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, Strauss-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.
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.
Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan's first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow's Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.