Rajapaksa dynasty doing as they please in Sri Lanka

The story about Minister Mervyn Silva tying a Samurdhi Officer to a tree as punishment for not participating in a dengue prevention programme in the Kelaniya district was bad enough. The statement made by the UPFA General Secretary, Susil Premajayantha that the party or the government is not responsible for the actions of Minister Mervyn Silva opens up far more serious issues.   What we can infer from what the UPFA General Secretary said, is that neither the UPFA nor the government has any control over its Ministers.  The pertinent question then is:  who is in control? Surely,  we not are supposed to believe that the Cabinet of Ministers act as individuals and are not accountable to anyone in the government?

Minister Premajayantha consciously or unconsciously has just revealed the true state of affairs in Sri Lanka under the Rajapakse regime.  And the state of affairs simply is that anyone who has the goodwill of the Rajapakse dynasty can pretty much do as they please.  Everyone else had better watch out. Consider if you will, the following:

  1. Former Army Commander and current MP Sarath Fonseka is charged with engaging in politics while in the Army; the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse who campaigned openly during the Presidential and General elections,  goes on international television saying that Sarath Fonseka will be ‘hung’ for his crimes. (This is of course just one of the charges being trumped up against Sarath Fonseka but in order to keep this article to a reasonable length let’s just stick with this one).
  2. KP, the leader of the LTTE’s international network, who raised funds and procured arms for the organisation is allowed to meet representatives of the Tamil diaspora, travel to the North and East, speak on the telephone, conduct news conferences and has other special privileges.  He was smart enough apparently to admire a Buddha statue in the Defence Secretary’s office.  In the meantime, thousands of young women and men who are suspected of being linked to the LTTE (including those who were forcibly recruited) and who have no opportunity to charm the Defence Secretary, are detained with no notification to their families, proper charges or access from independent observers.
  3. The same KP is allowed (no, escorted) on a tour of detention centres and refugee camps in the North while elected members of parliament from the JVP are refused entry and are obstructed while on a fact finding tour of war affected areas in the North.
  4. Journalists critical of the government and the Rajapakse dynasty are constantly threatened, intimidated and harassed while those who are willing to lie and sing paeans of praise of the dynasty and its doings are feted as ethical journalists.
  5. Students , trade unions and civil society members exercising their right to express opinions and protest are beaten, tear gassed and arrested; MP Wimal Weerawansa who makes Sri Lanka the laughing stock of the world and leads a riot against the UN staff in Sri Lanka is tenderly resurrected by the President after a three day ‘fast’.  And the police who were on the scene trying to maintain law and order are peremptorily ordered to back off by the Defence Secretary.
  6. Duminda de Silva, who has been accused of  rape, sexual harassment and drug dealing  among many other things,  campaigned with no restrictions during the provincial council and general elections recently while UNP Colombo district candidate Susil Kindelpitiya was arrested for sexual harassment and refused bail for the duration of the general election campaign.

This list could go on but I think the point is clear enough.  The Rajapakse dynasty systematically and mercilessly hunts down its opponents while protecting its supporters. In the process there is no law, procedure, custom, tradition, value or ethic that is safe from violation.  The only law or value that is of any significance is that which will strength and protect the dynasty.  Poor old Minister Susil Premajayantha; how he must have hated being asked his opinion of Mervyn Silva’s actions!  Unable to speak the truth, that is that Mervyn Silva is the President’s Thug-in-Chief, can therefore do anything he wants and that the UPFA exits as a political party merely in name, he says something incredibly stupid, which just reveals to the world, the extent to which the Rajapakse dynasty has strangled systems of accountability, due process, law and order within the political and governing systems in this country.

I wonder what those within the UPFA, the SLFP and others supporting this regime and people like Vasudeva Nanayakkara or Tissa Vitharana, who claim to come from a radical political tradition, think about all of this:  How do they feel when Wimal Weerawansa and Mervyn Silva seem to take turns at exposing this regime’s crassness, mediocrity and callousness?  What drug are they on that enables them to continue to support and justify this regime?  How do the Ministers and MPs feel when they are constantly sidelined, overruled and ignored by members of the family dynasty? What do they feel when the dynasty’s youngest member has more power than the most senior member of the SLPF? Do they not fear for their own lives and their political futures? That there must be some rumblings of discontent is evident by the recent news report of a three day ‘workshop’ down south that is being planned for the UPFA MPs.  We can all imagine what kind of a ‘workshop’ that is going to be!!  But is there no one among those MPs and advisors with an ounce of self-respect, who  might feel a twinge of conscience, a pang of guilt, a sense of duty to his or her constituents,  who will stand up to the President’s charm offensive, the wining and the dining?

But there is something that is more powerful than any drug in the world that makes it possible to condone and justify the most horrific acts; and that is self-deception.  Just think of all those who supported Nazi Germany.  There are those among us who believe the President when he says that not a drop of civilian blood was shed while defeating the LTTE.  There are those among us who believe that the streets of Colombo look better without beggars or street children and can ignore the atrocities that happened to those human beings in order to clear the streets for our visual pleasure.  They can whizz down the newly repaired roads to Arugam Bay, Nilaveli and Nagadipa and not see the oppression and the fear among the people around them.  They also believe that journalists kill themselves or cook up stories to obtain visas to foreign countries and burnt down media institutions to claim insurance.  These are the same people who believed that the Beeshanaya of the late 1980s and early 1990s was justified because the state had to maintain law and order.  These are also the same people who believe that torture is justified if it is a means of arriving at the ‘truth’ since the truth will ‘protect’ us.  They believe that Sri Lanka doesn’t have to respect human rights because the USA and the UK do not.  This self-deception is what makes it possible for Mervyn Silva to be regarded as a joke, a media personality and even a ‘protector’ of people, using every means  to take care of his electorate instead  of seeing him for the cruel, arrogant and conscienceless thug that he really is.  It is also what makes it possible for this totalitarian and corrupt regime to be considered to have brought peace and stability to Sri Lanka.

Self- deception may be comforting, but it is a temporary comfort.  It is also dangerous because by the time we rouse ourselves from its stupor, it may be too late.  But just remember, one day we will have to wake up – and what we see around us then will be far from pretty.

