French Macron bans protests against police brutality


This 3 August 2019 from Nantes in France is about a rally to honour Steve Maia Caniço, killed by police brutality.

Police have arrested scores of protesters.

Police arrest Nantes demonstrator, AFP photo

By Will Morrow:

French government bans protests against police killing of Steve Caniço

3 August 2019

Amid growing outrage across France at the police killing of 24-year-old after-school carer Steve Maia Caniço during a Nantes music festival in June, the Macron administration is banning protests planned for today and branding opposition to police violence as illegitimate.

Yesterday, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner endorsed the decision by the Nantes police prefect, Claude d’Harcourt, to ban today’s protest in Nantes against Canico’s death and the ensuing state cover-up of the police’s role. “I understand perfectly the wish to pay tribute, but I don’t know of any hommages that take place through violence”, he said. “They don’t exist. If some people wish to come and sow violence, and … exploit this event, that’s unacceptable.”

On Thursday, the Nantes prefect placed a ban on protests across large areas of the city. D’Harcourt’s statement noted that a “call for a rally” was “circulating on social media”, and declared without any evidence that the event would be “boosted by the presence of ultra-protesters and extremely radical individuals, of the ‘black block’ type”. These unspecified groups’ “illegal actions exceed the framework of the freedom of protest and the characteristics of a movement advancing demands”, it said.

In other words, the vague assertion that “radical” individuals “of the black block type” are attending a demonstration suffices to declare the protest illegal and brand as criminals all those participating. D’Harcourt threatened a police crackdown, telling a press conference Friday that the “government and the interior ministry have given us everything we required.”

Protests have already taken place in multiple cities across the country. In Lille, between 250 and 500 protested against police violence on Friday evening. In Dijon, 200 people marched carrying white balloons. “What happened to Steve moved me a lot”, one marcher in Dijon said. “That could have been anyone, one of my brothers, a friend. We wanted to pay him tribute.”

Steve Caniço’s badly decomposed body was recovered in the Loire river on Tuesday afternoon. He had not been heard from and been presumed drowned since police carried out a military-style raid on a peaceful techno music festival in the early hours of Saturday, June 22. As the panicked crowd of 200 young people fled the police rubber bullets, tasers, attack dogs and truncheons through a haze of tear gas, at least 14 fell seven meters down into the Loire river, located closely adjacent to the festival on the Wilson quay. Caniço, who did not know how to swim, never resurfaced.

'Where is Steve?' flyers at the Place Royale of Nantes in July 2019 (Photo Credit: GrandCelinien)

The Macron administration is giving the police forces vast powers. On one hand, it is brazenly rejecting the widely-known evidence, including video footage, of the police’s culpability for Caniço’s death; on the other, it is taking the event as an opportunity to threaten workers and youth that the police have a green light to kill those who oppose the government’s policies with impunity.

Thus, Macron justified the police’s attack in Nantes on July 20, telling reporters that “one must not forget the context of the violence that our country has been living through”, concluding, “Calm must be restored in the country.”

Immediately following the discovery of Steve’s body on Tuesday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe gave a press conference to whitewash the police’s role, citing an internal “investigation” conducted by the police themselves, via the General Inspection of the National Police [IGPN], into their own actions. The IGPN report, which had been ordered by the interior ministry as part of its cover-up strategy, was dated July 16, but the government had said nothing of it for two weeks until the discovery of the body.

Steve Caniço

Philippe cited the report’s declaration that there was no proof to “establish a direct link between the intervention of police and the disappearance of Steve Maia Canico.” The report denied that there had been a police “charge” or “offensive leap” against the concert goers. Instead, Philippe sought to blame the organization of the festival itself, which had taken place peacefully until its conclusion, when police attacked. He stated that there were “questions as to the preparation for this event.”

These lies are believed by no one and had been exposed well before they were uttered. One of those who fell in the river after being hit by tear gas, 24-year-old Jeremy, told Mediapart: “My eyes were burning, I felt my foot go into empty space. I couldn’t see anything. I tried to swim, I tread water I held onto a cordon the side, I couldn’t see the others fall but I heard them.”

Eighty-nine people at the concert joined a legal suit against the police following the raid. None of these eye-witnesses were interviewed by the IGPN, which relied exclusively on the testimony of security agents.

One of those who filed charges, Romain, a 33-year-old photographer, testified on Wednesday that he had spent hours in the police headquarters and navigated contradictory “instructions and counter-instructions” from the police in order to file testimony with the IGPN. The police have since claimed they could not include his comments, supposedly because they requested another statement from him via email, which Romain says he never received.

