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FTR #957 The National Front and Deep Politics in France, Part 2

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This broadcast was recorded in one, 60-minute segment.

Mitterand in French Army: Wolf in sheep's clothing?

Mitterand in French Army: Wolf in sheep’s clothing?

Martin Bormann

Martin Bormann

Introduction: With the looming decisive second round in the French elections, there is renewed scrutiny on the National Front and its titular head Marine Le Pen. Networked with various figures ranging from the milieu of Donald Trump to that of Turkish president Erdogan, the National Front and the Le Pens (father Jean-Marie and daughter Marine) are carrying on the fascist tradition in France.

The second of two shows, this program continues our examination of French deep politics, scrutinizing powerful economic and financial arrangements that determined the Franco-German political dynamic throughout most of the twentieth century and, thus far, through the twenty-first as well. (We note, in passing, that a similar relationship between key German economic players and their American counterparts is front and center in clandestine American power politics. The history of fascism, in turn, is inextricably linked with the true history of globalization.)

Friedrich List

Friedrich List

Critical to our understanding is the dynamic of occupying the high ground on both sides of a political divide. This program underscores how this has placed Germany in a key strategic position on both sides of key political struggles:

  1. In the pre-World War II era and postwar era as well.
  2. In the right-left political divide in French politics.
  3. In the struggle between anti-immigrant/anti-Muslim advocates such as the National Front and Muslim-Brotherhood linked elements in the Islamist community.

Key elements of discussion include:

  1. Review of Steve Bannon’s ideological fondness for French anti-Semite and Vichy collaborationist Charles Maurras. Maurras’ Action Francaise is a direct antecedent of the National Front. ”  . . . . One of the primary progenitors of the party was the Action Française, founded at the end of the 19th century. . . .”
  2. Review of the relationship between former president Francois Mitterand (a socialist) and French Holocaust implementer and Vichy police official Rene Bousquet, who was close to Mitterand and helped to finance his campaign and those of other left-wing French politicians. With financial influence in left-wing parties, Germany can help motivate the French left to band together to defeat the French National Front and its anti-EU, anti-NATO ideology. Potential leftists can also be channelled into an anti-immigrant/anti-Muslim position along that of the National Front. ” . . . . . . . The most damning of all charges against Mitterrand and his right wing connections is probably his long lasting friendship with René Bousquet, ex secrétaire général of the Vichy police. . . . In 1974, René Bousquet gave financial help to François Mitterrand for his presidential campaign against Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. In an interview with Pierre Favier et Michel Martin-Roland Mitterrand claimed that he was not the only left wing politician to benefit from Bousquet’s money, as René Bousquet helped finance all the principal left wing politicians from the 1950s to the beginning of the 1970s, including Pierre Mendès France. . . .”
  3. Discussion of Francois Mitterand’s primary role in establishing the Euro, as a prerequisite for German reunification (his alleged “fear” of a reunified Germany should be taken with a grain of salt in light of his collaborationist background and relationship with Rene Bousquet. The European Monetary Union, in turn, is the realization of a long-standing German plan for economic and consequently political domination of Europe and the World: ” . . . . He [Robert Zoellick] explained his understanding of how Europe got its common currency. . . .  it was very clear that European monetary union resulted from French-German tensions before unification and was meant to calm Mitterrand’s fears of an all-too-powerful Germany. According to Zoellick, the euro currency is a by-product of German unification. . . . in strategic terms, Germany’s influence has never been greater. As the continent wants to bank on Germany’s AAA rating, Berlin can now effectively dictate fiscal policy to Athens, Lisbon and Rome – perhaps in the future to Paris, too. . .”
  4. More about the Euro (launched with the critically important assistance of Francois Mitterand: “. . . . It [the euro] has turned the Germans into the new rulers of Europe. And it has consigned France to be the weaker partner in the Franco-German relationship. . . .”
  5. Analysis of the decisive relationship between French steelmakers belonging to the Comite des Forges and their German counterparts and Ruhr coal producers, one of the foundational elements of the Fifth Column that is antecedent to the National Front: ” . . . . The struggle of the interwar period was not simply a clash between French interests on the one side and German interests on the other. During the development of the Ruhr-Lorraine industrial complex, like-minded industrialists in France and Germany had become directors of jointly owned and jointly controlled financial, industrial, and distributing enterprises. In many cases common views on questions of economic organization, labor policy, social legislation, and attitude toward government had been far more important to the industrialists than differences of nationality or citizenship. . . . “
  6. The economic collaboration between French and German oligarchs worked to the advantage of Germany: ” . . . .It is curious to note that only the French appeared to have this conflict between public policy and private activities. On the German side, complete co-ordination seems to have been preserved between national and private interests; between officials of the German Republic and the leaders of German industry and finance. . . .”
  7. Exemplifying the operation of the pro-German Fifth Column in the Ruhr-Lorraine industrial complex is the relationship between the De Wendel and Rochling interests: ” . . . . During World War I the De Wendels, the influential French-German banking and industrial family which headed the French wing of the International Steel Cartel through their Comite des Forges and whose members had sat in the parliaments of both France and Germany, were able to keep the French army from destroying industrial plants belonging to the German enterprises of the Rochling family. . . . . . . . The Rochling family, with their powerful complex of coal, iron, steel and banking enterprises in Germany, has for generations played in close harmony with the de Wendel family. . . .”
  8. The De Wendel/Rochling links were so profound that the Rochlings were called upon to help build the French defensive Maginot Line: ” . . . . On the other hand, as far as the French steel makers’ association, the Comite des Forges, and in particular the de Wendels who headed the Comite, were concerned, it was business as usual-or in this case, business as unusual-that prevailed. . . . When it came time for France to build its impregnable Maginot Line, who should be called in to supply steel and technical assistance but the German firm of the brothers Rochling. . . .”
  9. After the French capitulation, the Vichy government–to no one’s surprise–exonerated the Rochlings: ” . . . . Now comes the outbreak of World War II. The French army marching into the Saar during the ‘phony war’ period in 1939, received orders not to fire on or damage the plants of the ‘war criminals,’ the brothers Rochling. In 1940 came the blitz and the fall of France. The Vichy government passed a decree exonerating the Rochlings and canceling their forty-year prison sentences. . . .”
  10. The Franco-German steel cartel, in turn, belonged to an international steel cartel featuring the Thyssen firm Vereinigte Stahlwerke (later Thyssen A.G.). The Thyssen interests are inextricably linked with the Bormann capital network. The Thyssens’ principal American contacts were the Bush family. ” . . . . They marked the formation of the United Steel Works in Germany, as a combination of the four biggest steel producers Ernst Poensgen, Fritz Thyssen, Otto Wolff, and the others who drew this combine together had managed to get over a hundred million dollars from private investors in the United States. Dillon Read & Company, the New York investment house which brought Clarence Dillon, James V. Forrestal, William H. Draper, Jr., and others into prominence, floated the United Steel Works bonds in the United States . . . . “
  11. During the occupation of France, the Franco-German corporate connection yielded further German capital domination of French firms: ” . . . The Third Republic’s business elite was virtually unchanged after 1940. . . . They regarded the war and Hitler as an unfortunate diversion from their chief mission of preventing a communist revolution in France. Antibolshevism was a common denominator linking these Frenchmen to Germans. . . . The upper-class men who had been superbly trained in finance and administration at one of the two grand corps schools were referred to as France’s permanent ‘wall of money,’ and as professionals they came into their own in 1940. They agreed to the establishment of German subsidiary firms in France and permitted a general buy-in to French companies. . . .
  12. The Franco-German corporate links and the domination of that relationship by corporate Germany and the Bormann network continued into the postwar period: ” . . . . Society’s natural survivors, French version, who had served the Third Reich as an extension of German industry, would continue to do so in the period of postwar trials, just as they had survived the war, occupation, and liberation. These were many of the French elite, the well-born, the propertied, the titled, the experts, industrialists, businessmen, bureaucrats, bankers. . . . Economic collaboration in France with the Germans had been so widespread (on all levels of society) that there had to be a realization that an entire nation could not be brought to trial. . .  .”
  13. Corporate German/Bormann control of French commerce and finance is the determining factor in contemporary French affairs: ” . . . . The understandings arrived at in the power structure of France reach back to prewar days, were continued during the occupation, and have carried over to the present time. [New York Times reporter Flora] Lewis, in her report from Paris, commented further: ‘This hidden control of government and corporations has produced a general unease in Paris.’ Along with the unease, the fact that France has lingering and serious social and political ailments is a residue of World War II and of an economic occupation that was never really terminated with the withdrawal of German troops beyond the Rhine. . . .”
  14. The Franco-German corporate Axis facilitated the De Wendel family’s postwar assistance of Friedrich Flick, another of Hitler’s top industrialists.: ” . . . . The understandings arrived at in the power structure of France reach back to prewar days, were continued during the occupation, and have carried over to the present time. Lewis, in her report from Paris, commented further: ‘This hidden control of government and corporations has produced a general unease in Paris.’ Along with the unease, the fact that France has lingering and serious social and political ailments is a residue of World War II and of an economic occupation that was never really terminated with the withdrawal of German troops beyond the Rhine. . . .”
  15. The seamless incorporation of the Franco-German corporate axis into the German-dominated EU and EMU has yielded the ability of the Federal Republic to interfere in the French political process: ” . . . . Like Fillon, Macron is considered ‘Germany-compatible’ by a German think tank, whereas all other candidates are viewed as unsuitable for ‘constructive cooperation’ because of their criticism of the EU and/or of NATO. Recently, Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble ostentatiously recommended voting for Macron. Berlin’s interference on behalf of Macron shows once again that German domination of the EU does not stop at national borders, and – according to a well-known EU observer – surpasses by far Russia’s feeble meddling in France. . . .”

