18 November 2015

Francois Hollande's Patriot Act

I am sure you remember the Patriot Act which was passed after 9/11.

The acronym (or backronym as Wikipedia puts it) stands for "Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act."

This is what Hollande is preparing for France.
Speaking during a joint session of both houses of parliament, Mr Hollande said the constitution needed to be amended as "we need an appropriate tool we can use without having to resort to the state of emergency". 
If you are wondering what those appropriate tools are, here is a short list:
  • 5,000 extra police posts in the next two years and no new cuts in the defence budget 
  • Making it easier to strip dual nationals of their French citizenship if they are convicted of a terrorist offence, as long as this did not render them stateless
  • Speeding up the deportation of foreigners who pose "a particularly grave threat to the security of the nation"
  • Pushing for greater European action against arms trafficking and greater penalties for it in France
The first and the last items are routine stuff.

But the middle two are what I predicted a day before he went before the Parliament and announced these measures.

As I said, his plan is to look tougher than Front National (FN) and this is what the BBC reported today under the heading of "Hollande upstages the opposition" :
Monday's speech before the joint houses of parliament took his political enemies by surprise. By the end even the far-right National Front (FN) conceded that the president's ideas might have some merit.
Some of the president's ideas had the opposition gagging with disbelief.
A proposal to strip French citizenship from convicted jihadists who have a second nationality - for example Algerian - was consistently rejected in the past by the Socialists. 
Likewise, the call for tougher sentencing for crimes that have a terrorist motivation; or the proposed change in the rules of engagement for police officers, so they can shoot more quickly.
I remember clearly that the Patriot Act seemed like a reasonable response at the time and I am sure that it feels the same to the disoriented Parisians right now.

I can't blame them.

But I have seen this movie and I know how it ends.

No spoiler alert is needed.

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