Saturday, March 8, 2008

Whose interests are these "Eminent Persons" watching?

I read with some interest the news that the so-called International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) are to exit Sri Lanka shortly, and noted also that the news was presented in dramatic fashion. My contact with these eminent persons has been brief but I believe revealing nevertheless. What I have seen and heard have made me question their credentials with respect to the terms 'independent' and 'eminent'.

Here's my story.

I was present at this first public sitting of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry investigating the killing of 17 aid workers of the French NGO Action Against Hunger (ACF) in Muttur in early August 2006, as a pubic observer.

After the counsel for the Sri Lankan Army Mr Gomin Dayasiri marked his appearance, Mr Dana Urban acting as assistant to professor B. Mathews, a member of IIGEP, made an application to the Commission for an adjournment to enable the counsel for ACF to make an appearance. The Commission overruled this request since Mr Urban did have a standing in the matter, either as an official of ACF or as a designated representative.

The commission accepted the submissions of Mr Gomin Dayasiri that no application had been made either by ACF or their counsel for an adjournment as sort by Mr Urban.

It is indeed ironic that no representation was made since ACF had indeed made an application to appear before the Commission.

As a layman, to the best of my knowledge, I believe the following:

(1) That if a party desires to appear at proceedings it is for that party to elect to do so or elect to choose to be represented by a counsel.

(2) It is the right of such a party or counsel to seek an adjournment on proper legal grounds if such adjournment is considered desirable.

Obviously the International Independent Group of Eminent Person's (IIGEP) cannot or should not whilst not representing any party to the inquiry and also holding the position of independent, unbiased, and impartial observer status, have somebody such as Mr Urban at the Commission and Inquiry playing the role of a special interest far
exceeding the role assigned to him.

Observing proceeding from a distance the questions that came to my mind were:

(1) Whom did Mr Urban really represent?

(2) Did he represent ACF or did he believe he did?

(3) Did he have the authority of ACF to make that application or did he step into their shoes arbitrarily to seek an adjournment?

(4) Can Mr Urban an International Independent Group of Eminent Person's (IIGEP) representative make an application for an adjournment on behalf of ACF without instructions?

(5) What are the relevant ethics?

(6) What does all this imply in terms of ambit and intent of IIGEP?

In view of the aforesaid I would also like to state in public interest that the time has come when International Observers themselves require Observers to keep an eye on their conduct as they are often here to tarnish the good name of our country, while being prejudiced and biased or indoctrinated with unreleased agenda to open avenues for foreign interferences in our internal affairs.

Our media too perhaps should perhaps beware of such dubious motives and agendas of "Eminent Persons".........

Yours sincerely,
Dimuth Gunawardena

Friday, March 7, 2008

Cool tag for a premium cuppa from tea country

In the verdant hills of central Sri Lanka, local and foreign visitors witness undulating carpets of green, occasionally bisected by moist, brick-brown pathways, rail lines or narrow asphalt tracks meant for trucks and tractor- trailers that haul mounds of freshly- picked tea.

In the mornings, as the soft sun peeks above the hills, and as dusk falls, the mist rolls by and the cool weather begins its embrace. In these climes, morning, noon and night and at many other times in between, one heads indoors, or relaxes on the verandah of a locally-designed bungalow and brews a pot of tea.

The aroma of a pot of broken orange pekoe, a variety of tea, can be refreshing and invigorating in an environment where the air is crisp and the outdoors inviting, as is a local breakfast of crispy egg hoppers and steaming fish curry.

Glorious tea gardens abound in the hills of Sri Lanka, the world's second biggest tea exporter.

Prices for tea are soaring and the trade is looking forward to a bumper financial harvest.

Dilhan Fernando, director of Dilmah Tea, which sells more than US$500 million (HK$3.9 billion) of tea products in more than 90 countries, expects strong prices.

"We have never had it so good."

Sri Lanka earned a record US$1.03 billion last year from tea exports. "Tea will be a bull market in 2008," says Kaison Chang, of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Fernando says a pack of 100 tea bags now retails at US$5, about 15 percent more than last year.

Sri Lanka's high quality aromatic teas, sold as "Pure Ceylon Tea," are made with tender leafs and buds of the plant, botanically known as Camellia Sinenis.

