The person held responsible for the Charlie Hebdo attacks could have received weapons from the police. The new pieces of evidence connect the French intelligence authorities with the committed crimes.
Already last year, it was hard to understand how individuals known to the intelligence services could have prepared such attacks without being detected. The revelation that Amedy Coulibaly received weapons from Claude Hermant, a police informant tied to the neo-fascist and anti-Muslim National Front (FN), raised further questions as to the possible complicity of political forces in France that could have benefited from them. The attack not only accelerated the normalization of the FN, but reinforced police powers, a key element of the policy of the ruling Socialist Party (PS).
Documents obtained by investigating magistrates probing the January 2015 attacks raise even more questions, however, about possible complicity of forces within the French state.
The decision not to monitor individuals linked to the AQAP leadership is inexplicable. AQAP members in Yemen are routinely targeted by US drone strikes, supposedly because a war on this group is necessary to prevent them from operating in Europe or America.
Between 2011 and 2013, the DGSI’s reports show that the Kouachi brothers were close to Peter Cherif, who was also indicted together with Chérif Kouachi for having gone to join the war in Iraq in the early 2000s as part of the “Buttes-Chaumont” Islamist group. Peter Chérif managed to flee before his sentencing in March 2011 and obtain a leadership role inside AQAP. Chérif Kouachi, on the other hand, was arrested before he could take the plane.
Citing judicial sources, Le Monde reports, “Starting in April 2012, the Kouachi brothers were considered to be so dangerous that they were targeted for joint DGSE-DGSI investigations.”
As “priority” targets, the Kouachi brothers were targeted for intensive surveillance, which intelligence officials then somehow abandoned. Saïd’s communications were tapped for eight months in 2012 and two months in 2014, from February to June. Those of Chérif were followed for two years, from 2011 to 2013.
One can ask what motivated the intelligence services’ decision to stop the surveillance of the Kouachi brothers. Le Monde’s analysis, describing this decision as a “bad twist of fate” and a “missed rendezvous,” explains nothing at all.
The Kouachi brothers were “priority objectives,” considered to be “extremely dangerous” by French intelligence and at the heart of AQAP’s network in France.
As for Coulibaly, despite his relations with the Kouachi brothers and a broadly similar background, he was never considered as a priority objective.
NATO countries’ intelligence services did not aggressively target the Kouachi brothers and Coulibaly because, in the final analysis, it was not in the interests of the ruling class. These terrorists were part of the same networks being mobilized in the imperialist wars in Libya and Syria.
At the same time, the crimes of the Kouachi brothers and Coulibaly were used to justify a domestic policy that the PS and the entire French financial aristocracy was seeking to implement. At the end of 2014, the PS had its back to the wall, its austerity policies were at 3 percent in the polls, and it feared that it might totally disintegrate in the 2017 presidential election. Prime Minister Manuel Valls had raised the danger of the “death” of the “left” in France.
The November 13 attacks, which claimed 130 lives, allowed the PS to reinforce these police measures by imposing a state of emergency, carrying out mass extra-judicial searches and seizures, and proposing deprivation of nationality for dual nationals—a measure backed by the FN. The terror attacks thus benefited political forces closely tied to the police and to the FN, and served to justify the drive towards an authoritarian state. Hollande was subsequently presented in a new light, as a “war president.”