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The Great Genocide Game - Part III

Continued from yesterday………

LTTE child soldiers

Perhaps the most astonishing of the interlocking networks used to denigrate Sri Lanka as part of the Great Kiplingesque Genocide Game is The Genocide Intervention Network (one that leaves out Israel altogether), which it seems was set up a few years ago by a couple of peace studies undergraduates from an American college. Their logic however does no credit to American university education.

Guerrilla tactics

They claim that ‘Government victories forced the LTTE to resume guerrilla tactics, with deadly implications for civilians,’, ‘LTTE concessions at talks led Karuna to break away,’ and, ‘When Mahinda Rajapaksa came to power, hardline militants assumed high level Defence Ministry positions. With policies such as the incorporation of the national police into the defence establishment, LTTE wariness of the new government increased. This provoked a belligerent government response, causing fighting to resume.’

LTTE concessions? Wariness provoking belligerence? Clearly these American undergraduates have no understanding of the English language. No mention here of the fact that, while the Rajapakse Government scrupulously observed the Ceasefire for nine months from the time it took office, the LTTE began violent attacks on servicemen almost immediately, leading the Scandinavian monitors to question whether, given their actions, the CFA was still in force.

The peace studies undergraduates also obviously did not know that it was the LTTE’s authoritarian leader Prabhakaran who repudiated the minimal concession made by his negotiators (and then withdrew from talks long before President Rajapakse’s election), and that amongst the reasons Karuna has given for splitting away was his realisation that Prabhakaran would not compromise.

The Genocide Intervention Network describes the LTTE as ‘the predominant Tamil rebel group fighting against the Sinhalese government for Tamil rights and an autonomous Tamil state’, while the Karuna group are ‘a breakaway faction that garnered support from the Security Forces to attack the LTTE.

They forcibly recruit child soldiers and regularly abduct and murder suspected LTTE members and supporters.’ Such a description, ignoring even UN figures, suggests that The Genocide Intervention Network is some sort of synonym for the LTTE.

Anti-Tamil mobs

The Genocide Watch List meanwhile claims that mass killings of ordinary people are already going on in Sri Lanka, although curiously it blames anti-Tamil mobs and the LTTE. This is clearly just ignorance rather than strategy but, even if for once Government is not blamed, the idea that anti-Tamil mobs are loose suggests someone stuck in a time warp a quarter of a century ago.

Taken altogether, Sri Lanka does not come out too badly in four of the five indices used, but somehow the overall conclusion of what is termed the Genocide Project, heavily influenced by the undergraduate pronouncement, placed Sri Lanka amongst the eight countries on Red Alert.

Obama administration

This may not seem too important, given that the Genocide Project itself does not seem to have any great standing, but the timing of the outburst is suspicious. It coincides with the presentation to the Obama administration of a policy report on genocide, by a team headed by a much more respectable figure, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

That report makes no mention of Sri Lanka, but naturally TamilNet and related instruments of what Donald Reed describes as Fifth Generation Warfare made good use of the coincidence.

So did Bruce Fein, hired as he has been by a group that calls itself Tamils against Genocide to denigrate Sri Lankan government officials.Is all this simple coincidence? We might know more if we knew who funded the Genocide Project or the various indices it employs - and in particular the most arbitrary of them - but no one thinks accountability and transparency are essential for organisations that sit in judgment on sovereign democratic states.

Sri Lanka has recently had stunning examples of the irresponsibility if not downright dishonesty of such Non-Governmental Organisations.

Financial scandal

The financial scandal at the Free Media Movement is perhaps outdone by the revelation that ICES had, under the distinguished leadership of Radhika Coomaraswamy and Bradman Weerakoon and Rama Mani, run up huge deficits which it has met from its investment.

It has now failed to pay their dues to the Kandy officials who first drew attention to the financial mess, furious as ICES funders were that their attempts to invoke R2P in Sri Lanka were stymied.

Those who challenged the orthodoxies had therefore to be thrown out, and their questions ignored, by the new Board which still pays obeisance to Sithy Tiruchelvam who continues to dominate ICES, and the Law and Society Trust, and the other various Trusts associated with Neelan, like a grand spider in the midst of a web that seems designed primarily to entrap the Sri Lankan state.

This was not the way Neelan behaved, but Neelan himself is now almost forgotten. After he was killed by the LTTE, ICES adopted an approach that basically assumed appeasement of the LTTE was in order, to the extent of inviting Gareth Evans to commemorate Neelan by making waves against the Sri Lankan state, with nary a mention of who killed Neelan. That Mrs Tiruchelvam should have been part of this betrayal of the ideals for which Neelan stood is utterly depressing.

But we are a microcosm of the larger world. A distinguished Indian diplomat told me, when we were discussing the transformation of the United Nations into essentially a body of white officials, that that was not the whole story.

Unlike in the old days, when UN officials came from government service and hoped to go back to that, now they came from NGOs and saw their future therein. We have seen the effects of this in the irresponsibility of people such as Benjamin Dix, who had first worked with Solidar before moving on to UNOPS, and there are plenty of other examples.

Political agendas

In short, we have people who claim that their idealism justifies anything, including denigration of any who disagree with them. They get used to working without any sense of accountability to any institution except their own, and unfortunately this approach is accepted by other such institutions. So the Genocide Project does not check on the credentials of those whose effusions it privileges, and in time the Genocide Project will be cited as gospel by others.

But at some stage in this game what could be considered naivete gets taken over by particular political agendas. It is not difficult, for those with a strong sense of purpose, to use the na‹ve, sometimes through funding, sometimes through carefully chosen feeding in of information. The result is value judgments that can then be used at will.

Special civilisation

Perhaps at present we have little to fear. But we have to remember that, as Asia increases in importance, economically as well as politically, outsiders will want to have outposts of what they think of as their own special civilisation in the midst of an alien other world.

I do not think we have to worry too much about the United States in this regard since it is confident enough in its relations with India not to feel threatened by Indian prosperity - just as way back in 1948 it did not push as a nation for the creation of Israel.

But the Jews within the States were a powerful lobby, and LTTE surrogates are now trying to play a similar role. Americans sadly are not able easily to register the distinction between the totalitarian Tigers and those who made up Israel who had developed solid democratic traditions over the years, at least for their own kind.

The recent chauvinistic critique by LTTE surrogates of American assistance to open up the East economically may alert them, but the Feins of this world will do their best to convince them that all will be well, and all manner of things too.

Economic domination

And then there others, who must fear the emergence of India, and feel that continuing tensions in the region will be the best hope of slowing things down, to ensure continuing economic domination by the West, at least of the service sector.

If keeping the LTTE going is the only way to achieve this, then it has to be done. But for justification for assistance to the LTTE, it is necessary to suggest that the Sri Lankan state is worse.

All this may sound far-fetched but, when too many coincidences occur, it is necessary to be wary. None of this may be connected to official policies, but often statecraft can be developed by individual adventurers who, because their governments will not repudiate them, drive more principled people along the road they have marked out. It has happened before, we need to be careful it will not happen again.




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