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France is Best in Counterterrorism

French counterterrorism efforts have been praised by several analysts, but I am surprised to see that two scholars of the American Enterprise Institute argue that "France is the world's most sophisticated practitioner of counterterrorism. The U.S. can learn from her experience."

Reuel Marc Gerecht and Gary J. Schmitt write in The American:

Whereas September 11, 2001, was a shock to the American counterterrorist establishment, it wasn't a révolution des mentalités in Paris. Two waves of terrorist attacks, the first in the mid-1980s and the second in the mid-1990s, have made France acutely aware of both state-supported Middle Eastern terrorism and freelancing but organized Islamic extremists. In comparison, the security services in Great Britain and Germany were slow to awaken to the threat from homegrown radical Muslims. Britain's gamble was that its multicultural approach to immigrants was superior to France's forced-assimilation model. But with the discovery of one terrorist plot after another being planned by British Muslims, as well as the deadly transportation bombings that took place in London on July 7, 2005, the British have begun to question the wisdom of their "Londonistan" approach to Muslim immigration.
And France does not even have a Guantanamo type prison. Or does it? In 2005, the European Council's commissioner for human rights has described the Paris prison "Palais de Justice" as a "dungeon" with "inhumane" conditions. See the Telegraph report cited in Davids Medienkritik. While there is criticism of US counterterrorism practices, US prisons in Guanatanamo and those for ordinary criminals on US soil, France does not get much media scrutiny.
UPDATE: The Palais de Justice was closed in June 2006. See comment by Axel.

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franchie on :

Thanks for pointing a positive aspect of french reality, that is not displayed in the average anglo-saxons MSM. Thanks also for being a place that isn't ment for bashing but for information. here is a link a bit more developped about our anti-terrorism policy : [url]http://www.aei.org/docLib/20071101_22370EuO03Gerecht_g.pdf[/url] After our terrorist attacks of the nineties the french judges asked UK for the extradition of the islamist GIA head, that was refused because of the argutie that the french jails were inhuman ; It's not in our usual worry to head an inquiry how the Brits' jails are ruled, though I guess that the IRA prisonners didn't appreciated them either. Therefore it was more about the ancestral antagonism that the Anglo-Saxons maintain as a daily pray against their favorite "têtes de Turcs", the Frenchs. I also recall how our laïc laws were criticised in the EU well-thinking society, mostly seen as stiff or arrogant french particularity. Though, France is the EU nation that knows the Arabo-Muslims psychology the best, because of our millenarium frequentation, (Poitiers, Charles Martel, anyone), our neighbour borders with Mediterranea as a commun trade and or piraty play-ground, our fast 2 centuries colonisation, our Algeria war (that we won as far as military is concerned, independance was a political decision that De Gaulle headed with a largely favorable referendum result) ; these abroad and now fast 5 million persons in our territory are kinda "comedians" ; they act as crying-babies to get more rights and or attention, ; it's anyway, never enough for them ; you let them have your hand, be sure they'll ask then for your arm ; therefore you have to be ferm with them; apparently that was our practice ; we are also the EU nation with the larger muslim population that's get the less jihadist pretentions; where the religion is discussed by muslim intellectuals, where an university degree was decided (by Sarko, the funniest is that's the Institut catholique is doing their education) for expat imams to get if they want to teach in french mosquees ; France is also the country where mixed marriages occur the most, where muslim ratings about the Jews are the best (even if from time to time a crime occurs) France : 86, US : 77 (cf Pew) I don't deny that there are still problems to solve, especially in our big cities surburbs, though it's more gangs fightings than islamist revendications.

Joe Noory on :

I don't buy it. In the US, where Pew found otherwise, you just don't hear the kind of obsession with Jews that you do, even among the "aboriginal" French. You also don't hear of people getting beaten up because they're Jews as you do in France. And on top of that I really resent this "anglo-saxone" label that they use. It's a fabrication of the mind to think that they are "latin" or "southern" in a manner charcteristic of something that makes the "Anglo-saxons" quite different. How is the Puerto Rican sitting into office next to me, and Arab, and across from a Chinese immigrant, across the hall from our Persian boss and his 3rd generation American from Italy "Angol-Saxon"? Is that the best that a culture that promotes itself as superior in "reason" can do? Find a new name for a stale old genetic [url=http://no-pasaran.blogspot.com/2006/06/with-french-dressing.html]theory[/url] of other peoples' behaviour? No-one, by the way is imune to efforts by governments to manipulate them into producing the [url=http://no-pasaran.blogspot.com/2007/11/reporters-without-scruples.html]results they want[/url].

