Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

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

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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

5 comments 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
  2. This must have the French far-right quak­ing it its boots: Just months after get­ting elect­ed, Emmanuel Macron is already fac­ing div­ing poll num­bers. And his ‘tax cuts/spending cuts’ agen­da is already reveal­ing itself as a ‘cut tax­es for the rich/spending cuts for the poor’:

    The Guardian

    Hous­ing ben­e­fit cuts spark row as Emmanuel Macron’s poll rat­ings fall

    Stu­dents and oppo­si­tion par­ty demand French pres­i­dent with­draw cost-cut­ting mea­sure as he’s accused of tar­get­ing poor

    Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
    Mon­day 24 July 2017 13.19 EDT

    The French pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron has come under fire for cuts to hous­ing ben­e­fits, just as his pop­u­lar­i­ty has dropped in polls.

    A row erupt­ed on Mon­day after the gov­ern­ment announced it was going to cut a par­tic­u­lar type of hous­ing ben­e­fit by five euros a month in a move affect­ing mil­lions of French peo­ple – includ­ing many liv­ing below the pover­ty line.

    Louis Gal­lois, head of a fed­er­a­tion of organ­i­sa­tions work­ing on pover­ty, slammed the mea­sure for “hit­ting the poor­est peo­ple fore­most”.

    More than 800,000 of those affect­ed were stu­dents, caus­ing stu­dents’ unions to demand the gov­ern­ment “instant­ly with­draw” the plans. Dis­gruntle­ment among stu­dents is a thorny issue because the gov­ern­ment is seek­ing to avoid stu­dents join­ing poten­tial protests against Macron’s pro­posed changes to labour laws this autumn.

    The gov­ern­ment spokesman Christophe Cas­tan­er said the mea­sure was jus­ti­fied because France need­ed to rein in its pub­lic spend­ing and bring down its deficit. The gov­ern­ment said the hous­ing ben­e­fit cuts had been decid­ed under the pre­vi­ous Social­ist pres­i­dent, François Hol­lande, which Social­ist min­is­ters angri­ly denied.

    Oppo­si­tion politi­cians accused Macron of tar­get­ing the poor and favour­ing the rich with mea­sures includ­ing the loos­en­ing France’s wealth tax so that it applies only to prop­er­ty, not invest­ments – which Macron has argued will boost the econ­o­my. A study last week found that over­all the rich­est 10% of France’s house­holds will like­ly ben­e­fit the most from Macron’s pro­posed tax cuts.

    The hous­ing ben­e­fit issue is the lat­est row over Macron’s dri­ve to cut pub­lic spend­ing and bring down the deficit with the aim of meet­ing EU rules for the first time in a decade.

    Ear­li­er this month, Macron was accused of betray­ing his man­i­festo promis­es by putting off promised tax cuts. The prime min­is­ter, Edouard Philippe, had said key tax cuts would be delayed while France cut spend­ing because it was danc­ing on a “debt vol­cano”.

    After an out­cry, Macron made a swift U‑turn and the cuts will now begin to come into force next year. But the saga was dam­ag­ing because it left the gov­ern­ment vul­ner­a­ble to crit­i­cisms that some elec­tion promis­es might not be kept.

    Before the row over hous­ing ben­e­fit, Macron – a cen­trist polit­i­cal new­com­er who beat the far-right Marine Le Pen to win the pres­i­den­cy in May – saw his pop­u­lar­i­ty drop 10 per­cent­age points to 54% in an Ifop poll pub­lished in the Jour­nal du Dimanche, echo­ing anoth­er recent poll by BVA.

    It is rare to see such a marked drop so soon after an elec­tion. The last pres­i­dent to drop so fast was Jacques Chirac in 1995. At this stage – less than 100 days after elec­tion – pre­vi­ous pres­i­dents, the Social­ist François Hol­lande and the right’s Nico­las Sarkozy, were polling high­er, before their own sat­is­fac­tion rat­ings lat­er plunged and they failed to get re-elect­ed.

    ...

    It was clear that it was Macron’s poli­cies and eco­nom­ic deci­sions since tak­ing office — rather than sim­ply his per­son­al­i­ty — that were caus­ing him the biggest chal­lenge among vot­ers. His prime min­is­ter, Edouard Philippe, tasked with putting Macron’s plans into place, also fell in pop­u­lar­i­ty.

    The res­ig­na­tion last week of France’s mil­i­tary chief after a bit­ter row over cuts to defence spend­ing led to Macron being accused by some gen­er­als of hav­ing an “author­i­tar­i­an” style.

    ———-

    “Hous­ing ben­e­fit cuts spark row as Emmanuel Macron’s poll rat­ings fall” by Angelique Chrisafis; The Guardian; 07/24/2017

    It was clear that it was Macron’s poli­cies and eco­nom­ic deci­sions since tak­ing office — rather than sim­ply his per­son­al­i­ty — that were caus­ing him the biggest chal­lenge among vot­ers. His prime min­is­ter, Edouard Philippe, tasked with putting Macron’s plans into place, also fell in pop­u­lar­i­ty.”

    Yep, the French pub­lic isn’t sour­ing on Macron’s per­son­al­i­ty. They’re sour­ing on his poli­cies. Poli­cies that appear to be clas­sic ‘sup­ply-side’ poli­cies where it’s assume that soci­ety’s woes are due to tax­es being too high rich peo­ple:

    ...
    Oppo­si­tion politi­cians accused Macron of tar­get­ing the poor and favour­ing the rich with mea­sures includ­ing the loos­en­ing France’s wealth tax so that it applies only to prop­er­ty, not invest­ments – which Macron has argued will boost the econ­o­my. A study last week found that over­all the rich­est 10% of France’s house­holds will like­ly ben­e­fit the most from Macron’s pro­posed tax cuts.
    ...

    And this Macron ‘rev­o­lu­tion’ is just get­ting start­ed.

