Monday, June 25, 2007

Chief Prelate Denies Comments Attributed to Him by GOSL

According to a report in the Daily News (report), the Chief Prelates in Kandy has found fault with Mangala Samaraweera and Sripati Sooriarachchi for breaking away from government. This report also further states that the Chief Prelate of the Malwatta Chapter, he was unhappy with them and said it was "too late for them to meet him."

In this video clip, the Chief Prelate somehow seems to be welecoming the duo, and also mentioning about the pressure exerted on him to say that the actions of the President were correct. However, the Prelate says that he did not give into such requests although he was quoted as saying so in "some" newspapers.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

From 7-Eleven to Defense Secretary - The Legacy of Rajapaksa Nepotism (

A few weeks back, I think I noted somwehre about Gatabhaya Rajapaksa's occupation in the United States, stating that rumor was he was a security manager at a grocery store. Not quite so. Turns out he was just a "manager" of a 7-Eleven store, as mentioned in the Economist magazine. The following paragraph is what the magainze had to say about Rajapaksa nepotism, while highlighting the war in Sri Lanka.

"Wary of political allies, Mr Rajapakse has appointed his three brothers to run important ministries. He has nabbed the ministries of finance, defence and public works for himself. Together, the brothers Rajapakse control over 70% of Sri Lanka's budget. The defence budget, which was increased by 40% this year, is being overseen by the unelected Gotabhaya Rajapakse. A former fire-eating army officer who spent 17 years in America, at one time managing a 7-Eleven store, Mr Rajapakse has proved as bellicose as Mr Prabhakaran and General Fonseka combined."

Full story

Friday, June 22, 2007

(video clip) Mangala Samaraweera Press Conference

The newly formed political entity, the SLFP Mahajana Wing hosts their first press conference. Some clips as broadcast on Sirasa news.

Mr. President -- Your Slip is Showing

True to the norm of Sri Lankan politics, we are always bombarded with empty rhetoric and presumptuous posturing by an ignorant bunch of jokers.

In this news report that I came across, SLFP senior Vice President and Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, who can only be described as a chubby little ali-patiya, puts some of the recent developments in perspective. Reproduced below is the news report, and some reactions from LWB -- made in italics/color.

Door open for Mangala, Sripathi, says SLFP (Daily Mirror)

A day after ousted Minister Mangala Samaraweera threatened to topple the government, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party yesterday said the ‘door was open’ for the two defectors to return to the fold.
This is quite in contract to what his collegue Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said a couple of days ago. Jeyaraj said the party was "happy" that these unwanted elements who have been having secret meetings with Ranil Wickramasinghe have officially moved over to the opposition. Jeyaraj who is the Chief Government Whip, recently contradicted the Prime Minister when
he apologized for the eviction of some Tamils from Colombo

Addressing a news conference in Colombo, SLFP senior Vice President and Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the SLFP was a resilient party that could take any amount of beating.

Is this why the door is still open for Mangala & Sripati?

“It commands a vast supporter-base and Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi are only a small part of it. They alone do not represent the party. We are quite used to this type of challenges. This is only a damp squib,” he said. He also said the ousted ministers had acted as a bull in a china shop.

I ask again, why is the party still leaving the door open for these guys if this is in fact the case? If all this is true, kick these fellows out and move on. The UNP wasn't asking or publicly saying that the door is open for Karu Jayasuriya & gang to return? In fact, it will be recalled that Karu
Jayasuriya had no option BUT leave the UNP after he was not given the Deputy Leadership position because of his unacceptable behavior.

“When you are a member of a political party you have to observe norms of discipline. You have to show political maturity by exercising restraint in word and deed,” the minister said adding that the party was capable of defeating such moves.

Exactly. This was clearly demonstrated recently when the Prime Minister first apologized for the eviction of some Tamils from Colombo, and Jeyaraj Fernandopulle later blasted the PM for doing so. In another shining example, we had the instance of a public official Gotabhaya Rajapaksa dictating the foreign policy of the government, and also finding fault with the PM publicly.

However, Party General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena warned the duo that if they continued to accuse the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration, their secrets would also be revealed. “As a political party and close friends of ours, we are not going to reveal anything about the two former ministers, but if they continue attacking the government and its officials, we would be compelled to come out with certain facts they may not find palatable,” Minister Sirisena said.

So is this an admission by the government that they are "protecting" their "friends" even if they have criminal allegations against them? I thought this government was as cleanest one ever. I'm no lawyer, and call it a wishful thinking of a retard, but this sure sounds like obstruction of justice to me.

He said he was quite confident that no government member would join the Mangala-Sripathi group which was planning to tie up with the UNP.

Sure. This is why President Rajapaksa has warned senior party members that he would be forced to dissolve Parliament if more members crossed over. Full story here. This would be another example of political leaders acting in a mature manner and speaking with one voice.

