Inside the Yellow Vests: What the Western media will not report (Part 3)

July 17, 2019

by Ollie Richardson for The Saker Blog

As we come closer to August, when most of France (and Europe) is in holiday mode, I think that it is an apt moment to summarise what has happened in relation to the Yellow Vests movement since the last time I wrote about this topic, which happened to be part 2 of my “Inside the Yellow Vests” series (part 1 can be found here).

Those who follow events from afar and thus don’t have access to a reliable and consistent flow of information will probably consider that the Yellow Vests movement was just a flash in the pan and is now in the past, or that it achieved its aim and that everything is now great in France. Of course, they’d be very much mistaken. It’s important to think of the Yellow Vests movement as a stage of a process rather than just a fashionable trend that distinguishes itself by occasionally walking in a column and hurling insults at law enforcement. But what “process” do I speak of?

I’m sure that I will receive abuse from so-called “libertarians” and the like, but the process is capitalism. And the stage of the process I refer to is one that is relatively new to us – when the exploitation of labour reaches a critical level. A deadly cocktail of the consequences of colonisation, an oligarchic system, a tribalistic society, a total lack of sovereignty, a frighteningly ugly population pyramid, etc have resulted in what we are now seeing: the derailment of the train of “modernity”.

Essentially, everything of value has been sucked dry by the American imperialistic project known as the “EU”. The middle class has been demolished and replaced by a working class living on credit. The youth are being robbed of their future, and pensioners are being robbed of their legacy. The Macron regime’s ethos is simple: work more; be paid less. Starve infrastructure, but make timely investments into personal offshores. Privatise everything in the interests of pals, present it as “reforms”. In general, it’s a classic neoliberal hit job. I can write much more about the mechanics of the “Le République En Marche” scam, but I prefer to keep this article laconic. So let’s now move on to what the situation now is – after the May 1st protest, where my last article (part 2) ended.

The May 1st protest was supposed to be a real missile, but it was smothered by the regime due to one main reason: the unions are rotten to the core, thus convergence with them is like pissing in the wind. They don’t care about the Yellow Vests and are ultimately in the regime’s pocket. Another factor was the pretty lame route chosen for the demonstration – almost a straight line, which the police can encircle easily. But in a way this flop was a blessing in disguise, because the Yellow Vests movement was starting to be outmanoeuvred by the regime. There was too much focus on Saturday protests and a lack of ideas concerning what else to do. Non-sanctioned protests became frankly impossible, since the police can read social media too.

In June the initiator of the Yellow Vests movement (not a “leader” per say) had the balls to say what needed to be said, even if it would initially upset many other Yellow Vests: the themed Saturday marches have become quite pathetic and ineffective, and thus more radicals actions are needed. And his video message had the desired reaction. The activity at the toll roads, where the Yellow Vests hold the barrier open and let travellers pass for free, had a surge. The number of Yellow Vests who waved flags on bridges over highways also surged. It was understood that a stake mustn’t be placed on just one action; otherwise the movement will become stale.

And now fast forward to June 22nd – when the Yellow Vests tried to block the transport infrastructure of the country. What happened? The regime had to again try to deflate the Yellow Vests’ tyres, and thus arrested and interrogated/intimidated one of the social media personalities who promoted the blockade. The Yellow Vests deleted all their live streams from this day too, as a precautionary measure, since the police were hunting for “organisers”.

So, on the surface it looks like the police (and the Interior Ministry) have adjusted well and are successfully coping with the situation, and that the Yellow Vests simply are not able to achieve anything, and this is why the participation is becoming less and less. WRONG! Firstly, the participation is at equilibrium with the level of repression. It is normal that the numbers reduce the tighter the state apparatus becomes. It shows that the state is afraid, and that the Yellow Vests indeed pose a threat. The turnout on Saturdays is still impressive and keeps the police mobilised. Secondly, the puppet media lies all the time about numbers, and parrots on a loop “the numbers decrease, the movement deflates”. Yet on June 29th in Paris there was close to 10,000 people there (my photos and videos from this day can be found here). Of course, the TV pretended like nothing was happening – the usual deliberate total boycott.

I am now going to share with you some exclusive information that should help to understand where things currently stand and what direction we’re heading in. My source will remain undisclosed for security reasons.

In order to cope with the constant Yellow Vests demos, law enforcement is using a rotational system with the forces based overseas. This gives the illusion of some rest, whilst in reality work isn’t being paid. In fact, the Interior Minister Christophe Castaner himself admitted that there is no money for overtime.

In connection with this, the police unions are fed up and try to blackmail the regime into paying more. They want to protest in the street themselves, but the regime is clear – keep your mouth shut unless you want to be unemployed. The story found here is related to this circus.

If to look at the average level of participation on a Saturday, then the leader is Toulouse. And the police know that the heart of the Yellow Vests movement is here, and not in Paris. This explains why the police are extra brutal in Toulouse, with the video below serving as an example:

The police (CRS in particular) are not happy about potentially not being able to go on holiday this summer. To stand in the heat in full gear & receive insults/glass bottles all day is quite torturous. They try to force Saturday protests to end quickly (making the column walk quicker) so they can go home for the weekend. So to be dispatched to Toulouse for the weekend is like drawing the short straw. Of course, Paris isn’t any better, but it is the capital, and so the urge to defend it is stronger. It’s at least a better excuse for the wife to justify why you won’t be home for the weekend.

How much is each CRS company being paid by Macron (via the taxpayer), despite the “austerity” policies being imposed on the public? If they leave their regional base for more than 12 hours it’s €40 extra per employee (known as IJAT). If the hours of service exceed 8, then it is classed as overtime. So here is an example: working from 04:00 Saturday to 00:00. That’s 12 hours of overtime at €10 per hour = €120. Add in IJAT (paid every 3 months), and each Saturday costs the regime €160 per CRS employee. Each company consists of 80 police officers, and there are also additional expenses for accommodation, food, fuel, etc. But this is still chump change for the regime. A tear gas grenade costs €30 per unit. A GLI-F4 grenade costs €40 per unit. A “désencerclement” grenade costs €50 each. Police commissioners earn €3k-5k each month (Christmas bonus is €40k-70k). So to say that there is money for public services is to tell a massive lie.

During the May 1st demo there was 40 squadrons of gendarmes and only 20 CRS companies. On May 2nd, at dawn, 11 of these 40 squadrons departed to protect Macron’s museum visit to Amboise. Talk about being treated like a slave – hence the high police suicide numbers (59 so far in 2019)…

Between Act 1 and Act 18 (March 16, 2019) the police helicopters used in just Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Rennes, and Nantes to monitor the protests have racked up 717 hours of flight at €1500 an hour. I.e., the taxpayer has paid €1.01m to be filmed just during this time. And during Act 3 in Paris (see video below) the regime wasted €300,000 just on grenades.

Meanwhile, over this summer the regime will close down 400 schools due to a “lack of funding”. Go figure!

So if to return to my point about law enforcement being stretched to the limit, the scheme for the rest of the year is established. The Yellow Vests’ triangle of actions is: toll road ops (even if the police disperse the Yellow Vests), roundabout occupations (even if the police demolish the Yellow Vests’ cabins), and Saturday demos (even if they are more localised). All 3 types of actions complement each other.

