25 February 2012

Uncle Sam: The Mother of All War Criminals

[This was first published in 'The Nation', September 20, 2009.  Given the continuing criminality of the United States of America, sadly, these kinds of comments are (relatively) timeless]
Robert O. Blake, former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and currently Assistant Secretary, South and Central Asian Affairs in the Obama administration, is said to have told Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Washington, Jaliya Wickremasuriya that a report on the conduct of government forcees during the war against the LTTE would be submitted to the US Congress tomorrow (September 21). 

We all know that Robert O. Blake was an ace mischief maker, the epitome of the Ugly American, during his tenure in Colombo. We know that he did everything possible to find safe passage out of Sri Lanka for the world’s most ruthless terrorist, Velupillai Prabhakaran.  We know that he was one of the key players (along with Teresita Schaffer, another important figure who batted for the Eelamists) in getting down Jehan Perera and Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu to brief people in Washington D.C. recently. 

We know that the likes of Perera and Saravanamuttu represent that tiny sliver of public opinion that always held against the state and that has been largely compromised by rabid anti-intellectualism and a marked propensity to treat terrorism with affection.  There are no prizes therefore for predicting that this report will be of the Channel 4 News type: sourced to the most despicable and corrupt political operators that ever walked this island, selective and ideologically motivated in reference and this on substantiation. 

What’s all this about?  Well, the short answer is: ‘more of the same’.  Terms come to mind: ‘double-standards’, ‘sour grapes’, ‘revenge’.  ‘Double-standards’ because the USA is by far the worst culprit in terms of violating human rights; ‘sour grapes’ because the USA did its all to give life-breath to a dying terrorist movement and failed, and ‘revenge’ because the people of Sri Lanka didn’t care a hoot for Robert O. Blake’s Viceroy-posturing and did what had to be done: make good on the widely accepted global policy called ‘Zero-tolerance on terrorism’.     

Look at who is upset: Uncle Sam!  I don’t know the legal standing of this report in the USA and its political and legal overall, but it occurred to me that there’s nothing to prevent the Sri Lankan parliament to constitute a committee that keeps track of war crimes world wide.  I believe that such a committee could submit to Parliament a ‘note’ on what’s going on in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Such a report would not make waves.  The world knows that Uncle Sam has been the world’s biggest bully for the past so many decades.  On the other hand, no Government has had what it takes to sock it back to Uncle Sam.  Someone better do it.  Sri Lanka has nothing to lose now.  We have to recognize that the West hates this regime, not for its transgressions (which, compared to most nations fighting a terrorist) is hardly worth a murmur, but because Mahinda Rajapaksa for all his faults is too much of a patriot. 

Here are some facts which I am sure will not be mentioned or even footnoted in this report that’s on its way to the US Congress.

The United States invaded Iraq twice and moved to impose economic sanctions on that country because a ‘friend’ (Saddam Hussein was The Friend in Uncle Sam’s battle to destabilize Iran – remember Iran-Contra?)  had become ‘foe’.  Over half a million Iraqi children died as a result of sanctions.  Over a million Iraqis have died as a consequence of the invasion.  That country was bombed into the middle ages by George W Bush’s Alliance of the Willing to Massacre Brown People (check out George Carlin’s right-on-the-money comment, ‘We like war’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoTkbwML-zU). 

For what reason? Weapons of mass destruction.  Key word: ALLEGED.  How many did Bush’s men and women in uniform find? NONE.  The horror stories authored by the US occupation forces in Iraq would fill a library.  I am willing to wager that Robert O Blake would not have the tongue to utter a single reference to what the US did and continues to do in Iraq in terms of ‘human rights abuses’ (a sanitized term for ‘genocide’ and ‘crimes against humanity’). 

Afghanistan.  Robert O. Blake probably will not wet his pants if someone mentioned that country and that’s only because he is the Ugly American Personified and has a mind that blocks out anything negative about the USA.  To hunt down a single terrorist, the USA turned half a million people into IDPs, destabilized a region and killed close to 40,000 people.  US jets bomb civilian targets at will and do not feel obliged to say ‘sorry’. 

I am sure that Robert O. Blake will not read F. William Engdahl’s ‘Colour revolutions; old and new’, where the author explains a new form of US covert warfare, first played out in Belgrade, Serbia in 2000.  It was not the spontaneous and genuine political movement that people believed it was, Engdhal argues; it was the product of techniques developed in the USA over several decades.   The Clinton administration orchestrated Slobodan Milosevic’s removal.  A $ 41 million campaign was launched from US Ambassador Richard Miles’ office, according to Engdhal. 

Blake will know but not acknowledge the mechanics of Georgia’s bloodless ‘Rose Revolution’ that replaced Edouard Shevardnadze with Mikhail Saskashvili, and Ukrain’s ‘Orange Revolution’ that brought Yushchenko to power in January 2005. 

