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Posts Tagged PPP Corruption

HOW PPP JIAYALA MISBAHUDDIN FARID & MQM’S WATER MAFIA ROBBED KARACHI CITIZENS OF $43 MILLION FOR ALTAF “BHAI KA QATIL”HUSSAIN & SWISS BANKER ZARDARI

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ZARDARI CORRUPTION:PPP JIAYALA MISBAHUDDIN FARID, resigned on Thursday due to “personal reasons”. Hectic job making $ 43 Million from poor people of Karachi.

KARACHI:

The Karachi Water and Sewerage Board managing director, Misbahuddin Farid, resigned on Thursday due to “personal reasons”, leaving behind a utility struggling to meet the city’s water needs amid increasing theft.

The sudden exit of the MD left even his closest of aides wondering what exactly pushed him to take this step as Farid was considered close to the ruling coalition.

“I am tired. There are so many things to look after, such as my health and family,” Farid told The Express Tribune. “It was a hectic job. New issues concerning water and sewerage come up every day.” But he hinted at frustration with the job and bureaucracy, saying, “I was fighting on so many fronts at the same time. How could I tackle illegal hydrants stealing water and mafias involved in encroaching on our land all by myself?”

It was not clear if the Sindh local government department had accepted Farid’s resignation by the time this report was filed late Thursday. There was no word on his replacement either and the water board’s media department refused to issue any official statement.

His exit comes just two days after the water board shut off all the hydrants across the city in a bid to end water theft. Over the past few months, the board has taken action against illegal water connections and hydrants which caused pressure to drop in main pipelines. Tankers fill up from these hydrants to sell in areas not connected to the piped network.

After joining KWSB in November, 1987, Farid was appointed managing director on January15, 2011. As project manager, he played a prominent role in the K-III scheme, which brought an additional supply of 100 million gallons per day (MGD) to the city in 2006.

Farid was known to keep an open relationship with the media and took journalists along on “operations” against water theft. But some people have accused him of turning a blind eye to ‘influential’ culprits and those with political affiliations.

The Karachi Water Tanker Owners Welfare Association alleged that illegal hydrants were still running in Baldia, Manghopir, Banaras and other areas. According to the association, the hydrants, which suck water from large pipelines, can’t be set up without the tacit approval of the water board.

A senior water board official, who worked closely with Farid, blamed political interference for the frustration in the organisation. “We shut down illegal hydrants so many times but somehow, they start working again.” He alleged that the police have always been reluctant to help them board control theft.

“The government has been asked so many times to make theft a non-bailable offence but no action has been taken as yet.”

Karachi needs 1,100 MGD but receives around 450 MGD.

PPP & MQM Run Karachi ‘water mafia’ leaves Pakistanis parched and broke

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Corrupt PPP and MQM politicians allow businessmen to siphon off as much as 41% of the city’s water supply and turn around and sell it at exorbitant rates to residents, generating an estimated $43 million a year.

  • A driver stands atop his water tanker as he fills it up with a large blue hose from an illegal hydrant inside a red-brick building on Manghopir Road in Karachi. There are at least 160 illegal hydrants across the city used to siphon water from the city's supply.
A driver stands atop his water tanker as he fills it up with a large blue hose… (Majid Hussain / For The Times )

Reporting from Karachi, Pakistan — Name a cash cow in this sprawling city of ragged slums and glass-walled office buildings and it’s almost certain there’s an organized crime syndicate behind it.

The illegal operations, routinely referred to as mafias, are everywhere. There’s a land mafia that commandeers prime real estate, a sugar mafia that conspires to control sugar prices, and even a railway mafia that forges train tickets and pilfers locomotive parts.

For those on the city’s bottom rung, however, the underworld entity they revile the most is the water tanker mafia, a network of trucking firms that teams up with corrupt bureaucrats to turn water into liquid gold worth tens of millions of dollars each year.

The water tanker mafia’s prey can be found in slums like Karachi’s Gulshan-Sikanderabad neighborhood, where every morning people buy water from the tankers, lug the plastic jugs back to their homes on wooden carts, then come back three or four more times in the afternoon and evening to buy more.

