M.I.A. denied visa, endorses MasterCard

AIM and M.I.A. are forever mated in palindrome, but the news site is reporting that Her Highness of Baile Funk has been denied entry into the U.S. (thanks, tipster). Visa officials aren’t hip to terror chic by either Modi or Maya.

Speed bump courtesy of the Tamil Tigers

London rapper M.I.A. has been denied a visa to visit or work in the USA by immigration officials… Sources close to the British Sri-Lankan MC said that her lawyers are frantically trying to resolve the situation… She is hoping to get back to the USA as soon as US immigration will allow for a collaboration with producer Timbaland on her next album. [Link]

… Arulpragasam doesn’t downplay her Tiger connection, she flaunts it, it’s integral to her marketing. She did a mix album using unauthorized samples called Piracy Funds Terrorism. Her song ‘Sunshowers’ refers to suicide bombs (‘And some showers I’ll be aiming at you’), her first album bears her dad’s [LTTE] codename. Jungle guerrillas are all over the ‘Sunshowers’ video, there’s a large running tiger in her excellent concert visuals, she does a soldier step on stage and a shoutout to the P.L.O. [Link]

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p>Arulpragasam’s blog is littered with misspellings, but her interview video clips have that sexayy, husky voice, a confidence which shows up on screen but not always on stage. Does your starcrush survive? Roll again.

THEY TRY SHUT MY DOOR!

Roger roger do you here me over!!!!
the U.S immigration wont let me in!!!!!
i was mennu work with timber startin this week, but now im doin a Akon “im locked out they wont let me in” im locked out! they wont let me in! Now Im strictly making my album outside the borders!!!! so il see you all one day, for now ill keep reportin from the sidelines
to my people who walk wiv me in the America, dont forget we got the internet! Spread the word! or come get me!!!!!! ill be in my bird flu lab in china! liming and drinkin tiger beer with my pet turtel. I love everyone for the support, now i need it more. ill stay up spread out else where. [Link]

im in india right now, hurding cows, theres some minister staying at my hotel, and his body guard has a a.k 47. me and my brother just caught him knockin on peoples doors askin for money. the police body guard that it. [Link]

The last time U.S. immigration turned back a pop star, they nailed international archvillain Cat Stevens. I sleep so much better at night knowing they foiled the plot to threaten America with music from the ’70s. Playing ‘Where’s Osama?’ pales in comparison.

Related posts: M.I.A.: Step up to blow up, The Modi protest, Modi gets B*slapped, Ain’t no junk in her trunk, Ga-ching-a-ching-a-ching, Wah, po’ Maya, I coulda been a contendah, Hello, this is M.I.A., Grind me down sugar salt, Fire Fire (updated again), Tinted Tilly, Bucky Done Underwhelmed, The transit of Venus in Mercury, New York, quieten down…, Acid-washed genes, M.I.A., fashion victim, M.I.A. now a role model?, Missing in Acton, Monsters of rock

184 thoughts on “M.I.A. denied visa, endorses MasterCard

  1. She herself says she’s neutral regarding the conflict.

    I call bullshit. Maybe she just finds the LTTE fashionable and cool, like totally rebellious and stuff. Like all the kids sporting CHE T-Shirts.

  2. It all depends on what you mean by “support.” Typically, mere speech in “support” of a group’s goals, aspirations, and even activities is not sufficient to warrant punishment. The immigration context is different, in that the government has tremendous discretion to act in ways that would otherwise be deemed arbitrary. But at least at the level of principle, punishing someone for speech and association only raises all kinds of human rights concerns. For the nerdy among you with some time on your hands, see David Cole’s summary of some of the issues (in a related but different context).

  3. US Govt prerogative in denying a visa. You guys were all gungho when Modi was denied a visa. Hope the US govt applies the same logic to Sonia Gandhi and the rest of the Congress govt (The 1984 pogrom in Delhi and teh rest of India was the worst and you know who was responsible). Atleast be consistent.

    Which leads me back to the point that this “prerogative” is (or perhaps is, since we don’t yet know the facts) being exercised arbitrarily. Just because there is formal legal authority to do something doesn’t mean that however it is exercised is therefore just.

    I won’t speak for others, but I wasn’t “gung ho” about Modi’s exclusion at the time, though I wasn’t shedding any tears for him either. I want the guy to be prosecuted or otherwise held accountable, and here would have been as good a place as any other. As for Sonia Gandhi, I think the suggestion that her role in 1984 was equivalent to Modi’s is a bit ridiculous. Others in the Congress Party, absolutely — but what’s your evidence about her role?

  4. But at least at the level of principle, punishing someone for speech and association only raises all kinds of human rights concerns.

    Wasn’t that the argument used by the British to allow hardcore islamists entry/residency in the UK (some of whom have ‘floated’ over to active support vs. simply spouting philosophy?)

    The US should show that free speech does have consequences. No one will stop you from saying what you will, but that does not mean you can simply get away from spewing crap while shedding away personal responsibily under the guise of free speech.

