By Daya Gamage – Asian Tribune Political Note
Washington, D.C. 27 May (Asiantribune.com): The U.S. Department of State’s – highly impartial and non-partisan watchdog – Office of Inspector General found fault on May 25 with Hillary Clinton for the use of a private e-mail server which contained sensitive and classified material during the time she was secretary of state.
The OIG found that Clinton did not comply with the agency’s policies on records in her use of private email while US secretary of state.
Thousands of emails that Clinton sent from the private account during her tenure as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2012 have been made public last year as a result of Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by an investigative journalist.
Most were found highly sensitive and classified one of which was connected to the then ongoing battle between Sri Lanka’s military forces and the Tamil Tiger fighting cadre.
The OIG report, which was provided on May 25 to the U.S. Congress for the lawmakers to study and take action, states, “At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”
The e-mail scandal has plagued her campaign for this year’s presidential election.
In one of the e-mails – undoubtedly a sensitive one – disclosed because of the Freedom of Information Act law suit granted by a federal judge – Secretary of State intervened in early May 2009 to bring obstacles to the Government of Sri Lanka when it was clear to her that the Tamil Tigers were being defeated at the battle field.
She wanted the IMF to immediately suspend funds to Sri Lanka. An email sent on May 4, 2009 seemed to suggest that the International Monetary Fund was unhappy with Secretary of State Clinton “ordering/telling” the IMF to suspend the funding of the government of Sri Lanka.
As a result of Secretary Clinton’s “ordering/telling”, the IMF held a meeting with the then US Secretary of Treasury, President Obama’s cabinet officer handling the nation’s finances, the e-mail passed through Clinton’s server notes that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner expressed that she was “intruding into his domain”.
Burns Strider, a political consultant and former senior advisor to the then-secretary of state, said in the e-mail -that went through Clinton’s private server she was illegally maintaining at her New York resident – that he felt “people on the ground”, from both the World Bank and the IMF, believed that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam needed to be “completely defeated” and that “collateral damage inflicted on private people” by the actions of the Sri Lankan government were “ok”, in their eyes.
Here’s that E-Mail:
On Mon, May 4, 2009 at 9:39 AM, H
Do you know anything about this–from any angle?
From: Bums Strider
Sent: Mon May 04 09:36:17 2009
Subject: Some intel for you…
This is about Sri Lankan Govt and the Tigers…
I have a good source.
This was shared to me at my and Karen’s Derby Party yesterday (can you
believe the 50 to 1 odds winner?).
There was a meeting held with Geitner asked for and led by IMF… They
told him you were intruding into his domain by ordering/telling IMF to
suspend funding to Sri Lakan Govt.
My take is that the people on the ground both with World Bank and IMF
believe the Tigers need to be completely defeated and any collateral
damage inflicted on private people by SL govt in process is ok… They
also believe Tigers are better at propaganda than SL govt…
I have no idea what reality is… I know all about the conflict because
there’s been so much written over time but no idea of reality on ground.
My point is that IMF/World Bank is hoping to get Geitner to intervene
and they recently played to his sense of who is US point person on
IMF… So, that’s what I know. I’ll keep my ears open. (End Text)
TO: H means to Hillary
The e-mail written by Secretary Hillary Clinton’s political consultant and senior advisor Burns Strider that went through her classified server gives a serious narration. Obama administration’s foreign minister Hillary Clinton was using her official position to bring obstacles for the Government of Sri Lanka to defeat the secessionist Tamil Tigers. That she was attempting to use U.S. representatives in the IMF and World Bank to bring ‘economic blockade’ to Sri Lanka to avenge the failure of the State Department’s overall policy to prevent a total annihilation of the LTTE. She was using her stature in the Obama administration to influence Secretary of Treasury Geithner to work with the IMF and IBRD to impose the ‘economic blockade’. The officials of the IMF and IBRD strongly felt that the Tigers needed to be defeated even at the cost of ‘collateral damage’.
This then is connected to what the deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. State Department expressed at the special media event in Washington on May 6 (2009).