A family that makes $100 a month can spend as much as a quarter of that on water, which, elsewhere in Pakistan, costs pennies and flows out of household taps.

Water scarcity isn’t the cause. Karachi has a steady water supply, and it has the network of pipes to pump ample water into every neighborhood, rich and poor.

But Karachi is also a city of opportunists forever on the prowl for under-the-table wealth. As municipal officials look the other way, businessmen illegally tap water mains, and use the makeshift hydrants to supply fleets of tankers that then sell water to businesses, factories and neighborhoods at inflated prices. As many as 272 million gallons a day are siphoned off by the trucks.

On a recent sunbaked afternoon, along a dirt lane filled with goats munching on piles of refuse, Momin Khan seethed as he filled another blue jug with water from a cistern replenished every other day by the water tankers.

“We’re poor laborers — we can’t spare this much for water,” said Khan, 27, a glass factory worker. “The water supply lines come right into this neighborhood, but there’s never any water. So I buy the same water that I should be getting through the pipes for free. I’ve got no choice.”

Karachi has nine hydrant locations where water supply companies can legally buy water and fill their tanker trucks. But scattered throughout the city are at least 160 illegal hydrants, said Ashraf Sagar, manager of the Orangi Pilot Project, a private organization that researches water issues in Karachi.

The siphoning takes place around the clock, Sagar said. It’s done in the dead of night, but also in broad daylight.

Along Manghopir Road, a bustling Karachi avenue lined with grease-covered car repair stalls and appliance storefronts, it’s easy to find a pair of tanker drivers standing on top of their trucks, filling up with a large blue hose from an illegal hydrant inside a red-brick building. Armed guards keep outsiders from meddling.

On average, a tanker fills up six times a day, Sagar said, siphoning as much as 41% of the city’s daily water supply, an amount that generates $43 million annually for tanker owners, according to Orangi.

“With this much money involved, it’s clear these are very wealthy people,” Sagar said. “They’re powerful PPP & MQM mafias colluding with corrupt people in the government. So there’s really nothing ordinary Pakistanis can do to stop it.”

Shahnawaz Jadoon, a deputy administrative chief for the Gulshan-Sikanderabad neighborhood, said it was virtually impossible to clamp down on an enterprise that combines the clout of city government and the wealth of Karachi’s powerful business circles.

At times, illegal hydrants are shut down by city officials, only to reopen a week later. Activists said they didn’t know of anyone involved ever being arrested.

“The big reason why people don’t get the water they’re supposed to,” said Jadoon, “is that if they did, this whole system, the tanker mafia and this corrupt network, would shut down.”

alex.rodriguez@

latimes.com

September 7, 2012

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S Sajad Haider:The evil mother of all fraudulent elections supervised by jackals’ in charge of Pakistan’s future

Unknown-1Unless the civil society rises from the drugged slumber, Pakistan’s coup de Grace is inevitable as the corrupt, faithless, shot eaters of power and a prostituted opposition comprising reprobates, cowards, and corrupt to their hilt without soul have got the frail? Weak, trembling mom de plume FAKHROO Bhai lacks the courage, conviction and gumption to say boo to the hardened criminals who get degrees from oath commissioner selling stamp papers. The education minister is in the lead. At least write if you believe what sellable pimps are doing threatening the trembling CEC. E.g., NALAIK NAIK and fraudia Nisar Chaudhry. Supreme court’s inextricably shabby conduct in Qadri case for Articles 63-64 and 245 will be no less a watershed in the polluted history of judiciary lead by the charlatan Muhammad Munir Khan of Ayub Khan, Yahya, Bhutto martial laws and reprehensible law of necessity. Armageddon!

In his write-up titled ‘ECP’s blues: Fakhru Bhai should show some spine’ (February 28), Brig (r) Farooq Hameed Khan reiterated what AM (r) Shahid Latif had written in his column last week: a spineless and distinctly dubious Election Commission and an honest but lacking-in-courage chief election commissioner may not be able to ensure fair elections and a level playing field to honest persons with a

strong will to change the direction of Pakistan. The CEC must either justify his appointment and disqualify every single violator of Articles 63 and 64, in particular the tax evaders and loan defaulters, with grit and courage or immediately throw in the towel.

