Thursday, May 26, 2011

What's Happening at the IMF with Dominique Strauss-Kahn?

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Is There Any Gold in Fort Knox?
John W. Wallace
06-04-2011
Back in August of 2010, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a longtime critic of the Federal Reserve and U.S. monetary policy, said he believes it's "a possibility" that there might not actually be any gold in the vaults of Fort Knox or the New York Federal Reserve bank.
Rep. Paul told Kitco News, a website tracking news about precious metals, that an audit was necessary to determine how much the U.S. maintains in gold reserves in case the government were to use gold to back the dollar.
“If there was no question about the gold being there, you think they would be anxious to prove gold is there,” he said.
“Our Federal Reserve admits to nothing, and they should prove all the gold is there. There is a reason to be suspicious and even if you are not suspicious why wouldn’t you have an audit?
“I think it is a possibility," Paul said when asked if there was truth to rumors that there was actually no gold at Ft. Knox or the New York Fed.
Paul had been one of the Republicans to spearhead a broader audit of the Fed as part of the Wall Street reform bill passed through Congress this year. The provision, which was weakened somewhat in the final version, found Paul joining with a number of Democrats to require the Fed to open its books and outline its assets and liabilities.
The gold reserves are generally seen as a guarantee on a nation's currency, but the U.S. moved the dollar away from being tied to the price of gold in 1972.
Paul stopped short of calling for the reinstitution of the gold standard and instead called for the government to allow the use of hard currency — gold and silver tender — alongside the use of the dollar.
LIBERTY NEWS: It's time to audit the Federal Reserve and Fort Knox.
HERE IS A STRANGE CONSPIRACY TYPE THEORY THAT RECENTLY CAME OUT OF RUSSIA CONCERNING THE POSSIBILITY THAT THERE IS LITTLE IF ANY GOLD LEFT AT FORT KNOX. THE RUSSIAN FSB CONNECTS THE GOLD IN FORT KNOX TO THE ARREST IN NYC OF THE IMF CHIEF, DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN, FOR SEX CRIMES.
A new report prepared for Prime Minister Putin by the Federal Security Service (FSB) says that former International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was charged and jailed in the US for sex crimes on May 14th after his discovery that all of the gold held in the United States Bullion Depository located at Fort Knox was ‘missing and/or unaccounted’ for.
According to this FSB secret report, Strauss-Kahn had become “increasingly concerned” earlier this month after the United States began “stalling” its pledged delivery to the IMF of 191.3 tons of gold agreed to under the Second Amendment of the Articles of Agreement signed by the Executive Board in April 1978 that were to be sold to fund what are called Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) as an alternative to what are called reserve currencies.
This FSB report further states that upon Strauss-Kahn raising his concerns with American government officials close to President Obama he was ‘contacted’ by ‘rogue elements’ within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who provided him ‘firm evidence’ that all of the gold reported to be held by the US ‘was gone’.
Upon Strauss-Kahn receiving the CIA evidence, this report continues, he made immediate arrangements to leave the US for Paris, but when contacted by agents working for France’s General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) that American authorities were seeking his capture he fled to New York City’s JFK airport following these agents directive not to take his cell-phone because US police could track his exact location.
Once Strauss-Kahn was safely boarded on an Air France flight to Paris, however, this FSB report says he made a ‘fatal mistake’ by calling the hotel from a phone on the plane and asking them to forwarded the cell-phone he had been told to leave behind to his French residence, after which US agents were able to track and apprehend him.
Within the past fortnight, this report continues, Strauss-Kahn reached out to his close friend and top Egyptian banker Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar to retrieve from the US the evidence given to him by the CIA. Omar, however, and exactly like Strauss-Kahn before him, was charged yesterday by the US with a sex crime against a luxury hotel maid, a charge the FSB labels as ‘beyond belief’ due to Omar being 74-years-old and a devout Muslim.
In an astounding move puzzling many in Moscow, Putin after reading this secret FSB report today ordered posted to the Kremlin’s official website a defense of Strauss-Khan becoming the first world leader to state that the former IMF chief was a victim of a US conspiracy. Putin further stated, “It’s hard for me to evaluate the hidden political motives but I cannot believe that it looks the way it was initially introduced. It doesn’t sit right in my head.”
Interesting to note about all of these events is that one of the United States top Congressman, and 2012 Presidential candidate, Ron Paul [photo bottom left] has long stated his belief that the US government has lied about its gold reserves held at Fort Knox. So concerned had Congressman Paul become about the US government and the Federal Reserve hiding the truth about American gold reserves he put forward a bill in late 2010 to force an audit of them, but which was subsequently defeated by Obama regime forces.
When directly asked by reporters if he believed there was no gold in Fort Knox or the Federal Reserve, Congressman Paul gave the incredible reply, “I think it is a possibility.”
Also interesting to note is that barely 3 days after the arrest of Strauss-Kahn, Congressman Paul made a new call for the US to sell its gold reserves by stating, “Given the high price it is now, and the tremendous debt problem we now have, by all means, sell at the peak.”
Bizarre reports emanating from the US for years, however, suggest there is no gold to sell, and as we can read as posted in 2009 on the ViewZone.Com news site:
“In October of 2009 the Chinese received a shipment of gold bars. Gold is regularly exchanges between countries to pay debts and to settle the so-called balance of trade. Most gold is exchanged and stored in vaults under the supervision of a special organization based in London, the London Bullion Market Association (or LBMA). When the shipment was received, the Chinese government asked that special tests be performed to guarantee the purity and weight of the gold bars. In this test, four small holed are drilled into the gold bars and the metal is then analyzed.
Officials were shocked to learn that the bars were fake. They contained cores of tungsten with only a outer coating of real gold. What’s more, these gold bars, containing serial numbers for tracking, originated in the US and had been stored in Fort Knox for years. There were reportedly between 5,600 to 5,700 bars, weighing 400 oz. each, in the shipment!”
To the final fate of Strauss-Kahn it is not in our knowing, but new reports coming from the United States show his determination not to go down without a fight as he has hired what is described as a ‘crack team’ of former CIA spies, private investigators and media advisers to defend him.
To the practical effects on the global economy should it be proved that the US, indeed, has been lying about its gold reserves, Russia’s Central Bank yesterday ordered the interest rate raised from 0.25 to 3.5 percent and Putin ordered the export ban on wheat and grain crops lifted by July 1st in a move designed to fill the Motherlands coffers with money that normally would have flowed to the US.
The American peoples ability to know the truth of these things, and as always, has been shouted out by their propaganda media organs leaving them in danger of not being prepared for the horrific economic collapse of their nation now believed will much sooner than later.
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The IMF after DSK
by Mark Weisbrot
Global Research, May 22, 2011
Guardian - 2011-05-19
His arrest came at a crucial time for the IMF, which is supposed to be renegotiating the Greek bailout. Now that Dominique Strauss-Kahn has resigned from his position as managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it is worth taking an objective look at his legacy there. Until his arrest last week on charges of attempted rape and sexual assault, he was widely praised as having changed the IMF, increased its influence and moved it away from the policies that – according to the fund's critics – had caused so many problems for developing countries in the past. How much of this is true?
Strauss-Kahn took the helm of the IMF in November of 2007, when the IMF's influence was at a low point. Total outstanding loans at that time were just $10bn, down from $91bn just four years earlier. By the time he left this week, that number had bounced back to $84bn, with agreed-upon loans three times larger. The IMF's total capital had quadrupled, from about $250bn to an unprecedented $1tn. Clearly, the IMF had resources that it had never had before, mostly as a result of the financial crisis and world recession of 2008-2009.
However, the details of these changes are important. First, the collapse of the IMF's influence in the decade prior to 2007 was one of the most important changes in the international financial system since the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates in 1971. Prior to the 2000s, the IMF headed up a powerful creditors' cartel that was able to tell many developing country governments what their most important economic policies would be, under the threat of being denied credit not only from the fund but also from other, then larger lenders such as the World Bank, regional lenders and sometimes even the private sector. This made the fund not only the most important avenue of influence of the US government in low- and middle-income countries – from Rwanda to Russia – but also the most important promoter of neoliberal economic "reforms" that transformed the world economy from the mid 1970s onward. These reforms coincided with a sharp slowdown of economic growth in the vast majority of low- and middle-income countries for more than 20 years, with consequently reduced progress on social indicators such as life expectancy and infant and child mortality.
The IMF's big comeback during the world recession did not bring the middle-income countries that had run away from it back to its orbit. Most of the middle-income countries of Asia, Russia, as well as Latin America, stayed away, mostly by piling up sufficient reserves so that they did not have to borrow from the fund, even during the crisis. As a result, even a low-income country like Bolivia, for example, was able to renationalise its hydrocarbon industry, increase social spending and public investment, and lower its retirement age from 65 to 58 – things it could never do while it was living under IMF agreements continuously for 20 years prior. Most of the IMF's new influence and lending would land in Europe, which accounts for about 57% of its current outstanding loans.
As for changes in IMF policy, these have been relatively small. A review of 41 IMF agreements made during the world financial crisis and recession found that 31 of them contained "pro-cyclical" policies: that is, fiscal or monetary policies that would be expected to further slow the economy. And in Europe, where the IMF has most of its lending, the policies attached to the loan agreements for Greece, Ireland and Portugal are decidedly pro-cyclical – making it extremely difficult for these economies to get out of recession. The IMF's influence on Spain, which does not yet have a loan agreement, is similar. And in Latvia, the IMF presided over an Argentine-style recession that set a world historical record for the worst two-year loss of output (about 25%) – a complete disaster.
To be fair, some changes at the fund during the tenure of Strauss-Kahn were significant. For the first time ever, during the world recession of 2009, the IMF made available some $283bn-worth of reserves for all member countries, with no policy conditions attached. The fund also made some limited credit available without conditions, though only to a few countries. The biggest changes were in the research department, where there was tolerance for more open debate. For example, there were IMF papers that endorsed the use of capital controls by developing countries under some circumstances, and questioning whether central banks were unnecessarily slowing growth with inflation targets that may be too low.
But as can be seen from what is happening in the peripheral Eurozone countries, the IMF is still playing its traditional role of applying the medieval economic medicine of "bleeding the patient". To be fair to both Strauss-Kahn and the fund, neither the managing director nor anyone else at the IMF is ultimately in sole charge of policy, especially with respect to countries that are important to the people who really run the institution. The IMF is run by its governors and executive directors, of whom the overwhelmingly dominant authorities are the US treasury department, which includes heavy representation from Goldman Sachs, and, secondarily, the European powers.
Until decision-making at the IMF undergoes a dramatic change, we can expect only very small changes in IMF policy. This can be seen most clearly in the current case of Greece: Strauss-Kahn was aware that the fiscal tightening ordered by the European authorities and the IMF was preventing Greece from getting out of recession; but while he pushed for "softer" conditions, he was powerless to change the lending conditions from punishment to actual help. That's ultimately because the European authorities (European Commission and European Central Bank), not the IMF, are calling the shots – although Strauss-Kahn encountered plenty of resistance within the fund itself, too.
The voting shares of the IMF have changed only marginally, despite all the reforms of the last five years. The share of "emerging market and developing countries" – with the vast majority of the world's population – has gone from 39.4% to 44.7%, while the G7 countries have 41.2%, including 16.5% for the US (down from 17.0% pre-reform).
But the voting and governance structure is not currently the main obstacle to changing IMF policy. At this point, the developing countries – and we should add in the victimised countries of the eurozone – are not using their potential influence within the fund. Their representatives are mainly going along with the decisions of the G7. If any number of these countries were to band together in a sizeable bloc for change within the fund, there could be some real reforms at the IMF.
Such an outcome can be seen from the last decade of struggle within the World Trade Organisation, where developing countries have often not accepted the G7 consensus, and have successfully blocked the negotiation and implementation of rules that would hurt them – despite the fact that the WTO rules have been, from the outset, stacked against developing countries. It is true that the WTO operates by consensus rather than a quota-based voting structure, but that is not the key difference between it and the IMF. The key difference is in the role of developing countries and their representatives.
There is talk now of replacing Strauss-Kahn with an open, merit-based process of selection, breaking with the 67-year tradition of reserving the position for a European – most often, a French – official. At the moment, such change does not appear likely to happen. It would be a step forward, but it would be only a symbolic change, and the odds are good that the next managing director – of whatever nationality – will be to the right of Strauss-Kahn. Real change at the IMF is in the hands of the governments of most of the world – but only if they dare to organise it.
