By: Stephen Long – Los Angeles, California
31 May 2009
I just returned from a lengthy visit to Sri Lanka, and I witnessed first-hand the Government’s splendid victory over the LTTE terrorists. Every day I read with great interest the many comments and opinions that were written on the conflict by both Sri Lankan and international journalists. From my perspective, I can assure you that the Government acted with restraint and compassion throughout the entire ordeal. I also saw that the so-called “Western Powers” were totally misinformed on the situation, which resulted in their passing a hasty judgment that condemned the Government’s conduct toward the IDP’s and the human shields still trapped in the No Fire Zone.
Having said this, I am grateful for US Congressional Representative Heath Schuler of North Carolina for his support of the Government’s relief efforts yesterday, and for accurately reporting what he saw with his own eyes in the IDP camps in the North. I’m sure his report will go a long way towards correcting misperceptions in America.
A couple of things I could never understand: The first is why were the “Western Powers” so interested in preserving the life of the terrorist leader, Prabhakaran? Secondly, why was the US Ambassador, Robert Blake, feeding his boss, Hillary Clinton, such erroneous and false information that lead to her “disappointment” with the Sri Lankan Government, and her eventual condemnation? I’m sure the answers to these questions will eventually surface over time, but examining them here is not the focus of this article.
I would like to offer some advice to the “Western Powers” in regards to re-examining their policy and approach to dealing with Sri Lanka:
During the thirty-year conflict many people of all ethnicities left Sri Lanka to seek greener pastures in Western countries. There are approximately 300,000 of them in Canada, 200,000 in the US, and another 300,000 in European countries. Many of these immigrants used the “political asylum” card, and as we have later discovered, many of those were lying about the persecution they claimed they received at home. I’m not singling out only the Tamils in this respect; Sinhalese and Muslim immigrants also played the same hand.
Now that the war against the LTTE is over, the “Western Powers” need not accept any more immigrants from Sri Lanka who attempt to seek political asylum. This should come as a great relief to many of those countries who now find themselves embroiled in protests from two fronts: caught in the middle between trying to please new political constituents, and simply doing the right thing by protecting Sri Lankan embassies, places of worship, helping out with the IDP’s in the North, etc.
Secondly, drug trafficking was one of the primary ways the LTTE raised money to finance its war in Sri Lanka. A little-publicized story a few years ago even revealed that the LTTE had attempted to dig a tunnel from British Columbia in Canada down to Washington State, through which it would smuggle drugs into America. Now that the war is over, the LTTE drug trafficking should cease. There are still LTTE front organizations in the Western countries, however, and I suggest you put an end to them just as Canada banned the World Tamil Movement. Many members of these organizations still have the LTTE dream in their heads, and perhaps they need to be taught that the dream was really a nightmare, and that their donations had actually helped to fund death and destruction instead of their mythical Eelam.
The LTTE, as it has been revealed, was closely associated with a variety of extremist groups in other countries, and they helped each other train their cadres in the fine points of suicide bombing, guerilla warfare, and weapons use, among other things. They also assisted one another in the smuggling of weapons. Now that the LTTE has been crushed there should be fewer light aircraft, submarines, tanks, and other weapons smuggled from other countries. I know it may only make a dent in the huge international illicit weapons trade, but every little bit counts. Still, don’t give up on “following the money trail,” and do your best to expose those who supplied the LTTE with weapons until they are prosecuted in every country.
I suggest that Senator Patrick Leahey and Hillary Clinton stop listening to the rubbish of Bruce Fein, the mercenary former Deputy US Attorney, Washington lobbyist, and spokesperson for various LTTE front organizations in North America. He is reportedly being paid $100,000 a month to tell lies about the GOSL and the Rajapaksa brothers, and currently works for an American organization called “Tamils Against Genocide”. Just to show you where his morals are, while he condemns the actions of the GOSL against the LTTE terrorists, he also represents the Turkish Government and condemns the actions of the Kurdish terrorists against the government. It’s the same issue – and he gets money from both sides from two clients. Very clever. Mr. Fein is hardly a credible, unbiased source of information, and when he calls on influential policy makers in Washington, I suggest they lock their doors.
It is obvious that both Senator Leahey and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been “pitched” by Mr. Fein, since their leanings on the Sri Lanka issue are toward his point of view. I’m sad to say that it appears they have paid attention to this materialistic Beltway prostitute, and the GOSL has suffered unfairly as a consequence. I suggest they start investigating how Bruce Fein can represent banned terrorist front organizations and get away with it for nearly two years – and still be a practicing member of the American Bar Association.
In regards to prosecuting Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, and Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka for genocide in the international courts, I think the “Western Powers” should give up this ridiculous pursuit. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay of South Africa, wants to investigate this silly allegation, but she should stop and listen to her comrades who supported Sri Lanka in the UN resolution last week in Geneva. Perhaps she has been listening to Bruce Fein, too. I suggest that the UN and the “Western Powers” start concentrating on how they can help the IDP’s in the North – seriously and quickly – and accept the fact that the authorities in Sri Lanka simply did what they had to do to rid their country of a terrorist scourge (the same that they would have done on their own turfs.)
I think it’s time the media in Western countries takes an honest, serious look at the great progress Sri Lanka has made on a number of fronts – in spite of dealing with a 30-year war against terrorism: the elections and massive re-development programs in the Eastern Province, the appointment of a former child soldier for the LTTE as Chief Minister for the Eastern Province, the Government’s excellent health care and educational systems, the rehabilitation and appointment of former LTTE chief “Karuna Amman” as Vice President of the largest political party in the country, Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the rapid rebuilding of tsunami areas (and compare this to post-Katrina New Orleans), and many others. While they’re at it, the Western journalists can show the world how beautiful Sri Lanka is, and what a great place it is for tourists.
Lastly, the “Western Powers” should be very careful about pushing Sri Lanka too closely into the arms of China, Russia, Pakistan, India, and other neighbors in the Asian region. A close relationship with China, for example, developed during the war against the LTTE when the GOSL couldn’t get arms anywhere else. Now China is building a US $1 billion seaport in Sri Lanka’s south, and is financially helping the Government care for the IDP’s in the north. The “Western Powers” should be thinking about the balance of power in the region, and figuring out ways it can mend some fences with the GOSL – fast. The “Western Powers” don’t seem to understand that every country has to have friends and allies in order to survive, and if they are abandoned by the West, then they have no choice but join the camps of China, Libya, and its Asian neighbors who are perhaps more friendly and sympathetic to their needs and goals.
