Showing posts with label Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Show all posts

Friday, June 8, 2012

Patron saint of French Socialists

Next Sunday, as we wander out of our village churches after the Mass (while shaking hands with Monsieur le curé and expressing admiration for the excellence of his sermon) and stroll to the polling booths for the first round of the parliamentary elections, we Socialists must not fail to remember that our party now has a patron saint.

The feast day of Saint Nafissatou is the 14th May. A legendary tale reveals that, on that day in the year 2011, in a humble inn in the village of Manhattan, the Holy Ghost alighted upon our heroine in the bodily form of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, clad in less than the bare necessities. Were it not for all the shit that followed, we French Socialists would have pleaded with Dominique to be our leader.

History will surely confirm that Strauss-Kahn would have accepted our pleas of allegiance. We would have gone into presidential battle behind Dominique's banner. And it's not unlikely that Christians among us would have evoked the celebrated words of the Singing Nun, the tragic Belgian Jeanine Deckers [1933-1985 suicide with her female lover]... without worrying too much about the fact that the French verb niquer means "to screw" (in the sense that an internationally-renowned master of economics might like to screw prostitutes).

Were it not for Saint Nafi (her familiar name among friends), we would have gone into the recent presidential elections as innocent lambs, not knowing that the malefic forces of Sarko had more than enough data on hand to screw our hero and ourselves. And the whole nasty affair would have blown up in the middle of the electoral activities.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Strauss-Kahn seems to have caught a big fish

When he started to talk surprisingly about a conspiracy theory, Dominique Strauss-Kahn went fishing, for reasons that were not apparent. Well, he seems to have caught immediately a big fish. On the occasion of a public meeting at Clermont-Ferrand, in front of a few thousand supporters, Nicolas Sarkozy declared:
I say to Monsieur Strauss-Kahn: Explain things to the justice and refrain from imposing your comments upon the French. I respect profoundly the presumption of innocence. But, when somebody is accused of what he's accused, he might, with a minimum of dignity, have the modesty to keep quiet, to avoid adding to the indignity. Throughout all those scandalous and shameful episodes—New York, Lille, the Carlton, the Pas-de-Calais—it was honorable on the part of the republican right and the center to not get involved. They didn't exploit these happenings. They plugged their noses and didn't comment upon these happenings, because commenting upon such affairs was as if you "accepted them a little". But, in the middle of the electoral campaign, a week after the first round, when Monsieur Strauss-Kahn starts to give lessons of morality, and indicate that I am the sole person responsible for everything that happened to him, I say that too much is too much!
Well said, Sarko. But you're talking through the top of your hat, and nothing you say proves that there wasn't a conspiracy. Besides, the Sarkozian conception of the principle of presumption of innocence seems to be that everything's fine as long as Sarko himself has not decided personally that the accused individual might be guilty. A twisted interpretation, to say the least.

Personally, I've always believed firmly that there was indeed some kind of DSK conspiracy, whose outlines are impossible to trace yet. The whole idea of a successful conspiracy, after all, is that it should remain as fuzzy as possible for as long as possible. N'est-ce pas ?

Voices from the Socialist past

Throughout the coming week, we can expect some spectacular fireworks (akin to the final five minutes in a yet-undecided rugby match) as Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande move towards the final moment of truth, next Sunday.

Their forthcoming TV debate will be followed by everybody in France. I don't imagine that there'll be a "winner" and a "loser", unless one of the candidates has a fit of madness... which is a perfectly serious possibility that must not be excluded a priori. And, even if one guy succeeded in knocking out his opponent, I'm not sure that this would change French voting opinion enormously. I believe that most people have already made up their minds, and it's Bye-bye Nicolas (along with your glitzy watches, your charming kids and your top-model wife).

The only thing I regret profoundly in the inevitable impending victory of the left is that Sarko was an adept of cycling, whereas Hollande is a dull soccer guy. OK, I'm a cycling snob, but I find it hard to imagine the president François Hollande watching with enthusiasm (necessary madness) a mythical ascension of the Ventoux. Unless Hollande can do something about this weakness (maybe there are training courses in this domain), his incapacity to go crazy about pairs of wheels on mountain slopes could well turn out to be a significant political handicap.

Meanwhile, we've just heard Dominique Strauss-Kahn informing us that his affair in Manhattan was some kind of Sarkozian setup.

Frankly, for the moment, I can't figure out why DSK chose the present crucial moment (between the two rounds of the presidential elections) to make this disturbing revelation. Is there method in his madness? For the moment, it's impossible to say... But who gives a fuck (apart from DSK, who's apparently good at giving that kind of thing)?

As for the opinions of the former presidential candidate Lionel Jospin, they're easier to understand.

