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Geopolitics

DSK Conspiracy Theory Du Jour: What About The Hotel Management?

With major doubts about the reliability of the alleged victim, France is buzzing again with conspiracy theories around the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case. The latest focuses on the Sofitel hotel, site of alleged act.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the Aid for Trade conference in 2009 (by the World Trade Organization)
Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the Aid for Trade conference in 2009 (by the World Trade Organization)

Worldcrunch NEWS BITES

Many theories have emerged about the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal. For those convinced of the innocence of the former International Monetary Fund chief, suspicions abound that it was all a set-up. The latest such "complot" is focused on the apparent lack of cooperation from the Accor hotel chain, which owns the Manhattan Sofitel, where a chambermaid says Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her.

The French-owned Accor Company has always refused any requests from Strauss-Kahn's lawyers Benjamin Brafman and Bill Taylor about the hotel staff's schedules and room-cleaning protocols.

This complete lack of cooperation has raised suspicion among some top members of the French Socialist party, for which Strauss-Kahn was a leading contender to run as the candidate to challenge Nicolas Sarkozy for President. Some have questioned whether the company could have ties with Sarkozy's party, the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).

Claude Guéant, the French Interior Minister and close Sarkozy ally, recently responded to long-unanswered questions about the affair. He claims that he was informed about Strauss-Kahn's arrest by his own Chief of Staff, who had himself had been informed by Ange Mancini, the current Coordinator of Intelligence for President Nicolas Sarkozy. And therein lies the suspicion: Mancini had apparently been informed of the arrest by his friend René-Georges Querry, the Accor group Head of Security, also a former chief of the French Anti-Gang Brigades (BRI).

Accor group executives insist they "had nothing to do" with Strauss-Kahn's arrest. However, information like this still feeds conspiracy theories suggesting Strauss-Kahn might have been set up and that members of the Accor group were in touch with members of the French government.

Read the full story in French by Marie-France Etchegoin

Photo credit - World Trade Organization

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Ideas

Joshimath, The Sinking Indian City Has Also Become A Hotbed Of Government Censorship

The Indian authorities' decision to hide factual reports on the land subsidence in Joshimath only furthers a sense of paranoia.

Photo of people standing next to a cracked road in Joshimath, India

Cracked road in Joshimath

@IndianCongressO via Twitter
Rohan Banerjee*

MUMBAI — Midway through the movie Don’t Look Up (2021), the outspoken PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) is bundled into a car, a bag over her head. The White House, we are told, wants her “off the grid”. She is taken to a warehouse – the sort of place where CIA and FBI agents seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in Hollywood movies – and charged with violating national security secrets.

The Hobson’s choice offered to her is to either face prosecution or suspend “all public media appearances and incendiary language relating to Comet Dibiasky”, an interstellar object on a collision course with earth. Exasperated, she acquiesces to the gag order.

Don’t Look Upis a satirical take on the collective apathy towards climate change; only, the slow burn of fossil fuel is replaced by the more imminent threat of a comet crashing into our planet. As a couple of scientists try to warn humanity about its potential extinction, they discover a media, an administration, and indeed, a society that is not just unwilling to face the truth but would even deny it.

This premise and the caricatured characters border on the farcical, with plot devices designed to produce absurd scenarios that would be inconceivable in the real world we inhabit. After all, would any government dealing with a natural disaster, issue an edict prohibiting researchers and scientists from talking about the event? Surely not. Right?

On January 11, the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), one of the centers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), issued a preliminary report on the land subsidence issue occurring in Joshimath, the mountainside city in the Himalayas.

The word ‘subsidence’ entered the public lexicon at the turn of the year as disturbing images of cracked roads and tilted buildings began to emanate from Joshimath.

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