United States Maneuvers
On 6 May 2009, twelve days before the war ended with the total defeat of the LTTE with all the leaders killed, the State Department convened a special media event in Washington presenting its deputy assistant secretary of State for South Asia to make significant announcements about the crucial developments in Sri Lanka. While announcing the measures taken by the USG toward the surrender of LTTE cadre and the protection of the unarmed civilians within the battle zone, the deputy assistant secretary Mike Owens made the following significant pronouncements for the GSL to hear loud and clear:
(a) We, of course, have designated the LTTE as a terrorist organization, and we certainly have no sympathy for some of the things that they’ve carried out, but I think you do have to ask a very legitimate question: Why did they have a following in the beginning? And I think it’s because some in the Tamil community do have legitimate grievances, and we need to find — I think it’s imperative for Sri Lankans to find a way to give everyone in the community, all Sri Lankans a legitimate voice in their government.
(b) If the government of Sri Lanka does attack the safe zone and large numbers of civilians are killed: Certainly, there would be consequences, and we’ve made it very clear to the leadership of the government of Sri Lanka there would be strong consequences if that occurred. I would not want to sort of tie our hands in terms of specifying exactly what those consequences would be, but we would certainly hold the government of Sri Lanka responsible for the death of a lot of civilians, and we’ve made that very clear to the leadership.
(c) I would emphasize that we believe the Diaspora, the Sri Lankan Diaspora, and particularly the Tamil Diaspora in North America, in Europe, elsewhere, has a very important role to play in this. They should, I hope, be speaking out in terms of what they envisioned for Sri Lanka in a post-conflict scenario. They have an important voice in that process.
What Mike Owens spelled-out were clear policy planks, that the LTTE clearly represented the grievances of the 11% minority Tamil community in Sri Lanka, and that the USG clearly believed that those grievances gave birth to the movement, and despite the USG designated it a terrorist movement it is unable to allow such an organization which represents the Tamil voice be totally removed, and the GSL was warned not to use its fire power to harm the unarmed civilians which would obstruct Washington’s effort to find out “what to do about the leadership of the Tigers”.
If the sole endeavor was to protect the unarmed civilians and facilitate them to move out of the battle zone, Mike Owens wouldn’t have used the following language. This sounded like simultaneous efforts to protect the civilians – threatening the GSL to take two steps back – and remove the top LTTE cadre from the battle zone.
Looks like Secretary Clinton and her assistant secretary Mike Owens were on the same page with single policy target.
“We are trying quietly — and I can’t talk too much about this– but we are trying quietly behind the scene to find a way to bring an end to the fighting. It’s very difficult to see exactly how that’s going to happen, but we think there are a couple of elements that need to be involved, and we need to find a way for the LTTE to surrender arms possibly to a third party in the context of a pause in the fighting, to surrender their arms in exchange for some sort of limited amnesty to at least some members of the LTTE and the beginning of a political process”
Mr. Owens had earlier served in Sri Lanka as a Foreign Service Officer, and immediately prior to the assistant secretary position he was Director of the State Department’s Office for India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Bhutan.
“So what we would like to see is a package, in which there is a pause, and then during that pause, not only do the civilians leave but we also make some arrangements between the government and the LTTE that would involve trading off surrender of arms for a limited amnesty. The government of Sri Lanka has previously offered a limited amnesty. This would be for the lower level LTTE cadre, not the leadership”.
Following is the most catchy phrase:
“And so I think one of the big questions is what to do about the leadership, and that’s certainly not easy to answer. This is a very complex and very difficult sort of thing to orchestrate. There are many problems, and we are running out of time. We really, literally, have a matter of a couple of days maybe in which we can try to get this finalized.
“So we are working on it, but I don’t want to raise expectations that we’re close to a comprehensive agreement,” declared Mike Owens.
Why was a United States government official instead of talking about the protection of civilians underscore the safety of the leaders of an organization it designated a foreign terrorist organization (FTO)? This was more to an evacuation of unarmed civilians from the battle zone.
Elaborating further on the same issue the State Department’s acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Owens said: “I just want to emphasize this is what we would like to see happen, but we don’t have any illusions that this is easy to engineer. It’s something that we’ve been working on very hard and quietly behind the scene, because we see — the only potential we see to bring this to an end is to have a package in which we have a pause, and the civilians were allowed to leave. “
Clinton’s disclosed e-mail and Mike Owens’ pronouncement, both in the first week of May 2009, clearly project the mindset and perspective of the Obama White House – in which Dr. Samantha Power worked to make the Rajapaksa administration looked like a genocidal regime – toward the LTTE, Tamil issues and Sri Lanka’s national calamity.
– Asian Tribune –