‘This Yellow Vest carnage’ more ‘French exceptionalism’

 

July 23, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog (cross-posted with PressTV by permission)

‘This Yellow Vest carnage’ more ‘French exceptionalism’

(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.”)

At a recent demonstration against the recently fired, third-ranking French civil servant (the president of parliament), who had been caught enjoying jumbo lobster and 1,000-euro bottles of wine with his friends on the taxpayer’s centime, I chatted with a former political prisoner.

It may surprise some that he was a Westerner. The West is, of course, exceptional: everyone else has political prisoners, but there isn’t a single one in the free, free West.

He had just spent four months in prison for protesting with the Yellow Vests. In a story which appears trite but which I believed – given the fact that testimony by police cannot be questioned in France’s judicial system – he said that it was the protester next to him who had thrown something at the cops and not him. There was no falsehood in the intense bitterness with which he said, “Four months in prison – I wish that I actually had thrown it!”

He showed me the many scars and permanent knots on his wrists and forearms – defensive wounds caused by protecting himself from fiercely-armed, well-protected and ruthless riot police. I praised his sacrifice for the common good, but I did not tell him that this was exceptional: in the past eight months I had heard many similar stories. Just last weekend I saw children getting tear gassed, and yet another woman shot in the eye with a rubber bullet.

This is carnage, pure and simple, and it happens all around France every Saturday starting around 11 am.

The biggest complaint of the Yellow Vests these days may not be against the French model of government, but towards a Western Mainstream Media which acts as if such carnage doesn’t exist.

If the world believed that the French system of governance was exceptional, then the repression of the Yellow Vest movement should forever silence that false claim. It has been eight months: their media system obviously cannot report on domestic political repression, and their political system can obviously perpetuate domestic repression with an impunity unparalleled in the world. In no other country has such regular, political repression occurred this century.

This ability to inflict such record-breaking repression while talking passionately about liberté – and being believed at home and abroad! – is the true “French exceptionalism”, and it is nothing to boast about or emulate.

Western propaganda has shut down all criticism of French repression in favor of hysterical and one-sided coverage of the protests in Hong Kong. Another widespread belief among Westerners is that they are exceptional in that their systems don’t permit the creation of “propaganda”, whereas that is the only thing the journalists of most other nations can do, especially nations like Russia, Iran, Syria, etc.

One thing about exceptionalists is their certainty of its permanence: it seems that once one is exceptional, one can never stop being exceptional, no matter how immorally one acts. Exceptionalism, once bestowed by God, can never be subject to a Day of Judgment, apparently. It’s a, uh, “unique” view….

Undoubtedly, the necessarily corollary to exceptionalism’s assertion that “We are different” is rarely stated but extremely important in order to understand the exceptionalist’s mindset, and it is: “while all the rest of you idiots are all the same”.

Those in the developing world are told that there is an enormous difference between Belgians and the English, for example. Even though the former is merely a peninsula of the latter, what a mighty chasm separates the Danes and the Germans! Yet in France all Blacks are just that – Blacks – even though they hail from parts as varied as West Africa, Madagascar and the Caribbean. In the US all Latinos – whether from the southernmost tip of Tierra del Fuego or Boston – are painted with the same brush. Of course, in both countries Muslims are certainly all “Arabs”. This total nonsense illustrates an obsessive self-esteem which necessarily strains cooperation, diplomacy and true tolerance.

A difference between US and French claims for their own exceptionalism is that the US believes it is exceptional lock, stock and barrel, yet the French are more likely to claim their “cultural exceptionalism”.

It takes a bit of experience here to figure that out, but what they mean is that “White French culture” is exceptional: any influences from the nearby Muslim world, or anything their neo-imperial subjects might bring, or even the neighbouring Anglo-Saxon world – all are second-rate and somehow corruptive of an exceptionally wonderful culture which must never change.

What especially galls nations like Iran and many, many others regarding French exceptionalism are two things:

France claims to especially honor human rights… and yet how do we explain the the Yellow Vest repression? This was after we were told to believe that their bombs in Libya, their guns in the short-lived Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and their rapes in the Central African Republic are “humanitarian interventions”. We also were disgusted by the deification of the dangerous magazine Charlie Hebdo, which made millions by publishing Islamophobic pictures but never publish an anti-Jewish one.

It boggles to mind to think of the weight of the cognitive dissonance which France’s political and cultural elite must bear in their minds: they regularly imprison hundreds of protesters in the morning, and then in the afternoon talk about France being a beacon, champion and even the inventor of human rights.

