Publié par Bernard Martoia le 7 février 2016


On the morning of January 13, 2010, Sylvie Brazès, a forty-nine year old secretary at the University of Perpignan, France, was photocopying documents at the library of the Sociology Department when Ye Quing, a twenty-six year old Chinese student, entered the room armed with a twenty-inch long butcher knife. Alarmed by her screaming, a professor came to her rescue, but he was severely injured at his turn before another professor with the help of two students disarmed Ye Quing. Sylvie Brazès was admitted to the hospital of Perpignan where she died not long after her admission. The first professor critically wounded at the face, arms, and legs, survived his injuries, whereas the second and a student were hospitalized but their lives were not in danger.

After this beastly murder, which intervened four days after an eighteen-year-old student at a high school of Kremlin Bicêtre, near Paris, bludgeoned to death another student, France was shocked. The minister of Universities, Valérie Pécresse, came at the bedside of the three injured at the hospital. She expressed her sympathy, and paid tribute to their bravery before visiting the university. The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, attended the funeral of the secretary where he expressed “his solidarity and his moral support toward the university community.” A few hours after the drama, the District Attorney of Perpignan stated that the suspect was not guilty: “He shows a lack of discernment, therefore he is not criminally responsible. He should be transferred to a special clinic tonight.” He added that the suspect showed “mental disorders” before his rampage. Ye Quing had been treated at a psychiatric hospital in November.

Based on the claim of the Brazès family against the university because Ye Quing was declared not responsible for the murder, the professor Jean-Louis Caccomo was suspended from his job. The decision was taken under a “precautionary principle.” The most troubling was the lack of connection with Quing. The two men did not know each other. Quing was a student at the Sociology Department, and Caccomo taught economics. Quing acted alone, and Caccomo was never mentioned during the investigation. For a reason beyond understanding, the president of the university judged that Caccomo’s presence was a danger for the university. …

On the other hand, the District Attorney said that Quing knew Julie, the daughter of the murdered secretary. She was in the same class as him at the Sociology Department. Like other female students, she became aware that Quing was a clumsy womanizer. “I have the bad habit of stealing girls from other guys,” he bragged. Other female students received text messages from him. “We never knew how he got our cell phone numbers,” Julie said to a journalist of the Midi Libre. As Quing failed to seduce female students, he starred at them during the classes. Then he made an inappropriate comment to Julie and other classmates: “I will disappear from the university because of you!

We wondered if he was not suicidal,” said Julie. Her late mother warned her to be extremely careful with him. The concerned students talked to their professors. After a medical exam by a physician working at the university, Quing accepted to be treated for his mental disorders at a psychiatrist hospital. Following his treatment, he passed a test at the university where he was praised for his good essay. Despite this encouraging sign, he feared that he might not get good marks at exams.

He harassed professors at their office, and the secretary Sylvie Brazès was asked to stand in the way. “There was a quarrel between him and my mother,” Julie confessed. On 13 December, Quing was turned down the access of the meeting staff by my mother.  »She paid it with her own life,” Julie confessed. She was upset that Quing could not be judged for the premeditated murder of her mother. She claimed that he had outwitted psychiatrists.

More troubling in the operating of the French justice, the examining judge indicted Quing for the murder of Sylvie Brazès, and murder attempt on two professors on 24 May 2012, which was more than two years after the bloodshed. The premature assumption of the District Attorney that Quing was not responsible had delayed the indictment, and jeopardized a fair trial that the Brazès family was looking for.

If Quing had shown signs of being a danger for himself and for the society, the sanity of Caccomo had been disputed for other reasons. True, Caccomo suffered a minor depression after his break-up with his wife, and the ensuing divorce trial. He also had a traumatic experience before his separation. In 2004, he was working on a joint program of tourism economy at the University of Phuket, Thailand, when his ex-wife and their eldest son joined him for Christmas holidays. For his excellent foreign aid service, the Thai university rewarded Caccomo and his family with a vacation at the Ko Phi Phi Island. The heavenly island is forty miles east from the Phuket peninsula in the Andaman Sea.