Pat Patterson on :

Easy, they're not. They're Americans and the rest of the world except for the Western Hemisphere still doesn't understand. Ethnic identity in the US is miles wide and 1/8 inch deep. Which means that an Irish saint's day and the anniversary of a great victory for Mexican nationalists are both drunken brawls where little girls get knocked down when free beer is announced. Oh, I forgot that generally people wearing dashikis as a symbol of national pride of origin are no more threatening then guys wearing kilts and boxer shorts and getting hernias trying to toss the caber. People become Americans and most of the rest of the world remains as their ancestors were.

Kevin Sampson on :

'Ethnic identity in the US is miles wide and 1/8 inch deep.' I would like to agree, but after reading the congregation of Jeremiah Wright's church defense of him, I'm afraid I can't. Many ethnic groups here don't buy into identity politics, but some most certainly do.

Pat Patterson on :

I definitely agree with the "some" but I have always been a glass half full kind of guy. As fearsome as some of the defenders of Rev. Wright at Trinity sound I'm wondering how many would retreat to redoubts in Appalachia to mount Castro like insurgencies. Those house payments and music recitals tend to tone down the actions if not the rhetoric. Also one could always check out the comment threads at the UCC website to see that not many agree with Rev. Wright's more outlandish statements. [url]www.ucc.org[/url]

franchie on :

Jojo, do you miss me on "no passaran" ? that was funny for a while, I don't fancy to meet that kookoos nest at the moment ! don't worry, if I feel bored, I'll make a knock there. if you don't like the "Pew" there are many persons in your contry that trust it though ; take the FBI files, or any other institutes, that took such a rating... we'll see ! It's not the intellectual fairness that is your motto, or is it you want to get some reconaissance ? sorry baby, your way is biased, no chance to get a future, or just with a few dellusionals ; though I am sure you are an interessant person, you could do better

Joe Noory on :

No, it really doesn't matter to us whether you drop in or not. I also don't happen to think that even if Le Monde is the "intello" paper, it's in a very limited environment with only a few other intello/non-intello papers that all seem to cost more than a Euro a day. Both LM and Libe recycle 3 and 4 year opinions and proposals from abroad. It's ridiculous.

franchie on :

seems you only focus on these lonely medias, that are your scratching hair ; I happen not to read them as a basic info media ; sometimes they have good reports on scientifical or oddy infos ; there are many more possibilities of getting news ; he, we are not a third world country, like it or not !

Pat Patterson on :

I thought the authors were being very kind when describing, what to an American would look like segregated housing and opportunity, France's model of "forced-assimilation." But I'm not to sure about adopting some of the more onerous practices of the Napoleonic Code to deal with terrorism doesn't do more than create the kind of hostility and alienation among immigrants that the US has avoided.

franchie on :

Is CAIR so fair ? that's not what I read in your MSM

Zyme on :

Only having a tough stance towards immigrants secures assimilation, we had to find out as well after decades of laissez-faire. Franchie, which part of France are you from if I am allowed to ask?

franchie on :

Poitiers, born in Brittany though

Anonymous on :

So rather central France, huh? Maybe one day I will visit the country, after having been forced to learn the language at school :) But even Alsace is 500 km away from here - so this won´t be a casual visit.

Fuchur on :

You completely miss the point when you compare the "Palais de Justice" with Guantanamo. The problem with Guantanamo is that it's an institution of lawlessness. An inmate there has de jure no rights whatsoever - no habeas corpus, no Geneva Conventions, not even the most basic human rights. Obviously, that's something that contradicts the most basic rules of democracy. [b]That's[/b] the fundamental problem with Guantanamo, and [b]that's[/b] why it's so troublesome to anybody who believes in the rule of law. No matter how many meals of chicken and sweet rice pilaw the inmates get, no matter how kindly and humanely they are treated - the fundamental problem won't go away that people are imprisoned there indefinitely on no legal basis and with no right for a trial.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

So [i]de jure[/i] is of more concern than [i]de facto[/i]? I think both are important. And everybody who is concerned about Gitmo, should be concerned about the Palais de Justice or any other prisons with inhumane conditions, where human rights only exist on paper. That was my "comparison." Maybe they cleaned up the Palais de Justice by now. Maybe there are worse places in other European countries. I don't know. I just got the hunch that US prisons (mainland and Gitmo) get more scrutiny in the European press than European prisons. And I wonder how often European governments send terror suspects to Arab countries for tough interrogation or torture without this making the news.

