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Merkel agreement with Turkish President Erdogan ‘real treason’ – Marine Le Pen

RT | April 13, 2016

Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front party, has called Angela Merkel’s talks with Turkey over the migrant deal “real treason,” saying Erdogan’s government shows “unacceptable leniency” towards Islamic State and “buys oil from terrorists.”

Le Pen has described the recent deal with Turkey as “a serious democratic problem.”

Last month, EU leaders and Turkey agreed a plan aimed at opening a “safe and legal” route to the EU for Syrian refugees. Under the deal, sealed on March 20, Ankara is to take back all migrants and refugees, including Syrians, who cross the Aegean Sea and enter Greece illegally. In return, the EU will take in thousands of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey, rewarding Ankara with a fast visa-free travel regime, advancement in EU membership talks and – last but not least – more money.

“First of all, Frau Merkel did not possess the necessary powers [to strike the deal]. Secondly, she went against the will of the majority of the people in Europe. She conducted talks with Erdogan on unacceptable conditions, such as the €6-billion subvention, visa-free travel for Turks, and even Turkey’s admission to the EU – something that France has been strongly against. This is real treason and betrayal of the people,” the far-right National Front (FN) leader said in an exclusive interview with LifeNews.

“France’s National Front has long been saying that Erdogan’s government shows unacceptable leniency towards Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). I’m talking about Turkey buying oil from terrorists. We strongly resist Turkey’s integration with the EU, and we insist on respect for freedom of choice, and the French people’s refusal to follow the direction imposed by Frau Merkel,” Le Pen said.

“Today Turkey is establishing relations with Islamic fundamentalists. This goes against the interests of our country. Besides, I’m sorry to say it: Turkey is not a European country, neither historically, nor culturally and geographically. This means it has no business being part of the European Union,” she added.

Last month, the FN leader described Turkey’s request for the EU to provide it with an extra € 3 billion ($3.3 billion) to deal with the refugee crisis as blackmail.

“We have become so weak due to the removing of our [EU] borders that we have given in to Turkey’s blackmail,” Le Pen told RTL.

Last week, President Erdogan warned that Turkey won’t take back Syrian refugees if the EU doesn’t fulfill its promises, according to Reuters. It was previously reported that the Turkish president had threatened to flood the European Union with migrants, should Ankara not be offered enough cash to help curb the influx.

The first deportations started in Greece in early April amid repeated warnings by human rights groups that Turkey is “not a safe third country for refugees.”

In December, the Russian Defense Ministry released evidence it said unmasks the vast and illegal oil trade by Islamic State. It points to Turkey as the main destination for the smuggled oil, implying Ankara’s leadership in aiding the terrorists. However, the ministry said that since the start of Russia’s anti-terrorist operation in Syria on September 30, Islamic State’s income from oil smuggling has been significantly reduced. Erdogan has denied that Turkey procures oil from anything other than legitimate sources.

Le Pen has praised the Russian military mission in Syria, saying: “It’s a relief for us to see Islamic State retreat, and how Russia has succeeded where the EU has totally failed.”

“Russia’s presence in Syria has helped Europe a lot. Of course, our minister of foreign affairs has appropriated the success of airstrikes against Islamic State targets. In reality, the merit is due solely to the Russian troops,” she told LifeNews.

Le Pen said she had long been calling on France to restore diplomatic relations with Syria. “Despite harsh criticism of Bashar Assad’s government, it is the lesser evil in comparison with ISIS. We need to stabilize Syria, to strengthen through diplomacy the government system, which currently appears to be in ruins, with all the power in IS’ hands. We need to maintain high-level relations between the Syrian and French intelligence services. This will help us prevent terrorist acts in France.”

April 13, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sarkozy and Hollande on Middle East: La Même Chose

By Patrick Galey | Al Akhbar |  May 5, 2012

When the frontrunners in France’s presidential race took their seats on Thursday evening for a final televised debate, they did so with battle lines firmly entrenched.

Incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande had spent the previous month on a vitriolic campaign trail exposing deep rifts among the French electorate over the economy, immigration, and nuclear energy.

But the most significant player in Sunday’s election, which most opinion polls predict will go down to the wire, was not even in the studio.

Both Hollande and Sarkozy are mindful that the 6.4 million who voted for Marine Le Pen of the far right National front will have a large bearing on the outcome of Sunday’s run-off. That’s why they have sought to echo Le Pen’s strident anti-immigration rhetoric which reached out to disenchanted voters and hardliners alike.

Hollande vowed to cut economic migration at a time when France is feeling the pinch from the eurozone’s financial turmoil. Sarkozy went one step further, referencing Le Pen by name and claiming only he had the experience and gumption to put a meaningful cap on immigration’s pall over France by cutting the number of people entering the country in half.

Judy Dempsey, a senior associate at Carnegie Europe, said although immigration was being touted as a domestic stand from both candidates, using the issue as a sweetener to attract far-right voters could have an adverse effect on France internationally.

“Immigration is foreign policy and when they speak about immigration now in France it’s fortress Europe,” she said. “[Hollande and Sarkozy] don’t see immigration in a positive sense and it sends completely the wrong signal to the younger generation and the emerging business community in the Middle East.”

It was not until the final minutes of Thursday’s debate that the issue of foreign policy was raised. Here, both candidates demurred.

Sarkozy was quick to point out how he took the lead as France led the way in a number of international decisions while in office.

France’s president has often sought to paint himself as a highly experienced operator in the realm of global diplomacy. As well as inheriting French involvement in NATO’s Afghanistan mission, Sarkozy oversaw the stationing of French troops in the Middle East and Africa, largely in a peacekeeping capacity.

He played a prominent role in meditation between Tbilisi and Moscow in 2008 when the fight over Abkhazia and South Ossetia threatened to boil over into all out war.

And last year, Sarkozy’s France spearheaded NATO’s campaign for military intervention in Libya.

Sarkozy avoided mentioning Libya in Thursday’s debate after embarrassing allegations that his 2007 presidential campaign had received an offer of funding from Tripoli. Sarkozy is seeking legal action over the claim, but thought better of opening that particular can of worms in the closing moments of a potentially election-changing televised appearance.

Hollande’s public statements indicate striking Middle Eastern policy similarities to the current government. Like Sarkozy, Hollande has declared that an Iranian nuclear missile would be unacceptable for Europe. Like Sarkozy, Hollande has called for a two-state solution in Palestine while trumpeting Israeli security as a key French concern.

The Socialist leader has been necessarily vague over French foreign policy. He currently lacks a dedicated adviser for overseas affairs. Instead of laying out detailed plans for France’s global relations, the Socialist challenger has made a point of criticizing Sarkozy in this regard.

Looking ahead to the next term in office, Hollande has struck a remarkably similar tone to the current government.

Sarkozy and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe have been among the most hawkish European officials to address the Syrian crisis, closing the French Embassy in Damascus and calling multiple times for President Bashar Assad to leave office. Sarkozy has issued incessant calls for a full ceasefire in Syria, and has somewhat ominously compared the restive city of Homs to Benghazi, Libya’s erstwhile rebel stronghold.

Hollande, for his part, declared last month that he would support military intervention in Syria, “if done within a [United Nations] framework.” Juppe has offered words to the same effect in recent weeks.

According to Thomas Klau, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, both Sarkozy and Hollande will wait and see what happens in Syria before veering from the French course of public criticism of the Damascus government.

“The current government and Juppe have been very active on the Syria dossier and doing all they could to get Russia to move its stance,” Klau told Al-Akhbar. “I wouldn’t expect the French policy to be different under Hollande. Much of his policy will be determined by events on the ground and the success – or the lack of it – from the [U.N./Arab League Envoy Kofi] Annan’s mediation effort.”

