February 09, 2009
WHERE IS THE US CONDEMNATION WHEN IDPs ARE SLAUGHTERED LIKE ANIMALS IN LTTE TERRITORY?
Dear Ambassador Robert O Blake,
The alacrity by which the US condemned the LTTE woman suicide attack on a government center that was registering internally displaced persons who had managed to exit the conflict area in northern Sri Lanka is amazing! This condemnation is in sharp contrast to the stony silence by the Ambassador over the killing of over 1,000 IDPs by bombing and artillery shelling by the Sinhala armed forces. The victims were IDPs living at Suthanthirapuram, Udayarkaddu, Puthukuieruppu and other so called ?????safety zones????? have been wantonly killed.
Reports from Vanni indicate that the civilian casualties at the military check post claimed as ‘IDP rescue centre’ by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) was in fact due to gunfire at the civilians by the SLA after a bomb blast. This is according to civilians who escaped the scene back to LTTE territory.
A perusal of the video clippings released by the SLA would show that the civilian casualties are not due to bomb blast, analysts said. The SLA didn’t release any pictures of its own casualties amidst civilians.
Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapakse tells the Skynews that hospitals outside the Safety Zone are a ?????legitimate target,” admitting to the culpability of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) shelling Puthukkudiyiruppu hospital and Ponnambalam Hospital.
Your Excellency is asking the LTTE to allow the civilians freedom of movement, but where is the freedom of movement for the IDPs in Jaffna and elsewhere? IDPs fleeing war and detained by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Gurunagar and Koppaay refugee camps pleaded Pope’s emissary, Rt. Rev. Mario Senario to get them permission to live and engage in their customary occupations, when he personally met them in the said camps. The IDPs detained in the above special rehabilitation camp appealed to Pope’s emissary to secure permission for them to get back to their villages and to engage in their livelihoods.
It is obvious that the Ambassador is indulging in double standards. We ask where is the US condemnation when IDPs are slaughtered like animals in LTTE held territory? When Thamils are killed by the racist government the Ambassador is scared to condemn the slaughter. But when it is the LTTE he is jumping from his seat asking Mahinda Rajapakse “How high?”
It seems that his Excellency thinks George W. Bush is still the President of US? The change of guard at the White House had not sunk into the head of the good Ambassador!
Thamil Creative Writers Association
February 03, 2009
Ambassador Robert Blake JR
U. S. Embassy
210 Galle Road,
US IS ROCKING THE CRADLE AND PINCHING THE BABY
Dear Your Excellency,
I read with interest the reply you sent to a letter signed by Raj Subramaniam and three others asking “Why do you hate Thamils so much?”
In this connection please refer to my letter dated January 15, 2009 sent to your Excellency.
The US has played the role of Dr.Jeyhil and Mr. Hyde in its relation with the Thamils. US enjoys the dubious distinction of listing the LTTE as a “terrorist” organization and then brokering talks between the LTTE and the GoSL. On one hand you train the Sri Lanka army, give arms, coastal-guard ships, provide intelligence, surveillance, powerful and sophisticated radars etc. And on the other hand you dole out food aid to the people who are getting killed daily by courtesy of the US. US is a member of the Co-Chairs but it remained deaf and blind when the government broke the CFA. It is these double standards that are revolting to the extreme.
Yesterday the Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa warned ambassadors, news agencies and INGOs acting irresponsibly of “dire consequences” if they attempt to give the LTTE terrorists a second breath of life.
“They will be chased away (if they try) to give a second wind to the LTTE terrorists at a time the security forces, at heavy cost, are dealing them the final death blow,” he said.
Rajapaksa did not mince his words when he said that some ambassadors, specially the German and Swiss ambassadors, and some news agencies were behaving irresponsibly.
He named, CNN, Al-Jazeera and specially the BBC of trying to sensationalize civilian hardships by telecasting video clips from LTTE websites.
“These video clips do not indicate bombings or explosions,” Rajapakse said.
It was irresponsible not to talk about civilians held in the war zone by the LTTE while making comments that only helped the Tigers, he said accusing BBC Anchor Chris Morris of being known for partisan support to the LTTE terrorists from the 1990s.
“If he does not act responsibly and attempts to create panic, I will have to chase him out of the country,” Rajapakse said.
He warned that members of the international community, specifically the German and Swiss ambassadors, who are trying to create panic, will be similarly treated. (The Island – Feb 01, 2009). Incidentally Gotabhaya Rajapakse is a citizen of USA!
The Sri Lanka government is a neo-fascist state. Its human rights abuses have been documented by several human rights organization. During the last 3 years 16 journalists (14 Thamils and 2 Sinhalese) have been killed. The latest victim to state terror is the editor of the Sunday Leader. None of the perpetrators of these ghastly murders – killing of 17 aid workers (16 Thamils and 1 Muslim) in Muthur and assassination of 5 Thamil students in Trincomalee – have been caught and brought to justice.
Thamils have been oppressed politically, economically and militarily for decades, but most cruelly in the last three years. A Sinhala army is occupying Thamils land and farms. William Clarence in his book, Ethnic Warfare in Sri Lanka and the UN Crisis, said that the world has not been heeding the storm signals from Sri Lanka from the time of its independence in 1948.
Three years ago Prof Alston, UN Rapporteur for Extrajudicial Killings and Disappearances in his report after his fact-finding mission to Sri Lanka urged for UN human rights monitoring for Sri Lanka which has been resisted ferociously by Sri Lanka in spite of the appeals by international human rights bodies like AI, HRW, ICJ, ICG and others. Alston has been reiterating it at UN General Assembly and UN Human Rights Council ever since.
But killings, abductions, economic embargo and restrictions on entry for humanitarian agencies have been going on in Northeast Sri Lanka from which journalists have been barred for more than thirty months. Fact-finding missions to the Northeast by civil societies and religious groups have been reporting the fear and hopelessness of the people and their appeal to the outside world to pray for their freedom.
On 9 December 2008 the Genocide Prevention Project released a ”red alert” list of 8 countries that included Sri Lanka along with Sudan, Myanmar, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan and ii. an ”orange alert” list of 25 countries containing Palestinian territories. According to international analysts Sri Lanka has been the worst for political violence in the last thirty years. It is the most militarised and the worst human rights violator in South Asia according to an Asian Human Rights Centre.
The US under the former discredited George Bush has betrayed the Thamils as never before. Your Excellency who advocated talks between the LTTE and the GoSL now say there is no need to talk to the LTTE.
And finally who is this Anandasangaree your Excellency is talking about? He contested the parliamentary elections in 2004 and lost his deposit after polling less than 6,000 votes. I can understand Anandasangaree becoming a darling of the GoSL, but how come such Thamil traitors have become darlings of the US Ambassador?
Our only hope is that with Barack Obama there will be sea change in the US governance. The Secretary of State Madam Hillary Clinton during her campaign said that it is wrong to lump all those who take up arms as “terrorists.” She specifically mentioned the Thamil Tigers.
—– Original Message —–
From: Blake, Robert O
Sent: Monday, February 02, 2009 9:05 PM
Subject: RE: US IS ROCKING THE CRADLE AND PINCHING THE BABY
The LTTE has been brutally efficient in killing off a generation of Tamils who could have provided a moderate alternative to Prabakharan. Our challenge is always to find moderate Tamil leaders who are willing to stand up to threats and make a difference. Anandasangaree has won international prizes for his efforts but there are others, including from the diaspora whom we hope will step forward.
Dear Ambassador Blake
Please read Ceylon history before putting pen to paper. Prabhakaran emerged as a leader only after moderate leaders failed to
win Thamil people’s rights through peaceful means. The late S.J.V. Chelvanayagam made two statements – one in parliament and the other after he won the bye-elections in 1975. Here are those statements.