Jospin claims that Sarko was using "the weapon of lies" in suggesting that 700 Muslim mosques in France had proclaimed that their flock should vote for François Hollande. Personally, I've never found it difficult to believe, nor even alarming, that Sarko and his friends might be tempted, from time to time, to play around with the truth.

I'm not saying that being a socialist in France today is a permanent cure against telling political lies... but it seems to help at times.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


The erotic operation that English-speaking people designate curiously as blowing is generally looked upon, in France, as sucking.

It's also referred to as pumping.

And that brings me to one of the most celebrated anecdotes in France... which I heard for the first time from a professor during a class at the Institute of Political Science in Paris, many years ago. Most French people are aware of the exceptional circumstances in which the life of the 58-year-old president Félix Faure was brought to a joyous end. He had a 30-year-old friend, Marguerite Steinheil, known as Meg, the wife of an artist. On 16 February 1899, the president phoned Meg and suggested that she might drop in at the Elysée Palace towards the end of the afternoon. Well, they were engaged in a hot pumping session on a sofa in the Blue Room of the presidential residence when Meg was alarmed to discover that her lover had suddenly gone limp. Not just his organ, but all over. Clearly, Félix Faure had suffered some kind of major attack, and Meg was convinced that her man was dying. So, she called for help, while scrambling to get her clothes back on and preparing to abandon the palace before all hell broke loose. The president's staff arrived on the scene immediately, as depicted in this stylized magazine illustration:

The anecdote that has gone down in history is a bit hard to translate into English. It concerns the arrival of a priest who asked timidly, before being ushered into the room where the president lay dying: "Has the president retained his consciousness?" A secretary, imagining that the priest was referring to the young lady who had spent the last hour pumping sublime consciousness into the president, replied: "No, Father, she took off immediately down a side staircase as soon as she realized what had happened."

In French, the words for "pump" and "pomp" (as in "pomp and circumstance") are identical. And the everyday expression for an undertaker's activity is "pompe funèbre", literally funeral pomp. So, it was inevitable that people, aware of Meg's active role in the passing of the president, would get around to giving the young Angel of Death a charming nickname: the "Funeral Pump".

Today, if I was reminded of this historical event, it was no doubt because of the news that Dominique Strauss-Kahn would be spending the night at Lille in a police station, where he is being questioned about libertine evenings in a local luxury hotel, the Carlton.

For the moment, he hasn't been charged with any offense whatsoever, but anything could emerge from the intense ongoing investigations. A perspicacious journalist made an interesting observation. Let's suppose that DSK had never become involved with Nafissatou Diallo in a Manhattan hotel, simply because he had decided to leave for France instead of staying in New York. In that case, there would never have been a DSK Affair, and it is highly likely that Strauss-Kahn would have become, as planned, the presidential candidate of the French Socialist Party. Carrying our "what if" scenario one step further, we might conclude that the Lille affair would have still blown up. So, France would have been totally shocked this morning to learn that the popular candidate DSK was being held officially for questioning in a police station in Lille. In these circumstances, it is likely that DSK would have been obliged to abandon his presidential candidacy this evening. So, from a retrospective viewpoint, it was thanks to Nafissatou Diallo in Manhattan that the French Left avoided a catastrophic waste of time, energy and enthusiasm. We lost our illusions in time, well before they caused us to lose ourselves.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Contempt of court

No sooner had Nafissatou Diallo left the office of Manhattan District attorney Cyrus Vance, who revealed that he intended to dismiss charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, than the alleged victim's attorney Kenneth Thompson made a public speech:

"Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has denied the right of a woman to get justice in a rape case. He has not only turned his back on this innocent victim. But he has also turned his back on the forensic, medical and other physical evidence in this case."

In the USA, this kind of behavior on the part of a lawyer is tolerated. Admittedly, the alleged victim is a black woman, defended by a black lawyer, in a nation that still suffers from racial tensions, in spite of the presence of a black president. Terrible background visions of the slave trade are present eternally in the conscience of modern Americans.

Here in France, I would imagine (although I'm unskilled in law) that the outspoken behavior of a Kenneth Thomson would be stigmatized as an understandable but blatant case of contempt of court... which is, of course, a crime. Thomson's job should normally consist of defending his client, not of criticizing the laws of the land and the ways in which they are administered. He comes through as a hot-under-the-collar guy of a provocative nature who's prepared to try anything at all. Contemptible!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Operation Hotel Maid

The term "Mermaid" is used as a nickname for Tripoli. So, the offensive launched by Libyan freedom fighters last Saturday evening, aimed at moving into Tripoli, was designated as Operation Mermaid. Well, this evening, we have the impression that the next couple of days will be highly significant—in totally different ways, of course—both for Muammar al-Gaddafi and for Nafissatou Diallo.

