Saturday, 10 January 2015

On Charlie Hebdo, freedom of speech, terrorism, and the value of lives


A screenshot of controversial French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo’s front cover of its October 22, 2014 issue. Al-Akhbar.
Published Thursday, January 8, 2015
An attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a controversial French satirical magazine, and the mainstream discourse immediately rehashes the same concepts and talking points about the importance of safeguarding freedom of speech, battling an ill-defined notion of terrorism, and maintaining Western values. However, the essential issue of whose lives have value continues to be disregarded.
There are a few points that need to be addressed about the public discussions after the deaths of at least 12 people in Paris yesterday.
First, and most notable for me, I take issue with the argument made by some thatCharlie Hebdo‘s staff are “heroic” because of their past publishing cartoons and articles that attack and mock Islam. While it is true they also have a history of publishing material that mocks other religions and ideologies, I highly doubt Charlie Hebdo would have been as “courageous” in mocking Judaism with the same robustness they do in mocking Islam, for example. In fact, looking at its history, the magazinefired one of its cartoonists in 2008 over a satirical statement that it argued was ‘anti-semitic’.
There is a fine line between satire and offensive material that Charlie Hebdo willfully dances around. I think much of their material is offensive, Islamophobic (and anti-Semitic, as well as racist, sexist, and homophobic), and the argument that is “freedom of speech” is a very crude way to allow offensive material to be published. “Freedom of speech” gets thrown around quite easily during events like yesterday’s, but serious public debate about the parameters and nature of “freedom of speech” are few and far between.
I see nothing heroic about a bunch of elite white writers and artists picking on the identities and beliefs of minorities. Satire is supposed to be an act that punches up to power, and not down to the weak. The argument for “freedom of speech” and freedom of the press should not, and must not, place aside the question and understanding of privileges and differing power dynamics that are at work. By acknowledging and understanding that, perhaps we can all work to refine and develop a notion of freedoms that is truly universal and conscious of its role and duties. What is common today is that freedom of speech and freedom of press is brought up to espouse Islamophobic sentiments, and maintaining power, but is ignored when facing issues of immigrant rights at home or wars fought abroad. In other words, “freedom of speech” is already restricted in many ways.
Muslim communities, immigrants, and “others” will pay dearly, andalready are in France and elsewhere. French (and European) politics will sway more to the right. French support of repressive states and its military ‘adventures’ in North Africa and West Asia will continue.
The knee-jerking romanticizing and mythologizing of victims, particularly if the perpetrators are Black, Brown, or Muslim, that occurs after such acts allows the perpetuation of this cycle of violence. Anyone who dares to mention facts, make critical assessments, or initiate a thoughtful debate is quickly chastised, and accused of siding with “terrorists” which, in effect, silences them. Yet, it is rare for free speech advocates to come to the aid of those raising serious questions; instead, this freedom of speech is used, time and again, to vilify such individuals.
After the launch of the American “Global War on Terror” 14 years ago, the level of the debate has stagnated as a righteous binary, and absolutist statements reign supreme. Much needed nuances, contexts, and depth are quickly swept aside.
This leads to the second point.
I find it absolutely interesting how there is an almost immediate expectation that Muslims apologize and take responsibility for the horrible attack on Charlie Hebdo. This is interesting because not once is there an equal expectation in regards to Westerners (shall we shall say Christian or Jewish?) to take responsibility or apologize for the killing of Al-Jazeera‘s staff by US forces in Iraq (as well as a number of other Arab journalists later on during that horrendous war) or the killing of tens of Palestinian journalists by the Zionist forces over the past decade. This is never expected, nor demanded, or even ever considered by the mainstream press.
But Muslims, especially in France, have nothing to apologize for. This does not mean they shouldn’t take a stance and condemn these acts of violence as individuals. Collectively, however, apologizing implies responsibility – one that is not theirs to bear.
The only responsibility “Muslims” (whatever that means) have is to confront forces of repression, whether internal or external, and that does not mean apologizing for being a Muslim. And yes, I do think, that there is a lot that individuals within Muslim communities should and can do in combating fundamentalism and narrow-thinking, but that does not mean they should be collectively punished, harassed, mocked or immediately grovel when events like yesterday’s occur.
I make the same argument for any group; just like we shouldn’t attack or punish all Jews for the brutal crimes by Zionism, or all Christians because of the horrors of Colonialism, and the same holds true for Muslims. This is an important distinction that fundamentalists, of varying stripes, do not make and ‘we’ must.
In fact, I argue that the French state has the largest share to blame for:
a) Not creating a system that allows certain communities to assimilate easily into society. I’m talking politically, socially, and economically;
b) Pursuing a foreign policy that is destructive of other societies, and furthers repression;
c) Not coming to full terms, acknowledging, and apologizing for a history of military occupation and intervention in the North African and West Asian region (as well as elsewhere in the world). This is a history that continues to shape actions, ideas, and positions today, and has yet to be adequately confronted within French society;
d) Being supportive and part of the political support of states like Saudi Arabia (the beating heart of ferocious Islamic fundamentalist tenets) and Israel (the nation of Zionism, a racist and violent ideology, born out of ethnic cleansing and continued incremental genocide).
We need to understand context. We need to understand history. We need to understand power dynamics and inequalities.
Terrorism, or as I define it, political violence, and indeed most violence, do not happen in a vacuum, and without understanding the historical and contemporary strands, we will be dragged deeper into a cycle of violence, counter-violence, and destruction. We need to understand that these men who committed these acts are not “foreign entities” but most likely are a product of French society, a society that does not make integration easy for everyone.
Much of the reactions yesterday and today call for blood. It is a position that is reactionary.
And even then, it’s interesting how it seems that one society’s call for blood is more acceptable than another’s…
And we arrive to one last point, and this is about the value of lives. I have witnessed on social media and on news agencies a flurry of articles, statements, and dismay about the lives lost in Paris. Twelve people have died, people are horrified, and rightly so.
Yet, on the same day, a car bomb exploded in Sanaa, Yemen, killing at least 38 people. At least nine people, including two children, have died in attacks in Afghanistan, and an unknown number of dead as the violence rages in Syria and Iraq.
What is true today, and has been true for a while, is that ‘white’ lives matter more. It garners more of an emotional reaction. It horrifies, and causes dismay, shock, and tears. Their faces and names will be etches in collective memory. Politicians will read eloquent, heart-felt eulogies.
Black and Brown misery and deaths, on the other hand, have become so normalized, so accepted, so routine. They are numbers, footnotes, and statistics. There was no personalized video message by US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in the language of the victims, that offered sadness over the killing of seven pro-Syrian regime journalists after gunmen attacked their offices in June 2012. There were and are no Twitter hashtags for the dead civilians who were killed by French airstrikes during their military adventures in Mali, North Africa, and elsewhere. No one paid attention to the (terrorist?) bombing of the Colorado Springs offices of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) on January 6.
Lives are simply not equal. We must ask ourselves why? To quote the American philosopher Judith Butler, “Who counts as human? Whose lives count as lives? And, finally, What makes for a grievable life?”
These are key questions that are necessary and the answers can help us move on collectively, and the answers, I think, offer more solutions that simply hunting down and killing “terrorists.”
Yazan al-Saadi is a senior staff writer for Al-Akhbar English. Follow him on Twitter:@WhySadeye
This article is jointly published with Open Democracy.
The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect Al-Akhbar English‘s editorial policy. If you would like to submit a thoughtful response to one of our opinion pieces, send your contribution to our submissions editor.
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There wouldn't be so many Muslims in Europe, if the west hadn't destroyed Iraq, Libya, Syria etc, & armed/funded terrorism

CIA Estimates: Muslims in France Outnumber Combined, Surviving Christian Populations of Syria, Iraq

By Lauretta Brown

January 9, 2015 - 3:16 PM

(CNSNews.com) – Muslims living in France now outnumber the combined, surviving Christian populations of Syria and Iraq, according to estimates published by the CIA in its World Factbook.

