Saturday, June 14, 2008

LTTE must disarm before peace talks - President

President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that supporters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were able to raise millions of pounds each year from the Tamil community in Britain, some of whom were coerced into donating the money.

`You can`t have two different attitudes towards terrorism,` he told The Times in an interview this week during a visit to London for a Commonwealth meeting, where he raised the issue with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

`I don`t agree that there are good terrorists and bad terrorists. There is only one kind of terrorist.` There are about 150,000 Tamils living in Britain, mostly in North London. The Sri Lankans estimate that o70 million is sent home every year.

`These are not voluntary contributions, the money is taken by force, usually a percentage of their income,` said President Rajapaksa. `The money is sent back to buy weapons. London is not the only place money is also sent from Europe, Canada and other places.`

President Rajapaksa said that he was taking steps to protect human rights. He blamed his Government`s poor international reputation on `clever propaganda` by the Tigers. `We have failed in the propaganda fight,` he said.

President Rajapaksa insisted yesterday that in spite of the cost in lives and damage inflicted to Sri Lanka`s tourist trade he would not resume peace talks with the Tamil Tigers until the organisation agreed to disarm.

`When they are weak they call on the international community to arrange a ceasefire. During this period they train and rearm and then fight back. This time if they want to talk, they should disarm first,` he said.

Even if the Tigers were to meet his preconditions it seems unlikely that he would ever be able to conclude a peace deal with Velupillai Prabhakaran.

`This man and the three or four henchmen around him are blood-thirsty killers,` said President Rajapaksa. `They have no feelings. It is very difficult to deal with them.`

Courtesy of The Times

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sri Lanka says peace talks only if Tigers lay down arms and stick to a timetable

COLOMBO, June 12 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka has refused requests by Norwegian peace mediators to visit rebel territory, and said fresh peace talks hinged on Tamil Tiger guarantees to lay down arms and stick to a negotiation timetable.

Nordic ceasefire monitors quit the country this year after the six-year Norway brokered truce disintegrated.

Earlier this week, Seewaratnam Puleedevan, secretary-general of the rebels' Peace Secretariat, said he wanted to meet directly with peace facilitators.

However, the government said the team headed by Norway's Special Peace Envoy John Hansen Baur, would, for now, not be allowed to visit the rebels' northern stronghold.

"We don't want -- Mr. Baur coming up, so that they can take photograph of him and say 'Mr. Baur has come to see the terrible sufferings inflicted on Tamil people of the Tamil Ealam'. It can't be propaganda," Rajiva Wijesinghe, the secretary general of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP), told Reuters on late Wednesday.

"Baur had wanted to go. But we have told him, we want a very clear idea of why you are going. It would mean a commitment of the LTTE and what they want Baur to come and talk about."

The government said it would only reconsider restarting the dead peace process when the rebels agreed to a clear road map to ending the 25-year civil war that has killed more than 70,000 people.

The government's stance comes amid intensified fighting between the military and rebels who want an independent state in the north and east.

"What the Sri Lankan government wants is -- the Norwegians have to give us a clear road map," said Wijesinghe.

"Unless you have a clear road map that leads to a democratic political solution, I don't think you can take any LTTE claim to negotiate a deal.

"Part of that road map would be a ceasefire and commitment ... guaranteeing of laying down of arms. That road map should make very clear to us, there is a very genuine commitment to negotiate to a political solution."

If the Tigers want to pursue peace talks without laying down arms, they should at least guarantee de-commissioning of arms, Wijesinghe added.

Meanwhile, the military said they said on Thursday they were closing in on rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

"The Security Forces are attacking Mullaittiuvu, Prabhakaran's hideout, from several directions. The army's aim is to capture Prabhakaran, who is holed up in a bunker, alive," army commander Lieutenant-General Sarath Fonseka said.

"Prabhakaran is believed to be living in an underground bunker in the area. Forces have already regained several hundred square kilometres where the Tigers held sway and they have to march forward another 21 miles to achieve the final goals."

Sri Lankan army says poised to capture Tiger leader

COLOMBO (AFP) — Sri Lanka's military is poised to capture the leader of the Tamil Tigers and is surging towards his jungle hideout, the defence ministry said on Thursday.

Government forces were just 21 kilometres (13 miles) away from achieving their "final goal" of capturing rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, the ministry said, quoting army chief Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka.

