet are still treated with respect.

It doesn't say much for the state of human advancement that killings committed by individuals still create so much more concern than those committed by governments. They get away with mass murder because the same corporate media which saturated coverage of Charlie Hebdo say little or nothing about Gaza or Libya or Somalia or Syria or Iraq or Haiti. Instead of pointing out that Barack Obama is a killer too, the pundits criticize him for not being among the sanctimonious liars who gathered in Paris. The group photo should have been a perp walk to the Hague instead of a photo opportunity for the seriously blood thirsty.

Murder is wrong when committed by individual gunmen with grudges and it is still wrong when it comes from a drone strike. A unity march should denounce human rights abuses, of which warfare is the worst. The next time 1 million gather to denounce terror, the anger should be directed at those people who carry it out the most.

* Margaret Kimberley is editor and senior columnist at Black Agenda Report. Her Freedom Rider column appears weekly.
 
Charlie Hebdo: Unending Muslim anger at the West

By Abdulrazaq Magaji

A special edition of Charlie Hebdo is on sale. Emboldened by the hypocritical speeches that characterised last Sunday's international solidarity rally in Paris, editors of the rag-sheet claimed three million copies would be on sale for the next one week. A sell-out is guaranteed and this means cool cash for a publication whose weekly print never exceeded fifty thousand.

As usual, hypocrisy has won and the world is basking in its warped victory. In the thick of the madness to commend bigots' right to offend, there was no semblance of a whimper from world leaders that rallied in Paris in condemnation of the excesses of Charlie Hebdo. Iran, Turkey and a few Muslim organizations preached moderation from the fringes but had their voices drowned in the global display of hypocrisy. This is hardly surprising, anyway! The message: Charlie Hebdo did nothing wrong in caricaturing prophets; it is their attackers that are black-faced, intolerant Muslim fundamentalists!

Despite the hypocrisy, the West must accept complicity in the deaths! During the week, seventeen people, made up of journalists, cartoonists, police officers, bystanders and three terrorists were killed and the whole world literally came to a standstill. The anger that greeted the killings and the global condemnation that followed are justified. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmud Abass, leaders of the two countries that are responsible, albeit indirectly, for last week's and similar targeted killings elsewhere made it to Paris!

Overnight, a little known, backwater publication has become world known. This could have been the aim of its founders but it is safe to hazard a guess that the seventeen people that were killed would still be alive had one-tenth of those who rallied in Paris last Sunday shouted down Charlie Hebdo and condemned the excesses of its editors over the years. But the world chose to play the ostrich, in the selective defence of a dubious and hypocritical culture of freedom of speech, as Charlie Hebdo and similar outfits and individuals insulted and assaulted the sensibilities of others.

According to Western narratives, which we must all subscribe to, it is considered appropriate for people, including Jews, to shred and make bonfires of copies of the Holy Qur'an just as it is fashionable for people to caricature and depict the Holy Prophet Muhammad without considering its offence on Muslims. In the same West, official sanctions, including long spells in prison await expression of anti-Semitic views such as denial of the holocaust, the term used to describe the alleged incineration of six million Jews by Europeans on European soil. It is on account of holocaust-denial that Iran is being treated as a pariah state. Freedom of speech, eh?

The unfortunate Charlie Hebdo massacre reminds us of the frustration of the average Muslims arising from this dilemma. Muslims are enjoined to show reverence for all divinely-revealed books: the Holy Qur'an is one; the others being the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible, a collection of revelations which Muslims refer to as Azzabur, Attaurah and Injil. Rejecting any of these clearly renders a Muslim an apostate. In essence, a Muslim cannot shred or make a bonfire of the Holy Qur'an or the Holy Bible. Ditto for all Prophets: None is considered a Muslim if they insult any of the Prophets of God prominent among them being Jesus, known to Muslims as Isa. Many non-Muslims would be surprised to hear that Muslims would rise in condemnation if, God forbid, a Muslim caricatures Jesus or any Prophet for that matter!

In addition to these, Muslims are enjoined to show reverence for and, defend places of worship which, to them are mosques, churches and synagogues. Even in times of war, those who seek refuge in these places are free from being attacked. It is in the spirit of these and several Qur'anic injunctions that mainstream Muslims condemn and dismiss as non-Muslims and apostates extremist groups such as Boko Haram that target Christians and their places of worship. Muslims have several issues with the way the West treats them and their religion. In fact, there is this general perception among even the most liberal Muslims that the West deliberately seeks to undermine Islam. The point is not that this charge is easily brushed aside; what is at issue is that Muslims worldwide just cannot understand why Westerners fail to understand the Muslims' dilemma after several centuries of direct contact between the two worlds. It is this failure, which Muslims perceive as deliberate, that has been at the heart of the persistent Muslim anger at the West.