There are also more Muslims in France than there are people in Kuwait, or the West Bank, or Gaza.

France has a total population of 66,259,012, according to the CIA, with Muslims making up 5 percent to 10 percent of the total. At the lower-end of this range (5 percent), there would be 3,312,951 Muslims in France. At the upper-end (10 percent), there would be 6,625,901.

Iraq, according to the CIA World Factbook, has a total population of 32,585,692, with Christians making up 0.8 percent of the total—or about 260,686 individuals.

Syria, according to the World Factbook, has a population of 17,951,639, with Christians making up 10 percent of the total—or about 1,795,164 individuals.

The combined population of approximately 2,055,850 Christians who live in Syria and Iraq, according to the CIA World Factbook, is less than the minimum of 3,312,951 Muslims who live in France.

Even if the number of Muslims in France is at the low-end estimate of 5 percent (3,312,951), those Muslims outnumber the combined Christian population of Syria by about 1,257,101 individuals, or about 61 percent.

For every 3 Muslims in France there are fewer than 2 Christians in Syria and Iraq.

At the low-end range of 3,312,951, the Muslims living in France outnumber the entire populations of Oman (3,219,775), Kuwait (2,742,711), the West Bank (2,731,052), Qatar (2,123,160), the Gaza Strip (1,816,379), Bahrain (1,314,089), Djibouti (810,179).

At the upper-end range (6,625,901), there are more Muslims in France than there are people in Libya (6,244,174), Lebanon (5,882,562), and the United Arab Emirates (5,628,805).
The Christian populations of Iraq and Syria have been declining.

“[W]hile there has been voluntary relocation of many Christian families to northern Iraq, recent reporting indicates that the overall Christian population may have dropped by as much as 50 percent since the fall of the Saddam HUSSEIN regime in 2003, with many fleeing to Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon,” said the CIA, based on a 2010 estimate.

“In Syria, as in much of the Middle East, the Christian presence is becoming a shadow of its former self. After three years of civil war, hundreds of thousands fled the country desperate to escape the ongoing violence perpetrated by the government and extremist groups alike,” says the State Department's 2013 International Religious Freedom Report.
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Al-Qaeda Group Claims Responsibility for Paris Terror Attack


Paris ShootingAn al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen claimed responsibility late Friday for the deadly attack on a satirical newspaper in France this week, not long after French police killed the suspects to end a three-day manhunt.

A statement provided to the Associated Press from the group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said “the leadership of AQAP directed the operations and they have chosen their target carefully.” The statement said the attack, which killed 12 people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, was intended as “revenge for the honor” of the Prophet Mohammad, the depiction of whom is forbidden by Islamic tradition. The magazine had repeatedly mocked him—and other religions—in cartoons.

The claim, which the unnamed spokesman said was delayed two days after Wednesday’s attack for “security reasons,” did not come as a shock. One of the gunmen in the Charlie Hebdo attack shouted, “You can tell the media it was al-Qaeda in Yemen” during the assault, according to a witness. And the French news channel BFM Television reported that two of the suspected attackers, Said and Cherif Kouachi, made the same claim in a phone call from the printing plant where they held a hostage and were later killed in a police assault Friday. Earlier reports indicated Said Kouachi visited AQAP for several months in 2011 and 2012.

Source: Websites
10-01-2015 - 13:59 Last updated 10-01-2015 - 14:04
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Questions, doubts as France grieves


Serious doubts exist over what prompted the massacre in Paris and who will benefit from it.
Thu Jan 8, 2015 
The Wednesday attack at a Paris office of Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine indeed was a tragic incident. The police say they have launched a manhunt for two suspects in the case and that a third has already surrendered.  With France now in a high state of alert, things look set for the case to be over soon. Nevertheless, serious doubts still exist over what prompted the massacre and who will eventually benefit from Paris’ most violent attack in many years.  
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, an American political commentator, has told Press TV that the incident is being seen from different angles by analysts. However, Sepahpour-Ulrich believes that there is already a consensus among many that the violence was the result of the Western policies toward the Middle East.   
Some circles, she said, see the Paris shooting as a blow-back from Western support for creating instability in the Middle East and the creation of ISIL. Some reports, she added, indicate that the two brothers implicated in the attacks had just returned from Syria.
“Another thinking is that this was a false flag attack. Like any other event, the truth will remain shrouded, but we can help understand the events by looking at who benefits from these attacks,” she told Press TV’s UK Desk.
“But fear can paralyze rationale and prompt people to accept whatever narrative is given them or demands placed upon them.”
Sepahpour-Ulrich said the French officials this past September were reported to be working on a new anti-terror measure and the main impetus was to use instruments to go after “individuals” and after websites deemed as ‘defending’ or ‘provoking’ terror.
“Incidents such as the Paris shooting will justify such actions,” she said.   
Sepahpour-Ulrich further criticized those who attribute the Paris violence as an attack on “free speech”.
This, she said, does not make sense as ‘there is only selective free speech’.
“In France, one cannot debate the Holocaust and as with most Europe, if one even attempts to reconsider the number of the victims, this is considered a crime.
“At the same time, woman in France have been banned from wearing the burka. Regardless of whether one likes the burka or not, it is as much self- expression as any other form of free speech”.
Sepahpour-Ulrich further expressed regret that in order to demonize Islam, every act committed or presumed to be committed by a national from the Islamic faith is automatically dubbed terrorism “whereas heinous terrorist acts by others is not considered terrorism”.
“For example, when the movie “The Last Temptation of Christ” was shown in Paris in 1988, there were attacks against movie theaters and movie-goers assaulted. The incident was reported as being the work of Christian fundamentalists, not Christian terrorists.
“So framing of the issue is very important and in this instance, the underlying message is to paint Muslims as terrorists,” she said.
JAS/AA


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Charlie Hebdo Hunt: Police Storm Two Hostage Sites


Local Editor

French PoliceFrench police have stormed two hostage sites in Paris and north of the city, with the hostage takers reported dead.

Explosions were heard at a warehouse in Dammartin-en-Goele, where two suspects in the Charlie Hebdo magazine shootings had been holding one hostage.

Explosions and gunfire could also be heard at a supermarket in eastern Paris, at Porte de Vincennes, where several hostages were held.

Reports suggest a gunman there was linked to the Charlie Hebdo suspects.

After the operation started, several hostages could be seen leaving the supermarket.

Police told French media that four hostages in the supermarket had been killed prior to security forces storming the site.

The hostage at the warehouse in Dammartin has been freed, while a police officer at the scene was injured, AFP news agency said.

Twelve people were shot dead and 11 were injured in Wednesday's attack on the office of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine.

The unprecedented attack shocked France and there has been an outpouring of sympathy and solidarity worldwide.

The two suspects of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, had been on the run for two days, before being surrounded at the Dammartin warehouse on Friday.

French police said they came out firing, at which point police stormed the warehouse.
Source: Agencies
09-01-2015 - 19:27 Last updated 09-01-2015 - 19:28



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Is Abbas’ war crimes bid against Israel a big bluff?

