Posts tagged ‘France’

French people back nuclear exodus

http://www.presstv.ir

Mon Jun 6, 2011 6:31PM

Protesters in France demand the shutdown of the country’s nuclear plants (file photo).
Over three quarters of the French population support a gradual shutdown of all of France’s nuclear power plants, a recent survey has shown.

The IFOP poll of 1,005 adults commissioned by the Journal du Dimanche found that 77 percent of the French people believe the country should follow Germany and abandon nuclear energy over a 30-year period.

About 25 percent of the participants believed the transition should take place sooner.

Last month, the German government announced plans to phase out all nuclear power plants in the country. On Monday, the German cabinet formally approved a bill to abolish nuclear power by 2022.

It made Germany the single largest industrialized nation to plan to give up nuclear energy altogether.

The seven oldest of Germany’s 17 reactors as well as the reactor in Kruemmel, which were taken off the grid after the nuclear disaster in Japan, were shut down immediately.

The decision to phase out Germany’s nuclear power plants came in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan.

On March 11, a powerful 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami hit the Fukushima power plant, causing the release of radioactive material.

The incident is believed to be the world’s most devastating nuclear accident after the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1989.

MSD/AKM

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“Boots on the Ground”: Sarkozy and Cameron Prepare to Land in Libya

Powerful Naval Strike Group enters Mediterranean
by Manlio Dinucci
Global Research, May 31, 2011
Il Manifesto, translated from Italian – 2011-05-28

At the end of the G8 summit, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that he would visit Benghazi with the British Prime Minister David Cameron, since “we think alike,” essentially they agree that they “cannot negotiate with Gadhafi.” President Barack Obama expressed the same thought: “We will not relent until the people of Libya are protected, and the shadow of tyranny is lifted.” In other words, they are preparing to occupy Libya.

And while the G8 demands from Tripoli “the immediate cessation of the use of force,” NATO intensifies air raids; in less than eight weeks more than 8,500 have occurred. Most of the planes leave from bases in southern Italy, with supplies coming from others. Pisa is continually crossed over by C-130J and other cargo planes that, from the U.S. Camp Darby base, transport bombs and missiles to bases in the South (foreshadowing what will come into operation when the national air hub opens and begins to transit all troops and materiel to the operational theaters of war.) That the air strikes are preparation for a landing is confirmed by the entry into operation of the French Tiger helicopter, probably accompanied by the British Apache.

Even more significant is the arrival in the Mediterranean of a powerful naval strike group, led by the most modern and powerful Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier, named George H.W. Bush, in honor of the president who in 1991 led in the Persian Gulf the first war in the post-Cold War era (we are now at the fifth). The ship is 333 meters long 40 meters wide and has on board 6,000 personnel, 56 aircraft (which can take off at 20-second intervals) and 15 helicopters, and is equipped with sophisticated electronic warfare systems. It is thus a large mobile military base. At the same time it is a mobile nuclear power plant: It has two pressurized water reactors PWR A4W/A1G, which drive the steam turbine of the four propellers. A nuclear power plant which, despite having on board reactors more dangerous than those in Fukushima, enters the Bay of Naples and other ports.


The Aircraft Carrier George H.W. Bush

The Aircraft Carrier George H.W. Bush is flanked by a battle group consisting of the guided missile destroyers Truxtun and Mitscher, the missile cruiser Gettysburg and Anzio and eight squadrons of aircraft. It’s going to strengthen the Sixth Fleet, whose command is in Naples, alongside other units, including the nuclear submarines Providence, Florida and Scranton. Also added to the Sixth Fleet was one of the most powerful amphibious strike groups, led by the USS Bataan, which alone can land more than 2,000 marines, equipped with helicopters and vertical takeoff planes, artillery and tanks. It is flanked by two other amphibious assault ships, the Mesa Verde and the Whidbey Island, which from May 13-18 visited Taranto in Italy. The Whidbey Island has four huge air cushion landing crafts that, within a radius of 300 miles, can deliver 200 men at a time very quickly to the coast of a country without the ship being visible from land. Everything is ready, then, for a “humanitarian” landing in Libya. The Europeans will have the honor of landing first, under the protective wings of the aircraft carrier Bush.

Our thanks to John Catalinotto who translated this article from Italian

Manlio Dinucci is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Manlio Dinucci 

related news :

Al-Jazeera Footage Captures ‘Western Troops on the Ground’ in Libya

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French Fraud Behind Libya War Drive

http://original.antiwar.com

Fake ‘intellectual’ with delusions of grandeur: Bernard Henri-Lévy

by Justin Raimondo, April 06, 2011

The Libyan war has the French, of all people, in the forefront, with President Nicolas Sarkozy’s smug, self-satisfied face mugging for the camera as French fighter jets scream in the skies over Tripoli. The French, who sat out the Iraq war with haughty disdain, are now even more eager than the Americans to get into the thick of it: Sarkozy, in trouble at home, is hoping to distract critics from France’s ever-worsening domestic economic woes and his own party’s diminishing electoral prospects, with a good old-fashioned dollop of Napoleonic tonic. France – once again thrusting into North Africa in search of its former imperial glory! It’s enough to make one nostalgic for the Ugly American.

