Rocca Bowls a Doosra

by S Sathananthan

Ms Christina Rocca, the US Under Secretary for South Asian Policy, skilfully exploited the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) emissaries in her meeting with them to initiate the Palestinian model to liquidate the Tamil National Movement.

When the TNA Members of Parliament (MPs) met her in Colombo late last month (April), Ms Rocca – a former CIA agent - made a cunning remark.  She told the MPs "the US has never opposed the request for a separate state by the Liberation Tigers.  The US is only opposed the violent pathway the Tigers have taken."

This is untrue.  The US Ambassador in Colombo has repeatedly rejected the Tamil demand for an independent Tamil Eelam in keeping with official US policy. (See Appendix below).

Indeed, US envoy Thomas Pickering levelled the threat of genocide against the Tamil people, during his visit to Colombo in May 2000.  He had bluntly warned Tamils that the independent State of Tamil Eelam is possible only on "a planet of the dead."

But Ms Rocca glibly suggested that, for the US, "functioning in proximity is possible" if the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) gave up the armed resistance.  She obviously wants Tamils to draw two conclusions:

(a) the US is willing to help them to win an independent State through peaceful means; and

(b) the LTTE’s armed resistance is preventing the US from helping Tamils.

And Ms Rocca channelled this canard to the Tamil community through Tamil MPs, led by Mr R Sampanthan.  She has chosen carefully.  These Tamil politicians have refined the tactic of running with the hare and hunting with the hound to a treacherous political art.

Mr Sampanthan’s ploy is a typical example of this art.  He suavely made pro-Tamil comments when he told Ms Rocca how "the Liberation Tigers are firmly functioning within the ceasefire agreement that was signed three years ago.  However, the government has not behaved in a similar fashion."  And then he craftily released Ms Rocca’s duplicitous offer to the Tamil daily Uthayan (25Apr05).

The obvious intention of Mr Sampanthan and his collaborating breed is to deceive Tamils that the LTTE’s armed resistance is costing valuable foreign support for the Tamil National Movement.

To grasp Ms Rocca’s strategy, and anticipate the role Tamil MPs may play in it, we must look back at the way US and Britain weakened and discredited the Palestinian leader, Mr Yasser Arafat.

The Palestinian Model

The Anglo-American propaganda vilified Mr Arafat as a man prone to violence.  Both President George W Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair castigated the armed resistance Mr Arafat led against Israel as the main, if not the sole, obstacle to peace between Jews and Palestinians.

Mr Bush and Mr Blair floated the two-State formula allegedly to settle the Palestinian Question.  The Palestinians were told that Mr Arafat and his "violent ways" are making it politically impossible for the Tel Aviv Government to move towards the two-State solution.

If the Palestinians could only back another "moderate" leader who is committed to non-violent politics, so the propaganda went, Washington and London would be able to support the formation of a parallel Palestinian State and apply pressure on Tel Aviv to make that a reality.

The Anglo-American strategy unfolded over several years.  In a nutshell, the two-State formula is a Goebellsian Big Lie.

Behind the two-State smokescreen, Washington and London have connived with Tel Aviv to destroy the demographic and territorial bases of a Palestinian State.  So it is safe to talk of a two-State formula since the ground conditions essential for a Palestinian State are being systematically wiped out.

The election of the "moderate" President Mahmoud Abbas changed nothing in Washington and Tel Aviv.  Washington supports Tel Aviv’s decision to revoke the longstanding Right of Return of Palestinian exiles.  Israel is rapidly expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank and is expediting their construction in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians have earmarked as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Let us be very clear.  The US, the UK and Israel have no intention whatsoever of allowing an independent Palestinian State.  Implanting a "moderate" Palestinian leadership is a part of that scheme.

What the US-UK-Israel axis has achieved is the following.  It has politically marginalized and, where necessary, physically eliminated through "targeted killings" the revolutionary Palestinian leadership.  In its place, they have foisted an impotent "moderate" coterie led by President Abbas.

What, then, is Rocca’s agenda for Sri Lanka?

Rocca’s Doosra

In Sri Lanka, Ms Rocca let loose a similar Big Lie.  All that Tamils have to do is to withdraw support for the LTTE-led armed resistance.  Then the US "functioning in proximity" to make Tamil Eelam a reality "is possible."

Tamil MPs, especially those with roots in the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), are gushing over Ms Rocca.  They want Tamils to believe that the pro-Tamil stance of the US is genuine.  They are insidiously spreading disinformation, that this is a golden opportunity to get on "the right side" of the US, to wean Tamils away from the LTTE.

And what must Tamils and the LTTE do?  Tamils should abandon their preference for armed resistance.  The LTTE must eschew violence in word and deed – that is, the organisation must dismantle its military capability.

And who would then function in "proximity" to the US and lead the Tamil National Movement?  The bankrupt TULF’s "moderate" politicians, of course.  For good measure, Ms Rocca would have dangled a carrot.  She would no doubt have emphasised that the US recognises only the democratically elected Tamil parliamentary representatives, of course.

