Summary: Details emerge suggesting that the career of Strauss-Kahn (head of the IMF, candidate for the Presidency of France) was destroyed by a “honey pot” operation. It’s how conflicts are conducted in our century, as gaining the moral high ground becomes more useful than firepower and attrition.
One objective of modern war – that is, of the past few centuries – is to gain the moral high ground. Owning the moral high ground has provided a crucial advantage in many wars. It weakened the UK’s willingness to fight during the American Revolution, and was a key factor limiting their aid to the Confederacy during the Civil war. It gained America’s support for the Allies in WWI, and destroyed the American people’s support for the Vietnam War.
In our time 4GW has become the primary form of conflict. In conventional wars firepower and attrition shared center stage with the moral highground. Now those play a smaller role, leaving ownership of the moral high ground as the decisive advantage.
Traditional tools to gain moral high ground were diplomacy and information operations (eg, propaganda, selective release of intel — such as the Zimmerman Telegram). Now covert operations have become common — active methods to discredit your opponents. The US, always on the cutting edge of modern warfare, has developed this into a fine art, one especially useful for manipulating the increasingly gullible American people.
- the Julian Assange affair — accused of some vague form of sexual misconduct. The corrupt, incompetent (either or both?) US news media often refer to this incorrectly as “rape”.
- the Iranian attack on the Saudi & Israeli embassies (for details see The Iranian Assassination caper was a complete success!)
It’s a game other groups can play, and not just nation-States. The French are good at it, as seen in the Strauss-Kahn affair — a creative use of a Honey pot (a classic from fact and fiction). One simple op discredited Strauss-Kahn, head of the IMF and leading candidate for the Presidency of France. It appeared implausible from the first news, but recent history shows this to be irrelevant to the success of info ops.
- Short version: “The two hours that sank Strauss-Kahn“, Financial Times, November 2011
- Longer version: “What Really Happened to Strauss-Kahn?“, Edward Jay Epstein, New York Review of Books, 22 December 2011
For more information
About seduction as a tool (eg, honey pots):
- “The History of the Honey Trap“, Phillip Knightley, Foreign Policy, 12 March 2010 — “Five lessons for would-be James Bonds and Bond girls — and the men and women who would resist them.
- “Israeli rabbi: Honey-pot sex is kosher for female Mossad agents“, Haaretz, 5 October 2010 — “Rabbi Ari Schvat’s ruling appeared in a study, ‘Illicit sex for the sake of national security,’ published by the Tzomet Institute, which studies the interface between religion and modernity.”
Posts about the Julian Assange affair:
- Sad news about the CIA, 23 August 2010 – Delusional assumption about America savvy.
- The full story of the rape charges against Julian Assange of Wikileaks, a possible covert op., 27 August 2010
- Update to the Wikeleaks rape story, and why it’s important, 29 August 2010 – If a covert op, it’s working
- New and strange developments in the prosecution of Julian Assange (Wikileaks), 1 September 2010 – New but not more enlightening.
- Endgame for the affair Assange: a big win for the government, 27 September 2010
- The US government successfully smears Wikileaks, while America sleeps, 22 October 2010
7 thoughts on “Using covert operations to discredit your enemies”
I am unable to access the NYBOOKS.COM web site for the last 24 plus hours. I am getting a gatway timeout. A covert action?
FM reply: Lots of traffic. I get through after a few tries.
So if DSK was set up, why? I know zip about French politics- is DSK different in any significant way than his successor at the IMF or the socialist party or Sarkozy for that matter?
Obviously since he was entrusted with the IMF in the first place the banker boys are ok with him to begin with.
I don’t know about the dynamics behind this op (if it was one), having little knowledge of France’s power structure.
We do know a few general principles about political power:
While I find these tactics – if they were true – inexcusable and deplorable, one thing should not be forgotten here: the plausibility of someone being so framed rests on that person’s former credentials in such matters … It would have been difficult to stick this on e.g. Edward Heath …
The most interesting idea I had heard about this is that DSK was set up by someone within his own party. They knew he could be linked to a major scandal and that Sarkozy’s team knew all about it. So he was set up on a charge that would get people looking at this guys sex life, before he could get the socialist nomination.
“Who’s who in the Carlton Hotel prostitutes scandal“, France 24, 27 October 2011
The DSK affair seems like a classic example of framing a guilty man.
FM reply: I suggest skepticism when reading such articles. In any case, even by your theory he was not guilty of the crime for which he was framed.
The theory is all the more plausible since the behavior of DSK re: women was known in Parisian power-making circles. Wealthy, a PS eminence, former minister, head of IMF, married to an important figure of large French media groups, he was thus far basically untouchable; the NY affair made him vulnerable. As soon as the NY-Sofitel scandal broke out, at least two other similar affairs were brought to light: the prostitution ring (Carlton affair) whose services DSK used assiduously with some generous financial support from some large French corporations; and the Banon rape affair — which a French judge re-qualified as a “sexual aggression” before dismissing it because of prescription (DSK attorneys were livid that the judge stated the qualification was based on available evidence in his dismissal decision).
Interestingly, the French PS held primaries recently, and one of the two top contenders, who had an (uneasy) alliance with DSK, lost.
From the perspective of Sarkozy, a fall of DSK just before the elections — if he had won the PS primaries — would have been optimal. From the point of view of his PS colleagues, never above some dirty back-stabbing, making DSK fall as early as possible was the ideal scenario. All of them knew exactly how to make him fall, and honey-pot or not, DSK’s closet was crammed with skeletons waiting to see the light of day.
“Was Dominique Strauss-Kahn set up?“, Irin Carmon, Salon, 28 November 2011 — “For conspiracy theorists, it’s easier to believe in secret phone calls and a “victory dance” than sexual assault.”