“A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves”, said once Edward R. Murrow. Today, France resembles that nation.
The fearmongering achieved its goal. The French National Assembly reached an agreement, almost unanimously, to extend the state of emergency until February 26 and expand police powers.
Six votes against and 551 in favor reflected the absence of debate in a society that has lost freedoms and whose people reject radical Islam, but accept radical government.
The feeling of insecurity drives extraordinary measures and that is why both Hollande and Valls have been playing the fear card all along since last Friday’s bomb attacks.
“It was an emergency procedure,” say those who are in favor of government radicalism.
The main opposition party, the Republicans of Nicolas Sarkozy, did not make too much of an opposition to the growing Police State. They actually wanted to go even further with more restrictive measures but accepted the socialist proposal.
“We will vote in favor. We need to move fast,” said the conservative MP Eric Ciotti.
Some of the support for the law came with a little suspicion from the Environmentalist party, whose members said “We will be vigilant”.
“These must be exceptional, transitional measures. We will vote in favor although there will be three votes against our group,” said the environmentalist François de Rugy.
One of those three environmental opposition members was Noël Mamère, one of the very few critical voices in the session on Thursday, where he said the speed with which they have taken security measures are part of a “drift” in French politics with too many laws promoted through “emotion” that are quickly approved before being properly vetted.
The other three votes against the new measures came from the left Socialist group of deputies who were also critical of the economic policy of Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
The massive vote in favor, which today is likely to be sanctioned by the Senate, allows the government to extend the state of emergency for three months; until 26 February 2016.
The most important measure of the new legislation is called assignment of residence. It seeks to legalize the confinement of a terror suspect in a house in a neighborhood.
Confined suspects may be held incommunicado.
During the debate, however, the government itself introduced important coercive measures: if the suspect has a previous conviction for terrorism he may be fitted with an electronic bracelet.
An alarm will alert the police if the subject leaves the geographical perimeter that has been imposed by the Interior Minister.
At the request of the government, MPs approved the possibility of copying computer data in the course of an investigation without a judicial warrant and to dissolve groups advocating terrorism, which applies particularly to managing radical mosques.
The Assembly has added a small legislative change which will immediately block websites that promote terrorism. However, it is unknown what the criteria will be to designate a website as a promoter of terrorism or what content will be deemed as an instigator of terrorism.
A country of Sheep
France is today another France; more fearful and more willing to surrender its freedoms.
“We face an enemy willing to use any failure of the state,” warned the centrist deputy Jean-Christophe Lagarde.
Before the full winding, Valls was able to report the death of Abdelhamid Abaaoud and congratulate the police.
The climate was right to approve new legislation overwhelmingly.
In parallel to the parliamentary debate, the Directorate General of the National Police decided to authorize police officers to carry weapons even while off duty.
President Francois Hollande wants even the municipal police to be armed when on duty.
Until now the national police could only carry weapons within the constituency in which they work.
“We want to be able to carry during their daily trips from home to work,” explained Christophe Dumont, the Syndicated Picture of Homeland Security.
With the new guidelines, officers are allowed to carry their weapons anywhere in the country even if they are off work or on holiday.
The director of the DGSI will meet with unions to set new measures, perhaps permanent ones regarding this new condition.
Moreover, the prefecture expanded until Sunday the ban on organizing demonstrations.
The Government has also decided to indefinitely deprive the Climate Summit that begins in Paris on 30 November of its lighter side and to void all associated activities.
The great march planned by the city center on Sunday 29th has also been canceled.
The Unlimited Power of the Fear Card
Citing no conclusive evidence, the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, warned yesterday about the possibility that the country becomes a victim of a chemical or bacteriological attack.
“We can not exclude anything. I say this with precaution, but we are at risk of chemical and biological attacks,” Valls said at the start of a parliamentary debate which approved the new anti-terrorism measures.
Valls disturbing words are not a novelty.
The Government shuffled this possibility ahead of the Climate Summit and on Saturday, a day after attacks, the Health Department published a decree to authorize the purchase of a massive amount of pharmaceutical drugs that work as an antidote to some poisoning, especially against sarin gas.
In just one week, after the Paris attacks, France has imposed strong limitations to freedom of speech, freedom of movement and has exponentially strengthened the power of the State.
Government officials have also demonstrated their disdain for the rule of law and by their actions have stated that they do not trust the French people to take care of their own security. Meanwhile, the French people have accepted the new limitations imposed by their leaders.
The new French nation governed by neocolonialist wolves has risen.