View Full Version : Paris Court Bans Book

June 18th, 2003, 09:47 PM

Paris court blocks book exposing corruption
By Philip Delves Broughton
(Filed: 19/06/2003)

A Paris court last night halted publication of a book by a former investigating magistrate that claims France is institutionally corrupt.

The book by Eva Joly, who uncovered political and financial corruption at the Elf oil company, is the first by a judge to have been blocked by the French courts.

The court ruled that publication of Is This The World We Want To Live In? might prejudice the trial of former Elf executives, now in its third month, which has already revealed the extent of political and financial corruption in France.

The court ordered that publication, intended for today, must be postponed until the trial is over. Mme Joly said she would appeal.

Arnaud Montebourg, a Socialist MP, said she should be given the Legion d'Honneur rather than be attacked for her honesty.

Mme Joly, 57, said the French establishment was one of the most rotten in Europe. "It is a country of networks that don't like to be challenged."

Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2003.

(Edited by chris at 9:48 pm on June 18, 2003)

June 19th, 2003, 04:17 PM
I'll bet they could find an American publisher...

June 19th, 2003, 09:24 PM
This probably explains why France betrayed America in its war on terror when help was needed most, our country being under imminent threat from the weapons of mass destruction Saddam was giving to Al Qaeda. Our good friend Italy, on the other hand...

June 19, 2003

Parliament in Italy Passes Immunity Law for Berlusconi


ROME, June 18 The Italian Parliament tonight granted Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi immunity from prosecution while he remains in office, in effect suspending his corruption trial days before he assumes the rotating presidency of the European Union.

Mr. Berlusconi's supporters passed a bitterly contested immunity law that protects the top five officials in Italy's government from prosecution while in office. The vote was 302 to 17, with 13 abstentions, but almost all opposition members had left the 630-seat Chamber of Deputies in protest at the time of the vote. The Senate had passed the bill earlier.

Italy's president, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, is expected to sign the law quickly so that it takes effect before July 1, when Italy takes over the presidency of the European Union.

Supporters of Mr. Berlusconi said tonight, as they have in the passage of previous measures that benefited the prime minister, that the laws were in the country's best interest and necessary to protect him from politically motivated prosecutors. Critics say the laws are tailor-made to help Mr. Berlusconi, who is Italy's wealthiest man, elude prosecution for questionable business deals made before he took office.

Those debates have surfaced repeatedly since he took office in 2001, centering on everything from his legal travails to his purported conflict of interest as media baron and prime minister.

This time, the stakes are higher because Mr. Berlusconi is about to step more prominently into the international spotlight. On Tuesday, he spent an hour defending himself before a court in Milan, where he is accused of bribing judges in Rome to influence the sale of a state-controlled food company in the 1980's.

James Walston, a political science professor at American University in Rome, said tonight after the law passed that "the big international damage is that Berlusconi will be perceived as trying to crowbar his way out of judicial troubles."

"But Berlusconi is saying `I don't trust the Italian judicial system,"' he added.

Mr. Berlusconi has said the seven-year duration of the Milan trial shows that he is the object of a witch-hunt. He has always denied any wrongdoing in the matter.

He predicted as recently as May that the "immunity law will not be passed in the near future because the immunity law will need several months, perhaps more than a year."

Prosecutors can still appeal the new law in hopes that the country's highest court will rule it unconstitutional, but government officials said they were confident that would not happen.

If the law stands, the court appearance by Mr. Berlusconi on Tuesday his third was almost certainly his last as a sitting prime minister facing criminal charges.

Immunity for Italian lawmakers was largely revoked after the corruption scandals of the early 1990's brought down the political establishment. The new law reinstates immunity for the president, the prime minister, two Parliament speakers and the chief justice.

The Tuesday appearance was replete with theatrical moments, and one of Mr. Berlusconi's television stations replayed the entire deposition that night.