  • Heshan

    Well, it should be obvious now who the real so-called “terrorists” are. Whatever the LTTE did, GOSL can do equally well, if not better, given the easy diplomatic cover. The civilians in the South are well aware of this, given the JVP insurrection and the corresponding *brutal* military response, while the Tamils in the North and East are still coming to terms with three decades of near total militarization of their societies. In my view, the only lasting buffer to the nationalist plague exploited by GOSL is a vibrant middle class. According to Wikipedia, 14% of the population is surviving on less than $1.25 USD per day. Clearly, what is needed is some kind of comprehensive economic reform – revenue from tea, revenue from tourism, and remittances from Lankans abroad are not sufficiently comprehensive in scope. For example, I would guess that due to the economic recession, tourism has not increased significantly, despite the end of the war. As far as tea is concerned, the labor is confined to a rather small segment of the population.

    The solution that I have mentioned earlier on this forum itself, is for SL to industrialize. Given the vast amount of natural resources, this should not be difficult to do. GOSL should try and create a class of highly skilled technical workers, e.g. IT/engineering, such as one finds in India. As is the case in India, this can only be accomplished by allowing private educational institutes into the market, to compete with state-subsidized degree granting institutions.

    Unfortunately, the current pictures shows that the main priority of GOSL is still defense. This is a phenomenon entangled in politics. As the title of the article indicates, the Rajapakse’s are in complete control. Development/reconstruction is no exception. One must ask why China was awarded so many contracts, and allowed to use its own labor force, when unemployment in the island is at a peak. One must ask whether the country (SL) truly lacks enough technical workers to build a harbor, road, or bridge. Those patriots in the South who gloss over the architectural wonders supposedly destroyed by the Tamil *invaders* ought to especially consider the last point.

    All in all, the author is spot-on to fault the Rajapakse’s for the current direction the country is taking. They are exploiting a political system that thrives on intransigence. The cost of the latter is then borne by other sectors of society. And the larger segment of the population, too *poor* to fight back, remains passive.

  • justitia

    The dynasty has captured two more MPs & is short of only five more for a two
    thirds majority in parliament. These two MPs have forsaken their promises to those who voted for them and have betrayed them. In sri lanka, every politician has his price. In November, some more will cross over if this trend continues. Mahinda Rajapakse is waiting patiently for it to happen.He is preoccupied with political survival and has no time for little things like Mervyn Silva tying public officers to trees. Mervyn has done similar things already and nothing happened – he has got away with it.
    When the two thirds is a reality, that will be the downfall/decline of sri lanka into a full brutal dictatership with a manipulated constitution. The era of a neo-nazism is about to begin. The Storm Troopers have practised already what to do – the Siyatha torching was one more training session.
    A verdict against General Fonseka will strengthen the dictatership, which already has a puppet attorney general and a servile judiciary under its iron control. 77 departments are already controlled by the dynasty.
    Only God can save the country.

  • niranjan

    ” I believe the absence of widespread anger matters enormously for this reason: that democracy can thrive in a turbulent climate.
    Where there is acquience, cynicism, passivity, resignation, ‘inactivism”, the road is clear for those who would rob us of our rights.”-
    Imaginery Homelands(page 162)-Salman Rushdie

  • niranjan

    Heshan,

    The problem with industrialisation in Sri Lanka is that some of her old elite do not belive in industrilaisation. The reason is that if there is industrialisation then ordinary people will star earning a higher income and through that income will pose a challenge to the status of the old ruling elite. Certain members of the old ruling elite hate to see poor people coming up in life buying property/ houses etc.
    It is sad indeed that there is this kind of thinking amongst the old elite in this country even though we live in the 21 century.

  • Suresh

    I wonder what the people who voted for this government are going to say when their children and grandchildren ask them what they were thinking of??

  • Heshan

    niranjan:

    The following tidbit from none other than Sarath Fonseka sums it all up nicely:

    ” I believe genuine democracy is only enjoyed by the people in the western world today. A majority of Sri Lankans are unaware of this as they have never seen the political conditions in those countries and our corrupt politicians are exploiting this short coming. Sri Lankans must realise the value of their franchise and use it wisely to ensure they elect those who will govern in a democratic manner benefitting the people rather than a selected few. ”

    http://www.lankaenews.com/English/news.php?id=9819

    Once a proponent of nationalism, Fonseka has become it’s victim… In a sense, though, everyone who is not an ally or supporter of the Rajapakse’s stands to become a victim. It is an indicator that the small elite centered around the Rajapakse’s exerts life and death power over the ordinary citizen. Fonseka must have realized it the hard way, what with his son-in-law and other family members investigated.

  • Nithyananthan

    Fine! We both, the Tamils and the Sinhalese brethren, have inherited a lot from forefathers through out the past millennia to be of what we were; and there are ample proven reasons to take pride as ‘Lankan’. What do we have, today?

    Nowadays, as usual, are we going to add this episode to our illustrious list of catalogue as an added ‘Accomplishment’ and recite our traditional still fashionable high-flying trade-mark ‘Our Way’ – bluntly or politely that ‘Our Home-Grown Sri Lankan Way’? If it’s so, then we, the Eelam Tamils, don’t want to join the bandwagon with the banner of ‘Sri Lankan Way”. – Neither blessed to be fortunate nor strong enough to bear and share the pride of being the ‘Our Way’. Dr. Mervin Silva’s ulterior motives and intentions may be good and appreciable, yet the methods he adopts to demonstrate them thus far is not at all acceptable. Tamils can not afford to be a part of such ‘Way’. Thanks, Nithy!

  • http://- Sam Thambipillai

    At least six major, genuine and serious attempts were made desperately to preserve lives and prevent genocide during the month of March last year, about three months before the genocide of 40,000 Tamil civilians by the armed forces of the government of Sri Lanka(GOSL) and about 450,000 were forced into military run camps.

    But none of the six attempts could prevent the terrible calamity.

