SHAME ON YOU ANNA NEISTAT & BOB DIETZ FOR BOMBARDING US FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE HEARING ON SRI LANKA WITH LIES
Shripal Nishshanka Fernando
26th February 2009
Few minutes ago, the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations adjourned hearings on ‘Recent Development in Sri Lanka’ and three persons comprising two liars who unfairly criticize Sri Lanka were called as witnesses at the hearing.
The three persons called as witness were the former U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Jeffrey Lunstead, Dr. Anna Neistat of human Rights Watch (HRW) and Bob Dietz of Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
The hearing was presided by the Democratic Senator from Pennsylvania, Robert P. Casey, Jr. and chaired by John Kerry of Massachusetts.
As there was no representative from the Sri Lankan government or the international aid organizations currently assisting the trapped civilians, the one sided hearing was seen as a competition for the best liar.
Anna Neistat, Senior researcher of HRW and Bob Dietz, Asia Program Coordinator of CPJ accused Sri Lankan government of killing Tamil civilians and journalists in the guise of fighting terrorism. Ms. Neistat said that the Sri Lankan forces are shelling hospitals and so-called safe zones and slaughtering the civilians by using rockets and bombs. She informed the committee that the SLG forces are killing these civilians by hundreds everyday.
Bob Dietz giving details of the assassination of Lasantha Wickramathunga said that Wickramathunga’s assassination had taken place closer to a Sri Lankan forces camp and the assassins had gone towards the camp after the assassination. He said that there exists credible information that the ‘Sirasa’ attack was also committed by the Sri Lankan government and most of the journalists in Sri Lanka are living with fear for their lives. He also said that Lasantha Wickramathunga had predicted his own death in one of his articles. He requested that the US should take necessary actions to provide security and necessary welfare to the journalists who leave Sri Lanka and said that steps should be taken for them to return back to Sri Lanka and live there without any fear.
These witnesses were competing with each other with full of baseless lies to discredit the Sri Lankan government and requested the committee to recommend US not to provide any kind of aid to Sri Lanka as the government is massacring Tamil civilians. Anna Neistat said that calling for a special UN Security Council meeting to discuss the situation in Sri Lanka will not be fruitful, because of the possible objections from China and Russia.
When asked by the president of the committee what they would predict as a possible outcome of the present situation, Anna Neistat said that all the present refugees will be move to confined camps later on and they will never be released by the forces but systematically kill them. She said that Sri Lankan forces had been abducting Tamil civilians for a long time and they had been disappeared without any track.
The question is how much Anna Neistat and Bob Dietz were paid by the terrorists and the Tamil Diaspora to present this heavy bunch of lies to accuse Sri Lankan government. These kinds of dramas may take place internationally in the near future by the organizations supporting the terrorists and Sri Lankan government should implement effective counter measures to overcome these threats.
The Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall handle the situation occurred today in the US Foreign Relations Committee with utmost urgency and summon the Sri Lankan diplomats to brief how to prepare for future situations, specially as most of the current Sri Lankan diplomats in foreign missions seem to be good for nothing.
21st February 2009
To: Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch
Once again the Human Rights Watch has allowed themselves to be taken for a ride by the LTTE Terrorists by falsely claiming that the Sri Lankan armed forces have attacked civilians. In fact the armed forces have protected and cared for the civilians and there is plenty of evidence to prove that.
Please visit these Web sites for the truth: Google “LTTE Terrorists human shield”. Tigers killing civilians fleeing Sri Lanka war zone: UN http://www.priu.gov.lk/news_update/Current_Affairs/ca200902/UN_Sri_Lanka.pdf
Civilians seek protection with security forces in Mullaittivu http://www.sinhala.net/LocalNews/SinhalaNet_Full_News.asp?ID=4594#NewsViewBM
Rescuing Tamils from human shield http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=20090208_02
Civilians flee from LTTE attacks to seek protection with security forces http://www.sinhala.net/LocalNews/SinhalaNet_Full_News.asp?ID=4612#NewsViewBM
Sri Lanka’s humanitarian campaign to save civilians http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=20090218_10
What you see at the HRW site are images provided by Tamil Tiger Terrorists holding civilians hostage. In those images staged for dramatic effect, there is absolutely no evidence of any wrongdoing by government forces. In fact the armed forces have rescued many civilians from the clutches of the terrorists and cared for them as indicated by the above links. The Sri Lankan government and the international community have asked the LTTE Terrorists to release these hostages to safer areas. But the Tamil Tiger Terrorists need to use the civilians as a human shield to slow the liberation of terror-held areas. In addition to that, several countries have informed the LTTE Terrorists to lay down their arms to stop the bloodshed. Not a word from HRW to that effect. Then Tamil Tiger Terrorists holding these innocents against their will got the HRW involved in their criminal plan to cause outrage. That is shameful, unethical and fraudulent.
