CATF Reports Jul. 15, 2016, 3:11pm


France will continue to be locked in a state of emergency until July 26, French President Francois Hollande announced last night after a new major terrorist attack hit the crowd of spectators gathered on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice for the Bastille Day fireworks, leaving 84 dead and 202 injured, with 52 people remaining in critical care. Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhel, a 31-year-old French citizen of Tunisian descent, drove a rented truck 1.1 miles down the boulevard shifting from side to side supposedly to kill as many as possible before being shot by the police. A delivery driver with three kids separated from his wife, who was arrested on Friday morning, Bouhel was unknown to French intelligence services. His name did not appear on any watch list nor was he profiled for supposed radicalization in spite of his track record of violence, theft, and threats. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared that Bouhel “is a terrorist probably linked to radical Islam one way or another”. Two overnight raids at Bouhel’s apartment and at his former wife’s house have not brought up evidence of radicalization.

The White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest stressed today that “the threat we are facing now is different from core al-Qaida”, thereby refocusing attention on the scary and largely uncontrolled phenomenon of lone wolf terrorism. Not connected to known and monitored extremist groups, lone wolf terrorists – such as Omar Mateen, responsible for the recent bloodshed in Orlando, Florida – are notoriously harder to identify in advance. Patrick Calvar, the head of the General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI), recently declared before the Commission for National Defense and Armed Forces that France has activated a large-scale deradicalization and prevention program seeking – among other initiatives – to involve private citizens in the transversal fight against terrorism by urging them to report early signs of suspected radicalization of their relatives, friends, and acquaintances to French authorities. Considerable resources have been devolved, in particular, to the field of education, particularly sensitive to radicalization, and to intensifying controls and deterrents. The looming risk on a country as “eruptive” and vulnerable as France is today is the realistic possibility of a radical societal polarization nurtured by the recent spiral of atrocities, that could continue to feed what has been labelled as the most critical security crisis in the country since 1945.

From The Guardian:

“One hundred and 47 people were killed in attacks in 2015 – from January’s gun attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices and a kosher grocery store to the coordinated gun and bomb attacks across Paris on 13 November. Nice will add at least 84 deaths to this toll.

The report into the Paris attacks emphasised the difficulties posed by France’s six different intelligence units, which answer variously to the interior, defence and economy ministries. Overseas intelligence agencies complained to the parliamentary inquiry that it was impossible to work within such a bureaucratic mess.

The commission highlighted a “global failure” of French intelligence and recommended a total overhaul of the intelligence services, including the creation of a single, US-style national counter-terrorism agency. “Our country was not ready; now we must get ready,” Georges Fenech, the head of the commission, said.”

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