MISC

Jan 122015
 

758565470fon5 (Adaderana ) Leader of the Democratic Party (DP) Sarath Fonseka says that former LTTE leaders such as Kumaran Pathmanathan and Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan would have to face legal action as they were once “hardcore terrorist” and that a probe will be launched into the whereabouts of seized LTTE assets.

The former international arms procurer of the Tamil Tigers, Kumaran Pathmanathan or ‘KP’ has been operating an orphanage for children affected by the war in Kilinochchi under the custody of the army personnel. Muralitharan, commonly known as Karuna Amman, was a deputy minister in the former UPFA government.

In an interview with Times Of India, the former Army Chief, who is tipped to be appointed as Defence Minister, said that KP and Karuna have to face legal action. “They were hardcore terrorists.”

Asked about the assets of LTTE which were seized by the government, Fonseka stated KP had the large part of the money and gold and claimed that was the reason why he has been “spared” by the Rajapaksa government.

“Tons and tons of gold have been taken by Rajapaksa family through KP. There will be an inquiry in this regard,” he said.

Asked about his responsibility under the new government of President Maithripala Sirisena, the ex-Commander of the Sri Lanka Army said that he would play a major role in the security aspect.

“I like to work with the President on the national security. Though I am not a parliamentarian right now I am expecting a political post,” he said.

Fonseka further said that he is prepared to face any legitimate inquiry into allegations of human rights during the final stages of the war.

“If there is a legitimate inquiry then I am ready to face it since I was doing the ground operations. Rajapaksa was trying to get political mileage by saying I will not allow war heroes to face inquiry and all that. He made many nonsensical statements like this. But he knew only little about the war and what happened in the war field.”

Asked about his views on calls for the demilitarization of the Northern region, Fonseka said: “We have to maintain the army there. Not only for internal security, but also in the view of security threat externally.”

He stated that the military has been positioned across all parts of the country and that “if people in North say you can’t keep the military in their area then people in South will repeat the same.”

On recent reports of Pakistan’s ISI carrying out operations against India from Colombo through their diplomats, he said the new regime will never allow the spy agency ISI to use Lankan soil to mount attacks on southern India.

“If it is happening we can’t allow any such kind of terror activities in a country which is a sovereign nation. We will not permit any kind of terror activities.”

Following are excerpts of the interview:

Q: How do you see the election results?

Fonseka: Rajapaksa was politicizing the military, judiciary, police, government administration and everything. There was never good governance at all. His family members were largely involved in the administration. Corruption was very high. All cross sections of people in the country thought he should be sent away from the government. So people have thrown him out from power.

Q: What will be your role in the new government? What kind of responsibility do you expect?

Fonseka: I will play a major role in the security aspect. I like to work with the President on the national security. Though I am not a parliamentarian right now I am expecting a political post. (Indicating defense ministry)

Q: Rajapaksa was looking as an unbeatable leader. When did the opposition started believing he couldn’t be defeated?

Fonseka: When I came out the prison in 2012, I made a public statement that we will chase him before 2015. The main opposition parties decided to join together and fight against Rajapaksa. Senior leaders like Chandrika Kumaratuge, Ranil Wikramasinge and I expressed desire for a stronger opposition and Maithripala Sirisena left Rajapaksa. We strongly believed the united opposition can defeat him. The support of Tamil National Alliance and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress was crucial. The minorities played a very important role.

Q: There have been reports that the international community helped the formation of united opposition against Rajapaksa. Is that so?

Fonseka: Nobody from the international community gave me directions or encouraged me. We did it on our own. If international community really wanted to end Rajapaksa’s government then they would have done it even before since this man antagonized many countries. He was only friendly with China and ignored the rest of the world. His relationships with other countries were not correct. His foreign policy was not correct. There were no human rights in the country during his regime.

Q: You are talking about human rights. But many international organizations including UN want internal probe on war crimes in Sri Lanka. Will the new government cooperate for the probe?

Fonseka: We have not signed any agreement with any country for any probe. If there are any allegations of human rights violations or war crimes then the rest of the international community will be interested to probe. We can’t accommodate everyone. We can’t permit everyone. But our military court would conduct inquiries. Whenever there was mass killing our military did inquire into it. The government can take action against the military.

Q: But there were thousands of innocent people killed during the war. When forums like the UN demanded a probe why were you hesitating to face it if there were no violations?

Fonseka: If there is a legitimate inquiry then as a member of the country we have to face it. As far as the military is concerned I have to face it. If there is a legitimate inquiry then I am ready to face it since I was doing the ground operations. Rajapaksa was trying to get political mileage by saying I will not allow war heroes to face inquiry and all that. He made many nonsensical statements like this. But he knew only little about the war and what happened in the war field.