    In my opinion, foreign policy gets too entreched in dogmatic theories without any flexibility. It is tricky. There will never be a one size fits all.

  5. I call bullshit. Maybe she just finds the LTTE fashionable and cool, like totally rebellious and stuff.

    What songs of hers do you think are pro-LTTE? What interviews have you read where she comes out in favour of the LTTE and violent struggle in Sri Lanka.

  6. right on, gujudude. she takes this wishy-washy stance on a serious politcal situation. if she doesn’t have a strong stance on it, i wonder why she even feels compelled to address it at all. frankly, she seems very uninformed. i could kind of understand, the first time around; when she first came out, her reflecting on her own personal experience. but now, you’d think she’d know a little more about the situation, outside her own family’s perspective. since people have called her out on it, so she should know better. she was getting better about it, but she still uses the ltte and sri lanka as an “exotic” commodities to sell her music.

  7. she doesn’t go around saying “i’m pro-LTTE!” but the fact that she incorporates it into her artwork, her music (references to suicide bombers, etc), her album title; makes it a part of her image. no, she doesn’t say in her lyrics, “i support suicide bombing!” but she does reference it, and not in a negative way. maybe that’s not enough for some to constitute “glorification,” but if you are someone that has been effected by the conflict in sri lanka, you don’t take those references so lightly.

  8. Cheerleading is protected, not the consequences of it (social, legal, personal, etc.)

    Er, that would mean that it isn’t protected. And simply saying that she “isn’t a U.S. citizen” doesn’t by itself justify (1) treating her differently from US citizens, or (2) treating her differently from other non-U.S. citizens. I think you need to make more of an argument in favor of your position. In what sense is her speech even demonstrably harmful, except perhaps in emboldening certain people who can’t dance to think that they can? (For that, maybe we should be deporting Eminem and many others.)

    but that does not mean you can simply get away from spewing crap while shedding away personal responsibily under the guise of free speech

    You sure you want the “spewing crap etc” standard to be your touchstone? on that basis, we should probably be shutting down Fox News and maybe going after half the White House staff.

  9. What songs of hers do you think are pro-LTTE? What interviews have you read where she comes out in favour of the LTTE and violent struggle in Sri Lanka.

    It isn’t about one particular quote or line as it is about her overall presentation [ The collection of all the tid bits, by in themselves don't say much, but put it together and there seems to be a pattern.]

    Thats my opinion, everybody else’s miles may vary.

  10. I won’t speak for others, but I wasn’t “gung ho” about Modi’s exclusion at the time, though I wasn’t shedding any tears for him either. I want the guy to be prosecuted or otherwise held accountable, and here would have been as good a place as any other. As for Sonia Gandhi, I think the suggestion that her role in 1984 was equivalent to Modi’s is a bit ridiculous. Others in the Congress Party, absolutely — but what’s your evidence about her role?

    AK, thanks for keeping it real. I too, was not “gung ho” about Modi’s exclusion precisely because of this reason. You make your bed and then you lie in it. Or rather, other people make your bed and put bed bugs in it, and then you complain about the bites.

    Relying on the immigration policies of the United States government (particularly ideological exclusion) to accomplish social justice goals–particularly at a time like this–is a terrible idea. I won’t even get into Emma Goldman or Marcus Garvey right now.

    And as for artists affected by the immigration system:

    You can add to the list: Slick Rick–was getting deported; Thea Som–was also getting deported; a couple of bands from Cuba and Indonesia, respectively –visa problems; and everyone listed in this google search.

  11. As for Sonia Gandhi, I think the suggestion that her role in 1984 was equivalent to Modi’s is a bit ridiculous. Others in the Congress Party, absolutely — but what’s your evidence about her role?

    Well, she may have not participated directly as it was her husband who was involved and she was not part of the power structure then. But she was definitely part of the coverup and the whitewash that is going on now. And a few more years from now all the evidence and witnesses (whatever exists after so many years) will be be gone and you (not you as AK but in a generic jolwallahs) will be asking to show evidence that the things that happened in 1984 really happened. That is why I said be consistent. The blood on the hands of the opposition to Modi is worse. I am not making excuses or saying two wrongs make it right. Actually two wrongs are two wrongs and should be dealt with the same gusto.

  12. AK, thanks for keeping it real. I too, was not “gung ho” about Modi’s exclusion precisely because of this reason.

    I was very gung ho on getting Modi’s visa rejected and I am going to be even more hung go to get it rejected yet again if he does try come to come over (some newsreports say hes trying to come over)

    I expect the government to judiciously use its visa denying ability. Thousands of visas are refused everyday by US consulates across the world for unexplained reasons. I am not sure if denying a visa to Modi had any bearing whatsoever on the visa being denied to Cat Stevens or anybody else. I understand the part about setting a bad ‘precedent’, but we didnt set the precedence when Modi’s visa was denied. The precedent has been firmly in place for decades and frankly I dont see any practical solutions to this problem. The State Department logistically cannot provide a review process to the hundreds of thousands of denied visa appliers. So the State Department will continue (as it has been for decades) to deny a very small fraction of visas on ideological grounds. I see no reason why we should take the moral high ground when its clear that our stance will have no bearing whatsoever on future denial of visas on ideological grounds by the State Department.

