United States ‘liberal hawk’ Samantha Power praises Sri Lankan human rights violators

This video from the USA says about itself:

Code Pink: ‘We see Samantha Power as a war hawk’

19 November 2014

A group of activists belonging to the anti-war group Code Pink interrupted the panel between Jorge Ramos and U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power at Fusion’s RiseUp event in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday …

Ramos caught up backstage with the activists after their intervention.

We see no future in war. “We are appalled that Samantha Power, who’s our diplomat, is now saying that military actions are the solution.”

By Kumaran Ira, exile from Sri Lanka:

UN Ambassador Samantha Power hails Sri Lanka as human rights champion

10 May 2016

At the recent US-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council Meeting in Washington, Samantha Power, the US permanent representative to the UN, took the time to promote the US “pivot to Asia” aimed to isolate and prepare war against China. She hailed Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s government, which was installed by Washington in January 2015 as part of the “pivot to Asia,” for its human rights record.

Power said Sirisena’s regime has made “extraordinary progress,” claiming, “Sri Lanka has, since January 2015, emerged as a global champion of human rights and democratic accountability.”

Power is lying through her teeth. The Sirisena government is no such thing. In fact, its violations of democratic rights and its flagrant contempt for the workers and toiling masses of Sri Lanka make fairly clear what kind of local allies Washington is relying on to carry out its “pivot to Asia,” behind a veil of empty and hypocritical “democratic” rhetoric.

The Sirisena government are burying the war crimes committed by the previous Rajapakse regime. Thousands are still missing after the civil war ended with the massacre of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009, killing tens of thousands. Many top Sirisena officials are deeply implicated in these crimes, with Sirisena himself having served as Rajapakse’s acting defence minister at the end of the civil war.

War victims’ families have protested, demanding the government release their relatives disappeared during the war. The Tamil minority in the North and East of Sri Lanka are still under military occupation since the end of civil war, and thousands are still living in makeshift camps in deplorable conditions. Hundreds of political prisoners of all ethnicities have been held without trial in prisons for years.

All these demands have been brushed aside by Sirisena, as well as his Tamil nationalist allies in the Tamil National Alliance. Even after Tamil political prisoners staged a hunger strike demanding their release, the Sirisena government brazenly insisted that there are no political prisoners in Sri Lanka.

The Sirisena government has cracked down on opposition to its austerity agenda from workers, students, and farmers. It resorted to legal frame-ups against tea estate workers protesting poor working conditions and obtained injunctions to prevent bank employees’ protests. When it faced large-scale protests by farmers against subsidy cuts and low prices for their products, and by students against education cuts, it ordered security forces to brutally attack the protesters.

Though Power and other top US diplomatic officials have repeatedly visited Colombo and are excellently informed of Sirisena’s attacks on democratic rights, Power claimed Washington’s regime in Colombo is overseeing an unprecedented flowering of democracy.

Power stated, “When I visited in November, the change since my last visit in 2010 was palpable. People told me that it felt as though a repressive climate of fear had been lifted and that they could breathe again. Activists felt safe to work openly and, of course, to criticize the Government with new fervor. Journalists reported freely; political prisoners were being released; land was being returned to the people; and the internally displaced were beginning to go home in new numbers. As part of its determination to deal with the abuses of the past, moreover, the Government had committed to justice and reconciliation processes to try to serve all Sri Lankans.”

Who does Power think she is kidding? A broad and growing body of public evidence points to a surge in human rights violations after Sirisena’s election, including abductions, torture, and rape, in an unsuccessful effort to silence broad popular opposition through state terror.

Recently, the International Truth and Justice Project-Sri Lanka published a report based on interviews with 20 Tamils abducted last year.

Their testimony was confirmed by physical evidence of torture including scarring, and by psychological or psychiatric symptoms of torture and sexual abuse. Torture methods included “beating, whipping, burning with cigarettes, branding with heated metal rods, water torture, asphyxiation in a plastic bag soaked in petrol or chilli and tied around their necks, hanging upside down, beating on the soles of the feet and the use of electric currents through their body”.