The policies and neo-colonial interests of the “Western Powers” need to be examined closely by all parties from this point forward. Everyone should learn to respect Sri Lanka as a democratic, free, sovereign nation that deserves a decent place in the international community. Give Sri Lanka a break. Stop wasting time trying to make an enemy, and concentrate on making a good friend instead.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Dear Mr. Keller:
For the past few months, we have seen an incredible number of inflammatory biased attacks on Sri Lanka in the New York Times, some even based on hearsay and false stories generated by the Tamil Tiger Terrorists. Here is just once such example:
Sri Lanka: Inquiry Sought on Atrocities on May 26, 2009
“The United Nations’ top human rights official demanded an independent investigation on Tuesday into allegations of atrocities committed by both sides in Sri Lanka’s civil war. Navi Pillay, left, the high commissioner for human rights, said tens of thousands of civilians were killed or wounded in intense fighting between the government and Tamil rebels beginning in December. But a majority of the 47 countries at the United Nations’ Geneva-based Human Rights Council appeared unwilling to accept her appeal for a war crimes investigation.”
There are many things wrong with reporting such false allegations in the form of legitimate news. United Nations’ top human rights official Navi Pillay is an ethnic Tamil appointed to that position by the strong pro-LTTE group inside the UN. Previous examples of individuals
supporting the LTTE inside the UN were Alan Rock, a prominent LTTE Terrorist fundraiser and supporter in the Canadian government and Radhika Coomaraswamy, an ethnic Tamil.
Lucien Rajakarunanayake Courtesy : Daily News
30 May 2009
Two weeks and two victories – one was on the battlefront against terror, and the other on the diplomatic front against the backers of terror. Sri Lanka has every cause to be more than pleased; at the outcome of the UN Human Rights Council Session in Geneva earlier this week, when it humbled the so-called international community, which had to abandon its earlier resolution seeking to condemn Sri Lanka for alleged war crimes in defeating LTTE terror, and gave an overwhelming endorsement voting 26 for, 12 against with six abstentions to a consensual resolution by Sri Lanka that stressed the necessity for others to stop interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign State.
The powers of the old West — Britain, France and Germany and their lackeys who are influenced both politically and economically but these power centres of the West, must certainly be licking their wounds at having failed to even get the votes of all 17 nations that signed the initial resolution calling for the Special Session on the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan delegation led by Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe and comprising Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinghe and the Attorney General Mohan Peiris and all who worked with them deserve the highest kudos for their achievement.
There is also a great deal of appreciation due to the countries of the Afro-Asian bloc and the Non-Aligned Movement, and especially the traditional friends of Sri Lanka such as India, Pakistan and China who buried any difference they may have over bilateral issues to support Sri Lanka to the hilt on this.
While these two gains are safe under Sri Lanka’s belt, there are other threats that will emerge very soon, which require high alert on the part of Colombo. There is the need to be watchful of the forces who are in total denial of all the savagery and brutality of the LTTE through the past 30 years, to attack Sri Lanka on many fronts, be it human rights, economic, trade or any other that suits the purposes of those who wish to have leverage over Sri Lanka in a situation where the two Asian giants, both in economic power and population – India and China – are emerging as world powers. There are also the pro-LTTE expatriate Sri Lankan Tamil population who are enjoying life as American, British, Canadian,
Australian, or French, German or any other European Tamils, who are using the power of their vote at various electorates, departments and districts to pressure politicians, political parties and Governments through what are believed to be vote banks, to keep the pressure on Sri Lanka alive and glowing, and not on the back burner.
The Money Media
One of the biggest fights that Sri Lanka will have to face is on the media front. One can already see how the Western media, and powerful, sections of it are lining up against Sri Lanka. Whether it is the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera (they are not listed here in order of importance), and so many other news channels and major publications that have abandoned the basic principles and ethics of journalism and media practice to carry on with Sri Lanka bashing to serve the same establishment interests in their respective countries and the interests of the prop-LTTE Tamil expatriate community in these lands.
The abundance of lies that are being reported about how the IDP community is being treated and the near anti-Sri Lankan fixation among most of the journalists who participate in this campaign, raises important issues as to whether they are in fact only paid by the institutions that they work for, or have other sources of income that are linked to terrorism. Being a journalist of some experience myself, I raise this matter with some concern, as I do not wish to tar all with the same brush, and it is possible that many of them who have got on to the easy job of Sri Lanka bashing are either ill-informed or have been misled into what they present to the world. But the insistence with which some of these journalists go on with their lies, and the exposure given to their reports by their news institutions do raise considerable doubts as to where their real allegiances lie.
It is not unknown that the LTTE had and still has formidable financial resources. As Jane’s Defence Weekly has shown it has much more than the annual budgets of many countries in its monthly collections from various means and sources. These extend from the expatriate Tamil community and various legal and illegal business investments it has been engaged in. Most of it is still intact, and whoever gets their hands on these funds, will have enormous resources that can be used to influence the media in away that is wholly negative to Sri Lanka. Some of the reports written about so-called surrender interventions by journalists give more than a clue that some Western journalists have definitely been in the pay of the LTTE and its agents.
The reports that are being filed daily about the appalling conditions in the IDP camps, and the shrill insistence on unhindered and unimpeded access to UN and other aid workers and various other interest groups, also point to the power of LTTE funds that are playing the role of the Pied Piper to sections of the Western media and individual Western journalists today.
But for such stuffing of the wallets of some journalists and NGO activists they cannot be expected to be so obsessed about barbed wire and concentration camps at these IDP centres, that are entirely distant from the truth; as well as the highly imaginative stories they write about the conditions in these places that are only means to supply more material for later attacks on Sri Lanka at various international fora, be it the UN Human Rights Council, various other bodies that seek to sit in judgment on human rights, statements of human rights watchdogs who view things with an anti-Sri Lankan tint in their lenses, and even the UN Security Council.
In the face of this entire barrage from a decidedly hostile media and Western powers that are keen to prevent Sri Lanka from reaping the fruits of her victory over terrorism, it is good to know that there are at least some journals of distinction that have not dipped there pens in the blood spilt by the LTTE and are ready to not to fall into the trap of denial of the threat and horror of terror, I shall end by quoting from the Wall Street Journal of May 21 on the current situation in Sri Lanka.
“The war on terror scored a big victory this weekend with the Sri Lankan Army’s battlefield defeat of the terrorist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
“The event ends one of the world’s longest running civil wars. It also vindicates one of the major lessons of September 11: Most of the time, terrorists have to be defeated militarily before political accommodation is possible.