Commenting on Mr. Samaraweera’s reported apology to the country for his role in electing Mr. Rajapaksa as the President, Minister Sirisena asked whether it meant he wanted to elect UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the President of the country.

Probably, in the present context, yes. Maybe Managala's apology meant that he shouldn't have been involved in the election at all. Who knows? It's all speculation of the past.

Minister de Silva also said both Mr. Samaraweera and Mr. Sooriyarachchi were going to commit ‘political suicide.’

Aney pavu... Minister de Silva seems to be so concerned about the political future of these two blokes -- who according to him has acted like fools and have crossed over. But the question is, if the political future of these guys are over, why is Minister de Silva so worried about them, leaving the "door open" for them to return and all that. And what about that other thing Percy said about dissolving Parliament? Maybe it's the political future of these ministers that would be over if another election were to be held...

Responding to an allegation made by Mr. Samaraweera that the 18 UNP MPs who defected were blackmailed into joining the government by holding up files containing bribery charges against them, Minister Sirisena said: “This is a ridiculous allegation. What really happened was that the list of the prospective defectors was introduced at a meeting held at the residence of Mr. Samaraweera by a prominent office-holder of the UNP, who coordinated the entire exercise. This prominent UNP Parliamentarian who is singing a different tune now was among the original 19 UNPers who were to cross over to the government.”

But this is not that obvious given that Minister Sirisena earlier mentioned that they would be protecting their "friends." It can therefore be inferred that this protection would not be extended to non-friends, and if protection was needed, non-friends had to become "friends." Is it a coincidence that the names of these guys are mentioned in the COPE report, with serious
questions being raised about their activities

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Another Failed Goal: SL Stuck at 25 in Failed States 2007 List

Sri Lanka recently ranked a dismal 25th place in the "Failed States 2007" rankings, as ranked by the Foreign Policy magazine.

Advanced economies such as Sudan, Iraq, Somalia & Zimbabwe took high honors at the top of the rankings, with Sudan leading the prestigious rankings as the most Failed State. Sri Lanka was given good competition by Yemen and the Republic of Congo who ranked 24th and 26th respectively.

Reacting to the rankings, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that this ranking shows that the country is clearly headed towards the development goals set in the Mahinda Chinthana. "If not for the treasonic actions of a few disgruntled elements who are sympathizing with the LTTE, we would have been able to be number one" Rajapaksa is reported to have said.

When questioned about the "Asian" friends in the list, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that he was happy to see Pakistan in the list, and acknowledged that Sri Lanka would strive to achieve the high standards set by that country. However, he also expressed disappointment that India, China and Japan -- all considered close friends of Sri Lanka, have not made a serious effort to be in this list. "As Asian countries, it is important that we recognize the unity of our brotherhood and strive for the greater goals together. Otherwise, the terrorists win -- and that's not fair" added Gotabhaya.

Full article & rankings:

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Kekille Justice, Delivered Medamulane Style

Extracted from a speech made by Ranil Wickremesinghe at Kegalle on June 11, as published on The Sunday Leader

A Tale from Fantasy Land: The :atest Judgment of King Kekille

One day a citizen telephoned King Kekille (Kekille Rajjuruwo) and made a serious complaint. "After he came to power the cost of living has sky-rocketed and poor people like me cannot survive. Even during the Sinhala New Year, your government promised so many concessions to people which were never delivered.The prices of essential items like fuel, milk powder, bread, rice, etc., are going up every day and I cannot bear this any longer.

"The only option left is to write a suicide note and kill myself as I cannot look after my family anymore under your government." King Kekille felt very bad and pleaded with the citizen not to die. "I will find out who is responsible for all these problems and give him an appropriate punishment. Who do you think is causing this high cost of living?" the King asked. "I think this is the fault of Trade Minister," answered the citizen. So King Kekille immediately ordered the Trade Minister to come and reprimanded him. "Because of you the cost of living has gone up and poor people cannot live.

"I am going to severely punish you for this." "But sir, it is not my fault," said the Trade Minister. "This is all due to inflation and inflation is managed by the Secretary to the Treasury. It is he who should be punished." King Kekille immediately summoned the Secretary to the Treasury and gave him an earful. "It is all your fault that the inflation is high and the cost of living is going up. Poor people cannot live under these circumstances. You need to be punished." "Let me explain" said the Secretary to the Treasury."Inflation is high because I have to print money every time the Army Commander asks for more weapons."

"All this has happened because of the war he is leading." Having realised the issue, King Kekille called the Army Commander. "You are the cause for all these problems in the country.Because of this war we have to print more money and inflation is going up. Because of that the cost of living is so high, poor people cannot live.I am going to teach you a good lesson." "Wait a minute," said the Army Commander. "All these happened because your government promised to go to war with LTTE if you win. If LTTE didn't support you, you wouldn't have won."

