YAHAPALANA AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PART 1
Posted on January 9th, 2017

KAMALIKA  PIERIS

The United States of America was interested in  developing a close relationship with Sri Lanka from the time Sri Lanka got independence. By 1948 the US had replaced Britain as the dominant power in Asia and needed military and communication bases in Asia. In 1951 Ceylon  signed an  agreement with the US to relay Voice of America (VOA) programmes over Radio Ceylon, which was then a popular radio station  heard all over India.  In return Radio Ceylon would get modern, new broadcasting equipment.  VOA used the facility to broadcast to all of Asia, including Central Asia.   In the 1950s, the US Information Centre distributed free to select homes, an anti-Communist magazine ‘Free World’ which featured Southeast Asia. It said that Communism was bad and America was good. It had   colored photographs,   which I used to cut out.

The US has never been interested in helping Sri Lanka to stand on its own feet. US objected to the 1956 Rubber-Rice pact with China and promptly cut off aid to Sri Lanka, under its rule of not giving aid to countries that sold strategic materials to Communist countries. USA also made France, Italy and Japan withhold their supply of sulphur fungicide, badly needed by Sri Lanka’s rubber plantations.  US had earlier turned down a request from Ceylon for a 50 million dollar aid,  for  a high price for rubber and a  low price for rice.  J.R.Jaywardene, known as Yankee Dickie”, supported the US viewpoint and strongly opposed the Rubber-Rice  Pact.

USA supported Tamil separatism. Izeth Hussein recalls that on the day of India’s air drop in 1987, US Ambassador James Spain   had sought a meeting with the Foreign minister as he had to convey an urgent message from his government. India was going to suggest something and Sri Lanka should not over react. That ‘something’ was the Indo-Lanka Agreement. A third party was definitely involved in this matter, said Hussein. After the document was signed, Ambassador Spain had handed over a letter to Rajeev Gandhi, obviously a congratulatory and goodwill message from Reagan. Clearly the contents of the agreement were already known to the US government, concluded Hussein.

US  wanted the LTTE to win the Eelam war.  ‘We were hounded and intimidated by the US to stop the war against the LTTE,’ said Godage. According to a report filed by Times Online, the US military has used satellites to spy on Sri Lanka during the final stages of Eelam War IV. US sought to justify its action on the ground that it was looking for evidence of war crimes in view of the impending UN Human Rights Council session on Sri Lanka. US ambassador Blake tried to take Prabhakaran out through an operation by the US Marines based in Hawaii.

If the LTTE had succeeded, critics observe, US would have gained control of two thirds of Sri Lanka coast line, enabling them to secure Persian Gulf energy resources to Japan, interfere with the flow of resources to China, interfere with free trade in the Indian ocean, and undermine stability in India by provoking Tamil and Hindu sentiments in Tamilnadu.

Sri Lanka’s strategic location in the Indian Ocean     was known to the western powers for centuries, but the  issue was not openly discussed  in Sri Lanka  and the  general public was not told of it. The intelligentsia knew  that Trincomalee harbor could comfortably hold the 7th Fleet  of the US Navy, but the possibility of America actually doing so was glossed over. America     was not in a hurry to capture Sri Lanka either. US was mainly interested in the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and South East Asia in the 20th century .   Five of the seven US security alliances were with Asia-Pacific partners.  US also had some form of defense pact with sixty nine countries. Those countries accounted for around 75% of the world economy. Sri Lanka was not one of them.

Things changed with the rise of China. The Indian Ocean was a part of China’s new Maritime Silk Route.  The Indian Ocean became vitally important and Sri Lanka’s strategic position in the Indian Ocean also went up in value and urgency.  US Senate was told ‘Sri Lanka is strategically located at the nexus of maritime trading routes connecting Europe and the Middle East to China and the rest of Asia. All of China’s and Japan’s energy resource from the Persian Gulf transits Sri Lanka and the island has the potential to control or impede the free flow these resources to China. Half the world’s container traffic also passes through Sri Lanka and the island has the potential to block this as well.  In view of strategic importance of Sri Lanka to the US, an alliance should be maintained with Sri Lanka.  US foreign policy should be recast for the purpose.’ Sri Lanka could also be used to further US interests in the Indian Ocean.

It was observed in 2014 that‘If Sri Lanka has this same stability for the next five years then it will be difficult to   achieve US ambitions.  A weaker Sri Lanka is easy to dominate’.  President Mahinda Rajapakse was not prepared to give in to the US. He had refused to bow down to US pressure to stop the war on LTTE.  Also he had established links with China   and was   planning a big military deal with Russia, which had offered a credit line for arms, ammunition, helicopters and land mine clearing. Rajapakse was becoming a serious obstacle to US interests in the Indian Ocean region.  He had to go.    Rajapakse gave them the opportunity by calling for elections in 2015.