Russia and former Soviet republics are the largest markets for Sri Lanka's tea and account for nearly a fifth of the total tea exports, followed by the Middle East and North Africa.

In December, with concerns mounting already over a possible shortfall in supplies and Chinese consumption surpassing India for the first time, political violence in Kenya's tea-rich Rift Valley region triggered a price spike.

Colombo, which conducts the world's biggest weekly tea auction, has sold tea for about US$3.15 a kilogram, brokers say, while bulk buyers expect prices of Ceylon Tea in packaged form to rise further.

The Standard

Cairn enters race for two Sri Lankan oil blocks

MUMBAI, Mar. 7 -- Cairn India has bid on oil exploration Blocks 001 and 002 in Sri Lanka under the ongoing Sri Lankan licensing round and said it will undertake exploratory drilling in new areas in Rajasthan.

Block 001 in Sri Lanka is spread over 3,338 sq km, while Block 002 encompasses 3,572 sq km. The latter is near the Cauvery basin in India, where oil and gas already has been discovered, and it therefore is attracting bids from other international oil exploration companies as well.

"The chances of striking oil there are higher, as the geological features of the blocks are similar," said a Cairn India source.

In the contract area RJ-ON-90/1 in Rajasthan, Cairn Energy India Ltd., the operator on behalf of joint venture partners Cairn India and Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC), has decided to commence production activities and development drilling at Mangala field.

Drilling and completion activities will commence during the third quarter, while production from Mangala is scheduled to begin by 2009. Development drilling and production activities from other fields in Rajasthan will start in 2009.

Cairn Energy has invited expressions of interest from service contractors for development and exploratory drilling in Rajasthan. The primary term of the contract will be 3 years, with an optional extension period of 1 year each.

Cairn India said it will focus on both mature and relatively unexplored areas, undertaking operatorship of onshore and shallow water locations with selected partners.

"Our cumulative exploration expenditure on exploration between 2007 and 2009 is expected to touch 6 billion rupees ($150 million), the Cairn India source said.

"We will continue to renew exploration portfolios through licensing rounds, farmins, and trades and are currently reviewing the package in the seventh round of bidding under India's New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP-VII)."

Shirish Nadkarni, OGJ Correspondent

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The beginning of the problem

by Prof. Nalin de Silva

The so-called national question cannot be solved unless the problem is formulated consistently taking into consideration the historical facts, which are however not independent of theory contrary to the opinion of some who think that facts are sacrosanct. What is required is a consistent whole comprising the question, concepts, theories and other facts. Without formulating the problem in a consistent manner as described above neither a solution nor national integration is possible.

It is customary for the NGO, INGO, University and other pundits in collaboration with the western "intellectuals" to begin with the Sinhala Only Act or the Citizenship Act, which are both post "independence" events. However, what is very often forgotten is that the birth of the so called Federal Party or the "Illankai Thamil Arasu Kacchi" (ITAK) meaning the Lanka Tamil State Party took place before both these events. It is as if Mr. SJV Chelvanayakam anticipated the problems and formed his party in advance. In Western Physics there is a concept called advanced potential in Quantum Field Theory due to Feynman and a pundit mentioned above may be able to apply this concept in Political Science with some modification, if he/she is creative. Unfortunately these pundits are not known for their creativity and would have to look around for some help.

Leaving the creative part to somebody else if these pundits could explain the necessity for Mr. Chelvanayakam to found his ITAK and further the naming of that party as Federal Party in English they could be happy in that they had done their duty at least by the Tamil people not to mention the Sinhalas who happen to live in this country. There is no point in preaching on national integration without explaining this contradiction. Perhaps it is not a contradiction in terms of an advanced political potential or some such other concept but most of the unfortunate Sinhalas who have been more or less equated with the white South Africans (Africana) who practised apartheid, eagerly await an explanation from the pundits. Recently there was a news item on black students being forced to drink urine in the most developed country in the world, but I am unaware of any such incidents on racial or ethnic or religious grounds in the Universities of this country that is supposed to be discriminating against the "minorities".

