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Tarnac 9 and the State repression to come?

@ | 05.01.2009 15:38 | Repression | World

The Guardian newspaper published on Saturday a feature on the arrests of nine individuals now known as the Tarnac 9. It's sister paper The Observer followed this up with a pretty awful story titled 'France braced for 'rebirth of violent left'. Interesting in the story is the supposed thesis that the State reckons (or pretends to reckon) that a new wave of militant struggles is about to sweep Europe.

It's probably not a suprise that such stories come at a time when a vast number of people are about to be further pushed to the margins by the worsening financial crisis. It's likely that we might discover a sense of what it is to be social again and this means resitance to poverty and repression. Do these articles, which are disguised as liberal whilst being quite reactionary, point to anything more than what we can expect always from the State (and its police) but especially when the happy gloss of credit and shopping has suddenly worn thin?

Two paragraphs that stand out are the following:

"Secret French government reports, seen by the Observer, describe an "elevated threat" from an "international European network ... with a strong presence in France" after the radicalisation of "a new generation of activists" in recent years. Senior analysts and experts linked to the government have drawn parallels with the Action Directe group, which carried out 50 or more attacks in the early 1980s. Others cite the example of the Baader-Meinhof gang.

A report by the French domestic intelligence service talks of "a rebirth of the violent extreme left" across Europe that is likely to be aggravated by the effects of the economic crisis. Other secret documents expose alleged links with activists in Italy, Greece, Germany and the UK. "It has been growing for three or four years now and the violence is getting closer and closer to real terrorism," said Eric Dénécé, director of the French centre of intelligence research and a former Defence Ministry consultant".

It's the last paragraph that is the more interesting. As with the Tarnac 9, there was no indication of any repression before the ridiculous scenes of the anti-terrorist police raid in the tiny French village. It's probably not surprising that State's have 'intelligence'. This is usually incorrect and skewed by how they think there are normal docile people and others prone to abnormal behaviour such as protesting, or even just being critical. I wonder what this Euro-wide intelligence really amounts too? A further paragraph (in the Guardian article) demonstrates the
sharing of info between states:

"Police said Coupat and his archaeologist girlfriend had been under surveillance for months. The arrests followed six incidents of vandalism on France's high-speed railway lines, which caused delays for thousands of travellers but no casualties. Coupat and his girlfriend had allegedly been seen by police near a train line that was later vandalised.

The couple had come to the attention of the FBI months earlier when they took part in a protest outside an army recruitment centre in New York. They and acquaintances are said to have often travelled to protests and demonstrations such as a recent protest at a European summit on immigration at Vichy".

There is much more to say on these themes. This is just a kind of notice of the two articles and some attempt to prompt some pro-active discussion that arises from those themes. Such a discussion does not need to happen here (for obvious reasons) but with those who are active in the kinds of circles described in the articles. Some other commentary here could be made here.

The articles -



Hide the following 3 comments


05.01.2009 23:13

The people arrested were so dangerous that they have nearly all been released. Even the person who is accused of being the "ringleader" is being held against the ruling by an investigative magistrate that he should be released. Some of the evidence against them is that none of the accused possess mobile phones.

I wonder if the people who blew up the Greenpeace boat a few years ago owned mobile phones? (whoops, not supposed to mention state terrorism).



06.01.2009 15:04

from the same newspaper publishing house that brought you the article - later withdrawn following complaints - about UK 'domestic terrorism' that was faked up to suit a dangerous agenda...

What's behind these articles I wonder?


To @

08.01.2009 15:02

I wouldn’t limit the discussion to just those who ‘are active in the kinds of circles described in the articles’. Isolation is the most powerful tool at the hand of the State when a campaign of political repression like this one is launched. Just talking among yourselves/ourselves, many probably already well known to the police, won’t stop the ongoing miss-information and miss-representation that help to catalogue some activists as a ‘danger to society’ and worth locking away. Building and spreading an argument that serves to counter-act this miss-information and gains you some more supporters/defenders might prove more useful (even if it doesn’t stop the repression, you might increase the chances of keeping safe). Saying this, it seems that the only people who could help are those ideologically align to Marxist-leninist groups, well-known for their indifference to notions of political liberties and, more generally, direct democracy. Neither can I imagine the likes of David Davies and Shami Chakrabarti crying democracy when it is a bunch of anarchists the ones being repressed. A tough one …

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