– by Shenali D Waduge –
Britains PM says ‘I am not happy with what they’ve done following the conflict and we’ll have some very frank conversations’. He says he is coming to Sri Lanka to visit the North for himself. That is good news. Sri Lankan authorities need to show him what the North looked like under LTTE rule and he can then see ‘what we’ve done’ in just 4 years. Sri Lanka’s authorities should not forget or think it not ‘civilized’ not to show him all the photos of the crimes LTTE has committed to see if the British Premiers reaction would be similar to how he reacted after watching Channel 4 and then ask him why Sri Lanka should ONLY conduct investigations into the final phase of the war when LTTE killed thousands of civilians and left a similar number injured? Do their tragedy not matter, are these civilians not worthy of human rights privileges too or is it only for Tamil civilians because foreign parliamentarians who come to point fingers do so because when they go back home they need to count votes! Lets be candid. Britain does not have ANY moral, ethical right to be preaching. Its colonial crimes have been no better than the crimes it orders its troops to commit in the contemporary scene. These state orders are what we now would like to highlight and not individual and isolated cases of soldier misbehavior.
Now that Cameron has said he was coming to “shine a spotlight” on human rights concerns in Sri Lanka, we like to bring to the attention of the world the human rights violations of UK that continue from ancient times to even contemporary with UK joining the US in openly supplying, training and funded rebel movements. What they did in the past clandestinely these Governments are now doing openly. On what moral grounds do we waste time listening to such countries speak on human rights when they are violating it by creating groups to start chaos and mayhem in countries so that they can use this as an excuse to militarily invade nations and then take over their natural resources.
Britain joined US and NATO to eliminate a dictator in Iraq – how many Iraqi’s did the British soldiers bring to safety? Sri Lanka’s soldiers saved close to 300,000 Tamil ‘civilians’ (inverted commas because they were part-time combatants – voluntarily or forced BUT the armed forces treated them as civilians)
- Did Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney general not declare that the Iraq was illegal but had to drop his advice because of intense pressures from Tony Blair – Sri Lanka did not carry out any illegal invasion or occupation. Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the country’s President was well within their legal right to declare a Just War on LTTE terrorists after courting them for countless foreign initiated peace talks and ceasefires.
- Did Lord Bingham one of the most respected legal luminaries in the UK not declare that British occupation had been, “sullied by a number of incidents, most notably the shameful beating to death of Mr. Baha Mousa [a hotel receptionist]”. He goes on to say that “If I am right that the invasion of Iraq by the US, the UK, and some other states was unauthorised by the [United Nations] Security Council there was, of course, a serious violation of international law and the rule of law.’ “For the effect of acting unilaterally was to undermine the foundation on which the post-1945 consensus had been constructed: the prohibition of force (save in self-defence, or perhaps, to avert an impending humanitarian catastrophe) unless formally authorised by the nations of the world empowered to make collective decisions in the Security Council.”
- Why did UK and Allies need to use over 320-tons of uranium bombs in Iraq since 1991 to get rid of just ONE man?
- Does the Iraq War Logs not reveal that most of the acts of torture and murder were committed in the open
- How about the High Court appeal case brought by Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) in response to the British government’s decision not to order a single public inquiry into the hundreds of cases in which Iraqi civilians have alleged abuse and mistreatment.
- UK inspite of signing the Convention Against Torture (1987) and the Human Rights Act has not changed the UK practice of hooding, stress positions, subjection to noise, sleep deprivation, food and drink deprivation techniques still used even in 2003 as revealed at the Baha Mousa Inquiry. Sir William Gage’s report, published on 8 September, on the Baha Mousa Inquiry said ‘there was widespread ignorance of what was permitted in handling prisoners of war’.
- Is it not true that Ministry of Defence was forced to announce that another public inquiry is to take place into allegations that 19-year-old Hamid Al-Sweady, and up to 19 other Iraqis, was unlawfully killed at Camp Abu Naji, a British base in May 2004. There is evidence that some victims were mutilated before they died. Martyn Day, a lawyer involved in the case, stated that soldiers and officers may have covered up what was “one of the most atrocious episodes in British army history”.
- Ministry of Defence has initiated its own Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) investigation. IHAT, which was first concocted by the previous Labour government as claims of systematic abuse by British soldiers mounted,
David Cameron also professes to have viewed the controversial documentary by Channel 4 directed by Callum MacCrae the new spokesman for the LTTE. Having watched it he says it is “one of the most chilling documentaries” he had watched. This sounds no different to our former President referred to by most as the bandit queen now planning to come as the common candidate for the next election, who also makes guest appearance on the film claiming that her son cried and said he was ashamed to be a Sinhalese. We wonder why he did not cry when villages were razed to the ground by the LTTE, pregnant mothers killed, women and children hacked to death while sleeping by the LTTE, student Buddhist monks killed one after another after waylaying their bus, or children killed in a mosque while praying or maybe he has also forgotten that his own mother lost an eye after LTTE tried to assassinate her.
