The Pettah Mafia, Mannar Mafia & the Indian Ocean’s Mahamolakaru
Posted on April 28th, 2024

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The Pettah Mafia, Mannar Mafia & the Indian Ocean’s Mahamolakaru

e-Con e-News 21-27 April 2024

‘The country is aware of several mafiosi like the Diesel Mafia, Rice-Mill Mafia & Drug Mafia which are a curse on the country but it is very rare that people refer to the Pettah Mafia, which is the mother of all mafiosi,’ writes the perceptive Vichara (see ee Focus)  

     Vichara cites the curious example of how the July 1983 pogroms carefully avoided burning down the Indian-Tamil-dominated Pitakotuva (aka Pettah, Outer Fort), and its glistening street of gold, Sea Street, even as the Kotuva (Fort) was set ablaze. Other ee informants assert they saw ‘Indian Tamils’ massacre Sri Lankan Tamils in July 1983. So is July 1983, ‘black’ as all the ‘free’ media refers to it as, or does it remain ‘White’? We therefore rephrase Shakespeare’s Hamlet & say, ‘There are more things in Heaven & Earth, dear capitalist media, than are whipped up in your editorial rooms.’

     ee wrote to Vichara, asking him about this mafia – if the gold business links to their extralegal transfers of wealth to India (as evident in sporadic arrests of petty gold smugglers reported)? We wondered if misinvoicing is fundamental to the legal practices of multinational corporations (MNCs) like Unilever & Exxon, who are the real mothers & fathers of it all. And on a more whimsical note, ee asked if Sri Lanka should deport all these merchants to Kacchativu, where they can set up shop, while we take the back the Pettah & the rest of the ocean? 

     Vichara wrote back, that it is not only the gold business, but the whole of the Pettah Trade is suspected of illegal transfers. Though, yes, it is the MNCs who have made a fine legal art of this crime. S/he added that Pettah has had powerful political patronage, which would make it difficult to control the Pettah Merchants, who are an ingenious lot. One way to reduce their power is to strengthen the Ceylon Wholesale Establishment (CWE) and take over the wholesale business. Vichara also says they forgot to mention the Saree Monopoly of the Pettah mafiosi. Of course, the CWE is being gradually taken over by Unilever ­– Fair and Ugly in deed!

     The capitalist media focused on the Indian claim to tiny Kachchativu island, while India was at the UN’s International Seabed Authority (ISA) planning to grab even vaster mineral riches in those parts of the ocean (coincidentally called Indian) already claimed by Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, Serendive Energy, which the media says is ‘linked to a large Indian conglomerate’ (tho you can bet it’s the Rockefeller’s Exxon USA quaterbacking it all!) has got a court order restraining companies (unnamed by the media!) from granting to any 3rd party the rights to offshore exploration of over 5,000 with potential oil & gas resources in the Mannar Basin. ee has long been told that these wars of terror Sri Lanka has been subjected to, that all such bloody roads lead to the mahamolakaru (the great brains) of the Mannar Mafia. Welcome, then Rockefeller’s Exxon, the mom & pop of all mafioso, including the NGO Mafioso (note all the graphic blocks already blocked off on Sri Lanka’s map, in this week’s ee poster!).


• The US City of Baltimore has been careful to not include Danish Maersk (linked to the US military) in their recent lawsuit against the owners & managers of the ship MV Dali that crashed the Baltimore bridge. Maersk ‘does not appear to be implicated in the case, and is likely to escape liability thanks to the particulars of its charter agreements’! What these ‘charter agreements’ are, the media dare not divulge. 

     Instead, a US FBI criminal investigation is still holding hostage the ship’s ‘Hindu’ crew (with no protests from India! Hey Ram!), while the city of Baltimore is suing the ship manager Synergy Group & shipowner Grace Ocean, both based in Singapore. They allege MV Dali, taller than the Eiffel Tower, left the port in an ‘unseaworthy condition & with an untrained crew’. All the way to Sri Lanka… and …now, guess what, they say the Dali was going to China!

