16 July 2018

THE LETTER BY 50 ACADEMICS PROTESTING AGAINST ALLEGED INTIMIDATION BY EX-MILITARY OFFICERS

DHARSHAN WEERASEKERA, Attorney-at-Law

I read with amusement an article in The Island of 12th July 2018 titled, ‘Dons condemn incendiary statements against HRCSL.’ It’s about a letter written by 50 academics condemning the conduct of a number of ex-military officers who had said that academics (or anyone else) found to have supported attempts by certain foreign countries, with the help of the Tamil Diaspora, to compromise the sovereignty of Sri Lanka should be treated as traitors, and if found guilty, hanged.
Today, the sad reality in this country is that academics are doing politics, and when this is pointed out, instead of mending their ways and doing what is traditionally – or perhaps ideally – expected of academics, which is to provide informed and scholarly commentary on issues of national importance, attack the critics, in this case ex-military officers.  As far as I’m concerned, if our fighting-men can’t call a spade a spade, then no one can.
In this article, I shall briefly comment on two key passages in the letter, then explain what I understand by the word ‘treason’ and why in a general sense it may not be entirely wrong for most Sri Lankans, not just ex-military officers, to consider that anyone aiding or abetting the agents of foreign countries to compromise Sri Lanka’s sovereignty ought to be hanged.
POINTS TO CONSIDER IN THE LETTER
I emphasize that, I am relying entirely on the letter as reported in The Island of 12th July 2018.  Here’s the first passage on which I wish to comment.  The letter says:
‘It has been many months now since a certain group of individuals, led by ex-military personnel, proclaimed before the media that individuals who are supportive of a new Constitution ought to be considered as ‘traitors’ acting against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.  Such individuals, it was further stated, ought to be held accountable for their ‘traitorous’ acts in a court of law and punished with death and that action will be taken against them at a future date when a new political leadership assumes power.’[1]
In respect of the above, I draw the reader’s attention to the following matters:
If by ‘new Constitution’ the 50 academics mean the process that began on 9th March 2016 with the entire Parliament converting itself into a ‘Constitutional Assembly,’ one must remember that the aforesaid event happened in the backdrop of the Government enjoying a 2/3 majority because 45 SLFP MP’s had joined the UNP to form a ‘National Government,’ something for which the said 45 did not have a mandate from their voters.
Further, Chapter 12 of the Constitution, which sets out the procedure for bringing constitutional amendments does not state anywhere that Parliament can or must turn itself into a ‘Constitutional Assembly’ in order to bring such amendments.
On account of both grounds above, many critics have argued that the constitution-making process launched under the Framework Resolution of 9th March 2016.  These critics have included former Justice Minister Mr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse and former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva.
It is reasonable to suppose that, when a former Justice Minister and a former Chief Justice say that there’s a fundamental legal problem with a particular course of action being pursued by the Government, regardless of whether they may be correct in such assessment, a responsible Government would take some steps to obtain a definitive legal opinion on the matter, just to be on the safe side.
The Government has the means to obtain such an opinion, for instance, by getting the President to invoke Article 129 and request the Supreme Court for an Advisory Opinion on the matter in question.
To my knowledge, none of the 50 academics who have condemned a number of our ex-military men for allegedly exceeding the bounds of propriety in criticizing those who support the bid to bring a new Constitution have written an article assessing the legality of the constitution-making process.  Neither have they seen fit to publicly call on the President to invoke Article 129 and obtain a definitive ruling on the matter.
Meanwhile, to turn to the ‘Interim Report’ of the Constitutional Steering Committee which was tabled in September 2017 – the report will be the basis for any final Constitutional Proposal if and when such a proposal is ever tabled – it should be noted that one of the key proposals in that report is to delete the term ‘Unitary State’ in Article 2 of the Constitution and replace it with the term ‘aekiya rajyaya/orumiththa nadu.’
The legal effect of such a change will be to turn Sri Lanka into a confederation of the 9 Provinces, with each Province enjoying inter alia a right to unilateral secession.[2]  In short, it will put in place the legal foundation for a future secession by one or more of the Provinces.
I need hardly mention that, the above is happening while the Government is continuing to postpone Provincial Council elections, the best way since the 10th February Local Government elections for the People to let the Government know what they think of the Government’s performance over the past three years, including the constitution-making process.
Under the circumstances, it would not be surprising if most Sri Lankans, not just ex-military men, consider that persons who support the bid to bring the new Constitution are ‘traitors’ bent on compromising the sovereignty and territorial integrity of this country.   In fact, most Sri Lankans would probably say that hanging is too good for such persons!
The second passage on which I wish to comment is the following.   The letter says:
‘Statements such as the above [i.e. alleged statements by the ex-military men that the Chairperson of the HRCSL Dr. Deepika Udagama is unfairly preventing Sri Lankan military personnel from serving in UN peacekeeping missions] are not only threats directed at the life and liberty of the Chairperson of the HRCSL.  They amount to threats leveled at all public officials, academics and citizens of this country who subscribe to political opinions different from those who utter such statements.  These statements, which are of a hateful and defamatory character, amount to threats that endanger human life and personal safety and are thus punishable under the law.’[3]
In respect of the above, I draw the reader’s attention to the following matters:
