Nick Clegg on the Charlie Hebdo horror: “barbaric attack on freedom of speech”

Nick Clegg has responded to the news of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris:

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43 Comments

  • How do people here think the press will react to this? And how do people think the press should react?

    Will they never again publish cartoons of Muhammad? Or will they do as happened last time (but not in this country) all publish cartoons in solidarity to stand up for their right to freedom of expression and to show that they will not be silenced by threats of violence?

    And what people think they should do?

    My own opinion is that in promising to never again publish cartoons the press would be allowing these lunatics to ‘win’ and essentially get what they want by using violence and the threat of violence. I also feel that while Islam is one of the world’s great religions and has contributed so much in it’s 1,400 year history we should never say that it Islam (or any other religion for that matter) is above criticism or even above having jokes made about it. As for demands that we should respect Islam. Respect is something that can’t be demanded, it’s given freely because those giving it feel that it is deserved or it is not true respect.

  • nvelope2003 7th Jan '15 - 8:30pm

    So the secularist fanatics who derive their income and their status by attacking the deeply held beliefs of other people have now been brought down by those they loved to denigrate and insult. Does freedom of speech give anyone the right to make ignorant or ill informed attacks on the beliefs of those they purport to dislike ? It is the equivalent of crying FIRE in a crowded cinema. Anyone could have predicted this would happen one day and now it has. Well what a surprise just like the pretence of outrage by the usual suspects. I am sorry that the possibly innocent people who worked in the building have had to suffer for the activities of those who should have known better.

  • “Does freedom of speech give anyone the right to make ignorant or ill informed attacks on the beliefs of those they purport to dislike ?”

    As a matter of fact, yes. Yes, it does. And it should. And the proper response of those who “purport” to be offended by those attacks is to speak up on their own account, rebutting the attacks. Assassination is neither predictable nor in any way justifiable. A recourse to violence is the sign of a failure in every respect: a failure of intellect, a failure of words, a failure of normal feelings of humanity. No ideology which thinks it can only defend itself from criticism or mockery with blood can be anything but bankrupt; it lacks the integrity to demand a following.

  • Jayne Mansfield 7th Jan '15 - 9:08pm

    nvelope2003
    Shame on you.

  • stuart moran 7th Jan '15 - 9:12pm

    where to start on the nvelope post?

    Beliefs are not sacred and should not be protected. To me religious beliefs are no more valid than political beliefs and should not be off-limits.

    To answer your question – yes freedom of speech does give the right to make attacks on belief – whether they are ignorant or ill-informed is a subjective matter.

    The thing is religious belief, such as political belief, is a choice not innate. It is not the same as abuse on racial, sexual or gender terms which are not a choice

    I also fail to see why it is equivalent to shouting ‘Fire’ in a crowded cinema?

    People may make the judgement that the journalists on ‘Charlie Hebdo’ printed things in poor taste and whether theirdepictions over-stepped the mark of decency. For me I didn’t find aa lot of their work funny (I am a fluent French speaker but don’t always ‘get’ French humour) and sometimes thought – hmm that is pushing it a bit

    Whatever my thoughts on this it gives no-one the right to go in a slaughter these journalists in the manner that happened. That was a disgraceful and unspeakable abomination.

    You can see the response of many muslims is of disgust and they do not try to make any apology for these murderers – they see that their actions are not compatible with the faith they ascribe to. I know many muslims and I, being of no faith, do not believe in what they do I see the over-whelming majority as kind and loving people just like the same proportion of atheist, antitheist, Christian, Sikh etc etc neighbours

    We should condemn this act forcefully and without any caveats – we should also ensure that this act is not used as a way to further people’s political agenda that want to further division and hatred

    I have tried not to express my extreme distaste for your post in too strong language but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel it inside. This type of act should never be excused in this way – just as the murder of religious believers for their belief should never be

  • Every right-thinking news publication in the free world should respond in the very best way possible, by covering its front page with the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo – *including* the ones of Mohammed.

  • Tsar Nicolas 7th Jan '15 - 10:20pm

    My condolences to all those affected by this brutal and disgusting act of violence. Those who perished were extremely brave and we owe them a debt of gratitude for standing up for freedom and liberty.

