France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; The Deep State Rises to the Surface

Elections présidentielles 2017 France-1

As if the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign hadn’t been horrendous enough, here comes another one: in France. 

The system in France is very different, with multiple candidates in two rounds, most of them highly articulate, who often even discuss real issues. Free television time reduces the influence of big money. The first round on April 23 will select the two finalists for the May 7 runoff, allowing for much greater choice than in the United States.

But monkey see, monkey do, and the mainstream political class wants to mimic the ways of the Empire, even echoing the theme that dominated the 2016 show across the Atlantic: the evil Russians are messing with our wonderful democracy.

The aping of the U.S. system began with “primaries” held by the two main governing parties which obviously aspire to establish themselves as the equivalent of American Democrats and Republicans in a two-party system.  The right-wing party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy has already renamed itself Les Républicains and the so-called Socialist Party leaders are just waiting for the proper occasion to call themselves Les Démocrates. But as things are going, neither one of them may come out ahead this time.

Given the nearly universal disaffection with the outgoing Socialist Party government of President François Hollande, the Republicans were long seen as the natural favorites to defeat Marine LePen, who is shown by all polls to top the first round. With such promising prospects, the Republican primary brought out more than twice as many volunteer voters (they must pay a small sum and claim allegiance to the party’s “values” in order to vote) as the Socialists.  Sarkozy was eliminated, but more surprising, so was the favorite, the reliable establishment team player, Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppé, who had been leading in the polls and in media editorials.

Fillon’s Family Values

In a surprise show of widespread public disenchantment with the political scene, Republican voters gave landside victory to former prime minister François Fillon, a practicing Catholic with an ultra-neoliberal domestic policy: lower taxes for corporations, drastic cuts in social welfare, even health health insurance benefits – accelerating what previous governments have been doing but more openly. Less conventionally, Fillon strongly condemns the current anti Russian policy.  Fillon also deviates from the Socialist government’s single-minded commitment to overthrowing Assad by showing sympathy for embattled Christians in Syria and their protector, which happens to be the Assad government.

Fillon has the respectable look, as the French say, of a person who could take communion without first going to confession.  As a campaign theme he credibly stressed his virtuous capacity to oppose corruption.

Oops!  On January 25, the semi-satirical weekly Le Canard Enchainé fired the opening shots of an ongoing media campaign designed to undo the image of Mister Clean, revealing that his British wife, Penelope, had been paid a generous salary for working as his assistant. As Penelope was known for staying home and raising their children in the countryside, the existence of that work is in serious doubt.  Fillon also paid his son a lawyer’s fee for unspecified tasks and his daughter for supposedly assisting him write a book.  In a sense, these allegations prove the strength of the conservative candidate’s family values.  But his ratings have fallen and he faces possible criminal charges for fraud.

The scandal is real, but the timing is suspect.  The facts are many years old, and the moment of their revelation is well calculated to ensure his defeat.  Moreover, the very day after the Canard’s revelations, prosecutors hastily opened an inquiry.  In comparison with all the undisclosed dirty work and unsolved blood crimes committed by those in control of the French State over the years, especially during its foreign wars, enriching one’s own family may seem relatively minor.  But that is not the way the public sees it.

Cui bono

It is widely assumed that despite National Front candidate Marine LePen’s constant lead in the polls, whoever comes in second will win the runoff because the established political class and the media will rally around the cry to “save the Republic!”  Fear of the National Front as “a threat to the Republic” has become a sort of protection racket for the established parties, since it stigmatizes as unacceptable a large swath of opposition to themselves.  In the past, both main parties have sneakily connived to strengthen the National Front in order to take votes away from their adversary.

Thus, bringing down Fillon increases the chances that the candidate of the now thoroughly discredited Socialist Party may find himself in the magic second position after all, as the knight to slay the LePen dragon.  But who exactly is the Socialist candidate? That is not so clear.  There is the official Socialist Party candidate, Benoît Hamon. But the independent spin-off from the Hollande administration, Emmanuel Macron, “neither right nor left”, is gathering support from the right of the Socialist Party as well as from most of the neo-liberal globalist elite.

Macron is scheduled to be the winner. But first, a glance at his opposition on the left.  With his ratings in the single digits, François Hollande very reluctantly gave into entreaties from his colleagues to avoid the humiliation of running for a second term and losing badly.  The badly attended Socialist Party primary was expected to select the fiercely pro-Israel prime minister Manuel Valls.  Or if not, on his left, Arnaud Montebourg, a sort of Warren Beatty of French politics, famous for his romantic liaisons and his advocacy of re-industrialization of France.

Again, surprise.  The winner was a colorless, little-known party hack named Benoît Hamon, who rode the wave of popular discontent to appear as a leftist critic and alternative to a Socialist government which sold out all Holland’s promises to combat “finance” and assaulted the rights of the working class instead.  Hamon spiced up his claim to be “on the left” by coming up with a gimmick that is fashionable elsewhere in Europe but a novelty in French political discourse: the “universal basic income”.  The idea of giving every citizen an equal handout can sound appealing to young people having trouble finding a job. But this idea, which originated with Milton Friedman and other apostles of unleashed financial capitalism, is actually a trap.  The project assumes that unemployment is permanent, in contrast to projects to create jobs or share work.  It would be financed by replacing a whole range of existing social allocations, in the name of “getting rid of bureaucracy” and “freedom of consumption”. The project would complete the disempowerment of the working class as a political force, destroying the shared social capital represented by public services, and splitting the dependent classes between paid workers and idle consumers.

There is scant chance that the universal income is about to become a serious item on the French political agenda.  For the moment, Hamon’s claim to radicality serves to lure voters away from the independent left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon.  Both are vying for support from greens and militants of the French Communist Party, which has lost all capacity to define its own positions.

The Divided Left

An impressive orator, Mélenchon gained prominence in 2005 as a leading opponent of the proposed European Constitution, which was decisively rejected by the French in a referendum, but was nevertheless adopted under a new name by the French national assembly.  Like so many leftists in France, Mélenchon has a Trotskyist background (the Posadists, more attuned to Third World revolutions than their rivals) before joining the Socialist Party, which he left in 2008 to found the Parti de Gauche.  He has sporadically wooed the rudderless Communist Party to join him as the Front de Gauche (the Left Front) and has declared himself its candidate for President on a new independent ticket called La France insoumise – roughly translated as “Insubordinate France”. Mélenchon is combative with France’s docile media, as he defends such unorthodox positions as praise of Chavez and rejection of France’s current Russophobic foreign policy.  Unlike the conventional Hamon, who follows the Socialist party line, Mélenchon wants France to leave both the euro and NATO.

There are only two really strong personalities in this lineup: Mélenchon on the left and his adversary of choice, Marine LePen, on the right.  In the past, their rivalry in local elections has kept both from winning even though she came out ahead.  Their positions on foreign policy are hard to distinguish from each other: criticism of the European Union, desire to leave NATO, good relations with Russia.

Since both deviate from the establishment line, both are denounced as “populists” – a term that is coming to mean anyone who pays more attention to what ordinary people want that to what the Establishment dictates.

On domestic social policy, on preservation of social services and workers’ rights, Marine is well to the left of Fillon.  But the stigma attached to the National Front as the “far right” remains, even though, with her close advisor Florian Philippot, she has ditched her father, Jean-Marie, and adjusted the party line to appeal to working class voters.  The main relic of the old National Front is her hostility to immigration, which now centers on fear of Islamic terrorists. The terrorist killings in Paris and Nice have made these positions more popular than they used to be. In her effort to overcome her father’s reputation as anti-Semitic, Marine LePen has done her best to woo the Jewish community, helped by her rejection of “ostentatious” Islam, going so far as to call for a ban on wearing an ordinary Muslim headscarf in public.

A runoff between Mélenchon and LePen would be an encounter between a revived left and a revived right, a real change from the political orthodoxy that has alienated much of the electorate. That could make politics exciting again.  At a time when popular discontent with “the system” is rising, it has been suggested (by Elizabeth Lévy’s maverick monthly Le Causeur) that the anti-system Mélenchon might actually have the best chance of winning working class votes away from the anti-system LePen.

Manufacturing Consent

But the pro-European Union, pro-NATO, neoliberal Establishment is at work to keep that from happening.  On every possible magazine cover or talk show, the media have shown their allegiance to a “New! Improved!” middle of the road candidate who is being sold to the public like a consumer product.   At his rallies, carefully coached young volunteers situated in view of the cameras greet his every vague generalization with wild cheers, waving flags, and chanting “Macron President!!!” before going off to the discotèque party offered as their reward. Macron is the closest thing to a robot ever presented as a serious candidate for President.  That is, he is an artificial creation designed by experts for a particular task.

Emmanuel Macron, 39, was a successful investment banker who earned millions working for the Rothschild bank.   Ten years ago, in 2007, age 29, the clever young economist was invited into the big time by Jacques Attali, an immensely influential guru, whose advice since the 1980s has been central in wedding the Socialist Party to pro-capitalist, neoliberal globalism.  Attali incorporated him into his private think tank, the Commission for Stimulating Economic Growth, which helped draft the  “300 Proposals to Change France” presented to President Sarkozy a year later as a blueprint for government.  Sarkozy failed to enact them all, for fear of labor revolts, but the supposedly “left” Socialists are able to get away with more drastic anti-labor measures, thanks to their softer discourse.

The soft discourse was illustrated by presidential candidate François Hollande in 2012 when he aroused enthusiasm by declaring to a rally: “My real enemy is the world of finance!”.  The left cheered and voted for him.  Meanwhile, as a precaution, Hollande secretly dispatched Macron to London to reassure the City’s financial elite that it was all just electoral talk.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/10/emmanuel-macron-france-president After his election, Hollande brought Macron onto his staff. From there he was given a newly created super-modern sounding government post as minister of Economy, Industry and Digital affairs in 2014.  With all the bland charm of a department store mannequin, Macron upstaged his irascible colleague, prime minister Manuel Valls, in the silent rivalry to succeed their boss, President Hollande.  Macron won the affection of big business by making his anti-labor reforms look young and clean and “progressive”. In fact, he pretty much followed the Attali agenda.

