Racism to the Maximum: Outrage in US after Photo Showing Police Leading Black Man by a Rope Goes Viral

By Staff, Agencies

Outrage erupted across the United States after a photo of two white police officers mounted on horseback walking a handcuffed black man by a rope – recalling the long history of violence, slavery and racism against African Americans during the era of segregation – went viral.

Vernon Hale, the police chief of the US city of Galveston in the state of Texas, issued an apology following the incident, but his statement drew more criticism for being “weak”.

Hale said the black man in the photo, Donald Neely, who was arrested on Saturday for trespassing, should have been taken to the station in a police car, instead of horse-mounted officers.

Neely was then escorted on foot, led by a length of rope and flanked by the two police.

“Although this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios, I believe our officers showed poor judgement in this instance,” said Hale, in a statement published on Monday on Facebook.

“First and foremost I must apologize to Mister Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment,” Hale said, adding that policy had been changed so that the technique would no longer be used.

Neely is free on bond. He has no listed telephone number and could not be reached for comment.

Hale told The Galveston County Daily News that he regularly talks to his officers about how their actions affect people’s perception of the department.

We have verified with law enforcement officials in Galveston, that the photograph taken in Galveston is real. It is hard to understand why these officers felt this young man required a leash, as he was handcuffed and walking between two mounted officers.

“You have to be aware of the images we portray,” he said. “We talk about it when we talk about use of force, when we talk about vehicle pursuits. Quite frankly, I never would have dreamed of it in the context of mounted officers.”

Hale’s statement, however, sparked frustration, with some activist groups saying his response was “weak” and “inadequate”.

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Nigeria Crackdown: Sheikh Zakzaky Granted Bail after Mass Protests

By Staff, Agencies

A Nigerian court granted bail to Muslim cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky so that he can fly to India for medical care, his lawyer says.

“The judge has ordered that Zakzaky be flown to India for proper medical attention,” his lawyer Femi Falana told AFP on Monday.

Sheikh Zakzaky, the founder of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria [IMN], has been in detention since December 2015 after his residence in the city of Zaria was raided by Nigeria’s forces, during which he was beaten and lost vision in his left eye.

During the brutal crackdown, three of his sons were martyred, his wife sustained serious wounds, and some 350 of his followers were killed.

Since then, the government has been violently cracking down on the IMN and its members.

The Islamic Human Rights Commission [IHRC], based in London, said last month that the cleric’s health condition had further deteriorated, since he was reportedly poisoned in prison.

Sheikh Zakzaky was in dire need of medical treatment, as large and dangerous quantities of lead and cadmium have been found in his blood.

Recently, a Nigerian court granted the government permission to label the IMN as a “terrorist” group, a move that many believe would give the officials the opportunity to clamp down harder on it.

IMN members regularly take to the streets of the Nigerian capital to call for the release of Zakzaky.

In recent weeks, dozens of demonstrators were martyred after Nigerian troops used live ammunition and tear gas. The IMN says it has lost at least 20 of its members during the clashes.

Ethiopian Jews’ uprising (press TV)

Tens of thousands of Israelis of Jewish Ethiopian descent and their supporters staged protests across Israel after a member of the minority community was shot dead by police.

The protests turned violent as police started making arrests. Who are Israel’s black Jewish minority and why do they claim they’ve been marginalized?

Video

Police Suicide in France: the whistle was blown, but the Macron regime pretends to be deaf

July 25, 2019

by Ollie Richardson for The Saker Blog

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Dear reader, if you enjoy my Yellow Vests reporting and want it to continue, then please consider becoming my Patron and helping me give the movement the fair English-language coverage it deserves. More information can be found here.

