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Archive for July 19th, 2007

We knew for some time that this moment was coming, although perhaps he is going to be luckier that it seemed before.

THE judicial trail is closing in on France’s former president, Jacques Chirac. On Thursday July 19th a judge investigating a fake jobs scheme that allegedly benefited members of the ruling party (during Mr Chirac’s time as mayor of Paris) interviewed him as a “material witness”, meaning he was allowed to have a lawyer present and that he could, at a later stage, become the subject of a formal investigation.

The fake-jobs case is being led by Alain Philibeaux, a judge in Nanterre. Alain Juppé, Mr Chirac’s right-hand man when he was mayor from 1977-95, was convicted of political corruption in the same case in 2004. On Thursday Mr Chirac wrote in Le Monde that he was “ready to testify…in good faith”, and that he would tell investigators that the legality of party financing had been unclear for much of the time that he ran Paris. Mr Chirac may also have to testify in another case, led by Xavière Simeoni, a judge in Paris, also concerning fake jobs at the Paris town hall.

Mr Chirac’s presidential immunity expired in June and he faces a plethora of legal headaches. His lawyer, Jean Veil, argues that France’s constitution states that “The president of the republic shall incur no liability by reason of acts carried out in this official capacity.” In other words, Mr Chirac will co-operate with judicial investigations into periods before he became president in 1995, but not after. This decision, Mr Veil said, was “absolutely definitive”.

That leaves him open to questioning over the earlier fake-jobs case. But the claimed immunity would probably prevent his being mired in investigations into a controversial and messy plot known as the “Clearstream affair” which concerns alleged attempts to smear certain politicians by claiming (falsely) that they profited illegally from an arms deal in 1991.

Although Mr Chirac may avoid the Clearstream investigation his last prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, has not been so lucky. He has been summoned to meet two investigating judges on July 27th who may put him under formal investigation.

French political scandal | Jacques in the box | Economist.com

According to Le Monde, Chirac’s lawyer has said his statement has been a “calm and polite” one:

“Vous avez observé que c’est une audition qui dans la pratique judiciaire est relativement courte, elle s’est passée dans la sérénité, la courtoisie, a déclaré son avocat Me Jean Veil. L’ancien président de la République a été entendu en tant que “témoin assisté”, intermédiaire entre le mis en examen et le simple témoin. Ce statut permet à une personne d’être assistée de son avocat mais n’implique pas de poursuites.

 What did they expect? That Chirac was going to bite his nails? To shout at Judges? To insult them? Of course not, that would have been nearly as admitting he was responsible.

Le Monde also publishes an article written by Chirac, about the parties’ financing in France. Basically he considers that the political parties have adapted themselves to the evolution from a system where no regulation existed about their financing to another one in which it is ruled by law. He considers that, being the man who wanted to break with the past and who wanted to guarantee the transparency of the public accounts, the accusations against him are not very rational. He also points out that the cases in which someone has taken public money for personal interests, have been not very common and have ended punished for that.

Saint Jacques Chirac, then.

Of course, and I am Muhammad Ali. The fact that there are very few sentenced does not mean the corruption is not great. Normally the politicians -and in general all corrupt people- are bright enough -or their lawyers- not to leave trails or, if they do that, normally is so vague is practically impossible to detect them.

Related posts:

The last French scandal.

Miterrand let the Rwandan genocide happen because he feared Anglo-Saxon influence! -Clearstream investigation goes on.

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 A month ago I linked to the Project of the Muslim Brotherhood, in which among other things, there is a:

flexible, multi-phased, long-term approach to the “cultural invasion” of the West. Calling for the utilization of various tactics, ranging from immigration, infiltration, surveillance, propaganda, protest, deception, political legitimacy and terrorism, The Project has served for more than two decades as the Muslim Brotherhood “master plan”. As can be seen in a number of examples throughout Europe – including the political recognition of parallel Islamist government organizations in Sweden, the recent “cartoon” jihad in Denmark, the Parisian car-burning intifada last November, and the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London – the plan outlined in The Project has been overwhelmingly successful.

Well, it looks like that this Project is also what has inspired Hamas coup in Gaza last June, and the liberation of BBC journalist Alan Johnston, after showing him in a “bomb vest” video.

Recent events in the Gaza Strip have pushed Hamas into a position of power which has been unprecedented since January 26, 2006 when election results were announced. Those elections saw the terrorist group officially becoming the head of the Palestinian parliament. Hamas evolved as the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood [NOTE: remember that Abbas’ franchise, that is, Fatah also was born from the Muslim Brotherhood]. The developments which have taken place since June 15 this year, when Hamas took the Gaza strip by force, have happened in line with the recommendations in a document entitled “The Project”.

