All In With Chris Hayes, Wednesday, January 7th, 2015
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
January 7, 2015
Guest: Paul Ackermann, Jesse Paul; Joel Pett; Michael Moynihan; Karima
Bennoune; Arsalan Iftikhar
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --
An attack in Paris leaves 12 dead. Gunmen open fire on the offices of the
satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo".
Tonight as the French fill the streets in protests, the latest from Paris
on the hunt for the gunmen.
What we know about why this magazine and these cartoonists were targeted
again and again, and what this attack means for free speech around the
ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
A senior U.S. counterterrorism official tells NBC that at this hour, one
suspect has been killed and two other suspects are in custody following
today`s attack on a French satirical magazine in which 12 people were
Earlier this evening, a police operation was under way in Reims, northeast
of Paris, with police overhead in helicopters. French officials had just
hours ago identified three men as suspects in the massacre. Two brothers
in their early 30s, Said and Cherif Kouachi, as well as an 18-year-old
accomplice Hamyd Mourad.
One of the French officials told "The Associated Press" the suspects were
tied to a Yemeni terrorist network. However, no group has claimed
responsibility for the attack.
Joining me now with the latest, NBC News justice correspondent Pete
Pete, what do we know about who these people are? And who has been
apprehended and who has been killed?
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: To be fair, we just don`t
know exactly what the situation is in France tonight, well into the middle
of the night. There have been conflicting reports all afternoon about
whether an arrest had been made, the deputy mayor of Paris thought someone
was under arrest, then he said no, that wasn`t true.
We were told earlier this evening that from two U.S. counterterrorism
officials that one person was dead and two have been arrested, but there
are other U.S. officials that say they haven`t been told that. The French
aren`t saying much. There`s a natural desire by U.S. officials not to get
out ahead of the French.
So, I think in fairness, Chris, we have to say we just don`t know exactly
what the situation is there tonight. This has been something of a moving
picture all day long about precisely what the status of them is.
So, I think we can`t say with 100 percent certainty what the deal is over
there right now. There are conflicting reports, as I think the honest
As for who they are -- the French authorities have decided not to release
the names themselves, but the names have been out there.
Two brothers from Paris, ages 34 and 32, and another younger person aged
18. One of the older two had been arrested by the French nine years ago
and charged with trying to recruit people to fight against U.S. soldiers in
Iraq. He was convicted and served about a year and a half in prison. So,
he`s someone known to the French, although U.S. officials tell us tonight
that there is -- they found in going back and scrubbing through the
intelligence, no warning that this attack was coming against this newspaper
HAYES: We also -- we do know it was three assailants. We know that they -
- we can see from the videos that they were able to escape. There was a
very active manhunt. Are we under the impression that at this hour they at
least have identified the location of those individuals or is that still
not definitively confirmed?
WILLIAMS: I think we can say safely that they keep getting information
about where they are, they keep searching those places, but the French
haven`t yet confirmed that they have found them or that they`ve arrested
them or that they`ve shot anybody.
This was information, we understand, from French authorities to U.S.
officials here, but there is uncertainty about that tonight. And I think
we just can`t report with any confidence precisely what the situation is.
HAYES: All right. Pete Williams, thank you very much.
Now, let`s go Bill Neely, chief global correspondent for NBC News, who is
live in Paris tonight.
Bill, what is the latest from Paris at this hour?
BILL NEELY, NBC NEWS CHIEF GLOBAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris, just to back
up what Pete was saying, it`s 2:00 in the morning here. And we`ve been
unable to get any confirmation from French officials of a shoot-out either
in Reims, which is 90 miles northeast of here or anywhere else.
But the French police were slow earlier today when French media and indeed
on social media the names of the three suspects including the two brothers
were circulating. The French police took a very, very long time before
they would confirm those names. So, it may well be seven hours from now in
the early hours of tomorrow morning before the French police say anything
new about this manhunt.
HAYES: My understanding is that the scene in Paris tonight was a lot of
people flooding the streets as a sign of solidarity and mourning and grief
and defiance. What is the mood in the country now? The prime minister, of
course, the president has declared a day of mourning tomorrow.
What is the mood like?
NEELY: Yes, French President Francois Hollande declared a day of mourning.
Flags will fly at half-staff for three days. He said the country was in a
state of shock.
And I think that`s no exaggeration. It might be too much of an
exaggeration to say as I heard today that this is France`s 9/11. I don`t
think the casualty figures quite bear that out. But there`s a great sense
of shock here.
This is the worst terrorist attack in France since 1961, so 54 years ago.
And that was at the height of the Algerian war.
