Police State France
by Stephen Lendman
Washington took full advantage of 9/11. Sweeping police state laws followed. They remain in place.
Including the USA Patriot Act. Eviscerating fundamental Bill of Rights freedoms. The Homeland Security Act. Establishing a national Gestapo for the first time.
Various other measures targeting personal freedoms. Including unilateral executive judge, jury and executioner authority.
Rule of law protections no longer apply. Perhaps tougher laws will follow Wednesday's Paris killings.
UK police state laws are some of the continent's toughest. Including its 2005 Prevention of Terrorism Act. Eviscerating longstanding legal protections.
Including arbitrary house arrest. Electronic tagging. Prohibitions against free association. Travel restrictions. Electronic communication bans.
At the time, attorney Gareth Peirce called the measure "“the ultimate demand of any totalitarian regime."
"The executive is the accuser. The moment of accusation is also the moment of imposition of the penalty."
"Wherever in the process a judge comes to be involved, the executive has already pre-determined that the individual will be stigmatised and punished on the basis of suspicion."
The measure authorizes sweeping surveillance powers. For security, economic or other reasons. Privacy no longer exists.
Postal correspondence can be checked. Electronic communications can be monitored. Other personal information can be accessed. Buildings and vehicles can be bugged.
Tory proposed "snoopers' charter" measures go further. Including government imposed gag orders. Banning "extremists" from public meetings. Denying them Internet access. Or having television interviews.
A Home Office proposal requires nursery staff to report on "children at risk of being drawn into terrorism."
Perhaps Britain intends tougher legislation in the wake of Wednesday's Paris killings.
France's police state apparatus is one of the continent's toughest. Article 13 of its 2014-19 defense appropriation legislation permits monitoring, collecting and maintaining Internet user data.
Without judicial oversight. Requiring ISPs and web sites to provide government with information on users' activities.
Authorizes government surveillance over any conduct deemed potentially harmful to French "scientific or economic potential."
La Quadrature du Net calls itself an NGO involved in "defend(ing) the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet."
"(A)dvocat(ing) for the adaption of French and European legislation to the founding principles of the Internet..."
"(M)ost notably the free circulation of knowledge." Unrestricted free expression. It commented on Article 13 of France's defense bill. Saying it "turned (France) into a surveillance state."
"(By) drastically extend(ing) the exceptional regime of extrajudicial surveillance against terrorism, for broad motives, including for the purpose of 'preserving scientific and economic interests of France which could enable total.surveillance of political activists, journalists, corporate watchdogs, etc."
"(T)his is a totally unacceptable breach of the separation of powers and an enabler for catastrophic violations of fundamental rights on a massive scale…"
New French anti-terrorism legislation adds more draconian measures. Civil liberties were eviscerated with little debate.
The measure followed EU justice and home affairs ministers "agree(ing) to assess the need to update" the EU's 2002 Framework Decision on combating terrorism.
Addressing Security Council Resolution 2178. Adopted in September.
Requiring nations to ensure "their legal systems provide for the prosecution, as serious criminal offences, of travel for terrorism or related training, as well as the financing or facilitation of such activities."
On October 31, most EU states favored updating national laws to comply with Res. 2178 provisions.
Saying "the timing aspect of providing an effective judicial response in this respect is particularly relevant."
Responding to EU Counterterrorism Coordinator Giles de Kerchove. Urging 2002 Framework Decision revisions.
Covering "even earlier stages of preparatory acts or tackling the terrorist intent requirement from a broader perspective."
In 2008, the Framework Decision was amended. Adding provisions on public provocation. Recruitment and training for terrorism.
EU states are currently working on implementing new measures against "foreign fighters and returnees."
As well as revised "Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism."
New French legislation expands previous antiterrorism provisions. Called the "French Patriot Act" for good reason.
Imposing sentences up to 10 years. Fines up to 150,000 euros. On "anyone found to be simultaneously in possession of dangerous objects or substances (such as explosives and weapons), and consulting terrorist websites or receiving terrorist training.”