    But if Macron’s sud­den poll drops seem like a bad sign how, just wait until after Ger­many’s elec­tions this fall. Because Macron has a vision for a much broad­er euro­zone ‘rev­o­lu­tion’ and, sur­prise, it’s the kind of vision Angela Merkel looks like­ly to get behind, with some com­pro­mis­es: First, Macron wants to see a sin­gle euro­zone finance min­is­ter along with a com­mon bud­get. And while this might sound like a plan for mak­ing the euro­zone more of a “trans­fer union” like the Unit­ed States, where rich states and poor states all pay into a com­mon pool that effec­tive­ly trans­fers wealth from the rich to the poor states, as for­mer Greek finance min­is­ter Yanis Varo­ufakis points out, Macron’s pro­posed shared euro­zone bud­get that’s he’s going to be spend­ing all sort of polit­i­cal cap­i­tal (and con­ces­sion to Berlin) cre­at­ing is only sup­posed to amount to measly 1 per­cent of GDP, mak­ing it basi­cal­ly use­less:

    Irish Exam­in­er

    Emmanuel Macron’s fed­er­a­tion-lite plans for euro­zone doomed to fail

    French president’s idea is to move beyond idle opti­mism by gain­ing Ger­man con­sent to turn the euro­zone into a state-like enti­ty — a fed­er­a­tion-lite, writes Yanis Varo­ufakis.

    Yanis Varo­ufakis
    Thurs­day, June 29, 2017

    Europe is at the mer­cy of a com­mon cur­ren­cy that not only was unnec­es­sary for Euro­pean inte­gra­tion, but that is actu­al­ly under­min­ing the EU itself.

    So what should be done about a cur­ren­cy with­out a state to back it — or about the 19 Euro­pean states with­out a cur­ren­cy that they con­trol?

    The log­i­cal answer is either to dis­man­tle the euro or to pro­vide it with the fed­er­al state it needs. The prob­lem is that the first solu­tion would be huge­ly cost­ly, while the sec­ond is not fea­si­ble in a polit­i­cal cli­mate favour­ing the rena­tion­al­i­sa­tion of sov­er­eign­ty.

    Those who agree the cost of dis­man­tling the euro is too high to con­tem­plate are being forced into a species of wish­ful think­ing now very much in vogue, espe­cial­ly after the elec­tion of Emmanuel Macron to the French pres­i­den­cy.

    Their idea is that, some­how, by some unspec­i­fied means, Europe will find a way to move towards fed­er­a­tion. “Just hang in there,” seems to be their mot­to.

    Macron’s idea is to move beyond idle opti­mism by gain­ing Ger­man con­sent to turn the euro­zone into a state-like enti­ty — a fed­er­a­tion-lite. In exchange for mak­ing French labour mar­kets more Ger­man­ic, as well as rein­ing in France’s bud­get deficit, Ger­many is being asked to agree in prin­ci­ple to a com­mon bud­get, a com­mon finance min­istry, and a euro­zone par­lia­ment to pro­vide demo­c­ra­t­ic legit­i­ma­cy.

    To make this pro­pos­al palat­able to Germany’s gov­ern­ment, the sug­gest­ed com­mon bud­get is tiny (around 1% of aggre­gate euro­zone income) and will fund only the basic struc­tures that a fed­er­a­tion-lite entails, such as com­mon deposit insur­ance to give sub­stance to Europe’s (so-called) bank­ing union and a por­tion of unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits.

    The plan also envis­ages com­mon bonds, or Eurobonds, which will cov­er but a frac­tion of new debt and explic­it­ly pro­hib­it mutu­al­i­sa­tion of mem­ber states’ moun­tain­ous lega­cy debt.

    Macron knows such a fed­er­a­tion would be macro­eco­nom­i­cal­ly insignif­i­cant, giv­en the depth of the debt, bank­ing, invest­ment, and pover­ty crises unfold­ing in the euro­zone. But, in the spir­it of the EU’s tra­di­tion­al grad­u­al­ism, he thinks such a move would be polit­i­cal­ly momen­tous and a deci­sive step towards a mean­ing­ful fed­er­a­tion.

    “Once the Ger­mans accept the prin­ci­ple, the eco­nom­ics will force them to accept the nec­es­sary mag­ni­tudes,” a French offi­cial told me.

    Such opti­mism may seem jus­ti­fied in light of pro­pos­als along those lines made in the past by none oth­er than Wolf­gang Schäu­ble, Germany’s finance min­is­ter. But there are two pow­er­ful rea­sons to be scep­ti­cal.

    First, Ger­man chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel and Schäu­ble were not born yes­ter­day. If Macron’s peo­ple imag­ine a fed­er­a­tion-lite as an enter­ing wedge for full-blown polit­i­cal inte­gra­tion, so will Merkel, Schäu­ble, and the rein­vig­o­rat­ed Free Democ­rats (who will most like­ly join a coali­tion gov­ern­ment with Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Democ­rats after the Sep­tem­ber fed­er­al elec­tion). They will polite­ly but firm­ly reject the French over­tures.

    Sec­ond, in the unlike­ly event that Ger­many gives fed­er­a­tion-lite the go-ahead, any change to the func­tion­ing of the euro­zone would, undoubt­ed­ly, devour large por­tions of the reform­ers’ polit­i­cal cap­i­tal.

    If it does not pro­duce eco­nom­ic and social results that improve, rather than annul, the chances of a prop­er fed­er­a­tion, as I sus­pect it will not, a polit­i­cal back­lash could ensue, end­ing any prospect of a more sub­stan­tial fed­er­a­tion in the future. In that case, the euro’s dis­man­tling will become inevitable, will cost more, and will leave Europe in even greater sham­bles.

    ...

    The euro cri­sis result­ed from a fal­la­cy that a mon­e­tary union would evolve into a polit­i­cal union. Today, a new fal­la­cy threat­ens Europe: The belief that a fed­er­a­tion-lite will evolve into a viable demo­c­ra­t­ic fed­er­a­tion.

    As para­dox­i­cal as it may sound, announc­ing a sim­u­lat­ed fed­er­a­tion today may be the last chance to res­cue the dream of a prop­er EU.

    ———-

    “Emmanuel Macron’s fed­er­a­tion-lite plans for euro­zone doomed to fail” by Yanis Varo­ufakis; Irish Exam­in­er; 07/29/2017

    “If it does not pro­duce eco­nom­ic and social results that improve, rather than annul, the chances of a prop­er fed­er­a­tion, as I sus­pect it will not, a polit­i­cal back­lash could ensue, end­ing any prospect of a more sub­stan­tial fed­er­a­tion in the future. In that case, the euro’s dis­man­tling will become inevitable, will cost more, and will leave Europe in even greater sham­bles.”