What this boils down to is that since his religion does not permit him to make a bonfire of revealed books and depict Prophets, the Muslim is left with one of three options when his dilemma pushes him to the point of frustration, to the point of getting even with the West. One, and this is favoured by majority of Muslims, is to ignore those who deliberately seek to undermine Islam through depicting Prophets in cartoons and amateur videos. Two, and this is favoured by adherents of Shi'a sect as represented by its elevation to state policy in Iran, is to promote holocaust-denial to state policy. The third, as with Charlie Hebdo, is the recourse to taking up arms to 'avenge the Prophet.'

Muslims have reasons to believe that the West has a deliberate agenda to undermine Islam. And there is a long-standing historical narrative behind this feeling. According to this narrative, going back to the Middle Ages, Christian forces from the West have persistently sought to break the grip of Islam on its people. By holding fast, Muslims believe, they were able to flourish as a civilization, at times superseding the West in many dimensions. With the desire by the West to turn the blind eye or even encourage Islamophobia, Muslims today, increasingly feel justified in their belief that the onslaught on Islam has assumed a more threatening dimension. The fear is reinforced by the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction which they easily deploy in defence of Israel at the expense of the Muslim world.

Contrary to the popular misconceptions in the West, very few Muslims subscribe to the warped ideas of Al Qaeda and ISIS. In the same vein, many Muslims subscribe to Western liberal democracy that seeks to undermine their religion. What is more, a referendum in Muslim communities would reveal that majority of Muslims do not subscribe to the idea of wiping Israel off the surface of the earth.

It is the failure on the part of the West to do what it ought to do that fuels the terror machine of Al-Qa'eda and sundry groups. It may be a bitter pill to swallow but truth is that the Palestine is central to the problem of terror that has gripped the world. And doing what the West ought to do is to resolve the Palestinian question. Otherwise, the world is not about to see the end of more Charlie Hebdos.

* Abdulrazaq Magaji is based in Abuja, Nigeria
 
Algeria Is The Post-colonial Wound That Still Bleeds In France

By Robert Fisk

Algeria. Long before the identity of the murder suspects was revealed by the French police – even before I heard the names of Cherif and Said Kouachi – I muttered the word "Algeria" to myself. As soon as I heard the names and saw the faces, I said the word "Algeria" again. And then the French police said the two men were of "Algerian origin".

For Algeria remains the most painful wound within the body politic of the Republic – save, perhaps, for its continuing self-examination of Nazi occupation – and provides a fearful context for every act of Arab violence against France. The six-year Algerian war for independence, in which perhaps a million and a half Arab Muslims and many thousands of French men and women died, remains an unending and unresolved agony for both peoples. Just over half a century ago, it almost started a French civil war.

Maybe all newspaper and television reports should carry a "history corner", a little reminder that nothing – absolutely zilch – happens without a past. Massacres, bloodletting, fury, sorrow, police hunts ("widening" or "narrowing" as sub-editors wish) take the headlines. Always it's the "who" and the "how" – but rarely the "why". Take the crime against humanity in Paris this week – the words "atrocity" and "barbarity" somehow diminish the savagery of this act – and its immediate aftermath.

We know the victims: journalists, cartoonists, cops. And how they were killed. Masked gunmen, Kalashnikov automatic rifles, ruthless, almost professional nonchalance. And the answer to "why" was helpfully supplied by the murderers. They wanted to avenge "the Prophet" for Charlie Hebdo's irreverent and (for Muslims) highly offensive cartoons. And of course, we must all repeat the rubric: nothing – nothing ever – could justify these cruel acts of mass murder. And no, the killers cannot call on history to justify their crimes.

But there's an important context that somehow got left out of the story this week, the "history corner" that many Frenchmen as well as Algerians prefer to ignore: the bloody 1954-62 struggle of an entire people for freedom against a brutal imperial regime, a prolonged war which remains the foundational quarrel of Arabs and French to this day.

The desperate and permanent crisis in Algerian-French relations, like the refusal of a divorced couple to accept an agreed narrative of their sorrow, poisons the cohabitation of these two peoples in France. However Cherif and Said Kouachi excused their actions, they were born at a time when Algeria had been invisibly mutilated by 132 years of occupation. Perhaps five million of France's six-and- half million Muslims are Algerian. Most are poor, many regard themselves as second-class citizens in the land of equality.

Like all tragedies, Algeria's eludes the one-paragraph explanation of news agency dispatches, even the shorter histories written by both sides after the French abandoned Algeria in 1962.

For unlike other important French dependencies or colonies, Algeria was regarded as an integral part of metropolitan France, sending representatives to the French parliament in Paris, even providing Charles de Gaulle and the Allies with a French "capital" from which to invade Nazi-occupied north Africa and Sicily.

More than 100 years earlier, France had invaded Algeria itself, subjugating its native Muslim population, building small French towns and chateaux across the countryside, even – in an early 19th-century Catholic renaissance which was supposed to "re-Christianise" northern Africa – converting mosques into churches.

The Algerian response to what today appears to be a monstrous historical anachronism varied over the decades between lassitude, collaboration and insurrection. A demonstration for independence in the Muslim-majority and nationalist town of Sétif on VE Day – when the Allies had liberated the captive countries of Europe – resulted in the killing of 103 European civilians. French government revenge was ruthless; up to 700 Muslim civilians – perhaps far more – were killed by infuriated French "colons" and in bombardment of surrounding villages by French aircraft and a naval cruiser. The world paid little attention.

