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18 May 2015


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Babak Makkinejad


I understand you are lawyer.

Could this disclosure be used to include the French Republic into US State Department's list of State Sponsors of Terrorism?

Patrick Bahzad

I'll go out on a limb here, but picking up the trash and getting rid of garbage doesn't qualify as terrorism in my book


Babak -

Can you see any difference between this program and US drone strikes - except that "collateral damage" is probably non-existent compared with drone strikes?

And I don't see the US putting itself on the "State Sponsors of Terrorism" list.

Babak Makkinejad

If I recall correctly, The French government murdered Green Peace activists by blowing up their ship while anchored in New Zealand.

Tell me who is making the determination who is and is not "human garbage".

"Stalin is taking care of the dirt and garbage necessary for human progress."

C Webb

Also worth mentioning...


The Twisted Genius

Yes, this is an interesting read. My initial reaction: Good! This is the way it should be done. Look the bastard in the eye or, at least, the back of his head before you blow him away. Man up to the grave risks of taking this approach and avoid the collateral damage (killing and maiming of innocents) associated with bombing from a distance. This appeals to my outmoded sense of martial anachronism. I'm also glad to hear that no French citizens are on the French "kill list." I now hope all those involved abide by whatever the French equivalent of STFU. Leave the rest to our imaginations and the novelists.

As for the Rainbow Warrior fiasco, it shows the French are as capable of shortsighted idiocy as the rest of us.

Patrick Bahzad

I wouldn't call it murder as it wasn't intended. if memory serves me correctly the two agents who got arrested were sentenced by NZL for involuntary manslaughter.
The ethical question about such practices needs of course to be asked you're right, as does the question of legal oversight, which is always left in limbo in France ... I guess it makes plausible deniability a lot easier when you don't draw up torture memos or killing list criteria.
That is why your question about who decides is absolutely justified ... As far as I know it's the executive branch with no prior oversight or approval required.

Patrick Bahzad


Rainbow warrior was a fuck up of epic proportions that led to major overhaul, not just because people got caught but because they read the situation totally wrong. Going after a green peace ship was probably the lowest we ever got in recent times.
But there were lessons learnt from it: in 1995, the rainbow warrior was simply stormed by French seals using CS and towed into nearest french naval base where it got impounded for a while. Nobody got hurt.

Babak Makkinejad

That is what we publicly know.

Look at Rwanda where the French Government protected the mass murderess and the real dirt and garbage.

Patrick Bahzad

You may have a case to argue there, but I don't think again protecting mass murderers was on the agenda. That some of them got away thx to french intervention is a definite possibility, but I'm not going to argue about hypotheticals. However You're perfectly free to draw this conclusion from what you know about the case. Won't blame you for anti-French bias in this instance.

Babak Makkinejad

I am not anti-French; in fact, my French friends call me a "Gaullist at Heart".

I wish I could live in Toulouse....

Patrick Bahzad

No worries, I know you're not and your question is perfectly legit.



I'll take St. Jean de Luz. pl

Patrick Bahzad

That's a fine choice ! I used to live there for a while ... Was stationed not very far away !
Bit of a mix between Californian coastal area and Appalachian mountains in the background ... with better food though :-)


It has been suggested that there is a more refined, less "kinetic,' way to deal with troublesome elements. It begins with "understanding" - as exemplified in this graphic:


Patrick Bahzad

But what if they decide to slice and dice you and eat you in a spicy vegetable potato stew ?


that would indeed make me rue.

William R. Cumming

There is no standard definition of the term STATE SPONSORS OF TERRORISM! Thus, those who might wish to so label the French are free to do so.


I would prefer a good bouillabaisse. We simply do not know where the barbarians are from the graphic.

The Beaver

@ Babak

Oh qu'ils sont chanceux les élus Africains qui bénéficient d'un tunnel souterrain entre le Palais Présidentiel et L'Ambassade de France :-)


Killing perpetrators and instigators is one thing, killing innocent bystanders in order for political gain or to make a political point is another.

While I'd prefer all brought to trial as with Dzhokar Tsarnaev, I am ambivalent when that alternative is not available.

There are certain logical problems involved with the slogan: Exterminate the exterminators.