The program concludes with rumination about the role of anti-Muslim sentiment in the French and U.S. political process and the presence of Underground Reich-linked elements on both the “anti-immigrant” side and the Islamist/Muslim Brotherhood side.

Jean-Marie Le Pen

Jean-Marie Le Pen

Program Highlights Include:

  1. Review of the Islamist/Muslim Brotherhood Turkish Refah Party (the direct antecedent of Erdogan’s AKP) and its relationship to Ahmed Huber of the Bank Al-Taqwa.
  2. Review of the role of Ahmed Huber (later of the Bank Al-Taqwa) in introducing Turkish Muslim Brotherhood’s Necmettin Erbakan with Marine Le Pen’s father: ” . . . . . . . . A second photograph, in which Hitler is talking with Himmler, hangs next to those of Necmettin Erbakan and Jean-Marie Le Pen [leader of the fascist National Front]. Erbakan, head of the Turkish Islamist party, Refah, turned to Achmed Huber for an introduction to the chief of the French party of the far right. Exiting from the meeting  . . . .   Huber’s two friends supposedly stated that they ‘share the same view of the world’ and expressed ‘their common desire to work together to remove the last racist obstacles that still prevent the union of the Islamist movement with the national right of Europe.’. . .”
  3. Review of The Camp of the Saints, a racist, anti-immigrant book valued both by French National Front types and Trump advisor Steve Bannon.

1. It isn’t just the National Front that has roots in the Fifth Column/Vichy. Socialist Francois Mitterand was part of the French Fifth Column milieu and was very close to Rene Bousquet, who helped finance his political career and those of other left-wing French politicians.

“Mitterand and the Far Right”; Wikipedia.

. . . The most damming of all charges against Mitterrand and his right wing connections is probably his long lasting friendship with René Bousquet, ex secrétaire général of the Vichy police. Charles de Gaulle said of Mitterrand and Bousquet “they are ghosts who come from the deepest depths of the collaboration.”[24] Georges-Marc Benamou quotes Mitterrand as saying of Bousquet “his career shattered at the age of 35, it was dreadful. . . . In 1974, René Bousquet gave financial help to François Mitterrand for his presidential campaign against Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. In an interview with Pierre Favier et Michel Martin-Roland Mitterrand claimed that he was not the only left wing politician to benefit from Bousquet’s money, as René Bousquet helped finance all the principal left wing politicians from the 1950s to the beginning of the 1970s, including Pierre Mendès France. Worse still after Mitterrand’s 1981 win René Bousquet was received at the Élysée palace “to talk politics”. In an interview with Pascale Froment (René Bousquet’s biographer) Mitterrand declared “I listened to him as a political commentator. He saw me as a continuation of his halted career.”[26] Only in 1986, when media criticism of Bousquet began to gain in volume, did Mitterrand stop seeing him and he did not comment on the matter until the 1994 interview with Jean-Pierre Elkabach.[27] Lionel Jospin commented that he was little impressed by the President’s explanation saying “One would have liked a simpler and more transparent rise to power for the leader of the French left during the 70s and 80s. What I can’t understand is the continuing relationship into the 80’s with the likes of Bousquet who organized the mass arrests of Jews”[28] and Charles Fiterman also felt let down: “these revelations leave the uncomfortable impression of having been deceived by the man. 50 years later we see no trace of regret nor critical analysis, but a continuation of a compromising relationship which casts new light on events such as putting flowers on Pétain’s tomb. This seems to show a continuity in the choices of a leader calling in favors from a network of friends.”[29] Pierre Moscovici, commenting on Pierre Péan’s book said ” What shocked me is his rubbing shoulders with someone who was instrumental in state antisemitism and the ‘final solution’. We can’t tolerate such tolerance of evil, and for me René Bousquet was absolute evil”[30] and the historian Pierre Miquel commenting on the TV interview said “the comments… of the President of the Republic are part of a discourse from the right… on the subject of the occupation”[31] . . .

2. In the context of Mitterand’s past, we will also highlight the endeavors of Robert Zoellick in the context of German reunification. Zoellick recently confirmed that Mitterand insisted on the establishment of a common currency as pre-condition for German  reunification. Zoellick was a principal architect of that reunification, as well as a probable operative on behalf of the Underground Reich.

“A Euro Power Play that Backfired” by Oliver Mark Hartwich; Business Spectator; 8/17/2011.

To fully appreciate the subtle ironies of the euro crisis it takes a sense for history. Europe’s common currency has practically achieved the very opposite of what its creators originally intended. Instead of framing the Germans in Europe, the crisis has elevated Germany to the continent’s new, albeit reluctant, hegemon. Former French President François Mitterrand must be spinning in his grave.

Last Sunday, the Asia Society hosted a dinner for World Bank President Robert Zoellick in Sydney. His warnings about a further escalation of the debt crisis were widely reported, and the high-calibre audience certainly appreciated his views on the state of emerging markets. However, Zoellick also gave a fascinating insight into the early history of European monetary union.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, Zoellick was the lead US official in the ‘two-plus-four’ negotiations that prepared Germany’s re-unification in October 1990 (so named after the two German states and the four allied forces – Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the US). He was thus intimately involved in the diplomatic balancing act of unifying Germany while reassuring the British and the French that they had nothing to fear from this new and bigger country in the heart of Europe. For his achievements, Zoellick was even made a Knight Commander of the German order of merit, a very high award for a foreign national[Italics are mine–D.E.]