GlobaA Great Comment: Seven Remarks on Shalit Deall Research, January 09, 2015
Intense pressure from Israel and the US last week on members of the United Nations Security Council narrowly averted Washington’s embarrassment at being forced to veto a Palestinian resolution to end the occupation.
The Palestinians’ failure to get the necessary votes saved the White House’s blushes but at a cost: the claim that the US can oversee a peace process promising as its outcome a Palestinian state is simply no longer credible.
Looming is the post-peace process era. Its advent appears to have been marked by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ decision in the immediate wake of the Security Council vote to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.
Israel furiously opposes the move, justifiably fearful that its politicians, military commanders and settler-leaders may now be put on trial for war crimes.
But the Palestinian leadership has long been apprehensive about such a move too. Abbas has spent years postponing the decision to sign the Rome Statute, which paves the way to the ICC.
Israeli statements at the weekend implied that Abbas’ reticence signalled a concern that he might expose himself to war crimes charges as well. Israel had “quite a bit of ammunition” against him and his Palestinian Authority, said one official menacingly.
In truth, the Palestinian president has other, more pressing concerns that delayed a decision to move to the legal battlefield of the Hague.
The first is the severe retaliation the Palestinians can now expect from the US and, even more so, from Israel. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu began by halting the transfer of tax revenues Israel collects on the Palestinians’ behalf. Israel is also preparing to lobby the US Congress to enforce legislation that would halt aid to the PA in the event of it launching an ICC action. More punishments are due to be announced.
In selecting the “nuclear option”, as Israeli analysts characterised it, Abbas has also left himself empty-handed in future diplomatic confrontations – and for no obvious immediate gain. War crimes allegations may take years to reach the court and, even then, be stymied by pressures the US will bring to bear in the Hague, just as it currently does in the Security Council.
But most problematic of all, as Abbas knows well, a decision to pursue war crimes trials against Ramallah Traitor ready to make lick the ass of any Israeli PMIsrael threatens the PA’s very existence.
The PA was the offspring of the two-decade-old Oslo accords, which invested it with two temporary functions. It was supposed to maintain stability in the parts of the occupied territories it governed while serving as Israel’s interlocutor for the five years of negotiations that were supposed to lead towards Palestinian statehood.
It has excelled in both roles. Under Abbas, the PA has been doggedly faithful to the idea of the peace process, even as Netanyahu spurned meaningful talks at every turn.
Meanwhile, the PA’s security forces –  – have kept the West Bank remarkably quiet even as Israel expanded and accelerated its settlement programme.
But as Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister, argued on Sunday, the Palestinians’ move to the Hague court is further proof that the Oslo accords have expired.
Without a peace process, or any Israeli commitment to Palestinian statehood, why would the PA continue to cooperate on security matters with Israel, let alone consider such coordination “sacred”, as Abbas termed it last year? If the accords are seen to be dead, the impression can only grow that the PA is nothing more than Israel’s security contractor, assisting in its own people’s oppression.
Until now, that reality had been partially obscured by Abbas’ image as the Palestinian peace-maker. But if the process is indeed over, the contradictions in the PA’s role will be dramatically on show.
ABBAS IS AN AGENT
Abbas is in a bind. If he ends coordination and goes on the offensive, why would Israel allow the PA to continue functioning? But if his security forces continue to collaborate with Israel, how can he retain credibility with his people?
This leaves the Palestinian leader with only two credible strategic options – aside from dissolving the PA himself.
The first is to adopt a sophisticated model of armed resistance, though the PA has specifically rejected this in the past and is poorly equipped for it compared with militant factions like Hamas.
The other is to accept that Palestinian statehood is a lost cause and adopt a new kind of struggle, one for equal civil rights in a single state. But the PA’s rationale and bureaucratic structure preclude that. It is in no position to lead a popular struggle.
That is why Abbas will continue pursuing a Palestinian state through the UN, as he promised again at the weekend, undeterred by the realisation that it is unlikely ever to come to fruition.
The door to the Hague may be open, but Abbas is in no hurry to venture through it.
Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books).  His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.
A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.
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The Attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the “Kosher Grocery Store”: Israel’s Mossad “to the Rescue”?


police-charlie
Global Research, January 09, 2015

According to reports, French police have launched raids “on two separate sieges”  at a kosher grocery in a Jewish neighbourhood in Paris and at Dammartin en Goële, a small town 30 km. northeast of Paris “where the Charlie Hebdo suspects have reportedly been killed” (Daily Telegraph, January 9, 2015).  

Israel to the Rescue of the Kosher Grocery Store in Vincennes

Unconfirmed reports suggest that there were up to 10 hostages inside the kosher grocery.
Hours before the Jewish Sabbath, the street is usually especially crowded with shoppers – French Jews and tourists alike.
The Vincennes region of eastern Paris in which the second, grocery hostage situationis taking place has a large Jewish population. (Daily Telegraph, January 9, 2015)
Because the Jewish community is allegedly threatened, Israel is to come to the rescue of the kosher grocery store. This was confirmed in an official statement by the Israeli government.
In this regard, Prime minister Netanyahu has confirmed the dispatch of  an Israeli Police SWAT team unit which will be working in liaison with its French counterparts.  The Israeli  SWAT unit “specialising in siege situations and rescues is on standby ready to travel to Paris to assist the French authorities resolve the siege of the kosher grocery store.” according to Haaretz (emphasis added).

It should be noted that the entire French police apparatus is mobilized.  What would be the role of the Israeli police forces? Political propaganda? Bear in mind: president Francois Hollande is scheduled to make a major political statement in the wake of the police operation.
Foreknowledge of  the Charlie Hebdo Attack?

The suspects were known to French intelligence.

Media and intelligence sources confirm that “the French authorities had been warned about Said and Cherif Kouachi ahead of this Wednesday’s initial attack on Charlie Hebdo” (Daily Telegraph, January 9, 2015, emphasis added), pointing  to possible foreknowledge of the attacks.

If they had been duly warned, why did they not act to prevent the attack from occurring?

The Role of Mossad

In addition to the Israeli SWAT team, Prime minister Netanyahu “has ordered Mossad to provide French officials for all the assistance they need in tackling the ongoing terror situation in and around Paris” (Daily Telegraph, emphasis added).  What this suggests is that Mossad agents would be operating on French soil in partnership with France’s  Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure formerly known as Le Deuxième Bureau.

According to Israel’s prime minister Netanhayu,  (January 9)
“[the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Paris kosher grocery store] are a microcosm of of a greater battle against jihadists  …
This is a global struggle. Bringing to justice the Paris murderers is just the beginning,…
And all of them seek to destroy our freedoms and to impose on all of us a violent, medieval tyranny. They might have different names, but all of them are driven by the same hatred and blood-thirsty fanaticism.”
They bomb churches in Iraq; they slaughter tourists in Bali; they rocket civilians from Gaza; and strive to build nuclear weapons in Iran…we have to fight these enemies of our common civilization” (quoted in Times of Israel, January 9, 2015)
What the Times of Israel report fails to mention is that Netanyahu has been actively supporting Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Nusrah terrorists out of the occupied Golan heights.  While coming to France’s rescue,  Netanyau does not deny his government’s support of the jihadists in Syria.  The IDF top brass tacitly acknowledged that  “global jihad elements inside Syria” are supported by Israel:
Netanyahu toured the Golan Heights with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz.
At a lookout point overlooking the Syrian border, OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan briefed Netanyahu on the presence of global jihad elements inside Syria, as well as on the work being done to fortify the Israeli-Syrian border fence. (Jerusalem Post, February 19, 2014)
Inline images 1Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Shakes Hand with an Al Qaeda Terrorist. Is the wounded terrorist an Israeli intelligence asset?
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon next to a wounded mercenary, Israeli military field hospital at the occupied Golan Heights’ border with Syria, 18 February 2014″ (ibid, emphasis added)
Ironically, the State of Israel is collaborating with the French authorities in the Charlie Hebdo counterterrorism operation,  while also supporting the two main terrorist entities in Syria: the Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Nusrah.

While there is no evidence of  Mossad presence prior to the Charlie Hebdo attacks, it should be noted that France and Israel have  a longstanding bilateral relationship in military and intelligence affairs. The fact that the Israeli government announced its intention to dispatch Mossad officials to Paris might suggest that Israeli intelligence officials were in Paris at an earlier date, prior to the January 9 official announcement by PM Netanyahu.