If what the ex-military men have done is to ask that the law be applied to persons who may be guilty of treason, such a recommendation by itself cannot be considered a ‘threat that endangers human life and personal safety.’  Whether or not someone is guilty of treason is a question of fact and law that a court must ultimately decide.  Recommending that someone be tried for treason doesn’t mean that the trials will necessarily he held, let alone that anyone will be hanged.  So, no one needs to worry.
I am not sure exactly what the head of the HRCSL may have said or done to get the ex-military men in question annoyed at her, but, the general issue involved, if I’m not mistaken, is that numerous academics and NGO’ists in recent years have been claiming that our armed forces are guilty of war crimes.
Generally speaking, charges of war crimes fall into two types:  those leveled against individual soldiers, and those leveled against an armed force as such and by extension the State, i.e. where ‘command responsibility’ is alleged, which ties a particular offence to the chain of command of an army and ultimately the civilian leadership.  The aforesaid academics and NGO’ists are leveling both of these types of charges.
Whether one accuses a particular soldier or the army collectively of war crimes, it goes without saying that the accuser must be able to first substantiate his or her allegations with sufficient evidence.
To the best of my knowledge, soon after the end of the war in May 2009, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, along with certain reports of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner, recommended that a number of incidents be investigated to see if war crimes had been committed by individual soldiers, and the armed forces promptly launched those investigations. Some of those investigations have now been completed while others may still be continuing.
However, to the best of my knowledge, there are only two reports associated with the UN that leveled a charge of war crimes against the State, i.e. which said that the chain of command of the armed forces plus the civilian leadership that oversaw the war is responsible for such crimes.
The two reports are:  ‘The Report of the Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka (POE)’ in 2011; and, ‘The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL)’ in 2015.
Of these two, even the UN has now more or less conceded that the POE is of questionable legality.  That leaves the OISL report as the sole basis for the claim that the Sri Lankan armed forces are collectively responsible for war crimes.  Unfortunately, neither the UN nor the Government ever subjected the OISL report to an official assessment in order to find out if its conclusions followed from its evidence.
To my knowledge, no group of Sri Lankan academics, including the 50 who have signed the letter, have ever carried out such an assessment, nor have I seen any letter by them urging the Government to carry out such an assessment.
To digress a moment, in February 2017, a number of private citizens including myself carried out an assessment of the OISL report, and we found the report to be full of lies, obfuscations, contradictions, and also characterized by a total failure to consider exculpatory evidence.
The report of our findings, titled, ‘A Factual Appraisal of the OISL Report:  A Rebuttal to the Allegations against the Armed Forces,’ was handed over to the UN representative in Sri Lanka, along with the Presidential Secretariat, and also forwarded to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.  We have not had any response to the report so far in spite of repeated inquiries.
Therefore, as per the legal maxim, ‘Qui tacit consentire videtur’ (‘He who is silent appears to consent’) we have concluded that the aforesaid institutions have now accepted the analysis an conclusions of our report, and have formally notified them of this.  Hence, as far as I’m aware, there is at present no rational basis for anyone to keep claiming that the Sri Lankan armed forces are collectively responsible for war crimes.
Under the circumstances, if Dr. Udagama or anyone else argues that Sri Lankan armed forces personnel ought not to be given an opportunity to participate in UN peacekeeping missions because of allegations that the armed forces are collectively responsible for war crimes, (I’m not saying this is their argument but if it is) then not just ex-military men but any citizen of Sri Lanka can demand that Udagama et al show evidence for their claims, and if they can’t, hold them accountable for such failure.
TREASON
The constraints of time prevent me from discussing the above topic in the detail it deserves, but in general, ‘treason’ is understood as the waging of war against one’s country or helping the enemies of one’s country to wage war against it.  It is an offence under Section 114 of the Penal Code, and the punishment if found guilty is death.
It is also generally understood that, a person can commit treason only during a time of war, so normally persons who promote or advocate policies that can arguably be helpful to a country’s enemies cannot be considered as having committed treason, unless the aforesaid acts are done during a time of war.
However, when our Penal Code was written in the mid 1880’s, the country had not experienced Tamil Separatism, or the related terrorism.  We also did not have a Constitution that explicitly vests the sovereignty of the country in the People.  In my view, it may be possible given the realities of today that an act that compromises the sovereignty of the country even at a time when the country is not at war can be interpreted as an attack on the People and therefore by definition an act of war.
The whole thing will depend on the courts.  Interested parties can file an experimental case and see what happens.  The point is this.  I doubt that the Sinhalas when they take power will have the time to go after ‘small fry’ academics and NGO’ists for what the latter may have done in the past few years.  The Sinhalas will be too busy pulling the country out of the social, political and constitutional abyss into which the present Government has pushed it since coming to power in 2015.
However, academics and NGO’ists will do well remember that rights always go hand in hand with responsibilities.  If certain academics and NGO’ists have been in the habit of overtly or tacitly helping the cause of the Tamil separatists, and this includes helping to push a new Constitution that seeks to turn Sri Lanka into an ‘orumiththa nadu,’ they must know that they can be asked to account for their actions.
[1] ‘Dons condemn incendiary statements against HRCSL,’ The Island, 12th July 2018
[2] See for instance my articles, ‘The Interim Report of the Constitutional Steering Committee of Sri Lanka:  A Brief Analysis, parts 1, 2 and 3’ published in www.lankaweb.com in early April and May 2018