It`s also because it was seen as such a soft target. I mean, these are
journalists and cartoonists who tried to make people laugh. One of them
was 80 years old. I knew him. I`ve got one of his books on my book shelf
at home, Wolinski, he was a very well-known person here. So, I think
So, yes, here in Paris tonight, there was a big rally at one of the central
squares, tens of thousands of people in solidarity with the magazine, many
of them holding up posters that said "Je Suis Charlie", "I am Charlie too,"
the magazine, of course, called "Charlie Hebdo." So, there`s a mood of
defiance, of solidarity, of shock.
The French president saying, in order to stand up to these killers, we must
unite as a nation. And that indeed is what`s happening.
Many French imams, including the main imam from the main mosque here in
Paris, have condemned this attack, saying this does not represent Islam.
These are not true Muslims.
HAYES: Bill Neely live in Paris this hour, thank you very much.
French President Francois Hollande declared tomorrow a national day of
mourning, as you just heard, as thousands took to the streets in Paris,
many expressing solidarity with the publication "Charlie Hebdo" carrying
signs saying "I am Charlie."
French officials raised the terror alert to its highest level following
today`s attack, which was the deadliest in France in half a century.
Sixteen police forces as well as military police groups were deployed
throughout the Paris region. The city manhunt began immediately after the
deadly attack late this morning in Paris.
HAYES (voice-over): At 11:30 a.m. local time in Paris, a van pulled up in
front of the building housing the French satirical magazine "Charlie
Hebdo." At least two masked assailants armed with automatic weapons
entered the building. The magazine was in middle of its morning editorial
meeting. When the attackers entered the offices, officials say, the gunmen
opened fire indiscriminately.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They went inside the offices.
It`s like a butcher`s inside there now. There`s so many dead. One of my
colleagues is in a critical condition.
HAYES: The attack lasted just minutes. Meanwhile, journalists and
neighbors took refuge on the roof.
REPORTER: Those who had been in nearby offices scrambled on to roof tops
to escape. What fear must have gripped them. Their phones captured the
sight and sounds of the killers below.
REPORTER: This was the day militants brought terror to Paris.
HAYES: At the office, the attackers killed 11 people, including 8
journalists, a maintenance worker, and a guest in the office, and a police
After the attack, the gunmen fled. Witnesses say the gunmen yelled "Allahu
Akbar" and "We have avenged the Prophet Mohammed". On the run, they
exchanged fire with police three times.
During the last exchange, video shows a gunman killing an injured policeman
who said, no, no, as he was shot at close range.
Before the attackers drove away, one carefully picked up a shoe before
getting into a black car.
They continued on into a Paris suburb where they abandoned the vehicle and
hijacked another car.
REPORTER: This eyewitness came and said, "The car stopped here, armed men
got out on the pavement and a threatening man had guns and what looked like
a bazooka. They took another car and then they left and blocked
HAYES: In total, 12 people are dead, 11 people are injured, 4 critically.
The magazine "Charlie Hebdo" had been a target of extremists for years.
It`s part of a long-standing tradition of French satirical magazines taking
aim at the political establishment, organized religion. But the
publication`s repeated depictions of the Prophet Mohammed put the magazine
and the staff under the threat of violence for nearly a decade.
In 2006, the magazine republished cartoons of Mohammed from a Danish
newspaper that has sparked a global fury. "Charlie Hebdo`s" offices were
firebombed in 2011 after it named Mohammed as its editor in chief for the
The following year, it published an illustration of Mohammed naked. That
prompted the French government to temporarily close 20 embassies around the
But none of those events caused the people behind "Charlie Hebdo" to stray
from the mission, including the editor Stephane Charbonnier known as
STEPHANE CHARBONNIER, CHARLIE HEBDO: It is not to defend freedom of
speech, but without freedom of speech, we are dead. We can`t live in a
country without freedom of speech. I prefer to die than live like a rat.
I don`t know.
HAYES: His last cartoon, eerily prophetic.
REPORTER: The main comment says, how they`d been no attacks in France so
far? But the figure of the armed militants replies, "Wait until the end of
January before you get a gift from us."
HAYES: Today, Charb was among those killed. Hours after the attack, the
"Charlie Hebdo" Web site published this statement, "Je Suis Charlie," "I am
HAYES: Joining me now from Paris, Paul Ackermann. He is the editor of
"Huffington Post" France.
Paul, what are the streets of Paris like tonight?
PAUL ACKERMANN, HUFFINGTON POST (via telephone): It`s a bit calmer,
(INAUDIBLE) but there was a big rally at the end of the day because the
emotion is really big about this situation around the media, there`s a lot
police. But there`s no more fear than that I think.