    I would, however, draw attention to the one question that should always be asked after a terrorist atrocity. The question is asked here:

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/01/first-question-ask-terror-attack-false-flag.html

  • @Nicolas: I shall not click on that link. I do not wish to give credence or support to the confabulations of conspiracy-mongers.

  • Tsar Nicolas 8th Jan '15 - 12:57am

    David-1 7th Jan ’15 – 10:55pm

    “@Nicolas: I shall not click on that link. I do not wish to give credence or support to the confabulations of conspiracy-mongers.”

    An ahistorical and unreasonable response, betraying, I think, a little fear.

    Leaving aside the fact that at least two terrorists carried out the atrocity , thus making it by definition a conspiracy, the article lists thirty-five events that turned out to be something that was not quite as billed. The one I quote below in is unusual (in terms of the list) in that it only ever existed as a plan.

    “As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in the 1960′s, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan to blow up AMERICAN airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. See the following ABC news report; the official documents; and watch this interview with the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. “

  • Helen Dudden 8th Jan '15 - 9:37am

    I have supported the difficult situation the Jews suffer in Europe.

  • Helen Dudden 8th Jan '15 - 9:40am

    I should add, the solution to the very difficult situation that Jews suffer in Europe.

  • Tsar Nicolas 8th Jan '15 - 9:48am

    I provide a link here to a documentary on state-sponsored proxy terror in post-war Europe.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGHXjO8wHsA#t=506

    Warning to the faint of heart – it was produced by and originally aired on the conspiracy-minded BBC as part of its excellent BBC 2 ‘Timewatch’ series during the 1990s.

  • Helen Tedcastle 8th Jan '15 - 10:02am

    One thing I have never understood about satirists is why they always draw Prophet Muhammad or Jesus Christ in denigrating ways as a way of attacking fundamentalists and extremist fanatics. Surely the way to attack extremism is to poke fun at the extremists themselves.

    Of course, no one should set laws limiting freedom of speech to what is acceptable to the institutions of power in society. However, there are limits such as not inciting hatred or racism, defaming a person or persons.

    There is such a thing as responsible journalism. The latter does limit itself by considering what is good journalism or satire and what is purely bad taste. I think Private Eye does an excellent job in that regard. Gratuitous insults and tasteless forms of mockery aren’t its style.

    I think we also need to remember that muslims in France are some of the most marginalised and excluded members of society. Muslim women are already arrested by the police for choosing to wear the Hijab in public – a law passed by a so-called tolerant and liberal parliament.

    The increasingly powerful far right will exploit the terrorist incident for its own ends by whipping up further fear of a largely powerless and poor community. The terrorists who committed this atrocity must surely hate their own community and their own religion. Further stigmatisation is a real prospect.

    Liberals must keep their nerve and no pander to the peddlers of fear and those who choose to stigmatise an entire religious community for the behaviour of a tiny number of fanatics.

  • Helen,
    Pure bad taste is part of freedom of speech. Liberals IMO need be Liberal and stop making excuses for religious fanatics. Historically religion has always been fair game for satirists and liberals for good reason. If it had been left up to religion we would still be locking people up for being gay, burning heretics and Darwin only knows what else. Religion is no different to any other ideology. Constantly trying to protect religions from hurt feelings marginalises people trying to break away from the restrictions of religious practice by placing the customs of an ideology above the rights of the individual, plus it convinces fanatics that they can intimidate and silence criticism through acts of violence. And I’m sorry these religious terror groups commit crimes all over the world and it has nothing whatsoever to being oppressed. They are in fact the oppressors. Executioners of journalists, slaughterers of other religious groups, gay people, dissenters, women and children. The journalists of Charlie Hebdo were executed for blasphemy by religious fruitcakes not because oppressing anyone.

  • Tsar Nicolas 8th Jan '15 - 10:59am

    Glenn,

    “The journalists of Charlie Hebdo were executed for blasphemy by religious fruitcakes not because oppressing anyone.”

    I agree 110% with the rest of your post, but on this, I am not so sure. It’s not that I don’t believe such people are incapable of committing such atrocities, but that I am aware of a long line of manufactured political events dating back decades, which give me cause for caution.

    I feel that we should wait until the facts are in before making a final judgement about what exactly happened in Paris yesterday.

