#AceNewsReport – July.30: On 19 December, Hart had travelled to Eersel in the Netherlands, later telling officers the trip had been to buy Christmas presents, as well as to collect a motorcycle and parts for his family’s hobby of international motocross racing……..
#AceDailyNews reports that a man tried to smuggle drugs into the U.K. after Netherlands Christmas shopping trip with his wife and ‘The National Crime Agency’ investigated after a van hired by Sean Hart, 40, from Newcastle, was stopped at the Eurotunnel controls in Coquelles, France in December 2016 he was arrested and later charged.
After stopping the van on its return journey to the UK, Border Force officers discovered two packages of cocaine weighing a total of 2kg concealed in the dashboard. The cocaine would be worth an estimated £60k at wholesale and £160k at street level.
Today [27 July], Sean Hart was convicted of importing a class A drug after a seven day trial at Newcastle Crown Court: He is due to be sentenced on 15 September at the same location.
NCA Operations Manager Julie Booker said: “This was a blatant attempt to smuggle illegal drugs into the UK under the guise of travelling to do his Christmas shopping. Not only was Sean Hart prevented from making money from importing class A drugs, he now faces the prospect of prison time: “Illegal drugs are at the root of considerable violence and exploitation. We will continue to work with partners like Border Force to keep our communities safe by preventing class A drugs from entering the country.”
A second defendant was found not guilty after the same trial.
#AceNewsReport – July.30: Lakatos was part of international organised gang who targeted the Boodles store in New Bond Street, central London, and stole seven gems, replacing them with pebbles, during the theft on 10 March 2016…….
#AceDailyNews reports that a woman has been found guilty of role in £4.2million diamond heist Lulu Lakatos – 60 (26.06.61) from the Saint Brieuc region of France, was found guilty of conspiracy to steal on Wednesday, 28 July following the conclusion of her trial: She was sentenced on the same day to five years and six months’ imprisonment.
Lakatos was part of a gang who had been intrinsically planning the raid for some time, engaging with Boodles and posing as a wealthy Russian investor who was looking to purchase gems. In the weeks leading up to the raid, meetings had been held with Boodles and people purporting to work for the ‘investor’, culminating in an arrangement where a gemmologist named ‘Anna’ working on behalf of the investor would travel to London to inspect the gems – this role was to be played by Lakatos:
The court were told how Lakatos entered the country on the day before the raid and checked into a hotel in Cricklewood in the company of another woman: At around 20:15hrs on 9 March 2016, Lakatos met with two men at a café near to her hotel. All three drove into central London where they scoped out the Boodles store from the street, before Lakatos was dropped back in Cricklewood: The following day Lakatos, now dressed to impersonate the gemmologist ‘Anna’, arrived for the pre-arranged meeting at Boodles. Outside the Boodles store, four other members of the gang were present, observing events. These were the two men Lakatos had met the previous evening, and two women who have yet to be identified: Using the guise that she did not speak English very well, Lakatos and staff at Boodles communicated in French – Lakatos would subsequently use this language barrier as part of the execution of the theft: After being shown into a secure area in the presence of Boodles own gemmologist, the seven diamonds were produced for Lakatos to examine; each were then individually placed in a locked bag and were to be stored with Boodles until confirmation of the payment had been received: Following Lakatos’s inspection, she placed the bag containing the diamonds in her own handbag. The Boodle’s gemmologist immediately challenged her, but Lakatos used the apparent language barrier to cause a delay, before appearing to produce the same locked bag containing the diamonds from her handbag: However, in the seconds that Lakatos had engineered, she had switched the padlocked bag with a duplicate one already stored within her handbag containing seven pebbles of the same weight: The gemmologist raised concerns, and a visual check of the bag was carried out but the padlocked bag was not discovered: Lakatos left the shop with the staff unaware of what had taken place in front of their own eyes…..As she walked down the street she was followed by the two women; they caught up with her and CCTV footage showed Lakatos transferring the bag to one of the women as they continued to walk: Further back, the two men followed at a distance: All the gang members then went their separate ways. Lakatos took a taxi to a pub near Victoria Station where she changed her clothing in a pub toilet before catching a Eurostar train meaning she had been in and out of the country, having committed the theft, within 24 hours and within just three hours of committing the offence.
The following day, Boodles – who still held concerns over the way ‘Anna’ the gemmologist had acted – had the locked bag in their possession x-rayed. While the items inside appeared to be the same size as the diamonds, they did not appear quite right. The bag was opened and the pebbles were discovered: An investigation was launched, led by the Met’s Flying Squad. They painstakingly began to piece together the evidence, analysing hours of CCTV footage and interrogating the forensic trail left behind by the gang through their contact with Boodles.
Lakatos was identified and arrested in France and extradited back to the UK on 3 December 2020….
Acting Detective Sergeant William Man of the Flying Squad said: This was an audacious theft, carried out in plain view of experienced and professional staff at a renowned jewellers. The meticulous planning and execution of this theft reveals to me that those involved were highly skilled criminals: “ However, due to the tenacious police work of the Flying Squad, involving painstaking analysis of a vast amount of evidence, we have managed to identify Lakatos and bring her to justice: “ While she played a key role in this theft, it is clear she did not work alone and enquiries remain ongoing to identify all those involved.”
= The two men involved in this theft were identified convicted of conspiracy to steal. An investigation is ongoing for the other two women seen to be involved in the exchange with Lakatos following the theft: …….A third woman – who accompanied Lakatos into the UK – was found not guilty of conspiracy to steal following a trial.
#AceNewsReport – July.26: The emergency services were alerted by the migrants, and a rescue vessel picked them up in the sea off the Pas-de-Calais area, according to a French police statement.
#AceDailyNews says that U.K.reportedly paid France £54-million to search for illegals leaving their country and they say they have rescued a boatload of 42 migrants in the English Channel and they were taken to the nearby port of Boulogne-sur-Mer, and all are in good health, the statement said.
Reuters July. 23, 20217:32 PM BSTLast Updated 14 hours ago
Thousands of migrants each year attempt the dangerous sea crossing from France to the coast of Britain, often paying human smugglers to help them through one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes in overloaded rubber dinghies: Britain has repeatedly pressed French President Emmanuel Macron’s government to do more to prevent the migrants leaving France.
When Europe turns a blind eye: Life and death in the Mediterranean – Reporters
In the Mediterranean, the years go by and almost nothing changes. In 2021, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 955 people have already died trying to reach Europe by sea – twice as many as during the same period last year. NGOs believe these figures are no doubt an underestimate.
