A series of cryptic tweets from Wikileaks have left elements of the tabloid press baffled today as the Twittersphere speculated as to what, exactly, the hashtag #Vault7 actually refers to. Meanwhile, across the English Channel, in France, the former French Presidential favourite found himself beset with problems as a scandal, which first hit the US headlines the best part of two weeks ago, began to take its toll. In a story for Time magazine, which appeared on the 26th of January, Samuel Petrequin of Associated Press revealed that the former French Prime Minister and ally of Nicolas Sarkozy stood accused of ‘Giving His Wife a Fake Job on the Public Payroll’.
In a follow up story that appeared on Time’s website earlier today, the Paris based freelancer Vivienne Walt likewise revealed that the man whose austerity based agenda had taken the polls by storm, following his promise to axe some 500,000 public sector jobs in the bloated French civil-service, had been creating some ‘non-jobs’ if his very own, which were also being paid for by the ordinary tax payer. In this instance, however, the principal beneficiaries were not civil servants demonized by a hostile press. They were none other than his wife Penelope and two of their children.
The French investigative publication which had broken the story in late January, the weekly ‘Canard Enchaîné’, had originally published allegations that Penelope Fillon had earned €900,000 for an assistant’s job she appears never to have done. A position she held for a period of twelve years whilst Fillon first held a Senatorial post, before graduating to Prime Ministerial office. It is also alleged that she was credited with being a contributor to a literary journal, for which she appears to have written sufficiently little for the editor to be unable to recall who she was; despite having been paid for the services she allegedly provided.
Meanwhile her austerity loving husband had even gone so far as to hire two of their five children for similarly non existent jobs into the bargain, at the cost of a further €84,000 to the tax payer. But the story that clinched it, according to Vivienne Walt, was the unexpected release by the Telegraph newspaper last week of a 2009 videotaped interview with Penelope Fillon, in which she claimed that she had never worked for her husband at all. The same day as the Telegraph’s story was published the Baltimore based independent news service RNN pointed to widespread discontent amongst the French electorate with the Politics of the Extreme Centre, as the Populist Right Wing candidate Marine le Pen began to gain even greater support.
As Fillon’s Presidential hopes began to fade Wikileaks tweeted to the World’s media that it has 3,630 documents in its archives on François Fillon. Interestingly enough, many of these self same documents date from a critical period in the website’s history, at a time when it was closely involved with the landmark Stratfor Hack. The Anonymous cyber operation that saw veteran Free Anons Hacktivist Jeremy Hammond sent to jail, courtesy of the infamous FBI informant Sabu. The events surrounding the Stratfor Hack sent shock waves through the entire Radical Underground, as the vast trawl of secret e-mails that Hammond and his associates gained access to left everyone in the Occupy Movement fully aware of just to what extent they were all being spied on.
Much of the material in the Wikileaks database relating specifically to François Fillon comes directly from a trove of these very documents, which began to appear on the Wikileaks website on Monday February 27th 2012, under the heading ‘The Global Intelligence Files’. The collection itself was to comprise over five million e-mails from the global intelligence company Stratfor; based in Austin Texas. The e-mails appear to have originated between July 2004 and late December 2011. And, according to Wikileaks, ‘reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defence Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods.’
And, as if that wasn’t enough, Mr. Assange has been quoted as saying that he has similarly large quantities of material on the two other Presidential candidates in the French election race. A fact that has been reported extensively right the way across the mainstream media. With the final outcome of the forthcoming election still uncertain, what is the significance of the hashtag #Vault7? The answers are out there….truly out there……
Having begun his career as a junior researcher at Thames Television in London, he has written for a wide range of publications including 'The Brighton Reporter', 'Durham Town and Country', 'The Brighton and Hove People' and 'The New Celtic Review'. As an exhibited film maker he has been a regular contributor and award nominee at the Portobello Film Festival in London; and has seen his work shown at the annual London Film Makers' Convention at the prestigious Round House Theatre.
As well as receiving enthusiastic reviews from BBC Radio 4 and others for his book on Sir Walter Scott, his pioneering work as an Underground Film Maker on the fledgeling Goa Trance Scene has set him in a field of his own amongst many of his contemporaries; both in the UK, where he presently resides, and elsewhere. Current projects presently in hand include a book centred on his 'Legendary London' series of documentary films, which have stimulated an enthusiastic response from the likes of Glenda Jackson and others; and a novel set in France and Edinburgh during the eighteenth century Scottish Enlightenment.
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