If he fails to fulfill any of the legal and moral obligations, his name will be sullied in perpetuity and the nation will be thrown back in the unclean hands of criminals who have purposefully pushed it into the pits of ignominy.

 

S Sajad Haider

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Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd) Pakistan Army: Free & Fair Elections vs Clean Contestants

LETTER TO EDITOR

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February 18th, 2013

 

Free & Fair Elections vs Clean Contestants

 

The CEC has once again assured the public to hold a free and fair elections and this is probably the umpteenth assurance coming from him.  What I am longing to hear from him at least once is that he will ensure that only the clean and honest politicians will be allowed to context the elections.  What is the use of the elections how so ever free and fair those may be if we have to elect from the same corrupt and dishonest lot of the politicians?! Mr. Justice CEC please assure us that only the clean and honest contestants would be there for us to elect from as we do not repeat do not want to elect the same rotten lot of politicians once again.

 

Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)

Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)
30 Westridge 1
Rawalpindi 46000
Pakistan
Tel: (051) 5158033
E.mail: jafri@rifiela.com

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Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd) Pakistan Army: Leaders & Leaders

LETTER TO EDITOR

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February 18th, 2013

 

Leaders & Leaders

 

At least I am fed up of listening to the incessant rhetoric and harangues from the highest to the lowest leaders of the PPP  eulogizing ZAB and/or BB  just for the sake of praising them on each and every occasion whether in context or out of context! Anything they do (though frankly not much) for the public good is always extolled to be in accordance with the vision and wishes of the late Shaheeds – one or the other or the both!  Don’t they have anything of their own to offer to the people?  Will they ever grow up to be able to conceive or visualize something  good for the country all by themselves or will they always keep us and themselves reminding of the ZAB and the BB?  It is comical to watch BB’s picture placed dutifully and cautiously on a table (at times not bigger the size of the picture itself) so that it remains prominently visible throughout the interview given by these leaders – whether the baby Bilawal or the stalwart Amin Faheem – what to talk of the hubby President perching it on the UN General Assembly podium!  Has anyone  in the history of the UN GA ever done so?

 

Whether they realize it or not, such cult worshiping goes against them.  They are living under the shadows of the Shaheeds and martyrs – a shadow like that of the proverbial banyan tree that doesn’t let anything grow under it.  No one takes such pigmies seriously, on the contrary consider them to be void of any vision, planning and leading the people. It is time they showed some mettle of their own and proved themselves to be capable of leading the nation from the front and not through the stilts of the shaheeds.

 

 

Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)
30 Westridge 1
Rawalpindi 46000
Pakistan
Tel: (051) 5158033
E.mail: jafri@rifiela.com

 
 
 
 
 

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KAMRAN FAISAL MURDER : DID THE GOVT ORDER THE EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLING OF RAJA “RENTAL”PERVEZ’S POWER PLANT NAB INVESTIGATOR?

    This is a story of a historical murder ordered by a Fascist French government in the 1930s.  It is also a classic example of how corrupt fascists operate and how they use violence as a means to an end. Raja “Rental” Pervez is a fascist. It is not beyond reason, that Raja “Rental”Pervez, is connected with the order murder NAB, investigator. Kamran Faisal had information which would have resulted in long term jail sentence to Raja “Rental”Pervez  Ashraf.  His ilk, once cornered resort to violence. They are worse than blood sucking vampire bats. Once, exposed to light, they try all means to hide themselves. This Count Dracula of Corruption is a gift to the nation by none other than, the Demon of Corruption, the civilian dictator, Asif Zardari.   Ashraf is not only a bugling stooge, prone to violence but also  a hatchet man for Asif Zardari. He has risen from the lower middle class of Pakistan, to reach meteoric heights; through adeptness as a strong hatchet man for Asif Zardari.   Unlike, Z.A.Bhutto, who was hanged on very specious evidence, Raja “Rental” Pervez is right up to his neck in the Rental Power Scandal.  Rather he is the lead character and the main beneficiary of over $600 Million graft given by IPPs. It stands to reason that his culpability is obvious in this not only sordid but also grisly affair .  