But when a full-scale insurrection broke out in 1954 – at first, of course, ambushes with few French lives lost and then attacks on the French army – the sombre war of Algerian liberation was almost preordained. Beaten in that classic post-war anti-colonial battle at Dien Bien Phu, the French army, after its debacle in 1940, seemed vulnerable to the more romantic Algerian nationalists who noted France's further humiliation at Suez in 1956.

What the historian Alistair Horne rightly described in his magnificent history of the Algerian struggle as "a savage war of peace" took the lives of hundreds of thousands. Bombs, booby traps, massacres by government forces and National Liberation Front guerrillas in the "bled" – the countryside south of the Mediterranean – led to the brutal suppression of Muslim sectors of Algiers, the assassination, torture and execution of guerrilla leaders by French paratroopers, soldiers, Foreign Legion operatives – including German ex-Nazis – and paramilitary police. Even white French sympathisers of the Algerians were "disappeared". Albert Camus spoke out against torture and French civil servants were sickened by the brutality employed to keep Algeria French.

De Gaulle appeared to support the white population and said as much in Algiers – "Je vous ai compris," he told them – and then proceeded to negotiate with FLN representatives in France. Algerians had long provided the majority of France's Muslim population and in October 1961 up to 30,000 of them staged a banned independence rally in Paris – in fact, scarcely a mile from the scene of last week's slaughter – which was attacked by French police units who murdered, it is now acknowledged, up to 600 of the protesters.

Algerians were beaten to death in police barracks or thrown into the Seine. The police chief who supervised security operations and who apparently directed the 1961 massacre was none other than Maurice Papon – who was, almost 40 years later, convicted for crimes against humanity under Petain's Vichy regime during the Nazi occupation.

The Algerian conflict finished in a bloodbath. White "pied noir" French colonists refused to accept France's withdrawal, supported the secret OAS in attacking Algerian Muslims and encouraged French military units to mutiny. At one point, De Gaulle feared that French paratroopers would try to take over Paris.

When the end came, despite FLN promises to protect French citizens who chose to stay in Algeria, there were mass killings in Oran. Up to a million and a half white French men, women and children – faced with a choice of "the coffin or the suitcase" – left for France, along with thousands of loyal Algerian "harki" fighters who fought with the army but were then largely abandoned to their terrible fate by De Gaulle. Some were forced to swallow their own French military medals and thrown into mass graves.

But the former French colonists, who still regarded Algeria as French – along with an exhausted FLN dictatorship which took over the independent country – instituted a cold peace in which Algeria's residual anger, in France as well as in the homeland, settled into long-standing resentment. In Algeria, the new nationalist elite embarked on a hopeless Soviet-style industrialisation of their country. Former French citizens demanded massive reparations; indeed, for decades, the French kept all the drainage maps of major Algerian cities so that the new owners of Algeria had to dig up square miles of city streets every time a water main burst.

And when the Algerian civil war of the 1980s commenced – after the Algerian army cancelled a second round of elections which Islamists were sure to win – the corrupt FLN "pouvoir" and the Muslim rebels embarked on a conflict every bit as gruesome as the Franco-Algerian war of the 1950s and 1960s. Torture, disappearances, village massacres all resumed. France discreetly supported a dictatorship whose military leaders salted away millions of dollars in Swiss banks.

Algerian Muslims returning from the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan joined the Islamists in the mountains, killing some of the few remaining French citizens in Algeria. And many subsequently left to fight in the Islamist wars, in Iraq and later Syria.

Enter here the Kouachi brothers, especially Chérif, who was imprisoned for taking Frenchmen to fight against the Americans in Iraq. And the United States, with French support, now backs the FLN regime in its continuing battle against Islamists in Algeria's deserts and mountain forests, arming a military which tortured and murdered thousands of men in the 1990s.

As an American diplomat said just before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the United States "has much to learn" from the Algerian authorities. You can see why some Algerians went to fight for the Iraqi resistance. And found a new cause…

* Robert Fisk is an English writer and journalist from Maidstone, Kent. He has been Middle East correspondent of The Independent for more than twenty years, primarily based in Beirut. This article was originally published by The Independent.
 
South Africa: Islamic Unity Convention's Comment On French Terror Attacks

By Islamic Unity Convention

Nobody will condone killings of any sort, anywhere in the world. It is, however, interesting how there is an almost immediate expectation that Muslims should apologize and take responsibility for the horrible attack on satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. But the international community does not expect the same kind of response when, for example, Al-Jazeera staff were killed by US forces in Iraq along with their other Arab colleagues; or for that matter, the killing of tens of Palestinian journalists by the Zionist forces over the past decade.

