by Ramin Mazaheri
On the night of April 21st I was in my office in Paris, just 100 meters from the Champs-Elysees, when I got a phone call from a fellow journalist telling me about the deadly attack on policemen there.
I was in the middle of working on my latest report on France’s presidential election for Iran’s Press TV.
When I got the call, I had just written this sentence – I was still mulling it over (lotta numbers for TV copy):
“The last week has seen two major surprises which may push undecided voters to the right: the alleged discovery of a 2-man terror plot to attack 1 of the 3 main right-wing candidates, and the surprisingly-timed start of a court case involving 20 people accused of being part of a terror cell in 2012.”
Well…as you can guess, I had to add a third major surprise: the alleged terrorist attack on Champs-Elysees Avenue.
France’s 1st round vote in the presidential election is just two days away – on April 23rd – so let’s be very, very clear: The industrial-military-finance-media complex cannot live with a victory by Communist-backed Jean-Luc Melenchon.
If the establishment wouldn’t do “anything” to prevent Melenchon from taking office, they would certainly do “most anything”.
But let’s be level-headed: We know that governments commit assassinations. We know that they often send their soldiers off to certain death to advance unjust goals. The murder of this policeman is going to remind many of Jo Cox’s murder in the run-up to the Brexit vote.
What is absolutely undeniable is that the Champs-Elysees attack will have some sort of political effect
Tension here is high – the race is currently a 4-way dead heat. It’s too close to call because four candidates are within the margin-of-error.
But even the polls are somewhat useless, because there is an enormous undecided voter rate of over 30%.
I have used some form of “the only certainty is uncertainty” at least a half-dozen times in my reports over the last week, because it truly does bear repeating.
But one thing is certain: all three of this week’s “surprises” – which pushed terrorism, xenophobia, insecurity, fear and hate to the top of the headlines in this final week of unparalleled importance and indecision – have benefitted everyone except for Melenchon.
The industrial-military-finance-media complex wants Emmanuel Macron or Francois Filllon to win. Both are a continuation of Sarkozy and Hollande: austerity, globalization, racism, foreign intervention, Eurozone cannibalization of weaker members.
They industrial-military-finance-media complex can even live with a Marine Le Pen victory, even though she is also promising many of the same anti-system/anti-Brussels measures as Melenchon – on Frexit, NATO, the Euro, etc. She goes even further by promising to suspend the Schengen visa-free requirement if elected, and that would make the refugee crisis look like small potatoes, because it would do untold damage to the pocketbooks of the leading capitalists.
Heck, 60% of active cops are going to vote National Front, so they might work in her favor just to get their way, high-finance be damned. God bless the sainted “boys in blue”, eh?
But the establishment absolutely cannot cope with the rise of a leftist candidate in any country, no matter how backwards. Not Burkina Faso, not Nicaragua, not Laos and not any other country most people can’t find on a map.
So for sure it can’t happen here: France, the world’s 5th-largest economy.
The French say “once does not make a custom”, but 3 times in 1 week?
Of course I have no proof to offer, but the timing of the Marseilles 2-man terror cell “discovery” and the Champs-Elysees “terrorist attack” are going to make them ripe for accusations of being a false-flag operations.
Or maybe it’s all a coincidence? I’m a reporter – I need facts. I need to examine all the angles. Coincidences do happen, in fact.
Maybe France truly is being targeted by terrorists during the election campaign, as authorities have repeatedly claimed? They certainly prepared us for that possibility with announcements to that effect.
Maybe the court docket was so full that the unprecedented 20-person terror cell trial simply HAD to start 3 days before the vote? Another coincidence? They don’t decide these court dates by lottery, I know that.
Maybe…but what’s sure is that the industrial-military-finance-media complex is toasting these 3 events, because it aids their 3 favorite candidates.
Because what they don’t want is serious discussion of the problems which touch all French people.
Quickly: record unemployment, austerity, economic stagnation, state of emergency, 2,000+ arrests of democratic protesters last year, cops anally raping with batons, angry riots.