On Feb 10 2009, the Tamil Tiger Terrorists killed 19 civilians fleeing from terror-controlled areas. We expected the international community to respond with outrage. But there was no response from HRW or other concerned western nations. Now with the prodding of the LTTE, HRW is erroneously accusing the Sri Lankan government that has cared so much for these civilians. How can we ever trust these so-called human rights organizations when they are influenced by the most vicious terrorists who have violated human rights of millions for the past 30 years?
The Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch should consider this: during their campaign of murder, over 10,000 Sinhalese were killed by the Tamil Tiger Terrorists. Tamils live and work in peace in all parts of Sri Lanka. They own over half of the businesses, run political parties and publish newspapers freely in Sri Lanka. On the other hand, only a Tamil can live in the North or North-East of the island. All other ethnic groups live in fear of death or were systematically murdered by LTTE. This is genocide caused by the Tamil Tiger Terrorists. Where was HRW during this time? Where is the outrage by the international community? Where is equality & integrity? Why would we ever trust these so-called human rights organizations to represent the civilians mentioned above?
I am extremely disappointed by this misguided attempt by the HRW. Now the Amnesty International is silent since we exposed their agenda to be also run by the same LTTE Terrorists who operate a base in London, UK. I think it is time we asked our lawmakers to investigate these illegal activities of HRW and their connections to Tamil Tiger Terrorists who are on the US State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. There is nothing wrong with working for the oppressed. But no human rights group should be driven covertly by terrorists to further their terror agenda as shown above. When was the last time HRW and AI called on the LTTE Terrorists to lay down arms, stop their terror and did anything significant to put these brutal human rights violators out of business? Answer: never!
Prof Rajiva Wijesinha
Secretariat for Coordinating the
19th February 2009
Yet another splendid example of the misuse of the English language emerged last week with an article in the Times (in the UK) headlined ‘Barbed wire villages raise fears of refugee concentration camps’. The first line of the article was in the passive voice – ‘Sri Lanka was accused yesterday of planning concentration camps to hold 200,000 ethnic Tamil refugees from its northeastern conflict zone for up to three years — and seeking funding for the project from Britain.’
A careful reader of the article would have noticed that only two persons made that particular accusation, both of them anxious to secure votes of those who support the LTTE. The more prominent was Robert Evans who, when in Sri Lanka last year, sabotaged a visit of European Members of Parliament to the Eastern Province, and then submitted a report claiming that the visit was aborted by the Sri Lankan government. The EU Parliament, after an inquiry, accepted that the Sri Lankan government was not to blame.
Meanwhile Evans announced to a pro-LTTE audience in London that he had not gone to the East because he did not want to shake the hand of the Eastern Province Chief Minister. The Chief Minister is a Tamil politician who, having been a child recruit of the LTTE, left them and took to democratic ways. Evans knows that the LTTE refused the opportunity to have elections even at their point of greatest influence during the Ceasefire period. But once you have taken hold of the tail of a Tiger, you cannot afford to let go.
Evans claimed about the places where those fleeting from the Tigers were to be housed that “These are not welfare camps, they are prisoner-of-war cum concentration camps.” The best comment on that emotional outburst was provided by a subsequent Times editorial that began, ‘It was one of the 20th century’s most bestial images, and one that was invented by the British. The concentration camps set up by Lord Kitchener to intern Boer women and children were officially intended to shelter civilians while the British Forces conducted a scorched-earth policy to deprive Boer combatants of food and shelter. In fact, they were places of brutality, hardship and death. More than 26,000 people died in some 50 makeshift camps across South Africa.’
British bestiality is not something we in South Asia should hold against them, because it is relatively rare, and on the whole it can be recognized for what it is. Hypocrisy is something else, since its ill effects can be pervasive. Thus it is unfortunate that even the Times cannot understand that the whole point about ‘concentration’ camps was that they were places of internment, where whole groups of people were placed forcibly, having been taken away from their usual homes. The British started it in South Africa, the Germans did it to the Jews and, as the Times put it, ‘copied the brutal regime of starvation and death’. By then the British were more civilized, as they rounded up Germans in Britain, as were the Americans with the Japanese, and they did not starve and kill.
In the Sri Lankan case, what happened was that the Tamils of the Wanni were forced to leave their homes when the LTTE was defeated, and they were dragooned into moving into ever smaller areas. Nobody cared except the Sri Lankan government, which appealed to the LTTE to let our people go. The appeal fell on deaf ears, as did the appeal to the international community at large to ask the LTTE to allow freedom of movement for these Sri Lankan citizens.
It is only in the last month or so that even the United Nations has begun to say clearly that the LTTE must release these suffering people. It would be nice for the international community to think that finally their pronouncements have had an effect, but it may also have been that the situation had become intolerable, with the LTTE taking to firing indiscriminately and killing civilians even in the safe areas the government had designated. At first they had hoped that the world at large would assume this was the Sri Lankan army, but with the UN saying clearly ‘we believe that firing this morning most likely was from an LTTE position’, most people (except Robert Evans and his ilk) understood what was really happening.
So firstly it should be noted that these civilians have made their way of their own volition to refuge in areas controlled by the Sri Lankan government. Secondly, far from engaging in the British or German practice of starvation and death, the Sri Lankan government is feeding and sheltering these people, providing health facilities (recognized as being amongst the best in the world in terms of the provision of universal health care), and ensuring education. These last it provides free of charge to all its citizens, so there is nothing to be amazed at, except perhaps to those now used to the recent erosion of basic services in Britain. But it should also be noted that we will be supplying vocational training to older people, and have begun classes already. Perhaps the British will now understand why many of the Boers they forcibly transported to Sri Lanka chose to stay on.
To get back to the misuse of English, in a manner that George Orwell would have found characteristic of what he termed ‘doublespeak’, Jeremy Page who wrote the Times article puts the government term ‘welfare villages’ in inverted commas, while omitting these for terms he privileges, such as ‘concentration camps’ and ‘barbed wire villages’. The latter term springs it seems from a long conversation Page had with me, in which he asked repeatedly how the perimeter of the camps would be protected.
Interestingly enough, I had an Indian correspondent in the room while I took the telephone call, and the journalist, who had made a prior appointment, agreed to listen in on my answers to the Britisher, since both were interested in the same matter. The Indian article shows the difference between what might be termed disinterested journalism, and the interpretations of a man with a cause.
The Indian article, which appeared in the Deccan Herald on the same day as the Times piece, quoted me as saying, “There will be no steel walls and no Alsatian dogs, so don’t worry. But since safety of the residents is paramount, there will be proper screening of the people before admittance and adequate guarding while at the village, without compromising on their dignity.” Unfortunately, a man from a cold climate does not realize that, in the sub-continent, barbed wire is the most common material to establish secure boundaries, to permit ventilation as well as views. Of course barbed wire would be ghastly if it were the only protection available in Europe, or even in South Africa, which is doubtless why the British and Germans used it against people they saw as alien. But where security is necessary, the type of material people are used to in their own environment is much better than the high walls and mastiffs beloved of the more bestial Anglo-Saxons.
As to whether security is necessary or not, Page trots out the terrible twins, Yolanda Foster and Charu Hogg, who have begun now to interchange staff as well as opinions. The general impression is that they represent Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch respectively, but it is now clear, the one having taken Sam Zarifi from the other, that these institutions are a bit like the voices in the ‘Waste Land’, which all ended up being the same voice.
Both of them condemn what is described as ‘arbitrary’ detention and clearly do not believe that the exceptional circumstances exist under which international norms accept detention for a reason. They have obviously not heard of the suicide bombing that the Tigers have used against those trying to cross over, they are not aware that several of those who were housed in the camps admitted after some time that they had been trained by the LTTE, they have never heard of sleeping cadres such as have recently engaged in violence in the East – in short, they think that risks are worth running since, if lots of people die, that is a small price to pay provided the standards of the terrible twins are upheld.