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IMF Regime Change: With Christine Lagarde, US Corporations Enter the French Government
by Voltaire Network
Global Research, May 22, 2011
Voltaire Network
Unknown to the French, lawyer Christine Lagarde became the Foreign Trade Minister of the government of Dominique de Villepin. Only a few years ago, she was defending the interests of US multinationals to the detriment of French companies. Her political positions perfectly match her status as a member of the CSIS, the think tank of the oil lobby in the United States.
Christine Lagarde University of Saint Gallen, Switzerland, May 20, 2005. The composition of the new French government, announced on June 2, 2005, is amazing due to its incoherence. The Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, a Gaullist that won world recognition after his speech against the war in Iraq before the UN Security Council, is accompanied by a State Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, who is a committed supporter of the United States and Israel.
The Finance Minister, a strategic element of the US penetration, becomes an Atlantist bastion. The Minister of Economy, Thierry Breton, is a member of a powerful liberal think tank: the Aspen Institute, and member of its French branch. Three delegate ministers back Breton. For reasons of internal balance of the presidential majority, François Loos is in charge of Industry. Jean-François Copé is in charge of the Budget and the State Reform. It is a young leader who learned the US methods of communication under the guidance of John Negroponte, who currently heads the group of US intelligence agencies. Finally, Christine Lagarde is in charge of Foreign Trade.
In the political field, Mrs. Lagarde is a stranger. She is a brilliant lawyer, specialized in social law, who joined the Baker & McKenzie law firm, in Chicago, in 1981 and made a career in the United States. Not renouncing to her personal life, according to those in charge of her publicity, she went up the levels of the world’s most important economy law firm (4,400 collaborators in 35 countries) until she was appointed as a member of its Executive Committee and later, in the fall of 2004, she was promoted to president of its Strategy Committee. In the meantime, in April 2005, she joined the Vigilance Committee of the Dutch multinational ING, one of the most important financial societies in the world. Christine Lagarde occupies the fifth rank in the list of European businesswomen published by the Wall Street Journal and the 76th rank in the list of the world’s most powerful women of Forbes magazine. Dazzled by such exceptional career, the French media abstained from investigating the new minister.
Although this element is not included in her official biography, Mrs. Lagarde was a member of the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). She co-presided over the Action USA/UE/Poland commission of this think tank along with Zbigniew Brzezinski and, in particular, she was in charge of the USA-Poland Defense Industries working group (1995-2002) and issues regarding the liberalization of Polish exchanges. However, in those positions, she represented the US interests to the detriment of those of France’s foreign trade, the sector that she currently heads in the French government. As a lawyer of the Baker & McKenzie law firm, Christine Lagarde worked in favor of the interests of Boeing and Lockheed-Martin to the detriment of the interests of Airbus and Dassault.
In 2003, Christine Lagarde became a member, also in the CSIS, of the Commission for the Expansion of the Euro-Atlantic Community along with her friend Brzezinski and different personalities such as the former director of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Renato Ruggiero, and Stuart Eizenstat, former special ambassador for the restitution of religious assets in Central Europe. This commission was in charge of potential investments in Poland, Latvia, Romania, Czech Republic and Hungary.
A man played a key role in each of those commissions: Bruce P. Jackson, founder of the US Committee to Expand NATO, who represented the interests of the aircraft manufacturing company Lockheed-Martin, of which he was a vice-president. Thanks to the relations made in the commissions presided over by Christine Lagarde, Jackson signed the contract of the century: the sale, in April 2003, of 48 F-16 Lockheed-Martin jet fighters to Poland for 3.5 billion dollars.
The transaction caused great dismay in Europe as the Polish government was paying with the European Union’s funds for the preservation of its agricultural sector.
The deal had nothing to do with Poland’s real needs. On the other hand, once integrated to the European Union, the logical thing would have been that Poland would have bought the Mirage 2000-5 MK2 of Dassault or the Jaas-39 of Saab.
However, the contract was very linked to the Poland’s incorporation to the colonization of Iraq along with the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. In addition, Jackson was the main financial backer of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.
After that transaction, the Euro-Atlantic Commission of Christine Lagarde was in charge of “assisting Polish companies to better self-market capabilities as a subcontractor or supplier for contracts won by prime contractors (particularly U.S.) in Iraq, Afghanistan, and as part of Poland’s defense modernization”.
Only supposing that Christine Lagarde abandoned her former duties and that she has no intentions of going back to them, would it be possible to admit that we are not witnessing a case of conflict of interests. However, when the political positions defended by the groups she presided over are analyzed, it is impossible to ignore that they are completely against the French position defended by Dominique de Villepin before the United Nations.
To conclude, we have to say that the statements made by the minister two days after her appointment seemed shocking for the French trade unions. Christine Lagarde promised to carry out a reform of labor law because, in her opinion, “it often represents an obstacle for employment and for a number of business decisions”. However, in order to understand her point of view, it is important to analyze her statements, not comparing them with the MEDEF speech, but linked to the positions that she has thus far supported. Christine Lagarde made big efforts to impose the Anglo-Saxon labor law model in Central and East Europe. Her goal was to promote the interests of the US firms, not those of the Old Europe.
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Weep Not for Strauss-Kahn
French Leftists Should See Silver Lining
by Diana Johnstone
Global Research, May 22, 2011
Counterpunch
In a flood of carefully designed public opinion polls, editorials, and books bordering on idolatry, the French communications industry had already settled next year’s presidential election. The loser would be Nicolas Sarkozy, sagging in the polls. The winner would be Dominique Strauss-Kahn, ever on the rise. True, the French Socialist Party had not yet chosen its candidate, and Strauss-Kahn had not yet announced his candidacy, but the party nomination and the election itself were little more than formalities. Known by his initials, like the International Monetary Fund he currently heads, DSK was the clear choice of the economic powers behind the throne, and was being vigorously sold to the public as “the most competent” candidate.
Since DSK has the luck to face a New York jury, and not the judges at the International Criminal Court, commentators are all stressing that he is, of course, innocent until proven guilty. Well, yes. But the scandal has already blown the upcoming presidential election campaign out of the water.
The French Socialist Party has been largely speechless at seeing its supposedly unbeatable candidate shoot himself in the foot before the race even starts. Conspiracy theories proliferate. Was this all a plot by Sarkozy?
But Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, a minor candidate who is trying to resuscitate the tradition of social Gaullism, says that, contrary to many observers, he thinks the elimination of DSK is a stroke of luck for the left: “Dominique Strauss-Kahn was a false good candidate for the left and I think that the right would be mistaken to rejoice. I’ve always thought that there was a sort of phony Strauss-Kahn fad and that he was perhaps the best adversary Nicolas Sarkozy could have…”
Indeed, only a few days before the hotel room scandal broke, DSK was under fire for being photographed getting into a luxurious Porsche – not his own, as it happens, but ironically belonging to his public relations (“communication” these days) advisor. But this was only a reminder that the potential Socialist candidate is anything but a man of the people. Strauss-Kahn’s luxurious life style is no secret, his hunger for wealth and power every bit equal to that of Sarkozy, and his womanizing reputation has spiced up Paris dinner party conversation for years. Moreover, he has been credited with a style of womanizing that is not so much the Latin lover stereotype as “a chimpanzee in heat”, according to a young journalist who has publicly recounted how she had to fight him off tooth and nail.
But the real scandal for the Socialist Party is the one it does not even begin to recognize: that it was pinning its electoral hopes on a leading champion of global capitalism, the president of the IMF. Whatever the outcome of the New York proceedings, the bursting DSK bubble marks the total degeneration of the Socialist Party in France, for reasons that have nothing to do with his sex life.
Thirty years ago, the wily François Mitterrand led Socialist Party politicians to an election victory they are still celebrating. Initially allied with the French Communist Party, the better to subjugate and destroy it, Mitterrand’s Socialists started out in a blaze of reforms, ending the death penalty, nationalizing enterprises and lowering the retirement age, only to turn around a couple of years later and abandon socialist economic policies as impossible to pursue in the free market context of the European Community (now the European Union). The Mitterrand era in reality buried socialism, or even social democracy, but the Socialist Party went on calling itself “the left”. This no longer referred to economic policies favoring the working class but above all to moral issues such as anti-racism and all sorts of vague good intentions.
The Socialists were no longer socialist, without being anything else.
With Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the mere absence of socialism evolved into something much more vigorous: unabashed promotion of global capitalism. After becoming Minister of the Economy, Finances and Industry in 1997, he totally reversed the early Mitterrand direction, carrying out a wave of major privatizations, turning over French telecommunications, steel, aerospace and other key industries to the whims of international finance capital. This was to be expected from the vice president of the high level "Cercle de l'Industrie", which he joined in 1994 at the invitation of Raymond Lévy, then head of the Renault auto manufacturer. In this charmed circle, dedicated to promoting the interests of industry in the European institutions, DSK hung out with the same crowd of top French capitalists whose company so delights Nicolas Sarkozy. Indeed, it is only fair to suggest that Sarkozy chose DSK to head the IMF not only, as is constantly repeated, to keep his rival out of France, but also because the two see precisely eye to eye when it comes to international financial policy.
Consistently, DSK opposed the last Socialist Party reform intended to favor the workers, namely the reduction of the work week to 36 hours adopted in 2002. Having written his doctoral thesis in economics on “human resources”, he has argued in favor of both a longer work week and raising the age of retirement, “now that we live a hundred years”.
In the wake of the Porsche flap, it is a sign of the degeneration of political life that commentators were writing that DSK needed to change. The fact that he was clearly an eager champion of multinational financial capital posing as a socialist was not the problem; the problem was that it showed. He needed to do something to make himself seem more concerned with ordinary people. Well, nobody imagined how rapidly that could be done.
There is another way in which DSK would have been a vulnerable candidate for the Socialists. The PS has often been the party of choice for voters from immigrant communities, but this has been complicated by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. All mainstream French politicians are pro-Israel, but DSK went farther than most, writing: “I consider that every Jew in the diaspora, wherever he is, and thus this holds true for France, should contribute to helping Israel. Moreover that is why it is important for Jews to assume political responsibilities. Not everyone in the Jewish community thinks so, but I believe it is necessary. […] To sum it up, in my functions and in my daily life, through all my actions, I do what I can to contribute my modest stone to the construction of the land of Israel” (from the review Passages, number 35, 2007.) This sort of stuff no doubt aroused the enthusiasm of the large Jewish community in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles that elected him mayor. But it is strange for a presidential candidate to declare that concern for a foreign country is the primary motivation of his political career.
In his comments, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan was the first public person in France to express concern for the victim. “If the facts are proven, it is very grave, all the more in that nobody speaks of the victim. If it had happened in France, I am not sure that the police would have dared to arrest DSK.” Dupont-Aignan deplored the fact that France “will go on having that image of a culture of impunity for important personalities. … The United States”, he concluded, “has a lot of faults but in such sex cases they have much less of the culture of impunity which prevails in our country.”
Many French will see the prosecution of DSK as symptomatic of American puritanism. Certainly, this scandal will draw attention to the cultural differences between the two countries, including what it is that causes a major scandal. Back in the summer of 2004, a huge uproar occurred in France when a young woman claimed to be the victim of a group of young blacks who attacked her on a suburban commuter train because they thought she was Jewish. Even the President of the Republic joined the chorus of protests against the “anti-Semitic attack”. It turned out that the young woman had invented the whole story to attract the sympathy of her family.
As the truth came out, Dominique Strauss-Kahn commented that if the incident “turns out later not to have happened as alleged, in any case there have been 20 others that did take place before.”
This was symptomatic of a “left” that abandoned the working class, while marketing itself as uniquely concerned with moral issues such as promoting feminism and combating racism and anti-Semitism. It would be fittingly ironic for this pretense to be exploded by the revolt of an abused African housekeeper.
Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions. She can be reached at diana.josto@yahoo.fr
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The Strauss-Kahn Affair: Conspiring to Reshape the Global Financial Playing Field?
Make or Break Time for the IMF
by Andrew McKillop
Global Research, May 20, 2011
21st Century Wire
In the wake of the Strauss-Kahn affair, real economic events are fast conspiring to reshape the global financial playing field. What the big player governments on the IMF Executive Board want- and want fast, is action to stave off international financial meltdown. They also need continuing multi-billion dollar action to prevent a return to near-bankruptcy for their big name high-street banks.
Following pre-trial hearings, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was bundled out of the IMF and into a heavily guarded residence surveyed by cameras in every room. For plot theory lovers, these cameras can be contrasted with the alleged claimed cameras in the corridor of the Manhattan Sofitel hotel, able to capture and record images of the panicked and distressed 32-year-old Guniean hotel room cleaner fleeing from the room where Strauss-Kahn had sexually assaulted her, before himself fleeing under the same cameras.