[3] ‘Dons condemn incendiary statements against HRCSL,’ The Island, 12th July 2018

12 July 2018

Hitler, Prabakaran and Wijeweera-Kaput. Who else?

By Major General (Rtd.) Lalin Fernando

“Himmler had something ‘simmler”
What a shindig in SL that excites itself thoroughly on the cheapest of thrills. An artless monk dropped a clanger at a private function telling the former defence secretary GR that “some describe him as a Hitler”! In SL people are described as honest too. This does not make them that.  The priest added that GR should go for it and govern effectively. GR however is still not a politician.
The loquacious history quoting PM, voluble minister of finance and the stuttering  education minister thought they saw the Thai navy SEALS  coming to save them from ‘yahapalana-vaikkal’ they had been left with after 3.5 years of talent show rule.
Not to be outdone, a similarly frustrated Mrs. Vijayakala, UNP minister from Jaffna, whose husband Mahesweran made a mint during the Eelam conflict and was murdered by the LTTE, ingenuously wanted a return of those very LTTE fascists. She clamoured for a reincarnation of Prabakaran (no different from the evil JVP and Wijeweera) to prevent child abusers. She had however protected one from arrest recently!
Was Vijayakala speaking for the UNP, non cabinet ministers, or what? She was definitely not speaking for the UNP partner in Jaffna, the TNA. They, who were mouth pieces for the LTTE before, are very devious now. They are getting exactly what she asked for, without using the word LTTE or Prabakaran.
 It soon became a Ceylon tea party during the FIFA world cup.
Just as the SEALS closed in, Vijayakala dumb founded the besieged. Prabakaran not only brought back black memories of 30 years of conflict that killed 100,000, an utterly servile CFA and worse, - government collaboration with the enemy.
Hitler, Prabakaran and Wijeweera shared something similar. They were fascist dictators who gloried in killing. Hitler however is totally irrelevant to the vast majority if not almost all in SL. Instead if they recall WW2 should know Tojo the Japanese commander who with 899 of 5,000 Japanese military charged, were executed for war crimes in the East and whose forces bombed Colombo. They do not.  The Nazis executed were far less. SL in San Francisco excused the Japanese from reparations and won lasting admiration. The Japanese have still not asked for forgiveness for their bestial crimes in the East, especially in China (20 million killed).
The Sri Lankan duo were very real monsters. Only they, not Hitler, Mussolini, Franco or Salazar, Vikings, Huns, Crusaders and Napoleon, all of the present EU, impacted on SL. SL could however remember Westmoreland and his resulting product Pol Pot, MacArthur,Bush and now Trump.
Will the PM recall that while Hitler took 12 years to murder 6 million Jews, Churchill was responsible for the deaths of at least 4 million Indians in 1943-4 in West Bengal, Orrisa, Bihar and what is Bangladesh today. He ordered the removal of food stocks from a bountiful 1941 harvest in India to feed Britain. Was this not genocide? When told about the calamity, he responded by asking how it was that Gandhi was still alive. He was as brutal and racist as Hitler. He would not acknowledge that the British XIV army was the best Britain had in WW2, just because 90% were mainly Indian. Would it have soothed SL’s elite if the monk had given GR a choice?
Hitler came to power raging among other things that the Germans were not defeated but betrayed by the armistice that ended WW1. The local fascists were wiped out at Nandikadal in May 2009, despite chilling efforts by the west, including Britain, to impose an armistice. Thankfully they were summarily seen off by then President Rajapakse. If otherwise, SL could be still fighting and negotiating CFAs with the LTTE. There would have been no peace in ‘our time’.
An article in the Island (6 June 18) titled “One folk, one ‘fuhrer’ (fuehrer surely), one fatherland” echoes very similar battle cries adding ‘one religion’, now booming across the Atlantic and the Pacific. Was this an unintended double entendre? What if GR was asked to be a Trump instead? Would RW have been gutted?
 India with its 1.2 million nuclear armed forces would have been much amused by SL’s latest. It couldn’t care a fig if SL produces 225 Diyawanna Hitlers even though some Indians fought in Nazi SS divisions and with Japanese forces in WW2. But remembering its IPKF debacle (1987-90) and how its ally, the SL government under president Premadasa  betrayed it by collaborating with the LTTE, it may have been just a bit nervous about another SL triangular series. The inaugural one cost 1,200 IPKF lives.
PM RW deviously retaliated by repeating his oft quoted refrain that it was MR’s ally that was responsible for the murder of 600 policemen in the East. Karuna the most formidable of LTTE military leaders denies this. The turning of Karuna tolled the end for Prabakaran and his disparate allies not excluding the TNA. Does it still also hurt the UNP more than the TNA?
What SL seeks answers for is why the government in which the PM was a minister asked the policemen to surrender and after they were murdered (exactly like the 33,771 Jews by the Nazi Sondercommando in Babi Yar at Kiev) then wash their hands off it? Was it not a shocking if not also criminal order? Was it also treachery? The 600 policemen did not ride to their deaths like the Light Brigade at Balaklava. They were offered as a human sacrifice to the Sun God to save the spurious peace talks with the terrorists being held in the Hilton hotel, Colombo by Premadasa? Fully armed, they were not arrested but escorted by the hapless (again) STF in a SLAF plane with chef de mission Minister Hameed. His sole concern was their safety not the lives of the policemen. This must be the most long drawn single act of treachery in the annals of conflicts. But when a single LTTE policeman Nadesan died suddenly at Nandikadal who bawled?
Hitler in SL was often at the butt end of jokes and crude songs during and after the war. Non white colonials (read Tissa Devendra in the Island) even welcomed Hitler’s blitzkrieg because he was whipping SL’s colonial ruler Britain.
There were attempts at authoritarian rule in SL but no mention of Hitler. There was a coup in 1962. Had it succeeded there would have been civil war. Did the UNP not provide the accused with top government jobs subsequently?
