Sri Lanka Cannot Afford Minority Uprisings

March 23rd, 2018

Suni Perera

Has The Lankan Administration not learned their lessons  from the past one wonders?

Indeed !  being pushed to limitations may be an issue  in a country where emotions run high on racial issues but what transpired recently on the Sinhala – Muslim conflagaration seems to have been a rank breakdown on the part of the Government to maintain Law and Order as the Sinhalese as usual went on their rampages causing much world alarm where many reckon it could have been prevented rather than fires being fomented from various quarters of the Sinhala Community regardless of its justifiability. And to add to the chagrin all of it went on under the watchful albeit indifferent eye of law enforcement which seems shameful and the ursurping of democratic rights of Sri Lankans regardless of their ethnicity – in this case the Muslim community of Sri Lanka.

A very appropriate media quote speaks much for the reality of it all with no compunctions.

“People have had their livelihoods, their memories, their very way of life, burnt to ashes.

When did we foster such apathy in our country? How could we begin to care so little for people who are conceivably only a three-hour car drive away from us? How could anyone who has ever made friends with a Muslim, studied with a Muslim, or taken the time to not eat in front of a Muslim who is fasting, not find the courage and the integrity to stand up for them, when their world seems to be catching fire?

The Muslims have lived in our country for longer than racism has been institutionalized in our culture.

Yet, what is seen is a desire to sweep everything that has happened under the rug, and continue on with our lives in the ‘normalcy’ we were in for time imemorial

We cannot begin to make a single thing different if we do not try to act against those root causes of extremism in our country. Racism does nothing for us. It simply provides an inexhaustible outlet for our frustration, again and again. We cannot give into a herd mentality, and that begins with each of us. If social media is the price of self-awareness, then please, charge its taxes. Maybe that will make us notice.” end quote.

It has to be undeniably observed that such aberrations and miscarriages of justice as what it tantamounts to were never seen to such intensity by any previous administration and it seems apathetic that the present Government was inefficient in handling the situation and bringing it under control where hopefully this will not happen in the future as it would be a poor reflection on those who carry out justice in the land where the affected  need to be adequately compensated for.

Has the Nation and her people forgotten the horrors of four decades past and the attrocities which must be remembered as testimony where it was intolerance and mismanagement that caused the greatest harm and good management  and forceful resolve which eventually quelled and solved the related isues bringing peace to a turbulent Nation.

Sri Lanka can ill afford to be tested on an issue which almost destroyed the Nation previously and need to rebuild her resources towards maintaining stability and national security where the role the Administration plays is unquestionable towards the well being of all Sri Lankans and the prevention of the Nation becoming the laughing stock of the world at large!

පන්සල් හෝ රට දියුණු කිරීමෙන් පමණක් අන්න්‍යාගමිකකරණය වැලැක්විය නොහැක

March 23rd, 2018

පාලිත ආරියරත්න

බෞද්ධයන් උදෙසාම පෙනී සිටින රුපවාහිණි නාලිකා වැඩසටහන් වල දැන් දැන් පන්සල් දියුණු කිරීමෙන් අන්න්‍යාගමිකකරණය නැවැත්විය හැකි යන තේමාව යටතේ විවිධ චලනමය හා හඬ ඇතුලත් වැඩසටහන් ප්‍රසිද්ධ කරමින් සිටි.මොවුන්ගේ මතයනම් සැදැවත් දායකයන් විශාල ප්‍රමාණයක් ඇත්ත කතා කිරීම පසෙකලා(වැරැද්ද නිවැරදි නොකොට ) නැත්තක් ඇතිකිරීම (දියුණුව තුලින් පමණක් )තුලින් බුදුදහම මෙලොවින් තුරන් කිරීමට මාන බලන දෙවෙනි වතිකානු සම්මේලනයෙන්(1962-1965) දියත් වුන ලෝක ආගමික මිෂනාරි කුමන්ත්‍රණය වැළැක්විය හැකි බවය.

ප්‍රචාරක මාධ්‍යන් උපයෝගී කොටගෙන ආගමික කුමන්ත්‍රණ කරුවන් නිතැතින්ම සිංහල බෞද්ධයන්ගෙන්(අපෙන්)අපේක්ෂා කරන ගොන් නිහඬ තාවය තවත් මර උගුලක් වන පන්සල් දියුණු කිරීමෙන් අන්න්‍යාගමිකකරණය වැලක්විය හැකි යන මාධ්‍ය මර උගුලට හිර කිරීම, බුදුදහම දිවි හිමියෙන් රැකිමේලා ඇති අප සතු උදාර කටයුත්ත අමතක කොට මුදල් මතින් හෝ පන්සල කොන්ක්‍රීට් මගින් ගොඩනගා එහි ධර්මයට ලැදි නමුත් අනාගත අප දු පුතනුවන් උදෙසා දිවි හිමියෙන් ධර්මය ආරක්ෂා නොකරන තම නිවන පමණක් අරමුණු කොටගත් තම ජාතික යුතුකම බැහැර කොට  (වගකීම් පැහැර හැර)ඉතා පහාසුවෙන් නිවන් දැකීමට (දියුණුවූ පන්සල තුල සිට ) උත්සහා කරන කණ්ඩායම් ඇති කිරීම බරපතල පාප ක්‍රියාවකි.එසේම එය බුදුදහමේ මළගම සකස් කරනවුවන්ට අත්වැල් ද ඇල්ලිමකි එසේම එය තව දුරටත් බුද්ධිමත් දායකයන් සන්තාපයට පත් කරන ද කටයුත්තකි.

අප කවුරුත් හොදින් දන්නා බලන්ගොඩ ආනන්ද නායක ස්වාමින්වහන්සේගේ ප්‍රධාන ශිෂ්ශ්‍යකු ද මිෂනාරි ගැටවලට අසුවි පුජකයෙකු වූ සිද්ධිය
මේ ලඳ බොළද රුපවාහිණි මාධ්‍ය වේදීන් නොදන්නවා ඇති.

”පන්සල කොළ අතු කැබැල්ලකින් වටවූ කුඩා කුටියක් වූවද සැබැ නිර්මල ධර්මය එහි වැඩසිටින භික්ෂුන් වහන්සේලාගෙන් දායකයන්ට ශ්‍රවනය කල හැකිනම් හා ධර්මය අප කෙහෙරෙහි වටහා දීමට සමත් ධර්මධර, විනයධර භික්ෂුන් වහන්සේලා වැඩසිටීනම් එය ඉතා දියුණු පන්සලක් බව සිංහල බෞද්ධයන්ගේ මතයයි. බටහිරයන්ගේ දියුණුව හා අපේ දියුණුව අහසට පොලොව සේ අන්ත දෙකකට සදා වෙන්ව පවතී”.

විවිධ රුපවාහිණි නාලිකාවල විවිධ වැඩසටහන් කරවන මාධ්‍යවේදීන් කියාගන්නා පිරිස් වර්තමානයේ උලුප්පා දක්වන්නේ තමන්ගේ ආගම පාඩුවේ අදහාගෙන ජීවත්වීම සහ ගමේ පන්සල දියුණු කිරීම (කොන්ක්‍රීට් මගින්)සැබෑ බෞද්ධ කමක් හැටියටයි. එහෙත් ඔවුන් නොදන්නා කාරණයනම් ඉතාමත් දියුණු යැයි(ඔවුන් විසින්)කියන පන්සල් අවට ගම්මානවල් වල වැඩිපුර ප්‍රතිශතයක් වශයෙන් අන්න්‍යාගමිකකරණය සිදුවෙන බවය.

ඊට ප්‍රධානම හේතුවනම් මිෂනාරීන්ගේ වැඩිම ඇස ගැසෙන්නේ මෙම ප්‍රසිද්ධ හෝ දියුණුයි කියන පන්සලය. කුමන පචයක් හෝ බොරුවක් හෝ බේගලයක් ඇද බා දෙවියන් අමුතුවෙන් හෝ මවා පෙන්නා ආගමට හැරවීමට බැරි තැන මුදල් හෝ කාන්තාවන් හෝ ලබා දී ප්‍රසිද්ධ හෝ දියුණු පන්සලේ සිටින ලොකුම උපාසක තැන හෝ නැතොත් එහි වැඩසිටින භික්ෂුන් වහන්සේ කෙනෙකු හෝ ඩෑහෑ ගන්නේ ප්‍රචාරක වාසි තකා බැවිනි.

පන්සලේ ආරක්ෂාව නොව (සිවුවනක් පිරිස ගේ ) දියුණුවේ කෙලවර පතන මාධ්‍ය වේදීයානෙණි, භය නොවී, අලස, නොවී වැරැද්ද නිවැරදි කිරීමට අවස්ස්‍ය දැනුම ලබාදීමට ඔබගේ වටිනා ගුවන් කාලය යොමු කරන්න. 

රට වටින් ඇසෙන දියුණුවේ ශබ්දයට කොයි විටෙක නැතිවෙදොයි අප නොදනිමු. එයට නොරැවටෙන්න. 

බුදුදහමේ මළගම සැලසුම් කිරීමට විශාල මුදල් සම්භාරයක් ලෝක මට්ටමින් පුජකයන් හා මිෂනාරීන් වියදම් කරයි. එබැවින් පන්සල දියුණු වුවද,නැතිවුවද එය රැක ගැනීම අපේ යුතුකමකි. බොළඳ අදහස් පැහැර හැර විශේෂයෙන් අප ළමා පරපුර නොමග නොයවා අතීත මුතුන් මිත්තන් උඩනොබලා ඉඳ,දිවි පුදා සටන් කොට රැකගත් නිර්මල බුදුදහමද සිහල රට දැය රැකගැනීමට අවස්ස්‍ය චිත්ත ෛධර්ය ඇතිවෙන ආකාරයේ නිරමාණ කෙරෙහි ඔබගේ අවධානය යොමුකරන්න.

මිගේට්ටුවත්තේ ගුණානන්ද හිමි , අනගාරික ධර්මපාල,සෝම හිමි වැනි උදාර ගිහි පැවිදි උතුමන්ලා රාශියක් දිවා රැ වෙහස මහන්සිවී අද ඔබ රුපවාහිණි නාලිකා තුල සිට ප්‍රචාරය කරන බණ රැක දී තිබේ.(එය හොදින් මතක තබාගන්න) විටෙක ජිවිත තර්ජනද පසෙකලා අන්න්‍යාගමිකකරණය තර්ජන ගැන තතු පවසන ඔබවැනීම මාධ්‍යවේදීන් හැල්ලු කිරීම. අන්න්‍යාගමිකකරණය ගැන සඳහන් තොරතුරු එළිදැක්වීම අශික්කිත  හෝ වැරදි ක්‍රියාවන්වශයෙන් වියන්ගයෙන්  පැවසීම හරියට එක් කුසේ උපන් සහෝදරයෙකු මරා දැමීමට වඩා බරපතල අපරාධයකි.

ඔබ වැනි මාධ්‍යවේදීන් ගැන තෙවනි ඇසකින් බැලීමට කාලය පැමිණ ඇති බව අප බෞද්ධ සමාජයට පතුරුවන්නෙමු ….

පාලිත ආරියරත්න

White supremacist mentality pervades orders by UNHRC for hybrid court for Sri Lanka

March 22nd, 2018

What can we make out of a global entity claiming to be the custodians of peace, justice and equality towards all member states, refusing to accept evidence, denies to investigate requests & appeals & completely ignores appeals by citizens of member states? Well, if the global entity is the UN and the aggrieved member states are from the Third World, then it’s a one-way street because the UN is steered by white-supremacists & their local worshippers and there’s nothing the black, brown or yellow people can do, unless they unite & refuse to be re-colonized & return to the days where white rule of bloodshed, plunder & persecutions prevailed.

Black nations are being hounded by the ICC and nations of Asia by the UNHRC. Bloc nations in the UN in the form of the EU & OIC get away with the might of their money, political & trade advantage, population & religious outreach leaving all others prey to the UN system & international NGO network.

Countries that make profit from arms manufacture also makes sure there are plenty of conflicts to sell arms generally to both parties. Peace doves in the form of UN peace keepers, NGO organizations replace the traditional intelligence operatives who are sent to register under various missions/visions with the goal of collecting data & statistics to be used for various future strategic/tactical operations against any state that does not conform to the wish of the powerful nations. Assassinations of leaders, using subtle methods to buy over politicians (money, sexual weakness etc), state officials, influencing & roping in academics, media and any other locals who may pose a threat to their overall plans are orchestrated with precision and plenty of funding despatched for the purpose.

The arm twisting & diplomatic bullying is just a carry forward of how the white nations ruled over the world for over 500 years under colonial rule. Let’s not forget that every law that everyone has to currently abide by is what these white nations approved & sanctioned to use. All the indigenous laws, cultures & systems were completely ignored when international laws & regulations were drafted. It is only the OIC majority Muslim states that continue to resist international laws & continue to apply archaic laws associated with their faith. All other nations have had no choice but to nod agreement to and will not dare question why their traditional & indigenous laws, systems & cultures are being ignored & they are forced to follow something foreign which the natives opposed and sacrificed their lives during colonial rule. The West has been quick to formulate their own defence through local Kalu-Suddas or sepoys willing worshippers of anything imported from West.

The plantation system was the first major system used by the colonial forces in their violent transformation of the Earth into land, people into property, and nature into a commodity – all to be sold on the fair” market.” …..Ever since the colonial era, racialized structures have continued producing racialized outcomes biased in favor of whites and against darker skinned people, in the food system as well as outside of it. (Blain Snipstal)

Having taken stock of the reactions of the natives and studied the mentality of the natives the West has over the years implemented enough of programs especially on brainwashing & influencing the enemy. Therefore, they have enough of ways & means to subjugate the enemy.

What is currently taking place using the UN & its puppets in office is the virtual return of white supremacy in virtually all domains of national governance. The calls for hybrid court is nothing but a message that ‘you locals are not good enough, and we west have the right to rule over you’. The rejection of local judges in place of foreign judges connotes the same message. If the judiciary, law, penal codes are all being changed and nations are losing the Westphalian sovereign rights why not have hybrid legislation and dethrone the nincompoops in Parliament too…. We have had enough of their treacherous and corrupt rule anyways. Not that there is no corruption in the West in government or private sectors, in fact the West are the one’s that taught the rest of the world how to loot.

However, Sri Lankan citizens are aghast & many who are listening to Admiral Sarath Weerasekera & the Global Sri Lankan Forum Team battle out inside the halls of the UNHRC with legally sound arguments & evidence against the UNHRC Resolutions, must all be wondering why the UN & the world are not listening to the other side & accepting only the version of terrorists. Of course, the LTTE global kitty has bought a lot of influence, but over and above that we all need to understand that Sri Lanka is vulnerable at political & trade levels simply because of its geographical positioning. Countries eye Sri Lanka because it sees potential that our leaders do not see, refuse to see or they see but prefer to barter it for their personal gains instead of nurture it for the citizens and posterity.

At another more important & ignored level to understand why these Western bloc nations are going on a witch hunt against Sri Lanka with fabrications, cooked up stories & well-funded reports is that these countries continue to be plagued with the thought that ‘we are better’ and ‘our job is to civilize you’, remember the ‘white man’s burden’ version by Kipling. That very much prevails still. Let’s also not forget that these white nations were very angry that their calls to stop the military onslaught and refrain from defeating the LTTE was not adhered to. Revenge has been very much in line with all of the successive resolutions and threats accompanying these UN orders.

Joseph Parrott writing to the Washington Post How white supremacy went global” has explained the scenario & excerpts will provide clues for us to understand the nature of the global decisions being made through the UN & diplomatically.

their Protestant religion, national ingenuity and unmatched military power established their right to conquer and manage the world.”

leaders of the United States and the British Empire embraced the belief that Anglo-Saxons had a duty to educate backward civilizations in Christianity, Western modernity and capitalism.”

Tragically, national leaders representing the black, brown & yellow man have failed to stand up against the white supremacy. They have not understood the numerical dynamics of the Third World out numbering a handful of white nations bullying the rest of the world using money, arms & political influence through systems they have created & representatives they have appointed on their behalf. Standing up against the white supremacy is not to replace white with non-white rule but to clearly establish that justice means justice, equality should mean equality and it should not be in the format that the UN system currently dishes out to the rest of the world playing pied piper to the EU & OIC bloc of nations.

Thankfully Japan has said there is no requirement for foreign judges, can the rest of the Third World look at the evidence presented by the Global Sri Lanka Forum instead of relying on lies & distortions by LTTE terrorists & those that survive on LTTE money!

 

 

Shenali D Waduge

 

YAHAPALANA AND THE POLICE

March 22nd, 2018

KAMALIKA PIERIS

Sri Lanka Police will be made the best in Asia, said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe in 2016. But that does not seem to be happening. Instead, the Sri Lanka police are going in the opposite direction. They might end up as the worst in Asia.

Yahapalana government   appointed Pujitha Jayasundara as Inspector General of Police (IGP) in April 2016.  Jayasundara said he got the top job because he attended 35 Bodhi poojas, offering water to Bo trees, seeking the appointment. From the very beginning, it was obvious that he was not suited for the position of IGP, said Chandraprema,  in the past, there were no jokers like this holding such a high position.

The IGP was reprimanded for attempting to sing on a public stage during a nationally televised ceremony. Since then, he had stopped singing, reported the amused media. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, who is the chairman of the Constitutional Council which suggested Jayasundara for the top job, had asked the IGP to stop making a fool of himself.

In February 2017, the IGP had sobbed in front of over 100 senior officers at Police Headquarters saying that he had failed in leadership, reported the   ever delighted media. During his three hour sermon to the senior most officers of the service, Jayasundara said the service had failed because they did not pay much attention to spiritual development. At the end of his emotional confession, the Inspector-General ordered that all police should start the day with 15 minutes of Anapanasati meditation followed by a brief session of maithri bhavana. Regional police heads have now been asked to order all ranks to begin the day in this manner.

Then something entertaining happened. CCTV footage, leaked to the public, showed the IGP shaking a lift operator by the collar and making threatening gestures because the man had failed to join the meditation session at police headquarters, This happened in  October 2017. The leaked video became a sensation on social media   Jayasundara   accused the CID of leaking this video.

In a special circular issued April 2017, the IGP  made it mandatory for  policemen to report for work at 6.00 am and sing the national and police anthems after hoisting national and police flags. Thereafter they have to participate in religious observances. This would be applicable only to those who are in the police station, not those doing routine police work. IGP would assign senior police officers to ensure that the programme is carried out.

The IGP  also engaged in activities which were no laughing matter. In December 2016, IGP Jayasundara was caught on camera taking a telephone call, while attending a public function. During the telephone call, he addressed the caller as ‘sir’ and assured him that a person identified as ‘nilame’ would not be arrested when he was brought in for questioning. This was shown to the public on television news. ‘We have an IGP that suits the government he serves under,’ declared Chandraprema.

The IGP has started spying on his senior officers, said his subordinates. The Police ‘top brass’ including DIGs had met the Police Commission, without the IGP, in December 2017  to complain that telephone  conversations of some 48 senior police officers were being listened to.

Ravi Seneviratne, Senior DIG and head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) stated that Special Investigation Unit (SIU), had given him a list of telephone numbers to obtain details from the service providers. He found that all the mobile phone numbers in the list belonged to senior Police officers, including himself.

SIU had told him that the call details of the senior Police officers had been sought by the IGP.  The SIU comes directly under the IGP. IGP Jayasundera had also wanted to use a machine gifted to the Police by Australian Federal Police. It extracted information held on mobile phones, including deleted e-mails and location data.

Senior police officers told the Police Commission that the IGP does not speak to them directly, but was trying to listen to their phone conversations and read text messages and e-mails which had nothing to do with police work.

Senior police officers were now scrambling to learn sign language following disclosures that the Inspector General of Police was tapping their phones and snooping on digital communications reported the media. Alternative ways of communication have become an urgent need because of the risk of phone tapping, said a senior officer.

A large number of police completed an Australian-funded six-month sign language course and more were joining the next batch. The course had suddenly become attractive to even the senior Deputy Inspectors of General (SDIGs) who have been targeted by the IGP for telephone surveillance, the media said. Orders could be passed down to the rank and file using sign language to avoid incriminating digital finger prints.

Under Yahapalana the police have emerged in a repressive role never seen before under any other government. The police are emerging as the main force through which Yahapalana demonstrates its power. Police personnel have been issued orders to shoot in instances where Clause 93 and 96 of the Penal Code is violated, the police said at a media briefing. This does not suggest that Police can simply shoot a person. But what it means is that Police can use force required even up to the point of killing a person in such instances. Shooting a person is also included in this clause, said the police.

Yahapalana has faced a series of angry protests and demonstrations ever since it came to power. The police were unfailingly brought in to quell the protests. The protests vary, but the remedy is the same, police battalions, barriers, tear gas, water cannon, protective shields,    and baton charges. Here are some illustrations.