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was horrified about the prospect of a united Germany. “We beat the Germans twice, and now they’re back,” she allegedly told a meeting of European leaders at the time. Thatcher even invited historians to a seminar at Chequers to discuss the question of how dangerous the Germans really were. Her trade minister, Nicholas Ridley, was forced to resign after he had compared German chancellor Helmut Kohl to Adolf Hitler in an interview with The Spectator. . . .

. . . .  Almost in passing, and as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, he explained his understanding of how Europe got its common currency. And his account confirmed the rumours that it had a lot to do with German unification.

As Zoellick told his audience (that was probably unaware of how controversial these issues still are in Europe) it was very clear that European monetary union resulted from French-German tensions before unification and was meant to calm Mitterrand’s fears of an all-too-powerful Germany. According to Zoellick, the euro currency is a by-product of German unification. As one of the key insiders in the two-plus-four negotiations, trusted and highly decorated by the Germans, nobody would be better qualified to know the real story behind European Monetary Union. Despite all official denials coming from the German government until the present day, there are no good reasons not to believe Zoellick’s account of the events.

The great historical irony of this story is, of course, that if the French had really planned to weaken the powers of newly reunited Germany through monetary union, this attempt has now completely backfired. Sure, the Germans will pay massively for the sake of keeping the euro project alive (if they don’t pull out of monetary union once they realise this). But in strategic terms, Germany’s influence has never been greater. As the continent wants to bank on Germany’s AAA rating, Berlin can now effectively dictate fiscal policy to Athens, Lisbon and Rome – perhaps in the future to Paris, too. . .

. . . As it turns out, the euro is not only an unworkable currency. It actually started as a French insurance policy against German power. But even as an insurance policy it has failed. Against their will, it has turned the Germans into the new rulers of Europe. And it has consigned France to be the weaker partner in the Franco-German relationship.

If Mitterrand had known all this in advance, he would have insisted on Germany keeping the Deutschmark as the price for German unification. . . .

3a. In order to grasp the foundation of the deep politics that determine the Franco/German dynamic in Europe, we review the relationship between the De Wendels and the Rochlings (as well as other German industrialists). This material is excerpted from FTR #372, recorded in August of 2002.  [The Ruhr is a traditional coal-producing region, with strong economic links to the French steel producers of the Lorraine district.] This relationship transcended French national interests, and worked to subvert them at times. The De Wendel family in France had strong connections with, among others, the Rochlings in Germany. This resulted in French protection for German steel producing elements in the Briey Basin during World War I, the protection of the Rochlings from French criminal charges between the wars, and the awarding of key contracts for construction of the Maginot Line to the Rochlings prior to World War II.

All Honorable Men; James Stewart Martin; Copyright 1950 [HC]; Little, Brown & Co.; pp. 34-36.

. . . . . The horizontal separation of private interests from government policies went even further. The struggle of the interwar period was not simply a clash between French interests on the one side and German interests on the other. During the development of the Ruhr-Lorraine industrial complex, like-minded industrialists in France and Germany had become directors of jointly owned and jointly controlled financial, industrial, and distributing enterprises. In many cases common views on questions of economic organization, labor policy, social legislation, and attitude toward government had been far more important to the industrialists than differences of nationality or citizenship. After 1870 the interdependence of the French and German iron and steel industries led the owners to work together despite national differences, although the private activities of the French owners were, in many instances, in direct opposition to French public policy. It is curious to note that only the French appeared to have this conflict between public policy and private activities. On the German side, complete co-ordination seems to have been preserved between national and private interests; between officials of the German Republic and the leaders of German industry and finance. . . .

. . . . During World War I the De Wendels, the influential French-German banking and industrial family which headed the French wing of the International Steel Cartel through their Comite des Forges and whose members had sat in the parliaments of both France and Germany, were able to keep the French army from destroying industrial plants belonging to the German enterprises of the Rochling family. These plants were located in the Briey Basin, a Lorraine ore field then in German control. . . .

. . . . The Rochling family, with their powerful complex of coal, iron, steel and banking enterprises in Germany, has for generations played in close harmony with the de Wendel family. For a century, the descendants of Christian Rochling have dominated the industry and commerce of the Saar Basin. It was Hermann Rochling who arranged the return of the Saar to Germany in the plebiscite of January 1935 by organizing the Deutsche Front, which delivered 90 percent of the votes to the Nazis. Though seventy-two members of the Rochling family have survived two world wars and are still active in the business of the Saar today, two other members of the family, Hermann and his brother Robert, a major, had been put in charge of production in the Briey Basin. After the war, when the brothers Rochling moved out of the areas which had to be ceded to France under the Treaty, the two of them carried away bodily a couple of large steel plants. . . .

. . . . Conceiving this grand larceny to be something in the nature of a war crime, the French government tried the brothers Rochling in absentia and sentenced them to forty years in prison. But the German government never would give up the Rochlings to the French. For the next twenty-two years the brothers were under this cloud as far as the French government was concerned. On the other hand, as far as the French steel makers’ association, the Comite des Forges, and in particular the de Wendels who headed the Comite, were concerned, it was business as usual-or in this case, business as unusual-that prevailed. In the end even the French government weakened for business purposes, though the war-crime sentence remained. When it came time for France to build its impregnable Maginot Line, who should be called in to supply steel and technical assistance but the German firm of the brothers Rochling. If the French behaved in this as did the Americans during World War II in the case of insurance coverage on war plants, they doubtless placed plenty of guards to protect the security and secrecy of the Maginot Line construction from the prying eyes of the general public while the blueprints rested safely in the hands of the only people to whom they mattered: to wit, the enemy. . . .

. . . . Now comes the outbreak of World War II. The French army marching into the Saar during the ‘phony war’ period in 1939, received orders not to fire on or damage the plants of the ‘war criminals,’ the brothers Rochling. In 1940 came the blitz and the fall of France. The Vichy government passed a decree exonerating the Rochlings and canceling their forty-year prison sentences. . . .

3b. The Franco-German steel cartel, in turn, was part of an international steel cartel featuring the Thyssen firm Vereinigte Stahlwerke (later Thyssen A.G.). The Thyssen interests are inextricably linked with the Bormann capital network. The Thyssens’ principal American contacts were the Bush family.

All Honorable Men; James Stewart Martin; Copyright 1950 [HC]; Little, Brown & Co.; pp. 41-42.

. . . . The mid-twenties were remarkable for German industrial combination. They marked the formation of the United Steel Works in Germany, as a combination of the four biggest steel producers Ernst Poensgen, Fritz Thyssen, Otto Wolff, and the others who drew this combine together had managed to get over a hundred million dollars from private investors in the United States. Dillon Read & Company, the New York investment house which brought Clarence Dillon, James V. Forrestal, William H. Draper, Jr., and others into prominence, floated the United Steel Works bonds in the United States behind a glowing prospectus which declared that the United Steel Works Corporation (Vereinigte Stahlwerke) ‘will be the largest industrial unit in Europe and one of the largest manufacturers of iron and steel in the world, ranking in productive capacity second only to the United States Steel Corporation.’ The formation of United Steel gave its management tremendous power in Germany: enough to carry through without delay the organization of the German domestic steel cartel, and to guarantee the ‘good behavior’ of all German steel companies in their agreements with foreign firms. . . .

4a.  French financial institutions were central to the Bormann flight capital plan.

Martin Bormann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Manning; Copyright 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stuart Inc.; ISBN 0-8184-0309-8; p. 140.