Yolanda, who declared recently that suicide bombing was wrong because it violated international legal provisions and exposed civilians to danger (not because it actually killed people), went further and said, in the cadences she has now perfected, that ‘The Government wants international assistance but not international standards.’
Such effortless rhetoric deserves applause, even if it detracts from that fact that what the government wants is security and prosperity for these our people. It will do its best to satisfy the concerns of those who wish to help us, but it will not compromise on security so as to obtain help. If people wish to be dogmatic, or to impose conditions that go against the interests of the country, nothing can be done. But obviously many of those concerned about these our people who have suffered for so long will appreciate the situation and assist, and indeed many have begun to do so already.
The Times however seeks to convey the impression that Sri Lanka is seeking funding for the project from Britain. Page claims, falsely, that I said the government circulated the proposal ‘to foreign embassies and aid agencies to raise funding.’ I said nothing of the sort. The proposal had been given to various NGOs because they wanted to know what was happening, and had expressed interest in assisting. It was distributed at a meeting which they attended doubtless because they wanted to assist. United Nations Agencies asked later for copies of the plan, and seemed disappointed that they had not received it till they asked, which would scarcely have happened had the purpose of the plan been to raise funds.
After all the UN provides much more aid than international agencies, many of whom are simply implementing agencies for UN funds, a practice that has developed after the tsunami – so that it can be claimed twice over that Sri Lanka has benefited from aid. Indeed, the so-called donor community has now brought munificence to a fine art, with donors giving to the UN which then sub-contracts aid agencies, so that three separate sets of fairy godmothers can claim, for the same initial donation, that without them Sri Lanka would sink.
Page claims that I said that access for these NGOs to the camps would be limited because ‘international aid agencies are prejudiced towards the Tigers’. That again is nonsense. I said that the government would allow such agencies access to the camps if they were really prepared to assist, in accordance with the government plan, with proper transparency and accountability. The government could not allow funds intended for our citizens to be spent on projects about which we knew nothing; though many agencies have done a lot, in some cases there seem to be no visible outcomes of the work they are supposed to have done.
The NGOs have registered our concerns, and have now signed the letter of intent that was drawn up. Many of them have now begun to work in the Centres, and we are grateful to them, but we are even more grateful to the national NGOs who began to work in these Centres when there were far fewer escapees than at present – and also to UNHCR which began some months back to assist with Confidence Building and Stabilization Measures, even while the Hoggs and Fosters of this world were bleating that the Centres did not measure up to what they claimed were international standards.
Page also seems to suggest that the figure I mentioned in connection with the British was part of our attempt to raise funds. That again is sleight of hand. He kept asking whether the British had offered aid, and if so how much, and I said that there had been talk of an offer, in connection with a proposed visit by a junior British Minister. I had been asked by my Minister to meet him, since the President was not available, nor were the two Ministers with whom he had sought appointments, scarcely surprisingly since the British government had announced his visit with a day’s notice.
I was due to dine that evening with the head of UNHCR, but said that if I had to I would meet him earlier, and it was in that connection that I was told that there was talk of a couple of million pounds. Whether that was in any way connected with the request for meetings with Ministers I have no idea, but certainly it did not seem a reason for the Minister to change his schedule.
The Times claimed that Britain’s Department for International Development, to which the junior Minister is attached, denied ‘that’, which was another absurdity since, whether they liked it or not, there was talk of such an offer. The talk may have been erroneous, but I don’t think my Minister made it up in an attempt to persuade me to give up my time to see the young man, since he knows that I always find it fun meeting Britishers.
This meeting would have been even more pleasant, given the prospect of dinner with the UN to follow, but sadly the young man failed to turn up. About the time we should have met, his Ministry told the Times that ‘Prolonging the displacement of this vulnerable group of people is not in anyone’s interests. There is no UK government money going into the camps.’ Why, his High Commission evidently having got the plan, the poor junior Minister for what amounts to Aid Assistance was initially being packed into a plane to come to Sri Lanka remains a mystery. It could not have been to discuss matters not connected with his portfolio since, around that very time, Britain had decided to appoint a Special Representative for Sri Lanka, who was doubtless supposed to discuss everything else.