23/07/2021 – 19:00
According to the 1974 International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), coastal states have a legal obligation to organise and assist searches in the event of a distress signal. However, since 2016, civil society groups have been plugging the gap.
On April 21, the Ocean Viking began a race against time to try to rescue a dinghy in distress amid a storm, with nearly 130 people on board. But without assistance from the competent authorities, the vessel arrived too late at the scene of a fatal shipwreck.
A few days later, 236 survivors, including 119 minors, were rescued from two other inflatable boats on which they were adrift, before being transported to a port on the European continent. Among them were men, women and children fleeing the hell for migrants that is Libya.
In this documentary, FRANCE 24 brings you an in-depth look at the reality for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean in search of a better life.
FRANCE 24’s Emmanuelle Chaze tells us more about filming her report:
Reporting by Christian Lowe; Editing by Giles Elgood
#AceNewsReport – July.25: This report was provided. By BBC Trending on the effort to use disinformation on vaccines with public, do what’s right in your heart always ….
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that YouTubers who blew the whistle on an anti-vax plot and the The BBC reports they have made multiple attempts to contact AdNow by phone, email and even a letter couriered to their Moscow headquarters, but they have not responded.
By Charlie Haynes and Flora Carmichael BBC Trending
“It started with an email” says Mirko Drotschmann, a German YouTuber and journalist.
Mirko normally ignores offers from brands asking him to advertise their products to his more than 1.5 million subscribers. But the sponsorship offer he received in May this year was unlike any other.
An influencer marketing agency called Fazze offered to pay him to promote what it said was leaked information that suggested the death rate among people who had the Pfizer vaccine was almost three times that of the AstraZeneca jab.
The information provided wasn’t true.
It quickly became apparent to Mirko that he was being asked to spread disinformation to undermine public confidence in vaccines in the middle of a pandemic.
“I was shocked,” says Mirko “then I was curious, what’s behind all that?”
Mirko DrotschmannMirko Drotschmann was offered money to spread disinformation on his social media accounts
In France, science YouTuber Léo Grasset received a similar offer. The agency offered him 2000 euros if he would take part. Fazze said it was acting for a client who wished to remain anonymous.
“That’s a huge red flag” says Léo.
Both Léo and Mirko were appalled by the false claims.
They pretended to be interested in order to try to find out more and were provided with detailed instructions about what they should say in their videos.
In stilted English, the brief instructed them to “Act like you have the passion and interest in this topic.”
Léo GrassetLéo Grasset was horrified by the attempt to recruit him
It told them not to mention the video had a sponsor – and instead pretend they were spontaneously giving advice out of concern for their viewers.
Social media platforms have rules that ban not disclosing that content is sponsored. In France and Germany it’s also illegal.
Fazze’s brief told influencers to share a story in French newspaper Le Monde about a data leak from the European Medicines Agency.
The story was genuine, but didn’t include anything about vaccine deaths. But in this context it would give the false impression that the death rate statistics had come from the leak.
The data the influencers were asked to share had actually been cobbled together from different sources and taken out of context.
It presented the numbers of people who had died in several countries some time after receiving different Covid vaccines. But just because someone dies after having a vaccine doesn’t mean they died because they had the vaccine. They could have been killed in a car accident.
In the countries the statistics were from, greater numbers of people had received the Pfizer vaccine at that time, so a higher number of people dying after having a Pfizer jab was to be expected.
“If you don’t have any scientific training, you could just say, ‘oh, there are these numbers, they are really different. So there must be a link.’ But you can make any spurious correlation as you want really,” Léo says.
The influencers were also provided with a list of links to share – dubious articles which all used the same set of figures that supposedly showed the Pfzer vaccine was dangerous.
When Léo and Mirko exposed the Fazze campaign on Twitter all the articles, except the Le Monde story, disappeared from the web.
By any measure the disinformation campaign was bungled.
Since Léo and Mirko blew the whistle at least four other influencers in France and Germany have gone public to reveal they also rejected Fazze’s attempts to recruit them.
But German journalist, Daniel Laufer, has identified two influencers who may have taken up the offer.
Indian YouTuber Ashkar Techy usually makes jokey videos about cars and dating and Brazilian prankster Everson Zoio, has more than three million Instagram followers.
Each of them posted uncharacteristic videos in which they pushed the same message as the Fazze campaign and shared the fake news links from the agency’s brief. Both had also participated in previous Fazze promotions.
After Daniel Laufer contacted them, Everson Zoio and Ashkar Techy removed their videos but didn’t answer his questions. The BBC tried to contact both influencers, but they didn’t respond.
Ashkar TechyAshkar Techy shared the dubious data in his video
We tried emailing the people who approached Mirko and Léo. The emails bounced back, not from Fazze, but from the domain of a company called AdNow.
Fazze is a part of AdNow, which is a digital marketing company, registered in both Russia and the UK.
Eventually we managed to contact Ewan Tolladay, one of two directors of the British arm of AdNow – who lives in Durham.
Mr Tolladay said he had very little to do with Fazze – which he said was a joint venture between his fellow director – a Russian man called Stanislav Fesenko – and another person whose identity he didn’t know.
He said that he hadn’t been a part of the disinformation campaign. He said he hadn’t even known Fazze had taken on the contract before the story broke. He couldn’t enlighten us on who the mystery client was.
He said that in light of the scandal “we are doing the responsible thing and shutting down AdNow here in the UK”. He said Fazze was also being shut down.
We have tried to get Mr Fesenko to talk to us but had no success.
Both the French and German authorities have launched investigations into Fazze’s approaches to influencers.
But the identity of the agency’s mystery client remains unclear.
There has been speculation about the Russian connections to this scandal and the interests of the Russian state in promoting its own vaccine – Sputnik V.
Omid Nouripour, the foreign policy spokesman for the German Green party has suggested looking to Moscow for the motivation behind the Fazze campaign.
He said: “Bad-mouthing vaccines in the West undermines trust in our democracies and is supposed to increase trust in Russia’s vaccines, and there is only one side that benefits and that is the Kremlin.”
But in a statement the Russian embassy in London said: “We treat Covid-19 as a global threat and, thus, are not interested in undermining global efforts in the fight against it, with vaccinating people with the Pfizer vaccine as one of the ways to cope with the virus.”
While Fazze’s campaign was a flop, Léo Grasset believes it won’t be the last attempt to use the power of social influencers to spread disinformation.
