One of the key as aspects of the current impasse in the Ivory Coast is the important role played by the French Freemasons and their African lodge leaders. Virtually all the African leaders ranged against Gbagbo and supporting the elite cadre of French business and political leaders are Freemasons affiliated to the same lodges as the French business and political group. It is impossible to understand how Françafrique works without reference to the Masons.
The French Masons represent the elite of French business and politics, Most of them were educated together at the same two schools and most pursue a career in the administration of the French government or the administration of French business. At French firms there is often pressure to hire or promote people based on their connections. A study by Francis Kramarz and David Thesmar published in 2006 by the Institute for the Study of Labour in Bonn looked at three French business networks: former civil servants who graduated from the École Nationale d’Administration, former civil servants who graduated from the École Polytechnique and École Polytechnique graduates who went straight into business. These two elite schools, which produce 500 or so French graduates a year, dominate the boards of France’s biggest companies. The study showed that firms run by former civil servants who maintained their links to government markedly underperformed those run by executives with purely private-sector backgrounds[i].
Freemason lodges maintain a formidable, covert influence within the French judicial and police structures. All three Freemason lodges in France have gained reputations in recent years for being caught out peddling political influence and pursuing false invoicing on state contracts, particularly in companies controlled by the state. Freemasons in the judiciary hamper any investigations through bureaucratic measures designed to torpedo any serious attempt at reform. One of the topmost grievances raised by the muzzled Press is the Grande Lodge National Française’s (GLNF) open-armed embrace of brutal or corrupt African dictators who are Masons. The other two Grand Lodges are no different.
Just as in France, Freemasonry is ubiquitous at the very top in many African states. Denis Sassou Nguesso, the Congolese president, is Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Congo – Brazzaville linked to the National Grand Lodge of France; President Mamadou Tanja of Niger; Chad’s Idriss Deby and François Bozizé of the Central African Republic are among at least twelve African presidents linked to the Masons. In November 2009 Ali Bongo, the new Gabonese President was ordained as the grand master of the Grand Lodge of Gabon (GLB) and the Grand Equatorial Rite, the two predominant Freemason orders in Gabon.[ii]
In Congo-Brazzaville, both the current president, Denis Sassou Nguesso, and the former president, Pascal Lissouba, are freemasons, although they belong to different chapters of the order. Mr Lissouba is an initiate of the Grand Orient of France while Mr Sassou Nguesso belongs to a Senegalese lodge affiliated to the French Grand National Lodge. Most of these African presidents, but not exclusively, are francophone: Paul Biya, president of Cameroon , Blaise Campaore, president of Burkina Faso; Robert Guei, former head of Côte d’Ivoire; John Kuffuor, former president of Ghana, to name but a few. There are scores more at Cabinet level and who are staffing African regional organisations and banks.
The Masons have always provided the leaders and the staff of French colonialism. The Grand Orient established its first lodge at Saint-Louis in Senegal in 1781 and, as a consequence, the names of a number of distinguished freemasons are to be found in the history of French colonial rule. The great French empire builder, Jules Ferry, was a freemason and so was the colonial governor, Félix Eboué, a Black from French Guiana, who rallied Chad to the Free French cause in 1940, leading the whole of French Equatorial Africa and Cameroon to support General de Gaulle at a time when the Vichy Government was introducing laws against masons and Jews.[iii]
A lot of the research on Françafrique was conducted by François Xavier Verschave, who coined the term He wrote twenty books and innumerable articles on the subject and he described the secret control system of its leaders as “the secret criminality in the upper echelons of French politics and economy, where a kind of underground Republic is hidden from view.” A lot of this ability to hide what it happening derives from two interlinked processes – the absence of any democratic procedures in the French political system for debating African policy and the empowered French Masons (and their African Presidential lodge brothers) who act to enforce the narrow interests of French business throughout Africa using the institutions of the French State. In return the African Presidents pay a tithe to the French politicians which funds French political parties and enriches others on a personal basis.
A recent Wikileaks report explained one such case. Gabon's late president Omar Bongo allegedly pocketed millions in embezzled funds from central African states, channelling some of it to French political parties in support of Nicolas Sarkozy, according to a US embassy cable published by El País. A senior official at the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) told a US diplomat in Cameroon of Bongo's "brazen" defrauding of the bank which holds the pooled reserves of six central African countries, including Gabon, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Shortly after Bongo's death in 2009, the US embassy in Yaounde said the bank source told them: "Gabonese officials used the proceeds for their own enrichment and, at Bongo's direction, funnelled funds to French political parties, including in support of French President Nicolas Sarkozy." The cable, released by WikiLeaks, continued: "Asked what the officials did with the stolen funds, the BEAC official responded, 'sometimes they kept it for themselves, sometimes they funnelled it to French political parties.' Asked who received the funds, the official responded, 'both sides, but mostly the right; especially Chirac and including Sarkozy.' The BEAC official said 'Bongo was France's favourite president in Africa,' and 'this is classic Françafrique.[iv]
It must be noted that when the phrase, the ‘French’, is used it has a special meaning. Unlike in ordinary democracies, the French version of democracy is a special case. By tradition in France, foreign affairs are the French president’s private domain. The foreign affairs minister only applies his policies. France is the only Western country where foreign policy is not a debating topic in the national legislative bodies. The sovereignty of the French people does not count for anything even if it has elected the president directly. The Parliament has no checking powers and is quietly relegated to domestic matters.
