Privacy SOS

Mission creep: France uses emergency rules passed in wake of Paris attacks to silence environmentalist

In the latest example of terror wars mission creep, the French government has begun using emergency rule powers granted in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks to silence environmentalists.

The Intercept reports:

In the wake of the ISIS attacks on November 13, the French government has declared a three-month state of emergency that allows for house arrests, unwarranted searches, and limitations on the movement of people. The government also banned public demonstrations, including the massive actions that had been planned for the international climate conference, known as COP21. Numerous reports have emerged of police raids on individuals with no plausible connection to terrorism, including climate activists.

Domenjoud had been busy that week fighting in court against the ban on demonstrations and preparing alternative actions related to the climate talks, which began today. He had been awaiting the results of what is known as a référé liberté arguing that the ban violated the fundamental rights of those affected and asking an administrative judge to overturn it. The judge declined to do so.

Domenjoud had also filed papers declaring plans for a climate convoy to pass through two Parisian suburbs into the city. The convoy included occupants of a ZAD, or zone à défendre, territory in the west of France that has been occupied by activists for years to prevent developers from building an airport.

Now Domenjoud wondered if he’d be able to participate in climate conference activities at all. He stopped at a library near his home that he runs as part of an activist collective. Peering out the window, he saw what looked like cops at the back of his apartment building and decided he’d be more secure in a public place. Domenjoud ordered a coffee in a café and began calling journalists, NGO workers, and union members he knew.

In the United States, broad executive powers and special technologies granted to police and federal agencies under the auspices of “fighting terrorism” are routinely used to investigate, prosecute, and lock up people accused of drug crimes. Similarly, the so-called “fusion centers” established in the wake of the 9/11 attacks have been found, again and again, to direct their investigatory efforts at peaceful dissidents, sometimes labeling them threats to homeland security simply for opposing war or holding other banal political views. The FBI’s “Joint Terrorism Task Force” has spied on Black Lives Matter demonstrators.

Former CIA director Richard Helms knew that the best way to cover up state attacks on lawful dissent was to call that dissent “terrorism.” France seems to have figured out that it can likewise use special powers rammed through government in the wake of terrorist attacks to go after people who are not violent, but merely threaten the status quo.

Quelle horreur.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.