Incidentally, the same day of the Charlie attack, a car bomb was detonated in the Yemeni capital city of Sana'a, killing at least 38 people. In Afghanistan, nine people, including two children were killed in yet another senseless attack in the war-ravaged country; while the violence continues in Iraq and Syria. Where is the media coverage of this? Where are the hash-tag protests?

Soon after the attack on the French satirical magazine staff, two mosques were attacked in Paris, as well as a Muslim-run Kebab shop. Are churches attacked when a Christian teenager decides to open fire on a youth camp?

The demonization of Muslims and Arabs has increased, particularly with the constant fuel provided by the United States and its allies. And in order to live a relatively unmolested life, the Muslim refrain has predominantly been that of an apologist, 'good Muslim' who doesn't want to ruffle any feathers – even when Islam is being attacked from all quarters. So if individuals claiming to be acting in the name of Islam violate its prescripts, it is Islam that bears the wrath of the international community, and not the misguided individuals. So are all Muslims put on trial? Why are Muslim leaders apologizing on behalf of all? Are they admitting responsibility for these heinous crimes?

But the assault on Muslims and Islam has the assistance of mainstream media, which is used to create an environment which gives legitimacy to the witch-hunt in Paris, and the 'peace-keeping' military bases in Afghanistan, Iraq, and several African countries. It's also used to create an anti-Islamic perception, which is already being seen in our local newspapers and social media.

As for France and Europe these could very well be the stepping stones to new and further anti- Islamic legislation, which under normal circumstances would have been rather difficult to justify. This is more evidence of how the media is deployed to whip up a frenzy just as it did with the toppling of the Twin Towers in the US, even using the same type of rhetoric e.g., "it's an attack on our sensibilities" and "it's an attack on our freedoms".

To bring it closer to home we need to ask ourselves whether a life taken in France is more valuable than the many lives taken on a daily basis right here in our backyards. Tens of lives are lost daily in the townships in South Africa, in Cape Town in particular. How does one measure the outcry by religious leaders and others to the lives lost in France versus the silence on the slaughter in our home country?

Do we bother to find out why these domestic murders are taking place? Do we bug the police to do their job? Do we partake in a major manhunt as is underway in Europe? What is the difference in the value of these human lives?

What we as responsible Muslims in South Africa should be asking is what really happened in Paris on January 7? Al Quran is clear on how we ascertain facts therefore we should not be so quick to judge without the facts. What did we learn from 9/11 and the subsequent witch-hunt on Muslims and Muslim organisations, let alone the wholesale destruction of entire countries because of a 'war on terror'?

How long did it take for the truth to emerge? The tide of the consequences however cannot be turned back. We need to understand context. We need to understand history. We need to understand power dynamics and inequalities.

Muslims must not be made to feel so guilty and responsible that they allow more to be chipped away from their Code of Life, thus resulting in more and more compromises.
 
Paris Killings Aftermath: War on Civil Liberties

By Stephen Lendman

Civil liberties in America, Britain, France, and other Western societies are gravely threatened. Already seriously eroded.

Expect more assaults on fundamental freedoms ahead. Based on the usual canards.

Protecting national security. Defending free society rights. How by enacting police state laws against them?

According to a July 2010 ACLU report titled "Establishing a New Normal," Obama administration officials waged unprecedented war on civil liberties.

Continuing the worst Bush era practices. Adding more extreme ones. The ACLU discussed the following top 10 post-9/11 abuses of power:

(1) Warrantless Wiretapping

Candidate Obama promised to end the practice. President Obama institutionalized it more than ever. Mass surveillance is pervasive. Big Brother watches everyone.

Secretly with virtually no congressional or judicial oversight. No public say over their own lives, rights and welfare. No concern about breaching fundamental rule of law principles.

(2) Torture, Kidnapping and Detention

Obama continues what Bush began. Anyone can be declared an enemy of the state for any reason or none at all.

Lawless arrests, detentions, torture, and at times cold-blooded murder follow. Targeted individuals can be held indefinitely without charge.

Innocence is no defense. Guilt by accusation suffices. Rule of law protections don't apply.

(3) The Growing Surveillance Society

Personal data on virtually everyone is collected and stored. Mass surveillance is more pervasive than ever.

America's intelligence apparatus, the military, state and local police, even private companies are involved.

Terrorism is the pretext. Unchallenged control the objective. Everyone targeted.

(4) Abuse of the Patriot Act.

Enactment eviscerated fundamental Bill of Rights freedoms. Federal investigators continue unconstitutional surveillance tactics against virtually everyone.

Lawful advocacy groups are monitored. War on Islam targets Muslims for their faith and ethnicity. At times their activism, prominence and charity.

(5) Government Secrecy

Candidate Obama promised transparency, accountability and reform. President Obama presides over the most secretive, unaccountable administration in US history.

Wanting free flowing information stifled. Total control over what's made public. Unprecedented amounts of government information classified to conceal what's vital for everyone to know.

Journalists are monitored. Their phone records accessed. Emails read. Personal movements tracked.

Independent journalism is threatened. Government wrongdoing suppressed. Whistleblowers criminalized for revealing it.

