Aussie Greens cover-up Indian war crimes in Senate
Posted on February 18th, 2014

H. L. D. Mahindapala

 Senator Christine Milne, Leader of the Australian Greens Party, has been a regular  critic of Sri Lanka’s role in the  longest running war in Asia ” a war launched by the Tamil leadership in 1976 and ended in 2009. Her recent speech in the Australian  Senate once again attacked Sri Lanka demanding an  independent investigation into human rights  violations in the last eight months (September 2008 to May 2009) of the war. She has never asked for an investigation into the war crimes committed by the Indian IPKF forces during the  three years ( from 1987 to 1990) they occupied the north and the east.. H. L. D. Mahindapala raised this issue with Sen. Milne. The reply sent from her office and Mahindapala’s response to that are reproduced below.

 This correspondence reveals the bias of Western politicians who parade as champions  of human rights. Here is the full text of the reply sent by  Mahindapala which deal with the core issues arising from the US-UK resolution due to be presented at UNHRC in March:

 James Stewart

Office of Senator Christine Milne

Leader of the Australian Greens

GPO Box 896 Hobart TAS 7001

 Dear Mr. Stewart,

 I  refer to my original e-mail sent in response to Sen. Christine Milne’s speech in Parliament calling for an independent inquiry into the alleged violations of international humanitarian law between September 2008 and May 2009.

 I regret to note that I have not received an acknowledgement yet. However, I note you have replied my letter sent by Mr. Ranjith Soysa. I thank  you for that.

 The contents of your reply, sent  on  behalf of Sen. Milne, makes it imperative that I clarify some issues raised by me as you have misrepresented them in your reply to Mr. Soysa. First thing I wish to state is that you have skipped the main issues raised in my letter and diverted attention to  issues that were never mentioned in my letter. It is surprising that a senior staff member of Sen. Milne’s office has decided to reply on behalf of the Senator without dealing  with the main issues. I also can’t believe that this has been done presumably with the consent of the Senator.

 Let me deal with the salient point in your reply. You state: “The thrust of your objection is that Senator Milne’s speech did not adequately account for the fact that the LTTE also participated in war crimes. However, Senator Milne acknowledged that the LTTE have also been accused of war crimes.” I do not know by what logic you arrived at the conclusion that the main thrust in my letter is that “Senator Milne’s speech did not adequately account for the fact that the LTTE also participated in war crimes.”

 I regret to state that you are deliberately misstating my letter which said, inter alia, “……you (Sen Milne) have accused, repeating the contents in the US-UK resolution, only Sri Lanka and the LTTE as having violated humanitarian law.”  This gives the lie  to your accusation that I had blamed Sen. Milne for not holding LTTE responsible for its war crimes. If you note I have stated that, following the US-UK resolution, Sen. Milne only blames Sri Lanka and LTTE in equal measure leaving out the third military interventionist, India.

 Purely to avoid any further misunderstanding may I state that the main thrust of my letter to Sen Milne, is two-fold: 1. She focuses unjustly only on the last few months of 33-year old war which  is absurd by any known standards and 2. She has conveniently ignored the war crimes committed by the Indian forces that occupied Jaffna from 1987 ” 1990. Please note  that she mentions LTTE only in passing, like the US-UK resolution, and focuses mainly on the Sri Lankan violations which are alleged to have taken place within the last eight months of a 33-year-old war (i.e., September 2008 ” May 2009). What is baffling is why she concentrated on eight months of a 33-year old war and conveniently skips  the crimes committed by India for three years (1987 ” 1990).

 Let me clarify this further. The 33-year-old war ” the longest running war in Asia ” was fought by three militarized forces: 1. Sri Lankan, 2. LTTE and 3. Indian militaries. She focuses  on two of these ” i.e., Sri Lanka and LTTE, the latter in passing. How can a committed human rights champion like Sen. Milne ignore the brutal role of India when  documented evidence was produced for her to deal with human rights  violations  of the IPKF soldiers.