Once the Yahapalana regime was in place, USA moved very fast to indicate that the US was now in control. John Kerry, Secretary of State, arrived in May 2015. US Assistant secretary for south Asian   affairs, Nisha Biswal, visited in July, August and December 2015. US Assistant Secretary for Democracy and Human rights, Tom Malinowski (July 2015) and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon (December, 2015) also visited.  In November, 2016, we were told that Obama had planned to visit in May 2016.

Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN, visited in November 2015. She said USA was deeply committed to supporting Sri Lanka’s efforts at peace, reconciliation and accountability.    She feels a strong sense of responsibility towards the beleaguered people of all communities of Sri Lanka. She considered Neelan Thiruchelvam her friend. She said that Mahinda Rajapakse, when President, had brusquely brushed aside her overtures to initiate a meaningful dialogue. Gotabhaya and Basil Rajapakse had been even worse. They had been brazenly unpleasant.

US was advised to follow a subtle and a sophisticated approach, since the political game had changed in Sri Lanka.  US should figure out how ‘not to lose Sri Lanka ‘said one observer. US should adopt a less confrontational approach,  it is best to go carefully with Sri Lanka,  the formulas which were used in the past 20 years were no longer applicable, advisers said.

The US is therefore funding a number of carefully selected projects in Sri Lanka. There is a special focus on youth.  Since 2010 USA had provided nearly LKR 135 million in its annual Youth Empowerment grants programmes and had funded over 100 programs.  In 2016, US gave Sri Lanka an unprecedented USD 13 million  to 8 civil society organizations, for a three year ‘Strengthening accountability and good governance project’ (SDGAP).  This was to support innovative small scale projects to nurture civil society groups helping Sri Lanka youth. They included leadership training and ‘advancing the rights of marginalized communities’.  The project was to be administered by a private US company, Development Alternative Inc. SDGAP was new to Sri Lanka , but it has been  implemented in Afghanistan, Colombia, Georgia, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia and  Mongolia.

USAID’s STAIR (Short term assistance to improve public financial management reform project”) had a three day training programme in AGs department. STAIR specializes in working with government agencies to increase transparency, reduce      corruption, effective and efficient in delivery of public services.

US said that given Sri Lanka’s strategic location, it is in America’s interest to increase military collaboration and cooperation with Sri Lanka. US intended to expand military leadership discussions, increase naval engagement and focus on defense institution building. The first US Sri Lanka operational level bilateral defense dialogue took place in August 2016. The purpose was to develop a programme of bilateral training and exercises for the next three years. The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit engaged in a Theatre security Cooperation (TSC) project with the Sri Lankan Navy’s newly formed marine force, In Trincomalee in November 2016. India observed that US Marines are now training Sri Lanka Special Forces. The US-Sri Lanka defence partnership seems to be at an all time high.

The Head of the US Pacific Command Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr. attended the Sri Lanka Navy’s Galle Dialogue 2016”.  He said USA and India had sent low ranking officers to the first Galle Dialogue. The People’s Republic of China had been represented by a high level delegation.  It was different now. ‘The Indian Ocean matters to USA, Sri Lanka matters to the US and I believe that US matters to Sri Lanka.’ Sri Lanka could help to complete the defense ring around the Indian Ocean. The Yahapalana government also said that it was the duty of the Sri Lanka navy to protect the entire Indian Ocean region without limiting its operation to the exclusive economic zone of Sri Lanka.  That will help Sri Lanka be an economic hub in the Indian Ocean region.

Our navy cannot even protect us from the Indian fishermen, observed Tissa Vitharana. If Sri Lanka navy is to carry out this huge responsibility, then US ships will have to be berthed in Sri Lanka.  The US 7th fleet will come to Trincomalee.   The US has its eye on Trincomalee harbor,     it is planning to set up a US base there and was making Sri Lanka military vacate strategically important locations, said observers. The Yahapalana government also was ready to hand over Trincomalee port to them.  Soon the US 7th fleet will be in our waters, said another analyst. These growing military ties with the US are not in the interest of Sri Lanka, Vitharana said. If military cooperation of this nature continues, and an American military base   is set up in Sri Lanka   , Sri Lanka would become a US puppet like the Philippines.

The US 7th fleet is now   quietly arriving in Sri Lanka.  Its flagship, USS Blue Ridge arrived in March 2016 with over 900 sailors. President Sirisena visited the ship and was received with a US navy military guard. The emphasis was to be on public relations. The marines (sailors) would paint walls, repair furniture, build playground equipment and serve food to the needy at a community centre.   The US 7th fleet band would perform free at Viharamahadevi park and elsewhere, and the performance will include a join performance with the Sri Lanka navy band.