If the insufferable Sarkozy isn’t enough to make you vow never to eat French fries again, then the man behind Sarkozy’s grandstanding, Bernard Henri-Lévy, the French “public intellectual” and renowned phony, will push you over the edge into outright Francophobia. As the New York Times reports:

“It was Mr. Lévy, by his own still undisputed account, who brought top members of the Libyan opposition — the Interim Transitional National Council — from Benghazi to Paris to meet President Nicolas Sarkozy on March 10, who suggested the unprecedented French recognition of the council as the legitimate government of Libya and who warned Mr. Sarkozy that unless he acted, ‘there will be a massacre in Benghazi, a bloodbath, and the blood of the people of Benghazi will stain the flag of France.’”

Henri-Lévy is famous for … well, it’s not exactly clear. During the 1980s, he and a few of his French commie-socialist comrades excitedly announced that Marxism – which they had previously upheld as a glorious human experiment in idealism – was a Bad Thing. What Stalin’s crimes, committed half a century earlier, hadn’t revealed, the dictates of intellectual fashion and economic opportunity readily unveiled.

Yes, the French have their neocons, too, with BHL—as he’s known – leading the pack. Like his American brethren, BHL combines political polemics with entrepreneurship and has wound up the world’s richest “philosopher,” with inherited assets of his own to which he greatly added to thanks to his political connections.

As questions are raised about the wisdom of Western intervention, the Pepe Le Pew of the War Party is perturbed, and he’s taken to the pages of the Huffington Post – home base for practically all the world’s phony “intellectuals” and empty-headed celebrities – to defend his baby:

“Ah yes. This war began less than a month ago, and already the Norpois, the leaden-footed proponents of salon diplomacy, well-versed in Munich-speak, have raised their heads again and, once over their initial astonishment, have taken up their favorite refrain: what are we doing, involved in this business?”

Leaving aside the pretentious allusion to Proust – the signature conceit of the “literary” French intellectual – notice how easily he reverts to the familiar lexicon of the neocons: “Munich-speak”? We’re not two weeks into this war, and already the War Party’s myrmidons are likening Gadhafi to Hitler! To the neocons, whatever their national origin, it’s always 1939: there’s always a Hitler somewhere in the world, and it’s our responsibility to stop him – which is why we need to spend more on the military than all other nations on earth combined. And if a target country just happens to be strategically located, or sits atop considerable oil reserves, well then who are we to look a gift horse in the mouth?

That’s a good point, however, about our “initial astonishment” at the Libyan intervention: I have to admit to being taken by surprise, because, as low as my opinion may be of President Obama, it was never that low. I never thought he would fall for Henri-Lévy’s line of guff, as regurgitated by the Three Harpies of the Libyan Apocalypse.

Well, then, what are we doing involved in this business?

“First of all, war aims. The ‘true’ aims of this war. And what if the allies had a ‘secret agenda’ and, in particular, “oil”. The imbeciles! The too-clever-for-their-own-good who, eternally seeking the hidden side of things, ultimately fail to see what is right there under their own eyes! Namely, that, oil for oil, there was one simple means to ensure control over Libyan oil, and that means was to touch nothing, to change nothing, and to go on dealing with Gadhafi, as they have for decades. Sarkozy, Cameron, Obama may be capable, like all politicians, of all the cynicism one likes. But concerning this affair, why not have the elementary honesty to recognize their share of sincerity?”

This is nonsensical. BHL may know his Proust, but he likely failed Economics 101. Go here and look at this map of foreign oil concessions in Libya, which are heavily concentrated in the rebellious eastern half of the country. Gadhafi made the British pay a huge price for their oil concessions: as British planes bomb Libyan air defenses – and a few civilians, too – does anyone think the rebels won’t give British Petroleum a better deal than Gadhafi ever would? And the French, who seem to have been largely left out of the Libyan oil rush, will certainly demand their share of the spoils.

Economics is not BHL’s strong point: you know how those French intellectuals are! Well, then, perhaps he’s better at military strategy, a favorite pastime of our neocon laptop bombardiers. On second thought, maybe not:

“Then, the length of this war. The way it has of ‘getting stuck’ in the sands of the Libyan desert, when we had hoped it would be short and sweet. Once again, grotesque. Unutterable bad faith. For–quite apart from the fact that four weeks is nothing compared to the decade of the Afghan war or the ten weeks of that of Kosovo–there is a reason, only one, that operations are lasting beyond the successful rescue of Benghazi. And this reason is the strategy of a Gadhafi who has hunkered down in the bunkers of his other cities, turning their inhabitants into human shields.”

A favorite neocon strategy: hyperbole. The opposition is not merely wrong, it is “grotesque.” These are not victims of error, but purveyors of “unutterable bad faith.” All for asking why it’s taking so long! BHL isn’t quite himself, it seems, unless he’s in a state of High Moral Dudgeon, but his passion let slip a telling detail. That he’s comparing an operation that was supposed to continue for “days, not weeks,” as the President put it, to the decade-long Afghan conflict merely confirms our worst fears about this latest adventure in world-saving: that an ambiguously defined mission, which is already expanding well beyond its original mandate, has every prospect of becoming a long term commitment.

“At that point, there are two strategies possible. Either blow up the crowd, in which case, yes, things will go swiftly (and it’s no surprise to see the butcher of Chechnya, Vladimir Putin, in the front ranks of those who think things are dragging on). Or else look out for the lives of civilians, not losing sight of the fact that the international community has provided a mandate to protect them, the civilians, and that it will take the time it will take. (To deny that, one must be drugged on quick solutions, drunk with the urge for immediacy, or, worse, irresponsible.)”

