Executive Intelligence Review
This article appears in the July 14, 2006 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Let's Stop Putting France on Sale

by Jacques Cheminade

LaRouche associate Cheminade is a candidate in the 2007 French Presidential elections.

On presenting the European Green Book on Energy, José Manuel Durão Barroso, chairman of the European Commission, let the cat out of the bag: "Once and for all, let there be an end to protectionism and knee-jerk patriotic reactions," he said. Claiming opposition to this, France's Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, puts forward his "economic patriotism."

The truth lies elsewhere than in the nice words of the politicians. Beyond the facade, one must face reality: At the center of a French capitalism gone mad, which is to say financial, there is a veritable invasion of our public arena by an avalanche of multinational, "non-resident" interests. Their objective is to destroy what remains of the French nation state, and to impose the power of a financial conglomerate—synarchist and oligarchical—without honor, law, or borders.

This financial fascism emerges brutally, as it did during the thirties, with the same economic features and for the same reasons. In the context of the breakdown of the international monetary system, it intends to build an Empire capable of crushing any resistance, and imposing the social austerity needed to maintain its power, while writing off, if necessary, parts of its own assets.

This passage to the political phase of the financial derailing, began on Aug. 15, 1971, when the U.S. Administration put an end to the Bretton Woods system by unpegging the dollar from gold; it implies the destruction of our republican order. Those leading that operation—of which personalities such as the former ambassador of the United States to France, Felix Rohatyn, and the interests nested in the Lazard Frères banking operations are emblematic—are aiming for nothing less than to impose the policies of Hjalmar Schacht and the pre-war Bank for International Settlements (BIS), without a Hitler, a Mussolini or a Franco, but this time on a world scale. Today, it is called "globalization."

History may stutter, but that is not a reason for us to behave as it does. In June 1940, our gates were opened to the Nazi invasion, and it was a "divine surprise" of those who had long plotted to overthrow the Republic. The Pétainist's "patriotism" of French capital consisted in supplying the German army with tires, and participating in the construction of the Atlantic Wall. Today, we must immediately resist, and this resistance, defining the position of France, Germany, and of Europe towards "globalization," must unite and catalyze the currents of social Christianity, Republican socialism, and true patriotic Gaullism, that is to say, those currents rooted each in its own way, in the Common Good. This article, written in the context of my Presidential campaign, aims to provoke my fellow citizens to reassert their dignity and to launch a mobilization that will retrieve "la France combattante" (fighting France) as an idea, and not as a product sold at discount.

Mittal Steel-Arcelor

While the "Europe of the Great Projects" turns out to be a hoax, and while the euro operates as a tool for dismantling industry and agriculture, the offensive of the financial synarchy remains nearly unopposed. The proof is in the growing number of takeovers and privatizations of economic interests critical to our political independence, and even to our mere economic existence: Mittal Steel seizes control of Arcelor, Suez takes Gaz de France, and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) takes Euronext, slicing up our public sector so that they can obtain higher prices by selling bits and pieces, and recartelization framed by "European" legislation on the "liberalization of public monopolies."

Another proof? The behavior of Mesdames Clara Gaymard and Anne Lauvergeon, eager to drop their political postures to shamelessly sell themselves to the rising financial powers.

Mittal Steel-Arcelor is, without doubt, the most revealing case of the high treason of our "elites." Jacques Chirac himself, earlier this year, had denounced this "purely financial operation, devoid of any industrial objective." However, given the environment that Chirac has let grow, it has happened, with ineluctable logic. Indeed, it was a friend of Jacques Chirac, François Pinault, who supported Lakshmi Mittal, to whom he had been introduced by Anne Meaux, the press relations chief for both ... as well as for parts of the official French right.

According to press reports, the "Indian group" managed to "win the shareholders over by waving fistfuls of cash," when it jacked up its bid to 40.4 euros a share from 28 euros, thus placing the value of Arcelor at 25.4 billion euros, compared with 18.6 billion in late January.

