|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (July 2009)|
The Réseau Voltaire (Voltaire Network) is an international non-profit organisation, based in Paris. Its stated aim is the promotion of freedom and secularism (i.e. laïcité), that is separation of church and state, faith and politics. Chaired by Thierry Meyssan, the group undertook changes in its political orientation, leading to a split in 2003.
- Chairman : Thierry Meyssan (France)
- Deputy chairmen : Sandro Cruz (Peru), Prince Issa El-Ayoubi (Lebanon)
The Voltaire Network publishes a free website (voltairenet.org) available in 17 languages (Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and others) and two online databases (911investigations.net and gulfinvestigations.net).
The Voltaire Network was founded in the context of a campaign in favour of freedom of speech, which the founders thought was put into jeopardy by new laws enshrined in the French penal code. After the campaign the association lived on, specialising in the study of far-right movements and religions. It was vocal notably in preventing the French government from funding the religious part of the Pope's visit to France, and in initiating an investigation of the French Parliament regarding the French far-right militia group DPS. Since 1999, the Réseau Voltaire has dealt with international issues, including daily news about the bombings of Serbia by NATO.
Several senior members of the Réseau have complained about a lack of control of the administration council over actions of the president and general secretary. They alleged that the president fostered an environment that suppressed criticism and failed to focus impartially on the board's general goals. Furthermore, they also cited what they believed to be an excessive critique of American foreign policy that was not balanced by reporting on the lack of political freedoms in the Middle East, where most network members tended to operate. The group also suggested that politically illiberal organizations or political figures believed to sponsor anti-Semitic views were treated uncritically. One example was "Entretien avec le Hezbollah" ("Meeting with the Hezbollah") which presented the group, which is closely allied to Iran, as a "social group of Muslim inspiration, comparable to the Liberation theology in South America". Chairman Messyan was said to have visited Tehran to discuss his alternative theories positing that the United States conducted the 9/11 attacks as a false flag operation to justify intervention in Muslim affairs.
Three members of the administration council (Michel Sitbon, Gilles Alfonsi and Jean-Luc Guilhem) resigned in February 2005, over what they consider to be an adhesion to the theory of the so-called "Clash of civilizations," although the Network's publications clearly oppose the theory as a neo-conservative strategy to control the world's last remaining oil reserves, and the instrumentalisation of the network. They object that "With the pretext of resisting American Imperialism, lenience toward Chinese and Russian imperialisms and closeness with Islamists is symptomatic of a latent anti-Semitic drift among the direction." They also claim the existence of links with intelligence agencies, arguing that the Voltaire Network had been constructed against such organizations. However, they also underline that the new stance of the direction shouldn't cause the previous work of the network to be forgotten. Since 2002, these members had been in conflict with Bruno Drweski, director the Communist review La Pensée. These accusations were denied by the Réseau Voltaire, which evokes mere "changes in dimension."  Founding member Michel Sitbon cited the arrival of controversial personalities like Claude Karnoouh (who was never actually an administrator) and Bruno Drweski, while the Réseau, in a 2005 declaration, said that "administrators favourable to a French petty political conception of the association have been put in minority. They resigned either before or during the general assembly".
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In 2001, the Network started a web site to denounce the closure by Danone of several plants for economic reasons seen as purely speculative. Complex legal issues over the trademark followed, which ended favourably for the Voltaire Network.
In November 2005, Voltaire Network held in Brussels (Belgium) an international conference aimed at setting up an intellectual front to face the neoconservatives: the conference was called Axis for Peace.
The Voltaire Network frequently publishes grave accusations regarding important events or personalities. Notable instances are:
- In 1997, the Network accused Fernando Sáenz Lacalle, Archbishop of San Salvador, of being involved in several crimes, including the murder of the former archbishop. He denied the charges.
- In his best-selling book, 9/11: The Big Lie, Thierry Meyssan, president of the network, claimed that the 9/11 attacks were due to an internal plot within the US administration. The Network broadcast this declaration widely.
- In May 2002, the Network claimed that the attempted coup d'état against president Hugo Chávez had been organised from the White House, citing names of personalities allegedly involved. These claims were used by general procuror of Venezuela Danilo Anderson, and were repeated by Chávez himself. The US Department of State formally denied any involvement.
- The Network claims that the "Islamic Army in Iraq", which had taken French journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, had done so in complicity with the US Department.
- In 2005, the Network published a controversial article about the new French minister of foreign trade, Christine Lagarde, titled With Christine Lagarde, the US industry enters the French government.
Generally, the Voltaire Network systematically attacked the Bush and Sharon administrations. According to the Réseau, the United States is a "hyperpower", a term forged by former minister Hubert Védrine, in which all international relations are strongly dependent on the attitude of the concerned nations toward the USA.
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The Voltaire Network is made up of news agencies and newspapers from Latin America, Europe and the Arab World:
- Actualidad colombiana (Colombia)
- Agencia Alia 2 (Venezuela)
- Agencia Cubana de Noticias - ACN (Cuba)
- Agencia de Noticias Plurinacional del Ecuador - ANPE (Ecuador)
- Agencia Informe de Prensa Internacional - IPI (Peru)
- Agencia nacional de comunicación (Argentina)
- Altercom (Ecuador)
- Bolpress (Bolivia)
- Contralinea (Mexico)
- Desde abajo (Colombia)
- Dia V (Mexico)
- El juguete rabioso (Bolivia)
- El Sucre (Ecuador)
- Federación Latinoamericana de Periodistas - FELAP (Latin America)
- Fortuna (Mexico)
- Horizons et débats (Switzerland)
- IES News Service (Israel, France and Lebanon)
- Intelligencia (Lebanon)
- La Jornada (Mexico)
- Observatorio de Medios, Político, Social y Cultural (Argentina)
- Opción (Ecuador)
- Periódico de las Madres de Plaza de Mayo (Argentina)
- Punto final (Chile)
- Question (Venezuela)
- Syria Alghad (Syria)
- Tendancies (Lebanon)
- Tintaji (Ecuador)
- Unión de Trabajadores de Prensa de Buenos Aires - UTPBA (Argentina)
- Voces del Periodista (Mexico)
- la fin du réseau Voltaire by Michel SITBON, Gilles ALFONSI and Jean-Luc GUILHEM
- "la fin du réseau Voltaire" on www.amnistia.net
- "Recommandé avis de réception RA 7731 3869 8FR" (PDF). Administratrice du Réseau Voltaire. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-06-04. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- Sitbon, Michel; Gilles Alfonsi et Jean-Luc Guilhem. "La fin du Réseau Voltaire". Réseau Voltaire. Archived from the original on 2012-06-04. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- http://www.voltairenet.org/article16806.html[dead link]
- "Axis for Peace 2005"