On the morning of December 26, a powerful earthquake hit the area.

Luckily, the Caccomose were not on the beach when the tsunami wave crashed the coast. There was no alarm, but local people warned them to leave at once their belonging, and invited them to run up the nearest hill. There according to a letter from the professor addressed to an executive of Tourmag (a leader in tourism industry), which was made public by the
latter, the Caccomos spent a frightening night in the woods. Survivors of the tsunami were afraid of snakebites in the jungle. They also feared an aftershock. Three times, the crowd panicked, and climbed trees when someone yelled “water, water!” They thought that a wave could reach the top of the hill.

Whereas army helicopters roamed the destroyed coast, the night watch was stressful for the economic professor and his family. He cursed his decision of accepting the invitation of the university. A divorce and a traumatic experience had moved the professor, but it was not enough to explain his depression, and even less to justify his suspension from the university on behalf of a “precautionary principle,” which had no connection with the murder of Sylvie Brazès.

Jean-Louis Caccomo was born on 23 June 1963. He had a doctorate in economic sciences. He gained an international reputation through his research and publications in international magazines like the Journal of Evolutionary Economics and Economics of Innovation and new Technology, and newspapers like The Providence Journal, Rhode Island, The Express, Toronto, or l’Echo, Brussels, to name a few. He was praised for his active foreign aid service at Stockholm (Sweden), Kiev, Simferopol, Yalta (Ukraine), Phuket (Thailand), Marrakesh, Casablanca, Safi (Morocco), Algiers, Oran, Annaba (Algeria), and Damascus (Syria). However, his recognition at home pales into insignificance beside his fame abroad.

In 2004, Caccomo was encouraged to compete for the highest diploma of the French university: l’aggrégation.

Like every exam in France, it includes an anonymous written test. After this first selection, the best candidates compete for the oral part supervised by the jury of the exam. When the names of the selected for the oral part were made public, a libel campaign was orchestrated by François Legendre, a professor of economics at the University of Paris XII, and Yannick l’Horty, a professor of economics at the University of Evry.

They invited their colleagues to sign a petition against the “sectarian” composition of the jury whose ideology was unacceptable.

They denounced that seven of them belonged to the Mont Pélerin Society, an international organization whose founders were Friedrich Hayek, Karl Popper, Ludwig von Mises, George Stigler and Milton Friedman. The jury was not only “sectarian” but also “dangerous” because he was in favor of limiting government’s influence in the economic sphere. Worse, the president of the jury Pascal Salin had been the president of the Mont Pélerin Society between 1994 and 1996. In the French university world, the overwhelming majority of economists are at best Keynesians or at worse Marxists. The petition was quickly endorsed by the national council of universities. The name of Caccomo and five other candidates were also vilified. Caccomo, a former student at the University of Aix-en-Provence, a right-wing stronghold, was a cheerleader of Frédéric Bastiat and other “ultraliberal” economists. The prefix ultra is often used to discredit an enemy in France.

If the influence of the French economist Bastiat (1801-1850), the champion of liberty, is still intact in the United States, it has almost disappeared in France.

No man is a prophet in his own land.

The national motto of France “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” was coined by Maximilien Robespierre in a speech given at the National Guard in 1790. However, the order of the trilogy does not reflect the reality. Liberty has been ousted by Equality. In the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom of the Heritage Foundation, France with a paltry score of 62 points is ranked 73 out of 178 countries, behind South Africa and before Kuwait. France lags far behind other developed nations.