BHL never acknowledges what is apparent to even a casual observer of the Libyan events: that Gadhafi has real support in the country, especially in the area around Tripoli. After all, it isn’t just mercenaries fighting on his behalf: his fellow tribesmen and their allies, as well as Gadhafi’s personal followers and the beneficiaries of the regime, are apparently rallying to his cause. This is the reason why it hasn’t been a quick victory for the rebels. But to BHL, the “literary” intellectual, who references Proust instead of anything related to the reality of Libya, this is inadmissible because it ruins the narrative, the tall tale he’s telling himself and his audience about the demonic despot versus the virtuous rebels.

His third argument is just another neocon ploy: the old “straw man” strategem. BHL tells us that some people are criticizing the rebels for their “amateurism,” and then goes on for a good paragraph using this “criticism” to valorize them and make the case for arming and training them. “Indigent bastards!, they say. Good for nothings! Short hitters!” Who is the author of such slanderous epithets? Perhaps he means Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who, when asked, didn’t put very much store in the rebels’ military prowess – but so what?

“Fourth objection, the National Council of Transition. After all, what do we know of this Council of ‘nebulous’ outlines? And wasn’t France jumping the gun a bit in recognizing it? There again, it takes a lot of nerve to think so. And there’s something profoundly perverse in this way of depicting who knows what occult power–an Angkar as in Cambodia, the black box of a Libya not as free as it professes to be–and in this way of spreading doubt and insinuating, in reality, the worst. For the members of the Council are well known. Their biographies are transparent. They are either those who have earned a price on their heads in Tripoli for rallying to the cause, whose respective political itineraries are known to all, or men who are new but who speak to whomever openly. But it’s true that, to set this supposed mystery to rest, one must take the trouble to go to Benghazi….”

Emtting clouds of obfuscatory rhetoric like a squid under attack, BHL resorts to the familiar abuse of his opponents: they aren’t just “perverse,” they are “profoundly perverse.” Those ingrates “have a lot of nerve” to even ask questions about just who the UN and the NATO powers are throwing their weight behind. Because, after all, “the members of the Council are well-known.” To whom are they well-known, exactly? Well, it turns out, “to set this supposed mystery to rest one must take the trouble to go to Benghazi”!

Now that’s a dirty trick. He makes us read all the way to the end of that tortured paragraph before getting to the punchline – some “humanitarian”!

Reality, however, once again departs from BHL’s preferred narrative, because the biography of, say, Col. Khalifa Haftar, the US-supported self-proclaimed “commander” of the Libyan rebel forces, is far from “transparent” – especially regarding his capture during the war with Chad, an event which seems to have conicided with his remarkable political turnaround. The most well known rebel leaders are former officials of the Gadhafi regime, who supported him loyally for many years and only saw the light when it looked like the regime was finished – a record that may indeed be transparent, but is hardly admirable.

“And then, Al-Qaeda. Ah! Al-Qaeda. On the pretext that, among the foreign jihadis who once left to fight in Iraq were a small majority of Libyans, one concludes that there would be a majority of jihadis at the heart of today’s Free Libya. The sophism, in this case, is not only perverse, it is despicable. And it’s the same abjectness, by the way, that, fifteen years ago at Sarajevo, inferred the probable birth of a fundamentalist State in the heart of Europe–and therefore the necessity to let Bosnia in its entirety die–from the presence of a handful of Iranians in the 7th corps of the Bosnian army. In this case, the truth is simple. It is possible that a few jihadis have infiltrated Derna or Benghazi. It is probably a rule that such sleeper agents profit from the chaos of war to reinforce their position. But it is a lie, accredited for the time being only by hazy statements backed by a Gaddafism which is in dire straits and fresh out of arguments, that they have a significant role in the ranks of the insurgents.”

Getting past the name-calling – his opponents are, once again, “perverse,” and even “despicable” – the fact-free nature of BHL’s “argument” is readily apparent. To begin with, it wasn’t just the Iranians who were fighting on the side of the Bosnians and Kosovars during the Balkan wars: al-Qaeda sent a brigade to fight for the KLA during the Kosovo war, and continues to be a presence in the region. Furthermore, BHL doesn’t even mention the ample evidence that Al-Qaeda had its best recruiting success in Libya, although he does mention the town of Derna, where many fighters who fought US troops in Iraq hailed from.

Aside from this, however, to say that bin Laden’s boys do not now play a significant role in the Libyan insurgency is not to rule it out as a distinct possibility. As the only seasoned fighters, except for defecting Libyan soldiers, they are bound to acquire some renown and authority on account of their military experience. I am not one who believes, as some do, that the rebellion is the brainchild of Osama bin Laden. Yet, given the evidence, it is rational to raise the question of al-Qaeda’s influence – unless you’re a myth-maker, a spinner of ready-to-wear narratives, in which case it’s better not to ask too many questions.

“I would add,” says BHL, that

“The best way of delivering Libya into the hands of chaos would be to abandon in mid-river those we have encouraged to ford it, giving in, at the last minute, to the sirens who would convince us to save what can be saved of the Gadhafi regime. He, really, is not only a butcher of civilians, a patent hater of the West and of democratic values, the declared enemy of the Arab–and, tomorrow, the African–spring, but a world class champion, all categories included, of terrorism. More than ever, this man should beat it.”

“This man should beat it”?

Either the Huffington Post needs to get a new translator, or else BHL is going all “cool” and “trendy” on us by riffing on a Michael Jackson tune.

