The Apathy Of The British Prime Minister’s Call For Rights Violations Put Into Perspective.

November 30th, 2013

Insight By Sunil Kumar

November 28th, 2013
 
It seems a bit odd that British Prime Minister David Cameron in demanding a “transparent, credible and independent” probe into the alleged massacre of Sri Lankan Tamils, days after he pressed President Mahinda Rajapaska for an enquiry into rights violations during the final days of the civil war in 2009 continues his persistence and never gives up on what many believe is a lost cause

However it also seems akin to  a hollow echo which resonates demands of the pro Tamil Tiger Lobby and  has exposed his transparencies towards Tamil Tiger sympathies as otherwise his demand should have by rights included the attrocities, greater by far committed by the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka against masses of innocent civilians, State and property eventually quelled by the Armed Forces which simply displays either a very apathetic and obnoxious frame of mind or a premeditated ploy to appease his Tamil constituents of whom there is a large number in Britain on whom his political future probably depends to a greater part according to intelligence reports from reliable sources.

He has also displayed a Rip Van Winkellian frame of mind where during the CHOGM summit in Colombo this month, he had said that” if the Sri Lankan government fails to launch an independent enquiry  soon, the UK will call for an international enquiry through the United Nations something the United Nations itself circumvented sensibly as the likes of General Secretary Ban Ki moon and his ambassador Navi Pillai chose to do albeit being hell bent on the issue previously on the very apparent reasoning that they had no tangible evidence to go by and an accepted norm as far as the International Community as well as the Tribunal was concerned and a futility out of which the outcome would only have proved to be an embarrasment to the accusers.

His barnstorming type of mentality has not only drawn anger from many quarters of the Sri Lankan populace as well as discerning members of the International Communitie and some important World Powers who disagree with the Cameron rationale and agree that what transpired in Sri Lanka was a precedent setting war against  the roots of global terrorism where the Government action was perfectly justified. Perhaps a quiet whisper into Mr Camron’s ear that in this case the old British adage “all’s fair in love and war” with of course the absence of the love part might be a worthwhile mention!

It has also exposed the misguided and persistent individual he appears to be, taking on an assumed role of judge, jury and executioner over an issue he seems to know little about but still chooses to carry on as though he had carte blanche to intimidate Sri Lanka on the assumption that she still was a British Colony. Mr Cameron is furthest from the truth ! as those were the days of yore when his ancestors ravaged, pillaged and pounded Sri Lanka into subjugation until they were removed from being the hierarchy they once were. It might also be worth mentioning that the minority Tamils in the days of British Rule were the favoured race eventually displaced by the majority Sinhalese if there are linkable realities to the Cameron mentality and of great consequence towards exonerating the Sinhalese on the basis of fighting for inherant rights if true.!

Neither Britannia  nor Cameron in this respect rule the waves any longer and if he thinks rather misguidedly that it was the Tamils who were hard done by, he needs to thinks again, pore over volumes of tangible evidence of Tamil terrorist attrocities on the Sinhalese, as we are talking nation destructive terrorism here ! where it was legitinately put down regardless of the opinions of what his or any other biased politician’s broadcasts are and continue to insist that what transpired in Sri Lanka was a violation of human rights! Mr Cameron needs to get his definitions straight rather than continue to make blunderbuss  of himself and perhaps if he emuulated his Royal Prince Charles for decorum and diplomacy  he would be doing himself a good turn.

It seems painfully apparent that regardless of whether  the prime minister huffs and puffs until he is blue simply to appease his Tamil Diaspora constituents and consorts in Britain as well as other supportives for the same cause globally, nothing will change from the stark reality that this was a Sovereign Nation defending Sovereignity and Territoriasl Integrity where a huge organized insurgency by a minority commited the real attrocities against a nation of majority Sinhalese and deserved to be put down as it was legitimately.
Those within the minority community that supported it if they too were hard hit by the defensive actions of the Government had only themselves to blame for supporting a wrong cause rather than live peacefully in accordance with the Nation’s laws and legalities.
Amazingly today this seems to be the case with the tamils who have taken up allegiances with the Governmrnt which Mr Cameron surprisingly seems to have missed .or has deliberately ignored .

And if Mr Cameron has no tangible evidence beyond innuendo, doctored videos and melodramatic build up blown out of proportion which he seems to be using to stake his claim he should think again where he needs to abide by the Sri Lankan Government’s stance over related issues as should all other bucket carrying sycophants of the Tiger sympathetic Tamil Diaspora!

It seems quite appropriate that the Sri Lankan Government has  rejected Mr Cameron’s demand and is considering to launch a ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission,’ modelled on South Africa where if he cannot reconcile himself towards such a response ( no pun intended) he should focus his attentions on matters related to his own administration within his own backyard not forgetting what his country commited as violations with impunity against humanity in both World Wars as well as in Nortern Ireland during ‘the Troubles’ as these are real issues not based on hearsay, conjecture innuendo and souped up videos! which the world watched inh horror!

Deepak Obhrai: Your statement in parliament

November 30th, 2013

Asoka Weerasinghe Kings Grove Crescent . Gloucester . Ontario . Canada

29 November 2013

Deepak Obhrai, MP

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs,  House of Commons, Ottawa

Dear Deepak:

At 11:25 this morning I watched on CPAC  you getting up from your seat in the House and briefing your parliamentary colleagues with a statement on your visit to the Commonwealth Summit in Colombo, Sri Lanka, representing Canada as your immediate superiors John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister Stephen Harper had decided to boycott the Summit to satisfy the Tamil Diaspora at the GTA, thus trying to secure as many Tamil votes at the federal elections in 2015.    That was their motive, and don’t you ever try to tell me that it was not so.  So you carried the two Whiteman’s burden as the guinea-pig to slay Sri Lanka for not letting the Tamil Tiger terrorists live another day beyond  the 19th May 2009, when they were militarily annihilated on  the beach of the Nandikadal lagoon.

Your statement had a supercilious air of “we Canadians are the Masters of upholding Human Rights.”   You know what Deepak, you almost choked me with cynical laughter.   “Come…on… Come again, Deepak, recite what you said.  I want to know whether I heard it right!” I told myself within my breath.

Surely not after the UN had slammed and lambasted Canada for our human rights violations against our own aboriginal women.  Surely not after the Idle No More demonstrations by the First Nation, M©tis and Inuit peoples and their Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence was on a hunger strike for the very reason for the Government of Canada violating their rights.   So, Deepak, your presence in Colombo and being boorish laying a wreath at Elephant Pass when you were asked not to by a Sri Lankan official, you said was to commemorate all victims of violence of the Eelam War didn’t end up smelling roses, but smelling you know what?

Your Canadian sincerity was in question when you had decided to lay the wreath at Elephant Pass, your chosen spot where three historical battles of the Tamil Tigers took place, when there may have been thousands of other neutral spots in that 25,332 square miles of an island.    Booo! to you Deepak.  You were not smart.  That stupid act was not kosher by any means, but boorish and undiplomatic and behaving like a high school bully.  You showed a lack of respect for your host.  Almost spitting at her who had offered you a warm cup of welcoming tea of the best brew of Ceylon Orange Pekoe.

You know what Deepak?  I feel almost certain that you had promised the Tamils of the GTA who are feeding the Conservative party with funds and the promise of their bloc vote if you would do that favour ” laying a wreath at Elephant Pass when the battle for that isthmus on July 10th 1991, saw a 5000 strong Tamil Tiger terrorist force launching a large scale attack on the Elephant Pass Army garrison where there were only 800 soldiers.  Not only was the invasion force massive in numbers, the Tamil Tigers had planned the attack to perfection with anti-aircraft guns  strategically placed so that no helicopter could land in supplies nor evacuate casualties from the base.

So by laying that wreath at Elephant Pass you stuck a Bravo Tamil Tigers post-it note on the lapel and jacket of every Tamil separatist in the Greater Toronto Area, hoping to secure their vote.

During that statement in the House, your voice raised a decibel or two when you said “…in memory of all the victims of that war.”  Perhaps you wanted to include the majority Sinhalese as well as the Muslims,Tamils and Burghers.  Yet, the Tamil transcript on the banner addressed only the minorities excluding the majority Sinhalese.  That was very stupid wasn’t it Deepak!  And it was mischievous.   Perhaps you do not read Tamil script.  If so, the knuckles of the person who engineered to produce that banner which had the Tamil script talking of the “…victims of the minorities”, thus excluding the majority Sinhalese should be rapped severely for embarrassing you.  Would it have been the Canadian High Commissioner in Colombo?

However, if you were expressing those emotional words as penance for Canada’s aiding and abetting this Eelam War as a surrogate Godfather of Terrorism, then the most appropriate place that you should have laid that wreath was at the steps of the new Central Bank Building in Colombo’s Fort, which was brought down by a Tamil Tiger terrorist truck filled with explosives bought with Canadians dollars sent out of a Bank in Vancouver, from the Rubezone Chemical Factory in the Ukraine in 1994.   That explosion on 31 January 1996, killed 114 innocent peoples and well a maimed for life 1,338 others.  If penance was your intention, I would have accepted grudgingly your tears on the floor of the House spilled from your bleeding heart, as that you on behalf of Canada regret for participating in that murderous incident.

That was the day that one of my Sinhalese friends, a Director of the Central Bank, a Ph.D from Ottawa U, who had a minutes before the explosion had gone up  a few floors to the library and was trapped on the floor with two fallen stacks over his legs,  and who was lucky to be alive and almost had his two legs amputated.

That was the day that my nephew and niece, both Sinhalese, both employees at the Central Bank, managed to extricate themselves through the tons of rubble, found themselves by chance on the streets in a daze, and managed to walk home in blood splattered clothing for four hours, as all public transport had stopped, to meet at the front door by a howling chest thumping mother who was cursing the Tamil Tiger terrorists for that explosion.

Deepak, its time that you guys now take a break from talking to the Tamils and change gears, put on your  I am a honest Canadian politician” cap and speak to the Sinhalese and Muslims to get their stories about this war and the effects it has had on their  families and communities.  Failing to do that Deepak, I will not hesitate to call you Conservatives a “Bunch of Rogue-Humbugs”.  Enough is enough.

By laying that wreath at Elephant Pass, you have knocked the last nail on the coffin of Friendship  between Canada and Sri Lanka.   Canada lost every bit of respect from its citizenry other than those Tamils who belly ached to you in Jaffna about Sri Lanka, hoping that you will be able to open the flood gates again to take them into Canada.  The question that goes begging is, would a Tamil Nadu politician have the same impact from these same Tamils in Jaffna who belly ached to you.   Not a snowball chance in hell, Deepak. They wouldn’t Deepak, as they wouldn’t want to go to Tamil Nadu… as they all want to come to Canada where they think that our roads are paved with gold, and the social system will drop a dole-cheque onto their outstretched palms at the end of each month after they set foot on our soil.

You my think that I am cynical and bitter about you Conservatives treatment of my Motherland, Sri Lanka.   To be honest, yes, I am.

Let me be absolutely clear Deepak.   No one, absolutely no one is going to harm my Motherland, Sri Lanka, that nurtured me during my first 19 formative years of my life, unfairly.  The Motherland who taught me to read A-B-C-D in the alphabet and also taught me to add 2+2 and come up with the  magical number 4, Free without an educational fee right through the primary school, middle school, and high school years, until I was qualified enough to leave home to continue my studies abroad. And so did the now belly aching Tamils who enjoyed the free education right through their lives to become doctors, lawyers, engineers and you name it,  who now tell you how bad Sri Lanka was and has been. These Tamils are hocus-pocus storytellers.  You don’t have to believe them.  And that is the bottom line.

Sincerely,

Asoka Weerasinghe (Mr.)

Traumatic Brain Injury among the Sri Lankan Combat Veterans

November 30th, 2013

  Dr.Ruwan M Jayatunge 

A significant number of Sri Lankan soldiers sustained head injuries during the Eelam War that lasted from 1983 to 2009. These head injuries mainly occurred due to gunshot wounds, mortar blast injuries, grenade explosions and artillery blasts. Traumatic Brain Injuries increased High morbidity and mortality rates among the Sri Lankan combatants. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) had been one of the signature injuries of the Eelam War.

Traumatic brain injury has short and long term consequences. It affects the physical, social, psychological and occupational aspects of combatant’s life.  The combatants with severe TBI have permanent neurobiological damage with profound psychosocial problems. TBI has been identified as one of the disabling conditions among the combatants.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) refers to a physiologically significant disruption of brain function resulting from the application of external physical force, including acceleration/deceleration forces (Silver et al, 2009). The victims experience emotional liability, sensory impairments, neuro- cognitive deficits and spasticity following traumatic brain injuries.

Traumatic brain injury is a common cause of neurological damage and disability among civilians and servicemen (Aux©m©ry, 2012). Schneider and colleagues (2009) elucidate that behaviorally the military population in general is considered to be a high risk group for TBI.  According to Scherer et al., (2013) within the last decade, more than 220,000 service members have sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI) in support of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Sri Lanka from 1983 to 2009 over 200,000 military personal were deployed in the operational areas and considerable numbers sustained mild to severe head injuries following enemy attacks. In a convenience sample of 824 Sri Lankan Army servicemen who were referred to the Psychiatric ward Military Hospital Colombo during August 2002 to March 2006 time period 29 combatants (3.51%) were diagnosed  with TBI. These diagnoses were based on International Classification of Diseases- Tenth Revision (ICD-10) criteria and done by the Consultant Psychiatrist of the Sri Lanka Army.

The Immediate Impact of TBI

Traumatic brain injury has immediate impacts. TBI combines mechanical stress to brain tissue with an imbalance between cerebral blood floor and metabolism, excitotoxicity, oedema formation, and inflammatory and apoptotic processes (Werner & Engelhard, 2007). The immediate effect of head trauma could be loss of consciousness followed by headaches and dizziness. Sometimes confusion and disorientation could occur from mild to moderate from of head injuries. In severe form of TBI prolonged periods of loss of consciousness, seizures and paralysis could occur.

Traumatic Brain Injury in the War Zone

During the Eelam War some of the combatants who sustained head injuries were not immediately evacuated due to technical difficulties. Intensify heavy fighting and weather conditions affected evacuation of the battle casualties. However the wounded received first aid and then brought back to the rear zone medical aid point where they were examined by a qualified medical officer.  The head injuries were assessed and then transferred to the Palali Military Hospital or to a nearby hospital. Some battle casualties who sustained severe head trauma were air lifted and transferred to major hospitals in Anuradhapura or in Colombo. In these hospitals the war casualties received specialized treatment by the Neurosurgeons.

TBI and Cognitive Impairments

The combatants who sustained serious head trauma later found with cognitive impairments. Neurocognitive impairments are prevalent in TBI. Among the debilitating conditions memory impairments, difficulty with attention and concentration, difficulty with new learning, and impaired problem solving skills are frequently identified. As indicated by Arciniegas (2003) cognitive impairments are among the most common neuropsychiatric sequelae of traumatic brain injury at all levels of severity. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can produce persistent attention and memory impairment that may in part be produced by impaired auditory sensory gating (Arciniegas et al., 2000).

Cognitive dysfunctions associated with TBI were known to military psychologists since the World War One. The British Physician Frederic Mott (WW1) and Dr Alexander Luria of the Soviet Army (in the WW2) extensively studied the impact of combat related head injuries. Caveness , Walker, & Ascroft (1962) believed that World War I, World War II, and the Korean war produced a large number of combatants with TBI and other associated complications. In the Vietnam War 12 to 14 percent of all combat casualties had a brain injury (Okie , 2005).

TBI-related cognitive impairment is common in veterans who have served in recent conflicts in the Middle East and is often related to blasts from improvised explosive devices (Halbauer et al., 2009). The Sri Lankan combat veterans who sustained severe form of head injuries reported drastic impairments in memory and concentration. Some were found with post-traumatic amnesia.  A large percentage of combatants found with intellectual disabilities and impaired language skills.

Personality Changes Following Head Injury

Personality change has been reported in 49% to 80% of patients with traumatic brain injury (Brooks et al., 1986). A significant number of Sri Lankan combatants with TBI were found with subsequent Personality changes. Some of the personality changes such as agitation, paranoia, mood swings, aggression, lack of inhibition, inappropriate sexual activity and impaired self control have caused major barriers to their military and personal lives.

Prominent behavioral characteristics in TBI patients have included altered emotion (including restricted emotions with occasional inappropriate or uncontrolled emotional outbursts); impaired judgment and decision”making (including difficulty arriving at decisions as well as poor decisions); impaired initiation, planning, and organization of behavior; and defective social comportment (including egocentricity and impaired empathy). These impairments tend to be accompanied by a marked lack of insight. (Fowler, 2011: Barrash et al.,2000). According to Oddy et al. (1985) two thirds of individuals with TBI experience personality changes for long periods and sometimes over 15 years.

TBI and Depression

Mood disturbances are common sequelae of traumatic brain injury (Hurley &   Taber, 2002). Bay and colleagues (2004) are of the view that Pre-injury factors (such as mood and anxiety disorders, psychosocial dysfunction, and alcohol abuse), injury factors (such as left ventrolateral and dorsolateral injury and serotonergic dysfunction), and post-injury factors (such as postconcussive symptoms, psychosocial dysfunction, and lack of social supports) contribute to the development of depression after TBI, although the relevance of each factor varies among patients.

Combatants with TBI have a large array of psychosocial problems that affect their professional and family lives. Jorge et al. (2004) observed strong association between   posttraumatic depression and psychological and psychosocial factors.

Sometimes post TBI depression could   increases anger, aggression and   suicide risk (Fann , Katon , Uomoto & Esselman, 1995). An increased suicide risk has been identified among the combatants who fought in the Eelam War.  According to the Military Spokesperson of the Sri Lanka Army from 2009 to 2012 postwar period nearly 400 soldiers had committed suicide (Sriyananda, 2012).

TBI and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) often coexist because brain injuries are often sustained in traumatic experiences. In addition evidence suggests that mild TBI can increase risk for PTSD (Bryant, R 2011).

Some investigators have argued that individuals who had been rendered unconscious or suffered amnesia due to a TBI are unable to develop PTSD because they would be unable to consciously experience the symptoms of fear, helplessness, and horror associated with the development of PTSD. Other investigators have reported that individuals, who sustain TBI, regardless of its severity, can develop PTSD even in the context of prolonged unconsciousness. (Sbordone & Ruff, 2010).

Despite the discrepancies strong connection between Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury has been reported from battlefields around the world. Hoge et al. (2008) point out that mild traumatic brain injury (i.e., concussion) occurring among soldiers deployed in Iraq is strongly associated with PTSD and physical health problems 3 to 4 months after the soldiers return home. Elder & Cristian (2009) too report high association of mild traumatic brain injury with posttraumatic stress disorder among the veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A notable number of Sri Lankan combatants have been diagnosed with TBI and PTSD during the Eelam War.

Posttraumatic Epilepsy

Posttraumatic epilepsy is a major source of disability following traumatic brain injury (TBI) and a common cause of medically-intractable epilepsy (Guo et al., 2013).  As indicated by Diaz-Arrastia and colleagues (2009) posttraumatic epilepsy is a common complication of traumatic brain injury (TBI), occurring in up to 15-20% of patients with severe brain trauma. There are a number of risks associated with Posttraumatic epilepsy. Yeh et al. (2012) hypnotize that the risk of epilepsy after TBI varied by patient gender, age, latent interval and complexity of TBI.

Combat veterans with head trauma are at high risk of developing posttraumatic epilepsy. As indicated by Chen and colleagues (2009) both Korean and Vietnam War veterans with penetrating TBI had a 53% risk of developing PTE.

Neurologist Ranjani Gamage (2003) reported that in Sri Lanka there were 300,000 persons with epilepsy.   This number would have included combatants with epilepsy due to TBI

Psychiatric Symptoms Followed by TBI

The intersection between traumatic brain injury and Psychosis has become one of the major concerns. Some of the Sri Lankan combatants with TBI were later found with psychosis and these individuals had disorganized thought and speech, paranoid delusions with loss of contact with reality.

Koponen et al. (2002) suggest that traumatic brain injury may cause decades-lasting vulnerability to psychiatric illness in some individuals. In addition they hypnotize that traumatic brain injury seems to make patients particularly susceptible to depressive episodes, delusional disorder, and personality disturbances. In one of the studies that was conducted by Deb and colleagues (1999) found that in comparison with the general population, a higher proportion of adult patients had developed psychiatric illnesses one year after a traumatic brain injury. Fann et al. (1995) point out that psychiatric disorders are major cause of disability after traumatic brain injury.

 Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in Combatants 

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is thought to be a neurodegenerative disease associated with repeated concussive and subconcussive blows to the head (Mez ,Stern & McKee , 2013).  During military training soldiers repetitively sustain mild head trauma that has negative impact on their mental health. According to Zhang et al. (2013) subconcussive blows can result in cognitive function changes that are consistent with mild traumatic brain injury of the frontal lobes.

The soldiers who served in the artillery batteries during the Eelam War were frequently exposed to blast impacts. Furthermore they faced artillery attacks, mortar fire, grenade and claymore blasts initiated by the enemy. Although a large number of combatants did not sustain any head trauma a considerable percentage experienced the blast shockwaves.  The shock waves   may have had negative cumulative effect on them. A considerable fraction of combatants who were exposed to   blast shockwaves complain of chronic headaches, tremors and generalized body pain.  This factor was evident in the numerous battles that were fought in different countries.

Military physicians of the World War One believed that artillery blasts could cause miniature hemorrhages in the brain causing tremors and long lasting headaches in soldiers. Teland,& Huseby (2102) of the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment  (FFI) hypothesize  that  military personnel who are exposed to blast waves during training and combat are at a significant health risk.

The combat-related traumatic brain injuries (TBI) resulting from exposure to explosions is highly prevalent among military personnel who have served in current wars. Blast trauma can be understood as experiencing a shockwave on the brain and as a psycho-traumatic event (Aux©m©ry, 2012). Chronic pain is a common complication of TBI. It is independent of psychologic disorders such as PTSD and depression and is common even among patients with apparently minor injuries to the brain. (Nampiaparampil, 2008).

Head trauma could cause degenerative changes in the brain tissue. Byrnes et al. (2012) point out that traumatic brain injury initiates biochemical processes that lead to secondary neurodegeneration.  Traumatic brain injury causes progressive neurodegeneration associated with chronic microglial activation (Xue et al, 2013). Atrophic changes of the brain that is resulted by TBI can have a lasting impact on soldiers. Symptoms can range to prolong headaches to severe neurological and psychological consequences.

Treatment Options

TBI has drastic impacts on independent living skills of the combatant. The survivors need effective psychosocial rehabilitation. The outcome and impact evaluation following combat related TBI is highly essential in the rehabilitation process.  The concept of “the outcome of brain injury” needs to be viewed in the context of a dynamic and changing series of events which occur throughout a person’s life Gainer, 2010).

Various risk factors for poor outcome after TBI have been identified. Most of these are fixed at the time of injury such as age, gender, mechanism of injury, and presenting signs (Glasgow Coma Scale and pupillary signs), but some such as hypotension and hypoxia are potential areas for medical intervention (Moppett, 2007).

Cerebral metabolic derangement and excitotoxicity play critical roles in the evolution of traumatic brain injury (Hwabejire et al., 2013). Expert opinion suggests that combination therapies will be necessary to treat any stage of TBI recovery (Shear & Tortella, 2013). Drug management is important in seizure control. Chen and colleagues (2009) are of the view that optimal seizure control is essential to the physical and emotional health of veterans with TBI and to their ability to lead productive lives.

Psychotherapy is an important component of the treatment of neuropsychiatric problems following TBI (Arciniegas et al., 2000).  Cognitive rehabilitation may also be useful for the treatment of impaired attention, interpersonal communication skills, and executive function following TBI (Arciniegas et al., 2002).  B©dard et al. (2003) suggest mindfulness-based intervention to improve quality of life among individuals who sustained traumatic brain injuries. In addition occupational therapy, speech language therapy and physiotherapy play a key role in the rehabilitation process.

Case Discussion

1)      Private SNX764 joined the Army in 1991 and served in the operational areas. He took part in several major military operations against the LTTE. In 1995 he was posted to Mallakam -Jaffna. There he had to face fierce enemy attacks. Once the enemy attacked them with mortars. Following nonstop mortar attacks Private SNX764 was stunned and disoriented. His bunker was damaged severely and he wanted to crawl to a safe area.  When he tried to reach the next bunker an incoming mortar blasted a few meters away from him. Suddenly he could feel bleeding from his ears and he lost consciousness. After a few hours of fighting the enemy retreated.  Then he was evacuated and taken to the Palali military hospital. He was treated for a head injury. Although he survived the mortar blast his speech was impaired. He experienced severe intermittent headaches and insomnia. By 1996 he had intrusions, flashbacks and marked avoidance for combat related settings.   His mental health started deteriorating further. Several times Private SNX764 had tried to commit suicide while serving in the operational areas. Finally he was referred for a psychological evaluation and found with chronic PTSD.

2)      Capt. KXXC385 was an experienced field officer who participated in numerous commando operations. He sustained a head injury as a result of a parachuting accident. He was unconscious for over two weeks and treated at the Neurological unit.  After the acute phase he was referred for rehabilitation therapy. After years of treatment he returned to his unit as a completely changed person. He had difficulty in concentration, Emotional lability and cognitive impairments. His personality changed tremendously after the head trauma.  Once a skillful professional soldier turned in to a dependent unsteady person with marked psychosocial dysfunctions. His professional and private life fell apart.  His decision”making and initiation were significantly deteriorated and sometimes he engaged in socially inappropriate behavior failing to detect social cues. Capt. KXXC385 was diagnosed with Personality changes following head injury.

3)      Major WXX856 sustained a head injury due to a grenade blast in a training mission. He was unconscious and treated at the Neurosurgical unit of the National Hospital Colombo. Major WXX856‘s injury was reordered as a moderate type of head injury based on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). After the injury he experienced frequent headaches and irritability. He had low frustration tolerance and often became very impulsive. His family members observed drastic changes in his behavior. Frequently he engaged in family violence. His personality started to change with head trauma. The senior officers found that Major WXX856 was neglecting his duties. A number of times he was reprimanded. To displace his psychosocial difficulties Major WXX856 started to drink alcohol in large quintiles in daily basis. His treatment schedule was interrupted and eventually in the final two years he did not receive any treatment at all. Major WXX856 became more and more isolated and had homicidal urges. In 2004 Major WXX856 committed several murders secretly and enjoyed the brutal acts. He took his final victim ” a cab driver to his remote camp and intoxicated him and then killed him by cutting the victim’s throat. He had no remorse or any regrets after committing these murders. Major WXX856 was looking for more victims to fulfill his homicidal urge.  In his final attempt he tried to abduct a victim near a remote tea estate but the attempt was unsuccessful. Some estate workers alerted the Police. Hence he was arrested and sent to the remand prison. The investigators found several other murders that were committed by Major WXX856. While his trial was pending Major WXX856 committed suicide by hanging.

4)       Private KXXT342 met with a land mine explosion in Chunnakam ”Jaffna in 1996 while travelling in a military vehicle. Some of his buddies got killed due to the blast. He could only remember the black smoke and fatal outcry of his buddies. The soldiers from the second vehicle took the wounded to the hospital immediately. Private KXXT342 sustained a head injury and treated at the Palali military hospital and then referred to the National Hospital -Colombo. He underwent treatment for several months. He had impaired hearing, slurred speech and loss of coordination after the injury. In addition he suffered epileptic fits. Private KXXT342 was diagnosed with Posttraumatic Epilepsy. After became a battle casualty Private KXXT342 experienced a number of psychosocial problems which affected his life. He was treated with antiepileptic drugs and CBT. Following treatment he was able to overcome most of his psychosocial problems.

5)      Corporal BXVX486 served in an artillery battery for over 9 years. During this time period his team had fired a large number of artillery rounds. Although he was physically unharmed throughout the war his luck changed dramatically. Corporal BXVX486 complained of tremors in both hands, frequent headaches and myalgia after serving lengthy years in the artillery battery. The physicians who examined him found no any organic factor associated with his condition. There were no Electroencephalography (EEG) changes and his brain scan and other reports were normal. He was suspected as a malingerer at one point but later found that his symptoms were real. Corporal BXVX486 poorly responded to the pain killers. His condition started to improve with relaxation therapy and EMDR.

6)      L/ Cpl AXXCX831 sustained a TBI following a gun short injury. After he became a battle casualty L/ Cpl AXXCX831 experienced a number of psychosocial problems. He could not control his anger and became extremely hostile. He used to physically abuse his wife and children. He had depression and several times he planned to end his life. Once he took poison and immediate hospitalization saved his life. He was treated with Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI ) and mood stabilizers with CBT. Following drug therapy and psychotherapy L/ Cpl AXXCX831′s condition improved notably.

Conclusion

Although Traumatic Brain Injury has impacted a large number of Sri Lankan combatants who fought in the Eelam War, the psychological sequelae of brain trauma were not adequately studied. The combatants who sustained TBI have persistent headaches, memory impairments, sleep difficulties, low frustration tolerance, impaired life skills, emotional difficulties, impaired decision making and behavioral changes.TBI has caused profound psychosocial problems among the veterans. These problems affect their private and professional lives. The combatants with TBI need effective psychosocial rehabilitation to overcome their current difficulties. Further research is needed to estimate the overall impact of TBI among Sri Lankan combat veterans.

Acknowledgements

1)      Dr. Rolf B. Gainer – Consultant Neurologist – Brookhaven Hospital Tusla Oklahoma

2)      Professor Daya Somasundaram – University of Adelaide Australia

3)      Dr. (Mrs) N.K Ariyarathne ” Consultant Physician ” Military Hospital Colombo.

References

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SOME SOUND ADVICE FROM THE EARLIER EXPLOTER’S OF TAMIL COLI SLAVES

November 30th, 2013

Mahinda Weerasinghe

Indian State as an Enemy is not an enemy per se; it is subtler than that. If they dig a little deeper they will find that Jaffna Tamil Catholics are behind the whole gambit. They are using that sack of rice “Jayalalitha” and other Indian jokers in order to get their dirty work done.  Indeed, in the BBC sent episode of David Cameron visit to Jaffna, there was a white cassock Catholic priest instigating and directing the people to agitate and acting as director of operations. In this connection India will be worse off than Sri Lanka, and soon.

Agitatation to ply TM out of the Indian union is gaining momentum as we speak. As I pointed out, if Singh visited Colombo, then that would have used it as a spur for division, hence he wisely kept away!

Be sure every move is charted out by the Jaffna Tamil Catholic church. Hindu’s should recognize that it is their cast system, which generates the circumstances and provide the impetus for the destruction of India.

David Cameron advice under the circumstances is intriguing and subtle! Indeed to follow Winston Churchill’s lead is to follow that “half naked fakir” who broke the British Empire’s backbone, is not a bad idea for Lanka.

Thanks David for your timely advice! For a nation of fully clothed “fakirs” which generated its power and wealth through cruel exploitation of Tamil coli slave (in fact half naked) labor, we recognize that you know what is best!

Through all this hyperbole Chinese must be laughing their way, to be the neo-global power brokers!

Mahinda Weerasinghe

British Prime Minister David Cameron may have highlighted alleged human rights issues in Sri Lanka because he had domestic collateral political considerations with an anticipated election in 2015 -Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Britain Dr. Chris Nonis

November 29th, 2013

BBC World News – Global – interview with H.E. Dr. Chris Nonis , Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, on 28th November 2013

*Significant Tamil diaspora in Britain
*Census is one of LLRC recommendations
Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Dr. Chris Nonis (R) being interviewed on the Global program on  BBC World News, on November 28. Picture courtesy  Sri Lankan High Commission in the United Kingdom

British Prime Minister David Cameron may have highlighted alleged human rights issues in Sri Lanka because he had domestic collateral political considerations with an anticipated election in 2015, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Britain Dr. Chris Nonis said in an interview with the BBC on Thursday.

“The point is people are entitled to say whatever they wish. But the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), a gathering of 53 or 54 countries, the purpose was to discuss the theme of the Commonwealth. It was not there to raise bilateral issues. On the one hand I think it is good that David Cameron came despite a lot of criticism domestically”.

(Video Link) :

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_YJnnPo6no

 or

 https://www.dropbox.com/s/vcqf7qcse72quj3/BBC%20World%20News%20-%20Global%20-%20interview%20with%20H.E.%20Dr.%20Chris%20Nonis%20%2C%20Sri%20Lankan%20High%20Commissioner%20to%20the%20United%20Kingdom.avi

 “But at the same time I understand why he raised those issues on a public platform because he has domestic collateral political considerations. He is in a coalition government with an election due in 2015. There is a significant diaspora in Britain and naturally (interviewer interrupts). Dr Nonis continues: I am afraid that this is the natural conclusion one would come to if one realizes that he has an election coming up in 2015″.

When questioned whether Sri Lanka had initiated a Census on Dead and Missing during war which started on Thursday due to pressure exerted in some quarters during the CHOGM, Dr.Nonis pointed out that the Census was part

of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) which released its report in 2011. “The detractors would like to say that. But the LLRC report was released in 2011. This census is one of its recommendations” Dr. Nonis pointed out.

About the LLRC recommendations Dr.Nonis said “before it (the report) was released many people were critical of it. But once it was released, people realized, it was very comprehensive and impartial, holistic and even critical of government. The President, not only released it, but released it in full”, he added.

When questioned whether people would have faith in a survey carried out by the Government Dr.Nonis replied “I think they have tremendous faith in it. It is independent, it is carried out by the Department of Census and Statistics. Even the last report which was carried out, the enumeration of vital events in 2011 in the North was done by the Department of Census and Statistics. The people they used or the enumerators actually were predominantly Tamil Teachers. They were entirely independent”. Describing further Dr.Nonis pointed out “The conflict was not between government and Tamil Tigers. The conflict was between Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims, Burgher, Malay people of Sri Lanka and the terrorists. This is often misunderstood”.

‘The Last Phase’, screened at EU Parliament

November 29th, 2013

Courtesy Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

‘The Last Phase’, a documentary film depicting the life story of a former female LTTE cadre during the final stages of the humanitarian operation in Sri Lanka was screened on Thursday at the European Union (EU) Parliament in Brussels for the first time.

