dimanche 12 juin 2011

Vraiment?

 
Après que Strauss Kahn eût été interpellé à New York il y a bientôt un mois, on pouvait lire parmi les commentaires des lecteurs du NYT, du Wapo et de NY Post le thème récurent que la justice aux États-Unis était vraiment égalitaire car elle ne favorisait pas les puissants et les riches par rapport aux faibles et aux démunis. 

Peu importe que l'accusé fût le Directeur du FMI, ce qui faisait de lui une des personnes les plus influentes au monde, la justice américaine est inflexible avec le crime quel qu'en soit l'auteur. 

Le perp walk avec les mains menottées dans le dos, les caméras dans le tribunal, le transfert en prison faisaient ainsi la démonstration de l'intransigeance du système américain avec les criminels quels que soient leur rang et leur fortune, les caméras du monde entier propageant ce message à teneur idéologique.

J'ai pourtant la certitude que si un autre que Strauss Kahn avait été soupçonné du même crime il en aurait été tout autrement et que l'affaire aurait été aussi vite étouffée aux U.S qu'en France.

Imagine-t-on que le président de la banque nationale chinoise dans les mêmes circonstances aurait été semblablement traité par les autorités judiciaires de New York? Ou encore un politique japonais de haut rang? Le procureur du comté de New York, Cyrus Vance jr, aurait-il infligé pareille humiliation à l'échelle mondiale à des asiatiques dont il est connu qu'ils sont insensibles à ce genre d'exposition?

Pensons à un ministre Russe accusé du même crime. Aurait-il été contraint au perp walk menotté sous les yeux du monde entier? Ça n'aurait pas plu à Moscou je crois.

Cyrus Vance jr aurait-il procédé de la même façon avec un membre de la famille royale saoudienne par exemple? Ou un Africain et d'une façon générale avec un ressortissant d'un pays non européen?

Le New York Post se serait-il amusé à titrer Le Chinois ne rit plus jaune, le Russkie est à terre ou  l'Arabe lira le Coran à Rickers Island?

La police de New York aurait-elle été aussi rapide et intraitable pour aller chercher dans son avion un Chinois, un Japonais, un Russe ou un prince de la famille royale saoudienne?

Je suis convaincu que le fait que Strauss Kahn soit français a été pain béni pour C. Vance jr qui a ainsi pu se lâcher comme il ne l'aurait certainement pas fait avec un ressortissant d'un autre continent que l'Europe.

Le procureur général du comté de New York sous couvert d'impartialité s'est comporté comme un politique qui vise à sa réélection et ne s’embarrasse aucunement de scrupules. Faible avec les forts, fort avec les faibles, la maxime est universelle et s'applique aussi bien aux hommes qu'aux institutions, américaines ou pas.

La justice américaine est exemplaire d'égalitarisme nous dit-on.

Vraiment?

28 commentaires:

Flocon a dit…

Afaik, the perp walk was totaly unnecessary safe for the G.A who wanted to make a public display of his policy : Tough on crime whoever the accused is, be it a big shot of the finance or a mafia boss.

I'm just of the opinion he wouldn't have organised any similar show had a Chinese, a Russian, a Japanese etc. big shot been accused or there would have been very strong political response from China, Japan etc.

But with Europeans he knows there are no risks and with a French then it's open field.

As pertains the Saudi family, a dozen or so of its members was allowed to fly out of the US the day after 9/11 which was slightly more serious that what ever happened in the N.Y Sofitel.

Who in his own right would believe C. Vance jr. would have played the same game with a cousin of king Abdallah bin Abdelaziz al-Saud?

Anijo a dit…

Watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. He's enjoying Brittany (Bretagne) and so am I. Delightful.

Enjoying the countryside in Bretagne, so far away from political bullshit.

Flocon a dit…

Hmmm... Here is an interesting case of interlingual incomprehension.

Afaik the English (American?) expression "It sucks" translates as "Ça craint" in French but I may be wrong.

When one says "you suck man" it's supposed to mean "you're weird, irrelevant, uneasy, outdated, off base, retarded etc." doesn't it?

Quand on dit "Ça craint" cela signifie que la situation est bizarre, que l'interlocuteur est complètement déconnecté d'avec la réalité et d'avec les autres, qu'il pense comme quelqu'un d'une autre génération etc.

