Putin’s Espionage Offensive Against France

August 2, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Another aspect of Cold War II.

Originally posted on The XX Committee:

One of the major themes of my work is how Russia, drawing on decades of rich experience with espionage, aggressively employs intelligence in what I term Special War to defeat, dissuade, and deter its enemies without fighting. As I’ve reported many times, Russian espionage against the West has been rising since the mid-2000’s and has returned to Cold War levels of effort and intensity — and in some cases, more so. In recent years, the Kremlin has endorsed aggressive espionage against a wide range of Western countries, members of NATO and the European Union (often both), to learn secrets and gain political advantage. This is simply what the Russians do, as Vladimir Putin, the former KGB officer, understands perfectly. Such things are well known to counterintelligence hands the world over, but are seldom discussed in public.

What this looks like up close has recently been exposed by the Parisian newsmagazine

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Faced with antisemitic riots, French government does what it does best: appeasement

July 22, 2014
"We surrender! Don't hurt us!"

“We surrender! Don’t hurt us!”

Muslims in France have been rioting, including attacking synagogues, in the wake of Israel’s retaliation against Hamas for months of attacks against Israeli civilians. Faced with growing antisemitic civil disorder, the French government naturally… condemned Israel:

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Wednesday for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas to end violence in the Gaza Strip which Palestinian sources say have left nearly 600 Palestinians dead.

Close to 30 Israelis, almost all of them soldiers, have been killed as Israel battles to stop Hamas rocket fire, thwart attack tunnels and weaken the Islamist group’s ability to launch attacks from the Strip.

“In Israel and in Gaza, the situation is very hard,” Fabius said as he arrived for a meeting of European Union foreign ministers.

“Nothing justifies continued attacks and massacres which do nothing but only claim more victims and stoke tensions, hatred,” he said.

“France will act forcefully to demand an immediate ceasefire,” he added

Odd, but I must have missed the Foreign Minister’s demands for an immediate ceasefire when Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians, when three teens were kidnapped and murdered, and when rockets were fired at a nuclear reactor. And surely he condemned in the loudest terms Hamas’ use of women and children as human shields, hoping for casualties in order to get that all-important propaganda coup.

France: Leading the way in caving in since 1940.

PS: Yes, I know a Palestinian teen was murdered by Israeli thugs in retaliation for the killing of the three Jewish boys. Here’s the difference: the Israeli killers were arrested by Israel and will face trial for their crime. Palestinians celebrated the murderers of the three teenagers as heroes. Who is the civilized one, and who is the barbarian? You make the call.

via Jihad Watch

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Frances refuses to fly US WWII vets to Normandy for D-Day anniversary

May 18, 2014
"Dear France, you're welcome."

“Dear France, you’re welcome.”

It’s the 70th anniversary, and the men who carried out the landings are in their 80s and 90s, now. You would think, given France’s miserable performance during the war, they could show a little respect and gratitude to those who risked their lives to kick the Nazis out of their country (1). But, no. They’re French, after all.

Ingrates:

Seven decades after ­Allied troops stormed Normandy’s beaches and saved France from the Nazis, the surrender-happy nation is turning its back on hundreds of US veterans who want to return next month to mark the invasion’s 70th anniversary.

France has broken its promise to pay for the vets to fly to this year’s commemoration, according to Rep. Michael Grimm.
“Our chief-of-staff heard it from the French Embassy in DC — that they would be flown out to France [for free],” said Nick Iacono, a spokesman for the Staten Island congressman.

But when The Post contacted the embassy Friday, the French turned up their noses as if smelling rotten Camembert.

“The French government never offered to pay for the plane tickets of the veterans traveling to France for the 70th commemoration of D-Day,” said Dana Purcarescu, a spokeswoman for the French ­Embassy in Washington.

Let’s hope this is the result of some sort of miscommunication, and not the slap in the face it appears to be.

But, I doubt it. This is France we’re talking about. They’ve made condescension and insult into an art form.

Footnote:
(1) And, for the record, I think the French government owes the same respect  and honor to the surviving members of the British, Canadian, and Polish armies that also risked everything on D-Day.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The French Death Spiral

October 21, 2013

Phineas Fahrquar:

You know it’s bad when even the EU thinks France taxes too much!

