Posts by MarilynTomlins:

    In France the cops are being targeted by those who ought to be targeted

    August 11th, 2013

    By Marilyn Z. Tomlins, Paris, France.



    The French have never liked their police.

    It is said that this dislike dates from the Second World War when the police, France, having capitulated to the Germany enemy, had collaborated with the victors.

    When, in June 1940, France fell and the victorious Germans occupied the northern part of the country, which included Paris, policemen were given the choice of resigning or working under German orders, and few resigned.

    Therefore, the Germans, being the police force’s new masters, it meant that the police had to, and did, at the end of each day pass on all the day’s dossiers to the occupier. This was done through the office of the Prefect (préfet) of Paris – Amédée Bussière – who, in turn, handed the dossiers over to ‘Free’ or Vichy France’s representative or ambassador to Occupied France – Count Ferdinand de Brinon. He would, in turn, inform the Germans who would be the ones to decide what action would be taken against those who had committed a crime. (At the end of the war Bussière was taken into custody and was convicted for ‘collaboration with the enemy’, found guilty, and sentenced to life imprisonment but was released after having served five years. De Brinon fled to Germany but was soon arrested, and on trial in France he was, like Bussière, convicted for ‘collaboration with the enemy’, found guilty and shot outside Paris.)

    Such memories die hard.

    A more recent grievance the French have against their police is that a policeman can at any time and in any place request from anyone to give proof of one’s identity as well as proof of the legality of living in France . The latter is if one is a foreigner. This is the law in France.

    For this reason, all in France, foreigner like French national, have to have some form of identity on them whenever they step from their home. A foreigner resident in France is issued with a residence permit – carte de sejour – obtained from the police on proof of residence and income, and it is this document which has to be shown to a cop. As for a French national, if over the age of 18, he or she must show the national identity card – the Carte Nationale d’Intentité. Anyone who can not oblige is taken to the nearest police station house – préfecture de police – to be held until identity has been established, and, if that person is a foreigner that he or she is indeed legally in the country. A foreigner without such a residence permit might be deported.

    Another grievance the French have is that when someone is thus being stopped by the police for an ‘identity control’ they do not want to be addressed by the familiar ‘tu’, but the respectful ‘vous’. This they also want in the event of an arrest. The police’s reply to such a grievance is: “Are we to say ‘sir’ to a man who is pointing a gun at us?”

    France’s Minister of the Interior, Manual Vals, had though earlier this year order his police to manifest respect to all they deal with.

    I have consequently seen on television just a day ago in a documentary about the police how four heavily-armed and wearing bulletproof vests cops – one a woman – chase a man along one of Paris’s crime-ridden streets and calling out to him “Monsieur! Monsieur! Arrêt! S’il vous plait!” (Sir! Sir! Halt! Please!)

    All law-abiding inhabitants of France do, though, despite not liking the police, respect them, and for this reason, what is happening in France currently is not to their liking.

    It is that the US website, Copwatch – or rather a French version of it – is now tracking cops and ‘outing’ them on the Internet. This, in a country where uniformed cops are not eager to be identified as police and are in plainclothes when they set of from home for their shift to change to their uniform at the station house.

    The method the culprits employ is that during a public demonstration the demonstrators photograph the police with their cell phones and publish the photos on the ‘copwatch’ site asking viewers to identity the cops. This also happens when there is an altercation between the police and a member or members of the public, or when an identity control is underway.

    Once a cop has been identified in this manner he or she begins to receive menacing phone calls and emails. A cop can even be followed in order to complete his identification.

     A case of such identification of policemen occurred as a result of a three-day riot in July in the town of Trappes (30,000 pop.) west of Paris.

     The riot which started on July 19 was provoked because of an identity control the day before of a Muslim woman in a niqab. Since September 14, 2010 all face-covering headgear – niqab, mask, balaclava or helmet – as well as the full-body burqa has been banned in France in an act passed by the French parliament (National Assembly of France) and confirmed by the higher House of Senate.

     On July 18, the woman, covered but for her eyes, was accompanied by her husband to a supermarket and when patrolling police asked for either her identity card or her residence permit and to accompany them to their station house to be formally warned that she was breaking the law, the husband challenged the policemen and in the argument which followed he grabbed one of the policemen by the neck and almost strangled him to death. The policeman needed hospitalisation. The husband was arrested.

    The following afternoon – July 19 – around fifty youths from a nearby estate (cité) of subsidised housing gathered outside the station house and by nightfall their number had grown to about 250 and a riot was in full swing, the rioters pelting the police and the building with stones and whatever else they could get hold of, as well as turning over cars and setting them alight. By then the special riot police (CRS – Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité) were on site and several arrests were made.

    Meanwhile the cell phone owners when given the opportunity had photographed the police, the CRS and also some of the plainclothes cops present, and the photos were published on the ‘copwatch’ site as well as on blogs and forums and some well-known social sites.

