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Dominique Strauss-Kahn charged in connection with allegations of sexual assault

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  • #76
    Rebecca Solnit, May 24, 2011:

    How can I tell a story we already know too well? Her name was Africa. His was France. He colonized her, exploited her, silenced her, and even decades after it was supposed to have ended, still acted with a high hand in resolving her affairs in places like C๔te d'Ivoire, a name she had been given because of her export products, not her own identity. Her name was Asia. His was Europe. Her name was silence. His was power. Her name was poverty. His was wealth. Her name was Her, but what was hers? His name was His, and he presumed everything was his, including her, and he thought he could take her without asking and without consequences. It was a very old story, though its outcome had been changing a little in recent decades. And this time around the consequences are shaking a lot of foundations, all of which clearly needed shaking.

    Who would ever write a fable as obvious, as heavy-handed as the story we've just been given? The extraordinarily powerful head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a global organization that has created mass poverty and economic injustice, allegedly assaulted a hotel maid, an immigrant from Africa, in a hotel's luxury suite in New York City. Worlds have collided. In an earlier era, her word would have been worthless against his and she might not have filed charges, or the police might not have followed through and yanked Dominique Strauss-Kahn off the plane to Paris at the last moment. But she did, and they did, and now he's in custody, and the economy of Europe has been dealt a blow, and French politics have been upended, and that nation is reeling and soul-searching.

    What were they thinking, these men who decided to give him this singular position of power, despite all the stories and evidence of such viciousness? What was he thinking when he decided he could get away with it? Did he think he was in France, where apparently he did get away with it? Only now is the young woman who says he assaulted her in 2002 pressing charges - her own politician mother talked her out of it, and she worried about the impact it could have on her journalistic career (while her mother was apparently worrying more about his career). And the Guardian reports that these stories "have added weight to claims by Piroska Nagy, a Hungarian-born economist, that the fund's director engaged in sustained harassment when she was working at the IMF that left her feeling she had little choice but to agree to sleep with him at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2008. She alleged he persistently called and emailed on the pretext of asking questions about [her expertise,] Ghana's economy, but then used sexual language and asked her out."

    In some accounts, the woman Strauss-Kahn is charged with assaulting in New York is from Ghana, in others a Muslim from nearby Guinea. "Ghana - Prisoner of the IMF" ran a headline in 2001 by the usually mild-mannered BBC. Its report documented the way the IMF's policies had destroyed that rice-growing nation's food security, opening it up to cheap imported U.S. rice, and plunging the country's majority into dire poverty. Everything became a commodity for which you had to pay, from using a toilet to getting a bucket of water, and many could not pay. Perhaps it would be too perfect if she was a refugee from the IMF's policies in Ghana. Guinea, on the other hand, liberated itself from the IMF management thanks to the discovery of major oil reserves, but remains a country of severe corruption and economic disparity.

    Pimping for the global North

    There's an axiom evolutionary biologists used to like: "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny", or the development of the embryonic individual repeats that of its species' evolution. Does the ontogeny of this alleged assault echo the phylogeny of the International Monetary Fund? After all, the organization was founded late in World War II as part of the notorious Bretton Woods conference that would impose American economic visions on the rest of the world. The IMF was meant to be a lending institution to help countries develop, but by the 1980s it had become an organization with an ideology - free trade and free-market fundamentalism. It used its loans to gain enormous power over the economies and policies of nations throughout the global South. However, if the IMF gained power throughout the 1990s, it began losing that power in the 21st century, thanks to powerful popular resistance to the economic policies it embodied and the economic collapse such policies produced. Strauss-Kahn was brought in to salvage the wreckage of an organization that, in 2008, had to sell off its gold reserves and reinvent its mission.

    Her name was Africa. His name was IMF. He set her up to be pillaged, to go without health care, to starve. He laid waste to her to enrich his friends. Her name was Global South. His name was Washington Consensus. But his winning streak was running out and her star was rising. It was the IMF that created the economic conditions that destroyed the Argentinian economy by 2001, and it was the revolt against the IMF (among other neoliberal forces) that prompted Latin America's rebirth over the past decade. Whatever you think of Hugo Chavez, it was loans from oil-rich Venezuela that allowed Argentina to pay off its IMF loans early so that it could set its own saner economic policies. The IMF was a predatory force, opening developing countries up to economic assaults from the wealthy North and powerful transnational corporations. It was a pimp. Maybe it still is. But since the Seattle anti-corporate demonstrations of 1999 set a global movement alight, there has been a revolt against it, and those forces have won in Latin America, changing the framework of all economic debates to come and enriching our imaginations when it comes to economies and possibilities. Today, the IMF is a mess, the World Trade Organization largely sidelined, NAFTA almost universally reviled, the Free Trade Area of the Americas cancelled (though bilateral free-trade agreements continue), and much of the world has learned a great deal from the decade's crash course in economic policy.


    • #77

      Strangers on a train

      The New York Times reported it this way: "As the impact of Mr. Strauss-Kahn's predicament hit home, others, including some in the news media, began to reveal accounts, long suppressed or anonymous, of what they called Mr. Strauss-Kahn's previously predatory behavior toward women and his aggressive sexual pursuit of them, from students and journalists to subordinates." In other words, he created an atmosphere that was uncomfortable or dangerous for women, which would be one thing if he were working in, say, a small office. But that a man who controls some part of the fate of the world apparently devoted his energies to generating fear, misery, and injustice around him says something about the shape of our world and the values of the nations and institutions that tolerated his behavior and that of men like him.

