Homes of gov’t officials who presided over France’s lockdown raided, investigation ongoing
FRANCE, October 17, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – On Thursday, hours after President Emmanuel Macron announced a COVID-19 curfew in eight major cities plus Paris and its region, the homes of the political and health officials who were at the helm during France’s full lockdown from March 17 to May 11 were searched. The enquiry commission of the Court of Justice of the Republic, which judges penal complaints against high-ranking government officials while in office, organized the raids as part of the investigations related to the officials’ handling of the COVID-19 crisis in the first months of this year.
Over 30,000 deaths, nearly half of which occurred in homes for the dependent elderly, were attributed in France to illness provoked by the Wuhan coronavirus. At the height of the epidemic, people with symptoms of COVID-19, the disease linked to the virus, were asked to stay at home and fight fever symptoms with paracetamol, family doctors were prevented from prescribing treatment –including the commonly used hydroxychloroquine in association with azythromycine – despite lower hospitalizations and death rates. Patients were only treated in hospital when in severe respiratory distress.
According to one of France’s leading infectiologists, Professor Christian Perronne, the majority of those 30,000 deaths could have been avoided if treatment had been given in a timely manner, as he wrote in his book titled: “Y a-t-il une erreur qu’ils n’ont pas commise?” (“Is there a single mistake that they didn’t make?”).
It is some of these multiple errors that are now being investigated after some 90 complaints were filed against ministers at the Court of Justice of the Republic, some at the beginning of the epidemic and others later. A total of nine of these complaints were deemed admissible: among others, they are aimed at current Health minister Olivier Véran and his predecessor, Agnès Buzyn, former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, and the former spokeswoman of the government, Sibeth Ndiaye.
The latter was the laughing-stock of the country during the confinement, having announced on March 5 that COVID-19 was a “big cold” and that there was no question of “bringing the country to a halt.” When many were clamoring for masks at the height of the crisis, and the government had banned the sale of masks to the ordinary public, she explained that they were “useless” against contamination and that nobody knew how to use them anyway. In this she was probably not far wrong, but it was very clear that her language was designed to dissimulate the fact that no masks were available because the health administration had failed to replenish the stock – not even for health professionals who genuinely needed them. Ndiaye also famously said that the World Health Organization had recommended testing of all suspicious cases “somewhere in April,” while the real recommendation had occurred on March 16 – and testing was virtually impossible because family doctors were not allowed to prescribe tests and hospitals refused to do so.
This mismanagement is what led to multiple contaminations both before and during the confinement, according to the complaints filed against government officials. Going forward with municipal elections one day before lockdown, which was postponed until the vote had taken place, was also an improper decision, according to the complaints. While lockdown can be severely criticized for not avoiding infections, bringing thousands of people together in voting offices could hardly be considered to be a prudent decision.
Two high-ranking health officials, Jérôme Salomon, General director of Health, and the Director general of “Santé Publique France” (Public Health France) were also on the list of suspects whose homes were searched in the small hours of Thursday morning.
Eighty specialized law enforcement and enquiry personnel joined the operations that aim to find out how and why the French government came to make certain decisions – misguided decisions according to the plaintiffs – in view of the information at their disposal since the beginning of January when the existence of the sanitary crisis was becoming obvious in China. The police teams that raided the ministers’ and officials’ homes hailed from a body charged with fighting attacks against the environment and public health and another that deals with corruption and financial and fiscal offences.
During the searches, both private and work computers and hard drives were investigated and the contents of the officials’ smartphones was “aspired,” allowing in particular for access to crypted messages between ministers. It has already been announced that if classified material is involved it will be excluded from the proceedings.
Regarding Health minister Véran, the complaint against him was opened on July 7 under the heading: “Failure to combat a disaster.”
A group of doctors, C19, initiated one of the complaints under the accusations of “incoherent actions” and “absence of implementation of WHO recommendations.” Whatever the harmfulness of this international body, it is now clear that in France as in so many other countries the normal steps required in the face of a pandemic under international treatises and agreements signed under the authority of the World Health Organization – that include the preservation of personal liberties and economic activity – were completely set aside.
Should the searches, timed to practically coincide with President Macron’s drastic announcement of a curfew and other attacks against civil liberties, be considered as a genuine attempt to reveal the full truth about COVID-19 mismanagement? Many observers believe the judiciary is truly on the warpath; others say the spectacular operation is just a smokescreen that was set up eventually to proclaim the innocence of Macron’s government at a time when so many lies are being spread and so few questions answered. But these are merely conjectures. Only time can tell.
While the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR) works on these files other complaints filed with ordinary penal courts are also progressing. The Prosecutor’s office of Paris opened an enquiry on June 9 for “manslaughter” and “exposure of a third party to a life-threatening risk.” “Coronavirus Victims France” is also pursuing the present Prime Minister, Jean Castex, before the CJR since mid-September.
Meanwhile, Olivier Véran continued to appear on television on Thursday and Friday. When reminded that Sweden has visibly mastered the epidemic with virtually no new cases at preset and very few daily deaths since mid-July despite not having imposed a confinement, masks, or the closing-down of bars and restaurants, he angrily said and repeated this Friday that Sweden has registered the highest proportion of deaths in Europe.
Internet users obligingly fact-checked the minister’s statement: Belgium registered 850 deaths per 1 million inhabitants, England: 767 deaths per million, Spain 710, Italy 605 and Sweden 590, just ahead of France with 502 deaths per one million inhabitants.