Rape suspect becomes new French Interior Minister


This French TV video says about itself (translated):

Gérald Darmanin, first day under pressure

Barely appointed, already controversial: Gérald Darmanin is a new, already weakened Minister of the Interior. Accused of rape, still under investigation, he attracts the wrath of feminist associations which have multiplied their demonstrations throughout the day. They demand his resignation. A BFMTV document of Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

By Ben Chacko, 8 July 2020:

French Prime Minister defends appointment of Interior Minister facing rape charge

FRANCE’S new Prime Minister, Jean Castex, today defended his appointment of Gérald Darmanin as Interior Minister despite the latter facing a rape charge.

Mr Castex said the charges against Mr Darmanin weren’t relevant as everybody is innocent until proven guilty.

Feminist organisations led protests in Paris on Tuesday over his appointment and that of new Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti, who attacked the #MeToo movement against rape and sexual harassment, complaining that “crazy” women were “crucifying” men on social media, and condemned France’s 2018 ban on street harassment of women as a “joke”.

Like new right-wing Prime Minister Castex, Darmanin is a former acolyte of discredited right-wing ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy.

French-Italian proxy oil war in Libya continues


This 8 May 2019 video says about itself:

Italy Pressures France Over Support For Libya’s Rebels

France has backed Libyan rebel General Khalifa Haftar’s efforts … But after complaints from the Italian government, the French have apparently backed off their vocal support of Haftar’s advance on Tripoli. But the head of Libya’s Taghyeer Party says Haftar is taking advantage of diverging international interests in Libya to get ahead.

Guests:
Guma el Gamaty
Head of Libya’s Taghyeer Party

Mohamed Eljarh
Founder and CEO of Libya Outlook

Anne Giudicelli
CEO of Terr(o)Risc

By Alex Lantier in France:

Bombing of Turkey’s Watiya base escalates Franco-Italian proxy war in Libya

8 July 2020

Even as COVID-19 spreads, the decade-long civil war between rival imperialist-backed warlords triggered by the 2011 NATO war in Libya is spiraling out of control.

On July 5, unidentified warplanes bombed al-Watiya airbase, which Italian-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) forces recently retook from French-backed Libyan National Army (LNA) forces of Khalifa Haftar. The attack damaged hangars and destroyed military equipment from Turkey, which is coordinating its support for the GNA with Italy. LNA official Khaled al Mahjoub told Al Arabiya that “other attacks similar to the one on the base will soon be carried out. … We are in a real war with Turkey, which has oil ambitions in Libya.”

Turkish military sources told Spanish news site Atalayar the raid included “nine precision airstrikes against Turkish air defense systems,” which wounded several Turkish intelligence officials. They added that the attacks were “successful” and left “three radars completely destroyed.” However, Atalayar refuted reports that MiG-29 or Su-24 jets Moscow has given the LNA carried out the strikes, saying that it was the work of French-made Rafale jets.

Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and France itself all field Rafales, support the LNA, and could have bombed al-Watiya. On June 21, Egyptian dictator General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi threatened to intervene in Libya against Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s office reacted to the strike by tweeting that Turkey would escalate operations in Libya, attacking the coastal city of Sirte and Al Jufra, Libya’s largest airbase, both located in central Libya and held by LNA forces. It cited control of oil supply lines and Russian support for the LNA to justify its intervention.

The bombing of al-Watiya, barely 150km from Tripoli, followed visits by Turkish and Italian officials. It came only a few hours after Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar concluded a trip to Tripoli, during which he proclaimed, “Turkish sovereignty and our return, after the withdrawal of our ancestors, to return forever in Libya.” This apparently referred to the Turkish Ottoman Empire’s control over Libya, until Italy seized Libya and held it as a colony from 1911 until 1943 and its defeat during World War II.

On June 24, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio visited Tripoli, after meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara and amid joint Turkish-Italian naval drills. In Tripoli, he said the war was central to Rome’s strategic interests, calling Libya “a priority for our foreign policy and national security.”

