Dominique Strauss-Kahn: conspiracy theories redux?
3 July, 2015
The French polls say DSK is back, will this bring back the conspiracy theories?
There was a “problem with one of his BlackBerry cell phones.” The ruling UMP party of French president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012 rejected as “absolutely ridiculous” the idea it was involved in a plot against Mr Strauss-Kahn.
An Elabe poll for television channel BFM on June 25 showed 38 percent of French want DSK to return to politics.
“At least three quarters of politicians are well below his rating, even after four years of scandals,” Elabe chairman Bernard Sananes said on BFM. “There is an element of nostalgia among some voters, especially with a current government that hasn’t convinced on the economic front.”
Finance Minister Michel Sapin, who is close to Hollande, dismissed the importance of these polls.
“One puts people in those polls who are no longer in politics,” Sapin said on i-Tele. “You could put footballers. For there to be a comeback, the person has to want to and here, that isn’t the case.”
[April 27 2012 DSK: Grassy Knoll Guy on French role in NY sexual charges\
Strauss-Kahn is convinced that his downfall was choreographed by his political enemies. They may not have gone so far as to set up the encounter with Diallo, he now accepts, but he believes they did play a role, through intercepted phone calls, in making sure that the hotel maid went to the police and thus turned a private tryst into a public scandal.
The media in France has recently reported, based on interviews with French intelligence officers, that he had become a target of the country’s intelligence service in 2011. I ask him whether he believes the targeting of him by French intelligence, the interception of his calls, and the surveillance in New York are related. “It would appear that more was involved here than mere coincidence,” he replies, with characteristic understatement.”Perhaps I was politically naive but I simply did not believed that they would go that far … I didn’t think they could find anything that could stop me.”
Strauss-Kahn says there is considerable evidence that he had been under surveillance in the days immediately before his stay at the Sofitel and that the unfolding drama there had been orchestrated in such a way as to derail his presidential ambitions. The events had been “shaped by those with a political agenda” into an international attempted rape scandal, he tells me.
When he was taken off an aeroplane destined for Paris at JFK airport and put in handcuffs on suspicion of having attempted to rape the Sofitel maid Nafissatou Diallo, he said he had no idea what was going on. But over the past 11 months he and a private detective service he’s hired, Guidepost Solutions, have been carrying out their own studies of the hotel’s closed circuit videos, electronic key swipe records, mobile phone records and other evidence that reveals a great deal of behind-the-scene activities at the French-owned Sofitel.
Even Strauss-Kahn’s arrival at the hotel was odd. He did not call ahead to notify it of the time when he would be arriving, nor tell his office at the IMF. Yet to his surprise he was met by a hotel doorman. My research has uncovered CCTV footage that shows a hotel employee, the chief engineer Brian Yearwood, rushing out of the hotel with a phone pressed to his ear shortly before the then IMF chief’s arrival. I ask Strauss-Kahn whether he has any idea who was on the other end of the call. He gestures no.
On the film, Yearwood seems to appear just before Strauss-Kahn goes inside the hotel, and as soon as the latter leaves, he seems to follow the same route. These near-encounters, which would continue the next day, may have been pure coincidence, or Yearwood may have been tasked by the hotel to make sure that the guest’s arrival, and departure, went smoothly. But how did he, or the person on the phone, know when Strauss-Kahn’s cab was arriving? (I requested an interview with Yearwood, but he, like all other Sofitel employees I approached, declined to speak to me.)
Then there was the question of the IMF chief’s BlackBerry and mobile phones. Strauss-Kahn tells me that he had long been suspicious that his communications were being intercepted by his political opponents in France. There had been many blatant signs, he says, such as the discovery made by someone sympathetic to him who had been working inside the headquarters of the UMP. He or she discovered a copy of one of Strauss-Kahn’s emails to his wife, Anne Sinclair, stuck inside a photocopying machine.
Strauss-Kahn says that he had been sufficiently worried that he was being tracked that in the spring of 2011 he instructed his security staff to set up a sophisticated encryption system for his seven phones so that his conversations could not be snooped on. “I took the threat seriously,” he tells me with a look of frustration.
But then, one by one, all his encrypted phones began to break. He was so frustrated that before he came to the US last May he had the encryption removed from all his devices.
Edward Jay Epstein is an investigative journalist and an author of 15 books. His new book, Three Days in May: Sex, Surveillance and DSK, is published next week by Melville House
nota bene: A prostitute ring, luxury hotels in Paris and Lille and business trips to New York in the company of “secretaries” to visit IMF boss Dominique Strauss Kahn. What intelligence service of an IMF member would not watch carefully.
[November 29, 2011′
Alan Jay Epstein in NYRB
Amy Davidson in the New Yorker
There is one moment, though, that is summed up in a strikingly vague paragraph, comparatively free of detail, until it hurries on to the next phone call, as if that were a refuge. It turns out to be a fairly important juncture:
What took place between DSK and the maid in those six to seven intervening minutes is a matter of dispute. DNA evidence found outside the bathroom door showed her saliva mixed with his semen. The New York prosecutor concluded that a “hurried sexual encounter” took place and DSK’s lawyers have admitted as much, while claiming that what happened was consensual. The maid has brought a civil suit claiming he used force. It is not clear when she left the room since key card records do not show times of exit. What is known is that DSK called his daughter on his IMF BlackBerry at 12:13 to tell her he would be late.
Isn’t this “matter of dispute” the crucial one? And yet it is treated as a sideshow. Epstein seems to have very good access to D.S.K.’s circle; he says he has seen documents that were given to his lawyers. He knows that, after the “encounter,” Strauss-Kahn put on “his light black topcoat.” But in terms of the event at the center of the scandal, what we get is that his “lawyers have admitted as much”—as much, in effect, as the D.N.A. showed—“while claiming that what happened was consensual.” Is that the best Epstein can do?
[November 28]This stuff is often soft porn we should avoid.
Epstein is a “grassy knoll” man — ie, he believes the murder of President John F Kennedy on 22 November 1963 in Dallas was a conspiracy yet to be unearthed. Guardian
It’s been denounced by the hotel, by Sarkozy’s ruling UMP – clearly the folk in the frame since at least DSK’s BlackBerry message had (allegedly) been read in UMP HQ – and others you’d expect to deny it.
Those who might have helped Epstein have kept their heads down
Epstein is no stranger to stoking conspiracy theories. He’s written extensively on JFK’s assassination and “mysteries” surrounding the 9/11 Commission. Read