“If you want to manipulate public opinion, especially for young people, you don’t go to TV” says French YouTuber Léo Grasset.
“Just spend the same money on TikTok creators, YouTube creators. The whole ecosystem is perfectly built for maximum efficiency of disinformation right now.”
#AceNewsReport – July.23: The group are alleged to have had contacts across Europe, in France, Germany the Netherlands and Poland…..
#AceDailyNews reports that seven arrests have been made as NCA dismantles Albanian people smuggling network suspected of bringing hundreds to the UK these were among those detained by NCA officers in a series of raids in south London, Surrey, Oxfordshire and Hartlepool yesterday (20 July) was the alleged ringleader of the people smuggling network, which investigators believe used lorries and hired vans to transport individuals from northern France.
Over a period of six months between July and December 2020 six such attempts were stopped by Border Force officers carrying out searches of vehicles at the Channel Tunnel terminal in Coquelles, near Calais.
All have subsequently been linked to the OCG under investigation by the NCA.
In one of those attempts, in August last year, two vans were intercepted within half an hour of each other, each carrying ten Albanian migrants.
The drivers of all the stopped vehicles were arrested and investigated by Immigration Enforcement.
In May 2021 two further attempts linked to the network were stopped, as NCA investigators shared intelligence with French and German counterparts which led to vehicles containing migrants being halted by police before they could reach the coast.
In some cases migrants are believed to have paid the OCG between �20,000 and �25,000 to reach the UK. NCA financial investigators have identified numerous bank accounts alleged to belong to the network, each showing tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds in turnover.
All seven arrested today are now being questioned on suspicion of offences including conspiring to facilitate illegal entry to the UK and money laundering.
The operation, which involved around 100 officers, was supported by the Metropolitan Police and Immigration Enforcement. Approximately �30,000 cash was also detained.
NCA Branch Commander Richard Harrison said: We believe these arrests will have significantly disrupted an organised criminal network responsible for smuggling potentially hundreds of people into the UK illegally: The network claimed to provide a top of the range service and charged accordingly, using complicit drivers to transport migrants in hired vehicles: This activity represented a significant threat to both the safety of the migrants involved and the security of UK border controls.”
NCA Deputy Director Andrea Wilson added: This operation shows that people smugglers are right at the top of the NCA’s target list: It is a form of criminality that sees people exploited for profit by criminals who have no regard for human life: Those involved in organised immigration crime should know that our officers are working day and night with partners in the UK and abroad to find them, disrupt and dismantle their business models and bring them to justice: I also have a message today for drivers, commercial or otherwise, who would consider assisting these organised criminal networks by transporting migrants on their behalf.
#AceNewsReport – July.21: The BBC’s Jon Donnison spoke to some of the migrants trying to make the dangerous journey: The UK will pay more than £54m as part of the deal, which will also improve intelligence sharing…..
He told the Today programme: “The fact is, we’ve seen it before. Having more money, having more police officers, having more controls, will not prevent people to succeed in these crossing attempts: ‘We have too many kilometres of shore to monitor.”….The funding will also be used for better technology to target those who organise the crossings, the Home Office said.
The Home Office said on Tuesday 287 people had landed in the UK.
‘Step too far’
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and French interior minister Gerald Darmanin have agreed to “strengthen co-operation” over the crossings.
The Home Office said UK support last year helped France double the number of officers deployed daily on the beaches of its northern coast.
It said this resulted in France preventing twice as many crossings so far this year compared with the same period in 2020.
However, it said the people who facilitated the crossings had now changed their tactics and had moved further up the French coast, “forcing migrants to take even longer, riskier journeys”.
Mr Dumont added that the French are not supposed to intervene at sea – yet former Border Force chief Tony Smith has called for joint patrols.
Mr Smith said: “That seems to be a step too far for the French at the moment. The French position is they are not prepared to intervene on the high seas, only on land.”
PA MediaA group of people thought to be migrants are escorted by Border Patrol in Dungeness on Tuesday
The new support announced by the UK would enable France “to respond by posting more security forces further up the coast, installing and utilising the latest surveillance equipment throughout northern France”, the Home Office said.
Home Office minister Victoria Atkins insisted that a £28m deal between the UK and France last November, to double police patrols on French beaches, had made a difference, saying it had prevented some 7,500 people crossing the Channel.
Ms Atkins told Today it was an “incredibly complicated” situation and that the UK was trying to work with other countries to make sure “when people arrive in a safe country, they remain there and do not try to make that hazardous journey”. She said the government wanted “safe routes for legal migrants” and to crack down on the gangs bringing people over……..’No quick and easy fix’
Analysis by Simon Jones, BBC reporter, in DoverFrom the famous White Cliffs of Dover, we watched this morning as another group of migrants was brought to shore by the Border Force, having been picked up in the Channel. Conditions at sea are once again incredibly calm and the sun is shining, so these are unlikely to be the only arrivals today. Almost 1,000 people have reached the UK by boat in the past three days, putting pressure on the home secretary to act. Priti Patel is now pledging more money to the French authorities to try to prevent the crossings. But the deal struck last night is very similar to one agreed between Britain and France last November – which has failed to stem the numbers arriving, though the Home Office points out the number of crossings being prevented by the French authorities has doubled.The government here accepts there is no quick and easy fix to problems with the asylum system, but there’s no doubt the home secretary will want to see swift results in return for the increased investment in northern France.Ms Patel has previously pledged to make Channel crossings “unviable”, with new legislation that will make it a crime to knowingly arrive in the UK without permission.The Nationality and Borders Bill, which is currently being considered by MPs, will mean migrants entering without permission could face up to four years in prison.The government hopes the overhaul of asylum rules will deter migrants from making the crossing.But the plans have been criticised by charities including Refugee Action, which has called them “extreme and nasty”. PA MediaA dinghy’s arrival being watched over by the crew of an RNLI lifeboatDan O’Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander for the Home Office, said: “There is an unacceptable rise in dangerous small boat crossings across the Channel because of a surge in illegal migration across Europe.”People should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and not risk their lives making these dangerous crossings. We are continuing to pursue the criminals behind these illegal crossings.”He added that the Nationality and Borders Bill would “protect lives and break this cycle of illegal crossings” and the government was continuing to return those with no legal right to remain in the UK. But Amnesty International’s Steve Valdez-Symonds told the BBC the new legislation was an “extremely reckless and dangerous response” to the issue and would not tackle the problem of people smugglers. Instead, he said it was likely to drive desperate people to avoid the authorities, leaving them vulnerable to further exploitation and slavery. Labour shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the Home Office announcement was “yet more empty words from the Conservatives about agreeing a deal with France to address trafficking gangs”.He said ministers promised a plan with France in August 2020, “yet almost a year later they are still making empty promises, letting down victims, and allowing criminals to continue their evil trade”.