      The United States has not been short on sex scandals of late, and they reek of the same arrogance, but they were at least consensual (as far as we know). The head of the IMF is charged with sexual assault. If that term confuses you take out the word "sexual" and just focus on "assault", on violence, on the refusal to treat someone as a human being, on the denial of the most basic of human rights, the right to bodily integrity and corporeal safety. "The rights of man" was one of the great phrases of the French Revolution, but it's always been questionable whether it included the rights of women. The United States has a hundred million flaws, but I am proud that the police believed this woman and that she will have her day in court. I am gratified this time not to be in a country which has decided that the career of a powerful man or the fate of an international institution matters more than this woman and her rights and wellbeing. This is what we mean by democracy: that everyone has a voice, that no one gets away with things just because of their wealth, power, race, or gender.

      Two days before Strauss-Kahn allegedly emerged from that hotel bathroom naked, there was a big demonstration in New York City. "Make Wall Street Pay" was the theme and union workers, radicals, the unemployed, and more - 20,000 people - gathered to protest the economic assault in this country that is creating such suffering and deprivation for the many - and obscene wealth for the few. I attended. On the crowded subway car back to Brooklyn afterwards, the youngest of my three female companions had her bottom groped by a man about Strauss-Kahn's age. At first, she thought he had simply bumped into her. That was before she felt her buttock being cupped and said something to me, as young women often do, tentatively, quietly, as though it were perhaps not happening or perhaps not quite a problem. Finally, she glared at him and told him to stop. I was reminded of a moment when I was an impoverished seventeen-year-old living in Paris and some geezer grabbed my ass. It was perhaps my most American moment in France, then the land of a thousand disdainful gropers; American because I was carrying three grapefruits, a precious purchase from my small collection of funds, and I threw those grapefruits, one after another, like baseballs at the creep and had the satisfaction of watching him scuttle into the night. His action, like so much sexual violence against women, was undoubtedly meant to be a reminder that this world was not mine, that my rights - my liberté égalité sororité, if you will - didn't matter. Except that I had sent him running in a barrage of fruit. And Dominique Strauss-Kahn got pulled off a plane to answer to justice. Still, that a friend of mine got groped on her way back from a march about justice makes it clear how much there still is to be done.

      The poor starve, while the rich eat their words

      What makes the sex scandal that broke open last week so resonant is the way the alleged assailant and victim model larger relationships around the world, starting with the IMF's assault on the poor. That assault is part of the great class war of our era, in which the rich and their proxies in government have endeavored to aggrandize their holdings at the expense of the rest of us. Poor countries in the developing world paid first, but the rest of us are paying now, as those policies and the suffering they impose come home to roost via right-wing economics that savages unions, education systems, the environment, and programs for the poor, disabled, and elderly in the name of privatization, free markets, and tax cuts. In one of the more remarkable apologies of our era, Bill Clinton - who had his own sex scandal once upon a time - told the United Nations on World Food Day in October 2008, as the global economy was melting down: "We need the World Bank, the IMF, all the big foundations, and all the governments to admit that, for 30 years, we all blew it, including me when I was President. We were wrong to believe that food was like some other product in international trade, and we all have to go back to a more responsible and sustainable form of agriculture."

      He said it even more bluntly last year: Since 1981, the United States has followed a policy, until the last year or so when we started rethinking it, that we rich countries that produce a lot of food should sell it to poor countries and relieve them of the burden of producing their own food, so, thank goodness, they can leap directly into the industrial era. It has not worked. It may have been good for some of my farmers in Arkansas, but it has not worked. It was a mistake. It was a mistake that I was a party to. I am not pointing the finger at anybody. I did that. I have to live every day with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people, because of what I did. Clinton's admissions were on a level with former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's 2008 admission that the premise of his economic politics was wrong. The former policies and those of the IMF, World Bank, and free-trade fundamentalists had created poverty, suffering, hunger, and death. We have learned, most of us, and the world has changed remarkably since the day when those who opposed free-market fundamentalism were labeled “flat-earth advocates, protectionist trade unions, and yuppies looking for their 1960's fix,” in the mortal words of Thomas Friedman, later eaten. A remarkable thing happened after the devastating Haitian earthquake last year: the IMF under Strauss-Kahn planned to use the vulnerability of that country to force new loans on it with the usual terms. Activists reacted to a plan guaranteed to increase the indebtedness of a nation already crippled by the kind of neoliberal policies for which Clinton belatedly apologized. The IMF blinked, stepped back, and agreed to cancel Haiti's existing debt to the organization. It was a remarkable victory for informed activism.

      Powers of the powerless

      It looks as though a hotel maid may end the career of one of the most powerful men in the world, or rather that he will have ended it himself by discounting the rights and humanity of that worker. Pretty much the same thing happened to Meg Whitman, the former E-Bay billionaire who ran for governor of California last year. She leapt on the conservative bandwagon by attacking undocumented immigrants - until it turned out that she had herself long employed one, Nickie Diaz, as a housekeeper. When, after nine years, it had become politically inconvenient to keep Diaz around, she fired the woman abruptly, claimed she'd never known her employee was undocumented, and refused to pay her final wages. In other words, Whitman was willing to spend $140 million on her campaign, but may have brought herself down thanks, in part, to $6,210 in unpaid wages. Diaz said, "I felt like she was throwing me away like a piece of garbage." The garbage had a voice, the California Nurses Union amplified it, and California was spared domination by a billionaire whose policies would have further brutalized the poor and impoverished the middle class. The struggles for justice of an undocumented housekeeper and an immigrant hotel maid are microcosms of the great world war of our time. If Nickie Diaz and the battle over last year's IMF loans to Haiti demonstrate anything, it's that the outcome is uncertain. Sometimes we win the skirmishes, but the war continues. So much remains to be known about what happened in that expensive hotel suite in Manhattan last week, but what we do know is this: a genuine class war is being fought openly in our time, and last week, a so-called socialist put himself on the wrong side of it. His name was privilege, but hers was possibility. His was the same old story, but hers was a new one about the possibility of changing a story that remains unfinished, that includes all of us, that matters so much, that we will watch, but also make and tell in the weeks, months, years, decades to come.