Cette expression est utilisée par les jeunes and supposedly not by people of my age.

When Bourdain's first program bore the title about the French who don't suck I understood it as "Why the French aren't irrelevant and outdated re food."

So I attempted to make a game on words saying that as a French I was irrelevant and outdated.

(I also understand the meaning of the verb).

In other words, my game on words fell flat :-(

Ned Ludd a dit…

Another small correction with "game on words". We say "play on words".

Yours Truly.

With affairs like those of DSK, France acts a bit differently. In 2010 a chambermaid in a major hotel made a complaint of sexual aggression against a prince from Qatar.

The French police buried the accusation and the prince was simply sent back to Qatar. Apparently it is not the first such problem France has had with Qatar.

Flocon a dit…

Re game and play. Anijo m'a corrigé la dernière fois and here came another relapse :-(

L'affaire que tu rappelles ne m'étonne pas du tout. Maintenant c'est un sénateur socialiste condamné pour harcèlement sexuel or something il y a quelque temps dont le P.S vient seulement de se saisir. Le gars n'est toujours pas exclu.

My point in the post is that things wouldn't have been dealt in a very different way with a Qatary prince had he been caught in New York and the GA wouldn't have organised such a display of his tough-and-indiscriminate policy on crime.

Rocket a dit…

Yes. The American Judicial system is definitely biased against the French. LOL Of course if this was Israel, America's longtime friend and ally this would never happen. Right?

http://tinyurl.com/6buhgew

I think it is safe to say that the US justice system is biased against those who commit crimes whatever country or whatever friendships are involved.

Rocket a dit…

And may I add that no one. No one is exempt from a perp walk in the US. Not even Sponge Bob a child's hero.

http://www.candy95.com/2011/06/spongebob-tried-to-scam-a-beastie-boy/

Flocon a dit…

Une lecture attentive du billet vous aurait permis de vérifier qu'il n'était pas question spécifiquement des Français mais des Européens en général.

Le fait que Strauss Kahn soit français n'a pas joué en sa faveur, je le maintiens.

J'ai envisagé la possibilité que ce fût le président de la banque nationale chinoise, un membre de la famille royale saoudienne ou d'un ministre russe.

Vous ne vous arrêtez pas à ces hypothèses, c'est dommage puisque ce sont celles que j'avance.

Un membre de la famille royale saoudienne given the perp walk? Really? With cameras in the court? (there would be no court anyway)

"I think it is safe to say that the US justice system is biased against those who commit crimes"

Do I understand Strauss Kahn has committed a crime for which he has already been sentenced? I didn't know.

As pertains J. Pollard, he has been convicted for high treason, unless he's innocent and I wasn't aware of that.

Now is the security of the US at risk so that a prisonner isn't allowed to attend his father's funeral?

Once again I wan't aware of the US vulnerability.

Anyway, thanks for adressing the issue of the post.

Anonyme a dit…

Flocon:

//Un membre de la famille royale saoudienne given the perp walk? Really? With cameras in the court? (there would be no court anyway)//

Your belief shows that you are mistaken about both the American political system and the American popular mood.

I understand that it is difficult for a Frenchman to fathom the differences in our systems. In a unitary state like France, with a very powerful presidency, it is not surprising that the executive intervenes regularly in local criminal prosecutions.

I the US, however, local district attorneys, like Mr. Vance, must face the local voters regularly in elections. No matter how much Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton might wish to let the Saudi prince escape, they have no levers of power over the district attorney. This is why obscure congressmen of his own party can defy the US president on his most important policy issues, and why state governors can bring lawsuits against him over his health care plan. The president cannot hurt local officials, be they congressmen, governors, mayors or district attorneys. And he can do little to help them. The local voters are the constituency they must satisfy. And if they satisfy the local voters, there is nothing the president can do to these officials. In fact, the driving force behind the "perp walk" is the desire to show the local voters that their district attorney cannot be deflected from his duties by considerations of place or politics. Neither the high nor the low can escape the long arm of the law. Remember this picture at the polls!