Watch full video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngNeF5WY64s

The event was hosted by the Chair of the Friends of Sri Lanka Group in the EU Parliament Geoffrey Van Orden, Member of the European Parliament representing the Conservatives of UK.

Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and European Union P.M Amza, speaking at the event at the invitation of the Chair, said that when he first saw the film, earlier this year, as a native Tamil speaker, it convinced him, that this is a story that speaks volumes about the untold sufferings of hundreds of thousands of Tamils, at the hands of the Tamil Tigers and it also amply proves that even the cadres, who once believed in the cause of the Tamil Tigers and fought for them were not spared, when they decided to escape for life. On the other hand, it also talks about the overwhelming sympathy and compassion extended to affected people by many unknown, including the military personnel, the medical staff etc, irrespective of any differences in cast, creed or ethnicity. “This conviction made me as the Head of Sri Lanka Mission to EU, to get the film crew to visit Brussels and to screen this film for the first time in the EU Parliament in Brussels”, he said.

lastphase

The documentary revolves around the life of a former LTTE female cadre who grew up at ‘Senchcholai’, the LTTE run orphanage for tamil children. ‘Jayawadanee’ was brought up in an environment that was deliberately planned to portray the other side as the necessary evil.

Mr. Van Orden while stating that as friends, we have not hesitated to express our honest opinions regarding Sri Lanka, but it appears there is unbalanced observance on the country. No one seems to have noticed that more Tamils had died as a result of the actions by the Tamil Tigers, than by the Government forces. Any war is brutal, but much happened as a result of what LTTE was doing at that time, he said.

Mr. Richard Mundy, the British national who narrates the film, addressed the gathering shared his experience in Sri Lanka and described his motivation to be part of the project. He said during the eleven years he has been living in Sri Lanka, he  encountered people from all walks of life and travelled extensively in the country. The story of Jayawadhani and the immense courage she has demonstrated to reconcile with what went on in her life and the determination to move forward, made him want to be part of the film he said. He did not hesitate to say that he was embarrassed, as a national of UK, to see Briton’s Prime Minister wagging his finger at Sri Lanka. Referring to his personal experience both through the bloody terrorist campaigns in the Middle East and also in the Northern Ireland conflicts, he said it is not fair to criticize. “These people deserve a chance”, he said. He invited those interested to visit the country and then to form their own opinions.

The Director of the Film Mr. Jeevan Chandimal told that although the film, is about Jayawadhani the former Tiger combatant; it goes beyond a single person’s life story. It is the plight of many like her, and it is also the story of people in Sri Lanka trying to recover. They need empathy and help, and that is why he wanted to create this film, he said.

Following the screening of the film a follow-up discussion was held with the participation of the film crew and the audience, that comprised a section of interested people from across the diplomatic corp. based in Brussels, the representatives of academia, EU Parliament, think tanks and the Sri Lankan community. There was strong feedback from the members of the audience that the film should be screened as widely as possible, to ensure a fairer balance of media coverage.

Dharshan Weerasekera exposes Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Ministry’s deficient legal work

November 29th, 2013

by Shenali D. Waduge

Lawyer Mr. Dharshan Weerasekera’s highly analytical and insightful article titled “Illegality of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s approach to Sri Lanka’ appearing in ‘Foreign Policy Journal’ of 19 March 2013 and published in several Lankan internet websites and mainstream newspapers i.e. Daily News (November 28 and 29, 2013) in the last few days, has reinforced the huge public disappointment bordering disgust at officials appointed to defend our nation internationally. For over 4 years we have seen Sri Lanka being subject to deplorable foreign and local overtures which our supposedly ‘legal luminaries’ and other loud mouthed ‘intellectuals’ (some with Oxbridge qualifications) enjoying plums of office, hobnobbing with the jet set, moving in and out of six star hotels abroad at public expense, excessive air plane travel using first class tickets, and enjoying the sweet life with undue privileges, should have pointed out and not allowed the nation’s President, its armed forces and the entire nation to be humiliated in the international arena, diplomatically snubbed and admonished as the ‘guilty party’ without a proper trial conducted at least according to rules of natural justice.

http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2013/11/27/the-illegality-of-un-secretary-general-ban-ki-moons-approach-to-sri-lanka-2/

Summary of legal submissions of Dharshan Weerasekera

We now bring out salient points raised by Mr. Weerasekera who using his legal training has argued Sri Lanka’s case skillfully concluding that the UN Secretary General has no real mandate, no legal basis and no moral justification to carry out a virtual witch hunt against a UN member nation.

We shall first highlight the key areas that Mr. Dharshan has based his argument upon and thereafter proceed to ask where our Oxbridge legal luminaries have failed the nation and question whether it was a natural error of judgment or deliberate inaction purposely committed given their unconcealed allegiance and pathetic subservience to western colonial norms, standards and western institutions.

Mr. Dharshan Weerasekera points out the following:

  • the 4 attempts by UNSG to pursue ‘accountability’ for ‘alleged war crimes’, committed during the last phase of the war.
  • the 2 attempts on a personal initiative by the UN Secretary General ” namely Darusman Panel of Experts and the Petrie Report which was a review of the UN office in Sri Lanka that concluded that UN had failed in its humanitarian mission. Petrie Report states that ‘”Seen together, the failure of the UN to adequately counter the Government’s under-estimation of population numbers in the Wanni, the failure to adequately confront the Government in its obstructions to humanitarian assistance, the unwillingness of the UN in UNHQ and in Colombo to address Government responsibility for attacks that were killing civilians, and the tone and content of UN communications with the Government on these issues, collectively amounted to a failure by the UN to act within the scope of institutional mandates to meet protection responsibilities.”
  • Allegations of War Crimes against Sri Lanka

1.    killing of civilians through widespread shelling ” accusing the GOSL of shelling UN hub, food distribution lines and near ICRC ships coming to pick wounded

2.    shelling of hospitals and humanitarian objects ” accusing the GOSL of hitting all hospitals in the Vanni by mortars and artillery, some repeatedly.

3.    denial of humanitarian assistance ” accusing GOSl of denying people food, medical supplies, surgical supplies, purposely underestimating numbers of civilians

4.    human rights violations suffered by victims and survivors of the conflict including both IDPs and suspected LTTE cadre

5.    human rights violations outside the conflict zone including against media and other critics of the Government.

Mr. Weerasekera response to the allegation of killing civilians (quoted between 40,000 and 125,000) by giving the following examples to negate the accusations made by the UNSG’s Panelists and their ultimate report conclusions.

a)    2011 Census by the Dept of Census and Statistics/Sri Lanka of the North

  • 22,329 deaths (2005-2009) of which 11,172 occurred in 2007 and 2523 due to natural causes and 7934 classified as ‘other deaths’ (could be from accidents, homicides, suicides etc.)
  • An estimated 8000 had died between Jan-May 2009 inclusive of LTTE combatants. General belief that 5000 combatants died during final phase of war which leaves 3000 civilian deaths.

b)     UN Country report in 2009 carried out during the conflict gave estimated deaths between August 2008-May 13 2009 as 7721 (this number is close to the figure of the Census Dept.)

c)     American Association for the Advancement of Science ” Aerial photographs of the conflict zone ” in particular gravestones/mass graves found no such evidence implying that the allegations of 40,000 deaths or more was impossible.

If roughly 3000 civilians through 6 months did die this number however does not constitute indiscriminate targeting of civilians. The question is why has the GOSL legal defense team not demanded evidence to establish the allegations of 40,000 ” 125,000 civilian deaths and repeated this demand through official statements each time allegations were being made from whatever sources. Why have our legal representatives not continuously demanded their names and other crucial details which would have stopped the barrage of lies and numbers that are dropping from the sky.

Why have our representatives not said enough times giving examples drawn from the reports of the embedded journalists like the Indian media that were present throughout the conflict inside the conflict zone along with the ICRC.

Mr. Weerasekera takes excerpts from Murali Reddy: as follows:

  • Murali Reddy (Frontline) present up to the end of war 19 May 2009 as an ‘embedded’ reporter.” There were no conditions spelled out on the coverage from the war zone.  We were allowed unfettered and unhindered movement up to 400 meters from the zone, where pitched battles were fought between the military and the remaining cadre and leaders of the LTTE….Most important was the fact that we had interference-free access to the internet, including Tamilnet, the website perceived to be pro-LTTE and based somewhere in Europe.  Within the constraints of internet time available, and not-unexpected problems of connectivity and speed in a war zone, there was just enough time to read and absorb the reports on the websites before sending news dispatches to our headquarters.  No questions were asked”.

He also states that ICRC suspended operations on 15th May 2009 (4 days before victory) having being satisfied that the majority of civilians were in safety and the military and LTTE were engaged in final combat. Murali Reddy would have also spoken to civilians and it confirmed if alleged massacres were taking place. However, none of his articles has indicated such. Spontaneous witness testimony by civilians becomes valid above the coached testimony currently taking place. Mr. Reddy’s commentaries highlights

1.   civilians speaking to him did not accuse military of killing them

2.  the Tamil civilians were attempting to escape LTTE  without being detected ” which means they wanted to run towards the army

3.  Tamil civilians were not looked after by the  LTTE and were deprived of food and water.

  • David Gray (Reuters) correspondent taken on a tour of the battlefield in April 2009. In his accounts he declares that he saw ‘civilians being given small amounts of food and drink by the soldiers’ ” soldiers were feeding the civilians not killing them and small amounts obviously must be sharing what they had been allocated.
  • The fact that ICRC suspended its operations on 15th May 2009 goes to also show that it would have done so after being satisfied that majority of civilians were no longer with LTTE and the final battle between LTTE and the Army could take place without any injury to the civilians.

When allegations have been made on civilian killings why have our officials not immediately responded by giving the names of journalists like Murali Reddy whose accounts of the war does not mention anything of civilians fearing or fleeing the Sri Lankan armed forces?.

Why has the Government not cited Murali Reddy being physically present, with access to internet and to civilians wherein none of his articles have touched on civilian massacres or that civilians speaking to him coming out of the warzone made allegations of such?

Why has the Ministry of External Affairs not gathered accounts of people like Reuters correspondent Mr. Gray as testimony in view of the allegations of indiscriminate attacks against civilians and Mr. Gray’s own assertion that the soldiers were feeding civilians? Surely the Ministry should have compiled a list of all such statements which could have been annexed to the Government response at the successive Geneva sessions?

These examples should have been used to counter the false allegations made by the 2 UNSG panels and clearly the first hand accounts of the embedded journalists and those taken on tour go to show that there was no indiscriminate shelling of civilians or deprivation of food.

BBC, Channel 4 and LTTE use Goebbels theory of propaganda – ‘The Big Lie’

If Dharshan Weerasekera can produce excerpts from Mr. Reddy why have our representatives not done the same ” not once but continuously for is this not how the LTTE propaganda machinery is working with lies? When we have the truth why are we not saying it loud and repeatedly? The LTTE, its fronts, its apologists and supporters are telling lies enough times and repeatedly and getting away with it because of their heavy reliance on Josef Goebbels theory of propaganda ‘ The Big Lie’ working in their favor. 

The ‘Big Lie’ works on the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it; keep up the lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous. In the Big Lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the average people in any nation are always susceptible to brain washing by big lies rather than small lies.  Even though the true facts revealed later may disprove the big lie, the average person will still entertain doubt and waver and continue to think that there may be some other explanation. The lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down. This is a fact which is well known to both the BBC and Channel 4 funded by the Tamil Diaspora and all other LTTE supporters.

When the factual truth is on our side why have our representatives failed to resort to well – known techniques of both propaganda and counter ” propaganda, lack the political will to say out loud and repeat it even every day so that other people would begin to see our side of the story?

Even for the charge of indiscriminate shooting at hospitals ” why have our representatives not kept repeatedly saying that LTTE used the hospitals to store its military equipment and fired from these sites and questioned if they were functioning as hospitals for civilians? Our representatives has not told enough times that even the Panel mentions of LTTE using the hospitals and if so the army cannot be faulted for firing if LTTE fires from ‘hospitals’ for if LTTE wishes to seek protection from Geneva Conventions it must follow them and Rule 1 is to ensure civilians are removed from combat ” LTTE herded people with them and this is where the violation of the Convention lies. Why have we not kept on punching these faults?

Why have Sri Lanka’s representatives NOT repeatedly given examples of

  • ICRC presence in conflict zone throughout the final phase and participating in and coordinating the food and medicine convoys to the battle-zone with dates/amounts and other details
  • Government records that it transported 534,227 metric tons of food and medicine to the conflict zone ” quantities that ICRC did not dispute.
  • Government records of continuing supply of food and medicine convoys right up to end of war
  • Why did the Government representatives not object to and demand official explanation and apology from the Experts for purposely omitting mention ICRC/Government convoys of food and medicine running parallel to UN/WFP convoys? This intended omission should have been raised and demanded a convincing explanation.

UN Charter not used for Sri Lanka’s benefit

If Dharshan Weerasekera says that the UNSG can commission reports on success and failures of UN offices but he does not have authority to submit these reports indirectly to official UN organs (ex: UNHRC) to compel action against a fellow Member country, and that UNSG’s actions are illegal under UN Charter Article 2(7), 99 and 100  ” why has the External Affairs Ministry and other legal luminaries not thought of this and tendered an official complaint and demanded the UNSG to produce evidence to back allegations thereby giving Sri Lanka an opportunity to respond. Instead what has now happened is that an illegally sanctioned report that has nothing to do with the UN General Assembly or the UN Security Council has become the basis for cross examining and international bullying of Sri Lanka by third parties which is contributing towards the denigration and destabilizing of Sri Lanka.

Is it not the job of the External Affairs Ministry and the legal teams and other experts who had been tasked and handsomely paid with additional perks to travel overseas at the drop of a hat, to save the nation to table and tell enough times out loud without being prompted to table that the UNSG’s ‘reports’ have not been ‘authorized’ or ‘requested’ by the UN General Assembly or the UN Security Council or the UNHRC and these have not been filed either? Yet, Sri Lanka is being asked to respond to a REPORT that has no legal basis and our question is what have our teams been doing all this while not pointing this out to the country’s President and the people, being the ultimate masters of this country.

Supposed ‘Verbal agreement’ legally unsustainable

Mr. Dharshan Weerasekera argues quite rightly that a supposed verbal agreement with the UN Secretary – General (UNSG ) and the Sri Lanka President in May 2009 does not empower or authorize him to pursue the role of ‘monitor’ on the accountability process in Sri Lanka and thus denies him a legal basis for action.

Mr. Weerasekera says that UNSG can resort to Article 99 of the UN Charter granting him discretion to bring matters to the attention of the UN Security Council but even that is without legal sanction.

The UNSG has cited a meeting with Sri Lankan President in May 2009 as a term of reference for personally commissioning two Panels to report on Sri Lanka though not at the behest of either the General Assembly or the UN Security Council or even an official UN organ.

Why did the Sri Lankan authorities not read the Joint Statement issued for both reports and not agree to such a joint statement while being fully aware that the UNSG is commissioning reports without any requests from the General Assembly, UN Security Council or even an official organ? Did our representatives with sufficient legal qualifications to back their role and involved in UN mechanics not realize the game plan being contrived? From the clauses that Mr. Weerasekera picks in the joint statement as he rightfully says the Joint Statement implies that the GOSL has admitted accepting violations of humanitarian laws - “The Secretary General underlined the importance of an accountability process to address violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed during military operations between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE” (emphasis added). Surely, our legal luminaries should have picked up this very simple English to realize the adverse ramifications accruing to Sri Lanka in agreeing to endorse such a joint statement. 

Our next question is, who representing Sri Lanka actually committed the Government to agreeing to such a joint statement and if we did not agree why have we not objected to using this term of reference? Should our people not continue to object to its inclusion and demand its omission if we had not agreed to such a joint commitment as that the Office of the UNSG is officially stating through its two commissioned reports. Though these sentences are loose and have no legal basis Sri Lanka has been unnecessarily and unduly taken before the informal world court and humiliated undeservedly and repeatedly. Who is responsible for allowing this state of affairs detrimental to Sri Lanka’s standing and best interests to take place? The buck cannot be allowed to stop at the gates of favourite Ministries.

UNSG uses Article 99 of the UN Charter ” to commission reports and inquiries on a personal initiative by using the joint-statement with the Sri Lanka President (which has no legal basis) in spite of UN legal experts rejection of use of Article 99 because it is related to Articles 97 and 98.

Article 97: The Secretary General shall be the chief administrative officer of the organization

Article 98: The Secretary General shall act in that capacity in all meetings of the General Assembly, of the Security Council, of the Trusteeship Council, and shall perform such other functions as are entrusted to him by these organs.

Article 99: The Secretary General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security

Thus as Mr. Weerasekera points out the 3 relevant Articles related to the functioning of the UNSG makes the UNSG function according to Article 98 first and he can use Article 99 only if he thinks there is a threat to international peace and security but that too he has to bring this to the attention of the UN Security Council. Sri Lanka posed no such threat and UNSG did not inform the UN Security Council of his intent to commission two reports.

Mr. Weerasekera gives as examples Honduras coup in 2009 helped by US and the crisis in Congo, Rwanda and Uganda where UN peacekeepers have lists of accusations against them. As Mr. Weerasekera rightly points out why has the UNSG not commissioned Panel of Experts on ‘accountability’ or reviews of UN ‘failures” which ideally should also immediately include Haiti where UN has been found guilty of spreading cholera?

Is it not because UNSG could not use Article 99 that in spite of its lack of legal basis the UNSG is quoting the agreement with the Sri Lankan President as ground for commissioning the 2 reports. If so, why have our Sri Lankan luminaries not taken this and given it full international publicity and condemned the act continuously for we would not have had to be fooled into establishing LLRC and other such international commitments when we defeated the terrorists.

Mr. Weerasekera also points out an untruth and obfuscation when UNSG statement states ‘”In March 2010, in the absence of Government initiative on the issue, the UN informed the Government and Member States of plans to establish a UN Panel of Experts on accountability in Sri Lanka.”

The Panel of Experts is NOT a UN sanctioned Panel. It is a PERSONAL initiative by the UNSG. Why have Sri Lanka not rejected the Report and refused to use this as a basis for any of the Resolutions brought against Sri Lanka for every nation is using these reports as a basis to crucify and defame Sri Lanka.

What Sri Lanka should have done was to officially object to the UNSG exceeding the powers granted to him by the Charter. It is a classic example of ‘ultra vires’ (beyond the powers) as we well know of the application of the term in Municipal Law. In addition Sri Lanka should have officially objected to the appointment of Navi Pillay functioning as UNHRC head on Sri Lanka and the blatant conflict of interest citing the examples of the biased stand taken by her over the years. Simply reporting this matter to us in Sri Lanka and not doing anything further when our representatives have the full freedom and power to exercise the rights of a member nation at the UN in an effective way is simply unpardonable. This is tantamount to a gross dereliction of public duty for which both the Ministry of External Affairs and its team of advisers and decision makers, is answerable in no uncertain terms to the President, the State and the public. 

Mr. Weerasekera opines that UNSG has violated Article 100 and Article 2(7)

Article 100 ” UNSC and UN staff will not allow themselves to be influenced in their duties by any ‘external authority to the Organization’ and

Article 2 (7) ” UN Charter prohibits UN from interfering in the internal affairs of nations.

To justify his argument that UNSG has violated Article 100 (1), Mr. Weerasekera brings out the Ellenborough Principle (criminal law of England) where a strong prime facie case can be made against an accused in a situation where it is in the power of the accused to explain certain suspicious circumstances or events that tie him to the offence, and when he either refuses or fails to explain those away, an inference of guilt can be drawn against him.’

Mr. Weerasekera raises the question where in a situation the UNSG has no legal basis for his action whether he can use moral grounds for taking action.  But UNSG has not been able to establish beyond reasonable doubt (the criminal burden of proof) that the GOSL committed war crimes to refer to moral justice to warrant a prima facie case. Mr. Weerasekera discounts UNSG’s personal sentiment for he is neither a Sri Lankan, a Tamil, has kith or kin in Sri Lanka or has been affected personally directly or indirectly by the conflict.

As Mr. Weerasekera rightly fully asks, a question many people in Sri Lanka have been asking for some years now which our representatives are not articulating or pushing enough using the powers given to them is why we have failed to advocate that the UNSG has neither legal basis or moral justification and is violating all ethics. Why has Sri Lanka not brought to the attention of the UN that UNSG is violating Article 2(7) REPEATEDLY by meddling in affairs that fall ‘within the domestic jurisdiction of members’. If he strongly feels that crimes were committed he needs to compile these crimes and place them officially before the UN General Assembly or the UN Security Council. We are well aware of the fallacies that have taken place ” with the false accusations of WMDs that enabled the invasion and occupation of Iraq. As Mr. Weerasekera rightly summarizes the biased and illegal actions of the UNSG have greatly contributed to third parties interfering and attempting to destabilize and balkanize Sri Lanka.

International Court of Justice

Mr. Weerasekera does not stop at placing the facts before the public, he goes on to suggest that Sri Lanka should go before the International Court of Justice (now called the World Court) at the Hague and request an Advisory Opinion on the actions of the UNSG. He states the ICJ statute “The court may give an advisory opinion on any legal question at the request of whatever body may be authorized by or in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations to make such a request.” Sri Lanka is perfectly within its rights to take the aforementioned matter before the court and obtain an Advisory Opinion that may block the efforts of the UNSG and other interested parties determined to punish Sri Lanka for winning the war against terrorism in this country.

Mr. Weerasekera also says that if the ICJ declares that the UNSG’s actions are legal the UNSG would next demand an international inquiry on the final stages of the war but this is something he is anyway pursuing now backed by several countries like UK, Canada, without a proper legal basis.  However, if the ICJ does call the UNSG he would have to produce cogent evidence of allegations and apart from reports there is nothing he or his legal team can produce. The Expert Panel’s methodology is questionable ” only 4000 submissions on ‘cases’ were received from 2300 senders and the Panel has denied access to these submissions for a period of 20 years on the ground of secrecy to protect the lives of complainants and witnesses.  The ICJ would demand that these seals be removed on the ‘secret submissions’ and this may expose the Machiavellian ‘game plan’ of the UNSG and his team of ‘experts’.

An Unwarranted Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Sri Lanka

In order to escape the unrelenting pressure the Government is about to commit another huge blunder i.e. hara kiri, at the behest of the very people in the Ministry of External Affairs who have committed so many blunders in the past in recommending the likes of Agreements that betrayed Sri Lanka, e.g. the Ceasefire Agreement, Interim Self-Governing Authority (ISGA), P -TOMS, and the like, to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sri Lanka, similar to what took place in South Africa. This mechanism is totally unwarranted given the huge contrast in the situations that prevailed in the two countries. Sri Lanka never had an apartheid system like in South Africa under which the rights of the majority black inhabitants of South Africa were oppressively curtailed and white Afrikaner minority rule was maintained. It was an appalling structure that imposed racial segregation which began in colonial times under Dutch and British rule, neither of which countries had been called to account and pay reparations for the crimes committed against Black Africans. The UN under the current UNSG has shown no interest in shining the light of international law or International Criminal Court (ICC) on western colonialism or establishing an International Commission on Truth and Reparations to investigate both genocide and crimes against humanity committed all around the world during the western colonial era spanning over 500 years.

The only relief that these luminaries of the Government has presented as their proposed solution has been to compromise our land, our heritage (which is the ultimate goal) and our people and open up the country to far more dangers than the existence of the LTTE ” when will the leaders realize the treacheries of these traitors?

Shenali D Waduge

වසර 36ක් පුරා මෙරට තුල සිදුකරන ලද මානව හිමිකම් උල්ලංඝණයන් හා ඒවාට ඇති විදේශà·à¶º ඥාතිත්වය හෙලි කරමු! 2.

November 29th, 2013

චන්ද්”à¶»à·ƒà·šà¶± පණ්ඩිතගේ විසිනි

වර්ෂ 1972 සැප්තැම්බර් මස 17 වෙනිදාය. මේ දිනයේද෠යාපනයේ දොරෙඅප්පා ක්රà·à¶©à· පිටියේද෠පැවති සැනකෙළියකද෠බෝමබයක් පිපිරුවා හැර, අාරම්භ කල දෙමළ ත්රස්තවාදය, වර්ෂ 2009 මැයි මස 18 වෙනිදා නන්දිකඩාල් කලපුවේද෠නිම විය. ඒ නිම වූයේ දෘෂ්යමාන ත්රස්තවාදයයි. 
 à¶¯à·à¶±à·Š අප සූදානම් වන්නේ ඒ ත්රස්තවාදය මේ රට තුල සිදුකල කාර්යය සම්බන්ධව විදිමත් පරà·à¶šà·Šà·‚ණයක් සිදුකල යුතු ආකාරය සමබන්ධව නවතම ආකාරයේ පරà·à¶šà·Šà·‚ණ සූදානමකටය.
 
පරà·à¶šà·Šà·‚ණ අංක 1.
 
1972 වනවිට ශ්ර෠ලාංකික දෙමළ ජනයාට මෙරට උරුමව තිබූ සමාජ තත්වය ඉතා ඉහල තත්වයක පැවතිණ. à¶‘වකට සමස්ත ලෝකයේම දෙමළ සමාජයේ ඉහළම සත්කාරයක් ලැබූ දෙමළ ජනතාවක් වාසය කල රට වූයේ, ශ්ර෠ලංකාවයි. 
 
එවන් රටක, දෙමළ ජනතාවගේ අගනුවර වන්වූ යාපනයේදà·, දෙමළ ජනතාව සතුටින් සැනකෙලි පවත්වමින්, එක් රැස්ව෠සතුට විදගනිමින් සිටින අවස්ථාවකදà·, 1972 සැප්තැම්බර් මස 17 වෙනිදා ඒ බෝම්බය පුපුරුවා හරින ලදà·. කවුරුන් විසින් කුමක් අරඹයා මේ කාර්යය සිදු කරන ලද්දේද?
 
1a. සිංහලයින් සතුරන් ලෙස දකිමින්, සිංහල සතුරාට එරෙහිව, සටන් වැදà·à¶¸à¶§ දිවුර දිවුරා පොරොන්දු දෙමින්, දෙමළ ත්රස්තවාදà·à¶±à·Š, ඔවුනගේ පලමු බෝම්බයම දෙමල ජනතාව ඉලක්ක කරගෙන පුපුරුවා හැරියේ අැයි?
 
2a. එදා ඒ දෙමළ ජනතාව, අත් විදිමින් සිටි, ඒ අහිංසක සතුට තුලට, මර බිය, කදුල හා වේදනාව උරුම කලේ අැයිද යන්න, අප සොයා බැලිය යුතු පලමු කරුණ වේ.
 
මෙම සිදුවà·à¶¸ හා අනුගතව,
 
1b. මෙම කාර්යය කලයුතුයයි තà·à¶»à¶« ගත් කණ්ඩායම.
 
2b. මෙම බෝම්බය රැගෙන විත් ස්ථාන ගතකල කණ්ඩායම.
 
3b. මෙම බෝම්බය හේතුවෙන් පà·à¶©à·à·€à¶§ පත් කණ්ඩායම.

4b. මෙම සිදුවà·à¶¸ සම්බන්ධව පරà·à¶šà·Šà·‚ණ පැවත්වූ කණ්ඩායම,  à¶ºà¶± කණ්ඩායම් හතරක් පැහැදිලිවම දිස්වේ.
 
 
1b. කණ්ඩායම, මෙම කාර්යය තà·à¶»à¶«à¶º කල බව අපි දනිමු. මේ තà·à¶»à¶«à¶º ගත් කණ්ඩායම, බෝම්බය පුපුරා යාමට පෙර, බෝම්බය පුපුරා යාමෙන් පසුව ඇතිවෙන තත්වය,මනාව අවබෝධ කරගෙන සිටියහ.  à¶¯à·™à¶¸à·… තරුණ තරුණියන් බියෙන් මුසපත්ව, ක්රà·à¶©à· පිටියේ හැසිරෙන ආකාරය, සිය මනසින් අපූරුවට දුටු මේ පුද්ගලයින්, දෙමළ ජනතාවට සැබෑ ලෙසම ආදරය කරන කණ්ඩායමක් නොවේ.. ඇත්ත වශයෙන්ම දෙමළ කම අගයන කිසිවෙක්, තමන්ට කිසිදු හානියක් සිදු නොකල දෙමළ ජාතිකයින් පිරිසක් තුල බෝම්බයක් පිපිරවà·à¶¸à¶§ සිතන්නේවත්, බෝම්බයක් අටවන්නේවත් නැත. 
 
එසේනම්, දෙමළ ජාතියේ විමුක්තිය උදෙසායයි කියමින් දෙමළ ජනතාව අතර බෝම්බ පිපිරවිය හැක්කේ, වෙනත් උවමනාවක් උදෙසා කටයුතු කරන දේශà·à¶º හෝ විදේශà·à¶º බලවේගයන්ට පමණි. මෙම සිදුවà·à¶¸ “දෙමළ විමුක්තිය” නම්වූ වචනයට සිදුකල මහා නිගාවකි.
 
1b. කණ්ඩායම තà·à¶»à¶«à¶º ගෙන බෝම්බය සවිකිරà·à¶¸ සදහා 2b. කණ්ඩායමට පැවරූ විට, මෙම කණ්ඩායම දෙමළ ජනතාවගේ විමුකතිය උදෙසා කටයුතු කරන කණ්ඩායමක්  à¶±à¶¸à·Š තමන් මේ සිදුකරන කටයුත්තේ, නොගැලපà·à¶¸ වැටහ෠යා යුතුය. එපමණක්ද නොව, තමන් කාගේ හෝ බලල් අණ්ඩක් බවට පත්ව෠ඇත්දැයි යන සැකය තම සිත තුල මතුවිය යුතුය. එසේ සිතා කිසිදු දෙමළ මිනිසෙකුට හානියක් කරන කටයුත්තකට දායකවà·à¶¸ නොකල යුතුව තිබිණ. නමුත් ඔවුන් තම මිනිසුන්ට එරෙහිව, එම බෝම්බය පුපුරුවා හලහ.
 
අපට මේ වන තෙක් හමුව෠ඇති තොරතුරු වලට අනුව, කිසිවෙකුටත් බරපතල ගනයේ අනතුරක් සිදුව නැත. à¶šà·’සිවෙකුටත් බරපතල ගනයේ බාහිරව දිස් වෙන අනතුරක් සිදු නොවà·à¶¸ නිසා, 2b කණ්ඩායම දෙමළ හිතවාදà·à¶±à·Š යයි නිගමනය කල නොහැක.  à¶”වුන් බරපතල ගනයේ දෙමළ ජනතා සතුරන්ය. ඊට හේතුව වන්නේ මොවුන්, දෙමළ ජනතාව සාමකාමà·à·€, සතුටින් වාසය කල පරිසරය ක්ෂණයකින් බියෙන් හා අසතුට පිරි තත්වයකට පත් කල බැවිණි.
 
3b. මෙම බෝම්බය හේතුවෙන් පà·à¶©à·à·€à¶§ පත් කණ්ඩායම නිර්මාණය කිරà·à¶¸, 1b. කණ්ඩායමේ එකම අරමුණව පැවති බව මනාව දිස්වේ.
 
4b. කණ්ඩායම යනු මෙම සිදුවà·à¶¸ සම්බන්ධව පරà·à¶šà·Šà·‚ණ පැවත්වූ කණ්ඩායම වන අතර, ඔවුන් මෙම තත්වය අවබෝධ කරගත්තාද? 1b කණ්ඩායම හා 2b කණ්ඩායම හදුනා ගත්තාද? ඔවුන් සිදුකල බරපතල අපරාධයන් සදහා දඩුවම් කලාද?
 
පැහැදිලි පිලිතුර වන්නේ “නැත” à¶ºà¶±à·Šà¶±à¶ºà·’. එදා ඒ කලයුතු කටයුත්ත  à¶±à·œà¶šà·’රà·à¶¸ හේතවෙන් වසර 36ක් පුරා මෙරට සිංහල, දෙමළ හා මුස්ලිම් සියලුම ජනතාව ඉමහත් පà·à¶©à·à·€à¶šà¶§ පත්වූ ආකාරය මනාව දන්නා අප යලි කිසිදාක එදා ඒ කල වරද ඉතිහාසයේ කිසි දිනක යලි සිදු à·€à·à¶¸à¶§ ඉඩ නොතැබිය යුතුය.
 
කල යුතුදේ ඉතා පැහැදිලිව, බහුතරයක්වූ දෙමළ ජනතාවගේ අාගමික දර්ශණය ඇතුලත් “භගවත් ගà·à¶­à·à·€à·š” මෙසේ සදහන් කොට ඇත.
 
එ් මෙසේය: වයිදික නියමයන්ට අනුව, හය වර්ගයක පà·à¶©à¶šà¶ºà· සිටිති.
 
1. වස දෙන්නා.
2. ගෙට ගිනි තියන්නා.
3. මාරක අායුධ වලින් පහර දෙන්නා.
4. වස්තුව කොල්ල කන්නා.
5. වෙනත් කෙනෙකුගේ ඉඩමක, පදිංචි ව෠සිටින්නා.
6. භාර්යාවක් පැහැරගෙන යන්නා.
 
මෙවැනි පරපà·à¶©à¶šà¶ºà·’න් එකෙනෙහිම මරා දැමිය යුතුය. ඔවුන් මැරà·à¶¸à·™à¶±à·Š පාපයක් සිදු නොවේ. යන්නය.
 
 (ම෠ලග ලිපිය හා සැබැදේ)
 
චන්ද්”à¶»à·ƒà·šà¶± පණ්ඩිතගේ විසිනි
 

Feedback On Mr. Harper Not Attending the Commonwealth Summit

November 29th, 2013

Ira de Silva Ontario, Canada

Roxanne James, M.P. (Conservative) 
Parliamentary Secretary for Minister of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
 
Dear Madam:
 
You have asked for feedback on Mr. Harper not attending the Commonwealth Summit.   
 
