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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Briser la loi du silence

by Jean-Paul Piérot

The GDF Privatization Debate: Break the Law of Silence

Translated Monday 11 September 2006, by Henry Crapo

After having read what is well-described as a revelation, since "the letter of grievances of the European Commission" concerning the fusion of the GDF (Gaz de France) and Suez is a secret guarded under top security, like a military secret, the readers of l’Humanité will better understand why the government fears more than anything that the public comes to know the contents of this document. Because it is a question of Brussels (the European administration) profiting from the privatization of the GDF to break up the present national system, which the commissioners view as contrary to the canons of neo-liberalism.

But be fair to the Commission: it is not the Commission that demanded that this letter of 200 pages be kept secret (with the exception of its financial and commercial figures). It was indeed Matignon (the prime minister’s office) and the officers of the GDF and Suez who wished to hide this truth from the French people.

This is more than a distortion of "transparency", the gag prettily called "confidentiality", the refusal to communicate the text to the entire body of deputies during the parliamentary debate, and the threats of legal sanctions to any who might dare to break this "omerta" (Mafia vow of silence), all of which constitutes a denial of democracy all the more unacceptable when the future of a great public enterprise is in the balance. The destiny of the GDF should never have to suffer from such "confidentiality".

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