Police state extremism threatens everyone. "It's time to drastically" change what's ongoing," said ACLU Washington Legislative Office director Laura Murphy.

(6) Real ID

"Rammed through Congress in 2005." Attached to an unrelated "must pass" bill. Establishes the foundation for a national ID card.

Makes it harder for persecuted people to receive asylum. States must standardized driver's licenses. According to yet to be established guidelines.

Gives Washington access to state and local databases. Permits secret deportations. Makes non-citizens vulnerable to deportation for lawful speech or associations.

(7) No Fly and Selectee Lists

Targeting anyone for any reason labeled as security risks. Whether true or false. As of 2010, included about 720,000 names.

All with "mysterious or ill-defined criteria" for why designated. Lists are all-sweeping. Rife with errors. Even the late Senator Ted Kennedy was flagged.

Law Professor Francis Boyle was placed on a terrorism watch list. He's been stopped, searched and questioned when traveling abroad.

(8) Political Spying

NSA, FBI, DOD and other government agencies routinely spy extrajudicially. Through FOIA requests, ACLU learned about monitoring Quakers.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Greenpeace. The Arab American Anti-Defamation Committee. The ACLU itself. Other civil and human rights organizations. Their officials.

(9) Abuse of Material Witness Statute

So-called "material witnesses" can be arrested and detained. Especially Muslims. Most targeted individuals committed no crimes. Or have knowledge about what authorities seek.

Innocent victims are detained indefinitely uncharged. At times because US officials "believe (they) might do something in the future," said ACLU.

Racial and religious profiling is rife. Activists are targeted on unfounded suspicions of providing "material support" for terrorism

(10) Attacks on Academic Freedom

"Censorship at the border" prevents scholars opposed to lawless US policies from entering the country. "(O)utright censorship and prescreening of scientific (and other articles) occur before publication."

Western free societies are threatened. Civil liberties in America are fast disappearing. Europeans are losing theirs.

Expect authorities to take full advantage of Paris killings. Instituting harsher than ever measures in response.

On January 11, The New York Times headlined "FBI Is Broadening Surveillance Role, Report Shows."

Saying the agency collects and "retain(s) unprocessed communications gathered without a warrant to analyze for its own purposes."

Allegedly on non-citizens. Heavily redacted FOIA information obtained conceals likely targeting virtually anyone.

FBI director James Comey warned about radicalized Islamists in Syria planning to attack America and/or its allies. "(V)ery, very soon," he said.

"Given our visibility, we know they're serious people, bent on destruction." CIA operatives and US special forces arm, train, fund and direct radicalized Islamists.

Death squads used as proxies. Against US enemies. Ravaging Syria. Comey didn't explain.

Britain's MI5 warned of Paris-style killings on UK soil. General Director of the Security Service Andrew Parker hyped a likely "mass casualty attack" coming.

So-called intelligence indicates "specific plots," he said. Including blowing up a passenger jet. Mass public killings.

Hit-and-run attacks using vehicles. Deadly threats are increasing, he said. So-called "terrorists" may be able "to operate beyond our reach."

Threats are "unlikely to abate for some time." Describing what he called the "phenomenon of the modern age."

Wants stepped up police and security services ability to act more forcefully against whatever are called terrorist threats.

If past is prologue, expect future attacks. False flags like previous ones. Blamed on the usual suspects. Islamic extremists.

Used as pretexts for waging imperial wars. More repressive legislation. Targeting civil liberties for elimination altogether. In Britain. America. France. Elsewhere.

Incidents like Paris killings aren't random. French authorities closely monitored individuals involved for years.

In 2005, Cherif Kouarchi was sentenced to three years in prison for "association with wrongdoers with the intention of committing a terrorist act."

His sentence was later suspended. He and brother Said reportedly got Al Qaeda training. Fought against in Syria.

Returned home. Were on a French intelligence watch list. Yet managed to pull off Charlie Hebdo killings with military precision.

Then get away easily despite heavily policed Paris. Before tracked down and killed. Along with grocery store hostage-taker Amedy Coulibaly.

Eliminated to silence them. Dead men tell no tales. UK Prime Minister David Cameron signaled what's likely coming.

Citing "a challenge to our security." Saying "we have to fight this terrorism with everything we have…(D)efending the values we all hold dear."

Forget about Islamist extremists. State-terrorism alone matters. Threatening fundamental freedoms.

Committing false flag attacks. Blamed on the usual suspects. So-called radicalized Islamists. Targets of choice.

Using the Kouarchi brothers and Coulibaly as convenient patsies. Heavily armed with an arsenal of weapons and munitions, reports said.

How gotten not explained. Murdering them to silence them. Denying them due process.

Wanting the official narrative left unchallenged. Wanting Paris killings used as pretexts for likely harder than ever hardline policies to follow.

On January 11, Reuters headlined "White House to hold global security summit Feb. 18: US official." On "countering violent extremism."

Saying Obama invited allies to discuss ways to prevent terrorism. In Paris, Attorney General Eric Holder said:

"We will bring together all of our allies to discuss ways in which we can counteract this violent extremism that exists around the world."

