Category: France
French Kiss of Death to Free Speech
| January 12, 2018 | 7:28 pm | Analysis, France | No comments
French President Emmanuel Macron stands on the steps of the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 16, 2017

French Kiss of Death to Free Speech

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Finian Cunningham
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https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201801121060693714-macron-free-speech-death/

This year French President Emmanuel Macron has declared he will crack down on “fake news” with new laws banning publication of “offending” information.

The question is: who decides what “fake news” is? It is the French government. That means any article or viewpoint published across various media platforms is liable to be deleted – if French authorities judge the content to be “fake”.

It’s not hard to imagine how these new laws will be used to target Russian news media in particular. Macron has already made tendentious claims that Russian media outlets, Sputnik and RT, interfered in the French presidential elections last year by allegedly spreading “fake news” about his campaign.

Sputnik and RT both rejected the allegations made by Macron. When Sputnik ran a couple of articles during the French elections they were based on critical comments issued by Macron’s opponents. Nothing more sinister than that.

During an official visit to Paris three weeks after Macron’s election last May, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a press conference that the French leader did not delve into allegations of Russian media interference during their private conversations.

If Macron had a case, why didn’t he raise it during his high-level meeting with Putin? The fact that he didn’t suggests that the French president is grandstanding with baseless claims of “Russian meddling” – in the same way that American and British politicians have been doing over the past year.

Let’s get back to the issue of forthcoming French media laws and the danger they pose to free speech. So, if the French authorities deem any published content to be “fake”, they are arrogating the power to ban it.

The bitter irony of this development comes on the third anniversary this week of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris.

Recall that three years ago on January 7, 2015, a pair of Al Qaeda-linked gunmen stormed the offices of the satirical magazine and shot dead 11 people. The atrocity prompted millions of people on to the streets of Paris declaring, “Je Suis Charlie”. It was supposed to be a rally in defiant support of the right to free speech and freedom of expression.Three years on, Macron’s government is proposing to shut down freedom of expression with its new laws purportedly targeting “fake news” – or any viewpoint designated by French authorities as “not established in facts”. As already noted, Macron has made the provocative assertions that Russian media outlets are purveyors of “fake news” – a claim that he makes without credible evidence or facts.

The danger of this development to free speech is illustrated by a survey published this week which alleges that the French public are susceptible to believing in “conspiracy theories”.

State-owned channel France 24 reported that nearly 80 per cent of French people believe in one or more “conspiracy theories”, according to the cited recent survey.

From the France 24 report: “The poll by the Ifop group on behalf of the Fondation Jean Jaures think-tank and the Conspiracy Watch organization found that large sections of French society believed in theories with no grounding in established fact.”

Fair enough, some of the expressed beliefs among the 1,200 people sampled do seem a bit whacky. For example, some 10 per cent of respondents reportedly said they believe that the “Earth is flat”; and another 16 per cent apparently think that the American moon landings were faked.

However, the report carried by France 24, as well as by Agence France-Presse (AFP), goes on to conflate those dubious concepts with other “conspiracy theories” which are in fact, very arguably, valid alternative points of view.

It was reported that “54 per cent of respondents” believe that the American CIA were involved in the assassination of President John F Kennedy in 1963; and that “31 per cent agreed” with the viewpoint that Western state secret services have manipulated jihadist terror groups like Islamic State.

Here is how France 24 describes the JFK question: “One of the best-known conspiracy theories – that the CIA was involved in the assassination of John F Kennedy in 1963 – was believed by 54 per cent of respondents.”

On the jihadist terror topic, it reports: “Other theories tested in the survey… included that jihadist groups Al Qaeda and the Islamic State were manipulated by Western secret services (31 per cent agreed).”

Note how the established, government-aligned French media are making pejorative judgments about the assassination of JFK and the nature of jihadist terror groups. Any viewpoint that does not conform to the “official” one on either of these topics is denigrated as “a conspiracy theory not based on established fact” – or, in short, “fake news”.