State Sponsorship of Terrorism

Amply documented, the French Republic under the helm of president Francois Hollande is supporting as well as funding Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists in the Middle East and North Africa in liaison with the US, NATO and Israel:
France, as part of a NATO-led coalition, has been arming, funding, aiding, and otherwise perpetuating Al Qaeda terrorists for years, beginning, on record in Libya with the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and continuing until today with NATO’s arming, harboring, and backing of Al Qaeda terrorists including the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) within and along Syria’s borders.
With the recent attack in Paris likely the work of the very terrorists France has been arming and backing across North Africa and the Middle East, the French government itself stands responsible, guilty of the continued material support of a terrorist organization that has now killed French citizens, including two police officers, not only on French soil, but within the French capital itself. (Tony Cartalucci, Global Research, January 8, 2015)
“The forbidden truth” which the French public should address is that Western governments including France, NATO and Israel –while waging a self-proclaimed “Global War on Terrorism”– routinely provide covert support to the same terrorist entities which are the object of their “humanitarian wars’ and “counter-terrorism operations”.  

While the French media in chorus point to “Freedom of Expression” in journalism, not a single french media has had the courage of pointing to the issue of State sponsorship of terrorism.  


Charlie Hebdo Timeline

by the Daily Telegraph Online

January 9, 2015
We are posting below the timeline of the Daily Telegraph pertaining to the Attack on Charlie Hebdo as well as the police operation which was launched in the wake of the attack on Wednesday January 7. The timeline is in reverse chronological order. 
(Copyright Daily Telegraph, 2015). 

We have highlighted a number of paragraphs which shed reveal the nature of this operation.  

Latest, January 9, 2015 (Paris time) 

17.18 Paris: TFI is reporting that some people stayed safe during the grocery siege by hiding in the cold store. The gunman didn’t know they were there, because they kept silent, according to the report.

17.13 Francois Hollande to address the nation after two sieges end.

17.12 Paris: Four people critically wounded after grocery siege.

17.05 Paris: Reports now saying that there were up to 10 hostages inside the kosher grocery. Earlier reports had said six.
Four of the hostages have been killed, police state.

17.03 Dammartin: Harriet Alexander reports:

QuoteTwo RAID police have been injured in the conclusion of the Dammartin siege – one critically, the other shot in the leg. 

The CIGN are still inside the print works, checking for booby traps and explosives.

17.02 Paris: A security officer directs released hostages:

Michel Euler/AP

16.55 Paris: French police announce four hostages killed in kosher grocery siege.

16.51 Paris: The one unaccounted suspect is the girlfriend of the grocery gunman, Hayat
 Boumeddiene. The gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, is thought to have been killed when police raided the store.

The explosion at the Paris kosher grocery

16.43 Dammartin: The two Charlie Hebdo massacre suspects apparently came out shooting before being killed by security forces.

16.40 It is not clear why there was a delay of between 10 and 20 minutes between the two raids. The grocery gunman had reportedly demanded that the Dammartin gunmen be freed.

Members of the French police special forces evacuate the hostages after launching the assault (THOMAS SAMSON/AFP)

16.36 Paris: French security source says the Paris supermarket hostage-taker has been “neutralised”.

16.35 Paris: Henry Samuel reports:

16.29 Paris: Amedy Coulibaly, the suspect who is thought to have shot dead a policewoman yesterday and took up to six people hostage at a kosher grocery this afternoon in east Paris has reportedly also been killed.

French police at the kosher grocery

16.28 Paris: Patrick Sawer reports from the scene:

QuoteAt around 5.10pm at least three loud explosions were heard from the Hypercacher supermarket, followed by what sounded like bursts of rapid gunfire. 
Police were reported to have stormed the building, at Porte de Vincennes. The climax to the siege came around 10 to 15 minutes after similar scenes at the siege outside Paris, where the two Charlie Hebdo gunmen had taken hostages. 

There had earlier been reports of two people killed inside the supermarket, with surviving hostages ringing relatives to say they feared they would be killed next. 
At 5.23 what sounded like another gunshot was heard as the operation to bring the Vincennes siege to an end continued. 

At around 5.25 at least two ambulances were seen pulling up to the supermarket, apparently to retrieve any casualties resulting from the siege and it’s violent climax. 

An assault group attack the CTD printing building in Dammartin

16.26 Dammartin: So the reports coming through in French media is that the hostage taken by the Charlie Hebdo gunmen in Dammartin and several hostages at the kosher grocery in eastern Paris have been freed.

16.24 Dammartin: Charlie Hebdo hostage freed in Dammartin - Kouachi brothers both killed, AFP reports.

16.22 Paris: Several hostages apparently freed at the kosher grocery.

16.18 Dammartin: The Charlie Hebdo suspects have been killed, AFP reports.

16.18 Paris: People are running away from the kosher grocery.


16.15 Paris: The Telegraph’s Robert tait reports from Jerusalem:

QuoteAn Israeli SWAT team unit specialising in siege situations and rescues is on standby ready to travel to Paris to assist the French authorities resolve the siege of the kosher grocery store, Haaretz website has reported. 

16.13 Paris: Six explosions at the Paris siege.

16.12 Paris: Four loud explosions heard at the kosher grocery, in Paris.

16.09 Dammartin: Video of the French security services breaking the siege at Dammartin:

16.06 Reports that police had been preparing the assault for around an hour before shooting began. Security forces also apparently put surveillance equipment through the roof of the building.

16.04 Martin Evans near Dammartin:

QuoteLoud explosions echoing around the countryside North East of Paris
16.02 Two more explosions have been heard in the last few minutes, after a period of silence.

Local residents tried to come out of their homes to see what was happening but were angrily ordered back into their homes by police, reports Harriet Alexander from Dammartin.

16.01 There had been a major build up of forces including commandos at the siege in the moments before the apparent attack.

15.57 A burst of gunfire lasting 10 seconds, followed by four or five explosions and then by puffs of smoke, at the Dammartin seige situation


15.55 We are getting reports of heavy gunfire and explosions in Dammartin-en-Goele, where the seige involving Said and Cheif Kouachi and one hostage has been ongoing for most of today.

15.53 Prince Harry has visited the French embassy here in London to express his condolences for the victims of the Paris attacks, tweets Clarence House:

15.44 Vincennes gunman suspect Amedy Coulibaly reportedly met Nicolas Sarkozy in 2009, writes Bruno Waterfield:

 Twitter has unearthed an unlikely encounter between Nicolas Sarkozy, the then French President and Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman suspected of killing a police woman and of taking five hostages at a kosher grocery in eastern Paris today. 
The meeting took place in 2009 in the Élysée Palace when Mr Sarkozy met nine young French men who got just jobs in a local factory. They were all from Grigny, a tough Parisian suburb torn by riots 10 years ago. 

“Sarkozy is not truly popular with the youth in the estates. But that is nothing personal. In fact it is the case for most politicians,” said Coulibaly. “The encounter really impressed me. Whether I like him or not, he is the president after all.” 

15.30 The Vincennes gunman has threatened to kill his hostages if police at the other seige in Dammartin attempt to storm the building where Said and Cheif Kouachi are holding their hostage.
A woman in the Vincennes grocery seige has managed to call her daughter:

Police mobilise for hostage situation at Port de Vincennes (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

15.27 More reports from various sources that the French authorities had been warned about Said and Cherif Kouachi ahead of this Wednesday’s initial attack on Charlie Hebdo, including a specific tip-off from the Algerian intelligence services: [G.R this report points to possible foreknowledge of the attacks]

15.23 Harriet Alexander is in Dammartin-en-Goele, where the seige involving Said and Cheif Kouachi and one hostage has been ongoing for six hours.

 around 300m from the factory where Said and Cherif Kouachi are holed up, I spoke to Miloud Belall, who lives a stone’s throw from the site. 
Mr Belall, a plumber, arrived home from his night shift at 10am and met the gendarmes. 

“They asked me to leave – there was no negotiation, it was: ‘You will leave now,’” he said. 
“But they did a thorough search of my house for journalists, because I have an excellent view across to the factory.”