The strike on al-Watiya has revealed the bitter divisions among the NATO imperialist powers, as well as between the regional powers, over the division of the spoils from the 2011 war.

Amid revolutionary uprisings of the working class in Egypt and Tunisia in 2011, Paris, London and Washington pushed NATO to bomb Libya and arm Islamist and tribal militias to topple Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Berlin declined to join the war, and the belligerent powers ran roughshod over initial Turkish objections. Western media and petty-bourgeois pseudo-left groups like France’s New Anti-capitalist Party claimed it was a humanitarian war to protect Libyan protesters, but it was an imperialist rape of Libya.

It set the stage not only for the ongoing proxy war in Syria between Russia and NATO, which sent to Syria many Islamist proxy militias it had mobilized in Libya, but for a ruthless struggle to carve up Libya and its massive oil reserves.

Thousands have died in fighting between rival militias unleashed by the 2011 war, and the coronavirus pandemic is now ravaging Libya. The number of cases doubled in the last two weeks of June, to 713, and now stands at 1,117. Only 269 have recovered while 34 have died, as the disease spreads across a country whose health and industrial infrastructure have been shattered by a decade of bloodshed.

This month, the International Rescue Committee reported: “This year Libya has recorded the highest number of attacks on health facilities of any country in the world. Just yesterday, an ambulance was hit by an airstrike, severely damaging the vehicle and the health facility close by. Last week two doctors were killed by a mine that exploded under a body they were moving from a hospital. With Libya’s health system already on its knees, continued attacks such as these are making it even harder for medical teams in the country to respond to the pandemic.”

The NATO powers are not bringing medical and humanitarian aid, however, but plundering Libya and threatening to escalate the fighting into an all-out regional war. Several regional powers play a major role—with Turkey and Algeria backing the GNA, and Egypt and the UAE backing the LNA. Moscow has also intervened to back the LNA against the Islamist-dominated GNA. However, a decisive aspect of the conflict is between major oil corporations like France’s Total and Italy’s ENI.

On July 3, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency wrote that the GNA is “advancing on Sirte, the gateway to the east of the country and oil fields.” It called Sirte “crucial” for two reasons: “First, Sirte has significant economic value as a gateway to Libya’s oil crescent region, consisting of vital ports such as al-Zuweytinah, Ra’s Lanuf, Marsa al Brega, and as-Sidr, which reportedly supplies 60 percent of Libya’s oil exports. Secondly, it is a strategic city that could enable the GNA to take control of the Libyan coastline from the capital to the west and Benghazi to the east.”

ENI dominates the oilfields in GNA-held northwestern Libya. But many of the oil reserves and refineries in the “oil crescent” region are held by Total and LNA militias in the Cyrenaica region around Benghazi, the center of the NATO-backed revolt against Gaddafi, and in the Fezzan. This region in southern Libya borders two former French colonies, Niger and Tchad, that Paris exerts control over as part of its so-called war on terror in Mali and the Sahel.

Conflicts between the NATO imperialist powers are increasingly evident. Commenting on French support for Haftar, Tarek Megerisi of the European Council on Foreign Relations told the Financial Times: “France has different interests to Germany and Italy in Libya, and it has moved to protect these interests. It has security interests in the Sahel and a wider security partnership that it is building with the United Arab Emirates—and in which Egypt is a big part.”

Dorothée Schmid of the French Institute on International Relations (IFRI) said there is “strategic panic” in Paris at Haftar’s recently suffered reverses. She pointed to growing chaos and uncertainty in NATO: “France is rather isolated in this affair, and everyone is waiting for the American elections.”

The only way to avert a further escalation is a mobilization of the working class in Africa and the Middle East, resuming the struggles launched a decade ago, and the unification of these struggles with growing strikes and protests in America and Europe in a socialist anti-war movement. Absent a revolutionary intervention of the working class, the ruling elites are all sliding towards war.

Naval tensions continue to grow in the Mediterranean. France withdrew from NATO operations in the Mediterranean on July 1, protesting that a Turkish warship allegedly threatened to fire on a French frigate as it tried to inspect a merchant ship bound for Libya. Egypt has for its part reportedly acquired a Russian “Bastion” coastal defense battery amid reports that Turkey intends to set up a naval base in the Libyan city of Misrata.