One of my earliest blog posts on the DSK affair was entitled In the DSK drama, I smell a rat [display]. I got my metaphors wrong. What I really meant to say was that something was fishy.

About to surface...

BREAKING NEWS: Here in France, it's not yet 7 pm on Sunday evening, August 21, 2011. Various French media websites are talking already (prematurely?) about what Dominique Strauss-Kahn is likely to be doing within the next 24 hours. Meanwhile, the website of Le Parisien has just announced that Gaddafi has probably abandoned Tripoli, and that his spokesman Moussa Ibrahami has requested a ceasefire.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


When I was a 14-year-old kid hanging around in the rough competitive-cycling environment of my native Grafton and Coffs Harbour, the very idea of a cultivated gentleman cyclist such as Cadel Evans would have been unthinkable. Inversely, I eavesdropped on many uncouth conversations about sex. Retrospectively, I believe—although I can't vouch for it—that I had already, at that time, acquired sufficient algebraic knowledge and sexual self-awareness to appreciate a remarkable law of the dynamics of male nature: The angle of the dangle is proportional to the heat of the meat. That's to say, a cold penis will hang limply and vertically (angle zero), whereas a warmed-up hunk of meat will rise magically to a right angle, or even greater. What I didn't understand clearly at that time was that the warming-up process was a largely-cerebral affair, which only needed to be triggered by the vision of a nymph, a young angel, an ethereal creature with a seductive look… accompanied generally by a luscious mouth, attractive breasts and an enticing backside. In those days, people used to talk a lot about love, even divinely-consecrated eternal love… but I had to wait a long while before I started to hear intelligent talk—from brilliant happily-married intellectuals such as Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker—about our inbuilt animal sex drives.

Concerning my former politico-economic hero Dominique Strauss-Kahn, I must admit that a cloud of disbelief engulfed me when I witnessed the female object that apparently heated his meat. I'm not talking of the complex human being named Nafissatou Diallo, herself, but merely of her image as a sexual challenge: an object capable of augmenting Strauss-Kahn's angle of the dangle.

Once upon a time, I revered the ethereal beauty and brilliance of Anne Sinclair, who appeared to me (that's to say, to my concupiscent regard) as the epitome of the French female. At that time, I didn't yet know that she was filthy rich, attached to the USA, and capable of falling totally in love with, and protecting, a powerful male. Today, I still admire Anne, of course, but she doesn't come through quite as angelically untainted as she used to. More precisely, I can't help wondering whether she might have been duped by the indubitable promises of DSK. Even more precisely, it would be good if Anne were to tell us simply (former admirers of the journalist and partisans of DSK) how she looks upon, globally, this whole "heat of the meat" subject.

Let me turn to another distortion: Rupert Murdoch.

[Click the image for an amusing Onion satire on Rupert's distortions of reality.]

I've always loved the Simpsons, who remain for me the perfect illustration of nasty life in God's Own Country. Apparently, there are evil-minded observers who would wish to see similarities between Rupert and the venerable Grandpa Simpson.

Personally, I'm profoundly attached to the past, particularly through my genealogical pursuits. On the other hand, I've always been terrified by the horrible eventuality of becoming, as my age advances, what my Aussie mates in Grafton would have labeled an SOB [silly old bugger]. For the moment, I'm sufficiently lucid, I believe, to know what I'm doing, especially in the domain of autobiographical writing, which forces me to be alert and perspicacious. But I'm terrified at times by the looming apparitions, around me, of certain former friends who seem to be transforming themselves inevitably—cerebrally, no doubt, but not knowingly, I'm afraid—into SOBs of the saddest ranting Rupert kind.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pain in the arse

To stigmatize an annoyance that's too fuzzy to be pinned down, colloquial English has retained a marvelous but illogical expression: a pain in the arse. In France today, our notorious pain in the arse of French politics is a pale frail bony female named Tristane Banon.

This excruciating disturbance encompasses her French lawyer, David Koubbi. This pair of tiny-brainers has dared to take on very big protagonists, in a flamboyant style, since the flashy young French lawyer has even associated his venom with that of the mad Manhattan lawyer Kenneth Thompson defending Nafissatou Diallo.

It's clear that all these silly actors will be swept away mercilessly, sooner or later, by the forces of objective history, intelligence and vicious politics. Fleeting clowns, they're attempting absurdly to get their acts accepted by Posterity (with a capital P like Pain in the arse) before the curtain falls on their mediocrity and lack of facts.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Franco-American movie script

The casting, up until now, has been superb. At the center, the villain is a prosperous and powerful French Jew, operating in the sphere of international finance. And his wife is an immensely wealthy French celebrity journalist. The victim is a poor Manhattan maid from Africa. And the accuser is a Wasp whose celebrated Daddy got him his job. The villain is defended by a Manhattan Jew whose son's a rabbi in Israel. And the victim is defended by a wild black guy who likes to do his crazy lawyer act brilliantly in the street. All that was missing was a naive romantic touch… which is henceforth supplied by the fragile Tristane, a Parisian writer (?) who's determined to tell the world how she almost got sodomized by the monkey-like villain some eight years ago.