Kamran Faisal’s murder also has as many similarities to the mysterious death of
Laetitia Toureaux on Paris Metro, which happened under similar circumstances in another era.  Laetitia was also eliminated, because, she knew too much, and as they say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Kamran also paid dearly for the knowledge he held on the High and the Mighty Ministers of Pakistan’s corrupt and US supported government.  


Kamran Faisal was a man of integrity, honesty, and, as his father said, served only one Master, The Allah Almighty.  His aging father, an honest, soft spoken, and deeply religious man spoke of his son’s deep sense of commitment responsibility to the nation.  Kamran loved his job and was serving the people of Pakistan and earning Rizq-i-Halal. A rarity indeed in an abjectly dishonest society like Pakistan.  His misfortune was that he was at the wrong place at the wrong time He was investigating the fraud perpetrated by a malevolent crook, masquerading as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Raja “Rental ” Pervez Ashraf, whose loyalty lies with the Don Corleone of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari.  A curse imposed a US government on the Pakistani nation; and also known to the global community as  Mr.Ten Percent.

Mysterious deaths of honest investigation officers have happened through out history. Chile’s Dictator, Gen.Augusto Pinochet, had death squads at his service. They eliminated any civil servant, who tried to expose or speak against the corruption in Chilean government . Pakistan has now become, the proverbial Pinochet ruled, Chilean model Banana Republic. It is ruled by Knights of Corruption, who have spread their cancerous tentacles of corruption infesting all sectors of Pakistan’s economy and commerce.

Pakistan’s civil society, which had so valiantly marched for the restoration of Chief Justice; is now in cahoots with the government. Its stalwarts are appearing on every TV channel, vehemently defending the corrupt government in coded terms, by saying, that they “were defending democracy.” What democracy? A democracy led by feudal elites and industrialist merchants, who flaunt all national and international laws. They do not pay taxes but enjoy the privileges and immunities of tax paying wage earners like the Pakistan Armed Forces.

 

An insidiously corrupt government, like that of PM Raja “Rental” Ashraf can do anything it likes. It has no accountability either to the people or the Judiciary, whom, they mock day in and day out.  Now, they have resorted to extrajudicial killings. The precedence for extrajudicial killings has been set by the MQM, a murder for hire organization in Karachi.  The culture of murder has now reached Islamabad.  It is already a norm in metropolitan Karachi, where MQM, reigns terror on ordinary defenseless Karachiites. Karachi’s killing fields have now been transplanted in Islamabad.  It seems, although, Kamran Faisal’s murder will NEVER be solved. Because, those in-charge of the murder investigations are also the perpetrators of the murder. These criminal murderers, go by such names as Pakistan Peoples Party, MQM, and PML(Q). But, those who live by the sword also die by the sword.  They are sure to be meted out Justice, if not Here, then in the Hereafter.   Pakistan is ruled by a Gang of Murders and Extortionists led by Numero Uno, Asif Zardari.    Such rulers can never be brought to justice, except by an Act of Almighty God. His name is also, Al-Adl, the Just. Accountability in the Hereafter, results in punishment forever, as embedded in Islam. It is the faith, Asif Zardari and Pervez Ashraf, claim to follow. Unless, they, are again being hypocritical. Or they consider Islam, as a mumbo jumbo confined to this world. That would be their biggest mistake for which there will not be any expiation or forgiveness.