    If Macron spends all sorts of polit­i­cal cap­i­tal, and actu­al­ly suc­ceeds in cre­at­ing a ‘fed­er­a­tion-lite’, it’s going to lead to an even big­ger back­lash if all that gets accom­plished is the skele­ton of a fed­er­al euro­zone enti­ty that’s inca­pable of doing much of any­thing:

    ...
    Macron’s idea is to move beyond idle opti­mism by gain­ing Ger­man con­sent to turn the euro­zone into a state-like enti­ty — a fed­er­a­tion-lite. In exchange for mak­ing French labour mar­kets more Ger­man­ic, as well as rein­ing in France’s bud­get deficit, Ger­many is being asked to agree in prin­ci­ple to a com­mon bud­get, a com­mon finance min­istry, and a euro­zone par­lia­ment to pro­vide demo­c­ra­t­ic legit­i­ma­cy.

    To make this pro­pos­al palat­able to Germany’s gov­ern­ment, the sug­gest­ed com­mon bud­get is tiny (around 1% of aggre­gate euro­zone income) and will fund only the basic struc­tures that a fed­er­a­tion-lite entails, such as com­mon deposit insur­ance to give sub­stance to Europe’s (so-called) bank­ing union and a por­tion of unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits.
    ...

    And yet that’s the plan. A shared 1 per­cent of GDP fund. With min­i­mal debt-shar­ing. And that’s assum­ing the com­pro­mis­es Macron makes to get Berlin’s approval are com­plete­ly filled with poi­son pills. Which is a pret­ty big assump­tion. So, yeah, the French far-right must be ter­ri­fied of Macron’s ‘rev­o­lu­tion’.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 25, 2017, 2:04 pm
  3. While the Ger­man fed­er­al elec­tions and dis­turbing­ly strong AfD show­ing this past Sun­day got all the atten­tion in the realm of EU pol­i­tics, it’s worth not­ing that France had an elec­tion too. Sort of. It was the elec­tion for the Sen­ate, which isn’t elect­ed by the pop­u­lar vote but instead by ~75,000 elect­ed offi­cials.

    So how did Macron’s new La République En Marche par­ty do? Pre­dictably hor­ri­bly, in part because few vot­ers actu­al­ly sup­port his mas­sive pro-busi­ness/an­ti-labor eco­nom­ic ‘reform’ pack­age that’s sup­posed to mag­i­cal­ly trans­form France into a boom­ing econ­o­my. But also because many local elect­ed offi­cials don’t appre­ci­at­ed Macron’s plan to slash local bud­gets.

    And who ben­e­fit­ed from Macron’s defeat? The cen­ter-right Repub­li­can par­ty. Yep, that par­ty sup­ports most of Macron’s eco­nom­ic reforms is the main ben­e­fi­cia­ry of grow­ing vot­er antipa­thy to the Macron agen­da. This is one of the rea­sons the EU is so screwed for the fore­see­able future:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    Sen­ate blow for Macron as he push­es through unpop­u­lar reforms

    Par­tial results showed the cen­tre-right Repub­li­can par­ty on track to keep major­i­ty after vote for about half of the 348 seats

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press in Paris

    Sun­day 24 Sep­tem­ber 2017 15.28 EDT
    Last mod­i­fied on Sun­day 24 Sep­tem­ber 2017 16.35 EDT

    Emmanuel Macron’s cen­trist par­ty suf­fered its first elec­toral blow on Sun­day as rival con­ser­v­a­tives dom­i­nat­ed elec­tions to the French Sen­ate. The French pres­i­dent is embark­ing on unpop­u­lar changes to labour law and oth­er reforms he hopes will rein­vig­o­rate the econ­o­my.

    Par­tial results showed the cen­tre-right Repub­li­can par­ty on track to keep its major­i­ty after Sunday’s vote for about half of the Senate’s 348 seats. Sen­a­tors are not cho­sen by the pub­lic but by 75,000 elect­ed offi­cials – may­ors, leg­is­la­tors, region­al and local coun­cil­lors – across the coun­try.

    ...

    François Patri­at, of Macron’s La République En Marche, said the par­ty was expect­ed to win between 20 and 30 seats – far few­er than the 50 for which it was aim­ing. “I wouldn’t say it’s a suc­cess,” Patri­at said on BFM tele­vi­sion about Sunday’s result.

    Macron could still pass his reforms despite the elec­tion result, because the low­er house – where he holds a major­i­ty – has the final say in leg­is­la­tion and the Repub­li­cans in the Sen­ate sup­port many of his pro-busi­ness poli­cies.

    The Sen­ate vot­ing sys­tem tends to give an advan­tage to local politi­cians from tra­di­tion­al par­ties instead of can­di­dates of Macron’s par­ty, many of whom are polit­i­cal new­com­ers. Many local offi­cials are upset by Macron’s plan to slash the bud­gets of local author­i­ties.

    ———-

    “Sen­ate blow for Macron as he push­es through unpop­u­lar reforms” by Asso­ci­at­ed Press; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 09/24/2017

    “Macron could still pass his reforms despite the elec­tion result, because the low­er house – where he holds a major­i­ty – has the final say in leg­is­la­tion and the Repub­li­cans in the Sen­ate sup­port many of his pro-busi­ness poli­cies.”

    The Repub­li­cans, who sup­port most of Macron’s pro-busi­ness/pro-aus­ter­i­ty agen­da, are the main ben­e­fi­cia­ries a grow­ing antipa­thy towards Macron and his pro-busi­ness/pro-aus­ter­i­ty agen­da. It’s just sad. Although per­haps not as sad as it was to see France’s Social­ists push that same pro-busi­ness agen­da when Hol­lande was in pow­er, only to swept out of pow­er and replaced with Macron.

    But let’s not for­get per­haps the sad­dest part of this all: thanks to the way the EU and euro­zone are set up France does­n’t real­ly have a choice. Some­one is going to have to impose the aus­ter­i­ty and pro-busi­ness poli­cies because that’s what the EU rules demand. And yet this real­i­ty, and the need to change those rules, does­n’t appear to real­ly be a part of the intra-EU debate, prob­a­bly in part because it’s rec­og­nized that Ger­many would nev­er allow them to be changed. But as long as those rules are in place and France is part of a union with a strong neolib­er­al struc­tur­al bias it does­n’t real­ly mat­ter who gets elect­ed unless it’s one of the par­ty that wants to take from out of the EU entire­ly.

