Louise Arbour's 'dangerous liaisons'
From Human Rights and peace NGOs to cannon balls:
Louise Arbour's visit has been of some utility. It has contributed
toward clarifying the debate on the incompatibility of external
intervention with respect for the principle of equal right and the right
of peoples to self-determination and its corollary sovereign equality of
This is the most important of the principles of international law
concerning friendly relations and co-operation among States. It
constitutes the basis for other principles such as non-intervention and
non-resort to the threat or use of force, which protects the political
independence and territorial integrity of States.
Without respect for this principle, enshrined in the United Nations
Charter, other rights incorporated in international human rights
instruments cannot be fully enjoyed.
Arbour's visit has also served to expose the true intentions of
individuals and organisations who call for foreign intervention: to
promote not only their own domestic agendas for political or pecuniary
ends, but also consciously or unconsciously the agendas of their foreign
donors or facilitators.
Her visit has exposed the hypocrisy of those who profess to be the
exclusive defenders of human rights of the people, as does the LTTE in
its claim to be the "sole representative" of "The Tamil people". Despite
the fundamental theme of international co-operation of United Nations
activities, Louise Arbour persists and signs!
The simultaneity of her visit to Sri Lanka and the statement made
from Kathmandu by Ian Martin, Head of the UN Mission in Nepal,
scrambling to her aid, only strengthens the diabolical character of her
project. Must it be recalled that neither has received legislative
authority from the General Assembly.
ECOSOC, or the Human Rights Council to make unilateral verdicts on
the situation in Sri Lanka or to take unilateral initiatives to resolve
or to pretend to resolve the internal problems of the country.
What's worse, Martin, whose mandate is limited to Nepal has
absolutely no right to intervene in Sri Lanka's affairs. Martin attacks:
"The resistance within the Government machinery in Sri Lanka goes far
beyond that of Nepal in bringing down monitors. There is an uphill task
to get down monitors to Sri Lanka."
Not satisfied with making a value judgement, Martin also shakes his
finger at the Government: there are clear lessons that Sri Lanka could
learn from the Nepalese experience on areas of human rights violations.
"Unfortunately, the present Sri Lanka Government's willingness to
incorporate human rights principles in its governance appears to be
limited". Martin's declaration is an exemplary act of intervention.
It comes from one whose credibility is questionable. When he was in
charge of the UN human rights field office in Angola, was he not
expelled from that country?
Was he not the Head of the UN Mission to East Timor at the time of an
internal conflict that lead to the partition of Indonesia and the
creation of a separate State?
Was he not the man imposed upon the Asia region by the High
Commissioner for Human Rights as her Asian Regional Advisor despite
regional opposition to the creation of a 'post' that did not have the
approval of the General Assembly?
Martin's statement can only be described as arrogant and provocative
and a blatant abuse of power. What does Arbour think of his
What does the Secretary General of the Untied Nations whom Martin
represents in Nepal have to say?
Listening to Martin, one would imagine that UN interventions have
been a series of success stories, rather than a series of failures, wars
of aggression, foreign occupation or betrayals of the UN Charter:
Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yugoslavia? Now what about
The UN Mission in Nepal was established with the objective to assist
in the holding of an early Constituent Assembly election. The Election
Commission has just postponed the planned November 2007 election, and
has suspended its own preparations.
Martin is withdrawing from the districts and possibly from Nepal huge
numbers of electoral personnel observers and "advisors" - brought in by
the Untied Nations: "Obviously we can not keep personnel idle for too
long if the functions they came here to perform are not going forward."
Martin's said this in a press conference on October 10.
In his own words, it is "perhaps' the biggest crisis for Nepal's
peace process since the CPA was signed last year.
On the same day, he advocated the opening of a UN human rights
monitoring office in Sri Lanka in the presence of a 10 senior Sri Lanka
media personnel visiting Nepal under the auspices of The National Peace
Council of Sri Lanka.
Some royalists are more royalist than the King. It is extraordinary
that against all evidence, Jehan Perera in his 'Opinion' published in
the Daily Mirror of October 9 and Basil Fernando from Hong Kong, should
consider Nepal and Cambodia as models that Sri Lanka should mimic.