“President Rajapaksa wisely ignored international calls for a ceasefire as he got closer to victory, including threats from the Obama Administration to block $1.9 billion in International Monetary Fund aid money. “As Colombo starts to grapple with those post-conflict problems, everyone else can take note: Thanks to a strategy of defeating the insurgency, Sri Lanka is now in a position to talk seriously about peace and economic growth. When negotiating with terrorists doesn’t work, beating them does.” (Wall Street Journal May 21, 2009)
We will now have to think seriously as to how we deal with the new threat to Sri Lanka about giving unhindered and unimpeded access to UN and other aid workers.
I trust President Rajapaksa is as pragmatic and strong in his determination to uphold Sri Lanka’s sovereignty in dealing with this new threat, as he was about the insistent calls for a ceasefire when the Tigers were on the limp, and when Hillary Clinton warned of stopping the IMF facility that Sri Lanka sought.
Courtesy : Daily News
Sri Lanka achieved a phenomenal victory at the United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday. The resolution put forward by Sri Lanka received 29 votes in favour, 12 against with 6 abstentions. Even some signatories who called for the Special Session did not oppose the Sri Lankan resolution.
This is a phenomenal victory for Sri Lanka, its foreign policy and President Mahinda Rajapaksa in particular. Almost all speakers, including those who sponsored the call for the Special Session acknowledged the President’s genuine interest to bring relief to the internally displaced. They also welcomed the initiatives already taken by Sri Lanka in this regard.
What is important is that the Human Rights Council reaffirmed the respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Sri Lanka, and its sovereign rights to protect its citizens and combat terrorism and condemned all attacks that the LTTE launched on the civilian population and its practice of using civilians as human shields.
What more, it also commended the measures taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to address the urgent needs of the Internally Displaced Persons and welcomed the continued commitment of Sri Lanka to the promotion and protection of all human rights and encouraged it to continue to uphold its human rights obligations and the norms of international human rights law.
In contrast to the loud mouthed propagandists who called for tribunals against Sri Lanka the Human rights Council commended the measures taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to address the urgent needs of the Internally Displaced Persons.
Those that wanted to put Sri Lanka in the dock had to beat a hasty retreat in face of the avalanche of support from the international community which was quite widespread, encompassing all continents.
The Non-Aligned Movement, the African Group and the Organization of the Islamic Conference all gave unreserved support to Sri Lanka and questioned the double standards on human rights. The debate on the Sri Lankan situation also turned into a debate on the principles of conduct in the Human Rights Council. For example, the Non-Aligned Movement firmly believed that preserving the core principles of avoiding selectivity and double standards, as well as promoting an approach of cooperation for the promotion and protection of human rights, were vital to the success of the Human Rights Council.
The Indian delegate was of the opinion that by forcing a Special Session on the Council, some Members had, regrettably, politicized the Council’s work. It was an opinion shared by many members. The delegate of the Organization of Islamic Conference said that for some there were differing standards for judging human rights as well as the criterion for combating terrorism. The Cuban delegate’s opinion was that it was an attempt by certain colonial powers to stigmatize a smaller country.
The Syrian delegate said that the convening of the Special Session was clearly interference in the internal affairs of a country. “It was also strange that this Special Session had been requested by the very same who normally turned a blind eye to the violations committed by the forces of Israeli occupation in the Occupied Arab Territories,” he said.
The representative of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was more forthright when he expressed grave concern over the politicization, selectivity and double standards that were practiced by some by singling out Sri Lanka for purposes other than genuine human rights, while ignoring gross human rights violations including civilian killings as a result of bloody wars that were carried out by powerful countries elsewhere in the world.
Today Sri Lanka stands not alone. It has great support among the community of nations. Even super powers could not put Sri Lanka in the dock. This shows that our foreign policy has been basically sound, correct and in harmony with new developments in the world where the Third World nations are beginning to have their say registered unequivocally.
What is also significant is the fact that even those countries that opposed the Sri Lankan resolution had to grudgingly acknowledge that the defeat of LTTE terrorism had opened a new opportunity for peace and reconciliation in the island. They also had to acknowledge that Sri Lanka is working in cooperation with the United Nations and the international community in the promotion of human rights.
We hope this victory would open the eyes of those local and foreign elements who were misguided by the biased and false propaganda barrage that emanated from Western capitals.
22- May-2009-Over the years Sri Lanka had been fighting LTTE scourge of terrorism in three fronts and finally ended up militarily victorious. One is the military operations against LTTE in the East and the North. The second front is the pro-LTTE international lobby and third front is the international coup d’etat (IC). Even though the LTTE terrorists were militarily defeated, the pro-LTTE lobby by the hard core Tamil Diaspora ably supported by bought up politicians of the western block continues. The IC is currently led by Milliband and the gang from UK, Hillary and the Gang from States, Eric and the gang from Norway and a gang from EU countries with a British MEP leading the way. These conspirators have been ably supported by UN agency heads like Ms Navenetham Pillay UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Radhika Coomarswamy who is the special representative for children and armed conflict and so called humanitarian organizations Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. They have been accusing at every turn, pointing the gun at GoSL for human rights violations and alike and never a mention of the real perpetrator which is LTTE. Even when a tiny accusation is made on LTTE (just a white wash) they always made it a point to place the democratically elected legitimate Government of Sri Lanka on par with the LTTE terrorists using the hackneyed words “Both parties to the conflict” giving currency to LTTEs Eelam cry.
The international coup d’etat against Sri Lanka led by silly Milliband from UK (he must be day dreaming that we are still one of their colonies) made every attempt, used every source, resources and influence to get the GoSL to agree for a ceasefire to save LTTE until end of last week but miserably failed to get a ceasefire from strong Sri Lankan Government. Thanks for our courageous President Rajapaksa, he didn’t budge an inch from his stand that until the LTTE terrorist outfit is completely decimated that he would not stop military operations and he did that on Monday 18 2009.
Over the last 4 months, the lunatics of the IC were constantly accusing the GoSL for killing Tamil civilians. If the Government had been killing Tamil civilians as accused by these lunatics, how come they have escaped in hundreds and thousands from LTTE clutches to Government safety zones? It was only two days before the armed forces defeated LTTE militarily, the IC led by Milliband and joined by UN secretary General Ban-ki-Moon asked LTTE to release the civilians held as human shield. Until then, they neither accused LTTE for holding Tamil civilians as human shield nor demanded LTTE to release them. However, it was sore eyes for these international conspirators to observe thousands and thousands of Tamil civilians on their own were escaping from LTTE captivity risking their lives.
