by Gary Littlejohn for the Saker Blog
ABOVE: Macron inspects the troops during the 14 July parade in 2020. All the pomp and circumstance cannot hide the fact that France, like the rest of Europe, is wounded, a victim of advanced capitalism, its integration into US imperialism, and its inability to look at the problem with political honesty.
There have been reports recently in the French media that retired senior French military officers, and a lot of younger serving officers, had written an open letter to President Macron saying in effect that unless the French government took decisive action on the banlieues (suburbs, but here code for ‘immigrant’ areas) then the alternative could well be a civil war. To be clear, they were not threatening a coup, but urging the government to deal with what they saw as a serious, growing problem, a problem made still more acute by the despair and unrest manifested in the Yellow Vest series of demonstrations.
The letter was published on the 60th anniversary of the attempted military coup against President Charles de Gaulle over Algeria (21 April 2021). That date may not have much resonance these days, but I can say from personal experience that even on the 14th July 1961 (Bastille Day) tensions were very high in Paris, with machine gun nests on every corner around the Arc de Triomphe. It transpired decades later that there had also been a massacre of hundreds of Algerians at around this time, with the whole affair being completely covered up by the media. Here is the link to that open letter, which is referred to at times in commentaries as a ‘tribune’ or ‘platform’.
What does this imply for the cohesiveness of France, given the lengthy protests by the Yellow Vests (Gilets Jaunes) that were analysed so ably by Ramin Mazaheri on The Saker website? The growing Islamist unrest, which attracted greater attention after the Cathedral at Nantes was set on fire, is stretching the French police forces further at a time when a declared state of emergency has become the new normal in France, through legislative sleight of hand.
The mayor of a part of Paris, a woman of Algerian descent, has supported the sentiments expressed in this first letter, but the public government response was to discuss how those officers could be punished for their actions, and hypocritically to accuse the anonymous serving officers of cowardice for not signing their names, which would be a disciplinary offense.
More recently, we have seen a report of a future letter to be signed by 2,000 serving officers, making a similar argument, while apparently not threatening a coup.
See the second translation also in this link: https://thesaker.is/for-a-return-of-the-honor-of-our-rulers-20-generals-call-on-macron-to-defend-patriotism/
Yet in between these two political interventions there was a response from other military officers, who signed their letter:
This response makes some interesting points after calling for a deeper analysis of the causes of the problems raised by the first letter, and specifically calls out the dominance of finance capital, including what might be called ‘the Davos crowd’ and the use of secret (or ‘open but private’) social networks. Yet although it describes the earlier call for government action as little more than a pious prayer, it fails to make specific recommendations either, and (to my mind disingenuously) describes that earlier call to action as advocating civil war, when it did nothing of the kind. The first letter simply forecast that as a probable outcome if the government did nothing to deal with the problem, and there is little more that the armed forces could do without openly and illegally threatening French ‘democratic’ institutions.
The tone of hypocritical condemnation by politicians coupled with attempts to play down the issue is clearly demonstrated in this article in the UK newspaper The Guardian:
This sort of condemnation enabled the political class to avoid addressing the critique of the other military group, especially the points about finance capital and the social networks that were effectively alleged to subvert democratic institutions. However, on 11th May the ‘second’ letter, which had been circulating among the French media, was republished with an invitation to the public to sign it:
This showed that public support for the military critics was growing. The ‘second’ letter specifically claimed that, having fought in Africa, serving soldiers could recognise the signs of incipient societal collapse – a point that was ignored in the politicians’ responses, which were more focussed on the upcoming elections in France.
However, while the armed forces may well know what societal collapse looks like, that does not mean that they necessarily have a good explanation for such collapses in Africa, even if they are right to draw attention to the dangers in France at a time when the politicians are downplaying the negative trends there, and so are upset at having their narrative disrupted by a clear expression of alarm.
So what are the reasons for the societal collapse in so many parts of Africa? At least in part, they can be ascribed to the neocolonial financial policies and military interventions (including clandestine support for real or fake terrorist forces) originating from the EU member states and the USA. These in turn contribute to fostering the flows of refugees and economic migrants into the EU. To illustrate this point, it helps to look at some of the history of such policies and military interventions.