(Photo taken by me on June 29th in Paris during a Yellow Vests demonstration)

I think by now most people who are interested in geopolitics are familiar with the “Yellow Vests” movement and the social unrest in France, but one topic that receives almost no mainstream media coverage (neither in the Anglophone nor French press), and which the French government deliberately ignores, is police suicide. At the time of writing – July 25th – there have been 66 police suicides in France so far in 2019. According to the President of the association “Uniformes en danger” Christelle Teixeira, 88 police officers killed themselves in 2018. At the current rate in 2019 it means that every four days a police officer kills themselves. This epidemic of suicides in the ranks of law enforcement is becoming an endemic problem that some people sometimes like to compare to the suicidal tendencies of French farmers, who have also been hit hard by socio-economic distress and drought.

Thus, according to a Senate report from June 2018, the rate of suicide in the French police is 36% higher than what is seen in the general population. Concerning farmers, the same rate was 20% to 30% higher than the average for the French population, according to a study published by the “Public Health of France” agency in 2016. It is a similar trend, but with a big difference concerning police officers and gendarmes: they all have the same employer – the state; and the same boss, the Interior Minister Christophe Castaner. The plans that were launched in the past to try to solve the problem, especially in May 2018 under the leadership of Gerard Collomb, are considered to be too weak by some police officers, who cite the daily grind and the “social context that is currently tense in many socio-professional categories”, as Jean-Pierre Colombies explains.

“Christophe Castaner refused a hearing at the association ‘Angry Law Enforcement Wives’ on this topic in November 2018, which is quite evocative, but in any case, one finds oneself in such a context of social tension that one can hardly imagine fundamental work in our rigid administration. Meanwhile, in the police stations, it must be made clear that officials do not know how much they can trust their minister. These are the kind of ideas that come to us from the ground.”

“Concerning police suicides, the situation is catastrophic. A death every four days is unheard of, practically. It is unbearable for us to see this phenomenon boiled down to ‘personal problems’. When the Director of Public Order and Traffic, Alain Gibelin, resigned after a big burnout, we were told that it was the workload that caused his illness, but when it is a cop from the very beginning, we are told that it is the personal context that leads to suicide … It is therefore clear that the assessment of occupational pressure is variable depending on the department.”

Jean-Pierre Colombies proposed an idea that even he considers to be “utopian”:

“We should rethink the relationship between police and society, as well as the relationship between the administration and its police officers. Sometimes it works and there are some great service managers, I’ve known some, but you have to admit that some are real problems, very destructive people that make dialogue between the police and their administration often broken. In these cases, when occupational pressure adds to personal problems, some crack. That’s what we showed in our film.

On March 12th several police associations held a night gathering at Trocadero for the purpose of raising awareness of this cause. Despite the presence of some media, including RT France, two minority unions (VIGI and France Police), and two political figures (Senator François Grosdidier and the deputy Nicolas Dupont-Aignan), the government has not reacted to this new invitation for dialogue.

And this is not the only initiation for dialogue that has been sent to the Macron regime by a police officer. Alexandre Langlois, who was the head of a police union until recently, when he was suspended from his duties for dissent, is subject to a six-month temporary exclusion from the National Police (Police Nationale) after revealing internally and to the press a number of serious things concerning the Ministry of the Interior. Suicides, sexual assaults, falsifications of numbers, toxic tear gas (a new secret formulae being used by the police) – he rips into the government…

… whilst at the same time inviting Castaner for a debate.

After a policeman from the Cergy branch of the Regional Directorate of the Judicial Police of Versailles committed suicide in the armory of the drop-in center of the Police Judiciaire in Cergy-Pontoise (Val d’Oise) on July 24th, the “Alternative Police” union was received at Place Beauveau on July 25th by Fabrice Gardon, the police adviser of Christophe Castaner, “to address this painful subject.”

Through a press release, the “Alternative Police” union says it wants to “put an end to this slump and to this deadly crisis so that 2019 is not a year of sad recording breaking in relation to the last twenty years”. The union recalls that it alerts “the successive Interior Ministers” over the last 5 years about this situation, declares that it is necessary “to immediately tackle the causes that lead to suicide, and no longer the consequences via prevention plans whose effects remain to be demonstrated”.