And this leads to my second point. Given the choice between parading an obscure Frenchman who heads some mysterious international organization, and a Saudi prince, any New York City DA would instantly opt for the prince (preferably in full Arab regalia). His voters have no particular animosity against French bankers, but their anger against Arab oil sheiks is stoked every day when they fill up their cars at the gas pump. Parading one of these guys in burnoose and handcuffs is a sure way to local stardom. And local stardom is what counts for Mr. Vance. That is what will get him re-elected.

Finally, any attempt by the president to pressure the DA to give the Saudi prince a pass for reasons of state would be fatal for Mr. Obama's re-election hopes. The DA would make the pressure public in a New York minute, because such a David and Goliath confrontation would make him an instant local hero. The story would destroy Mr. Obama's claims to be a different kind of politician, and we in the US could prepare for President Romney.

SemperFidelis

Flocon a dit…

SemperFidelis,

- It is easy not to be mistaken about the American mood regarding Muslims and Islam in general. Reading the readers' comments in the American press or browsing such and such blog is rather informative in this regard.

- "I understand that it is difficult for a Frenchman to fathom the differences in our systems"

It really is not a difference between the respective systems of America and France but rather between the accusatory system (American) and the inquisitory one (about the rest of the world).

- "In a unitary state like France, with a very powerful presidency, it is not surprising that the executive intervenes regularly in local criminal prosecutions"

Although you'd be hard pressed to find me praising the virtues of the French judiciary system, it's not like the executive intervenes every now and then in criminal prosecutions.

What is called the Ministère public (le parquet) is definitively not independent from the executive since the executive decides who the judges will be and for how long.

Politicians don't have to tell the judges what they must do, said judges know what they're expected to do.

Granted, the outcome is the same and the French in general have a very, very bad opinion of their judges and of the French national judiciary system.

- "the driving force behind the "perp walk" is the desire to show the local voters that their district attorney cannot be deflected from his duties by considerations of place or politics."

Yes, this point is a well known one and it also shows how political the whole act is. Therefore, one is entitled to wonder whether politics and justice are really independent of each other when they share the same bed.

At the end of the day, Justice may be formally independent in the US as opposed to the state of things in France but yet, there exists an overt political tinge in the American judiciary system since attorneys are campaigning the way politicians do: they are looking for the votes of their constituency.

- "any New York City DA would instantly opt for the prince (preferably in full Arab regalia)"

Isn't that detail another clue as to how the whole perp walk thing is a show with no other aim than to cajole the voters into believing that the DA is the right person to re-elect?

At least that's what I understand when you write: "Parading one of these guys in burnoose and handcuffs is a sure way to local stardom. And local stardom is what counts for Mr. Vance. That is what will get him re-elected."

Isn't it what politics is all about?

There's no stating that such system is "better" than any other one but it is indeed somehow difficult to believe the American judiciary system is immune from any political consideration.

It remains that this perp walk had absolutely no value and no need regarding the process of making "truth" eventually be known and all to do with the personal desire of Mr. Vance to secure his professional future.

This way of running justice looks very, very "bizarre" and quite unrecommandable to Europeans minds who are rather inclined to not believe that show business and justice are natural fellows.

Thanks for your information regarding the non discrimination against Strauss Kahn because he's French. I'm now eagerly waiting for a Saudi prince to be given the perp walk (in full regalia) in New York...

Flocon a dit…

I'll end that comment with a historical recall found in General de Gaulle's Memoires de guerre.

At some point there was a strong and fierce desagreement between Churchill and De Gaulle (there were many) and one Frenchman of the gaullist resistance movement was arrested by the British (I can't remember the details).

De Gaulle asked Churchill to intervene so that the man be released to which request Churchill answered that it was impossible because the British judiciary was independent.

De Gaulle then had one British arrested for whatever reason and when Churchill prostested the move De Gaulle answered it was impossible for him to help Churchill because etc.

The day after the arrested Frenchman was freed and so was the British one.

From your comment I understand this would be impossible in the US.

Eh bien tant mieux!

Flocon a dit…

SemperFi,

Not that I want to be provocative but yet...

It is said that a former German dictator's worst fear shortly before he committed suicide was to be paraded in an iron cage through the streets of Moscow should the Russians catch him alive.