      • #78
        Saliou Samb:

        LABE REGION, Guinea, May 24, 2011 (Reuters) -- In a living room bare but for a few family photos and Islamic texts, the African man who says he is the brother of Dominique Strauss-Kahn's accuser says he has not slept or eaten properly for days. "I heard the news on the radio and honestly I do not know what happened. I want to speak to my sister," the man, called Mamoudou, told Reuters at a village in the Labe region of Guinea, a hard day's drive north of the capital Conakry. Mamoudou, whose family name and home village are withheld to protect the identity of the alleged assault victim, said he had not heard from his younger sister for several years. But he had no doubt that she was the 32-year-old Guinean widow who filed the complaint in New York. Her name has appeared in local media.

        In the community of devout Muslims, religion provides solace for those with troubles far away, and for poverty at home. A hamlet of 20 dwellings lost in the rural depths of this impoverished West African country, Mamoudou's village is a world away from the luxury suite of the Times Square Sofitel where the now former chief of the International Monetary Fund and French presidential contender is accused of trying to rape the maid. There is no electricity or mains water and the village is accessible only on foot through dense forest. A few scattered agricultural tools and cows point to the subsistence farming that allows the residents of the hamlet to eke out a living. "In our family, we are above material things," said Mamoudou, who is aged about 50. "Even if you are a billionaire, we don't care. The most important thing for us is how you follow God's path."

        Following up on details of his client given by U.S. lawyer Jeffrey Shapiro, Reuters spoke to people in the Guinean expatriate community in New York and, to people in Conakry with roots in the Labe region to trace Mamoudou and his family. Sitting with his half-brother Aboubacar, he points to a slightly out-of-focus photograph on the living room wall of a young woman in traditional West African dress looking at the camera, with little expression. "After the death of her husband ... she left the village because none of his brothers was old enough to marry her," Mamoudou said of his sister, referring to common local practice for widows to marry a brother of their late husband.

        As the eldest of their parents' six children, it fell to Mamoudou to ensure his younger sister was cared for: "That's when I took her to Bambeto to learn to sew," he said. Bambeto is a suburb of the capital and offered the young widow the chance to learn a trade that could feed her and her child. "(She) never created any problems for this family," Mamoudou said. "She was the quiet one. That's how she was brought up." From Conakry, his sister made her way to the United States some years ago. Her lawyer has said her daughter is now aged 15.

        Few Guineans have seen much benefit from the country's role as the world's top exporter of the aluminium ore bauxite. Per capita average annual income is $407, or just over a dollar day. It was last year before Guinea held its first democratic election after a half a century of independence from France that has been marred by coups, corruption and oppressive misrule. Religion loomed large in the family under his father known locally as an Islamic scholar, Mamoudou said. That background, he said, made it hard for them to relate to the world of global finance, luxury hotels and allegations of sexual misconduct in which his sister has found herself embroiled: "We have trouble understanding all this because it is not something we are used to," he said. "If my sister is saying what she is saying, given how she was brought up, I believe her."


        • #79

          May 24, 2011 -- One very important fact has been largely absent from the coverage of the sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and, until latterly, leading candidate to be the next president of France. The hotel housekeeper whom he allegedly assaulted was represented by a union. The reason that this is an important part of the story is that it is likely that Strauss-Kahn's alleged victim might not have felt confident enough to pursue the issue with either her supervisors or law enforcement agencies, if she had not been protected by a union contract. The vast majority of hotel workers in the United States, like most workers in the private sector, do not enjoy this protection.

          This matters because under the law in the United States, an employer can fire a worker at any time for almost any reason. It is illegal for an employer to fire a worker for reporting a sexual assault. If any worker can prove that this is the reason they were fired, they would get their job back and probably back pay. (The penalties tend to be trivial, so the back pay is, unfortunately, not a joke.) However, it is completely legal for an employer to fire a worker who reports a sexual assault for having been late to work last Tuesday or any other transgression. Since employers know the law, they don't ever say that they are firing a worker for reporting a sexual assault. They might fire workers who report sexual assaults for other on-the-job failings, real or invented.

          In this way, the United States stands out from most other wealthy countries. For example, all the countries of western Europe afford workers some measure of employment protection, where employers must give a reason for firing workers. Workers can contest their dismissal if they think the reason is not valid, unlike the United States where there is no recourse. Imagine the situation of the hotel worker had she not been protected by a union contract. She is a young immigrant mother who needs this job to support her family. According to reports, she likely did not know Strauss-Kahn's identity at the time she reported the assault, but she undoubtedly understood that the person staying in the $3,000-a-night suite was a wealthy and important person. In these circumstances, how likely would it be that she would make an issue of a sexual assault to her supervisors?

          Housekeepers are generally among the lowest-paid workers at hotels, often earning little more than the minimum wage. It is a high turnover job, meaning that any individual housekeeper is likely to be viewed as easily replaceable by the management. If this housekeeper did not enjoy the protection of a union contract, is it likely that she would have counted on her supervisors taking her side against an important guest at the hotel? Would she have been prepared to risk her job to pursue the case? We can never know how this particular woman would have responded otherwise – as, fortunately, she did have the protection of a union. However, it is likely that many similar assaults go unreported because the victims do not feel they can risk their jobs to pursue the case. They simply have to accept sexual harassment and even sexual assault as "part of the job".