The theme is “competitiveness”.  In a globalized world, a country must attract investment capital in order to compete, and for that it is necessary to lower labor costs.  A classic way to do that is to encourage immigration.  With the rise of identity politics, the left is better than the right in justifying massive immigration on moral grounds, as a humanitarian measure.  That is one reason that the Democratic Party in the United States and the Socialist Party in France have become the political partners of neoliberal globalism.  Together, they have changed the outlook of the official left from structural measures promoting economic equality to moral measures promoting equality of minorities with the majority.

Just last year, Macron founded (or had founded for him) his political movement entitled “En marche!” (Let’s go!) characterized by meetings with young groupies wearing Macron t-shirts.  In three months he felt the call to lead the nation and announced his candidacy for President.

Many personalities are jumping the marooned Socialist ship and going over to Macron, whose strong political resemblance to Hillary Clinton suggests that his is the way to create a French Democratic Party on the U.S. model.  Hillary may have lost but she remains the NATOland favorite. And indeed, U.S. media coverage confirms this notion.  A glance at the ecstatic puff piece by Robert Zaretsky in Foreign Policymagazine hailing “the English-speaking, German-loving, French politician Europe has been waiting for” leaves no doubt that Macron is the darling of the trans-Atlantic globalizing elite.

At this moment, Macron is second only to Marine LePen in the polls, which also show him defeating her by a landslide in the final round.  However, his carefully manufactured appeal is vulnerable to greater public information about his close ties to the economic elite.

Blame the Russians

For that eventuality, there is a preventive strike, imported directly from the United States.  It’s the fault of the Russians!

What have the Russians done that is so terrible?  Mainly, they have made it clear that they have a preference for friends rather than enemies as heads of foreign governments.  Nothing so extraordinary about that. Russian news media criticize, or interview people who criticize, candidates hostile to Moscow.  Nothing extraordinary about that either.

As an example of this shocking interference, which allegedly threatens to undermine the French Republic and Western values, the Russian news agency Sputnik interviewed a Republican member of the French parliament, Nicolas Dhuicq, who dared say that Macron might be “an agent of the American financial system”.   That is pretty obvious.  But the resulting outcry skipped over that detail to accuse Russian state media of “starting to circulate rumors that Macron had a gay extramarital affair” (The EU Observer, February 13, 2017).  In fact this alleged “sexual slur” had been circulating primarily in gay circles in Paris, for whom the scandal, if any, is not Macron’s alleged sexual orientation but the fact that he denies it.  The former mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, was openly gay, Marine Le Pen’s second in command Florian Philippot is gay, in France being gay is no big deal.

Macron is supported by a “very wealthy gay lobby”, Dhuicq is quoted as saying.  Everyone knows who that is: Pierre Bergé, the rich and influential business manager of Yves Saint Laurent, personification of radical chic, who strongly supports surrogate gestation, which is indeed a controversial issue in France, the real controversy underlying the failed opposition to gay marriage.

The Deep State rises to the surface

The amazing adoption in France of the American anti-Russian campaign is indicative of a titanic struggle for control of the narrative – the version of international reality consumed by the masses of people who have no means to undertake their own investigations. Control of the narrative is the critical core of what Washington describes as its “soft power”.  The hard power can wage wars and overthrow governments.  The soft power explains to bystanders why that was the right thing to do.  The United States can get away with literally everything so long as it can tell the story to its own advantage, without the risk of being credibly contradicted.  Concerning sensitive points in the world, whether Iraq, or Libya, or Ukraine, control of the narrative is basically exercised by the partnership between intelligence agencies and the media.  Intelligence services write the story, and the mass corporate media tell it.

Together, the anonymous sources of the “deep state” and the mass corporate media have become accustomed to controlling the narrative told to the public.  They don’t want to give that power up.  And they certainly don’t want to see it challenged by outsiders – notably by Russian media that tell a different story.

That is one reason for the extraordinary campaign going on to denounce Russian and other alternative media as sources of “false news”, in order to discredit rival sources.  The very existence of the Russian international television news channel RT aroused immediate hostility: how dare the Russians intrude on our version of reality!  How dare they have their own point of view! Hillary Clinton warned against RT when she was Secretary of State and her successor John Kerry denounced it as a “propaganda bullhorn”.  What we say is truth, what they say can only be propaganda.

The denunciation of Russian media and alleged Russian “interference in our elections” is a major invention of the Clinton campaign, which has gone on to infect public discourse in Western Europe.  This accusation is a very obvious example of double standards, or projection, since U.S. spying on everybody, including it allies, and interference in foreign elections are notorious.

The campaign denouncing “fake news” originating in Moscow is in full swing in both France and Germany as elections approach.  It is this accusation that is the functional interference in the campaign, not Russian media.  The accusation that Marine Le Pen is “the candidate of Moscow” is not only meant to work against her, but is also preparation for the efforts to instigate some variety of “color revolution” should she happen to win the May 7 election. CIA interference in foreign elections is far from limited to contentious news reports.

In the absence of any genuine Russian threat to Europe, claims that Russian media are “interfering in our democracy” serve to brand Russia as an aggressive enemy and thereby justify the huge NATO military buildup in Northeastern Europe, which is reviving German militarism and directing national wealth into the arms industry.

In some ways, the French election is an extension of the American one, where the deep state lost its preferred candidate, but not its power.  The same forces are at work here, backing Macron as the French Hillary, but ready to stigmatize any opponent as a tool of Moscow.

What has been happening over the past months has confirmed the existence of a Deep State that is not only national but trans-Atlantic, aspiring to be global. The anti-Russian campaign is a revelation.  It reveals to many people that there really is a Deep State, a trans-Atlantic orchestra that plays the same tune without any visible conductor. The term “Deep State” is suddenly popping up even in mainstream discourse, as a reality than cannot be denied, even if it is hard to define precisely.

Instead of the Military Industrial Complex, we should perhaps call it the Military Industrial Media Intelligence Complex, or MIMIC.  Its power is enormous, but acknowledging that it exists is the first step toward working to free ourselves from its grip.

 

As if the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign hadn’t been horrendous enough, here comes another one: in France. 

The system in France is very different, with multiple candidates in two rounds, most of them highly articulate, who often even discuss real issues. Free television time reduces the influence of big money. The first round on April 23 will select the two finalists for the May 7 runoff, allowing for much greater choice than in the United States.

But monkey see, monkey do, and the mainstream political class wants to mimic the ways of the Empire, even echoing the theme that dominated the 2016 show across the Atlantic: the evil Russians are messing with our wonderful democracy.

The aping of the U.S. system began with “primaries” held by the two main governing parties which obviously aspire to establish themselves as the equivalent of American Democrats and Republicans in a two-party system.  The right-wing party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy has already renamed itself Les Républicains and the so-called Socialist Party leaders are just waiting for the proper occasion to call themselves Les Démocrates. But as things are going, neither one of them may come out ahead this time.

Given the nearly universal disaffection with the outgoing Socialist Party government of President François Hollande, the Republicans were long seen as the natural favorites to defeat Marine LePen, who is shown by all polls to top the first round. With such promising prospects, the Republican primary brought out more than twice as many volunteer voters (they must pay a small sum and claim allegiance to the party’s “values” in order to vote) as the Socialists.  Sarkozy was eliminated, but more surprising, so was the favorite, the reliable establishment team player, Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppé, who had been leading in the polls and in media editorials.

Fillon’s Family Values

In a surprise show of widespread public disenchantment with the political scene, Republican voters gave landside victory to former prime minister François Fillon, a practicing Catholic with an ultra-neoliberal domestic policy: lower taxes for corporations, drastic cuts in social welfare, even health health insurance benefits – accelerating what previous governments have been doing but more openly. Less conventionally, Fillon strongly condemns the current anti Russian policy.  Fillon also deviates from the Socialist government’s single-minded commitment to overthrowing Assad by showing sympathy for embattled Christians in Syria and their protector, which happens to be the Assad government.

Fillon has the respectable look, as the French say, of a person who could take communion without first going to confession.  As a campaign theme he credibly stressed his virtuous capacity to oppose corruption.

Oops!  On January 25, the semi-satirical weekly Le Canard Enchainé fired the opening shots of an ongoing media campaign designed to undo the image of Mister Clean, revealing that his British wife, Penelope, had been paid a generous salary for working as his assistant. As Penelope was known for staying home and raising their children in the countryside, the existence of that work is in serious doubt.  Fillon also paid his son a lawyer’s fee for unspecified tasks and his daughter for supposedly assisting him write a book.  In a sense, these allegations prove the strength of the conservative candidate’s family values.  But his ratings have fallen and he faces possible criminal charges for fraud.

The scandal is real, but the timing is suspect.  The facts are many years old, and the moment of their revelation is well calculated to ensure his defeat.  Moreover, the very day after the Canard’s revelations, prosecutors hastily opened an inquiry.  In comparison with all the undisclosed dirty work and unsolved blood crimes committed by those in control of the French State over the years, especially during its foreign wars, enriching one’s own family may seem relatively minor.  But that is not the way the public sees it.

Cui bono

It is widely assumed that despite National Front candidate Marine LePen’s constant lead in the polls, whoever comes in second will win the runoff because the established political class and the media will rally around the cry to “save the Republic!”  Fear of the National Front as “a threat to the Republic” has become a sort of protection racket for the established parties, since it stigmatizes as unacceptable a large swath of opposition to themselves.  In the past, both main parties have sneakily connived to strengthen the National Front in order to take votes away from their adversary.

Thus, bringing down Fillon increases the chances that the candidate of the now thoroughly discredited Socialist Party may find himself in the magic second position after all, as the knight to slay the LePen dragon.  But who exactly is the Socialist candidate? That is not so clear.  There is the official Socialist Party candidate, Benoît Hamon. But the independent spin-off from the Hollande administration, Emmanuel Macron, “neither right nor left”, is gathering support from the right of the Socialist Party as well as from most of the neo-liberal globalist elite.

