Can we trust France? Apparently not. After more than 200 years of shared history and interests, the U.S.-France marriage looks as if it's ending in an acrimonious divorce. Here is the shocking insider account.
In the wake of French behavior at the United Nations, where Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin systematically undermined the efforts of Secretary of State Colin Powell to convince the Security Council to authorize force against Iraq, Americans have at best come to suspect our ally of double dealing, and at worst come to view them as the enemy. Almost daily over the past year, new stories have emerged of how the government of French President Jacques Chirac has sought to undermine the U.S. war on terror, publicly sniping at America and inciting other countries to do the same. What's wrong with France? What's behind their recent perfidy? According to bestselling author Kenneth R. Timmerman, the American public doesn't know half the story. After they read The French Betrayal of America, American anger at France will turn to outrage.
Timmerman, who worked as a journalist in France for eighteen years and knows the players on both sides, lifts the veil of Jacques Chirac's scandalous love affair with Saddam Hussein, beginning in 1975, when he took him on a tour of top-secret French nuclear facilities. The French attitude toward the dictator, which seemed to baffle American politicians, was in fact entirely predictable. Put bluntly, it was all about money, oil, and guns. Chirac needed Saddam's oil and Saddam's money, and Saddam needed French weapons and French nuclear technology.
Despite this, the relationship between France and America was not only amicable but at times very mutually beneficial. That was until the most recent war on Iraq, where France turned the tables, engaging in dirty diplomacy and helping to sway other European countries to their side. French war coverage was not merely one-sided: It was viciously inaccurate, skewed, and openly anti-American. Timmerman also presents incredible new evidence of France's duplicity, including the fact that the French stood to gain $100 billion from secret oil contracts they had concluded with Saddam Hussein.
The French Betrayal of America raises questions of whether the nuclear cooperation agreements still in force with the French today should be canceled in light of France's behavior. Our security interests no longer converge, and our economic systems increasingly appear to be at loggerheads. The war in Iraq harshly exposed French treachery and their desire to do business with the worst of international tyrants, putting their economy, their international standing, and their relationship with a 200-year-old friend in severe jeopardy.
|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Random House|
|File size:||690 KB|
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The French Betrayal of America
By Kenneth Timmerman
Crown ForumCopyright © 2004 Kenneth R. Timmerman
All right reserved.
Chapter OneLe Divorce
When I first met him, many years ago, the butt end of his .357 Magnum peeped out whenever he unbuttoned his coat. Today, he has given up the Magnum in favor of around-the-clock bodyguards. At the time of the September 11 attacks on America, French counterterrorism judge Jean-Louis Bruguière arguably knew more about Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network than any man alive. I bumped into him in the staircase of a secluded wing of the Palais de Justice in Paris in early October 2001 just ahead of a scheduled interview and remarked the almost boyish gleam in his eye. He had just come back from interrogating a detainee and looked like a cat that had swallowed a canary.
"You've heard about Moussaoui?" he said, unable to suppress a wide grin. Zacarias Moussaoui was the alleged twentieth hijacker who had been arrested on August 17, 2001, by Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) agents because of suspicious activity while attending the Pan Am International Flight Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The case against Moussaoui being worked up by lead U.S. prosecutor Rob Spencer in Alexandria, Virginia, was in trouble. Evidence tying Moussaoui to al-Qaeda was circumstantial, as were his ties to the 9/11 hijackers. Indeed, the initial grand jury indictment against Moussaoui was a boilerplate document for the overall conspiracy that mentioned him by name only a handful of times. But Moussaoui had left a long trail behind him in France. If anyone had the goods on him, that would be Bruguière.
"There are new developments that are going to be of great interest to our friends in Virginia," he said with a toss of his head up toward his office. With Bruguière, that meant a file a foot high crammed with seized documents, flowcharts of conspiratorial telephone calls, interrogation transcripts, and reports from French intelligence on Moussaoui's travels, his friends, and his bank accounts. Bruguière liked to call al-Qaeda and its followers a global "spider's web." Since 1995, with method and determination, he had been pulling it apart thread by thread.