    The six attempts were;

    1. Bishop Desmond Tutu and 20 other learned persons asked Britain to take the war in SL to the UN Security Council.

    2. The US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, requested the GOSL to stop firing rockets at civilians.

    3. The US, initiated a plan to evacuate IDP’s from “Safe Zone Area”.

    4. Navi Pillay, the chief of the UNHRC, visited India and asked the GOSL to accept UN monitors.

    5. Eric Solheim of Norway, spoke to Mr Nadesan of the Political division of the LTTE telephonically for about 30 minutes.

    6. People demonstrated and demanded that the genocide of Tamils in Tamil Eelam be stopped; 25,000 people in front of EU parliament, 75,000 in Canada and others in other countries.

    Inspite of all these desperate attempts to save the lives of the people by the UN and the International Community(IC), many bombs were dropped, rockets were fired ruthlessly and people were thrown into concentration camps supervised by the same “killer soldiers”. No permission was granted either for the UN or IC to supervise or enter these terrible camps.

    Upto now, not even a single war criminal is brought to Justice.

    A UN inquiry on the genocidal conduct of the GOSL is inevitable and urgent as expressed by “Elders” last week.

    The inquiry should try to answer the following questions;

    a) Why did these genuine and serious attempts by humanity, to prevent crime against humanity, fail ?

    b) How could such genocide be averted?

    C) How did this barabrism in SL come about?

  • ram kapoor

    Where is a comment from Dayan Jayatilleka when you want one? One which whitewashes the MR regime and/or somehow justifies this craziness! p.s.really I love you dayan! good job at the UN last year!

  • Ratna

    but that’s what the Sinhalese wanted, a KING!!
    Lankans elected King Mahinda Rajapakse with a thundering majority, and that’s what you get.

    Please don’t complain.

  • indonicus

    Ram,

    Dayan is checking Gramsci’s work. He needs gramscian wisdom at times like this. Await some scintillating observations.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Suresh,

    I wonder what the people who voted for this government are going to say when their children and grandchildren ask them what they were thinking of??

    What will you tell your children and grandchildren when they ask why you supported the LTTE that brought nothing but misery to the Tamils?

  • wijayapala

    Hi Sam

    At least six major, genuine and serious attempts were made desperately to preserve lives and prevent genocide during the month of March last year,

    How many attempts were made to preserve life in 2006 when all the LTTE supporters were giggling about Iruthi Por and putting us Sinhala modayas in our place?

  • Tharu

    I agree with what Heshan has said, but I also feel that it would be difficult for the government of Sri Lanka to implement those policies without suffering significant voter backlash. If one analyzes the voting public of Sri Lanka, one will find that the ‘rural Sinhalese’ and the ‘urban lower class Sinhalese’ are the dominant demographic groups, and both tend towards the socialist left in ideology. Further, President Rajapaksa’s governing coalition of left-wing parties – the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA), founded by Rajapaksa’s center-left Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) – contains several socialist parties (the LSSP and the SEP being the most prominent among them). Earlier this year, Rajapaksa’s plans for a comprehensive free trade agreement with India nearly fell through, with his socialist coalition partners running a fear campaign through the media and grassroots activism, causing the president’s popularity to nosedive just months after electoral triumph. Unless Rajapaksa’s center-left Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) or the main opposition, the centre-right United National Party (UNP), wins a parliamentary majority in it’s own right (highly unlikely under the current electoral system of proportional representation), it will be impossible to legislate these reforms.

  • longus

    The article raises some valid points about Rajapakse government which bother most of Sri Lankans. Rajapakse deserves all the credit that he earned upon him for defeating the LTTE-the pet of the compradors in the West and the Mesiah of the Sri Lankan Tamils! When Sam Tambi.. says that the GOSL bombed the Tamils of “Tamil Eelam” this sentiment of the Tamil elites is underlined!

    Afterwards what Rajapakse is doing now with his band of thugs is regrettable and not agreeable by any sensible person,but it doesn’t mean that if Sarath Fonseka won the Presidential election things would have been different;in fact it would have been worse-worse than the present soup!

    It’s the people who voted Rajapakse for a second term and you should respect the people’s verdict-like in the Western countries where you gentlemen live,emulate and vanerate!

    If he continues on this pathway Rajapakse is going to be very unpopular one day and the same people who voted him in will remove him as well

    On the other hand can we expect anything like that from the opposition led by a cartoon character?

  • Belle

    Wijayapala,

    “What will you tell your children and grandchildren when they ask why you supported the LTTE that brought nothing but misery to the Tamils?”

    How do you know Suresh supported the LTTE? He said nothing that indicates that in this thread.

  • Observer

    Samanmalee, why is cooperating with KP wrong if good can come out of it? Are we supposed to just jail this guy because he was LTTE? He’s negotiated his way to something that is close to house arrest, rather than rotting in a cell and actually helping the former rebels to rehabilitate. Now I don’t exactly know what information and funds he gave up, but it must be quite substantial. I think it was the wiser choice than going through the extreme measures of the interrogators and giving up the information the hard way.

    As for Fonseka, I distinctly remember him on the campaign trail publicly saying how he was going to hunt down the Rajapaksas if he became the president. Believe me it was quite crass and some of the thing I heard on TV, my jaw just dropped. I don’t think he can claim the higher ground.

    Mervyn is a village idiot, a thug, and he deserves to be criticised heavily. However the guy is popular in his electorate and get’s the votes. What are we supposed to do? I think your criticism should be directed at people of Kelaniya don’t you think? He’s the easy beat up guy when someone wants to beat up the government. I guess government deserves negativity attributed to him if they don’t take disciplinary measures within the party at least.

    Point is all sides of politics have their dirty henchmen and we can safely say all major political parties have their thuggery. Yes it is not right but would electing the other party have made a difference? It would have actually been worse with SF the maniac turning the country into a military dictatorship and hunting down the whole SLFP and their mothers.

    Personally, I’m just glad times of burning tyre smells and bodies in Diyawanna Oya are a distant memory. Point is people aren’t being executed on public streets like it used happen under UNP governments. We’re not getting blown up in public places by a ruthless terror outfit. I personally am actually quite happy with the government we have atm granted what we have had in the past and what we could have had. I remember the past and I appreciate. Sorry Samanmalee, the horros you forecast are nothing of what we have had to endure. You need to scare us much harder!