 I also pointed out to her that the Head of the Intelligence Unit of the Indian Forces in Sri Lanka has said: : “There are a few issues involved in analysing the allegations of atrocities by Indian troops after 25 years. In COIN (Counter Insurgent Operations) operations there are always innocent civilians killed, usually described as collateral damage in the fire-fight between two sides. This happened in Sri Lanka also. But there were specific instances where serious allegations were leveled. I remember two of them: massacre of patients and doctors by troops in Jaffna teaching hospital and retributive killings in an ambush in Valvettithurai. I think both the Army leadership and Government (of India) failed to institute transparent investigations to get at the truth and disprove them or punish the culprits. But in 1987-88 human rights was not a big issue worldwide as it is now. India was no exception to this. Bigger killings were taking place in Afghanistan where the US was fighting a proxy war against Soviets. India itself did not pay much attention to human rights accusations against it. But all this is hindsight wisdom.” (International Law Journal of London,  Interviewer Parasaran Rangarajan, Editor — ” Feb. 6, 2014).

 What more proof does Sen. Milne need to live up to her claim to be the champion of human rights?

 In fairness to  you, may I mention that you admit, in  vague sort of way,  that crimes committed prior to “the close of the war….. should also be investigated.” This, I must add, is an afterthought introduced by you and not mentioned in the speech of the good Senator. Obviously, Indian violations have not come into her radar screen either because she does not think they are important or because she is wearing tinted glasses.

 Anyway, the only other military force that violated international humanitarian and human right law, prior to the last few months, is India. So why is Sen. Milne running away without facing this issue of Indian violations of human rights? How valid is her morality on human rights when she accuses only two of the violators of human rights in Sri Lanka and not the most significant force: India, the regional super power? Besides, the violations of human rights would not have reached the level  that occurred in  the last months of the war if India did not  train, finance, encourage and export terrorism to Sri Lanka. Ironically, India has been the creator and preserver of Tamil terrorism that destroyed Sri Lanka. India  is the prime mover for the creation of Tamil terrorism.  So why is she letting India off the hook?

 Your exit  strategy is to say, in your reply to Mr. Soysa: “You are quite right that many war crimes have no doubt been carried out prior to the close of the war and, no doubt, those crimes should also be investigated. However, as a starting point, the Greens hope that the allegations mentioned in the report should be investigated.” This is the fundamental flaw (or is  it bias) exposed in this excuse trotted out by you. Starting from US-UK resolutions and ending in Sen. Milne et al make the last phase “the starting point”. This is an arbitrary cut-off point which excludes India. Should not those genuinely concerned with human rights cover all violations of human rights simultaneously? What gives Sen. Milne and the movers of the US-UK resolution the  moral right to start at the point that suits their political agenda excluding their “strategic partners” in global politics?  Should violations of  human rights be judged on the arbitrary lines determined by partisan do-gooders who assume that they can dictate morality like kissing that goes by favour?

 Besides, the head of the Intelligence Chief  of IPKF in Sri Lanka, Col. R. Hariharan, says unequivocally that “both the Army leadership and Government (of India) failed to institute transparent investigations to get at the truth and disprove them or punish the culprits.” When it is clear that India has “failed to institute transparent investigations to get at the truth and disprove them or punish the culprits” for 25 years shouldn’t Sen. Milne begin from that point instead of starting from the last phase of the war? Sen. Milne does not mention even  in passing the atrocities committed by the Indian forces 25 years ago. Why? Does she sees only the Sri Lankan chip in her eyes and not  the Indian tree trunks staring in front of her which are visible if she cares to look at them even without her glasses?   

 You say that she was focused only on the report titled Island of Impunity? Investigation into international crimes  in the final  stage of Sri Lankan civil war ( 13/2) published by Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) “working for fair, just and democratic society”, as stated by PIAC. The  title, “Island of Impunity” is most appropriate because Sen. Milne speech confirms that India has been allowed to get away with “impunity” despite the documents related to Indian crimes should have been known to her if she was investigating violations of human rights in Sri Lanka without bias. Well, now that she has taken  the PIAC report seriously will she also in the interest of human rights and also in the interest of “working for fair, just and democratic society” request  PIAC also to investigate the crimes committed by India?

