Antiterrorism: One Doesn’t Judge An Enemy, One Fights Him

Mr. Cazeneuve’s summer offering, the new bill aimed at strengthening “provisions relating to the fight against terrorism,” is a timely reminder: if there is one area in which France intends to maintain its position as European leader it’s clearly antiterrorism. This fact doesn’t receive the recognition it calls for, unfortunately, but French antiterrorism is by far the most productive in Europe—that is, if one grants that the “terrorist” is not something existing in a natural state but is actually produced, through an extravagant set of discourses, procedures, and stagings, deploying a police and judicial apparatus whose results are measured, recorded, and rewarded. In this way, according to a recent Europol report, in 2013 France produced twenty times more terrorists than Germany and three times more than the U.K. It must be in order to preserve this favorable position that the legal means are being secured for flushing out “individual terrorist enterprises,” for applying purely administrative measures to shut down sites suspected by the police of “advocating terrorism,” and for prosecuting the hackers of Anonymous under laws pertaining to organized crime. Let it be said in passing: if 2 plus 2 equals four, then those who created sites for supporting us should have seen their sites shut down since we were accused of terrorism – and continue to be; at least if such a provision had been in effect at the time of our arrests. Which would have suited the police very well of course.

But if one really wishes to know what the future holds for us in terms of antiterrorism one’s attention should be focused not on France but on Italy. That is where the tendencies are quietly emerging. Little has been said, on this side of the Alps, about the trial taking place at this very moment in Turin. That’s regrettable, because on its outcome depends nothing less than the possibility, in Europe, of opposing a governmental decision without immediately being treated as a terrorist. In this instance, four young people are accused of damaging a compressor and a generator at a construction site for the Lyon-Turin high-speed line during one of the countless actions supported by the inhabitants of the Susa Valley against this project. In conformity with the practice in vogue, they are accused of “an attack with terrorist aims” and if they are sentenced within that framework they can expect to serve between twenty and thirty years in prison – that is, roughly their current age. It’s alleged that by attacking the construction site of the TAV (Treno ad Alta Velocità, high-speed train) they not only “caused serious damage to the country” but also, according to the accusation, “seriously damaged its image.” Moreover they were attempting thereby to “Compel the public authorities to implement or refrain from implementing an initiative of whatever kind”-- in the case at hand, refrain from constructing a train line in a valley where no one wants it and where there already is one. And this constitutes terrorist behavior. “Compel the public authorities to implement or refrain from implementing an initiative of whatever kind”—a retirement restructuring or a Troika memorandum for example – is that not the aim of every social movement, of every general strike? Yet this is the definition of terrorism which the Commission got adopted at the European level in 2002, on the pretext of 9/11. This came at the right time, moreover, since the definition was used to push the precious Lyon-Turin train-line project; it would be a shame not to have the judicial means appropriate to its devastating designs.

It will be said, “But all that is happening on the other side of the Alps, in a country that never abandoned, when it should have, a certain inquisitorial vigor; how does it pose a threat to us?” As for us, we haven’t forgotten that at a Rome Interpol summit in 2012, the newly appointed Interior Minister, Manuel Valls, advocated more cooperation confronted with “the forms of violence coming from the ultraleft, from anarchist or autonomous movements”, citing “violent groups” gravitating around projects like the Lyon-Turin high-speed line or the Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport in France. Hence the maneuver that consisted, following the demonstration of February 22 at Nantes, in trying to reduce a whole determined and unyielding popular movement to a handful of irreducible “Black Bloc” militants, foreigners no doubt, an operation that has continued since with the arrest, one by one, based on photos, of presumed rioters, but sentenced no problem by a diligent justice system – now there is something that doesn’t come out of nowhere. As matter of fact, it’s the rhetoric and the strategy developed by the Italian Ministry of the Interior itself, faced with the demonstration of July 3, 2011 against the TAV precisely, in the Susa Valley, a demonstration like others that had spread well beyond it. All that is so crude, people will say.

No one is fooled. And yet it’s working. A little like the fact of having waited two years for the Tarnac affair to “cool down” and for everyone to forget about it so that, without any formal consideration of exculpatory evidence, we can be sent somewhere before an antiterrorist tribunal between next July 14 and August 15, as if it were normal procedure. And this with the idea, undoubtedly, of sentencing us on a December 31st. All that is crude. No one is fooled. And yet it is working.

Following the demonstration of July 3, 2011, the spokespersons of the NoTAV movement had the cheek to reply to the Italian Interior Ministry: “If that’s the way it is, then we’re all Black Bloc!” To which the answer given via the trial that’s under way is, “Well, in that case you are all terrorists.” There is no juridical definition of terrorism. This is why there are so many definitions throughout the world, a hundred or so in fact. “Terrorist” is not a juridical category; it’s the impossible translation of the political category of the “enemy” into the language of law. The idea of a “criminal law of the enemy” allowing any “extrajudicial” measures to be legally justified when dealing with a terrorist is an absurdity that is full of promise for the future, unfortunately. One doesn’t judge an enemy, one fights him. To treat this or that movement as an enemy, as a terrorist, is basically one of the last properly political decisions that governments are making nowadays, occupied as they are with managing current affairs and with convincing us that there’s no longer any place for a genuine decision.