Q: Rajapaksa has been projected that he has decimated LTTE and ended the decades long war…

Fonseka: He gave only orders as a President which is what the previous Presidents did. But operations were not successful. He doesn’t know tactical and strategical operations. Every President wanted to finish the war. But in the 2005 election manifesto, Rajapaksa said he will have peace talks with Prabhakaran. When the army was chasing the LTTE, he didn’t even know what was happening on the ground in 2007. He did not even allocate money for ammunitions. I was recruiting additional 85,000 army men. When I became commander I recruited 4,000 men in a month. Earlier only 3,000 people joined the army for a year. I planned the entire operation and I was communicating with all levels of army persons.

Q: Still a section of leaders in India have been claiming that Prabhakaran is alive. What is the fact?

Fonseka: Everybody saw the dead body. We found the bodies of Prabhakaran and his elder son Charles Antony. We never found bodies of his wife Mathivathani and daughter. I saw one of the interviews of Kumaran Padmanathan who had said both of them were front liners in the war. We believe they were in the war field. Prabhakaran’s wife helped the militants with logistics support and his daughter was a female cadre of LTTE. Nobody would have escaped from the war field.

Q: What happened to his younger son Balachandran? He was a child. Why did the army killed him?

Fonseka: We don’t know. We never captured him alive. I have seen the pictures of his body only through media. If the army had killed him, I would have been informed.

Q: According to you, the army killed only Prabhakaran and his elder son?

Fonseka: We only found their bodies after the war was over.

Q: what will happen to LTTE leaders Kumaran Padmanathan and Karuna who later joined with Rajapaksa?

Fonseka: They have to face the legal action. They were hardcore terrorists.

Q: What happened to the seized assets of LTTE?

Fonseka: Kumaran Padmanathan (KP) has the large part of the money and gold. That is why he has been spared by the Rajapaksa government. Tons and tons of gold have been taken by Rajapaksa family through KP. There will be an inquiry in this regard.

Q: There has been a demand in the Tamils dominant North province for demilitarization? What is your view?

Fonseka: We have to maintain the army there. Not only for internal security, but also in the view of security threat externally.

Q: Do you think there may be a resurgence of the militant group in Sri Lanka?

Fonseka: As long as we are in power, we would not allow it to happen.

Q: Then what is the need for keeping larger number of military in Northern Province?

Fonseka: The military has far been positioned in the country. If people in North say you can’t keep the military in their area then people in South will repeat the same.

Q: What will be the foreign policy of the new government?

Fonseka: We will follow a non-aligned policy. We will not be friendly with only one country. We will maintain good relations with all.

Q: In the recent past, Pakistan’s ISI carried out anti- India operations from Colombo through their diplomats…

Fonseka: If it is happening we can’t allow any such kind of terror activities in a country which is a sovereign nation. We will not permit any kind of terror activities.

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Jun 262014
 
LTTE: Sri Lanka’s Scapegoat for its Own Terror

144659836_v2.jpg (FP) The theory that Sri Lanka is a recruiting ground for Islamic militants targeting India has gained traction again with the recent arrests of two Sri Lankans in India and Malaysia in connection with an alleged plot to attack U.S. and Israeli consulates in southern India. But this situation has another fallout: it upsets the Sri Lankan government’s playbook that the sole perpetrator of international crime on Sri Lankan soil today is the remnant of the Tamil rebel group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Colombo’s most recent version of this narrative is the claim that the LTTE is regrouping in Sri Lanka with the aid of the Tamil diaspora to resume terrorist activity on the island. To this end, the government recently arrested activists, killed others claiming they were LTTE members, and then banned 16 organizations and 424 individuals active in the Tamil diaspora, citing UN resolution 1373 that prohibits international financing of terrorism.

One reason the Sri Lankan government is raising the revival of the LTTE as an armed anti-state force receiving international assistance is simple: it feeds into the international counterterrorism narrative. Allowing Sri Lanka to play victim of such terrorism absolves itself of its own inaction if not outright compliance with exporting terrorism.

Armed combat in Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil war came to an end in May 2009 with military defeat of the LTTE. Still unresolved however are the deep-seated political roots of conflict between the Sinhalese and Tamils, into which the Muslims too were drawn. In the years since 2009, Tamil resistance has assumed a different form: a non-violent struggle within Sri Lanka that also draws on the increasing activism of the Tamil diaspora.

As the Tamil diaspora continued to highlight the violence and abuse faced by Tamils in Sri Lanka, Colombo realized it needed a new brand of counterterrorism narrative. Urgency set in as the international community began to call for an international investigation into allegations of war crimes perpetrated by the Sri Lankan military and LTTE rebels in the final months of the war.

During Sri Lanka’s civil war, Malaysia was used by the LTTE for arms procurement, intelligence gathering and trade. Ties between Malaysia and Sri Lanka in cracking down on the LTTE go back a long time. To highlight an example, this collaboration led to Selvarasa Pathmanathan (KP), the arms procurer for the LTTE, who was captured in a sting operation in August 2009 by the Malaysian police and then extradited to Sri Lanka.

