Sri Lanka, Libya, and the unfathomable hypocrisy of the U.S.
In a decades-long campaign of repression and state terrorism, the Sri Lankan Army has been able to kill and brutalise Tamil civilians and fighters with absolute impunity. During the final months of the 25-year civil war, the Sri Lankan government mounted a ‘final purge’ on Tamil territory while overshadowed by Barack Obama’s election campaign.
With unmitigated brutality, Sri Lankan forces intentionally shelled civilians whom they had penned in to ‘no-fire zones’. Red Cross workers submitted GPS coordinates of makeshift hospitals to the Sri Lankan government, only for these hospitals to be directly shelled hours later. Over 40,000 were killed. The Channel 4 documentary Sir Lanka’s Killing Fields documents the wealth of evidence attesting to these crimes. Mobile phone footage shows Sri Lankan soldiers executing fighters they had captured. Other videos show brutalised corpses and bodies of female Tamil fighters, many of whom had been raped before being killed.
UN observers left Sri Lanka during this bloody onslaught. The ‘international community’ knew this was happening and did nothing. The ICC kept silent, knowing that Sri Lanka had little more to offer the global hegemons whom it serves.
Conversely, the war on Libya is being prosecuted entirely on the basis of lies. The world’s leaders, who had been shamelessly silent about Sri Lanka chose to speak out about imaginary massacres. We were told that the civilians of Benghazi were facing annihilation. Muammar Gaddafi faces charges from the ICC that are utterly contrived, based on pure hearsay, and propaganda. From the ground up, Operation Unified Protector is based on nothing but the fantasy of American and NATO officials, and on the systemic manipulation of media reportage on a country descending into Western-backed destabilisation and civil war.
Read yesterday’s State Department press briefing on Sri Lanka, and substitute “Sri Lanka” for “Libya”. The ignoble hypocrisy of America and NATO demonstrates the utter coldness and apathy with which they view the suffering and the oppressed. Humanitarian intervention is a brand used by terrorists who seek to sell their murderous intentions in noble garb.
QUESTION: Madam, as far as Tamils of Sri Lanka are concerned, inside Sri Lanka or outside, what they’ve been hearing from the United States, they’re not happy as for atrocities were committed against their people and millions are still left behind without any basics. And what they’re blaming that after the war they are – they were killed by – with the – by the order of this current president, and they are seeking now justice and human rights from the United States and the United Nations. What they’re saying is why there’s this double standard when Sri Lankan Tamils are concerned, when other nations that – why this case is not going in Hague to be – to the International Criminal Justice Court against the Sri Lankan president.
MS. NULAND: Goyal, I think we spoke to the issue of justice and accountability in Sri Lanka as recently as Tuesday. The United States view hasn’t changed. We would like the Sri Lankan Government to take its responsibility and establish the kind of accountable system that its people can have confidence it. But if that does not happen and does not happen expeditiously, then we reserve the right to discuss international mechanisms.
QUESTION: Just to follow, the reason I ask, because they are watching whatever we do here, State Department, as far as Tamil issues are concerned. After your response, that’s why they said they are not happy, and Sri Lankan president and Government has repeatedly said that they will not investigate their president or whatever, if the crimes were committed or not. Now the Tamils are in your hands.
MS. NULAND: Again, this is a Sri Lankan Government responsibility that we want to see them take on for the good of their own nation.
QUESTION: So have you given – is there any timeline of – how much time do you expect?
MS. NULAND: I’m not going to set artificial timelines from this podium, but we understand the frustration and the concern of Sri Lankan people.
QUESTION: Change of subject?
MS. NULAND: Change of subject, sir?
QUESTION: Yes. Sir?
MS. NULAND: Go ahead.