The Western Front

Le Monde, the Flesh, and the Devil

A livre à scandale in France this year is a heavily documented work by two veteran freelancers, writer-researcher Pierre Péan and Philippe Cohen, editor of the French satirical publication MarianneLa face cachée du Monde, which runs over 600 pages, was put out by the very independent press Mille et Une Nuit, over threats of legal action coming from the troika that now heads the newspaper Le Monde, General Director Jean-Marie Colombani and his associates, Edwy Plenel, a prominent Trotskyist, and neoliberal Alain Minc.  Péan and Cohen provide a detailed picture of the corruption and intimidation that plague Le Monde, which boasts the second-largest subscriber base in France and the greatest sales and prestige abroad.  Despite its usually predictably leftist positions, the newspaper has allegedly cooperated with the CIA, in return for favors, to destabilize Franco-Russian relations; has defended shaky corporations (e.g., Enron) in which it had invested; and has engaged in continuing assaults on former Socialist President François Mitterand.  It began to flail away at Mitterand after he removed from an executive post Pleny’s plant in the national police force, the highly bribable secretary general of the FASP (fédération autonome des syndicats de police), Bernard Deleplace.  Péan and Cohen list some of the...

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