"Throwing doubt and mud on the prime minister's office throws doubt and mud on the entire country," Mr. Berlusconi said, gesticulating fiercely and waving papers in front of judges and television cameras.

By virtue of his media ownership and his position as prime minister, he has either direct control or potentially powerful influence over six of the seven national channels.

"It's a law of privilege; it's not democratic for one person to have so much power," said Giuseppe Fanfani, an opposition lawmaker who sits on the Chamber's justice commission.

Mr. Fanfani also doubted the new law's constitutionality, although he admitted that even if it were eventually overturned, the six-month presidency of the European Union would then have passed to another nation.

Milan judges recently separated the trial of Mr. Berlusconi from others in the case because his busy schedule kept him away from court too much.

His co-defendants include his former defense minister, business partner and close friend Cesare Previti, who will have no such shield in the coming weeks.

While the immunity law might postpone Mr. Berlusconi's trial until his term ends in 2006, it may prove politically difficult for him to shake shadows cast by any guilty verdicts for close associates like Mr. Previti.

"The other verdicts will happen before the E.U. semester is over, and if they are found guilty, there is a big implication that Berlusconi is guilty," Mr. Walston said. "In law, that would be guilt by association, but this is politics, and that will be morally very damaging."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

June 26th, 2003, 03:11 AM
There is actually quite the hefty double standard being pursued in the US and British media vis-a-vis internal affairs of Iraq allies and opponents. While "Benito" Berlusconi weathers any criticism over his conquest of virtually the entire private Italian media and acquisition of an immunity status the Pope would envy, Russia (and especially Putin) is lambasted because of mere suspicions of Kremlin involvement in the rapid collapse of that country's last independent television news broadcaster.

June 26th, 2003, 11:03 AM
If that's so, then why do I know all about the former and have only just now heard about the later?

June 26th, 2003, 02:12 PM
I guess it's gotten more attention in Britain.

Undoubtedly Berlusconi has gotten more coverage overall, but the tone of that coverage has been surprisingly neutral.

And of course there's been a substantial improvement concerning such skewed coverage since the end of the war- remember those ludicrous stories promulgated by Fox News concerning French passports being used by Iraqi leaders to escape or French weapons being fired on American soldiers?

(Edited by czsz at 2:18 pm on June 26, 2003)

June 26th, 2003, 03:17 PM
I'm not in Britain, I'm in New York.

Ludicrous? France was Iraq's second largest arms supplier for decades (after Russia). It's not that I'm sure French munitions were used against American forces, they'd almost have to have been, that's where they'd been buying them from for ages. In the event you may have forgotten, France was building Iraq a nuclear reactor up until Israel bombed it. In a country with the world's second largest oil reserves, do you really think that reactor was for "civilian energy needs" as Iraq and France claimed?

Second from left, Saddam, far right, Chirac.

(Edited by chris at 5:10 pm on June 26, 2003)

June 26th, 2003, 08:44 PM
What a scoop. Let's see if czsz can dig up one concerning America's sell of weapons to Irak. I suppose you couldn't have learned of it on Fox News.

June 26th, 2003, 09:42 PM
Is that Robert De Niro between Saddam and Shirac?

June 26th, 2003, 09:53 PM
De Niro!
I was thinking how much he looked like Peter Sellers!

Scene from Dr. Strangelove:

...No, here's the one:

He looks just like that guy!

(Edited by chris at 11:34 am on June 27, 2003)

June 26th, 2003, 10:04 PM
OK Christian, tell us of America's sell of weapons to Iraq.
If you have the big inside scoop let's hear it.

Here is what I know of that you will find:

Beginning with the Carter administration, timid overtures were made to Iraq when Iran took American hostages during the Iranian revolution.
Under the Reagan administration, when Iraq invaded Iran, America provided Iraq will satellite reconnaissance images of Iranian troop movements but would not turn over or sell any actual technology, only the information. France made a lot of money selling Iraq weapons and Russia (or technically speaking, the former U.S.S.R.) made a lot of money selling weapons to both sides of the conflict.