HAYES: There`s obviously the three gunmen remain at large, and yet -- and
there`s concerns about security, I`m sure, but it seems that Parisians were
taking to the streets to kind of express defiance at least from the images
ACKERMANN: Yes. There was defiance, but it was a picture of solidarity
and to show that they were really defending freedom of speech. It was more
that than defiance. It was a symbol of solidarity and to show that we are
HAYES: Has the murder of these journalists and cartoonists, also a police
officer and maintenance worker, is the country reacting in a kind of united
fashion or has it been -- obviously the magazine itself was polarizing. I
wonder if there`s been a polarized response to it or is everyone fairly
united in grief and outrage?
ACKERMANN: No, no, right now, it`s really -- there`s a big, big showing of
unity from political persons, from media, of course, also from
representatives. It`s really a big, big movement of unity now.
HAYES: There was, I saw, a statement issued by the grand mosque in Paris
absolutely condemning the attack. I`ve seen a number of Parisian Muslims,
French Muslims, other Muslim institutions there also condemning it.
Obviously, they had nothing to do with this, but it does seem noteworthy in
this context how unanimous that has been as well.
ACKERMANN: Yes, there was a debate at some point on some "Charlie Hebdo"
drawings, but now what happens this morning, nobody can accept it. Freedom
of speech is something that is really universal in France and even if there
has been debate on some details right now, everybody is united.
HAYES: OK. Thank you very much. Really appreciate it.
ACKERMANN: Thank you.
HAYES: It seems like many countries have gotten good at defending against
major terrorist attacks but not smaller scale ones. Why is that? And is
it even possible to do so?
Plus, the latest from Paris as the manhunt appears to continue. We`ll talk
about all that, ahead.
HAYES: My thoughts of the work that the cartoonist and journalists at
"Charlie Hebdo" were doing, in the wake of being threatened by violent
reprisal every day, ahead.
HAYES: One thing you cannot say about the deadly terror attack against
satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo" in Paris today is that no one saw it
coming. "Charlie Hebdo`s" offices were under police protection. They were
fire bombed in 2011 after the magazine carried a caricature of the Prophet
Mohammed. In 2013, al Qaeda`s branch in Yemen instructed its followers to
murder "Charlie Hebdo`s" editorial director, proud provocateur, Stephane
Charbonnier, in the form of a wanted poster in its online magazine with the
headline, "Yes, we can, a bullet a day keeps the infidel away."
Charbonnier was killed in today`s attack.
The attack on "Charlie Hebdo" was more sophisticated than the acts of
terror last year by so-called lone wolf attackers in Australia and Canada.
But there are similarities. These were attacks involving a small number of
assailants using guns and little else, whose actions did not require a high
level of coordination necessary to pull off a larger scale mass casualty, a
bombing like those in London or Madrid last decade.
America and many other nations have appeared to develop a whole range of
sophisticated techniques to combat such large scale attacks. But stopping
one man or a small group of them who are armed with a gun or even just a
vehicle, that seemed a different sort of challenge.
Joining me now, NBC News analyst and former FBI NYPD joint terrorism task
force assistant special agent in charge, Don Borelli.
DON BORELLI, NBC NEWS ANALYST: Hi, Chris.
HAYES: Let`s start off with what we might be able to -- what conclusion we
might be able to draw from the film that we have, the video we have of the
individuals involved as they walked through the streets.
BORELLI: Right. So this one seems like it`s a bit of an in-betweener.
Definitely more training, more sophistication that some of these one-off
lone wolves like we saw in Australia and Canada, but maybe not the level of
sophistication that we saw with like we saw with a 9/11 attack or a London
bombing, for example. They did seem to move very methodically, tactically,
seemed like they had a good idea of where they were going, may not exactly
but probably had done some reconnaissance.
I would imagine that there had been reconnaissance done on this building,
probably had some information from the inside, and the fact that they were
not deterred by police. I mean, most people that are going to attack a
soft target will see a police car and say, you know, let`s back off and
find a different soft target.
HAYES: Right, right.
BORELLI: They went ahead and went for it, even knowing that they were
likely going to engage police activity.
HAYES: And exchange fire several times with police, murdered a police
officer up close in cold blood.
What is the investigative trail you follow if you`re the French authorities
right now? I mean, obviously, first, you have to find them. That`s the
most important thing, right?
BORELLI: Right. I mean, you`re going to want to build this whole timeline
and this network. You`re going to -- not just the people involved in this
attack but who are their circle of influence, who are their friends, their
families, where did they travel?
They did get some -- it appears they did get some training. Where did they
get the training? Where did they get the weapons? Who financed them? Was
this their idea? Was it somebody else`s idea?
I mean, there`s a lot more questions than answers right now. But these are
the pieces of the puzzle that the French, with the help of basically the
rest of their allies are going to want to put together to figure out are
there more of these out there? Are these one cell of many or is this just
kind of a one off?