After 2009, Kuala Lumpur realized a crackdown on Tamil refugees was needed for several reasons. One was the active native Indian population in Malaysia (which has a sizable and vocal Tamil component), which was becoming increasingly assertive and demanding better treatment in the Malay-dominated country. Others were the rise of Professor P. Ramasamy, a Malaysian Tamil, as deputy chief minister of the country’s Penang State, and growing Tamil refugee problems in the country. Kuala Lumpur began to see the benefit of Sri Lanka’s new counterterrorism policies.

On May 15, Malaysia announced it had arrested three Tamils designated as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kuala Lumpur and claimed they were members of the LTTE. Their evidence: they had LTTE propaganda materials on them. The refugees were promptly deported to Sri Lanka without so much as an inquiry.

Both Human Rights Watch (HRW) and UNHCR castigated the Malaysian government for agreeing to the deportation. “Malaysia seemed more interested in burnishing its ties with Sri Lanka than honouring its obligation to protect refugees from possible persecution and torture,” said Phil Robertson, HRW’s Asia deputy director.

Despite Sri Lanka’s obsession with the LTTE as the sole perpetrator of international crime on Sri Lankan soil in the past five years, instances have emerged where Sri Lanka has been identified as a hub for international crime in Asia. One example is human trafficking. With violence by the Sri Lanka military against Tamils still an issue, large numbers of them pay money to be transported by ship to safe havens – mostly in East Asia, but also in Australia and Canada. When Australia cracked down on would-be Tamil asylum seekers reaching its shores, the Sri Lanka government was quick to denounce the LTTE of organizing these activities. Sri Lanka conveniently forgot to mention the involvement of persons connected with the government in the racket.

In November of last year, the Australian media reported that Sri Lankan navy personnel were arrested for human trafficking. The report said a key player was Sri Lankan Navy’s Lieutenant Commander Sanjeeva Annatugoda. This was preceded by a more explosive report in the Australian media in January 2013 when The Australian reported without revealing names that someone “high profile and… known to be close to President Mahinda Rajapaksa” was involved in the smuggling ring. The Australian government later denied the report.

Another international crime facing Sri Lanka is its alleged role as the recruiting ground for Islamic militants targeting India. Not only have Sakir Hussain and Mohammad Hossaini, the two Sri Lankans arrested, admitted they were recruited in Sri Lanka but that it was done by an ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence agency) operative working in Pakistan’s embassy in Colombo. In September 2012, the Tamil Nadu police arrested an Indian national, Dameem Anzari, for gathering sensitive data on Indian defense installations. His ‘handler,’ Ameer Subbiah Siddique, described as in charge of ISI’s Tamil Nadu unit, was working out of Pakistan’s mission in Colombo.

“The apparent strategy being followed by… ISI was to rope in Muslims from Sri Lanka for executing their plans to give credibility to the deniability factor that it was not involved in any way,” said an India NDTV report on Hussein’s arrest.

As much as Sri Lanka has concealed its involvement in trafficking, the government tries to dismiss the rise of radical Islam in Sri Lanka. Beginning in the 1990s, it was fuelled by ultra-conservative Wahabism and allegedly financed by Saudi Arabia. The Sri Lanka military used radicalized Muslims who were formed into a paramilitary force known as ‘home guards’ to terrorize Tamil villages and gather intelligence in its counterinsurgency strategy against Tamil rebels. The radicalization continues in the east of Sri Lanka and provides the environment in which the ISI has allegedly recruited its operatives.

It is worth noting that while the Sri Lankan government has allowed radical Islam in the East, the government also supports Buddhist nationalists who incite riots against Muslims is southern Sri Lanka. Radical Islamic elements help to contain both Tamil nationalism and a powerful neighbour, India. Buddhist nationalists inciting violence against Muslims as they did on June 15 allows for the government to divide and rule.

In light of these trends, evidence is mounting that Sri Lanka is becoming a hub for international crime: human trafficking and personnel recruitment for carrying out attacks in neighbouring countries. Ironically, these activities appear to be happening in areas where the writ of the government runs and with the awareness of the political and military elite.

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Jun 242014
 
Sri Lanka’s anti-Muslim riots signal deeper malaise

(IRIN) – Sri Lanka’s government should take action to prosecute acts of communal violence and promote peace, say observers, following the worst clashes in five years that left at least two dead and over 80 injured.

On 15 June clashes between Muslim community members and hardline Buddhist groups broke out in Dharga Town, a Muslim-majority town in the southern Kalutara District, about 60km from the capital Colombo.

“There is a real risk of violence spreading elsewhere unless the government acts immediately,” David Griffiths, Asia-Pacific deputy director at Amnesty International, told IRIN.

Photo: Contributor/IRIN “This is an issue that has been brewing for some time and that should have been addressed long ago,” he said, pointing to a history of tension in the lead-up to the 15 June violence, which saw two days of riots by the hardline Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena (“Buddhist Force” – BBS) following a rally in the town of Aluthgama, 5km from Dharga Town.

