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Aftenposten-Wikileaks shows shallow understanding of US diplomats

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 17 May 2011 07:35 No Comment]

Classified cables of US diplomats sent between February 2009 and January 2010, made available by Wikileaks and released in the Norwegian media Aftenposten earlier this month, show how shallow and wanting the understanding of the US diplomats in dealing with the decades-old and still continuing national question and genocide in the island of Sri Lanka, writes TamilNet political commentator in Colombo. The primary responsibility of the diaspora, rather than being ‘guided’ by such diplomacy, is the edification of the neo-Orientalist thinking in the Western capitals, especially in Washington, London and Paris for the replacement of this kind of diplomacy, he further writes, citing what the public opinion has achieved in Tamil Nadu and pointing to where the public opinion has to be directed to in the world by the diaspora.

The political commentator continues:

The cables that show irresponsibility and gullibility of the US diplomats gain particular significance in invalidating the recent claim of the Norwegian peace facilitator Erik Solhiem that there was a five-months long effort to bring the war to an end by organising the ‘surrender’ of the LTTE, but the LTTE was not agreeable.

The LTTE indeed responded, as a cable originating from Robert Blake in March 2009 shows:

“The LTTE has responded to Norwegian overtures by insisting there should be a cease-fire and political negotiations to resolve the conflict. The LTTE has also raised numerous procedural and other questions about how the UN and ICRC might evacuate civilians, the treatment they would be subjected to in the camps in Vavuniya, and GSL plans to resettle them,” Blake says.

As the cables show, the West was neither able to arrange a third-party surrender righteously asked by the LTTE, nor was it able to guarantee the life and self-respect of the people it meekly watched getting into the hands of the genocidal military of Colombo.

A cable originating from Robert Blake in March 2009 shows clearly that neither the Co-Chairs nor the peace facilitators were prepared to arrange third party options for the surrender or to receive the civilians, but they planned to pressure the diaspora to make demands with the LTTE to send civilians into the hands of the SL Army.

The March cable also reveals that Norway and the USA, without the knowledge of others, worked secretly in persuading the LTTE to send civilians, but without meeting the LTTE expectation of UN or ICRC evacuation of civilians.

* * *

The impression one gets from the cables is that either the shallow and gullible West was deceived by Colombo for the cables after April show desperation and frustration of the US diplomats, or perhaps the US deliberately wanted the war to end in the way it ended.

The Aftenposten-Wikileaks cables are selective in theme and time-span. They have to be read along with The Hindu-Wikileaks cables to understand the original intensions and mobilisation of the US in orientating the war.

A cable of Robert Blake in February 2009, found in the Aftenposten-Wikileaks, too show that ‘counterinsurgency’ was more important to him than a political settlement.

The UN panel report makes a particular note on the serious underestimation of the number of civilians trapped in the war zone as a crime. Media accusations on this issue were hitherto made only on the Colombo and New Delhi establishments and to some extent on the UN officials that their open underestimation muffled the gravity of the situation and affected the supply of food and medicine.

But surprisingly, even a confidential cable of Robert O, Blake shows that there was a serious underestimation – almost 50 percent reduction. Was he deliberately misleading his government in the confidential cable or was the US infrastructure ineffective in getting the actual figure?

Another confidential cable of Blake, in which he calls the Tamil diaspora as ‘paymasters’ of the LTTE, to satisfy whom the LTTE in the island was fighting the war, shows his lack of understanding of the decades-old crisis in the island and his incurable bias against the Tamil diaspora.

His bias, probably stemming from the inability of his policies to contain the crisis in the island in the way he wished, was reflecting in the reports of some international organisations too that were orchestrated by his line of thinking. To what extent this bias could achieve ‘reconciliation’ between the US government and the Eezham Tamil diaspora is another question.

The poor understanding in grasping the dynamics and the sheer helplessness of the US State Department diplomats that reflect in the content, language and tone of the cables released by the Aftenposten-Wikileaks also raise another serious question, whether leaving the diplomats to their gullibility another force was conducting the affairs in actual sense. We are yet to see leaked Pentagon and intelligence cables, if at all they exist in available forms.

