After 40 years, a victim of Franco’s Spain tells her story

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Lidia Falcón in an archival photo, likely taken before her seventh and final arrest under the Franco dictatorship. The leftist lawyer and feminist was falsely linked to a crime allegedly carried out by Basque separatists in Madrid in September 1974. A café frequented by secret police was the target. Falcón had nothing to do with the attack at all, but that didn’t stop the dying dictator’s sadists from doing their worst to her. For 40 years she was unable to talk about it. Now, she tells her story to Público:

Lidia Falcón was tortured to the limit in the fall of 1974. She was beaten, insulted and humiliated. But not only in prison. In the official media as well. The daily newspaper, ABC, didn’t hesitate to publish her photo on the front page and link her to an ETA attack on the Rolando coffeehouse in Correo Street, near the Puerta del Sol, on September 13, 1974. Falcón had nothing to do with that massacre. But for the police, the Franco régime, and for its hangers-on, it was all the same. She was arrested in Barcelona and transferred to Madrid three days after the attack. She thought she would never get out of jail. That they would kill her first. Franco was near death, and the hatred of his Political and Social Brigade was running rampant throughout Spain. Tortures unimaginable today were commonplace.

The lawyer, writer and founder of the Feminist Party has taken 40 years to recount that dramatic episode of her life. The nine months she spent in prison and the nine days she suffered the interrogations of Billy the Kid and Roberto Conesa. She kept it hidden as much as possible, she doesn’t really know why, she says. Every victim manages the trauma of torture as well as they can. Every person has their own defence mechanism. Silence and pretending were the methods Falcón chose.

Today, forty years later, she has decided to put those tortures in writing and present a denunciation before the Argentine embassy in Madrid as part of the so-called Argentine Case, the only judicial proceeding currently investigating the crimes of the Franco dictatorship and the Spanish Civil War.

“They arrested me seven times between 1960 and 1974, but no one has ever been told what I lived through during that last detention. Why? I don’t know,” Lidia Falcón told Público. She says she finally decided to take that step and make the denunciation in order to “help my comrades who are making such a great effort to put an end to the impunity of Franco-fascism.”

On September 16, 1974, three days after the ETA attack, the Politico-Social Brigade (BPS) arrived at Lidia Falcón’s office to arrest her and take her to Madrid, accusing her of taking part in the attack by planting an explosive charge in the Rolando Coffeehouse in Madrid, a place frequented by the BPS police. They had no evidence. They probably also knew that Falcón was not implicated. But it was all the same to them. They forced her into a car and drove her to Madrid. The same for her daughter and her companion, Eliseo Bayo. They wouldn’t even let her go to the bathroom during the 12-hour trip.

The worst, obviously, was still to come. Falcón spent nine days in the Franco-fascist terror’s station. “They threw Grimau out the window there. They tortured him to the point of uselessness. One thinks it’s possible not to talk about it, that it not come out,” Falcón said, in front of the Argentine embassy in Madrid. “They were furious and hungry for revenge. We can’t forget that 13 people had just died, and there were 84 injured,” Falcón continues.

A doctor examined her upon arrival. “Do you suffer from any illness?” he asked her. “I’ve recently had hepatitis,” she replied. Billy the Kid and Roberto Conesa now had the perfect target to destroy their victim: “They hit me in the stomach and in the liver and tugged at my arms until I thought they’d fall out.” This for three days. No sleep, no food, no drink. Between beatings, they talked about her daughter: “She’s in jail. Maybe she’ll find a boyfriend.”

After 72 hours in detention, she was visited in her jail cell by the instructing judge, the commander of the First Military Tribunal of Judges and Officials of Madrid, and after a lengthy interrogation, Falcón signed a declaration in which she did not confess to participation in the attack, nor any relations with the terrorists. “I’ve asked myself whether the CIA was implicated in the attack,” Falcón remembers, describing how the judge thumped his chest and exclaimed, “I will not allow betrayals of this uniform!”

After the official left, she was returned to her cell. The next day, Billy the Kid and Conesa came back for her. They handcuffed her to two hooks in the ceiling, but Falcón’s wrists were too small. Her 50 kilograms of body weight were not enough to fill the cuffs. Falcón fel again and again. Finally, they tied her with ropes and began to punch her in the abdomen, stomach and liver.

“Do you recall anything Billy the Kid said to you during the interrogation?” asked a journalist.

“Yes. Of course. There’s one thing that I’ll never forget. Ever. While he was beating me about the stomach, he said to me, ‘Now you’ll never stand up again, whore,'” replied Falcón, recalling that after the interrogations, she had to have five surgeries to try to repair the damage from the tortures to her shoulders, stomach and uterus.

Like other victims of Antonio González Pacheco, alias Billy the Kid, Falcón remembers his face well. Those eyes that sparkled upon seeing another’s pain, which enjoyed inflicting terror and exercising the superiority of having a victim tied up and free rein to torture. “He was a sadist. He liked it. You could see he was enjoying those moments,” Falcón adds, recalling that she finished most of the torture sessions by losing consciousness.

When she fainted, they untied her and laid her on the floor. They woke her with a bucket of water. Then the doctor examined her, checking the whites of her eyes and her blood pressure. “Let her rest,” he usually recommended. She remained on the floor, wet, for hours, until they brought her back to her cell. The next day, the tortures continued. On the sixth day, the torturers could not continue with the same abuses. They could not hang her from the wall because she would lose consciousness quickly as a result. Then, when she awoke, she went on receiving punches and kicks while lying on the ground.

On the ninth day, they transferred her to the Women’s Prison of Yeserías in Madrid. The tendons of her arms were torn, as were her uterus and abdominal muscles. She spent nine months in that prison. On June 11, 1975, they gave her provisional freedom and a fine of 30,000 pesetas. Though she had been accused, she never went to trial. In fact, No one ever went on trial for that ETA attack. Neither she, nor the other 21 accused.

Years later, Falcón went to the Historical Archive to look for the documents from her stay in prison, her detention, and the seven arrests. They didn’t exist. Her name only appears on a document which recounts a conversation between two police officers. “Everything has been eliminated. It’s part of the pact of silence of the Transition. Everything stays behind. There are no guilty parties. No one was sentenced. No investigations. Spain is a single country, and bipartisanism shares a big part of the blame,” Falcón says.

Translation mine.

In case you wonder why Argentina should be involved in this case, you may recall what I blogged a few weeks ago about the exchanges between the military academies of Spain and Argentina. Even as Franco’s régime was in its last gasps (literally, since the dictator was on his deathbed), that of Argentina was just around the corner. Already the fascist (“anticommunist”) brigades, both military and civilian, were harassing Argentine leftists, and bodies were beginning to fall. In a country with a long history off generals-as-presidents, a military coup is never far behind, and in 1976, it finally happened. The fragile Argentine democracy crumbled even as an equally fragile and uncertain so-called democracy emerged from the dictator’s death in Spain. It was like the two countries sat at either end of a see-saw: as one went up, the other went down.

But even as the public balance was shifting, something covert was going on, something that would assure the continuation of fascism, its migration between one Spanish-speaking land and another. Spanish and Argentine military officers were involved in an exchange program, and specifically one dealing in so-called “counterinsurgency” methods. In plain English: Terrorism, murder, torture, abduction, permanent disappearance of victims, and erasure of their very names from the records. Officers from one country went to train in the other, and vice versa. The new Spanish democracy was a sham, as much as the former Argentine one had been. In truth, fascism would continue unabated, hidden. Just as the Argentines had their secret prisons in places the public never suspected, so did the Spaniards harbor their torturers in plain sight. And this even with Franco in his grave, and a two-party electoral system supposedly now in place. Officers and torturers of both régimes enjoyed total impunity, and some still do to this day.