"So this is actually the fault of LTTE." So King Kekille contacted the Norwegians and Japanese peace makers and through them summoned the LTTE. "Because you supported me to win the election now we are at war.Because of that we need to print money to buy weapons and the inflation is going up.Because of the high cost of living, poor people cannot live. I have no option left now, but to arrest all of you," he informed the LTTE leaders.

LTTE got really panicked and explained to the King:"But sir, we wouldn't have supported you, if we were not given Rs. 150 million by your brother Basil. So if you want to punish somebody you will have to really arrest Basil, who started all this."

King Kekille wanted true justice for his countrymen.So, he immediately called the police and asked them to arrest Basil, who was brought in front of the king."It is all because you gave Rs. 150 million to the LTTE, they blocked the Tamil votes in the north and allowed me to win.

"As a result we are now at war, and everything is messed up. Inflation is high and the cost of living is rising. Poor people cannot live. I have no option, but to arrest the culprit and send him to jail." "But have you forgotten I am your brother," said Basil."No one should arrest his own brother. Why don't you arrest Tiran Alles?" So King Kekille arrested Tiran Alles.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Orders to Kill... a Witness, was it?

Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, in an interview with The New York Times' New Delhi-based South Asia Correspondent Somini Sengupta has for the first time admitted that the military has been given orders to locate and kill Prabhakaran.

Meanwhile, MP Jeyaraj Fernandopulle has called for Prabhakaran to be a witness in the allegations of the Mahinda Rajapakse election campaign having financial deals with the LTTE.

Are the orders of the Defense Secretary to kill a witness or a terrorist? Perhaps this is another case of the administration suffering from Foot-in-the-Mouth.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

(pic) Mahida & Tiran -- During Happier, Simpler Times

Related Posts

Waiting for the Word of a Terrorist: Jeyaraj, Where Lies Thy Faith?

MP Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Chief Government Whip making a statement in Parliament has said that appointing a parliamentary Select Committee to investigate claims of monetary transactions between the Rajapaksa camp and the LTTE will depend on the statement LTTE leader Prabhakaran says regarding this.

If, Prabhakaran also makes this allegation then the government would be willing to appoint a Select Committee, according to Fernandopulle.

This is quite an interesting development on many spheres. Firstly, we have a Sri Lankan lawmaker disregarding statements from a fellow lawmaker in the same assembly, and also his party for added punch. He would rather take the word of Prabhakaran, it seems.

Great, now we can all put our feet up and wait until Prabhakaran comes strolling down to the 4th floor of the CID to make a statement. While we're at it, let's discuss this other business of Eelam over a cup of tea and a Marie biscuit, shall we?

I wonder, in keeping with this line of thinking, whether Prabhakaran has made any statement about Tiran Alles' involvement for him to be arrested. What about the media personnel who were arrested with allegations of LTTE connections? The infamous ali-koti givisuma then?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New Committee to Study IIGEP Observations

Responding to the report of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) headed by Justice P.N. Bhagwati, President Rajapaksa is to soon appoint another commission to study the report.
The IIGEP was first appointed as a Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate the various allegations of human rights violations in Sri Lanka, including the abductions, murders and unlawful detention of people under trumped up charges. The IIGEP was cited by President Rajapaksa as an unbiased investigation by "prominent people" from "various countries" at various international fora, highlighting the commitment of his government towards law and order.

The recent report of the IIGEP among other things noted that the IIGEP is not "a substitute for robust, effective measures including national and international human rights monitoring" while also criticizing the involvement of the attorney general's department citing obvious conflicts of interest. (public statement from IIGEP)

Responding to this latest report, President Rajapaksa is to appoint a newer committee to observe the findings of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons, and to investigate whether the IIGEP in fact acted in a professionally and independently as its mandate required.

The new committee, known as the Universal Autonomous Assembly of Prominent Personalities is to be appointed soon and nominations are currently being considered. Local and world leaders have reportedly been contacted by the Presidential Secretariat inviting them to nominate individuals. Some of the leaders contacted include Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Pervez Musharraf, Mervyn Silva, Dick Chaney and of course, Robert Mugabe.

International Independent Group of Eminent Persons - Public Statement

Below is the text of the public statement made by the IIGEP. The full statement including the responses will be published on LWB soon.
International Independent Group of Eminent Persons
Public Statement

On 1 June 2007, we, the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP), submitted our first Interim Report to the President of Sri Lanka. The report contains our observations and concerns about the President’s Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Alleged Serious Violations of Human Rights (the Commission).