It is understood that tackling the regime head-on is not possible since it is too well armed. This isn’t 1968. Instead it has become a war of attrition. And for the regime, whose troops are tired and pissed off, it becomes a mental challenge. The police are under pressure to not make mistakes, for gross errors (like killing a Yellow Vest in plain sight) can act like a flame to a dynamite barrel. At the same time, the Yellow Vests are under pressure to not be jailed and thus be eliminated from the “game”. There is a kind of equilibrium. Just in June alone the police made one massive error that was committed outside the framework of the Yellow Vests – they most likely killed a young man during a music festival. Read more here (use Google translate if need be).

But through persistence and using the aforementioned triangle effectively, the police (and their resources) are being slowly exhausted and pushed closer and closer to the limit. This summer the movement will become more localised, but what will happen afterwards? I suspect that the situation will heat up in conjunction with the next batch of price hikes. I.e., from the autumn onwards. It is at this moment that the Yellow Vests will become most dangerous, since the repression can’t really be upped by another notch because the illusion of “democracy” would be definitively obliterated.

In the background, work is ongoing to get as many people to sign the semi-referendum against the privatisation of the airports as possible. Firstly, 4 million signatures are needed before spring 2020. Then over a hundred deputies in parliament must vote for it. Losing this battle will be a big blow for the regime.

Hospitals, firemen, teachers, migrants, environmentalists etc are all regularly striking. Public services are collapsing at an alarming speed. The regime fears a convergence of battles and will struggle to stem the tide. A general strike is problematic to organise, but not impossible. The union leaders are the main problem. But in any case, Macron is already starting to lay the foundations for his 2022 electoral campaign. He knows that he can win any battle versus Le Pen thanks to his pocket media. He desperately tries to smear the Yellow Vests and keep the bourgeoisie plugged into the matrix of consumerism.

Also, the Republican Party has effectively been liquidated, and its electorate has shifted over to Macron (LREM). In short: there is no political solution. The only solution is the Swiss style of governance. But that means to remove the current oligarchical system. The Yellow Vests intelligentsia is trying to set in motion the first stage of implementing the Swiss system (Citizens’ Initiative Referendum). I recommend reading this website for more information. The sense is to create a demand for it at the grassroots level first.

Concerning what happened on Bastille Day (and the night celebration of Algerians), I recommend checking out the following links (bear in mind that on this day the Yellow Vests remained incognito and abandoned the yellow vest):

  • My real-time Twitter reportage, where I transmitted what I witnessed on the terrain – link;
  • My Twitter thread of conclusions written in the morning of July 15th – link;
  • My photos and videos from this day – link;
  • Video of a woman being attacked – link;
  • Video showing a woman receiving a tear gas puck in the eye – link;
  • Video showing tourists fleeing the gas on the Champs-Elysees – link;
  • Video showing a man being dragged along the floor by the cops – link;
  • Video showing the police hunt down and wound Algerians – link;
  • Video showing a 6-year-old girl suffering from the tear gas – link;
  • Video showing a woman being bludgeoned by the cops – link;

I can quickly summarise the day as follows: wild protest at 9am outside Moulin Rouge, the police gas and disperse it; after Macron’s pathetic parade, the Yellow Vests manage to penetrate the Champs-Elysees and occupy the upper part of it; the police gas the entire avenue and struggle to keep the Yellow Vests away; the Yellow Vests encircle the Arc de Triomphe, the police are unable to disperse them and resort to gassing everyone, including tourists; the police groundlessly detain some Yellow Vests to intimidate the others, and thus manage to freeze the situation; the whole avenue is flooded with Algerians at 11pm, the police use violence all the night to prevent the avenue from being completely swamped.

Me on the Champs Elysees on Bastille Day (I have white stuff on my face because “street medics” sprayed me in the eyes with a special substance that negates the effects of tear gas)

There is one particular aspect of what happened on July 14th in Paris that I would like to dedicate some space in this article to, because, if to be honest, it sent a shill down my spine.

After I had closely observed the wild protest in the morning and escaped the ensuing police assault, I headed towards the Champs-Elysees. As I arrived on the avenue I saw that lots of police vans were in the area, as well as riot police. I followed behind the riot police, who were moving down a street, and soon learned that other cops had encircled some Yellow Vests as they tried to penetrate the avenue. Legally speaking, this is not something they can be arrested for, but this didn’t stop the regime from bringing the notorious police bus to the scene and taking the captured Yellow Vests away for ID checks (although this could be done in the street, it’s just that Macron wants to intimidate the Yellow Vests as much as possible).

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An illustrative photo from May 25th showing the police bus being parked on the Champs-Elysees, ready to take away Yellow Vests who tried to protest on the avenue


One of the captured Yellow Vests who goes by the name “Mary On” filmed the moment she and others were encircled by the police and not allowed to go anywhere.

After some time has passed, the encircled Yellow Vests are herded onto a police bus and told that they are going to the commissariat in the 8th arrondissement of Paris.

Whilst they wait for the bus to set off, they start chanting the usual anti-Macron songs.

After the bus finally set off and travelled in a Northeast direction, the Yellow Vests start to become nervous because they are not at all in the 8th arrondissement. They appear to be in some kind of run down and abandoned industrial area with train tracks running in parallel.

After the bus finally stops, “Mary On” starts to film her surroundings, saying “we are not at all in the 8tharrondissement, we are at a Yellow Vest detention center”. She shows the view out of the bus window, which I can only describe as a horror. She herself describes it as “inhuman”.

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by social media followers to use her phone to locate where she and her fellow Yellow Vests are exactly. This was the result:

They are in the 18th arrondissement, at Porte de la Chapelle, which is one of the most run down areas of Paris. Put it this way: it’s not somewhere I’d like to walk around at night.

In her next video, “Mary On” describes how after being taken off the bus, her ID was verified by the cops, which took 2 hours, and she was allowed to leave.

So what is going on here? Firstly, the police have no right to detain anyone for just walking the streets. And since the Yellow Vests were not wearing yellow vests, it is difficult to charge them with “conspiring to damage property in a group” – the habitual article of the Criminal Code that is pinned on Yellow Vests. But what the police can do is continue their unlawful practice of keeping Yellow Vests in detention without pressing any charges, with the added flexibility of using “ID checks” as an excuse to move Yellow Vests away from an area. And this is exactly what happened on July 14th. Twice, in fact. Whilst the videos above show what happened to a group of Yellow Vests on a side street of the Champs-Elysees, I myself witnessed the police try to intimidate all the Yellow Vests who had reached the Arc de Triomphe by encircling a group and herding them onto a police bus on the avenue itself. And they also, most likely, were transported to this horrible looking camp.

Some readers may say “Don’t exaggerate by using words like ‘camp’, after all, these people were released and only kept for a couple of hours”. My response would be: “It’s not me who is using this word – it is the Yellow Vests themselves who are using it”. Yes, they refer to concentration camps, they recall the Vichy camps like the one in Drancy, and they create graphics like the one below:

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“This is really the impression we had, because we were told to get on the bus and nothing else, we did not know where we were going, and on the way in 4 people were waiting for us in front of a table with a pencil and paper to note our identity, and before this we had to be patted down and have our bags searched.”