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TIME TO FACE THE MUSIC: In the wake of the DSK Affair, the IMF are facing some big strategic decisions.
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By 19 May, these hotel cameras simply did not exist, and in the corridor of the room in question had never existed. But never mind! Plenty of other evidence was under preparation or already in the possession of prosecutors and their investigators. Much more serious and real charges had existed against Strauss-Kahn, whose $75,000-a-year entertainment and personal expenses allowance at the IMF rather comfortably covers any paid sex he might have wanted.
Strauss-Kahn’s nice talk for pseudo-socialists about greater accountability and more controls on the global finance industry most surely sounded a little too much like Elliot Spitzer talking, circa 2007, about how he was going to clean up Wall Street. By early 2008 Spitzer fell in a sex scandal where the bit players were staffed from the same high price prostitution rackets Spitzer had been investigating as New York Attorney General. More important, Strauss-Kahn was likely failing in the real key mission of the IMF, but his sudden disappearance creates huge risks of the game plan becoming known.
Suppress Gold and Save the System
The IMF and its close-related international financial partner institution, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) operate with the sort of ironclad secrecy only dreamed of by the bankrupted, downsized and repackaged (that is restructured) Wall Street financial players which Spitzer brushed too hard against.
IMF financial support and bailout operations in 2010 reached about $ 91 billion, compared with about $ 1 billion in 2006. Proposals agreed by the G20 and by the IMF Executive Board since April 2009 target an increase of its total resources by as much as $ 750 billion within one or two years.
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No DSK = no EURO? Speculation persists in the wake of DSK’s resignation.
Doing this is the key challenge for the IMF and whatever director it has. Vastly increasing the IMF’s firefighting role in bailing out governments unable to borrow on global capital markets, like Greece at present, and re-financing weakened private banks by financing national governments which in turn bail out banks in their national territories, is however and in no way sure and certain. The Strauss-Kahn crisis can or might be the opening salvo in an IMF crisis for reasons which are not so complex.
The processes or mechanisms the IMF can draw on to vastly expand its bailouts and financing are few and easy to define. They all feature SDRs on one hand, and gold sales and swaps, on the other. Both are full of risks for the global financial system and economy at this highly weakened moment.
The IMF can encourage national central banks to sell their gold nearly always in secret, or the IMF can print and swap SDRs against gold from the central bank of a country needing emergency help and then secretly sell this gold, often through the BIS. Other financial magic operated by the IMF, with or without the BIS extends into realms as surprising, to some, as real estate and international trade financing on a strictly-for-profit basis. Even less publicized, and just as profitably it likely operates in tandem with the ultra-secret BIS- for recycling hot capital from low income countries and tax haven island states, in a constant IMF self-financing process.
Despite all this, the bottom line since the global financial crisis went critical in December 2008 is these activities are vastly smaller than the size of the problem: national debt financing and saving bankrupt private banks.
SDRs are the special trump card of the IMF because this institution with a highly special and only partly defined role relative to both governments and the global financial system has one rare privilege it shares with governments: printing money, that is SDRs. Inside its 24-member Executive Board the trading of these SDRs is permanent – and usually secret. The plan to establish these “special drawing rights”, the SDRs, was devised on September 29, 1967 by the Governors of the IMF, only a few weeks before the collapse of the London gold pool. At the time it was clear to many observers the intention was to put SDR’s into play in time to overlap the pool’s closure, for the constant key mission of the IMF: protect the value of world currencies, starting with the dollar by preventing gold prices growing further, if they are rising, and pushing them further down, if they are falling.
Preventing Meltdown
This dawn of SDRs may be little known to most, but for bullion traders and central bankers is a key period and a sombre flashback – in miniature – to the gold and money crises of today. By 1965 the London gold pool was consistently supplying more gold to cap prices than it was able to buy back. The end for the pool started with the devaluation of the UK pound sterling in November 1967, yet again spurring gold purchases. By early December, the gold pool was selling around 20 times its usual amount of gold, and with its Zurich partners was forced to cease forward sales of gold, further intensifying gold demand. Over a few weeks, the pool had laid out more than 1000 tons, and the newly invented SDRs had done little or nothing to stem the panic.
This 1000-ton figure, we can note is close to 40 percent of world total gold mine output in 2010.
In those days, 1000 tons of gold was worth around $1 billion. Today it would fetch about $ 50 billion underlining the general failure of the IMF’s key mission to “protect currencies”, of course spurring ever more desperate attempts to finally succeed. Since the action engaged by the IMF to raise its financing capabilities and maintain confidence in world moneys is always secret the stage of negotiations reached by Strauss-Kahn before his rapid fall is hard to know. To be sure, the subject attracts almost as much comment as what happened at the Manhattan Sofitel hotel, last weekend, but global markets do not have the time to dwell too long on juicy sex scandals.
In recent weeks, heroic behind-the-scenes action has been poured into talking down gold, oil and other commodity prices, and talking up the failing dollar. The blatantly overvalued euro continues to be defended by the European members of the IMF Executive Board, showing rare and total solidarity in their quest to ensure a European takes over from Strauss-Kahn. This could or might however be a lost cause for the de facto US-European bloc, still holding a massive majority of votes inside the IMF, and the power to decide how many SDRs are printed and what central bank gold reserves will be sold or swapped – but kept on the books as still belonging to national central banks.
Current events could now radically speed decisions.
The BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) group, showing a lack of solidarity in jostling to get leadership of the IMF as open as Europe’s solidarity and American neutrality playacting, have very different agenda items in this global quest to prevent an epic financial meltdown. Running trade surpluses, they can finance their national budget deficits and borrow to save their fragile banking systems, as overstretched as those of the USA, Europe and Japan.
The bottom line is that the IMF, as a gold laundering entity using central bank gold may be close to its first double-or-quits crisis point in its 67 year history, and its 44 years of SDR printing.
The Scenarios
It is possible Strauss-Kahn was close to some major breakthrough in recycling government gold, printing SDRs and protecting the paper moneys printed by governments, but whatever his heroic quest, and why he fell, the numbers are stacked against this quest. Taking the approximate current market value of all the gold that has ever been produced, few estimates place this at above $ 5000 billion. US Federal debt growth from December 2008 to April 2011 was about $ 3600 billion. Global “hot capital” flows, grotesquely underestimated by the IMF in its publication, are likely running at no more than $ 250 billion-a-year.
The only solution for Strauss-Kahn, and whoever succeeds him is to invent a new global money. This was the real mission of “DSK” and will be the real mission of whoever steps into his shoes, and does not stay in Sofitel mid-range hotels with low level security on room intruders. The action to produce a new global money – called a reserve currency – will also have to be very fast, due to the debt clock, or time bomb ruthlessly ticking forward.
For a short while the gold bullion market will stay quiet, but daily change of the gold price will increase, and then rise further. Few rational analyses of the right price for gold place it under $2000 per troy ounce, and plenty of experts will say this is only the starting gate for a hyper inflation spiral in which national currencies are ground to dust like a black hole swallows and smashes stars. All and any real asset, that is food, energy and minerals can only spiral in price for as long as the global economy struggles forward. After that, the recession implosion will operate, restoring the value of money in a vastly downsized global economy morphing into semi-autonomous national or regional economies.
Preventive action by the world’s few capital surplus countries could start in the very near-term future. The BRIC group could break away from the IMF system by inventing its own BRIC reserve money backed by key commodities, gold, and manufacturing power, but this would need a vast increase of their current low-level coordination of financial and monetary policies.
Not impossibly, the USA facing hyper debt could take its own unilateral action, with well-described and possibly planned actions to erect tariff barriers and heavily limit overseas holdings and use of the US dollar – that is siege economy action in a new era of isolationism marked in the geopolitical domain by abandoning the Afghan war, total disengagement from Iraq and leaving Israel to solve its long and festering problems with the Palestinians all on its own.
In the same way, Europe’s neo-colonial turf war with China and India for control over Africa’s natural resources and growing consumer markets could morph into a war for saving European moneys.
Under any scenario the Strauss-Kahn affair comes at a key moment. Attempts at saving the global economy and world moneys, since the end of 2008, have all failed, raising the stakes and risk each time. What we may now witness is historic change as the IMF’s real situation seeps and leaks out, under the tinsel wraps of just another sex scandal.
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The Sexual Underground Of Bankers
Strauss-Kahn and The Secret Culture of Aggressive Sexuality In The High Pressure World Of Bankers and Banksters
by Danny Schechter
Global Research, May 20, 2011
My colleague Mike Whitney asks: “So, what are the chances that Strauss-Kahn will get a fair trial now that he's been blasted as a serial sex offender in about 3,000 articles and in all the televised news reports?
Do you remember any Wall Street bankers being dragged off in handcuffs when they blew up the financial system and bilked people out of trillions of dollars?"
The answer to both questions is certainly Non in French or No in English, but there’s more to the connection between Sex and Wall Street. Without commenting on the evidence in this case—which has been asserted, not proven-- there is a deeper context that is being ignored.
I call it the Testosterone Factor in The Crime of Our Time, my book about how Wall Street criminally engineered the financial crisis.
Interesting isn’t it that there have been so few references to the link between the pervasiveness of salacious sex and the highly-charged life of a class of “entitled” wealthy bankers who live off of others with few rules or restraints.
There is also often no news about that or the practices of the IMF which is often accused of raping poor and vulnerable countries with unfair structural adjustment programs. The IMF chief is now experiencing what many in France feel is an unfair “personal adjustment program” at the hands of the New York cops and courts.
Odd isn’t it that there have been so few references in the coverarge also to Eliot Spitzer, the one time “Sheriff” of Wall Street who was denouncing criminal financial practices by the Bush Administration when he was brought down in a sex scandal.
Strauss-Kahn had also been in the news lately as a possible Socialist presidential candidate to topple our pal Sarkozy in France as well as a critic of US banking practices. He recently outraged official Washington by asserting that the Chinese economy was surpassing ours.
In both cases, powerful forces have motives to bring down such potential reformers, but, it is also true, that in each case, these men themselves were, on the surface anyway, sexually obsessed and prone to illegal behavior that put them—and others—at risk.
Both are Alpha Males known for pushing envelopes of personal responsibility. Both were known for personal arrogance and living in highly secretive sexualized personal cultures. Writer Tristan Banon claimed she had to fight DSK off in an earlier incident, calling him a “strutting chimpanzee.”
Bear in mind also that part of what intelligence agencies do these days in targeting people is to prepare sophisticated psychological profiles before they intervene. They know that the knowledge of the secret lives—and kinks -- of public figures can easily discredit them. They specialize in foraging for dirt and can leak information or use it opportunistically.
Remember Richard Nixon’s authorized break in at the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist pursuing highly personal information?
Nothing is off-limits as people like former weapons inspector Scott Ritter learned as well when he became embroiled in a mini-sex caper.
When people are highly stressed, they are prone to making mistakes. The agencies shadowing them know that, and from time to time encourage it or just wait for the opportunity to help them bring themselves down.
What needs to be examined is how the crimes of the rich and powerful are treated. Bush’s bombing or Geithner’s tax maneuvers were ignored.
But when sex is involved, all bets are off.
Sex scandals have become a staple of media exploitation with personal morality plays trumping political morality confrontations every time.
They are both great distractions and effective tools of character assassination which are often more effective than more violent ways to neutralize people considered dangerous..
That’s why the FBI was so hot to discredit Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with leaks of so-called wiretapped sex tapes. In his case, this tactic failed but the other worked.
In some cases both tactics are deployed as in the physical assassination of Bin Laden and then the character-killing aimed at his supporters through the release of porn allegedly found in his “lair.”
Intense sexual appetites are an extension of the “culture” of an avaricious financial world. Illegal sex and Wall Street (or in La Defense, France’s financial district) has long been linked, writes Heidi Moore:
“This is all a reminder that the financial district hasn’t always been gleaming skyscrapers and Starbucks.
Consider this passage from City of Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and the Commercialization of Sex, 1790-1920: “Adjacent to the Wall Street business district, prostitutes worked in saloons along Greenwich Street, taking men upstairs. In addition, immediately south of Wall Street was the Battery Tender- loin, on Whitehall Street. The Water Street area, however, remained the most significant and poorest waterfront zone of prostitution. Amid the rookeries, rat pits and dance halls, prostitutes exposed in each window to the public view plied their trade.”