. . . . Before D-day four Paris banks, Worms et Cie., Banque de Paris et de Pays-Bas, Banque de l’Indochine (now with ‘et de Suez’ added to its name), and Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie (now Banque Nationale de Paris), were used by Bormann to siphon NSDAP and other German money in France to their bank branches in the colonies, where it was safeguarded and invested for its German ownership. . . .

4b. As discussed above, there were strong connections between French industrialists and their German counterparts, a structural relationship that contributed to and facilitated political cooperation during the Occupation.

Martin Bormann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Manning; Copyright 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stuart Inc.; ISBN 0-8184-0309-8; pp. 70-71.

. . . . In the years before the war, the German businessmen, industrialists, and bankers had established close ties with their counterparts in France. After the blitzkrieg and invasion, the same Frenchmen in many cases went on working with their German peers. They didn’t have much choice, to be sure, and the occupation being instituted, very few in the high echelons of commerce and finance failed to collaborate. The Third Republic’s business elite was virtually unchanged after 1940 . . . They regarded the war and Hitler as an unfortunate diversion from their chief mission of preventing a communist revolution in France. Antibolshevism was a common denominator linking these Frenchmen to Germans, and it accounted for a volunteer French division on the Eastern Front. . .The upper-class men who had been superbly trained in finance and administration at one of the two grand corps schools were referred to as France’s permanent ‘wall of money,’ and as professionals they came into their own in 1940. They agreed to the establishment of German subsidiary firms in France and permitted a general buy-in to French companies. . . .

4c. The German economic control of the French economy proceeded smoothly into the postwar period.

Martin Bormann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Manning; Copyright 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stuart Inc.; ISBN 0-8184-0309-8; p. 30.

. . . . Society’s natural survivors, French version, who had served the Third Reich as an extension of German industry, would continue to do so in the period of postwar trials, just as they had survived the war, occupation, and liberation. These were many of the French elite, the well-born, the propertied, the titled, the experts, industrialists, businessmen, bureaucrats, bankers. . . . Economic collaboration in France with the Germans had been so widespread (on all levels of society) that there had to be a realization that an entire nation could not be brought to trial. Only a few years before, there had been many a sincere and well-meaning Frenchman—as in Belgium, England, and throughout Europe – who believed National Socialism to be the wave of the future, indeed, the only hope for curing the many desperate social, political, and economic ills of the time. France, along with other occupied countries, did contribute volunteers for the fight against Russia. Then there were many other Frenchmen, the majority, who resignedly felt there was no way the Germans could be pushed back across the Rhine. . . .

4d. Long after the war, the Bormann organization continued to wield effective control of the French economy, utilizing the corporate relationships developed before and during the occupation. Note, again, the role of the De Wendel family in the postwar resuscitation of the German steel firm of Friedrich Flick.

Martin Bormann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Manning; Copyright 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stuart Inc.; ISBN 0-8184-0309-8; pp. 271-272.

. . . . The characteristic secrecy surrounding the actions of German industrialists and bankers during the final nine months of the war, when Bormann’s flight capital program held their complete attention, was also carried over into the postwar years, when they began pulling back the skeins of economic wealth and power that stretched out to neutral nations of the world and to formerly occupied lands. There was a suggestion of this in France. Flora Lewis, writing from Paris in The New York Times of August 28, 1972, told of her conversation with a French publisher: ‘It would not be possible to trace ownership of corporations and the power structure as in the United States. ‘They’ would not permit it. ‘They’ would find a way to hound and torture anyone who tried,’ commented the publisher. ‘They’ seem to be a fairly small group of people who know each other, but many are not at all known to the public. ‘They’ move in and out of government jobs, but public service apparently serves to win private promotion rather than the other way around. The Government ‘control’ that practically everyone mentions cannot be traced through stock holdings, regulatory agencies, public decisions. It seems to function through a maze of personal contacts and tacit understandings.’

The understandings arrived at in the power structure of France reach back to prewar days, were continued during the occupation, and have carried over to the present time. Lewis, in her report from Paris, commented further: ‘This hidden control of government and corporations has produced a general unease in Paris.’ Along with the unease, the fact that France has lingering and serious social and political ailments is a residue of World War II and of an economic occupation that was never really terminated with the withdrawal of German troops beyond the Rhine. It was this special economic relationship between German and French industrialists that made it possible for Friedrich Flick to arrange with the De-Wendel steel firm in France for purchase of his shares in his Ruhr coal combine for $45 million, which was to start him once more on the road back to wealth and power, after years in prison following his conviction at Nuremberg.

West Germany’s economic power structure is fueled by a two-tier system: the corporations and individuals who publicly represent the products that are common household names around the world, and the secretive groups operating in the background as holding companies and who pull the threads of power in overseas corporations established during the Bormann tenure in the Third Reich. As explained to me, ‘These threads are like the strands of a spider’s web and no one knows where they lead – except the inner circle of the Bormann organization in South America.’ . . .

6. In the recent election, Germany weighed in on behalf of first, Francois Fillon and then Emmanuel Macron. Although this might appear surprising at first glance, Ms. Le Pen is anti-EU.

We note, in passing, that the German word for power is “macht,” derived from Machiavellian. To seek real power, it is ideal to be strongly on both sides of a political struggle. Getting into the knickers of both players is a blueprint for victory.

The postwar financing of the French left, through Holocaust implementer and SS collaborator Rene Bousquet can be seen in this context.

“France’s Elections;” German Foreign Policy; 4/24/2017.

Berlin’s favorite candidate took the lead in the first round in Sunday’s French presidential elections. According to the latest predictions, Emmanuel Macron won with 23.4 percent of the votes, followed by Marine Le Pen of the Front National with 22.6. Macron is expected to win the May 7 runoffs. Initially, the German government had banked on and openly promoted the conservative candidate François Fillon. However, after his approval ratings significantly dropped in the polls, due to the scandal over high payments to his wife as his parliamentary assistant, Berlin was forced to turn to Macron. Like Fillon, Macron is considered “Germany-compatible” by a German think tank, whereas all other candidates are viewed as unsuitable for “constructive cooperation” because of their criticism of the EU and/or of NATO. Recently, Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble ostentatiously recommended voting for Macron. Berlin’s interference on behalf of Macron shows once again that German domination of the EU does not stop at national borders, and – according to a well-known EU observer – surpasses by far Russia’s feeble meddling in France.

“Germany-Compatible”

In a brief analysis, published shortly before the first round of France’s presidential elections, the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) examined the extent to which the presumed policy of the five most promising candidates would comply with German interests. “Only two of them are really Germany-compatible,” the DGAP declared, “Emmanuel Macron und François Fillon.”[1] “Important aspects” of their positions “coincide with those of the German government,” the think tank analyses. Both announced “ambitious reform programs,” whose implementation would be “the prerequisite for joint initiatives in the framework of the economic and monetary union.” Even though the existence of “disagreements” cannot be denied, “compromises are quite realistic.” Concerning the socialist candidate Benoît Hamon, the DGAP criticized that he would like to “rescind the Maastricht criteria and the related stability course.” Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Parti de Gauche) and Marine Le Pen (Front National) even reject major elements of today’s EU and France’s integration into NATO. A “constructive cooperation” with them is thus “difficult to imagine.