It’s getting late, and yet there is so much still to be done to bring real democracy to Spain and Argentina. As long as the victims live, the torturers’ crimes can still come to light…even after 40 years or more.

Ontario sex-ed fight gets ugly. What century is this, again?

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Good lord. I would have thought that teaching kids the facts of life at public school was no longer even a little bit controversial, but apparently it’s become just that. AGAIN. And today, in the Ontario Legislature, the pot boiled over:

Progressive Conservative MPP Monte McNaughton (Lambton-Kent-Essex), a leadership hopeful, attacked Premier Kathleen Wynne on Tuesday for not doing enough to consult parents before implementing the new syllabus that takes effect in September.

McNaughton told the house that the premier should not be imposing views upon mothers and fathers concerned about the revised program designed to protect children by better informing them about sex.

Note that the oh-so-concerned-for-concerned-parents Mr. McNaughton is a Conservative “leadership hopeful”. Hence all his laudable, laudable concern for the unheard voices of parents who don’t want their kids learning anything about sex at school. His leadership hopes took a bit of a trouncing, though, at the hands of the woman whose job he’s eyeballing:

Wynne, Ontario’s first female premier and lone openly lesbian first minister, suggested the Tory MPP was being homophobic when he said Monday “it’s not the premier of Ontario’s job — especially Kathleen Wynne — to tell parents what’s age-appropriate for their children.”

“What is it that especially disqualifies me for the job that I’m doing? Is it that I’m a woman? Is it that I’m a mother? Is it that I have a master’s of education? Is it that I was a school council chair? Is it that I was the minister of education?” she told the house.

“What is it exactly that the member opposite thinks disqualifies me from doing the job that I’m doing? What is that?”

Yeah, Monte, go on going after her job. After all, she’s just a trained schoolteacher with a master’s degree, a former provincial education minister, AND a parent. What the hell would SHE know about age-appropriate sex ed?

Could the real reason he’s so squiffy toward her new curriculum be none other than the simple fact that she’s gay? Or is it something more sinister, namely the anti-intellectual bent that we’ve seen so much of in the Ontario SupposiTories since the bad old days of Mike Harris and his No-Sense Devolution, when he put a high-school drop-out in charge of the provincial education ministry and basically ordered ol’ Snowballs to ransack it and leave no textbook untorn? The same generation that grew up on a starved education system now takes such governmental neglect for not only normal, but a correct course of action. Twenty years of undoing the good work of William B. Davis, the Education Premier?

Yeah, let’s stay the course. That’s still an electable strategy, right? I mean, just look at the peanut gallery these guys are playing to:

McNaughton and one of his rival PC leadership candidates — MP Patrick Brown (Barrie) — met with the raucous protesters, many of whom brandished anti-abortion signs.

Yup, it’s the anti-intellectual brigade, out in full force against anything that might inform their kids more and better than they themselves would! To hear this crowd talk, you’d think that just not telling kids anything about sex at all, other than “don’t do it till you’re married, and only for procreation” would be an effective means of preventing unwanted pregnancy, STDs, and that deadliest of all sins, Teh Ghey. Meanwhile, the precious, protected children of people like these grow into the kind of harassers who stand outside women’s health clinics, baptizing imaginary “murdered” babies.

But what am I saying? Nobody knows better than a parent what’s really good for the kids, right? RIGHT???

“Parents should be the first educators on serious issues like sex education . . . Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals are not respecting parents,” McNaughton told a rally of more than 200 people outside the legislature.

Oh, but of course. Parents are the bestest sex educators a kid could have. And the government has no right to “interfere”! That’s why schools that teach “abstinence only”, in accordance with religious parents’ wishes, have higher pregnancy rates and STD rates than schools that teach comprehensive sex ed. That’s why so many people whose parents “protected” them by withholding all sex information other than “Just Don’t Do It” are parents before their time, perpetuating the vicious cycle faster and faster than ever before. That’s why antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea and syphilis are wreaking havoc on kids whose folks told them condoms were the devil’s toys. That’s why AIDS is still incurable and there’s no vaccine on the market for it yet. The same people who think a few shots of Gardasil will turn their daughters into harlots when those girls haven’t even put down their Barbie dolls yet. The same whose kids are so desperate to learn anything at all about sex that they turn to porn for info. Yeah, those people are the greatest sexperts on Earth, and nothing they say could possibly be fallible.

And it could never fail their kids, either.

Mexican cardinal thinks priestly pedophilia “shouldn’t be published”

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Ah, Mexico. So close to the gringos and so far from Jesus. Sure, you’ve had more than your share of priests molesting kids over the centuries and all, not to mention the embarrassment of a rather prominent Mexican priest and cult leader being a kiddie diddler. But fear not! Pope Frankie’s latest nomination to the College of Cardinals has the perfect answer to all that god-awful humiliation. And here he is, in his own words, to ‘splain it:

The new Mexican cardinal, Alberto Suárez Inda, thinks that cases of pedophile priests are not to be published, due to the delicacy of the topic.

“They’re such delicate matters, pardon, that they are not to be published, I think,” Suárez said in a press conference on Saturday in Morelia, Michoacán.

Following the call made by Pope Francis a few days ago for bishops and Catholic religious authorities throughout the world not to cover up cases of pedophilia, the cardinal stated that he had no reason to denounce anyone.

“If you have any information, I beg you to come forward and denounce it, to give news of something you know, but I have no reason to (publicly) denounce anyone.”

This is not to say, he explained, that the church must not follow up on these cases.

“Sadly, pederasty is like a virus, like an epidemic that travels around the world, not only through the Catholic church, but also outside the church. Sometimes even family members and teachers commit that crime,” Suárez declared.

Pope Francis named Suárez Inda as a cardinal on February 14.

Translation mine.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mexico. Just what you always wanted, a cardinal to sweep everything back under the rug. In direct contravention of what the Pope himself has been urging priestly authorities to do.

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PS: Meanwhile, in Ireland, the Pope has defrocked a pestilential priest. Looks like one high-ranking church official, at least, means business when it comes to dealing with this problem.

“Fifty Shades of Shit”: A German feminist’s heretical thoughts

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“No to the eroticization of sexual violence! Boycott Fifty Shades of Grey.”

A sentiment I can heartily get behind. This article from Mira Sigel, of the German radical-anarcho-socialist-feminist blog, Die Störenfriedas, basically says it all for me, too:

It’s February 2015 in Germany, and as a feminist, one wants to pull the covers over one’s head and wait till summer so that the sexist shitcrap that’s currently washing over us from TV and movie screens will at least be made tolerable by sunshine and ice cream.

On Thursday, in Berlin, there was the world premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey. The film version of the book, which is a — yawwwwwn — love story about an emotionally disturbed, violently inclined, rich and dominant man and a woman inferior to him in every way, is creating buzz around the world. There’s talk of “eroticism” and “lust”, and even Germany’s top-ranking feminists are applauding approval, because it has something to do with women’s liberation. That’s right: Getting your ass paddled or playing the choking game is just as sexually liberating as playing the prostitute in a bordello. The eroticization of violence and exploitation is a wonderful instrument of oppression that the patriarchy has just begun to discover. We now think of Playboy Bunnies as kindergartners, and the nonsense of Sex and the City, which for ten years was meant to prepare us for a life as constantly horny luxury queens.