We reported to the President that the Commission has so far made hardly any noticeable progress in investigations and inquiries since its inception in November 2006. Moreover, since our formation in February 2007, we have identified and raised a number of concerns with the Commission and the Government of Sri Lanka. We remain concerned that current measures taken by the Government of Sri Lanka and the Commission to address issues such as the independence of the Commission, timeliness and witness protection are not adequate and do not satisfy international norms and standards.

Independence: We are concerned about the role of the Attorney General’s Department as legal counsel to the Commission. The Attorney General’s Department is the Chief Legal Adviser to the Government of Sri Lanka. Members of the Attorney General’s Department have been involved in the original investigations into those cases subject to further investigation by the Commission itself. As such, members of the Attorney General’s Department may find that they are investigating themselves. Furthermore, it is possible that they be called as material witnesses before the Commission. We consider these to be serious conflicts of interest, which lack transparency and compromise national and international standards of independence and impartiality that are central to the credibility and public confidence of the Commission.

We are concerned that the Commission’s finances are managed by the Presidential Secretariat. The Commission does not have financial independence enabling it to exercise control of its human resources and operations. In particular, the Commission should be allocated sufficient funds to secure the permanent confidentiality, safety and integrity of its victim and witness protection scheme.

Timeliness: We are concerned that the Commission did not commence even preliminary investigations and inquiries until May 2007, despite being constituted six months earlier in November 2006. To date, internal processes have not been transparent; no detailed work plan has been announced; essential staff have not yet been fully recruited; investigative and witness protection units are not functioning; and significantly, evidence already known to be in the possession of Governmental bodies relating to the cases has not been gathered and transmitted to us. Such unnecessary delays undermine public confidence in the ability of the
Commission to carry out its mandate in a timely manner.

Witness protection: We are concerned that there are no adequate victim and witness protection provisions under Sri Lankan law. We are of the view that witness protection is absolutely essential in order to investigate serious violations of human rights that are within the Commission’s mandate. Appropriate legislation that accords with international norms and standards should be enacted and implemented as soon as possible to protect victims and witnesses.

We regret that the Commission still has no functioning victim and witness protection mechanism. In the absence of appropriate legislation, an effective scheme or functioning protection unit, we fail to understand how the Commission could have invited the public, as it did as recently as 14 May 2007, to come forward and give evidence. As the Commission is operating without witness protection legislation, it is unable to guarantee the safety and security of witnesses. Summoning and examining potential victims and witnesses may create fear in their minds about safety and security, deterring them from coming forward to give

Mandates: The Presidential Warrant limits the scope of the Commission to a retrospective and fact finding role. The core work of the Commission is to obtain information, investigate and inquire into alleged serious violations of human rights arising since 1 August 2005, including 16 specific cases; and to examine prior investigations into these cases. The Commission is required to make findings and report to the President on the facts and circumstances pertaining to each case; the descriptions, nature and backgrounds of the victims; the circumstances that may have led to, or resulted in, those persons suffering such deaths, injury or physical harm; the identities, descriptions and backgrounds of the persons and groups responsible for the commission of deaths and other acts; measures of reparation to be provided to the victims; and ecommendations in order to prevent the occurrence of incidents in the nature of those investigated and any other recommendations considered as relevant.
The IIGEP, comprising of 11 Members, has been invited by the President to observe the investigations and inquiries of the Commission, in order to ensure transparency and observance of international norms and standards. The IIGEP does not have a mandate to conduct independent investigations and inquiries; nevertheless, we are open to all persons who wish to provide information and evidence on the cases under review by the Commission.

Although we are obliged by the Presidential Invitation to transmit third party information to the Commission, it would not be right for us to disclose any information without the consent of the third party, or which may impair the safety or security of such third parties until we are satisfied that effective, functioning and credible witness protection measures are in place. We regret that public statements from State officials are creating the misleading impression that the Commission and IIGEP have wide mandates and powers and the resources to address ongoing alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka. This is not the case. In the current context, in particular, the apparent renewed systematic practice of enforced disappearance and the killings of Red Cross workers, it is critical that the Commission and IIGEP not be portrayed as a substitute for robust, effective measures including national and international human rights monitoring.

P N Bhagwati
Chairman, IIGEP

Foot-in-the-Mouth Disease: Hallmark of the Rajapaksa Administration

If not the grandstanding and the often mutually exclusive rhetoric thrown about prior to the Presidential elections didn't make you giggle, I am pretty sure that the recent developments in the Rajapaksa-administration sure does. If it has not, maybe you need some giggle-juice courtesy Wimal Weerawansa.

