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They’re STILL After Your Fingerprints! – #PropagandaWatch

Corbett • 12/23/2019

Watch this video on BitChute / / YouTube

Remember when we looked at J. Edgar Hoover’s lame attempt to get the public to voluntarily send in their fingerprints to the FBI back in 1937? Well guess what? They’re baaaaaaack, and they’re at the post office this time. Find out about the FBI’s latest stupid attempt to steal your fingerprints on this week’s edition of #PropagandaWatch.


First they came for your fingerprints…

The FBI Teams Up With The Post Office To Get Your Fingerprints

FBI tweet and replies

December 23, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 1 Comment

France chronology in 2019: Year of Yellow Vest rebellion

By Ramin Mazaheri | Press TV | December 23, 2019

Before I list the (often unnoticed, misunderstood or covered-up) chronological facts of France’s incredible Yellow Vest year, allow me to briefly summarize it with a personal anecdote:

In mid-April I finally was able to get out of Paris for a few days in between Saturdays and I headed to the countryside, which I adore (in any nation). After a day of decompression something hit me: the metronomic sadism of certain, massive state violence every weekend was not at all a normal state of affairs… and yet Parisians were expending all their psychic energy to convince themselves that everything was indeed “normal”.

What was “everything” from January to mid-April? Every Saturday: Eight thousand cops on the streets of Paris, entire city areas shut down, guaranteed images of violence against unarmed protesters, indiscriminate tear gassings and police brutality, the world aghast at French-style democracy, the knowledge that no way was “President Jupiter” Emmanuel Macron going to make any concessions and that for many people (like me) every Saturday meant certainly risking limb and quite possibly life.

What I realized was that during the first third of the year Parisians did their typical best to be blasé; to act as if all this was quite nothing new whatsoever; to act like getting upset over it was quite poor taste; to act typically Parisian.

That, of course, was total nonsense – pure poseur.

So what I mostly remember is how during this period was that the collective cognitive dissonance in Paris was so immense that it reached a generalized psychosis caused by mass denial.

I also realized that this denial of reality and subsequent psychosis can only be found in imperialist countries. “Our treatment of the aboriginals/those with whom we are living alongside and whom we colonized/non-Whites… is totally normal,” they insist, as they live under a shroud of silence and feigned “normality”. The unsaid reality remains unsaid by both colonized and colonizer (under penalty of social exclusion, jail, death), and the psychosis just mounts and mounts and mounts.

It is normal that this imperialist psychosis occurs in the European Union in 2019, as it is indeed a neo-imperialist project. The question the French cannot quite answer is: are they the still the colonizer, or are they now colonized?

But such questions are all of no importance to the politically regressive. Nothing to see here, even by the French who watch the nightly news – we cannot question “French exceptionalism”.

What do I know about the Yellow Vests? I contend that no “mainstream” journalist attended more Yellow Vest demonstrations than I did, at least in Paris. I would also suggest that while I did hundreds of live interviews from the demonstrations – while getting tear gassed, with rubber bullets flying around, literally in between Black Bloc and police – most journalists did zero.

This article was generated by me going back through my list of reports with Press TV in 2019 – it’s mostly headlines, quotes (mostly from interviews with Yellow Vests) and short excerpts from my reports. I pass on the highlights, and I also tie together the threads with the advantage hindsight – check the key date of March 16th to see what I mean.

If you are too busy to read it all, I suggest only reading March through May 1 – this is when the Yellow Vest demonstration was gutted via reactionary values which we can call “neo-Vichy”, with Brussels replacing Berlin as the master of France’s government.

I didn’t bother to provide a web link to the roughly 175 2-3 minute reports I made with Press TV in 2019, but I did include web links to a score of in-depth written reports I did specifically about the Vesters.

It was not at all an easy year, and I recall being quite exhausted by the summer. It wasn’t just the obvious stress caused by walking into a “near war zone” every Saturday – why on earth did the Vesters insist on marching 10-15 kilometers every Saturday? And so fast, too!

But, as they have shown, their endurance and determination is beyond remarkable. I’m glad the facts are on the record in one place, if only as an expression of admiration for them.

France Year in Review: The rise and rise of the Yellow Vests into a General Strike

2019 in France obviously has to be remembered as the year of the Yellow Vest rebellion.

It began in November 2018, and President Emmanuel Macron thought he had pacified it in December with a pittance of so-called “concessions”, but the rebellion continued.

Why, because as I wrote back then: “It’s just one protest… which has lasted 8 years”. They want you to view the Yellow Vests in isolation instead of as a historical continuum.

In early December every single person I asked agreed that they are a Yellow Vest. Biased, misleading and above all a lack of polling would attempt to hide the Yellow Vests amazing popularity the entire year. By September I was explaining Why France’s 20- and 30-somethings hate the Yellow Vests (foolishly, of course). However, no poll ever showed the Yellow Vests with an approval rating lower than 49%, and they are generally around 60% – this makes them by far the most popular political movement in France, even if not everyone joins their club. And above all: that is a simply enormous score for any protest movement, anywhere.

Many assumed the Vesters would stop protesting over Christmas because that’s what every political/social/union/labor movement had done for decades, no matter how much political momentum they had. Not the Vesters. Right then I knew that this was serious – they had different priorities.

By January it became clear that the French government was going to treat political protesters like football hooligans.

Jan 2 – Start by arresting their leaders for eating dinner

On December 20, 2019, the justice department would admit that France’s top police hierarchy were wrong to order the “disguised arrests” of key Yellow Vest leader Eric Drouet along with 42 others back on January 2nd. They were eating in a restaurant.

A “disguised arrest” is a euphemism for an arrest ordered by the Deep State: one is arrested without any true justification or reason, but simply because security agents have been ordered to do so.

Drouet immediately denied being a “leader”, because organisationally the Yellow Vests are indeed a grassroots, leaderless, “Latin anarchy-style” protest movement and not a political party. I eventually began referring to Drouet and others as “organisers”. Drouet does admit to eating nearly three times a day.

A column I wrote that week pointed out that, like the Vietcong, the Yellow Vests absolutely will not have the early demise which the Mainstream Media hopes for… because they have nowhere to go.

Jan 5 – Vesters surprisingly march after New Year’s Day

Brutal scenes as French cops refuse to let Vesters protest in front of Parliament, even though they had a permit to do so.

That is explanation for essentially all the conflicts between cops and protesters in 2019: protesters get trapped, in violation of their human right to demonstrate, hyper-armed cops use their weapons, protesters respond in a civic rage and in self-defense.

Turnout was down overall, but again, the fact that anything was organised at all was a huge, huge break with vacation-loving French culture. Of course, the media searches for any reason to insist that the Yellow Vest movement is abating, and they do so here.

Jan 12 – ‘Battle of Turnout Figures’ as France returns from vacation

The government claimed only 50,000 protesters marched, but the true figure was closer to 300,000.

Firstly, why are these numbers important? As a cop told me: this is a country of nearly 70 million people, so cops are never going to stand down unless there are 10 or 20 million people in the streets. He’s right. The people who foolishly think the cops are going to see the political light and “switch sides”, and also the people who think the Yellow Vests are just a hair’s breadth from getting Macron to resign, should re-read that.

A secondary point here is how very special and vanguard the Yellow Vests truly are for getting out on the streets: France was not anywhere close to a revolution which overcame their neo-imperial security state, but there sure were a large amount of people who were willing to try.

So numbers do matter, and that’s why the MSM’s parroting of an absurd official line (from their cozy newsroom) is so galling.

However, we should still accept that cops can actually be not reactionary. The poorly named “Union of Angry French Cops”, France’s third-largest cop union, consistently defied the Interior Ministry to give their own tally, mainly because the ministry was just outrageously low. The “Yellow Number” also made its 2nd appearance at this demo, and you can find all 3 of these crowd estimations here – the odd one out is the Interior Ministry.

The union believes the divergence is due to the fact that rural villages are constantly ignored by the government and media. The union has members actually stationed at places like rural roundabouts all day: they count the number of different people who arrive at a demonstration, and then leave, only to be replaced by new protesters.

It should be easy to see why the ministry’s figures are so absurd: why would the government routinely mobilise 80,000 policemen for what they are claimed from Valentine’s Day onwards was less than 47,000 protesters? (See January 27 note.)

Back then I couldn’t help but see the Yellow Vests as the harbinger of the bursting of the West’s “Everything Bubble” which Quantitative Easing has created. Who would have predicted that “QE Infinity” would be unveiled in September?

Jan 19 – Calm day in Paris for Act 10

It’s important to remember they weren’t all days of pitched war, but a lot certainly were until late March. Act 10 was mostly peaceful in Paris, but not elsewhere. Death toll at this point – 10 people.

Protests increase again. It has become clear the Yellow Vests are not going away, so the MSM grapples with trying to describe their class-based demands without violating their blacklist of the word “class”.

I laid it all out here: The Yellow Vests are calling for the world’s third Cultural Revolution, after China and Iran.

It’s not bias or exaggeration: They want to halt the functioning of normal society to have a serious, long, fruitful discussion about France’s role in the euro, the EU, NATO, Françafrique, the 5th Republic itself, austerity policies, foreign policy, environmental policies, housing, education, health care, pensions, etc. That link is Part 8 of an 8-part series I wrote this year to demystify the two state-sponsored Cultural Revolutions simply because the parallels between them and the Yellow Vests were so obvious.

Yellow Vests sure didn’t have state sponsorship, though. However, they did have a 60% approval rating at this time.

Jan 26 – French cops equipped with body cameras for first time

Absolutely nothing has come of this early demand aimed at reducing police brutality.

By the end of 2019 France has prosecuted just two cops for police brutality against the Yellow Vests. So how can we even know what has been recorded, when the cameras were even turned on, that is?

Jan 27 – Reactionary ‘Red Scarves’ demand Yellow Vests stop bothering the establishment

Finally, a demonstration which France’s media feels safe enough to cover!

The one and only such demonstration of this pathetic group. However, never has such a short-lived social movement received such fawning and massive political coverage. Where are the Red Scarves now – nowhere? Or rather: about to annoy the hell out of their family at Christmas.

Just prior to the movement a minister said that if 10,000 people showed up, then that would constitute a success and be a signal that the Yellow Vests have to stop: the Interior Ministry claimed 10,500 people showed up.

Many in the media would never once question the ministry’s figures on the Yellow Vest turnout despite their obvious self-interest to keep the numbers low, yet reported 10,500 despite the real-time indication over an inaccuracy which was widely obvious.

Feb 5 – Yellow Vests and unions march together for first time

Initially, a union member carrying his union insignia was as unwelcome as member of Macron’s political party. The Yellow Vests’ popularity and respect is largely based on their open rejection for not just mainstream politics and the traditional modes of French political culture, but also France’s idea that unions should lead socioeconomic protests. The Western “independent” union model, is perfectly calibrated to be “divided and conquered”, which has been the case in France since 2010, certainly; when unions “win”, the theory is that everyone else should just hope that their gains “trickle down” to the 90% of French workers who aren’t unionised.

This was the first time Vesters tolerated unions to march on the same city streets as them – the unity would be quite short-lived. I don’t blame them. In September 2019 I interviewed the head of a top farmer’s union: I gave her every chance to defend, even just mildly, the Yellow Vests, but she insisted that farmers had nothing in common with rioters.

This is exactly what a Yellow Vest told me that day: “The average union worker supports theYellow Vests, but not the union leaders, who have repeatedly betrayed us. The unions must finally end their selfishness, because everyone is against this government.”

Is it a rural-based movement, as is often said?

The only who people who say that are those who don’t understand/can’t admit that class is the single most dominant political lens.

Like all true revolutions, the nation’s “trash” had become the true political vanguard.

Feb 6 – France passes ‘anti-Yellow Vest law’ amid mass protests

The law allows police chiefs, known as prefects, to ban citizens from attending protests, a power which was previously reserved for judges. The law also gives police greater power to search citizens without warrants, and imposes fines and prison terms for any protester covering their face to avoid identification, or even of using a scarf to to avoid tear gas.