Fuchur on :

[i]I think both are important.[/i] My point is merely: They are different. [i]everybody who is concerned about Gitmo, should be concerned about the Palais de Justice[/i] Hm, that's also one of these lines of argumentation that I don't like very much. For whoever is concernded about the Palais de Justice should also be concernded about the prisons in Russia. Or Saudi-Arabia. Or Zimbahwe. Or China. And so on... Whatever misdeed you criticize - there will always be 100 things equally important and equally bad (or worse) you didn't mention. In consequence, this means that you must not criticize anything at all any more. Or maybe, you should add a disclaimer, like: "I hereby clarify that my criticism of Gitmo does by no means imply that I do not equally detest any evil-doing or injustice anywhere else in the world!" But that might be problematic again, because you might be accused of relativism ;-). I just feel that this line of defense is just used to frequently and to liberally. The problem is that you can never satisfactorily prove whether something is treated with "equal importance" or whether some topic received "more attention" than another. That's why it provides a welcome diversion from the topic for any apologist.

Don S on :

"I just got the hunch that US prisons (mainland and Gitmo) get more scrutiny in the European press than European prisons." I don't think there is any question that the US gets scrutiny an order or magnitude higher than France does, for an example. Read that article all the way through - France routinely does things domestically which would be utterly unconstitutional in the US. And my impression is that the inmates at Gitmo are treated better than France treats it's terrorist suspects in country. Basically Gitmo is a kind of holding tank - it takes the inmates out of play. "And I wonder how often European governments send terror suspects to Arab countries for tough interrogation or torture without this making the news." I believe the French invented 'rendition', though the US followed. The Clinton administration made use of rendition, although the use of the technique increased post-9/11. I think the problem many 'critic' have is not with holding camps/jails/rensition per-se. It is a selective criticims of the US for using these techniques to combat terrorism. When France does it it's OK - but the US is not allowed to defend ourselves.....

franchie on :

all the facts that concern state security are scrutinied and do not depend on civil investigations ; that the particularity of our laws system in the 5th republique, thanks Charles De Gaulle, and he knew a lot about "security". Discretion is the motto for success. the difference with your country is that the rendition system applies only on our territory ; we don't extract "virtual terrorists" from a foreign country or keep them in custody in a foreign country

Don S on :

"the difference with your country is that the rendition system applies only on our territory ; we don't extract "virtual terrorists" from a foreign country or keep them in custody in a foreign country" You seem to be implying that the agents of the country the prisoner is 'renditioned' to conduct their interrogations on French soil?!!! That can't be right. As for extracting 'virtual terrorist's from foreign soil, I mind me of the case of a certain 'Carlos the Jackal' a few years ago. Chappie violated French law oncve or more often, went to sleep on the table of a plastic surgeon in Egypt but woke up in French custody. Wasn't that 'extraction' from foreign soil? It certainly wasn't extradition....

franchie on :

what's the problem ? that we have immunity when you haven't, not my fault ! Carlos, yeah, the exception that confirms your argutie, quote one more like that and I surrender if that makes you happy Bah

franchie on :

not sure though that Carlos was extracted by some Frenchs, there was a judge requierration on him, that, may-be, an agreement with the Egyp police helped to rappatry him ; but you do have the info, please, share it. That what also the case for Halimi's murder ; Ivory coast didn't want to protect him and sent him back to France, though, no agreement between the polices there !

Anonymous on :

"You seem to be implying that the agents of the country the prisoner is 'renditioned' to conduct their interrogations on French soil?!!!" got some news : "The Jackal" may have found himself with very few safe places to go. Apparently, Sudan was one of them, or so he thought. Even they, however, we not willing to provide the beastly killer with a refuge. They arrested "Carlos" and turned him over to French authorities, who had previously notified the Sudanese of his presence in Sudan. In the end, even the Sudanese, who are thought to be moving closer to a "fundamentalist-revolutionary-moslem" government, have decided to turn over the infamous "Jackal" and maybe win some eventual favor in world opinion." yeah that'it, on our soil !