Let's take a look at the recent "eviction" saga and everything else that followed.
  1. People were rounded up and sent packing to the north, resulting a huge outcry from various groups.
  2. When questioned in Parliament, defense spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella says that the people left "voluntarily," and that there was no "eviction."
  3. Supreme Court inter intervenes and stops the whole exercise.
  4. As criticism mounts, President Rajapaksa no less says that the action was wrong, ordering an investigation into finding out who was responsible for initiating such a plan.
  5. Next, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake expresses deep regret and said it should not have ever happened in the first place. Also finds fault with the police for not checking with the people involved whether they in fact wanted to go or not.
  6. The Sunday Leader exposes that the whole exercise was the idea of defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, publishing the official memo of the police.
  7. Gotabhaya defends the whole exercise saying that "anything is fair" when fighting the LTTE. In the same interview with BBC & Reuters, the defense secretary says -- "Without understanding the problem, they are trying to bully us, and we won't be isolated. We have all the SAARC countries, the Asian countries," he added. "Britain or Western countries, EU countries, they can do whatever. We don't depend on them."
  8. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, the chief government whip then makes a statement opposing the statement of the Prime Minister, saying it was uncalled for and that it affects the moral of the security forces.

That's where things stand at the time of drafting this post. The question that of course pleads an answer in such circumstances is what is the government actually saying? Here we have a situation where four top officials saying essentially four different things.

would like to know what Asian countries are specifically "with us -- no questions asked." It might do a world of good for the good secretary to realize that India was thoroughly annoyed with this eviction issue, with the PM of India even saying that he "hopes better sense will prevail" (story) in Colombo. Surely, he has also not forgotten the concerns expressed by India regarding the ongoing military operations and the need for "meaningful devolution of power." Also, wasn't there some Indian chap saying something about how Sri Lanka should not be shopping for arms in Pakistan and China?

What about Japan then? They are not so gung-ho about everything in Sri Lanka either, with the continuous aid only because of the long-standing friendship and goodwill between the two countries (thanks, JR!). However, even Japan in giving aid reasoned that they do not want the people to pay for the bungling of government.

Hypocrisy of the West or not, I don't think the defense secretary telling them off and banking a 100% on Asian-support is a good path to tread. For if not anything else, he's got to go back "home" to California, right? And I'm sure he wouldn't want to be evicted out of his home in California just because the Sheriff in town thinks he's got "no business" being there.

In conclusion, I think what we are left with at the end of the day is a government that lost at sea with no wind on its sails. While the empty rhetoric and grandstanding might attract a whistle or two from the gallery, the lack of strategy and a holistic view and appreciation of international relations has sunk Sri Lanka to the lowest ebb since the riots of the 80's, undoing in the process the hard work of people such as Lakshman Kadirgamar.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Victor "AFNS" Perera Eats Humble Pie as Political Masters Distance Themselves

In the latest developments of the whole "eviction" saga, the Prime Minister has indeed expressed regret and accepted responsibility for the unfortunate event, while saying that such incidents should not be repeated in the future. Kudos for this admission -- fingers crossed about the "investigation on who is behind the directive" though.

Proving true the claim onLWB that Victor "All Fart No Shit" Perera is capable of swallowing any punnaku soup the political masters have distanced themselves from his words, according to this piece appearing the Daily Mirror:

While rejecting Police Chief Victor Perera’s claim that the Tamil dwellers had left the lodges on their own accord, the Premier said, “Police had asked from them whether they want to go or not only after they were taken to Vavuniya and not while they were in Colombo.” [full story]

Why oh why we're wasting our tax money and heavy debt on these jackasses, I have no idea!

Financial Times: Why is Business Silent (About Corruption) ?

Source: Financial Times

Why is Business Silent?

Every Monday morning, most Sri Lankans wonder what’s in store for them. Rather than look at the week ahead with a lot of vigour, vitality, drive and passion, we have become a nation of what one would call the “what next or so what” mentality.

Never a day passes without distressing news on the warfront of combatants dying on either side of the fence. But that doesn’t worry too many people. “Why bother” is the commonly accepted expression.

The biggest news to hit us and trigger the “why bother” response was the alleged involvement of Treasury Secretary Dr P.B. Jayasundera in the alleged financial deal that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had with the LTTE prior to the election. If this is true – and the Treasury Secretary hasn’t denied the report – it is the first time that a high powered official from an important ministry has been implicated in such a transaction.

Civil society was appalled by this development and in any other developed society the accused would have quit and defended his innocence, if that was the case, outside. But in the Sri Lankan case, the Treasury Secretary appears to have chosen to ignore the report. However, shouldn’t he clear his name?

On the other hand the politicisation of ‘permanent’ secretaries is not new. It happened during President J.R. Jayewardene’s time, followed by Ranasinghe Premadasa, Chandrika Kumaratunga and now Mahinda Rajapaksa. So in this sense, it’s a follow the leader kind of exercise. But shouldn’t this kind of behaviour stop and parliament be called to review the role of the permanent secretary?

