Load of Humbug!
Posted on May 21st, 2009

Bandula Kothalawala London

Mr Miliband has added yet another statement to the rapidly growing volume of his puerile, insipid and disingenuous utterances on Sri Lanka. The sanctimonious Mr Miliband, British Foreign Secretary, strenuously denies that he is an LTTE supporter and swears that his action was moved by humanitarian considerations! A careful examination of the acts of commission and omission of Mr Miliband and his Government, however, does not seem to lend much support to his claims. On the contrary, it flies in the face of his publicly avowed concern for the plight of civilians and exposes his hypocrisy and cynical manoeuvres without a shadow of doubt. LetƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s see what Mr Miliband and his band did before, during and after the events. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Before the events

The UK Government allowed the LTTE to have its international headquarters in London for a very long time despite the numerous representations made by the Sri Lankan Government which pointed out that this particular office was used to raise funds for its activities in Sri Lanka. In addition, the LTTE was discreetly assured that it had no problem with the British authorities as long as it did not do anything to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-foul its nest on British soil.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ Numerous atrocities against innocent civilians were committed with the funds raised in the UK and other European capitals. In fact, most LTTE activities in Sri Lanka were conceived, planned and co-ordinated through their London Headquarters. Some of the faxes sent by the LTTE to the Government of Sri Lanka during peace negotiations were sent, not from Kilinochchi, but from London.

The UK Government would, in the wake of those devastating attacks blowing to pieces hundreds of innocent civilians, some of whom were Tamils, trot out a few lines, admonishing the Government of Sri Lanka to start serious negotiations and would invariably make sure that the tone of the statement reflected the equality of treatment between the blood thirty terror outfit and the democratically elected Government of Sri Lanka.

There was no serious effort on the part of the UK authorities to persuade the terror outfit operating from London to put an end to violence. Although the UK Government banned the LTTE in 2001 and listed it as a terrorist organisation, no serious attempt was made to curb its illegal activities on British soil or to ban any of the mushrooming front organisations. On the contrary, until the terror attack on the World Trade Centre in New York in 2001, the official line had always been that the LTTE had not committed any offence on British soil.

During the Events

Following the fall of the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-CapitalƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ in January 2009, it became transparently clear that the LTTE was developing a despicable battle plan which consisted in uprooting innocent civilians from their villages and herding them into locations where they could hold them hostage in the face of the offensive by the Sri Lankan armed forces. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ I am not aware that Mr Miliband and his band who wax lyrical about the safety and welfare of civilians uttered a syllable about the enormity of the act while they were chanting statistics gleaned from pro-LTTE web sites.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  When the Sri Lankan Army declared a No-Fire Zone, the LTTE leadership and cadres lost no time in moving in with their heavy artillery and of course with over 200,000 civilians and started firing into Government-held areas from the safety of the NFZ. Mr Miliband and his band who gleefully ignored the opprobrious act of hostage-taking started angry tirades against the Government of Sri Lanka almost on a daily basis. Never did they make any serious attempts to persuade LTTE representatives whom they met on a number of occasions to ask their leaders to free hapless civilians trapped in the NFZ. In the meantime, they never failed to make manifestly equivocal utterances about humanitarian pauses and dangle, perhaps, unwittingly, a ray of hope in front of the terrorists, which emboldened them and prolonged the agony of the trapped civilians. Even after the exodus of nearly 100,000 civilians on 20 April 2009, Mr Miliband and his band were harping on the same string. Moreover, Mr Miliband managed to persuade many Western governments to exert pressure on the Sri Lankan authorities, thereby, getting in the way of the GovernmentƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s efforts to care for the fleeing civilians. It is hard enough to care for some 100,000 internally displaced persons under normal circumstances, let alone, under tremendous pressure from the UN, Western Governments, NGOs and the media! That is how Mr MilibandƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s now well-publicized humanitarian concerns manifested themselves in practice!ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Mr Miliband and his Government dish out gratuitous unsolicited advice ad nauseum on the rule of law for the consumption of developing country governments on a fairly regular basis. However, his Government has allowed the supporters of a banned organisation to go on the rampage on the streets of London. High Commissions and embassies in the capital were attacked. (I hasten to condemn unreservedly the attacks on the BHC in Colombo.) Unconfirmed reports say that the Metropolitan Police advised the demonstrators to use children to carry LTTE flags so that they would not have a problem with the police. This was ignored, anyway, by the protestors, for they had been brandishing LTTE flags in all their demonstrations with scant regard for the law of the land. Mr MilibandƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Government had no qualms about resorting to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-effective waysƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ of handling G20 protestors. The police mishandling of the G20 demonstrators was so harsh that one man died and several others were seriously injured! Mr MilibandƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Government, however, does act to enforce the law of the land when prompted to do so by influential players! When the Russian Embassy complained that a group of supporters of a banned organization (LTTE) was protesting in front of its premises, the British police chased them away and even made some arrests!