I recall earning some plaudits on the Champs-Elysées around this time. It was cold, and French riot cops were all covering their face to stay warm. I loudly told a cop that if he can cover his face against the law, then I should be able to wear my burqa, LOL. Easy for me to talk back in anger – I’m a journalist: the French protesters who did the same usually found themselves wrestled to the ground and arrested, with the wife screaming, “He didn’t do anything!” behind him.

This is another shift of power towards the executive branch and away from the judiciary and legislative branches, and especially the electorate. This process greatly accelerated under Francois Hollande with the 2-year state of emergency, the so-called “French Patriot Act”, and the repeated use of forcing through unpopular austerity-related laws by executive order. Macron would use executive orders even though he has an absolute majority in Parliament – he just wanted to avoided the bad press of open debate.

Feb 21 – Macron’s ‘Deep State’ scandal deepens with perjury charges

The Benalla affair – nobody knows about it outside of France but it’s Macron’s biggest one.

I would contend that a large reason it is not known outside of France because the constant implication is that Macron and Alexandre Benalla had a homosexual affair, or that Benalla helped cover up such an affair as Macron’s personal – and extremely law-breaking – bodyguard. The 24-year age difference between Macron and his wife helps fuel these rumours.

Regardless of these rumours, these charges came from an exasperated Parliament committee which concluded that Macron showed Benalla an “incomprehensible indulgence”. This “indulgence” was so extreme that nobody can possibly explain why a president would take such risks to protect such a person? It remains baffling.

Anyway, the problem is transparency/independence from blackmail/corruption. A Yellow Vest that week put things into perspective: “Look at the Benalla affair: there is overwhelming proof that President Emmanuel Macron’s right-hand man committed many crimes, yet he remains free, while Yellow Vests stay in jail! It is clear that there is major discrimination in the justice system by France against its very own citizens – some people have special privileges, but the Yellow Vests do not.

Benalla served one week in jail, but only because he broke his bail – the average prison sentence for a Yellow Vest has been one year.

Feb 22 – Macron to outlaw anti-Zionism, sparking disbelief & outrage

“I’m not gay, but the Yellow Vests are anti-Semitic.” That’s not what Macron said openly of course, but the timeline worked that way.

The proposition was an attempt to slur the Yellow Vests, and to create a long-running distraction.

The resolution – not a law, but one step short of it – would be passed in December. What I found interesting was the huge amount of media coverage on it in December… after, not before, it was passed. I covered it before: it was mostly French Jews fighting against it, because it obviously unjustly makes all Jews responsible for the crimes of Israel. I’ve seen studies that half of European Jews are anti-Zionist. Of course, confusing anti-Semitism with the political, colonialist, segregationist project of Zionism is something nobody involved in politics should be dumb enough to confuse, but Macron did.

At the February 16th Yellow Vest march far-right ideologue Alain Finkielkraut was not welcomed, and called a “dirty Zionist”. This created much media uproar, despite the latter being 100% accurate. The Yellow Vests marched against anti-Semitism on February 19.

Combined with the looming Benalla scandal, anti-Semitism was a very useful distraction for Macron at the time. It was undoubtedly instrumentalised by France’s extremely powerful pro-Zionist lobby.

It gave me a chance to dust off a term I created during the Charlie Hebdo protests: 21st century France as a new “Holy Secular Empire”.

Feb 27 – Council of Europe urges France to stop rubber bullet use

Does anyone care about the Council of Europe, or any pan-European institution, really? Of course not, but it was notable that any major organisation condemned France back then.

For example, Human Rights Watch issued just a single condemnation of French police brutality in 2019 – against ecological protesters, not the Yellow Vests. Reports on Venezuela, Hong Kong, Syria – their reports are innumerable and their hypocrisy crystal-clear.

Five hundred critical injuries at this point; unions and France’s Human Rights League estimated that 10,000 rubber bullets had been fired at Yellow Vests. Most journalists in France still euphemistically calling rubber bullets “flash balls” or, even worse, “defense ball launchers”, which obviously assumes that the protester is always the aggressor.

Mar 6 – UN: ‘full investigation’ of brutality against Yellow Vests

The UN Human Rights chief properly recognised that, “The Yellow Vests have been protesting what they see as exclusion from economic rights and participation in public affairs.”

France totally ignored this, of course. The prime minister said the UN chief lacked the “full picture”, but he obviously summed up the heart of the matter.

However, ignoring condemnations of their police is what France does – French police have been condemned for police brutality over and over by the UN and top NGOs for many years.

During the labor code rollback protests in 2016 at least 4,000 protesters were arrested, with well over 1,000 people hurt by police in Paris alone, according to Amnesty International. Extrapolate those numbers nationwide. I covered all those demonstrations too – it’s why I always said that I perceived that the Yellow Vests were only 15-20% more violent than France’s “normal” violent demonstrations. Only the Yellow Vests ever graffiti-tagged the Arc de Triomphe, sure, but that was just a huge propaganda victory for the Vesters.

Mar 8 – Paris forbids Yellow Vest camp

Why wasn’t there a “French Tahrir Square”?

The Yellow Vests tried – cops weren’t even close to allowing a single sleeping bag get laid on the ground. They would have needed many thousands to establish a camp and I recall only 1-2,000 people being there.

It was a cold night back then. Would have still had to have beat back typical French police brutality, too.

Mar 12 – ‘Anti-Yellow Vest’ law adopted

Officially known as the “anti-rioters” law. This provided the “legal” basis for the oppression which would stem the tide (not turn it) of the Yellow Vests…. We got a couple good quotes from journalist/analyst George Kazolias explaining the law:

“But what really makes this law really dangerous, as one conservative member of Parliament put it last year, is that it’s a Vichy law, referring to the government that ruled France under Nazi occupation in World War II. This law gives administrative personnel judicial powers – it takes the power away from the judiciary. … So what he (Macron) has done now is to make at a local level what he has done at the national level with (unpopular laws which normalised) the state of emergency. I’m surprised not more people have tried to relate the two?”

And, now that massive repression had a new “legal” basis, the upcoming Yellow Vest march would be incredibly repressive and mark the beginning of the end of their long peak. But the day before that…

Mar 15 – Macron’s National Debate ends with universal dissatisfaction

The National Debate was 2.5 months of 10,000 local public debates. It was mainly a public relations effort by Macron to show that he is a president who does listen and who does incorporate public opinion into public policy… even though that is obviously false.

However, much of his time at these town hall meetings was Macron talking for hours and hours, like Fidel Castro. There are big differences between the two: Macron is pushing capitalism, imperialism and technocratism – Fidel pushed rejecting brutal capitalism, patriotism and morality in public policy.

At this point in his term Macron (begun May 2017) has never held a press conference. That is not a typo.

Perhaps this explains why it was “The Macron Show” for six hours a day on mainstream media. The sudden availability of Macron to the masses and journalists was a total 180 from the previous 22 months.

Rather amusingly (unless you are a minority Macronista) a key poll asked what people found positive to say about Macron regarding his method and style at the National Debate: the number one answer, at 48%, was “I didn’t find anything positive about Macron”. That was nearly double the second-most popular response.

So the National Debate had concluded, the laws were in place – the kid gloves came off. We knew it was coming – column here.

Mar 16 – Worst violence in months amid near-secret de-nationalisation machinations

This is when “Sarkozy’s restaurant” Le Fouquet’s was ransacked. (A quintessentially French place… yet they use a possessive apostrophe?)

I remember I got there early – it was already a war zone.

This is because before the demonstration could even start riot police used tear gas and water cannons to provoke the violence which would be required to justify the police tactic changes later this week.

Black Bloc was there, being useless as usual – I recall a protester at the Arc de Triomphe screaming at me, “Why don’t the cops do anything to stop Black Bloc?!” I debunked Black Bloc in a recent article: French Black Bloc’s utter uselessness… except to the French government. I repeatedly saw Yellow Vests intervene to stop looting on the Champs-Elysées; cops were filmed stealing football jerseys from the Paris Saint-Germain team shop.

A good quote from a Vester that day: “Just like at the beginning of the movement, it was the same old tactic from our government. They want the protest to degenerate as quickly as possible in order to discredit the movement. They launch round after round of tear gas, to the point where people are stepping on protesters who have fallen down! They want to scare us into staying at home, but we will never stop protesting!

Interesting note I have in my report: “Despite 18 consecutive weekends of protests by the Yellow Vests, France’s unions have taken to the streets only rarely this year.” It’s key to remember how independent and isolated the Yellow Vests were – they fought time after time all on their own: they really are like a family.

Shockingly, Macron chose this weekend to go skiing – the photos appall the nation. On seemingly every major day of protest during his term I have noticed that Macron is never in Paris, and often out of the country. Of course, since the Yellow Vests the big establishment fear is that they will reach Elysée Palace near the Champs-Elysées. However, as I am a fellow 41-year old man… he rather acts like a scared old man.

Macron is celebrating because he has given the incredibly anti-democratic orders which will mark the beginning of the “end” of the Yellow Vests – more such orders arrive in days.

However, one final kick in the teeth: At 6:15 in the morning on Saturday March 16th Macron surprisingly called for a Parliamentary vote regarding the biggest wave of privatisation in 15 years. Only 45 of nearly 600 deputies were present, and the bill was approved. Widespread media explanation would later be required to explain why the vote was still legally-binding despite such low parliamentarian turnout. You think I’m making this up don’t you, LOL, but this is the actual chronology.

It would take a couple weeks before this de-nationalisation became a media issue. Think there weren’t monetary reasons for Macron to sic the armed forces on the Yellow Vests to begin with? De-nationalisations to benefit his friends and backers of his meteoric rise put yet another monetary motive at play.

The Yellow Vests would successfully prevent the airports of Paris from being privatised (at least so far), but Macron would sell off more than 50% of the national lottery in November. I didn’t get it: neoliberals say that any state business which doesn’t make profits must be privatised… yet the highly lucrative state gambling monopoly has to be sold off, too? It’s almost as if neoliberals rely on faith instead of facts, logic and history….

Here’s a live interview I did at the Parisian bank which was firebombed – surely the only live interview from there that day, and probably the only “mainstream” media interview which gave an objective explanation of why it happened.

Article I wrote about the March 16 protests. I started with: “Because if Saturday March 16 was a ‘war zone’, then France has been at war since 2010 – I didn’t see a single thing out of the norm for France.” Doctors and nurses treating the wounded disagreed with me over and over – they said the injuries were what they had seen in war. I never said journalists were always right….

Mar 23 – French army doesn’t deter massive Yellow Vest protests

For the first time since the Algerian War for Independence the army was used inside France against the French people. Just prior to Act 19 a French general reported on live radio that he had authorisation to open fire on protesters.

Furthermore, on March 18 the Paris police chief was fired. Part of the reason was given by Prime Minister Philippe: “Inappropriate orders were given to reduce the use of LBD [rubber bullet launchers].” Imagine if Putin had said that?

The new chief looks, and certainly acts, like he would have been quite at home in Vichy France, which is precisely why he was hired. His uniform always appears to be a couple sizes too big for him.

Protests were now officially banned in key parts of urban areas, like the Champs-Elysées. Bans in rural roundabouts would begin in early May (but I thought this was a rural-based, not class-based movement?).

Should we be surprised that Yellow Vest numbers are about to plummet?

In January there were an average of 350,000 protesters per weekend; February 240,000; after March 23rd they reached 100,000 people maybe twice and then never again.

If you are a clueless, secretly-reactionary/fake-leftist Mainstream Media journalist this is what you think in your empty head: “Oh, the numbers have only fallen because the Yellow Vests aren’t popular anymore. Yes, I will accept that promotion, thank you boss!”

So March 12-23 should be remembered as when France became a “neo-Vichy” government. Instead of Berlin, the master is Brussels.

They didn’t destroy the Yellow Vest movement, but they did scare the hell out of the average person.