    Those whose photos were published were duly identified and under each photograph appeared the name of each one’s unit in the force. So too accusations. For example, one policeman was accused of ‘islamophobia’, another of ‘lacking respect’, and another of being a follower of Marine le Pen. Ms le Pen, 45, is President of the National Front Party, France’s third-largest political party (some claim that it has become the largest) and 2012 presidential candidate.

    But how did these youths find out just from a photograph and perhaps one which might not have been clear, the name of the cops and their details?

    The answer is: they found the names on-line and on a police forum. The ‘police of the police’ have now closed the forum.

    On the forum police wrote things like: “I spent last night in Trappes with my colleagues. Poor France. Long live le Bleu Marine!” Or, “The hunting season is open. It is time for a proper clean-up.”

    During the 2012 presidential campaign Ms le Pen named the various blogs and forums supporting her ‘Toile Bleu Marine’ – the Navy Blue Web.

    She promises her supporters that should she become President she will reduce immigration considerably. She also opposes France’s membership to the European Union and the Eurozone, and she is against same-gender marriage, euthanasia and abortion.

    In the 2012 presidential election she came third with 18% after François Hollande and the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.

    What is being asked in France now is why the police and/or the Ministry of the Interior have not closed the ‘cop-bashing’ sites and forums and especially the ‘copwatch’ site.

    A previous version of the ‘copwatch’ site was indeed closed at the beginning of 2012 by the then Minister of Interior, Claude Guéant, but Mr Guéant’s party, UMP (Union for a Popular Movement) lost power in May of 2012 to Mr Vals’s Socialist Party, and the site was re-launched.

    And France with a new President (François Hollande) and a new Prime Minister (Jean-Marc Ayrault) is allowing it to stay on-line.

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    Nothing New — Cleveland Kidnapping Of 3 Women

    May 18th, 2013

    by .


    Josef Fritzl - I called him the Austrian Ogre

    Josef Fritzl – I called him the Austrian Ogre

    In 2008 the world learned with shock of an Austrian father, Josef Fritzl, who had held his own daughter Elisabeth captive as his sex slave for all of 24 years. Elisabeth had in that time given birth to 7 children father by him.

    You can read my article here.

    Meanwhile here is the first page of that article@

    In the past only fly fishermen would have heard of the Lower Austria town of Amstetten and only a few elderly Austrians would have been able to say that they’ve heard the name Josel Fritzl before.

    Amstetten is 40 miles (65 kms) from Linz and 81 miles (130kms) from Vienna and just fewer than 23,000 people live there. The town, which was first mentioned in 995, is on the Ybbs River, a contributory to the Danube. The Ybbs’s crystal clear water makes it a fly-fishing paradise. Few who have gone there to fish though would have known that the town had once been the seat of two sub-camps of the Nazis’ Mauthausen-Güsen group of concentration camps. It’s not something the locals wish anyone to recall or mention.

    Resident Josef Fritzl, 73, a “respectable” and “respected” retired electrical engineer, no doubt felt the same way about the town’s concentration camp past. He certainly was secretive about his own life. On a month-long vacation in Pattaya, Thailand, with a friend of long-standing, he confessed to having “a woman on the side” but such indiscretion was only because he had been caught buying skimpy woman’s underwear and a dress. The friend, Paul Hoerer, 69, talking to journalists later said: “He was really annoyed when he saw that I’ve been watching him.” Fritzl had asked him to keep the information to himself. Of course, it was understandable that Fritzl did not want his wife, gray-haired, plump 68-year-old Rosemarie, to know about the lover.

    There was also something else Fritzl didn’t wish anyone to know about: the cellar of his house at Number 40 Ybbsstrasse, a large three-story structure divided into individual apartments for tenants.  Rosemarie was, according to Chief Inspector Franz Pölzer, head of criminal investigations for Lower Austria, “discouraged” to go down there. Said friend Hoerer: “Fritzl was master of the house and a bit of a dictator.” So, Rosemarie, having been “discouraged” stayed away. Similarly, Fritzl had forbidden his tenants to approach the cellar. One tenant, Alfred Dubanovsky, 42, a gas station attendant in Amstetten, who had rented one of the apartments for 12 years, recalled having been told to stay away from the cellar and to know that if he did go that way, he would lose his lodging instantly.

    Josef Fritzl’s life is now no longer a secret. Forever now he will be known as the father who imprisoned his daughter in a cellar for 24 years and raped her almost daily so that she fell pregnant six times. And Amstetten, because this is where the Austrian Ogre had committed his foul deed, will no longer be known only to fly fishermen.



    Marilyn Z. Tomlins

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    France Returns Paintings To Rightful Owners 68 Years later

    March 25th, 2013

    By Marilyn Z. Tomlins.

    On Tuesday, March 19, France returned seven paintings, part of the Nazis’ Second World War loot, to its rightful owners.

    So began the beginning of the end of a very painful episode for France and the French: the spoliation of the property of those who were Jewish – French nationals and non-French – in France when France and England declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939.

