Category Archives: wikileaks

The ISLAND Editor smacks Obama’s Bottom

Editorial in The ISLAND, 17  January 2017, entitled “Obama’s Swansong”… with highlighting bing the Editor Thuppahi’s work.

President Barack Obama has, towards the latter part of his second term, shown a tendency to get increasingly maudlin. Tears welled up in his eyes the other day while making his farewell speech. Last year, he refused to speak at his daughter Malia’s graduation lest he should get too emotional. In 2015, he was seen wiping away tears during a fascinating performance by Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul.

obama-22Pic from another tearful occasion Continue reading

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David Miliband’s Imperious Intervention in Lanka left in Tatters

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph, where the title is different

The manner in which President Mahinda Rajapaksa withstood and totally deflated the imperialistic moves by Miliband and Kouchner, respective Foreign Ministers for Britain and France, in late April 2009 has been the stuff of salacious gossip in pro-Rajapaksa and Sri Lankan patriot circles. Any re-telling of this tale in solid detail on the foundations of direct witness will cast me into the same mould in the minds of those beyond that circle — whether sanctimonious, liberal and/or snooty. No matter: historical recording must trump popular polling and moral posturing. Meeting Lalith Weeratunga[1] enables me to present the story in vivid detail.

In this handout picture released by The Sri Lankan Presidential Office, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (L) looks on as his British counterpart David Miliband (C) shakes hands with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa (R) as they arrive for a meeting at Ambilipitiyasits on April 29, 2009. British foreign minister David Miliband and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner who are in Sri Lanka for a one-day visit have failed to secure an agreement from Sri Lanka to end an offensive against Tamil rebels and allow humanitarian access to civilians trapped by the fighting. AFP PHOTO/HO/Sri Lankan Presidential office RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE GETTY OUT (Photo credit should read HO/AFP/Getty Images)

In this handout picture released by The Sri Lankan Presidential Office, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (L) looks on as his British counterpart David Miliband (C) shakes hands with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa (R) as they arrive for a meeting at Ambilipitiya  Photo credit should read HO/AFP/Getty Images

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An Innovative Global Map

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Keeping Abreast of All Countries

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Acts of Rendition: In Uncle Sam’s Pocket

Shamindra Ferdinando, in The Island, 16 December 2015, with the title “Sri Lanka’s role in CIA’s ‘extraordinary rendition” … http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=137050

In a statement issued on Dec. 10 to commemorate the Human Rights Day, Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, proudly declared: “Sri Lanka’s commemorations will not only be symbolic – it will also be substantive. So, I am very pleased to announce that Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, will today, this morning in New York, in fact, will be signing the International Convention on Enforced Disappearances.” In a hard hitting statement, Minister Samaraweera said that during the last decade or so, in Sri Lanka, human rights, were always spoken as an alien concept. The universal values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, were made out to be alien concepts or western values, as the previous government called it, and they used to say it’s western values and infringing on our country’s sovereignty. Although, the previous Rajapaksa administration cannot absolve itself of some of its actions, since the end of the war, in May, 2009, it took tangible measures to eradicate terrorism. Sri Lanka resorted to desperate measures. The world’s solitary superpower, and its allies, did the same at the expense of accountability in the wake of the al-Qaeda challenge.

RENDITION programme map Map of states participating in USA’s “terrorists” rendition programme U SAM 11 Pic from www.clipartbest.com  Continue reading

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A Drama in Four Acts: Dishonest Reportage by Amnesty International and Aussie Journalists remains Unmasked

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph, https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/dishonest-reportage-by-ai-aussie-journalists-remains-unmasked-a-drama-in-two-acts/, 2 September 2015, where it is presented in Two Acts

    A. Thoughts on My Abject Failure

On the 31st March 2011 a panel of lawyers appointed by Ban Ki-Moon submitted a review of the Sri Lankan War IV without ever visiting the island. The report was composed in the manner of a prosecuting team rather than a judicial assessment. It was as slipshod in its methodology as flawed in several of its conclusions. Nevertheless, it is widely cited in a number of quarters, quarters hostile to the admittedly distasteful Rajapaksa Regime and happy to have any cane to beat up their activities.

A headmaster wielding a cane must have judiciousness on his side. Moral crusaders such as, say, Amnesty International must adhere to ethics in presentation and quotation. But, as it happens, the last four years have seen blatant dishonesty in quotation as well as interpretation.