    So while we don’t know what exact­ly the future holds for Macron’s gov­ern­ment, it’s a pret­ty safe bet he’s going to be anoth­er failed Franch Pres­i­dent because failed neolib­er­al poli­cies are the only poli­cies the EU allows:

    The New York Times
    Opin­ion

    Emmanuel Macron Will Be Yet Anoth­er Failed French Pres­i­dent

    By CHRIS BICKERTON
    SEPT. 7, 2017

    Pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron of France is liberalism’s new poster boy. Hailed as the answer to Europe’s pop­ulist tide, he has brought a buzz back into French diplo­ma­cy by fac­ing down Pres­i­dent Trump and Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin of Rus­sia. “The Macron method,” a lead­ing Euro­pean think tank gushed recent­ly, is the new Third Way, thread­ing the nee­dle between tech­noc­ra­cy and pop­ulism.

    At home in France, it’s a very dif­fer­ent sto­ry. A recent poll found that Mr. Macron’s pop­u­lar­i­ty fell by 14 points in August, after a fall of 10 points in July. Only 40 per­cent of respon­dents said they were sat­is­fied with the president’s per­for­mance.

    To be fair, Mr. Macron nev­er had much pop­u­lar sup­port to begin with. In the first round of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in April, when the vote was split among four main con­tenders, he won just under 24 per­cent. (By com­par­i­son, François Hol­lande received 28 per­cent of the vote in the first round in 2012. Nico­las Sarkozy won 31 per­cent in 2007.) Mr. Macron won the sec­ond round hand­i­ly, but only because he was the less­er-evil can­di­date in the runoff — his com­peti­tor was Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right pop­ulist Nation­al Front par­ty..

    Elec­toral arith­metic explains only so much. Mr. Macron’s pop­u­lar­i­ty suf­fers from some­thing more fun­da­men­tal: Macro­nism. His entire polit­i­cal project has been far too focused on his per­son­al­i­ty. Much of his appeal has come from his youth, his dynamism, his good looks and his ora­tor­i­cal skills. This hyper-per­son­al­ized approach always car­ried the risk that once his charm wore off, there would be noth­ing left for his sup­port­ers to like, which is exact­ly what is hap­pen­ing.

    ...

    Mr. Macron’s two big pol­i­cy goals are fix­ing the econ­o­my and fix­ing Europe. He has gone so far as to describe his eco­nom­ic poli­cies as a “Coper­ni­can rev­o­lu­tion,” but he is mere­ly push­ing France a lit­tle far­ther down the road of labor mar­ket dereg­u­la­tion and fis­cal aus­ter­i­ty, a path well trod­den by oth­er coun­tries.

    The new pres­i­dent says he is deter­mined to make France a “start-up nation,” bor­row­ing the vapid par­lance of Sil­i­con Val­ley. This has won him the sup­port of ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists and tech bil­lion­aires but has yet to con­vince the wider French pub­lic. Sil­i­con Valley’s lib­er­tar­i­an social con­tract, with its cav­a­lier atti­tude toward inequal­i­ty, sits uneasi­ly with a pop­u­la­tion raised on France’s post­war social-demo­c­ra­t­ic tra­di­tions.

    His main goal is to reduce France’s unem­ploy­ment rate, which at around 10 per­cent remains stub­born­ly high. He hopes to do this by reform­ing the labor code. One of the new mea­sures is a cap on the dam­ages that courts can award work­ers claim­ing wrong­ful dis­missal, a move intend­ed to give employ­ers more con­fi­dence in hir­ing. Anoth­er would allow com­pa­nies with few­er than 50 employ­ees to nego­ti­ate con­tracts with­out hav­ing to go through trade unions. The French far left has called this a “social coup d’état,” but the pres­i­dent has been care­ful not to give in entire­ly to the busi­ness lob­by.

    What real­ly mat­ters is the end­point. Any sus­tained fall in unem­ploy­ment in France would be wel­come, but the expe­ri­ences of oth­er coun­tries sug­gest it comes at the cost of new kinds of inequal­i­ty. In Ger­many, labor mar­ket reforms have led to a pro­lif­er­a­tion of “mini-jobs,” part-time work that is light­ly reg­u­lat­ed and has tak­en the place of full-time jobs in some sec­tors. In Britain’s high­ly dereg­u­lat­ed labor mar­ket, record employ­ment lev­els exist along­side low pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, stag­nat­ing wages and a pro­lif­er­a­tion of short-term con­tracts. Is this the future France wants?

    Not since the eco­nom­ic boom of the 1950s and ’60s has cap­i­tal­ism in Europe been dynam­ic enough to com­bine high lev­els of employ­ment with long-term mate­r­i­al gains for the mass­es. Today, choic­es involve painful trade-offs. Mr. Macron’s eco­nom­ic poli­cies favor employ­ers over work­ers and chip away at what remains of the French wel­fare state.

    But fear­ful of giv­ing his pro­gram any actu­al polit­i­cal con­tent, the pres­i­dent wraps up his reforms in the Euro­pean flag. He tells French vot­ers that only if they make these sac­ri­fices at home, the rest of the Euro­pean Union — espe­cial­ly Ger­many — will take them seri­ous­ly and give France a bet­ter deal.

    Mr. Macron’s Euro­pean plans include a com­mon bud­get and finance min­is­ter for the euro­zone. His ideas have received warm words from Berlin, and there are signs that such a deal could be pos­si­ble after Ger­many has its fed­er­al elec­tions on Sept. 24. But if Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel wins, her man­date will not be for a Euro­pean fis­cal union where Ger­man tax rev­enues are placed in a com­mon Euro­pean pot. She has giv­en her sup­port to only a very mod­est ver­sion of what Mr. Macron is propos­ing. The pay­off for all of France’s sac­ri­fice at home will be small — and the pres­i­dent will sure­ly be no more pop­u­lar than he is now.

    Mr. Macron’s suc­cess in June’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion has shak­en up the mori­bund polit­i­cal land­scape in a deep and last­ing way. For that, he deserves thanks. But as a polit­i­cal project, Macro­nism is lit­tle more than rhetoric and hubris, backed up with con­ven­tion­al neolib­er­al poli­cies. For now, Mr. Macron is still the dar­ling of the glob­al lib­er­al elite, but his grow­ing unpop­u­lar­i­ty gives us a bet­ter pic­ture of what he has to offer.