    Six of the seven paintings were handed out in a short and moving, yet happy, ceremony at France’s Culture Ministry to Boston resident Tom Selldorff, 84. When war broke out the paintings which included ‘Portrait of Barolomeo Ferracina’ by the Venetian portrait painter Alessandro Longhi (1733-1813) and ‘Abraham and the Three Angels’ by the Italian baroque painter Sebastiano Ricci (1659-1734) were the property of Austrian-born Jewish industrialist and art collector Richard Neumann. Mr Selldorff is the late Mr Neumann’s grandson.

    Mr Neumann and his wife, the couple having fled Nazi Austria for what they thought would be safety in France, had, on France’s June 1940 capitulation to the Nazi Third Reich and the German Occupation which had followed, sold their collection of paintings for a fraction of its value in order to have cash to finance their flight from France. For the first part of their journey from Paris across the Pyrenees and into Spain the couple had often been on foot. From Spain they had continued on to Cuba by ship.

    The size of the Neumann war-time collection is not known but it included works by another three Italian baroque painters, Gaspare Diziani (1689-1767), Francesco Fontebasso (1707-1769) and Gaetano Gandolfi (1734-1802), and the Austrian baroque painter Franz Xaver Palko (1724-1767). Today, such an art collection would be worth very many billions of dollars.

    The seventh painting, ‘The Halt’, by the Dutch baroque painter Pieter Jansz van Asch (1603-1678) was handed to the heir of its World War Two owner, the Prague Jewish banker Josef Wiener who had died in the Theresienstadt concentration camp after having been rounded up by the Gestapo. Mr Wiener’s wife had succeeded in fleeing to London where she had remarried and in 2000 her son by her second husband had begun searching for the painting in Germany. In mid-2000, he had traced the painting to Paris as Germany had erroneously handed it over to France and, as the French could not find the painting’s rightful owner, it was hung in the Louvre. It was however only in 2012 under

    President Nicolas Sarkozy that France had been satisfied that the painting had been the property of the late Mr Wiener and had agreed to return it to his descendant.

    Normally, those – not always were they Jews – who wished to flee France and wanted to sell their possessions were directed to potential buyers by colleagues, neighbors and friends or by relatives to men in the milieu – criminal underground – or to collaborators (collabos.) Often those in the criminal underground were collaborators.

    Those buyers drove hard bargains, virtually stealing the works of art, because they knew that the sellers were desperate men and women – desperate to stay alive – and needed cash to finance their flight.

    They also knew that there existed a lucrative market for such artwork.

    Adolf Hitler was planning a museum in his native town of Linz in Austria and needed artwork. Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring was building up his own private collection of stolen artwork: at his arrest by the Allies in 1945 he had a personal collection of 1,500 pieces then estimated to be worth $200 million. Even the rank and file Wehrmacht soldier was not beyond wishing to take a beautiful ‘souvenir’ from France home to his family.

    Said Mr Selldorff on Tuesday on having received back the six paintings: “I am extremely grateful and very moved. These paintings were in this fog of war. The restitution … was not easy. It took a long time.”

    Mr Bruno Saunier, Director of Art Collections of France’s Ministry of Culture, added that France’s chance of finding the heirs (after 68 years it would have to be the heirs as the owners would no longer be alive) of the other stolen artworks is slim.

    “A lot of time has passed, but we have to give it a try,” he said.

    It was indeed a long process

    No one can know for certain, but it is thought that from Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 when he became Chancellor of Germany and until the Germans’ defeat by the Allies in 1945, hundreds of thousands of valuable works of art were looted in those countries, like France, under the German boot, or were bought at ridiculously low prices from people who had no choice but to sell because selling offered an escape route from Hitler’s concentration and death camps.

    In 1945, the victorious Allied nations gathered the looted artworks and where they knew their country of origin they returned the works. It was then for each country to find the respective owner, but as there had been 27 concentration camps in 11 countries (9 in Poland; 8 in Germany; 2 in France; 1 in Austria; 1 in Ukraine; 1 in Latvia; 1 in Estonia; 1 in the Netherlands; 1 in Slovakia; 1 in Czech Republic, and 1 in Belarus) with an estimated 3,053,000 people murdered in those camps and still millions of misplaced people, to return the works to their owners was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

    Where the Allied nations did not know the country of origin of the work of art the artwork had remained in Germany, either to be stored in the basement of museums or later, once the war dust had settled somewhat, to join displays in museums.

    France had received back 61,233 pieces of artwork from Germany and by the middle of 1949 some 45,000 items had been returned to their rightful owners.

    What had happened to the rest?

    Those which art experts claimed were of very little value – some 13,500 – were auctioned and the money went into the State’s coffers: there was much repair and reconstruction work to be done after those five years of war.

    As for the rest – just under 3,000 pieces – those are still awaiting to be claimed. Some are, as in Germany, being stored in the basements of France’s museums. Also as in Germany, others have been put on display in France’s museums. Mr Selldorff’s ‘Portrait of Barolomeo Ferracina’ had hung in Paris’s ‘Louvre’ Museum.