Macron jealous of prime minister, sacks him


This 3 July 2020 video says about itself:

France: Jean Castex named new prime minister after Philippe resigns

Jean Castex was appointed as the new French Prime Minister in Paris on Friday. Earlier today, Edouard Philippe handed in his resignation.

Footage shows the official residence of the Prime Minister of France Hotel Matignon.

A cabinet reshuffle has was widely expected after French President Emmanuel Macron promised to chart a “new path” for the last remaining two years of his term. Macron’s party En Marche had experienced a major setback in the municipal elections last Sunday.

Mr Castex was a right-hand man of disgraced right-wing ex-President Sarkozy. In the Macron administration, his job was recently ‘reopening the economy‘ in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic in France.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

French Prime Minister Philippe and his cabinet have stepped down. This was announced by the Elysée, President Macron‘s palace. The president had already said he wanted to reshuffle the cabinet. Macron’s party, La République en Marche (LREM), suffered a large loss in the municipal elections on Sunday.

In recent months, Édouard Philippe had become prefered to Macron for many French people.

Police, racism and anti-racism


Footballers take a knee in solidarity with anti-racist demonstrations

This AFP photo shows women footballers at the German match Bayer Leverkusen-SGS Essen taking a knee in solidarity with anti-racist demonstrations.

By Bethany Rielly in Britain, 16 June 2020:

Cumbria‘s police seven time more likely to fine BAME people than white people, new figures show

CUMBRIAN police are almost seven times more likely to fine black and ethnic minority (BAME) people under coronavirus laws than white people, new figures show.

Figures obtained by Liberty Investigates, part of the human rights group Liberty, determined the ethnic breakdown of fines issued by 25 out of 43 police forces in England and Wales.

It found that 18 were more likely to issue fines to BAME people, with Cumbria police demonstrating the most disproportionate use of fines at 6.8 times.

ASSA TRAORÉ (centre), sister of Adama Traoré, killed by French police in Paris in 2016, taking part in the Paris health workers' demonstration

This photo shows Assa Traore (centre), sister of Adama Traore, killed by French police in Paris in 2016, taking part in the Paris health workers’ demonstration, along with firefighters.

Colonial abuses haunt France’s racism debate. By Lucy Williamson, BBC Paris correspondent.

From daily News Line in Britain, 18 June 2020:

French Police Chokehold Mutiny

NATIONWIDE demonstrations in France on Tuesday demanding better pay and resources for health workers were the subject of repeated police attacks.

18,000 people attended demonstrations in Paris during a national health workers’ strike.

Police fired tear gas

Officials said … more than 30 arrests were made.

Across France, hospital staff have been demanding government action on pay, recruitment and more beds in hospitals.

Unions say the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the French health system and want a major boost in investment.

In France, the number of people confirmed to have died from coronavirus infection reached 29,439 on Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, the French government has retreated before its own army of riot police.

The French government has dropped plans to ban the use of the controversial and deadly chokehold method during police arrests following agitation from the police unions, who threatened strike action if they were not allowed to choke their victims.

The government’s ban on the chokehold has now been binned after the police organised five days of their own demonstrations.

The death of Adama Traoré in Paris in 2016 has been likened to the killing of George Floyd. Protesters in France held signs displaying his name and have accused police of using brutality towards minorities.

Mass demonstrations led Interior Minister Christophe Castaner to announce that there would be ‘zero tolerance’ of racism in law enforcement, and a ban on the chokehold method – where pressure is applied to the neck of a suspect.

But police unions and officers, in a series of counter-demonstrations, rallied on the Champs-Élysées, throwing their handcuffs on the ground.

On Monday, national police director Frédéric Veaux sent a letter to staff clarifying the announcements made by the interior minister. In it, he said the measure would no longer be taught in training schools but could be used ‘with discernment’.

