Saturday, July 16, 2016

No evidence yet that Mohamed Bouhlel was a terrorist

The horror of the #NiceAttack is made worse by the widespread assumption that it was an Isis attack. Everywhere the commentators and pundits are interviewing terrorist experts and worse. The "quality" programme Newsnight gave a French right-winger airtime on the back of it.

Terrorism is defined as the use of violence against civilians for political ends.

The fact is that the evidence for terrorism in Nice is just not there, yet. True, Isis claimed Mohamed Bouhlel as one of their own, but they would, wouldn't they? There is no evidence that Bouhlel was religious or political. He was an unpleasant, violent person, a violent criminal who was in a divorce and had a row with an acquaintance the previous day, who told him he had no significance. Bouhlel responded with a threat to become significant.

If he had been a white man in the USA, it might have been another mass shooting. Because it was a Tunisian in France, it is an Islamic terrorist outrage in the mind of the news media.

There may be evidence found on his computer, of emails to Isis or radicalisers that may yet implicate him in Islamist terrorism. We must wait for this evidence. He may have accessed Isis sites, but this would not be sufficient.

This is important, because terrorist acts tend to boost the far Right. Isolated acts of violence, even ones as horrific as Nice, should not be handed to the Right on a plate.

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