#AceHealthReport – July.19: Over 100,000 people protested across France on Saturday against the government’s latest measures to push people to get vaccinated and curb rising infections by the delta variant of the #coronavirus…
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says PARIS: Thousands of people marched around France to protest mandatory vaccinations for health care workers and #COVID19 passes that will be required to enter restaurants and other venues acording to AP
ABC News By CONSTANTIN GOUVY Associated Press: 17 July 2021, 21:47
CDC director: COVID-19 spreading among unvaccinated
In Paris, separate protest marches by the far-right and the far-left wound through different parts of the city. Demonstrations were also held in Strasbourg in the east, Lille in the north, Montpellier in the south and elsewhere.
Thousands of people answered calls to take to the streets by Florian Philippot, a fringe far-right politician and former right hand of Marine Le Pen who announced earlier this month that he would run in the 2022 presidential election. Gathered a stone’s throw away from the Louvre Museum, protesters chanted “Macron, clear off!”, “Freedom,” and banged metal spoons on saucepans.
While Philippot has organized small but regular protests against the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, Saturday’s demonstration drew a larger and more diverse crowd of people broadly disaffected with politics: yellow vest activists angry over perceived economic injustice, far-right supporters, medical staff and royalists.
They denounced the government’s decision on Monday to make vaccinescompulsory for all health care workers, and to require a “health pass” proving people are fully vaccinated, have recently tested negative or recovered from the virus in order to access restaurants and other public venues. President Emmanuel Macron’s government is presenting a draft law Monday to enshrine the measures.
“I will never get vaccinated,” Bruno Auquier, a 53-year-old town councilor who lives on the outskirts of Paris. “People need to wake up,” he said, questioning the safety of the vaccine.
While France already requires several vaccinations to enter public school, Auquier pledged to take his two children out of school if the coronavirus vaccine became mandatory. “These new measures are the last straw,” Auquier said.
The government warned of the continued spread of the delta variant, which authorities fear could again put pressure on hospitals if not enough people are vaccinated against the virus. The pandemic has cost France more than 111,000 lives and deeply damaged the economy.
During a visit to a pop-up vaccination center in the southwest, Prime Minister Jean Castex exhorted the French to stick together in order to overcome the crisis.
“There is only one solution: vaccination,” he said, stressing it “protects us, and will make us freer.”
At the Paris protest, a manual worker in his sixties expressed bitterness about jobs in his sector sent offshore. A 24-year-old royalist said he was there to demand “the return of God and the King.”
Lucien, a 28-year-old retail shop manager, said he wasn’t anti-vaccine, but thought that everyone should be able to do as they please with their own body. “The government is going too far,” he said. His 26-year-old friend Elise said, “I am vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, and polio. But the COVID vaccine is just too experimental.”
While a majority of French health care workers have had at least one vaccine dose, some are resisting the government’s decision to make vaccination compulsory for all staff in medical facilities.
At Saturday’s Paris protest, a 39-year-old green party supporter and hospital laboratory worker said she might resort to buying a fake vaccination certificate to avoid losing her job. A health care worker dressed as the Statue of Liberty called it “act of violence” to force people to get vaccinated.
In Montpellier, more than 1,000 people marched to the train station, chanting “Liberty!” and carrying signs reading “Our kids aren’t Guinea pigs.” Security officials closed the main entrance to travelers and a dozen police officers took posts in front.
The Interior Ministry said 114,000 people took part in protests nationwide.
Overnight on Friday, vandals ransacked a vaccination center in the southeast. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin asked prefects and police chiefs to reinforce security for elected officials, after several complained they had received threats in recent days over the latest anti-COVID measures.
Vaccine hesitancy is considered widespread in France, though appears to have faded somewhat as 36 million French people have gotten coronavirus vaccine doses in recent months. Millions more have gotten injected or signed up for vaccinations since Monday’s announcement.
French health care workers have until Sept. 15 to get vaccinated. The requirement for COVID passes for all restaurants, bars, hospitals, shopping malls, trains, planes and other venues is being introduced in stages starting Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the French government announced tightened border controls starting Sunday, but also said it would allow in travelers from anywhere in the world who have been fully vaccinated.
That now includes people who received AstraZeneca’s Indian-manufactured vaccine. The move came after a global outcry over the fact that the European Union’s COVID-19 certificate only recognizes AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in Europe.
Elaine Ganley in Montpellier and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed.
#AceNewsReport – July.16: Jabarkhel is suspected of being a high-ranking member of a significant Afghan organised crime group involved in transporting migrants from northern France and Belgium into the UK in the back of lorries.
#AceDailyNewsreports that suspected head of international people smuggling network arrested by the NCA: Gul Wali Jabarkhel, aged 32, who was in the UK illegally, was detained by officers in Colindale on the evening of Thursday 8 July.
The group had contacts with other OCGs based in Belgium, and planned to use complicit lorry drivers to smuggle migrants across the Channel on a regular basis.
After he was questioned by NCA investigators, Crown Prosecution Service lawyers authorised two charges of conspiracy to facilitate illegal immigration to the UK.
He appeared at Willesden Magistrates court on 10 July and was remanded to custody to appear at Harrow Crown court on 6 August.
NCA Branch Commander Andy Noyes said: This is a significant arrest. Jabarkhel is suspected of running a criminal enterprise which involved migrants being moved across the channel in lorries in dangerous circumstances: Organised immigration crime sees people treated as a commodity to be exploited and profited from, and tackling it is a priority for the NCA: This arrest is another example of the success we are having in targeting those suspected of involvement in people smuggling impacting on the UK. Others engaged in this kind of activity should take note.”
#AceNewsReport – July.04: Speaking following the conclusion of a two-day roundtable meeting, Darrieussecq declared that “there was no state cover-up,” rejecting allegations France sought to conceal the extent of the fallout from the nuclear tests, and ruling out any official apology.