There were three demonstrations in Hambantota against the handing over of the port to China. In the third demonstration in October 2017, Joint Opposition  activists demonstrated before the Indian consulate in Hambantota against the government decision to hand over the Mattala airport to an Indian company. They also opposed the Hambantota port lease agreement with China. At the Indian Consulate, a tense situation arose, which led to clashes between the Police and protesters, reported Daily News.  ‘The Police clashed with hundreds of supporters protesting before the Indian Consulate’ said Island. Police anti-riot squads   used teargas and water cannon to disperse the crowd. Police arrested 26 of the protesters.  Apparently, a mother taking lunch for her children was also arrested.

Those arrested on this occasion were charged with several offences, violating a court order, contempt of court, damaging public property, assembling illegally and disturbing duties of the police officer and assaulting them. Television news showed the Tangalle ASP approaching a journalist who had been arrested and giving him a resounding slap. This was shown over and over again on television news. The assaulted journalist, who had been reporting for   ‘Sunday Apple’, later  complained to Supreme Court. The case is proceeding, reported the media.

Yahapalana government said police intervened only when  the protest turned violent.  Police complained that four policemen were injured when the demonstrators pelted stones. Police vehicles were also damaged. The police added that  they were  scrutinizing the video footage and photographs of the incident to identify others responsible.

‘First, we were attacked by government sponsored thugs. Police did nothing to prevent them. Thereafter, the anti-riot squads were sent in. Many were injured due to tear gas and water cannon attacks,’ said Joint Opposition.  They also said that a toxic chemical harmful to humans may have been added to the water in the water cannons, because those who had been hit by the water cannons had fallen sick.

In February 2017, the police used force to disperse JVP led port workers demonstration, which demanded that the Yahapalana government abandon plans to privatize Colombo, Trincomalee and Hambantota harbors.  The demonstrators refused to call off the protest and the police fired tear gas. Island 2.2.2017. p 2 carries a photograph. In January 2018, CEB employees had a sit in strike in the HQ and took the ChaIrman hostage. Police went in with batons.(Derana news  18.1.18)

A protest march was organized by the Inter University Bhikkus Federation  in April 2017. The Federation was demanding an immediate increase of the university intake this year. The police used tear gas and water canon to disperse the march. The newspapers ran a photograph of a member of the police anti-riot squad grappling with a Buddhist monk at the Lotus Junction.

The most spectacular  anti-SAITM  student demonstration was in May 2017 in Colombo. The demonstrators, who included Inter-University Student Bala Mandalaya and  Medical Students’ Action Committee, defied a court order and tried to march to Presidents House in a very forceful manner.  Police blocked their way but they refused to move and were exposed for half an hour to water cannon. Then, since they still did not disperse, the police baton charged them. The ferocity of the attack   was clearly visible on television news. (E.g. Derana news of 10.10.17). Island ran a half page of photos on this incident. 13 persons were   admitted to hospital for treatment.

The police were also called in to control the protests over garabage dumping. Television news showed police with shields and batons trying to control protestors at the garbage dumps in Oragodawatte and Muturajawela. Garbage protestors blocked the road at  Maligawatta Waste Management Centre at Dompe and police were compelled to use tear gas and water cannon to disperse them.  at Wattala, police assaulted protestors who said they did not want the Colombo garbage.  There were many protestors and it was a prolonged fight . The fight continued even after the garbage trucks  unloaded and went back. Garbage   from Colombo was dumped at Karadiyana under a police guard which included elite police commandos as well as ordinary police. The public objected to the use of police and military to quell protests agisnt the transfer of garbage.

There is public anger towards the police. Six hundred complaints against police have been received by the National Police Commission in the first six months of 2017. In 2016 a total of 1,800 complaints against police had been received by the NPC. Most of the complaints related to policemen not carrying out proper investigations into public complaints, acting partially and assaults, reported the media.

25-year-old Pathiranalage Niroshan, 44 years,  married with one child, was shot and killed by a policeman in Kataragama on January 20 2018. He had been on his way home on a motorbike in the night when police had allegedly flagged him down using a torch. Niroshan’s friend Nuwan Buddhika, who was the pillion rider, had insisted that Niroshan had stopped the motorbike only a few metres away from the spot from where a torchlight had been shone on them. They were just starting to get down from the motorbike when two shots were fired at them, one of which struck Niroshan in the back of the head. He was pronounced dead after being admitted to hospital. The pillion rider was injured.  We saw the whole event on television news.

The incident caused violent protests. People living close to the scene of the shooting started pelting stones at the police personnel present there. A large mob staged a protest march and attacked the police station, damaging vehicles and buildings. The protest continued throughout the day. The police fired tear gas and shot in the air to disperse the protesters. Thereafter police called in STF commandos to bring the situation under control.  We saw this too on television news.

Thirteen women and 45 men were arrested on the charges of obstructing traffic, causing damage to the road, assaulting police officers and causing injury to them, obstructing police duties  and causing damage to police property. The suspects were produced before the Tissamaharama Magistrate on Sunday and released on 200,000 personal bail.They are to report to the Kataragama Police Station every last Sunday, sign the register and ensure that no more violent protests are conducted until the completion of the funeral rites of the deceased. The constable and a civil defence force cadre had been arrested over the shooting incident. The policeman was remanded.

Barely a month later, the body of 20-year-old Nalinda Kasun was found in a Piliyandala canal on February 17. Angry relatives and area residents blamed the Kahathuduwa Police for his death. According to a friend of Kasun, he had allegedly jumped into the canal from a bridge in fear after two policemen in civvies had tried to arrest him. Kasun’s friend was arrested by the police for the possession of drugs.

The arresting officers, however, had allegedly taken the friend to the police station without checking on what happened to Kasun. They had also allegedly failed to report to their OIC or any other senior officer that a second person aside from the one arrested had been present at the time and had jumped into the water. Following public outrage after the discovery of Kasun’s body,  the public invaded the Kahathuduwa police station and protested violently. .  the two officers involved in the incident — a sergeant and a constable — were ordered to be transferred with immediate effect. This order was thereafter revoked and the transfers suspended pending the conclusion of a magisterial inquiry into the incident.

After the Local government elections, a UNP    trishaw driver had been assaulted by a Pohottuwa group at Sapugaskanda, but the police had not taken any action. Television news showed the rrelatives of the driver storming the Sapugaskanda police station and hooting at the police there. The scene was displayed for quite some time on the news.

There is a newly visible  desire  to  curb police excesses. A Fundamental Rights petition  was filed by a toddy tapper.Gamaralalage Siril Kumara of Kitulgala  challenged the activities of Kitulgala police in producing persons who refuse to comply with their demand to provide free toddy, before Courts on illicit liquor offences. The petitioners complained htat  they are then compelled to plead guilty for the possession of illicit liquor and pay penalties ranging from Rs.1,000 to Rs.15,000. The failure to comply with such illegal demands results with further harassment and intimidation by the police officers.

The petitioners stated on July 28, 2017 at around 4.30 pm the 3rd and 4th Respondents arrived at the 1st Petitioner’s residence and took into possession a small quantity of toddy which was lawfully tapped by the first petitioner and claimed that the 1st Petitioner has illegally tapped toddy.They further sought Rs.5 million as compensation from the respondents.

Siril Kumara filed this petition along with two   relatives. He named the OIC of Kithulgala Police Station, two sub inspectors, two sergeants of Kithulgala station and IGP Pujith Jayasundara as respondents. The Supreme Court two-judge-bench comprising Chief Justice Priyasath Dep and Justice Sisira de Abrew refused to grant leave to proceed with the petition, citing that there is no legal basis to proceed with the petition.

Disabled police officers held a protest in Pettah in January 2018, demanding that the government restore their allowances. There is nothing to indicate that Yahapalana took notice of the protest. But pet doggies of police bigwigs are getting royal treatment. Here is a story of how one from the canine breed has been enjoying special privileges like his boss, a top cop in the south, reported the media in March 2018.

One of the staffers was asked to remove ticks off the dog and groom it for a birthday party in the top cop’s office. The party took place in the official premises. Every now and then, the same staffer is asked to take the dog for a sea bath. Three other Police officers have been assigned to accompany the dog in official vehicles. That is to ensure the pet does not stray away. If we went for a sea bath in an official vehicle, we would be charge sheeted, declared the cops. The staffer has now complained to the Inspector General of Police, the Police Commission, and the Ombudsman in Parliament. It’s a dog’s life for him, he says. A senior officer at Police Headquarters confirmed that an investigation was under way.

Yahapalana ‘hyper-debt regime’ to take on even more mega-debt

March 22nd, 2018

By C. A. Chanadraprema (Island)

In a recent article titled “Yahapalana government as a hyper-debt regime”, Professor Milton Rajaratne of the University of Peradeniya has pointed out that even though the yahapalana government accuses the Rajapaksa government of having imposed an immense debt burden on the country, the present government too has borrowed ‘surprising amounts’ of money. Rajaratne points out that by the time Rajapaksa rule ended on 9 January 2015, the total government debt stood at Rs. 7.3 trillion and the debt burden of the country, as a percentage of the GDP, stood at 71.3%. He states that despite the rhetoric of cutting down on debt, under the new government, the debt burden had rapidly increased from 71.3% to 79.3% within two years and based on the statistics reported by the Central Bank for eight months up to August 2017, this figure would have reached 90% by the end of 2017. This would indicate a growth of almost 50% in the total debt burden in just three years.

Rajaratne has also stated that under the yahapalana government, economic growth has been much slower than the growth in borrowing and that government debt has outgrown the per capita income at a rate of more than 200% and that an increase in debt with a decrease in economic growth eventually leads to a debt trap. He has also pointed out that foreign debt has grown faster than domestic debt between 2014 and 2017. While domestic debt has increased by 40%, foreign debt has grown by 60% – an alarming development. The increase in the foreign debt component has not only intensified the debt burden but has heavily increased external dependency as well. Rajaratne has argued that his findings nullify the claim of the coalition government that Rajapaksa rule has overloaded the country with debt and that this claim is only political propaganda. Statistics prove that if the Rajapaksa government was a debt regime, the coalition government is a hyper-debt regime.

Minister to have unbridled power over finance

It is in this context, that the yahapalana government has introduced in Parliament the Active Liability Management Bill with the stated objective of managing public debt and ensuring that the financing needs and payment obligations of the Government are met at the lowest possible cost over the medium to long term. This Bill aims to authorize the government to raise a sum equal to 10% of the total outstanding public debt – which works out to well over Rs. One trillion. This money is to be used for the purposes of refinancing public debt. The annual borrowing limit set by Parliament through the Appropriation Act will not apply to the money raised under this proposed law.

Under this proposed legislation, the Minister in charge of the subject will be authorized to make the decision as to which debt will be refinanced with this money and the procedures applicable to the refinancing of that debt. Every regulation made by the Minister shall, within three months after its publication in the Gazette, be brought before Parliament for approval. Any such regulation which is not so approved shall be deemed to be rescinded as from the date of its disapproval, However, anything done by the Minister before the regulation was rejected by Parliament, will still be valid and legally binding on the government. Furthermore, this proposed legislation seeks to provide immunity from civil or criminal liability to those handling this money so long as they can prove that they acted in good faith and exercised due diligence and reasonable care.

Joint Opposition parliamentarian Bandula Gunawardene has petitioned the Supreme Court requesting a ruling that this Bill has to be passed with a two thirds majority in Parliament and also a referendum because it is in conflict with the entrenched Articles of the Constitution relating to the people’s sovereignty and the manner in which that sovereignty is exercised through the legislature. The petition states that the proposed law will abrogate the powers of the parliament to have full control over public finance as provided in Article 148 of the Constitution and make inoperative the powers of the Central Bank and the Monetary Board to manage public debt in terms of section 113 of the Monetary Law and will instead empower the Minister with the authority to regulate and control matters in relation to public debt.

The Petition states that the overall effect of the proposed law would be to create a system that has no meaningful guidelines but functions on the arbitrary decisions of the Minister and the Cabinet, thus paving the way for the mismanagement of public finances and possible fraud and corruption. In this regard, the petition points out that the immunity given by clause 9 of the proposed Bill to public servants, members of the Monetary Board and other persons, including private persons, from civil and criminal liability will further endanger the economy of the country. By extending this immunity to ‘agents’ of the Central Bank, who may also include non-public servants, the executive is vested with powers to arbitrarily exempt such non-state parties from civil or criminal liability.

The petition further points out the danger in removing the control and regulation of public funds and debt, which are parts of the consolidated fund, from the management and control of both the Central Bank and the Parliament, especially by empowering the minister to deposit such money in ring-fenced accounts at Commercial Banks. The petition points out that this will enable the Minister and the Cabinet to discriminate between licensed commercial Banks by empowering them to decide arbitrarily in which commercial banks to deposit such funds without any guidelines.

present such a Bill in Parliament in the wake of the Central Bank bond scam which has shaken the entire country, shows how thick skinned this government is. The proposed Active Liability Management Bill seeks to vest unrestricted power to borrow and dispose of over Rs. one trillion on the very individuals who were called on to give evidence before the Bond Commission not so long ago.

That the yahapalana government would present such a Bill in Parliament in the wake of the Central Bank bond scam which has shaken the entire country, shows how thick skinned this government is. The proposed Active Liability Management Bill seeks to vest unrestricted power to borrow and dispose of over Rs. one trillion on the very individuals who were called on to give evidence before the Bond Commission not so long ago

Vladimir Putin is misunderstood, says director Oliver Stone

March 22nd, 2018

Tracy Bowden Courtesy abc.net.au

Updated 29 May 2017, 8:07pm

Oliver Stone has been called a lightning rod for controversy, and his latest project about Russian President Vladimir Putin is no exception.

The veteran movie director believes Mr Putin is misunderstood and the image the West has of him is wrong.

“It’s a politically, ideologically driven image,” he told the ABC’s 7.30 program.

“He’s not a Communist and he doesn’t think like one. He thinks like a person who is educated, who is a lawyer.”

Stone says he ‘liked’ Putin

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

VIDEO: Director Oliver Stone says the West isn’t listening to Vladimir Putin (ABC News)

Stone formed his views during a series of interviews with Mr Putin for a four-part TV documentary called The Putin Interviews.

The men met during production of Stone’s film Snowden, based on whistle-blower Edward Snowden, who fled the US and now lives in Russia.

“I liked him, I respected him, let’s put it that way,” Stone said.

“He agreed to do a set of interviews that we did over two years. I did maybe 25 to 30 hours of film with him.”

Stone, who was in Sydney for the Vivid Ideas and Semi Permanent events, said no subjects were off-limits with Mr Putin.

“I challenged him and I teased him and I angered him, I hit every note I could,” he said.

“The man speaks articulately about what the Russian interests are in the world and I would say to you that they’re not about empire or expansion or aggression, or a return to the old days.”

Putin responds to hacking claims in documentary

During the interviews, Stone asked the President about claims of Russian interference in last year’s US election, but he was coy about revealing the response.

“He answered very clearly and I asked him repeatedly as it has become a big issue in the West and I think he answered very brightly, intelligently. I can’t tell you what he said, watch it for yourself and make your own judgment.”

Stone himself challenged claims by the US intelligence agencies about Russian hacking. So what does he think now?

“I have always questioned the US intelligence agencies. The CIA has always been a very dicey operation,” he said.

“The Iraq war, the information they gave the president seems to be politicised intelligence in order to justify weapons of mass destruction. Again and again we see instances where the intelligence services, not just the CIA but the NSA too, and the FBI, have made huge mistakes and we’ve paid the price.”

Stone fears ‘nuclear nightmare’

But Stone’s greatest concern for the future is the volatile relationship between Russia and the United States.

“I am very worried about it. I think we are sleep-walking towards a nuclear nightmare,” he said.

“If you look back in time, World War I, World War II, you will find they have been strong allies and we can return to that position and have a strong alliance with them which is what we need now.

“The world is in a very dangerous position and terrorism is an issue on which we both agree.”

Trump ‘a disaster’

US President Donald Trump had a cameo in Stone’s 2010 Wall Street sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, but his appearance hit the cutting room floor.

“I wish I had used it but at that point in time it was a long movie and I was trying to save time. I cut his scene,” he said.

“If I had known now I would have put it back in.”

So how does the director rate Mr Trump in his real-life role of President?

“It’s been a disaster,” he said. “This is a little too early to tell if Trump lasts, but it seems he’s not to be the kind of president who plans, who deliberates.”

The director has made films or biopics about a series of US presidents — JFK, Nixon and George W Bush — but for now has no plans to focus his creative skills on Mr Trump.

“If the Trump story may right now be a story about a man who is enamoured of consumerism or materialism and wants success at any cost, like Nixon a bit, and comes to the office willing to barter what is left of his soul in order to become president, possibly there is an angle there, but you know I’m not there yet.

“Let’s let some years go by and see what happens.”

Oliver Stone on Vladimir Putin: ‘The Russian people have never been better off’

March 22nd, 2018

By Dominic Rushe Courtesy The Guardian

The veteran director has been accused of pandering to Putin for his four-hour documentary on the Russian leader, but he remains unrepentant. Could it be the climax to his career?

Oliver Stone: ‘Everything I did was examined by a certain light. And as an artist it’s very limiting.’
 Oliver Stone: ‘Everything I did was examined by a certain light. And as an artist it’s very limiting.’ Photograph: Suki Dhanda for the Observer

‘Have you ever been beaten?” Vladimir Putin poses the question to Oliver Stone close to the end of Stone’s extraordinary four-hour documentary on the Russian leader. Yes,” says Stone. So, it’s not going to be something new, because you are going to suffer for what you are doing,” says the Russian leader, before striding out of a room that conjures the spirit of the Sistine chapel crossed with the most fevered fantasies of Donald Trump’s interior designer.

In this instance, Putin was right. Stone’s epic four-part film The Putin Interviews was described by the Daily Beast as a wildly irresponsible love letter” to Russia’s president. It says as much about Oliver Stone as it does Vladimir Putin”, said CNN. Flattery, but little scepticism,” said the New York Times.

Harsh words for a project that took a lifetime of achievements to secure and two years to make. Does Stone mind? I mean, it affects movies, you know. You work very hard on a movie and sometimes it’s judged more by the person who made it than by what the content is. I can say I’m a black man in that way. It’s not the content, it’s not the content of my character, but it’s the nature of my probing.”

Stone is a lot of things. Sitting in the glittery Conrad hotel in lower Manhattan, an Elizabeth Peyton hanging on the wall of his suite, he’s the Oscar-winning director of classic films including Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July and Natural Born Killers, and clunkers such as Alexander (with Colin Farrell as Alexander the Great). He wrote Scarface and summed up 1980s Wall Street in a single speech, in the film of the same name: Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works.” He is a decorated Vietnam war veteran. He is not a black man. It is exactly the sort of statement that gets men – and it’s nearly always men – his age into trouble these days. At the risk of losing the rest of the interview before it starts, I let it slide, hear him out.

It’s that kind of decision – on a much larger scale – that has plunged Stone’s project into trouble. In the first half of the documentary, Putin reveals he does not have bad days because he is not a woman”. I am not trying to insult anyone,” he says, as he does exactly that. That’s just the nature of things. There are certain natural cycles.” He also reveals that he would rather not shower next to a gay man. Why provoke him? But you know, I’m a judo master.” This from the leader of a country with an increasingly disturbing record of abuses against the LGBT community.

Stone lets the comments slide. Why didn’t he challenge Putin? It’s not my job to do that,” he says. What he wanted to do was build a rounded portrait of arguably the most fascinating and frightening world leader in a generation. If that is how he thinks, that is what Stone wants you to know about. He is not trying to change Putin’s mind, but to show it.

Stone’s larger point is that Putin is not so very different to many world leaders – not even on social issues. Obama was against same-sex marriage as late as, what, 2014, 15?” says Stone (it was 2012, but fair point and let’s not get started on the Clintons). So, what’s the big deal? Everyone’s got to be on the frontline, and if you don’t mouth the politically correct thing, that’s what they do in America, every fucking show. Bill Maher says something stupid [the late night comedian recently caused a furore after he used the N-word on his show], and it’s like there’s nothing else to do but to have a sin-bashing orgy. That’s all. That’s all it is, they love to do this. To Trump, too,” says Stone.

What does Stone make of Donald Trump? Don’t bait me with that one,” he says. That’ll be the headline. Instead of it being about my movie, it’ll be about this headline.

[With Trump and the press] it’s excitement, it’s a game, it’s fun, but it doesn’t satisfy the requirements of civilisation, which are peace, security, peace, security, peace, security. And we’re not aligning to that.”

Most of the reviews of Stone’s Putin documentary so far have been written after critics saw just the first two hours. They form a sympathetic portrait of Putin and his emergence from the wild west days of the Yeltsin presidency, which Stone describes a sort of mad capitalism, and alcoholism, sort of like a Dostoyevsky orgy”. But The Putin Interviews do get more critical as the episodes go on. In the second half, Stone pushes Putin on hacking the US election, on the oligarchs, on how long he intends to remain in power. Putin’s sphinx-like mask occasionally cracks, although he remains the judo blackbelt.

