Ashley de Vos, in Island, 2 February 2019, where the title is “Base in the centre of the Shipping lanes”
Henry Kissinger once said: “Globalisation is the Americanisation of the world”and one assumes that most humans have been consumed by the mad rush to join the lifestyle band wagon to keep up with ‘the Joneses’ and get further into debt. It is unforgivable that cultures that have withstood the vicissitudes of change for thousands of years and that have evolved as proud nations are also being forced and encouraged to join or face the wrath of countries that have no cultural matrix as a base to fall back on––except a fine tuned technology for the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction.
One argument may lie in the fact that the evolution of man over the millennia is closely entwined with the manufacture of weapons, from the first picking up of an animal bone to kill his brother to the development of superior and more sophisticated weapons, to kill each other on a greater and grander celebratory scale.
Let’s face it, if 75% of your economy is based on the manufacture and sale of weapons of mass destruction, then either you have to be at constant war with somebody, a good scheme to get rid of the old stocks or instigate or jump start a war where there is no war. In addition, you frighten everyone else through well synchronised media hypes and misinformation through targeted TV channels and social media, formulated and presented by specially trained operatives and propose that building up an arsenal and a comprehensive war machine is the best way to ensure that you remain safe. However, if you live by the gun, you will also die by the gun.
Many oil rich countries and not so rich countries get into debt by this hyped up fear psychosis and the need to stock up with the latest machines of mass destruction. But what the hell, war is good economics, it is great for business, especially for the manufacturers of these weapons and the ‘Contractors’. The gullible, now in debt, are ready to grant ready access to their scarce, but valuable resources, on the cheap, in exchange. Sri Lanka is being enticed to go into defence spending. Even though there is no war, then why?
Stemming from the end of the World War ll, the Nazis are accused of killing 6 million Jews, and due to the numbers involved it is referred to as genocide. No one talks of the over millions of Russians or the Germans killed by the Russians, these have never been referred to as genocide.
The Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal punished many of the perpetrators for exterminating Jews, gypsies and homosexuals from Europe. But no mention is made of the one and half million odd German soldiers who surrendered to the allied forces being wilfully starved to death by order of a General, this is not recorded as genocide. Only one honourable General was found fault with, for setting free the German soldiers that his platoons had captured. There was no trial for the other, only rewards and accolades.
The state of Israel was established to accommodate the Jewish community that had escaped being eliminated by the Holocaust in Europe. An island in the southern Indian Ocean that existed as a British protectorate with a population of between 1500 -2000 people also comes into focus. “Between 1968 and 1973, in a plot carefully hidden from the rest of the world,” now recorded in great detail by David Vine in his publication,”Island of Shame, the secret history of the U.S. military base on Diego Garcia”, the United States and Great Britain forcibly exiled all 1,500 – 2,000 islanders to create a major US base on the Chagossians island, Diego Garcia.On the order of the U.S military, UK officials forced the remaining islanders to board overcrowded cargo ships that left them on the docks of Mauritius and Seychelles.”
“Just before the last deportations, British agents and US troops on Diego Garcia herded the Chagossians’ pet dogs into sealed sheds and gassed and burned them in front of their traumatised owners awaiting deportation.”
Genocide? No it cannot be, they are only dogs!
“A population that occupied and enjoyed their own land and unrestricted space under the sun since British colonial times, is now traumatised and confined to a slum in a foreign land and to a life of abject poverty, they received no resettlement assistance and quickly became impoverished.”
There was never a mention of Human Rights!
The island of Diego Garcia is today a fully-fledged US base, with every super facility for the US armoury. If the US base has to be removed or scaled down following the islander’s future demands and action in the British court and parts of the island need to be handed back to the islanders, they will find an additional location with equal security and accessibility, preferably closer to the international shipping lanes.
Martha Jager writing to Time in the 1990s mentioned the strategic location of Trincomalee in Sri Lanka. Thank you to prudence, our leaders had their heads screwed on, in spite of the 30 year insurgency that was aided and abated an International attempt to help the LTTE in the last stages of the war was possibly an attempt to get closer to the site in the northern Indian Ocean.
