Walls of secrecy
Posted on July 24th, 2016

Editorial Courtesy The Island

 

Many an eyebrow has been raised by a government decision to exempt the proposed Office of Missing Persons (OMP) from the provisions of the Right to Information Act (RIA). It can refuse to provide information even to the apex court, we are told.

The UN is in the forefront of a global campaign to promote good governance, of which transparency is an integral part. But, it itself does not care two hoots about transparency if secrecy is required to further the interests of the western bloc, which keeps UN bigwigs under its thumb. One may recall that a ‘panel of experts’, cobbled together by UNSG Ban Ki-moon to probe the alleged accountability issues during the closing stage of the Vanni war, chose to base their damning report on information purportedly provided by some persons whose identities won’t be divulged for 20 years. There is no way anyone can verify the information they have furnished. It may be that all of those who testified hiding behind a cloak of anonymity are LTTE sympathisers or they do not even exist. By the time the stipulated 20-year period comes to an end neither the UN experts nor most of us will be among the living! The ‘findings’ of that document, which has come to be dubbed the ‘Darusman report’, are the basis of the UNHRC resolution for setting up a hybrid mechanism here to probe alleged war crimes. This is a textbook case of circular logic.

The proposed OMP goes beyond the Darusman report where lack of transparency is concerned. For, it is free to suppress information forever. Some trade unions have dubbed the proposed Customs Ordinance a hotchpotch of borrowings from other countries. It looks as if the architects of the proposed OMP had learnt from North Korea, where transparency is concerned.

There are, of course, situations where the identity of a person must not be revealed. The law prevents—and rightly so—the victims of rape being named. But, why on earth there have to be laws banning the identification of those who are found after being reported missing? One may wonder whether this measure is aimed at keeping the existence of ‘missing’ terrorists under wraps in case they are traced?

The on-going debate over the OMP reminds us of a story about an arms trader in times of yore. Plying his trade in a crowded market place he boasted that the shields and spears he produced were the best. Nothing could penetrate his shields and his spears were capable of piercing anything, he bragged. A small boy, wearing a puzzled look, asked him innocently what would happen if someone threw one of his spears at one of his shields. The government finds itself in an embarrassing position like the aforesaid trader. What would be the outcome of the provisions of the RIA and the OMP clashing?

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has called upon parliamentarians not to vote for the OMP. His position is not devoid of partisan politics, but his views need to be heeded. It is being claimed in the Opposition circles that the OMP won’t be answerable even to Parliament, which exercises people’s sovereignty. Creating an institution capable of placing itself above the legislative and judicial arms of government is a dangerous experiment which may even mark Sri Lanka’s Frankenstein moment, so to speak.

Some of the champions of transparency this newspaper has contacted for comment on the transparency issues as regards the OMP are all at sea. What we have heard from them is mere gobbledygook. It is time they sat up, took notice of the situation and did something.

The government has bungled all the way. It presented a budget which became a farce with amendments outweighing the original content. It plunged feet first into co-sponsoring a resolution in Geneva, undertaking to allow the participation of foreign judges, prosecutors et al in a war crimes probe mechanism to be set up here. Now, it is opposing what it undertook to do! Then, it jacked up VAT and NBT according to its whims and fancies. Having suffered a sobering knock at the hands of the Supreme Court, it does not know whether it is coming or going. The proposed OMP may be the latest addition to its string of blunders as it were. Hence, the pressing need for avoiding undue haste in seeking parliamentary approval for it!

6 Responses to “Walls of secrecy”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    Well stated, Island Editor !

    Through the OMP, the Yahap is attempting setting up separation of Judial powers away from the established law of the Nation.

    Through the OMP, the Yahap appears to be setting up a Fascist style state too. Some type of ‘Spanish Inquisition’ here against whom ? Who is Yahap protecting, at high costs to the Nation ?

    “The govt has bungled all the way” says the article. Too true, and not conducive to Reconciliation at all.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    I don’t think that the UN has, or should have, any mandate to promote “good governance”, because one man’s good governance is another man’s unwarranted interference and intolerance.

    This is the message that a majority of Britons sent to another unelected bureaucracy, the EU, in the recent BREXIT.

    It seems that the UN, just like the EU, is continually adopting policies and passing “laws” to perpetuate and expand its control and artogate more power to itself, to the detriment of its member nations.

    I think that the UN, and the EU, should have its wings clipped, and restricted to narrower agenda, specifically approved and sanctioned by the ALL of the member nations, and not just a small elite group in control of it.