In the modern era, many of the street’s most macho traders are, according to David Russell who worked in the industry for two decades, known as “swinging dicks.” It is well known that the big money in Wall Street has kept a vibrant, upscale sex industry alive and well.
There has been one scandal after another. Here are a few cases cited by Moore before Spitzer’s demise:
• BP Chief Executive John Browne left both his post at the oil company and his directorship at Goldman Sachs Group last year after it was revealed that Lord Browne had lied to a court about his young male lover, whom he had met through an escort-service Web site.
• A group of six women sued Dresdner Kleinwort in 2006 for $1.4 billion on allegations that male executives entertained clients at strip clubs and even brought prostitutes back to the office. The case was settled out of court in 2007.
• Canadian hedge fund manager Paul Eustace in 2007, by his own admission in a deposition filed in court lied to investors and cheated on his wife with a stripper.
• In 1987, Peter Detwiler, vice chairman of E.F. Hutton & Co., was, according to court testimony, instructed by his client, Tesoro Petroleum Corp. Chairman Robert V. West, to hire a blonde prostitute for the finance minister of Trinidad & Tobago, which had been supporting a tax issue that would have hurt Tesoro’s profits.
• A woman claiming to have been Bernard Madoff’s mistress published a book about their secret liaisons. Earlier. His secretary said he had a fondness for massages in an article in Vanity Fair. Wall Street’s fall is said to have brought down the sex industry almost as if it had been a fully owned subsidiary, if not an extension, of the financial services business.
To find out more, I spoke to Jonathan Albert, a psychologist practicing in mid-Manhattan.
He told me, “I see a lot of clients in NYC who are impacted by the economic crisis. People deal with stress in many different ways. Some people exercise, some people over-eat, some use drugs and alcohol, some even sexualize those feelings.”
“Sexualize?” I asked him, how do they sexualize these feelings?
His response, “I’ve seen a lot of Wall Streeters who sexualize feelings of anxiety and stress and depression. So for example they might rely on adult sexual services to deal with those feelings.”
Loretta Napoleoni, an Italian author, who worked on Wall Street for years, offers a provocative thesis for how the need for paid sex “on the wild side” became part of the culture of irresponsibility.
“I can tell you that this is absolutely true because being a woman, having worked in finance 20 years ago I could tell you that even at that time – when the market was not going up so much – these guys, all they talk is sex.”
She complemented her personal experience by citing a study by researchers from Oxford University.
“The study discovered, that an excessive production of testosterone, in a period of fantastic financial exuberance, creates a sort of confusion. It is what people in sports call ‘being in the zone,’ which means you get in a certain situation where you feel that you will always win. That you are infallible.”
I asked Dr. Albert if that finding may have indeed had relevance to Spitzer or be endemic in the industry? His reply, “I do see this a lot in the finance industry, yes, peeople in positions of power often feel as if they can perhaps get away with it. There is sometimes a sense of entitlement.”
“They feel entitled to take part in risky behavior?” I pressed.
“High-risk behavior. It’s similar to what they do on a daily basis. They invest millions and millions of dollars and there is a great risk involved with that. The same is true with using the services of a prostitute. Obviously there are great health risks; their relationship is in great danger if they are using the services of a prostitute.
“A lot of people skate on the excitement, on that euphoric rush.” The culture of risk on Wall Street was intoxicating to many in the same way that gamblers become addicted or report a rush when they are winning.
The euphoria of life in the fast lane often implodes when one’s luck runs out leading to depression and family breakups. One remedy is going to self-help groups like “The ‘Wall Street Wives Club’ formed to empower and serve the needs of wives and girlfriends whose husbands or significant others work in the stressful and volatile brokerage community.
Men are often uncomfortable expressing their feelings.”
Some of Dr. Albert’s clients coped with the pressures on them to perform in kinkier ways.
“.... they just want to let loose, relax and take a very passive role in their sexual practice. So they may seek out the services of a dominatrix, where they are at the mercy of this sex worker. I’ve had clients who seek out services where they get whipped, cuffed, put on a leash like a dog.”
Beating others can also be part of this culture. There is violence lurking to the surface that can easily erupt when desires are denied.
I am not being moralistic here, but a climate of narcissism and living secret lives often desensitizes its practitioners leaving them little time to think of how their actions may affect others. (Or how the policies they promote impact on their customers or the poor!)
None of this context excuses anything that Strauss-Kahn may or may not have done, but what it does do is shine some light on a culture of aggressive power-driven hyper-sexuality that our media is often too hypocritical to investigate.
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Strauss-Kahn. "Presumption of Innocence". The Establishment Eliminates A Threat
by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Global Research, May 20, 2011
The police and the prostitute media have made it impossible for Dominique Strauss-Kahn to get a fair trial. From the moment of the announcement that he had been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a hotel maid, and before he was ever indicted, the accounts given by the police were designed to create the impression that the director of the International Monetary Fund was guilty. For example, the police told the media, which duly regurgitated to the public, that Strauss-Kahn was in such a hurry to flee the scene of the crime that he left behind his cell phone. The police also put out the story that by calling airlines and demanding passenger lists, they managed to catch the fleeing rapist just as his plane was departing for France.
A New York judge denied Strauss-Kahn bail on the basis of police misrepresentation that he was apprehended fleeing the country.
Once he was imprisoned, the police announced that Strauss-Kahn was on suicide watch, which is a way of suggesting to the public that the accused rapist might take his own life in order to avoid the public humiliation of a guilty verdict from a jury.
But what really happened, assuming one can learn anything from press reports, is that Strauss-Kahn, upon arriving at JFK airport for his scheduled flight, discovered that he did not have his cell phone and telephoned the hotel, the scene of the alleged crime. It boggles the mind that anyone could possibly think that a person fleeing from his crime would call the scene of the crime, ask about his left behind cell phone, and tell them where he was.
Then in rapid succession, reeking of orchestration, a French woman steps forward and declares that a decade ago she was nearly raped by Strauss-Kahn. This was followed by Kristin Davis, the Manhattan Madam of the prostitute who did in Eliot Spitzer before he could get the banksters on Wall Street, stepping forward to announce that one of her call girls refused to service Strauss-Kahn a second time because he was too rough in the act.
With hunting season opened, any woman whose career would benefit from publicity, or whose bank account would bless a damage award, can now step forward and claim to have been a victim or near victim of Strauss-Kahn.
This is not to deny that Strauss-Kahn might have an inordinate appetite for sex that did him in. It is to say that long before a jury hears from the maid, or from a prosecutor speaking for the maid “who is too traumatized to appear in court,” the jury has been programmed with the verdict that he is guilty.
Why would he run away if he didn’t do it?
Look at all the women he has accosted!
You get the picture.
I have written about the anomalies of the case. One of the most striking is the confirmed reports in the French and British press that a political activist for French President Sarkozy, Jonathan Pinet, tweeted the news of Strauss-Kahn’s arrest to Arnaud Dassier, a spin doctor for Sarkozy, before the news was announced by the New York police.
Pinet’s explanation for how he was the first to know is that a “friend” in the Sofitel Hotel, where the alleged crime took place, told him. Is it merely a coincidence that the men assigned the task of removing the Strauss-Kahn threat to French President Sarkozy’s re-election had a clued-in friend in the Sofitel Hotel? Did the police clue-in the “friend” before they made the public announcement? If so, why?
What bothers me about the Strauss-Kahn affair is that if the police have evidence that supports their insistence on his guilt, it is pointless for the police to set Strauss-Kahn up in the media. Generally, set-ups like this occur only when there is no evidence or when the evidence has to be fabricated and cannot withstand examination.
As a person who had a Washington career, I find other aspects of the case disturbing. Strauss-Kahn had emerged as a threat to the establishment. Polls showed that as the socialist candidate, he was the odds-on favorite to defeat the American candidate, Sarkozy, in the upcoming French presidential election. Perhaps it was only electoral posturing to help defeat Sarkozy, but Strauss-Kahn indicated that he intended to move the International Monetary Fund away from its past policy of making the poor pay for the mistakes of the rich. He spoke of strengthening collective bargaining, and of restructuring mortgages, tax and spending policies in order that the economy would serve ordinary people in addition to the banksters. Strauss-Kahn said that regulation needed to be restored to financial markets and implied that a more even distribution of income was required.
These remarks, together with a likely win over Sarkozy in the French election, made Strauss-Kahn a double-barreled challenge to the establishment. The third strike against him was the recent IMF report that said China would surpass the US as the world’s first economy within five years. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/imf-bombshell-age-of-america-about-to-end-2011-04-25
People who haven’t spent their professional life in Washington may not understand the threat to Washington that is in the IMF report. Whether deserved or not, the IMF has a lot of credibility. By placing China as the number one economic power by the end of the next US presidential term, the IMF thrust a dagger through the heart of American hegemony. Washington’s power is based on America’s economic supremacy. The IMF report said that this supremacy was at its end.
This kind of announcement tells the political world that, as the headline read, “the age of America is over.” For the first time in decades, other countries can see the prospect of escaping from US domination. They don’t have to be puppet states, part of the hegemonic empire. They see the prospect of serving their own people and their own interests instead of those of Washington. European countries, for example, forced to fight for Washington in Afghanistan and Libya, see light at the end of the tunnel. They can now think about refusing.
Although rich and a member of the establishment, and independently of his behavior toward women, Strauss-Kahn made the mistake of revealing that he might have a social conscience. Either this social conscience or the hubris of power led him to challenge American supremacy. This is an unforgivable crime for which he is being punished.
My friend, Alexander Cockburn, an intelligent and civilized person who is derided by right-wingers as a communist, lacks my experience of Washington. Consequently, he thinks that the facts will come out, although he seems to prefer that they come out on the side of the maid and not Strauss-Kahn.
If Alex were the Bolshevik he is said to be, he would know that no high-ranking figure who was serving the establishment would be destroyed on the basis of the word of an immigrant maid living in a sub-let apartment in a building for aids victims. The very notion that the US establishment craves justice to this extent is a total absurdity. Americans are so indifferent to injustice that the American public shrugs off the hundreds of thousands and millions of women, children, and village elders who are murdered, maimed, dispossessed, and displaced by the US military in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and wherever Washington and the military/security complex, while feeding on power and profit, can claim to be protecting Americans from “terrorists” or bringing democracy to the heathen.
The American criminal justice system is riddled with wrongful convictions and stinks of injustice. The US has a much higher rate of incarceration than alleged authoritarian regimes, such as China, and routinely destroys the lives of young people, and even mothers of small children, for using drugs.
Strauss-Kahn’s indictment serves emotional needs of conservatives, left-wingers, and feminists as well as establishment agendas. Conservatives don’t like the French, because they did not support the US invasion of Iraq. The left-wing doesn’t like rich white guys and IMF officials, and feminists don’t like womanizers. But even if the government’s case falls apart in the courtroom, Strauss-Kahn has been removed from the French presidential race and from the IMF. This, not justice for an immigrant, is what the case is about.
Many Americans are unable to comprehend that authorities would remove a threat with a frame-up. But far worst has occurred. Francesco Cossiga, a former President of Italy, revealed that many of the bombings in Europe during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, which were blamed on communists, were in fact “false flag” operations carried out by the CIA and Italian intelligence in order to scare voters away from the communist party. Cossiga’s revelations resulted in a parliamentary investigation in which intelligence operative Vincenzo Vinciguerra stated: “You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple: to force the public to turn to the state to ask for greater security.”
If democratic governments will murder innocents for political reasons, why wouldn’t they frame someone? Whether innocent or guilty, Strauss-Kahn has been framed in advance of his trial.
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Regime Change at the IMF: The Frame-Up of Dominique Strauss-Kahn?
by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, May 19, 2011
The arrest of IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn has all the appearances of a frame-up ordered by powerful members of the financial establishment, in liaison with France's Nicolas Sarkozy, whose presidency has served the interests of the US at the expense of those of France and the European Union. While there is for the moment no proof of a plot, the unusual circumstances of his arrest and imprisonment require careful examination.
Immediately following Strauss Kahn's arrest, pressures were exerted by Washington to speed up his replacement as Managing Director of the IMF preferably by a non-European, an American or a handpicked candidate from an "emerging market economy" or a developing country.
Since the founding of the Bretton Woods institutions in 1945, the World Bank has been headed by an American whereas the IMF has been under the helm of a (Western) European.
Strauss-Kahn is a member of elite groups who meet behind closed doors. He belongs to the Bildeberger. Categorized as one of the world's most influential persons, he is an academic and politician rather than a banker. In contrast to his predecessors at the IMF, he has no direct affiliation to a banking or financial institution.