HAYES: We have seen these attacks, she`s sort of lone wolf attacks or even
in the Boston bombing situation, which again the suspects named here, two
of them are brothers, of course, that was the case in the Boston bombing,
in which you have essentially disaffected violent militants who plot
internally and pull something off, right? Is it the case that essentially,
the most we can hope for a sort of security apparatus is to prevent large
scale mass casualty events but that is just an order of magnitude more
difficult to prevent something like this on a soft target with a small
number of conspirators if that`s what it proves to be?
BORELLI: It is very difficult. I mean, you strive to have 100 percent.
HAYES: Of course.
BORELLI: But the reality of living in a free society, especially one where
guns are available, and you don`t even need guns. I mean, there are other
HAYES: In Canada, one individual who apparently still slight ambiguity,
used a car. I mean, just --
BORELLI: So whatever.
If somebody is really that committed to an act of violence even if it`s
just a one person against, you know, a police officer or whatever, then
it`s very, very difficult to stop in a society where, you know, we have
freedoms and openness, and freedom to express, you know, our opinions and
all these type of things. We don`t live in a police state. That`s the
price we pay.
Unfortunately, sometimes is that we cannot find everybody that`s committed
to an act of violence.
HAYES: There are some reports indicating that -- well, there are several
reports indicating that one of the suspects involved here was previously
convicted on charges of attempting to join the insurgency in Iraq, that he
actually served time.
What is your knowledge, the degree to which the law enforcement officials
have a handle on, you know, people that have connections to networks that
might produce such an attack?
BORELLI: Again, it`s very difficult because once somebody`s in the system,
and then they get out, you`re looking at -- you know, do you follow them 24
hours a day? You can`t. That`s very, very resource intensive.
HAYES: Well, also, presumably there`s a judicial argument, someone`s
convicted and they served their time.
BORELLI: Exactly. But you try to build a network of intelligence that
would be people in the community, people that kind of are your eyes and
ears. There are other technical surveillance. There`s a lot of things you
can do, again, all within the legal framework.
HAYES: How long can you -- I mean, I have to say, surprised that they have
not been apprehended as of yet when you consider the amount of resources
that are being thrown as something like this. I mean, how long can you
imagine plausibly they will be able to stay outside?
BORELLI: With today`s social media and crowd sourcing the information, I
think not all that long. Maybe they are in custody. I guess there`s some
ambiguity about what the official status is. But once the names are
released and people say, I know that person --
HAYES: Or I`ve seen their pictures.
BORELLI: I`ve seen their picture. Like we saw in Boston, it was very soon
after the photos were released that the information was flooding in. And
that`s likely what`s happening right now in France, if in fact if they`re
maybe not already in custody.
HAYES: Don Borelli, thank you very much for your time.
BORELLI: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: There`s other news to report tonight, specifically what seems to be
possibly a near-miss terror attack here in the U.S. That story is next.
HAYES: Federal agents and local law enforcement in Colorado are on the
lookout for a balding white man in his 40s who may be driving a dirty
pickup truck. It could have an open tailgate or a missing or covered
license plate. That man is considered a person of interest in a case out
of Colorado Springs, where a home made bomb was placed outside the NAACP
A statement from the FBI reads in part, "We are investigating all potential
motives at this time and an act of domestic terrorism is certainly one
There`s very little damage to the NAACP office building, which also houses
a barber shop. Thankfully, no one was hurt. But things could have been
much worse. The FBI said a gas can had been placed next to the device but
did not ignite during the explosion.
Yesterday`s attack happened in broad daylight while volunteers were working
inside a local chapter of America`s oldest civil rights organization.
Although it is not yet known if the motive behind the home-made explosive
was a hate crime, the FBI is quoted as saying we believe it was
deliberately set and are investigating all potential motives at this time.
A hate crime is one possibility.
If the attack does in fact turn out to be an attempted act of terrorism or
a crime, it would not be the first time the NAACP has been targeted. In
1989 what was described as a tear gas mail bomb attack, the NAACP`s Atlanta
offices injured eight people including an infant. And, of course, there`s
Medgar Evers to become the first field officer in Mississippi who was
assassinated in 1963.
Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis tweeted, quote, "I`m deeply
troubled by the bombing in Colorado. It reminds me of another period.
These stories cannot be swept under the rug. #NAACPBombing."
Joining me now, Jesse Paul, he`s been covering the story for Denver Post
where he is the Breaking News reporter. Jesse, what is the latest as of
JESSE PAUL, BREAKING NEWS REPORTER AT THE DENVER POST: You know, we still
don`t know too much beyond what the FBI said yesterday. I spoke with FBI
spokeswoman this morning who basically said that they weren`t -- that they
weren`t ready to release any new details in the case. I was down there
this morning at the NAACP Office and at the barber shop, that building, and
the, you know, the federal investigators were gone, all the evidence have
been taken away, and sad (ph) for damage, some minor damage to the building
basically. You wouldn`t really know that the attack actually happened.