The author’s stylistic idiosyncrasies aside, however, his arguments are oddly familiar: now that we’ve already gotten involved, the West can’t just leave. The neocons made – and continue to make – the same argument when it comes to Iraq and Afghanistan. Heck, they sang the same song as the Vietnam war came to a bloody and chaotic close: we can’t leave our heroic allies in the lurch!

Ho Chi Minh was, no doubt, a butcher of civilians – although the US surpassed him in that regard – and also “a patent hater of the West and of democratic values,” but that war was a mistake from the beginning – just like this one. In that conflict, too, we helped one side in a civil war which had divided the country into two de facto independent states, one totalitarian and the other “free.” That war, too, started out small, with military aid and “advisers,” eventually expanding into a presence of hundreds of thousands of troops and a long drawn out conflict that ended in disaster – as this one will if we follow the course laid out by BHL and the War Party.

A word about BHL: this guy is supposed to be a “public intellectual,” but what kind of “intellectual” gets bamboozled by an obvious hoax such as this? Read and laugh at the pretensions of this champion phony.

Read more by Justin Raimondo

Libya/Iraq : Washington’s precious catch: the oil and the bank accounts

 

 

28 March 2011

All the versions of this article:

 français


 

 

http://www.voltairenet.org

International affairs

Editorial: Washington’s precious catch: the oil and the bank accounts

The Americans have reaped hundreds of billions of dollars after having frozen Mubarak’s, Ben Ali’s and Gaddafi’s bank accounts. This enticing sum which has become under the control of the American administration and some of its European partners met an urgent need in the ranks of the major industrial countries in these times of crisis, in which their governments are forced to issue treasury bonds to fund their growing expenses, to activate the economic wheel and resist the suffocating stalemate.

In addition to this economic and financial dimension, the availability of hundreds of billions of dollars is alleviating the industrial states’ need for Chinese help, at a time when the Chinese government is demanding costly political prices that are making the American empire feel the retreat of its international influence even further. Real gains reside in these frozen billions as they are compensating for the loss resulting from the fall of rulers who had offered major services to the American and Western hegemony over the Arab countries.

During the next few years, the new governments in these countries will find it difficult to liberate and restore these frozen assets, while the proof for that is what was seen in Iraq whose debt was multiplied by the Americans following the occupation, without them returning anything from the funds they froze throughout twenty years. In that same context, they have hijacked Iraq’s oil which is still underground for the next twenty years.

The Arab affairs

Editorial: Plan to sabotage Al-Assad’s reforms

The timing of the transfer of the infection to Syria and the fueling of the turmoil in it through the payment of funds and the mobilization of a massive Lebanese, Arab and foreign machine to serve the current campaign targeting the country, point to a blunt attempt to block the way before president Bashar al-Assad’s reform project. The proof for that is the continuation of this campaign following the announcement of the decisions of the Baath Party command on Thursday. Indeed, what is required is turmoil and the mobilization of parts of the Syrian youth to serve the project of chaos which has turned into a chapter of terrorist violence exercised by outlaws and infiltrators, some of whose sources of financing and armament were exposed following their involvement in the Daraa events.

This campaign did not undermine Al-Assad’s determination to fix the relations between Syria and Lebanon, as he adopted a series of measures including the ending of Abdul Halim Khaddam’s and Ghazi Kanaan’s control over the so-called Lebanese file, while completely turning his back on the deals offered to him by Jacques Chirac and Western envoys dispatched by Bush’s administration to trade Syrian military presence in Lebanon with the pledge to disarm the resistance.

Throughout the past years, President Al-Assad and the Syrian command placed the deterrence of the American-Israeli project in the region at the top of their list of priorities and the Syrian efforts focused on redrafting the Middle Eastern map outside the circle of imperialistic hegemony. Syria thus engaged in partnerships across the border, enhanced the alliance with Iran and secured harmony with Turkey. Al-Assad’s strategy drew up the facets if the independent Middle Eastern bloc that is cooperating economically, politically and on the security level. This consecrated the embracing of the resistance in Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq on stable grounds and proved its efficiency following difficult tests in the Lebanon and Gaza wars. The plan to transfer the protests infection to Syria, aims at blocking the way before the reform project of President Al-Assad who announced his determination to implement it as a first response to the Arab popular revolutions. The denial of calm in Daraa and the attempts to give the impression that demonstrations are being staged through fabricated reports spread by Syrian dissidents abroad and adopted by Western and Arab media outlets participating in the plan to sabotage Syria, aim at saying that the situation in Syria is unstable and that the reforms are not perceived seriously, although popular protests were launched on Thursday night and Friday morning in more than one location in the Syrian capital and provinces in support of President Al-Assad and the decisions which he promised to implement.

The Arab file

Syria
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad launched a series of economic and political changes and issued on Thursday night decrees to help improve the living conditions of the citizens. Regarding the incidents witnessed in the Daraa province, media adviser Boutheina Chaaban assured that the Baath party command decided to form a committee to communicate with the citizens in Daraa, discuss the incidents and hold those who were responsible for them accountable.
It is worth noting that some media outlets intentionally pointed to the expansion of the protests to Lattakia, which is known for being the former stronghold of Refaat al-Assad’s gangs. In the past, these groups used to terrorize the citizens and carry out acts of violence and theft, which forced President Assad to oust Refaat al-Assad and his sons from the country altogether. On Friday, the city witnessed the presence of unknown snipers who randomly started shooting at the citizens and left two people dead, in the context of the plans aiming at undermining Syria’s security. In regard to Banias, it is known to be the hometown of former Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam who is obviously exploiting the funds stolen from the Syrian people to finance anti-regime operations.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a legislative decree to increase the wages and release all those who were arrested in the Daraa incidents.
Media adviser of President Al-Assad, Boutheina Chaaban, assured in a press conference that the Baath party command was planning on establishing a new and efficient mechanism to fight corruption and secure the issuance of the necessary legislations. It also planned on looking into the rapid ending of the state of emergency and issuing legislations guaranteeing the safety of the country and the citizens, in addition to the drafting of a parties law and making it the object of political and popular dialogue. Chaaban mentioned that ten people were killed since the eruptions of the incidents in Daraa, assuring there were ongoing investigations to reveal the implications of these developments. She said there was evidence proving the presence of foreign funding and hands standing behind what was happening in Daraa, indicating that the results of the investigations will be presented once they are complete.