Mar 28 – French cops wearing Yellow Vests to infiltrate movement

It was discovered that on March 16 cops were wearing Yellow Vests to disguise themselves.

The police union noted that there is no formal law against disguising themselves as protesters, so that should settle the matter

Good Vester quote: “We don’t know if we should fear our own government, or if we can trust it? Such video revelations are going to increase the accusations that the government is pulling the strings with secret militias inside political demonstrations. That sounds like a conspiracy, but these videos give such ideas obvious legitimacy.”

March 30 – Mayor demands city become a “ghost town”

Mayor of Bordeaux commanded citizens to not leave their homes that Yellow Vest day. The phrase “Bordeaux strong”, unlike in Boston, did not become commercially popular.

Again, Mr. and Ms. MSM Journalist – might this explain the drop in attendance? And perhaps also the unveiling of harsher tear gas, guaranteed fines for violating the ban, warrantless searches (Do the women you date even let you go through their purse?), increased arrests, the refusal to engage with Black Bloc despite the vast superiority of the professional armed forces, and on and on? This is why I didn’t get very far in the French newsrooms I worked at….

Similarly, the Yellow Vests insisted on their right to freedom of assembly and defied the bans.

Why? Let’s ask a Vester: “I worked from the age of 14 until the age of 60, and in my entire life I accepted only 1 month of unemployment insurance. And yet, in the last 4 years I have seen my pensioned lowered from 1,150 euros to 1,050 euros. My rent is 800 euros a month, so I cannot afford to live, and I will never accept this injustice.”

Several ministers resign this week, but this is hardly newsworthy with Macron.

April 4 – NGO says 3,000 homeless died in France in 2018

Macron made zero deaths due to homelessness a key campaign promise.

April 6 – Last time anyone counted over 100,000 people at a Yellow Vest demo

Thus, this article is going to start getting shorter. Yellow Vests popularity stands at 53%.

Half the country supports them, but from behind their curtains now.

April 10 – Massive rejection of Macron’s ‘National Debate’ results

The government declared that the main conclusion of the debates is that taxes should be lowered, which is what every peasant under French rule always said.

Reversing Macron’s elimination of the very popular “Wealth Tax” will not be discussed as a possible result, nor is deviating from nine years of austerity budgets: the Yellow Vests continued marching would reverse one of these.

Polls show that just 6% of France called the National Debate a success while 80% said it will not resolve the current political crisis.

April 15 – Notre Dame ravaged by fire, world mourns

In an amazing coincidence, the fire started just an hour before Macron was to reveal his personal conclusions of the 2.5 month so-called “National Debate”.

This was rather a cherry on top of a terribly bitter social sundae which had been forced down France’s gullet thus far in 2019.

Considering how catastrophic it looked on TV, I truly thought it looked pretty good when I saw it the next day.

April 20 – Constant cop violence as Yellow Vests begin 6th month

Key anniversary = higher turnout = more repression. Worst violence in weeks.

Me impersonating an MSM journalist: “Don’t you think that because of the fire at Notre Dame you should stop marching in order to promote national unity (even though this is a “secular” country)?”

French Yellow Vest quote: “The fire at Notre Dame touched everybody, but there is a big controversy over how we could raise a billion euros for a church so quickly, and why we can’t raise such an amount for poor people. There is a lot of anger, and a fire at Notre Dame is not going to change this logical reality.”

The last time the Yellow Vests touched 100,000 protesters, but only by rounding up.

April 24 – Record suicide pace for cops amid Yellow Vest demos

April 25 – Journalists help Macron ignore Yellow Vests at 1st presser

Incredibly, Macron has finally held his very first press conference.

Prior to that he and I had held the same number of press conferences since May 2017. Key difference: I am not the popularly elected president of a country. I am, however, the authoritarian and arrogant leader of “Raminia”.

Incredibly, and we can add another “incredibly” on top of the first “incredibly”: this is when Macron said the words “Yellow Vests” in public for the first time.

Less incredibly, considering the toadying, social-climbing French media class, the mainstream journalists permitted to attend the press conference (Iranian media is banned from official press conferences of the president, PM, FM, etc.) dared to ask Macron just one direct question about the Yellow Vests. The question was posed by the extremely mainstream anchorwoman Laurence Ferrari, and kudos to her: every other journalist failed.

Here was Macron’s initially nihilistic answer, via an explanation which is totally acceptable in Anglophone countries, which are also politically nihilistic; he then switches to total defiance based on technocratism: “We are a country where disagreements are expressed forcefully and where there are always protests. I totally take responsibility for having not given way – during my first two years – to those who want to set back our projects which I deeply believe are good for the country.”

Two subjects which were never mentioned by anyone were the routine police brutality, nor Macron’s raft of anti-democratic measures such as the “anti-Yellow Vest Law”.

Polls showed that 65% of France said they were unconvinced by Macron’s answers. Nearly 80% said he did not address the concerns of the Yellow Vests.

Despite a record-low approval rating of just 27%, Macron said he thinks it “would be best” to stand for re-election. No serious policy changes were announced, because the conclusion that Macron drew from the National Debate was, “Our approach over the past 2 years has been right.

Ugh… I’m glad I’m banned from there.

May 1 – Record cop violence at huge Paris May Day demo

This was a rough one… it was certainly no celebration of International Workers’ Day.

Never saw so many cops – every 50 meters there was a phalanx of cops along the marching route. People who think Western, liberal democratic, aristocratic (bourgeois) governments don’t fear socialism – explain the measures taken on May 1, 2019?

Long story short: in order to prevent a unified demo at the end the cops used the classic tactic of “divide and conquer”. They repeatedly severed the march, allowing one part to advance to the end (where they were gassed and chased out), while cops fought pitched battles with the section that was kettled and prevented from marching freely. After several rounds of this the streets were a shambles – protesters, unarmed of course, needed to find something to protect themselves with.

This produced the MSM hoax of an alleged “hospital invasion”, which I debunked thoroughly here. Briefly: that day MSM and politicians got apoplectic that protesters – cornered by cops using tear gas, water cannons, batons and rubber bullets – tried to take refuge in a hospital. What those armchair idiots and “hotel room journalists” don’t know is that when tear gassed one moves (don’t run!) in one direction: away from the gas. The only direction left to protesters was jumping a hospital gate.

Mainstream idiots everywhere said protesters were “invading” the hospital. It took a couple days for the truth to come out – only two old, apologetic men actually made it inside the hospital, saying they had been “tear gassed all day”. The internet reactionaries who vengefully and gleefully insist that “Yellow Vests are rioters and they get what they deserve”… they really have no idea what they are talking about.

What I remember from that day is: I’m trying to give a live interview in front of the hospital – amid all the “flash balls”, flying pieces of pavement and tear gas – and the newsroom in Tehran is insisting that I remain motionless in order to “set the frame”. “How on earth are me and my cameraman supposed to stay motionless and not wind up seriously hurt! Just put me on the damn air!!!” Aggravating…

I recall only one other journalist doing a live interview during all that violence – a female journalist for Italian TV, as I recall. Kudos to her. French media? Fuggetaboutit. French public media, who are paid by French taxes? Fuggetaboutit. I’m sure RT was there, but I didn’t see them. I bet they were wearing a helmet, though – I never did once. LOL, a bit of leniency for my egotistical behavior, please: I had been “tear gassed all day”.

On December 19th the first police officer would finally be convicted for police brutality – he was filmed throwing a piece of pavement into a crowd of protesters on May 1st. Apparently his rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannon and truncheon wasn’t enough? He got a minor sentence, no prison time, his identity was not divulged, nor will the conviction even appear on his legal record.

That was the last rough one… for a while, at least. Not sure that’s a good thing.

May 5 – France bans Ramadan, citing secularism & economic stagnation

I never did write that satire… don’t know why? Would’ve been funny. Probably tired – Ramadan had just started, after all, and I had been tear gassed all year. Maybe for 2020.

Just checking to see if you are still reading!

May 8 – France began killing 45,000 Algerians on WWII V-Day

Oh, MSM journalists, where you marking the defeat of European fascism in World War II that day? Why?

France also bombed Damascus that May. Syrians booted the French out that year, thankfully.

May 9 – First major Yellow Vests victory – no to de-nationalising Paris airports

This week the Yellow Vests scored their biggest victory yet, by forcing parliamentarians to accept a referendum on Macron’s attempt to denationalise the airports of Paris.

A column here about stopping the Yellow Vests stopping of denationalisation, and why you never hear that word.

Last week I paid 9 euros to travel for about 15 minutes of travel on a privatised French highway – this is why Yellow Vests demolish tollbooths. Aren’t air tickets costly enough already?

May 11 – France bans rural protests for Yellow Vest #26

Many French media gleefully speculated that the Yellow Vest movement was finished, but 60,000 protesters turned out yet again, despite the government’s efforts to intimidate people in both urban and rural areas.

May 15 – 72196 – Macron at 2 years: 76% policy rejection

A recent poll covered 14 vital questions and sectors, ranging from economics to immigration to security and more. Respondents gave Macron a whopping 76% failure rate on society’s most important questions.

So 24% of respondents support Macron, which was his exact score in the first round of the 2017 presidential elections.

This 24% was also his true score in his victorious second round, due to the highest abstention in 40 years, and the fact that 43% of voters only voted for Macron to block the far-right’s Marine Le Pen. He only won a majority in 2 of France’s 101 departments, after all.

But Macron and his supporters have always manipulated this to claim that he has a “mandate” for his program, especially the pension junking. Yawn… stupidity is boring, but especially when repeated.

May 25 – Mass arrests as Yellow Vest demos go ‘wildcat’

Vesters had been applying for permits… and getting massively repressed. So they went “wildcat”… and got massively repressed.

Yellow Vester says “Ya Hossein!”: “We will continue no matter what the results of the (upcoming EU) vote are. There are too many people who have been hurt, blinded, and killed, and we must think of them. All we have ever asked for is not to keep starving at the end of every month, and to protect our children’s future.”

May 27 – Another loss for Macron as far-right wins EU elections again

We really should care about the EU elections… or focus on a Frexit.

The three Yellow Vest lists combined for less than 1%. Hey, it took Italy’s 5-Star Movement eight years to win power.

Incredibly, the animal rights party scored 2.2% of the vote. The only solution for such people is immediate deportation to India, preferably under a cloud of tear gas.

June 22 – Scores of Yellow Vests blockades on Act 32

The Yellow Vests realised that the French government doesn’t respond to peaceful protests with anything but repression. That’s why this week has marked a change in tactics: blockades which can affect the economy, like at ports, refineries and toll booths. Scores of blockades were reported around the country, but received scant media attention.

If a blockade falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it make a sound? (Uhhh, yeah, it’s called science: sound waves.)

By this point in the year the French media had effectively enforced a blackout on the Yellow Vests, and the Vesters knew it and were incredibly upset about it.

From June 1 until well into autumn only Iranian media reporters (in English & French (me), Spanish and Farsi) and Russian reporters were doing anything at all about the Yellow Vests. People began to question why I had to work on Saturday: “I thought the Yellow Vests are over,” they asked?

France’s media and artistic communities are increasingly being called out with disdain by Yellow Vests. The nation’s private media follows a pro-corporate, pro-austerity line, and the state media either doesn’t cover the protests or simply parrots the government’s statements without challenge. After seven months very few from France’s intellectual circles have dared to publicly defend the Yellow Vests or condemned the government’s repression, and seemingly none have personally joined the protests.

Yellow Vest quote: “So many of these types have been bought off by Macron and are happy to stay in his pocket. Pensioners, the jobless and public workers have been marching for seven months and our so-called intellectuals spit on us! We are getting beaten and gassed, and they criticise us!” 

June 24 – French polling agencies ignoring Yellow Vests

Modern media runs a lot of stories based around polls but the latest poll, which gave Yellow Vests a 50% approval rating, dates from two months ago.

More than half the country believes the media has done a bad job covering the Yellow Vests, but that poll is from 3.5 months ago.

