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French secret service close in on Yellow Vests

Civil status, criminal records, associative involvement: the French Ministry of the Interior wants to know everything about the leaders of the Yellow Vests, a newspaper revealed.

Published: January 24, 2019, 8:03 am

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    The Macron government has mandated the country’s Intelligence Service to achieve this, according to French weekly le Canard enchaîné.

    In its January 23 edition, the le Canard enchaîné published the contents of a secret note sent by the Ministry of the Interior for the attention of the officers of the Territorial Central Intelligence Service (SCRT) earlier this month.

    In this document, which was acquired by the weekly, the SCRT is asked to identify the “leaders of the Yellow Vests”, those who exercise “a real influence on the movement” around the highway roundabouts and elsewhere, and who have “a potential to be the interlocutors with public authorities”.

    After identifying them, according to the newspaper, the police must keep a list of these leaders that include a photo, full civil status and aliases, address, telephone, vehicle and registration.

    But that is only a small part of the information that the intelligence service has to obtain. Added to this are the “antecedents and judicial procedures” of the person in question, “his associative involvement”, “his influence and his activity on social networks”, “his media involvement”, “his links with radical elements or movements And finally the sources of “financing” of the movement.

    Clearly, a massive collection of information is underway. The newspaper questioned the government’s motives which suggested a recruitment drive for informants: “In the heading the implication of associative links indicate what? ‘Freemason?’ ‘Go to Mass?'”

    In the heading “Observation”, the department wants to know if “the interested has been the object of contact with the administration services” and also if “a contact is possible”.

    According to the weekly, the government initiative serves various purposes all at once: To better monitor the Yellow Vests and identify those who might be prone to violence, but also to approach the movement’s strong leaders in order to try to recruit them as spies.

    All information retrieved go to Place Beauvau, according to the weekly, which explains that this list will not be declared to the National Commission for Information and Liberties (CNIL).

    When questioned about this, the Ministry of the Interior would only comment that “the services [did] their work within the legal means as authorized by law”.

    The High Commissioner for Pension Reform, Jean-Paul Delevoye, former President of the Association of Mayors of France and close to President Macron, has meanwhile warned that France’s “democratic models are in danger”.

    Leading member of the Yellow Vests, Ingrid Levavasseur have already drawn up a list for the European elections for candidates. Members of the Citizens’ Initiative Rally (RIC) have compiled a list for May 2019, reported BFMTV and this list will be led by Levavasseur.

    In a statement, future candidates explain that “the social citizen movement born in our country on November 17, 2018 reveals the need to transform anger into a human political project, capable of providing answers to the French who have supported the movement for years and months”.

    Levavasseur will be first on the top ten list of 79 candidates, said BFMTV. Invited on the channel, list campaign director Hayk Shahinyan said they wanted to “build a list that reflects citizens and show that we have been independent, apolitical since day one”.

    The top ten candidates on the list are between 29 and 53 years old and have various professions: small business manager, driver, housewife, civil servant or lawyer. According to Shahinyan, the other names will be chosen internally “between the current candidates”.

    Nicolas Dupont-Aignan was one of the first political figures to react to this announcement, wishing them “good luck” but he was skeptical. “It’s not enough to announce a list, you have to have a project, personalities and consistency,” he said.

    As reported by BFMTV, a Yellow Vest list in the European elections has received 13 percent of voting intentions, according to an Elabe poll released on Wednesday, January 23.

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