Soon after the end of the Sri Lankan insurgency, at a private function in Colombo this writer was visibly shocked when confronted during dinner by Dr. Ruth Wedgewood, SAIS, Edward B. Burling Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, Johns Hopkins University, the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, the Chief guest who suddenly and out of the blue, raised the question:“Should there be a regime change in Sri Lanka?” This author’s reply was, “No! Certainly not, we can at last breathe and move about with the knowledge that if we go out, we could get back in one piece!” The prompt retort was also a great shock for the questioner.
This points to the fact that the question of a possible regime change and a possible repetition of a Middle Eastern spring in Sri Lanka and the possible larger role had been discussed in the halls of Washington, long before the end of the war. It also displays that it had been planned early in the insurgency and the attempted rescue at the end was part of the grand plan.
Today, the sudden visits by numerous top US bureaucrats, some sufficiently ignorant, that till recently, they had not even known where Sri Lanka was, just dropping in, but obviously on focussed missions, meetings arranged with a variety of individuals are all carefully fashioned and structured as “the western powers push for the implementation of a US-led resolution crafted to make the Sri Lankan armed forces suffer the “consequences” for their role in defeating terrorism, in a part of the world far away from theirs” (LK. Daily Mirror).
The removal of the Sri Lankan military leadership and the demoralisation of the army is strategic for the next stage that the US and the UK “Expertise”, strangely, with Sri Lankan government support are rushing towards. The humiliating of the national army and its capability, and being drawn over the coals, is similar to and is as unfortunate as the wilful and complete sacrifice and annihilation of fifty two important Special Army intelligence operatives during a similar period in the recent past, this calamitous event is very fresh in the minds for most Sri Lankans.
David Vine in his latest book “Base Nation, how U.S military bases abroad harm America and the world” published in August 2015, identifies the proliferation of US bases amounting to over a 1,000 around the world. “Generally, those displaced have, like the Chagossians, been ‘small’ (sic) in number, under colonial control, and of non – ‘white,’ non-European ancestry.
David Vine demonstrates that, “the overseas bases raise geopolitical tensions and provoke widespread antipathy towards the United States. They undermine American democratic ideals, pushing the United States into partnerships with dictators and perpetuating a system of second class citizenship. The far flung bases strain the lives of military families, breed sexual violence, displace indigenous people, and destroy the environment”.
In a recent TV interview David Vine has placed a question mark on the island of Sri Lanka. He indirectly and tactfully states without saying that the US will turn its eyes on Sri Lanka!
In an attempt not to make it too obvious, the US is playing good cop, bad cop and is using India and RAW to do the dirty work, to undermine Sri Lanka with the CEPA/ETCA and to push for the construction of a bridge connection to be funded by the ADB, such a beautiful name coined by Julius Nyerere to describe the dubious Bretton Wood twins, that will gladly help destroy the territorial integrity of any country including Sri Lanka.
And what better way than to reintroduce and support the concept of federalism, not meant to unify but to divide the country. With full Sri Lankan government backing, and the advice of dubious backers, the players and implementers are already in place and the die has been cast for the decimation of Sri Lanka.
K. M. De Silva, editing the ‘British documents on the end of the Empire’, in Series B Volume 2, Part ll 396, Towards Independence 1945-1948 reveals, on page 302 under External Defence 18. ‘A threat to the territorial integrity of Ceylon is likely to come only from India, although a full scale attack from that country is only likely to occur if she were overrun by, or had thrown in her lot with a hostile power.’
ASHLEY DE VOS is from a well-known Burgher lineage and resides in Colombo where he has been a chartered architect for decades .He has also been involved in sustaining the heritage of Galle Fort and other such ventures and is presently President of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka.
David Vine, Island of Shame,
David Vine, You Tube presentation, “Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fR_TvmwNmJc
Tamara Kunanayakam, “Introduction” to her academic article “Neoliberalism versus Sovereignty: The Case of Sri Lanka” in Sri Lanka Journal of Economic Research, Volume 6(1,) November 2018, pp.125-146…. [without the footnotes … and with underlining imposed]
Carole McGranahan, review of Island of Shame, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 11(1) · January 2010, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/29901174_Island_of_Shame_The_Secret_History_of_the_US_Military_Be_on_Diego_Garcia_review
Lasanda Kurukulasuriya: “Imperialist Intrusions: USA has Logistics Hub Facilities in Sri Lanka,” 4 February 2019, https://thuppahis.com/2019/02/04/imperialist-intrusions-usa-has-logistics-hub-facilities-in-sri-lanka/