Dempsey added that Hollande had raised the prospect of military intervention in Syria “because he can say it without the responsibility” of having to go through with it. As a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, France still has some global clout, but not nearly enough to convince Russia or China to bless any advance on Syria. Both candidates know and accept this, and continuity in the French approach to Damascus is more likely than meaningful change.

In a similar way, with Paris’ pro-Israel lobby as influential among the Socialists as they are in Sarkozy’s UMP party, Hollande, should he win, is unlikely to depart from France’s current line on Palestine.

In spite of a few diplomatic gaffes, including branding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “a liar,” Sarkozy has spent much of the last five years offering support to Israeli officials. Hollande, with influential pro-Israeli figures such as Dominique Strauss-Kahn having the ear of many Parisian socialists, will have a hard time departing from such engagement.

“Nicolas Sarkozy was personally convinced that the national interest of Israel was very close to French national interest,” Klau said. “With Francois Hollande, his attitude isn’t very significant. Neither of them place themselves in the Arabist tradition of French foreign policy, which has lost relevance anyway.”

So if foreign policy has provided so few soundbites in the French presidential election, it is because both candidates are largely in assent.

That is not to say Sarkozy and Hollande agree on every foreign policy area.

Hollande used Thursday’s debate to repeat a campaign promise that, if elected, he would withdraw all French troops serving with NATO from Afghanistan by the end of 2012 – a full year ahead of a planned pullout, and much to the chagrin of Sarkozy. The French president has said he’d prefer not to renege on the current withdrawal timetable agreed with NATO.

In recent months, Sarkozy has faced the wrath of Turkey, one of France’s major trading partners, by pursuing legislation that would make it illegal to deny the Armenian Genocide. Amid opprobrium from Ankara, the president has pushed ahead with the controversial bill, which critics have denounced as a cynical attempt to get France’s estimated 400,000 ethnic Armenians on his side ahead of elections.

Sarkozy has made no secret of his objection to Turkey applying for EU membership, and fallout over the genocide bill is just the latest of a series of spats with Ankara during his time in office. Hollande also indicated he would oppose Turkish EU accession if elected, but, significantly for officials in Ankara, he has not ruled out future negotiations.

“Sarkozy is openly hostile to the notion that Turkey should join the EU, whereas the Socialist position is that that door should remain open,” said Klau.

France’s poor diplomatic ties with Ankara can be counted as a black mark against Sarkozy’s foreign policy initiatives, something Hollande should seek to take advantage of, according to Dempsey.

“Sarkozy had something near contempt for Turkey and there is no love lost between Ankara and Paris,” she said. “This would change slowly under Hollande. It’s time France considered [engagement with Turkey] as its long-term strategic interest but that is one thing that Hollande might be able to change if he wins.”

With France mired in discontent over domestic issues, it is no surprise that neither Hollande nor Sarkozy has been overly willing to share their opinions on global affairs.

But whoever inherits control of one of NATO’s largest troop contributing countries will need to keep plans in place.

May 5, 2012 Posted by | Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Sarkozy and Hollande on Middle East: La Même Chose

Disillusion With the Euro and Europe

French Elections: Cracks in the Neoliberal Consensus

By DIANA JOHNSTONE | CounterPunch | April 24, 2012

Democratic elections in the NATO member states serve one clear purpose. They contribute to the self-satisfaction concerning “our values” needed to justify military intervention in the imperfect internal affairs of other countries.  But do the citizens really decide policy through their votes, or is electoral democracy fatally corrupted by the power of money?

At least in its form, the French presidential election is a model of resistance to the power of money that so blatantly dominates presidential elections in the United States.

While the United States is locked in a two-party system where both parties depend on millions of dollars from rich donors, the French two-round system allows as many candidates as can gather the required number (500) of mayors’ signatures to run in the first round.  Then voters can decide between the two front-runners in the second round.

For the final phase of the first round campaign, which ended with the election this Sunday, April 22, all candidates receive equal television time to get across their message, without having to pay for it.

