Right after Islamist militants attacked Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery in January, leaving 17 people dead, we swore we would not fall into the surveillance trap. The few voices in France clamoring for a security overhaul were drowned out by the “we are not afraid” slogans of crowds rallying in defense of free speech. Journalists, lawyers and politicians reminded everyone of the excesses of America’s Patriot Act. This was not the road France would take.
Yet four months later, on May 5, the lower house of Parliament passed a bill giving the nation’s intelligence services sweeping surveillance powers, including the massive collection and analysis of metadata. Next month the bill will go to the Senate, and the measure’s sponsors are confident it will become law by July.
France has a long history of Islamist terrorism going back to 1986 and 1995; it did not wait until 2001 to develop its own police and judiciary response, which was heavy-handed enough to spare the country from new deadly attacks until 2012. Intelligence gathering was part of this response. “I guess the French credit the police and the courts for protecting them from a number of dangers,” Pierre de Bousquet, then head of the domestic intelligence service, told me in an interview in 2005. Mr. de Bousquet claimed that, thanks to these actions, planned attacks on the soccer World Cup in Paris in 1998, on the Christmas market in Strasbourg in 2000 and again in Paris in 2003 had been prevented. He was already concerned by the new face of homegrown jihadism: “Younger, rougher, more radicalized.” Five young French jihadists had died fighting in Iraq, he noted.
Early this month, the official number of French jihadists killed in Syria and Iraq passed 100. The government estimates that about 1,000 French radical Islamists have joined the battle in Syria and Iraq. This was not a factor when the Patriot Act was passed in America. It is now a painful issue within our societies.
[Surveillance Without Borders, by Sylvie Kauffman, New York Times, May 17, 2015]
You can have freedom or you can have Third World immigration. Pick one.
Of course, leftists have a response...
The French sociologist Didier Bigo says that electronic surveillance is a way of dealing with terrorism without having to address the political problems of the banlieues and of Western intervention in the Middle East. “Technological intelligence is a depoliticization tool,” he told the newsmagazine L’Obs.
The trap here is that the "root cause" of terrorism is the feelings of disenfranchisement among Arabs living in France.
Of course, no European society, including Sweden, seems to have successfully soothed their vibrants sufficiently to prevent the occasional outbreak of murderous mayhem. So essentially, Europeans are told to solve an insoluble problem, and then when they can't, are lectured by leftists that they actually really deserve to be stabbed, shot, or raped because of their racism.
Meanwhile, the conservatives say unlimited surveillance and police powers are necessary to keep the multicultural society rolling along.
The "far right" suggests adopting the policies of Israel by paying unhappy migrants to go home and preventing more from coming. They usually end up being arrested, because we need to preserve a free society.