Just as there is a revolving door between Western finance ministries and the biggest private banks, there is also a revolving door between the top level of French politics and its polling agencies. Francois Hollande’s former spokesperson, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, is now a top polling agency executive, for example.

This is a problem for governance of any ideology. The Chinese Communist Party is often called “the world’s biggest polling agency” for good reason, whereas in France their leaders believe public opinion matters once every five years.

Column here about the incredibly uncool, constant MSM claim that rock and roll is dying the Yellow Vests are dying.

Another column here which compared the West’s beloved Hong Kong protests – who are so nativist they make Marine Le Pen look like a cultural centrist – with the far, far greater violence in France.

July 3 – French ‘cyber hate’ bill targets Yellow Vests & Palestinians

July 14 – Champs-Elysées a war zone again on Bastille Day

First time the Yellow Vests protested on the Champs since March 16th.

It required a couple hours of trying to lose the cops until the Vesters finally snuck in and won the field. My producer faulted me for doing a live interview with no Yellow Vests around – uhhh, they were outrunning cops on motorcycles, they can outrun me and a cameraman.

Yellow Vest quote: “Tourists are getting tear gassed and witnessing major violence, when they are only here out of curiosity. Some people are led to believe that only bad people get tear gassed, but these tourists now know better. If the tourists had stayed a bit longer they would have been beaten, as well.”

Bastille Day… I mean, what the heck – y’all lost! Bastille Day celebrates the temporary victory of the French Revolution in 1789. In 1804 Napoleon declared himself emperor, and the house of Bourbon was firmly restored in 1815. Does anyone else’s national holiday celebrate a loss? No wonder the French are so depressed. Or at least get out there and feel bad about it in a united way, like Shia with Karbala. Bringing this up this French exceptionalism is another reason I didn’t get far in French newsrooms….

July 17 – Macron’s #2 forced out over corruption charges

On the taxpayers’ dime the minster, who only looked up to the prime minister, was having lavish dinners with jumbo lobsters and 1,000-euro bottles of wine, bought a gold-leaf hairdryer, had a 3rd chauffeur to take his kids to school, and government-subsidised housing despite a high salary.

He tried to blame his wife, a nonsense socialite journalist (thus the gold-leaf hairdryer, I assumed), and never repented – he had gotten that high up by constantly clamouring against government corruption, so it would be like saying his whole career was a lie (which it was). I recall a top France24 anchorman writing on Twitter how Lobstergate was merely “mostly about the optics”. The top mainstreamers all see things the same way, which is: the masses just don’t understand that we at the top deserve these fancy things.

For those who remember Hollande’s “the homeless are toothless” comments, this provoked similar outrage and perpetually amusing demonstration signs.

July 20 – Yellow Vests honor Black Muslim killed in police custody

Yellow Vest quote: “I didn’t suffer from police or state repression because I am White and because I don’t live in a poor area, but because I joined the Yellow Vests demonstrations I have now suffered from police violence. This issue concerns everyone.” 

Nice to hear, White guy – French Muslims have decided you are cool now.

July 25 – French joblessness up 73% since 2008 crisis

Just do the math properly, and add in all of France (don’t exclude their overseas colonies, as the French MSM does): The total number of unemployed people stands at 6.2 million people, 73% higher than in September 2008.

My editors pushed back – they questioned my data. “You know the official figures show that the number of the unemployed people fell in the second quarter,” they emailed

I was glad to see they were paying attention: nobody in France tells the truth about the jobless data, so it was natural that my headline stuck out to them.

I wrote them: “The Mainstream Media is totally biased in favor of the gov’t and capitalism. They are trying to report, absurdly, that a 16,800 decrease in a nation of 65 million is a success!!!!! It is totally absurd. Just look at this Le Monde graph – unemployment is one constant, terrible rise since 2008. No honest media can portray French unemployment efforts as a positive! Again, the MSM are a bunch of (dummies) who are totally inferior to we Iranian journalists! They try to confuse everyone, but our report is good and 100% fact-based.

The story ran. The Western MSM continues to talk about their “economic recovery”, buttressed by the same “statistics-minus-analysis” which our report rejected.

Are Iranian journalists superior? I’ve met many who aren’t, LOL. But journalists gotta push for their story….

July 27 – 72863 – Yellow Vests march for 37th week amid media silence

Not much going on – hot, marching and lots of cops around.

Aug 28 – 73133 – Amnesty slams state violence at G7 summit

Still waiting/not-waiting for Macron’s promise of an Iran-US summit “within weeks”….

A huge force was deployed to completely lock down the southwestern town of Biarritz for the G7 summit. Macron did not want to be embarrassed by the presence of Yellow Vests, whose presence would also undermine the West’s claim that their democracies are superior to those in other parts of the world, so all protests were banned.

The theme of the G7 meeting was “economic inequality”, which many Vesters found ironic – Macron stole their ethos.

Aug 31 – Yellow Vests complete summer of record mobilisation

First protest movement to not take a Christmas vacation – now the first to not take a summer vacation.

Most widely cited reason I heard from Vesters? “I can’t afford a vacation.

Sept 6 – Paris lodging breaks €10,000 per square meter mark

The QE “Everything Bubble” obviously includes real estate.

Not just buying, but rented, too: This same month my landlord would insist that she is “Landlord of the Year” for spending a few hundred euros on minor repairs for the first time in seven years.

Sept 13 – ‘Black Friday’: Biggest train strike in France since 2007

Don’t get it twisted: all this year there had also been constant labor protests, especially with hospitals, unions and pensioners – I’ve just been focusing on the Yellow Vests here.

The Macron era has been constant protests during the spring and fall months, or basically any non-vacation period.

Sept 16 – More mass strikes in France against cutting pensions

Sept 17 – Brigitte Macron to go back to teaching

Somehow, a woman who admitted to having an affair with a minor-age student (Emmanuel Macron) is being allowed back into a school in a leadership position.

That is incomprehensible, but so is how she escaped prosecution back when Emmanuel was 15 years old. Answer: she is a chocolate heiress.

Nobody knows the exact date of when their relationship was consummated, but it is widely assumed that she is guilty of statutory rape. The mental effects on little Emmanuel I speculated upon here, in a decidedly non-tabloid/Trump-coverage fashion, which I also contrasted with the effects of similar rape on young Ike Turner.

Sept 19 – French media darling Eric Zemmour guilty of Islamophobia

After summer vacation the government and MSM began a huge wave of Islamo-distractions as a way to divert attention from the certainty that Macron was going to junk the pension system in favor of neoliberal nonsense.

As expected, the new, daily presence of far-right ideologue Eric Zemmour on France’s #2 news channel has produced a steady stream of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant vitriol.

Sept 21 – Worst French violence in months at Yellow Vest #45

Who is dumber, Black Bloc or climate change protesters? Both were out in spades. I wrote about the day here.

LOL, when Black Bloc struck all the eco-nuts – swilling champagne, dancing to techno music, clearly quite serious – simply started marching in the other direction. Cops showed them that was not allowed in France, no matter how much fun they wanted to have.

Sept 26 – Macron turns to right on refugee crisis

But I thought he was a “centrist”? Obviously he never was on economics, but pay attention and you’ll find that to the MSM nearly all of the wealthy class are alleged “centrists”.

Islamo-distractions obviously continue.

Sept 27 – Yellow Vest force end to 9 years of austerity

A huge Yellow Vest victory!

But nobody seemed to care. Uhhhh, weren’t we all protesting austerity in Europe for the past decade? I write about the victory/non-recognition of victory here.

Macron backed down because he feared that yet another austerity budget would have provoked more social unrest – he wanted to save his powder for the pension rollback, which will save the 1% infinitely more money.

Oct 6 – Ramin Mazaheri’s birthday: your present has still not arrived

Oct 19 – Georges Abdallah, EU’s oldest political prisoner, marks 35 years

Please send my presents to the “Arab Nelson Mandela”. Read more about him here.

Oct 20 – French poverty skyrockets due to Macron’s reforms

Last year alone a shocking 500,000 people were forced into poverty. That represents a rise of almost one full percent in the national poverty rate, which is now at 15%. The total number of France’s poor people has reached a level not seen since 2010, the darkest days of the start of the Great Recession.

Oct 29 – Strikes build as Macron refuses to table pension rollback

Wildcat train strikes are grabbing headlines, while health care staff continues to strike as well. December 5th is now being promoted as the day to start a general strike.

Oct 31 – French 3Q growth ekes out 0.3% thanks to Yellow Vests

Economic growth was boosted by the 10 billion euros which the Yellow Vests forced out of the government last December. That money increased household spending, which kept France out of the negative last quarter.

Unfortunately, the increase to economic growth is only temporary because the government has refused to put more money into the everyday economy.

Also, 0.3% growth is terrible – many MSM have forgotten this.

Nov 2 – Yellow Vests protest Islamophobia on Act 51

I wrote back in April about how France’s Muslims support the Yellow Vest, contrary to MSM complaints.

Nov 7 – Financing terrorism in Syria charges stick for France’s Lafarge

But not crimes against humanity.

From 2010 to 2014 French concrete giant Lafarge paid over 13 million euros to terrorist groups like ISIL in order to keep their plant in northern Syria running. Six million tons of concrete they produced was used by terrorists for fortifications – reportedly the largest on any battlefield since World War II.

Seemingly never reported in the West – and on the day of this news as well – is the crucial leaked testimony which proved that the French Foreign Ministry knew all about Lafarge’s dealings with the terrorists, was in “permanent contact” with the company, and told Lafarge to “hold on” and “that everything would work out”.

But the problem is Islam itself, right? Wrong.

Nov 16 – Massive violence as Yellow Vests mark 1 year of revolution &repression 

What appears undeniable is that the Yellow Vests have redeemed France’s claim to possess a political spirit which is revolutionary, egalitarian and unique. I break it down here.

The Yellow Vest Sacrifice Tally: The Yellow Vests were so righteous that they succeeded in attracting first-time protesters. These political innocents were often among the 11,000 arrested, the 2,000 convicted, the 1,000 imprisoned, the 5,000 seriously hurt and the 1,000 critically injured. Ya Hossein!

Yellow Vest quote: “Yes, I am proud of the Yellow Vest movement. We are trying to fix France’s many fundamental problems, and we never stopped despite all the repression. What’s shameful is that we didn’t start sooner, and that our leaders totally ignore us.”

Briefly: no chance at a peaceful protest was permitted, again. In a new twist, cops cancelled the permit at the last moment. This allowed them to trap everyone at the Place d’Italie roundabout for hours. For hours we all walked in circles like a clock’s hands, but trailed by a constant cloud of tear gas. This gave the MSM all the footage they needed to keep discrediting the movement on its anniversary.

People were enraged, trapped and tear-gassed – are we surprised petty vandalism occurred? Cops never once stepped in to stop vandalism, either – they were only concerned with not allowing people to march peacefully.

See note on December 20.

Dec 5 – French general strike begins amid huge walkouts & protests

France’s largest general strike since 1995 got off to a roaring start as 90% of public transport was shut down nationwide and workers walked off the job in massive numbers. Well over a million people marched against the radical pension rollback threatened by President Emmanuel Macron.

I break it down here.

Dec 9 – ‘Black Monday’ as French general strike gains steam

Everyone expected four days/a weekend of shutdowns – this day proved the general strike was serious. Eighty percent of public transport would be shut down through Christmas.

We’re general striking, baby!!!!!!

Dec 11 – Macron unveils new pension plan to widespread rejection 

The government only released the details a week into the strike. The delay was obviously because they they are so radically right-wing that the government feared inflaming people even further.

No nation has a universal/one-size-fits-all pension system, and for obvious reasons which I explain here. The idea that France, a “socialist” country to Anglophones, could be the very first shows just how Americanised Macron wants France to become.

Or is EU-style liberalism even worse? Considering their structures is so very much more neoliberal and anti-democratic, it’s very possible….

Today the head of France’s largest union, the “moderate” CFDT, gave Macron a very obvious out: remove the 2-year back-door hike to the retirement age and his union will accept the radical new “points” pension system. Very unfortunate he did this….

