10 July 2011

‘Assification’ and de-assing of David Miliband and Bernard Kouchner

In April 2011, writing to ‘The Nation’ (The Ki-moon panel’s report and the strippers it spawned), I expressed surprise that David Miliband hadn’t yet joined the anti Sri Lanka, pro-LTTE, blind-to-own-crimes bandwagon: ‘I am perturbed, though, that David Miliband hasn’t joined the clown-wagon yet.  He has all the credentials to outstrip Saravanamuttu, Ganguly and Weiss.’  It took him just two months.  He’s just co-authored a letter to the New York times with (Surprise! Surprise!) his former counterpart in France, Bernard Kouchner.  Both were the Foreign Ministers of their respective countries from 2007 to 2010, during which time neither spared any pains to bail out Velupillai Prabhakaran in what can only be read as a determined effort to make Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan suffer indefinitely the horrors of terrorism.

They’ve called it ‘Silence of Sri Lanka’. They’ve confessed they wanted the fighting to stop.  That would have meant, given the long history of fight-stopping and fight-resuming by the LTTE, that we in Sri Lanka would not be enjoying the peace and the freedom from fear we have right now. Neither Miliband nor Kouchner ever expressed any need to draw attention to the human suffering, to call for humanitarian aid and workers to be allowed in, and to call for the fighting to stop,’ in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya (where NATO forces are killing civilians by the dozens in order to stop the killing of civilians; go figure THAT logic!).

Interestingly, B&D, even while claiming that those in refugee camps had related brutal and shocking stories, have not uttered a word in this communiqué about who was responsible for the brutality and shock or that Tamil life while held hostage by the LTTE was not treated as ‘fourth or fifth class’ but worse!  Nothing about Britain’s contribution to generating this kind of humanity and their own considerable efforts to perpetuate the same by giving a new lease of life to the world’s more ruthless terrorist organization.  Typical.

It was never a ‘war without witnesses’ as B&D claim, for the ICRC was present right to the very end. They applaud Ban Ki-moon for having ‘wrenched from President Rajapaksa a commitment to independent investigation of alleged human rights abuses’. No such ‘commitment’ was obtained, with or without wrenching. This is the relevant paragraph in the joined statement issued at the time: ‘objectives (of the Joint Statement) include the further fostering of reconciliation and related issues as well as reflecting the commitment by Sri Lanka to the promotion and protection of human rights and the importance of accountability in order to continue the strengthening of peace and development in that country.’

D&B then talk about a report compiled by a panel appointed by the UNSG.  They call it ‘damning’. All that the report ‘damns’ is truth, academic honesty and intellectual rigor. It is marked by slothfulness, blatant lies, unreliability of sources, unacceptable levels of myopia and mal-intent, leaving aside the neutrality-compromised composition of the panel itself.

D&B are being extremely irresponsible when they deftly treat conjecture as fact.  The panel report, compromised though it is, only makes allegations.  D&B are not quoting the report, they are taking an unsubstantiated claim, treating it as fact and writing it as such as though they actually saw what was happening. 

There is of course the by now to-be-expected tokenism of alluding to the LTTE’s (comparatively) ‘mild’ transgressions. They slip in the word ‘systematically’ to imply ‘strategy’ and that’s a nice thick layer of lie to top of a lie-heavy cake, friends.

When anyone stands on a pile of rubbish such as the above ‘panel report’, they get their feet all covered in gooey stuff. D&B are no exception. If they realize as they claim that there is error in ‘brushing wrongdoing under the carpet’, they’d be writing to all the newspapers in the world asking why Britiain and the USA have not been asked to allow ‘independent’ investigation of the war crimes perpetrated in Iraq and Afghanistan and likewise Israel not being pressured regarding Gaza, especially since Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister confessed that the invasion of Iraq was illegal, never mind the fact that Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction was not just a laughable claim but one which almost a decade of ransacking that country has not helped substantiate.

They talk of R2P, the responsibility to protect, so-called. That’s a nice term and one which many countries would love to allude to in the matter of being insulated by the nauseating and repulsive moral posturing of rubbish-dealers such as B&D and their respective governments, not to mention the horrible crimes against humanity they have and continue to perpetrate all over the globe. 

They talk of Navi Pillay calling for UN interference in Sri Lanka, but don’t mention that the lady fell on her preposterous behind when she tried that lark in 2010. They talk of ‘criminal liability’ but don’t have a shred of credible evidence of any wrongdoing warranting any multilateral action; strange, since ‘liability’ for such transgressions make the bread and butter of British, French and US foreign policy. HAVE THEY NOT HEARD OF LIBYA, I WONDER.  (That’s a whisper, by the way).

David and Bernard are correct when they say, ‘The integrity of the international system in addressing human rights abuses is rightly under scrutiny as never before’. Such integrity has been severely compromised by double-standards, selective application, gross exaggeration, bullying, lying, corruption, wrecking of procedural norms and a manifest cowardice when it comes to calling a spade a spade. David and Bernard are, sad to say, accomplices in all this.

They are right when they warn that ‘the arguments of those who want to take the law into their own hands’ should not be fuelled. B&D obviously have enough fuel, even after losing their jobs.

This is the richest part of their piece: ‘Kofi Annan has said that the international community cannot be selective in its approach to upholding the rule of law.’ Right on!  Are we to assume that the two of them are busy writing letters about the USA, Britain, France, Israel and India (among other countries not selected for regular abuse by jobless politicians and others) and demanding that the international community stop giving them the green light to butcher people?

They are absolutely right when they say ‘Reports like the one compiled for the secretary general must not stand on the shelf.’ This report should be made compulsory reading to all politicians, diplomats and academics and everyone associated with the United Nations because it has of immense educational value. It contains enough material for entire semester’s worth of discussion on the topic ‘How not to write a report’ or, ‘The pitfalls of mal-intent in report-compilation’.

They are dead wrong when they say ‘They (such reports) must be the basis of action’ for reasons stated above and elsewhere. They warn that if this (the called-for action) does not happen, ‘the law becomes an ass’. The ‘assification’ or ‘assing’ of the law happened a long time ago. It is the national pastime of Britain and the USA. These countries have a long way to go before they can de-ass.

When I wrote the article referred to at the beginning, my friend Fazli wrote to me saying her had written to Al Jazeera in response to a programme aired by that media organization. This is what he had said: "I believe it is very important for the international media to try and focus more on the misguided western democratic nations who supported the LTTE in their campaign of terror over the past 30 years in Sri Lanka and thus prevented this evil from being eliminated very early in its life cycle. If not for 911, after which these western nations woke up from their slumber, there would never have been an end to this madness. You cannot simply charge the Government of deliberate human massacre when casualties will always be an outcome of any war. One must understand that the LTTE planned and executed bombings and suicide attacks where civilian casualties were deliberately targeted. The Government never committed such atrocities deliberately and with planning. They were only after the terrorists to end the crisis. The media may claim that the international community think and believe that the LTTE have won the media war. However, every Sri Lankan national knows the truth of this horror and who the real culprits are."

It is not only about being blind to the LTTE, of course. Fazli was responding to a particular clip.  He has written to me on many aspects of the kinds of political myopia which the likes of Miliband and Kouchner have cultivated over the years are which their governments and many Western countries consider a virtue and not flaw. There’s a lot of ‘ass’ around and it’s been around for a long time, folks.

It would help if people like David Miliband and Bernard Kouchner went about acquiring the minimum levels of integrity necessary to see what kind of asses they themselves are. They need to de-ass and fast.