In one way, Trump’s election couldn’t have been better for Stone. The hacking of the Democratic National Convention by – allegedly – Russian forces and Trump’s seeming embrace of Putin before the election have given the documentary a timeliness that might, perhaps, have been missing under a Clinton presidency.

Everyone wants to know what Putin has to say about Trump and Russia’s alleged hacking of the US election. Sadly, it’s not a lot: the hacking accusations are silly”, he says. Certainly we liked [the idea of] President Trump, and we still like him because he publicly announced that he was ready to restore American-Russian relations.” Putin adds that it’s a good thing to have economic cooperation and to fight terrorism.

Stone keeps pushing: So why did you bother to hack the election then?” Putin picks his nails and looks down before answering: We did not hack the election at all.” Stone pushes him once more on Russia’s cyber-attack capabilities. Putin doesn’t give anything away but looks, says Stone, like a fox who just got out of the hen house”.

There may be no gotcha!” moment but the director’s aim, he says, is to start a debate not to end one. For many in the US, Putin is – to quote John McCain – a butcher” and thug” and a worse threat than Isis. For Stone, the public should worry about the US’s cyber abilities, too. The world is a worrying place; both sides have bad intentions. Simply demonising Putin – and, by extension, Russia – is dangerous, says Stone, and wrong. They have freedom of worship, they do what they want. They have travel, the Russian people have never been better off. But of course in America, they’re [the Russians] miserable, dictated to, in stalags, in gulags, they’re all being chopped up by this monster. It’s just crazy,” he says. And the British are worse. I mean, this is Murdoch’s lies, he’s told lies about the entire world, they created wars.”

It’s not a view that will gain much support in the corridors of power in Washington or London. And it will be disputed by many in Russian, too, including Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader jailed and physically attacked for leading protests against the Putin regime.

As if to underline how little there is here to satisfy Putin’s many critics, the documentary is being shown uncut in Russia; clearly, there is much that the Russian establishment are pleased with.

But while the merits of what Stone has produced are up for debate, there’s no doubting what a coup he and his long-time documentary producer, Fernando Sulichin, have pulled off. The pair first met Putin while working on their movie about National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Sulichin, who oozes a steely charm, has a way of getting what he wants. During the filming of Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, he convinced the Saudis to allow them to film in Mecca – the first time the country had allowed a non-documentary film crew to shoot in the holy city.

THE PUTIN INTERVIEWSThe Putin Interviews , Featuring Vladimir Putin and Oliver Stone ©Showtime / Komandir.
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 Photograph: Komandir/Showtime

Once Putin had been convinced, they spent two years putting together the documentary, interviewing the Russian leader more than a dozen times, most recently in February after the US presidential elections. Kremlinologists have been hard at work to decipher what exactly we learn, if anything, about Putin’s and Russia’s role in the Ukraine, cyberattacks, Syria – all topics of lengthy discussion that have experts poring over the footage for signs and tells from this most slippery of statesmen. But, for the average viewer, the opportunity to watch Putin so closely, over so many hours, is mesmerising.

The documentary has its lighter moments, too – not all of them intentional. Putin and Stone are a classic odd couple. The messy, craggy, ursine Hollywood wildman and the pantherine, inscrutable politician. It isn’t David Frost v Richard Nixon, oil v grease, but more The Jungle Book’s Baloo and Shere Khan transported to the Kremlin.

At times it feels like a game. You pat my back, I’ll pat yours. Walking down the corridor to Putin’s office (it used to be Stalin’s) a TV just happens to be playing Putin’s 2007 speech in Munich in which he dropped all diplomatic niceties to accuse the US of provoking a nuclear arms race with its almost uncontained hyper-use of military force in international relations”.

You could have been a movie star,” says Stone, looking at the screen and playing the flattery card. They walk through to Putin’s office, where the president returns the compliment: there’s a copy of Stone’s book, The Untold History of the United States, on his desk. Putin has, allegedly, cracked a lot of spines but this one looks untouched.

In another telling scene, Stone is setting up a shot in which Putin is supposed to walk into a room and the pair will act as if they have not spoken in months. Action,” shouts Stone. Nothing happens. Action,” he repeats. Still nothing. He asks the translator to shout. Still nothing. Cut to Putin, who winks to camera and then strolls in carrying two cups of coffee. If you had any doubt who’s in charge, you don’t now.

That’s not how Sulichin sees that scene. He says Putin was shy around the camera. His reading is jolly, good-natured, humanising. For others, even Putin at play will send shivers. Sometimes it’s hard to detangle the message from the messenger. It’s an issue that Stone is well aware of. He is beginning to sound a little weary now. Everything I did was examined by a certain light. And as an artist, it’s very limiting. I hate that. I try to avoid it, and you can see, I’ve made a whole variety of films. I wish I’d made some more, but there were always blockages of some kind. I maintained independence, I haven’t done a film I didn’t want to do. I’m responsible for them all, including the ones that didn’t do so well, but I’m still, at my age, I’m making what I think is right. Unless you have that sense of freedom in your heart, you can never really be at peace with yourself,” he says.

So, what’s next? Stone is delighted that Jeremy Corbyn did so well in the UK election. I like Corbyn’s foreign policy, above all. I know he’s elected for some other reasons, for like giving free bingo games or what – I don’t know, in England, you’re crazy – but talking about foreign policy, he understands more than any other western politician what it takes now to save the world, including the changes in the world.” Could a documentary on the Labour leader be his next project? He’s part of the change. And he can articulate it, but the problem is keeping the English conservatives under, keeping them under the lid, because they get so angry, the right in England; they always want a war somewhere. Winston Churchill comes out, you know, ‘We gotta get someone.’”

But there are also signs that Stone is preparing to call it a day. In a recent Facebook post, he called The Putin Interviews a four-hour audacious climax to my strange life as an American film-maker”. Is it the climax?

I don’t know if they’ll ever give me a chance to make another movie. I never assume anything, I really try not to. Because I did at one point, when I was in my middle of my career, and I think that spoils you. At least I have the freedom to do what I want to next, I don’t have commitments to something that’s going to weigh me down. You understand what I’m trying to say? Tomorrow, I could move to Albania.” Why would he do that? I don’t know that I want to live under such a strict Anglo-Saxon code the rest of my life, now that I’m getting older, you know? Maybe there are better, more peaceful ways to live without being in conflict with the fact that your tax bills are going to the bombings of, or the building of such crappy military equipment.”

The Putin Interviews is on Sky Atlantic every night for four nights from Tuesday at 2am. In the US, it begins on Tuesday on Showtime at 9pm. In Australia, it airs on SBS on 18 and 25 June at 8.30pm.

Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.Thomasine, Sweden

No-faith motion with 14 charges against PM submitted to Speaker Four SLFP MPs among 55 signatories

March 21st, 2018

By Saman Indrajith Courtesy The Island


A no-confidence motion containing 14 allegations against Prime Minister Ranil Wickrem-esinghe was handed over to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya by a group of Joint Opposition (JO) MPs led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa around 2.35 pm yesterday.

The motion has been signed by 55 MPs including State Minister of Lands T. B. Ekanayake, Public Manag-ement and Administration Deputy Minister Susantha Punchinilame, Ports and Shipping Deputy Minister Nishantha Muthuhettigama and UPFA MP Cader Masthan.

Former President Rajapaksa however has not signed the motion.  UPFA MPs Roshan Ranasinghe and Siripala Gamlath, too , have not signed it. The signatories are MPs Dinesh Gunawardena, Chamal Rajapaksa, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Wimal Weerawandsa, Udaya Gammanpila, Dullas Alahapperuma, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Salinda Dissanayake, Ranjith de Zoysa, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Shehan Semasinghe, Janaka Wakkumbura, Kanaka Herath, Tharaka Balasuriya, Indika Anuruddha, Wimalaweera Dissanayake, Bandula Gunawardena, Niroshan Premaratne, D.V. Chanaka, Namal Rajapaksa, Prasanna Ranatunga, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Sisira Jayakody, Piyal Nishantha de Silva, Premalal Jayasekera, Vidura Wickremanayake, CB Ratnayake, Ramesh Pathirana, Jayantha Samaraweera, Gamini Lokuge, Pavithra Wannniarachchi, Johnston Fernando, SC Muthukumarana, Lohan Ratwatte, Thenuka Widanagama, Dlium Amunugama, Keheliya Rambukwella, Kanchana Wijesekera, Dulip Wijesekera, Vijtiha Berugoda, Sanath Nishantha, Arundika Fernando, Kumara Welgama, Piyankara Jayaratne, Janaka Bandara Thennakoon, SM Chandrasena, Padma Udayashantha, Mohan P de Silva, Chandrasiri Gajadheera, Nimal Lanza and Prasanna Ranaweera.

Parliament sources said that a group of MPs including Nimal Lanza, Prasanna Ranatunga, Ramesh Pathirana and Kumara Welgama initially opposed the motion but signed it.

In the motion against the Prime Minister there are 14 charges including placing the Finance Ministry under the purview of the Prime Minister with the intention of committing the bond scam, appointing Singaporean Arjuna Mahendran to the post of Governor of the Central Bank, directly involving in the Treasury bond scams, appointing the Pitipana committee comprising his friends to exonerate those responsible for the scam, misleading Parliament by giving false statements on the bond commission on March 17, 2015, violating financial regulations, failure to arrest the rising cost of living and the failure to bring the recent communal riots as the minister of law and order.

Parliament sources said that it was the 47th no-confidence motion and the third no-confidence motion against a prime minister in the Lankan parliament history. The first no-confidence motion was handed over on Sept 09, 1949 against two ministers, according to parliament sources.

Sources said that usually there would be no secret vote on a no-confidence motion, but the MPs could submit a substantive motion to the Speaker seeking his permission for a secret vote. The Speaker has the discretion to comply with or reject such a request.

මහින්ද සුලග ඉන්දීය-ඇමරිකා පීල්ලට දාන්න දෙන්න බෑ.. අපව රම්පෙ කරපිංචා කරන්න දෙන්නේ නෑ..- ගම්මන්පිල සිවු අතේ නෙලයි..

A BOOK WITH THE POWER TO CHANGE US AT THE DEEPEST LEVEL: 

March 21st, 2018

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

Altered Traits – Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body                                                                                                                        Authored by Daniel Goleman &  Richard J. Davidson     

ISBN 978-0399184383

Grounded on the in-depth innovative research that has made them giants in their fields, and drawing on their own long personal meditative experience, Dr. Daniel Goleman and Professor Richard Davidson demonstrate in their new book Altered Traits, that  beyond the pleasant states that mental exercises can produce, the real payoffs are the lasting personality traits that can result from regular meditation. They reveal the truth about what meditation can really do for us, as well as exactly how to get the most out of it. Altered Traits is one of those rare books that has the power to change us at the deepest level. It breaks new ground in illuminating the power of meditation to transform our lives. Rigorously researched and deeply illuminating, Altered Traits is a must-read for anyone interested in the hidden potential of the human mind. It reveals how training the mind can transform the brain and our sense of self, inspiring us to create a greater sense of well-being, meaning, and connection in our world.

Daniel Goleman is one of the world’s most eminent psychological scientists and most gifted science journalists who reported on brain and behavioral research for The New York Times for many years, and has received several awards for his writing and the author of many books, including the Meditative Mind, and the ground-breaking book  Emotional Intelligence, a best seller in many countries and published worldwide in 40 languages, Goleman is a founding member of the board of the Mind and Life Institute and cofounder of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, and codirector of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations at Rutgers University.

Richard Davidson is a path-breaking neuroscientist, named by Time magazine as one of the world’s top 100 most influential people and the recipient of theDistinguished Scientific Contribution Award for lifetime achievement from the American Psychological Association, is the author of many books and is the Director of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, and founder and Chair of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds of the University of Wisconsin.

The book reveals that meditation leads to some improvements in markers of health. Many claims have been made about mindfulness and health; but sometimes these claims are hard to substantiate or may be mixed up with other effects. For example, when it comes to pain—where our psychology plays a clear role in our experience of pain—it’s now clear that meditation can lessen pain without directly addressing its physiological source. However, there is some good evidence that meditation affects physiological indices of health, too. For example, practicing meditation lessons the inflammatory response in people exposed to psychological stressors,  particularly long-term meditators. Also, meditators seem to have increased activity of telomerase—an enzyme implicated in longer cell life and, therefore, longevity.

Many people have been introduced to mindfulness meditation practices in North America, through the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. MBSR has been researched extensively and tied to many positive outcomes for medical patients. But while MBSR has helped a lot of people, it’s not always clear which aspects of the training—mindful breathing versus yoga versus loving-kindness meditation—are most helpful for issues facing people. Nor is it always clear that the impacts of MBSR training extend long beyond when the training ends. That is where Altered Traits of Davidson and Goleman becomes highly significant because it unveils not just the temporary effects of mindfulness training, but how practicing various forms of meditation over time affects our general traits—more stable aspects of ourselves, and the authors make the case that simpler forms of mindfulness training may have some benefits but fall short when you are looking for lasting change. The authors reveal the latest data from Davidson’s own lab that point to a new methodology for developing a broader array of mind-training methods with larger implications for how we can derive the greatest benefits from the practice.

The authors show that besides augmenting our capacity to focus and pay attention, regular meditation practices bring calm, clarity, and compassion for all, from beginners to experienced practitioners, and eventually, help to significantly improve our resiliency to stress and increases our compassionate concern for others.The authors demonstrate that beyond the pleasant states mental exercises can produce, the real payoffs of meditation are the lasting personality traits that can result. But short daily practices will not get us to the highest level of lasting positive change -even if we continue for years, without developing a more spacious, less attached view of self, and other specific additions such as loving kindness practices and targeted feedback from an experienced and dedicated guide/teacher.

“A happy synthesis of the authors’ remarkable careers, which grew from the intuition they shared as students that there was something deep and transformative about meditation, Altered Traits tells the story of what has been discovered since and why it matters critically at this moment on the planet.” —Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Full Catastrophe Living and Mindfulness for Beginners.

“In this engaging and well-researched book, Goleman and Davidson help us sort out the many claims now being made about the benefits of meditation. Drawing on their own long personal meditative experience and the ever-increasing number of scientific studies, Altered Traits breaks new ground in illuminating the power of meditation to transform our lives.” —Joseph Goldstein, author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening.

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

Public Letter to the President of Sri Lanka & Members of the Constitutional Council against the Hate Speech Statement by Election Commission against the Sinhalese

March 21st, 2018

Your Excellency

The President of Sri Lanka,

 

In your capacity as Head of State, appointing the Commissioner of Elections on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council, this public letter is to bring to your kind attention a not-so-independent statement by the Elections Commissioner, published by Daily Mirror journalist M S M Ayub on 20 March 2018 titled Most Sinhalese happy about recent riots: EC”. This is a highly derogatory statement against one community abusing the protocols of office and demands a retraction and public apology and the Constitutional Council must launch an investigation into this immediately.

http://www.dailymirror.lk/article/Most-Sinhalese-happy-about-recent-riots-EC-147507.html

There can be 2 explanations for this publication

  1. That the Daily Mirror & M S M Ayub featuring the story has misconstrued what the Election Commissioner said.

If so then the Editor & M S M Ayub must tender a public apology and carry an end note on electronic publications and next issue to that effect.

  1. That the Daily Mirror & M S M Ayub featuring the story has reported exactly what the Election Commissioner said.

If so, then the Election Commission has abused his office violating the notion of ‘independent’ associated with the setting up of the Commission and must tender an apology while action must be taken as it reveals his unsuitability to serve in this post.

As per the article by M S M Ayub, the Election Commissioner has

  • Claimed that the majority of the Sinhalese ‘seemed happy’ about the recent attacks on Muslim-owned properties and mosques during the recent riots in Ampara & Kandy. In fact, Ayub quotes the Commissioner the claim that a majority of Sinhalese were against the recent attacks on Muslims is wrong”.
  • Not stopping there, the Elections Commissioner goes on to say that the majority of Sinhalese were happy to see the Tamils too being attacked in 1983.

The irony is that the statement of the supposed-to-be ‘independent’ Commissioner of Elections was made at a workshop on ethnic harmony on the theme ‘building Bridges’ held at the SLIDA.

So how has the not-so-independent Elections Commissioner contributed to ethnic harmony by his statement? What is the Bridge he has built as a result of taking his brush & claiming that the majority of Sinhalese were happy that Tamils were attacked in 1983 as well as being happy that Muslims were attacked recently?

An individual making irrational statements can be excused but a person holding public office especially in a Commission set up to be ‘independent’ cannot make personal statements in a public forum and more so not statements that completely denigrates an entire community. To claim majority, it must be over half of the Sinhalese population. What is the evidence he has, to come to the conclusion that majority of Sinhalese were happy? Did he personally speak to over 7.5m Sinhalese to make this claim?

Such irresponsible statements has done great damage to the majority Sinhalese who are at the receiving end of much lies, distortions & well-funded smearing campaigns.

Statements as the one made by the election commissioner gets picked up by the world media and is quoted and republished in reports and used as reference. Was this the real objective?

While the damage has been done the onus is on the President’s Office & the Constitutional Council to hold an impartial inquiry and ensure a public apology and retraction is made to the majority Sinhalese for the damage done by irresponsible hate speech.

People in public office need to be gagged on contributing to hate speech & racism far more than individuals who are not taken seriously and their statements never get the public attention that public officials get when they come out and abuse a community in public.

The Election Commissioner has done great harm to the Sinhala Community by this irresponsible statement.

 

 

Shenali D Waduge

A citizen

Why is a Buddhist majoritarian state unacceptable but Islamic states are?

March 21st, 2018

According to M M Zuhair former ambassador & Secretary to the State Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation the international community will not support a Buddhist majoritarian state and will only recognize states that are multi-linguistic, multi-cultural & multi-religious. If so, what is the position of over 50 majority-Muslim states where the constitution upholds only the right of Islam?

His sentiments were given space & published by the Sunday Times newspaper of 18 March 2018 http://www.sundaytimes.lk/180318/sunday-times-2/fake-propaganda-against-muslims-threat-to-national-unity-286339.html

In any event an ethnic or a Buddhist majoritarian state will not receive the support of the international community, unlike a state which is recognised as multi-linguistic, multi-cultural and multi-religious. The armed forces of such a sectarian state may come under greater pressure from the UN Human Rights Council to allow international investigations. With only a little help possibly forthcoming from the powerful players of the world, the demand to establish hybrid courts will compound.”

Being a Muslim himself, Mr. Zuhair may like to connect his own statement with the status quo in Muslim majority countries where only Islam is given prominence.

Over 100million non-Muslims live & work in over 50 Muslim majority countries that comprises 1/3 of the world and over 1.2billion Muslims – but do they enjoy the same rights that Islam & Muslims enjoy?

Are these Muslim majority nations multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-faith   

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 declares

Article 1 “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”. (Women are inferior under Islamic law; their testimony in  a court of law is worth half that of a man; their movement is strictly restricted, they cannot marry a non-Muslim)

Article 2 “Everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”.

(Non – Muslims living in Muslim countries have inferior status under Islamic law, they may not testify against a Muslim. In Saudi Arabia, following a tradition of Muhammed who said ” Two religions cannot exist in the country of Arabia “, non-Muslims are forbidden to practice their religion, build churches, possess Bibles etc.)

Article 3 “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person” (atheists– in Muslim countries do not have “the right to life “. They are to be killed.

Article 4 No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms” (Slavery is recognised in the Koran. Muslims are allowed to cohabit with any of their female slaves (Sura iv.3); they are allowed to take possession of married women if they are slaves (Sura iv.28);

Article 5 No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. (punishments for the transgressers of the Holy Law: amputations, crucifixion, stoning to death, floggings)

Article 6  Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

In Muslim majority countries strict laws govern how people live, what symbols are displayed, how people behave in public, how people are to dress in public and these laws come with severe punishments. The world may cry foul, issue countless reports, debate and send petitions but nothing or no one can change these laws.

57 nations declare themselves as Islamic. In these lands strict Islamic laws prevail. Islam is the preferred & privileged religion. Is there Multiculturalism-Multi-Faith-Multi-religious-Multi-cultures in these countries? Are other religions other ethnic groups on par with Islam or Muslims?

The constitutions of most Arab countries including Egypt, Syria, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, U.A.E. and Yemen refer to Sharia either as: A primary source of law or the source of law.

The head of state has to be a Muslim because he is bound by Sharia law to conduct & administer the state in accordance with the Quran and the Sunna. His Government of Ministers are bound to assist him in implementing Islamic principles.

A Non-Muslim can never become the Head of State of a majority Muslim country. A non-Muslims can never become a judge either. A Muslim judge must always take the side of the Muslim against a Non-Muslim…how many non-Sinhala Buddhist judges prevail in Sri Lanka?

Where the constitution describes Sharia as The” principal source of legislation, the hierarchy implies that all other laws and statues must comply with the principles of Sharia.

