From behind the scenes of the European Councils to the secrets of banking transactions, Circus politicus, by Christophe Deloire and Christophe Dubois, explores these “powers” away from the light. Extracts.
The discreet “Antici” notes *
At each Council, the leaders devote nearly half a day to drafting the final press release. They polish the text, paragraph by paragraph. A single word can lead to minutes of discussion. The press releases do not relate the debates, which are sometimes heated. A record of “revised” bureaucratic-style conclusions is published one month after the Council meeting! But it does not allow us to get a precise idea.
What are the networks that influence French politics? What role does Europe play in the shadows? Ask your questions now to Christophe Deloire , author of the book Circus Politicus . He will answer you this Wednesday at 3 p.m.
What are the masters of Europe talking about? There is a way to find out, hitherto unknown to the general public. To find out, you have to attend outside the meeting room a strange ballet worthy of the backstage of a theater. In a room adjoining room 50.1, men and women take notes. They are based on the words transcribed by a “debriefer” from the General Secretariat of the Council, installed in the room. They are not journalists, but diplomats. No one else is allowed to transcribe the proceedings in writing. They have a name: the “Antici” advisers. They are the only ones able to wear a “red A” badge – with the permanent representatives of the Member States to the European Union – which allows them to access the Council Chamber. But they can’t stay there (they don’t have chairs!). A deliberate desire to limit the number of members and delegations present.
There is one Antici adviser per country, usually a diplomat from the permanent representation, the equivalent of the embassy in Brussels to the European Union. An Italian delegate, Paolo Antici, used the process in 1975 and left his name. These typed notes are distributed on white paper without heading – neither French Republic, nor European Union, nor any other logo appears -, anonymous like the “whites” of the secret services. The Antici Notes may have no official character, but they contain an almost perfect record of the conversations of European leaders during their summit meetings. Their task is not always easy: during a meeting, one of the diplomats notes in his Antici statement that the microphones no longer work …
No European citizen has ever attended these discussions, never has a television filmed them, except for five minutes at the start, when no one is saying anything. These notes never left the circle of initiates. Thanks to them, a corner of the veil can now be lifted on this rather exotic Circus.
The real power of banks
The weight of the markets? A puppet political power facing the Croesus of the financial industry? Claude Guéant moderates the analysis, but does not dispute that the balance of power is permanent: “We must live with the pressure of the financial markets and take into account the rating agencies. Should we control them more? G 20, there had been talk of creating a European agency. ”
A year later, Sarkozy will deliver a second Toulon speech to defend his record. In reality, fine words will highlight the emptiness of actions. Because the head of state no longer directs much. The regulation of banks is now at the initiative of the Basel committee . Established in 1974 by the central bank governors of 10 countries, since extended to nearly 30 countries in total, the committee never drafts texts having the force of law but, in matters of banking regulation, its power exceeds that of France. . The committee, which has a secretariat with 17 employees, meets under the aegis of the Bank for International Settlements (in Basel), whose current chairman is Christian Noyer, the governor of the Banque de France.
In nearly forty years of existence, the Basel committee has ratified three major agreements between central bank governors, whose names are easy to remember: Basel I, Basel II and Basel III. Basel I set a minimum capital ratio for banks. Basel II set new standards to ward off credit risk, which depends on the quality of borrowers. Basel III, published in December 2010, undertakes to curb the crisis by providing a new definition of equity and by setting up a liquidity ratio and a leverage ratio. Basel III is part of an Anglo-Saxon vision, more liberal, more insistent on the amount of equity, than our more regulatory vision.
Why such agreements? “States cannot have different rules”, notes Christian Noyer. The Basel committee therefore proposes a common reference, which must then be validated by democratic bodies. The procedure is as follows: the Basel committee proposes, the G20 gives political impetus, the European Union adopts a directive, this directive is transposed into national law.
In short, everything starts from a kitchen of independent governors and ends up on our legislative base. Between the two, do French or European elected officials have an influence on the texts? To find out, it is necessary to compare the texts proposed in Basel and the provisions included in the law.