  • ali baba

    ram
    You know what I was thinking? Where is a comment from Malinda Seneviratne, his side-kick, when you want one? One which does the same whitewashing and dhoby work. We love you Milinda! and enjoy reading your sometimes nonsensical parodies. They keep our spirits high when theres very little else to look forward to each morning.like the recent spat with Meyler which ended with him being invited to your bring-your-own sugar tea party.

  • Heshan

    Tharu raises a good point. It easy to formulate policies that are practical and efficient, but pushing them through Parliament is another matter. Liberal policies will only happen under a liberal government that does not consist of a coalition of right-wing groups. Simply put, a conservative government will not push for liberal reform. The most dramatic example that comes to mind is that of George W. Bush. Before he took office, the US budget was balanced (in fact, there was a surplus). After he left, the global economy declined into recession. Conservative politicians/governments are always dangerous.

  • indonicus

    Observer,

    “Personally, I’m just glad times of burning tyre smells and bodies in Diyawanna Oya are a distant memory. Point is people aren’t being executed on public streets like it used happen under UNP governments. We’re not getting blown up in public places by a ruthless terror outfit.”

    So this is our benchmark now eh?

    Longus

    “If he continues on this pathway Rajapakse is going to be very unpopular one day and the same people who voted him in will remove him as well”

    That “one day” is in six years time. I guess until then we just put up with all the crap because we respect the people’s verdict and just be glad that there are no floating bodies in the Diyawanna Oya!

  • Observer

    A democracy is only strong as it’s opposition. If you believe that I strongly say that it is the current UNP opposition with its cardboard leader with the IQ (probably not his IQ rather his pragmatism) of Paris Hilton that is weakening our democracy.. if anything! Compared to rest of the 3rd world, our democracy is functioning even if its haphazardly. And to my surprise survived great revolts and armed insurgencies.

  • Belle

    Observer,

    “Are we supposed to just jail this guy because he was LTTE? He’s negotiated his way to something that is close to house arrest, rather than rotting in a cell and actually helping the former rebels to rehabilitate. Now I don’t exactly know what information and funds he gave up, but it must be quite substantial. I think it was the wiser choice than going through the extreme measures of the interrogators and giving up the information the hard way.”

    There is actually a third way, or rather the first way in that it is the most obvious option in a civilized country. That is, you could put him on trial! Strange that you would forget the existence of the law and courts. You think it’s more useful to get money out of this guy than to exercise the law and institutions of justice in SL? And it doesn’t strike you as odd that a journalist could be tried for allegedly supporting the LTTE but that a known terrorist leader will not even have a criminal record to show on his CV?

    Can we infer that this is the way you think criminals in SL should be handled? Rather than bringing charges against them, you could have them going around the country rehabilitating juvenile delinquents. And if they were robbers, you could pardon them if they give up their loot, which loot can then be re-distributed among SL’s starving ministers. The courts can then specialise in trying the innocent!

    The problem with trials is that all sorts of information comes out in them–sometimes not just info that convicts the accused, but also that which points the finger at other guilty parties who could be, say, high officials in government. Yes, that would be most inconvenient.

    I can’t think of any other reason why someone like KP would not be tried. There was already sufficient evidence to prosecute him successfully. And you could still get the money and other info, and use him for rehabilitation of others after having put him on trial.

    Usefulness and wisdom indeed!

  • Observer

    indonicus said,
    August 8, 2010 @ 4:09 am

    Observer,

    “Personally, I’m just glad times of burning tyre smells and bodies in Diyawanna Oya are a distant memory. Point is people aren’t being executed on public streets like it used happen under UNP governments. We’re not getting blown up in public places by a ruthless terror outfit.”

    So this is our benchmark now eh?

    Sorry indonicus, for that I don’t live in the utopian land you live in, where each every individual has all their rights and no one gets exploited. No one dies in violence and no corrupt politicians lurk the parliament. All the elected representatives work only for the common man and not the vested interests of private corporations. I envy you indonicus, that you somehow live in heaven and you have the luxury to criticise our benchmark. Because such a place really otherwise exists in this world right?

    What I was getting at was that we were living below the above mentioned benchmark and it wasn’t fun. We made progress and yes I agree we shouldn’t stop here now. One day hopefully we can look back to today and use this as our lowest common denominator. That would be truly wonderful no? See you in heaven one day and hopefully I can enjoy what you have!

  • Observer

    Belle said,

    Observer,

    “Are we supposed to just jail this guy because he was LTTE? He’s negotiated his way to something that is close to house arrest, rather than rotting in a cell and actually helping the former rebels to rehabilitate. Now I don’t exactly know what information and funds he gave up, but it must be quite substantial. I think it was the wiser choice than going through the extreme measures of the interrogators and giving up the information the hard way.”

    There is actually a third way, or rather the first way in that it is the most obvious option in a civilized country. That is, you could put him on trial! Strange that you would forget the existence of the law and courts. You think it’s more useful to get money out of this guy than to exercise the law and institutions of justice in SL? And it doesn’t strike you as odd that a journalist could be tried for allegedly supporting the LTTE but that a known terrorist leader will not even have a criminal record to show on his CV?

    No belle, YOU’RE saying that I forgot courts of law. It’s the contrary, I implied putting KP on trial when I said put him in jail. Because my common wisdom says that people go to trial before ending up in jail. I did not think there are people out there who would think otherwise! There was indeed enough stuff on him to put him away for some good years and make him rot in jail for life. What’s the point? The government was very pragmatic avoiding the path of revenge.

    When you start talking about journalists, I have to tread carefully, because some actually used the journalist tag to gather intelligence, run terror safe house and disseminate propaganda in SL. What I’m getting at is, if someone published a magazine called “Jihad against America” in the US they’d be facing some real legal drama from the government prosecutors as well regardless of what ever media freedom they have in the US!!! Not a single media channel other the Comedy Central (how ironic!) that gives out an unbiased view of the war efforts in the US regardless of media freedom. If they say one good thing about the enemy, they’d be branded as traitors and no Network would even take a chance. They can only do it unfortunately under a tag of satire on shows like Daily show & Colbert Report. Don’t you find that a rather sad state of affairs?

