Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sri Lanka needs YOU! Give your expertise for the struggle against terror

Sri Lanka's Armed Forces, Police and Civil Defence Force are engaged in a historic battle, as they fight against one of the most barbaric terrorist movements known to mankind; that has caused immense suffering to a nation that lived in peace and harmony for thousands of years. Their success, while ridding our motherland from terrorism will also set a milestone in the global war on terror, the greatest challenge facing modern civilization.

The Ministry of Defence invites Sri Lankan academics, professionals, technical experts and strategists in all related disciplines and technologies, living in Sri Lanka or any other country, to contribute their knowledge and expertise for the success of this necessary battle.

Our aim is to create a new knowledge base vital for the defeat of terrorism, through a network of committed experts who share our vision: Saving the motherland from terrorism and making sure future generations will live in a single, undivided country, in peace and harmony; moving in unity towards the progress that is the right of all our people.

If you believe that our cause is worth achieving and that you can help in achieving it, do send us an email via the link given below with your contact details, areas of expertise and how you will be able to help us. The Ministry of Defence will contact you soon.

Please fill out the form by visiting Ministry of Defence website:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bruce Fein – The Great White Hope

by Stephen Long

I just saw the Bruce Fein interview on Canadian ITV Live that has been posted on YouTube. This is a must-see for all who are interested in the Tamils for Justice push to grab international media attention for their primary cause: a separate Tamil country in Sri Lanka. First of all, I think the interviewer did an excellent job; he was unemotional, centered, well-informed, and poised.

I find it very interesting that the overseas Tamil community has chosen Bruce Fein, Esq. to represent them. Why has the Tamil Diaspora picked him to be their hero, and why are they expected to rally around him as their Great White Hope? Why also are they expected to provide him with the huge amount of funds he is seeking to “unify” the Tamils and get them their independent state? And lastly, why did they choose Bruce Fein over the countless numbers of qualified Tamil attorneys around the world who could have been selected? This point alone is somewhat of a disgrace. Being a student of the history and inspirational spiritual literature of the Tamil culture, I find it hard to believe that a brilliant Tamil legal champion doesn’t exist somewhere in the world who could unify the Tamil people, if such a unity was even justified.

To me, this demonstrates two things.

First of all, hiring Bruce Fein, a Beltway legal and public relations mercenary, was a shrewd decision, motivated no doubt by Mr. Fein’s background, government connections, and media savvy. Choosing Bruce Fein, a very expensive hired gun, tells the world that Tamils for Justice is serious, and that it knows this is the last chance it will get to carve out a slice of Sri Lanka.

Secondly, it shows that the Tamils abroad, many of whom have become millionaires in their new countries, are still operating with vestiges of a “plantation mentality,” a neo-colonial reliance on the white man to fight its hard battles. Bruce Fein compares the treatment of Tamils by the Sinhalese as that of a “vassal to a lord,” he even goes so far as to call it “slavery.” So now the Tamils have gone and hired an American white man attorney to get their justice (or revenge – I’m not sure which it is right now). Hello! Who’s the vassal, and who’s the lord, now?

I understand that from Bruce Fein’s point of view, being the spokesman for Tamils for Justice makes good business sense. He will get rich off this lucrative account, which has questionable ties to the LTTE, and he will gain an enhanced international reputation, albeit a dubious one, as the lawyer who allegedly represented the original suicide bombers.

Mr. Fein seems to have taken on the mantel of Mr. Anton Balasingham who passed away in England about one year ago. Mr. Balasingham was the LTTE political theorist and great friend of Prabhakaran. When he died a void was created, and Mr. Bruce Fein seems to be the one who was selected to fill it. In this respect Prabhakaran appears to have abdicated his leadership in favor of Bruce Fein, and this may just backfire on both of them, given the nature of the beast. Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bruce Fein makes it very clear that under his leadership the unified Tamil Diaspora has three goals: To create an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka via a popular referendum; To get the LTTE de-proscribed from the US State Department’s terrorist list; and, To take Messrs. Gotabaya and Basil Rajapaksa and Gen. Fonseca to court in Washington D.C. for alleged terrorist activities and human rights abuses.

In regards to the referendum issue, Mr. Fein says that Tamils worldwide should get to vote to determine the outcome. This is the same thing as saying that because my family ancestry is English and German that I should get to vote in those two countries’ contemporary elections. Maybe it matters that my forbears came to America 250 years ago and I, therefore, shouldn’t be allowed to vote; but the Tamils abroad are only first or second generation Canadian, American, Australian, or British, and they, therefore, should be allowed to vote. It doesn’t make sense.

