2002-2012 Paul Voise, Minor Current Affair, Insecurity & Politics: ten years after the electoral acclaim in France (editorial)

After a long silence of the publication over the the internet, here is www.criticalsecret.com #16. So, what’s new since podcasts and 3G phones ? At this point, the passe-partout of the digital world, in synchronicity with the urban society, is the open sesame of internet tablet devices : html5. The reason why this issue is digitally relevant to the html5 version of an hour long movie is so that it can be watched on any computer or tablet screen,* without consideration for the browser used to watch it.

The subject of this current issue of criticalsecret is shedding a peculiar diachronic light on the renewal of the french presidential electoral campaign.

- It finds itself at the crossroads of the European supranational orientation in a financial crisis that obliterates currencies. Thus, after the signing of the stability pact that forces national economies upon deserting economic growth, involving the ruin of societies to ensure the hegemony of financial markets.

- April 2012 comes after the Lisbon treaty, a text that abused the consulted people over the European constitution and that, among other things, militarizes the police and binds Justice to the raison d’État.

To fully understand the current french presidential electoral campaign, and the subversion of the civic consciousness by the opinion and particularly by the press since the last decade, one needs to go back to the infamous 2002 presidential campaign and the Paul Voise case.

This episode inaugurated the end of the republican representation of the chief of state as elected through ballots.

French citizens critical of the government, not having at their disposal blank votes which are deducted from the ballots obtained, (nor do they have proportional representation during legislative elections) for the most part abstained from voting altogether, with the remaining part casting a vote of defiance towards the socialist government and the outgoing president of center-right by voting for Jean-Marie Le Pen, particularly ironic, even comical and omnipresent in the medias at the time. Plus he crystallized the vote of people frightened by the Paul Voise beating and house fire, widely publicized by the TV and radio during the first turn of the electoral campaign. For the first time since World War II a far-right candidate has reached the second round of the presidential elections. This means he has become eligible for the highest office in a former Nazi collaborator country, 17% Le Pen (far-right), Chirac 20% (center-right). In the second round, all political parties united in calling for a plebiscite to enable Jacques Chirac to defeat Le Pen: Chirac reached a score of 82.5%. So the following elections have given an absolute majority to the presidential party in the upcoming parliament. At the opening of the presidential campaign Chirac was not expected to win. But it was the beginning of autocratic oligarchy.

The movie that deconstructs the 2002 elections point-by-point exists. It is entitled ‘Paul Voise, […]’ and is directed by Simon Guibert, Documentary Journalist and radio author, and Arthur Guibert, director, cinematographer and editor with Alexandre Heraud, investigative journalist, playing his own character.

Throughout a 57 minute prospective story, this piece presents the conclusions of a two-year investigation and summarizes a deviance in the electoral communication around the notion of security that characterized the radical turn that brought democracy into an oligarchic autocracy in France.

The movie, shot between 2002 and 2004 was edited in 2005, and then published in four parts on dailymotion.com in 2006. Criticalsecret published it in extenso for the first time exclusively on the web and tablets.

It is now 2012. The country is mourning because of an event of blind murderous violence that interrupted the current electoral campaign, giving back its media omnipresence to the outgoing president and its government. A president who has himself been elected in 2007 in exceptional circumstances of mediatization of its autocratic character and way of life, glorifying the reign of money.

Without any connection except in the timing, an isolated gunman, mass serial killer, caused seven deaths over three different days: in Toulouse, the murder of a soldier of West Indian origin, in Montauban three soldiers of North African origin, all belonging to the same paratrooper unit, the 17th, back from Afghanistan. Then several days later, again in Toulouse, at the entrance to a Jewish religious school, three school children and a rabbi. The young man, an unemployed mechanic, "allegedly" guilty, will never be investigated, tried or convicted, because he was shot down by the RAID, a special task force of the French national police. Then the revelations made by the highest official of the DCRI, French intelligence agency, imply that the man could have been a rogue agent, with whom he had had direct communication and a meeting - this would imply more than a security watch, according to the former head of the DST, the French security service agency. If Islamists recruit in prison, is it possible that so can the DCRI? No one has seen the survey of his arsenal, or his camera, after the attack, and everyone is wondering how his films all edited into one film and put to music could reach the offices of Al Jazeera in Paris after his death, when his mother, his brother and his sister-in-law had been arrested. Besides, no one will show this film. Once again it is a case of declarations made without any proof, in the eyes of the public, which is consequently more and more disinformed by the Press, with said Press not making mention either of what it could have verified in terms of proof at source. The Prosecutor only made an appearance after the events took place. The Press on the scene before and during the attack was held at a distance and exclusively and directly informed by the declarations and comments of the Minister of the Interior, that it relayed without raising any questions. Then it was informed by the heads of police who were justifying the 300 shots the boy would have received, according to the forensic specialist (without access to any sources). But the amateur videos of inhabitants clearly reflect heavy gunfire several times with the final round lasting nearly ten minutes (this does not indicate where the target was, whether inside or outside). The news releases made by Agence France Presse reporting the declarations made by the ministers and the President are not the same in French as in English in the foreign press, where the idea of a Jihad network is driven home and the brother is incarcerated, whereas elsewhere the attacker is described as a lone wolf. The visa that the Jihadist murderer had for Israël, which we all know know has a particularly efficient security service, and his passage with the Palestinians, when legal representatives have so much difficulty getting in and Palestinians getting out, will remain a mystery. So that we will not know what is at the bottom of this affair, except a racist and xenophobic wave that will be lastingly used with a backdrop of murders and terror, before the outcome of the Presidential election. We will have to wait for the investigation conducted by journalists later on, or in the case of an affair implicating the State, it will be years later.

How will the French people react on April 22, 2012? Nobody can say, whether, like the Spanish, after the otherwise deadly attacks in Madrid in 2005 (200 dead, 1600 wounded), the French voters exercise their historic role by voting to maintain freedom and the law, and an economy vital for the country, or whether they fall into a kind of dictatureship, that many signs are indicating could be the case.

The themed installation here proposed is comprised of the movie and its annexes, texts and documents, with the addition of photographs of behind-the-scenes by award-winning photographer Mat Jacob. This issue takes the form of an audiovisual publication by Thomas Schmidt, himself an artist and photographer.

In 2005 the movie about a long-since past event didn’t retain attention. There may have been a need to repress the trauma of understanding such a climate of resignation, and that a culture of revolt like ours had definitely lost both its constitution and fundamental rights.

Suddenly, the upcoming 2012 presidential election has brought back interest in the Paul Voise movie, screened in 2011 in numerous documentary film festivals. The last time it was screened before showing here was during the ATTAC film festival [pdf], in November, under the theme of “The manufacturing of fear”. And here we are.

Aliette G. Certhoux
(March 2012)


* Android platform excepted—whether it be a tablet computer or be a phone—because they do not play videos in HTML5 but need a Flash application that we have not yet relayed in our proposed setup..