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During this meeting, the union planned to send to the Interior Ministry a document entitled: “2019 -2022, the police flourish in their daily work for a national police at the height of social issues”. This “white paper” presents the “proposals” and “recommendations” of “Alternative Police” aimed at improving the working conditions and concretely fighting against the police suicide rate.

The union does not intend to stop at this meeting. It plans to catch “Emmanuel Macron’s police advisor, Mr. Hottiaux”, and “the Prime Minister in order to obtain a government commitment”. It also asks that the public authorities organize “without delay real high-level talks in the National Police”.

“Alternative Police considers that the whole of the government must face up to this suffering and this ill-being in order to meet the strong expectation of the police.”

Back in April Castaner announced the opening of a “warning prevention” hotline based in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, designed to prevent police suicides, and said that suicides in the police were not a “fatality” and that it was necessary “break the silence”. It is headed by a police officer, a member of the Inspectorate General of the Administration, and a psychiatry professor. However, it doesn’t appear that this hotline is making much of a difference.

On June 21st the politician Eric Ciotti criticised Christophe Castaner for not having settled the issue of overtime owed to the police, which he estimates to be at €300m. The Interior Minister retorted sharply by saying “No, I do not owe anything to them”.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, Christophe Castaner, who, like his colleagues, is also embroiled in scandal after scandal, actually awarded police officers that are involved in open police violence inquiries launched by wounded Yellow Vests. On June 16th he awarded at least 5 officers who are suspected of violating the law: Rabah Souchi, who led the police charge that caused the injuries sustained by Geneviève Legay, and Bruno Félix, who commanded the police who killed the peaceful resident Zineb Redouane in Marseille during a Yellow Vests protest, are two examples.

In reality I have only skimmed the surface of the police problem in France, but the main takeaway from this article should be the fact that there is a police suicide epidemic happening in the country. And in order to emphasise this point, I have consulted as many law enforcement unions as possible concerning information about the 66 (at the time of writing) suicides so far in 2019 and created the table below. Imagining what the data will look like by December 31st sends a shiver down my spine…

