(correction: Philippe, one “l”, two “p”s)
Rondot says he’s not talking . . . to the judges,
Gen Philippe Rondot said he could not trust investigators who had already leaked too much to the press.
but he’s talking to the press. I guess he’d rather skip the middleman.
I don’t know what French law has as an equivalent to a Grand Jury supoena, but Rodot says,
If the judges wished to “take me by force”, he would refuse to answer questions
which in the US would land him in the clink.
Additonally, Le Monde (link in French) today states that according to article 40 of the penal procedure,
any public officer or civil servant who, in the performance of his duties, acquires the knowledge of a crime or an offence must inform the public prosecutor without delay, and must give to this magistrate all the pertinent information, official reports and records”.
Considering that Rondot’s own notes state that by July 2004 he knew that the Clearstream list was a fabrication, that woul d have him in trouble with the law two years ago, not for imprisonment but liable in civil charges.
A rather poorly translated article at this site has background information on Rodot, who has had a most interesting carreer:
After a forty-year-long intelligence career, Rondot’s name is associated with almost all French antiterrorist operations of that period.
The article states
However, having spoiled the relations with the DGSE chief over the French hostages in Iraq (where General Rondot went on Chirac’s personal order, to assess the situation), and being effected by the decease of his wife and his father, General Rondot discreetly submits his resignation on December 31, 2005.
For now I’d rather not speculate what Rodot’s role was in the release of former hostages Chesnot and Malbrunot, but readers of this blog probably remember the botched rescue attempt in October 2004. Last year there was much squabbling over the handling of the rescue of Florence Aubenas, with the timing of her kidnapping coinciding with Chirac’s calling for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon and supporting the democratic process in Iraq, where Rondot “went on Chirac’s personal order, to assess the situation”.
But back to Clearstream:
In yesterday’s interview with Le Journal du Dimanche (which is available for purchase as a pdf file, in French) Rondot said that there had been “no fixation with Sarkozy” and that Villepin had “acted in good faith”, which of course directly contradicts previous reports.
Meanwhile, Lahoud’s home was raided (his office had already been searched), along with his father-in-law’s home (father-in-law, François Heilbronner, is Chirac former lawyer), Jacques waits things out, the socialists are pushing for a vote of no confidence in the National Assembly (which is rather unlikely to pass), yet another pet project of de Villepin flops, and Sarkozy’s staying put:
With the government’s popularity plunging, there is a lot of temptation for Mr Sarkozy to resign and pose as a candidate of change and renewal at next year’s election.
But he told a party gathering in Paris that resigning would precipitate a worse crisis that would help only the extremists and the political left.
“I want justice, real justice, not political vengeance,” he said.
I am wondering whether Sarko is in fact not resigning because he expects the government to fall momentarily and for there to be an election rather earlier than anyone else expected. I think it is fair to say that neither the left nor the far right are prepared for an election this year so, if Sarko is prepared, and I think he probably is, then he may be deliberately aiming for an election when his oponents are off balance.
You ask Gilbert Flam, investigating magistrate transferred to the internal secret service (the DST), who was commissioned to look into whether part of the estimated billion-euro kickback was reposing in a secret bank account in Japan, under the president’s [Chirac] control. First of all he was merely transferred off the case. Then, his name was added to the infamous list. According to Le Canard Enchainé, it was because he really had discovered the cash . . .
Previous Clearstream posts listed in the sidebar.
Update: La marche de l’empereur