    By the rule such looted paintings were hung in France’s museums with an ‘Anonymous Gift’ tag. (It must be pointed out though that not all those work of art in France’s museums with such a tag are stolen works: often a donor wishes to remain anonymous.)

    However, to find the rightful owners of Nazi loot, Senator Corinne Bouchoux of France’s Green Party has now stepped to the fore and asked the curators of France’s museums to “show a bit more effort” to identify such looted works of art. She revealed that some of France’s museums have been designated ‘national museums of recovery’ which allow them to exhibit artwork of which the origin has not been established. Such pieces do not though become the property of the State and can be reclaimed by their rightful owners, provided of course that the State has sufficient proof of ownership. France, as a signatory of the December 3, 1998 ‘Washington Conference Principles on

    Nazi-Confiscated Art’, is committed to return such looted work of art.

    Senator Bouchoux was echoing an appeal which had been made in the German magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ on January 28, 2013 for museum curators to ‘do some soul-searching’ as well as some ‘museum-searching’ to identify such Nazi loot so that the works of art could be returned to its rightful owners, or the heirs of its rightful owners. There are an estimated 20,000 such items – paintings, sculptures, coins, books and furniture still in Germany. The paintings come to 2,300 and they have an insurance value of $81 million (€60 million).

    (Link to Der Spiegel article — )

    As a result of Senator Bouchoux’s plea, President François Hollande has set up a committee of historians, curators and archivists to launch a search for the owners or descendants of France’s stash of stolen loot.

    At the same time, and for the first time in France, the ‘Shoah Memorial Museum’ in Paris is hosting an exhibition – ‘The Looting of the Jews: a State Policy (1940-44)’ – where visitors can learn of how the German-Occupied French state had encouraged its citizens to participate in the anti-Semitic act of robbing the Jews of their property. The exhibition runs through to Saturday, September 21, 2013. The museum’s curator, Mr Tal Bruttman, told journalists: “It’s a crucial story that’s not been told before.”

    In November 1999 France did, after having become a signatory of the ‘Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art’, founded the ‘Commission for the Compensation of Victims of Spoliation Resulting from Anti-Semitic Legislation in Force during the Occupation’ (Commission pour l’indemnisation des victims de spoliations intervenues du fait des législation anti-Semites en vigeur pendant l’Occupation). The Commission’s role is to review the claims for compensation submitted by victims of spoliation. In the first two years the commission had reviewed 7,725 such claims and had paid out €26.43 million ($34.21 million) in compensation to victims. This sum included compensation for property requisitioned by the Germans and bank-related spoliation.

    France’s Nazi looters

    During the Second World War France had her own Gestapo.

    At the head of the French Gestapo was a man named Henri Lafont whose real name was Henri Louis Chamberlin. Thirty-eight years old in 1940 when France fell and having done prison for theft on several occasions he was again under lock and key for draft evasion in a jail in Paris.

    The French moved him to an internment camp south of the capital and in the camp he befriended two German Abwehr (Intelligence) men and a Swiss national, one Max Stocklin, also with the Abwehr. The three had been interned along with other German nationals living or present in France.

    on France’s declaration of war against the German Third Reich.

    The four escaped from the camp and, after having laid low in Paris, on France’s fall and occupation they safely resurfaced.

    First ‘Monsieur Henri’, as he was to be known, worked at a warehouse for stolen Jewish property which was run by Stocklin, but quickly the Gestapo scooped him up to found a French Gestapo branch. Then, two months after France’s fall, accompanied by Gestapo men he called in at Fresnes Prison south of Paris and chose 27 of France’s most skilled and ruthless criminals, released them and enrolled them in his brand-new French Gestapo which would soon have one hundred men. They were to arrest and torture and also shoot those who opposed Germany – Jew and non-Jew alike – and round up Jews for deportation to concentration and death camps, and – steal their possessions.

    At the Liberation of Paris on August 25, 1944, Henri Lafont, confident that his fellow countrymen would never arrest him, retreated to his farm outside Paris and there, on August 30, he was arrested by French Forces of the Interior (FFI) men who were also known as fifis.

    Lafont had five million francs in cash in his house and numerous pieces of jewelry and art work.

    Put on trial for treason and found guilty he faced a firing squad on December 27 that year. Eight of his French Gestapo cronies were tied to polls alongside him that day and also shot to death.

    While he had been stealing from the Jews he had also been stealing from Adolf Hitler by keeping some of the stolen property for himself despite that he and his men were allowed to keep 20 per cent of the stolen works of art as payment.

    There were also others who stole from Jews and from those who opposed the Nazis and the Occupation.

    One was Dr Marcel Petiot and he did so solely for his own financial benefit. His story can be read in the e-book ‘Die in Paris’ which will at the beginning of April also be published as a paperback.

    (link to site – )

    Dr Petiot, apprehended in 1944, was guillotined in 1946 for the slaughter of 26 people in the years

    1942-44. Fifteen of them were Jews: one a seven-year-old boy. Judging by the amount of human remains found at his Paris townhouse the chief of the police thought that he had murdered at least two hundred. “To be on the safe side, I’ll settle for one hundred and fifty,” he said.