  13. Cheerleading is protected, not the consequences of it (social, legal, personal, etc.) Also, she isn’t a United States citizen. Legally speaking, BIG DIFFERENCE.

    The standards of legal culpability are for the most part, same for both citizens and non-citizens. Of course, aliens face immigrations consequences which are not faced by citizens.

  14. Well, she may have not participated directly as it was her husband who was involved and she was not part of the power structure then. But she was definitely part of the coverup and the whitewash that is going on now. And a few more years from now all the evidence and witnesses (whatever exists after so many years) will be be gone and you (not you as AK but in a generic jolwallahs) will be asking to show evidence that the things that happened in 1984 really happened. That is why I said be consistent. The blood on the hands of the opposition to Modi is worse. I am not making excuses or saying two wrongs make it right. Actually two wrongs are two wrongs and should be dealt with the same gusto.

    But see, here’s the thing. Two things, actually. (1) Immigration exclusion will never, even under the most enlightened administration, give any of us an opportunity to develop what the facts actually are in the way that prosecution or even a truth commission would. You might be right about Sonia Gandhi, or I might be (though I don’t purport to know every last detail without further research). Either way, there’s no way that US immigration policy is the right way to go about determining those kinds of facts and holding wrongdoers accountable, and yet so many of us talk about these issues as if it is legitimately or effectively a “stand in” for that kind of process. (2) Consistency in the use of immigration exclusion for these kinds of goals will inevitably be elusive — again, probably even under the most enlightened administration, but certainly in the hands of those inclined to use that power arbitrarily. It just won’t happen, certainly not without clear standards and a different kind of process.

    So I think I’m being entirely consistent — let both of them in, and then let MIA perform on Summerstage w/DJ Rekha and indict Modi for genocide.

    (Now, why you think opponents to Modi have “blood on their hands” in a “worse” way — worse than whom? — not sure I understand that one.)

    AMfd, I think that allowing Modi in would have spurred a number of really healthy political processes that were interrupted by denying him entry. There was the ATS suit, as I mentioned, which probably would likely have been filed and served had he come here. But also would have been the power of protesters tailing him at every appearance, there also was a political process within the community, amongst pro- and anti-Modi Indian Americans, that would have been healthy, since it would have caused people to really think about, confront, and deal with our own transnational roles in what happens in the subcontinent. That long distance nationalism is an important part of what’s been going on for the last several years (and longer).

    And I don’t think we got very much in return for sacrificing those processes. Perhaps we did deprive him of the possibility of shopping at Bloomingdale’s, but he appeared at the AAHOA conference anyway, by video linkup, and got to wrap himself in the martyrdom of claiming (emphasis added, this time, so there’s no confusion) to be a victim of the U.S.

    On balance? I think I would have let Bloomie’s take his money.

  15. Of course, aliens face immigrations consequences which are not faced by citizens.

    Having practiced immigration law a bit, I certainly know this all too well. But the question remains whether that different treatment is justified in any given context.

  16. (Now, why you think opponents to Modi have “blood on their hands” in a “worse” way — worse than whom? — not sure I understand that one.)

    I guess you have never lived in India and/or your source of info is only NY Times, WP etc and any other Indian sources of recent vintage. Go and look at the last 40-50 years of Indian politics and governing and you will know what I am speaking of.

    There was the ATS suit, as I mentioned, which probably would likely have been filed and served had he come here.

    Be careful playing with fire. This impugns on the rights of a soverign nation. Whatever said and done, it is only the duly elected Govt of India who have the right to indict or prosecute Modi. India to kindly remind you, is not a Banana republic. If the US court would have taken it up, it would have diplomatic consequences. Maybe, the US State Dept was afraid of this and decided that it was best to not give Modi a visa, because they can’t control the left wing loonies, but couched it in a different language. Who knows.

  17. Er, that would mean that it isn’t protected. And simply saying that she “isn’t a U.S. citizen” doesn’t by itself justify (1) treating her differently from US citizens, or (2) treating her differently from other non-U.S. citizens. I think you need to make more of an argument in favor of your position. In what sense is her speech even demonstrably harmful, except perhaps in emboldening certain people who can’t dance to think that they can? (For that, maybe we should be deporting Eminem and many others.)

    Let me clarify: By legal I was not implying she has commited a crime. The statement was more general and it encompasses not only something criminal, but a civil beef, too (hypothetically a Sri Lankan group against the LTTE that may sue regardless of the case’s merit. The consequence of such an action would be to spend money to defend herself.) My general point was that people believe free speech entitles them to protection against whatever the consequence of said free speech may be. I should have been more clear and simply state those consequences for said free speech can range the full spectrum, depending on the content of it. People asking her about stuff that alludes to support for the LTTE and wanting clarification is a part of that. The ambiguity of her responses are also a part of this issue, especially when it comes to immigration where it may get highlighted.