It is simply intolerable to get lessons on human rights from a nation which so clearly violates them; it is intolerable because all nations must converse diplomatically, and yet France believes they can continually disrespects everyone else’s intelligence and get away with it.

Secondly, Iran is a nation which has been under hot and cold war for 40 years, therefore they have been truly living in wartime conditions, forced to have a true state of emergency in the past, and endure vast suffering caused by an illegal, homicidal blockade which aims to provoke either civil war or all-out war. France, however, suffers none of these hardships, and yet are more homicidal by multiple orders of magnitude.

How can Iran have such a very poor image and France such a positive image, given the former’s unjust handicaps and the latter’s lack of restraint, common decency and refusal to cooperate? Part of it is Iranophobic propaganda, and the other part is propaganda which champions the alleged legitimacy of “French exceptionalism”.

However, current anthropological scholarship is finally shedding their West-centric blinders to realise that France is not at all the “birthplace of human rights”: the conception of individual rights in today’s West was yet another resource stolen from the American Indians, namely the Iroquois Confederacy in the northeastern US. This fascinating subject, which academics simply must study,certainly seems logical – where was the conception of individual freedom in France’s long history of an absolute monarchy which was as absolute as anywhere in Europe? They obviously learned it from someone else, namely the Indians they came into contact with. To me, the Iroquois seemed to be about as freedom-loving as your average, ever-roaming Iranian nomad, but the point here is not to make exceptional claims about who invented human rights – the point is: the French did not invent them, as they claim.

It is inherent in countries which assert their exceptionalism – and perhaps in all Western Liberal Democracies – to deny shared authorship of the world’s many fine ideas and concepts, as they endlessly promote individualism and do not prize the communal, collective spirit.

I can report that those incredibly brave Yellow Vests who are still protesting – in the face of all the guaranteed state violence – repeatedly tell me what respect they have for Iran and its modern governmental system. They routinely tell me what shame they have in their own government. Indeed, the Yellow Vests are the new, courageous political vanguard of France. Unlike the French 1%’s support of aristocratic Western Liberal Democracy, Yellow Vests display French values which are in common with those around the world: solidarity, bravery, faith and self-sacrifice.

If the Yellow Vests could ever win political or cultural power they would certainly end the hypocrisy of “French exceptionalism”, which they correctly see as an unwanted yoke which only perpetuates France’s ongoing domestic repression.

The French have a fine saying: “One time does not make a custom.”

However, eight months does. The Yellow Vests obviously cannot be distracted with the false pride of “French exceptionalism” – they are busy defending themselves from the carnage such arrogance inevitably provokes.

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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.

15 حزيران يوم عربي للتضامن مع أميركا اللاتينية

يناير 25, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– منذ اللقاء التاريخي الذي جمع القائد العربي الراحل جمال عبد الناصر بالقائد الثوري أرنستو تشي غيفارا في الخامس عشر من حزيران من العام 1959، وهو اللقاء الذي تحل ذكراه الستون بعد خمسة شهور، والتلاقي بين نضال شعوب منطقتنا لمواجهة مشاريع الهيمنة الأميركية والعدوان الصهيوني ونضال شعوب أميركا اللاتينية في مواجهة الأنظمة العميلة لواشنطن ومشاريع العدوان والهيمنة الأميركية العنصرية للمستوطنين البيض على السكان الأصليين الحمر للقارة الأميركية، تعبير عن ترابط عميق نادر، وحاجة فكرية وسياسية لنضال شعوب المنطقتين البعيدتين في الجغرافيا، الحاسمتين في الأهمية الاستراتيجية، المتكاملتين في القدرة على هز عروش الإمبراطوريات.

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– مع حصار كوبا، رغم صمودها، ورحيل جمال عبد الناصر رغم استمرار خيار المقاومة، تراجعت حرارة الحضور للنضال المشترك لشعوبنا وشعوب أميركا اللاتينية، حتى جاء القائد الراحل هوغو شافيز، ووجد نظيره في الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد ليجدّدا معاً لقاء عبد الناصر وغيفارا. وكما في اللقاء الأول قبل ستين عاماً،

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كان اللقاء الثاني في القمة العربية اللاتينية التي عقدت في الدوحة قبل عشر سنوات تماماً وتبعتها زيارات متبادلة للرئيسين شافيز والأسد، تأكيداً على عمق التلاقي، والعمق له عنوان واحد في الماضي كما الحاضر كما في المستقبل، وهو فلسطين.