The changing political and economic context of French military policy in Africa
To help explain such changes in France’s military posture in the last 15 years, I must begin with an account of a conversation in Accra, Ghana in March 2006. That conversation was with three very senior French naval officers, at a conference on maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea, West Africa. This conference included representatives from 11 West African countries, from Senegal to Angola. I had gone to a quiet corner of the open-air bar with these officers because I wanted to learn more about their views on the conference theme. My interest in this was because my role at the conference was to chair the joint discussion group of Francophone and Lusophone countries, whereas an American was chairing the Anglophone group, and indeed the US Navy had convened and was running the whole conference, in conjunction with the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. The latter is part of the US Department of Defense and is based at Fort McNair, Washington, DC.
The French officers said that they found it difficult to understand why the British did not engage in “360 degrees security”, by which they meant that while France was in NATO, it was not a member of the integrated command system and so was able to pursue what was in many respects an independent defence and foreign policy that was not dominated by the USA. I was well aware that President Charles de Gaulle had taken France out of that NATO integrated command system, and that the senior military officer in NATO HQ in Brussels was always an American who was simultaneously the senior officer of US forces in Europe (EUCOM).
This military policy stance meant that France could more easily resist US pressure to engage in various military actions, and so could focus not only on the overseas French Departements which are still seen as integral parts of the French state but also on its former colonies in Africa, where the governments effectively depended on France. This dependence is induced partly by French control of their currencies, and partly by military support for (or interventions to change) African governments. There are two such currencies which are both usually called the CFA Franc: see
This tactic to remotely control former colonies had also been adopted in the past by the UK, both with the independence of the Republic of Ireland in the 1920s-30s, and in the early 1960s with Nigerian independence, for a much shorter period. In the case of France it has been running since the 1960s and is fully backed by the European Union [EU], since both CFA currencies are now tied to the Euro. This financial measure specifically devoted to France might also have been followed by Portugal if post-independence Mozambique had not secretly organised the logistics to print and mint a new paper and coin currency called the Metical to replace the Portuguese Escudo. Angola rapidly followed suit with the Kwacha.
To understand how and why the French military approach to Africa changed from “360 degree security” (implying a certain independence from US pressure) to a position of having French military action in Africa much more integrated with that of the USA, one needs to look at a fairly complex series of events, including prior changes related to the end of Apartheid in South Africa. To explain all this, it is necessary to start with a description of EU institutions and policies with respect to Africa. These events, together with political changes in France, constitute the context in which France re-entered the NATO integrated command structure and came to coordinate it actions in Africa with those of the USA and the UK.
The EU has long promoted policies that ‘favour’ the former colonies of its member states, especially in terms of a series of aid and trade policies for the African, Caribbean and Pacific [ACP] countries:
In the past, these countries had a series of 5 Lome Agreements, each lasting for about 5 years but more recently these agreements have been replaced by Economic Partnership Agreements [EPAs] which in my view are less favourable to ACP countries, and are framed by the Cotonou Agreement:
These Lome and Cotonou EPA agreements require prior acceptance of World Bank and IMF policies and ‘conditionalities’ as a condition for receiving EU aid, with the leverage being that the EU is the largest aid donor to Africa. In the past, such agreements did not also imply acceptance of competition from US companies, for example, with respect to tropical fruits. However, in 1988, as it became clear to the USA, the Soviet Union and the EU that the strategic military balance in southern Africa had turned against Apartheid South Africa, and that the African National Congress [ANC] had to be forced to negotiate with the ruling National Party to end Apartheid, the EU also realised that this implied independence for the UN Protectorate of South West Africa (soon to be called Namibia) and wished to ensure that this new country would also be ‘offered’ an ACP-type agreement.
In order to square this with the Secretary General of the ACP countries, secret negotiations were held in October 1988 granting some further concessions to the ACP in return for accepting a future EU-ACP type of trade deal with Namibia. This secret agreement continued to exclude US fruit companies from trading with the EU, and was incompatible with WTO rules. It took some years for the USA to notice this, and it only won a change in this situation after long WTO litigation in about 2002.