    All of this would be moot if this whole issue boils down to something procedural.

    By her not being a US citizen, she is a guest when in the United States. If she makes it here, she is entitled to say whatever she wishes. Not being a citizen doesn’t imply she does not have the same free speech rights. My primary issue is with the fact that people have taken a tone that she almost has a right to be here. No she doesn’t. In her case, if the government feels they don’t want to let someone in who they believe glorifies an outfit such as the LTTE, I don’t have any heartburn.

    Another administration may make a different choice. She is just an artist who has an unsavory connection at best and actively supports a terrorist group at worst. Not allowing her on US soil is the administration’s decision and I have no problem with them exercising it.

    No argument on the dancing thing. Jesus, it really is bad.

    You sure you want the “spewing crap etc” standard to be your touchstone? on that basis, we should probably be shutting down Fox News and maybe going after half the White House staff.

    Fine, I’ll use ‘splurging feces’ standard as my touchstone. If that was really the case not only would Fox News shut down, but I’d bring the axe down on all network television, all cable news networks, most of hollywood, send Keven Federline to some secret prison where he can stop impregnating women along with singing PoPozao, and loop only the disovery channel, history channel, scifi channel, PBS, HBO, WGN games of the Chicago Cubs (I know, this year is the year and they suck), games of the Chicago Bears…. [JUST KIDDING]

  18. The standards of legal culpability are for the most part, same for both citizens and non-citizens. Of course, aliens face immigrations consequences which are not faced by citizens.

    You are correct.

    Having practiced immigration law a bit, I certainly know this all too well. But the question remains whether that different treatment is justified in any given context.

    The answer is it depends (on her true stance), and thats why we’re all having this discussion. Right?

  19. I see no reason why we should take the moral high ground when its clear that our stance will have no bearing whatsoever on future denial of visas on ideological grounds by the State Department.

    I agree with you that there’s a long and sordid history of the immigration system being used to eliminate ideological oppoonents (and on other grounds, including religion, HIV status, political affiliation, “idiocy”, etc.). I don’t see what the cost-benefit is that justifies perpetuating that here.

    There are a million and one other tactics one can use to call attention to how reprehensible the actions of Modi (and the people who are raising money for him and his ilk) can be. Why choose one that will give moral credibility to the U.S. government’s ability to deny visas and deport people and exclude people willfully on the basis of whatever it wants with little to no accountability?

    If Modi had entered the United States, there was planned a large protest at Madison Square Garden that would have prompted more dialogue and brought more attention to the fact that many, many NRIs are raising money for Hindutva. Instead, you have a visa denial and a victory for the Bush Administration’s “we care about democracy” pr machine.

  20. Hindutvavadi

    This impugns on the rights of a soverign nation.

    Actually, I don’t think it does. The suit would not have been by the US government but by private parties harmed by Modi. In any event, sovereignty is a constrained concept in this era, and genocide is a crime for which there is universal jurisdiction, and every country in the world has an obligation to prosecute or extradite the genocidaires.

    I guess you have never lived in India and/or your source of info is only NY Times, WP etc and any other Indian sources of recent vintage. Go and look at the last 40-50 years of Indian politics and governing and you will know what I am speaking of.

    Whoa, no need to resort to ad hominems, especially since you know almost nothing about me. All I asked was you to clarify what you meant, since it wasn’t self-evidently clear — or self-evidently justified. (You seem to think that you can just assert conclusions that justify themselves, and that is sufficient, rather than actually engaging in reasoned argument to back up your assertions.)

    Gujudude

    My general point was that people believe free speech entitles them to protection against whatever the consequence of said free speech may be. I should have been more clear and simply state those consequences for said free speech can range the full spectrum, depending on the content of it.

    Of course, civil legal consequences can be infringements upon free speech just as much as criminal punishment in many circumstances — that’s why a private plaintiff who is a public figure is required to show “actual malice” to win in a libel lawsuit against a newspaper. Your more general point (“if the government feels they don’t want to let someone in who they believe glorifies an outfit such as the LTTE, I don’t have any heartburn”) gives me heartburn to the extent that it’s an invitation to government arbitrariness, rather than evenhandedness and in a reasoned manner, in the enforcement of the immigration laws. Yes, she doesn’t have a “right” to enter the United States. But when the government can act arbitrarily in application of the immigration laws, rather than in a reasoned and principled manner, that should be troubling to all of us. If we’re going to start enforcing the immigration laws against MIA for material support of the LTTE, then I’ve got a long list of people that should be held equally culpable but who will probably be able to enter the US without much trouble. At all.

    Bottom line for me is that I think there has to be some evidence of overt, concrete action before we start holding people responsible for “support” for terrorism. If she’s buying them guns, that’s one thing. If they don’t like what she has to say — that doesn’t seem justified.