The sheer horror (and I use this word consciously) of what these Yellow Vests experienced – being lawlessly taken to an unknown location where there are abandoned warehouses, railway tracks, and barbed wire fences – is almost certainly an act of psychological warfare. Frankly, it doesn’t matter if inside the building there are Hilton hotel conditions, what matters is the general aesthetics, which apparently the Macron regime thinks the Yellow Vests are deserving of. In the wider context of the repression being unleashed against not only the Yellow Vests, but also doctors, nurses, firemen, teachers, students, etc, my use of the word horror is fully justified. In essence, if one doesn’t like the neoliberal reforms being rolled out by the Elysee, then one will be groundlessly taken to a camp like this one, as if they are terrorists, which is ironic taking into account the French government’s support for Al Qaeda & Co.

After this scandal started to circulate on social media, the mainstream media was forced to start damage control – Liberation and LCI being two examples. The article of the former is determined to portray the facility as just a banal police station, saying that the police headquarters of Paris “seem to be surprised by this controversy”.

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One Yellow Vest named Marion told the Liberation agency:

 “They caught us in the street without giving us a reason … Then we were told we could leave after the parade, but eventually a police bus came and we were told that we were going to the 8th police station. A friend of mine was sent there. Except that in the bus, demonstrators who know Paris well understood that it was not the right road.”

The final paragraph is very telling:

“When asked about the number of people transported to the Hébert police station, and the reasons for the arrests, neither the prefecture of Paris nor the prosecutor of Paris were able to answer us, each footballing the issue. A judicial source indicated, however, that 48 major protesters were placed in custody following the protests on the Champs Elysees, without specifying whether they were taken to the police station of the 18th [arrondissement].”

Imagery is a very powerful thing, and the image below is simply abhorrent. If the people on the bus were mass murderers, paedophiles, rapists, etc then that would be one thing, but they are just ordinary French citizens who wanted to come to the Champs-Elysees and boo/jeer Emmanuel Macron. Is the fact of their arrest and “deportation” a sign of democracy? Are they not allowed to express themselves freely – after all, they are not USA NGO fifth column agitators, but genuinely angry and impoverished French citizens? If not, then it’s time to stop the blah blah blah about “democracy”, because in reality it is more of a dictatorship. Actually, there is a formed pattern whereby a government that the West describes as a “dictatorship” is actually democratic, and visa versa.

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In France it is a case of “work, consume, and shut your mouth”. And the latest Francois De Rugy scandal (he resigned on July 16th) shows once again that there is one law for the “plebs”, and another for the elites. The figureheads of the Yellow Vests movement weren’t even allowed to stay on the Champs Elysees on Bastille Day, and were in fact fined despite being initially allowed to enter the avenue and having their ID checked multiple times. Of course, the mainstream media loyal to Macron also deploy damage control vis-à-vis this disgrace too.

With the prospect of another 5 years of Macron looming over France, the Yellow Vests movement is not going to disappear anywhere. On the contrary, after the summer, and especially after the next round of price hikes, the fire will burn even stronger. Macron’s government has already had 11 resignations, and it is very likely that this trend will continue. But the solution is not a change of government or an early election. The sole solution is to implement the Citizens’ Initiative Referendum, for it is only this system of governance that can reconcile the Yellow Vests with the rest of society. A failure to meet this main demand is an invitation for civil war.

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July 2019, Paris (top left = tear gas puck in the eye; top right = man unconscious after being bludgeoned by the police; bottom left = another truncheon wound; bottom right = a pensioner has a heart attack whilst being detained)

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Paris July 1789 

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‘Rock ‘n roll is dead!’ ‘Yellow Vests are dead!’ – uncool Western reporting

July 15, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

‘Rock ‘n roll is dead!’ ‘Yellow Vests are dead!’ – uncool Western reporting

I’m not a huge Pink Floyd fan, but everyone else in the West apparently is – the album The Dark Side of the Moon spent 33 years (1,716 weeks) on the top-sellers charts.

A lot of their early stuff is just noise, but they have enough of a blues foundation to get both really heavy and pretty funky often enough for such a fundamentally depressing band: half their musical output is actually about ex-leader Syd Barrett, who took so much acid he went insane. His flatmates repeatedly dosed his daily coffee with acid without warning him, proving that hippies can be even worse than the CIA. Barrett is the obvious inspiration for the album and movie The Wall, which primarily illustrates Barrett’s horrible existence of hopping from one negative acid-flashback to the next for his entire life. Ever-political Pink Floyd surprisingly turned Barrett’s character into a fascist leader (the character in The Wall was never a rock star, we finally discover at the end), rather kicking poor Barrett when he was already down in a never-ending bad trip.

Conversely, I am huge fan of the Yellow vests, but it seems that very few Western reporters are.

I was watching the excellent concert movie Pink Floyd: Live in Pompeii recently – free, and in director’s cut format, thanks to Russia here. Really a lost treasure: progressive Pink Floyd, playing among the ruined psychedelic/pantheistic murals of Pompeii, interspersed with the usual Floydian universe-wide sense of space, history and humanity. It’s one of the great cinematic achievements of rock ’n roll.

Floyd guitarist David Gilmour was recently in the news, providing us with the latest example of the Quantitative Easing-created asset bubble in luxury goods: $21 million for his guitar collection and $4 million for one guitar – both broke the all-time records. Give Gilmour credit: it went to charity, which is very in keeping with Floyd’s genuine political consciousness.

Bassist Roger Waters is beloved for being seemingly the greatest Palestinian supporter in not just rock ‘n roll but in all of Western music. His political hipness is unparalleled – after all, he hates teachers, bogus authority, questioning why he has to eat his meat before he eats his pudding, etc.

That’s why it’s little wonder he said something in the movie which resonates beautifully in 2019:

“People are saying constantly saying, ‘Rock’s dying.’ Every 6 months somebody says it – with enormous conviction! It’s not going to happen.”

We can easily rephrase Waters when describing Western Mainstream Media coverage of the repression of France’s Yellow Vest movement:

“People are saying constantly saying, ‘Rock’s dying. The Yellow Vests are dying.’ Every 6 months Every day somebody says it – with enormous conviction! It’s not going to happen.”

From the very beginning Western Mainstream Media news reporters have said with enormous conviction that the Yellow Vests are a dying movement – it’s not going to happen.

I’ve had to cover them from beginning, so I can absolutely testify that this premature postmortem was the case. Just for fun I English Googled “Yellow Vests dwindling numbers”, and I’m still waiting for the final count to be added up; I French Googled “gilets jaunes à bout de souffle (out of breath, as that’s the preferred cliché in French)” and they have apparently been panting since early December.

It’s incredible how incredibly uncool Western reporters are – they want to kill something good, which is democratically supported by the majority, but for who knows what reasons?

Their square minds cannot bend around the Yellow Vests love for both country, kin and fellow Yellow Vest braves; they cannot hang with the feeling, and thus they already know that there ain’t no room for them in the Yellow Vest part of town; they have no cosmic notions – even though the cosmos is an absolutely real and tangible thing which scientists are learning more about every day – beyond daily economic tallies.

The coverage of the Yellow Vests has been absolutely, incredibly and shamelessly dominated by a tactic reserved for covering quarterly economic growth: are total numbers up or down? And because there are thousands of Yellow Vest political prisoners which have resulted from nearly eight months of guaranteed police brutality – which is the most sustained, most brutal and most hypocritical police violence in the world’s 21st century history – their turnout numbers have indeed decreased.