However, with the Soviet Union having fallen into line with US policy on southern Africa by 1988, thereby leaving the field open for the USA to play the major role in ensuring that Angola removed its Cuban troops as part of the general post-Apartheid re-structuring of the region, the USA both tried to install a secret military base in Botswana and massively increased its support for the rebel UNITA forces in Angola. The USA failed in its initial attempt to establish a secret base in Botswana (although it had succeeded in this by 2005) but despite the Congress cutting off aid to UNITA in 1991, the disbursement of the US aid already committed continued until at least July 1992, with the arrival of 183 Humvees in Angola at that time.
Despite this increasing US influence in Angola (with an active CIA presence and the arrival of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, which was 80 per cent funded by the US State Department) the EU supported the incumbent government of the MPLA. Yet it was terrified of doing so openly. The USA was doubtless aware of this, and presumably on later discovering that the EU was also undermining its policy on US companies trading with the EU, most probably started thinking that further military influence in Africa would enhance its role there at the expense of the dominance of the EU.
At around the same time, the USA wished to diversify its sources of oil and gas, given that its own supplies were diminishing, and so, before it had hit upon the idea of increasing domestic oil production by accessing shale oil, it looked to the newly-discovered oil field in the Gulf of Guinea, specifically that part of it controlled by the former Portuguese island colony of São Tomé and Principe. However, given the extent of piracy, illegal fishing and most importantly illegal oil bunkering (where a tanker ship with an armed crew would arrive at an offshore oil field and demand at gunpoint that the ship be filled up with crude oil and would then apparently disappear), the US realised that maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea would need to be increased. This was the basis for the conference that I was invited to participate in. In fact the Ghana conference in March 2006 was the second of three: the first had been in Abuja, the recently-built capital city of Nigeria, in March 2005, and the third was in Cotonou, the capital of Benin, in October 2006.
By the time of the meeting in Cotonou, the French officers were markedly less emphatic about the pursuit of an independent military policy with respect to Africa. The one who had been most willing to talk to me had been replaced. This was most probably owing to the increasing convergence of opinion with the USA about the ‘War on Terror’ against Islamist insurgencies not only in Afghanistan, but also in North Africa. Indeed within a year or so, I found out a lot more about this from talking to an English professor of social anthropology Jeremy Keenan, who specialised in the Tuareg peoples of North Africa. He had been following up on media reports about a new allegedly Islamist group led by a certain Mokhtar bel Mokhtar, who had been born in the Maghreb region of Algeria. This group had been kidnapping tourists in the Sahel region of North Africa, but the Algerian armed forces were apparently having trouble capturing them.
Keenan had been going to the various locations where the Algerian government claimed to have had battles with this ‘insurgent group’ which later took the name of Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and he had discovered that there was not a single empty cartridge case to be found in any of those locations. He had come to the conclusion that this was a false flag operation by the Algerian security service, probably operating in conjunction with French intelligence. This information was later published in 2009 as the book The Dark Sahara:
But Keenan had also told me that some vague verbal remarks of his about the Tuareg being engaged in smuggling across the Sahel had been taken up by the USA and other governments, but changed from smuggling cigarettes to imply that they were smuggling drugs and arms in support of Islamist terrorism. This official line of argument seemed to be motivated by a desire by the Algerian government to place a natural gas pipeline from the Gulf of Guinea across the Sahara to link up with the Algerian pipeline across the Mediterranean to Spain, thereby selling the gas into the EU network. To me the clear implication of this proposal was to reduce the dependence of the EU on Russian natural gas, and in fact I already knew about that proposal because it had already been pitched by the Algerians to the conference in Abuja, Nigeria in March 2005.