One torture victim, originally from a village in Sri Lanka’s east and now living in London, said he had signed a false confession to being a Tamil Tiger fighter after members of the security forces burned him repeatedly. “I don’t think there has been change, I don’t think there has been any change under the new government,” he said.

As she sings the praises of the Sirisena government with its torture chambers and detention camps as an exemplar of democracy, Power is engaging in what she has made her particular specialty: the justification of US foreign policy under the fraudulent banner of “human rights.” As the Director of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the National Security Council in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2013, she was a leading advocate of the so-called R2P (responsibility to protect civilians) policy. It served as the justification for Obama’s “humanitarian” wars.

Power was a leading architect of the US-NATO war for regime-change in Libya, which ousted and murdered Muammar Gaddafi, killing tens of thousands and devastating the country, claiming this was necessary to protect Libyans’ human rights against Gaddafi.

At the UN in 2014, she backed the Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, blocking the UN Security Council’s passage of any binding resolution imposing a ceasefire. She warned that any attribution of blame on Israel is a “red line” for Washington.

It is fitting therefore that she should be chosen to give Sirisena’s reactionary policies a hypocritical “democratic” gloss, as Washington tries to ensure that Colombo will be a reliable partner for preparing war and suppressing opposition in the working class throughout Asia.

THE FUTURE OF THE ASIA PIVOT “As [President Barack] Obama’s time in office comes to an end, Asian nations are deeply skeptical about how much they can rely on Washington’s commitment and staying power in the region. They sense that for the first time in memory, Americans are questioning whether their economic and defense interests in Asia are really that vital.” [NYT]

A US Pacific Command (PACOM)-led team of military experts concluded a week-long Operation Pacific Angel exercise in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province on August 23. The exercise was part of the expanding links between the US military and Sri Lankan security forces, under the guise of providing humanitarian assistance: here.

US Pacific commander visits Sri Lanka, praising new regime: here.

Trump Shouldn’t Reward Sri Lanka’s Sirisena: here.

USA and Sri Lanka, September 2017: here.

28 thoughts on “United States ‘liberal hawk’ Samantha Power praises Sri Lankan human rights violators

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  8. Friday 13th October 2017

    Power to speak at literature night for Remembrance Sunday

    THE FORMER US ambassador to the UN will hijack a poetry evening in Dublin for a pro-war tirade this Remembrance Sunday.

    Samantha Power will deliver the TS Eliot lecture — launched last year with poet Paul Muldoon as the inaugural speaker — at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre on November 12.

    Peace campaigners We Save Syria and the Communist Party of Ireland (CPI) alerted the Morning Star to the supposed celebration of literature.

    The evening will be introduced by attention-seeking 1980s pop-flop Bob Geldof.

    Dublin-born Ms Power’s lecture will follow an interview with journalist Fintan O’Toole.

    In an opinion piece for the Irish Times in April, Mr O’Toole called US President Donald Trump’s cruise missile attack on Syria a “case of doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.”

    We Save Syria head Dr Declan Hayes told the Star the trio “have to be regarded as peddlers of war, not as journeymen minstrels of peace.”

    The events page on the theatre’s website initially lauded Ms Power as: “The public face of US opposition to Russian aggression in Ukraine and Syria, negotiated the toughest sanctions in a generation against North Korea.”

    Dr Hayes said: “That puts this night in the interests of the American war industry, not in the cultural interests of Ireland.”

    But earlier this week the page was edited to remove the paragraph referring to her warmongering activities.

    CPI general secretary Eugene McCartan said that was after a party member contacted the theatre about the event.

    “The Abbey Theatre now says that they let the venue to a separate promotion company for this event,” he said — although the identity of the organisers remained a mystery.

    Dr Hayes said the theatre originally claimed to be co-hosting the event.

    “I would imagine the US embassy entered the scene early on and used these lectures for what the US believes the arts should be used for — US wars of imperialist aggression.”

    Dr Hayes said the timing of the event on Remembrance Sunday “has to be considered part of the process of softening up Ireland for more collusion with the US’s imperialist wars and to colonise Ireland’s cultural hubs in the process.”



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