This time around, there were ten candidates, five of whom had at least a chance at the start to make it into the second round, even though polls showed the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy and the Socialist Party candidate François Hollande leading the pack.  But an upset was at least theoretically possible, as happened in 2002, when the National Front candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen knocked out the Socialist Party candidate Lionel Jospin in the first round, handing Jacques Chirac a landslide victory in the run-off.

The most suspenseful aspect of the first round turned out to be the duel for third place between Jean-Marie’s daughter and political successor Marine Le Pen and the Left Front candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon.  Marine set out to beat her father’s score ten years ago, while Mélenchon set himself the goal of beating her.  The two adversaries were the most charismatic of the ten candidates.  As candidate of the Left Front, Mélenchon lost his bid to come in third, but thanks to his extraordinary verbal skills has succeeded in reviving a political force to the left of the Socialist Party.

Percentage results of candidates in April 22 first round of French Persidential election     

François Hollande, Socialist Party                                             29 %

Nicolas Sarkozy, outgoing President                                          26 %

Marine Le Pen, National Front                                                    18 %

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Left Front                                                 11 %

François Bayrou, centrist                                                                9 %

Eva Joly, Greens                                                                                2 %

Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Social Gaullist                                  1.8%

Philippe Poutou, New Anti-Capitalist Party (Trotskyist)     1.2%

Nathalie Arthaud, communist (Lutte Ouvrière, Trotskyist) 0.7%

Jacques Cheminade, progressist (Lyndon Larouche influence)   0.2%

Participation was high, at around 80%.  The first round is altogether more entertaining and interesting than the second round. It provides more information about the real preferences of voters than the second round, which, like U.S. presidential elections, is often decided on the “lesser evil” principle, with increasing numbers of voters aware that whoever wins, the policies will be much the same.

A few observations:

Every candidate except Sarkozy, the self-styled centrist Bayrou and the Green candidate Eva Joly singled out the world of finance as the main adversary.  Hollande did so quite explicitly in his main campaign speech, although shortly afterwards he watered his wine considerably during a visit to London, the City oblige.  This hostility toward banks has horrified Anglo-American commentators, from The Economist to John Vinocur of the International Herald Tribune, for whom realism consists in docile obedience to the demands of “the markets”. Acting uppity toward finance capital is close to insanity. If “the right” is defined first of all by subservience to finance capital, then aside from Sarkozy, Bayrou and perhaps Joly, all the other candidates were basically on the left.  And all of them except Sarkozy would be considered far to the left of any leading politician in the United States. 

This applies notably to Marine Le Pen, whose social program was designed to win working class and youth votes.  Her “far right” label is due primarily to her criticism of Muslim practices in France and demands to reduce immigration quotas, but her position on these issues would be considered moderate in the Netherlands or in much of the United States. Even she stressed that the immigration problem, as she saw it, was not the fault of the immigrants themselves but of the politicians and the elite who brought them here.  The main tone of her political message was resolutely populist, attacking the “Paris elite”.  Demagogic, yes, often vague and playing fast and loose with statistics, but a model of reason compared to the utterances of the “Tea Party”.  Her political challenge was to hold onto her father’s ultra-conservative constituency while wooing discontented low income voters.  She apparently won more working class votes than Mélenchon.

Mélenchon left the Socialist party to found the Left Party in 2008.  As candidate for the broader Left Front, he has raised the spirits of the demoralized French Communist Party, which fell below 2% in the 2007 election and gave up running a candidate of its own.  Its militants have responded enthusiastically to Mélenchon’s revival of red flags and fiery rhetoric. He would put lower and upper limits on wages and salaries. His program, including calls for constitutional revision that would guarantee such progressive measures as gay marriage, assisted suicide and the right to abortion, surely goes far beyond the demands of his constituency, more concerned with jobs and wages, and reflects his personal adherence to the progressive philosophy of French Free Masonry.  It is certainly his quick witted debating skill that appeals to voters more than the details of his ambitious program.

