Tag: paris

French Government Creates Illegal Database on over 60 Million Citizens

By setting up a single database centralizing information on the entire French population behind their backs, France’s Socialist Party (PS) government is giving the state vast repressive powers. Coming amid the state of emergency, it constitutes a fundamental threat to democratic rights, in particular to opposition within the working class to austerity and war.

The database, named “Secure Electronic Titles” (TES), was decreed into existence on October 30. It centralizes the personal and bio-metric data of all holders of passports or national identity cards. It concerns over 60 million people, that is, virtually the entire French population. The official launch of the database took place last Tuesday in the Yvelines area and will be extended across France at the beginning of 2017.

The database was prepared in violation of the law, behind the backs of the population. It was first proposed in 2011 at the National Assembly, during a debate on a secure national ID card, and sharply criticized by the National Commission on Information-Processing and Liberties (CNIL). While recognizing as “legitimate the use of bio-metric information to identify a person,” the CNIL ruled that “bio-metric data must be conserved in an individualized data system.”

Was EgyptAir Flight MS804 Brought Down by a Terrorist Attack?

What brought down EgyptAir Flight MS804?

In the early hours of 19 May 2016, EgyptAir Flight MS804 disappeared from radar. This disappearance prompted a search and rescue operation by numerous navies and air forces to search for the missing plane. This search eventually found wreckage from the plane and the body parts of its passengers. The downing of this flight has sparked an investigation into its cause. Naturally, many people, including presidential candidates, suspect that the plane was downed by a terrorist attack. However, since the facts surrounding the downing of the plane are unclear, this claim is probably premature. As a result, the evidence for and against this theory should be analyzed.

Since the investigation is ongoing, the facts of the downing of the plane are fuzzy and subject to change. However, at the time of writing, it is believed that EgyptAir Flight MS804 was flying at 37,000 feet. It then made a 90-degree turn to the left, followed by a 360-degree turn as it descended rapidly. It then disappeared from radar at an altitude of 10,000 feet. It is also believed that the smoke was detected in the lavatory and avionics equipment two minutes before the plane disappeared from radar. Many people who have analyzed these facts have argued that it is consistent with a terrorist attack. They would rightfully argue that the smoke is suspicious and consistent with a quick-burning fire or explosion. Alternatively, the erratic flight path of the plane could be consistent with a struggle in the cockpit between the pilots and a possible hijacker. Both of these are consistent with a terrorist attack.