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 Are they in Sri Lanka to inform the Rajapaksa brothers that their US citizenship was revoked or to ask for mercenaries to fight the Afghan war?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?
Angel Gabriel / February 11, 2012
Uvindu, don’t be naive. The US has always played games with Human Rights and every other subject as long as it advances their National interest. By now. You should know.
Dilani Alikewala / February 12, 2012
In August last year, Victoria Nuland, a representative of the State Department, was asked by a press questioner about the possibility of bringing the Sri Lankan president “to the International Criminal Justice Court” [sic] for “atrocities” committed against Tamils. Nuland stated: “We would like the Sri Lankan Government to take its responsibility … [on issues of] justice and accountability … But if that does not happen and does not happen expeditiously, then we reserve the right to discuss international mechanisms.”
Nuland welcomed the publication of the “Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission” (LLRC) report in December, stating that it made “substantive recommendations” in terms of responding to human rights and other issues it addressed. However, she added: “we have concerns that the report, nonetheless, does not fully address all the allegations of serious human rights violations that occurred in the final phase of the conflict.”
What are they doing now? asking army to dirty Afgan was where US them self violating human rights. shit people.
Padraig Colman / February 12, 2012
The US does not recognise the International Criminal court.
Gunapala Herath / February 11, 2012
On one hand the US government has already announced that they will support a motion against Sri Lanka at the next session of the UN Human Rights Commission scheduled for next month. on the other hand asking mercenaries to fight the Afghan war. !! Thanks for this research Uvindu. We all know they are hipocrits , but I didn’t know this mercenaries issue and Citizenship revoke issue.
j s / February 11, 2012
so frightening..good research as always.
Mark / February 12, 2012
It is obvious that the so called international community it duplicitous. A lesson the opposition should take to hart. That they are this way has been used very well by the Rajapashas. It is to their credit for calling the bluff.
sena / February 12, 2012
Is the USA who want us to be tried on kangaroo courts CLEAN? How do they run detention camps around the world and suspected inmates are tortured and killed without trying in courts? How do they bring suspects to those camps in the first place? Aren’t these abductions? Why are those criminal activities fallen into extrajudicial activities?
Lal Rathnayake / February 12, 2012
What Does America Know? It is believed that the State Department holds a live file containing evidence of multiple offences committed by both sides during the war, including testimony from the source and other military, diplomatic and civilian figures.
A State Department human rights report on Sri Lanka issued on April 8, 2011, found that “the government [of Sri Lanka] and its agents” were responsible for “serious human rights problems.” These included possible arbitrary and unlawful killings; disappearances; discrimination against the Tamil minority; abuse of detainees by security forces; as well as restrictions on freedom of the press, assembly and association. It also observed that official corruption, government impunity and unaccountability were serious issues. (US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, “2010 Human Rights Report: Sri Lanka,” April 8, 2011.)
THEY ARE REAL HIPPOCRATIC , YOU ARE CORRECT.
Opatha - Ragama / February 12, 2012
The witness, an officer who had served in Silva’s 58th division, made the allegation that “we received orders from the top to kill some of those who surrendered. All regiments received the orders unofficially – from the top.” To which he added: “I can confidently state … that those who ordered the killings were Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Brigadier Shavendra Silva.”
Gerard Thurai / February 12, 2012
The thing about politics is that choices are never so obiously defined as Good Vs Evil. Whatever the USA’s stance was at the height of the civil war and its immediate aftermath, events and priorities have changed. Information and opinions expressed in 2007 to 2009 appear to have been superseded by the realities of 2012.
The UN, Amnesty International, The USA and other governments have put pressure on the Rajapakse regime on human rights and democratic matters but have achieved very little or nothing so far. Having pressed the same button several times and achieved the same result, it seems that they have decided that it is time to press a different button. In this case, it appears that the US is prioritising economic regional influence, particularly as a countermeasure against China, above the war-crimes issue.
As they have done with dictators in the past, a strongman dictator is always preferred to a dysfunctional and fragmented opposition. The Tamils are leaderless because all the credible ones were murdered by the LTTE and their ilk. The Sinhala majority are fragmented, factionalised and are seething as they see no benefit from the heavy price they paid during the war. The young men who fought for and won the peace are not going to sit on their hands for much longer. Perhaps the USA sees Rajapakse as the man who is sufficiently brutal to keep the lid on all of this.
Although this would stick in the craw of many, perhaps the time has come to swallow one’s pride and work with the tyrant because the next points of escalation would be economic sanctions or military; neither of which are acceptable to the peacemakers who are busy re-building the lives that were wrecked by nationalism.
Jayantha / February 14, 2012
I completely agree with the writer. They are using HR issues to bargain or blackmail these US citizens. these so called US citizen brothers will soon will become US slaves. between the lines that is what Uvindu says. I agree!
Lasantha Pethiyagoda / February 15, 2012
The United States has always been a dirty player in world politics. They are the only country in the world to have used nuclear weapons against innocent civilians, deliberately targeting civilians and with the intention of causing maximum casualties in their campaign against Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki). Millions died, and still continue to die from genetic mutations and cancers triggered by mutated genes of generations of Japanese mothers. In Iraq, they, with their British cousins deliberately targeted cities like Falluja after encircling and cutting off exits and killed hundreds of thousands. There again, Iraqi mothers have been giving birth to deformed children and leukemia is rife as a result of depleted uranium munitions and white phosphorous deliberately and wholly intentionally used to cause maximum casualties. Two million Iraqi citizens were wiped out after being bombarded with more tonnage of munitions than were used in the entire second world war. Many extreme and utterly depraved acts of sexual brutality and abuse were conducted in prisons like Abu Ghraib and massacres were randomly executed by US military personnel who are still walking free and who will never be charged. No enquiries. No investigations. No reports. No Expert Panels. No UN panels. Still, the shameless and utterly despicable personalities of the likes of Blake and company have the gumption to call on Sri Lankan authorities to “investigate”. What a joke!!
Max Silva / February 15, 2012
Where do you find “clean wars”?May be Vieatnam,Iraq,Afghanisthan and not to mention of blasting two atomic bombs over Japan..War crimes,human rights are all part of the US game of imperialism.The US and it’s western bullies are upset over the fact that their blue eyed boy Prabakaran was bumped off.If the US is really concerned about HR,why oppose a ban on land mines?For starters they could release the classified CIA files regarding the MURDER of princess Diana.May be she was bumped off as a human rights strategy!
Jim Hardy / March 2, 2013
Now everybody knows United State is violator of all civil norms, every action they move for their vested interests, Rajapaksa Bros, Ranil, prabakaran & LTTE are their allies, they squeeze out benefits by hook or crook, some instance is free reign for the USAID (A branch of CIA) monitoring N/E, the other VOA at Iranamadu with a network of espionage, monitoring Asia Trinco harbour is at their disposal for any emergency.