Islamic law Shari`a” guarantees to non-Muslims certain specifically stated rights beyond which they are not permitted to meddle in the affairs of the state because they do not subscribe to its ideology.” ONLY IF they embrace the Islamic faith, they become equal participants in all matters concerning the state and the government.”

Non-Muslims who live in Muslim countries & agree to pay Jizya (tribute tax collected from adult non-Muslim males) in exchange for protection and safety are Zimmis. Tax collected from Muslims is Zakat. 

In Arab peninsula, Zimmis (non-Muslims) cannot build new churches, temples, synagogues, renovation is allowed if no new additions are made. Old Churches are those that existed before Islamic conquests. Inspite of the area being occupied by non-Muslims before conquest, ever since Islam has prevailed, it is regarded as the land of the Prophet. 

Zimmis cannot pray or read their sacred books out loud les Muslims hear their prayers.

Zimmis cannot print their religious books or sell them in public places to outsiders (only their own people)

Zimmis cannot install their religious symbols even inside their houses

Zimmis cannot hold their religious events in public.

But Zimmis & Muslims have to face the same civic laws – if a Zimmi commits theft, adultery, murder etc they are punished as per Islamic law.

Islamic law applies to civic, business, financial transactions, mortgages & contracts etc. 

Though civic law is common to Zimmis & Muslims there are instances where non-Muslims are treated differently. A Muslim male can marry a Zimmi girl but a Zimmi man cannot marry a Muslim girl.

Zimmi’s cannot testify against Muslims. Their oaths are not considered valid in an Islamic court. A Zimmi, regarded as an infidel, cannot testify against any Muslim regardless of his moral credibility.

Shariah Law holds that a Zimmi is not even qualified to be under oath.

The testimony of a Zimmi is not accepted because Allah – may He be exalted – said: `God will not let the infidels (kafir) have an upper hand over the believers’.”

A Muslim cannot emulate Zimmi dress or behavior, attend their festivals, lease or sell his land to construct a Zimmi church, temple, liquor store etc.

No Muslim can change their faith. Conversion of Muslims is not allowed but non-Muslims can convert to Islam.

When Brunei implemented Shariah law non-Muslims were banned from using 19 Islamic words – anyone found guilt had to pay $4000 fine or a year in prison or stoning to death.

In Malaysia, non-Muslims cannot use the word Allah.

In 2015, Iran executed 20 people for “enmity against God,”

Pew Research poll in 2015 http://www.pewglobal.org/2016/04/27/the-divide-over-islam-and-national-laws-in-the-muslim-world/ has presented these findings

In Jordan, which is a constitutional monarchy, 54% say their laws should strictly follow the Quran.

Around half of Nigerian Muslims (52%) prefer the strict interpretation of the Quran for the country’s laws, while 64% of Nigerian Christians prefer the Quran have no influence.

According to Pew Generally, more-educated people say laws should not follow Quran”

Incidentally, the following countries were secular and turned into Islamic nations!

  • Bangladesh (1971-1977)
  • Iran (1925-1979)
  • Madagascar (1960–2007)
  • Iraq (1932–1968)

Iranian-born professor of law Afshin Ellian argues that while Muslim migrants are quick to claim their customs under multiculturalism”, they have no intention of reciprocating.

The Islamic world is not multicultural and is not going to be multicultural. It is only the Western countries which have had to become multicultural at breakneck speed. So the migration is one-way.”

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/09/02/muslims-dont-tolerate-multiculturalism/

Robert Spencer, says When in Muslim countries, do as the Muslims do, and when in non-Muslim countries, do as the Muslims do.”

In the West, Muslims are willing to make a nod toward the Western celebration of diversity. But in Muslim majority nations it’s a different story. To the extent that other faiths are tolerated, they are tolerated only insofar as they accept dhimmi status.” (William Kilpatrick)

Do any of these restrictions prevail constitutionally, legislatively or legally in Sri Lanka? Foremost place of Buddhism prevails because it had been the state religion even at the point of signing the Kandyan Convention and the British assured to maintain that status quo. The status quo of Buddhism has not impeded any individuals of non-Buddhist faith from practicing their religions. The answer to this is can Buddhists go about putting up Buddhist temples in any of the Muslim majority countries in the manner that minorities are presently putting up religious structures? Anyone denying are requested to take a journey throughout Sri Lanka & count the numbers of mosques, kovils, churches, madrassas, free-churches that have come up of late.

The concept of multiculturalism is a new liberal theory introduced by the West whose citizens are now openly condemning their governments for implementing. Leaders of the West themselves are admitting that multiculturalism has failed.

The severe restrictions and regulations enforced by Muslim majority nations are to protect & preserve their faith & the cultural system based on that faith. Christian West has been liberal and accommodative of other faiths & cultures & in so doing many have found refuge in other faiths, thus the rising number of Westerners embracing Buddhism while large numbers are becoming atheists.

If the West has no issues in the Muslim majority nations placing their faith above all others and non-conforming to any of the UN charters & declarations as none of these Muslim majority countries follow multiculturalism-multi-faith or multi-linguism, why would anyone of this same faith take offence against Sri Lanka that has provided enough and more to the minorities and seeks only to preserve, protect and foster what had existed for over 2500 years.

 

 

Shenali D Waduge

No-confidence motion against PM handed over to Speaker

March 21st, 2018

The motion of no-confidence against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has been handed over to the Speaker of Parliament by MPs representing the Joint Opposition.

Joint Opposition leader Dinesh Gunawardena handed over the motion to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya at 2.30pm today (21).

The motion has reportedly been signed by a total of 55 MPs including 51 from the Joint Opposition and 4 MPs from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

The SLFP members who have signed include T.B. Ekanayake, Nishantha Muthuhettigama, Susantha Punchinilame and Kader Masthan.

The SLFP Parliamentary Group had said it would decide on the motion of no-confidence after discussing the points included after it is presented to the Parliament.

Meanwhile minister of the United National Party (UNP) have said that they would defeat the motion in Parliament.

Comments on disruption of discussion by Tamils

March 21st, 2018

Kanthar Balanathan  DipEE(UK), GradCert(Rel Eng-Monash), DipBus&Adm(Finance-Massey), CEng., MIEE(Lond) Retired Director & Specialist Power Systems Engineer Rowville Australia

Viewing the attached video will reveal more truths on the behavioral pattern as to who are the rowdies and who are the gentle people of SriLanka. Behavioral pattern inflicts upon leadership quality. The Sinhala military officer gently and politely emphasized and outlined the events in the past which are the truths.

The Tamil guy behaves liked a Coolie and a rowdy and walks toward the military officer intimidating him. This is similar to the behavior of LTTE terrorists in the past when they were holding an AK 47 or T 56. LTTE was able to control the mass purely on intimidation with guns.  Some people are trying to control this guy and pull him backward. That itself is an indication of rowdy behavior. It is ridiculous that the guy wears a decent dress and talks bush English.

Truths:

Why was Alfred Duraiyappa (AD) killed by LTTE? The AD, when he was the Mayor of Jaffna, allocated land near Oattumadam. The land is only two miles from Jaffna town for settlement by Muslim community. LTTE did not like this allocation. Prabakaran planned and assassinated AD in 1974 and killed AD in cold blood. When LTTE strengthened their hands, they ordered the Muslims to get out of the area within 48 hours.

When Tamils talk of self-determination, for 30 years the area was devastated by terrorism. If we are clever we could analyze the events after gaining independence. Since 1949, what did the Tamil politicians do for the Northern area? Were they a driver for the younger generation to do private practice and open up technical business. All Tamils wanted government jobs and ran to the South. Tamils kept their families in Jaffna and traveled by Yarl Devi during weekends. Tamils were happy with their life indicating they are selfish and self-centered. Politicians sucked the government politburo and got government high jobs for their kith and relatives. An upper caste guy will not allow a lower caste guy to buy a land next to him or in the area.

LTTE blasted and bombed the Central Bank building, Destroyed EHV power lines. Destroyed the KKS Cement factory. Destroyed roads, trains running to Jaffna by bombing rail tracks.

Tamil hooligan diaspora always talks about colonization. Don’t they know or are they small babies to understand who colonized the whole land. Indian Tamils colonized SriLanka right from the 13th century. According to 2011 statistics, 49% of Tamils live outside the N&E. There is no point in talking about colonization because the people who will be laughed at are the TAMILS. Why is there 98% of Tamils in Wellawatte? Why is there 98,000+ Tamils in Gampaha?

Kittu and another LTTE coolie killed several Sinhalese bystanders at Anuradhapura bus stand. What did these innocent civilians do?

The only thing the Tamil politicians did was to incite the Tamil Coolies and the population to enter into Satyagraha and fight against the government. Today MA Sumanthiran is in the USA sucking and begging the US to involve in UN and order something to their taste. Where did he qualify to become an attorney? SriLanka under free education scheme by GOSL.

Its time for Tamil Diaspora to behave like humans and not rowdies, and the Tamil politicians to be cohesive in SL. Tamils wanted power sharing. SL gave power-sharing by appointing the old fool Sambanthar as the Leader of Opposition. What more they want?

NPC wants police and land power for only one thing. They now find that the lower caste people are coming up in life with higher education and jobs, which they are unable to digest. If they have the power then they can still cheat the lower caste fools and control them to do menial jobs. Human riots violation occurs in the N&E. Lower caste fools must understand that the Tamil politicians do not love them but hate the lower caste idiots.

Tamil Diaspora fools must understand as to why the west is supporting them. Nothing more than to invade into the N & E and make it a Bangkok for their NAVY brothel house.

Already the Tamil Diaspora is living in pockets based on caste placement. No lower caste person or family is invited by a higher caste person. That’s the situation overseas. That indicates that the high caste Tamils are idiots with narrow mentality.

Let us Tamils behave like humans.

YAHAPALANA AND HAMBANTOTA Part 3

March 21st, 2018

KAMALIKA PIERIS

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa     issued a statement in January 2017 regarding his much maligned Hambantota project. Since the future of the Hambantota port is now under discussion, I wish to explain to the public, my position on this matter. The loans taken for the construction of this harbour were 450 million USD for the first phase, 70 million USD for the bunkering facility and 802 million USD for the second phase bringing the total to around 1,322 million USD. When complete the harbour would have four terminals and 12 berths. This was meant to be a free port covering an area of 2,000 hectares where goods could be manufactured or value added and shipped overseas. All the necessary feasibility studies were done before these loans were taken and the annual interest plus capital repayments would amount to about 111 million USD. My government had planned to raise that money through the Ports Authority itself.

The first phase of the Hambantota harbour became partially operational in 2011. The transshipment of vehicles began in 2012 with 70% of the vehicles coming into Hambantota being transshipped to other countries. In 2014, 335 vessels called at the Hambantota harbour followed by 295 in 2015. The port made an operating profit of Rs. 900 million in 2014 and Rs 1.2 billion in 2015. These are investments that last centuries and a new harbour cannot be expected to produce large profits in the first few years. Our plan was to break even within ten years.

My government had signed a Supply Operate and Transfer (SOT) management contract with a joint venture between China Harbour Co and China Merchant Co to supply equipment such as cranes and operate the Hambantota container terminal for 40 years. The Ports Authority was to receive a rental of 35,000 USD per hectare per year for the 56 hectares in the container terminal (a total of 1.96 million USD per year), a royalty of 2.5 USD on every container loaded or unloaded, warfrage of 30 USD per container for cargo coming into Sri Lanka and all other usual harbour charges for navigation, piloting, tonnage, etc.  Other than the container terminal, all other terminals in the harbour and the 2,000 hectare industrial zone was to be controlled by the Ports Authority and they would have derived the income from the cargo of the free port passing through their terminals.

The new government made some unwise decisions. Firstly, they disregarded the management contract for the Hambantota container terminal entered into by my government with China Harbour Co and China Merchant Co. Secondly, the Ports Authority had developed the Colombo East container terminal and upon its completion by 2016, this terminal would have produced a revenue of more than 100 million USD a year which the Ports Authority had earmarked to pay off the Hambantota loan until the latter generated sufficient income. The Yahapalana government halted the Colombo East terminal development. Thirdly, by the end of 2014, my government had signed agreements with several foreign and local companies to lease out about 80 hectares in the Hambantota port industrial zone at the minimum rate of 50,000 USD per year per hectare with minimum guaranteed volumes of cargo and minimum guaranteed royalties. All those agreements were disregarded by the new government.

Then the government said the Hambantota port was a white elephant and that it had to be privatized to raise the money to pay off the loans taken to build it. They called for bids, not just for harbour operations but for the rights of the landlord over the entire 2,000 hectare free port so that whoever takes the long lease will operate the entire harbour and have complete control over the industrial zone as well. The two companies China Harbour Co and China Merchant Co which made a joint proposal to lease out the Hambantota container terminal for 40 years during my government are the same companies that have made rival bids to lease the entire free port under the present government.

A framework agreement has been signed by the govt. with China Merchant Co to lease out the entire free port for 99 years for a payment of 1.08 billion USD on an 80%-20% equity sharing basis. No other income will accrue to the Ports Authority for 15 years, after which they will receive dividends for their 20% stake only if dividends are declared. The lease will be extendable for another 99 years and a 44 hectare artificial island outside the port has been included in the deal. There is provision for the construction of another 20+ berths and the rights over these too have been given to the lessee.

The amount of the lease seems to have been based only on the construction cost of the port without an accredited international valuation reflecting the strategic location value of the port, the value of the 99 year period, its 2,000 hectare land, the oil tank farm and the value of its present commercial operations.

This bid has been accepted in a situation where the other company China Harbour Co. had (according to information available to us) put in a much more favorable bid to lease the free port on a 65-35 equity sharing basis for 50 years with an upfront payment of 750 million USD plus the payment of all the charges they had earlier agreed to with regard to the container terminal management contract. The government has chosen the least favorable bid despite (according to information available to us) the Ports Authority having recommended the other bidder. Details of how the two proposals were evaluated have not been disclosed.

A 99 year lease impinges on Sri Lanka’s sovereign rights because a foreign company will enjoy the rights of the landlord over the 2,000 hectare free port while operating the entire harbour as well. This is not an issue with China or with foreign investors. It is about getting the best deal for Sri Lanka. The agreement that my government negotiated with both China Harbour Co and China Merchant Co to manage the Hambantota container terminal for 40 years is the best deal yet. The bid made by China Harbour Co for a 50 year lease is obviously more favorable than the bid made by the other company.

As a matter of principle, I am against the leasing of the entire harbour for 99 years and giving the rights of the landlord over the industrial zone to a foreign private company. The industrial zone and the harbour should be controlled by the Ports Authority while harbour operations may be given on management contracts to the private sector. For example, the Colombo port is run by the Ports Authority and two private operators. The Ports Authority has full control over the Colombo harbour as well as equity in the two privately run terminals. I believe this should be the approach to the Hambantota port as well.

Apart from the entire Hambantota free port, the government has decided to lease a further 15,000 acres outside the free port to a foreign company for 99 years. In a situation where even the 2,000 hectares within the free port have not been utilized yet, on what grounds can we justify the leasing of another 15,000 acres to a foreign company?

The total land area of all the Board of Investment economic zones in the country at present put together do not amount to 2,000 hectares. A 15,000 acre zone in Hambantota will be disproportionate to our country’s economy. Furthermore, the disruption caused to the people of the area will be immense if 15,000 acres of land were to be acquired for this purpose.

The government should fill the free port with investments first before opening more zones. Furthermore the government should have supervision over the kind of factories that will be opened in these industrial zones, the fuel they use and the waste they produce. My government agreed only to the use of LNG gas, even though some potential investors wanted to use coal.

The Hambantota dispute is not an issue that can be resolved by baton-charging or tear gassing protesters or having them assaulted by thugs and remanded. There are real issues relating to the financial benefits that will accrue to the country from this deal, and issues of control and sovereignty over the free port and possible environmental issues that need to be addressed, said Mahinda Rajapaksa concluding his statement.

Critics added their voice to the Rajapaksa statement. They said that USD 500 out of the USD 1,670 million loan obtained by Rajapaksa had been repaid and the Yahapalana government could have settled the remaining amount over a 20-year-period. Instead Yahapalana leased it to China on terms disadvantageous to the country.

There were others who like Rajapaksa, also saw potential in the Hambantota project. In 2008, David Soysa observed   that as container vessels increase in size, mega carriers currently serving a large number of ports in the far east such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, Yokohama, will be induced to terminate their east west voyages in a port like Hambantota and arrange feeder service to operate from Hambantota to the far east ports, using the 4000-6000 TEU vessels which will eventually become obsolete but are as yet too young to be scrapped.

Hambantota port could then become not only the world’s number one transshipment port but also the centre for the distribution of cargo from East Africa to the Far East including Australia and New Zealand. Both Trincomalee and Hambantota are ideally located to become the oil hub for the region between the Middle East and the pacific as well. Both China and Japan need such a hub, concluded David Soysa.

Ceylon Association of Ships Agents (CASA) organized a seminar on ‘Maritime hub aspirations of Sri Lanka’ in February 2018. Ray Ren, CEO of Hambantota International Port Group and Jack Huang, DGM of Hambantota International Port Group and CEO of CICT spoke on the Port of Hambantota and how it can play a special role. Sri Lanka serves a vast hinterland of 7 countries in South Asia with more than 1.5 billion people. The short transit times from Hambantota to both east and west destinations gives the port the strategic location advantage.

With a current capacity of handling 198,000 TEUs and 950,000 tons of break bulk cargo, the port can also handle 396,000 units of Ro-Ro and 2.5 million tons of bulk cargo. In the first phase of development two 100,000-ton multi-purpose berths and one 100,000-ton oil berth is to be built followed by the second phase which will add two more 100,000-ton berths and two 10,000-ton berths. Phase 2 will also contain two 100,000-ton multipurpose berths and an oil berth of 100,000 tons, they said.

Sri Lanka has established a convenient feeder network between the Port of Colombo and other ports of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. 90% of the transshipment cargo that is handled here are from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, while currently the Port of Colombo is only handling 15% of total transshipment cargo for South Asia countries, concluded Ren and Huang.

The first payment from China for Hambantota was done with much publicity. The cheque was handed over at a Ceremony held at the Parliamentary complex. Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianling and the officials of the China Merchant Group attended the ceremony. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe and Chinese ambassador were photographed holding up a huge mock up of the cheque, to the scorn of the public.

This payment of  US$ 300 million is considered to be the largest foreign payment received after a lapse of four decades and the money will  be deposited in a special fixed deposit account and will add to the country’s foreign reserves , said Yahapalana.  However, we were thereafter told that the money would not be used to settle the nation’s foreign debt as promised, but would be used for the internal expenses of the country.

After Yahapalana   signed the lease with China over Hambantota, suddenly, there was praise for the project. Hambantota is good for the region said Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy in 2017.  We have received investments to set up an oil refinery facility, a steel factory, a liquefied natural gas plant and a cement factory in Hambantota,” he said.    Once Hambantota port comes into full operation, Colombo port will become redundant observed   a leading Chinese officials working in the Port City.

The leasing of Hambantota Port to a Chinese company will create huge business opportunities for the local shipping and logistics sector, said Serendib Logistics President, Niluka Welikala in 2017. Building a port in Hambantota was a step taken in the right direction as it was strategically located in the heart of international shipping routes. the harbor did not ‘take off’ as planned    initially, because after opening the Port the much needed infrastructure and logistics were not being installed at a pace that was needed. Due to this, the true potential of the harbor could not be exploited, she observed.

We saw the potential in the Hambantota Port and opened our warehousing complex in a BOI land site in Mirijjawala, Hambantota, on long-term lease basis a few years ago. Since then, we see a steady growth in our operations,” Welikala said. The local entrepreneur will have a lot of opportunities in the infrastructure development sector and in the services sector. Chinese investors will obviously need a local player to partner them in logistics and local companies can benefit. In addition, there would also be several openings for transport and other services such as supply of essential services to cargo ships that will call at Hambantota Port, continued Welikala.

Several international industries too would be set up in the investment zone, said Welikala and here again local companies’ support would be sought by foreign companies, thus opening up business vistas for Lankans that were not there earlier. In addition, youth also would get high earning employment opportunities.  There would soon be a Personal Cargo segment too introduced at the Hambantota Port allowing people in the South as well as the East to collect their cargo without travelling to Colombo. Serendib hopes to look at that business too. We are also looking at the tourism and cruise shipping sector and will invest in building a three star hotel in Hambantota,    said Welikala on behalf of Serendib.

There is also the opposite point of view. Shalini Mariyathas, Nihal Perera and Mohamed Yehiya have written at length on ‘what development has done to Hambantota town.’ (CCI Bulletin/Construction Review Feb 2018). They are critical of the new developments in Hambantota done under Mahinda Rajapaksa. Hambantota has been compared with Mahaweli, despite the fact that they are two very different projects. The researchers  have done field work at Hambantota town, with participant observation, ethnographies, interviews and long conversations”.