  • Helen Tedcastle 8th Jan '15 - 11:06am

    Glenn
    Oh dear. I think you may have misunderstood my comments which is to the contrary of your conclusions. This is the problem with social media in the aftermath of atrocities like this one. We end up grouping a tiny number of fanatics with millions of innocent people because we think we know what they believe in and stand for – and the measure of our anger against that group makes ‘us’ feel that we are the ones standing up for freedom against ‘them.’

    No one is making excuses for terror, least of all me. The terrorists are not representing any religion – their actions are contrary to Islam, contrary to humanity. Islam is a practice rather than an ideology by the way. The latter is a perversion of the faith. My pointing this out is not a way of making excuses for terrorists who represent no one but themselves.

  • Helen, yes, you are victim blaming.

  • Helen Tedcastle 8th Jan '15 - 12:06pm

    MBoy

    How you can work that conclusion out from my response is beyond me. I won’t dignify your comment any further.

  • Shaun Whitfield 8th Jan '15 - 12:07pm

    Helen: you say ‘Muslim women are already arrested by the police for choosing to wear the Hijab in public – a law passed by a so-called tolerant and liberal parliament.’

    I’m no expert, but I don’t think it is the hijab that is banned, as it leaves the face uncovered. It is burkas and niqabs that the French have banned in public. The latter leaves only the eyes and perhaps a small area of the face around them uncovered. Furthermore, I believe the ban also applies to any face covering of similar extent, eg balaclavas, motorcycle helmets etc.

    Generally, I enjoy reading your posts on education, as they are normally well-informed and thoughtful, but you do seem to have a blind spot when religion is involved.

  • Helen Tedcastle 8th Jan '15 - 12:30pm

    @ Shaun Whitfield

    Thanks for your clarification – yes I think you are right – it is the Niqab which causes French society concern, hence police arrests of muslim women in the streets. I think that women who choose to wear Niqab, Hijab or whatever else, have the right to do so in a free society.

    Having talked to many muslim women about this, they defend their right to wear it, not as a symbol of their oppression but as their choice to express their generally conservative religious beliefs in a public space. I respect that even though I would not wear one myself and do not condone forced wearing.

    Actually, I am not blind to the problems within religious traditions between fanatics and moderates. I am very concerned at this time about a possible backlash against the muslim community in France and indeed in Britain and consequent playing into the hands of the far right. I prefer a measured and nuanced response so that terrorists do not win. They speak for no one but themselves and their warped ideology.

  • Helen,
    I’m not grouping anyone with anything. I actually think religion marginalises people and that over sensitivity to it marginalises them further.

  • Helen Tedcastle 8th Jan '15 - 2:52pm

    @ Glenn

    Personally, I don’t think it’s helpful to make sweeping, generalising statements about what marginalises whom and why. It’s too simplistic and reductionist and bares little relation to reality.

  • Helen,
    We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  • I don’t think it’s helpful to use jargon like “marginalise” at all. We have a rather rich vocabulary with which to describe human mistreatment of other humans: oppress, repress, exploit, enslave, abuse, discriminate, be bigoted, be intolerant, and so forth, which, even when vague, at least give a notion of the range of activities that might be described. “Marginalise” doesn’t; it could mean anything. What does it literally mean? “Place on the margins”? In that case, religion can hardly be “marginalising” in societies and cultures in which religion is central, and where adherence to a religion makes you a member of a favoured class.

  • nvelope2003 8th Jan '15 - 4:26pm

    Jayne Mansfield: I am not ashamed to put another view on this. It is surprising how those who claim to support free speech like to demonise those who disagree with them. I do not support religious or any other fanatics but as Helen Tadcastle has so eloquently pointed out Muslims in France are marginalised. There was an interesting discussion between David Aaronovitch and a Muslim woman on BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight in which Aaronovitch attempted in the most patronising way to rubbish this woman’s views. When he said it was perfectly fair to offend and even insult other people she quietly pointed out that Muslims in France were used to being insulted and offended on a daily basis and that is at the root of this issue. French Muslims are fed up with this unpleasant treatment, although few would wish to kill journalists, thankfully. It is not much to ask those who write about others to show a little respect and kindness. I realise that most people on this site are militant secularists who hate anything to do with religion but why do they have to call religious people lunatics or fruitcakes ? Is it because they are not sure of themselves or because they are just nasty people who enjoy upsetting others ?