– تميّزت فنزويلا بقيادة شافيز ومن بعده مع القائد المقاوم نيكولاس مادورو بموقف حاسم من القضية الفلسطينية، ومن سورية والمقاومة من جهة، ومن «إسرائيل» من جهة مقابلة، وبالمقياس المصلحي الذي يتحدّث عنه كثير من اللبنانيين والعرب لتبرير التخاذل حتى الخيانة، خاطرت فنزويلا بمصالحها لأجل الوقوف مع قضية حق اسمها فلسطين، وشكلت مواقفها إدانة وتعرية لمواقف الحكومات العربية الذاهبة للتطبيع مع «إسرائيل» في زمن تغلق فنزويلا السفارة الإسرائيلية، وترفع علم فلسطين في ساحاتها ومناسباتها، ولمن يصدّق ولمَن لا يصدّق، ما دبر لفنزويلا ويدبر لها منذ سنوات، هو عقاب على مواقفها من أجل فلسطين.

– أضعف الإيمان أن نقف مع فنزويلا، لأننا نقف مع أنفسنا، ورسالتنا عبر فنزويلا للعالم أننا نقدِّر من يقف معنا، ولا نبيع ولا نشتري بالصمت أو بالتراضي أو بالتغاضي، وهذا اضعف الإيمان. فالرسالة الأميركية والإسرائيلية، واضحة ومضمونها أن مصير مَن يقف مع فلسطين هو الاقتلاع والحصار دون أي اعتبار للمعايير القانونية والدستورية، وهو مضمون الرسالة ذاتها التي حملتها الحرب على سورية. وكما كان الحكام العرب يدافعون عن خيانتهم بوقوفهم في خندق الحرب على سورية، يقفون اليوم في خندق الحرب على فنزويلا. وكما انتصرت سورية ستنتصر فنزويلا، فأميركا بعد الهزيمة في سورية هي غير أميركا قبلها، والعالم بعد النصر السوري هو غير العالم قبله، والانتقال الأميركي إلى فنزويلا هو علامة ضعف لا علامة قوة. فالشعب والجيش في فنزويلا سيقفان في المرصاد، لمحاولات الغزو والعدوان، وسيكون للرصاصة الأولى فعل سحري في كشف حقيقة ما يجري أمام المأخوذين بأكاذيب المعارضة التي لا تشبه أحداً إلا عينات سوق النخاسة للمعارضة السورية، ودواعش العنصرية البيضاء سيتكفّلون بفضح طبيعة البديل الذي تحمله هذه المعارضة. فجيوشهم الحقيقية هي الجماعات البيضاء الفاشية، وعصابات القتل والإجرام المموّلة من تجار السلاح والمخدرات.

– كما كان للسنوات التي مضت عنوان واحد هو سورية، سيكون للشهور المقبلة عنوان هو فنزويلا. وكما لم تبخل فنزويلا لا يحق لنا أن نتردّد، وليكن الاستعداد والإعداد من اليوم لإحياء يوم الخامس عشر من حزيران المقبل كيوم للتضامن العربي اللاتيني، تحييه كل القوى والنخب العربية المؤمنة بفلسطين، وبتكامل نضال الشعوب بوجه الهيمنة والعدوان، وبأن المقاومة الحقة والبطلة بوجه الكيان الاستيطاني الأول القائم على إبادة السكان الأصليين الذي تمثله اميركا، لا تنفصل عن المقاومة الحقة والبطلة بوجه الكيان الاستيطاني الثاني الذي يمثله احتلال فلسطين، ولتبدأ الفعاليات التضامنية من اليوم بلا انقطاع ليصل الصوت قوياً إلى كاراكاس، لستم وحدكم أيها الأحرار… ونحن قوم لا ننسى وقفات العز وأهلها.

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False Flag in Manchester?

By Peter Koenig

May 25, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – Government assisted killing of their own citizens for political purposes has become a common pattern. The media are getting ever bolder in disguising such events as ‘Terror’, spreading fear. The public swallows these lies again and again.

British elections are planned for 8 June 2017.

At the end of a pop concert by US singer Ariana Grande in Manchester, an enormous ‘controlled’ explosion killed at least 22 people and injured 59, as reported by British media. Many of them are children and adolescents, as most of the concert-goers were young people.

The singer is unharmed. The concert hall accommodates 21,000 people. After the blast, panic broke loose, resulting in a mass stampede. It is not clear whether people were also killed in the stampede.

