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DateLine Wednesday, 17 October 2007

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Government Gazette

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 States.

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 intervention?

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 Nepal?

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 peace process."

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 unconditionally.

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 transnational corporations.

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 time!

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 Assembly.

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 character.

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, by force.

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 Iraq.

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 Inc.

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 and Yugoslavia.

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 or NGOs.

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 of inspiration.

"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 be danger.

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 military...." (www.mcgill.ca/uro/rep).

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.



Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas

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