Originally posted on International Liberty:

There’s a tendency in public life to exaggerate the positive or negative implications of any particular policy.

This is why I try to be careful not to overstate the potential benefits of reforms I like, such as the flat tax. Yes, we would get better growth and there would be less corruption in Washington, but tax reform would not be a panacea for every ill. Many other policies also need to be fixed to generate sustained prosperity.

Likewise, I’m obviously not a fan of Obamacare, but I try to remind people that our system was already messed up even before Obama was elected. As such, repealing Obamacare – while the right thing to do – is just one of many things that need to happen to restore a competitive and efficient healthcare system.

Now that I’ve warned about the risks of overstatement, I’m going out on a…

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French minister commits unpardonable sin of telling truth: “We’re broke.”

January 31, 2013

And he’s deep in la merde, for it:

Michel Sapin made the gaffe in a radio interview, which left French President Francois Hollande and other ministers racing to undo the potential damage to the country’s reputation as a solid economy for investors.

On Monday, Mr Sapin said: “There is a state but it is a totally bankrupt state. That is why we had to put a deficit reduction plan in place, and nothing should make us turn away from that objective.”

The comments came as Mr Hollande attempts to improve the image of the French economy after pledging to reduce the country’s deficit by cutting spending by 60bn euros (£51.5bn) over the next five years and increasing taxes by 20bn euros.

It came as several high profile individuals, including the actor Gérard Depardieu, have left the country to avoid punitive taxes. Last week it transpired that Bernard Arnault, France’s richest man, had transferred his entire fortune to Belgium, where he hopes to gain citizenship.

Pierre Moscovici, the finance minister, said the comments by Mr Sapin were “inappropriate”. He added: “France is a really solvent country. France is a really credible country, France is a country that is starting to recover.”

Why do Moscovici’s claims remind me of Baghdad Bob?

Sapin later tried to “clarify” what he meant, saying France could still pay its bills, and he’s technically right; they’re not in danger of defaulting,  yet.

But what’s truly interesting is the public reaction to Minister Sapin’s description of France as a “bankrupt state”  — most of the public agrees with him:

But it now transpires that a large majority of his fellow countrymen share Mr Sapin’s view. In all 63 per cent agree that “in France, the state is bankrupt”, with 45 per cent saying the claim was “more or less justified” and 17 per cent feeling it was “totally justified”, according to a CSA poll for BFM TV.

You would think that, realizing that their nation is in a fiscal mess, French voters would not have voted for a government who only solution was to jack up taxes to confiscatory levels, leading to an exodus the most productive members of their population. Instead, they throw public fits over the least adjustment to their unsupportable welfare state. They see the problem, but they don’t see that it is them.

But before we in the States point and laugh too hard at France (some is always justified), keep one thing in mind: their debt-to GDP ratio (how much they owe vs. how wealth the nation creates) is at 91 percent. Imagine your credit card debt amounting to nine-tenths of your annual income, and you can see why someone would say they’re broke.

And in the United States? As of 2012, that same ratio stood at an estimated 100.8%, skyrocketing under Obama.

Merde, indeed.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) A sign of real Hope and Change?

June 12, 2012

Busy day today, but I wanted to share with you this latest Afterburner, in which Bill Whittle compares the choices made in recent elections in France and Wisconsin, and finds cause for hope in the Land of Cheese:

On a smaller scale Bill could also have taken heart from recent elections in San Diego and San Jose, where voters overwhelmingly approved reforms to public pensions in order to save their cities’ finances. The margins were large enough that I’m certain there were pensioners and near-pensioners who voted for reform, in contrast to the self-deluded voters of France and Greece.

When one thinks about it, this global debt crisis may yet be proof again of American exceptionalism.

We hope.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Commence Operation “EU crack up,” phase two!

May 8, 2012

Phase One was the unending financial crisis that began in 2008 and the Europeans’ unwillingness to anything that would really address the problem, instead choosing to keep feeding the beast of debt and taxation. Sickened by the failure of their political class (and made delirious by their own addiction to the teat of the State), European voters are responding by throwing the bums out and putting radical bums in their places: a hack Socialist demagogue in France, and communists and neo-Nazis in Greece.