The high priests of the business community are also a pathetic lot – choosing to ignore or only raise concerns of the state of Sri Lanka in private. The Chamber of Commerce (CCC) statement this week was a weak attempt to draw attention to the growing crisis in Sri Lanka.

There were two massive business conferences – the CCC’s economic summit and the CIMA Business Summit. But these chose to sidestep or ignore the crises with probably some passing reference if it came to economic stability. The business community came with all guns firing in 2001 when its bottom-line was hit after a series of LTTE attacks (Colombo airport and oil refinery) and a crisis in US markets for garments.

With profits sharply down, some groups within the CCC came together to launch the Sri Lanka First initiative with a massive ‘hold hands for peace’ involving close to a million people across Sri Lanka being the focus of attention. It was the biggest display of private sector involvement in a non-business but political issue.

What has happened to that initiative – at a time when business desperately needs some leadership and direction to ensure that the fighting ends and peace talks resume? US Ambassador Robert Blake was among those who this week said there was an urgent need for a negotiated settlement to the war and noted how much had been lost in terms of investment due to the conflict. His audience – top business leaders; any discussion on this issue? As far as we know, NO. At the same time as these conferences were taking place, hundreds of Tamils were being bussed out of the city against their will!

While the crises and uncertainty increase, lopsided government policies are not helping even those who choose to invest. For example local companies that have invested in mini-hydro and dendro power projects are coming up against a wall of bureaucratic processes that would deter any foreign investor.

The approvals are so numerous that companies have spent months in going from desk to desk at some government office trying to get the project off the ground.

These are national projects intended to ease the acute power crisis plaguing this country. While this ‘harassment’ goes on, Power Minister W.J.M. Seneviratne in a statement this week spoke of a major power crisis and warned of power cuts in the future!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Aney Manda Sarath!!

Percy : Aney manda Sarath, what do you think you’re doing?
Sarath : errr… what now?
Percy : What do you think you’re doing, stopping the Tamils from being evicted?
Sarath : My job, perhaps?
Percy : Righttt… so you are doing your “job” now, all of a sudden.. You’re making life difficult for me
Sarath : ea kiwwe?
Percy : This is not the first time you’ve ruled against my government. First you went and gave that Brigadier a promotion. Then you said brother Gota doesn’t have the authority to close down Tiran’s business… and now this… What the…
Sarath : Watch your language Percy… I’ll hold you in contempt…
Percy : Aney mey… umbei magei contempt!!
Sarath : Percy, listen now. You can’t be acting like a bull in the china-shop just because you’ve got the brains and the balls to match. You’ve got to get about these things in rather diplomatic way…
Percy : bull in the mokak?
Sarath : Son – look, I helped you double cross the lady and eventually land in this job. And now that WE are here, it’s important to stay here. What these idiots was doing was about to create a major international condemnation against us…
Percy : Condemn karanna accident ekak uney naa ne… Ceylinco VIP eken gevai
Sarath : Gono…
Percy : Yes?
Sarath : Mung karapu booru wade nisaa api thava podden nombara eke parippuvak kanava. Umbata mathaka nedda Indiyaaven baapu parippu packet?
Percy : Appata hudu – aththa thamai… Mata danui therune… Machang, umba nang deiyyek Sarath. Honda velaavata navaththuve!
Sarath : Yes. I have set the stage for you… Now all you have to do is blame some idiots and wash your hands off the whole incident
Percy : Righttt… Mata innava nombara ekey porak – ekata ona punnakku soup ekak powanna puluwan.
Sarath : Kawda pora?
Percy : Victor Pada-Show Perera… Mama oota poddak benala, inquiry ekak daanang… ethakota okkoma hari!
Sarath : Hmmm… sounds ok
Percy : Ehenang mang gehin ennang… Bohoma isthoothi machang support ekata!
Sarath : Shape shape… api passe balaagamuko…

Thursday, June 7, 2007

My Apologies to the Tamil Community

As ashamed as I feel right now, I would like to extend my sincerest apologies to the entire Tamil community who are suffering from the irresponsible, unconscionable and blatantly racist behavior of the Sri Lankan government.

The rounding-up of Tamil-speaking people, who, being Sri Lankan citizens apart, "had no good reason to be in Colombo" and herding them off to northern areas of the country is not only a violation of basic human rights, morality and a dereliction of duty of a responsible government, but an ample demonstration of apartheid-policies of an increasingly racist Sinhalese government.

While I understand that security concerns are real and present, there are appropriate ways and means to fight those -- including the dreaded emergency regulations that have been used with good effect over the last twenty-odd years. What is the point of fighting to "protect the constitution" and the "sovereign state" when a government cannot guarantee its citizens the most basic, the most fundamental, and the most needful of rights? In my opinion, everything else in such a situation takes a secondary role.

