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Open Thread: Dozens feared dead after truck deliberately plows into crowd in Nice, France

The truck, after the attack
The truck, after the attack

Another sickening attack, this time in France (again) as the driver of a large truck, seemingly deliberately, plowed into a crowd gathered to watch Bastille Day fireworks in Nice, France. As many as 60 people are dead, French media is reporting, and many more are injured. [UPDATE: The number of deaths is now reported as 80.]

As I write this, details are still scarce, but it certainly appears to be an act of terrorism.

Here’s an open thread to discuss this and share information. No trolls, MRAs, alt-rightists, etc.

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I Blame Myself
I Blame Myself
5 years ago

I don’t know what frightens me more.
The fact that innocent people are being targeted without having done anything wrong, or the idea that this might just be the way the world is now.

varalys the dark
5 years ago

I guess being a bit older and having lived in the UK during the Troubles, it’s amazing how inured you got to acts of terrorism after a while. The big difference of course was that the IRA did have a specific goal they stood for and so talks in the end were able to thrash out a compromise that everyone could live with. The frightening thing with Daesh is there doesn’t seem to be anything they can be negociated with over.

Keated
Keated
5 years ago

Oh man, just heard about this from here. This fucking year, seriously… Thoughts and condolences to anyone in France… Utterly senseless attack 🙁

Temascos
Temascos
5 years ago

Cruel and senseless. I can only hope that families and friends of the victims are given all the support they need, it should never happen.

France has had it bad over the last few years, and it gives ammunition to its extremist groups.

This will incite further hatred which is what those cruel people want but we keep falling for it as a whole; reports of large groups tied to Islam who condemn these monsters will be silenced, making everyone look complicit. Hopefully after the ground war against ISIS finishes the entire world puts in a plan bigger than the Post World War II Marshall Plan, and focuses on full scale reconstruction and anti-corruption. That’s what I hope will happen but it sadly seems unlikely as many think that bullets and bombs are all that’s needed to defeat terrorism.

Unless the world challenges poverty globally, and shares in prosperity we can expect more people to fall into traps of groups like ISIS.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
5 years ago

As a french, I must admit not feeling very affected. I do find it’s a bit “reaping what was sow” in that France have been a serial offender in the “mess with old colonie” categorie, including installing or removing dictators as suit the president. Also in the “racism” category.

But the real reason of not feeling affected is that it’s not new anymore, and the number per years are still low enough to be negligible. I am not going to pay undue attention to the terrorists themselves when they take less of a death toll than mosquitoes.

I will however pay attention to two things : the first one is why terrorists want to kill in France, aka their poor condition of life and the various problems created by France abroad ; and the second one is the cynical use of the useless Emergency State declared by our president, which is counter productive and stupid.

EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

My Significant Other is French and has some roots in Provence. My thoughts are with her, and with all the people affected.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ olhmann

why the terrorists want to kill in France

There are probably two separate things to consider: why particular individuals want to act for ISIS and why ISIS has a particular problem with France.

The first is an issue of radicalisation. It’s a complex topic. Some of it is just appealing to generally disgruntled isolated people and giving them someone to blame and a group to belong to (very similar the MRA tactics). It’s not necessarily a social exclusion thing though; many ISIS recruits are from quite prosperous backgrounds and were fully integrated into society. They had friends from all backgrounds and enjoyed things like sports and partying.

As for ISIS itself, I’m a believer that, when trying to analyse reasons people commit atrocities, then a good starting point is their own explanations.

ISIS spend a lot of time harping on about the Battle of Tours and also France’s role in the end of the Ottoman Empire. As far as they’re concerned this is all part of one ongoing war. They see the principal struggle as being against the French Crusade which continues to this day. France (and to a lesser extent Spain) is seen as the principle breeding ground for the mushrikin ‘; that is to say people who deliberately mock the values of the Caliphate.

It’s worth noting though that, as you point out, targets outside the Caliphate aren’t much of a priority. Anyway this is what they had to say about the last French attacks.

TW for terrorist justification

France – On Friday, the 1st of Safar, 8 soldiers of the Khilāfah carried out an operation in the heart of French crusader territory. The operation involved multiple simultaneous attacks with explosive belts and assault rifles on various targets including the Stade de France stadium, where the crusader president Francois Hollande was attending a soccer match, and the Bataclan theatre for exhibitions, where hundreds of French mushrikīn had gathered for a music concert. The attacks, which included other targets around Paris and succeeded in killing hundreds of crusaders and wounding even more, shook the world and reminded the nations of kufr that the Islamic State will continue to stand firm in the face of their transgressions and retaliate with fire and bloodshed in revenge for the honor of the Prophet and the multitudes killed and injured in crusader airstrikes in the lands of the Muslims.