 Now  that I have clarified my issues arising from Sen. Milne’s speech, can you kindly persuade her to answer the  following queries:

  1. As a leading champion of human rights isn’t  it her  primary duty to deal with all war crimes and crimes against humanity, irrespective of who committed them? Instead of sweeping the Indian crimes under the carpet shouldn’t she have begun by investigating the Indian crimes on the principle of noblesse oblige? Shouldn’t the Big Brothers set the example for small brothers to follow?
  2. The Indian violations were committed 25 years ago. How come she woke up to violations  of international humanitarian and human rights law in Sri Lanka only after the Sri Lankan forces defeated “the deadliest terrorist outfit in the world” exported to Sri Lanka by “Incredible India”?
  3. How fair is it  for a human rights champion to deal with human rights issues that suits his/her political agenda and ignore other crimes that committed by big powers?
  4. Will the good Senator even now consider raising this issue  of Indian  violations and insist that the Indian war crimes also be included (by name) in the forthcoming US-UK resolution in Geneva?
  5. Will she also condemn the move of the US government to cozy up to Narendra Modi, the BJP candidate tipped  to be the next Prime Minister of India, ignoring the earlier American decision to refuse a visa to Modi for the massacre of Muslims in the state of Gujarat run by him?
  6. Since she condemns Prime Minister Tony Abbot for saying that “we (the Australian government) accept that  sometimes in difficult circumstance, difficult  things  happen” will she also condemn Tony Abbot, US and the  rest of the international community for recognizing Modi as the Prime Minister of India if he wins  the coming election and oppose his participation in the next Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting?
  7. Also will she sever all connections with the Indian High Commission in Canberra as it would be representing a government headed by a human rights violator who was denied a visa by the US?

 I trust you will have the time to reply this e-mail now  that I have clarified the key issues of human  rights arising from the speech made by the good Senator.

 Thanking you.

 Yours sincerely

 H. L. D. Mahindapala

Editor, The Observer (1990 ” 1994)

President, Sri Lanka Working Journalists’ Association ( 1991 ” 1993)

Secretary-General, South Asia Media Association (1993 ” 1994)

———————————————————————–

 Reply sent to Mahindapala by James Stewart of Senator Milne’s office:

 Dear Don,

 Thank you for your email. I am replying on behalf of Senator Milne.

 I am sorry that you felt my letter did not adequately address your concern about the IPKF involvement in Sri Lanka. Please note that we did not receive any correspondence from you and my reply was directed elsewhere.

 I point you towards the following statement made in that letter:

 You are quite right that many war crimes have no doubt been carried out prior to the close of the war and, no doubt, those crimes should also be investigated. However, as a starting point, the Greens hope that the allegations mentioned in the report should be investigated.

 As you can see, it is clear ” as you point out ” that other crimes have been committed by many parties. As you can appreciate, the Sri Lankan Civil War was very long with many actors that perpetrated many human rights violations. The goal of Senator Milne’s speech was to urge the Government to support an independent investigation into the human rights allegations illustrated in the report Island of Impunity.

 This does not mean that the Greens reject other investigations being carried out. On the contrary, the Greens support investigations into any allegation of human rights abuses, hence why we are ” at this time ” calling for a full investigation into allegations of abuse conducted on Manus Island. Our call for accountability on such matters is always open ended, contrary to your claim in your letter.

 I hope this helps address your concerns.

 Kind regards,

 James Stewart
Office of Senator Christine Milne
Leader of the Australian Greens
GPO Box 896 Hobart TAS 7001 | Ph: 03 6224 8899 | Fax: 03 6224 7599

 Reply sent by Mahindapala to James Stewart.

 Dear James,

Thanks for your prompt reply.

 Please note that I have already dealt with this point in my last e-mail to you.

 In case you missed it I am reproducing the relevant part for your attention:Your exit  strategy is to say, in your reply to Mr. Soysa: “You are quite right that many war crimes have no doubt been carried out prior to the close of the war and, no doubt, those crimes should also be investigated. However, as a starting point, the Greens hope that the allegations mentioned in the report should be investigated.” This is the fundamental flaw (or is  it bias) exposed in this excuse trotted out by you. Starting from US-UK resolutions and ending in Sen. Milne et al make the last phase “the starting point”. This is an arbitrary cut-off point which excludes India. Should not those genuinely concerned with human rights cover all violations of human rights simultaneously? What gives Sen. Milne and the movers of the US-UK resolution the  moral right to start at the point that suits their political agenda excluding their “strategic partners” in global politics?  Should violations of  human rights be judged on the arbitrary lines determined by partisan do-gooders who assume that they can dictate morality like kissing that goes by favour?”

