The liberal harvest: outrage in Paris

The fact that the two ghastly outrages in Paris (11 and 129 dead) this year have been perpetrated by Muslim extremists, mostly resident in France or actual French citizens, has called forth a vast amount of comment from the media.

The overwhelming tenor of this comment has been the standard liberal response to any problem, i.e. to ask where have “they” (i.e. the native people of France) gone wrong in not making sufficient allowances for Muslim differences from French culture and society.

By extension to Britain, whose own home grown atrocity (53 dead) ten years ago is remembered every day by the families of the victims, the comment (on the BBC Today programme 17th November for example) is that our policy of “multiculturalism” has been more successful in avoiding similar outrages than France’s policy of Muslim assimilation into French secular society.

Perhaps the most asinine comments so far have come from BBC personality Dan Snow in the Daily Telegraph of 17th November.  Taking a slightly different tack from the calls for “solidarity”, Snow pronounced that “we” (I think he means the English) have always been France’s twin”.  “We have fought to the last man for the other’s freedom.”  “Yes, we have on occasion fought each other . . . ”

The truth of course is that France and England (later Britain) have been at war on and off more or less continuously since the hundred years’ war (1346-1415) right through to the Fashoda incident in 1898 which almost led to war.  In the 20th century, France has been Britain’s most determined cultural and political rival (not least in European Union matters) even when France was entirely dependent on Britain’s (and America’s) goodwill to keep resistance alive during the German occupation.  Inability, or unwillingness, to identify our actual enemies and competitors is a principal component of political liberalism, fully evident in the recent past in not identifying Al Qaeda and Islamic State as mortal enemies.

Information is the key to combatting terrorism: The Echelon System

None of this is to say that Britain shouldn’t help France, where we can, without compromising the integrity of our own intelligence systems and those of our allies.  In combatting threats to our own security both at home and abroad, our single greatest asset is the 1969 UK-USA Security Agreement which is a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and computer analysis network, operated by the five English-speaking ABCANZ nations – America, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand – referred to as Echelon and also known as the “Five Eyes”.  On a case by case basis, and with the agreement of all its partners, information gained from Echelon is made available to our NATO allies.

Formally established in 1971 to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries (now part of the EU) it has become a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications, as well as military and diplomatic communications[1].  Owing to its unique system of listening stations spread around 360 o of the globe, of which GCHQ in Cheltenham and the British Sovereign base in Dhekelia in Cyprus are integral parts[2], and given that the terrorists operating in the West have to communicate using satellite dependent radio telephones and computers, Echelon is the single most important weapon in the ABCANZ countries’ armoury.  Regrettably a big part of Edward Snowden’s leaks revealed details about Echelon.

But it is this information and analysis based on complex software, rather than liberal emoting about “defiance” and “solidarity”, which will win the war against terrorism originating outside our countries, and is a major weapon for combatting it inside.

End Notes

[1]  This not to say that Echelon is actually used for private and commercial interceptions.

[2]  Along with the National Security Agency in the USA, the Communications Security Establishment of Canada, the Australian Signals Directorate and the Government Communications Security Bureau of New Zealand.

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One Response to “The liberal harvest: outrage in Paris”

  1. Ageing Albion says:

    There are multiple fronts in this battle, but we can separate three:

    (1) Actual territory, akin to a state, controlled by ISIS in Iraq/Syria, within which attacks on the West are planned and terrorists trained.

    (2) Terror groups in other parts of the world, which may control smaller territories (Libya, now clearly a failed state akin to Iraq, and the result of Cameron and others absurdly thinking that the removal of a dictator might lead to a better society) or simply be able to exist within a weak state (eg Pakistan).

    (3) Terrorists within Britain.

    As to (1), our Syrian policy has been pathetic. First we encouraged rebellion against Assad, then we threatened him with a ‘red line’ over the use of chemical weapons, then we did nothing when he crossed that line, then we insisted he had to go before any settlement could be negotiated, then we have just about accepted that since Russia has backed its support for him with action, that he is not going; and that however bad his regime was and is, the alternative is worse. Russia, by contrast, backed him all along and have enforced that policy by hard power.

    If ISIS are permitted to continue its reign of terror, we can expect much more people smuggling and terror attacks at home and abroad. There is no appetite for ground troops in the West but it is patently clear that a year of air strikes have not come close to ending ISIS’ control of territory. We can but hope that the Kurds, the Syrian army and possibly the Red Army too take up the challenge and destroy ISIS by ground troops. Just like 1941, we will have to rely on an appalling Russian regime to expend the blood needed to defeat a common enemy.

    However, we can never eliminate (2). And that leaves the most important concern for Britain, namely (3). And there are many facets to that campaign, including the closure of all state Islamic schools, no public funds for mosques or Islamic schools of any description, an end to mass immigration from Islamic countries and a clear sense of British identity and values to be at the head of the school syllabus.

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