First Choice

Already since the beginning of this year, Berlin has been openly interfering in its neighboring country’s election campaign by systematically supporting first Fillon and then Macron. In Berlin, objections had been initially raised against Fillon because he was seeking a certain alignment with Russia. But even French experts assumed that Fillon would not be able to pursue such a policy against Berlin’s will. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[2]) Berlin, however, approved Fillon’s plans to scrap the 35-hour work week once and for all, raise the retirement age to 65, deregulate the labor market, raise the value added tax by two percent, and cut 500,000 French civil service jobs. This would amount to a complete alignment with the German austerity policy. Already in November 2016, the French business press reported that German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble explicitly praised Fillon’s electoral platform.[3] On January 23, 2017, Schäuble, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks with Fillon in Berlin, thereby offering him the chance to present himself to the French public as the welcomed candidate of the EU’s hegemon. At his subsequent meeting in the Berlin headquarters of the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Peter Altmaier, Head of the Federal Chancellery, told Fillon, “we hope that you will return as President as soon as possible.”[4]

Second Choice

Soon after that, the German government was obliged to change course because Fillon’s approval ratings significantly dropped in the polls due to his scandal surrounding high payments to his wife and children as parliamentary assistants. Berlin then began backing Macron. On March 16, Chancellor Merkel granted him an audience and, together with Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, he appeared before the press in the German Foreign Ministry. On the evening of March 16, a public panel discussion on the “Future for Europe” was organized with Macron and the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas [5] in the German capital to enhance the French candidate’s prestige, which was also widely reported in the French media. Macron has not only shown his complete commitment to cooperation with Berlin in a Germany-dominated EU. He is also well remembered by the German government because, during his term as France’s Minister of the Economy (August 2014 to August 2016), he had tackled the comprehensive deregulation of the labor market.[6] Just recently, German Finance Minister Schäuble openly promoted Macron. The man has “a lot of charm,” Schäuble declared, “I would probably vote for Macron.”[7] When this massive German interference on his behalf began to become counterproductive – particularly Schäuble is not exactly popular in many EU countries – Macron saw himself obliged to verbally distance himself. Last week, the candidate declared that Germany’s trade surplus and “its economic strength in its present form” are “unacceptable.”[8] This statement, however, is generally perceived as being motivated by the elections and as a meaningless dissociation.

Model CDU

The German interference – crowned on April 15, by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s demand, in the French daily “Ouest-France,” that the voters ignore the “siren song” of the non-EU-oriented parties [9] – is not unique. The German government had already massively intervened into the 2012 presidential elections in favor of Nicolas Sarkozy. In the fall of 2011, Sarkozy’s UMP party even formulated its election platform in close cooperation with the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The German press remarked with irony that the UMP had “even closely inspected the CDU’s headquarters near Berlin’s Tiergarten” to “better plan their own new party headquarters.”[10] The DGAP noted that “Sarkozy, the American,” – as he preferred to call himself at the beginning of his term because of his temporary orientation on Washington – had become “Sarkozy, the German.”[11]

Putin, Trump and Merkel

The interference into the French presidential election campaign demonstrates that German domination of the EU hardly knows borders. It also highlights that the threat of unprecedented interference emanating only from Russia is a propagandistic claim. On the weekend, the Brussels-based journalist, Eric Bonse, a keen observer of the EU, noted that even though Russian President Vladimir Putin had received the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen (Front National) for exclusive talks in Moscow, Le Pen’s most obvious backing, however, was given by US President Donald Trump, when he praised her “most determined stand” opposing jihadist terror.[12] In addition, already in January, Le Pen had met with one of Trump’s contact persons in New York. The members of the US Congress, Steve King and Dana Rohrabacher, had traveled to Paris to meet with Le Pen in February.[13] In view of the intensive German support for Macron, Bonse, who cannot be suspected of affinity either to Russia or to the Trump administration, concluded, that all this is “nothing compared to Germany’s interference.”[14]
[1] Claire Demesmay (Hg.): Frankreichs Präsidentschaftswahl 2017: Was die fünf wichtigsten Kandidaten für Deutschland bedeuten. DGAPkompakt Nr. 4, April 2017.
[2] See No Chance.
[3] Wolfgang Schäuble loue le programme de François Fillon. www.lesechos.fr 29.11.2016.
[4] Thomas Hanke: CDU empfängt Fillon wie den neuen Präsidenten. www.handelsblatt.com 24.01.2017.
[5] Zu Habermas’ Europakonzeption: Hans-Rüdiger Minow: Zwei Wege – Eine Katastrophe. Flugschrift No. 1. Aachen 2016. german-foreign-policy.com/bestellung_flugschrift/ .
[6] See The Price of Deregulation.
[7] “Wahrscheinlich würde ich Macron wählen”. www.spiegel.de 11.04.2017.
[8] Hollande warnt vor Populisten. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 18.04.2017.
[9] Interview mit der Funke-Mediengruppe. www.bundespraesident.de 15.04.2017. Ouest-France ist die meistverkaufte Tageszeitung Frankreichs.
[10], [11] See Sarkozy, the German.
[12] Von Putin bis Merkel: Alle mischen sich ein. lostineu.eu 22.04.2017.
[13] Johannes Kuhn: Trump deutet Unterstützung für Le Pen an. www.sueddeutsche.de 22.04.2017.
[14] Von Putin bis Merkel: Alle mischen sich ein. lostineu.eu 22.04.2017.

7. Note that the National Front has minted valuable political currency from Islamist terror. In that regard, the program reviews Turkish Islamist Necmettin Erbakan’s relationship with Ahmed Huber and the manner in which that relationship precipitated Huber’s ascension to his position as a director of Al Taqwa.

Closely associated with the AK Party’s predecessor Refah organization, Huber’s concept of “moderation” might be gleaned from the photographs of some of the “moderates” he admires.

Note that Erbakan, mentor to Tayyip Erdogan, networked with Jean-Marie Le Pen (father of Marine Le Pen), courtesy of Bank Al-Taqwa’s Achmed Huber.

Note, also, that they arrived at a political concensus, working to coordinate the Islamic fascism of the Muslim Brotherhood with the Euro-fascism of the National Front, Sweden Democrats and others.

Speaking of the décor of Huber’s residence:

Dollars for Terror: The United States and Islam; by Richard Labeviere; Copyright 2000 [SC]; Algora Publishing; ISBN 1-892941-06-6; p. 142.

. . . . A second photograph, in which Hitler is talking with Himmler, hangs next to those of Necmettin Erbakan and Jean-Marie Le Pen [leader of the fascist National Front]. Erbakan, head of the Turkish Islamist party, Refah, turned to Achmed Huber for an introduction to the chief of the French party of the far right. Exiting from the meeting (which took place in September 1995) Huber’s two friends supposedly stated that they ‘share the same view of the world’ and expressed ‘their common desire to work together to remove the last racist obstacles that still prevent the union of the Islamist movement with the national right of Europe.’. . .

. . . . Lastly, above the desk is displayed a poster of the imam Khomeini; the meeting ‘changed my life,’ Huber says, with stars in his eyes. For years, after the Federal Palace in Bern, Ahmed Huber published a European press review for the Iranian leaders, then for the Turkish Refah. Since the former lacked financial means, Huber chose to put his efforts to the service of the latter. An outpost of the Turkish Muslim Brothers, Refah thus became Huber’s principal employer; and it was through the intermediary of the Turkish Islamist party that this former parliamentary correspondent became a shareholder in the bank Al Taqwa. . . .

8a. Steve Bannon is very favorably disposed toward a French novel that resonates with anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant demagogues on both sides of the Atlantic. The anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim ideology is central to the National Front’s appeal.

“. . . . The Camp of the Saints — which draws its title from Revelation 20:9is nothing less than a call to arms for the white Christian West, to revive the spirit of the Crusades and steel itself for bloody conflict against the poor black and brown world without and the traitors within. The novel’s last line links past humiliations tightly to its own grim parable about modern migration. ‘The Fall of Constantinople,’ Raspail’s unnamed narrator says, ‘is a personal misfortune that happened to all of us only last week.’ . . . . “

“This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World” by Paul Blumenthal and JM Rieger; The Huffington Post; 3/04/2017.