How greedy is Macron? Sarkozy already raised the retirement age by two years just nine years ago.

The unions have signed off on every major austerity reform, after all – they get a “good deal” for their members and the rest of the country can take a long walk off a short pier. Will the general strike be different? If Macron will make this deal offered by the CFDT the general strike will likely collapse. Macron has never compromised so far, unlike Hollande, but I will be surprised if doesn’t take what he can get here and run: how many years like this can France take?

Dec 17 – Day 13 shocker: Macron’s pension minister quits over corruption

LOL, you can’t make this stuff up. This was the night prior to the 3rd million-person march against the pension scheme.

The architect of the reform admitted to receiving huge salaries from private groups even after taking public office. French media detailed more than a dozen conflicts of interest between these jobs and his public post.

He quit to try and save the reform. Common sense dictates that his plan is obviously the fruit of a corrupt mind/worldview… but no chance it’ll be withdrawn by Macron.

I asked a Vester their thoughts: “His resignation gives us hope that even more ministers will soon join him! What he did was extraordinarily shameful. How can we possibly allow his ideas to govern something which affects the whole country?” 

Macron has now set the record for minister resignations – nearly all due to corruption allegations – only halfway through his term.

Dec 20 – France Telecom found guilty over provoking mass worker suicides

Telecom company Orange guilty of the same charge, and was fined €75,000, the maximum. Corporate logic: what’s a €75k fine if we can make workers life so miserable they quit and we can get them off the books? All it takes is years of daily, methodical, heartless harassment. The suicides were in the 2000s, but France’s wheels of justice work slow.

Conversely, on December 16 a Yellow Vest was fined €72,519, plus one year in jail, for degrading the statue of a French general at Place d’Italie on November 16, the Yellow Vest’s birthday. “I saw red – I cracked up. The meltdown lasted 10 minutes,” he testified.

Quite a contrasting story, motive, and punishment for him and France Telecom & Orange, eh?

Dec 21 – No Xmas vacation for France’s Yellow Vests once again

Yellow Vests march instead of going vacation for the 2nd time. They continue to put the nation first.

This was also Macron’s birthday – he is a Yalda baby. Yalda is a pre-Islamic holiday celebrated in Iran which marks the darkest, coldest night of the year – the winter solstice.

Feel free to make your pagan astrological inferences about how Macron’s birthday relates to his personality here.

The rest of the year and 2020

Unions have announced a very strange strategy: remain on strike, but no nationwide protests until January 9. If you aren’t working and getting paid, why not at least enjoy some solidarity at a protest? A general strike works because it touches the profits of the 1%, so it will continue to work… but still, it’s odd.

Of course, it’s the small businessman who is less able to defray the costs of a general strike than a corporation, but what choice is left to the French public? A general strike which does not end is called “revolution”.

The General Strike will thus certainly extend into 2020. Like the Yellow Vests its support is around 60%. Polls show those who oppose it are Macronistas and old people.

Macron’s popularity plummeted, and never recovered in January 2018. That’s when his first budget came into play, and seniors saw how his neoliberalism gutted them. To avoid repeating this political mistake, his pension “deform” is a version of the two-tier system used to sow inequality among the bailed-out US auto companies in 2008: only people born after 1975 (like me) will see their pensions reduced. Macron had originally wanted it to affect everyone born after 1963, and this is being dubbed a “concession” of his by the MSM. He is creating long-term generational conflict an disunity.

After the pension reform Macron will inflict the same radical rollback to the unemployment system, which will be nearly as contentious. France accepts far lower wages than in the Anglophone world because they have good pensions, unemployment, health care, etc. However, there is a belief among France’s leadership that the French will accept losing all this, despite stagnant wages. 2019… that theory didn’t work out so well for France’s leadership.

So we can count on two things for France in 2020: more social unrest, and the courageous Yellow Vests.

Tough year, but first one that I’ve been here that there’s a political force France can be proud of. Kudos to them.


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 the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’

December 23, 2019 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Merry ‘Bloody Christmas’: Venezuela Uncovers Guaido’s Plot to Provoke US Intervention

© REUTERS / Manaure Quintero

By Tim Korso – Sputnik – 23.12.2019

Venezuela reported on 22 December that at least one of its servicemen was killed in an attack on a military unit by unidentified gunmen. The latter reportedly sought to rob an ammunition depot, but ultimately failed, with some of them ending up detained by Caracas’ forces.

Venezuelan Minister of Popular Power for Communication and Information Jorge Rodriguez has reported that investigators have uncovered a plot organised by a group loyal to opposition leader Juan Guaido and involving the governments of Peru and Brazil. According to Rodriguez, the plot, called “Bloody Christmas”, suggested attacks on several military units across Venezuela.

In addition to this, the minister said that the members of “Guaido’s group” were planning to shoot down a Colombian Air Force plane using missiles stolen from the Venezuelan military in a staged false-flag attack on the country’s neighbour. The plotters allegedly planned to thereby give the US a pretext to start a “war” with Venezuela.

Rodriguez stated that some of the missiles and assault weapons stolen by the plotters have been recovered, but others remain in the hands of those who are still at large. According to him, a total of 9 RPG rocket launchers were stolen, though it’s unknown how many have been returned.

Attack on Ammunition Depot

Earlier, on 23 December, Venezuelan authorities reported that one soldier was killed as a result of the assault on one of the country’s military units by unknown assailants, which sought to rob an ammunition store. After the attack was repelled, Venezuelan authorities managed to capture some of the gunmen.

An investigation has been started into the incident, but it is not immediately clear who orchestrated the attack.

Back in April 2019, Venezuela experienced an unsuccessful coup attempt organised by opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaido. The latter appealed to the country’s military to stand against democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro, although only a few of them heeded the call, resulting in the coup’s failure. Guaido has since then fled abroad along with some of his supporters.

December 23, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , | Leave a comment

Chemical Weapons Watchdog Is Just an American Lap Dog

By Scott Ritter | TruthDig | December 18, 2019

A spate of leaks from within the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the international inspectorate created for the purpose of implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention, has raised serious questions about the institution’s integrity, objectivity and credibility. The leaks address issues pertaining to the OPCW investigation into allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons to attack civilians in the Damascus suburb of Douma on April 7, 2018. These allegations, which originated from such anti-Assad organizations as the Syrian Civil Defense (the so-called White Helmets) and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), were immediately embraced as credible by the OPCW, and were used by the United States, France and the United Kingdom to justify punitive military strikes against facilities inside Syria assessed by these nations as having been involved in chemical weapons-related activities before the OPCW initiated any on-site investigation.

The Douma incident was initially described by the White Helmets, SAMS and the U.S., U.K. and French governments as involving both sarin nerve agent and chlorine gas. However, this narrative was altered when OPCW inspectors released, on July 6, 2018, interim findings of their investigation that found no evidence of the use of sarin. The focus of the investigation quickly shifted to a pair of chlorine cylinders claimed by the White Helmets to have been dropped onto apartment buildings in Douma by the Syrian Air Force, resulting in the release of a cloud of chlorine gas that killed dozens of Syrian civilians. In March, the OPCW released its final report on the Douma incident, noting that it had “reasonable grounds” to believe “that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon has taken place on 7 April 2018,” that “this toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine” and that “the toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine.”

Much has been written about the OPCW inspection process in Syria, and particularly the methodology used by the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), an inspection body created by the OPCW in 2014 “to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic.” The FFM was created under the direction of Ahmet Üzümcü, a career Turkish diplomat with extensive experience in multinational organizations, including service as Turkey’s ambassador to NATO. Üzümcü was the OPCW’s third director general, having been selected from a field of seven candidates by its executive council to replace Argentine diplomat Rogelio Pfirter. Pfirter had held the position since being nominated to replace the OPCW’s first director general, José Maurício Bustani. Bustani’s tenure was marred by controversy that saw the OPCW transition away from its intended role as an independent implementor of the Chemical Weapons Convention to that of a tool of unilateral U.S. policy, a role that continues to mar the OPCW’s work in Syria today, especially when it comes to its investigation of the alleged use by the Syrian government of chemical weapons against civilians in Douma in April 2018.

Bustani was removed from his position in 2002, following an unprecedented campaign led by John Bolton, who at the time was serving as the undersecretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs in the U.S. State Department. What was Bustani’s crime? In 2001, he had dared to enter negotiations with the government of Iraq to secure that nation’s entry into the OPCW, thereby setting the stage for OPCW inspectors to visit Iraq and bring its chemical weapons capability under OPCW control. As director general, there was nothing untoward about Bustani’s action. But Iraq circa 2001 was not a typical recruitment target. In the aftermath of the Gulf War in 1991, the U.N. Security Council had passed a resolution under Chapter VII requiring Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including its chemical weapons capability, to be “removed, destroyed or rendered harmless” under the supervision of inspectors working on behalf of the United Nations Special Commission, or UNSCOM.

The pursuit of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction led to a series of confrontations with Iraq that culminated in inspectors being ordered out of the country by the U.S. in 1998, prior to a 72-hour aerial attack—Operation Desert Fox. Iraq refused to allow UNSCOM inspectors to return, rightfully claiming that the U.S. had infiltrated the ranks of the inspectors and was using the inspection process to spy on Iraqi leadership for the purposes of facilitating regime change. The lack of inspectors in Iraq allowed the U.S. and others to engage in wild speculation regarding Iraqi rearmament activities, including in the field of chemical weapons. This speculation was used to fuel a call for military action against Iraq, citing the threat of a reconstituted WMD capability as the justification. Bustani sought to defuse this situation by bringing Iraq into the OPCW, an act that, if completed, would have derailed the U.S. case for military intervention in Iraq. Bolton’s intervention included threats to Bustani and his family, as well as threats to withhold U.S. dues to the OPCW accounting for some 22% of that organization’s budget; had the latter threat been implemented, it would have resulted in OPCW’s disbandment.

Bustani’s departure marked the end of the OPCW as an independent organization. Pfirter, Bolton’s hand-picked replacement, vowed to keep the OPCW out of Iraq. In an interview with U.S. media shortly after his appointment, Pfirter noted that while all nations should be encouraged to join the OPCW, “We should be very aware that there are United Nations resolutions in effect” that precluded Iraqi membership “at the expense” of its obligations to the Security Council. Under the threat of military action, Iraq allowed UNMOVIC inspectors to return in 2002; by February 2003, no WMD had been found, a result that did not meet with U.S. satisfaction. In March 2003, UNMOVIC inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq under orders of the U.S., paving the way for the subsequent invasion and occupation of that nation that same month (the CIA later concluded that Iraq had been disarmed of its weapons of mass destruction by the summer of 1991).

Under Pfirter’s leadership, the OPCW became a compliant tool of U.S. foreign policy objectives. By completely subordinating OPCW operations through the constant threat of fiscal ruin, the U.S. engaged in a continuous quid pro quo arrangement, trading the financial solvency of an ostensible multilateral organization for complicity in operating as a de facto extension of American unilateral policy. Bolton’s actions in 2002 put the OPCW and its employees on notice: Cross the U.S., and you will pay a terminal price.

When Üzümcü took over the OPCW’s reins in 2010, the organization was very much the model of multinational consensus, which, in the case of any multilateral organization in which the U.S. plays a critical role, meant that nothing transpired without the express approval of the U.S. and its European NATO allies, in particular the United Kingdom and France. Shortly after he took office, Üzümcü was joined by Robert Fairweather, a career British diplomat who served as Üzümcü’s chief of Cabinet. (While Üzümcü was the ostensible head of the OPCW, the daily task of managing the functioning of the OPCW was that of the chief of Cabinet. In short, nothing transpired within the OPCW without Fairweather’s knowledge and concurrence.)