Greed has thus won the day, as the biggest and best European high-quality steel manufacturer falls prey to a group that may wear an Indian mask, but is, in fact, London-based, and quoted on the Amsterdam stock exchange—a satellite of the financial synarchy. Mittal's current shareholders will acquire "only" 49.4% of the new Mittal-Arcelor Group, and Arcelor's shareholders will own 50.6%. But an Arcelor executive, close to its chairman Guy Dollé, has stated that "whatever happens, Mittal will be the Group's main shareholder," while Arcelor's shareholders, who do not form a homogeneous bloc, "will easily be dominated at stockholder meetings." In our "shareholder society," the shareholders do lay down the law.

Two points can be underlined here to show the full scope of this disastrous choice.

First, in his attempt to counter Mittal, Guy Dollé had gone to the Russian firm Severstal, led by Alexei Mordachov, who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Dollé has not changed his view, and continues to believe that the alliance with Mittal makes no sense from an industrial standpoint. But, like the French authorities, he was persuaded to cave in. Result: the legitimate discontent of the Russian authorities. The daily newspaper Kommersant, reflecting an official standpoint, reviews the consequences of the choice: "The decision, taken on the eve of the G-8 summit [to be held at St. Petersburg] by a major European company ... can seriously complicate relations between Russia and the EU."

In fact, rather than support Putin, who now quotes Franklin Roosevelt as a policy example to his nation, France has chosen sides with the financial interests engaged in dismantling our own nation!

Greed was not the "shareholders' " sole motive, but it appears that there was an overall political strategy at stake. Some basic facts throw more light on this: One finds on the Board of Directors of Mittal Steel Lewis Kaden and Wilbur Ross, together with the Nathaniel Rothschild, who co-chairs a hedge fund known as Atticus Partners, which is in the Lazard orbit.

In 1984, Kaden, assisted by Eugene Keilin and Joshua Gotbaum of Lazard Frères, led the team that drafted a report signed by Felix Rohatyn, Lane Kirkland, and Irving Shapiro, "The Return to American Competitiveness: Proposals for an Industrial Policy." That report served as the intellectual foundation for the "rationalization" (that is, takedown) of the U.S. steel industry. Kaden became vice chairman of Citigroup, after the ISG-Mittal merger (as we shall shortly see). But today, it is Citigroup that lent Mittal the $9.5 billion needed to take over Arcelor!

As for Wilbur Ross, he has made wrecking the U.S. steel industry a particular line of expertise. After the first (1986) and second (2000) bankruptcy of the giant steel company LTV, Ross took over its Chicago and Cleveland production units to form the International Steel Group (ISG). LTV and ISG then proceeded to institute massive layoffs, cut pensions, and reduce production. In 2003, after Kaden had recruited Steve Miller to be the chairman of Bethlehem Steel, the latter sold off most of its steel business to Ross. Ross Financial then sold ISG to ... Mittal Steel! Along the way, naturally, there were more downsizings and more plant closures. Steve Miller became chairman of the Delphi automobile parts, which he is dismantling, following a scheme drafted by ... Felix Rohatyn and Rothschild Inc.!

It is essential now to review the three levels at which the industrial dismantling operates: the overall plan (Rohatyn-Kaden), the enforcement of the plan by Ross-Mittal-Rothschild, and finally its extension into Europe (the Arcelor takeover). The shareholder greed is nothing less than the expression of an overall political strategy.

Now, who are Arcelor's "shareholders," and who has used them? It is Goldman Sachs, which was advising Arcelor and which led the revolt against Severstal alongside Nathaniel Rothschild. The latter, through Atticus Partners, owns 1.3% of Arcelor and 1.2% of Mittal! And who was first to jump on board? Other hedge funds, as well as U.S. and British pension funds that owned around 30% of Arcelor. Among those funds, according to John Plender, writing in the Financial Times, we have The Children's Fund, Fidelity, Merrill Lynch, Deka, Centaurus, Heyman Investment Associates, and so on. In a nutshell, the so-called "independent" shareholders were carefully managed and then thrown into the fray by a brutal and well-organized conglomerate. So much for "free and unbridled" competition!