The smear campaign against the jury and six candidates, whose credentials were anathema to the overwhelming left-wing majority of the French university, became a political affair when the petition was published in three newspapers: Libération, Le Monde, and Charlie Hebdo. It also became an international embarrassment when the slander said that the president of the jury Pascal Salin had “collaborated” with the conservative Think-Tank Le Québecois Libre. In France where the notorious collaboration of the government of Vichy with the Germans between 1940 and 1944 is the biggest shame of its long and chaotic history, the verb “collaborate” is an insult. Le Québecois Libre swiftly reacted to the attack while mentioning ironically the “lack of plurality of the jury” claimed by the national council of universities:

If nine out of ten members are not left-wing, the composition of a jury is sectarian in France.

In spite of the liberation of France by American and Commonwealth soldiers in 1944, and the aura of the conservative general Charles de Gaulle, the French communist party (PCF) was the biggest winner of the post-war. On behalf of the PCF, a national comity of writers drew up a black list of those compromised during the occupation, even forbade publishing their books. The damage of the purge is everlasting.

the ignominious attack on six candidates whose name had been divulged in the left-wing press was a shame to the French democracy

Even though the Soviet empire collapsed in 1989, the communists kept their stronghold and their attractiveness in the French universities. Le Québécois Libre said that the ignominious attack on six candidates whose name had been divulged in the left-wing press was a shame to the French democracy. “It’s unreal in Europe since Vichy or the Stalinism of Ceaucescu in Romania,” wrote Roland Granier.

In a debate at the Assemblée Nationale (the lower house of congress), the parliament member Hervé Novelli (UMP) stressed the lack of plurality in the universities and the intellectual terrorism against the dissidents. The conservative minister of universities, Xavier Darcos, did not intervene in the debate, whereas the national council of universities had overstepped his prerogative. It was a typical surrender of a minister against a powerful organization. A journalist from the Figaro asked:

Should the make-up of the aggregation jury represent the leanings of unions? Should the laureates be picked on their knowledge of Marx or ultraliberal theory?

The bashing campaign had taken its toll on the six vilified candidates.

Caccomo failed the oral exam. He returned discomfited to his sunny Roussillon but not for long. He learned that his job was transferred to the University of Mende, Lozère, which is the least populated area of France. In his book “Being right-wind: a French taboo” (Etre de droite : un tabou français*) published two years after the smear campaign, Eric Brunet quoted the professor Caccomo whose talent was unanimously recognized abroad but relegated to the smallest French university.

After his exile to Mende, Caccomo returned to the University of Perpignan where his research and talent made him eligible for the job of directing the Master Business Administration program. He was also the most serious contender for the coveted job of president. The then president Fabrice Llorente was a young graduate who hold a certificate of further education in sport sociology. Challenged by the contender who had more credentials than he did, he tried to dispel the doubt surrounding his appointment at La Semaine du Roussillon newspaper:

It is not right to conflate sport and studies. Being a graduate in sports is not spending all his time on track and field or swimming pool, but learning sport and associated sciences.

On February 14, 2013, Llorente summoned Caccomo to a psychiatrist at the Thuir hospital in order to assess if he was fit for his job. Caccomo never saw a psychiatrist there. He was admitted to intensive mental care on behalf of an urgent procedure.

The French health law protects citizens against unfair mental health lock-up. The request should be written by a member of the family, and another person on the interest of the sick. Llorente had neither a relationship with Caccomo nor an interest with him.

More, the law requires two medical certificates with a detailed report, and a validation date to not exceeding fifteen days from the written request. There was only one medical certificate. The lock-up was sullied by another irregularity when an exam was conducted on March 3, 2013. The confidentiality of the medical report was violated on the ground that Caccomo lock-up was a political abuse.

The patient is no more in an acute phase of maniacal state. One does not notice a delirious concern, lack of ideas, and escapism of ideas, mood change, and instinctual excess. His mood is steady, his behavior adapted without playful component or sleep trouble. His auto critic is good: the cause of his lock-up has vanished. The patient is able to exchange a talk of good quality.