Mariyathas, Perera and Yehiya consider the creation of Hambantota port a ‘disaster.’ It was a monster project and a white elephant, they said. Mattala airport was equally bad. The location and scale are illogical for a small state. Mattala was not conceived as a second national airport but as one tagged to the city. However, the city and the airport are too far apart for a city of 10,000 people. Both  cricket stadium and airport were located far outside the city. Mattala airport is 30 to 40 miles from the city centre, unlike Katunayake airport which is only 25 km from the centre.  Such leapfrog development, has been criticized in planning literature for decades, said Mariyathas, Perera and Yehiya. When the facilities around the airport like hotels develop it would suck the life out of Hambantota town. Airports are never located near bird habitats either, as Mattala was.

The new city is to be Siribopura. The town is for    two million people, this is an over projection.   The most prominent item in the new city at present is the jungle, followed by highways, said Mariyathas, Perera and Yehiya. Highways dominate. These highways are very large, contrasting and imposing on the natural environment.  The city centre stands alone in the jungle,   with cows grazing opposite. The administrative complex is like a palace in this jungle. There is also a massive convention centre on one side with shacks on the others.

The city is sprawled out on flat land. There are no heights, designs ,and one cannot distinguish one  significant building from another. It lacks the  visual interconnections between  buildings  needed to generate an image. There is no concept of space at people’s level, just land allocation and building according to land, said Mariyathas,  Perera and Yehiya .

The city has not been correctly planned. Its hotels, theatre banks golf course, parks, diplomatic enclave, city square, civic square,  are not organized into a cohesive space. The amenities are on one side and the people on the other. It is all splintered. The plan is to shift the business and other sectors to the new town, but the transport needed is lacking.   Cars are needed to get from place to place. One respondent said that he was happy in Hambantota where his customers were and had no wish to move to Siribopura.

The proposed city centre and its activities do not correspond with the way people wish to live, either. The new style may not be how they want to live. Our interview indicated that the ordinary people of Hambantota felt they did not fit anywhere in the mega development of their town. The new city does not have much meaning for the people.  The unfamiliar spaces alienate them. They believe the target population will not be them but an alien community that will be imported to their town in the near future.

The inhabitants of the old town are now displaced, their properties forcibly demolished, businesses ruined,  most jobs have gone to outsiders. The highly commercial old city of Hambantota has been replaced by ‘a place of government where people have no place.  ‘   Hambantota has lost the old town without replacing it, concluded Mariyathas, Perera and Yehiya. (Concluded)

WATER – A MOST PRECIOUS ELEMENT FOR THE ANIMAL KINGDOM AND ENVIRONMENT

March 21st, 2018

Sarath Wijesinghe a former Ambassador to UAE and Israel/ a former Chairman Consumer Affairs authority

Water is precious

Water is one of the most precious elements essential for the life of a being which is found throughout the world on unequal distribution of geographic considerations. One can live only three days without water which is considered to be a basic human right declared by the UN establishing world day as 22nd March every year reminding the world the value of water wasting 9 billion per year due to neglect and mismanagement. Some nations are fortunate and most are unfortunate on water with severe shortages with wanton suffering to people due to lack of safe drinking water and for sanitation due to corrupt politicians and the unreasonable economic and political world order. 71% earth surface is water with 97.5 in ocean rich in unexplored resources hidden from the world leaving only 2.5 to lakes, rivers, and land for the consumption of the animal kingdom. 663 million is living without water and 1 out of 10 walks miles and miles for a bucket of water, whilst 43% die on waterborne diseases.

Water belongs to peoples

Water belong to the peoples of the world/nation and to be administered equity and fairly by the trustees of the respective nations acting as temporary trustees in managing of the water and other resources, in participatory development and administrative methods by democratically elected representatives of the government in power for a given period of time. To what extent this ideal theory is applied is a moot issue when the most precious element – water is left for waste and extinct due to manmade disasters based on destruction of the environment pollution and many other causes on shortages and pollution of water due to industrial and other modes of pollutions by the man and neglect. Human body has 50-to75% water and doctors’ advice human being to drink water as much as possible for good health. But how many can afford this luxury? Unfortunately in the UK this precious natural resource belongs to peoples have been sold to private companies which is sad and it is a sorry state of affairs that Sri Lankan Governance are also trying to follow suit for which the citizen is against but decisions are taken by World Bank, UN agencies and NGO’s twisting the hands of the governance with no vision for water management or preservation!. It looks that the Ministry water board or the organizations have any clue or a programmer for the future of water which is drying out faster with water falls, rivers, lakes and ground water. One billion people have no access to water when UN has resolved on the resolution 64/292 making water is a human right and organizing the international brotherhood fine solutions for the water problems spreading faster due to mass scale de formation and environmental pollution added to human made disasters happening worldwide. Sri Lanka, Africa, and India are most affected due to mismanagement and destruction process of the environment.

Water Pollution

Water pollution is rampant worldwide with opposition by governments and non-governmental organizations attempting to find solutions. Oil spills from ships pollutes ocean and rivers with side effects to the Rivers/canals around with severe side effects. Pollution of rivers by industrial waste is not controlled with the power of the powerful multinational companies which are powerful with the corrupt politicians. Mass agitation of recent water pollution by Co-Cola Company is now a matter of the past and the company is planning to expand when India is showing the doors out to avoid further contamination. This is not an isolated incident. It talks place in all districts with the cover of politics, power and money. It appears the Ministry of Environment which is the most powerful ministry in any government worldwide appear to be dormant, inert and inefficient led by the President of the country mostly engaged in political struggles and engagements of other Ministry” Mahavali,” and the strenuous duties of the challenging position of leading the Nation is most difficult times with 151 ministers in a country of 23 million.

Water Institutions

Institutions for water is Sri Lanka is numerous led by the Ministry of Environment and the powerful the environment authority, with enormous powers and resources Water board, Local Authorities, environmental authority, department of forest conservation, and Grama Sevakes” and public health inspectors spread right round the country. Sand mining is a very lucrative and convenient mode of earn with least effort with political patronage, mostly managed by political stooges of the members of the legislation, when the peace officers look helpless or become a part of the game. River beds, lake beds, and any vacant area is ruined which are daily exposed by the media with no effective control. Forest department is equally ineffective having assisted Sri Lanka becoming 4th in the destruction of forests which has the forest density of 38% now come down to 23%. Politician with foreign collaboration are clearing jungles at rapid speeds when the governance is watching helplessly due to political pressure by the Ministers/politicians and there cronies on the rampage. Water Board is expected to preserve, save, improve the quality, and to manage water to provide clean and quality water to the people attacked by Dengue, and other forms of non-communicable diseases now spreading fast as an epidemic.

Water is in abundance in Sri Lanka though there is cry for water in many areas

Water is in abundance in Sri Lanka historically famous for water management and collection on reservoirs for agriculture from the 103 rivers spring from the hill country penetrating all the sides with the network of water used for agriculture aiming at self-sufficiency on paddy and many other crops, which is used for development, irrigation, safe supply for drinking water, hydro power, industries, tourism and various purposes with limited measures of control and management. The ancient mechanism of preserving water in tanks, and small waves in villages, saving and managing water system has amused the modern scientists who tend to follow the ancient methods and structure with the limited funds and assistance from the governance due to lack of funds, vision and the will due to no vision or a visionary for directions.

Cause of the Water disasters and way out for water management

Waste of water from the supply from the Water and drainage board is 40% and the other waste on overflowing and flowing to the sea is not calculated. Though the rainfall is of highest density with frequent monsoons and wet weather, no arrangements have been made to preserve as has been practices by the ancestors, made large and small tanks countrywide with the network of water drainage for agriculture with the declaration/motto of King Parakramabahue” that not a drop of water should be allowed to reach sea unused” making Sri Lanka the granary of the east. In Sri Lanka what is lacking is proper waste management and it is useful for us to use the methods adopted by countries with less water in their development process managing the available resources to elevate themselves high in the world community. Let us take Israel, and UAE as examples the countries with least rain fall deserted nations with limited water yet self-sufficient and leader sin agriculture and industry with waste carefully managed by desalination( water extracted from sea) recycling from sewage, collection of rain water and preserve underground, and manage to use the water careful to the optimum. Sri Lanka has 132 rivers but Israel i/3 of Sri Lanka has only the Galaly River they have exploited to sell water to the neighbors while freely consuming water comfortably. Israelis are world class agriculturists exporting agriculture products and flows to the world using the minim quantity of waste from drip irrigation in which 95% of agriculture is technology! Main source of water is from desalination for which they have invested billions 60 years ago with a vision led by a visionary now followed by dedicated leaders and scientists working round the clock with modern innovations on water related experiments and conservation of water resources. Israel are parties to the international conventions and entered into friendly agreement to share water with the neighbor” Jorden” setting aside the enmities for the sake of water for the citizen of both counters. UAE and Israel though countries with differences the Israel technology is used in UAE and many Middle Eastern countries on desalination n and purification of water and matters we have to take into serious consideration. Therefore only way out for us is to seek assistance from friendly nations for technical assistance on proper and scientific process of water management, with stringent rules to preserve the environment from the politicians who are mainly responsible for the destruction! (Reading materials –water lifeline next to air 20/10/2013 – Lanka web-Is drinking water from Kelani” river safe Lanka Guardian 21/8/2015 – author could be contacted on [email protected])

විශ්වාසභංගය දිනවන්න එජාප – ශ්‍රීලනිප මැති ඇමැති සහාය ලැබෙනවා – මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ

March 21st, 2018

නෝමන් පලිහවඩන උපුටා ගැන්ම දිවයින

අග්‍රාමාත්‍ය රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ මහතාට එරෙහිව ගෙන එන විශ්වාසභංග යෝජනාව ජයග්‍රහණය කිරීම සඳහා එක්‌සත් ජාතික පක්‍ෂයේ මෙන්ම ශ්‍රී ලංකා නිදහස්‌ පක්‍ෂයේ මැති ඇමැතිවරුන් කණ්‌ඩායමක්‌ පොරොන්දු වී ඇතැයි හිටපු ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතා “දිවයින”ට ඊයේ (20 වැනිදා) කියා සිටියේය.
 
 මෙම විශ්වාසභංග යෝජනාව ජයග්‍රහණය කිරීම සඳහා ඊට අත්සන් තැබීමට එක්‌සත් ජාතික පක්‍ෂයේ තරුණ මන්ත්‍රීවරුන් පිරිසක්‌ සහ ශ්‍රී ලංකා නිදහස්‌ පක්‍ෂයේ ඇමැතිවරුන් පිරිසක්‌ එකඟවී සිටින බවද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතා වැඩිදුරටත් කියා සිටියේය.
 
 මෙහිදී වැඩිදුරටත් අදහස්‌ දැක්‌වූ රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතා මෙසේද කීවේය.
 
 කවුරු මොනවා කිව්වත් අග්‍රාමාත්‍ය රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ මහතාට එරෙහිව ගෙන එන විශ්වාසභංග යෝජනාව ජයග්‍රහණය කරනවා.
 
 සාමාන්‍ය ජනතාව මහත් උනන්දුවෙන් බලා සිටිනවා මේ කටයුත්ත කෙරෙන කල්. අගමැතිවරයාට එරෙහිව විශ්වාසභංග යෝජනාවක්‌ ගෙන ඒම ගැන මහජනතාවගේ උණුසුම් ප්‍රතිචාර අපට ලැබෙනවා.

 

සැමට නීතිය සාධාරණ විය යුතුයි ! – ආචාර්ය ඕමල්පේ සෝභිත නාහිමි

March 21st, 2018

සාකච්ඡා කළේ චතුර පමුණුව උපුටා ගැන්ම දිවයින

වර්තමානයේ ශ්‍රී ලාංකිය සමාජය තුළ උද්ගතව ඇති භේදකාරී තත්ත්වය පිළිබඳව අපි දක්‌ෂිණ ලංකාවේ ප්‍රධාන සංඝනායක ආචාර්ය ඕමල්පේ සෝභිත හිමියන්ගෙන් විමසුවෙමු. සියලු ප්‍රශ්න පැන නැගීමට හේතුව උන්වහන්සේ සැකවින් පැහැදිලි කළහ. පහත දැක්‌වෙන්නේ ඒ සාකච්ඡාවයි.

omalpe134

ඇත්තටම අද සිදුවිය යුතු වැදගත්ම කාරණය වන්නේ රටේ නීතිය සැමට සාධාරණ ලෙස ක්‍රියාත්මක වීමයි. ජාතීන් අනුව නීතිය වෙනස්‌විය යුතු නැහැ. නීතිය හමුවේ මුස්‌ලිම්වරුන්ට වරප්‍රසාද වැඩියි කියන අදහස සිංහල ජනතාව අතර හොඳින්ම කිඳා බැහැලා තියෙනවා. පොදු නීතියට අවනත නොවන ෂරියා නීතිය මුස්‌ලිම් සමාජයේ ක්‍රියාත්මක වෙනවා. විවාහ නීතියට වෙනම වකුබ් උසාවි තියෙනවා. වෙනම පාසල් පද්ධතියක්‌ ක්‍රියාත්මක වෙනවා. ඒ පාසල්වලට යන්නට පුළුවන් මුස්‌ලිම් අයට විතරයි. ලංකාවේ සිංහල දෙමළ අයට මෙහෙම විශේෂ පාසල් ක්‍රියාත්මක වෙන්නේ නැහැ. රටේ නිල ඇඳුම් පිළිබඳ වෙනම නීතියක්‌ තියෙනවා. නමුත් ඒක මුස්‌ලිම් අයට අදාළ නැහැ. සිංහල ළමයාට නිල ඇඳුම් සඳහා ලබා දෙන්නේ රුපියල් 750 ක්‌ පමණයි. නමුත් මුස්‌ලිම් ළමයාට රුපියල් 1500 ක්‌ දෙනවා. මෙයින්ම විශේෂ වෙනස අපට හොඳින් වැටහෙනවා නොවේද? ලංකාවේ හැමෝටම විවාහ වෙන්න පුළුවන් අවුරුදු 18 ට වැඩිනම් විතරයි. නමුත් විවාහයේදී පවා මුස්‌ලිම් අයට ඒ නීති අදාළ වෙන්නේ නැහැ. පසුගියදා හම්බන්තොට විශේෂ සිද්ධියක්‌ වුණා අවුරුදු 14ක ගැහැනු ළමයෙක්‌ විවාහ වෙලා. ඒ දරුවා විවාහ වෙලා තියෙන්නේ මුස්‌ලිම් තරුණයෙක්‌ එක්‌ක. ගැහැනු ළමයා මුස්‌ලිම් ආගමට හැරිලා විවාහ වෙලා. මේ ගැහැනු ළමයා පැහැරගෙන ගොස්‌ විවාහ වෙලා තියෙන්නේ. නමුත් දැන් කිසිම චෝදනාවක්‌ නැහැ. නඩු යන්නත් බැහැ. අර ළමයා සිංහල තරුණයෙක්‌ එක්‌ක ගියා නම් ඒ තරුණයා හිරේ. මෙයින්ම විශේෂ වෙනස්‌කම් පෙනෙනවා නොවේද?

මුස්‌ලිම් අයගේ නඩු සාමාන්‍ය උසාවියට එන්නේ නැහැ. මුස්‌ලිම් උසාවියට අභියෝග කරන්න ශ්‍රේෂ්ඨාධිකරණයටත් බැහැ. මෙහෙම වරප්‍රසාද සිංහලයන්ට නැහැ. ඒ නිසා සිංහල ජනතාව මේ ගැන විරෝධය පළකිරීම සාධාරණයි. රටේ සාමාන්‍ය උසාවියකදි මුස්‌ලිම් කාන්තාවක්‌ නීතිඥයන් ඉදිරියේ ප්‍රශ්න කිරීමට ලක්‌වීම අසාධාරණයි කියලා මුස්‌ලිම් අය කියනවා. මුස්‌ලිම් කාන්තාවන්ගේ විළිබිය නැතිවෙනවාලු. නමුත් සිංහල දෙමළ කාන්තාන්ගේ විළිබිය නැතිවෙන්නේ නැද්ද? මේ වරප්‍රසාද අපේ හාමුදුරුවන්ටවත් නැහැ. නඩුවකදී හාමුදුරුවන්වත් ප්‍රසිද්ධියේ ප්‍රශ්න කිරීමට ලක්‌කරනවා.

සිකුරාදාට මුස්‌ලිම් පල්ලිය ඉස්‌සරහ වෙනම නීතියක්‌ තියෙන්නේ. එදාට එතැන වාහන නීති රීති බලපාන්නේ නැහැ. ඒ තැන පුදුම නිදහසක්‌ තියෙන්නේ. මේ විශේෂත්වය මොකක්‌ද? මුස්‌ලිම් ජනයා වැඩි නගරයක හෙල්මට්‌ නීතිය ක්‍රියාත්මක වෙනවාද? එය ක්‍රියාත්මක වෙන්නේ නැහැ. මේ ගැන බෞද්ධයන්ට හින්දුන්ට ක්‍රිස්‌තියානි ආගමිකයන්ට කලකිරීමක්‌ තියෙනවා. එම නිසා එනම් ආගමික කොට්‌ඨාසයකට විශේෂ වරප්‍රසාදයක්‌ තිබිය යුතු නැහැ. නීතිය සර්ව සාධාරණ විය යුතුයි. හලාල් හරහා මුස්‌ලිම් නොවන පාරිභෝගිකයන්ට බදු බරක්‌ පටවනවා. මෙය සාධාරණ ක්‍රියාවලියක්‌ නම් නොවේ. මේ සියලු ප්‍රශ්න ගැන මුස්‌ලිම් මෙන්ම සියලු ආගමික නායකයන් විවෘතව කතා කළ යුතුයි. එසේ නොවන්නේ නම් සමාජ සාධාරණත්වය ඇතිවන්නේ නැහැ සමාජ සාධාරණත්වය ඉටු නොවන විට ඒ පීඩනය කොතනින් පුපුරා යයිද දන්නේ නැහැ.

Racism, Riots, and the Sri Lankan State

March 21st, 2018

by Asanga Abeyagoonasekera

One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion.” Simone de Beauvoir

Only when fear and hatred is spread by extremists does serious reflection haunt a community. The teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka, a seeming paradise hanging off the Indian subcontinent, has been provoked yet again. Within a few hours arose an ugly incident of violence, the hill country’s vibrant colours serving as a backdrop to death and destruction – a systematic break-down of lives, religious spaces, and personal property.

The July 1983 riots, insurrections quashed in 1971 and 1989, and 2014 Aluthgama riots were among these unexpected bursts of violence. In all cases, the unprepared state reacted slowly be-fore resorting to brutal force to restore order. How could Sri Lanka become riven by hostility and terror in a short time? Recent events suggest that this question deserves further attention and study to better inform the work of policymakers.

A nation plunged into a state of emergency with a heavily state-influenced media is the present situation in Sri Lanka. Terrorism exercised blatantly in the streets by violent, extremist nationalists to harm other religious or ethnic groups should not be met with silence, especially in a town that treasures Buddha’s sacred Temple of the Tooth, symbolising the purity of the words of non-violence uttered by Buddha. Extremists should be punished to restore the rule of law in society, regardless of the religious or political affiliations of the perpetrators.

Violence was sparked by the death of a Sinhalese Buddhist man on 4 March, who was allegedly attacked by three Muslim men due to a traffic accident in Teldeniya. Following this, a state of emergency was declared by the government. The last time a state of emergency was in place was during the country’s 26-year civil war with the Tamil Tigers. During the quarter century-long war, one of the most significant incidents that triggered communal violence among the Sinhala Buddhist majority and the Tamil minority was the 1983 riots. Yet neither the majority of Sinhalese Buddhists nor Tamils were part of the riots. It was terrorist, extremist nationalists – mainly Sinhalese Buddhists – who set off anti-Tamil pogroms in the south. The government at that time was silent and prominent members of the majority religious community, including the preachers of Buddha’s words of ‘Ahimsa’ (‘do no harm’), were also silent, as in the present.

The recent racially and communally-minded riots by certain sections of the majority Sinhalese Buddhist community targeting the Muslim minority was a warning of the deteriorating threads holding together Sri Lankan society. Yet it was several days later that the government tightened its control over the ugly situation by blocking social media platforms through which ‘fake news’ was disseminated to create more tension. Stories of exploding Muslim population growth and surreptitious administering of sterilisation pills to Sinhalese were attempts to escalate the situation by pandering to extremist elements promoting hatred and fear.

The vulnerability to social distress and division caused by ‘fake news’ in Sri Lanka is high in the persisting shadow of ethnic tensions. The central aim of a nation on a path to reconciliation should be to ensure zero tolerance for hate speech and violent nationalism.