HAYES: would anyone see this happens -- when it happened? And is that how
the description of the person of interest came about?
PAUL: Yeah. I mean, it`s unclear if there was a direct witness to the
actual explosion. What I was basically told was that there were some
neighbors that saw this person of interest fleeing from the area after the
explosion happened. But, again, this happened in broad day - daylight. It
was a really nice day down in Colorado Springs and this NAACP Office is in
a street mall, it`s not (ph) on a busy road. It`s in small community.
There`s lots of people around, lots of people heard the blast.
HAYES: Is the understanding that -- that -- that the item that ignited was
placed next to a gasoline can. The gasoline can was there as kind of an
improvised explosive device intending to create a much larger explosion?
PAUL: I think that`s what the FBI has -- has been alluding to, but again I
think it`s really important to mention that the FBI hasn`t definitively
said that the NAACP was the target of this, what appears to be an
intentional explosion. You know, there was this barbershop there. You
know, I spoke with the barber today, he said, "You know, I have no enemies.
There`s -- there`s no way that this was -- this was me." The overall
feeling is that this was targeted at the NAACP, but I think it I s
important to mention that there hasn`t been official word yet saying that
the NAACP Office there was -- was the direct target.
HAYES: We should also say the NAACP itself has been relatively cautious
about all this. Yesterday they were sort of tamping down any speculation
that it might have been of a political nature. They continue to do their
Jesse Paul, thank you very much.
PAUL: Thank you.
HAYES: More on the latest developments in today`s terror attack in Paris,
HAYES: There are conflicting reports at this hour on whether French
authorities currently have two of the suspects in today`s attack in their
custody. Earlier in the hour, NBC News, Pete Williams told me he heard
from some U.S. officials that one of the suspects had been killed; the
remaining two were taken into custody. While other U.S. officials are
saying that`s not what they`ve been told. Now, French authorities won`t
say either way.
Meanwhile, French people expressed weekly is reporting that reporters on
the ground all night have said there were no shots fired, no signs of a
suspect killed or arrested in Reims outside Paris. The AFT, the French
Wire Service reports that the youngest of the three suspects has in fact
surrendered to police.
All around the world tonight people have been taking to the streets to show
solidarity for the victims of the attack in Paris on satirical magazine
Charlie Hebdo, holding signs of "Je Suis Charlie, I am Charlie."
In Iran according to tweet from local reporter where writers and
journalists are holding a vigil for the fallen comrades, and at a joint
memo under the heading, "So Charlie Can Live," three major French media
companies offered resources and equipment to the surviving staff of Charlie
Hebdo so publication can continue to function after eight journalists,
including Charlie Hebdo`s editor were gunned down at its headquarters this
Taking the social media cartoonists from around the world have been
responding to the deaths of some of their most prominent colleagues as only
they can. There`s this cartoon from Australian cartoonist, David Pope,
who`s already been re-tweeted nearly 60,000 times and counting. This one
which I love, posted the unofficial Facebook page of street artist Banksy
for this from Chilean cartoonist, Francisco Olea, to arms companions with a
photo of cartoonist`s tools.
(Inaudible) have seen like an especially risky profession but editorial
cartoonist quite often find themselves in the crosshairs of the
institutions and the individuals they ridicule. Perhaps most famously
there was the controversy in 2005 and 2006 over Danish cartoonists
depicting the Prophet Muhammad which set off violent protest and death
threats against the artists and others. Even now cartoonists are coming
under threat in places like Turkey. The government of President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan has been cracking down on cartoon satire.
Joining me now, Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist for the
Lexington Herald-Leader, the president of the Board of Directors of the
Cartoonists Rights Network International, Joel Pett.
Joel, your reaction to today`s massacre?
JOEL PETT, EDITORIAL CARTOONIST, LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER: Hi, Chris.
Well, any of us who`ve been fortunate enough to meet cartoonists from
around the world, go to cartooning confabs as I have been in Asia and
Africa and even in Soviet Era (ph), Russia have recognized that this is a
tribe of really like-minded kindred spirits, and it transcends nationality
and even political ideology. We just like each other and, you know, we
share the -- the same sort of soul searching laments about the human
condition on good days, and on days like this, it`s just pretty tough to
HAYES: The phenomenon of cartoonists finding themselves as subject of
threats is more widespread than I think you might -- or folks might
imagine. Obviously, the Danish cartoon controversy was the most
publicized, but in your role, the organization you -- you serve on the
board of, I mean, this is something that -- that -- that happens across the
world every day.
