Is Indian AI, with Indian Shetty, pushing for Indian intervention?
Posted on October 31st, 2012

H. L. D. Mahindapala

Salil Shetty, an Indian national, was appointed as Secretary-General of Amnesty International, (AI) in June 2010. Under his watch AI’s alliances with the anti-Sri Lankan forces have been strengthened considerably. For instance, AI in Canada took a sum of $50,000 offered by the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) – an organisation described by the ICG as a front of the LTTE. When I raised this issue at the 19th session of the UNHRC in Geneva the AI representative accused me of being the spokesperson for the Defence Ministry. He, however, did not deny the charge of accepting $50,000 from CTC. Without any defence to justify AI taking $50,000 from an organisation linked to a banned terrorist outfit he made a counter-accusation to cover-up the guilt of AI going to bed with LTTE criminals. It’s time that AI realised that it should not go to bed with dogs because you get up with fleas.

I also questioned the ethics of AI accepting money from an internationally banned terrorist organisation. I asked how an organisation professing to stand up for human rights could take money from “the world’s deadliest terrorist organisation” (FBI) violating international humanitarian law.

“Will AI accept money from Al Qaeda? Will it accept money from the Mafia?” I asked.

A female voice responding said that in Canada anyone can make donations to any charitable organisation. I did not know then that it was the voice of the Canadian Ambassadress. I agree with her. But my question referred not to the donors but to recipients. Anyone surely can donate money to AI. Even Osama bin Laden or his agents disguised as charitable or human rights activists can do so. But my question pointedly asked whether AI should take money from the CTC when it also funds its parent body, the LTTE, to abduct school-going children, to decimate more Tamils than all the other forces put together, to incarcerate dissidents in 6′ x 6′ barbed wire cages, or to send suicide bombers to target democratically elected leaders (example: Rajiv Gandhi), to shoot in the back of an unarmed Tamil academic cycling home to look after her daughters (example: Ragini Tiranama, head of the Anatomy Department of the University of Jaffna), to liquidate the Tamil leadership in the democratic mainstream, not to mention the long list of  war crimes and crimes against humanity that bled Jaffna to near death.

Simply put, what is the morality of AI accepting money from banned political criminals to promote human rights? How can they serve human rights when they are on the pay roll of those who openly violate human rights? Can AI defy the profound Biblical finding and serve God and Mammon at the same time? The LTTE agents were funding AI not because they are committed to human rights but because they know that AI can be bought for a fistful of dollars to influence and promote anti-Sri Lankan agenda in Western capitals.

More importantly, they know that AI could not be bought to back the LTTE openly. So the politics of the agents of the LTTE abroad has been, and continue to be, to pressure human rights organisations to pursue, as vigorously as possible, an anti-Sri Lankan propaganda agenda for them to capitalise on the political mileage gained by demonizing Sri Lanka.

AI pretends that it is above corruption and it can’t be influenced by $50,000. But its decision-makers also know that, for instance, John Argue from Canadian AI, whom I met at the YMCA in Colombo some time back, can be financed to visit Sri Lanka and write anti-Sri Lankan reports with funding collected from all sources. And, of course, a $50,000 from CTC adds to swell the total funding of the expenses of AI’s field workers.

Every dollar helps John Argue and Yolanda  Foster, Sri Lanka expert at AI, to cry with a bleeding heart at international fora about the violations of human rights in Sri Lanka while at the back of their minds they are fully aware that they are wining and dining abroad on funds donated by violators of human rights. Their morality is tainted beyond any airbrushing because they have placed themselves under obligations to the anti-Sri Lankan criminals who expect — and receive — pay backs with anti-Sri Lankan agenda in the key places that matter in the West. By accepting $50,000 — other amounts are unknown — they have compromised their position vis-a-vis Sri Lanka in particular? And how ethical and acceptable can AI’s judgments be on Sri Lanka when they are in cahoots with the LTTE fronts abroad?