 During the 30 year conflict many believed a SL dictator should lead against the terrorist dictator. The defeat of the LTTE doomed that double edged sword.
SL did however try in varying degrees from 1977. The icon selected by Colombo’s elite was Singapore’s PM Lee Kwan Yew. Ignored completely was that they had a majority Chinese population that responds to moral courage and merciless leadership. SL struggled to clear the primary tests, honesty, justice and racial harmony. In 2015 the PM instead picked up Mahendran from Singapore.
The excitement in SL may however be due to a few possibly farfetched comparisons if not similarities with Germany under Hitler. Hitler appointed himself Fuehrer (Head of state and Supreme Commander-1934). JRJ brought in a new constitution which made him SLA’s first Executive President and C in C in 1978. Both got rid of opposition in different ways. Hitler had crystal night with his SS leading. In SL thousands of striking government workers were dismissed in 1980. Race riots followed in 1983, instigated by government goons and SS unions. Former PM Mrs. Srima Bandaranaike was deprived of her civic rights. Hitler forced his Vice Chancellor von Papen to resign. Hitler declared war against Poland, starting WW2.  JRJ started the 30 year Eelam conflict. Hitler wrote Mein Kampf. RW proclaimed Roosevelt’s ‘100 days’ in 2015 but without attribution.
 Hitler‘s grandfather was not known to him. Hitler’s father was Alois Sckicklgruber, an illegitimate child of Maria Anna Sckicklgruber. Alois’ name was changed to Hitler (by error for Hiedler) in an illegal birth certificate at age 40, by a priest. The grandfather was an Austrian Jew named Frankenberger. There is speculation about JRJ’s ancestry the education minister should know about before he makes another gaffe. JRJ got the Supreme Court judges, even those picked by him, attacked with stones in their official houses. Hitler dismissed judges who did not toe the Nazi line. Hitler had death camps. What camps did SL not have under JRJ’s successor Premadasa in 1989-90? There were even unsuccessful attempted assassinations of both. In Germany by Col (and not General as in the Island) Stauffenberg. In SL it was by the JVP. However Hitler’s final solution was attempted only by the LTTE and the JVP, both on the Sinhalese.
 Where do JRJ’s hopefuls fit in then?  But there the comparisons end. Hitler committed suicide when he knew he had lost and Germany was ruined. Not even Prabakaran, the godfather of suicide bombers, did that.
Jayadeva Uyanagoda a former JVP leader also woke up as if from the dead at the Hitler call, mother’s milk. The JVP was a fascist organization referred to as Che Gueverists, apparently with a North Korean plan in 1971 and a Pol Pot like plan in 1989-90 under his and its leader Wijeweera. It attempted to overthrow the government twice. It led to 72,000 deaths, 60,000 in the second attempt in one year, genocidal and exclusively of Sinhalese but apparently protesting the invasion by the IPKF that it did not dare to attack. This has to be the only time that an insurgent force protesting foreign invasion attacked its own forces.
The German Ambassador expressed shock. He should relax. SL does not take its politicians seriously when they are not robbing or violent.
Education Minister, A Kariyawasam (AK). who in 2015 during servile commemorations of the 100th anniversary of WW1, announced that Napoleon fought in that war; that would be 100 years after Waterloo. This time he pitched in to say Hitler was also a policeman. Hitler for all his faults was a highly decorated soldier (Corporal) in the List (16th Bavarian) Regiment who twice won the Iron Cross First Class in WW1, normally awarded to higher ranks. He was never a policeman. Hindenburg called him the ‘Bohemian Corporal’ yet handed over the German Chancellorship to him. He was wounded once and also gassed in WW1.
AK was also clueless as to what dual citizenship meant. What was AK before he became a minister? Policeman, Corporal or regal blunderbuss?
The PM not to be left behind says if a priest had asked him to be a Hitler he would have told him to stop speaking. Vijayakala gave him the chance to show his regal colours. He bluffed. SL must wonder what he told VP when during the CFA, VP was murdering his way to elusive Eelam. Four hundred (400) soldiers alone were killed. SL will not forget that the PM joined his MPs to denigrate its forces when he realized VP and the LTTE were facing defeat. Which countryman, far less a former PM, anywhere in the world has ever done so?
The Finance Minister MS in 2008 thought Army Commander Gen Fonseka was not fit to be in the Salvation Army. He should say so of Hitler, clamp up and not worry about GR. As media minister he says he may follow Mrs. Clinton’s method of filtering news including fake. Is this a shot across the bows at Trump?
It may be best if priests steer clear of politics and not venture out of their chosen path and knowledge boundaries to please laymen, politicians or not. They should not bring ridicule on the clergy. Politicians should not look to win matches with others mishits to save themselves from just retribution for the ruination they have brought about. Journalists must not try to invest in demonic ghouls or the NY Times.
The man who the priest thought could do a Hitler transformation of SL, as defence secretary, actually laid down the order for an unarmed police force-that would be a rarity in Asia-like in  China. Meanwhile did Jehan Pereira try to inveigle SL to use Rodrigo Duarte’s methods? He thinks that the lightly armed police in Jaffna has not been able to stop grave crime, especially by drug addicts (Island 10 July 18). He contrasts it  deviously for the benefit of SL’s critics with the obviously well armed Army for the benefit of SL’s critics. The Army had and has no police role in Jaffna or elsewhere. Has he conveniently forgotten how the LTTE made money by smuggling drugs with a Gestapo like police force in place? With all these besieged politicians and dried up activists still hanging on, Hitler is the least of SL’s mounting concerns. As for unhappy SL she may soon have to observe Prabakaran’s birthday (26 November) too if this circus goes on for much longer.