          There is a special irony to this situation given Dominique Strauss-Kahn's prior position. The IMF, along with other pillars of the economic establishment, has long pushed for reducing the rights of workers at their workplace. Specifically, they have pushed countries around the world to adopt measures that weaken the power of unions. The IMF has also urged western European countries to eliminate or weaken laws that prevent employers from firing workers at will. These laws, along with unions, are seen as "labour market rigidities" that prevent labour markets from operating efficiently. In the dream world of the economists' textbook policies, all employers would have the ability to fire employees at will. There would be no protective legislation and no unions to get in the way. In that economist's dream world, then, powerful executives could be fairly certain that they would have licence to molest hotel workers with impunity.


          • #80
            John Hudson:

            May 24, 2011 -- The New York Post reported this morning that friends of Dominique Strauss-Kahn have offered more than a million dollars of hush money to the impoverished family of the maid accusing him of rape. But according to a Reuters report, the family may not be the bribing type. The news wire tracked down the maid's family in a village in the Labe region of Guinea in West Africa and found them deeply skeptical of worldly wealth. "In our family, we are above material things," said Mamoudou, a 50-year-old man who says he is the brother of DSK's accuser. (Reuters said it withheld his family name or the name of his home village "to protect the identity of the alleged assault victim.") He adds, "Even if you are a billionaire, we don't care. The most important thing for us is how you follow God's path." The report in the Post cited a French businesswoman with "close ties" to DSK who said "they already talked with her family" and offered the money. She predicted that DSK would get off charges and "fly back to France." The Post suggested that the family's poverty would make them more likely to take the hush money offering. And the Reuters report largely confirms their meager living conditions: there's no electricity or water mains in their village and the per capita average annual income in the area is just over a dollar a day. Reportedly, the family can't even afford shoes. However, the Reuters report reveals a family content with their lives and bound by a faith in Islam. "Religion loomed large in the family under his father known locally as an Islamic scholar, Mamoudou said. That background, he said, made it hard for them to relate to the world of global finance, luxury hotels and allegations of sexual misconduct in which his sister has found herself embroiled." He says he heard about the DSK scandal over the radio and believes his sister — who left the village after her husband died — is telling the truth. "If my sister is saying what she is saying, given how she was brought up, I believe her." In any event, Strauss-Kahn wouldn't likely be off the hook even if the maid's family accepted hush money. If the maid refused to testify, the criminal case could still proceed. Law enforcement has reportedly obtained DNA evidence in the form of semen on the maid's clothing, though the AP reported on Tuesday that the New York Police Department has denied releasing that evidence.


            • #81
              Originally posted by Al-khiyal View Post

              May 24, 2011 -- President Nicolas Sarkozy's regime keeps a cache of sleaze information on his rivals, including police details of an alleged incident in which Dominique Strauss-Kahn was caught with a prostitute, it has been claimed. A police note written before the 2007 French presidential elections reportedly claims that Mr Strauss-Kahn, 62, was "surprised in an unfortunate position in a car to the West of Paris in a hot spot for paid encounters during a routine (police) control". The "hot spot" is thought to be the Bois de Boulogne wood, a notorious pickup spot. Citing three separate trusted sources, France's Le Monde newspaper claimed the note was passed on to Mr Sarkozy's entourage shortly before the presidential elections he eventually won. Mr Sarkozy, it said, chose not to leak the note back in 2007 as Mr Strauss-Kahn was not seen as a serious threat to his presidential hopes, having been recently knocked out of Socialist primaries. The original was shredded. But according to the report he chose to resurrect the information in recent weeks after polls suggested Mr Strauss-Kahn would trounce the incumbent should he run next year. The allegations were leaked to French media – including Le Monde – in a bid to smear Mr Strauss-Kahn. However, the French press chose not publish the note, considering it a breach of Mr Strauss-Kahn's private life. Neither the Paris police or the French interior ministry wishes to confirm or deny the existence of the note. Ultimately there was no need for it, as Mr Strauss-Kahn was earlier this month arrested on charges of sexual assault and attempted rape of a hotel maid in a New York hotel. Yesterday, A French businesswoman claimed the alleged victim's family in her native Guinea had been offered a seven-figure settlement fee. In another development Fox News, citing police sources, said Mr Strauss-Kahn allegedly shouted, "Do you know who I am?" as he assaulted the alleged victim. He allegedly told her: "No, baby. Don't worry, you're not going to lose your job."

              The leaked police note is reportedly just one of many in the possession of the Elysée, which has "all the most intimate secrets of politicians and will go as far as using the sleaze information at its disposal." Mr Sarkozy's aides have long boasted that they had Mr Strauss-Kahn "over a barrel" over several allegedly compromising sexual affairs, including police notes of him allegedly frequenting a Paris swingers club. Since his spell as interior minister starting in 2002, Mr Sarkozy has built up an inner circle of top police and intelligence chiefs. The president is by no means the first in France to be closely informed of the private lives of his rivals and allies. François Mitterrand famously bugged the phones of numerous rivals but also any actresses he was keen on. Historically, such spying was done by the Renseignements Généraux, the domestic intelligence service created two centuries ago under Napoleon Bonaparte. Notes belonging to its long-time chief Yves Bertrand, seized in 2008, included details of Jacques Chirac's face lift and an alleged affair between Mr Sarkozy and the wife of a current cabinet minister. Mr Bertrand told Le Monde yesterday the DSK affair vindicated his job. "It proves it's legimitate to take an interest in the private life of politicians. Indeed, I sometimes received orders to conduct inquiries into whether a person slated for government had any 'weaknesses'," he said. Mr Sarkozy has since merged the RG with France's counter-espionage service to form the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence. Despite Mr Strauss-Kahn's arrest, the French Socialists would still beat Nicolas Sarkozy in the next presidential election, a new poll revealed yesterday. The unpopular president would be trounced by either of the two emerging main opposition contenders, Francois Hollande and Martine Aubrey.