Hours after the explosion, although BBC reported it was not evident what exactly happened, UK police and authorities talked immediately of an act of terror.

Early Tuesday morning, 23 May, British authorities said that the Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the explosion. The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Ian Hopkins, stated investigators believe the attack was carried out by a lone suicide bomber “carrying” a homemade device. He was killed by the blast.

The IS-Propaganda agency Amak apparently issued the claim of IS’s responsibility for the deadly blast. Did an independent authority check whether this is indeed true?

The attacker, is now named by US officials (why US officials?) as Salman Abedi, 22, a British citizen, born in the UK. He is told having detonated the improvised explosive device.

Another 23-year-old suspect was apprehended in the south of Manchester. But so far, the Chief Police Officer refused to talk to the media about suspects.

Prime Minister, Theresa May raised the threat warning to the highest level, from ‘severe’ to ‘critical’, saying other attacks may follow. This is the highest security level in the UK. She also urged police to investigate whether the attacker was alone or may have acted as a member of a wider terror group.

The attack is the worst in the UK since 56 people were killed in the 7 July London bombings in 2005.

Both, Theresa May and her election opponent, Labor Leader Jeremy Corbyn expressed their deep sorrow to the victims’ families. All campaign activities for the 8 June elections have been suspended.

Mr. Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, proclaiming on what the raised threat level means for the city, said, “there will be additional police officers on London’s streets over the coming days – including additional armed officers. You will also see some military personnel around London – they are there to help our police service to keep us safe and guard key sites.”

The head of Counter Terrorism at the Metropolitan Police, Mr. Mark Rowley, informed that “there has been an arrest and there are currently multiple searches and other activity taking place as I speak. However, at this stage it is still not possible to be certain if there was a wider group involved in the attack; 24 hours in we have a number of investigative leads that we are pursuing to manage the ongoing threat.”

All of this points to a rapid militarization of the UK, akin to France. What EU country will be next?

Why would the Islamic State kill children in England, when they know exactly that this provokes further NATO – EU – US military aggression against them? And why in England, just before elections? Do they not know that they incite election results unfavorable to them, unfavorable to the Muslim society, electing the candidate that promises even more discrimination against Muslims? A candidate even less eager to find a peaceful solution in the Middle East?

Of course, they know. ISIS / IS (Daesh), Al-Qaeda and most other terror groups fighting in the Middle East proxy-wars for the West, are the creation of the West. We, The People, should wake up to this reality and see such terror attacks at crucial points in time as what they are – provocations, false flags, to dupe the public into asking for what the establishment, the ruling class wants – more “protection”, like a gradual but ever accelerating militarization of the west.

Even the installation of Martial Law is not far-fetched. Former French President Hollande has tried to introduce it in France’s Constitution ever since the Hebdo Charlie (false flag) attack; so far unsuccessfully (see http://www.globalresearch.ca/germany-and-nato-towards-martial-law-preparing-for-a-fascist-repression-in-europe/5590292  and http://www.globalresearch.ca/french-election-fraud-will-macron-be-able-to-form-a-government/5589262 ).

This gives the Deep State-installed EU government, i.e. Brussels, the legitimacy to clamp down and if needed violently repress protests in European cities, as they may arise with increasing neoliberal financial domination of western economies, imposed austerities, privatization of public services, educations systems, health care – cuts in pensions, in brief, the imposition of a fascist economy. We are almost there, just look at Greece.

—–

As always, the question to ask is Cui Bono? – At first sight it looks like the act of ‘terror’ might benefit Theresa May and her conservative Tories. They propagate clamping down on terrorism, on immigration to keep ‘terrorists’ out. Snap-elections decided without much warning by PM Theresa May, are scheduled for 8 June, just 17 days away from the attack, but enough time to launch massive pro-conservative and anti-Labor propaganda.

Interestingly, Jeremy Corbyn has been making rapid gains lately in the polls. The supposed ‘terror’ attack, may set his gains back and advance the “pro-security” Tory leader, Theresa May. As if Jeremy Corbyn and Labor were against ‘security’ – This is the implied falsehood of the presstitute – foreseeable, like in The Theft of an Election Foretold.

Interestingly too, the recent French elections were also preceded by a terror attack. Just days ahead of the first round of elections, a gunman opened fire on a police car on Champs Élysées, killing one policeman and injuring two, the gunman was immediately killed by French police; the chief witness gone. End of story.