When you write : "any New York City DA would instantly opt for the prince (preferably in full Arab regalia)" and "Parading one of these guys in burnoose and handcuffs is a sure way to local stardom" doesn't that call for some parallels to be drawn?

Just wondering... ;-)

Ned Ludd a dit…

It is standard operating procedure for the police to handcuff any suspect. Who knows, maybe DSK can be a violent person. Maybe he took PCP. The police just don't take the chance.

So he is treated as any American citizen.

I was once taken to a French commissariat from a store in handcuffs because I happened to be with someone who used a cancelled credit card.

Ned Ludd a dit…

I forgot to add that I spent 24 hours in a cell before the police interrogated me to see if I was involved in some sort of credit card traffic.

Then I was taken again in handcuffs to the Ile de la Cité to be photographed and fingerprinted and returned in handcuffs to the commissariat where they finally released me.

If a news photographer had been at any of my transfers--and I had been famous, I could have been in the press handcuffed despite innocence.

So I find nothing shocking about the treatment of DSK. What will be shocking is what his lawyers will do to try to discredit the victim.

Flocon a dit…

"It is standard operating procedure for the police to handcuff any suspect."

Yes, I've learned that's how it works in the US.

Now handcuffing suspects is something different from parading them publicly and in front of the cameras isn't it?

Also I don't know whether it is standard procedure in France or if the cops chose to handcuff people according to the circumstances.

Maybe do they handcuff suspects when they know said suspects are violent or when caught red handed. Aso when people resist the arrestation and try to escape.

Georges Tron hasn't been handcuffed a far as I know, has he?

Flocon a dit…

You live a dangerous life Ned!

Eh bien moi je trouve choquant qu'un citoyen (citoyenne) soit menotté et maintenu en garde à vue 24 heures dans les circonstances que tu relates.

Ce ne serait plus possible semble-t-il avec les nouvelles directives relatives à la garde à vue.

French police scares the hell out of me.

- "If a news photographer had been at any of my transfers--and I had been famous, I could have been in the press handcuffed despite innocence."

Well, you're famous but the photographers have respected your "droit à l'image" as well as your dignity ;-)

Again, displaying such pictures would be illegal now (since 2002).


- "What will be shocking is what his lawyers will do to try to discredit the victim."

I wrote a comment in the NTY about that.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Cela m’est arrivé était pendant les années 90.

Quelques autres histoires avec la police française. Une fois je rentrais à velo avec mes lumières. Je passais au feu vert et une voiture m’a coupé la route à un carrefour. J’ai donné un bras d’honneur. La voiture qui contenait quatre policiers en civil s’est arrêté et deux habillés comme skinheads sont sortis pour me controlé. Comme j’ai un accent anglophone et je roulait vers l’ambassade d’Australie à quelques centaines de metres, ils m’ont laissé partir. Peut-être ils voulaient eviter un incident diplomatique.

J’ai aussi des amis et des connaissances parmi les policiers. J’habite pas loin de la rue Nélaton où on trouve une antenne de la ministère de l’intérieur. Les policiers là sont presque tous en civil. Je les croise dans des bistrots du coin. J’arrive de connaitre les nouveaux soit parce qu’ils sont avec un que je connais soit qu’ils ont quelque chose qui ne colle pas avec les habitués ou les autres. Mon meilleur ami parmi eux est mort assez jeune d’un cancer.

Mon quartier dans le quinzième est assez tranquille, mais il y a un jardin à coté des HLMs ou on trouve des pétits dealers et d’autres pétits voyous. Par le passé certains voulaient me vendre de la drogue, ou d’autres pas du quartier me demandais si j’en avais à vendre. Mais j’ai un ami, un policier en civil, un grand noir, avec lequel je bois un verre de temps un temps dans le quartier. Il connait tous ces gens(et doit avoir des indics) et ils m’ont vu plusieurs fois avec lui, donc je ne plus de problèmes.

Finalement, dans les années 90, j’ai connu un chef de commissariat dans le quatorzième. Il était d’habitude mal habillé en jogging sale et ne faisait pas du tout policier. J’ai découvert qu’il était policier parce que dans sa voiture il y avait un gros téléphone. C’était avant que les portables n’existaient. Il était plus agé que moi et maintenant il est problement mort.