Now comes word that Phase Two, the bailout of banks in Spain has begun:

It was only a matter of time before the next bank bailout began despite all those promises to the contrary. Sure enough, as math always wins over rhetoric and policy, earlier this morning the shot across the Spanish bow was fired after PM Rajoy did a 180 on “no bank bailout” promises as recent as last week. From Dow Jones: “Spain may pump public funds into its banking system to revive lending and its recessionary economy, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Monday, signalling a policy U-turn. The government had pledged to not give money to the banking industry that is struggling in the wake of a collapsed, decade-long, housing boom. “If it was necessary to reactivate credit, to save the Spanish financial system, I wouldn’t rule out injecting public funds, like all European countries have done,” Rajoy said in interview with Onda Cero radio stations.

Spain is Europe’s fifth-largest economy, and its economic problems are huge, but bailing out the banks won’t make much of a difference, if any; it will merely transfer the debt burden from Spanish banks to the Spanish government, which will have to borrow the money or seek its own bailout, further burdening both the already over-taxed Spanish public — as well as German patience. It’s robbing Pedro to pay Pablo, but the bill will still come due — and it will be enormous.

With the EU’s fragile unity already threatened by a likely clash between Germany’s Chancellor Merkel and France’s new President Hollande, will the added pressures of a potential Spanish financial collapse (which would make Greece look like a block party) push the European Union and the Eurozone to the breaking point?

My guess is for at least a partial breakup within the next year, as Greece and other fiscally profligate Latin states leave the Euro so they can devalue their currencies enough to restart growth, while Germany and the other “adult” states are glad to see them go.

But with the rise of political fantasists in Greece, France, and elsewhere, one wonders if that will be enough?

via American Power

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


France may kill me yet — through an overdose of irony

April 15, 2011

I’m serious, you’d better have the paramedics ready; I’ll likely need them after reading this:

Libya conflict: France eyes new UN resolution

The French defence minister has suggested a new UN Security Council resolution may be needed for Nato allies to achieve their goals in Libya.

Gerard Longuet was speaking after a joint letter by the US, UK and French leaders said there could be no peace while Col Muammar Gaddafi was in power.

The current UN resolution makes no mention of regime change.

(…)

Speaking on French radio, Mr Longuet conceded that ousting Col Gaddafi would be “certainly” beyond the scope of the existing UN Security Council Resolution 1973 on Libya, and could require a new council vote.

“Beyond resolution 1973, certainly it didn’t mention the future of Gaddafi but I think that three major countries saying the same thing is important to the United Nations and perhaps one day the Security Council will adopt a resolution.”

Oh, isn’t that just special? France is considering asking for a resolution authorizing regime change in an Arab state!

Now, where have we heard that idea before? Let me think… Oh, yeah, now I remember! It was in the last year or so leading up to the US-UK lead invasion and liberation of Iraq, when we pushed for UN sanction for regime change in Iraq, something for which there was far more immediate humanitarian and geopolitical logic, even with the errors regarding WMDs. And what did France do back then? Stand with their longtime ally who twice saved their croissants from the Germans and kept Soviet tanks from rolling into Paris? Support their friend whose military shield allowed them to gorge themselves on domestic entitlements to the point of a national coronary, all while letting them pretend they still were a world power?

Don’t be naive.

Lead by their corrupt president, Jacques Chirac, and their slimy, sanctimonious, Napoleon-worshiping foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, they repeatedly stabbed us and the Iraqi people in the back. Here’s just one example. We were double-crossed again and again, and an American Secretary of State was humiliated before the world. And lest anyone think France was acting out of noble principles (France?), think again.

And now France wants the UN Security Council, where they fought us tooth and nail, to approve doing the very thing in Libya we did in Iraq. Oh, and any new resolution requires at least our non-opposition.

Sweet.

Mind you, I don’t disagree with the idea in principle; having started a war in Libya, we have to see it through to the end, which means getting rid of Qaddafi.  As Emerson said:

“When you strike at a king, you must kill him.”

The worst outcome would be some sort of a stalemate in which Daffy Qaddafi survives in power, even over a rump state. I guarantee you he will have the money, means, and motive to take revenge. More Lockerbies, anyone? And Europe is dependent on Libyan oil, far more so than we, and yet they’ve launched a war against one of their key suppliers. Economic and strategic self-interest now dictates that France must wage …wait for it… a war for oil!