Macron is scheduled to be the winner. But first, a glance at his opposition on the left.  With his ratings in the single digits, François Hollande very reluctantly gave into entreaties from his colleagues to avoid the humiliation of running for a second term and losing badly.  The badly attended Socialist Party primary was expected to select the fiercely pro-Israel prime minister Manuel Valls.  Or if not, on his left, Arnaud Montebourg, a sort of Warren Beatty of French politics, famous for his romantic liaisons and his advocacy of re-industrialization of France.

Again, surprise.  The winner was a colorless, little-known party hack named Benoît Hamon, who rode the wave of popular discontent to appear as a leftist critic and alternative to a Socialist government which sold out all Holland’s promises to combat “finance” and assaulted the rights of the working class instead.  Hamon spiced up his claim to be “on the left” by coming up with a gimmick that is fashionable elsewhere in Europe but a novelty in French political discourse: the “universal basic income”.  The idea of giving every citizen an equal handout can sound appealing to young people having trouble finding a job. But this idea, which originated with Milton Friedman and other apostles of unleashed financial capitalism, is actually a trap.  The project assumes that unemployment is permanent, in contrast to projects to create jobs or share work.  It would be financed by replacing a whole range of existing social allocations, in the name of “getting rid of bureaucracy” and “freedom of consumption”. The project would complete the disempowerment of the working class as a political force, destroying the shared social capital represented by public services, and splitting the dependent classes between paid workers and idle consumers.

There is scant chance that the universal income is about to become a serious item on the French political agenda.  For the moment, Hamon’s claim to radicality serves to lure voters away from the independent left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon.  Both are vying for support from greens and militants of the French Communist Party, which has lost all capacity to define its own positions.

The Divided Left

An impressive orator, Mélenchon gained prominence in 2005 as a leading opponent of the proposed European Constitution, which was decisively rejected by the French in a referendum, but was nevertheless adopted under a new name by the French national assembly.  Like so many leftists in France, Mélenchon has a Trotskyist background (the Posadists, more attuned to Third World revolutions than their rivals) before joining the Socialist Party, which he left in 2008 to found the Parti de Gauche.  He has sporadically wooed the rudderless Communist Party to join him as the Front de Gauche (the Left Front) and has declared himself its candidate for President on a new independent ticket called La France insoumise – roughly translated as “Insubordinate France”. Mélenchon is combative with France’s docile media, as he defends such unorthodox positions as praise of Chavez and rejection of France’s current Russophobic foreign policy.  Unlike the conventional Hamon, who follows the Socialist party line, Mélenchon wants France to leave both the euro and NATO.

There are only two really strong personalities in this lineup: Mélenchon on the left and his adversary of choice, Marine LePen, on the right.  In the past, their rivalry in local elections has kept both from winning even though she came out ahead.  Their positions on foreign policy are hard to distinguish from each other: criticism of the European Union, desire to leave NATO, good relations with Russia.

Since both deviate from the establishment line, both are denounced as “populists” – a term that is coming to mean anyone who pays more attention to what ordinary people want that to what the Establishment dictates.

On domestic social policy, on preservation of social services and workers’ rights, Marine is well to the left of Fillon.  But the stigma attached to the National Front as the “far right” remains, even though, with her close advisor Florian Philippot, she has ditched her father, Jean-Marie, and adjusted the party line to appeal to working class voters.  The main relic of the old National Front is her hostility to immigration, which now centers on fear of Islamic terrorists. The terrorist killings in Paris and Nice have made these positions more popular than they used to be. In her effort to overcome her father’s reputation as anti-Semitic, Marine LePen has done her best to woo the Jewish community, helped by her rejection of “ostentatious” Islam, going so far as to call for a ban on wearing an ordinary Muslim headscarf in public.

A runoff between Mélenchon and LePen would be an encounter between a revived left and a revived right, a real change from the political orthodoxy that has alienated much of the electorate. That could make politics exciting again.  At a time when popular discontent with “the system” is rising, it has been suggested (by Elizabeth Lévy’s maverick monthly Le Causeur) that the anti-system Mélenchon might actually have the best chance of winning working class votes away from the anti-system LePen.

Manufacturing Consent

But the pro-European Union, pro-NATO, neoliberal Establishment is at work to keep that from happening.  On every possible magazine cover or talk show, the media have shown their allegiance to a “New! Improved!” middle of the road candidate who is being sold to the public like a consumer product.   At his rallies, carefully coached young volunteers situated in view of the cameras greet his every vague generalization with wild cheers, waving flags, and chanting “Macron President!!!” before going off to the discotèque party offered as their reward. Macron is the closest thing to a robot ever presented as a serious candidate for President.  That is, he is an artificial creation designed by experts for a particular task.

Emmanuel Macron, 39, was a successful investment banker who earned millions working for the Rothschild bank.   Ten years ago, in 2007, age 29, the clever young economist was invited into the big time by Jacques Attali, an immensely influential guru, whose advice since the 1980s has been central in wedding the Socialist Party to pro-capitalist, neoliberal globalism.  Attali incorporated him into his private think tank, the Commission for Stimulating Economic Growth, which helped draft the  “300 Proposals to Change France” presented to President Sarkozy a year later as a blueprint for government.  Sarkozy failed to enact them all, for fear of labor revolts, but the supposedly “left” Socialists are able to get away with more drastic anti-labor measures, thanks to their softer discourse.

The soft discourse was illustrated by presidential candidate François Hollande in 2012 when he aroused enthusiasm by declaring to a rally: “My real enemy is the world of finance!”.  The left cheered and voted for him.  Meanwhile, as a precaution, Hollande secretly dispatched Macron to London to reassure the City’s financial elite that it was all just electoral talk.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/10/emmanuel-macron-france-president After his election, Hollande brought Macron onto his staff. From there he was given a newly created super-modern sounding government post as minister of Economy, Industry and Digital affairs in 2014.  With all the bland charm of a department store mannequin, Macron upstaged his irascible colleague, prime minister Manuel Valls, in the silent rivalry to succeed their boss, President Hollande.  Macron won the affection of big business by making his anti-labor reforms look young and clean and “progressive”. In fact, he pretty much followed the Attali agenda.

The theme is “competitiveness”.  In a globalized world, a country must attract investment capital in order to compete, and for that it is necessary to lower labor costs.  A classic way to do that is to encourage immigration.  With the rise of identity politics, the left is better than the right in justifying massive immigration on moral grounds, as a humanitarian measure.  That is one reason that the Democratic Party in the United States and the Socialist Party in France have become the political partners of neoliberal globalism.  Together, they have changed the outlook of the official left from structural measures promoting economic equality to moral measures promoting equality of minorities with the majority.

Just last year, Macron founded (or had founded for him) his political movement entitled “En marche!” (Let’s go!) characterized by meetings with young groupies wearing Macron t-shirts.  In three months he felt the call to lead the nation and announced his candidacy for President.

Many personalities are jumping the marooned Socialist ship and going over to Macron, whose strong political resemblance to Hillary Clinton suggests that his is the way to create a French Democratic Party on the U.S. model.  Hillary may have lost but she remains the NATOland favorite. And indeed, U.S. media coverage confirms this notion.  A glance at the ecstatic puff piece by Robert Zaretsky in Foreign Policymagazine hailing “the English-speaking, German-loving, French politician Europe has been waiting for” leaves no doubt that Macron is the darling of the trans-Atlantic globalizing elite.

At this moment, Macron is second only to Marine LePen in the polls, which also show him defeating her by a landslide in the final round.  However, his carefully manufactured appeal is vulnerable to greater public information about his close ties to the economic elite.

Blame the Russians

For that eventuality, there is a preventive strike, imported directly from the United States.  It’s the fault of the Russians!

What have the Russians done that is so terrible?  Mainly, they have made it clear that they have a preference for friends rather than enemies as heads of foreign governments.  Nothing so extraordinary about that. Russian news media criticize, or interview people who criticize, candidates hostile to Moscow.  Nothing extraordinary about that either.

As an example of this shocking interference, which allegedly threatens to undermine the French Republic and Western values, the Russian news agency Sputnik interviewed a Republican member of the French parliament, Nicolas Dhuicq, who dared say that Macron might be “an agent of the American financial system”.   That is pretty obvious.  But the resulting outcry skipped over that detail to accuse Russian state media of “starting to circulate rumors that Macron had a gay extramarital affair” (The EU Observer, February 13, 2017).  In fact this alleged “sexual slur” had been circulating primarily in gay circles in Paris, for whom the scandal, if any, is not Macron’s alleged sexual orientation but the fact that he denies it.  The former mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, was openly gay, Marine Le Pen’s second in command Florian Philippot is gay, in France being gay is no big deal.

Macron is supported by a “very wealthy gay lobby”, Dhuicq is quoted as saying.  Everyone knows who that is: Pierre Bergé, the rich and influential business manager of Yves Saint Laurent, personification of radical chic, who strongly supports surrogate gestation, which is indeed a controversial issue in France, the real controversy underlying the failed opposition to gay marriage.

The Deep State rises to the surface

The amazing adoption in France of the American anti-Russian campaign is indicative of a titanic struggle for control of the narrative – the version of international reality consumed by the masses of people who have no means to undertake their own investigations. Control of the narrative is the critical core of what Washington describes as its “soft power”.  The hard power can wage wars and overthrow governments.  The soft power explains to bystanders why that was the right thing to do.  The United States can get away with literally everything so long as it can tell the story to its own advantage, without the risk of being credibly contradicted.  Concerning sensitive points in the world, whether Iraq, or Libya, or Ukraine, control of the narrative is basically exercised by the partnership between intelligence agencies and the media.  Intelligence services write the story, and the mass corporate media tell it.

Together, the anonymous sources of the “deep state” and the mass corporate media have become accustomed to controlling the narrative told to the public.  They don’t want to give that power up.  And they certainly don’t want to see it challenged by outsiders – notably by Russian media that tell a different story.

