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On Haiti Trial Against US Ending TPS Judge Cites Cholera Exacerbated By If Not Introduced By UN Peacekeepers

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFT Q&A

UNITED NATIONS GATE, January 9 – How arrogant is the UN, when it comes to Haiti like as to Cameroon and elsewhere? Just as the UN of Antonio Guterres didn't even send anyone one to the SDNY Federal court in December to monitor the UN bribery trial of Patrick Ho of China Energy Fund Committee, now it seems the UN has no monitor or response when in the case challenging the impending end of Temporary Protected Status in the US for Haitians - even as the judge in the case on January 8 referred to Haiti cholera "exacerbated by if not introduced by UN peacekeepers." [h/t Beatrice Lindstrom of IJDH. When Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse spoke in the UN General Assembly on September 27 he referred clearly to "le cholera introduit par la MINUSTAH" - the cholera introduced by MINUSTAH, the UN Mission in Haiti, here. But when the UN of Antonio Guterres put on its website a purported summary of Moise's speech, it contained no mention at all of cholera, here. Why not? This week in Federal court in Brooklyn there is the continuation of a case - the trial began January 7 - charging Donald Trump and DHS with not only arbitrarily ending TPS status for Haitian - but also being motivated by racism. The UN of course can't be charged - only before they assert total immunity and impunity. Call it the ultimate white-wash under Guterres, who has also banned from UNGA, and from the UN as a whole apparently for life, Inner City Press which accompanied and covered the UN Security Council's most recent trip to Haiti and interviewed some of the many victims of the UN. Inner City Press emphasized Guterres' failure on accountability for bringing cholera to Haiti to the Sept 23 New York Post, here. Now on November 21 banned Inner City Press in writing asked Guterres and his spokes- / hatchet-man Stephane Dujarric: "November 21-3: On Haiti, what is the SG's comment and action on that “at least eight deaths have been reported in clashes between protesters and police since the protests began on Sunday. Demonstrators have demanded that the president resign for not investigating allegations of corruption." Seven hours later, nothing. Meanwhile it is reported that Moise Jean Charles, head of the political party Pitit Dessalines went to the United Nations on Tuesday to discuss the crisis gripping Haiti. During his visit, he promised to seek the help of the United Nations to recover Petrocaribe funds and have justice and compensation for the cholera victims and women raped by Minustah agents." The UN of Guterres is corrupt. The Secretary-General is saddened to learn of the tragic loss of life and injuries caused by the earthquake in north-west Haiti on 6 October. The Secretary-General extends his condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Haiti. The United Nations stands ready to support the Government of Haiti in the response efforts." Some says, Ready to help? With what, cholera like after the big earthquake, and then not paying a penny? We'll have more on this. The International Monetary Fund after a visit to Haiti on June 20 announced that “the IMF welcomes the government's intention to eliminate fuel price subsidies." And on July 6 after the government announced price increases of 38 percent to 51 percent for gasoline, diesel and kerosene, protests broke out. Protesters were shot and killed by police in the Delmas area of the capital and elsewhere. On June 14, Jack Guy LafontantJack Guy Lafontant resigned as Haiti’s prime minister. This two days after the UN Security Council, which has yet to ensure any recompense for Haitian families harmed by the cholera the UN brought killing 10,000 people, said on July 12 -- when Secretary General Antonio Guterres neither mentioned nor was asked about Haiti in his Press-less press conference (Inner City Press remains UNjustly banned from the UN but asked the IMF about it, here). The UN banned Inner City Press, so it could not ask the question on July 16. Fox News story here ("UN roughs up, ejects, bans reporter from headquarters: Caught on tape"); petition to Guterres here; GAP blogs I and II (“Harassment of US Journalist Intensifies at the UN”).  Guterres through Alison Smale made it a lifetime ban on August 17, with no due process. On August 1, the UN named an AFRICOM hand as its rep in Haiti replacing the PNG-ed Susan Page: "United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of Helen Meagher La Lime of the United States as his Special Representative for Haiti and Head of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH)." An on September 17, finally this from La Lime: "The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), Ms. Helen La Lime, welcomes the ratification by the Parliament of Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant General Policy Declaration and his installation in office today. Ms. La Lime also wishes to commend the efforts by S.E.M. President Jovenel Moïse, the President of the Senate, Mr. Joseph Lambert, and the President of the Lower Chamber, Mr. Gary Bodeau, that led to a constructive dialogue between the Executive and the Legislative and allowed an agreement for the installation of the new Prime Minister and his Government to be reached. The head of MINUJUSTH reiterates the United Nations’ commitment to continue its partnership with the Haitian authorities to implement the Mission’s mandate as part of the exit strategy, built in collaboration with national authorities, for a transition toward a United Nations presence in the country without peacekeeping operations by the end of 2019. Ms. La Lime encourages all stakeholders to continue their efforts in strengthening the rule of law institutions in the country, consolidating the professionalization of the National Police of Haiti, promoting and protecting human rights, as well as fostering sustainable economic and social development, within the framework of President Moïse’s seven priority axes and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)." What about the UN's shameful role in bringing cholera to the island, paying not a penny? On July 16, while awaiting the "investigation" the UN promised, Inner City Press e-mailed Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, "Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant resigned, after civilians were killed protesting fuel price subsidy cuts. Again, that is the comment of UNSG and the UN Mission, given what the UN has done there including by introducing cholera and not paying reparations of any kind?"
First there was no answer - Haq couldn't have been busy, with Inner City Press banned there were only four questioners in the day's noon briefing. So Inner City Press asked again, cc-ing Guterres' Deputy Amina J. Mohammed and his Communicator Alison Smale, among others. Haq replied, "your email has been received and we are following up on answers." But by the end of the day, as Inner City Press covered a court hearing about convicted UN bribery Ng Lap Seng, nothing. Now 23 hours after the question was asked -- and after the incommunicador Global Communicator of Antonio Guterres has received detailed questions from the Government Accountability Project - this, from Haq: "On Haiti, we have the following: As expressed by the Core Group in their 9 July communique, the UN expresses concern for the violent nature of the protests and condemns all acts leading to the unnecessary loss of life and destruction of property. The UN encourages all parties in Haiti to exercise restraint and respect the constitutional order, and urges national authorities to engage in an inclusive dialogue with all other key actors, in order to restore calm, promote social cohesion and ensure the safety of people and properties. The UN takes note of the recent resignation of the Prime Minister."