Ajith Rohana, a police spokesperson, said 50 people had been arrested on suspicion of taking part in the riots. “We are conducting investigations into what took place and who was responsible,” he said.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay condemned the violence on 16 June, adding: “I am very concerned this violence could spread to Muslim communities in other parts of the country… The authorities must immediately bring the perpetrators of such attacks to book and make it clear… that there is no place for inflammatory rhetoric and incitement to violence.”

According to Mohideen Iqbal, a resident of Dharga Town who witnessed the initial clashes before fleeing, “most of the town’s Muslims were at the mosque when the [BBS] convoy passed through, and there was a lot of tension in the area.”

Sri Lanka’s President Rajapaksa on 18 June met religious and community leaders in the area, and promised an impartial inquiry into the incident and government assistance to rebuild damaged property. Police have subsequently banned all forms of religious rallies.

However, analysts say, in order to prevent further violence, the government’s response will need to go beyond repairing property and relations after this specific event.

“The government must show minorities, including the Muslims, that they are part of this country, that they have the same rights like anyone else,” argued Jehan Perera, who heads the national advocacy body the National Peace Council (NPC).

Over 250,000 displaced Muslims

Sri Lanka is home to about two million Muslims, a large number of whom live in the east and northwest of the country – areas which were beset by violence during the 26-year-long civil war that ended in May 2009.

Some 75,000 Muslims were forced to flee northern Jaffna District in 1990 after being threatened by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. With the displaced Muslim population now numbering over 250,000 and no resettlement plan, leaders have criticized the government for its lack of attention.

“There have been instances of deliberate targeting of Muslim-owned business premises in the past,” said Hilmy Ahmed, spokesperson for Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, pointing to incidents such as the 13 May 2013 attack on a Muslim-owned clothing store just outside Colombo, and the alleged arson at a Muslim-owned clothing store on 21 June 2014. Both incidents are under investigation.

After the 11 April BBS disruption of a Muslim press conference in Colombo, leaders were concerned about the potential for violence around the BBS rally.

Muslim leaders, including Faiszer Musthapha, deputy minister of investment promotion, wrote to the Ministry of Law and Order before the rally warning that tension was high in the Aluthgama area and seeking more security.

In a second letter sent by a collective of Muslim groups to the inspector-general of police on 14 June, leaders said: “We call upon you to take immediate and decisive action to safeguard the lives and property of Muslims in Aluthgama and surrounding areas.”

Government inaction criticized

NPC’s Perera argued that for violence to break out even after such clear warnings demonstrated the government was not taking the issue seriously.

“It shows a breakdown in law and order. Now it is time to show the victims and the rest of the country that the government is willing to take hard, uncomfortable decisions,” he said.

Amnesty’s Griffiths said preventing the spread of violence required the government to match its words with action.

“Sri Lanka has a long track record of setting up supposedly independent investigations into human rights violations at politically opportune times, but most have accomplished very little,” he said. According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sri Lanka’s government has promised to amend and enhance existing laws with regard to hate speech, but has not yet acted on the promise.

Iqbal, who returned to Dharga Town on 17 June, found his home partly damaged – windows broken and the house partially burned. He told IRIN that while the immediate need was financial assistance to recoup the damages, there was fear within the community.

“How things happened, when police or army or someone in authority could have stopped them taking place, has created a lot fear among us. We feel like we can’t trust anyone,” he said.

“If those responsible are not held to account, the impunity will only feed the cycle of violence,” Griffiths said.

contributor/kk/cb

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May 162014
 
The new government’s foreign policy must not be ad hoc – Hindustan Times
Home » News

[MISC, Friday, 16 May 2014 07:31 No Comment]

9cce62cc-deb9-4054-a34d-c7614feb24beMediumRes Among the many challenges that the new government will face, one will definitely be foreign policy. The world is going through testing times: The US is due to pull its troops out of Afghanistan, Russia’s economic clout is receding, West Asia is in turmoil, and the world economy is still in the doldrums. India’s new foreign policy will have to factor in all these and much more before the government comes up with a viable blueprint.

More than the West, the next government’s policy trajectory towards the neighbourhood will be crucial. Under the UPA, India made some positive moves towards increasing trade and interactions with China. The new government must carry this forward. With Pakistan’s General Raheel Sharif saying that India is the country’s ‘jugular vein’, and various terror groups threatening to attack India, New Delhi will have to keep its expectations of peace at realistic levels. The recent arrest of an alleged Inter-Services Intelligence agent in Tamil Nadu, who has named an official of the Pakistan high commission in Colombo, is another indication that Islamabad will not give up its destablising game. On the contrary, it is now trying to exploit India’s vast coastline. With Sri Lanka, India needs to discuss issues like the arrests of fishermen from Tamil Nadu and the democratic rights of the Lankan Tamils. New Delhi should also allay fears about the Sethusamudram shipping canal project. The next government should not take Bhutan for granted and do more to bring stability to Nepal. India should also give more of an economic thrust to its ties with Myanmar, Maldives and Vietnam.