Police racism in France, the Netherlands


Anti-racist demonstrators in Marseille, France this week

Translated from Dutch NOS radio, by Frank Renout, today:

Human Rights Watch: French police officers discriminate and engage in ethnic profiling

If even an often pro-establishment organisation like Human Rights Watch says that …

The French police are guilty of abuse of power and discrimination. “Young people with a black or North African appearance are more often than average arrested for identity checks, especially in certain deprived neighborhoods,” said director Bénédicte Jeannerod of human rights organization Human Rights Watch in France. “It seems that the police do ethnic profiling. That is illegal. Young people tell us that they are also racially treated by police officers.”

Human Rights Watch is publishing a report on the French police this morning. The organization conducted a year of research in France, listed studies and spoke to more than 90 victims.

A few years ago, the French Ombudsman published a study that found that young people with a black or North African appearance are up to 20 times more likely to be stopped by the police.

Also minors

In its report, Human Rights Watch lets the young people speak for themselves. “Many of them say they were arrested because of their appearance or where they live and not because of their behaviour,” the organization said.

It is remarkable that minors are also victims. “Even children from 10 to 12 years old are arrested on the street for no reason, and searched by force, just because their skin colour is different,” says Jeannerod.

Children are placed with their hands against a wall by policemen in front of their friends or in front of their school. Their genitals or buttocks are touched, reports the human rights organization. Young people have to show their wallets and explain where their money comes from. Photos on their phone are viewed to make sure it is not a stolen phone.

“They treat us like dogs,” says one of the children in the report.

Jeannerod: “Such actions are very frightening for the children involved. But it also drives a huge wedge between population groups and the police. Confidence in police officers has disappeared. And that undermines the work of the police in some districts.”

Sensitive moment

Human Rights Watch’s criticism comes at a sensitive time. Following the United States, France has been demonstrating on a large scale against police brutality and racism for weeks. The government therefore announced measures earlier this month. Racism would be tackled strongly and the controversial chokehold was banned.

[After police pressure], the government backtracked: the chokehold may still be used for the time being.

“The government must come up with stricter rules,” said director Jeannerod. Now police officers are allowed to stop someone for an investigation at their own discretion. Then prejudice can play a role.

Moreover, the arrest is not recorded anywhere on paper. “As a result, victims have no guidance or evidence, and the authorities have no idea how often it happens and whether such an identity check is effective in tackling crime.”

Black Lives Matter The Hague, 20 June 2020

This banner is about a Black Lives demonstration on the Malieveld in The Hague, the Netherlands, on 20 June. It is against a new law which makes prosecuting police officers for violence more difficult.

On Friday 19 June, 17.00-19.00 there is a demonstration in Zutphen in the Netherlands, Hanzehal parking lot, Fanny Blankers-Koenweg.

Black Lives Matter in France


Assa Traore, the sister of Adama Traore addressing a 20,000-strong demonstration in Paris, France demanding justice for her brother, murdered by police and in support of the Black Lives Matter protests in the US last week

This photo shows Assa Traore, the sister of Adama Traore addressing a 20,000-strong demonstration in Paris, France demanding justice for her brother, murdered by police and in support of the Black Lives Matter protests in the US last week.

From daily News Line in Britain today:

‘We are fighting for our brother in the US George Floyd and for Adama’ as 20,000 march in Paris defying ban

IN THE WAKE of last week’s mass Black Lives Matter protests against police racism and brutality in France, the Macron government has announced a ban on the chokehold method of arrests.

On the eve of his election to the French presidency, Emmanuel Macron promised to lead an ‘uncompromising’ fight against police violence and impunity.

‘I want to change the culture, the management and the recruitment of French police,’ the future president told news website Mediapart on May 5th, 2017, ahead of his victorious run-off against the far right’s Marine Le Pen.

‘When there is manifestly a problem, the police hierarchy must be challenged,’ he added.

Three years on, the only visible change is the widened gulf between French police and large swathes of the public, spurred on by riot police violence against the Yellow Vests movement.