Yemen
President Ali Abdullah Saleh ousted the government and assigned it to continue handling the daily affairs in the country, until a new one is formed. He then considered that those calling for chaos, violence and sabotage were a very small faction of the Yemeni people. The Yemeni president then warned against the eruption of a bloody civil war in case dissent is witnessed within the military institution, considering that the military commanders who had joined the young protesters were implementing a foreign agenda.

Libya
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi warned the NATO forces that are launching air raids against the security brigades against a long war in which he will eventually be the victor. He thus called on them to retreat, adding: “We will not let them enjoy our oil. We will not let the Fateh Revolution go to waste and will not allow America, France and Britain to take our oil.” He then invited those whom he referred to as the “defeated attackers” and tyrants to a land confrontation.
Gaddafi also warned the states bordering the Mediterranean Sea that their interests will be at stake after NATO’s bombing of some areas which he is controlling.

Egypt
The chairman of the judicial committee supervising the referendum over the constitutional amendments, Councilor Mohammad Attiya, announced that the results of the referendum over these amendments showed their approval by 77,2% of the overall participants and their rejection by 22,8%. For its part, the January 25 Revolution Youth Alliance announced its acceptance of the results of the poll over the constitutional amendments, as long as the elements of safety and integrity are available.

Palestine
The Israeli occupation forces continued their escalation against the Gaza Strip, thus bombing it, infiltrating it and carrying out air raids against it, resulting in the martyrdom and injuring of a number of Palestinians. The Palestinian resistance factions responded by launching rockets on the settlements and by detonating a bus in the heart of occupied Jerusalem, causing the death of one and the injuring of over thirty Israelis. In that same context, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil el-Araby, warned Israel against implementing any military operations against the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli file

The bombing which targeted a bus in the occupied city of Jerusalem, the Israeli military escalation which followed it against the Gaza Strip and the threats of Israeli military leaders – at the head of whom is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu- were the main headlines tackled by the Israeli press this past week. A few hours after Netanyahu made his threats, Israeli war planes launched a series of raids on several areas of the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian resistance launched a number of Grad missiles on the Israeli settlements.

The papers also focused on the Iron Dome system which will obstruct the missiles launched from the Gaza Strip towards the Israeli settlements.

On the other hand, the Israeli papers extensively tackled the decision to imprison former president of the Hebrew state, Katsav, against the backdrop of sexual crimes.

In regard to Libyan affairs, the papers addressed the international dispute over the nature of the participation in the military attack on Libya, the goals behind the Western intervention and the United States’ role in the military campaign.

The Lebanese file

Hezbollah secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a celebration organized to express solidarity with the Arab revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Libya, that the new majority’s accountability started since the Bristol meeting when the March 14 forces announced they will not participate in the government. Nasrallah pointed to the presence of “massive pressures exercised on Mikati by ambassadors and states. They are saying to him: do not form a government which only includes the new majority. But how can he do that? It is a new majority which has the right to form the government. There are discussions over the color of the government, its formula, its ministerial statement and its future policies.” He added: “There are calls to summon foreign powers and I know as well as you that the Americans, the French, the West and the Arab world are being sought out to pressure the prime minister-designate. And if a day comes when we will need to reveal the details, we are ready to do that.”

Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati said to An-Nahar in response to a question about the outcome of his contacts and efforts: “There is slow progress.” Regarding the veracity of what was said about disputes between him and certain sides in March 8, he stated: “There are different viewpoints and I am seeking a government formation that will be comfortable to all the sides… Quite honestly, I have not yet lost hope. I never did.” In response to another question, he assured: “Syria has never interfered at this level,” adding he was not pessimistic.

Prime Minister of the caretaker government Saad al-Hariri said: “The other team made a mistake when it thought that we were negotiating to resolve the crisis due to our insistence on maintaining power and thus tried to annul us politically.” He added: “We do not want to annul anyone. However, we will do our best to eliminate the tutelage of the arms over the Lebanese state and people, because it is affecting the state’s action, economic development and Lebanon’s progress on all levels. It has started to pose a threat on the interests of the Lebanese abroad after it turned into a tool to export the Iranian revolution to the Arab and Islamic states.”