The incident most likely helped propel Macron and Le Pen into the second round. That’s what the dark hands of the ‘system’ wanted. So, it would be easy to focus the propaganda on the self-styled centrist, pro-Europe, pro-globalization, pro-NATO, and naturally, pro-enhanced security, i.e. pro-militarization of Europe, the Rothschild banker, Emmanuel Macron – who eventually ‘won’ in a landslide, against Marine Le Pen, who campaigned pro French sovereignty, against Brussels, against the euro and against NATO.

We will see later this year whether more killing is needed to get Mme. Merkel re-elected.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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Je Suis Charlie to MacronLeaks? France’s ‘free press’ takes credibility hit

May 07, 2017

by Ramin MazaheriJe Suis Charlie to MacronLeaks? France’s ‘free press’ takes credibility hit

I don’t understand: I thought the French were passionately in love with liberty of the press?

That’s what they said when they just HAD to publish pictures of the Prophet Muhammad in Charlie Hebdo. And some of these pictures were absolutely pornographic, let’s not forget – they were not respectful, tolerant or even neutral. Heck, one showed Prophet Muhammad actually filming a porn movie.

But I thought it was a question of the responsibility of the press to be brave and publish what may get them in trouble? And the right to political speech? And of personal freedom?

That’s what was self-righteously proclaimed by one French media after another, after another, after another and after another to anyone who would listen around the world.

The common Frenchman, too: I’ve never seen more people in one place than the 4-million person demonstration in support of Charlie Hebdo. I asked some tough questions there in my work as Iran’s Press TV correspondent, despite the pleas of my cameraman to think of our own skin.

And yet it seems the first rule of MacronLeaks is: Don’t talk about MacronLeaks.

The morning after the hacked emails of the Macron campaign were released the French Electoral Commission menacingly warned that nobody was permitted to publish to the contents of the leaks. The leaks were tens of thousands of emails, notes, bills and internal discussions.

What was inside? Can’t tell ya – I’m a journalist.

It wasn’t as if the French people didn’t have access to this information: MacronLeaks are all over Twitter and social media.

So this 11th-hour election twist means that France is living in a state of forced denial, and this denial is forced by the state. A good word for that is “authoritarian”. Hey, due to the ongoing state of emergency (18 months and to be extended by either presidential candidate) this is officially a “police state dictatorship”, after all.

Authoritarianism has become old hat for us in France!

But if this was Russia and it was Vladimir Putin’s chosen successor instead of Francois Hollande and his chosen boy Emmanuel Macron, what would the French media be saying? Stupid question: They’d be screaming “censorship, censorship, censorship”.

It’s appalling: There hasn’t been ONE French media willing to courageously publish when no one else will.

Leaks just don’t sell as many newspapers as naked cartoons, I guess? What happened to the infamous French provocateur? I’d even settle for one of those annoying types right about now.

Imagine if Marine Le Pen was up 62% to 38% instead of Macron? I’m sure SOME media would have published LePenLeaks, and justified it by “standing up to fascism”.

But the French don’t stand up to capitalism. Certainly not when they seem about to elect Rothschild banker and pro-austerity Macron in about 8 hours. Certainly they don’t stand up for communism anymore.

But boy oh boy, don’t they talk a lot of stuff about their love of a free press? And when you don’t back it up….

Censoring will have the opposite effect of discrediting the media & the election

It’s crucial to know there is not one major media in France which is pro-Le Pen.

This is very different from Brexit, where newspapers made explaining the Brexit rationale a daily occurrence. It’s also different from the US, where Trump at least had Fox News to give his side. Seemingly everybody with power, money and influence – and I mean everybody – is against Le Pen.

Le Pen supporters already had cause to claim, 100% fairly, media bias: The MacronLeaks self-censorship will be also fairly viewed as just another step in this direction.

Whether you agree with the decision or not, the fact is that nearly 40% of voters are expected to vote for Le Pen. Add in some abstentionist sympathizers and we can accurately predict that half the country is going to view France’s media as being in total collusion against their candidate.

They are turning to the “Fourth Estate” for guidance and what they found at the top of the France 24 website was this story: Reproduction of whales and dolphins in captivity banned. How can France’s media not lose credibility with such nonsense?

That’s why Twitter Francais was full of condemnations like this one: “The oligarchy will be scandalized by its methods. This is why people go elsewhere than the mainstream for information. This is all that the journalists of BFMacron can do?” (BFM is one of the two top TV news channels here.)