Let the pundits and the Tamil politicians first explain the contradictions before they get on with devolution and such other so called solutions on ethnic grounds. They go on accusing the Sinhalas, especially the Sinhala Buddhists for all the problems in the country. The Sinhala Buddhists have become the proverbial deer skin that get assaulted (muva hamata thadi bema) whenever the so called ethnic problem is discussed. The high commissioners and other diplomats should insist, if they are genuinely interested in solving the so called ethnic problem, that these contradictions are explained first as with contradictions no "solution" can be reached. This applies to the leaders and others in the "Marxist" Parties that boast of such uttering as "two languages one country and one language two countries". Surely Mr. Chelvanayakam was thinking of a Tamil State long before the Marxist pundits thought of these slogans.

It is in this background I read articles by Mr. Rasalingam with enthusiasm as they contribute towards finding a "solution" to the "ethnic problem". Of course one always finds satisfaction in reading articles that collaborate at least to some extent with one’s ideas on the causes of the "ethnic problem", and it is no exception in this case. In a booklet entitled "An Introduction to Tamil Racism in Sri Lanka", which is an English translation of "Prabhakaran, ohuge Seeyala, Baappala Ha Massinala" I have attempted to find the root causes of the so called ethnic problem. This work refers to the political ancestors of Prabhakaran and they happen to be from the elite Tamils who studied with Sinhala leaders, in the English Medium, thus discarding the myth that one of the causes of the present "ethnic" problem is the segregation of the students along ethnicity or the mother tongue into different streams. The interested parties want to project this myth also as a corollary of the Official Language Act even though educating school children in "swabhasha" has a history going back to at least a few years before 1956.

It is not only the pundits and the Tamil politicians who propagate the myth that it was all rosy before 1956, and everything started with the Official Language Act or at "best" after the Citizenship Act. There are some influential Sinhalas who "think" the same way. These Sinhalas have read all about communal politics during the state council days and have come across the help given by the British governors to the Tamil elite. They know how the Legislative Assembly was formed with six unofficial members, one representing the Sinhalas, one representing the Tamils and one representing the Burghers, while three represented the Europeans. The Sinhalas who constituted more than seventy five percent of the population and who had built a unique culture in the country that is not found in India or any other part of the world, over a period of more than two thousand years were equated with Tamils constituting about twelve percent of the population, prominence being given to the Vellalas in Jaffna over all other Tamils in the North as well as in the East. The Vellalas were the darlings of the Dutch as well as the British and the latter connived with them to undermine the status of the Sinhalas.

However, unfortunately though these Sinhalas have some knowledge of the communal politics, they do not attribute the beginnings of the so called ethnic problem to the link that existed between the British and the Tamil elite in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. They are also happy to say that everything was rosy before 1956 citing how they studied with Tamil colleagues in the same schools in the English medium. If one were to study the beginnings of the Tamil problem in the early part of the nineteenth century and the later developments one will find that it was those class mates who studied in the English medium who conspired with the British against the Sinhala class mates who had by then become leaders. These elite Vellalas are responsible for the creation of Prabhakaran and even today the fascist leader is fighting for the Tamil Diaspora and one can be certain that the Diaspora does not constitute mainly of the Karaivars. Ramanathans and Ponnambalms (GG) were the political grand uncles (seeyala) and uncles (mamala) respectively of Prabhakaran, who did not want to give the Sinhalas their due share in the Legislature during the Legislative Assembly and State Council days.

Incidentally there is a cast called Vellalas in Natal in South Africa, who were taken there by the westerners. If anybody is interested in writing a so called scholarly paper in the Sociological jargon giving references I can provide the URL of the relevant website where this information is found. These Vellalas are referred to as agricultural labourers and during the colonial period when politics and economics dominated unlike in the present where cultural colonialism dominates the westerners were fond of people from South India who worked like slaves for their masters. The Jaffna Vellalas were brought by the Dutch for their tobacco cultivation and in Sri Lanka their status has been elevated from agricultural labourers to farmers so that they could dominate in Jaffna over the Sinhalas who had lived there before they were absorbed into the Tamil community and culture under Koviar and other casts. It is ironical that Koviar is derived from Sinhala Govia meaning farmer and that agricultural labourers from South India became the dominant cast while Koviars were relegated to a so called low cast.

