Mind-blowing: the French State is relocating political repression

the DGSI subcontracts to London

A historical fact that the French should remember better: the Police nationale, which is subordinate nowadays to Gérald Darmanin, a church mouse who on occasion, gets oral sex from citizens against reward, was founded on August 14, 1941. Here on January 21, 1942, French police officers pledged allegiance in Paris to the head of the fascist State, Philippe Pétain (Roger-Viollet)

I read a brief evocation on April 18, found it difficult to believe, until a first French article in the evening, in Libération.

In the theory of the rule of law, where the latter is prevailing over political power, no one should be arrested without having committed an offense against the law and the legality of the investigation is guaranteed by a procedure, the detailed account of which is transmitted to a judicial authority, in the prospects of a possible judgment. Various legal means are enabling the export of a judicial investigation. An international warrant can be issued to arrest a subject who will then be extradited. A French judge can also release an international letters rogatory (CRI) to conduct investigation abroad. The local police will carry it out, in attendance of French counterparts and compliance with the local law. Nothing like that happened in London on the evening of April 17.

My understanding of the mechanism at this stage: British investigators will not ascertain any terrorist offense, but if the current process is not interrupted, the personal data of Ernest Moret may be conveyed to their French counterparts, who would not get them otherwise. I summarize: in French law, no legal reason allowed the arrest, the search or the seizure of Ernest Moret’s personal data. No international warrant nor letters rogatory, which should target an offense under French law and be issued by a French magistrate. But in the United Kingdom, schedule 7 of the anti-terrorist arsenal is allowing, for a simple presumption, to stop people at the borders, to question and search them. Another practical feature in Great Britain: the investigating judge does not exist. In the event of ascertained offense, the police will deliver you directly to court. Which will not be the case here, but no control of the procedure either. On the other hand, if the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which does not punch at the same weight as the servile French IGPN (Inspection générale de la Police nationale), gets involved, it can hurt a lot. Another culture, that of responsibility.

To put it simply, the British counter-terrorism investigators have other fish to fry. Until someone has told them about him, they were completely unaware of Ernest Moret. The subject did not appear to threaten Britain and investigators only questioned him on French political issues. They did not act at random, but certainly at the administrative request of their French counterparts. Which ? Direct contacts abroad, in a suspected terrorism case, designate the DGSI (Direction générale de la sécurité intérieure), directly subordinate to the minister of interior. But what could have been going through their heads? If we remember the spectacular failures in 2015 or the distressing Samuel Paty affair, in 2020, we have already understood that the DGSI is much more reactive in the repression of political opposition than it is effective in the fight against terrorism. And for Gérald Darmanin, the fight against what he is calling ultra-left is a bit of a holy war.

The blood of British democrats has boiled over and the Guardian relates the case

French publisher arrested in London on terrorism charge […]
Ernest Moret was stopped at rail station and taken into custody, where he was questioned about his participation in French protests […]
He was questioned for six hours and then arrested for alleged obstruction in refusing to disclose the passcodes to his phone and computer […]
Magliani-Belkacem told the Guardian: “When we were on the platform, two people, a woman and a guy, told us they were counter-terrorist police. They showed a paper called section 7 of the Terrorism Act of 2000 and said they had the right to ask him about demonstrations in France[…]
Éditions la Fabrique is known for publishing radical left authors […]
Pamela Morton, senior books and magazines organiser for the National Union of Journalists, also expressed concern. She said it seemed “extraordinary that the British police have acted this way” in arresting a publisher on the way to the London book fair. “We will be taking this up with the police,” she added […]

For its part, the Telegraph headlines

Left-wing French publisher arrested by Scotland Yard ‘over anti-Macron protests’

I have a pleasant feeling that the British are well on their way to clearing the air about what they believe to be misuse of their anti-terrorism law. I would infinitely regret that Gérald Darmanin gets off lightly.


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