White House press secretary Josh Earnest issued a statement saying:

"On February 18, 2015, the White House will host a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism to highlight domestic and international efforts to prevent violent extremists and their supporters from radicalizing, recruiting, or inspiring individuals or groups in the United States and abroad to commit acts of violence, efforts made even more imperative in light of recent, tragic attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, and Paris."

"This summit will build on the strategy the White House released in August of 2011, Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States, the first national strategy to prevent violent extremism domestically."

In September, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson first announced it. Citing a growing threat from Islamic State militants.

Saying an October summit would be held. Why postponed wasn't explained.

"Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) efforts rely heavily on well-informed and resilient local communities," said Earnest.

"(O)ur partners around the world are actively implementing programs to prevent violent extremism and foreign terrorist fighter recruitment."

"The summit will include representatives from a number of partner nations, focusing on the themes of community engagement, religious leader engagement, and the role of the private sector and tech community."

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said his European counterparts agreed to increase cooperative efforts to prevent future terrorist attacks.

Including more inclusive watch lists. Travel restrictions. Preventing online use for whatever authorities call terrorism or terrorist related activities.

"We need to work more closely with Internet companies to guarantee the reporting and if possible removal of all content that amounts to an apology of terrorism or calls for violence and hatred," he said.

An upcoming EU interior justice meeting is planned to discuss further action. Perhaps repressive legislation is already drafted.

In France. Britain. America. Elsewhere. Ready to be enacted. Hundreds of pages of detailed Patriot Act provisions became US law six weeks after 9/11.

Months are needed to draft legislation this complex and inclusive. Including agreeing on measures wanted.

At the time, congressional members said they had no time to review the measure in advance. Bipartisan House members passed it 357 - 66.

Former Senator Russ Feingold was the sole Senate no vote. Not another profile in courage joined him. The measure passed 98 to 1.

It bears repeating. Expect likely further attacks on civil liberties ahead. En route to eliminating them altogether.

Police states operate this way. America is most threatening of all.

A Final Comment

Police Commissioner Helric Fredou investigating Charlie Hebdo killings died mysteriously. A near-total media blackout followed.

An exception was France 3 Limousin Poitou Charentes. A regional television service. Part of France 3's network.

Headlining "Limoges: suicide d'un commissaire de police." Needing no translation. Providing little information. Suggesting depression from burnout.

21st Century Wire headlined "New Twist: Charlie Hebdo Police Investigator Turns Up Dead, 'Suicided.' "

Saying "this latest bizarre bombshell…fuel(s) speculation as to the covert nature of the Charlie Hebdo false flag affair."

Lots of people are depressed. Few commit suicide. Did Fredou take his own life? Or was he killed? If so, why?

Was he about to reveal what French authorities want suppressed? Perhaps refuting key parts of the official story.

Maybe suggesting what this writer and others believe. Paris killings were less about terrorism and more about state-sponsored false flag deception.

Why is there a near-total media blackout? Why no reporting on something demanding headlines. Nothing from all major Western news sources.

Silence suggests coverup. What little information came out said Fredou shot himself in his office for "unknown" reasons.

An almost identical incident occurred in November 2013. In Limoges. In west/central France.

At the time, Le Parisien headlined "Limoges: un commissaire de police se suicide avec son arme (weapon)."

He was third-ranked SRPJ officer (Service regional de police judicaire). Shot himself with his own gun in a police hotel.

Following Ferdou's death, Le Parisien headlined "Deux suicides de commissaire en deux ans." Two commissioner suicides in two years.

Explaining little. No likely connection between Ferdou's death and his ongoing Charlie Hebdo investigation.

Little more is known at this time. Coverup is rife. It bears repeating. Ferdou perhaps had information French authorities want suppressed.

Contradicting the official narrative. Exposing false flag deception. Ferdou can't explain. Dead men tell no tales.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
 
Charlie Hebdo: Netanyahu's Policies Are Fueling Anti-Semitism

By Alon Ben-Meir

I am no longer surprised by what Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu says or does. No leader with any pride and sensitivity would have tried to exploit for political gain the tragic deaths of four French Jews who were assassinated in a kosher supermarket in Paris. It is one thing to travel to France and demonstrate solidarity with the French people after the horrific execution of 12 journalists at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo; it is an entirely different matter to use the occasion to call on French Jews to immigrate to Israel to avoid anti-Semitism and "live secure and peaceful lives."

At this moment, when France has a good deal of soul-searching to do, we may do well to recall the thoughts of Jean-Paul Sartre, whose Anti-Semite and Jew, though written over seventy years ago, contains observations that are no less true today, such as his diagnosis of anti-Semitism as an all-consuming passion, a "total choice" that transforms hatred into a faith.

Sartre understood that the answer to anti-Semitism did not lie in the Jews of France leaving their country—"their original fatherland"—to live in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, as Netanyahu recently proposed.

Any solution to the problem of anti-Semitism (which is on the rise all over Europe) will involve recognizing, in Sartre's closing words, that "[n]ot one Frenchman will be secure so long as a single Jew – in France or in the world at large – can fear for his life."