USS New Orleans visited   in July 2016. US war ship USS Frank Cable, a submarine tender vessel visited in August 2016. It does maintenance and support for US Navy submarines in the 5th and 7 fleets. Its sailors were to volunteer at an animal shelter. The US navy Poseidon aircraft, an advanced US maritime patrol aircraft, left Mattala in December 2016 after a week of consultation and expert exchange with Sri Lanka military personnel. The assistance mission of the US Pacific commands   Operation Pacific Angels”, held a week long assistance programme in Jaffna in August 2016. They provided general medical care for approximately 4000 people and renovated six schools.

There is considerable anti-USA feeling in Sri Lanka. A NGO attitude survey done   in the year 2004, found that the Sri Lanka respondents were suspicious of America. America was searching for a centre to block China, they said.    It would be a mistake for Sri Lanka to rely too much on USA, said Neville de Silva. Other countries that sought Washington assistance found that they were invaded and occupied.

There is a considerable amount of anti USA comments in the local mass media. America always creates problems in any country it involves itself in, said one commentator.  USA has been directly and indirectly involved in         coups, invasions, regime changes from Iran in 1953 onwards, he added. USA supported   dictators like Pinochet, Marcos, Suharto, Somoza, Pol pot. Saddam Hussein was initially a CIA agent. Osama Bin Laden was initially nurtured by the US and had financial interests in the US. The US was the world’s worst offender when it came to human rights, the media continued. Look at the enormous number of persons the US army had killed in its wars. The chemical Agent Orange in Vietnam resulted in severely disabled children. ‘Island’ editorial said ‘If the US solves its own problems without being a problem to other countries, it will help solve most of the problems the world is facing’.

 

7 Responses to “YAHAPALANA AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PART 1”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Kamalika,

    “If the LTTE had succeeded, critics observe, US would have gained control of two thirds of Sri Lanka coast line, enabling them to secure Persian Gulf energy resources to Japan, interfere with the flow of resources to China, interfere with free trade in the Indian ocean, and undermine stability in India by provoking Tamil and Hindu sentiments in Tamilnadu.”

    NOT TRUE.

    USA banned the LTTE BEFORE SL did. USA will be unable to step into north easrt had LTTE succeeded!!

    USA wanted to WIPE OUT the LTTE and HELPED GOSL do it. But after it was done USA moved to create TE.

    Undermine Endia? NO WAY! USA has never undermined Endia!! Endia is very much with USA against China and now Russia. Actually it is CHINA, PAKISTAN and now RUSSIA trying to undermine Endia which is very good for the world. Russia has realized Endia is playing a DOUBLE GAME all this time While getting cheap Russian weapons Endia SUPPORTS USA.

    Endia signed a DEFENCE DEAL with USA in 2016. Now it is like a NATO member! Endia is trying hard to buy NON-RUSSIAN jets. Now going after USA to buy F-16!!

    The real enemy of SL is and has always been ENDIA. Not USA. It was Endia that made USA an enemy of SL.

    Endia CREATED, trained, armed, saved, etc. LTTE. IF CIA and MOSSAD had not FOOLED the LTTE to kill GHANDHI, the love affair between LTTE and Endia would have been stronger. Now MODI is trying his best to bring back the LTTE.

    USA gives SL most EXPORT INCOME while Endia takes most money from SL by its cheap IMPORTS!! Who is a friend? A country that TAKES your money and dumps DIRT on you or a country that GIVES you money?

    ALL Endian imports (except Tamil movies and songs) can be made in SL!!

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Kamalika is ABSOLITRLY RIGHT, don’t believe the Katussa (Lorenzo) dancing his nadagama!

    Only a few days ago, the backstabber Katussa (Lorenzo) was VIRULENTLY anti-USA, but now he has temporarily become an ambassador-at-large for the USA drawing the RED-HERRING of India across the trail to divert the Patriots!

    The USA would have taken control of the North snd East more easily had the LTTE won. When the LTTE was on the verge of extinction at the end of the war, thd USA sought to get Prabhakatan as captive leader it could reinsert into Sri Lanka later to achieve the same purpose. Under Hillary Clinton who was angry at being rebuffed by MR in her attempt to spirit VP and 50 of the top leaders out of Sri Lanka under the pretext of helping Sri Lanka to ‘defuse’ the human shield crisis in Mullaivakal, Sri Lanka was hounded in collaboration with India at the United Nations. The country guilty of committing the greatest number of war crimes in the world was witch-hunting the fellow democracy that saved itself from the grip of terrorism! SHAME!

    The USA did that to Sri Lanka then, and as Kamslika correctly points put ORCHESTRATED the Regime Change of Jan 8, 2015 to oust MR who stood in the way of its grand design.