 I would  be thankful if  you could address this issues comprehensively. Your attempt to glide over the vital issue of Indian crimes by blandly saying that all crimes should be investigated does not answer the questions raised by me. I feel it is more a cover-up for Indian crimes.

 You also failed the other questions raised by me.

 I’ll be most thankful if you could answer those questions, one by one, as it would clarify to me Senator Milne’s stand on human rights violations in Sri Lanka.

 Yours  sincerely

Mahinda

 

11 Responses to “Aussie Greens cover-up Indian war crimes in Senate”

  1. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Sri Lanka is facing governments and not nations. The current government of India (the Congress party), The Cameron government of the UK, the Obama government of the USA, The liberal party of Tony Abbot of Australia, to name a few who have ganged up on unverified charges against the Rajapakse Government of Sri Lanka.

    Regarding staying power the Rajapakse government has a greater chance of being elected and will face a new government in India probably run by the BJP which may or may not be good since it was the Congress party that was behind the support of the Tamil Tigers. There is a good chance the US will elect Mrs. Hillary Clinton a cold calculating spider who is the lackey of Obama. Expect no change from that government. As for the UK and Australia the new governments maybe a blessing for Sri Lanka

    Another issue is the rapid rise of anti Immigrant pro nationalist parties across Europe. If some of them come to power the newly arrived Tamil refugees may not find a friendly ear with these conservative nationalist parties. The European sector of the Tamil Diaspora may end up facing a specter of an intolerant Europe sick and tired of multiculturalism. This is when Colombo must not allow them to return but find a home in some other nation or continent.

  2. Sooriarachi Says:

    As I understand, Charles Taylor of Liberia was found guilty for aiding and abetting a terrorist group in a neighbouring country to commit human rights violations, in that country. Applying this principle, India is guilty up to the neck for not only aiding and abetting the LTTE and other Tamil terrorist groups to commit crimes in Sri Lanka, but India also created and trained them to commit such acts. This crime of India for over 30 years could be even worse than the crimes committed by the IPKF over 3 years.
    Further what about Norwegian Foreign Office, assisting the LTTE, which fact was even highlighted by the then Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadiragama?
    What about the Canadian Governments approving LTTE front organisations as charities and contributing millions to their coffers each month, knowingly or ignorantly that the LTTE was channelling this money to commit crimes in Sri Lanka, such as the Truck Bombing of the Central Bank?
    What about Tamilnadu, England and Norway politicians, still giving protection to LTTE war criminals?

    As for Australia, though I am disappointed with Australia for not being able to ban the LTTE, as all states have to agree, I am pleased with the stance taken by both the previous Labour regime and Current Liberal regime. However, still there is much pressure is applied on the regime by NGOs mushrooming every day to support the false propaganda of Tamil separatist forces and therefore, for how long the present regime could resist them is a worry.
    As for the Greens, they are just blind and hopeless and they are not credible.
    At elections, Australian Sri Lankans should vote for either Liberal or labour coalitions (rather than wasting a vote on unknown candidates), but if both the Liberal & Labour candidates are supportive of the separatists, then vote against the sitting member to get rid of him or her as a punishment. At the following elections do the same if the new member continues to support the Separatists. As Sri Lankans do not have organisations with wealth like the LTTE diaspora have amassed, voting at elections is the only weapon they have.

  3. Christie Says:

    “The liberal party of Tony Abbot of Australia, to name a few who have ganged up on unverified ….”.
    Dear Bernard
    PM of Australia Hon Tony Abbot came to CHOGM and stood by Sri Lanka. Please do make this type of allegations. Because I know for a fact newly arrived Indian immigrants are doing their best to change Liberal policy on Sri Lanka by infiltrating Liberal Branches. Comments like yours will be used by them to mislead Liberals. Please remember Indian Intelligence Service the Third Eye trawls everything. Last week Australia deported more than 30 Tamils back.

    Dear Soori
    “As for Australia, though I am disappointed with Australia for not being able to ban the LTTE, as all states have to agree,……
    The only State that did not agree is the State that has most of the Sinhalese settelers.
    I cannot say the reason publicly as my friends there may get in to trouble.

  4. Nanda Says:

    BW,
    What are you saying ?
    “The liberal party of Tony Abbot of Australia” did NOT ganged up with others.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    Further BAD NEWS from Endia.

    Now Rajiv killers are released and the barbarians are coming to Jaffna!!!

