Le Monde confirmed in a poll conducted by CSA that for 57% of the French population, Strauss-Kahn is the victim of a plot. Reviewing the French Press reveals that most of the mass media in France published articles of main political figures, including political rivals, stating that they do not believe the charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn are genuine. In the meantime the career of the Chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and potential future French President, who was favourable to the people instead of global corporations, is over. Unless somehow the belief of his innocence could be turned to his advantage, even if found guilty by forged evidence. A crucial mistake perhaps, the French simply don’t think like Americans, anything is possible. Here is a review of the most substantial articles in the French Press.
Le Figaro: The plot flowers
On 16 May 2011, Le Figaro published an article titled “The thesis of the plot flowers on the web and with politicians”. The main idea of the article can be translated as: “The theory of a political manipulation was born from an announcement on Twitter of DSK’s arrest by a UMP militant. Denuded of any element of proof, it has nevertheless been evoked by responsible politicians.” They report how the site Le Post questioned certain troubling facts in an article titled “DSK arrested: a young UMP first on the info”: “The promptitude with which Jonathan Pinet relayed the information of the arrest of DSK, the fact that Arnaud Dassier, one of the investors of the site Atlantico, already author of revelations about the Porsche, would have been one of the first to have re-tweeted the information, the fact that the site 24heuresactu, reputed close to the right, was the first French site to publish the information.” Le Post mentions that Dassier was responsible for the Internet campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007. The Porsche incident stem from when Strauss-Kahn and his wife came out of the said car in Paris in front of their home, whilst DSK is said to be a socialist. At the time the right took the opportunity to tarnish his image in the media.
From Le Figaro: “”And if this was here the right way of getting rid of a Chief of the IMF too independent in order to place instead someone better adapted to the American economic and financial situation?”, write for example Bertrand Neveu on lefigaro.fr. Interrogations linked to the inconsistencies concerning DSK’s schedule, assembled in an article in Les Echos.” The article in Les Echos called “Several inconsistencies subsist in the schedule of DSK” mostly discusses how the NYPD changed the facts and time of the event after it was proven that Strauss-Kahn was having lunch with his daughter at the time of the alleged offence. However, this point is of no importance now since the issue is if sex was consensual. They however wonder why the accused would call back the hotel to ensure his forgotten mobile phone could be returned, which does not fit someone who was trying to flee the scene of the crime, especially that this is how apparently NYPD found out where they could arrest DSK, at JFK airport.
“I think a trap has been set for DSK”
Le Figaro goes on to state what politicians have said: “At the centre of politics, the thesis of an operation against IMF’s Chief hatches. There again, without proof. It was defended at the earliest hours of the affair by a figure from the right, Christine Boutin, President of the Christian-Democrat Party. “I think that likely a trap has been set for Dominique Strauss-Kahn and that he fell into it”, explained the ex-Minister.” “Same saying from the radical Dominique Paillé, ex-UMP’s spokesperson, who evokes “a banana skin” slid under the shoes of the IMF’s Chief, of whom everybody should know, according to him, his “vulnerability” when it comes to women. “The trap, we cannot not think of it”, judges also the Minister of Co-operation, Henri de Raincourt. Jacques Attali evokes from his perspective the hypothesis of a manipulation” occurring in a Sofitel hotel which belongs, noted the ex-adviser of François Mitterrand, to a French chain (Accor, editor’s note). Close to DSK, Michèle Sabban, Vice-President of the Ile-de-France Regional Council, went much further when evoking “an international plot”. “It is the IMF that they wanted to decapitate and not so much the candidate at the socialist primary”, assures Michèle Sabban. She does not specify that he was not officially yet candidate at the primary. According to her, DSK is “the most powerful man after Obama”. The elected socialist offers for proof that “everyone knows that his fragility, it is the seduction, the women. They took him up that way.”
“Two other close persons of the potential candidate at the socialist primary, Jean-Marie Le Guen and Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, did not state such accusations, stating however that the affair “does not resemble” the DSK they know. The first one went further Monday morning, estimating that “the affair is not credible”. The ex-Minister and business man Bernard Tapie, interrogated to learn if it could be an orchestrated plot, answered: “Evidently”.
“At Sarcelles, the ex-electoral stronghold of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, certain inhabitants also stated their doubts on Sunday. “For me, he was trapped. It is nonetheless a great man, I cannot see him do something like that”, explains an inhabitant. “Just before presenting himself to the socialist primaries, it is all the same suspect”, add a young woman. “It is a political coup!”, throws a merchant from the city market.”
DSK only days before his arrest: “A woman raped in a parking to whom we would promise 500,000 or a million euros to invent such a story”
However, the strongest argument for any conspiracy theorist will be the fact that Dominique Strauss-Kahn predicted his own downfall to journalists from Libération, prophesising the exact same plot that he was ultimately the victim of, suggesting that he was expecting entrapment. The article published on 16 May 2011 is entitled “Yes, I love women, so what?”:
“DSK, at the moment of sitting at the table, interrogated: “Do you have your mobile phones on you?” He himself has two. He explains having left his personal phone in the cloakroom and only keep on him “the crypted” provided by the IMF. He affirms fearing the mischiefs of “Guéant”, the Interior Minister, and claims to be on his guard after having had high presumptions of being monitored. Simple precaution, from fears that the journalists that we are record the future conversation, or real dread of being listened to by the power? Nevertheless we kept our mobiles on us.
“Without formally saying that he is a candidate to the PS primary, the IMF Chief drops that his plan is ready. According to him, Martine Aubry renounced being a candidate and, in virtue of the famous pact that links them in order to avoid confrontation, there he is positioned. Very determined, he evokes the long – too long to his taste – campaign to come and the main difficulties for him to overcome. He sees three of them, in this order: “the money, the women and my Judaism”. But, at the developing moment, he starts with the women. “Yes, I love women… And so what? […] For years they talk of photos of gigantic orgies, but I have never seen anything come out… then let them show them!” DSK evokes then a scene where he finds himself in a public urinal with Nicolas Sarkozy, during an international summit, and he asks him to stop to dirty his private life. All in his will to pose himself as the victim, Strauss-Kahn starts imagining “a woman [that he would have] raped in a parking and to whom we would promise 500 000 or a million euros to invent such a story…”
Concerning the second affair which re-surfaced, seeming to clinch the culpability of Strauss-Kahn, Le Figaro in an article titled “Le Guen/DSK: “affair not credible”” reports what the deputy of the Socialist Party of Paris stated: “Interrogated over the complaint that the journalist and author Tristane Banon is considering, presumed victim of a sexual aggression attempt by the IMF’s Chief in 2003, Jean-Marie Le Guen estimates that “this is part of campaigns that are being led, or about to be led against DSK”.”
It seems the French just don’t buy it. The very same smear tactics used in America against political opponents might not work in France, where citizens, the press and politicians are not afraid to be intellectual, to think and to express their opinion. It will be interesting to see if these accusations, and perhaps even convictions, might not just propel Dominique Strauss-Kahn back to the very top one day, where many Wall Street bankers secretly hope to never see him again.
“Without irony, this life would hardly be worth living.” RM
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