Never mind. I think I’ll have another heaping helping of irony, thanks. It’s delicious!

via Hot Air

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


What’s Russian for “Buyer Beware?”

December 26, 2010

The Russians have agreed to purchase two amphibious warships from France:

After a long hesitation and arduous negotiations, Russia has decided to buy at least two of France’s advanced Mistral-class amphibious warships in an unprecedented military deal between Moscow and the West, the two nations said Friday.

The multimillion-dollar sale, announced jointly by the Elysee Palace and the Kremlin, marks the first time in modern history that Russia has made such a major defense acquisition abroad, illuminating a fast-evolving relationship with former Cold War enemies. The swift changes were dramatized at last month’s NATO summit in Lisbon, when President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to work with NATO on ways to cooperate with the U.S.-led alliance in erecting a missile defense system for Europe.

The Mistral sale, whose financial terms were not disclosed, also signaled a triumph for French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s relentless salesmanship and a boost for France’s sagging defense industry and 10 percent unemployment rate. It will, the Elysee declaration noted, provide the equivalent of 5 million hours of work over four years for 1,000 qualified French employees at the STX shipyards at St. Nazaire on the Atlantic Coast. And it might lead to the purchase of two more vessels.

“Presidents Medvedev and Sarkozy hail the concretization of this unprecedented cooperation, which will benefit industry and employment in our two countries, and which illustrates the will and capacity in France and Russia to develop large-scale partnerships in all areas, including defense and security,” the Elysee said.

Dear President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin: You may want to rethink that deal.

More seriously, the article notes the strenuous objections of the nation of Georgia, parts of which were recently ripped away and occupied by the new Czars, and also objections from Republicans in Congress. Not surprisingly, the Obama administration has been silent. Still hitting that reset button, I guess.

To be honest, though, I doubt we could have done much to stop the sale without putting a serious strain on our relationship (such as it is) with France; they have a problem with high unemployment, too, and have a national interest in maintaining a naval shipbuilding industry.

Whether the ships they build work or not is another matter…

*To answer the question in the subject: Покупатель Остерегайтесь

via Gabriel Malor on Twitter


Al Qaeda plotting to kill French First Lady?

November 9, 2010

Not surprising. The last thing the Religion of Misogyny can tolerate is a self-confident, independent woman who doesn’t dress like a shapeless lump:

Why France banned the burqa

 

From Daily News and Analysis:

Security services believe President Nicolas Sarkozy’s wife is now “high up” on al-Qaeda’s hitlist of potential VIP victims in France, it was revealed.

Fears for Bruni’s safety come after Osama bin Laden issued a chilling personal threat to kill French citizens in revenge for France backing the war in Afghanistan and their new law banning the burqa.

The al-Qaeda terror chief released an audio tape last week warning, “It is a simple equation, if you kill, you will be killed.”

(…)

“Security has always been high around the First couple, but we have learned that it has now been heavily increased around Ms Bruni herself,” the Daily Mail quoted the website as saying.

“There is no question of her ever going out without an armed escort and details of all her movements are being kept secret until the very last moment.

It’s still a war, folks, and they’re still trying to kill us.

LINKS: My earlier posts on Islamic misogyny. And here’s a good book on the topic.

Via The Jawa Report.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Britain relies on France for its defence? What could go wrong?

November 7, 2010

Oh, how about a French aircraft carrier breaking down?

As President Nicolas Sarkozy prepares to use a historic London summit to announce the use of RAF jets off the Charles de Gaulle, his naval chiefs have told him she is no longer seaworthy.

“She’s meant to be heading to Afghanistan to support the war there but is instead in home port with a faulty propulsion system,” said a French Navy source.

“This is a carrier which is meant to be defending not only France but also Britain over the next decade. As far as the London summit is concerned, her breaking down could not come at a worse time.”

Following Britain’s strategic defence review last week, it looks certain that the UK and France will each have just one operational aircraft carrier each towards the end of the decade.

But Britain will have to rely solely on the Charles de Gaulle until at least 2020 while the Queen Elizabeth, a new carrier, is being built.

This follows the announcement of the scrapping of the carrier Ark Royal and its Harrier Jump Jets.