But at the same time he is the fall guy. His "gaffe" was to confront the Washington-Wall Street Consensus and push for reforms within the IMF, which challenged America's overriding role within the organization.
The demise of Strauss-Kahn potentially serves to strengthen the hegemony of the US and its control over the IMF at the expense of what former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called "Old Europe".
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Blocking Strauss-Kahn, the Presidential Candidate
In recent years, a major shift has occurred in Europe's political landscape. Pro-American governments have been elected in both France and Germany. Social Democracy has been weakened.
Franco-American relations have been redefined, with Washington playing a significant role in grooming a new generation of European politicians.
The presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy has, in many regards, become a de facto US "client regime", broadly supportive of US corporate interests in the EU and closely aligned with US foreign policy.
There are two overlapping and interrelated issues in the DSK frame-up hypothesis.
The first pertains to regime change at the IMF, the second to Strauss-Kahn as a candidate in France's forthcoming presidential elections.
Both these processes are tied into the clash between competing US and European economic interests including control over the euro-currency system.
Strauss-Khan as a favorite of the Socialist Party, would have won the presidential elections leading to the demise of "Our Man in Paris" Nicolas Sarkozy. As documented by Thierry Meyssan, the CIA played a central undercover role in destabilizing the Gaullist party and supporting the election of Nicolas Sarkozy (See Operation Sarkozy: How the CIA placed one of its agents at the presidency of the French Republic, Reseau Voltaire, September 4, 2008)
A Strauss-Kahn presidency and a "Socialist" government would have been a serious setback for Washington, contributing to a major shift in Franco-American relations.
It would have contributed to weakening Washington's role on the European political chessboard, leading to a shift in the balance of power between America and "Old Europe" (namely the Franco-German alliance).
It would have had repercussions on the internal structure of the Atlantic Alliance and the hegemonic role of the US within NATO.
The Eurozone monetary system as well as Wall Street's resolve to exert a decisive influence on the European monetary architecture are also at stake.
The Frame-Up?
Fifty-seven percent of France's population, according to a May 17 poll, believe that Strauss-Kahn was framed, victim of a set-up. He was detained on alleged sexual assault and rape charges based on scanty evidence. He was detained based on a complaint filed by the Sofitel hotel where he was staying, on behalf of the alleged victim, an unnamed hotel chamber-maid:
The 32-year-old maid told authorities that she entered his suite early Saturday afternoon and he attacked her, New York Police Department spokesman Paul J. Browne. She said she had been told to clean the spacious $3,000-a-night suite, which she thought was empty.
According to an account the woman provided to police, Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom naked, chased her down a hallway and pulled her into a bedroom, where he began to sexually assault her. She said she fought him off, then he dragged her into the bathroom, where he forced her to perform oral sex on him and tried to remove her underwear. The woman was able to break free again and escaped the room and told hotel staff what had happened, authorities said. They called police.
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Challenging the Washington Consensus
What is at stake in the immediate wake of Strauss Kahn's demise is "regime change" at the IMF.
The Obama administration has demanded his replacement by a more compliant individual. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, former CEO of the New York Federal Reserve Bank is pushing for the replacement of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, "suggesting he can no longer perform his duties" as IMF Managing director.
"Geithner called for greater formal recognition by the IMF board that John Lipsky, the fund's second-in-command, will continue serving as temporary managing director for an interim period. Although Strauss-Kahn has yet to resign, sources say the IMF is in touch with his legal counsel to discuss his future at the organization."
What lies behind the frame-up scenario? What powerful interests are involved? Geithner had a close personal relationship with Strauss-Kahn.
On the floor of the US Senate (May 18), Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, called for the resignation of DSK while calling upon the IMF's deputy managing director John Lipsky to "assume full responsibility of the IMF" as interim managing director. The process of "permanent replacement should "commence at once," he said. John Lipsky is a well connected Wall Street banker, a former Vice Chairman at JPMorgan Investment Bank.
While the IMF is in theory an intergovernmental organization, it has historically been controlled by Wall Street and the US Treasury. The IMF's "bitter economic medicine", the so-called Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), imposed on countless developing countries, essentially serves the interests of creditor banks and multinational corporations.
The IMF is not the main architect of these devastating economic reforms which have served to impoverish millions of people, while creating a "favorable environment" for foreign investors in Third World low wage economies.
The creditor banks call the shots. The IMF is a bureaucratic entity. Its role is to implement and enforce those economic policies on behalf of dominant economic interests.
Strauss Kahn's proposed reforms while providing a "human face" to the IMF did not constitute a shift in direction. They were formulated within the realm of neoliberalism. They modified but they did not undermine the central role of IMF "economic medicine". The socially devastating impacts of IMF "shock treatment" under Strauss-Kahn's leadership have largely prevailed.
Dominique Strauss Kahn arrived at the helm of the IMF in November 2007, less than a year prior to September-October 2008 financial meltdown on Wall Street. The structural adjustment program (SAP) was not modified. Under DSK, IMF "shock treatment" which historically had been limited to developing countries was imposed on Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
Under the helm of DSK as Managing Director, the IMF demanded that developing countries remove food and fuel subsidies at a time of rising commodity prices on the New York and Chicago Mercantile exchanges.
The hikes in food and fuel prices, which preceded the September-October 2008 Wall Street crash, were in large part the result of market manipulation. Grain prices were boosted artificially by large scale speculative operations. Instead of taming the speculators and containing the rise in food and fuel prices, the IMF's role was to ensure that the governments of indebted developing countries would not in any way interfere in the "free market", by preventing these prices from going up.
These hikes in food prices, which are the result of outright manipulation (rather than scarcity) have served to impoverish people Worldwide. The surge in food prices constitutes a new phase of the process of global impoverishment.
DSK was complicit in this process of market manipulation. The removal of food and fuel subsidies in Tunisia and Egypt had been demanded by the IMF. Food and fuel prices skyrocketed, people were impoverished, paving the way towards the January 2011 social protest movement:
Fiscal prudence remains an overarching priority for the [Tunisian] authorities, who also see the need for maintaining a supportive fiscal policy in 2010 in the current international environment. Efforts in the last decade to bring down the public debt ratio significantly should not be jeopardized by a too lax fiscal policy. The authorities are committed to firmly control current expenditure, including subsidies,... (IMF Tunisia: 2010 Article IV Consultation - Staff Report; Public Information Notice on the Executive Board Discussion; and Statement by the Executive Director for Tunisia)
"[The IMF] encouraged the [Egyptian] authorities to press further with food and fuel subsidy reforms, and welcomed their intention to improve the efficiency and targeting of food subsidy programs. [meaning the selective elimination of food subsidies].
"Consideration should be given to introducing automatic adjustment mechanisms for domestic fuel prices to minimize distortions [meaning dramatic increases in fuel prices without State interference], while strengthening cash-based social programs to protect vulnerable groups." (IMF Executive Board Concludes 2008 Article IV Consultation with the Arab Republic of Egypt Public Information Notice, PIN No. 09/04, January 15, 2009)
Under the helm of DSK, the IMF also imposed sweeping austerity measures on Egypt in 2008, while supporting Hosni Mubarak's "efforts to broaden the privatization program".(Ibid)
The Frank G. Wisner Nicolas Sarkozy Connection
Strauss-Kahn was refused bail by Judge Melissa Jackson, an appointee and protégé of Michael Bloomberg, who in addition to his role as Mayor is a powerful figure on Wall Street.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. charged (using scanty evidence) Strauss-Kahn "with seven crimes, including attempted rape, sexual abuse, forcible touching and unlawful imprisonment".
Who is Cyrus Vance Jr.?
He is the son of the late Cyrus Vance who served as Secretary of State in the Carter administration.
But there is more than meets the eye. Nicolas Sarkozy's step father Frank G. Wisner II, a prominent CIA official who married his step mother Christine de Ganay in 1977 served as Deputy Executive Secretary of State under the helm of Cyrus Vance Senior, father of District Attorney Cyrus Vance Junior.
Is it relevant?
The Vance and Wisner families had close personal ties. In turn Nicolas Sarkozy had close family ties with his step father Frank Wisner (and his half brothers and sisters in the US and one member of the Wisner family was involved in Sarkozy's election campaign).
It is also worth noting that Frank G. Wisner II was the son of one of America's most notorious spies, the late Frank Gardiner Wisner (1909- 1965), the mastermind behind the CIA sponsored coup which toppled the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953. Wisner Jr. is also trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Trust.
While these various personal ties do not prove that Strauss-Kahn was the object of a set-up, the matter of Sarkozy's ties to the CIA via his step father, not to mention the ties of Frank G. Wisner II to the Cyrus Vance family are certainly worth investigating. Frank G, Wisner also played a key role as Obama's special intelligence envoy to Egypt at the height of the January 2011 protest movement.
Did the CIA play a role?
Was Strauss-Kahn framed by people in his immediate political entourage including President Obama and Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner?
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District Attorney Cyrus Vance Junior, son of the late Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State in the Carter administration
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Sarkozy's Step Father Frank G Wisner II, Deputy Executive Secretary of State (1976-79)
under Cyrus Vance Senior during the Carter administration
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In this courtroom drawing, Dominique Strauss-Khan, next to his lawyer
Benjamin Brafman, in front of Criminal Court Judge Melissa Jackson during his arraignment at the Manhattan Criminal Court (AP)
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DSK and Timothy Geithner
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DSK and Timothy Geithner
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Fair Trial?
Innocent before proven guilty? The US media has already cast its verdict. Will the court procedures be manipulated?
One would expect that Strauss-Kahn be granted a fair trial, namely the same treatment as that granted to thousands of arrests on alleged sexual aggression charges in New York City.
How many similar or comparable alleged sexual aggressions occur on a monthly basis in New York City? What is the underlying pattern? How many of these are reported to the police? How many are the object of police follow-up once a complaint has been filed?
What is the percent of complaints submitted to police which are the object of police arrest? How many of these arrests lead to a judicial procedure? What are the delays in court procedures?
How many of these arrests lead to release without a judicial procedure?
How many of the cases submitted to a judicial procedure are dismissed by the presiding judge?
How many of the cases which are not dismissed are refused bail outright by the presiding judge? What is the basis for refusing bail?
How many are granted bail? What is the average amount of bail?
How many are imprisoned without bail based on scanty and incomplete evidence?
How many of those who are refused bail are sent to an infamous maximum security prison on Rikers Island on the orders of Michael Bloomberg.
Diplomatic Immunity
Press reports state that full diplomatic immunity does not apply to officials of the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions, namely that the US did not ratify the protocol.
"U.N. convention on privileges and immunities for international agencies that most countries have ratified. It gives the heads of U.N. agencies broad immunity in the countries where they are based. But the U.S. government never became a party to that treaty. Employees of international agencies are covered by a U.S. statute that gives only limited immunity."
The relevant question is how has this limited immunity provision been applied in practice? Namely how many people with limited immunity (UN officials, officials of the Bretton Woods institutions) have been arrested and sent to a high security prison?
Has Strauss Kahn been given the same treatment as those arrested under the provisions of "limited immunity"?
Does the Strauss Kahn arrest fit the pattern? Or is Strauss Kahn being treated in a way which does not correspond to the normal (average) pattern of police and judicial procedures applied in the numerous cases of persons arrested on alleged sexual assault charges?
Without a frame-up instrumented by very powerful people acting in the background, the head of the IMF would have been treated in an entirely different way. The mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and Timothy Geithner would have come to his rescue. The matter would have been hushed up with a view to protecting the reputation of a powerful public figure. But that did not happen.
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Was Dominique Strauss-Kahn Trying to Torpedo the Dollar?
By Mike Whitney
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24867
Global Research, May 19, 2011
It's all about perception management. The media is trying to dig up as much dirt as they can on Dominique Strauss-Kahn so they can hang the man before he ever sees the inside of a courthouse. It reminds me of the Terry Schiavo case, where devoted-husband Michael was pegged as an insensitive slimeball for carrying out the explicit wishes of his brain-dead wife. Do you remember how the media conducted their disgraceful 24 hour-a-day Blitzkrieg with the endless coverage of weepy Christian fanatics on the front lawn of the hospital while Hannity, Limbaugh and O' Reilly fired away with their sanctimonious claptrap?
And now you're telling me that that same media is just "doing their job?"
Give me a break.