The war of the French against the Ivory Coast was a war by Jacques Chirac against the Ivory Coast. It was his fit of pique which ordered the French ‘peacekeepers’ to attack and destroy the Ivory Coast air force. It was his order to send over a hundred tanks to surround the Hotel d’Ivoire and President Gbagbo’s house. It was his decision to allow his soldiers to open fire on a crowd of singing youths, totally unarmed and non-threatening, seeking only to stop the French from making a coup or killing President Gbagbo. It was his, African advisor Michel d’Bonnecorse, Defence Minister Aliot-Marie and DGSE chief Pierre Brochand, who made and controlled French policy and programs in Africa under Chirac. They were aided by a web of French agents assigned to work undercover in French companies like Bouygues, Delmas, Total, and other multinationals; pretending to be expatriate employees.
The DGSE Operations Division is responsible for planning and implementing clandestine operations. The 1995 “Operation SATANIC” had the objective of neutralizing the “Rainbow Warrior” ship that was part of the Greenpeace campaign against French nuclear tests in the Pacific. The Division’s schemes depend on the Division Action: The Army component was the 11th Parachutist Battalion of Shock (BPC), created 01 September 1946 and based in Fort Montlouis. From 01 November 1985, following Operation SATANIC, the 11th BPC was reorganized by President Mitterrand and redesignated the 11th Parachutist Regiment Shock (11e RPC). The Station of Swimmer Combat Command was created on 16 April 1956, and on 26 October 1960 it was transferred to Aspretto (Corsica). After the Rainbow Warrior scandal, CINC was redeployed to Quélern in Brittany. The Division Action has training camps in Cercottes (Loiret), Roscanvel and Perpignan (Pyrenees Orientals) (formerly situated to Margival, in the Aisne). On 30 June 1995 11th Shock was dissolved and its functions were replaced by three “stations”, the CPES in Cercottes, the CIPS in Perpignan and the CPEOM in Roscanvel
The DSGE is probably among the most disorganised and factional agencies of the French Government. It has had numerous changes at it leadership level; the most amusing was the replacement of Pochon when, as Head of Intelligence, he was bypassed when the Anti-Crime unit discovered that the French state was paying a regular stipend for the maintenance of Chirac’s illegitimate son in Japan. Nothing much has changed with Sarkozy. The system is still unchanged. However, to be fair, FRANÇOIS PÉROL, the adviser whom Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s president, controversially appointed in February 2009 to head two merging mutual banks, has let it be known that he intends to reduce the influence of freemasons at Caisse d’Epargne and Banque Populaire. He has refused an invitation to a tenue blanche ouverte, a masonic meeting that non-freemasons may attend. And he does not want senior posts shared among the banks’ various rival lodge which has been the usual procedure.[v]
French agents have had no compunctions about ousting African Presidents or defending others against coups. Their role in attempting to overthrow Gbagbo is well documented. A recording of several meetings was copied from a French laptop which was captured which shows, inter alia, how the French behaved.
The French method of making a coup was well-documented in an intelligence report on a meeting in Burkina Faso. The parallels with Madagascar are clear. They decided to promote a coup in Abidjan on 22-33 March 2006. According to intelligence reports, the planning for thiswent back a long way. There was a meeting held on Sunday 10/10/04, in the village hall of the town hall of Korhogo from 09h30 to 12h45. Present at this meeting were the Presidents of Burkina Faso and Mali (BLAISE COMPAORE and AMADOU TOUMANI TOURE). Also present was the head of the Rebel Forces and President of the RDR, ALLASSANE DRAMANE OUATTARA. The French were represented by PHILIPPE POUCHET (as Chirac’s spokesman) as well as ADAMA TOUNKARA, mayor of Abobo; ISSOUF SYLLA, mayor of Adjamé; ISSA DIAKITE, KANDIA CAMARA, GEORGE KOFFI and MOROU OUATTARA.