Already a senior Tamil MP (from the TULF) is in Australia, apparently to sell Ms Rocca’s offer to Tamil expatriates.

Simultaneously, Sinhala politicians have gone to great lengths to assert that there will be no return to war.

Meanwhile, the US strongly supports a joint mechanism between the Government and the LTTE for Tsunami relief work.  In fact, Ms Rocca met representatives of the Sinhala Jathika Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) to inveigle them into agreeing to a joint mechanism.

There is nothing humanitarian about this.  The US wants to hold the LTTE in the no-war no-peace mode long enough for Ms Rocca’s doosra to wreck havoc.

Most Tamil MPs (except the few nominated by the LTTE) are greedily eyeing what they think is an opportunity, with assistance from the US, to take over the leadership of the Tamil National Movement from the LTTE.  Can they in Sri Lanka play the naked collaborationist role Mr Abbas is playing in Israel?

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Appendix: US policy on national liberation movements

Excerpt from TAGOT Press Release, 21 September 2002

The United States Institute of Peace convened in 1995 a daylong meeting on "Self-Determination: Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity, and the Right to Secession" in conjunction with the Policy Planning Staff at the US Department of State. The aim was to explore how the United States Government should respond to movements for self-determination growing in number and deepening in intensity around the globe.

The report on the meeting makes interesting reading. The participants endorsed the regressive and anti-democratic stance of the international community that the existing national borders of countries are inviolable irrespective of how, by whom and under what conditions they were drawn.

The general tenor of the discussions is that "minorities" must be satisfied with "intermediate categories short of statehood that can address minority group's interests and aspirations, such as membership in various international forums and organisations."  In other words, "minorities" within a State territory must accept their subordinate place.

No wonder, then, the participants did NOT recommend federal or confederal structures as "intermediate categories."  The reasons are obvious.  "Minorities" would then have access to and exercise State power, a profoundly disturbing prospect for conservative academics and policymakers steeped in majoritarian prejudices.

Instead, the participants gave as examples of "intermediate categories," toothless "international forums and organisations" and irrelevant "assemblies of national minority affairs, local autonomous administrations, decentralised and local forms of government, and mixed commissions...to continue dialogue on the issue."  In other words, they advised "minorities" not to resist but to "dialogue," to work towards an accommodation with the more powerful majority on terms effectively laid down by that majority.  The expectation - based on primitive Social Darwinism so close to the American heart - is that "minorities" would be assimilated in the long run.

The participants predictably used the term "pluralism" to mystify the existence of major and minor nations within a State territory.  The mystification has a political objective.  The minor nations are reduced to "minorities," which they claimed (a) have no right to an independent State, (b) should disband their military organisations, if any, and (c) must concede that there can be only one armed force, effectively that of the major nation, within one State territory.

The psychological roots of the pathological opposition to the emergence of independent States is a conservative knee jerk reaction, driven by the primordial fear of change.

The adverse economic consequences the West feared could flow from the proliferation of independent States was obliquely stated in the meeting report.  After noting "the 'unstoppable drive' of people in the Third World wanting what the advanced industrial nations already have," the participant alleged as follows: "this situation threatens those in the wealthier nations who are concerned that their benefits will decline as more economic resources are transferred abroad and those in the Third World who lead more traditional lives and generally do not aspire to what they perceive to be 'crass materialism'."

In other words, the West and the United States in particular know that each new State is the vehicle through which one more nation acquires a place on the world stage.  They fear that each such nation could then make and enforce its demands, for a more equitable distribution of resources and wealth, in the international arena and through the United Nations in particular.  It is, therefore, in the self-interest of the "wealthier nations" to prevent nations without States from establishing their own States.  The aim is to put a ceiling on the number of nations represented by their States and thereby limit the demands for justice in the international arena.

The participant cynically sanctified this anti-democratic ruse by alleging that preventing new States emerging in the "Third World" would also protect "those in the Third World who lead more traditional lives."  In short most of the poor ("traditional") want to remain poor!  And it is national movements struggling to establish independent States in Asia and Africa that threaten the rich North and undermine the poor South!!

So the exceptions participants made, that "secession can be a legitimate aim of some self-determination movements, particularly in response to gross and systematic violations of human rights and when the entity is potentially politically and economically viable," are merely formal, bland statements with neither moral relevance nor political teeth.  For, the meeting report contains no consensus on the criteria for political and economic viability.

Indeed, the provision for instances of "gross and systematic violations of human rights" is a transparent deception.  This is evident from the arrogant view confidently documented in the report that "the United States…should make it clear to those seeking independence that they cannot object to the violence waged against them by claiming they were simply attempting to exercise their 'right' to secession."  Not surprisingly, the United States Government is assisting the GOSL to upgrade the destructive capacity of the Sinhalese armed forces.

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Posted May 19, 2005