If anybody is not happy with what I write over the origins of the Tamils in Jaffna all that has to be done is to analyse the Tamil as spoken by people in Jaffna and in South India and find out the difference in ages of the two dialects. It will be found that the difference is less than three hundred and fifty years and that Vellalas became dominant in Jaffna with the help of the Dutch. Under the British the Vellalas became dominant in Colombo and with the assistance of the British governors and others gradually became dominant in the Legislature and the Professions. The Tamil Vellalas did not want to lose the dominance they had over the Sinhalas and all the later developments stemmed from this unwillingness. When finally the Parliamentary elections were held in 1947 some of these Vellalas realised that it was not possible to dominate with universal franchise (It has to be remembered that people such as Mr. Ponnambalm Ramanathan argued against universal franchise). The Vellalas reacted to this situation in two ways. One group was contended to become ministers in the Parliamentary government. The other group led by Mr. Chelvanayakam realising that they could not dominate in the centre wanted a separate state in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces, paving the way for separatism.

TNA MP dies due to an explosion in uncleared areas

MULLAITHIVU: Tamil National Alliance (TNA) JAFFNA District Parliamentarian K. SIWANESHAN (MP) died due to an explosion that took place in KANAGARAYANKULAM on MANKULAM-MALLAVI road in MULLAITHIVU, which is an uncleared area dominated by the LTTE, Thursday (6) afternoon according to TNA sources.

Now entire Parappakandal with the Troops

MANNAR: PARAPPAKANDAL, one of the major town suburb to the north of UYILANKULAM was completely brought under the troops this morning (6), giving another severe setback and humiliation to the Tiger terrorists who had kept the whole area under siege.

Troops earlier had the control over south of PARAPPAKANDAL for a long time but the north of PARAPPAKANDAL and its surrounding areas were infested with Tiger terrorists who have been resisting fiercely the forward march of the troops for some months.

Today’s capture of the whole of PARAPPAKANDAL marks a turning point since the area has been of strategic importance to the troops.

Troops are consolidating their position.

Casualties are yet to be reported.


No evidence, no select committee: Speaker

MiG 27 deal

The controversial MiG 27 deal issue came up in Parliament yesterday with Speaker W.J.M Lokubandara admitting that he did not appoint the select committee because the MP who asked for it did not produce any evidence.

The UNP castigated the Government for the alleged cover up of the investigations into the MiG 27 deal by removing Bribery Commission Director General Piyasena Ranasinghe,

However, Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle replied that the removal of Mr. Ranasinghe had not hampered ongoing investigations into corrupt deals.

“He was signing only indictments at the Commission,” Mr. Fernandopulle said.

Mr. Fernandopulle said that the UNP had conveniently forgotten what it did in the past, and now continued to attack the Government on baseless grounds.

Referring to the MiG deal, he said the responsibility lied squarely with the Speaker to appoint the proposed select committee.

“It is his duty. There is no use of blaming the Government. The Speaker is yet to appoint it,” he said.

The Speaker responded saying that the MP who brought the motion was asked to produce some evidence for him to take a decision.

“I made such a request to him to produce some sort of evidence but he did not do so,” he said.

SLFP (M) MP Mangala Samaraweera said the late MP Sripathy Sooriyarachchi made a lengthy statement to the Bribery Commission when he made the complaint regarding the deal.

Mr. Samaraweera said that Mr. Ranasinghe had been removed when investigations were going on the matter.

Daily Mirror

The Lost Battle for Tamil Eelam - What Next?

by S. Rasalingam

Satchi Sithananthan wrote a very thoughtful article in the "Sri Lanka Guardian", entitled "The Lost battle for Tamil Eelam".

Satchi S points out that the Colombo Elitist leaders, unconnected with the Tamil people at large, living in arrogant isolation from the lower castes of the rural North and East, gave the wrong leadership. He points out that these leaders spurned the possibilities that existed, in collaborating with the socialist leaders who were the very opposite of chauvinists. Unfortunately, the Colombo leaders, be it G. G. Ponnambalam, or S. J. V. Chelvanayakam, they preferred to hob-nob with the Sinhala capitalist leaders and finally drove N. M. Perera and their likes into the hands of Sirima Bandaranaike, for pure political survival.