On Monday, Jacques Toubon, France’s human rights ombudsman, raised the alarm over a ‘crisis of public confidence in the security forces.’ In a wide-ranging damning report, Toubon urged a reversal of what he described as a ‘warring mentality’ in law enforcement.

Defying police orders, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Paris and other French cities last week to protest against police racism and impunity. Demonstrators voiced their support for the Black Lives Matter protests and demanded justice for Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old French Malian black man who, like George Floyd in the US, died while in police custody in the Paris suburbs in 2016.

Over the weekend, tens of thousands of people across France continued to pay homage to both Traoré and Floyd, denouncing systemic racism and police brutality in a dozen cities including Lyon, Lille, Nice, Bordeaux and Metz.

Fearing violence, French police banned protests in front of the US Embassy and on the Champ de Mars lawns in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Saturday.

In response, the Elysée presidential palace on Monday said in a statement that Macron had spoken to cabinet ministers over the weekend, urging them to come up with proposals to rapidly improve policing practices.

Hours later, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner unveiled a first batch of measures, including a ban on the controversial chokehold method of arrest that has been blamed for past fatalities.

‘It will no longer be taught in police and gendarmerie schools. It is a method that has its dangers,’ he told a press conference.

Castaner said too many officers ‘have failed their republican duty’ in recent weeks, as several instances of racist and discriminatory remarks were revealed.

The minister said he would request the suspension of officers involved in suspected racism, referring to an investigation into racist messages allegedly exchanged by police officers in a private Facebook group of nearly 8,000 members and that the use of body cameras would be beefed up.

Castaner told reporters: ‘Racism has no place in our society and even less in our Republican police. I will not let the hateful actions of some officers stigmatise the police as a whole.’

However, he added: ‘I refuse to say that the police institution is racist, but yes some police officers are racist.’

Last week, during last Tuesday’s (June 2nd) protests in Paris, Assa Traoré, Adama Traoré’s older sister, drew parallels between Floyd and her brother, saying the two black men died the same way at the hands of police.

‘Tonight, this fight is no longer just the fight of the Traoré family, it’s everyone’s struggle,’ she said. ‘We are fighting for our brother in the US, George Floyd, and for Adama.

The French capital alone saw crowds of more than 20,000 people defying a ban on large gatherings …

That same day Castaner had defended the police, criticising peaceful protests that turned violent. In a tweet, he said that violence has no place in a democracy. And he congratulated the police for ‘their control and composure’.

Macron met Castaner and the prime minister Edouard Philippe, last Sunday a day after 23,000 people protested in several French cities to demand justice for victims of crimes allegedly committed by police.

For the first time since Traoré’s death in 2016, Macron asked Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet to look into the case.

While France famously doesn’t compile official statistics based on faith, ethnicity or skin colour, racial discrimination by law enforcement has been widely documented.

A study conducted by France’s National Centre for Scientific Research has shown that blacks are 11.5 times more likely to be checked by police than whites, and those of Arab origin are seven times more likely.

In a landmark 2016 case, France’s highest court ruled for the first time that police had illegally stopped three men based on racial profiling, setting more specific rules to ensure ID checks are not discriminatory.

France’s social and racial inequalities were once again exposed during the nationwide lockdown imposed in mid-March to stem the spread of Covid-19.

On the first day of confinement, the Seine-Saint-Denis department northeast of Paris – home to France’s poorest and most immigrant-rich districts – accounted for 10 per cent of all fines handed out for breaching the lockdown, despite comprising just over two per cent of the country’s population.

Over the subsequent weeks, videos of heavy-handed and racially-charged arrests circulated widely on French social media, prompting outrage.

Last Friday, June 5th, human rights ombudsman Toubon published his report.

His office said in a press statement: ‘Following the IPCAN (Independent Police Complaints Authorities’ Network) seminar organised by the Defender of Rights and the FRA (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights) last autumn, the Defender of Rights publishes today the account-report of two days of exchanges on police-population relations.

‘Reporting on the latest research, studies and numerous examples of national practices, the document synthesises the words of more than a hundred practitioners from France and Europe.