I earlier covered the sad state of the Royal Navy, which is being reduced to it’s smallest size since the 16th century. And now this: reliant on Britain’s most ancient enemy for naval security, yet that enemy is… incompetent.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the future of the US military under the social democracy the Democrats so dearly desire. Europe, when it went down this path, could rely on us to bail them out. Well…

Just whom do we rely on?

And, Anglophile that I am, I have to say it again: Nelson weeps.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Today in History: the Battle of Tours

October 10, 2010

Today is the 1,278th anniversary of the Battle of Tours, at which a Frankish army under Charles Martel (“Charles the Hammer”) defeated a Muslim invasion from conquered Spain. Tours marked the high tide of the Islamic advance into Western Europe, though raids along the Mediterranean coast would continue for several centuries, and Islamic armies invading from the East would almost a thousand years later reach the gates of Vienna.

As I like to say, the current jihad is just the latest episode in a very old war.

RELATED: Historian Victor Davis Hanson has an excellent chapter on the Battle of Tours, which he refers to as “Poitiers,” in his book “Carnage and Culture.”


Paying ransom only helps al Qaeda

September 27, 2010

There’s an interesting article at the Terror Finance Blog about the increase in the use of kidnapping to raise funds for jihadist groups, specifically Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), bin Laden’s North African franchise:

Kidnapping-for-ransom is considered by many experts as an “alternative source of terrorism financing.” But the recent abduction of five French nationals in Niger by the Al Qaeda’s Islamic Maghreb terrorist group (AQIM) highlights a worrisome regional trend that emerged in 2003, when AQIM first launched a major hostage taking campaign targeting foreign tourists.

Since then, AQIM has developed a growing criminal industry that sustains itself through huge ransoms they extort and drug trafficking.

It is estimated that the kidnap-for-ransom business in the Sahel region alone, put at least $65 million in the coffers of AQIM since 2005. More than 90% of the group’s funding derives from this single financial source. The rest comes from drug trafficking and donations.

The kidnapping business is so good, that hostage taking in the Sahel region had risen 150% between 2008 and 2009. The average ransom for the release of a Western hostage is $6.5 million.

Since 2008, AQIM raised more than $25 million from ransom for foreign nationals in the Sahel region. This makes AQIM richer than “Al Qaeda Central”, whose annual income was recently estimated by U.S. officials to be between $5 million to $10 million.

The article then goes on to talk about efforts to criminalize the payment of ransom, though I suspect that would be an exercise in futility when governments themselves can pay ransom via back-channels. Italy infamously paid ransom to Iraqi terrorists to recover journalist Giuliana Sgrena in 2005, while France has been rumored to have criticized Spain for paying ransom to AQIM. (Though Paris now denies this.)

But the real problem here (aside from paying kidnappers at all) is that this money is then used by AQIM (and al Qaeda, which surely gets a cut) to finance not only further kidnappings, but terrorist operations in North Africa, Europe, and around the world. Operations that get our people killed. In effect, governments and corporations are financing the hijackers and suicide bombers sent against us. And you can bet some of this money is going to research into easy means of mass destruction, such as poison gas.

Harsh and heartless as it would be to do so, the only way to stop these kidnappings is to refuse to pay any ransom; rather than treating the terrorist kidnappers are criminals, they should be hunted down and killed. And yes, that is in full recognition of the possible consequences.

If, instead, we keep paying, we’re only giving them the rope they’ll use to hang us.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


An infantilized society

September 7, 2010

The economic troubles in Europe are leading to public unrest, as EU governments try to pare back their bloated public sectors, in some cases trimming wages and benefits, in others by delaying access to them. In France, plans to save the national pension system by raising the retirement age from 60 (!) to just 62 has lead to a massive strike of over one million people:

French strikers disrupted trains and planes, hospitals and mail delivery Tuesday amid massive street protests over plans to raise the retirement age. Across the English Channel, London subway workers unhappy with staff cuts walked off the job.

The protests look like the prelude to a season of strikes in Europe, from Spain to the Czech Republic, as heavily indebted governments cut costs and chip away at some cherished but costly benefits that underpin the European good life — a scaling-back process that has gained urgency with Greece’s euro110 billion ($140 billion) bailout.