ACCC lawsuit  Ref: 
Quote:

A lawsuit over TPG's advertising campaigns was filed against TPG Telecom by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in December 2010. The ACCC accused TPG of misleading its customers by advertising that its "unlimited" broadband package only cost $29.99 per month when the actual minimum monthly cost for the plan is $59.99. The ACCC also claimed in the lawsuit that TPG did not adequately disclose other costs associated with the setting up of the connection.[33] In response, TPG released a statement saying that it believes all costs were adequately noted in the advertisement and that it was "disappointed" with the ACCC's decision to bring the issue to court.[34] In November 2011, the Federal Court ruled against TPG and fined the company $2 million, however, the fine was reduced to $50,000 after TPG appealed to the full bench of the Federal Court. The ACCC later filed an appeal in the High Court, which was approved in August 2013.[35][36]


10 July 2018

The mad rush to defend Ms. Vijayakala defending LTTE

H. L. D. Mahindapala

Among those apologists who rushed to  defend Ms. Vijakala Maheswaran is Dr. Chamindra Weerawardhana, who describes herself as a political analyst in her website. She has rushed to the defence of the former State Minister of the UNP who resigned after sounding a clarion call for the revival and return of the LTTE to protect Tamil women and girls. She has justified Ms. Vijayakala Maheswaran’s call for the resuscitation of the LTTE, an internationally banned terrorist organisation, on the excuse that there was no sexual violence against women when the LTTE ran its repressive regime in the North and the East – a questionable assertion that will be examined later. In her website she raises a rather provocative question: “What is it about “fuck off” that you don’t understand?” I didn’t bother to read it because the text diverts to other aspects which are not relevant to this article. I shall, therefore, confine myself to the theme/s of her latest essay which appeared in the Colombo Telegraph titled Vilification of Vijayakala.
Her article is typical of the Sri Lankan-born theoretical kattadiyas who unrelentingly chant the pro-Tamil separatist propaganda, blaming “the Sinhala state”, its institutions and its agents, particularly the Security Force, for all the casteist, fascist, repressive, Prabhakaranist evils that came out of Jaffna jingoism and took the misguided Jaffnaites all the way to Nandikadal. The Jaffna political class has survived and thrived only on demonising the Sinhala-Buddhists of the south. The mainstream politics of Jaffna never initiated or promoted a progressive or liberal political agenda that would lead to the peaceful co-existence of multi-ethnic communities. This mono-ethnic extremism was launched by G. G. Ponnambalam in the late thirties and it snowballed into a massive destructive force throughout the rest of the 20th century. It spilled over to the first decades of the 21st,until it was decimated by the triumphant forces of President, Mahinda Rajapakse – a historic victory which restored peace and democracy, and above all, freedom from the Tamil Boko Haram who abducted Tamil girls on their way to school.
Ms. Maheswaran’s latest outburst blaming the Sinhala-Buddhist for everything that is happening in Jaffna, including the sexual violence that had taken place in the North and the East, is nothing new. It is a predictable throwback to the racist politics of Ponnambalam. In fact, Ponnambalam never gave up his racism despite him being the first Tamil Minister in the first Cabinet of the independent nation, led by the UNP leader, D. S. Senanayake, who is better known as the Father of the Nation. Clearly, it is apparent that Ms. Maheswaran, who was a State Minister in the UNP government of Ranil Wickremesinghe, is exhibiting the political genes she inherited from the Father of Tamil racism, Ponnambalam.
Ms. Weerawarhana’s defence of her heroine” comes from the feminist angle, portraying  Ms. Maheswaran as the Tamil Joan of Arc who had risen to defend the Tamil girls and women victimised by the Sinhala forces. The remedy she recommends is the revival of the LTTE – a cure which is worse than the disease, as any rational political scientist would agree. But Ms. Weerawardhana bends over backwards to contextualise” (read justify) the call to revive the LTTE. She argues her case on the basis of gender justice” as if sexual violence has been the sole monopoly of priapic, testosterone-driven men in the war zone.
But a recent study of sexual violence in war zones has blown this myth sky-high and provided evidence of females committing gruesome sexual violence against women. The US Institute of Peace (www.usip.org) in its Special Report, Wartime Sexual Violence, Misconceptions, Implications and Way Forward has highlighted the latest results of their research. Remarking that Women sexually abused men during wartime”, it says:
·        In Haiti women in armed criminal group gangs, paramilitary groups, and self-defense groups are reported to have committed several forms of sexual violence, including gang rape against other group women and members of enemy groups.
·        In the Democratic Republic of Congo women were victimised by female perpetrators.
·        In 1994 Rwanda women were active perpetrators of both killing and sexual violence, including rape.
·        In Abu Gharib prison camp run by USA male Arab prisoners were sexually abused by American women during wartime. – (Ibid – p. 5)
·        When I visited the Manik Camp in July 1995 Tamil women complained that the Tamil female officers persecuted, exploited and abused them, punishing  them for minor offences and alleged disloyalties to the LTTE. I was told that one of the LTTE female junior officers even opened fire on Tamil refugees fleeing the LTTE gulag and running into the open arms of the Security Forces in the last stages of the war.
·        In her biography, Ms. Subramaniam Sivakami, alias Thamilini, leader of the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              women’s political wing of the LTTE, repents, shedding tears for the suffering caused by her role in the LTTE. She blames her leader, the Tamil Pol Pot, who ruthlessly led the Tamil children and people to slaughter. She wrote: “My stand is that the most important among the worst decisions taken by leader Prabhakaran was the one to conscript youth by force,” When the organisation arrived at the decision to conscript in order to increase the man power, people began to see another devilish face of
the organisation.” (Daily Mirror – 9/2/2016). But in her days in the LTTE she served Prabhakaran loyally, aiding and abetting him to commit war crimes and the crimes against humanity. So did her women’s brigades who showed no mercy to the Tamil dissidents.
·        Adele Balasingham, the nurse from Australia, who married Anton Balasingham, the Tamil ideologue, was the leading force recruiting, brain-washing, and training the young Tamil girls abducted by the Tamil cadres of Prabhakaran. Both women were enablers and enforcers acting loyally on behalf of the Tamil Boko Haram who was committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.