Leaving aside the Canadian AI for the moment let’s move on to the Indian AI. With its known anti-Sri Lankan bias, it is not surprising to find ( mark you, under Indian Shetty’s watch) the Indian AI coming out with a petition of 50,000 — that funny figure again! — insisting that “the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh should influence Sri Lanka to protect the rights of its citizens and ensure that those guilty of human rights abuses are held accountable.” This is the latest anti-Sri Lankan move by AI  — all done in the goody-goody name of protecting human rights.

The timing is also significant. The Indian AI has made its anti-Sri Lankan move at a time when India, which is presiding in judgment over Sri Lanka right now at the latest Universal Period Review (UPR) in Geneva, is due to submit its report next week. The Indian AI’s move is seen as an underhand move to back India’s next anti-Sri Lanka move at the UNHRC. Of course, UPR has a fundamental duty to investigate all violations of human rights abuses in any country. India too has a right to protect human rights in Sri Lanka as and when it is necessary under international law. Sri Lankans can never forget that India took the moral high ground in the 19th sessions of UNHRC and voted against Sri Lanka, siding with American-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka, all in the name of protecting the rights of Sri Lankans. So India could not have got a better and a timely gift than the petition of the Indian AI demanding  an investigation into the human rights violations of the longest running war in Asia — 33 years to be exact counting from the day the Tamil leadership declared war on the nation in the Vadukoddai Resolution passed on May 14, 1976.

In making this demand I presume that the morally superior Indians who signed the petition to their Prime Minister did mean to include the human rights violations committed on Sri Lankan soil during the entire 33-year-old war and just not the last five months in which the desperate LTTE, running with their tails between their legs, fired back indiscriminately at the 300,000 Tamils they had hijacked as their human shield, forcing the Sri Lankan forces to target the “insane fury” of the retreating Tigers. Besides, any argument on the last phase of the war should take into consideration the following critical factors that emerged from the retaliatory firing of the Security Forces — however damaging it may have been:  it (1) ended a 33-year-old war  that could not be ended  even with Indian and international interventions,  (2)  saved nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians,  (3)  removed from the political equation the subhuman tyranny of Velupillai Prabhakaran, (4) restored normalcy to 20 million Sri Lankans, (5) restored democracy to the north and east, (5) liberated the Tamil politicians who were treated like lap dogs tied to the leash of Prabhakaran without any rights to bark or move freely, (6) stabilised not only Sri Lanka but also the SAARC region, (7) paved the path for reconciliation by removing the  intransigent Tamil Tigers — the greatest obstacle for peace and reconciliation – – and, (8) above all. restored dignity, self-respect, equality and liberty to the Jaffna Tamils whose only right  under “the insane fury”(Yalpana Vaipava  Malai) of Tiger leadership was to go along  unquestioningly and sheepishly with the criminal politics of Velupillai Prabhakaran.

The basic rights of the Tamils to walk as free people were unattainable as long as the LTTE was keeping the Tamils under the jackboot of Prabhakaran with the blessings of the TNA and the pro-Tiger Tamil expatriates. The irony, however, is this: if all this was achieved in Afghanistan, for instance, the Western media and the American establishment, the putative saviour, protector and defender of the free world, would have danced a wild fandango on Wall Street in USA and High Street in London. But when Sri Lanka achieves the impossible — the LTTE was rated as invincible — she is hauled up before the UNHRC.

Besides, human rights organisations like the AI, have decided deliberately to focus on the human rights violations that occurred only in the last five months — i.e., from January 2009 to May 18, 2009 when the LTTE was decimated on the banks of the Nandikadal Lagoon. This questionable line drawn to separate the last five months from the 33-year-old war is a politically motivated move to put ONLY Sri Lanka in the dock leaving out all the international and national actors who were an integral part of the 33-year-old war. What is more, there is nothing more irrational and  bizarre than the arbitrary line drawn to judge only the last five months out of a 33-year-old war. It is immoral and lacks fairness and justice measured by any yardstick.

