Is Bob Casey’s National Defense Authorization Vote Hurting His Global Reputation?

bob casey sucksDid you know Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey is a champion of human rights? That’s correct! His spot on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has made him the main man in tiny Asian nation Sri Lanka. That country finally won its 26-year war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam — a terrorist group known for participating in ethnic cleansing, suicide attacks, and utilizing more than 5,000 child soldiers — in May 2009. And Casey, as a member of the committee and Subcommittee on Near Eastern, South and Central Asian Affairs, is now pressuring the country on human rights as it rebuilds and reconfigures its population.

The U.S. supported Sri Lanka’s government in its fight against the rebels over the past couple decades. And lately, Casey actually presented a resolution passed at the United States Embassy in Colombo that would establish an accountability mechanism to investigate the alleged war crimes and human rights abuses during the war against the Tamil separatists, a group separate from the LTTE. Casey was also one of three Senators signing a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “pressing for the establishment of an independent international commission, either by the UN Human Rights Council or under the Secretary-General’s own authority regarding Sri Lanka’s human rights issues.”

With that in mind, the Asian Tribune, a South Asian online newspaper (recently centered in Sweden) which focuses most of its reporting on the above civil conflict, is confused about the Pennsylvania Senator’s take on a recent national defense bill we’ve been telling you about since November 28. Specifically, that paper wonders, how could Casey could vote for a measure (since re-written in a “face-saving” manner) that would incarcerate Americans indefinitely?

“How could a human rights champion like Bob Casey possibly support a bill that will arrest American citizens and other alien residents on charges of engaging in terrorist activities against the American nation be put in indefinite military custody without charges and trial?” the paper asks.

The Tribune also notes that the provisions and laws Sri Lanka has been asked to take on by Western Interests does not go as far as the original writing of Provision 1031 in the National Defense Authorization Act. (It should be noted the Sri Lankan government isn’t exactly squeaky clean as it pertains to human rights.)

“[Casey] has almost become a mouthpiece for the remnant LTTE cadre who are donning the ‘Diaspora Garb’…But Mr. Casey wholeheartedly (sic) support to incarcerate civilians indefinitely under military custody without charges and trial, a measure Sri Lanka will never ever entertain in its thoughts,” the paper writes.

As we noted last week, Casey, 16 Democrats and most Republicans (including PA Sen. Pat Toomey) voted against an amendment—offered by Democrat Mark Udall—that would have taken a provision out of the National Defense Authorization Act allowing the indefinite incarceration of American citizens by the U.S. military. Republican Sen. Rand Paul offered a similar amendment, which was also crushed by a bipartisan coalition of Republicans and conservative Democrats.

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

The provision was eventually swiped for more lackluster language that removed “U.S. citizens” from those who can be incarcerated without charges after criticism of the bill. We wrote last week how Sen. Lindsey Graham was all about the bill, saying it turned the U.S. into a “battlefield”—and framing it like that was a good thing. Since then, he told the New York Times, citizens who are suspected of joining Al Qaeda are opening themselves up “to imprisonment and death … And when they say, “I want my lawyer,” you tell them: “Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer. You are an enemy combatant, and we are going to talk to you about why you joined Al Qaeda.”‘

President Obama has threatened a veto, though, as the Asian Tribune also pointed out, last Thursday saw Obama Administration lawyers reaffirming their backing for state-sponsored assassinations of U.S. citizens who take up arms with al-Qaeda overseas, so, really, who knows? Sweet Nobel Peace Prize, dude!

Gawker notes how detaining U.S. citizens indefinitely isn’t necessarily that new, but still: “’Dirty bomb’ plotter Jose Padilla spent three-and-a-half years as an “enemy combatant” until he was finally charged,” writes Lauri Apple. “But Padilla’s detention was unusual and sparked a huge outcry; the new provisions would standardize his treatment and enable us all to become Jose Padillas.” And Glenn Greenwald has written at Salon that the law will really just “formally codify” the powers the government’s been using since 9/11.

So really, it’s just the silly U.S. government getting tough on crime for the good of 9/11, forever. And it should be interesting to see how Sen. Casey’s dealings in Sri Lanka are affected by this, if they are at all.

