Monday, May 16, 2011

IMF Luxury vs. Global South Poverty: The Strauss-Kahn Instance

As we speak, IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn today 05/16 denied $1M bail in New York Criminal Court and remanded to police custody.

But what's the real story? IMF Luxury vs. Global South Poverty
What's the story within that story?

That a WORKER is equal to an IMF chief under the U.S. Rule of Law. Let the courts decide.

Yeah he's famous, yeah he's powerful, yeah he's highly competent at his job, yeah he was accused by the IMF board of a "serious error of judgment for engaging in consensual sexual relations with a female subordinate employee of IMF, yeah he's an alleged rapist of a hotel cleaning women, but he's head of IMF. So let's look deep into the IMF, its power elite structure, its Wall of Silence, its male-dominant, patriarchal Privilege system,

Yeah, she's a female, a hotel cleaning woman, a low-wage worker.

Let the evidence speak. This is not merely a case of he said she said. There's forensic evidence. DNA. Not opinion, but EVIDENCE & PROOF. Talk is cheap, DATA SPEAKS.

The mainstream news media on its 24/7 cycle frequently fails to get beyond the headlines. The IMF chief bureaucrat Dominique Strauss-Kahn's alleged rape assualt of a hotel maid is a case in point.
On CNN and other mainstream media overlords of the 24/7 news cycle, there's an endless regurgitation of the absolute same facts, allegations, innuendos, interviews with a multitude of talking heads, minute after minute, to keep especially TV and computer viewers hooked until their eyes and minds glaze over. That's the objective. To stop The People from thinking. To have the media do the thinking and the superficial fact-gathering for The People.

Strauss-Kahn, appearing dour-faced with a dark coat covering his handcuffed wrists, detectives on either side, holding his arms, is due to appear in court this morning and at that time the results of forensic data will be released in front of the judge hearing the case.
On this second day of the IMF head Strauss-Kahn's arrest by the NYPD after he was plucked from a seat in first class Air France, not even ONE news story has made even passing mention of the power elites at the IMF and their high rolling lifestyle, compared with the poor in the countries of the Global South.

The stark comparison is evident. Dominique Strauss-Kahn was reported to be "on private business" in New York. Did the IMF pick up the tab for his private visit to New York? Did he pay his own bill out of his own pocket. The facts await. Strauss-Kahn had a palatial $3000-a-night suite at the Sofitel Hotel, minutes from Times Square.

Whether or not IMF picked up his hotel and meals tab, is this the style to which IMF bureaucrats should become accustomed? Even if it is his own money, how does he stay in touch with the needs of poor people in Sierra Leone and Togo? By affecting a lifestyle that is unrecognizable by these poor people?

The lofty IMF has to set a standard of austerity and connectedness with the people it serves. If an alleged rape of a hotel maid, a WORKER, can teach the mighty IMF that its exalted bureaucrats can be brought face to face with ground reality, a reality of poverty, rape and faced every day especially by the female poor of the Global South, then this horrific instance in a luxury hotel in New York may serve as a sobering, valuable wake up call for the power elites of the IMF.
More likely not.
Unless We the People speak up.

Power Corrupts.

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.
Reuters Copyright
At scandal-hit IMF, HQ staff is stoic and silent

Related News

French woman may file Strauss-Kahn sex complaint
11:43am EDT
Sex, lies and the reckless choices of the powerful
6:18am EDT
WRAPUP 18-Handcuffed IMF chief charged in sex assault case
3:00am EDT
Analysis: IMF chief's arrest may speed up succession battle
Sun, May 15 2011
France in shock as IMF chief charged with sex assault
Sun, May 15 2011

Analysis & Opinion

Strauss-Kahn allegations are consequential for the global economy
Strauss-Kahn scandal: presidential hopes are all but dead

By Margaret Chadbourn

WASHINGTON | Mon May 16, 2011 1:32pm EDT

(Reuters) - With a downward gaze and a brisk walk past the line of camera crews, International Monetary Fund staff stoically reported for work on Monday after their charismatic boss landed in jail on sex charges.