In France, where people poured into the streets in 220 cities, setting off flares and beating drums, a banner in the southern port city of Marseille called for Europe-wide solidarity: “Let’s Refuse Austerity Plans!” The Interior Ministry said more than 1.1 million people demonstrated throughout France, while the CFDT union put the number at 2.5 million.

(…)

French protesters are angry about the government’s plan to do away with the near-sacred promise of retirement at 60, forcing people to work until 62 because they are living longer. The goal is to bring the money-draining pension system back into the black by 2018.

As debate on the subject opened in parliament, Labor Minister Eric Woerth said the plan was one “of courage and reason” and that it is the “duty of the state” to save the pension system. He has said the government won’t back down, no matter how big the protests.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon reminded the French that it could be worse: In nearly all European countries, the current debate is over raising the retirement age to 67 or 68, he said. Germany has decided to bump the retirement age from 65 to 67, for example, and the U.S. Social Security system is gradually raising the retirement age to 67.

That sense of perspective was missing from many of the French protests, where some slogans bordered on the hysterical. One sign in Paris showed a raised middle finger with the message: “Greetings from people who will die on the job.”

Nothing like Gallic hysterics, eh?

Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised at this: statist societies like France and much of the EU use ever-expanding government-provided benefits as bribes to buy social peace, making dependents out their citizens and, in effect, infantilizing them. It’s no wonder, then, that the public then throws a tantrum when the state is forced to cut back.

But before anyone indulges in some schadenfreude at French expense, bear in mind that President Obama and his progressive allies want to take us down this same statist, dependent, and infantilized social-democratic road. (And, to a lesser extent, big-government Republicans have been willing to accommodate them.) We’re already seeing that with the growth of public sector unions in the US and their outlandish benefits*.

While Europe seems to be in for a season of unrest, the problem isn’t yet so bad in the US and, importantly, many people agree that it is a problem in the first place. Hopefully we can make the necessary reforms before we have our own mass tantrums.

*(For the record, I’m a member of a quasi-public union, and apparently it’s one of the dumber ones; we’ve never received the over-the-top wages and benefits the other unions do. I tell ya, it ain’t fair…)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Meanwhile, back at the jihad – updated and bumped

July 25, 2010

While Chicken Littles squawk over an invasion of Texas for which there’s no evidence, Threat Matrix brings us news of a war that’s all too real: French troops in action against al Qaeda affiliates in North Africa:

French commandos, likely from the General Directorate for External Security, or DGSE, and Mauritanian troops raided an al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb camp in Mali in search of a French citizen kidnapped by the terror group. From Reuters:

  • A Mauritanian security source said the raids had continued some 200 km (125 miles) into Mali after Thursday’s pre-dawn attack on a group of Islamists who are believed to be holding the 78-year-old French hostage in Niger’s desert Sahel region.
  • The French Defense Ministry source said the operation was launched after AQIM failed to provide proof that Germaneau was alive or engage in negotiations over him. The operation follows calls for better international cooperation against AQIM, which was previously focused on Algeria but now has two factions that are increasingly active in remote desert regions of Mauritania, Mali and Niger.

Threat Matrix questions why Malian forces weren’t involved, since the raid was so deep in their country’s territory. My guess would be that the French, the former colonial power in Mali, had information indicating that the Malian security forces weren’t reliable. Perhaps they’re infiltrated by Islamists, a la the Pakistani military?

Regardless, this news is a reminder that our war with Salafis bent on jihad is worldwide, not just in Iraq or Afghanistan.

UPDATE: Damn. It looks like the brave, brave knights of Allah have executed their hostage, a 78-year old man. I hope the French kill every one of those swine. Slowly.


France criminalizes insults

July 1, 2010

Showing once again that Europe’s commitment to free speech is tenuous at best, the French parliament has approved unanimously a bill that makes insulting your spouse a crime:

Couples who insult each other over their physical appearance or make false accusations about infidelity face jail, under a new French law making “psychological violence” a criminal offence.

The law – the first of its kind – means that partners who make such insults or threats of physical violence faces up to three years in prison and a €75,000 (£60,000) fine.

French magistrates have slammed the new legislation as “inapplicable”, as they argue the definition of what constitutes an insult is too vague and verbal abuse too hard to prove.