This is a part of the bigger picture which debunks the finger-pointing at men by Ms. Weerawardhana, a feminist who labours obsessively to accuse the men in uniform in particular of being brutal perpetrators of sexual violence against women. The under-reported evidence portrays the women as virtuous and innocent victims of the twisted male libido. In the pop culture of feminist theorists it is fashionable to rush to the conclusion that only men are perpetrators of sexual violence against women.
This one-sided conclusion does not take into consideration that the women are not seen as war criminals only because they have not been in positions of command to go down the path of men who have been invariably in the forefront of war zones in large contingents. As seen in the cases cited above, the women are equally capable of committing crimes against women on the same scale as men, if they are placed in the same circumstances. In fact, they have been willing partners of men committing crimes against women.
Take also the cases of women holding political power in the highest commanding positions of their respective states. Practically, every one of them – Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher to mention only a few – has been ruthless in meeting  the challenges of their  time and place. Consider also our own case.  Women were stripped naked and forced to walk in the streets of the Wyamba Province when Ms. Chandrika Bandaranaike, another pretentious preacher of human rights, was Sri Lanka’s Commander-in-Chief of the three Forces.
Most of all,  Ms. Chamindra Weerawardhana paints Ms. Vijayakala Maheswaran, the ex-Minister, as the  heroine” who stood up for the women’s rights, when she knows very well that her heroine” was instrumental in providing protection to the main suspect of the brutal abuse and murder of Sivaloganathan Vithya,” an 18-year-old school girl in Jaffna in May 2015.  Ms. Maheswaran unabashedly used her political power to protect the main suspect, ‘Swiss Kumar’, a Tamil expat who arrived in Sri Lanka with the intention of video recording the rape and murder of the girl. The girl had been abducted by one of nine suspects, arrested over the incident, before being raped and killed.
The three judge bench was told that ‘Swiss Kumar’ had wanted to sell the video of the rape and murder to a contact in Switzerland.”  (Sunday Leader — July, 9, 2018). So when Ms. Maheswaran rushed to defend and protect Swiss Kumar” who  had come to rape, murder and video another Tamil mother’s daughter, was she moved by the suffering of the Tamil people, or was she a willing partner of the gang of Tamil men sexually abusing a Tamil girl? Was she after a political/financial gain by being a partner in the gang of Swiss Kumar”?  Could it be because ‘Swiss Kumar’ is one of the Tiger flag-carrying Tamil nationalist protest(ors),”  who is a full-time screamer of anti-Sri Lankan  slogans across the West?
Knowing all this, with what moral conviction can Ms.Weerawardhana, present her heroine”, Ms. Maheswaran as a tireless advocate, if not the only political voice that openly stands for the rights of Tamil women and girls in post-war Sri Lanka”?
Ms. Weerwardhana, Ms. Maheswaran and Swiss” Kumar stand out as an obscene combination unacceptable to decent moral standards. Consider the overall picture: Swiss Kumar”, a Tiger-flag carrying Tamil nationalist from the Tamil diaspora, arrives in Sri Lanka to take a video of a Tamil school girl being raped and killed. His sole aim is to sell the video to one of his clients in Switzerland. He is caught by the Sri Lankan Police and who runs to his protection : Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran. And who runs to the defence of the Minister? Why, it’s our feminists, Ms. Weerawardhana, who hails her “heroine’s” calls to revive the LTTE as an act that has raised her political capital to a level much higher than occupying an obscure state minister position in the Joint Government.”
More than the feminist mumbo-jumbo of Ms. Weerawardhana what is more convincing is her common sense conclusion that her heroine” was trying to catch a free ride fishing away for political advantage, à la Vijayakala Maheswaran”.
So to be fair, the feminist argument against men should be amended to take into consideration the realities of the universal human condition: the male and the female are both capable of committing crimes and that no one in particular holds the monopolistic superiority over the other in committing crimes. The women are projected as superior moralists, governed by humane principles of love and compassion, only because they haven’t had the mass scale necessity / opportunity as men to commit crimes in the war zones.
It is on this basis that Ms. Weerawardhana downplays the LTTE crimes and legitimises the claim of Ms. Vijayakala Maheswaran to revive the LTTE as a means of saving the women from sexual violence. Ms. Maheswaran argues as if LTTE is a desirable, viable and acceptable force because they did not abuse women sexually. This claim is worse than cutting the leg to save the toe.
Besides, this claim is not correct. LTTE cadres did commit sexual crimes against women. They are given a clean certificate because their crimes were under-reported. This is what the US report cited above states about the LTTE crimes: A  classic setting for widespread rape during war is an ethnic conflict driven by an armed secessionist campaign. However, Sri Lanka’s civil war was a case of secessionist ethnic conflict, and neither side appears to have engaged in sexual violence as a strategy of war…….”
Members of the state military and police committed some rape against Tamil girls and women during military operations and at checkpoints. It is difficult to evaluate the frequency of such assaults, but it is clear that they occurred less often than in some other ethnic conflicts, such as Bosnia-Herzegovina and Darfur.”
In contrast, the secessionist insurgent group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, appears to have perpetrated very little rape of civilians…….” – (Ibid – p.4).
This makes it clear that both sides committed rape but the difference is in the scale.  The fact that the number of rapes is less under LTTE does not make them defenders and protectors of girls. If Ms. Maheswaran can go all out, using her ministerial powers, to protect Swiss Kumar” the possibilities were there even under the LTTE to protect sexual abusers. It should also be remembered that the Chief Minister of Northern Province, C. V. Wigneswaran, is a notorious defender of a Tamil rapist and a murder whom he worships as a saint. He even wrote to the Indian Prime Minister pleading on this rapist’s behalf.
Putting all this evidence together I find it difficult to understand how Ms. Weerawardhana can rush to provide theoretical defences to Ms. Maheswaran. However, I can now relate to the provocative question Ms. Weerawardhana raised in her website:  What is it about fuck off” that you don’t understand?”