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
5 years ago

The ultimate “delete your account” moment happened on Twitter right after this attack.

Swedish ex-golfer and current reality show star Jesper Parnevik, 51, made two baffling tweets, which have now been deleted.

In the first one, he said, paraphrased “let’s hope these guys aren’t given free benefits, housing, and are determined to be under 16 like on Sweden”.

As if this wasn’t enough, he then decided to make an even more incomprehensibly stupid comment. Paraphrased: “rumor says there were one man and one woman in the truck, but I bet Zara Larsson will have a tantrum and say she hates all men”.

Zara Larsson is an 18 year old singer who has become the new target for misogynist harassment and hysteria since she’s made some mild feministy statements on social media.

Parnevik later “apologized”, while blaming the tweets on his wife for giving him a sleeping pill. He says he can’t remember or explain why he said these things, and that he was probably just angry with the world because of the attack.

The aftermath is also baffling. Parnevik’s daughters, aged 20 and 17, took to instagram to blame the whole thing on Zara Larsson, saying the teenage artist would never be invited to the family’s reality show since she “promotes hate and thinks hate will fix all problems”.

The older daughter accused Larsson of “once again making everything about herself”. So, middle aged celeb father of four randomly attacks teenage girl on social media, and then the girl is called an attention seeker for being tweeted at. WTF.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
5 years ago

@Alan : I sincerely don’t believe ISIS try to attack France in particular. They hit what they can, and a combinations of french problem mean it’s more often France.

I am pretty sure more than half of the attentats aren’t even planned by ISIS, but they recuperate the mad desesperation act of some people.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ ohlmann

They do seem to spend a disproportionate amount of time talking about France as opposed to other European countries (chances are that this attack was just scheduled because of the opportunity for mass casualties, but ISIS do have issues around the French Revolution); but as you say, opportunity plays a big part. They’re equally as happy if they can inspire people to attack anywhere.

And, as you point out, attacks in Europe, terrible as they are, are relatively rare. The ‘full time’ members of ISIS are much more concerned with operations in the Caliphate. The outside stuff tends to be the work of those who have been influenced by ISIS rather than being directly controlled by them. A lot of the time ISIS don’t know about an attack carried out in their name until after its happened.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
5 years ago

The “good” part is that at least it definitely shut the trap of the Nice mayor, who is a far right wannabe that said that videotapping everyone prevented terroism.

Guaino, who was a catastrophic minster during Sarkozy, declared that soldiers armed with rocket launcher is the solution. The stupid hurt ; and there is a non-0 chance he will be minister again -_-

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
5 years ago

@IP
I’m sure it’s about ethics in something or other. Oh, but we’ve no need to bother actually thinking about how pervasive this kinda thing is, (50 year old) boys will be boys! Amirite?

Step 1: washed up, white dude doesn’t think before he tweets. Says the vilest, least comprehensible drivel possible
Step 2: blames something that has nothing to do with feminism on feminism somehow. Much easier than… almost anything else
Step 3: goes after an unrelated woman for doing nothing wrong, save having opinions. Better someone much younger or someone in any position where he feels he can play the bully
Step 4: when called out, shift the blame. Where possible, he finds another woman to attack. His own wife, if he’s feelin particularly ‘brave’
Step 5: seeps that shit into his fem progeny like osmosis until they’re complicit (or at least complacent) in his fuckery. Always good to have backup from the ‘other side’
And, tada, there’s your frame perfect, misogynist Twitter barf. I’d feel bad for Sweden having to put up with that guy, but we do too. Ours is running for President

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ ohlmann

So he’s adopting “the only defence against a bad guy with a rocket launcher is a good guy with a rocket launcher”? It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

The sad fact is that there’s little than can be done against modern terrorism.

PIRA had a set of defined goals (that weren’t inherently unreasonable) and a unified command structure. When there was a compromise on those goals they were able to call off the conflict (subject to some residual issues with die hards)

The RAF and similar groups were concentrated cells of a small number of individuals. That allowed them to be dealt with by normal police methods.

But when you have apocalyptic ideologies spread over the internet then it becomes impossible to deal with. We can adopt strategies to make radicalisation a less attractive option, but we’ll never reach everybody. We can try to restrict access to weapons. But as these tragic events show it only takes one person using something anyone can get hold of to commit an atrocity.