PETT: Yeah, it certainly is. If you look at Cartoonist Rights Network
International`s Web site, you`ll see that we have clients all over the
world and this happens on a very small scale, of course, so it doesn`t make
headlines all the time. Usually not from terrorists, but at the hands of
their own government, who, you know, intimidate and otherwise try to
control this kind of free speech that is uncontrollable.
HAYES: What is it about the medium that makes it so feared and -- and so
powerful? I mean, we`re having -- you`re seeing people -- we`re having
internal debates but -- whether we will show some of the - the more
offensive or provocative cartoons. NBC News Centers has decided we should
not as have other networks. There is something about the potency about
those images that packs a punch that -- that -- that mere words or
monologues don`t seem to.
PETT: You know, that`s true. I think part of it is that it`s difficult to
respond to ridicule and satire. I mean, if somebody draws you like a
turtle, the way I do our Senator Mitch McConnell, you just can`t write back
and say, "I`m not a turtle."
And, you know, it`s just -- it`s hard to respond to humorous satire and
ridicule, and if you`re smart you just go along with it, and if you`re not,
you try to stop it by force, which unfortunately happens all too often.
HAYES: Is there a sense tonight among the tribe that you talked about of
kind of collective grief, collective solidarity and -- and what steps to
take in defiance of this?
PETT: Well, certainly there is, and as you said earlier, you know, the
only thing we know to do is draw more cartoons. But, you know, the pen may
be mightier than the sword in the long run but there are certainly days
when it sure don`t feel like it for right now. I think everybody shares
the same sort of feeling of -- of helplessness.
For me, and I can`t speak for the rest of the cartooning world on this, it
is -- things like this are a wake-up call to not waste the opportunity that
we have, any of us fortunate enough to have a platform in this country or
anywhere else, to draw satire, need occasional reminders, not like this, of
course, but that -- I hate to call it a serious business because clearly it
isn`t, but there is some obligation to, if you`re going to be a
provocateur, to provoke the right people and the right institutions for the
So, you know, little as that might be, that`s what I take away from it.
HAYES: The idea that there`s a kind of -- in this -- in this satirical
enterprise, a sort of solemnity to the -- to the actual weight that you
bear in doing something that`s as meaningful and powerful as it is that
people would kill over it.
PETT: Yeah, it`s hard to fathom that. You know, for all of the
international incidents that we have at CRNI to try to mitigate. There are
very few of them in this country, and I think it`s a combination of the
fact that, well, first of all, the corporations have done a pretty good job
of silencing the cartoonists simply by laying us off, so much more
But secondly and more seriously, I think that we don`t take the kinds of
chances, publishers and editors, cartoonists will, but publishers and
editors in this country don`t take the kinds of chances that -- that some
others do around the world. It`s impossible to imagine really "the New
York Times" or "the Wall Street Journal," neither of which even run
political cartoons or "USA Today" which, to their credit, do, really taking
on something that had a real cutting edge possibility of -- of provoking.
PETT: . you know, something big.
HAYES: Yeah, it`s hard to imagine a large American publication that would
be running precisely the cartoons that were being run in this publication
which we should know it, had a relatively small circulation. This was not
HAYES: (Inaudible) talk about.
PETT: This was a satire journal, not a large daily, but even Le Monde, you
know, the Paris Daily runs page one editorial cartoons by Jean Plantu that
are, you know, against the Jihadists.
PETT: And I think it takes a lot of guts to do that.
HAYES: Sure does. Joel Pett, thank you.
All right. If today`s attack on the offices of "Charlie Hebdo" were in
retaliation for the publication`s present -- representation of Islam and
the Prophet Muhammad, what does that mean for the future of free speech?
I`ll be joined by a panel including someone whose father was threatened at
his home by an armed Islamic group after speaking out against
fundamentalism and terrorism. Stay with us.
HAYES: Today`s bloody attacks in Paris come in the context of a long a
running debate in France, in Europe and across the world about the right to
offend what free speech and satire look like in an age when media is
global. The barbarity of what happened today has me reconsidering some
things I used to think. More on that ahead.
HAYES: With the exception of some Jihadi supporters on Twitter, some
French figures, the Muslim world`s condemnation of today`s attack in Paris
has been more or less unanimous, Arab governments, Muslim leaders and
religious and academic organizations alike denouncing the shooting.
At this point the attack appears to have been retaliation for the satirical
magazine Charlie Hebdo`s representations of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.
If that bears out, this is a stick of dynamite thrust into what is already
a deep and dangerous fault line running through France, Europe and across
the world. Divide over the freedom of expression and offensiveness and
what constitutes legitimate debate in an era of global media, when
something published one place is something published everywhere.