    Finally, before I pull a Cheap Ass Desi and disappear for a while, watch it there with talk of shutting down the SciFi Channel. You want to incur the Wrath of Abhi???

  21. The only thing an ATS suit does it to bring attention to the matter – I have not heard a single individual who has been penalised by this legislation since the 1860′s (pre-piracy days).

    AMFD: >>I was very gung ho on getting Modi’s visa rejected

    This means that you don’t trust the Congress/Communist Partis/Laloo etc as well. Which means you don’t trust the whole legal and constitutional machinery in India. Which means you think India is a Banana republic on the lines of Sudan or Hollywood.

    See – if the visa was rejected while the BJP was in power at the centre ( thwarting an honest inquiry into the riots being a legitimate accusation), then I would have understood. However, in May 2004, the BJP lost the elections, and the “Secular” forces came to power. I am sure they have tried every rule in the book to bring Modi down – the fact that they have been un-successful goes to show one thing: Modi is innocent. If he were even half as guilty as he is made out to be, the Congress/Communist combine would have eaten him for breakfast.

    But the visa was rejected after eight months of Congress rule. Which means that the US State department rejected it for unknown reasons (most likely to curry favor with islamic groups). Modi was a martyr by default.

    M. Nam

  22. The fact that they have been un-successful goes to show one thing: Modi is innocent.

    Impeccable logic. You say the same thing about Karadzic and Mladic in Serbia? Pinochet until he was finally brought to justice? India doesn’t have to be a “banana republic” for its system of justice to fail in a case like this one.

  23. So the State Department will continue (as it has been for decades) to deny a very small fraction of visas on ideological grounds. I see no reason why we should take the moral high ground

    Then why in some liberal circles, an outcry over Washington’s denial to release Palestenian Aid money, just because Hamas got elected?

    Its clear that US administration doesnt care about Democracy, but cares more about hegemony. Thats why “Hamas” getting democratically elected in a free and fair election spurred by Washington under supervision from the world, doesnt mean anything to Washington.

    You may ask how is this related to Modi? Well, because Modi was an elected official in a free and fair election of a democratic country. But apparently that doesnt mean anything to the messiahs of democracy.

    BTW, my position about PO aid is that, the new government should get the aid and Washington should force Israel to release the tax revenue that belongs to the newly elected PO govt.

    You either like Democracy or you dont. Cant have it both ways.

  24. In my last comment I should have said PA, as in Palestenian Authority and not PO.

  25. AK:

    Finally, before I pull a Cheap Ass Desi and disappear for a while

    Did you think I wasn’t going to catch you in here talking behind my back?

    Beware: I am everywhere and nowhere.

    A gem of wisdom: don’t pull out and disappear. Stay and fight.

  26. RC:

    Its clear that US administration doesnt care about Democracy, but cares more about hegemony. Thats why “Hamas” getting democratically elected in a free and fair election spurred by Washington under supervision from the world, doesnt mean anything to Washington.

    I completely, wholeheartedly agree with you on this one. You captured my feelings perfectly.

  27. CAD — I thought that might provoke you into saying something! :) I said disappear for “a while” — too much to do before the day evaporates completely.

  28. Bottom line for me is that I think there has to be some evidence of overt, concrete action before we start holding people responsible for “support” for terrorism. If she’s buying them guns, that’s one thing. If they don’t like what she has to say — that doesn’t seem justified.

    Since you are an immigration lawyer, does the government use such a tactic to ‘flush’ an answer out of someone. For example, say her indecisive answers irk some security fellas, does the government use a visa denial to get an explanation, on record, to ensure if things aren’t consistent with the visitor’s detailed explanations, action can be initiated against them?

    Also, I said I’d put those channels, including the Sci Fi on loop for people to view. Not cancel it, so the almighty powers that be (atleast on this website) will not initiate a campaign against me (atleast not on that particular subject).

  29. This means that you don’t trust the Congress/Communist Partis/Laloo etc as well. Which means you don’t trust the whole legal and constitutional machinery in India. Which means you think India is a Banana republic on the lines of Sudan or Hollywood.

    Well the perpetrators of the Anti-Sikh riots in Delhi were at one time sitting in the Parliament. Then we had Gujarat. The Indian record on dealing with anti-minority violence is not the best. I think India has made tremendous progress in the last decade but is nowhere close to being called a liberal democracy. I actually dont believe that the BJP is necessarily worse than Congress when it comes to sectarian violence against the minorities. Remember, Delhi (Anti-Sikh riots) and Anti-Muslims riots in Meerut, Bhagalpur and Bombay were all under Congress governments. I have been reading up on the post partition history of Hindu-Muslim violence in India and some of the worse state sanctioned or tolerated atrocities against Muslims have been committed under Congress governments.

    I am not suggesting this is a ‘Hindu’ problem either. Bangladesh has a terrible record of dealing with its Hindu minority population and Indonesia has a terrible record of dealing with its Christian minority population. I see it more as a general ’3rd world’ problem. As India continues down the path of economic growth and development, hopefully sectarian violence would become a thing of the past.