“The Camp of the Saints” tells a grotesque tale about a migrant invasion to destroy Western civilization.

Stephen Bannon, President Donald Trump’s chief strategist and the driving force behind the administration’s controversial ban on travelers, has a favorite metaphor he uses to describe the largest refugee crisis in human history.

It’s been almost a Camp of the Saints-type invasion into Central and then Western and Northern Europe,” he said in October 2015.

“The whole thing in Europe is all about immigration,” he said in January 2016. “It’s a global issue today — this kind of global Camp of the Saints.”

“It’s not a migration,” he said later that January. “It’s really an invasion. I call it the Camp of the Saints.”

“When we first started talking about this a year ago,” he said in April 2016, “we called it the Camp of the Saints. … I mean, this is Camp of the Saints, isn’t it?”

Bannon has agitated for a host of anti-immigrant measures. In his previous role as executive chairman of the right-wing news site Breitbart — which he called a “platform for the alt-right,” the online movement of white nationalists — he made anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim news a focus.

But the top Trump aide’s repeated references to The Camp of the Saints, an obscure 1973 novel by French author Jean Raspail, reveal even more about how he understands the world. The book is a cult favorite on the far right, yet it’s never found a wider audience. There’s a good reason for that: It’s breathtakingly racist.

“[This book is] racist in the literal sense of the term. It uses race as the main characterization of characters,” said Cécile Alduy, professor of French at Stanford University and an expert on the contemporary French far right. “It describes the takeover of Europe by waves of immigrants that wash ashore like the plague.”

The book, she said, “reframes everything as the fight to death between races.”

Upon the novel’s release in the United States in 1975, the influential book review magazine Kirkus Reviews pulled no punches: “The publishers are presenting The Camp of the Saints as a major event, and it probably is, in much the same sense that Mein Kampf was a major event.”

Linda Chavez, a Republican commentator who has worked for GOP presidents from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush but opposed Trump’s election, also reviewed the book back then. Forty years later, she hasn’t forgotten it.

“It is really shockingly racist,” Chavez told The Huffington Post, “and to have the counselor to the president see this as one of his touchstones, I think, says volumes about his attitude.”

The plot of The Camp of the Saints follows a poor Indian demagogue, named “the turd-eater” because he literally eats shit, and the deformed, apparently psychic child who sits on his shoulders. Together, they lead an “armada” of 800,000 impoverished Indians sailing to France. Dithering European politicians, bureaucrats and religious leaders, including a liberal pope from Latin America, debate whether to let the ships land and accept the Indians or to do the right thing — in the book’s vision — by recognizing the threat the migrants pose and killing them all.

The non-white people of Earth, meanwhile, wait silently for the Indians to reach shore. The landing will be the signal for them to rise up everywhere and overthrow white Western society.

The French government eventually gives the order to repel the armada by force, but by then the military has lost the will to fight. Troops battle among themselves as the Indians stream on shore, trampling to death the left-wing radicals who came to welcome them. Poor black and brown people literally overrun Western civilization. Chinese people pour into Russia; the queen of England is forced to marry her son to a Pakistani woman; the mayor of New York must house an African-American family at Gracie Mansion. Raspail’s rogue heroes, the defenders of white Christian supremacy, attempt to defend their civilization with guns blazing but are killed in the process.

Calgues, the obvious Raspail stand-in, is one of those taking up arms against the migrants and their culturally “cuckolded” white supporters. Just before killing a radical hippie, Calgues compares his own actions to past heroic, sometimes mythical defenses of European Christendom. He harkens back to famous battles that fit the clash-of-civilizations narrative — the defense of Rhodes against the Ottoman Empire, the fall of Constantinople to the same — and glorifies colonial wars of conquest and the formation of the Ku Klux Klan.

Only white Europeans like Calgues are portrayed as truly human in The Camp of the Saints. The Indian armada brings “thousands of wretched creatures” whose very bodies arouse disgust: “Scraggy branches, brown and black … All bare, those fleshless Gandhi-arms.” Poor brown children are spoiled fruit “starting to rot, all wormy inside, or turned so you can’t see the mold.”

The ship’s inhabitants are also sexual deviants who turn the voyage into a grotesque orgy. “Everywhere, rivers of sperm,” Raspail writes. “Streaming over bodies, oozing between breasts, and buttocks, and thighs, and lips, and fingers.”

The white Christian world is on the brink of destruction, the novel suggests, because these black and brown people are more fertile and more numerous, while the West has lost that necessary belief in its own cultural and racial superiority. As he talks to the hippie he will soon kill, Calgues explains how the youth went so wrong: “That scorn of a people for other races, the knowledge that one’s own is best, the triumphant joy at feeling oneself to be part of humanity’s finest — none of that had ever filled these youngsters’ addled brains.”

The Camp of the Saints — which draws its title from Revelation 20:9 — is nothing less than a call to arms for the white Christian West, to revive the spirit of the Crusades and steel itself for bloody conflict against the poor black and brown world without and the traitors within. The novel’s last line links past humiliations tightly to its own grim parable about modern migration. “The Fall of Constantinople,” Raspail’s unnamed narrator says, “is a personal misfortune that happened to all of us only last week.”

Raspail wrote The Camp of the Saints in 1972 and 1973, after a stay at his aunt’s house near Cannes on the southern coast of France. Looking out across the Mediterranean, he had an epiphany: “And what if they came?” he thought to himself. “This ‘they’ was not clearly defined at first,” he told the conservative publication Le Point in 2015. “Then I imagined that the Third World would rush into this blessed country that is France.”

Raspail’s novel has been published in the U.S. several times, each time with the backing of the anti-immigration movement.

The U.S. publishing house Scribner was the first to translate the book into English in 1975, but it failed to reach a wide audience amid withering reviews by critics. A rare favorable take appeared in National Review. “Raspail brings his reader to the surprising conclusion that killing a million or so starving refugees from India would be a supreme act of individual sanity and cultural health,” then-Dartmouth professor Jeffrey Hart wrote in 1975. “Raspail is to genocide what [D.H. Lawrence] was to sex.” Hart added that “a great fuss” was being made over “Raspail’s supposed racism,” but that the “liberal rote anathema on ‘racism’ is in effect a poisonous assault upon Western self-preference.”

The book received a second life in 1983 when Cordelia Scaife May, heiress to the Mellon fortune and sister to right-wing benefactor Richard Mellon Scaife, funded its republication and distribution. This time it gained a cult following among immigration opponents.

May’s money has also been instrumental in funding the efforts of John Tanton, the godfather of the anti-immigration movement in the U.S. Tanton, who began as an environmentalist and population control proponent, founded a host of groups focused on restricting immigration, including the Federation of American Immigration Reform, the Center for Immigration Studies, NumbersUSA and U.S. English. May’s fortune has fueled these groups with tens of millions of dollars in contributions over the years.

Linda Chavez was recruited in 1987 to head U.S. English, which advocates for English to be designated the country’s official language. But then a series of disturbing stories painted Tanton’s motives in a racial light. Among other issues, Chavez said she learned that his funding came from the pro-eugenics Pioneer Fund and from May, who Chavez knew had helped publish The Camp of the Saints. Chavez recalled seeing Tanton’s staffers carrying the book around their offices. She quit the group.