On a recent visit among fellow South Asian and East Asian researchers at a programme on Digitization in Asia and Germany” with a special focus of tackling fake news, this author was present at the Berlin Ministry of Information and Foreign Affairs on the day the Ministry’s website was hacked. Not limited to smaller nations like Sri Lanka but cybercrime prevails. Tackling fake news is a costly and serious challenge. Sri Lanka could learn from Germany that has taken rigorous steps to tackle fake news deemed dangerous to public peace and discourse . The 2018 Network Enforcement Act (NEA) aimed at major social networks without much radical alteration to existing German law is only a restatement to German panel code. Due to this social media companies are now setting up legal compliance offices specifically for the NEA. Facebook in Germany has hired over one thousand content moderators to comply with NEA.

President Maithripala Sirisena’s government has taken measures to curb the tension. However, it should not allow violent nationalists to routinely and easily spread their message, as this runs counter to the government’s wishes to achieve sincere reconciliation in the country. A Sedition Act to prevent hate speech and swift action could ease the situation and assist the process of seeking ethnic harmony.

The perpetrators of these vicious attacks should be punished. If unpunished, extremists working towards different agendas will take advantage of the opportunity to dominate the narrative and shape the national agenda. ‘Fake news’ and misinformation could construct a powerful narrative that would gain traction and detrimentally influence society. This would be a dangerous path, perpetuating and exacerbating instability across the nation. Examples of this phenomenon have played out globally in recent years, from the US and Europe to the far corners of Asia. Yet Sri Lanka cannot become another Myanmar and it is the role of majority Buddhists and clergy to ensure this is not the case, to defeat the ideologies of extremism.

To make sense of, and exist safely in the midst of rising extremism and violent nationalism, it is vital to promote the true essence of various religions. An attempt to address fear and hatred spread by extremism can be made by placing emphasis on the ethic of non-violence.

This task will require a sturdy and responsible government safeguarding justice and the rule of law. But as the past reflects, it could also choose to do little while leaving the innocent to burn.

*(The author is a visiting Professor for Geopolitics and Global Leadership at the Northern Kentucky University(USA) and the Director General of the Institute of National Security Studies Sri Lanka, this article was initially published by the IPCS, New Delhi for Dateline Colombo, the views expressed are the author’s own)

Iraq invasion a ‘bloody Greek theater’: WMDs or not, US wanted regime change – ex-Pentagon official

March 21st, 2018
Recent actions by the United States in the Middle East suggest it hasn’t learned anything from its monumental debacle 15 years ago by invading Iraq, under a preemptive policy of regime change.

The strategy, led by the neocons in the Pentagon, was to throw out then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, replace him with a government favorable to the US, and then proceed to regime change in Syria, Iran, and Libya, due to their close ties to Hussein.

Given the pro-Israeli neocons running the Pentagon at the time, such as then-Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and his undersecretary of defense, Doug Feith, their strategy had the effect of having the Pentagon become an instrument of carrying out the foreign policy of Israel, which regarded these Middle East countries as a threat to its survival.

Even prior to becoming the deputy secretary of defense, Wolfowitz had designs of taking out Hussein.

He sought to develop a basis for invasion, based initially on Iraq’s support for terrorism and later possession of weapons of mass destruction, or WMD.

There was a time constraint – the United Nations was about to lift years of sanctions that had been imposed on Iraq following Desert Shield/Desert Storm, actions the US and its allies took to kick Iraq out of Kuwait.

In the spirit of transparency, I was director of Technology Security Operations in the Office of the Secretary of Defense during this period. Despite having WMD inspectors in and out of Iraq for a decade, however, my office at the time, which monitored technology to Iraqi research and development facilities over the years, had determined that there was no evidence of operational WMD left in Iraq.

However, that didn’t stop the Central Intelligence Agency, then led by George Tenet, to publish in October 2002 a National Intelligence Estimate that Iraq indeed had WMD. Then in December 2002, Tenet briefed President George Bush, saying that the evidence was a slam dunk.”

The CIA’s own determination is interesting, since there has been a mantra for years that the Pentagon cherry-picked intelligence to come up with the Iraqi WMD scenario. It was Tenet who sat directly behind then-Secretary of State Colin Powell at the United Nations when he sought to make the case for Hussein’s removal. The spotty information was gleaned from intercepts which Tenet’s analysts pieced together but was, at best, incomplete and often misleading.

Even though the US went ahead with its invasion in March 2003, it didn’t need to happen.

Three months prior to the US invasion of Iraq, the Syrians had approached a Lebanese-American in Beirut, Dr. Imad Hage, who was a friend of mine, seeking to open a back channel with Pentagon policymakers in the Office of the Secretary of Defense where I worked. At the time, I was reporting directly to Feith and to a special assistant to Wolfowitz.

Prior to the invasion, Hage had told US and local media in Beirut , as well US officials, that there would  be a devastating effect of a war which would have a serious adverse impact on the Iraqi people generally, but particularly on the various minorities that make up the population of Iraq.

He said that the US could defeat Hussein in a month but that would not bring peace and stability to Iraq for decades.

He told me that a war would transform Iraq into a bloody Greek theatre,” referring to the violence and revenge that would ensue among the myriad of minorities in the country. He also said that Iraq, which didn’t have any terrorist groups at the time, eventually would become a haven for jihadists.”

Hage then sent a message from Hussein. The deal would include six concessions in exchange for the US not attacking Iraq. The Syrians were concerned that if such an invasion occurred, it would have a spill-over effect on their own country.

Of the six terms, two of them could have been tested immediately to determine Iraq’s seriousness. One was to turn over to US authorities the Iraqi-American terrorist living in Baghdad, Abdul Rahman Yassin, who was involved in the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. To this day, Yassin remains at large, with a $5million reward offered for his capture.

Another term was even more intriguing. Saddam Hussein would allow 5,000 US troops to enter into Iraq to look for WMD. In effect, the US could have walked into Iraq without firing a shot.

The Syrians even offered to stage US troops to enter Iraq. In exchange, the Damascus government requested US assistance in economic infrastructure development.

Hussein also offered the US majority ownership of all Iraqi oil, and elections under United Nations auspices. At the same time, he would seek asylum in another country, most probably Saudi Arabia. Ironically, it was Wolfowitz who commented that the sale of Iraqi oil would pay for the US invasion. That never happened.

Nevertheless, Pentagon policymakers turned down all of Hussein’s unconditional terms. Why?

The decision of regime change in Iraq had been made, no matter what. The military solution was inevitable, since an earlier attempt to train Iraqis to undertake the effort had fizzled.

In seeking a back channel, the Syrians said there was information that would be shared with the United States that it would not admit to publicly. As an initial test of that channel, the Syrians were asked whether Iraqi WMD had been sent to Syria prior to US action.

The response, from no less than one of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s top advisers, Mohammed Nassif, to the Lebanese-American intermediary and then relayed to me, was that publicly Syria would deny their existence in Syria. However, if the back channel were created, There would be a lot we could talk about.

However, the Bush administration never followed up on the offer. Instead, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell in May 2003 visited Syria and publicly confronted and warned Mr. Assad Mr. Powell accused Syria of harboring Saddam Hussein’s escaped leadership and Iraq’s WMD.

Unfortunately, US policymakers in the days leading up to US action in Iraq and afterward left to the Central Intelligence Agency any initiatives to Syria. The CIA jealously coveted its own exclusive back channel to Syria. So the CIA made every effort to scuttle the Syrian opening of a back channel to US policymakers in the Pentagon.

This became apparent when the CIA rejected a Syrian initiative months earlier of similar unconditional terms prior to US action in Iraq. Once rejected, the CIA then subverted the eleventh-hour Syrian initiative to present the same terms to Pentagon policymakers through my office.

The CIA was so upset with this attempt that it even accused me in particular of attempting to run a rogue” operation to bypass the agency. That wasn’t true, since the CIA was informed of all steps. Informing the CIA, however, helped CIA elements more interested in damaging the Bush administration to scuttle that attempt.

In effect, the CIA had set up the Bush administration for failure. Syrians interested in working closer with the US saw for themselves the CIA’s scuttling efforts.

In turn, Syria decided to close its own channel with the CIA. In October 2003, Tenet went to Syria to try to patch up the CIA-Syrian channel. He did not succeed.

The ensuing eight years of war in Iraq has cost trillions of dollars, the loss of life of some 4,500 US troops and the tens of thousands of service personnel seriously maimed for life, and the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. The US has nothing to show for it, while its influence in the entire region has plummeted to next to nothing.

Yet, the US was instrumental in the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, has aided jihadi Salafists in attempting to overthrow the Syrian government of Bashar Assad, and is about ready to embark on other regime change initiatives in the Middle East and elsewhere. Will the US ever learn?

F. Michael Maloof for RT

Michael Maloof is a ormer Pentagon official and security analyst

Heed Warning Signs About Buddhist Muslim Unrest Now  !

March 20th, 2018

Insight by Sunil Kumar

March 20th. 2017

Islamist fundamentalism is posing a growing threat to universal liberal society unquestionably. This seems quite apparent also in Sri Lanka in recent times. Considering the bloody ethnic strife involving religious as well as ethnic differences initiated by the Tamil Tigers now vanquished- hopefully never to resurge, it may be fortuitous for the administrators and legislators of Sri Lanka today to keep a watchful eye on the conflicts between Muslims and Buddhists and never let them esacalate into becoming an uncontrollable issue as Sri Lanka can ill afford such a lapse given her recent history relative to the Tamil Tiger insurrection which took a heavy toll on the country, her economy and her inhabitants.

Quoting from a recent world report “Islamist militancy and aggression is generating many issues plaguing the world today. In Bangladesh, for example, liberal commentators have been killed by alleged Islamic fundamentalists. In Malaysia, self-declared atheists have been bullied by militant Islamic organizations. In Indonesia, Muslim fundamentalists have seized the political initiative. ” Then there is the ISIS conflict in the Middle East which thankfully seems to be gradually being overcome by those against it and a redeeming factor for the world although resistance seems to be stubborn.  Pockets of ISIS sympathisers tend to crop up in various parts of the world as well as the wretched Islamic militant groups such as the Taliban, Al Quaeda et al which continue to wreak havoc in various parts of the world where they are tolerated with impunity where in reality they need to be wiped out for the good of all humanity.

It is imperative that immediate intervention be necessary to quell, dissuade or completely destroy any signs of   Muslim / Buddhist  unrest and for the Muslims to realise they have no right to initiate or provoke any unrest within Sri Lanka inasmuch as the Tamil militants who in the end are in a very visible minority where the majority rules and will always prevail . A majority that is not only tolerant of all Sri Lankan citizens and aware of their inherant rights but are also conciliatory to all their needs but to tolerate them indulging in excessive aggression towards whatever they devise their cause to be seems irrelevant and even downright dangerous from many perspectives of which National Security stands out apart from the rights and comforts of all law abiding citizens.

The warning signs towards this is fast becoming apparent and perhaps time appropriate for the Administration to take necessary remedial action and prevent the Nation from slipping back into the quagmire it has just extricated itself from or face the consequences.

Sri Lanka’s religious violence and the US pivot to Asia

March 20th, 2018

Gearóid Ó Colmáin

 Recent inter-communal riots in Sri Lanka have highlighted the problem of religious extremism, particularly among Asia’s Buddhist population. However, the Buddhist nationalist point of view has been largely ignored in favour of a discourse which demonises Buddhists as aggressors and Muslims as innocent victims. The reality is far more complex.

A state of emergency has been introduced in Sri Lanka after an outbreak of violence between Buddhists and Muslims. According to reports, the violence erupted after a Buddhist truck driver was killed on the 4th of March by three inebriated Muslims, which was followed by attacks from ‘Buddhist mobs’ on the Muslim community of Kandy city.

The Sri Lankan government, which was due to face a vote of no confidence among growing discontent with President Maithripala Sirisena’s leadership, has shut down social media. The Western media have laid most of the blame for the violence on ‘Buddhist mobs’ and ‘Buddhist extremists’.


Image source

What is clear, however, is that over 200 Muslim homes and businesses have been burned down. There is video evidence of the local police being blamed by Muslim proprietors for inaction. But what media reports ignore is the video evidence also Muslim rioters with long sticks attacking the police. Instead, all reports refer to violent Buddhist mobs” without showing any evidence of who is responsible for the violence. Why?

US Pivot to Asia

Recovering from a long civil war against the Western-backed Tamil Tigers which ended in 2009, Sri Lanka’s reconstruction has been largely due to Chinese investment. In 2017, Sri Lanka became the country’s biggest foreign investor when the Hambantota port on the country’s southern coast was leased to China for 99 years

Sri Lanka is a key strategic maritime outpost in Beijing’s One-Belt One-Road initiative, which aims to substantially develop China’s maritime trade routes and port facilities. China’s strategic reach into the Indian Ocean poses a threat to Washington’s ‘pivot to Asia’ and the attempt to encircle and contain China with US military bases. This is the context within which ‘inter-ethnic’ violence in Sri Lanka must be understood.

New York Times article published on the 9th of March entitled ‘ How China is challenging American dominance in Asia’, shows the importance of Sri Lanka in US imperial strategy:

Sri Lanka might not seem like a geopolitical bellwether. But Asia-watchers have been glued to developments here since 2014, when a Chinese submarine sailed into a port built with Chinese investment. It marked a new era, in which China is converting its economic power into military power — and, in poorer democracies, into political influence.”

India has also expressed concern about growing Chinese influence in Sri Lanka. Relations between Colombo and New Dehli are often tense due to the latter’s support for the Tamil Tigers during the Sri Lankan civil war.

Sri Lanka, like Myanmar, is a predominantly Buddhist country with a rich religious tradition of Theravada Buddhism. The country’s Muslim minority, however, is rapidly increasing, with higher birth rates and increasing Muslim immigration. As the Muslim community gets generous support from wealthy Arab nations of the Organisation of Islamic States (OIC)such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, Sinhalese Buddhist nationalists claim that political Islam is attempting to take over the country.

They have opposed measures by the government to impose a Halal tax on the grounds that the majority should not have to change its laws for a minority. The Western media and international human rights NGOs have accused the Buddhists of being racists” who are spreading hate speech”. The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), a Buddhist nationalist group formed in 2012, have been described as the country’s fascists” and have been accused of committing pogroms against the Muslim minority. However, BBS has always denied advocating violence against Muslims.

In spite of repeatedly condemning violence against Muslims and having the support of the former Muslim mayor of Colombo, BBS has been subject to a vicious media disinformation campaign.

But the group is also critical of other minorities who have substantial international backing such as the Christians.BBS claims that the United States is using evangelical Christianity to gain influence in the country. The United States has used evangelical churches for political subversion of other countries in the past, a fact well-documented in Gerald Colby and Charlotte Dennett’s book ‘ Thy will be done – The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil’.

The BBS also claims the English language media in the country is working for foreign interests. In most developing countries, English language media is often a vehicle for US propaganda.

The BBS has accused government minister Milinda Moragoda of waging a war on the countries Buddhists. A 2011 wikileaks cable revealed Morgoda was a US asset.

US funded ‘alternative media’

The Sri Lankan government shut down social media immediately after the riots spread. A key organisation operating with elements in the Sri Lankan government is the Centre for Policy Alternatives, (CPA) a think-tank financed by the US government’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to the tune of 80,000 dollars.

The CPA promotes alternative media” in Sri Lanka and set up the website Groundviews in 2017. According to NED, ” Groundviews serves as an outlet for activists, bloggers, and journalists to disseminate and discuss issues of democracy and human rights.”

National Endowment for Democracy - Wikipedia

The National Endowment for Democracy was established in 1983 to be used as a softpower tool to further the interests of US foreign policy. Allen Weinstein, who helped found NED said in 1991 that a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA”.

Many of the stories about Buddhist mobs” have come from Groundviews reporting.

There is certainly evidence of extensive destruction of hundreds of Muslim businesses and homes but there is as yet no evidence of who exactly committed the crimes. Many sources in Sri Lanka suspect government agents provocateurs to be behind the riots due to the inaction of the police. They claim that the government is using the clampdown on social media and the state of emergency to distract from its dismal political record, rampant corruption and growing unpopularity. Evidence may emerge to corroborate those claims.

Although the country is moving closer to China, prime minister Sirisena is generally considered to be closer to the US than his predecessor Rajapaksa. The US Peace Corps, a front organisation for the CIA, is due to return to Sri Lanka this year. Instability as a pretext for increasing US military presence on the island to counter Chinese expansion cannot be ruled out.

But given the fact that the US-funded ‘alternative media’ are responsible for so many of the anti-Buddhist tweeting in the country and many of their tweets accuse the government of being anti-Muslim, it is possible that agents working on behalf of the US embassy may be stoking the violence, while also attempting to replace nationalist elements in the government with pro-US proxies.

US interference in Sri Lanka is extensive.

Information about which posts should be banned was provided to Facebook by the US-funded CPA. Some of the banned pages accused the government of orchestrating the violence and showed police beating peaceful civilians. Many Sri Lankan facebook groups compared the anti-Muslim violence to the 1983 anti-Tamil violence in which the government is believed to have been complicit.

Buddhist monk Venerable Elle Gunawansa Thera told Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror:

‘I went to Kandy. I think such violence was manipulated to destabilize the country. This is part of a conspiracy to infiltrate into this country through a different access. Regardless of addressing the needs of our people, those concerned live to satisfy the Western world. Amidst chaos, the government fulfils the whims of the West.

Des vidéos de Daech... Made in USA ! Un exemple de la ...

As we have shown in previous articles, US support for takfiri terrorists in Asia is a key element of the US’s long-standing proxy war against China. From Myanmar to Thailand; the Philippines; Indonesia; Malaysia and Western China, the United States and many countries in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) are using takfiri terrorists as shock troops in the US ‘Pivot to Asia’- a policy announced by former US president Barack Obama in 2011.

The Groundviews website criticises the Sri Lankan government for the ban on social media and boasts of having made thousands of tweets during the riots. But an analysis of some of the google drive documents uploaded to the site allegedly proving the implication of radical Buddhist monks in stoking the violence fail to to provide evidence to back up their accusations. There are pictures of monks speaking to crowds. One monk has his hands raised up toward the sky in a pose which could just as easily be interpreted as an attempt to calm his audience. In fact, that is what controversial monk Gnanasaro Thero claimed when he was accused of provoking the riots. Thero claims he traveled to Kandy in order to assist in calming down the violence.

Although Thero’s credibility as a bona fides nationalist has been called into question by revelations of funding from the Norwegian government, the BBS does not have a particularly well-organised PR service. Their statements are rarely translated or accurately diffused by the mainstream media and their policies are rarely discussed with any attempt at objectivity and contexualisation: Sinhalese Buddhists in Sri Lanka do have legitimate grievances.

Some analysts claim that the BBS is funded by the CIA. But BBS’ Chief Executive Officer Dilanthe Withanage says members of the current organisation went on a trip to Norway before the organisation was formed in order to meet with members of the Tamil diaspora abroad. He also claims that they were visited by a political officer of the US embassy in Colombo and criticised the US’ hostile attitude to their nationalist ideology

Infiltration of the organisation by the CIA is of course always possible and even likely but it is hard to see how such an organisation could serve US interests given their objection to multiculturalism, pluralism and bourgeois liberal democratic”values.  Former US General Thomas P.M Barnett advocates the assassination of nationalists in his book ‘ Blue Print for Action’.

One of the rumours spread before the anti-Muslim pogroms was that Muslim shops were putting sterility pills” into food destined for Buddhists. Spreading false rumours for the purposes of social destabilisation is textbook CIA strategy.

A Sri Lankan activist sympathetic to the plight of Buddhists told this author that many Buddhist activists may be manipulated by outside forces, including Gnanasara Thero. Gnanasara has links to controversial far-right politician Champika Ranawaka with whom he was allegedly involved in violent activities in the past – most notably breaking up anti-war meetings.

When a  Buddhist monk self-immolated in protest against halal legislation in 2013, Champika hailed the act as a great sacrifice. Similar acts in Tibet have been praised by fanatical Buddhists supported by the CIA and have been described as ‘martyrs’ in the Western press.  However, it must also be borne in mind that Sinhalese Buddhists, like their Burmese counterparts, have not received favourable coverage in the Western corporate press.

In a press conference after the riots, BBS leader Gnanasara Thero said his organisation was fond of moderate Muslims but had a problem with the spread of Saudi-funded Wahhabism in the country. He accused Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wikremesinghe of this orchestrated racist event”.

He said the West wants brainless puppets in Sri Lanka, these are are the people in government now”

Ranil Wickremesinghe, leader of the United Nationalist Party, (UNP), is the most pro-US politician in the current coalition government. Over-hyped allegations of corruption and US soft-power pressure helped oust the country’s former pro-Chinese leader Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2015.

A former communist Sri Lanka’s current president Maithripala Sirisena was educated in Russia and is said to have a particularly warm relationship with president Putin.

Sirisena congratulated President Putin on his March 19th election victory stating that Russia will make further progress under Putin’s leadership.

After the riots Gnanasara Thero attended a conference in Japan with president Sirisena. President Sirisena needs more Buddhist nationalist support if he is to  be reelected.