              • #82

                May 25, 2011 -- Evidence that Dominique Strauss- Kahn’s encounter with a hotel maid may have involved force, including reports of blood at the scene, might damage any defense contention that she consented, former prosecutors said. Strauss-Kahn is accused in a seven-count indictment of forcibly trying to have intercourse with the woman at the Sofitel hotel in midtown Manhattan, and of making her have oral sex with him. Strauss-Kahn, who resigned as head of the International Monetary Fund after being charged with sexual assault and attempted rape, plans to plead not guilty, his lawyers have said. Reports have emerged since Strauss-Kahn’s May 14 arrest that physical evidence, including semen and a cut on the defendant’s back, suggests contact between the accuser, a 32- year-old West African immigrant, and Strauss-Kahn, 62. Strauss- Kahn hasn’t confirmed or denied there was an encounter, and his attorneys have hinted that, if there was one, it was consensual.

                “If the DNA evidence is straightforward and there are no big surprises along the way here, plea negotiations would seem inevitable,” Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor, said in a phone interview. “It may be a matter of some time before the defendant can be brought to understand the necessity of those discussions.” A New York Police Department crime scene unit gathered evidence from Strauss-Kahn’s hotel suite, Assistant District Attorney John “Artie” McConnell told a judge last week. While the results of tests performed on material taken in the searches weren’t available as of the May 19 hearing, preliminary indications “support the victim’s version of events,” the prosecutor said.

                Strauss-Kahn’s body was examined and photographed after his May 14 arrest. Defense lawyers Benjamin Brafman and William Taylor said their client agreed to a government request for a physical examination. News organizations including the Wall Street Journal have reported that a DNA sample from Strauss-Kahn matched semen found on the maid’s shirt. According to other reports, carpet samples taken from the room may contain semen traces and blood was found on the sheets. Reports also said Strauss-Kahn cut his back on a piece of furniture in the room during a struggle with the victim, who told him that she didn’t want to have sex with him. Erin Duggan, a spokesman for the New York District Attorney’s office, declined to comment on the reports. Paul Browne, a spokesman for the police department, didn’t return calls seeking comment.

                Brafman, who declined to comment on the reports, told a judge last week that the evidence was in his client’s favor. “The forensic evidence, we believe, are not consistent with forcible encounter,” he said at Strauss-Kahn’s first appearance in Manhattan criminal court. “This is a very, very defensible case.” If convicted, Strauss-Kahn faces as long as 25 years in prison. He has been free on $1 million cash bail and under home detention and armed guard since May 20. His arraignment is scheduled for June 6. In arguing against bail, McConnell said the accuser’s actions and the results of a physical examination supported her account. “She made outcries to multiple witnesses immediately after the incident, both to hotel staff and law enforcement,” McConnell said at the May 16 hearing. “She was then taken to the hospital and was given a full sexual assault forensic examination. The observations and findings during that exam corroborate her accounts,”

                Any blood from a cut on Strauss-Kahn or the woman that was consistent with her resisting would subvert a defense that the sex had been consensual, said Paul Callan, a former New York prosecutor. “Blood would be critical to prove physical force. If indeed there is an injury to his back, it corroborates a specific detail in her story,” Callan said in a phone interview. “Corroboration is very important. In a case where it’s he-said, she-said, it gives the jury something to rely on.” Still, a plea is unlikely, said Callan, who represented the estate of Nicole Brown Simpson in a civil lawsuit against O.J. Simpson. The former football player was found liable for his ex-wife’s wrongful death after being acquitted on charges of murdering her and Ron Goldman. With a plea, Strauss-Kahn “would become a registered sex offender and it would stain him for the rest of his life,” Callan said. “It’s going to be won or lost at trial.” Defense lawyers may try to claim the maid exchanged sex for money, Callan said. “I don’t see the defense being able to make a compelling case” that the woman was “overcome by lust,” Callan said. “The details of the defense are going to be supplied as the case goes along, and it’s not going to be pretty for the victim.” Callan said he was in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office the day the maid was reported to have testified before the grand jury. “She had a hat on, large sunglasses and a silk scarf pulled across her face, which she put down as she walked past me,” Callan said. “She was surrounded by police detectives.”

                Prosecutors said that the woman’s story gained credibility because she immediately reported the alleged incident to fellow workers. She also picked Strauss-Kahn out of a police lineup within 24 hours of the alleged attack. McConnell said Strauss-Kahn could be seen on a hotel video making an “unusually hasty” exit after the attack allegedly occurred. Defense lawyers said their client was in a hurry to have lunch with his daughter before heading to a scheduled Air France flight. Also, they said, he later called the hotel looking for a mobile phone he thought he had left in his room and told the security staff where to find him. Police used that information to arrest him minutes before his plane was due to take off. “If you just committed crime at a hotel in New York, the last thing I would want to do is report to hotel security where I am,” Brafman said at a bail hearing. Brafman told French television’s TF1 on May 22 that, based on the evidence he had seen, his client would be acquitted at a fair trial.

                Linda Fairstein, a former Manhattan prosecutor who specialized in cases involving sexual attacks, said that while the evidence reported so far seems to favor the prosecution, a conviction will be difficult to obtain. Strauss-Kahn, a former French finance minister and member of France’s opposition Socialist Party, had been among the most popular possible candidates to contest France’s 2012 presidential election, according to opinion polls. “I think it’s a tough case - because of the facts and circumstances and the power dynamic between the witness, who is probably an uneducated or less educated employee doing a menial job, and a powerful, well-respected brilliant politician,” Fairstein said. The New York Post, citing an unnamed French businesswoman, reported that friends of Strauss-Kahn offered money to the maid’s family in Guinea to make the case go away. “There will be enormous pressure on her family in Africa, and undoubtedly her reputation will be vigorously attacked by supporters of Strauss-Kahn,” Callan said. “The biggest thing the prosecutor has to do is keep her available for trial.” Without the victim, Fairstein said, “there is no case.”


