A questionnaire of sorts to Ms. Butenis
Posted on February 22nd, 2010

by Malinda Seneviratne Courtesy Lakbima

The US Embassy is livid.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  They are pissed off their minds because, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”various state media outletsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ had alleged that the United States ofƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  America had supported a candidate at the recently held PresidentialƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Election.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The US Embassy in Colombo in a special media statement hasƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  categorically denied any such involvement and had chided these ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”mediaƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  outletsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ for making baseless charges without giving Patricia Butenis a chance to comment on what the Embassy calls ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”spurious claimsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

The statement includes the usual disclaimer about Sri Lanka and the USAƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  being longstanding partners, buddies in arms, and how the USA so loves Sri Lanka that it is doing this and that to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”contribute to peace and prosperity of a united and democratic Sri Lanka which is respectful ofƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  its citizensƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ civil and human rightsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  What sanctimonious rubbish, Pat!

Fist, let me throw in my disclaimer for good measure.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  If the state media or any media has made spurious claims it is wrong and it is quite ok for Patricia Butenis to be peeved.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  I believe this is why she has fired off this statement.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  On the other hand, when charges are made and no rebuttal offered, would Butenis agree that it amounts to acceptance of guilt?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  I know it is not practically possible to respond to every allegation but some allegations are really serious and when they elicit nothing by way of response even after repeated articulation, one begins to wonder.

I am talking about the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”laughability-valueƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ of ButenisƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ desire for civil and human rights.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Of course she is the US Ambassador and writing in and about Sri Lanka and therefore such concerns about Sri Lankans is applaud-worthy.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  But citizens are humans and there is nothing to say that humans in Sri Lanka are less worthy than humans in the USA, or that humans in Israel are superior to those in Gaza, or that those in Saudi Arabia are somehow made of superior material than those in Iraq or Afghanistan. Right, Pat?

Well then, tell me MaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢am, how has your Government been contributing to peace and prosperity in Iraq and Afghanistan.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Tell me, what kind of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”peaceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ and ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”prosperityƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ is embedded in the fact that US policies pertaining to these countries have resulted in over a million deaths and displaced about that many people?

Did you or did you not interfere in the internal politics of Bangladesh, Ms. Butenis? Did your predecessor, Robert Blake not hobnob with and participated in discussions where strategies to undermine the government
were being discussed?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Did you or did you not inquire from the Inspector General of Police regarding the role and performance of the police during the run up to the election?

Could you care to tell us, Ms. Butenis, how many weapons of mass destruction US troops have uncovered in Iraq?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  If the answer is ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”noneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, could you tell us what you are doing in that country?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  When will you leave, Ms Butenis?

There are questions I have asked before and youƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ve not replied, so I shall ask you again and again until you respond.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  What moral authority do you have to talk about civil and human rights in any country when you
represent a country that maintains close to 200,000 troops and 115,000 civilian employees in 909 military facilities in 46 countries and territories, many of whom stand accused on all kinds of abuses and usurpation including rape, murder, sexual harassment, robbery, seizure of land, destruction of property and other crimes?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  When are you going to blush, Ms. Butenis?

It has been reported that Sarath Fonseka has held several meeting with you prior to his US visit and since his return.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  He was the main candidate of the opposition.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  It is hard to think that you met to swap recipes, /roti/ for pumpkin pie for example.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  I am wondering also who choreographed the theatrics of FonsekaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s US visit.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  You?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Blake?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  No, I am not denying that there is no impropriety in talking with anyone or people visiting other countries with a valid visa, but I wonder what the conversations were about (the one with you included) and indeed I was worried, less because Fonseka is who Fonseka is but because you are who you are and the USA is what it is.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Yes, IƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ve read Chomsky.

In 1948, George Kennan, then chief of the US State DepartmentƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s planning staff, authored a document listed as ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Policy Planning Study 23 (PPS23)ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, in which the following was observed:

“We have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population. … In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object ofƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity … To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to beƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism
and world-benefaction.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢

Would Butenis claim that when stripped of rhetoric and fairy tale terminology, US foreign policy remains predicated on the above ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”imperativesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  I am thinking of civilians/humans, civil rights and human rights, those of people in all the unhappy countries in Latin and Central America and yes the Caribbean as well. I am thinking particularly of Chile, Salvador Allende and Augusto Pinochet; Cuba, Fulgencio Batista, Jose Marti and the Bay of Pigs; Panama, Panama Canal and Manuel Noriega, Nicaragua, Daniel Ortego, the Sandinistas, the
Contras and Violeta Chamorro; Grenada, some 100,000 people, 20,000 pigs, the New Jewel Movement, an alleged threat to US Security, a man called Maurice Bishop and another called Barnard Coard, the former assassinate and the latter Uncle SamƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s temporary darling.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  What do you think, Ms. Butenis, IƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢d like to know.

I therefore firmly condemn any spurious allegations.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  I am moved to sympathize with Ms. Butenis.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  On the other hand, I think Ms. Butenis could do a lot to assuage any misconceptions that people may have about her true intentions and role in Sri Lanka if she were to come clean and answer some of the questions raised above.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  She would be doing a great service to the millions of peace loving and decent citizens of her country, some of whom I have had the privilege to know, associate, learn from and yes, share recipes too, if only she shed herself of sanctimonious posturing.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Sure, sure, we are not a perfect country.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We have our tumours.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We will deal with them, one at a time and at our own pace.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We are not saying no to help, but then again thereƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s no need to act as though you people were
posted here by some divine authority and as such are unblemished on all counts.

We are not given to indulging in Americanisms like giving someone the finger, even when the person is such an a**-hole that an ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”up yoursƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ is mandatory when in that personƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s presence.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Just remember, though.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We
are taking note.

/Malinda Seneviratne is a freelance writer who can be reached at
malinsene@gmail.com <mailto:malinsene@gmail.com>/

4 Responses to “A questionnaire of sorts to Ms. Butenis”

  1. aravinda Says:

    ..and why can’t United States produce one political analyst like Malinda Seneviratne? Let me tell you why…all media in USA is self censored. Journalists know what they can not write. The unwritten laws of USA tell them that. It is a pleasure to read Malinda Seneviratne…no fear and no favour.

  2. jana Says:

    Well said Malinga. It is time these hippocrits realise that we are intelligent enough to understand there behaviour. The double talk of the Blakes and Boutanis are not acceptable.

  3. Claude1045 Says:

    It is a pleasure to read your articles. As you have the Journalists in the US are in the pay of certain lobby groups such as AIPAC, etc. and nothing is aired beyond the lobbyists Agenda. You will realize how they award themselves with no visible competition.

  4. Chintha Says:

    US should try to make max of other countries interest and US interest by going inline with other countries best interest, if it does not have a threat to US. Sri Lanka has no threat to US. But US is funding,supporting and protecting all anti-Sri Lankan eliments in SL. Remember What evil you do to others come back to you. The innocent kids of US will have to pay back for your sins today.

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