Well, no sooner our armed forces decimated LTTE militarily; Milliband changed their tune and was talking about war crimes against GoSL. How dare he says that when a democratically elected government was fighting a terrorist outfit who wanted to carve a mono ethnic enclave for Tamils only. Is military operation by a legitimate government against a terrorist outfit a war crime? If the International conspirators and the UN agencies think so, then UK, USA, NATO countries are guilty of war crimes and should be charged for invading Iraq and Afghanistan to get Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden before they charge Sri Lanka. Over the years these international western block conspirators were least concerned of the poor plight of the Tamil civilians under the jackboot of now demised Prabhakaran, never talked about them but suddenly started shedding crocodile tears applying pressure on the GoSL to provide five star comfort for IDP’s overnight which is humanly impossible. Humanitarian organizations, UNICEF, ICRC and the affluent west want the GoSL to solve this humanitarian crisis overnight.
It’s true that USA has donated a few millions to assist the welfare of the IDPs which is insufficient to feed the IDPs even a week but America lavishly donated $100 million to the welfare of the IDPs returning from SWAT valley in Pakistan as USA was helping Pakistan in its military operations to wipe off Taliban militants. It is true that UK has given a couple of millions which is not a donation in real terms as the Britain owes Sri Lanka billions of sterling pounds for plundering our assets and artifacts, bringing slavery from India and creating another ethnic group, destroying our agricultural economy, plundering the lands in the up-country for few guineas, by their divide and rule policy dividing ethnic harmony between Sinhalese and Tamils thus bringing misery to Sri Lanka during their rule. The compensation for misery they created during their rule cannot be limited to a few millions of pounds but couple of billions.
Having lost its well planned conspiracy to save LTTE and tarnish the image of Sri Lanka by these conspirators, they now together with UN are all out to bring stress and pressure to the President and the Government of Sri Lanka demanding the welfare of the IDPs and reconciliation of the conflict overnight by not giving any breathing space. But we are certain that no pressure or stress can weaken our strong President Rajapakse and his Government and he will deal with it more patiently, rightly and reasonably for a long lasting sustainable peace with dignity to fellow Sri Lankans.
Even LTTE is militarily defeated, the international conspiracy against Sri Lanka will continue and all Sri Lankans should be mindful of this fact.
In conclusion, I believe this is also a subtle attempt to regain supremacy of Anglo Saxonism which is fading at lightning speed in the Asian block and to destabilize the Asian block through small countries like Sri Lanka and Burma etc. I leave it to the readers to ponder.
The Island Editorial
22 May 2009- There was much ado about the UN Human Rights Council election at the time of going to press. Sri Lanka was trying her best to retain her seat. Her desperate struggle to avoid defeat was due to prestige and domestic political compulsions of the ruling party rather than anything else. Her defeat or victory will hardly signify anything, unless it is viewed through political glasses.
Sri Lanka has had negative ratings from the self-appointed UN watchers. But ironically, whether or not Sri Lanka retains her seat, two nations, Gabon and Zambia, which have been given the same bad name as Sri Lanka, will retain their seats in the two-year-old Council, sans much credibility. (The US voted against its formation albeit in vain and has chosen to remain off it.) For, there are no contenders for their seats from Africa.
Those behind the media hype about the election seem to believe if Sri Lanka loses, their human rights campaign to save the Tigers will get a fresh impetus and they will be able to have a UN human rights monitoring mission here. A defeat will also be made out to be the present government’s failure on the international front.
But, will the pro-LTTE lobby succeed in taking the Tigers off the hook even if the government loses its Human Rights Council seat?
It is a supreme irony that Prabhakaran, who practises the very antithesis of human rights by killing opponents, massacring civilians and forcibly conscripting child combatants has finally come to depend on a human rights campaign to save his skin. It is like a homicidal killer taking refuge in a temple to avoid being hunted down! Any port in a storm, they say. But, it is only wishful thinking that he and his cohorts will be able to achieve their objective.
The devil cannot pass for a priest by merely quoting Scripture. The discerning are capable of seeing through the wiles of the LTTE lobby. That’s why India openly backed Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council election. The fact that India stopped dithering and pledged support openly is a victory for Sri Lanka even if she loses her seat. For at the end of the day what really matters in the on-going war against the LTTE is not that council seat but India’s backing. In 1987, it may be recalled, what stood in the way of the JRJ government’s near successful attempt to account for Prabhakaran was India’s intervention.
Things are moving here in the direction India desires. An alternative Tamil leadership capable of standing up to Prabhakaran has emerged in the form of the TMVP led by Pillaiyan. The Sri Lankan State has proved its readiness to devolve power the way India wants.
Today, India has achieved in Sri Lanka like a friend, what it failed to in the late 1980s through gunboat diplomacy. Its remedy—the 13th Amendment—is being implemented without the presence of a single Jawan on the Sri Lankan soil!
Instead of a weakling like Vardharaja Perumal, who took the next boat to India after the IPKF left, Pillaiyan is a strong leader who means business. He has already joined his counterparts in other Provincial Councils in demanding devolution as envisaged in the Constitution. Thus, India is in a position to support Sri Lanka’s politico-military approach to resolving the conflict much to the disappointment of the Eelam lobby.
At the present rate, nothing is going to help the LTTE, however hard its apologists may try to use the bludgeon of human rights against the State. Prabhakaran’s empire is shrinking and the leaders of his generation are crossing the great divide one by one. Kittu, Shanker, Balasingham, Tamil Chelvam, Mahattaya, Balraj et al are no more. Some of them have perished in battle or fratricidal violence and others have died natural deaths. None of them died happy and content, as, at the time of their demise, their movement was nowhere near achieving its goal in spite of the sacrifices they had made.
Time was when there were long queues of youth to join the LTTE but today it has come to such a pass that it is forcibly conscripting children and ageing people into its fighting units. Balraj, the man behind mammoth military victories of the LTTE such as the capture of Mullativu and Elephant Pass, spent his last few years as a sick man in hiding while his outfit was on the defensive clutching at the straw of human rights for survival after over two decades of fighting.
It is against this backdrop that the rise of an alternative Tamil leadership in the East should be viewed. The gap between Prabhakaran and Pillaiyan is one whole generation and there is a world of difference between their approaches to resolving the conflict. The path that the new generation has chosen seems to have yielded tangible results, if the recently concluded Eastern PC polls results are any indication.
Some members of the international community misled by the Eelam lobby may be looking askance at the TMVP and its way of politicking but if the outfit behaves, those countries are bound to soften their stand. Even if they don’t, they cannot come to the LTTE’s rescue without India’s backing.
Therefore, whether Sri Lanka loses her Human Rights Council seat or not, nobody will be able to help the Tigers wriggle out of the mire of their making in the Wanni.
They are sinking under their own weight!