Under President Macron’s new media laws, articles or opinions which contend an alternative version of either the JFK assassination or jihadist terror groups are liable to be banned from public platforms. Moreover, those media outlets that do carry such alternative views could be sanctioned for publishing “fake news”.

We do not have the space here to go into depth on the two subjects cited above. But suffice to say that there is abundant, credible research and literature to support alternative explanations to the “official narratives”.

On the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas in November 1963, the official story that he was murdered by a lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald has been debunked by several reliable sources. The elaborate nature of the shooting in Dealey Plaza and the subsequent cover-up had to involve a high-level covert state operation, including the CIA. The fatal headshot from the front is paramount proof that Oswald was not the assassin. Former American President Richard Nixon, as well as the late French President Charles De Gaulle, are both on record dismissing the official explanation about JFK’s murder as absurd (see JFK: An American Coup, by John Wilson-Hughes).As for Al Qaeda and their offshoot jihadist terror groups, it has been scrupulously documented by Peter Dale Scott (The Road to 9/11), Michel Chossudovsky (America’s ‘War on Terrorism’), among other respected authors, that these groups were first created by American and British military intelligence as proxies to fight against Soviet troops in Afghanistan during the 1980s.

More recently, during the war in Syria, there is hard evidence showing that US, British and French intelligence agencies, along with Turkish counterparts and Saudi funding, instrumented Al Qaeda-linked terror proxies to wage a covert war for regime change. This contradicts the official Western government and media claims that Western states are “fighting against terrorism”. The evidence in fact shows Western government agencies colluding with terror groups to advance their geopolitical objectives, such as regime change.

Therefore, it is the official versions on JFK and terror groups that are arguably “fake news”. They are the “conspiracy theories not based on established fact”.

Yet, under Macron’s new laws, French authorities will be able to suppress valid, critical thinking and freedom of expression simply on the basis of assigning the label “fake news”.

This is a grave assault on democratic rights and the power of citizens to hold their governments to account, especially when those governments are up to their necks in criminality.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Alt-history? Trump claims US won two World Wars & defeated communism
| December 9, 2017 | 8:45 pm | Donald Trump, France, Red Army, Russia, UK, USSR | No comments

https://www.rt.com/usa/412570-trump-us-won-world-wars/

Alt-history? Trump claims US won two World Wars & defeated communism

Alt-history? Trump claims US won two World Wars & defeated communism
Donald Trump has delivered his own reading of history that is likely to raise eyebrows in Russia, China, Europe, and beyond. The tycoon-turned-president claimed the US has single-handedly won two world wars and “brought communism to its knees.”

Trump appeared at a rally in Pensacola, Florida to voice his support for the Republican nominee Roy Moore, who is running for the Senate in Alabama. At first, he reprised the themes popular with his supporters, including illegal immigration, criminal gangs, and mainstream media.

The President was about 70 minutes into his appearance at the rally when he made the following remark: “We are the nation that dug out the Panama Canal, won two world wars, put a man on the moon and brought communism to its knees,” Trump proclaimed to a cheering crowd in front of ‘Merry Christmas’ signs.

The crowd seemed unfazed by the mix of historic events with outrageous claims, cheering loudly when Trump added: “As long as we have the courage of our convictions, and the strength to see them through, then there is no goal beyond our reach.”

Unluckily for Trump, who regularly lambasts media for publishing fake news, his own take on world history does not quite agree with what really happened. The US entered World War I in 1917, just one year before it ended. Washington began sending fresh troops to Europe, claiming some significant victories over the Germans, but mainly because they were unable to replace their losses or provide enough arms, munitions and food supplies for their troops.

For over three years, it was mostly Britain, France and the Russian Empire who bore the brunt of war. The allies engaged in several crucial battles against the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires, including the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of the Somme. Fierce fighting and heavy losses took their toll on the allies; the Russian Empire collapsed, while France and Britain had to deal with ruined economies, galloping inflation and social unrest.