Murder in the Metro

Mysterious Death Leads to Scholarly Work on Gender and Fascism in 1937 France

 

By Annette Finley-Croswhite and Gayle K. Brunelle

 

A Perfect Crime

On the 16th of May, 1937, at around 6 p.m., a striking, 29-year-old Italian woman wearing a finely tailored green suit, white hat and gloves left a suburban Paris bal musette, or dance hall, and walked quickly toward a bus stop. Approximately 24 minutes later, she stepped off the bus and entered a metro station where she boarded a first-class car bound for central Paris. Although the subway platform and the accompanying second-class cars were filled with Pentecost Sunday holiday-makers who had spent the afternoon at the Parc de Vincennes, Laetitia Nourrissat Toureaux sat alone in her first-class car. The train departed at 6:26 p.m., and 45 seconds later arrived at the Porte Dorée station where six passengers entered the first-class car and beheld a shocking sight. In front of their eyes, the woman in the green suit fell forward out of her seat, revealing a 9-inch dagger buried in her neck.

 

0Metro authorities immediately summoned the Paris police and emergency personnel, but Laetitia Toureaux died before she ever reached the Saint-Antoine Hospital and without ever naming her assailant. The judicial section of the Paris police force, known as the Sûreté Nationale, immediately launched an inquiry into the murder. Over the next 12 months they interviewed more than 800 people who either knew Toureaux or who had been at the dance hall, bus stop or subway platform with her on the day of her death. The police never found a single witness to the crime, however, and eventually shelved the investigation. To this day, the murder of Laetitia Toureaux remains officially unsolved, a seemingly “perfect crime.”

 

The paradox of Toureaux’s murder is that by mid-January of 1938 the Paris police and even the journalists, who were just as determined to solve the mystery of her death, had little doubt about who had killed her. The murder was connected to the assassinations of three prominent figures: the Russian economist Dimitri Navachine, stabbed to death in the Bois-de-Boulogne on Jan. 26, 1937; and the Italian antifascist exiles Carlo and Nello Rosselli, gunned down on a road in Normandy on June 9, 1937. Police eventually traced all three assassination cases to an extreme right-wing organization called the Comité Secret d’Action Révolutionnaire (CSAR) and popularly dubbed the “Cagoule,” or “hooded ones,” because of their penchant for donning hoods when they needed to hide their identities. The Cagoule favored violence and planned a paramilitary coup to oust the socialist “Popular Front” government of the late 1930s before installing a military-style dictatorship in preparation for the return of the French monarchy.

 

CSAR leadership included former army and naval officers, engineers, doctors and industrialists, many of whom belonged to some of the most distinguished families in France. The organization was well-funded by the heads of major companies like Michelin, L’Oréal and Lesieur Oil and had some support within the French armed forces. The Cagoule had no true ideology but expounded a vehement nationalist, anti-communist, anti-socialist, anti-democratic and anti-Semitic stance. During the period 1936-37, the Cagoule committed a number of serious crimes that included two bombings in Paris, at least seven murders and the destruction of several airplanes bound for anti-Franco forces in Spain. They incited public riots and on more than one occasion attempted the assassination of the socialist leader and Popular Front prime minister, Léon Blum. In Paris, members of the Cagoule also formed militias, amassed huge stockpiles of weapons, trained terrorists, built underground prisons, sought support from Mussolini and ran guns in Belgium, Switzerland and Italy. Cagoulard cells also existed in the French provinces.

 

The French police exposed the CSAR on the night of Nov. 15, 1937. Several of those arrested claimed knowledge of Toureaux’s murder and provided testimony about her assassination. Additional circumstantial evidence also pointed to her involvement with the Cagoule. Apparently, she was murdered because she had infiltrated the Cagoule as an undercover agent. When the Cagoulard leadership discovered her betrayal, they had her executed. But if the police suspected this, why was Laetitia Toureaux’s murder never solved?

