Anti terrorism in France

terrorism has nothing to do with "terrorism". This is actually a
political policy aimed at wiping social rebels out by force. That is
why whe have to support the lately arrested rebelliouses"

Eric Hazan

What is terrorism ?

[] Interesting question. Actually, there is still no internationally
agreed definition of terrorism. According to wikipedia : "Common
definitions of terrorism refer only to those acts which are intended to
create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a lone attack), and deliberately
target or disregard the safety of non-combatants." The word, and
concept of "terrorism", appeared in France after the 1789 revolution.
In fact, the new state was using the Guillotine to get rid of all kinds
of opponents. The semantic root of "terrorism" is from a way of govern,
using fear to keep control on people. From a way to keep and protect
the state, it went later a tool to call into question the power. Let’s say that is a tool, a nasty political tool.

What about nowadays ?

Most of the french dictionaries include in the "terrorism"
definition, the possibility of using the "terrorist tool" by states OR
Apparently, this is not the view of the European Commission wich claim that terrorism consist in "any
offence committed intentionally by an individual or a group against one
or several countries, their institutions or their populations, and
aiming at
threatening them and seriously undermining or destroying the political,
economic or social structures of a country." This definition, wich
change easily any activist into terrorist (even
more "anarchist activist" wich in principle want to overthrow states)
fits the french state. Ideed, the penal code define you as a terrorist
as soon as you are "connected with any act intended to trouble
seriously the public order using intimidation or terror".

Notice that the "Informal Anarchist Federation" is designated as a
terrorist organization by the European Union. Have you ever heard about
"Informal Anarchist Federation" elsewhere ? Obviously not, because this is only existing in
state intelligence services‘ files. A "box" to put troublesome people and drawn up a "terrorist threat”.

The frech political instrumentalisation of terrorism, or the legal
concept of "conspiracy in connection with terrorist undertaking"

Owing to this legal concept, not any concrete action is needed to be
considered a terrorist. In fact, magistrates in the Justice Minister
anti-terrorism unit have authority to detain people suspected of
"conspiracy in connection with terrorist undertaking" while evidence is
against them. The main idea, is to act preventively. It is a french exceptions to
reckon it is necessary to blow by the supposed terrorists BEFORE they
trespass. Lately, Human Right Watch published a report about
”Counterterrorism Laws and Procedures in France”** denouncing the
french behaviour. In September 2005, among the 358 persons in jail for
offence in relation with terrorism, 300 were under
"conspiracy in connection with terrorist undertaking", as if to say on
the basis of presumption, neither avered nor proven. May be soo it will
be possible to arrest people for

The "French Anarcho Autonomous Mouvement" or the creation of the new enemy within

The first occurence of the "Mouvance Anarcho Autonome Francilienne"
(MAAF) went during the spring 2007, in some right-wing newspaper. What
a coincidence, the new Sarkozy’s government just seted in. It seems
that Michèle Alliot-Marie, since then minister of the Interior,
invented with some help from the intelligence service* the new public
enemy. During a while, this MAAF had existed in the media witout
arrest, only the inteligence services had kept a watch over this
"mouvement”, and more
precisely over the people supposedly involved in it.

The threat within start to get faces in january 2008. All of them
went behind bars… On the 19th of january, Ivan et Bruno are accused
of transporting a nailbomb, although they were on the way to a
demonstration against detention centres
carrying home made smoke powder and bent nails (to slash tyres)***.
Some days later, Isa and Farid were arrested by a border patrol, during
a road-check in the countryside. In their car, cops found chlorate (to
make smoke powder), a map of a youth prison, and sabotage guides.
They’re emprisoned under the anti-terrorist jurisdiction. During the
custody, the cops pretend that Isa’s DNA is the same than one founded
on a bag holding petrol bottles under a police tow truck during the last
presidential elections. Later, using the „absolute” DNA evidence,
police accused Damien and Juan as well. After four months, Farid, Ivan
and Bruno went out under strict judicial review and house arrest from 9
pm to 6 am. At the same time, all
those investigation went into one. Accordind to the anti-terrorist
jurisdiction, all the people belong to the same terrorist organisation
: the MAAF.

Here was the situation before the 11th of November 2008. Then went
this huge political/police/media operation****. 150 police officers,
most of which belonged to the anti-terrorist brigades, came to arrest 9
people sleeping in their houses in the
tiny village of Tarnac, and to search any kind of evidence against
them. All that under TV cameras and, at the same time, Michele
Alliot-Marie, the minister of the Interior, was holding a press
conference explaining they dismanteled the dangerous
terrorist organisation wich sabotated the french railways lines a few days before.

The people under investigation "were tracked by the police because
they belonged to the ultra-left and the anarcho autonomous milieu." As
the entourage of the Ministry of the Interior specifies, "their
discourse is very radical and they have links with
foreign groups." According to the public prosecutor: “the goal of their
activity is to attack the institutions of the state, and to upset by
violence – I emphasize violence, and not contestation which is
permitted – the political, economic and social order.”

In this case, one might expect that investigators found weapons,
explosives and Molotov cocktails. Instead of that, anti-terrorist
discovered : train schedule, climbing gear and some ”subversive” books
(wich you can find in bookshops). The main evidence is an anonymous
booklet : The coming insurrection.