Although Sri Lanka’s Buddhists are a majority in the country, the BBS claim that they are a minority internationally and that the Muslim population is supported by the wealthy Wahhabi states of the Gulf. They have also complained by the activities of evangelical Christians and the Catholic Church.  The leader of the Global Tamil Forum is Fr. S.J. Emmanuel, a Catholic priest.

Gnanasara Thero was encouraged Sri Lankans to unite in order so that the country does not become another Libya or Syria. He also accuses Muslim politicians of fanning the flames of sectarianism by refusing to admit that the Muslim communities are at least partly responsible for violence.

In a press release Tamara Kunanayakam, Sri Lanka’s former Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations said that the riots were planned to coincide with the arrival of the UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs:

 It gave the High Commissioner the opportunity to threaten Sri Lanka with universal jurisdiction if it fails to make progress in accountability and transitional justice.His choice of language is to target the previous Government under Mahinda Rajapaksa, to strengthen Washington’s allies within the present regime, and to advance Washington’s project to gain International legitimacy for its unilateral interventions in the internal affairs of other states.

Western-backed Human Rights Terrorism

From 1983 to 2009 the Sri Lankan military fought a long battle against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elaam (LTTE), a terrorist organisation which attempted to carve out a separate Tamil homeland in the north of the country. The LTTE was supported by India, Britain and the United States. The Sri Lankan victory over LTTE was achieved through military aide from Russia, China and Iran.

The Tamil Forum is based in Britain and maintains close ties to the British government. The British Government has been at the forefront of attempts to blame most of the violence of the country’s civil war on the Sri Lankan military. They have brought extreme pressure through NGO activism and the United Nations to tarnish the image of the country.

In 2011, Channel 4 produced a report which they claimed proved” war crimes by the Sri Lankan military

The report was cogently refuted by the Sri Lankan government in their documentary ‘ Lies Agreed Upon.’ Channel 4’s lies were conclusively refused in a booklet written by a Sri Lankan think tank entitled ‘Corrupted Journalism’.

In 2015, Maithripala Sirisena was elected as the country’s president. Although he is is said to be more pro-Western that his predecessor, his government is accused of not having implemented the kind of reforms demanded by the West. His criticism of pro-Western NGOS and media outlets suggest he may not be the push-over the United States and Britain hoped.

Nationalists in Sri Lanka have accused the United Nations, international NGOS and the United States of promoting Muslim immigration into Sri Lanka in an attempt to balkanise the country. They have wondered why, for example, the country is forced to take in so-called ‘rohingya’ refugees while the Gulf monarchies refuse to do so.

The 2014 Aluthgama Riots started by Muslims not Buddhists

It is important to place the recent riots in the context of the country’s recent history. Muslim attacks on Buddhists go unreported or are generally played down by the media.In the 12th of June 2014, Buddhists in the town of Darga were preparing to celebrate Poson Poya, one of the most important Buddhist festivals of the year.

On his way to the event, Buddhist monk, the Venerable Ayagama Samitha Thero’s three-wheeler vehicle was blocked by three inebriated Muslim youths.( alcohol abuse is a growing problem in Sri Lanka).

He was physically assaulted. Agama Samithea Thero was not a member of the Bodu Bala Sena group. In fact, he had been known for his charity towards poor Muslims and was subsequently visited by a Muslim in hospital.

Ayagama Samitha Thero was taken to hospital and a group of Buddhist monks pleaded with the local police to take action against the perpetrators. Buddhists in Sri Lanka have repeatedly complained about the inaction of the police in prosecuting attacks on monks.

In response to the attack and the inaction of the police, the Bodu Bala Sena organisation convened a meeting in Aluthgama on the 14th of June to discuss what they perceive is an increasing and internationally-backed islamisation of their country.

Witnesses told the BBC Sinhala how Muslim youths had started the violence.

 Footage of the parade clearly shows what is alleged to have been the first stone thrown at the event. The stone is thrown by one of the Muslim protesters. The video also shows Muslims throwing stones from the roof of a building under construction.

 In the ensuing violence the properties of Muslims and Buddhists were destroyed but the media blamed ‘Buddhist nationalists’ for the violence.

Sri Lankan writer Shenali D. Waduge believes the Empire is attempting to divide the island:

There is a pattern to the denigration. All this shows that there has been a very unfair and unjust coverage of the incident and a totally unfair denigration of Buddhists. But, we understand the reasons for this too. It is well within a larger gameplan and one tied to decades of efforts to denationalize and divide the Buddhists and systematically remove the power they have that holds the country together. Sadly, ignorant Sinhala politicians for power and money have become pawns without realizing that they can and will only lead in a nation that is held together by Buddhists. 

As in many developing countries, the ignorance and stupidity of elected officials and media outlets plays into the hands of Machiavellian imperial agencies but some politicians have spoken out. Speaking of the Aluthgama riots, Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka of Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) said:

The US is repeating the mistakes it made in Afghanistan by distorting the Aluthgama incidents and very soon will suffer dire consequences. By nurturing and fostering militant Muslim groups against a democratically elected government instead of helping to hunt down the militant elements within the Muslim community, the US has only strengthened the global Taliban movement,”

Conclusion

Having defeated the Western-backed Tamil tigers, the Sri Lankan government now faces a new form of war: coercive engineered migration backed by UN agencies and a panoply of NGOS in the service of Western imperialism. The purpose? Render an insubordinate post-colonial country more submissive to ‘global governance’ and US strategic interests in South Asia by using the Wahhabised Muslim minority as a tool to fracture national unity.

A notable exception to the pro-Western liberal piety typical of Sri Lanka’s English language press is to be found in the Colombo Telegraph piece by Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka, which denounces the lies and hypocrisy of the West in their war on Syria and compares them to Western lies about Sri Lanka’s war against the LTTE.

It compares the situation of the two countries. When Bashar al-Assad was elected leader of the Syrian Arab Republic he was cautiously courted by the West. Assad had neo-liberal economic advisers and favoured reforms involving privatising parts of the economy. He was even invited to Paris by French President Nicola Sarkozy in 2008 for the 14th of July military parade. But when Assad failed to deliver, he quickly became a ‘brutal dictator’ and when the Empire sent an army of head-choppers and psychopaths to slaughter Syria’s people, he was accused of ‘killing his own people’.

It was hoped Sirisena would bow to pressure from UN agencies and human rights groups by revising the official Sri Lankan narrative of the war thereby weakening national unity and opening the door ever wider to Western-style globalisation. As Jean-Pierre Page has pointed out, President Sirisena has significantly compromised the country’s independence to please Washington and the self-proclaimed international community”; yet a recent Al Jazeera interview would suggest that more is required of him.

In her above quoted press release Tamara Kunanayakam states:

Muslim attacks serve only Washington’s agenda, propping up its allies in a tottering Yahapalana Government, silencing the opposition within and outside Government, dividing the people, shifting their attention away from the real issues, and, advancing Washington’s objective of turning Sri Lanka into a vassal state that can be utilised in its strategy of containing and rolling back China.”

Sri Lanka has a poverty rate of 41 percent. Slavishly following the Washington Consensus” of neoliberalism and phony human rights discourse will not pull millions of people out of poverty; Colombo will have to look east  if it is to become a successful nation. Playing minorities against majorities or vice verse is a standard technique of imperial destabilisation. In the case of Sri Lanka and Myanmar the overwhelming bias of the media is in favour of Muslims and against Buddhists. Buddhists are to become the new scapegoats of US imperialism’s ‘pivot to Asia’.

ජාතික පොලිස් කොමිෂන් සභාවේ ලේකම් ආරියදාස කුරේ ඉවත් කළේ තෙල්දෙණිය ගැන පොලිස්පතිගෙන් වාර්තාවක් ඉල්ලු නිසයි!  

March 20th, 2018

කීර්ති තෙන්නකෝන් විධායක අධ්‍යක්ෂ/කැෆේ සහ ශ්‍රී ලංකා මානව හිමිකම් කේන්ද්‍ර‍ය

කොන්ත්‍රාත් පදනම මත ජාතික පොලිස් කොමිෂන් සභාවේ ලේකම් ධූරය දැරූ ආරියදාස කුරේ මහතා එම තනතුරෙන් ඉවත් කොට ඇත්තේ පසුගිය දා තෙල්දෙණිය හා දිගන ඇති වු ගැටුම් සම්බන්ධයෙන් පොලීසියේ ක්‍රියාකාරීත්වය පිළිබද පොලිස්පතිගෙන් වාර්තාවක් ඉල්ලු නිසා බව කැෆේ සහ ශ්‍රී ලංකා මානව හිමිකම් කේන්ද්‍රයේ අවධාරණය කරයි.   ජාතික පොලිස් කොමිෂන් සභාව තෙල්දෙණිය ගැටුම් පිළිබදව ස්වාධීන විමර්ශනයක් සිදුකිරීමට උත්සහ දැරීම  වලක්වා ගැනීමට දේශපාලන නායකත්වයේ බලපෑම මත ලේකම්වරයා ඉවත් කිරීම සිදුව ඇත.

පොලිස් අකාර්යක්ෂමතාව හේතුවෙන් තෙල්දෙණිය හා දිගන ගැටුම් උත්සන්න වූ බව මේ වන විට විවෘත රහසකි.   කැෆේ සහ ශ්‍රී ලංකා මානව හිමිකම් කේන්ද්‍ර‍ය විසින් ගැටුමට පසුදින මේ පිළිබද අදහස් දැක්වූ අතර සිද්ධියේ දී පොලිස් දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවේ අකාර්යක්ෂමතාව පිළිබද විමර්ශනයක් පවත්වන ලෙස පොලිස් කොමිෂන් සභාවෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටියේය.  ලක්ෂ්මන් කිරිඇල්ල, රවුෆ් හකීම්, හලීම් යන අමාත්‍යවරුන් ද, පා.ම. දිළුම් අමුණුගම හා යුධ හමුදාපතිවරයා ද පැවසූවේ පොලිස් අකාර්යක්ෂමතාව හේතුවෙන් ගැටුම් වර්ධනය වූ බවයි.

ප්‍ර‍හාරය වර්ධනය වන තෙක් පොලීසිය එයට ඉඩ දී බලා සිටි බවට පොදු මතයක් රට තුල පවතින අතර මේ පිළිබද පොලිස් කොමිෂන් සභාව වෙත ඉල්ලීමක් ගණනාවක් ඉදිරිපත් වී තිබුණි. (කැෆේ සංවිධානයේ ඉල්ලීම මේ සමග අමුණා ඇත) අම්පාර හා තෙල්දෙණිය සිදුවීම් සම්බන්ධයෙන් අග්‍රාමාත්‍යවරයා ද පොලිසියට චෝදනා කර තිබුණි.  පොලිස් කොමිෂන් සභාවේ ලේකම් ආරියදාස කුරේ මහතා මේ පිළිබද පොලිස්පතිවරයාගෙන් වාර්තාවක් ඉල්ලා සිටි අතර ඒ පිළිබද ප්‍ර‍මුඛ දේශපාලනඥයින්ගේ නොකැමැත්ත පළ වී තිබුණි. මෙම අර්බුදය හේතුවෙන් ජාතික පොලිස් කොමිෂන් සභාවේ සාමාජිකයෙකු හෝ කිහිප දෙනෙකු ඉල්ලා අස්වීමේ සුදානමක් පවතින බව ද, අප වෙත දැනගන්නට ඇත. 

දේශපාලන අතපෙවීම් හේතුවෙන් ජාතික පොලිස් කොමිෂන් සභාව දැඩි පීඩනයකට ලක්වී ඇති අතර, මහාචාර්ය සිරි හෙට්ටිගේ මහතා සභාපති ධූරයෙන් ඉවත්වීමෙන් පසුව දේශපාලන අවශ්‍යතාව මත එහි කටයුතු සිදුවන බවට චෝදනා එල්ල විය. දිගු කලක් සැගවී තිබූ ජාතික පොලිස් කොමිෂන් සභාව වෙත එල්ලවන දේශපාලන බලපෑම් පිළිබද ආරියදාස කුරේ මහතා ඉවත් කිරීමත් සමග සමාජ අවධානය යොමුවී ඇත.  ස්වාධීන කොමිෂන් සභා සදහා එල්ලවන බලපෑම් පිළිබද සමාජ කතිකාවක් ආරම්භ කිරීම අනිවාර්ය අවශ්‍යතාවක් බවට පත්වෙමින් තිබේ.

 

කීර්ති තෙන්නකෝන්

විධායක අධ්‍යක්ෂ/කැෆේ සහ ශ්‍රී ලංකා මානව හිමිකම් කේන්ද්‍ර‍ය

2018 මාර්තු 20

 

අලුත් අවුරුද්දට ජනතාවට රජයෙන් කිසිම සහනයක් නැහැ

March 20th, 2018

ගොසිප් සී ලංකා වෙබ් අඩවිය

වෙළද පොළේ පාරිභෝගික භාණ්ඩවල මිල ගණන් ඉතාමත් ඉහළ මට්ටමක වතින අතර ජනතාවට මෙවර සිංහල හා හින්දු අලුත් අවුරුද්ද සමරන්න වී තිබෙන්නේ ඉතාමත් දුෂ්කර විදිහටය. එම නිසා සිංහල හා හිංදු අලුත් අවරුද්ද වෙනුවෙන් පාරිභෝගික කටයුතු පිළිබද අධිකාරිය ජනතාවට අවුරුදු සැමරීම සදහා කිසියම් සහන වැඩ පිළිවළක් සකස් කර ඇත්දැයි අප ගොසිප් සී ලංකා වෙබ් අඩවිය පාරිභෝගික කටයුතු පිළිබද අධිකාරියෙන් විමසීමක් කළ අතර එහිදී නිළධාරීයෙකු අප සමග කියා සිටියේ සිංහල හා හිංදු අලුත් අවරුද්දට එහෙම වැඩපිළිවළක් නොමැති බවයි.

සිංහල අලුත් අවුරුද්ද වෙනුවෙන් මාධ්‍ය ආයතන ඇතුළු පාරිභෝගික භාණ්ඩ අලෙවි කරන ආයතන කලින් තියා තම සැලසුම් සකස් කරන අතර මේ රටේ පාරිභෝගිකයා වෙනුවෙන් පෙනී සිටිය යුතු පාරිභෝගික කටයුතු පිළිබද අධිකාරිය සිංහල අවුරුද්ද වෙනුවෙන් ජනතාවට සහන ලබා දීමට තවම වැඩ පිළිවලක් සකස් නොකිරීම කනගාටු දායක පුවතකී.

පාරිභෝගික කටයුතු පිළිබද අධිකාරිය පවතින්නේ කර්මාන්ත හා වානිජ කටයුතු අමාත්තයංශය යටතේ වන අතර එහි ඇමැතිවරයා වන්නේ රිෂාඩ් බදුර්දීන්ය.

තවද හාල් සහ පොල් සදහා පාලන මිලක් පැවතියද පාලන මිල ඉක්මවා හාල් අලෙවි වන්න් රු 100ත් 140ත් අතර මිලකටය. පොල් ගෙඩියක් රු 90ත් 110ත් අතර මිලකට අලෙවි වේ.

ඒ වගේම පසුගියදා පැවති මැතිවරණ සමයේ මිල ගණන් පහත හෙලා තිබූ සමහර භාණ්ඩවල මිල ගණන්ද මේ වන විට විශාල ලෙස ඉහළ ගොස් තිබේ.

මේ අතර පාරිභෝගික කටයුතු පිළිබද අධිකාරියේ වෙබ් අඩවිය අවරුදු 8කින් පමණ යාවත් කාලීන කර නැති අතර එහි සමහර භාණ්ඩවල පාලන මිල ගණන් පවතින්නේ 2010යේ පැවති ඒවාය. 

– මේ පිළිබදව ඔබ මාධ්‍ය අංශයේ අවධානය යොමු කරන ලෙස ඉල්ලා සිටින අතර මෙම පුවත ඔබට සුදුසු විදිහට පළ කර ජනතාවට සහනයක් ලබා ගැනීමට උදව් කරන මෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටිමි. . 

රුසියානු ජනාධිපති වැලදිමිර් පුටින්ට හිටපු ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂගෙන් සුභ පැතුම්

March 20th, 2018

Following the victory of incumbent President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation at last Sunday’s election, the Russian Ambassador in Colombo HE Yury. B Materiy met former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at his official residence in Colombo on Monday. President Mahinda Rajapaksa took this opportunity to convey his felicitations to President Putin on his landslide victory.

පසුගිය ඉරිදා පවත්වනු ලැබූ ඡන්දයෙන් රුසියානු ජනාධිපති වැලදිමිර් පුටින් ජයගත් පසු කොළඹ රුසියානු තානාපති යුරි බී. මැතේරි මහතා හිටපු ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතාව සඳුදා සිය නිල නිවසේදී හමුවිය. මේ අවස්ථාවේදී ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතා, ජනාධිපති පුටින්ගේ විජයග්‍රහණය ගැන එතුමාට සුභ පැතුම් ප්‍රකාශ කර සිටියේය.

 

ශ්‍රී ලංකාව සහ රුසියාව දිගු කාලීන මිතුරන් වන අතර, කොටි ත්‍රස්තවාදය පැරදවීමේ මානුෂික මෙහෙයුම විජයග්‍රහණය කිරීමට අවශ්‍ය ආයුධ බලය ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට ලබා දීමට රුසියාව කටයුතු කළේ ය.

 

Putin, Mahinda and Gotabhaya

March 19th, 2018

I have to say that I am very happy indeed about the resounding victory scored by President Putin. If not for him, there would be no multi-polarity in the world; no chance of a global equilibrium; no ally for the rising economic power of China which would have been encircled by the West. There would be a unipolar world under Western hegemony. It would have been a return to the imperialist world order during colonialism—something our generation had never experienced. The Middle East would have gone the way it did in Iraq and Libya. Syria has held because of Putin. Had Putin been President of Russia at the time, Yugoslavia would still exist and the world would have been a better place.

Fidel Castro had warned about what the world would be without the Soviet Union. In 1973 at the Nonaligned Summit in Algiers, he contradicted Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi who had equated the USA and the USSR as two superpowers both of which should be opposed by the Third world. Fidel, who had never been a camp follower of the USSR and often criticized it, blazing his own path, nonetheless warned Gaddafi that if the USSR did not exist the western world would carve up the Middle East in the context of the rising oil prices with the activism of the OPEC. He urged OPEC to establish banks and other facilities to share its new wealth with the Third World. Not for the first time, Fidel proved prophetic. After the USSR fell, the US and its allies did carve up the Middle East as it did during colonial times. Gaddafi was lynched. Saddam executed.

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It was the arrival of Putin that enabled Russia to save itself and grow strong again. He had to start where we in Sri Lanka had to in 2005, by confronting and defeating a powerful, separatist, suicide bombing terrorist militia, arising from among the Chechens. If he didn’t do so, it would not only have been the USSR that was extinct but Russia too would have shrunk; its periphery broken off. The world had a taste of what things would have been like, when Yeltsin was in charge and Russia was a weak, wobbly fellow traveler of the West; giving itself away with nothing in return.

I was in Moscow in 1985 at the World Festival of Youth and Students at the beginning of the Gorbachev period—he opened the Festival–and shared the hopes of that moment. By 1987 at the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Russian revolution in Moscow, Fidel Castro who was hardly unsympathetic or unkind to Gorbachev, however warned that “we shall not be surprised if one day we awake and find the Soviet Union has disappeared”. Again he was right.

The West never wanted to stabilize Gorbachev’s reformist socialism which stood for cooperation with the West. It wanted the USSR to go and beyond that it wanted a weak Russia. In recent years Gorbachev has revealed that the West reneged on all the solemn pledges it made to him and went ahead with the expansion of NATO and the deployment of strategic weapons around Russia. Earlier Fidel had identified the western strategic method and cautioned countries against falling or it: “You give them your finger, they take your hand; you give them your hand they take your arm; you give them your arm they take your whole body!” This is what the West did to Russia even under their ally Yeltsin. It never wanted a capitalist Russia as its partner in a new world order. They merely wanted Russia to capitulate.

Western policy was so perfidious that the Chechen separatist insurgency, one which deployed pure unalloyed suicide terrorism as a tactic, had a sympathetic ear in certain European capitals. Not too much fuss is made about the Boston marathon bombings because the trail leads to the open door policy the USA had to the Chechens. Things were getting so bad for Russia, and the public opinion pressure was so great, that it was Yeltsin who brought in Putin, after repeated attempts at a peaceful settlement with the Chechens had failed.

Those who criticize Putin must realize that he is a consequence, not the cause. The Russian people vote for him because they remember what it was like before him and without him. He epitomizes Russian self-respect. The Russian people, whose collective efforts had been primarily responsible for beating Nazi Germany, found themselves losing the Soviet Union without a shot being fired, and then reeling from terrorism in Moscow itself. The repeated vote for Putin is Russia echoing the words of the song by the rock band The Who: “we won’t get fooled again!”