There'll be a challenging transition in the movie script, when the story has to move from Miss Banon having her pastel panties ruffled in Paris to the tough stuff of Nafissatou getting grabbed by the cunt and spitting out sperm in Manhattan. Ideally, the scriptwriters will need to insert a few intermediate scenes and victims… who should be easy to find. In any case, the primary rule in porn scriptwriting is that you've got to invent plausible actions to draw out the story, and make it flow. Between the moment when the main character is tearing off panties in Paris and when he's splashing out sperm over New York hotel carpets.

On this 4th of July

Bernard-Henri Lévy (often referred to as BHL) is a brilliant French intellectual who has played a political role in several international contexts of a conflictual nature.

In The Daily Beast, BHL proposes
5 Lessons of the DSK Affair.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Femme fatale

This photo reappeared this morning on the website of Le Parisien, alongside an article by Jean-Marc Ducos revealing the "doubts" of the Guinean community in the Bronx concerning Nafissatou Diallo, the alleged victim of the DSK affair. It's a photo that was published for the first time, three weeks ago, on the cover of Paris Match. Curiously, for reasons of which I'm unaware, this portrait has now disappeared from the above-mentioned article in this morning's Le Parisien.

Over a month ago, in my blog post of May 26, 2011 entitled Golden nail in the coffin [display], I stopped just short of evoking a prostitution/extortion scenario in the case of Nafissatou (referred to, at that time, as Ophelia):
I persist in believing that DSK's lawyers are likely to find sufficient evidence to demolish entirely the credibility and claims of "Ophelia", the plaintiff. I've heard rumors, over the last day or so, that she may have been perfectly aware of the identity, reputation and wealth of DSK, and that she attempted naively to use her charms, followed by a rape scenario, to extort money from him.
Yesterday, I was pleased to discover that the New York Post has got around to talking exactly the same language as me.

What's more, that warm-blooded Manhattan daily was apparently so happy to receive a comment from France (a land they love) that they placed my naive questions at the top of a vast list of comments.

So, there we have it. Everybody, little by little (in spite of our respective prejudices), is getting around to calling a spade a spade (or a cat a cat, as they say in France). My questions have not yet received any answers, but they are fundamental. Is it thinkable that hotel management might have been aware of Nafissatou's operations? If so, is it thinkable that occult anti-DSK forces might have guided the prostitute towards the room of our hero, à toutes fins utiles (for whatever useful benefits that might ensue)? That's a summary of the present state of my DSK cogitations… and I'm not alone in thinking such thoughts.

FLEDGLING CONSPIRACY THEORY: We're likely to be hearing more about the Sofitel New York Hotel and its owner, the French group Accor, "the world's leading hotel operator".

BREAKING NEWS: A courageous Socialist lady, Michèle Sabban, has been evoking various things, in the primordial context of the DSK affair, that simply don't add up.

From the very first instants of the DSK affair, French observers were intrigued by the rapidity of pertinent on-the-spot communications between Manhattan and Paris. Today, retrospectively, these amazing coincidences have not yet been explained satisfactorily.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lady lies

I know little about typical values and attitudes within the US legal system, but I've always had the impression that they don't like liars. Besides, once a person is caught out lying about little things, they're considered capable of lying about big things.

Last night in New York, "questions surfaced about the believability" (as the Los Angeles Times put it) of the 32-year-old woman who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of rape. I'm amazed to observe that US media persist in refraining from ever stating the woman's name, Nafissatou Diallo, and that Aussie media seem to parrot mindlessly this habit. There is no law behind this refusal to indicate the plaintiff's name, and no obvious moral justification… in a society that was adamant about justifying the degrading post-arrest perp walk of an accused and handcuffed individual such as DSK.

The lady apparently told investigators that her application for asylum in the USA mentioned a previous rape allegation. When the investigators examined Diallo's asylum documents, however, there was no such mention. The lady had lied. And this could well be one "rape" too many. She also told investigators that her asylum application mentioned the fact that, back in her native Guinea, she had been the victim of customary genital excision… but the actual documents contained no such story. So, once again, the lady had lied. Add to this the fact that Nafissatou Diallo appears to be closely attached to an incarcerated drug dealer, to whom she appealed by phone, the day after the DSK affair, for financial advice.