    ———-

    “Emmanuel Macron Will Be Yet Anoth­er Failed French Pres­i­dent” by CHRIS BICKERTON; The New York Times; 09/07/2017

    “Mr. Macron’s two big pol­i­cy goals are fix­ing the econ­o­my and fix­ing Europe. He has gone so far as to describe his eco­nom­ic poli­cies as a “Coper­ni­can rev­o­lu­tion,” but he is mere­ly push­ing France a lit­tle far­ther down the road of labor mar­ket dereg­u­la­tion and fis­cal aus­ter­i­ty, a path well trod­den by oth­er coun­tries.”

    Yep, the big ‘Macron rev­o­lu­tion’ is just the same stale, failed neolib­er­al­ism and aus­ter­i­ty that’s been fail­ing Europe in recent years and the world over­all for decades. And if the Social­ist can­di­date had won in the last elec­tion it would still be the same sad sit­u­a­tion. Except sad­der because it would be a Social­ist push­ing these kinds of poli­cies like Hol­lande was effec­tive­ly forced to do, lead­ing to the Social­ists’ present-day peri­od in the polit­i­cal wilder­ness.

    And Macron’s big sales pitch to the French pub­lic with his neolib­er­al rev­o­lu­tion is that if France does this the rest of Europe will agree to inte­grate more and share more of the wealth/burden with insti­tu­tions like a com­mon euro­zone bud­get and be more like a real union. That’s the promise Macron is mak­ing despite being a promise he can’t actu­al­ly keep because it will large­ly be up to Berlin. And the sup­port Angela Merkel was giv­ing to Macron’s plans before the Ger­man elec­tion was only luke­warm at best. What’s the sup­port in Berlin going to look like after the sur­prise AfD surge in the Ger­man vote?

    ...
    But fear­ful of giv­ing his pro­gram any actu­al polit­i­cal con­tent, the pres­i­dent wraps up his reforms in the Euro­pean flag. He tells French vot­ers that only if they make these sac­ri­fices at home, the rest of the Euro­pean Union — espe­cial­ly Ger­many — will take them seri­ous­ly and give France a bet­ter deal.

    Mr. Macron’s Euro­pean plans include a com­mon bud­get and finance min­is­ter for the euro­zone. His ideas have received warm words from Berlin, and there are signs that such a deal could be pos­si­ble after Ger­many has its fed­er­al elec­tions on Sept. 24. But if Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel wins, her man­date will not be for a Euro­pean fis­cal union where Ger­man tax rev­enues are placed in a com­mon Euro­pean pot. She has giv­en her sup­port to only a very mod­est ver­sion of what Mr. Macron is propos­ing. The pay­off for all of France’s sac­ri­fice at home will be small — and the pres­i­dent will sure­ly be no more pop­u­lar than he is now.
    ...

    As we can see, it’s a sad sit­u­a­tion in France and Europe in gen­er­al polit­i­cal­ly-speak­ing. If there’s any sil­ver-lin­ing it’s that the far-left Jean-Luc Melen­chon is now con­sid­ered Macron’s strongest polit­i­cal oppo­nent. And one of the key demands of Melen­chon’s plat­form dur­ing this year’s pres­i­den­tial race was his demand that the EU as a whole, and not just France, move strong­ly away from neolib­er­al­ism and back towards the Social­ist poli­cies of the past when stan­dards of liv­ing were actu­al­ly ris­ing. And again, Melan­chon isn’t just demand­ing this for France. He’s demand­ing this for Europe. In oth­er words, revers­ing the default neolib­er­al­ism that is basi­cal­ly con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly enshrined in the EU at this point and replac­ing it with a new set of default poli­cies that actu­al­ly make sense.

    So as Macron’s Pres­i­den­cy con­tin­ues its pre­dictable implo­sion in pop­u­lar­i­ty by push­ing pre­dictably failed poli­cies, let’s hope the emerg­ing con­trast between Melan­chon and Macron reminds Euro­peans of a rather crit­i­cal les­son: there’s no law of the uni­verse that’s pre­vent­ing the EU from replac­ing its con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly enshrined default neolib­er­al­ism and default aus­ter­i­ty respons­es with con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly enshrined pro­tec­tions for use­ful gov­ern­ment pro­grams and invest­ments in the pop­u­lace (which is what ‘wel­fare’ is...investments and main­te­nance of the peo­ple).

    Not only would this be bet­ter pol­i­cy but doing it at the EU lev­el simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, as opposed to the nation lev­el, is prob­a­bly one of the safest and fairest ways to see the EU reverse its long slide towards neolib­er­al­ism. Don’t for­get, one of the most valu­able aspects of hav­ing some­thing like a Euro­pean Union is that pol­i­cy changes that that ben­e­fit every­one when every­one does them, but poten­tial­ly cause con­flicts when only a few do them, are a lot eas­i­er to do with a union. If France alone raised tax­es on the wealthy that’s inevitably going to lead fears of tax flight. It’s going to be a lot eas­i­er for the EU to engage in some­thing like ‘tax har­mo­niza­tion’ that includes much high­er tax­es on the super-wealthy if this is all done simul­ta­ne­ous­ly.

    On the flip side, if there’s one thing you real­ly don’t want to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly imple­ment via your union it’s aus­ter­i­ty and neolib­er­al­ism. It’s a recipe for dis­as­ter. And that asym­me­try (the EU is greater for coop­er­a­tion, no so much for cut-throat com­pe­ti­tion) is some­thing France can poten­tial­ly teach the rest of Europe in com­ing years of a Melenchon/Macron rival­ry emerges: the Euro­pean Union is a fab­u­lous tool for enabling col­lec­tive in economies that trade ruth­less eco­nom­ic com­pet­i­tive for a health­i­er, more bal­anced social con­tract. If a coun­try wants to raise tax­es on the wealthy, it’s a lot eas­i­er to do that if its pri­ma­ry trad­ing part­ners are also rais­ing tax­es on the wealthy. Or increase reg­u­la­tions on pol­lu­tion and trans­formed the ener­gy sec­tor into a clean, green plan­et-sav­ing machine. It’s so much eas­i­er to do togeth­er. And if, say, the EU want to ensure that every mem­ber had France’s reduced work weeks so peo­ple could spend more time main­tain­ing their democ­ra­cy (read­ing the news, going to polit­i­cal events and lob­by­ing their elect­ed offi­cials), that would be A LOT eas­i­er to do if you’re neigh­bors decid­ed to do it too. The EU real­ly is a won­der­ful tool if used wise­ly.

