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Opinion, by Ian Henshall15 Jan 2015


For people opposed to the endless wars President Hollande has just given the game away.

The response to the Paris attacks will be pitiless, he says.

Not a thorough investigation, no hint of reflection or analysis, no review of French foreign policy, just a pitiless response.

In today's world we know what that means: pitiless airstrikes and drone attacks against mostly innocent people in the Middle East and beyond, the pitiless destruction of Libya followed by the pitiless fuelling of war in Syria. Pitiless supplies of arms to the same terrorists who have just murdered Hollande's fellow country people. What a giveaway. The BBC know a thing or two about propaganda, and they have already removed the quote from their website. Other sources are changing the translation to merciless, which is not quite the same.

In fact the latest attack is hardly worse that events that take place in the destabilised Middle East on a weekly basis. (Why, incidentally, are the NATO media not calling the pitiless US attack on a hospital in Afghanistan an atrocity?) It follows the bizarre Charlie Hebdo incident when three named terrorists apparently went on a shooting spree. The only problem was that one of them had an alibi and was innocent while the other two accused were shot to death by police before they could make any statements. 

Was Charlie Hebdo a permitted or manipulated event, even an outright false flag operation, aimed at reversing Hollande's single digit poll figures (which it duly did), and forcing a U turn on Hollande's public objections to anti-Russian sanctions (as happened)? We may never know for sure because to ask these questions will no longer be permitted at least if Hollande and Cameron get their way. 

In the days after, the world's leaders posed in an iconic photo to reaffirm their belief in Western values. Within a week the internet established that the world leaders were never bravely at the front of the free speech demonstration. The iconic photo was taken in a special protected area. Worse still, despite their claimed belief in Western values Hollande and Cameron are leading the way in suppressing free speech. 

We are not talking incitement to violence which is prosecutable online as much as offline. It is now an imprisonable offence in France to call for a boycott of Israeli products. In the UK Cameron has made it clear: it is "non-violent extremism" he means to suppress. 

Now we can expect to be immersed in a wave of grief managed and amplified by the mainstream media. The grief will not extend to other victims of ISIS in Syria and Iraq and will certainly not lead to a thorough probe into who carried out the attack and who helped them. The NATO crowd know very well that the people behind the latest atrocity work for groups that have been armed and trained by the UK, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the US.

We can hope that this time will be different and commentators will dare to point out that ISIS is the creation of the western powers. But sadly, on past experience the wave of sympathy will probably be used to bolster support for the failed criminal policies of perpetual war and proxy terrorism. Despite their public grief, unpopular austerity politicians know the events will boost their standing, that war creates fear and foreign enemies bring domestic votes. 

In a world where telling the truth is non-violent extremism and today's terrorists are tomorrow's covert allies it can be hard to figure out what is really going on. To return to the soon to be banned question: could the Paris attacks be a manipulated event? There is a traditional adage to help decide as events unfold: "by their fruits shall you know them". For pessimists the fruits of Paris are likely to be more destabilisation in the Middle East, more surveillance and censorship at home, poll boosts for unpopular politicians, more terrorism in Syria.

After all, as Hollande says, the western powers and their  Middle East allies are indeed pitiless.

(opinion by Ian Henshall 07946939217)
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