Üzümcü and Fairweather’s tenure at the OPCW was dominated by Syria, where, since 2011, the government of President Bashar Assad had been engaged in a full-scale conflict with a foreign-funded and -equipped insurgency whose purpose was regime change. By 2013, allegations emerged from both the Syrian government and rebel forces concerning the use of chemical weapons by the other side. In August 2013, the OPCW dispatched an inspection team into Syria as part of a U.N.-led effort, which included specialists from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.N. itself, to investigate allegations that sarin had been used in attack on civilians in the town of Ghouta. While the mission found conclusive evidence that sarin nerve agent had been used, it did not assign blame for the attack.

Despite the lack of causality, the U.S. and its NATO allies quickly assigned blame for the sarin attacks on the Syrian government. To forestall U.S. military action against Syria, the Russian government helped broker a deal whereby the U.S. agreed to refrain from undertaking military action if the Syrian government joined the OPCW and subjected the totality of its chemical weapons stockpile to elimination. In October 2013, the OPCW-U.N. Joint Mission, created under the authority of U.N. Security Council resolution 2118 (2103), began the process of identifying, cataloging, removing and destroying Syria’s chemical weapons. This process was completed in September 2014 (in December 2013, the OPCW was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its disarmament work in Syria).

If the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons was an example of the OPCW at its best, what followed was a case study of just the opposite. In May 2014, the OPCW created the Fact-Finding Mission, or FFM, charged with establishing “facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic.” The FFM was headed by Malik Ellahi, who served as head of the OPCW’s government relations and political affairs branch. The appointment of someone lacking both technical and operational experience suggests that Ellahi’s primary role was political. Under his leadership, the FFM established a close working relationship with the anti-Assad Syrian opposition, including the White Helmets and SAMS.

In 2015, responsibility for coordinating the work of the FFM with the anti-Assad opposition was transferred to a British inspector named Len Phillips (another element of the FFM, led by a different inspector, was responsible for coordinating with the Syrian government). Phillips developed a close working relationship with the White Helmets and SAMS and played a key role in OPCW’s investigation of the April 2017 chemical incident in Khan Shaykhun. By April 2018, the FFM had undergone a leadership transition, with Phillips replaced by a Tunisian inspector named Sami Barrek. It was Barrek who led the FFM into Syria in April 2018 to investigate allegations of chemical weapons use at Douma. Like Phillips, Barrek maintained a close working relationship with the White Helmets and SAMS.

Once the FFM wrapped up its investigation in Douma, however, it became apparent to Fairweather that it had a problem. There were serious questions about whether chlorine had, in fact, been used as a weapon. The solution, brokered by Fairweather, was to release an interim report that ruled out sarin altogether, but left the door open regarding chlorine. This report was released on July 6, 2018. Later that month, both Üzümcü and Fairweather were gone, replaced by a Spaniard named Fernando Arias and a French diplomat named Sébastien Braha. It would be up to them to clean up the Douma situation.

The situation Braha inherited from Fairweather was unenviable. According to an unnamed OPCW official who spoke with the media after the fact, two days prior to the publication of the interim report, on July 4, 2018, Fairweather had been paid a visit by a trio of U.S. officials, who indicated to Fairweather and the members of the FFM responsible for writing the report that it was the U.S. position that the chlorine cannisters in question had been used to dispense chlorine gas at Douma, an assertion that could not be backed up by the evidence. Despite this, the message that Fairweather left with the OPCW personnel was that there had to be a “smoking gun.” It was now Braha’s job to manufacture one.

Braha did this by dispatching OPCW inspectors to Turkey in September 2018 to interview new witnesses identified by the White Helmets, and by commissioning new engineering studies that better explained the presence of the two chlorine cannisters found in Douma. By March, Braha had assembled enough information to enable the technical directorate to issue its final report. Almost immediately, dissent appeared in the ranks of the OPCW. An engineering report that contradicted the findings published by Braha was leaked, setting off a firestorm of controversy derived from its conclusion that the chlorine cannisters found in Douma had most likely been staged by the White Helmets.

The OPCW, while eventually acknowledging that the leaked report was genuine, explained its exclusion from the final report on the grounds that it attributed blame, something the FFM was not mandated to do. According to the OPCW, the engineering report in question had been submitted to the investigation and identification team, a newly created body within the OPCW mandated to make such determinations. Moreover, Director General Arias stood by the report’s conclusion that it had “reasonable grounds” to believe “that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon has taken place on 7 April 2018.”

Arias’ explanation came under attack in November, when WikiLeaks published an email sent by a member of the FFM team that had participated in the Douma investigation. In this email, which was sent on June 22, 2018, and addressed to Robert Fairweather, the author noted that, when it came to the Douma incident, “[p]urposely singling out chlorine gas as one of the possibilities is disingenuous.” The author of the email, who had participated in drafting the original interim report, noted that the original text had emphasized that there was insufficient evidence to support this conclusion, and that the new text represented “a major deviation from the original report.” Moreover, the author took umbrage at the new report’s conclusions, which claimed to be “based on the high levels of various chlorinated organic derivatives detected in environmental samples.” According to email’s author “They were, in most cases, present only in parts per billion range, as low as 1-2 ppb, which is essentially trace quantities.” In short, the OPCW had cooked the books, manufacturing evidence from thin air that it then used to draw conclusions that sustained the U.S. position that chlorine gas had been used by the Syrian government at Douma.

Arias, while not addressing the specifics of the allegations set forth in the leaked email, recently declared that it is “the nature of any thorough inquiry for individuals in a team to express subjective views,” noting that “I stand by the independent, professional conclusion” presented by the OPCW about the Douma incident. This explanation, however, does not fly in the face of the evidence. The OPCW’s credibility as an investigative body has been brought into question through these leaks, as has its independent character. If an organization like the OPCW can be used at will by the U.S., the United Kingdom and France to trigger military attacks intended to support regime-change activities in member states, then it no longer serves a useful purpose to the international community it ostensibly serves. To survive as a credible entity, the OPCW must open itself to a full-scale audit of its activities in Syria by an independent authority with inspector general-like investigatory powers. Anything short of this leaves the OPCW, an organization that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its contributions to world peace, permanently stained by the reality that it is little more than a lap dog of the United States, used to promote the very conflicts it was designed to prevent.

December 23, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Young Gaza Girl Fighting Cancer Alone in West Bank Hospital

10-year-old Miral Abu Amsha (L) and 5-year-old Aisha al-Lulu. (Photo: via Social Media)
The Palestine Chronicle | December 23, 2019

10-year-old Miral Abu Amsha is suffering from leukemia. Due to the hermetic Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, the little girl was not allowed to be joined by her parents when she left Gaza seeking treatment at Najah University Hospital in Nablus, in the West Bank.

Miral’s story, one of the numerous similar tragic stories, was highlighted by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on December 21.

The hospital’s prognosis is that Miral requires an additional four months of aggressive chemotherapy treatment in order for cancer to go into remission. However, the girl’s parents are unlikely to be with her at the hospital as their permit to leave Gaza has been rejected repeatedly by the Israeli military.

Aisha al-Lulu, a 5-year-old from the Strip, has gone to a similar experience to Miral. In January, Aisha died alone in a Jerusalem hospital, following a brain surgery that failed to save her life.

Hundreds of Gaza patients have died because they were denied permits to leave Gaza in the search of badly needed medical attention. Many of those who are allowed access to West Bank hospitals, usually children, were granted permits but denied the company of their families.

According to the World’s Health Organization (WHO), “in June (2019), 1,242 patient companion applications (52% of the total) were approved, 416 applications (17%) were denied and the remaining 733 (31%) were delayed, receiving no definitive response by the time of the patient’s appointment”.

Gaza has been under a hermetic siege since 2006 when Hamas won the democratic legislative elections held in that same year. Since then, Israel has launched several wars, killing thousands and wounding tens of thousands of Gazans.

The siege and war have also devastated Gaza’s already struggling infrastructures, leaving hospitals with limited medical supplies, and, at times, no electricity. According to a United Nations report, Gaza will be deemed uninhabitable by 2020.

December 23, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

Hard Evidence on Torture and Ill-Treatment Committed against Palestinian Detainees at Israeli Interrogation Centers

Addameer Prisoner Support And Human Rights Association | December 23, 2019

Since its creation, the occupying state developed and enforced laws and practices that led to both the systematic use of torture and to absolute impunity for the perpetrator of this crime. There has never been any individual or agency held accountable for the well-documented crimes of torture and ill-treatment at Israeli prisons and interrogation centers.

The occupation authorities, in particular, the Israeli intelligence agency “Shabak” resorts to torture and ill-treatment as standard operating procedure in a systematic and wide-scale approach against Palestinian detainees. Over the past three months, the intelligence agency subjected a number of detainees at Israeli interrogation centers to severe physical and psychological torture without any form of monitoring and protection.

Addameer has hard evidence on the crimes of torture and ill-treatment committed against a number of detainees held at interrogation centers since late August 2019. Addameer was banned from publishing any of the details of torture prior to this date, due to a gag order issued by the Israeli Court of First Instance in Jerusalem.

On 10 September 2019, a gag order was issued on a number of cases under interrogation at al-Mascobiyya interrogation center. Hence, preventing the public, including Addameer the legal representative, from publishing any information regarding these cases.

The gag order was issued based on a request from the Israeli intelligence agency and Israeli police and was renewed multiple times. Despite the gag order, Israeli media outlets and the Israeli intelligence agency published information to the public about some of those cases. This inconsistent enforcement of the gag order, where the Israeli sources exercised the freedom to publish, can only be understood as a means to influence public opinion.

Most importantly, the issuance of this gag order is an attempt to hide crimes committed against the detainees and prevent the public and the legal representatives from exposing the details of the crimes of torture and ill-treatment that were committed against the detainees in question throughout the past months.

Torture at Israeli interrogation centers

According to Israeli military laws, a detainee can be held in interrogation for a total period of 75 days without receiving any official charges. According to these same laws, a detainee can be banned from meeting his/her lawyer for a total period of 60 days. Those detainees, in particular, were held for extremely long periods of interrogation, and were also banned from lawyers’ visits and legal consultation.

The periods of the ban on meeting the lawyers ranged from 30 to 45 days in some cases. During the interrogations, the detainees suffered from different forms of both physical and psychological torture. The methods used against them included, but were not limited to harsh beating, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, stress positions, the denial of basic hygiene needs, sexual harassment, threatening and intensive psychological torture including the use of family members and/or other detainees.

The threats used include threats of rape, torture, and revocation of residency. The severe torture and humiliation these detainees suffered from, led to injuries, broken bones, fainting, vomiting, bleeding from different parts of the body (nose, mouth, hands, legs[1] and genital area). In addition, the detainees also suffered from the false assessment made by doctors at the interrogation centers, whom almost in all cases stated that the detainees are qualified for interrogations denying the clear signs of torture.