  30. Since you are an immigration lawyer, does the government use such a tactic to ‘flush’ an answer out of someone.

    In the post 9-11 world, this has become one of the governments favorite tool of dealing with some undesirable Muslim immigrants and in some cases citizens as well. The government has even used immigration laws to circumvent some constitutional protections.

  31. In the post 9-11 world, this has become one of the governments favorite tool of dealing with some undesirable Muslim immigrants and in some cases citizens as well. The government has even used immigration laws to circumvent some constitutional protections.

    Let me be more specific. Do they use this (a disapproval of the visa) to get an answer, then approve the visa once they have a more clear answer on record from the response.

  32. Hindutvavadi – This impugns on the rights of a soverign nation.

    Actually, I don’t think it does. The suit would not have been by the US government but by private parties harmed by Modi. In any event, sovereignty is a constrained concept in this era, and genocide is a crime for which there is universal jurisdiction, and every country in the world has an obligation to prosecute or extradite the genocidaires.

    Well, I may be a dunce, but anything filed in a US court, under the jusidiction of the US laws that affects the rights of another sovereign nation, by definition tampers on the rights of a sovereign nation.

    By whose agreement is “sovereignty is a constrained concept in this era”. Last time I looked up, United Nations recognizes sovereignity and most treaties by definition between sovereign nations. There is no universal jurisdiction notwithstanding what you claim. And genocide as generally accepted is not applicable in Modi’s case, not withstanding all the claims made by people who want to prosecute Modi for genocide. And again India has ratified the convention of genocide with this caveat “With reference to article IX of the Convention, the Government of India declares that, for the submission of any dispute in terms of this article to the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, the consent of all the parties to the dispute is required in each case.”. You can google it. So Govt of India by itself will not agree for this case to be submitted to the ICJ which has the sole authority to try genocide, not withstanding the US laws. Nor is India a signatory to the International Criminal court or going to be one in the near future as they have numerous objections to it.

    <blockquote>I guess you have never lived in India and/or your source of info is only NY Times, WP etc and any other Indian sources of recent vintage. Go and look at the last 40-50 years of Indian politics and governing and you will know what I am speaking of.
    

    Whoa, no need to resort to ad hominems, especially since you know almost nothing about me. All I asked was you to clarify what you meant, since it wasn’t self-evidently clear — or self-evidently justified. (You seem to think that you can just assert conclusions that justify themselves, and that is sufficient, rather than actually engaging in reasoned argument to back up your assertions.)

    Well I made a comment which has a lot of truth to it and that is why I asked if you had any significant knowledge of Indian polity. The Emergency, the killings in Assam in the 80′, the various riots that took place under the Congress govts were all the ones I referred to. Since independence, the Central and the state govts were mostly controlled by Congress, leftists or various shades of the so-called secular parties. If you still can’t understand what I meant, sorry. And you think only you make reasoned arguments.

  33. She supports the freaking terrorists in Sri Lanka. Bad News. Keep her out and stop your leftist whining.

  34. im in india right now, hurding cows, theres some minister staying at my hotel, and his body guard has a a.k 47. me and my brother just caught him knockin on peoples doors askin for money. the police body guard that it.

    She sounds far too mentally challenged to be a terrorist… though her painful fractured syntax could be construed to be a weapon of mass irritation.

  35. AK:

    CAD — I thought that might provoke you into saying something! :) I said disappear for “a while” — too much to do before the day evaporates completely

    .

    You say that I “disappeared for while”, but I haven’t: I’ve been very active on the “Brutha on Brutha” forum– check it out!

    Hmmm.. something tells me this claim of “provoking me into saying something” is actually an excuse you’ve come up with to cover your behind since I caught you red handed.

    Don’t think you can fool me.

  36. Hindutvavadi in CA:

    Well I made a comment which has a lot of truth to it and that is why I asked if you had any significant knowledge of Indian polity.

    Check you out! So all of your comments have truth to them and you have a significant amount of knowledge on Indian politics; and if AK has a different opinion or position, then apparently AK doesn’t have “any significant knowledge of Indian polity”. A bit of hubris on your part, don’t you think? ;)

    In Italian, there is a saying: “Ognuno ha la sua sapienza”: Transl: “Everybody has his/her own knowledge”.

    P.S. Your understanding of international law is a bit textbook literal, but I won’t get into that. Presently, I’m not an international lawyer working for the Hague, so evidently I don’t have “any significant knowledge” of international law.

  37. Well I made a comment which has a lot of truth to it and that is why I asked if you had any significant knowledge of Indian polity. The Emergency, the killings in Assam in the 80′, the various riots that took place under the Congress govts were all the ones I referred to. Since independence, the Central and the state govts were mostly controlled by Congress, leftists or various shades of the so-called secular parties. If you still can’t understand what I meant, sorry. And you think only you make reasoned arguments.

