This story has been carried by many websites and blogs . It first broke about 10 days ago, when it was announced that a teacher at the Collège Interarmées de Défense (CID), roughly translated as Joint Staff College, and formerly known as the School for Warfare within the more general framework of the Military Academy, had been fired by the Minister of Defense because of his views on 9/11. Here, I'm condensing material from a blog called Secret Defense, devoted exclusively to things military:
Aymeric Chauprade, instructor of geopolitics at the CID, was brutally dismissed this morning (February 5) by Defense Minister Hervé Morin following the publication of an article in Le Point. Morin accuses him of being the author of a "text from which emanate unacceptable notions" concerning the 9/11 attacks which are presented as the fruit of an Israeli-American conspiracy.
The text in question refers to a new book by Chauprade entitled Chronique du choc des civilisations (chronicle of the clash of civilizations).
Jean Guisnel of Le Point quotes Defense Minister Hervé Morin:
"I discovered a text from which emanate unacceptable notions. Over eleven pages he speaks of an Israeli-American conspiracy aiming to conquer the world. When I learned of this on Tuesday evening, I gave the order to General Desportes, Chauprade's superior, not to keep this Monsieur Chauprade on the teaching staff. He has no business being at the Military Academy." This meant dismissal.
Questioned by Secret Defense, Aymeric Chauprade, 40, said he was astounded: "They're cutting off my head. I had no contact with the Minister's cabinet. No one attempted to hear my side before making this decision following the publication of one article." A "very angry" Chauprade intends to defend himself. He has a lawyer and has promised "a fight."
He explains the basis for the reproaches: "It's true that I present the theory (of an Israeli-American conspiracy) in a favorable light, but I don't say it's my position. I wanted to show the opposition between two ways of seeing the world, aware that half of humanity thinks the 9/11 attacks were the result of a conspiracy" and not the work of al-Qaïda Islamists."
Having read the chapter in question, the first one in the book, the author of this blog (meaning Secret Defense) can attest that the conspiracy theories are presented with a great deal of acceptance and especially that the author knowingly omits the other version of the facts, that he calls the "official version," as well as the criticisms of the conspiracy theories.
This afternoon, students at the CID rose up against what they perceive as a "witch hunt" on behalf of "official thought".
The article then describes Chauprade's duties at CID and his past: an instructor since 1999, he offers a weekly course in geopolitics, as well as a course on methods of geopolitical analysis for officers 35-years of age. An officer in the naval reserves, he has a small office at the military academy. Besides his work at CID, he is the author and publisher of several works.
"He has never proselytized in his courses, has never expressed his vision of the world, but by acknowledging his work at CID in his books, he implicates the military institution with theories that we do not adhere to," explains General Vincent Desportes, director of CID. General Deportes, one of the thinking heads of the armed forces and author of numerous books, insists he is "intellectually opposed to the theories held by Chauprade, theories that are not acceptable."
In his books Chauprade defends his theory of the clash of civilizations, notably through an opposition between Europe (including Russia) on the one hand and Islam, on the other. But, contrary to American neo-conservatives, he is clearly hostile to the United States and to Israel. Chauprade has never hidden that his political convictions are those of the hard-core Right, close to Philippe de Villiers.
Note: That's an unusual statement, (and the reference to neo-conservatives only mixes things up more). Villiers is not commonly referred to as a hard-liner, at least not by the nationalist blogs. But Secret Defense may see him differently.
A page of French Wikipedia explains that Chauprade, a committed sovereigntist and a Catholic, supported Villiers in the European elections of 2004 (Le Point, linked below, points out that he was Villiers' campaign manager), but did not support his positions on the Arab world and Muslims during the 2007 presidential elections. So, in conclusion, it seems safe to say that Chauprade and Villiers agree on the issues of sovereignty and Turkey, but not on Islam.
The same Wikipedia page does not indicate where Chauprade was born, or what his ethnicity is, other than to say that he is a Frenchman, or if he is married. However it points out that he has taught in Morocco, and lists among his books a work entitled Eternal Beirut. Despite his Middle Eastern appearance, there is nothing to indciate he is anything other than a Frenchman.
Finally, it seems that CID had intended to quietly bring Aymeric Chauprade's tenure there to an end, and had absolutely nothing to do with the decision of the Defense Minister.
A sequel to the above dated February 7, also from Secret Defense, expands on the remarks by Aymeric Chauprade and his legal defense:
"I am now free to express myself. The little clan, within the Ministry of Defense, that defends foreign interests, essentially American, is going to have some worries," he threatens. (...)
Questioned by Secret Defense on the main issue, i.e., the 9/11 attacks, Aymeric Chauprade maintains his declarations which match those of the conspiracy theorists and which absolve radical Islamism, attributing responsibility to the Americans and Israelis: "You have a right not to know (who committed the attacks). I am not convinced by the official version. I have in fact presented in a credible way the alternative theories. But I give the official version - that everybody knows anyway - in a chronology. I have serious doubts, but that does not mean that I believe those responsible are members of the American or Israeli services. I draw no conclusions. I ask questions."
The opinion of Secret Defense? That the theory of Aymeric Chauprade feeds all the conspiracy fantasies, that it is absolutely unacceptable, and I told him so. His political opinions (close to the hard-line Right) were never a secret. But the method used by the Defense Ministry were nonetheless very brutal, and risk being seen unfavorably by the many officers who have taken his courses. I'm already hearing stories. This is exactly the opposite of the desired effect...
This is only a small part of the numerous articles on this story. I will try to post future updates on the entangled tale. One in particular posits the theory that the real issue is not 9/11, but the re-entry of France into NATO, opposed by Chauprade, but endorsed by Nicolas Sarkozy. French readers who visit Le Salon Beige regularly will find lively discussions among the readers, most of whom are on Chauprade's side, regarding this as a freedom-of-expression issue, or as a reflection of France's subservience to the American imperialists. In their minds Chauprade represents the "politically incorrect" point of view and is being persecuted for it. Many say they can't wait to read his book.
The same is true at Le Point where readers do not believe the twin towers collapsed from the impact of the airplanes, but from some as-yet-unexplained factor.
My opinion: The French and other Europeans can believe anything they want. In America we know we were attacked and by whom. Whether or not Chauprade should have been dismissed in this manner is another issue. He was quite young - 30 years old, when he was appointed to the Military Academy, possibly too young? He has some strange ideas - he believes we are still haunted by the "ambiguities" of Pearl Harbor and the Kennedy assassination, and that America has been deeply marked by a culture of conspiracy. But doesn't that culture apply more accurately to him than to us?