Romain was at the event with his girlfriend and her younger sister. “I didn’t even see the police uniforms at the beginning,” he said. What he originally thought was a smoke bomb as part of the concert display “landed at my feet. All of a sudden, we suffocated, and we knew it was tear gas. When I could see again, everyone was running everywhere. I looked for my friend and saw her green dress running toward the Loire. I ran after her and caught her arm 50 cm from the Loire. We turned to get to cover. It’s horrible but at that moment, we crossed people running toward the river. I cried, ‘Don’t go, the Loire is there.’ We couldn’t do anything. I heard the sound of the bodies falling into the water.” The two of them eventually found the woman’s younger sister lying in a state of shock on the ground.

Cell phone footage of the event, compiled in a video by Liberation, shows that the police tear gassing and charge continued as young people screamed that the river was behind and that people had already fallen in. …

The Socialist Party’s Martine Aubry declared that “we cannot be in a country where we doubt the police, it is not possible. It’s truly horrible that in our country, we must wait so many days to find a body and that today there are so many questions to which the official investigations don’t respond.”

Protesters marched in cities across France against police violence and to commemorate Steve Maia Caniço, who drowned in the Loire River in Nantes amid a violent police crackdown on a music festival. Anger is erupting against the government’s unabashed defense of the deadly, unprovoked violence of the police: here.

Advertisements

French Macron endangers curlews, godwits, turtle doves


This 2016 video is called:

Birds of Ireland: The Curlew & its haunting song

Status: Winter visitor to wetlands throughout Ireland, as well as breeding in small numbers in floodplains and boglands.

Conservation Concern: Red-listed in Ireland due to its small and declining breeding population. The European population is experiencing similar problems and has been evaluated as Declining.

A sad situation in France, since the minister for the environment in the Macron administration, Nicolas Hulot, resigned in despair, as he found out that the rest of that administration did not care about the environment, only about billionaires’ profits.

Even right-wing politicians like Annie Schreijer-Pierik of the Dutch CDA party are now worried.

Translated from Dutch CDA member of the European Union parliament Annie Schreijer-Pierik, 26 July 2019:

BRUSSELS – MEP Annie Schreijer-Pierik (CDA) sounds the alarm again about the French hunting of protected meadow birds. “The European Commission is now launching an infringement procedure against France for the use of glue traps and standing bird nets in violation of the Birds Directive. But Brussels remains silent about the premature lifting by the French Council of State of a moratorium on the hunting of curlews and black-tailed godwits earlier this month. A few days ago, the French Ministry of the Environment made things even worse by suddenly approving rights to kill six thousand curlews (and thirty thousand turtle doves). “Unacceptable and unheard of in this Year of the Curlew“, says the CDA politician, who therefore asks emergency questions to European Union Commissioner Karmenu Vella (Environment) just before the summer break. She wants to know how the Commission will prevent a possible reopening of the black-tailed godwit hunt and will stop the re-admitted French curlew hunting.

“The French shooting of curlews is in no way justifiable and is contrary to all guidelines,” says Schreijer. “Although the European curlew population is still half a million birds, the numbers of nesting curlews in our country have already fallen by forty percent between 1990 and 2015. It is not for nothing that the bird is on the red list. ”The European Commission stated earlier that hunting for a species of bird should not be reopened if the species in question decreases in number. That is the case with curlew and black-tailed godwit.

Schreijer-Pierik emphasizes that there are no legitimate reasons like combating damage or a credible bird recovery plan in the case of France. That is why the CDA politician is once again asking for sanctions by the European Commission against the French curlew hunting. Infringement proceedings may force France to comply with EU bird legislation.

Schreijer wants the European Commissioner to make clear which side he is on: “Or can big France as the only country in the EU continue to get away with this type of practice?”. Destroying what Dutch, Belgian and other European farmers, agricultural nature associations, bird protectors and governments do for the curlew, warns the MEP. “It involves millions of euros in national and European subsidies for meadow bird management. Or will the European Commission again claim that the decline of the European curlew is the fault of agriculture?”

Part of the reason of decline of farmland birds, along with hunting, is indeed unsustainable Big Business industrial agriculture. Ever since the 1950s, the European Union and its predecessors have stimulated replacing small scale sustainable farming with unsustainable Big Business farming.

The current reform proposals of the EU Commission on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are unlikely to improve environmental protection, say researchers. While the EU has committed to greater sustainability, this is not reflected in the CAP reform proposal: here.