By this time, Mr Miliband and his band had started a relentless campaign against the IMF financial assistance for Sri Lanka as a way of pressurising the Government to negotiate a ceasefire with the LTTE. Strangely enough, on 7 February 2009, in a joint letter to the Island, the British High Commissioner and the US Ambassador in Colombo had already said that they favoured ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-discussions with non-LTTE Tamils, both inside and outside of Sri Lanka, on the elements of political settlement to ensure lasting peace and reconciliation.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  It is pertinent to know that, in 2008, the JaneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Intelligence Review estimated the annual income of the LTTE to be USD200m-300m, almost the entirety of which is raised in Western Europe, USA and Canada. These funds were used to finance the war which has caused the death of some 80,000 people, a large number of whom were Tamils, and maimed many more for life. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka in 2005 estimated the damage to the economy over the years to be around 25% of GNI. Mr MilibandƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Government which would not lift its little finger to curb fund-raising by the terror outfit is now hell-bent to stop the Government of Sri Lanka securing a loan from the IMF! ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Mr Miliband has now drafted France and US into the sordid enterprise. So much for Mr MilibandƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s humanitarian concerns!

Mr Miliband found time to make a day trip to Colombo to argue his case in person with the Sri Lankan Government to secure a ceasefire ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” a noble thought!ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Apparently, Mr Miliband and his band were unaware of the fact that the LTTE did not release a single hostage during the ceasefire in April 2009 declared by the SL Government! I cannot recall a single visit by a British Foreign Secretary to Colombo when hundreds of innocent civilians were slaughtered in LTTE attacks. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Things got even more bizarre. Mr Miliband did not utter a half-a-syllable over the massacre of 143 civilians in Afghanistan by the US Air Force. Mr Miliband was conspicuously silent on the tragedy. Perhaps, he was too busy to make a statement. Yet, lo and behold, Mr Miliband lost no time in issuing a statement condemning the deportation of Channel 4 journalists from Sri Lanka!

Mr Miliband is reported to have stated in New York that the UN Security Council should have Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s war against the LTTE on its agenda, as it threatened the regional stability! Even a moron would understand that the demise of the LTTE would enhance the regional security and stability. More specifically, terrorism experts have repeatedly pointed to the significant and burgeoning co-operation between Al Qaida and Talibans on the one hand and the LTTE on the other. The LTTE has already provided them with the technical expertise in a number of key areas including suicide bombings, arms-trafficking, human smuggling etc. Apparently, Mr Miliband is oblivious to the blindingly obvious implications for British troops in Afghanistan.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

After the Events

Mr Miliband and his band are now making frantic efforts to haul the Government of Sri Lanka before a war crimes tribunal! Mr Gordon Brown, British Prime Minister, had already issued a stern warning to the SL Government before he started jamming phone lines to Colombo in a desperate attempt to secure a ceasefire!

After a bloody war which lasted 30 years, causing death and destruction on a massive scale, the people of Sri Lank are just beginning to rebuild their shattered lives, livelihoods and above all, to make the first steps towards sustainable peace. There are more than quarter of a million Tamil civilians going through immeasurable hardships in refugee camps, in dire need of food, clothing, shelter and medical care. The SL Government and a large number of NGOs are doing their best to attend to their needs in extremely difficult circumstances. The governments in the region, notably, the Government of India, Japan and China which have had a mature, sensible, responsible and, above all, dignified stance on the issue throughout this difficult period are doing everything possible to assist the Government of Sri Lanka in its initiatives to care for the IDPs and achieve long-term peace and reconciliation. In the meantime, Mr Miliband and his band are leaving no stone unturned to put a spoke in the wheel! I do appreciate the financial assistance offered by the UK Government towards meeting the needs of the IDPs. However, I cannot conceivably overlook the pernicious and long-lasting impact of the current ignominious campaign by the British Government on the prospects for peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

Of course, the three saintly nations ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” France, UK and US – have impeccable credentials when it comes to the observance of international humanitarian law. Their past conduct bears the hallmark of unalloyed and profound concern for the sanctity of life! Just a few examples would illustrate the point. .

  • The US and its allies did not even bother to compile data on civilian casualties in the illegal Iraqi war. When, in 2006, the Lancet published the result of a serious study and estimated that some 655,000 people lost their lives as a consequence of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, both the US and British Governments contemptuously rejected the figures and said that they had no information on civilian casualties at all.
  • On May 12, 1996, Madeleine Albright, US Ambassador to the UN claimed that the half a million children said to have died due to sanctions was a price worth paying! (“I think the price is worth paying”, according to the transcripts of the programme.). This shows the callous disregard and utter disdain with which the US Government treated international humanitarian law.
  • On 17 July 1998, when 120 nations adopted the Rome Statute to establish the permanent International Criminal Court, the US was one of the odd men out – fact which speaks volumes for the commitment of the US Administration to international humanitarian law and protection of civilian life in conflict.
  • The French Government has systematically rejected any responsibility in the massacres in Rwanda despite incontrovertible evidence of its involvement.

Nudists extolling the virtues of wearing clothes should not be taken seriously!

Bandula Kothalawala




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