Roman Polanski, starring in the WikiLeaks cables


As we’ve written repeatedly, Roman Polanski fulfilled every condition of the plea bargain approved by the judge in the case — including time in state prison — and only fled the country after the judge, acting on explicitly illegal grounds.

Besides garnering endless tabloid headlines, the Polish-born film director and his plight also popped up in those diplomatic cables currently being released by WikiLeaks.

We’ve found two references so far, including a quote from the late White House special diplomatic envoy Richard Holbrooke.

The first mention pops up in a cable from Ambassador to Switzerland Donald S. Beyer sent on 8 October 2009 to relay the substance of a conversation with Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey.

The cable, classified SECRET, is here.

The relevant paragraphs:

¶1. (S) I and the rest of the Embassy Bern team are looking forward to your visit with great anticipation in what promises to be a landmark event in Armenian-Turkish relations with lasting benefits for Euro-Atlantic security. Foreign Minister Calmy-Rey is riding high on a series of foreign policy successes, from the Swiss government’s agreement with DOJ in the UBS matter, to Switzerland’s hosting of the October 1 P5 1 talks with Iran in Geneva, to the upcoming October 10 signing ceremony in Zurich to chart a path for normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia.

¶2. (S) While Calmy-Rey has reasons to celebrate, her foreign policy activism is not universally appreciated across the domestic political spectrum in Switzerland. Swiss views are colored by Switzerland’s centuries-old tradition of neutrality. Issues that draw on the Swiss capacity for facilitation and mediation, such as Turkish-Armenian rapprochement, generally enjoy strong public support. On the other hand, foreign policy activism with a more partisan or “hard” security flavor, such as Calmy-Rey’s vociferous support for Kosovo independence, or her recent all out — but ultimately unsuccessful — effort to obtain a parliamentary mandate for Swiss military participation in the EU anti-piracy operation Atalanta, do not enjoy the same broad public support. The recent arrest at the Zurich airport of film director Roman Polanski was viewed by Calmy-Rey as putting a dent in Switzerland’s international image. Nevertheless, she has limited her criticism to remarking that the arrest lacked “finesse,” and surely is aware that Swiss public opinion favors Polanski’s extradition to the United States.

The second cable, sent 26 February of this year, describes a conversation between Holbrooke and Kazakhstan’s State Secretary-Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev five days earlier.

The cable, classified CONFIDENTIAL, is here.

The relevant paragraph refers to the 3 Spetember 2009 conviction of Kazakh human rights activist Yevgeniy Zhovtis:

¶12. (C) Saudabayev observed that the “unprecedented pressure” being placed on Kazakhstan as a result of the Zhovtis conviction is “not viewed positively in our society.” He acknowledged that the “only legitimate way out” for Zhovtis would be via presidential pardon, but said, “that is the prerogative of our president.” Attempting to draw a parallel, Saudabayev added that he admired the “persistence” of the U.S. judicial system in its persistent attempts to get film director Roman Polanski, “even though he was forgiven by the victim.” Holbrooke took strong exception, noting that Polanski fled justice, escaped the law, and has been living free despite his conviction by a U.S. court.

Holbrooke is wrong: Polanski fled injustice, not justice. And while Holbrooke said he “has been living free,” the director’s travels were tightly restricted, and before his arrest had been largely limited to France, Germany, and Switzerland, the scene of his arrest and months-long incarceration and house arrest.

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26 responses to “Roman Polanski, starring in the WikiLeaks cables

  1. Dear Mr. Brenneman,

    It is a pleasure to write to you and talk to you for the first time. You are a true journalist of the old school, one that does not exist anymore except on websites. Alas, the days of Woodward and Bernstein seem to be lost to us.

    Case in point: I find it rather shameful that even newspapers like the Washington Post and the New York Times and the LA Times didn’t consult with *you* when writing on the Polanski arrest in Switzerland. You are a veteran of the case; you were a court reporter when it was happening. It’s disgusting that they took the girl’s Grand Jury testimony as gospel truth, and expected the Swiss authorities to just hand over Polanski to California on this invalid, thrown-out testimony alone. These are premiere newspapers, not tabloid rags. Yet they acted like that. But what can you expect? They lied about Iraq having Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    I have one question to ask you, though. Did Polanski admit to sodomizing Samantha Geimer? I don’t recall it when I watched the “Wanted and Desired” movie. I’m not a prude, so don’t worry about my reaction at your answer :-D

    • In the legal proceedings, he admitted to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 18. My copies of the psychiatric and probation reports are currently in files buried beneath boxes of books, so I can’t be certain of what was said there. And so far as I know, he hasn’t commented publicly on the specifics of the case.