     The US military is meanwhile removing the 4,700 containers (most supposedly ‘empty’) under cover of a no-drone zone. The US government is also trying to craft a bedtime story to explain why the ship (having first gone to New York & US Navy’s Norfolk port) was coming to Colombo. While most media say the ship was on its way to Colombo, a recent New York Times report now says it was going on to Yantian, Shenzhen, in China. The ship carried many ‘empty’ containers, plus those 764 tons of hazardous materials. Environmentalists fear they could have leaked into the River Patapsco (from Algonquian pota-psk-ut, meaning ‘backwater’ or ‘tide covered with froth’). Froth in deed! These hazardous materials included corrosive & flammable liquids & lithium-ion batteries – at least 14 of the 56 containers onboard were reported as damaged. Lithium-ion batteries contain toxic cobalt, which causes cancer in people & animals following exposure through food or water.


‘One of the economic principles is that growth rate and interest rates 

must be roughly equal. If the profit rate is significantly higher 

than the growth rate, there will be significant inequality. 

Thus, the proposals of the bondholders and the government 

is a violation of basic economic principles…

What the Chinese ask is, why aren’t the multilateral agencies 

taking a haircut for the loans they have given?’

– Dhanusha Gihan Pathirana, see ee Focus

• The IMF has been demanding a law to seize the proceeds of crime, and wants Sri Lanka to enact such legislation before it releases its 3rdtranche of US$337million. Yet, it is the IMF who should be charged with criminality. And, what’s happened to the proceeds from colonialism & imperialism? – isn’t colonial and debt bondage the greatest crime, the greatest corruption? No colonialists & imperialists have been arrested, jailed or hanged over these 75 years and more, of so-called independence. Instead, they’ve been mollycoddled as ‘nominated’ unelected MPs, allowed to remove their capital to London, retain their shares in major companies (which now dominate the so-called private sector) and return to tell us we owe them, and then give us regular lectures & sermons on human rights!

Sri Lanka being Fleeced through Debt Restructuring

     As this ee Focus notes, imperialism’s economics require a ‘persistent & long-term net appropriation of surplus value by the high-technology advanced capitalist countries transferred from the low-technology dominated countries’, and this is all legal of course.  They identify, ‘4 channels by which surplus value flows to the imperialist countries: currency seigniorage (profits made by the USA by printing dollars); income flows from capital investmentsunequal exchange (UE) through trade; and changes in exchange rates.’ So why do our so-called Marxists & Trade-Unionists harp on about corruption & ‘illegal’ transfers? It’s all legal!! And yet it is not just a matter of capital and brain drains:

     Yet ee has our very own and different definition of imperialism, as taught by our muse SBD de Silvaee prioritizes the prevention of modern industrialization (machine-making, our engineers make no engines!); The undermining of a class dedicated to capitalist accumulation: No investment in machine industrialization. The stealing of skilled workers & the deskilling of artisans. The prevention of modern vocational and technical education, especially through on-the-job training in machine-industrialization, and the wholesalediversion of education into non-technical pursuits and conceits, etc.


     Meanwhile as May Day approaches, we also note that the biggest capitalist organizations in the USA have gone to court (in Texas!) to overturn a US federal law which prevents the imposition of ‘non-compete clauses’ – ‘worker handcuffs’! In the labor market, such agreements prevent workers from freely moving across employers, and weakens the bargaining leverage of workers (see ee Quotes and ee Workers).

     Our brainy scholars and half-brights with foreign degrees meanwhile demand piecemeal reforms to control capitalist banks, and a runaway Central Bank and other hijacked government institutions, etc. Rather than seeing that loan-sharking and rent-gouging and overpricing arise from the wage relation at the core of capitalism (see ee Ecoonomists, Engels), they refuse to demand that workers and peasants take over and rule the country through a different set of human relations, getting ready to take over as the world (the US just poured $95 billion this week into waging wars on Russia, Palestine & China) is being hurtled into a 3rd World War (even as our world in Sri Lanka has always been at war, declared and undeclared)



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