quarta-feira, 27 de julho de 2016

Em França há medo. De tudo / With each attack, France nudges rightward on security

Em França há medo. De tudo

França destroçada com novo atentado - dois homens armados com facas sequestraram cinco pessoas e mataram um padre. “Estamos em guerra”, dizem políticos e cidadãos. Em França há medo. De tudo. Agora também de represálias descontroladas contra os muçulmanos

Daniel Ribeiro, correspondente em Paris
26.07.2016 às 14h58

É já uma rotina aflitiva. Atentados sucessivos, angústia em crescendo, franceses atordoados numa vertigem de lutos, de cólera e de incompreensão. Mesmo as palavras sofridas de um presidente François Hollande, visivelmente destroçado, ao fim desta manhã, no local do atentado terrorista, numa igreja em Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, perto de Rouen, na Alta Normandia, já fazem parte desta negra rotina francesa.

“É um ignóbil e cobarde atentado terrorista, ligado ao Daesh, estamos mobilizados com todas as forças para combater o terrorismo”, disse o chefe do Estado. Hollande já repetiu as mesmas palavras vezes sem conta. Desde há 18 meses que é assim, em França, que chora quase 250 mortos em atentados terroristas neste período. Dramas, promessas de guerra ao terrorismo, em França e no estrangeiro.

“Estamos em guerra”, dizem quase todos os franceses, incluindo o primeiro-ministro, Manuel Valls. Um padre foi degolado, um dos reféns ficou gravemente ferido, os dois sequestradores que durante esta manhã tomaram de assalto uma igreja da pequena localidade normanda foram abatidos pelas forças especiais da polícia.

A essa hora, a meio da manhã, este repórter estava num táxi, em Paris. O motorista ouvia “France Info”, uma rádio de informação permanente, era judeu, estava furioso. “É preciso arrasar toda a zona controlada pelo Daesh, com todas as nossas armas, incluindo nucleares, prender estes muçulmanos todos dos subúrbios, matá-los se for preciso”, exclamava, fora de si.

Quase todos os franceses estão angustiados e, muito mais do que exasperados, estão em cólera. O ex-presidente, Nicolas Sarkozy, aparentemente também. Numa curta declaração, esta tarde, Sarkozy, que é candidato da direita francesa às presidenciais, disse: “Estamos em guerra, agora é eles ou nós, não podemos ficar por meias medidas”. A direita francesa pede prisões em série, ou pelo menos “controlos sistemáticos” de milhares de pessoas registadas de perto ou de longe com o radicalismo religioso.

Nunca se viu uma situação destas em França. Um francês de 70 anos, vizinho deste correspondente, no bairro número 11 de Paris, o mais flagelado por atentados, disse-me: “Receio que comecem a verificar-se represálias, que muçulmanos comecem a ser atacados, acho que vai acontecer, vai ser terrível”.

Pavorosa perspetiva. Um dos sequestradores da igreja de Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray teria estado preso até há pouco tempo, por ligações a movimentos radicais islâmicos. Teria tentado ir combater para a Síria, estava em liberdade condicionada, usava pulseira eletrónica e tinha autorização para sair de casa entre as 8h30 e as 12h30. Saiu de casa na manhã de hoje e terá sido ele que degolou o padre católico.

A França há medo. De tudo. Georges Fenech, deputado de direita, presidente da comissão de inquérito parlamentar sobre os terríveis atentados de 2015, defende a criação de um “Guantanamo à francesa” para gerir a situação. “Um Guantanamo à francesa será a solução mais simples. Uma prisão destinada a indivíduos radicalizados”, disse o parlamentar francês.

O novo ataque, na Normandia, ocorreu quando estão em curso polémicas sobre as falhas de segurança em Nice, durante o massacre da noite do dia 14 de julho - 84 mortos e, 12 dias depois, dez feridos em perigo de vida.

With each attack, France nudges rightward on security

Spate of terrorism brings ‘Israeli model’ into the French political debate.

