Cablegate: Media Play: Sri Lankan Media Accuse U.S. Of
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 001517
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/MR, I/RW, I/REC; PA
SA/INS (CAMP, WALLER), SA/PD (SCHWARTZ, SCENSNY),
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR OIIP CE
SUBJECT: MEDIA PLAY: SRI LANKAN MEDIA ACCUSE U.S. of
1. In a 9/1 editorial, "Self-inflicted wounds," the DAILY
MIRROR (independent English daily), launched one of the
most vigorous criticisms of U.S. policy seen in Sri Lanka's
mainline press since the occupation of Iraq. "Self-
inflicted wounds" accuses the U.S. of searching for "a new
bogeyman" following the demise of the USSR, and finding
"the ideal in Muslim fundamentalists." As a result,
Islamic "fanatics" are in ascendancy and "America and its
allies in Iraq are now reaping the whirlwind," pursuing
policies that "breed more Bin Ladens in the Arab world and
... threat[en] ... cultured and freedom-loving people
everywhere." The MIRROR concludes by suggesting that the
U.S. avoid the kind of "sinister interests" that "created
the Vietnam quagmire" and "focus more on justice and fair
play as was the clear case with its founding fathers...."
2. "Self-inflicted wounds" follows verbatim:
We have been vilifying regularly our political leaders for
making a mockery of democracy and our nation since
independence. Looking beyond our role models in US and UK
we find some actions of their leaders too border on lunacy.
Their so-called objective media is no better in dancing to
the jingoistic tunes of their leaders, especially in the
invasion of Iraq.
Fortunately for the world sanity in the west is not totally
lost. We have the modern day Western culture capital of the
world, France, which, though led by a centre right
President, is able to see the world with a cultured
Then we have the economic powerhouse of Europe, Germany,
led by centre left Social Democrats, having the conviction
to stand their ground. There were also lesser players like
Russia, Canada and Belgium. Despite all types of cajoling
and even being vilified by sections of western media, they
rightly stood up to say No to the hasty plans of Bush and
Blair. History may have already vindicated these naysayers.
For specially the economic-military machine that really
wields power in America, with the demise of the Communist
threat and the collapse of the East -bloc, they were really
in search of a new bogeyman. They found the ideal in Muslim
fundamentalists they themselves helped to activate to fight
the Russians after their incursion into Afghanistan to prop
up a puppet regime. Instead of trying to correct the wrong
they helped to create with the liberation of Afghanistan,
the US in particular and the West in general slept on their
duty. The result was obvious.
In isolation Muslim religious schools that sprouted like
mushrooms across Afghanistan and Pakistan, which served as
the main base to oust the Russians, kept on churning
fanatics. All that these fanatics required was the shout
Allah o' Akbar to go into any type of action.
America and its allies in Iraq are now reaping the
whirlwind. Saddam Hussein was an irritant, but he was also
a secular person. Arrogant western countries, could not
appreciate the fact he was ruling a volatile country.
Luckily the West has begun to see that it is to their
advantage to have left-leaning rulers like Mummar Gaddafi
of Libya. But their realising the truth may be a bit too
late. The West must realise the Arab masses are no longer
fooled. They want to be in charge of their destiny. The
West must stop using the corrupt and friendly regimes they
help to stay in power, who would only help breed more Bin
Ladens in the Arab world and a threat to all cultured and
freedom-loving people everywhere.
More than anything else America should no longer try to
legitimise whatever the Israeli does. The cycle of violence
must stop with the Israelis. Premier Ariel Sharon's policy
of always firing the last shot has to end. The ground rule
must be, as long as there are no suicide bombs or attacks
taking place in Israel, there must be no assassination of
hard line activists among Palestinians. Then like elsewhere
in the world, encourage doves from both sides by supporting
them. Like the West often tells us we like to tell them to
give peace a chance. West Asia badly needs a respite.
Sinister interests in Washington too created the Vietnam
quagmire. For greater involvement America staged the Tonkin
Gulf incident, a fictitious attack that never took place.
Similarly in this war we were told of Sadam's weapons of
mass destruction, that they claimed could be activated
within 45 minutes.
America is yet the great land of opportunity. It is time
the American ruling elite focus more on justice and fair
play as was the clear case with its founding fathers, and
now with the world's wealth and especially its oil fields.
3. Comment. The DAILY MIRROR is the flagship publication
of the Wijeya group, publishers of the SUNDAY TIMES
(independent English weekender), LANKADEEPA (independent
Sinhala daily), and SUNDAY LANKADEEPA (independent Sinhala
weekender). The Wijeya Group's newspapers are among the
most respected in Sri Lanka. End comment.