He said security forces were attacking Mullaitivu, the northeastern coastal district where the 53-year-old Tamil separatist leader was believed to based, from several fronts.

"The security forces are attacking Mullaitivu, Prabhakaran's hideout, from several directions," Fonseka said. "The army's aim is to capture Prabhakaran -- who is holed up in a bunker -- alive."

He said four divisions of the army would "surge" towards the hideout of Prabhakaran who is wanted in Sri Lanka as well as neighbouring India for the 1991 slaying of former Indian premier Rajiv Gandhi.

"They (troops) have to march forward another 21 kilometres to achieve the final goals," the army chief said adding that security forces had already captured "several hundred square kilometres" from the guerrillas.

It is not the first time in the decades-old conflict that the Sri Lankan authorities have said they were on the verge of capturing or killing Prabhakaran.

The leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has also been reported dead or injured on numerous occassions.

The government pulled out of a Norwegian-brokered turuce in January, and says it has killed 4,196 rebels in fighting since the start of the year.

The strength of the LTTE is not clear, but the military said at the beginning of this year that the Tigers had about 3,000 combatants. The figure was later raised to about 5,000 by military authorities.

The government does not allow journalists to freely visit frontline areas.

Wanni Operation - 09, 10 June 2008

Sri Lanka military liberation of Wanni (in the North) from the Tamil Tigers (LTTE). 09, 10 June 2008.

How “traitors” become U.S. presidents: a lesson for Sri Lanka

King Kosol’s sixteen dreams

Lately, Sri Lankan politicians have descended down to a lowest level of behavior humanly possible. The 1978 Bahubootha Vyawatava and the associated changes in the election laws made this misfortune possible. Under the new system of politics of corruption and criminality, no respectable or “educated” person will think of contesting an election.

One can try to understand this sad political mud pit using what villagers (and my dead parents) used to say—we are facing in this country an Abuddassa Kalayak (un-Buddhist era) or we are living in a time which conforms to the descriptions in King Kosol’s Sixteen Dreams. Yet, the stupid reason for this essay is “Gotabhaya is the real traitor” statement made recently by the Leader of the Opposition (LoO) and his definition of the word traitor. One can ignore such badmouthing like, “MIG jets are floating coffins” or “the capture of the barren and empty Toppigala was a useless military exercise” but attempts by a LoO (the office, not the person) to make false statements, however disparate his survival struggle is, cannot be pardoned.

Who is a traitor?

The dictionary meaning of the English word traitor is “a person who betrays another, a cause or any trust; a person who commits treason by betraying his or her country.” Naturally, the application of this definition to facts has a subjective as well as an objective side. That means one persons traitor can be another persons hero. What is reasonable is the test one could use in such situations.

Ravana and Kuveni

Did Vibheesana, Ravana’s brother betray Ravana by taking the side of Rama and Lakshmanan? Did Kuveni betray her people by making love with Vijaya? Did the Sinhale leaders betray their Tamil king in the Kanda Uda Rata by joining hand with the British in Colombo? Was the exposure of the secret military deep penetration unit operating from the Millenium city a betrayal of the country? Could providing arms secretly to terrorists while there was an agreement with the Indian Peace keeping force a traitorous act? Compare this with the soldier hitting Rajiv Gandhi with his rifle butt?

The verbal abuse of Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjava by some Sri Lankan politicians (personal issues are sometimes more important than state security issues) finally ended as the 13th Amendment. But was it not betrayal to agree to have seven other white elephants instead of a merger of N-E Provinces? Why weaken the rest of the island dividing it into seven pieces because Rajiv Gandhi wanted to implement the 1935 government of India Act in Sri Lanka in 1987? India broke into two and it is suffering on a continual basis after the 1956 language-based state demarcation method. How can it be good for Sri Lanka? Can one say all those including some remnants of old Marxists traitors because they want to follow the Indian order given in 1987?

The Englishman Paul Harris described the 2002 CFA as the greatest give away in history. For saying this he was deported. Was this not a betrayal by a foolish set of selfish Colombo politicians and their retired civil service henchmen?

How can we explain the kissing of the Portuguese posterior by inviting Lisbon to come to celebrate 500 years of their arrival in Colombo in 1505 while the same person described his opponent as an Asavedu? Asavedu was the symbol of cruelty and death during the Portuguese rule!