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Apr 022014
 
Foreign Secretary William Hague has updated parliament on the UNHRC resolution – gov.uk
Home » News

[MISC, Wednesday, 2 April 2014 08:02 No Comment]

Foreign Secretary William Hague:

Further to my written Ministerial statement of 18 March [40WS], the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a resolution on Sri Lanka on 27 March. This resolution calls for an international investigation into allegations of violations and abuses of international law on both sides during the civil war, and for progress on reconciliation, human rights and a political settlement. The British Government is pleased with this outcome and strongly believes that it was the right decision.

My right Honourable friend the Prime Minister committed the UK to calling for an international investigation following his visit to Sri Lanka last year where he witnessed the situation on the ground first hand. The UK was an important co-sponsor of the resolution, alongside the US, Montenegro, Macedonia and Mauritius.

The passing of this resolution sends an important and strong message to the Sri Lankan government – that they must address the grievances of the recent past in order to help secure lasting peace and reconciliation, and a prosperous future for all the people of Sri Lanka. The resolution represents a significant step forward in ensuring the truth is established for the Sri Lankan people.

By voting in favour of this resolution, the international community has shown that it has listened to the many independent voices, including the High Commissioner for Human Rights herself and domestic support in Sri Lanka, calling for an international investigation and helped the UN HRC to establish a strong and unambiguous resolution. The United Kingdom will continue to work with the UN HRC and our international partners to ensure proper implementation of this resolution. We encourage the Sri Lankan government fully to co-operate with the resolution, and to work alongside the international community for the benefit of its people.

It is important also to recognise that Sri Lanka is an extraordinary country with enormous potential and the end of the conflict presents an opportunity for it to become a strong and prosperous nation. This resolution will help to address the legitimate concerns of all communities. It presents an opportunity to tackle the root causes of conflict, continued human rights concerns and set Sri Lanka on the right path for reconciliation. We hope that the Sri Lankan government will embrace that opportunity.

[DIVIDER]

Sri Lanka: UN Human Rights Council – Written statements to Parliament – GOV.UK

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Jan 082014
 
How Mahinda’s one-time foe Israel became his friend ?

(Sri Lanka Guardian) Mahinda Rajapaksa made his parliamentary debut in 1970, having been successful in that year’s General Election. From then till 2005, when he became President and Head of State, he had hardly uttered a word about the country’s foreign policy, in any forum. Even on rare occasions when he did, he spoke against Israel, while promoting the cause of Palestine and its people. Mahinda’s first parliamentary speech was proposing the vote of thanks for the Throne Speech of the 1970 United Front (UF) Government. In that speech, Mahinda thanked the government for its bold decision to sever diplomatic relations with Israel.

Newly_appointedPresident Rajapaksa with the Sri Lankan ambassodor in Israel Mr. Sarath Wijesinghe

Following is an extract from his speech on that occasion: “The establishment of diplomatic relations with German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the Provincial Revolutionary Government of Vietnam, and also abrogation of diplomatic ties with Israel are encouraging signs that the government is committed to a non-aligned foreign policy, which is the aspiration of the people.”

More importantly, when the Palestine Friendship Association was established 1975 Mahinda became its first President. In this capacity, Mahinda worked assiduously to raise awareness about the Palestinian problem among the people of this country and mobilize support and sympathy for their cause.

When he returned to Parliament in 1989, once again he took up the mantle of championing the cause of Palestine as and when it arose in the House. The then government under Ranasinghe Premadasa had closed down the Israel interest section in this country; yet, it was secretly buying weapons from that country. Mahinda was highly critical of the duplicity of the government. Following extract from a speech he made in Parliament on 22-04-1993 is ample proof of his antipathy over prevailing state of affairs in the country.

Hoodwinking the Muslims

“Ostensibly, to please Palestinians and Muslims, the government has closed the Israel Embassy in this country. But, it is only an eye-wash. The government is buying weapons from Israel through an Israeli agent. For instance, ‘night vision’ binoculars are supplied to the Security Forces by an Israeli supplier. Strangely, the LTTE also buys these night vision binoculars from the same Israeli agent. Plainly, the government is misleading the Muslims of this country. This is because hefty commissions change hands when it comes to buying weapons from Israel. This calls for a thorough investigation.”

When Chandrika came to power in 1994, she wanted to reopen the Israel interest section, which had been closed earlier. But, Mahinda opposed it. With the support of the Muslim Members of Parliament he launched a strong protest against the government move to re-open the Israel interest section. As part of the protest launched by them, a group of MPs led by Mahinda issued a media statement quoted below.

“We, the undersigned Members of Parliament, whose signatures appear below, appraise the government of the under-mentioned factors. Eleven years ago, on 6 June 1984, former President J.R. Jayewardene, allegedly because no other country was willing to help Sri Lanka to contain the Eelam War, which was then essentially in its first phase, permitted the opening of the Israeli Interest Sections in Colombo with the objective of helping Sri Lanka to crush the LTTE.