No matter the sweet nothings murmured into the ear of the gullible: Behind the Mittal-Arcelor merger loom massive closures and downsizing, not only in the U.S.A but also in France.

Already, the London Metal Exchange (LME) and New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) intend to set up a world derivatives market for steel products. The Indian Multi-Commodity Exchange already conducts similar operations, and the Shanghai Futures Exchange will do so shortly. Steel, the very essence of any long-term economic development, is handed over to short-term financial speculation; its fate is sealed.

Those who do not grasp that the logic behind the Mittal-Arcelor merger derives from this "global" context, are useful fools. To realize this fully, let us turn now to the Suez-Gaz de France deal.

Suez-GDF

Allowing Gaz de France, the state's natural gas concern, to be absorbed by Suez, the giant water company, is tantamount to handing over "the vital interest of the nation" to an international firm dominated by the same type of interests that control Mittal Steel. In promoting this deal, the government not only has gone back on its word, but also asks the Parliament to follow it. In principle, by Act of Parliament dated July 22, 2004, the State's share of GDF's capital was not to fall below 70%. But in the new entity, the State will control only 40%! From a purely formal standpoint, it is GDF that would take over Suez, but Suez shareholders will de facto control between 55 and 60% of the whole, which will be run by Gerard Mestrallet, Suez's current chairman.

Suez itself is a firm whose main shareholders and Board of Directors are the aforesaid Mestrallet, Lord Simon of Highbury, Albert Frère, Paul Desmarais, Viscount Etienne Davignon, and Anne Lauvergeon. On its Ethics, Environment, and Sustainable Development Committee, and on its Remuneration Committee, sit Lord Simon of Highbury, Etienne Davignon, and Paul Desmarais.

Between 2001 and 2004, Felix Rohatyn sat on the Suez Board of Directors. In 2002, Rohatyn demanded of Mestrallet—who promptly caved in—that he ram through an "Action Plan" that involved sweeping austerity measures, the halving of investment, and massive disinvestment. Basically, the concept was to make Suez into a company controlling water management, and taking over the energy sector: in short, to become a full-blown cartel, enjoying a stranglehold over the two fundamental resources of any state.

Rohatyn has been backed up especially by Paul Desmarais and Albert Frère, the group's main shareholder. In April 2002, Rohatyn was appointed to the group's Audit Committee.

In October 2004, Mestrallet and Rohatyn convened a Europlace Group conference in New York, to "boost transatlantic investment." The chairman of the Management Board of Société Générale of Belgium, and of Suez, along with the man who has been behind the strategic mergers and acquisitions since the early sixties (the strategy of Lazard, led by André Meyer, for recartellization of industry) thus joined forces to run financial "globalization," they themselves being the "brains" of the operation. Included are:

  • Etienne Davignon, a Bilderberg Society member, chairman of Suez-Tractebel, and former chairman of Société Générale of Belgium, who drafted the notorious "Davignon plan," pursuant to which the steel industry (where one runs into Arcelor), first in Europe and then in the U.S.A., was to be dismantled.

  • Albert Frère, who is one of the Paris Bourse's top 40 (CAC 40) largest investors. With shares in Total and Suez, he punched his way into the capital of Lafarge (8%) and Eiffage (6.1%), and now runs the Bruxelles-Lambert Group (GBL), the strong-arm of his "financial profits first and foremost" approach. He is a dear friend of Bernard Arnault (LVMH), with whom he purchased the top Cheval Blanc vineyard in Bordelais; he frequently meets Alain Minc and especially the Canadian Paul Desmarais—without whom he never makes a move.

  • Paul Desmarais, a Bruxelles Lambert Group Director, chair of the Sagard Private Equity Partners Committee in France, who is typical of the Canadian "comprador" class, a go-between for the U.S. finance oligarchs and the Anglo-French-European synarchy.