    I actually don’t at all think that I’m the only one who makes reasoned arguments. There are plenty of folks in these pages who do. I just didn’t think that you did.

    In any event, I do have “significant knowledge of Indian polity” and don’t excuse or condone any of the abuses that you refer to. But it doesn’t logically follow from anyone’s condemnation of those abuses that people who oppose Modi therefore have any “blood on their hands,” much less that they have more blood on their hands than anyone else. A pox on the houses of all human rights abusers, no matter what their religion or political party. But what Modi and the Parivar have done is exceptionally well-documented, and so they should be held accountable. And contrary to your suggestion, I have spent time in Gujarat talking to people who have worked on documenting what happened and others who have been affected by the violence.

    As for the issue of universal jurisdiction, you are simply mistaken about this. The issue is not whether the India has submitted to the jurisdiction of the ICJ or the ICC with respect to genocide, but whether international law permits states to exercise universal jurisdiction to prosecute certain offenses, and for a limited number of very serious offenses — war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and torture — I think international law is pretty clear that universal jurisdiction is available. You may regard that as an infringement upon sovereignty, but sovereignty under international law in this era doesn’t protect states’ right to engage in those offenses or to leave those offenses unpunished. It is not the case that the ICJ “has the sole authority to try genocide” — to the contrary, states are encouraged to exercise universal jurisdiction and to recognize the “prosecute or extradite” principle. And a number of states have conducted proceedings based on this principle.

    The Alien Tort Statute issue is distinct from the issue of universal criminal jurisdiction, since it involves a civil lawsuit rather than a criminal prosecution. But similarly, here we are talking about violations of international law so egregious that they carry no sovereign protection at all — individuals cannot claim sovereign immmunity for these violations, and so a private, civil tort action by individuals who have been harmed by their conduct really doesn’t implicate any sovereign concern. (MoorNam raises a different and highly relevant question about whether an ATS suit would be effective in any meaningful way, but that is a different issue.) You disagree that these violations took place, but that’s a different issue — one that can be resolved in the adjudication of the ATS lawsuit itself. (If, on the other hand, you mean to say that private, civil, transnational disputes don’t belong in US court at all, simply because one of the parties is Indian and that therefore implicates Indian sovereignty, I don’t think there’s much support for that position either. Any time a commercial dispute between two corporations from different countries gets resolved in the courts of one country the sovereignty of the other country would be infringed on that logic. But those kinds of disputes go to court all the time.)

    Despite your suggestion, sovereignty is a constrained concept in an era in which certain international human rights norms have been reached the point of being jus cogens norms, or at minimum, part of customary international law. As a matter of international law, sovereign states cannot simply do whatever they want to their own citizens — that may have been true in a different era, but in this era some things do cross the line and become subjects of international concern. This is actually not a particularly controversial point. Your main beef seems to be a different one — you don’t seem to think that Modi did anything that reaches the point of crossing that line. I disagree with you — and there is quite a bit of evidence on my side of that disagreement — but that is a different issue.

  38. The fundamental question that has not been addressed is why does the US need to import another rapper? ;)

  39. So, if the message in her songs are pro-LTTE and her songs are in wide circulation inside the US, how does denying her a visa help?

  40. AMFD: >>I was very gung ho on getting Modi’s visa rejected This means that you don’t trust the Congress/Communist Partis/Laloo etc as well. Which means you don’t trust the whole legal and constitutional machinery in India. Which means you think India is a Banana republic on the lines of Sudan or Hollywood.

    Whooooooooooooaaaaaa…they should post a sign on that slope!

  41. Jai:

    The US is not a monarchy and, therefore, the agendas and positions of the individuals & groups at the executive levels changes with time according to the person occupying the Oval Office along with the political parties in control of the other branches of government. It’s incorrect to ascribe political policies from decades past to any individuals or groups currently in power, as the latter may not necessarily agree with the former. Times change, depending whoever is “at the top”.

    While in theory this can be, in state practice it is not. State policies that are crucial to the state’s interests rarely alter with the change of an administration, and successive administrations are hesitant to tamper with long-standing traditional policies. One may even argue that it is in the nature of the US political framework and its institutions. For example, the US’ policies regarding Israel, in substance, have not changed so much, despite the fact of regime changes in the US. Furthermore, in the case of the US, Democrats and the Republicans in the US do not drastically diverge in their agendas when it comes to foreign policy. This is not to say that there are never any changes, but it is inaccurate to say that government policies simply change with whatever regime that comes in. Furthermore, this assertion is extremely disingenuous in light of the US’ record as well as both foreign and domestic policies that have been sustained over decades (despite misleading promises made; ie image of Clinton with a pen and ready to sign the comically coined “Health Care Reform“]: “With this pen, I will guarantee universal healthcare for all Americans!!!!”. Result? Nothing!!!!!!!)

    It’s incorrect to ascribe political policies from decades past to any individuals or groups currently in power

    No, it’s not. The current Bush admnistration contains recycled Cold War hawks dating back from the Nixon administration who have an extremely significant input in moulding and shaping policies.