Regarding human rights - I do not agree. Canada has no right to criticise Sri Lanka on human rights when Canada is being investigated for the violation of the human rights of Canadians. Why do you not concentrate on Canadian’s rights before you talk of human rights of people in other countries? The hypocrisy of  Conservatives such as you has no bounds. Do you not know that everyone is aware that Mr. Harper did not go to the summit because of domestic politics? In simple language, he is using Sri Lanka to get Tamil votes in Canada, the votes of those who supported the extreme terrorism of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. He has no interest in human rights either in Sri Lanka or elsewhere. In 2011, at a meeting of Tamils who supported the LTTE (Tamil terrorists) he gave them an assurance that he would not go because they wanted it. They set the agenda for you because at that time these same Tamils, who had been responsible for funding Tamil terrorism in Sri Lanka, sending two million dollars a month to bomb, kill, destroy innocent civilians of all ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, thought they would stop Sri Lanka from hosting the Commonwealth meeting. They claimed after that meeting that they had Mr. Harper on their side. That is what human rights means to you unethical, unprincipled Canadian  politicians. Having supported terrorism and being responsible for thousands of deaths in Sri Lanka that you have the nerve to even talk of human rights shows either your ignorance or callous disregard for the lives of others. It is ironic that you should be responsible for “public safety” considering that your government is pandering to those who terrorised Sri Lanka just so you can get elected.
 
Are you concerned about international human rights issues – yes. However, based on the above, it appears that you do not seem to have any concern about the death and destruction that Canadians caused in Sri Lanka by extreme terrorism which is a gross violation of human rights. Canadian politicians of all political parties backed this terrorism and based on this mailing it appears that you want to continue harassing Sri Lanka for votes in Toronto. Should you want to stop pretending that you have concern for human rights, your first step would be to acknowledge the part Canadians played in terrorism in Sri Lanka – that is accountability which Canada keeps talking about. The next step is to take responsibility for Canada’s actions, issue an apology and compensate. The hypocrisy of Canada’s representative at the summit, Mr. D. Obhrai, was clearly evident to all Sri Lankans just as much as yours in talking about “human rights”.  In his ignorance he laid the wreath at Elephant Pass, the area that had seen heavy fighting and which in 2000 was the scene of the LTTE killing over 1000 soldiers in their attempt to separate the Jaffna peninsula from the mainland. In all the land area he had to lay a wreath, this was a poor choice unless he was commemorating the LTTE success on behalf of Canada. Even in that his bias and duplicity was illustrated. In English the wording on the wreath read “in memory of all innocent Sri Lankan victims of violence” however in Tamil violence was changed to war and “all Sri Lankans” was changed to “minority”.  In Sinhalese too it was not violence but war. However,  it is addressed to Sri Lankans, not a “minority”. Perhaps Mr. Obhrai believes that the people can not read and are as ignorant of what took place as he is. His gesture was treated with the contempt it deserves because Sri Lankans know that this was a gimmick to get Canadian votes and he is supporting the terrorists who died . The same applies to you asking for “feedback” on Mr. Harper’s decision and your attempt to show concern for human rights in Sri Lanka because your government is certainly not on the right track to “protect and promote equality on human rights at home and abroad”. This farce was carried out to get votes in Toronto and voters know it. You may get some but you will also lose some. Those who oppose terrorism hope that your losses will far outnumber what you get by this charade. 
 
Mr. Harper’s decision to boycott the Commonwealth Meetings – it should be obvious to you by now that I do not agree. It was a decision not based on principles or ethics but merely to pander to those who were responsible for terrorism in Sri Lanka and have now chosen Mr. Harper to lead them in the continued harassment of Sri Lanka to achieve their goal of dividing the country. 
 
If you believe that sending out this inane request for feedback is going to get you the votes of  non-Tamil Canadians of Sri Lankan origin, while you are competing for the votes of the Tamils who supported Tamil terrorism in the Toronto area with the Liberals and NDP, the other Sri Lankans who did not and do not support Canada’s support of the Tamil terrorists, will certainly not vote for you. Unlike you and Mr. Harper, they have concern for the human rights of their friends and relatives in Sri Lanka who have been terrorised with Canada’s help.  Now that the scourge of terrorism has ended in spite of Canada, they would not give you any encouragement to start the process again. 
 
Yours truly,
 
Ira de Silva
Ontario, Canada

Fixing The Economy Or Drowning In Odious Debt

November 28th, 2013

Janaka Yagirala

Lets face it, we are drowning in debt. Its no secret that our economy is in pretty bad shape, nor does it take a genius to figure it out. It is true that most of the world is suffering a similar fate. The Americans are 16 trillion dollars in debt. The British are close by with 2 trillion dollars. Japanese debt exceeds the value of their economy. These are things our good for nothing opposition will never tell you simply because they only want political power and care about nothing else.

 Economists are just like Christopher Columbus’voyage, they never know where they are heading and once they get somewhere they never know where they are. Fancy ornamental economists of the opposition are no different to their government counterparts who live in a hubris where Rs. 2500 is enough to live!

 There is a reason why patriots and patriotic organizations are quicker to come under fire instead of minority racist political parties. Anyone who loves Sri Lanka hates the TNA and SLMC who only have vested interests for their minority communities and nothing else. They will support any person or government as long as their interests are satisfied regardless of the damage they do to our nation. If someone were to suggest something beneficial for our country like rejecting Indian junk and developing our own industries, it won’t take long for that person to be discredited and ridiculed as being unrealistic. In a nutshell, we need to understand the root causes of why governments are so willing to bring in casinos knowing that they will have extremely undesirable consequences and similarly extremely unwilling to abolish the 13th Amendment or enforce the 6th Amendment against the TNA.

 The Two Economic Strategies: Production Vs. Pleasure

 In the past we had many great kings. They were not elected, they had absolute power (ironically which is said to corrupt) but knew that they needed the people to survive. After all, the lion guards the forest while the forest guards the lion. All of our great kings knew that it is the people that mattered, not anything else, so they kept the people happy.

 There are two strategies to keep people happy. Our kings constructed vast reservoirs and kept a meticulous irrigation system running so that the people prospered. Education was also seen as a priority. In our culture, educating ones children is the utmost priority while in India,children are seen as nothing more than an income and cheap source of labor. There were always difficult times such as foreign invasions when the people were heavily taxed but the loyalty of the people was always with the king and the country. In short, as long as the king did the right thing everything was fine.

 The other strategy to keep people happy is to indulge them and keep them in debt. The Romans constructed vast amphitheaters and staged bloody sports, brothels and other hedonistic activities were encouraged. Even in modern times, especially in mining communities, it was common place to have a bar, brothel and casino so that the mine workers will always spend their money and come back to work for a very low wage.

 Of course, alcohol, prostitution and gambling exist in all societies past and present including in ancient Sri Lanka. The problem occurs when they are encouraged for the gain of a few. It is true that alcohol and cigarettes bring in taxes, but the societal cost (debt and disease) exceeds the tax benefits.

 Thus, there are two economic strategies, one is the producing economy while the other is the spending and debt economy. The producing economy is difficult to implement but has long lasting benefits. The hedonistic spending and debt based economy is easy to implement because seeking comfort is human nature. Alcohol and narcotics provide quick and easy but temporary pleasure. Humans are highly sexual animals who engage in recreational sex unlike most other animals who engage in sexual activity mainly during the breeding season. Humans also love taking risks and gambling provides a risky opportunity to get rich quick. However, giving in to pleasure without thinking much can lead to undesirable consequences such as disease, addiction and squandering of wealth. That is why these activities are seen as vices. In addition materialism makes us spend on things we hardly need often using money we do not have!

 There is also a more sinister side to the debt based economy, it also enables people and entire nations to be exploited and manipulated. International money lenders always have “conditions” such as selling off assets and privatization, which in turn weaken the nation and benefit a few.

 When you do not produce anything you will eventually run out of money. That is what happened to Rome on multiple occasions. Rome was forced to expand and invade neighboring countries and steal wealth to survive. As a consequence, the entire African coast of the Mediterranean was over exploited to fuel the Roman Empire and to this date this region remains barren. Ultimately, the Roman Empire succumbed in 476 AD after lasting 5 centuries. In contrast, our nation did not have to invade any country, all our monuments were built by our own generated wealth, we were known as the “Granary of the East” and the kingdoms of Anuradapura-Polonnaruwa lasted 15 centuries.

 In short, a producing agrarian economy is sustainable while a debt based spending economy is not. Today, the “way out” of debt is to borrow more, resulting in an exponentially growing debt. To put it in perspective, George W. Bush incurred more debt than all of his predecessors during his time in office and Barack Hussein Obama has incurred more debt than all of his predecessors including Bush!

 The Colonial Strategy And Sri Lanka Today

 The Portuguese, Dutch and British came here for profit. Colombo was the preferred port because it was closer to Europe and cut shipping time of the plundered goods. The Sinhalese people revolted whenever they were given half the chance, realizing this, the British introduced alcohol and tobacco to diminish the fighting capability of the Sinhalese people (especially the youth). Education was made an English only affair and restricted to a chosen few who were the most loyal to the colonials and to this date loyally uphold the Thomas Babington McCauley vision of a class of dark skinned sycophants (aka Kalu Suddas) to govern by proxy and liquidate the local culture. Taxes were imposed to impoverish, next came the bare land act which broke the strong self sufficient economy that had worked for centuries and replaced it with cash crops. Now the British had the reigns in their hands and sycophants to enforce it. This paved the way for the complete exploitation of Sri Lanka. In a way we must thank David Cameron for he has racked more debt than all his predecessors. He is destined to be the Gorbachev who finally set the sun on the atrocious British Empire for good!

 Great people who stood up against the British like Ven. Anagarika Dharmapala ended up leaving the country. Leaders like Hon. D. S. Senanayake who created settlements to reverse the demographic alteration by the Dutch and British (lets not forget that a majority of Northern and Eastern Tamils were brought to Sri Lanka for tobacco plantations evicting the Sinhalese in the process) and regain our self sufficient economy suffered a similar fate. The red dinosaurs (no surprise!) objected to the settlements and Hon. D. S. passed away under suspicious circumstances. The same fate befell on Dr. Senaka Bibile who pioneered local drug manufacturing and Ven. Gangodawila Soma Thero. JRJ’s odious “open economy” ruined all the sacrifices made under Hon. Sirimavo Bandaranayake to regain a self sufficient economy and Dr. N. M. Perera’s efforts to rid Sri Lanka of the dollar debt (for once something good from a Marxist!). Ironically it was Mrs. B’s very own daughter who implemented SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Agreement) and destroyed the little local manufacturing that had survived the open economy tsunami. All was replaced with odious Indian junk.

 As mentioned before, a nation with a debt based spending economy is easy to manipulate and provides ample exploits for a few. For the common people, it is all loose-loose. We spend billions to import substandard medicine, most of which is unnecessarily prescribed to maintain sales. We have plenty of pasture land in the sparsely populated North and East but spend billions to import chemical laced milk powder. We send domestic aids abroad to work like slaves at a huge societal cost (broken families, alcoholism etc.) to earn back the money we spend on imports!

 Casinos Are Not The Way Out

 A few words on the latest proposal to bring in “savior” casinos to fix our economic woes. First of all, do not fall for the Tamil Diaspora trick. They simply want us to think that these casinos are good for Sri Lanka by pretending to oppose it. Gambling squanders wealth fullstop. Its no joke like pyjama cricket. Romanticizing gambling as a tourist pastime is no different to social drinking or social smoking, it is just cooking a poisonous mushroom into a scrumptious meal, it will eventually and inevitably kill you.

 Depending on high spending gambling “tourists” from India and China is no better than a dream. Most Indian “tourists” are nothing more than illegal immigrants looking for work or petty businessmen looking to earn a quick buck. Chinese tourists are also not at all sustainable. Not so long ago, Japanese tourists were common place around the world. For a bit of a laugh check the “Clint Eastwood” scene of Crocodile Dundee II (1988). Today, Japanese tourists are almost unheard of. The Japanese who once prospered from cheap labor, hard work and later technological innovation, no longer have the money to spend on a vacation. China will never grow forever, eventually the pollution, resource depletion, rising wage demands, political totalitarianism and population decline due to the one child policy will catch up and China will end up like Japan today. Nations rise and decline. To put the decline of Japan into perspective, not so long ago in 2001 Yasushi Akashi was a prominent figure in the traitorous CFA, ten years later though still alive he has simply faded away! It is all because Japan no longer has the economic mojo.

 Another myth is that casinos attract black money. Casinos do attract money to a certain extent but, the corrupt who spend black money on casinos simply end up embezzling more to bankroll their lifestyle. Wearing a loincloth is not the remedy for diarrhea. So if you want to get rid of black money, simply fight corruption starting from the top. To save words for those who will ask the question “What about lotteries, roadside race betting centers etc.?” they are just as bad and cause untold misery to millions.

 Odious Debt, Benefits And Patriot Bashing

 One thing all patriots should understand is that patriots are only good for politics during a national crisis or when they (marginally) pro-nationalist forces are in the opposition. Patriots helped win the war by supporting our armed forces and the political leadership that enabled them to defeat the LTTE against a plethora of dollar funded pacifists. During that time, many anti-nationals went into hiding or simply donned sheep’s clothing and changed sides. Today, they are ministers with vital portfolios or are ambassadors who continue their hidden agendas. There is no need to name such people because their actions are too obvious!

 Today, the very government that won the war with a teetering majority takes no action to abolish the 13th Amendment nor enforce the 6th Amendment against the TNA despite a solid 2/3 majority. Very few policies of today are even vaguely compatible with the “Mahinda Chinthanaya”, instead the nefarious (aka casinos) are being pimped. It is all due to the two fronts squeezing the government, odious debt and bogus war crimes. The jumbo cabinet are all about consolidating power than serving the people.

 On Novermber 26, 2010 India announced a $416.39 million line of credit for Sri Lankan projects. First of all it is money that India might have well spent by providing sanitation facilities to countless million Indians. A considerable amount went into negative return projects in the NE for those without an atom of loyalty to our nation and into the pockets of politicians. This was part of the leverage India used to open up RAW operational centers (aka consulates) in Jaffna and Hambantota and prop up the remnants of Tamil racism. It is also a major factor that keeps the government from abolishing the 13 Amendment, not non-existent Indian military strength as we are expected to believe.

 Had the government taken a tough stand on separatism (the same way Germany did with Nazism after WW2), settled landless Sinhalese and Muslims in the NE, tried the TNA as representatives of the LTTE for war crimes, strengthen monetary laws to make it difficult for NGOs to get foreign money, it would have been a different story. Similarly, had the government used the 2/3 majority to abolish the 13th Amendment, abolish the wasteful preferential voting system, provincial councils and pradeshiya sabhas and replace them with village councils, there would have been more political stability, political accountability, better governance, far less corruption and fewer opportunities for racist political parties to influence or engage in political horse trading (what the SLMC is really good at!).

 Instead, the government followed the easy way. Propped up anti-national forces got more vocal (election results prove that they haven’t got stronger, those who voted for the TNA are non-citizens in my books anyway). As a consequence of these near sighted actions, the Delft PS Chairman is now dead, considering what happened to Alfred Doraiappa, it should be no surprise at all. A cancer is not cured until every single cancerous cell is eliminated by hook or by crook. Now faced with the threat of war crimes and a propped up anti-national alliance the government is in a choke-hold. Lacking the masculinity to fight, the cornered government has no other option but to silence patriotic critics who see the reality, who see something for what it really is instead of through a political lens.

 We do not to have a president like Pres. Jose ‘Pepe’ Mujika of Uruguay who lives an austere life, drives a dilapidated car and donates 90% of his income to charity. We also do not have a president like Pres. Rafael Correa of Ecuador who declared most of Ecuadorian national debt “odious debt” taken by corrupt regimes without consulting the people for no benefit of the people that the people of Ecuador need not pay. We do have a president who rid our nation of the LTTE terrorist menace. For that we are eternally grateful, but we cannot sit back and watch the very same president or government make bad decisions that will be detrimental to the whole country for generations to come. It is saddening to see patriotic rhetoric followed by the opposite action. We continue supporting the current government because deep down we all know that supporting our unpalatable opposition is nothing more than asking for chillies in exchange for ginger. Believing that the UNP will not send our war heroes to the gallows for bogus war crimes is like jumping off a cliff believing that you won’t fall and die or drinking cyanide believing that it won’t kill you (choose what is better!).

 Water Is Our Wealth!

 In the name of our nation, in the name of all those young men and women who lost their lives and limb protecting our country, in the name of generations to come we must take action. We should stop this vicious debt cycle before our entire nation collapses.

We should realize the eternal words of King Datusena who said “water is my wealth” and King Parakrama Bahu the Great who said “never let a drop of water that falls on the earth go to the sea unused”. Based on this we, the people should rebuild our economy. One of the few good things the JVP ever did was renovate our irrigation tanks. We should find the strength, gather the people and continue that. We should phase out the current farming practices that require a huge investment (and debt!) for chemical fertilizer and pesticides that cause nothing more than harm and promote organic garden farming.

 We should keep Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) out of our country and oppose any actions that will compromise local seed production or monopolizing of seeds. We should avoid embalmed imported mangos, pineapples, mandarins and oranges, fruits we can grow in our own gardens.

 Academics of universities can redeem themselves of all their notorious past industrial actions and prove the public that they are not in hubris by developing a commercially viable wholesome rice based substitute to bread made from imported wheat (a leading cause of diabetes). If the Japanese can make Go-Pan (rice bread) why cannot we?

 In short we need a strong agrarian foundation for food security and employment. We should also think post carbon and learn from Cuba, since oil is truly running out. Both Cuba and North Korea suffered a serious oil shock after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Rigid North Korea starved but flexible Cuba bounced back and Cubans today are living a healthier lifestyle than they used to. We should also reestablish our local industries, starting small. For example, we can replace imported synthetic mats (mainly from India!) with those made from local organic sources.

 The more we import, the more we loose money. Trying to fix an economy with too many imports is like trying to fill a bucket with a large hole. You cannot solve a problem without knowing what the problem is. We should think creatively to fix the leak and solve this problem. We should do whatever we can. If we take this course and take the helm of our nation into our own hands, politicians will end up redundant and be forced to follow suit.

 When all of us each take a small step in the right direction, together we take a giant leap!

Tamil tigers Pioneered Terror – Dompost 27/11/13

November 28th, 2013

Dr.Chula NA Rajapakse MNZM, Spokesperson , United Sri Lanka Assn., LowerHutt.

Letters to Editor ,
Dompost.
 
Dear Editor,
 

Gus Campbell’s amazing letter seeing the truth as it is restores   some welcome balance to the unfounded diatribe that has dominated the media in the past few weeks, that paid scant attention  to the Tiger   atrocities that included one third of all suicide attacks in the world.

It is   covert activities of this group that Gus refers to,  including mingling among civilians, dressed like them, using them asshields and generating heavy duty fire from among them to deliberately provoke a response so exposing civilians  to maximum collateral damage  for propaganda gain, that was responsible for much of the civilian deaths in the last few weeks of the war.

This is what the Tiger diaspora and their proxies  are now using to accuse the SL of war crimes . Further, many of the dead counted ascivilians were Tigers dressed as civilians.

Leaked communications from Colombo’s US embassy acknowledged that SL forces exercised maximum caution to minimize civilian casualties during this period   delaying  victory by several months, so  leading to the loss of lives of a several thousand more troops 

Dr.Chula NA Rajapakse MNZM,

Spokesperson ,

United Sri Lanka Assn.,

141 Knights Rd.,

LowerHutt.

LIFE ABROAD – Part 55: TOWARDS A TENACIOUS APPROACH

November 28th, 2013

Dr.Tilak Fernando

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 ended on November 17 in Colombo. During its post-mortem, many ideas, suggestions, criticism and especially emotional outbursts have spearheaded in the Sri Lankan press, websites as well as in some of the Western press lambasting the British Prime Minister David Cameron’s boorish behaviour for acting as a public school principal in the presence of Prince Charles, who was representing the Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II.

It is natural for us to get caught up in emotional turbulences easily when our adrenalin levels play up, being patriotic, but we need to be sensible and ‘load our guns’ carefully in preparation for any impending battle.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prince Charles, Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma and other leaders watch a dance item at the inauguration of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo on Nov. 15. Picture by Sudath Silva, Official Photographer CHOGM 2103

Conditioning of mind

No one can deny the fact that a serious notion has been conditioned internationally accusing Sri Lanka for “violating human rights” towards the latter part of the 30 year old terrorist war. It is not an OPINION but a kind of unproved allegation! Whatever we may express in newspapers, radio, TV or our politicians play for the Sinhala audiences at various local meetings, Navi Pillai or David Cameron and the Tamil diaspora in the West are not going to let to this issue go that easily.

We need to remember that from the time of Nuremberg Trials, countries like Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Siberia, Libya etc have been taken to international courts on human rights violations because there were clear cut cases of atrocities. Sri Lanka, therefore, needs to come out of any ‘complacency’ or confining only to verbal rhetoric thinking that we have many friendly countries to back us up at a crisis level. ‘Prevention is always better than cure’!

In confronting this issue, Sri Lanka needs to get to the bottom of it by establishing and exposing openly areas such as the Indian involvement at the very inception where LTTE terrorists were harboured and allowed them to recruit combatants in their own land which ultimately got their Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, blasted by the very terrorist outfit out of a suicide bomber. Equally, UK, America and Norway’s subtle roles in supporting the LTTE to kill and mutilate innocent Sri Lankan civilians and politicians (Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim) and committing gross human rights violations too need to be dug out. We should be able to prick the conscience of the very pundits who accuse us now by exposing their duplicity, before they start pointing a finger at Sri Lanka for violating human rights repeatedly and before they prepare again in March next year at UN sessions.

Sacred facts

Sri Lanka also needs to get the message across internationally loud and clear that the LTTE was not a conventional army but a bunch of guerrilla fighters and terrorists and when the Sri Lankan forces surrounded them at final stages of the war they were unable to flee from the jungle, instead they had to shed their camouflaged battle fatigues and come out into civilian areas appearing as ‘civilians’ and taking the innocent Tamil residents in those areas as human shields.

Any war, for that matter, is not just a stage drama. In the battlefield some civilian casualties are bound to be affected which no sensible person can deny. In such a backdrop, how would any security force distinguish a terrorist from a normal inhabitant in civilian outfit caught up in a war zone? Terrorists did this fa§ade purposely to hoodwink the security forces and to get away by intermingling with the civilians when the army went into great trouble in rescuing thousands of marooned civilians from terrorists’ attacks at the final stages. Such statistics have to be documented and shown on video.

So, this allegation of human rights violation cannot be taken simply as a political game although there are political undercurrents working behind all the time especially in those few countries where the so called ‘Tamil diaspora’ are settled down comfortably.

Tamil refugee count in the UK is about 5-10 per cent. They are well established and enjoying all the comforts and benefits. Out of them, a tiny group, who had been working as LTTE agents abroad and extorting funds from innocent Tamil folk, nurtured partly out of such extracted money, has managed to live in luxury and drive Mercedes and BMW cars. This they cannot let go now and if they allow Sri Lanka to be recognised as ‘paradise regained’ then their refugee status would dissolve and will be deported back to their roots in Sri Lanka.

They do not even bother to visit Sri Lanka and their memories are confined to the dark ages where their own inhabited areas were turned into ghost towns by the actions of the LTTE which have now been elevated to new towns within a period of four years after the elimination of terrorism from the country completely.

So, this group who calls themselves ‘Tamil diaspora’ will go out to any length to stay put and enjoy their modern living in luxury appearing to be sophisticated and rich in western environments showing no sympathy for the innocent Tamil civilians who suffered for decades under the LTTE barbarism who are being gradually resettled (including rehabilitating of some hardcore terrorists) in new houses built by the Sri Lanka regime. These facts need to be internationalised officially with an effective mechanism which we have so far not achieved one hundred percent which is the main cause Sri Lanka is allowed to haggle by a few in this manner today.

London scene

Sri Lankan administration has to take into serious account that there are already nine Tamil Mayors in London Borough Councils who have been elected by the Tamil vote. The British parliamentarians whose constituencies come within these borrows will be compelled to listen to their cries purely to depend on their votes while most of the English are fed up with politics in those areas and do not even go to cast their vote at general elections.

Unlike the Tamil diaspora that is working for a hidden agenda the Sinhala diaspora abroad has been left with limited recourses and/or backing to counter dubious allegations. In the past few individuals have confronted the LTTE propaganda by appearing on TV discussions and travel to other western cities out of their personal funds. The vital role the Sri Lanka High Commission in London had to play in difficult times had to be much desired.

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (Right) in conversation with Sir Desmond

For the first time, however, the world has seen a vociferous Sri Lankan High Commissioner emerging and facing the challenges of resolute international TV journalists as well as a BBC anchor man on an equal par and dishing out facts during the recent CHOGM meeting held in Colombo.

Dr. Chris Nonis, on this account, needs to be congratulated for doing his diplomatic contractual obligation to the country by facing the arrogant British TV interviewer boldly and giving him back in no uncertain terms discreetly stating: “I also have lived in the UK for 23 years”………, subtly hinting: ‘Please don’t try to tell me about human rights violations your country has done’!

Magic formula

So what is the magic formula Sri Lanka needs to get rid of this parasitic allegation against human rights violation at the end of war? The living experience, outlook and the intelligence of the expatriate community can be absorbed to solve this problem if those responsible for defending Sri Lanka’s good name are able to let go their egos and begin to think for a while without uttering: ‘Oh no! We know what should be done, and we don’t need any third party advice”! Such an attitude will be foolhardy.

Some eminent Sri Lankan lawyers and Barristers’ view point, as expressed above, would be to seek professional advice from experts in the area before it is going to be too late. In this regard they suggest Sri Lank seeking advice from Rt. Hon Sir Desmond de Silva PC QC (Ceylon born), a member of her Majesty’s Most Honorable Privy Council and a leading Counsel who is regarded as a “superb tactician and a powerful and penetrating examiner who gets to the heart of the matter”.

‘On the international stage, Sir Desmond has advised and represented Heads of State, Heads of Government, high political figures and military commanders’. It’s on record how Sir Desmond defended Prime Minister of Kenya when faced with the death penalty for Treason.

Secretary General of the United Nations once appointed Sir Desmond as the Chief Prosecutor of a UN sponsored War Crimes Tribunal. He has a unique knowledge of how the Office of The Prosecutor works, and is well able to deploy this knowledge in defending those charged with international law offences either before international tribunals or domestic courts. He, therefore, is able to deploy his knowledge in defending those ‘charged with international law offences’.

In 2011 David Cameron himself appointed Sir Desmond to investigate collusion between the Security Services and those guilty of crimes in Northern Ireland. In a hard hitting report, ‘Sir Desmond spelt out clear evidence of grave impropriety by members of the Security Services and of the Police’. The report was described by the Prime Minister Cameron in Parliament as uncomfortable reading. ‘Sir Desmond does not shy away from tackling difficulties head on and brings a tenacious approach to fighting for his clients’.

Rt. Hon Sir Desmond de Silva PC QC ( British citizen) is the Head of Argent’s International Law teams in London. There are many Tamils working under him. One of the attorneys-at-law in London known to the writer referred to an article which had appeared in the Colombo Telegraph some time back, under the by- line Kumar de Silva, quoting Sir Desmond as the ideal consul needed to seek advice on the present calamity that faces the country as “Sri Lanka being an independent country has the right to defend and justify the means”.

A significant section of Sri Lankan expatriate intellectuals as well as the eminent legal tribe ask ‘why go further? Seek advice from Sir Desmond who will be able to advice clearly how to get rid of the impending unnecessary vexation for the country.

tilakfernando@gmail.com

- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/features/towards-tenacious-approach#sthash.6wm9g9Bi.dpuf

Bully Cameron – The God of the GTF – Just do it

November 28th, 2013

‘Old Soldier’


“The end justifies the means to save lives”

“Trial by television”(Margaret Thatcher)


David Cameron as a guest of Sri Lanka, ostensibly to attend CHOGM, threatened to put his host in the dock at the UNHRC in Geneva. The first lesson even a Corporal of the Brit army is taught is not to threaten. Bullies threaten. Sri Lanka has only this to say to him, just do it chum and we’ll goose step with you every yard of the way. Heil Cameron.

Northern civilians who were held as human shields by the LTTE coming to safe areas. File photo


David Cameron

Jaffna. Hit for Six. After claiming first prize for visiting Jaffna and letting his heart bleed for some of the citizens there, he had a plan to subvert our Murali on his return to Colombo. It was intended to make a splash not with the GTF, TNGTE and TAG of Eelam UK who are tolerated only for their economic and political clout but to entertain the MCC members at Lords with a prize Tamil catch, so he thought. He said he had seen Murali bowling England out several times. We believe that as he told us so many tales. Unfortunately what he learnt was that Murali knew how to hit sixes too and hit Cameron hard and true when he said “you’ve been misled…SL is 1,000 times better now”. The last time a foreign PM was hit for six in Sri Lanka was when Rajiv Gandhi was here. Maybe that was why Manmohan did not come. Silly, bully David did and survived! Ch4′s Jon Snow too tried to do the same snow job on Murali but was frozen in his tracks by Murali again.

British military unit

LTTE and Cameron. Cameron should not waste time saying he has heard the LTTE was ‘bad’. He should tell us what he knows of the LTTE so we know he is talking of the LTTE we too knew. They were called terrorists not just ‘bad’. It took HRH Prince Charles to see what tremendous development had taken place in Sri Lanka since the tsunami. Cameron gave a regulation passing nod too not knowing what even a tinker knew about the difference. So Cameron had to visit the LTTE’s birthplace but not the scenes of its terror or the victims of its deeds to ‘understand’ the terror that stalked Sri Lanka for nearly 30 years. Instead he visited the remnants of its supporters who sadly said they continue to suffer yet. He did not visit one single place the LTTE had done its gruesome work. He did not want to. Neither did he speak to the victims of LTTE terror. He came, he saw, he blundered.

Churchill. Cameron unable to stop boasting and with his understanding of history said the treaty of Versailles (1918) was testimony to Churchill’s magnanimity and an example for Sri Lanka to follow. Hitler, the Germans and independent observers have said this ‘magnanimity’ it was that led to WW2 in which 90 million (80 per cent Russians) died. Churchill was the man who called Gandhi a “naked fakir” and who said he would not be the Queen’s first minister to dismember the British Empire. He also said one could communicate with Indians with just three words ”‘chalo’ (come) ‘jao’ (go) and ‘tallyho’ (for every other thing ”it was an English fox hunting cry!). So there went the Empire and now with Cameron where will the Commonwealth go? But did Churchill when he stepped into Germany after WW2 first speak to the Germans first to ask them what their problems were? Would Cameron dare to go to the Bog side in Northern Ireland and ask the same of the Catholics, especially now that the report on how an undercover British military unit in Northern Ireland (Military Reaction Force-MRF) acted as a death squad?

War crimes. Hang losers or winners? The German Generals were hung in double time. The conquering Allies picked Germany clean. There was a ‘No fraternization’ order. Sri Lanka never had one. Did the Allies at least try to punish those on their side who were guilty of war crimes too? Did Churchill support gas attacks and bombing of civilians as in Hamburg, Dresden and Cologne? Who will answer for the invasion of Iraq with over one million dead, Blair’s war crimes, duplicity and Afghanistan with the score board mounting? There are also the rendition flights, the notorious prisoner of war camps in Iraq and Guantanamo and the behaviour of the UK’s own troops to answer for.


Tony Blair

Land issues. The UK, having ordered out the inhabitants of Diego Garcia (Chagos archipelago) handed over the island to the USA to be used as a strategic air base, decided the answers to the demands of the dispossessed 2,000 ‘non blonde islanders’ was “quiet disregard…until the UN challenges it”. What right has Cameron then to talk about lands issues in Sri Lanka?

Geneva. So Cameron wants to bring Sri Lanka the winners of the conflict to trial by (the Ides of) March in Geneva but not the LTTE terrorists who lost. Well, Sri Lanka has not yet said it wants Blair (and who ever has become an accomplice after the fact by trying to suppress Chilcott’s report on that villainy) for what the UK has done in Iraq. There is now Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Egypt for Cameron to answer.

How would Cameron have acted in a Nandikadal situation? Cameron must let Sri Lanka know just one thing. How would he or his God Father and master Obama have taken out the LTTE in Mullativu? There were 300,000 volunteer ‘ hostages’ shielding the LTTE who were an exceptionally well proven land force with a battle tested sea combat capability and a fledgling air force like no other terrorist group. He should know that a Tamil media outlet ‘Puligal Today’ of February 17, 2009 said that there were 40,000 LTTE cadres there. Is it a coincidence that the figures for the number killed in the last phase of the war initially given as 7,000 by UN’s Weise ended up finally in the same UN as 40,000 too? So did these 40,000 LTTE die in a Masada siege like suicide as was expected or was it an imaginary mix of LTTE and hostages or even a Channel 4 fairy tale that created 40,000 out of 7,000?

Civilian hostages

Cost of minimizing casualties. When the LTTE conflict reached what was to be its final phase at Nandikadal, Sri Lanka agonized not only for the 300,000 desperately suffering ‘civilian hostages’ but also for its own soldiers. SL knew that when it was decided to withdraw air cover and also limit its supporting artillery to minimize casualties to the ‘hostages,’ whether they were volunteers or not, the cost would be borne fully by the troops who would go virtually naked into battle. The LTTE had an array of field, medium and heavy artillery. Thus SL lost 6,000 troops in the final six months effort. That’s equal to what the ISF has lost in Afghanistan and Iraq after a total of over 10 years of war. Does Cameron know or care?

Iranian Embassy siege 1980. Take no prisoners. The Lankan conflict was one where there were few prisoners. The LTTE killed over 2,000 including about 20 during the last stages of the conflict. The SL troops did their best to stick to the conventions and the law on the issue of prisoners. The ICRC too over the years had helped in educating both sides on such conduct. However Cameron should before he blunders again by preaching on treatment of prisoners read the 5th paragraph of page 169 of James Adams book ‘Secret Armies’. It says with reference to the siege of the Iranian Embassy at Prince’s Gate London on May 5,1980 “On this occasion, it was made clear …… that they were to take no prisoners.