News analysis

The United States and the Arab revolutions
On the eve of the eruption of the revolution in Tunisia and Egypt, Obama’s administration was drowning in a major crisis due to the obstruction of the plan to contain the failure in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the dead end reached by the peace settlement due to the American president’s submission to the dictations of the Zionist lobby and the positions of Netanyahu’s government which rejected the minimum level of conditions allowing the Palestinian authority to save face. This happened despite this authority’s full submission to the dictations of the Americans and the Israelis to serve the occupation in the West Bank and maintain the thin negotiations line under the sponsorship of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
The status of the Israeli deterrence power had collapsed before that date and the American strategic calculations reached the conclusion that it was necessary to relinquish the illusion of war on Iran because the cost would be quite high. In the meantime, the negotiations with the Islamic republic in Istanbul had reached the threshold of an American recognition of Iran as a nuclear power and a major player in the region.
The danger which was perceived by the Americans as being a threat to their interests and to Israel’s, resided in the Egyptian case where the youth of Tahrir square toppled the attempt to appoint Omar Suleiman who was considered Americas’ and Israel’s strongman in Mubarak’s regime, but also when the calls on Tahrir square rose against the Camp David accord and in favor of restoring Egypt’s lost Arab role that draws its legitimacy from the support of the Palestinian cause and the resistance.
The American wager thus looks obstructed but the attempts will not stop. This is why the March 14 forces acted inside Lebanon and toward the Syrian domestic arena ever since Saad al-Hariri’s government resigned, as the Americans are trying to ripen the conditions of an Israeli war against Syria and Lebanon through an ongoing depletion process targeting both countries.

The American file

A few days following NATO’s launching of the military campaign against Libya and the strongholds of Muammar Gaddafi, the American papers pointed to the clear divisions in the ranks of the alliance and tackled the existing dispute over who should be running the military operations and command. Moreover, the Washington Post indicated there was no proof for the fact that the attacks launched by NATO had prevented the regime’s forces from killing civilians or had turned the balance of power in favor of the revolutionaries. As for the Los Angeles Times, it assured that President Barack Obama was facing increasing criticisms inside and outside the US due to the military campaign in Libya.

Also in the context of the Middle Eastern events, the papers talked about the retreat of the support of the Yemeni tribes toward President Ali Abdullah Saleh and about five army generals having joined the anti-regime protesters. This will further weaken the Yemeni president’s grip over the authority, the papers said, although he has been in power for over thirty years. The Washington Post thus wondered about the nature of the developments in the Arab world, but also about the nature of the revolution and whether it aimed at achieving democracy against a tyrannical rule or was a mere tribal confrontation.

The British file

The British papers issued last week tackled the repercussions of the events in Libya, NATO’s assignment to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and the dispute regarding NATO’s role in the military operation. They also addressed the renewal of the confrontations between the Palestinians and the Israelis against the backdrop of the Jerusalem explosion and the Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip.

Moreover, they talked about Saudi Arabia’s motives to interfere in Bahrain and play on the strings of sectarianism, the fears of seeing Al-Qaeda’s further infiltration in Yemen if its president were to insist on staying in power and the air campaign launched on Libya under the hegemony of American aircrafts.

Saudi interference in Bahrain fuels sectarianism and hypocrisy behind Arab interference in Bahrain, especially that of Saudi Arabia
The Guardian indicated that the “Saudi intervention in Bahrain will fuel sectarianism, not stifle it,” pointing out that the Arab “uprising began in a spirit of hopeful nationalism. But now religious divides are being exploited.”
The paper added that what was new at the level of the Bahraini uprising was the “sectarian dimension” in this small island where “A majority of the Bahrain population is Shia and they are governed by a Sunni monarchy with a long history of discrimination.”
The Guardian assured that the “The Saudis are using the threat of sectarianism as cover, insisting that urgent action was necessary to prevent what they are, in fact, fuelling.” As proof for that, the paper believed that “Provoking the fear of Shias meets domestic requirements; it inhibits the cautious Saudi version of the Arab spring – a nervous internet petition movement asking for reforms had been gathering strength.”
It added: “Highlighting sectarianism serves Saudi well with another constituency – its American allies. There have been plenty of thinly veiled references to Iranian links with their co-religionists in Bahrain; presumably, allegations of “foreign interference” in Bahrain have been poured into American ears to keep them on side.”
However, The Guardian revealed that the Saudi intervention in Bahrain will have negative repercussions, although it may appear to Riyadh and Manama that the situation is in their favor. It assured in this context: “In the last few days there have been demonstrations against Saudi intervention in Bahrain in Shia communities in Iraq, Lebanon, Iran and the crucial Saudi eastern province of Qatif, where most of its Shia live – and where Saudi oil is also concentrated.”

 Source New Orient News (Lebanon)
This author’s articles

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Sarkozy “Was” a Mossad Agent?

Fri, 18 Mar 2011 14:03 CDT
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Press TV

© Unknown
Nicolas Sarkozy
A report reveals that French President Nicolas Sarkozy worked for Israeli intelligence for a long time before he was elected president.

French daily Le Figaro has revealed the French leader once worked for the Zionist regime as a sayan, Hebrew for ‘collaborator’.

Ex-Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky says sayans, who perform many roles, are Jewish citizens of other nationalities assisting Mossad.

Le Figaro claimed that French police officials managed to keep secret a letter, which exposed Sarkozy’s past participation in espionage activities for Mossad.

The letter fixed Sarkozy’s alleged spying activities as far back as 1983.

In the immediate aftermath of Le Figaro’s exposé, the Zionist regime’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was on a state visit to France to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, which raised more questions about the report.

Analysts believe since Sarkozy took office in May, he has taken every opportunity to pledge his allegiance to the United States and the Zionist regime.

“Sarko the Sayan” has also followed in the footsteps of the White House by choosing a hostile approach toward Iran and its peaceful nuclear activities.