Chelvanayakam and others rejected the "Ceylonese" approach of the Arunachalam Mahadeva-Senanayake-Goonatilleke group and began the ``two-nation'' approach as an alternative to the 50-50 formula of G. G. Ponnambalam. These leaders rejected from the outset the point of view that the Tamils and Sinhalese have much in common. They attacked the Sinhala History (Mahavamsa) and began a counter claim for a Tamil nation leading to the concept of Eelam. All this simply created unnecessary racial angst. Even today, a historian like Karthigesu Indrapala has to write at length defending the Mahavamsa against such misplaced Chuvinism. The Mahavamsa could have been quoted to show the unity and kinship of the two main ethnic groups in Sri lanka. Instead G. G. Ponnambalam and others chose to claim, in effect, that the Sinhalese are a mongral race mixed with Dravidian and Aryan blood, (Navalapitiya riots, 1939) while the Colombo leaders are of good Dravidain stock (Hansard 1934 ).

But those Colombo leaders could not really claim honest links with Hindu culture. The Colombo-Tamil leadership was largely made up of Christians who were more comfortable in London or Paris than in rural Jaffna. The rural Tamils are Hindus, mostly "low-caste" descendents of the Malabar Tamils who came to this Island during Dutch times to work in the Tobacco plantations. The Tamils of the Jaffna Kingdom were mostly sinhalese who had become Tamils. The rural Hindu Tamils and rural Sinhala Buddhists have much in common - much much more than the Colombo Vellars would wish to admit. The Buddhist religion is effectively a part of Hinduism and we can do no better than follow Swami Vivekananda and accept the Buddha as one of the highest Hindu Munis.

The Tamil language as written and used today, and the Sinhala language as used and written today, are utterly similar, once you learn to recognize the sinhala letters. A Tamil pharse has the same grammatical structure as a Sinhala phrase, and the translation is often a matter of replacing the Tamil words by the corresponding Sinhala words. The words themselves are very often quite close, and no doubt have links via Sanskrit and other source languages.Genetically, the two people are completely intermixed. There is really no way of distinguishing a Tamil from a Sinhalese, in any fundamental sense. The Sinhala can easily eat Thosai, go to Kovils and mix with us, and we have no problem living in a Sinhala village. I see Sinhala buddhists in Munneswaram and Kathirkamam. I was raised in Jaffna, lived in Mannar, Hatton, Colombo and now in Canada. In these situations I have found no problem in dealing with the Sinhalese people.

So, why did this sinhala-tamil battles happen? As Satchi S points out, the battle lines were drawn by the Lawyers, Doctors and Propertied class of Colombo Tamils whose arrogance could not accept the loss of power in a post-colonial society. Racist fire-brands like S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike and Ponnambalam set the stage, already in the 1930s, for people like Chelvanayakam and Bandaranaike to begin acromonious confrontations. These could only lead to further escalation and violance. Add to it the rapidly rising jobless youth populations, and you have a dangerous cocktail. All that is history. Both communities are equally guilty of these confrontations.

What if the Tamil political leadership had been set by the Tamil businessmen? They were in a dominant position in the post-1948 era. Men like Cyril Gardiner, the Rolands and Browns group, Maharajas, and the finacial people, come to one's mind. The import-export and shipping sectors, retail and marketing, finance etc., were largly in the hands of enterprising Tamils. C. Loganathan was a key asset favouring the Tamil community. The political confrontation launched by the Federal party ran counter to the objectives of our mercantile success. If the business people, not lawyers, had set the political agenda for the Tamils, then a completely different situation would have emerged. The Jewish community in the USA has in fact follwed such a policy in converting its minority position into a finacially dominant (but politically less visible) power factor. It is able to control US foreign policy, financial and business policies to the benefit of the Jewish minority group. It is good business sense for the Tamils to learn Sinhala, and for the Sinhalese to learn Tamil. The Jews of USA did not go about asking for full implementation of all the US laws in Yiddish. The Tamils had the possibilities exploited by the Jewish community in regard to Sri Lanka, and even in regard to the South-Asian region. But instead we have busted ourselves to satisfy the arraogant ego of the Chelvanayakams and Naganathans (the latter claimed direct links with the Chola aristocracy).