Quickly the inconsistency in the accusation of sabotaging French
railway lines is obvious and the only ”incriminating evidences” are a
text and a way of life. In fact, those people were living in community,
running the local grocery store, and
some of them (mainly the supposed boss of the Anarcho-autonomous
terrorist organisation, Julien Coupat) graduated high studies wich
leads to suppose they write texts.

Here the explanation of the authorities‘ behavior by Christophe
Chaboud, head of Counterterrorist coordination Unit since may 2007 :
”Their attitude, their way of life, show well those people want to
disconnect with the society. They want to turn their though into acts,
while preparing for a clandestine life. It is important to get an
overview and no not consider the events
apart. The work we made on this cell incite us to arrest them before it’s too late.

Here is a combination of behavior, speech and acts… Here is a dangerous logic.
Then, it was justified we decided to neutralize them preventively, before they comit
a crime”.

Who are the terrorists ?*****

Our living conditions, always more insufferable, rest on fear. Fear
of being jobless, or to being unable to make ends meet. Fear of police,
fear of jail. Because somehow, the billy club and his acceptance
guarantee social interactions.

In this upside down world, terrorism doesn’t mean forcing billions
of humans to survive in intolerable conditions, doesn’t mean
contaminating earth. Terrorism doesn’t mean improving control, keeping
scientific and technologic research wich
subdue always more our lifes and affect
irreversibly the nature. Terrorism doesn’t mean locking in people
because they miss a stupid sheet of paper. Terrorism doesn’t mean
killing us at work to make bosses always richer. Terrorism doesn’t mean
dropping bombs on whole populations. No, all
this is called : economy, civilization, democracy, progress, law and order…

* since july 1, 2008 is called „Direction Centrale du Renseignement Interieur” wich
agregate all the french intelligence services among wich the famous „Renseignements


*** Here the letter Ivan and Bruno wrote in jail :

Hello to all the friends, to all the people who haven’t accepted the
situation that we live: the occupation of the streets and towns by the
police, evictions, raids, arrests, daily difficulties, dispossession of
our lives. This situation that pushes us to give away a big part of our
lives to all kind of bosses, to those who decide
of our destinies, to the power upon us. When we side with the revolt, we do it for
all these reasons. We do it to take back power on our lives, we do it for the
freedom of living. We’ve been arrested on January 19th. Two of us are
in jail, while the third is under a judiciary control (he was passing
by and was guilty of knowing us). We were carrying a smoke-bomb that we
had done by mixing chlorate, sugar and flour. Burnt, this mix releases
an important amount of smoke. We wanted to use it at the end of
the demonstration that was going that day towards Vincenne’s detention
center for migrants. Our aim: to be visible from the locked-in
sans-papiers, knowing that the police would try to prevent us from
approaching the centre. We also had firecrackers to make noise and bent
nails (to burst tyres) that could be put along the road to
prevent cars from passing.

For cops and justice, this excuse was found: we had the material to make a nailbomb.

This is what we are charged of:
– possession and carriage, in organised gang, of explosive or incendiary material,
or components of explosive or incendiary material, with the goal to organise a
destruction, or agression on people;
– criminal association with the goal to commit destruction using fire, explosive
material, or any other way which could create a danger for people, in organised
– refusal to give fingerprints or be photographed during an ID check; – refusal to
submit to the biologic taking aimed at the DNA identification of people
suspected of crime;
It’s quite frightening. So much for the facts. Let’s add a bit of anysis to it.
The way we’re being treated is surely not related to what we had with us or to what
we wanted to do with it. The state is criminalizing revolts and tries to kill any «
non-aligned » dissidence. It is our very ideas and ways to struggle (outside of
political parties, trade unions, or any other organisation of this kind) that are
being targeted… Facing anger that it doesn’t manage to supervise or integrate, the
State points out and isolates an enemy within. The police and the secret service
files are building « profiles ». In our case, it is the «
anarcho-autonomous »
figure that’s being used, which authoritieses relate to terrorism. They need to build a
threat to create consensus within the population, to strenghten their control and
legitimate repression.
That’s why we are in jail. This is the solution the State chooses, to deal with
illegalisms and so called «risky populations». Now, the motto is «lock in more and
longer». More and more efficient controls. Scaring punishements are here to make us
know that we should stay put on the place given. This atmosphere
guarantees for
those who have or take advantage of power, a society in which everybody is aware
that we can’t cross the lines which have been drawn for us, which are surrounding
us, which are compressing us; not without paying an high price. We struggle with
migrants, because we know that it is the same police that is controling, that it is
the same boss who is exploiting, that these are the same walls
imprisoning. The day
we tried to go to the demonstration, we wanted to shout « Freedom » in echo with the
prisoniers, to show that we were many to hear them revolting these last months. We
wanted to light a smoke candle, to try to get as close as we could from the prison
gates, to shout «no more detention centers», to show our determination to live free.
This struggle, in which we can see ourselves, is a common ground to build
complicities; it is a way to express our own revolt.
We don’t consider ourselves like «victims of repression». There is no fair
repression, no fair imprisonment. There is just repression, and its fonction of
control, its role in maintaining established orders: the power of those who possess
against the dispossessed. When everobody walks in line, it’s easier to strike those
who go out of it.
We hope that we are many, wishing to own our lifes fully, sharing this desire to
build and interweave solidarities which will +give birth to upcoming revolts.
Bruno and Ivan, from the jails of Fresnes and Villepinte (close to Paris), april 2008.

**** For more info, check out (in English) or (in French)

***** from a french poster

sources :

in French :