Alistair Burt: Archive of Twitter interview on Sri Lanka

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Photo credit FCO

[Editors note: Also listen to Interview with Alistair Burt on Sri Lanka]

On 5th February 2013, UK Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt hosted a live interview session via Twitter. Alistair Burt is Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs. At the time of the interview, the Minister had recently returned from an official visit to Sri Lanka.

Twitter interviews are not new. The first international diplomat to do so on Sri Lanka was US Assistant Secretary of State and former Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert Blake, in April 2012. Sadly, save for Groundviews, no one else from Sri Lanka or interested in Sri Lanka posed questions to him.

The second Twitter interview of importance was with UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Baroness Valerie Amos in December 2012. Though not specifically anchored to Sri Lanka, the interview was an unmitigated disaster for OCHA, with vital questions around the UN’s possible complicity in human rights violations and other very serious matters arising out of the Petrie Report, repeatedly posed by Groundviews and others, going without even a simple acknowledgement, leave aside coherent answer.

Minister Burt’s session lasted 45 minutes precisely, and he responded to 2 questions of ours.

 

 

Other issues covered included the UK’s participation in the CHOGM meeting scheduled for later this year in Sri Lanka, the UK Government’s stance on changing the venue for the meeting, the nature of a political settlement in Sri Lanka, the Minister’s take on reconciliation and what he saw as progress in this regard, the impeachment of the Chief Justice, the independence on the judiciary, the nature of democracy in Sri Lanka and the future for liberal and Commonwealth values, issues related to war crimes accountability, impunity, human rights violations, the deterioration of the freedom of expression and the intimidation of journalists and activists.

In addition to engaging with the Minister and a number of other vital voices through @groundviews on Twitter in real-time as the interview progressed, Groundviews archived every single tweet with the hashtag #askFCO published during this period.

The top discussants, including Minister Burt, in this session were,

  1. arjunan 52
  2. Bav3 51
  3. groundviews 38
  4. AlistairBurtFCO 31
  5. francesharris0n 28
  6. UshaSris 27
  7. SLcampaign 19
  8. FCOHumanRights 19
  9. UKinSriLanka 14
  10. peacemother1 13
  11. SyadaDastagir 13
  12. foreignoffice 13
  13. GGPonnambalam 12
  14. sarojpathi 12
  15. TejshreeThapa 12
  16. GTFonline 12
  17. friendmoscow 11
  18. vakesan 11
  19. prabudeepan 10
  20. jayshreebajoria 10
  21. ChetcutiPauline 10

Not a single other media institution in Sri Lanka active on Twitter (Sunday Times, Daily Mirror, Ada Derana, Ceylon Today, Sunday Leader) engaged with the Minister over Twitter at this time with their official accounts, though a number of journalists did.

Revealingly, the interview and issues arising from it made it to the front page of two leading Tamil newspapers in Sri Lanka, but wasn’t mentioned in the front pages of any English or Sinhala media.

Sudar Oli  - Leade News - 06.02.2012 Thinakkural - Second Lead News - 06.02.2013

As we did during the UPR sessions on Sri Lanka in 2012, you can download all the 770 tweets published during this Twitter interview as an Excel spreadsheet here. These tweets are also available as an interactive data visualisation.

Screen Shot 2013-02-07 at 2.52.27 PM

See the data visualisation live here (requires powerful computer, and preferably, large screen).

Editors note: Our readers requested the tweets published by Alistair Burt. Here’s a list of them, excluding retweets by him during the interview (all of which are included in the archive).

  • http://pcolman.wordpress.com/ Padraig Colman
  • Syada

    I’m the 11th top discussant and he didn’t answer me once. Twat.

  • eureka

    Hon Minister Burt
    ”Revealingly, the interview and issues arising from it made it to the front page of two leading Tamil newspapers in Sri Lanka, but wasn’t mentioned in the front pages of any English or Sinhala media”.

    When the SLPrez
    i.refuses to publish the reports of 15 commissions he appointed in the last seven years
    ii.declines the offer made by Judge Udalagama to continue investigation into murders when the Prez wound up the Commission of Inquiry into high-profile human rights violations as soon as the war was over (even the Peace Secretariat was wound up),
    Hon Minister Burt mentioned that the LTTE killed Kadirgamar (they killed many more but Kadirgamar case is not yet concluded) as though all the others whose murders the Prez refuses to investigate or refuses to publish reports on are not human beings.