These crocodile tears are good for the likes of all those now enjoying LTTE funds to do as they say or those who speak as they do because they are counting votes that would bring them to Parliament no different to why Manmohan chickened out of coming to CHOGM highlighting how celluloid Tamil Nadu has now taken Eelam from Sri Lanka to India with Nedumaran putting up a statute of Prabakaran and his son and Indian authorities simply doing nothing about it because India is run by a widow who according to Dr. Subramaniam Swamy smuggled Indian artifacts out of India using the LTTE, and LTTE assassinated her own husband.
There are plenty of videos across the internet of how US, UK and Allied troops are committing war crimes with impunity – soldiers urinating on Qurans, humiliating captured soldiers, sexually abusing captured soldiers – there are too many to mention but why are these not taken round the world and screened before foreign missions and UN more importantly what needs to be said is that Al Qaeda or any other such terror movements like the LTTE are no saints and they would not be giving VIP treatment to any Government troops captured. What is however noteworthy of debate is that there is a stark difference to military orders to shoot and kill without defence and soldiers killing in self-defence. This is where Sri Lanka’s troops are at a higher level than that which they are being accused of.
US and UK will remain the belligerent occupiers of Iraq. International law generally requires that a state using force unlawfully should pay reparations for the damage caused. Iraq has paid billions of dollars to Kuwait and others for its unlawful invasion in 1990. The same rule requires the US, UK and other members of the coalition to pay for the damage they have caused in Iraq – Afghanistan – Libya and ALL other countries it has forcefully applied R2P to militarily invade and occupy nations and take over their resources.
Britain joined the US and NATO to eliminate Al Qaeda in Afghanistan – how many Afghans did the British soldiers bring to safety? Sri Lanka’s soldiers saved close to 300,000 Tamil ‘civilians’ (inverted commas because they were part-time combatants – voluntarily or forced BUT the armed forces treated them as civilians)
Let us never forget that whatever casualties the US, UK and Allies suffer, they cannot escape from the guilt that they have invaded and occupied nations ILLEGALLY and if natives of these nations are resisting it is within their right to object to INVADERS.
The spate of killings by foreign troops have never been catalogued. However, some crimes have been difficult to escape from. A total of 126 investigations have been conducted against British troops in Afghanistan. The Guardian has compiled a list of investigations and prosecutions of British troops who have been accused of killing or abusing Afghans since January 2005 under the Right of Information Act. There has been only 8 persecutions.
- Is it not true that the marines denied murdering the unknown captured Afghan national on or about September 15 2011, contrary to Section 42 of the Armed Forces Act 2006 and after killing the Afghan he had told his comrades “Obviously this doesn’t go anywhere, fellas. I just broke the Geneva Convention.” We would like to know how ‘disturbed’ David Cameron is after viewing these http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2490712/Caught-camera-British-Army-patrol-Afghanistan-moments-soldiers-murdered-injured-Taliban-insurgent-shooting-chest.html
Britain joined the US & NATO to eliminate Gaddafi and bring democracy to Libya – how many Libyans have British soldiers saved? Sri Lanka’s soldiers saved close to 300,000 Tamil ‘civilians’ (inverted commas because they were part-time combatants – voluntarily or forced. BUT the armed forces treated them as civilians)
After arming the rebels that took over Libya the UK Government in what is something to laugh about is now calling for war crimes investigations into the killing of Gaddafi! In the meanwhile the UK Government has agreed to pay £2.23 million to Libyan Sami al-Saadi, his wife and four young children who were kidnapped with the aid of MI6 and rendered to Tripoli. http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2012/12/18/tort-d18.html
How dare US or UK speak about human rights when both have been responsible for conflicts all over the world since 1945, more than 92-percent of war victims remain civilians, a third of them children. Does the US allow films of their war crimes that would incriminate the killers and their governments? If so what is stopping C4 and Callum McCrae covering these crimes?
Now that we are celebrating the Commonwealth – we should add that the Queen who receives all Foreign Office telegrams and papers is also privy to all of the exploits Britain gets upto and in her 60 years as unelected head of state, from 1952, a lot of other international crimes have been committed.
Britains crimes during the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya have been proved and a handful have recently won an epic case with compensation – however that 150,000 Africans were killed by the British is what we need to let the world know about. 10million Africans were killed – why is no one calling the killers HITLERS?
Let us go a little beyond to the massacre at the Qissa Khawani Bazaar in Peshawar (modern day Pakistan) on 23 April 1930 to be precise. The first major confrontation between British troops and non-violent demonstrators. The British gave orders to shoot and the number of dead unarmed protestors remain a historical BLANK because the Peshawar Archives indicate that the British Government decided to mask the Massacre by BRIBING the judge. Additionally King George VI had passed a resolution to KNIGHT Naimatullah Chaudhary with the title ‘SIR’ and ‘Lord’ for supporting the British troops. But Naimatullah had turned down the offer. It just shows that the British connived in various ways to create plenty of ‘SEPOYS’ who were ever ready to denounce their own race and religion and go behind the white skinned British – a facet not too different in the present context and there are many SEPOYS who are politicians and media personnel as well.
