Voltaire Network


Voltaire Network

The "Réseau Voltaire" (Voltaire Network) is an international non-profit organisation, based in Paris. It states that it aims at promoting freedom and secularism ("laïcité"), that is separation of church and state, faith and politics. Chaired by Thierry Meyssan, new changes in the group's political orientation led to a split in 2003. Fact|date=September 2008

*Chairman : Thierry Meyssan (France)
*Deputy chairmen : Sandro Cruz (Peru), H.H. Prince Issa El-Ayoubi (Lebanon)

The Voltaire Network publishes a free website (voltairenet.org) available in eight languages (Arabic, English, French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish) and two online databases (911investigations.net and gulfinvestigations.net).

Origins

The Voltaire Network was founded in the context of a campaign in favour of freedom of speech, which the founders thought was put into jeopardy by new laws enshrined in the French penal code. After the campaign the association lived on, specialising in the study of far-right movements and religions. It was vocal notably in preventing the French government from funding the religious part of the Pope's visit to France, and in initiating an investigation of the French Parliament regarding the French far-right militia group DPS. Since 1999, the Réseau Voltaire has dealt with international issues, notably by publishing daily news about the bombings of Serbia by NATO.

Internal dissensions

Several senior members of the Réseau have complained about a lack of control of the administration council over actions of the president and general secretary. One example was "Entretien avec le Hezbollah" ("Meeting with the Hezbollah") which presented the group as a "social group of Muslim inspiration, comparable to the Liberation theology in South America" [http://www.amnistia.net/news/articles/voltaire/perline.pdf] .

Three members of the administration council (Michel Sitbon, Gilles Alfonsi and Jean-Luc Guilhem) resigned in February 2005, over what they consider is an adhesion to the theory of the so-called "Clash of civilizations," although the Network's publications clearly oppose the theory as a neo-conservative strategy to control the world's last remaining oil reserves, and the instrumentalisation of the network. They object that "With the pretext of resisting American Imperialism, lenience toward Chinese and Russian imperialisms and closeness with Islamists is symptomatic of a latent anti-Semitic drift among the direction." They also claim the existence of links with intelligence agencies, arguing that the Voltaire network had been constructed against such organizations. However, they also underline that the new stance of the direction shouldn't cause the previous work of the network to be forgotten. [http://www.amnistia.net/news/articles/voltaire/voltaire_552.htm] . Since 2002, these members had been in conflict with Bruno Drweski, director the Communist review "La Pensée". These accusations were denied by the Réseau Voltaire, which evokes mere "changes in dimension" [http://www.voltairenet.org/article16806.html] . Founding member Michel Sitbon cited the arrival of controversial personalities like Claude Karnoouh (who was never actually an administrator) and Bruno Drweski, while the Réseau, in a 2005 declaration, said that "administrators favourable to a franco-French petty political conception of the association have been put in minority. They resigned either before or during the general assembly" [http://www.voltairenet.org/article16806.html] .

Notority

In 2001, the Network started a web site to denounce the closure by Danone of several plants for economic reasons seen as purely speculative. Complex legal issues over the trademark followed, which ended favourably for the Voltaire Network.

The Voltaire Network was especially vocal after the attacks on the World Trade Center of the 11th of September 2001, Meyssan denying the facts as given by the mass media and defending a theory that the whole affair was a plot by US secret services to manipulate the international public opinion to justify US interventions in foreign countries, notably Afghanistan.

In November 2005, Voltaire Network held in Brussels (Belgium) an international conference aimed at setting up an intellectual front to face the neoconservatives: the conference was called Axis for Peace.

The Voltaire Network frequently publishes grave accusations regarding important events or personalities. Notable instances are:

* In 1997, the Network accused Fernando Sáenz Lacalle, Archbishop of San Salvador, of being involved in several crimes, including the murder of the former archbishop. Although he denied, he had to resign his position of general in the army of San Salvador.
* In a widely mediatised book, "9/11 The Big Lie", Thierry Meyssan, president of the network, claimed that the 11th of September 2001 was due to an internal plot within the US administration. The Network broadcast this declaration widely.
* In May 2002, the Network claimed that the coup d'état against president Hugo Chávez had been organised from the White House, citing names of personalities allegedly involved. These claims were used by general procuror of Venezuela Danilo Anderson, and were repeated by Chávez himself. The US Department of State formally denied any involvement.
* The Network claims that the "Islamic Army in Iraq", who had taken French journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, had done so in complicity with the US Department.
* In 2005, the Network published a controversial article about the new French minister of foreign trade, Christine Lagarde, titled "With Christine Lagarde, the US industry enters the French government" [http://www.voltairenet.org/article30512.html]

Generally, the Voltaire Network systematically attacks the Bush and Sharon administrations. According to the Réseau, the United States are a "hyperpower", a term forged by former minister Hubert Védrine, and all international relations are strongly dependent on the attitude of the concerned nations toward the USA. Thus, any analysis quickly comes back to the USA which they accuse of trying to establish a new world order. [http://www.voltairenet.org/article128334.html]

Members

The Voltaire Network is made up of news agencies and newspapers from Latin America, Europe and the Arab World:

* "Actualidad colombiana" (Colombia)
* "Agencia Alia 2" (Venezuela)
* "Agencia Cubana de Noticias" - ACN (Cuba)
* "Agencia de Noticias Plurinacional del Ecuador" - ANPE (Ecuador)
* "Agencia Informe de Prensa Internacional" - IPI (Peru)
* "Agencia nacional de comunicación" (Argentina)
* "Altercom" (Ecuador)
* "Bolpress" (Bolivia)
* "Contralinea" (Mexico)
* "Desde abajo" (Colombia)
* "Dia V" (Mexico)
* "El juguete rabioso" (Bolivia)
* "El Sucre" (Ecuador)
* "Federación Latinoamericana de Periodistas" - FELAP (Latin America)
* "Fortuna" (Mexico)
* "Horizons et débats" (Switzerland)
* "IES News Service" (Israel, France and Lebanon)
* "Intelligencia" (Lebanon)
* "La Jornada" (Mexico)
* "Observatorio de Medios, Político, Social y Cultural" (Argentina)
* "Opción" (Ecuador)
* "Periódico de las Madres de Plaza de Mayo" (Argentina)
* "Punto final" (Chile)
* "Question" (Venezuela)
* "Syria Alghad" (Syria)
* "Tendancies" (Lebanon)
* "Tintaji" (Ecuador)
* "Unión de Trabajadores de Prensa de Buenos Aires" - UTPBA (Argentina)
* "Voces del Periodista" (Mexique)

External links

* [http://www.voltairenet.org/en Official site] (unattainable for unknown reasons since june 2008)


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