Feature Article
2ND LEAD (Update)

Blake's Colombo lecture reminds Tamils of bureaucracy abetting 2009 genocide

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 08 May 2019, 16:57 GMT]
Former US Ambassador Robert O. Blake was visiting Colombo on Tuesday to deliver a lecture titled ‘US Foreign Policy towards China and South Asia and what it means for Sri Lanka’. He was advising Colombo to tackle the response to the Easter Sunday attacks by drawing lessons from the 2001 Bush Administration and form an intelligence coordinating body of technocrats not to miss any single lead of information on potential attacks. Former SL Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was precisely doing that during the war, he said. He also warned against over-reacting as the US did after 9/11 by expanding government surveillance without appropriate constitutional checks. On geopolitics, Mr Blake was enticing Colombo to engage with China, the USA and other countries in parallel, a paradigm which enabled Colombo to annihilate the military power of Tamils through a genocidal onslaught in 2009.

Robert Blake was the US Ambassador in Colombo during the genocidal onslaught on Vanni in 2009. He was promoting US military-to-military support to Colombo in exchange for minor human rights gestures to overcome the challenges posed by the human-rights related reservations in the US Congress.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, a US citizen who maintained rapport with high-ranking Pentagon officials such as Professor James Clad, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia from 2007–2009, was advised well in advance by the US experts that a tight-knit coordination of political and military establishments on the island was the key to achieve Colombo's military objectives in the war.

Robert O' Blake
Former US Ambassador Robert Orris Blake Jr addresses a meeting in Colombo on 07 May 2019

“Having a high-level group of technocrats like that is something Sri Lanka could definitely benefit from. [...] In fact, you did have such a group before the war and during the war when Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was defence secretary,” Blake said in his lecture delivered at the BMICH on Tuesday.

“Gotabhaya Rajapaksa personally chaired that group and made sure that all the different branches of Intelligence of which there are many in this country for sharing information to the senior level people, and then they themselves were making sure that somebody was looking into those and making sure that the attacks didn't take place,” he continued.

Blake was advocating for world-class openness to attract foreign investments, reforms to address corruption and to get trained on business intelligence through new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics which were the technologies shaping the 21st-century business future. He was hinting that AI venture capital companies were launched in China before they became a reality in Silicon Valley in the USA. He wanted Colombo to partner with US and Chinese companies to catalyse “Sri Lanka-specific AI growth”.

McLarty Associates
Mr Blake is currently a Senior Director of McLarty Associates, which is a trade consultancy firm based Washington DC., with a global presence.

He was invited to Colombo by former SL Minister Milinda Moragoda, who runs a think-tank to “talk about Sri Lanka's place in the US Administration's Indo-Pacific vision, how China is viewed in the US and its implications for the future of US-SL relations”.

Milinda Moragoda is extensively focused on ‘Sri Lanka - China’, ‘Sri Lanka - US’ and ‘Indo-Lanka’ relations. He facilitates several exchange projects with the global establishments through his Pathfinder Foundation.

“As the US, China and other influential countries like India, Japan and Australia all jockey for influence in Asia, Sri Lanka is in an excellent position to benefit from and even play off these countries against each other. Your strategic location on the busiest shipping lanes; your democratic character and your economic openness make Sri Lanka an attractive partner,” Blake said.

“Until the US withdrew from the UNHRC, we worked together to co-sponsor UNHRC resolutions on Sri Lanka and other matters, turning an area of friction into opportunities for collaboration,” Mr Blake observed reminding that the US abetment managed through him during the times of genocide also continued after him.

He was also happy about the military-to-military relationship, which he was pitching during his official tenure in Colombo.

“I am pleased that our military to military relations have progressed substantially from the days when I was Ambassador,” he said on Tuesday.

“In the last years of the war in 2008 and 2009, human rights concern almost completely circumscribed our military exercises, training and assistance with the Sri Lankan Army and Air Force. I had to fight hard to maintain even small areas of Navy-to-Navy cooperation, in part by arguing that it was in our interest to help Sri Lanka interdict LTTE arms shipments. Today, I am happy those restrictions are behind us,” Mr Blake further said.

However, the former US Ambassador was not revealing the full extent of the US-backing as detailing that would tantamount to admitting the US abetment of Tamil genocide, commented a Tamil journalist in Colombo after listening to his speech.

The US-backed interdiction of the LTTE vessels went on for a long time in a systematic way, and it was the main reason for the collapse of the peace process as well as causing the 2009 genocidal annihilation to proceed unchecked, the journalist said.

SL Minister Milinda Moragoda was having a much more prominent role than the SL Chief Negotiator Dr G.L. Peiris during the peace talks. Moragoda was the manager of the process of wooing a number of State actors to back the SL State through creating what was then known as the “international safety net”.

The US embassy cables brought out by the WikiLeaks have exposed the level of trust and relationship Mr Moragoda was having with the US Establishment. He was also proposing to create a US-friendly global alliance which countered the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) at the same time, according to cables released by the WikiLeaks.

“More than Peiris', Moragoda's direct focus has been on cultivating relations with the U.S. and with India,” notes a classified cable from US Ambassador Ashely Wills on 29 May 2003 (03COLOMBO909_a).

