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"Circus of Hypocrisy": Jeremy Scahill on How World Leaders at Paris March Oppose Press Freedom

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Reprinted from Democracy Now!

An estimated 3.7 million people rallied across France on Sunday in response to the Charlie Hebdo shootings and ensuing attacks that left 17 people dead. More than a million people marched in Paris, making it the largest demonstration in French history. More than 40 world leaders traveled to Paris to help lead the march. "What we saw on display on the one hand was very heartening, to see so many people come into the streets," says Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept. "But on the other hand, this is a sort of circus of hypocrisy when it comes to all of those world leaders who were marching at the front of it. Every single one of those heads of state or representatives of governments there have waged their own wars against journalists."


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: An estimated 3.7 million people rallied across France Sunday in response to the Charlie Hebdo shootings and ensuing attacks that left 17 people dead. On Sunday, more than 40 world leaders traveled to Paris for the demonstration. At the Place de la Republique, demonstrators wearing Charlie Hebdo headbands waved French flags, and some sang "La Marseillaise," the national anthem. Several mounted the Statue of the Republic, a symbol of the French Revolution, and hoisted up an inflated pencil to honor the killed Charlie Hebdocartoonists. Here are some of the voices from the streets of France on Sunday.

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DEMONSTRATORS: [singing] ...dans les campagnes
mugir ces feroces soldats?
Aux armes, citoyens.

DEMONSTRATOR 1: [translated] We are free people in France, where everyone can live with one another. And it is important to voice and show it.

DEMONSTRATOR 2: [translated] Beyond Charlie, it is about freedom of speech, secularism, all the values that make up France that have been rattled. But the fact of gathering together, to see all these people, gives back a lot of hope.

DEMONSTRATOR 3: [translated] I sympathize with the people who have lost their loved ones. I would like to tell French people not to get confused, that at no time, in not a single book related to religion, whether it be the Qur'an, the Bible or the Torah, is it asked to kill one's fellow man or woman.

DEMONSTRATOR 4: [translated] Everybody is concerned, not only in France. It's all the people. The entire planet Earth is concerned. That means we're united. All countries are free, but we are here to prove that France is a welcoming country and that we are really free to express our joy whenever we want.

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AMY GOODMAN: Voices from Sunday's demonstration in France, one of the largest protests in the nation's history. Again, 3.7 million people marched across France.

The march took place two days after the gunmen who attacked Charlie Hebdo, Cherif and Said Kouachi, were killed by police after a siege at a printing works plant following a three-day manhunt. Minutes after the print shop assault, police broke a second siege at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris. Four hostages died there along with the gunman, Amedy Coulibaly. France has announced it will deploy 10,000 soldiers on home soil and post almost 5,000 extra police officers to protect Jewish sites. On Friday, Cherif Kouachi said he received financing by the Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen. He made the assertion to BFMTV before his death.

CHERIF KOUACHI: [translated] I'll tell you only that we were defenders of the Prophet Muhammad and that I was sent, me, Cherif Kouachi, by al-Qaeda of Yemen. I went over there, and it was Anwar al-Awlaki who financed me. Rest in peace.

AMY GOODMAN: Reuters is reporting both brothers who carried out the attack against Charlie Hebdo traveled to Yemen in 2011 and had weapons training in the deserts of Marib, an al-Qaeda stronghold. Meanwhile, a source within al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has provided The Intercept with a full statement claiming responsibility for theCharlie Hebdo attack. The statement reads in part, quote, "The leadership of #AQAP directed the operation, and they have chosen their target carefully as a revenge for the honor of Prophet ...The target was in France in particular because of its obvious role in the war on Islam and oppressed nations," unquote. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula members have taken to social media and discussion boards to praise the attacks.

Well, for more, we're joined by the article's author, Jeremy Scahill. He is co-founder of the, where his newarticle is "Al Qaeda Source: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula Directed Paris Attack." His latest book, Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield, it's now out in paperback. His film Dirty Wars was nominated for an Academy Award. He's also author of the best-selling book Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army.

Jeremy, welcome back to Democracy Now!

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Democracy Now!  is a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program hosted by journalists Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. Pioneering the largest public media collaboration in the U.S., Democracy Now! is broadcast on (more...)

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