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On Haiti Cholera, UN's Dumped Letter Implies Dumping Sewage Is Policy

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 6 -- Here's how this UN does business: its Department of Peacekeeping Operations dumps raw sewage into a river in Haiti introducing cholera.

  When Pressed, it responded at 6 pm on a Friday in July, whispered into its intercom system that a letter responding to 19 members of the US Congress is available downstairs in an office about to close for the weekend, in hard copy only.

  Based on the timing and lassitude, only Inner City Press which asked about the Congressional letter back on June 3, then on July 2 (to Acting Permanent Representative Rosemary DiCarlo of the US Mission to the UN) and July 5 and one other media went and got the letter and reported on it, at least in English.

  The UN's goal? To dump and bury the news or make heroes out of itself and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, said to “Vow to Fight Cholera” and “Assure Help to Haiti.”

  Actually, the letter said again that the legal claims for those thousands killed by introduction of cholera into Haiti were “not receivable.” Copy of Ban's letter put online by Inner City Press here.  A portion - with the most troubling lines not included -- was sent to plaintiffs' counsel by Ban's outgoing lawyer Patricia O'Brien, here.

  The argument when unpacked is that the UN's “policies,” like its medical protocol of not screening the peacekeepers its sends to fragile countries like Haiti, even if from cholera hotspots in Nepal, are immune from review by courts.

  But the July 5 letter is essentially saying that the dumping of raw sewage into rivers is ALSO the policy of the UN, or at least of its Department of Peacekeeping Operations, led by its fourth Frenchman in a row, Herve Ladsous. Only policies are immune: so was or is this the UN's policy? We'll have more on this.

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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