Despite this reassuring medical report, the expert concluded that the lockup should be pursued because the patient “was writing a book and wanted to attend three congresses abroad.” The psychiatrist did not have the mind to check the pretense of the patient. A simple research on Google would have brought that Caccomo had written three books, and worked at several foreign universities. It is just an observation that a patient in a psychiatric ward is nobody.

In the French law, the mental health lock-up could be required by a mayor or a prefect if a person is a danger for other people or a serious threat to public order. Caccomo had no criminal record. The use of intensive medication deteriorated his physical and mental health. He was confined in a single room where he lost teeth and nails, and was incontinent. He was deprived of being visited by relatives. As he could not talk to anyone, he lost memory of time. Because his two sons were affected by his lock-up, they failed their exams.

On April 4, 2014, Caccomo was transferred to a clinic in Montpellier, France. The purpose of this transfer was to administer him electrode-shocks. However, he was treated honestly there by the medical team who quickly noticed that he was not mentally ill. The staff stopped the drastic remedy, which had caused his vegetative state. On June 20, 2014, Caccomo was not only free, but also reinstated at his job at the University of Perpignan.

On December, 4, 2014, the appeal court of Montpellier judged that Ye Quing was not responsible for the murder of Sylvie Brazès.

The judges had followed the expertise of five psychiatrists who said he suffered from schizophrenia and paranoia. The Brazès family had a five-day time limit to lodge an appeal to the Supreme Court.

The freedom of the professor Caccomo was short lived. On January 9, 2015, a new mental health lock-up was signed by Christine Pagnon Maudet, the head of the MBA program. She got her job from the president Fabrice Llorente. She ordered that the hospital of Thuir seized Caccomo. Fortunately, Caccomo called a lawyer, and his press secretary Solweig Ely. Four hours of frantic calls were necessary to stop the warrant arrest.

On January 28, 2015, Llorente ordered that Caccomo went through a mental-health exam. The request had terrifying consequences. If Caccomo were locked-up another month, he would be declared mentally ill for the rest of his life, lose his job, his civil-rights, and the alternate guard of his two children.
Solweig Ely staged an interview with Enquête & Débat. The video (2) was released on February 4, 2015. Caccomo showed up emaciated and worn out in a restaurant. He often blinked in front of the camera, a sequel of his drastic remedy at the psychiatric ward. However, he had kept his lucidity. During the interview, he mentioned that he was under threat of being locked-up at any time.

The rule of laws does not apply to Caccomo and other dissidents in France.

Nicolas Bernard-Buss, a 23 year old pacific demonstrator against the same-sex marriage law, was pursued and arrested by police officers in a restaurant on Champs-Elysées on June 19, 2013. He was immediately sent to a court where a judge condemned him to a four-month jail term at the Fleuris-Mérogis jail near Paris. The socialist government wanted to stop a growing march protest triggered by a law that a majority of French people rejected. Fortunately, the turmoil caused by his political arrest and conviction was rescinded in the court of appeal. The judges did not follow the requisition of the attorney general of sentencing the demonstrator to a five-month jail term. They reduced it to a 3000 € penalty whose half was suspended.

Caccomo does not have any support.

He is a lone free-market advocate in a country where this movement is at best ignored or at worst vilified. I am also a free market advocate. My blog (3) was closed after the general elections brought back socialists to power in France. Caccomo wrote a public letter to  the minister of the universities, Genevieve Fioraso, that his university had launched an illegitimate psychiatrist lock-up against him. His lawyer seized the European Court of Human Rights based in Strasbourg, France.

The day after the video was released on YouTube, Llorente filed a slander complaint against the video author and Caccomo. At the beginning of the interview, the journalist stated that Caccomo had been a victim of a political abuse of psychiatry. It was the sinister method used in the former Soviet Union in order to eliminate dissidents.

France is morphing into an Orwellian society amidst general indifference.

© Bernard Martoia for


(1) Etre de droite: un tabou français par Eric Brunet aux éditions Albin Michel



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