The answer to "What Next"? is clear. Today, it is once again time to follow a policy of responsible cooperation with the Sinhalese and other minorities like the Muslims. Creating ethnically cleansed Northen and Eastern provinces may be a dream of Prabhakaran. But "pure-race" politics, "homelands politics" etc., died with the second world war. We have to emphasize the very real common grounds that exist between the Tamils and the Sinhalese, instead of continually driving a wedge between the communities.

All sensble Tamils should support the heroic effort of people like Mr. Ananada-Sangaree and Mr. Douglas Devananda. We need to save the Vanni Tamils, especially the younger generation, from becoming cannon fodder for another prolonged period. If Prabakaran continues to run his diabolical show, the Muslims, already 8% of the population, will become the second largest minority of Sri Lanka. They are also following the very business policy (akin to those of US Jewish groups) that we Tamils failed to adopt.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Canadian Red Cross yet to spend $ 200 m of tsunami cash

OTTAWA – More than three years after the Asian tsunami devastated several countries, $200 million of the $360 million donated to the Canadian Red Cross has still not been spent.

After the tsunami slammed into 11 countries, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand, on Dec. 26, 2004, killing more than 225,000, Canadians opened up their hearts and wallets.

When the Canadian Red Cross appealed for money, individuals, corporations and the federal government couldn't send cheques fast enough. Most of it came within the first month after the devastation.

When all was tallied, $360 million had been collected and the agency insists the remaining $200 million has been allocated in its quest to build 6,000 homes. The Canadian Red Cross kept the fundraising campaign up for another year, while at least one other charity had long ago stopped.

"It is somewhat startling ... that a good amount of that money has not been deployed for its intentions when Canadians in a mood of outpouring gave money in almost an unprecedented way," said Liberal MP Dan McTeague (Pickering-Scarborough East), who was parliamentary secretary to foreign affairs minister Pierre Pettigrew when the tsunami struck.

"The public must have a reasonable expectation that monies that they contribute are, in fact, spent as they are indicated to be spent.

One can understand timelines, but this tsunami took place over three years ago." The Red Cross in Canada took in far more money than it ever imagined. Some say it was a combination of the time of year and the size of the catastrophe that put people in a giving mood. In all, the worldwide community donated a reported $7 billion in humanitarian aid.

A senior industry source said one of the contributing factors for so much money still being undistributed was that the Canadian Red Cross was thrust into the international stage, forcing it to establish offices in the stricken areas to begin the arduous task of rebuilding.

Jean-Philippe Tizi, director of emergency and recovery for the Canadian Red Cross, stated:

"Following the tsunami, the Canadian Red Cross was requested by (the Indonesian Red Cross Society) to drastically scale up our support in response to the overwhelming devastation, ensuring increased capacity and speed of delivery. In order to support our operations and personnel effectively, an office location was secured." Canadian Red Cross secretary general Dr. Pierre Duplessis has said it will take at least a decade to complete the tsunami relief.

Jenna Clarke, a Canadian Red Cross spokesperson, told the Toronto Star the money, which is invested and making even more money for the charity, is committed to building homes in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Maldives.

"I'd like to reinforce the point that of the money that hasn't been spent out the door, the majority has been committed. It's fixed, so it can't be spent on anything else - and the majority of that is on housing," Clarke said.

The Canadian Red Cross has a plan to build 6,000 houses. "We are on schedule to complete the housing by the end of the year ... but then again, it is construction." Critics say the Canadian Red Cross spends its money slowly because it's a large bureaucracy.

"Anybody trying to spend $360 million would have troubles with capability. They didn't have to take in the money.

They could have said, `I'm sorry, we've got enough,'" but they didn't," said the industry source, adding that Doctors Without Borders did exactly that. David Morley, president and CEO of Save the Children Canada, was executive director of Doctors Without Borders Canada when the tsunami struck.

"After about five or six days, we could see that we would have way more money than we could spend at the time, so we told people we wouldn't take any more. ... We knew that was sort of all we could manage," Morley recalled.