Alassane Outtara opened the meeting and introduced Pouchet. He spoke and said that he had come directly from Chirac with the message that “ADO (Ouattara) your son and brother will be President of the Republic of Côte d`Ivoire before the elections of 2005.” Chirac has promised “There will be no disarmament in Côte d`Ivoire without our agreement. It is necessary that the agreements of ACCRA III are voted on before they can insist on disarmament. All France and JACQUES CHIRAC support ADO to lead him to taking power in five months; i.e. in March. We have recruited mercenaries who are currently in training in Mali and in Burkina Faso. In March we will lead ADO to power with the assistance of the mercenaries who are in training with Burkinabé officers and Malians. Our objective it is to put ADO in power”. “I shall come again in December, with President Campaore, and will introduce you to the mercenaries. Ouattara will return in March to take power.”
The next speaker was Blaise Campaore, the President of Burkina Faso, who thanked Pouchet and Chirac. He criticized the Ivory Coast Government for ignoring the rights of Ouattara and said “It is my name which spoiled in this business. In Burkina my officers are doing remarkable work with the mercenaries to make them ready. I support you. We are moving to put things in place from there for you. Do not be afraid; we will win the battle in a little time. In five months all will be ready”.
There were several attempts at making a coup against Gbagbo over the next five years. Most were anticipated and prevented. Others died for lack of interest. In almost all these cases the active participants were envoys from France, combined with elements of the French (UN) peacekeepers and local African Presidents linked by their masonic ties to the French business and political elites... The implementing parties and logistic suppliers were French agents working in the man French multinationals.in Abidjan. This is normal French neo-colonial behaviour. It has always been done in the name of France but without any democratic debate. It advances French business interests and rewards the Presidency. This impasse in the Ivory Coast is just another French plot by the same people and using the same collaborators. However, this time the French have managed to hook in the ‘international community’ to support them.
This separation of the French governmental and business elites from any responsibility for the welfare of French citizens has often led to the French citizens taking the blame and the punishment for the activities done in their name. The most obvious case was the migration of thousands of the pieds noires (French colonial settlers in Algeria) from Algeria after the massacre at Setif on V-E Day back to France.
Despite the fact that most of the fighting against the Axis forces and Vichy France in North Africa had been conducted with honour and dispatch by Algerian troops the French decided to celebrate the victory of the Allies (a small part of whom were French) by committing an act of barbarism and genocide that echoes to this day. In one weekend of violence they murdered 45,000 Algerians. On May 8, 1945, a day chosen by the allies to celebrate their victory over Nazi Germany, thousands of Algerians gathered near the Abou Dher El-Ghafari mosque in Setif for a peaceful march - for which the sous-prefet had given permission. It was a market day.
At 9am, led by a young scout Saal Bouzid, whose name had been drawn for the honor of carrying the national flag, the demonstrators set off. A few minutes later the crowd, chanting ‘vive l’independance’ and other nationalist slogans, came under fire from troops commanded by General Duval and brought in from Constantine. Saal Bouzid fell dead, becoming a national martyr. The scene soon turned into a massacre - the streets and houses being littered with dead bodies. Witnesses claim terrible scenes, that legionnaires seized babies by their feet and dashed their heads against rocks, that pregnant mothers were disemboweled, that soldiers dropped grenades down chimneys to kill the occupants of homes, that mourners were machine gunned while taking the dead to the cemetery.
A public record states that the European inhabitants were so frightened by the events that they asked that all those responsible for the protest movement should be shot. The carnage spread and, during the days that followed, some 45,000 Algerians were killed. Villages were shelled by artillery and remote hamlets were bombed with aircraft. A Colonel in charge of burials who was publicly criticized for slowness told another officer ‘You are killing them faster than I can bury them.’ These incidents led to the upsurge of the PPA and ultimately, 17 years later to the country’s independence. In the retaliatory violence that immediately followed 104 Europeans were assassinated, but by the end several thousand Frenchmen were to die. Many of the others travelled back to France.
However, for the most part, it was Africans who died in large numbers. Perhaps the largest number, before the 800,000 in Rwanda, was the massacres in the Cameroons when modern weapons like helicopters and tanks were used against the local Bamileke, inhabitants because they didn’t want to be assimilated in the French Cameroon. The French massacred between 300,000 to 400.000 people, according to testimony after the event. The UPC (Union des Populations du Cameroun) was formed in 1948 by English-speaking politicians (mostly trades unionists) and was led until 1958 b Ruben Um Nyobéy. He was shot and killed by the French army on 13 September 1958, near his natal village of Boumnyebel. His place was taken by Félix-Roland Moumié who was assassinated in Geneva in on 3 November 1960 by the SDECE (French secret service) with thallium. The poisoner, William Bechtel, was ordered by Jacques Foccart to poison Moumie. He put thallium in his pastis and in a wine glass. Unfortunately, Moumie drank both and died very quickly. Foccart bragged about it for years. The war in the Cameroons went on for many years.
It was in this struggle that the master of the policy of Françafrique came to the fore. It was Foccart who made the link between the French secret African Group in the Presidency and the French and African Masons. Jacques Foccart was a chief adviser for the government of France on African policy as well as the co-founder of the Gaullist Service d'Action Civique (SAC) in 1959 with Charles Pasqua, which specialized in covert operations in Africa.