On Act 32, when we officially crossed into 7 months – only 1,000 people were in Paris and 40,000 nationwide. This is not nothing – this is being comfortably numb after all the media, police and judicial onslaughts. Forty thousand nationwide on a regular basis is – in the French context, which is a context that contains a lot of regular demonstrations – by far the most vibrant political movement in the country and in recent history.

Like the annoying reporter/director in Live in Pompeii asking if rock is dead, the Yellow Vests are not dead despite all the false claims and begging that we believe that it is. The Yellow Vests are new, groundbreaking and unstoppable, just as rock ‘n roll was.

I visited Iran to enjoy the end of Ramadan: there was a rock and roll band playing in public at a food festival downtown Tehran the night before the Eid morning celebrations. I didn’t hear any Floyd from them, but they did do a lot of rather aimless, endless noodling – must have been Grateful Dead fans.

The Western Mainstream Media can’t imagine that Iran, too, has gone electric, and they also can’t imagine that Yellow Vests are still going strong despite all the repression; they can’t imagine that rock isn’t dead in 2019, just like it wasn’t in 1972 when Live in Pompeii was made.

Back on the night before Eid: the solo, traditionally-dressed, bearded Sufi singer/daft drummer rocked a song hard for 10+ minutes straight… even though I’m sure that 1,200 years ago unhip court-reporters said with great conviction, “The ghazals are dead!”. It was amusing to see him on his smartphone and drinking bottled water while taking a break between songs – technology changes, but the song remains the same.

In 1974 The New York Timesdeclared Live at Pompeii to be dead on arrival: “Since its principals possess neither interesting personalities nor captivating philosophies, it is fortunate that the bulk of the film is given over to their music. It is unfortunate that their music, which ranges from traditional rock to sci-fi, fails the test one of the group sets for it—moving the listener—despite the array of electronic equipment marshaled in its behalf.’Pink Floyd’ may be for Pink Floyd fans. It may be for rock fans. But it’s not for movie fans.”

Hilariously bad journalism in every declaration, despite the critic’s great conviction.

They wrote that in 1974 – it’s amazing how they were way, way behind the trends: it’s not like rock and roll was a new thing back then, yet that listener wasn’t “moved”; that was written 6 months after The Dark Side of the Moon was released, which would go on to be bought by everyone, and their kids, too – it is estimated that 1 in 4 British households owns a copy of the album, and 1 in 14 people in the USA. Similarly, 50% of France still supports or sympathies with the Yellow Vests, according to the last poll on the subject (from nearly 3 months ago, amazingly.)

Such “top” reporters and critics also feel that individual Yellow Vests do not have “interesting personalities nor captivating philosophies”… mainly because Mainstream Media reporters are totally uncool, cynical snobs who have no idea what the hell they are talking about most of the time.

The reality about reporting on the Yellow Vests is that they only get Mainstream Media attention when they use civil disobedience and violence, but that’s an important subject for another article.

A final snippet of movie dialogue which shows just how deep Floyd’s leftism is – Waters didn’t become so pro-Palestinian by mere chance:

“There’s a danger that we could all be slaves to our equipment, and in the past we have been. But what we’re trying to do is sort it all out. So that we’re out. But I agree that it worries me sometimes – that we have this much equipment. And you can hide behind it.”

Yellow Vests definitely aren’t hiding behind anything – that’s pretty rock ’n roll. Why don’t Western journalists think that’s cool?

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

السعودية: العودة إلى لبنان لتعويض خسارة اليمن

العدد:2994 تاريخ:17/07/2019

ناصر قنديل

– كما هربت إسرائيل نحو الخليج تسعى لتحقيق مكتسبات تقدمها لجمهورها تعويضاً عن الفشل بوجه حزب الله والمقاومة في لبنان، والطريق المسدود أمام أي محاولة لتحسين الأوضاع على جبهة لبنان، تبدو السعودية مقتنعة ببلوغ الطريق المسدود في جبهة اليمن، ليصير لبنان وجهتها البديلة مجدداً. فالحرب في اليمن في سنتها الخامسة لم تعد فيها أي آمال لتحقيق تقدم عسكري يصرَف في السياسة، والمبادرة العسكرية صارت بيد أنصار الله في استهداف العمق السعودي وتعريضه للخطر، والتجارة العالمية في أسواق النفط التي تشكل السعودية أحد أكبر اللاعبين فيها باتت رهينة لمعادلة الحرب اليمنية بعدما وضع أنصار الله لدخولهم حرب الناقلات والأنابيب عنواناً هو الردّ على العدوان السعودي الإماراتي على اليمن، وجاء التراجع الأميركي عن حماية المصالح السعودية والإماراتية التي كانت مشمولة بمهام الحشود العسكرية الأميركية في الخليج قبل أن تتراجع واشنطن، وبعده الانسحاب الإماراتي من حرب اليمن، ليجعل السعودية تستشعر خطورة العناد بإبقاء نيران الحرب مشتعلة.

– تقول مصادر يمنية إن العمليات الانتقامية التي كانت تعقب كل صاروخ يطال العمق السعودي تراجعت كثيراً، وإن البلاغات العسكرية السعودية عن إحباط عمليات قصف يمنية في أغلبها مفبركة لكسب الرأي العام، وإن تفاوضاً يجري بين القيادة العسكرية الأميركية للمنطقة الوسطى وأنصار الله في مسقط عبر وساطة عمانية طلبها الجانب الأميركي تحت شعار صياغة قواعد اشتباك تمنع التصادم في الخليج، سرعان ما تطورت لأكثر من ذلك. ويعتقد العمانيون أن السعوديين يتوجّسون من تفاهمات أميركية يمنية على حسابهم، وأن استئناف مساعي المبعوث الأممي مارتن غريفيت في الحديدة وتمهيده لإنعاش فرص الحل السياسي لاحقاً يحظيان بتغطية أميركية للنجاح، وأن الرياض أعطت موافقتها على تفاهم لتطبيق اتفاق ستوكهولم بصورة رضائية لم يكن مقبولاً منها ومن مؤيديها اليمنيين في حكومة عبد ربه منصور هادي من قبل، لأن الرياض بدأت تقترب من قرار الخروج من حرب اليمن بأقلّ الخسائر، وأنها تفهم معنى الكلام الأميركي عن إخراج إيران من اليمن كتغطية أميركية على فرصة تسوية تمنح حلفاء إيران مكاسب في اليمن الجديد، وتحرج السعودية إذا عارضت ومؤيديها اليمنيين، بينما ستكون إيران قوة دعم لتحصيل حلفائها اليمنيين لمكاسب قاتلوا من أجلها طويلاً، وترتضي منح الأميركيين الاستعراض الإعلامي بادعاء تحقيق الأرباح، فما فعله أنصار الله في حرب الناقلات والأنابيب حقق لإيران الكثير، لكنه فرض أنصار الله لاعباً إقليمياً وازناً، وإيران ستدعم ترجمة ذلك الوزن في أي تسوية للحرب في اليمن.