In World War II, the US focused on fighting the Japanese Empire, its most dangerous enemy in the Pacific. Although the US declared war on Nazi Germany in 1941, in practice it sent military support to the British and the Soviets, delaying direct involvement in hostilities until 1944. By the time of the D-Day landings, the Red Army had already driven the Nazis out of Russia and the east of Europe, bringing the frontline closer to Berlin. Soviet troops captured the Third Reich’s capital in May 1945, forcing Hitler’s generals to surrender.

READ MORE: The sacrifice of the Russian people in World War II must never be forgotten

In a speech to the House of Commons in August 1944, Winston Churchill famously observed: “It is the Russian armies who have done the main work in tearing the guts out of the German army.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s remark on defeating communism may not sit well with several Asian nations, which are coincidentally trade partners of the US in the region, notably China and Vietnam. The Communist Party of China, ruling over world’s most populous nation, may have a question or two about the alleged “defeat.”

READ MORE: German trains troll Trump over #alternativefacts gaffe

Paris: Evénement de la section française du KKE en l’honneur de la Révolution d’Octobre le 9 novembre

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Paris: Evénement de la section française du KKE en l’honneur de la Révolution d’Octobre le 9 novembre

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/12/paris-evenement-de-la-section-francaise.html
La section française du KKE (Parti Communiste de Grèce) vous invite a une commemoration du Centenaire de la Grande Socialiste Révolution d’Octobre 1917. L’événement sera assisté et adressé par le député de Thessalonique du KKE Yannis Delis.
 
Le Samedi 9 Novembre, 19h00,
 à Espace Ageca, 177 rue de Charonne, Paris 11.
 
Iran fulfills all nuclear deal commitments, subject to world’s most robust verification – IAEA
| October 13, 2017 | 9:09 pm | China, Donald Trump, France, Germany, IAEA, Iran, JCPOA, Russia, UK | No comments

https://www.rt.com/newsline/406636-iran-nuclear-deal-iaea/

Iran fulfills all nuclear deal commitments, subject to world’s most robust verification – IAEA

The international atomic watchdog has confirmed that Iran is fully implementing all of its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “As I have reported to the Board of Governors, the nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented,” the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, said Friday. The head of the agency also stressed that Iran is subject to the “world’s most robust nuclear verification regime” and that so far the IAEA has “had access to all locations it needed to visit.” Earlier, US President Donald Trump announced that his administration will not re-certify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement. Signed in July 2015 between Tehran and the P5+1 ( China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany) the deal was designed to gradually lift sanctions against Tehran in exchange for limiting Iran’s nuclear program.

KKE: Comment about the visit of France’s president Emmanuel Macron in Greece
| September 7, 2017 | 8:27 pm | Communist Party Greece (KKE), France, Greece | No comments

Thursday, September 7, 2017

KKE: Comment about the visit of France’s president Emmanuel Macron in Greece

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/09/kke-comment-about-visit-of-frances.html
Regarding the visit of the President of the French Republic Emannuel Macron in Greece (7-8 September), the Communist Party of Greece issued the following comment:
“When the government welcomes a President, who in his own country has unleashed the biggest anti-workers attack of the last years, even without a memorandum (of austerity), then everyone understands that this visit not only does not bring any positive thing for the Greek people, but (furthermore) proves the anti-people intentions of the government itself, which Macron rushed to greet.
Mr. Macron comes to Greece for business, as a representative of French business groups that accompany him and which, in order to invest in our country, will demand the same “labor jungle” that they also demand for French workers.”
Source: 902.gr / Translation: In Defense of Communism.
Cyprus Issue: The KKE warns about the dangerous partition “solution” that is being promoted

Friday, July 14, 2017

Cyprus Issue: The KKE warns about the dangerous partition “solution” that is being promoted