At a time of heightened tensions over questions of identity and security in
Europe, today`s attack likely ISIS beheadings appear crafted to play into
the worst fears, the worst stereotypes about the Jihadist threat. Every
bit as barbaric as you have been led to believe and that they will come for
When I first heard about the murders at the magazine`s office, I remember
the controversy nearly 10 years ago over Danish cartoons mocking the
Prophet Muhammad. At the time, I thought those cartoons were stupid,
offensive and a lot of them were racist, and then if I were running a
magazine, I wouldn`t publish them nor would I offer praise to those who
They seemed a largely pointless prank. But upon seeing today`s murders, I
admit to reconsidering. I can`t help but feel that what happened today
retroactively enabled the sometimes offensive cartoons published in Charlie
Hebdo and other places because the -- the magazine Hebdo and its staff were
actually genuinely subject to violent reprisals, reprisals they stood up
against courageously and at a tremendous cost, a cost we`re seeing today.
And standing up against violent intimidation, that is noble even if the
cartoons themselves may not always be.
We will discuss the fine line the magazine artist and writers walk. Next.
HAYES: We`re back. Joining me now, Michael Moynihan, columnist of the Daily
Beast, Karima Bennoune, author of "Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here," whose
university professor father, as I mentioned earlier, was the subject of
death threats by an armed Islamic group after he taught about Darwin,
Arsalan Iftikhar, senior editor of the Islamic Monthly.
All right. Karima, let me start with you. What is your reaction to today
and does what happened today change your -- the prior believe beliefs you
had yesterday about speech, offensiveness, violence and intimidation?
KARIMA BENNOUNE, PROFESSOR UC DAVIS SCHOOL OF LAW: I`m completely horrified
by what happened today. And like so many people of Muslim heritage around
the world, I do want to say, I am Charlie in Arabic and a Charlie (ph) in
French. As we, Charlie, really stand in solidarity with the victims and
these people across France. This has not changed my view. In fact, it`s
confirmed my belief that Muslim fundamentalist movement and the armed
wings, in particular, are one of the major human rights threats that we
face around the world and that we absolutely have to defeat these
HAYES: What does that mean though? What does defeat mean?
BENNOUNE: Well, it means first going after and discrediting the ideology
that motivates them. It means exposing their terrorist atrocities.
Unfortunately, what happened today has been repeated across Muslim majority
regions of the world. It reminds me of an awful attack on press house in
Algiers in 1996. So it means really exposing the way in which they have
victimized so many civilians including people of Muslim heritage
themselves. It means, in the case of the armed wing of these movements that
we`ve seen operating today, it means dismantling and taking apart and
taking away the funding from those movements. And I think part of what it
means is that people of Muslim heritage around the world have a
responsibility to speak out against these atrocities, against the movements
that carry them out, against the apologists for them. We have the
responsibility to be as courageous as the people on the frontlines. People
today are speaking out in places like Algeria, even somebody from Sudan
signed a petition in support of the journalists at Charlie Hebdo. We need
to have that courage as well.
HAYES: Arsalan, I want to show you an image that people have been talking
about this magazine and how it was -- I`ve heard the phrase, equal
opportunity offender. Here`s one cartoon. At one point, they sort of found
themselves condemned by -- from rabbis, catholic priests and Islamic
clerics. And there are going to be people today, tomorrow, Friday night on
Bill Maher who basically say, "Well, look who -- they offended everyone.
They went after Jesus. They went after Catholics. They went after Jews.
They went after everyone. And it`s only the Muslims that react violently.
What are you going to say to the people that are going to and are saying
that right now?
ARSALAN IFTIKHAR, SENIOR EDITOR ISLAMIC MONTHLY: Well, Chris, I think it`s
important to keep in mind that, you know, the acts of three murderers, you
know, gunmen in Paris, France, do not, you know, equate to the acts of 1.7
billion Muslims on the face of the earth. I think it`s important to keep in
mind that -- as you mentioned, you know, the 2005 Danish cartoon
controversy, the 2011 bombing at Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris. You
know, we`re in 2015 now. So you know, a lot of these cartoons are not even
new. And you know, it`s important for, you know, free speech advocates and
first amendment freaks around the world and in, you know, western and
eastern societies to, you know, stand up in solidarity, you know, against
any sort of violence perpetrated against people who are just trying to
exercise free speech. You know, we all know that, you know, free speech is
not absolute. You know that there`s no western, you know, liberal newspaper
on the face of the earth that would publish anti-Semitic cartoons and
rightfully so for understandable reasons. But I think when it comes to
Islam and Muslims, you know, this sort of conflation in terms of, you know,
the need for Muslim public intellectuals and leaders and Islamic scholars
to come out and condemn, which, you know, obviously we have unanimously
today, you know, still remains large because we want, you know, the rest of
western societies to know that we are part and parcel of our -- of our
nations. One of the 12 people who were actually killed, the 42-year-old
HAYES: That`s right.