#AceDailyNews says RT News has reported that ‘ No state cover-up’: French government refuses to apologize over Pacific nuclear test radiation levels and in 1998 IAEA REPORT: The Radiological Situation at the Atolls of Mururoa And Fangataufa discuss the effects of nuclear tests at the South Pacific Atolls An International Conference on the Radiological Situation at the Atolls of Mururoa and Fangataufa will take place at the Vienna International Centre from 30 June to 3 July 1998. Convened by the IAEA, the Conference will scrutinize the results of a recent Study on the radiological conditions at the atolls.
2 Jul, 2021 13:27
The event had been arranged by France’s President Emmanuel Macron to confront the legacy of the 193 nuclear tests at Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls in the Pacific Ocean, between 1966 and 1996. The sites remain inaccessible to this day and only 63 civilians have received compensation for being exposed to radiation from the tests.
Earlier this year, after examining thousands of declassified documents about the nuclear tests, an investigation by media outlet Disclose claimed that “French authorities have concealed the true impact of nuclear testing.”
Macron personally attended the meeting on Thursday but he did not issue a public statement about the event or the allegations around France’s actions:
Edouard Fritch, the president of French Polynesia, expressed disappointment at the reluctance of Paris officials to make amends for the nuclear tests or to acknowledge the full scale of the impact. “We felt that the president of the republic had a real desire to turn this painful page for all of us, with the resources that will need to be put in place in the future, so that Polynesians can rebuild the faith that we have always had in France,” Fritch said, after the two-day event.
Previously, France has accepted that the tests did have some “impact,”with then-president Francois Hollande recognizing the effect it had on the health of residents and the regional environment. However, he defended the decision to conduct the tests, claiming “France would not have nuclear weapons and therefore would not have a nuclear deterrent” without them.
The atolls, narrow rims of coral reef jutting a few metres above the ocean, located in French Polynesia in the middle of the South Pacific, were the site of nearly 200 nuclear tests carried out by France from 1966 until January 1996, when all French nuclear testing ceased. The Government of France requested the IAEA to undertake the Study in 1995. The IAEA in turn set up an International Advisory Committee of eminent scientists from various countries to supervise the Study. Fifty five experts external to the IAEA and 18 scientific laboratories co-ordinated by the IAEA’s two laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, and Monaco, participated in the assessment. In total, 22 States and 3 international organizations were involved in the Study.
#AceNewsReport – July.02: A married father who did commercial work for a Dubai-based company, Hamahmi rushed at a group of soldiers patrolling the Louvre area early on February 3, 2017, armed with a machete in each hand and wearing a T-shirt with a skull motif.
France: Machete-wielding man who attacked soldiers outside Louvre while screaming ‘Allahu akbar’ gets 30 years Egyptian who carried out attack outside Louvre sent to prison,” by Elad Benari, Arutz Sheva, June 25, 2021 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):
Judges issued a sentence in line with anti-terror prosecutors’ demands for Egyptian citizen Abdalla El Hamahmi, 33, who did not react from behind his coronavirus mask as it was read out to him via an interpreter.
Shouting “Allahu Akbar”, he wounded one soldier on the scalp before himself being severely wounded when the patrol opened fire.
Hamahmi insisted throughout the trial that he had planned to protest against French policy in Syria by destroying art masterpieces inside the Louvre Museum, which houses thousands of works including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
He claimed to have been surprised to encounter soldiers, who have patrolled central Paris since a wave of Islamist terrorist attacks that killed more than 250 in France from 2015. He said that he attacked them “as a reflex”, saying he was acting “like a robot”.
During the trial, Hamahmi attempted to deny the authenticity of a video in which he swore allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group. However, he later admitted that he tried to join ISIS in the Middle East before turning his sights on France….
#AceNewsReport – June.27: A French amateur codebreaker claims to have done what police and other investigators could not: Solve the remaining Zodiac Killer ciphers, including one that supposedly reveals the California killers identity – but the internet has rejected his proposed solutions.
Zodiac Killer: French engineer claims to solve final ciphers, but online community rejects solutions and Fayçal Ziraoui took up code-breaking as a hobby during the #COVID19#pandemic
Fayçal Ziraoui, 38, a French-Morrocan business consultant, said he spent two weeks on the puzzles, after which he believed he had solved them. He shared his findings with the Reddit sub-thread devoted to the quest of solving the ciphers, according to reports.
Moderators of the 50,000-member subreddit removed the post in question because it was “too short” and the puzzle “is not solvable at all without more information from the author.”
“Basically, any proposed solution to the Z13 amounts to straight up guesswork, with no way to confirm it at all,” an explanation posted to the subreddit said.
Ziraoui took up code-breaking as a hobby during the pandemic and after an article was published in a French magazine in December 2020 that sparked his interest in the killer’s puzzles.
The puzzle has captured the public imagination since the initial killings in California in the late ’60s: The first cipher was solved shortly after police received it in 1969, but some of the later puzzles took years – even decades – to solve, if anyone solved them at all.
He deciphered the longer puzzle of 32 characters, which claimed to hold the location of a bomb in a school set to detonate in 1970, as “LABOR DAY FIND 45.069 NORT 58.719 WEST,” coordinates that use the magnetic field rather than geographic locators.
Ziraoui then applied his work to the final cipher, which he said he solved in an hour. He found the name “KAYR,” which he thought resembled the last name of Lawrence Kaye, a suspect in the case who lived in South Lake Tahoe.
The coordinates locate a school in South Lake Tahoe, as well.
Ziraoui found that the typo was common to the killer’s other messages, and he thought the results were too much to be coincidence.
Other codebreakers remain divided over Ziraoui’s work: David Naccache, a professor at École Normale Supérieure in Paris and a cryptographer, believes that Ziraoui’s solution is sound, while Rémi Géraud, also from the École Normale Supérieure, argued that the Ziraoui made arbitrary choices.
As Kaye died in 2010, it is impossible to confirm whether Ziraoui’s work is correct until other codebreakers attempt his solution, but five months after posting the solution, Ziraoui retreated from the online community that rejected him.
The judgement has now been published. In giving the court’s reasons for acquitting the anti-glyphosate protesters, it notes the established dangers of glyphosate products, in particular, and of the “cocktail effect” of the different chemicals mixed together in pesticide formulations.
The court noted that the American victims in the Roundup cancer litigation demonstrated that their diseases were linked not to glyphosate alone but to Roundup, the toxicity of which was greater due to the interaction of the active substance with other substances (co-formulants) present in the herbicide.
The judgement goes on to say that the massive use of pesticides constitutes a major public health issue — both for users and their families, as well as for rural residents and the population in general via contamination of air, water, soil, and food.