I could go on, but it’s after midnight – need to finish my Press TV report, then do a 2 am interview. Welcome to journalism!
Everyone else has already had their workday. All those voters lying in their bed, wondering who they will vote for, and possibly wondering if another killer escaped from the Champs-Elysees. That rumor was floating around just an hour ago, but at some point you have to switch off the TV.
I am not calling the roughly 16 million undecided voters “weak-minded” for being prey to such faithless, late-night monsters during this last week of campaigning – I simply imagine them to be politically uninterested. Because how can you still be undecided 2 days before the election when you have 4 candidates who have rather radically different candidates? Simple – you are not paying very much attention.
Hey, I’m not looking down on them – I wouldn’t listen to most of these guys unless I got paid, and thankfully I do. I’m interested in politics, but many aren’t. Many don’t have time.
But it’s these people – the huge 30%-plus – who might let themselves be affected by these 3 events.
This is also going to be a huge factor: The abstention rate should surpass the record 28% in 2002. That’s why Jean-Marie Le Pen got into the 2nd round back then – his right-wing voters got out to vote while the uninterested stayed at home.
These 3 events galvanize not just the undecided, but the both lazy-and-far-right voter.
The complex, the cops, the establishment – all going very well for them
Except for Francois Hollande – what a patsy. He’s actually speaking live right now. Unless he’s apologizing, I have no interest in listening and not even for pay.
Nobody does, which is why he can’t even run. His Socialist Party’s candidate is down to just 8% – might not even make 5% and get the Party’s campaign expenditures reimbursed, which must be the only reason the candidate hasn’t dropped out: He is just going to split the leftist vote and ruin Melenchon’s chances, most likely.
Hollande didn’t even back his own party’s candidate – he indirectly supported Macron, who Hollande plucked from obscurity to become a minister and who is now absolutely, 100% running on a Hollande-Part Deux platform.
And Macron’s leading…and the French are buying all of this…just like many will not even see the possibility of a false flag situation, or two, this week.
The helicopters have mostly stopped now – must be terrible to be in Palestine and hear that regularly. Or the ghettos of Los Angeles.
ISIL just claimed responsibility for the Champs-Elysees attacks, I just read.
Makes me wonder if the “false flag” idea would have gained more traction if it was Al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate) instead? After all, in 2012 France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said of Al-Nusra: “they are doing good things on the ground.”
And for this Fabius is being sued by Syrians – it is rather obvious why: “defending terrorism speech,” is illegal in France. But that’s what Fabius clearly did.
Check back with me in 2032 when that case is finished. Of course, if you are a young Muslim in France and you are accused of “defending terrorism speech” then you’re rushed through the system: accusation, trial, prison within days. They convicted the mentally ill, they convicted the drunk, but they convicted the Muslim above all.
I’m getting off-track here and talking about things which increase citizen alienation and dissatisfaction. The story line is terrorism, always terrorism, right?
Yeah, if it was Al-Nusra, then maybe the “false flag” idea would gain some mainstream traction. Too bad it was ISIL – the two groups are enemies, for those who don’t know. Bad luck, no story there….
The only candidate who will end the state of emergency is, you guessed it, Jean-Luc Melenchon. If the French truly loved “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” they’d vote in Melenchon just for that….
3 “surprises”, but only 3 facts to remember
The most important fact – and I even thought about leading this article with this fact – is that seemingly every terrorist in France since 2012 has cited France’s foreign interventions as their motivation for terrorism. It is not Islam, it is not jihad – it is foreign intervention, and their obviously capitalist motivations.
Secondly, France’s establishment wants – above all – to avoid discussions about capitalism and its ineffectiveness.
Thirdly, these attacks are simply not important.
No matter who did them, or why, they simply are not important right now. Whether they are government assassinations or ISIL-led terrorist attacks, you French citizens owe it to each other to make an intelligent vote, not an emotional one.
For the undecided voters: You haven’t made a stand for your political morals yet, but that’s a good place to start.
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.