Arguing in favour of establishing a UN Human Rights Office in Sri
Lanka, Perera advocated that Sri Lankans "make the journey to Nepal to
learn about setting up a monitoring system to ensure that the human
rights of its citizens are protected in a time of violent conflict,"
because "a strong UN presence in Nepal was one of the key pillars in the
For his part, Basil Fernando described by some as a leftist has a
peculiar understanding of what was surrealism and what it means and is.
Let's recall that it represented a revolutionary artistic movement that
was fundamentally anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist and
anti-totalitarian in nature.
He is also confused about what imperialism really means - both as a
concept and in reality. He tries to convince us that we live in an ideal
world populated only by people of goodwill ready to rush to our aid
He seems to think that the only obstacle to the expression of such
goodwill is the ignorance of the Sri Lankan people, particularly its
leaders, because of their failure to understand the disinterested
generosity of international institutions of Western powers and
This is a clearly comparator attitude to use a language that Fernando
should well understand.
Fernando has forgotten that the UN human rights field office in
Cambodia, which he uses as a positive model, was set up by a General
Assembly resolution in 1993.
That is very different from Luise Arbour's diabolical human rights
field office that she wants to impose unilaterally on Sri Lanka.
Besides, the human rights office in Cambodia was not under the authority
of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which didn't exist at the
It was part of the UN Centre for Human Rights, which was the
Secretariat of the multilateral body, the Commission on Human Rights, in
which all five political regions of the world were equally represented!
Basil Fernando, as a lawyer and the then Chief of the Legal Assistance
Unit of the Cambodia human rights field office (he was never a staff
member attached to the headquarters), must know this difference. Under
the circumstances, his statement can only be considered an attempt to
deceive the people.
It might also be of interest to Fernando and to those others who call
for UN intervention that the large majority of what Arbour referred to
as UN human rights 'employees' at her head office in Geneva (referring
to them as 'international civil servants' would have been a lie!) and
almost all 'employees' in its field offices are paid out of voluntary
funds contributed by rich Western donor Governments, primarily the USA,
UK, Scandinavia and Italy, or by their transnational corporations.
It is therefore not surprising that these 'employees' are chosen from
among their own nationals, often from their Foreign Ministries or NGOs.
Utilisation of the UN general budget for operational purposes or
staffing requires legislative authority from Ecosoc or the General
The human rights field offices of the Office of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights do not, however have any legislative authority; often
they are products of unilateral decisions taken within the Foreign
Ministries of the donor Governments.
In the recruitment of staff by Louise Arbour's Office, the Charter
based principle of equitable geographical distribution has long been
abandoned, and a new de-multilateral human rights entity with an
interventionist role has become a reality.
Flexibility and precarity in staff contracts have undermined the
independent international civil service; the increased use of voluntary
funds for programme activities and staff recruitment has reinforced the
intervention of great powers in the functioning of the institution.
It must be recalled that at its recent sixth session of the Human
Rights Council held in Geneva, the NGOs, including the pro-LTTE lobby,
failed in their efforts to have Sri Lanka condemned by the Council.
Ignoring this political reality, the High Commissioner unilaterally
took it upon herself to parrot the opinion of the NGOs, including the
pro-LTTE lobby, as well as that of a handful of Western Governments like
the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.
Under these conditions, we cannot but note the connivance between
Louise Arbour and certain NGOs. Who are these NGOs? "Tell me who your
friends are, and I will tell you who you are," or better still "Tell me
who your donors are, and I will tell you who you are!"
It is always interesting to consult the websites of NGOs. If this had
been done more systematically, it would have certainly helped prevent
the diversion of millions of dollars destined for the tsunami victims,
but which went to pay for the luxury living of the hundreds of foreign
NGO personnel and individuals who came into the country under the
pretext of helping the people.
It is troubling to note the link between certain NGOs who speak of
peace, press freedom, and human rights and their donors.
The latter include the US Government Departments and Agencies,
particularly the State Department and Department of Defence; the
Governments of its junior partners; their Foundations, which often act
as a cover for Government or intelligence activities; and, by their
transnational corporations, particularly the arms industry.
The arms industry and its Governments, particularly the United
States, whose economy is primarily based on the military-industrial
complex, have a vested interest in the continuation of wars and not in
achieving a peaceful and lasting solution to internal conflicts.