The end of Colombo family rule

In November 2005, Sri Lanka turned a new leaf of the old chapter that began in 1956. Despite all the obstacles it is facing and all the defects we find in its implementation, the Mahinda Chinthanaya of the village is going to stay. Colombo families were able to kill SWRD in 1959 and tried a police-navy coup in 1962. Since then Colombo politicians of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim color messed up and destroyed Sri Lanka. The LoO has become the last person remaining from the Colombo families who is trying to bring back the Colombo rule.

This is why the LoO is so confused and disoriented. My friend Ariya Rubasinghe who is his media advisor should give him some lessons on how to identify a traitor. Some one like the present LoO who lived in Colombo 7 has no right to talk about soldiers and their resignations. He grew up in a neighborhood, thanks to his grandfather’s money earned by selling news, in households calling each other for example, Ranil malli and Chandrika akka. Both of them got “lucky” because of the untimely tragic deaths of other Colombo politicians. The LoO most probably does not even know which end of a rifle shoots fire.

An American lesson

The LoO says that Gotabhaya is a traitor because he resigned from the army. The record is that Gotabhaya retired after 20 years of required service which made him eligible to retire. He faced the threat of death and enemy bullets in the Vanni jungles while the LoO was drinking wine in Colombo 7 hotels. In America Bill Clinton could escape going to Vietnam and become the president of USA by defeating Bob Dole who was a soldier in World War II who became a cripple with war wounds. The Speaker of the House at that time Newt Gingrich was also one categorized as a draft-dodger.

George W. Bush also escaped going to Vietnam. He was suspected of not even completing his service in the National Guards, an alternative to avoid going to Vietnam. Al Gore at least went to Saigon as a war journalist. But the irony was that Bush could derail the paths of two other war heroes. He could dislodge Senator McCain’s claim as a presidential nominee from the Republican Party despite the fact that McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Bush could defeat John Kerry, his opponent from the Democratic Party even though Kerry was awarded a purple heart for fighting in Vietnam.

According to LoO’s definition these two American presidents are traitors. Neither Clinton nor Bush could claim 20 years of military service that Gotabhaya had. God Vishnu saved Gotabhaya and Sarath Fonseka from death to save Sri Lanka from destruction. The LoO is directly and indirectly responsible for unwanted deaths due to his unwise actions. His CFA 2002 will go into history as a crime against Sri Lanka. How can a person with such record open his mouth as if he was born again (marila ipadila)?

by C. Wijeyawickrema, USA

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How many more LTTE carnage for action to be taken?

The deaths of over 20 innocent people in a crowded bus in Moratuwa followed hours later by another in Kandy certainly opens up opportunity for all those being paid to cry foul & lay the blame upon the Government & not the LTTE.

The Opposition Leader to the heads of NGOs must all be busy preparing their dossiers to prove that the Government is at fault for discontinuing the “cease fire agreement”, carrying out military onslaughts & not making any efforts to resume peace negotiations. Then the foreign emissaries will follow suit with their diplomatic statements asking “both sides to protect civilians”. Obviously little or no attention gets paid to stark facts that reveal that killings have taken place very much while the cease fire was in operation, while foreign monitoring missions were stationed in Sri Lanka & which even claimed the life of Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister. Peace negotiations held proved little of LTTE sincerity in so far as negotiations for any settlement were concerned. All past negotiations have yielded nothing but an opportunity for the LTTE to stock arms, ammunition, travel internationally & garner funds for the LTTE. Jane’s intelligence reveals LTTE can still generate $300million dollars annually – we can wonder how.

Thus, all those who cry foul over the loss of civilian life hardly put the blame with the LTTE & their atrocities but prefer instead to pin the blame upon the Government because it is not willing to give a freehand to the LTTE.

The US’s war against terror meant that they could land on Iraq & indulge in an effort to nullify terrorism & liberate the Iraqi people. Well, the mighty US army has failed in over 8 years of Iraqi rule to bring even a semblance of normalcy to Iraq. However, the East of Sri Lanka has been liberated of LTTE rule & elections have been held months after that very liberation & a former LTTE”er placed as its Chief Minister possibly wondering now why he was cooped up in the Wanni jungles all this while. This does not make the Sri Lanka army mightier than the US army but it goes to show what definite resolve at what needs to be done can do.