    I followed Padraig Colman’s link and wish to reply the last question:
    ”Is Sri lanka a goose?”

    NO. The international community has been a goose easily booed by successive governments of Sri Lanka by virtue of its geopolitically strategic location.

    That location has become a ”hillsborough” for Tamils. There is a very insignificant Tamil population left in coastal villages and towns in Northern and Eastern Provinces.

    Furthermore they’ll be a socially, economically, culturally and environmentally impoverished lot:
    ”Conflict-affected areas remain highly militarised, which has made progress towards achieving durable solutions more difficult. The military has become an important economic player and a key competitor of local people including returnees in the areas of agriculture, fishing, trade, and tourism. It has also been involved in areas that would normally come under civilian administration. It continues to occupy private land, thereby impeding IDPs’ return. The government has failed to make durable solutions a priority, and humanitarian organisations have faced funding shortages and restrictions on programming and access” – Sri Lanka: A hidden displacement crisis, *Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 31 October 2012, http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004BE3B1/(httpInfoFiles)/0F7746546306FCB3C1257AA8005845A6/$file/srilanka-overview-oct2012.pdf (*The leading international body monitoring internal displacement worldwide – established by the Norwegian Refugee Council)

    • Luxmy Silva

      1.”Not a single other media institution in Sri Lanka active on Twitter (Sunday Times, Daily Mirror, Ada Derana, Ceylon Today, Sunday Leader) engaged with the Minister over Twitter at this time with their official accounts, though a number of journalists did”

      For decades successive governments have been successful in forcing the media in the South to keep quiet about their atrocities in the North and the East, esp. during critical times !

      2.”Revealingly, the interview and issues arising from it made it to the front page of two leading Tamil newspapers in Sri Lanka, but wasn’t mentioned in the front pages of any English or Sinhala media”

      Ah, that shows how desperate the oppressed are to get out of oppression.

    • Panabokke

      ”There is a very insignificant Tamil population left in coastal villages and towns in Northern and Eastern Provinces” ?

      Minister Alistair Burt was in the war-affected zone for a few hours and what did he tell the audience in Colombo the following day?

      ”DO NO HARM” says his DfID.

    • Panabokke

      Hon Burt needs to know that from 1956 onwards mass killings of Tamils by Sinhalese mobs and state armed forces emain uninvestigated in addition to individual and small group killings in prisons and army-occupied North fore 4/5 decades. Kadirgamar had to be more Sinhalese than Sinhalese to hold a ministry in a sinhalese govt that has been oppressing the Tamils.

      Many Sinhalese want this resolved asap and as much as possible. They don’t want to leave it for their children most of whom are much less informed and thus much less sympathetic towards the Ethnic minorities
      Hon Burt has to do some serious, focused work.

  • eureka

    GV, thanks for presenting this piece.

    • Ward

      1.Thank you for this pleasant present – prompt presentation, Groundviews.

      2. ”Not a single other media institution in Sri Lanka active on Twitter (Sunday Times, Daily Mirror, Ada Derana, Ceylon Today, Sunday Leader) engaged with the Minister over Twitter at this time with their official accounts, though a number of journalists did”

      They may not have come to use twitter yet so much but they could have reported what others have done on twitter on the most critical issue confronting us:

      ”Revealingly, the interview and issues arising from it made it to the front page of two leading Tamil newspapers in Sri Lanka, but wasn’t mentioned in the front pages of any English or Sinhala media”

      Who is then worried about RECONCILIATION, PEACE, PROSPERITY ….. ??

  • eureka

    Groundviews
    Please post Burt’s replies and all the tweets that got Burt’s replies. Those who don’t use may know what happened in that arena.

    • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

      Done!

      • eureka

        Thanksssssssss

  • Buddhika Banda

    Please let us know the exchanges in the 45 minutes of your tweets.

    • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

      See above.