The intelligence services can, and do, make organised terrorism harder, but as PIRA put it “They have to be lucky every time; we only have to be lucky once”

dust bunny
dust bunny
5 years ago

@ DS

Do you think he is genuinely a moron? Or is he quite aware of what he’s doing and therefore far more dangerous? I honestly think it’s the latter. I used to think he was a moron, sort of how everyone used to think George W. Bush was a moron, but Georgie Porgie had quite the education actually and it seems his stupid persona in the Oval Office was somewhat of an act.

It isn’t a matter of being stupid or smart. Highly intelligent people, or people of above average intelligence as in the cases of GW Bush and Trump, are capable of inconsistence and delusion when it’s in the service of their ego or cherished values or preservation of their world view. It’s a feature of how the human mind works, and if we occasionally do not do it, it’s because we expend effort to avoid doing it. It is easy to see failures of rationality in people we don’t like, hard to see in those we do, and hardest of all to see in ourselves.

But self-serving oversimplification being the default mode of operation of our brains, even the most intellectually honest person is not exempt. Most of us are not a whole lot more rational than Trump. And that’s fine. The problem with Trump is that he is evil and attempting to gain and use power to advance his evil goals, not that he is human.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
5 years ago

I don’t think we need to prevent all attentats. We just have to reduce them to background noise while focusing on *why* people believe thoses apocalyptic cults.

Of course, that require self-criticism. Not something I would bet on political men doing. Not that electors would vote for someone who say “we sucked at racism, let’s do something about that”.

Pol
Pol
5 years ago

“Of course, that require self-criticism”

Yes, thank-you Ohlmann. That is something that is sorely lacking these days from almost all sides of politics.

I feel that the idea and secret desire for war is driving this possible “never ending war”.

We, as the so-called West, really need to address the cause and not the symptoms.

Also, I am very sorry for the innocent people, the CIVILIANS, who are now either dead or badly injured. After all, it could have been me or you.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ ohlmann

while focusing on *why* people believe thoses apocalyptic cults.

Yup. It’s quite interesting to read articles by people who have joined up.

A common feature is a feeling of not fitting in or coping.

Unsurprisingly disenfranchment is a factor. Treat people like shit and they’ll lash out (not excusing that of course).

There’s also a lot of overlap with the MRA recruitment tactics. They reach out to people with nebulous grievances. They offer them someone to blame and provide a surrogate family and a sense of purpose. There’s a lot of “Of course you feel isolated. You’re one of the few good ones in a world of degenerates; but we understand you.”

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ ohlmann

while focusing on *why* people believe thoses apocalyptic cults.

Yup. It’s quite interesting to read articles by people who have joined up.

A common feature is a feeling of not fitting in or coping.

Unsurprisingly disenfranchment is a factor. Treat people like shit and they’ll lash out (not excusing that of course).

There’s also a lot of overlap with the MRA recruitment tactics. They reach out to people with nebulous grievances. They offer them someone to blame and provide a surrogate family and a sense of purpose. There’s a lot of “Of course you feel isolated. You’re one of the few good ones in a world of degenerates; but we understand you.”

numerobis
numerobis
5 years ago

And of course Hollande responds to the attack by promising to do what ISIS claims as justification for the attack.

It’s clear that the recent spate of attacks weren’t planned by ISIS, they were just requested by them. Bombing Syria isn’t going to cause French Muslims to disregard calls for attacks against France.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

It now transpires that whilst the attacker had one real pistol, all the other weapons found in the truck were fake.

The attacker rented the truck with his own credit card.

This would seem to suggest he was acting alone and with no logistical support from anyone else.

Pol
Pol
5 years ago

Ah, thank-you Alan. Shades of Man Haron Monis, perhaps? Well, actually I almost feel silly to make comparisons as the Nice massacre was just as it was. A massacre. ?

Even so, this is important information. From what source?

numerobis
numerobis
5 years ago

Pol: I’m seeing that reported in various sources, probably all repeated from the police.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

This seems a bit chilling in view of events; but it’s from 2014, so not sure if there’s a direct connection with the horrific murders of yesterday.

Supporters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria from all over the world should attack citizens of Western states such as the US, France and UK, according to a statement by the group’s spokesman.

Abu Mohammed al Adnani urged the group’s supporters: “If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way, however it may be,” he said.

“Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.”

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ Pol & Numberbois

Yeah, just picked that up from BBC radio.

Verily Baroque
Verily Baroque
5 years ago

This is horrible; things like this should not happen in the world. Let’s hope this was the last awful thing to happen in 2016.

@IP
Thank you for context for those tweets. Parnevik is not known here, so when I first saw the first tweet it was, while obviously racist, a bit confusing since who the tweeter is affects the message slightly. There is a difference between a 13-yo student, a prime minister or a CEO tweeting something racist.

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