      • Well, in regards to Polanski’s effect on Samantha Geimer, here’s an interesting article that opines that Geimer is being punished by the media and the the judicial system because she isn’t playing her role as “victim” adequately enough for them. I agree. Her soul wasn’t destroyed by contact with Polanski :-D

        http://la.indymedia.org/news/2009/10/231908.php

      • This is in response to Susan’s comments. Samantha Galley even though a young girl was not a stranger to sex. See this newspaper the Spokesman Review written on Sept 20th 1977. That is why she was not destroyed by contact with Polanski. I think the fallout happened because her mother discovered what was going on, when she had previously been left in the dark. That is why Samantha wants forgiveness, because she knows that Polanski was not entirely to blame, and that she has been victimized by the Santa Monica Courthouse system just as much as Roman Polanski has.

        http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1314&dat=19770920&id=JNURAAAAIBAJ&sjid=He4DAAAAIBAJ&pg=6879,1950498

  2. Here is a televison video from France Europe with Bernard-Henri Lévy, the day after Roman Polanski was released by the Swiss Government from house arrest.

    It is in the French Language.

    Bernard-Henri Lévy became a friend of Roman Polanski after he was arrested, because he knew the arrest was really unfair.

    One thing that Bernard-Henri Lévy expresses that at the time in 1977 and 1978 no-one in California went to prison for the same crime. The same crime got probation.

    Bernard-Henri Lévy says that Roman Polanski was persecuted because he is a famous artist.

  3. Dear Susan,

    no, Polanski never admitted to any “sodomy”, for the simple reason that there obviously was none, which is clear from both Samantha’s medical report and the contradictions (defying both logic, physical reality, common sense and medical findings) in her testimony. Thank you for the link, I have posted my comment there.

    • I know Polanski did not commit “sodomy”, but Mr. Brenneman mentions it in a previous Polanski article on this blog, so I asked him directly about it.

      In regards to “sodomy”, this is where people become scared little self-righteous chickens. “Sodomy” is one of the primary methods with which gay men have sex/make love to each other. There is nothing inherently wrong with it. And, some heterosexual couples engage in it as well. Yet supposedly when mentioned with the Polanski case, it is supposed to add to the “horror” of what happened.

      It disgusts me to no end how supposedly liberal and progressive bloggers who should know better are shocked, SHOCKED that there was sodomy!!!!!! Not realizing, of course, that this entire attitude is what has made it more difficult for LGBT people to gain acceptance in the larger straight society.

  4. Here’s the most recent photos of Polanski at the Lumiere Awards.

    Lookin’ sharp, Tiger!

    http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/NtR8Ff-UisE/Director+Roman+Polanski+attends+16th+annual

  5. Here’s an article about George Bush canceling a trip to Switzerland due to fears he could be arrested for war crimes.

    http://www.theage.com.au/world/rights-groups-sinks-speech-by-bush-20110206-1aidk.html

    Nice to know the Swiss have their priorities finally in order rather than persecuting Roman Polanski on behalf of a California DA up for reelection.

  6. Is US Justice on a par with Egypt’s Justice? And is history repeating itself?

    Susan wrote somewhere – those who condemn Roman Polanski should understand who the real villains are:

    THE REAL VILLAINS ARE – Laurence J. Rittenband, California State & County of Los Angeles, its Judges, its Justices, many Los Angeles prosecutors to include Steve Cooley, and its corrupt police and some of County of Los Angeles sheriffs deputies plus the Federal Courts & Judges who DO exacerbate the harm done for years and years.

    (BUT NOT the original Los Angeles prosecutor Roger Gunson who is a good man),

    Roman Polanski’s best defense – back on March 10th 1977, January 1978 and ever since is_

    1) Roman Polanski served his time at Chino prison California.