Nadine Morano, the junior family minister, told the National Assembly that “we have introduced an important measure here, which recognises psychological violence, because it isn’t just blows (that hurt), but also words.”

Miss Morano said the primary abuse help line for French women got 90,000 calls a year, with 84 per cent concerning psychological violence.

And no, I’m not minimizing domestic abuse, but I have to agree with the French judges that this is just too vague to be good law, let alone the obvious problems arising from the state inserting itself into private life and criminalizing offensive speech.

So, the next time she asks “Does this make me look fat?”, think twice about your answer, Pierre; it may cost you more than just a night on the couch.

Via The Jawa Report, which has the best observation:

Of course, at the outset someone should clarify whether referring to French as “surrender monkeys” is now a crime. Surely, it’s insulting to somebody.

Nah. Not if truth is a defense.


What if the MSM had been at D-Day?

June 6, 2010

A bit of rueful humor for the anniversary of the Normandy landings. The Combat Report asks, what if the modern mainstream media had covered D-Day?

BONUS: Some neat color footage of the war in France, from the landings at Normandy to the liberation of Paris.

UPDATE: How our President honored D-Day in a time of war, no less. Quote:

“Security is not something that comes from the barrel of a gun,” he told the crowd.

He just does not get it.  Doh

WALK-BACK: Hold the outrageous outrage, it was  Archbishop Tutu, one of the honorees at the party the President attended, who said that stupid quote. See the second link. (But Obama still doesn’t get it.)


D-day: storming the castle

June 6, 2010

Sixty-six years ago today:

Addendum: Black Five has an excellent roundup of D-Day posts from many blogs. And have a look at this entry for a photo essay on D-Day.

Photo courtesy of Confederate Yankee.

UPDATE: Read about an 84-year old veteran of the first wave at Omaha, who’s being honored today by a local historical society.


Sarkozy: “Obama is insane!”

April 11, 2010

Somewhere deep in the recesses of my memory, I seem to recall President-elect Obama promising to restore our relations with the rest of the world. Somehow, I don’t think it’s indicative of an improvement when the French President says Obama is insane:

A new report circulating in the Kremlin today authored by France’s Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) and recently “obtained” by the FSB shockingly quotes French President Nicolas Sarkozy … as stating that President Barack Obama is “a  dangerous[ly] aliéné”, which translates into his, Obama, being a “mad lunatic”, or in the American vernacular, “insane”.

According to this report, Sarkozy was “appalled” at Obama’s “vision” of what the World should be under his “guidance” and “amazed” at the American Presidents unwillingness to listen to either “reason” or “logic”.  Sarkozy’s meeting where these impressions of Obama were formed took place nearly a fortnight ago at the White House in Washington D.C., and upon his leaving he “scolded” Obama and the US for not listening closely enough to what the rest of the World has to say.

Bear in mind that Sarkozy, while I have a great deal of respect for him (as opposed to his corrupt predecessor), is not the most unbiased source when it comes to Obama. In fact, he seems to crave the President’s attention. And yet, he has in the past scolded Obama for failing to deal with reality, which, you have to admit, can be a sign of a deranged mind. So perhaps multiple experiences have lead him to this conclusion. At the very least, the French President seems to be following roughly the same line of thought as the Hollywood writer.

So, has our President’s little choo-choo gone chugging around the bend? Is he a fruitcake with extra nuts? Should we pad Oval Office?

Nah. As I said before, I think he’s a callow egotist who needs to grow up. He can do (and is doing) enough damage just being that. He doesn’t need to be insane, and calling him that only serves to weaken the legitimate criticism he so richly deserves.

AFTERTHOUGHT: And did the Russians really steal that report, or did the French “let” it be stolen? Thinking

(via JammieWearingFool)

UPDATE: To clarify a point made in the comments, the source newspaper seems more than a bit … questionable, to be nice about it. I should have made that more clear, rather than assume people would get it from the post. Next time, I’ll put it in bright, red letters: quotation here is for illustrative purposes and does not necessarily imply endorsement. The thrust of the piece merely reminded me of earlier Sarkozy-Obama frictions (see links) and questions about the President and personality disorders. (See other link.)


Rome still pays tribute

October 15, 2009

In the decadent centuries of the Late Roman Empire, emperors and their generals often resorted to bribes to convince the barbarians to attack someone else, or to just stay quiet.