The judgement concludes, “In the face of this danger, this necessary action aimed at informing the population as well as the managers of the shops in question, in the face of this particularly insidious danger, meets the requirement of proportionality required by the notion of a state of necessity: it was carried out without violence, and was limited since the defendants, during their interventions, took care to deploy a protective tarpaulin on the ground when marking the cans on the ground and did not damage either the shop or any other products other than the ones in question.”
The defendants were therefore acquitted.
A statement by the office of lawyer Tumerelle said, “We would like to thank all the witnesses, scientists, doctors, farmers, and activists who work with us on a daily basis to inform about and highlight these issues. We welcome the decision of the court which, we have no doubt, will have a considerable impact in bringing about changes in legislation and practices.”
#AceNewsReport – June.21: The pair were reportedly travelling at high speed, and did not stop: The public prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into homicide aggravated by failure to provide help.
PARIS: ‘Police search for two e-scooter riders after pedestrian killed: The 31-year-old victim, an Italian citizen named only as Miriam, was walking along the Seine early on Monday when she was hit’
The victim, who was reportedly walking with a friend, hit her head on the pavement and suffered cardiac arrest. Divers from the river police patrolling the Seine gave her emergency medical treatment, and managed to restart her heart after 30 minutes.
She was taken unconscious to hospital, where she remained in a coma until her death on Wednesday. Originally from the region of Capalbio, in Tuscany, she worked as a waitress in a small Italian restaurant.
The incident happened at 01:00 local time on the Voie Georges-Pompidou on the right bank, near the Pont au Change bridge. Police have appealed for witnesses and are examining CCTV footage from the area.
The case has renewed the debate over e-scooters in Paris, where there have been concerns for the safety of pedestrians.
They can travel at more than 50km/h (30mph), and are growing in popularity, in part because of their low environmental impact.
In the UK, London has become the latest city to trial e-scooters. More than 30 areas – including Newcastle, Bristol and Bournemouth – are already operating rental schemes.E-scooters have been introduced to six London boroughs after trials in 30 towns and cities across the UK
#AceNewsReport – June.19: This time it was only a glimpse of blonde hair at the heart of the scrum that gave it away, as the head of France’s far-right party inched slowly through Brusc market near Toulon, posing for selfies with her supporters every few yards:
FRANCE: France’s Le Pen on track for regional power with an eye on presidency and not so long ago, a walkabout by French far-right leader would announce itself with some heckling, maybe a protester or two, a few tight lips among observers, and the sense of wary curiosity that surrounds someone outside the political mainstream.
By Lucy Williamson BBC Paris correspondent
“You’re virtually on home turf here!” one journalist shouted to Mrs Le Pen as she toured the Côte d’Azur. Behind her, ripe cherries were piled high on the stalls, and bottles of olive oil glinted in the sun.
“I tend to think I’m on home turf everywhere,” she responded drily.
Winning in a vast region like this, with a budget of billions, would mark a turning point for her party, which currently controls just a dozen town halls in France and only one city.
Dry run for 2022 race against Macron
This is also a crucial test of the party’s electoral strategy ahead of the presidential race next spring, when Marine Le Pen is again tipped to face President Emmanuel Macron in the second round.
In both elections, her strategy rests on winning over mainstream conservatives. Mr Macron needs to do much the same, setting the stage for a battle over France’s traditional centre right.
No accident, then, that the National Rally’s regional candidate for this coastal region, Thierry Mariani, used to be a member of the main centre-right Republicans party.
Thierry Mariani is favourite to win the key southern PACA region for Ms Le Pen’s National Rally
No accident either that Marine Le Pen has worked hard to appear electable and politically safe, emphasising the party’s “calm” and “responsible” approach to change, and lecturing government ministers on upholding democratic principles.
In the market, Rose pauses her shopping to confide that the party’s new image is indeed winning over some conservatives.
There are a lot of people around me, right-wingers like me, who are going to try the National Rally
Centre-right incumbent Renaud Muselier has warned that the party’s new image is a front and that Mr Mariani is a “Trojan horse”. In a TV debate with Mr Mariani this week, he called his rival and former colleague a “puppet” and said he was being manipulated by the far right. Adding to the sensitivity, the government last month announced that President Macron’s party, La République En Marche, would not be running its own list of candidates for the elections in PACA, but would instead be lending its support to Mr Muselier. ReutersThe president’s party has thrown its weight behind the Republicans’ candidate Renaud MuselierThe National Rally are making the most of it.”Real” right-wing voters were being turned off the centre right, Thierry Mariani told journalists this week, by a list of candidates that was “more and more the list of Macron”. Difficult vote for Macron’s party France’s governing party is contesting its first regional election. Formed just five years ago, it so far has few roots at the local level. Polls suggest it’s possible that La République En Marche won’t win a region at all. “We’re new,” said Marlène Schiappa, the minister in charge of citizenship who is the party’s top candidate in Paris. “We don’t have officials already elected, yet we’re always second or third in the polls. We’re on an upward trajectory.” Getty ImagesMarlène Schiappa argues that France’s political mainstream should unite against the far rightAlliances made sense in some places, she told us, and given the threat posed by the far right, France’s traditional parties should “ally to form a collective block against [them]”. The National Rally is currently predicted to win around 40% of the vote here on Sunday. That’s pretty much the score it won in the first round of the last regional elections in 2015, only to be defeated in the run-off by other parties working together to keep them from power.
Le Pen shatter ‘glass ceiling’?The pattern is so familiar to the National Rally that pollsters have nicknamed it their “glass ceiling”. But some believe that glass ceiling is now starting to fracture, as voters demand change, and concerns over security and immigration increase. “For a long time, a vote for the National Rally was a vote of protest against mainstream parties,” says Jean-Philippe Dubrulle of the Ifop polling agency. “That’s changed since Emmanuel Macron’s victory [in 2017] erased mainstream parties.
Now you have a situation where, if you don’t agree with Mr Macron – and a majority of French don’t agree with him – the most efficient way to express that is to vote for Marine Le Pen.” President Macron was slapped in the face on a visit to south-eastern France earlier this monthAt least one of the stallholders in the market thinks it’s all over-stated. “There’s always talk around election-time of a win for Le Pen, but it never actually comes,” he told me, declining to give his name.”People say they’re going to vote for them now, but at the last minute they won’t. We have bad memories of the party and its racist past.”
If he’s right, that’s a change in itself. It used to be the case that Le Pen supporters were shy of sharing their intentions, while voting for her in private. The first signs of how much really has changed will come on Sunday, but the proof will have to wait for the run-off in a week’s time. The whole point of a glass ceiling is that you can’t see it. Until it’s tested, it’s not easy to see when it’s gone.