What I had not realised until Keenan told me about it was that the arms and drug smuggling claims had been used to target the Tuareg across the Sahel in various countries in the vain hope that pacifying them would mean that the proposed gas pipeline would not be sabotaged. In fact this ridiculous idea was totally counter-productive, because the Tuareg in ‘retaliation’ had been hit so hard that they had collectively decided that no such gas pipeline would ever be built, and indeed it never has been. See The Dying Sahara:
Keenan was by now publicly ridiculing the claims about Islamist terrorism across North Africa, but knew that the narrative would be pursued because he had discovered that by about 2007 France, the USA and the UK had established a joint intelligence centre covering North Africa in Paris. He handed me a copy of an article that he had published in the academic journal Critique of Anthropology where he had made this claim. By 2009, at about the time when Keenan’s first book The Dark Sahara was published, France had formally rejoined the NATO integrated command structure, thereby ending any possibility of a return to “360 degrees security”.
Meanwhile, in 2008 the US links with Gulf of Guinea coastal countries in Africa had presumably been augmented and fostered a growing influence that culminated in the formal establishment of the Africa Command (AFRICOM) in October 2008.
Clearly, unknown to me, work on this had started while the Gulf of Guinea conferences of 2005-6 were taking place. The ostensible reason for those conferences, namely safeguarding oil transits from the Gulf of Guinea to the USA while discouraging piracy and illegal fishing, had fallen by the wayside. (I had naively supported this by convincing myself that it would be good to encourage African countries to cooperate in combating illegal fishing, piracy and illegal bunkering.) The ‘War on Terror’ had been brought to Africa despite there having been no prior evidence for it.
The stage was thereby set, not only for ongoing ‘anti-terrorist’ military activity in Francophone Africa, but for dealing with the emergent threat posed by Libya’s leader Muamar Gaddafi’s proposal to establish a new oil-backed currency, to be called the Gold Dinar, which could be used to reduce the influence of the US dollar in global oil trading and to foster economic development in the Middle East and Africa. Just as with Saddam Hussein’s proposal to start using the Euro for selling oil, Gaddafi’s proposal soon led to his overthrow and death in 2011, in a classic US ‘leading from behind’ operation with France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and the UK’s David Cameron taking the joint operational lead.
France: Translation of Initial Response by Other Officers April 27 2021 – Part 2
Translated by Gary Littlejohn for the Saker Blog
Response to the call of a thousand military personnel
On April 20 and 25, 2021 we published on the site “When the soldiers speak, the hour is serious” as well as “For a return of the honor of our rulers”: 20 generals call on Macron to defend patriotism “.
In response to these publications, Rear Admiral Claude Gaucherand and various officers made the following communiqué which they jointly signed:
RESPONSE TO THE APPEAL OF THE THOUSAND MILITARY PERSONNEL.
Judging that there is danger in the house of France, twenty generals of the second section and more than a thousand soldiers drawn from the reserve cadre have launched an appeal to government authorities. Here without a spirit of controversy is the personal opinion of a group of citizens who have in common to have served for an active period of their lives as officers in one of the three Armed Forces. It is in this capacity that they share an anxiety concerning the present and future of France that more or less in the near term they will bequeath to their descendants.
In doing this however no one is claiming to represent the opinion of active military personnel nor to suggest any involvement on the part of the latter, those who are dedicated to serve their nation as a whole, actively and often at peril of their lives.
“The hour is serious, France is in peril, several mortal dangers threaten her.
It is therefore imperative that those who run our country find the courage to eradicate these dangers. To do this, it is often enough to apply existing laws without weakness. Remember that, like us, a large majority of our fellow citizens are overwhelmed by your dawdling and culpable silences.”
These military personnel make an observation that we can only share in its generality but it appears more debatable when one came to the more precise choice of the said dangers.
As for the solution to eradicate the great peril, it appears to be nothing more than a pious wish.
In effect, when one wishes to heal a wrong, it is appropriate to distinguish between the symptoms and the root of the wrong properly identified, and therefore to distinguish palliative care as physicians call it from curative treatment. They are complementary. The first without the second does not work and, more often, the second is not humanely supportable without the contribution of the first.
It is in this approach that our disagreement resides, for if we agree on the definition of these dangers they seem to us to be the simple symptoms of a more profound illness, the roots of which it is necessary to attack if one wants France to survive. Is it not illusory to demand of those who are administering the poison, in a manner that is probably consciously and doubtless in all sincerity, to really want to change the syringe for us to inject the antidote?