Russia is a lesson for the Sri Lankan civil society intelligentsia. Never forget what the Buddha taught about cause and consequence. When reacting against the return of Mahinda Rajapaksa or the possibility of a Gotabhaya candidacy, remember that these are consequences not causes. The Rajapaksa revival (of which I have been a participant) has been the search by the Sinhala people for a Putin. That search is a consequence of a cause—the capitulation, retreat and weakening of Sri Lanka under a pro-Western neoliberal regime.

This was true of the Mahinda candidacy of 2005, which followed Ranil Wickremesinghe’s enforced retreat in the face of the Tigers. The re-run was in 2015 to date. These are the Yeltsin episodes, with President Sirisena as a well-intentioned Gorbachev. Wherethere is a Gorbachev, there will be a Yeltsin and where there is a Yeltsin, there will be a demand for a Putin. Do not decry the backlash; avoid or rectify or end the situation that generates one.

The same factor of the chain of cause-and-consequence holds true of the rise of Sinhala Buddhist statist nationalism as it does of Russian Orthodox Christian statist nationalism that underlies and powers the Putin phenomenon. I’m no fan of ‘Sinhala Only’ in 1956. Never was and never will be. But at the time, as now, Sinhala nationalism was a reaction to the nature of the existing regime; the existing establishment; the nature of the existing elite.

No Sir John Kotelawela, no ‘Sinhala Only’. Sinhala nationalism had little traction under UNP Prime minister DS Senanayake. SWRD and DA Rajapaksa broke away and founded the SLFP during his administration but the newly founded SLFP was a social democratic party. Even his son Dudley triggered a socioeconomic uprising, the Hartal of 1953, which united Sinhalese and Tamils. It took the open pro-Westernism and the sociocultural profile and arrogant discourse of Sir John (whose advisor was our present PM’s father) to cause the embrace of Sinhala Only by SWRD Bandaranaike.

The same happened in 1970, when the target regime was a UNP-Tamil Congress-Federal Party coalition. The pendulum swing repeated itself in 2005 and is about to happen again in grand style in 2019-2020. There is a reason that the SWRD Bandaranaike of 1951-1952 and even 1953 was not the SWRD of 1955-56, and that reason is the character of the elite he was opposing.

Now I am not arguing that every backlash is justified or that every consequence is inevitable. But some consequence is inevitable. Its character depends on the time in history and the society in question. Personally I would have preferred had Yeltsin been replaced by the Communist party of Gennady Zyuganov (who has since been replaced in that spot by a millionaire Communist who ran against Putin this week). I am happy that the French turned to Macron’s centrism than Marine Le Pen’s National Front. I am delighted that the alternative to Teresa May is Corbyn rather than Farrage. I would have vastly preferred the US Democrats to have picked Bernie Sanders, who might well have trumped Trump. But all that’s beside the point.

The point is that in some societies, mainly in Eurasia but also in the USA, the hurt caused to national sentiments by the neoliberal elite generates a backlash which is not only socio-economic but is intermingled and overlaid with the culturally majoritarian (sometimes the religio-culturally majoritarian), either because there is no other alternative or that alternative is too weak or not in tune with mass sentiment.

To put it even more simply, pro-western neoliberalism generates a populist backlash, which, depending on time and place, is either left, right or center, and is mixed in, in various degrees with nationalism, which itself is intertwined to this or that extent or hardly at all, with religio- cultural, ethno-religious, ethno-lingual or regionalist (e.g. Italy) sentiment.

The stand you take depends on what you perceive as the main enemy. A tough-minded secularist like Stalin once shockingly wrote that “the Emir of Afghanistan is more progressive than the British Labour Party” (Foundations of Leninism, 1925) because the former, despite his backward ideology, opposed imperialism while the latter, despite its trade union base and leftism, did not. Stalin also went on to name the titanic war against Hitler waged by the Soviet Red Army as the Great Patriotic War, shifted his communist discourse and struck an alliance with the Russian Orthodox church for the duration.

I do not say this with merely the benefit of hindsight or simply because elections are on the horizon. I say this because it flows from my analysis, my perspective and the stand I have consistently taken. I predicted, in print, the rise of someone like Putin and the reasons for it, long before anyone including myself had heard of Putin. In early 1991, when the USSR was teetering before plunging into extinction that December, and while top western policy thinkers were announcing “the unipolar moment” (Krauthammer 1990) of Western hegemony, and the “End of History” (Fukuyama 1989) culminating in the victory of liberal democracy and market economics crowned by Russia’s conversion to that doctrine, I was predicting “the New, New Cold War” and giving reasons why, in a six page article.

“… Underlying this is a battle about Russia’s identity. Is it a Western power? Or is it an Eastern power? Or does it straddle the two?…I think that the pendulum will shift back – if not to those who considered the Soviet Union an Eastern power, at least to the understanding that the Soviet Union is an Euro-Asian power.So in a way, it’s struggle for the soul of Russia.”

“…The possibility of the Soviet Union looking East towards China cannot be ruled out…There may be strong economic grounds for this as well…”

“…We might well see a kind of Soviet Reaganism– reassertion of power…it’s possible that the Soviet ‘Carterite’ period is coming to a close. …What is far more probable is the re-composition of the power bloc in which the Soviet military and the KGB have a greater preponderance…What kind of forces or agencies in the USSR could provide that kind of input? I can only think of the Red Army and the KGB….Public opinion polls also reveal, rather surprisingly, that the KGB is relatively more popular (or less unpopular) than other entities in the USSR. It is seen as a somewhat clean organization; ruthless but relatively clean…So the task of this kind of ideological restructuring may devolve on these forces—the Red Army and the KGB.”

(‘Towards the New, New Cold War’ Economic Review, Colombo, February/March 1991, pp. 45-51)

Thus I predicted the pivot to China and Russia’s adoption of Eurasianism, as well as the Putin phenomenon, referring to the latter as “Soviet Reaganism”. As we know, Vladimir Putin is a former KGB officer as well as officer in its successor structure, the FSB.

I support Putin, just as I support Mahinda, and with more caution and caveats, am willing to support Gotabhaya if the need arises, because I remember what context gave birth to them, what they stand against, and the causes which made/are making/may make the masses turn to them as alternatives.

We need law and order, not law “made to order”!

March 19th, 2018

There was much talk, announcements, speculation and predictions on the Ministry of Law & Order, and now we have a Madduma Bandara. Reminds me of an old Sinhala Baila, “Sinhala Ithihasa Pothe Ran Akuren Liyawuna. . .” – written in letters of gold in the annals of Sinhala history. That is the story of Madduma Bandara Ellapola. I am an eternal optimist, but to expect a rebirth of this legendary child hero, or even imagine a semblance of a repeat of an event historical in nature would, even for me, be the epitome of idealistic romanticism. A friend of mine tells me that the Ranjith part would be more prevalent – as in Ranjeet and his “thousand apologies” in the perennial comedy “Mind Your Language”.

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The System – Judiciary

Jurisprudence – derived from the Latin Juris prudentia, which means “the study, knowledge or science of law” is abundant in our legal community. Interpretation is unquestionable and evidencing produces verdicts. Take Rathupaswela for instance. Drinking water was contaminated and people protested. Some protesters die and those who fired the bullets are produced before courts. Nobody apparently deemed it fit to look into the cause of the contamination – it was not a natural phenomenon but an environmentally destructive business practice. The root is relocated with the possibility of hell breaking loose again. How effective can jurisprudence be in such situations? The ‘Malwana Mansion’ reportedly reached a dead end due to ‘evidence’ non-existence of ownership. Nobody puts up even a parapet wall without a ‘Baas Unnehe’ or a contractor. Questioning the contractor on who paid him could ‘evidence’ at least a minimal claim to ownership. A Pickpocket is convicted and sentenced to a term in jail that is rigorous. A (former) high official is sentenced to jail and the terminology becomes ambiguous – he is granted bail and allowed to travel overseas. A person suddenly becomes inexplicably wealthy and is produced in Courts for non-declaration of his assets, reportedly running into tens or hundreds of millions. He pleads guilty and is fined Rs2, 000.00, while the State incurs a lot more in the procedural formalities. At the time of his arrest and extradition from Malaysia, KP was reported to be the CFO of the LTTE, and was the main contact in their procurement of arms. He even announced that he was taking over the leadership of the LTTE after Prabakaran’s death. There’s nothing the Courts can do since he has not been charged with even a petty offence. If someone is caught dealing in illicit liquor, who should prosecute him – the Police or the Excise Department? ‘Court’ing the law is detrimental to justice.

The System – Law Enforcement

Similarly, we have an efficient, well-trained and capable Police Force. Together with the Tri-Forces, they annihilated about the only terrorist group in the world that had an effective army, navy and air force in operation. Intelligence played a pivotal role and strategy was based on intelligent use of information gathered. After the war ended, the LLRC did recommend the branching out of law enforcement from the overall security apparatus. The lessons since learnt, however, are aptly demonstrated in a televised portrayal of the IGP receiving a telephone call regarding the arrest of a ‘Nilame’.

Lasantha Wickrematunge and Wasim Thajudeen – divergent personalities and their brutal murders were made to appear differently. In Lasantha’s case, the ‘shooting’ eventually turned out to be not a bullet but a pointed weapon; and for Wasim, his ‘accident’ turned out to be a brutal murder. Reports on investigations reveal that the most prominent of those being questioned and remanded are ostensibly being investigated for destroying, altering or manipulating of evidence. Significantly, AFTER the event. What happened before; the planning, plotting and executing is not beyond the intelligent reach of the Long Arm of the Law. The tragedy is that this ‘Long Arm’ is twisted by the long reach of the legislature. A new twist for the legislature could come from the recently promulgated Bill for Protection against Enforced Disappearances. Eknaligoda is a name that could and should figure in this respect, with or without connotations of ‘Geneva’. Law enforcement works within lines of reason. When the lines are re-drawn and the reasons are manipulated, subservience becomes the art of survival.

The System – Legislation

The “Uththareethara Sabhawa” or the “Supreme” Parliament of today consists of some 94 members (over 40%) who do not have even GCE (O/L) qualifications – the basic requirement required to apply for even the post of Peon in the other two arms of the “System”. The irony is that they make the rules that the other two arms operate on. When Principle is what governing should be about, Principal (the noun as in leader and the adjective for target) takes precedence. Policy is like the fine print on an Insurance Policy that includes the Clause, “Subject to change without notice” – nobody knows where we are, let alone where we are heading. Brilliant White, Cascading Blue, Reverberating Pink and its innovations are what painters talk about when you want to paint your home. Pro-Western, Quasi-Liberal, Neo-Anything or Anti-Everything – the political colour card is more chameleon-istic.

Reactionary in the grammatical sense, not political, is how the political leadership of today could be described. The law enforcement authorities would not, could not, or did not act to prevent the recent mayhem in Kandy because they were ‘dependent’ on instructions from above. Every piece of law promulgated somehow places a politician as the ultimate authority. A cricket team can be recalled from the airport simply because the minister has not granted his approval; and even with the proposed ‘fast-track’ appointment of High Courts, The Minister becomes the ultimate decision maker on who should be summoned.

We sell off “National Assets” like Mattala, Hambantota, Port City and it would not be surprising if Temple Trees finds a lucrative offer. “Political Assets” like Lake House, Rupavahini, and ITN never come up for consideration, even in the liberal heyday of JR. In net worth and advertising revenue, they stand out. In the right hands and in collaboration with SLT, they have the resources to re-model or middle the mud of hate speech on social media. The problem is that “the right hands” is legislated to mean “Right Hand Man”. What is left is not something the right hand would know. Hence the resource to the ban on websites.

“Please let me introduce the summit of my digits into that odoriferous concavity and extract from it some pulverized atoms which, when smeared into my nasal promontory causes titillation.” That’s the Malapropism for asking to borrow some snuff (Dung Kudu). Easier to understand than where our politics (and the country with it) are heading.

REGGIE PONNAMPALAM

How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions

March 19th, 2018

Christopher Wylie, who helped found the data firm Cambridge Analytica and worked there until 2014, has described the company as an “arsenal of weapons” in a culture war.CreditAndrew Testa for The New York Times

(After this story was published, Facebook came under harsh criticism from lawmakers in the United States and Britain. Read the latest.)

LONDON — As the upstart voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica prepared to wade into the 2014 American midterm elections, it had a problem.

The firm had secured a $15 million investment from Robert Mercer, the wealthy Republican donor, and wooed his political adviser, Stephen K. Bannon, with the promise of tools that could identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior. But it did not have the data to make its new products work.

So the firm harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission, according to former Cambridge employees, associates and documents, making it one of the largest data leaks in the social network’s history. The breach allowed the company to exploit the private social media activity of a huge swath of the American electorate, developing techniques that underpinned its work on President Trump’s campaign in 2016.

An examination by The New York Times and The Observer of London reveals how Cambridge Analytica’s drive to bring to market a potentially powerful new weapon put the firm — and wealthy conservative investors seeking to reshape politics — under scrutiny from investigators and lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Both Congress and the British Parliament have questioned Alexander Nix, chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, about the firm’s activities. CreditBryan Bedder/Getty Images

Christopher Wylie, who helped found Cambridge and worked there until late 2014, said of its leaders: “Rules don’t matter for them. For them, this is a war, and it’s all fair.”

“They want to fight a culture war in America,” he added. “Cambridge Analytica was supposed to be the arsenal of weapons to fight that culture war.”

Details of Cambridge’s acquisition and use of Facebook data have surfaced in several accounts since the business began working on the 2016 campaign, setting off a furious debate about the merits of the firm’s so-called psychographic modeling techniques.

But the full scale of the data leak involving Americans has not been previously disclosed — and Facebook, until now, has not acknowledged it. Interviews with a half-dozen former employees and contractors, and a review of the firm’s emails and documents, have revealed that Cambridge not only relied on the private Facebook data but still possesses most or all of the trove.

Cambridge paid to acquire the personal information through an outside researcher who, Facebook says, claimed to be collecting it for academic purposes.

During a week of inquiries from The Times, Facebook downplayed the scope of the leak and questioned whether any of the data still remained out of its control. But on Friday, the company posted a statement expressing alarm and promising to take action.

“This was a scam — and a fraud,” Paul Grewal, a vice president and deputy general counsel at the social network, said in a statement to The Times earlier on Friday. He added that the company was suspending Cambridge Analytica, Mr. Wylie and the researcher, Aleksandr Kogan, a Russian-American academic, from Facebook. “We will take whatever steps are required to see that the data in question is deleted once and for all — and take action against all offending parties,” Mr. Grewal said.

Alexander Nix, the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, and other officials had repeatedly denied obtaining or using Facebook data, most recently during a parliamentary hearing last month. But in a statement to The Times, the company acknowledged that it had acquired the data, though it blamed Mr. Kogan for violating Facebook’s rules and said it had deleted the information as soon as it learned of the problem two years ago.

In Britain, Cambridge Analytica is facing intertwined investigations by Parliament and government regulators into allegations that it performed illegal work on the “Brexit” campaign. The country has strict privacy laws, and its information commissioner announced on Saturday that she was looking into whether the Facebook data was “illegally acquired and used.”

In the United States, Mr. Mercer’s daughter, Rebekah, a board member, Mr. Bannon and Mr. Nix received warnings from their lawyer that it was illegal to employ foreigners in political campaigns, according to company documents and former employees.

Sri Lankan stocks fall to nearly 7-week closing low on growth worries

March 19th, 2018

COLOMBO, March 19 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares fell to their lowest close in nearly seven weeks on Monday, as investors sold diversified and manufacturing stocks on worries over slower economic growth, brokers said.

The statistics department withdrew its 2017 full-year and fourth-quarter GDP data on Friday, a day after saying the economy expanded 3.1 percent last year, the slowest pace in 16 years, and 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter.

The Colombo stock index fell 0.24 percent to 6,493.63, its lowest since Jan. 30. It dropped 0.6 percent last week in its third straight weekly decline.

It’s a dull day as most of investors were on the sidelines and worried over the GDP,” said Atchuthan Srirangan, a senior research analyst with First Capital Holdings PLC.

Turnover was 396.5 million rupees ($5.29 million), the lowest since March 7 and well below this year’s daily average of around 966.8 million rupees.

Shares in Vallibel One Plc fell 1.7 percent, Carson Cumberbatch Plc ended 2.8 percent weaker, Sri Lanka Telecom Plc lost 1.4 percent.

Foreign investors bought a net 58.1 million rupees worth of shares, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 7.2 billion rupees worth of equities. ($1 = 155.9500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

Cultivation ban opposed

March 19th, 2018

Courtesy tobaccoreporter.com

The government of Sri Lanka has been urged to withdraw a proposed ban on tobacco cultivation in the country, according to a story in The Colombo Gazette.

The All Ceylon Cigarette Tobacco Barn Owners’ Association said that since 2015, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Drug Prevention had recommended ‘unreasonable restrictions’ on tobacco cultivation, such as the prohibition of using even barren marginal paddy lands for such production.

In a letter to the President, the association said that despite tobacco farmers being the key drivers of national and rural economic growth, they were not consulted before such adverse recommendations were made.

‘Tobacco is a cash crop which was introduced to farmers by the Sri Lankan government in the 1950’s and fully supported by successive governments until very recently,’ the association said. ‘Under the patronage of previous governments, tobacco cultivation has been an integral part of the agriculture communities spanning around 80 years and three farmer generations.’

It said that while the proposed ban on tobacco production was understood as being driven by a World Health Organization agenda, it was clearly not the solution for the smoking problem in society.

The association urged the government to continue to allow tobacco production until an alternative crop that matched tobacco in economic value was introduced to farmers.

The Guardian view on free speech online: let law decide the limits

March 19th, 2018

The standards by which the internet is controlled need to be open and subject to impartial judiciaries – not left to advertisers

The revelations we publish about how Facebook’s data was used by Cambridge Analytica to subvert the openness of democracy are only the latest examples of a global phenomenon. All over the world, governments are coming to grips with the destructive power of social media. In recent weeks, Sri Lanka, Britain, Indonesia and Myanmar have all seen measures taken against hate-speech campaigns. In some cases the companies that publish and profit from them have acted themselves; in others the government has taken direct action. In Sri Lanka, the government reacted to a burst of anti-Muslim rioting by completely shutting down Facebook, WhatsApp, and the messaging app Viber for a week on 7 March. In Britain, Facebook banned the neo-Nazi Britain First movement, which had acquired 2m likes”, after two of its leaders were jailed. The leaders’ personal pages were also removed. Why it took the company that long to act, when the hateful nature of the pages had been obvious to the whole world ever since Donald Trump retweeted one of their made-up news stories in 2017, is difficult to explain.

Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook’s F8 developer conference on 18 April 2017

 Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook’s F8 developer conference on 18 April 2017. ‘The difficulties of this position cannot be resolved by the facile idea of the community values” to which Facebook appeals.’ Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty

YouTube can not only profit from disturbing content but in unintended ways rewards its creation. The algorithms that guide viewers to new choices aim always to intensify the experience, and to keep the viewer excited. This can damage society, and individuals, without being explicitly political: recent research found that the nearly 9,000 YouTube videos explaining away American school shootings as the results of conspiracies using actors to play the part of victims had been watched, in total, more than 4bn times. Four billion page views is an awful lot of potential advertising revenue; it is also, in an embarrassingly literal sense, traffic in human misery and exploitation.

None of these problems is new, and all of them will grow worse and more pressing in the coming years, as the technology advances. Yet the real difficulty is not the slickness of the technology but the willingness of the audience to be deceived and its desire to have its prejudices gratified. Many of the most destructive videos on YouTube consist of one man ranting into a camera without any visual aids at all. Twitter uses no fancy technology yet lies spread across that network six times as fast as true stories.

Although Twitter and YouTube pose undoubted difficulties for democracies, and even for some dictatorships, it is Facebook that has borne the brunt of recent criticism, in part because its global ambitions have led it to expand into countries where it is essentially the only gateway to the wider internet. Facebook’s dominance is especially marked in Myanmar, where the UN has blamed it for a role in inciting the genocidal violence against the Rohingya. The company’s ambitions to become the carrier of all content (and thus able to sell advertising against everything online) have led it inexorably into the position of being the universal publisher.

The difficulties of this position cannot be resolved by the facile idea of the community values” to which Facebook appeals – and, anyway, that only begs the question: Which community?” Mark Zuckerberg talks about a global community” but such a thing does not exist and may never do so. Communities have different values and different interests, which sometimes appear existentially opposed. Almost all will define themselves, at least in part, against other communities. The task of reconciling the resulting conflicts is political, cultural and even religious; it is not technological at all. For a private American advertising company to set itself up as the arbiter of all the world’s political and cultural conflicts is an entirely vain ambition.

Into the vacuum left by Facebook’s waffle, nation states are stepping. Many are despotisms, keen to use surveillance capitalism for direct political ends. They must be resisted. The standards by which the internet is controlled need to be open and subject to the workings of impartial judiciaries. But the task cannot and will not be left to the advertising companies that at present control most of the content – and whose own judgments are themselves almost wholly opaque and arbitrary.


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