The Project was the name given to a 14-page document in Arabic, which was discovered on November 7, 2001, at the Swiss home of Muslim Brotherhood member and terrorist financier Youssef Moustafa Nada of the Al Taqwa Bank. The “Project” document, which was dated December 1, 1982, contains 12 major points, detailing a strategy for conquest of the West. Youssef Nada claimed not to know who wrote the document, though it was widely suspected to be the handiwork of Said Ramadan, son-in-law of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

[…] The release of one journalist [it is speaking about BBC correspondent Alan Johnston], albeit a welcome measure in itself, was seen by some UK politicians to absolve Hamas of more than a decade of bloodshed against Israeli civilians. British MPs, exposed to the BBC’s uncritical coverage, were denying one certain fact – that Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah leader of the Palestinian authority, had been working to the same end since the time Johnston was captured. The Hamas publicity machine led to other politicians clamoring for the terrorist group to gain political legitimacy. The new Foreign Secretary in Gordon Brown’s cabinet, David Miliband, has offered praise to Hamas for its involvement in the release. In parliament Miliband “fully acknowledged the crucial role” of Hamas in securing Johnston’s freedom, and hinted at the prospect of future negotiations, provided Hamas recognized Israel’s legitimacy.

While politicians praised Hamas in the UK parliament, a similar reaction infected members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

[…] When Shalit was kidnapped by militants, when only 20 years old, both Hamas and the “Army of Islam” claimed responsibility. The “Army of Islam” – the same group that kidnapped Alan Johnston – later claimed that Hamas alone was responsible for detaining the Israeli soldier. Reuters claims Hamas, the Popular Resistance Committees and the Army of Islam worked together to capture Corporal Shalit, whose health is now deteriorating.

So who is the Army of Islam, and were they really acting in defiance of Hamas’ leadership by kidnapping Alan Johnston? The “Army of Islam” has membership connected to a local clan from the Sabra district of Gaza, the Dogmush (Dughmush) family. Its leader is Mumtaz Dogmush. At the end of June, Hamas shot dead a member of the Dogmush clan, and in retaliation nine Hamas students were kidnapped by the Army of Islam. On July 2, the Army of Islam’s spokesman was kidnapped. On July 3, a day before Johnston’s release, Hamas flooded Sabra with gunmen, and the following day Mumtaz Dogmush had talks with Ahmad Jabari, leader of Hamas’ military wing. The nine Hamas students were released, and four Army of Islam hostages were also released by Hamas. Shortly after this, Johnston was freed.

That, at least, is the official version of events. An Islamic cleric had been called by Mumtaz Dogmush, and the cleric told both factions that kidnapping was “un-Islamic”. Behind the official account, there appear to have been deals which have been denied by both Hamas and the Army of Islam. It is alleged by Ma’an news agency that the Army of Islam was paid $5 million as part of the deal, and also they were given the right to keep their weaponry. According to Palestinian sources, it was further agreed by Hamas to give a million Kalashnikov bullets to the Army of Islam, and also a promise that their spokesman would be released.

[…] Hamas is on the brink of gaining political legitimacy with Britain at least, after a wilderness period of more than a year. If Britain can be persuaded to recognize Hamas, then the EU could be expected to follow suit, despite Hamas murdering 2,000 Israeli civilians and enacting a military coup in the Gaza Strip. But this analysis is too simplistic. Hamas has been operating a tighter long-term strategy, and despite the fawning reactions of some politicians, Alan Johnston was a mere pawn in a calculated game-plan. As the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas has acted in concordance with the codes laid out in the 12 “points of departure” described in the 14 page Brotherhood document known as “The Project”. In Part Two, I will describe these strategies in detail.

Hamas, Gaza and the Muslim Brotherhood’s project | Daily Estimate

I am looking forward to the next dispatch…

Also read: War is ensured from Jihadi du jour:

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced on Wednesday that he was working toward holding early parliamentary and presidential elections and said there would be no dialogue with Hamas until the Islamist movement ended its violent “coup” in the Gaza Strip.

If Abbas were to allow things to continue on their present course the split within “Palestine” would continue to widen. By refusing to talk to Hamas and calling for early elections, Abbas is ensuring more murderous attacks. The situation he is in was started centuries ago and has only escalated at an increasing rate over the last 59 years. There is nothing he can do about it.

Even if Abbas calls early elections, it’s unlikely that the vote would also be held in the Gaza Strip. Hamas officials have made it clear that they won’t accept early elections under the current circumstances.

Israel may get a mild reprieve when Hamas declares it’s own state and continues to agitate in the West Bank. The “Palestinian” civil war has started. Abbas versus Mashaal is where we stand now. Who has the power, authority, and resolve to win this conflict? As of now the edge goes to Hamas. They have the finances from Syria and Iran as well as the arms and hatred to go with it.

Well, in fact, the Palestinian Civil War started a lot of time ago…

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