#AceNewsReport – June.19: He is wanted by the Belgian authorities who allege he was a member of a people smuggling network moving migrants through Belgium and France and into the UK in the back of lorries:
ESSEX LORRY PARK DEATHS CASE: People smuggling suspect wanted in connection with Essex lorry deaths is arrested by the NCA: The Vietnamese national, who at this stage is not being named, was detained at a supermarket petrol station just of the A66 in Middlesbrough around 1pm this afternoon (17 June).
He is suspected of running safe houses in Brussels where the migrants stayed before their fatal journey. He is also accused of organising their onward transport in taxis to the collection point in France where they were stowed in the rear of the refrigerated lorry.
A Belgian investigating magistrate issued an arrest warrant in December, suspecting that he was now in the UK and had links to the Birmingham area.
However NCA investigators were able to track him down to a location in Middlesbrough where he was detained today, in an operation supported by the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU).
He will now appear before Westminster Magistrates where extradition proceedings will begin.
The NCA’s Head of Organised Immigration Crime Operations, Miles Bonfield, said: This is another significant arrest in terms of the identifying those involved in the events which led to the tragic deaths of those 39 migrants: The individual detained today is suspected by the Belgian authorities of having played a key role in placing at least ten migrants inside that lorry: Working closely with partners in the UK, Europe and beyond we are determined to do all we can to get justice for the families of those who died, and disrupt and dismantle the cruel organised criminal networks involved in people smuggling.”
#AceNewsReport – June.16: Adel Amara, a former Ikea employee who helped expose the wrongdoing, called the ruling “a big step in defence of the citizen … it makes me glad that there is justice in France.”
FRANCE: Ikea fined $1.7 million for spying on employees, customers and two former executives were convicted and fined over the scheme and given suspended prison sentences: Among the other 13 defendants in the high-profile trial, some were acquitted and others handed suspended sentences.
The panel of judges at the Versailles court found that between 2009 and 2012, Ikea’s French subsidiary used espionage to sift out troublemakers in the employee ranks and to profile squabbling customers.
Ikea France was convicted of receiving personal data obtained through fraudulent means in a habitual way, and ordered to pay 1 million euros in fines and about 100,000 euros in damages.
Trade unions accused Ikea France of collecting personal data by fraudulent means, notably via illegally obtained police files, and illicitly disclosing personal information.
Lawyers for Ikea France denied the company had any strategy of “generalised espionage”.
A lawyer for the unions, Solene Debarre, expressed hope the verdict would “make some companies tremble”.
“1 million euros isn’t much for Ikea, but it’s a symbol,” Ms Debarre said.
The company, which said it cooperated in the investigation, had faced a potential financial penalty of up to 3.75 million euros.
Prosecutor Pamela Tabardel asked the court to hand “an exemplary sentence and a strong message to all companies”.
The executive who was in charge of risk management at the time of the spying, Jean-François Paris, acknowledged to French judges that 530,000 to 630,000 euros a year were earmarked for such investigations.
Mr Paris — the only official to have admitted to the alleged illegal sleuthing — said his department was responsible for handling the operation on orders from former Ikea France CEO Jean-Louis Baillot.
Mr Paris was convicted of fraudulently gathering personal data, fined 10,000 euros and given an 18-month suspended sentence.
Mr Baillot, who denied ordering a spy operation, was convicted of receiving fraudulently collected data and complicity in the scheme.
He was fined 50,000 euros and given a two-year suspended sentence.
Another former CEO of Ikea France was acquitted for lack of evidence.
Ikea France’s lawyer, Emmanuel Daoud, said the company had not decided whether to appeal against the decision.
He said the case was marked by a lack of hard evidence, and noted the fines were well below the maximum possible.
“The court took into account the action plan that Ikea put in place after the revelation of the facts in 2012. That’s very satisfying,” Mr Daoud said.
The company fired four executives and changed internal policy after French prosecutors opened a criminal probe in 2012.
Trade unions alleged that Ikea France paid to gain access to police files that had information about targeted individuals, particularly union activists and customers who were in disputes with Ikea.
In one situation, Ikea France was accused of using unauthorised information to try to catch an employee who had claimed unemployment benefits but drove a Porsche.
In another alleged instance of illegal prying, the subsidiary reportedly investigated an employee’s criminal record to determine how the employee was able to own a BMW on a low income.
The company also faces potential damages from separate civil lawsuits filed by unions and 74 employees.
Ikea’s France subsidiary employs more than 10,000 people in 34 stores, an e-commerce site and a customer support centre.
#AceNewsReport – Jun.07: Due to Covid restrictions, veterans watched the unveiling via video link: Only a small number of people were able to attend the event in the Normandy town of Ver-sur-Mer, where the memorial is situated:
FRANCE: The British Normandy Memorial records the names of the 22,442 people who were killed on D-Day and at the Battle of Normandy it cost £30-million and was designed by British architect Liam O’Connor.
By Mary O’Connor BBC News
Around 100 veterans unable to travel to Normandy watched a live broadcast from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
At 11:00 BST the Last Post was played, ushering in a two-minute silence.
Meanwhile, British and French wreaths were placed in front of the D-Day Wall at the memorial in France as bagpipes played.
The RAF’s Red Arrows then flew overhead in formation to mark the opening of the memorial.
It remembers those who died in the largest seaborne invasion in history, as about 160,000 troops from Britain, the US, Canada, France and other Allied nations landed in Normandy.
This marked the beginning the liberation of France from the Nazis and paved the way for victory on the Western Front in World War Two.
Paul Harris said his grandfather, Private George Hanks, who died aged 30 on 7 August 1944 during the months of fighting that followed the D-Day landings, “gave up everything” to liberate Normandy and the rest of Europe.
Mr Harris told BBC Breakfast: “He went off to fight, he left my grandmother a widow with a young baby… He gave us what we have now and that memory has to be preserved.”
Private Hanks was killed by an artillery shell as his company pressed ahead towards German fortifications.
His family say that only the day before he had finally received a letter containing a picture of his baby girl, Rosemary – Paul’s mother.
In a video message the Prince of Wales, patron of the Normandy Memorial Trust, said it was important the memory of these “remarkable individuals should be preserved for future generations as an example of personal courage and sacrifice, for the benefit of the wider national and, indeed, international community”.