Sir Winston Churchill

The government recognized that captured terrorists tried in British courts and sentenced to long terms in British prisons would simply make the country a more prominent target for terrorists wishing to force the release of their comrades”. And these were not a lot with any known organization or suicide cadres or anything like the LTTE. Also the UK MOD thought ‘There would be a degree of awkwardness about too many prisoners”. Eventually just one prisoner was taken amid allegations by the very rescued hostages that surrendered terrorists were executed. So the UK can decide when not to take prisoners but not others. That was in only one building in London. No wonder Cameron was non plussed when the President of SL as host of CHOGM politely said “those in glass houses should not throw stones”.

Channel 4

Nandikadal. SL’s battle was in a shrinking land mass in tropical jungle terrain that had many buildings and a 17 mile long lagoon (Nandikadal) with 300,000 ‘volunteer’ human shields. SL deliberately chose to minimize ‘civilian’ casualties. It meant, as the US Ambassador wrote, ‘a very high casualty rate for SL forces as it restricted the use of the best of its fire power’. Yet SL did well rescuing 295,000 hostages, many if not most of them who had worked for the LTTE in combat related work. It also took over 12,000 LTTE prisoners even as the LTTE executed every single prisoner it held. SL did not ever issue any orders to do the same. Where has there been any other humanitarian effort like this before in any country and where were such precautions taken?

Original film (Channel 4). The original of the film that Channel 4 showed had the men in uniform talking in Tamil. They were strangely shown later talking in Sinhalese. Curious and unexplained by Channel 4, even if it does not worry those making allegations about SL.

Gibraltar. Maybe the UK as they condemn SL, would not like to be reminded about what happened in Gibraltar in May 1988.Three IRA members were killed near the Shell petrol station suspected of having arranged to blow up a routine changing of the Guard at the Governor’s residence with a remote controlled bomb. The three dead had been shot as follows: McCann (five times) a woman Farrell (eight times) and Savage, who ran away and was chased, 16 times. None of them were armed. Material for a bomb with a conventional timing device (not radio controlled as suspected and given as the reason for opening fire without a challenge) was found in a car, keys of which were on Farrell’s body, at Marbella 74 kms from Gibraltar by the Spanish police. No remote trigger was found on the 3 IRA. The SAS team of three was acquitted 9-2 by a jury that concluded that the killings were ‘lawful’. A subsequent Thames TV documentary ‘Death on the Road’ said “there was a strong air of a Government cover up”. It was however condemned by Margaret Thatcher ironically as ‘Trial by Television”. Cameron must think there are two laws in operation, one for the West and another for SL and the third world. Remember the innocent ‘non blonde’ Brazilian in the tube station at Sheppard’s Bush after the London bus bombings? He was shot many times too.

Final battle

Has Cameron got the foggiest? So who is Cameron to criticize Sri Lanka as to how it finished its over 30 year old conflict in which 100,000 died? Can Cameron tell SL how he could have ended this hostage situation? One Corelli Barnett wanted to teach Field Marshal Montgomery how the battle of Alamein which he called ‘The unnecessary battle’ should have been fought. In those days some UK Prime Ministers were also former military officers too like Churchill and Macmillan who had been to war unlike the present ones who bow to the US and order their troops to die in foreign lands that did them no harm. So Cameron is welcome to follow British journalists’ tradition. After all having embedded them in his reconnaissance in force travelling in bullet proof land rovers with SAS body guards to peaceful Jaffna, he too should be able to tell SL how the final battle could have been won. He will dare not ask Israel how it would have operated.

Hostage rescue examples. Given below are some examples of how other armies conducted hostage rescue efforts:

US Hostage rescue attempts -Iran. The hostage release efforts of the West beginning with the USA serve as very sorry and tragic examples. The USA made a disastrous attempt to rescue 53 American embassy officials held hostage in Iran from Nov. 1979 to 1981 after the Shah of Iran gained refuge in the USA. The attempt was abandoned after three helicopters malfunctioned in the desert and one of them when taking off crashed into a C 130 aircraft killing eight servicemen and injuring three. The hostages were released after 444 days in captivity. SL rescued 295,000 hostages call them what you will.

Cambodia. The SS Mayaguez incident (May 12 -15, 1975) occurred when the Khmer Rouge ‘arrested’ the American ship a few days after the USA withdrew from Vietnam. The rescue attempts ended with the release not rescue of the crew but only after 10 Marines were killed and only three helicopters of 11 originally deployed were serviceable after being hit by gun fire. Three marines were abandoned and were later executed. Other Marines assaulted an empty ship.

North Korea. The USS Pueblo was captured by the North Koreans who accused it of being a spy ship. They kept the surviving crew captive 11 months from the date of their capture on June 23, 1968 but did not release the ship which is on display in their naval museum. So who blames the SLN for not attempting to take out the hostages by sea?

British – Iraq. During the first Iraq war, August 1990, Iraq held hostage 385 passengers and crew including nine under cover servicemen of a British civilian aircraft that landed despite warnings in Kuwait city shortly after the Iraqis had captured it. The nine ‘under cover agents’ posed as engineers and surveyors but had no visas for travel. With all other hostages they were used as ‘human shields’ and released only by Dec 1990. Thus Cameron cannot plead ignorance of what restrictions on the use of force ‘human shields’ place on the rescuers even if they are from SL and not UK. Yes SL could have waited until Prabhakaran ordered the release of the hostages but since the hostages did not wait but tried to escape, thanks largely to the pressure applied by the SL troops, the LTTE started shooting them. Now what would Cameron have ordered? Cease fire until Velu P finished off the hostages?

No Go areas. They were No Go areas in Northern Ireland. They apparently exist in Muslim dominated areas in UK now. There is nothing the UK government is willing (hopefully not incapable) to do about it. Should SL have allowed a No Go area in Mullativu where Velu could have his code of law and practices and continue his rule or go for the jugular and bring peace to a tortured land?

Black and Tans. Cameron, who upholds the Northern Ireland agreement as an example to conclude hostilities if not terror despite killings continuing, must know of the extremely brutal way the British army acted in Ireland after WW One during the Irish war of Independence. The ‘Black and Tans’ composed mainly of former WW 1 soldiers were recruited to join the Royal Irish Constabulary spearheaded their response and murdered at will. They were never prosecuted. Gandhi said of the British peace offer to the Irish that ‘it is not the fear of the loss of lives that has compelled a reluctant offer of peace from England but the shame any future imposition of agony upon a people that love liberty above all else”. The later ferocity of the IRA was in no small measure a consequence of the ‘Black and Tans’ atrocities which will never be forgotten by the Irish.

IPKF

LTTE scot free in UK. SL would like to know why Cameron who knows so much about the bestiality of the LTTE allows the head of the LTTE women suicide bombers, Adele Balasingham, to be fed, housed and looked after by the UK government and also how much of GTF etc funds go to the British politicians and media?

Channel 4. According to this lot they saw several people giving them the thumbs up sign (right hand presumably) but did they also see who gave the same lot a 2 finger response with their left hands? Something soldiers did gleefully when they saw the LTTE and others attending ‘peace talks’. Being proper Scrooges they also tried to rook a poor taxi driver of his fees. They identified policemen as soldiers in Jaffna too to present a totally false picture of a city under military control. They thought anyone with a moustache was a secret service man. When questioned whether they too benefitted from the blood money the Tamils contributed to help Tamils, their leader McRae turned lobster red.

BBC. Frances Harrison, still wearily ‘counting the dead’ with a self audited score of 140,000 and looking ready for martyrdom, ran a spot on BBC on some more alleged war crimes by SL. She made a trite comment that ‘rape’ was ‘considered a terrible shame especially by Tamils. Of course she must think other ‘races” do not have any similar thought on rapes. But she should have also considered that these rape stories have abounded with abandon in Jaffna in the last 30 years. However senior most Tamil politician Anandasangaree who risked his life for many years when the LTTE was all powerful, denied the first one; that the massacre of 13 Light Infantrymen in Tellipillai in 1983 was a revenge attack for the rape of three women in Jaffna. Of course the same was said ad nauseam when the IPKF (referred to by the Jaffna folk as the Indian People Killing (and raping?) Force was in SL. Everyone in SL believed it. But the IPKF was not here in 2009. So they could not be responsible? It is said that such actions were rife in the IDP camps where with 295,000 present, the victim’s claims that it happened day and night for several years could just be sadly credible.

Andy Capp. Today Cameron leads an England that Andy Capp personifies. Is it also called ‘living off the land’ as in army survival training? Is that why the Channel 4 ‘on the dole’ like characters tried to play out the poor driver who brought them in his van from Anuradhapura when large crowds blocked the train they were travelling in? Best of luck David and Andy and all the free bootees of the media who came from GTF UK. Of course SL reserves the right to claim ‘blood money’ for the murders, rape, burning and looting that took place in 1818 in Uva Wellassa which even the Norsemen could not rival. No wonder Cameron cunningly avoided visiting Southern areas and SL journalists and preferred to pose with hotel staff. But in the ides of March Cameron too will have questions to answer.

Thank you. SL says a big thank you to the Prime Minister of Australia, the President of South Africa and the Prime Minister of Singapore amongst many other heads of Government and their foreign Ministers for supporting SL. Their message was very clear. It was only SL that could decide on how to deal with its own problems in the best interests of its people and outsiders have no business to dictate any solutions. Australian PM Tony Abbot’s remarks that ‘we should not give up old friends to make new friends” will not be forgotten by SL. Thank you too China, our unseen old friend.

- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/features/bully-cameron-god-gtf-just-do-it#sthash.BYVezamf.dpuf

Minister Dilan Perera says Sri Lanka committed to address the regional mismatches between supply and demand in foreign employment through Colombo Process Chair

November 28th, 2013

Media Release : Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva

Minister Dilan Perera says Sri Lanka committed to address the regionalmismatches between supply and demand in foreign employment through Colombo Process Chair

 Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion & Welfare Dilan Perera has said Sri Lanka which recently assumed the Chairmanship of  the Colombo Process - the Regional Consultative Process on migration, will do its utmost to share its experience and bring together the eleven countries and nine observer countries of this group to address common interests, including the
mismatches between supply and demand and applying ethical concepts to foreign employment management.  He said Sri Lanka will also play its full part in developing the post 2015 Millennium goal development architecture,
emphasizing on Migration and Development. 

 The Minister made these observations when he addressed the 103rd Session of the Council of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Tuesday ( 26th November 2013) in Geneva. He said the IOM has been a pillar of
strength supporting Sri Lanka's efforts to give migrant workers employment with dignity.  

 Noting that the bulk of migrant workers fall under the unskilled categories, the Minister said through committed efforts over the years, this has been reduced to 40% today from 52% in 2010. Efforts are underway to reduce this
number to 25%.  The successful attainment of this goal is being underpinned by enhancing the skills of the female migrant workers and not by placing barriers on them. 

 Action has been taken to make all migrant workers obtain at least a NVQ3 (National Vocational Qualification 3) certificate, which is internationally recognized and portable. By this means, migrant workers, specially females,
will be re-skilled to obtain higher level employment such as housekeeping assistants, caregivers, nurse aids, etc., thereby considerably strengthening their position in the power relationship with the employer.

 Minister Perera added that Sri Lanka adopted a holistic approach towards migrant workers, and considered them primarily as human beings and secondarily as income generators. Programmes have been devised to educate
labour agents in managerial programmes. Sri Lanka has formed the Rataviruwo Organisation, Rataviruwo meaning 'migrant economic heroes and their families'. Considerable attention has been given to the re-entry of migrant
workers to the country and to provide them with a welcoming and accommodative return. A special institution has been created manned by graduates, in all divisions of the country, to attend to their re-entry
needs such as providing training in building entrepreneurship skills, attending to trauma and psycho - social problems caused by migration, mentoring families in the absence of the migrant worker, and providing
housing support programs for migrant families.  In order to honour these heroes and heroines of Sri Lanka's development efforts, Sri Lanka has built a raft of welfare measures, like scholarships for migrant workers children
etc.

At a separate event hosted by Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha, and attended by the Director General  of IOM and senior staff and the Permanent Representatives and experts of the
Colombo Process countries - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, Minister Perera presented a Concept Paper outlining the agenda Sri Lanka
proposed to embark on during its stewardship of the Colombo Process over the next two years. 

 He requested the member states to build on it through deliberations in Geneva, so that a road map could be evolved early on the priorities to be addressed. The Minister emphasized the importance of commencing a
constructive dialogue with the Abu Dhabi Dialogue of receiving countries and on ensuring protection of labour migrants, particularly women. 

Responding the Director General of IOM Ambassador William Lacy Swing said by assuming the chairmanship of Colombo Process, Sri Lanka has injected new energy into the Colombo Process. Ambassador Swing noted Sri Lanka assumed
the Chair  after 10 years of its inception and also noted that even though the process is State driven, IOM as the provider of Secretarial Support is willing to extend its support to the Chair whenever it is necessary both in
Geneva and Colombo. Ambassador Swing also appreciated Sri Lanka's efforts to upgrade the skills of the migrant female workers and encouraged evolving further mechanisms to do so. 

 27th November 2013.

 Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva 

56 Rue de Moillebeau

1209 Geneva.

Re:Your wanting a feed back about Prime Minister Harper not attending the Commonwealth Summit

November 27th, 2013

Asoka Weerasinghe Kings Grove Crescent . Gloucester . Ontario . Canada  (Ottawa-Vanier Riding)

26 November 2013

Roxanne James, Conservative MP for Scarborough Centre, Ontario
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness
House of Commons, Ottawa

Dear Roxanne:

Forgive me if I am breaching Electoral Riding protocols by responding to your letter to your constituents asking for a feed back on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s “principled decision to boycott the Commonwealth Heads Government Meeting in Sri Lanka.”

The subject matter on the Sri Lanka file on the Eelam War and the separatist Eelamists in the Greater Toronto Area has interested me since July 1983, and I was living then and ever since in Ottawa.    I suppose 1983 was your last year at High School or perhaps your frosh year at University and the Sri Lanka’s separatist Tamil war may not have been in your intellectual radar at that point.

In your questionnaire to your constituents you had asked, “Do you agree with the Prime Minister Harper’s decision to boycott Commonwealth meetings in Sri Lanka?”    My answer would have been an emphatic NO.   The reasons for this you may decipher from my conclusions of Canada’s attitude towards Sri Lanka and its agenda to crush or hold back Sri Lanka’s reconciliation progress as well as that island’s social and economic progress after the 27 year war, especially in the war ravaged north and east of the island.

To be honest Roxanne, Canada has been the surrogate Godfather to Tamil Tiger terrorism in Sri Lanka together with India, Norway and the UK.  We aided and abetted that war which killed innocent, unarmed Sinhalese and Muslim civilians in the  scores of  thousands for 27 long years.  And also aided and abetted the assassination of the former Prime Minister of India,  Rajiv Gandhi; President Ranasinghe Premadasa of Sri Lanka; two Foreign Ministers Lakshman Kadiragamar and Ranjan Wijeratne, and three Mayors of Jaffna, the Sri Lankan  equivalent of Quebec City.  All killed by the Tamil Tigers that Canada helped by letting the Tamil Diaspora stuff two million dollars a month for 13 long blooding years during the government days of the Liberals, to buy sophisticated killing war weapons.

You might dismiss this observation as trivial by saying, “Asoka, is that all?”

Not at all Roxanne, here’s what took placed in 1994.   The Tamils cut a cheque for 7.5 million dollars from a bank in Vancouver from an account of a Tamil to buy 10 tons of hexagon a plastic explosive like Semtex; 50 tons of trinitrotoluol (TNT) and a large quantity of electric timing caps and detonator cord, from the Rubezone Chemical Factory in Ukraine.

Now what’s all this have to do with Stephen Harper boycotting the Commonwealth Summit in Colombo you might ask!   It were these explosives bought with Canadian dollars that were used in the truck bomb by the Tamil Tigers that brought down the Central Bank Building in the business district in Colombo on 31 January 1996, killing 114 and maiming for life 1,338 others.  All 34 million Canadians got blood on our hands Roxanne with those killings aided and abetted by Canada.  It were the same consignment of explosives that were used to bomb the Temple of Buddha’s Tooth Relic in Kandy in the hill country on 25 January 1998, killing 12 and maiming 13 others.

And now  Prime Minister Stephen Harper has got on his high-horse to admonish Sri Lanka for having eliminated the Tamil Tiger terrorists that Canada  helped to survive and prolong that nasty war in Sri Lanka, and refuse to attend the Summit because of his concerns of human rights violations during the last five months of the war.   Is my Prime Minister and your boss confused about Canada’s complicity  in these alleged human rights violations, or is he trying to placate the GTA Tamils crying out for their bloc vote!   Go figure  Roxanne and let me know..

With this backgrounder, Roxanne, let’s not kid ourselves that “O Canada our home and native land….”  is squeaky clean.  What nonsense!   That silly idea is not worth two masala vadai’s with two curled dead shrimps at their top deep fried in coconut oil, from a Tamil Take Out joint in Scarborough Centre.

So let’s take out that item off the Conservative silly season of Senate scandals, Commonwealth boycotts, and Jason Kenney’s attempt to preach to the Sri Lankans in Colombo on January 7th on human rights when the First Nation peoples were demonstrating a stone’s throw away from his parliamentary office and Theresa Spence the Chief of Attawapiskatt Chief  was on a hunger strike protesting against Canada’s human rights violations of her people.   Sheesh! It was not only silly, it was also stupid for Jason to go to Colombo and act God, and tell the Sri Lankans “Hey, We are Holier Than Thou” So what’s going on in your Conservative camp, Roxanne?   You Conservatives with Stephen Harper at the apex are dishonest, disingenuous and a strange bunch, isn’t it?”

But here is a bigger problem for you Conservatives, who think we Canadians are a bunch of goody-two-shoes.  You quote Prime Minister Stephen Harper who said: “It is clear that the Sri Lankan Government has failed to uphold the Commonwealth core values, which are cherished by Canadians.  As such as the Prime Minister of Canada, I will not attend the 2013 CHOGM in Colombo, Sri Lanka.  This is a decision that I do not take lightly.”

*Roxanne, what are the Commonwealth Core Values that Prime Minister Harper is  talking about?   It was his Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon  who sent out a pathetic Press Release when the Tamil Tiger terrorists were finally eliminated, single handed by the Sri Lankan Government on 19 May 2009, after a 27 year long war that killed over 100,000 innocent people of all ethnic groups.  And when every other country patted the back of Sri Lanka and said “Way to Go, Sri Lanka”, but Oh No,  but not Canada. Canada couldn’t handle it.  Roxanne, Canada didn’t have that disciplined honesty to  do what the other nations did,  pat Sri Lanka’s back and say, ” Bravo! Way to go Sri Lanka for eliminating the most ruthless Tamil Tiger terrorist group in the world.”  That’s how hypocritical Stephen Harper’s Canada was.   So Prime Minister Harper should  stop pretending that he is a disciplined politician trying to  uphold Commonwealth’s Core Values. That is a mighty sham!

* I thought that one of the Commonwealth’s Core Values was to uphold every person in the Commonwealth of Nation’s  right-to-life, the most revered and treasured  paramount human right.  And getting rid of the Tamil Tiger terrorists militarily by the Sri Lankan government saw the classic text book example of giving back 22 million Sri Lankans their right-to-life after it had been hijacked by the Tamil Tiger terrorists for 27 years.  But Canada didn’t see it that way at all.   Roxanne, what’s wrong with Canada?  Was Stephen Harper concerned that if he had patted the back of Sri Lanka and tell its political leader “Way to go Sri Lanka!”, that you all would have lost all the Tamil votes in the Greater Toronto Area, and with that move even you would have lost your riding, and the Tamils would have blocked the Gardiner Highway in a demonstration for a whole day.   Is that what it was all about?  The police couldn’t have used water cannons to disperse the demonstrators and these Tamils are smart enough to have the older generation of Grandmums and Grandads  in wheelchairs, as well as young Tamil mothers with  infants and kids in prams and strollers on the front line.   You saw them doing it in May 2009 and would have repeated it again.   Are the Conservatives a bunch of hypocrites, Roxanne, or what?  If you ask me that question, I would tell you; “You bet, damn well we are!”

*Commonwealth Core Values, I thought included rescuing  and liberating citizens who were taken hostage as a human shield by the Tamil Tiger terrorists?  And so did President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Sri Lankan armed forces.  They rescued 295,873 Tamil refugees from the clutches of the Tamil Tigers by 19 May 2009.

It was not only rescuing these 295,873 Tamils, the Sri Lankan Government also prepared a million meals a day to provide three hearty ” breakfast, lunch and dinner  each day, and not let these 295,873 rescued Tamils starved to death.   If they had died, the whole anti-Sri Lankan world would have screamed “Genocide…genocide!” Go figure why this miraculous performance by the puny Sri Lanka has not been  acknowledge until today by the Stephen Harper’s Canadian Government, as a Commonwealth Core Value of preservation of lives of  humans and  giving back to them their right-to-their-lives..  And Roxanne, do you know who cooked these million meals a day to feed these Tamils refugees?   The majority were Sinhalese that the  GTA Tamils ran away from saying that they have been discriminated by them?  I say to you Roxanne, the Conservative Government is down right hypocrites.   And here is the problem for you Conservatives.  For Stephen Harper to say that he wasn’t going to Sri Lanka because of the human rights violations is buckets full of hog-wash.

Roxanne, so what has been the problem for your Conservatives to acknowledge this classic text book example of promoting human rights in Sri Lanka with the rescuing these 295.873 Tamils who were held as a human shield by Prabhakaran’s Tamil Tigers for 30 months?  And there lies the rub ”   the disingenuous dishonesty by Canada’s Conservative government on Sri Lanka.  And who are you Conservatives trying to fool?  Most certainly not me!

And I take umbrage of Prime Minister Harper’s representative Deepak Obhrai, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affair, who was arrogant, and brash to disrespect the host by doing what they requested him not to do ” to lay a wreath for the Tamil Tiger victims at Elephant Pass where three major battles were fought when the Tamil Tigers wanted to cut off the isthmus to isolate the northern Jaffna peninsula to claim it for  their separate mono-ethnic, racist Tamil state, Eelam.

Deepak was a boorish guest, and acted like a Canadian High School bully and a thug spoiling for a fight in the school’s backyard.  Not good.  I suppose, there would have been cheers by the separatist Tamil community in the GTA and consider Deepak as one their heroes, together with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Ministers John Baird and Jason Kenney.

And finally, here’s what I resent mostly about you Roxanne.   You say, “I can assure you that Canada is deeply concerned that the situation in Sri Lanka and has been monitoring and urging them to improve the situation and prevent violence against the Tamil peoples.”

Roxanne, that statement,   no doubt, has found approval for your membership as a Honourary Member of the elite ‘Society of Conservative Parliamentary Humbugs about Sri Lanka’.  Why, violence against the Tamil people, and why have you had difficulty to include the Sinhalese as well as the Muslims in that statement of caring.   They are children of the same God, and the Tamils are no Babes in the Woods, nor are they lily-white or Paragons of Virtue. The Tamil Tiger terrorists hacked with machetes and shot with Kalashnikovs and blew my Sinhalese people with claymore mines and suicide bombers to smithereens, and plucked infants from the young Sinhalese mothers arms  and bashed their heads on granite and charnokite  rocks and enjoyed watching the infants skulls open and gush out ketchup blood.   And these rascals shot and killed the Muslims with assault rifles while they were kneeling at prayer in their mosques.  Were you aware of all this?

This is my submission to you Roxanne as I do not believe in the Conservatives  nor their leader anymore.  I have been a card carrying Conservative since the Reform days, and I will let my membership lapse when December comes along.  And I have made up my mind not to vote for the Conservatives, even if I have to hold my nose walking to the ballot box, as the Conservative policies on Sri Lanka stinks to high heaven. Nor will I vote for the NDP and the Liberals for very good reasons and their attitude towards Sri Lanka which do not gel with my passion and psyche for my Motherland, Sri Lanka..

If you ever want to have a debate on this Sri Lanka file and Prime Minister Stephen Harper boycotting the Colombo Commonwealth Summit, count me in.   And I would love to have Deepak Obhrai, Jason Kenney and Patrick Brown on the opposite side of the table.

Sincerely,

Asoka Weerasinghe

 

TNA MP Siritharan glorifies Tiger leader Prabhakaran

November 27th, 2013

P.A.Samaraweera, Melbourne

TNA MP Siritharan in a speech made in Parliament on the 26th Nov had lionised the Tiger leader Prabhakaran. He had said that, “Prabhakaran was a national hero” and had called upon Tamils to commemorate his death. Govt MP’s have condemned him for making a ‘Mahaveera’ speech glorifying the terrorist leader. For Siritharan, the man who killed Tamils and Tamil leaders is a hero. Prabhakaran killed leaders of the TULF, EPDP and TELO . Further, he also killed national Tamil leaders such as Lakshaman Kadiragamar and Thiruchelvam. People like Siritharan escaped death because the TNA was the spokesman of the LTTE.

During the war, the TNA MP’s were comfortable living in Colombo, while their children were studying overseas. It was the children of the poor Tamils in the North who were recruited as child soldiers and sent as cannon fodder. And now the TNA appears as the saviours of the Tamils.

With regard to the speech made by Siritharan, Wanni District UDFA MP Farook had requested the Chairman of the committee to expunge the statement from the Hansard. The chairman had ordered that the speech be removed from the Hansard. The law should be enforced fullly to punish those who promote terrorism and separatism in the country. There should be no exception to MP’s who try to romanticise the LTTE terrorists. The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution has provision against those who try to destabilize the country.

The Illegality of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s approach to Sri Lanka

November 27th, 2013

by Dharshan Weerasekera -Courtesy Foreign Policy Journal

March 19, 2013

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

Download this paper (PDF)

Since the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka in May 2009, there have been four attempts by the UN, or associated with the UN, to pursue “accountability” with respect to alleged war crimes committed during the last phases of the war.  Two of those attempts have been on the personal initiative of the Secretary General.  The second of those attempts, the “Petrie Report,” a review of the UN’s conduct in Sri Lanka during the last stages of the war, paints the blackest picture so far of the goings-on in the island during the relevant period, and concludes that the UN’s conduct amounted to a failure of its humanitarian mission.  It says, “Seen together, the failure of the UN to adequately counter the Government’s under-estimation of population numbers in the Wanni, the failure to adequately confront the Government in its obstructions to humanitarian assistance, the unwillingness of the UN in UNHQ and in Colombo to address Government responsibility for attacks that were killing civilians, and the tone and content of UN communications with the Government on these issues, collectively amounted to a failure by the UN to act within the scope of institutional mandates to meet protection responsibilities.”[1]

The stage is now set for the March 2013 sessions of the Human Rights Council.  In my view, Sri Lanka’s critics will push for an official investigation into the last stages of the war, or, failing that, try to appoint a Special Rapporteur to look into the possibility of launching an official investigation. Perhaps it is time there was a “credible” investigation into the matters in question:  as the critics point out, if the Government did nothing wrong, it has nothing to worry about, and in fact ought to welcome the opportunity to clear its name once and for all.  But that is not my concern in this paper.  My focus instead is on a more universal and basic issue. The Secretary General certainly has the discretion and the authority to call for reports on the various subjects with which he has to deal in the course of his duties.  No doubt that authority also covers the commissioning of reports to find out where the UN may have “failed” in the past, to extract lessons for the future.  But does that discretion or authority extend to commissioning reports designed to be submitted indirectly[2] to official organs of the UN, such as the HRC, to compel collective action by the latter organs against a fellow member?  Is such conduct fair, or legal?  To my knowledge, no one has yet asked this question.  The purpose of this paper is to ask it, and answer it.

I argue that the Secretary General’s actions are highly illegitimate and in fact illegal under the UN Charter, specifically, Articles 2(7), 99 and 100.  If the Secretary General or anyone else thinks that high Sri Lankan officials committed war crimes during the last stages of the war, and they have some evidence to back-up those allegations, they are perfectly free to go before the UN or one of its relevant organs and present such evidence.  In such an event, Sri Lanka naturally has a right of response.  If, after such response, the relevant UN organ still feels the allegations have merit, it can request or order further inquiries into the matters in question.

The Secretary General’s “reports” have never been authorized or requested by the General Assembly, the Security Council, the HRC, or any other such body.  Moreover, they have never been filed officially in any such organ.  So, Sri Lanka really has never had a proper forum or opportunity to respond.   In this situation, it is not up to the Secretary General to commission report after report on Sri Lanka focusing on alleged “war crimes.”  Such conduct is highly prejudicial to the country and amounts to harassment.  It irreparably damages Sri Lanka’s international reputation, and, internally, fosters disunity, disharmony and acrimony between various groups of people, and thereby sets the stage for outside powers and other interested parties to intervene in the country’s internal affairs.  The purpose of the UN Charter, ultimately, is to protect the interests of its members, and not to be used as an instrument to destabilize nations, or in some other way to bring about their downfall.  If the Secretary General’s actions lead to a destabilization of Sri Lanka, he is violating both the spirit and the letter of the Charter.

The issue I’m trying to highlight in this essay is relevant not just to Sri Lankans, but to a wider general audience, especially to those concerned for the future of international law.  This is for a very simple reason.  The norms and principles of international law are today under unprecedented threat.  To quote Richard Falk, the renowned expert on international law:

Among the more serious losses resulting from the September 11 attacks has been the subversion of international law as a source of guidance and limitation in the foreign policy of leading sovereign States, and especially the United States.  Of course, this process of erosion preceded the attacks, and even started well before George W. Bush arrived in Washington….What September 11 did was to extend this dangerous form of American lawlessness to the most sensitive area of all””war-making, uses of force in disregard of sovereign rights, and intervention in the internal affairs of foreign countries.[3]

Given this situation, in my view, the UN remains the best and only hope for individual nations, especially weak nations, to gain a measure of fair-play and justice on the world stage.  So, the UN itself must be kept honest.  In my view, only the friends of international law can now do this:  they need to monitor any and all possible instances of UN law-breaking, especially where the latter is done by the highest officials, and ensure that perpetrators, if any, are promptly brought to book.

The paper consists of 3 Parts.  Part 1 discusses the facts, i.e. whether a prima facie case for war crimes can be made even if one accepted the “facts” and scenarios presented in the reports; Part 2 discusses the Secretary General’s culpability, and includes a discussion of the applicable law.  In Part 3, I propose to discuss remedial measures, in particular, a certain simple if audacious step, which, in my view, will be sufficient by itself to stop this entire campaign for “accountability” in Sri Lanka, whether pursued by the Secretary General or any other UN official, in its tracks.

Part 1:  Is there a prima facie case for war crimes?

The first and foremost question that needs to be answered is whether or not the Government did, in fact, commit war crimes during the last phases of the war.  So, this is the question I take up in this section.  For convenience, I shall rely on the basic facts and scenarios given in the Secretary General’s reports themselves, so at least with respect to those facts, the reader can rest assured that there is no dispute with the critics of the Government.

What I’m interested in here is to inquire into whether, going on the facts given by the reports themselves, facts considered incontrovertible by the critics of the Government, a normal and reasonable international reader””that is, a person who doesn’t have any particular stake in the Sri Lankan situation, whether on the side of the Sinhalese Nationalists, or on the side of Tamil Diaspora separatists still seething at the defeat of the LTTE””could accept that war crimes were committed.  By “war crimes” what is meant here (and this will becomes clear when I discuss some of the specific allegations in a moment) is mainly indiscriminate shelling of civilians and civilian areas.

Now, what would be the criteria that a normal and reasonable person could use to gauge or assess whether such war crimes were committed in a given period of time?  I submit the following two are reasonable.  First, numbers:  for instance, the critics of the government have suggested that “tens of thousands” of civilians were killed during the last stages of the war.[4]  When pushed for a specific figure, the number 40,000 is also usually given.[5]  If that figure is correct, I think it is safe to presume that war crimes may indeed have been committed, in the sense that civilians may have been indiscriminately targeted.[6]  So the first question is whether, in fact, 40,000 or some such large number of civilians was killed.

Second, one can look at the testimony of outside observers.  Now, there is a certain impression in the outside world, especially in the West, that the Government simply expelled all foreigners, including foreign correspondents, from the conflict zone, and then proceeded to carry out its military operations.  This impression is wrong.  Members of the Western Press were certainly not present in the conflict zone in large numbers.  But members of the Indian Press were present throughout, and, as for international organizations, the ICRC was also present throughout.  It is simply inconceivable that these persons would not have got some inkling if mass and indiscriminate killings of civilians were in fact being perpetrated, and not have said anything about it.  So, let’s briefly look at each of these matters, starting with the numbers.

a)  The numbers

As I said earlier, if “tens of thousands,” or “40,000,” or some such large number of civilians were killed in the space of about six months, it is a safe bet that indiscriminate targeting of civilians took place, and therefore, it is perhaps reasonable to presume that the types of war crimes that are alleged did in fact take place.  So, did 40,000 or some such large number of civilians die during the last stages of the war?  For months after the end of the fighting, it was not possible to give a definitive answer to that question.  The last full census of the Northern Province was done in 1981, just prior to the start of the civil war, and since then it had been impossible to gain proper access to the region to do another census.

Fortunately, this shortcoming has now been remedied.  In November 2011, the Department of Census and Statistics of Sri Lanka completed a full census of the Northern Province.  The data is in their website, and the numbers are as follows:  there were a total of 22,329 deaths between the years 2005-2009, about half of which (11,172) occurred in 2009.[7]  Of that, 2,523 were due to natural causes, while 7,934 are classified as “other deaths” meaning “accidents, homicides, suicides, etc.”[8]  However, the Census Department also goes on to say, “71% of deaths that occurred in 2009 are reported as due to extraordinary circumstances but majority of deaths prior to and beyond that are reported to be the results of natural causes.”[9]  The conflict, it should be recalled, ended in late May 2009.

What all this boils down to, then, is that roughly 8,000 persons died in the first five months of 2009 as a result of the conflict, and this is inclusive of LTTE combatants.  It is generally understood that around 5,000 LTTE combatants died in the closing phases of the war.[10]  That means that at most roughly 3,000 civilians died in the last phases of the war.  That is the inevitable conclusion to which one is led if one starts with the Census Department’s numbers.