10 Responses to “ Is Bob Casey’s National Defense Authorization Vote Hurting His Global Reputation? ”

  1. eureka says:

    The author, just like the Sri Lankan government, cannot distinguish between Tiger Terrorism and Tamil Nationalism.
    Many conscientious Sinhalese are also ”mouthpieces”:

    Jayantha Dhanapala’s submission to Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission(LLRC), August 2010: ‘’The lessons we have to learn go back to the past – certainly from the time that we had responsibility for our own governance on 4 February 1948 . Each and every Government which held office from 1948 till the present bear culpability for the failure to achieve good governance, national unity and a framework of peace, stability and economic development in which all ethnic, religious and other groups could live in security and equality. Our inability to manage our own internal affairs has led to foreign intervention but more seriously has led to the taking of arms by a desperate group of our citizens. We need to have State reform; we need to have rule of law established; we need to ensure non discrimination amongst our citizens; we need to have devolution of power and a tolerance of dissent and a strengthening of democratic institutions.’’. (Dhanapala was formerly UN Under-Secretary General for Disarmament)

    K.Godage(former Sri Lankan diplomat) addresses LLRC, 15 September 2010:
    ‘’We have persistently discriminated against the Tamil people. The Tamils have undergone, and are undergoing immense hardship. We need to reach out to them.”

    Mr. Mangala Moonasinghe(retired diplomat) to LLRC, 17 August 2010:
    ‘’… so, who started terrorism – it was we – and then gradually naturally the youth, Tamil youth, went into terrorism in the north. … So terrorism did not come on its own. We created them sir, we created them. ….’’

  2. GypsyOwl says:

    At this rate, it may not be long before China voices its concern for human rights violations in USA.
    As for ‘The Asian Tribune’, no one takes it seriously. It’s a sri lankan government funded venture which carries out anti-Tamil propaganda at the lankan government’s instruction and will accuse anyone who criticizes sri lanka as LTTE supporters.

  3. Birchmount says:

    Mr. Randy LoBasso has no clue about the world affairs beyond the coast of Miami.

    I do not think that he has ever read 216-page UN Expert Panel Report or emerging video footages from the Sri Lankan ex-soldiers how the Sri Lankan war was carried out in total black out under the paradigm of ‘war on terror’.

    He has no idea how the western embassies in Colombo were mobbed by angry Rajapaksha supporters with anti-western sentiments for raising voice for the voiceless people.

    I believe, Mr. Lobasso has been fed with some information by the Sri Lankan paid agencies in the Sri Lankan attempt to sanitize their alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    Mr. LaBosse, please keep your political affinity within the limits of america.

    Or, start reading it from Kosovo, Sudan, Libya, Syria before you understand Sri Lankan clinical manipulations.

    Money is not everything.

  4. Sen says:

    Thank God, it is only a blog.

    The racial columns written on the Sri Lankan web tabloid in the past and the patton bogggs are conveniently hidden here.

  5. Birchmount says:

    Senior executives at Bell Pottinger told undercover reporters that they were so influential that they had written a key speech given by the Sri Lankan President to the United Nations.

    Part of Bell Pottinger’s remit was to influence the foreign media in favour of the Sri Lankan government.

    The firm sub-contracted its work in the United States to the firm Qorvis, which placed an article by President Rajapaksa in the Philadelphia Inquirer in December 2009 entitled “How Sri Lanka Defeated Terrorism”. In the piece the President suggested Sri Lanka had provided a “workable model” for defeating terrorism, from which the international community could gain “valuable insight”.

    In February 2010, the Wall Street Journal published a piece that discussed the “peaceful” election which returned Rajapaksa to power, and prompted several letters complaining of government violence against its critics.

    We wrote Sri Lankan President’s civil war speech, say lobbyists:

  6. Birchmount says:


    Bell Pottinger is one of the largest multinational PR firms in London and has represented clients with poor human rights records such as Belarus, Yemen, Sri Lanka and Bahrain.

  7. Sen says:


    It is called ‘Reputation Management to Despotic Regimes’

    Bahrain, Belarus, Yemen and Sri Lanka

  8. [...] Close Pa. Megan’s Law Loopholes Inquirer: Pileggi, on Facebook, says he won’t challenge Casey Philly Weekly: Is Bob Casey’s National Defense Authorization vote hurting his global reputation? Philly Weekly: [...]

  9. Dr. Sammy says:

    According to UN report, Sri Lankan security forces committed some of the worst war crimes and crimes against humanity of this century and killed 40,000 Tamil civilians in May 2009. Please watch UK’s channel 4 video ‘Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’. Sri Lankan government does not want to listen to US, Canada, UK and other western countries as well as Amnesty, HRW and ICG to conduct an independent international investigation into the conduct of the war. This is what Sec. Casey is championing, which any decent human being will do.

    Sri Lanka wants to keep its Tamil civilians as 4th or 5th class citizens, according to UK’s and France’s foreign ministers! There is no accountability or reconciliation after the end of the war!

    Asian Tribune is a joke! It is privately funded by Sri Lankan president Rajapakse and it will publish anything that is for Sri Lankan government!

  10. [...] U.S. soil. Th&#1077 crowd &#959f &#1072b&#959&#965t 30 marched around th&#1077 city, hitting both Sen. Bob Casey &#1072nd Sen. Pat Toomey’s offices, &#1072m&#959ng &#959th&#1077r spots. Both senators voted [...]

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