Whoever wants to nail IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has really pulled out all the stops. Their agents have been rummaging through diaries, hotel registries, phone records, yearbooks, yada, yada, yada. The UK Telegraph even paid a visit to a high-priced DC knocking shop to get a little dirt from Madame Botox; whatever it takes to make a randy banker look like the South Hill rapist. And they're doing a pretty good job, too. The cops have made sure that the "Great Seducer" always appears handcuffed and dressed in a "pervie" raincoat with 3-days stubble before they parade him in front of the media. On Wednesday--more grist for the mill--they released his mug-shot, an unflattering, deadpan photo that makes him look like Jack-the-Ripper. Was that the intention?
And, that's not the half of it. The Big Money is exhuming every woman he's ever had contact with for the last 30 years hoping they can glean some damning tidbit of information that will convince the doubters that beneath that sophisticated manner and $25,000 suit lurks a closet Bluebeard ready to snap up your daughters and defile your wives. Next thing you know, they'll be trotting out Paula Jones and Tanya Harding claiming they spent a torrid night with the Marquis de Kahn in a trailerpark outside Winamucca.
Where does it stop? Or does it stop? Are we in for another year-long Clinton-Lewinski feeding frenzy where everyday we hear more lurid details about the sexploits of people who don't really interest us at all?
Aren't you at all curious about who's behind this "lynching by media" scam? This is an all-out, no-holds-barred, steel-cage, take-down. The big boys save that kind of action for the worst offenders, that is, for the insiders who have broken "Omerta" or wandered off the reservation. I mean, they locked him up on Riker's Island without bail, for Chrissake. What does that tell you? Even Bernie Madoff was allowed to stay in his $7 million Park Avenue penthouse while he waited for trial, but not Straus-Kahn. Oh, no. He get's the royal treatment, even though he has no criminal record and nothing but the sketchy accusations of a chambermaid against him, he's carted off to the state slammer where he can mingle with hardened criminals while dining on corn flakes and Wonder Bread.
You call that justice?
Can I tell you what this is all about? It's about the dollar. That's right. Strauss-Kahn was mounting an attack against the dollar and now the wrath of the Empire has descended on him like ton-of-bricks. Here's the scoop from the UK Telegraph:
"Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, has called for a new world currency that would challenge the dominance of the dollar and protect against future financial instability.....
He suggested adding emerging market countries' currencies, such as the yuan, to a basket of currencies that the IMF administers could add stability to the global system....Strauss-Kahn saw a greater role for the IMF's Special Drawing Rights, (SDRs) which is currently composed of the dollar, sterling, euro and yen, over time but said it will take a great deal of international cooperation to make that work." ("International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn calls for new world currency", UK Telegraph)
So, Strauss-Kahn finds himself in the same crowd as Saddam Hussein and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, right? You may recall that Saddam switched from dollars to euros about a year before the war. 12 months later Iraq was invaded, Saddam was hanged, and the dollar was restored to power. Gaddafi made a similar mistake when "he initiated a movement to refuse the dollar and the euro, and called on Arab and African nations to use a new currency instead, the gold dinar." ("Libya: All About Oil, or All About Central Banking?" Ellen Brown, Op-Ed News) Libya has since come under attack by US and NATO forces which have armed a motley group of dissidents, malcontents and terrorists to depose Gaddafi and reimpose dollar hegemony.
And now it's Strauss-Kahn's turn to get torn to shreds. And for good reason. After all, DSK actually poses a much greater threat to the dollar than either Saddam or Gaddafi because he's in the perfect position to shape policy and to persuade foreign heads of state that replacing the dollar is in their best interests. And that is precisely what he was doing; badmouthing the buck. Only he was too dense to figure out that the dollar is the US Mafia's mealticket, the main way that shifty banksters and corporate scalawags extort tribute from the poorest people on earth. Strauss-Kahn was rocking the boat, and now he's going to pay.
Here's a clip from CNN Money:
"The International Monetary Fund issued a report Thursday on a possible replacement for the dollar as the world's reserve currency.
The IMF said Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, could help stabilize the global financial system....SDRs represent potential claims on the currencies of IMF members.....The IMF typically lends countries funds denominated in SDRs. While they are not a tangible currency, some economists argue that SDRs could be used as a less volatile alternative to the U.S. dollar.
"Over time, there may also be a role for the SDR to contribute to a more stable international monetary system," he said.
The goal is to have a reserve asset for central banks that better reflects the global economy since the dollar is vulnerable to swings in the domestic economy and changes in U.S. policy.
In addition to serving as a reserve currency, the IMF also proposed creating SDR-denominated bonds, which could reduce central banks' dependence on U.S. Treasuries. The Fund also suggested that certain assets, such as oil and gold, which are traded in U.S. dollars, could be priced using SDRs." ("IMF discusses dollar alternative", CNN Money)
Wow. So DSK was zeroing in on US Treasuries as well as the dollar? That's the whole shooting match.
So, what type of progress was he making in converting USDs to SDRs? According to Reuters: "The IMF general resources credit outstanding increased to 65.5 billion Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, ($104 billion) on May 12 from 6.0 billion SDRs at December 2007. The so-called new arrangement to borrow, which came into effect on April 1, increased the IMF's available lending resources to 269 billion SDRs on May 12 from 120 billion SDRs on March 31." (http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/05/17/idINIndia-57083920110517?type=economicNews)
Not a bad start for such an ambitious project. It looks like DSK's dream of dethroning the dollar as the de facto "international currency" was beginning to gain momentum. But didn't he know that his actions would anger some very powerful and well-connected people?
Well, if he did; he never let on. In fact, he started mucking around in other stuff, too, like when he intervened on behalf of Irish taxpayers, trying to protect them at the expense of foreign bondholders. That's a big "No no" in banker's world. They keep a list of "people who count", and taxpayers are not on that list. Here's an excerpt from the Irish Times:
"Ireland’s Last Stand began less shambolically than you might expect. The IMF, which believes that lenders should pay for their stupidity before it has to reach into its pocket, presented the Irish with a plan to haircut €30 billion of unguaranteed bonds by two-thirds on average. (Irish finance minister) Lenihan was overjoyed, according to a source who was there, telling the IMF team: “You are Ireland’s salvation.”
The deal was torpedoed from an unexpected direction. At a conference call with the G7 finance ministers, the haircut was vetoed by US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner who, as his payment of $13 billion from government-owned AIG to Goldman Sachs showed, believes that bankers take priority over taxpayers. The only one to speak up for the Irish was UK chancellor George Osborne, but Geithner, as always, got his way. An instructive, if painful, lesson in the extent of US soft power, and in who our friends really are.
The negotiations went downhill from there. On one side was the European Central Bank, unabashedly representing Ireland’s creditors and insisting on full repayment of bank bonds. On the other was the IMF, arguing that Irish taxpayers would be doing well to balance their government’s books, let alone repay the losses of private banks." ("Ireland's future depends on breaking free from bailout", Morgan Kelly, Irish Times)
So, Strauss-Kahn stuck up for Irish taxpayers over the banks, the bondholders, the ECB, and the US Treasury. Naturally, that made him persona non grata among the ruling throng.
And, there's more, too, because Strauss-Kahn's vision was not limited to currency alone, but involved broad structural changes to the IMF itself that would have reversed decades of neoliberal policies. DSK had settled on a new approach to policymaking; one that would abandon the worst elements of globalization and put greater emphasis on social cohesion, cooperation and multilateralism. Here's an excerpt from the speech titled "Human Development and Wealth Distribution" he gave in November 2010:
"....Adam Smith—one of the founders of modern economics—recognized clearly that a poor distribution of wealth could undermine the free market system, noting that: “The disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful and…neglect persons of poor and mean condition…is the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.”
This was over 250 years ago. In today’s world, these problems are magnified under the lens of globalization....globalization also had a dark side. Lurking behind it was a large and growing chasm between rich and poor—especially within countries. An inequitable distribution of wealth can wear down the social fabric. More unequal countries have worse social indicators, a poorer human development record, and higher degrees of economic insecurity and anxiety. In too many countries, inequality increased and real wages stagnated—failing to keep up with productivity—over the past few decades. Ominously, inequality in the United States was back at its pre-Great Depression levels on the eve of the crisis....
An immediate task is to end the scourge of unemployment....Progressive taxation can also promote equity through redistribution, and this should be encouraged....“Inequality is corrosive” ....“it rots societies from within…it illustrates and exacerbates the loss of social cohesion…the pathology of the age and the greatest threat to the health of any democracy.” ("Human Development and Wealth Distribution", Dominique Strauss-Kahn, IMF)
Can you believe it? DSK is lecturing bankers about redistribution? That's not what they want to hear. What they want to hear is why ripping off poor people actually makes the world a better place. DSK's speech just shows that he wasn't drinking the Koolaid anymore. He was becoming a nuisance and they needed to get rid of him.
Does that mean he didn't rape the woman who was in his hotel room?
Of course not. In fact, he could be guilty. But he deserves a fair trial, and someone's making damn sure he doesn't get one.
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IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn: The French believe it’s a Plot
by Roland Michel Tremblay
Global Research, May 19, 2011
Le Monde confirmed in a poll conducted by CSA that for 57% of the French population, Strauss-Kahn is the victim of a plot. Reviewing the French Press reveals that most of the mass media in France published articles of main political figures, including political rivals, stating that they do not believe the charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn are genuine. In the meantime the career of the Chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and potential future French President, who was favourable to the people instead of global corporations, is over. Unless somehow the belief of his innocence could be turned to his advantage, even if found guilty by forged evidence. A crucial mistake perhaps, the French simply don’t think like Americans, anything is possible. Here is a review of the most substantial articles in the French Press.
Le Figaro: The plot flowers
On 16 May 2011, Le Figaro published an article titled “The thesis of the plot flowers on the web and with politicians”. The main idea of the article can be translated as: “The theory of a political manipulation was born from an announcement on Twitter of DSK’s arrest by a UMP militant. Denuded of any element of proof, it has nevertheless been evoked by responsible politicians.” They report how the site Le Post questioned certain troubling facts in an article titled “DSK arrested: a young UMP first on the info”: “The promptitude with which Jonathan Pinet relayed the information of the arrest of DSK, the fact that Arnaud Dassier, one of the investors of the site Atlantico, already author of revelations about the Porsche, would have been one of the first to have re-tweeted the information, the fact that the site 24heuresactu, reputed close to the right, was the first French site to publish the information.” Le Post mentions that Dassier was responsible for the Internet campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007. The Porsche incident stem from when Strauss-Kahn and his wife came out of the said car in Paris in front of their home, whilst DSK is said to be a socialist. At the time the right took the opportunity to tarnish his image in the media.
From Le Figaro: “"And if this was here the right way of getting rid of a Chief of the IMF too independent in order to place instead someone better adapted to the American economic and financial situation?", write for example Bertrand Neveu on lefigaro.fr. Interrogations linked to the inconsistencies concerning DSK’s schedule, assembled in an article in Les Echos.” The article in Les Echos called “Several inconsistencies subsist in the schedule of DSK” mostly discusses how the NYPD changed the facts and time of the event after it was proven that Strauss-Kahn was having lunch with his daughter at the time of the alleged offence. However, this point is of no importance now since the issue is if sex was consensual. They however wonder why the accused would call back the hotel to ensure his forgotten mobile phone could be returned, which does not fit someone who was trying to flee the scene of the crime, especially that this is how apparently NYPD found out where they could arrest DSK, at JFK airport.
“I think a trap has been set for DSK”
Le Figaro goes on to state what politicians have said: “At the centre of politics, the thesis of an operation against IMF’s Chief hatches. There again, without proof. It was defended at the earliest hours of the affair by a figure from the right, Christine Boutin, President of the Christian-Democrat Party. "I think that likely a trap has been set for Dominique Strauss-Kahn and that he fell into it", explained the ex-Minister.” “Same saying from the radical Dominique Paillé, ex-UMP’s spokesperson, who evokes "a banana skin" slid under the shoes of the IMF’s Chief, of whom everybody should know, according to him, his "vulnerability" when it comes to women. "The trap, we cannot not think of it", judges also the Minister of Co-operation, Henri de Raincourt. Jacques Attali evokes from his perspective the hypothesis of a manipulation" occurring in a Sofitel hotel which belongs, noted the ex-adviser of François Mitterrand, to a French chain (Accor, editor's note). Close to DSK, Michèle Sabban, Vice-President of the Ile-de-France Regional Council, went much further when evoking "an international plot". "It is the IMF that they wanted to decapitate and not so much the candidate at the socialist primary", assures Michèle Sabban. She does not specify that he was not officially yet candidate at the primary. According to her, DSK is "the most powerful man after Obama". The elected socialist offers for proof that "everyone knows that his fragility, it is the seduction, the women. They took him up that way."