The IMF told workers in a mass e-mail on Sunday to avoid talking to the media about Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn's arrest in New York on Saturday for attempted rape of a hotel maid, employees said.

The few who did break the rule of silence outside the headquarters, located blocks from the White House, expressed some shock and regret, but said that they, the rank and file, needed to concentrate on the institution's work while the upper echelon managed the upheaval.

"It was shocking when I found out what happened this weekend," said an IMF employee who would not provide his name. "But we all have to come into work today. Everyone is expected to show up like nothing happened."

Strauss-Kahn steered the 187-member-nation IMF through the 2007-09 global financial crisis and was central in handling the escalating euro-zone debt crisis. He was also considered a front-runner in next year's French presidential election.

The fund's No. 2 official, John Lipsky, is acting as managing director during Strauss-Kahn's absence.

It is not the first time Strauss-Kahn's character has come under scrutiny. In 2008, the IMF board cleared him of abuse of power over a brief affair he had with a female IMF economist, but warned him against any further misconduct. Strauss-Kahn on that occasion apologized publicly for an "error in judgment."

But this time, the more serious charges against Strauss-Kahn may force the world's power brokers into a frantic search for his replacement.

"His time might have just expired," said Patricia Capers, 52, who works in the Office of Personnel at the IMF.

"It is unfortunate he was accused of sexual misconduct, and from what I've heard, it seems like he has done it before," she added. "I can't condemn it until all the facts are there, he is tried in court, but people in power should show greater control and restraint."

The fund itself might have to answer to criticism that it was too soft on the managing director in its handling of the 2008 affair.

"The board ought to be pretty ashamed of themselves at this point. The board let him off with a slap of the wrist before and now we've seen allegations of a much more serious offense," Terry Miller, former U.S. assistant secretary of state, told Reuters Insider.

(Editing by Mary Milliken and Eric Beech)
The US is stated to pay 17% of IMF's budget


UN says World Bank and IMF “bound by international law”
News|Bretton Woods Project|21 November 2005|update 48|url
print|email| Digg! Stumble Upon RedditFacebook Google Bookmarks

Bold statements made by the UN special rapporteur on the right to food argue that international law is binding on organisations such as the World Bank, IMF and WTO. In his September interim report to the UN General Assembly, Jean Ziegler analyses negative impacts of the policies of the World Bank and IMF on the human rights of vulnerable populations in the South. Given that the power of nation-states is often "eclipsed by other actors", the traditional boundaries of human rights to regulate the power of other international actors such as the BWIs should be extended, and systematically elaborated.

Ziegler analyses the current crisis in Niger (see Update47), which he attributes in part to the market-based paradigm imposed by the World Bank and IMF, including cost-recovery policies in health centres, and the privatisation of public services. Ziegler also refers to large projects that have resulted in human rights violations stemming from forced displacement and involuntary resettlement. For instance, the Kedung Ombo dam in Indonesia led to 12,000 people losing their land and livelihoods; while the Bank's internal Inspection Panel recommendations for compensation and rehabilitation of those affected by a coal-mine in Jharkhand, India, were largely ignored.

The analysis is also extended to the far-reaching impacts of structural adjustment and PRSPs, which "far from improving food security for the most vulnerable, have often resulted in a deterioration of food security among the poorest". He uses case studies in Zambia and India to illustrate how such WB/IMF-imposed measures to drastically cut public spending, liberalise trade, and 'flexibilise' land, labour and financial markets has violated economic, social and cultural rights.

He premises that "the programmes of economic reform imposed by IMF and World Bank in indebted countries have a profound and direct influence on the situation of the right to food and food security".