  • Anne Lauvergeon, who was at the Elysée Palace under François Mitterrand, and is now a partner at Lazard Frères and a director at Total. She runs Areva, the French nuclear giant (see below). Her presence indicates that an early move is on the table to concentrate the entire French energy sector under a single umbrella.

  • Yves Thibault de Silguy, himself a Lazard old boy, who sits on Suez's Executive Committee, with his double-folio address book: that of his French Cabinet-Ministerial posts and that of a former European Commissioner.

This short survey lets us see the real nature of the Suez grab of Gaz de France. The deal was "sold" to public opinion by puffing up a putative risk of takeover by the Italian energy concern ENEL, a company for which Alain Minc himself serves as an advisor. The fear of Beelzebub opened the door of the tavern to Satan!

The next stage, if no opposition is raised, will be to privatize Electricité de France (EDF), which will soon be confronted with a newly created energy giant, licensed to sell to private households, businesses, and local authorities, thanks to Gaz de France's 14-million-strong client list. EDF will then need a partner to diversify—and lumbering over the horizon, comes Total-Elf-Fina, more than 50% owned by "non-resident" investment funds; that is, by Anglo-Americans. This way, the whole financial takeover will be accomplished and France will be run lock, stock, and barrel, through its energy sector.

Nothing has been done to oppose the creation of a vast public energy pole uniting EDF and GDF. The authorities have accepted the progressive dismantling, while spouting purple patriotic prose.

Euronext

Steel, energy: At the same time, while trying to convince us that Paris will become Europe's "future financial capital," the current financial operation targets Euronext, the federation of European stock markets (Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Lisbon). Its alliance with the New York Stock Exchange has been presented as a "merger between equals," while in truth, U.S. financial interests will control 59% of its capital. The latter interests intend to get into Europe—and the world—by surfing on Europe's laxer regulations, and seizing hold both of the London derivatives market (London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange, or Liffe) and of Euronext's extraordinary computer technologies. Writing in Le Monde June 27, we find François Bujon de l'Estang, a former French Ambassador to Washington, and now chairman of Citigroup in France (sounds familiar...), who warmly advocates the deal. In the best of all possible worlds, "The rapprochement with New York is a unique opportunity for Paris to become Europe's financial capital within the world's largest financial organization, as Felix Rohatyn, former Ambassador of the United States to Paris [sounds again familiar] recently underlined....

"This is France's great chance to become the center of financial gravity for the Euro zone ... the new grouping's international Head Offices will remain at Paris and Amsterdam for the spot market, and at London, for derivatives."

Shotgun weddings, all, and all it shows is that the financial synarchy intends to move in massively on continental Europe, while moving out of the U.S.A the highly speculative instruments of the system (Liffe, derivatives), to really be in a position to take the gloves off everywhere in the world.

Renault, EADS, Lagardère, Fogeard, Alcatel-Lucent ...

Other operations are to be inserted into this same picture.

Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan's chairman, has just received an offer from General Motors (GM), via the unsavory billionaire Kirk Kerkorian of Tracinda fund fame, who became General Motors' major shareholder, with 9.5% of its capital. The agreement will apparently cover GM and Nissan. As it happens, GM is currently being picked to the bone for hard cash by the financial sharks, for whom Kerkorian is a pilot fish!

The proposal, scurvy as it is, has been most amiably received by Renault, which intends to give the "opportunity" close study; Renault and Nissan form "an open alliance that was never restricted to two partners" and "could be broadened."

Kirk Kerkorian has gone so far as to suggest to Carlos Ghosn to undertake a "profound restructuring" of GM, as he did with Nissan in Japan—cost-cutting, slashing wages, shredding pension plans.

Two aspects have to be underlined:

First, Nissan, as it happens, already operates at Canton, Mississippi, paying its workers so meagerly that outsourcing was unnecessary. As a U.S. trade unionist put it, "They want to turn Mississippi into a Manchukuo." This implies that if Ghosn moves in, a policy of systematic wage cuts for GM workers is to be expected.

