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News Features  


 

Gaffes and gumption made in Washington
By Malinda Seneviratne
First things first. Ban Ki-moon got some shady individuals to write a report on Sri Lanka in contravention of all UN protocol. The feeders of misinformation duly dubbed it ‘UN Report’ and the movers and shakers of the story followed suit. Lackeys in I/NGO, academic and media circles felt no shame in doing the time-honoured ‘going along’. Slavishly, one might add.

Now we learn that Hillary Clinton, a woman fascinated with Xeroxing (photo-copying, that is) has demanded that Patricia Butenis, the US Ambassador in Colombo, be given a preview of the LLRC (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission) Report, BEFORE THE GENERAL PUBLIC GET TO SEE IT! This lady Butenis, as Wikileaks exposures of secret communiqués show, is a classic US busybody who acts as though she’s Viceroy, doing her utmost to script political developments in Sri Lanka and naturally chagrined when the key players, namely the people of the country, refused to play ball.

That being said, the communiqué to the Minister of External Affairs, delivered by Butenis’ predecessor and an equally obnoxious meddler, Robert O Blake, is all about ‘accountability’, we are told. We are also informed, inter alia, that failure to address allegations contained in the rogue document submitted to Ban Ki-moon would ‘give rise to a resurgence of violence in Sri Lanka and undermine the country’s progress so far’.

Accountability
Now this would mean that Clinton has intimate knowledge of all political factors relevant to Sri Lanka or else that her country is capable of orchestrating violence. That’s no impossible, of course, as history has shown, but it is incumbent on concurring on the part of the general public in significant numbers. While there should be no illusions that there are no takers to such propositions here in Sri Lanka, for we do have a bunch who are wide-eyed and servile about and to the United States of America, respectively, ‘doability’ remains, as of now, untenable. The proposition should remain flagged, however.

What, though, is this ‘accountability’? What moral right does Clinton or Blake (or Obama for that matter) have when it comes to lecturing people on accountability? We know, after all, about Iraq and the game played about weapons of mass destruction. We know about Afghanistan and oil. We know of the butchery perpetrated in Libya in the name of stopping butchery. We know how the ‘Arab’ was made to ‘spring’. Little however is known about Honduras. A recap would place Clinton’s ‘dire warnings’ and her defer-to-Butenis directive in proper context.

Economic sanctions
A murder was perpetrated in broad daylight in Uncle Sam’s backyard, not too long ago. Didn’t make the news. Didn’t warrant strongly worded statements from the US State Department criticising the perpetrators? Nothing about violation of human rights. No call for independent probes. No threats of economic sanctions. Instead, the main beneficiary of the assassination, Porfirio Lobo was embraced by Barack Obama in Washington. Obama’s salutation is thick: “Two years ago, we saw a coup in Honduras that threatened to move the country away from democracy, and in part because of pressure from the international community, but also because of the strong commitment to democracy and leadership by President Lobo, what we’ve been seeing is a restoration of democratic practices and a commitment to reconciliation that gives us great hope.”

Obama, ladies and gentlemen, refused to meet the democratically-elected president who was overthrown, although the man, Mel Zelaya came to Washington three times seeking help. Zelaya was a left-of-centre president who had instituted a number of reforms as per the mandate he received from the electorate. These included raising the minimum wage and promoting land reform.

Obama’s snubbing may have been prompted by the fact that Zelaya was close to left-leaning governments in South America. When the Honduran military overthrew him in June 2009, Obama did everything possible to ensure that the coup succeeded. He did his all to legitimise the coup government in an election that the rest of the region refused to recognise. Butenis is fond of talking about democracy and accountability, but her boss in Washington cared and cares little about the fact that the ‘election’ that brought Lobo to office in January 2010 was marred by serious human rights violations.

Death threats
The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN) reports to assassinations in Honduras after Lobo took over.
“Pedro Salgado, vice-president of the Unified Campesino Movement of Aguán (MUCA), was shot then beheaded at about 8:00 p.m. at his home in the La Concepción empresa cooperative. His spouse, Reina Irene Mejía, was also shot to death at the same time. Pedro suffered a murder attempt in December 2010. .Salgado, like the presidents of all the cooperatives claiming rights to land used by African palm oil businessmen in the Aguán, had been subject to constant death threats since the beginning of 2011.”

Obama is ‘in the know’ about the close nexus between the current political leadership in Honduras, a US-backed military and police that cooperates with private armies to unleash political violence and drug lords. Indeed it is recorded that ‘the 2009 coup kicked open the door to drug cartels to send cocaine to the USA.
But Barack Obama embraced Lobo. Obama thumbed his nose at Zelaya. Clinton sends dire warnings to Sri Lanka. Butenis plots regime-change. Ill-informed and/or maliciously intentioned journalists give hurrah-space to these many-tongued agents of international thuggery.

I am not cheering
As for the LLRC report, we do need to see it. We need to see it, study it and evaluate it. We need to discuss and debate the contents. Everyone must see it, even Butenis’ playmates and yes-boys and yes-girls in I/NGO, academic and media circles. Even Butenis, why not? What is objectionable is the demand to preview, but not perusal of a public document, after all. The sooner, the better.

As of now, though, this ‘I wanna see it first’ wailing from Washington DC smacks of a disease that is yet to be named but is nevertheless oozing with gumption and suffered by a palpably immoral patient called Uncle Sam, who ‘is not a relative’ according to millions of residents of the United States of America currently struggling to recover citizenship, democracy, decency, civiliaation and dignity in that country.