Joe Noory on :

I also don't get the "lawlessness" argument, since these aren't prisoners detained under civil law. Actually under the Geneva convention stateless or un-uniformed combatants may simply be shot on sight. They are being given the BENEFIT of being treated as POWs. In case you havent noticed, the only onse still there are either the seriously hardcore ones, and a bunch that their nations of citizens won't take, or those who will be subject to execution, abuse, or torture. That includes European states who won't accept many of the ones who hold their citizenships. If Gitmo is bugaboo number one of the terror-indulging "peace" camp, number two is surely any harm done the those released. Number three would be the fake thriller movie style killing in the night by intelligence agents which doesn't really happen. It's worth noting that the left has both advocated and deamonized 1 through 3 - advicating them as the previous one becomes stuck in the craw of concerned people with degrees in non-historical subjective fields of study and a penchance to march against a war America or the UK is in ivolved in, but couldn't be troubled to find the Congo, the Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Burundi, Chechnya, So. Ossetia, Fiji, E. Timor, Algeria, Lebanon, Somalia, Chad, Sudan, or the like on a map. They are people fit for passive hand-wringing whose selectivity reveals an obvious moral repugnance.

Fuchur on :

[i]I also don't get the "lawlessness" argument, since these aren't prisoners detained under civil law.[/i] They are not detained under ANY law. Hence "lawlessness". [i]In case you havent noticed, the only onse still there are either the seriously hardcore ones[/i] 1.Wait a sec. Weren't we told that the seriously hardcore ones were the only ones that ever were detained in Gitmo? So, what about those people released? Either it means that the US has released terrorists, or that they had detained innocents. 2. How am I supposed to know who is detained in Gitmo and why? How do you know? The military says so, and all we can do is trust them. Again, for anyone believing in democratic principles, that's a very troubling state of affairs.

Joe Noory on :

In the vacuum of a space protected from the slings and arrows of having to engage in the ugliness that comes with security, that's easy to say. Would you prefer that it went back to the old tradition of intelligence operations where one didn't even know these prisoners existed a la KGB and "affaire d'etat"?

Axel on :

"In a report published in February, then Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Alvaro Gil-Robles drew attention to overcrowding and unhygienic conditions in detention centers for immigrants, as well as in prisons. The holding center in the Palais de Justice in Paris, where Gil-Robles described conditions as “inhuman and degrading,” was closed in June." [url=http://hrw.org/englishwr2k7/docs/2007/01/11/eu14775.htm]Human Rights Watch World Report 2007[/url] "Compared to the Palais de Justice in Paris, Guantanamo looks like ClubMed." David's Medienkritik

Don S on :

So I take it Angela has changed her policy to allow GBay inmates to be settled in Germany? Or is that something which is only good for the US, not for Germany, and no matter that Germany exported most of the leadership of the 9/11 prot to your American friends. Or did Atta and Binshalibh not come from Hamburg?

franchie on :

in any case, Palais de justice de Paris, isn't worst than the kind of prisonners would get in their own countries according to their goal, kill the maximum of civilians. I am sure you enjoy visiting a safer Paris agree there should be improvements made there, though as it is situated in a central historic place, therefore needs the agreement of several administrations, that have for some raisons the dedicated budget allocated to other money rewarding places

Don S on :

"Palais de justice de Paris, isn't worst than the kind of prisonners would get in their own countries according to their goal, kill the maximum of civilians. I am sure you enjoy visiting a safer Paris" The same could be said of Gitmo, yet many French have a problem with Gitmo which they do not have with the sometomes much more arbitrary things their own authorities do, without publicity. I enjoy visiting a safe Paris, but ask why similar techniques cannot be employed to make New York, Washington DC, and London safer as well?

franchie on :

"yet many French have a problem with Gitmo" not me and I bet more than 50 % of the Frenchs

Don S on :

Perhaps only 95% of Le Monde columnists & Jacques Chirac. Do as we say, not as we do, or we'll read you out as international lawbreakers! Bah.

franchie on :

Bah, you read Le Monde of course, good for your culture : it's the intellos'paper can you argue on something else please

joe on :

Declare those at Gitmo as EPW's. They can remain there forever.