That is one reason for the extraordinary campaign going on to denounce Russian and other alternative media as sources of “false news”, in order to discredit rival sources.  The very existence of the Russian international television news channel RT aroused immediate hostility: how dare the Russians intrude on our version of reality!  How dare they have their own point of view! Hillary Clinton warned against RT when she was Secretary of State and her successor John Kerry denounced it as a “propaganda bullhorn”.  What we say is truth, what they say can only be propaganda.

The denunciation of Russian media and alleged Russian “interference in our elections” is a major invention of the Clinton campaign, which has gone on to infect public discourse in Western Europe.  This accusation is a very obvious example of double standards, or projection, since U.S. spying on everybody, including it allies, and interference in foreign elections are notorious.

The campaign denouncing “fake news” originating in Moscow is in full swing in both France and Germany as elections approach.  It is this accusation that is the functional interference in the campaign, not Russian media.  The accusation that Marine Le Pen is “the candidate of Moscow” is not only meant to work against her, but is also preparation for the efforts to instigate some variety of “color revolution” should she happen to win the May 7 election. CIA interference in foreign elections is far from limited to contentious news reports.

In the absence of any genuine Russian threat to Europe, claims that Russian media are “interfering in our democracy” serve to brand Russia as an aggressive enemy and thereby justify the huge NATO military buildup in Northeastern Europe, which is reviving German militarism and directing national wealth into the arms industry.

In some ways, the French election is an extension of the American one, where the deep state lost its preferred candidate, but not its power.  The same forces are at work here, backing Macron as the French Hillary, but ready to stigmatize any opponent as a tool of Moscow.

What has been happening over the past months has confirmed the existence of a Deep State that is not only national but trans-Atlantic, aspiring to be global. The anti-Russian campaign is a revelation.  It reveals to many people that there really is a Deep State, a trans-Atlantic orchestra that plays the same tune without any visible conductor. The term “Deep State” is suddenly popping up even in mainstream discourse, as a reality than cannot be denied, even if it is hard to define precisely.

Instead of the Military Industrial Complex, we should perhaps call it the Military Industrial Media Intelligence Complex, or MIMIC.  Its power is enormous, but acknowledging that it exists is the first step toward working to free ourselves from its grip.

 

France directly liable for killings in Syria: President Assad

France directly liable for killings in Syria: President Assad

Press TV – February 17, 2017

President Bashar al-Assad says France’s support for terrorist groups operating against the Syrian government and people is a direct cause of bloodshed in the Arab country.

“The policy of France, that started from day one, has been to support terrorists in Syria, and is responsible directly for the killings in our country,” Assad told TF1 and Europe 1, respectively a French channel and a French radio network.

Assad further said his remarks were not a mere accusation as French officials have on numerous occasions admitted that they are supporting militants in Syria.

“They said many times they supported the war,” said the Syrian leader. “They said that they send armaments to whom they call moderate groups, which are terrorists. They said that; I didn’t say it. The Americans said the same, the French said the same.”

Read more:

The Syrian head of state further cast doubt on the sincerity of Western states in their approach towards the crisis in Syria.

“We have to be cautious with every Western leader because they can say something and do the opposite… do something in the morning and do the opposite in the evening…They don’t have values in their policies,” he added.

File photo of a militant from a foreign-backed group taking part in military training in Syria

Assad said the fate of the Syrian people is not for the West to determine.

“My people have to choose, because this is a Syrian issue, to be frank with you,” he said.

“So, we don’t care about what the Western officials think about this. They have to worry about their people and to protect their people from the terrorist attacks that have been happening because of their policies.”

The foreign-backed violence in Syria has unleashed an influx of refugees toward Europe. The inrush has put the continent on alert against potential entry of terrorists and arms smugglers among asylum seekers.

France’s election in total chaos for the mainstream

February 06, 2017

by Ramin Mazaheri

France’s election in total chaos for the mainstream

Is this the end of France’s mainstream political parties?

The day of reckoning certainly should be near. When 77% of France believes parliamentarians, are corrupt then you have a fundamental problem with your system. If you don’t trust you’re the highest rung of the legislative branch, then that house needs to be purged.

It seems it’s going to happen this election cycle for the executive branch, at least. Legislatively…that will require much more revolutionary spirit.

In my daily reporting for Press TV I’ve covered this “our politicians are all corrupt” story many times over the years. I’m always interested to ask the French the simple question: “Why is France so especially mistrustful of their politicians?” Their response usually is…to defend the system they find so corrupt, LOL:

They say that because they live in such a very, very free country only they are can say these types of things openly (state of emergency nearing 16th month but ignore this). Yes, only the impossible-to-seal mouths of the truly-free French dare speak the truth! The truth being, by implication, that all politicians everywhere are corrupt.

This is, of course, not at all true.

First, the French have some outdated fantasy of other countries being ruled by a secret police, where all criticism can only be whispered in dark alleyways. Never mind the omnipresence of their own secret police.

Second, the entire world does not all share their faithless cynicism in politicians. This is a French cultural problem which runs deeper than hypocrisy, which is a very human foible we all share. I discussed politics with dozens of Cubans recently and I never heard any depressing, cynical thoughts about their politicians as are routinely expressed here. I heard complaints, but different ones, and that is my point.

But, rationalize such cynicism however you like. In fact, let’s move on and just blame the Roma and the Muslims, LOL.

Of course, we still must return back to the reality of staggering corruption in French politics.

The downfall of Francois Fillon, the ‘great man’

Ingrained in Western capitalism and their bourgeois democracies is the idea that the masses are ignorant and that a great man is needed to lead them. A man of moral integrity and prophetic vision – much more than just a “council of grandfathers” must guide the French tribe.

Fillon was that man…according to his campaign platform.

His idea was that only a person of his irreproachable moral integrity could…properly inflict twice as many austerity cuts properly.

He was the clear favorite so this idea actually resonated – the moral part seemed to obscure the austerity part, apparently out of desperation for the lack of moral fortitude displayed by those in the nation’s highest offices.

Fillon was high in the polls and high above us masses in his country manor, just marking an ‘x’ on the calendar for each day he was closer to surely taking office in May.

All he had to do was not screw up, because I can report there was simply not enough proof of support for Marine Le Pen to beat him in the 2nd round, or even make it close. Of course, we are still months from the vote, and things change.

And change they did!

We are now all patiently waiting for Fillon’s proof to disprove “Penelopegate”: allegations that his wife and children got over 1 million euros in ghost jobs.

He hasn’t and he won’t.

He says he will share “proof” of work such as pay slips only with the police. LOL, Francois, proof of payment is not proof of work.

If Frank had any proof…he would have immediately shown it to the media to clear his name and continue coasting to the presidency. However, he only had bizarre identity-politics accusations such as “misogyny” against his wife to counter the claims. I feel bad for the reporters who had to report that without irony….Image result

And how the mainstream loved Fillon! This poster from mainstream magazine Le Point was all over Paris back in November, forcing everyone with a brain in their head to roll their eyes backwards to their personal happy place. It reads “The Incredible Mr. Fillon”.

LOL Le Point, great call on that one! Superb journalistic instincts! Impeccable analysis! I see why you are the top of the top here in France!

Well, every journalist takes orders from whoever signs their paycheck, and the larger point is: The 1% loved Fillon, trusted Fillon, and he was one of them (just on the basis of ghost job income).

Not 1 but both mainstream parties ousted? Pinch me I’m dreaming….

Fillon has absolutely and properly plummeted from 1st to 3rd place in the latest presidential polls. He wouldn’t make the 2nd and final round, were the vote held today.

It’s a shocking fall, but maybe the French are finally punishing people for corruption? If the state won’t do it, as in China, then it’s up to voters. This idiosyncrasy of the Western democratic system – corruption is punished by not winning re-election, as opposed to the prison terms handed out for normal crooks – has clearly worked out fantastically for the 1% in France, who staff Parliament.

Problem is, Fillon is still running 3rd – he could make a comeback.

They all do in France, at least on the right – Sarkozy, Juppé, etc. On the left they are more likely to get permanently exiled – Strauss-Kahn, Cazeneuve, and does anyone see a comeback from Hollande?

Makes one wonder: Which side has the greater moral backbone: The conservative Catholic rural voters or the urban and urbane Socialists? One would think it would be the former, but explain that riddle then?

Anyway, my point to international readers is that the joyful arrival of Penelopegate currently portends the death of not just the already-dead Socialists but the conservative Les Républicains, i.e. both mainstream parties.

That, in a western democracy, is extremely rare, and I can’t recall a postwar historical example in any of the West’s UN veto-wielding nations.

So, now who? Wait…why are you looking at me? I work for Iranian state media, not a fashionable, rich media like Le Point – I must know nothing, right? I didn’t even think Fillon was that incredible?

Frozen mainstream Eskimos float the old out for an icy funeral

Polls currently have 4 candidates within 8% points of each other. I hate to say I told you so, and I’m directing this one towards the US and Trump-Clinton: ignore “margin of error” at your peril.

You can’t call a race when it’s that tight so…check back later.

However, I predict the mainstream media here won’t take this honest and sensible view: The 1% can’t show any disunity among something as important as the presidency – remember how it was “Clinton for certain” in the US?

The mainstream doesn’t want to report the actual facts – that there is chaos, instability and unpredictability in France’s election. Nor is the mainstream media, as Trump v. Clinton reminded everyone, in the habit of listening to the needs of the masses or reporting things properly.

They will circle the wagons around a preferred candidate very soon.

But for now it is fair to say that Marine Le Pen will almost definitely get into the second round…and lose against whoever she faces: There hasn’t been a poll which showed her winning the 2nd round that I’m aware of.

I refuse to believe, because it takes time for my brain to accept change, these most recent polls, which have former Rothschild banker Emmanuel Macron beating Le Pen 66-33% in the 2nd round.

Maybe my brain was impacted by all the tear gas and other violence thrown my way during the months of protests against his Macron Law to accept the heretofore shocking idea that he could be president in May, or that he should be.

The Macron Law…man, that will stand in infamy. That was the right-wing roll back of France’s labor code last year.

