Analysis

  • Takieddine Documents: Mediapart targeted by death threats

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    In a series of exclusive reports that began in July, Mediapart has revealed the long-standing close links between France-based businessman and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine and the inner circle of advisers and aides surrounding Nicolas Sarkozy, before and after he became French president. Now a Mediapart journalist has made an official complaint after receiving death threats linked to the stories. Here Editor-in-Chief Edwy Plenel discloses the nature of the threats and explains why Mediapart has decided to lodge the complaint with the legal authorities.
  • Now a judge points finger at Sarkozy in Bettencourt affair

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    The Bettencourt affair began as a sordid family quarrel about money and abuse of influence over L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, and grew into a political scandal involving Europe's richest woman and the funding of President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party. Now the judge who was kicked off the legal investigation speaks out in a new book, saying witnesses were too frightened to talk on the record. She also says a witness claimed to have seen Sarkozy take money personally. Bettencourt's former accountant also talks of intimidation and manipulation of her evidence. Mediapart editor François Bonnet reviews this latest explosive development in a scandal that is still rocking the French president.

  • Leading by example? How the IMF shot itself in the foot - again

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    The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund in June appointed former French finance minister Christine Lagarde as its Managing Director in full knowledge of the legal procedure concerning her and which this week led to the opening of an investigation into her suspected involvement in 'aiding and abetting falsification' and 'misappropriation of public funds'. At a moment of grave international economic turmoil, the IMF, still reeling from the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair, finds itself further weakened. Philippe Riès returns to the background of Lagarde's appointment and interviews Ted Truman, senior fellow with the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics and a former assistant secretary of the US Treasury for International Affairs, about the consequences of Lagarde's predicament for the IMF.

  • 'Torture made in USA', and the imbroglio of Guantánamo Bay

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    Le général Sanchez (vidéo dans l'article) Le général Sanchez (vidéo dans l'article)

    ‘Torture made in USA', an award-winning French-produced documentary on the systematic practice of torture by the US in operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, has just been released in France on DVD. First presented online by Mediapart, it contains exclusive interviews with high-ranking US officials and notably General Ricardo Sanchez (photo), former commander of the coalition ground forces in Iraq, who "unequivocally" confirms the use of torture. Along with a presentation of the documentary, Thomas Cantaloube analyses here the legal black hole created by a key element of this policy, the camp at Guantánamo Bay, and why US President Barack Obama has failed his pledge to close it.

  • Blowing the whistle on a sick game

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    No French authority, and notably no court of law, could allow a selection process among citizens based on their foreign origins, their skin colour or the religion they practice. That is key to understanding the importance of Mediapart's exclusive revelations of how the country's football chiefs hatched secret plans for a discriminatory selection of young players. Mediapart Editor-in-Chief Edwy Plenel argues here why this sorry affair, the demonstration of an alarming loss of values, offers a wakeup call for French society.

  • French local elections to test strength of far-right

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    Local elections in France this weekend will provide an instructive test of the strength of parties ahead of next year's presidential elections. The focus will be on the far-right Front National, which opinion polls suggest has recently gained a significant increase in support, and which hopes to maul President Nicolas Sarkozy's ruling UMP conservative right party in a number of regions. Stéphan Alliès details what the elections are about, and what's at stake for the parties involved.
  • How Japan's nuclear industry ignored the disaster to come

    Following the major earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11th, the threat of a nuclear catastrophe caused by overheating at the country's damaged Fukushima nuclear plant increases hour by hour. The crisis has highlighted the perilous number of nuclear installations established in a country regularly rocked by quakes. Mathieu Gaulène reports on the history of Japan's nuclear energy programme and the past incidents that so clearly announced a disaster to come.

  • EU barricades rise as dictators fall

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    Following the arrival this month of thousands of Tunisians on the island of Lampedusa, Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini has warned that the fall of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi will open a migratory exodus of 'biblical proportions'. Carine Fouteau reports on how pro-democracy revolts sweeping away the dictatorial regimes of the Arab world have opened up an embarrassing issue for the European Union, which for years has relied on the despots of North Africa to help control clandestine migration from the continent.

  • French foreign minister lost in Tunisia fable

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    French foreign affairs minister Michèle Alliot-Marie has come under intense pressure to resign following further revelations about her New Year's holidays with her partner and family in strife-torn Tunisia. Contradicting her version hitherto of events, it now emerges that during the trip she held talks with now-deposed president and despot Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, while her parents signed a business deal with an entrepreneur close to the regime. Here, Mediapart compares the minister's public statements with the truth established so far, revealing how she has misled both the French public and parliament.

  • The agony of the French press

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     © DR © DR

    The French press is in crisis, with readers fleeing the newsstands, revenue collapsing and titles changing hands amid ever cheaper sell-offs. Vincent Truffy and David Medioni argue here that media owners and editorial managers must re-think the role and tools of the profession, instead of stubbornly grasping onto an obsolete model.