Je suis Charlie

The news has been dominated recently by events in France. Reports say that about ten people who worked in Paris for a satirical magazine, “Charlie Hebdo”, were gunned down in their offices by a group of Muslim extremists. Apparently the magazine is well-known for satirising Mohammed (and other religious figures) and its staff have received numerous death threats in the past. Thousands of French took to the streets in support of free speech, many with placards saying “Je suis Charlie”.

Although the gunmen escaped from the scene of the crime, the French authorities released photographs of two brothers they said were responsible. The following day, yesterday, it was reported that the two brothers had been found. Hundreds of police immediately surrounded the location and after an hour or two the almost-inevitable happened: the brothers were gunned down.

One other interesting little detail was reported. When the French authorities announced they were looking for the brothers they also said, presumably with equal conviction, they were looking for a third man. Within hours of that announcement the third man walked into a police station. We have not yet heard what happened to him, but presumably he has not yet been gunned down. His story is interesting because it suggests one of two things: either he is an innocent man and had nothing to do with the murders, or it’s a clever way of ensuring that a murderer is not himself murdered, and will live to have his day in court. If he was an innocent man, it makes you wonder about the accuracy of the authorities’ certainty about the guilt of the two brothers. I mean, if the authorities name three people they’re looking for, one of whom turns out to be innocent, what chance they were equally mistaken about the other two? If, on the other hand, he was not innocent and turned himself in as a good way of increasing his chances of staying alive, why did the others not do so too? It seems unlikely to me that the terrorists staged their attack as a suicide mission, knowing they were unlikely to escape from the country and would therefore eventually have to have a showdown with the police – otherwise why not have their showdown at the scene of the crime?

The only thing that’s reasonably certain about these appalling events is that it’ll be a long time before we learn the truth – if we ever do learn it. Even then, we’re unlikely to learn the whole truth.

Whilst it’s perfectly possible that this terrible event was just what it seems – an attack by Muslim extremists with a genuine sense of grievance about the activities of Charlie – it must also be clearly understood that things might not be quite so simple. The French authorities are, after all, vastly experienced in black operations from the days of running their own empire, and are now close allies of the new Empire, which is known to be very conversant with black operations, including the staging of false flag events.

We can, of course, speculate with countless conspiracy theories, but certain facts are quite well understood, facts which should not be overlooked in trying to make sense of what actually happened.

One such fact is that the Empire and its main attack dogs have been murdering innocent and defenceless Muslims in industrial quantities for decades – something which quite understandably has driven many otherwise peace-loving Muslims to become extremists. Another hard fact is that the Empire and its main attack dogs have been arming and training Muslim extremists for many years – for at least as far back as the Russian occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. This is an ancient trick of empire, called “divide and rule”, and allows empires to either control hostile territory without using too many of their own forces to do so; or, if resistance to occupation is too strong (as has recently been the case in Syria where this technique was employed), the resulting mayhem makes it very difficult for others to control and profit from the area, or for people to lead normal lives there. It’s a highly effective tool of empire, which is, of course, why it’s been used for thousands of years.

The horrific tragedy that played out in France over the last few days cannot be condemned too strongly, but reaction to it must be carefully balanced with the far greater tragedy that has been played out for many centuries, and continues to be played out daily with no apparent end in sight: the ongoing tragedy of empire-building.

John Andrews is a writer and political activist based in England. His latest booklet is entitled EnMo Economics. Other Non-Fiction books by John are: The People's Constitution (2018 Edition); and The School of Kindness (2018 Edition); and his historical novel The Road to Emily Bay Read other articles by John.