“Two other close persons of the potential candidate at the socialist primary, Jean-Marie Le Guen and Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, did not state such accusations, stating however that the affair "does not resemble" the DSK they know. The first one went further Monday morning, estimating that "the affair is not credible". The ex-Minister and business man Bernard Tapie, interrogated to learn if it could be an orchestrated plot, answered: "Evidently".
“At Sarcelles, the ex-electoral stronghold of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, certain inhabitants also stated their doubts on Sunday. "For me, he was trapped. It is nonetheless a great man, I cannot see him do something like that", explains an inhabitant. "Just before presenting himself to the socialist primaries, it is all the same suspect", add a young woman. "It is a political coup!", throws a merchant from the city market.”
DSK only days before his arrest: “A woman raped in a parking to whom we would promise 500,000 or a million euros to invent such a story”
However, the strongest argument for any conspiracy theorist will be the fact that Dominique Strauss-Kahn predicted his own downfall to journalists from Libération, prophesising the exact same plot that he was ultimately the victim of, suggesting that he was expecting entrapment. The article published on 16 May 2011 is entitled “Yes, I love women, so what?”:
“DSK, at the moment of sitting at the table, interrogated: "Do you have your mobile phones on you?" He himself has two. He explains having left his personal phone in the cloakroom and only keep on him "the crypted" provided by the IMF. He affirms fearing the mischiefs of "Guéant", the Interior Minister, and claims to be on his guard after having had high presumptions of being monitored. Simple precaution, from fears that the journalists that we are record the future conversation, or real dread of being listened to by the power? Nevertheless we kept our mobiles on us.
“Without formally saying that he is a candidate to the PS primary, the IMF Chief drops that his plan is ready. According to him, Martine Aubry renounced being a candidate and, in virtue of the famous pact that links them in order to avoid confrontation, there he is positioned. Very determined, he evokes the long – too long to his taste – campaign to come and the main difficulties for him to overcome. He sees three of them, in this order: "the money, the women and my Judaism". But, at the developing moment, he starts with the women. "Yes, I love women… And so what? […] For years they talk of photos of gigantic orgies, but I have never seen anything come out… then let them show them!" DSK evokes then a scene where he finds himself in a public urinal with Nicolas Sarkozy, during an international summit, and he asks him to stop to dirty his private life. All in his will to pose himself as the victim, Strauss-Kahn starts imagining "a woman [that he would have] raped in a parking and to whom we would promise 500 000 or a million euros to invent such a story…"
Concerning the second affair which re-surfaced, seeming to clinch the culpability of Strauss-Kahn, Le Figaro in an article titled “Le Guen/DSK: "affair not credible"” reports what the deputy of the Socialist Party of Paris stated: “Interrogated over the complaint that the journalist and author Tristane Banon is considering, presumed victim of a sexual aggression attempt by the IMF’s Chief in 2003, Jean-Marie Le Guen estimates that "this is part of campaigns that are being led, or about to be led against DSK".”
It seems the French just don’t buy it. The very same smear tactics used in America against political opponents might not work in France, where citizens, the press and politicians are not afraid to be intellectual, to think and to express their opinion. It will be interesting to see if these accusations, and perhaps even convictions, might not just propel Dominique Strauss-Kahn back to the very top one day, where many Wall Street bankers secretly hope to never see him again.
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The Strauss Kahn Frame-Up: The Amerikan Police State Strides Forward
by Paul Craig Roberts
Global Research, May 18, 2011
The International Monetary Fund’s director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was arrested last Sunday in New York City on the allegation of an immigrant hotel maid that he attempted to rape her in his hotel room. A New York judge has denied Strauss-Kahn bail on the grounds that he might flee to France.
President Bill Clinton survived his sexual escapades, because he was a servant to the system, not a threat. But Strauss-Kahn, like former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, was a threat to the system, and, like Eliot Spitzer, Strass-Kahn has been deleted from the power ranks.
Strauss-Kahn was the first IMF director in my lifetime, if memory serves, who disavowed the traditional IMF policy of imposing on the poor and ordinary people the cost of bailing out Wall Street and the Western banks. Strauss-Kahn said that regulation had to be reimposed on the greed-driven, fraud-prone financial sector, which, unregulated, destroyed the lives of ordinary people. Strauss-Kahn listened to Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz, one of a handful of economists who has a social conscience.
Perhaps the most dangerous black mark in Strauss-Kahn’s book is that he was far ahead of America’s French puppet, President Sarkozy, in the upcoming French elections. Strauss-Kahn simply had to be eliminated.
It is possible that Strauss-Kahn eliminated himself and saved Washington the trouble. However, as a well-travelled person who has often stayed in New York hotels and in hotels in cities around the world, I have never experienced a maid entering unannounced into my room, much less when I was in the shower.
In the spun story, Strauss-Kahn is portrayed as so deprived of sex that he attempted to rape a hotel maid. Anyone who ever served on the staff of a powerful public figure knows that this is unlikely. On a senator’s staff on which I served, there were two aides whose job was to make certain that no woman, with the exception of his wife, was ever alone with the senator. This was done to protect the senator both from female power groupies, who lust after celebrities and powerful men, and from women sent by a rival on missions to compromise an opponent. A powerful man such as Strauss-Kahn would not have been starved for women, and as a multi-millionaire he could certainly afford to make his own discreet arrangements.
As Henry Kissinger said, “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” In politics, sex is handed out as favors and payoffs, and it is used as a honey trap. Some Americans will remember that Senator Packwood’s long career (1969-1995) was destroyed by a female lobbyist, suspected, according to rumors, of sexual conquests of Senators, who charged that Packwood propositioned her in his office. Perhaps what inspired the charge was that Packwood was in the way of her employer’s legislative agenda.
Even those who exercise care can be framed by allegations of an event to which there are no witnesses. On May 16 the British Daily Mail reported that prior to Strauss-Kahn’s fateful departure for New York, the French newspaper, Liberation, published comments he made while discussing his plans to challenge Sarkozy for the presidency of France. Strauss-Kahn said that as he was the clear favorite to beat Sarkozy, he would be subjected to a smear campaign by Sarkozy and his interior minister, Glaude Gueant. Strauss-Kahn predicted that a woman would be offered between 500,000 and 1,000,000 euros (more than $1,000,000) to make up a story that he raped her. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1387625/IMF-chief-Dominique-Strauss-Kahn-feared-political-enemy-pay-woman-allege-rape.html
The Daily Mail reports that Strauss-Kahn’s suspicions are supported
by the fact that the first person to break the news of Strauss-Kahn’s arrest was an activist in Mr Sarkozy’s UMP party – who apparently knew about the scandal before it happened. Jonathan Pinet, a politics student, tweeted the news just before the New York Police Department made it public, although he said that he simply had a ‘friend’ working at the Sofitel where the attack was said to have happened. The first person to re-tweet Mr Pinet was Arnaud Dassier, a spin doctor who had previously publicised details of multi-millionaire Strauss-Kahn’s luxurious lifestyle in a bid to dent his left wing credentials.
Strauss-Kahn could just as easily been set up by rivals inside the IMF, as well as by rivals within the French political establishment.
Michelle Sabban, a senior councillor for the greater Paris region and a Strauss-Kahn loyalist said: ‘I am convinced it is an international conspiracy.’
She added: ‘It's the IMF they wanted to decapitate, not so much the Socialist primary candidate.
‘It's not like him. Everyone knows that his weakness is seduction, women. That's how they got him.’
Even some of Strauss-Kahn’s rivals said they could not believe the news. ‘It is totally hallucinatory,’ said centrist Dominique Paille.
‘If it is true, this would be a historic moment, but in the negative sense, for French political life. I hope that everyone respects the presumption of innocence. I cannot manage to believe this affair.’
And Henri de Raincourt, minister for overseas co-operation in President Nicolas Sarkozy's government, added: ‘We cannot rule out the thought of a trap.’
Michelle Sabban is on to something when she says the IMF was the target. Strauss-Kahn is the first IMF director who is not lined up on the side of the rich against the poor. Strauss-Kahn’s suspicions were of Sarkozy, but Wall Street and the US government also had strong reasons to eliminate him. Wall Street is terrified by the prospect of regulation, and Washington was embarrassed by the recent IMF report that China’s economy would surpass the US economy within five years. An international conspiracy is not out of the question.
Indeed, the plot is unfolding as a conspiracy. Authorities have produced a French woman who claims she was a near rape victim of Strauss-Kahn a decade ago. It would be interesting to know whether this allegation is the result of a threat or a bribe. As in the case of Julian Assange, there are now two women to accuse Strauss-Kahn. Once the prosecutors get the odds of two females against one male, they win in the media.
It has not been revealed how the authorities knew Strauss-Kahn was on a flight to France. However, by arresting him aboard his scheduled flight just as it was to depart, the authorities created the image of a man fleeing from a crime.
The way Amerikan justice (sic) works is that prosecutors in about 96 percent of the cases get a plea bargain. US prosecutors are permitted by judges and the public to pay for testimony against the defendant and to put sufficient pressure on innocent defendants to coerce them into making a guilty plea in exchange for lesser charges and a lighter sentence. Unless the hotel maid has a spell of bad conscience and admits she was paid to lie, or gets cold feet about perjuring herself, Strauss-Kahn is likely to find that Amerikan criminal justice (sic) is organized to produce conviction regardless of innocence or guilt.
On May 16, the day following Strauss-Kahn’s arrest, the US Supreme Court threw its weight behind the Amerikan police state by destroying the remains of the Fourth Amendment with an 8-1 ruling that, the U.S. Constitution notwithstanding, Amerika’s police do not need warrants to invade homes and search persons.
This ruling is more evidence that every American is regarded as a potential enemy of the state, not only by Airport Security but also by the high muckety-mucks in Washington. The conservatives’ “war on crime” has created a police state, and conservatives, who originally stood for limited government and civil liberty, are euphoric over the expanded and unaccountable powers that a conservative Supreme Court has handed to the police.
On the same day the federal government reached the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, which forced the Treasury to “borrow” money from federal employee pensions in order to continue funding Amerika’s illegal wars and crimes against humanity. The breached debt ceiling serves as an appropriate marker for a country that has squandered its constitutional heritage and has arrived at moral as well as fiscal bankruptcy.
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Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s Long Shadow in Washington
by Massimo Calabresi
Global Research, May 18, 2011
It’s some 250 miles from 2613 Dumbarton Street in a quiet corner of Georgetown to the cell blocks at Riker’s Island in New York City, but the psychic distance is much greater. One of the stately Georgian mansions that provide unusual space and privacy in the wealthy Washington neighborhood, Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s brick house, valued at $3.8 million, has a large yard and a professionally tended garden. Nearby, tennis courts and parks provided even more peace for the high-powered head of the International Monetary Fund when he would return from the organization’s office just off Pennsylvania Ave. Now, on Rikers Island, Strauss-Kahn finds himself in a 11 foot by 13 foot cell. At meal times, he relies on staples such as white bread and turkey burgers.
But it is not just material differences that produce the starkness of the DSK case. The true cognitive dissonance comes from the contrast between the baseness of the allegations against him and his stature in Washington. Because by all accounts, DSK is not merely the head of a powerful organization, he was its exceptionally talented leader who brought it from increasing irrelevance four years ago to a crucial position in the international system today.
Before the global financial crisis of 2008, the IMF was fading fast. There was talk inside the building of closing the European department — what need was there for Cold War-era macroeconomic oversight or safety nets in the age of the Euro and ever expanding wealth in western and central Europe?
When the financial crisis hit, DSK saw an opportunity to advance both the IMF’s institutional relevance and his Keynsian economic outlook. And George W. Bush’s decision to bring the crisis under the purview of the G-20 created DSK’s first opportunity. The G-7 was always a small enough group with sufficiently common interests that it would sort out policy on its own. DSK saw that the G-20, with its representation of powerful emerging markets from Asia and Latin America, would need an interlocutor to help its members reach agreement, and he launched himself into that role.
DSK also moved the IMF away from the stricter monetarist approach that had tarnished its reputation in the Asian financial crisis to a more Keynsian outlook, advocating expansionary policies in response to the financial crisis. In doing so, he brought the institution, which is famously populated with rather dry and stubborn economists, with him.