    Do you consider Julian Asange of wiki leaks as a journalist? Because a journalist is someone who helps whistleblowers. He facilitated release of explosive material that exposes US war crimes to the public and worked with some leading news agencies to publish that material in the main stream press. The US response? They already jailed the source Bradley Manning without trial and now looking for an opportunity to apprehend and question Julian Asange. So where do you draw the line of journalist/freedom of media/right to information and all other issues? Or is it in Sri Lanka only that we must treat any rogue with journalist tag with a license to irresponsibility?

    Can we infer that this is the way you think criminals in SL should be handled? Rather than bringing charges against them, you could have them going around the country rehabilitating juvenile delinquents. And if they were robbers, you could pardon them if they give up their loot, which loot can then be re-distributed among SL’s starving ministers. The courts can then specialise in trying the innocent!

    Infer away belle, I don’t really give a damn about what you infer because you don’t know me and I don’t care about your opinion of me! Personally I do believe criminals deserve a 2nd chance. I don’t think if an offender honestly confesses and give up their loot why they should not receive a reduced sentence or a pardon. In fact it’s called plea bargaining in LAW and it’s quite common practice I hear. Then again I am no lawyer.. I could be off :-P

    The problem with trials is that all sorts of information comes out in them–sometimes not just info that convicts the accused, but also that which points the finger at other guilty parties who could be, say, high officials in government. Yes, that would be most inconvenient.

    In the same token, in lot of cases both parties come to agreements and keep all the details hush, hush as well. Legal action don’t always bring all the information to light!!

    I can’t think of any other reason why someone like KP would not be tried. There was already sufficient evidence to prosecute him successfully. And you could still get the money and other info, and use him for rehabilitation of others after having put him on trial.

    It is obvious don’t you think belle? He negotiated his way into a settlement out of court! You do realise, lot of people chose to settle matters out of courts? He provided vital intel and where abouts of LTTE networks and funds to the government. Not only that he offered to build a bridge with diaspora elements that are unreachable otherwise. He is working now as a trust proxy between the government and hard line elements of diaspora who can be of use to rehabilitating ex rebels and also developing war ravaged areas for the better. I find it rather puzzling why you’re so against this? Me thinks you not likey to see SL stable, especially the North. Maybe you still have dreams of flying an eelam flag in SL in the future. Who knows…

    Usefulness and wisdom indeed!

    just rolled my eye.. haha you keep this up and that brain haemorrhage i told you about last time may actually strike me sooner than expected.

  • Observer

    Ok I’m gonna cause some controversy here, especially from patriotic US citizens who comment here like Heshan (assuming he is considering the boner he has for the US)…

    Don’t you find the way KP was renditioned and treated rather interesting compared to what US did with POWs of Afghanistan & Iraq? All the high profile Taliban insurgents apprehended in Afghanistan were treated like how they handle toxic waste. They were blind folded, all their limbs chained and then tucked in cargo planes strapped to cargo belts and then renditioned to 3rd party US friendly arab countries like Egypt where torture is allowed by authorities. After torture and what not, then they all ended up in orange jump suits spending their time in infamous Guatanamobay’s “world class resort” (as Heshan would go to great lengths to describe, since I think he designed them) cubicles.

    All I know is that KP flew business class to Sri Lanka, treated with dignity as he him self would say (yes you can argue he’s under duress, but it appears that is very unlikely the situation now) and now have freedom of communication with the outside and relative freedom of movement. SL gov could have easily stepped on the man with a giant revenge foot, shattered his will within hours under tough interrogators and broken him down. They could have easily put him in a shack like Gitmo in solitary confinement, treated him like an animal and mentally reduced him into a crazy person. But no, they forgave and reached out to him. This is good sign of reconciliation and the news I hear from former rebel rehabilitation centres are encouraging as well. I have hope that these former rebels will become useful citizens of the country and achieve their goals in other more diplomatic ways.

    http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/1607

  • ModVoice

    Belle,

    “There is actually a third way, or rather the first way in that it is the most obvious option in a civilized country. That is, you could put him on trial! Strange that you would forget the existence of the law and courts. You think it’s more useful to get money out of this guy than to exercise the law and institutions of justice in SL? And it doesn’t strike you as odd that a journalist could be tried for allegedly supporting the LTTE but that a known terrorist leader will not even have a criminal record to show on his CV?”

    Not that I am a fan of KP or Karuna but I think both of them have done much more to the Tamils than the elected representatives, namely the TNA. When the whole of IC was calling on the Sri Lankan government to give access to the internment camps where a whole lot of the population was incarcerated, nothing happened. Many in the camps were taken and done away with.Those who could afford gave thousands of foreign currency to get their loved ones out. I have also heard that Pillayan and Karuna got some of them out using their influence. KP also have gotten some of the ex-cadres released. What the TNA or others could not do, KP and Karuna were able to do – sorry but that is the reality in the kangaroo courts.

  • Belle

    Observer,

    “It is obvious don’t you think belle? He negotiated his way into a settlement out of court! You do realise, lot of people chose to settle matters out of courts? He provided vital intel and where abouts of LTTE networks and funds to the government. Not only that he offered to build a bridge with diaspora elements that are unreachable otherwise. He is working now as a trust proxy between the government and hard line elements of diaspora who can be of use to rehabilitating ex rebels and also developing war ravaged areas for the better.”

    The fact that the government captured him shows that they already had the vital info and connections to the LTTE network that they needed. Why would hard line elements of the diaspora listen to him, knowing that he is already severely compromised? And isn’t there a danger of fifth column activity in bringing these hard-line parties together?

    There is also the question of justice, which does not seem to bother you. More junior LTTE ex-cadres are still under detention while this head honcho and other senior LTTE folks, who have allegedly done far more damage to the nation, are free. So the more you have to bargain with, the better your fate? Apparently though, some other key LTTE people who surrendered have “disappeared”. Why disappear them when you could put them on trial?

