Returning Jihadists: What should be done?

 

At a time when Europe grapples with the fallout of the post-Islamic State ‘caliphate,’ including the fate of its foreign fighters and their families — along with Islamist radicals in European prisons (some set to be freed this year) — AAPA members met with leading jihadist expert Farhad Khosrokhavar.

Iranian-born Khosrokhavar is a sociologist and research director at the Paris-based Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). He has written a number of books and studies on radicalization and Islam, most recently Le Nouveau Jihad en Occident (2018). Farhad has done extensive research on jihadism in prisons in France and in the UK.

France has been Western Europe’s biggest exporter of fighters to Iraq and Syria. Like its European counterparts, France is confronted with the problem of how to deal with the partners and children who have returned to the fighters' country of origin.

Text and photos by Thomas Haley


SAFE HAVEN FOR JOURNALISTS - La Maison des Journalistes

Since its creation in 2002, La Maison des Journalistes has assisted almost 400 journalists from over 60 countries in the difficult task of starting a new life. This non-profit organization, the only one of its kind in the world, offers a safe haven to journalists who have had to flee their home countries due to oppression from authoritarian regimes. MDJ serves as a beacon for the defense of press freedom in the world. AAPA met with Darline Cothiere, director of MDJ and visited the premises with some of the residents.


Bruno Latour

 

"It is not a question of cognitive capacity, of comprehending facts, but rather sharing the same "territory". As reflected in the slogan: "My country, right or wrong"; to what or to whom are people loyal? We no longer share the same Land."

 

Former Scientific Director of Sciences Po Media Lab, philosopher and anthropologist Bruno Latour, explained to AAPA members the basic premise of his recent book, "Down to Earth" (Où Atterrir). Where he analyzes our present existential crisis of global warming and the incapacity of political leaders to respond in a meaningful way. Prof. Latour uses the idea of landing in a metaphorical way "The question is, how can we land modern civilization into a land with sustainability...without crashing?" The rise of populism, Brexit, the election of President Trump and the Gilets Jaunes are all manifestations of citizens frustrated by the empty responses of politicians incapable of engaging with the problem of where we must land.

Thomas Haley

 


Will Madame Le Pen Make a Comeback?

The AAPA met with Rassemblement National head Marine Le Pen on Feb 15, 2019.

The last time we saw France’s right wing figurehead two years ago she was running for president and riding high in the polls.

Le Pen may have lost to Macron in May 2017, but she’s far from finished.

As the French president struggles to regain his footing after the yellow vest uprising, Le Pen’s popularity is steadily rising - this time in a more “populist” Europe.

Le Pen spoke to members for over an hour, addressing all the main topics from the rise in anti-Semitism to the yellow vest movement.

Le Pen seemed quite confidant that her party will be hugely successful in upcoming European parliament elections, against the background of a much changed Europe. She smiled as she talked of like-minded Polish, Hungarian and Italian voters storming the polls in May to take back the EU parliament for the people....

 


Professor Webber discusses Europe's immediate problems

 

"Europe must show it can provide solutions to problems facing people today," INSEAD Political Science Professor Douglas Webber told the AAPA on March 12 at Cafe Falstaff. "It's not enough today just to keep the peace," he added, referring to one of the key pillars of European unity following WWII.

 

Professor Webber spoke broadly about his recently-published book, European Disintegration? The Politics of Crisis in the European Union (Macmillan International).He pointed to four crises straining the EU: The Eurozone crisis, Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, Shengen and the refugee crisis, and Brexit. Webber believes each of the above crises has made European integration stronger, and that only a united France and Germany can lead and support further integration.

Speaking against the background of a looming Brexit, Webber forecast, "Both the UK and the EU will be less influential" when/if the UK leaves the Europaen Union.

 

- Shellie Karabell

 


President's message for 2019

Dear Members,

A short and somewhat belated note to wish you all a happy and prosperous new year.  The AAPA is in full swing for 2019, having already brought you Delphine Horvilleur, one of France's three female rabbis whose new book on anti-Semitism has alas proved very timely,  and Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader whose party is neck and neck in the polls with Emmanuel Macron's for the upcoming European elections.

The committee members are all working on various speakers we want to bring to you from the worlds of politics, business and the arts. One of the top targets is Emmanuel Macron, on whom I am working by trying to wear down his press team until they finally give in just to get rid of me, but we have a whole range of other makers and shakers on our hit list and will let you know as soon as we have them in the bag.

We would also ask you the members to suggest newsmakers you would like to meet. Send your suggestions to angloamericanparis@gmail.com and we will see what we can do. If, for example, you are in frequent contact with the press team of a minister or a champion of industry, then maybe ask if their boss would be interested in meeting us.