He knows the site of the print works well, and said it was a modern, family-owned factory with lots of large machinery. It has mirrorised windows in the office section – meaning that the terrorists can see those that survey them, but not vice versa. 

“I reckon it’ll be over soon,” said Mr Belall, hopefully. “I guess we’ll hear some explosions and then that’ll be it.”

15.21 French president Francois Hollande is holding a crisis meeting with French prefects at the Interior Ministry in Paris with Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve


(REVELLI-BEAUMONT/SIPA/REX)


15.19 Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has spoken out against the Charlie Hebdo attack:

QuoteI think it is a challenge to all of us to maintain the values on which we have lived over the years, which we have developed out of years of censorship and oppression and religious violence, and to say that the way we live, with the confidence that enables us to satirise, to mock, is a good and important value in our society. 

It doesn’t mean that we will always agree with the satirising, but we have to be confident that our values are good values in this. 

They enable oppression and cruelty to be challenged, whether it is coming from the Church or anywhere else and we must not be afraid. 
This is a moment for courage.

15.16 The police have just lifted the roadblock on the road that runs through the forest where the Kouachi brothers were thought to have been hiding out overnight and then hijacked a car.

15.09 Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has ordered Mossad to provide French officials for all the assistance they need in tackling the ongoing terror situation in and around Paris:

 [There is no evidence that Mossad was present in France prior to the attacks. But this statement by Israel's PM should be carefully analysed]

14.59 Paris police fear more attacks on Jewish neighourhoods and have ordered shop closures, according to AP

The mayor’s office in Paris announced the closures Friday of shops along the Rosiers street in Paris’ Marais neighborhood, in the heart of the tourist district and about a kilometer away from the offices of newspaper Charlie Hebdo where 12 people were killed on Wednesday.
Hours before the Jewish Sabbath, the street is usually especially crowded with shoppers – French Jews and tourists alike.

The Vincennes region of eastern Paris in which the second, grocery hostage situation is taking place has a large Jewish population.

There has also been speculation that the attack in which a policewoman was killed yesterday in Montrouge was an aborted attempt to attack a Jewish school there.

 [ the underlying assumption of this report is that the Jewish community in Paris is threatened, justifying the decision by the state of Israel to send in Mossad officials]


People are led away from the scene as Police mobilize with reports of a hostage situation at Port de Vincennes (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)


14.50 French police have released mugshots of Amedy Coulibaly and Hayat Boumeddiene, in connection with yesterday morning’s murder of a policewoman in southwestern Paris. Coulibaly is now believed to be the gunman at the grocery in eastern Paris’s Port de Vincennes

The Telegraph’s Henry Samuel explains the suspects’ backgrounds:

 Coulbaly, a Frenchman of Senegalese descent from Juvisy in the Essonne area outside Paris, was part of the now notorious Buttes-Chaumont network that sought to recruit and sent radicalised French youths to Iraq in the early 2000s. 
The Koachi brothers were also part of the network, based in Paris’ 19th arrondissement. 
One of 10 children and the only boy, Coulibaly became a delinquent at 17, and a repeat offender for petty thefts and drugs crimes, moving onto an armed bank robbery in September 2002 in Orleans, in the Loiret, before radicalising. 

In 2013, he was convicted to five years in prison for his involvement in a botched prison break-out of Smain Ali Belkacem, a former member of the Algerian Islamist group GIA and the author of a 1995 attack on the Paris transport system that killed eight people and wounded 117. 

The Koachi brothers were arrested and detained for involvement in the Belkacem breakout, but later released due to lack of evidence. 

According to Le Monde, the Coulbaly and Boumeddiene were already in a relationship in 2010, when he was arrested over the jailbreak attempt. She reportedly waited for her boyfriend to be released from prison this Spring after four years in detention, and he lived with her after that in a Paris suburb. 

The pair reportedly visited Beghal in 2010 in Cantal, southern France, where he was under house arrest. That year, French surveillance officers photographed Beghal playing football with Cherif Kouachi and two other convicted terrorists, Ahmed Laidouni, a jihadi recruiter, and Farid Melouk, an Algerian member of the GIA terror group. 

Quizzed by French intelligence agents at the time, Boumeddiene told them that she and Coulbaly had gone there to practice “crossbow shooting”


 
Amedy Coulibaly and Hayat Boumeddiene


14.37 Researcher Myriam Benraad at the Paris Science Po university, who has studied terror cells in Paris, is warning a renowned terror cell in the city has reawoken and to expect more attacks. Nicola Harley reports:

QuoteMs Benraad researched Paris’ Buttes-Charmont terror cell, named after the park where they trained, which was created by Farid Benyettou who befriended and recruited the Kouachi brothers and others at the city’s Addawa mosque. 

The latest wanted suspect Amedy Coulibaly, who is allegedly involved in a shooting at a grocers in Paris’ Port de Vincennes where two people have died and behind yesterday’s killing of a policewoman, was part of the same terror cell. 

She said: “Coulibaly is part of the same group as the Kouachi brothers. They were part of the same neighbourhood. 

“This would confirm this has not been a lone wolf attack. It is the awakening of the terror cell of an old network to jihadi calls to wage war against France. I believe it is in response to calls by Isil for French extremists to carry out attacks on their home soil. 
“I think this is just the start. 

“I studied Farid Benyettou’s cell in 2005 when Cherif Kouachi failed to get to Syria. 
“This cell consisted of no more than 20 people, three others have been imprisoned, not included these three men. 

“The leader of the mosque would have guided them initially before they came under Benyettou’s charismatic spell. He was the first major influence for Cherif and the second was meeting terrorist Djamel Beglal while in prison. 

“He really radicalised him and he then influenced his brother and others. 

“The Buttes-Charmont network shows a profile of similar radicalised young men. The members mainly from the neighbourhood and the local mosque. 

“These attacks mean they had a plan for waging attacks in the country. 

This network sent men to Syria and Iraq in 2005 and has remained dormant until now and reawoken. It never disappeared. These are boys from the ghetto who have been ostracised from society and felt deprived and unwanted and have been vulnerable to being radicalised and being promised a better life. Like the Kouachi brothers they were abandoned by their parents or neglected and did feel integrated into society and have felt stigmatised as Muslims in France. 

“Cherif was obsessed with jihad and kept that obsession for 10 years before this week.”


Police arrive with guns at Port de Vincennes (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)


14.31 Rory Mulholland is at Dammartin-en-Goele, where the seige involving Said and Cheif Kouachi and one hostage has been ongoing for six hours.

QuoteThe only people in the streets of Dammartin are heavily armed police officers and journalists and photographers trying to get a closer view of the building where the Charlie Hebdo massacre suspects are holed up. 
The stand-off has been going on for six hours now and there is no sign of any development in the crisis that has left this normally sleepy town looking like a war zone. 
The accused brothers have reportedly said they want to die martyrs and will not surrender, so it may now be just a question of how long the police will wait before storming the family print company where they are said to be holding a hostage. 
In the meantime Dammartin has battened down the hatches and most people are staying safely indoors until it is all over. 

Those with children in local schools have been told that their kids will be taken by bus to the town of Mitry, where they should come this afternoon to pick them up. 

Andriamanga Raveloharijaona, a pensioner whose house lies just 300 yards from where the siege is taking place, said he was terrified this morning when he suddenly hear three helicopters roaring in the sky above his home. 

“It was just after my daughter brought the kids to school. I’m worried about them,” he said. 

Snipers stand on the top of a building close to the CTD printing building (YOAN VALAT/EPA)


14.25 Amedy Coulibaly in the kosher grocery siege in eastern Paris is reportedly demanding through hostage negotiators that the Kouachi brothers – currently part of a siege in Dammartin-en-Goele – be “freed”.

14.23 Reports of a third incident at Trocadero near to the Eiffel Tower are a false alarm, the interior ministry says.

A policeman was photographed drawing his gun at the scene, but officials say activity at the site is normal.