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/07/cyprus-issue-kke-warns-about-dangerous.html
Source: inter.kke.gr.
On July 11, 2017 a discussion of the leaders of the political parties was held in the Greek parliament regarding the developments in the Cyprus issue and the outcome of the negotiations in Geneva.
During the discussion, Dimitris Koutsoumbas, GS of the CC of KKE, underlined that the Cyprus issue is an international problem of invasion and occupation of the northern part of Cyprus by Turkey. It is a problem that bears the stamp of NATO intervention, of the general imperialist plans for the region.
He reminded that the KKE combatively opposed the partitionist “Anan” plan, that was neither just nor viable and would engage the peoples of Cyprus, Greece and Turkey in new adventures.
He highlighted that in the recent period, the “solution” being “cooked” under the pretext of “Bicommunal Bizonal Federation” is a partition of Cyprus; it is a partitionist and dangerous solution, and he went on adding: “We fear that this is the objective of the various propositions elaborated by the staffs of USA, Great Britain, and also of the United Nations, with the co-responsibility of the Cypriot and the Greek government, such as for example the propositions for an international police-military force with the participation of Turkish forces, looking for a mechanism of observation for a solution, before this solution has been found.
“In effect, the systematic interventions of the USA, of Great Britain, France and the EU as a whole, in order for the talks to be sped up and for a deal to be struck, aim at closing up the deal quickly so that the road for the exploitation of the energy resources of the island opens in favor of the interests of sections of the capitalist classes of the implicated states and of the various euroatlantic plans.
“At the same time, they aim at utilizing the geostrategic position of Cyprus, where NATO and British military bases have been installed, in the competition with Russia, in conditions of sharpening of the already acute contradictions internationally.”
Simultaneously, D. Koutsoumbas highlighted the responsibilities of the bourgeois political forces for the dangerous developments, noting: “The responsibilities of the government of SYRIZA-ANEL, as well as of the ND and of the other parties that support the one-way of the euroNATOist “prison” for our country are immense.
“On the one hand you praise the participation of Greece and Turkey in NATO as a factor of “peace and security” and when the Turkish provocations become outrageous and when the air and sea borders of our country suffer multiple violations, then you “draw from the sleeve”, as a new “lifejacket”, the so-called “tripartite alliance” of our country with Israel, Cyprus, Egypt.
“You cultivate that way, in both circumstances, hollow hopes, either by sweet-talking Turkey, or by calling the “police” of the USA in Eastern Mediterranean, trying to convince that both in Greece and in Cyprus we will be able to use the energy resources for the so-called “development” and for exiting the crisis.
“You lie, you lie consciously! Because you know very well that these resources and the profits that will come of them will go directly into the pockets of the megatheriums of energy, the monopolies of this sector of economy.
“These deposits, in conditions of monopoly capitalism, of imperialism, attract as honey attracts bees, the powerful competitions, the imperialist wars.”
In the end, referring to the proposition of KKE, he underlined:
“That is why our position, the grounds upon KKE’s position is founded, is a great distance away of the positions that you serve, of the space that you open so that the plans foreign to the real interests of the cypriot people – Greekcypriots and Turkishcypriots – come to pass, plans foreign to the Greek people’s interests, which struggles in a tornado of cross purposes, and of the Turkish people that bleeds under an authoritarian regime and sheds its blood for the interests of the Turkish capitalist class.
KKE Sec. General D.Koutsoumbas during his
speech at the Parliament.
“We struggle for the unitary interests of the whole of the working people of Cyprus, not in favor of the energy monopolies, of the USA, of NATO, of the rest of your allies!
“We underline the necessity of coordinating the struggle of the working class and of the popular strata of Cyprus, of Turkey, of Greece, for the abolition of the consequences of the occupation in the perspective of total emancipation from the chains of exploitation.
“We stand in favor of the immediate retreat of the occupation forces and all the rest of the foreign military troops from Cyprus.
“Generally, we support the abolition of the consequences of the Turkish occupation, the end of colonization and dealing with this problem considering social, humanitarian criteria, we support the right of the refuges to return to their hearths and homes.
“We support the closing down of the NATO-British military bases and the abolition of the favorable status in effect since many years ago, we continue the struggle so that the military base of Suda in Crete and the rest of the US-NATO bases in Greece also close down.
“The KKE believes that the struggle of the working class, of the popular strata, must be aimed at the objective of a Cyprus where its people, Greekcypriots and Turkishcypriots, Armenians, Maronites and Latinos, will be real masters of their fates.
“A Cyprus United, Independent, with One and Only Sovereignty, one Citizenship and International Personality, without foreign bases and troops, without foreign guarantors and patrons.”
14.07.2017.
‘Trump’s only ideology is ‘me’, deeply authoritarian & very dangerous’ – Noam Chomsky