Their modern successors are still doing it:

French troops were killed after Italy hushed up ‘bribes’ to Taleban

When ten French soldiers were killed last year in an ambush by Afghan insurgents in what had seemed a relatively peaceful area, the French public were horrified.
Their revulsion increased with the news that many of the dead soldiers had been mutilated — and with the publication of photographs showing the militants triumphantly sporting their victims’ flak jackets and weapons. The French had been in charge of the Sarobi area, east of Kabul, for only a month, taking over from the Italians; it was one of the biggest single losses of life by Nato forces in Afghanistan.
What the grieving nation did not know was that in the months before the French soldiers arrived in mid-2008, the Italian secret service had been paying tens of thousands of dollars to Taleban commanders and local warlords to keep the area quiet, The Times has learnt. The clandestine payments, whose existence was hidden from the incoming French forces, were disclosed by Western military officials.
US intelligence officials were flabbergasted when they found out through intercepted telephone conversations that the Italians had also been buying off militants, notably in Herat province in the far west. In June 2008, several weeks before the ambush, the US Ambassador in Rome made a démarche, or diplomatic protest, to the Berlusconi Government over allegations concerning the tactic.
However, a number of high-ranking officers in Nato have told The Times that payments were subsequently discovered to have been made in the Sarobi area as well.
Western officials say that because the French knew nothing of the payments they made a catastrophically incorrect threat assessment.
“One cannot be too doctrinaire about these things,” a senior Nato officer in Kabul said. “It might well make sense to buy off local groups and use non-violence to keep violence down. But it is madness to do so and not inform your allies.”

When ten French soldiers were killed last year in an ambush by Afghan insurgents in what had seemed a relatively peaceful area, the French public were horrified.

Their revulsion increased with the news that many of the dead soldiers had been mutilated — and with the publication of photographs showing the militants triumphantly sporting their victims’ flak jackets and weapons. The French had been in charge of the Sarobi area, east of Kabul, for only a month, taking over from the Italians; it was one of the biggest single losses of life by Nato forces in Afghanistan.

What the grieving nation did not know was that in the months before the French soldiers arrived in mid-2008, the Italian secret service had been paying tens of thousands of dollars to Taleban commanders and local warlords to keep the area quiet, The Times has learnt. The clandestine payments, whose existence was hidden from the incoming French forces, were disclosed by Western military officials.

US intelligence officials were flabbergasted when they found out through intercepted telephone conversations that the Italians had also been buying off militants, notably in Herat province in the far west. In June 2008, several weeks before the ambush, the US Ambassador in Rome made a démarche, or diplomatic protest, to the Berlusconi Government over allegations concerning the tactic.

However, a number of high-ranking officers in Nato have told The Times that payments were subsequently discovered to have been made in the Sarobi area as well.

Western officials say that because the French knew nothing of the payments they made a catastrophically incorrect threat assessment.

“One cannot be too doctrinaire about these things,” a senior Nato officer in Kabul said. “It might well make sense to buy off local groups and use non-violence to keep violence down. But it is madness to do so and not inform your allies.”

I’m willing to bet the “senior NATO officer” was European.  What he’s describing is cowardice disguised as “being reasonable.” In fact, to devout jihadis of al Qaeda and the Taliban, this is nothing more than an act of tribute, the weak non-Muslims acknowledging the strength of the Believers and paying the jizya (Qur’an 9:29), an act of submission and dhimmitude.

I’ll agree with the unnamed officer in one regard: madness was at play here, but the madness was contained in the bribes themselves. The barbarians Taliban took it as their due for being the best of men, while non-Muslims are the worst. (Qur’an 98:6-7) When the French failed to pay the jizya, the jihadis did the predictable thing in order to chastise and subdue the “worst of men.”

The Italian government’s craven attitude cost French lives, but don’t bet on our allies learning from this. (The lesson the NATO officer seemed to take was “at least tell us when you’re paying bribes.”) Until they recognize and understand the ideological and theological motivations of our enemies, there will be future foolish attempts to buy peace that instead only buy trouble.

(hat tip: Jihad Watch)

LINKS: More at Fausta’s blog, Weasel Zippers.


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