28-May-2009-All the tales of misery, agony and horror they experienced are carved in their faces as they were leaving the hell they were living as the LTTE was drawing out their last breath when the valiant troops surrounded them in the last terrain in Karayanmullivaikkal in Mullaitivu.
Not that they were allowed to leave but they were rescued by the valiant troops of the Sri Lanka Army after fighting a battle which dragged on for months due to concerns of the lives of these innocent civilians trapped inside this so-called ‘safe zone’.
Not at all did I feel a need of an interpreter to learn their tales of horror, nor did I need any briefing from the troops operating there or from a Tiger cadre hiding deep inside the safe zone to understand what was going on there.
The atmosphere and the facial expressions of civilians described it all.
Last batch of civilians
But it was with great relief I observed the final hours of this 26 year-long conflict that engulfed the North and East. The banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon facing the Vadduvakkal causeway gave me a good view to observe the last batch of civilians arriving in the military controlled areas across this narrow causeway.
The old, maimed and injured were included in the last lot and were slowly moving through the Vadduvakkal bridge across the Nanthikadal lagoon as the huge influx of civilians thinned out into dozens as if they were stepping into a different country. The elderly without help were crawling whilst maimed and the injured were moving on crutches and wheel chairs.
It was so pathetic to observe the scene but heartening to see soldiers offering their bottled water to this hapless crowd seeking protection at the last leg of the battle and were carrying them on their shoulders for immediate treatment.
That was the paradox in this war. It was a humanity versus inhumanity battle.
At last, these Tamil civilians breathed the air of freedom and the Sri Lankan Nation has got only a few hours left to liberate the last inch of the land under the LTTE control on that eve, on May 17,2009.
The occasion was so historic for me as a person who observed the way the LTTE made its first attempt to defeat Security Forces in Trincomalee South in the wee hours of August 2,2006 and take control of Trincomalee South in their bid to cut off vital links between the South and the Jaffna peninsula, while the Mavil Aru humanitarian operation was in progress.
The two years and 10 months brought disasters to the LTTE while the Security Forces fought this battle explicitly displaying humanity towards the Tamil community even at this very last moment.
It was horrific to learn that the international community, trying to charge Sri Lankan Government and the Security Forces over war crimes even at a time they were risking their lives to liberate the Tamil civilians.
As a journalist who followed the entire humanitarian mission from Mavil Aru to the last battle in Mullaitivu, I am aware that the Security Forces had more than enough opportunities if they wanted to get rid of the Tamil civilians as alleged by the so-called international community.
If they were not concerned about human rights, they could have won this war a long ago, bombing the entire area where LTTE cadres were taking cover of the civilians, without an iota of respect for civilians, like the way the Western nations fight wars ignoring the civilian factor. Even in their wildest dream they never wanted to eliminate the terrorists along with civilians and they trod the most difficult path towards their objective, picking off the target carefully among the civilians.
They never wanted to become nasty towards these people. It was with great respect to our valiant Security Forces I recall the way they assisted Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims displaced from the Trincomalee South areas when the LTTE launched its first offensive against the Security Forces in August 2006.
There was no difference in their treatment to the Tamils who were kept as a human shield by the LTTE in Vakarai in the last few months of 2006, when they were being liberated in December 2006 and the way they treated the Sinhalese from Somapura, Serunuwara, Mahindapura and other Sinhalese settlements.
As a Sri Lankan and a journalist, I was proud to feel the humanity hidden in their uniforms, as I was among the few journalists who could observe how those soldiers treated pregnant women and children arriving in military controlled areas amidst heavy downpour.
Just like I was watching civilians fleeing into Rideetenna, Welikanda, I was observing the last batch of civilians leaving the safe zone.
A fine example of their humane approach towards the Tamil civilians I snatched during my visits to the No Fire Zone soon after 58 Division troops liberated more than 117,000 people from Puthumattalan on April 20 and also my visit to Mullivaikkal Safe Zone on May 16, soon after the troops liberated thousands of trapped civilians.
I can still recall the way the troops were making a last minute attempt to save the lives of the old, maimed and the injured left behind by the fleeing civilians and offering their lunch packets to those starving for days.
It was on May 16 eve, during my visit to the Mullaivaikkal safe zone along with 58 Division GOC Brigadier Shavendra Silva a panic stricken soldier came towards us to inform that a number of injured civilians were still inside the safe zone. “Please, Sir, send a vehicle to transport them towards a medical facility”, that was his plea to Brigadier Silva.
It was amidst the flames of fire caused by the suicide attempts by the LTTE to stop the military from advancing, he had managed to find those injured civilians, among dozens of bodies of Tamil civilians who got caught in those suicide blasts.
His humane feelings emerged above all the horrible scenes that clearly depict the brutality of the LTTE and their disregard for their own community. But he made a lonely attempt to save the lives of those innocent civilians left behind by the fellow Tamils.
At last he saw the result of his humane attempt as those injured civilians were evacuated to a safer place.
And at the same moment an elderly woman with an injury in her hand emerged from the flames murmuring some words might be out of fear that she would get killed at the hands of the Security Forces. But I was highly moved when a soldier took her in his arms and took her out of the rubble towards a safer location.
She was immediately dispatched to a safe place as Brigadier Silva offered his vehicle to transport that elderly woman.
If the Tamil Diaspora and the international community blindly point fingers at them, I must mention here that our soldiers would have become demons and devils if they really reacted emotionally to the brutal acts of horror by the LTTE targeting dozens of civilians into their claymore mines exploded in the South. No need to explain the horror they created in Kebithigollewa, Piliyandala and at Fort railway station.
But even at the last moment of the fighting they did not run after emotions and were not ready to take revenge from the Tamil community though the outsiders tried to add an ethnic flavour to the last battle.
They strictly maintained it as a fight against terrorism but not against the Tamil community.
That was why they were able to take wounded Tiger cadres in stretches on their shoulders and airlift some of them to Colombo to treat them equally with the fellow soldiers while the Tigers were harassing our soldiers captured alive during military operations.
So those who tried to safeguard the LTTE terrorism may have been displeased with the way the Security Forces have acted during the past two years and 10 months in which the Security Forces were able to totally eliminate the LTTE terrorism.
If not for such stern action this country would not have reached this historic victory against the most ruthless terror outfit in the world while treating the Tamil community in the most humane manner.
The international media and even the so-called free media was worried as they were not given a free hand to report the battle and unimpeded access to the displaced. They were worried because the Sri Lankan Security Forces did not fight the battle the way they have dictated but continued the battle in the way they thought was right. Finally, the Sri Lankan Security Forces were proved right.