Thankfully, the DGSE has replaced idiocy with comedy gold. In 2012, five DGSE commandos, practicing infiltration of Bulgaria from Romania, were beaten up and detained by two brothers and their policeman friend who encountered them in their alfalfa fields and mistook them for thieves. It made for countless Jacques Bond jokes at the time.

From the Sofrep piece: "Enter the Tsonev brothers; Slavi and Vasko. The brothers stumbled upon the French intelligence operatives in the middle of the night. Thinking them for thieves out to steal their crops, the two brothers took off and returned with a third man, a retired police officer. The brothers, armed with two wooden boards, and the officer with a 1950s Makarov pistol, surprised the agents and surrounded their vehicle.

Knowing my Bulgarian brethren, the follow-on “scuffle” was unavoidable.

In the end two French agents were shot (one in the foot and the other in the leg) and a third suffered a broken nose. The remaining two managed to escape on foot under the cover of darkness. The unharmed villagers confiscated computers, diving equipment, professional cameras, and even a parachute in the vehicle. After receiving medical treatment and a follow on interrogation by police, the three agents were immediately whisked away on a special flight back to Paris courtesy of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry.

I can only assume how the After Action Report went back in France:

“Team Leader: Well, Pierre and Jacques were shot in the leg by an old guy with a Makarov, and Francois took a two-by-four to the face. Michel and myself ran away into the woods. And all of our equipment was stolen by two farmers.”"

The first time I came upon the story I thought it was an Onion piece :)

The Twisted Genius


The DGSE is not alone with this kind of occasional screw up. During exercises Delta sometimes gets compromised by the locals. The common thing to do was to claim they were ISA so they wouldn't be embarrassed. ISA would claim they were Delta when caught for the same reason. I spent part of a night in the Dade County lockup when I stumbled into a group of around 20 heavily armed DEA agents in the middle of the Everglades one Summer's night. I stuck to my cover and did not compromise the team hiding only 20 feet from me. I went to jail and the team was able to continue the mission undiscovered. The scariest part was how much those DEA agents were shaking holding the shotguns. No one screwed with me in the Dade County lockup. I was kinda scary looking back then.


Yikes, that's scary indeed. You did the right thing though, unlike the DGSE commandos. Instead of remaining calm and deescalating, they actually began the fight. Here is the brothers' account in Bulgarian, it's absolutely hilarious: http://btvnovinite.bg/article/bulgaria/frenskite-komandosi-ot-koilovtsi-mnogo-sa-byagali-ot-chas.html. Auto translate does a lousy job of translating into English, but here is my translation of the relevant parts:

"We stopped to ask them who they are and the guy in the passenger seat came after us. The driver then started the engine and tried to run over me, I have medical report attesting that he hit me with the car. One of ours managed to drag the driver out of the jeep, and the strangers yelled something in another language. Three more showed up out of the darkness and came after us too. The policeman yelled "Police" and fired a warning shot but they kept coming at us. He then shot one and two others ran away. We overpowered the remaining ones and tied them down with bungee cords so they wouldn't run away. They were very tough and kept trying to crawl and squirm. So we gave them a solid thrashing and only then they began to shout that they are tourists. Yeah well, as they say in our village, "It's too late for a bouquet, sweetheart". On the fact that they beat up French commandos they commented "With two words, these commandos must have skipped a lot of classes during training.""

That's simply tragicomic and that's why the DGSE became the butt of many jokes in Europe in the aftermath. These guys made a lot of mistakes and got whupped pretty good as result by vigilant brothers who mistook the commandos for gypsies trying to steal their crops. Then there was the diplomatic mess, what with the apparent fact (despite the BG government's attempt to soften the situation) that the Bulgarian authorities were not notified in advance of the drill, and that it occurred in the vicinity of a nuclear power plant. So the mission planning wasn't any better than the execution. I chuckle every time I am reminded of the incident, though I'm sure it wasn't much fun for any of the participants on either side.

Patrick Bahzad

True story though with high entertainment value !
Part of the crackpot idea that you can send in people who wouldn't pass for nationals let alone locals in a million years ... But at least they got sent in "on a training exercise" and not kill the pope ;-)

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