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.