The Yellow Vest Salpêtrière Hospital hoax: I reported live from there as it happened

May 05, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

The Yellow Vest Salpêtrière Hospital hoax: I reported live from there as it happened

The French government has been forced to shamefully admit that they made totally false accusations that May Day Yellow Vest anti-government protesters tried to break into the Pitié Salpêtrière Hospital in order to “attack”, “assault” and “steal”. Countless mainstream media are just as covered in ignominy for having repeated these untrue claims.

I was right there when it happened, covering it for PressTV, so I witnessed exactly what transpired.

In fact, I even gave a live interview at the exact time of the incident, just after 4pm. I don’t have a copy of that for now, but I hope to get one soon: certainly, I can explain what happened and why.

Why it happened: A new rule permitting even worse police brutality against Yellow Vests

May 1st was the debut of a new policing tactic: cops can initiate violence against peaceful protesters.

It is just that objectively simple, openly discussed, and easy to explain:

Cops are now using the age-old method of “divide and conquer”… on peaceful protesters. On May 1st a line of riot cops repeatedly charged the demonstrators in order to sever them into two, more manageable sections. One section of the protest is forced to advance, while the other section is forced to wait behind.

Of course, police are not watching their elbows and politely saying, “Excuse me” – the only way to stop peaceful demonstrators from moving is to violently get in their way and then violently bar them from advancing one more step. That is “initiating violence”, and they didn’t used to do that with the regularity we saw on May 1.

The cops did this at the start of the demonstration at 2pm, and to achieve their goal of cutting the demo into two sides they gassed about 5-8,000 people. I was doing a live interview at that time as well (I don’t have a copy of that one, but I do have others from that day, read on for the link!). It was so violent and so shocking – tear gas forcing thousands of people to flee – that I had to talk (yell) for 20+ minutes live, giving myself a temporary headache. We almost had to turn and run, but we stood our ground: I take no credit, of course, but when cops advanced as far as journalists reporting live they finally relented and let the demonstration proceed, as they had set up an unprecedented, shockingly-narrow, cop-filled corridor tens of thousands of people had to slowly pass through. Happy International Workers’ Day!

Back to 4pm: the cops again cut the demonstration, and they did so right in front of the hospital. So, firstly, if anyone is at fault for putting the hospital in the line of fire it is the riot cops because they chose to re-initiate violence at that particular spot.

Why that spot? Because Boulevard de l’Hôpital was the final straightaway until the end of the protest – the roundabout Place d’Italie: the government’s new tactic also meant they wanted to allow the first group of protesters (the most hard core) to enter Place d’Italie all alone… so they could be gassed, attacked and cleared out before for the next section of protesters arrived. Gas, attack and clear out; gas, attack and clear out Place d’Italie – this happened three times (in my estimation, but I was only there for numbers 2 and 3). This is the result of the new, so called “more offensive” police tactics.

Why do that? Because the government did not want the protest – 40,000 strong – to finish together, in celebration. The government was threatened by this large gathering, so they simply did not allow it to happen.

This explains why when I finally got to Place d’Italie it was a bizarre, desolate, damaged ghost town. Construction barricades had been toppled and damaged, along with advertisements and bus stops, there was garbage, glass and tear gas canisters everywhere… yet no people. Just an empty Place d’Italie, surrounded by cops at all eight exits.

Allow me to say this: I have never seen more cops that day in Paris. This was a city under foreign occupation, truly.

Entire regions of the city were rendered inaccessible to citizens, with armored vehicles and enormous temporary, metal gates blocking off road after road after road. But the number of cops… staggering. There was a squadron of riot police every 200 meters along the demonstration route, which was limited to a tiny section; so small, in fact, that I started my day at Place d’Italie at 11 am, covering the first demo (ecological protesters, of course, who only want to make their stupid complaints and then leave – quite pleased with themselves – before the violence starts), only to return there at the end of the day. Yes, it was back and forth along the only, narrow, permitted path to celebrate International Workers’ Day in the “birthplace of human rights”. This is why there was not more violence that day – cops were everywhere.

But wait, it’s worse! I actually drove in from 130 kilometers outside Paris that day: there were rural gendarmes searching cars and people (without warrants, based only on suspicion) at every toll booth and gas station. They waved me through, each time, without searching me.

What went down at the hospital

So the cops cut the demo at 14h, the start, and then they did it at again at 16h. I was in the group forced to wait behind, stuck in front of the hospital, as the first group was getting their butts kicked at Place d’Italie while waiting for comrades who would never be allowed to join them. May 1st was a demonstration in stages, and only in certain places – certainly not “freedom of assembly”.

So to cut the demo into two means to separate friends from each other – that creates anger. The cops have no fear of provoking anger because they have tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons, truncheons and the power to arrest against totally unarmed protesters… and that’s exactly what they did at 16h.

It was a rough 30 minutes. I was at the front lines and I’ve seen worse in France, but it was no picnic either.

Cops launched tear gas first, as always, to repel the protesters from the separation line they were undemocratically enforcing. Tear gas, then water cannons, and then hand-to-hand combat – it’s the same thing I’ve seen since 2010, but I assume this existed in France long before then: this is the culture here.

So, via tear gas, cops caused a third of the protesters to flee into a side street (Rue des Wallons), while another third fled further back on the Boulevard de l’Hôpitaux, while the final third was pushed against the side gates of the now-infamous Hôpitaux Universitaires Pitié Salpêtrière. This is where the cops made their mistake (although this is all mistakes in preserving citizen security): they tear-gassed protesters who had nowhere else to go. Some panicked protesters somehow got through the side gates and entered into the hospital grounds.

And it was “panicked protesters” – subsequent videos have proven that it was not “Black Bloc” nor even Yellow Vests who forced their way into the hospital. The only people who actually made it into the hospital were just two elderly men who said they had been “tear gassed all day”. The video has made the government and the mainstream media appear even more terrible and pathetic. Not much more needs to be said….

More interesting: Why even try to get into the hospital? It’s a stupid move, like running upstairs in a horror movie – you have nowhere to go; you are sure to be arrested and/or abused. But those protesters couldn’t think that far ahead, because they were frightened, gassed, hurt, simple everyday citizens and not Black Bloc, cops or that other group which straddles both those groups – journalists.

Of course, there were no TV reporters during this long melee. There were plenty of photographers and some cameramen, and surely some print reporters, but not any TV reporters. Maybe all these journalists were working for a company, or maybe they were working for independent Yellow Vest blogs – who can tell? However, as is often the case at the front lines, I was the only one with a logo and doing a live interview.

I take that back: a lady for Italy’s RAI was there during all this. She was doing her “piece to camera”, the little wrap-up for a TV report – not a live interview. Major kudos, though.

French media on the front line? Ha! Dream on!

I don’t know why – they could be. They could hire 3 security guards (instead of the usual 1 or 2), and then 3 ombudsman to explain to (very likely angry and confrontational) protesters, “We are here now! We are trying to do a good job for France! Don’t get violent with us, please!” Maybe that’s naïve of me, but totally hiding from the front line – hiding the reality of what’s going on at the front lines for everyday citizens, such as those trapped at Hospital Pitié Salpêtrière – only further ruins the reputation of French media within France. Don’t they feel an obligation to report on such an event properly… in their own damned country?!