For starters, this five month limitation is tantamount to saying that there were human rights violations only in the last stage. Does this mean that the preceding 32 years and seven months were fought with roses and lilies and not live bullets? All wars at all time result in violations of human rights committed by combatants on all sides. So on what moral principles was this time frame drawn to focus only on the last five months in which Sri Lankan forces played a key role? Who decided that it should be confined only to the last stage? Who benefits from this time frame? Who are those excluded from this time frame? Was this time frame demarcated purely to indict Sri Lanka and exclude the others who were a part of the 33-year-old Vadukoddai War violating international humanitarian law?

Is there a precedence in international law for confining the guilt of combatants only to the last five months? Were the Nazis and Japanese tried only for the crimes committed during the last five months? And how many of the victors — USA and Britain in particular — were put on trial for committing some of the most heinous and gross violations of human rights in the last stages of World War II? Leaving aside the war crimes of dropping atom bombs on Hiroshima (140,000 civilians killed) and Nagasaki (80,000 civilians killed) the fire bombing of Dresden (300,000 civilians killed) and Tokyo (400,000 civilians killed) took place in the last stages of the World War II to end the war swiftly as Hitler and Tojo were resisting surrender even when they knew they were defeated. Since these are the international standards observed at the highest level why should only Sri Lanka be judged by what happened in the last five months, if it is true?

The application of a five-month rule to judge Sri Lanka leaving aside the preceding 32 years and seven months clearly has a sinister political agenda. For instance, it excludes the Indian IPKF soldiers who raped, tortured, incarcerated without trial, killed Jaffna Tamil civilians during their operations in the north and the east. The blindness of Indian AI’s move, limiting judgement only on Sri Lankan operations indicate amply that they are out to exonerate Indians of violating international humanitarian law and focus only on Sri Lanka. Shetty, being an Indian, presumably would have been aware of the goings-on at the Indian AI. If, for instance, the Indian AI included all violators of human rights in the Vadukoddai War — particularly India — then the focus on Sri Lanka would have been fair. But to point a finger only at Sri Lanka and exclude India can only lead to the conclusion that the Indian AI is operating in a timely manner to help India to intervene in Sri Lankan politics. It points directly to the fact that Indian AI is surreptitiously conspiring with the Indian government to push the anti-Sri Lankan agenda which is due to unfold in Geneva next week.

Not only India the Tamil leaders in the TNA too have been a submissive and consenting part of the LTTE regime, aiding and abetting the atrocities committed by the LTTE throughout its fascist rule. So should not the TNA leaders also be held responsible and answerable to the Tamil community for the war crimes and the crimes against the Tamil community? The following example clarifies the extent of the responsibility of the TNA to the Tamil people. At the end of World War II the British hanged William Joyce, better known as Lord Haw-Haw, for merely broadcasting anti-British propaganda for Hitler from Berlin. The TNA leaders went beyond that. With their open consent and commitment to the LTTE they knowingly legitimised the crimes committed against the Tamil civilians by their political master Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Under international law giving consent knowingly to terrorism, war crimes and crimes against humanity is a punishable act. In Australia the High Court sentenced  to 12 years Belaal Kazaal, a Muslim, for merely posting Al Qaeda program on his website. An equally relevant case is that of the six Italian geophysicists sentenced to six years last week by an Italian court over the deaths that occurred in 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila. They were accused of giving “falsely reassuring statement before the quake, while the defence maintained that there was no way of predicting a major earthquake. The case was never about the power of prediction – it was about what was interpreted to be an inadequate characterisation of the risks; of being misleadingly reassuring about the dangers that faced their city.” (BBC).  If the law can go that far to punish scientists for something which they did not know how much more culpable are Sampanthan and Sumanthiram for defending, promoting and giving their consent to the war crime and crimes against humanity committed by their acknowledged leader?

Will the Indian AI press the Indian Prime Minister to prosecute the TNA leaders and the IPKF generals as having failed to protect the Tamil civilians? Will Dr. Manmohan Singh instruct his delegation to UNHRC to include the IPKF and the TNA leaders for their violations of international humanitarian law?

Since the Indian AI took the lead in this move to take action against Sri Lanka, the Indian Secretary-General of AI, Shetty, has a responsibility to clean up his act before AI goes from bad to worse. If he doesn’t then there is a possibility of his tenure at AI being described by his name spelt, of  course, not with an “e” but with an “i”.