      • Buddhika Banda

        1.Thanks, Groundviews

        2. Dear Minister Burt
        ”Not a single other media institution in Sri Lanka active on Twitter (Sunday Times, Daily Mirror, Ada Derana, Ceylon Today, Sunday Leader) engaged with the Minister over Twitter at this time with their official accounts, though a number of journalists did”

        reminds me of:

        a. ‘’Economic growth is not an alternative to political conflict resolution. In Sri Lanka donor pressure to address development issues and post conflict reconstruction in 2002/3 could not make up for the lack of political progress in dealing with the central issue of the conflict. Aid became a distraction from the peace process, and then a point of division. Donors had inflated ideas about the importance of economic incentives, whereas for the LTTE the political factors were far more important” – Development Dilemmas: Challenges of Working in Conflict and Post Conflict situations in South Asia, DFID Conference, 5 – 6 March 2007

        b. Ranil Wickremasinghe went for peace talks in 2002 because of the unbearable economic situation and thus he was not insisting on his senior politicians to explain the basis of the peace talks to the people:
        ‘’When I look at the responsibilities, some of those government senior politicians were very silent. On the other hand the Opposition politicians were sabotaging the thing(peace talks)” – LLRC: Evidence given by Mr. Austin Fernando, Former Secretary of Defence, 18 August 2010

  • Rita

    Hon Alistair Burt

    Please help us make use of this very last opportunity to resolve the conflict. We’ve all had it too long and it is impossible to stand any more of this horrible governance.

  • Antany Peter

    In the 1970’ and 1980’s the Sri Lankan President J R Jayewardene established a good relationship with the United States of America, in order to develop Sri Lanka; however, during this period India was leaning towards Russia and felt threaten by the Sri Lankan government’s action. Therefore, India was a British colony and applied the same strategy as their Western Masters do when they are in trouble. India applied divide and conquer strategy as their Western Masters. The Indian Central Government created the Tamil Armed groups to keep Sri Lanka under its wings, and also to undermine the Tamils who are well established in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Malaysia. The Indian Central Government always felt threaten by the Tamil Nadu, because the Tamil Nadu has been always different compare to the other states in India. The Tamil Nadu never approved Hindi as a mandatory second language, and the Congress and the BJP political parties do not have influence in Tamil Nadu either. The DMK president M. Karunanidhi always has been a proud Tamil, and wanted to have a separate country for the Tamils. However, the Indian Central Government was too smart for him; it created the Tamil armed groups in order to squeeze the Tamils’ aspiration, and stopped the Tamils going alone to have their own country. The Tamil Armed groups have taken the Tamils backward beyond any Tamil’s imagination. Unknowingly or knowingly the Tamil Nadu politicians are faithful to the Indian Central Government than to the Sri Lankan Tamils. The Tamils Diaspora leaders are faithful to their Western Masters than to the Sri Lankan Tamils. The Westerners are developing the Western Countries using the Tamils. Therefore, I urge the Sri Lankan Tamil leaders to work with the Sri Lankan government to give better life to all Sri Lankans.

    “Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered”. Once you have eliminated the Shepherd, then you can do whatever you want with the sheep, because the shepherd is not there to look after the sheep. This is what happening to the Tamils. India created the LTTE and eliminated the Tamils leaders, now India and the Westerners are using the Tamils to fulfil their interests. The Sri Lankan Tamils future is not looking good at all. The Tamils who have the knowledge can’t help the Tamils, because the Indians and the Westerners will never allow the smart Tamils to lead the Tamils. If they do, then they can’t use the Tamils to fulfil their own interests. I personally believe that the Tamils need a strong leadership before even think about political autonomy. I believe that the government wouldn’t give any autonomy to the Tamils while the Tamil leaders are under the grip of the Indians and the Westerners who have encouraged and supported the bloody war for thirty years.

    Who is going to rebuke the US and the other Western Countries for their atrocities? The Westerners have killed thousands, if not millions in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama’s choice for defence secretary was very good at killing in Vietnam. Chuck Hagel admitted that he killed hundreds of innocent people in Vietnam. He said that “We were amazingly proficient at it all. In firefights we’d shoot hundreds and hundreds of rounds and after we’d walk 100 yards and see hundreds and hundreds of bodies”. Even after he has admitted that he killed hundreds of innocent people, there is no war crime investigation on Chuck Hagel. The Americans are hypocrites; they have one law for themselves, and one law for the developing countries. Who is going rebuke India for creating the Tamil Armed Groups? Who is going to rebuke the Western Countries for funding the LTTE, indirectly through the diaspora? India is liable for creating the Tamil armed groups, and the Western Countries are liable for making them as the most dangerous terrorist groups in the world. The Western Countries knew how much money have been poured into the LTTE by the Tamil diaspora, but did nothing to stop it.

