A Fein Imbalance - 27 February 2009
|A Fein Imbalance - 27 February 2009 by
Secretary General, Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process
|From http://www.peaceinsrilanka.org/press-releases-details/press-releases-details/1498: The Official Website of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP)|
TamilNet seems to be working overtime now on disinformation, with claims that the cause of its leader has been taken up by the highest in the world. Most recently it has attributed to the British Foreign Secretary – and from a Sri Lankan expatriate point of view you cannot go higher than that – some strange views on genocide and Sri Lanka. It declared that Britain’s Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, agreed Tuesday with parliamentarians who said that the Sri Lankan government is 'quite prepared to go ahead with acts of genocide.'
Going through the actual extracts from Hansard, it seemed to me that Mr Miliband, while being his usual charming self, had not quite said that, but doubtless our Foreign Ministry will call in the British High Commissioner for a clarification, so I will reserve comment until later on young Miliband.
Incidentally, the British envoy in Geneva thought I was being rude when I thus described him shortly after he had taken up his current position, but I was only being affectionate about a fellow Corpuscle. He was so much younger than me, and looked even more so, that I was reminded of an old adage, that one realises one is ageing when policemen looked younger than oneself. When it comes to British Foreign Secretaries, one realises that the time for walking sticks is drawing nigh.
My present concern however is not that holiest of holies, but rather the egregious Bruce Fein, who TamilNet claims was invited to present written testimony on 'Recent Developments in Sri Lanka' before the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Middle East and Asia. I cannot believe that that exalted body actually invited Mr Fein, since American traditions of justice would surely have demanded that it also invite me along, if it had gone out of its way to ensure it had the benefit of Mr Fein’s views. After all, it was I who accepted Mr Fein’s challenge to a debate, only to find him worming his way out of it, which surely the Senate (assuming it takes people like Mr Fein seriously) must have realised cast some doubts on the validity of his case.
Unless my idealistic view of America is all wrong, what must have happened, I decided, was that Mr Fein had asked to be heard, and had been gently told that he could provide written testimony instead. It should be noted however that Fein himself claimed that he had been contacted by the office of the Chairman of the Subcommittee. If this was an unsolicited request, based on Fein’s sterling reputation, one assumes the office aides were also aware of Fein’s history of courageous if quixotic diatribes against American politicians of every hue, beginning with President Clinton, which may have been what endeared him to the Tamil Tigers and their surrogates who have hired him.
Mr Fein certainly did not disappoint, at least according to TamilNet. He talked of an ‘impenetrable media blackout and eviction of all outside observers’, to a Subcommittee which had heard from a representative of Human Rights Watch who claimed to have visited the affected areas and talked at length to various anonymous international observers.
Fein claims that best estimates from neutral persons in Sri Lanka place the death toll of innocent Tamil civilians in the predominantly Tamil northeast over the past two months at more than 2,000. This figure coincides with that of TamilNet itself, not surprisingly, since TamilNet is the best exemplar of Wittgenstein’s man who bought a second copy of the morning paper to check that what the first said was true. Fein then talks of the latest number of displaced persons numbering about 350,000, whereas recently observers have noted that even the worst case scenarios have plunged steadily, to at most 150,000, including those now safely in government controlled areas. Fein is however right if he includes what are termed old IDPs, those displaced before 2005, many of whom are Muslims forced out of the North by his friends the Tigers, in the only example of ethnic cleansing this country has suffered.
Fein goes on to talk of the ‘Sinhalese Buddhist GOSL’ which has ‘imposed a media blackout. It has evicted all NGOs. It has evicted all humanitarian aid workers. It has evicted the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission. It has evicted the International Committee of the Red Cross.’ This is all nonsense, as anyone who reads recent reports of the ICRC knows. And it was the Tigers who threw out most of the countries that comprised the SLMM, after the SLMM had found them guilty of nearly 4000 violations of the Ceasefire Agreement. The SLMM left, after the abrogation of the Ceasefire Agreement, which a year previously it had said seemed dead because of Tiger actions.
Fein talks of the ‘all Sinhalese 'Tamil free' armed forces and security services of Sri Lanka’, which is nonsense, though it is certainly true that minorities have feared to join recently, given that the Tigers killed several of them as traitors. Nevertheless, this government has specifically targeted Tamils and Muslims in its recent recruitments, and the former policeman, Mr Nadesan, who heads the Tiger political wing, must have had the cockles of his heart warmed to see, some decades after his own passing out, pictures of the last batch of Tamil policemen trained at the new facility in the liberated Eastern Province.
Fein exceeds himself in describing ‘the indiscriminate violence that rains down daily on innocent Tamil civilians whether in hospitals, temples, churches, schools, or 'safe zones',' not realizing that even TamilNet, throughout the period in which the forces were liberating the North, has registered hardly any attacks that affected hospitals, temples, churches and schools – whilst the UN itself pointed out that the attacks on the safe zone were ‘most likely …. From an LTTE position.' The same was true about the only shell the trajectory of which could be identified that fell into the hospital grounds when UN staff were there.
One hopes the United States Senate will not be taken in by this hired charlatan. But one certainly realises the depths to which TamilNet has sunk if, on the same day, it highlights disinformation not only about an old Corpuscle now in the shoes of so many distinguished statesmen, and a pathetic attorney who does not dare to debate even a lowly Sri Lankan, but instead has recourse to increasingly shrill claims based on information supplied by TamilNet itself.
Prof Rajiva Wijesinha
Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process
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