    But the EU is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly a hor­ri­ble tool for imple­ment­ing a social con­tract of ruth­less com­pe­ti­tion which is the con­tract get­ting enforced today. Hav­ing the whole union sud­den­ly engage in neolib­er­al aus­ter­i­ty all all at once is just a depres­sion wait­ing to hap­pen. Hap­pen over and over. Mas­sive simul­ta­ne­ous aus­ter­i­ty isn’t just a fea­ture of the last few years. It’s a guar­an­teed repeat­ed fea­ture of future EU crises, along with steadi­ly erode stan­dards of liv­ing and a steadi­ly grow­ing wealth gap. Those are the pre­dictable con­se­quences of the neolib­er­al (tech­ni­cal­ly Ordolib­er­al, but effec­tive­ly neolib­er­al) poli­cies that are cur­rent­ly con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly enshrined in the EU which means the destruc­tive force of syn­chro­nized simul­ta­ne­ous aus­ter­i­ty is con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly enshrined too. And default neolib­er­al­ism is even worse in the euro­zone, where a shared cur­ren­cy, but no real shar­ing of bur­den or con­cern, has been a key fac­tor dri­ving the eco­nom­ic crises of recent years.

    There real­ly is an asym­me­try here. Unions make pos­i­tive coop­er­a­tion eas­i­er and and ruth­less com­pe­ti­tion more painful. That’s one of the rea­sons peo­ple gen­er­al­ly real­ly like them or real­ly hate them. And right now it’s very unclear to a lot of Euro­pean cit­i­zens that the EU isn’t mak­ing it eas­i­er to make life hard­er for almost every­one as part of the pro-super-rich ide­ol­o­gy that dom­i­nates the world. The EU and euro­zone were sup­posed to make life eas­i­er. That’s, like, sup­posed to be whole the point of them. And they real­ly could makes it eas­i­er to make life eas­i­er. That should be the whole point of them. And it could be the whole point if the Euro­pean pub­lic got behind the polit­i­cal move­ments that could make this hap­pen. For now, though, it appears that there’s large­ly an absence of a com­pre­hen­sive vision for a pro­gres­sive EU struc­ture and euro­zone and the pub­lic (in France and else­where) are gen­er­al­ly squab­bling over whether to imple­ment the default neolib­er­al agen­da with or with­out Mus­lim refugees. That’s the sad, trag­ic state of ‘pop­ulism’ in much of Europe today.

    But with Macron mak­ing a greater inte­gra­tion of Europe one of his sig­na­ture ini­tia­tives, hope­ful­ly we’ll see a sub­stan­tive pro­gres­sive push for an inte­grat­ed EU and euro­zone too. Unions where the fun­da­men­tal rules and pri­or­i­ties are focused on those areas that such a union is par­tic­u­lar­ly adept at facil­i­tat­ing: high­er wages, more pro­gres­sive tax­es on the rich, bet­ter reg­u­la­tions, clean­er economies, estate tax­es on the super-wealthy, etc. In oth­er words, pri­or­i­tiz­ing lives over bal­ance sheets.

    The EU and euro­zone could be two of the most impor­tant insti­tu­tions in his­to­ry for fos­ter­ing the kinds of pro­gres­sive poli­cies human­i­ty needs. That’s not the cur­rent tra­jec­to­ry for the two unions but there’s no rea­son this can’t be reversed. Europe, in union, real­ly can become that pinko com­mie bas­tion Amer­i­can con­ser­v­a­tives like to believe it is and that would be one of the best pos­si­ble out­comes for almost every­one because lib­er­al pinko bas­tions are the kinds of places that try to look out for every­one. And this is still an option for Europe. A real­ly awe­some option. One of the con­stant hur­dles to imple­ment­ing left-wing poli­cies for a nation in today’s glob­al­ized world is the com­pli­ca­tions that arise when neigh­bor­ing nations don’t do the same. It’s a lot hard­er to raise income tax­es if your neigh­bors just cut them and the rules are set up that allow for easy cross-bor­der cap­i­tal flows. But That’s the kind of thing the EU is ide­ol for. Mak­ing it eas­i­er for each mem­ber nation to make life eas­i­er and bet­ter for every­one. That could be the whole point of these unions. Mak­ing it eas­i­er to imple­ment pro-lit­tle-guy poli­cies by doing that in coor­di­na­tion togeth­er. For­ev­er. A union of nations ded­i­cat­ed to coor­di­nat­ing pro-lit­tle-guy poli­cies that make life eas­i­er in a com­pli­cat­ed glob­al­ized world econ­o­my where anti-lit­tle-guy rules have long reigned supreme. Hope­ful­ly some­thing like that is sug­gest­ed dur­ing Macron’s upcom­ing inte­gra­tion push.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 26, 2017, 9:13 pm
  4. NB: This con­tri­bu­tion comes from “Par­ticipo,” how­ev­er I am enter­ing this as a com­ment to FTR #957, one of a num­ber of pro­grams deal­ing with Karl Flick, rather than AFA #39.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018–05-03/world-s-youngest-billionaires-are-shadowed-by-ghosts-of-german-past

    The World’s Youngest Bil­lion­aires Are Shad­owed by a WWII Weapons For­tune

    The Flicks are worth $1.8 bil­lion each. Their indus­tri­al­ist grand­fa­ther was post­war Germany’s rich­est man.

    By David de Jong
    May 2, 2018, 10:00 PM PDT

    Friedrich Flick, flanked by U.S. Army guards in a court­room at the Palace of Jus­tice in Nurem­berg, Ger­many, on Jan. 15, 1947. Pho­tog­ra­ph­er: Keystone/Getty Images

    Their grand­fa­ther was said to be Nazi Germany’s rich­est man after build­ing a weapons empire on the backs of slave labor.

    Their father was involved in one of post­war Germany’s biggest polit­i­cal scan­dals. He almost frit­tered away the fam­i­ly for­tune.

    Enough remained for Vik­to­ria-Katha­ri­na Flick and twin broth­er Karl-Friedrich Flick to lay claim, at 19, to being the world’s youngest bil­lion­aires. Each has $1.8 bil­lion, accord­ing to the Bloomberg Bil­lion­aires Index.

    Behind the rich­es, dis­creet­ly man­aged by their fam­i­ly office in Aus­tria, lies a dark his­to­ry of one of Germany’s wealth­i­est indus­tri­al dynas­ties.

