Greg Palast on How Strauss-Kahn Screws Africa

One of the more interesting analyses of DSK’s activities:

Strauss-Kahn Screws Africa

May 24, 2011 By Greg Palast

Greg Palast’s ZSpace Page / ZSpace

Now that I’ve dispensed with the obvious and obnoxious teaser headline, let’s drop the towel and expose Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s history of arrogant abuse. The truth is, the grandee of the IMF has molested Africans for years.

On Wednesday, the New York Times ran five – count’em, FIVE – stories on Strauss-Kahn, Director-General of the International Monetary Fund. According to the Paper of Record, the charges against “DSK,” as he’s known in France, are in “contradiction” to his “charm” and “accomplishments” at the IMF.

Au contraire, mes chers lecteurs.

Director-General DSK’s cruelty, arrogance and impunity toward African and other nations as generalissimo of the IMF is right in line with the story told by the poor, African hotel housekeeper in New York City.

Let’s consider how the housekeeper from Guinea ended up here in New York. In 2002, this single mother was granted asylum. What drove her here?

It began with the IMF rape of Guinea.

In 2002, the International Monetary Fund cut off capital inflows to this West African nation. Without the blessing of the International Monetary Fund, Guinea, which has up to half the world’s raw material for aluminum, plus oil, uranium, diamonds and gold, could not borrow a dime to develop these resources.

The IMF’s cut-off was, in effect, a foreclosure, and the nation choked and starved while sitting on its astonishing mineral wealth. As in the sub-prime mortgage foreclosures we see today, the IMF moved quickly to seize Guinea’s property.

But the IMF did not seize this nation’s riches for itself. Rather, it forced Guinea to sell off its resources to foreign corporations at prices much like the sale of furniture on the lawn of a foreclosed house.

The French, Americans, Canadians, Swiss (and lately, the Chinese) came in with spoons out and napkins tucked in under their chins, swallowing the nation’s bauxite, gold and more. In the meantime, the IMF ordered the end of trade barriers and thereby ruined local small holders.

As a result of the IMF attack, Guineans who could, fled for freedom and food. This week, then, marked the second time this poor African was molested by the IMF.

Now we have the context of how these two, the randy geezer of globalization and the refugee ended up, in quite different positions, in that New York hotel room.

Since taking over the IMF in 2007, erstwhile “Socialist” Strauss-Kahn has tightened the screws in an attempt to maintain the free-market finance mania that ruined this planet in the first place. [That’s worth a story in itself – and that’s coming. Our team has a stack of inside documents from the IMF that we will be releasing in my new book in the Fall.]

DSK’s lawyers say the relationship with the housekeeper was “consensual.” But DSK says that about all IMF agreements with nations over whom it holds life and death powers. That’s like saying a bank robbery is consensual so long as you don’t consider the gun.

Whether it was agreed-upon sex or brutal rape, it could only have been “consensual” in the same way that the people of Guinea consented to IMF-ordered financial rapine.

The Times article quotes an IMF crony of Strauss-Kahn saying DSK gets his way by “persuasion” not “bullying.” Tell that to the Greeks.

It was DSK who, last year, personally insisted on brutal terms for the so-called bail-out of Greece. “Strong conditionality” is the IMF term. Strauss-Kahn demanded not just a devastating cut in pensions and a deliberate increase in unemployment to 14%, but also the sell-off of 4,000 of 6,000 state-owned services. The DSK IMF plan allowed the financiers who set the financial fires of Greece to pick up the nation’s assets at a fire-sale price.

The Strauss-Kahn demands were not “tough love” for Greece: The love was reserved solely for the vulture bankers who received the IMF funds but were not required to accept one euro in lost profit in return. DSK, despite the advice of many, refused to ask the banks and speculators to reduce their usurious interest charges that were at the root of Greece’s woes.

Requiring Greece to sell assets, drop trade barriers, and even end the rule that Greek ships use Greek sailors has nothing to do with saving Greece, but everything to do with DSK’s continuing the right-wing free-market mania that got this planet into trouble in the first place.

I do not consider it a stretch to say that a predator in the bank boardroom suite assumes his impunity applies to the hotel suite.

Forensic economist and journalist Greg Palast, author of the New York Times bestsellers, Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, has broadcast investigative reports on the IMF and World Bank for BBC Television Newsnight (London) and Democracy Now (New York).


From: Z Net – The Spirit Of Resistance Lives

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3 Responses

  1. Poo says:

    It is always so refreshing to begin the morning with a bit of bombast. This is the best blog on the net!
    While I am willing to wait for a guilty verdict at trial before pronouncing on the champagne socialist (we have many in this country and they have consistently been the most profligate spenders particularly in personal areas) do not think such an outcome will much surprise me. Is living and dying by the “sword” appropriate?

