December 15, 2011

Was DSK set up by Sarkozy?

The Dominique Strauss-Kahn brouhaha of earlier this year, in which the most likely opponent of Sarkozy in next year's French presidential elections was thrown in jail on a charge of rape that was later tossed out, remains unexplained. 

In the New York Review of Books, veteran investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein tries to connect the dots back to Sarkozy:
According to several sources who are close to DSK, he had received a text message that morning from Paris from a woman friend temporarily working as a researcher at the Paris offices of the UMP, Sarkozy’s center-right political party. She warned DSK, who was then pulling ahead of Sarkozy in the polls, that at least one private e-mail he had recently sent from his BlackBerry to his wife, Anne Sinclair, had been read at the UMP offices in Paris.1 It is unclear how the UMP offices might have received this e-mail, but if it had come from his IMF BlackBerry, he had reason to suspect he might be under electronic surveillance in New York. He had already been warned by a friend in the French diplomatic corps that an effort would be made to embarrass him with a scandal. The warning that his BlackBerry might have been hacked was therefore all the more alarming.

As I pointed out last Spring, surely the Sofitel management must have contacted management in Paris in the hour between the maid (or whatever she was) talking to management and the time the hotel called the NYPD. Epstein has the same suspicion, although he can't quite prove it:
Shortly thereafter the hotel’s own security team was augmented by John Sheehan, a security expert who is identified on LinkedIn as “director of safety and security” at Accor, a part of the French-based Accor Group, which owns the Sofitel. Sheehan, who was at home in Washingtonville, New York, that morning, received a call from the Sofitel at 1:03 PM. He then rushed to the hotel. While en route, according to his cell phone records, he called a number with a 646 prefix in the United States. But from these records neither the name nor the location of the person he called can be determined. When I called the number a man with a heavy French accent answered and asked whom I wanted to speak with at Accor. 
The man I asked to talk to—and to whom I was not put through—was RenĂ©-Georges Querry, Sheehan’s ultimate superior at Accor and a well-connected former chief of the French anti-gang brigades, who was now head of security for the Accor Group. Before joining Accor Group in 2003, he had worked closely in the police with Ange Mancini, who is now coordinator for intelligence for President Sarkozy. Querry, at the time that Sheehan was making his call to the 646 number, was arriving at a soccer match in Paris where he would be seated in the box of President Sarkozy. Querry denies receiving any information about the unfolding drama at the Sofitel until after DSK was taken into custody about four hours later. ... 

Interesting, but when you go high enough up the pyramid, everybody knows everybody else, so that's not convincing.
At 1:28, Sheehan, still on the way to the hotel, sent a text message to Yearwood [the hotel engineer]. And then another text message to an unidentified recipient at 1:30. At 1:31—one hour after Diallo had first told a supervisor that she had been assaulted by the client in the presidential suite—Adrian Branch placed a 911 call to the police. Less than two minutes later, the footage from the two surveillance cameras shows Yearwood and an unidentified man walking from the security office to an adjacent area. This is the same unidentified man who had accompanied Diallo to the security office at 12:52 PM. There, the two men high-five each other, clap their hands, and do what looks like an extraordinary dance of celebration that lasts for three minutes.*

Three minutes?

The NYRoB footnote reads:
Editors’ note: The article entitled “What Really Happened to Strauss-Kahn,” by Edward Jay Epstein, which appeared in our December 22, 2011, issue, contained a description of what “looked like” a “dance of celebration” by two employees of the Hotel Sofitel in New York City at approximately 1:35 PM on the day that Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested in connection with an alleged sexual assault. Security camera recordings have established that the episode, as described, lasted approximately thirteen seconds, not the three minutes mentioned in the article. 

Well, 13 seconds sounds more plausible. But I can imagine how Epstein must have felt watching the Sofitel security camera tapes when suddenly these two Sofitel guys start high-fiving right after the cops are called. It must have seemed like 180 seconds to him.

He then implies that maybe the whole thing was coordinated by somebody in the room down the hall from DSK, which the complainant visited right before and after her encounter with the energetic DSK. And DSK's missing Blackberry has never turned up. Its GPS tracking device was turned off during this sequence of events.

So, no smoking gun, but it's pretty interesting. I imagine Julian Assange and Elliott Spitzer are reading this with some interest, too.

34 comments:

Matt said...