Yet, it is apparent that there are international & local forces that wish to vindicate the LTTE internationally & locally for what they truly are. Where were the NGOs when the current bombs left over 25 dead? Were they not quick to activate themselves echoing LTTE’s claim that the army had targeted a civilian bus up North? Why the hypocrisy of silence in this instance. Many of the NGOs were working overtime in canvassing Sri Lanka’s omission from re-election to the the Human Rights Council perhaps they may care to comment on why the US has even walked out of the very Council as observers citing that the Council cared only to indulge in Israel bashing? Essentially, vindicating the LTTE is not going to stop their killing spree. But, it does give them a semblance of respectability internationally & that is what is presently happening. None of the negotiations of peace talks held led to any period of lull where killings were concerned & it begs to question of those who wish to continue the peace mantra….a simple WHY & WHAT FOR & FOR WHOSE BENEFIT….are these peace negotiations? Either way civilians have perished – even during peace talks.

Money talks they say & we can well understand how far money talks…Mrs. Clinton went so far as to say the LTTE should be considered different to other terrorists after accepting LTTE funds for her campaign….luckily a few campaigners brought to light her faux pas & she returned the money. Similarly, we have the BBC Sinhala service interviewing LTTE leaders & practically whitewashing them by providing a platform to claim to the Sinhala listeners’ through BBC taxpayers money that the LTTE have no knowledge of LTTE killings in the South”. Possibly the LTTE are suffering from memory loss or may not remember the lists of assassinations & killings they have indulged in over 25 years.

For over 25 years we have crusaded through defining who the LTTE are – for foreign nations like the US, UK, Canada, EU, India the LTTE are conveniently listed as terrorists but for any real action to be taken against them one of their citizens would have to get affected. Killings taking place in Sri Lanka only lead to “we call upon both sides to enter the negotiating table…respect civilian life” which are the oft quoted statements by diplomats & the UN. That these statements mean nothing to the LTTE is clear when they decided to eliminate Rajiv Gandhi on Indian soil using a high profile team comprising LTTE & Indians. Did the world do anything but show dismay & of course those infamous statements? Did these “dismays” affect Prabakaran & the LTTE in any way at all? So if Rajiv’s killing did not manifest in any action upon the LTTE, we can well assume that the LTTE is not bothered what the world thinks of its killing in the present or future context. From how the international community functions it stands to reason that the LTTE can get away with any carnage.

We see suddenly that the LTTE of late is resorting to carry out a series of blasts mostly in the suburbs of Colombo – possibly it is to create a backlash like the 1983. The public for its part must be commended for despite a surge in killings of innocent lives they have not given what the LTTE wants – a backlash of the 1983 type but then we should also remember that though the public were blamed for this in 83 it was the present Opposition & not the public that spearheaded the riots. Much needs to be said in the conduct of all political parties in Sri Lanka. We lack a united front in the context of the war – it is apparent that Sri Lanka’s common enemy has still to be designated. The political parties of Sri Lanka must realize that the country needs to firstly find a solution to the LTTE – it is our common enemy. When political parties are divided & their statements controversial it makes great opportunity for forces working with that enemy to showcase how weak Sri Lanka is in controlling the affairs of its country. Breaking, pots, going to the pola, protesting against the rising costs of living can all be secondary efforts but it is most necessary at this juncture to have the political parties to come together in a stand that they will have a unified agenda where it comes to the LTTE…skirmishes, debates etc on all other topics can continue within the stage of the Parliament but where the LTTE is concerned the country should stand as one.

As a country we have suffered over 25 years of misery – deaths of innocent people, the armed forces treated as cannon-fodder, destruction to buildings & property…but the resilience of the people stands out as commendable features. A country that has gone through so much can but ask what karmic force necessitates us to experience continued deaths & destruction….a man whose megalomania is at the center stage of the country’s crisis seems to prefer to take us into his old age to see a reality of an erstwhile dream for an Eelam that has not only lost his men but scores of innocent others….a hallucination that is unlikely to occur in this generation but at what cost is it for the country & its people?

How long does the world wish to wait until they realize the inevitable & put the blame where it should lie – with the LTTE & offer them the option of giving up their struggle & arms to enter what the West loves to term as the democratic framework of things.

by Shenali Waduge

Monday, June 9, 2008

Traitors Who Live in Glass Houses

By Ven. Walpola Piyananda, Chief Sangha Nayaka of America

It really made me chuckle when I read that the Opposition Leader, Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe, recently called Defence Secretary, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a “traitor.” Mr. Wickramasinghe, of all people, shouldn’t be throwing stones. He lives in the biggest glass house of them all – and his public record is completely open and available for anyone to examine.