    Also, maybe this hasn’t made your news but there are quite a few LTTE fund raisers from overseas who have been rotting in your jails for quite a few years now. Why haven’t they been tried? I hear there’s a roaring business on getting them to pay for legal advice and ‘get out of jail free’ cards that somehow never seem to work!

    Has anyone from LTTE been put on trial? And why not? Do they all have something to bargain with? I can guarantee that aside from a fast-track trial of many ex-cadres together, no senior personnel will be tried. Too much info inconvenient to the govt and SLA would leak out. This is part and parcel of keeping the curtains down on the war theatre and what transpired there.

    It seems there are two ways of dealing with LTTE surrendees–either kill them or rehabilitate them.

    “Maybe you still have dreams of flying an eelam flag in SL in the future. Who knows…”

    Yes, that’s always works to discredit a Tamil forummer when your reasoning is not up to par.

  • Belle

    Observer,

    “When you start talking about journalists, I have to tread carefully, because some actually used the journalist tag to gather intelligence, run terror safe house and disseminate propaganda in SL. What I’m getting at is, if someone published a magazine called “Jihad against America” in the US they’d be facing some real legal drama from the government prosecutors as well regardless of what ever media freedom they have in the US!!! Not a single media channel other the Comedy Central (how ironic!) that gives out an unbiased view of the war efforts in the US regardless of media freedom. If they say one good thing about the enemy, they’d be branded as traitors and no Network would even take a chance. They can only do it unfortunately under a tag of satire on shows like Daily show & Colbert Report. Don’t you find that a rather sad state of affairs? Do you consider Julian Asange of wiki leaks as a journalist? Because a journalist is someone who helps whistleblowers. He facilitated release of explosive material that exposes US war crimes to the public and worked with some leading news agencies to publish that material in the main stream press. The US response? They already jailed the source Bradley Manning without trial and now looking for an opportunity to apprehend and question Julian Asange. So where do you draw the line of journalist/freedom of media/right to information and all other issues? Or is it in Sri Lanka only that we must treat any rogue with journalist tag with a license to irresponsibility?”

    Whoa! I actually had Tissainayagam in mind, who had earlier been sentenced to 20 years hard labour for his writing! I know he was given a pardon after international pressure was brought to bear, but this guy gets 20 years for his writing whereas KP gets off scot free for being a fund raiser and arms smuggler for LTTE!

    I can understand why people say that the Sri Lankan identity is not yet developed. Everytime I talk about SL matters, people here want to talk about the US instead. Do you have an identity crisis or something?

  • Singam

    Hi Belle,
    Wijayapala is a fortune teller! As long as you talk critically about the LTTE, it is fine. The man without heart said, the war against the LTTE was won without shedding a drop of blood.

  • indonicus

    Observer said,

    “A democracy is only strong as it’s opposition. If you believe that I strongly say that it is the current UNP opposition with its cardboard leader with the IQ (probably not his IQ rather his pragmatism) of Paris Hilton that is weakening our democracy.. if anything! Compared to rest of the 3rd world, our democracy is functioning even if its haphazardly. And to my surprise survived great revolts and armed insurgencies.”

    Granted that Ranil is ineffective as a leader (not sure about his IQ or even yours for that matter but lets not get sidetracked). But what are you as a resposnible citizen going to do about “vilage idiots” (your words) like Mervyn? Are you coing to wait till the next election to teach the government a lesson? Are you going to wait till an effective opposition leader appears? Don’t you think that it is your responsibility to pressurse the government to take some action? Or do you think that your responsibilty as a citizen comes only once in six years?

  • wijayapala

    Belle,

    Everytime I talk about SL matters, people here want to talk about the US instead.

    Why don’t you ask that question of Prof Heshan and others like him who compare Sri Lanka to the Western paradise?

    Here’s an update on S. Africa:

    http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/article591773.ece/Senior-policemans-startling-admission–Arrest-was-political

  • Belle

    ModVoice,

    It could be that KP and Karuna are more effective in getting things done for Tamils than TNA because GOSL has given them the power and opportunity. From what I gather, GOSL is trying to squeeze out the TNA. Making TNA ineffective would be the way to go in taking them out of the picture.

  • Belle

    Wijayapala,
    “Why don’t you ask that question of Prof Heshan and others like him who compare Sri Lanka to the Western paradise?”

    Erm, because I was addressing something Observer said to me. But to look at why Heshan brings up the West in comparison, you should scrutinize the archives here and examine the nauseating number of times that forummers here bring up America (in Iraq, in Afghanistan, whatever) whenever GOSL behaviour is queried. It seems that’s the only way they know to defend GOSL actions and policies. It becomes impossible not to respond to this and bring in the West/America if you want to continue the debate. After a while of this, you even start to anticipate their anti-Western diatribes and bring in the West yourself at the start!

    It also needs to be recognized that Heshan compares SL with non-Western countries too, and that very often he is talking about IC/UN norms rather than about the West as such.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Singam,

    The man without heart said, the war against the LTTE was won without shedding a drop of blood.

    Mahinda said that. I did not. Just wanted to make that clarification.

  • billy

    can any body guess why tissanayagam never pleaded not guilty when he was tried?

  • wijayapala

    Dear Belle,

    It also needs to be recognized that Heshan compares SL with non-Western countries too

    Which ones?

    Do you also agree with Heshan that NATO is not losing in Afghanistan?

  • Heshan

    indonicus,

    Granted that Ranil is ineffective as a leader

    How did you reach that conclusion… because Ranil was not willing to slaughter 30,000 people in order to gain access to 10K more to slaughter (LTTE), and lock up the remaining 300,000 in tin shack camps funded by foreigners?


    However, his policies set off a considerable recovery in the down falling country’s economy. In 2002 he was able to secure a GDP growth rate of 4.0% which was -1.5% in the previous year. During the next two years of his tenant he attained the figures 5.9% and 5.4% respectively.[11] Also he was able to keep the inflation (annul percent increase) below 10%. [12] In December 2002 Ranil Wickremesinghe brought forward a solution package called Regaining Sri Lanka[13] as a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) in order to reduce the poverty of the country and to gain debt reliefs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranil_Wickremasinghe#Economic_Policy

  • longus

    indonicus

    You don’t have to wait for 6yrs to protest against “village idiots” or city morons! When you protest all and sundry will come to your camp. Among those will be people who not only want to protest against a corrupt regime but those who want to see Sri Lanka breathe her last breath;that’s what they were trying to achieve all along! Some famous contributors to this blog fit into this group!