And then they so quickly relay whatever the government wildly claims without any verification. Oh boy….

Please stop the tear gas – I’m live on TV

The hand-to-hand combat: Tougher protesters had wanted to… keep marching. That’s all. But riot police violence prevented them and attacked them – so they fought back.

Such “resistance” is really quite, quite stupid, I think – I mean, both sides keep the kid gloves on. And thank God, because it’s not even close to a fair fight: every square inch of the bodies of cops are protected with 8,000 euros worth of equipment; cops have been searching for weapons from a 130 kilometer-wide radius around Paris, so nothing can even the playing field; protesters have none of the cops tactical knowledge, organization or discipline. Hand-to-hand means a cat and mouse game and very quick skirmishes.

I recall that, amid the melee, there was a teenager dressed in black tossing a rock up and down, like a gangster flipping a quarter on a street corner.

Stupid….

A plainclothes cop – dressed as if he was a fellow Black Bloc member – dropped his phony act: he grabbed the kid and threw him to the ground with 100% of his force. Hey, the kid was holding a rock like a weapon and looking like he was about to use it – the kid was dead to rights, and by showing off he gave the cops time to think and react. As they dragged him away I thought: Poor kid – he’s going to prison for a year or so. Some might be surprised that a cop would – gasp! – dress up as a Black Bloc member: Why that never happens! Yeah, sure….

Anyway, about a minute later – amazingly – the kid actually breaks free! He’s running away!

But a cop trips him up and the first, arresting officer hits the kid on the ground on his thigh with his telescopic truncheon as hard as anything you can imagine. Punches sound nothing like they do in movies, of course, but the sound of this hit was enormous. If the cop had hit the kid’s knee it would have been shattered – thankfully, the human femur is stronger than concrete. The kid surely has a nasty, nasty mark and a limp today.

Good ending: The kid still jumped the short garden fence on the west side of the Boulevard and got away. LOL… kids.

During this whole time I am dodging all this and waiting to go live on (smartphone) camera. My cameraman is dodging too. PressTV, which doesn’t seem to understand that I am avoiding the wild crowd along the hospital gate, the arrests and beatings across from the gate, and the cops further up the boulevard who can attack, gas or water cannon us at any moment, keeps pushing us back because they want a “stable shot”. LOL, yeah right. Amid this fluid situation?! Where I was just “stable” a rock just landed!

They want me to stand there – stock still – amid this violence, LOL. Just put me on air, already!

But PressTV is still waiting – I move to the side of hospital gate. Cops gas there again. I’m not going in the hospital grounds, but some do. Various ministers, reporters and know-nothings at home will soon be calling them bad little boys and girls… until the truth comes out.

One has to realize that during a bad gassing there is only one thought: get away from the gas. Certainly, LOL, you cannot do a single other thing until you complete that task.

Then there is – maybe – a second thought: if cops charge and attack now, I am totally helpless and done for.

That’s why ya gotta know these things, and avoid being right where the gassings land; ya gotta think a step or two ahead; ya gotta not celebrate your survival, as if it was some huge victory, because more gas (or worse) is coming. It takes time to learn this stuff – a couple dozen people haven’t had good luck and lost an eye, while over 600 have been seriously injured. Reminder: the weekly anti-Yellow Vest violence is nearing a half-year now! A half-year!!!

Anyway, I get away from the re-gassed hospital gate, and PressTV finally puts me on the air. I’m thrilled, because I want to get this live interview over with. So, I’m between the line of cops higher up Boulevard de l’Hôpitaux, and across from the hospital (Rue des Wallons) where the cat-and-mouse, will-they-or-won’t they is taking place, and I’m doing my live blah blah.

Blah blah is done, and all is well. I had been gassed several times in 30 minutes – medics kindly spraying my face with cooling solvent at one point – but I could tell the fight was ending, as it can’t go on forever. The cops finally get the order to pull back and stop antagonizing and attacking this section of the protest.

I didn’t know this at the time, but they had gotten these orders only because they had sufficiently gassed, attacked and cleared out the first protest section at Place d’Italie.

The protesters are thrilled – they have “won”… by not losing an eye or being arrested. Little victories for the oppressed masses. Cops are slowly pulling back, and the protesters all congregate in front of a group riot cops and start singing a chant. I forget what – On est la (We are here), probably.

Stupid. (But I did join in for a short minute.)

They’re just going to get gassed again. I tell my cameraman that this is not the place to be – indeed, it’s all about knowing where’s the place to NOT be! The crowd is singing louder, and it reaches a point where it’s either dance or fight, and the French don’t dance even though they are a Latin culture. Therefore, I know that someone in the crowd is going to do something to offend or antagonize the cops – or the cops will just get annoyed at the crowd’s sense of triumph – and gas will arrive shortly. Everyone is celebrating, but we are moving… and more gas arrived where we had just been. I had gotten my fair share of abuse by then.

Thanks to my press card the cops let us through and we enter Place d’Italie early.

Hey, I am not obligated to document and witness every tear gassing! LOL, this is France – that’s impossible. And there are other journalists, both good ones and bad ones.

This was the exact time when a cop was filmed throwing a rock at protesters, which is generating some news. Indeed, as we had passed the police line I had noticed that up and down Boulevard de l’Hôpitaux protesters had pried off chunks of road asphalt – they are being attacked and have no weapons, let’s recall. Nothing will happen to that cop, who should be fired immediately. It is ABSOLUTELY the primary part of the job description of a “riot cop” to take punches and not give them… but that’s only in a country which is honest, which enforces law and order, which doesn’t sic the cops on the protesters, etc.

Place d’Italie is totally empty, except for a thousand or so cops, and it’s a wreck. Me and my cameraman speculate on the possibility of an alien abduction of the first protest group.

The protest section we were with starts to filter in: we’re all gassed immediately.

That pushes us to one side of the roundabout, and that allows cops to push them all out. Ah, so there probably wasn’t an alien abduction? Coulda been nice, maybe….

We stay, because we have an interview at 18h.

So it’s 18h and here I am – getting gassed live on camera again (6:50 mark). The wind had shifted and it was on us quickly… but I have a tolerance to tear gas after all these years.

PressTV takes me off camera… that’s so annoying. What am I getting gassed for, then? We want to show the sufferings of the people – so show it! If we aren’t going to show it, then I can just stay in back with all the other journalists!!!

But ya gotta be at the front – at least sometimes. Protesters gotta see professional journalists are there to (somewhat) protect them, and cops gotta see that professional journalists are there to document what they do.

It’s a real shame more reporters aren’t doing live reports from the front lines, because cops know they can’t do anything to anyone on live TV – they surely are forced to rein in their violent tactics. It’s a real shame mainstream reporters (and I include PressTV with them, in a rare instance) aren’t going to the front line. Again, I am no courageous guy, I just feel that the Yellow Vests are nothing new: France’s Yellow Vests: It’s just 1 protest…which has lasted 8 years, was the first article I wrote on the Yellow Vests, and it stresses that this violence against peaceful protesters is absolutely, positively nothing new.