“Even after six years of active Israeli involvement in Sri Lanka, the Israeli military help, advice or involvement did not succeed in containing the LTTE. The Israelis could not succeed in taking the war anywhere towards a Sri Lankan Government victory, whereas even after six years of Israeli involvement the war slipped in favour of the LTTE, and reached Eelam War II.”

The Israeli help in Sri Lanka had not been a success is a fact admitted even by the Israelis themselves, as evidenced in the book The Israeli Connection – Whom Israel Arms and Why, written by Benjamin Beit Hallahmi, a Jewish lecturer in the University of Haifa, Israel. After six years of Israeli failure, it was the UNP administration itself, which terminated diplomatic relations with Israel on 20 April 1990.

Sirima Bandaranaike, in a statement published in the Sri Lankan papers on 6 October 1991 and which received worldwide publicity particularly in the Middle Eastern countries stated inter alia:

“When the SLFP came to power in 1970, one of the first steps we took was to close down the Israeli Embassy and send its staff out of the country.”

During a press interview in Hong Kong, reported in the papers of 1 June 1984, President Jayewardene admitted that the Israeli Secret Service Organization, Mossad, was helping the government to put down terrorists. The so-called ‘Israeli Interests Section’ was only a false forum for the notorious Zionist terror organization, Mossad, which has been responsible for the torture, mutilation and massacre of untold numbers of Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza strip.

Arming the Tigers

The Island on 26 September (1991) carried an account of a recent interview with the ex-Mossad officer, Victor Ostrovsky, in which he has categorically stated that Israel provided a variety of equipment to the Tigers, giving a list of highly sophisticated weapons. He points out that the deadly use of landmines, which has killed and continues to kill our own soldiers in large numbers everyday is the handiwork of the Israelis.

Israeli supply of arms to the LTTE has been confirmed by the Australian Federal Police in a report published in February 1992 in the Telegraph Mirror of Sydney, which reported the Australian Federal Police cracking a massive airline ticketing fraud involving some businessman in Sydney. According to this report, secret meetings had taken place in Israel with arms dealers, for the purchase of weapons which had been sent to Tamil guerrillas in Sir Lanka, according to the investigations. A former Observer Journalist, Muditha Dias, had filed a report from Sydney which was published in the Observer of 16 February 1992, under the title ‘Australian Police confirm Israeli supply of arms to LTTE,’ according to which some of the Sydney based businessmen had visited Israel thrice in 1991 to arrange shipments of arms to the LTTE.

According to Mervyn de Silva, a reputed Sri Lanka journalist, considered an authority on Middle-Eastern affairs, it is dangerously foolish to assume that Israeli national interests coincided with Sri Lanka’s national interest and some particularly with Sinhala interest. According to Mervyn de Silva, “There are over 600 so called ‘private’ but actually State supported export-oriented companies in Israel. The sale of arms and expertise is money spinning export industry in Israel. That industry thrives on conflict, the proliferation of conflict, not its resolution.


Proliferation of conflict

“In our view, even after six years of active Israeli involvement in Sri Lanka’s struggle against the LTTE, the Israelis failed to contain the LTTE, because Israel never wanted to. Israel’s objective was proliferation of conflict and the upkeep of its armament export industry, in which Israel succeeded. It must be obvious to any patriotic Sri Lankan that the national priorities of a country exporting arms such as Israel are obviously the cause of this country’s curse and such priorities are obviously in conflict with the national priorities of Sri Lanka.

“In today’s context, we understand that there are a large number of countries willing to help Sri Lanka. Whilst Sri Lanka may obtain arms from any source supplying them at the most competitive price, we wish to convey our strong opposition to Sri Lanka reopening diplomatic relations with Israel, as such moves are inconsistent with the national interest of Sri Lanka.”

When Mahinda became President, his Foreign Minister was Mangala Samaraweera. He represented the country at the 2006 UN General Assembly Sessions. When a resolution was moved calling for support for the Palestine cause, he walked out without voting, which irked Mahinda considerably. It was common knowledge at that time that Mangala’s sacking from the Cabinet was mainly due to his action at the UN and for not voting in favour of Palestine.

Mahinda, who was an erstwhile opponent of Israel, has all of a sudden done a volte-face. Now he has gone to Israel for a State visit, creating a first in the process; that of being the first-ever Sri Lankan Head of State to visit that country. Though belated by nearly five years, he may have been motivated by a sense of gratitude for the help given by Israel to our war effort and had decided to offer his thanks personally. One may not be far off the mark, if one were to surmise that Mahinda’s latest manoeuvre is to influence any US involvement in a possible adverse UNHRC resolution at Geneva in March 2014, with Israel’s backing.

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Oct 142013
 
Canada shames Australia on CHOGM boycott

Zambia Protest against Sri Lanka GenocideCanada’s conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has put Australia to shame by confirming that his country will boycott next month’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka over human rights concerns.

Canada has criticised the Commonwealth for ‘accommodating evil’ by allowing Sri Lanka to host the event, while Tony Abbott has said simply that ‘different countries have different national priorities’.