The French establishment is trying to protect its election (or its preferred candidate, perhaps), but half the country is going to see this self-censorship as undermining the credibility of the election itself. Also from Twitter: The censoring of the French media on the MacronLeaks revelations before the decision of the French people is a reason to invalidate the vote.

This is the anti-Macron camp on Twitter, and they are right.

The pro-Macron camp on Twitter encouraged each other to post pictures of cats. This was in order to bog down Twitter in feline stupidity and not allow their fellow citizens to see what the future president was up to.

So why didn’t I publish the contents – I’m a journalist in France?

That’s an honest question, and I’ll give an honest answer:

That decision was above my pay grade.

Like many journalists, I am not in charge – I’m just a worker. I can decide for myself, but I cannot decide for my media. My views on it appear to be clear.

I think the point of view of Press TV is that: We have already been banned by France’s state-run satellite company during the Hollande administration…what do we need even more harassment for?

After all, I could barely find anybody in France to stand up for Iran’s right to freedom of the press at this censorship. Even the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders refused to give an interview to me to attack this ban and to defend Iran’s rights. LOL at that NGO’s “apolitical” reputation. LOL at their hypocrisy.

I’m not trying to sound “tough” – I was very conflicted about MacronLeaks and it’s not certain I would have revealed the contents if the choice was mine to make. What made it much harder was that, for sure, I would have been the first.

I am a foreign journalist – why aren’t the domestic media leading the way?

They have all the contacts, all the ability to fight in courts, all the language-skills to explain to a judge, all the reasons to defend their press. It is their country, after all – I’m not even a citizen.

So I understand Press TV’s view.

But there are certainly many French journalists who feel disappointed with their publishers and their colleagues, and they should feel that way.

Rules are made to broken – failing to do so leaves only questions

Ok, 36 hours is not much time to verify the veracity of the leaks, but I ask you: Which media refused to publish the allegations about conservative candidate Francois Fillon and “Penelopegate” over these very same alleged concerns?

Or which media refused to publish the allegations concerning Marine Le Pen and her EU ghost jobs scandal?

The answer is, “none”. So why is Macron getting preferential treatment?

If the answer is, “Because it’s too close to the election,” I find that very unsatisfying. Truth, justice, transparency and the peoples’ right to know does not have a date.

If the answer is, “Because it’s the law,” I find that unsatisfying as well. However, I did not realize just how anally-retentive about the law the French were until I moved here – it goes against the common stereotype. They have been, as we all inevitably are, greatly influenced by their neighbors, the anal-retentive kings – the Germans. France has not fallen far from that tree.

If the answer is, “Because foreigners are trying to influence our election,” I find that unsatisfying as well. Learning the truth about a candidate is the most important – have we not seen how badly Hollande lied and backtracked to the French? Learning the truth is the best safeguard to democracy – the source of the truth and their motives are totally irrelevant.

Macron and his team are asking to serve as public servants: How does transparency not trump their right to privacy? Mustn’t elected officials be held to a higher standard?

This censorship cuts both ways, including against Macron’s rights: By denying all discussion, how can Macron clear his name? Surely some will say that Macron is guilty by suspicion, and that is not fair either. Of course, with a 20+ point lead he just wants to tread water and say as little as possible – this has been his election strategy all this time, in fact.

Ultimately, it is the public which must be made king: Otherwise you have an oligarchy. The media’s complicity in the MacronLeaks affair will only increase accusations that this is the true nature of France.

Plenty of proof that France censors only when it wants to

The fact is that assuming these leaks were some sort of “disinformation campaign” is not based on any proof.

WikiLeaks, who was not behind the leaks, said that they appeared credible. When is the last time such a big leak proved out to be false? Whistleblowers like this have a very good record.

But if the whistleblower thought this would have an effect like in the United States, he was sorely mistaken. The French are not going to go hog-wild over conspiracy theories like the Obama Birther Movement in the US.

What’s more likely is that the whistleblower had the data, and realized he had no smoking gun. So he waited until the campaign ended, hoping that innuendo would do what his hacked data could not.

Am I even allowed to print that? Dear Paris prosecutors, please note I am only hypothesizing that there is no smoking gun, maybe there is!

I have had to make that same half-serious, half-pathetic plea for other cases in France recently: covering “apology for terrorism” cases. That’s another example – hundreds of examples – where France clearly cared nothing for freedom of speech: you had minors, drunks and mentally ill citizens accused by hearsay, jailed, tried and sentenced over just a few days.

French media doesn’t like to make a fuss about that, either.