    The doctor had ‘sold’ at an astronomical fee an escape route to people who wanted to flee from Occupied France. The escape route was bogus: it had begun and ended at his townhouse. He had slaughtered his victims and had then disemboweled them and cut them up after which he had either burned their remains in an old water boiler in the basement of his house or he had destroyed the remains with quicklime. At a time before DNA and forensics as exists today, it was not established how he had killed his victims, and indeed, who some of them were.

    After he had killed them he had gone to the homes they had abandoned and had carted away their belongings: art work, furniture, books, household equipment and even clothes.

    After his death on the guillotine his wife and teenage son left France and settled in a South American country where they lived in luxury.

    It is highly doubtful though that what this man had stolen during the years of the Second World War would ever be found and returned to the descendants of his victims.


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    France, Terrorist Alert, What does it mean?

    January 19th, 2013



      In 1991 during the First Gulf War France created something called Vigipirate. Odd name we all agreed. Since then France’s government has put the country on Vigipirate three times: in 2003 during the Second Gulf War, in 2005 during the terrorism attacks in Central London and in March 2012 during the Merah Affair when […]





    In 1991 during the First Gulf War France created something called Vigipirate. Odd name we all agreed.

    Since then France’s government has put the country on Vigipirate three times: in 2003 during the Second Gulf War, in 2005 during the terrorism attacks in Central London and in March 2012 during the Merah Affair when a young Muslim man had gone on a shooting rampage of French soldiers and Jewish children.

    In 2003, Vigipirate was given 4 levels: yellow, orange, red and scarlet. Only in 2012 during the Merah Affair did it reach Level Scarlet and then just for a few hours.

    What few here in France, and certainly fewer tourists, were aware of was that France has remained on Vigipirate since the 2005 alert.

    However since Friday, January 11, when President François Hollande announced that France has replied favourably to an appeal by the president of the African nation Mali to help that country stop the invasion in its north of Islamists who are implementing Sharia Law on the Malian people, and that French troops have been dispatched to this former French colony, our Vigipirate alert has been strengthened.  It is not yet though on Scarlet; this is something which will happen only if there is a terrorist attack on mainland (Metropolitan) France.

    What does a Red alert mean?

    All vulnerable places are under police or army protection.

    What’s meant by vulnerable places? Department stores; movie theatres; theatres; museums;  opera houses; shopping centers; avenues like the Champs-Élysées; schools; railroad stations; airports; Metro stations; ministries and other government buildings like the presidential Élysée Palace; tourist spots like Place du Tertre and the Eiffel Tower; nuclear plants and electrical power plants and France’s water reservoirs.

    Also the police and the soldiers have the right to stop anyone they consider suspicious looking for an identity control or to check baggage and large parcels and big purses.

    That is therefore where we are now in France.

    What does a Scarlet alert mean?

    Added to the above list will be the following:

    (1)  All road and rail tunnels will be closed.

    (2)  All civilian air traffic will halt. This means no planes will land or take off and no over-flights will be allowed.

    (3)  All public transport will halt.

    (4)  All trains will stop running.

    (5)  All schools will close.

    (6)  Surveillance of all of our local water reservoirs.

    (7)  The flow of tap water will stop and bottled water will be handed out.

    But folks we are not there!!



    Marilyn Z. Tomlins

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    Niet no russian cathedral in central paris

    November 21st, 2012

    By Marilyn Z. Tomlins.

    French-Russian relations have often been taut. So it is again today. Yet, today, it has nothing to do with Soviet nuclear missiles aimed at Paris, but it is all about a church. Not just any little inconspicuous church but a vast structure of five golden onion domes which will stretch some 27 meters (90 […]


    Russian Cathedral for Paris… beside Eiffel Tower


    French-Russian relations have often been taut.

    So it is again today.

    Yet, today, it has nothing to do with Soviet nuclear missiles aimed at Paris, but it is all about a church.

    Not just any little inconspicuous church but a vast structure of five golden onion domes which will stretch some 27 meters (90 feet) into the Parisian sky.

    What is however irking the Parisians, and especially Paris’s mayor Bernard Delanoé, is that this Russian Orthodox cathedral, part of a Russian religious center, will cover 4,245 sq. meters (1 acre). And what is more it will be right beside the Eiffel Tower.

    This project, decided in 2010 by the then French president Nicholas Sarkozy and the then Russian president Dmitri Medvedev, had been described by Mayor Delanoé earlier this year (2012) as “hodgepodge architecture” and not worthy to be on display near the Eiffel Tower.

    A final decision on whether the project will continue will be taken on Thursday, November 29 when the Prefect of Paris, Daniel Canepa, must sign the permit for the construction at a cost of €35.4 million ($45.1 million / £28.5 million) to commence. Two days earlier Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev will be in Paris for a mini-summit with France’s Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, and it is thought that the project will be discussed and that Medvedev will plead for it to be allowed to continue.