‘This publication is accompanied by a joint declaration by several members of the IPCAN network, who call for the implementation of some twenty recommendations in order to improve relations between the police and the population.

‘Organised on October 17 and 18, 2019, the 5th IPCAN seminar entitled “Police-population relations: issues and practices” was held in the offices of the Defender of Rights in Paris in the presence of representatives of the police force, public authorities, external control bodies of the police, lawyers, victim assistance services, and researchers as well as representatives of international organisations and institutions of the European Union.

‘Bringing together 150 experts over two days, this meeting aimed to analyse the moments of interaction between the police and the population, situations that can lead to tensions, as well as the actions implemented to strengthen relations between the police and the population.’

Plenary sessions and round tables focused on three themes:

  • Discrimination and profiling, especially during identity checks;
  • Managing public events;
  •  Reception and protection of victims, in particular vulnerable groups.

Police racism in France criticized


A demonstrator clenches her fist as she stands on a statue on the Place de la Republique during a rally against racism in Paris, France yesterday

By Ben Chacko, 10 June 2020:

Police racism in France under spotlight in wake of George Floyd protests

PRESSURE is growing on France to act over police racism in the wake of the George Floyd protests in the United States.

French media reported today complaints from the families of four 14-year-olds who were arrested by police on May 26 when they went into a grocer’s to buy drinks and sweets.

In custody the four report being slapped, abused as “stupid Maghrebians” (a reference to the north African region including Algeria) and “faggots”. that a police officer told colleagues to “put the two blacks together” and that they were accused of a number of unrelated crimes before being released 24 hours later.

Big French demonstrations against police brutality


This 3 June 2020 video says about itself:

George Floyd’s death reignites protests in Paris over black Frenchman’s 2016 death in police custody

As the protests sparked by George Floyd’s death spread nationwide in the US, demonstrations have erupted in Paris over Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old black Frenchman who died in police custody four years ago. About 20,000 people showed up for the protest, and police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Demonstrations took place across France, with thousands of people attending rallies in Lille, Marseille, and Lyon.

Translated from Frank Renout, Dutch NOS radio correspondent in France, today:

Police brutality in France exposes lack of confidence

Again, there are mass demonstrations against police brutality in France. George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis is lamented, but also seen as an ‘opportunity’: to draw attention to French abuses. Police officers are often suspects in France.

“They kill us, injure us, attack us and insult us. We have to protest against that. It has taken way too long,” said a young female black protester in Paris.

The black community in France has been complaining about the actions of the police for years. Scientists confirm that feeling. “There is structural discrimination,” said sociologist Laurent Mucchielli on French TV.

People with a black or North African appearance are stopped by the police in Paris 7 to 8 times as often as people with white skin, research a number of years ago has shown.

Yellow vests

But another group is also present at the demonstrations in France: the Yellow Vests. They took to the streets en masse last year. Those demonstrations often resulted in hard clashes with the on-call police. Agents deploy rubber bullets and grenades, which critics say are too heavy weapons to use in demonstrations. In a year, nearly 2500 demonstrating Yellow Vests were injured, government figures show.

But officers are hardly, if at all, called to account for the use of excessive force, let alone punished. The French police are therefore criticized from various angles. This puts the government of President Macron in a difficult position.

It can hardly ignore the criticism that is widely felt and shared. Public opinion is partly formed by those scientific studies of discrimination and by the photos of mutilated Yellow Vests.

Hushing words

At the same time, the government desperately needs those same police officers

Macron and his ministers cannot just go against their own law enforcement officers.

In recent days, therefore, there were a lot of soothing words. “About 85 percent of the French have a positive or very positive view of the police,” said Interior Minister Christophe Castaner this week.

He based himself on a large-scale national study. But the minister did not say that it was not a representative sample. People could register themselves to answer questions. “The answers varied greatly by region,” admitted research leader Stéphane Daubignard. Opinions about the police in the upscale neighbourhoods of Paris may be very different from those in problem neighbourhoods around the capital.

In addition, the study was not conducted recently but “in the course of 2019”. … George Floyd was still alive. Daubignard: “Public opinion may have changed since we conducted that survey.”