This is why it is so important for us to elect monogamous politicians. Politicians who can't keep it in their pants are a liability for those they represent. They can be blackmailed or set up, and they will be. When this happens, they're done. Either their careers end, or the people with the dirt on them take over control of their careers.

I liked and agreed with a lot of what Mark Sanford said. Not knowing of his unfaithfulness, I thought of him as fine presidential stock. Then he embarrassed himself, and by extension, all of us. I watched his Facebook group dwindle in a day.

Married politicians who have affairs are frauds and I don't vote for any that I know fall into this category.

Dave R. said...

I still think the idea that politically connected, wealthy alpha males with a history of sleeping around never cross the line of not taking no for an answer, perhaps sincerely not believing it, fails the laugh test. This is not like accusing, say, a nerd like Mark Zuckerberg of forcing himself on someone.

But the article is suggestive, and I'm persuadable that this particular accusation was a set-up. That leaves open the question of why his enemies thought it would be a plausible line of attack.

Strauss-Kahn is a guy who, on boarding a plane out of the country immediately after a rape allegation and just before being taken back by police made time to tell a stewardess she had a "nice ass." Who Air France reportedly finally came up with a special policy he could only be served by male flight attendants after "few hundred complaints from clients, employees, crew members." Justice needs done on the particular charge made, but I'm not comfortable rallying behind such a man otherwise.

Anonymous said...

"alpha males"

You can pinpoint where the comments go downhill!

inb4 whiskey.

Sambhadi Humptamunki said...

Who cares if he's guilty of rape? Just being head of the IMF ought to disqualify him from the presidency.

Douglas Knight said...

How did he get Sheehan's phone records?

eh said...

If so, then he was apparently hoisted on his own petard. So to speak.

And if his private emails could be read, was it also known that he had -- allegedly -- participated in orgies? (And therefore was perhaps seen as susceptible to being 'set up' in this way?) Wouldn't revelation of that fact have been enough to sink him politically? Or maybe not in France?

Anonymous said...

Politicians who can't keep it in their pants are a liability for those they represent.

There is a theory that only such loose cannons are ever considered for advancement by TPTB, thus they carry their own self-destruct ready to be activated as and when neccesary.

Anonymous said...

Married politicians who have affairs are frauds

That may very well be so. But France has peculiar standards of acceptable marital behavior wrt politicians. As far as I can remember Mitterand's long time mistress and teen-age bastard was well known and attended his official funeral.

Coming to the less prurient plot elements of this thriller: DSK seems like eurocentric, continental person. And Sarkozy seems more like a Transatlantic, coalition of the willing person. I wonder, if this is a setup as it now appears to be, how far does the stateside involvement go?

Anonymous said...

His semen was found on her. So the theory is that she was paid to sexually come on to him and then cry rape? Personally, I think he's guilty.

Anonymous said...

Both guy are Jewish. Wow.

Rainforest Giant said...

Let's say they set him up. He's still the kind of dirtbag that would hire an African hooker in a NY hotel. Does he think he is immune to AIDS or hep-Z for that matter?

He has all the self control of Bill Clinton with none of the 'charm'.

Chicago said...

I feel sorry for any woman who found it necessary to be involved with this repulsive Mr. Magoo looking hobbit. I think he's claimed to be unaware of the fact that the women in the orgies he attended were paid to be there. As if they were there because he's so irresistible. Yuk.

Ed said...

To add to what Anonymous 1:31 said, I suspect alot of the reason why many of the "invade the world, invite the world" and "turn finance into a casino" type policies were enacted, along with the big bailouts after they started to go sour, was blackmail and bribery of politicians.

Nearly all of these policies were unpopular with voters at the time they were implemented, and a few were obviously bad policy, doing away with measures that at actually underpinned or at least did not negatively affect the prosperous decades after World War II. But they got support from across the political spectrum.

Ancient Greek style direct democracy failed once polities got too big for everyone just to walk down to the Agora that day and vote on whatever was being decided. The representative democracy invented in the Middle Ages was an improvement and lasted longer, but it will fail due to the corruption and intimidation of the representatives.

Anonymous for a Reason said...

Right after the DSK story broke, I was talking to someone who works in US intelligence and was recently stationed in Paris.

When I jokingly suggested that Sarkozy must have set up DSK, he scoffed a little tooooooooooo derisively and changed the subject a little tooooooo quickly.

Douglas Knight said...

The article seems badly organized to me, I suspect to avoid drawing conclusions and being sued for libel.

There are three suspicious thing here: the stolen phone; the celebration; Diallo lying about the other room.

The stolen phone seems pretty strong evidence that the hotel staff was spying on DSK, probably about the Carlton scandal. The same people leaped on the Diallo opportunity. The celebration could just be that they did a good job leaping on it, without it being a set-up.

Diallo lying about the other room is not news and doesn't seem like much to me. But if the staff were already working against DSK, as suggested by the phone, that makes it much more plausible that they conspired with Diallo ahead of time.

It is hard to extract technical details from NYRB articles. Removing the battery from the phone would explain all the details, except for the "forensic expert" claim that it's a big deal. The claim implies that the GPS was disabled while the rest of the phone continued to work, which would be very suspicious. But that would still allow crude location tracking by cell tower, so what's the point?

Kaz said...

What Matt said is right.

As an aside..
It's fricking obscene how hard it is for the common populace to elect someone that isn't complete scum. Why do the masses have such great affinity for these people?!

SGOTI said...

Actual rape is a misdemeanor compared to the travesty that is the "IMF".

Whiskey said...

Its possible, but it critically depended upon DSK being a sleaze bag. Don't have a penchant for Black prostitutes? Its pretty hard to gin up a case against you. Look at MSNBC. They had to apologize to Mitt Romney for comparing his slogan "America for Americans" to a somewhat similar slogan by the Klan in 1920.

Why?

Because Mitt Romney just radiates Mormon square wholesomeness. Its like accusing Donny and Marie of burning crosses in lawns -- it makes the ACCUSER look nuts. Hence "the face of MSNBC" Chris Matthews reading an apology on-air.

The best way not to be set up by your political opponents is not to indulge in the typical vices. That means keeping your pants zipped and not accepting money from people you don't know.

Whiskey said...

Ed -- the PC/Multicultural policies are WILDLY popular. Just with elites and those who aspire to their ranks.

What makes elites more powerful today than say, Medieval France, is that they are amplified by technology. Obama is personally connected to people by TV, Facebook, daily email blasts, fawning media types, in a way that a French Medieval king or baron would never be. Technology also amplifies the money/power/influence of elites far beyond what existed in the past.

Then there are entire sectors (education, welfare, health care) that depend on ever larger groups of "downtrodden immigrants" to keep spending and employment and "importance" up, peeling off huge parts of the electorate. Bloc voting and divided White ethno-nationalism means unpopular policies can get enacted with 45% support. Look at Obama -- people still love him even though he's failed. Because he's Black, and that counts for a lot (particularly among Upper Class White women who form the core of his support among Whites).

Luke Lea said...

Would make a good Hollywood movie.

Steve Sailer said...

"The article seems badly organized to me, I suspect to avoid drawing conclusions and being sued for libel."

Right.

from the castro said...

Does he think he is immune to AIDS?

You are a moron. How could you not know that female-male transmission of HIV is essentially nil?

Also Anonymous for a Reason said...

11 8:45 AM

" Anonymous for a Reason said...
Right after the DSK story broke, I was talking to someone who works in US intelligence and was recently stationed in Paris.

When I jokingly suggested that Sarkozy must have set up DSK, he scoffed a little tooooooooooo derisively and changed the subject a little tooooooo quickly."

Reminds me of the time I was having lunch alone with a lawyer who was an important player in the original Warren Comission Report when I asked him if he really thought Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

Sometimes it's what they don't say and how they don't say it that counts.

Anonymous said...

@ from the castro, 12/16/11 2:15 PM:

Many thanks for that respectful comment. You'll go far here.

Seriously, you sound like the usual boorish, strident gay 'activist' who annoys everyone, except for other boorish, strident 'activists'. So much hate and belligerence in you people.

Anonymous said...

Such short memories:

It was established by NYPD that the whore was turing tricks while under NYPD protection!

That's what blew the case up.

It was and is impossible to rape a whore.

In this case it well appears to be the case that she was a pre-paid whore -- on assignment.

Last I heard she was in the process of being kicked out of America for a string of lies on her immigration documents.

Svigor said...

Ancient Greek style direct democracy failed once polities got too big for everyone just to walk down to the Agora that day and vote on whatever was being decided. The representative democracy invented in the Middle Ages was an improvement and lasted longer, but it will fail due to the corruption and intimidation of the representatives.

In the age of instant global communication and advanced data manipulation, representative democracy is obsolete.

Svigor said...

What makes elites more powerful today than say, Medieval France, is that they are amplified by technology. Obama is personally connected to people by TV, Facebook, daily email blasts, fawning media types, in a way that a French Medieval king or baron would never be. Technology also amplifies the money/power/influence of elites far beyond what existed in the past.

But it's a curve, not a line. The trend ATM seems to be away from what you describe. E.g., TV used to take a ton of money. Now, you can upload videos to Youtube from your home PC. Speaking of PCs, the software available to the consumer can replace an entire pre-PC bureaucracy (Assange could never do what he does before the PC). Open-source hardware and software have people working on DIY drones in their garages. Iraqis make IEDs out of cell phones.

Technology starts out as expensive prototypes, but ends up as cheap commodities. The average man can walk into Wal-Mart or Best Buy and have more organizational capacity at his fingertips than any medieval monarch. Just look at what the Internet has done to the traditional centralized monopolies on information flow.

So yes, the elite are far more powerful than they've ever been, but so is the little guy; and the gap is narrowing.

Anonymous said...

"Both guy are Jewish. Wow."

DSK is Jewish, but Sarkozy is technically only one-quarter Jewish. Sarkozy's father was non-Jewish Hungarian and his mother was half-Jewish (Sephardic) and half French.

Anonymous said...

'surely Sofitel management must have called headquarters in the hour between'

Not surely. People in most fiascoes spend a LOT of time standing around with their thumbs up their butts.

rob said...

I read about a survey of business travelers in Newsweek (don't judge me!) where a big chunk admitted to paying for sex from maids, massagers, etc. I think more than half claimed that the hooker initiated sexual contact.

Assuming that's true, it would be pretty easy to set up someone as scuzzy as DSK with the assistance of a couple people at the hotel. When a call for 'services' comes from DSK's room, send the maid-whore who's willing to play ball. Then she blows him and calls the cops about her mouth-raping. Even if the hookers don't normally initiate, and they'd have to hope DSK tries to bang the maid, well that's pretty consistent with DSK's personality. Hell, just tell everyone on the entire hooker-staff to call the manager after they service guests, and when someone does DSk, offer a good payout for claiming rape. Chances are she'll be game, since it has to be easier for most women to tell a story than to have sex with trolls like DSK all the time.

Not that I'm shedding any tears for Strauss-Kahn. It'd be damn near impossible to entrap a decent person like that.

Anonymous said...

The most interesting thing in the article was that Diallo is 5'10".

How exactly did the 5'3" (if that) DSK raping and "unlawfully imprisoning", without a weapon, a strong 5'10" woman ever pass the laugh test?

Anonymous said...

"semen found on her"
"intelligence officer changed subject tooooo quickly"
(1) That she was paid may be a little
less plausible than it seems. He could have had any bombshell woman he wanted within 10 minutes or less. What might also have happened is his quick assumption she was planted--was there assuming he wans't there--so he puts "it" in front of her and she accommodates out of hope her presence can then be forgotten--
quid pro quo??
(2) A broad issue looms over all this and that is whether, as is not unreasonably suspected, the US and it's 51st state ally, are likely full throttle into pr=pervasive surveillance within the US that sidesteps or just ignores the sorts of restraints that were put in place four decades ago in the wake of COINTELPRO?? For one thing, as
many law enforcement people quietly admit, violation of restraints is a simple matter as long as no effort is made to utilize such surveillance for prosecution purposes. It's old hat that you cheat to find out what's going on and then "get kosher' to confirm it.

Anonymous said...

MOTIVE in law enforcement is considered the foundation for any investigation. By contrast, it is not merely plausible "mortar" as it were that is worked into the bricks of fact. The motives for what DKS allegedly did are not really basically clear. I find the least implausible motive is to detect whether she was their with her own "guilty awareness" as a plant. Her doing a "low favor' would clearly indicate an assumption on her part of a c**/ mum/ quid pro quo. In any facility like this serving the rich and famous--it is a major legal imprudence for a maid to walk into a newly vacated suite without herself being in the company at all times of another staff member. She was under the assumption that his suite had been
recently vacated. In this respect and others, the event is highly suggestive of some sort of COINTELPRO type contrivance that was being improvised toward the maximum damage to DKS.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Raphael Pinet, who is an outspoken critic and rival of DSK's, tweeted "A buddy in the United States told me that police arrested #DSK in a NYC hotel an hour ago."

And then the media changed the wording of his tweets in their reporting as ""a friend in the U.S. has me back as # DSK was reportedly arrested by police in NYC an hour ago."