    There can be no such thing as absolute freedom as all freedoms are constrained by the need to live in peace with our neighbours. If you want a perpetual battle ground as no doubt many journalists do in order to keep themselves in a job, then go ahead and insult, humiliate and denigrate to your heart’s content but do not be too surprised if someone responds in a way that is not to your liking. Of course everyone in power is saying all the right things according to their view of the situation but that is not the whole story is it ?

    I have replied more fully to this issue on the Chalie Hebdo – in sympathy thread if anyone cares to read it.

  • stuart moran 8th Jan '15 - 4:46pm

    nvelope

    Why is not right to ‘demonise’ people who they disagree with – although I don’t think your use of words is correct?

    I think we can all have strong views on subjects and sometimes we can be impolite, unfair and wrong but that shouldn’t stop us saying things – in the latter case if someone is wrong I would hope they would make amends for that

    You were trying to justify the brutal murder of these people and certain of us reacted to that and made it quite clear that we thought your views were wrong.

    You thought the cartoons by Charlie Hebdo were offensive and wrong – that is your right to say that and in strong terms as well if you feel like it

    What you should understand though is that these people were killed for satirising someone’s beliefs and you should understand that people who try to justify this should be prepared for a strong verbal response – I don’t think you would be happy if militant atheists killed you for calling them names

    The muslim speaker in the video I posted on the other thread also thought their cartoons were repugnant and offensive but he did not in any way try to justify violence as a response to you calling them fanatics?

  • nvelope2003 8th Jan '15 - 9:30pm

    I am not trying to justify murdering journalists. All I said was that if you persist repeatedly in saying or doing things which others find offensive then you cannot be too surprised if someone takes it , shall we say, a little too seriously, which in this case they did and caused the unnecessary deaths of innocent people. Of course people can say what they like if they are prepared to risk the consequences.

    I understand that the editor of Charlie Hebdo said that he was happy to die for the way he chose to express his belief. He is to be respected for his courage.

  • nvelope2003.
    the problem with your argument is that it’s circular. The satire was a response to religious terrorism, Why exactly should secular atheists be less offended by the actions of religious fanatics than religious fanatics are offended by cartoons and why should they back down and why should they the accept the consequences of not doing so rather than religious fanatics accepting that their fanaticism offends secular atheists. If a bunch of secular atheist burst into the offices of a publisher of religious material and executed the editors would you be saying that “well, if you provoke people with deeply held views then what do you expect.” You are making excuses and no one is demonising you. They just find it gobsmacking.

  • nvelope2003 9th Jan '15 - 11:47am

    Well secular atheists were persecuting religious people until fairly recently in Eastern Europe, including killing them. The late Pope John Paul II was gravely injured by some atheist fanatic and people in North Korea are persecuted for their religious beliefs or practice of them. Many people in Western Europe supported this on the grounds that “You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs”

    I did not say anyone was demonising me but French Muslims and people who do not buy into the secular agenda are regularly demonised.

    The partner of the editor of Charlie Hebdo has stated that the French Government was implicated in his murder. I did suspect this myself. It is a well know trick of Governments to arrange the killing of people to provoke public outrage and the French Government has a track record, along with other Governments, of this sort of thing. We will have to wait until more comes out of this shocking affair.

  • nvelope2003 9th Jan '15 - 6:07pm

    There has to be a debate about these issues and it cannot happen if everyone just says how shocked they are and no one asks why it happened. This debate has shown that the secularist establishment is every bit as dogmatic as the religious one that preceded it .The same misrepresentation of the views of those who dissent from it, the same hatred for any opinion which does not fit their view, the same obsession with imposing their own ideology. Many have no knowledge of the religions they reject and little interest in gaining any. Know your enemy is a good policy.

    It was not the French Revolution which propounded the idea of Liberty but the 17th Century English Revolution. The Scots were too busy harassing people they did not like to bother about Liberty, like the extremist followers of the SNP today. Liberty has now been reduced to the right to be rude and insult those you disagree with, Equality to reducing everyone except your own expensively educated children to the lowest common denominator, and Fraternity ? Whatever happened to that ? In France it seems to mean the majority clubbing together to make the lives of those they hate as unpleasant as possible.

    We need a new Liberal party which is not afraid to challenge the received wisdom of the statists who run it now. These murders were terrible but the reasons behind them need to be considered. Knee jerk reactions are not helpful.