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France Riots Over Pension Reforms While Americans Lose Their Homes in Record Numbers With Hardly any Protest

http://www.alternet.org

Retirement age is not really the issue at all. This is about union busting and “putting people in their place.” It’s about in whose interests will society be run.
October 27, 2010 |
Thank God for France. While American liberals tremble at the idea of sending an angry email to congress for fear that their name will appear on the State Department’s list of terrorists, French workers are on the front lines choking on tear gas and fending off billyclubs in hand-to-hand combat with Sarkozy’s Gendarmerie. That’s because the French haven’t forgotten their class roots. When the government gets too big for its britches, people pour out onto to the streets and Paris becomes a war zone replete with overturned Mercedes Benzes, smashed storefront windows, and stacks of smoldering tires issuing pillars of black smoke. This is what democracy looks like when it hasn’t been emasculated by decades of propaganda and consumerism. Here’s a blurb from the trenches:

Headline: “French Energy Sector Crippled by Nationwide Strike… French energy facilities are close to total disruption in the wake of nationwide strike against the raise of the retirement age…..France has been hit by numerous protests across the country against a controversial pension reform that would rise the retirement age to 62 from 60….On October 22 morning 80 protesters blockaded Grandpuits oil refinery outside Paris, key supplier for Charles de Gaulle and Orly international airport.” (The Financial)

Shut ’em down.

Take note, Tea Party crybabies who moan about restoring “our freedoms” while stuffing the backyard bunker with seed corn and ammo. Glenn Beck won’t save you from the “mean old” gov’mint. Liberty isn’t free anymore. If you want it, get out of the barko-lounger and organize. The amount of freedom that any nation enjoys is directly proportionate to the amount of blood its people spilled fighting the state. No more, no less. The man who is willing to accept the blunt force of a cop’s truncheon on his back is infinitely more praiseworthy than the leftist/rightist scribe crooning from the bleachers. The state isn’t moved by lyrical editorials or prosaic manifestos. It responds to force alone, which is why it takes people who are willing to “throw themselves on the gears” of the apparatus and stop it from moving forward. Unfortunately, most of those people appear to live in France.

The resistance is steadily building in France. The budding rebellion is cropping up everywhere — “secondary schools, train stations, refineries and highways have been blockaded, there have been occupations of public buildings, workplaces, commercial centers, directed cuts of electricity, and ransacking of electoral institutions and town halls…” And the big unions are calling for more strikes, more agitation, more ferment.

For more than a week, transportation has been blocked across the France due to the protests by students and workers. Sarkozy’s popularity has plummeted. 65% of people surveyed don’t like the way the French president is handling the strikes. 79% of the people would like to see Sarkozy negotiate with the Union on terms and conditions, but he won’t budge. Thus, the cauldron continues to boil while the prospect of violence rises.

“STRIKE, BLOCKADE, SABOTAGE”

This is from an anonymous striker:

“In each city, these actions are intensifying the power struggle and demonstrate that many are no longer satisfied with the order imposed by the union leadership. In the Paris region, amongst the blockades of train stations and secondary schools, the strikes in the primary schools, the workers pickets in front of the factories, people create inter-professional meetings and collectives of struggle are founded to destroy categorical isolation and separation. Their starting point: self-organization to meet the need to take ownership over our struggles without the mediation of those who claim to speak for workers.

We decided Saturday to occupy the Opera Bastille. This was to disturb a presentation that was live on radio, to play the trouble makers in a place where the cultural merchandise circulates and to organize an assembly there. So we met with more than a thousand people at the “place de la nation”, with banners stating “the bosses understand only one language: Strike, blockade, sabotage.” (end of communique)

The action was met with predictable police violence and mass arrests.

The pension turmoil is not limited to France either. US pension funds are underfunded by nearly $3 trillion. Will US workers be as willing as their French counterparts to face the beatings (to defend “what’s theirs”) or will they throw up their hands and appeal to Obama for help?

There’s no question that Washington elites have joined with Wall Street to offload the massive debts from the financial meltdown onto workers and retirees. Nor is their any doubt that they will invoke (what Slavoj Zizek calls) a “permanent state of economic emergency” to justify their actions. That will allow them to move ahead with so-called “austerity measures” that are designed to impoverish workers and strip popular government programs of their funding. The trend towards “belt-tightening” merely masks the ongoing class war which is aimed at restoring a feudal system of royalty and serfs.

This is from an article by economist Mark Weisbrot:

“If the French want to keep the retirement age as is, there are plenty of ways to finance future pension costs without necessarily raising the retirement age. One of them, which has support among the French left — and which Sarkozy claims to support at the international level — would be a tax on financial transactions. Such a “speculation tax” could raise billions of dollars of revenue — as it currently does in the U.K. — while simultaneously discouraging speculative trading in financial assets and derivatives. The French unions and protesters are demanding that the government consider some of these more progressive alternatives.”

But the retirement age is not really the issue at all. This is about union busting and “putting people in their place.” It’s about “who will call-the-shots” and in whose interests will society be run.

The French are fighting back against this “oligarchy of racketeers” and the ripoff system they represent, while namby-pamby Americans are neutralized by signing their umpteenth petition or venting their spleen at a Palin rally.

Vive la France. Vive la Résistance.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state and can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com

France’s Sarkozy: We’ll Crack Down on Protests

http://www.sott.net

The Associated Press
Tue, 19 Oct 2010 05:43 CDT

© Remy de la Mauviniere/AP Photo
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, center, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, pose for a group picture at the Hotel Royal in Deauville, Tuesday Oct. 19, 2010.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is pledging to crack down on “troublemakers” attacking police at protests against a proposed higher retirement age.