A short description of some of the torture techniques:

  • Positional torture (stress positions): Israeli intelligence officers forced the detainees into a number of stress positions such as the banana position,[2] the frog position, sitting on an imaginary chair, squatting and many other different positions. Almost in all of these stress positions, the detainees would lose their balance and fall on the ground, which would lead to a harsh beating by the officers and then forcing the detainee back into the stress position. Other used stress positions included standing on their toes while their hands were shackled above their heads to a wall. Another position included sitting on a chair while handcuffed to the back, where the hands were positioned on a table behind the detainee’s chair. A third position involved the detainee laying on the ground with his/her hands chained to each other with iron cuffs and positioned behind his/her back. This position also includes officers sitting on the detainee to place pressure on his/her body while beat him/her ferociously.
  • Harsh beatings: Israeli occupation intelligence officers used extreme methods of beatings against the detainees using their hands, legs, knees and even their fingers. The officers hit, slapped, punched, poked (using their fingers), and kicked the detainees. These methods resulted in severe and life-threatening injuries that included broken ribs, inability to walk, brutal bruises, swelling marks on the skin, ulcer wounds… etc. The officers, who exceeded five in number in some cases used to blindfold the detainees’ eyes so they would not expect the beating or know where it is coming from. Several of those detainees appeared in their court sessions with marks on their bodies, expressing severe pain, or in some cases arrived on wheelchairs. In one of the cases, the harsh beating was committed with the intention to kill the detainee, who was in fact transferred to the hospital in serious condition after around 30 hours of severe and extreme methods of beatings. In another case, the harsh beating aimed at injuries caused by a police dog during the arrest, the interrogators intended to target those previously obtained injuries, which were mainly on the detainee’s genital area causing the wounds to re-open twice. Also, in many other cases, the method of pulling the facial hair from its roots causing injuries and swelling marks was used.
  • Sleep deprivation: this technique was implemented through different methods, in some cases the detainees spent around twenty days sleeping from one to three hours a day. Even when those detainees were sent to their cells to sleep, they would be disturbed with loud and eerie sounds made by the prison guards, the voices of other detainees being harshly beaten or the sound of knocking on their cell doors. In some cases, sleep deprivation ranged from 30 to 60 continuous hours, where the detainee would not be sent to sleep at all during these hours and would be woken up if he/she falls asleep during the interrogation. Some detainees were harshly slapped on their faces to wake up, others were also splashed with water. Detainees described the slaps as extremely severe causing them to feel dizzy.
  • The use of family members (emotional blackmailing): psychological torture and ill-treatment were used on the majority of these detainees, focusing on threats against their family members, and loved ones. Israeli occupation forces used the policy of collective punishment through arresting and bringing in some of the family members mostly to al-Mascobiyya interrogations center and Ofer prison. Eight family members for seven different detainees were arrested, and another ten family members were brought in for questioning. Some of these relatives were kept for a number of days while others were kept for hours. In all the cases, family members and loved ones were mainly brought in to pressure the detainees themselves. The interrogators made the detainees assume that their relatives got arrested and will be tortured as well. Relatives included fathers, mothers, brothers, daughters, wives, etc.
  • Interrogation at Israeli secret prisons: at least one of the detainees Addameer has documented their cases have stated that they were taken to unknown centers. The detainee said that the interrogators at this center were all face-covered and wearing a different uniform than the known usual uniforms. It has been revealed in the past that Israel has secret prisons that are removed from maps and airbrushed aerial photographs.[3]

These detainees that were subject to torture and ill-treatment in the past months were around 50 detainees, almost half of them were subject to torture, and all of them suffered ill-treatment. The detainees included male and female detainees, they also included university students, union workers, human rights defenders, and a PLC member. Addameer’s lawyer began collecting hard evidence proving the torture and ill-treatment committed against these detainees from the very first day the lawyers were permitted to meet them.

Public International Law

Violations of Fair Trial Guarantees

Israeli military courts completely disregard the fair trial guarantees. The cases monitored in the last months are just another proof of the fact that the Israeli military court from its creation never met the minimum standards of a fair trial. The right to a fair trial is enshrined in all the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols. [4] According to the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions, depriving a protected person a fair and regular trial is a grave breach.[5] Additionally, the right to a fair trial is set forth in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and in several other international instruments.[6] For example, the UN Human Rights Committee in its General Comment on Article 4 of the ICCPR stated that the principle of the fair trial cannot be derogated from.[7]

The fair trial guarantees basic principles that are systematically violated at the Israeli military courts include, but are not limited to the following; trail by an independent, impartial and regularly constituted court; presumption of innocence; information on the nature and cause of the accusation (right to be informed); necessary rights and means of defense (right to counsel); the presence of the accused at the trial; and compelling accused persons to testify against themselves or to confess guilt.[8]

As mentioned before, there was a gag order effective for a period of over three months, due to this gag order the court proceedings were not open to the public, and even preventing the family members from attending the court sessions. Thus, violating the right to public proceedings.[9] Also, the majority of the detainees who were included in the gag order were also banned from lawyers’ visits and consultation. Even in the court sessions that were conducted while the lawyers’ ban was effective, detainees were denied to see his/her lawyer. The period of the lawyers’ ban orders ranged from 30 days to around 45 days in some of the cases, depriving them of their right to counsel[10] in the most sensitive period of detention.

Moreover, according to the Israeli military law, a detainee can be held without any charges for a total period of 75 days that is subject to renewals. In those cases, in particular, the military prosecution pressed lists of charges after a period of interrogations that ranged from 50 to 60 days in some of the cases. One of the detainees spent more than 100 days at al-Mascobiyya interrogation center without knowing all of the charges brought against him. Thus, violating detainee’s right to be informed[11] of the nature of the accusations brought against them without delay. In other cases, the intelligence agency published accusations against individuals to the public before presenting them with their list of charges at the court. The published statements were for a mere political motive as the actual charges pressed against the same detainees at the military court are not in line with the published accusation.

Furthermore, according to the court sessions’ protocols, detainees have shown and expressed their need for urgent medical care by emphasizing that they were tortured. Some of the detainees attended their sessions in a wheelchair and one was not able to attend a number of his sessions due to his medical situation. Still, the judge at the military court in all of the cases extended the detention periods for the detainees for the purposes of interrogations. In fact, in the past three months, Addameer’s lawyers made several appeals to the Israeli military courts of appeals on the detention periods and many petitions to the Israeli High Court on the orders that ban the detainees from meeting their lawyers. All the petitions submitted to the Israeli High Court were rejected and around 95 percent of the appeals made to the Israeli military court of appeals were also rejected. This shows how the military court and High Court are not independent, impartial and regularly constituted courts[12] as they prioritize the requests and needs of the Israeli intelligence agency without any consideration of the detainees’ rights. Most importantly, the insistence of the Israeli judges at both courts to extend the interrogation periods with the knowledge of the committed torture shows the complicity of this legal system in the committed crimes. In fact, the judges also obstructed the documentation of torture by attempting to delay the obtaining of medical reports and pictures of the bodies of those tortured detainees, rather than monitoring and preventing torture, which is their legal obligation. Only in one of the cases, the judge ordered the detention center’s doctor to document the body of the detainee by taking pictures.

Finally, almost all of those detainees were forced to give confessions under torture. The intensity of the interrogations and severity of the physical and psychological torture forced the majority of the detainees to testify against themselves, against others, and confess guilty.[13] At the Israeli military court, those confessions are used as the main tool to indict those detainees, in complete disregard of all international norms that assert on the inadmissibility of all confessions obtained under torture.

Prohibition of Torture in Public International Law

Prohibition against torture is one of the most fundamental norms of international law that cannot be derogated from. The protection against torture under all circumstances is enshrined in both Treaty[14]  and Customary International Law.[15] Despite the absolute and non-derogable prohibition against torture, enshrined under article (2) of the International Convention against Torture and ratified by Israel on 3 October 1991, torture against Palestinian detainees is systematic and widespread in Israeli occupation prisons and interrogation centers. In fact, torture has been sanctioned by a series of Israeli High Court decisions. In High Court decision number 5100/94 in 1999,[16] the High Court made permissible the use of “special means of pressure” in the case of a “ticking bomb” scenario, where interrogators believe that a suspect is withholding information that could prevent an impending threat to civilian lives as stated in Article (1)34 of the Israeli Penal Code of 1972. This exception constitutes a grave legal loophole that legitimizes the torture and cruel treatment by the Israeli intelligence interrogators against Palestinian detainees and also protects interrogators who are granted impunity for their crimes.

Moreover, the Israeli High Court, in the Tbeish case number 9018/17 in 2018,[17] issued a ruling which expanded the concept of a “ticking bomb” scenario to include cases that are not imminent security threats. In this case, the judge based his ruling on previous decisions and broadened the element of immediacy not to be limited with a time frame. The Israeli occupying state alleges that the “special measures” they use with Palestinian detainees are part of their security measures. However, those practices amount to torture and ill-treatment, and even if the Israeli allegations were accurate, torture is absolutely prohibited in all circumstances including those of security-related measures. Furthermore, torture is committed in Israeli interrogation centers regardless of the classification of a “ticking bomb situation/special measures” torture is used with cases that even include the right to affiliation and organize politically.[18]

International legal standards affirm the absolute prohibition of torture under all circumstances. For example, the Council of Europe outlined guidelines on human rights and fighting terrorism which was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 11 July 2002. The guidelines stated: “The use of torture or of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is absolutely prohibited, in all circumstances, and in particular during the arrest, questioning and detention of a person suspected of or convicted of terrorist activities, irrespective of the nature of the acts that the person is suspected of or for which he/she was convicted.”[19]

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, stated: “The ban on torture and ill-treatment was one of the most fundamental norms of international law and could not be justified in any circumstances.”[20] He added in the same statement speaking about the American prison at Guantanamo Bay that, “By failing to prosecute the crime of torture in CIA custody, the U.S. is in clear violation of the Convention against Torture and is sending a dangerous message of complacency and impunity of officials in the U.S. and around the world.”[21] The Israeli occupying state is an outrageous example of complicity and absolute impunity for perpetrators of the crimes of torture and ill-treatment.

Conclusion: Impunity for a war crime

This Israeli illegal occupation has violated all the legal elements of an occupation under international law. The Israeli legal system and practices are just one example of this violation that aims for suppressing and dominating the Palestinian protected population. Crimes of torture and denial of a fair trial for Palestinian detainees are not limited to one perpetrator. In fact, the agencies complicit in those crimes include the intelligence agency, military court, military prosecution, Hight Court, and even the medical staff that were involved in providing medical care and assessment for those detainees subjected to torture and ill-treatment.

According to various human rights organizations fighting against the crimes of the occupation, there are no effective domestic mechanisms of accountability for the crimes of torture, ill-treatment and the deprivation of a fair trial. In point of fact, Addameer, in the last ten years, has annually submitted tens of complaints of torture, and only one of them, a sexual harassment case, was open for investigation. However, rather than pressing a list of charges against the perpetrators, in this case, it was closed without indictment. Furthermore, according to the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), about 1,200 complaints of torture during Israeli interrogations have been filed since 2001. All the cases were closed without a single indictment.[22]

Finally, Addameer affirms that the Israeli occupying state with all of its agencies continues to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. According to the Rome Statute, the denial of a fair and regular trial is a war crime (Article 8 (2)(a) (vi)). Additionally, torture is a war crime (Article 8 (2)(a) (ii)) and if committed in a systematic and wide-scale approach it also amounts to a crime against humanity (Article 7 (1)(f)).[23]

Addameer calls on the international community to hold Israel accountable for its war crime and crimes against humanity and to put an end to its sanctioned absolute impunity.

[1] The hands and legs of those detainees suffered great injuries mainly due to the cuffs used to chain them for long hours.

[2] The banana position is a position in which the detainee’s legs cuffed to the lower part of a chair (the back of the chair is positioned to the side) and his hands cuffed to each other and pressured by the interrogators to the lower part of the chair. This position would mean that the detainee’s body would form an arch. Usually, when the detainee is forced into this position, the interrogators beat the detainee harshly on the chest and stomach. Interrogators put a blanket or a pillow on the floor behind the chair, since detainees usually fall with the chair to the floor, due to the intensity the body is exposed.

[3] For further information check the written article on

[4] First Geneva Convention, Article 49; Second Geneva Convention, Article 50; Third Geneva Convention, Articles 102–108; Fourth Geneva Convention, Articles 5 and 66–75; Additional Protocol I, Article 75(4); Additional Protocol II, Article 6(2).The principle of the right to fair trial is also provided for in Article 17(2) of the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property.

[5] Third Geneva Convention, Article 130; Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 147; Additional Protocol I, Article 85(4)(e).

[6] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 14(1) (ibid., § 2796); Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 40(2)(b)(iii) (ibid., § 2802); European Convention on Human Rights, Article 6(1) (ibid., § 2795); American Convention on Human Rights, Article 8(1) (ibid., § 2797); African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Article 7 (ibid., § 2801).

[7] UN Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 29 (Article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) (ibid., § 2998).

[8] For further information check rule 100 of the customary international law at:

[9] Third Geneva Convention, Article 105; Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 74; Additional Protocol I, Article 75(4)(i); ICC Statute, Article 64(7); ICTY Statute, Article 20(4); ICTR Statute, Article 19(4); International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 14(1).