Je peux m’entendre avec ceux de la gauche ou de la droit. J’ai toujours avec moi les cartes de certains policiers(J’en ai même une d’un colonel) dans le cas ou je peut etre controlé ou avoir d’autres problèmes avec messieurs les agents. Au moins ils vont réflechir ou essayer de confirmer ma situation.

Une autre histoire drôle. Je rentrais chez moi à coté du parc et il y avait plein de policiers. Ils étaient du BAC et étaient là pour controler les «usual suspects». Juste avant que je n’arrive, une bande d’un autre quartier est arrivée en voiture et à tiré sûr leurs rivaux. Evidemment, tout le monde a été embarque. Quel malchance pour eux. Je ne sais pas pour toi, mais cela m’a fait rire.

Ned Ludd a dit…

One correction, and it is a mistake that I often make. "Police" in English is plural and in French singular. It is hard for me to keep that straight at times.

Flocon a dit…

Là vraiment tu m'épates encore plus Ned!

Le plus long commentaire en français et en plus tu frôles le sans faute!!!

Je suis sûr qu'à la relecture tu corrigerais les quelques petites erreurs qui sont restées.

Pour "la police" j'ai lu trois fois et je ne vois pas pourquoi tu devrais corriger?

"à tiré sûr leurs rivaux"

J'ai déjà remarqué que tu mets un accent circonflexe à 'sur' comme pour 'sûr' que tu connais bien sûr.

"J’ai donné un bras d’honneur" Tu (leur) as fait un bras d'honneur. (Is a lady supposed to make un bras d'honneur?).

Il reste quelques autres petits riens...

Ton accent anglophone est un sauf garde en France je crois. Have you ever met nasty remarks about Americans since you arrived? (à part les éventuels crétins).

Le quartier Bir-Hakeim est plutôt sympa avec l'île aux cygnes, la Tour Eiffel et le champ de Mars, la Maison de la radio.

En face tu as l'appartement où fut tourné Last tango in Paris et deux petits musées que j'aime bien (Musée Balzac et Musée du vin dans les carrières de gypse du XVIè)

Ton serviteur dans ce musée il y a 6 ans. J'ai mis le hâlo lumineux avec Photoshop.

(And yes, my nose is red and it's not because I'd drank too much wine)

Ned Ludd a dit…

Flocon, tu a écris, "French police scares the hell out of me."

That should be "French police scare the hell out of me".

Flocon a dit…

Yes et c'est parce que ta remarque sur singulier/pluriel pour "police" est arrivée après que j'aie écrit mon commentaire.

Du coup cela fait une raison de plus de me souvenir que police is plural in English. Thanks for the tip.

Anonyme a dit…

Flocon:

//It really is not a difference between the respective systems of America and France but rather between the accusatory system (American) and the inquisitory one (about the rest of the world).//

Here you overreach.

The English common law adversarial system is in place in Canada in North America. And of course in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is also the system in Australia and New Zealand. And in not-so-insignificant states like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is the rule in South Africa, Kenya and many other African states. I will not list the many smaller states starting with Antigua and Barbuda, passing through Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and ending in Zambia.

I have read somewhere that about 1/3 of the world's population lives under the English common law.

//It is said that a former German dictator's worst fear shortly before he committed suicide was to be paraded in an iron cage through the streets of Moscow should the Russians catch him alive.

When you write : "any New York City DA would instantly opt for the prince (preferably in full Arab regalia)" and "Parading one of these guys in burnoose and handcuffs is a sure way to local stardom" doesn't that call for some parallels to be drawn?

Just wondering... ;-)//

Don't you confirm Godwin's Law with this Reductio ad Hitlerum?

I recommend a virtual perp walk for you. Anijo, Ned, Zapow and I will all take photographs using those 1930s cameras with flashbulbs the size of tennis balls, while we all shout questions like: "Why did you do it?" and "Is it true you are dating Lady Gaga?"

Anticipating,
SemperFidelis

Flocon a dit…

SemperFidelis,

Touché! (as they say in France) but not completely though.

You're absolutely right when you write that I overreach.

Before I wrote the post I checked my souvenirs (I studied law as you may know) about the inquisitory system and the accusatory one.