When I was in Sri Lanka recently (end of March) I toured the newly-liberated Eastern Provinces. I visited a Buddhist temple in Topur (Trincomalee area), by the name of Sela Pabbata Vihara. At the top of the Pagoda were large twin radio towers that had been used by the LTTE to broadcast their propaganda throughout the area, and to manage their terrorist warfare against the people of Sri Lanka. I was curious to learn about the origin of these towers, especially since they were pointing skyward from the pinnacle of a sacred Buddhist monument, which had been destroyed during the process of affixing and supporting them. So I asked my hosts a few questions.

I learned that these radio towers had been imported from Norway, and then secretly smuggled into the area while Mr. Wickramasinghe was Prime Minister; according to the people I talked to, with his knowledge. No Customs duties were paid, nothing was “declared,” and they went right on through the shipyard by truck to the LTTE in Trincomalee. The radio towers arrived in a large sea container that is still on the premises. I was told that the container was a self-contained radio broadcast station that was set up like a “kit” – complete with its towers on the Vihara site. The LTTE took the contents of the container with them when they were ejected from the area, but the towers still stand as a testament to Mr. Wickramasinghe’s complicity with the terrorist enemy.

So now, who is the “traitor”? I could site several other examples of Mr. Wickramasinghe’s questionable ties to the LTTE, like the Cease Fire Agreement he signed with Prabhakaran and the LTTE without telling anyone – including his own Cabinet, the Government, or the people of Sri Lanka. Under this traitorous Agreement, any land areas controlled by the LTTE at that time would be ceded to them as part of a separate Tamil state. At the time, Sampu, Toppigala, and other areas were under their control in the East. We all know how much land they used to control in the North before Gotabaya went into action.

I would call it a faux pas if it wasn’t so tragic and insulting, but Mr. Wickramasinghe actually had the gall to invite the Portuguese to celebrate the 500th anniversary of their invasion of our island country. The Portuguese occupation, as everyone knows, was the beginning of the end of our ancient culture and civilization, our independence as a nation, and our individual freedoms. Do I hear the word “traitor” anywhere here?

I have known Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his family for many years. I know, but perhaps many do not know, of his many acts of selflessness and heroism while in the Sri Lankan Army prior to his move to America. When he first joined the Army in 1972 he was posted to the Signals Corps, a safe and secure position where he could have stayed for the duration of his career. Instead, he voluntarily transferred to the Sinha Regiment and Rajarata Rifles, and later he joined the 1st Batalion of the Gajaba Regiment after it was raised on the 14th of October, 1983. In other words, he put himself directly on the front line when he didn’t have to.

As an infantry officer, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the leader in many historic battles fought by the Sri Lankan Army against the LTTE. He led his men in the first military operation conducted in Jaffna – “Operation Dash Up” – during the early 1980’s, and in other battles as well, including “Operation Liberation” (Wadamarachchi Battle, with Kobbakaduwa and Wimalaratna, two other great leaders who were assassinated by the LTTE) and “Operation Trivida Balaya” (Rescue of Jaffna Fort).

Under his leadership many soldiers’ lives were saved, and I’m sure there are a number of these honored veterans who would be happy to come forward and attest to Gotabaya’s intelligence, military ability, leadership, honesty, loyalty, and spirit. One particular individual with whom I am very well acquainted, Mr. Prasanna Wickramasuriya, was with Gotabaya during this entire period, and he would be glad to make himself available to answer any questions.

Gotabaya was a highly-decorated military officer when he retired from the Army after twenty years of distinguished service, and then immigrated to the United States. His record was unblemished, and he left Sri Lanka with a clear conscious and a clean record. While he was working as a computer systems analyst at Loyala University in Los Angeles I saw him on a regular basis. At least once a month he would come to my temple and discuss issues pertinent to Sri Lanka. He was very concerned about the LTTE problem, as well as other social, educational, and health issues on the island. After the tsunami he personally donated $5,000 to our Dharma Vijaya relief fund, and he allowed me to collect additional funds from colleagues at the university.

I sincerely hope that Mr. Wickramasinghe and his colleagues will refrain from their destructive and inappropriate attacks on our Defence Secretary, and get behind him so he can effectively do his job. Mr. Wickramasinghe continues to travel around the world and badmouth Sri Lanka for various and fabricated reasons. It is obvious that he does this for personal gain, and perhaps to tip the scale of world opinion in favor of the LTTE. This man is doing so much damage to the reputation of our country that he should kindly remember that he lives in that big glass house up on the hill – and keep quiet for a change.

