July 08, 2005
Fox vs. France
The bombings in London: This is why I thought the Brits should let the French have the Olympics (search) — let somebody else be worried about guys with backpack bombs for a while.
But, all Thursday proved is that they come to get you anyway. And, by the way, they come and get their own too:
So here's John Gibson's mental timeline of the bombings:
July 6th: London gets the games. Yay London!
July 6th, afternoon: A terrorist cell puts into action their plan to bomb whoever got the Olympic Games. They import materials, download train schedules, case drop-off points, and plan the attack. In 8 hours.
July 7th, 8am: Bombs go off.
Idiot. The bombs were timed to disrupt the G8 conference, not the Olympic announcement. Terrorist attacks can't change locale on a dime -- they need to be planned and rehearsed, the materials acquired and assembled, the terrorists trained and briefed. It's not like popping to the kitchen to make a sandwich. (Update: some don't think Gibson was connecting the announcement and the attacks. I'm not so sure, but I see the interpretation that puts it in doubt. All other points about Gibson's total ignorance on French/English counterterrorism and Muslim relations stand).
But inability to conceive how a terrorist attack works aside, only someone wholly ignorant in Euro-Muslim relations would think France hasn't been dealing with Islamists. Indeed, it's actually been Britain who decided they'd better just open the gates and try to curry favor with extremists by offering them a near no-questions-asked sanctuary. France, on the other hand, closed their borders to radical Islamists and quickly earned the undying enmity of the jihad movement. I quoted yesterday from Gilles Kepel's Jihad to make this point, and if John Gibson is reading, he should go absorb that graf. But today, let's go to the Washington Post:
Armed with some of the strictest anti-terrorism laws and policies in Europe, the French government has aggressively targeted Islamic radicals and other people deemed a potential terrorist threat. While other Western countries debate the proper balance between security and individual rights, France has experienced scant public dissent over tactics that would be controversial, if not illegal, in the United States and some other countries.
French counterterrorism officials say their preemptive approach has paid off, enabling them to disrupt plots before they are carried out and to prevent radical cells from forming in the first place. They said tips from informants and close cooperation with other intelligence services led them to thwart planned attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Paris, French tourist sites on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean and other targets.
France has embraced a law enforcement strategy that relies heavily on preemptive arrests, ethnic profiling and an efficient domestic intelligence-gathering network. French anti-terrorism prosecutors and investigators are among the most powerful in Europe, backed by laws that allow them to interrogate suspects for days without interference from defense attorneys.
France was dealing with this before London, before America, before the neocons. That's why France's operational intelligence is more valuable to us than just about anyone else's. And they've been serious enough about counterterrorism to pursue security with a zeal that'd make Americans -- both civil libertarians and their critics -- blush. Gibson's article ends with a plea to preserve the PATRIOT ACT. France, in their anti-terror efforts, has gone much further. What a shame that a nationally televised newsman, someone thousands go to for their information, not only doesn't know that, but is ignorant enough to think the opposite. If the media worked rationally, Gibson would be fired and replaced with someone who reads the paper.
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Um, I'm not sure he's implying that the bombings where in response to the Olympics, but he's an idiot just the same.
I think his no-less-disgusting point is that the French deserved some comeuppance, not the Brits.
Posted by: Mr Furious | Jul 8, 2005 3:27:54 PM
It is possible that a terrorist cell, which was already working on an attack, moved up its timeline to yesterday -- not likely, but possible. This might also explain why the plan seemed to lack the coordination of the Madrid bombings.
I'm not saying you're wrong, Ezra, just that we should keep an open mind on this. It is awfully coincidental, you have to admit.
Oh, and John Gibson is an idiot, regardless.
Posted by: urizon | Jul 8, 2005 3:36:09 PM
Sorry, but disruption of the G8 makes oodles more sense. The idea that al Qaeda cares about the Olympics, when all evidence attaches their anger to a set of well-understood (if deeply wrong) geopolitical grievances and perceived imperialist actions, is something only we'd think of. We like to believe they hate our way of life, but they keep telling us they hate our intrusions into theirs. None of this changes the morality of al Qaeda (tyrants, desirous of theocracy), but it should color how we interpret their attacks.
Posted by: Ezra | Jul 8, 2005 3:41:43 PM
On his TV show he does a little commentary at the end. The day before the bombing, after it was announced London got the 2012 Olympics, his commentary was that he would have liked to see France get the 2012 Olympics so they could deal with security and cooperation from the rest of the world after they had hindered our effort on world wide terror. Paris would have been a target of world wide terrorism had it got the olympics, and that is a lot more to deal with than just there homegrown Islamic fascists.
You outta research it a little better before calling for his firing.
By the way, France is selectively cooperative in sharing their intelligence with us. If it does not serve THEIR interest, they don't share.
Posted by: Captain Toke | Jul 8, 2005 3:59:55 PM
Toke, I think maybe the US is as selective as the French. Actually, I think just about every nation in the world is only going to share intelligence if it's in their interest to do so.
Posted by: Brew | Jul 8, 2005 5:37:55 PM
GIBSON: By the way, just wanted to tell you people, we missed -- the International Olympic Committee missed a golden opportunity today. If they had picked France, if they had picked France instead of London to hold the Olympics, it would have been the one time we could look forward to where we didn't worry about terrorism. They'd blow up Paris, and who cares?
Man, that guy is so great!
Posted by: TJ | Jul 8, 2005 5:41:58 PM
'cheese eatin, surrender monkeys!'
Posted by: Captain Toke | Jul 8, 2005 7:09:23 PM
In case my comment was unclear, I'm not really happy with Gibson. Ever, really.
Posted by: TJ | Jul 8, 2005 7:10:32 PM
I read those grafs as saying London would have been bombed regardless of who got the Olympic nod. Try interpreting it as "before the bombings, I was concerned that the Olympics would make Britain a target, but long before Olympic crowds were gathered, Britain got hit - they come to get you anyway."
Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Jul 8, 2005 10:22:35 PM
"By the way, France is selectively cooperative in sharing their intelligence with us. If it does not serve THEIR interest, they don't share."
Now I wonder why that would be...
Posted by: Lewis Carroll | Jul 8, 2005 10:37:56 PM
"French counterterrorism officials say their preemptive approach has paid off"
How the mighty have fallen!
Maybe they want more butter on the pastry?
Posted by: Marty | Nov 7, 2005 6:59:02 PM
Posted by: peter.w | Sep 17, 2007 3:22:40 AM
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