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.