IFTIKHAR: . who was gunned down on the sidewalk was actually a Muslim.
IFTIKHAR: And so, you know, we are as much victims in this as anybody else.
And you know, we are horrified and saddened by the tragedy today.
HAYES: Michael, I think of you as kind of a maximalist on this. I think you
and I probably have very different views of the decision to publish the
Danish cartoons back in 2006. You thought they were affirmatively appraised
where they endeavor.
MICHAEL MOYNIHAN, COLUMNIST DAILY BEAST: Yes. And I even published them,
HAYES: you publish them.
Moynihan: I publish them on the website I ran in Sweden after a website in
Sweden was shut down for publishing them.
HAYES: But isn`t -- look, there -- I mean -- so there is this question
right in the face -- my feeling today is that, you know, Rose dealt -- I
thought he wrote (ph) his regular post, he said, "If it turns out that upon
a year (ph) -- if a large enough group of people is willing to murder you
for something then that -- saying that thing actually turns out to be
something that needs to be said."
HAYES: But there is also the case of, you know, this question sort of
offense for offense`s sake, right? And I guess -- what is your thinking
MOYNIHAN: Well, I mean, I can`t question their motivations. I don`t want to
go around saying that Charlie Hebdo did it for the right reasons and
Flemming Rose in Denmark didn`t. I know Flemming and I know (inaudible).
HAYES: (Inaudible) Danish cartoons.
MOYNIHAN: So that`s a very kind of dicey (ph) thing to determine, you know,
HAYES: Right. Because you do it for the right reason.
MOYNIHAN: You know -- and people saying, "You know, I hear this a lot today
that Charlie Hebdo is a left wing." Well, if it`s a left wing -- I don`t
care if it`s a right wing.
MOYNIHAN: Nobody deserves to go to jail, to be blown up, to be shot for
these things. And I do make a few points, really fantastic intro to your
first guest. It`s right to say, as everyone does say ad nauseam but not
all, you know, 1.7 billion Muslims are terrorists. Let`s flip back here,
just for a bit. Not all 1.7 billion Muslims are offended, by the way. I
know many in the Muslim world -- many liberals out there who are Muslim,
you know, are protesting also against this outrage and against censorship
HAYES: Right. And Karima, that`s an interesting -- sometimes that it does
get inverted, right? The assumption of offense can be as kind of
stereotyping as the assumption of extremism.
BENNOUNE: Absolutely. In the research that I did on Muslim opposition to
fundamentalism, I interviewed a wonderful arts promoter in Lahore, Pakistan
named (inaudible), and he said to me sitting in Lahore. This is somebody
whose own festivals had been attacked. He said if the Prophet Mohammed had
seen these cartoons, he would have had a laugh. Muslims can have a sense of
humor as well. Muslims and people of Muslim heritage can appreciate satire.
And we have to defend the right to blaspheme, which is different than the
right to discriminate, which I absolutely oppose.
HAYES: So, Arsalan, what do you -- do you worry about what tomorrow and the
next week and the next month looks like in France and around Europe as this
-- as the backlash to this grows?
IFTIKHAR: Yes. Because, you know, in Germany right now in the last few
weeks, you know, there have been 17,000 people who are, you know, showing
up at anti-Muslim protests all around the country and obviously this is
only going to exacerbate that. There are some reports that show, you know,
the gunmen were screaming things like, "We are avenging the prophet," and
they`ve done nothing but disgraced the prophet. I mean the Prophet Mohammed
was insulted many times during his life and never once did he order to
kill, you know, anybody in retribution for that. And so, you know, this is
a -- you know, this is a completely devoid of religion. This is pure mass
murder plain and simple and it doesn`t matter, you know, the nationality or
the religion of the perpetrators. This is a crime against humanity.
HAYES: I would say this, whether it`s devoid of religion or not, we don`t
definitively know, we have witness accounts they shouted about the prophet.
It was devoid of ideology. I mean, this was political violence, and it was
meant to do something very specific, which is create retribution and to
intimidate people who are engaging in speech. And I think that is what has
so brought people out of the woodwork across the world, across a lot of
faiths in opposition to it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I think that`s the backbone of this is in very,
very radical reading of Islam, but it is a political ideology. I mean,
this doesn`t surprise me that this happened, unfortunately. I think the
political fallout from this is very worrying because (INAUDIBLE) the party
in France is vacillating between the biggest party, same thing, Danish
HAYES: That`s the story to sort of continue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a depressing end.
HAYES: Michael Moynihan, (INAUDIBLE) Arsalan Iftikhar, thank you very
That is "ALL IN" for this evening.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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