This afternoon (French time), we'll see what happens during a rapidly-convened confrontation between DSK and the judge Michael Obus. Meanwhile, in France, supporters of DSK are thrilled by this unexpected evolution of the affair. People are even starting to dream about the remote possibility that DSK could emerge in time for next year's presidential election. If ever the case against DSK were to be attenuated or even dropped, we must hope that the personal career of the Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance would not suffer adversely, so unfairly, just as we should hope that visceral anti-Americanism would not go viral in France.

REMINDER: Over the last few hours, articles on this latest bombshell in the DSK affair all cite the New York Times report that broke the news: Strauss-Kahn Case Seen in Jeopardy [access] by Jim Dwyer, William Rashbaum and John Eligon. Funnily enough, the latter two journalists were among the seven professionals who contributed to an earlier article, From African Village to Center of Ordeal, enhanced by a romantic image of the kind of simple dwelling in which Nafissatou Diallo (unnamed, of course) was born.

[Click the photo to access the earlier NYTimes article.]

This earlier article painted an idyllic image of the Rousseau-like blank-slate fairy-tale existence of the innocent village girl who was finally brought face-to-face with evil, personified by an illustrious Frenchman, in Manhattan on May 14, 2011. How come the seven NYTimes professionals failed to find anything whatsoever of an alarming nature in the background of their pure unnamed creature named Nafissatou Diallo? Clearly, their capacities as investigative researchers fell far short of the talents of people employed by George W Bush who revealed, once upon a time, the likely existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

AFTER THE HEARING: In speaking to journalists in front of the tribunal building, the defense attorneys William Taylor and Ben Brafman were calm and brief. Brafman even slipped in a word of praise for the courage of Cyrus Vance, and concluded poetically by saying that, on July 4, Independence Day, there would be celebrations concerning the "personal independence" of DSK and his family. Wow, that's a distinguished reference applied on American soil to a newly-liberated Frenchman! I was half hoping that he would go one step further and declare that, shortly after July 14, Bastille Day, the former prisoner would be freed definitively from the yoke of injustice. When the Afro-American lawyer Kenneth Thompson stepped up to the microphones, I wouldn't have been unduly surprised if he had broken into a moving oration on the abolition of slavery.

Instead of that, he started to develop a forensic explanation of the violent ways in which DSK is alleged to have attacked the innocent maid, designated systematically as the victim. To add a dramatic effect to his description of DSK grabbing the maid's breasts, Thompson mimed that act on his own chest. He was a top-class showman. At one stage, the black lawyer made such a vivid presentation of the way in which the strong hands of the aggressor had groped the victim's vagina that listeners were surely ready for almost anything in the way of nasty details. Were we about to learn that the aggressor's fingerprints were clearly etched on the smooth dark skin of the lady's loins? Worse still, on the scale of horrors, was the lawyer going to tell us that this part of the lady's anatomy had been rendered fragile by the excision operation, and that an entire vulval section had been ripped away from her body by the rapist, whose physical force was akin to that of a champion wrestler?

No, Kenneth Thompson didn't actually say that. Instead, he thought it preferable, after his clinical descriptions of the alleged crime, to accuse some of the prosecutor's men of having dealt roughly with the victim. He even declared: "Our concern is that the Manhattan district attorney is too afraid to try this case. We believe he’s afraid he’s going to lose this high-profile case." To what audience was Kenneth Thompson addressing his dramatic performance out in front of the court building? To me, that's a mystery. He couldn't have been pouring out all those dirty details for Cyrus Vance, since we can suppose that the district attorney has already heard everything that can possibly be said about what might have happened. Maybe he was talking to TV viewers who might influence—directly or indirectly—a future jury decision. Or maybe he was simply talking to nobody in particular, merely because he felt he was expected to say nasty thinks about the accused. Maybe he has his back to the wall, and he needed to let off a bit of steam.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bring out your raped!

Last night, on France's national TV news, Kenneth Thompson, the US lawyer representing Nafissatou Diallo, launched an appeal for facts about sexual events involving Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

This pathetic call for help—from a Black American who seemed to be communicating with the planet Mars—reminded me of a notorious Monty Python sketch.

If Thompson cries out long enough, maybe he'll entice a few morbid bidders. But they'll have a tough job faced with a trio such as this:

The alleged victims are likely to end up whispering sadly, like the Monty Python fellow, that they're not really raped yet. It might be regrettable, if not downright wrong (whatever that might mean in the sexual domain), but the fact remains that, whenever a certain male and a certain female happen to be the only concerned individuals in the case, it's often hard to prove that rape has truly occurred. Rape is a terrible bolt of lightning that evokes a violent solitary criminal act. But most observers—even hoodwinked romantic puritanical Americans—find it easier and more plausible to believe that it takes two to tango.