Now, it is always possible for a critic to say that the Government has fixed the numbers, in other words, that the Census Department has deliberately given a low-count of the total dead in 2009.  The fact remains, however, that the Department at least on the face of it has conducted the most scientific and exhaustive survey of the population in the Northern Province so far, and if someone wants to question the Department’s figures, it is not enough to give an argument along the lines, “Well, they are the Government’s numbers.”

The Census Department is run by professionals whose work can be evaluated and assessed by other professionals.  If a critic disagrees with the Department’s numbers, the thing to do is to conduct a technical evaluation of its numbers and methods, or have an expert do it, and then present some sort of coherent argument as to why exactly those numbers or methods, or both, are wrong.  It is not enough simply to present alternative figures or numbers.

Meanwhile, there appears to be some independent corroboration for the Department’s numbers.  First, there is a UN Country Report, completed in 2009, during the conflict itself (but suppressed at the time because the UN felt the numbers couldn’t be “verified”), which gives an estimate of the number of persons killed between August 2008-May 13 2009 as 7,721.[11]  Obviously, that number is very close to the one generated by the Census Department.

Second, there is a study by the American Association for the Advancement of Science of aerial photographs of the conflict-zone at the very peak of the fighting.[12]  The purpose of the study was to find out, among other things, if there was evidence of a rapid expansion of gravesites, or evidence of mass graves, which would indicate that large numbers of people were in fact being killed.  The study found little or no expansion of gravesites, and no evidence of mass graves,[13] leading to the obvious inference that large numbers of civilians were not being killed.  So, all this as I said goes to show that the Census Department’s numbers may in fact be right.

To return to the Census Department’s numbers, no technical evaluation or assessment of the Department’s numbers has yet been conducted by any of the critics, and this includes the Secretary General’s experts.  For instance, the Secretary General’s second report was commissioned nearly a year after the Department put out its figures, but it doesn’t say a word about the Department’s figures, and instead continues to give its own conjectures about “tens of thousands” killed.  In the absence of any coherent and reasonable challenge to the Department’s numbers, and given also the corroborative evidence just mentioned, those numbers must stand.  So, what does that mean?

It means that 40,000 civilians did not die, nor even 30,000 or 20,000.  The actual number is roughly 3,000.  Now, that’s not a small number.  From the standpoint of the victims, it doesn’t matter if the total number of dead is 3,000 or 30,000, each unnecessary death in war is a tragedy and a travesty.  But the question we are pursuing here is whether war crimes were committed in the sense that civilians were indiscriminately targeted.  If the civilian death toll over 6 months was roughly 3,000, and that under the extremely trying conditions under which the last phases of the war was fought (I will get to this in a moment), I for one cannot see how any reasonable person can cay that there is a case to be made here that civilians were indiscriminately attacked

It is convenient at this stage to digress a moment and discuss the aforementioned “trying conditions” under which the last phases of the war was fought, and also discuss in a little more detail the specific nature of the allegations that the Secretary General is making against Sri Lanka.  For this purpose, I shall turn to the Secretary General’s first report, the “Panel of Experts” report, which deals with the issues in question at length.

The most important thing that a general reader has to understand about the conditions under which the last stages of the war was fought is that the LTTE during this time had taken upwards of 300,000 civilians as hostages and was moving that massive population from place to place as the Sri Lankan army began to close in on it.  Here is what the Secretary General’s experts say:

Around 330,000 civilians were trapped into an ever decreasing area, fleeing the shelling but kept hostage by the LTTE.[14]

And then again, specifically with regard to the purposes for which the civilians were used:

Retaining the civilian population in the area that it controlled was crucial to the LTTE strategy.  The presence of civilians both lent legitimacy to the LTTE’s claim for a separate homeland and provided a buffer against the SLA offensive.  To this end, the LTTE forcibly prevented those living in the Vanni from leaving.  Even when civilian casualties rose significantly, the LTTE refused to let people leave, hoping that the worsening situation would provoke an international intervention and a halt to the fighting.  It used new and badly trained recruits as well as civilians as “cannon fodder” in an attempt to protect its leadership.[15]

Finally, the following admission by the panel is also crucial:

From February 2009 onwards, the LTTE started point-blank shooting of civilians who attempted to escape from the conflict zone, significantly adding to the death toll in the final stages of the war.  It also fired artillery in proximity to large groups of internally displaced persons (IDP’s) and fired from, or stored military equipment near, IDP’s or civilian installations such as hospitals.[16]

The important point that emerges from all of the above passages is this: the taking of 300,000-plus civilians was not something that happened spontaneously or on the spur of the moment””for instance, say, when an armed group is being chased and cornered, and, finding themselves out of options, grab a few hostages to try and negotiate their way out of the situation””but was an integral part, indeed the cornerstone, of the LTTE’s strategy of war during the last phases.

So, it is under this that one has to look at the specific charges or allegations as to war crimes.  The Secretary General’s experts list five categories of alleged violations committed by the Government: i) killing of civilians through widespread shelling; ii) shelling of hospitals and humanitarian objects; iii) denial of humanitarian assistance; iv) human rights violations suffered by victims and survivors of the conflict including both IDP’s and suspected LTTE cadre; and v) human rights violations outside the conflict zone, including against the media and other critics of the Government.[17]  Of these, the categories that pertain to this paper are the first three.[18]  So, let’s look a bit more closely at the specific allegations as to the first three categories.

On the issue of “widespread shelling” the report says:

The Government shelled on a large scale on three consecutive No Fire Zones, where it had encouraged the civilian population to concentrate, even after indicating that it would cease the use of heavy weapons.  It shelled the UN hub, food distribution lines and near ICRC ships that were coming to pick up the wounded and their relatives from the beaches.[19]

On the “shelling of hospitals,” the report says,

The Government systematically shelled hospitals in the frontlines.  All hospitals in the Vanni were hit by mortars and artillery, some of them were hit repeatedly, despite the fact that their locations were well-known to the Government.[20]

Finally, on “denial of humanitarian aid,” the report says,

The Government also systematically deprived people in the conflict zone of humanitarian aid, in the form of food and medical supplies, particularly surgical supplies, adding to their suffering.  To this end, it purposefully underestimated the number of civilians who remained in the conflict zone.  Tens of thousands lost their lives from January to May 2009, many of whom died anonymously in the carnage of the final days.[21]

To repeat, then, there are three main accusations being leveled against the Government with respect to the fighting itself:  i.e. that it shelled indiscriminately in and around civilians, that it shelled hospitals, and that it denied the civilians humanitarian aid in the form of food and medicine.  Now the Government denies each of these accusations (I will get to that in a moment) but let’s just look at the accusation as to indiscriminate shelling.  It seems to be this really is the overriding accusation being leveled against the Government. (I will turn to the other two in my summary.)  So, the primary question is whether, given the ground conditions that existed during the relevant period, the Government did in fact shell indiscriminately?  And this brings us back to the numbers.

To return, the numbers, as we saw, are that roughly 3,000 civilians perished during the period in question. To repeat what I said earlier, if the civilian death toll over 6 months was roughly 3,000, and that under the extremely trying conditions under which the last phases of the war was fought, I for one cannot see how any reasonable person can say that there is a case to be made here that civilians were targeted indiscriminately.  It is simply not a picture consistent with that of an army on the rampage, engaging in atrocity after atrocity, including targeting civilians indiscriminately.[22]

b) Testimony of outsiders

I shall now turn to the testimony of certain outsiders who were either present in the conflict zone for extended periods of time during the fighting, or visited the conflict zone during the fighting briefly, but had a chance to make first hand observations.  This type of testimony is also very useful in gauging what may have been really going on in the conflict zone during the relevant period, particularly in gauging whether the picture painted by the numbers may be accurate or not.  As I said earlier, members of the Western Press were not present in the conflict zone in large numbers, though there were a few, but members of the Indian Press were present, particularly correspondents from Frontline, the respected Indian news magazine, and also from All India Radio/Doordarshan.  And as for international organizations, ICRC was present throughout.

I’ll cite just three examples of comments and observations, two from the senior journalist B. Muralidar Reddy, of Frontline, who was present in the battlefield right up to the end of the war on May 19, 2009, and one from David Gray, a Reuters correspondent, who was taken on a tour of the battlefield about a month previously, in April.  (I’ve pulled these at random from the internet:  there are many others, but constraints of time and space don’t allow citing them all here.)  The observations quoted give a dramatic and at times poignant glimpse into the realities of the battle-zone, and need no additional commentary.  I’ll simply highlight certain points which I think are important as I go along.  I’ll start with B. Muralidar Reddy.

Now, Mr. Reddy was part of a group of “embedded” reporters, in the sense that their visit was facilitated through the Defense Ministry and the Sri Lanka army.  A critic might see a problem with this.  Mr. Reddy, however, prefaces his report with the following remark, which I think is important not only with regard to assessing his credibility, but to certain inferences I want to draw from his statements later:

There were no conditions spelled out on the coverage from the war zone.  We were allowed unfettered and unhindered movement up to 400 meters from the zone, where pitched battles were fought between the military and the remaining cadre and leaders of the LTTE….Most important was the fact that we had interference-free access to the internet, including Tamilnet, the website perceived to be pro-LTTE and based somewhere in Europe.  Within the constraints of internet time available, and not-unexpected problems of connectivity and speed in a war zone, there was just enough time to read and absorb the reports on the websites before sending news dispatches to our headquarters.  No questions were asked.[23]

He then says, “Here is an account of what I saw and heard and otherwise sensed in the last 70 hours of Eelam War IV,”[24] and proceeds to give his narrative.  I quote at length.

Information gathered by this correspondent from a group of the last batch of 80,000 civilians to flee the LTTE-occupied zone reveals that the Tigers made a determination on May 10 that they had lost the war and that no purpose would be achieved by holding on to the civilians.  However, it is not clear on what note they wanted to end the war.

On May 11, the Tigers seemed to have deserted their sentry-points, dismantled their defense-lines, and destroyed everything they could.  The exodus of the last batch of civilians started on May 12/13 and perhaps by the night of May 15 there were no civilians left in the 1.5 square-kilometer area the Tigers were boxed into.

The accounts of the last hours provided by the civilians by and large tallied with the evidence that has surfaced so far.  The detention of Sea Tiger chief Soosai’s family by the Navy on May 15/16 and the discovery of Prabakaran’s aged parents in a camp by the military on May 27 provided the ultimate proof that the Tigers had decided to spare the life of the civilians.

The May 15 decision of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)””the only outfit present inside the war zone until four days before the war ended””to suspend humanitarian operations inside Tiger-held territory proved beyond doubt that the overwhelming majority of civilians were out of the battle-zone and that the military and the Tigers were engaged in a no-holds-barred fight.  The beaming faces of the commanders and troops spoke volumes about the fate that awaited the Tigers.[25]

A number of important points can be highlighted from the above passages, read with Mr. Reddy’s prefatory remarks.  For instance, it is clear that he had an opportunity to speak with and interact with the civilians who were just coming out of the battle-zone.  It is also clear, from the prefatory note, that he had access to the internet, and therefore would have been generally aware of the increasing clamor being made internationally, particularly by Tamilnet and other LTTE-friendly sources, that Government troops were massacring civilians.  It is reasonable to presume, therefore, that as an experienced journalist he would have been on the look-out for any statements by the civilians that might corroborate that such massacres were in fact being carried out.  Meanwhile, since he had the opportunity to actually interact with the civilians, it is also reasonable to presume that he would have also taken the opportunity to ask them directly what they knew of any such massacres.

To my knowledge, there is not the slightest indication in the article (or in any of his other articles), that he heard the civilians say Government troops were carrying out massacres, or that he felt or “sensed” the need to ask the civilians directly about such matters. [26]  In my view, one can draw only one reasonable inference from this: namely, that his on-the-spot observation and “sense” was that no such massacres were in fact going on.  It is also important to note that we are talking here about a situation where the civilians had just come out of the battle-zone””they wouldn’t have had time to reflect on or even digest the events they had experienced, or, more important, to be “coached” by anyone as to what they ought to say to reporters.  Such spontaneous and unvarnished testimony is generally considered the best and most credible form of eye-witness testimony, and is recognized as such, for instance in courts of law.   The fact that there is no record anywhere in Mr. Reddy’s reports that people coming out of the battle-zone ever said massacres of civilians were going on is therefore doubly significant.

Second, I want to focus on Mr. Reddy’s observation, “The accounts of the last hours provided by the civilians by and large tallied with the evidence that had surfaced so far…that the Tigers had decided to spare the life of the civilians.”  What does this mean?  It means, in my view, that it was Mr. Reddy’s assessment, based on his first-hand observations, that the threat to the civilians in this situation came, or had come, primarily from the Tigers:  his comment, to repeat, is that it was the Tigers who had decided to spare the lives of the civilians, meaning that it was the Tigers who had held the power of life and death over them in the first place.  The inference one can naturally draw from this is that his observation and “sense” must have been that once the civilians were free from the grasp of the Tigers””i.e. once they had crossed over to Government lines””they were safe.  Is that a picture consistent with that of a Government indiscriminately attacking and killing civilians?

I could go on, but I’ll turn to the second set of quotes, which are from Mr. Reddy’s report for the period covering May 13-16, that is, still a few days prior to the very final hours of the war.  (The passages I quoted earlier were for the period covering May 16-19.)  In any event, here’s part of what Mr. Reddy says:

It was pitiable to see terror-stricken and emaciated mothers clutching on to their babies and running towards military check-points.  In a brief interaction before boarding government buses that took them to the Omanthai checkpoint, a group of newly arrived civilians inside the NSZ narrated the travails they had endured in the past two months.

“My 45-day child was born inside a bunker.  After he came out of my womb, these are his first glimpses of the big bad world,” said a mother who had covered the naked body of her child with a white towel to protect him from the blistering sun.

“My son-in-law managed to buy a tin of Lactogen for a price of Sri Lanka Rs. 3,000 as my two-year-old grandchild had to go without milk for nearly two months.  We have been living in the bunkers for weeks with shells and gunfire exploding all around us.  Late last night we decided to crawl our way out without being detected by the Tigers,” a man who was successful in coming out with his entire family said.[27]

I wish to highlight only two points from the above passages.  First, as with the previous passages, it is clear that Mr. Reddy had an opportunity to speak and interact with the civilians.  And again, there is not the slightest indication that he heard any of these civilians ever saying anything like, “They (government soldiers) are murdering us in there!”  There is also not the slightest indication that Mr. Reddy felt the need to ask them whether such murders were going on””all of which lead to the natural inferences mentioned earlier.

There is, however, an additional point which emerges from these passages.  Mr. Reddy’s impression appears to have been that the civilians were glad to cross over to government lines.  He says, for instance, that he saw mothers “clutching their babies and running towards military check-points.”  He also cites the statement of the man who says, “Last night we decided to crawl our way out without being detected by the Tigers.”  So, clearly these people were running towards the Sri Lanka army””presumably, expecting to find safety there.  Would they have been running towards the army if they felt””either from what they had heard from other civilians, or from personal experience””that the army had been massacring civilians over the past days if not weeks?  It doesn’t make sense.

Once again, I could go on, but I’ll turn to the final set of quotes, which are from a Western reporter, one David Gray, of Reuters.  These quotes, meanwhile, are from a “Photographer’s Blog,” and therefore of a more personal and informal nature than Mr. Reddy’s submissions.  But such informal submissions are also important because sometimes they offer surprising insights into situations.  Here, then, is part of Mr. Gray’s narrative of what he saw when he was taken on a tour of the battle-zone in April 2009.

After what seemed like hours, but was actually only one, we arrived at the destroyed town of Putumatalan.  Here, we got into jeeps.  The troops that were escorting us got noticeably nervous.  They held their guns at the ready now, looking more alert and more intently into the coconut groves as we passed.  We must be close now, I thought.

After about 20 minutes driving down a dirt road, we turned a bend.  Suddenly, there were thousands of exhausted and weary looking civilians.  They were being given small amounts of food and drink by the soldiers, but only enough to last them a day or so.  This was when our escorts really started to hurry us.  It seemed they didn’t want us to talk or view the civilians for too long, and after just 5 minutes, we were told to get back in the jeeps.  Frantic calls were made on radios, and we were told we were now headed to the front.

In just 10 minutes, we arrived at a place where just days earlier the Sri Lanka government soldiers had pushed their way through the LTTE defenses, leading to a mass exodus of civilians.  Smoke billowed less than a mile away, where, we were told, troops were continuing to fight.[28]

What can one learn from the above observations?  I want to focus on only one point, related to what Mr. Gray says about his encounter with the civilians.  He says that he was being driven along a dirt road when the jeep rounded a bend and suddenly in front of him he saw thousands of civilians.  From the context, it is clear that this was an area where his escort suspected there were Tiger fighters hiding in the surrounding coconut groves.  So, the encounter with the civilians was clearly not a “set up” or a pre-planned “photo-op”:  the escort simply did not know the civilians were around the bend.  In any event, what is the first thing that Mr. Gray noticed when he saw the civilians?  He says that he saw the civilians “being given small amounts of food and drink by the soldiers.”  In other words, he saw the soldiers feeding the civilians.

Now, a critic or a cynic might point out that according to Mr. Gray’s narrative the soldiers were giving only “small amounts” of food and drink.  But obviously, soldiers on the battlefield cannot be expected to carry the massive amounts of food necessary to feed thousands of civilians (most probably they were sharing their own rations with those civilians).  But the inescapable fact, if we go by Mr. Gray’s observation, is that he saw the soldiers feeding the civilians.

Recall that the general accusation being made against the Government is that it had ordered indiscriminate attacks.  If these soldiers that Mr. Gray saw were either intending on or in the habit of attacking civilians indiscriminately, or were part of an army that had been tasked or allowed to carry out such attacks, which entails a certain callousness and utter disregard for the wellbeing of civilians generally on the part of that army, as well as the Government that was ultimately in control of that army, why would these soldiers be feeding civilians?  Is that the sort of behavior one would expect from soldiers tasked with mistreating””i.e. leveling indiscriminate attacks””against civilians?  So, these are some of the questions that emerge when one considers eye-witness testimony coming from the battle-field.

I have considered here only three sets of quotes:  as I indicated earlier, there are innumerable others.  The point I want to make is simply this:  the overall impression one gets from these quotes (and others), and especially the closer the testimony is in time and space to the battle-zone, is that the army was taking as much care as was reasonably possible to protect the civilians, that the civilians themselves were aware of this, and took every opportunity they could to escape to government lines.  This impression is entirely consistent with the picture painted by the numbers, and in fact corroborates the inference that the army was not targeting civilians deliberately or indiscriminately, as claimed by the critics.

Summary

In this section I have considered numbers, plus testimony of outsiders, to see whether a prima facie case for war crimes can be made against the Government.  I have tried to show, at least as far as the Secretary General’s allegations are concerned, that it is difficult to make such a case under either of these categories, and harder when they are taken in combination.  Recall that the POE report sets out three main “charges” against the Government:  indiscriminate shelling of civilians, shelling of hospitals, and depriving the civilians of food and medicine.  Let’s just go through these quickly.  On the first charge, indiscriminate shelling of civilians, I think the numbers, plus the eye-witness testimony coming from the battle-zone, are sufficient to counter it.

On the second charge, shelling of hospitals, if the Government did in fact target hospitals, there is no doubt the Government committed a war crime. The Government, however, denies that it ever targeted hospitals deliberately.  Even if one dismissed the Government’s denials out of hand (saying such denials are self-serving), it seems to me that to really evaluate the second charge one has to consider a number of matters.  First, the hospitals that were allegedly attacked were in the battle-zone, an area from which civilians had been generally evacuated by the Government, or reciprocally, if civilians were present, they were being forcibly kept there by the LTTE.  So, the buildings may at one time have been hospitals, but it is unclear, going on the POE’s allegations, if they were functioning as hospitals at the time of the alleged attacks.  It is important to note that the POE itself explicitly admits that the LTTE was known to store military equipment and also to fire from hospitals.

In light of the above, one has to also consider whether the army knew there were civilians still in the hospitals that were allegedly attacked, roughly how many, and what measures if any were taken to protect those civilians while neutralizing combatants, if any, holed up in those hospitals.  One would also have to keep in mind the exceptions mentioned in the ICRC study with respect to “civilian casualties incidental to the conduct of military operations,” and other such matters.  The POE does none of these things.  Finally, as a general matter, one has to keep in mind the overall picture painted by the numbers, plus the testimony coming from the battlefield.  I think the overall impression one gets from the numbers as well as the outside testimony is that the Government was taking as much care as possible to spare the civilians, and that the latter knew this.  But in that case, why would the Government go out of its way to deliberately attack functioning hospitals, the most vulnerable of civilian targets?  It doesn’t make sense.  Due to these reasons, I feel that the POE does not establish a prima facie case with respect to the second charge either.

That leaves charge number three:  the denial of food and medicine to the civilians, which I haven’t addressed so far.  The Secretary General’s experts say that the Government denied food and medicine to the civilians, or rather, that the Government “deprived” the civilians of food and medicine.  The ICRC, however, which was present in the conflict-zone throughout the final phase of the war, and in fact participated in and helped coordinate the Government’s food and medicine convoys to the battle-zone, did not complain at the time.  Government records, meanwhile, show that it transported 534,227 metric tons of food and medicine to the conflict-zone[29]:  the ICRC has never disputed those quantities.

It should be further noted that the Government continued its food-and-medicine convoys right up to the very end of the war, and this in face of the fact””apparently well-known to the ICRC and others””that the LTTE was pilfering much of the food and medicine once it got to the distribution points.[30]  It seems to me, therefore, that one can perhaps argue over whether the quantities of food and medicine sent were adequate or inadequate, but it is very difficult to say that there was a systematic attempt to “deprive” the civilians of food and medicine.  Hence, on this charge also it is very difficult to come to a clear-cut determination that a “war crime” was committed.

It should also be noted that with respect to food convoys, the POE attempts a rather blatant obfuscation.  On page 20 of the report (para 78) it says, of UN and WFP[31] food convoys, “The first convoy entered the Vanni on 3 October 2008.  In total 11 convoys went into the Vanni over the period of 5 months, delivering a total of 7,435 metric tons of food, which was not enough to maintain the civilian population.”[32]  But these, to repeat, were UN/WFP convoys.  But there is not a single mention of the ICRC and the Government food convoys that went parallel to the UN/WFP convoys, and in fact continued long after the latter stopped.  Thus, the POE comes to the conclusion that the civilians were deprived of food and medicine purely on the basis of the food and medicine transported by the UN, and entirely ignores the food and medicine transported by the Government and the ICRC.  It is on this type of “evidence” that the POE wants the world to decide on important questions such as whether Sri Lanka committed war crimes.

So, where does all this leave one?  It leaves one with only one conclusion:  The Secretary General has not made a prima facie case for war crimes, or rather, he simply has no case.  And yet he persists in his dogged quest for “accountability,” most importantly, without giving Sri Lanka any opportunity to respond.  Why?  What gives him the right or the authority to do this””or rather, does he have a right or authority to do this?  These questions naturally lead one to query his culpability under the law, to which I turn next.

Part 2:  Secretary General’s Culpability

To assess the Secretary General’s culpability, it is first necessary to consider his own stated reasons (or those given by his experts) for his actions; second, any other reasons that can be inferred from his statements or those of his experts; and finally, any reasons other than those that can be inferred from his or his experts’ statements that can nevertheless be helpful in explaining his actions.  In this section, I consider each of these matters.  My argument, in brief, is as follows.  The Secretary General’s stated reasons for his actions is a purported agreement he reached with the Sri Lankan President during a visit to the island in late May 2009, just after the war.  On close examination, however, this agreement does not empower or authorize the Secretary General to pursue the types of actions he has pursued, namely, to place himself in the position of being a sort of “monitor” of the accountability process in Sri Lanka.  This therefore deprives the Secretary General of the primary legal basis for his actions.

His only other option, if he wants to legally justify his actions, is to resort to Article 99 of the UN Charter, which grants the Secretary General a certain amount of discretion to bring various matters to the attention of the Security Council.  In my view (and I will explain the reasons later), the Secretary General can’t resort to the above option, either, in this instance, which means that he has absolutely no legal basis for his actions.  One could stop there.  The fact, however, that he has continued his actions despite having no legal basis for them raises the prospect, in certain very interesting ways, that he has also violated Article 100 and Article 2(7) of the UN Charter.  Article 100 prescribes that the Secretary General and the UN staff will not allow themselves to be influenced in their duties by any “external authority to the Organization,” and Article 2(7), one of the most important Articles in the entire Charter, prohibits the UN from interfering in the internal affairs of nations.  Again, I will explain all this in greater detail later, but first, let’s turn to the Secretary General’s own stated reasons for his actions.

a)  The Secretary General’s stated reasons

The legal basis explicitly given by the Secretary General (or his experts) for his actions is a purported agreement between him and the Sri Lankan President reached during a visit to the island just after the war.  This is indicated in the terms of reference of both of the Secretary General’s reports.  I shall quote the relevant portions.  Incidentally, these portions are important for another reason also:  they confirm that the two reports were commissioned purely on the initiative of the Secretary General, and not, for instance, at the request of the General Assembly, the Security Council, or any such official organ.

The relevant portion of the first report’s terms of reference read as follows:

In a Joint Statement of the Secretary General and the President of Sri Lanka issued at the conclusion of the Secretary General’s visit to the country on 23 May 2009, the Secretary General underlined the importance of an accountability process to address violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed during military operations between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).  The President of Sri Lanka undertook to take measures to address these grievances.  At this time and against this back ground,

1)  The Secretary General has decided to establish a panel of experts to advise him on the implementation of the said commitment to the final stages of the war.

2)  The purpose of the panel shall be to advise the Secretary General on the modality, applicable standards and comparative experience relevant to the fulfillment of the joint commitment to an accountability process, having regard to the nature and scope of alleged violations.[33]

The terms of reference of the second report state:

The Secretary General’s Internal Review Panel (the Panel) was set up pursuant to Article 4B of the report of the Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka.[34]

The above passages establish beyond any doubt that the reports were commissioned entirely on the Secretary General’s initiative, and that the legal basis for the POE report (itself the anchor for the second report) is the purported agreement with the President.  This purported agreement, therefore, is a very important document.

Before turning to the aforementioned document, it is necessary to highlight two further points:  first, if one goes back to the lead paragraph of the terms or reference of the first report, it seems that the Secretary General’s understanding was that the Government was admitting or accepting that violations of humanitarian law were, in fact, committed during the last stages of the war.  The relevant sentence says, “The Secretary General underlined the importance of an accountability process to address violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed during military operations between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE” (emphasis added).  The word “committed” is not qualified in any way, for instance as “allegedly committed,” or “may have been committed,” or some such phrase.

Second, if one goes to subsection 2 of the terms of reference of the same report, it indicates that the Secretary General’s understanding was that there was a joint commitment to accountability.  A “joint commitment” obviously entails that the Secretary General would be in a position to monitor the accountability process, to give assistance to it, and so on.  What one has to look for when examining the agreement, then, is whether it actually bears out the above two interpretations on the Secretary General’s part.

So, let’s look at the agreement itself.  I quote at length.  (The document consists of 12 paragraphs, and I quote the last seven.)  I have numbered the paragraphs, to help with the subsequent analysis.

1.  President Rajapaksa and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon discussed a series of areas in which the United Nations will assist the ongoing efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka in addressing future challenges and opportunities.

2.  With regard to IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons], the United Nations will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the IDPs now in Vavuniya and Jaffna.  The Government will continue to provide access to humanitarian agencies.  The Government will expedite the necessary basic and civil infrastructure as well as means of livelihood necessary for the IDPs to resume their normal lives at the earliest.  The Secretary-General welcomed the announcement by the Government expressing its intention to dismantle the welfare villages at the earliest, as outlined in the Plan to resettle the bulk of IDPs and call for its early implementation.

3.  The Government seeks the cooperation of the international community in mine clearing, which is an essential prerequisite to expediting the early return of IDPs.

4.  The Secretary-General called for donor assistance towards the Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) jointly launched by the Government of Sri Lanka and the United Nations, which supports the relief, shelter and humanitarian needs of those in IDP sites.

5.  President Rajapaksa and the Secretary-General recognized the large number of former child soldiers forcibly recruited by the LTTE as an important issue in the post-conflict context.  President Rajapaksa reiterated his firm policy of zero tolerance in relation to child recruitment.  In cooperation with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), child-friendly procedures have been established for their “release and surrender” and rehabilitation in Protective Accommodation Centres.  The objective of the rehabilitation process presently underway is to reintegrate former child soldiers into society as productive citizens.   The Secretary-General expressed satisfaction on the progress already made by the Government in cooperation with UNICEF and encouraged Sri Lanka to adopt similar policies and procedures relating to former child soldiers in the north.

6.  President Rajapaksa informed the Secretary-General regarding ongoing initiatives relating to rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-combatants.  In addition to the ongoing work by the Office of the Commissioner General for Rehabilitation, a National Framework for the Integration of Ex-combatants into Civilian Life is under preparation, with the assistance of the United Nations and other international organizations.

7.  Sri Lanka reiterated its strongest commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, in keeping with international human rights standards and Sri Lanka’s international obligations.  The Secretary-General underlined the importance of an accountability process for addressing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.  The Government will take measures to address those grievances.[35]

Now, where in these passages is there any indication that the Government is, one, accepting or admitting that violations of humanitarian law were in fact committed, and two, that it was undertaking a “joint commitment” to an accountability process?  Mention of “accountability” is tucked away at the very end of the document (paragraph 7), and that only in two sentences.  I will turn to those two sentences in a moment, but first let’s look at the paragraphs as a whole, to see if it is possible in some way or another to extract the meanings that the Secretary General seems to think are contained in the document.  For instance, since there is mention of UN “assistance” in some of these passages, is it possible to interpret this to cover assistance to an accountability process?

The first paragraph clearly raises the issue of UN “assistance”:  it says that the President and the Secretary General “discussed a series of areas in which the United Nations will assist the ongoing efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka.”  But is this assistance the UN is to give, and which the Government is putting itself under obligation of accepting, supposed to cover the matters mentioned in all of the remaining passages, or just a few?  In my view, it covers only paragraphs 2, 3 and 4, and not paragraphs 5, 6 and 7.  The former three clearly involve “assistance” in one way or another.  For instance, in paragraph 2 the UN pledges to assist the IDP’s in Vavuniya and Jaffna, and the Government agrees to allow access to these areas.  In paragraph 3, the Government “seeks the cooperation of the international community in mine clearing.”  Paragraph 4, meanwhile, contains a reference to the Secretary General calling for “donor assistance.”

Next come paragraphs 5, 6 and 7, where it is not clear that any assistance is being offered or requested.  For instance, paragraph 5 deals with LTTE child-soldiers, and the progress the Government had made up to that point in rehabilitating and re-integrating these child-soldiers back into society.  The Secretary General says he’s happy with the progress so far, and to carry on.  Paragraph 6 deals with initiatives that the Government had taken to rehabilitate adult ex-combatants.  There is a reference to “assistance,” but that is to a program to which UN assistance had already been given, and the Government is simply expressing its appreciation.

So, it is in this context that one has to approach paragraph 7, which contains the two sentences:  “The Secretary General underlined the importance of an accountability process for addressing violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.  The Government will take measures to address those grievances.”  The Secretary General’s contention, to repeat, is that these two sentences establish, one, that the Government is agreeing or admitting that violations of humanitarian law were in fact committed, and two, that there is a joint commitment to an accountability process, which in turn empowers or authorizes the Secretary General to monitor and provide assistance to that process as he sees fit.  Is there any indication in those two sentences that the Government is agreeing to any of these things?

In my view, there is no such indication.  If, for instance, the first sentence said something like, “The Secretary General expressed his concern over violations of international humanitarian law committed during the last phases of the war,[36] and underlined the importance of an accountability process to address those matters,” and the second sentence said something like, “The Government undertakes to take measures to address those concerns,” there may some basis to contend that the Government is admitting that the violations indicated by the Secretary General did in fact occur, and that it will look into them.  But as the sentences stand, I cannot see how any reasonable person can interpret that the Government is admitting that violations in fact occurred.  In my view, those two sentences as they stand indicate only that the Government is saying it will look into any allegations of violations if such are made, and pursue further those allegations that are found to have merit and substance.

There is no question that in the last sentence the Government is making a commitment, i.e., to take measures to address any “grievances” with respect to violations of humanitarian law.  But the “grievances” refer to allegations, not to acts the Government has admitted it committed.  Now, someone can say, “What good is a commitment (even if it is to investigate allegations) if there is no enforcement mechanism, i.e. monitoring, to make sure the Government actually follows through on its promises?”  But even in that case, since the agreement is with the UN organization, and not with the Secretary General personally, it would be the UN in its collective capacity””i.e. the General Assembly or the Security Council””that would be entitled to monitor, and not the Secretary General personally.  Of course, the Secretary General would be entitled to inform the General Assembly or the Security Council that, in his view, progress with regard to accountability was slow, or some such thing, but it would be up to the General Assembly or the Security Council to decide what to do about it.

In sum, then, at least as far as I can see, the purported agreement with the President nowhere contains any of the elements that the Secretary General contends.  Even the two sentences which refer to an accountability process, when looked at closely, don’t contain any admission by the Government that violations in fact occurred, or any agreement that the Government is placing itself in a position of being monitored by the Secretary General personally. This means that the Secretary General can’t really use this document as a legal basis for his actions:  at any rate, it is a most insubstantial and flimsy pretext for a legal basis.

b)  Article 99

I shall now turn to Article 99 of the UN Charter, because, other than an independent compact or contract such as, say, the joint-statement with the President (which as we have seen is insufficient as a legal basis in this instance) the only other way the Secretary General can try to justify the types of actions he has taken””i.e. commissioning reports and inquiries against a country purely on his initiative””is by recourse to Article 99.  As I indicated at the very start, in my view recourse to Article 99 is unavailable to the Secretary in this instance.  I want to discuss why this is so, and draw out the necessary implications.