But the British move in mysterious ways, and we have learned over a couple of centuries that it is not ours to wonder why. We continue to love them dearly, knowing that very few are really bestial, and that their bark is much worse than their bite. And even if the London Times is no longer what it used to be, and the intellectual rigour of an Orwell or even a Levin sorely missed, any colonial must be grateful for so much space in its columns. With a Sri Lankan MP and a local worker for UNHCR also permitted a couple of sentences each in an article on Sri Lanka, alongside one Indian, four Britishers and the British Department for International Development, our cup truly runneth over.
“Concentration Camps” cry the Subversive Terrorist “Tabloids” Shifting gears from last week’s “Genocide”
by Hela Puwath
17th February 2009
Now that the escaping civilians are coming out with true stories about terrorist atrocities of how they were held against their will, forced labor, forced conscription, shooting of catholic nuns, and shooting of helpless women and children trying to escape the misery. That section of terrorist supporting international (and some local) media are already shifting gears from last week’s “Genocide”, to “Concentration Camps”.
Is this Concentration Camps?
In order to save this Genocidal Terrorist Organization from extinction, this terrorist promoting lobby of “Tabloids” and the pseudo-peace-activist and their subversive-partners are carrying on an unrelenting campaign to tarnish the image of the Sinhela people. The Tamil Terrorist Diaspora with the help of their colonial masters are now hell-bent on tarnishing the image of the Sinhela people crying “Genocide”, Concentration Camps”.
These “Tabloids” are forgetting that “Genocides” was committed by their British colonial masters (and Crusading Spanish/Portuguese Empires) against the Sinhela people, and other peoples around the world, during their “Land-Grab”.
These “Tabloids” are forgetting that the Jewish genocide took place in Europe, in Germany, by the Germans, — not in Asia, NOT in SRI LANKA, not by the Sinhela people.
These “Tabloids” are forgetting the “Genocide” that’s going on in Tamil Nadu (Tamil Homeland) against the Dalit caste, and the tribal people in Tamil Nadu/Homeland. They are forgetting the “dowry-murders” in Tamil Nadu/Homeland. Where are the bleeding-heart Human-Rights Watch, and Amnesty International?
Instead, these “Tabloids” and the bleeding hearts get extra mileage out of this Concocted-Sensational-Terrorist-Propaganda-Story.
They are feeding terrorism!
It is very clear that the “Tabloids” distort and pervert the truth about Sri Lanka, for it benefits the World Tamil Terrorist Diaspora – all that, to save the terrorists. Their goal, at this stage of the game, is to whip up “international hysteria” crying “Genocide!” and “Concentration Camps!”. The Tamil Terrorist Propaganda Machine is desperate, and is inciting colonial intervention (invasion).
The Diaspora Tamils and Tamil Nadu Homeland have tried every trick in their book to get India to intervene (invade), again. But India is wiser now, they see through Tamil Naud’s “cry-wolf!”; for they know “whose-next!”. So now they try Gordon Brown – their Colonial Master.
[Now Gordon Brown is trying to send Desmond Browne - don’t they realize that we have enough “browns” already – a 21 million? One Les Brown won’t matter!! – did we get that right?]
Sri Lanka, after 60 years of so-called “Independence” from the European-land-grabbers, have endured 30 years of terrorism. A terrorism fed by the same European Masters in Europe.
Last week the “Tabloid” news was about the “genocide” – the hospital bombing by the army, and the shooting of escaping civilians.
Ant this week, in spite of all the pictures of military personnel helping the escaping civilians, and the stories from the civilians of how they were shot by the LTTE, and even the statement from a Catholic nun saying that she was shot by the LTTE, the “yellow” journalists have turned to:
SL government seeking funds from the British government to set up these “concentration camps”.
The fact is, Sri Lanka didn’t set up “concentration camps” in the East after clearing out the terrorists there. Look at how many civilians were resettled within a short few months; look at how an election was held within a few months; look at the development of roads, bridges, and waterways that are going on.
The North however is different, and the task will be more challenging, with more committed LTTE supportersamong the mostly innocent civilians.
But why would the government be planning ‘CONCENTRATION CAMPS” for 250,000 people? Can the government afford to keep 250,000 people in camps? Look at the East, the population there are already contributing to the national economy, which means less burden on the central government. Similarly, the North will contribute to the national economy and be less of a burden on the government.
Are these terror supporters still saying the Sri Lanka government is stupid?
We must find out more about this “Terror Support Propaganda Network” and their Training Programs]