                • #83

                  Mercredi 25 Mai 2011 -- La course contre la montre a démarré. Les avocats de DSK s’apprêtent à fouiller dans la vie de Nafissatou Diallo, la femme de chambre du Sofitel qui accuse Dominique Strauss-Kahn d’agression sexuelle. De leur côté, les journalistes aussi effectuent un gros travail d’investigation. En attendant de retrouver la trace de la plaignante et de recueillir éventuellement son premier témoignage, c’est vers la famille de la jeune femme qu’ils se tournent. Le journal Walfadjri a ainsi pu remonter la piste de la mère de Nafissatou Diallo jusqu’au Sénégal. La radio RFI est également allée à sa rencontre à Zinguinchor, en Casamance, où elle rendait visite à sa sœur. Adja Aïssatou Diallo raconte que sa fille a été élevée dans une famille pieuse: «chaque fois que je parlais au téléphone à Nafissatou je lui disais qu’il fallait prier, jeûner, et ne pas faire de mal… comme son père le lui a toujours enseigné… Même aux Etats-Unis, je sais qu’elle respecte les préceptes de l’Islam». En revanche, depuis l’affaire, la maman n’a pas réussi à joindre sa fille et n’a pas reçu d’appel non plus. Très inquiète, elle avoue beaucoup pleurer et ne plus avoir d’appétit: «Nous souhaitons que tout cela s’arrête». Adja Aïssatou sait qu'il faudra du temps avant que la paix ne revienne, mais elle renouvelle sa confiance en sa fille «Nafissatou est une fille qui fait sa prière et son ramadan, c'est une fille digne issue d'une famille d'érudits c'est une fille bien, s'il y a autre chose, ce n'est pas d'elle que vous parlez. Depuis que je l'ai mise au monde elle n'a jamais posé de problème à la famille». Pas de doute pour elle: «l’éducation que Nafissatou a reçue nous fait croire qu’elle est bien victime».


                  • #84

                    Mercredi 25 Mai 2011 -- Quatorze minutes après l'arrestation de Dominique Strauss-Kahn, un tweet annonce que le directeur général du FMI vient d'être interpellé. "Un pote aux États-Unis vient de me rapporter que DSK aurait été arrêté par la police dans un hôtel à New York, il y a une heure." Le texte est signé Jonathan Pinet, jeune militant parisien de l'UMP. Le message est immédiatement re-tweetté par Arnaud Dassier, ancien directeur de la campagne sur Internet de Nicolas Sarkozy en 2007. Pinet lui a précisé que la source est fiable, il s'agit d'un employé du Sofitel. L'affaire DSK vient de commencer. Qui se cache derrière ce scoop qui a pris de court tous les médias traditionnels ? Qui est ce mystérieux "pote" qui a eu l'information presque en temps réel ? Tous les médias américains ont couru après la "gorge profonde" dont le prénom a été jeté en pâture, mais sa direction lui interdit de parler. Le Point a retrouvé sa trace. Il s'agit de Boris, un jeune Français de 24 ans originaire de Neuilly-sur-Seine, en stage hôtelier au Sofitel New York depuis septembre.

                    Fin de la théorie du complot

                    Le jour du scandale, il est en congé. Son père lui a rendu visite. Dans l'après-midi, Boris reçoit un texto d'un de ses collègues qui lui annonce l'arrestation de DSK. De retour à son appartement, tout excité par la nouvelle, il s'installe devant son ordinateur pour prévenir ses amis. C'est un de ses contacts qui aurait alors averti Pinet. Joint par Le Point, le père du jeune homme veut désactiver la thèse du complot qui entre-temps a pris corps sur la Toile : "Mon fils ne fait pas de politique, il n'a rien à voir avec l'UMP ni avec les fils Sarkozy. Contrairement à ce qui a été allégué sur certains blogs, il n'a jamais été à l'école avec eux." Toujours est-il que, dans les premières heures de l'affaire, Boris fournit à ses proches de nombreux détails accréditant la culpabilité de DSK. Il aurait ainsi livré le nom de la femme de chambre. Et laissé entendre que le patron du FMI aurait été l'auteur d'autres dérapages, à New York mais aussi à Shanghai, où il aurait fait monter des prostituées. Des propos que conteste son père. Avant New York, Boris a travaillé un an à l'hôtel Kempinski de Dalian, en Chine. Malgré ces informations, le jeune stagiaire n'aurait pas été auditionné par la police, il aurait simplement rempli, comme tous les employés, une feuille avec son emploi du temps le jour des faits. Pour calmer l'attention médiatique dont fait l'objet ce jeune préposé aux achats du restaurant, la direction de l'hôtel décide de le mettre au vert quelques jours. Selon son père, il aurait repris le travail le 23 mai.


                    • #85

                      Mercredi 25 Mai 2011 -- Fini les petites jupes beiges et les chemisiers à col blanc. Désormais, les femmes de chambre du Sofitel de Manhanttan pourront, si elles le souhaitent, porter un pantalon. Une décision qui s'est prise lors d'une réunion entre la direction du Sofitel et les représentants syndicaux. La situation était devenue urgente car les femmes de chambre auraient menacé de se mettre en grève.


                      • #86
                        Originally posted by Al-khiyal View Post

                        May 25, 2011 (Reuters) -- Representatives of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn are not in contact with the hotel housekeeper he is accused of trying to rape, or her family, his lawyers said on Wednesday. Media reports that representatives of Strauss-Kahn contacted the woman or her family were false, his lawyers William Taylor and Ben Brafman said in a statement. "We continue to believe that Mr Strauss-Kahn will be fully exonerated," they said. Strauss-Kahn, who is under house arrest in New York, has denied charges of a criminal sexual act, attempted rape, sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching. Strauss-Kahn, who resigned as managing director of the International Monetary Fund after his arrest, is due to appear in court again on June 6.