Tanton, who insists his opposition to immigration is not connected to race at all, told The Washington Post in 2006 that his mind “became focused” on the issue after reading The Camp of the Saints. In 1995, his small publishing house, Social Contract Press, brought the book back into print for a third time in the U.S., again with funding from May. Historians Paul Kennedy and Matt Connelly tied the book to then-current concerns about global demographic trends in a cover story for The Atlantic.

“Over the years the American public has absorbed a great number of books, articles, poems and films which exalt the immigrant experience,” Tanton wrote in 1994. “It is easy for the feelings evoked by Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty to obscure the fact that we are currently receiving too many immigrants (and receiving them too fast) for the health of our environment and of our common culture. Raspail evokes different feelings and that may help to pave the way for policy changes.”

In 2001, the book was republished one more time, again by Tanton, and again gained a cult following among opponents of immigration like the border-patrolling Minutemen and eventually the online “alt-right.”

Bannon’s alt-right-loving Breitbart has run multiple articles over the past three years referencing the novel. When Pope Francis told a joint session of Congress that the U.S. should open its arms to refugees in September 2015, Breitbart’s Julia Hahn, now an aide to Bannon in the White House, compared his admonition to Raspail’s liberal Latin American pontiff. And the novel’s thesis that migration is invasion in disguise is often reflected in Bannon’s public comments.

The refugee crisis “didn’t just happen by happenstance,” Bannon said in an April 2016 radio interview with Sebastian Gorka, who now works for the National Security Council. “These are not war refugees. It’s something much more insidious going on.”

Bannon has also echoed the novel’s theory that secular liberals who favor immigration and diversity weaken the West.

Now Bannon sits at the right hand of the U.S. president, working to beat back what Bannon calls “this Muslim invasion.” And Trump is all in on the project. During the campaign, he called for a ban on all Muslims entering the country. His Jan. 28 executive order, since blocked in the courts, turned this campaign idea into executive policy.

Trump has continued to defend the executive order as a life-or-death national security issue. “We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America,” he said in his first speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.

Five days earlier, Trump had called his immigration enforcement efforts a “military operation.”

Although Department of Homeland Security officials walked back that statement, the president’s conflation of immigration with warfare did not go unnoticed.

“They see this as a war,” Chavez said.

Chavez, who supports some of Trump’s economic policy proposals, called the direction the White House is taking on immigration and race “extremely dangerous.” She said Trump’s immigration moves are “a kind of purging of America of anything but our Northern European roots.” Bannon, she added, “wants to make America white again.”

8b.

“National Front (France)”; wikipedia.com

 . . . . One of the primary progenitors of the party was the Action Française, founded at the end of the 19th century. . . .

 

Discussion

One comment for “FTR #957 The National Front and Deep Politics in France, Part 2”

  1. Oh look, another major political hack disseminated by Wikileaks and done by alleged Russian hackers who apparently can’t help themselves from leaving Cyrillic text in the hacked documents meta-data:

    International Business Times

    ‘Guilt by volume’: Macron leaks fail to shock experts, but can it influence the election?
    Cybersecurity experts dismiss 9GB Macron leak as a mix of ‘boringest’ and fake documents.

    Jason Murdock
    By Jason Murdock
    Updated May 6, 2017 15:17 BST

    On 5 May, as France went into media blackout in preparation for the 2017 presidential election, roughly 9GB worth of data from inside the campaign of centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, leaked online. It sent social media – and security experts – into a frenzy of activity.

    Quickly dubbed “Macron Leaks”, the En March! political party branded the incident a “massive and coordinated” cyberattack. However, upon analysis, despite the amplified messages on social media, experts found the disclosure underwhelming.

    The leak had all the hallmarks of a Russian operation, in many ways echoing the 2016 leak of emails belonging to John Podesta, an aide to US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

    However, in this instance, the actual content of the emails and documents may not even matter, some said.

    “They don’t have Macron’s personal inbox. One of the things I was thinking was that most headlines will be ‘GB’s of emails belonging to En Marche! leaked’ but nobody will ever read them. So it’s guilt by volume,” Matt Suiche, a cybersecurity expert, told IBTimes UK.

    “The media is getting manipulated big time by Russia,” Suiche continued. “French media won’t talk about it because it’s time sensitive. But all the international press is jumping on it to have something to write on.

    “Although there is no bad data leaked as far as we know,” he added.

    Suiche analysed some of the leaked data and found some of the documents had been altered.

    “Artefacts containing Cyrillic characters have been found in the metadata of some documents, this is either an operational mistake or something that was placed on purpose,” he said.

    “This leak seems like a desperate attempt to gain attention,” he continued, adding: “I doubt this will affect the election against Macron.”

    The candidate is running against Front National leader Marine Le Pen and polls predict him winning with over 60% of the vote.

    Dropping files after appending metadata to Microsoft Offices files such as "?????" or "???????_??????" Why? #attribution H/T @voulnet pic.twitter.com/h2KBLimjZn— Matt Suiche (@msuiche) May 6, 2017

    The origin of the leak

    The leaked data was first posted to the /pol message board on 4Chan, a website often associated with leaks and trolling. According to the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, it was quickly publicised on Twitter by the alt-right account @JackPosobiec – the account of a reporter for the alt-right news site therebel.media. The link was later tweeted by the official Wikileaks account.

    “This was passed on to me today so now I am giving it to you, the people,” a 4Chan statement read. “The leak is massive and released in the hopes that the human search engine here will be able to start sifting through the contents and figure out exactly what we have here.”

    As it turns out, the emails were from members of Macron’s staff and supporters, with names including Alain Tourret, Pierre Person, Cedric O, Anne-Christine Lang, and Quentin Lafay, revealed cybersecurity expert Robert Graham, writing on his blog Errata Security.

    “Obviously, everyone assumes that Russian hackers did it, but there’s nothing (so far) that points to anybody in particular,” Graham noted. “It appears to be the most basic of phishing attacks, which means anyone could’ve done it, including your neighbour’s pimply faced teenager.”

    Graham’s lack of enthusiasm about the impact of the leaked information was mirrored across well-known industry researchers.

    “I have searched through a lot of large email drops before, and this is right up there with the boringest of them,” wrote Matt Tait, a former information security specialist for GCHQ – the British equivalent of the US National Security Agency – and current chief executive and founder of Capital Alpha Security, in a Twitter post.

    The Grugq, a cybersecurity researcher, said: “Based on latest info about how dull the dump is they really had nothing interesting, so just packaged everything they could get in hopes that the size of the dump would be damning, a sort of ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ approach.”

    On a Twitter thread, he added: “The #MacronLeak dump is full of intentionally misleading info crafted for confusion. Folders w/ false names.”

    The #MacronLeak dump is full of intentionally misleading info. crafted for confusion. Folders w/ "false" names https://t.co/7kIDsVHlOf— the grugq (@thegrugq) May 6, 2017

    One file he referenced claimed a French politician had used bitcoin to have drugs shipped to the French parliament.

    As the documents disseminated online, whistleblowing website WikiLeaks dismissed claims that forgeries existed in the files. At the time of writing, it claimed to still be searching through the files.

    “This massive leak is too late to shift the election,” it said in a post online. “The intent behind the timing is curious. We have not yet discovered fakes in #MacronLeaks and we are very skeptical that the Macron campaign is faster than us.”

    Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Sowing seeds of political chaos

    Some of the leaked emails appear to be extremely recent, at least up to 24 April. The motivation of the incident is now being debated, with many having already come to the conclusion that a Russian state-backed group was somehow involved in the scheme.

    “Everyone is proposing theories about the hacker’s plan, but the most likely answer is they don’t have one. Hacking is opportunistic,” Graham wrote on his blog, adding: “They likely targeted everyone in the campaign, and these were the only victims they could hack.