However, rounding up of people like this based on the sole criteria of race marks a new low in this conflict that has marred post-independent Sri Lanka. This incident goes beyond the riots (they were done by mobs), and the massacres at Sri Maha Bodhi and the bombing at Dalada Maligawa (they were done by "terrorists").

This time around however, the most shameful of actions are done by none other than the official government, the officers of the law, and the defenders of the citizenry in collusion.

Today, I stand ashamed than ever before for the actions of our government. Today, I extend my heartfelt sympathies to the Tamil community the world over for the shameful actions of our government. And today I stand convinced than ever before that the struggle for Tamil Eelam is thus justified even to the most ignorant observer -- our Sinhalese governments just don't understand.

Beating a Dead Horse: Names Named as State Sponsored Abductions Continue Unabated

This probably is truly beating a dead horse, but beating it must be done (lest the horse does not drink the water it was lead to). It started with abductions of Tamil businessmen, and extended to the Muslim community, and has now made the transition to the Sinhalese as well.

What is all the more shocking -- no wait, I take that back. What is all the more interesting is the little or no effort done by the authorities to stem these recent developments. The little or no effort, however, can be attributed to the growing perception that the government and the security forces are indeed behind these activities.

Accusations are made directly at top government personalities by none other than coalition partner JVP and the main opposition party, the UNP. Such accusations, were made formally during the emergency debate in Parliament by JVP MP Ramalingam Chandrasekaran and UNP MP Laxman Seneviratne.

One instance that seems to directly implicate highly connected officials include a recent abduction in Kandy, where a businessman was lured in with an apparent meeting with a prospective client. The folks who called in the ransom has assured the "delivery-person" safe passage all the way to Kandy from Colombo, without questions being asked at security check-points.

Among the accused for direct involvement of abductions, demands for ransom and murders are government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella, Mervyn Silva, Colombo DIG Rohan Abeywardane, former Air Force squadron leader Nishantha Gajanayake, and defence secratary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Mr. Victor "All-Fart-No-Shit" Perera, in the meantime continues his tough-talking to the media while the public in general lives on with nothing but a sense of fear to look forward to.

Reproduced on LWB is a clip of AFNS Victor Perera talking to the media, around the 20th of May.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Hora-Police Investigations -- The Lifeblood of Sri Lankan Justice

Scotland Yard is apparently descend once again to Sri Lanka, for the umpteenth time, to investigate yet another murder. This time, the two workers of who worked for the Red Cross.

Percy Mahinda has given the Police seven days to come up with "vital clues." However, considering all the murders, abductions, violations of human rights, arrests, and unlawful detentions that have come to define Sri Lankan life over the last two decades, I think there would be some questions we should do well to ponder. When I say "we" I mean anyone who fancies a conclusive investigation in to all this, including the ICRC & UN.

  1. How many murders have occurred in Sri Lanka over the past 20 years outside the "operational areas"?
  2. How many Presidential, Ministerial and Judicial instructions have been issued in those instances to conduct "independent, impartial investigations notwithstanding the status, reputation or influence of the suspects concerned" ?
  3. How many of those investigations have been concluded?
  4. How many convictions has there been?
  5. How many convicts have gone to jail?
  6. How many times has the Sri Lankan government invited "foreign experts" to help investigations? Were these invitations extended officially, and were they allowed to come and do their work?

It would be good to remind ourselves that the brutal murders of President Premadasa, and people like Gamini Dissanayake, Lalith Athulathmudali, Lakshman Kadirgamar to name a few high-profile cases are still not concluded. While the LTTE is suspected, they have never been brought to court. However, the LTTE leaders have been convicted in India for the murder of Rajiv Gandhi.

Some other cases off the top of my mind include the assault / shooting at Lasantha Wickramatunge, Sirasa TV, Rookantha, and the recent murder of Ven. Handungamuwe Nandarathana Thero.

So, Percy Mahinda and Victor "All-Fart-No-Shit" Perera can do all the posturing they want, but I certainly wouldn't, and would recommend others too, to not hold their breath in anticipation.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Justice Prevails in the Arrest of Tiran Alles

"Accursed be he who plays with the devil."

A fair bit has been said and written about the arrest of Tiran Alles, the apparent mastermind of the Rajapaksa coup-de-tat against the Republic of Sri Lanka, vis-a-vis the Presidential election of 2005. The assumption of this post is that the reader is well aware of the basic facts behind the story, as published by the popular media in Sri Lanka.

Although the circumstances under which Tiran Alles has been questioned and arrested is indeed questionable, I am of the view that it is indeed justified. Furthermore, I see this as a rare occassion where the Rajapaksa administration, has delivered justice.

Tiran Alles has by his own admission stated that he indeed held discussions, and dealings with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to ensure a "favorable outcome" during the election. This was done apparently under the instructions of them Prime Minister and Presidential candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa. The thought to ponder is, why-oh-why did Tiran Alles chose to engage in such blatantly illegal, unethical behaviors.