After Trump, Macron militarises space


This 13 October 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Donald Trump’s Space Force THREATENS NASA: JFK niece condemns US President

DONALD Trump’s Space Force was attacked for threatening NASA and global climate interests on the 60th anniversary of the space agency’s birth, by film director Rory Kennedy.

The accomplished film director and niece of the late President John F Kennedy told Express.co.uk of her “disappointment” in the current US presidency.

Ms Kennedy, who has filmed a documentary celebrating 60 years of NASA’s existence Above & Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow, fears the White House’s militarisation of space could starve the space agency of funding, focus and public interest.

The proposed Space Force branch of the US military was announced by Donald Trump during a meeting of the National Space Council on June 18, 2018.

If the proposal passes through, the Space Force will join ranks with the US Army, US Navy, US Marine Corps, US Air Force and US Coast Guard.

Announcing his bold plans, Mr Trump said: “It is not merely enough that we have American presence in space.

“We must have American dominance in space.”

The film director argued some of the biggest challenges facing the planet today – namely human-led climate change – are being ignored by the US President and his cabinet.

She recalled her uncle’s iconic Rice Stadium speech in Houston from 1962, where President Kennedy announced his goal of landing on the Moon.

Ms Kennedy argued, the US’ interests in space at the time were motivated by the spirit of discovery, cooperation and looking forward to a brighter future.

As outlined in her documentary, the groundwork laid down by President Kennedy and NASA led to the discovery of the damaged ozone layer, the 1987 Montreal Protocol in response and the International Space Station (ISS).

She told Express.co.uk: “I think my uncle made a number of really amazing points in that speech, where he said: ‘We choose to go to the Moon.

“‘We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because the goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills.’

“I love that idea, which really contrasts to what we’re experiencing today, where a leader is really tapping into the best in all of us and encouraging us to work together towards a lofty aspiring goal.”

Ms Kennedy, the youngest child of the late Bobby Kennedy, said from the moment of NASA’s birth under Dwight Eisenhower, the vision was to have a “non-military entity” which could explore, share and impart knowledge with the rest of the world.

But 60 years on, NASA’s interests as the world’s leading space agency are at risk of losing resources and interest in exchange for militarising space.

This, in turn, could have a negative impact on research into climate change and the growing number of climate-related catastrophes – from hurricanes in the Atlantic to droughts and typhoons in the Pacific.

Ms Kennedy, who “grew up in the Apollo era”, said: “I think there is definitely a concern – there are only so many resources that we have.

“I think there is not really a sense right now that there is a need for an emerging presence in space and I think we haven’t done such a good job on this planet having the military play such a significant role.

“Given the urgency and the scientific truth around climate change and the number of deaths last year in Puerto Rico – 3,000 people died – these things are fatal and they’re scientific and they are only going to worse unless we make a dramatic move to redirect attention.

“I think that will only come through leadership and legislative action, so one of the greatest disappointments of this presidency is that there is not a greater appreciation of the scientists and the data that that is coming from the scientists.

“There is no policy that reflects what we know to be factual and true.”

From AFP news agency today:

Macron announces creation of French space force

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday he had approved the creation of a space command within the French air force …

The declaration — made on the eve of France’s Bastille Day national celebrations that feature a military parade down Paris’s Champs-Elysees — mirrors an initiative in the US championed by President Donald Trump. …

Defence Minister Florence Parly would reveal details of the funding at a later date, he added. …

France has a 2019-2025 military spending plan that allocates 3.6 billion euros ($4 billion) to defence in space.

That includes the renewal of the France’s CSO observation and Syracuse communication satellites, the launch of three CERES electromagnetic-monitoring satellites, and the modernisation of a spatial radar surveillance system called GRAVES.

The Pentagon has drafted plans for a new Space Force on orders from Trump who has declared space a “war-fighting domain”.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s administration announced this month the creation of a military space command and detailed plans to place anti-satellite weapons systems in orbit. The announcement is the latest step in a military build-up by France and the EU imperialist powers, and part of preparations to wage “great power” wars, including between nuclear-armed states: here.

After 18 months of consultations, the high commissioner for pension reform, Jean Paul Delevoye, will today provide French President Emmanuel Macron with his recommendations for an attack on pensions to be implemented in the autumn. The announcement will be of great social and political significance. Despite widespread social anger and the isolation of the ruling class revealed in the mass “yellow vest” protests, the Macron government is making no concessions. It is accelerating the campaign to destroy the social rights established after the Second World War and the fall of fascism: here.

French Macron helps Libyan anti-refugee armed gangs


This 30 May 2017 video says about itself:

Humanitarian groups accuse Libyan coast guard of ‘endangering refugee lives’

Search and rescue organisations in the Mediterranean Sea are accusing the Libyan coastguard of reckless behaviour that’s endangering lives.

A series of incidents caught on camera appears to show Libyan ships trying to prevent refugees from being pulled from the water. Refugees also say they’ve been robbed and shot at by Libyan forces. Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee reports from Sicily.

By Anthony Torres and Alex Lantier in France:

France illegally arming Libyan coastguards to stop refugees from Africa

1 June 2019

While hundreds of thousands of refugees are attempting to escape Libya to Europe, the Macron government in France is providing the Libyan coastguard with six ships to catch refugees sailing to Europe and return them to Libya, where they are imprisoned in concentration camps. The policy, which has been condemned by multiple human rights organizations because of the prevalence of torture, rape, slavery and murder in the camps, is both barbaric and illegal.

At a February security conference in Munich, Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly informed Faïez el-Sarraj, the President of the Government of National Unity based in Tripoli, that France had purchased six boats for Libya. The purpose was to stop the flow of migrants attempting to journey across the Mediterranean. According to the press, the ships, built by the company Sillinger, which equips the French special forces, include dedicated supports for the Libyan regime to mount machine guns.

On May 10, the Paris Administrative Court rejected the request of eight human rights organizations—including Amnesty International, Doctors without Borders, Cimade, and Migreurop—to suspend the boats’ delivery. They had pointed to European and UN embargoes against the sale of arms to Libya, and the “foreseeable consequences of the delivery of the six boats for the human rights of migrants and refugees intercepted and returned to Libyan soil.”

In the French-language press, a deafening silence reigns over the atrocious conditions in which refugees are being held in Libyan camps built with the financial support of the European powers. By 2017, human rights organizations and CNN had reported torture, sexual abuse and murder in the detention centers (See: “Amnesty International report exposes EU role in mass torture of refugees in Libya”).

Last November, La Croix interviewed Vincent Cochetel, special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, on the conditions for refugees detained in Libya.

When asked whether the practicing of slavery in Libya reported in 2017 was disappearing, Cochetel replied: “On the contrary, these practices have increased in number. As it is more difficult to leave Libyan soil, traffickers need to monetize their investment by exploiting even more detainees who are sold or lent by the day. In addition, detention situations have deteriorated.”

He added, “We don’t know much about detention centers controlled by traffickers and militia. But … since the beginning of the year, 14,595 people have been intercepted at sea by the Libyan coastguard and repatriated to Libyan soil. Some of them were finally able to return home with the help of the International Organization for Migration. But it is clear that a large proportion of them have been sold to traffickers to be used for labour on farms or construction sites, or even, for women, for sexual exploitation.”

Cochetel’s testimony underscores that the denunciations of human trafficking by European countries are entirely cynical, because the concentration camps they have built are an essential component of the financial strategy of these networks. According to Cochetel, Libyan law specifies that any irregular foreigner must “pay a fine or hard labour. This legal framework promotes human trafficking and the detention system is part of its business model.”

Libya is currently experiencing a resurgence of civil war between the militias that NATO powers supported during the imperialist war waged in 2011 to destroy the Gaddafi regime. The growth in military conflict, against the backdrop of a struggle for influence between Paris, Rome and other regional powers in the strategic and oil-rich country, only intensifies the suffering of refugees.

Marshal Khalifa Haftar, in conflict with the puppet government in Tripoli, launched an offensive in early April to conquer the capital. According to UN agencies, at least 278 people were killed, 1,332 injured and 35,000 displaced. The International Committee of the Red Cross stated: “The humanitarian situation in and around Tripoli has deteriorated severely in the past three weeks.”

Michael Neuman of MSF, an NGO that still has staff on the ground in Libya, testified to La Croix: “Libyan coastguards are menacing when they intercept migrants at sea, and systematically send them to detention centres. France is complicit in these practices.”

Nevertheless, despite unequivocal evidence, the Paris Administrative Court approved the transfer of the six French ships to Libya to force the refugees to remain in that country: “The decision to make such a free transfer of equipment intended for the Libyan armed forces is not detachable from the conduct of France’s external relations.” The court therefore declared itself incompetent to issue a judgment preventing the transfer of the vessels to the Libyan coastguard.

In other words, French foreign policy is not “detachable” from the torture, rape and murder of thousands of refugees, and a calculated disregard for their basic democratic rights. French policy follows the strategy of Rome, which has also concluded agreements with militia, particularly in Sabratha, to prevent boats from departing for Europe.

This also underlines the fraudulent nature of the official propaganda calling upon workers and youth to vote for pro-EU parties, supposedly to block the rise of neo-fascist organizations. In fact, the imperialist war in Libya has paved the way for the criminalisation of European foreign policy, in line with the xenophobia openly incited by the extreme-right.

This is an unforgettable lesson in the nature of the imperialist war in Libya—as well as the charlatanry of the pro-imperialist petty-bourgeois “left” who applauded NATO’s bombing of Libya as a “humanitarian” operation to liberate the country from Gaddafi.

Postmodernist essayist Bernard Henri-Lévy and the leaders of Olivier Besancenot’s New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) insisted that the country should be bombed, and that rebel Islamist or tribal militias must be armed in order to overthrow the regime. In 2011 Professor Gilbert Achcar of the NPA said that French imperialism should be called upon to protect Libya: “We are in a situation where the population is really in danger and there is no other alternative to protect them.”

These representatives of the wealthy middle classes, whose careers depend on their presence in the official media or on the state funding of their university research, have all adopted the view that imperialism could liberate Libya through a democratic revolution. It was a pack of lies. Now their “democratic revolution” has restored slavery and the most atrocious abuses, partly financed and facilitated by European money and military equipment.

AIRSTRIKES ON MIGRANT CENTER KILL AT LEAST 40 At least 40 people were killed and 80 injured when an airstrike hit a migrant center east of the Libyan capital of Tripoli early Wednesday, according to the Health Ministry’s emergency service Field Medicine and Support Center. [CNN]

In an address to the National Assembly last night, French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced a series of far-reaching austerity measures, particularly targeting pensions and unemployment payments, as well as new attacks against immigrants and Muslims: here.

Macron against free speech in France


This 23 May 2019 French France Inter video says about itself (translated):

When the secret police summons the journalists

Several journalists have been summonsed recently by the General Directorate for Internal Security. Yesterday, we learned about the summoning of Ariane Chemin, a journalist at Le Monde, by the General Directorate for Internal Security. We say, the “DGSI”. Reason: her revelations about the Benalla affair and about others close to the Elysee [presidential palace of Emmanuel Macron].

Astonishment. Even the Washington Post in the United States wrote about it tonight. What do investigators want to know? Who are the sources of Ariane Chemin? What documents does she possess? Is there an attempt to intimidate?

The case is all the more disturbing as, at the same time, a number of journalists (eight to our knowledge), is being summoned one after the other by the DGSI for their work on what, this time? On French arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Are there banned subjects in our country?

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Summons for Le Monde reporter amid scandal

FRENCH unions and campaign groups warned of a worrying clampdown on free speech today, after Le Monde reporter Ariane Chemin became the fifth journalist to receive a summons in recent weeks.

Her call to meet French intelligence services is believed to have stemmed from her reporting on French President Emmanuel Macron’s former aide Alexandre Benalla.

Ms Chemin broke the news in May 2018 that Mr Benalla had posed as a police officer to attack protesters at a [May Day] demonstration.

The reporting caused a scandal, after it was revealed that Mr Benalla held several diplomatic passports months after he was sacked, allowing him to meet a number of African leaders.

It emerged that Mr Benalla had allegedly negotiated financial deals with Russian oligarchs, including one between former French air officer Chokri Wakrim and Iskander Makhmudov, who is alleged to have links to the Russian mafia.

Mr Wakrim’s wife Marie-Elodie Poitout was forced to resign as head of security at Matignon after it was revealed that she had hosted Mr Benalla at the [Matignon] prime minister’s residence after his sacking.

Mr Macron survived a vote of no confidence last year, however, the scandal has continued to plague his government.

The journalist has been summoned for “committing or attempting to commit the offence of revealing or disclosing, by any means, any information that could lead, directly or indirectly, to the identification of a person as a member of special forces.”

She could face jail if found guilty.

However, Le Monde defended Ms Chemin and said in an editorial: “We express our worries regarding this summons: the public interest implies the capacity to investigate the links and relationships of collaborators of the Elysee and Matignon, whatever their previous careers.”

Last week two journalists from the NGO Disclose and one from Radio France’s investigation department were summoned regarding the publication of revelations on French weapons used in the war in Yemen.

Committee to Protect Journalists co-ordinator Gulzona Said said: “We are concerned by French police summoning journalists of different media outlets, including Le Monde, over their reports.

“It is of vital importance for a free press that journalists are able to work uncensored while protecting the confidentiality of their sources.

“French authorities should respect that, and allow journalists to continue informing the French public about an important news story.”