As Confucious said: "Man with trousers down around ankles runs much more slowly than woman with skirt above thighs."

BREAKING NEWS: The lawyer of Tristane Banon—the young French woman who claimed that DSK assaulted her sexually a decade ago—has made it clear that his client will not be responding to Thompson's appeal. In modern French, there's a verb that might be translated as "to instrumentalize". Imagine a situation in which an individual X makes use of an individual Y as a kind of human object, or instrument, with the purpose of solving a problem that only concerns individual X. Often, the solution of this problem might not necessarily have any positive outcome whatsoever as far as individual Y is concerned. In this kind of situation, we might say that individual X is instrumentalizing individual Y. Well, it appears that Tristane Banon does not wish to be instrumentalized by Kenneth Thompson. Incidentally, the crime of blunt rape provides a textbook example of a notoriously ugly way in which a female can be totally instrumentalized by a male.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Golden nail in the coffin

Today, people in France have been looking at photos of the New York residence where Dominique Strauss-Kahn—widely imagined, up until recently, as our future president—is awaiting the unfolding of the judicial procedures that concern him. For the moment, you can still visit a website with lovely images of the flashy townhouse in question. I wouldn't be surprised if this website were soon removed, however, because this public presentation of a luxurious high-priced Manhattan residence can't be doing DSK a lot of good.

Here in France, these images and the associated real-estate figures will surely constitute a final golden nail in the coffin of DSK's political career. Even the good folk of Sarcelles (the town on the outskirts of Paris where DSK used to be the mayor), who adore him, are unlikely to look upon him in the same way as before, now that they discover his New York lifestyle. French people simply do not like to give their votes to a guy who behaves in such an ostentatious "nouveau riche" style... which is why there has been so much disenchantment concerning Nicolas Sarkozy. Be that as it may, I've put some of the spectacular townhouse photos here, for safekeeping:

I persist in believing that DSK's lawyers are likely to find sufficient evidence to demolish entirely the credibility and claims of "Ophelia", the plaintiff. I've heard rumors, over the last day or so, that she may have been perfectly aware of the identity, reputation and wealth of DSK, and that she attempted naively to use her charms, followed by a rape scenario, to extort money from him. A French media source has suggested explicitly that Strauss-Kahn may have realized rapidly that he was being set up, and that this caused him to react physically in a rather violent fashion. Sex has always been a somewhat "animalistic" activity, and it's not abnormal that a male with his pants down, sensing that he has been led up the garden path, might decide spontaneously to terminate his act in a style that could be described as punishment. [Readers who don't understand immediately the sense and implications of the sentence I've just written should not waste their time trying to figure out what I'm suggesting, because they've probably been fortunate in seeing only the nice romantic side of sex… and good for them!] According to this scenario of events, if "Ophelia" was in such a distraught state when she was found, it was primarily because her scheme backfired in her face (literally). As my rough mates in Grafton used to say: "She got hers."

In the hours that followed the Sofitel incident, as soon as it became known that an important personality was involved in a nasty sex affair, local detective agencies were no doubt already booking their men into the hotel, disguised as randy businessmen, to get the lowdown on what might be available there in the way of sex, along with juicy tidbits of relevant information of all kinds. We outsiders, with our heads full of US crime movies, imagine naively that, in an affair such as this, various smart law officers and lawyers start talking together and discussing what might have happened, and how they might obtain the facts. In reality, though, I would imagine that things happen more rapidly but in a far less telegenic manner. Within a few hours, various detective agencies had probably obtained—through all sorts of experienced professionals, including sleazy operators whenever necessary—a complete in-depth description of everything that had happened, and they were no doubt already marketing their facts and files to certain lawyers, such as those who were finally chosen by DSK.

My guess is that, right from the start, the lawyers Benjamin Brafman and William Taylor were already in possession of explicit evidence enabling them to demonstrate convincingly the thesis, say, of an extortion attempt that was inexpertly disguised in a bungled rape scenario. That's why they've been saying all along that DSK will be acquitted. It's such a clearcut black-and-white situation (no pun intended) that I'm not surprised by DSK's constant "not guilty" attitude. There will, of course, be commentators who'll say that Strauss-Kahn, once he realized that he was in a kind of blackmail situation, should have put his pants back on and calmly phoned the police. I don't agree. To develop this point, I would need to resort to vile language and nasty aspects of fornication. And, since there might be pure-minded youngsters reading my blog, I'll leave off there.