"We could see that we would be" in the same situation as the Red Cross, he said. "It's a great deal of money to have to spend." Morley noted Save the Children Canada raised about $5.5 million and, as of December, it had spent about $4 million. He said the response to the tsunami was a learning experience for all charities involved.

Toronto Star

Multiple Air Sorties on LTTE Military Bases in Pooneryn (4-MAR-08)

Pooneryn: Air force fighter jets carried out multiple air sorties on preciously identified LTTE military base and an underground storage facility for artillery guns today (4), at around 12.00p.m to 2.25p.m.

The identified target was located 1.5 Km North of POONERYN junction.

Meanwhile today (4), around 10.00a.m air force fighter jets pounded an LTTE artillery gun position in KALMUNAI point, Jaffna.

The pilots confirmed that the targets were preciously hit and destroyed.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Video: No pause in anti-LTTE drive: President

President Mahinda Rajapaksa reiterated yesterday that until such time every inch of land is captured and the last terrorist is destroyed, his Government will not cease its liberation operations against the LTTE.

Addressing a mammoth rally intended to apprise the nation on the current political scenario and the future development programmes of the Government (the sixth in a series of rallies to-date), President Rajapaksa pointed out that his Government is a very strong and stable democracy which need not under any circumstances beg before the international community on bended knees.

"We are no longer a poor country thriving on aid and subsidies of the world. Our per capita income has risen to US$ 1,625 now. We need not put our head down to anybody, but we are prepared to listen to constructive criticism and prudent advice of others," the President said.

Nevertheless, he pointed out that certain groups were seeking and striving to stifle the ongoing mega development programmes already under way and in the pipeline, in diverse ways.

Some groups including sections of the media indulge in a slanderous and misleading campaign to deprive the country of international aid and disrupt development. The LTTE too is using all means at their disposal to obtain the benefit from these groups, to their advantage.

Some media institutions have become the mouth-piece of the LTTE. They unjustifiably allege there is no media freedom, despite the freedom available in abundance, as amply illustrated when one reads the weekend newspapers.

"Anyone could attack me personally, but don't betray your Motherland and your country. The bounden duty of all citizens of this land is to be vigilant and act with caution and restraint, until the terrorists are completely destroyed," the President stated.

The President noted that while engaging in the crucial and arduous task of eradicating terrorism, the Government has not in any way abandoned or fallen short of their obligations to develop the country, the rural areas in particular, via the 'Gama Neguma and 'Maga Neguma' programmes.

"Development which was confined only to Colombo and its suburbs in the past, has now shifted to the remotest village," he remarked.

He told the people of Ratnapura that when the funds which they are now seeking earnestly are found, the much-awaited Kalu Ganga project which would be of immense benefit to them, would be a reality. He opined that one in every 20 of the population is employed in the Government service. The Salaries of Government servants have been increased several times.

The Samurdhi subsidy has been enhanced. Privatisation has been stopped. The fertiliser subsidy is still in operation.

"I have directed the Ceylon Electricity Board to refrain from imposing any further tariff hike and burdening the consumers who consume less than 90 units of power.

We are determined to implement the Mahinda Chinthana to the very letter," he noted. "Our aim and ambition is to establish an environment where people of all races and faiths could live in harmony, sans fear or suspicion," the President added.

Ministers Wadiwel Suresh, Hemakumara Nanayakkara, Susil Premajayantha, Mahinda Rathnathilaka, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, John Seneviratna and Maithripala Sirisena also addressed the rally.

Courtesy : Daily News

Video: British credit card frauds increase to fund LTTE terrorism

British credit card frauds in which numbers of such cards have been skimmed, cloned and misused to steal money all over the world have increased alarmingly as means to fund terrorism charged a United Kingdom parliamentarian and Police.