Second, Renault-Nissan has increasingly been drawn into Lazard Frères strategies, for which the latest turn of events is a further indicator. Franck Riboud, on Renault's Board of Directors, spent his entire career at Danone thanks to Michel-David Weill, chairman of Lazard Frères. Franck's father and friend to Michel-David Weill, Antoine Riboud (part of the transatlantic military milieu, whose leisure hours are agreeably filled with esotericism and telekinesis), was brother to Jean Riboud. It was Jean who introduced Felix Rohatyn to François Mitterrand.

Another Renault Board member, François de Combret, has long been associated with Lazard Frères and was among those who brought Carlos Ghosn into the Renault management. We unavoidably unravel the same network of influence, when we identify the same policy.

At the same time, the French Alcatel (the world's second largest telecommunications equipment group) is purchasing the U.S. firm Lucent; the French group's shareholders will own 60% of the new entity's capital. However, in respect to management and "business culture," the new entity will be far more American than French, and far more financial than American. The operational boss will be Lucent's Patricia Russo, an American who lives in Paris. Most of the capital will be gripped firmly in the fist of Anglo-Saxon investment funds. Just as we have seen with Euronext and Suez-GDF, the strategy is crystal clear: The financial interests and head office will be based at Paris, to become the operational center for a multinational synarchy.

Many of France's traditional social benefits are now threatened as well. This is "a pirates' raid," protested Daniel Lebègue, former chairman of the Caisse des Depôts et Consignations (CDC), in speaking of the moves to merge Ixis (the merchant bank of the savings banks) with Natexis (the merchant bank for the so-called Banques Populaires). Leading the merger attempt is Darius Milhaud, the boss of the Caisse Nationale des Caisses d'Epargne (CNCE), and Philippe Dupont, chairman of the Banques Populaires. The merger would be the death-knell for the Livret A public savings account, which would mean the end of the "French exception," which gave high rates to public savings accounts while using the funds to generate credit for public housing projects.

Philippe Dupont is most keen upon getting rid of the Livret A. Milhaud and Dupont suggest that the CDC, which manages the funds collected through the Livret A, withdraw from the CNCE's capital, in this way forcing its privatization. A friend in need is a friend indeed: The European Commission has of course opened an enquiry into the Livret A's "monopoly" position, after a complaint was filed by the Crédit Agricole and other banks.

The game is to strip the nation-state of each and every economic tool heretofore at its disposal, and reduce it to an enforcement agency for policies made elsewhere.

It is in front of this dispossession of the wealth of the state, that unbelievable profits of stock options and salaries proliferate for the top brass of the companies. Before World War I, the banker J.P. Morgan, not exactly a philanthropist, stated that a company's boss should never earn more than 20 times the wage he pays a worker. But Antoine Zacharias, the Vinci chairman, has grabbed 250 million euros since 2001—this represents 5,770 years of average wage for one of his own employees, and is 17,000 times the minimum wage.

Noël Forgeard at European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) sold his stock options in March at the key moment in time, raking in profits of more than 3.7 million euros. He did this, although at that time, he had to know—as the trade unions themselves knew—of the fact that EADS production of the A-380 had fallen behind schedule, and that the share price was about to go through the floor. Insider trading? Oh no, lisps Forgeard—like Arnaud Lagardère, who also by some miracle, sold half the 15% of EADS shares held by his group. No, it is a simple matter of "incompetence" for the first, and pure chance for the second!

Forget the idea that those were individual moves; these are nothing but symptoms of a global predatory strategy for which corruption is but an instrument.