Incidentally, there are indications that the Secretary General’s legal experts also at one time contemplated recourse to Article 99, and rejected it (perhaps for the same reasons I also think that Article is not an option in this instance).  In any event, the fact that his legal advisors contemplated a resort to Article 99, and appear to have rejected it, is highly significant, and I’ll briefly turn to this matter later in this section.  But first, here’s Article 99:

The Secretary General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”[37]

To fully appreciate Article 99, one has to read it in conjunction with Articles 97 and 98, both of which control the functions of the Secretary General.  Article 97 establishes the Office of the Secretary General, as follows: “The Secretary General shall be the chief administrative officer of the organization.”[38]  Article 98, meanwhile, sets out or defines the Secretary General’s functions, as follows:  “The Secretary General shall act in that capacity in all meetings of the General Assembly, of the Security Council, of the Trusteeship Council, and shall perform such other functions as are entrusted to him by these organs.”[39]

Of the two, Article 98 is the more important for my purposes.  To repeat, it defines the basic parameters of the Secretary General’s duties:  he is to act as the chief administrative officer in the meetings of the General Assembly, the Security Council, and the Trusteeship Council, and also to perform any other functions “entrusted to him by these organs.”  So, under normal circumstances, if the Secretary General wants to perform functions other than being the chief administrative officer, they have to be ones entrusted to him by the General Assembly, Security Council or the Trusteeship Council.  Article 99, then, provides an extension to this:  it allows the Secretary General to bring issues of his choosing to the attention of the Security Council.  So, can he justify his reports and inquiries on Sri Lanka by invoking the aforesaid discretion, that is, by saying that he is engaging in these inquiries with an eye to eventually bringing the matters in question before the Security Council?

In my view, recourse to Article 99 is unavailable to the Secretary General in this instance, and the reason is obvious from just one glance at the Article itself.  The Article certainly gives the Secretary General discretion to bring various issues before the Security Council, but there is a caveat involved:  those issues the Secretary General wants to bring before the Security Council have to be ones that in his opinion pose a threat to the “maintenance of international peace and security.”  In other words, if he wants to bring “accountability issues” in Sri Lanka before the Security Council, he is going to have to be of the opinion that such issues, in some way or another, pose a threat to the maintenance of international peace and security.  Can such an “opinion” possibly be justified?  I don’t think so:  no one, not even Sri Lanka’s harshest critics, would go so far as to contend that “accountability issues” in Sri Lanka rise to the level of being a threat to international peace and security.

A supporter of the Secretary General might say something like this: “Article 99 gives the Secretary General sole discretion to decide whether or not a situation he wants to take before the Security Council is a threat to international peace and security, and he doesn’t have to justify his choice in any way.”  But that is problematic.  It is true that the Secretary General has been given discretion, but no discretion is ever absolute or untrammeled.  It is a settled principle of Administrative Law, for instance, that an official who has been given discretion must nevertheless exercise that discretion in a reasonable way.[40]  True, the Secretary General is not subject to the Administrative Law of individual nations, but it cannot be that he is immune from principles of administrative conduct generally accepted in much of the world.  If nothing else, he has to justify his actions in the court of public opinion.  So, asserting a claim to absolute discretion is simply out of the question:  at the very least, the Secretary General is going to have to come up with an argument, albeit even a farfetched one, that “accountability issues” in Sri Lanka pose a threat to international peace and security.

Let’s suppose that he were to concoct some such argument purely to reach the threshold of reasonable administrative conduct.  In that case, it only leads to a further problem, because a critic can point out, “If he is willing to “stretch” with respect to Sri Lanka, why not “stretch” with respect to other places in the world, and bring those also to the attention of the Security Council?”  I want to digress a moment at this stage, and briefly mention two of my own favorites for places that I feel could use a little bit more of this sort of special attention.  (These examples are not directly related to events in Sri Lanka, but they’re relevant to the overall point I’m trying to make here, plus, they will be relevant to my argument in the next segment, with respect to possible violations of Article 100 and 2(7).)  In any event, here are just two of my choices (the reader can substitute his or her own choices in place of mine).

The first is the situation in Honduras, where a dire human rights crisis has arisen.  Honduras, it should be recalled, was the scene of the coup in 2009 that brought President Porfirio Lobo to power, a coup condemned by almost the entire civilized world, but supported and perhaps sustained by the United States.  Laura Carlson, an American specialist on the subject, wrote the following in 2011:

The crisis in human rights and governance in Honduras has become apparent to the world and is a fact of daily life within the country. In the two years since Lobo came to power in elections boycotted by the opposition, Honduras catapulted into the top spot in the world for per capita homicides ”” the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) Global Homicide Survey found an official murder rate of 82 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010. There were 120 political assassinations in the country in 2010-2011. In the region of Bajo Aguan, where peasants are defending their land from large developers, 42 peasants have been murdered, and alongside 18 journalists, 62 members of the LGBT community, and 72 human rights activists have been killed since 2009. The Honduran Center for Women’s Rights reports that femicides have more than doubled and that more than one woman a day was murdered in 2011….The disturbing suspicion that the U.S. government, the historic godfather of the region, had given its blessing to the new regime became certainty when the State Department negotiated an agreement that paved the way for coup-sponsored elections without assuring the return of the elected government.[41]

Second, I turn to the situation in the Congo, where, again, a horrendous human rights situation is unfolding, with both Rwanda and Uganda supporting various Congolese rebel factions who are massacring hundreds if not thousands of civilians.  Thomas C. Mountain, a British journalist, has the following to say about the situation:

Rwanda has a president named Paul Kagame who twenty years ago was the head of the Ugandan CIA under President Musuveni and Rwanda and Uganda remain pretty much joined at the hip.  Both Musuveni and Kagame are dependent on the hundreds of millions of under the table royalties they are making off the illegal mining they “protect” in north and eastern Congo and both countries have “peacekeepers” funded by the UN in Somalia.  So the UN is giving both countries lots of weapons and cash and then doesn’t like it when such ends up supporting local warlords on behalf of the Musuveni/Kagame mafia?  And in the meantime millions of Congolese die, millions more live in desperate conditions fleeing the fighting and millions more dollars each day are looted from the Congo, a country that meets the definition of a failed state if ever there was one.[42]

Now, I am no expert on either of the above situations, but if even half of what these two writers say is true, the above places cry out for special UN attention.  I have a simple question,:When is the Secretary General going to commission Panels of Experts on “accountability,” or reviews of UN “failures,” in these places?

To return, I’m interested here only in the larger point:  if the Secretary General is to make the argument that his discretion under Article 99 allows him to consider “accountability issues” in Sri Lanka a threat to international peace and security, and to proceed with various reports and inquiries with regard to the matter, he is going to have to explain why he hasn’t used that discretion in the same manner with regard to innumerable other places in the world.  And that puts him, not to mention his legal advisors, in a very difficult and uncomfortable position.  The long and the short of all this, then, is that recourse to Article 99 is not open to him in this instance.

I can now turn briefly to a point I mentioned earlier, namely, that there are indications the Secretary General’s legal advisors also contemplated a resort to Article 99, and rejected it.  The mention of Article 99 occurs in the course of an interesting narrative of the events that preceded the Secretary General’s decision to commission his reports on Sri Lanka, and appears in the second of his reports.  The following is the relevant portion:

Progress on accountability was slow, but the UN would continue to pursue the issue. In June 2009 the Policy Committee discussed the possibility of UN action to establish a mechanism for an international investigation, an option presented by OHCHR….The UN Office of Legal Affairs advised the Secretary-General that he had the authority, under Article 99 of the UN Charter, to establish Commissions of Inquiry. In July 2009, the Policy Committee held a meeting exclusively on accountability in Sri Lanka during which the Secretary-General decided to give the Government of Sri Lanka some time to meet its responsibilities on accountability, but to establish an international initiative of some sort if it did not do so. From July 2009 to the beginning of 2010 the Secretary-General and senior UN officials repeatedly urged the Government to take action to ensure accountability.  In a 14  September 2009 letter to the President of Sri Lanka, the Secretary-General said he was  “considering the appointment of a Commission of Experts to advise me further and to be  available to you for assistance” on accountability. In March 2010, in the absence of Government initiative on the issue, the UN informed the Government and Member States of plans to establish a UN Panel of Experts on accountability in Sri Lanka.[43]

A number of interesting points emerge from this passage.  First, it says that the Secretary General’s legal advisors told him he had the authority under Article 99 to establish Commissions of Inquiry.  But did they also tell him that his authority under the Article would cover a Commission of Inquiry on Sri Lanka in this particular instance, with respect to the issue of “accountability”?  The passage is surprisingly silent on this crucial question.  To pursue this a bit further, the passage indicates that soon after being informed that he had authority under Article 99 to establish Commissions of Inquiry, the Secretary General decided to give “Sri Lanka some time to meet its responsibilities.”  That is obviously very generous of him, but why didn’t he resort to a Commission of Inquiry after the requisite time had passed?  Instead, he chose to base his actions on the purported agreement with the President, which, as we saw, is quite insufficient for the purpose.

Surely, the Secretary General and his legal advisors were also aware of the flimsiness of the agreement with the President as a legal basis.  And yet they resorted to it, despite having (according to their own testimony,) the option of a Commission of Inquiry.  What does this mean?  It means, in my view, that they felt, under the circumstances, that a resort to the agreement with the President, as flimsy as that was, was still better than a recourse to Article 99””which means, by extension, that they felt a recourse to Article 99 was really unavailable in this instance.

Second, consider the last sentence in the passage, “In March 2010, in the absence of Government initiative on the issue, the UN informed the Government and Member States of plans to establish a UN Panel of Experts on accountability in Sri Lanka.”  This is clearly an untruth if not an obfuscation.  As the terms of reference of the first report made absolutely clear, the commissioning of that report, and also the designation of the “Panel of Experts,” was emphatically an act of the Secretary General, not the UN, in the sense that the decision to commission the report and to appoint the experts was not a collective decision made by UN Members.  The decision to commission the reports, to repeat, was taken by the Secretary General exercising his discretion.  Certainly, Members were welcome to give their input, but the Secretary General had the final say in whether or not he would accept any such input.

The Secretary General’s experts, however, know the above, and yet they designate the report a UN report.  Why?  Clearly, they want to convey the impression that the Secretary General’s actions in this case are UN actions, i.e., that he is only carrying out the wishes of the Members, and not acting on his own.  But if it is so important to convey the impression that he is only carrying out the wishes of the Members, or at any rate acting in conformity with standard procedures set down in the Charter itself, why not resort to a Commission of Inquiry under Article 99, especially if he has that option open?

This point, plus the one previously discussed, indicate that the Secretary General’s legal advisors also recognized that though as a general matter he had the authority to resort to Article 99, in this particular instance, he didn’t have that option open.  (In my view, they probably told him that if he wanted to pursue an “accountability” agenda in Sri Lanka, he had to find some other way to justify it, which he promptly did.)  In any event, the point is that for whatever reason, a recourse to Article 99 was never made, and the Secretary General chose to base his actions purely on the agreement with the President.

So, what does all this mean?  As we have seen, Article 99 offers the only way for the Secretary General to engage in activities other than those entrusted to him by the General Assembly, the Security Council, and the Trusteeship Council.  For reasons discussed earlier, that option is not open to him in this instance, and in any event, he himself has chosen not to use it.  As we have also seen, the agreement with the President is not an independent contract that gives the Secretary General any special powers to monitor Sri Lanka with respect to the accountability process.  That means only one thing:  the Secretary General has absolutely no legal basis for his actions.  Technically, I suppose the “charge” would be that he is exceeding his powers under Article 99.

One could stop there:  if the Secretary General has no legal basis for his actions, or is exceeding the powers granted to him by the Charter, he can be held accountable just on those grounds.  As I said earlier, however, I believe that an argument can also be made that he is violating Articles 100 and 2(7).  So, let’s turn briefly to that now.

c)  Violations of Articles 100 and 2(7)

I shall start with Article 100.  First, here is what it says:

1)  In the performance of their duties the Secretary General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any other authority external to the Organization.  They shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only to the Organization.

2)  Each Member of the United Nations undertakes to respect the exclusively international character of the responsibilities of the Secretary General and the staff and not to seek to influence them in the discharge of their responsibilities.[44]

My argument as to the Secretary General possibly violating the above Article, especially 100(1), is based on a process of elimination, and draws inspiration from a very famous principle in the criminal law of England, also for the most part operative in Sri Lanka.[45]  The principle is called the Ellenborough Principle, and what it says is that where a strong prima facie case is made against an accused, and it is in the power of the accused to explain away certain suspicious circumstances or events that tie him to the offence, and he either refuses or fails to explain those away, an inference of guilt can be drawn against him.[46]  So, here is my argument.

We have already seen that the Secretary General has absolutely no legal basis for his actions.  Is there any other way he can justify, if not excuse, his actions?  Can he justify his actions, for instance, on moral grounds?  For instance, a reader might be inclined to say something like this:  “If high Sri Lankan officials committed war crimes during the last stages of the war, they ought to be held accountable””what does it matter if, in pursuing justice, the Secretary General cuts some corners, or takes some liberties, with ‘procedure’?”  I am perfectly willing to agree with this sentiment:  if anyone is guilty of war crimes, the interests of justice demand that they be held accountable, and they ought not to be able to get away by exploiting “procedure,” technicalities, loopholes, or any other thing.

This is where the long discussion I undertook in the first section of this essay becomes relevant.  As I tried to show in that section, it is not clear that the types the of war crimes the Secretary General is alleging were committed by the Sri Lankan side in the last stages of the war, or at any rate the Secretary General has not produced a prima facie case that such crimes were committed.  If the Secretary General cannot make a prima facie case for war crimes, he does not have a moral right to continue making accusations of such crimes.  In fact, it seems to me the reasonable and fair thing for him to do under the circumstances is to stop making accusations, or busy himself in collecting some evidence with which he can present a prima facie case at some future date, and make his accusations at that time.

I can think of only one other ground that might help explain””certainly not justify, but explain””the Secretary General’s actions:  personal sentiment or attachment to Sri Lanka.  But I cannot see how Sri Lanka would evoke any special personal sentiment or attachment on the part of the Secretary General.  For instance, he is not a Sri Lankan, and, as far as I know, he has no relatives or kith or kin who are Sinhalese or a Tamil, the two parties most affected by the conflict.  To my knowledge, he has also not sojourned in Sri Lanka for any extended period of time.  His visits to Sri Lanka have been for official purposes, certainly not long enough to induce him to grow any more fond of this country than any other country where he has probably sojourned for equal amounts of time, including, perhaps, Honduras and the Congo, the places I mentioned in the last segment, or any number of other places that I’m sure the reader can name.

We are thus left with a very curious situation.  To begin with, the Secretary General does not have any legal basis for his actions.  He also does not have a moral justification for those actions.  In the meantime, as I have suggested just now, there is not even a personal ground that one can point to that at least helps explain those same actions.  So, why does he continue to engage in them?  In my view, there can be only one reason:  he is being pressured by interested parties.  And this immediately triggers Article 100.

To revert to the Ellenborough Principal, as I mentioned earlier, it says that where a strong prima facie case is made against an accused, and it is in the power of the accused to explain away certain suspicious circumstances and events that tie him to the offence, and he refuses or fails to explain those away, an inference of guilt can be drawn against him.  I think it is impossible to ignore, when one takes into account all of the possible reasons that can help explain the Secretary General’s actions in this case, that a strong suspicion arises that he is bowing to outside pressure.  The ball is in his court:  the onus is on him to explain his actions.  I cannot help but feel that unless he explains himself, one has no choice but to draw an adverse inference against him with regard to the matter I have discussed.  I shall leave it at that.

Finally, to turn to Article 2(7), here is what it says:

Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter.[47]

My argument is that, one, the Secretary General is violating the above Article by the very fact that he is continuing his actions despite having no legal basis for them, and two, that his actions can set the stage for other countries to meddle in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs, which in turn would make those actions complicit in such meddling, and thus amount to a violation of the above Article.

With respect to the first, as Article 2(7) makes clear, the UN is prohibited from meddling in affairs that fall principally “within the domestic jurisdiction of members.”  Is this prohibition absolute?  Clearly, it isn’t””because if that were the case a country could close its doors to the world and carry out massacres and genocidal campaigns to its heart’s content, and the world would be helpless to do anything about it.  It would be absurd to suggest that the UN Charter was intended to countenance such a state of affairs.

But then how does one make sense of the prohibition in Article 2(7)?  In my view, there’s only one way to do this, and that is to say that if the UN were to meddle in the internal affairs of a nation, it would have to be for the most compelling of reasons, for instance, because the internal situation in question involved demonstrable violations of international law, or had the potential to flare into a larger conflagration and drag in other nations, thus causing an international crisis.  In my view, “accountability” issues in Sri Lanka at present cannot be brought under either of these categories.

Of course, there is no statute of limitations on war crimes: if the Secretary General or anyone else were to uncover compelling evidence of such crimes in the future, they can always bring their charges before the Security Council or any other relevant organ of the UN, and the relevant organ can recommend appropriate action at that time.  But continuing to commission report after report on Sri Lanka, with “war crimes” as the theme, is uncalled for.  Sri Lanka, it should be remembered, was the scene of nearly thirty years of civil war.  The most important task now is for the different ethnic groups in the country, especially the Sinhalese and the Tamils, to mend fences as best they can and get on with their lives.  In my view, continuing to open old wounds is not a help but a hindrance to this process of reconciliation and mending of fences:  it is an interference in the internal affairs of this country, and thus, ipso facto, a violation of Article 2(7).

To turn to the second matter, my argument is as follows.  The Secretary General’s continuing to commission report after report against Sri Lanka, with “war crimes” as the theme, tends to create an impression in the minds of persons in the outside world, especially persons who may not have extensive or detailed knowledge of the specific issues or events in question, that the Government may in fact have some deep, dark secret it is hiding about the war.  In other words, it prejudices or poisons the minds of persons in the outside world against Sri Lanka.  But what if, like the famous “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, there is no deep, dark secret about the war?

If Iraq proved anything, it is that in an atmosphere of prejudice and suspicion, it is often possible to get persons in the outside world to approve, endorse, or otherwise go along with various measures against a country that it is difficult if not impractical to pursue if no such prejudice existed, and where, in a manner of speaking, “cooler heads” could prevail. I feel that if sufficient prejudice is generated against Sri Lanka in the international community, it may be possible to get the international community to approve various measures against this country also, measures they would be reluctant to approve or endorse in a less charged atmosphere.

I feel that the danger in this situation is that if an initial measure such as a resolution to authorize war crimes investigations is passed, it can be exploited, used as a platform or springboard from which to launch various destabilization schemes against this country.  For instance, it would be possible to insert or infiltrate agents provocateurs into this country in the guise of war crimes investigators, or, in general, to focus so much international attention on the issue of “war crimes” in Sri Lanka so as to disorient the Government, and thereby create space for domestic agitators to maneuver, and affect, say, a “color revolution.”

I am not saying that any particular country is plotting such things at present, but reason, common sense and the experience of other nations especially in recent years indicate that such things are possible.  The Secretary General cannot be so na¯ve that he doesn’t also recognize this possibility.  If a person who can reasonably be expected to recognize that his actions might lead to harm, does not stop those actions but continues them, he or she is at some level responsible for that harm were it to occur later on.  My point is this:  if the Secretary General’s focus on “accountability” is exploited by a third party to subvert or destabilize this country, by facilitating such subversion, the Secretary General also becomes party to the “crime.”  Hence, his actions become a violation of Article 2(7).

Summary

I have in this section looked at the Secretary General’s culpability from three angles.  I showed that his own stated legal basis for his actions is insufficient and flimsy at best.  I then showed that there is simply no way he can resort to Article 99 to justify his actions, either.  That leaves him with absolutely no legal basis for his actions.  I also showed that he may be violating Articles 100 and 2(7).  With regard to the former, I indicated that the onus is on him to explain away certain suspicions that arise as to his conduct, and that if he fails to do this, an inference of guilt can be drawn against him.  With respect to Article 2(7), I showed that his actions are, one, an ex facie violation of the Article, and two, that those actions can also constitute a violation of the Article if they facilitate or aid the efforts of third parties to subvert or destabilize Sri Lanka.  Such then is the Secretary General’s culpability.  Is there a remedy?

Part 3:  The Remedy

I start with a simple premise:  nothing makes officials quake in their boots more than the imminent prospect of being hauled up before a court of law.  So, my recommendation is this:  Sri Lanka should go before the International Court of Justice and ask for an Advisory Opinion on whether the Secretary General has acted within the law with respect to his “accountability” quest in Sri Lanka.  The ICJ statute, enacted along with the UN Charter, and in fact an integral part of the latter, says, “The court may give an advisory opinion on any legal question at the request of whatever body may be authorized by or in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations to make such a request.”[48]  Sri Lanka is perfectly within its rights to take the aforementioned matter before the court.

What are the advantages and disadvantages if Sri Lanka were to go before the ICJ?  That is the crucial question.  It seems to me that from the Government’s point of view, the biggest disadvantage, and perhaps danger, is that the court might say the Secretary General’s actions are legal, in which case he would be in a far more solid position than he is in now to continue his actions.  In my view, however, he will continue his actions to their logical end””i.e. to compel an official investigation into the last stages of the war””regardless of whether he had the ICJ’s affirmation or approval.  So, as far as the Government is concerned, it really wouldn’t make any difference whether or not he had the added help of an ICJ ruling to give the imprimatur of a legal basis to his actions.

On the other hand, what are the advantages of filing the case?   What would happen, for instance, if the court were to rule against the Secretary General?  Clearly, he will have to stop his accountability quest:  it is one thing to act without explicit ICJ approval, but quite another to act if there was explicit disapproval.  He simply cannot continue a course of action if there is an ICJ ruling that says that his actions are a violation of the law?  The advantage to the Government, therefore, in taking the matter before the ICJ is that if the court rules against the Secretary General, his accountability “quest” will be well and truly finished.  Sri Lankans, meanwhile, can finally put the war behind them, and get on with their lives.

There is another advantage, related to the above, that I want to mention.  Let’s suppose, for a moment, that the case is filed, and the Secretary General is called before the ICJ.  Can we imagine something of how the case will proceed?  The court will no doubt ask him, among other things, “Why do you say that the Sri Lanka Government committed war crimes?”  To this, he will answer with something like, “Well, there are allegations.”  The court will then ask him, “What allegations, and how did you come upon them?”  The Secretary General will then have to produce not just his “reports,” but the evidence his experts relied on to come to the conclusions they did in those reports.  And at that point, I suspect, the Secretary General (and his legal advisors) will start to sweat.

Why?””because some people say that the Secretary General’s experts, when generating their reports, used highly questionable methods to gather evidence.  Here, for example, is one such claim, this one concerning the first report:

Those willing to petition the UN for an international war crimes inquiry targeting Sri Lanka had the choice of over two dozen sample letters prepared by the anti-Sri Lanka Lobby, to be sent online to UNSG Ban Ki Moon’s Panel of Experts….The POE in its March 2011 report on accountability in Sri Lanka revealed the receipt of over 4,000 submissions from some 2,300 senders.  However, the POE has denied access to material in its possession for a period of 20 years.[49]

I did not mention these claims before in my arguments in this paper because I wanted to take the Secretary General’s own allegations at their strongest.  I did not want to challenge his allegations at their root:  I wanted to show that even if one took the allegations as they stood, he had not established a prima facie case with respect to them.  But if the court is to assess whether or not the Secretary General acted within the law in pursuing accountability in Sri Lanka, and if the Secretary General is saying that he undertook his accountability quest because of allegations of war crimes, the veracity of those allegations become a crucial issue: as I mentioned earlier, the court will have to consider how he came upon his allegations in the first place.

The problem so far has been that no one can prove definitively that questionable methods of evidence-gathering were used:  the POE has ensured that all their material is sealed for twenty years.  But if the ICJ wants to see the record, the Secretary General can’t go before the court and say that the record is sealed for twenty years.  The court will be compelled to ask the Secretary General to unseal the record, even partially, so that at least the court can take a look at what’s in it.  And what if it turns out that the rumors as to the questionable methods of evidence-gathering are true?  What would that do to the Secretary General’s credibility, the credibility of his “experts”, and generally, the credibility of all the rest of the critics who have been screaming for “accountability” in Sri Lanka?  It will truly be the end of the road for all of them.

In my view, therefore, the advantages of filing this case far outweigh the disadvantages, and therefore the Government should go ahead and file it.  From the point of view of a general reader, it would be a marvelous civics lesson to the world.  It will be a chance to put to the court certain very important questions of law, not just on the scope and limits of the Secretary General’s powers, but also certain broader issues, touching on the position of the Charter with respect to interference in the internal affairs of nations, on humanitarian law, and so on, all relevant issues on which clarity and substantive commentary is so desperately needed, especially today.  From the narrower perspective of the Government, I am sure it will be a marvelous opportunity to seize the initiative in the “accountability” imbroglio. Thus far, the Government has allowed the Secretary General and the critics to set the pace and the tone of the debate, and no doubt has been suffering for it: a good attack, it is often said, is the best defense.

Conclusion

I have in this paper argued that the Secretary General does not have a prima facie case for war crimes against Sri Lanka.  I have also argued that the Secretary General’s reasons as to a legal basis for pursuing “accountability” don’t stand up to scrutiny, and that, technically, he is in violation of Article 99 of the Charter.  I have argued further that his accountability quest, in certain ways, may also violate Articles 100 and 2(7) of the Charter.

The Secretary General, like any human being, is free to entertain whatever opinion or sentiment he wants about Sri Lanka or Sri Lankans, but if he wants to accuse Sri Lanka of “war crimes,” one of the most serious and odious of charges that can be made against anyone, he needs to bring his evidence forward, and make his accusations in a forum and a venue where Sri Lanka can respond.  More than anything, he ought not to be allowed to compel international action against Sri Lanka by working behind the scenes, and on the basis of accusations alone.

References

[1] Report of the Secretary General’s Internal Review Panel on United Nations Action in Sri Lanka, November 2012, para 76

[2] Indirect submissions include “leaking,” unofficial e-mail submissions to members, posting on the UN website, and so on.

[3] Richard Falk, “Why international law matters,”  www.juragentium.org, 2005

[4]Report of the Secretary General’s Panel of Experts report on Accountability in Sri Lanka, March 2011, p. ii-iii  (Executive Summary)

[5]Ibid, p. 40, para 137

[6] It goes without saying that if a smaller number of civilians were killed, that doesn’t mean indiscriminate attacks did not take place.  Clearly, that would depend on the specific evidence available as to such attacks, if any.  My point here, however, is that from a general point of view, if large numbers of civilians were in fact not killed, it is less probable that there were indiscriminate attacks.  Equally important, a lesser number of civilian casualties is consistent with alternative scenarios, for instance, where an army is fighting combatants operating from within a civilian population, and where civilians killed, if any, are the possible result of “collateral damage,” or damage incidental to the conduct of  military operations.

[7] Department of Census and Statistics, Sri Lanka,  Enumeration of Vital Events 2011, (Northern Province), p.19

[8]Ibid. p. 20

[9] Ibid p. 20

[10] See, for instance, Michael Roberts, “The civilian death toll in early 2009:  a flawed estimate,” The Island, November 23, 2011

[11] Report of the Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka, March 2011, p. 40, para. 134

[12] High Resolution Satellite Imagery and the Conflict in Sri Lanka, American Association for the Advancement of Science, August 2009, www.shr.aaas.org/geotech/

[13] The study found evidence of three gravesites with 1,346 individual graves between them, as of May 10, 2009, and that was at the height of the fighting.  If “tens of thousands” were being killed, why just 1,346 individual graves?

[14] Report of the Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka, 31 March 2011, p.ii

[15] Ibid, p.19

[16] Ibid, p.iii

[17] Ibid, p.iii

[18] These three categories pertain to events that allegedly occurred during the fighting itself, particularly the last phases, which is the focus in this paper.  The other two categories deal with post-conflict issues, and fall more within the purview of human rights law, a vast subject which it would take an entirely separate paper to address properly.

[19] Ibid, p. ii

[20] Ibid, p. ii

[21] Ibid, p. ii-iii

[22] At any rate, as I indicated earlier, it is a picture less consistent with indiscriminate attacks, but consistent with alternative scenarios, for instance where the civilian casualties are incidental to military operations.

[23] B. Muralidar Reddy, “An eye-witness account of the last 70 hours of Eelam War IV,” Frontline, Volume 26-Issue 12:  June 6-19, 2009

[24] Ibid

[25] Ibid

[26] A critic might suggest that the question is not whether the government was “massacring” civilians, but whether civilians were being killed in indiscriminate attacks.  Indiscriminate killing is not the same as intentional targeting of civilians under international law.  I am aware of the technical definition of “indiscriminate” attacks, but I’m talking here about matters as seen from the perspective of the civilians.  I’m using the term “massacre” to mean systematic indiscriminate attacks, and not deliberate targeting of civilians in massacres such as, say, Mai Lai in Vietnam, and other such incidents.  For the purposes of the analysis here, I consider that from the standpoint of civilians, an “indiscriminate” attack is a “massacre.”  The relevant question is whether, going on the statements of the civilians, as recorded by persons closest to the battlefield, it is possible to conclude or infer that “massacres”””or anything resembling “indiscriminate” attacks””were taking place, which in turn would be helpful in evaluating the picture painted by the numbers.

[27] B. Muralidar Reddy, “A first-hand account of the war and the civilians’ plight as Eelam War almost comes to a close,” Frontline, Volume 26, Issue 11, May 23-June 5, 2009

[28] David Gray, “A Day at the Front Line in Sri Lanka (Photographer’s Blog)”, www.blogs.reuters.com, April 27, 2009

[29] “Distribution of food and essential items to Jaffna and Vanni districts from August 2006 to September 2009 (Including food items sent to Mullaitivu district by sea from February 2009 to May 2009)”, Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation (LLRC), November 2011, Vol. 2 (Annexes), Annex 4.12 (p. 101)

[30] Ibid, p. 100

[31] World Food Program

[32] Report of the Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka, March 2011, p. 22, para 78

[33] Report of the Secretary General’s Panel of Experts in Accountability in Sri Lanka, March 2011, p. 2

[34] Report of the Secretary General’s Internal Review Panel on United Nations Action in Sri Lanka, November 2012, p. 36

[35] Joint Statement by UN Secretary General, Government of Sri Lanka, 26 May 2009, www.un.org

[36] Recall that the terms of reference of the first report said explicitly, “The Secretary General underlined the importance of an accountability process to address violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed during military operations between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE.”

[37] UN Charter, Article 99

[38] Ibid, Article 97

[39] Ibid, Article 98

[40] The classic case on this is, Associated Provincial Picture Houses v. Wednesbury Corporotation (1948), where Lord Green opined, “It is true that discretion must be exercised reasonably.  Now what does that mean?  Lawyers familiar with the phraseology used in relation to statutory discretion often use the word “unreasonable” in a rather comprehensive sense.  It has frequently been used as a general description of the things that must be done.  For instance, a person entrusted with a discretion must, so to speak, direct himself properly in the law.  He must call his attention to the matters which he is bound to consider.  He must exclude from his consideration matters which are irrelevant to the matters he has to consider.  If he does not obey these rules, he may truly be said, and often is said, to be acting “unreasonably.”  (at p. 229)

[41] Laura Carlson, “Honduras and the Obama Administration,” Counterpunch, March 20, 2012

[42] Thomas C. Mountain, “Carnage in the Congo,” Counterpunch, December 24, 2012

[43] Ibid, p. 15, para 38

[44] UN Charter, Article 100

[45] The focus of this paper is obviously international law, not criminal law, but I don’t see why one cannot use principles of law from other fields to elucidate discussions of international law, or any other field of intellectual endeavor, as long as the principles in question recommend themselves generally, on account of their intrinsic reasonableness and probity.

[46] “No person accused of a crime in bound to offer any explanation of his conduct or of circumstances of suspicion which attaches to him; nevertheless, if he refuses to do so where a strong prima facie case has been made out, where it is in his power to offer evidence, if such exists, in explanation of such suspicious circumstances, which would show them to be fallacious and explicable consistently with his innocence, it is a reasonable and justifiable conclusion that he refrains from doing so, only from the conviction that the evidence so suppressed or not adduced, would operate adversely to his interest.”  Rex v. Cochrain, (1814, Gurney’s Report, at 479.)

[47] UN Charter, Article 2(7)

[48] Statute of the International Court of Justice, Article 65(1)

[49] Shamindra Ferdinando, “How Moon panel gathered “war crimes” info revealed,” The Island, April 20, 2012

Proud Sri Lankans ” Buy Sri Lankan ” Be Sri Lankan

November 26th, 2013

Shenali D Waduge

The importance of culture, values, traditions, customs are all integrated into how a country’s identity is identified. It is this identity that gets passed down from generation to generation continued to preserve and protect what is held precious to the natives whose identity becomes a key part of who they are and what their country stands for. No country or countrymen should barter that identity or compromise upon it.

Placing the countries and people of the world into a global village has created a global economy giving windows of opportunity for manufacture, distribution, import and export of both goods and services. Disparities apart clothes stitched by locals are found in some of the world’s top up-market stores proudly displaying ‘made in Sri Lanka’. Of course the price these items are sold for is nowhere near that which the garment worker takes home in terms of salary but nonetheless these have been opportunities for employment.

In the open economy to which we all have become part and parcel, every item we buy has sometimes gone straight from our shores and returned as an imported good and we end up paying a heap of taxes, at other times despite what can easily be sourced locally the options available on counters are often priced in order to unfairly discriminate the local producer.

How many have noticed pricing in supermarkets? Onions ” local against imported are often priced so that the local price of onions is often more than the imported, the same applies to potatoes and now to fruits like watermelon and even mangoes. Much as people want to help the local farmers the price factor plays an envious role in deciding the ultimate choice and it is always the importer that wins the day. Though counters that are decorated with imported biscuits with fancy labels to attract the consumers has not thankfully deterred the locals who have remained loyal to the key brands that are keeping the flag flying. They have even secured foreign market opportunities as well. There are many amongst us however who feel it below their status to patronize local products and even rice, butter and milk has to be nothing but foreign as their digestive systems would not hear of buying or eating anything local. There are some ready to ensure local items are always below quality standards using scheming methods too.