Disillusion with the euro and Europe

The two leading candidates remain faithful to the dogma of “European construction”.  But elsewhere splits are beginning to show.  Marine Le Pen condemns the euro as a failure which had wrecked European economies and is doomed to disappear.

Certainly, François Asselineau, who has founded his own party, the Union Populaire Républicaine, with the sole object of leaving the European Union, has been totally deprived of any media coverage, and was unable to gather the necessary signatures for candidacy. But the social Gaullist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who is only beginning to be known to the French public, is adamant that France should return to the franc, retaining the euro only as a reserve currency around which EU member state currencies should be allowed to fluctuate.  Dupont-Aignan calls the euro a “racket” and a “poison” for EU economies, which are too diverse for a single currency.  To the objection that leaving the euro would cause huge inflation, he accuses present EU leaders of creating inflation by allowing private banks to borrow at 1% and then ruin member States by lending to them at higher and higher rates.  After France recovers its sovereignty by leaving the euro, Dupont-Aignan would have the Bank of France finance the state at zero interest, which would allow the government to reduce its debt and hire more teachers, policemen and researchers, instead of reducing their number.  He would also take measures to protect French industry from cheap imports.

In contrast, Mélenchon advocates strongly interventionist economic policies without accounting for the fact that they would go against European Union directives as well as the monetarist policy governing the euro. Mélenchon speaks of using the economic weight of France to persuade Germany to change its deflationist policies.  This raises the problem of the clear contradiction between social policies to which the French are attached and the European Union’s control of economic policy that is fatal to those social policies.

Foreign policy confusion 

Foreign policy has been almost entirely absent from this campaign. This could be because voters are not thought to be interested, or because there is no strong opposition between the candidates.  François Hollande conforms to the mainstream consensus, saying he would support military intervention in Syria if based on a UN resolution.  Much of the French left has swallowed the “Responsibility to Protect” ideology.

Already last year, Mélenchon dismayed a certain number of his admirers by supporting the war in Libya, on the grounds that it was based on a UN Resolution.  He now calls for withdrawal from NATO and construction of an independent United Nations intervention force.

Not surprisingly, the Gaullist Dupont-Aignan opposes arming the Syrian opposition, pointing to the fact that arms provided to Libyan rebels ended up in the hands of militias who are destabilizing the whole region.  He maintains that France should have acted differently in Libya and with Russia, instead of following the anti-Russian policy of the United States.

Among the leading candidates, the only clear anti-war policy is that of Marine Le Pen, who favors immediate withdrawal from both Afghanistan and the NATO command, describes the current French government policy of supporting the Syrian opposition as “totally irresponsible”, calls for recognition of a Palestinian State and opposes threats to bomb Iranian nuclear sites, which have not been proven to be military. And she adds: “As far as I know, no nation which has atomic weapons has ever asked for permission from anyone, neither the United States, nor France, nor Israel, nor Pakistan… Must we then plunge the world into a war whose extent we will not control because certain foreign counties ask us to?”

Marine Le Pen is regularly stigmatized as “racist” for her desire to reduce immigration.  But which is worse: refusing entry to Muslim immigrants, or bombing them in their home countries?

The worst is yet to come

Even before the vote, John Vinocur raged against the “miserable precedent” represented by the fact that what he dubbed the “Rejection Front” made up of Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon was almost sure to beat the first round score of either mainstream candidate. Thus, he said, France would have “legitimatized two political currents that spurn serious solutions for France’s economic grief, reject civility and common sense and variously propose regression through loony yet authoritarian economics, class warfare, class or racial prejudices, anti-Western instincts, and the politics of endless rage.”

Wow, take that you frogs.  Look to the calm, intelligent debate of  U.S. Republican primaries for guidance, and remember that whatever foolish things you want, like jobs, medical care or a roof over your head, it’s the markets that have the last word.

