Showing posts with label Dominique de Villepin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dominique de Villepin. Show all posts

Friday, October 30, 2009

Jacques Chirac to stand trial

For the first time ever in the history of the Fifth French Republic, a former president will be put on trial. It's alleged that, when he was the mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac used public funds to pay the salaries of 21 alleged municipal employees who were in fact his political agents.

Shortly after learning that Chirac would be brought to trial, former presidential candidate Ségolène Royal provided a surprising demonstration of the unusual state of current political feelings in France by saying publicly on radio that Chirac should be left in peace. One has the impression that the regal behavior of Nicolas Sarkozy—including above all his recent legal pursuit of Chirac's former prime minister Dominique de Villepin—is causing a lot of people to look back upon Chirac's presidency with fond nostalgia.

On 30 December 1941 in Ottawa, Winston Churchill evoked defeatist French generals who had expressed their belief that, within three weeks, England would have her neck wrung, by the Nazis, like a chicken. He pronounced simple words that drew applause from members of the Canadian parliament: "Some chicken, some neck."

In the context of the Clearstream affair, Sarkozy recently blurted out that the individual who tried to smear him through falsified computer listings would be "hung up on a butcher's hook".

Seeing the popularity of Dominique de Villepin, who's starting to look like a presidential candidate for 2012, I'm tempted to paraphrase Churchill: "Some carcass, some cut of meat."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

French presidents are funny fellows

Instead of "funny", I was about to write "horny". Thinking of male political candidates eager to win (girl)friends and influence people, Confucious might have said: Every election is an erection. But it would be a mistake to highlight the purely sexual aspects of what I have to say. In French presidential funniness, horniness is no doubt a significant element, but it's not the sole driving force.

You can never predict what a French president (or ex-president) might do next. Look at Nicholas Sarkozy, for example. Who would have imagined that, shortly after his election, when his legally-wedded first lady walked out on him, he would promptly get himself linked, for the better or for the worse, with a young Italian pop singer? Today, he's involved in a different kettle of fish: the Clearstream affair.

Using all his presidential might, the French president is currently pursuing, in the law courts, a former prime minister, Dominique de Villepin. In a nutshell, Sarkozy claims that somebody tried to frame him, with electoral ambitions in mind, in the context of a Swiss-based banking scandal. So, there'll be lots of legal fun and games in France (for TV audiences) over the next month.

Concerning Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, I can't figure out yet whether the funniness is basically primitive horniness, or whether there might have been (past tense) something far worse at stake, such as a fuzzy desire to be accepted as a vigorous potential pretender to the British throne. For me personally, if were called upon to choose between Prince Charles (accompanied by Camilla) and Giscard (accompanied by Anne-Aymone), I would hesitate for a long moment. All these people have the stuff of monarchy... but there's an obvious passport obstacle in the case of Giscard. Maybe he was trying to solve this problem by means of a union with Lady Diana. I haven't had time to examine all the details of the situation, but I would imagine that the following scenario could have been enacted at that epoch:

Phase 1: Giscard, having seduced Diana, obtains a divorce from Anne-Aymone. The president can therefore marry his English princess, and they have a splendid son, say Nicholas Dominique d'Estaing. Automatically, at the desire of Diana, Giscard and their baby are naturalized as British citizens.

Phase 2: The English-speaking people of the planet (even in faraway outposts of the ancient empire such as my native land) are so overcome by the sheer beauty of this new entente cordiale between England and France that they launch a plebiscite aimed at replacing Charles by this glorious dauphin named Nicholas Dominique d'Estaing.

Phase 3: In fuzzy circumstances coordinated by the efforts of the European community in Brussels, with a little help from George Bush (who never really understood the possible consequences of what he was doing), Elizabeth accepts the idea that the next king of England should be Nicholas I.

Ah, if only events had happened like that! The world at large would have had fabulous reality resources for TV, and idiots like me would have been able to talk at length about these celebrities on the Internet.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Voluble ex-stars

Former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin belongs to the category of public figures who can't easily be put down. His political ascension was exceptional in the sense that he was never at any moment an elected member of parliament. He was educated to become a diplomat, and his achievements in the diplomatic domain enabled him to become a cabinet director, presidential secretary for Chirac and finally a senior minister.

As indicated in my article of 5 July 2007 entitled Destruction of computer files [display], Dominique de Villepin has been seriously embroiled in an aspect of the Clearstream affair, and he is even placed under a court order that prevents him from communicating with Jacques Chirac. But nothing stops this proud aristocrat from speaking out publicly on various subjects... including, in particular, the presidential style of Nicolas Sarkozy. "The French cannot live in a permanent whirlwind," said Dominique de Villepin today on radio. "I think we must escape a little from the present frenetic situation, but this doesn't mean we shouldn't work harder, or that we shouldn't launch projects. Nicolas Sarkozy is ambitious. I believe that, little by little, he should tame his ambitions, and tame himself in order to attain serenity."