If a Tamil immigrant takes the citizenship oath and holds American, Canadian, Australian, or British passports, then they’re no longer Indian or Sri Lankan citizens, and they have given up their right to vote back home or elsewhere. Being a member of the same race hardly qualifies members of the Tamil Diaspora to cast ballots in a Sri Lankan referendum, were such an un-needed election to take place. Maybe I’ll start a campaign to get my voting rights back in the UK. I’m sure that will generate lots of attention. Maybe I’ll hire Bruce Fein to help me, and he can travel around the world panhandling for my cause. Yeah, right…

Weren’t the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon perpetrated by suicide bombers in airplanes? Weren’t suicide bombers the invention of the LTTE? Does Mr. Fein think that the State Department somehow misses this unbelievably obvious connection? Doesn’t he think that terrorism against innocent people in one locale might qualify that same organization as a terrorist outfit in another? Doesn’t he know that when they became unhappy with him the LTTE murdered Rajiv Ghandi, the Prime Minister of India? (Take note of this one, Bruce).

Mr. Fein says that under the Terrorist Act an American has to be killed and/or the US has to be threatened before a group gets named on its infamous list. Doesn’t he see that the US State Department is simply taking precautions, and trying to protect innocent lives in all countries by keeping the LTTE listed? Besides, if they can kill the Indian Prime Minister, what might the LTTE do to American leaders if it’s rubbed the wrong way?

In regards to prosecuting the Rajapaksa brothers and General Fonseca, Bruce Fein says he is trying to drum up support for triggering US jurisdiction. Why? These three individuals are being paid by their home country to help protect it from terrorists and return it to law, order, and normalcy under one rightful, sovereign, elected government. Doesn’t the US hire Blackwater security commandos to help protect its interests in Iraq? Why don’t we take Blackwater and its owners to court and convict them for human rights violations? The three individuals in question have been hired to do a job, and they’re doing it well. Their motivation just doesn’t match Bruce Fein’s money-driven cause, so all of a sudden they’re war criminals, or so he would like the world to believe.

A question keeps arising in my mind that has never been answered. Why do the Tamil people overseas want a separate state in Sri Lanka when Tamil Nadu in southern India is really their homeland? There are sixty million Tamils in Tamil Nadu, and it’s ten times bigger than Sri Lanka, which has a 6% Tamil population. Why don’t they organize a referendum in India to carve out a sovereign nation in that country?

The best understanding I can come up with is that India simply won’t have it. It’s rich, strong, and is too important an ally to the rest of the world. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, doesn’t have the muscle or the international clout, which makes it a much easier target. If you want to go and support a separate nation in Tamil Nadu, then I’ll give you my 100% support, Mr. Fein.

Please take note, Government of Sri Lanka. During his interview Bruce Fein announced that he is taking his Tamils for Justice road-show to London, Geneva, Australia, and other countries to panhandle more money to finance his three goals. He has a quasi-deadline of September when he has to turn the tables in his favor. This is when the US State Department must review its listing of the LTTE for another five years. You can expect him to stir up a lot of dust as he passes the hat amongst the good Tamil people of the world who left their native homes in search of a better life elsewhere – and found it. I sincerely hope they keep their wallets in their pockets and concentrate on their good lives abroad, and not interfere in what they or their relatives left behind.

By the way, rent the movie. The Great White Hope says it all.

Washington Times: Surf's up in Sri Lanka

Surfers around the world have discovered a new place to ride the waves, a tear-shaped island in the Indian Ocean called Sri Lanka.

Despite a civil war that has claimed 70,00 lives over 30 years, the island the size of West Virginia is especially popular with Israeli surfers, and the government is planning to install cameras along the best beaches so surfers can monitor the waves over the Internet.

All this is good news to Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke, who served as Sri Lanka's envoy in Washington for the past three years and is retiring to his homeland after a 40-year diplomatic career. At 63, however, he is not planning to hit the surf, but he sees its potential for tourism.

The surfing phenomenon is a sign of hope for his troubled nation, Mr. Goonetilleke said in an interview at the Sri Lankan Embassy. The eastern region has some of the best waves, but it had been under the brutal control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) until the government recently drove the rebels out of that stronghold.

The Eastern Province held elections last month, and a former Tamil rebel is now the chief minister of the region.

"This could be the Hawaii of the Indian Ocean," Mr. Goonetilleke predicted. "When that happens, people will be too busy making money to go back into the jungle and fight."