The IMF added, "The IMF mission was hosted by Mr. Jude Salomon, Minister of Economy and Finance and Mr. Jean Baden Dubois, Governor of the Bank of the Republic of Haiti." Also on June 20, on Sri Lanka the IMF raised not the recent history of torture and abduction and attacks on minorities and its own imposed austerity but rather real estate lending and money laundering. Releasing some $252 million to the government the IMF "welcomed efforts to further strengthen the resilience of the financial sector, including with Basel III implementation. They noted that macro-prudential tools could be used to rein in excessive credit growth in the real estate sector and encouraged the authorities to address identified weaknesses in non-bank financial institutions. They commended ongoing efforts to improve the AML/CFT regime and looked forward to timely implementation of FATF-compliant laws and regulations." Looking forward? Note that Sri Lanka did not implement the supposed vetting it committed to while getting paid for sending UN "peacekeepers" to Lebanon and elsewhere. Contrast this to the IMF's statements on Switzerland two days before: "Directors emphasized the importance of continued structural reform to enhance productivity and
preserve Switzerland as a prime destination for foreign investment. Specifically, they encouraged reforming the pension system to ensure its long-term viability and further enhancing compliance with international standards on taxation, tax transparency, and AML/CFT." Anti Money Laundering, and relatedly financing of terrorism. The IMF continued in its pro-EU way, "Uncertainty regarding long-term Swiss-EU relations could affect cross-border flows. Initiatives leading to abrupt institutional changes could undermine public confidence, and further delays in meeting international standards on corporate income taxation (CIT) could reduce Switzerland’s appeal as an investment destination." Of course, delays on tax evasion and avoidance has also increase Switzerland's appeal, for some, as an "investment destination." This is today's IMF.
after a review of South Africa on June 12 noted the still slow growth and pitched fintech or financial technology as  solution. The IMF's Article IV review said, "South Africa’s potential is significant, yet growth over the past five years has not benefited from the global recovery. This year, growth is projected to be somewhat higher—at 1.5 percent—but still insufficient to make a meaningful dent in unemployment, poverty, and inequality.... The South African Reserve Bank’s introduction of the Twin Peaks regime provides a welcome overhaul of the regulatory framework. While the overall banking sector is well capitalized and profitable, monitoring pockets of vulnerabilities in small, non-systemic banks is essential. Devoting increased resources to regularly conduct top-down stress tests will be helpful. The planned entry of new banks can boost competition, reduce user charges, and improve access to credit for SMEs. Combined with the increased focus on the role of Fintech, greater competition can also help promote financial inclusion." Twin peaks, indeed. On the morning of June 7 for the International Monetary Fund's embargoed media briefing Inner City Press submitted several questions including on Barbados, Zambia, Jordan and Ukraine. IMF Spokesman Gerry Rice, after calling on those in the room on the latter two - as well as a named Ukrainian journalist - left Zambia and Barbados for last, nameless, deferred. On Barbados Inner City Press had asked, "what will the IMF do to try to ensure austerity measures don't hurt the poor and also lead to protests and political instability?" Rice answered that there is an IMF team finishing in Bridgetown and there might be a statement as early as today. And, after six pm, here it is: "At the request of the newly elected Government of Barbados, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Bert van Selm visited Bridgetown on June 5-7, to have discussions on economic policies and possible IMF financial support of the government’s economic plan. At the end of the visit, Mr. van Selm made the following statement:

“Barbados is in a precarious economic situation. International reserves have dwindled to US$220 million, while central government debt is unsustainable. The fiscal deficit has decreased over the last few years but remains large, at about 4 percent of GDP in FY2017/18. Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Barbados (CBB) is reporting a contraction of output of 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2018 (over the same period last year).

“The Barbadian authorities, in close consultation with their social partners, are rapidly developing a plan to address current economic vulnerabilities. We welcome the government’s plans to urgently address infrastructure problems, and its goal of seeking to support the most vulnerable during the economic adjustment process.

“At this juncture, the IMF’s recommendations contained in the 2017 Article IV Consultation remain highly relevant to rebuild confidence and address Barbados’ current challenges. Substantial fiscal consolidation is needed to place debt on a clear downward trajectory in conjunction with the proposed debt restructuring, and to address balance of payments risks that cloud the country’s future. Since tax and revenues are relatively high, the adjustment effort should focus on the expenditure side, including by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public services, containing wages, and reforming government pensions. Government transfers to SOEs need to be reduced by reviewing user fees, exploring options for mergers and privatization, and by providing much stronger oversight. Tax policy should be reviewed with a view to broadening the tax base and improving its progressivity, while efforts to strengthen tax administration should continue. Structural reforms are critical to improve the business climate in Barbados to attract investment, and develop the private sector.

“Fiscal consolidation will also help to reduce financing needs, in conjunction with the proposed debt restructuring. It will be important for the CBB to limit financing of the government budget given that such practice is not consistent with Barbados’ exchange rate peg; the large monetary financing over the last few years has contributed to the decline in international reserves.

“We also note the authorities’ decision to seek a restructuring of domestic debt and external debt to commercial creditors. An early and open dialogue with the country’s creditors, aiming to achieve an orderly debt restructuring process, is important.

“Overall, the team had very positive and candid discussions with the government during the visit. In the coming months, we expect to continue our close dialogue with the Barbados government with the aim of reaching understandings on economic policies that could underpin an IMF supported program. Our goal is to help Barbados achieve higher living standards and more inclusive growth for the years ahead.