Lets the French Data Protection Authority block web sites "glorify(ing) terrorism." Without judicial approval.
Permits confiscation of passports and national identity cards. Imposes entry and exit bans.
Targets individuals "whenever there are serious reasons to believe (they) are planning to travel abroad…to take part in terrorist activities, war crimes or crimes against humanity."
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve added an amendment banning EU citizens from entering France if considered an undefined public security threat.
Not necessarily related to terrorism. Defying EU free movement principles. Britain is considering similar legislation relating to restricting immigration.
Prime Minister David Cameron calling migration a priority in negotiating Britain's EU membership.
Including wanting far-reaching welfare benefit curbs instituted. Deporting immigrants without work after six months.
Other EU countries have tough antiterrorism laws. Under consideration or enacted.
Including Luxembourg's law "aimed at preventing radicalised fighters from reaching terrorist fighters in war zones."
Spain working on "prevent(ing) recruitment and traveling of foreign fighters…(S)trengthening its legal regime in that light."
"(T)o give domestic courts jurisdiction to prosecute persons joining jihadist groups, deter the flow of foreign fighters into the ranks of the Islamic State (IS), and, most importantly, help control the threat they pose on their return to their countries."
New British anti-terrorism legislation was its 7th in 14 years. Imposing travel bans. Internal exile.
Preventing targeted nationals abroad from returning home. Requiring ISPs to identify Internet users by IP addresses.
Under German antiterrorism laws, hundreds face prosecution for allegedly supporting radicalized Islamists.
In November, the Security Council said:
"Terrorism will not be defeated by military force, law enforcement measures and intelligence operations alone."
"(A)ddress(ing) the conditions conducive to its spread and the factors driving recruitment and radicalisation" is needed.
In December, London's Guardian
headlined "Chief constable warns against 'drift towards police state.' "
Greater Manchester chief constable Peter Fahy said if measures addressing extremism "are left to securocrats, then there is a danger of" Britain becoming a police state.
"I am a securocrat. It's people like me, in the security services, people with a narrow responsibility for counter-terrorism."
"It is better for that to be defined by wider society and not securocrats…There is a danger of us being turned in a thought police."
According to the Guardian, Tory governance "increased focus on countering extremist thought and rhetoric, even if espoused by non-violent groups, based on the theory it helps people to be radicalised and then move on to supporting terrorism or wanting to carry out violent acts."
French and similar EU legislation advances continental police state powers. Targeting anyone considered a threat to state authority.
Eliminating democratic rights in the process. It bears repeating. Perhaps tougher police state measures will follow Charlie Hebdo killings.
In France. Other EU countries. America. Elsewhere. Destroying freedom altogether. Police state tyranny replacing it. No holds barred.
A Final Comment
On Friday, Sputnik News
cited France's Le Parisien newspaper. Reporting a shootout between police and suspected Charlie Hebdo killers Said and Cherif Kouachi.
Occurring during a pursuit on National 2 highway. Ending in Dammartin-en-Goele.
Around 7.5 miles from Charles de Gaulle airport. At least two deaths and 20 injuries were reported.
cited French police saying at least one hostage was seized in a print facility northeast of Paris. During manhunt operations for the two brothers.
France's Interior Ministry confirmed ongoing operations. Reuters said police sealed off "a small northern town."
Dammatin-en-Goele is a small industrial town northeast of Paris.
Gunfire was exchanged. Residents were ordered to stay indoors. Schools told to keep children inside.
Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said he's "almost certain (both brothers are) holed up in" the surrounded printing building.
US ABC news said they were included in US security databases for "years."
Reports indicate around 88,000 French security forces involved in hunting down both brothers. Including police. Special forces. Other military elements.
France is under siege. Civil liberties suspended. Police state authority rules.
Perhaps heading toward making it permanent. A worrisome sign of things to come.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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