After returning from a visit to Sri Lanka in August, UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay expressed grave concern about the lack of accountability, unresolved enforced disappearances, and decreasing fundamental freedoms.

This prompted Human Rights Watch to urge Commonwealth heads to boycott CHOGM, with Asia director Brad Adams declaring Sri Lanka’s government should be shunned — not rewarded — for failing to hold anyone accountable for war crimes during the country’s recent conflict. ‘Attending a summit in Sri Lanka so soon after the UN rights chief decried a worsening situation sends the wrong message to the government and to victims.’

Abbott made it clear that Australia has no intention of following the lead of his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper. ‘Look, I explained to him that I think the Commonwealth is important and that’s why I’ll be there. Obviously, Australia has some significant bilateral dealings with Sri Lanka over people smuggling as well.’

At least the Australian Government has come clean and admitted that it is conflicted. In saying we have ‘different national priorities’ to Canada, Abbott has conceded that securing and maintaining Sri Lanka’s cooperation in our efforts to ‘stop the boats’ trumps using the leverage we have at this moment to try to persuade Sri Lanka to respect the human rights of its citizens.

As long as Sri Lanka refuses to respond to the concerns expressed by Pillay, Australian Government claims that Sri Lanka is safe enough for the return of asylum seekers from Australia will look as ridiculous as those of Iraqi information minister ‘Comical Ali’ when the fall of Saddam Hussein was imminent.

That is the impression given by Peter Arndt of the Brisbane Catholic Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission, who has just returned from a visit to Sri Lanka as part of a group of 30 Catholic justice and peace workers from across Asia and the Pacific. He said: ‘It is outrageous that Mr Abbott is prepared to ignore the suffering and fear which is rife in the north of Sri Lanka in order to keep his commitment to stop the boats.’

Arndt suggested that the systematic way in which Tamil men are being arrested and detained indefinitely ‘looks suspiciously like ethnic cleansing’. ‘I wish Mr Abbott could meet with the women I met whose husbands and sons have been detained, tortured and, in some cases, killed over the last four years. I wish he could have heard the pain in their voices and seen their tears.’

Perversely it seems Australia’s vow to push ahead with CHOGM in Colombo is largely about mateship. The Commonwealth, Abbott says, is ‘amongst our oldest international associations’.

‘There is, I suppose, familiarity amongst members of the Commonwealth which doesn’t always exist in every other forum and I think it’s important that those friends we have, we should keep. You do not make new friends by rubbishing your old friends or abandoning your old friends.’

If mateship had prevailed during the apartheid era in South Africa, the apartheid regime might still be in place.

Michael MullinsMichael Mullins is editor of Eureka Street, where this piece originally appeared.

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Oct 142013
 
Indian Prime Minister under pressure to give Sri Lanka visit a miss
Home » News

[MISC, Monday, 14 October 2013 08:35 No Comment]

69259 The pressure from major political parties in Tamil Nadu is likely to cast a shadow on the decision to be taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on participating in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka next month.

Not just chief minister Jayalalithaa or DMK chief M Karunanidhi, even local Congress leaders – including some Union ministers from Tamil Nadu – have urged the Prime Minister to exercise his options carefully lest India’s participation snowballs into a major political row in the state ahead of the 2014 polls.

Union ministers GK Vasan and V Narayanasamy, are known have to appealed to the PM to avoid participating in the CHOGM from November 15th to 17th.

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Sep 062013
 
US Stands Revealed to the World as a Collection of War Criminals and Liars

obama_and_the_rules_for_angry_black_men ( September 6, 2013, Washington DC, Sri Lanka Guardian) Does the American public have the strength of character to face the fact that the US government stands before the entire world revealed as a collection of war criminals who lie every time that they open their mouth? Will Congress and the American public buy the White House lie that they must support war criminals and liars or “America will lose face”?

The obama regime’s lies are so transparent and blatant that the cautious, diplomatic President Putin of Russia lost his patience and stated the fact that we all already know: John Kerry is a liar. Putin said: “This was very unpleasant and surprising for me. We talk to them [the Americans], and we assume they are decent people, but he [Kerry] is lying and he knows that he is lying. This is sad.”

When Secretary of State Colin Powell was sent by the criminal bush regime to lie to the UN, Powell and his chief of staff claim that Powell did not know he was lying. It did not occur to the Secretary of State that the White House would send him to the UN to start a war that killed, maimed, and dispossessed millions of Iraqis on the basis of total lies.

The despicable John Kerry knows that he is lying. Here is the American Secretary of State, and obama, the puppet president, knowingly lying to the world. There is not a shred of integrity in the US government. No respect for truth, justice, morality or human life. Here are two people so evil that they want to repeat in Syria what the bush war criminals did in Iraq.

How can the American people and their representatives in Congress tolerate these extraordinary criminals? Why are not obama and John Kerry impeached? The obama regime has every quality of Nazi Germany and Stasi Communist Germany, only that the obama regime is worse. The obama regime spies on the entire world and lies about it. The obama regime is fully engaged in killing people in seven countries, a murderous rampage that not even Hitler attempted.

