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Saturday, 4 December 2010

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Empire stands stripped

The United States is supposed to be the Leader of the Free World, the haven of democracy, freedom, human rights and good governance. It is looked upon as a role model by many the world over, including those in the Third World.

Further, the United States claims to be so. It has even a declared policy of exporting democracy, human rights and good governance for which a myriad of ways and means is used including the grants of aid to promote those hallowed values.

Sceptics, specially those in the Left, however, have challenged these declared intentions and have accused it of double-dealing. They charge that the United States under a facade of promoting democracy and human rights is following a policy of world domination and hegemony, installing and defending dictatorial regimes and undermining those regimes that do not pay obeisance to Washington

From Vietnam to Indonesia in Asia, from Chile to Peru in South America or from Iran to Israel in West Asia or from Egypt to Congo in Africa one could give ample examples to show how the United States propped up dictatorial regimes, invaded independent countries and trampled democracy and human rights in the name of democracy and anti-Communism. Contemporary history thus substantiates the claims of the critics over the official claims of the US.

However, the world at large, including the critics paused and hoped for change when Barack Obama became the President of the United States promising change. Even such harsh critics of the Empire such as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez extended a welcome hand. Halfway through his term President Obama has been either unable to effect the promised change being a prisoner of the establishment run by Wall Street and the Pentagon or he seems to have become a willing partner in continuing the same old foreign policy followed by his predecessor.

It is in this context that the exposures resulting from the publishing of US diplomatic documents by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks has to be viewed. The new revelations confirm the worst fears of the sceptics. The empire stands stripped and exposed.

The documents not only contain evidence of espionage carried out by the State Department against friendly countries and even the United States in violation of accepted norms of international relations. The rhetoric and overt policies have been heavily compromised. The list of countries about whose leaders and dealings US diplomats have sent adverse and unfriendly comments include China, Russia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia and many more.

It is truly an embarrassing moment for President Obama and his team despite the possibility that the President may not have been privy to some documentation. The Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and the State Department, however, stands accused of unethical and dangerous conduct.

The State Department has found fault with the whistleblower and threatened legal action. Whether he has breached United States law or not is another matter. WikiLeaks should be congratulated for exposing the hypocrisy and double standards of Washington. The website has only stood up for the Right to Information of the public. It's an act of bravery in defence of human rights.

Of course, this is not the first time that the United States had to face embarrassment from such exposures. At every such instance it has, however, been able to wriggle out with considerable ease. The first was the revelation that the United States knew there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in Iraq prior to invading that hapless country on the pretext of finding WMDs. This was followed by indecent interrogations and detention under sadistic conditions of Prisoners of War at Abu Ghraib prison. This was followed by torture at Guantanamo prison. Abu Ghraib type detentions still continue. Guantanamo prison has not been closed though promised by Obama during his election time. This is despite strict strictures by a UN Panel of Experts.

Already the United States is sounding its allies in crime to conduct a witchhunt on Julian Assange, the whistleblower and feed stories to the international media to discredit the exposures as unethical and unwarranted. He has been also labelled an anarchist. More in the same vein would follow.

Had another country faced such an exposure the public would have been bored to death from the strictures and condemnations emanating from Capitol Hill within the first 24-hours itself. The United States is still the sole superpower. Therefore, even the silence of the affected could be understood. Nevertheless, the Empire stands stripped.
 

Britain claiming to be vibrant democracy:

Vague excuses to silence President - GL

“Is threatening the life of a community in a British city, to prevent the expression of a point of view, acceptable in a functioning and vibrant democracy,” External Affairs Minister Prof GL Peiris asked the media in London on December 2.

Full Story

The Morning Inspection

I am the tagger, the tagged and tag and so are you

Julian Assange, dubbed as the prophet of the coming age of involuntary transparency, was not a known-name until very recently. Few had heard of Assange or the whistle-blowing outfit Wikileaks a year ago.

Full Story

Pandit W D Amaradeva’s birthday tomorrow :

Maestro in Sinhala music

Why we love Pandit Amaradeva:

Amaradeva is the creator of modern Sinhala Music. His biography is its history. He set out to discover the genuine idiom of Sinhala music, the highest development of which to date is the art song.

Full Story

 

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