I’ve seen these “battles” before many, many times – and I think I know how to safely handle it. Knock wood for luck, but experience gives everyone – a reporter, a Black Bloc member, a cop – a sixth sense, and a genuine ability to predict what comes next because it is all rather formulaic (although not on May 1). I know I am not courageous, because I would never put my cameraman at risk; more importantly, I would never put his expensive camera at risk, and that shows you how well-paid we are when the camera is the utmost priority! No joke….

But French TV reporters weren’t at the front lines with the rail workers, with anti-State of Emergency protesters, with the “you can’t ban pro-Palestinian marches” protesters, and on and on and on in France since 2010.

That was, I assume, the last gassing of the day because right when I am gassed live you can see that unions and their fancy floats are starting to arrive – no more poor Yellow Vests.

Unions, of course, have signed off on every major austerity measure since 2010, and are incredibly easy to “divide and conquer” with targeted concessions… so cops surely just wanted to give them a nice Place d’Italie to stand around, talk loud and say nuthin’. This is why many Yellow Vests don’t want to march with unions, even on May Day.

At that point I left to go and do our report for that day.

All in all – not a bad day

I was expecting May Day to be bad – I was honestly concerned, as I do have things to live for besides these articles, you know – and it was pretty bad.

But it was only bad at the start and the finish – the massive, massive, massive police presence all along the route made any sort of “permanent shenanigans” impossible. That filtering corridor after the first protest-separating was appalling. May Day 2019 in France was like holding a march during a North Korean military parade, minus the great choreographed dances and true socialism.

It was also bad because it is much safer when the cops are playing defense, as they are supposed to always be doing, but on May Day they were playing offense. They have all the weapons, all the tactics, all the legal ability to whatever they want… and then a reporter – who invariably finds his or herself on both sides of the front line – has to worry about the cops, and also about rocks being thrown in his direction (at the cops). Whereas on a day like March 16, the last time the Champs- Élysées was a scene of civil disobedience, things are perfectly safe because everyone knows who the Yellow Vests are targeting and why. Cops… they can do whatever they want, and whenever they want – they respect nothing.

French reporters need to be at the front lines… but they aren’t. I’m sure editors tell them not to, and that they are told that by their publishers. But that’s why we got nonsense reporting which initially accused May Day protesters of breaking into a hospital to… do what? Burn, pillage and behead? Yeah, right….

Frankly, this new tactic of “initiate violence in order to divide and conquer peaceful protesters” is something which I can’t see the Yellow Vests being able to combat… but that’s the subject of a future article.

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

 

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French Muslim support of the Yellow Vests ignored by media

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

French Muslim support of the Yellow Vests ignored by media

Even though the Yellow Vest anti-government movement is historic in scope, duration and intensity, and even though Muslims compose 5-10% of France’s population, there has been almost zero media coverage of the interplay between these two forces.

Check Google in French or English and you truly find almost nothing. I have been waiting and waiting to do a story on this angle for Iran’s PressTV – I am their Paris correspondent – but there is simply no “news peg” from which we can start any report.

The reasons for this silence are due to a four key reasons but, mostly, it’s because the plight of Muslims and Yellow Vests are so obviously similar: just as French media ignores the Muslim community to promote violent misrepresentations instead, so they ignore the true substance of the Yellow Vests in favor of tabloid coverage.

For years I have talked with Nagib Azergui, who is the founder of the Democratic Union of French Muslims (English-language website here). This party is the most realistic political hope for France’s Muslims, and they seem certain to win seats in next month’s EU elections. They are not Islamists nor pushers of divisive identity politics – they are completely concerned with improving the lives of all French people. Secondarily, they have taken on a tough job – decontaminating Muslims in domestic French politics.

Azergui and I discussed why there is no media coverage of the Muslim Yellow Vests, and the level of support for the Yellow Vests in the French Muslim community.

French Muslims are indeed joining the Yellow Vests

I have covered the Yellow Vest demonstrations for months and I can assure you: there are plenty of Muslim Yellow Vests.

So why is there an impression that Muslims are not part of the movement? About the only thing we ever hear on the subject is: What a pity more Muslims didn’t show up.

“We heard the same complaints for the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ march for Charlie Hebdo,” said Azergui, referring to the attack on the satirical paper’s headquarters in 2015. “I was at the march with my children, and I saw many Muslims there.”

Azergui hits the nail on the head as to why Muslim Yellow Vests are hiding in plain sight from French media, which is hardly known for positive portrayals of Islam or Muslims.

“I think such statements reveal the subconscious image these commentators have of French Muslims – they expect us to show up wearing burkas, beards, African clothing, chanting slogans in Arabic and carrying signs in Arabic. But these types of Muslims are simply not representative of the average Muslim in France.”

So the first reason behind this false idea that there are no Muslim Yellow Vests is that many commentators are looking for caricatures – not French Muslims.

Muslims in France look very much like regular French people because they are regular French people.

A Black or Arab Yellow Vester does not stick out, mainly because all Yellow Vests look the same – they are wearing shiny Yellow Vests!

Let’s not forget that Muslims are a minority – there is about the same percentage of Muslims as there are people with red hair in often-Celtic France. Frankly, I have seen a million Yellow Vest faces and I can’t recall a single redhead – should I ask, “Why aren’t Celtic French supporting the Yellow Vests?” Of course, redheads are surely present… and often with plenty of Celtic-pride paraphernalia.

So the only way Muslims could get attention at Yellow Vest demonstrations is by being “excessively Muslim”… but such a thing is rather absurd, will not happen, and would certainly be dangerous – Muslim-pride paraphernalia would only attract negative attention, and Muslims already get enough of that.

Zero doubt among Muslims: when the truncheons fly, Muslims will get hit first

And the truncheons do fly every Saturday.

French police simply love to abuse Muslims: an estimated 70% of their prisoners are from Muslim backgrounds. French police simply love to abuse Yellow Vests. Police violence is guaranteed at which ever city is the week’s “focus”.

So the sight of a Muslim Yellow Vester makes many cops salivate. It also makes judges salivate at sentencing time.

Muslims would be the first victims of police brutality,” confirmed Azergui. “They are always the sacrificial lambs in France, so why would it be any different at the Yellow Vest protests?

On April 20th the police abuse was constant in Paris. Medics were working overtime as people were dropping like flies, but I only saw one unconscious person carried out on a stretcher – he was Black and thus quite possibly a Muslim, of course.

This guarantee of a double helping of both police brutality and judicial impunity is the second reason, but likely the most important reason, why Muslims might not be so eye-catching at Yellow Vest demonstrations.

This violence adds to the media silence – talking about Muslims and Yellow Vests would have to break the taboo against honest discussion of the institutionalised state violence towards the Muslim community.

Sad but true: one of the “great” things about the Yellow Vests is that it’s not only Muslims who are being brutalised anymore.

“France is starting to wake up to reality,” said Azergui. “When 4,000 Muslim families had their homes raided without a warrant during the State of Emergency, France didn’t care about police violence. There are so many images and videos which show how French cops abuse old people, women and innocent people – this is something Muslims live with daily. How could Muslims not have solidarity with such a movement?

Azergui’s thoughts reminded me of the case of Ali Ziri, a 69-year old Algerian native who was infamously beaten to death by French cops in 2009. Police violence is a real taboo in France, and by taking so many beatings the Yellow Vests are helping out their Muslim brothers and sisters.

