The Edition


Peddled lies and half-truths for sale

Mohamed Visham
15 July 2016, MVT 11:29
Toby Cadman looks on during a press conference held at the Maldives Foreign Ministry. PHOTO/VAGUTHU
Mohamed Visham
15 July 2016, MVT 11:29

Dear Toby Cadman,

Your credentials as a renowned international lawyer and the extensive experience you have acquired over the years in the fields of public international law, war crimes, human rights, terrorism and extradition law are equally impressive as it is imposing.

The work you have continued to do to strengthen the justice systems in fledgling nations throughout the Balkans and Southeast Asia truly commands admiration and respect.

Henceforth with duly deserved respect and admiration, it is quite farcical and downright pathetic some of the oped's you have written and the positions you have taken internationally with regards to Maldives

Your latest desperation appeared in Sri Lanka’s The Island newspaper on July 2, which is ironically titled False Narratives, Untruths and Double Standards: Responding to the Official Discourse on Maldives.

If this is your version of the truth, I take you would not mind shedding some light on the other half truths you are so hell bent on selling. And we wonder whom you are trying to sell this to? The Blairs', the diplomatic community, UN and EU, international courts or merely to serve caviar on a silver platter to your paymasters.

Nasheed’s trial

Former president Mohamed Nasheed gives the thumbs up sign. PHOTO/VNEWS

Let’s be clear Mr Cadman. No one has refuted the fact that a sitting judge was arbitrarily arrested and subsequently detained. Just as that is an irrefutable fact, Nasheed’s rushed trial which ultimately led to his conviction is the fact lamented by opposition and international partners alike is a fact you so conveniently ignore. The ex-president was denied defence witnesses and every evidence presented in his defence either fell on deaf ears or were not permitted in his trial.

Suppressed media and free speech

You, in the article and the several before zealously bemoan “manipulated narratives, the repetition of untruths and the use of double standards.” But the incessant rubber stamping of legislation through your fellow sellsword lawmakers in Maldives parliament or cover up transgressions and blatant human rights violations through gavels for hire cannot cloak the obvious.

By hook or crook journalists are either harassed or intimidated into submission while dissenting voices are muzzled with brute force.

You in your most recent article echoed the pretext behind the closure of the oldest newspaper in the Maldives, “…the decision was ordered by a Maldivian Court, not by the Government, following the bringing of a civil dispute over the ownership of the newspaper.”

But you, once again justified your ignorance and lack of awareness on who you represent by writing, “…the order to halt publication only concerned the print edition of the newspaper, rather than the newspaper as a commercial entity.”

The former office Maldives' oldest newspaper Haveeru.

Let me enlighten you Mr Cadman. The oldest newspaper in the Maldives was systematically targeted. The rather comical ownership lawsuit was used as a front while the court gaveled verdicts even ignoring the constitution to target individual journalists when desperation set in. The court imposed two year media ban on ex-Haveeru staff has robbed them of their livelihood Mr Cadman.

Opposition leaders are either in jail, forced into exile or facing charges. Police armed with pepper spray and tear gas continue to block off anti-government demonstrations while the government digs its fingers deeper into every independent institution in the state. Yet you seem rather fanatical in your attempts to pry the autocratic brand away from it.

The final glaring truth Mr Cadman that you simply cannot ignore or hide under the avalanche of your manipulated “truths” is that you pitched to be in the corner of former president Mohamed Nasheed going as far as to proposing a tourism boycott and sanctions to seek the ex-president’s release. But abandoning your morals and integrity like a common sellsword to switch corners speaks volumes to what truly is wrong with high and mighty individuals like yourself from the west who treat us, the so called third world with such disdain yet still naively believe you can get away with it.

Mr. Cadman you solicited yourself for money now confirmed to be embezzled through our state coffers. But it’s not surprising that your esteemed firm, hired officially by the government yet choosing to accept a transfer from a private company used to siphon off the funds resonates your true character.

The truth is, Omnia Strategy, the firm run by Mrs Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair which you are a partner to — a supposed champion of human rights, is now a part of the mass money laundering scandal that has shocked our nation. Maybe that’s why you still continue to defend the indefensible. Because you, as a renowned expert on international criminal law, realize that when your client’s tenure ends, you could be held criminally responsible for being accessory to international money laundering.

Cherie Blair's Omnia Strategy had accepted fees from a private Maldives company now linked to the largest embezzlement of state funds in history. PHOTO/HUFFINGTON POST

Even if one somehow manages to overlook your honor in this entire debacle, another truth for you Mr Cadman is you failed the client you so fervently convinced can be defended. You arrogantly assured the Maldives government that it “cannot lose” Nasheed’s case at the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. But the end result of your egotism is for all to see. If one wishes to be cynical, to say that you deliberately deceived the government of its chances in the UNWGAD in order to justify your ridiculous fees even when you scarcely believed in its arguments would not be further from another truth.

I’ll give you this Mr Cadman. You are right about one thing. Maldives is not Syria, Egypt or Bangladesh. Not yet anyway. But even with this dire quagmire venal individuals like yourself would still continue to ardently defend the government while taking cover behind fictitious half-truths.