As the economies of these powers continue to decline and face a
series of prolonged and serious crises, wars of aggression and
occupation become indispensable for their very survival.
Whether or not it means violating the UN Charter and the fundamental
right to self-determination of the Third World countries and their right
to permanent sovereignty over their natural wealth and resources,
national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Let's take a look at only two of the most outspoken NGOs in Sri Lanka
who clamour for a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Sri Lanka and
who scurry to Western powers for their help: the National Peace Council
and the Free Media Movement, Sri Lanka!
We will stumble upon a number of their members if we take a closer at
other "human rights" or "peace" NGOs, including People's Action for Free
and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), Centre for Policy Alternatives, INPACT
(Initiative for Political and Conflict Transformation), Women's
Education Resource Centre.
We will also unearth the close ties they have with the LTTE, or with
individuals like Kumar Rupesinghe or Karen Parker, a US "human rights"
lawyer and legal advisor to the LTTE, who represented their cover
organisation IED (International Education for Development) as its Chief
Delegate to the UN human rights body in Geneva.
Let us first take a closer look at The National Peace Council and its
donors. Perera is a member of its Governing Body and its media Director.
Anybody can consult is website for details. What does it tell us?
Its donors are the following; the British High Commission; the
European Union (EU); the National Democratic Institute Norwegian Agency
for Development Co-operation (NORAD); the Danish Development
Co-operation Office (DADECO); Swedish International Development Agency
(SIDA); the Embassy of Japan; Facilitating Local Initiatives for
Conflict Transformation (FLICT), a project implemented through the
German Agency for Technical Co-operation (GTZ); the Asia Foundation; the
Academy for Educational Development (AED); and, the Development
Alternative Inc (DAI).
The direct hand of the Western powers in the Council are clearly
identifiable; however the last three organisations warrant closer
examination and will reveal the dangerous liaison that exists between
human rights, peace and cannon balls!
1. Who funds the Asia Foundation? Among its donors are the US State
Department; USAID; General Electric, which is among the top 50 defence
contractors of the US Department of Defence; Boeing Industries, which is
among the top ten US weapons manufacturers; Hewlett Packard, which
supplies governments with hi-tech for defence and intelligence gathering
activities, experts and advisory support; Microsoft Corporation, a key
provider to the US Department of Defence; the World Bank; and, a number
of other transnational corporations and individuals of a shady
2. Who is behind the Academy for Educational Development (AED)? The
Chairman of its Board is the Former Senior Vice President, Government
Affairs, of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., its Board of Directors includes J.
Brian Atwood, Former Administrator of USAID. Its donors include:
(a) numerous US Government Departments, inter alia, the U.S.
Department of State; U.S. Department of Defence; USAID Millennium
Challenge Corporation; U.S. Department of Justice; U.S. Department of
Education; (b) Foundation such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation;
Carmegie Corporation of New York, whose Senior Advisor is Morman
Pealstine of The Carlyle Group (which is among the top 50 defence
contractors of the US Department of Defence - for more information on
this notorious Group see below under Free Media Movement, Sri Lanka).
Its Senior Vice President for International Relations is Thomas R.
Pickering of the Boeing Company; ExxonMobil Foundation; Ford Foundation;
General Electric (GE) Foundation; and Toyota USA Foundation; (c)
transnational corporations such as Chvron; Coca-Cola; IBM, which
provides defence contracts and intelligence support to US and UK defence
establishments in particular; Johnson and Johnson; Mc Knsey and Company;
Merck and Co., Inc; Microsoft Corporation; Newmont mining Corporation;
Northrop Grumman Information Technology, an aerospace and defence
conglomerate which is the third largest defence contractor for the U.S.
military, and the number-one builder of naval vessels; Pfizer; The
Boeing Company; and UPS.
3. Development Alternative Inc (DAI) is largely responsible for
implementing USAID projects in various countries, including Sri Lanka.
It's Group Vice President in charge of Crisis Mitigation and Democratic
Governance is Bruce Spake, who has 16 years of experience managing DAI
projects in Bosnia, the Congo, and Sri Lanka.
Since late 1998, he has directed DAI's growing practice in conflict
mitigation, which manages four worldwide contracts for USAID and
projects in seven countries. In 1998, USAID's Office of Transition
Initiatives selected DAI to provide administrative and management
support for its six year Indonesia Transition Initiative.