Clara Gaymard and Anne Lauvergeon

The treason of our elites is manifest in two extreme cases, those of Clara Gaymard and Anne Lauvergeon. Gaymard is the daughter of Professor Jerôme Lejeune and wife of Hervé Gaymard, the former Economics Minister who hastily left his post after a property scandal. She was the president of the French international investment agency (Agence Française des Investissements Internationaux or AFII), and has now resigned to head General Electric France (GE). Here we have a high-ranking civil servant, responsible for promoting foreign investment into France, elbowing her way up to the trough, by joining one of the very firms that she earlier promoted! GE is the world's second largest commercial enterprise, seventh-largest contractor to the Pentagon, and one of the Republican Party's main donors. Now you begin to understand why Mrs. Lejeune-Gaymard, Mr. Gaymard, and their friend Dominique Perben so obsessively opposed me personally (cf. Clara Lejeune, La vie est un bonheur, Criterion, pp. 72-73).

In respect to Anne Lauvergeon, even if she supposedly belongs on the other side of the political spectrum, having been François Mitterrand's little "sherpa," the fact remains that she too is busy betraying the national interest: She has arranged to have the neo-conservative Spencer Abraham lead the U.S. subsidiary of Areva, thereby placing the keys of France's nuclear industry into the sweaty palm of a former U.S. Secretary of Energy and eminent member of the Federalist Society. That Society has defended the "unitary executive" theory, one purporting to justify virtually unlimited powers for the U.S. President in the event of conflict—such as the alleged "War on Terror." The men behind the Federalist Society .are disciples of Carl Schmitt, the "crown-jurist" of Hitler's Reich. Slightly embarrassing!

Stopping Today's Nazis

What we face here, in all its shapes and sizes, and what has to be stopped overnight if France wants to avoid being under the control of a financial synarchy, is a blatant return to the bad moral habits of the 1930s, after the crash of 1929. In 1954, a report published on Lazard Frères reads: "When von Ribbentrop [Hitler's Foreign Minister] came to Paris on December 6, 1938 to sign a good-neighbor agreement with Georges Bonnet, Foreign Minister in the Daladier Government, a dinner was held at the Quai d'Orsay, attended by Daniel Serruys of Lazard. At the time, André Meyer, the new managing partner of Lazard, entertained excellent relations with Georges Bonnet, and supported him at the time of Munich agreements."

Lazard was the banker of Royal Dutch Shell, whose chairman, Sir Henry Deterding, had financed the Nazi Party. Until France was actually invaded, André Meyer sat on the sidelines observing Hitler, while weaving a tight web with Banque Worms, the central pole of the Anglo-Franco-German synarchy, and the instrument of France's "strange defeat." Meyer left for the U.S.A in 1940, after France was occupied, and took over Lazard in New York. On July 27, 1944, the U.S. military attaché at Algiers reported back to Washington that financial circles favorable to collaboration with the Nazis had, little by little, infiltrated Free France. In the appendix, the report supplied a list of roughly 80 persons and institutions, the hard core of the synarchy. Among them appear Banque Lazard and one of its representatives—André Meyer. In the late 1950s, Meyer moved into mergers and acquisitions, recartellization. In undertaking the re-creation of the cartels, Meyer's friend and main associate, whom he considered as a son, was Felix Rohatyn. Doesn't the Arabic proverb say that "the dog always returns to its own vomit"?

We find Rohatyn again on our national scene, when he was U.S. Ambassador to Paris between 1997 and 2001. He sat on the Suez Board of Directors, and remains to this day on the Board of LVMH (Bernard Arnault again), and the Board of the Lagardère Group (again) and of Publicis.

Since treachery seems to have become a bad habit of our elites in times of crisis, isn't it urgent this time to replace them, and even to sweep them away, helped by a fresh wind blowing from America?—not Bush, nor Cheney, nor the very opportunistic Hillary Clinton, but the coalition of forces which Lyndon LaRouche is inspiring on that side of the Atlantic.

Time is overripe for a new economic and monetary order worldwide, to restore man's labor, along with the spirit of discovery and improvement of nature, as an absolute priority, at the expense of the financial parasitism we have just described, which carries in its womb the "universal fascism" shamelessly described by the unadorned words of the American neo-conservative Michael Ledeen.

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