    Toiletnet calls them “victims”!

    These terrorists MUST be eliminated upon landing in SL.

    “Tamil Nadu government decides to release 7 victims in Rajiv assassination case

    [TamilNet, Wednesday, 19 February 2014, 08:03 GMT]

    The Tamil Nadu Government, in a suo motu statement to the State Assembly on Wednesday said it has decided to release the 7 prisoners, now imprisoned to lifetime in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The decision comes as the Indian Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to commute the death sentence on Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan to life imprisonment. In the meantime, the family of Thilliampalam Suthenthiraraja (Santhan), one of the three victims, thanked the people of Tamil Nadu and the global Tamil community for their struggle for the release of the innocent victims and said their only hope now was the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms Jayalalithaa. We will never forget the supreme sacrifices of Chengkodi and Muththukkumar seeking justice, the family said from Jaffna.

  6. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Christi and Nanda: I agree with both of you that Australia under Tony Abbot has been an ally with Sri Lanka. I mentioned that government in the context of Googling “India waters down UN resolution” where Australia is also mentioned. I should have checked if the Tony Abbot government was in power at that time. The main issue of my comment is that we are not dealing with nations but the governments that are in power. Example during Churchill Great Britain had no desire to give India her independence but when the (socialist) Atley government replaced Winston Churchill they not only gave India her independence but made sure India was divided.That single act cut India’s power and her aspiration to become a true Asian power. Governments do matter and by that Colombo can delay the process as some governments are facing elections and with a new government would come new foreign policies.

  7. Lorenzo Says:

    USA verses Russia over Ukraine.

    The 2 superpowers are fighting a PROXY WAR in Ukraine. If it goes to OPEN WAR the world will benefit. There should be some CLARITY between these 2.

    NOBAMA has threatened Ukraine army not to get involved in anything.
    US army chief has said the same thing.

    What right they have to threaten the Ukrainian army?

    Russia should develop a BACKBONE.

  8. Nanda Says:

    BW,
    There is no need to check. Googling alone is not enough, sometimes.
    Your “main issue is” right. It is the so called elected “government” which consist of individuals are agaist Sri lanka, not nations.

  9. Nanda Says:

    Lorenzo,
    Now eelaam is in full gear. Tamil nadoos can now land directly in airports controlled by Tamils of North.

  10. Lorenzo Says:

    Yes. Tamil Elam is in full gear.

    Soon TN-TE direct flights will bring MILLIONS of kallathonis.

  11. jayasiri Says:

    Thank you Mr. Mahindapal, It is time we find out who finance these Australian Greens. From some of comments made by Lankaweb contributors THEY (the Greens) are a fringe party depending on donations from various groups INSIGNIFICANT to major populous of Australia.

    I do not have to tell then who contrbutes to such parties & individuals ,to BENEFIT THEIR CAUSE not in Australia but ALWAYS in other countries. For Australians Gren party is very insignifcant.

    To get the limelight & feel important like the CHANNEL 4 of UK, these Greens are doing something to justify ther existence. It is time Australia PROSCRIBE LTTE as a Terror organization as 32 countries in Europe & North America have done. THIS WILL stop LTTE raising FUNDS in Australia & DO NOT START a war again in Sri Lanka.

    WITH respect to my responding to some VALID COMMENTS by Lankaweb readers, I FOUND OUT on February 19th, 2014(two days ago,) when I responded as USUAL to contribute our Lanka patriots, THAT COOMENT I MADE was addressd to Editor, LANAEB as always, BUT SOMEONE ELSE replied WITHOUT THE USUAL GREETING. That made me SUSPICIOUS IF SOMONE ELSE has INTERFERED about my coments which were meant to the EDITOR, LANKAWEB.

    When I realized something has gone wrong, or somone else IMPERSONATING as Editor, I was trying to BLOCK my commenst. It did not work, after some delay YAHOO informed me that my response was sent to Editor. I MUST ask the Editor lankaweb, if someone else is ACTUALLY capable of INTERFERING with oour comments, EXCEPT the Editor.

    DUE to this I changed my PASSWORD today & I hope our Editor be more vigilant as there are some who ENJOY doing anything to DISRUPT readers making comments & expressing their views to LANKAWEB.

    I hope if others have had similar eperiences, please feel fee to submit their comments……Thank you all………J

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