Though aware that the LTTE personnel were often fighting without wearing uniforms and that it was well-nigh impossible to differentiate between “civilians” and “soldiers” in some situations, the UNPoE proceeded to this conclusion in one of its key segments: “a number of credible sources have estimated that there could have been as many as 40,000 civilian deaths” (para 137 on page 41).

What has transpired since? Take one early instance: Amnesty International substituted “credible” allegations with “credible evidence” when quoting this report. ‘A report submitted to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on 12 April 2011 by the Panel of Experts he appointed to advise him on accountability issues in Sri Lanka “found credible evidence, which if proven, indicate that a wide range of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law was committed by both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, some of which would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity” (from one of their reports as quoted by Harshula in Groundviews in 2011).

H 110b 09_05_09__Mulli-vaaykkaal_14  Fig. 1a  – from TamilNet, 9th May 2009 … is typical of the crowded scenes displaying the difficulties faced by the Tamil peoples trapped in the Vanni Pocket and thereafter within the Last Redoubt on the north eastern shoreline.

12_05_09_hosp_attack_04 85b--19_02_09_01  Figs. 2 & 3 from TamilNetInjured and ill at makeshift clinic or hospital. For other snapshots of death & grief, see Roberts, Tamil Person & State. Pictorial, 2014: Figs. 84-88. In line with LTTE policy as outlined by Pulidevan (see quotation in the text below) the Western media circuit and Western observers in Colombo were fed  exaggerated and/or concocted reports of shellfire hits on hospitals and widespread casualties. There can be no doubt that civilian casualties occurred as a result of SL Army shelling and the sporadic aerial strikes. The issue is: HOW o work out the numbers and to decide on proportionality in terms of the context set up by the LTTE’s refusal to let the people (those who wished to) leave. On this issue, see IDAG 2013 and Noble 2013. Note that in a recent communication PK Balachandran (Indian Express) said this in passing: “Towards the end of the war, when civilians were massed into a very small place, no shelling was resorted to but ground operations were going on day and night mopping up the remnants of the LTTE.”

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Ambassador Blake in Never-Never-Land: Misreading LTTE Capacity in Early 2009

Ambassador Blake in Never-Never-Land: Misreading LTTE Capacity in Early 2009

Michael Roberts ..…The initial version of this article was actually drafted in late 2014, but I let it lie because I wished to pursue my reading of the ambassadorial despatches further. It is now the first of two essays covering the US diplomatic operations in Sri Lanka in the first five months of 2009 – the second entitled “Off the Planet” being in line with the thrust of the title deployed here (and remaining as yet in draft form). Note that this essay was completed before I was aware of The Campbell Conversations of 28th January 2011 where Blake elaborated on the Sri Lankan situation. His position then has to be compared to the pressures exerted on the Sri Lankan government in 2009 with UN and EU support and the assessments of the fast-moving war scenario presented to his superiors over the course of 2008/09. Wikileaks have done all of us a favour in revealing these backroom diplomatic activities in the raw.

The Wikileaks disclosures have revealed to the world the American mind-set towards the heightened conflict in Sri Lanka in the last phase of Eelam War IV. Yet neither the functionaries in the service of the Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) nor the intelligentsia commenting on that situation have drawn on this material. The stack of data is enormous: for instance, some 90 despatches in the period January to May 2009. Working alone amidst other tasks my studies of this material are incomplete; but are adequate for preliminary assessments. BLAKE and MR BLAKE www.tbcuk.net

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Sri Lankan Elections: Gonsalkorale in One Corner vs Amanda Hodge in Other Corner

I. Amanda Hodge: Dirt files open on eve of Sri Lanka election,” in The Australian, 14 August 2015

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe yesterday ­pre­dicted a “comfortable majority” for his United National Front in Monday’s crucial parliamentary elections. The confident call came as his once all-powerful rival Mahinda Rajapaksa faced allegations he paid millions of dollars to Tamil Tiger commanders to enforce a boycott of the 2005 polls.

RANIL - Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo on August 13, 2015 --  AFP Ranil Wickremasinghe

Just seven months after Mr Rajapaksa’s shock defeat in January presidential elections by his former health minister Maithripala Sirisena, he is contesting the parliamentary polls with an eye on the prime ministership. With his legacy now marred by serious corruption allegations, the former president has been forced to campaign on his credentials as the leader who ended the three-decade long civil war. Continue reading

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