The report challenges the Bank and Fund's denial of their human rights responsibilities, including the claim that they are restricted by their articles of agreement. The Bank and Fund's claim that they are organisations not states overlooks the widely recognised view that human rights find their source not only in treaties, but also in customary law. The obligation to realise the right to adequate food has become part of customary international law, given the almost universal ratification of treaties that contain it. Furthermore most member states of these institutions have ratified at least one human rights treaty in which the right to food is contained.
With power must come responsibility

Ziegler suggests that in order to fully comply with their obligations under the right to food, international organisations must "respect, protect and support the fulfilment of the right to food by their member states". He concludes that the Bank and Fund should at least recognise their minimum obligation to refrain from promoting policies or projects that negatively impact the right to food, particularly where no social safety nets are implemented. Lastly, they should also recognise positive obligations by ensuring that those they sponsor do not violate the right to food in the implementation of common projects, and should support governments in the fulfilment of the right to food.
Related articles

IMF accused of exacerbating famine in Niger News|Bretton Woods Project|12 September 2005|update 47|url

The IMF's external relations department has spent the last two months furiously rebuffing charges that the Fund has exacerbated famine in Niger. The debate centres around the impact of structural adjustment measures and accusations that donors initially refused to allow the government to distribute free food to affected areas. read article...

Related resources

UN special rapporteur on the right to food Resource|United Nations|14 November 2005|Web page|URL

Home page of the UN special rapporteur on the right to food
Overview of the mandate of key UN special rapporteurs on economic, social and cultural rights Resource|ESCR-net|14 November 2005|Web page|URL

Overview of the mandate of key UN special rapporteurs on economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to food, health, education and housing.

This text may be freely used providing the source is credited.

This page is:

Published: Monday 21st November 2005, last edited: Thursday 27th May 2010
Reuters copyright

Former IMF chief Strauss-Kahn gets bail in sex assault case

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn stands before the judge as he appears in Manhattan Criminal Court for his arraignment in New York Reuters – International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn stands before the judge as he appears …
By Basil Katz and Lesley Wroughton – Thu May 19, 8:13 pm ET

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Dominique Strauss-Kahn won bail on Thursday but faced one more night in a New York jail, hours after he quit as head of the IMF under the cloud of sex crime charges.

His resignation intensified a race for global finance's top job. It has gone to Europe for 65 years and the favorite is now French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde but fast-growing developing economies want to put up their own candidate.

A judge granted Strauss-Kahn $1 million bail and ordered him to be detained in a New York apartment. He will be subject to electronic monitoring under the watch of an armed guard, costing him $200,000 a month, a prosecutor estimated.

Prosecutors argued vehemently the French national should remain behind bars, calling him a flight risk.

"The defendant in this case has shown a propensity for impulsive criminal conduct," said prosecutor John McConnell.

He said the hotel maid who accused Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her on Saturday, a 32-year-old immigrant from Guinea, had told a "compelling and unwavering story."

Strauss-Kahn denies the charges and his lawyers say he will plead not guilty. His bail package was due to be signed on Friday and an arraignment hearing, when he will formally answer the charges, was set for June 6.

The case represents a spectacular fall from grace for a man held in high esteem for his role in tackling the financial crisis of 2007-09 and being central to ongoing efforts to keep Europe's debt crisis under control.

Dressed in a blue shirt and gray jacket, Strauss-Kahn looked tired and whispered occasionally to his lawyer during Thursday's proceedings. He was flanked by seven guards as his wife and one of his daughters watched from the public gallery.

The charges that Strauss-Kahn tried to rape the maid and committed other sex offenses, plus the prospect of a lengthy legal process, have ruined his once strong-looking chances of winning France's presidential election next year.

One of his attorneys denied he would flee.

"I have to say that the prospect of Mr. Strauss-Kahn teleporting himself to France and living there as an accused sex offender, fugitive, is ludicrous on its face," lawyer William Taylor told the judge.

"He is an honorable man ... He has only one interest at this time and that is to clear his name."