The ‘Washington-hand’ in the on-going ‘Green Revolution’ in Iran is also well documented. It is said that if the ‘Green Revolution’ in Teheran fails, then ‘hardline regime change must be worked from the outside’.  In a June 12 Wall Street Journal editorial, John Bolton called for Israeli air strikes whatever the outcome - to "put an end to (Iran's) nuclear threat," despite no evidence one exists.

The operation in Sri Lanka suffered the fate of the attempted ‘Saffron Revolution; in Myanmar.  Well, Robert O Blake could not do a ‘Richard Miles’ in Colombo.  Perhaps this is why he is trying it out in Washington.

On July 11, 2008, Jason Leopold headlined his Countercurrents.org article, "State Department's Iran Democracy Fund Shrouded in Secrecy" and stated: "Since 2006, Congress has poured tens of millions of dollars into a (secret) State Department (Democracy Fund) program aimed at promoting regime change in Iran."

Yet Shirin Abadi, Iran's 2003 Nobel Peace prize laureate, said "no truly nationalist and democratic group will accept" US funding for this purpose. In a May 30, 2007 International Herald Tribune column, she wrote: "Iranian reformers believe that democracy can't be imported. It must be indigenous. They believe that the best Washington can do for democracy in Iran is to leave them alone."

What is the truth about Sri Lanka?  Well, Robert O Blake has been parroting claims churned out by the LTTE propaganda machine for a long time now.  Much of the claims have been adequately refuted and retractions articulated by some of the accusers themselves. 

Were there ‘excesses’ perpetrated by the security forces during the war.  It would be silly to say ‘no’.  Wars are not tea-parties.  But there has to be a sense of proportion in claim, objection and the processes of blaming and uncovering truth. 

Here are some facts (which should be compared with the facts from Iraq and Afghanistan):

Sri Lanka fought and defeated the world’s most ruthless terrorist organization which had spread its wings outside the island and linked with other terrorist outfits, some of which the Obama administration is at war with.

Sri Lanka lost thousands of fighting men whose lives were put at extra risk because the Government wanted to minimize civilian casualties.  Had the government been dismissive of cost to civilians, the war would have been over in January 2009 and not May. 

During the conflict, the Government ensured that everything possible was done to provide food and medicine to people being held hostage by the LTTE. 

Throughout the conflict, the Government did not cut back on free education and free healthcare services. Today, post-war, the bulk of the money is going for rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts in the North and East.  Compare this with what the US has done to the people whose lands were stolen (the Native Americans) and the people who built that nation with their labour (the African Americans), and to the victims of Katrina.  And get this: the vast majority of the people backed the President to the hilt and continue to back him in the reconstruction efforts.

How about torture?  There is no evidence of any kind of systemic torture being perpetrated by the Sri Lankan security forces.  Robert O Blake and the Obama administration, if they bring up torture, will be dismissed by mentioning a double-barreled torture chamber: Guantanamo Bay.  Well there is also Abu Ghraib and other such unhappy places associated with the gruesome.  

Enough. The Mother of All War Criminals does not have a leg to stand on and these Washington maneuvers stink.  It is what made some people say ‘You deserve it punk’ to Uncle Sam when that unconscionable attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon took place on September 9, 2001.  The world was willing to give Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt because he positioned himself as the political opposite of the Ugly American.  Looks like the man is no different from his predecessors.  The proof of the pudding is in the substance, not the colouring, Barack.  Tastes horrible, brother.



Anonymous said...

Unless the electoral system in USA changes to a more democratic process, it doesn't matter what colour or political party, the President hails from, the Foreign Policy remains eternally skewed. It costs millions of US$ to get elected here and whoever bank rolls them, carries the biggest influence. According to former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and broadcaster Michael Moore:-
1) By far the biggest political donors are the Jewish businesses and almost all of their donations are nodded through by the Jewish Zionists lobby.
2) Only politicians who have pledged support to the Zionists agenda receive the funding, irrespective of the political party or the candidate's race.
3) The monies are freely given to all the candidates because a significant portion of it is spent on television advertising and most of the TV companies are Jewish owned and the monies get indirectly returned.
4) The Jewish Zionists Lobby exists only to look after the interests of the Zionists and we know where their interests lie.

Walter Rajaratne said...

Truth for all seasons. You can reproduce this article umpteenth time and we still read it with utmost satisfaction.

Leave, Barack, Leave Blake, Leave Sampanthan and even Dayan for defending Butenis on the sly for his visa to US. Now, take these few; Jehan, Paki, JJ. What has the US constitution got to do with traitors? Death penalty. Electric Chair.

We don’t have both. But we had boys to take the regional bully Rajiv on the head. Mahinda may not be our cup of tea any further but the home grown solution is the answer.