Govt. asks critics to look at themselves in the mirror


By Shamindra Ferdinando

The government alleges Sri Lanka is being targeted over alleged ‘accountability issues’ by those under heavy flak themselves for ‘war crimes’ in their so-called global fight against terrorism.

 Authoritative government sources alleged that a section of the international community seemed to be taking pleasure in Sri Lanka bashing on the basis of ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ produced for global telecast by UK’s Channel 4 News at the behest of the LTTE.

 The government was responding to US House Foreign Affairs Committee decision to ban aid to Sri Lanka unless the government showed ‘accountability’ over final phase of military operations directed at the LTTE.

The announcement was made as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton concluded a visit to India in the backdrop of US and its allies pushing Sri Lanka on the diplomatic front.

Referring to recent statement issued by the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) sources said unlike the unsubstantiated 50-minute documentary ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’, the US administration had been accused of authorizing war crimes in post-9/11 Al Qaeda attacks.

The HRW said it believed there was sufficient basis for the US government to order a "broad criminal investigation" into alleged crimes committed in connection with the torture and ill-treatment of detainees, the CIA secret detention and torture programme.

Such an investigation, the HRW said would necessarily focus on alleged criminal conduct by former President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and CIA Director George Tenet.

 UN Human Rights Commission has called for an explanation over the execution of an unarmed Osama bin Laden during a raid in Pakistan by US personel.

 Sources said that the US, while denying assistance to the government of Sri Lanka had assured its commitment to humanitarian aid, de-mining activities and ongoing projects to promote democracy and good governance.

Sources alleged that both during and after the war, the US and several other countries and organizations continued to promote democracy and good governance, which basically meant providing financial support for those issuing statements critical of the government and armed forces.

The government said that those embassies which recommend funds for local NGOs should investigate how the money was spent. Sources emphasized the importance of investigating foreign cash flow as the US was now probing Pakistan for financing an US-based organization allegedly engaged in a programme to influence decision makers.

 According to state banking sources, the Centre for Policy Alternatives, National Peace Council and Transparency International Sri Lanka during 2008 to 2010 had received a staggering amount of money.

They said the CPA has received Rs. 272.31 million during the three-year period. The NPC and TI have received Rs. 171.23 million and 174.79 million, respectively.

The funding sources included Meyers Norris Penny Ltd RM (Canada), Canadian International Development Agency, Berghof Foundation (Germany), Facilitating Local Initiatives for Conflict Transformation (Germany), Stichting Cordaid (The Netherlands), Norwegian Embassy, Commission Des Communautes (Norway), ICT for Peace Foundation (Switzerland), Dep. F. Auswaert, Angelegenheiten (Switzerland), Swedish Embassy, Swedish International Development Agency, Goldman Sachs Grant (UK), Minority Rights GRP Ltd BCA (UK), European Commission, Transparency International Division (UK), Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (UK), European Union, Diakonia (US), Forum of Federations/Forum Des (US), International Media Support (US), the Ford Foundation (US), Fredskorpset Bergen (US), National Endowment for Democracy (US), Partnership for Transparency Fund (US) and Academy for Educational Development (US).

Of Rs. 618.33 million received by the CPA, NPC and TI during the three-year period, Rs. 111.48 million had been donated by various other sources.

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