But let’s go on. What’s really upsetting about the story is not that Anastasia sets out to finally find the limits of her sexuality and to cross them, but that she gets “seduced” by a rich, smart, and — naturally — “mysterious” man. What exactly is self-determined about that? It’s the age-old tale of King Bluebeard. Didn’t you know? Well, then, read up. A patriarchal fairytale par excellence. She naturally somehow “senses” that Christian Grey needs emotional rescuing, because hey, why else are we women here, with our bodies, our psyches, and our whole lives, to take care that it goes better for men, insofar as they can take it all out on us? Anastasia isn’t into S/M. She lets him do it to her, because she thinks she’ll get access to Christian’s disturbed emotional world this way. She realizes that he’s overstepping her boundaries, and still keeps going on. As well, she was a virgin before she met him, and has nothing, literally nothing, to compare his sexual experiences to.

Christian likes to hit women because his bad mama neglected him and was also a drug-addicted prostitute. Naturally, the whole wide world of women has nothing but understanding for that, and willingly sticks out its butt, so that the poor boy can take out his feelings on it. In turn we get to see him constantly in the film with his bare chicken breast. Because Anastasia takes his boundary-crossings so self-sacrificingly, eventually he does let his guard down a bit — and makes her his princess. One might laugh about that, because it’s so silly. In reality, though, it’s dangerous. Because it idealize a toxic view of relationships, in which women consequently deny their own needs and boundaries so that they’ll be better off. Women become clumsy twits, who fall so far under the influence of an experienced man’s sexual wishes that they become willing partners for damaging relations. It’s called grooming.

At the Berlin premiere, minors sashayed around with leather whips and other paraphernalia that they presumably consider sexy — because everyone tells them that sexuality is the thing of the hour. A chance to find out for themselves what they like, and to look for a corresponding partner, though, is something that neither our society nor Germany’s leading feminist group will concede to them.

Even the fact that there are also submissive men is no argument. What turns them on is subservience. The fact that a WOMAN is debasing them. Not a man. A woman. A woman who, however, is socially far beneath them. Therein lies the arousal — that is, it comes out of a deeply sexist and misogynous world-view. Sexuality is always to be viewed in the context of social reality. Why else have chambermaids been in the Top Ten list of male sex fantasies for centuries? Why do colonialist world-views express sexual desire in terms of white women and black men, and vice versa? Why are pornos full of racist stereotypes? Why is the horny secretary or nurse a fantasy that gets passed down from generation to generation? Why not a female professor or politician? Because female power — real female power — doesn’t stand for the male dominance of sexuality in a patriarchal society.

Soon, as well, we’ll see the next installment of Germany’s Next Top Model. Heidi ate burgers, döner and sausages in order to shut up the thinness critics. “I’ve been watching the show for ten years,” shrieks an 18-year-old hopeful. “It’s always been my dream to take part.”

Why doesn’t everyone wake up? Shouldn’t girls dream of high-school graduation, university, science, creative heights and successes, instead of making monkeys of themselves with Heidi & Co.?

Society shows young women their place. Either as sex toys for male power fantasies, or as skinny models without dignity.

Hopefully it will be summer soon.

Translation mine.

Full disclosure: I’m not a kinkster. I’m not even remotely curious, having read enough already to know quite well what it’s all about. I have no desire to try it for myself; what I’ve read and seen doesn’t resonate with me — at least, not in a titillating way. I will admit to feeling disturbed by a lot of it, though, and for the very reasons Sigel outlines so succinctly here. The overwhelming majority of it plays to the age-old male power fantasy of “owning” a woman. Even the reversed situation derives its power mainly from the temporary inversion of the accepted order of things. But it doesn’t question that order, nor does it seek to subvert it in the real world. What happens in the dungeon, stays in the dungeon. And anyway, even the most submissive of male subs has his safeword, meaning the action stops when he orders it to. So in the end, even he still has power — even if his male privilege is momentarily (and voluntarily) doffed. The same cannot be said for female subs, whose submission is socially encoded as “normal”.

Worse, the ugliest aspects of the male-dominant power dynamic are so egregious in Fifty Shades that even the most ardent kinksters feel the need to dissociate from the franchise. I may not share their proclivities, but I don’t blame them a bit. They say they don’t stand for Christian’s blatantly illegal moves to control Anastasia, for stalking, for isolation, for abuse, and for the actual, slave-master ownership of a person, right down to a ludicrous, legally unenforceable “contract”. I would hope not! Who’d want to be associated with something so conservative, so un-edgy, so damn OLD? Because really, this is indentured servitude, when you get right down to it; good old-fashioned indentured servitude with a side order of medieval torture.

And yet, heterosexual kink* does partake of the same old dynamics, and that’s what makes it so primal and titillating to some, and fraught — and frankly, ripe for abuse. The kink community has always had its Christians, out to exploit a ready and willing pool of inexperienced young women. And every female sub has found herself at least once, it seems, in Anastasia’s unenviable shoes, being sexually assaulted and having her bounds blatantly overstepped by a dom who refuses to hear NO. And has had to warn others away from that freak. Who is not, unfortunately, that much of a freak.

Sometimes, the only thing that separates a kinky abuser from a garden-variety one is the leather costumery. And even Christian, in his “kinky” mode, is not that much of a one for the leather gear. He can play out his “master” role just as well in banker’s grey flannels. (But hey, at least we get to see him shirtless and sweaty. Whoopee!)

The disturbing thing about Fifty Shades is not the boring-ass sex (which has been described in detail elsewhere, and if you want to read about it, just google) — it’s the mental abuse. And the most abusive thing is that it teaches girls that if they submit enough, they’ll be rewarded with the prince and a tiara and, presumably, a whole stable full of sparkly pink Pegacorns with mauve manes and tails, who piss perfume, fart rainbows, and poop marshmallows, and heal all hurts with the magical light of their crystal horns. That sacrificing themselves and having no desires of their own is the way to a man’s heart, and that they’ll cure him of all his demons that way.

In real life, as has been often pointed out, that way leads straight to the women’s shelter, and often the morgue.

Abusive men aren’t for women to cure, and they don’t even want to be cured. They’re as hooked on their violence as a junkie on the needle. The power fantasy has been marketed to them, too, as a drug that they need to score and go on scoring in ever greater hits, for ever higher highs. The fact that they become numb to it eventually is never mentioned. They end up not in control, but in thrall. The fact that they end up in jail or dead in a grisly murder-suicide is the only logical outcome for that power dynamic. And it’s a fact that gets glossed over by the media time and again. When we do hear talk of a guy going to jail for beating his female partner to death, or of one who shoots first her (and/or their kids) before turning the gun on himself, it’s always couched in nonsense phrases about “senseless violence” that “no one could have predicted”.

In fact, the violence makes a lot of sense, and is dead simple to predict, given the dynamics of the patriarchal, capitalist world we live in. This “fantasy” is a big, money-making reality. Every little Joe Schmoe wants to be a Christian, on some level. With access to an Anastasia, who takes every slap, every punch, every rape, without complaint…just as she’s been taught.