More generally, the association would this year like to get more input/feedback from members. Tell us what you think we should be doing or not doing, make suggestions for social events or outings, tell us about events that AAPA members might be interested in etc. You can do this via our Facebook group page (if you're not already a member of that, just go on to the FB group page and ask to join and you will be signed up) or by sending an email to angloamericanparis@gmail.com.

Among the social events we can look forward to this year are the Second Annual AAPA Bike Ride in May, and the Gala in June. This year it looks like the Gala will be held in the Indian Embassy, where the food is said to be top notch. And of course there are the Happy Hour drinks on the last Friday of each month, which have proved highly popular (and are not restricted to members, so bring along friends and colleagues if you so wish).

We look forward to seeing you at the many events that are in the pipeline for the coming months.

Rory Mulholland

President of the Anglo-American Press Association


French anti-Semitism 'first sign of a national crisis', Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur tells AAPA

Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur of the Mouvement Libéral Juif de France told AAPA members of her own path to the rabbinate (she was ordained in New York because no French institution will ordain women rabbis), and discussed her new book, Réflexions sur la question antisémite, which examines anti-Semitism from the Bible to the present day.

She emphasized that in France today the problem is coming from many different directions—from the far right, from the banlieues, from elements of the Gilets Jaunes—and said France needed to recognize it.

"Anti-Semitism isn't my problem, it's yours," she said. "Anti-Semitism is the first sign of a national crisis."

 

-Rachel Donadio

 


Interpol Chief Warns of New Terrorist Threat

Europe is facing a new “Isis 2.0” wave of terrorism from radicalised individuals returning from conflict zones in the Middle East to their home countries and jailed jihadists who will be completing relatively short prison terms in the next few years, Interpol’s Secretary General Jürgen Stock told the AAPA.

Speaking to some 30 members on Dec. 19, Mr. Stock remarked that prisons act as incubators for radical ideology. Despite claims that Isis has been defeated in combat, he said, it still poses a serious threat as an underground organisation.

He said Interpol is continuing to build its international database of biometric data to identify criminal and terrorist suspects, who are using fake or stolen ID documents for multiple identities, making it difficult for global law enforcement services to track them down.

This database is increasingly being used to crack down on cross-border criminal activity, notably cybercrime, people and drug trafficking and sex crimes.

Mr. Stock admitted that law enforcement agencies have difficulty penetrating the Dark Net, where 60% of the content involves illegal activity.

-David Pearson

 

Links to articles:

The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/19/returning-jihadists-threaten-new-wave-of-terror-in-europe

Voice of America:

https://www.voanews.com/a/world-police-body-warns-of-second-wave-of-terrorists/4707827.html

 

 


Macron's advisors talk diplomacy with the AAPA

Three of  Emmanuel Macron's foreign policy advisors - Philippe Étienne, Aurélien Lechevallier, and Clément Beaune - met with members of the Anglo-American Press Association in an off-the-record event at the Elysée during which they spoke at length of the president's objectives for France on the European and world stage.

Photo: AAPA

Ex-NATO chief, former U.S. Homeland launch campaign against election meddling

Former NATO chief Anders Rasmussen and ex-U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff sounded the alarm over meddling in elections by Russia and other nations during a meeting with the AAPA on November 12.

“Russia has declared war against our democratic system,” Rasmussen, a former Danish prime minister said. “Putin wrongly sees our values as a threat.”

Rasmussen and Chertoff have teamed up with former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and former Mexican President Felipe Calderon to create an international commission that aims to raise awareness of cyber-interference in democracies and to explore technological solutions to the threats.

Emphasizing that technology is making it easier and easier to manipulate reality, they demonstrated a fake audio recording of U.S. President Donald Trump announcing a nuclear exchange with Russia, which they said is spending at least 10 times more in election meddling via social media than the European Union is spending to defend its democracies.

Rasmussen noted that there are 20 key elections on the calendar before 2020, including EU Parliamentary elections and two polls in Ukraine next year. “Put simply, artificial intelligence could make interference tactics available to anyone with just a bit of technological knowledge,” Rasumussen said.

The Danish statesman noted that Russia is not the only nation investing in election meddling and cited Iran and North Korea, and he said that while NATO had taken steps to counter cyber-meddling, it had not done enough.

Speaking the day after a ceremony in France commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, Rasmussen predicted the Atlantic Alliance would survive the Trump presidency even if, according to him, there is a risk that he could win re-election in 2020. “In the worst case, he will be around until 2024,” Rasmussen said.

-Nelson Graves