  • Buddhika Banda

    Antony Peter
    You’re distorting the story:
    Why do you want to draw in Indians and westerners and the diaspora?
    Successive governments have been oppressing the Tamils in all possible ways – nobody but the Sinhalese rulers and the Sinhalese voters have been the cause and have been carefully crafting the textbooks too – nobodyelse should be blamed for our action – we’re solely responsible:

    Jayantha Dhanapala’s submission to Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), 25 August 2010: ‘The lessons we have to learn go back to the past – certainly from the time that we had responsibility for our own governance on 4 February 1948. Each and every Government which held office from 1948 till the present bear culpability for the failure to achieve good governance, national unity and a framework of peace, stability and economic development in which all ethnic, religious and other groups could live in security and equality.
    Our inability to manage our affairs has led to the taking of arms by a desperate group of our citizens. We need to rectify this bad governance and the first and foremost task before us is to undertake constitutional reform in order to ensure that we have adequate devolution of power. We need to have State reform; we need to have rule of law established; we need to ensure non discrimination amongst our citizens; we need to have devolution of power and a tolerance of dissent and a strengthening of democratic institutions.”

    K.Godage(former Sri Lankan diplomat) addresses LLRC, 15 September 2010: ‘’ …. We have persistently discriminated against the Tamil people from 1956…. The Tamils have undergone, and are undergoing immense hardship. We need to reach out to them. It is because we have not reached out to them, that we had Wadukottai resolution in 1976, 20 years after 1956. Then the 1972, Constitution, it removed Section 29 from the Soulbury Constitution. There is no reason for any one to be insecure, as a result of giving into the reasonable demands of the Tamil people. …. ”

    Bernard Gunatileke(former Sri Lankan Sinhalese diplomat) to LLRC, 11 August 2010: ‘‘The most important factor, which we have failed to attend, is meaningful devolution of political power to the periphery from the centre. There must also be involvement of the minorities in the political activities in the centre.’’

    Prof Priyan Dias addresses LLRC, 07 October 2010: ‘’If we do not feel guilty for the Northern military uprising we cannot go anywhere in the future as a country.’’

    Elmore Perera(Founder, Citizens’ Movement for Good Governance(CIMOGG) to LLRC, 10 November 2010: Beginning with the “Sinhala Only” policy of 1956, which disregarded the multi-cultural and pluralistic nature of society, the removal of the constitutional provision guaranteeing minority rights … ”

    Submission by Dr John Goonaratne, 15 September 2010:
    ‘’This has been so since independence when discrimination on the basis of ethnic identity began to grow….”

    Mr. Mangala Moonasinghe to LLRC, 17 August 2010: ‘’…so, who started terrorism – it was we – and then gradually naturally the youth, Tamil youth, went into terrorism in the north. … So terrorism did not come on its own. We created them sir, we created them.’’

    • Buddhika Banda

      Dear Minister Burt

      All the unacceptable things mentioned here have been intensified to dangerous levels in the last 3-4 yrs:

      Submission before Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation Committee (LLRC) by Chandra Jayaratne, 23 September 2010: ‘’…… Years of inequitable allocation of national resources and consequential disparities in regional economic development, infrastructure development and public service delivery have sown the seeds of discontent and disillusionment leading to conflict, insurrections of the South and the North and even the armed struggle towards a separate administration … ….. …….
      Some of these perceptions commonly referred to in discussions include:
      IDP’s being denied access to their former places of residence
      Challenging the right to title of the properties traditionally owned and /or occupied persons living in conflict affected areas
      Large tracts of previously occupied lands being demarcated as high security zones
      Unjustified land acquisitions on security considerations but allocated for non security related purposes
      The publicly announced resettlement benefits to internally displaced persons not being distributed equitably and in line with the announced scheme
      Lack of basic amenities like water, sanitation, power and proper housing for the newly resettled families
      Resource allocation not determined on community priorities and allocated without consultation and outside the need base and at times missing the most vulnerable and in need, possibly due to identity based biases
      Some areas like Jaffna receiving more than necessary resource allocations and peripheral areas lacking in even basic allocations
      Preventing willing and capable NGO’s/INGO’s, international community and Diaspora from helping people in need at their most vulnerable moment of need
      Building of new permanent military cantonments with residential facilities for military personnel and their families
      Plans to settle majority community families in order to change the traditional area demography otherwise than by natural development oriented migration
      Arbitrary arrests and detention in the post war period as well
      Continuing active engagement of unauthorized armed groups
      Continuing disappearances of civilians
      List of persons in custody, camps and detention centres not being made public
      Failure to assist families in tracing missing persons
      Negative impact on civilians during the conflict due military excesses
      Unease of single women headed families fearing for their safety in the presence of large number of armed personnel of the forces
      Removal of burial sites of persons affected by the conflict
      Some important cultural, religious and remembrance sites being damaged and destroyed
      Disrespect shown by visitors to holy sites and sites held in high esteem by resident communities
      Free availability of liquor, cigarettes and narcotics
      Emerging consumerism promoted by business houses who fail to participate in adding value to the civilian communities
      Savings of the region being channelled to other areas whilst unmet needs of area community remain
      Decision making in the hands of the military or officials from the Central Government. .…’’
      (Jayaratne is a Sinhalese and a member of the Board of Directors of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies and a former President of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce)

      We shouldn’t remain silent any more and when powerful foreigners fail to take unbiased stance, they are slipping from ”DO NO HARM”

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Buddhika Banda,

      I fully agree with the following statement of yours

      “We need to rectify this bad governance and the first and foremost task before us is to undertake constitutional reform in order to ensure that we have adequate devolution of power. We need to have State reform; we need to have rule of law established; we need to ensure non discrimination amongst our citizens; we need to have devolution of power and a tolerance of dissent and a strengthening of democratic institutions”

      Have you given thought to the Unit of Devolution?
      Unreasonable demands on Public Property (more than 80% of Lanka’s Land is public property) is a primary cause that prevents successful devolution. Sri Lanka’s public resources are not owned by any single ethnicity. It should be shared and shared equally by all. There cannot be exclusive historical homelands. Do you subscribe to the land and coast area claimed by the Eelam Map?

      In ancient Tamil literary works, Lanka was identified as Cinkalam. Ilankai was adapted during the Cankam period. Eighteen countries are mentioned in early Tamil literature, clearly distinguishing “Cinkalam” from “Tamlaak(h)am” (cimkalam, conaakam, ca vakam, cinam, tuluvam, kutakam, konkanam, kanna-tam, kollam, telin(g)kam, kalin(g)kam, vankam, kan- kam, makatam, kataram, kavutam, koklam, tamilakam). A mind boggling number of Sinhala place names (presently Tamilised) are found all over Sri Lanka including Jaffna. Source “Traditional Sinhala place names in Sri Lanka and their Tamilized forms” (with etymology) by Dr. Chandre Dharmawardana.

      This does not mean that Sinhalese should make an exclusive claim to Jaffna or the whole Island.

      There is irrefutable proof that the Dutch built a fort at Elephant Pass to protect the border between the Kandyan Kingdom and Dutch held Jaffna. This does not mean that the whole of Lanka, South of Elephant Pass, is the exclusive Historical Homeland of the Sinhalese.

      http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/detail.aspx?page=dpost&lang=en&id=682#tab2

      However the following statement of yours is without foundation. You have made a serious error of judgment. Possibly due to lack of information. What you say is neither Impartial nor Just.

      You claim “Successive governments have been oppressing the Tamils in all possible ways – nobody but the Sinhalese rulers and the Sinhalese voters have been the cause and have been carefully crafting the textbooks too – nobodyelse should be blamed for our action – we’re solely responsible:”

      Please clarify.
      What do you mean by “carefully crafting the textbooks”
      Why do you believe that Tamils have not contributed the current state of affairs?
      Please justify.

      The above refers to your post addressed to Antony Peter date stamped 02/09/2013 • 9:54 am

  • Buddhika Banda

    Academics are going to learn a new phenomenon from post-independence Sri Lanka: while some countries have been practising federalism or some form of devolution of power to deal with plural societies, Sri Lanka has been using demography changes initially and now combined with militarisation and building of oppressive war memorials the people are psychologically crushed. We don;t know what awaits the children of Sri Lanka.

