Paris- According to a report, published in The Independent, founder of France’s far right Front National, Jean-Marie Le Pen has said that the Charlie Hebdo massacre may have been the work of an “intelligence agency”.
In an interview with a virulently Russian newspaper Komsomolskaïa Pravda, Mr Le Pen, 86, gave credence to conspiracy theories circulating on the internet suggesting that the attack was the work of American or Israeli agents seeking to foment a civil war between Islam and the West, the report said.
The independent report further says, “The shooting at Charlie Hebdo resembles a secret service operation but we have no proof of that,” the newspaper quoted Mr Le Pen as saying. “I don’t think it was organized by the French authorities but they permitted this crime to be committed. That, for the moment, is just a supposition.”
To justify his comments, Mr Le Pen pointed to the fact that one of the Kouachi brothers, who carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre, left his identity card in a crashed getaway car. He compared this to the “miraculous fact” – beloved by conspiracy theorists – that one of the passports of the 9/11 hijackers was found on the ground in New York after two planes collided with the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in 2001, the report added.
He further said that the 1,500,000 who marched “against hatred” in Paris last Sunday were not “Charlies” but “Charlie Chaplins”.
In the interview with Le Monde, Le Pen repeated his suspicions about the identity card but said he “could not recall” talking about “secret services” to the Russian newspaper.
He said the 1,500,000 people who marched “against hatred” in Paris last Sunday were not “Charlies” but “Charlie Chaplins,” and that there are really 15 to 20 million Muslims in France, and not the 5 million figure that is generally accepted, quoted the newspaper.
Le Pen's daughter Marine Le Pen, the present leader of the National Front, told France Inter that “woolly conspiracy theories” are “dangerous because they distance the French from the necessary lucidity regarding the causes of what happened”. But she also placed much of the blame for the terrorist attacks in Paris on the French government and its policies.
In an opinion piece she penned for the New York Times, Marine Le Pen made her own recommendations for what France should do to fight Islamic terrorism: "For now, one emergency measure can readily be put into action: Stripping jihadists of their French citizenship is an absolute necessity. In the longer run, most important, national border checks must be reinstated, and there should be zero tolerance for any behavior that undermines laïcité and French law."
- Conspiracy theories of the kind espoused by the elder Le Pen sprang up on the internet within hours of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. They have been repeated in recent days by some – not all - young Muslims in France, torn between identifying with the Kouachi brothers and insisting that they were stooges of the French authorities, Washington and Israel.