[10] First Geneva Convention, Article 49; Second Geneva Convention, Article 50; Third Geneva Convention, Article 84, and Article 96; Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 72, and Article 123; Additional Protocol I, Article 75(4)(a); Additional Protocol II, Article 6(2)(a). Also, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 14(3).

[11] Third Geneva Convention, Article 96, and Article 105; Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 71, and Article 123; Additional Protocol I, Article 75(4)(a); Additional Protocol II, Article 6(2)(a). Also, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 14(3)(a); Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 40(2)(b)(ii).

[12] Third Geneva Convention, Article 84; Additional Protocol II, Article 6(2); Additional Protocol I, Article 75(4); International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 14(1); European Convention on Human Rights, Article 6(1).

[13] Third Geneva Convention, Article 99; Additional Protocol I, Article 75(4)(f); Additional Protocol II, Article 6(2)(f); ICC Statute, Article 55(1)(a); International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 14(3)(g); Convention against Torture, Article 15.

[14] First Geneva Convention, Article 12; Second Geneva Convention, Article 12; Third Geneva Convention, Article 17; fourth paragraph (“physical or mental torture”) Article 87, Article 89 (“inhuman, brutal or dangerous” disciplinary punishment), and Article 32; Additional Protocol I, Article 75(2); Additional Protocol II, Article 4(2); ICC Statute, Article 8(2)(c)(i) and (ii); International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 7; European Convention on Human Rights, Article 3.

[16] HCJ 5100/94, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel et al. v. Government of Israel et al., Judgment. An English translation of the Court decision is available at: [accessed 5 December 2019].

[17] HCJ 9018/17, Firas Tbeish et al. v. The Attorney General. An English translation of the Court decision is available at: [accessed 22 December 2019].

[18] Joint report: B’Tselem and HAMOKED (2010): Impunity: Israeli military policy not to investigate the killing of Palestinians by soldiers

[19] Guidelines on human rights and the fight against terrorism adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 11 July 2002 at the 804th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies

[20] Miles, Tom. “U.N. Expert Says Torture Persists at Guantanamo Bay; U.S. Denies.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 13 Dec. 2017,….

[21] Ibid.

[22] Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Torture in Israel 2019: Situation Report,  it can be found here:  Situation Report 2019.

[23] For further information check the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court at:

December 23, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

License to kill for Britain’s secret service makes UK a police state

By Finian Cunningham | RT | December 23, 2019

A ruling by British judges declaring it legal for Britain’s state security service – MI5 – to shield agents or informers from prosecution for crimes committed in the line of duty is a hugely sinister development.

The ruling by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) last week represents a formalizing of secret British government policy of affording its internal security service unlimited powers and immunity from prosecution in the execution of activities. The policy was legally contested by four British human rights groups, calling on the IPT to ban such powers.

However, the tribunal of five judges concluded it was lawful for MI5 agents to be permitted to commit crimes if, by doing so, they were acting in the public interest of national security. Two of the judges dissented. They explicitly raised concerns that the policy sets a “dangerous precedent” and “opens the door to abuse of power”.

Daniel Holder, deputy director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), one of the four groups protesting the existing policy, said the narrow-majority ruling shows there is deep misgivings even within the state about the sinister potential of such unlimited power for Britain’s security forces. CAJ and the other groups are to appeal the ruling in the courts.

“We are very concerned that this ruling for now permits MI5 to continue to authorize informant or agent involvement in serious crime,” said Holder in comments for this article. “This could include crimes that constitute human rights violations. There were such experiences during the Northern Ireland conflict of informant-based paramilitary collusion, with agents of the state involved in acts as serious as murder and torture.”

During that conflict (1969-98), British military intelligence are known to have been involved in systematic levels of collusion with paramilitary agents and informers as part of a counterinsurgency campaign. The outcome was hundreds of extra-judicial killings carried out with the covert consent of British state agencies. One of the most notorious was the murder of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane in 1989. Former British Prime Minister David Cameron admitted before parliament in 2012, following the publication of a government report into the Finucane killing, that the collusion in the case represented “shocking” abuse by Britain’s military intelligence.

What the latest ruling by the five-judge tribunal demonstrates is that there is still a policy of impunity for British state agents and their informants if their criminal activities are deemed to be essential in the service of national security. That is an insidiously low bar of subjectivity which allows for a modus operandi of “any means necessary”.

The British government is arguing that for agents and informants to carry out their covert work effectively, then they must have the power to lawfully participate in criminal activities for the sake of maintaining their cover. In short, they have a license to kill. But what makes the British state policy disturbingly sinister is that it is a secret policy that is off limits to legal and public scrutiny.

Says CAJ’s Daniel Holder: “All police and security services the world over use informants. They are a vital policing tool, but they have to be used lawfully, and the question always is: where do you draw the line as to what they are allowed to do? On occasions where absolutely necessary this may involve informants being involved in crimes like conspiracies with a view to thwarting them; but the bottom line is that informants can never lawfully be ‘authorized’ to be involved in serious crimes that constitute human rights violations, such as kidnaping, killings and false imprisonment, nor can they act as agent provocateurs, all of that is illegal.”

Northern Ireland serves as a grim case study where military police powers ran amok. Independent local human rights groups, such as CAJ and Relatives for Justice, contend that the so-called secret intelligence war waged by the British state was not only unlawful, it also prolonged the conflict and exacerbated the death toll.

Many of the killings suspected to have involved British agents or informers remain unsolved. Those murders have left a poisonous legacy for the citizens of Northern Ireland to deal with.

Rather than being restrained by this nefarious episode, it seems the British authorities are more determined than ever to extend the powers of their security services to act with impunity. If such a policy cannot be scrutinized or challenged in the courts by prosecution of alleged offenders then that leaves one to conclude that Britain is not a state of law but rather one ultimately run like a police state.

If British security agencies are above the law to commit any crime deemed necessary for their function, that opens a Pandora’s Box of baleful consequences.

We only have to look at countries where police forces more openly operate with impunity to see where the lawless direction leads to. A notorious example is Brazil, where police units are estimated to kill on average 17 people every day in supposed crackdowns on organized crime. The rampant use of extra-judicial assassination is largely a result of widespread immunity afforded to police officers.

Today’s Britain may seem like a million miles away, figuratively, from somewhere like Brazil or The Philippines where police forces also wield extensive lethal violence with impunity. However, once the rule of law is discarded for state forces, there is no longer a safeguard against abuse of power. It’s a slippery slope towards systematic violence and corruption.

Earlier this year, there was a public outcry in Britain when it emerged that Eton College – one of Britain’s elite private schools and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s alma mater – had set an exam question for entrant students asking them to justify the use of lethal force to kill rioters.

The question set by the Eton examiners read: “The year is 2040. There have been riots in the streets of London after Britain has run out of petrol because of an oil crisis in the Middle East. Protesters have attacked public buildings. Several policemen have died. Consequently, the Government has deployed the Army to curb the protests. After two days the protests have been stopped but twenty-five protesters have been killed by the Army. You are the Prime Minister. Write the script for a speech to be broadcast to the nation in which you explain why employing the Army against violent protesters was the only option available to you and one which was both necessary and moral.”

There you have it: “necessary and moral” means anything goes in the name of national security. Just like the legally approved license to kill granted to MI5.

Evidently, Britain’s ruling class is wary of civil unrest sometime in the future. It could be sparked by Brexit or economic austerity. The use of lethal force to quell public protests is an option. The ruling by British judges endorsing an existing secret government policy of impunity for MI5 shows that Britain is but a step from being a police state. If not there already.

December 23, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | Leave a comment

Trump administration and Moscow shoot down bipartisan DASKA “sanctions bill from hell”

By Sarah Abed | December 23, 2019

In August of 2018, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) first introduced what Graham referred to as a “sanctions bill from hell” targeting Russia and President Vladimir Putin and making it harder for the United States to leave NATO. Despite bipartisan grievances with Moscow the bill didn’t gain much traction.

The measure to push President Trump to take a tougher stance against Russia over alleged election interference, aggression towards Ukraine and involvement in Syria’s proxy war is titled the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) and would impose strict and broad penalties.

In February of this year, DASKA was reintroduced with Senator Graham stating the following, “Our goal is to change the status quo and impose meaningful sanctions and measures against Putin’s Russia,” and “He should cease and desist meddling in the U.S. electoral process, halt cyberattacks on American infrastructure, remove Russia from Ukraine, and stop efforts to create chaos in Syria.”

During a Senate Floor speech on February 7th, Senator Menendez even went as far as saying that he speculated whether President Trump “is an asset of the Russian government” and concluded his speech by saying, “this Administration’s deference to the Kremlin demands Congress be proactive in shaping U.S. foreign policy toward Russia, especially with respect to sanctions.”

Fast forward to last Wednesday when the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced the bill with a 17-5 vote. The next step is for the legislation to pass the full Senate and House of Representatives before it can be brought to President Donald Trump to sign into law or veto.

However, the White House has already stated their opposition to DASKA, which targets Russian banks, Russia’s cyber sector, new sovereign debt, and would impose measures on its oil and gas sectors.  The bill also imposes several requirements on the State Department including generating reports investigating President Putin’s wealth, opposition figure Boris Nemtsov’s 2013 assassination and whether to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terror.

As for NATO, DASKA would ensure that without approval from a Senate supermajority the United States can not leave. This is in response to President Trump’s various comments about wanting to leave and criticism of other NATO members for not spending enough on defense.

The Trump administration and Moscow are on the same page when it comes to DASKA. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called DASKA “senseless” and in a 22-page letter to Congress it was referred to as “unnecessary” and in need of “significant changes”. Although the administration stated that they too want to deter and counter Russian subversion and aggression they strongly oppose the bill in its current form.

It seems rather unlikely that this bill will pass and in the very slight chance that it does these sanctions will not deter Moscow or bring about any significant change in their domestic and foreign policies.

Robert Legvold, the Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus of Post-Soviet Foreign Policy at Columbia University, stated “As has been the experience since the first U.S. and EU sanctions in 2014, the effect on Russian foreign policy behavior will almost certainly be close to zero-other than perhaps encouraging initiatives that the Russian leadership believes may be disruptive in U.S. relations with its European allies.”

Although Democrats and some Republican’s such as Senator Graham sometimes manage to inadvertently bring the Russian and American heads of states together on some issues such as DASKA and President Trump’s impeachment, those moments are usually short lived. As we saw a few days ago, President Trump signed the 2020 National Defense Act with a $738 billion budget which included legislation imposing sanctions on firms laying pipe for Nord Stream 2, an $11 billion gas pipeline project meant to double gas capacity along the northern Nord Stream pipeline route from Russia to Germany, upsetting all parties involved.

Germany firmly rejected the US sanctions and referred to them as incomprehensible as they affect Berlin and other European companies as well. The imposition of sanctions against EU companies who are conducting legitimate business is rejected by the European Union as well. Russia stated that they would stick to the schedule and carry out their projects regardless of sanctions.

The current and previous White House administrations opposed this project over claims that it would embolden President Putin’s influence by increasing his political and economic sway in Europe. With the United States currently ranked as the world’s top oil and gas producer, it’s clear to see that sanctions such as these are meant to influence European allies to buy American instead of Russian oil and products.

On Friday, Allseas the Swiss-Dutch company contracted to do the work announced that it had suspended pipe-laying activities in anticipation of the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). On Saturday, Allseas stated, “Completing the project is essential for European supply security. We together with the companies supporting the project will work on finishing the pipeline as soon as possible.”

Russian FM Lavrov met with President Trump at the White house earlier this month and mentioned that they covered at least a dozen substantial issues, and that both the White house and Russia are interested in dialogue. It will be interesting to see if President Trump can successfully balance his desire to expand trade ties and continue dialogue with Russia, by pushing back legislation from Congress to increase sanctions under DASKA, all while sanctioning Nord Stream 2 under the NDAA. What level of chess would that be?

Sarah Abed is an independent journalist and analyst.

December 23, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment