I detest that man, who hides one thing in the depth of his heart and speaks forth another – Homer Illiad (Deceit)
Sison and next steps
It was reported in recent media reports that US Ambassador Michele J. Sison in an address to the Foreign Correspondents Association in
Colombo spoke “about the next steps for US engagement with Sri Lanka”. This was in the aftermath of the second US-backed resolution at the Human Rights Council in Geneva last month. She said that the 2012 resolution simply asked the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfill its own commitments to its people from its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report, and to meet its own international obligations
Defining accountability US style
The US Ambassador said some had asked her what the US meant when it spoke of “reconciliation” or “accountability.” She explained, “When we say reconciliation, we mean finding a way for all Sri Lankans to live together in peace, harmony, and security in a unified country a country in which the democratic space exists for all to be able to express their views freely, and for all to share in the prosperity of the country in terms of access to land, employment, education, and so forth. When we say accountability, we mean, identifying those responsible for committing abuses and imposing consequences for these acts or omissions.” She noted that some form of credible investigation is in the interest of the Government concerned. “For when there are serious allegations of human rights violations — whether a government likes it or not — those allegations will persist until they are credibly addressed,” she said. What happens next, she said, depends on the Government of Sri Lanka. “As we examine next steps, we will renew our consideration of all mechanisms available, both in the Human Rights Council and beyond,” she said.
Responding to the remarks of the US Ambassador Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that the job of an ambassador was to strengthen relations between two countries and not to ruin them by giving lessons in good governance in the host country. Sri Lanka was not a colony of America; nor was the ambassador a governor representing President Obama. He further very correctly stated that “President Mahinda Rajapaksa was responsible to the people of this country and not to America”, and that his international obligations are only part of his responsibilities. “His larger responsibility is to the people of Sri Lanka”, he said.
In the above backdrop this piece attempts to investigate the accountability of the United States in its own record of on going human rights violations all over the world presently taking place in the form of cowardly drone attacks killing large numbers of innocent women and children in Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Muslim countries in the World. Subsequent to the 9/11 attacks in the United States by the Al Qaeda United States appears to be engaged in a witch hunt indiscriminately murdering human beings all over the world in acts of unwarranted revenge targeting innocent Muslims wherever and whenever it suits them to do so.
American robots killing children?
The American Web site Policymic reported thus: ‘Meanwhile, U.S. drones are killing children and terrorizing families abroad. Earlier this year, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that 176 children have been murdered in Pakistan alone. And along with drone attacks, an average of 4.8 children are killed per day in Afghanistan where earlier this year, a U.S. sergeant is reported to have killed 9 children. Will these murders be deemed worthy of our thoughts and prayers, or even our news headlines?
Their lives are worthy too
These deaths abroad are tragic too. These deaths will also affect the loved ones of victims for years to come and their lives are no less-worthy
of thoughts, prayers and government (or civilian) action…. With all men (and children) created equal, we as Americans should care when any child is killed, not just the ones who happen to be born in a certain geographical region called the United States…When we worry about the safety of our children, we forget that it is our drone strikes, our money and our democratically-elected government that cause the same fear in select countries around the world. And yet, Americans are going to spend thousands of hours supporting or protesting various gun laws to “save the children,” here at home. But in reality, Americans could save many more children if they protested our own government’s killing of hundreds of children abroad. But Americans won’t spend their time this way, even if it would save more children’s lives. It seems that Americans should care when any child is murdered, not just when American ones are.’
We, Sri Lankans would like to know the response of Ambassador Sison to these comments made by an American journalist displaying the duplicity of the US Government in protecting human rights in the world. Where is the accountability of your Government in these human rights violations, Madam Sisson?
The truth behind the deceitful American concerns about human rights violations in Sri Lanka is to bully the present regime in to submission so as to make Sri Lanka a power base in Asia subservient to the edicts of the US Government. The Americans are hell bent to either suppress the present regime or in the alternative replace it with a puppet government which will act as a pet poodle of the US. Ambassador Sisson has initiated that mission with a prelude to the opera that the Americans are planning to play in the future in Sri Lanka, in the form of the speech made to the Foreign Correspondents. The Americans were greatly mistaken in Vietnam and they would definitely be very sad to have made a similar or even worse mistake in Sri Lanka by going ‘beyond’ their mission as the Ambassador has warned. What lies ‘beyond’ may be anyone’s guess. Even if the Americans make their killing fields in Sri Lanka as they brought misery to the innocent Vietnamese people by making such killing fields in Vietnam they will have to pay dearly for this mistake if that is what they are planning to execute in Sri Lanka.
US torture techniques
Madam Ambassador are you aware of the human rights violation in the form of atrocious torture committed by US troops in Vietnam, Guantanamo Bay , Abu Graib, Bagram and other prison camps maintained by the US? The US Government under the Bush Administration adopted the American Service-members’ Protection Act (ASPA) in an attempt to protect any US citizen from appearing before the International Court of Criminal Justice (ICC). The ASPA is a United States federal law introduced by US Senator Jesse Helms as an amendment to the National Defence Authorisation Act and passed in August 2002 by Congress. The stated purpose of the amendment was “to protect United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution by an international criminal court to which the United States is not a party.”
The Hague Invasion Act
It authorises the President to use “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court.” This has led to the nickname, ‘The Hague Invasion Act,’ since such freeing of US citizens by force might only be possible through an invasion of The Hague, Netherlands, the seat of several international criminal courts and the seat of the Dutch government. The Act prohibits federal, state and local governments and (including courts and law enforcement agencies) from assisting the Court. For example, it prohibits the extradition of any person from the United States to the Court; it prohibits the transfer of classified national security information and law enforcement information to the Court; and it prohibits agents of the Court from conducting investigations in the United States. The said Act interferes with the application or implementation of the principle of command responsibility when applied to US citizens.
Should President Obama join the list of accused war criminals?
US President Obama is liable to be charged before the ICC for war crimes committed under his command responsibility by the ongoing drone attacks. Madam Ambassador as you ventured to explain what is meant by re-conciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka could you explain whether the US Government would initiate as you stated ‘some form of credible investigation in the interest of the Government concerned, when there are serious allegations of human rights violations’ against the US troops Why is the US Government engaged in employing double standards in protecting human rights in the world. The Bible states, ‘No man should sit upon judgement on another lest he be judged.’ This saying is more relevant when applied to a wrongdoer assuming the role of a judge over others. As that great British Jurist, then Master of the Rolls Lord Alfred Thompson Denning once questioned: ‘Who made thee the ruler and judge over us?’ repeating the saying in Exodus 7.27 –The Bible. As our Defence Secretary very properly queried ‘Who made thee the Governor of Sri Lanka or judge and ruler over us Sri Lankans? We may also query from the United States Ambassador thus: ‘Justice to developing nations by the US, where art thou fled?’
Put your house in order first
In conclusion Madam Ambassador, please put your house in order first before venturing to protect human rights all over the world. It is a fact that United States has immense military power and has caused devastation in Iraq, Libya and some other countries in the Middle East and succeeded in grabbing their petroleum supplies, but did those invasions benefit the people of those countries devastated by the Americans? A day of reckoning will come even to a very powerful nation as shown in history and please do not forget that good old story of David vs. Goliath. Sri Lankans are a dignified courageous and a peace-loving nation whose spirit can never be broken down by threats, torture or a show of force. There is peace and tranquility in our land and the great majority of the Sri Lankans do not desire any foreign interference in the internal affairs in our land.
– Lakshman I.Keerthisinghe LLB, LLM. MPhil