Yellow Vests haven’t done enough to reach out to Muslims

The Yellow Vests are absolutely not an Islamophobic movement because none of their demands are steeped in religion or ethnicity. Their demands are economic, political and social – this is a class-based struggle.

The idea that because the Yellow Vests are a rural-based movement that they must be latently Islamophobic is absolutely false – in the 21st century there are at least a few Muslims in seemingly every tiny French village. Such accusations only reveals prejudice against rural people, and certainly in France and the West it is very au courant for urbanites to look down on small-town people as a “basket of deplorables”.

The Yellow Vests only trust other Yellow Vests – the only color they see is Yellow. As a worker for Iranian government media I am routinely persona non grata at many fake-leftist demonstrations, and even truly leftist ones, due to Iranophobia and Islamophobia. The only demonstrations I am welcomed at in France are for pro-Palestinians… and now the Yellow Vests, too. So I have no doubt – Muslims are welcome at Yellow Vest gatherings.

However, Yellow Vests have made some mistakes, and also failed to take some proper measures. At the very start of the movement Yellow Vests infamously turned in asylum-seekers to authorities, give the initial impression that extreme-right contaminated the Yellow Vests.

“The Yellow Vests are not a structured movement, but they have not done a good job repudiating some Islamophobic acts and disassociating themselves from Islamophobia completely. They just said, ‘Well, there are always some imbeciles in every crowd.’ That has left some lingering suspicions in the Muslim community.”

If the Yellow Vests would only organize a march dedicated to Muslim outreach I can promise – you will get at least one reporter there to help permanently dismiss this false accusation of Islamophobia. The rest of the French media… they might not be so interested in reporting it accurately.

Yellow Vests certainly do plenty of other demonstrations dedicated to certain themes and issues. It was absolutely necessary for the Yellow Vests to march in February against the absolutely false accusation that they were anti-Semitic. That was all a ruse to pave the way for Macron’s announcement that he would criminalise anti-Zionism – but we can understand why Muslims said to each other, “And where’s the march for us?”

Indeed, where? Why not?

The third reason for the lack of publicised interchange between the Yellow Vests and Muslims is that many Muslims may have been put off by the false propaganda campaigns of the Mainstream Media, and because we have yet to see a real Muslim outreach from the Yellow Vests.

Massive support for Yellow Vests from Muslims, even if sometimes from afar

When I asked Azergui if Muslims support the Yellow Vests he answered, “Yes,” before I had even finished the question.

In an unfortunate but perhaps real sense, many Muslims feel that they are best helping the Yellow Vests by staying out of it.

“If Muslims showed up and there were fights and destruction of property, we know the media would say these are ‘violent Islamists’, and this would only hurt the image of the Yellow Vests. We have already even heard this type of discourse.”

Azergui is right – last year there were absurd conspiracy theories that the Muslim Brotherhood was orchestrating the Yellow Vests – but Muslims simply must participate anyway.

That brings us to our fourth reason why Muslims haven’t attended Yellow Vest demonstrations in huge numbers – Muslims have never been allowed, encouraged or motivated to participate in French politics, so why would this time be any different?

Muslims were hidden underground in France for decades, after all. Their coming out party wasn’t until 1985 with the Touche pas mon pote (Don’t touch my buddy) campaign. The arrival of Nicolas Sarkozy as Interior Minister, then the mainstreaming of Islamophobia under Francois Hollande, then Macron’s normalisation of the Muslim-targeting State of Emergency – all this has reinforced to Muslims that their participation in French politics is neither useful nor desired.

So, of course the French media doesn’t want to talk about the Muslims and the Yellow Vests, because it only reminds France of their total failure to include the Muslim community in politics. And they like dominating, controlling and suppressing Muslims – let’s not act as if neo-imperialism is not alive and well in France.

So let’s not pretend that Mainstream Media really cares about Muslims and democracy, nor mainstream politicians: Despite all the Muslims in France, Macron no longer has a single Muslim minister in his cabinet. If Marine Le Pen had won the election she’d surely at least have a token Muslim minister….

Yellow Vests and Muslims are the two largest groups in France which suffer from socioeconomic marginalization – there is no doubt that they will be open political allies, eventually. We have 5 months of proof – the far-right contamination of the Yellow Vests was drastically overstated; by reaching out to Muslims immediately, the movement can even further display their leftist, progressive, class basis.

But there are obviously a raft of obstacles keeping Muslims from openly joining the Yellow Vest movement, mainly: mainstream media, mainstream politicians, and backwards policing and judicial methods. But not individual (nor collective) Yellow Vests.

The reality is that if the Yellow Vest movement does not adopt an open policy of anti-Islamophobia it will never succeed – how can it succeed when such a huge part of the company is not fully involved? Nor can it be considered a truly leftist movement – how can it be if race, religion or ethnic culture is prioritised over class?

However, it is truly leftist and it will succeed, I feel.

It is not a question of “who has to make the first step”, because Muslims are already involved with the Yellow Vests. However, both sides need to increase their cooperation and outreach for the good of France, the Eurozone, the European Union and the entire world.

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

The Blaze of Hate

 

APRIL 19, 2019

The Rabbis do not regret the Paris disaster. “It’s Divine punishment for burning the Talmud,” divines a prominent Jewish divine, the Bethel Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, about the Notre Dame fire. In 1242 the French investigated the Talmud, established that the codex contains volumes of hate speech, and finally burned 1200 codices in the square of the freshly-built Notre Dame Cathedral. “The time for punishment is here,” the Rabbi intones dramatically. Not so fast, Rabbi! If we must connect these two events – the historical burning of the Talmud and the recent destruction of the church, the real point of the story is that France once had a strong, virile immune system. That medieval destruction of that evil book built up a healthy immunity to Talmudic legalisms that helped the cathedral survive wars and revolutions for the magic number of 777 years. But nothing, alas, lasts forever: the resistance of the French people has exhausted itself.

Perhaps it’s time to re-inoculate the French people against Talmudic scheming. Maybe the nasty spirit of Talmudic intolerance and Judaic supremacy should be exorcised once again from the heart of France for another 777 years. Mayhap the building of the replacement cathedral will inspire a new spirit of fidelity to Our Lady. But it’s not likely to happen. Indeed, in the present climate the French authorities are more likely to turn the burned wreckage of Notre Dame into the next Tolerance Museum.

777 years ago, a Jew who denied the Talmud, parted with Jewry, accepted Christ and entered the Church, Nicholas Danin exposed the kvetching Talmudic hate to a disputation that, shocked and bitterly offended, agreed to gather them up and burn them. In Macron’s France, Nicholas Danin would be dragged into court by LICRA (Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme) and sentenced to jail, if not burned at the stake. Danin, not the Talmud, would be found guilty of hate speech if his judges had been trained, as we are, in philosemitism. Is there any reason to return the ruins of Notre Dame to the Catholic Church? Why not hand it directly over to CRIF (Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France).