  3. plumblossom Says:

    The immorality of Canada’s foreign policy on Sri Lanka
    Posted on July 23rd, 2016

    RANJITH SOYSA

    The Canadian Prime Minister issued a statement on Sri Lanka on 18th May 2016 and stated that he had met a number of victims of war in Sri Lanka and he understands the unfortunate and bleak situation they were facing. He said that the Canadian Tamils were an integral part of the Canadians. He said that he was convinced that the foreign and the Commonwealth judges and investigators must be included in the mechanism to help the war victims in the investigation of war crimes in Sri Lanka. It is expected that the foreign minister of Canada, Stephane Dion who will be visiting Sri Lanka will confirm the position held by Justin Traudeau and will insist that the UNHRC resolution should be implemented in full and he will also visit the Northern Province and shed tears on the Tamil victims while placing the blame on the Sri Lankan defence forces for having defeated the LTTE terrorists.

    The Canadian policy of damning the SrI Lankan Government and the defence forces while treating the terrorists and the separatists of the Tamil Eelam with kid gloves is a well-established story as told by the veteran Canadian journalist, Stewart Bell in his book, Cold Terror, the Review of Operations Cribble, Canadian Intelligence officer Stephen Dubrial’s review based on 15 warrants issued, the judgement of Canadian Federal Judge Lewins.

    Canada brazenly violated UN Security Council resolutions of 1267 (1999), 1373 (2001) and 1566 (2004) by

    1 Allowing the funding of LTTE’s terrorism in Sri Lanka

    2 Offering asylum to well know terrorists of the LTTE with the active participation of its Government agencies.

    3 Turing a blind eye to the reports and reviews by the well-established sources which dealt with the terrorist funding and the functioning of terrorist cells of the LTTE in Canada.

    The latest reported case of granting asylum seeker status by Canada is the case of Ravi Sanker Thaigarajah. He was the chief of the naval vessels or the better known as floating armouries which were owned by the LTTE. He was found guilty by the Supreme Court on terrorism charges on 24 th June 2014. By that time Ravi Sanker Thiagrajah was found missing and it was suspected that he had left Sri Lanka by illegal means. Even the Interpol issued a wanted notice of this criminal. Canada refused to play by the rules of the international norms and it practically rejected even to advise Sri Lanka about this wanted criminal. According to reliable information the Canadian High Commission in Sri Lanka actively supported the granting of the asylum status to this war criminal and he is living safely in Canada after actively assisting in the killing of thousands of unarmed Sri Lankan civilians with the bombs and other equipment transported by him.

    Another noted terrorist criminal who was given the asylum statues is Karthipan who too was named by the Interpol. He was responsible for supply of GPSs, Motorola transmitters and antennas thro Fr Tony Raj who was apprehended at Katunayke airport. Canada was again blind to the Interpol wanted criminal notice and it failed to advise Sri Lanka about him.

    According to review prepared by the Canadian Intelligence Officer, Stephen Dubrail in the Cribble report of 2013 after investigating into the activities of the HQ of World Tamil Movement it was revealed that:

    1 Prabahakran sent letters to World Tamil Movement,Canada requesting funds to procure air craft, weapons and ammunitions.

    2 Existence of a sophisticated methods of remitting funds to the LTTE via Singapore and Malaysia from Canada using Bank of Nova Scotia and Canadian Trust Bank. It was found out that a sum of 3 million dollars have been remitted via Singapore to the LTTE account by World Tamil Movement. Further, it was revealed that WTM had deposited approximately dollars 7,63,000- yearly collected by force from the Tamils in Canada.

    3 Names of the LTTE international wing operators in 11 countries.

    4 The details of the discussions held in Vanni with the leaders of the LTTE operations in 2004 where it was agreed to procure mortars.

    5 A video which gave information about Prabakaran’s request for anti-aircraft weaponry and cannons to attack the air craft of the SL Air Force.

    (When information was made available to the Ontario Supreme Court Justice Lewins, made an order for the Government to seize the income of the WTM)

    Stewart Bell in his book discusses how the Canadian Government funded the Tesco , the Tamil Eelam Society which in turn funnelled funds to the LTTE. One of the directors of TESCO, Devakumar Sabapathy issued a threat to kill the former President of Sri Lanka and his brother. But, Canada acted as if they did not hear any such report by covertly supporting the LTTE front organization.

    ( the details outlined regards above incidents were based on a defence report of Keerthi Warnakulasuriya of Sunday Divaina)

    Bell in his book on the subject of Snow Tigers (the LTTE) stated that the LTTE and its fronts used every conceivable tactic- government grants, front companies, fraud of every type migrant smuggling and drugs. “One CSIS report estimates that $2 million a year, in collections funnelled to the Tigers from Canada to support the war effort. Another CSIS study puts the figure at $ 1 million a month…to put it bluntly, Canada is the support base for a terrorist organization that has killed more than 100 politicians, assassinated the leaders of two countries –India and Sri Lanka – and carried out more suicide bombings than any other militant group in the world”. Then he referred to the massive bomb explosion at the Central Bank and says “ Although, the bombing was carried out by the local Tiger operatives , the plot originated in Toronto. Sri Lankan intelligence officials tell me they traced the explosives used in the bomb and found they had come from the Ukranian shipment purchased 2 years earlier with money wired from British Colombia, Canada”

    The Christ was sold for 30 pieces of silver in the poignant Bible story. The Canadian authorities and the Canadian Government is ever willing to bend as much as possible to help the LTTE and the terrorists by IGNORING the internationally accepted norms including UN anti-terrorist international resolutions and by overtly cultivating the connections to the front organizations for the sake of garnering the votes of the Tamils in Canada! What Times! Whither Canadian morals!