Funnily enough, another white-haired former prime minister, Lionel Jospin, has also been quite voluble over the last few days. In a book to be published this week, he attacks retrospectively and violently the lady who happened to be Sarkozy's opponent in the recent presidential election: Ségolène Royal. According to Jospin, who himself was defeated by the right-wing extremist Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2002: "For the first time ever in the case of a socialist candidate, Ségolène Royal founded her entire campaign, not upon great political themes, but upon herself, and the special relationship that she claimed to have established with the French people. Everything was designed methodically, using polls and qualitative studies, to sustain what we must call a myth."

And, while all these words are being thrown around, we hear today of the death of the celebrated mime Marcel Marceau, at the age of 84.

Known throughout the planet, his personage Bip—in many ways, a stylized stage version of Chaplin—has spoken his final silence.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Judicial examination for former French leader

French legal concepts are rather different to the so-called English common law that forms the basis of Australia's system. I've spoken of the Clearstream affair in two earlier posts, entitled Chirac has some explaining to do [display] and Destruction of computer files [display]. Up until today, in the context of an alleged scheme designed to frame Nicolas Sarkozy, the former prime minister Dominique de Villepin has merely been suspected of playing a role. This morning, the legal system went one step further by announcing that Villepin will be subjected to a so-called judicial examination, to be carried out under the control of a special magistrate referred to as a juge d'instruction [inquiry judge].

For Villepin, this new development means that he and his lawyers will have full access to his legal dossier, which was not the case up until now. Although Villepin is not yet actually charged with violating any law whatsoever, the announcement concerning his judicial examination mentions explicitly no less than four infractions that would figure in the charges that could well be brought against him, at the conclusion of the examination. I shall indicate the French name of each infraction, and try to describe it in English.

Complicité de dénonciation calomnieuse: The accused was an accomplice in a spontaneous operation that consisted of publicly denouncing the victim by citing facts known to be false. In other words, if Villepin were to be accused [which, I insist, is not yet the case], it would be due to his calumny suggesting that Sarkozy received illicit funds paid through Clearstream.

Recel de vol: Handling stolen goods. The Clearstream documents at the origin of this affair were indeed stolen.

Recel d'abus de confiance: The word recel means "concealment", and the expression abus de confiance might be translated as "breach of faith". The charge involves using something that belongs to another individual with the intention of harming the true owner. To be frank, I don't understand exactly what could be involved here. I believe it's the general notion of stealing banking data and falsifying it with intent to harm an individual to whom the original data is supposed to apply. Very complicated!

Complicité d'usage de faux: Association with accomplices making use of forged documents.

An interesting aspect of this announcement is the possibility that Dominique de Villepin will probably refuse to answer questions from the inquiry judge, and insist that his case be brought before a special jurisdiction known as the Court of Justice of the Republic, created in 1993, whose sole mission concerns charges aimed at a minister who was still in function at the time of the alleged infractions.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Destruction of computer files

Clearly, the only efficient tool for trashing computer files is a hammer. The destruction process should of course encompass, not only the computer's internal memory and hard disks, but all the CDs that might have been used for backup. Then, to make doubly sure that nothing whatsoever remains to be read, I would recommend pouring hydrochloric acid over all the smashed-up stuff. Finally, it wouldn't be a bad idea to conclude with petroleum fuel, but be careful not to get burned when you set fire to the debris. Last but not least, you might put all the charred remains in a hessian sack and drop it discreetly into a deep and swiftly-flowing river.

The French general Philippe Rondot did not take these elementary precautions, and that's why a police laboratory has just recovered the data in 39 supposedly-trashed files, still lurking in his computer, containing some thirty thousand pages of notes. Wow, that intelligence specialist was a prolific writer! Meanwhile, we naive outsiders imagined that spies kept most things in their heads, and only rarely resorted to the use of techniques such as invisible ink.

In any case, the outcome of this massive data recovery is that things don't look nice for the former prime minister Dominique de Villepin nor, for that matter, for Jacques Chirac... who has already made it clear that, in keeping with French law, he refuses to be interrogated concerning affairs that took place during his presidency. As I pointed out in my post of 26 May 2007 entitled Chirac has some explaining to do [display], the affair is complicated, but it all boils down to determining whether or not these gentlemen attempted to frame Nicolas Sarkozy with the help of fake documents suggesting that Sarkozy had stashed away money in a foreign bank. Stand by for future installments...