“Born in Washington, D.C, he is a dual national Amcit (please protect) married to an American, with plenty of Washington connections, many from his days as a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation and at Harvard. A "big picture" person, Moragoda is also highly aware that the U.S. is the most powerful country in the world, and he feels that it is better that Sri Lanka recognize that fact and work within it,” the cable from 2003 goes on.

Milinda promotes China SL relations through Pathfinder Foundation
China’s oldest and largest think-tank, China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) and Pathfinder Foundation (PF), signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance mutual understanding and cooperation through collaborative institutional relations in April 2016.

Moragoda was a minister under Wickramasinghe and Rajapaksa during the times of peace and war.

“President Rajapaksa recently designated Moragoda as a special envoy on external military relations with the US, India and possibly other countries. Ambassador suggested a three-track approach for getting US-Sri Lankan mil-mil relations back on track,” Blake wrote in a cable message on 24 April 2008 (08COLOMBO407_a).

“Although Moragoda occupies the benign post of Tourism Minister, he was offered much more senior posts and enjoys the confidence of and direct access to President Rajapaksa and his two brothers. They particularly value his counsel on US matters given Moragoda's long experience in the United States,” Blake notes as his comment in the cable.

“Tourism Minister Moragoda, who plays an important advisory role on US-Sri Lankan mil-mil relations,” observes another cable (08COLOMBO459_a) dated 12 May 2008.

The 30-month long secret operation code-named ‘Sagara Balaya’ which destroyed several LTTE vessels in the high seas off Indonesia and Australia towards the end of the genocidal war, was also carried out with the US supplied intelligence.

The ‘diplomacy’ of the US bureaucrats who advised the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was also reflecting the position adopted by Robert Blake.

The Hillary Clinton emails released by the US State Department on June 30, 2015, revealed that Burn Strider, a former senior advisor to Ms Hillary Clinton when she was US Secretary of State in 2009, as stating the following to her: "My take is that the people on the ground both with World Bank and IMF believe the Tigers need to be completely defeated and any collateral damage inflicted on private people by SL govt in process is ok..." [Source: UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05758456 Date: 06/30/2015]

Robert O. Blake, Jr. was US Ambassador to Sri Lanka (2006 - 2009) during the genocidal onslaught. Before that, he was Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé in New Delhi (2003 - 2006).

After his diplomatic carrier in Colombo throughout the final phase of Tamil genocide, US President Barack Obama promoted Mr Blake as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia (2009 - 2013). Later, he served as the US Ambassador to Indonesia (2013-2016).

Bob is now advising the US and multinational corporations and leads the India and South Asia practice of McLarty Associates as a senior director of the Washington DC based consulting firm. The firm has a primary focus on opening international markets for US private-sector companies using the expertise of former diplomats it employs worldwide.

The trade consultancy firm is led by former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty, III, former Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte, President and Co-Founder Nelson W. Cunningham, and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis.

McLarty Associates is having offices in Brussels, Beijing, and Singapore and specialises in five areas: 1) Banking, Insurance and Financial Services 2) Digital Services & Technology Hardware 3) Food and Drink 4) Healthcare and 5) Oil & Gas.

“Since 1998, McLarty Associates has built a team of nearly 100 seasoned international specialists with expertise in all the major markets of the world, including former diplomats and senior officials, trade negotiators, intelligence officers, journalists, academics, and business people,” a description of the company states.

McLarty Associates ‘strategic partner’ in India is DUA Consulting, which is led by Vice Admiral PJ Jacob (Retd), who leads the company's marine, aviation, security practice and strategic advisory services.

Indian Vice Admiral PJ Jacob
Indian Vice Admiral (retd) PJ Jacob
Vice Admiral Jacob had commanded India's Eastern Fleet, and he was Director General of the Indian Coast Guard. He was active in strategic planning and charting the future development of the Indian Navy and later became India's Vice Chief of the Naval Staff before his retirement in 2001.

In 2003, PJ Jacob was advising the SL Government along with India’s former Army Chief-of-Staff Lt. Gen. Satish Nambiar during the Norway-facilitated peace talks between the LTTE and the GoSL. The “advisory” role complicated the peace process.

Nambiar prepared the controversial High-Security Zone report advising the SL Army Commander Sarath Fonseka complicating the talks in 2003.

Following Nambiar's advise to SL Government, PJ Jacob was deployed to counter the Nordic ceasefire monitors, Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), which was taking a neutral role on LTTE's Sea Tigers.

The retired Indian Vice Admiral was advising SL Navy Commander Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri, and the SL Navy opposed the SLMM's neutrality, which resulted in SL President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga “removing” the SLMM Head Maj. Gen. Tryggve Tellefsen through declaring him as persona non grata.

78-year-old Jacob, who has been a member of the National Security Advisory Board of the Indian Prime Minister in the past, is an Additional Independent Director at Sundaram - Clayton Ltd., a Chennai based TVS Group company. He also served as a Director of Wabco-TVS (India) Ltd. from May 2008 to July 2009.

As far as the nation of Eezham Tamils is concerned, the governments of powers and their agent state in the island might change from time to time, but the corporate and geopolitical greed would continue to remain the same in different manifestations.

The Eezham Tamils should concentrate on achieving political solution through acting independently on their own without considering the whims and fancies of the influencing powers.

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External Links:
Daily News: Setting the Table: The Importance of the Indo-Pacific
Bestinbrussels.eu: About McLarty Associates



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