    The Flicks’ wealth traces its roots to Friedrich Flick, who spent three years in prison after he was con­vict­ed by the Nurem­berg war crimes tri­bunal of using slave labor to pro­duce arma­ments for the Nazis, among oth­er crimes. He cre­at­ed a steel empire, which expand­ed by seiz­ing com­pa­nies in Nazi-occu­pied ter­ri­to­ries and in Ger­many through Aryanizations—the expro­pri­a­tion and forced sale of Jew­ish-owned busi­ness­es. As many as 40,000 labor­ers may have died work­ing for Flick com­pa­nies, accord­ing to a study of his Nazi-era busi­ness­es pub­lished in 2008.

    Flick was released from prison in 1950, after the U.S. high com­mis­sion­er for Ger­many grant­ed con­tro­ver­sial par­dons to Ger­man indus­tri­al­ists. The U.S. and U.K. returned his mon­ey and busi­ness prop­er­ties, includ­ing one Aryanized asset. He sold his coal busi­ness­es and invest­ed the pro­ceeds in numer­ous com­pa­nies, includ­ing Daim­ler-Benz AG, even­tu­al­ly becom­ing the carmaker’s biggest share­hold­er.

    “Leav­ing aside all moral stan­dards, Friedrich Flick had the genius abil­i­ty to become the rich­est per­son in Germany—twice,” said Thomas Ramge, author of “The Flicks,” a fam­i­ly his­to­ry.

    Oth­er Ger­man busi­ness dynas­ties whose for­tunes part­ly stem from the Nazi era, such as the Quandts and the Oetkers—and even some Flick fam­i­ly members—have made some form of resti­tu­tion for using slave labor. Friedrich Flick and his youngest son, who became sole own­er of the con­glom­er­ate, nev­er did.

    Friedrich Flick main­tained his inno­cence and said that he had nei­ther a legal nor a moral oblig­a­tion to pay resti­tu­tion. The son “just didn’t have the intel­lec­tu­al ambi­tion to deal with the com­plex­i­ty of Ger­man his­to­ry and how his fam­i­ly was involved,” Ramge said.

    That son, Friedrich Karl Flick, took the reins of the fam­i­ly busi­ness upon his father’s death in 1972. He became sole own­er of what was then Germany’s largest close­ly held con­glom­er­ate after buy­ing out three fam­i­ly mem­bers in 1975. He also sold the remain­ing Aryanized asset, the Lue­beck blast fur­naces in north­ern Ger­many, to U.S. Steel Corp. that year.

    In the 1980s, he was mired in a scan­dal involv­ing ille­gal polit­i­cal dona­tions that led to the res­ig­na­tions of Germany’s min­is­ter of eco­nom­ics and the par­lia­men­tary pres­i­dent. Friedrich Karl Flick denied knowl­edge of the pay­ments and was not indict­ed. In 1987, his clos­est asso­ciate was fined for tax eva­sion and giv­en a sus­pend­ed jail sen­tence.

    Friedrich Karl Flick sold the busi­ness­es to Deutsche Bank AG for 5.36 bil­lion deutsche marks ($2.17 bil­lion) in 1985, at the height of the scan­dal. After that, he with­drew from pub­lic life.

    Almost a decade lat­er, Flick moved to Aus­tria, home of his third wife, Ingrid Rag­ger, 32 years his junior. They met while she was work­ing as a hotel recep­tion­ist in a ski resort. He died in 2006, when Vik­to­ria-Katha­ri­na and Karl-Friedrich, her younger broth­er by a minute, were 7 years old.

    Friedrich Karl Flick at the West Ger­man Bun­destag in Bonn, March 1984.Photographer: Ulrich Baumgarten/Getty Images

    He “retreat­ed to a safe mix of stocks, bonds, real estate and what­not,” Ramge said in an inter­view. “Although there was still plen­ty to leave to the twins and his two oth­er daugh­ters.” When Flick died, he left behind $1 bil­lion for each child, accord­ing to the Bloomberg Bil­lion­aires Index.

    Today the twins’ for­tune is over­seen by the Flick Pri­vat­s­tiftung, a Vien­na- and Velden am Woerthersee, Aus­tria-based fam­i­ly office. Ste­fan Weis­er, a board mem­ber, declined to com­ment on Bloomberg’s tal­ly of the fam­i­ly wealth.

    “As we are a sin­gle-fam­i­ly office we do not divulge any details to out­siders,” Weis­er said in an email. The twins were not made avail­able for inter­views. Their two half-sis­ters, Alexan­dra Butz, 50, and Elis­a­beth von Auersperg-Bre­un­ner, 44, from Friedrich Karl Flick’s sec­ond mar­riage, are based in Munich and Aus­tria. The sis­ters’ net worth is also $1.8 bil­lion each. They declined to com­ment.

    The twins’ lives have remained intense­ly pri­vate; no pho­tographs of them have gone pub­lic. Karl-Friedrich won a region­al junior sabre-fenc­ing title in 2017. Lit­tle is known about his sis­ter.

    Their moth­er has said she tried to make their child­hoods as nor­mal as pos­si­ble.

    Friedrich Karl Flick, with his wife Ingrid, in 1998.Photographer: Peter Bischoff/Getty Images

    “They’ve been get­ting pock­et mon­ey since sec­ond grade, age-appro­pri­ate, not more than their friends,’’ Ingrid Flick told Aus­tri­an news­pa­per Kro­nen Zeitung in 2009. “This is how they’ll learn how to deal with mon­ey and its sig­nif­i­cance. I want them to be no dif­fer­ent from their friends.”

    Ingrid Flick once said she with­held a cred­it card from her teenage daugh­ter, telling Germany’s Bunte mag­a­zine: “The kids have to learn that they’re noth­ing spe­cial, but that the name Flick oblig­es.”

    The twins attend­ed pub­lic high school in south­ern Aus­tria, yet they’ve grown up with the trap­pings of wealth. When they were 13, they moved into their own vil­la on the grounds of Ingrid Flick’s Aus­tri­an estate. The res­i­dence had a dis­co, a play­ground and a ten­nis court, accord­ing to the Aus­tri­an news­pa­per Kleine Zeitung. The court was inau­gu­rat­ed by Ilie Nas­tase, a for­mer world No. 1‑ranked play­er.

    They leave the man­age­ment of their mon­ey to three exec­u­tives with decades of expe­ri­ence in wealth man­age­ment, invest­ment bank­ing and legal affairs. The invest­ment goals of the fam­i­ly office seem mod­est. Friedrich Karl Flick’s goal was a 4 per­cent annu­al return after tax­es, infla­tion and expens­es. “Sounds lit­tle, doesn’t it?” he told Austria’s Trend mag­a­zine in 1998.