    2) The County of Los Angeles Santa Monica Judge Laurence J. Rittenband double crossed Roman Polanski & his lawyer Douglas Dalton and would have illegally coerced Roman Polanski and sentenced Roman Polanski to more time (not part of the plea bargain) unless Polanski gave up HIS RIGHT to fight deportation. That’s why Polanski split the scene man – he was facing a double cross by the Santa Monica Judge Rittenband and illegal coercion.

    3) A glaring double standard in how sexual assault cases are handled at the Santa Monica Courthouse California, with a slant is in favor of those employees working for California and its governmental unit subdivisions.

    Bottom Line – how can Roman Polanski be a criminal if at the same Santa Monica Courthouse Judges & County of Los Angeles Sheriff Deputies and police departments cover up sexual assault complaints against government employees.

    And WHO are Santa Monica Judges and California Justices to to judge anybody at all including Roman Polanski? Since the California Justice system is corrupt favoring and covering up for government employees sexually assaulting women but not so for foreign born Polish/French film directors.

  7. Well, the delicious irony of the whole “George Bush and the Swiss” episode is that Polanski’s most recent film, “The Ghost Writer”, is just about the same thing, a former leader who can’t travel because of war crimes accusations.

    Polanski himself has probably heard the news, and is having a good last laugh about it.

  8. Thank you for posting, Sonny and Susan – it makes me very happy to see that there’s still sanity in our world. And thank you for the links!

  9. Thanks for your posting too mishem…

    On reflection, I think what happened to Roman Polanski after being arrested in Switzerland in 2009 because of California’s request is a form of, or bears a similarity to Sharia law.

    Roman Polanski dared and Roman Polanski had the ḥuṣpâ (חֻצְפָּה) over thirty years ago to say goodbye to injustice at the Santa Monica Courthouse. Quite frankly as one who has also encountered Judicial corruption in the same Santa Monica Courthouse where I was beaten up for reporting police corruption in covering up my sexual assault complaint – I can’t blame Roman Polanski for running away from the Santa Monica Courthouse California.

    As far as the Sharia law aspect in stoning people to death literally, the metaphorical stones that were thrown in Roman Polanski’s case were thrown by thousands of newspapers spewing deceptive garbage text against Roman Polanski because of:

    1) The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office’s misrepresentations against Roman Polanski
    2) The need for the County of Los Angeles to cover up Santa Monica Judge Laurence J. Rittenband’s judicial corruption against Roman Polanski in 1977 and 1978.
    3) The need for the County of Los Angeles to keep their illegal Judicial power and save face.

    Media hungry attorney Gloria Allred came in later to add fuel to the fire by representing a female underdog Charlotte Lewis regardless of any relevance to her allegations which occurred decades ago and not in California .

    Sharia Law, – a California version of that – was perpetrated on Roman Polanski back in 1977 and now.

    We have to be thankful to Roman Polanski for not giving up the ghost and for highlighting Judicial and Prosecutorial corruption in Santa Monica and Los Angeles California.

    • I wanted to add that I, like Roman Polanski did not back down against being treated unfairly, Santa Monica Courthouse’s intimidation and injustice.

      If you back down people – it becomes the norm and will only get worse!

      Thus Californians and Americans have another person to thank in addition to Roman Polanski who has highlighted Judicial and police orruption at the Santa Monica Courthouse and Los Angeles California .

      That person — me – was set up in the Santa Monica Courthouse, with a false hearing where the defendant police officer was given control of the proceeding by the Judge,. and judicial corruption and police brutality ensued, and ratified later by the Federal Courts.

      I was beaten up by undocumented County of Los Angeles white sheriffs deputies in the Santa Monica Courtroom for reporting Santa Monica College police corruption against me. But the County of Los Angeles & their Santa Monica Courthouse Sheriff’s Dept covered this up by changing the identity and ethnicity of the white Sheriffs who were really there to an African American sheriff who was not involved apart from his agreeing to be the front for suppressing the identies of the others who were really involved.

      What I faced in the Santa Monica Courthouse is not unlike Sharia law where I was beaten up in the Courtroom by two to three white sheriffs deputies, in retaliation for my reporting that I had been sexually assaulted by a California professor in a photography class.