Even the stuff you grow up thinking is so “subversive” and “transgressive” really isn’t. The Marquis de Sade? Hardly a libertarian “citizen” of revolutionary France, but an opportunist who took full, gory advantage of the old droit du seigneur. His perversions weren’t even particularly extreme for his day, at least insofar as literature went; there was already plenty of “blasphemous” spanky-spanky erotica kicking around even then. He didn’t invent a libertine tradition; he grew out of one like a fleur-de-lys from shit. Most of what he cut his teeth on was anticlerical, clandestinely published, and meant to shock with its childish defiance. And it shaped his tastes, without a doubt. His contemporaries were blasé about that. But what made him truly grotesque and ultimately a criminal in their eyes was not what he read and wrote, but what he actually did. To powerless underlings who had virtually no rights in pre-revolutionary France. This was no harmless fantasy of consensual role-play. His victims were predominantly young women in poverty and/or prostitution, who had no choice but to submit to whatever he meted out to them, even death. (Oh yes, did I mention that he was most likely a serial killer, one who pre-dated Jack the Ripper by about a century? Plus ça change…)

Even now, the “sadists” of BDSM are slow to wake up to the fact that their cherished fantasies are the products of some mighty banal evils. Not necessarily childhood abuse, or mommy/daddy issues (lots of kinksters have no history of those), but forces from the larger society writ small and personal, marked “private” and for individual sale only. Some, to their credit, are at least distancing themselves from the mad Marquis, recognizing that a man of the upper class, who poisoned, mutilated and flayed young peasant women without pity, is no role model. They stress safety, sanity, consensuality. They take it as a bounden duty to provide aftercare, and laudably tend to the wounds they inflict. They are seeking alternative terms for their kink, words that don’t hark back to droit du seigneur — at least not so blatantly. Bless them for trying. It’s just a pity that those same terms they stress so hard — safe, sane and consensual — are also being used by some, who are far less scrupulous, to gloss over the serious examination of kink’s background forces that is long overdue.

But that, too, is quite understandable, in light of the blinding obvious. People want to have their cake, and their fetishes too. What else is there to do on your own time in this god-awful crapitalist soul-eating world? Why kill the buzz of kinky “transgression” with structural analysis of its deep-down conservatism, with examination of class and privilege, with history, with the nasty inconvenient fact that the playing field is not finally level now, but still every bit as lumpy and unfairly tilted as it’s ever been, even without the old seigneurial class?

And whose rights are being perpetually eroded by all the bogus talk about “sexual freedom”, used by real sadists like Jian Ghomeshi to assert that their ugliest whims are nothing less than a basic human right?

Take a wild guess. Take several. Take all the time you need.

*Gay kink — more liberating/liberated than straight? Don’t bet on it. A lot of butch/femme and even racist and homophobic stereotypes are played out there, following problematic templates similar to those of the straights. After all, they all have the class consciousness of a heterosexist society as their biggest (and really, only) role model.

Leamsy Salazar: The DEA’s useful spy

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Leamsy Salazar, at right, back when Chavecito (on the left) trusted him.

Hey! Remember the spook I blogged about the other day? Leamsy Salazar, the presidential security officer who “defected” from the Venezuelan armed forces and is now a star witness for the DEA? Well, it looks like that won’t be the last we hear about him. Far from it. It looks like he’s turned into a very useful stool pigeon, at least as far as fascist media are concerned. And that’s not all there is to side-eye about him. So let’s scratch a bit and see what flakes off him, shall we?

There are two ways of looking at the press operation of the Spanish Franco-fascist newspaper, ABC, on the DEA’s new star: Corvette captain Leamsy Salazar, ex-member of the first ring of security around Comandante Chávez. One, consider that everything ABC says is “information”; the other, try to separate the facts from the operations. That [latter] is what we’re trying to do here.

Of what ABC has said, only one element can we give as proven: Leamsy Salazar deserted the ranks of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces and will be in the United states, or at the disposal of that land. That is the only fact corroborated by diverse sources: the daily ABC, and on the other hand, the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, the target of the Franco-fascist periodical’s attacks.

Diosdado Cabello told [journalist] Pedro Carvajalino, on VTV, in a video broadcast on Tuesday, January 27:

“This comrade was with Comandante Chávez. When the Comandante died, I decided, fine, in honor of the Comandante, I’ll take him to work with me. But suddenly I started talking to him, and he started to lower his eyes from mine…this was in the month of June. Month of June. He started to lower his eyes from mine, he wouldn’t meet my eyes, the deception began. I spoke with the Minister of Defence, and asked her for a replacement, and told her: Send him to study so he can be retrained, because he doesn’t look right to me. He went off to study, and never attended the course. On the contrary, he deserted. He deserted with his wife in December, which was decisive…but he deserted the course long before the course he was supposed to take, which all military officers do.”

The rest of what’s going around is biased constructions, driven by a rabidly anti-Chavista paper, which doesn’t hide its desire to see the government of Nicolás Maduro fall. It’s enough to read the editorial from January 28*, in response to the Venezuelan president’s denunciation. An editorial, unlike bylined articles, represents the paper’s position.

President Maduro had denounced ABC for promoting a “campaign of the international far right and factors of the US empire”. That’s the second proven fact. The international far right has one of its principal pillars in ABC at the moment of attacking Venezuela, and the plan is simple: ABC “broadcasts” its so-called “information” and the rest of a powerful media entente replicates it, using the first medium as source, without questioning the item and without looking for repercussions, points of view, contexts, etc.

The second part of President Maduro’s statement over the intervention of “factors of the US empire” is also proven. One day after the publication, the US Secretary of State for Narcotics and International Security, William Brownfield — long known in Venezuela — assured that what ABC published was “consistent” with his own analysis on the supposed penetration of drug cartels into Venezuela.

Later, the functionary said that he could “neither confirm nor deny” what ABC published. Really — a functionary of Brownfield’s rank could not confirm whether Salazar is in the United States, whether there exists an official investigation by the DEA in that respect, and whether there is any type of judicial denunciation rooted in any court in US territory? Of course he can. He won’t do it because it isn’t necessary right now.

Because from here on in, the second part of the operation unfolds, which consists of the press (could be ABC or some other opportune medium) “leaks” new information as to what Salazar “tells” the DEA. This will happen whenever the journalistic and political operators deem pertinent. Let’s illustrate with an example: The negotiations between the United States and Cuba to normalize diplomatic relations already appear more difficult than they initially seemed. If at any moment these should happen to stagnate, “revelations” from Salazar will appear concerning ties between Diosdado [Cabello] and the government of Cuba. In fact, this line is already laid out in the first ABC article.

The same could happen with any other conjuncture, which could have its “opportune” repercussions in new so-called statements by Salazar. Another example: This year, there will be presidential elections in Argentina; even though President [Cristina] Fernández is not up for re-election, they could easily smear the ruling party in some scandal linking to Diosdado [Cabello] or other Venezuelan officials to the Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires. Why not? Salazar, let there be no doubt, will be good for everything.

Another element confirmed by official sources and documented proofs is that Leamsy Salazar was in fact part of the first ring of security around President Hugo Chávez, who in fact held him in high esteem as a young officer allied with the retaking of Miraflores Palace after the coup of April 11-13 in April 2002. Salazar remained in Chávez’s inner circle until the Bolivarian commander’s last days.

Much has been said about the possibility that the cancer that killed President Chávez in less than two years had been somehow inoculated. President Maduro as much as said that he concurred with this hypothesis. Political analysis as well as other other actions taken for a long time by the United States regarding the inoculation of illnesses into personages or entire communities lead us to conclude that, in effect, if the empire (beyond the US itself) had the opportunity to get close to Chávez, they would never have let it slip away.

Toby Valderrama has written several times of the political scenario he called the “biological assassination” of Chávez; the lawyer, Juan Martorano, write dozens of articles over the way in which the US have acted in different scenarios and moments by way of forced inoculations to twist history in their favor. All these writings can be found on the Aporrea website.