He also says blockages of oil refineries that have sparked gas shortages “cannot exist in a democracy” where “there are people who want to work.”

He insists it’s his “duty” to pass pension reform, despite nationwide strikes and violent protests.

Sarkozy says demographics and people’s increasing life expectancy have made raising the retirement age from 60 to 62 a necessity and stressed that other European nations have already made similar changes.

Sarkozy was speaking Tuesday at a press conference in the French city of Deauville with the leaders of Russia and Germany.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE.
Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Paris – Some airliners steered clear of France and police clashed with stone-throwing youths Tuesday as a new round of nationwide strikes and protests over a bill raising the retirement age to 62 kicked off.

Workers in sectors across the French economy joined in one-day strikes Tuesday after a week of disruptions by protesting oil refinery workers, students and employees of the SNCF national railway operator. More than 200 protests are planned around the country Tuesday.

It was the sixth national day of demonstrations over the planned pension reform since early September. Union leaders have vowed to keep up the pressure until the government scraps the unpopular plan, saying retirement at 60 is a fundamental social right that past generations fought hard to achieve.

President Nicolas Sarkozy says it must go through to save France’s generous but money-losing pension system. The protests in France come as countries across Europe are cutting spending and raising taxes to bring down record deficits and debts from the worst recession in 70 years.

The Paris airport authority warned on its website and in signs at the airports: “Strike on Oct. 19. Serious difficulties expected in access to airports and air traffic.”

France’s DGAC civil aviation authority said up to half of flights Tuesday out of Paris’ Orly airport would be scrapped, and 30 percent of flights out of other French airports, including the country’s largest, Charles de Gaulle, serving Paris, would be canceled.

Most cancellations were expected on short- and medium-haul domestic and inter-European flights. The walkout by air traffic controllers was expected to last one day, with flights expected to return to normal on Wednesday.

Strikes by oil refinery workers have been ongoing, sparking fuel shortages that forced at least 1,000 gas stations to be shuttered. Others saw large crowds. At an Esso station on the southeast edge of Paris on Tuesday morning, the line snaked along a city block and some drivers stood with canisters to stock gasoline in case of shortages.

Truckers have joined the protest, running so-called “escargot” operations in which they drive at a snail’s pace on highways. On Tuesday, about 20 truckers blocked an oil depot in Nanterre west of Paris operated by oil giant Total, turning away fellow truckers coming to fill up with gasoline. Police stood by but did not intervene.

“If they (the government) continue, we won’t have any choice (but to continue),” said Jorge Goncalves, a trucker with the CFDT union blocking the Nanterre depot. “Today the government is stubborn. And how do you deal with stubborn people? You don’t let go,”

Students entered the fray last week, blockading high schools around the country and staging protests that have occasionally degenerated into clashes with police.

Across the country, 379 high schools were blocked or disrupted Tuesday to varying degrees – the highest figure so far in the student movement against the retirement reform, according to the Education Ministry.

At a high school in the Paris suburb of Nanterre closed because of earlier violence, a few hundred youths and nearly as many police gathered Tuesday morning.

The teens started throwing stones from a bridge, and police responded with tear gas and barricaded the area. It was not immediately clear if there were injuries or arrests. Nanterre has often seen student protests in past years.

In the Nanterre clashes, youths knocked an Associated Press photographer off his motorbike and kicked and punched him as they rampaged down a street adjacent to the school.

Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie pledged on Europe-1 radio Tuesday to stay firm against “troublemakers” on the margins of the protest movement.

The head of the UNEF student union, Jean-Baptiste Prevost, countered that students “have no other solution but to continue.”

“Every time the government is firm, there are more people in the street,” he told i-tele news channel, predicting a large turnout for Tuesday’s street marches.With disruptions on the national railway entering their eighth consecutive day Tuesday, many commuters’ patience was beginning to wear thin. Only about one in two trains were running on some of the Paris Metro lines, and commuters had to elbow their way onto packed trains.

At Paris’ Gare Saint Lazare, which serves the French capital’s western suburbs and the northwestern Normandy and Brittany regions, commuters waited on crowded platforms for their trains. Only about half of regularly scheduled trains were running out of the station Tuesday.

Caroline Mesnard, a 29-year-old teacher said she expected her commute to take about twice as long as usual – as it has since last Tuesday’s start of the open-ended strike on France’s trains.

“All I can say is that after eight days, it’s beginning to get a bit tiresome,” said Mesnard. “I’m really tired, but there’s nothing to be done but hang on and wait for this to end.”

In the Mediterranean port city of Marseille, strikes by garbage collectors have left heaps of rubbish piled along city sidewalks. But still, the piles of rotting garbage don’t appear to have diminished labor union support in a city that has long had an activist reputation.

“Transport, the rubbish, the nurses, the teachers, the workers, the white collar, everyone who works, we should all be united. If there is no transport today, we’re not all going to die from it,” said 55-year-old resident Francoise Michelle.

Sarkozy has stressed that 62 is among the lowest retirement ages in Europe, the French are living much longer and the pension system is losing money.

“This reform is essential, France is committed to it, and France will carry it out,” Sarkozy said Monday in the Normandy beach resort of Deauville.

The measure is expected to pass a vote in the Senate this week. Slated to take place on Wednesday, it’s been push back until Thursday so lawmakers have the time to examine hundreds of amendments brought by opposition Socialists and others.

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