A police officer with his weapon drawn at the entrance to the Trocadero Metro station in Paris (Julian Escro)


14.08 Florian Martin, a journalist, lives nearby. He told RTL radio:

QuoteI walked in front of that grocery 10 minutes before the shooting. It’s not far from the synagogue. I then heard the shooting, which carried on for 20-30 seconds.
14.04 One person has been seriously wounded in the hostage-taking incident at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris on Friday, a police union source said.

The interior ministry denied press reports that two people had been killed.

13.55 Tensions are high in Vincennes – French police stop young people on a scooter as they ride near the scene at the kosher grocery:
Youssef Boudlal/Reuters

Emergency services workers arrive at a hostage-taking situation at a kosher grocery in Paris

13.43 Patrick Sawer reports from the scene of the Paris siege:

QuoteDozens of police vans and cars have formed a barricade to block access or escape. 
Authorities are preparing their next step, knowing that a false move could lead to more innocent casualties.
MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images

13.36 Boumeddiene is apparently the girlfriend of Coulibaly.

13.32 The French police press release also details a woman called Hayat Boumeddiene. They describe both as armed and dangerous and have asked for anyone who recognises them to come forward:



13.28 French media have published a picture of what they are saying is the suspect, Amedy Coulibaly in the kosher grocery siege, who is thouhgt to have been the gunman who shot dead a policewoman yesterday morning:

Police create a road block close to the kosher grocery in Paris

13.24 Patrick Sawer reports from the scene:

QuoteArmed police threw a cordon across Cours de Vincennes at the junction with Avenue du Doctoeur Arnold Netter as high pitched sirens once again echoed across the city. 

As a gunman apparently takes hostages at a Jewish grocery store in the area, a helicopter flew over a four block section of the district. 

Police reinforcements in bullet-proof clothing and protective equipment arrived at around 2pm local time, with at least two ambulances seen shuttling to and from the scene of the latest drama. 

One fire engine was also seen heading towards the hostage scene, lights flashing. 
A heavily armed detachment of officers marched through the cordon before regrouping to await their orders. 

Perplexed Parisians stood huddled in groups near the police cordon, trying to come to terms with the latest twist in their city’s agony, while others tried simply to get on with their daily lives.

13.22 RTL saying that two people have died during the hostage-taking at the kosher grocery in eastern Paris.

13.20 Here is an updated Telegraph graphic detailing the two attacks and two sieges:



13.15 An aerial photo of the scene of the kosher grocery siege:

Guillaume Lo Re/Rex

13.14 This is where the siege is taking place in eastern paris:



Police units moving towards to the scene of the Jewish shop shooting in Paris (PHOTO: France 2)

13.05 Schools near the kosher grocery are in lockdown.

13.04 Police near the Jewish grocery in Porte de Vincennes:

Euronews
13.00 Latest Telegraph video from the Dammartin siege:

12.57 Picture from the scene of the kosher grocery siege:

Guillaume Lo Re/Rex

12.56 Harriet Alexander reports:

QuotePolice are saying there are five hostages being held in Vincennes. 
“I can see the police in front of the grocery,” said a neighbour, speaking to RTL. 
“One of them has a megaphone and is ordering people away from the scene. There are no cars on the roads – they have all been stopped.”
The grocery is reportedly on the ground floor of the building, making the situation somewhat easier – although there are flats above.

12.55 Unconfirmed pictures on Twitter from david_dlr apparently taken at the scene of the kosher grocery siege:

@daviddlr

@daviddlr

12.53 Vincennes is noted for its large Jewish community, and the number of Kosher shops in the district.

12.52 The Telegraph’s Henry Samuel tweets:

12.48 Harriet Alexander says:

QuoteRTL are reporting that a woman and a child may have been taken hostage in a Jewish grocery in the Porte de Vincennes area of Paris. 
The hostage taker was carrying a Kalashnikov. 
RTL repeat their initial assertion – that it is thought this is the same man who killed a policewoman yesterday – and who is an associate of the Kouachi brothers, from the same 19th arrondissement jihadi group. 
“All the area has been shut off,” said their reporter. “Five or six fire engines have arrived. Two helicopters are overhead. There is an impressive number of police.”

12.42 Police are apparently evacuating the area around the Kosher grocery:

12.28 An armed man has apparently taken a hostage in a kosher grocery in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris. Reports that one person wounded in a shootout at the shop.
It is thought that it is the gunman who shot dead a policewoman, Clarissa Jean-Philippe, yesterday morning.

12.27 New shooting breaks out in eastern Paris, reports say.

12.25 Harriet Alexander reports:

QuoteA convoy of perhaps half a dozen empty buses has just been driven up the road towards Dammartin. It’s thought that police are increasingly concerned for the safety of the residents, and so perhaps the buses will be used to evacuate the village.
12.20 Rory Mulholland with more from the scene:

QuoteOne of the children evacuated from the Lycee Dammartin said that many of the children were scared. “Yes it’s very scary, it’s happening just down the road,” he said.

11.57 The surviving staff of Charlie Hebdo have arrived at the offices of the French newspaper, Liberation, at rue Beranger in Paris, writes Holly Watt: 

QuoteThey are putting together the next publication, which will come out next Wednesday. In defiance of the attack, they plan to print a million copies. Wednesday’s edition will be only eight pages long – and is being put together with the help of many French media outlets. Le Monde is lending the staff computers, for example. The Charlie Hebdo arrived by foot, with a police escort. 


Workers install a poster reading ‘Je suis Charlie’ on the Palais des Festivals facade in Cannes (SEBASTIEN NOGIER/EPA)


11.45 Rory Mulholland reports from the scene:

QuoteWe have been allowed much closer to where the siege is underway. 
Around 1,000 children have been evacuated from the nearby two primary and two secondary schools and taken to a nearby town. Some were heard shouting: “Charlie! Charlie!”

Locals say the building where the siege is taking place is a small family printing firm and there were around five people working there, although it is unclear how many were in the building at the time the attackers arrived around 9am. 

It remains unclear how many if any hostages are in the building.

11.38 Phone contact has made with terror suspects holding hostage northeast of Paris, a police official has told AP.

Meanwhile, a man claiming to have been inside the printing company building when the suspects entered has given his account of how he inadvertantly “shook hands” with one of the magazine massacre suspects:

QuoteDidier, a salesman, told France Inter radio how he came face-to-face with one of the suspects holed up in the small CTD office in Dammartin-en-Goele, about half-an-hour north of the capital. 

“When I arrived my client came out with an armed man who said he was from the police. My client told me to leave so I left,” Didier said, identifying the man he was to meet with as Michel. 
“I was in front of the door. I shook Michel’s hand and I shook the hand of one of the terrorists.”

He said the black-clad man who was wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying what looked like a Kalashnikov rifle told him: “‘Leave, we don’t kill civilians anyhow’. That really struck me, so I decided to call the police. I guess it was one of the terrorists.”
Didier said Michel had closed the door behind him. 

The salesman told the radio station he had not recognised the man. 
“It could have been a policeman if he hadn’t told me ‘we don’t kill civilians’. They were heavily armed like elite police.”


@olivierperou


11.24 Sky are reporting shouting from the industrial complex.

11.20 Police are now officially linking the Charlie Nebdo shooting to the attack in which a policewoman was killed in southwestern Paris yesterday morning.

11.04 Police are now taking press away from the industrial complex, into the siege village of Dammartin-en-Goële in car convoys, ahead of an expected statement.

10.59 Michel Dutruge, the mayor of Dammartin-en-Goële, said all schools in the area were being guarded and the children kept inside, although arrangements were being made to allow them to leave soon.
He said his daughter was at her office opposite the company where one hostage is being held. All staff of companies in the area have been told to stay indoors for the time being.

10.44 There are unconfirmed reports that the hostage taken is a woman, and that the suspects pretended to be policemen when they entered the industrial building.