The French judge has received letters of commendation from former FBI Director Louis Freeh and from Attorney General John Ashcroft, thanking him for his help in convicting al-Qaeda terrorists in the United States, in particular "Millennium bomber" Ahmad Ressam, who plotted to blow up Los Angeles International Airport on New Year's Eve 1999. At Bruguière urging, French intelligence gathered on-the-ground intelligence on bin Laden's rat line into Afghanistan and his support network in Pakistan, which he personally provided to the United States in a still-classified March 1995 report. The information was so detailed it included the names of top al-Qaeda recruitment officers, detailed rosters of foreign cells, and photographs of safehouses and "welcome centers" in Islamabad, Peshawar, and elsewhere. Even more significantly: it traced the rat line back to recruiting centers in Europe, Asia, and North America. Bruguière had twice tried to warn the Clinton administration of imminent terrorist threats from al-Qaeda networks operating inside the United States, but was waved off. When by luck an alert U.S. Customs officer in Port Angeles, Washington, caught Ressam as he got off the ferry from Vancouver, British Columbia, with a truck filled with explosives, Bruguière not only turned over his files to the U.S. prosecutors: he gave detailed testimony at the trial that helped put the would-be Millennium bomber in jail for life, as I first revealed in a Reader's Digest exclusive. Now that cooperation was about to come to an end, just when America needed it the most.
Shortly after our meeting on October 8, 2001, the French Ministry of Justice put the kibosh on Bruguière's effort to assist the Moussaoui prosecutors by providing documents that could be introduced at trial. The French claimed they had a "moral" objection to providing the documents because Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, could face the death penalty for his crimes. French officials, of course, tried to paint a less dire portrait. "We gave the United States all the intelligence we had on this and indeed all other terrorist cases," a senior French official knowledgeable of the intelligence exchanges on al-Qaeda later told me in Paris, insisting that nothing had gone awry. "But French law prevents us from turning over any evidence to a U.S. prosecutor if it could help convict a French citizen to death."
The formal U.S. request for documentary assistance was known as an international rogatory letter. It had to be presented through the Ministry of Justice, which turned down the U.S. request. Bruguière complained and ultimately met with the visiting U.S. prosecutor that fall, against the will of Socialist justice minister Elisabeth Guigou. "Even if I couldn't give him documents, I agreed to walk him verbally through all we had," Bruguière said. That included the dates of Moussaoui's trips to Afghanistan, his contacts with bin Laden trainers, his precise role in the "spider's web," and lots more. Yet despite Bruguière's willingness to help, the U.S. prosecutors returned home empty-handed, because the French government wouldn't allow the judge to turn over the documents they desperately needed.
Attorney General John Ashcroft told the French during meetings in Paris in May 2003 that the lack of cooperation meant that the Justice Department probably would be forced to abandon its case against Moussaoui and hand him over to the Pentagon for trial before a military court instead. The depth of Ashcroft's deception at the lack of cooperation on the Moussaoui case must be measured by the extent of Bruguière's knowledge and his potential to help. Just one week after Moussaoui's arrest in August 2001, Bruguière had sent a fax to the FBI. "I told them Moussaoui was dangerous, that he'd been trained in Afghanistan. I told them he was capable of carrying out a terrorist attack. I told them to look at his laptop, because that was where he stored all of his contact information and plans. But by the time they got around to it, well after September 11, he had succeeded in erasing everything of interest from the hard drive."
Why did the French government show such solicitude for a self-avowed Islamic extremist, who dismissed his defense attorneys in a courtroom temper tantrum, claiming they were "Jewish zealots," "pigs," and "bloodsuckers"? Until 1973, France used to put criminals to death by lopping their heads off on the guillotine. They executed political prisoners as recently as 1963, when the last of four members of the Organisation de l'Armée Secrète that had organized a military putsch to overthrow de Gaulle was executed by a firing squad. But in the early 1980s, French president Mitterrand abolished the death penalty. Now, it seemed, his successor was bent on making sure the United States could not execute criminals in our own country, even if they were proven guilty of conspiring to mass murder. It was just one more example of a growing French effort to offer their values and political culture as a self-righteous "moral alternative" to America's.
Excerpted from The French Betrayal of America by Kenneth Timmerman Copyright © 2004 by Kenneth R. Timmerman. Excerpted by permission.
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Table of Contents
|Introduction: What's Wrong with France?||1|
|4||Communists in the Cabinet||62|
|6||Bonanza in the Gulf||106|
|8||Gulf War One||146|
|9||Spies and Bribes||165|
|11||The Lady Is a Whore||203|
|13||The Quest for Glory||243|
|Afterword: Becoming the Enemy?||277|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Timmerman does not understand International Politics or the United Nations. France had every right to try and block in the UN. The implantation that France went to war over the money from food-for-oil programme is complete insanity. Why would a $1.8+ trillion economy do so much for just $28 million? Also while France was giving weapons to Iraq so was the US, they helped Saddam get power and gave him weapons of mass destruction.
I enjoyed the historical background and insights this book provided. I was impressed with the level of factual details used to support the author's opinions.
For those of us who have dealt in commerce with major French firms, the analogies that appear to be experienced by our diplomats are surprising...or are they? Treachery seems to reside in the sole of France government, as well documented by Mr. Timmerman. AC Falk