The CSAR was a clandestine operation with a strict code of secrecy. Its right-wing orientation arose out of hostility toward the Socialist government of Léon Blum during a time of rising unemployment, massive labor unrest and general post-World War I malaise. Its leader, Eugène Deloncle, boasted that by 1937, 12,000 men in Paris had joined the Cagoule and 120,000 belonged to the organization in the provinces. At most, the Cagoule probably consisted of fewer than 200 known affiliates who had some sense of the true Cagoulard structure and mission, and anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand who were tied to the CSAR through other organizations or associations. Most believed they had joined an auto-defense organization meant to spring into action in the event of a communist uprising, a misconception the Cagoule’s leaders actively fostered. Recruits joined seven-man cells linked by vertical ties to units, battalions, regiments, brigades and divisions. There were no horizontal ties in the organizational structure, however, so that no relationship existed between cells. In the end, the police arrested only 71 members of the Cagoule in 1937-38. Those imprisoned were eventually released in 1939 when France mobilized for war. The case against the CSAR did not come to trial until 1948. By then many of those charged were distinguished war veterans. Most had found important places in the Vichy regime and/or ended the war as part of the French Resistance. Few were punished for their prewar crimes, and in the rush for postwar reconciliation in France, the murder of Laetitia Toureaux was largely forgotten.

 

The Cagoule leadership were simply too important to punish for the death of an Italian immigrant of questionable reputation. A case in point involves the late French President François Mitterand, who never belonged to the Cagoule, but developed close ties in his youth to many in its ranks.  Mitterand steadfastly refused to discuss his Cagoulard ties during his long presidency, but he clearly knew of the Cagoule’s prewar crimes and chose to ignore them. Laetitia Toureaux’s story, therefore, forms part of the larger French refusal to come to terms with the pre-World War II era when many French sympathized with extreme right-wing politics, fascism and anti-Semitism. Indeed, it can be argued that Vichy France was the fulfillment of right-wing agendas.

 

By retracing Toureaux’s life and death in a historical monograph, we intend not only to tell a good story and solve a murder, but also juxtapose the worlds of working-class immigrant culture and upper-class French society in order to craft a portrait of French politics and culture in the 1930s. Toureaux’s story thus becomes the lens through which we view French society during a turbulent time when many in France flirted dangerously close with fascism.

 

Who Was Laetitia Toureaux?

The morning after the murder, “Le Crime du Métro” made sizzling front-page copy in all the papers as Parisians awoke to the shocking news that a beautiful young woman was brutally killed on a subway train. Paris was abuzz with curiosity about the crime and its victim. The doctor who performed the autopsy on Toureaux’s body theorized that the blow that killed her had severed her jugular vein so perfectly that only a professional assassin could have done it. But what did this clue indicate about Toureaux’s background and lifestyle?

 

In the weeks that followed her demise, the Parisian newspapers and scandal sheets sensationalized the murder and its investigation, little by little uncovering the details of Toureaux’s unconventional life and offering hypotheses on her untimely death. In the first few days after the murder, the journalists and the Parisian public viewed Toureaux as an innocent, an ingénue perhaps, but a respectable, recently widowed immigrant who was a victim of cruel fate. Five days after the murder, however, public opinion turned against her. Exposed as an ambitious social climber with a taste for money and adventure, her marriage to the late Jules Toureaux was revealed to be a clandestine relationship. His scandalized bourgeois family only learned of the union on his deathbed and unsurprisingly severed all legal ties with his working-class wife. Toureaux’s lifestyle also had been unsavory, for like many Italians living in France, she frequented bals musette, often located in the most sordid neighborhoods of Paris where pimps and prostitutes solicited customers. Toureaux lived a mysterious and exciting life and was known to acquaintances by another name, “Yolande.” The police learned that she had sexual encounters with men in hotels and public parks, but they never uncovered any evidence that she charged for sex. Faithful to her husband during their six-year secret marriage, she took a series of lovers from her milieu after his death in 1934.

 

Even more intriguing, Toureaux not only worked in a glue factory by day and a bal musette by night, she also gained intermittent employment as a sometime “mouche,” or informant, with a detective agency in central Paris called Agence Rouff, where she specialized in surveillance and message delivery. Much of her detective work was done in the bals musette. Her beauty was her greatest asset since her good looks gave her entry into many places and access to people she was expected to watch. Through her employer, Georges Rouffinac, it appears that she began working unofficially for the investigative division of the Paris police and in this capacity infiltrated the Cagoule. Late in his life, her former lover and Cagoule member, Gabriel Jeantet, told a reporter that she had been something of a double agent in the employ of Mussolini, but no documentation to this effect has ever been found.