In its great majority our political class, that is served by a parliamentary system which is more than secular, has for decades been led astray by high finance which holds the purse strings and controls the mass media and which therefore decides who will or will not be elected, is served in that by all sorts of relays which are among others Bilderberg, Davos, the CRIF, and the brotherhoods.
This political class which Jean Pierre Chevènement had so lucidly described as equal-to-itself, served by a solid and deferential administration, is only there to execute the dictates of those who hold power, that is, high finance, dictates relayed by the organisation of the European Community composed of more than 25,000 bureaucrats who had been elected by no one but who are invested with the authority which treaties confer on them.
So whether it is immigration, the disintegration of the nation and the multiplication of lawless zones, the violence and the growth of hatred between communities, the political class at the controls only follows the roadmap dictated to it before leading to the destruction of the very old nation which we are, symbolic obstacle to rising globalism which it is necessary to make disappear.
This, which places France mortally in peril, is quite simply the unbridled liberalism which is inscribed in the marble of the treaties called European being translated by the de-industrialisation of the country just as much as by the lowering of our language, the use of ‘globish’ by the media, the intrusive publicity and … the Head of State himself; it is also the destruction of the tool of nuclear energy and the policy of self-flagellation at the highest level and on every occasion; it is still more the disintegration of national education and of the policy of public health; finally it is the placing in residence under surveillance of 66 million French people with the obligatory wearing of a muzzle [mask].
It is all of this which underlines our servile alignment to the Anglo-Saxon political and military doctrine which our membership of NATO and our lost sovereignty materialise.
Dear military comrades, here is that which we think it is our duty to respond to you.
Your appeal deservedly talks of the yellow vests. And if this were the way which finally permits one to attack the evil at the root while applying the measures which you advocate for your palliative treatment of which our nation feels a very urgent need? Let us recall this brief citation from the then President Charles de Gaulle: “France has need of a project”. In no case does it have need of a civil war.
Signatories: Claude Gaucherand, Rear Admiral (2S), Alain Corvez, Army Colonel (er), Bernie Le Van Xieu, Army Colonel (er), Jean-Marie Lauras, Air Colonel (er), Jean Marie Six IGA (2S), Jacques Hogard, Army Colonel (er), Michel Debray, Vice-Admiral (2S), Olivier Frot, Army Commissioner Colonel (er), Michel Lucas, Army Colonel (er), Hubert de Gevigny, Rear Admiral (2S), Philippe Bourcier de Carbon, Frigate Captain (er), Vivian Gauvin, Air Lieutenant Colonel (er), Jean Baptiste de Fontenilles, Army Colonel (er), Regis Chamagne, Air Colonel (er).
Translation of Second Military Appeal to the French Government.
There is now the possibility for the general public to sign it on and from 11 May 2021. There were almost 250,000 signatures on May 11th at 18.00h.
Editorial Introduction: [Exclusive] Sign the new military forum
For a few days, the rumor had been running that a new military platform was going to be unveiled. Coming from active soldiers, it supports the one previously published on the site of Current Values. This text, which is already circulating a lot and which the media echo, we have decided to publish it this evening. And to open it, at the bottom of this platform, for the signature of French citizens who would find it up to the challenges that are ours. While continuing, with a demanding methodology, to make ourselves available to military professionals who wish to take part. Like the previous one, the purpose of this forum is not to undermine our institutions but to alert people to the gravity of the situation.
To the President of the Republic,
Ministers, Members of Parliament,
General Officers, in your ranks and qualities,
We no longer sing the seventh verse of the Marseillaise, known as the “children’s verse”. Yet it is rich in lessons. Let us leave it to that verse to lavish them on us:
“We will enter the quarry when our elders are gone. We will find their dust there, and the traces of their virtues. Much less jealous of surviving them than of sharing their coffin, we will have the sublime pride of avenging them or of following them.”
