Friday, July 01, 2011
Impunity x 3: Tales of Injustice
"Strauss-Kahn Is Released as Case Teeters" reads the headline. The newspapers are reporting that the alleged victim of accused rapist Dominique Strauss-Kahn has a sordid history: she lied while applying for immigration to the US; she lied on her taxes; and she sought the advice of questionable figures after the alleged attack. Deemed of bad character and therefore of questionable quality as a witness against DSK, the case's judge revoked the harsh conditions of his bail and the prosecution team is trying to decide whether to proceed. Read the comments on any web version of this story: "I knew he was innocent...it was too convenient," "Ship her back to where she came from!" are typical.
But wait a second. The details of the incident are not actually in question. There is strongly implicating DNA evidence. Wait, let me rephrase that in real words: DSK's SEMEN was found where it should not have been: On the victim's clothing and on a wall where she spit it out after he forced her to give him a blowjob.
DSK's accuser may be of bad character; she may be a liar. But liars can still be victims of rape.
How many millions of people lie on their taxes or lie in the process of legal proceedings like immigration? It is not suggested that she told a lie as heinous as denying being a serial killer when she had left a string of bodies behind her. Has DSK told no lies? It seems likely he has an actual record of abusive behavior toward women, and yet, the reputation of this rich white man places him on a higher plane of justice than the working-class African immigrant who must now wear her previous transgressions like a scarlet letter even though they have nothing to do with the facts of the case.
A righteous scolding from gay activist Michael Petrelis: A year ago a closeted gay or bisexual African-American man named Defarra Gaymon was shot to death by a New Jersey detective in an incident at a park frequented by cruising gay men. This week a grand jury declined to press charges against Gaymon's killer, despite a number of questions about the detective's version of the story, and the detective's history of inappropriate violence in previous sex arrest cases. Gaymon was a top level business executive in Atlanta, visiting New Jersey for a high school reunion. Petrelis notes that only one gay newspaper reported on this sad development: neither mainstream newspapers like the Times nor gay community blogs saw fit to note this sad, but predictable, news.
Once again "law enforcement" is held to a different standard: and again the killer of an African=American man, this time a gay African-American man, walks away scot free. I've routinely seen heterosexual black victims of police violence vilified in gay blogs as "criminals." Now when the same kind of murderous police violence is directed against a gay black man, there's just silence.
The American boat participating in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla 2 — dubbed "The Audacity of Hope" — set sail from Greece today! Two other ships were seriously sabotaged by presumed Israeli commandos, and the Canadian ship was prevented from setting sail.
However thirty minutes out the American vessel was surrounded by ships of the Greek coast guard, threatened by armed soldiers with automatic weapons, and forced to return to a military port in Athens. The captain tried to convince the authorities that given the sabotage of other ships, Greek ports were no longer safe for "The Audacity of Hope," but to no avail. The activists aboard the ship are spending the night on the detained ship.
Yes, the Greek government, rocked by violently angry protests for its submission to the austerity demands of the EU and the IMF, found time in its state of near collapse to prevent the Gaza Freedom Flotilla from embarking on its peaceful mission of delivering supplies and moral support to the ports of Gaza, under military blockade by the forces of apartheid Israel.
According to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, the Greek interference in blockade running was the fruit of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's strong backing of the Greek government. (Ironically back in 2008 during another wave of protests in Greece, the Greek government appealed to Israel for extra tear gas when its own supplies ran low.) And someone making a protest call to the Greek Consulate in New York was told “It’s YOUR government [US] that ordered us not to let the ship sail!”
Once again the American government takes the side of Israel against nonviolent American civilians. Israel, illegally blockading Gaza, illegally occupying the West Bank and Jerusalem, threatening illegal acts of piracy against nonviolent activists in international waters, is treated with impunity and handed yet another blank check by the American governmennt.