                        • #87

                          May 25, 2011 -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn's lawyer has hired a team of private detectives to help build the former IMF boss’s defence case. Accused last week of attempting to rape a hotel chamber maid in New York, former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn (known as DSK in France) can now rely on Guidepost Solutions detective agency, in addition to his top-flight legal defence team. According to the New York Times, Guidepost Solutions’ directors include a former head of the criminal division at the New York prosecutor’s office, a former head of security at IT giant IBM and a former federal prosecutor who has worked closely with the U.S. Secret Service.

                          These investigators have been hired to uncover any elements that could discredit the alleged victim. In the coming weeks, the detectives will rummage through the young woman’s entire history to find the slightest detail that could undermine her case. Private detective Lawrence Frost told France 24 the defence team’s questioning of the plaintiff’s credibility as a witness would be relentless. “Is it true you beat your children? Is it true you stole a loaf of bread? It it true you cheat on your husband?” he said, outlining the kinds of questions the detectives would likely pose. “What you try to establish is that the complainant is capable of lying.” The victim's dealings with authorities - no matter how inconsequential - will be put under the microscope, said Matthew Galluzzo, a New York defence lawyer with experience of sexual assault cases. “One thing one might look for is whether she has ever made false complaints in the past,” he said. “Maybe she has claimed she was raped once before and it turned out to not be true and she has a history of making false allegations. That would be helpful.”

                          Guidepost Solutions will not limit its activities to looking into the alleged victim’s past. The agency will also go through all the prosecution's material with a fine-tooth comb. Forensic crime scene reports will be closely scrutinised, and experts will be called upon to give their own conclusions on the evidence and the accuracy of the analyses. Guidepost has a special department with DNA experts. The agency’s detectives could even ask for access to the hotel suite where the alleged crime was committed.

                          In France, an investigation is “inquisitional” – an investigating judge weighs the indictment against the defendant following an investigation by the prosecution and defence, then decides whether the case will go to trial. In the U.S., the system is “accusatory”. The prosecutor must gather evidence against the defendant in order to build a valid case. It falls entirely on the defence to prove their client’s innocence. In this context, all the evidence gathered by private detectives won’t necessarily have to be presented to the court. Strauss-Kahn’s defence lawyer Benjamin Brafman may use elements of the evidence to negotiate a deal with the prosecution outside of court and/or have certain elements removed from the indictment. But in the US, not everyone has access to such services, due to the prohibitive cost of employing a detective agency. Private detectives cost at least 1,500 dollars a day, and expenses can add up to 700 dollars per hour. By most estimates, the cost of DSK’s defence is likely to be measured in the hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of dollars.


                          • #88
                            Danna Harman:

                            PARIS, May 26, 2011 -- Last month, in an interview which now seems sadly prophetic, shamed former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn identified three challenges he’d face if he ran for president: "Money, women and my Jewishness.” At the end, being Jewish had nothing at all to do with his downfall. But nonetheless, there is some unease among the 600,000-strong Jewish community here - the largest number outside of Israel and the U.S.- who fear they could be caught in the negative spotlight and that the affair will play into negative stereotypes of Jews and even inflame anti-Semitism.

                            Indicted on seven criminal charges for allegedly assaulting a maid in a New York hotel last Saturday, Strauss-Kahn, an identified Jew and an outspoken supporter of Israel has gone, overnight, from being one of the great prides of the Jewish community here - to being something of a liability. Some, who had believed in Strauss-Kahn and hoped to see him serving as the country’s next president, have expressed a sense of loss. For even if the former Socialist hopeful is acquitted of all the charges against him, his political career, once so promising, is in tatters. “We have lost a friend,” says Rabbi Michel Serfaty, president of the Jewish-Muslim Friendship of France.

                            Others though, are less sympathetic to his plight. "It is a nervous Jew’s nightmare…If ever there was a time that French anti-Semitism were going to rear its head, Mr. Strauss-Kahn has all but issued an engraved invitation," writes Eric Alterman a senior fellow of the Center for American Progress in Washington DC. "Indeed, it’s hard to think of a single anti-Semitic stereotype that he does not exemplify. Think about it. Jewish banker: check. Jewish cosmopolitan globalist… check. Jewish leftist: check. Jewish sex maniac: check."

                            Add into the mix the fact that the most vocal of Strauss-Kahn’s early defenders was intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy, another high-flying leftist and identified Jew, and that Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer is an orthodox Jew who gave his first interview on the case this weekend to Haaretz – and the nightmare, for those prone to such nervousness, intensifies. Some already see repercussions: There are those, argues Serfati, who "…are using the arrest as an example of how perverse the Jews can be…so the community is definitely feeling the repercussions of this story."

                            But many others vehemently argue that, while Strauss-Kahn’s Jewish faith is no secret, there were never any signs of anti-Semitism when it seemed he might become the next president of the Republic -- and there are no such signs, as yet, now, in the wake of the affair. "Anti-Semitism exists in France, and the community is always scared of it. But in this case it is unjustified," says Daniel Rachline, a Jewish member of the Socialist party. "It’s a sad mess. It’s dramatic. But it’s not a Jewish story. No one is talking about it that way."

                            Meanwhile, the Strauss-Kahn’s downfall could yet end up hurting the Jewish community in a different, perhaps more concrete way, as the affair has greatly weakened the Socialist party – and as such benefitted Marine Le Pen and the National Front (FN).Polls published in Le Parisian this week show a replacement Socialist candidate losing in a first round - thus leaving the playing field to unpopular president Nicolas Sarkozy and Le Pen. The younger Le Pen has modernized the party of her father and worked to rid it of its anti-Semitic baggage, and has been carefully circumspect as regards reactions to the Strauss-Kahn affair. But still, the specter of the FNs rise to power of, complete with all its anti-immigrant, and anti globalist philosophies, concerns many Jews as well as other minorities here.