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls recognized this fact when he expressed deep concerns about the prospect, however remote, that a large segment of French Jews may leave France because of the rise of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments.

For Valls, the recognition of Jews as full citizens is a founding principle of the 1789 French Revolution and remains one of the central pillars of French democracy.

By calling on French Jews to immigrate to Israel while still on French soil, Netanyahu was rudely suggesting that they are no longer safe in France and only Israel can provide a safe haven where they can live without fear and with security.

Netanyahu conveniently forgets that 80 times more Israelis were killed in Israel by suicide bombers and random acts of violence in the past 20 years than all Jews killed in Europe by terrorists in the same time period.

French, British, and American Jews do not see Israel as the exclusive home for the Jews; they are proud to be citizens of their respective countries. Netanyahu's scare tactics to prompt the Jews to leave their places of birth is an affront to France and to Jews as well.

Yes, the majority of these Jews have a special affinity to Israel, but they do not feel torn between their loyalty to their country of birth and their kinship with Israel.

Although a greater number of Jews left France to live in Israel in 2014 than the previous year, many more immigrated to the US and Canada, among other countries. It should be noted that the overall number of young Western Jews immigrating to Israel has declined over the past ten years.

They no longer view Israel as a pioneering, free, and democratic state the way they envisioned it before. They do not accept the occupation as if it were a way of life; they vilify discrimination against Israeli Arabs and loathe the endemic corruption of Israel's political elite.

While Netanyahu calls for Jews to immigrate to Israel, he has done next to nothing to stem the flow of Israeli Jews emigrating from Israel; nearly one million left in the past 20 years. Ironically, many are leaving because they fear for their security and do not wish to have their children enlisted in the army, as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict grinds on.

Anti-Semitism has existed from time immemorial. There is probably little the Jews can do to change that sad reality, just as African-Americans can hardly change the racism of many white Americans.

Even after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, the passage of the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery two years later, after decades of struggle for civil rights, and the election of a black President in 2008, racial profiling remains a source of deep resentment for African Americans.

Whether anti-Semitism is instigated by envy, enmity, or is culturally espoused, escaping to Israel would simply hand a victory to the anti-Semites. There will always be Jews living throughout the world (perhaps it's the secret behind their survival) and the anti-Semite will still lurk in the shadows.

The question is, since anti-Semitism cannot be expunged and the Jews will have to live with it, what can they, and particularly Israel, do to allay the disease of anti-Semitism?

Regardless of where they may live, the Jews need not bend backwards to please their enemies, but the onus falls especially on Israel to do the right thing and stop feeding fuel to the fire.

It is not by sheer accident that the whole world, including Israel's closest friend and ally—the US—rejects the settlement enterprise and the continued occupation, and it is not accidental that there is a spike in global anti-Semitic incidents every time the Israeli-Palestinian conflict flares up.

Netanyahu must accept the fact that the occupation is one of the main causes (but not the source) behind the recent rise of anti-Semitism. Instead of focusing on ending it, he is calling on French Jews to immigrate to Israel only to 'become oppressors' of the Palestinians.

Reaching an equitable peace agreement with the Palestinians will not eliminate anti-Semitism, as Sartre observed, "If the Jew did not exist, the anti-Semite would invent him." But it will, at a minimum, regress anti-Semitic fervor.

No, if Netanyahu cannot find his soul, the hour is calling for another Israeli leader to rise and have the courage to answer the call.

 
Sharia Judge Warns France Of New Attacks

By Al-Ikhwah Al-Mujahidun

One of the leaders of Tanẓim al-Qa'idah fi Jazirat al-Arab/Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Sharia head of al-Qaeda in Yemen, Sheikh Harith bin Ghazi an-Nadhari, reacted on the January 7 attack on Paris blasphemers who molested Islam and Christianity in their newspaper, reports DW-World.

A big article on the role of AQAP in the Paris attack has been published by АР.

The video with the statement of Sheikh Harith bin Ghazi an-Nadhari is now being removed from the YouTube (at this link it is not yet deleted). Meanwhile, an English translation of his statement has been posted online. The factual part of the statement reads:

"Some of the sons of France showed a lack of manners with Allah's messengers, so a band of Allah's believing army rose against them, and they taught them the proper manners, and the limits of freedom of speech.

France today are from the leaders of disbelief; they curse the Prophets, and attack the Religion, and fight against the Believers, so there's nothing else for them except what Allah judged for her

O people of France, that which should be a priority with you is that you cease from your aggression against the Muslims, so that you might live in security, but if you refuse anything except war, then glad tidings; For by Allah you will not have any security as long as you wage war against Allah and His Messenger and you fight against the believers".

