Classified ‘sublethal’, the rubber bullets, teargas and stun grenades used by French police have nevertheless maimed, blinded and killed almost as many in the last six months as in the 20 years before the ‘yellow jacket’ protests began taking to the streets of La République.
To investigate how and why our cousins across the water have stood firm in the face of authorised force that would shock and outrage anywhere else in Europe, GQ’s Robert Chalmers joined les gilets jaunes
“Most of us who’ve lost an eye were hit near the cheekbone or temple,” says Jérôme Rodrigues, “at which point, that section of your skull shatters. Your cranium is then reconstructed using screws and titanium plates. I was fortunate in that I had no skeletal injury. The officer responsible aimed directly at my eyeball, which burst.” He pauses. “Coffee?”
We’re talking in the kitchen of his studio flat in a quiet village 25 miles north of Paris. Rodrigues, 40, the most engaging and articulate of the prominent gilets jaunes – he doesn’t appreciate being called a “leader” – hands me a grey object roughly as large as a roll-on deodorant: a 40mm calibre projectile from a weapon known as an LBD 40, popularly referred to as a Flash-Ball. Its rigid outer casing, weight (60g) and speed of trajectory (360kph) makes it absurdly euphemistic to refer to it as a “rubber bullet”.
Rodrigues was filming on his mobile phone when he was blinded by an LBD in the Place de la Bastille on 26 January, during the eleventh “Acte”, as the gilets jaunes call their Saturday demonstrations. Acte I took place on 17 November 2018. The first thing you hear on Rodrigues’ recording is the launching of a stun grenade – the widely feared GLI-F4, which is packed with TNT and has blown off the limbs of several protestors. A second later comes the sound of the LBD discharging, a noise similar to the popping of a Champagne cork. After several weeks of accompanying the gilets jaunes both sounds are familiar to me. It’s come to the point these days that when I hear the word “Paris”,
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A shocking number of people who have been hacked used mind-numbingly simple passwords, according to a breach analysis conducted on behalf of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
According to data obtained from the website “Haver I Been Pwned,” more than 23 million people who were hacked used the password ‘123456,’ followed by ‘123456789’ (7.7 million) and ‘qwerty’ (3.8 million).
Top 10 most-frequently used passwords by hack victims:
Separate of the release, the NCSC conducted its first “UK Cyber Survey” ahead of their CYBERUK 2019 conference in Glasgow this week, which found among other things;
- Only 15% say they know a great deal about how to protect themselves from harmful activity
- The most regular concern is money being stolen – with 42% feeling it likely to happen by 2021
- 89% use the internet to make online purchases – with 39% on a weekly basis
- One in three rely to some extent on friends and family for help on cyber security
- Young people more likely to be privacy conscious and careful of what details they share online
- 61% of internet users check social media daily, but 21% report they never look at social media
- 70% always use PINs and passwords for smart phones and tablets
- Less than half do not always use a strong, separate password for their main email account
“We understand that cyber security can feel daunting to a lot of people, but the NCSC has published lots of easily applicable advice to make you much less vulnerable,” said NCSC technical director Dr. Ian Levy.”
Password re-use is a major risk that can be avoided – nobody should protect sensitive data with somethisng that can be guessed, like their first name, local football team or favourite band.
Using hard-to-guess passwords is a strong first step and we recommend combining three random but memorable words. Be creative and use words memorable to you,
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On 3 March 2018 a former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a park bench in Salisbury England, obviously suffering from the ill effects of an undetermined substance. They were transported to hospital and placed in intensive care. The initial hospital reports made no mention of their being the victims of any nerve agent attack. It seems that they were initially thought by the medical staff to be suffering from the effects of Fentanyl, an illegal but widely used drug in England. This diagnosis was based upon the symptoms exhibited by Sergei and Yulia.
Six months later that is still the sum total of the information that can be unequivocally accepted. As to what substance they ingested, where, how and by whom it was administered is no better known now then it was that March afternoon in a small provincial town. Salisbury was hitherto better known for its magnificent cathedral, where ironically is found one of the best surviving copies of Magna Carta, and its proximity both to the ancient prehistoric monument of Stonehenge and more ominously Britain’s chemical warfare establishment of Porton Down.
The lack of specific knowledge as to what, how, by whom and precisely where the Skripals became infected did not stop British prime minister Theresa May launching an extraordinary and factually inaccurate statement to the British House of Commons in which she held the Russian government responsible for what had allegedly happened to the Skripals.
Her statement was not only replete with factual inaccuracies; it shredded the last vestiges of what was once called British justice.
Those principles are drilled into every law student exposed to the common law system. They include the presumption of innocence; not charging anyone with a crime until there is at least sufficient evidence to create a prima facie case; the right to subject the allegations to rigorous testing as to veracity, admissibility and scientific credibility; and importantly in this case disclosing the evidence to the accused who then has the right to have the prosecution case argued before an impartial tribunal.
Of further fundamental importance is that the onus of proving the case lies upon the accuser. Mrs May’s demands that Russia “explain” what happened makes a travesty of this paramount principle.
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