“I know just how much our incomparable veterans had hoped to be in Normandy today to see their memorial for themselves” he said.
“Despite having to watch via satellite link, this in no way obscures the enormous regard, and admiration, in which we hold our veterans – or diminishes our debt of gratitude to the more than 22,000 men and women whose names are now permanently inscribed in stone in this place of honour above Gold Beach.”
‘Eyes of the world’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also paid tribute to those who fought on D-Day, recalling General Eisenhower’s words that as they landed on the Normandy beaches “the eyes of the world were on them”.
“The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere marched with them. 77 years on, we thank and remember them,” the prime minister said on Twitter.
Lord Edward Llewellyn, the British Ambassador to France, presided over the ceremony and was joined by Lord Peter Ricketts, chairman of Trustees at the Normandy Memorial Trust, and senior French guests.
The memorial sits atop a hillside overlooking Gold Beach, one of three where soldiers landed on the morning of 6 June 1944.
The site consists of a temple-like structure containing 160 stone columns inscribed with the names of the dead, a bronze sculpture of three charging infantrymen by British sculptor David Williams-Ellis, and a wall featuring the names of those who were killed on D-Day itself.
Among those who lost their lives during D-Day and the Battle of Normandy are two women, both nurses: 27-year-old Sister Mollie Evershed and Sister Dorothy Anyta Field, 32.
Sister Evershed was on a Hospital Carrier ship, the Amsterdam, treating casualties from Juno Beach when the ship hit a mine.
As it sank, she and another nurse went below decks and carried 75 men to safety, helping them into a waiting lifeboat. But she and her fellow nurse went down with the ship.
She was posthumously mentioned in dispatches and awarded the King’s Commendation for Brave Conduct.
PA MediaThe bronze sculpture of three charging infantrymen by British sculptor David Williams-Ellis is part of the memorial site
There is also a monument dedicated to the memory of French civilians who died during the period.
The British Normandy Memorial had originally been due to open last September but it was postponed due to the pandemic.
Lord Richard Dannatt, the former head of the British army, said it would stand as an “an everlasting memorial to the greatest amphibious operation ever to have taken place in history”.
“It was so important that it played a significant role in ending the Second World War and bringing peace and freedom to Europe,” he told BBC Breakfast.
He added that the constructing the monument was the “right and proper thing to have done” to honour fallen servicemen and women, but that it “perhaps should have been done 30 or 40 years ago”.
#AceNewsReport – May.31: According to reports say the unnamed man is around 30 years old, has a history of domestic violence, and is armed with a high-calibre weapon:
FRANCE: MANHUNT: ‘For armed ex-soldier who fired on police: Helicopters, dog teams and more than 300 officers are searching for the man around the town of Le Lardin-Saint-Lazare in the Dordogne region: Interior minister Gérald Darmanin tweeted that the police and local authorities were using “all means” to protect the local population, adding that more than 300 officers are now actively involved in the search’
16 hours ago
The local government has urged residents to stay indoors.
“The man went overnight to his ex-partner’s home. A dispute took place there, which led to the intervention of gendarmes and that is when the suspect shot at them. He then fled to woods nearby,” prefect of Dordogne Frédéric Périssat told BFM television.
Mr Périssat added that the man is within a four sq km (1.5 sq mile) “hilly, wooded area” cordoned off by police.
Franceinfo reports the incident started on Saturday night, when the man attacked his ex’s new partner. He reportedly shot the new partner, who fled the scene. His ex and her children were not injured and are now under police protection, authorities said.
When police arrived, he fired at officers and their vehicles before fleeing into the woods. So far there have been no police casualties, although several vehicles have been damaged.
Getty ImagesOfficers have set up a perimeter around the town of Le Lardin-Saint-Lazare in the Dordogne region
Le Lardin-Saint-Lazare Mayor Francine Bourra told BFM that the suspect had been released from prison and was wearing an electronic bracelet. He was prohibited from visiting his former partner’s home, she said.
“I believe that unfortunately [the situation] can last a long time,” Ms Bourra told the channel, adding that the suspect was “not at all inclined to dialogue and not ready to surrender”.
Helicopters and armoured vehicles are taking part in the search
Officers have closed off roads around the town and set up a security perimeter. The gunman has reportedly fired on the helicopter that is flying over the wooded area, and officer André Pétillot told BFM that he was armed with a high-calibre weapon “which can kill at long distances”.
Mr Pétillot also told the channel that the suspect “is looking to be killed by the police”, and urged him to surrender.
The previous letter, signed by a handful of officers and some 20 semi-retired generals, sparked a furore in France, with the prime minister calling it an unacceptable interference and France’s top general vowing that those behind it would be punished.
It is not clear how many people are behind the current letter or what their ranks are.
In contrast to the previous letter, it is also open to be signed by the public, with Valeurs Actuelles saying more than 93,000 had done so by Monday morning.
“We are not talking about extending your mandates or conquering others. We are talking about the survival of our country, the survival of your country,” said the letter, which was addressed to Macron and his cabinet.
The authors described themselves as active-duty soldiers from the younger generation of the military, a so-called “generation of fire” that had seen active service.
“They have offered up their lives to destroy the Islamism that you have made concessions to on our soil.”
They claimed also to have served in the Sentinelle security operation within France launched after a wave of jihadist attacks in 2015.
They observed that for some religious communities “France means nothing but an object of sarcasm, contempt or even hatred”.
It added: “If a civil war breaks out, the military will maintain order on its own soil […] civil war is brewing in France and you know it perfectly well.”
‘Is this courage?
The letter comes in a febrile political atmosphere ahead of the 2022 elections when Macron’s main challenger is expected to again be the far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
Analysts say Macron has tacked to the right in recent months to prevent Le Pen from exploiting a series of attacks in late 2020 blamed on Islamist extremists who recently immigrated to France.
“I believe that when you are in the military you don’t do this kind of thing in hiding,” Darmanin told BFM television. “These people are anonymous. Is this courage? To be anonymous?”
Former president Francois Hollande weighed in on the debate, expressing bewilderment that such sentiments could be expressed by serving soldiers.
“How can we suggest that the army today could have such feelings and a desire to question the very principles of the Republic?” he told France Inter radio.
Prime Minister Jean Castex had labelled the rare intervention in politics by military figures in last month’s letter “an initiative against all of our republican principles, of honour and the duty of the army”.
France’s armed forces chief of staff, General Francois Lecointre, said those who signed it would face punishments ranging from forced full retirement to disciplinary action.