Such behavior, apart from being illegal and unethical, is in my opinion treason committed agasint the state -- where one engaged in activities to circumvent the will of the people. The fact that he was under the instructions f Mahinda Rajapakse or a close associate of Mangala Samaraweera is no excuse. While the fact that they, too, should be tried for the same crimes is an obvious fact, the point is for whatever reason they are not.

I can't really understand why Tiran Alles is playing the victim here, or how anyone can with a straight face say that he is. The only thing Tiran & Mangala can complain is that Mahinda Rajapaksa is not willing to turn a blind eye on the dirty work they have done. If he so chose to prostitute his ethics and morality, contrary to the strict discipline his father instilled in his students, then it is indeed upto him to face the consequences.

So, stress or no-stress Tiran Alles had better be prepared to pay for the crimes he committed. If he is about to take the other associates down along with him, so be it -- more the merrier. I hope the United National Party will not go out on a limb to save this traitor, but would rather focus its efforts to expose the true nature of the entire deal and expose everyone involved in this shameful affair.

"Accursed be he who plays with the devil."

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Dancing with the Devil: Alles Misses a Step

Two days before the arrest of Tiran Alles a letter was sent to IGP Victor Perera by Attorney at Law Neville Abeyratne which outlines the motives behind the TID investigations. This letter, which was published in the Sunday Leader is reproduced here for those who are interested.

I write on the instruction of my client Mr. Tiran Alles of No 345/33, Kuruppu Lane, Colombo 8, who is presently receiving treatment at Nawaloka Hospital, Colombo.

I have been instructed by my client to state that you will recall that during the last three months, my client has at all times presented himself when required to make statements. My client has made statements on several occasions to you voluntarily and readily.

I have been instructed by my client to state that my client voluntarily made a visit to the TID for a meeting with SSP Wakishta on the 19th of April 2007.

I have been further instructed by my client to state that at no time between 30th March 2007 and 20th May 2007 was my client asked to make any statement.

I have been instructed by my client to state that my client may point out that it was in this period that high level negotiations were proceeding in order to induce Hon. Mangala Samaraweera to join the cabinet.

I have been instructed by my client to state that on 16th May 2007, Hon Mangala Samaraweera refused to join the cabinet.

I have been further instructed by my client to state the very next day (17th May 2007) a team of officials from the TID visited my client's office in order to carry out investigations. They spent almost six hours in my client's office.

I have been instructed by my client to state that on the following day (18th May 2007) my client's accountant was called to the TID for questioning. That same evening my client was contacted by IP Abeysinghe and was requested to be present at the TID on the following day to give a statement.

I have instructed by my client to state that my client informed the TID that both his children were sitting important examinations (the son was doing Advanced Level and the daughter was doing Ordinary Level) and that the son was having high fever and was very worried about my client being summoned again. My client therefore, requested that he be allowed to make a statement on 21st Monday. This request however was not accepted and he was asked to make a statement on 20th May 2007 (Sunday). He was at the TID on this day for over four hours.

I have been instructed by my client to state that my client has always been a close associate of Hon Mangala Samaraweera.

I have been further instructed by my client to state that my client is being harassed due to a political fall out.

I have also been instructed by my client to state that my client is presently hospitalised at Nawaloka Hospital, Colombo. On 24th of May 2007, SSP Wakishta, CI Prasanna Alwis and two others had visited my client at the hospital. On 27th May 2007, SSP Wakishta and SSP Kapila Jayasekara had visited my client at the hospital. I am made to understand that my client had been receiving telephone calls practically everyday from the investigating offers inquiring as to whether he is still receiving treatment.

I have been instructed by my client to state that at all times it was indicated to you that my client was willing to make statements from hospital when he was well enough to do so. My client is ready and willing to make any statements from hospital at a time when he is well enough to do so.

I have been instructed by my client to state that you will appropriate that my client cannot be discharged from hospital without the consent of his medical advisors. My client is diagnosed to be having Angiooedema which is stress related where an attack can be fatal.

In these circumstances I have been instructed by my client to reiterate that my client is willing to make statements at my time to assist your so called investigation though my client does not accept your bona fides.

I have been instructed by my client to state that my client cannot, however leave the hospital as he is medically advised not to do so.

Copies to
1. Deputy Inspector General,

Criminal Investigations Department, (CID)
4th floor, New Secretarial Building,
Colombo 1.

2. Deputy Inspector General,
Terrorist Investigation Department (TID)
Chaitiya Road, Colombo 1

3. Deputy Inspector General - Legal,
Police Headquarters, Colombo 1

4. SSP Wakishta,
Criminal Investigations Department, (CID)
4th floor, New Secretarial Building,
Colombo 1.