    It was recently revealed that the USA spent $585 million for regime change activities in a handful of countries that INCLUDED Sri Lanka. The USA gave about $25 million annually in aid to Sri Lsnka while China gave $2500 million annually. All of the $25 million was given to its puppet NGOs and Separatist groups for “human rights”, “democracy enhancement ement” and “good governance” activities to destabilize the MR/UPFA government and engineer a regime change. It is a SHAMEFUL INDICTMENT of our people that such a pittance was able to purchase such a monumental result!

    Instead of these DEVIOUS DESTRUCTIVE ACTS this great country the USA should invest $2500 million annually in Sri Lanka for a decade to build a modern infrastructure in our democracy that would help propel it to the forefront of technological and economic progress in the world. It should endow Sri Lanka with some world-class hospitals, universities, renewable energy power plants, state-of-the art manufacturing and research centers. Instead it persists in using diabolical strategies to destroy what we have, sowing chaos and helping to pit our people against each other! What a waste of opportunity for the USA to get a long term reliable ALLY in Sri Lanka by befriending it majority Sinhala Buddhist community instead of supporting various separatist unpatriotic minorities against us!

    The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray they say, and so will this Yamapalana boondoggle come to nought, and the USA will slink away from Sri Lanka leaving only resentment and destruction in its wake, as it has done in many other parts of the world.

    What a GODDAMN WASTE for a nation that has the capability to do so much good in this world! I hope and pray, that President Donald Trump will take a good hard look at the SERIAL FAILURES of past US foreign policy, and will choose to befriend the majority Sinhala Buddhist community of Sri Lsnka, recognize NGO that if Sri Lanka has achieved anything benefitting it’s people, it has been due to the Buddist values of its Sinhala Buddhist majority community.

    This is the USA that this SOB EELAMIST agitator Katussa (Lorenzo) is attempting to whitewash now. The tune of his song changes with the weather … or according to the orders of his EELAMIST masters! I suppose that even the Katussa (Lorenzo) has gotta earn some money to eat, especially now that he has to pay tuition fees on his PhD in Kovil Management!

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    Ananda-USA,

    I’m NOT saying USA is our friend outright. NO WAY!

    COMPARED TO ENDIA, USA IS SL’S relative FRIEND or lesser enemy.

    Economically USA is a friend.

    Other than that NOTHING GOOD is associated with USA. I HATE the few months I was in USA. Only CROOKS succeed in this cowboy country with NO history.

    BTW I will be back in Livermore kovil this weekend for Pongal. I can drop by.

  4. S.Gonsal Says:

    We too should remove Thaipongal holiday.

    A flash news across Tamil television channels on Monday evening that the Central government has shifted Pongal holiday from ‘compulsory holidays list’ to ‘restricted holidays list’ has made leaders of political parties fume in anger and, in one voice, they demanded compulsory holiday for Pongal festival.

    AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala, DMK working president MK Stalin, TNCC president S Thirunavukkarasar, MDMK general secretary Vaiko, CPM leader TK Rangarajan, Dravidar Kazhagam president K Veeramani and MMK leader MH Jawahirullah were among those who raised their voice on this issue. While Stalin announced an agitation on January 11, Veeramani announced agitation on January 12.

    When contacted for clarification, a Central government official explained that “it is only for employees of essential services of Central government and not the State government employees”. He further said that for many years, Pongal has been on restricted holidays list of the Centre.

    Last year, it was shifted to compulsory holidays list because Gandhi Jayanthi fell on a Sunday. Since 14 compulsory holidays had to be given in a year, apart from three national holidays, there were representations from some Central government employees associations to declare Pongal also a compulsory holiday and hence it was declared so, only for last year.

    Further, only employees of essential services belonging to Railways, Postal, Central government hospitals, etc., comprising insignificant percentage would be affected this year. Even if the Centre declares compulsory holiday for Pongal this year, the employees of these essential services would be affected in a way as they work on shift system. They have to attend some or other shift. In a nutshell, it is a non-issue, the official added.

    Courtesy:New Indian Express

  5. SA Kumar Says:

    PhD in Kovil Management!- Ha ha …. Ananda-USA you are so funny !!!

  6. Christie Says:

    Christie Says:
    January 14th, 2017 at 4:56 pm
    Kamalika:
    There are lots of Indians in the West including USA. Then India has tilted towards or is at least in equal status with Russia.
    Look at the last US election where 5 Indian legislators have been elected all Democrats.
    US Ambassador here is an Indian vermin.
    There was no India before British made it and there were no Indians out side India before they joined the British as equal partners in the British-Indian Empire.
    We are an Indian Colony like Mauritius, Guyana. Fiji etc.

  7. S.Gonsal Says:

    “PhD in Kovil Management”

    Will be very usuful during next (like 1983) riot. A lot of Kumars will be confined to Kovils, unfortunately.
    Remember Ranil is JR’s relative. JR created the riot. RW will do the same soo !
    MR is India’s relative.

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