But all these efforts at reconstruction and analysis come up against a difficult obstacle: For the “biological assassination” of Hugo Chávez they would need to have him or the guilty parties get very close to the leader and for a long time. There, in the inner circle and for years, was Leamsy Salazar, today at the disposal of politico-journalistic operations by ABC and the United States.

We cannot confirm in any way (at least with the proven information we have to date) that Salazar had anything to do with the death of Comandante Chávez. We don’t know [that he did]. What we do know is that we must assume that the president’s inner circle had been compromised. That is a fact.

It is time that an official, rigorous and serious investigation begin as to the possible assassination of the Comandante. History demands it.

Translation mine. Linkage added.

So, we can see a lot of players from previous putsches against Chavecito there in the mix. William Brownfield, the former US ambassador to Venezuela, is the key one, and of course his “analysis” agrees with the statements of Leamsy Salazar. And why not? He probably coached Salazar very carefully on what lines to spout before the DEA. I take it for granted that any US diplomat in any foreign country is automatically a spy until proven otherwise, and so far, none has proven otherwise. So it stands to reason that Brownfield was probably feeding Leamsy Salazar the appropriate “information” (note the quotes, there for a reason — and that’s how they appear in the article I translated, too!) If his job was to meddle in Venezuelan interior politics — and it was — then this oh-so-strange coincidence between Brownfield’s account and Salazar’s becomes a whole lot less strange. And a lot less coincidental, too. After all, there’s Venezuelan oil (largest proven reserves in the world, remember?) to be stolen, and for that, a full-scale invasion must be mounted. Venezuela is no longer tame to US interests, after all…

And oh yeah, how funny too that Argentina should also be mentioned! You’ll note that for the past several days, I’ve been blogging about the strange death of Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor who allegedly ordered the arrest of none other than the president of Argentina herself. Argentina, too, has been slandered in the efforts to drum up an invasion of Venezuela — remember the “briefcase affair” from a few years back? That was another smear directed at both Chavecito and Cristina Fernández, which proved to be a damp squib, and ended up embarrassing only those in whose faces it blew back. None of the shit ever stuck to either of the two presidents it was aimed at, and no wonder: Neither one had a thing to do with it. It was just one more false flag operation in a lengthy series of them.

Of course, Leamsy Salazar may well prove to be good for a lot more than just media smears and false-flag smoke and mirrors, at least in the eyes of his gringo masters. If indeed the suspicions of a great many Venezuelans, including Madurito himself, prove true, and it emerges that Chavecito was in fact injected with a cancer-causing virus (which has been possible since 1963, according to Judyth Vary Baker, the young US scientist who worked on a top-secret project to kill Fidel Castro with just such a virus), then suspicion will fall on Leamsy Salazar all over again…this time as a possible murderer, or accessory to murder, as well as a traitor.

Which he already is, any way you look at him.

*The original article says the 29th, but the only unsigned article I was able to find from that day was one from the wires about Diosdado Cabello, not Nicolás Maduro, accusing ABC of libel. The previous day’s editorial fits the statements of the paragraph better, so I linked to it instead. I suspect that the author of the piece may have gotten the dates mixed up.

Argentina: Stella Calloni on the Nisman case

israel-trouble

Further to yesterday’s debunker of the myths of the strange death of Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor supposedly investigating the AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires, here’s another hard look at what lies behind at all, courtesy of the redoubtable Stella Calloni:

I felt the need to write this, because of the immense sadness I feel at seeing so many comrades of other times opining without knowing what this false and scandalous denunciation by a prosecutor like Nisman is about; that he should never have been in charge of the AMIA case, because he was part of the disasters — not innocent, but imposed by others from without — committed by the judge Juan José Galeano.

On the same night as the crime the US and Israel determined that the accused must be Iran, without having investigated anything. It was impossible to perform a serious investigation with such an obstacle.

To refresh your memory: The US and Israel offered a “witness” in 1994. Now no one remembers that Galeano flew off to Venezuela to interrogate the supposed witness, Manoucher Moattamed, who presented himself as a former Iranian functionary escaped from his land, something he never was and which never happened as he claimed. All the money spent, all the false information, broadcast with big headlines. He was a witness invented by the CIA and the Israeli Mossad, but at the same time was totally discredited by his lies, contradictions and falsehoods, after creating false illusions for the victims’ families as well.

Now — what little memory some people have! — to forget that a case was mounted without one single line of truth. A scandalous case, accusing these and those, and with Telleldin as a witness, a delinquent who made a profession of selling stolen cars. To whom Galeano, with the approval of Rubén Baraja, then president of the DAIA, paid $400,000 — in the jail where he sat — so that he would lie and accuse an Iranian and others, including local police, who had accounts at the ready, but as was shown in the oral hearing, had nothing to do with this case, and had to be freed.

So many, so many lies — all this came out in court, and can be read in the dailies of the day — turned the trial into a disaster. To this add stolen evidence, which precisely does not implicate Iran. That “justice”, to maintain the theory that the US and Israel had committed all those blunders, which led to the detention in London of the former ambassador of Iran to Argentina, Hadi Soleimanpour, in 2004, for whom they sought extradition.

When British justice demanded evidence for said extradition, which Argentina — “Argentine justice” — sent, it contained none. Because none existed. As a result, London had to pay the Iranian functionary almost 200,000 pounds sterling in compensation for having detained this man without any cause. This is everywhere. This is not invented. Even Interpol, at that same time, devolved a petition by Argentine authorities for a red alert for lack of evidence.

Most recently, and after great changes in that organism and pressure from the powerful — a red alert was imposed, but they asked for evidence. What evidence did Nisman sent? Ask that. Because if those proofs were the accusation against Iran which the prosecutor mad the year before, it’s a scandal. Letter by letter, it takes what the US and Israel used as accusation — suppositions, half-truths, not a single concrete proof. Trying to use this cruel crime with so many victims, accusing a certain country which they have wanted to invade for a long time, is as criminal as the attack itself.

Even though they continue to act without concrete proofs and there is talk of a “witness C” — certainly interviewed out of country and provided by those same services — this same has not been able to provide any proof.

No country that respects itself in the world would hand over functionaries accused by the CIA and Mossad or other foreign intelligence service. Those same services are those who did the following recently: attacking a boat of pacifists who were bringing food and medicines to Gaza, where a people under siege resists permanent bombardments, interventions and massacres. That boat was assaulted in international waters by Israeli special forces; there were 13 dead and many others beaten and tortured. The recent release of a summary — only a summary — of the tortures and crimes committed by the CIA, to which we must add the intelligence services of the European countries in NATO, forbid any country of the world from handing over persons accused by these services and without any proof. This is not a posture. This is in the United Nations charter.

Why does the Israel government not want that Argentine authorities travel to Venezuela and Europe to interrogate false witnesses, never mind taking statements from the accused, in their own countries, in the pressence of commissions of impartial international observers, as guarantee of absolute seriousness and respect for justice?

The Memorandum [of Understanding, between Argentina and Iran] arises from patient diplomatic work as an extraordinary gesture, which contributes to international politics and the peaceful resolution of conflicts. Could it be that listening to those accused could put the truth on the scen and not all that which was hidden with pressures, money and more in the trials they attempted here?

But when one investigates, one confirms that all those who have intervened in attacks around the world are tied to the intelligence services of those countries which like the US are determined to control the world, with their minor partners in a global government. Countries which under the orders of NATO — whose actions are illegal and where they use thousands and thousands of mercenaries — want to keep the great natural resources. They used lies to invade Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and now they are using them to try to invade Syria.