08 July 2018

If India is sold Mattala-Galle-Palali-Trinco & Colombo will Sri Lanka be sovereign?


Governments are elected to power to protect the territorial integrity & sovereignty of a country not to sell it or privatize it to foreigners thereby reducing the country’s relevance globally as an independent & sovereign nation. After selling the country’s resources, we would have no requirement for a jumbo government because they have no asset/resource to manage, manufacture or export while they would have turned the citizens to slaves for these countries/companies. Imagine if you will what happens when the country’s assets & resources are either leased or sold to foreigners in exchange for a lump sum of money while they take all profits back to their homes while also enjoying tax havens, duty free concessions & other privileges the politicians are ever willing to dole out. When the North, East, South & West of an island is virtually handed over to one country what is the national security or sovereignty Sri Lanka has? Have politicians, media, political pundits, academics, so-called civil society thought of these ground realities? India is choking Sri Lanka by Air – Rail – Road – Sea & Land (socially, economically & culturally) 
India’s population is 1.3b people against Sri Lanka’s 20m

·        732m Indians have no access to toilets
·        240m Indians do not have electricity
·        7000 Indians die of hunger every day
·        836 million Indians survive on less than Rs 20 per day
·        1m Indians are infected with HIV AIDS
·        75m Indians live in poverty

India cannot easily control Sri Lanka militarily, so the next best option is to control it economically & socially.
AIRPORT – Palali & Mattala

In June 2012 Sri Lanka’s government rejected India’s offer to develop Palali airport which the Sri Lankan government said would be run jointly by the Ministry of Civil Aviation & the Air Force.

In February 2014 the Northern Provincial Council passed a resolution proposed by Sivajilingam calling for direct flights from Trinco, Palali to India http://www.adaderana.lk/news.php?nid=25810

In 2016 PM Wickremasinghe informed Parliament that there is no agreement with India or an Indian company to modernize Palali airport but he did admit that the Airport Authority of India had carried out a feasibility study on Palali for which the PM claimed did not require cabinet or AG’s approval. http://seithy.com/breifNews.php?newsID=165032&category=EnglishNews&language=english

In 2017 the PM declared that Palali will be developed as a ‘regional airport’ to serve Sri Lanka & South India. In other words Palali goes to India. The PM’s financial advisor behind the deal!

An interview with Chief Minister Wigneswaran and WION in 2017 revealed the following https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jry6e6snUmc

Mattala Airport was built by the Chinese to complement the Hambantota Port & Industrial Zone. It was meant for investors to fly direct to Mattala make approvals at either the industrial zone or Port & fly back. It makes no sense for foreign investors to land in Colombo & travel all the way to Hambantota for approvals. The present Government laughed at the Airport claiming it to be good only to store paddy and now India is supposed to be wanting to buy an empty airport & Sri Lanka is willing to sell an airport for a supposed flying school which in reality it looks to be an attempt to position India’s Air Defence in Mattala thereby diminishing the Hambantota Port for China’s OBOR initiative. Apparently India wishes to have provision to re-lease or sublease the Airport to whom it so likes which again raises alarm bells for the sovereignty of Sri Lanka. Why should India get an Airport for 40 years to turn into a military base? Mattala would become the first airport India will have on foreign soil.


RAILWAYS

$185.26m to restore Omanthai-Pallai Railway line (90km)

$149m to re-construct the 56km Pallai to Kankasanthurai Railway Line

$164m Matara-Colombo railway line completed in 2012

ROAD-RAIL BRIDGE  

India to develop Jaffna-to-Mannar, Mannar-to-Vavuniya and Dambulla-to-Tricomalee stretches

In 2002 PM Wickremasinghe proposed a ‘Hanuman Bridge’ across the Palk Strait.

India even requested Asian Development Bank to carry out a pre-feasibility study to finance the road-rail link between India’s Rameswaram & Sri Lanka’s Thalaimannar. & the bridge across the Palk strait between India & Sri Lanka.

In 2016 the proposed maritime bridge was to cost $3.6b
The distance between India’s Dhanushkodi in Rameswaran & Sri Lanka is 23km. India wants to make a flyover connecting the two.

PORT / HARBOR – Galle Port / Kankansanthurai / Trinco / Colombo East Terminal

Developing Kankasanthurai  – In 2017 PM Wickremasinghe declared that India would develop Kankasanthurai harbor. In 2018 a MOU was signed with the Exim Bank of India to develop Kankasanthurai to a commercial port & upgrade the Kankasanthurai harbor.

Galle Port – Rumour also has it that part of the Mattala Airport deal includes the handing over of Galle Port to India by removing the entire Naval deployment & transferring them to Hambantota Port. This would immediately negate Sri Lanka’s capacity to protect its territory.

Colombo East Terminal – the 5th latest container terminal & will become the biggest in Colombo’s Port. This terminal is also going to an Indian company. More than 60% of Colombo transship comes from India. This is likely to affect employment of Sri Lankan labor & arrival of shipping lines too.

POWER PLANT – Sampur  

Note how quick India was to propose a 500-MW thermal coal power plant ($500m) in Trincomalee district immediately after the Sri Lanka Army captured Sampur from LTTE which would give India 500 acres in Sampur. Objections were made to the former government against the project in view of the real objective behind the project being to secure access to Foul Point to overlook the Trincomalee harbor.
EAST SRI LANKA – Trincomalee Oil Tank Farms

In May 2017 PM Wickremasinghe told Parliament CPC & Lanka IOC will enter a joint venure claiming the storage facility would help Sri Lanka enter the Indian market! The MOU will give India land lease for 50 years
The MOU is to make joint investments in the development of the Trinco Port, Petroleum Refinery & other industries in Trincomalee.