The so-called free media in the country were not aware that they have become puppets of the LTTE proxies who were funding their so-called organizations to scuttle the military efforts in defeating the LTTE . They might have not been aware that they were campaigning against their Motherland to drag it into a disaster.
It could have been a fair attempt if it was done to secure the lives of civilians at the initial stages but it cannot be justified at the last moment after they failed in all their endeavors.
The emerging factor was that the Sri Lankan community who had the tendency to believe in foreign reports were placing their confidence in the State media rather than the highly exaggerated reporting by so-called free media. It was after the Thoppigala operation they started believing in military victories, completely rejecting the utterances of the disgruntled politicians.
What those so-called international organizations could not understand was the Sri Lankan Security Forces’ humanistic approach to the problem. If they had to launch military operations taking any risks, in civilian populated area that was meant for the benefit of the entire Sri Lankan Nation especially, the Tamil community suppressed by the jackboot of Tiger terrorism.
What I was observing on May 17, 2009 on the banks of Nanthikadal lagoon was the final result of that two years and 10 month-long humanitarian operation to fully liberate the Tamil community from the clutches of the LTTE after the Security Forces saw its turning point on April 20, 2009 with the liberation of more than 117,000 population within four days.
The three battle formations, the 58 Division commanded by Brigadier Shavendra Silva, the 53 Division commanded by Major General Kamal Gunaratne and the 59 Division by Brigadier Prasanna Silva had already encircled last terrain of the LTTE which has now been reduced to 300 to 400 square hundred meters.
They were aware that the international community was closely monitoring what they were doing. But they were not hesitating to do what they were doing as they were doing the correct thing at the appropriate time and were aware that the last civilian has been rescued from the clutches of the LTTE.
Dusk fell on that fateful day and we still hear the sounds of small arms fire in Mullaivaikkal area as we visited the defences of the 59 Division along the Mullaitivu coast with Brigadier Prasanna Silva on the sandy beach and we retreated to our resting places hoping we will get a good news at the earliest possible. As we expected, we got the news in the early hours on Monday, May 18.
“The Tiger leaders have been surrounded in Vellamullivaikkal and their bodies were lying all over”, the message came from the 58 Division.
We rushed towards the 53 Division Headquarters in Puthukudiyiruppu and all the journalist reporting the final battle were gathered in groups. We waited until we got clearance from the military to visit the battle scene. But the area was not safe for us to visit but managed to visit the place where Charles Anthony’s body was lying, his face bruised in the gun fire.
Time was around 1 p.m. Firing was still going on and we were asked to take cover. Tractor loads of terrorist bodies collected by the troops were laid in lines and were being identified. Many were disfigured after getting caught in the massive fire.
Soldiers were telling us how they have thwarted the Tiger leaders last attempt to breach the Security Forces’ defences and the way they killed scores of Tiger cadres hiding inside bushes and firing upon them.
The search operations were going on throughout. They could not find the body of Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran as they were certain that he had been surrounded by them. The 53 Division and the 58 Division continued their search ops along with the Commando and Special Forces troops.
The final result of their two years and 10 months long operation came only around 10 am on Tuesday. The troops of the 4 Vijayaba Infantry Regiment attached to 681 Brigade had recovered the body of Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran. Major General Kamal Gunaratne and Brigadier Shavendra Silva stood like lions keeping the Prabhakaran’s body below their feet. And the troops thronging in thousands paraded the Tiger leaders body along the streets in Vellamullivaikkal.
His decade long terror had come to an end. But the flames of fire still emanated from the Safe Zone as if his soul whisked into the air hours ago as the last batch of civilians left him in isolation in the last terrain as he was well aware that there was no survival for him without that human shield around him.
Prof Rajiva Wijesinha – Secretary General – Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process
18 May 2009-A couple of years back, in Geneva, the British ambassador tried to have a resolution critical of Sri Lanka passed in the United Nations Human Rights Council. The previous year such a resolution had been proposed, and after negotiation, as I understood, it was kept on the table, so that it could be taken up if agreed.
In 2007 Dr Dayan Jayatilleka decided that he would not accept a resolution. He also refused to negotiate on the terms of a Presidential Statement, which was then proposed by the British ambassador. He refused even to accept a draft text, since that would have been tantamount to agreeing that some sort of action was necessary.
Dr Jayatilleka’s view was that there was no need of any action with regard to Sri Lanka, but he also recognised that, with the adverse publicity against the country coming from various quarters, it was necessary to make our position clear. He therefore ensured that a delegation from Colombo briefed regional groupings as well as individual states on the actual situation. The result was that many, who had previously heard only one side of the story, understood the efforts we were making, and agreed that any action against the country would be inappropriate.
The danger passed, though we had to deal with repeated criticism of Sri Lanka, from a few countries and from a plethora of Non-Governmental Organisations. Some of these were international ones, such as Human Rights Watch, which had fired the first salvo in the attack on Sri Lanka when, fraudulently, it accused us of indiscriminate attacks on civilians. There were also some local ones, though we found out soon enough that many of them were funded precisely by those countries that wanted us subject to criticism. The most appalling example of this came to my notice when the head of the Berghof Foundation, Norbert Ropers, informed me that they had funded one such organisation, which they recognised was a surrogate for the LTTE, but this had been done in good faith when they thought that the LTTE could be democratised. My understanding was that they had now ceased to fund this organisation though, when I found out later that this was not the case, Mr Ropers wrote to me from abroad to say that I had misunderstood him.
Those were the days when the anti-Government press in Colombo was claiming that the Government was about to be defeated on the budget, and when it was declared that the whole world was against Sri Lanka. When there was no motion in the Human Rights Council against us, it was claimed that we had been saved by rogue states. Those were days when the opposition claimed that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was going to insist on a UN Monitoring Mission in Sri Lanka and nothing would stop this, when her sidekick tried to persuade me that the UN would do a better job than the Scandinavians, and when a very sweet Amnesty International worker in fact told us that she had been asked by UNOHCHR in Geneva to pack her bags and prepare to come to Sri Lanka to be part of the UN Mission.
Entertainingly, Amnesty, in asking that a delegation be allowed to come to Sri Lanka now, suggested that that lady be part of it, though unfortunately their London office had meanwhile sought a visa for the much more prejudiced Yolanda Foster.
When it became clear that there would be no resolution against Sri Lanka, and that the attempt to denigrate the Government through this manoeuvre had failed, the British ambassador told me that our ambassador thought he had won, but we should wait and see. He did agree with my suggestion that, since we did want to improve our Human Rights situation, the British should help positively instead of simply pointing fingers, and promised to tell the High Commissioner in Sri Lanka to look into the matter. Those however were the days of Dominic Chilcott, who ignored my requests, and tried to tell me that, while he thought some elements in the Government were sincere, others were dreadful.