– اليمن قد يشكل مخرجاً من التجاذب الضاغط في الملف النووي الإيراني، ويمنح الفرصة بفتح قنوات التسوية السياسية، وفقاً للرؤية الفرنسية التي تقول بالتسليم بمكانة لأنصار الله في الخليج وأمنه تشبه مكانة حزب الله في المشرق وأمنه، كي تبدأ التهدئة الأميركية الإيرانية، وينفتح الباب التفاوضي أمام الأوروبيين وفي طليعتهم الرئيس الفرنسي ومبادرته للتوسّط التي تحظى بدعم الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، وتمنح إيران مطالبها الاقتصادية من أوروبا، بقبول أميركي، مقابل عودة إيران إلى التزاماتها في الإتفاق النووي، تمهيداً للدخول في التفاوض حول حدود تطوير البرنامج الصاروخي الإيراني، الذي كان شرط إيران للبحث فيه إيفاء أوروبا بالتزاماتها المتضمنة في الاتفاق النووي، وتعتبره واشنطن الثمن الذي يوفر لها فرصة العودة الضمنية للاتفاق النووي والنزول عن شجرة التصعيد.

– بالتوازي مع كل ذلك تظهر الحركة السعودية نحو لبنان، من تمويل صحف جديدة، واستدعاء رؤساء حكومات سابقين، والدفع بمواقف تصعيدية لمكونات قوى الرابع عشر من آذار، سواء حركة رئيس الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي التي ظهرت مفاجئة في حادث قبرشمون الدموي وما تلاه في السياسة من شعارات عن المناطق والأبواب، أو في حركة رئيس حزب القوات اللبنانية سمير جعجع تحت عنوان الموازنة والاشتباك المفتوح بوجوه متعددة على التيار الوطني الحر. وهو هجوم تلاقيه الصحافة السعودية بصورة لافتة باستهداف التيار ورئيسه بمقالات نافرة، فتبدو هذه الحركة كتعويض عن خسارة اليمن، تحظى بغطاء أميركي لتسهيل التراجع السعودي في اليمن، كبند في أي تهدئة مطلوبة مع إيران، ووفقاً لبعض المصادر فإن العقوبات الأميركية الأخيرة على قيادات من حزب الله ليست منفصلة عن مسعى تزخيم العملية السعودية نحو لبنان، والتي لا يبدو رئيس الحكومة سعد الحريري جزءاً منها، بل ربما كانت تستهدفه قبل سواه، تحجيماً تمهيداً للترويض والتطويع، لأهداف عملية الريتز ذاتها قبل عامين، ولكن بوسائل وظروف مختلفة.

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Yellow Vests: The undercover cop scandal that the Macron regime tries to cover up

Via The Saker

July 07, 2019

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During the near 8 months (at the time of writing) that the French Yellow Vests (Gilets Jaunes) have been demonstrating nationwide I have written two articles (part 1 is here, part 2 is here) based on my own primary research that aimed to offer an insight into what is actually going on, since the mainstream, neoliberal media is either deliberately boycotting the topic or mentions it very briefly and in a heavily biased (pro-Macron) way. Part 3 in this series is on the way – I will publish it after July 14th (Bastille Day), but in this article I want to talk about a serious incident that happened during Act 34 (July 6th) in Paris – an incident that, of course, the French government and Brussels will try to hush up as much as possible.

Let’s start the timeline at 18:00 in the evening. The Yellow Vests have just completed their 9km – from Place de la République to Place de Catalogne -sanctioned demonstration (my videos and photos can be found here). They then travel by metro back to Place de la République (hereon in – PdlR) for a sanctioned evening gathering. At this time some feminist protest is already ongoing, and CRS (Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité) start to become nervous that the arriving Yellow Vests, being the “terrorists” that the mainstream media portrays them to be, might disrupt proceedings.

There is another reason why CRS are nervous: it should be noted that the few yellow vests that can be seen in the video above have nothing to do with the actual Yellow Vests movement. They, in fact, are the groupies of a Macron collaborator named Sophie Tissier, who deliberately registers a “Gilets Jaunes” protest with the police prefecture for every Saturday for the purpose of dividing the movement and preventing the formation of one large column. She espouses liberal values (as can be seen in the video above; she is the shaven-headed woman holding a sign saying “Anti-patriarchy”) and as a result is booed and jeered by the actual Yellow Vests every time she’s spotted. Thankfully, her joke gatherings now only attract 20 naïve individuals at most. However, that is 20 unhappy citizens who could, and should, be a part of the main Yellow Vests column, so in this sense Tissier can still declare a victory. Also present at this event is Muriel Robin – an ultra-liberal pro-Macron French personality. Inevitably, she enters into a verbal skirmish with an actual Yellow Vest (take note of the presence of men wearing baseballs caps and sunglasses):

After around 10 minutes, the feminist event starts to come to an end, but amongst the Yellow Vests a shout of “medic” can be heard. Two “street medics” (Yellow Vests who have some first aid skills) respond to the call and start to head towards the northern corner of the square. The earliest footage of the scene (the videos below this paragraph) shows this same Yellow Vest (named Wesson) – enraged and with a bleeding mouth – explaining to the independent journalist Amar Taoualit that a police officer wearing civilian clothes, possibly from the Brigade anti-criminalité, without any identification insignia, has just punched him without any motive. At this moment all the Yellow Vests start to head towards the crime scene, which is surrounded by gendarmes, and learn very quickly that a cop has committed another unprovoked act of aggression against a Yellow Vest. A barrage of insults is launched towards a circle of gendarmes who are stood on the corner of the square seemingly protecting someone.

Here are screenshots from the first of the two videos above showing the person who the gendarmes are protecting, even going as far as trying to obstruct the view of the camera:

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After 5 or so minutes these same gendarmes start to head southward down the square, but in a very agitated way. The Yellow Vests follow them:

In the video above we can see on the left-hand side the same circle of gendarmes walking with the same mysterious person in civilian clothes. Here is a better angle:

After reaching the Southern end of the square, the gendarmes form a line, and the Yellow Vests hurl insults at them. Wesson, the Yellow Vest who was assaulted, talks to other Yellow Vests and explains what happened to a crowd (3:24 onwards in the video below). Suddenly there is a shout “it’s them!” – attention is focused on three persons dressed in civilian clothes. The Yellow Vests start to pursue them, and the latter flee towards the police column on the Eastern side of the square, where an unmarked police car awaits them. One of the men enters the unmarked car, but not without Wesson giving him some abuse before he flees, and the other two hide behind gendarmes. The Yellow Vests try to approach the two other mysterious men but are prevented by the gendarmes. About 4 CRS vans arrive to the Northern part of the square and gendarmes push the Yellow Vests backwards, away from the two men. In the ensuing chaos Wesson suddenly goes to the floor. “Street medics” attend to him whilst the anger starts to mount. Prominent Yellow Vest Faouzi Lellouche explains (at 35:09 onwards) that inside the unmarked police car he saw that there were already other cops wearing balaclavas inside. The following video shows everything I described in this paragraph (the pursuit begins at 6:24):

After around 15 minutes, Wesson is taken to the accident & emergency department of the local hospital, and the gendarmes re-enter their vans and disappear – they obviously understood that hanging around any longer wasn’t a good idea and would inevitably result in clashes. And that’s how things ended, with the Parisian Yellow Vests quite shocked at what happened.

At around 9pm Wesson starts a Facebook live broadcast from outside the hospital, where he waiting for his turn to be treated. His mouth is visibly inflated and he says that he is sore, and that he doesn’t know if any of his teeth are broken but they hurt nevertheless. However, one hour later Wesson will delete his Facebook video due to a desire to make another one the following day that is much more precise vis-à-vis what happened on July 6th, since wild speculation had started to spread on social networks.

