Ad hominem attack on Clinton draws US's ire

[TamilNet, Sunday, 11 October 2009, 15:34 GMT]
Following Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka's statement during a live radio interview Wednesday that "US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seems to have forgotten the Monica [Lewinsky] episode and should focus on her own backyard instead of making allegations of women being abused in other countries," Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Jaliya Wickremasuriya, was "summoned to the Department of State to be told of the US Government’s displeasure," Sri Lanka's weekly broadsheet, Sunday Times, reported.

Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary, South and Central Asian Affairs, had expressed ”great concern” over the remarks and wanted to know whether this was the official position of the Government of Sri Lanka, the paper further said.

Sri Lanka's Prime Minister, Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister, Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka
"The Prime Minister’s office later issued a statement based on Mr. Wickremanayake’s comments to SLBC. However, the references about Monica Lewinsky were left out. It only said that Ms. Clinton should put her house in order," the paper said.

The adhominem attack by one of the highest officials of Sri Lanka Government, and other vitriolic attacks on Secretary Clinton's personality in Government controlled media and websites, followed a statement by Clinton at the United Nations Security Council meeting on the 31st October.

In prepared statement Clinton said, "[n]ow, reading the headlines, one might think that the use of rape as a tactic of war only happens occasionally, or in a few places, like the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Sudan. That would be bad enough, but the reality is much worse. We’ve seen rape used as a tactic of war before in Bosnia, Burma, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere. In too many countries and in too many cases, the perpetrators of this violence are not punished, and so this impunity encourages further attacks."

Evenwhile State Department officials attempted to diffuse the uproar in Sri Lanka on the "bombshell," by indicating that Secretary Clinton's reference to Sri Lanka pointed to pre-2005 period, Tamil circles pointed out that Sri Lanka's security forces have routinely engaged in rape, even during the Rajapakse regime. Clinton's carefully prepared policy statement would have been thoroughly vetted, and is unlikely to change due to the noisy uproar from the Sri Lanka officialdom and judiciary that allowed impunity against egregious crimes to become the norm in Sri Lanka, Tamil circles added.

Mr Wickramanayaka did not stop with his attack on Ms Clinton.

During the same interview Wickramanayaka also noted that "former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and current US Under secretary of State Robert Blake was attempting to present a war crimes report on Sri Lanka and bring charges against some Sri Lankan government officials," Daily Mirror said Wednesday.

In a broadside attack on Blake, Wickramanayake, recalling that "during his tenure in Sri Lanka, Blake had voiced displeasure over the road closures for VIP movements and had at one time even walked from the Colombo Embassy to another location just to draw attention to his stand," added that "while Blake was taking that stand, in the US at times even a whole town is closed when the US Presidential motorcade was traveling along that route," Daily Mirror said.


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External Links:
ST: SL envoy summoned by State Dept
DM: Clinton has forgotten the Monica episode- PM Wickramanayaka


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