It is not just the food with pricing that unfairly hits the local producers even state stalls tasked with promoting local handicrafts and products have priced items to limit purchase only to foreign tourists keeping an entire segment of local society left out of the marketing strategy. There is a limit to what a tourist can buy determined primarily because of the weight factor associated with travel, therefore should these state entities pricing local handicraft items (which they purchase from the local producers for a song) not price these items in a range that would entice even locals to purchase the items and adorn their homes with what can be proud Sri Lankan handicraft items?

As a nation what we have failed to of late nurture is the love for the nation, a feeling that has to come automatically and from the heart. To nurture this feeling the education curriculum plays an integral role and until and unless the authorities have a very clear notion that Sri Lanka’s history began before the arrival of the colonials and not afterwards the pride in our culture and heritage will be hanging in limbo ” we would be a nation belonging neither here nor there because a big part of the history is being purposely left out since it meets the agendas of a handful of people trying to project the nation as being what it is certainly not. Simply because a handful have a foot here and another there, the entire nation does not have to necessarily follow.

We have come to endorse customs and practices which are not heritage and in so doing we are committing to high degrees of value-blunders seen in the rise in lack of values and disciplines from child to adult. The rat-race to compete has left families in disarray and we have come to a stage where it is good to start from scratch, return to fundamentals not pretending to be what we are not but to synergize with our heritage and our former customs and values coming down from a time-tested past that no one can challenge for its record of compassion and high moral ground.

A cynic’s quick response would be to ask that all locals return to native attire totally misunderstanding the argument being made. Its not a question of all that is foreign is wrong but to realize the need to not compromise all that is local when these have more values than what we are importing. Simply to adopt all that is foreign closing the door to what we have been gifted naturally would be immoral and lead to an immoral legacy which we can witness in examples around us.

We need to think Sri Lankan and be proud Sri Lankans and that must first place our own people on a pedestal above others. We need to nurture our own products, manufacture our own instead of continuing the dependency for imported goods or we are only killing the livelihoods of people toiling their hearts out trying to give to us something local. It is time we appreciate what we produce though much of what we are producing has also become prey to another set of people finding ways to make money by inducing the artificial growth of these items with artificial boosters that leave consumers plagued with various illnesses that are seeing a rise and manifold of illnesses impossible to even diagnose unnecessarily eating into the purses to make the health sector profitable. It’s a vicious circle.

It is not hard to envisage that it is those that attempt to crush our heritage, our past and our former values who form the blocks of people and groups responsible for and always inviting everything foreign ” imports, intervention, interference and the like.

With the end of terror ” it is now time we put the pride back into our country by being Proud Sri Lankans ” being Sri Lankan and valuing what is ours.

To be Sri Lankan we need to first identify our history and take pride in it and not the history of identities that are foreign to our heritage ” herein lies the confusion which now needs to be cleared once and for all.

Chronic kidney disease in Rajarata, worse than tsunami

November 26th, 2013

by Prof. Sunil J. Wimalawansa

Safe drinking water is a fundamental human right, but more than 2.0 billion people in the world still lack access to safe-clean drinking water and to sanitation; Sri Lanka is no exception. Contaminated water and poor sanitation claim more lives than any war or any single disease. Toxic chemicals or organisms affecting health cannot necessarily be seen, tested, or smelled. Provision of clean water and sanitary facilities can save over 3 million lives globally and about 10,000 in Sri Lanka, annually.

Geographical and other issues


A casualty with his head on mother’s lap

Chronic Kidney disease (CKD) primarily affects middle-aged farmers. The CKD of multi factorial origin (CKD-mfo) in Sri Lanka is geographically demarcated, but is spreading to adjoining areas around the North Central Province (NCP) and elsewhere in the country. The farming communities are predominantly affected; of which more than 90% live in rural areas with little access to medical or preventative health facilities. Currently, the CKD-mfo-prone areas cover approximately 20,000 km2, and potentially affecting about 2.8 million Sri Lankans.

The occurrence of CKD is likely dye to consumption of polluted water/food, or yet unknown and thus, uninvestigated cause. Adverse environmental conditions, recent environmental unfriendly irrigation and agricultural methods, excessive use of phosphate-rich (and perhaps contaminated) artificial chemical fertilizer and toxic agro-chemical, and mishandling of petrochemicals, all may play a role in causing CKD-mfo; but no causality is demonstrated. It is paramount to launch an island-wide campaign to reduce the usage of artificial chemical fertilizers and toxic agro-chemicals, which necessitates gradual reduction of agro subsidies. All available data suggests that the CKD-mfo is an “environmentally” acquired disease.

Causes and incidence of CKDu

The water and food in the certain affected areas is polluted with low levels of toxic heavy metals, cadmium, arsenic, and lead, as well as with flouride, and toxic agro-chemicals and petrochemicals. Although the specific cause for the CKDu is unknow, it is of multi-factorial origin, and is due to a combination of chemicals and toxins that are prevent in this area. However, CKD-mfo can precipitate in the presence of other pollutants and toxic components that have not yet been investigated. The exact incidence or the causes of CKD are unknown, but over 100,000 people are currently affected (up to 10 to 15% of people in certain villages); unfortunately, the incidence continues to increase. Therefore, an urgent, cost-effective solution is necessary.

The reality

Approximately 400% of the inhabitants in Sri Lanka have access to clean, pipe-borne water supply. It is the prime duty of the Water Supply and Drainage Board to provide clean water via the same system to the remaining 60% of the population. People live in

villages should have the same privileges of having clean potable water provided via centrally purified pipe-borne water supply, that enjoy by the city dwellers. However, this may take another three decades or more to materialize fully. Unless intervene now efficiently, by then an estimated 250,000 predominantly middle-aged farmers will be succumbing to CKD-mfo.

There are no curative measures for those who acquire CKD-mfo, thus, prevention is the only way forward. Other than providing centrally purified pipe-borne water or clean water via reverse osmosis method, there is no other sustainable way of providing clean water to the affected villages, most of which are located in remote areas.

However, this must be implemented systematically and based on scientific basis. None of the variety of commercial filters that has been introduced to the area seems capable of removing the potential chemicals and toxins efficiently.

Methodologies

The North Central region desperately needs a cost-effective way to provide safe and clean water for its farming populace. Our analysis indicates that the Reverse Osmosis method is the most cost-effective, sustainable and environmentally friendly system than can remove all toxic components from the brackish water in NCP. However, not all reverse osmosis units are the same. Thus, it is imperative to install the right reverse osmosis water purification unit in a given village to provide clean water. Depending on the water quality/turbidity, electrical conductivity, chemical constituents, turbidity, etc., a pre-filter is necessary for the RO units. Philanthropic organizations and the water board are currently installing pilot units in villages in the Anuradhapura district. However, the Rajarata area requires approximately 400 of these reverse osmosis unites to provide clean water to its inhabitants.

Education, awareness and pollution prevention campaign

It is utmost important to initiate a region-wide awareness campaign on prevention of environmental pollution. This educational program must include (A) consequences of drinking contaminated water, (B) the importance of using safe and clean treated water, (C) water conservations methods, prevention of pollution of water sources and the environment, (D)essential precautions to be taken by farmers when using agrochemicals, (E) utilization of locally available organic substances and compost for cultivation and for pest control, etc. We have an on-going village level educational cum informative campaign on this since 2008; however, this needs to be intensified.

Provision of clean water to Rajarata

1. Prioritisation of villages to provide reverse osmosis water purification units.

2. Identification of the right RO units for the right village: as cost-effective, practical and sustainable way to provide clean water – via water treatment technology (removing all potential pollutants).

3. Availability of sustainable sources of brackish-water and method for clean water distribution.

4. Set-up infrastructure for proper operation and long-term maintenance of reverse osmosis plants.

5. Awareness program to encourage people to use clean water for drinking and cooking.

6. Regular monitoring of water quality as an integral part of the operation and maintenance.

7. Long-term data collation and systematic assessments to eliminate health problems in the region.

8. Capital, operational, maintenance and distribution costs; and cost recovery method.

Cost of installation reverse osmosis plants

On average, reverse osmosis plants costs about Us $8,900 to install (cost varies from $4,000 to $25,000, each unit). An average reverse osmosis unit provides safe and clean water to approximately 1,500 people (one or a cluster of 2 to 4 villages). We estimate that the entire region requires approximately 400 reverse osmosis plants, at a cost of US $4 million (500 million Sri Lankan rupees).

Cost-effectiveness

The number of deaths secondary to CKD in the affected region currently approximates 5,000 year. In spite of the diagnostic underestimations, this amounts to deaths of 13 farmers a day. Thus, each $650 spent on this project will prevent one CKD death per year. Therefore, over the expected life span of 30 years of an RO pant, investment of US $24 will prevent one death in Rajarata. Therefore, the proposed region-wide intervention is highly cost-effective.

With an estimated rate of 1% CKD-mfo related deaths, each reverse osmosis plant prevents approximately 10 deaths in a village, per year. Thus, over a 30-year period, each reverse osmosis plant will save about 300 lives. There is no medical or any other intervention where one could offer a solution to this region that is more cost-effective in reducing diseases burden and premature deaths.

Expectation and the hypothesis

The provision and the consumption of clean water will prevent the new occurrence of CKD-mfo. It would also decrease other chronic diseases and diarrhoeal diseases prevalent in the region. In 2012, department of health spent 3.6% of its annual budget, 350 million rupees to treat patients with CKD-mfo, and this cost is escalating. We estimate that the implementation of this proposed broader project would save about 500 million rupees per year in the health department budget alone. In addition, improvements in health reflect with increase productivity. Especially paddy and other agricultural productions in the region. Therefore, a rapid capital cost recovery is expected after commencing this project.

Current priorities:

Commitments and raising funds

A) Regional island-wide educational campaign on prevention of water and environment pollution.

B) Provision of clean, safe portable water using RO systems to CKD-affected villages in Sri Lanka.

C) Broad-based, environmental and sociological research program for CKD-mfo affected areas.

D) Government to provide adequate funds, and to develop collaborations and private-public partnerships, particularly with the not for profit sectors to implement the project and its longer-term maintenance in the region.

Once funds allocated, the Consortium of Concerned Philanthropic Organisation will (A) launch a extensive awareness campaign on prevention of environmental pollution and encouraging farmers to use less agro-chemicals, (B) professionally install reverse osmosis plants in the entire region providing clean water to all affected villages within the next 18 months, and (C) carry out a truly multi-disciplinary, prospective, long-term geo-water, health and socio-economic research program that covers the entire region. In addition to providing clean water, proposed project will also embrace on the provision of sanitary and toilet facilities. We look forward to undertaking a firm commitment by the government, provides adequate funds for the Consortium to implement this sustainable and extensive plan.

Who is responsible for continued accusation of Sri Lanka for violation of human rights and war crimes ?

November 26th, 2013

By Charles.S.Perera

 Sri Lanka is being accused for violation of human rights and its Armed Forces for war crimes

 But why and who is responsible for  this wild accusation by the West ?

 There had not been any violation of human rights  for which Sri Lanka could correctly  be singled out as the only country in the world committing violations against the rights of its people.

 If we examine the number of innocent people who have been killed and continued to be killed by other  wealthy Nations in the world, not in their own countries but in other developing countries outside their own, using their NATO or American Armed Forces chasing after terrorists, what human right violations Sri Lanka  is accused of having committed cannot be regarded as such.

 These accusations against Sri Lanka are being made without taking into consideration that Sri Lanka suffered from terrorism  for  nearly thirty years  and carried out military operations against the terrorists without going outside its own territorial boundaries, as the West is doing.  Sri Lanka cannot therefore be accused for violation of human rights as it carried out its military operations strictly within the country avoiding  damage as far as possible  to its own  civilian population.

 A war against terrorism is different from a declared war against a country. In Sri Lanka it was just  a group of  Tamil youth within the country who had taken up arms against the Government. They were  taken  by the Indian Secret Service and trained as terrorists and released into the country to accomplish their aim of dividing the country to form a separate State for the Tamil Community.  Those Tamil terrorists who eventually  turned out to be a considerable force had to be eliminated  as they were causing considerable suffering to the people of the whole country for nearly three decades.

 The civilians no doubt may have got killed in the course of  military operations  to eliminate that destructive  terrorism despite the care taken by the Government Air Forces for precise bombing, and others may have got killed being caught in the cross fire between the terrorists and armed forces.

 But vast destruction to the country and lot of murders of civilians in large scale massacres in unimaginable ways and means employing claymore bombs, in buses , trains, market places, and using kidnapped Tamil women trained as suicide bombers exploding themselves to eliminate selected human targets,  had been carried out by the terrorists through out the 30 years of their ruthless, atrocious existence. 

 In that situation of utter horror the country faced for thirty years the civilian deaths in the course of the elimination of terrorists by the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka cannot by any imagination be called violation of human rights, and least of all war crimes.

 It is only the foreign media that makes an issue  of  human rights violation in Sri Lanka, supported by the  Governments of the Western Countries either bought over by the terrorist sympathising Sri Lanka Tamil Diaspora, or through the jealousy  of the developed west towards  a developing country dare spring into being their equal, showing immense capability in economic development (while they are nose deep in a financial crisis), and  engaging in  a remarkable ability to build new diplomatic ties with  countries the Developed West would like to keep in a state of dependent underdevelopment.

 The Independent  website on 14 November,2013, titled its Editorial , ”  Sri Lanka’s appalling human rights record raises questions about  legitimacy of the Commonwealth.”

 UK Channel 4 has said “The people who so effectively executed the annihilation of the Tamil Tigers and many tens of thousands around them still run the country on a war footing.”

An NGO working for CNN writes, “As many as 70,000 people were killed in Sri Lanka’s war and in its final stage, which lasted from September 2008 to May 2009, the Sri Lankan army advanced into an area of the north where about 330,000 people were trapped by fighting. A U.N. report in 2011 said the government used “large-scale and widespread shelling” that left a large number of civilians dead.”

David Blair of the  Telegraph reported, “The world’s media took the opportunity to bring to the fore the plight of Sri Lanka’s disappeared ” with 5,676 “outstanding cases” according to the United Nations ” and the unresolved question of the atrocities carried out during the final battle of the civil war in 2009.”  He adds, ” The Sri Lanka “heads of government meeting” was a shambles, boycotted by the leaders of two of the most important members ” Canada and India ” and overshadowed by the controversy over its location……..”

Huffington Post UK wrote: “The Rajapaksa government’s human rights record has sparked international outcry as it is accused of committing war crimes in the civil war with Tamil separatists in 2009. The prime ministers of India, Canada and Mauritius all boycotted the CHOGM, while David Cameron was branded an “imperialist” for calling for war crimes allegations to be investigated.”

 Do not these malicious accusations against Sri Lanka for  violation of human rights and war crimes  by its Armed Forces  show the presence of  a  hidden agenda of  the Western countries, or is it a ploy to cover  up their own record of atrocious human rights violations and war crimes, in Vietnam, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Syria  ?  

 If it is suggested that Sri Lanka should be taken before a Tribunal for  violation of human rights and war crimes, is it not correct that the first to be taken before such a  tribunal should be USA, UK, Canada, Netherland, Germany, France and the rest ?  

 They-America and the West cannot accuse Sri Lanka, unless  America and its allies of the West ”UK, France, Germany, Canada, Netherland , Italy,  submit themselves  to an international  investigation of their  violation of human rights and  war crimes.  If there were to be such an investigation Sri Lanka should be a party to it.

 These accusations against Sri Lanka as a violator of the human rights of its own people  will go  on non stop as long as the pro terrorist Tamil diaspora continues to pay the Western media such as the UK Channel 4, and buy over the Western politicians.

 UK Channel 4 is specialising in  making documents out of collected images of horror perpetrated by the terrorist themselves  depicting them as committed by the Sri Lanka Armed Forces to incite the  people in the Western Countries against Sri Lanka and its Armed Forces, to awaken  them to act against Sri Lanka supporting the call  for an independent international investigation.

 The western television viewers love to see scenes of suffering and pathos, they are so moved by them the media offers more and more of it for their consumption often doctored  and falsified by  UK Channel 4 to the exclusion of  images of development  of roads,  bridges and buildings of utility,  beautification of streets, parks, cultural manifestations, and healthy happy children in clean and neat dresses.   

 The Western television viewers love to see the naked thin limbed African children  suffering from malnutrition with their mothers sitting and chasing away flies, or  scenes of disasters with country sides  devastated  by typhoons, tsunamis , or earth quakes, and  the  African soldiers and child soldiers in their dirty military fatigues, holding kalashnikov in their hands 

 For the  Western Television viewers the developing countries are the nests of suffering. Those images of suffering  displayed  before them by their  media- the press and television arouse their humanitarian sentiments.  The governments in these developing countries are depicted through these televised  images  as the cause of these unbelievable suffering of the people.  

 Sri Lanka another developing country emerging out of  its underdevelopment does not seem to interest as such to the Western media which produces their reports to suit  the Western viewers who  prefer images  of suffering  of these countries. Hence the popularity of  UK Channel 4. It does not matter where images have been taken or how the scenes had been created in studios, as long as the images incriminate the governments as  the perpetrator  of suffering in developing countries.

 It is with this back ground in mind  that  I sat down to watch the BBC  News  in the Television  the day the CHOGM was declared open by the Crown Prince Charles of Great Britain.  The BBC news started with a long report on the devastation caused by the typhoon Haiyan in Philippines,  then they came to Sri Lanka and showed the image of British Prime Minister David Cameron being received by the host the President Mahinda Rajapakse of Sri Lanka. 

 The presenter said  in Sri Lanka  the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is being held under a cloud of accusation of human rights violation by  Sri Lanka, then they passed on to show images of the Presidential election campaign in Chile, and then a report on the child soldiers in the Armed forces of Ghana.   There was nothing more about Sri Lanka and the CHOGM.  The media just presented what interested the Western viewers.

 But why is the visual media like the UK Channel 4, interested in preparing documentaries using  images doctored in studies to make them realist criminal offences committed by the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka, when there are other countries who commit war crimes in countries out side their own countries, killing civilians in reckless bombardments as it happened, in Libya. 

 There are meaningless killings of Afghan civilians by American soldiers, torture of prisoners, in Iraq,  death of civilians in drone attacks in the boarder villages of Pakistan, and torturing of  prisoners in Guantanamo Bay detention camps .  Despite all that UK Channel 4 is specialising  in  Sri Lanka creating  instances of human rights violation by doctoring images collected at random.  

 Why ?

 The obvious reason is that UK Channel 4 has been retained by the anti Sri Lanka pro-terrorist Tamil Diaspora for their vicious campaign against Sri Lanka.   Hence UK Channel 4 produce anti Sri Lanka films implicating its Armed Forces as war criminals at every occasion  the West brings accusations of violation of human rights against Sri Lanka at the UNHRCouncil in Geneva, or during visits of Sri Lanka dignitaries to UK, or even lately at CHOGM in Sri Lanka.

 Who provides false  information and encourages the foreign media and the Anti Sri Lanka humanitarian agencies to  interfere into internal affairs of Sri Lanka and maintain an ongoing anti Sri Lanka publicity campaign  of violation of human rights by the government and war crimes of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces ?

 It is the  Sri Lanka Tamil Community  led by the TNA which is the mole-the traitor which  is discrediting the country,  and  destroying the unity and development of Sri Lanka, and feeds the Western Countries and media with false information to justify their claim to set up a separate Tamil State.

 If TNA and the Tamil diaspora  were to stop their traitorous campaign against Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka would have gone a long way, much faster  in its development, providing its people the benefits from the hard won peace.  But it is not to be.  Unfortunately the Tamils in the South are also silently contributing to  this conspiracy against the unity  and progressive development of Sri Lanka.

 We tend to believe that the Tamils in the South living in peace and harmony with the Sinhala, will not be a party to an attempt at division of the country and separation of Communities.  But the opposite is the truth.

 If it is not so, how can we expect a man like Vigneshawaran, who lived, studied, worked as a judge,  married his sons to Sinhala women,  after becoming the Chief Minister of the PC of the North,  takes side with the TNA against  the Government and the Sinhala Community.  He has become a shameless traitor to Sri Lanka going as far as comparing a terrorist psychopath to a National leader who died fighting  against the British colonisation of his country.

 If Sri Lanka is to  develop and divest itself of foreign interference Sri Lanka should  politically eliminate the TNA and its sympathisers,  as  it eliminated physically the terrorists.

 There had been no Tamils from the south who had so far stood up to defend  Sri Lanka and speak out against the TNA and their separatist Agenda.  The reason why the foreign media, the anti Sri Lanka Western Countries, the numerous human rights agencies interfere into Sri Lanka accusing it of  violation of human rights and war crimes by its armed forces, is the result of the Sri Lankan Tamil Community’s silent  complicity with the TNA and their separatist political agenda.

 The number of real Sri Lankan patriots amoung the Sri Lankan Tamil Community would not exceed ten.  Amoung them is our great cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan, who was able to silence both David Cameron and the UK Channel 4 journalists through his frank declaration.

 Mutiah Mulitharan  declared to them, speaking as one whose family  had been victims of  race riots, that he has forgotten the past,  and advised them to do  like wise without digging into  Sri Lanka’s past, but help Sri Lanka in its development and reconciliation process.

 If there were to be more Tamils like him  Sri Lanka will be able to rid itself of the Western interference into its peaceful existence and continue with its progress and development towards the goal of building a prosperous  Sri Lanka for  every one to live happily together.

The Rowdiness of David Cameron lets Britain down despite the heartwarming charm of Prince Charles in Sri Lanka

November 26th, 2013

Shenali D Waduge

 The best of British we were told would arrive in Colombo to participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting hosted by Sri Lanka. We didn’t have to say ‘Bob’s your uncle’ for Cameron made quite clear all the way from London he was not going to be fagged by Rajapakse’s hospitality and would be asking some tough questions, questions prepared in consultation with the LTTE rump in London amongst whom he is now canvassing after returning. He blew plenty of hot air none of which to be frank was unexpected given the rising number of UK MPs having plunged into the LTTE kitty. What a refreshing difference however was to have the charmed presence of Prince Charles and Mrs. Camilla Parker Bowles. Both blue-blooded and aristocrats Prince Charles sparkled where Cameron failed to shine and he claimed he was arriving to shine some light and he did – upon himself and his uncouth behavior!.

Standing Tall and Standing Small

English politeness is generally said to be everywhere ” they are ever ready to dish out ‘sorry’s, ‘please and thank you’s but refusing to even sign in the nation’s guest book or accept the welcome on arrival is a bit going overboard. More so, unlike 9/11 a one off happening Sri Lanka faced terror for 30 odd years. We are a little piqued that Cameron or any other British Premier never showed the same gusto on civilian deaths apart from issuing a very unemotional official statement denouncing the act of terror and calling both parties for a cuppa tea and chat. Mind you, his very country kept most of the LTTE key leaders on UK soil and continue to do so.

Now this charade went on for a good 30 years. So we are a little puzzled that only when LTTE ” terrorists and not freedom fighters, were a whiff short of defeat UK and France sends viceroys Miliband and Kouchner for damage control. Now there would be no storms from Cameron had LTTE not been defeated in May 2009 ” is this not the crux of the entire matter?

So what was the point in dashing off to Jaffna or was this part of the UK election deal? Civilians died throughout and one type of civilian cannot be more important than the other as Prince Charles in his opening speech mentioned how he witnessed the rescue operations after the tsunami.

The Prince arrived in Sri Lanka on his 65th birthday and was not ‘tired’ to attend not only the birthday party organized by the British High Commission but even that of the Sri Lankan President. Prince Charles arrived at the Nelum Pokuna greeting the crowd in the traditional ‘ayubowan’, he made it a point to speak to every person and every aspect of body language showed he did not land as colonial master to order the colonial slave.

Not taking a leaf from Prince Charles, Cameron however thought he had gone back in time and himself as either the last viceroy or at best one of the British governors since his wife descends from landowners who had African slaves. In refusing to travel in the vehicles arranged and turning a cheek on all the hospitalities that had been specially arranged Cameron showed what a dork he is in our eyes for we are neither Britain’s slaves, nor servants and Sri Lanka is certainly not a British colony any more.

Come out with questions ” we are ready, we have questions too and our questions have to be answered too. Cameron cannot ask and get answers for only what he wants to hear.

Prince Charles wins hearts of Sri Lankans

 Prince Charles’s 3 day stay in Sri Lanka covered visits to the museum, to Kandy where he laid a wreath for those killed by the LTTE, when Cameron failed to even remember the 3 Britishers killed by LTTE in 1986, Prince Charles also visited the tea plantations and to the delight of all founding himself putting his dancing shoes to do the Hokey-Pokey even if he couldn’t bend like Beckam. ! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/prince-charles/10454075/Prince-of-Wales-rounds-off-Sri-Lanka-tour-with-a-cup-of-tea-and-the-Hokey-Cokey.html

Cameron certainly needs to loosen up. He is not exactly well placed to be pointing fingers. Even if we leave out mention of the colonial crimes of the British, or the contemporary crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and even Syria he remains haunted by the fact that evidence remains of LTTE sponsors, LTTE activists and LTTE groups continuing to function from the UK. With UK banning LTTE as far back as 2001 we would now like to know if Cameron is taming the tiger! Therefore Britain’s moral audit does not give Cameron any scope to point fingers.

What needs to be said was that when Cameron claims he is not satisfied with what Sri Lanka has done it means the British High Commission and others advising him are either feeding him wrong information or they are all working to a different plan. It is only when as Muralitharan said those that see what is taking place in the North now who will realize what change has taken place. Therefore if Cameron came to play tough he can be happy with himself but all those who know which side of the coin the lie is will realize that it is better to have been like Prince Charles than Cameron in the face of hard facts.

Ugly Englishman

 Ever Hear of an Ugly Englishman? We have all heard of The Ugly American caricatured in a 1958 political novel by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer upon which a 1963 movie starring Marlon Brando was based. The novel became a best seller.

The novel is set in a fictional nation called Sarkhan (an imaginary country in Southeast Asia that somewhat resembles Burma or Thailand, but which is meant to allude to Vietnam). The book describes the United States’s losing struggle against Communism””what was later to be called the battle for hearts and minds in South East Asia ””because of innate arrogance and the failure to understand and respect the local culture.

The behavior of David Cameron typifies the Ugly Englishman in Asia. A combination of crass stupidity and low vulgarity. It is shameful conduct unworthy of a Prime Minister of a country that once ruled the waves. It will boomerang on him and his country one day.

Britain’s Human Rights Abuses.

November 26th, 2013

Rudra de Zoysa, New Zealand.

Dear Editor,

 I was amazed at the number of examples given by the contributors to this publication about the instances of Britain’s human rights abuses. If you wish to read about all of Britain’s abuses of human rights since 1944 then please refer to or purchase the following book: -

 Curtis, M (2004). Unpeople, Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses. London, England. Vintage.

ISBN: 9780099469728

 Mark Curtis is a former Research Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). He has written extensively on Britain’s and USA’s foreign policies. Two of his more famous books are:

  1. The Ambiguities of Power, British Foreign Policy since 1945, and
  2. Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World.

 Curtis’s seminal publication, Unpeople, Britain’s Secret Human Rights Abuses contains 323 easy-to-read pages with 39 pages of references and notes. I purchased this book in 2011.

 At the very end of ‘Unpeople’, Curtis provides a table of figures giving the number of deaths since 1944 for which Britain has significant responsibility. He has divided the table in to 4 categories: -

  1. Direct responsibility.
  2. Indirect responsibility.
  3. Active inaction.
  4. Others.

 Curtis concludes that Britain has significant direct responsibility for between 4 and 6 million deaths.

 One dimension we tend to have forgotten is Britain’s role in the slave trade! The Portuguese and Spanish had the lead in this lucrative trade but British businessmen became involved in the trade in the 16th century, and the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) gave them the right to sell slaves in the Spanish Empire.

 In the 18th century, perhaps 6 million Africans were taken in atrocious conditions to the Americas as slaves, at least a third of them in British ships based mainly in Liverpool. The trade in human beings was termed “The triangular trade”. Slavery was a legal institution in all of the 13 American colonies and Canada (acquired by Britain in 1763). The profits of the slave trade and of Caribbean plantations amounted to 5% of the British economy at the time of the Industrial revolution.

The first part of “The triangular trade” was to take items such as guns and brandy to Africa to exchange for slaves. The second side of the triangle was to take the slaves on the ‘Middle Passage’ across the Atlantic to sell in the West Indies and North America. To complete the triangle the traders took a cargo of rum, cotton, gold and sugar back to sell in England.

Mr. Cameron, wake up! As our President Mahinda Rajapakse rightly said “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”.

Three page article by Rosie DiManno in Nov 2013

November 26th, 2013

Mahinda Gunasekera Agincourt, Ontario Canada

By E-mail
November 24, 2013

The Editor
Toronto Star
Toronto, Ontario

Dear Editor,

Re: Three page article by Rosie DiManno carried in the Star of November  2013

Rosie DiManno is once again packing her lengthy article with statements from different persons and repeating some allegations picked up from various sources as though these are gospel truths, whereas none of these have been substantiated or established as fact.  It is an impossible task to respond fully to the editor as letters are required to be limited to 150 words. Her long diatribe is possibly published to both mislead the reader and try to embarrass Sri Lanka, the host of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which was scheduled to commence on November 15, 2013.

Unreliable Witness: On the first page, she has quoted one Dr. Thangamuthu Sathiyamoorthy a physician in the employ of the government who claims that there was intense shelling by the Sri Lanka Army during the military action taken against the Tamil Tiger terrorists, and his having narrowly escaped becoming a victim of the war.  This is the third public statement made by this doctor, each one varying from the other making it difficult to believe which is true. He failed to mention that the Tigers placed their artillery guns close to hospitals to attack the advancing army in attempts to draw retaliatory fire which could have caused damage to the medical facility.  It was the Tigers who initiated the war by making unprovoked attacks on civilians and the armed forces from December 2005 and cutting off water to 30,000 farming families from Mavil Aru (Mahavil Oya) in July 2006, which compelled the authorities to use force to dislodge them and provide drinking and irrigation water to the affected families.

Rbitrary Population Stats and Civilian Casualty Numbers: She again speaks of the exaggerated guesstimates of civilian casualties in the last five months of the war ended on May 18, 2009, reported by the U N Secretary General’s so called Panel of Experts report of 2011. They had based their assumptions on one sided information coming from pro-Tiger sources which they have locked away for the next 20 years to be around 40,000. A later UN internal review conducted by Charles Petrie claimed 70,000 had died between January 1 and May 18, 2009.  She has said that Church leaders who stayed behind calculated the civilian deaths at 147,000 based on census and statistics for the area. After the census taken in 1981, the Tamil Tigers did not allow any census to be carried out in their area of control as they could then provide inflated numbers to receive higher quotas of food and other essentials from the government.  Many people moved out of the Vanni paying a cash penalty to the Tigers or leaving a child behind to fight for the separatist cause and settling in the capital city of Colombo and suburbs which helped the Tamils to become the largest community in Colombo, while yet others fled to South India by boat.  In her earlier series of articles of September 2013, she said the civilian population was 330,000, and this time she says the number was 350,000 and in another place she has said the number was 300,000 to 350,000. Just like the casualty numbers being stretched by leaps and bounds, the population figures given is also highly elastic to fit the bogus casualty numbers picked from thin air.

Gordon Weiss who was attached to the UN Resident Representative’s office in Colombo was aware that the UN had counted a total 7,721 civilian deaths in the last five months based on information gathered from their more than 200 local Tamil staff who remained in the conflict zone as they were prevented by the Tigers from leaving the area.  Although the UN’s higher officials had withdrawn from their former office in Killinochchi, their local Tamil staff living amidst the civilian population was relaying information to the main office in Colombo on what took place on the ground. Weiss published a book called the ‘Cage’ where he dishonestly claimed that the civilian deaths was in the tens of thousands ranging up to 40,000 to market his book to the million strong Tamil expat communities residing in western countries.  On Weiss being questioned on his numbers in Sydney, Australia, he got wise and said the number was around 10,000 and that the figure of 40,000 was a printer’s error.

We have to rely on numbers compiled by the UN Resident Representatives office in Colombo which is not being talked of by the media and the UNSG’s Panel of Experts who preferred to conceal this number of 7,721 and instead invent numbers out of thin air in the tens of thousands ranging up to 40,000.  The post war census carried out by the Government of Sri Lanka in 2012 using school teachers and public officials from the Tamil community as enumerators arrived at a number of 7,432 deaths.  The total number of deaths reported by the Tamilnet which was a propaganda unit of the Tamil Tigers for the period January 1 to May 18, 2009 was 7,398, which is slightly lower than both the UN’s local office and the Sri Lankan Government’s census figure.  None of these three reports distinguished between combatant and civilian deaths, which leaves one to conclude that these casualty figures included Tiger  combatants as well as civilians who were pressed into combat roles to replace fallen cadres and genuine civilians caught in the crossfire.  When one excludes Tiger combatants in civilian attire the number of genuine civilian casualties will drop by over 50 percent, of whom many were done to death by the LTTE to prevent civilians from fleeing to safety on the other side.

The category deemed as ‘disappeared’ or unaccounted for that go to make up the total pre-war population would include those who moved out of the area to boost the numbers of the Tamil community in the capital city of Colombo and its suburbs, and yet others who took a boat to escape to Tamilnadu in South India.  There are also 600 others who escaped from the welfare camps before the registration process  with help of friends or relatives in the overseas diaspora who slipped out of the island to board the ‘mv Ocean Lady’ and the’ mv Sun Sea’ to enter Canada illegally.  There are yet others lingering in India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia waiting to catch an expensive boat ride to Australia or Canada or seek asylum in a developed country.  Numerous youth and adult civilians who were pressed into the fighting ranks to replace fallen cadres with little or no training may have perished in battle and bodies disposed of without making any record.  Those classified as disappeared may now be living in the west with bogus papers and assumed names.

The MV Sun Sea brought 492 Tamil migrants from Thailand to Victoria in 2010 aboard a rusty 59-metre-long cargo ship.