Here is a summary of his testimony video:

  • In the presence of Muriel Robin, Wesson asked a journalist why they don’t report about police violence against female Yellow Vests. After a brief discussion (which can be seen in the video towards the top of this article), Wesson left;
  • Wesson then departed towards the “Franprix” shop to buy a drink. A guy in civilian clothes squared up to him and offered to have a fight. A surprised Wesson accepted, after which he was punched in the face by the reinforced-glove-wearing man in civilian clothes.
  • He doesn’t know for sure if the guy in civilian clothes was a police officer or whether he is some bodyguard. Wesson says that the aggressor presented some kind of ID card to the cops who arrived at the scene and was thus recognised as being a friendly. An unmarked police car with balaclava-wearing men inside came to collect the civilian-clothes-wearing men in any case.
  • He fell to the floor because he had an epileptic episode.
  • A complaint will be filed with the police on July 8th.
  • He says that other Yellow Vests who witnessed the incident have given the same testimony on camera (I myself listened to two people who were present during the attack explain what happened, and they both affirmed the same thing – Wesson was attacked by the guy in the navy blue “NY” hat).

Conclusion

Those who are familiar with the scandals surrounding Emmanuel Macron will be familiar with the Benalla affair – when a police officer that is very close to Macron violated the law and beat up a May Day protestor – and may draw parallels with the incident described in this article.

In truth, I would argue that the attack on Wesson is worse since it was not in the framework of anything even resembling a police operation. However, there are still open questions, such as: why are the same guys in civilian clothes who the gendarmes protect after the attack also seen in the Muriel Robin video, seemingly acting as her security?

Example A-1 (look at the guy on the left in the blue hat)

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Example A-2 (look at the guy on the left in the blue hat)

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Example B-1 (look at the guy in the middle in plainclothes)

Ollie's MacBook:Users:O-RICH:Downloads:Screenshots:Screenshot 2019-07-07 at 18.20.57.pngExample B-2 (look at the guy on the right in the baseball cap, with his back turned to the camera)

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It’s a categorical fact that the two plainclothes guys seen in these photos are the same ones who were fulfilling some kind of security role for Muriel Robin and who were exfiltrated from PldR by the gendarmes. In the Muriel Robin video she is seen speaking to the guy in the darker blue baseball cap and pointing to Wesson. Some have claimed that over a good speaker system she can be heard saying “Virer le gilet jaune” (sort out the yellow vest), but I cannot confirm this since at the time of writing I don’t have access to such technology. In any case, it all looks very suspicious: Wesson was attacked within 10 minutes of his verbal spar with Muriel Robin.

However, it’s difficult to prove that Muriel Robin is responsible for the attack. What’s most important is that someone who looks and behaves like a plainclothes police or high-security officer (and recognised as such by overt gendarmes) attacked a civilian and is given an escort by gendarmes, and even evacuated by an unmarked police car with men wearing balaclavas inside.

Naturally, there is absolutely nothing about this incident in the French press. I stress: absolutely nothing. In fact, if one just relies on the usual mainstream propagandists for “information”, then apparently the Yellow Vests don’t even exist anymore. I remember very well how they were howling about Christophe Dettinger – who defended a woman (according to her own testimony) against police aggression – and presented him as a terrorist.

Of course, they deliberately omitted to highlight what happened before he repelled the cops – the police gassed Dettinger in the face and recklessly threw grenades into the crowd.

Concerning the Benalla case, he is still a free man and has incurred zero punishment. There is a fake “investigation” that Macron will probably drag out for as long as is needed, but nobody with any experience living under a neoliberal regime expects there to be any kind of justice.

Christophe Dettinger? He was given a 1-year jail sentence within the same month he was detained, the online fundraiser launched in his name was halted and the funds frozen, and the regime launched a police fundraiser as a weapon of psychological warfare against the Yellow Vests. Not to mention the fates of the hundreds of Yellow Vests who have been arbitrarily jailed just for the fact that they dared to resist against Macron’s socio-economic genocide, and the dozens of Yellow Vests who protested peacefully but were mutilated by the police and denied of any livelihood. No, there is no justice for them, because as we should know by now: there is one rule for us, and another for them. You didn’t pay your tax? Go to jail! Meanwhile, the regime’s offshore accounts continue to fatten up at he expense of the already impoverished poor.

July 6th 2019 – the day a plainclothes law enforcement employee – not wearing any identification number, or any insignia at all in fact, which is a violation of the law – assaulted a Yellow Vest, and uniformed law enforcement – also not wearing any identification numbers, which is also a violation of the law – protected the assailant. I think even the Milice Française would blush at such a level of impunity.

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Haftar Is Trying To Trick Turkey Into Overextending Itself In Libya

Global Research, June 30, 2019

Libyan National Army leader General Haftar ordered his forces to attack Turkish ships and companies that he accused of helping the internationally recognized Government of National Accord, as well as to arrest Turkish citizens in the country, which is nothing short of an effort to trick Turkey into overextending itself by provoking it into “mission creep” so that it ends up trapped in the Libyan quagmire.

***

The Libyan Civil War might be entering a new phase if the forces led by Libyan National Army (LNA) leader General  Haftar do good on their leader’s threats to attack Turkish ships and companies that he accused of helping the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), a well as to arrest Turkish citizens in the country. The popular warlord has already succeeded in capturing most of the country with the notable exception being the capital of Tripoli, which has only held out as long as it has supposedly because of Turkish support.

The Libyan Civil War was directly caused by NATO’s 2011 War on Libya and the subsequent scramble for influence in the energy-rich and geostrategically positioned North African state, with Turkey playing a leading role in the latter because the de-facto Muslim Brotherhood-led country envisions restoring its Ottoman-era empire through the establishment of ideologically allied governments in this vast trans-continental space. The GNA is comprised of Muslim Brotherhood fighters and their offshoots who came to power after 2011, which is why Erdogan supports them so strongly and has a stake in their continued leadership of the country, something that Haftar is adamantly opposed to because he sees his countrymen’s collaboration with Turkey as treasonous.

The LNA leader is now threatening to impose serious physical costs to Turkey’s unofficial intervention in the Libyan Civil War, hoping that this will either compel it to retreat or counterproductively dig in through “mission creep” and risk overextending itself in what has become a regional proxy war between secular and Islamist forces backed by the UAE/Egypt/France and Turkey/Qatar/Libya respectively. Nevertheless, Erdogan’s ego, his ambition for regional influence, and the domestic political pressure that he’s under after the latest mayoral election rerun in Istanbul are responsible for Turkey’s vow to retaliate against the Libyan warlord.

Should Turkey suffer highly publicized losses at the hands of Haftar’s forces, then it might embolden the country’s Cypriot, Greek, Kurdish separatist, and Syrian enemies in its immediate neighborhood if they interpret those developments as a sign of weakness proving that the Turkish military is just a “paper tiger” incapable of properly defending its interests and/or defeating its first conventional military adversary in decades. Erdogan is therefore in a classic dilemma since he’s damned if he retreats but equally damned if he doesn’t and ends up being humiliated by Haftar. It’ll remain to be seen what ultimately happens, but Turkey is in a very tricky position nowadays and needs to be careful that it doesn’t get trapped in the Libyan quagmire.

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This article was originally published on Eurasia Future.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Much safer to be a protester in Hong Kong/China than in France

June 28, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

The differences in handling the recent protests in Hong Kong and the weekly demonstrations in France illuminate an enormous democratic deficit between Western “liberal democratic” societies and non-Western “socialist democratic” ones.