WESTERN PROVINCE – LNG power plant in Kerawalapitiya

In 2017 MOU was signed to set up a LNG 500 MW terminal/floating storage regasification unit in Kerawalapitiya

ECONOMIC – CEPA & Economic & Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA)

Under CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) India can bring down technical staff from 10% of total staff cadre up to 50%.
According to CEPA there will be 50% Indian ownership of 25 cinemas, each of which could hold multiple cinema halls. In these cinemas, 40% cinema time would be for Tamil and Hindi films.

The proposed Indo-Lanka economic & technology cooperative agreement ECTA was drafted in great secrecy & agreement not disclosed to the public. It makes Sri Lanka further vulnerable to a country. Of the trade agreements with India since 1988 none have been beneficial to Sri Lanka while Sri Lanka has become a dumping yard for cheap Indian imports. Oft times the federal regulations impede Sri Lankan businesses trying to get a foothold into Indian market. Raising alarm bells is the inclusion of service industries & manpower which means an unhindered entry of Indians to start businesses, employ Indians, work & live in Sri Lanka which will pose challenges to Sri Lanka’s own unemployed as well as raise issues regarding environment, accommodation, food & energy requirements etc. Already unregistered number of Indians are working illegally & legally in all provinces of Sri Lanka.

Bilateral trade between India & Sri Lanka was $4.6billion in 2014 of which Sri Lanka’s share was a mere $600m. 40% of goods in Jaffna are from India.

31million Indians are unemployed. There are a million unregistered and unqualified medical practitioners in Indiawhat if they all end up working as ‘doctors’ in Sri Lanka?

Immediately after elections 800 maruti cars were imported giving a substantial slash in import duty while increasing import duty for hybrid vehicles. Many said it was a thank you for helping win the election! Even India’s gift of ambulances is doubted by the citizens.

SOCIAL/CULTURAL – Ramayana Trail

Former Additional Secretary to the Indian cabinet B.Raman now heading a think tank proposed India use tourism to counter China’s presence in Sri Lanka while the BJP espouses to elevate the ethnic to a religious issue bringing the Hindu element & the promotion of the Ramayana Trail has to be looked from these two Indian objectives. Is the Ramayana Trail being linked to the greater Eelam project that espouses to annex Sri Lanka to India? The Eelamists claim Ravana was a Tamil King, who worshipped Shiva in Trincomalee & Mantota & both cities are Isvaram” cities implying Tamil ownership not Sinhalese. These are all mental build ups at tourism levels for diplomatic objectives.

Indian consulates

Apart from the Indian High Commission in Colombo, India also has presence in Jaffna, Kandy & in Hambantota too.

In 2017 news emerged of the Jaffna Indian consulate providing forged documents to South India Tamils to migrate to northern Sri Lanka. In 2011, the Indian Counsel General in Jaffna V. Mahalingam had interfered in the judicial process following the seizure of 112 Indian fishermen along with 18 trawlers in the general area north of Point Pedro.
In 2015, Sri Lanka expelled the Colombo station chief of India’s spy agency accusing him of conspiring to overthrow the Rajapakse government.

India Sri Lanka Military 

Sri Lankan military personnel received training in two Dornier aircraft, belonging to the Indian Navy in June 2017.

India in North / East / Central Sri Lanka

·        Skills development centre in University of Jaffna, Kilinochchi
·        Civil engineering & mechanical engineering campus, University of Jaffna, Kilinochchi
·        Demining in North & East provinces
·        Renovation of 79 schools in Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya
·        Computers & printers to rural schools in East Sri Lanka
·        Vocational training centres in Hatton, Puttalam, Batticoloa, Nuwara Eliya
·        Industrial estate in Atchchuvely, Jaffna
·        10 buses for rail-bus project to connect Batticoloa with Trincomalee
·        Supply of 100 buses
·        9 language labs in 9 provinces

Air-Road-Rail-Sea link between India & Sri Lanka is fast turning into a reality with decision makers arguing in favor looking only at the supposed economic dividends completely ignoring the political & social realities. Illegal immigrants from India, LTTE terrorists using South India as a logistics hub inspite of assurances by the Indian Government, illegal inflow of narcotics & other banned substances from India are just a handful of dangerous implications that have been ignored.

It has become fashionable for India to use the slogan of ‘threat to Indian security interests’ and bulldoze India’s demands for which Sri Lanka has had to follow the policy of appeasement to the extent that officials are probably remaining mum as every MOU is being signed & drafted according to India’s wishes.

One has to wonder if the deal to give Hambantota to China was simply an eye-wash to fool the Chinese & thereafter handover everything to India as we now see happening. Behind all these deals are a handful of evil & terrorist-associated elements who are peddling the neo-liberal policies that are earmarked to turn Sri Lanka into an Indian colony & a vassal state. Where will all these politicians & the bureaucrats that surround them go after selling our country as not a penny out of these sales have they given to the nation or its people from these treacherous sales except to always blame previous governments claiming the sale is to set off debt by them. None of the debt has reduced except doubled every time a new government has come to power.

However, the manner this government has handed over to India the North (Palali), East (Trinco), South (Mattala, Galle), West (Colombo East Terminal) is unforgiveable. To add to injury this government wants to build a Hanuman Bridge (connecting India by road/rail/bridge) while signing trade agreements that enable Indians to come & work & live in Sri Lanka & over time with marriage what will be the outcome for Sri Lanka? Are policy makers asleep to these dangers?

Sri Lanka has lost its sovereignty completely. Can they salvage the situation by reversing these deals is what citizens must now demand of them? It is time the people stood up against these treacherous sale of Sri Lanka’s resources/assets.



Shenali D Waduge