 

So Why Was Laetitia Killed?

Laetitia Toureaux loved to dance, and as a dancer she met many young army officers who were attracted to right-wing politics. It appears that sometime in 1936, Laetitia, now known as “Yolande” and working for the police to infiltrate illegal, right-wing political groups, became the lover of Jeantet, the Cagoule’s arms smuggling expert. Jeantet ran a garage near Montmarte and commanded a fleet of cars he used to smuggle arms from Geneva to Paris. By the spring of 1937, the Cagoule began to suspect Toureaux of deceit and set a trap for her. News of an upcoming arms run was leaked to her, but when the car was stopped at the Swiss border, it was empty. The ruse cost Toureaux her life. The Cagoule leadership met on May 10, 1937, and determined her fate. In all probability, the group’s most notorious assassin, Jean Filliol, was ordered to kill her. Filliol proceeded to pull off the perfect crime and fled to Spain before World War II broke out. He finished his life a rich man near San Sebastian.

 

Why Tell Laetitia Toureaux’s Story Now?

Laetitia Toureaux’s story is both timely and compelling. A 500-page summary of the investigation compiled by the police a few months after her death paints a fascinating picture of one woman’s struggle to achieve bourgeois respectability in a world that denied upward mobility to people of her sex, class and ethnicity. Her murder is also intertwined with the history of French fascism. The Cagoule leaders were not street thugs but highly educated nationalists who used terrorism, particularly the bombing of two sites in the wealthy 16th district of Paris – ironically, on Sept. 11, 1937 – as a means of sending a message to the French public. On this particular 9/11, they hoped to fool the public into believing that a communist putsch was imminent and thereby hasten the fall of the Third Republic. Historians, however, seldom give more than summary attention to the Cagoule’s prewar aims. Ultimately the Cagoule failed to bring about regime change and install an ultraconservative state. Even so, their use of violence as a means of promoting disorder in 1937 has never been fully examined. A reassessment of the CSAR could aid understanding of France’s fall in 1940. At the very least, such a study provides insight into how terrorist cells operate, incite fear, and as Americans know only too well, change history.

 

And in the end, what do we make of Laetitia Toureaux, the woman who gives us access to those violent times? Reconstructing her life was no easy task. The files concerning her murder were sealed by the French government for 101 years and are not due to be released until 2038. We acquired legal derogations and gained access to many of these files but only after signing documents in which we promised never to compromise the names of leading French families. In many instances, files we sought vanished “without explanation.” A five-year search finally turned up the police archives that we were repeatedly told did not exist. More than one French archivist warned us not to pursue this research.

 

In 1997 we set out to find Toureaux’s grave. There in the stillness of a cemetery on the outskirts of Paris, we vowed to this woman to tell her story. Laetitia “Yolande” Toureaux was no heroine, but she embodied many of the complexities of interwar French society. In 2002 the lease expired on her grave plot, and her body was exhumed and cremated. In some sense, we believe, the publication of our book will reanimate and validate her existence.

 

In 1997 Annette Finley-Croswhite, associate professor and dean of graduate studies in the College of Arts and Letters, happened onto two or three sentences in a Paris travel guide about a 1937 unsolved murder in the capital city’s subway. That reading would lead to an eight-year project that is now drawing to an end. Finley-Croswhite and fellow researcher Gayle Brunelle, whom she had met in graduate school at Emory University and who now teaches at California State University, Fullerton, agreed that the story was too good to pass up. Although both are French historians whose specialty is the 16th century, they “retooled” themselves to write about this fascinating piece of history from the 20th century. They published a major article in the journal French Cultural Studies, “Murder in the Metro,” and have spoken about it at several conferences. After years of research, they have produced a manuscript, titled “Laetitia Toureaux and the Cagoule: Murder, Gender, and Fascism in 1937 France.” The subject of the scholarly work remains highly controversial, and many people in France would prefer that the story be forgotten. As dedicated historians and researchers, however, Finley-Croswhite and Brunelle couldn’t let that happen.

 

 

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