DAI provided this support though political transition grants and
technical assistance to non-governmental organizations, media groups,
and private agencies engaged in peaceful transitions. The new nation of
Timor-leste was integrated into the project in February 2000.
On October 24, 2005, Bruce Spake, referring to DAI's role in Sri
Lanka following the tsunami, stated: "What we can provide in the relief
effort now is our knowledged of local communities in both countries, and
ways to move funds in fast and efficient ways on behalf of the U.S.
government's emergency program."
Let us now take a closer look at the Free Media Movement (FMM), Sri
Lanka, which has close ties to the National Peace Council!
Curiously, and organisation claiming to promote freedom of
expression, right to information and transparency does not provide any
indication of its donors or membership on its website. However, a closer
examination of the organisations to which it is affiliated will give us
some clues to their dubious connections.
It is affiliated or closely associated to IFEX (International Freedom
of Expression Exchange), Reporters without Borders, CPJ (Committee to
Protect Journalists) and IFJ (International Federation of Journalists).
1. A key official of the Free Media Movement is a member of the Board
of IFEX, which is chaired by Karin Karlekar of Freedom House, a shady
organisation described further down in the present article!
Past and present supporters of IFEX include the Canadian
International Development Agency (CIDA); the Royal Ministry of Foreign
Affairs of Norway; the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the
Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Swedish International
Development Agency; the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the
European Human Rights Foundation (Belgium); the Ford Foundation (United
States); Free Voice (Netherlands); Freedom Forum (United States); HIVOS
- Humanistic Institute for Co-operation with Developing Countries
(Netherlands); International Media Support (Denmark); the Mertz Gilmore
Foundation (United States); the Soros Foundation, which is actively and
directly involved in the political changes that took place in Serbia,
Ukraine and Georgia through the creation and financing of NGOs, training
of human rights activists and publishing of propaganda material; the
Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation (United States); and, United
Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Among its most influential members are Freedom House, which Chairs
IFEX, and Reporters without Borders. Who is behind Freedom House?
Until recently, James Woolsey was its President. His glorious past
includes positions as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA);
Ambassador to the Negotiation on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE),
Vienna; Under Secretary of the Navy; and General Counsel to the US
Senate Committee on Armed Services.
Freedom House is funded by the US National Endowment for Democracy
(NED), created by Ronald Reagan, which in turn co-finances programmes
selected by NED as a cover for US intervention in the field. It is known
to implement campaigns sub-contracted to it by the CIA or the US State
Department in support of a vision of human rights that the US
Administration seeks to impose upon the rest of the world, if necessary,
In 2003, Freedom House was charged by President George W. Bush to
submit an annual report on the situation of civil and political rights
in the world on the basis of which the US Administration would decide on
whether or not to refuse development aid within the framework of the
Millenium Challenge Corporation.
2. Another organisation closely related to the Free Media Movement
(FMM), Sri Lanka, is Reporters without Borders. Among its donors, again
we find the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED), in addition to
the Soros Foundation, and the Centre for a Free Cuba, whose Executive
Director is Frank Calzon, known to be a CIA agent, and who was Director
of Freedom House for ten years; and, the Fondation de France.
3. The Free Media Movement (FMM), Sri Lanka also has close ties with
CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists), another US network.
On the CPJ Board of Directors we find The Carlyle Group, the most
powerful and politically connected investment firm in the world, which
is among the top 50 defence contractors of the US Department of Defense.
Its profits largely emanate from its arms industry, particularly in Iraq
and Afghanistan with a vested interest in the multiplication of wars. It
is amongst the most important groups responsible for the pillage of
The Chairman Emeritus of the Carlyle Group is Frank Carlucci who is
Frank C. Carlucci? Carlucci, a portege of Donald Rumsfeld, former US
Secretary of Defence, joined Carlyle in 1989 as Vice Chairman and became
Chairman in 1993.
He was Deputy Director of the CIA from 1978-1981, Deputy Defence
Secretary from 1981 until 1983, national security advisor from 1986
until 1987, and US Secretary of Defense from 1987 until 1989. In 1961,
Carlucci participated in a CIA mission to Congo, and is known to have
been involved during his service there in murder of Congolese
independence leader Patrice Lumumba.