    Yet even in death, Friedrich Karl Flick couldn’t escape the family’s noto­ri­ety. In 2008, grave rob­bers removed a cof­fin con­tain­ing his body from a mau­soleum in the lake­side town of Velden. They demand­ed a 6 mil­lion euro ($7.5 mil­lion at the time) ran­som. Three men were con­vict­ed in the case. Flick’s remains were lat­er recov­ered in Hun­gary and reburied in Aus­tria.

    “Final­ly, my hus­band is back home,” Ingrid Flick told Bunte mag­a­zine. “The hope and fear is over. The prayers were answered.”

    — With assis­tance by Boris Groen­dahl, and Samuel Dodge

    Posted by Dave Emory | May 3, 2018, 2:46 pm
  5. This Dai­ly Mail arti­cle shows the con­tro­ver­sy raised by Emmanuel Macron when he referred to Mar­shal Philippe Petain as “a great sol­dier” dur­ing WWI who made bad choic­es dur­ing WWII. Those bad choic­es were not only assist­ing in the Holo­caust by allow­ing their depor­ta­tion to con­cen­tra­tion camps, but also sup­port­ing the Nazi war efforts against the Allies.

    Macron’s ref­er­ences gloss­es over the sin­is­ter nature of Petain’s activ­i­ties. Petain was con­vict­ed of high trea­son in 1951.

    Mem­bers of French Fas­cist Par­ties also like the Nation­al Front revere Petain call­ing him ‘Son of the Nation.’.

    How­ev­er Macron made a very inter­est­ing quote after stand­ing by his trib­ute to Petain. He stat­ed ‘There, that’s a real­i­ty of our coun­try. It’s also the case that polit­i­cal life is, like human nature, some­times more com­plex than we would like to believe.’ This is most inter­est­ing and I won­der if it may secret­ly be ref­er­enc­ing a clan­des­tine sup­port of Nazism.

    The next day, in sub­se­quent arti­cles Macron’s staff tried to revise Macron’s state­ments and claimed the trib­utes did not include Petain, so it is impor­tant to ref­er­ence the quotes from this arti­cle.

    https://dailym.ai/2DbwvGz

    Pres­i­dent Macron sparks out­rage by call­ing infa­mous French Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Philippe Petain a ‘great sol­dier’ dur­ing WWI

    ¥ Philippe Petain assist­ed in the Holo­caust and deport­ed thou­sands of Jews 
    ¥ Macron said that Mar­shal Petain made some bad choice in the Sec­ond World War
    ¥ He said ‘I don’t hide any page of his­to­ry’ as he praised Petain’s great­ness in WWI
    ¥ The Lion of Ver­dun began work­ing with Nazis against Brit­ian dur­ing WWII 

    By PETER ALLEN FOR MAIL ONLINE
    PUBLISHED: 10:03 EST, 8 Novem­ber 2018 | UPDATED: 13:21 EST, 8 Novem­ber 2018

    French pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron sparked out­rage yes­ter­day by pay­ing trib­ute to his coun­try’s most infa­mous Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor.
    The head of state said Philippe Petain was ‘a great sol­dier’ dur­ing the First World War, and sim­ply made some bad choic­es dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

    These includ­ed sup­port­ing the Ger­man war effort, and assist­ing in the Holo­caust by allow­ing thou­sands of French Jews to be deport­ed to their deaths in con­cen­tra­tion camps.

    Pho­to: Mar­shal Philippe Petain (left) shakes hands with Adolf Hitler (right) dur­ing his vis­it to Vichy France in Octo­ber 1940

    Speak­ing dur­ing a walk­a­bout in Charleville-Mezieres, in the east­ern Ardennes depart­ment, Mr Macron said: ‘I don’t take short­cuts, and I don’t hide any page in his­to­ry.

    ‘Mar­shal Petain was, dur­ing the First World War, also a great sol­dier.

    ‘There, that’s a real­i­ty of our coun­try. It’s also the case that polit­i­cal life is, like human nature, some­times more com­plex than we would like to believe.’

    ‘You can be a great sol­dier in the First World War, and have tak­en cat­a­stroph­ic choic­es in the Sec­ond.’

    Paris writer Maxime Cochard led a cho­rus of out­rage on Twit­ter, writ­ing: ‘Macron dares to affirm that Mar­shal Petain was, dur­ing the First World War, also a great sol­dier.’

    Refer­ring to those who died under Petain’s com­mand, Mr Cochard said: ‘1.4 mil­lion French sol­diers sent to the butcher’s shop, 300,000 muti­lat­ed, 1 mil­lion invalids, 600,000 wid­ows, 700,000 orphans... What a beau­ti­ful bal­ance sheet indeed!’

    Ian Brossat, a deputy may­or of Paris deal­ing with hous­ing, in turn wrote: ‘In 1945 the Repub­lic brand­ed Petain as a nation­al shame. It is unthink­able that [Pres­i­dent Macron] under­takes to reha­bil­i­tate him’.

    An account named ‘Adren­a­line’, mean­while wrote: ‘Macron will also tell us that Ger­many between 1939 and 1945 was a very good coun­try’.

    Mar­shal Petain was ini­tial­ly a hero of the 1914–18 con­flict, becom­ing known as the ‘Lion of Ver­dun’ because of his lead­er­ship dur­ing the bloody bat­tle in east­ern France against Impe­r­i­al Ger­many.

    But at the age of 84, he start­ed to work with the Nazis, sup­port­ing their war effort against Allied pow­ers includ­ing Britain.

    He was con­vict­ed of high trea­son and sen­tenced to death after the war, but this was com­mut­ed to life in prison before his death in 1951.

    French nation­al­ist par­ties, includ­ing the far-Right Nation­al Ral­ly, for­mer­ly Nation­al Front, still revere Petain, with founder Jean-Marie Le Pen call­ing him the ‘Son of the Nation.”

    Some 126 world lead­ers will be in Paris for the Armistice cen­te­nary com­mem­o­ra­tions at the week­end, with US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his Russ­ian coun­ter­part Vladimir Putin both con­firmed.

    Prime Min­is­ter There­sa May will meet Mr Macron on the Somme bat­tle­fields tomor­row.

    Posted by Mary Benton | November 8, 2018, 8:01 pm

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