Friday, May 20, 2011

Media Ignores Main DSK/IMF Scandal --DSK's Management of the IMF

International organizations are often stealth like in the way they tend to evade media scrutiny or seem subject to the kinds of accountability pressures that democratic organizations are often exposed to. In a way they behave more like large multinational too big to fail organizations of the kind that we heard a little too much from in our recent past --corporations like BP, Shell, Exxon, AIG, Goldman Sachs, we could go on of course. Among the NGOs that behave like this and clearly jump to the top of anyone's list is the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Both behave fairly inscrutably--their decisions of whether to sentence a country to hard "austerity measures"--or to put subtle and not so subtle pressures on political leaders to change policies are seldom reported. How they do their work is judged not very sexy despite their power (even beyond that of nation states) to control the fate of millions of lives. News editors tend to judge these stories as too complex to report or not very newsworthy.

Now because of the head of the IMF's alleged assault on a hotel maid we know a bit more about the person at the head of that particular totem pole but generally not much more. Although The New York Times recently reported that the IMF is not a particularly worker friendly environment with a large amount of what might best be called "alpha male behaviors" accepted by workers who are only too grateful to have a position at one of the world's most prestigious organizations--I have not found anything about the IMF's often disgraceful, frequently inhumane treatments of so called third world countries until reading Greg Palast's as usual timely and original reporting.

As Palast notes on Wednesday the New York Times ran " FIVE - stories on Strauss-Kahn, Director-General of the International Monetary Fund. According to the Paper of Record, the charges against "DSK," as he's known in France, are in "contradiction" to his "charm" and "accomplishments" at the IMF."

What Palast notes is that the alleged rape of the African housekeeper by the head of the IMF was preceeded by an actual rape of a country's economy from which she is from, Guinea:

"In 2002, the International Monetary Fund cut off capital inflows to this West African nation. Without the blessing of the International Monetary Fund, Guinea, which has up to half the world's raw material for aluminum, plus oil, uranium, diamonds and gold, could not borrow a dime to develop these resources.

The IMF's cut-off was, in effect, a foreclosure, and the nation choked and starved while sitting on its astonishing mineral wealth. As in the sub-prime mortgage foreclosures we see today, the IMF moved quickly to seize Guinea's property.

But the IMF did not seize this nation's riches for itself. Rather, it forced Guinea to sell off its resources to foreign corporations at prices much like the sale of furniture on the lawn of a foreclosed house.

The French, Americans, Canadians, Swiss (and lately, the Chinese) came in with spoons out and napkins tucked in under their chins, swallowing the nation's bauxite, gold and more. In the meantime, the IMF ordered the end of trade barriers and thereby ruined local small holders.

As a result of the IMF attack, Guineans who could, fled for freedom and food. This week, then, marked the second time this poor African was molested by the IMF."

Since taking over the IMF in 2007, erstwhile "Socialist" Strauss-Kahn has tightened the screws in an attempt to maintain the free-market finance mania that ruined this planet in the first place.

The disappointment is not just that the media chose not to cover this when Guine's wealth was about to be sacked when the world could have influenced the events and not just that it takes a sex scandal to generate any news at all about the IMF but now that the world's attention is turned to the IMF there is still no accountability regarding that institutions' nefarious ways.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Word Clouds Can Help us "Read" Political Speeches Such as Obama's most recent Middle East Statement

The analysis is not in yet but these word maps can certainly help understand the deeper meanings and reflect on them.

Comments welcome..

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Selective Moral Outrage in the Middle East --Our Media's Double Standards

Hitler's atroticities were not believed by large segments in the west. Even the New York Times tucked away news that Jews were being gassed in their millions well inside the newspaper for fear they would be branded as a Jewish owned paper and lose their credibility as a reliably establishment organ. So with the Middle East. Robert Fisk the fearless Middle East reporter who writes for The Independent who never minds calling things as he sees them, writes that flagrant human rights abuses are taking place not just in Syria (the country like Libya that does not hesitate to fire on their own defenseless people) but also in the lands controlled by our old petro friends in the Gulf such as Bahrain and Saudia Arabia.

We are probably not aware of this because as Fisk writes the country is now being given a free pass in the human rights department.

Fisk for example notes that despite engaging in brutal tactics to quell dissent (with the help of their Saudi friends) without any real shock and disgust from the west. that
"On this tiny island, a Sunni monarchy, the al-Khalifas, rule a majority Shia population and have responded to democratic protests with death sentences, mass arrests, the imprisonment of doctors for letting patients die after protests and an "invitation" to Saudi forces to enter the country. They have also destroyed dozens of Shia mosques with all the thoroughness of a 9/11 pilot. But then, let's remember that most of the 9/11 killers were indeed Saudis."

Fisk comments on the near complete silence in the Western media concerning the systematic exercise of state sponsored brutality by Cameron-Clegg duo and of course Obama. All you really need to know why is contained in this one factoid as Fisk properly reminds us --Bahrain hosts the US Fifth Fleet -- and let us not forget
the three letter word "oil" that to paraphrase Bob Dylan does not just talk and swear it kills.

Why? Why is the west so pleased to wear the mantle of fearless first amendment proud free press exposer of the great and powerful so pathetic at reporting fairly the news that does not favor western interests? To wake them up here is a a graphic detail that Fisk reveals to wake them and us up to the kinds of brutality that is going in that benighted oil state. The military police walking into hospitals and charging of Shia Muslim doctors for "letting their patients die." This is Orwellian perversion of the truth would be Monty Python like funny if were not the truth -if we did not understand first that the patients the doctors were accused of murdering had already been shot by the "security forces." Fisk was actually "in the hospital when these patients were brought in. The doctors' reaction was horror mixed with fear – they had simply never seen such close-range gunshot wounds before." As Fisk reports "If this was happening in Damascus, Homs or Hama or Aleppo, the voices of CamerClegg, and Obama and La Clinton would be ringing in our ears. But no. Silence." Fisk reports "Four men have been sentenced to death for killing two Bahraini policemen. It was a closed military court. Their "confessions" were aired on television, Soviet-style. No word from CamerClegg or Obama or La Clinton.

We are also told in the same piece that "Even when Bahraini students in Britain are deprived of their grants because they protested outside their London embassy, we are silent. CamerClegg, shame on you." Media even more shame for your selective attention span. Fisk blames this all not so much on the Bahrainis oddly he feels the need to protect them by saying (it has nothing to do with the Bahrainis or the al-Khalifas. (nothing?!).."It is all about our fear of Saudi Arabia. Which also means it is about oil. It is about our absolute refusal to remember that 9/11 was committed largely by Saudis. It is about our refusal to remember that Saudi Arabia supported the Taliban, that Bin Laden was a Saudi, that the most cruel version of Islam comes from Saudi Arabia, the land of head-choppers and hand-cutters. It is about a conversation I had with a Bahraini official – a good and decent and honest man – in which I asked him why the Bahraini prime minister could not be elected by a majority Shia population. "The Saudis would never permit it," he said. Yes, our other friends. The Saudis. Don't blame this all on Saudi Arabia though Robert--blame it on the Bahrainis and also on us --their enablers--blame it on the politicians who won't own up to the fact as they righteously swear and reaffirm their fight against their "war against terrorism" (we will let go the fact that you cannot have war against a tactic--you can however confront an ideology and prevent its virus like spread). Let the war against our own media's wilful blindness and our polticians equal wilful hypocrisy first and then we might well be able to start a war against some of the extremist ideologies with some better hope of winning.