Now THAT was the biggest blow against French culture in recent years, as it brings France more in line with the US-UK-German economic model.

There went France’s worker security – nobody punches a clock here, the vast majority have the stability provided by a monthly salary – but now you can get used to more part-time work like in the three Anglo-Saxon countries I listed. Get used to lower wages, as part-time work always pays worse, but the capitalists love this programmed underemployment – keeps ‘em desperate scared and docile.

There went your French exceptionalism, and the colorblind among us will note that it did not go because of a chubby mother in a hejab pushing a stroller while hoping for the best future for her children…but you believe whatever you want.

There went, sadly, my quiet, no-shopping-allowed Sundays in Paris, which is the densest Western cityand so, so busy most of the time. Yeah, let’s turn this place into Tokyo or Manhattan, sounds great.

Of course, it’s not like families need a guaranteed day of togetherness for unity, or like workers need a guaranteed day of rest to be happy and moral the other six. Is there some way I can be a capitalist while I’m sleeping, because I’m just wasting time and time is money, right?

And now, here comes Macron: He will be the lily-white gold-worshipper in the middle of the circled wagons, safely protected from us common Indian savages who simply want to hold on to what little we have and not lose any more.

Get on the Macron train, or think of one hand clapping

Prediction for Le Point’s next cover: “The Incredible Mr. Macron!”

Blame Hollande. Blame him left, right, up and down, because Macron was a nobody until Hollande made him Minister of the Economy. Ugh! We are stuck with Macron for decades, because the pro-banker 1% will keep propping him up no matter what – no pro-capitalist politician ever dies in France. Among the English-speaking media it’s basically St. Macron, sent to destroy the France’s (far more admirable) postwar social model.

Ugh, ugh, ugh. It can’t be. It won’t be.

But it looks like it might be.

Because French voters simply must punish the Socialist Party for their betrayal on austerity, and they will; they simply must punish Fillon for the embezzlement and hypocrisy which he has not been able to disprove whatsoever.

Rejecting the mainstream is the trend in the West or…has this trend died out? We don’t know and it’s not clear, but it’s certainly looking that way more than ever in France.

What about Marine Le Pen? Well, she proposes non-mainstream ideas but is a part of the mainstream – the National Front has been prevalent in the media for decades. She is not like Trump, who is a true outsider form the political game.

Le Pen is capitalizing on all this, recently saying she’s a candidate against the moneyed elite and “of the people” and she is…as long as those “people” are totally White.

Of course, many of her supporters don’t care about a little thing called “minority rights”, which is what prevents Western democracy from being outright mob rule.

Certainly a lot of her supporters suddenly are all about minority rights when you talk about places outside of France…in places like Lebanon when it comes to Christians, to give just one example, but anyway….

Le Pen is sort of in-between on this mainstream idea, I must grant, and the same should be said for the left’s Jean-Luc Melenchon: He gave up on the mainstream Socialists in 2008. That’s ahead of the curve, right? Ya gotta give him that.

But it’s not really that long ago, eh? It’s still hard for many believe in his bona fides as a leftist and many view him as an egomaniac, rightly or wrongly.

He might get over the hump, but he’s currently polling at 11%. In the 2012 1st round presidential election he got…11%. “Stagnation” has certainly been the watchword for France during the past 5 years….

But if you’re asking me who to vote for he’s the best viable candidate. He has so far refused to ally with the mainstream socialist Benoit Hamon: the newcomer Hamon has the hot hand, so the sooner Melenchon would give in the more watered-down his proposals would be in this hypothetical new left union.

And his proposals are great: Like Le Pen he wants a democratic referendum on the Euro, European Union and NATO, and he wants to scrap the 5th Republic and write a new, modern constitution that isn’t tainted by De Gaulle’s postwar paranoia of the people. He’s the only politician who is clearly anti-xenophobia, Hamon being tainted by the Socialist’s mistreatment of Roma, refugees and Muslims.

Going with the capitalist adoration of the “great man”, the “political savior”, “Mr. .00001%” –are you telling me that’s the smug banker Macron?

That is exactly what the mainstream media will probably start spoon-feeding France.

We’ll see how many French swallow it – given that Macron is currently the most popular politician in France, many already have dutifully taken their conformist medicine and are awaiting a pat on the head (and a pink slip).

However, which two politicians have the 2nd and 3rd-highest approval ratings? Hamon and Melenchon, in a tie.

So how the heck do you explain that?! Whoda thunkit just a couple weeks ago?! What does that predict for the election?

You explain it by realizing that rejecting the mainstream is what the past year has been all about across the West. My White Trash Revolution (WTR) theory continues to trend correct.

The right has been dominant, but Fillon’s apparent taxpayer scam could push France’s WTR back to the left.

One can dream.

All that is certain is that there is no certainty today in France’s presidential election.

A lot can change between now and the first round in late April, but the mainstream’s tactics only change, never their goals: They want someone to keep the money flowing to the 1% and that man was Fillon – now it will be Macron, sorry Frank.

Macron is so new, so smug, so Rothschild-y that maybe France’s voters won’t buy the mainstream onslaught that’s coming? That onslaught will be, of course: We must stop Le Pen at any cost, even if it means Macron.

That game plan stays the same with or without Fillon.

But maybe the Left will seize the historical moment and surmount the obstacles which will inevitably be obstructed by the mainstream.

Regardless, I encourage France’s voters to drop their cynicism about politics in general, above all. It’s not normal, useful, accurate or right.

French Socialist primary – hiding 5 years of betrayal

January 21, 2017

by Ramin Mazaheri

The French Socialist Party has the first round of their political primary on January 22nd, and as a longtime news correspondent in Paris I thought it incumbent on me to make a fun prediction.

The fun, if you couldn’t tell, has already started: the incumbent, Francois Hollande, is not even running for re-election.

Let’s bask in what a historically huge loser Hollande is: I cannot recall any incumbent Western president who has not even tried to win re-election. In the US LBJ did 1 win one election before throwing in the civil rights do-rag.

Hollande will go down as a huge traitor to his people: He campaigned on ending-austerity but instituted 5 grinding years of it. Idiot commentators who will talk about how “presidential” he looked during 2 terror attacks, but they don’t realize that such image-related concerns to the millions of people wondering how they will buy food when they have no job.

So, Francois is not there – and everyone is glad about that.

Who does that leave us with? I’m going to start positive – there is always the option of total nuclear annihilation before having to endure the soft parade of fake leftism that will be the Socialist Party primary.

However, failing that, I’m still going to stay positive and predict that Benoit Hamon “comes out of nowhere” to win it. The same surprise has happened with the conservative Republicain Party and Francois Fillon, after all.

I’ll put it simply: In years of covering the Socialist Party and talking to Benoit Hamon I have always thought that he is a rare Socialist Party politician who might actually have a soul. That is an uncommon occurrence, and it is a sincere compliment.

Yeah Hamon’s not a true leftist, because he’s in the Socialist Party, but I am glad to see that he has recently shot up in polls to 3rd place. Hamon is on the correct side of many issues, and he’s always been on the far-left of the Socialists.

He has the courage to promote ideas like guaranteed monthly revenue (welfare) of 750 euros per month. I know people who don’t make that here and that would make such a huge difference in their lives. What’s more, it what would be a huge improvement in the standard of living for the enormous number of people from 18-30 who suffer from tremendous unemployment.

I’ll be honest with you, trusty reader, I just checked the headlines on Hamon and he’s actually leading the polls following last night’s primary debate! This paragraph is letting you behind the curtain of how journalism works, LOL!

Good for Hamon! Maybe French leftists aren’t a bunch of poseurs like I think!

Truly, Hamon has always appeared to me like an authentic person, and I cannot say that at all about his main rival, longtime minister Manuel Valls.

It’s funny to write that Hamon and Valls are rivals – Hamon has been a junior cabinet minister while Valls has been the Interior Minister, longtime Prime Minister, and was the most popular politician for some time. English-language journalists have been writing that Hamon has “come from nowhere”, but junior minister is no small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, and Hamon has always impressed.

Manuel Valls is the type of soulless, ruthless, professional politician that the West specializes in. As the mayor of a heavily-Muslim Parisian suburb he would march with a pro-Palestine t-shirt, and then once he got into the upper echelon he openly espoused his everlasting ties to Israel. Voila.

Valls should lose because he’s been Hollande’s right-hand thug to enforce austerity. “Thug” is the right word – Valls is the one responsible for thousands of arrests of anti-government protesters; countless instances of police brutality; house arrests, warrantless arrests, arrests of (gasp!) non-Muslim environmental protesters.

Valls carried out the order for the State of Emergency, and he also incarnates the Blairist/Obama “3rdWay” philosophy which is just ruthless imperialist capitalism with a gay-friendly face. Valls should lose just like Clinton, Cameron and Renzi lost, if the “white trash revolution” (WTR) continues to be a significant historical trend in the West (and you can throw me in with the trash). It would be fitting if France lost doubly – Hollande and Valls – because whenever the whole world loses France seems to lose twice as badly, LOL.

Hamon should win because the center and right wing of the Socialist Party has totally discredited themselves and must be purged. Such a purge is justice, and it’s necessary for democracy. Otherwise you get 2 mainstream parties which are the exact same, and who wants to live like the Americans or English?

Of course, the WTR will only lose for a short time, just until people realize that the right – just like the center – cannot and should not govern, only the left can. So the WTR is a victory in the long run (vote Le Pen against Fillon in the 2nd round, French readers).

Valls is now running behind Arnaud Montebourg too? Man, I have been in Cuba for the last month (take a moment to salute some real leftists), but this has to be a recent development!

Montebourg is not bad, but he’s simply not viewed as “the one” – he’s also too tainted by being a Socialist Party bigwig for so long. Unlike Hamon, he’s not new – Monty has been around a long time and he may have already lost his soul. One is not sure that Montebourg is a genuine leftist or not. Montebourg may even be one of those poor guys who is so very sincere that he comes off as insincere.

After all, he was Hollande’s Minister of the Economy and resigned after it became clear Hollande would stick with austerity all the way.

