Michele Sison in New York, Sri Lanka issues get solid grounding in UN

SisonWith the posting of US ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele Sison as Deputy Representative of the US to the UN and Deputy Representative of the US in UN Security Council, a very clear image as to where Sri Lanka fits into the global jig-saw-puzzle has emerged.

Ms. Sison’s nomination was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 29 and the committee took immediate steps to refer it to the full senate for voting before the Congress goes on summer recession on Friday.

Her boss at the US Mission in UN, Samantha Power, is a member of President Obama’s inner circle and was his national security advisor before taking the current position. Before she left for the UN position, Ms. Power initiated the establishment of a ‘council’ within the Obama White House to monitor Global Atrocities and Genocide.

While being Obama’s national security advisor and a member of the National Security Council, Samantha Power travelled to Sri Lanka on a ‘fact-finding-mission’ two years ago on Sri Lanka’s alleged violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law during it offensive against the terrorist/separatist Tamil Tigers specifically during the final battle from Jan-May 2009.

It is well known that she was heavily influenced by the US non-action during the Rwanda Genocide in 1998 during Clinton Presidency which resulted her to write a book on the issue declaring that the US should never ignore such calamities.

Michele Sison will now work closely with Ms. Power at the US Mission in UN as her deputy.

As she said to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 29 at her confirmation hearing that she worked “closely with the UN throughout my career to promote accountability and respect for human rights”, she, as is Samatha Power, has direct access to the US State Department, which researches, investigates and analyses reports it receive from its 190-odd diplomatic posts worldwide, will maintain close rapport with the Human Rights Division of the US Department of Homeland Security – the division that scrutinizes war crimes, human rights abuses and genocide in other countries and the culpability of individuals in those countries, closely work with US State Department’s Stephen Rapp who handles war crime issues, and along with Samantha Power will advise the US National Security Council headed by President Obama.

Michele Sison this January undertook a tour with Stephen Rapp in the war-ravaged region in the north and east of Sri Lanka. The Twitter Accounts carried in Colombo’s American Embassy official web portal describing the areas they toured as cites, as framed by the American Embassy – “killing of hundreds of families by army shelling.”

Reacting to the American Embassy ‘declarations’ in its own official web portal, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defense on January 09 expressed shock and anger at what it called a “baseless allegation” against the nation’s military in a photo caption posted on the official Twitter feed of the United States Embassy the day before.

The photograph showed the American ambassador to Sri Lanka, Michele J. Sison, and Stephen J. Rapp, the United States ambassador at large for war crimes issues, during a visit to the Tamil-dominated north of the country, where government forces routed Tamil Tiger rebels in the bloody final days of a civil war in 2009. The caption that enraged the ministry referred to the “killing of hundreds of families by army shelling” at the site that the United States diplomats were pictured visiting.

One Sri Lankan media report stated that the Defense Ministry issued an indignant statement that suggested that the American officials might have published the images and remarks as part of a plot to support Tamil separatists by insisting on an international investigation into claims that war crimes were committed in the last days of the conflict.

The BBC correspondent Charles Haviland reported that an unnamed embassy source confirmed to him that the message posted on Twitter about the killing of hundreds of families did reflect the official stance of the United States government.

Michele Sison leaves Colombo for New York undoubtedly with this mindset to work very closely with agencies referred earlier when the Sri Lanka issue emerges.

As deputy representative to the US Mission in UN, she will also maintain a close rapport with the US Mission at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva.

This then complete the jig-saw-puzzle of emerging scenario on ‘internationalization of the Sri Lanka issue’ that the operatives within the Tamil Diaspora – operatives well known for their contribution to Prabhakaran’s terror campaign by way of fundraising, propaganda, counseling and encouraging arms procurement declaring the Tiger movement a liberation organization all of which fall within the ‘Material Support Law’ in US legislation – were actively instrumental in bringing this South Asian nation for ‘war crimes-genocide’ scrutiny by international bodies.

Michele Sison’s track record in Sri Lanka since June 2012 as the American ambassador to Sri Lanka – as was in Lebanon- talks volumes what she will undertake ‘on behalf of Sri Lanka’ when she assumes duties as US Deputy Permanent Representative in UN and Deputy US Representative in the UN Security Council. (Asian Tribune)

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