Offloading about the justice of such a gesture is a bit of cowardice that blends very nicely into the squalid landscape. What is fading away, along with every illusion concerning the nature of justice, are the last illusions about “democracy.” Too bad for it.

By Christophe Becker, Mathieu Burnel, Julien Coupat, Bertrand Deveaud, Manon Glibert, Gabrielle Hallez, Elsa Hauck, Yildune Lévy, Benjamin Rosoux, and Aria Thomas.*

*Those charged with terrorism in the Tarnac affair.

This statement appeared in the French daily, Libération, July 21, 2014.

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Comments

This is also, substantially, a solidarity statement with Italian anarchists. So yeah, I wish the Tarnac 9 had a different attitude to the media, but this is also not a mealy-mouthed gesture. Other ex-indictees have taken a much worse attitude - in fact, the reason many European anarchists hate them is that the Tarnac 9 are only somewhat harder than the most principled US anarchist indictees (and not as hard as typical European anarchist indictees). Just sayin' for context.

cool story, bro. so basically they hella puss puss. is that it?

You're a moron.

Fuck trolls looking to be taken seriously by talking shit on whoever. That link doesn't even support your heading. Functionally cointelpro behavior, even if you're an amateur.

It is Western Europe that hatched the notion of ‘categories’ of ‘acts’ such as ‘good acts’ and ‘bad/evil acts’, and developed a concept of justice based the values of ‘rewarding good behaviour’ and ‘punishing bad behaviour’.

This ‘philosophy’ of the absurd is merely being taken to its limit with current ‘anti-terrorism’ prosecutions by ‘justice departments’.

everyone understands that growing up orphaned in a ghetto (‘orphaned perhaps by drug-addicted or pursuit-of-money-addicted parents) breeds dissonant feelings in youth that can manifest in violent behaviours.

while it would seem ‘natural’ to ‘drain the swamp’ that is breeding relational dissonance, those living ‘on the high ground’ prefer to invoke Christian [Western religious] values of ‘rewarding good’ and ‘punishing evil’. This ‘purificationist’ approach to addressing dissonance in relational space of social dynamics, has been popular practice in the Western society for a couple of millennia.

this whole absurd approach is based on ‘breaking natural symmetry’, ... the symmetry of relational spatial dynamics that has been described using the metaphor of ‘hitter-fielding interdependence. the hitter credits himself with his performance even if the pitching/fielding is ‘having a bad day’. the pitching/fielding credit themselves with their performance even if the hitters are ‘having a bad day’

it can be a question of equipment that can ‘tilt’ the field of play; e.g. if one team has rifles and the other team has bows-and-arrows, or if one team has lawyers and unlimited funds and the other does not.

Adam Smith, a century before Darwin affirmed that the poor were poor and their children dying of malnutrition and disease because they were of an inferior race, and Darwin reaffirmed this with his 1859 treatise; “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”.

These notions are ‘natural symmetry breaking’; i.e. they notionally split apart the inherently-INTERDEPENDENT hitter-fielding relational dynamic, synthetically portraying the ‘hitter’ as the full and sole author of ‘his achievements’ and getting rid of the innate ambiguity of the ‘fielding’ contribution. This is also done in Newtonian science by supposing that the ‘individual’ (the relational forms that are continually gathering and being regathered within the world understood as a continually transforming relational spatial plenum).... is an ‘independent reason-driven system’ operating in a notional absolute space and absolute time reference frame.

When the rich and privileged control the common living space and use such controls to disopportunize selected others, making them into slave labourers, their ‘inferior performance’ will then be explained in terms of ‘their innate individual inferiority’ since it is impossible to attribute the ‘inferior performance’ to ‘fielding’; i.e. the conditioning of relational space by the powerful and privileged so that it ‘opportunizes them’ and ‘disopportunizes selected others’, ... because Western thinking has psychologically substituted, for relational space, absolute space and absolute time reference framing which as an imposed ‘metaphysics’ that renders ‘inhabitants’ NOTIONALLY INDEPENDENT of the ‘habitat’. This symmetry-breaking constructs an all-hitter-no-fielding view of dynamics, ... therefore, if one of these notional ‘independent reason-driven systems’ that is notionally operating in an ‘absolutes space and absolute time reference frame’ is seen as having ‘inferior performance’, ... this can only be coming from ‘inferiority’ within the ‘independent reason-driven system’. as Adam Smith observed in 1776 ;

“Every species of animals naturally multiplies in proportion to the means of their subsistence, and no species can ever multiply beyond it. But in civilized society it is only among the inferior ranks of people that the scantiness of subsistence can set limits to the further multiplication of the human species; and it can do so in no other way than by destroying a great part of the children which their fruitful marriages produce.” —Adam Smith, ‘An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations’