The Socialists picking Montebourg would be a good development – he is from the left-flank of the party, but he’s not as left as Hamon.

France wants – France needs – new blood. This is half the reason Marine Le Pen is doing so well: the establishment is totally discredited to the point where people are saying “let’s give the far-right a chance”.

And just as the establishment works to overtake any threat of real democracy – like the Arab Spring – so the establishment has propped up their own “Obama”, someone who is all image, no substance, and no real change.

I was talking recently with a typical “oh-so-proper-and-nice English journalist who really is just aghast at all the bad things in the world but let’s not change horses in mid-stream” about the French left and he brought up Emmanuel Macron.

I did a double take because I thought he misheard the word “left”.

Macron is a former Rothschild banker – it would take a religious conversion for him to be a leftist. People convert all the time, abut he clearly has not yet.

But get used to Macron’s smug face because he will be around for the main reason that the English-speaking press loves him. The reasons are obvious – he’s a banker, and then there’s also that he worked in a bank. The strictly pro-capitalist English-speakers see him as one of their own even though he has a girl’s name.

The French, however, see Macron as they are increasingly viewing Hamon – as someone new. And being such a person is no easy feat in French politics because there is absolutely no new blood here.

In the UK, if you lose then you’re out. In the US it’s similar, but only now is the Hillary machine finally smashed. But in France it’s the same people over and over, who all went to the same school, who go to the same parties, who live in the same bubble and who have never really worked a day in their lives because working on a political campaign doesn’t count.

Dominque Strauss-Kahn defied all precedent by actually being brought down by a sex scandal, but he was the exception that proves the rule. Sarkozy came back despite a half-dozen corruption cases; Alain Juppe, who was the Republicain Party front-runner until the last 3 weeks, was exiled to Canada for 3 years after being convicted of corruption.

Macron intelligently broke with the Socialist Party because he knew two things: he is no socialist, and the Socialist Party’s about-face on austerity has doomed them for at least 1 election cycle, preferably 3 or 4 to clear out the old generation, assuming there can ever be any real justice among mainstream politicians.

Macron – why am I still writing about him, ugh! – started his own party called “En Marche”, which is exactly what dog-sled drivers in Quebec yell at their dogs before whipping them again – you may recognize the Anglicization of this as “mush”. If I can make a crude psychological rendering without losing your journalistic respect, please: Macron gets whipped by his wife – his former high school French teacher who is 24 years older than him – and then he whips us, is that what’s going on here? I vote ‘no’, Emmanuel.

Decades of Macron is yet another reason to hate Hollande: He’s the one who plucked a 37-year old banker from obscurity to replace the honorably departed Arnaud Montebourg. What did I tell you about how France’s politicians being the same permanently-stained socks tumbling around in a dryer? You think I make stuff up for fun? I write journalism, not fiction – look at that clichéd metaphor for proof why.

Macron will also stay around because he most accurately represents the average leftist among his (my) age group which is such a letdown not just personally but globally: Pro-European Union, pro-Eurozone, anti-xenophobia – it’s the “fake leftist trifecta” which is oh-so-popular at French parties but which is nothing but snobbish, effete, hyper-individualistic and culturally chauvinistic fake leftism.

If you think sincere, international leftism is popular in France…well, firstly there’s just so many French grandfathers who I don’t know how many Algerians and Indochinans they killed but I know they killed enough still around, but to be au courant I’ll point out that Hollande’s purely imperialist (and totally destabilizing) wars in Mali and the CAR had overwhelming approval rates here.

That’s the candidate recap. So what’s the best outcome?

That same solid, reliable mainstream English journalist posited that the Socialist Party would break up.

The Socialist Party will never break up, because Socialism will never die.

It is alive and well in places in non-imperialist countries unlike France and it’s actually popular among a small, dedicated minority within France.

The Socialists should break up, certainly, or at least rename themselves. They are totally discredited by refusing to fight austerity, and French voters should seriously pause if hypothetically given a choice between handing power to the actual real people who staff the current Socialist Party or an imaginary Torture Children Party. “Hey, the TCP at least will stop listening to Brussels on economic austerity. Just keep an eye on your kid, that’s all.”

Ultimately, sober citizen that you are and God bless ya for it; you have just read an entire column about a Socialist Party which has no chance at all to make it to the 2nd round of France’s presidential election this spring. Much like the Democratic Party in the US, you can totally write off the Socialist Party in France until checking back in during their mid-term elections.

But remember, Hollande came into power controlling both houses of Parliament and nearly all the provinces, and yet he still refused to implement any true leftist programs. The same can be said for the man leaving office on this very day in the United States, Barry Obama.

Both leave with their parties in total disarray and their countries in far worse condition because they willfully ignored the needs of their own peasants – like me – and we do not forget and we do learn.

Hamon in a surprise. Just to add a bit – just a bit – of genuine leftism into the repugnant right-wing mix that is the French presidential election of 2017.

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 Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

France’s Self-Inflicted Refugee Crisis. The Result of NATO-Led Wars & France’s support for terrorists

Source

By Ulson Gunnar,

See ALSO

FUNDED Rebels, AKA Radical Terrorists, To Overthrow

instead of helping fight terrorism chose instead to arm and fund the terrorists

This is why is a magnet for terrorists attacks, the French Gov’t supports Islamist terrorists in

Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent “al-Nusra terrorists doing a good job in

January ’15 Hollande ‘France supplied arms to Syria Takfiris’

 

refugees

Following rhetoric regarding Europe’s refugee crisis, one might assume the refugees, through no fault of Europe’s governments, suddenly began appearing by the thousands at Europe’s borders. However, this simply is not true.

Before the 2011 wave of US-European engineered uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) transformed into Western military interventions, geopolitical analysts warned that overthrowing the governments in nations like Libya and Syria, and Western interventions in nations like Mali and the Ivory Coast, would lead to predicable regional chaos that would manifest itself in both expanding terrorism across the European and MENA region, as well as a flood of refugees from destabilized, war-racked nations.

Libya in particular, was singled out as a nation, if destabilized, that would transform into a springboard for refugees not only fleeing chaos in Libya itself, but fleeing a variety of socioeconomic and military threats across the continent. Libya has served for decades as a safe haven for African refugees due to its relative stability and economic prosperity as well as the Libyan government’s policy of accepting and integrating African refugees within the Libyan population.

Because of NATO’s 2011 military intervention and the disintegration of Libya as a functioning nation state, refugees who would have otherwise settled in Libya are now left with no choice but to continue onward to Europe.

For France in particular, its politics have gravitated around what is essentially a false debate between those welcoming refugees and those opposed to their presence.

Absent from this false debate is any talk of French culpability for its military operations abroad which, along with the actions of the US and other NATO members, directly resulted in the current European refugee crisis.

France claims that its presence across Africa aims at fighting Al Qaeda. According to RAND Corporation commentary titled, “Mali’s Persistent Jihadist Problem,” it’s reported that:

Four years ago, French forces intervened in Mali, successfully averting an al Qaeda-backed thrust toward the capital of Bamako. The French operation went a long way toward reducing the threat that multiple jihadist groups posed to this West Africa nation. The situation in Mali today remains tenuous, however, and the last 18 months have seen a gradual erosion of France’s impressive, initial gains.

And of course, a French military presence in Mali will do nothing to stem Al Qaeda’s activities if the source of Al Qaeda’s weapons and financial support is not addressed. In order to do this, France and its American and European allies would need to isolate and impose serious sanctions on Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two nations who exists as the premier state sponsors of not only Al Qaeda, but a myriad of terrorist organizations sowing chaos worldwide.

Paradoxically, instead of seeking such sanctions, the French government instead sells the Saudi and Qatari governments billions of dollars worth of weaponry, proudly filling in any temporary gaps in the flow of weapons from the West as each nation attempts to posture as “concerned” about Saudi and Qatari human rights abuses and war crimes (and perhaps even state sponsorship of terrorism) only to gradually return to pre-sanction levels after public attention wanes.

The National Interest in an article titled, “France: Saudi Arabia’s New Arms Dealer,” would note:

France has waged a robust diplomatic engagement with Saudi Arabia for years. In June, Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited France to sign deals worth $12 billion, which included $500 million for 23 Airbus H145 helicopters. Saudi and French officials also agreed to pursue feasibility studies to build two nuclear reactors in the kingdom. The remaining money will involve direct investment negotiated between Saudi and French officials.

The article would also note that Saudi Arabia’s junior partner in the state sponsorship of global terror, Qatar, would also benefit from French weapon deals:

Hollande’s address was delivered one day after he was in Doha, where he signed a $7 billion deal that included the sale of 24 French Rafale fighter jets to Qatar, along with the training of Qatari intelligence officers.

In order to truly fight terrorism, a nation must deal with it at its very source. Since France is not only ignoring the source of Al Qaeda’s military, financial and political strength, but is regularly bolstering it with billions in weapons deals, it is safe to say that whatever reason France is involved across MENA, it is not to “defeat” Al Qaeda.

The refugee crisis that has resulted from the chaos that both Western forces and terrorists funded and armed by the West’s closest regional allies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, is a crisis that is entirely self-inflicted. The rhetoric surrounding the crisis, on both sides, ignoring this fundamental reality, exposes the manufactured and manipulative nature of French government and opposition agendas.

The chaos across MENA is so significant, and terrorism so deeply rooted in both Western and their Arab allies’ geopolitical equations that even a complete reversal of this destructive policy will leave years if not decades of social unrest in the wake of the current refugee crisis.

But for anyone genuinely committed to solving this ongoing crisis, they must start with the US, European, and Gulf monarchies’ culpability, and resist blaming the refugees or those manipulated into reacting negatively to them. While abuses carried out by refugees or locals are equally intolerable, those responsible for the conflicts and for manipulating both sides of this crisis are equally to blame.

Until that blame is properly and proportionately placed, and the root of the crisis addressed, it will only linger and cause further damage to regional and global security.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

The Trump Presidency and the Coming Conflict Between Europe and America

Global Research, January 20, 2017
World Socialist Web Site 19 January 2017
Trump-UE

Donald Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States heralds an unprecedented deterioration in post-war relations between the US and Europe, above all between the US and Germany.

