Sat Jan 10 18:19:36 UTC 2015
In today’s Daily Mail, “Sir” Max “I have always loved Israel” Hastings claimed that me and Mr. Snowden are responsible for the bloodbath in Paris: “Traitors.. Assange and Snowden have damaged the security of each and every one of us, by alerting the jihadis and Al Qaeda, our mortal enemies, to the scale and reach of electronic eavesdropping”. That a state security vampire like Hastings has pounced on the still warm corpses strewn about Paris is as grotesque as it is predictable.
Secrecy breeds corruption, but it also breeds incompetence and the French secret services are no exception to this rule. Currently the French security state has tried to present the killers as super villains in order to hide its own incompetence - something the media has been only too willing to aid and abet. The reality is the Charlie Hebdo killers were bumbling Keystone terrorists, no-hopers, who crashed their car, left their ID, co-ordinated over the phone and swiftly died. To lose nearly two dozen people to them is unforgivable.
That double digits were killed is no mark of super powers. A single idiot can do it. In Australia’s Port Arthur massacre, a man with the IQ of 66, literally an idiot, shot 58 people over the course of several hours-because he was armed with an AR-10 semi-automatic and his victims were not.
The tragedy in Paris is another example of where competent targeted surveillance, not mass surveillance, was needed.
The attackers were well known jihadis. This is not a case of needing to collect a global interception haystack in order to find a needle. The alleged needle in question, Cherif Kouachi, had already been convicted of terrorism offences and served 18 months in prison for it. Both brothers were already on terrorism lists. Far from hiding messages under rocks or using encryption, the alleged conspirators communicated hundreds of times before and during the attacks - on regular phones. The offices of Charlie Hebdo had received many death threats and had been firebombed in 2011 a week after publishing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. The French mass surveillance system is already one of the most pervasive; its primary purpose, like all such systems, is geopolitics.
Mass surveillance addiction doesn’t come for free. In France it thieved skilled human and financial resources from targeted monitoring of the obvious - the front of the Charlie Hebdo building and people walking out of prison with a terrorism conviction in one hand and numerous jihadi contacts in the other.
Yesterday French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said “There was a failing, of course” on French television, “That’s why we have to analyse what happened.”. Valls is right, Hastings is not.
So conspicuous is the failure in the Charlie Hebdo killings that serious questions must be asked. Cherif Kouachi had previously been involved in furthering the Sunni insurgency in the Levant. Were the brothers protected by the French services as part of French adventurism in Syria, Libya and elsewhere - as a conduit to funnel money, guns and militants into Africa and the Middle East? Were the brothers protected because they were witting or unwitting informers? Were the brothers protected in order to conduct a mediagenic, budget-boosting arrest seconds before the attack began - but the attack was moved forward? Why was the security architecture of the Charlie Hebdo building so poor? How is it that semi-automatic weapons found their way into France and into the hands of known jihadis? And most of all why has France’s crazed Sunni adventurism in Syria, Libya and other parts of Africa been tolerated despite the inevitable destabalization, radicalization and blowback?