In the same article the French-born Rabbi Shlomo Aviner reminds his followers that all Christian churches will eventually be destroyed (at least in Israel) – but the time is not ripe yet. As for the French cathedral, “we aren’t obligated to destroy it,” though “Christianity is the main enemy of the Jews.” A Jew is supposed to rejoice at the sight of a burned church and recite a special blessing of the Lord of Vengeance Who overturns the House of the Proud. Jewish power in France rises whilst the significance of the Church dwindles; the old cathedral had little chance to survive such a turn of fate. It will be rebuilt as something else: something not Catholic, something that is not a church. It will be designed to appeal to tourists; no need to consult the native Frenchmen. It is already being decided for them.

The destruction of the cathedral had been in the cards a long time. When the naked witches of Femen celebrated their black mass, abused the priests and flogged the venerable old bells in the Notre Dame towers, the French court immediately acquitted them of all charges and instead sentenced the guards who tried to stop the sacrilege. And yet even this was not enough for the enemies of the Church: for their bold blasphemy the Femen were presented with France’s 2017 International Secularism Award, their leader had a postage stamp issued in her honour and she served as the model for the French icon of Marianne. Dominique Venner, a French Catholic writer and historian, committed suicide in the cathedral in 2013 to alert his countrymen to the storm clouds threatening his beloved France, but all in vain.

In France, the relentless struggle against the church, led by the Jews and their allies, continues to bear fruit. In 2013, the government of Holland forced their citizens to accept gay marriage despite massive demos by French Catholics. The influence of LICRA in France exceeds even that of the ADL in America. Catholics like Soral and Dieudonné are now being sent to jail for offending Jewish sensitivities (and as you know, Jews can be very sensitive). They prosecute the Yellow Vests just as they persecute the Church and for the very same reason: both are made up of sturdy provincials who harken back to the days of Christian France.

The terrible blaze in Paris should be an ominous warning for the French: Reconnect with your Church! Save Her and cherish Her, for She may not always be with you. And who will save you when She has gone? The Church of France should reach out to the people by supporting the Yellow Vests against the anti-Christian government of Macron. His government did nothing to defend the Church and that fire didn’t come out of the blue. Macron is definitely guilty, if not by deed, then by criminal negligence. It’s too easy to imagine him toasting champagne at the news. We all should be wary of powerful people who are likely to rejoice at the destruction of our churches.

The previous campaigners against the church in France marshaled, as they did in the US, beneath the banner of ‘Paedophile Priests’. This clear-cut ad hominem (or should we say “canard”, or “trope”?) is aimed directly at the heart of the Church. No one says a word about the dishonesty of the jibe, they are too busy beating their breasts. Yet if you make mention of “Jewish crooks” you’ll have LICRA or its sister bodies pounding on your door. It might be that there are crooks who happen to be Jews, but that doesn’t make them ‘Jewish crooks’, they recite piously. And if you happen to say ‘Jewish crook’, you are guilty of antisemitism. But ‘Paedophile Priests’ is fine. And so the Church is forced to cleanse Herself, and the Jews are left alone, free to continue their self-destructive denouement.

Jews describe themselves as “a Nation of Priests”, the priests of the most anti-Christian faith on the planet. As the influence of the Jewish church waxes, the strength of the Christian church wanes. It is zero-sum-game.

Even those of us who aren’t interested in things spiritual can see history threatening to repeat itself. Whenever the forces of darkness prepare a new attack on mankind, they use their considerable artillery to shut down any potential resistance, and they always start by targeting their avowed enemy, the Church. This was the practice of the Third Reich as well: before starting the war, they began a timely campaign of ‘priests as sex fiends’ to bully the church into silent acquiescence. Our Fourth Reich has taken careful notes: the Church was against the war in Iraq; the Church was steadfast in her defence of Palestine; the Church is against the impending attack on Iran; the Church is implacably opposed to war with Russia. Obviously the Church must be brought to heel.

But the Church cannot be stained by the foul deeds committed Her servants. If a priest abuses a boy then the crime is his crime, not that of the Church. Likewise, if a soldier abuses a boy it is not the fault of the army, and if a politician abuses a boy the nation is not to blame. Since we now sue the Catholic Church for crimes committed by priests, shouldn’t we be able to sue her traditional competitor, the Jews, for every crime committed by a Jew? If the Church bears responsibility for “abusing priests”, maybe International Jewry should be responsible for “cheating Jews”? Or for war-mongering Jews? Or for Jews killing gentiles in Palestine?

A little bird tells me that modern Jews would never agree to accept collective responsibility. They regret their hubris when they stood before Pilate. Today’s Jews are ready to act as a collective in order to collect, but not to pay. Today’s generation of gentle church doves might learn a few pragmatic lessons from these wise old serpents on how to survive in this Jewish world.

A little advice: dismiss the alleged victims of last century’s clerical abuse. Send them home. I do not feel sorry for these late claimants. Why did they wait 20 years to complain? Children who are attacked scream and run home to parents and police. If they didn’t run and scream, it wasn’t an attack. Chalk it up to a clumsy pass by a pathetic amateur; an unpleasant, shameful experience to be sure, but one unlikely to be repeated with a firm rebuke. Blame yourself for sending mixed signals, and go on with your life. Join mankind: every one of us, even your mommy and daddy, suffered an unwanted kiss or an undesired embrace. The laws should be reasonable. Allowing 20-year old claims for unreported transgressions is not reasonable. Only an immediate accusation should be considered valid, and 24 hours is more than enough time in most cases to lodge a formal complaint.

If a crime has occurred, then of course the criminal should be punished. But let not the denouncer profit by his report of the crime. This is the necessary rule of justice. There was a time when a denouncer could claim a third of a denounced man’s property. Oftentimes we exceed even that in today’s litigious environment.

The “paedo” angle is misleading. What is “a child”? Are you revolted by Romeo and Juliet? As a good American citizen, you should be; Juliet was 14, and thus Romeo today would be tried and locked up as a “paedophile”, together with his accomplice the good Friar Laurence. Friar Laurence would surely be considered as an “abusing priest”, and a Dershowitz would collect a million ducats from the Diocese of Verona for his sin of arranging the lovers’ tryst. Edgar Allan Poe married a 14-year old, and if the present laws were in force the American poet would harken to his Raven’s “nevermore” in jail. The prophet Muhammad married nine-year-old Aisha, but Jacob, the Biblical patriarch, surpassed him and married Rachel who was only 7. In our modern world Jacob and Muhammad would be hunted down, extradited and jailed. It is possible that even better-placed Persons would not fare well when faced with today’s enlightened justice: the Mother of our Saviour was just 14 at Annunciation.

Greek tradition approves of mature women who are willing to share their expertise with growing boys. In the Greek classic book Daphnis and Chloe, an experienced and mature lady Lycaenion taught young Daphnis how to attend to his girlfriend – to their mutual satisfaction. The BBC reports of a 26-year old woman teacher who was arrested for having sex with her 15-year old pupil. Even the prosecutor admitted that it’s “every schoolboy’s fantasy to have that kind of attention from a young, attractive member of staff”, but pushed for conviction all the same. In the US, Pamela Rogers was sentenced to years of jail-time for having sex with a boy as tall as you and me; he may have been only 13 at the time, but this happens to be the exact age my great-grandfather was married. If Mrs Rogers had instead concentrated on emotionally torturing and humiliating the boy she would have certainly enjoyed a successful career in public education. Who knows, she might have become Secretary of State.

