02 October 2011

The Australian Greens: dumb pawns of terrorism?

The word ‘green’ has benign political connotations.  It is a proxy for things related to environment and ecology, especially in terms of conservation.  Greens are environment-friendly.  Considering their opposition to the dominant modes of development and critique of capitalism given the destruction that particular economic model unleashes on the environment might believe they are radical and revolutionary.   Hence the sobriquet ‘Green-Reds’.  Such ‘greens’ are called ‘watermelons’, for they are green outside and red inside or at least considered to be thus coloured. 
Lee Rhionnan and the Greens: deficient in grey matter?

Greens, like others, have the right to talk about non-green things or things that are only marginally green, after all there are lots of things that are not directly related to the environment that decent human beings ought to object to.  If greens talk about, say, the global threat posed by terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, drug cartels, corruption, diplomatic double-speak, preference for double-standards, machinations of the pharmaceutical industry or how monarchies (e.g. British) remain anti-citizen just as military juntas and other tyrannical systems of governance (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain), no one can say ‘hey, that’s not your territory!’ 

So when the Greens in Australia deigned to speak about Sri Lanka, it is not illegitimate.  On the other hand, a passionate love for the natural world and commendable concern over humankind’s ingratitude to Mother Earth and indeed wanton destruction caused in the scandalous search for profit and instant gratification does not give anyone the license to engage in mischief, misrepresentation and downright dissemination of falsehoods. 

The Australian Greens, no doubt, enjoy some popularity for the stands they take in the territories about which they are well informed. Perhaps this is why people listen when they talk about other things that fall out of the domain of principal interest.  They may be right about certain subjects but when it comes to Sri Lanka they are not only ignorant but are way out of order, in pronouncement and demand.

They recently called for Sri Lanka to be suspended from the Commonwealth and have gone to the extent of demanding that delegates from the Sri Lankan Government to be refused visa to attend the CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) in Perth, if it is found they do not meet the ‘character test’ and ‘public criteria test’.

Sri Lanka, according to the Australian Greens is resisting the setting up of a tribunal to investigate war crimes.  Now would the Greens applaud and support moves to set up a tribunal to investigate war crimes perpetrated by Australia (in supporting mass slaughter courtesy NATO), or crimes against humanity perpetrated for centuries against aboriginal peoples in their country?  Let’s assume that Australia is not guilty of any such transgression and that these are mere allegations mouthed by parties interested in vilifying Australia.  Would the Greens agitate for the Australian Government to accede to demands for an investigating tribunal? 

The fact of the matter is that the Australian Greens have shown themselves to be ignorant and ready pawns in the machinations of anti-Sri Lankan groups, in particular terrorists, terrorist sympathizers and others who have an axe to grind with Sri Lanka because preferred outcome did not materialize. 

The wording is fascinating.  They plan to ‘hold a meeting of legal experts and community leaders to discuss how to build on growing international support for a tribunal to look into the deaths of 40,000 Tamils in 2009’.

So, it is not allegation any more, but fact!  Where did they get these numbers from and do they know who crunched them?  It has been proven beyond any shadow of doubt, using all data pertaining to the numbers held hostage by the LTTE that the sources that threw up these numbers got it deliberately wrong.  Verification and validation are not useful political tools of course but one would expect those who are principled about one thing (environment) would be principled across the board.  The Greens fail the character test here. 

The highest estimate of the population trapped in the conflict-zone was 305,000.  Some 297,000 were rescued.  The last LTTE communication intercepted indicated that over 4000 terrorists had perished during the period under review.  More would have died thereafter.  Witness accounts indicated that the LTTE killed hundreds if not thousands of Tamils they held hostage as they sought to flee to areas under the control of the Sri Lankan security forces.  Hundreds of others moved to other parts of the country and to India without registering at the stations set up to receive fleeing civilians.  Just doesn’t add up to 40,000. 

The original figure given was 7,000 by a UN employee who had to leave the country for cosying up to terrorists.  The UN dismissed this claim and disassociated itself from the figure.  Jacking up numbers is good for propaganda.  This doesn’t serve truth-finding, however. 

What is important to understand is that wild conjecture based on a number tossed up for propaganda purposes is now being treated as fact.  There are no ‘allegations’ any more.  ‘Allegation’ implies that ‘could be wrong’ is possible.  The Australian Greens are now complicit in the mischief-making, malicious misrepresentation and diabolical machinations of the rump of a terrorist outfit.  They run the risk of having their ‘green’ claims dismissed as fairytales and conjured horror stories that have no basis in reality. 

My friend Harsha Perera, a citizen of Australia has politely and eloquently responded to the malice and misinformation.  I reproduce here a paragraphs of his open letter to the Australian Greens. 

‘I am very concerned that the greens in its assessment of Sri Lanka haven’t given any consideration to the actual ground situation there. It could have ascertained this information through a fact finding visit to Sri Lanka, by making inquiries through Sri Lanka’s high commission in Australia and by engaging with Sri Lankan community members in Australia who are not a part of the LTTE’s international network. A golden opportunity to hear Sri Lanka’s side of the equation was missed by the Greens when they didn’t attend the presentation made by the Sri Lanka High Commission at the Australian Federal Parliament in August 2011. This absence was despite invitations being extended to the greens to attend this event.’

Seems to be extra-polite (to the point of silence) when it comes to proven crimes against humanity
Interestingly, John Dowd of the International Commission of Jurists, Australia, a QC and former NSW attorney-general , has echoed the Greens (I don’t know if he’s a member of that clearly confused political group): ‘The Commonwealth has to realise it can't keep being polite when one of its members is guilty of (such) crimes.’

Well, the Greens can get Dowd to use his legal skills to issue a note of horror on Britain’s guilt on the same grounds.  After all, the Deputy Prime Minister, no less, confessed that the invasion of Iraq was illegal.  The Greens, I assume, have enough intelligence to collate the data on atrocities, crimes against humanity, genocide and such perpetrated by or actively supported or defended by the British.  Being a colony of the Britain, I don’t know what the legal standing of moving against the Crown would be, but I am sure Dowd can figure a way to work through the legalities. 

Or would Dowd and the likes of Greens senator Lee Rhiannon remain ‘polite’?  And if so, would they deign to issue a statement on double standards and resolve to spend the rest of their political lives in navel-gazing?  I wonder.  I really do. 



SLWATCH said...

The Greens are in Parliament due to the 'protest vote' everybody is fed-up with Labour and Coalition. Partnering the Greens the Government has got itself into a right royal mess with immigration and environment policy. Anyway the Government and opposition voted together to defeat the harebrained scheme of the Greens.

Congratulations due to Adm.Samarasinha. we can see some action from the High Commission since his arrival.

sri lankan lion said...

NZ Green party is the same as Aussi LTTE politicians who are always on a mission to discredit our nation when they paid by remaining LTTE members around the world.This must stop now.Well done for this article by Great writer malinda.


Anonymous said...

Well said Malinda.

The Greens are really wet behind the ears when it comes to international politics. They must be thinking the Tamil Tigers are pussy cats. The problem is the Tiger front organisations have enough money to make "donations" to political parties who are not very discriminating when it comes to money. They don't check to see if the cash is soaked in blood.

Anonymous said...

You raise some important questions about the Australian Greens.

Unfortunately you are not dealing with a party that thinks logically about their causes.

Lee Rhiannon is called a watermelon in Australia. Green on the out side but Red (very red) through to the core. It is worth doing a background check on Lee Rhiannon if you really want to know what her agenda is.