In his resignation letter, composed at New York's notorious Rikers Island jail and released by the International Monetary Fund overnight, Strauss-Kahn vowed to fight the charges.

"I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me," he wrote.

A trial could be six months or more away. If convicted, he could face 25 years in prison.

A senior source at the IMF said Strauss-Kahn had tendered his resignation as managing director of his own accord. "He wasn't strong-armed," a source familiar with the events said.

One Strauss-Kahn attorney, Benjamin Brafman, has said the evidence "will not be consistent with a forcible encounter."

A lawyer for the alleged victim, who has gone into hiding to avoid media attention, told Reuters she opposed bail.

"The idea that the man who did this to her is now on the street, so to speak, and able to do what he wants to do in the world is something which is frightening to her," attorney Jeffrey Shapiro said.


Lagarde emerged as the favorite to take over the IMF leadership even as China and other nations stepped up a challenge to Europe's grip on the job.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called for an "open process that leads to a prompt succession," although sources in Washington said the United States, the IMF's biggest financial contributor, would back a European for the post.

The crisis at the IMF comes at a sensitive time given its role in helping euro zone states such as Greece, Ireland and Portugal deal with huge debt problems. Europeans argue that shows why it makes sense for them to retain the post.

"The tradition can be changed but not now," said Herman Van Rompuy, who as president of the European Council represents the European Union's member countries.

The succession issue will probably be discussed at a summit of Group of Eight leaders in France next week. Together, the United States and European nations hold more than 50 percent of the IMF's voting power, giving them say over who leads it.

A Reuters poll of economists showed 32 of 56 think Lagarde is most likely to succeed Strauss-Kahn.

The prime ministers of Italy and Luxembourg publicly backed her on Thursday. Diplomats said she also had backing from France, Germany and Britain, Europe's three biggest economies.

"If the Europeans very strongly endorse Lagarde, that will help, whereas I'm not sure the developing countries will coalesce around one person," said Stephany Griffith-Jones, financial markets program director at Columbia University.

Lagarde is a fluent English speaker and has experience of balancing the demands of rich and developing countries because France is chair of the Group of 20 nations this year.

She was expected to get U.S. backing, not least because Washington wants to keep the number two IMF job and the leadership of the World Bank, the Fund's sister organization.

In veiled warnings against another U.S.-European stitch-up, China and Japan both called for an open, transparent process to choose a successor on merit. Canada agreed but conceded that a European was likely to get it, a government official said.

Lagarde, 55, declined to say if she was interested but told reporters: "Any candidacy, whichever it is, must come from Europeans jointly, all together."

Several European diplomats said she had been quietly canvassing support in the expectation that Strauss-Kahn would stand down within weeks to run for the French presidency.

A former head of the U.S. law firm Baker & McKenzie in Chicago before joining the French government in 2005, Lagarde is also under something of a legal cloud herself.

A French public prosecutor recommended this month she be investigated over an arbitration case involving businessman and former politician Bernard Tapie. Judges are expected to decide in mid-June whether to order a full-scale inquiry.

One non-European candidate could be former Turkish Economy Minister Kemal Dervis, 62, an economist with IMF experience.

In a poll released in France on Wednesday, 57 percent of respondents thought Strauss-Kahn, a Socialist politician, was definitely or probably the victim of a plot.

But French politics has moved on to the search for a challenger to unpopular conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy next year. Former Socialist leader Francois Hollande is now the center-left front-runner but party leader Martine Aubry is under pressure to enter a Socialist primary.

(Additional reporting by Emily Kaiser in Singapore, Tetsushi Kajimoto in Tokyo, Sam Cage and Andreas Rinke in Berlin, Elizabeth Pineau in Paris, David Milliken in London, David Morgan and Mark Felsenthal in Washington, Noeleen Walder and Mark Hosenball in New York, John O'Donnell in Brussels; Writing by William Schomberg, Matt Daily and Paul Taylor; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

No comments: