Kerry appoints former pro-Israel lobbyist to oversee peace talks IMEMC – On Monday [July 29], US Secretary of State John Kerry named Martin Indyk as the administration’s special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Indyk, 62, who is Jewish, has worked for AIPAC, a pro-Israel lobby group, and he helped found the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a think tank that has been critisied for being a part of the pro-Israel lobby. …
If a date needs to fixed marking the end of “post-Soviet era” in world politics, it might fall on February 4, 2012. Russia and China’s double veto of the Arab League resolution on Syria in the United Nations Security Council constitutes a watershed event.
The real reason Liam Fox had to resign was not a grubby little money scandal about firms funding Adam Werritty as he jetted round the world with the Defence Secretary. It was much more important, and much worse, than that.
Blake wooed genocidal Sri Lanka Army to help Afghan war says Wikileaks Sri Lanka Guardian Earlier Wikileaks documents have revealed how an international orchestration was masterminded by the US for the Vanni war that ended up in genocide and paved way for the on-going structural genocide of the nation of Lankan Tamils. … http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/10/blake-wooed-genocidal-sri-lanka-army-to.html
In her book, ‘The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,’ Naomi Klein explores the myth of free market democracy, explaining how neoliberalism dominates the world with America its main exponent exploiting security threats, terror attacks, economic meltdowns, competing ideologies, tectonic political or economic shifts, and natural disasters to impose its will everywhere.
As a result, wars are waged, social services cut, public ones privatized, and freedom sacrificed when people are too distracted, cowed or in duress to object. Disaster capitalism is triumphant everywhere from post-Soviet Russia to post-apartheid South Africa, occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, Honduras before and after the US-instigated coup, post-tsunami Sri Lanka and Aceh, Indonesia, New Orleans post-Katrina, and now heading to Haiti full-throttle after its greatest ever catastrophe. The same scheme always repeats, exploiting people for profits, the prevailing neoliberal idea that ‘there is no alternative’ so grab all you can.
On Her web site, Klein headlines a ‘Haiti Disaster Capitalism Alert: Stop Them Before They Shock Again,’ then quotes the extremist Heritage Foundation saying:
‘In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the US response to the tragic Haiti earthquake offers opportunities to re-shape Haiti’s long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the public image of the United States in the region.’
Shooting the Messenger, Al Jazeera’s documentary on the deliberate killing and intimidation of journalists in conflict zones, has been nominated for a prestigious Emmy award.
In the past, members of the media were considered to be neutral in time of war. They were much like paramedics in the sense that their main concern was not victory, but saving lives. Continue reading this...
The support and positions of various foreign governments in regards to the diabolic fighting between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan military, which cost the lives of thousands of innocent civilians, says a great deal about the geo-strategic interests of these foreign governments. The position of the governments of India and a group of states that can collectively be called the Periphery, such as the U.S. and Australia, were in support of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) or Tamil Tigers, either overtly or covertly. Many of these governments also provided this support tacitly, so as not to close any future opportunity of co-opting Sri Lanka after the fighting was over.
In contrast, the governments of a group of states that can jointly be called Eurasia as a collective entity, such as Iran and Russia, supported the Sri Lankan government. The polar nature of the support by Eurasia and the Periphery for the two different combating sides in the Sri Lankan Civil War betrays the scent or odour of a much broader struggle. This is a struugle that extends far beyond the borders of the island of Sri Lanka and its region.
Why is this so? Much of the answer to such a question has to do with the formation of a growing alliance in the Eurasian landmass against the international domination of the U.S. and its allies. This Eurasian alliance was formed on the basis of the growing cohesion between Moscow, Tehran, Beijing, and their allies that has seen the animation of the Primakov Doctrine. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a security body with real military dimensions that has been called “the NATO of the East” within some foreign policy circles is a real symbol of this geo-political dynamic. In 2009, the last chapter of the Sri Lankan Civil War was very much a theatre within this process.
August 30 marks exactly 94 years after the end of a 100-day rule by the monstrous Martial Law which the British Colonial Government enforced to quell the communal riots of 1915. It was like using a sledge hammer to kill an insect. The violent incidents were a glaring example of divide-and-rule colonial policy – the tragic consequences of which Sri Lankans are suffering to this day.
British policy on the Sinhalas at the time was virtually akin to deliberately provoking a dog to bite everybody in the vicinity so that vilifying and mercilessly beating or killing the poor the animal is then fully justified. The colonialists had done it twice previously – in 1818 and 1848. The third time it was done under a classic divide-and-rule colonial ethnic strategy.
Three years before the communal riots broke out, the Basnayake Nilame of the historic Walahagoda Devale, Gampola, applied for the usual license to conduct the Gampola Esala Perahera. (The licensing system had been introduced by the Colonial Government, although conducting the perahera was a traditional right of the Sinhala Buddhists). The Government Agent, a European, however informed the Basnayake Nilame that the license will be issued only on condition that the Perahera music is stopped 50 yards on either side of the Gampola Mosque.
Sharmini Peries speaks to Sunila Abeysekera award-winning human rights defender and the Executive Director of INFORM, an organization working to spread the word on Sri Lankan human rights violations. They speak about the history of the ongoing torture allegations in Sri Lanka and the so-called “internment camps” where roughly 300,000 refugees of the recent conflict linger. Abeysekera says, “Forget the torture; just overcrowding, lack of access to medical attention, and then including on top of that the beatings and the waterboarding. You know, you name it, we hear stories about it.”
Sunila Abeysekera is the Executive Director of INFORM, an organization working to inform the world about human rights violations in Sri Lanka. The major themes of Sunila Abeysekera’s work include issues of equality and difference in understanding women’s human rights, problems of re-conceptualising the nation-state and principles of good governance from a feminist perspective; problems of representation of women in art and culture; and feminist film criticism. In 1998, Abeysekera was honoured by the United Nations for her contribution to the protection and promotion of human rights along with Jimmy Carter.
In the ancient Indian epic Ramayana the Aryan Prince Rama goes all the way from north India to vanquish Ravana, the King of Lanka. Following a massive battle in which thousands are slaughtered Rama, with the help of the monkey god Hanuman, finally rescues his kidnapped wife Sita in a grand victory of ‘good’ over ‘evil’.
The Ramayana of the 21st Century may need a little modification.
In the modern version the Indian Rama and the Lankan Ravana, who turn out to be long lost brothers, together stage the abduction of Sita and accuse the ‘terrorist’ Hanuman of the crime. Finally with international support they use every means possible to kill him along with thousands of innocent bystanders.
As the gory details of what the Tamil population of northern Sri Lanka have been subjected in recent weeks emerge – bit by bloody bit – there is need for a full accounting of every act of barbarity committed against them by the Sri Lankan government.
For, behind Colombo’s public parade of bodies of dead rebels and tasteless celebrations of ‘victory’ over the Tamil Tigers there hides today a horror list of unspeakable crimes carried out by the Mahinda Rajapakse regime.
Make no mistake about it- for all the Sri Lankan spin about what really happened in the final weeks of assault on the LTTE- the simple fact remains that this was a war conducted with no respect for either global opinion or any human norm, international convention or law.
And the governments of the world, blinded as they are by the perverse notion that every evil is acceptable in the global ‘War on Terror’, seem to have completely lost their moral compass in the case of Sri Lanka. Or are they keeping quiet because those who died in this grossly one-sided war were dark-skinned, poor and the term ‘genocide’ cannot be applied to them no matter how many of them are murdered in cold blood?
For the people of the world, the perpetual and historical victims of state terror, there remains no option but to fight back and demand justice. To begin with here are ten questions that need to be answered immediately:
How many civilians died in the final weeks of assault on the LTTE inside the ‘no fire’ zone and what has happened to their corpses?
Why were hospitals treating the injured and the sick inside the ‘no fire’ zone repeatedly shelled by the Sri Lankan army and what is the fate of the Tamil doctors who reported this to the global media?
What kind of banned weapons did the Sri Lankan forces use in their operations against the LTTE and which governments around the world supplied these to them?
Despite repeated official assertions that the ‘war is over’ why is the Sri Lankan government afraid of allowing independent media, humanitarian workers and human rights groups access to war affected areas?
Why are the thousands upon thousands of Tamil refugees – Sri Lankan citizens all of them- still being kept behind barbed wires like cattle corralled off before slaughter and why are Tamil youth being abducted from within these camps ?
Why are the repeated reports of Tamil women being raped by Sri Lankan army personnel not being investigated?
Why are Sri Lankan journalists questioning the conduct of the war being killed, tortured or forced into exile if the government has nothing to hide?
How can a chauvinist regime responsible for the worst kind of prejudice and atrocities against its minority population be entrusted with either their immediate rehabilitation or long-term solutions to the island’s ethnic question?
How long will it be before Mahinda Rajapakse and all high officials under his command are brought before an International Tribunal to account for their war crimes and crimes against humanity?
Now that the Tamil Tigers are defeated is it not time for the world to tame the rampaging Sinhala Lion too?
Satya Sagar is a journalist, writer and video-maker based in New Delhi. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org