    Said Delanoé further: “I want to express my very firm opposition to this project conceived by the French and Russian states without the agreement of the city of Paris.”

    The Russians had already bought the site in January 2010 for €70 million.  ($89.3 million  / £56.2 million)

    I will tell you exactly where the site is: It is on the left bank of the River Seine there where Avenue Rapp runs into Quay Branly. Across the river is Place de l’Alma where on August 31 1997 Princess Diana and her lover Dodi Al-Fayed died when the Mercedes in which they were rear seat passengers crashed in the tunnel underneath the square.

    The banks of the Seine have been granted world heritage status by UNESCO, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Accordingly, any building being constructed on the banks must not clash with traditional Paris architecture. Already in the 1970s a project by the South African government to construct a modern glass-fronted 5-storey embassy beside the American Church on Quay d’Orsay.  Despite opposition, a building permit was issued, and there, today, stands the squat glass box.

    Mayor Delanoé wants UNESCO to voice its opposition to the Russian’s project so that “no permission can be given without the endorsement of international experts”.

    The Russian Orthodox Church has 165 million followers worldwide which makes it the second largest Christian church in the world after the Roman Catholic Church  with 1.3 billion.

    However, as Parisian critics of the Quay Branly project, designed by Spanish architect Manuel Nuñez-Yanowsky, Russian tourists in Paris would not want to be going to church but to the Moulin Rouge.

    As it is visiting Russian needing refreshment for their souls already have a Russian Orthodox Cathedral and a Russian Orthodox Church they could attend.

    The first, the Cathedral Saint-Alexandre-Nevsky with five golden domes, is at No. 12 Rue Daru in the 8th arrondissement (district).

    The Rue Daru Russian Cathedral

    The second is the Saint-Serge et de la Dormition de la Mère de Dieu at No. 93, rue de Crimée in the 19th arrondissement.  Full of icons and with an altar screen that dates for the 16th century this small church used to be a protestant temple until the 1920s. It is at the moment being restored but remains open for daily 7 am. And 6 p.m. services and for liturgy on Sundays at 10 a.m.

    Saint Serge Russian Church

    Furthermore, there is the charming little Russian church in the Russian cemetery at Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois outside Paris of which I had written here.

    Charming Russian church in Russian Cemetery outside Paris at Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois

    Architect Yanowsky, 69, won an international competition for the creation of the Quay Branly project. He is the head of the Franco-Russian Sade and Arch Group of architects.

    Criticism of a Russian Orthodox cathedral in central Paris is also coming from Paris’s Muslim community. For at least 15 years now they have been asking for permission to build a mosque in Paris but each time they have been turned down.

    In 2010 the French government estimated that there were between 5-6 million Muslims in France, but only an approximate 2 million were practicing believers.  This estimate was confirmed by an INSEE (National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies) study. Most of the Muslims were from the former French colony of Algeria which had fought a bitter war against the colonialism in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Forty thousand of the Muslims were French nationals who had converted to Islam.

    Such statistics mean that Islam is the second largest religion in France after Roman Catholicism.

    As for Orthodoxy, there are an estimated 300,000 Orthodox Christians in France. This number is not though only made up of Russians but also of people from Balkan and Near-East countries.

    Immediately after the 1917 revolution in Russia France welcomed approximately 400,000 Russians to her territory. This resulted in the construction of several Russian Orthodox churches as indeed Russian cemeteries.

    The project …





    Marilyn Z. Tomlins

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    French Involvement in the Mali Conflict

    October 25th, 2012

    By Marilyn Z. Tomlins.

    Officially there are no French soldiers in Mali.

    However, according to military and Ministry of Defense sources who wish to remain anonymous, there are. They say that President François Hollande has discreetly (secretly) dispatched a contingent of elite soldiers to the Republic of Mali, one of France’s former colonies. The official explanation that the French is giving to their European partner states and to the United States and the United Nations is that the soldiers’ mission is to train and organize the disintegrating Malian army; but reports reaching Paris journalists from Bamako, the capital city, is that French drones have begun to operate over the Islamist-held north of the country.

    The news leaks arrive just when an international summit held in Paris has come to a close, and, when the news comes from Berlin that Germany’s Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, in a meeting with the U.N. envoy to the Sahel, Romano Prodi, expressed his concerns that the Mali situation was deteriorating. (The Sahel is a 3,400-mile area of arid savanna, steppes and shrubs which stretches just below the Sahara from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Red Sea in the east.)

    Said Westerwelle to reporters: “From the north of Mali you need to cross only one international border and you are at the Mediterranean. If the north collapses, if terrorist training camps spring up and becomes a haven for global terrorism, this won’t just endanger Mali and North Africa, it will also threaten us in Europe.”

    France has until now faced opposition from Algeria, another of her former colonies and the major power in northern Africa, to French and/or international intervention in Mali in order to clear out the al Qaeda-linked Islamists from the north of the landlocked Mali, one of the poorest countries in the world, the annual wage not more than US$1,500.