                            • #89

                              Jeudi 26 Mai 2011 -- La communauté noire de France déplore que la presse insiste autant sur la couleur de peau de Nafissatou Diallo, la jeune femme d'origine guinéenne qui accuse Dominique Strauss-Kahn de viol. "Inutile, outrancière, dégradante." Tels sont les commentaires de la communauté noire de France pour désigner la reprise systématique des médias français du qualificatif "noire" pour parler de Nafissatou Diallo dans l'affaire DSK.

                              Alors que la couleur de peau de la jeune guinéenne est un élément d'information, sa mention même dérange. "Ca devient une habitude dans les médias, déplore Babacar, jeune français d'origine sénégalaise. L'opinion semble de moins en moins choquée par ce type de détail." Pour les "blacks" de France, la Guinéenne Nafissatou Diallo est dénigrée. "Il y a derrière une volonté de la décrédibiliser, estime Samira, parisienne originaire des Comores. Qu'elle soit noire ou blanche ne change rien à la problématique de l'affaire. Pas plus que de savoir son adresse ou sa religion. Un acte de violence est répréhensible en soi."

                              Pour le président du Conseil Représentatif des Associations Noires (Cran), Patrick Lozès, "cette précision rend mal à l'aise. Dire qu'elle est noire entraîne un tas de stéréotypes qui font plus de mal qu'autre chose. En plus, il est mentionné que c'est une femme faisant des ménages dans un hôtel, vivant dans un immeuble pour séropositif, veuve, on entend même qu'elle est moche". Le Cran a envisagé un temps de publier un communiqué et attend maintenant la suite des évènements.

                              Les noirs que nous avons interrogés prêtent aux médias diverses intentions, consciemment ou non. "On veut peut-être faire passer Nafissatou Diallo pour une allumeuse car certains voient les femmes noires comme plus libérées sexuellement", déplore Fanny, originaire de Martinique. "Cela peut être aussi une façon de contribuer à l'idée d'un complot avec l'idée qu'elle souhaitait profiter de la popularité de DSK pour se faire de l'argent", s'interroge Babacar. "Quoiqu'il en soit, toutes les supputations qui en découlent sont futiles et néfastes tant il s'agit de préjugés sans fondement". D'autres pensent simplement que cette précision joue en la défaveur de Strauss-Kahn, "l'agresseur blanc et la victime noire".

                              Jean-Claude Bidoc, responsable d'antenne sur Tropiques FM, qui se définit comme la radio de l'outremer à Paris, confirme que "ce sujet est abordé au sein de la communauté noire. Néanmoins, ne jetons pas d'huile sur le feu, dit-il. Il ne faudrait pas que la victime présumée devienne un symbole communautariste. On ne peut pas dire que sa couleur de peau n'a pas d'importance et dans le même temps se liguer derrière elle sur le seul fait qu'elle soit noire".


                              • #90
                                Le Français Dominique Strauss-Kahn, ex-président du Fonds monétaire international, riche, puissant, célèbre, boursouflé d’arrogance et de vanité, est accusé d’avoir essaye de violer et d'avoir soumis, contre sa volonté, à des actes sexuels, une femme de chambre, une immigrée africaine musulmane sans histoires travaillant dur à New York. Parce que l’ambitieux Dominique Strauss-Kahn - autoproclamé futur président de la République française - se dit de gauche, parce qu’il était le favori du parti socialiste français à l’élection de 2012, une partie de la classe dirigeante française, sous le choc, s’est empressée de nier les faits, révélant ainsi son racisme, son sexisme, son islamophobie et son mépris total pour les plus humbles.

                                Au nom de la présomption d’innocence, l’accusé est devenu victime et la victime présumée a été immédiatement désignée par les médiocres «élites», expertes en désinformation, qui occupent le terrain médiatique en France, comme coupable d’avoir participé à un prétendu «complot». Le viol est devenu un «troussage de domestique». Il a été minimisé parce qu’il n’y avait « pas mort d’homme ». On a plaint l’agresseur présumé pour sa «fragilité». Enfin, la mise en accusation du violeur présumé a même été présentée comme une «nouvelle affaire Dreyfus».

                                Les témoins de moralité de Dominique Strauss-Kahn sont les mêmes que ceux qui apportaient naguère leur soutien aux racistes Georges Frèche et Pascal Sevran. Pourtant Dominique Strauss-Kahn, que ses amis présentent comme un «séducteur», n’a certainement jamais séduit que des proies faciles. Il est plutôt connu pour n’être qu’un obsédé sexuel notoire et avoir harcelé maintes et maintes femmes, y compris à Sarcelles, avec un certain goût pour la «diversité». Cette attitude misérable, qui rappelle plus volontiers Pervers Pépère que Don Juan, donne une image déplorable de la France, dont Strauss-Kahn ambitionnait d’être le représentant suprême.

                                Pour exprimer ma condamnation du racisme, du sexisme et de l’islamophobie, pour montrer qu’au pays des droits de l’homme, il ne suffit pas d’être milliardaire et de se dire de gauche pour avoir toujours raison et être au-dessus des lois, pour protester contre l'impunité systématique dont bénéficient en France ceux qui s'en prennent à des Africains ou à des Afro-descendants, je rejoins le comité de soutien à Nafissatou Diallo, dite "Ophélia", victime présumée de Dominique Strauss-Kahn, accusé de tentative de viol, d'actes sexuels non consentis sur un tiers et de séquestration.


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