For instance, on the capture of KP, the US diplomat in Colombo only quotes what DBS Jeyaraj has written on it. But surprisingly in his confidential cable, he omits an important hint Jeyaraj has made on an Intelligence Agency that questions the nature of the ‘capture.’

* * *

In total, the ‘collection’ of Aftenposten-Wikileaks cables doesn’t tell anything people don’t know. One only sees them now in black and white, with the tag ‘US State Department’ put on it.

However, one who reads them can’t help the impression that the ‘selection’ of the cables in the Aftenposten at this juncture was primarily meant for impressing upon the public on how hard the US diplomats tried to save the civilians before becoming ‘helpless,’ and how pragmatic it is for Tamils to now settle down with the 13th Amendment, which is the wish of India, the US and the UN, even though extracting the implementation of even that is an extraordinary task for them to achieve with Colombo.

At one stage, a cable sent on 27 April 2009 by the US diplomat in Colombo James R. Moore, tries to imply that the visit of the Indian officials Narayanan and Menon, just 24 hours before the Co-Chairs meeting Colombo might have had connections to Colombo rejecting talks on mediated surrender of the LTTE.

“Menon and Narayanan were slightly more optimistic of the chances to persuade President Rajapaksa to offer the Tamils a genuinely inclusive political settlement once fighting had ended,” another US cable dated 13 May, cites the impression of Des Brown after his visit to India.

Two international wars were fought, one by India and the other with the complicity of all the powers, always keeping Eezham Tamils at the receiving end, only to escalate the genocide in the island.

If all what had happened since 1987, taking the life of more than a hundred thousand people, was just for implementing what is in the constitution and failed, and what doesn’t come under any of the known political formulas appropriate to address chronic national questions, then the world has to realise that there is something wrong with that State and the idea of upholding that State. There is something wrong in the existing line of thinking in the diplomats of the powers. There is something deliberately kept wrong in the international system.

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PRESIDENT BEWILDERED, FRUSTRATED WITH U.S. SRI LANKA POLICY 31.08.2009:

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CAPTURE OF SELVARAJAH PATHMANATHAN, AKA KP 15.07.2009:

SRI LANKA: S/WCI AMB. WILLIAMSON´S GENEVA MEETINGS 10.06.2009:

SRI LANKA: CHARGE URGES FOREIGN MINISTRY TO SEEK POSITIVE WAY FORWARD 10.06.2009:

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SRI LANKA: ARMY´S FIVE-YEAR STRATEGY FOR EXPANSION 27.05.2009:

SRI LANKA: BAN KI-MOON BRIEFS CO-CHAIR AMBASSADORS ON VISIT 26.05.2009:

IN FAREWELL, AMBASSADOR PRESSES HARD ON HUMANITARIAN ACCESS AND POLITICAL SOLUTION 17.05.2009:

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HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN SRI LANKA (C-NE9-00842) 07.05.2009:

CHARGE UNDERSCORES CONCERNS ABOUT IMF REQUEST 07.05.2009:

UPDATE ON UK ACTION AND THINKING 06.05.2009:

SRI LANKA: PRESIDENT DISCUSSES HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE WITH CO-CHAIR AMBASSADORS 05.05.2009:

SRI LANKA: EMBASSY SHARES IMAGES OF SAFE ZONE WITH PRESIDENT 27.04.2009:

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SECRETARY CLINTON´S MEETING WITH NORWEGIAN FOREIGN MINISTER JONAS GAHR STOERE 19.03.2009:

A SUGGESTION FOR GETTING MANY OF SRI LANKA´S CIVILIANS OUT OF THE CONFLICT ZONE 05.03.2009:

SRI LANKA: CO-CHAIR AMBASSADORS DISCUSS WAYS TO PRESSURE GSL AND LTTE 05.02.2009:

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TamilNet: 16.05.11 Aftenposten-Wikileaks shows shallow understanding of US diplomats

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