“During the visit, the team met with Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment, CBB Governor Haynes, and other key officials. The team also had good opportunities for exchange of views with social partners, including labor unions and the private sector. The team would like to thank the Barbados government for open and candid discussions, and to express its desire to continue to work closely with Barbados in the period ahead.”" But what about austerity? He defended it with regard to Jordan, tying the protests there to the situation in and from neighboring Syria. On Argentina he said the economy would be stronger with an IMF program and that he expects Madame Lagarde to speak with Macri in Canada this weekend. On Ukraine he said the IMF doesn't comment on personalities (Inner City Press had asked about Oleksandr Danyliuk), but that the institutional role of the Finance Ministry is key. On Zambia, Rice answered Inner City Press' question with a statement that talks remain suspended due to official borrowing plans. And there it was over. Inner City Press' Cameroon and other questions were again not answered. Onward. On Somalia back on May the IMF offered some praise and support, after conducting a visit not to the country but to next door Kenya. On May 17 for the IMF's embargoed media briefing, Inner City Press asked among other things, "In Somalia, the Central Bank says it has requested from the IMF an Assessment Letter needed in order to issue a new currency. Please describe the process, and status. And, IMF gives go-ahead to source $41m to issue new bank notes, but how can printing of counterfeit notes be stopped before this time?" IMF Spokesperson Gerry Rice read out the question then said Somalia debt relief is a priority for the IMF, that all preparatory steps for the new currency have been taken, with the first step being replacing the counterfeit shillings. But what if new counterfeit is created in the meantime? Rice said the IMF would revert bilatally; Inner City Press also asked about price rises of the metro in Egypt, and of fuel in Sri Lanka. The latter, Rice defended as an attempt to eliminate subsidies that benefit the rich and not the poor - like the reported 130% rise in the price of kerosene? Most of the May 17 briefing was devoted to Argentina, on which the IMF Executive Board has a May 18 informal meeting on what Rice called Macri's request for a "high access stand by arrangement." Watch this site. On Somalia the IMF on May 15 said, "An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, led by Mohamad Elhage, visited Nairobi, Kenya, from May 7—14, to conduct discussions on the second review of the second Staff-Monitored Program (SMP II) and to agree on SMP III. The team met with the Somali authorities to discuss recent economic developments, review progress on the implementation of reforms under SMP II, and discuss a follow-up SMP to consolidate reforms. At the conclusion of the visit, Mr. Elhage issued the following statement: 'The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) successfully completed the third Article IV Consultations with the IMF and first review under its second SMP (SMP II) in February 2018... Performance under SMP II was satisfactory.  However, despite the important reforms implemented since the first SMP I (May 2016-April 2017), significant challenges remain. Growth is too low to make a significant dent in Somalia’s widespread poverty, high youth unemployment, and large social needs. The economy is vulnerable to shocks and lacks buffers needed to develop resilience. The external public debt is high, and there is no capacity to service public debt obligations. Without proper compliance with the AML/CFT international standards, Somalia will continue to suffer from pressures related to the reduction in correspondent banking relationships. This could result in lower and volatile remittances inflows, which are Somalia’s lifeline. SMP III will help maintain reform the momentum and macroeconomic stability. It will also continue to support the authorities’ broad reform agenda. In particular, it will focus on (1) enhancing public financial management and revenue mobilization; (2) completing Phase I of the currency reform, which consists of exchanging all Somali Shilling currently in circulation with a new national currency; (3) putting the foundation of financial sector reforms to foster financial development, inclusion, and stability, while strengthening compliance with the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT); and (4) improving data reporting. Strengthening the procurement framework and improving governance and transparency are important features of SMP III, which will be support by technical assistance from the IMF... During the visit, the team met with Finance Minister, Mr. Abdirahman Duale Beileh; the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Mr. Abdirahman M. Abdi Hashi; Central Bank Governor, Mr. Bashir Issa Ali; Assistant to the President and Special Advisor, Hussein A. Gendisch; Representative of the Prime Minister’s office, Mr. Abdi Abdullahi; and other officials. The team also met representatives from development partners." Who might that be? By contrast when the IMF reviews developed countries' banking sectors, particularly in Europe, some banks' participation in predatory lending gets over looked. Consider Deutsche Bank, and today's IMF assessment of the Germany banking sector, just out from under embargo as of this publication: "The German banking and life insurance sectors should accelerate their restructuring to bolster profitability and reduce risks. In the banking sector, the regulatory capital ratio has increased, but the cost-to-income ratio and leverage remain high. The high cost structure, alongside low net interest margins, provisions for compliance violations, and the need to adjust to the new regulatory environment, continue to weigh on profitability. Restructuring is ongoing in the banking sector, but the process must be accelerated through faster implementation of restructuring plans, continued development of fee-based income, and further consolidation. In the life insurance sector, low interest rates have dented solvency ratios, and further progress is needed to reduce reliance on guaranteed return products. In this context, supervisory attention to interest rate risk and progress in implementing restructuring plans both in banking and insurance should continue." What about abuse of consumers, participation in predatory lending schemes and other abuses? What about Greece? What about Deutsche bank as the riskiest bank? The IMF announced a press conference, but apparently no live stream: "At the conclusion of the 2018 IMF Article IV mission to Germany, the mission chief Julie Kozack will hold a press conference at the Bundesbank offices in Berlin to present the missions’ Concluding Statement and answer questions from media.
When: Monday, May 14, 2018 at 1 pm CET.
Where: Deutsche Bundesbank, Hauptverwaltung in Berlin und Brandenburg Leibnizstr. 10, Berlin-Charlottenburg
Participants:  Julie Kozack, Assistant Director, European Department
How: Journalists interested in participating should register with Bundesbank e-mail christiane.engellandt-kranen."We'll have more on this.
When the IMF held its Middle East press conference at its Spring Meetings on April 20, Inner City Press submitted this question: "On Yemen, what are the IMF's predictions and what are its current actions, for example in ensuring the payment of public servants? Relatedly, what is the impact of the war on Yemen on the Saudi economy? -Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press." Spokesperson Wafa Amr read the question, from Matthew Lee, to Jihad Azour, the Director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia Department, who said (full audio here), "The situation in Yemen has inflicted a big humanitarian toll. The Fund is helping the Yemeni authorities, the Central Bank, in designing and managing the financial framework to distribute salaries... and import goods and medicines. With the government, we try to help them preserve the Central Bank and the ministry of finance. We are in dialogue with global community, providing assessment of the challenges and the best instruments that could help." Afterward, the IMF sent Inner City Press an email that "Yemen is suffering deep humanitarian and economic crisis. Outlook is very uncertain and will be dependent on security developments. Recession in Yemen continued in 2017 and GDP fell by 14 percent. We expect zero growth in 2018, under the assumption that the conflict will end end of the year." It's appreciated, but there was no answer about the impact on the Saudi economy. On May 7, the IMF issued this, on vicious censor Sisi of Egypt: "Following a meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in Cairo today, Mr. David Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement: ;President El Sisi and I discussed Egypt’s economic outlook and progress in Egypt’s reform program supported by the IMF. The reforms have started to reap results, especially with regard to Egypt’s macroeconomic stabilization: growth is at the highest rate since 2008, inflation has rapidly declined, foreign exchange reserves are at record levels, exports are growing and unemployment has declined. We also discussed the outcome of the Inclusive Growth and Job Creation Conference [link to the PR announcing the conference], co-organized by the Egyptian authorities and the IMF in Cairo May 5-6. I was encouraged by the determination, shared by policy makers, the private sector, members of the parliament and civil society. There was consensus that Egypt needs to lock in the gains in macroeconomic stabilization and shift gears towards the implementation of a home-grown structural reform agenda to achieve more inclusive and private sector-led growth. This will help create jobs, which is the best way to reduce poverty and improve living standards. In this context, the conference also benefited from the participation of former senior policymakers from Korea, India and Malaysia who shared their reform experiences. I thanked President El Sisi, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt Tarek Amer and the Minister of Finance Amr El Garhy for co-hosting the conference. As we continue our partnership, we stand ready to help Egypt achieve a better future for its people.” Watch this site. When the IMF held its biweekly embargoed briefing on March 29, Inner City Press submitted questions about South Korea, Myanmar and Jamaica, see below. Spokesman Gerry Rice read out Inner City Press' South Korea question. From the IMF transcript: "on South Korea. This is from Matthew Lee. The U.S. says it's Treasury Department is finalizing an understanding with South Korea to avoid practices that provide an unfair competitive advantage. What does the IMF think of such bilateral forex arrangements? There are other questions on trade, so let me just take that. On the U.S.-Korea discussions on trade, I don't have the details of that. So, you know, I wouldn't speculate on that. What I would say more generally is that we believe bilateral and regional agreements can bring important benefits by building on a strong multilateral trade system that promotes transparency and includes well-enforced trade rules that promote even-handed competition, is what I would say on that one." Rice spent much of the briefing trying to correct "commentary" - that is, coverage - of Madame Lagarde's CFC proposal; he added as the final online question that an IMF team will be in Brazzaville in early April. This comes after the IMF praised another long time family run government in Gabon. He promised very "products and events" for the upcoming Spring meetings. Inner City Press asked: 1) "In the IMF's Myanmar statement it is said that “the direct economic impacts of the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine state have been largely localized.” Can you explain? How local? 2) In Jamaica, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) says it was following the orders of the IMF when it cut off funding to the Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica Campaign implemented by the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), leaving its future in doubt. What is the IMF's response?" Watch this site - the IMF has yet to respond on some previous questions. On Cameroon, with the government continuing to cut and/or slow the Internet in the Anglophone parts of the country amid border incursions into Nigeria and "refoulement" of refugees there, what is the IMF's estimate of the costs, and comment on continuing to support and this government and its actions?
On March 7 Inner City Press asked an IMF press conference about the Nigerian economy this question: "What does the IMF think the economic impact will be of CITES' inquiry into the irregular export of endangered rosewood to China, and new restrictions imposed on such exports from Nigeria?" We'll have more on this. (Inner City Press also asked Amine Mati, Senior Resident Representative and Mission Chief for Nigeria and Lucie Mboto Fouda, "On the Nigerian banking sector, did the IMF consider the allegations of fraud, from the account in First Bank Nigeria Plc of NNPC and Agip, to the non-payment of interest by Standard Chartered Bank, Fidelity Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Access Bank, FCMB, Skye Bank, Sterling Bank, Zenith Bank and Unity Bank after the sale of  Power Holding Company of Nigeria?   Separately, what about Nigerian banks' service to SMEs?" Back in February, Inner City Press asked the IMF of Zimbabwe, Iraq, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Hungary. Spokesman Gerry Rice took Inner City Press' Zimbabwe question, including the word usurious, then provided assurances that Madame Lagarde met the new president in Davos and the IMF stands ready to help - when other arrears are paid off. The IMF did not (yet?) answer these Inner City Press questions...


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