BREAKING NEWS: Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have just sent a letter to the district attorney of New York complaining of information leaks perpetrated, most probably, by Manhattan police officers. We must understand that one of the basic tools exploited by trial lawyers is the capacity to surprise the jury. When the lawyers evoke a trial that would be "equitable", they mean precisely a courtroom ambiance in which they would retain the possibility of impressing members of the jury—indeed, shocking them—with surprising revelations. Apparently the lawyers have a pile of surprises in their bag of tricks, and they obviously don't want to see any dumb cops letting the cat out of the bag.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


In my blog post of 16 May 2011 concerning the DSK affair [display], I said that I "smell a rat". I was incapable, though, of being more explicit. No matter how hard I tried to analyze the available facts, they simply didn't "add up" in any plausible fashion. On the one hand, I was unable to formulate any kind of logical demonstration capable of condemning convincingly Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the rapist of an innocent Manhattan chambermaid. But, on the other hand, if Strauss-Kahn were indeed guiltless, then I couldn't understand the logic that would have led to the maid's accusations. Since I could make no headway in grasping the situation and forming hypotheses in my imagination, I had nothing whatsoever to say. So, I've remained silent, but nevertheless highly intrigued, for I'm still convinced that there is indeed a rat in the vicinity, somehow, somewhere… but I've never succeeded in obtaining even a fleeting glimpse of the rodent's shadow, let alone learning how he was being fed, and how he might be caught. I've merely continued to smell the rat's presence, but that's all. No more, no less.

Meanwhile, like countless French spectators of the DSK affair, I've learned a lot about the US legal system. Retrospectively, I'm a little ashamed to have been so ignorant, for so long, in this domain. I imagined naively that I'd obtained a vague understanding of US justice through having watched countless movies, but I now realize that I knew next to nothing about this fascinating aspect of the American way of life. At the same time, I was dismayed to find that many observers were not respecting the presumption of innocence that must prevail concerning DSK, while they were quite happy to respect the presumption that the plaintiff was an innocent young woman who had been the victim of a hideous act of rape.

The other day, I was greatly surprised when I heard that Benjamin Brafman had dared to suggest explicitly to an Israeli newspaper that DSK would probably be acquitted. Surely, the experienced lawyer wouldn't talk that way unless he had good reasons for believing that DSK had been "set up" in one way or another. But how could this possibly be?

As of today, I'm starting to envisage the DSK affair in a clearer light, while assembling the hypothetical fragments of the possible logic of the real events that took place. In my mind, the global situation is now understandable, if not clear. I have the impression that I'm starting to "see" exactly what might have happened up in that hotel suite.

We're in an Agatha Christie situation where there could well be only one single scenario that makes it possible to integrate all the various constraints of which we're more-or-less aware. Obviously, some of these constraints might have been presented incompletely or even erroneously, and there may well be further constraints of which we still know nothing. But we seem to be moving rapidly towards a plausible synthesis of all the known facts.

For the moment, I don't intend to explain how I see things, because I might be totally mistaken, and I'm not keen on making a fool of myself by rash declarations of my beliefs. All I wish to say is that I'm convinced that we're in for a few big surprises, during the coming week or so, and that these surprises will concern primarily the character and behavior of the young woman who continues to be thought of as the presumed victim in this affair. To my mind, that presumption is legitimate, but it is also flimsy, indeed tenuous, because this woman has not yet come out into the glaring lights. When she does, I'm convinced that several surprising facts will start to unfold...

One final point. Sooner or later, to "evaluate" the behavior of a sexually-aroused Strauss-Kahn, commentators will have to abandon language and judgments based upon would-be moral principles. If ever this turned out to be a setup situation organized essentially by the maid (nothing to do with a conspiracy), then even the concept of consensual sex would lose its relevance. From that point on, we would be obliged to speak rather of sexual commerce. And the sole question, then, would be: Was this commerce conducted within acceptable legal bounds? Or were the transactions finally nudged—maybe subtly—into a criminal arena? In that last rhetorical question, it goes without saying that my use of the adjective "criminal"—which has nothing to do with any alleged kind of sexual immorality—is not meant to apply to DSK.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Justices (plural)

This fabulous photo shows the prestigious US lawyer Benjamin Brafman saying "Shut up" to his bowed client, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, one of the planet's most powerful men… and not only in the bedroom.

Much smelly shit is being spread around by the media [sample] concerning this exceptional affair. Meanwhile, here in France, we're confronted with an unexpected but spectacular case study enabling us (forcing us) to compare our culture with that of our friends on the other side of the Atlantic. Has there been a surge, over the last few days, in French applications for Green Cards? I wouldn't think so...