4 Responses to “Is Indian AI, with Indian Shetty, pushing for Indian intervention?”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL HAS SHOWN THEIR TRUE COLOURS, OF THEIR DUPLICITY IN DEALING WITH HUMAN RIGHTS. AN LTTE BARBER, WAS ALSO A MASTER ON IN-HUMAN RIGHTS. HE TALKED THE TALK, OF A CONSTANT BLOOD BATH, AND THEN, LITTERALLY HE RECEIVED IT.

    SRI LANKA has been a PlayGround for many NGOs of Shady Character. Their damning activites were many times focussed in the media, but the Government that be, failed to take any notice.

    The Acceptance of $50,000 by Amnesty International Canada, from the LTTE Terrorists Organisation as a donation, was despicable, and Sri Lanka SHOULD NOT ENTERTAIN ~~AI who is associated with a terrorists Organisation to come to Sri Lanka and SERMON HUMAN RIGHTS PRECEPTS. There is enough evidence to show them as Traitors.

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SHOULD BE KICKED OUT FORTHWITH FROM SRI LANKA. SRI LANKA JUST NOW NEEDS NO INTERLOPERS, CAUSING CONFUSION IN THE COUNTRY. Dr. MERVYN SILVA SHOULD TAKE THIS ISSUE TO A CLOSE.

  2. LankaLover Says:

    Great article.. thanks for writing this Mahinda!

    AI, HRW, ICJ and many so called Human Right Champions have over and over proved that they are mere tools (shackles I may say) are from time to time act as ‘Economic Hitmen’. They have no morals or principles. They work and operate on satisfying various agendas of their ‘sponsors’. They are not in anyway ‘champions’ of human rights, but simply ‘prostitutes of human rights’.

    They prostitute openly for paychecks to decide who to be bashed and who to be protected. When millions of people are being killed and their human rights are violated by their paymasters and pimps, these human right prostitutes are nowhere to be seen. However, if the conditions were met and the instructions were received, they are ever ready to put up any type of human rights show to please their paymasters. That’s the reality.

    It is important to constantly expose these prostitutes for the benefit of mankind. Else, they have their own field and day pursuing their ill agendas.

    Thank you for exposing these crooked prostitutes!

  3. nilwala Says:

    Amnesty International was pushing for international action against Sri Lanka as far back as the late ’70s when they put out a document about “Disappearances in Jaffna”, which was challenged by Sri Lanka Union of USA. at a seminar held in Manhattan which was attended by Hon. Lalith Athulathmudali as well. It was shown that the statistics and data presented by AI in that document were full of errors, and obviously compiled in haste. For example, anecdotal accounts that were presented in one place in the document were contradicted in another, and the research was shown to be full of holes. Evidently, Amnesty is still at it. At the time it was considered to be an essentially Western effort. It now seems to have a gathered momentum with overt Indian connections.

  4. Christie Says:

    Nilwala thanks for your contributions.

    Third Eye the Indian intelligence service India calls it RAW has been involved with Amnesty Intenational almost from its start.
    The reason AI started as organisation to support the rights of victims of British Empire and others European empires. India saw this as a threat to their Empire, as in fact British Empire is British Indian Empire. If I remeber correct AI supported Mau Mau, Jomo Kenyattas freedom movement in Kenya.
    Today Mau Mau is branded as a terrorist organisation by the US States Dept.
    Third Eye always kept a watch full eye on Indian colonies like Kenya, Uganda, Ceylon, Burma, Fiji in case the locals will follow expulsion of Indian colonial parasites, that is uprising against the Indian colonial parasites. Defranchising of them in Ceylon, Expulsion of Indians from Burma are examples.

    Third Eye used its tentacles in the Empire to infitrate or set up local AI branches. The AI in head Ceylon in the sixties and seventies was a lady from Poland, a widow of a Sinhalese professor and she lived in Horton place who the Third Eye used.
    AI used to have thousands of brances all over the world mainly in the West.

    Those days some of these barnches were making massive contributions to the AI. One of them was in Victoria Australia which had few Indian looking members. AI has been used by CIA.

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