Translation mine.

To the list of countries they want to invade, add Iran, widely trumpeted as Syria’s “controller” when it comes to the backing of parties Israel wants to see wiped out — Hamas in Palestine, Hezbollah in Lebanon. And which, it just so conveniently happens, is sitting on some mighty fine oil reserves, right next to those of Iraq, which is turning into a bigger and bigger shit-show and mockery of US and NATO governance every day, what with ISIL and all.

What better time to roll out the distraction of an old (but not cold) bombing case or two from Argentina? After all, Argentina’s willingness to co-operate with Iran in exonerating that country of the crimes in which it stands accused — the bombing of the Israeli embassy and the AMIA centre, both in Buenos Aires — is just one more slap in the face for gringo imperialism and Israeli complicity. Already Argentina is fighting off the hedge-fund vultures, which is bad enough for US capitalism. Now this? Israel caught bombing and killing its (supposed) own people? False flags out the wazoo, PROVEN? Can’t happen. No, let’s paint the president of Argentina as a crazy murderer instead, and paint Argentina itself as a country gone mad, instead of what it really is: a country coming slowly and painfully to its senses. And which is finally starting to get a good grip on its own reins again, much to the dismay of those who want to control it all behind the scenes, forever.

Yeah, let’s just keep doing the ol’ distraction dance. Works every time, right?

RIGHT???

Diosdado Cabello warns of violent replays in Venezuela

cabello-uniform

Diosdado Cabello, the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, on his VTV weekly show. He’s in military uniform because, like Chavecito behind him, he’s a former officer of the Venezuelan army. And because this past February 4, the nation celebrated the anniversary of the failed uprising of 1992 against the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez, who betrayed Venezuela by going back on his campaign promises and obeying the dictates of the IMF to disastrous effect, resulting in the Caracazo of 1989. Pérez was elected, but did the opposite of what he was elected to do, so trying to topple him, however abortively, was a heroic act. What has happened since the last presidential election in Venezuela, on the other hand, could not be further removed from the courageous deeds of February 4, 1992. The violence of last February is being replayed this year, warns Cabello, by people with the same craven economic interests as the late, unlamented Pérez. Here’s the rundown on what’s been going on, and who is behind it all:

The president of the Venezuelan national assembly, Diosdado Cabello, alerted of new violent actions in San Cristóbal, Tachira, intended to re-enact the events of February 2014 as part of the plan called “La Salida” (The Exit), which left 43 persons killed and more than 800 injured.

On his weekly VTV show Con el Mazo Dando, Cabello indicated that the actions were initiated by a group which is composed of “persons coming from Caracas to take part in violent actions, and in complicity with vigilantes and administrative rectoral authorities of the National Experimental University of Táchira (UNET), to kick off the month of February with an escalation of violence and aggressive protests.”

Cabello added that they were found working in the chemical laboratories of that institution, trying to make explosive artifacts, in order to generate chaos and fear in the land.

In his address, the parliamentary president stated that these actions are led by director Jesús Gómez Trejo, who on Monday paid a “visit to the offices of the UCAT (Catholic University of Táchira) and UNET, inviting them to attend the gathering and march on February 12 in San Cristóbal.”

In the first semester of 2014, the state of Táchira was victim to violent attacks orchestrated by sectors of the Venezuelan right, seeking to destabilize the land and bring down the president of the republic, Nicolás Maduro, legitimately elected in April 2013.

Cabello also alerted of new right-wing actions to continue the economic war which began in 2013, to attempt to disrupt the production of sugar.

“Members of the Sugarcane Growers’ Association of Venezuela and the Federation of Sugarcane Growers of Venezuela (FESOCA) are exerting pressure to paralize the machinery and the work in the fields. Behing that there is a well known man, with the surname Zubillaga, a distant cousin of the Zubillagas who own Farmatodo, who is going around telling the peasants that they won’t be paid next payday, so they will stop harvesting sugarcane,” said Cabello.

As part of the strategy of these right-wing sectors, FESOCA has called for a demonstration in Guanare, in the state of Portuguesa, on Thursday, starting from the Espiga monument and ending at the offices of the Ministry for Agriculture and Lands.

Cabello reminded that with these actions, the Venezuelan right is trying to create scarcities of this staple, “even though they are receiving financial aid from the Bolivarian government!”

Cabello denounced the representatives of the Venezuelan right who are holding meetings in the exterior, seeking to bring down the government of Nicolás Maduro.

He stated that on January 19, the mayor of El Hatillo, David Smolansky, and the co-ordinator of the party Voluntad Popular, Freddy Guevara, flew to Miami to meet with Carlos Vecchio, a fugitive from Venezuelan justice for violent crimes committed in the first trimester of 2014, to seek international support and call for the liberation of Leopoldo López, who is currently incarcerated at Ramo Verde for his role in the violent acts of last year.

Between these meetings they also met with banker Eligio Cedeño, who is also a fugitive from justice for obtaining US dollars through fraud, as well as retired general Antonio Rivero.

Cabello added that this month Lilian Tintori, López’s wife, is slated to go before the UN and the OAS “as part of the actions to exert pressure from outside” on Venezuelan justice.

Cabello also informed of the meetings of Miguel Henrique Otero, director of the newspaper El Nacional, in Cartagena, Colombia, with former Colombian president Andrés Pastrana, as well as trips made by Jesús “Chuo” Torrealba, the secretary-general of the so-called Democratic Unity Table (MUD), in which he met with MUD representatives in Europe, and some other Venezuelans.

Cabello also pointed out that Otero will be travelling to Spain to meet with representatives of the Socialist Workers’ Party of Spain (PSOE) and Popular Party (PP) as “part of the program of attack against the Bolivarian government, in order to keep talking about ‘human rights’ and ‘freedom of expression’.”

Translation mine.

So you can see a lot of familiar names there in the mix. Yes, the Usual Suspects are at it again, and gosh, it’s just like last year. Only this year, there’s a difference: One of the principals, Prettyboy Leo, is in jail; meanwhile, Maricori is also awaiting trial for her part in last February’s violent putsch. But of course, a great many criminals and banksters abroad are still supporting this failed right-wing activity materially and vocally. One would think they’d get tired of that, but they’re fools. And we all know what fools never do, don’t, we boys?

No indeed.

Leamsy Salazar: Unmasking a Venezuelan traitor

leamsy-salazar

Chavecito and his then vice-president, Diosdado Cabello (first row, side by side), in happier times. He’s surrounded by the usual circle of bodyguards. But there is an infiltrator. That man in the circle is now the subject of intense scrutiny. Who is he, and what are his connections to the late president’s death? Was it murder? Cabello has his suspicions, and since that man in the circle is now a “defector”, they are coming to light:

Last Tuesday, Diosdado Cabello made declarations with respect to the real identity of Leamsy Salazar and his connection to the executive cabinet of the late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez.

The president of the Venezuelan National Assembly affirmed that the accusations made by Salazar are false, at the same time emphasizing the bad behavior of the Venezuelan opposition in support of the North American empire in order to exercise pressure on the policies of Venezuela.

At the same time, Cabello hinted that Salazar could be linked to the death of Comandante Chávez, since there have been suspicions about the induction of the cancer that the president suffered, and which cost him his life in 2013.

“I have no doubt that this person was infiltrated on the Comandante’s side for many years,” Cabello emphasized. He also pointed out that in the middle of last year, Salazar offered his services as a “disinterested” notary.