The ambassador said his government knows that redevelopment in the east is the key to peace in the region. The rebels have retreated to a strip of territory in the northern part of the island, but will remain a threat until Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran agrees to negotiate seriously and end his quest for a separate homeland for the ethnic-minority Tamils.

Mr. Goonetilleke defended his government against charges from international human rights groups and noted that prosecutors have brought cases against hundreds of suspects accused of abusing civilians. The government has engaged in a half-dozen rounds of talks with the Tigers, who use negotiations to regroup or refocus their attacks, he said.

"We held talks in 1985, '87, '90, '95, 2002 and 2006. Each time, the LTTE walked away from the table," he said, adding that he was involved in the 2002 negotiations. "They have engaged in a 30-year destructive war and achieved nothing."

As for himself, Mr. Goonetilleke thinks he has achieved some success in his tenure in the United States. The Bush administration added the Tamil Tigers to its terrorist list in 2003 and has closed many Tamil charities accused of raising money for the rebels. However, he has spent more time explaining to congressional critics, human rights groups and nonprofit organizations the dangers facing Sri Lanka.

"Most of my time has been spent explaining what is happening in my country to people who do not understand the real dynamics of the danger facing my country," he said.

Washington Times

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Integrated development drive in Trincomalee

The Government has embarked on a massive integrated infrastructure development project in Trincomalee spending Rs.10,436 million.

The programme is funded by both France and Sri Lankan Governments under its East Re-awakening programme aiming at a sustainable social and economic integration among the Easterners.

Acting Highways and Road Development Minister T.B. Ekanayaka, told the Daily News that this giant project comprises the construction of five new bridges from Thirikondlyamadu to Trincomalee on the A15 road (Batticaloa to Trincomalee). It will also rehabilitate three major roads at a total length of 174 km in the area.

Minister said the construction work on the project is due to commence next month. It is due to be completed by December 2010. Five new bridges including Kayankerni, Verugal, Ralkuli, Gangei and Upparu located from Thirikondiyadimadu to Trincomalee on the A15 road will be developed under this project.

A total road length of 174km comprising of Thirukondiadimadu-Trincomalee road(99Km), Ellai-Kanthale road(42km) and Mavadichennai-Ganeshpuram road (33km) will also be developed.

An agreement to this effect has been signed by French Ambassador Micheal Lumaxs and Road Development Authority Chairman M.B.S. Fernando yesterday at the Ministry of Highways and Road Development.

The French Development Agency will fund Rs.9,306 million for this project while the Sri Lankan Government will contribute Rs.1130 milion. The contractor of the project will be

China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd of China.

Residential Representative of the France Development Agency, John Bernard Macco and delegations, delegation from the China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd of China, Secretary of the Ministry S.Amarasekara, Additional Secretary P.Dissanayaka, and General Manager R.W.R. Premasiri also participated at the event.

Daily News

Rs. 200 million irrigation project in progress

The rehabilitation of the Alai Scheme launched under the re-awakening project with Rs 200 million financial assistance of World Bank is in progress and the dredging of Raja- ela will be completed soon, Project Director P.H. Sugathadasa told the Daily News.

With the commencement of the Allai scheme in the late 1950s, over 1,000 acres had been abandoned as these lands were inundated with drain water.

Affected farmers were provided alternative lands. The Raja-Ela drainage scheme implemented at a cost of Rs 13 million is a great achievement of investment as it is the lowest amount spent on an irrigation project in the country, he said.

Over 1,700 machine hours of dredging have already been completed by the Land Reclamation Board and another 300 machine hours have been approved to complete dredging, he said.

With the completion of scheme over 1,000 acres will be reclaimed for cultivation.

The Allai irrigation tank, about 35 kilometers south of Trincomalee provides irrigates over 7,000 hectares in Mutur, Seruvila and the Echchilampattu Divisional Secretariat, he added.

Under this project 26.73 kilometers of main canals and 66 kilometers of distribution canals will be rehabilitated.

The 3.3 kilometer long bund and 300 meters long spill causeway will also be upgraded.

The Mavilaru anicut and causeway destroyed following the conflict in the East will also be rehabilitated under this project.

Construction work on the anicut has also commenced. It will be completed before the end of this year, he said.

With the completion of this project, farmers will recover over 1,200 acres of neglected lands. With clearing of the main canal, some of these lands have already been cultivated.

More lands in the area will be irrigated and over 10,000 families re-settled in these areas will benefit, the project director added.

Daily News