Other leaders of the Carlyle Group are no less than George Bush Sir.,
former US President; James Baker, Secretary of the US Treasury under
Ronald Reagan between 1985 and 1988 and Secretary of State under George
H. W. Bush from 1989 to 1993; Fidel Ramos, the former President of the
Philippines; John Major, former Prime Minister of the UK, and even some
members of the Ousama bin Laden family.
Corporate supporters of CPJ include Forbes Inc., The Ford Foundation,
Goldman Sachs and Co., Citigroup Foundation, CNN, UBS, and Time Warner
We cannot be fooled by concerns for 'peace', human rights and
democracy' or 'freedom of expression' expressed by NGOs that are funded
by Western Governments, their defense establishments or their defense
industries that are directly or indirectly involved in wars of
aggression and foreign occupation in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan
The Carlyle Group, Northrop Grumman Information Technology, Boeing
Industries, Hewlett Packard, IBM and Microsoft are not philanthropic
organisations, even though they may finance the so-called civil society
We cannot be duped that leader of these NGOs believe that
institutions like the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House,
USAID, Human Rights Watch and Reports without Borders, IFEX, CPJ are
angels. Their close ties with the US Administration's political agenda
are in the public domain.
Since World War II, nothing has changed in the attitude of the
dominant Western powers toward their former colonies. As Noam Chomsky
once pointed out, Winston Churchill's words on the successful
achievement of 'democracy and human rights' continues to be their source
"The Government of the world must be entrusted to satisfied nations,
who wished nothing more for themselves than what they had. If the
world-government were in the hands of hungry nations, there would always
But none of us had any reason to seek for anything more. The peace
would be kept by peoples who lived in their own way and were not
ambitious. Our power placed us above the rest. We were like rich men
dwelling at peace within their habitations.
The spectre haunting humanity today comes precisely from the rich
countries which happen to combine both the peerless killing and
threat-making apparatuses of the kind with which the United States
dictates to the rest of the planet as well as the hunger and rapacity
and willingness to steal from the poorer, less powerful nations whatever
natural wealth and resources they possess.
Soon Sri Lanka will be receiving the new French Foreign Minister,
Bernard Kouchhner, notorious for his pro-US interventionist statements
and acts. For one who developed the concept of 'humanitarian
intervention' what is needed today 'is not the humanitarian...it is the
He shares with these NGOs the notion that the right to national
sovereignty, which is incorporated in the UN Charter, is an antediluvian
'concept' and that the so-called 'right of interference... supersedes
natural sovereignty in cases where countries are massacring or otherwise
oppressing a minority within their own borders."
Far from advancing human rights, this vision negates all the
achievements of the international community since the victory over
fascism had the independence from colonial rule of Third World
countries. It can lead to a renewed degeneration of civilisation and a
new era of barbarism. Is this what these 'human rights defenders' and
'peace activists' want?
To address the debate on human rights critically is not to endorse
human rights violations wherever they may occur or whoever their author
maybe. Neither do we consider that the end justifies the means. But, we
must be lucid and see and say things as they are and not as we imagine
or would like them to be.
Contrary to INFORM's claim, the defence of human rights or peace is
not a 'neutral' matter. That is why the issue must be faced responsibly,
with sincerity and modesty, and without a hidden agenda.
Nobody has the monopoly over the defence of human rights or the
yearning for peace, certainly not a handful of individuals and
organisations, whose representativity is questionable. Can anyone
delegate to an elite group the exclusive right to be defended?
Why do these NGOs and the likes of Mangala Samaraweera and Ranil
Wickremesinghe envisage Sri Lanka's international relations only through
the prism of Western Europe and North America? Is it because their
donors are not in Africa or Latin America?
Instead of scurrying for interventionist help to Western powers, who
are trying to re-colonise Third World countries, why don't the NGOs
which are spending their time and money travelling abroad, organise
their own people so that they can themselves exercise their fundamental
right not only to create effective national mechanisms for monitoring
human rights violations, but also to bring about a transformation of the
society in which their rights can be exercised? The masses of the Sri
Lankan are not incapable, incompetent, ignorant, or beggars. They have
self-respect and dignity.