Mr. Cameron also needs to be reminded of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre – 13 April 1919, where again NON-VIOLENT protestors had gathered in Amritsar Punjab. On the orders of Brigadier-General Reginald E.H. Dyer, the army fired on the crowd for ten minutes, directing their bullets largely towards the few open gates through which people were trying to run out – 1000 or more are said to have died. 1650 rounds had been fired. Dyer was initially lauded by conservative forces in the empire!
Next we have the Batang Kali massacre: British soldiers admitted unlawful killings of Malaysia in 1948. Scots Guards soldiers admitted unlawfully shooting dead 24 Malaysian villagers then covering up the massacre – admissions coming ONLY in 1970. Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office maintain that it is too late for lessons to be learned from any inquiry and that most of the witnesses are no longer alive.
Even Sri Lanka has numerous mass murderers committed by the UK on ORDERS and this is what the UK Government needs to take stock of. ORDERS TO SHOOT by their Governments finds NOT the soldiers but the UK Government guilty.
When David Cameron or William Hague preaches to any on human rights the simple fact that 306 British and Commonwealth soldiers were shot on the orders of military top brass and senior officers during WW1. Their names still do not appear on official war memorials. Relatives and supporters of the executed men are fighting to win them a posthumous pardon. Their Shot at Dawn campaign claims the soldiers were blameless because it was severe psychological trauma, not cowardice, that rendered them physically unable to cope with the shocking scenes they had witnessed.
Can David Cameron not deny that MI6 officers does not have a license to kill or commit any other crime, enshrined in a curious and little-known law that was intended to protect British spies from being prosecuted or sued in the UK after committing crimes abroad. There is also the Section 7 of the 1994 Intelligence Services Act that protects not only spies involved in bugging or bribery but anyone embroiled in far more serious matters like murder, kidnap, torture – as long as their actions have been authorized in writing by a secretary of state. We wonder how many such authorizations have taken place? Does this not mean that UK can never be charged for secret renditions. How many other such clause 7 authorizations under the Intelligence Services Act have there been to date – “If, apart from this section, a person would be liable in the United Kingdom for any act done outside the British Islands, he shall not be so liable if the act is one which is authorised to be done by virtue of an authorisation given by the secretary of state under this section.”
Does this not mean Mr. Cameron that “acts” that take place overseas which are illegal both under the laws of the country where they are committed and possibly under international law with section 7 and with the stroke of a pen a secretary of state can rule that noUK law can be brought to bear. That means none of UK ‘authorized’ human rights violations will ever see trial and Mr. David Cameron comes to talk tough with Sri Lanka on human rights!
Let us also remind David Cameron that he may well do to check up on World War One recruitment to realize that boy soldiers were recruited by the UK numbering as many as 250,000!!! http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/boy_soldiers.htm
David Cameron now pointing fingers may like to look at UK’s record of its bombing of Hamburg during WW2 from July 24 to 29, 1943, five RAF raids had created a firestorm which rose two and a half miles above the city. 750,000 people were made homeless, and up to 150,000 killed — many more than died from air raids in Britain in the whole of World War II.
The order of the London government, the C-in-C of the British Zone, Field Marshal Montgomery, was ordered to enforce a strict policy of ‘non-fraternisation’.
‘You must keep clear of Germans — man, woman and child — unless you meet them in the course of duty,’ he instructed. ‘You must not walk with them or shake hands or visit their homes.’ There was to be no smiling, no playing with children; (soldiers were put on a charge for ‘permitting children to climb on an Army vehicle’). Even if the British service personnel were not willing they had to follow orders. This is where we like to draw a STARK distinction in the arguments being made and the accusations against Sri Lanka. We do not judge British soldiers unless they have done these crimes on orders just as the US ordered its troops to kill anything that moved. It was these orders that led to so many soldiers suffering pain of mind for killing innocent people. Sri Lanka’s soldiers were never ordered to kill civilians.
The policy of the Sri Lankan Government was ZEO CASUALTIES – it was why 5000 soldiers died, it was why soldiers died while saving Tamil civilians being held hostage by the LTTE, it was why soldiers did not use entire fire power knowing they were inches from victory and this is what was clearly stated in the recent wikeleaks cable when Jacques de Maio, ICRC’s Head of Operations for South Asia in a confidential letter to the UN concluded that the Sri Lankan forces did not commit ‘genocide’ and concluded that ‘in fact, the army actually could have won the military battle faster with higher civilian casualties, yet chosen a slower approach which led to a greater number of Sri Lankan military deaths. He concluded however, by asserting that the GSL failed to recognize its obligation to protect civilians despite the approach leading to higher military casualties. From his standpoint, a soldier at war should be more likely to die than a civilian.’ In a separate cable to the UN, ICRC also confirms that the LTTE stored weapons in hospitals – did C4 not claim that the army was firing at hospitals despite ONLY civilians being inside them?
Therefore, while we welcome David Cameron to Sri Lanka we urge him not to come with Red Cards because if at all we can ever be thankful to the British it is the English language for it has given us the opportunity to place the facts before the lies and to showcase that Britain’s crimes are nothing it should achieve any standing ovations for.
We hope Mr. David Cameron enjoys his stay in Sri Lanka and takes back with him the truth but we know that political survival means having to play to the gallery but there is always a window of hope for change of conscience – based on truth and facts.