  • indonicus

    Longus,

    Thanks for your response. The point is taken. However, the reverse is a;so true. When you protest against foreign intervention also all and sundry will come. Among them will be those who genuinely care for the country and village idiots who wish to obscure their idiocy with patriotism.

    Please stop making excuses for thugs and goons. Tamils who made the same excuses for their thugs have paid a heavy price for their mistake. Do not take the whole country down that path.

  • Observer

    But what are you as a resposnible citizen going to do about “vilage idiots” (your words) like Mervyn?

    indonicus, like i said earlier, why don’t you ask this question from people who voted for him? i didn’t vote for him! also keep in mind, there are idiots, fools living among us.. like you said in your opinion i may be one to fall into that category as well depending on your judgement and opinion. but we still have to coexist somehow no? we can’t just kill the the bad apples and make a perfect human race don’t you agree?

    Please stop making excuses for thugs and goons

    no one is making excuses for this thug, we all want to see this guy just stay home and mind his own business. it would give me utter pleasure to lift my sarong up and kick this guy on the ass for satisfaction. but i think using him to bash the whole government is a bit too much. it’s just too easy and no effort there. a 10 year old kid can use this material. u can’t use one rotten apple to judge the whole basket as bad. but it sure does stench the whole basket though and it’s really sad…

  • Observer

    The fact that the government captured him shows that they already had the vital info and connections to the LTTE network that they needed.

    Yes I am well aware of that. I don’t need to reaffirm what the current state of SL intelligence wings are because KP him self attests to their competence in the link i posted earlier if you read it. Still KP had information very valuable to the intelligence services. What KP says in the interview as he was virtually useless to intelligence officers is so wrong. It is exactly the answer he would give out. I’m sure you know how to read between the lines and if you believe otherwise then you’re just naive and I can’t help you there.

    Whoa! I actually had Tissainayagam in mind, who had earlier been sentenced to 20 years hard labour for his writing! I know he was given a pardon after international pressure was brought to bear, but this guy gets 20 years for his writing whereas KP gets off scot free for being a fund raiser and arms smuggler for LTTE!

    Bottom line is I’ve had my own assessments of Tissanayagam and you won’t agree with it. Any case he is no longer a threat to SL as he is over seas. We’re happy, and hopefully he is happy that he’s got freedom and we can all move along now ok? So you can not talk about 20 years that he never served! What you also really don’t know is the value of information KP gave to SL intel to redeem him self, to earn a plea bargain. KP is not off scott free FYI, he is virtually under house arrest. He has officers assigned to him to keep guard over him. So don’t over simplify things!

  • Observer

    There is also the question of justice, which does not seem to bother you. More junior LTTE ex-cadres are still under detention while this head honcho and other senior LTTE folks, who have allegedly done far more damage to the nation, are free. So the more you have to bargain with, the better your fate? Apparently though, some other key LTTE people who surrendered have “disappeared”. Why disappear them when you could put them on trial?

    Also, maybe this hasn’t made your news but there are quite a few LTTE fund raisers from overseas who have been rotting in your jails for quite a few years now. Why haven’t they been tried? I hear there’s a roaring business on getting them to pay for legal advice and ‘get out of jail free’ cards that somehow never seem to work!

    Has anyone from LTTE been put on trial? And why not? Do they all have something to bargain with? I can guarantee that aside from a fast-track trial of many ex-cadres together, no senior personnel will be tried. Too much info inconvenient to the govt and SLA would leak out. This is part and parcel of keeping the curtains down on the war theatre and what transpired there.

    belle,

    What is justice? Forgiveness or a triumphant military trial and make them rott in prison, if found guilty? Most would be guilty since they’re confessed LTTE members. The path US has taken with Alqueida suspects! Some of their prisoners are still awaiting trials in legal limbo for years. Why the hell would Sri Lanka follow such inhuman methods of “justice”? Like I repeatedly say, Sri Lanka does things her own way! If any ex LTTE cadre wants a trial instead of some vocational training and get out of jail pass to go back home and live his/her own life, then by ALL MEANS! I’m sure the army prosecutors will make their wishes come true! But I’m sure most of them would chose the first choice instead. Go home! I’m sure that’s what their families would like as well. So belle, it’s easy for you to ask trials for them. Mind you some of the really hard core, senior members will face mandatory trials and they will likely spend time in jail. Also did you forget that many died in battle as well? So not a whole lot to prosecute either eh….

    I can understand why people say that the Sri Lankan identity is not yet developed. Everytime I talk about SL matters, people here want to talk about the US instead. Do you have an identity crisis or something?

    Because aaalllll the freaking time people set them as a benchmark and bash Sri Lanka! Why don’t SL do this, why don’t they do that, this is how they do it.. blah blah blah.. I’m so sick of it! We actually have an identity because we don’t do things the way they would like us to! (Rajapaksa [Edited out]!!)
    US is a great bench mark in several aspects don’t get me wrong, but not in human rights! Not while waging 2 illegal wars and constantly looking to keep the non western world destabilised for their superiority!

  • Observer

    btw belle, do you know that some military trials are carried out within closed doors? due to classified information being used. your argument of being scared of information going to the public just falls apart. in fact most alqueida suspects are tried in closed military trials, if they get a trial at all haha stiilll waiiittiiinnggg. not just that, even some of the inquiries (like the recent one in UK) carried out by NATO countries into alleged abuses and irregularities were carried out within closed doors!!!

  • longus

    indonicus

    Correct! I’m happy if history has taught its lessons to the people. To understand the lessons of history you need a sensitive and receptive mind.

    A common problem in most protests is the one you rightly mention. People of various motives jump the bandwagon and try to work their own agenda resulting in damage to the main objective of the protest. Recent protests in Toronto is a case in point. The majority of people who took part in that protest against the G8 and G10 summit had peaceful intentions but a group within that crowd called (by the police)the Black Brigade had a violent agenda which resulted in the and mayhem and destruction of public property.