The Americans and the Brits have invented the nonsensical concept of “statutory rape”; as if a state prosecutor knows better than boys and girls what they want. The great French thinkers Sartre and Derrida, Foucault and de Beauvoir, called in 1977 for scrapping this jailbait trap, this tool of selective prosecution. Wise Spaniards established the age of consent at 13, while the even wiser Muslims place no age limit for marriage at all because they so strongly disapprove of extramarital relations. Jews were guided by the Talmud, which stipulates the permitted age of marriage for girls at ‘three years and one day’ (though the safer age of nine was preferred), and wisely forbidding sodomy.

Indeed, almost all the cases of alleged clerical abuse are homosexual; the alleged victims should perhaps sue the gay rights organizations that infested the Church instead of harassing the Church Who failed to keep them out. But Church leaders are not permitted to even contemplate such a suggestion. They can’t say “pederasty”; they must pretend this is “paedophilia”. They are forbidden to defrock a homosexual priest lest they be accused of “homophobia”.

Sexual violence towards a small boy or girl by an adult man is a repulsive and criminal act, but such accusations are extremely rare in the history of clerical abuse.

We must not remain indifferent to the travails of the Church, for only She has the potential to turn the predatory neo-Judaic state into a peace-loving Christian one. The Church affirms the primacy of spirit, and of our godlike abilities to think and to reproduce; such hopeful opinions are anathema to our Worldly Masters. On the deepest level the Church is the main adversary of evil in our world. The worldlings have formed a competing church of sorts, the church of darkness, and they will not suffer a competitor.

Dominant as they are, they are not omnipotent. There is no magic in their incantations. They have no divine powers behind them. They are impostors. They exploit the old myths of mankind, forgetting that nothing works without God. As rebels against God, they will be defeated. As charlatans they will be dismantled. Their fall is imminent. We should reject them completely, as completely as we are called to in our confession of faith.

The Catholic Church is one of the greatest champions of Palestine. They have a Palestinian Patriarch, they do their best to defend the Palestinian people. All established churches support Palestine; with the apostolic churches taking the leading role, and the Catholics often leading them all. During the 2002 Bethlehem siege by the Jews, the Catholic Church led the resistance. I know because I was resisting too. Once upon a time, the Church led the Crusade to liberate the Holy Land. With a brave and selfless spirit She could lead a Crusade of Peace and free it again.

France once reached the greatest heights of economic fairness, social sophistication and moral integrity in union with the Church. The terrible warning of the Notre Dame blaze should shock the people of France into returning to the Rock of the Church, just as it must surely make the Church wake up to the “smoke of Satan” permeating Her walls.

In collaboration with Paul Bennett

Read more on the abusing priests here: http://www.unz.com/ishamir/darkness-from-the-west/

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net

This article was first published at The Unz Review.

Six months after it begins, the oligarchs/Macron versus Gilets Jaunes battle is still raging and will keep on

April 19, 2019

By Le Saker Francophone for the Saker Blog

Six months after it begins, the oligarchs/Macron versus Gilets Jaunes battle is still raging and will keep on

This battle that the French people will win – we do not yet know when, but sure it will – is the vanguard battle of a Western world in full decline because their elites, no longer able to plunder the rest of the world as they did before, are beginning to plunder their own country in order to continue to accumulate a capital that has no other objective than to accumulate, always accumulate, by pure Pavlovian reflex. The shape and outcome of this battle therefore does not concern only France but all the other people of the “West”, specially the United States, where the 1% show the same greediness.

Saturday after Saturday, about 100,000 yellow vests invade the streets of cities and roundabouts of the countryside, claiming that the government should take more into account the interests of the people and a less those of the oligarchs.

But the latest and their puppet, Macron and his government, are stubbornly refusing to listen to these people whom they obviously consider as congenital idiots, uncultivated anti-Semitics, jealous of those who succeed… and other verbal demonstrations of their unfathomable superiority complex.

But behind this superiority complex, we also see a panic, at least with Macron who, after six uninterrupted months of demonstrations he has violently repressed, sees the hatred that is accumulating against him and who, in his rare moments of lucidity, must remember the history of France and the fate of Louis XVI, the king guillotined by the revolutionaries. And this panic was clearly visible in this episode: After spending 12 million euros on its Great Debate, that should “transform anger into solutions”, these famous solutions had to live up to the expectations and frustration of a people who saw their country turning into a dictatorship. But what can Macron offer when he is stuck between the oligarch hammer and the popular anvil? He obviously didn’t find it. So as usual, he cunningly used the very providential but very dubious fire of Notre Dame de Paris to make the Great Debate disappear into the black hole of popular memory that he hopes will lead to amnesia because, as is well known to manipulators, nothing is better than an emotional diversion to make important things forgotten. Providentially then, the fire started just one hour before its speech, giving him the perfect excuse to cancel it and, in the name of “mourning”, delaying it, and the famous solutions he should propose, to an unspecified date. Since then not a word about it, from his side or the media side. A shameful 12 million euros scam!

But, contrary to what they think, they are not dealing with fools but with people educated and intelligent enough to understand that behind their empty words, their institutional violence and their brigands’ schemes, these oligarchs are plundering the nation’s heritage, sucking the people’s blood. And the most intelligent among the Gjs are explainingto others, days after days, both through social networks and constituent assemblies, as well as through meetings in the streets every Saturday how things work. Then, the day the fire erupted the investigation was therefore open, on social networks, to find out whether this fire was really an accident, as the government claims, or a voluntary act, as most experts, especially the best in position to do it, the former head of Notre Dame’s maintenance, believe.

Moreover, one of the first visible benefits of this movement is that it is rebuilding a social bond that 30 years of “modern individualistic society” had completely destroyed. There is nothing like a common enemy to bring a people together and the Gj have found it. It is Macron and the oligarchs who manipulate it. And there is no shortage of battles against this powerful and blind enemy.

But it is not only the enemy that is common to them, they perceive above all a common objective, that of giving the French people back their say in the political decisions concerning the nation. And for that, the main tool to be implemented is the RIC. The Citizens’ Initiative Referendum, in all areas, i.e. covering all areas of politics. For sure, the oligarchs, and therefore Macron, do not want this RIC because it would sign the end of their enrichment on the State’s back. Because it is one of the things that is explained every day to the Gj by those who have understood the mechanism well, these oligarchs get rich on the back of the State through systematic public procurement, legal tax exemptionstate subsidiesprivatization of public companies, tax havens, shell companies…

And since the State is getting poorer under the blows of these oligarchs, since taxes are already on their highest level, since money is no longer under the control of the government, all that remains for the government is the solution of “budgetary austerity”, which takes the form of closing hospitals and schools, downgrading the number of civil servant, increasing education costs, reducing pensions and expenditure allowing social regulation, which was the pride of post-1936 France, in short, to gradually erase all the social gains made by our grandparents before and after the Second World War.

As one of these Gj experts explained, tax fraud alone is exactly equivalent to the amount of the public deficit. So if, thanks to the RIC, the French nation could stop the budgetary hemorrhaging caused by this oligarchic system which, since the 1980s, has been slowly weaving the web choking the nation, then it could keep its status as a world and economic power that it is losing, like the rest of the Western world, because of the greed of one percent of its population, and the shameless minions who work for them.

