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If ever, bored with reality, I decide to write political thrillers, this is how I would break down the Strauss-Kahn case.
The hotel is French owned... when I heard that my antennae went all aquiver... I was invaded by the spirits of Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, Len Deighton and John LeCarré... this has all the ingredients for one of their tales.
When we talk about the the New York Sofitel, we are talking about a little piece of France in the middle of Manhattan, a little piece of France, which comes under American legal jurisdiction, which is something that has both advantages and disadvatages, depending on how you play them.
New York in case you weren't aware of it, is a spook's paradise, it being simultaneously America's financial center and the home of the United Nations. Imagine the goodies available for the diligent gleaner. Think how convenient it would be for the French intelligence establishment to be able to listen to all the conversations, make video recordings of all the amorous liaisons in a luxury hotel... especially those of the most wealthy and influential French guests. It would seem probable to me that French intelligence has assets of theirs working in the hotel... microphones and video cameras installed or removed along with the dirty towels. To do this they would have to have the tacit permission of the hotel's French owners, if an appeal to their patriotism were not enough to convince them, it would not be difficult to make them an offer they couldn't refuse. So I think it would have been very easy for French intelligence to have organized the downfall of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Why in the world would they want to do that?
Do I think Sarkozy is behind all this?
No, I don't, I don't think they would do this for Sarkozy, I think that they are doing it precisely because of the weakness of Sarkozy.
Most Americans reading about this affair think it is about the IMF, but in fact, true or false, it is about France.
And American readers who have understood that much may think that the coming French election was going to be between Sarkozy and Strauss-Kahn, when in fact Sarkozy's popularity has sunken so low that it is quite possible he won't even make it to the second round of those elections.
So again, imagine if a scandal like this were to break during the campaign, or was staged by people close the French far-right, it would, in the case of DSK still winning, leave France in the hands of a totally disgraced and crippled politician or hand the election to Marine Le Pen... This might lead to the break-up of the European Union, the collapse of the euro... either result would be a Pandora's box... a disaster for France and for its establishment. The merest possibility would be too terrible to contemplate.
In my alternate scenario, the downfall of DSK could be seen as the controlled demolition of a building in ruins, before it collapsed on its own, killing innocent pedestrians passing by. Doing it in New York would be simply be using America's implacable legal system to do their dirty work for them.
Happy ending. It gives the Socialist party time to recover from the shock and choose a candidate. Like him or not the French establishment can live with Sarkozy if he survives and wins again and the Socialist contenders: Aubrey, Hollande and Royale are all solid, clean, members of the French establishment and any of them could trounce Marine Le Pen in the run-off.
Is any of this political thriller true? Probably not, but, se non è vero, è ben trovato, it would make an entertaining read on a long flight. DS
PS: In an interview in the Spanish Newspaper El País, the pioneer of America's "New Journalism", Gay Talese said that in his opinion the leading character of the Strauss-Kahn drama isn't the head of the IMF, but the chambermaid.
Who is the maid?
She is reported to be 32, and an immigrant from Africa, living with a teenage daughter. Investigates the Times: ““They’re good people,” said one neighbor, another African immigrant. “Every time I see her I’m happy because we’re both from Africa. She’s never given a problem for nobody. Never noisy. Everything nice.” Business Insider
Africa is a big, place, I would want to know if she is from francophone Africa, and if she is, does she have family in France, and if so would she or they be interested in obtaining French nationality?