May I offer some advice to you, Mr. Wickramasinghe? I have always admired your persistence and perseverance – they are extraordinary, and well-documented. Instead of maliciously, and with hatred and ill-will, attack the government, why don’t you re-direct your energy and use it to help build a better Sri Lanka? Perhaps then you will create for yourself a highly-respected and well-remembered legacy of public service. This legacy could serve as a reminder that it is, in fact, possible for national leaders to re-think their positions, and make changes in both their behavior and their policy for the greater and higher good.

I am very pleased that Gotabaya, who is so well-qualified for the job, was called back and sacrificed his comfortable life in the US to take the helm at the Defence Ministry. It gives me tremendous peace of mind to know that such a competent, incorruptible, and compassionate leader is in charge of protecting our country, and liberating it from the demoralizing and corrosive influences of the LTTE terrorists. I have confidence that he will complete his mission as directed by the President, and that one day soon I will be able to tour the beautiful northern provinces, and envision their re-entry into a peaceful, united Sri Lanka.

To quote from the Dhammapada, and to offer it to Gotabaya:

Just as a solid rock is not shaken by the storm, even so the wise are not affected by praise or blame.

UNP Leader and His “Kahala Nadaya” Campaign

By Darmitha-Kotte

Leader of the UNP and the Opposition has suddenly got himself into “action” mode after the Eastern Elections and is beginning to show himself out as the champion of the media, human rights, as well as patriotism in Sri Lanka. This is very heartening indeed because it is quite obvious that who ever his PR advisor happens to be, the advise seems to be contrary to party policies. These are sure signs of desperation and impatience that until now, all their efforts to destabilize the GOSL have proved to be failures. Therefore, strategies need to be changed and tested to check which method will work?

Media Freedom:

At the recent memorial meeting in memory of Mr. Esmond Wickramasinghe his late father, the Leader of the Opposition and UNP made scathing attacks on the GOSL and the lack of Press Freedom and stated that the UNP always championed the cause of media freedom in this country. For whatever reason best known to him, he seems to be having a very short memory and thinks that others also have the same malady. What happened to the late Richard de Zoysa and how he was murdered during the UNP regime of 1978-1994 period is and open secret. Together with the late Richard de Zoysa, there were many writers at the time, who also faced life threats and physical abuse at the hands of organized thugs of various UNP politicians at the time.

It was in the last quarter of 1988 that the then Mayor of Colombo used his gangs to print and paste posters exactly in the model of JVP(giving the impression that they were JVP posters) warning the public and terrorizing them into silence. A group of such youth were arrested, taken to the Cinnamon Gardens Police Station and assaulted assuming they were JVP youth when unable to bear the punishment any longer, the boys had said they were not JVPers but supporters of the Mayor who happened to be Mr. Sirisena Cooray and requested the Police Officers to kindly check with him. When the Police checked with Mr. Cooray the information given by the boys proved to be correct and the boys were released at the Mayor’s request. This was reported in an Asia Week Magazine but that particular issue of the magazine was banned from entering Sri Lanka! Anyone could go through the archives of Asia Week during the last quarter of 1988 and check this out if it is still available.

Numerous were the cases of journalists who went missing or went floating down rivers in black polythene bags during this period for expressing anti-Government views! So much for the media freedom that UNP offered journalists at the time and about which the Leader of the Opposition and UNP is talking very proudly about.

Human Rights:

Another cause that he is now championing is human rights and states vehemently that the current GOSL is violating all norms on human rights and freedom. Again it was not so long ago when the country was under the governance of his late uncle J.R.Jayawardane and late R. Premadasa(1978-1994), that lawyers, highly respected academics like Prof.Ediriweera Sarathchandra were hooted down and physically abused to silence them. It was also during this same period that lawyer Kanchana Abhayapala, Rohana Wijeweera, Vijaya Kumaranatunga, Ranjan Wijeratne were all murdered in the most brutal manner and the then UNP government never did anything to investigate and punish those who committed the crimes even though culprits were well known. Again it was during this same period that en-mass government officials were sent home without compensation in the early 1980s for protesting against UNP mismanagement-to this date those persons have not been compensated fully.and are out of jobs.

