Tag Archives: France

Coronavirus Crackdown – Beware “The New Normal”, by Kit Knightly

What the coronavirus panic is doing to our freedoms will not go away when the coronavirus does. From Kit Knightly at off-guardian.org:

So this is how Liberty dies… with thunderous applause.

A few days ago James Corbett posted a video titled “Is this THE big event?” the answer to that increasingly looks to be “yes”.

Not the virus itself, you understand, which official statistics still show to be minor compared to annual flu outbreaks. But rather, what it’s being used for. The West’s vestigial democratic forms, and slowly atrophying civil liberties are facing a final assault from draconian authoritarians sensing (or creating) their big moment.

Spain is enjoying “martial law in all but name”, while Italy is likewise bringing in the army.

In France, Macron has “declared war” on the coronavirus, essentially locking the entire country up inside their homes unless they have “a good reason” to leave. A reason which must be submitted in writing to the police.

Public gatherings are of course strictly forbidden. Elections are halted.

No word yet on what the Gilets Jaunes plan to do. There is a march – Act 71 – planned for today. Will it go head? If so, will they be met with more violence? Maybe. Only now instead of being ignored by the media they will be branded “selfish” for putting “members of the public at risk”.

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ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Can a French Touch Pierce a Neo-Orwellian Farce? by Pepe Escobar

Julian Assange has become the focal point of the issues that define our times. From Pepe Escobar at consortiumnews.com:

By offering asylum to the persecuted publisher of WikiLeaks, France’s Macron would enhance his status in myriad European latitudes and all across the Global South, writes Pepe Escobar.

It’s quite fitting that the – imperially pre-determined – judicial fate of Julian Assange is being played out in Britain, the home of George Orwell.

As chronicled by the painful, searing reports of Ambassador Craig Murray, what’s taking place in Woolwich Crown Court is a sub-Orwellian farce with Conradian overtones: the horror…the horror…, remixed for the Raging Twenties. The heart of our moral darkness is not in the Congo: it’s in a dingy courtroom attached to a prison, presided by a lowly imperial lackey.

In one of Michel Onfray’s books published last year, “Theorie de la Dictature” (Robert Laffont) – the top dissident, politically incorrect French philosopher starts exactly from Orwell to examine the key features of a new-look dictatorship. He tracks seven paths of destruction: to destroy freedom, impoverish language, abolish truth, suppress history, deny nature, propagate hate, and aspire to empire.

Michel Onfray in 2009. (Alexandre López, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

To destroy freedom, Onfray stresses, power needs to assure perpetual surveillance; ruin personal life; suppress solitude; make opinion uniform and denounce thought crimes. That sounds like the road map for the United States government’s persecution of Assange.

Other paths, as in impoverishing language, include practicing newspeak; using double language; destroying words; oralizing language; speaking a single language; and suppressing the classics. That sounds like the modus operandi of the ruling classes in the Hegemon.

To abolish truth, power must teach ideology; instrumentalize the press; propagate fake news; and produce reality. To propagate hate, power, among other instruments, must create an enemy; foment wars; and psychiatrize critical thinking.

There’s no question we are already mired deep inside this neo-Orwellian dystopia.

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French Teenager Forces Free Speech Debate Over Her Calling Islam A “Religion Of Hate”, by Jonathan Turley

Non-objective laws such as hate crimes inevitably lead to lead to repression and tyranny. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and hereand here and here and hereand here). A teenager has sparked a national debate about blasphemy in France after an Instagram post calling Islam a “religion of hate”. Indeed, France has emerged as one of the greatest threats to free speech in the Westand we continue to face calls for European-style speech crimes, including calls by its President on the floor of the House of Representatives. Now a teenager in France has triggered a debateover its plunge into speech crimes and regulation after characterizing Islam as “a religion of hate.” She can now be criminally investigated for hate speech under the notorious French speech law.

On a January 18th live broadcast on her Instagram account, Mila, 16, was called a “dirty lesbian” by a Muslim commenter. She responded by saying “I hate religion. The Koran is a religion of hate” and using vulgarity against the religion. She added “I am not racist. You cannot be racist towards a religion. I said what I thought, you’re not going to make me regret it.”

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The Syrian conflict is awash with propaganda – chemical warfare bodies should not be caught up in it, by Robert Fisk

The OPCW’s Douma chemical attack lie continues to unravel. From Robert Fisk at independent.co.uk:

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has an important role to play in ensuring people know the truth. Nothing should get in the way of that.

