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Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
-
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > International Frame & the Tamil Eelam  Struggle for Freedom > United States & the Struggle for Tamil Eelam  > Politics not my cup of tea says US Ambassador Blake - Really?

United States &
Tamil EELAM Freedom Struggle

Politics not my cup of tea says US Ambassador Blake - Really?

Sri Lanka State Controlled Sunday Observer, 25 April 2008

Comment by tamilnation.org

"The main point for Tamils to bear in mind is this: the world’s powerful states have no more commitment to sovereignty than to human rights. Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity is no more important to them than Tamils’ freedom. It’s just more useful at this point. And as the British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston put, ‘we have no permanent friends and we have no permanent enemies. We have permanent interests’. It is no different for any other state in today’s world..." Blunted Tool - Tamil Guardian Editorial , 24 May 2008

"...the denial by international actors of their conflicting strategic interests in Sri Lanka draws a veil over the real issues that any meaningful conflict resolution process in the island will need to address. Whilst the goal of securing peace through justice is loudly proclaimed by the international actors, real politick leads them to deny the justice of the Tamil Eelam struggle for freedom from alien Sinhala rule. The harsh reality is that on the one hand international actors are concerned to use the opportunity of the conflict in the island to advance each of their own strategic interests - and on the other hand, Sri Lanka seeks to use the political space created by the geo strategic triangle of US-India-China in the Indian Ocean region, to buy the support of all three  for the continued rule of the people of Tamil Eelam by a permanent Sinhala majority within the confines of  one state. The record shows that Sinhala Sri Lanka seeks to engage in a 'balance of power' exercise of its own by handing over parts of the island (and the surrounding seas) to India, US and China... It will not be a matter for surprise if the US has found Sri Lanka's attempt to engage in a 'balance of power' exercise of its own somewhat irritating - and has cautioned Sri Lanka privately that Sri Lanka was not a super power and should not try to behave like one. [added note: And many may regard that the voting off of Sri Lanka from the Human Rights Council in May 2008 (against the opposition of China and India) was a practical manifestation of that irritation and was directed to move Sri Lanka closer to the US orbit]"  Nadesan Satyendra in International Dimensions of the Conflict in Sri Lanka, 2 October 2007

[see also A Response by Velupillai Thangavelu from Canada]


The United States reiterated its willingness to support President Mahinda Rajapaksa to achieve the desired task of the Commission of Inquiry appointed by the President to probe into the killings of 17 aid workers and other human rights violations. In an interview with the Sunday Observer US Ambassador Robert Blake said the US has no intention in interfering with the Commission and the US strongly believed in the independence of the Commission. Blake along with another diplomat was accused of holding a meeting with the commissioners said that the agenda of the meeting was only to discuss the ‘logistic matters’.

Excerpts:

Q: Are you satisfied with the support that the US had offered so far to Sri Lanka and what are the strategic areas where the US and Sri Lanka should work closely?

A: Yes. The US and Sri Lanka are close friends for more than 50 years now.

Comment by tamilnation.org  "Close friends for more than 50 years". What are friends for...

"Sri Lanka is an open, working, multiparty democracy. Citizens elect their president, members of parliament, and local government officials by universal adult suffrage. All laws including acts extending the state of emergency, must be approved by the Parliament... The Constitution guarantees the independence of the judiciary, and lawyers and judges are held in high esteem." (U.S. State Department's Annual Human Rights Report to Congress released February 1985)

"....The democracy of Sri Lanka has been described in the following terms, terms which are a fair and accurate description: 'The reluctance to hold general elections, the muzzling of the opposition press, the continued reliance on extraordinary powers unknown to a free democracy, arbitrary detention without access to lawyers or relations, torture of detainees on a systematic basis, the intimidation of the judiciary by the executive, the disenfranchisement of the opposition, an executive President who holds undated letters of resignation from members of the legislature, an elected President who publicly declares his lack of care for the lives or opinion of a section of his electorate, and the continued subjugation of the Tamil people by a permanent Sinhala majority, within the confines of an unitary constitutional frame, constitute the reality of 'democracy', Sri Lankan style.'" - Senator A.L.Missen, Chairman, Australian Parliamentary Group of Amnesty International, Australian Senate Hansard, 13 March 1986

The US is a strong supporter of Sri Lanka’s fight against terrorism. We strongly believe that Sri Lanka like all other countries has an obligation to defend its people against LTTE terrorism.

Comment by tamilnation.org

"The most problematic issue relating to terrorism and armed conflict is distinguishing terrorists from lawful combatants" - Terrorism and Human Rights -  Final Report of UN Special Rapporteur, Kalliopi K. Koufa, 25 June 2004

"Throwing a bomb is bad,
Dropping a bomb is good;
Terror, no need to add,
Depends on who's wearing the hood."
R.Woddis 'Ethics for Everyman'
quoted by Igor Primoratz in State Terrorism & Counter Terrorism

The US has provided military, law enforcement and other kinds of support to help the government to defend itself while believing that a purely a military solution would not be the correct solution for this conflict.

Comment by tamilnation.org The power that flows through the barrel of the gun...


U.S. Military Assistance to Sri Lanka Continues
TamilNet, Thursday, 8 November 2007

The US believes that the answer to the conflict lies with a power sharing concept which can respond to the aspirations of Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims.

Comment by tamilnation.org Power sharing concept?

"...Whereas, the Tamil nation of Eelam at the general election of may 1977 gave a clear mandate for the restoration and reconstitution of the separate sovereign state of Tamil Eelam by winning 18 out of 19 Tamil seats in Tamil Eelam, and Whereas, the Tamil people were again not a party to the constitution of 1978 which replaced its predecessor of 1972, and Whereas, the Tamil nation of Eelam opposed the two constitutions as illegal impositions on them and their territory and asserted their right of self determination and sovereignty by non violent agitations, and Whereas, the Sinhala government of Sri Lanka has occupied the territory of Tamil Eelam with its armed forces and security services and are denying the right of self-determination and sovereignty of the Tamil nation by the use of force on Tamil people, and Whereas, the Tamil United Liberation Front which received the mandate of the Tamil  people at the may 1977 general election for the separate  sovereign Tamil state is continuing the struggle for freedom by non-violent ways preached and practised by mahatma gandhi  and by the late leader of Tamil nation, S.J.V. Chelvanayagam, Therefore

Resolved, that the Massachusetts  House of Representatives hereby urges the President and the Congress of the United States to support the struggle for freedom by the Tamil nation for the restoration and reconstitution  the separate sovereign state of Tamil Eelam and to recognize publicly the right of self determination by the Tamil people of Tamil Eelam...  Resolution of US Massachusetts House of Representatives Calling for the Restoration of the Separate Sovereign State of Tamil Eelam, 18 June 1981

We also believe that in this very important stage of the conflict, it is very important for the government to address the human rights issues as well. The US also has concerns about Tamils who suffer disproportionately due to human rights violations. It is important to give them a sense of feeling that they could live with respect and dignity here. So improving the human rights performances is also an important aspect of our dialogue with the government.

Q: The US supports developing countries. Sri Lanka has been battered and bruised by LTTE terrorism and how best the US could support in curbing terrorism?

Comment by tamilnation.org Supporting 'developing countries'? - Our Friendly Dictators "Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch."  US President Franklin D. Roosevelt


Sani Abacha
Nigeria

Fulgencio Batista
 Cuba

P W Botha
South Africa

"Papa Doc" Duvalier Haiti

King Hassan II
 Morocco

Ferdinand Marcos
 Philippines

Mobuto Sese Seko Zaire

Hosni Mubarak
  Egypt

Park Chung-hee  South Korea

Augusto Pinochet Chile

Pol Pot
Cambodia

Efrain Rios Montt Guatemala

King Fahd
Saudi Arabia

Shah Pahlevi
Iran

Anastasio Somoza Nicaragua

Saddam Hussein
Iraq

General Suharto
Indonesia

Rafael Trujillos
  Dominican Republic

Somoza with
US President Franklin D Roosevelt

A: I think I have just answered that question. The US is one of the first countries to declare LTTE as a foreign terrorist organisation in 1997.

Comment by tamilnation.org

"...The peoples of the world are engaged in a fundamental series of struggles for a just and peaceful world based on fundamental rights now acknowledged as sacred in a series of widely endorsed international legal conventions. These struggles are opposed in a variety of cruel and brutal ways by the political, economic and ideological forces associated with the main structures of domination present in the world that spread terrorism in a manner unknown in prior international experience... The terrorism of modern state power and its high technology weaponry exceeds qualitatively by many orders of magnitude the political violence relied upon by groups aspiring to undo oppression and achieve liberation.  It is a cruel extension of the terrorist scourge to taunt the struggles against terrorism with the label "terrorism".... We support these struggles and call for the liberation of political language along with the liberation of peoples. Terrorism originates from the statist system of structural violence and domination that denies the right of self-determination to peoples..." Geneva Declaration on the Question of Terrorism in 1987

We have also helped to investigate and prosecute people in the US, who were trying to provide arms to the LTTE. So, the FBI, for an example, has conducted distinct operations that had resulted in the arrest of many people and those investigations are on-going. We also have a central bank, which improves financial investigations to track down the money flow into the LTTE and help to stop those money from flowing in.

Then the most importantly we work with our friends in the military to help them to stop import of arms into this country.

We gave them a maritime surveillance system last year - a radar system - that will give the Sri Lanka Navy a much better picture of LTTE naval activities in their waters and thereby give them the opportunity to detect LTTE shipments of arms. I must say they have enjoyed considerable success last year in sinking many of these ships.

The ban on LTTE is extremely effective in terms of implementing the American law. People understand that we are very strict about forcing our laws which will prosecute anyone who is believed to be illegally assisting the LTTE.

Q: Criticism had mounted when the East was about to be liberated. Now the Mahinda Rajapaksa government has created the right environment to give more power to the people whereby they can look after their own affairs. What is your comment on restoring democracy in the East?

A: I think President Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan Government made very important progress over the past year. First they have expelled the LTTE from the East. That is a positive development and secondly they have restored government services. In the East they have reopened schools, hospitals and government institutions. Now there is a greater sense of normalcy in many towns in the East. People are out late at nights, going for movies and for shopping which is a big achievement after 20 years.

Comment by tamilnation.org Sense of normalcy and people are going for movies...


Vaharai tragedy - theUnfolding Misery

There is stability now, in that part of the country.

With regard to the election we always support the principle of free elections. It is important to allow the local inhabitants to represent their views. There have been some controversies which were highlighted in the media.

The Opposition parties have alleged that there were many irregularities. The US is not in a position to judge since we did not have observers on the ground. But we think that it is important for the government and the new Provincial Council to look into those charges seriously and act on them.

In the long run it is really important to consider what the people of the East believe. If they believe that it was largely a free and fair election and they support the new council, then the international community should also be prepared to accept their decision in toto.

In terms of what happens after, I think that the new Chief Minister has an important challenge on his hand. First of all, he has to assure security, because on one hand he is the chosen Chief Minister of the Eastern Province and on the other hand he is the head of the TMVP which still has armed cadres.

So, he is in a difficult position where he has to enforce state law as the Chief Minister and on the other hand a fairly large number of armed cadres. I think something must be done and they can not continue to do illegal activities in the East.

Otherwise they would undermine the leadership of Pillaiyan and the transition that the TMVP is trying to make while being a para-military group and a political party. So, we support the idea of them of being a political party. But that transition must be completed and certainly they can not be in both.

Beyond the challenge of security, I think that the new Chief Minister in order to secure the support of the people of the East, it is very important to show that he has been given opportunities to serve all other communities in the East and pursuing development in a neutral way.

And I think that way he can ensure that there is harmony among these communities and also stability in the East, which will automatically reach to a greater development and priority for the people of the East.

Q: Will the US continue with its support to develop the East?

Comment by tamilnation.org

Sri Lanka colonisation of Tamil Homeland

A: Yes, we have quite a number of projects with the assistance of the private sector, for example the vocational training. We have just announced a major project in Batticaloa to develop dairy industry and another to grow vegetables for exports.

We strongly believe that we need to help the people of the East and give them economic opportunities. We believe that there is a big role for the private sector to play. We have proposed to give more assistance for the East and the US government is considering it now.

Q: You have always advocated a credible political package to meet the aspirations of the Tamils. How do you see the APRC proposal to implement the 13th Amendment?

A: The East is a fine laboratory to show that powers within the 13th Amendment be devolved within the Eastern Provincial Council.

Comment by tamilnation.org  A fine laboratory?

Sri Lanka colonisation of East Tamil Eelam

"...whilst the current landscape in the East is one of humanitarian crisis and endemic human rights abuses, the current focus on human rights issues, which whilst performing the essential task of exposing the authoritarianism and violence of the current regime, is insufficient to capture the cold calculations and reasoning in the intentions of the Sri Lankan State which has once again returned to the the logic of Sinhala colonisation.." David Rampton, Lecturer, SOAS, University of London

But I think the government needs to go beyond the 13th Amendment. Implementing the 13th amendment is itself will not satisfy the aspirations of the Tamils. The way they develop must be a significant power sharing proposals through the APRC using some other mechanisms. But I do believe that the APRC has made lots of progress.

Comment by tamilnation.org  APRC has made lots of progress...

"After labouring for 63 sessions, over 250 hours and spending millions of tax payers' rupees, the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) and President Mahinda Rajapakse last week delivered an ant in what is nothing short of a massive political fraud perpetrated on both the Sri Lankan people and the international community. "The Political Fraud behind the APRC Farce, 27 August 2007

According to Prof. Vitharana over 90 percent of their work has been done and I think the APRC has been a useful mechanism to get the Southern consensus to move forward. The most important thing is to come up with an idea which is really welcomed by the Tamils.

I think that it is important for the government to consult a wide range of Tamils. We are not calling for negotiations with the LTTE. That is something that the government has to decide.

It is important to recognize more than half of the Tamils are living outside the Wanni. I think their interests also should be respected as well. So, people like Anandasangaree and other elected representatives in the government controlled areas are needed to be brought into this process and consulted.

Q: You mentioned the solution should be something beyond the 13th Amendment. So what is your proposal to end the national issue?

A: I think we need to distinguish as these are two different things. The President Rajapaksa’s proposal to implement the 13th Amendment is a good idea. But I don’t really want to come up with a proposal because whenever I try to say something I am later accused of trying to dictate to the Sri Lankan people. The US does not have any intention of doing that. It is up to the Sri Lankan people to decide what is best for them.

Q: What do you think that Sri Lanka is facing today - is it a war on terror or an ethnic problem? What sort of a solution do you suggest to end the conflict in the island?

A: I think all these are loaded terms. I am reluctant to say this is an ethnic conflict but it is a civil conflict. I always remind people who are visiting from USA that Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims lived together and continue to live peacefully together. Tamils are living in Colombo peacefully with their Sinhalese and Muslim friends.

Comment by tamilnation.org Living peacefully together...


Sri Lanka begins forced eviction of Tamils from Colombo, June 2007

So there is no ethnic conflict here. And certainly the government is defending itself against terrorism.

Q: It is clearly proven that the LTTE is not the sole representative of the Tamils. And also it has been proved the LTTE’s political agenda is different from the Tamils. What do you have to say?

A: I do actually see there are important differences here. From my discussions with Tamils I know that over 95 percent of them support a solution within a framework of a united Sri Lanka. They are not seeking an independent Tamil Eelam which Prabhakaran is seeking.

Comment by tamilnation.org "From my discussions with Tamils"...

There was a joke which went the rounds in the aftermath of Stalin's 1968 suppression of the Dubcek uprising in Czechoslovakia. It is said that two Czechs were walking in the streets of Prague. A Rolls Royce and a Skoda were parked on the street. One Czech told the other - 'You know, the Skoda is a better car. The other Czech said - 'Don't be silly. Don't you know your cars?'. The first Czech replied - 'I know my cars, but I don't know you!".

I think it would be very useful for Prabhakaran to give up this idea of seeking an independent Tamil State and agreeing to negotiate with a united Sri Lanka. I think this would give him lots of credibility to respond to lots of scepticism here in the South that the LTTE would never negotiate with the government.

Comment by tamilnation.org Credibility with the Tamil people?

"Throughout the ages the Sinhalese and Tamils in the country lived as distinct sovereign people till they were brought under foreign domination. It should be remembered that the Tamils were in the vanguard of the struggle for independence in the full confidence that they also will regain their freedom. We have for the last 25 years made every effort to secure our political rights on the basis of equality with the Sinhalese in a united Ceylon. It is a regrettable fact that successive Sinhalese governments have used the power that flows from independence to deny us our fundamental rights and reduce us to the position of a subject people. These governments have been able to do so only by using against the Tamils the sovereignty common to the Sinhalese and the Tamils."

"I wish to announce to my people and to the country that I consider the verdict at this election as a mandate that the Tamil Eelam nation should exercise the sovereignty already vested in the Tamil people and become free."  Statement by S.J.V.Chelvanayagam Q.C. leader of Tamil United Front after winning the by-election for the Kankesanturai Parliamentary seat, held belatedly on 7 February 1975, two years after he had resigned the seat to seek a mandate for Tamil Eelam.

The LTTE has a responsibility to show that they are prepared to negotiate in a genuine way.

Comment by tamilnation.org ISGA and discharging the responsibility 'to negotiate in a genuine way'...

"Applauding the Norwegian government for its ongoing facilitation efforts, the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka said that it also believed that  "the U.S. Embassy has taken note of the LTTE's delivery of counterproposals made in response to the Sri Lankan Government's interim administration proposal for the North and East. The Embassy urges both parties to build on this step by resuming negotiations in a timely manner..." U.S. Government supports resumption of peace negotiations

"The Sangam and the world at large are shocked at the reckless behaviour of Sri Lanka President Kumaratunge, who places her own political agenda before the needs of the people of the island. ..On Oct. 31, 2003 the LTTE, on behalf of the Tamil people, announced their proposal for an Interim Self-Governing Administration (ISGA) of the Tamil areas. This proposed ISGA is a significant step toward a peaceful resolution of the decades-long conflict between the Tamil and Sinhalese peoples. The world applauded this proposal by the LTTE. US Deputy Secretary of State Armitage said that the proposal is "the first time I have seen such a comprehensive delineation of the aspirations of the LTTE...it is significant," the EU stated that the proposal is an "important step forward in the peace process," and ex-Ambassador to Sri Lanka Schaffer said, "the LTTE has presented an ambitious proposal. Sinhala chauvinists - of which President Kumaratunge is one - consider this proposal for an interim autonomous entity anathema. Kumaratunge used this eminently reasonable and achievable proposal of the LTTE as an excuse to precipitate a political, constitutional and military crisis."  US based Ilankai Tamil Sangam on Kumaratunga's Coup & the Peace Process

Q: What is your view about the on-going military operations to liberate Wanni where people are living under severe hardship and the young and the old were being conscripted by the LTTE?

A: With respect to the on-going military campaign, as I said earlier, the US does not believe that a purely a military solution is possible. The 25-years long experience of war here has shown that the LTTE is a rather formidable organisation and it is very difficult to defeat them militarily.

So the best way to reach a solution is through a political solution to address the aspirations of the Tamils and all the communities. And again the Tamils in Wanni and rest of the country need a sense of dignity and conviction in future that they will be able to have an important say over matters that concern them especially the areas where they are predominant.

Comment by tamilnation.org

croc.gif (30929 bytes)

They should be able to have a high degree of self governance within a united Sri Lanka. I believe that is really a way forward to achieve a peaceful settlement to this conflict.

Comment by tamilnation.org Way forward to achieve a peaceful settlement to this conflict...

"Martin Woollacott's comments in the Guardian (in 1993), on the Bosnian conflict offer food for thought about the real world: ''Nobody involved in this war, in fighting it or in trying to stop it, was born yesterday. What matters most in any agreement, is territory, what matters secondly is international legitimacy, what matters thirdly are constitutional arrangements and what matters least are human rights provisions..'

The Tamils, too, were not born yesterday. They know that it is because the armed resistance of the Tamil people led by the Liberation Tigers has succeeded to the extent that they hold territory in the North-East that Tamil rights are on the international agenda.

They know that if that resistance fails, Sri Lanka will have no further use for Tamil quislings. They know that if that resistance fails, they will be left with the pleaders of the TULF rump whose efforts during the past forty years and more did little to stop the onslaught on Tamil rights and Tamil lives.  Territory, international legitimacy, constitutional provisions and human rights are, ofcourse, inter connected. Without human rights, legitimacy may be more difficult to achieve. Without legitimacy, it may be more difficult to hold territory over a period of time. But without territory, a people will cease to exist - and in the end it is this which is fundamental.  And it is this which the Sri Lanka government understands only too well when it prevaricates on the merger of the North-East, when it seeks to divide the Tamil homeland and when it launches its genocidal military operations in the North-East. "  Nadesan Satyendra - Self Determination & the 'Multi Ethnic Plural Society' 15 September 1993

Q: You have just mentioned that the military cannot defeat LTTE and this was the assumption before the East was liberated by the military. So how can you say that the military cannot defeat the LTTE in North?

A: The East was a different situation and the LTTE was spread out. But Wanni is more in the heartland of the LTTE. Here they have been prepared for many years to face any kind of an attack.

Q: Do you still believe that Sri Lankan Security Forces cannot capture Prabhakaran?

A: I think you have to ask this question from the Forces. What I can say is that the US does not have any love for Prabhakaran. But it is going to be difficult for the government to get him.

Q: He is the ‘Most wanted man’ by the Indian government for the killing of the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. In which way could the US help the government to bring him to book?

A: I can not really say how, as we are not involved in any military efforts to capture him. We believe that the best way would be, not with the gun but through peaceful means.

Q: Do you think that both Al-Qaeda and the LTTE, are ruthless terrorist organizations and how do you categorise the LTTE?

A: I would not say they are the same at all. I do not want to get into the business of comparing terrorist organisations because every terrorist organization is different. And it is also important to address the LTTE in the Sri Lankan context.

Comment by tamilnation.org

"Well, I believe that terrorism is a tool that has been utilized throughout history to achieve certain objectives. Some have been ideological, others territorial. There are personality-driven terroristic objectives. The bottom line is, you can't lump all terrorists together. And I think we've got to do a much better job of clarifying what are the motivations, the raisons d'ętre of terrorists. I mean, what the Tamil Tigers are fighting for in Sri Lanka, or the Basque separatists in Spain, or the insurgents in al-Anbar province may only be connected by tactics. They may not share all that much in terms of what is the philosophical or ideological underpinning. And I think one of our mistakes has been painting with such a broad brush, which has not been particularly helpful in understanding what it is we were up against when it comes to those who pursue terrorism for whichever ends they're seeking. "  "You Can't Lump All Terrorists Together" - Hillary Clinton

Q: But some countries call the LTTE as freedom fighters?

A: I do not respect the freedom fighter argument. Certainly any group which is working for freedom, they should do it in a peaceful manner. They can not use violence and terror. That is same with the LTTE and we have consistently said they must renounce terrorism and stop using violence.

Comment by tamilnation.org

"...Do we not deliberately obfuscate when we conflate the two words 'terrorism' and 'violence'? ... The Cuban revolution was violent but it was not terrorism. The war against Hitler was violent but it was not terrorism. Again, the war against Saddam Hussein was violent but presumably,  it was not 'terrorism'. And so too the continuing war against the Taliban in Afghanistan is violent but presumably, it is not terrorism.... What are the circumstances in which a people ruled by an alien people may lawfully resort to arms to resist that alien rule and secure freedom? Or is it that there are no circumstances in which a people ruled by an alien people may lawfully resort to arms to to liberate themselves? And if all resort to violence to secure political ends is not terrorism, then what is terrorism? ..to categorise a combatant in an armed conflict as a 'terrorist' organisation and seek to punish it on that basis, is to.. assert in effect that  a people ruled by an alien people may not, as a last resort, lawfully resort to arms to resist that alien rule and secure freedom... " Nadesan Satyendra - On Terrorism & Liberation

Q: The US and Sri Lanka are engaged in a common fight - combating terrorism. But some critics say that the US has double standards when combating terrorism against the US and dealing with the terrorism in countries like Sri Lanka. What is your comment?

A: I really don’t agree with that. I think we have a very consistent approach and even in places like Iraq where we are confronted with a very serious terrorist problem and we are in favour of a political solution there. The insurgency strategy of the US is based on using a wide range of tools to combat terrorism and it is just not the military strategy.

Comment by tamilnation.org A wide range of tools...

1."..In Sri Lanka, the government appears to have concluded.. that law enforcement and compulsion can end a terror campaign. However, the LTTE has a much broader base of support than the JVP ever did, and the LTTE is unlikely to go away simply through government-applied force... One of the most effective strategies at governments' disposal may be to split off pragmatists from radical rejectionists. Such efforts can diminish public support for the terrorists and deny them a strong base from which to operate...So called 'get tough' measures against terrorist groups can have unintended consequences. Trying to 'decapitate' a movement may radicalise the whole movement ... Assassinations and military force can provoke a desire for revenge, create mythologies of martyrdom, or feed paranoia and secretiveness (which makes the movements even harder to penetrate for reasons of either understanding motivations or foiling actions).." How Terrorism Ends - United States Institute for Peace Study, May 1999

2. "The March For Justice is dedicating its "Shock and Awe Gallery" as an authentic historical documentation and evidence of the U.S./British Crime of the Century. As attacks on freedom and the free have become characteristic of contemporary America, we advise and encourage all those who support Truth and Justice, to save our material and to make the utmost use of it, as its intended objective is revealing facts and reality." What is Terrorism?  Shock and Awe?

In Iraq we are engaged in with certain strategies to bring down the levels of killing and violence both against American forces and other coalition forces. The ordinary Iraqis have come way down over the last years. Iraq is a major domestic issue an year ago in my country and now people have confidence that Iraqis are in a better track and hopeful about their future.

So the policies are the same that we are advocating here in Sri Lanka and so I can say there would not be any double standards.

Q: In this situation what are the priorities of a country - combating terror to save lives or safeguarding human rights?

A: Well. I do not think there is contradiction between the two. I think one has to devote. Clearly one has to defend one’s country against terrorism. That is extremely important. For any government the most important priority is to defend its citizens. It is true in the US and it is true in Sri Lanka and every other country in the world. But we also believe that it is possible to preserve human rights.

So, for example, one of the very difficult problems the government faces is to identify suicide bombers. How they find these people before they carry out their murderous acts. And I believe that the way to do that is still to arrest, question in a humane way and if they are suspected of the crime produce them in courts.

But do not use extra judicial killings and other kind of things. And those acts will undermine the long term solutions. So, it is much better to use rule of law to address terrorism. Accountability of rule of law is extremely important.

Comment by tamilnation.org Rule of law for more than 50 years...

 "Communal riots in which Tamils are killed, maimed, robbed and rendered homeless are no longer isolated episodes; they are beginning to become a pernicious habit..." [see 1956, 1958, 1961, 1974 and 1977] - Paul Sieghart, Report of a Mission to Sri Lanka on behalf of the International Commission of Jurists, March 1984

"...Impunity means freedom from punishment.  During the past five decades and more the Sri Lankan security forces, para military groups and Sinhala goondas have violated the rights of the Tamil people, have killed, tortured, raped and massacred with impunity, free from any fear of punishment. The pattern of behaviour established by the Sinhala  Sri Lanka government's refusal to adequately investigate the crimes committed against the Tamil people and the overt statements made by Sinhala politicians from time to time expose the true nature of the assimilative agenda of  Sinhala Buddhist governments..."  Impunity: Crime & No Punishment

Q: Do you think that Sri Lanka has violated UN Conventions when strengthening bi-lateral relations with Iran?

A: I do not think so and not to my knowledge. But it is up to the government to be aware of those resolutions.

Q: Iran is in rivalry with the US with regard to nuclear issues. Therefore how do you see the recent visit of the Iranian President to Sri Lanka?

A: Our concerns about Iran is well-known. President - Bush, Secretary of State - Rice and many our leaders are concerned about their nuclear capabilities. We acknowledge their right to develop civil nuclear energy for energy purposes. But the US opposes nuclear weapons. Similarly we have expressed our deep concern about the Iranian support for international terrorism particularly in the Middle East, especially the support for groups like Hisbulla. We always want all our friends to make the same point for Iran.