    I believe you already know the answer to that, vis-a-vis the current “War on Terror” etc.

    Beta, you were the one who you brought up the “US’ stance on global terrorism” and so I am curious as to what definition and conception of the “War on Terror” you have in mind.

    (PS. I hope you don’t think I’m patronizing you by calling you beta)

  42. CAD,

    Recycling of previous US administration officials aside, I still don’t think it’s appropriate to imply moral equivalence between terrorists deliberately targetting unarmed civilians, and democractic governments who may accidentally cause civilian deaths w.r.t “collateral damage” but are not targetting them directly, even though both situations are unacceptable from my perspective. You can do a search here on SM to find out further details on my views on “ethical warfare” strategies, as the issue has been discussed here several times previously.

    I am curious as to what definition and conception of the “War on Terror” you have in mind.

    The definition and conception of this matter with regards to the current US administration is already well-known and widely publicised, so there is no need for me to engage in a drawn-out debate on the subject.

    (PS. I hope you don’t think I’m patronizing you by calling you beta)

    I’m 32 years old, so unless you are in your 40s or older, it may be worthwhile to reconsider the propriety of referring to me as “beta”, especially on a serious discussion thread such as this one ;)

  43. Ok, I have a confession: I have never heard a single one of M.I.A.’s songs. And I’m trying to follow the first half of this discussion, but it seems to depend on a knowledge of her lyrics and I don’t have this. Would someone PLEASE show me lyrics where she supports the LTTE?

  44. So, if the message in her songs are pro-LTTE and her songs are in wide circulation inside the US, how does denying her a visa help?

    Because if you ignore problems, they clearly go away. Just look, there aren’t any gay people in America anymore, and teenagers aren’t having sex.

    Would someone PLEASE show me lyrics where she supports the LTTE?

    There aren’t any, as has been pointed out above. Sunshowers has obtuse references to suicide bombers; mentioning suicide bombing at all makes you a terrorist loving Tamil girl, apparently. Some of her songs talk about shooting people. Shocking I know. I wonder what would happen if she rapped about going 187 on an undercover cop. (Yeah, and you don’t stop.)

  45. ramanan

    Do you support the suicide bombing tactic of the Tamil Tigers? Slaughtering innocent men, women and children in Sri Lanka? Because you seem to have a bee in your bonnet about the merest criticism of the romanticisation of such fascist murderous terrorist thugs.

    Such poetry in those limbs, heads, torsos ripped apart and splattered all over the place – yeah, sunshowers baby!

  46. Joolz, I don’t think I’ve said anything like that at all actually. But you can read anything you like into what i’ve said here. Even this comment! :O :O :O

  47. I find this discussion really frustrating because it completely ignores the nuances of the whole issue.

    Whether the LTTE is defined technically as a terrorist outfit really isn’t the point. They do use morally reprehensible violent tactics, and they do stifle dissent within the community of people they claim to represent. But you can’t simply look at the internal dynamics of the LTTE without looking at the overall context of the oppression of Sri Lankan Tamils by the Government of Sri Lanka.

    So what if someone wants to support the people of Tamil Eelam and express solidarity with their struggle WITHOUT supporting the tactics of the LTTE? The LTTE certainly won’t have any of that, and the rhetoric which charlie, joolz, and others use just plays into their hands. If everyone’s going to stick the terrorist label on a Tamil sympathizer, he/she might as well just go over to the LTTE.

    A space must be created and fostered where support for and solidarity with Sri Lankan Tamils does not equal support for the LTTE’s tactics.

  48. A space must be created and fostered where support for and solidarity with Sri Lankan Tamils does not equal support for the LTTE’s tactics.

    i agree, but with the intimidation tactics that the LTTE uses, it’s hard to create that space.

    mentioning suicide bombing at all makes you a terrorist loving Tamil girl, apparently.

    i don’t think anybody said that either, but you also can read whatever you want into what is written here. it’s not just the lyrics, it’s the beat, staccato beats imitating gunfire, others imitating explosions. also i don’t think lyrics like ““freedom fighting Dad bombed this pad / called him a terror put him on wanted ads” is such an obtuse reference to the LTTE. taken alone, maybe i could see your point. but again, together, with the context of her artwork, the stuff she has talked about in interviews, the title of her CD…her image is playing up this exotic-”freedom fighter”-rebel.

  49. also i don’t think lyrics like ““freedom fighting Dad bombed this pad / called him a terror put him on wanted ads” is such an obtuse reference to the LTTE.

    Alternately, such lyrics could be considered autobiographical. If your dad was part of al qaeda and you were telling your story, would you leave that crucial bit out, lest you be accused of being a sympathizer?

  50. MIA has been to the US plenty of times before. What makes this visit different that she got denied? Has anything changed in the past 8 months? Cuz I was thinking IF her denial was based on her lyrics, she shouldn’t have been allowed in on her past trips, which leads me to think that there may be something else?