In the coming years, it will therefore be a fight to the death between the people and these oligarchs, one of the first victims of which is democracy. Because, now that they are already naked, these oligarchs will no longer be cluttered with the apparatus of freedom and democracy that they used to cover their hold on the country. We can already see it with a police repression that has never been seen before, a justice that is more than expeditious, totally muzzled media, in short, all the characteristics of a totalitarian state.

But how could these oligarchs win against an entire people? This is historically impossible. It therefore remains to the Gj to have them worn out so that, Saturday after Saturday, the number of Gj visible in the streets goes from 100,000 to 500,000 and then to millions, in short a new revolution. But for this to happen, it will require a long process of making aware of the situation those who do not yet understand, those who are afraid to understand. A long-term task for which, for the moment, more than one hundred thousands people are ready to give their time, energy and bravery to the end as their motto “nous ne lâcherons pas” [We shall not give up] is showing it.

Le Saker Francophone

The Ukies come to Paris to meet with their bosses

The Ukies come to Paris to meet with their bosses

April 13, 2019

by Le Saker Francophone for the Saker blog

Macron, the French president, always eager to take the center stage to show his dynamism, has received the two outsiders of the presidential election of Ukraine, Zelenski and Poroshenko, on the same day with 3 hours interval. On april 12th Zelinski is convened at L’Elysée at 3 pm then Poroshenko at 6 pm.

Le Monde, one of the few French newspaper to speak about that visit says: “It is Zelenski team who took the initiative for the meeting. For the young candidate, who see himself as an ‘Ukrainian Macron’ the interest is clear : to show its closeness with a president that is appreciated by the people of Ukraine, to show its international stature, and after being described as a puppet manipulated by the Russian, to show that his loyalty goes for the West… Mr Poroshenko has requested too an invitation and l’Elysée accepted it not to look as favoring one upon the other”.

The other media speaking about that visit is Sputnik France.

The French presidency said that the talks will be about bilateral relations and the cooperation in the frame of the Normandy agreement. No more details has been added. This vague declaration may hide some kind of “talks” that could be not politically correct enough to be publicly announced. One could think that the anglosionist system, whose Macron is a slavish representative, wants to “suggest” its instructions and conditions to the future Ukrainian president, especially Zelinski who got 30% of the votes for the first round while Poroshenko got only 16%.

Zelenski did not say anything about that planned meeting. Porochenko said that «the fate of the State, of security in Ukraine and in Europe too, in the whole continent, are at stake…and it is necessary to consider for some more sanctions against Russia”. Before coming to France, Poroshenko paid a visit to Merkel. But the spoke person of the German chancelier took the precaution to precise that it should not be seen as a support for the Ukrainian candidate.

The Western backers of Poroshenko looked puzzled by the high score of Zelenski, a guy they did not choose.

Johann Wadephul, vice president of the main party at the German parliament said “Ukraine cannot afford to bend on an unexperienced government, especially because of its conflict with Russia and difficult economic and social situation”.

After first saying that the USA will not interfere in Ukrainian election, Kurt Volker, the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine, said “today the people of Ukraine has to choose. Do they want somebody who just oppose the system and promise huge reforms or somebody who may have disappoint them but who has done more reforms for Ukraine than anybody else since 20 years, and is able to face Poutine”.

Even with this backing, the chance for Poroshenko to win look weak and “the West could insist for the two contender to get an agreement. If Poroshenko falsify the results, Zelenski will have to stay quiet. It is one of the option. But if they consider that Zelenski could make a suitable president for Ukraine they could try to convince him to give a good political position to Poroshenko” thinks Rostislav Ichtchenko, president of a Russian think tank.

“Macron want to evaluate Zelenski and the potential consequences if he becomes president. Especially for his relation with Russia. Poroshenkko has been invited only to be polite with him as the European Union has been backing him those last years”, says Bogdan Bezpalko another Russian expert.

After the meeting, Zelenski declared to the Ukrainian media «What pleased me with Macron, what characterize him on the contrary of many politicians is that he has an excellent sense of humor. Then I am now not the only one”. And that they talked about “the most important problems in Ukraine, especially how to stop the war with Donbass”.

Of course The Kremlin reacted with irony to that convocation. Dmitri Peskov is curious to know how Arsen Avakov will denounce that French interference in an Ukrainian election with the same virulence as he denounces Russian interference. On her side, Maria Zakharova reminded that French and Western interference are not new in Ukraine, and that “…foreign ministers, including the French one, personally gave support to the Maidan demonstrators, in the very centre of Kiev». Then, to tease Macron she added “For some months we observe the Yellow Vets movement. Did you see Foreign ministers of other countries – europeans, arabs or americans – coming in the middle of the crowds to push them to take over the Elysée palace or to ask for the destitution of the government?”

Coincidentally, Hubert Fayard, the Donbass representative in France, has been arrested and put in custody for “procurement”. The story is unclear as “an Ukrainian woman he just met proposed to lend him some money”. The day after police searched his house and arrested him for procurement.

France: Yellow Vests protesters dress as XVIII century royalty to protest inequality

Yellow Vests get 1st game-changing win: A vote to stop denationalisation of airports

April 11, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker BlogYellow Vests get 1st game-changing win: A vote to stop denationalisation of airports

You never read the word “denationalisation” in Western media anymore, only “privatisation”.

That makes sense… “denationalisation” is so obviously negative; it’s lack of patriotism and concern for the public welfare isn’t being covered up.

The New York Times seemed to stop using the word around the mid-1980s – which makes sense, because that’s when the propaganda of neoliberalism fully took hold. In 2019, a generation later, journalists don’t even question that “privatisation” is a bad thing: for them “nationalisation” is probably a pejorative term, smacking of “nationalism”, which has become essentially synonymous with “racism” in the Western vocabulary.

But “denationalisation” is totally accurate: the selling off businesses which were undoubtedly paid for by the People of the nation, and then operated for the good of the nation.

We cannot say that all neoliberals hate their nation – being “anti-nation” is the ideology of globalists, a subset of neoliberalism. We can say that neoliberals hate “the state”, and the distinction is important.

Listen to the talk radio in the United States and you invariably find Protestant religious radio, and they love to equate “the Beast” of the Bible with the federal government; this satisfies both neoliberal and libertarian listeners. This explains why neoliberals push “privatisation”. When they discover that the 1% to whom the denationalisation was made was to foreign 1%ers… they might get upset at that – they won’t if they are globalisation neoliberals.

Accurate political-economic terminology aside, the Yellow Vests can now tell everyone, “Ta gueule!” (shut your face)

They undoubtedly won their first real victory against Emmanuel Macron this week, as opposition parliamentarians surprisingly banded together to vote in favor of holding a referendum on the sell-off of all three airports in the Paris area. Swiss-style RICs – citizens’ initiative referendums – is the primary democratic-structural demand of the Vesters; the fact that one might now take place is undoubtedly due to their agitation.