Exit polls pointed to a solid victory for Hollande in the second round.  The standard description of Marine Le Pen as “the far right” could suggest that her voters would turn to the right wing candidate, Sarkozy, in the runoff.  But this is far from the case.  The social and foreign policy positions of Marine Le Pen have won over a number of voters disenchanted with the left. Her voters may split fifty-fifty in the second round.  She herself clearly looks forward to the defeat of Sarkozy in order to become the undisputed leader of a recomposed right-wing opposition, which could make life difficult for the future President Hollande.   Perhaps the only thing that could save Sarkozy would be massive abstention, but that does not look likely.

Actually, the timing of this election is favorable to a fairly limp, ill-defined candidate like Hollande, because the future is as unclear as he is.  The Greek disaster, the financial woes of Portugal, Spain and Italy are ominous for France, and the French are worried.  But most French people are still too well off to be seriously alarmed.  The critics like Vinocur or The Economist seem to think that a French candidate for president should run on a campaign of telling people that they should happily prepare to give up all the comforts they enjoy, because that is what the financial markets demand.  If things are as bad as these champions of financial globalization are predicting, then this first round may provide better hints to the French future than the final round of the Hollande-Sarkozy election in two weeks time.

DIANA JOHNSTONE is the author of Fools Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions. She can be reached at  diana.josto@yahoo.fr

April 24, 2012 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Left Radicalism of Jean-Luc Mélenchon

By PHILIPPE MARLIERE | CounterPunch | April 17, 2012

Superbly ignored by the media until recently, Jean-Luc Mélenchon is the new flavour of the day in the French presidential campaign. In truth, while trying to account for his dramatic rise in the polls – latest reports put him at 17% of the vote – most commentators could not help pour scorn on the Left Front candidate.

A survey of the main articles recently published in the British media provides a compelling case study of political prejudice and misunderstanding. Mélenchon is described as an “Anglo-Saxon basher with a whiny voice” (the Independent), a “populist” who’s “on the hard-left” (all newspapers) and a “bully and a narcissist, out to provoke” (BBC). More sympathetic commentaries compare him to George Galloway or depict him as a “far-left firebrand”, a “maverick” and the “pitbull of anti-capitalism”.

It is striking that the more favourable assessment of Mélenchon’s politics remains off the mark. Mélenchon is seen as a “lovable but old-fashioned leftwinger”. This fails to capture the essence of his political ambitions. Mélenchon’s rise has nothing to do with “1970s-style politics and nostalgia”, but is linked instead to his resolute take on the current capitalist crisis. He tells audiences that the austerity policies implemented across Europe are not only unfair but also counterproductive (even the Financial Times agrees). Mélenchon’s debating skills serve his cause, but he is also a lettered pedagogue: a dignified politician who has never participated in vulgar reality shows. What is more, Mélenchon is a French republican and a socialist, not a “far-left” or a fringe politician. He spent 30 years in the Socialist party unsuccessfully arguing that it should be a force at the service of ordinary workers, and he was a cabinet minister in Lionel Jospin’s government.

Oratory is politically useless if one does not have an important message to deliver. Mélenchon has one: neoliberalism has failed, so it would be suicidal to persist with its inadequate policies. The French MEP also had a credible programme. In didactically crafted speeches or in media interviews, he radically departs from mainstream politicians by explaining that the economic crisis is systemic, that is to say that it is due to our flawed political choices and priorities. Our societies have never been as productive and wealthy as today, but the majority of the population are getting poorer despite working harder and harder. The problem is not a question of wealth production (as neoliberals and Blairite social democrats would have us believe), but of redistribution of wealth.