    • Off the Cuff

      Dear Buddhika Banda,

      The biggest demography change (unparalleled to date) occurred under the British, when they imported Indian Tamils and domiciled them in Land pillaged from the Sinhalese in the Central high lands of the Kandyan Kingdom (reference the Land acquisition Acts of the British Govt).

      The imported Indian Tamils OUTNUMBERED the local Tamils (please refer to the official census statistics)

      An argument needs facts not just mere statements.

  • Luxmy Silva

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/68683/Cm_8521.pdf

    ”The concerns of the UK and the wider international community on human rights are regularly relayed to the Government of Sri Lanka. … It is, however, too early to make decisions about UK attendance at CHOGM” – Government Response to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Report HC114 of Session 2012-13: THE ROLE AND FUTURE OF THE COMMONWEALTH,

    Dear Minister,
    How much more destruction do you want to see before you make the decision about CHOGM2013:

    1.reports of 15 commissions (on murders, abductions, disappearances, corruption) appointed in the last seven yrs are still with the Prez. It was a surprise for Sri Lankans that LLRC report was published at all

    2.Implementing LLRC recommendations hasn’t even begun – the easiest is re-introduction of singing the national anthem in Tamil hasn’t been done. Lack of political will is the only reason – the President stopped it from being sung in Tamil. He also wound up the Peace Secretariat and the Commission on investigation of murders as soon as the LTTE were wiped out. Judge Udalagama offered to continue investigations into murders. How will the British public react to something like this?

    3.You spoke of LTTE terrorism. Had you mentioned state terrorism also, you would have done humanity service. It isn’t only for Sri Lankans you would have spoken for the whole world. By not mentioning it you have stated that the world revolves on geopolitics and not on the principle of justice for all.

  • eureka14

    Dear Minister Burt

    ”Any hope for Tamils and indeed for Sri Lanka is for international players to take over where we are powerless to help ourselves. We have no sovereignty as a people when crooks are in charge. So let us not speak of sovereignty. Let the UN and the Commonwealth do whatever is necessary to make ours the blessed land it once was, before we messed it up” – Destroying Us While Preaching Equality, Prof Ratnajeevan Hoole, 9 Feb 2013, http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/destroying-us-while-preaching-equality/

    • Ward

      Report by Prof Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, 27 March 2006: ‘’The human rights capacity of the United Nations Country Team should be
      expanded immediately, pending the creation of a broader monitoring mechanism.’’
      Prof Philip Alston, United Nations General Assembly, Third Committee, 25 October 2007: ”I warned this Assembly last year of an impending crisis in Sri Lanka. The Government continues to contest my characterization while the crisis continues to worsen. I firmly believe that the establishment of an international human rights monitoring presence by the UN would significantly reduce the number of human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. It is time for the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council to act, and it’s time for the Government to adopt a calm, measured, and engaged attitude toward those concerned with the human rights of all Sri Lankans.”
      Prof Philip Alston, Roundtable, Human Rights Council, Geneva, 3 June 2008: ”In 2005 I sounded the alarm. I said that Sri Lanka was on the verge of a major crisis and I indicated to the General Assembly how to avoid the crisis. But nothing was done. The Sri Lankan government did not try and discuss the recommendations with me and it has not made any serious effort to resolve human rights problems. It only acted in Geneva to avoid the Council taking any measures against it”.

      What happened as a result of the Sri Lankan govt refusing to heed the UN?
      Killing Fields.

      What is CHOGM waiting for after ignorance, ill-feelings and naked oppression brimming over the President’s Independence Day speech?

      • Off the Cuff

        Ward, you ask a question and supplies the answer “What happened as a result of the Sri Lankan govt refusing to heed the UN? Killing Fields

        You also bring out UN’s Special Rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Prof Philip Alston in support of your argument.

        Is Philip Alston a Honourable man?
        Is “Killing Fields” a factual documentary?
        I don’t think so for the reasons that I set out below.

        UN’s Special Rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Prof Philip Alston used Charlatans to prostitute the truth. Killing Fields was peddled as a documentary but in reality it was Pack of Fabricated insinuations propped up by Charlatans.

        UN Special Rapporteur Alston brought in his own Experts Daniel Spitz, Grant Fredricks etc, in support of the first “Killing Fields” of Ch4. These so called experts have been exposed as Charlatans by the courts in USA and Canada.

        Dr. Daniel Spitz

        Spitz found that the footage (Ch 4 Video) appeared authentic, especially with respect to the two individuals who are shown being shot in the head at close range. He found that the body reaction, movement, and blood evidence was entirely consistent with what would be expected in such shootings.

        Forensic Pathologist and medical doctor, Daniel Spitz is the current Medical Examiner for Macomb County, Michigan. Watch the Video titled, Rob Simpson Case – Daniel Spitz Integrity in Question

        Spitz could not find any Entry bullet wound or the Bullet that killed a Banker, shot on the back of the head, “Execution Style” and had concluded that the Death was a Suicide.

        DID HE SUPPRESS THE EVIDENCE? Is his opinion for Sale?

        Watch the two videos below and form your own opinion.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpL56wS_qZo

        Watch the video of Spitz stuttering on Cross Examination on why he FAILED to find the Bullet or the entrance wound of a Man Killed EXECUTION STYLE with a bullet to the Head

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3Oy76_nICc&NR=1

        Grant Fredericks

        Mr. Fredericks, who has testified as an ‘expert witness’ in numerous cases was in the spotlight in Canada when he appeared as a witness for four policemen who tried to cover up their involvement in the death of an immigrant at the Vancouver airport in October 2007. The Mounties maintained they used a Taser gun on Robert Dziekanski because he was violent and refused to cooperate.

        However, a bystander’s video contradicted that version.

        At a public inquiry held in 2009 into the killing, which drew public furor and demands for the police to stop using Tasers, Fredericks, in support of the cops, said his analysis of the video showed Dziekanski moving toward the officers shortly before he was jolted.

        First, Fredericks was caught in a lie about his contacts with the manufacturers of the guns, Taser International. Don Rosenbloom, a lawyer retained by the Polish government to represent Dziekanski’s interests, pointedly questioned Frederick about his organization’s (LEVA) affiliation with Taser. Frederick denied that there was any connection.
        “Let me suggest to you, sir, that one of the major sponsors of that laboratory and that program under LEVA is Taser International. Do you agree?” asked Rosenbloom.

        “No, I don’t think Taser even knows it exists and I’ve never had any involvement with Taser International,” Fredericks replied.

        But as Rosenbloom pressed on, Fredericks’ answers changed.
        “I believe I saw Taser as one of the vendors at our conference last year,” Fredericks eventually admitted. Taser was and still remains one of LEVA’s corporate sponsors.

        Fredericks’ credibility and professional expertise got a further hammering when he was questioned about his forensic analysis of the video.

        Fredericks supported the RCMP police officers’ defense that Mr. Dziekanski stepped toward them while clenching the stapler in his fist. He even testified that from his repetitive viewing of a three-second segment of a stabilized version of the Pritchard video, he identified Mr. Dziekanski take three distinct steps forward (right, left, right), based on his analysis of shoulder movements, although he could not say how far – whether an inch or a foot. He acknowledged that he …. had no special expertise in biomechanics or the study of human motion.

        Mark Hird-Rutter, a certified photogrammetrist who was called by the Braidwood Commission that inquired into the Robert Dziekanski killing to analyze the methodologies used by Fredericks, described the methodology as ‘flawed.’ Hird-Rutter said:

        The methodologies that were used in Mr. Fredericks’s report do not follow the rigours of the Science of Photogrammetry and it would be wrong to use them to determine the movement of Mr. Dziekanski either forwards or backwards.

        Another expert Duane McInnis called by the Commission also criticized Fredericks’s analysis and methodology. McInnis, a mechanical engineer and founder and senior engineer in MEA Forensic Engineers and Scientists, Canada’s largest forensic engineering and scientific firm concluded that Mr. Fredericks’ opinion (that Mr. Dziekanski moved toward the officers) is not technically supportable because of measurement errors.