Pierre Briançon
7/26/16, 8:35 PM CET

PARIS — The French once again spent the day watching their clench-jawed, sullen-looking leaders call for national unity in the face of “the war” waged on their country by ISIL. Once again an attack seemed to break another taboo — this time the brutal killing of an elderly priest, in his church in bucolic Normandy — signaling that even in the deepest French provinces terror can strike anybody, anytime.

And once again, French voters will likely turn on François Hollande, the president who is in charge, hence responsible, when those attacks reoccur with growing regularity and whose exit from the political stage has never seemed so near.

What’s unclear after Tuesday’s atrocity in Normandy is how far the current government will go to push new measures to reassure the population, as it did after the January and November attacks last year, and again after Nice less than two weeks ago. Those boiled down to a state of emergency that has already been extended three times, and the use of military troops to help patrol streets or watch sensitive locations. The government has gradually added to its already considerable arsenal of legal clampdowns, for example by making provocation of or apology for terrorist acts a criminal offense, and creating a new category of “crimes of terrorist nature.”

Sarkozy called for an end to “legalese nitpicking,” but that is precisely what others describe as the rule of law.

As before, this terror attack is reopening the debate over the appropriate balance between civil liberties and security with calls to “do something” and allow the police and the courts to impose more severe punishments on the perpetrators or, more often (because the authors of terror acts rarely survive them), the plotters who can be caught beforehand.
Sarkozy brings the heat

Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French president, was first out of the gate Tuesday with a statement asking the government to “implement without delay the measures [the conservative opposition] has been asking for months.” The government, he said, should put an end to “legalese nitpicking,” but that is precisely what others describe as the rule of law.

In recent months and even after Nice, the Socialist government had been at pains to insist it would respect the constitutional order, not seeing in the current “war” against ISIL (a word Hollande repeated Tuesday) a reason to suspend civil liberties.

“We have to move to a life where you can’t carry backpacks in public spaces, where bags are seriously and systematically searched, and not by tired employees who only take a quick look” — François Heisbourg

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was explicit just a week ago in his speech to Parliament in asking for a renewal of the state of emergency. The government, he said, would “turn down the temptation to propose arbitrary measures or steps that would run counter to [France’s] democratic and constitutional principles.”

It has, for example, resisted the conservative Les Républicains party’s calls for clamping down hard on people with “direct or indirect connections” with a terrorist group, either by expelling foreigners, or interning French citizens.

The problem, a government adviser said, is that the line between what the French are ready to accept in the name of security and what they would deem a violation of their civil liberties is moved further back with each new attack.

‘Israeli model’

The model most talked-about in recent weeks in French political and security circles has been that of Israel — based on a deep awareness of the terror risk by the population, armed patrols in public transports, systematic controls at entrance points of public spaces.

“It seems clear to me the Israeli model is the direction we should be moving towards,” said François Heisbourg, special adviser at France’s Strategic Research Foundation, who has co-authored several government papers on terrorism over the years. Heisbourg, a former adviser to Socialist governments, has publicly called Hollande’s response to terror acts “inefficient and laughable” — at least in terms of intelligence and prevention.

“We have to move to a life where you can’t carry backpacks in public spaces, where bags are seriously and systematically searched, and not by tired employees who only take a quick look,” he said.

In Nice, a terrorist killed scores of children. On Tuesday, a priest had his throat slashed in front of his flock.

The attack in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, however, underlines the challenge facing the authorities.

“What’s next? Do we now put two cops or two soldiers in every French church?” the government adviser asked.

The head of a private security firm, who didn’t want to be identified, raised doubts about the Israeli model. “Do we want closed terrestrial borders and to bring back the draft?” he asked.

Heisbourg said the nature of the Normandy attack illustrates what he sees as ISIL’s ultimate goal: triggering a civil war in France.

“They killed a priest, in his church, in front of his flock,” and in another precedent, he noted, “in a small French town.” The emotional impact of the Nice Bastille Day truck rampage was magnified by the fact that children were among the victims. This time, the cultural and religious affront will have “a tremendous impact,” the government adviser said.

Among those feeling the most impact, politically, will of course be Hollande, the president whose chances to win a second term next year — or even to run again — are shrinking with every new attack.

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