10.35 Said and Cherif Kouachi are believed to be holed up in this building, on an industrial complex near Dammartin-en-Goele with one hostage:



10.34 Extra resources including special forces as well as gendarmarie – and a tank – are still arriving at the hostage scene, around 40 miles northeast of Paris


10.28 At least one police sniper is in position on a roof opposite the printing works in which the hostage situation is taking place.

10.27 Hollande has called for an international response to the ongoing terror situation:
QuoteWe must react on a European Union level. We have been in touch with Interior Ministers across the Union. 
Our capacity is great, to come together, to live in security and to have confidence in our safety.

10.25 This map shows where the hostage situation is taking place, and where Said and Cherif Kouachi are believed to have stolen a car earlier this morning:

“All residents are requested to remain at home. Children are to be kept safe in school,” the local municipal website said.

10.21 A former tactical and firearms officer explains the tactics police will use to end the hostage situation in the small town of Dammartin-en-Goele:

10.17 Francois Hollande is giving a live statement from Paris while the hostage situation is still ongoing:

QuoteIt is a test when a magazine is attacked because it is a symbol of freedom 
We decided to enter into a coalition in Iraq to fight against terrorism 
Everything is being done for our fellow citizen [the hostage] 

10.13 President Francois Hollande has headed to the Place Beauvau crisis centre to oversee the ongoing operation, accompanied by the Prime Minister and other senior officials
10.11 Contact has been made with the gunmen brothers, who say they want to “die as martyrs”, says Yves Albarello, MP of Seine-et-Marne.

Nicolas Naudin, head of a company on the estate north-east of Paris, said he had seen policemen descending from helicopters on ropes.


10.08 Eyewitnesses and a local MP have given their account of what has happened so far this morning. The Telegraph’s David Chazan, in nearby Charleville-Mezieres, writes:

QuoteA woman barricaded inside her workplace within sight of the CTD printing company where the two suspected Charlie Hebdo gunmen are believed to be holding a hostage described the scene by telephone. 

Christelle Alleaume told the i-Tele TV channel that she could see about 15 policemen in front of CTD’s premises on an industrial estate in Dammartin-en-Goële. “They’re heavily armed and wearing helmets,” she said. “I can see four helicopters overhead. The police have cordoned off the whole area. They came and told us to stay inside as we’re right in the middle of it and there’s a hostage situation. We heard three or four shots fired.”
A local MP, Yves Albarello, said one hostage was being held. He said the gunmen had indicated to negotiators that they wanted to “die as martyrs”. 
The public prosecutor’s office denied a report that two people had been killed in an exchange of fire between the gunmen and police earlier this morning.

10.05 Meaux hospital has sent a medical team to the reported hostage scene in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, the hospital spokesman told CNN on Friday. He said there were no wounded at the hospital yet, but that might change.


Police officers gather in Dammartin-en-Goele (ETIENNE LAURENT/EPA)


10.03 French prime minister Manuel Valls has just spoken, as police corner two suspected Islamist gunmen near Paris.

QuoteWe are in a war against terrorism. We are not in a war against religion, against a civilisation”

09.58 While police negotiate with the terrorists, a journalist who was in the Charlie Hebdo editorial meeting has described the moment when the suspects opened fire two days ago.
Laurent Leger, 48, an investigations correspondent at the satirical weekly, told Le Parisien – where he previously worked – about Wednesday’s meeting:

QuoteThe conference was about to break up when they heard what they thought were firecrackers in the street below. 
“We didn’t pay any more attention than that,” he said. “We were just happy to see each other again.”

It was at that point that the door to the meeting room was thrown open. 
“A man dressed in black with a uniform like that worn by police or gendarmes appeared just behind me,” said Mr Leger, who was seated with his back to the door. 
“I turned around. He was big, hefty, and had an assault weapon in his hands. 
“We still thought it was a joke. The atmosphere was still joyous. But then we smelt the strong odour of gunpowder in the corridor, and we all realised that this wasn’t a joke at all.”

Mr Leger said the gunman opened fire immediately. 
The journalist threw himself into the air, he said, and then crouched on the floor by a small table. He said he survived because the killer didn’t notice him. 


09.52 Latest from the Telegraph’s Rory Mulholland, speaking over the phone from the police barrier around the hostage site:

QuotePress have been moved far away from the scene, to a hill on a roundabout a few kilometres away from the complex. We can’t see anything due to the fog, which means visibility is about 300m. There are about 100 journalists standing here. 
There’s a frenzy of police activity, with dozens of vans arriving, sirens blazing, weaving among traffic on the busy N2 dual carriageway. 

It’s a very wet, rainy, windy day.

People inside the other buildings in the industrial complex have been told to stay inside, pull down shutters and stay away from windows.

09.50 We are now hearing the runways at Charles de Gaulle airport are all open, but that flight patterns have been adapted due to the hostage incident involving helicopters close by:

09.39 We’ve just received this close-up image of a gendarmarie helicopter over the hostage site.

You can view the all the latest images from the scene here: Gunmen take hostage as police close in, in pictures

09.36 A helicopter air ambulance has been stationed near to the scene of the siege amid fears of further serious injuries, say reports.

09.34 The latest reports suggest the suspects have one hostage inside a building – thought to be a printing business called CTD [Création Tendance Découverte] - in the industrial complex:

09.31 The exit to the industrial complex off the N2 has been closed by gendarmarie as police rush to the scene where the Charlie Hebdo attack suspects are believed to have taken at least one hostage:

09.29 Charles de Gaulle airport, around 5 miles from the hostage scene, is at least partially closed:
FlightRadar
09.28 Members of the French gendarmerie intervention forces have arrived at the scene of the hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele:


Christian Martmann/Reuters


09.22 The Paris prosecutor has denied reports that at least one person had been killed in a shootout preceding the hostage-taking.

Earlier, RTL radio said at least one person had died and several were injured in a shoot-out. Other reports stated two were dead and 20 injured.

The Interior Ministry could not immediately confirm whether there were victims.


A Eurocopter EC 145 helicopter of the French gendarmerie flies over Dammartin-en-Goele where shots were fired (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

09.18 The Telegraph’s Rory Mulholland is at the police barrier surrounding the scene:
QuoteThere is a huge massive police presence. Dozens of vehicles are arriving. We’re at an industrial zone just off the N2 motorway 40km NE of paris just after Charles de Gaulle airport. There’s a helicopter hovering over the scene. Police are blocking all routes. It’s pouring with rain and thick clouds are limiting visibility. 

Reports suggests the business at which the gunmen have taken a hostage has between four and 10 employees.


09.15 Europe 1 reports a very violent exchange of fire between the suspects and Gendarmes with their vehicles hit. But despite ricochets, no genermarmes have been reported killed or wounded

09.10 ’Christine’, a witness in Dammartin-en-Goële, told Europe 1

QuoteI saw the GIGN [counter-terror special forces] and the Gendarmerie getting in position. I had the impression that they [suspects] were there. They arrived at 9am and it was very stressful.

09.06 Negotiations with the suspects are now underway, according to Le Figaro.

09.05 Two people are reportedly dead and 20 injured in an initial Kalachnikov gunfight, RTL is claiming in unconfirmed reports. Henry Samuel writes:

QuoteBefore the hostage taking, the brothers stole a Peugeot 206 at Montagny-Sainte-Félicité (Oise)from a woman who formally identified them to police. 
The hostage taking is thought to be taking place a printing business called CTD [Création Tendance Découverte]. 
“There is no certitude about the number of people inside,” a police source told AFP.

09.04 The firm where a hostage has reportedly been taken is a small public works company with five employees

09.03 This is reportedly the industrial complex in which the suspects took their hostage:
08.58 Police are establishing a ring of steel around Dammartin-en-Goele with armed officers forcing the public and journalists away from the area


08.57 “The two individuals have been localised. We are moving towards a denouement,” Paris’s public prosecutor has said.

