RE: Questions Not Answered in Your Reply of August 4, 2011 Re Sri Lanka
Posted on August 29th, 2011

Ira de Silva London, Canada

 

Dear Mr. Argue,
 
 You state that you keep up-to-date about AI’s concerns in Sri Lanka. Please  consider my correspondence as a Sri Lankan’s genuine concerns about AI’s duplicity and repeated unfounded, unsubstantiated, biased judgements on Sri Lanka. I know that you are not in a position to make policy however the least that can be expected of you, if as you say you keep up-to-date, is to be current with information.  Your response indicates that you are ignorant of what has and is taking place and that your statements on Sri Lanka reflect your bias and prejudice based on the assumption that Amnesty knows best. That is an old colonial mindset which is very much out-of-date and one that Sri Lankans will not accept. 

 My primary question was why AI is promoting false propaganda in contravention of your own mandate to independently verify any allegations made against a sovereign nation, or for that matter an individual, BEFORE taking action. (In this instance it is the biased, prejudiced comments on Sri Lanka by Mr. Neve etc.) Has AI taken any action to independently verify what is stated in the documentary? A simple answer would be either yes or no. What is it?
 
Regarding collaboration – you are correct that AI has never collaborated with the Govt. of Sri Lanka. As for the LTTE – if repeating what is put out by TamilNet, the propaganda arm of the LTTE without any thought of checking facts, is not collaboration with the LTTE what would you call it – a partnership? 
 
You say that you do not believe that Amnesty sponsored the Channel 4 video. Let me correct you as you are certainly uninformed and very much out-of-date.  This documentary was shown for the first time in Geneva on June 3,2011.The leaflet being distributed to those at the U.N. about the details of the presentation was under the heading of Amnesty. It was the presenter and moderator. The meeting was conducted by Mr. Saman Zia-Zarifi.  Is he not from Amnesty or is it that you just do not know what takes place in your own organization but still feel that you are competent to answer questions regarding the documentary? You are correct about dramatization – the problem is that while Amnesty is concerned with drama, innuendo and presenting uncorroborated material, truth is the casualty and it is Sri Lankans that suffer. In Geneva when the representative  from your partner against Sri Lanka namely HRW, was calling for an  investigation, she was asked a simple question, have you any evidence of war crimes to base your call for investigation? No response. She had none. Both AI and HRW are long on accusations, calling for investigations etc. but short on facts and evidence. Had you followed your mandate, then you would have been able to present evidence after investigation. It was mentioned in Geneva that the accusers, without any credible evidence or facts, are also the judge and jury –  clear evidence of bias and prejudice.
 
You say that you do not believe that AI has verified the authenticity of every photo in the video. The fact is that  Amnesty did not verify any photo in the documentary.  You are correct that Amnesty did not produce the documentary – it was produced for Channel 4 but as pointed out in my earlier correspondence, not a second of the documentary was shot by Channel 4. Further it was proven that the producer had cropped photos just to show what suited him. The video in the documentary has been deemed a fake.  It was clearly evident that the call for investigation was nothing short of prejudice and a call for a fishing expedition in the hope that something will turn up to prove Amnesty and their partners right. Having failed in Geneva, Amnesty is continuing it’s push against Sri Lanka as evidenced by Mr. Neve’s statements. I would recommend that you view the documentary called “Lies Agreed Upon”. It rebuts the allegations made by Channel 4. If you are impartial, check this out – it is about the same length as Channel 4’s documentary which I presume you have seen. In case you have not seen it yet this is the link –
You say AI has been urging for over two years that in view of so many allegations of human rights violations by both sides in the conflict, especially in its final months in 2009, it is important for the sake of truth and justice that an impartial, international investigation take place. If that is so, why does not Amnesty immediately start an investigation of the “other side” to the conflict with which it is so familiar, namely the left over LTTE leadership overseas? The atrocities committed by the LTTE are well documented and known worldwide so AI should have no problem. In Canada, the security services have plenty if evidence of the funding of LTTE terrorism from Canada including the bombing of the Central Bank, as well as who collected and sent millions from Canada for terrorism in Sri Lanka and specifically from Toronto.  What have you done all this time? You are based in Toronto and know those involved. If you want to appear credible, start an immediate investigation in your own backyard. Why target only one party to the conflict, namely the Government of Sri Lanka?
 
Also, if it is your mandate to investigate human rights violations worldwide, why has AI not taken action for 9 years against the countries that invaded Iraq when there is ample PROOF, not merely allegations, of horrendous war crimes? What is AI doing to bring before international courts  those countries that are continuously bombing, murdering and rendering homeless millions in Iraq and Afghanistan all in the name of a phoney war on terror? In Sri Lanka, there was proven terrorism for thirty years affecting all Sri Lankans. The war against the LTTE was to save these people, not citizens in other countries . If AI wants to maintain a semblance of credibility, a word which it continually uses but which is losing it’s meaning in the context of Amnesty, where are the calls for international investigations into the actions of these countries. There should have been indictments by now with all the credible evidence available to the whole world, not just to a few Eurocentric countries and organizations. If Amnesty is dedicated to human rights around the world why the delay when it comes to crimes against humanity by western countries? Is it because they are your primary source of funding?
 
You dismiss the Sri Lankan commissions outright. AI, HRW etc. were all asked to present any information they had but refused to do so. They do not have faith in investigations except by them or by members of the same countries who are today committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in countries other than their own. Is it because in the case of these countries there is proof but in the case of Sri Lanka all  you have is unsubstantiated information and a prejudiced, vindictive mindset?
 
Your comments regarding the CTC are laughable. You live in Toronto but seem to not know what is taking place there. Have you never read or heard the statements made by the CTC? Are you not aware the CTC  operated from the same office as FACT?   Did you not know that at  some CTC events Tamil Tiger flags were prominently displayed?  Either you are blind, do not know what is going on or despite this “credible evidence” are so focused on vilifying Sri Lanka that you disregard what is plain for others to see. Another possibility is that  you chose to ignore the flags and anti-Sri Lanka rhetoric  because  many  supporters of Tamil Eelam in the Toronto area “volunteered” for Amnesty!
 
You have not commented on the Darusman Report which Mr. Neve relies on and about which I sent him direct quotes which clearly indicate that it is not a document which can be used to accuse Sri Lanka as the panel themselves state that the contents are not based on proven facts. However, I note that Mr. Neve continues to rely on it in his unfounded accusations against Sri Lanka, (he had made a statement in Embassy Magazine on August 10,2010)  a clear indication that accusations are being made without any reference to the truth. Amnesty was challenged in this context when it brought up this report in Geneva. (Please read the sections I have quoted in my letter to Mr. Neve). Can you confirm if anyone in your organization has even read the report that it is relying on? The language is simple and should not pose problems to anyone of average intelligence.  For you to claim that Amnesty is dedicated to human rights while making false statements is violating the rights of all Sri Lankans.
 
My questions to Mr. Neve were clear, you have not answered them. Is he going to?
 
Why are you not following your mandate to investigate and verify before making accusations?
 
Why are you not accountable for what you say and unable to provide evidence to back your statements?  
 
What does transparency mean to you when you are unable to explain why you partner/collaborate with groups without checking them first?
 
When are you and Mr. Neve going to make a statement that what you have been saying is not based on facts, investigation or evidence but on hearsay, assumptions and lies. Amnesty should also issue an apology for making these unfounded accusations. 
 
Yours truly,
 
Ira de Silva
London, Canada
 

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