Confidence is hard to find

The French Christian aid organization Acat published a lengthy investigation into the working methods of the police this year. Many problems were exposed in this, but many solutions were also proposed.

In essence, the solution, according to Acat, is simple: “Trust must be restored between the French population and law enforcement officers.” But especially with the black community, which feels systematically discriminated against, and with demonstrators like the Yellow Vests, who do not feel physically safe, trust is still a long way off.

Warmongering first, French sailors´ lives a poor second


This 11 April 2020 video from Britain says about itself:

Is Piers Morgan right about coronavirus and the Iraq war?

Piers Morgan speaks to talkRADIO’s Kevin O’Sullivan and says “the UK already has the fifth-highest death toll in the world” and suggests on the current trajectory, “we may end up with 40% in the UK of all European deaths.”

Piers thinks heads will need to roll across the board over the coronavirus outbreak “the government was taking advice from people that was clearly wrong.”

He adds that “we were very complacent in the first six weeks of this from the middle of January when the World Health Organisation first said this had the potential to be a global pandemic.” Piers is unhappy with government efforts to battle coronavirus: “The UK is in a lot of trouble…we are playing catch up, we are sending NHS staff into battle with their hands behind their back not properly protected.”

Piers Morgan highlighted the importance of holding the government to account because: “During the Iraq war I took a position of challenging the government intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. We didn’t think that it met the criteria of evidence to justify war, and we thought that it was illegal for us to then go to war without a UN second resolution.”

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Over 1000 crew members infected on French aircraft carrier

About 40 percent of the crew of the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle are infected with the coronavirus, authorities have announced. This concerns over 1000 of the 2300 crew members. Several dozen sailors are in hospital, one of whom is in intensive care. It had already been announced earlier this week that many crew members were ill, but the number of infections detected is still increasing.

The Charles de Gaulle returned to its homeport in Toulon, South France, on Sunday, two weeks ahead of schedule. …

At the end of March, the aircraft carrier made a stopover in Brest, on the French west coast. French broadcaster France Bleu quotes a sailor who wants to remain anonymous: “The armed forces played with our lives.” According to him, some crew members already showed symptoms of the coronavirus in Brest.

The Charles de Gaulle left for the Eastern Mediterranean in January to support French military operations against Islamic militants

Really against ISIS? Or for (French corporation Total) oil?

in Iraq and Syria. Then it sailed to the Atlantic and Baltic Sea for war games.

Coronavirus casualty Frenchwoman naked in plastic bag


This 10 April 24020 French TV video is called (translated) Son of a coronavirus victim, Bruno Lefèvre denounces the corporation in charge of his mother’s funeral.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Dead body in French storage shed: naked in plastic bag in chest

In France, commotion has arisen about the warehouse where corpses are kept. It is a chilled hangar on the wholesale market ‘Rungis’, south of Paris. Normally for meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. Now the enormous hall serves to relieve the mortuaries in Paris.

“I was told that my mother had died and that I had to do something quickly: her body could not stay in the hospital”, said Frenchman Bruno Lefèvre on French television yesterday. He himself lived a great distance from Paris. Before he could organize things well by telephone, he was told that his mother’s body had already been taken to the shed in Rungis.

The bill for the unsolicited move also came immediately: 159 euros for the first six days that his mother was there and then 35 euros for each extra day. If he wanted to give his mother one last greeting, in the hangar: 55 euros. These days the cooled warehouse is managed by a funeral corporation. That says that it incurs costs for personnel, security and furnishing. The company suggested Lefèvre could have a small ceremony for his mother. That would then cost another 105 euros.

Lefèvre thought it was a great scandal. He had to pay to deal with his mother’s tragic death and has not been able to say goodbye since her death. If he wants to see her body again, then he has to pull out his wallet. “In the hospital they didn’t even want to give her things to get her dressed. Now she’s in a storage shed, naked in a plastic bag in a chest. I’m ashamed.”

Lefèvre’s story caused quite a commotion in France.