      On the day I was victimized in that courthouse in 1998 I was not aware that Roman Polanski also faced Judicial corruption at the Santa Monica Courthouse albeit 20 years earlier, , or that one of the character references I was clutching in my hand as I was being punched on the ground by two or three white County of Los Angeles Sheriff Deputies was written by the nephew of the Academy Award winner Ruth Gordon of “Rosemary’s Baby”

      They say that the truth is stranger than fiction- and in my case this more than rings true.

  10. France’s Cesar awards, much like the European Film Awards, gave a lot more credit to Paris-based filmmaker-i Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer than it has received stateside, where the Academy shut out the film.

    The Cesars held in Paris, with Jody Foster presenting, awarded best director, editing, score and adapted screenplay to Roman Polanski’s film “The Ghost Writer”

    Best foreign film went to the movie “The Social Network”

  11. Richard, I’d like to share some vital information with about the sex-offender list, and just what constitutes the majority on the list.

    http://freestudents.blogspot.com/2009/09/there-is-fury-and-and-sadness-inside.html

    The article states that the average age of people on the list are 14 years old. Now this is a massive contradiction, isn’t it? 14 year olds cannot consent to sex according to the law, but they are old enough to be sex offenders. This is how bad it’s gotten, and why Polanski would never have gotten any semblance of a fair hearing or trial if he’d been returned to the United States.

    By any chance, are you still doing journalistic work outside of this blog? If so, you could probably do a documentary on this subject. It would be very informative.

  12. Here’s an interesting bit of news:

    In the month before Polanski’s arrest on Sept. 2009, there was was a riot in Chino Men’s Prison, primarily because of overcrowded conditions.

    http://www.scpr.org/specials/prison/

    Polanski served 42 days at Chino Prison in 1977. He described his stay there in his autobiography as being spartan yet not dangerous. Gee, California has developed some real problems in it’s correctional system over the past 30 years, dontcha think?

  13. Polanski’s movie “The Ghost Writer” deserved ALL the awards it is getting in Europe.

    And strangely enough the movie is a mirror of Roman Polanski’s own situation in California

    In the movie The Ghost Writer two ghost writers, face the same corruption.

    The first perishes under strange circumstances much as Polanski did due to Judicial Corruption against him in California in 1978. And just as there are two ghosts in the movie “The Ghost Writer,

    so too in reality – there are AT LEAST two victims of Judicial corruption in the Santa Monica Courthouse California, Roman Polanski being one of them.

    Another victim of Judicial Corruption at the same courthouse in California suffered police brutality by undocumented White County of Los Angeles Sheriffs Deputies, for reporting Police cover up of her sexual assault complaint against California State teacher/ employee

    As Polanski plus at least one other person have been victimized by Judicial Corruption in the same California Courthouse, Polanski’s claim of Judicial Corruption in California is substantiated.

    Polanski’s movie “The Ghost Writer” through the main character who is nameless, warns viewers to not to seek truth, or expose political facts that Officials want covered up, because if you do, you may end up a ghost of yourself.

    The last frame of the movie even though set outside of the United States reminds me of a street in NY on 911 with all that paper blowing around.

  14. Dear Sonny and Susan: thank you for your comments here. Every time I read something like this, or Novalis Lore’s blog, I thank God that there’s still sanity in this world.
    I tried to contribute to it, too, finally putting together all the documents of the case and commenting on them as clearly as possible, so everyone is (I hope) able to come to the same conclusions as we did. It would be greatly appreciated if you find a minute to have a look at this:

    http://polanski-oddmanout.blogspot.com/

    thank you

  15. I’ve taken a look at your blog, and you’ve done a great job. The lack of evidence for rape is available for anyone who wishes to find, but they don’t care to find it.

  16. Thank you Susan! I’ve done my best to make it as clear as possible, and I am basing entirely on the documents of the case. I wish more people would read it, because documented facts is what people regrettably tend to ignore when they hurry to judge this case.

  17. Richard Fuller

    You people explaining away the drugging and rape of a thirteen year old girl are disgusting and should be ashamed of yourselves. My God, how dare you?!

    • No not explaining rape since there was no rape. Misrepresentation is reprehensible. Be careful you broadcast the facts, without misrepresentation.

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