21st Century Wire says…
France finally got its ‘9/11 moment’ today, when at least two gunman dressed in black and armed with Kalashnikov rifles, stormed the offices of a magazine, killing two police/security personnel and 10 journalists, and injuring 11 others during the raid.
According to French officials, four of the survivors are said to be in ‘serious’ condition.
The attack is said to have taken place in the middle of an editorial meeting of the political magazine, Charlie Hebdon, known popularly as ‘Charlie’, with masked gunman calling out by name and killing first its editor Stephane ‘Carb’ Charbonnier, 47 (photo, left) execution-style, along with 9 other editors and staff, including frequent contributor and French economist Bernard Maris.
Magazine editor Charbonnier had received death threats in the past and is said to have been ‘living under police protection’ until today. It’s still unclear whether or not the police van – which is normally positioned outside of the magazine’s offices, was removed before the attack took place, and if so, why a ‘stand-down’ order was issued in advance of the raid.
Beyond all of the media’s ‘ISIS’ hyperbole, unquestionably, today’s attack has all the characteristic of a professional contract hit. Witnesses remarked on how the gunman were perfectly calm and spoke perfect native French, and commented on their ‘expert marksmanship’, hitting all targets with single shots, and not spraying bullets indiscriminately. Witnesses also described the gunman as ‘bulked-up’ from what appears to be body armour, and kevlar ‘bullet-proof’ protection underneath their over garments.
Another witness commented on the adroit, calm, European-style and professional demeanor of the gunman, stating, “At first I thought it was special forces.” This reinforces suspicions that today’s event had many signatures of another GLADIO-style attack carried out on European soil (by NATO intelligence), designed to effect a specific political or public opinion reaction within France.
UPDATE: As of 11:30pm local time, French police are claiming to have ”indentified” 3 suspects, two brothers and one other, aged 34, 32, and 18, who reside in a suburb of Paris, and who police believe “may have been the shooters” (but this does not necessarily mean they were the gunmen who carried out today’s attack).
The two masked assailants (see image above) opened fire in the office, and then exchanged fire with French police as the attack spilled over on to the street, before staging their get-away by car, which is said to have been manned by another separate driver. Their car was later found abandoned on the Rue de Meaux, where a second car is said to have been hijacked.
Authorities still cannot confirm whether or not the attack was carried out by ‘an official’ terrorist organization. The gunmen’s escape seems to be as well-planned as the attack itself, with gunmen still ‘on the run’, prompting what French authorities are calling the largest man-hunt in the nation’s history.
The nearly 50-year-old french magazine located in Paris, Charlie Hebdo, has gained media attention recently for controversies regarding its political cartoons poking fun at the prophet Mohammed. Their offices were already fire bombed in 2011, as the magazine’s editors were said to be on ‘al Qaeda’s most wanted list’, with police and security regularly stationed at their building as standard. This didn’t deter today’s attack. however.
French President Francois Hollande announced that tomorrow, Thursday, will be a national holiday, and “a day of mourning” starting at midnight tonight. He went on to declare today’s attack as “an attack on the republic”, and ending his speech with, “Viva le France!”.
The company’s website is adorned with a new splash page containing only two words, “Je Suis Charlie” (translated, ‘I am Charlie’), and already variations of this are the trending #hashtags on Twitter, as social media erupts around this latest international news event.
According to British correspondent Hugh Schofiled, “Charlie Hebdo is part of a venerable tradition in French journalism going back to the scandal sheets that denounced Marie-Antoinette in the run-up to the French Revolution.”
Thousands of Parisians are already out in force by the thousands, holding candlelight vigils in the city centre, as well as gathering throughout the city today and this evening.
The magazine, published weekly, is no stranger to controversy, and was the center of national debate around what Muslims claimed was its antagonistic Islamic cartoons which they began printing nearly a decade ago (see here).
Charlie Hebdo’s February 9, 2006 edition entitled, “Mahomet débordé par les intégristes” (‘Muhammad overwhelmed by fundamentalists’), showed a cartoon on the cover with Prophet Muhammad in tears, saying “C’est dur d’être aimé par des cons” (“it’s hard being loved by jerks”). They also reprinted the twelve cartoons from Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy and added some new cartoons of their own.
“The French President Jacques Chirac condemned ‘overt provocations’ which could inflame passions. “Anything that can hurt the convictions of someone else, in particular religious convictions, should be avoided”, Chirac said. The Grand Mosque, the Muslim World League and the Union of French Islamic Organisations (UOIF) sued, claiming the cartoon edition included racist cartoons. A later edition contained a statement by a group of 12 writers warning against Islamism.”
“The suit by the Grand Mosque and the UOIF reached the courts in February 2007. Publisher Philippe Val contended “It is racist to imagine that they can’t understand a joke” but Francis Szpiner, the lawyer for the Grand Mosque, explained the suit: “Two of those caricatures make a link between Muslims and Muslim terrorists. That has a name and it’s called racism.” (Source: Wiki)
Today’s Paris attack is believed to be France’s deadliest since 1961, when right-wingers from the campaign, ‘Keep Algeria French’, bombed a passenger train, killing 28 and wounding several others.
Over in Washington DC, CNN’s Dana Bash pressured Department of Homeland Security boss, Jeh Johnson, with the usual war on terror rhetoric, “Are you considering raising the terror threat level in this country?” Johnson would not answer this question. Oddly, he went on to give a long-winded minute diatribe about how DHS needs ‘more funding’ to upgrade equipment and ‘pay higher salaries’ to DHS officers.
Whatever this attack was, it was designed for maximum political effect, and will certainly be shaping the global conversation surrounding media, speech and freedom thereof.
Presently, Mainstream Media is literally chomping at the bit to label the Paris Shooting as an ‘ISIS’ or ‘ISIS-inspired’ attack on European soil, which would place France on equal footing at London post-July 7, 2005, aka ‘post-7/7’. Already, French authorities have announced massive deployments of special tactical forces throughout the city, and beyond, in order to combat “the terrorist threat”.
US media seem to be connecting the Paris Shooting with AQIM (al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb) and ISIS, citing an article in what Washington loudly touts as, “al Qaeda’s first English language magazine”, called ‘INSPIRE’, which called out the French editor Charbonnier in its latest issue. The reality, however, is the magazine is managed by western intelligence agencies in order to put out counter-intelligence information and also to ‘honey pot’ potential jihadist recruits.
No doubt, US politicians and media heads will be keen to streamline talking points from this latest French tragedy – alongside the White House’s recently fabricated ‘North Korean-Sony Hack Hoax‘ – where US media anchors and gov’t officials fashioned a patriotic-style narrative around the Sony story, insisting that it was “a defining moment for free speech in America”.
Once the dust settles from day’s events, look for US media, followed by politicians, to bind these two stories together, behind a rallying cry similar to, “we will not be intimidated”.
Currently, neither French police, nor international security officials, know exactly who carried out today’s attack on the French magazine, and admit that information is “sketchy” and “almost nonexistent” as to who the real perpetrators were.
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READ MORE PARIS SHOOTING NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Paris Shooting Files