But Dominic Chilcott went away, to Washington and the Human Rights paradise of the Bush Presidency, and there was a new British ambassador in Geneva too, and it seemed things were better. 2008 passed without incident, except for a few squawks in the British Parliament, and we thought that in fact the British were now more genuine in their dealings with Sri Lanka.
We were wrong. Perhaps because of the determination of David Miliband to stamp his mark upon British Foreign Policy, we had a flurry of adverse commentary, with what seemed avuncular encouragement of Tiger demonstrators in London. And the determination to break loose from the international consensus that the Tigers surrender, exemplified in the Miliband refusal to answer the question put to him twice by the BBC, was accompanied by more plotting in Geneva.
Dr Jayatilleka discovered early in May that the British, together with some other Western nations, were trying to invoke a special session of the Council on May 14th, to discuss the Sri Lankan situation. Whether they were genuinely concerned was a matter for doubt, since the Western Europeans alone of the regional groupings had refused to meet with the Sri Lankan delegation in March, when we offered briefings on the current situation and the opportunity to ask questions. It should be noted though that some European countries did give us the opportunity to discuss matters with them, and we were able to disabuse them of some of the more extreme examples of Tiger propaganda.
The European masterminds behind the move were very secretive, and went ahead without initially consulting the other regional groupings. They must have assumed they would have no difficulty in getting the 16 signatures required, since they had about a dozen themselves, and had managed to persuade one Asian country to commit itself.
But Dr Jayatilleka then went into action, and convinced all the other groupings that the Western European move was manifestly unfair. As happened in Sri Lanka, where briefings were held with relevant diplomats, one obvious question was the timing of the move, which seemed obviously designed to assure the Tigers, fighting what should have been their last battle, that they had world sympathy. Mr Miliband’s failure to insist on a Tiger surrender, which had been remarked upon also by others, gave credence to the view that the whole move was disingenuous, nothing to do with humanitarian concerns but rather an obvious political ploy.
How intense the effort was became clear when hosts of NGOs, many of them funded by the countries most keen on the move, weighed in with their requests, and when Special Rapporteurs who had not been especially interested in Sri Lanka previously, issued a press release calling for an independent inquiry into the situation in Sri Lanka. One of them claimed this had been done because they had not had a response to their letters, but since the letters had been sent in the last few days in May, and the reply went ten days later, their haste in issuing a damning release on May 8th seemed positively indecent – recalling a similar release by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, sent out when some Western Europeans were canvassing for a Presidential Statement on Sri Lanka at the ordinary session of the Council in March.
Meanwhile the campaign of the Tigers was reaching fever pitch all over Europe and in America. Following the successful escape of nearly a thousand civilians on the 9th of May, the Tigers shot at those trying to follow on the next day, but the deaths were then used for intense propaganda that attributed responsibility to the Sri Lankan forces. Simple induction was beyond all those implacably opposed to the Sri Lankan state, the fact that we had got out over 100,000 with minimum civilian casualties in April, that the flood had been dammed until we succeeded again on May 9th in getting people out without civilian casualties, and it was precisely to claim a catastrophe that the Tigers had kept these civilians for so long.
The self-righteous Europeans must have thought then that their campaign could not fail. They could not believe that the efforts of Dr Jayatilleka and his dedicated team at the Mission in Geneva would turn back the combined efforts of so many wealthy and determined countries. Knowing the trust his colleagues in Geneva had in him, they raised the matter in capitals all over the world, only to find that the ambassadors in Geneva had very different advice to offer.
Dr Jayatilleka was helped in this by the work he had done with the other regional groupings over the last couple of years. In particular the Non-Aligned Movement proved a rock of strength, with both its current Chairman Cuba, and the next Chairman Egypt, being categorical in their view that this singling out of what seemed vulnerable individuals was contrary to the spirit in which the Human Rights Council had been established. But the support of our immediate neighbours, Indian and Pakistan, and also Bangladesh, all of them respected members of the Council, also proved invaluable, along with the positive input of Russia and China, with their added prestige as permanent members of the Security Council.
There was a briefing on the 12th on the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka, arranged without reference to Sri Lanka, though fortunately Dr Jayatilleka had been working late in his office on May 8th, and had received the notice before he went home, so that he was able to ensure input from Sri Lanka. Otherwise it is possible that the session would have been used for critical comments, as were made by the British, based on the visit of their beloved Miliband, but apart from that we had only very generous inputs from the Japanese and others.
At a dinner that evening, even though there was still a danger that the Western Europeans would continue with their hunt for signatures, a number of ambassadors made it clear that they would not stand for this type of selective criticism. It was also understood that, even though the Europeans would not get the sort of resolution they craved, it would not do to be passive, because then the media would present a Western viewpoint, to the effect that Sri Lanka had been saved from condemnation by just a few countries who could conveniently be demonised. Any session for which signatures were obtained would then have to lead to a resolution, which would make clear the determination of the world at large to deal firmly with terrorism.
On the 14th a number of what seemed LTTE surrogates were seen coming into Geneva, perhaps having relied on assurances that they would get their lifeline that day, with a jamboree which would have been widely reported as proving how inhuman the Sri Lankan government and forces had been. But, though the quest for signatures continued, with more statements piling in, the week ended with the real international community resoundingly rejecting those who had tried to dragoon it into selective criticism.
A number of lessons should be learned from the whole episode. Firstly, making the West the cornerstone of our foreign policy is clearly a mistake – or at any rate the old West about which we still continue sentimental. If for instance we had voted not for Britain (which we did unconditionally last year) but for Spain, the latter would have been elected to the Council instead of Britain and we would not have had so many headaches. Secondly, whilst of course we must still continue good relations with the West (for they too have decent politicians, who will not all promote terrorism for political considerations), we must work more concertedly with our neighbours and also the regional groupings which share our interests.
Thirdly, we must also endeavour to satisfy the idealistic expectations of these our friends. All of them asked about the intended political solution to the political problem and, while they were steadfast in accepting that terror had to be dealt with militarily, and dealt with conclusively, they will also all expect a decent package that exemplifies the pluralistic nature of Sri Lankan society. They could understand delays while the terrorist sword hung over us but, now that is no longer a major threat, we must fulfil their expectations about the essentially democratic dispensation our government has defended so ably.
But at the same time there are also lessons the West should learn. The anger at obvious double standards was palpable amongst all our friends. Obviously we do not expect even the most idealistic country to abandon its own interests. But in sticking to them ruthlessly, the use of sanctimonious pronouncements to reach other ends is abhorrent. It is especially important that the Obama administration, which came in with such high hopes, should not be seen as just another cynical mixture as before.