Monday, May 16, 2011

In the DSK drama, I smell a rat

We've been shocked, this morning, by videos of Dominique Strauss-Kahn in handcuffs. In France, it would be totally illegal to publish such images, since the individual in question is deemed to remain innocent until proven guilty. For the moment, as I write (at 3 o'clock on Monday afternoon, French time), we've still heard no more from the US authorities than the unilateral version of the alleged victim, but not a single element of DSK's reactions… apart from his plea of innocence. In general, we still know very little about the exact circumstances in which this alleged sexual aggression is supposed to have taken place, just as we know little about the alleged victim. I mention in passing that the people who know DSK well would surely like to see a simple photo of this woman, since an image of the alleged victim could indeed be revealing, in one way or another.

It's reassuring to know that a lot of forensic work is apparently going on behind the scenes, to obtain the objective data, the scientific facts. The time factor, above all, is an essential dimension of this affair, since there are several vital details that simply don't seem to add up. Meanwhile, I have a gut feeling that there might be something wrong about this whole affair. Without being able to say explicitly what it is that bothers me, I certainly smell a rat. Curiously, it's a smell that reminds me a little of the recent stench of the notorious weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Strauss-Kahn affair

Many people in France are in a state of shock after learning today at dawn (French time) that Dominique Strauss-Kahn—the brilliant French economist and politician at the head of the IMF [International Monetary Fund]—has been charged in connection with an alleged sexual assault of a hotel maid in New York.

For several months, in opinion polls concerning candidates in next year's presidential election in France, I've been observing with pleasure the promising scores of DSK (as he's called in France). Hordes of French people have imagined, like me, that DSK, in the wake of his highly successful IMF job, would be an ideal successor to Nicolas Sarkozy. So, if ever DSK were to be found guilty in yesterday's affair, that would throw an enormous spanner into the works of the French Republic. For the moment, in the context of French legal culture, DSK is to be considered innocent, up until such time as he might be proven guilty. While respecting this formal assumption of innocence (which is obligatory here in France), we're forced to admit that the damage to DSK's aspirations seems to have been done already, rapidly and irremediably. It's hard to imagine how he might bounce back into respectability after being charged in such an affair.

Worse, since this morning, French media have been acting as though they had received a green light enabling them to publish gossip on DSK's reputation as a womanizer. The most damning accusations come from a young journalist and novelist named Tristane Banon, who alleges that DSK attempted to rape her in 2002. There's a video on the Internet in which this young woman, in 2007, provided all the details of this incident to a group of Parisian celebrities gathered around the TV journalist Thierry Ardisson. In this video, we hear Tristane Banon describing DSK as behaving like "a sexually-excited chimpanzee". Apparently, the young woman refrained from reporting this incident to the police because her mother, Anne Mansouret, was (and still is) a prominent member of the same political party as DSK. Today, for the first time, Tristane Banon has revealed publicly the details of this alleged rape attempt, in which she names DSK explicitly. So, independently of the US affair, the French authorities are likely to take up tardily this affair of 2002.

Clearly, we need to start thinking about other possible left-wing candidates for next year's presidential election.

BREAKING NEWS: Here in France, the dignity of most commentators concerning the affair has been exemplary. The ugliest exception was Marine Le Pen, of the extreme right-wing Front National, who seems to assume that DSK is guilty. Even political opponents of DSK, such as Nicolas Sarkozy and his supporters, have avoided scrupulously the trap of talking as if DSK were guilty. That's to say, most commentators are respecting assiduously the presumption of DSK's innocence. Moreover, many observers who are familiar with the personality and behavior of DSK express their utter incredulity concerning the Manhattan affair. One doesn't need to be an enthusiast of conspiracy theories to imagine that there might be individuals, out in the wide world, who would like to bring DSK down, as it were. Such people could be motivated by matters at an IMF level, or maybe at a French political level. Even the alleged rape incident that I have mentioned above (concerning Tristane Banon) would need to be examined scrupulously from every angle. So, it's too early to express any kind of negative judgment concerning DSK. Meanwhile, we learn that he has entrusted his defense to two prominent US lawyers: William Taylor and Benjamin Brafman.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Man in charge of getting things back on track

Today, the G20 leaders, assembled in London, decided to enable the International Monetary Fund to distribute an astronomical amount of money (the actual figures don't really mean much to an ordinary fellow like me) in order to help out nations that are running into trouble as a consequence of the financial crisis. The director of this organization is a Frenchman, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

He was interviewed recently, on French TV, concerning his analysis of the crisis and his hopes for the G20 summit. It's safe to say, I would imagine, that Strauss-Kahn's basic hopes have been fulfilled, and that he will now be able to guide the IMF through countless operations aimed at halting the crisis by the end of 2009... which would mean that most economies would be able to get back to normal during the following year.

Like many French observers of this brilliant man (whom I've admired for ages), known familiarly as DSK, I hope he succeeds in the gigantic task that has been assigned to him today. And I hope too that this success might then become a significant factor enabling Strauss-Kahn to be elected, in 2012, as the next president of the French Republic.