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French Airport Alarm By: Stephen Brown
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, November 10, 2006

Is there any hope left for France?

With Muslim youths rioting in French cities, torching buses and fearlessly attacking police and firemen in the first European Intifada, the security situation, one would think, could not get any worse in the land of the Enlightenment. But it just did.

On a continent where new Islamist terrorist cells are discovered almost weekly, it was still a surprise when announced last week that, since 2005, 72 workers at Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris have had their security clearances cancelled because of their connections with terrorist organizations. While 10 of the 72 are Tamils and one is a Sikh, most of those concerned are Muslims suspected of having ties to radical Islam. And these are just some of the 200 airport workers security agencies have investigated since last May alone, according one English newspaper report.


It is not only the disturbingly large number of potential terrorists discovered working at France’s biggest airport, also known as Paris-Roissy, that astounds one; it is also the jobs they held. While some worked as clerks, drivers and cleaners, others were baggage handlers who loaded aircraft and transferred luggage between airplanes without any security control, begging the question: How difficult would it be for Islamists to slip a bomb into a suitcase or two before loading them into planes headed for the United States? The substantial number of workers with revoked clearances also makes one wonder whether French security officials have ever heard of 9/11 and al Qaeda’s affinity for blowing up Western aircraft.


Some of the targeted Muslim employees, who are all now suspended from their jobs, are known to have made trips to Pakistan and Afghanistan, while several are suspected of having attended terrorist training camps there. One was also a friend of Richard Reid, the British citizen who is now serving a life sentence in an American prison for trying to blow up a Paris to New York flight with a bomb hidden in his shoe. Others, according to an official of France’s Interior Ministry, maintain relations with people incarcerated in terrorism cases. All of which makes one wonder how these 72 people got security clearances in the first place.


And, as usual, the safety situation for air travelers using France’s premiere airport is probably worse than officials let on. Phillipe de Villiers, a French conservative politician who is planning to run for president in the next election, published a book last April exposing the deplorable security situation at the airport. Titled “The Mosques of Roissy”, Villiers contends that Charles de Gaulle (Paris-Roissy) airport has been infiltrated by extremist Islamist groups that have access to the sensitive baggage and freight areas.  From the security documents he has viewed, the French politician concludes one baggage handling company has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, many of whose members “frequent the clandestine prayer rooms situated in the airport.”


Connecting Bag Services, the baggage-handling company in question, hires mostly Muslim workers, especially from two villages in Algeria. Villier maintains that Muslims with an Islamist profile are favored for employment in order to help proselytize among the airport’s 83,000 employees. Local Muslim delinquents from neighborhoods near the airport also make up some of CBS’ personnel; several were recently involved in a luggage theft ring.  According to one security document published in de Villiers’ book, the Islamists and the delinquents are working in concert “to place the airport under sharia law…”


After the book’s publication, French authorities naturally denied the security situation at Charles de Gaulle was as bad as de Villiers painted it. And just as naturally, the unions representing the suspended workers are “outraged” their members have been suspended without having committed any infraction. The unions are planning a typical French socialist response to such perceived “injustice”: a strike. Ten of the concerned workers have also taken their suspensions to court to contest their right to simultaneously be Islamist and work around airplanes at an infidel airport.


But perhaps one should not be too hard on the French when it comes to crazy decisions regarding terrorism and transportation. In England last month, it was revealed a convicted Islamist terrorist, who spent three years in jail in Yemen for planning bomb attacks, possessed a pass that allowed him access to sensitive areas of London’s subway system, including areas regarded as prime targets for terrorist strikes. Last year, Islamist suicide bombers killed 52 people in attacks on the London public transit system.


And if that was not bad enough, it turns out the convicted terrorist/subway worker, Mohammed Kamel Mostafa, is the son of Abu Hamza, the hate-preaching, radical Islamist imam now serving seven years in an English jail. Hamza headed London’s notorious Finsbury Park mosque, now closed, that was a center of Islamist activity in Britain for many years.


Unbelievably, the subway’s management defended Hamza junior’s possessing the access pass by saying he had fulfilled all the requirements for the job (including, probably, a reference from his father) and had never been in legal trouble in England. And, it should be noted, when Hamza junior was finally fired from his London subway job, it was not for having planned to blow people to smithereens in Yemen, but rather for concealing his conviction for that crime when hired for the position. All of which causes one to ask whether there is any hope left for Europe at all?


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Stephen Brown is a contributing editor at Frontpagemag.com. He has a graduate degree in Russian and Eastern European history. Email him at alsolzh@hotmail.com.

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