Secondly, the West should not take the rest of the world for granted. Its failure to consult at all was surprising, its failure to consult neighbours who obviously have a stake in a stable neighbourhood was astonishing. The impression could have arisen that stability in our areas is not to the interest of the West, which would prefer a plethora of weak states, to allow it to maintain more easily its current hegemony, political as well as economic.
And thirdly, the West should think about the message it is sending, in seeming to want the Tigers to survive in some form or another, particularly in the light of its past blunders. After all the horrors we are witnessing now, which are attributed largely to the West, spring from its own encouragement of Taliban terrorism during the Cold War. Whatever its purposes then, there is no doubt they could have been achieved without worrying consequences had there been at least a modicum of adherence to basic principles.
Sri Lanka may for the moment have escaped the worst the West could do to it. But we need to be constantly vigilant for the future. We should do this with greater dialogue and discussion with our friends, and more forthright discussion with the West to enable them to achieve their own goals without irritating so much of the rest of the world. And we should use the intellectual and social capital of Dr Jayatilleka and his staff in Geneva to develop solid guiding principles for international relations in the current world context.
Prof Rajiva Wijesinha
Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process
Courtesy : PRIU
21 May 2009 -The convening of a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) to discuss ‘The human rights situation in Sri Lanka” is ill-timed and unwarranted is the view of the Sri Lanka Government.
The Minister for Disaster Management and Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe said the realities in Sri Lanka., where more than 250,000 civilians had been liberated from the clutches of the most ruthless terrorist organization in the world, and the aftermath of the largest known hostage rescue operation in the world, gave no cause for any special discussion of the human rights situation in the country.
“We feel this is a waste of time, energy and resources that could be used more purposefully to assist in relief measures for the IDPs in the country, by those who have genuine interest in their conditions, and the situation regarding human rights in Sri Lanka,” he added.
He was referring to the special session of the HRC sought by 17 of its 48 members, which is currently scheduled to be held on May 25 in Geneva. The special session is to be held under the rules of the HRC that requires such a session to be held if one-third or 16 members of the body call for such a session.
Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe will lead the Sri Lanka delegation at this special session. The other members of the delegation will be the Attorney General Mohan Peiris, Secretary to the Ministry of DM & HR Dr. Rajiva Wijesinghe and Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to then UN in Geneva Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka.
The countries that called for the special session are Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Mauritius.
The position of Sri Lanka is very clear that it does not believe in the need for such a session of the HRC, which would seek to divert attention from the more pressing need to provide relief to the large number of Tamil citizens who have been liberated from the hold of the LTTE, which the US State Department identified in 2008 as the most ruthless terrorist organization in the world.
Sri Lanka expects the larger number of members of the HRC that did not sign the call for this special session, as well as policy and opinion in most other countries that do not have membership in the HRC, would be supportive of Sri Lanka’s right as a sovereign country to eliminate terrorism from its soil, and would also show appreciation of the success that Sri Lanka has made in the larger global fight against terrorism, and through this the safeguarding of human rights.
The members of the HRC that did not sign the call for the special session are: Angola, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Bolivia, Cuba, Cameroon, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Zambia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Qatar, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Philippines and the Russian Federation.
Political analysts said the signatories to the call for this special session had a clear Euro-centric political alignment, which showed the electoral pressures of the pro-LTTE Tamil populations in those countries, and the pressures that such countries can bring on their neighbours and on countries coming under the direct political and economic influence.
They were of the view that this line up of countries, showed a clear division of the Afro-Asian and Non-Aligned nations against the western powers and countries under their influence, as well as the different position taken by the new emerging economies of Asia and Latin America against the traditional, and former colonial centres of power of the West.
By: Rosie Stembo
The near 4 minute newscast on Channel 4 is a hostile staccato style outburst against the Sri Lanka military and is undistinguishable from the rhetoric originating from LTTE media sources. Even a semblance of a balancing act is absent to give even an iota of respectability; obvious intention is to discredit the Security Forces and prevent its onward march by hook or by crook. It is part of an act by the biased media to save Prabhakaran, the child snatcher.
Wonder boy of channel 4 – Nick Paton Walsh
It cites nameless faceless unknown aid workers or unknown elderly mothers as sources. The words they utter on the footage are not meaningful until presenter decides to carry the narration according to his fancy. The “shots” of the sources on the newscast look patently juxtaposed to the rest of the footage.
The pictures clearly reveal they were not taken in a camp for refugees; the so call aid workers are filmed in a closed location elsewhere. In the absence of any identification, doctoring it with quotes can be comfortably fabricated. Such sources can be easily made to appear and disappear with words put to mouth. Unidentifiably silhouetted in a dark hazy background their identities will forever be unknown. Therefore putting words into their mouth to disgrace Sri Lanka is easy and can never be checkmated.
Incredible statements are made of dead bodies remaining unattended for days…… Girls being removed from the camps……children trampled while waiting in queues…… lack of food and water…..sexual abuse. No complaint of such nature has been made by any person to anybody until the arrival of the foreign journalist from Channel 4.There are 125000 people in these camps but not a single such complaint until the arrival of channel 4 All this makes the story bizarre. It is still not too late to disclose information with specifics in possession of Channel 4 without vague words accompanied by blurred vision.
Even for an inquiry a complaint with specific are a pre requisite in any country with due process of law. Sri Lanka has Commission sitting inquiring into Human rights violations. Why did those “aid sources” wait remaining mum till Channel 4 arrived especially since they are supposed to be aid workers with easy access to foreign sources. They can even now conjure aid workers so that the hazy information can be tested. Strange, they have not even reported these matters to their own aid agency? Surely they would not have been silent for so long?
The camps have been visited by ICRC, UN envoys and officials and several foreign NGOs and dignitaries, including John Holmes. No such complaints have been made to them. The police are ever present and frequent visitors are the GA and other public officer. Most of these officers and NGO officers are of Tamil origin fluent in the Tamil language. Many complaints have been received by them and attended to by them previously; but never anything in the nature of the complaints on Channel 4.
Channel 4 has a history of discrediting Sri Lanka in previous appearance here. Ironically channel 4 is deaf and dumb on the LTTE. Are they patron saints of the LTTE! Did they ask the civilians in the camps of the life they led under terrorist rule. Probably that is a story they desire not to narrate however news worthy.
Does Channel 4 maintain a code of ethics in journalism by admitting they did an act stealthily? If so they could do many more! We can now gauge their authenticity when they report on human rights.