https://www.rt.com/news/387981-chomsky-trump-dangerous-interview/

‘Trump’s only ideology is ‘me’, deeply authoritarian & very dangerous’ – Noam Chomsky
World-famous linguist, philosopher and political thinker Noam Chomsky has described US President Donald Trump’s ideology simply as ‘me’, adding that while it’s not fascist, it’s still “deeply authoritarian and very dangerous.”

However, there is no other option in the eyes of the people, Chomsky added in his interview to BBC.

“What is the alternative to Trump? The democrats gave up on the working class 40 years ago. It’s not their constituency, no one in the political system is. The Republicans claim to be, but they are basically their class enemy. However they can appeal to people on the basis of claims ‘We’re gonna help you economically, even when we kick you in the face’?”

In his book, Chomsky branded the Republican Party as “the most dangerous organization on Earth,” and when asked to explain, he pointed out that it’s about something they refuse to admit exists.

“Trump will do damage to the world, and it’s already happening. The most significant aspect of the Trump election is not just Trump, but the whole Republican Party as they are departing from the rest of the world on climate change, a crucial issue, an existential threat,” Chomsky said.

He called the denial “an astonishing spectacle,” in which “the US, alone in the world, not only refuses to participate in efforts to deal with climate change, but is dedicated to undermining them. And it’s not just Trump – every single Republican leader is the same and it goes down to local levels.”

And US popular opinion isn’t exactly of any help, according to Chomsky.

“Roughly 40 percent of the population think it can’t be a problem, because Jesus is coming in a couple of decades.”

Isn’t Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) more of a threat? It would seem so, but Chomsky isn’t sure about that.

“Is ISIS dedicated to destroy the prospects for organized human existence? What does it mean to say is Not only we’re not doing anything about climate change, but we’re trying to accelerate the race to the precipice. Doesn’t matter whether they genuinely believe it or not, if the consequence of that is, let’s use more fossil fuel, let’s refuse to subsidize developing countries, let’s eliminate regulations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions — if that’s the consequence, that’s extremely dangerous.”

“Trump’s only ideology is ‘me’, it’s not Hitler or Mussolini, but deeply authoritarian and very dangerous,” the philosopher concluded.

The process happening in the US is universal, though, and is taking place worldwide, Chomsky told BBC, due to “a massive assault on the large part of the population, an assault on democracy” which led to “not just anger, but contempt for centrist institutions.”

“A large part of the population feels that they are just not responsive to them,” and Chomsky enumerates the results of this: Trump, Brexit, Le Pen.

Nevertheless, Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election is “by no means the end to the populism in Europe,” he said. In fact, “Macron is an example of populism, because he came from the outside, because the institutions have collapsed. The vote for him was substantially the vote against Le Pen.”

Last, but not least, Chomsky spoke out on WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, calling his persecution and threats against him to be “completely wrong.”

“What’s keeping him in prison – and in fact he is in prison [holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London] – is the threat that the United States will go after him. Same thing that’s keeping [security whistleblower Edward] Snowden in Russia. And he is right to worry about it and it is the threat that is wrong.”