    What I say is you have to protest against the lack of democracy in Sri Lanka but you can’t have a motive to sink Sri Lanka,because it’s our motherland!

  • Diffpersepective

    News Flash –

    The village idiot has been stripped of portfolio and suspended of the SLFP membership….

    Now who said ” the true state of affairs in Sri Lanka under the Rajapakse regime. And the state of affairs simply is that anyone who has the goodwill of the Rajapakse dynasty can pretty much do as they please.” – Quote from this article ….. Wrong again!!! :)

  • alizarin

    @disrespective

    Save your crackers.Dont light them yet. Methinks this is just a ploy.All arranged for the gallery boys. An easy escape route to defuse the Samurdhi protests. I bet the protagonist has been promised a handsome reward for ‘foregoing’ his portfolio for the moment. See what powers he will wield next. Ultimately, the name of the game is to fool the voters and make as much out of the country as possible. They wont dare anger Mervyn because he knows a lot that you and I dont. Wait for the next move…………. coming to a theatre near you.

  • Belle

    Observer,
    “Because aaalllll the freaking time people set them as a benchmark and bash Sri Lanka! Why don’t SL do this, why don’t they do that, this is how they do it.. blah blah blah.. I’m so sick of it! We actually have an identity because we don’t do things the way they would like us to! (Rajapaksa [Edited out]!!)
    US is a great bench mark in several aspects don’t get me wrong, but not in human rights! Not while waging 2 illegal wars and constantly looking to keep the non western world destabilised for their superiority!”

    We are talking about SL’s civil war, alleged killings of innocent citizens. For me, that doesn’t compare with international wars. The latter are open to international scrutiny. Due to issues of sovereignty, countries can legally keep out international and any kind of public scrutiny in a civil war. Which is what SL did. We know about US’ behaviour in Iraq, Afghanistan. That is the reason why you guys are even able to make such comparisons. Except there is absolutely no information on SL government’s behaviour in the war theatre. Given the lack of knowledge with regard to GOSL and SLA behaviour, you have no justification in pointing fingers at US as a bigger infringer of human rights because you only know the figures on one side of the picture.

    The US is trying to keep the non-Western world destabilised? If they have so much power, can you please explain to me how it was that the US and other Western powers did not get their way in getting the UN HR Council to agree to investigate SL for war crimes?

    What is wrong with applying international norms to judging SL? Isn’t it a signatory of the Geneva Convention and a member of the UN?

    You know who sets the US and the West as the benchmark? Guys like you who are desperately trying to justify GOSL behaviour. The only argument you have is this: If the West can do it, so can we! Actually the West CAN’T do it—it has never been able to evade scrutiny like SL has, to escape all accountability for itself as SL has managed to do so far.

  • Belle

    Observer,
    “Mind you some of the really hard core, senior members will face mandatory trials and they will likely spend time in jail.”

    And I bet you they never will, at least not trials where they will have to give testimony. They will either be “rehabilitated” (code word for “We’ll let you go if you keep mum”) or “disappeared” (codeword for “killed”).

    “btw belle, do you know that some military trials are carried out within closed doors? due to classified information being used. your argument of being scared of information going to the public just falls apart. in fact most alqueida suspects are tried in closed military trials, if they get a trial at all haha stiilll waiiittiiinnggg. not just that, even some of the inquiries (like the recent one in UK) carried out by NATO countries into alleged abuses and irregularities were carried out within closed doors!!!”

    There we go again with the comparison with the West. What is it you say–that others keep bringing in this comparison?

    How is this relevant? KP would not have been prosecuted in a military trial but under your terrorism act.

  • Diffpersepective

    alizarin,

    No crackers…just stating the current situation….

    To be open I am skeptical too… but so was I about Rajapakse on a previous occasion and he came through… so I am hoping for a similar result.. that he will pleasantly surprise me…. Benefit of the doubt goes to the man this time… do not want to make the same mistake twice!!! The man has an uncanny ability to do the least expected!!!

    Only time will tell and this thread will be long gone!! :)

  • Observer

    alizarin, jeesus man! how can anyone please people like you??? would you be only satisfied if mervyn was executed in public? you got to give some credit where it is due, even though it was long over due. just goes to show that they’re not completely unreasonable people. but me think you don’t want to see the reasonable side of the current administration because it’s not your party.. eh…?

    karath waradi, nokarath waradi… :-S

  • indonicus

    Longus said,

    What I say is you have to protest against the lack of democracy in Sri Lanka but you can’t have a motive to sink Sri Lanka,because it’s our motherland!

    Cannot agree more longus. Its tricky but can be done.

    Let’s do it!

  • Observer

    The US is trying to keep the non-Western world destabilised? If they have so much power, can you please explain to me how it was that the US and other Western powers did not get their way in getting the UN HR Council to agree to investigate SL for war crimes?

    The same reasons US & UK along with rest of the “coalition of the willing” are not investigated for their alleged abuses! Consistency! If you don’t catch the big fish, it looks rather hypocritical to try fry the small fish! DUH!!!

    The latter are open to international scrutiny.

    Are you kidding me? Which planet are you from???? As for the abuses of NATO forces, what you hear is only the tip of the ice berg, they only came to surface because of infamous LEAKS (like Abhu Grhaib, wiki leaks video of collateral murder, etc..) and other furious protests that almost turned into riots by the civilians who were victims… NOT because of opennesses belle (even heshan agreed on this point on a previous thread and quietly swallowed his own foot if i recall correctly!). You can twist the facts any which way you want, but aint gonna fool nobody….

    There we go again with the comparison with the West. What is it you say–that others keep bringing in this comparison?

    Ok I’m glad to know that you don’t want to play this comparison game either. Settled! If you promise not to compares SL to Western double standards, then mum’s the word!

  • Observer

    How is this relevant? KP would not have been prosecuted in a military trial but under your terrorism act.

    Obviously, because KP is not technically a combatant. Where did I explicitly say KP was going to be tried under a military court?? I was actually talking about LTTE prisoners being put on trial just before then…