Back to MacronLeaks: By releasing this so close to the election there’s a fair case to be made that this is not whistleblowing but manipulation, and those are two different things.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. But the first rule of MacronLeaks is that we can’t talk about them….

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. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

The French scuttle their own ship

by Thierry Meyssan

We are witnessing an historical reversal in France, where the ancient political spectrum is exploding into pieces as new fractures appear. Because of the intensive storm of media propaganda which has recently almost drowned the nation, the French can now perceive nothing more than the essential markers, and cling to red lines which no longer exist. However, the facts are clear, and certain evolutions are predictable.

| BEIRUT (LEBANON) | 25 APRIL 2017
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Private soiree at La Rotonde – congratulated as the new French President, Emmanuel Macron welcomes personalities from the CAC40 and the entertainment world on the evening of the first round of the election. Seen here with his friend, the banker Jacques Attali.

After a very agitated electoral campaign, the French chose Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen for the second round of the Presidential election.

Already, almost all the losing candidates, with the exception of Jean-Luc Melenchon – and that’s no accident – have appealed to their followers to support Macron, who should then be easily elected.

The two major historical parties which have governed France since the beginning of the Fifth Republique – Les Republicains (ex-Gaullists) and the Parti Socialist (ex-Jaurèsians) – have been beaten. A newcomer, En Marche !, has made it to first place on the podium, facing the Front National.

Is there fascist candidate?

This is not the first time that this sort of cleavage has occurred in the history of France – on one hand, a partisan of an alliance with what seems for the moment to be the world’s greatest power (the United States), and on the other, a movement seeking national independence – on one hand, the totality of the ruling class, without notable exceptions, and on the other, a party cobbled together of various bits and pieces, composed mostly of proletarians, two thirds of whom come from the right wing and one third from the left.

Evidently, the next French President will be Mr. Macron – a man from the Banque Rothschild & Cie, now supported by the totality of the business leaders of the CAC40.

However, whether our prejudices like it or not, the unanimity of the power of money is the fundamental characteristic of fascist parties.

This unanimity of Grand Capital is always accompanied by a National unity which erases the differences. In order to become equal, we must become identical. This is what President Hollande began with the law « Marriage for all », in 2012-13. Presented as establishing equality between citizens, whatever their sexual orientation, it posited de facto that the needs of couples with children are the same as those of gay couples. And yet there were several other more intelligent solutions. The opposition to this law led to a number of very important demonstrations, but they unfortunately failed to provide any other proposition, and were sometimes mixed with homophobic slogans.

Identically, the attack against Charlie-Hebdo was celebrated to the chant of « I am Charlie ! », and those citizens who declared that they were « not Charlie » were prosecuted.

It is a shame that the French people do not react either against the unanimity of Grand Capital, nor against the injunctions to use the same judicial techniques and to favour the same slogans. On the contrary, they insist on considering the current Front National as « fascist », with no other argument than its ancient past.

Can a fascist candidate be resisted?

In the majority, the French think that Emmanuel Macron will be a President à la Sarkozy and à la Hollande, men who will pursue their political beliefs. They therefore expect to see their country increasingly decline. They accept this curse, thinking that in this way, they will evacuate the menace of the extreme right.

Many of them remember that at its creation, the Front National gathered together the losers of the Second World War and the losers of the social politics of the colonisation of Algeria. They focused on the figures of a few men who had collaborated with the Nazi occupier, without seeing that the Front National of today has absolutely nothing in common with those people. They persist in holding Second-Lieutenant Jean-Marie Le Pen (Marine’s father) responsible for the Algerian tragedy, and exonerating from their responsibilities the Socialist leaders of the time, particularly their dreadful Minister of the Interior, François Mitterrand.

No-one remembers that in 1940, it was a Fascist minister, General Charles De Gaulle, who refused the shameful armistice with Nazi Germany. This man, the official heir apparent of Marechal Philippe Petain (who was his daughter’s godfather), charged into the Resistance alone. Struggling against his education and his prejudices, he slowly gathered around himself, against the wishes of his ex-mentor, French people from all horizons to defend the Republic. He linked up with a left-wing personality, Jean Moulin, who, a few years earlier, had secretly embezzled money from the Minister of the Marine, and trafficked weapons with which to support the Spanish Republicans against the fascists.

No-one remembers that a colleague of De Gaulle, Robert Schuman, wrote his signature on the armisitice of shame, then, a few years later, founded the European Economic Community (currently the European Union) – a supra-national organisation based on the Nazi model of the « New European Order », against the Soviet Union and today against Russia.

