Geneva’s UNHRC stops chattering, Mirihana catches fire,
Washington’s IMF starts twittering…
‘Before you study the economics, study the economists!’
e-Con e-News 24-30 April 2022
He may be a fool, but he’s our fool
If you think you’re better than him, you’re wrong
Randy Newman, Kingfish
May this May Day Unite All Workers to Say NO to the IMF!
A man clambers up onto that iconic statue of SWRD Bandaranaike facing that sea called Arabian, that ocean called Indian. The statue strives to stride forward, looking beyond Galle Face’s green, beyond Colombo’s colonial port and fort, that epitome of siege, of foreign bankers’ usury, of merchant agency houses’ grand theft.
Standing on SWRD’s right forearm and hand (injured in the 1959 assassination when he was fatally shot in the stomach) the rappeler snakes a rope knotted around his own belly, between his own legs and nooses it around SWRD’s neck. He then wraps a black flag to blindfold SWRD’s eyes. The middle-class crowd goes wild. ‘Pull the statue down’, demands an online rag called Tamil Guardian. (This same rag stated that Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar has declared his willingness to turn Sri Lanka into a state of India, which the Indian High Commission plausibly denies).
The garotte and blindfold on SWRD recalls US torture in their Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo concentration camps, tormenting those who offer resistance to their invasions. SWRD inaugurated diplomatic links between Sri Lanka and China. He began to remove English military bases, 10 years after ‘independence’. This was too much for the whites to handle. SWRD stands in a long line of leaders in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, murdered to prevent leaders of our own choosing (see Random Notes). They now wish to murder him again.
So! Sri Lanka has been taken hostage again. Yet another explosion ‘from mysterious causes’ midst rabid consumption by a colonially installed oligarchy. People now also have to pay for capitalism’s more frequent and greater crises and shifts as well.
The ‘Asian Financial Crisis’ of 1997 struck the day after England had to handover Hong Kong to China, crippling Hong Kong’s economy.
Now a multifaceted US-led NATO political, economic and military strategy aims to plunge Sri Lanka into chaos. Others countries will soon crash. The latest NATO plan for Sri Lanka escalated their compromising, corrupting, and now blackmailing of a popular leadership. Character assassination. Speculators (aka ‘grey market’) attack the rupee (via banks, fund managers, rating agencies). Private merchants openly disrupt the supply of essential goods, fuel, etc. Planned food riots are foreshadowed via US-funded thinktanks like Verité – all to divert from the recolonization of the country by the USA and India.
In 2020, NATO called for partnership with India, to deepen cooperation with their ‘Indo Pacific’ partners – the Quad Alliance (US, Australia, Japan, India) – to counter China. They now attack Russia too. They prevent Sri Lanka obtaining lower-cost fuel & funds from China & Russia, while they themselves violate at will their own sanctions against Russia and China. Their media wish us to blame China & Russia instead.
• The talking guns of Geneva went quiet on ‘human rights’ on April 1, just as protests erupted across Sri Lanka, protests simultaneously broadcast to the world. From Geneva, midst the Mirihana hullabaloo, Sri Lanka was next hauled into the offices of the principal bookies at the US Treasury, etc., in the US-capital Washington: The International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The media praised the event, saying Sri Lanka’s government has finally agreed to go to the IMF. The truth is: the white man beckoned. We’ve long been in IMF thrall. The great white father’s accountants, including a brown sahib, now hand down new orders. They demand we more actively join their latest assault (both military & economic war) against China and Russia. The white media is falsely blaming Russia for the rise in food and fuel prices. Blaming China for so-called ‘debt traps’ and corrupting leaders. The World Bank & IMF wish us to give China a ‘haircut’ first, hence the IMF & WB’s rather confused statement demanding ‘transparency’ on debt. Banks talking ‘transparency’! Ha!
Acceding to the IMF clearly got Sri Lanka a not-so-simple pass at the recently concluded 49th UNHRC session following the tabling of the High Commissioner’s report. ‘31 nations spoke in support of Sri Lanka, while 12 spoke against’. It shows, we’re told, that Sri Lanka is ‘not isolated on the world stage with regard to human rights, as some critics claim’.
Yet the IMF means more war to implement their ‘restructuring’ package. The IMF will demand more than a pound of flesh to attract the flies!
‘At last, IMF is viewed as the saviour’ –WA Wijewardena, Wijeya News FT economist
‘The IMF have an ideological agenda. They’re not looking at data, they’re not interested in the data’
–Economics Professor Howard Nicholas on the IMF Report on Sri Lanka
• The devaluation of the rupee, and consequent overvaluation of the US dollar, is blamed on the ‘downgrades’ by US-regulated ratings agency. These downgrades are said to be based ‘on subjective considerations of confidence’. Confidence in what? In the ability to promise funds a good steady return on their money. And what gives them happy returns? The stealing of public assets. The IMF – ‘lender of the last resort!’ wants to buy and sell off strategic assets of Sri Lanka, as signalled by the thwarted MCC agreement (that Nepal also rejected but has also now been forced to accept).
Former US Under Secretary for South & Central Asia, Alice G Well, rated Sri Lanka as ‘a valuable piece of real estate’ in the Indian Ocean. So why do they lack confidence? Here is why:
‘Sri Lanka does not allow foreign ownership of assets fearing loss of sovereignty’
– PK Balachandran, ee Focus
Our foreign and economic policy is now to be drafted via a heavily fortified cubicle in the US embassy in Kollupitiya, with the Finance Minister only required to ink in the blanks. The North Atlantic will flow into the Mahaveli and the Kelani, soon plugging up our 103 rivers, rivers that the prophetic DJ ‘Laxapana’ Wimalasurendra once hoped could energize the country. He was undermined by such monopolies as Anglo-Dutch Shell (set up in Singapore) and Pearson (now monopolizing the selling of textbooks, even examinations to flee abroad!)
This ee also has a Sri Lanka Association for Political Economy statement, No Surprises! highlighting the ‘Foreign Exchange Crisis’. Yet ee continues to insist: underdevelopment is the prevention of investment in modern industrialization, requiring recapture of our own home market.
• An overabundance of economic coroners are conducting postmortems. None clearly state that it’s the prevention of a modern industrial state that underlies all other maladies. This week, the guru of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), Stephanie Kelton, retorted angrily to a Bloomberg assertion that former Central Bank governor WD Lakshman used her MMT theory. Lakshman however had made a stray comment of his strategy having some likeness to MMT (see ee Focus, Kelton), which US-funded EconomyNext distorted
Yet another US expert – Steve Hanke, Applied Economics Professor, John Hopkins University, Baltimore – pops up out of the blue, and declares Sri Lanka inflation at 120%, calling for a currency board to be located in New York! Hanke’s dubious calculus was echoed on April 22 by IMF-wannabe economist WA Wijewardena. Hanke has also demanded SL ‘dump the rupee’. Yet, ee like most of the world declare: Dump the Dollar!
Fitch-related news-sphincter EconomyNext hypes Hanke as an ‘independent tracker’ of Sri Lanka and the ‘global’ economy: ‘a leading world expert on stopping hyperinflation… Hanke has helped set up several currency boards including in Eastern Europe… prepared a handbook on how to set up a currency including measures for war-torn countries where the monetary authority could be incorporated abroad to prevent any warlord from getting hold of reserves.’
This week vulture trader Mark Mobius arrived to join the choir: ‘An ethical currency board would bring immediate confidence!’ Con-fidence!
‘Emerging market’ guru Mobius was invited here in 2019 by mega-importer John Keells. Mobius was invited to lubricate the pleasures of the privatization of Sri Lanka government banks, the SL Insurance Corporation, transportation, eg, railways, airports. Salivating at throwing public corporations onto the stock market, he told merchants to keep investing in plantations, tourism and that always indistinct quantity – ‘manufacture’.
Minister of Finance Ali Sabry was also made the Minister of Justice again this week. It was as MoJ that US Undersecretary Maidan Nuland met Sabry, getting him to promise to weaken laws protecting workers. The Monetary Law Act, Paddy Lands Act to promote corporate exploitation of land use, and hijacking of Railway Department’s large landholdings are also to be sold to the highest bidder/briber.
Over the last 50 years, the US government has stagemanaged the transformation of much of the world into ‘emerging market’ states – of which Mobius is another of those ‘world-renowned experts’.
Mobius is certainly aware of Sri Lanka’s vast assets. He wants to develop the financial markets – ‘the domestic bond market… A lot of people don’t seem to realize there is an awful lot of money here, but it’s overseas or under the mattress.’
‘Sri Lanka stocks rise sharply for second session after Mobius’ – Vulture-fund Manager Mobius in Colombo declares, ‘A Sri Lanka currency board would bring immediate confidence.’ A Currency Board has to maintain a fixed exchange rate with a foreign currency. What is all this confidence business about? It is a con game. So what makes Mobius nervous, the opposite of confident?
Mobius once spoke in Colombo ofhis Sleepless Nights – ‘I’m very positive about the spread of the internet & smartphones. So if anything keeps me up at night it would be the impact of that. We are already seeing it has resulted in riots in Hong Kong, Chile & everywhere around the world you are seeing the ability of people to get together quickly & the ability to organize themselves without needing to know each other. This is a big, big change and we have to ready for the good & bad of that’ (ee 29 Feb 2020).
• ‘Emerging Market’ fund managers are now buzzing about like houseflies to rotting flesh. They smell blood. They demand cancellation of the Central Bank and its replacement by a Currency Board. They wish removal of decision-making over money supply to an unnamed foreign locale. We can only guess where. Some mutter the acronym IMF to appear hip, like they once extolled the virtues of IT, Big Data, Blockchain, etc. They know little of the IMF’s previous 16 surgical disasters, all impoverishing the country by preventing industrialization. All this talk amounts to is recolonization. Some may deem it the financial equivalent of treason.
‘Countries that colonized Sri Lanka have more obligations to help at this juncture’
– China’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Qi Zhenhong
• It’s commonplace now to speak of Sri Lanka as a theatre of geopolitical & big power rivalries. The truth is the white man, 500+years onward, still rules the waves and undercurrents of this ocean called Indian. As Japan proved in the 2nd War on the World, this power can be easily overcome. Perhaps this is why the whites keep pointing fingers at China, accused of planning to do what they have already been doing so…well.
Sri Lanka stands naked and undefended. We stand on the threshold again of being carved up into strips like rags. This is nothing new, of course. What is new is the collapse of certain national illusions, based on high idealism. Some nationalists try to claim the political crisis has nothing to do with an economic crisis that is worldwide. The white man has always opposed truly nationalist governments, especially if they stand up for the economic rights of the majority of the people. Yet imperialism, long corrupt, ever since 1948, has promoted a fabulous system of local bribery, which it now uses to hold national leaders to ransom.
This system of electoral thuggery and bribery (a candidate needs Rs60 million to run a campaign) was promoted to prolong the import-export plantation system and prevent the growth of any new modern industrial societies. To go beyond an economy based on the whims of white largesse or hubris, with not having to beg for favored markets (GSP+), or keep checking weather reports to see if centigrades have dipped enough to freeze out white tourists so they reappear here on the warm horizon.
• The future will record that the pandemic as a deliberate act of mass murder (by the US & EU!), well in keeping with their history of colonialism and their use of germ warfare (now exposed in the Ukraine). Responding to Covid depleted public finances, while the rich escalated their orgy of consumption, even demanding bail-outs and postponement of their own debts. Tax revenues were collapsed, soon piling up unsustainable debts. Long heavily indebted, underdeveloping countries face looming sovereign debt crises, and ‘the whole rickety architecture of sovereign debt restructuring’ will surely need restructuring itself. The US NATO answer is to escalate yet another war on the world… (ee Economists, Covid).
continued on: eesrilanka.wordpress.com