Blake is in Sri Lanka again. This time with US Under Secretary of State Maria Otero. Are they in Sri Lanka to inform the Rajapaksa brothers that their US citizenship was revoked or to ask for mercenaries to fight the Afghan war?
I am curious, because one can see the US hypocrisy regarding war crimes accountability issues through their own reports. If you read leaked US diplomatic cables together with other US official documents related to Sri Lanka you can clearly see that the US is changing their policy towards Sri Lanka from time to time. For instance from November 2 to 8, 2009, Senate Foreign Relations staff members Nilmini Gunaratne Rubin and Fatema Sumar visited Sri Lanka and held meetings with senior government officials, international organisations, political leaders, civil-society activists and journalists to discuss post war reconciliation, resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs), the humanitarian situation and media freedom. They also visited the South, East and the IDP camp at Manik Farm. Once they left the country the US Ambassador to Colombo Patricia A. Butenis wrote; “The StaffDel noted in their out brief with the Ambassador that the current SL environment was post-war and not post-conflict, with reconciliation still a challenging issue. They found ground reality in Sri Lanka “more nuanced” and “more complicated” than expected. They recommended that the U.S. think strategically and long-term and take a holistic approach in determining U.S. specific levers on key issues, and commented that by focusing only on human rights, we shoot ourselves in the foot.”
After the Senate Foreign Relations staff members’ visit the “Committee on Foreign Relations United States Senate” published a report on December 7, 2009 called “Sri Lanka: Reaching U.S. Strategy After The War” dated December 7, 2009 for their one hundred and eleventh Congress first session.Under the subject “Recommendations on Sri Lanka”, with some other recommendations, it said that the Obama administration should; tighten visa restrictions and revoke US citizenship of any persons who are shown to have committed war crimes in Sri Lanka, whether they acted on behalf of the LTTE or the Government of Sri Lanka (Recommendation 6).
Now the question is what have they done to implement that recommendation? Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his brothers and opposition candidate General Fonseka are responsible for alleged war crimes against the Tamils, according to a cable sent by US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Patricia Butenis. The cable, dated January 15, 2010, updated the Secretary of State on war crimes accountability following the end of the country’s long and bloody conflict.
These brothers Gotabhaya and Basil are US Citizens. Sarath Fonseka is a US Green Card holder. So why do they not implement the Senate recommendations. Have they taken any steps to implement that recommendation?
Both Rajapaksa brothers have already accepted that the war had not been clean. Ambassador Butenis wrote; In response to the “incident’s report,” Basil Rajapaksa candidly remarked, “I am not saying we are clean; we could not abide by international law – this would have gone on for centuries, an additional 60 years.”
After Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s meeting with Senate Foreign Relations staff members, the US Ambassador wrote; “Gotabhaya Rajapaksa noted that in defeating the LTTE terrorists the war had “not been clean,” but was still a success.”
SLFP Treasurer and District Organiser for the Matara District former foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera while serving as a ruling party member of Parliament on February 26, 2007 told US Ambassador Blake that the Government uses a group called the “Lion Cubs” to engage in these extrajudicial activities. Blake wrote; “Samaraweera confirmed that the Government uses a group called the ‘Lion Cubs’ to engage in these extrajudicial activities. It is widely rumored in Sri Lanka that Ex-Army Commander Fonseka, with the knowledge and approval of Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, has set up special cells within military intelligence to go after suspected LTTE cadres and sympathisers in Colombo, Jaffna and other places. We have also heard reports of a similar shadowy group called the ‘Hambantota Cats.’ The recently-appointed Cabinet Minister for Environment has publicly called for the use of extra legal means to root out LTTE sympathisers. Samaraweera lent credibility to these reports by relating grisly details about the methods these groups use to dispose of the bodies of their victims at sea.”
On December 14, 2009 Fonseka had accused Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa of ordering at the end of the war the shooting of any LTTE leaders who might try to surrender under flags of truce, to US Ambassador Butenis (See colombotelegraph.com for full cable). In another cable on November 2, 2009, the US Ambassador told Foreign Minister Bogollagama of developments regarding Fonseka, including cancellation of his invitation to attend the recent Chief of Defence conference in Hawaii due to US concerns about his involvement in human-rights violations during the conflict with the LTTE.
So why do they not implement the Senate recommendation and revoke US citizenships? Instead of doing just that, without any shame one day after the publication of the Senate report, December 8, 2009 during a meeting with Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Assistant Secretary Robert Blake raised the possibility of Sri Lanka contributing to US – led coalition operations in Afghanistan, noting that it would be a significant step in support of improving military–to–military engagement. Are they really concerned or do they want to play with human rights?