A begrudging French media, which hates the Yellow Vests for daring to question the agenda leadership of the 4thestate, of course did not celebrate what is an obvious victory for everyone living on French soil or just flying through Paris. However, their skepticism is justified: France’s last referendum was in 2005 for the Maastricht Treaty, and that was immediately ignored… much like the Brexit vote appears to be .Today was supposed to the day the UK left the EU and regained their sovereignty, and now we’ll have a 24-7 media onslaught for a 2nd vote. Personally, I think the first vote should not be respected – everybody knows votes don’t really count until the 4th or 5th one….

I was quite surprised at France’s revival of economic patriotism/good sense. The day prior to the decision I did this report for PressTV – there were only perhaps 150 Yellow Vest protesters in front of the Senate, which appeared certain to vote their approval for Macron’s sell off. It’s still not sure a referendum will actually take place – it would be a first – but it could be in the headlines for months, emboldening more to join the Yellow Vests all the while.

Did Macron’s incredibly dirty tactics turn the tide?

The idea of selling off state assets to rich people is already shameful to anyone who isn’t rabidly against Socialist Democracy, but Macron’s tactics went beyond the pale.

Firstly, he pushed the totally-compliant, neophyte, business executives-turned-politicians (or, to places like The Economist – “civil society”) in the National Assembly to rewrite laws allowing the denationalisation of the airport. It’s always fun to read France’s Orwellian names for their “deforms” – this one was the Action Plan for the Growth and Transformation of Companies (Loi PACTE).

Then, to avoid media coverage and a possible defeat, at 6:15am on Saturday March 16, he called a vote on the sell-off. French PMs work really late hours – I have no idea why, this isn’t Spain – but I’ve never seen that. Only 45 deputies voted out of the lower house’s total 577. The mainstream media had to go into overdrive to explain why the vote was actually legal. Nobody covered that – we all missed it, including me. Hey, I’m a daily hack journalist – I can’t do a story 2 days after the fact. Ya can’t cover them all, and there’s always another one around the corner.

Then, in something no media appears to be connecting, Macron pushed back the end date of his phony PR-campaign known as the “National Debate” in order to draw attention away from this week’s planned Senate vote. Yellow Vesters did not care, they – as planned – engaged in massive civil disobedience on the Champs-Elysées the day after the National Debate was supposed to end, March 16, even burning down a bank, though I was truly the only one to properly explain why (and at the bank!). So this week Macron unveiled his “conclusions” of the 2.5-month talk-fest, which were, essentially: “It’s good to know that I’ve been right all along!” He was clearly hoping the media would focus on his technocratic rightness, instead of giving column inches and air time to the airport sell-off.

But he didn’t count on non-Macron party deputies joining together for the good of the nation. Or, for many, the good of their re-election campaign: after all, denationalisation is so unpopular its name cannot even be uttered anymore – opposing the 10 billon euro windfall from the sale is a sure winner with the voters.

Briefly: it is totally absurd to believe Macron’s claim that the state can only find 10 billion euros for an “industrial innovation fund” via selling off Paris airports (as well as the National Lottery and France’s stake in energy giant Engie). France has given scores upon scores of billions in tax cuts to corporations and businesses during the Age of Austerity, repeatedly telling us that the 1% will invest in industrial innovations funds of their own making and all without state strings attached to the cuts. Then you have tax evasion which is in the hundreds of billions in lost money for state coffers… which will be hard to find, considering that Macron wants to cut thousands of jobs in the Finance ministry, the ministry whose job it is to collect taxes (must kill the Beast… it’s what Jesus would do!).

In short, it’s a very bad week for Macron: just 6% of France said his National Watch Macron Outdo Fidel Castro In Speechifying was a success, and then it didn’t even provide cover for the privatisation his neoliberal globalist ilk loves more than absolutely anything. Why is it better to them than even oh-so-profitable wars – you axe tens of thousands of Beast/government jobs, and you get an already-made cash cow which has a customer base which is obviously guaranteed / an outright monopoly.

Iran knows what everyone in France hasn’t learned (except the Yellow Vests)

So in the mid-80s the neoliberal mindset had spent about 5 years ripening like bad French cheese; in 1991 the USSR’s leaders ignored the referendum which saw 78% of Soviets vote to remain Soviets; and by 2002 those “lefty” Frenchies had initiated denationalising the highways – the historical arc is clear, if slow-moving to some.

I was really surprised when I moved to “socialist” France that they had sold off the nation’s roads. Today, when a driver pays 60 euros in tolls to drive from Paris to Marseille – and that’s just the one-way – you feel like setting the toll booths on fire. Which is what the Yellow Vests did – it was a public service….

Denationalising the airport would have the same costly effect for the average Frenchman. It will have the same effect the UK experienced after denationalising their railways: a season ticket is now 5 times higher than on the Continent, with time-keeping, safety and comfort all worse, too. In the US you have headlines like this one last year from St. Louis: Lambert (airport) privatisation looks like Chicago’s parking meter disaster.

(Anyone recall the fringes of a scene in Godfather II of Cuban-style socialism’s victory night – they were smashing the parking meters? I can report that in 2019 the People’s land is still free for the Cuban People to park on. Many probably thought they were just looting….)

Macron should take heart that I will not be allowed to park my car – which I bought entirely with change – for free in Paris anytime soon: the West European / Liberal Democratic system is geared in his favor. Want more proof? Yellow Vests demonstrations have been totally banned in Lyon, the third-largest city, after a complaint from what is honestly (no kidding!) the real power in Western societies: the local chamber of commerce.

So we have “privatisation” and “denationalisation”… and then we have Iranian “privatisation”, which we hear about all the time. Rouhani has gone “neoliberal”, right? Ahmadinejad did, too, uh huh?

LOL, I swear, I truly am always laughing when I write about this subject! Iran is not selling off 51% of state assets to the Rothschilds, or the Swiss, or… the Turks?! LOL, the Turks running Iran? Do we want our nice things to be ruined?!

Iran’s “privatisation” aren’t “privatisations” because they “sold” the state-owned assets to state-controlled groups like the Revolutionary Guards, bonyads (religious charity co-operatives) and the Basij. So it wasn’t even “denationalisation”. It certainly wasn’t “neoliberal privatisation” – because the state nearly always retains more than just a controlling interest (20%) but a 51% share – and if you say Iran has gone “neoliberal globalization” I am truly going to be in hysterics!

So it’s not that Iranian media is obscuring what is going on by excising previously popular terms, it’s that Iran has revolutionary (unique) concepts of governance for which there simply are no words for it in foreign languages… yet.

But we can agree on this: such unique changes are the opposite of what Macron wanted for France; and such unique changes are so reviled by the capitalist-imperialist West that – as of this week – everyone in the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij is now considered a terrorist by the US.

There are 10-25 million Basiji, almost none of whom are armed, and the majority of whom are women and children, but… ok, they’re all terrorists. Whatever it takes to not pay 60 euros in tolls one-way.

That sounds like a very effective revolutionary cry for the Yellow Vests!

France should thank them – they have stopped (for now) the French People’s loss of one of the world’s busiest airports. Certainly, it’s a tangible victory which shuts up their detractors, which forcibly changes the mainstream media’s Liberal Democratic agenda, and which prods their fellow citizens to become more politically enlightened.

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

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