For that reason, Cabello explained, he asked the minister of Defence, Carmen Meléndez, to remove Captain Salazar from his team and reassign him. She sent him to a training course from which he never returned, for which reason he is now considered a deserter by the Venezuelan armed forces.

Cabello also stated that he included Salazar on his team at first out of commitment to Comandante Chávez, since he had been on his security team for many years.

Now, as a deserter and aligned with the interests of the North American empire and the national and international right-wing, it is suspected that the captain betrayed the confidence of the Venezuelan national government, having possible ties to attacks against Comandante Chávez.

“He (Salazar) will have problems when they (his US overlords) ask him for proofs and he won’t have even one, our conscience is clear,” said the Venezuelan parliamentarian, referring to the lack of proof on the part of the opposition and the empire to bring about an attack against him.

Translation mine.

Oh yeah. Now would be a good time, I guess, to note that there is yet another coup attempt underway in Venezuela. Saudi Arabia has driven the price of oil down worldwide, and thus economists are preaching gloom and doom for Venezuela, whose social programs hinge on the profits of PDVSA’s oil. There have been violent guarimbas in various cities (the university city of Mérida in particular), and the usual tiresome media squawkings from Gringolandia and its press gangs. So Cabello isn’t making accusations in a vacuum, nor are they baseless. There are parties standing to benefit from destabilization in whatever form it takes. And all of them have ties to Washington.

Chavecito’s death, in particular, has long been suspected as no ordinary cancer case, but as one of a cancer deliberately induced. The purpose? To create conditions of political instability, conducive to a coup. With Venezuela unstable and devoid of the strong leadership of Chávez, what “better” time for a US-backed coup d’état, as in, say, Argentina following the death of Juan Perón?

Only — too bad for the US and its Venezuelan right-wing toadies — so far, it hasn’t worked out that way.

Even with Chavecito suddenly gone, far too young and at the height of his popularity, the country is far from ungovernable. The people are onto the opposition and sick of its dirty economic tricks. Hoarding of basic goods and necessities in “independent” grocery stores, followed by “protests” by rich kids from the private schools, with military traitors furnishing snipers and the US supplying the training and the guns? Hardly news in Venezuela. It’s now just the usual, dreary, everyday shit.

What was supposed to be an economic war of attrition is being lost by those attempting to lay siege to the country; its social programs, even with funding allegedly in danger from lowered oil prices, are still bearing fruit, and the bottom sectors of the economy are still as militantly Chavista as ever. More so, in fact, since now they are defending their hard-won common good from its old, old enemy…the oligarchs and their oil-hungry gringo buddies. The education and health missions are now in advanced phases, and the government-run supermarket chains, PDVAL and Mercal, are still doing brisk business despite repeated opposition sabotage attempts, while the private sector keeps shooting itself in the foot with hoarding and price-jacking.

So it’s little wonder the government hasn’t fallen, or even wobbled just a wee bit. With a fully literate, media-savvy, increasingly educated common populace, Venezuela has been repeatedly vaccinated against putschism. The ordinary folk can see with their own eyes what the opposition is up to, and government-installed anti-speculation hotlines are constantly buzzing with denunciations, while the police regularly swoop in to arrest hoarders, price gougers, and speculators.

And with members of the government taking to the airwaves on a regular basis, as Diosdado Cabello does (he has his own TV show on the national public channel VTV), it adds even more to the general atmosphere of media literacy and public awareness. Traitors and suspects can be exposed before they do the damage they intend. Leamsy Salazar appears to be just the latest in a long line of such betrayers.

And I can hardly wait to hear (and translate) more about his involvement with the possibly induced cancer that killed the late, very much lamented president.

Saudi Arabia, progressive kingdom of irony

saudi-arabia-womens-conference

Saudi feminists sure do love them some manspreading.

According to Konbini, this photo was taken last year at a conference at Qassim University on women’s rights. The piece also notes that Saudi Arabia ranks 127th out of 136 countries on gender equality.

I don’t know what’s more impressive: That such a deeply sexist country managed to fill a whole lecture hall with men interested in women’s rights, or that there are 9 countries still below them in terms of equality.

I guess this must be what the crapagandarati meant when they characterized the late King Abdullah as a “reformist” ruler.

The mysterious case of Helric Fredou: Was it really a suicide?

helric-fredou

Isn’t it ironic, and odd, that a high-ranking French policeman, just newly placed in charge of the biggest investigation of his life, should suddenly kill himself the very night after the crime? I’m speaking here of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, and the police officer in question, Helric Fredou. According to Contrainjerencia, there are ample reasons to doubt official versions of the story, not only of the massacre itself, but also of the alleged suicide of the police chief leading up the investigation. And some of them come straight from the mouth of the late chief’s own sister:

French police commissioner Helric Fredou, who was placed in charge of the investigations over the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and found dead in the Commissariat of Limoges the night of that same day, was trying to make a “very urgent” phone call moments before his death, reveals local independent journalist Hicham Hamza.

“They took away his computers and personal mobile phone from us,” said Fredou’s sister to Hamza, in an interview on the day after the commissioner’s funeral. The interview was published on Friday. “They took everything. It shocked us, but they told us it was standard procedure.”

Fredou, whose name had not even been mentioned in several French dailies of record (but in the foreign press), was to have investigated somebody known to one of the victims, not named officially, but whom Hamza easily identified as Jeanette Bougrab, a high-level state functionary, and member of the right-wing “Union for a Popular Movement” (UMP).

Bougrab appeared in the days after the crime on various news reports as the companion of murdered cartoonist Stéphane Charbonnier, alias “Charb”, and made a series of emotional declarations of an islamophobic nature.

The relationship has however been denied by Laurent, the brother of the cartoonist, in a categorical manner, and by Parisian municipal council member Clémentine Autain, who had ties to “Charb”, and called Bougrab a “usurper”.

In his investigation, Hamza pointed out distinct elements who support doubts as to the existence of the relationship, such as discrepancies in the number of years that they had supposedly been together; previous declarations by Bougrab, a single woman, in which she said that her adopted daughter lamented “not having a father”; Charbonnier being solo at his last birthday party, and a long etcetera.

The supposed companion, whose family took up arms against the National Liberation Front of Algeria in defence of French colonialism in that North African land, is well known for her anti-Islamic diatribes and her membership in Zionist networks of great influence in French circles of power.

As well, the first French public figure who asserted a relationship between Charbonnier and Bougrab was journalist Caroline Fourest, known for spreading falsehoods of a defamatory nature about Islam, with her assertion that the assassins of Charlie Hebdo had forced a surviving employee to recite verses from the Koran — a lie refuted by the employee herself.

All these contradictions and political implications of the murder of Charbonnier were why Commissioner Fredou was investigating, according to Hamza. His death has barely been mentioned by the French press, strangely given the importance of the recent murders for French national security, and perhaps international security as well.

In the few hours of the investigation, said Fredou’s sister, “the day was very tense”, and police from the capital had been sent to Limoges, arriving at the Commissariat around 11:30 in the evening. Fredou “was supposed to redact a report, but there were frictions, I don’t know about what…” the sister explained.

After those frictions, the interviewee continued, “he told them he had to make a very urgent phone call, and when they saw that he hadn’t come back, a colleague went looking for him in his office, and found him dead.” The next day, “people came from Paris to tell us that he had committed suicide,” she said.

Informed of the death at 5:00 a.m., the family had to insist repeatedly before finally being allowed to see the body “at the end of the day”. Even though Fredou had shot himself in the head, according to the official report, “he had a bandage on his forehead. They had opened the side for the autopsy. The back of the head had nothing on it,” said Fredou’s sister.