        The Commissioner’s final opinion on Grant Fredericks:
        His verification methodology was flawed — while I accept that his measurement of the fixed object (the counter) showed a decrease in size as the camera zoomed out, he could make no comparable measurement of the movable object (Mr. Dziekanski’s jacket), because he was not able to measure the entire length of the jacket, as it extended below the level of the counter. I accept the opinions of Mr. Hird-Rutter and Mr. McInnis on this issue.

        He has no special expertise in determining steps from shoulder movements — without the verification referred to above,Mr. Fredericks’ opinion of three distinct steps forward is based entirely on his repetitive viewing of the three-second segment of the Pritchard video and his interpretation of Mr. Dziekanski’s changing shoulder movements. I am not persuaded that his expertise as a forensic video analyst extends to this type of human body movement. In the absence of such expertise, his opinion deserves no greater weight than the opinion of any other careful observer. I have watched this segment of the Pritchard video many dozens of times, and I have been unable to detect the three methodical step movements Mr. Fredericks described. Even if I am wrong and Mr. Dziekanski did take three distinct steps forward, Mr. Fredericks’ opinion is of questionable significance, since he repeatedly refused significance, since he repeatedly refused to estimate distance, even a distance as small as one inch.

        When the Experts’ integrity is in question what they say become worthless.

        Philip Alston has proven himself to be as dishonest as his charlatans

  • eureka14

    Dear Minister Burt
    ”The President virtually exploded a bomb on Independence Day when he said there will be no devolution but “equal rights to all communities.”
    An example of his equal rights regime is the shocks he delivered to the Tamil community just this past week. …………………………..” Destroying Us While Preaching Equality, Prof Ratnajeevan Hoole, 9 Feb 2013, http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/destroying-us-while-preaching-equality/

  • Panabokke

    Dear Minister, were you shown the war monument in Kilinochchi:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEes9C-TB00

    The size and design of the monument is to keep the Tamils psychologically oppressed for ever – peacebuilding is nowhere here.

    • Panabokke

      Another one in Kilinochchi
      http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=20100430_09

      In Mullaitivu:
      http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=20091209_06

      The design and size of the memorials are not for peacebuilding but for macerating the minds of the people living around there.

      Donors have a lot to think about.

      Memorandum from the Commission of Justice and Peace in Jaffna Diocese to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Sri Lanka, Jan 2013
      http://www.scribd.com/doc/120435972/To-Catholic-Bishops-Conference-of-Sri-Lanka

      I Write This As Your Bishop, We No Longer Appear To Be A Constitutional Democracy, 23 January 2013, http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/i-write-this-as-your-bishop-we-no-longer-appear-to-be-a-constitutional-democracy/

      • Ward

        Sir,
        Can you point the following to CHOGM (and CMAG) please:

        Since the Convention is a UN initiative, the government could have used the definition of ‘terrorism’ contained in the original document: But the Rajapaksas wanted a totally laissez faire definition, one which would provide a legal-cover for the most horrendous abuses of power. So the original definition was expanded, to make it completely tractable.

        In the Rajapaksa definition ‘terrorism’ is also “the use or threat of action i) which is decided to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public; and ii) which is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological purpose, and such action (aa) involves serious violence against a person; (bb) involves serious damage to property; (cc) endangers the life of another person, other than the person committing the action; (dd) creates a serious risk to health or safety of the public or a section of the public; or (ee) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system” (The Island 8.2.2013 emphasis mine).

        Using this definition and with the aid of a cowed-judiciary, the regime can convict any Lankan citizen of aiding and abetting terrorism. This law can be used not just against the political opponents of the regime and Tamils/Muslims; it can be used, with equal ease, against fishermen, farmers and the urban poor, environmentalists, students, trade unionists and middle-class professionals. This is not a Bill which can be abused. This is a Bill drafted for the precise purpose of abuse. With this in place, the regime does not need the PTA.”

        • Neville Gunasena

          Ward
          Thanks for bringing that out here. I think you forgot to quote the source:
          Preparing For The Next ‘War’, Via Enabling Laws, 10 February 2013,
          http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/preparing-for-the-next-war-via-enabling-laws/

          Dear Minister
          This very vicious conflict has been challenging academics and politicians around the world for more than half a century.
          That has been possible only because the international community has been failing to see that the successive governments have been telling one thing outside the country and doing the opposite inside the country.
          Please remember fellow members of the UN and the Commonwealth have certain obligations.