It has been amazing to see how quickly the Hong Kong government – which under the “one country, two systems” system largely means the Chinese government (Hong Kong is officially a part of China) – acquiesced to public opinion after just two days of moderately-violent protests.

I am shocked. This is not because I falsely perceive Hong Kong or China as “anti-democratic”, but because every Saturday for months I have been dodging tear gas and rubber bullets in France. Hong Kong’s government backed down after barely more than a week of regular protests in the capital, whereas France has been unwilling to appease a protest movement which has lasted over seven months.

Almost immediately after protests turned violent, Hong Kong tabled the bill which proved so divisive, and their leader even apologised with the “utmost sincerity and humility”. What a contrast to French President Emmanuel Macron: Not only has Macron never apologised, but he did not even utter the words “Yellow Vests” in public until late April. His Interior Ministry can only be counted on to routinely remind Yellow Vests that they have “no regrets” about how the protests have been officially handled.

Hong Kong police reported that 150 tear gas canisters, several rounds of rubber bullets, and 20 beanbag shots were fired during the only day of serious violence. Conversely, a damning annual report this month from French police reported that 19,000 rubber bullets were fired in 2018 (up 200% from 2017), as were 5,400 shock grenades (up 300%).

Two things are appalling here: Firstly, the French government fired – at their own people, mostly for protesting neoliberal austerity – over 6,000 rubber bullets and 1,500 shock grenades in 2017. Shockingly violent protests were “normal” in France long before the Yellow Vests. Second: The Yellow Vests didn’t arrive until the final 6 weeks of 2018 – therefore, the increases and totals for 2019 will likely be 4-5 times than the already huge increases in 2018.

The latest tallies count 72 injuries and 30 arrests in Hong Kong – it was shock over this heavy-handed policing which led to the government’s intelligent move to restore order and democratic calm.

In France, the casualty figures are catastrophic: 850 serious injuries, 300 head injuries, 30 mutilations (loss of eye, hand or testicle). Someone passed out or vomiting is not counted as a “serious injury”, but if we included those hurt by tear gas, water cannons and police truncheons the number of injuries would undoubtedly approach six figures, as astronomical as that figure sounds. As far as arrests, France was at 9,000 on March 24, with nearly half receiving prison sentences. However, this count was announced before new, repressive orders were given to arrest democratic protesters even faster (more on this shortly). After interviewing for PressTV one of the rare lawyers courageous enough to openly criticise a French legal system which is obviously not “independent”, I estimate that over 2,000 Yellow Vests have already become political prisoners. More are obviously awaiting their trial, and more trials will obviously be convened.

Western mainstream media coverage of the two events is best described by a (modified) French saying: “one weight, two measures”. Hong Kongers are “freedom fighters” against a “tyrannical” and “totalitarian” Chinese system, whereas Yellow Vesters are routinely slurred in the West as thugs, anti-Semites and insensible anarchists.

Western media has no problem printing the turnout numbers of organisers… when it comes to Hong Kong. The Yellow Vests self-reported “Yellow Number”, and the turnout count of a courageous, openly anti-Macron police union were routinely ignored by the Mainstream Media until mid-April (here is Wikipedia’s tally of all three estimates, in French).

However, finally printing crowd counts from sources other than the (obviously self-interested) French Interior Ministry was clearly in keeping with the anti-Yellow Vest Mainstream Media: starting on March 23, France began deploying the military against French protesters, banning protests in urban centres nationwide (bans in rural areas began in early May), gave shocking orders for cops to “engage” (that is, “attack”) protesters, and also gave orders to make arrests more rapidly. Therefore, the outdated count of 9,000 could easily be vastly higher.

All the repression achieved what it was obviously intended to: scare French anti-government protesters away. Weekly protests averaged a quarter million people from January 1 until mid-March (cop union estimates), but after the harsh repression was announced until today protests averaged only 65,000 brave souls.

Western “independent” (and always-saintly) NGOs are no better than Western media: In a report released in late March, US-based Human Rights Watch had issued 131 articles, reports and statements on Venezuela – zero on France. The NGO is still totally silent on French repression.

Perhaps the most important question is: what are the protests about? On this issue there is also a huge difference: The protests in Hong Kong are over a law to extradite criminals, whereas in France the protests are over the criminal lack of public opinion in formulating public policy.

Those primarily threatened by Hong Kong’s law are financial criminals, as the island’s primary economic function is to serve as an England-dictated tax haven. This explains why exposed” tycoons are now rushing their wealth out of Hong Kong. Perhaps the primary initial complaint was that the law would damage Hong Kong’s “business climate”, which is undoubtedly why Western media – so supportive of neo-imperialism and rapacious neoliberal business practices – was so very opposed to the bill and so very supportive of the protesters.

Those primarily targeted by the Yellow Vests are also financial criminals – the anti-patriotic French bankers, politicians and journalists who have colluded to create a “Lost Decade” of economic growth even worse than either of Japan’s two examples. This decade of near-recession is being dramatically compounded by Francois Hollande’s and Macron’s executive decrees and socioeconomic “deforms” which are gutting France’s social safety net, working conditions and France’s tradition of being the only Western neo-imperialist nation which pursued relatively egalitarian economic policies (only domestically, of course).

So what can we learn from this comparison? We can fairly say that the differences are “cultural”, which is to say that they are linked to and produced by their political values.

On one hand we have Hong Kong’s Beijing-tied government – China operates on a “socialist democratic” model. The structure of their government, one easily finds from reading their constitution, has been deeply influenced by the early 20th century ideals of anti-imperialism and class struggle.

China has emphatically rejected the Western “liberal democratic” model, incarnated by France, which remains rooted in aristocratic, 18th century ideals, and which necessarily lacks the modern ideals of economic equality, gender and minority equality, democratic equality and the ability to prevent an oligarchic rule of the “1%”.

When it comes to China, Hong Kong and France, the numbers and data are so overwhelmingly one-sided that not much ink needs to be spilled in this column to draw the obvious conclusion: China’s socialist democratic system is obviously far, far more democratic than France’s.

The Chinese and Hong Kong model of democracy is far more responsive to the will of public opinion, and to the fundamental needs of their public, than France’s outdated, aristocratic, and fundamentally anti-democratic political system.

Perhaps this was not the case 100 years ago, but it is clearly the case in 2019.

However, much, much ink from other pens should be spilled to broadcast this conclusion, especially in hypocritical and deluded Western newsrooms.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of “I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China”.

On Chosen-mess

June 24, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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 By Gilad Atzmon

A few days ago the BBC reported on an extraordinary French identity theft scam.  For two years starting in late 2015, an individual or individuals impersonating France’s defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, scammed an estimated €80m from wealthy French patriots.

The victims of this fraud were tricked into believing that they were being contacted by France’s Defence Minister who was requesting money to help pay ransom for journalists held hostage by Islamists in the Middle East. Since France officially does not pay ransom to terrorists, the fake minster assured the victims that payments could not be traced and asked for the funds to be wired to a bank in China.

The BBC deemed the operation “one of the most outlandish and successful rackets of recent times.”

You may not be surprised that the accused evil genius behind this con is a French-Israeli character of Tunisian Jewish background named Gilbert Chikli. Chikli grew up in the working-class Belleville neighbourhood of northeast Paris.