US Memos, Satelite Imagery and ICRC: (http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/shrilanka/document/TheNG.pdf )  At the end of February 2009, the UN country team informed the Sri Lankan Government that in its view, there were 267,618 civilians present in the No ” Fire – Zone, basing the estimate, in part, on UNOSAT Quickbird and Worldview satellite images, used to count the number of IDP shelters. The resolution of the imagery produced by both satellites was 0.6 and 0.5m respectively, meaning a pixel resolution of 60cm — 0cm or 50cm — 50cm square. This resolution density is sufficient to be able to distinguish a single person on the ground.

 

For example, the former U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Robert Blake, noted in a confidential

embassy cable (Wikileak 09COLOMBO86) to Washington on January 26, 2009 that: [the] Army has a generally good track record of taking care to minimize civilian casualties during its advances.  On July 9, 2009 the then U.S. Ambassador ” at – Large for War Crimes Issues ” Ambassador John Clint Williamson ” whilst collecting information in relation to a U.S. Congressional reporting requirement, met and discussed the recent fighting in Sri Lanka with several INGO heads in Geneva, Switzerland. One of these heads was Jacques de Maio, the ICRC’s Head of Operations for South Asia. Whilst discussing potential violations of International Humanitarian Law, Jacques de Maio noted (as revealed in Wikileak 09GENEVA584): For example, he (Jacques de Maio) said that the Sri Lankan military was somewhat responsive to accusations of violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and was open to adapting its actions to reduce casualties [...] He could cite examples of where the Army had stopped shelling when ICRC informed them it was killing civilians. In fact, the Army actually could have won the military battle faster with higher civilian casualties, yet chose a slower approach which led to a greater number of Sri Lankan military deaths. In the same cable, Jacques de Maio had this to say about the LTTE and its strategies: On the LTTE, de Maio said that it had tried to keep civilians in the middle of a permanent state of violence . It saw the civilian population as a “protective asset” and kept its fighters embedded amongst them. De Maio said that the LTTE commanders, objective was to keep the distinction between civilian and military assets blurred.

 

It has been acknowledged even in the UNSG’s Panel of Experts report that the LTTE had placed their heavy weapons close to hospitals, food distribution points and in the midst of areas earmarked for safety of civilians unilaterally by the Army, described as ‘no fire zones’ though not formally agreed to by the Tigers, which were infiltrated by the LTTE with their long range guns.  The LTTE operating such weapons to attack the  Army naturally resulted in retaliatory strikes which sometimes may harm the civilians staying in the vicinity notwithstanding care taken to avoid such damage..

 

Alleged Attack on 58 Truck UN Food Convoy in Jan 2009 by SL Army: Di Manno has said that the UN had first hand evidence of the Army having shelled the Food Convoy (No. 11) delivering supplies to civilians in the ‘no fire’ zone. She has obviously not cared to further investigate this allegation, as it was later determined that two UN Security personnel who accompanied the WFP Food Convoy without notifying either the UN office in Colombo or the military headquarters in order to try and negotiate the release of the UN’s local Tamil staff held back by the LTTE, had later admitted to Mr. Rajiva Wijesinha of the Ministry of Disaster Management that the shelling which took place under cover of darkness had in fact been directed at them by the Tamil Tigers.  In fact, on the Army being notified of the two UN officers camping out in LTTE controlled terrain in a bunker dug out by Tamil civilians, they were compelled to halt hostilities for almost 48 hours giving them time to leave the area and reach safety in the south. The 23 Tamil civilians who helped these UN officers including children who also camped out beside the UN bunker became victims of the Tamil Tiger shelling with their body parts strewn on to the surrounding trees. What is reported by the UNSG’s POE and the media is the first version by these UN security officers which they retracted on being questioned on their return to Colombo.

 

Conclusions:  Towards the end, the US State Department report noted that, based on IDP accounts regarding events on May 17/18, a vast majority of the civilian deaths during the last few days of the conflict were caused by LTTE artillery and mortar fire: An organization reported accounts from IDPs of heavy fighting from the night of May 17 into the morning of May 18. The IDPs were certain based on the direction from which the shells were coming that a large number, perhaps the majority, of those killed in the NFZ during the previous 12 hours of fighting were killed by LTTE forces.  This version of events appears to be corroborated by the University Teachers for Human Rights- Jaffna (UTHR-J) interviews:

The Sri Lankan forces had abandoned the use of heavy weapons from about the 3rd week of April 2009 to withdraw air cover and only fought with hand held weapons, also limit the use of artillery except on occasions when they used it to neutralize enemy artillery guns attacking them after ensuring via UAV photos that the civilians were at a safe distance away from the Tiger guns. As a result, the Army lost almost 6,000 men in the last stages in trying to minimize Tamil civilian casualties being used as a human shield by the Tigers.  That’s equal to what the ISF ‘Coalition of the Willing’ lost in Afghanistan and Iraq after a total of over 10 years of war.

The Sri Lankan Army succeeded in rescuing a total of 295,873 from the Tiger terrorist clutches including nearly 12,000 former Tamil Tiger cadres who escaped with the fleeing civilians. The civilians were cared for in welfare camps with far better facilities than that provided in most other countries. Action was taken  to resettle all of them in their villages after demining and removing about 1.5 million mines laid by the LTTE, building/repairing houses, putting infrastructure in place  and providing livelihood assistance within the short space of three years.  The former Tiger cadres have also been rehabilitated through specially designed programs including vocational training to provide new life skills and released to the society with start up funds and guaranteed loans to resume normal lives except for about 200 hardcore cadres to be tried for serious crimes. The home established LLRC report drawn up to bring about reconciliation and restorative justice is being simultaneously implemented to heal the wounds of conflict which extended to over three decades.
Yours sincerely,
Mahinda Gunasekera

Tambrook Drive,
Agincourt, ON M1W 3L9

Attempts to celebrate Tiger leader’s birthday and heroes day

November 26th, 2013

P.A.Samaraweera, Melbourne

The birthday of Prabhakaran falls on 26 Nov. During the hey days of the LTTE, Prabhakaran commemorated his birthday by his much publicised speech  which was made at a ceremony in the North. It was his usual call for a separate state and  claim for Eelam. Then the following day, 27 Nov, was commemorated as the heroes day, as a mark of respect for the LTTE combatants who died. With the end of the war these events were abandoned.

Last year, the TNA and the LTTE acolytes tried to revive the event by instigating the Jaffna university students and LTTE sympathisers to commemorate his birthday and the heroes day. Despite protests, the police prohibited any celebrations and it got washed away. The LTTE is a banned terrorist organisation which caused destruction and carnage for 3 decades and its leadership was wiped out in  2009.  The former spokesman of the LTTE, the TNA, with support from the Tamil diaspora will do anything to rekindle the fire.

The govt should put its foot down and take all measures to prevent any procedures to support these events in the North. Because the TNA has said that it will strongly oppose moves to prevent commemorating heroes day on 27 Nov. The LTTE is a proscribed organisation in many countries. And the govt considers promoting the LTTE in any way is a punishable offence.

Jaffna university students had already been given an extended holiday, after the commonwealth summit, till Dec 2nd. This week, Velvettithurai police had destroyed posters and stickers pasted on walls supporting the Tiger leaders birthday and ‘Heroes’ day. It is the TNA and the Tamil diaspora who are trying to give oxygen to the now defunct LTTE. It had also been reported that steps are taken by the Velvettithurai Council to lay a foundation stone to put up a statue at Thiruvil Park for the Tiger leader, on 26 Nov. Velvettithurai is  Prabhakaran’s birthplace. Any attempt by the TNA and the Tamil diaspora to revive the terrorists should be nipped in the bud. The govt had quite correctly warned that any move to promote or glorify the LTTE is illegal and those involved would be prosecuted.

වසර 36ක් පුරා මෙරට තුල සිදුකරන ලද මානව හිමිකම් උල්ලංඝණයන් හා ඒවාට ඇති විදේශà·à¶º ඥාතිත්වය හෙලි කරමු! 1.

November 26th, 2013

චන්ද්”à¶»à·ƒà·šà¶± පණ්ඩිතගේ විසිනි

මේ රට තුල වසර තිහක කාලයක් පුරා  à¶ºà·”ද්ධයක් පැවතිණි. වර්ෂ 2009 මැයි මස 18 වෙනිදා මේ යුද්ධය නිමාවට පත් කරන ලදà·. යුද්ධය නිමා කිරà·à¶¸ වරදක් ලෙස දකිණ ලෝක ප්රජාවෙන් කොටසක් කුපිතව, නව යුද්ධයක් අාරම්භ කර තිබේ. ඊට මුහණදà·à¶¸à¶§, මුලු රටම ඉතා බුද්ධිමත්ව සූදානම්විය යුතුය. ඒ සදහා ජාතිය පෙල ගස්වන්නේ කෙසේද යන්න සම්බන්ධව සාකච්ඡා කල යුතු අවස්තාව පැමිණ ඇති බව අවබෝධ කරගත යුතුය.

 
මේ රටේ නායකත්වය, හා ජනතාව, මේ විදේශà·à¶º කුපිත කිරà·à¶¸ හමුවේ, දැහැන් ගතව, මේ සිදුවෙන දෑ සම්බන්ධව මනාව බලා සිටිය යුතුය, සිදුවන දෑ කුමක්දැයි මනාව අවබෝධ කරගත යුතුය. ඊට අනුකූලව සිදුකල යුතු දෑ තà·à¶»à¶«à¶º කල යුතුය. 
 
අැත්තටම, අප කල යුත්තේ කුමක්ද? පලමුව අප සතුරාව, සැකයකින් තෝරව හදුනා ගත යුතුය. සතුරාට යලි නොනැගිටින සේ පහර දà·à¶¸à¶§ අරමුණු කර ගත යුතුය, සතුරාගේ කිසිදු කාර්යයක් හේතුවෙන්, වියරු වැටà·à¶¸ හෝ කෝපයට පත්වà·à¶¸ මගහල යුතුය. 
 
මේ පූජණà·à¶º භූමියෙහි උරුමක්කාරයින් වන අප හා වසර 30ක් පුරා සටන් වැදුනේ, මේ  à¶·à·–මියේම උරුමක්කාර, මනස විකෘති කරගත් අපේම ඥාතà·à¶±à·Š සමූහ යක් සමගිනි. අප අතින් අපේම ඥාතà·à¶±à·Š මියයනු දැකà·à¶¸à·š වේදනාව ඇත්තේ අපටය. අප හා සමාන අයිතිය භුක්ති වින්ද අපේ දෙමළ ඥාතà·à¶±à·Š; සමාන අයිතිවාසිකම් ඉල්ලා සටන් වැදුනහ. අපටත් වඩා ඉහල තලයක වැජඹුණ දෙමළ ඥාතà·à¶±à·Šà¶¯, සමාන අයිතිවාසිකම් ඉල්ලා සටන් වැදුනහ. විශ්මිතම කරුණ වන්නේ එයයි. සමාන අයිතිවාසිකම් ඉල්ලුවා මිස, සමාන අයිතිවාසිකම් යනුවෙන් මුමුණන්නේ මොනවාදැයි පැහැදිලිව පල නොකලාය. එසේ පල කිරà·à¶¸à¶§ කිසිදු කරුණක්වත් ඔවුන් සතුව නොතිබුණහ.
 
 à¶šà¶«à·Šà¶©à·à¶ºà¶¸à·Š වලට බෙද෠සටන් වැදුන අපේ ඥාතà·à¶±à·Šà¶œà·š මරණයන් සම්බන්ධව හා සිදුවූ සියලුම අාකාරයේ, දේපල විනාශයන් සම්බන්ධව, ජාතික තලයේ, සිදුකරන, à¶…පක්ෂපාත෠විධිමත් පරà·à¶šà·Šà·‚ණයක් සිදු කිරà·à¶¸, වහාම අාරමභ කල යුත්තේ, එම පරà·à¶šà·Šà·‚ණය හා බැදුණ යුධ සංස්කෘතිය, මුලු ලෝකයටම අදාල “නව ගà·à¶­à·à·€à¶šà·Š” බැවිණි.
 
මේ පරà·à¶šà·Šà·‚ණය යුද්ධයේ එක කෑල්ලක් අරගෙන, මෙන්න මේ හරියේ තමයි යුධ අපරාධ හා මානව හිමිකම් කඩවෙලා තියෙන්නේ යයි කියමින්, රට කැබලිකරණය කරන්නාක් මෙන්මවූ, යුද්ධය කැබලි කරනයකට බාජනය කිරà·à¶¸à¶§ ඉඩ නොතැබිය යුතුය. මුලු යුද්ධයම අාරම්භයේ සිට අවසානය දක්වා අංශුවක් අංශුවක් පාසා ගවේශණය කල යුතුය. එ් සෑම සිදුවà·à¶¸à¶šà·Šà¶¸ ලේඛණ ගතවිය යුතුය, 
 
අප මෙසේ යෝජනා කරනුයේ ඇයි? මේ යුද්ධය මිහිතලයේ සිදුවූ ඉතා ඉහළ අගයකින් යුත්  à·ƒà·’දුවà·à¶¸à¶šà·Š බැවිණි. මේ යුද්ධයේ සිදුවූ සෑම සිදුවà·à¶¸à¶šà¶§à¶¸ ඉතා ඉහළ අගයක් ගෝලà·à¶º දේශපාලනය තුල උරුමව ඇත. මේ වටිනා උරුමය, ලෝක ත්රස්තවාදයට ගොදුරුව සිටින සෑම ජන කණ්ඩායමකම කරුමය සහ මුලින්ම උඩු-යටිකුරු කල හැකි මහා මන්තරයකින් යුක්තය.
 
ලෝකයේ ඉතාම හොද ජà·à·€à¶± තත්වයක් යටතේ ජà·à·€à¶­à·Šà·€à·– දෙමළ ජාතිකයින් වාසය කල රට වූයේ මේ දේශයයි. මෙම යුද්ධය, එවන් ජාතියකට, උරුමව තිබූ ඒ සියල්ලක්ම අහිමි කල අතර, සිංහලයින්ට හා මුස්ලිම්වරුන්ටද එම තත්වයම උදා කලහ. ඉතා හොදින් සමගියෙන් වාසය කල මේ ජාතà·à¶±à·Š තුනේ සියල්ලක්ම විනාශ කල මේ  à¶ºà·”ද්ධය නිර්මාණය වූ අාකාරය, අමුතුම ආකාරයේ, දේශපාලන ගෙත්තමකි.
 
දෙමල ජනතාව ඉතා හොද දර්ශණයක් හා බැදුන ජාතියක් වන අතර, “භගවත් ගà·à¶­à·à·€” හින්දු භක්තික ඔවුනට ජà·à·€à·’තයේ ගමන් මාර්ගය සම්බන්ධව මනාව පහදා දෙන වස්තුවයි.
භගවත් ගà·à¶­à·à·€à·š අාරම්භය, ඥාතà·à¶±à·Š අතර සිදුවෙන යුධ සූදානමකින් ඇරඹෙන අතර, දේවත්වයේ, පරමෝත්කෘෂ්ට පෞර්ෂවය වූ  à·à·Šà¶»à· කෘෂ්ණාද, මේ යුද්ධයේදà·, යුද්ධය, නවතාලà·à¶¸ හරහා මිනිස් ඝාතන, නවතාලà·à¶¸à·š කාර්යය සදහා කැප නොවà·, සෘජුවම, අධාර්මික පාර්ශවයට එරෙහිව, අර්ජුණ සමග එකතු විය. දෙමළ හින්දු ජාතිකයින්ගේ, මුදුන් මල්කඩක්  à¶¶à¶¯à·”වූ “යතාර්තරූප෠භගවත් ගà·à¶­à·à·€” ඉතා පැහැදිලිව කියා සිටින්නේ, සෑම විටෙකම ශුද්ධ ශූමියකද෠සිදුවෙන යුද්ධයකදà·, සෑම විටෙකම ජය ලබන්නේ සාධාරණත්වය වෙනුවෙන් සටන් කරන යුධ හමුදාව  à¶¶à·€à¶ºà·’.
 
අප ජà·à·€à¶­à·Šà·€à·™à¶± මේ මාතෘ භූමිය මේ ලෝකය තුල ඇති ඉහලම තලයක පිහිටි ශුද්ධ භූමියක් බැවින්, මේ වනවිට සාධාරණත්වයේ පිල ජයගෙන ඇති බව සියලුම රටවාසà·à¶±à·Šà¶§, අවබෝධ විය යුතුය. එමෙන්ම එදා අර්ජුණ සමග එක්ව සටනට මග පෙන්නූ à¶¯à·šà·€à¶­à·Šà·€à¶ºà·š, පරමෝත්කෘෂ්ට පෞර්ෂවය වූ  à·à·Šà¶»à· කෘෂ්ණා, මේ යුද්ධයේදà·, ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතාගේ යුධ උපදේශකයා වන්ව කටයුතු කර ඇති බව, සිදුව ඇති විශ්මිත සිදුවà·à¶¸à·Š අපට පසක් කරයි.
 
භගවත් ගà·à¶­à·à·€à¶§ අනුව,  “ශ්ර෠කෘෂ්ණා” යනු විෂ්ණු දෙවිදුන් වශයෙන් හදුන්වා දෙන බැවින්ද, මේ විෂ්ණු දෙවිදුන්ට, බුදුරජානන්වහන්සේ විසින්, ලක්බිමේ අාරක්ෂාව, පිරිනිවන් මංචකයේද෠පවරාද෠ඇති බැවින්ද, à¶¯à·šà·€à¶­à·Šà·€à¶ºà·š, පරමෝත්කෘෂ්ට පෞර්ෂවය වූ  à·à·Šà¶»à· කෘෂ්ණා හෙවත් විෂ්ණු දෙවිදුන් ඉතා පැහැදිලිවම, අතිගරු මහින්ද රාජපකෂ මහතා සමග බද්ධව මේ යුද්ධයේ, දිව්යමය කාර්යය ඉටුකර ඇත.
 
මෙවන් පදනමකින් යුක්තවූ මේ යුද්ධයේද෠සිදුවූ, යුධ අපරාධ හා මානව හිමිකම් උල්ලංඝණය සම්බන්ධව, අාරම්භයේ සිට ගවේශණය කලයුතු අාකාරය සම්බන්ධව අපේ මතය මෙසේ පලකරමු.
 
සැබෑ ලෙසම යුද්ධය අාරම්භවූ දිනය වශයෙන් අපට සලකන්නට සිදුවන්නේ, වර්ෂ 1972 සැප්තැම්බර් මස 17 වෙනිදාය. මේ දිනයේද෠යාපනයේ දොරෙඅප්පා ක්රà·à¶©à· පිතියේද෠පැවති සැනකෙළියකද෠බෝමබයක් පිපිරුවා හැර, ත්රස්තවාදයේ පලමු සංඥාව ජාතියට නිකුත් කලාය.
 
මේ පලමු සංඥාව විසින් 2009 මැයි මස 18 වෙනිදා දක්වාවූ සියලූම යුධ අපරාධ වලට හා මානව හිමිකම් උල්ලංඝණය à·€à·à¶¸à·Š වලට පැහැදිලිවම වගකිව යුතුය.
 
මේ දෙමළ ත්රස්තවාදයේ හඩ එවකට පැවති රජය නිවැරදිව හදුනා ගත්තාද? එසේ නොවේ නම් ඒ ඇයි? මුලු රටේම ඒකà·à¶º පාලනයකට නතුව තිබියදà·à¶­à·Š එසේ කිරà·à¶¸à¶§ නොහැකිවූයේ ඇයි? යන පැනයන්ට දෙන පිළිතුර තුල මානව හිමිකම් කඩ කිරà·à¶¸à·Š හා යුධ අපරාධයන්ට හේතුකාරක වූ බà·à¶¢à¶ºà¶±à·Š ඇත.
 
(ම෠ලග ලිපිය හා සැබැදේ)
 
චන්ද්”à¶»à·ƒà·šà¶± පණ්ඩිතගේ විසිනි
 

Galle Dialogue

November 26th, 2013

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy Island

Regional as well as global naval powers are participating in the fourth edition of the Galle Dialogue, scheduled to begin today at the Light House Hotel.

Among the participants are those who had been supportive of Sri Lanka’s war against terror paving the way for the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009.

A record number of 35 countries, including the US, China, Russia, Pakistan, India, Israel, the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Iran, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, South Africa and Vietnam are attending the two-day conference.

Navy spokesperson Commander Kosala Warnakulasooriya told The Island that at the inaugural confab in 2010, there had been only representatives from 11 countries, the following year 19 and last year there were 28.

Commander Warnakulasooriya said: “We are delighted to have about 90 international representatives in Galle. The gradual increase in the number of participants meant the importance of the event inaugurated close on the heels of Sri Lanka’s victory over the LTTE.”

The Galle Dialogue gets underway in the wake of the Sri Lanka Navy earning the appreciation of Australia for taking meaningful measures to stem illegal migration of people to down under. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited the navy’s flagship SLNS Sayura, formerly of the Indian Navy, at the Colombo Port on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) where he announced the gifting of two Bay Class ships to the navy.

Navy Chief Vice Admiral J. S. K. Colombage will deliver the welcome address, while presidential secretary Lalith Weeratunga and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa too are scheduled to speak.

Fleet Commander of the Royal Australian Navy Rear Admiral Timothy Barrett will discuss ways and means of curbing people smuggling by close cooperation.

Among those scheduled to make presentations included senior representatives from China, Malaysia, Pakistan, France, Iran, Vietnam and the Maldives.

Meanwhile, Navy headquarters said that five ships of Russia’s Pacific Fleet arrived at the Colombo port on Sunday on their way to home port Vladivostok from the Mediterranean. Russian mission commander Captain 1st Rank Maxim S. Alalykin is attending the Galle Dialogue.”

Money Transfer on Kapruka.com

November 26th, 2013

Asoka Seneviratne USA

I am a Sri Lankan living in USA. I have been using Kapruka.com for years to send dozens of gifts to Sri Lanka.

 Recently I had to send  $ 2200.00 to family memeber in SL for an urgent matter. I did the transaction through Kapruka.com. They claim to provide the prevailing exchange rate in SL on that date it was Rs 131 per dollar. Of course I didnt expect them to give me that rate but at least 2 or 3 rupees less per dollar.
I used a debit card to deposit the money to Kapruka.
I waited 2 days and called them in SL. They had not until then even called the recepient in Rajagiriya to inform that they would bring in the money, even though I had specifically instructed then do so so that the recepient knows it was on the way.
When I called the manager in KR Colombo office his first reaction was that “this is a large amount of money and it takes a few days as a result”. I asked him if he had contacted the recipient and he said no. I requested him to contact the recipient right away and he promised to do so. When I called back one hour later, he said he did talk to the recipient over the phone. When I called the recipient, she said she received no such call at all. So Kapruka lied. They called several hours later on my insistence. It was 2 PM SL time and said they now had a check ready but could only deliver until the next day. They said it was too late. now remember the recipient was at Rajagiriya and KR office is at Colombo 7.
Finally after 3 days they delivered a check, But surprisingly it was at Rs 123 per dollar. As I said earlier the rate that time was Rs 131.00 per dollar. When I questioned why so low, he gave me a lecture of exchange control rules in SL. He also told me that the more money involved the exchange rate would be less. I could not believe this. So Kapruka made a good Rs.10,000.00 to 15,000.00  over and above the $12.50 they charged for the transaction.
On last Friday, I paid for a gift card to be delievred to my mother on her birthday that was the next day Saturday (I clearly told them it was her 85th birthday and to deliver without fail). Until 7 PM Sunday which is 2 days past) she has not received the gift certificate.
By this letter I want to warn all Sri Lankans who wants to use Kapruka.com.  They dont alwyas  keep their  promise on exchange rates or delivery dates. But they boast about being Sri Lanka’s largest E-Commerce business. My F–t!
 Asoka Seneviratne   monroviasl@cs.com

Second biggest SAARC partner pushing $ 240M investments to Sri Lanka

November 26th, 2013

PRESS COMMUNIQUE ” MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY & COMMERCE, SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka’s second largest trade partner in SAARC is bullish, aims at heavy industry sectors here and has even earmarked an investment quantum destined for Sri Lanka. “Pakistani investors have a preference for Sri Lanka due to logistics and developing infrastructure. We now ready with $ 240 Mn in investments earmarked specifically for Sri Lanka” announced an eager Tarek M. Khan, President of Pakistan Sri Lanka Business Forum (PSLBF) on 12 November in Colombo.

PSLBF President Khan was addressing Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce) of Sri Lanka on 12 November during his meeting with Minister Bathiudeen at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Colombo 3. PSLBF President Khan was in Sri Lanka to attend Colombo’s CHOGM events with top members from his PSLBF. Meeting Minister Bathiudeen with President Khan on 12 November was Farrukh Ansari (Director, PSLBF and CEO of IJARA Holdings.

Pakistaninvet1

From 2005 to the third quarter of 2013, FDI from Pakistan to Sri Lanka stood at $ 7.5 Mn (cumulative) across 15 investment projects. Pakistan is the second largest trading partner of Sri Lanka in the SAARC region after India. A substantial growth in bilateral trade is seen in both exports and imports, especially after Free Trade Agreement between the two countries was implemented in 2005. The value of total trade between the two countries has increased from US $ 158 Mn in 2005 to US $. 433.69 Mn in 2012.

“The sectors we are planning to enter immediately are glass, healthcare (across total value chain), tourism, steel and power & energy. Pakistani investors have a preference for Sri Lanka due to logistics and developing infrastructure. We now ready with $ 240 Mn in investments earmarked specifically for Sri Lanka. In that, our member Farrukh Ansari and his investment vehicle IJARA Holdings alone have already lined up $ 240 Mn in funds specifically for Sri Lanka. I myself represent global pharma giant MERCK of US, which had sales revenue of $ 14.5 Bn in 2012. I too am planning to enter Sri Lanka in healthcare and tourism and this is in addition to the earmarked $ 240 Mn. This will be in healthcare -to do full cycle manufacturing here. Sri Lankan manufactured pharma cannot gain much by selling to local markets but rather, can earn bigger incomes by exporting from here. I am ready to invest in Sri Lanka, bring technology and know-how as well as bring advanced machinery here right away. Sri Lanka’s power and labour are cheaper than Pakistan, which is another reason we like here. Before investing anywhere, I mean anywhere, we always seriously consider Sri Lanka first! All the time, really. We can also partner with local hospitals, invest in them, upgrade them and turn them around. We are also ready to enter tourism sector. We need your assistance to enter Sri Lanka” said PSLBF President Khan.

Responding to PSLBF President Khan, Minister Bathiudeen said: “We welcome you with open arms. Already Pakistan has $ 7.5 Mn in FDI in Sri Lanka and there is good potential to to increase this. I and my Ministry officials will extend our fullest support and directions whenever you need. Come with your proposals and requirements. Our annual pharma market is about $ 500 Mn and is annually growing by about 33%. Therefore it is demanding. HE the President Mahinda Rajapaksa has made pharmaceutical and healthcare as a priority development sector in many of his recent budgets, extended special benefits to pharma sector import substitution. Investors like you fulfil our real FDI needs and sectoral development and we do not want to miss you.”

Responding to Minister Bathiudeen, an excited PSLBF President Khan said: “Well then I will have my investment and evaluation teams flown to Colombo very soon to inspect prospects here.”

MasterCard introduces ‘Spend & Win’ campaign for Cardholders in Sri Lanka

November 26th, 2013

Media Release -mastercard.lk

November 25, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka: MasterCard announces the launch of the “Spend & Win” campaign for MasterCard debit and credit cardholders and Maestro debit cardholders in Sri Lanka.

As part of this new campaign, MasterCard debit and credit cardholders and Maestro debit cardholders of participating banks in Sri Lanka who spend LKR 1,000 or more in a single receipt/transaction between November 25, 2013 and January 31, 2014 at qualifying merchants in Sri Lanka, stand a chance to win stay vouchers at select properties of Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts worth LKR 20,000.

Each qualifying purchase made using a MasterCard or Maestro debit card will earn the cardholder 2 points and each qualifying purchase made using a MasterCard credit card will earn the cardholder 1 point. Of these cardholders, the top 200 MasterCard and Maestro debit cardholders collectively with the highest number of points earned and the top 200 MasterCard credit cardholders with the highest number of points earned during the campaign period will each receive a LKR 20,000 stay voucher with Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts. The participating banks will be notified of the winners of MasterCard’s “Spend & Win” campaign within 90 days of the campaign’s conclusion. The stay vouchers will be distributed by the participating banks to their respective winning cardholders.

Offering LKR 8 million worth of stay vouchers in total, this is the biggest consumer campaign launched by MasterCard in Sri Lanka to date. “We are delighted to introduce this new ‘Spend & Win’ campaign for MasterCard debit and credit cardholders and Maestro debit cardholders in Sri Lanka. With the ongoing festive season, we feel this new campaign is a great opportunity to reward the loyalty of the ever-growing community of local MasterCard and Maestro customers,” said Mr. Vikas Varma, area head, South Asia, MasterCard.

Visit www.mastercard.lk for more details on the promotion

About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities ” such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances ” easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Pioneers Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Media Contact:

Jagdish Hathiramani

LOWE LDB

jagdish.h@loweldb.com

+94 (0) 727 110 220

RENEWED CALL TO PROMOTE SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION IN THE FIELD OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

November 24th, 2013

PRESS RELEASE Sri Lanka Mission Geneva.

Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Chairman of the Personal Representatives of the Group of Fifteen (G-15), has urged WIPO to take measures to promote South-South Cooperation in the field of Intellectual Property for Development. He said that “WIPO should act as a catalyst to increase triangular cooperation between developing countries and LDC’s, through initiatives to identify best practices in the use of intellectual property for, inter alia, technology transfer, public health, food security, and other global challenges in which intellectual property has an important role to play”.

Ambassador Aryasinha made these observations when he delivered a joint statement at the Second Annual Conference on South-South Cooperation on Intellectual Property and Development, which followed the 12th Session of Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) at WIPO in Geneva on 22 November 2013, on behalf of G-15, a Summit Level Group of Developing Countries comprising 17 member States – Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

The Foreign Ministers of G-15 in their 36th Annual Meeting in New York on 27 September 2103 decided to include “Intellectual Property and Development” as one of the four new thematic areas of focus for the Group in the coming years. Other three thematic areas identified include: Information Communication Technology; Renewable Energy; and Migration and Development. This was G-15′s first-ever Joint Statement at WIPO.

Full text of the statement is attached herewith

G-15 JOINT STATEMENT

Second WIPO Annual Conference on South-South Cooperation on Intellectual Property and Development

Geneva, November 22, 2013

                                                                                                                 

 Mr President,

I have the honour and privilege to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of Fifteen (G-15), a Summit Level Group of Developing Countries, comprising 17 member states. G-15 was established in 1989 with the aim to, inter alia, tap the enormous potential of South-South Cooperation and North-South dialogue with a view to foster and promote sustainable development with shared common goals and leveraged capacities.

The Group would like to congratulate you for presiding over this important Conference on South-South Cooperation on Intellectual Property and Development and also for so successfully chairing the 12th Session of Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP). The Group also wishes to extend its appreciation to the Director General and the WIPO Secretariat on the preparation for this event.

Mr President,

 The Members of G-15 have a particular interest in understanding the effects of the intellectual property development in developing countries, both on the specific measures of economic performance and on the process of economic development as a whole. That is why we welcome the adoption of the Development Agenda by the WIPO General Assembly in 2007, which was a milestone in the international perspective on intellectual property. It represented a shift from viewing IP as an end in itself to seeing it as a means to serve the larger public goals of social, economic and cultural development. The Group fully shares this perspective.

While acknowledging the challenges to the meaningful implementation of the recommendations of the Development Agenda, the Group strongly supports the mainstreaming of the development dimension into all areas of WIPO’s work, in view of the opportunity it presents not only to all developing countries but also to those with the potential to fully benefit from the international IP system.

The inception of the Development Agenda, the rebalancing of the global perspective on IP, and the mainstreaming and implementation of the recommendations present a considerable challenge. The Group is of the view that a development approach, an oversight by Member States, a sustained cultural change within the Secretariat as well as a continuous commitment and engagement with civil society organizations, are required for implementation to be successful.

The Group notes that six years after the adoption of the Development Agenda, WIPO has made significant and encouraging steps towards the integration of a development dimension in its work. Nevertheless, the Group is of the view that   the complex process of implementing the recommendations of the Development Agenda needs to be further advanced. There is still much to be done in order to raise awareness among the international community about the importance of intellectual property as a development tool.

In this regard, the Group believes that this international conference on IP and Development, as agreed upon during the last session of CDIP, will be an important forum for discussing the impact of and obstacles to the effective implementation of the Development Agenda. It is also important that WIPO provides a forum in CDIP for discussing development aspects presented in the seminar series “The Economics of Intellectual Property” in order to provide information to decision making by member states. These discussions should lead to a comprehensive analysis on how the development dimension should be seen in the work of WIPO.

 Mr President,

The Group welcomes the holding of this second WIPO Conference on South-South Cooperation in the field of Intellectual Property for Development. We welcome also the holding of interregional Conferences on South-South cooperation and intellectual property in two G-15 countries namely, Brazil and Egypt.

South-South Cooperation is the foundation under which the Group of Fifteen was created. We made it a tool for developing important and strategic partnerships to promote sustainable growth and contribute to the social development of our countries.

The Group believes that South- South cooperation can play an important role in achieving the objectives outlined in the relevant recommendations of WIPO’s Development Agenda. Indeed, South-South cooperation is particularly useful to achieving pro-development IP systems in developing countries and LDCs given the particular circumstances and challenges developing countries and LDCs face. It is also a vehicle to share information and promote understanding of the practical initiatives that developing countries and LDCs can and have utilized to link IP as a tool to broaden public policies and development goals.

G-15 members urge WIPO to take measures to promote South-South cooperation in the field of intellectual property. WIPO should also act as a catalyst to increase triangular cooperation between developing countries and LDCs, through initiatives to identify best practices in the use of intellectual property for, inter alia, technology transfer, public health, food security and other global challenges in which intellectual property has an important role to play.

Finally, Mr. President, our Group wishes the Conference every success in its work. I thank you.


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