    The irony in this scenario is when Canada without any scruples by closely associating with the LTTE’s criminals who killed thousands of unarmed civilians including children and infants in Sri Lanka has the audacity to pontificate to Sri Lanka how to investigate its Defence forces and suggest ways for the reconciliation.

    Over to you, the Foreign Minister Stephane Dion who is expected shortly in Sri Lanka on a reconnaissance tour. Discriminating Sri Lanka media men and women should enquire from Stephane how come Canada can continue to play this double game!

    RANJITH SOYSA

  4. plumblossom Says:

    The missing persons commission, the name is a misnomer. it should be called ‘those combatants on all sides who died in the war i.e. Sri Lankan Forces, Police Force. Civil Defence Forces, IPKF, Tamil Armed Groups against the LTTE and the LTTE terrorists themselves and whose bodies have not be found’. Therefore the name itself is wrong and invented by the UNHRC to tarnish the image of the armed forces of Sri Lanka.

    The missing persons commission to date has receive 24,000 complaints from 1983-2009 period. Of this number over 5,000 are regarding missing Sri Lankan Forces members, whereabouts unknown, almost certainly executed by the LTTE terrorists. Over 12,000 complaints are against the LTTE itself recruiting young persons by coercion. Therefore over 70% of complaints are against the LTTE itself which amounts to over 17,000 complaints. The rest of the complaints are I am sure about the whereabouts of LTTE combatants or terrorists who died while fighting but whose bodies have not been found.

    My question is, why cannot the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India accept that Sri Lankan Forces, Police Force, Civil Defence Forces, IPKF, Tamil Armed Groups against the LTTE and the LTTE terrorists themselves died fighting in this war and leave it at that. What is the point in looking for these combatants now? Why is it that the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India never ever talk about the over 35,000 Sri Lankan Forces, Police Force, civil Defence Force members who died in the war? or the 1,200 IPKF members or the over 2,000 Tamils Armed Groups against the LTTE members who died in the war? or the over 6,000-7,000 Sinhala civilians and even Muslims civilians who were massacred by the LTTE? or the around (my estimate) over 3,000 Tamil civilians massacred by the LTTE?

    Why is it that the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India is not concerned about the over 10,000 Sri Lankan Forces members permanently disabled by the war, or the over 23,000 Sri Lankan Forces members both temporarily and permanently disabled by the war? or the over 136,000 Sri Lankan Forces members who were injured due to the war?

    Why is it that the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India not concerned about the over 65,000 Sinhala people and over 75,000 muslims ethnically cleansed from the North?

    Why is it that the only the around 35,000 LTTE terrorists who died inclusive of Prabhakaran are the concern of the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India? Perhaps this missing persons commission should answer that question first.

  5. plumblossom Says:

    Even if the constitution will be changed since this idiotic government follows whatever instructions the US, UK, EU, Norway, Canada, Sweden, India, the TNA and the separatist terrorists tell it to do, we must ensure that the unitary status of the country is not compromised in any way whatsoever. The clause in the 13th amendment which says that ‘the North and the East is the homeland of the Tamil speaking people’ must be deleted since it is totally false when looking at the history of the island. This clause must be replaced with the clause ‘the entire island is the homeland of all its peoples’. The provision which allows for the merger between two provinces should be deleted. As much subjects from the concurrent list should be included in the national list. Under no circumstances should land, police or fiscal powers be given to provincial councils. All of us need to ensure that the above happens since if the system reverts back to a parliamentary system and the presidential system is scrapped, the only way to ensure the unitary status of the country is the make sure that the provincial councils do not get any more powers than they have at present. The Public Security Ordinance should not be amended in anyway as well. If any provincial councils acts out of line, the head of government should dissolved such a provincial council and direct rule by the head of government should be enforced under those circumstances.

  6. NAK Says:

    Sirisena like fool is bragging that he will not allow any thing that is inimical to the country or the people.
    This proposed OMP act is prepared in such a way that once passed in the parliament even if the President refuses to sign it it becomes law after 14 days of passing,and passing it in parliament with a simple majority is a piece of cake even without the SLFP jackass’s as the TNA will fully support.

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