US Under Secretary of State Maria Otero
l by Malinda Seneviratne
(March 05, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) US Under Secretary of State Maria Otero told the UNHRC session in Geneva that the international community has waited nearly three years for action by Sri Lanka and ‘time is slipping away’ for them. She has also pontificated on the preconditions for ‘lasting peace’, namely reconciliation and accountability.
It is no secret that the world’s most ruthless terrorist organization, the LTTE, is behind a lot of moves against Sri Lanka by the international community, so called, by way of egging on, providing ‘information’ and dishing out money.
If the international community was made up by the USA (and her allies) and the principal ‘victim’ seeking redress was the LTTE, then this sanctimonious posturing about reconciliation and accountability are laughable. The fact is, however, that there are few other takers apart from those who are desperate to make deals or are ready to sell themselves cheap.
If it was really about accountability and reconciliation, then Otero would have raised her hands high and say ‘My country is guilty of monumental crimes against humanity’. As for the West-based LTTE outfits fronting now as ‘Tamil’ organizations they would acknowledge that reluctance to acknowledge LTTE atrocities and admit (in the very least) complicity does not exactly persuade the victims to talk ‘reconciliation’ with them.
If it were a matter of ‘time slipping away’, the end of time for the USA and her allies would come a long time ago. Those who have bucks and guns, however, are experts at finger-pointing and have the (military) means to get away ‘That’s how we do things’ (ref Barack Obama regarding the cold-blooded murder of a man claimed to be Osama bin Laden). So when Otero says ‘action now in this Council will sow the seeds of lasting peace on the ground,’ it is appropriate to ask her ‘Remember Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the 20 plus countries the USA attacked since the Second World War, without any by-your-leave of the United Nations?’
As for the LTTE it is a fascist outfit and fascism is not something the West and Israel ever made light of, either as victim or perpetrator.
Fact 1: Otero was allowed to speak although it was not on the agenda. Conclusion 1: the UNHRC is a pawn of the USA. Fact 2: the USA has no moral authority to pontificate on human rights. Conclusion 2: It is not about human rights but political, strategic and economic interest. Fact 3: the UNHCR is cagey about blatant and proven (not alleged) crimes against humanity perpetrated by the USA and Israel. Conclusion 3: the UNHRC has lost all credibility and has been reduced to a convenient and pliant yes-thing for US-led machinations. Fact 4: the US not only has draconian laws that violate basic human rights both within and without the country, but abuse these to quell dissent. Conclusion 4: Otero is talking through a hat. Fact 5: The USA is the only country that has used atomic energy as a weapon of war. Conclusion 5: the flurry of words about nuclear energy and Iran is sanctimonious bunkum. The list of fact and relevant conclusions would spill out of editorial space and this newspaper too, so let’s stop there.
If, however, the USA is sincere about accountability, then they can give Sri Lanka some tips about how to handle such issues, by way of short-term technical assistance. Otero’s word-jabs, like those of Clinton, Robert O Blake and Patricia Butenis are not constructive when it comes to repairing frayed US-SL ties. It’s a fight they started and as Sun Tzu famously put it, ‘if you start a fight, you have already lost the war’.
Reconciliation and accountability are finally ‘our babies’. We’ve come far on the former and we’ve always been lax on the latter, not just on things pertaining to the execution of the world’s greatest hostage rescue operation but on all issues pertaining to governance. Since we are talking of what’s happening in Geneva, it is incumbent on the Government to take concrete steps to implement the LLRC recommendations, especially those articles that refer to unacceptable acts during the period under review.
The USA’s military ‘policy’ includes torture and all kinds of crimes against humanity (especially for those who are not white and those who are of the Islamic faith), but Washington sets the (flawed) judicial process in motion when the evidence cannot be refuted. Some poor end-point soldier gets court marshaled. We can do better, especially since it is clear that the policy was (as admitted by Butenis) to minimize civilian casualties. Where there is evidence of wrong-doing, the culprits must be apprehended and tried. If it could be done to Sarath Fonseka, the then Army Commander, then no one, however high-ranked he may be should be protected.
This is post-war and moving on must include getting our house in order. On all counts. US-SL relations may have slipped away and the jury is out on whether we should celebrate or lament. This is a time, however, that this country cannot afford to let slip away.
Source : [The Nation Editorial, March 4, 2012]