The January 20 ceremony was preceded by an interview with Trump in Britain’s Sunday Times and Germany’s Bild newspaper. His remarks were a broadside against the institutions that have constituted the basis of the post-World War II European order.

Trump praised Britain’s exit from the European Union, describing the EU as a vehicle for German domination and predicting that “others will leave.” He added, “Look, the EU was formed, partially, to beat the United States on trade, OK? So, I don’t really care whether it’s separate or together, to me it doesn’t matter.”

Trump threatened Germany’s auto industry with sanctions and attacked Chancellor Angela Merkel, blaming her refugee policy for destabilising Europe. He also opposed sanctions against Russia, while declaring that he believed the NATO alliance was “obsolete.”

Never before has a US president set as his explicit goal the breakup of the EU. Trump made clear in his interview that he was seeking to pit the UK against Germany and he solidarised himself with the UK Independence Party and other right-wing anti-EU parties.

The response from Europe’s political elite was uniformly hostile. In Germany, Merkel replied, “I think we Europeans hold our fate in our own hands.” Sigmar Gabriel of Merkel’s coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party, insisted, “We must not adopt a servile attitude now… In dealing with Trump, we need German self-confidence and a clear stance.”

French President Francois Hollande said that “transatlantic cooperation” will from now on be based on Europe’s own “interests and values.”

Europe’s think tanks and media predicted escalating militarism and an eruption of nationalist tensions. “EU member states will have to consider increasing strategic autonomy by reinforcing collective defence inside the EU,” said Felix Arteaga of the Elcano Royal Institute in Madrid.

Judy Dempsey of Carnegie Europe wrote that Trump “might rekindle old fears of German encirclement” by encouraging a “gang-up on Germany.” She added, “Since that is the new political outlook, Europe and Germany have to respond.”

In the Guardian, Natalie Nougayrède suggested, “Europe may witness a return to spheres of influence… with governments rushing to try to secure their own interests whatever the cost to neighbours and the continent’s future.”

Trump’s “America First” positions represent a seismic shift in US political relations with Europe. The Christian Science Monitor cited John Hulsman, a transatlantic affairs specialist, berating the “European elites” for having “grown accustomed to ‘Wilsonian’ American leaders who left unquestioned America’s leadership of the postwar internationalist system,” and not adjusting quickly enough to “a ‘Jacksonian’ and more nationalist US worldview promoted by Trump.”

Until now, however, such unilateralist tendencies were generally in abeyance. The American ruling class recognised that their unrestrained application would undermine its ability to exercise effective global hegemony. One of the issues animating hostility toward Trump within the US intelligence agencies in connection with his relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin is their belief that a Russian “bogeyman” is essential to preserve the framework through which the US has long exercised its dominance within Europe, via NATO and the EU.

The last time tensions emerged sharply between the US and Europe was in 2003, during the run-up to the Iraq War, when US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld denounced France and Germany for failing to support the US in Iraq. Rumsfeld called the two countries “old Europe” and counterposed to them the states of Eastern Europe.

On January 26 that year, the World Socialist Web Site published a perspective comment by David North titled “How to deal with America? The European dilemma,” which addressed the historic significance of that conflict.

North explained that America’s postwar relationship with Europe between 1945 and 1991 “was determined fundamentally by its appraisal of its own essential economic and geopolitical interests within the specific context of the Cold War.” He continued: “America’s attitude toward Europe was determined by the overriding need to (1) enforce the isolation of the Soviet Union and minimize its influence in Western Europe (“containment”) and (2) prevent social revolution at a time when the European working class was extremely militant and highly politicized.

“The United States’ emphasis during that period on its alliance with Western Europe was, in fact, a departure from the historical norm. The more basic tendency of American capitalism, rooted in its somewhat belated emergence as a major imperialist power, had been to augment its world position at the expense of Europe.”

North then wrote:

“The collapse of the Soviet Union fundamentally altered the international framework upon which postwar diplomatic relations were based. There was no longer any need for the United States to prop up the Western European bourgeoisie as a line of defense against the Soviet Union. Moreover, the demise of the USSR created a vacuum of power that the United States was determined to exploit to its own advantage.”

In this context, he cited the prophetic warning made by Leon Trotsky in 1928:

In the period of crisis the hegemony of the United States will operate more completely, more openly, and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom. The United States will seek to overcome and extricate herself from her difficulties and maladies primarily at the expense of Europe, regardless of whether this occurs in Asia, Canada, South America, Australia, or Europe itself, or whether this takes place peacefully or through war.”

The dilemma anticipated in 2003 now assumes its full significance. Sections of the US bourgeoisie continue to be deeply opposed to Trump’s attacks on the EU and Germany, with outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry describing Merkel as “courageous” and Trump’s remarks as “inappropriate.” But regardless of such disagreements, the US is being objectively driven on a steep trajectory toward trade war and protectionism to counter the threat to its global hegemony due to economic decline, the challenge posed by the rise of China and other rival powers, and a series of military debacles suffered since 2003. This must inevitably provoke conflict with Europe.

No one can predict in detail the consequences of this geostrategic shift by the US—including what alliances Germany, France, the UK and Russia might eventually forge. To this must be added the precise role that may be played by China as a potential counterweight to America.

However, underlying all such developments will be an explosion of national antagonisms in which the corollary of Trump’s “America First” agenda will be demands to put “Germany First,” “Britain First” and “France First,” which can lead only to the fracturing of Europe into competing power blocs.

The project of European integration under capitalism is coming to an end, unleashing all of the political demons it was meant to have contained.

Nothing is left of the promise that closer political union and the Single Market would bring prosperity and peace. Instead, right-wing reaction and the growth of fascistic parties are taking place in every country. The European powers speak constantly of the need to militarise, even as NATO troops mass on Russia’s border, while austerity is the only issue on which they all agree.

The assault on the working class will worsen, as Berlin, Paris and London demand yet greater “national sacrifice” to compete against their rivals and pay the vast sums needed to rearm the continent.

The bourgeoisie has proved incapable of overcoming the fundamental contradiction between the integrated character of the global economy and the division of the world into antagonistic nation states based on private ownership of the means of production, which is once again driving them to a war for the redivision of the world.

The working class of Europe must proceed from an understanding that the post-war period, in which, since 1945, several generations have lived their lives, is over, and a new pre-war period has begun. It must assume responsibility for opposing the drive to austerity, militarism and war by all the imperialist powers.

Above all, it must seek the conscious unification of its struggles with those of workers in the United States and internationally. The explosion of working class opposition that Trump’s government of oligarchs and warmongers must inevitably provoke will provide the most powerful accelerant for the struggles of the European working class.


‘The Mainstream Media has Failed in Most of the West’–Syrian President Assad

[ Ed. note – Every time I see Syrian President Bashar Assad interviewed, I find myself impressed. He is soft-spoken, articulate, and everything he says rings true. In this exchange with a group of French journalists, he comments: “For the French people I would say the mainstream media has failed in most of the West. The narrative has been debunked because of the reality, and you have the alternative media. You have to look for the truth.”

The mainstream media narrative has been debunked, whether you are talking about the war in Syria, Russian hacking, presidential politics in America, Brexit, the European Union, or just about any other topic–and it is incumbent upon people now to search for truth from sources other than scoundrel organizations who have proven track records of deceit. This Assad has absolutely correct, and it is probably one reason why the mainstream media so detest him.

In the interview, the Syrian leader also talks about the French presidential election, coming up in April, as well as his own plans for the future. In regards to the latter, he reiterates what he has said before: that the decision of who should be president of Syria is a choice that should be left solely to the Syrian people; it is not up to him, and it is certainly not a decision that should be determined by outsiders.

Or to put it more bluntly, the US State Department should stop trying to regime-change the entire planet. Disastrously, it has been  intent on doing just this throughout the entire eight years of the Obama administration, the Bush administration before that, the Clinton administration prior to that, and the Bush-One administration even afore Willy and Hillary. Enough is enough! The US government’s unquenchable thirst for overturning other governments is the greatest threat to world peace today.

Moreover, it doesn’t seem the thirst has gone away (whether it will under the incoming Trump administration remains to be seen, although I’m not particularly hopeful). The journalists asking questions in the above video are part of a delegation visiting Syria from France. As Vanessa Beeley reports in the article below, the delegation, headed by three members of the French Parliament, came under shelling by the US-backed Free Syrian Army yesterday while visiting Aleppo. This is not to say the Obama administration specifically ordered the attack, but any government providing backing to terrorists holds responsibility for their actions. ]


US-Backed ‘Moderate’ Rebels Target French Delegation in Aleppo

By Vanessa Beeley

In a clear breach of the Russian brokered ceasefire, US backed FSA (Free Syrian Army) division, Company 23, fired upon Aleppo airport. The shelling took place just prior to the departure of a French delegation, led by French politician, Thierry Mariani, after a fact finding trip to the recently liberated industrial, second capital city, of Aleppo.

According to Fares Shehabi, independent, Aleppo MP and head of the Aleppo Chamber of Commerce, the missiles were fired from an area next to Khan Touman, 8km away from the airport, in a deliberate act of terror against the French delegation. The leader of this group of so called “moderates” is Hassan Rajoob, a colonel who had previously defected from the Syrian Arab Army.

Fares Shehabi had been meeting with the three French parliamentarians, Thierry Mariani, Jean Lassalle & Nicolas Dhuiq, and other intellects and journalists who made up the delegation. Shehabi told 21st Century Wire that they had been due to leave via Aleppo airport at 14:00 on the 7th January 2017. The shelling took place just prior to the flight in what appeared to be a deliberate targeting of the delegation.  The flight was delayed a further 3h 3o minutes and the airport was kept in complete darkness in order to ensure safe take-off without further attacks.

Continued here

Everything in the World is Changing Regarding Syria

By President Bashar al-Assad

January 10, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – “SANA” – Damascus, SANA_ President Bashar al-Assad has said that everything in the world is changing regarding Syria on every level, the local, the regional, and the international.