Helric Fredou had found the bodies of suicides before. After one of them, his sister said, “he said to Mother: ‘I will never do anything like that to you’, that is, kill himself and leave her all alone.”

Translation mine.

So you can see that this is a highly improbable “suicide”. If Helric Fredou, who had attended the scene of several suicides, had promised his own mother that he would never inflict such a horror upon her, it is more than a little suspicious that he would be found dead in precisely such circumstances himself.

There is no reason to assume that the chief was so mentally unstable as to do it, either, according to Hicham Hamza’s own report. It’s a bit messy, being a rather rambling blog entry, but here are the key bits:

Wednesday, January 14, the day after the funeral for Helric Fredou, Panamza [Hamza, the blogger] contacted his sister, who prefers to remain unidentified, to clarify the implication of the police officer, vaguely evoked by the regional press, in the inquest relating to the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Principal extracts from the telephone call:

“Right away, I told myself it’s not possible, that someone blew him away, but we’re not in a movie”: the sister refuses to believe in the terrible possibility of a murder but continues to ask questions about the exact circumstances of the policeman’s death.

“No letter left behind, not even the badge on his desk”: Helric Fredou didn’t leave behind any letter explaining his act. At the same time, he didn’t put his police badge in evidence as he sometimes did with certain of his colleagues who were found dead of suicide.

“He was a calm person, with a great spirit of discernment, according to his trainer”: the sister underlined many times the cool-headedness of the policeman — held in high regard by his trainer because of his perspicacity — and the fact that he was neither violent nor impulsive.

“They took away his computers and his mobile phone, they took it all away from us, that shocked us but that’s the procedure, they told us”: on the afternoon of January 8, the police searched the home of the deceased, in the presence of his mother and sister, before taking away his informatic materials and personal smartphone.

“My mom, who was very attached to him, is devastated. She wants to know how he could have killed himself. He had a bandage on his forehead. On the side, he was trepanned because of the autopsy. On the back of the skull, there’s nothing”: Informed at 5 a.m. of the death, the sister reports having had to insist in order to see the corpse of the deceased. It’s only at the end of the day that she and her mother were authorized to see the body of Helric Fredou.

“My brother himself found two suicides, and he told Mom, ‘I’ll never play a trick like that on you,’ meaning to kill himself and leave her alone. He was not depressive”: In November 2013, Helric Fredou was in fact the police officer who discovered the body of his colleague, Christophe Rivieccio, dead in the same commissariat of Limoges.

“My brother was at home that night, and since he was on call, they called and he went to the commissariat around 11:30…the day was very tense, according to his colleagues…the Paris police were present that night…He had to redact a report, but there were some frictions, I don’t know why…He told them that he had to make a very urgent phone call and when they saw that he hadn’t come back, a colleague went to look for him in his office and found him dead”: This Wednesday night, some police officers went to perform security verifications around a family of the victim of the crime and were debriefed by Helric Fredou. The sister’s witness account brings in two troubling elements: “frictions” arose between the police officers concerning the report (which was never touched), which Fredou was to redact; in this tense context, the man was found dead some minutes after having told his colleagues that he had to immediately telephone someone unidentified.

“Some people from Paris came to tell us how that happened”: the sister underscores that the cadres of the national police were sent the next day to Limoges, expressly, and had to certify that it was a suicide.

Translation, again, mine.

Hamza goes on to say that he attempted to contact the Bougrab family, whom Fredou was investigating at the time of his death, but that the effort was wasted; the mother of Jeannette Bougrab answered the phone, but said only, “It’s none of my business, all that, go away, goodbye.”

He then recounts how Stéphane Charbonnier’s family denied all “relational engagement” between “Charb” and Jeannette Bougrab. Clémentine Autain, close to the clan, calls the former Fillon government secretary a “usurper”. Meanwhile, Bougrab has been all over the media, telling Paris-Match that she had been with “Charb” for three years, before correcting herself and then saying they had been together for “one year”. And on December 15 of last year, she had told Gala magazine that her daughter called Charb “Papa”, and that she dreamed of being married one day, so that her daughter would not have to suffer the ignominy of having a single mother anymore. She has been posing as a widow in all but name since Charb was shot.

And even before then, she seemed strangely prescient about how Charb would die. In her autobiography, published in January of 2013, she wrote:

“In view of the assaults of those who would like to bring back the penalization of blasphemy, I assert the right to make fun of the gods. Long live blasphemy! Long live the secular Republic!

“The latest guardians of secularism are named Caroline Fourest, Élisabeth Badinter, Charlie, that is Charlie Hebdo…Denouncing the heap of religious fundamentalisms, including the Catholic, they take risks for their own security. The life of Charb is in danger from now on. Many security agents assure his protection, since this geek in glasses has become a target of Islamists. An exit identical to that of Theo Van Gogh could be reserved for him: to be assassinated by a God-crazed man in the street.”

Here’s the book page in question:

bougrab-book-extract

And if there is any doubt about Bougrab’s right-wing sympathies, here she is in a video published on October 29 of last year, expressing support for Nicolas Sarkozy on the latter’s own YouTube channel:

Oh yeah, and Caroline Fourest, the name that popped up alongside Charb in Bougrab’s oddly prescient book, as well as claiming that Charb and Bougrab were a couple when they were not? Here she is, making some ugly islamophobic remarks of her own about the Charlie massacre:

“They killed children, they killed teddybears”? “It’s the September 11 of free thought”? Sounds like the kind of shit you’d hear on FUX Snooze. Little wonder she’s not a credible witness to the alleged relationship between Charb and Bougrab, but a very avid propagandist thereof.

Hamza wraps it up with a curious remark:

“It’s up to you, reader-citizen, to break the strange French omertà around the Fredou/Bougrab affair. Right now, nothing allows us to assert that the policeman was killed to shut him up about what he had unexpectedly discovered. Nevertheless, looking at the shadowy circumstances around his death, in a context of political hyper-exploitation of the crime, nothing at the same time authorizes us to draw the hypothesis of an expeditious murder disguised as a suicide for reasons of ‘depression’. A final troubling detail: A man today at the summit of the State has never publicly said a word of compassion about the subject of Helric Fredou, event though he was in regular contact with him in the recent past. From 2010 to 2012, the policeman was central commissioner of Cherbourg. At the same time, the the deputy mayor of the coastal town was none other than Bernard Cazeneuve, the current minister of the Interior, in charge of the inquest into the crime, and a discreet member of the pro-Israel movement.”

A discreet member…as opposed to Jeannette Bougrab, who has been anything BUT discreet about her right-wing, anti-Islam, and pro-Israeli sympathies. Curiouser and curiouser, especially in light of this McClatchy article, which affirms that the gunmen in the Charlie massacre had ties to a “former” officer of French intelligence, who allegedly defected to al-Qaida in Iraq, and that they appeared to have extensive and systematic military or paramilitary training. And France is currently at war with “Islamists” in Iraq and Syria, no doubt much to the pleasure of the right-wing Zionists of Israel…a war whose cause is very conveniently bolstered by the whole freedom-of-speech hullabaloo around Charlie.

No, you can’t draw any solid conclusions about the whole sordid affair just yet. Other than, of course, the blinding obvious: That this story bears watching a lot more closely, and with a very critical eye. But even just this very rudimentary, early bit of connecting the dots reveals a lot of extremely hinky things going on behind the scenes, n’est-ce pas?