This is an ‘all-hitting-no-fielding’ view of dynamics based on inhabitant-habitat INDEPENDENCE. It ignores Mach’s principle of inhabitant-habitat INTERDEPENDENCE, wherein it is perfectly possible for one group of inhabitants to condition the relational commons of habitat so as to disproportionately opportunize themselves [throw easy pitches] while disproportionately disopportunizing others [throw bean balls] and then claim that their superior performance [and the inferior performance of the others] is due to the individual, since the standard view of the individual is that he/she is an ‘independent reason-driven system’ whose performance is seen as being fully driven and directed from out its internal processes, as he/she operates in a space that is independent of the inhabitants that operate within it. sure.

this symmetry-breaking view, which splits apart hitter-fielding into ‘hitter’ and ‘fielding’ and then replaces ‘fielding’ with an absolute space and absolute time reference frame is supported both by Western religious Creation myth, and by Newtonian science.

it is a crock, but it has been institutionalized into Western government and the Western justice system.

* * * *

so what’s going on here?

first of all, Western justice [unlike indigenous anarchist restorative justice] feels that prosecuting evil-doers is sufficient and that ‘draining the swamp’ of the ghetto of disopportunized is not necessary since such a thing cannot even exist in the Western world view which sees people as ‘independent reason-driven systems operating in an absolute space and absolute time reference-frame/operating-theatre’. In such a view which CONVENIENTLY blinds itself to the relational nature of space, it is totally unjustified for the ‘have-nots’ to strike out at ‘the haves’ because ‘the haves’ are where they are due to their innate superiority and the ‘the have nots’ are where they are due to their innate ‘inferiority’. there are no other choices [other than random chance] in the standard Western religion and Newtonian science world view which sees people as ‘independent reason-driven systems operating in a space/habitat that is seen as being ‘independent’ of the inhabitants that operate within it.

While in the restorative justice of indigenous anarchists, there is acknowledgement of inhabitant-habitat-INTERDEPENDENCE, draining the swamp/ghetto is the primary remedy for eruptions of conflict; i.e. restoring balance in the spatial-relational dynamic. It is acknowledged that when relational tensions built, the most sensitive and the most courage may erupt in violence, but that is in no way the ‘jumpstart source’ of the eruption of violence. The source of the violence is the relational spatial tensioning in the matrix of interdependencies.

in the Western view of justice, political differences must be settled by the available political processes of the state. at the inter-state level, there is the ‘just war’ protocol when states get into a conflict they cannot resolve. a just war is one that is duly authorized by the state.

‘terrorism’ became a popular term to describe war-like violence that was NOT under the duly authorized premises of the legitimate ‘independent sovereign state’, such as the rag-tag bands of islamic extremists who could not get islamic leaders to go to war against the colonial powers [Christian leaders invented the concept of the sovereign state; it is, according to law historians, a ‘secularized theological concept’]. islamic leaders, of course, recognized that it would be suicide to overtly go to war against the christian coalition of colonial powers, so governments like Pakistan’s simply pretend to be supportive of the colonial powers because they have no other practical choice. thus there is the growth of what the U.S calls ‘ineligible combattants’ aka ‘terrorists’.

terrorism is special in that it threatens the established world order based on ‘independent sovereign states’ who can create ghettos in the overall world with impunity [this again invokes the notion of independent reason-driven states operating in a world space that is notionally INDEPENDENT of the states that inhabit it. sure. the internal civil wars in sovereign states are ‘not a problem’ so long as the established world order based on the secularized theological concept of ‘independent sovereign states’. this will allow the crony colonizer powers to continue to condition the common relational space so as to opportunize themselves and disopportunize selected others (Russia or whomever) and claim that they are in the topcat position due to their own inherent superiority. this is regardless of the continually changing nature of ‘who they are’ relative to who ‘the others are’ [their rocket scientist were, yesterday, their rocket scientists. we express this in terms of our having ‘grown more of our own muscle’].

groups like the ‘earth liberation front’ are trying to bring in the accursed belief of ‘inhabitant-habitat INTERDEPENDENCE’ which is a threat to the very foundations of the secularized theological concept of the ‘sovereign state’ and the community of ‘independent sovereign states’ that purport to operate in a world habitat that is ‘INDEPENDENT ‘of the inhabiting states’. if the inhabitant-habitat-INTERDEPENDENCE belief were to catch on [it is already there in indigenous anarchist communities], then it would no longer be possible for states and individuals to ‘hide’ their manipulative conditioning of relational space to opportunize themselves while disopportunizing others, ... behind the guise and guile of purporting all individuals, organisms and organizations (states and corporations) to be ‘independent reason-driven systems’ that operate in a notional habitat that is INDEPENDENT of the inhabitants that reside and operate within it,.... as is institutionalized in Western moral judgement based justice.

one can see in the global collective of sovereign states use of ‘terrorism’, the same attempt to create a ‘moral panic’ using ‘moral entrepreneurship of police and media’ to create a ‘folk devil’ called ‘the terrorist’, as has been described in Stanley Cohen’s 1972 paper on ‘Moral Panics and Folk Devils’, which oriented to how moral judgement based social systems create ‘folk-devils’ out of ‘Mods’ and ‘Rockers’ and others who 'disturb the established norms'.

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