''In Poland, the executed main Paris daubster would serve a prison term for insulting Jesus Christ''

Meanwhile, A mainstream Polish daily, Gazeta Wyborcza, reported on further developments in Paris execution of 12 scoffer "humorists" by city guerillas. The newspaper writes in particular:

"Not only Muslims had reason to hate Charlie Hebdo. An special anti-Christian issue of this newspaper entitled "True Story of Little Jesus" with a blasphemous picture of Jesus Chhrist on the cover appeared in newsstands on Christmas (December 25 - KC).

In Poland, such a cover would immediately cause criminal proceedings for insulting religious feelings. The chief dubster would serve a prison term of 2 years behind bars. But there are no such laws in France. This was enjoyed so far with impunity by Charlie Hebdo. They had always concocted cartoons on subjects related to body parts which are below the waist.

Therefore Charlie Hebdo had to die.

In recent years, the Paris paper business went bad. A decrease in the number of readers was not compensated by ads, and it did not receive state subsidies. IThe paper appealed for support to its main readers. Under the motto "Raging anti-Semitism", it wrote: "Jews, we need your money".

 
AQAP's Speech Regarding The Blessed Raid In Paris: The Faces Have Been Brightened

By Al-Ikhwah Al-Mujahidun

Muwahideen Media published an English translation of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)'s speech regarding the blessed raid on an anti-Islamist newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, in France. The speech that released by Al Malahim Media is presented by Syaikh Haris An-Nadhari:

'THE FACES HAVE BEEN BRIGHTENED'

A SPEECH REGARDING THE BLESSED RAID IN PARIS

PRESENTED BY: SHEIKH HARITH AL NITHARI (MAY ALLAH PROTECT HIM)

Praise be to Allah, once more Praise be to Allah. Oh Allah for you is the Praise, you have sufficed your Prophet from those that mocked him, verily for You is Praise. And you have granted victory to your servants the Mujahideen, verily for You is Praise. Oh Allah send Peace and Blessings upon the one who You have sent ahead of the Hour with the sword until You are worshipped alone, he who You have elevated his status, expounded his heart and gave him protection from the people and have made his enemy the one cut off (from prosperity and every good thing in this world and the Hereafter). Oh Allah send Peace and Blessings upon Your servant and Prophet Muhammed the son of Abdullah, the son of Abdul Mutalib, the son of Hashim. He who You have sent as a witness, a bringer of glad tidings and a warner, a caller to Allah by His permission and an illuminating lamp, Peace and blessings be upon him and his family.

Henceforth, the enemies of the Messenger of Allah thought, those that have disbelieved, belied and abused him, the filths from the sons of France; they thought that Allah will not come to the aide of His Messenger. And they thought they were safe from the Power of Allah over them. So they waited, and stayed in wait, thus (the decree of) Allah came upon them from where they had not expected. And Allah empowered (the believers) over them, and punished them through the hands of the believers. 'Say, "Do you await for us except one of the two best things while we wait for you that Allah will afflict you with punishment from Himself or at our hands? So wait; indeed we, along with you, are waiting.'

Some of the sons of France have displayed evil conduct towards the Anbiyaa (Prophets) of Allah. A group of the army of Allah rose against them, and taught them (what is) good conduct and the limits of freedom of speech. An army came to you that loves Allah and His Messenger; they do not fear death and are desirous of Martyrdom in the Path of Allah.

POETRY

For Allah there are men after the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet), that avenge and give victory to Allah and His Messenger. Indeed by Allah we shall compete with the Sahabah in the defense of Rasoolullah (S.A.W), and we shall follow their example in defending him. And for us in Muhammed Ibn Maslamah (R.A) is a good example, and if the history of Aus and Khazraj is known, then for Allah is another Aus and Khazraj.

Oh heroic Mujahideen, the faces have been brightened, and the hands have been freed, oh how I wish I was among you. Oh Muslims, verily in Jihad against the Kufaar (disbeliever s) is honor in this world and bliss in the Hereafter. How can we not fight those that have wronged the Nabi, have criticized the Religion, and have fought the Believers? Allah says: 'And if they violate their oaths after their covenant, and attack your religion with disapproval and criticism, then fight (you) the leaders of disbelief for surely their oaths are nothing to them –so that they may stop (evil actions).'

France today are among the leaders of disbelief, they insult the Anbiyaa (Prophets), defame the Religion and are fighting the Believers. There is no deterrent for them except that which Allah has decreed; 'Smite (their) necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them i.e. take them as captives) …'

Oh people of France, until when will you continue to fight Allah and His Messenger, if you submit it shall be better for you. 'Oh mankind! Verily, there has come to you the Messenger (Muhammed S.A.W) with the truth from your Lord. So believe in him, it is better for you. But if you disbelieve, then certainly to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.'

Oh people of France, it is better for you that you cease your aggression against the Muslims, perhaps you may then live in safety. But if you refuse except to be at war, then take glad tidings, for By Allah you will never have the pleasure of safety for as long as you wage war against Allah and His Messenger and continue fighting the Believers. 'Say to those who have disbelieved, if they cease (from disbelief), there past will be forgiven. But if they return (thereto), then the examples of those (punished) before them have already preceded (as a warning).

And All Praise is for Allah, Lord of the Worlds.

 
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