No. Date (2019) Region Department Name/initials and/or age (if known) Media report (if available)
1 January 1st La Rochelle Police Nationale J.B. charentelibre
2 January 2nd Cherbourg Police Nationale lamanchelibre
3 January 4th Reims Police Nationale actu17
4 January 7th La Rochelle Police Nationale L.M. charentelibre
5 January 15th Paris Police Nationale Jordan R. actu17
voltage
6 January 16th Saint Omer Police Nationale Stan, 42 actu17
7 January 16th Paris Police Nationale Julien actu17
8 January 17th Paris Police Nationale
9 January 20th Bédenac Surveillant pénitentiaire lefigaro
10 January 24th Le Mans Police Nationale actu17
11 January 27th Not disclosed Police Nationale
12 January 27th Not disclosed Police Nationale
13 February 14th Martinique Police Nationale actupenit
14 February 18th Louvigné/Laval Police Nationale francesoir
ouest-france
15 February 19th Grand-Quevilly Police Nationale Sebastien profession-gendarme
16 February 26th Montpellier Police Ferroviaire
17 March 4th Elancourt Police Nationale Mickaël leparisien
18 March 5th Dunkerque Police Nationale
19 March 5th Limoges Police Nationale ladepeche
20 March 7th Saint Saëns Police Nationale francesoir
21 March 9th Selles sur Cher Gendarmerie Nationale Romain, 32 actu17
22 March 13th Roissy en France Vigipirate 24 lavoixdunord
23 March 15th Limay Police Nationale Sébastien leparisien
24 March 19th Paris Police Nationale europe1
25 March 28th Bailleval Police Nationale francetvinfo
26 April 1st Paris Police Nationale
27 April 2nd Toulouse Surveillant Pénitentiaire centpourcent
28 April 2nd Marlieux Police Nationale Jean-François B. francetvinfo
29 April 6th Avignon Police Municipale midilibre
30 April 7th Conflans Police Nationale leparisien
31 April 7th Alès Police Nationale Christophe ladepeche
32 April 9th Orsay Gendarmerie Nationale Willy actu17
33 April 14th Paris Police Nationale leparisien
34 April 16th Metz Police Nationale Damien LCI
35 April 16th Bèziers Police Municipale francetvinfo
36 April 18th Montpellier Police Nationale Elisabeth G. francetvinfo
37 April 18th Paris Police Nationale 25 leparisien
38 April 24th Paray le Monial Police Municipale Jean-Christophe actu17
39 April 28th Gap Vigipirate rtl
40 April 30th La réunion Gendarmerie Nationale Ludovic D. lepoint
41 May 5th Cholet Police Municipale Eric francetvinfo
42 May 6th Aunay sur Odon Gendarmerie Nationale actu
43 May 11th Orange Police Municipale ledauphine
44 May 13th Briançon Gendarmerie Nationale Quentin lessor
45 May 17th Lons le Saunier Gendarmerie Nationale francetvinfo
46 May 22nd Lille Police Nationale Mickaël actupenit
47 May 24th Nice Police Municipale
48 May 25th Chessy Police Nationale Baptiste leparisien
actu17
49 May 31st Not disclosed Police Nationale Pascal B. actu17
50 June 2nd Fougères Gendarmerie Nationale Jean F. francesoir
51 June 13th Paris Police Nationale Benoit actu17
52 June 14th Fos sur mer Police Municipale Mickaël, 29 Syndicat de Défense des Policiers Municipaux
53 June 20th Paris Police Nationale Jean-Louis B. actu17
54 June 21st Toulouse Police Nationale nouvelobs
20minutes
55 June 25th Nimes Gendarmerie Nationale RT France
56 June 28th Bruay la Buissière Police Nationale Eric P.
57 June 29th Marseille Police Nationale Gérard B., 50 FranceInfo
laprovence
58 July 5th Bordeaux Police Nationale Caroline, 44 francebleu
59 July 8th Annecy Police Nationale ledauphine
60 July 12th Castelnau de Médoc Gendarmerie Nationale francebleu
61 July 14th Not disclosed Vigipirate
62 July 16th Douai Police Nationale Jean-Marc, 49
63 July 22nd Béthune Police Nationale Eric T. lavoixdunord
64 July 22nd Nimes Police Nationale Jamal Z.
65 July 23rd Isère Police Nationale Frédéric L., 49 acti17
66 July 24th Cergy Police Nationale S. actu17

 

 

America’s Collapse: Asset Forfeiture

Global Research, July 25, 2019

Readers aware that I, and Dmitry Orlov, have been chronicling America’s rapid decline ask me, “where did it all begin?”  To  answer that question would require a massive history such as Jacques Bazun’s From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life. All I can do for you is to show you recent evidence from our time.

Let’s begin an occasional series on the subject with asset forfeiture.  Asset forfeiture was one of those tactics that Sir Thomas More warned against in the play, “A Man for All Seasons.” Cutting down a protective feature of law in order to better chase after devils exposes the innocent to injustice along with the guilty.  The devil was the Mafia.  Asset forfeiture originated as a way to prevent gangsters from using their ill-gotten gains to hire better lawyers to defend them than the US Justice Department could hire to prosecute them.  In effect, gangsters were denied the use of their money in their defense. This was the beginning of an unconstitutional assault on private property and due process, but the judiciary, desiring that the Mafia be imprisoned, ignored their constitutional responsibility. The judges joined in the chase after devils.

A next step was to go further in the “war on drugs” and confiscate the property of those suspected of drug crimes.  The Comprehensive Forfeiture Act of 1984 declared forfeitable all real property, including any right, title or interest in anything associated in any way with the commission of a drug crime. 