In the very early spring of this year, I gave a lecture to European military personnel interested in the Middle East. It was scarcely a year since Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chlorine gas against the civilian inhabitants of the Damascus suburb of Douma on 7 April 2018, in which 43 people were said to have been killed.

Few present had much doubt that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which represents 193 member states around the world, would soon confirm in a final report that Assad was guilty of a war crime which had been condemned by Donald Trump, Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May.

But at the end of my talk, a young Nato officer who specialises in chemical weapons – he was not British – sought me out for a private conversation. “The OPCW are not going to admit all they know,” he said. “They’ve already censored their own documents.”

I could not extract any more from him. He smiled and walked away, leaving me to guess what he was talking about. If Nato had doubts about the OPCW, this was a very serious matter.

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Frenchmen. To Arms! by Eric S. Margolis

NATO no longer protects Europe from the Soviet Union, now defunct and replaced by Russia, which doesn’t currently pose a threat.  Rather, it now provides diplomatic cover and operational support for US interventionism in places far removed from Europe. From Eric S. Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

Citizens of France. To arms! Man the ramparts. The American barbarians are coming. They shall not pass!

Le Trump’s threat to France’s splendid wines and Roquefort cheese are the gravest menace France has faced since the Germans invaded this fair land in 1914.  Burgundy wines and France’s 300 fromages form the very soul of la Belle France.

Trump does not know or care that France saved America from British mis-rule.  He wants revenge because France – which taxes nearly everything – seeks to tax US IT firms like Google and Amazon.  Trump considers this a personal affront.  Besides, he dislikes wine and lives on desiccated burgers made with petrochemical cheese, washed down by acidic Diet Cokes.

On top of this outrage comes the squabble over NATO.  Trump used to scoff at the Alliance, saying it was ‘obsolete’ as well as under-armed and short of money.  The president and his backers really dislike France and all it stands for, including wine and cheese.

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Gilets jaunes: the French insurrection one year on, by Fraser Myers

One year on the French yellow vests are still protesting. They have a lot to protest. From Fraser Myers at spiked-online.com:

One year ago, 288,000 protesters took to the streets in over 2,000 locations across France. Dressed in their unmistakable hi-vis jackets, the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) blockaded highways and petrol stations, occupied roundabouts and toll booths, and marched through town centres. The protests were initially sparked by a hike in fuel tax but they quickly came to embody a wider resentment towards the status quo. This weekend will be the yellow vests’ acte 53 – the 53rd consecutive week of protest to mark the anniversary of the movement.

Just a year-and-a-half after the election of President Macron, which was hailed by liberals across the West as a turning point against the populist wave of 2016, the yellow-vest movement staged what would become the most significant revolt in France since les événements of May 1968. The French working classes, who had for so long been marginalised economically, politically and culturally, were finally making their voices heard.

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The Road to Damascus: How the Syria War was Won, by Pepe Escobar

Syria represents a huge loss for the Deep State and a huge victory for the Eurasian axis. From Pepe Escobar at consortiumnews.com:

Following the Damascus-Kurdish alliance, Syria may become the biggest defeat for the Central Intelligence Agency since Vietnam, says Pepe Escobar

What is happening in Syria, following yet another Russia-brokered deal, is a massive geopolitical game-changer. I’ve tried to summarize it in a single paragraph this way:

“It’s a quadruple win. The U.S. performs a face saving withdrawal, which Trump can sell as avoiding a conflict with NATO ally Turkey. Turkey has the guarantee – by the Russians – that the Syrian Army will be in control of the Turkish-Syrian border. Russia prevents a war escalation and keeps the Russia-Iran-Turkey peace process alive.  And Syria will eventually regain control of the entire northeast.”

Syria may be the biggest defeat for the CIA since Vietnam.

Yet that hardly begins to tell the whole story.

Allow me to briefly sketch in broad historical strokes how we got here.

It began with an intuition I felt last month at the tri-border point of Lebanon, Syria and Occupied Palestine; followed by a subsequent series of conversations in Beirut with first-class Lebanese, Syrian, Iranian, Russian, French and Italian analysts; all resting on my travels in Syria since the 1990s; with a mix of selected bibliography in French available at Antoine’s in Beirut thrown in.

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