    However, over the past few weeks France has embarked on wooing Algeria for the Algerians to agree that only international action could clear the Islamists from Mali and to end the spread of Islamism to Northern Africa’s other Muslim state.

    With this aim in mind France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, and France’s Minister of the Interior, Manuel Valls, have in the past month made separate visits to Algeria for discussions with various Algerian government ministers.

    President Hollande is furthermore scheduled to make an official visit to Algeria early in December.

    As a further step towards winning the support of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for military intervention in Mali, President Holland did a mea culpa on October 19 acknowledging the massacre by the Paris police of approximately 200 Algerians who were demonstrating peacefully for independence from France on that day in 1961. (The number of deaths was never established as the police threw many of the bodies into the River Seine.)

    Foreign Minister Fabius did however say on Tuesday, October 23, that France has no intention of intervening in Mali. He said that it is for the Africans themselves to do so.  So far only Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad – all former French colonies – and the former British colony of Nigeria have said that they would participate in an African force by supplying 3,000 men in arms. Powerful South Africa, considered a leader in Africa since the end of Apartheid and majority rule, has not indicated whether it too would participate in military intervention in Mali.

    Meanwhile, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) approximately 450,000 Malians from the north of the country have fled into neighboring countries or down into the so-far un-invaded south.  Many children among those who have remained in the north have been forced into the Islamic fighting units.

    Should an agreement be reached for military intervention in Mali, either a solely African one or an international one under the control of the U.N. then that intervention should take place before the rainy season of June-July.

    In November 1958 Mali became an autonomous state within the French Community, and in April 1959 joined another French colony, neighboring Senegal to form the Federation of Mali. On June 20, 1960 the Federation proclaimed itself an independent republic with Senegal seceding two months later.

    On independence from France 65% of the population were Sunni Muslims, 5% Christians with a majority of these Roman Catholic, and the rest adhered to indigenous animist beliefs. Today 90% are Muslim with a Sunni majority.

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    Was Yasser Arafat murdered with Polonium?

    August 30th, 2012

    By Marilyn Tomlins.

    Was Yasser Arafat murdered with Polonium-210?

    When controversial leaders die suddenly there are always rumours of assassination.

    On November 11, 2004 Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestinian people for 35 years and president of the Palestinian Authority since 1996, succumbed in Paris in the military hospital of Percy in Clamart outside Paris, and rumours of assassination circulated yet again.

    One rumour was that he had died of AIDS, called SIDA, in France. Another more reasonable rumour was that he had been ill for some time with stomach or lung cancer.

    Yet, another rumour, especially in the Arab world, was that the Israelis had poisoned him.

    In July this year an Al-Jazeera documentary raised the issue that Arafat might indeed have been poisoned. No culprit was named.

    The television network had hired Swiss scientists from the Lausanne University Institute of Radiation Physics who had made an analysis of the clothing Arafat had worn at the time of his death. According to those scientists they had found traces of the radio-active polonium-210 on a urine stain on his underpants. Also on his trademark keffiyeh.

    Arafat’s widow Suha, daughter Zawra, and the Palestinian Authority wanted further analyses to be done and invited the Swiss scientists to come to Ramallah where Arafat’s remains are buried. Mrs. Arafat wanted the French to participate in what would be the exhumation of her husband’s body followed by a more in-depth analysis.

    In accordance with French law, for France to participate Mrs. Arafat had to file a civil complaint asking for France to open a murder investigation. This she did at the end of July.

    Yesterday – Tuesday, August 28, 2012 – France responded favourably to the widow’s request and opened a murder enquiry at the Court of Law of Nanterre outside Paris.

    At the moment of writing the man and team who are to lead the investigation have not yet been announced.

    French justice is however slow and this means that days and perhaps even weeks would go by before a team of French scientists along with their Swiss colleagues would be able to set off for Ramallah for the exhumation of Arafat’s remains. Even more weeks, even months, would go by before we would have the result of their analyses.

    Then only, and only if the polonium-210 test proved positive, would the French be able to investigate who had administered it to Arafat. He had fallen ill in Palestine, therefore the deadly substance would have been administered to him there, and not in the military hospital in Paris. This will undoubtedly handicap the French investigation, because France would not have jurisprudence to investigate on Israeli territory.

    Israel through its Foreign Ministry reacted immediately on the announcement of the French enquiry. Said spokesperson Yigal Palmor to Associated Press: “It’s not really our concern because the complaint is not lodged against Israel. If there is an investigation, we hope that it will shed light on the matter.”

    The Palestinian reaction was shorter and firmer. Said Saeb Erakat, senior aide to Palestian President Mahmoud Abbas, in an interview with Agence France Presse, the French news agency: “We welcome this decision.”

    There is a famous case of polonium-210 poisoning. In 2008 former KGB agent and defector, the 44-year-old Alexander Litvinenko, fell ill with severe diarrhoea and vomiting after a meal in a London restaurant – he been given asylum by the United Kingdom  and lived in London – with an Italian ‘nuclear waste expert’, Mario Scaramelle. Before he had the meal he had had a meeting in a hotel with two former KGB officers, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun. They had coffee and cakes.