As I have stressed and as legal scholars formerly stressed, the law unfolds to the limit of its logic.  Innocent people have had their cars confiscated because they picked up a hitch-hiker who was in possession of drugs discovered in a police stop.  Federal agents have confiscated real estate on the grounds of which they conducted a “drug sting.”  As one of the participants in the sting committed a crime, the property chosen for the sting can be confiscated on the grounds that the property  “facilitated a drug crime.”  Multimillionaire Donald Scott was shot dead by police in his home on his 200-acre estate in Malibu, California, because of a conspiracy to seize Mr. Scott’s home on the theory that there was “probable cause” to think that the heir to a vast European chemical and cosmetic fortune was growing marijuana somewhere on his estate (The Tyranny of Good Intentions, pp. 117-120).

Asset forfeiture soon jumped beyond drug crimes to all crimes.  A family lost their motel because a prostitute rented a room in which she conducted her business.  The motel had unknowingly “faciliated a crime.”  Asset forfeiture permits a person’s property to be confiscated even though the owner was not a participant in the crime and had no knowledge of the crime.

There have been vast numbers of innocent American tax-paying victims of police stealing their property under asset forfeiture law. Over the years I have reported cases, and Lawrence Stratton and I addressed police theft from the innocent public in The Tyranny of Good Intentions published in 2000 and a new edition in 2008.  The injustice done to so many Americans is one cost of asset forfeiture laws.  The criminalization of police departments is another cost.

Local TV stations in Tennessee, for example, have reported many instances of police from different local jurisdictions fighting over seizure rights on different stretches of Interstate 40.  The police stop cars with out-of-state tags, search the cars and passengers, and if they find cash in the amount of $100 or greater the police confiscate it on the grounds that the amount indicates the selling of drugs or the intended purchase of drugs. On other pretexts the police seize the cars leaving the family on foot in a strange land.

In The Tyranny of Good Intentions, Larry Stratton and I tell the story of Selena Washington who was stopped on I-95 in Florida on her way to purchase construction materials to repair her hurricane-damaged home. She doubted the building materials company would accept a large check from a black woman and had with her the insurance settlement of $19,000 in cash.  Police had set up roadblocks in order to rob people and confiscated her money without even taking her name. With the aid of an attorney and proof of insurance settlement, she was able to recover $15,000 or 79% of her money.  To get her money back, she had to agree that the police could keep $4,000.  I don’t know what the attorney’s fees were. Most likely, the bandit police prevented the full restoration of her home, just as when the police steal a person’s car they prevent the person from going to work and earning a living. Is the person still responsible for car payments when their car is stolen by police?

Clearly, neither the police nor the local governments that allegedly oversee the police are concerned  about the career-destroying impositions, along with the deaths, that they impose on the people who pay their salaries. Why do the idiot “law and order conservatives” romanticize the police?  How utterly stupid can a person be?

The Orlando Sentinel investigated police stops in Volusia County, Florida, and concluded that the police had used pretexts to confiscate tens of thousands of dollars from motorists.  Only four of the motorists managed to get all of their money back.

Despite massive police abuse, or is it merely enforcement, of forfeiture laws, the practice continues to expand.  The public acceptance of police as criminal organizations has resulted in new schemes for stealing people’s property.  Police stop motorists and on any number of pretexts impound their car. Impound and storage fees rapidly mount, making it impossible for anyone other than a well-to-do person to recover their car.  The cars are then sold to a contractor. The August 2019 issue of Car and Driver describes how this works in Chicago.  It is a tale of banditry.  And it goes on right in front of our eyes, and nothing is done about it.

When the police who are paid by the public to “serve and protect” instead rob and murder without accountibility, not even insouciant Americans can deny the devastating evidence of American legal, political and societal collapse.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Appeal for help by Ollie Richardson and the Saker (IMPORTANT!)

Appeal for help by Ollie Richardson and the Saker (IMPORTANT!)

July 23, 2019

Dear friends,

As you may be aware, during the first half of this year I have been reporting on the “Yellow Vests” movement in France whilst being in the center of it. Since February 2019 (after I watched in horror on a live feed as a Yellow Vest’s hand was blown off by a grenade the week prior) I have travelled into central Paris every Saturday and observed for myself the now well-known protests against the current French government.