  • Nvelope2003,
    For most of your posts you have implied that in some sense Charlie Hebdo incited this attack by causing grievous offence. You’ve now moved on to conspiracy theories about the French Government and for some reason accused the Scots of historically harassing people and described the SNP as extremist! I genuinely do not understand where you are going with this. To me it looks like you are trying to deflect a debate about abut the freedom of speech v violent Islamic extremism into something else. We’re not talking about the past or the undoubted tyranny of North Korea. We are talking the murder of satirist, two police officers and now innocent Jewish shoppers by a group of religious fanatics who do not like Jews and shouted God is great as they executed editorial staff of a magazine. I say that when this kind of thing is done by people that self identify as Muslims then religion is an issue and , that this means crude satire and mockery are worth standing up. The fact is same kinds of religiously inspired fanatics have been doing this for years across the globe without the provocation of Charlie Hebdo. Therefore it is time to stop protecting religious sensibilities from secular mockery because it isn’t working and arguably just means that bad people can claim to be fighting on behalf of all Muslims . You seem to be saying that we should all respect religiosity because some beliefs are uniquely unable to absorb criticism in a reasonable manner. I don’t mind if people mock my beliefs, I can find a countless, books, videos and articles by the Religious Right that depict liberals secularists as communists, liars, and the cause of all social evils. I have French Jewish, Irish and Romany Ancestry on my mothers side of the family and English and Scottish on my Dad’s (my grandmother was a supporter of Scottish independence). Not once have I been tempted to editors of magazine that call people pikeys or any such thing. I think treating Islam as special case actually strengthens the extremists because they can claim victimhood as a defence and have lots of well meaning people attempt to understand their cultural pain rather than be exposed as basically intolerant murderous totalitarian fascists.
    But I will be highly surprised if this reply gets out of moderation.

  • nvelope2003 9th Jan ’15 – 6:07pm

    Are you completely sure of your historical evidence?   You claimed —
    ” It was not the French Revolution which propounded the idea of Liberty but the 17th Century English Revolution. ”

    Which 17th Century English Revolution did you have in mind?
    Which particular group are you claiming “propounded the idea of Liberty”?
    There were certainly some people during the Civil War and afterwards who would have had some grasp on the concept of Liberty.   
    Who were you thinking of that had established the concept of Liberty more effectively than the French Revolution?

    Not that it has to be one or the other of course.    Ideas that were discussed in England and in North America before the French Revolution fed into the ideas that developed after 1789.   For example, it was evident after England’s king was beheaded that God did not come down in a flaming chariot and smite people with thunderbolts and heavenly wrath.   This might have been a helpful pointer to the revolutionaries in Paris when considering what to do with their king.

    On a second point, is your dislike of offensive cartoons solely aimed at French cartoons in the 21st Century?    How did you feel about Gillray’s cartoons?    Do you think it was at all possible that those featured in them were offended?   My guess is that they were offended.    Gillray the cartoonist would  have wanted them to be offended.
    See —
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=gillray+cartoons&client=safari&hl=en-gb&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=sQCxVIztLMPbaorYgMgE&ved=0CC4Q7Ak&biw=1024&bih=672

    On a third point, who are the people you describe as “the statists” who run the party?    Are you suggesting that there is a secret cabal of reds under the bed running the Liberal Democrats?    If only there was !

  • Glenn & John Tilley: My reply was not displayed so I will have to try again when I have a moment to spare.

  • nvelope2003 12th Jan '15 - 2:27pm

    Glenn: In general I agree with what you say although in Britain incitement to violence is an offence, as is denial of the holocaust, attacks on other races, such as anti Semitism, homophobic statements etc so free speech is in practice limited by the law. I imagine similar laws apply in France but I do not know the details. Publishing offensive material which caused violence could be against the law. Charlie Hebdo did not seem very popular until this event as it was bankrupt and appeals for financial help got no response according to a French journalist interviewed on Radio 4. I have yet to hear anyone saying they liked reading it.

    On Radio 4’s Any Questions all 5 members of the panel strongly supported the line you take but surprisingly the majority of the public who called Any Answers seemed opposed to their view. The only 2 supporting it appeared to be those who wanted action taken against Muslims, implying they were responsible for all the trouble in the world without any blame resting on any others. That is not a view that can be taken seriously although Islamists have done many bad things . Whether this was caused by provocation I would not be able to say but certainly not in all cases.