    After several weeks of illness, he had photos taken of him on his death bed in hospital, saying: “I want the world to see what they did to me”.

    No-one was prosecuted for the poisoning of Litvinenko.

    Arafat was flown to Paris from a hospital in Tunisia where he had been taken after he had fallen ill with severe diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain after an evening meal in Ramallah.

    A report of his condition drawn up by the Percy military hospital and dated November 14, 2004 – three days after Arafat’s death – has been leaked by the website

    According to the report, Arafat, 75, suffered from a blood condition: thrombocytopenia – an abnormally low platelet count. It was caused by an intestinal inflammation associated with an intra-vascular coagulation. The intestinal inflammation, in turn, could have been caused by ‘toadstool’ poisoning.

    During the Cold War era both the Soviet Union and the United States built up large stockpiles of polonium-210. It is still being produced as a by-product of the nuclear power industry. Exact figures are not available but reports of how much polonium-210 exists currently range from between 500 and 1000 tonnes.

    Polonium-210 gathers in one’s bones. Arafat’s bones are therefore needed for the analysis. The question now being asked is: would his bones still be in a condition that would allow analyses.

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    French wealthy planning to flee France’s high taxes

    August 12th, 2012

    By Marilyn Z. Tomlins

    Switzerland has always meant much more to the wealthy of France than small squares of chocolate wrapped in pretty paper. Switzerland was where they banked, illegal as it was, and where they went to live to escape France’s high taxes and, as they said, the personal insecurity of living in France.

    Therefore, France’s movie and sports ‘stars’, as well as her most successful writers, could be found living in and around the French-speaking city of Geneva or in the French-speaking Canton of Geneva. There lived singer Charles Aznavour, Sacha Distel, Formula One ace Alain Prost, champion rally driver Sébastian Loeb,  and tennis players Yannick Noah, Guy Forget and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the current Wimbledon men’s semi finalist. And, but for Sacha Distel, who is no longer alive, they still do.

    Now, France having become a socialist state under François Hollande and he, having decided to tax anyone resident in France who declares an annual income of €1 million or more, by 75%, more of the countries wealthy are knocking on the doors of Geneva’s real estate agencies. (€1 million / $1.2 million)

    All are looking for properties to buy because they are refusing to give Hollande, who actually said, “I do not like the rich” during his campaign for the presidency, 75% of their earnings each year. Hollande assumed office as France’s 24th President on May 18 this year of 2012.

    So what is the French buying?

    Jérôme Félicité, head of the Geneva-based real estate company, Genrofinance-Dunand, revealed that the agency has had visits from two dozen French residents in the period June/July alone who wanted to buy properties. He did not name names of course, but he said that they were either businessmen who were also going to move their businesses to Switzerland, or people who had retired and wanted to protect their savings.

    “The Geneva city center is only half an hour from the airport and it is just an hour’s flight to Paris,” he said.

    What do the properties cost that these prospective buyers are looking at?

    They cost between $3 and $8 million each.

    For example, half an hour drive along the Geneva (Leman) lake there are 15 apartments on the market. The apartments are between 1,560 sq.ft. and 8,600 sq.ft. in size at an asking price of  $2,140 per sq. ft.

    What you will get for your money includes your personal secure parking bay big enough for four cars, the use of a swimming pool, spa, a fitness room and a private beach on the lake.

    Another property is a ranch of half an acre on the heights above the lake. There is a 9,256 sq. ft. mansion on the grounds.  The price is $8,605,100.  For that kind of money your neighbors will be Guy Forget, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Sébastian Loeb.

    Before Hollande had decided on the 75% tax of the wealthy (an annual income of €1 million and more and you are indeed wealthy in France) in other words during the presidency of his predecessors one of them Nicolas Sarkozy, 750 French nationals had already made the move to Switzerland. All that the Swiss demanded from them was their money in Swiss banks and that they were resident in Switzerland for a minimum of 180 days each year.

    The Swiss, of course, also provide bank secrecy.

    In France revenue tax rates are as follows:

    Earning up to €5,963 ($7,311)     – 0%
    Between $7,311 –$14,586           – 5.5%
    Between $14,586  – $32,396        – 14%
    Between $32,396 – $86,851         – 30%
    Over  $86,851                               – 41%

    In addition, someone with an annual income which includes income from capital of between $306,550 and $613,100 must pay a special tax (taxe sur les hauts revenus) of 3%. For those with an annual income of more than $613,100 the special tax rises to 4%.

    The average annual income of a household in France is less than $23,297. The poverty line for a couple with one child is $2,084 per month, but half of the country’s households, this includes a couple with one child, have an income of $1,839 per month. A household with $3,680 per month, which is 10% of the population, is considered wealthy.

    Latest official statistics (2011) show that France’s population stands at 65,436,552.

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