I’ve taken photos and recorded videos for the purpose of disseminating them on social media, hoping to counter the biased reports published by the mainstream media. In late March I decided to start writing articles on this subject (published on The Saker) and up the ante. We are now in the summer, and I have produced many articles about the “Yellow Vests” that were the result of taking some serious risks (I’ve already been hit by a detonating grenade and almost detained on May 1st because I, in my black Donetsk People’s Republic t-shirt and black trousers, apparently resembled a Black Bloc member) and walking/running kilometre after kilometre in order to keep up with the pace of events. In order to understand what is actually happening I have had to acquaint myself with the different aspects of the movement and acquire the trust of the “Yellow Vests”.

In the video below you can see me at Place de la Republique in April (in the same DPR t-shirt; you can see a bandage on my arm from the aforementioned grenade incident) about to leave the protest, when a bleeding Yellow Vest is plonked in front of me. I witnessed the sequence of events, and the police indeed violated human rights by bludgeoning a peaceful person who posed no threat and just wanted to leave the Square.

Sadly, this is nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to the “Yellow Vests” movement. The systematic use of police violence in order to intimidate and silence those who oppose Macron’s policies is unacceptable and factually criminal. But what is happening in France is much more than just Saturday demonstrations. Macron’s government barely has the time to sweep one scandal under the carpet before another one erupts. And the reporting on these scandals in the Anglophone mainstream media has been either non-existent or frankly pitiful. For example, how many readers know about Steve from Nantes? Or Alexandre Benalla? Francois de Rugy’s lobster dinners? Radioactive leaks in the water supply? The backdoor privatisation of the airports? Zineb Redouane? The list is very long, and in some respects it makes “European” and “democratic” post-Maidan Ukraine blush. And yes, what is happening in France is directly connected to events in all theaters of military and informational operations. Every actions has a reaction.

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Me at a Yellow Vests protest on July 13th in Paris

In order to continue my work with the Yellow Vests (#GiletsJaunes) movement I am seriously in need of financial help. I have done what I can so far with very limited resources to provide the best coverage I can of what is happening in France without the habitual mainstream media bias that we are all accustomed to and fed up of. This entails a certain level of danger, but as the saying goes – no risk, no reward.

During the autumn/winter of 2019 I want to, as a minimum:

• create and run a dedicated Yellow Vests website/hub;

• translate and publish a mass of information about the main demand of the Yellow Vests – Citizens’ Initiative Referendum – in the hope of raising awareness about alternatives to conventional party politics;

• provide a live stream that is more raw than state-funded media’s;

• continue my series of articles entitled “Inside the Yellow Vests”;

• travel to other French cities and document what is happening there in relation to the movement.

It is simply a case of the more means I have, the more I can achieve. I am present on the terrain and have created a network of contacts. I’ve lived the movement from the very beginning, and want to ensure that it receives the fair coverage in the English language that it deserves.

I have created a Patreon page that has a more in-depth description of my project, and I ask those who have enjoyed my “Yellow Vests” work so far to consider donating what they can in order to help me not only continue my existing work, but also to expand it.

I appreciate the support of each and every person!

Ollie Richardson

——-

Note by the Saker:

Dear friends,
For many weeks now we have been getting superb analyses by Ollie Richardson and equally superb translations of key Russian texts into English made by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard.
Some of the best reporting anywhere on the Internet about the Yellow Vests movement was recently made by Ollie.
Check out this page in which he summarizes his immense work: https://www.patreon.com/yellowvests
Well, guess what?  Ollie and Angelina are not only awesome members of our community, but also real people who have to pay their bills ontime.
Friends – we need to help them.  Not only does their superb work deserve our gratitude, but we also want them to keep writing for us.
I therefore ask all those who can afford it to go to this page: https://www.patreon.com/yellowvests and become patrons of Ollie’s crucially important work.
Many thanks in advance,

‘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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