    “It’s probably not the outcome they were hoping for. But since they’ve gone through all the work, it’d be a shame to waste it.

    “[The hackers] are likely releasing the dump not because they believe it will do any good, but because it’ll do them no harm.”

    The French electoral commission has responded to the incident, saying: “The dissemination of such data, which have been fraudulently obtained and in all likelihood may have been mingled with false information, is liable to be classified as a criminal offence.”

    Meanwhile, Macron’s chief foreign policy adviser Aurelien Lechevallier (via Ben Judah) said Russian president Vladimir Putin should now expect a “frank meeting”.

    His statement continued: “We will make clear on cyberattacks and on European security France will defend its interests. We want zero Russian interference in our elections and in European elections. We will have a doctrine of retaliation when it comes to Russian cyberattacks.”

    During his election campaign against Le Pen – who met with Putin in March – Macron’s team was outspoken about alleged Russian cyberattacks. Last month, Trend Micro, a cybersecurity firm, appeared to back up the rhetoric with evidence he had been directly targeted.

    As the election date approached, further controversy erupted after a 200-strong collective of French-language Twitter accounts were caught spreading misinformation about Macron, claiming – without evidence – that he had evaded paying taxes by storing cash in offshore accounts.

    “”Artefacts containing Cyrillic characters have been found in the metadata of some documents, this is either an operational mistake or something that was placed on purpose,” he said.”

    There go those pesky Russian hackers leaving Cyrillic characters in the documents again. They just can’t help themselves! And it definitely wasn’t done by, say, far-right hackers intentionally adding Cyrillic characters (for the lulz!). It was definitely Russian hackers:


    As it turns out, the emails were from members of Macron’s staff and supporters, with names including Alain Tourret, Pierre Person, Cedric O, Anne-Christine Lang, and Quentin Lafay, revealed cybersecurity expert Robert Graham, writing on his blog Errata Security.

    “Obviously, everyone assumes that Russian hackers did it, but there’s nothing (so far) that points to anybody in particular,” Graham noted. “It appears to be the most basic of phishing attacks, which means anyone could’ve done it, including your neighbour’s pimply faced teenager.”

    Graham’s lack of enthusiasm about the impact of the leaked information was mirrored across well-known industry researchers.

    And the Russian government definitely carried out this self-implicating hack despite the lack any apparent value in the attack given the massive polling gap that Marine Le Pen would have to make up in order to win:


    “I have searched through a lot of large email drops before, and this is right up there with the boringest of them,” wrote Matt Tait, a former information security specialist for GCHQ – the British equivalent of the US National Security Agency – and current chief executive and founder of Capital Alpha Security, in a Twitter post.

    The Grugq, a cybersecurity researcher, said: “Based on latest info about how dull the dump is they really had nothing interesting, so just packaged everything they could get in hopes that the size of the dump would be damning, a sort of ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ approach.”

    And when the Russian government decided to conduct this operation, they used the APT 28 (Fancy Bear) to do it:

    Reuters

    French candidate Macron claims massive hack as emails leaked

    By Eric Auchard and Bate Felix | FRANKFURT/PARIS
    Sat May 6, 2017 | 9:55am EDT

    Leading French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s campaign said on Friday it had been the target of a “massive” computer hack that dumped its campaign emails online 1-1/2 days before voters choose between the centrist and his far-right rival, Marine Le Pen.

    Opinion polls show independent centrist Macron is set to beat National Front candidate Le Pen in Sunday’s second round of voting, in what is seen to be France’s most important election in decades. The latest surveys show him winning with about 62 percent of the vote.

    RUSSIAN HAND SEEN

    Former economy minister Macron’s campaign has previously complained about attempts to hack its emails, blaming Russian interests in part for the cyber attacks.

    On April 26, the team said it had been the target of a attempts to steal email credentials dating back to January, but that the perpetrators had failed to compromise any campaign data.

    The Kremlin has denied it was behind any such attacks, even though Macron’s camp renewed complaints against Russian media and a hackers’ group operating in Ukraine.

    Vitali Kremez, director of research with New York-based cyber intelligence firm Flashpoint, told Reuters his review indicates that APT 28, a group tied to the GRU, the Russian military intelligence directorate, was behind the leak. He cited similarities with U.S. election hacks that have been previously attributed to that group.

    APT28 last month registered decoy internet addresses to mimic the name of En Marche, which it likely used send tainted emails to hack into the campaign’s computers, Kremez said. Those domains include onedrive-en-marche.fr and mail-en-marche.fr.

    “If indeed driven by Moscow, this leak appears to be a significant escalation over the previous Russian operations aimed at the U.S. presidential election, expanding the approach and scope of effort from simple espionage efforts towards more direct attempts to sway the outcome,” Kremez said.

    France is the latest nation to see a major election overshadowed by accusations of manipulation through cyber hacking.

    U.S. intelligence agencies said in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered hacking of parties tied to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to influence the election on behalf of Republican rival Donald Trump.

    On Friday night as the #Macronleaks hashtag buzzed around social media, Florian Philippot, deputy leader of the National Front, tweeted “Will Macronleaks teach us something that investigative journalism has deliberately killed?”

    Macron spokesman Sylvain Fort, in a response on Twitter, called Philippot’s tweet “vile”.

    En Marche! said the documents only showed the normal functioning of a presidential campaign, but that authentic documents had been mixed on social media with fake ones to sow “doubt and misinformation”.

    Ben Nimmo, a UK-based security researcher with the Digital Forensic Research Lab of the Atlantic Council think tank, said initial analysis indicated that a group of U.S. far-right online activists were behind early efforts to spread the documents via social media. They were later picked up and promoted by core social media supporters of Le Pen in France, Nimmo said.

    The leaks emerged on 4chan, a discussion forum popular with far right activists in the United States. An anonymous poster provided links to the documents on Pastebin, saying, “This was passed on to me today so now I am giving it to you, the people.”

    The hashtag #MacronLeaks was then spread by Jack Posobiec, a pro-Trump activist whose Twitter profile identifies him as Washington D.C. bureau chief of the far-right activist site Rebel TV, according to Nimmo and other analysts tracking the election. Contacted by Reuters, Posobiec said he had simply reposted what he saw on 4chan.

    “You have a hashtag drive that started with the alt-right in the United States that has been picked up by some of Le Pen’s most dedicated and aggressive followers online,” Nimmo told Reuters.

    “Vitali Kremez, director of research with New York-based cyber intelligence firm Flashpoint, told Reuters his review indicates that APT 28, a group tied to the GRU, the Russian military intelligence directorate, was behind the leak. He cited similarities with U.S. election hacks that have been previously attributed to that group.”

    Fancy Bear strikes again! Pretty openly it would seem since researchers were able to determine that it was Fancy Bear, and not someone else, who registered various decoy internet addresses that could be used in the phishing attacks:


    APT28 last month registered decoy internet addresses to mimic the name of En Marche, which it likely used send tainted emails to hack into the campaign’s computers, Kremez said. Those domains include onedrive-en-marche.fr and mail-en-marche.fr.

    So that happened. After a year of close scrutiny over Fancy Bear’s alleged tactic by security researchers around the world, Fancy Bear struck again. Using basically the same techniques that were used to implicate it in the 2016 election hack. And Cyrillic meta-data.

    So either somebody in the Russian government really needs to have a word with Fancy Bear about OPSEC, and soon, or some non-Russians are experiencing some incredible lulz today. Which could it be? No one knows. Although we all know it was Fancy Bear. Because of course.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 6, 2017, 4:12 pm

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