US Ambassador Butenis, Waving the Stick!wants SL to Muffle the Media
Posted on February 23rd, 2010

by hela puwath

Ambassador Butenis had met Sri Lanka’s foreign minister Bogollagama on February 18th to express US’s displeasure about unfavorable media reports about the US, saying that these reports in Sri Lankan media is damaging US, Sri Lanka bilateral relations. [LankaPage]

The report says, “The United States maintains that no room should be left for the creation of impressions that this reportage has any support extended by official sources,”

Sounds like madam ambassador’s first lecture to Sri Lanka government on “Good Governance”, reminiscent of her stint in Bangladesh.

It is no secret that when the US “expresses its concern” or “seeks assurances” it implies a “threat” “”…” waving the stick!

The question must be asked, if the Sri Lankan ambassador in Washington goes to the US state department to express his concern (to Robert O’Blake) about US Sri Lanka relations each time the US media, on behalf of the LTTE, writes reports demonizing Sri Lanka?

Just last year the LTTE-USA, facilitated by the former deputy Attorney General Bruce Fein, and the former ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert O’Blake, arranged a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to lambaste Sri Lanka.  At that time the media gave wide coverage to LTTE propaganda against Sri Lanka. Did Sri Lanka’s ambassador meet State Department officials (Robert Blake), to discuss damage to bilateral relations?

Further, when there are media reports in “White-Western” countries against The United States, do US ambassadors in those countries seek assurances from the host governments, and issue public statements?  Or, are these (un)-diplomatic meetings reserved for non-white, Third World countries only? 

Is this Madam Ambassador’s “ƒ”¹…”blunt-diplomacy’ we were asked to expect?   

“The United States maintains that no room should be left for the creation of impressions that this reportage has any support extended by official sources,” [Colombo Page]

Sri Lankan official sources have made no accusations against the United States, but lately, there have been plenty of media questions about the possibility of illegal foreign funding of elections in Sri Lanka.  Ambassador Butenis must realize that people in Sri Lanka have plenty of reasons to suspect regime-change efforts by foreign powers.  Besides Sri Lankans are well aware of US’s expertise in influencing regime changes in poor countries. 


Consider Sri Lanka’s opposition leader, Ranil Wickremasinghe’s anti Sri Lanka activities and his close ties with the US, Norway and some European countries. Mr. Wickremasinghe has been campaigning relentlessly (and have succeeded) in European Capitals to cut off European trade benefits to Sri Lanka; the opposition leader spends as much time in European capitals and Norway as he spends in his own parliament.

Ranil Wickremasinghe, the darling of anti-Sri Lanka West is the Asian representative of the (West’s) Ultra-Right Christian-democratic IDU:

The International Democrat Union (IDU) is a center-right international grouping of conservative, Christian-democratic and Liberal-conservative political parties.

Formed in 1983, the IDU provides a forum in which political parties holding similar beliefs can come together and exchange views on matters of policy and organizational interest, in order that they might act cooperatively, establish contacts, and present a unified voice toward the promotion of centre-right policies across the globeThe organization is headquartered in Oslo, Norway [Wikipedia] 

Consider Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the former commander of Sri Lanka Army, and the opposition presidential candidate  – chosen by opposition leader, Ranil Wickremasinghe, (and perhaps IDU).  Sarath Fonseka has had close contact with the US ambassadors in Colombo “”…” past and present.  He has had close contact with the Robert O’Blake, while Blake was US ambassador in Colombo, and now as Assistant Secretary for Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs in Washington.

Gen. Fonseka met with Robert O’Blake in Washington just before he announced his candidacy for president.  And soon after his return to Colombo he is known to have reported to US Ambassador Patricia Butenis.  Now there is evidence that Sarath Fonseka, sometime during the election campaign, received a stash of over $500,000 illegal money (unused, brand new, crisp bills in numbered sequence).

In addition, consider the following sequence of events:

  1. Gen. Fonseka, just weeks before declaring his candidacy for president, visits the US embassy in Colombo.
  2. Soon followed by a visit to Robert O’Blake at the US State Department in Washington.
  3. Within a day or two of his visit to Washington, the General announces that, he has been approached by US authorities to give evidence of war crimes against Gotabhaya Rajapakse, Sri Lanka’s Secretary of Defence.  (There is speculation that the General did divulge national secrets).
  4. The General promptly returns to Sri Lanka and visits the US embassy in Colombo.
  5. Days later Gen. Fonseka resigns from the highest position (CDS) in the army handing over an acrimonious letter of resignation, stating disagreements with Gotabhaya Rajapakse and the President.
  6. Within days the General declares his candidacy for president as the opposition candidate. He was chosen by a coalition lead by the opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe, for the election in January.

Further, Sri Lankans are very much aware of US involvement with military leaders in the third world:

  • Iraq’s Gen. Saddam Hussein;
  • Panama’s Gen. Manuel Noreaga (death of Omar Torijos);
  • Chile’s Gen. Augusto Pinochet (death of Salvador Allende);
  • Iran’s Mohamed Shah (death of Mohammed Mosaddeq), etc., etc.

There are compelling reasons for Sri Lankan free-press to feel suspicious about interfering outsiders.  

And, contrary to the bogus propaganda by anti government elements in Sri Lanka and abroad, there is a vibrant free media in Sri Lanka. 

Why is Ms. Butenis complaining about Sri Lanka’s vibrant free media?

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