Our elders are fighters who deserve to be respected. These are for example the old soldiers whose honor you have trampled on in recent weeks. It is these thousands of servants of France, signatories of a platform of common sense, soldiers who gave their best years to defend our freedom, obeying your orders, to wage your wars or to implement your budgetary restrictions, which you soiled while the people of France supported them.
These people who fought against all the enemies of France, you have treated them as factious when their only fault is to love their country and to mourn its visible downfall.
So it’s up to us, who recently entered the career, to step into the arena just to have the honor of telling the truth.
We are what the newspapers have called “the generation fire”. Men and women, active soldiers, of all armies and of all ranks, of all sensibilities, we love our country. These are our only claims to fame. And if we cannot, by law, express ourselves with our face uncovered, it is just as impossible for us to be silent.
Afghanistan, Mali, the Central African Republic or elsewhere, a number of us have experienced enemy fire. Some have left comrades there. They offered their skins to destroy the Islamism you are making concessions to on our soil.
Almost all of us have known Operation Sentinel. We saw with our own eyes the abandoned suburbs, the accommodation with delinquency. We have endured the attempts to instrumentalize several religious communities, for whom France means nothing – nothing but an object of sarcasm, contempt and even hatred.
We marched on July 14th. And this benevolent and diverse crowd, which acclaimed us because we are the emanation of it, we were asked to beware of it for months, by forbidding us to circulate in uniform, by making us potential victims, on a soil that we are nevertheless capable of defending.
Yes, our elders are right on the substance of their text, in its entirety. We see violence in our towns and villages. We see communitarianism taking hold in public space, in public debate. We see hatred for France and its history becoming the norm.
It may not be for the military to say that, you will argue. On the contrary: because we are apolitical in our assessments of the situation, it is a professional observation that we deliver. Because this decline, we have seen it in many countries in crisis. It precedes the collapse. It announces chaos and violence, and contrary to what you are asserting here and there, this chaos and this violence will not come from a “military pronunciamento” but from a civil insurrection.
To quibble about the shape of our elders’ platform instead of acknowledging the obviousness of their findings, you have to be cowardly. To invoke a duty of reserve badly interpreted in order to silence French citizens, one must be very deceitful. In order to encourage senior military officials to take a stand and expose themselves, before fiercely sanctioning them whenever they write anything other than battle stories, you have to be very perverse.
Cowardice, deceit, perversion: this is not our view of the hierarchy. On the contrary, the army is, par excellence, the place where we speak truthfully to each other because we commit our lives. It is this confidence in the military institution that we call for.
Yes, if a civil war breaks out, the military will maintain order on its own soil, because it will be asked to. This is even the definition of civil war. No one can want such a terrible situation, our elders no more than us, but yes, again, civil war is brewing in France and you know it perfectly well.
The cry of alarm of our Ancients finally sends back to more distant echoes. Our elders are the resistance fighters of 1940, whom people like you very often treated as factious, and who continued the fight while the legalists, transfixed with fear, were already betting on concessions with evil to limit the damage. ; these are the hairy 14, who died for a few meters of land, while you abandon, without reacting, entire districts of our country to the law of the strongest; they are all the dead, famous or anonymous, fallen at the front or after a lifetime of service.
All our elders, those who made our country what it is, who designed its territory, defended its culture, gave or received orders in its language, did they fight for you to let France become a failed state , which replaces its increasingly obvious sovereign powerlessness with a brutal tyranny against those of its servants who still want to warn it?
Take action, ladies and gentlemen. This time it is not about emotion on command, ready-made formulas or media coverage. It’s not about extending your (electoral) mandates or winning new ones. It is about the survival of our country, of your country.
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^5000The mainstream imperialist media lie CONSTANTLY. Literally 24/7. And it's getting worse.
All of them do it: radio, tv, the newspapers, the movies. The internet. No exceptions.
The corporate Big Lie is pervasive and totalitarian. CBS does it. NBC does it. ABC does it.
CNN does it. FOX does it. NPR does it. And of course the NYTimes and WaPo do it.
Thousands of "diverse" voices telling you the same lies. Enough to convince anyone.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of The Greanville Post