After winning the by-election for the Kankesanturai Parliamentary seat, held belatedly on 7 February 1975, two years after he had resigned the seat to seek a mandate for Tamil Eelam –
“Throughout the ages the Sinhalese and Tamils in the country lived as distinct sovereign people till they were brought under foreign domination. It should be remembered that the Tamils were in the vanguard of the struggle for independence in the full confidence that they also will regain their freedom. We have for the last 25 years made every effort to secure our political rights on the basis of equality with the Sinhalese in a united Ceylon.”
“It is a regrettable fact that successive Sinhalese governments have used the power that flows from independence to deny us our fundamental rights and reduce us to the position of a subject people. These governments have been able to do so only by using against the Tamils the sovereignty common to the Sinhalese and the Tamils.”
“I wish to announce to my people and to the country that I consider the verdict at this election as a mandate that the Tamil Eelam nation should exercise the sovereignty already vested in the Tamil people and become free.”
At the TULF convention held at Hindu College, Trincomalee, on March 26, 1977, where Chelvanayakam for the last time, before his death on April 5, said, “An irrevocable decision with regard to the future of the Tamil Nation in this country had been taken at the first convention of the TULF, held in May 1976.My advice to the Sinhalese leaders is to allow us to go our way .. Let us avoid bitterness and agree to part peacefully. This will pave the way for greater cooperation between the two nations on a footing of equality. The Tamils are not with any other alternatives. Bitterness is growing in the midst of the younger generations. Without allowing it to grow any further, which may lead to inevitable confrontation leading to foreign intervention, therefore a method of peacefully working out this entanglement is necessary. We are confident that the truth will ultimately triumph and we will win in the war of endurance.”
So Prabhakaran merely took over the baton from Chelvanayagam where he left after unsuccessfully fighting for the rights of the Thamils through non-violent means. It was Chandrika Kumaratunga ex-president who once said that “Prabhakaran was the creation of Sinhala racism.”
As for Anandasangaree he is a political leper, a leader with only a letter head and no followers, a stooge, a fifth columnist and a traitor among Thamils. He has sold his soul for 12 pieces of silver to the racist government. The fact that he won the so called peace prize does not sit well with the Thamil people. How strange he has become the darling of the Ambassador!
January 16, 2008
His Excellency Robert Blake
U. S. Embassy
210 Galle Road,
” US is not neutral in this particular conflict” Ambassador Robert Blake
Your Excellency lost no time in condemning the attack on a bus at Buttala, Uva Province because in your opinion “it bears all the hallmarks of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.” But, Your Excellency remained dumb and deaf when Sri Lankan air-force supersonic Kfir fighter planes (fitted with engines manufactured by GEC, US) bombed, killed and maimed Thamil people, including schoolchildren, in Vanni every day. Apparently, Your Excellency wishes the war to be confined to Northeast and not South! Such attitude will no doubt embolden the GoSL to pursue the military option with more vigour!
As Your Excellency is aware the GoSL after burying the CFA. has declared 2008 as War Year. Army Chief General Fonseka promises to kill 10 LTTE cadres a day and 3000 by the end of August. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse had vowed to kill the LTTE leader and his deputies before the year is out. He arrogantly declared that the army knew their hideouts and they will be taken one by one. He has also proclaimed publicly that civilians suspected of LTTE supporters will be killed or abducted and executed. In justification, he quoted the example of US itself. This is what he told the Khaleej Times on the spate of abductions for ransom and involuntary disappearances “I’m talking about terrorists. Anything is fair. When the US does operations, they say covert operations. When something is (done) in Sri Lanka, they call it abductions…This is playing with words” (Khaleej Times – 12.6.2007)
Incidentaly Gotabhaya Rajapakse is a US citizen. Obviously, Mahinda Rajapakse’s regime’s imperviousness to human rights violations and the culture of impunity has now become legend.
In the backdrop of Mahinda Rajapakse and his cohorts beating the war drums what chance is there for your expectation that “Only a political solution to the country’s conflict offers a way out of the current cycle of escalating violence?” The ground reality belies the gap between wish and pious hope.
Mahinda Rajapkse has already diluted and derailed the APRC to retain parliamentary support of the ultra racist out- fits like JVP and HU. In fact, the JVP has demanded the dissolution of the APRC itself as a condition for such support!
More than once GoSL has thumped its nose at the Co-Chairs, EU and the international community (barring Pakistan, Israel (US allies) and China) dismissing the plea for a political solution and brazenly opting for a military solution. But, Your Excellency continue to parrot ad nauseam the mantra “Only a political solution to the country’s conflict offers a way out of the current cycle of escalating violence.” It is like asking the dog to give up the bone. “ Worse, the US is neither an honest broker nor a neutral party in the conflict between the Thamil Nation and the Sinhala Nation.
In an interview to Rupavahini on November 30, 2006 Your Excellency declared “We do support the Government, and as Under Secretary Burns said during the Co-Chairs’ press conference last week, the US is not neutral in this particular conflict. We have always been a strong supporter of the Government and we consider the LTTE as a terrorist organisation.” True to form US is providing arms, ammunition, boats, radars, training, surveillance and intelligence to the Sinhala army despite the fact the Head of the UNHCR accuses the GoSL of gross human rights violations and warning human rights violators, including by those in positions of command, of criminal responsibility under international criminal law for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
There is only way to stop the war and stop the blood shed. The international community, especially the Co-Chairs, should stop the sale of arms and military hardware, cut off all aid, impose economic sanctions, and send UNHCR to monitor human rights violations in Sri Lanka.
Finally, we like to remind Your Excellency the fact 87% of Sinhalese support the war, where as 95% of Thamils (and Muslims) oppose the war. This clearly demonstrates who wants war and who needs peace.
- Prime Minister of Canada, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament and Senators
January 6, 2008
The Hon. Maxime Bernier, MP, P.C.
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
BOLD AND DECISIVE STEPS ARE NEEDED TO SAVE THAMILS FROM GENOCIDE
Dear Hon. Minister,
Wide spread regret and unease have been expressed by UN Secretary-General, US, Britain, Canada, Nordic countries, Japan, India, Australia, Norway and others over the decision by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to dump the 2002 ceasefire agreement with the LTTE. This single act of the GoSL is an open declaration of war.
Foreign Minister of Canada has said “Canada deeply regrets the decision of the government of Sri Lanka to withdraw from the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement.” But it is the marginalization of the Tamils by the international community, including Canada, the primary cause for the demise of the CFA. Singular inability of the international community to reign in Mahinda Rajapakse made it easy for him to dump the CFA and press ahead with the military option. CFA was dealt a body blow after President Rajapakse wriggled out of the peace talks and ordered the armed forces in 2006/2007 to “liberate” the east from the LTTE. President Mahinda Rajapakse resorted to war in total defiance of the call by the international community to go for a negotiated settlement to resolve the conflict. In unison they said there cannot be a military solution to the conflict. However, President Mahinda Rajapakse refused to listen to such advice. And that won him plaudits from the Sinhalese constituency which perceived him as a “leader” standing up to the West.
During 2006/2007 the armed forces mounted a series of military operations that saw hundreds and thousands of Thamils displaced. There were abductions for ransom, execution style killings and cordon off and arrest of thousands of Thamils. In Jaffna, more than hundred Thamils sought voluntary imprisonment citing threat to their lives by the armed forces and government sponsored gunmen. Media freedom was curbed and journalists, both Thamils and Sinhalese, were killed.
- Maheswaran, MP in a TV talk show just a day before he was gunned down charged that “EPDP cadres kill at least six people on a daily basis in Jaffna and that a paramilitary outfit operating along with the armed forces is responsible for the killings. He threatened to expose Douglas Devananda, a Minister in Mahinda Rajapakse’s cabinet as the villain behind the killings. But the Co-Chairs and the rest of the world observed stoic silence to all these blatant human rights violations by President Rajapakse. Canada was no exception and the bureaucrats of the Foreign Ministry remain unmoved like stones. They are oblivious to the fact that in Sri Lanka there is a genocidal and militaristic regime which is targeting Thamils irrespective of their political affiliation.
Canadian government whether Liberal or Conservative never took a proactive stand on the conflict. It is always a case of reacting to violent deaths lawmakers and civilians. Press releases couched in pious language were issued as a matter of ritual and then everything forgotten till another disaster took place.
The single most factors that encouraged the Sri Lankan government to end the CFA and opt for all out war is the banning of the LTTE by the Conservative government in 2006. This unwise step gave the excuse to the GoSL to eliminate the Thamils under the cloak of eliminating “terrorism.” President Rajapakse’s sibling Defence Secretary Gotabhaya commenting on the spate of abductions for ransom and involuntary disappearances dismissively said “I’m talking about terrorists. Anything is fair. When the US does operations, they say covert operations. When something is (done) in Sri Lanka, they call it abductions…This is playing with words” (Khaleej Times – 12.6.2007). He has also vowed publicly to kill LTTE leader Prabhakaran and his comrades one by one. He has also vowed to militarily defeat the LTTE and declared 2008 a war year.
The fighting in Sri Lanka is not a civil war. It is an ethnic war between people of different race, faith, language and culture. A whopping 87% of the Sinhalese people support the war. Conversely 95% of Thamils (also Muslims) oppose the war. This reveals the great divide between the two nations. Unable to free itself from a racially based majoritarian mindset GoSL has adopted Sinhala – Buddhist chauvinistic goals as its dominant national philosophy. This mind-set is preventing the Sinhala nation from seeking a solution to the Tamil national question based on justice and fairness. Hence, the continued political subjugation, social oppression and economic deprivation of the Thamil people.
The Conservative government’s perception of “terrorism” is highly flawed. To label anyone who takes arms as a terrorist flies in the face of cold logic. Thamil Canadians have been denied even offering humanitarian and medical help to thousands of families in need of food, shelter and cloth in the Northeast.
In an interview to British Guardian newspaper (October 23, 2007) the Democratic presidential candidate Ms Hillary Clinton has called for a more nuanced approach to armed non-state actors fighting for liberation. She explained “the bottom line is you can’t lump all terrorists together. I mean, what the Tamil Tigers are fighting for in Sri Lanka, or the Basque separatists in Spain, or the insurgents in al-Anbar province may only be connected by tactics. They may not share all that much in terms of what is the philosophical or ideological underpinning.”
When asked “do you think that the terrorists hate us for our freedoms, or do you think they have specific geopolitical objectives?” She replied “Well, I believe that terrorism is a tool that has been utilized throughout history to achieve certain objectives. Some have been ideological, others territorial. There are personality-driven terroristic objectives.”
There is no comparison between the secular LTTE which is fighting for the restoration of status quo ante of a state they lost to the Western colonists and the fanatical religious armed groups like the Al – Qaeda! Philosophically and ideologically they stand poles apart.
The ethnic conflict is one which had defied a political solution for over six decades since independence in 1948. The enmity between the protagonists is deep seated and historical. Canadian government should not remain complacent after issuing innocuous statements without follow up action. De-listing of LTTE, recognizing the sovereignty of the Thamil people, imposing economic sanctions and cutting off all aid will send a powerful message to the hawkish President Mahinda Rajapakse to come to his senses. Bold and decisive steps are needed urgently to save the Thamil people from genocide.
cc To All Hon. Members of Parliament, Cabinet Ministers and Senators.
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