In the Katunayake Free Trade Zone there was not a singhe individual who gained employment during this time unless he/she happened to be a UNP supporter because every person who sought employment in the FTZ had to be recommended by the Jathake Sevake Sangamaya(JSS) which is the UNP Labour Union, if employed even by an accident such persons were deprived of identity cards which was a requirement for all employees who were working within the FTZ. The late Mr. Terence Perera, the Police Officer in charge of FTZ security affairs was instructed not to issue such identity cards.

Just as much as the JVP cannot talk about human rights in this country, so does the UNP have no right to talk let alone champion the cause of human rights in Sri Lanka given their track record during the last 30 years. Government servants working during the UNP regime of 1978-1994 dared not talk contrary to the government stand even in the compounds of departments or ministries for fear that they were not sure of who was listening. Those who dared to do so, suddenly disappeared and were found dead or floating down rivers, yet some others were found burning on tyres under organised thuggery of the JSS and underworld mafia which was created by the UNP politicians of the time. Whether or not the famous Batalanda Torture House was directly under the supervision of the UNP leader or not is immaterial given the fact that there was a lot of brutality wreaked out inside this compound on anyone who dared to cross-paths with the UNP at the time!

One wonders whether it was “ in the name of human rights” that personalities like Gonawala Sunil and Sothi Upali were created during the UNP regime, to lead the under world mafia to bump off or brutally assault opponents during 17 years of their rule in this country.

One also wonders whether it was ”in the name of human rights” that the very vote of SLFP Presidential Candidate the late Mr. Hector Kobbekaduwa was rigged and cast when he arrived at the polling booth to vote? It is also a great question as to how many UNP politicians carried their guns into polling booths to terrorize the Election Officers to bring in ballot boxes full of rigged votes and replace them with the official boxes which were at polling stations to declare UNP victories? It is highly ironic now to hear the UNP leader talking about vote rigging at local elections because it is the UNP that taught everyone else, how to do such things in the past-now, that very same UNP cries “foul” when they lose an election!


It was rather hilarious to listen to the UNP leader Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe recently ranting about Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse being a traitor purely because he had left the Army and the country during the last UNP regime of 1978-1994 and migrated to the USA. The fact that he opted to live abroad during a reign of terror, is considered un-patriotic by the current UNP leader! The very fact that Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapakse decided to return to Sri Lanka and help his brother eliminate terrorism in this country alone is a very good example of patriotism even though the UNP terms it as “unpatriotic” according to his understanding!

There are many Sri Lankan expatriates who are extremely patriotic and working for the welfare of Sri Lanka even though they have left the country unlike the UNP leader and many others who remain in this country but have chosen to champion the cause of terrorists like the LTTE in this country.. The so called “Ceasefire Agreement(CFA)” that he signed in 2002 with the LTTE terrorists even without the approval of the then Executive President of Sri Lanka is one of the most unpatriotic acts that a politicians could have done in Sri Lanka whereby he gave the LTTE a free hand to do anything in the North and East and gain control so that a piece of this country could be demarcated and handed over to a group of minority terrorists..

The very fact that the UNP leader is still attempting to support LTTE terrorists when the GOSL is making every attempt to eliminate terrorism in this country and bring about peace-one wonders whether this is considered “ patriotic” or not?

If Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapakse’s leaving the country and settling down in USA is considered traitorous by the UNP leader, then why was it that when he became Prime Minister of Sri Lanka after the 2001 Elections, he invited Mr. Paskaralingam and Mr. Sirisena Cooray (to name two only) who both fled the country after many accusations of misappropriation and terror during the 1978-1994 UNP regime, to return and work for the country to support the UNP leader? This too then, must be a very “unpatriotic” act on the part of the UNP leader and the above mentioned individuals?

What normal people consider unpatriotic is to work for and with the enemy, to go abroad and connive with foreign governments not to support our country in our efforts to eliminate terrorism, not to offer financial support to the GOSL at the time when we were devastatingly struck by the Tsunami of 2004, lobbying against the democratically elected GOSL at all international conferences that the UNP leader participates and also to work against the majority of this country. It is best that “people in glass houses do not throw stones” because too many citizens of this country still remember what happened during the 1978-1994 and 2001-2004 UNP regimes whether they were under the late J.R.Jayawardane, the late R.Premadasa or whether it was under the Premiership of the current UNP leader Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe.