IMF Debt Traps in the Age of Coronavirus

IMF Debt Traps in the Age of Coronavirus
On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Vijay Prashad, the Director of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and Chief Editor of LeftWord Books, the author of “The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution,” and his most recent publication is “Red Star Over the Third World.”

Economies around the world are taking an unprecedented hit from the coronavirus pandemic. And third world economies are particularly hard hit. In many cases, poor countries turn to the International Monetary Fund for assistance. But the IMF, along with the World Bank, usually impose crushing austerity measures on weak economies, making it even tougher for them to rebound. That’s happening right now--in the midst of the pandemic.

The FBI, in a recent court filing, has accidentally revealed the name of an official in the Saudi Embassy in Washington who allegedly dealt directly with the 9/11 hijackers. Saudi Islamic Affairs attache Musaed al-Jarrah, who went on to serve in Morocco and Malaysia, met personally with two middlemen to provide funds and an apartment for the hijackers when they were in Los Angeles. The FBI, including former directors Robert Mueller and James Comey, worked for years to keep the name a secret. Ali al-Ahmed, the Director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, joins the show.

Wednesday’s weekly series, In the News, is where the hosts look at the most important ongoing developments of the week and put them into perspective. Sputnik news analysts Nicole Roussell and Walter Smolarek join the show.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Israel, where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss Israel’s annexation of the occupied West Bank. Netanyahu wants the annexation to move forward before US elections because he has the support of the Trump Administration and the US evangelical movement. Meanwhile, three United Nations officials are calling on Israel to release Palestinian children in Israeli prisons. Those children are at a much higher risk of coronavirus infection, which is sweeping through prisons in the country. Tamara Nassar, associate editor of Electronic Intifada, joins the show.

Brazil yesterday suffered its deadliest day yet from the coronavirus, with 881 confirmed deaths in 24 hours and nearly 178,000 confirmed cases. President Jair Bolsonaro has been criticized heavily for not taking the disease seriously as it sweeps through poor neighborhoods, prisons, and, scientists worry, through the indigenous population. Meanwhile, Bolsonaro is under increasing political pressure because of multiple corruption cases against friends, political supporters, and family members. Aline Piva, a journalist and a member of Brazilians for Democracy and Social Justice, joins Brian and John.

Wednesday’s regular segment, Beyond Nuclear, is about nuclear issues, including weapons, energy, waste, and the future of nuclear technology in the United States. Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear, and Sputnik news analyst and producer Nicole Roussell, join the show.

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