    I did not mean to say that all supporters of the SNP are extremists but some of them certainly are as anyone who has attempted to respond to some of their posts on the various forums will be aware. Have you not heard of the Nationalist trolls ? Maybe there are Unionist trolls as well but I have not encountered them.

    I

  • nvelope2003 12th Jan '15 - 2:33pm

    Glenn: Re Scottish Nationalists. I meant there were extremist followers of the SNP, not that the SNP were extremists.

  • nvelope2003 12th Jan '15 - 2:48pm

    John Tilley: John Locke 1632 to 1704 was the leading advocate of liberty and toleration. His work was not published until after the Glorious Revolution of 1688/89 when Prince William of Orange, Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic became King William III along with his wife Queen Mary II. Censorship of the press was abolished and the way was opened for a gradual removal of restrictions on the freedom to worship and other freedoms and the reduction of the power of the monarch and increase in the power of Parliament. The reduction in royal powers was the principal demand of the Parliamentary Party in the English Civil Wars from 1640 to 1649 but the rule of Cromwell and the Commonwealth was only marginally less absolute than that of King Charles I although during this period many different ideas flourished briefly, such as the Levellers but they were repressed by Cromwell who was a generally conventional 17th Century ruler.

  • nvelope2003 12th Jan '15 - 3:03pm

    John Tilley: I have never liked offensive cartoons or other material but offending an important and powerful person is acceptable whilst offending the weak and powerless is not as they may not be able to retaliate. I am sure that Gillray offended many people but I prefer a more gentle and reflective sense of humour not a raucous one. I think the former is more likely to be effective in the long run too as being offensive puts the victim on the defensive and makes them less likely to back down. This was the view of most of the respondents to Radio 4′ Any Answers too so I am glad to find I am not the only man in step as it were.

    I was not using the word statist in its conventional sense but as a description for those who want things to remain as they are even though it is clear to many people that that is no longer an option. You can draw your own conclusions as to what I mean by that.

  • Malcolm Todd 12th Jan '15 - 3:52pm

    nvelope2003

    In your last comment you seem to be elevating your personal preference into a matter of principle. But I’m not interesting in defending anyone’s taste or preferences; this is a matter of of rights. We have a right to be impolite, to be offensive, to be inconsiderate, to be unfunny when we think we are being funny. None of these is a right per se or needs to be defended: they are all necessary consequences of the right to freedom of expression. The subject of debate here is what should be the limits on that right. The state’s business is defending those who exercise their rights and where necessary punishing those who transgress. There’s surely a time and a place for discussing the tactical desirability or otherwise of giving offence and the relative importance of taste and considerateness, but I don’t think this is it.

  • Malcolm Todd, yes I think your last point is well made.
    nvelope2003 – I think you have shifted your ground abut between comments but thank you for answering my questions.

    On the final part of your last comment — if you do not use words in accordance with their usual meaning it might be difficult for people to understand what you are trying to say. This is a political discussion site and in such a context “statist” has a well established meaning.

  • nvelope wrote: “The partner of the editor of Charlie Hebdo has stated that the French Government was implicated in his murder. I did suspect this myself. ”

    This is simply untrue. Jeannette Bougrab simply said, admittedly with some (understandably) emotional hyperbole, that the French police had left the premises of Charlie Hebdo undefended by withdrawing a car that had been stationed outside the premises since a previous attack in 2011. (The car was moved after the journal changed its location.) This is a far different thing to claiming that the government of France had an active hand in the assassinations.

    It should be pointed out that the area was still under police patrol and that Charbonnier, the editor, had a police bodyguard who was present and killed in the attack; they were not in fact unprotected, but the police had evidently not anticipated this sort of heavily armed assault.

    It is very important to stop misstatements of this sort before they become the basis of a parallel pseudo-reality, inhabited by those who prefer misty conspiracies to hard facts.

  • David- 1: I may have misunderstood Jeannette Bougrab’s statement and if this is the case I must apologise but it is what I thought she meant. Although I listened to subsequent bulletins the BBC did no broadcast this item again.

  • John Tilley: the word Liberal had a well established meaning but that meaning has changed over the years but I get your point.

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