It was Foccart “the eminence grise” who negotiated the Pacte Coloniale with the evolving French West African states who achieved their “flag independence “ in 1960. Not really having planned for it, in 1960 de Gaulle had to improvise structures for a collection of small newly independent states, each with a flag, an anthem, and a seat at the UN, but often with precious little else. It was here that Foccart came to play an essential role, that of architect of the series of Cooperation accords with each new state in the sectors of finance and economy, culture and education, and the military. There were initially eleven countries involved: Mauritania, Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Dahomey (now Benin), Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), Niger, Chad, Gabon, Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, and Madagascar. Togo and Cameroon, former UN Trust Territories, were also co-opted into the club. So, too, later on, were Mall and the former Belgian territories (Ruanda-Urundi, now Rwanda and Burundi, and Congo-Kinshasa), some of the ex-Portuguese territories, and Comoros and Djibouti, which had also been under French rule for many years but became independent in the 1970s. The whole ensemble was put under a new Ministry of Cooperation, created in 1961, separate from the Ministry of Overseas Departments and Territories (known as the DOM-TOM) that had previously run them all.
The key to all this was the agreement signed between France and its newly-liberated African colonies which locked these colonies into the economic and military embrace of France. This Colonial Pact not only created the institution of the CFA franc, it created a legal mechanism under which France obtained a special place in the political and economic life of its colonies.
The Pacte Coloniale Agreement enshrined a special preference for France in the political, commercial and defence processes in the African countries. On defence it agreed two types of continuing contact. The first was the open agreement on military co-operation or Technical Military Aid (AMT) agreements, which weren’t legally binding, and could be suspended according to the circumstances. They covered education, training of servicemen and African security forces. The second type, secret and binding, were defence agreements supervised and implemented by the French Ministry of Defence, which served as a legal basis for French interventions. These agreements allowed France to have predeployed troops in Africa; in other words, French army units present permanently and by rotation in bases and military facilities in Africa; run entirely by the French.
According to Annex II of the Defence Agreement signed between the governments of the French Republic, the Republic of Ivory Coast, the Republic of Dahomey and the Republic of Niger on 24 April 1961, France has priority in the acquisition of those "raw materials classified as strategic.” In fact, according to article 2 of the agreement, "the French Republic regularly informs the Republic of Ivory Coast (and the other two) of the policy that it intends to follow concerning strategic raw materials and products, taking into account the general needs of defence, the evolution of resources and the situation of the world market.”
According to article 3, "the Republic of Ivory Coast (and the other two) inform the French Republic of the policy they intend to follow concerning strategic raw materials and products and the measures that they propose to take to implement this policy.” And to conclude, article 5: "Concerning these same products, the Republic of Ivory Coast (and the two others) for defence needs, reserve them in priority for sale to the French Republic, after having satisfied the needs of internal consumption, and they will import what they need in priority from it.” The reciprocity between the signatories was not a bargain between equals, but reflected the actual dominance of the colonial power that had, in the case of these countries, organised "independence" a few months previously (in August 1960).
In summary, the colonial pact maintained the French control over the economies of the African states; it took possession of their foreign currency reserves; it controlled the strategic raw materials of the country; it stationed troops in the country with the right of free passage; it demanded that all military equipment be acquired from France; it took over the training of the police and army; it required that French businesses be allowed to maintain monopoly enterprises in key areas (water, electricity, ports, transport, energy, etc.). France not only set limits on the imports of a range of items from outside the franc zone but also set minimum quantities of imports from France. These treaties are still in force and operational.
It is probably very little surprise to other Africans that the attempts by Gbagbo to break free of these chains irritated the French, The African Presidents were kept in power by French armies. The economies were kept under the control of French businesses licensed to have monopolies. Other nations were kept out. The African presidents, in exchange, gave 85% of their national wealth to the French Treasury to hold for them and paid a regular ransom to French politicians for keeping them in office.
What is the mystery to many on the African continent (if not among the lotus-eaters of the West) is why the United Nations and the international community would take sides with the Godfathers of France instead of the victims in Africa. This French political and Masonic system is certainly not the future for Africa and sending troops to kill innocent Africans in support of such brazen and deadly corruption is not everyone’s idea of a democratic process.
[i] Networking webscites are booming, but they have not supplanted more traditional business networks, Economist 25/6/09
[ii] Freemason Presidents in Africa: Ali Bongo ordained Grand Master of Gabon, René Dassié, Afrik News 10/11/09
[iii] A strange inheritance, Claude Wauthie, Le Monde Diplo 9/97
[iv] Omar Bongo pocketed millions in embezzled funds, claims US cable, Angelique Chrisafis, Guardian 30/12/10