A talented negotiator, well-educated economist and lawyer, and an experienced politician, DSK possessed the rare skill set necessary to pull it off. “He can talk the economic talk,” says one person familiar with his work at the IMF, “He’s a politician who gives the impression that he knows he has something to say and is powerful. For a politician, he is unusually intellectually effective.”
DSK showed those skills last fall when he managed to convince the European members of the IMF to relinquish some of their share of the organization’s leadership positions to representative from emerging economies like China and India. One person familiar with the negotiations says DSK walked into the room for final negotiations over quotas and after 20 minutes, struck a deal that could have taken all day. “He was extremely efficient.” Not only did DSK extract concessions from the Europeans, but they got nothing in return beside increased credibility for the IMF.
He was also highly respected at the Treasury department. His regular point of contact was Lael Brainard, the undersecretary for international affairs, but he also spoke regularly with Tim Geithner throughout the crisis. “He’s excellent,” says a senior Treasury official, “He has great stature in Europe and is thoroughly conversant in the world of finance.”
DSK’s fall looks to some in France like the shocking and unfair humiliation of a man who had earned a level of protection from such indignities. The idea that someone of his stature, whatever his crime, could be treated as a common criminal is difficult for such famous defenders of the proletariat as Bernard Henri-Levy, the self-described “public intellectual” and philosopher. Henri-Levy, a longtime friend of Strauss-Kahn wrote angrily in The Daily Beast Monday, “I hold it against the American judge who, by delivering [Strauss-Kahn] to the crowd of photo hounds, pretended to take him for a subject of justice like any other.”
Of course, Americans aspire not to give preferential treatment to the powerful when they are accused of breaking the law. And the fact that in the U.S. system of justice, a “chambermaid” (as Henri-Levy referred to her) has every right to accuse the powerful head of an international agency, and to have her accusations considered in court, is a point of pride for many Americans.
But despite some florid assertions that DSK’s downfall could ripple out through the international financial scene, officials in Washington generally play down the significance of the scandal. “The reality is he was leaving anyway,” says the Treasury official. Before Saturday’s arrest, the U.S. had assumed that DSK would leave in the fall to begin his campaign for the presidency of France, and the Treasury official says the U.S. had already held several internal discussions about who should succeed him.
The tradition is that Americans get to choose the head of the World Bank and Europeans select the IMF chief. Prior to the scandal, the U.S. had considered pushing someone from the developing world, for example from India, but decided that the French would likely retaliate by trying to replace Robert Zoellick, the current head of the World Bank whose term expires in 2012, with a non-American. Regardless, Geithner is pushing for an immediate replacement for DSK. Responding to a question Tuesday night in New York, the Treasury Secretary said Strauss-Kahn is “obviously not in the position to run the IMF.”
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IMF chief Strauss-Kahn caught in "Honey Trap"
by Mike Whitney
Global Research, May 16, 2011
I have no way of knowing whether the 32-year-old maid who claims she was attacked and forced to perform oral sex on IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is telling the truth or not. I'll leave that to the braying hounds in the media who have already assumed the role of judge, jury and Lord High Executioner. But I will say, the whole matter smells rather fishy, just like the Eliot Spitzer story smelled fishy. Spitzer, you may recall, was Wall Street's biggest adversary and a likely candidate to head the SEC, a position at which he would have excelled. In fact, there's no doubt in my mind that if Spitzer had been appointed to lead the SEC, most of the top investment bankers on Wall Street would presently be making license plates and rope-soled shoes at the federal penitentiary. So, there was plenty of reason to shadow Spitzer's every move and see what bit of dirt could be dug up on him. As it turns out, the ex-Governor of New York made it easy for his enemies by engaging a high-priced hooker named Ashley Dupre for sex at the Mayflower Hotel. When the news broke, the media descended on Spitzer like a swarm of locusts poring over every salacious detail with the ebullient fervor of a randy 6th-grader. Meanwhile, the crooks on Wall Street were able to breathe a sigh of relief and get back to doing what they do best; fleecing investors and cheating people out of the life savings.
Strauss-Kahn had enemies in high places, too, which is why this whole matter stinks to high-Heaven. First of all, Strauss-Kahn was the likely candidate of the French Socialist Party who would have faced Sarkozy in the upcoming presidential elections. The IMF chief clearly had a leg-up on Sarkozy who has been battered by a number of personal scandals and plunging approval ratings.
But if Strauss-Kahn was set up, then it was probably by members of the western bank coalition, that shadowy group of self-serving swine whose policies have kept the greater body of humanity in varying state of poverty and desperation for the last two centuries. Strauss-Kahn had recently broke-free from the "party line" and was changing the direction of the IMF. His road to Damascus conversion was championed by progressive economist Joesph Stiglitz in a recent article titled "The IMF's Switch in Time". Here's an excerpt:
"The annual spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund was notable in marking the Fund’s effort to distance itself from its own long-standing tenets on capital controls and labor-market flexibility. It appears that a new IMF has gradually, and cautiously, emerged under the leadership of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Slightly more than 13 years earlier, at the IMF’s Hong Kong meeting in 1997, the Fund had attempted to amend its charter in order to gain more leeway to push countries towards capital-market liberalization. The timing could not have been worse: the East Asia crisis was just brewing – a crisis that was largely the result of capital-market liberalization in a region that, given its high savings rate, had no need for it.
That push had been advocated by Western financial markets – and the Western finance ministries that serve them so loyally. Financial deregulation in the United States was a prime cause of the global crisis that erupted in 2008, and financial and capital-market liberalization elsewhere helped spread that “made in the USA” trauma around the world....The crisis showed that free and unfettered markets are neither efficient nor stable." ("The IMF's Switch in Time", Joseph Stiglitz, Project Syndicate)
So, Strauss-Kahn was trying to move the bank in a more positive direction, a direction that didn't require that countries leave their economies open to the ravages of foreign capital that moves in swiftly--pushing up prices and creating bubbles--and departs just as fast, leaving behind the scourge of high unemployment, plunging demand, hobbled industries, and deep recession.
Strauss-Kahn had set out on a "kinder and gentler" path, one that would not force foreign leaders to privatize their state-owned industries or crush their labor unions. Naturally, his actions were not warmly received by the bankers and corporatists who look to the IMF to provide legitimacy to their ongoing plunder of the rest of the world. These are the people who think that the current policies are "just fine" because they produce the results they're looking for, which is bigger profits for themselves and deeper poverty for everyone else.
Here's Stiglitz again, this time imparting the "kiss of death" to his friend Strauss-Kahn:
"Strauss-Kahn is proving himself a sagacious leader of the IMF.... As Strauss-Kahn concluded in his speech to the Brookings Institution shortly before the Fund’s recent meeting: “Ultimately, employment and equity are building blocks of economic stability and prosperity, of political stability and peace. This goes to the heart of the IMF’s mandate. It must be placed at the heart of the policy agenda.”
Right. So, now the IMF is going to be an agent for the redistribution of wealth.... (for) "strengthening collective bargaining, restructuring mortgages, restructuring tax and spending policies to stimulate the economy now through long-term investments, and implementing social policies that ensure opportunity for all"? (according to Stiglitz)
Good luck with that.
Can you imagine how much this kind of talk pisses off the Big Money guys? How long do you think they'd put up with this claptrap before they decided that Strauss-Kahn needed to take a permanent vacation?
Not long, I'd wager.
Check this out from World Campaign and judge for yourself whether Strauss-Kahn had become a "liability" that had to be eliminated so the business of extracting wealth from the poorest people on earth could continue apace:
"For decades, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been associated among anti-poverty, hunger and development activists as the poster child of everything wrong with the rich world's fiscal management of the rest of the world, particularly of poor nations, with its seemingly one-dimensional focus on belt-tightening fiscal policies as the price of its loans, and a trickle-down economic philosophy that has helped traditional wealthy elites maintain the status quo while the majority stayed poor and powerless. With a world increasingly in revolution because of such realities, and after the global financial crisis in the wake of regulatory and other policies that had worked after the Great Depression being largely abandoned, IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn has made nothing less than stunning observations about how the IMF and the world need to change policies.
In an article today in the Washington Post, Howard Schneider writes that after the 2008 crash led toward regulation again of financial companies and government involvement in the economy, for Strauss-Khan "the job is only half done, as he has been leading the fund through a fundamental rethinking of its economic theory. In recent remarks, he has provided a broad summary of the conclusions: State regulation of markets needs to be more extensive; global policies need to create a more even distribution of income; central banks need to do more to prevent lending and asset prices from expanding too fast. 'The pendulum will swing from the market to the state,' Strauss-Kahn said in an address at George Washington University last week. 'Globalization has delivered a lot . . . but it also has a dark side, a large and growing chasm between the rich and the poor. Clearly we need a new form of globalization' to prevent the 'invisible hand' of loosely regulated markets from becoming 'an invisible fist.'" (http://wcampaign.org/issue.php?mid=625&v=y )
Repeat: "...a fundamental rethinking of economic theory".... (a greater) "distribution of income"...(more) "regulation of financial companies", "central banks need to do more to prevent lending and asset prices from expanding too fast".
Are you kidding me? Read that passage again and I think you'll agree with me that Strauss-Kahn had signed his own death warrant.
There's not going to be any revolution at the IMF. That's baloney. The institution was created with the clear intention of ripping people off and it's done an impressive job in that regard. There's not going to be any change of policy either. Why would there be? Have the bankers and corporate bilge-rats suddenly grown a conscience and decided to lend a helping hand to long-suffering humanity? Get real.
Strauss-Kahn broke ranks and ventured into no man's land. That's why he was set up and then crushed like a bug.
(Note: Strauss-Kahn has been replaced by the IMF's number 2 guy, John Lipsky, former Vice Chairman of the JPMorgan Investment Bank. How's that for "change you can believe in"?)
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"Soft Assassinations": Strauss-Kahn and Eliot Spitzer
by Michael T Bucci
Global Research, May 15, 2011
It appears that IMF chief Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn chose the least safe location - New York - to carry-out a "criminal sexual act, attempted rape, and unlawful imprisonment" of a 32-year-old hotel maid, if that allegation is proved in court. He will plead not guilty, said his attorney Benjamin Brafman. In essence, Strauss-Kahn might just have received the "Eliot Spitzer boot" masterminded and directed by the same Wall Street gang that engineered the past meltdown, the ongoing deep recession and the U.S. Government's austerity programs, which international wealth continues to exploit for optimal profits.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy's qualifications for winning reelection must appear enhanced. He proved himself a ruthless war monger in league with the American war machine and, if his hand is behind this debacle, a dispenser of French equalitarian justice to one of the most powerful people in the world, albeit a man who oversees a rapacious institution that leaves third-world nations poorer and might leave today's insolvent European nations straddled with debt peonage to the world's largest banks for decades to come. But to others, these details are sidelined by a sex story in a $3,000-a-night hotel suite at the Sofitel in Times Square perpetuated by a European "elitist".
Behind the political scene lurks Jean-Marie Le Pen and the far-Right National Front, elated no doubt over the removal of a serious political contender and possible candidate in the April-May 2012 Presidential election. The IMF managing director had yet to say whether he would run for president, but French opinion polls put him as a clear winner over conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy if the two faced off in an election [France24]. His absence now will provide the NF leverage against Sarkozy in what looks to become a two-way race between conservatives and the far-Right, absent all representation by the Left. "The case and the charges ...mark the end of his campaign and pre-campaign for the presidency and will most likely prompt the IMF to ask him to leave his post," National Front leader Le Pen told i-Tele television.
But of equal if not greater significance, a Socialist now has been removed not only from French politics but from the larger playing field of global finance and banking, and this might prove to be the most overlooked aspect of this entire saga.
To British and America neoliberal market analysts and mavens, questions must arise about the timing of this "soft assassination". Strauss-Kahn was on his way to Europe for a meeting on Sunday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the European debt crisis and then was to attend a euro zone finance ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday. But a Greek official told Reuters the arrest could cause some short-term delays in discussions over a European Union/IMF bailout for Athens, in which Strauss-Kahn was closely involved, by forcing the cancellation of key meetings. "The most likely outcome is that this case will stick," said French economist and socialist Jacques Attaliand, "even if he pleads not guilty, which he may be, he won't be able to be candidate for the Socialist primary for the presidency and he won't be able to stay at the IMF."
But farther behind the curtain might be found investment bankers and international financiers (the Spitzer "soft assassins").
While Messrs. Spitzer and Strauss-Kahn might share a common reprehensible lust, this group represents the world's top criminals. Like Al Capone and the Chicago mob, they continue to remain immune and prevail, while the audience is glued to sex, money and maids.
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