Iraq's airforce was made up of French Mirage fighter jets, French helicopters, and Soviet manufactured Migs.

Iraq's army uses modified Soviet manufactured tanks and transport vehicles.

In the 70s and early 80s, Iraqi universities acquired Anthrax spores from American Universities under the premise of medical research. At the time it was not regulated and the exchanges between the universities took place without notifying the US government because they were technically not required to. Incidentally, they were liberal universities that took exception with the government culture's "paranoid" attitude to the distribution of such materials.

After much debate, Stinger shoulder launched missiles were supplied to the Afghans fighting the Soviets. I believe this happened at the very end of Reagan's second term. This was a controversial move that had been consider and abandon several times before they were finally provided. It is thought that these have now been reverse engineered in Pakistan and have made there way to various parts of the middle east, possibly Iraq.

If you know of something more than I've stated here, please inform.

(Edited by chris at 11:36 am on June 27, 2003)

June 27th, 2003, 08:13 PM
I wasn't referring to historical sales of weapons, the allegations I referenced concerned recent (post-Gulf War weapons sales) which were made on Fox News and other prowar cable news networks. I acknowledge French collusion with Iraq in weapons sales prior to the Gulf War, an activity in which a diverse array of countries participated, including the United States.

To this end, I'd be happy to oblige in providing information on the related issue of American relations with Iraq prior to the Gulf War.

October 12, 2002 article in Counterpunch Magazine (http://www.counterpunch.org/boles1010.html):

"The US not only helped arm Iraq with military equipment right up to the time of the Kuwait invasion in 1989, as did Germany, Britain, France, Russia and others, but also sold and helped Iraq to integrate chemical weapons into their US-provided battle plans while fighting Iran between 1985-1988."
"Details about Iraq killing Iranians with US-supplied chemical and biological weapons significantly deepens our understanding of the current hypocrisy. It began with "Iraq-gate" -- when US policy makers, financiers, arms-suppliers and makers, made massive profits from sales to Iraq of myriad chemical, biological, conventional weapons, and the equipment to make nuclear weapons. Reporter Russ Baker noted, for example, that, "on July 3, 1991, the Financial Times reported that a Florida company run by an Iraqi national had produced cyanide -- some of which went to Iraq for use in chemical weapons -- and had shipped it via a CIA contractor." This was just the tip of a mountain of scandals."
"A PBS Frontline episode, "The Arming of Iraq" (1990) detailed much of the conventional and so-called "dual-use" weapons sold to Iraq. The public learned from other sources that at least since mid-1980s the US was selling chemical and biological material for weapons to Iraq and orchestrating private sales. These sales began soon after current Secretary of State, Donald Rumsfeld traveled to Baghdad in 1985 and met with Saddam Hussein as a private businessman on behalf of the Reagan administration. In the last major battle of the Iran-Iraq war, some 65,000 Iranians were killed, many by gas."
"Investigators turned up new scandals, including the involvement of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL), the giant Italian bank, and many of the very same circles of arms suppliers, covert operators, and policy makers in and out of the US government and active in those roles for years. The National Security Council, CIA and other US agencies tacitly approved about $4 billion in unreported loans to Iraq through the giant Italian bank's Atlanta branch. Iraq, with the blessing and official approval of the US government, purchased computer controlled machine tools, computers, scientific instruments, special alloy steel and aluminum, chemicals, and other industrial goods for Iraq's missile, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs."
"By late 1992, the sales of chemical and biological weapons were revealed. Congressional Records of Senator Riegle's investigation of the Gulf War Syndrome show that that the US government approved sales of large varieties of chemical and biological materials to Iraq. These included anthrax, components of mustard gas, botulinum toxins (which causes paralysis of the muscles involving swallowing and is often fatal), histoplasma capsulatum (which may cause pneumonia, enlargement of the liver and spleen, anemia, acute inflammatory skin disease marked by tender red nodules), and a host of other nasty chemicals materials."
"But initially many arms suppliers opposed the war on Iraq because they had been making huge profits from arms sales to Saddam's regime during the 1980s. Indeed, one US official interviewed expressed his disappointment with Iraq's invasion and the subsequent Gulf War because the relationship with Iraq could have continued to be "very profit...uh mutually profitable."

