Daniel Pipes throws a curveball today. After counting off the increasingly familiar soft-on-terrorism case against the UK (protector of killers, de facto terrorism sponsor, Star Wars bar scene, etc.), he plants two kisses on the cheeks of Britain's neighbors across the Channel:
While London hosts terrorists, Paris hosts a top-secret counterterrorism center, code-named Alliance Base, the existence of which was recently reported by the Washington Post. At Alliance Base, six major Western governments have since 2002 shared intelligence and run counterterrorism operations—the latter makes the operation unique.
More broadly, President Chirac instructed French intelligence agencies just days after September 11, 2001, to share terrorism data with their American counterparts "as if they were your own service." The cooperation is working: A former acting CIA director, John E. McLaughlin, called the bilateral intelligence tie "one of the best in the world." The British may have a "special relationship" with Washington on Iraq, but the French have one with it in the war on terror.
France accords terrorist suspects fewer rights than any other Western state, permitting interrogation without a lawyer, lengthy pre-trial incarcerations, and evidence acquired under dubious circumstances. Were he a terrorism suspect, the author of Al-Qaida's Jihad in Europe, Evan Kohlmann, says he "would least like to be held under" the French system.
Like Al Pacino, Pipes is just gettin' started, and from here the article goes into a defense of the French government's hostility toward religious expression, which hardly started with Islam and doesn't exactly follow the American model of soft secularism. Even if that gives you pause, the whole article is worth reading and puts an interesting twist on what has, I think, been a pretty underwhelming performance by the Brits in the last week.
Last year Pipes confronted Berkeley loonies with a whip and a chair, and I alone escaped to tell thee.