In France raging pundits and opponents call the Left Front programme an “economic nightmare” or a “delirious fantasy”. Shouldn’t they instead use this terminology to describe the banking debacle or austerity policies across Europe? Mélenchon’s growing number of supporters view it as common sense and salutary: a 100% tax on earnings over £300,000; full pensions for all from the age of 60; reduction of work hours; a 20% increase in the minimum wage; and the European Central Bank should lend to European governments at 1%, as it does for the banks. Here are a few realistic measures to support impoverished populations. Is this a revolution? No, it is radical reformism; an attempt to stop the most unbearable forms of economic domination and deprivation in our societies. Fat cat bosses may leave France; they will be replaced by younger and more competent ones who will work for a fraction of their wages.

“Humans First!” is more than a manifesto title, it is a democratic imperative: a sixth republic in place of the current republican monarchy; the nationalisation of energy companies (as energy sources are public goods) and, less often noticed, the ecological planning of the economy, the core of Mélenchon’s political project.

Mélenchon has done French democracy a further favour. In a memorable TV debate, he emphatically defeated the extreme right for the first time in 30 years. Concentrating on policy details, Mélenchon demonstrated that Marine Le Pen’s programme was regressive for women. Furthermore, he smashed to pieces the myth of the Front National as a party that has the working class’s best interests at heart. Le Pen appeared lost for words and ill at ease.

Mélenchon’s campaign politicises the young. He appeals to the working class, which, contrary to some claims, has largely shunned Le Pen and which has been abstaining from the vote. For the first time in decades, Mélenchon is helping the left to reconnect with the popular classes. For Mélenchon, free market politics does not work and inflicts unnecessary suffering on the people. No other European politician is better placed than he is to convincingly argue that point.

Philippe Marlière is a Professor of French and European politics at University College London (UK). He can be reached at: p.marliere@ucl.ac.uk

April 17, 2012 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | Comments Off on The Left Radicalism of Jean-Luc Mélenchon

French police raid ‘extremists’, arrest 19

RT | March 30, 2012

The Toulouse gunman may be dead and buried, but his dark legacy continues to stir up national passions in France. With French police arresting some 19 suspected Islamists in raids across the country, harsher anti-terror measures could be looming.

­Mohamed Merah, the gunman behind the tragic shooting which killed seven, including three school children, in one of France’s worst terror attacks was buried in Toulouse on Thursday.

The case set French security services on high alert and sparked a vigorous debate among French politicians with the presidential campaign in full swing.

“From now on, anyone who regularly consults Internet sites which promote terror or hatred or violence will be sentenced to prison. Any person going abroad for the purposes of indoctrination in terrorist ideology will be criminally punished,” declared France`s acting President Nicolas Sarkozi, who is seeking another term.

Sarkozi also advocates tightening border controls, saying there are “too many foreigners in France.” He has also promised to bar radical Muslim preachers from entering the country to participate in an Islamic conference next month.

On Friday Sarkozy announced that the domestic intelligence agency carried out a series of raids in Toulouse, Nantes, Lyon, Marseille, Paris and Nice, arresting 19 Islamist suspects. The president added that more such raids are planned.

He gave no details about the justifications for the arrests, but said the operation was conducted “in connection with a form of Islamist radicalism.”

Police say they seized some weapons, including at least one Kalashnikov rifle.

Although the raids mainly took place in Toulouse, police say they are not connected with the case of Mohamed Merah, AP reports citing an anonymous police source.

Another presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, from the far right National Front, is pushing for a more radical anti-immigration line.

“How many Mohamed Merahs are there in the boats and planes that arrive in France full of immigrants? Mohamed Merah is perhaps only the tip of the iceberg,” she said.

Le Pen has called for “war on these fundamentalist political religious groups who are killing our children,” saying that “the threat of Islamic fundamentalism has been underestimated.”

Politicians may be throwing out what they call solutions, but the question is whether these policy ideas on immigration or security are realistic means of addressing the real problem.

While some are alarmed by such harsh rhetoric, others say these proposals are solely being made to get votes, as emotions remain charged after the Toulouse tragedy.

March 30, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, False Flag Terrorism, Video | , , , , | 3 Comments