Andrew Selous, a Conservative Party MP told the House of Commons recently that "it has been suggested to me that some of the money may have found its way to the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka" possibly to fund terrorism. Mr. Selous said, "My wife had 1000 Pounds stolen in four or five withdrawals from cash points in New York in early January (2008)" While the British Member of Parliament said that withdrawals of money from such cards have spread to many countries of the world the Toronto Police in Canada confirming the point said that two Londoners who are found to be members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) with two other Canadian accomplices have been arrested with thousands of skimmed British credit card numbers after their arrival in Canada and while travelling close to the Toronto International Airport. The two Londoners arrested during early February were Kirubakaran Selvanayagam Pillai (38) and Sethukavalar Saravanabhavan (35).

"Tigers Will Negotiate If A9 Opens-TNA" - A Response

By Darmitha-Kotte

An article which appeared in the front page of the Daily Mirror of 28th
February 2008 needs comments just in case TNA members have short
memories. The two opening paragraphs of the above article states,
"The Tamil National Alliance(TNA) said yesterday it could
prevail upon the LTTE to return to the negotiating table in the event of
the positive announcement by the Government to resume the peace process.
TNA Jaffna district MP N.Srikantha told the Daily Mirror yesterday that
it was all the more welcome if the announcement is accompanied by the
re-opening on the A9 roas as a gesture of good-will."

If the LTTE and TNA are both sincere in their commitment to peaceful
negotiations, there is absolutely no need to lay down terms and
conditions for the Government to make good-will gestures. The Government
can also say that “the LTTE must lay down arms if they want to
negotiate” and the Government has every right to demand that to prove
LTTE sincerity. The untold misery that people in the North are facing,
is not because of the Government but because the LTTE terrorists have
been conducting a bloody and brutal war totally insensitive to the
suffering of the Northern and Eastern civilian population for the last
30 years! It is they who first and foremost, murdered Tamil civilians to
threaten them into subservience. It is they who have deprived the
civilians of normal life, education, proper food supplies and health
facilities and at the expense of all this suffering profited by
extorting “ kappang money” from every trader in the North and East. The
Government had no hand in any of this. The “good-will gesture” of the
Government, is to make every effort to eliminate terrorism to enable
ordinary civilians to return to normal life in a safe and guaranteed manner.

Before the 2001 elections, Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe sent special envoys
like Dr. Jayalath Jayawardane to the Wanni to conduct discussions
subsequent to which he arbitrarily agreed to the Ceasefire Agreement
which was drafted by Norway and the LTTE and no sooner than he became
Prime Minister, signed it and made every opportunity possible to please
the terrorists by not only hurriedly ensuring that the A9 Road was
opened and paved the way for “terrorism” to earn a daily income of
Rs.4-5million from those entering the Wanni-he also encouraged
Southerners to do tourist trips to the North! He also permitted the
terrorists to operate their own legal courts in those areas, permitted
them to extort money in the form of Kappangs, permitted them to operate
their own “police force” and many more such perks- ALL IN THE NAME OF
GOOD-WILL. He even agreed to hold peace negotiations in any city of
their choice-Geneva, Oslo, Bangkok, Tokyo etc. Did that satisfy the LTTE
terrorists and did they honour those gestures on the part of the then
UNP Government under Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe? NO- by 2003 with the
Tokyo talks, the LTTE found lame excuses not to negotiate! The CFA was
already abrogated in 2003 and the terrorists committed every possible
heinous crime under the sun against the civilians and The State while
foreign Monitors opted to look up and wait! At this time, did the TNA
try to prevail upon the LTTE?

No matter what good-will gesture any Government shows, the LTTE
terrorists only know armed struggle and brutality, for them to have
commanding powers over the majority Hindu Tamils in the North. Without
suicide bombs, Claymore bombs –they are nothing and do not represent the
Tamil community in this country. It is a shame that the TNA for their
own survival as well, is resorting to thuggery in the August House of
Parliament to demand things for a group of terrorists who are doing more
harm to their own people than others.

The present Government gave the LTTE every opportunity when they first
came into power, to prove that they were sincere in their peace
negotiations –when it was obvious that peace was not their objective,
then as the Government quite rightly needs to do to protect its citizens
from terrorism, have now conducted a very successful process to
eliminate terrorism from the country. Let that take its course for the
majority civilian population and the entire land mass of Sri Lanka to
return to peace and harmony without conditions!

Opening of the A9 Road will in no way change the brutal mentality of a
small group of terrorists.