08.56 RTL is reporting that at least two people were seriously injured in a shooting incident prior to the hostage taking.


Police sending journalists away (SKY NEWS)

08.55 To recap, the two suspects this morning appear to have stolen a car in Montagny Sainte Felicite, 30 miles northeast of Paris, before proceeding to a location close to Dammartin-en-Goële where they have taken one or more hostages.

It is not clear whether they are on the move with these hostages or have remained in a static stand-off, but a heavy police presence is moving up the N2 toward the situation.


Police helicopter flying over the area

08.54 Henry Samuel reports from Paris:

QuoteBrothers believed to have stolen car overnight four kilometres from current zone where they are holed up. Helicopters stationary overhead.

08.53 A witness in Dammartin-en-Goele says the area is “like a war zone”

08.52 Hostages are believed to have been taken in a public works company in the Près-Boucher industrial zone off the N2 road some 30 minutes from Dammartin-en-Goële, says iTele.

08.51 We are now receiving reports that the hostage situation could now be a static situation in an industrial complex near to Charles de Gaulle airport.

08.50 Five helicopters are now in the air above Dammartin-en-Goele, assisting with the search.

08.48 Picardy region has followed Ile-de-France and declared an ‘attack alert’, according to Europe 1 radio

08.45 France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has just said:
“We have indications that the terrorists are within our perimeter.
“The national police and the gendarmerie are working to locate them.
“The GIGN is is place and the operation is being conducted minute by minute, led by the director general of the gendarmerie and the national police, the counter terror authorities and the Interior Ministry.
“An operation is underway.”

08.44 Three helicopters have been mobilised.

08.39 The suspects reportedly stole a Peugeout in Montagny Sainte Felicite, 30 miles northeast of Paris.


08.35 More on the hostage rumours – Europe 1 radio reports that a hostage has been taken inside a business in Dammartin-en-Goële, and could be in the car with the gunmen.

08.33 The car chase is reportedly taking place on the N2 road, which leads from the region in which the manhunt was taking place toward Paris.

Reports suggest the chase is going on in the direction of Paris, close to the Charles de Gaulle airport.

08.31 The suspects appear to have seized another car.

The area the gunfight has been reported is 20mins from the forest where police were searching for the Kouachis last night.

Residents of Dammartin-en-Goële have been told to stay indoors.

08.28 Hostage-taking under way, according to RTL at place where gunfire heard. This has not been confirmed.

08.27 A car chase is believed to be under way.

08.24 Breaking : Gunfight reportedly underway with individuals in Seine-et-Marne near Dammartin-en-Goële, where French police had been searching for the Kouachi brothers


08.19 European Union’s next scheduled summit on February 12 will focus on how to boost anti-terror efforts in the wake of the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo, the bloc’s leader Donald Tusk says.

“I intend to use the meeting… on 12 February to discuss more broadly the response the EU can bring to these challenges,” following the “barbaric attacks in Paris,” Tusk said in Riga.

07.55 As day breaks in Longpont, French police have resumed their hunt in the picturesque village and the vast tracts of nearby woods for the two Parisian brothers suspected of the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine, writes Rory Mulholland.

QuoteHelicopters and hundreds of police – including black-uniformed officers from the elite counter-terrorist unit RAID – had scoured nearby woods and gone house to house in the village until late on Thursday. 

They appeared to have halted their search overnight. A convoy of dozens of polie vehicles was seen leaving the area and heading in the direction of Paris, presumably to return to barracks for the evening before a fresh deployment on Friday. 

Roads to the village and into the huge forest of Retz remained closed by police checkpoints, and police vehicles were again seen congregating on the area about 60 miles northeast of Paris.

07.49 A sister of the Kouachi brothers is currently being questioned by police along with their two wives, says France Info.

07.42 French author Michel Houllebecq has postponed the promotional tour of his new book, Submission, and is currently “in a secret location”, according to France Info. Houellebecq was on the front cover of this week’s Charlie Hebdo. His book, out on Wednesday, the day of the attack, is a political fiction in which a conservative Muslim becomes French president in 2022, beating far-Right leader Marine Le Pen.

07.25 Harriet Alexander in Paris rounds up how the French newspapers are covering yesterday’s events this morning:

 Liberation has a two-word headline: “The Hunt.” It recounts in detail the search for the Kouachi brothers, as told in this morning’s Telegraph. 

But it also has an interesting article on how France has 152 Islamist terrorists in its prisons, and how the authorities are trying to prevent radicalisation behind bars. A pilot programme in Fresnes prison saw known jihadists separated from other prisoners, to prevent contagion. 

Le Figaro has the headline: “France overwhelmed with emotion”, and features images of a crowd holding up “Je suis Charlie” signs. 

And amid coverage of Thursday’s minute’s silence and the continuing hunt for the attackers, the paper says that today Imams have vowed to preach against violence and terrorism, at Friday prayers. 

At the 2,400 Muslim places of worship across France, they will “condemn in the strongest possible terms violence and terrorism, wherever it originates, during the prayer meeting,” said Dalil Boubakeur, rector of Paris’s Grand Mosque. 

Le Parisien features an array of survivors stories – from the comedian who should have been in the Charlie Hebdo meeting but realised he had arranged for someone to come to fix his television at home, to the writer who hid in a corner and escaped unharmed. 

They also spoke to Patrick Pelloux, a surgeon who writes for the paper, who was one of the first on the scene and telephoned his friend Francois Hollande to alert him. 

“I couldn’t save them,” he told the paper.

The partners of two of the cartoonists – Charb and Wolinski – have also given interviews.
“I was frightened for his safety,” said Maryse Wolinski. “He wasn’t.”

07.00 The Telegraph’s Rory Mulholland and Heathcliff O’Malley are at the Forest of Retz this morning.

The heavy police presence sped off back to Paris late last night, and we are awaiting confirmation as to whether they will return to the area this morning, or shift their focus elsewhere, with still no confirmed sightings of the suspects since they held up a petrol station in Villers-Cotterets yesterday morning.

06.30 Terror suspect brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi have yet to be caught, and are still believed to be in a forest the size of Paris around 50 miles northeast of the capital.


A huge armed police presence descended on the villages of Longpont and Crepy-en-Valois, and the town of Viller-Cotterets, after the suspects were first spotted holding up a petrol station in the area, before abandoning their hijacked car and fleeing on foot.


06.00 Good morning and welcome back to our live coverage of the hunt for the Charlie Hebdo terrorists.

According to French broadcaster, TF1, police have suspended the manhunt for the night at around 1.30am GMT last night.

Overnight, details have emerged of the two killers had reportedly spared the lives of two women during the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Sigolene Vinson told Radio France International how one of the killers pointed a gun at her, but then had a change of heart.

She told the station that he said “I’m not killing you because you are a woman and we don’t kill women, but you have to convert to Islam, read the Koran and wear a veil.”

Meanwhile, it was reported in the US that the two brothers suspected of killing 10 staff at the Paris satirical magazine’s headquarters – as well as two police officers - were on the terrorist “no fly” list. David Millward, US Correspondent, writes:

According to the New York Times, Said Koauchi, 34 and his 32 year old brother Chérif had both been identified as security threats. 
One official said Said Kouachi also spent a “few months” training with an al-Qaeda in Yemen, learning an array of skills including marksmanship and small arms combat. 

Marie Harf, the State Department spokesman, gave further credence to the reports when she appeared on on CNN. 

“Clearly they were very well trained as we could see from the video,” she said. 
Pointedly mentioning Yemen, she added the US was trying – with some success – to combat terrorist activities across the world. 

The precision of Wednesday’s shooting in Paris has led to the strong belief that the brothers had been given military style training before embarking on their murderous assault. 

According to US media reports, Said Kouachi travelled to Yemen in 2011, possibly inspired by Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric who by 2011 had become a senior operational figure for the terrorist group, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.