The enigmatic Bilderberg conference
On the Bilderberg conference website, the word is underlined, as if it were a warning to those who forget the instructions: the discussions are taking place off-the-record (sic). Total closed session. No record. This rule of public silence would aim to “help a better understanding of the complex forces of affecting Western nations in the difficult post-war period”. Of course, the Cold War is no longer relevant. But today, “there are some common problems”, notes the short presentation of the group. The “private” character of the conversations “has no other purpose than to allow the participants to express their opinions freely”.
MORE ABOUT POTICIAN VISIT FABULAES
Bilderberg is not a decision-making or concertation body, so there is no need to publish a common position: “No resolution, no vote and no political declaration.” The ace ! reading Bilderberg’s archives stored in The Hague (Netherlands) shows, however, that members of this invisible ruling class are sometimes voted on. The minutes of a “strictly confidential” meeting, written in the 1950s and consulted by the authors, attest that influence is indeed one of their objectives: “The possibility of submitting, at the end of the conference, not resolutions but conclusions and suggestions, has been studied. Such conclusions and suggestions are not binding; participants are free, if they wish,
America’s methods of influence
The scene takes place in the imposing United States Embassy in Paris, a classic-style building, under strict surveillance, located opposite the Place de la Concorde, a stone’s throw from the Crillon and the Elysée gardens. In the heart of Paris, the symbol of American power. There are received candidates or guests of a very special program, the IVLP, International Visitor Leadership Program [IVs ‘- the initials of International Visitors’]. These are young people with very high potential identified by the services of the embassy, and that the American government invites for a trip to the United States in order to sensitize them to the cause of the country, under cover of a stay of ‘studies.
The objective, by making the guests meet the highest personalities and by making them visit the places of power, is to give to hear the – soft – voice of America and to imprint powerful memories in the brains of visitors, so that, years later, when they reach the height of power, they will remember it.
Being an IV means learning that the greatest power in the world promises you a bright future! When the often ambitious young people are received at the embassy for a first interview, it happens that information is slipped to them incidentally, between two questions or details: “Nicolas Sarkozy and François Fillon have been there.” The anecdote is reported by an audiovisual personality who benefited from the program. “It’s $ 100,000 per head of pipe, believes a participant, now an employee of a famous American fast food chain in France. Between 30 and 40 French people are invited each year. But also a hundred Chinese. ”
The Americans are smart enough not to turn these exchanges into obvious brainwashing: “This is not propaganda, says another participant, who has crisscrossed the East coast and the West coast during summer 2011. Everyone is free to form an opinion, but we usually come back conquered. ”
Curiously, the participation of the President of the Republic and the French Prime Minister in this very select program has never made a line in their official biographies. The information, however, appears on the website of “international visitors”, on a page which lists ex-visitors among heads of state or government “in office”.
The “Swiftgate” or invasion of privacy
“One of the finest espionage operations for a long time!” This expert does not bother with oratorical precautions to evoke the “Swift” file. To the general public, the word means nothing. Yet it is at the heart of an essential democratic debate. In the name of the fight against terrorism, the American services – the FBI, the CIA have had access for years to all world banking transactions, particularly French ones. Access to mass data containing possible suspects, but also and above all normal citizens.
Swift is the name of a company, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, headquartered in Belgium. Its activity is gigantic: it processes more than 2 billion messages on financial transactions each year. Its clients: 8,000 companies (including banks) in 200 countries.
After the attacks of September 11, 2001 , the American services mobilized to fight against the cells of Al-Qaeda. A global hunt … But also put under financial surveillance of the planet. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a great tool at hand: Swift files. As part of the fight against terrorism, the Department of Homeland Security asks Swift to send it a series of messages from the server every month.
For five years, the American services clandestinely waged this financial war. The data is consulted on the basis of secret “administrative summons” sent by the US Treasury Department to the US section of Swift. The Belgian company, which by nature is aware, has an absolute obligation not to reveal anything about this operation. Do the American secret services keep the “friendly” services in confidence? In Belgium, no. In France, no certainty. But a control body of the Belgian intelligence services, the R committee, claims that the central banks of the G 10 had been informed in February 2002 of the operation, as well as the European Central Bank (ECB). None of these venerable institutions raised the slightest objection: officially,