The Obama-Clinton model

Emmanuel Macron has recieved the strong support of ex-US President Barack Obama, and has gathered a team for foreign policy composed of the main neo-conservative diplomats. He makes no secret of supporting the external politics of the US Democratic Party.

Barack Obama, although he presented his foreign policy with a rhetoric which was diametrically opposed to that of his predecessor, the Republican George W. Bush, in practice followed his lead in all points. The two men successively continued the same plan for the destruction of the societies of the Greater Middle East – a plan which has already caused more than 3 million deaths. Emmanuel Macron supports this policy, although we do not yet know whether he intends to justify it by speaking of « democratisation » or « spontaneous revolution ».

If Hillary Clinton was beaten during the US election, Emmanuel Macron had to be elected in France.

Nothing proves that Marine Le Pen will be capable of playing the rôle of Charles De Gaulle, but three things are certain :
- Just as in 1940, the British, choking back their disgust, welcomed De Gaulle to London, today Russia could support Le Pen.
- Just as in 1939, only a few Communists braved the orders of their party and joined the Resistance, there will only be a few of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s partisans who will take that step. But as from the Nazi attack on the URSS, it was the whole Communist party who supported De Gaulle and formed the majority of the Resistance. There is no doubt that in the years to come, Mélenchon will fight side by side with Le Pen.
- Emmanuel Macron will never understand people who resist the domination of their homeland. So he will not understand any better the people of the Greater Middle East who struggle for real independence alonside Hezbollah, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

Rotterdam: Jews against ‘Palestinians in Europe’ conference

Posted on

Crime20against20humanity20by20Tsaha[2]On February 28, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the top gun at the Simon Weisenthal Center and Austrian-born Israeli propagandist Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld penned an article at the Zionist mouthpiece, the Huffington Post. In the article, the Zionist rats put Rotterdam’s Muslim Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb on trial for not stopping the upcoming conference on ‘Palestinian in Europe’ sponsored by the London-based Palestinian Return Center (PRC) and two Dutch pro-Palestinian groups. The conference is slated for April 15, 2017.

Whether the congress takes place or not will be a litmus test for Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, a moderate Orthodox Muslim. While a member of the extreme anti-Israel Labor Party, he has not publicly expressed anti-Israel sentiments in the past. After the Paris terrorist murders in January 2015 he said, “For those who have sympathy for the attack, there is no place in the Netherlands. For Heaven’s sake, pack your bags and leave.” In 2008 he opposed the twinning of Rotterdam and Gaza, which the leftist parties in the Municipal Council, including his own Labor party, had proposed. Ultimately, this proposal was narrowly defeated,” wrote the good rabbi.

In 2007, a similar conference took place in Rotterdam. It’s addressed by former Dutch prime minister Dries Van Agt who urged lifting the boycott against Hamas.

Moroccan-born Ahmed Aboutaleb is the most popular Dutch politician. So much so that even Muslim-hating Israel-loving convicted Dutch politician Geert Wilders has called Aboutaleb, a good man.

On December 17, 2016, Tom-Jan Meeus in an Op-Ed at Jewish POLITICO said: “The moderate Muslim of Moroccan descent, the mayor of Rotterdam is the most popular politician in the country. Had he entered the fray as his party’s candidate in the Netherlands’ national elections next March, it would have upended the race. Instead, Aboutaleb dropped out of the contest for his party’s leadership before it even began, retreating from national politics altogether.”

A devout Muslim, he criticized fellow Muslims over Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack. He is opposed to all forms of religious radicalism and highly critical of immigrants who don’t respect secular Dutch values such as tolerance for homosexuals, Aboutaleb has become a leading proponent of a strong but measured response to issues like migration, religion and terror,” added Meeus.

Last month, Tehran hosted a similar conference which was attended by 700 guests from around the world. Addressing the conference, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei called Israel, the dirty page in history.

Canadian professor Anthony Hall who attended the Tehran conference wrote his reflections on Zionism, Islam, and Liberal Democracy.

Almost sixteen years after 9/11 it has become very clear that the Israeliocentric “West” has been subject to massive media-engineered campaigns of psychological warfare. The aim has been to mobilize public consent for military invasions abroad, heighted police and surveillance state interventions at home. This psychological operation of illusion combines fact and fiction to instigate fear of Muslims generally and of the Islamic Republic of Iran more specifically.  In the psychology of Western public opinion, Iranophobia and Islamophobia are different aspects of the same phenomenon,” says Dr. Hall.

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