Friday, January 27, 2006

Alleged use of terror by the French security services

"Bomb attacks in France killing 13 people in 1995 were attributed to the anti-government Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA). Many think that Algerian army provocateurs were responsible... Many atrocities... were the work of army undercover units."

The excellent WSWS tells us about the alleged use of terror by the French security services.

The WSWS article, of 26 January 2006, is entitled 'France: Judge Bruguière—utilising anti-terrorism as a political instrument' and is written by Antoine Lerougetel.

Lerougetel quotes from Le Monde, December 23:

“At present, 99 persons suspected of Islamic activities are being detained in French prisons.”

Lerougetel suggests the anti-terrorism measures are being used as a means of social and political control and as an instrument of foreign policy.

Lerougetel tells us about Judge Bruguière.

Bruguiere has been at the head of the French anti-terror apparatus since 1986.

France's Minister of the Interior is Nicolas Sarkozy who is Jewish. Sarkozy's anti-terrorist bill, passed on 22 December 2005, gives extra powers to Bruguiere.

The report on the activities of the 14th Section and Judge Bruguière drawn up in 1999 by international jurists for the International Federation of Human Rights (IFHR) and the French League of Human Rights (LHR) reports:

* Judges tend to resort to speculation regarding the suspects’ “moral” approval of the general objectives of a presumed criminal or terrorist activity.
* Incidental contacts with prime suspects are considered proof of “participation” (guilt by association).
* A suspect’s failure to “cooperate” with the investigators, e.g., by incriminating co-defendants, is regarded as evidence of his or her support for the targeted organisation.
* Long, arbitrary pre-trial detention is used as a means of obtaining confessions of questionable value.

According to Lerougetel in WSWS:

The Algerian military coup d’état, supported by the French government, annulled the 1991 Algerian parliamentary elections won by the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS). The army coup was opposed by many people of North African descent in France. Bomb attacks in France killing 13 people in 1995 were attributed to the anti-government Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA). Many think that Algerian army provocateurs were responsible. The GIA was heavily infiltrated by the Algerian army and it is known that many atrocities purportedly carried out by it in Algeria were the work of army undercover units. The attacks in France would have been designed to justify a crackdown on FIS sympathisers and other opponents of the military dictatorship.

From 1994 the police made highly publicised raids on the North African community. Mohammed Chalabi, a well-known gang leader from the southern suburbs of Paris, was arrested with 90 others. Sweeps in 1995 and 1996 netted other alleged members of the “Chalabi network.” On August 31, 1998 a mass trial of 138 suspects took place in the Fleury-Mérogis prison gymnasium, converted into a court at the cost of 10 million francs.

The IFHR explains that despite the disadvantageous conditions for defence lawyers, largely deprived of access to prosecution documents, none were found guilty of terrorist acts but 87 were convicted of criminal association—association de malfaiteurs. Of these 87, 39 were given sentences of less than two years and the prime suspects received six- to eight-year sentences—below the 10-year maximum at that time. Fifty-one were found not guilty of criminal association and were released, in some cases after over three years in jail.

In terms of actually apprehending terrorists, the trial was a fiasco. It did, however, contribute to the stigmatisation of Muslim immigrants as possible terrorists, intimidating sections of the population, fuelling racism and increasing the alienation of young North Africans—thereby making some of them a prey for Islamic fundamentalist groups.

Bruguière’s work facilitated French support for the Algerian military government’s attempt to stifle opposition to its regime. Paul Labarigue, in an article on the French Réseau Voltaire site, quotes the minister of the interior, Jean-Louis Debré, saying on September 15, 1995: “The Algerian military security services wanted us to go on a wild goose chase to knock out people who were bothering them.”

An account of the complicity between France and Algeria is given in Françalgérie, crimes et mensonges d’état (France/Algeria, state crimes and lies), written by Jean-Baptiste Rivoire and Louis Aggoun, reviewed in Libération, 12 July 1994.

A spectacular example of Bruguière using his arbitrary powers politically emerged last year. In a pre-recorded TV interview with Nicolas Sarkozy, in which the minister of the interior justified his proposed new anti-terrorist legislation, he referred to arrests being carried out that day—i.e., the day the show was broadcast five days later. Bruguière, as is his wont, had called in the media to cover his arrest of nine terrorist suspects, timed to coincide with the broadcast, in a transparent attempt to boost Sarkozy’s drive towards a police state. The suspects were released without charge soon after.

See Also:Collaboration with CIA renditions highlights France’s assault on democratic rights[16 January 2006]
Left press in France all but ignores Sarkozy’s Anti-Terrorist Bill[9 December 2005]


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