    Guinea, on the other hand is classified as one of the poorest country in the world. This is due to a series of totalitarian dictatorships whose common thread has been ballot stuffing, discrimation, looting of the treasury and wide spread corruption at all levels. In terms of natural resources, Guinea could be one of the richest with abundant reserves of bauxite, iron, gold and diamonds. Why the IMF would put any money here without at least the modicum of democratic reform is beyond me. Guineans need help clearly but stuffing the pockets of government officials is hardly a plan. Well managed foreign investment is not a problem if a democratically elected government legislates and enforces proper levels of taxation, native employment, along with health and safety standards. These are things that any legitmate country would do, the U.S., Canada, Britain and France among many others included. The population should view the uprisings in the Middle East with an eye to the possibilities for their own tomorrows. We in the west may not get the government we want but the people will, as long as there is a supervised and unthreatening free vote. Then and only then should Guinea get massive amounts of money unless delivered on site by recognized international agencies who can put the funds in the hands of the people most needy. Anything else, particularly IMF funding, simply stuffs the pockets of thugs.

    As for Greece please, half the country pays no taxes and while that may be fine for them it is hardly fair to the tax payers of IMF members who are funding this nonsense. Musicians may retire early on a danger pension at 55! And you wonder why the Germans are pissed? They are working in productive plants for an additional 12 years. Do you think they are doing this for Greece or their own families?

    It may indeed have been DSK who insisted on the terms for the bail-out of Greece but he was supported by his board and the member countries who supplied the money. Everyone knows the entitlements the Greeks demand are unsupportable. Who else would lend them the money? The sale of assets is what any individual, state or country does when it has no money. It has not gone as well as expected as few investors have faith in the Greek work force. Where are all the Greek billionaires and millionaires putting their money if these prices are so wonderful? Here’s a clue, its not in Greece. The prices were “fire sale” as there were few bidders. Greece’s “woes” are of their own making and the reason why they need more money now. Does anyone see an end to this? If Palast wants to stick it to these usurious banks why does he not, as I do, recommend bankrupcy? That will stick it to them. It is what he would tell his best friend caught in a similar position.

    There are but 2 reasons the IMF insists on pouring money down this mass striking black hole: (i) to protect European Banks from further losses thereby closing a few and leaving innocent citizens without funds (ii) to prevent a bankrupt Greece from the inherent advantages and possibilities available through bankrupcy, namely if they worked, a big if, they would have a competitive edge on the rest of Europe who is currently working it’s way through it. Note, I said currently. No one lends money at moderate to low rates of interest rates unless they some assurance of repayment. If you have ever tried, a bank, your family or even your friends you will quickly discover that deadbeats have little to no credit and what credit they get is at punitive rates. This is the penalty for bad behaviour. We all pay it.

    As for the IMF itself, even more clearly it’s time has passed. Towards the end of the Second World War , the IMF was formed and originally charged with overseeing the international monetary system. This came about as a result of the Bretton Woods Agreement (1944). The mandate was to ensure exchange rate stability as well as to encourage all members to eliminate any restrictions that would hinder trade. The specific objective was to facilitate the reconstruction of Europe. This economic framework was agreed to by 45 countries. They believed that by doing so they could avoid another Great Depression.

    The Articles of Agreement were signed in 1945 by 29 member countries. Full operations began on March 1, 1947. It takes time to get a proper bureaucracy up and running. It takes even longer to end it. Later in 1947, France became the first country to borrow from the IMF.

    The par value system , known as the Bretton Woods system, broke down in 1971. The IMF, by this time awash with money, felt it was too big and too important to close. Where have we heard this before? They reinvented themselves as money managers and powerful international consultants (they had the money remember). In essence, they broke their mandate but then it was a golden goose for a few. Who could blame them (sarcasm)?

    I appreciate it is always more attractive and headline worthy to be strident but there are many more factors at play than just poor people and rich banks though each has it’s role to play.

    For the record, I am a government pensioner who is also heavily dependent on the health care system of my country. No doubt I will face cutbacks of my own due to government debt and lack of funds. Some of that lack is, of course my own and I have made the appropriate cut backs. I wish I could blame someone other than me. Perhaps I can. I’ll start with DSK, the pompous ass and move on to the IMF itself. That is, of course, unless Christine Lagarde gets DSK’s desk. I like her. I just hope she throws away his Rolodex and explains the facts of life to her client base. She won’t, of course.

  2. Poo says:

    Please pardon the grammatical and spelling errors. I type poorly but quickly, my brain is ebbing and I do not proof read worth a damn. Have a great day !

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