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.

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.”

French Macron meets Bahraini absolute monarch

Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, right, is greeted by French President Emmanuel Macron before a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, today

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Macron urged to demand Bahraini king releases political prisoners during state visit

Failing to raise the issue would be ‘a stain on France’s historical commitment to human rights’, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said

Hundreds of thousands of French workers demonstrated on Thursday as part of a nationwide public sector strike to oppose the Emmanuel Macron government’s draft law on the “modernization” of the public sector: here.

Libyans protest against French Macron’s war

This 20 April 2019 video says about itself:

Libyans accuse France of backing Tripoli assault

Hundreds of “yellow vest” protesters demonstrated in the Libyan capital Tripoli against an offensive by military strongman Khalifa Haftar accusing France of backing him. Wearing the trademark yellow vests of French anti government demonstrators, they flooded the central Tripoli square … Friday’s rally came days after a smaller protest brought out dozens of “yellow jacket” demonstrators.

“Today on the Martyrs Square, we [demonstrate] against the invasion of gangs led by the terrorist Khalifa Haftar. We say no to military rule and no to an individual rule but yes to a civil state”, said Ali Abboud, Libyan protester.

“At Martyrs Square we reject the crime committed by the war criminal Haftar, against the militarisation of the state and against the targeting of civilians with bombs and blind missiles. We call for a civil state, God willing”, said Abdullah, Libyan protester. …

More than 200 people have been killed and more than 900 wounded since the violence erupted, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.