Comment by tamilnation.org

""India and Iran are ancient civilisations whose relations span centuries. Both nations are perfectly capable of managing all aspects of their relationship with the appropriate degree of care and attention. Neither country needs any guidance on the future conduct of bilateral relations as both countries believe that engagement and dialogue alone lead to peace," Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna, a foreign ministry "- India rejects US advice on Iran, 24 April 2008

At the same time we understand that Sri Lanka has to develop relationships with Iran and we do not have objections if they donate funds for education projects in the South.

Comment by tamilnation.org As always the devil is in the small print. Education projects in the South?

 "...Iran will increase its investment in the expansion project of an oil refinery in Sri Lanka up to US$ one billion... Iran has also agreed to provide low-interest credit to Sri Lanka to enable it to purchase military equipment from Pakistan and China and to train a small group of Sri Lankan Army and intelligence officers in Iran." Iran to Train Sri Lankan Intelligence & Army Officers, 24 April 2008 - B.Raman Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai.

Q: We were made to understand that you had met the members of the Commission of Inquiry which probes into 15 cases of killings of Aid workers and other alleged HR cases? What was your area of interest while meeting the commissioners?

A: Yes, we did have a short meeting with them, and the purpose of the meeting as Justice Udalagama has explained was purely a technical matter. The Commission did not get the support of the IIEGPS and the Commission has the problem of how to continue the video conferencing to record testimony of witnesses resident abroad. So the question arose as to whether the international community could continue to fund the video conferencing.

Since the US and the other partners in the IIEGP process happened to fund the process all along, we discussed the matter whether to fund the particular video conferencing. So that was real the purpose of the meeting.

The US do not have any intension of whatsoever in interfering anyway with the Commission of Inquiry. We strongly believe in independence. I really do not share the allegations that we are interfering with the Commission and we simply looked into logistic matters.

We support the Commission appointed by the President. And he has reiterated on many occasions that his commitment in seeing this commission achieve its desired task. So we totally support the President in this regard.


A Response by Velupillai Thangavelu from Canada

While thanking the Ambassador for some positive statements about the LTTE during the interview - 

(a) US do not believe in purely a military solution is possible 
(b) The 25-years long experience of war here has shown that the LTTE is a rather formidable organisation and it is very difficult to defeat them militarily. So the best way to reach a solution is through a political solution to address the aspirations of the Tamils and all the communities......) 

It will be interesting to know who are these 95% Tamils His Excellency Robert Blake met? 

Ambassador Blake is in Colombo and he does not travel either to the east or north. At least not to my knowledge.

He does not meet or speak to the people in the north or east. 

He does not meet the LTTE leadership in Kilinochchi which is the headquarters of the LTTE. 

So the inference is that you talked to some elite Tamils who wine and dine with you in poshed 5 star hotels! 

The fact of the matter is 95% of the Tamils support an independent Tamil Eelam. 

This is true of the Tamil Diaspora worldwide. It is very uncharitable on your part to spread disinformation that is music to the ears to the racist Sinhala government. 

Is Ambassador Blake prepared to hold a referendum in the Northeast to ascertain the wish of the Tamil people? This is a challenge I hope you will be manly enough to accept. 

The Tamil people from 1977 have consistently voted for political parties that stood for the creation of an independent Tamil Eelam. TNA won 22 out of 23 seats and 95% of the votes cast during the last parliamentary elections held in 2004. 

Therefore, it is not understood where the Ambassador got this crazy figure that 95% Tamils are opposed to an independent Tamil Eelam. 

You also say Prabhakaran should negotiate with the government. 

Did not Prabhakaran negotiate with the GoSL for a full 4 years from Oslo to Tokyo and Geneva to Sattahip (Thailand) naval base? 

Did he not also agree to internal autonomy for the Northeast under the principle of INTERNAL SELF DETERMINATION? 

So what is this nonsense about Prabhakaran should "negotiate with the government.... prepared to negotiate in a genuine way? 

When the government abrogated the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) unilaterally and launched the current war what did Ambassador Blake and his government do? 

Did not US and the rest of the Co-chairs put their tails between their legs and looked the other way? 

Did they not remain deaf, dumb and blind? 

How could Prabhakaran negotiate with a racist government that denigrates Tamils aspirations for equal rights as "terrorism" 

And war as the only way to defeat it? And those who oppose the costly war, including some Sinhalese, as traitors?

 

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