I was so sure about the differences that I failed to be more specific and forgot to recall it both in the post and in my comments.

You certainly have experienced the same situation when you take for granted that your interlocutor knows what you know and therefore you skip the details only to find out that :

1°) Your interlocutor doesn't know and your discourse falls flat.

or

2°) Your interlocutor knows but you omission has given h/h amunition so that h/s can infer that you don't know.

Guess which part of the alternative is at work here.

(Hint : The magnanimous readers of this little blog are all educated and sophisticated people, hence answer #1 simply is out of the question).

But you may think this is a blatant case of backpedaling to which I retort with this:

"The inquisitory system that is of use in about all countries but the US and the commonwealth members"

which is part of a comment I left on the NYT readers' comments section on June 15th, that is about two hours after I wrote the original post.

Non guilty your Honor!

(The accusatory system being a remnant of the British colonial Empire, it would have been unfair -and even gross- from me to remind those concerned that their institutions actually aren't their's but those of their former masters. It's not like me to be so undelicate.)

Anonyme a dit…

"Don't you confirm Godwin's Law with this Reductio ad Hitlerum?"

Touché! again. But not completely, though.

I took great care not to type the name of the infamous dictator yet.

Also, if this Godwin's Law has been verified ad nauseum, the validity of said law doesn't prove anything else that it is a very common occurrence on the Internet or in verbal exchanges.

In any case does the Godwin's Law discredit the validity of the arguments where it is to be met.

I suggest a parallel, which indeed may be labeled as another occurrence of this Godwin's Law, but nothing indicates that said parallel is unfounded.

I'll use some kind of comparison :

When an argument is very, very and too often exposed with red ink it doesn't invalidate the argument. It only vindicates the constant observation that some arguments are very, very and too often written with red ink.

D'un point de vue logique il n'y a pas de contradiction ou d'erreur selon qu'une démonstration soit écrite sur papier d'argent ou papier d'Arménie.

This is a reference that probably may be lost on you but not on French readers. Hint (No offense intended as you know).

Another comparison : It's not because some kind of songs are mostly written in the key of E minor that they're worthless as Anijo perfectly knows.

To make a long story short, the perp walk doesn't seem to be practised that very often even in the motherland and doesn't equally seem to be very useful (soft understatement) in the process of helping thruth to emerge.

It has a purpose which has much to do with politics and very few (soft understatement again) with justice.

If we decide to avoid giving the Godwin's Law another chance to be proven right, what about the Romans parading their prisonners 2.000 years before the Austrian born German dictator was born? Vercingétorix comes to the mind of the French here.

Any which way one tries to present the perp walk habit, it remains a remnant of medieval Europe as I stated (nothing particularly original here) in a previous post.

Hope that your anticipation has been met ;-)

Flocon a dit…

I realize I forgot the virtual perp walk for me....

"Anijo, Ned, Zapow and I will all take photographs" which all would end up on Facebook on Anijo's account I know.

""Why did you do it?" and "Is it true you are dating Lady Gaga?"

Not to mention Anijo's questions such as "Why are you so anti American?", "What makes you think you're superior?" etc.

At the end of the day I will get the red carpet treatment like that little character does.

(This figure is known to all Europeans)

Anijo a dit…

Flocon,

I no longer have a facebook account. I deleted it. I have never accused you of being anti-American. I remain curious about your love affair with Lady Gaga.

Flocon a dit…

"I remain curious about your love affair with Lady Gaga."

Now look SemperFidelis the fine mess you've gotten me into with Anijo!

Just petty rumors from people who know my mind is set on you Anijo ;-)

-----

If I'm not being indiscreet, did you delete your FB account because you too found out that there was no point being "friend" with people you don't know and that you didn't need FB to be friend with the friends you already have?

Anijo a dit…

Ah, so you had a bad romance with Lady Gaga? ;)

Just petty rumors from people who know my mind is set on you Anijo ;-)

I can only imagine the wheels of the rumor mill turning now. ☺
Flattering comment though (blush)


If I'm not being indiscreet, did you delete your FB account because you too found out that there was no point being "friend" with people you don't know and that you didn't need FB to be friend with the friends you already have?

Bingo. It was interesting for a little while, but then I decided that I was wasting my time there.