April 1998 issue, Progressive Magazine:

"Most Americans listening to the President did not know that the United States supplied Iraq with much of the raw material for creating a chemical and biological warfare program. Nor did the media report that U.S. companies sold Iraq more than $1 billion worth of the components needed to build nuclear weapons and diverse types of missiles, including the infamous Scud. When Iraq engaged in chemical and biological warfare in the 1980s, barely a peep of moral outrage could be heard from Washington, as it kept supplying Saddam with the materials he needed to build weapons."
"During the Iran-Iraq war, Iraq received the lion's share of American support because at the time Iran was regarded as the greater threat to U.S. interests. According to a 1994 Senate report, private American suppliers, licensed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, exported a witch's brew of biological and chemical materials to Iraq from 1985 through 1989. Among the biological materials, which often produce slow, agonizing death, were:
* Bacillus Anthracis, cause of anthrax.

* Clostridium Botulinum, a source of botulinum toxin.

* Histoplasma Capsulatam, cause of a disease attacking lungs, brain, spinal cord, and heart.

* Brucella Melitensis, a bacteria that can damage major organs.

* Clostridium Perfringens, a highly toxic bacteria causing systemic illness.

* Clostridium tetani, a highly toxigenic substance.
Also on the list: Escherichia coli (E. coli), genetic materials, human and bacterial DNA, and dozens of other pathogenic biological agents. "These biological materials were not attenuated or weakened and were capable of reproduction," the Senate report stated. "It was later learned that these microorganisms exported by the United States were identical to those the United Nations inspectors found and removed from the Iraqi biological warfare program."
"The report noted further that U.S. exports to Iraq included the precursors to chemical-warfare agents, plans for chemical and biological warfare production facilities, and chemical-warhead filling equipment. The exports continued to at least November 28, 1989, despite evidence that Iraq was engaging in chemical and biological warfare against Iranians and Kurds since as early as 1984."

Le Monde Diplomatique, February 2003 er%22&hl=en&ie=UTF-8
US-Iraq weapons sales: the dossier

If anyone knows about those weapons, it is Donald Rumsfeld. In December 1983 he was sent to Baghdad as President Ronald Reagan's special envoy to restore relations. The Iraq-Iran war was at its height and, on 26 November 1983, the Reagan administration issued a secret directive (one of the few from his era that remains classified) to help Baghdad counter the Islamic revolution (1). Thanks to Rumsfeld's mission, diplomatic ties between the countries resumed several months later. The US leaders knew the Iraqi army was using chemical weapons. They paid no attention and supplied military and other assistance (2). US aid involved weapons of mass destruction. Between 1991 and 1998 UN inspectors found the US had sold Iraq missile components, and chemical and biological agents. German, French and British companies were also involved, particularly in conventional weapons sales. US-Iraqi cooperation turned ugly with the Halabja massacre of March 1988, when 7,000 Kurds were gassed by Saddam Hussein's army. The US State Department, aware of Iraq's responsibility, launched a disinformation campaign blaming Iran. Joost Hiltermann, who is writing a book about US policy on Iraq, says: "The story was cooked up in the Pentagon. A newly declassified State Department document demonstrates that US diplomats received instructions to press this line with US allies, and to decline to discuss the details" (3).

(1) See "US Had Role in Iraq Buildup", Washington Post, 30 December 2002.

(2) See Alain Gresh, "Target Baghdad" in Le Monde diplomatique English language edition, September 2002.

(3) Joost R Hiltermann, "America didn't seem to mind poison gas," International Herald Tribune, Paris, 17 January 2003.

(Edited by czsz at 8:14 pm on June 27, 2003)