In a statement given to the French media, President al-Assad added that our mission, according to the constitution and according to the laws, that we have to liberate every inch of the Syrian land.

Following is the full context of the statement:

Question1:Mr. President, you have just met a French delegation of MPs. Do you think this visit will have an influence on the French position about Syria?

President Assad:This is a French question. We hope that any delegation that would come here is to see the truth about what is happening in Syria during the last years, since the beginning of the war six years ago, and the problem now, regarding France in particular, is that they don’t have an embassy, they don’t have any relation with Syria at all, so it’s like… we can say it’s a blind state. How can you forge a policy towards a certain region if you can’t see, if you’re blind? You need to see. The importance of those delegations is that they represent the eyes of the states, but that depends on the state; do they want to see, or they want to keep adopting the ostrich policy and they don’t want to tell the truth, because now everything in the world is changing regarding Syria on every level, the local, the regional, and the international. Until this moment, the French administration hasn’t changed its position, they still speak the old language which is disconnected from our reality. That’s why we have a hope that there’s someone in the state who wants to listen to these delegations, to the facts. I’m not talking about my opinion, I’m talking about the reality in Syria. So, we have hope.

Question 2:Mr. President, you said that Aleppo is a major victory for Syria, and a major turn in the crisis. What do you feel when you see the pictures of the hundreds of civilians that were killed in the bombings, and the devastation of the city?

President Assad:Of course, it’s very painful for us as Syrians to see any part of our country destroyed, or to see any blood shedding anywhere,this is self-evident, this is emotional part, but for me as President or as an official, the question for the Syrian people: what I’m going to do. It’s not only about the feeling; the feeling is self-evident as I said. How we’re going to rebuild our cities.

Question 3:But was the bombing of east Aleppo the only solution to retake the city, with the death of civilians, your fellow citizens?
President Assad:It depends on what kind of war you’re looking for. Are you looking for a quiet war, war without destruction? I haven’t heard, in the history, of a good war, every war is bad. Why bad? Because every war is about destruction, every war is about the killing, that’s why every war is bad. You cannot say “this is a good war” even if it’s for a good reason, to defend your country, for a noble reason, but it’s bad. That’s why it’s not the solution, if you have any other solution. But the question is: how can you liberate the civilians in those areas from the terrorists? Is it better to leave them, to leave them under their supervision, under their oppression, under their fate defined by those terrorists by beheading, by killing, by everything but not having state? Is that the role of the state, just to keep and watch? You have to liberate, and this is the price sometimes, but at the end, the people are liberated from the terrorists. That’s the question now; are they liberated or not? If yes, that’s what we have to do.

Question 4:Mr. President, a ceasefire has been signed on the 30th of December, why do Syrian Army still fight near Damascus in the region of Wadi Barada?

President Assad:First of all, ceasefire is about different parties, so when you say there’s viable ceasefire is when every party stops fighting and shooting, and it’s not the case in many areas in Syria, and that was reported by the Russian center of observation regarding the ceasefire. There’s breaching of that ceasefire on daily basis in Syria, including Damascus, but in Damascus mainly because the terrorists occupy the main source of water of Damascus where more than five million civilians are deprived from water for the last three weeks now, and the role of the Syrian Army is to liberate that area in order to prevent those terrorists from using that water in order to suffocate the capital. So, that’s why.

Question 5:Mr. President, Daesh is not a part of the ceasefire…
President Assad: No.

Journalist: Do you plan to take again Raqqa, and when?
President Assad: Let me just continue the second part of the first question. Second part of that ceasefire is not about al-Nusra and ISIS, and the area that we’ve been fighting to liberate recently, regarding the water sources of the capital Damascus, is occupied by al-Nusra, and al-Nusra announced formally that they are occupying that area. So, it’s not part of the ceasefire.

Regarding al-Raqqa, of course it’s our mission, according to the constitution and according to the laws, that we have to liberate every inch of the Syrian land. There’s no question about that, it’s not to be discussed. But it’s about when, what are our priorities, and this is military, regarding to the military planning, about the military priorities. But nationally, there’s no priority; every inch is a Syrian inch, it should be within the purview of the government.

Question 6:Important talks will take place in Astana at the end of the month, including a lot of Syrian parties, including some opposition groups, let’s say. What are you ready to negotiate directly with them, and what are you ready to negotiate to help the peace to come back in Syria.

President Assad:Of course, we are ready, and we announced that our delegation to that conference is ready to go when they define… when they set the time of that conference. We are ready to negotiate everything. When you talk about negotiation regarding whether to end the conflict in Syria or talking about the future of Syria, anything, it’s fully open, there’s no limit for that negotiations. But who’s going to be there from the other side? We don’t know yet. Is it going to be real Syrian opposition – and when I say “real” it means has grassroots in Syria, not Saudi one or French one or British one – it should be Syrian opposition to discuss the Syrian issues. So, the viability or, let’s say, the success of that conference will depend on that point.

Question 7:Are you even ready to discuss your position as President? That has been contested.

President Assad:Yeah, but my position is related to the constitution, and the constitution is very clear about the mechanism in which you can bring a president or get rid of a president. So, if they want to discuss this point, they have to discuss the constitution, and the constitution is not owned by the government or the president or by the opposition; it should be owned by the Syrian people, so you need a referendum for every constitution. This is one of the points that could be discussed in that meeting, of course, but they cannot say “we need that president” or “we don’t need that president” because the president is related to the ballot box. If they don’t need him, let’s go to the ballot box. The Syrian people should bring a president, not part of the Syrian people.

Question 8:And with this negotiation, what will be the fate of rebel fighters?

President Assad:From what we’ve been implementing during the last three years, because you want genuinely to have peace in Syria, the government offered amnesty for every militant who gives up his armaments, and it worked, and they still have the same option if they want to go back to their normality and to go back to their normal life. This is the maximum that you can offer, amnesty.

Question 9:Mr. President, as you know, French presidential election will take place, do you have a favorite, do you have a preference for one of the candidates?

President Assad:No, because we don’t have any contacts with any one of them, and we cannot count very much on the statements and rhetoric during the campaign, so we always say let’s wait and see what policy they’re going to adopt after they are in their position. But we always have hopes that the next administration or government or president, they want to deal with the reality, to disconnect themselves from the disconnected policy from our reality. That’s our hope, and they can work for the interest of the French people, because the question now after six years: as a French citizen, do you feel safer? I don’t think the answer is yes. The immigration problem, has it made the situation in your country better? I think the answer is no, whether in France or in Europe. The question now: what is the reason? This is the discussion that the next administration or government or president should deal with in order to deal with our reality, not with their imaginations as has been happening during the last six years.

Question 10:But one of the candidates, Francois Fillon, doesn’t have the same position as the official one; he would like to reestablish the dialogue with Syria. Do you expect his election – if he’s elected – could change the position of France about Syria?

President Assad:His rhetoric regarding the terrorists, or let’s say the priority to fight the terrorists and not meddling in the affairs of other countries, are welcome, but we have to be cautious, because what we’ve learned in this region during the last few years is that many officials would say something and do the opposite. I wouldn’t say that Mr. Fillon would do this. I hope not. But we have to wait and see, because there’s no contact. But so far, what he said, if it’s implemented, that will be very good.

Question 11:Do you appreciate him as a politician, Francois Fillon?

President Assad:I didn’t have any contact with him or cooperation, so whatever I say now won’t be very credible, to be frank with you.

Question 12:Is there a message you want to address to France?

President Assad:I think if I want to send it to the politicians, I will say the self-evident thing; that you have to work for the interest of the Syrian citizens, and for the last six years the situation is going in the other direction, because the French politics harmed the French interests. So, for the French people, I would say the mainstream media has failed in most of the West. The narrative has been debunked because of the reality, and you have the alternative media, you have to look for the truth. The truth was the main victim of the events in the Middle East, including Syria. I would ask any citizen in France to search for the reality, for the real information, through the alternative media. When they search for this information, they can be more effective in dealing with their government, or at least not allowing some politicians to base their politics on lies. That’s what we think is the most important thing during the last six years.

Question 13:Mr. President, your father has been a lifelong President of Syria. Do you consider the option of not being the President anymore, one day?

President Assad:Yeah, that depends on two things: the first one is the will of the Syrian people; do they want that person to be president or not. If I want to be president while the Syrian people doesn’t want me, even if I win in the elections, I don’t have strong support, I cannot achieve anything, especially in a complicated region like Syria. You cannot be just elected president, that doesn’t work, you need popular support. Without it I cannot be successful. So, at that time, there’s no meaning to be president.

The second one; if I have that feeling that I want to be president, I will nominate myself, but that depends on the first factor. If I feel that the Syrian people doesn’t want me, of course I wouldn’t be. So, it’s not about me mainly, it’s about the Syrian people; do they want me or not. That’s how I look at it.

Question 14:Last question; Donald Trump is to be appointed as President of the United States in less than two weeks. He has been clear that he wants to improve relationships with Russia, which is one of your main allies…

President Assad: Yeah, exactly.

Journalist: Do you consider… do you expect that it will change the position of the United States towards Syria?

President Assad: Yeah, if you want to talk realistically, because the Syrian problem is not isolated, it’s not only Syrian-Syrian; actually, the biggest part… or let’s say the major part of the Syrian conflict is regional and international. The simplest part that you can deal with is the Syrian-Syrian part. The regional and the international part depends mainly on the relation between the United States and Russia. What he announced yesterday was very promising, if there’s a genuine approach or initiative toward improving the relation between the United States and Russia, that will effect every problem in the world, including Syria. So, I would say yes, we think that’s positive, regarding the Syrian conflict.

Journalist: What is positive?

President Assad: I mean the relation, the improvement of the relation between the United States and Russia will reflect positively on the Syrian conflict.

Journalists: Thank you very much.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Information Clearing House editorial policy.

Click for Spanish, German, Dutch, Danish, French, translation- Note- Translation may take a moment to load.

Related Articles

%d bloggers like this: