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Oh what a lovely scandal!

ON THE SURFACE of things, the Dominique Strauss Kahn story is one both to excite and soothe the world's constantly assaulted sense of justice, a modern spin on the fairy tale in which the unrepentantly wicked finally suffer what's coming to them. The world's financial emperor (well, one of them) is exposed in his bestial under-life by the least among us, a humble chambermaid, and, in a stunning end to the story's first act, exits in chains, waved off the stage by a triumphant crowd of police, media and gratified citizens.


It has become routine, since the ravages of 9/11, to label alternatives to the official version of nasty events as conspiracy theories, a highly successful means of limiting the numbers and volume of skeptics with nuanced ideas. Nobody wants to be called a conspiracy theorist, which has become, not accidentally, contemporary code for idiot.

The DSK story in its mass-market version offers so many comforts! To innocent observers around the world, proof that justice is blind and democracy, though bleeding, is still breathing; to women and to immigrants, reassurance that sexual assault is sexual assault, no matter how great the power imbalance. To Americans, a not-too-subtle pride that a sexual profligate would not be tolerated at home as he had been in a clearly morally inferior France.

The will to believe the Official DSK Story, complicated by a storm of confusing testimony outlining his shadowy sexual past, was enough to deprive the man of any hope of a fair trial anywhere; the Brownshirt blogosphere has seen to that. Even if he is cast as victim, he is one who remains both unattractive and unworthy.

But the darker comforts of the DSK story remain as well, sounding a call to apply the basic question of the law and of journalism: Cui Bono? Who benefits from this narrative? Might it be contrived? If so, to whom belong the motive, means and opportunity?

Le Monde has reported that allies of French president Nicolas Sarkozy tried unsuccessfully to leak an earlier DSK sex scandal to French media, a transparent effort to discredit the man considered to be his replacement in upcoming national elections. French authorities are unlikely to argue that the IMF leader was set up or entrapped.

But there are greater beneficiaries to the DSK downfall than Sarkozy, chief among them, the financial elite class in the USA, who had plenty of reasons to want to be rid of him. Not only was he a Socialist, i.e. witch doctor, supporting among other things the establishment of an African Central Bank, but he was in the process of breaking up the global banking system, lending support against US advice, to the end of pricing oil, gold etc. in US dollars. Saddam Hussein once made the same mistake, and we know how his story ended.

No getting around it: for the US, getting rid of DSK would qualify as a two-birds-with-one-stone manoeuvre, eliminating a tiresome opponent at the IMF, and a new French president, a potential threat to the US power base in Europe.

Summed up, this realpolitik version of the DSK saga makes for a better made for TV movie than the Ogre foiled by the Maiden original, the latter probably being written and marketed right now. It would raise at least one urgent question: whatever happened to the presumption of innocence? Have we buried it along with all the other awkward values we used to know? Falling on the heels of the wanton execution of Osama Bin Laden, it's a question whose time has come.
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Title Annotation:On The Edge; the Dominique Strauss Kahn scandal
Author:Hughes, Lesley
Publication:Canadian Dimension
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2011
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