Whether the criminal obama regime can purchase the collaboration of Congress and the European puppet states in a transparent war crime will soon be decided. The decision will determine the fate of the world.

As for facts, the report released to the UN by the Russian government concludes that the weapons used in chemical attacks in Syria are similar to the weapons in the hands of al-Nusra and are different from the weapons known to be possessed by Syria.

The obama regime has released no evidence to the UN. This is because the criminal regime has no evidence, only made up fairy tales.

If the obama regime had any evidence, the evidence would have been released to British Prime Minister david cameron to enable him to carry the vote of Parliament. In the absence of evidence, cameron had to admit to Parliament that he had no evidence, only a belief that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons. Parliament told Washington’s puppet that the British people were not going to war on the basis of the Prime Minister’s unsubstantiated belief.

Are the American people and the rest of the world just going to stand there, sucking their thumbs, while a new Nazi State rises in Washington?

Congress must vote down the war and make it clear to obama that if he defies

the constitutional power of Congress he will be impeached.

If the US Congress is too corrupt or incompetent to do its duty, the rest of the world must join the UN General Secretary and the President of Russia and declare that unilateral military aggression by the US government is a war crime, and that the war criminal US government will be isolated in the international community. Any of its members caught traveling abroad will be arrested and turned over to the Hague for trial.

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Aug 042013
 
Sri Lanka eyes South Asian hub with Chinese mega port

(Inquirer Business) 1A $500 million Chinese-built port opens Monday in Sri Lanka, giving Beijing a vital foothold on the world’s busiest international shipping lane as it seeks to secure maritime supply routes.

The massive terminal in Colombo is located mid-way on the lucrative east-west sea route and has facilities on a par with Singapore and Dubai.

The Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT), which is 85 percent owned by the state-run China Merchant Holdings International, is designed to handle mega ships — a first for Sri Lanka which is aiming to become the region’s shipping hub.

The involvement of such a large Chinese company appears to conform to a pattern by Beijing after it sealed a deal in January to acquire the Pakistani port of Gwadar at a time when it is also building a $14 million “dry port” in the Nepalese city of Larcha, near Tibet.

Chinese loans and expertise were also instrumental in the construction of a new $450 million deep-sea port at the southern Sri Lankan city of Hambantota which opened in June 2012.

Independent shipping expert, Rohan Masakorala, says the new terminal made economic sense for China to tap in to the growing South Asian container cargo and gave Beijing a foothold along a strategic sea route.

“Terminal investments are a good business which can give a very good return,” said Masakorala, a former secretary-general of the Singapore-based Asian Shippers Council.

“Through this investment, China is also securing the safety and efficiency of their main supply chain.”

Masakorala, who heads the Shippers’ Academy Colombo, said about half of all world sea trade passed through the east-west shipping route and a presence at a mid-way point along that gives China a commanding position.

“For China to maintain economic growth at home, they also need to go out and secure their supply routes. In that sense, coming to Colombo is a strategic commercial investment.”

The Chinese investment in Sri Lanka, which is under pressure from Western powers and India over its human rights record, has raised fears in New Delhi about Beijing’s influence in the neighbourhood.

But Priyath Bandu Wickrama, chairman of the state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), insisted that India had nothing to fear from the new Colombo port and could in fact be a major beneficiary.

“We will not allow any military base at our ports nor will we allow them to be used for any strategic military purpose by anyone,” Wickrama said.

Wickrama said shippers in India could save up to four days by routing their cargo through Sri Lanka rather than using Singapore or Dubai.

“Earlier, Indians along the east coast had to send their cargo to Singapore if they wanted to catch a mega ship going West. Now these mega ships will be going through Colombo and picking up Indian cargo,” he told AFP.

“That saves time and a lot of money.”

The two major ports of south India, the Port of Cochin and the Port of Tuticorin, are too shallow for mega vessels such as the world’s largest container ship, the MV. Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller.

Saliya Senanayake from the London-based Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport says that “India is about five to six years behind Sri Lanka when it comes to port infrastructure”.

Sri Lanka has been an important stop in the ancient Silk Sea Route and today hundreds of ships pass its southern coast daily while plying the world’s busiest international shipping lane.

With a capacity of over 18,000 containers, the M.V. Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, which was commissioned about two weeks ago is expected to make up a fleet of 20 mega ships in the next two years plying the East-West route.

The SLPA is pouring millions of dollars into infrastructure around the island and says it is on course to increase container handling capacity by 1.6 million containers to 6.4 million by April.

It hopes to have a container capacity of 10 million by 2020, while revenue is forecast to triple to one billion dollars by 2020.

Hambantota, which is just 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) away from the East-West sea lane, is being promoted as a key service centre and industrial port where large ships can re-fuel or take on fresh food.

In April, Colombo’s port is due to open another mega terminal just next to the Chinese-managed CICT. The new addition will initially be able to handle about 800,000 containers a year, according to the SLPA.

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