In 2015, Chikli was found guilty of scamming money from French corporations by pretending to be their chief executive. By the time the verdict was reached, Chikli was safely ensconced in the Jewish State, which refuses to extradite its nationals.

Chikli’s luck ran out in August 2017 when he made the mistake of travelling to Ukraine where he was arrested at the request of the French police. Chikli told police he was on a pilgrimage to the tomb of a well-known rabbi. But a search into his phone’s communication revealed that he went to Ukraine to buy a silicone mask

The alleged crime saga didn’t end there. Recently reports began to arrive at French embassies around the world that once again a fake Le Drian, now French foreign minster, was trying to squeeze money out of influential ‘friends of France’. In February, three French-Israeli citizens were arrested near Tel Aviv in connection with this new swindle.

Chikli’s racket is astonishing, creative; criminologists may decide that it borders on genius. Although Chikli didn’t invent the art of the swindle, he ratcheted it up to a higher level.

What I find remarkable about Chikli’s operation is not the stunning amounts of money, the sophistication, or even the chutzpah involved: it is the fact that Chikli ’s scam was dependent upon the humane compassion of others. He banked on the fact that humans feel and care for each other.  We are dealing with a disgraceful blow against the most precious aspect of humanity, that which sustains kindness and brotherhood.

It is not surprising that some very wealthy and influential people fell for Chikli’s racket and for the obvious reason: decent humans would find it hard or even impossible to imagine the extent of Chikli and his friends’ deception.

And Chikli is not alone in his practices. In recent years we have seen a number of instances of gross misbehavior and abuse and on a spectacular  scale. And as is the case of Chikli we find Jews and Israelis at the centre of these embarrassing  sagas.

In 2010  an Israeli court ruled that seven Israelis suspected of scamming tens of millions of dollars from U.S. pensioners in a so-called ‘Nigerian scam’ could be extradited to the United States to face trial there. Israel has bought itself a reputation as the location of some of the most horrendous crimes such as organ trafficking (look here and here), and is notorious as a hub of human trafficking,  blood diamondcrypto currency criminalsthe binary options scam, and the scope of gross unethical behavior extends well beyond the borders of the Jewish State.

In 2012  Britain was shocked to discover that one of its most popular TV stars was a serial pedophile who had committed sex crimes against children throughout his 50 year career.  Jimmy Savile raped children in the BBC’s dressing rooms, in orphan homes and in institutions that cared for the disabled. No one bothered to defend Jimmy Saville. Yet when Lord Janner faced similar allegations, the British establishment was somehow hesitant and confused. Despite the fact that Lord Janner was suspected of sexually abusing more than 30 children from the mid-1950s until the late 1980s the British judicial system found itself struggling.

Janner, a former Leicester MP (Labour) was the chairman of the Board of Jewish Deputies (BOD), a body that claims to represent British Jewry and the founder of the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET). To date, neither the BOD nor the HET has expressed any regret for its past association with Janner who died at age 87 before a trial could take place.

Lord Janner’s family is taking good care to restore their father’s reputation.  Soon after the Lord passed away we learned from the British press  that Janner’s three grown-up children asked “to take part in the investigation into his alleged crimes.”

Outside the investigation’s London headquarters, Lord Janner’s son, Daniel Janner QC, attacked the “shambolic and discredited inquiry” (into his father alleged crimes).

He claimed there had been a “total failure” to acknowledge “our late father’s good character and legal status as innocent”

In February 2018 we learned that Lord Janner’s son vowed to bring a private prosecution against the man who initiated the Westminster child abuse claims, who has himself been charged with paedophile offences.

I am not in a position to verify whether Lord Janner was guilty of the crimes he was accused of but I can confirm that the enquiry into his suspected sex abuse has collapsed. In all, 33 men and women accused Lord Janner of abusing them. Their plight has been forgotten. One of the most embarrassing chapters in Britain’s past remains untouched.

Lord Janner is hardly alone as a suspect in an abusive sex scandal. For the last two years we have been learning about another Zionist enthusiast who left more than 80 victims traumatized, abused and humiliated.

In October 2017, The New York Times and The New Yorker reported that tens of women came forward and accused Harvey Weinstein, formerly head of Miramax Films and The Weinstein Company (TWC), of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse over a period of at least three decades. More than 80 women in the film industry have since accused Weinstein of such acts. Weinstein denied “any non-consensual sex”.

Jeffrey Epstein’s story is similarly abusive. The convicted sex offender prostituted dozens of underage girls and should have spent the rest of his life in jail. Again this is no ‘one-off’ abuse of an underage child, he was a serial sex predator.

According to Joseph Recarey, the lead Palm Beach detective on the case, Epstein was essentially operating a “sexual pyramid scheme.”

The Vox writes that the girls and women who reported abuse by Epstein, meanwhile, were markedly powerless. Most of them “came from disadvantaged families, single-parent homes or foster care,… Many of the girls were one step away from homelessness.”

In November 2017 the genius comedian Larry David was criticized in the Jewish press for admitting on Saturday Night Live that many of those accused of sexual harassment in Hollywood are Jewish.

Jews often brag about their genius gene pool and about the fact that so many Nobel Prize winners are Jewish (20%). Jews frequently boast about their power in politics, media and finance.  “Jews must never be afraid to use their well-earned power” was the title of a recent article by Alan Dershowitz, who was a member of Epstein’s legal team and was later accused by one of the victims’ lawyers of himself participating in the sex trafficking ring.

This raises the obvious question of whether the same ‘gene-pool’ that created so many spectacular Jewish minds is also responsible for the list of gross misconduct as illustrated above. I am not a biologist nor an evolutionary scientist, but I admit I am not a great believer in the notion of a ‘Jewish gene.’

I contend that Chikli, Janner, Weinstein and Epstein have something else in common. Their actions display a dismissal of others that verges on complete contempt for humanity. This is the crux of choseness. To be chosen is to see oneself as an exceptional creation. It entails blindness to otherness. It is a form of impunity. To be chosen often involves a near or total lack of empathy.  Such lack is often defined in terms of acute narcissism and psychopathy.  Chikli is clearly aware of the human inclination for empathy, it is that impulse that he allegedly exploited to his own benefit, he just lacks that empathic quality himself.

Not every Jew identifies him or herself as chosen. None of the Jews in my social circuit displays any of the horrid symptoms described above. As a reader of early Zionist texts, I know well that Zionism was born to emancipate Diaspora Jews from their exceptionalist cultural traits and to make them ‘people like all other people.’ I am also aware  that some rabbinical Judaic interpretations of choseness are somehow different from the contemporary Zionist secular Jewish political interpretation of Jewish exceptionalism. Nor is choseness limited to Zionists or Israelis.  Choseness has become the pillar of Jewish self identification. Choseness is what binds Jews together. This includes anti Zionist Jews boasting about the precious contribution of the so-called ‘Jews in the movement’ and the Israelis and Zionists who celebrate their choseness at the expense of the indigenous people of Palestine.

 Like an early Zionist, I would have liked to see Jews liberate themselves from the choseness prison but I accept that such a shift can not occur in the form of a collective or political movement. The escape from choseness to the ordinary must be an individual struggle, a surrender to self-contempt that eventually matures into a genuine search for peace and harmony with the universe, with the soil and with one’s neighbours.

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