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After Denying UN Brought Cholera to Haiti, Ban Replies to 19 in Congress

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 5 -- After the UN introduced cholera to Haiti and then dismissed claims for legal accountability, 19 members of the US Congress wrote to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on May 30 urging him to take responsibility.

Inner City Press wrote about the letter and put it online on June 1, and asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky about it on June 3, transcript here. Nesirky said he had no comment on the letter but if he had anything later, he'd tell Inner City Press.

A full month later on July 2, having hear nothing, Inner City Press asked US Acting Permanent Representative Rosemary DiCarlo about the letter. She said she hadn't seen it; later one of her spokespeople Kurtis Cooper told Inner City Press, on the letter, to ask the UN.

On Friday July 5, Inner City Press asked Ban's Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq, who said the letter “will be responded to.” Video here, from Minute 15:20.

 Inner City Press followed up, you mean it hasn't been?

Past 5 pm on Friday, Ban's Spokesperson's Office announced over the UN internal “squawk” system that a copy of Ban's response was available downstairs. And there it was: a three page “Dear Congresswoman” letter dated July 5, 2013.

   Inner City Press has scanned the letter, initially as a photo of each page: Page 1  Page 2  Page 3

Now as PDFs: Page 1   Page 2  Page 3

A portion - with the most troubling lines not included -- was sent to plaintiffs' counsel by Ban's outgoing lawyer Patricia O'Brien, here.

And here's Ban's letter to the Congress members, as a single PDF.

 It concludes that on accountability, “the claim was considered by my Legal Counsel [Patricia O'Brien] and... the claim is not receivable.”

Ban then says, “I would like to assure you that the legal decision does not in any way diminish my personal commitment.” Really?

The 19 members of Congress who wrote to Ban Ki-moon include: Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Yvette D. Clarke, Frederica S. Wilson, Jan Schakowsky, John Conyers, Jr., Alcee L. Hastings, Charles B. Rangel, Corrine Brown, Donald M. Payne, Jr., Bobby L. Rush, Wm. Lacy Clay, Raúl M. Grijalva, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, John Lewis, Gregory W. Meeks, Donna F. Edwards, Keith Ellison and Carolyn B. Maloney.

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