Zyme on :

The americans raise a very important point here: What to do with the inmates of Guantanamo? It has become obvious that even in Germany the government is unwilling to welcome them back in our society - for good reason. Sure the existance of Guantanamo is mocking all the ideals of human rights and so on. So what to do with future captives like the ones there? If we don´t want to have them back, there aren´t a lot of options left. Personally I liked the one that also seems to be preferred by our government: Don´t keep them under inhumane conditions here. Put them elsewhere! :D The countries of northern africa have been very cooperative in this regard in the past. I am convinced they will continue to do so for a small bargain. That leaves the question on what to do with the current inmates - but why not leave them there? After all, the US have to take all the fire for catching them in the first place :D One can hardly congratulate our government for a lot of movements lately, but this surely is an outstanding exception!

Don S on :

"That leaves the question on what to do with the current inmates - but why not leave them there? After all, the US have to take all the fire for catching them in the first place :D" Don't you mean 'why not leave them there' - and continue to hold the Yankee feet to the fire while being deliberately unhelpful, which in turn prolongs the pleasurable period of moral preening which Germans have been enjoying so palpably for some years now? Could be that there will be consequences for holding said feet to the fire. Could be those consequences will be felt in continental europe. Could be there will be a lot (is a lot?) of injured innocence all around. Could be that the unrighteous Yankee blacksirt scum won't give a damn any more?

franchie on :

the attributions of the special "Cour d'Assises" : La cour d'assises spéciale, qui siège à Paris, est une exception dans le droit français qui prévoit que les affaires criminelles sont jugées par un jury. Elle est composée de sept magistrats professionnels alors que la cour d'assises ordinaire comprend, elle, trois magistrats professionnels et neuf jurés. Créée en 1982, en remplacement de la Cour de sûreté de l'Etat, pour ne juger que certaines infractions militaires, sa compétence avait été étendue aux affaires de terrorisme par la loi du 9 septembre 1986. Cette loi avait créé à Paris un parquet et des juges d'instruction spécialisés, au lendemain d'une vague d'attentats qui avait ensanglanté la capitale. La cour d'assises spéciale ne devait s'appliquer qu'aux faits commis après sa promulgation, le 9 septembre 1986, mais trois mois plus tard une loi la rendait rétroactive à la demande du ministère de la Justice. Entre les deux, au cours du procès de trois membres d'Action directe (AD), de violentes menaces avaient été proférées à l'encontre des jurés par un des accusés, Régis Schleicher. Cinq des neuf jurés avaient obtenu un certificat médical pour ne plus siéger au procès, qui avait dû être reporté. Le 13 juin 1987, la cour d'assises spéciale avait finalement condamné Régis Scheicher à la réclusion criminelle à perpétuité, l'estimant complice du meurtre de deux policiers lors de la fusillade de l'avenue Trudaine à Paris en mai 1983. Dans sa première affaire de terrorisme, la cour avait condamné le 28 février 1987 le Libanais George Ibrahim Abdallah à la perpétuité pour complicité dans les assassinats de deux diplomates américain et israélien à Paris en 1982 et du consul américain à Strasbourg en 1984. Ce sont des magistrats professionnels qui ont eu à juger le premier procès et celui en appel sur l'affaire de l'assassinat du préfet Erignac. La cour d'assises spéciale est également compétente, depuis 1992, pour le trafic de stupéfiants en bande organisée.

Andrew on :

Hi, Just a few comments (I live in France, and have worked on U.S. and French models of counter-terrorism). France's Palais de Justice has NOTHING to do with Gitmo. It would be ABSURD to even hint a that. Simply put: - few suspects are currenlty held - their treatment is incomparable to that of Gitmo prisoners - their status is not stalled and is much less precarious France's counter-terrorism strategy does have it's own flaws. For example, there have been several "catch-all" arrests in French history (in the 1980s in particular) which can be (and have been) criticized. Nevertheless, despite its injustices and abuses, the French system has two qualities the U.S. system seriously lacks: - it has a reasonably fair (and efficient) way of trying terrorist suspects - despite some abuses, it does not have any inhumane camps for stacking suspects it isn't sure what to do with. For more of my views on international affairs, check out: http://whatyoumustread.blogspot.com/ These are facts. They don't mean there aren't other flaws is the system.

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