Rajapakse, David Cameron and Bell Pottinger – working together?

TU Senan

The Independent on Tuesday 6 December exposed the dirty dealings of a company called Bell Pottinger (BP). The information revealed included details of the service Bell Pottinger provided to the government of Sri Lanka (GoSL). This company had previously been accused of acting on behalf of other countries with records of human rights violations such as Uzbekistan.

According to the Independent, this PR company claims that they “have used their access to Downing Street to get David Cameron to speak to the Chinese premier on behalf of one of their business clients within 24 hours of asking him to do so” and that “it was possible to use MPs known to be critical of investigative programmes to attack their reporting for minor errors”.

It is clear from this report how influential they are on the current government including the prime minister and a number of MPs. It is the very same company that represents the GoSL, even to the extent that it is writing the president’s speech for the UN. Bell Pottinger claims inside the UK it has added some “critical dialogue at government level” on behalf of the GoSL. Bell Pottinger worked hard to “balance” out the accurate reports produced by Channel 4 about the war and its aftermath in SL which saw tens of thousands of Tamil-speaking people brutally massacred.

This is a criminal attempt to bury the genocidal slaughter that took place. This is not acceptable. Bell Pottinger should be held to account. The company must be immediately stopped from defending countries like SL with horrific human rights abuses. Tamil Solidarity demands the immediate release of all information about Bell Pottinger’s dealings with the GoSL that Bell Pottinger holds. There must be a public inquiry into all the dealings of this company, not left in the hands of MPs they’ve worked with. We believe they are guilty of assisting and covering up a massacre and should be taken into administration, with all assets frozen.

The UK government has made no serious effort to bring the GoSL to account for the war crimes. Instead the GoSL is still considered a full member of the Commonwealth and will be allowed to chair the next summit in 2013. This should be prevented. The country should be suspended from the organisation. Cameron’s weasel words calling on the GoSL to “improve human rights” mean nothing for the oppressed Tamil-speaking people. We want to see action taken. We demand that Cameron reveals all his personal dealings with Bell Pottinger. We demand that the government shows the concrete details of the measures it has taken in relation to war crimes in Sri Lanka given that it’s ex-defence secretary was proved to be criminally close to the government. Disgraced former defence minister Liam Fox is a close friend of Rajapakse and defended the GoSL. Even though he has been forced out his foreign policy continues. Furthermore it appears that his method of backroom deals has not ceased either. We demand transparency in foreign policy dealings.

Nearly Three years have passed since the major massacre took place in SL. 20,000 young people remain in secret torture camps, tens of thousands are kept in makeshift camps and there has been no proper resettlement. We cannot accept the continuation of this oppression. The Tamil-speaking people living in the UK should stand up to these rotten politicians whose morals is no better than the Rajapkses’.

TS initiated a vigorous campaign against the ‘Flying Fox’ in the summer prior to the exposure of his dodgy dealings – knocking on at nothing less than 5,000 homes in his constituency. We also warned about a series of MPs and MEPs who work against the interests of the Tamil-speaking people in the UK and European parliaments. We warned against placing hope in them and their weasel words. We urge the oppressed Tamil-speaking people and other diaspora groups who claim to represent them to break from such false and failed methods.

Instead let’s find common cause with those other trade union and community activists and youth groups who are challenging the corrupt millionaire elite who are only interested in enriching themselves at our expense.

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