Troops of the 57 Division have located a high profile LTTE hideout including an underground bunker while engaged in mop-up operations in the Visuamadu jungle, Friday (Jan 30).
The LTTE hideout was well fortified and concealed from air detection, security sources said. According to available information the site was frequented by the LTTE terror chief Prabakaran and senior cadres. The underground bunker was air conditioned and constructed beneath a luxury compartment with bullet proof doors. A soundproof generator was used for electric power supply for the compartment and the underground bunker. An elevator used between the bunker and the overhead construction was also found which troops state as the first ever instance that security forces have come across such.
Drugs for diabetes patients were also found suggesting that this site was recently accommodated by the LTTE leader, security sources further said.
For pictures, click here
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Troops of the 57 Division have located a high profile LTTE hideout including an underground bunker while engaged in mop-up operations in the Visuamadu jungle, Friday (Jan 30).
Posted by media at 11:30 PM
Video from CNN IBN, India:
Posted by media at 3:20 PM
Unconfirmed reports say that Bhanu, the self styled ‘Colonel’ of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been critically injured yesterday (Jan 30) while attempting to flee the fighting in the Vishvamadu area in Mullaithivu.
Note that V.Balakumar, a senior LTTE Leader and an adviser to LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran, was earlier injured on Monday (Jan 26) during an attack by the advancing Sri Lankan troops in the Udayarkattu area.
Posted by media at 3:14 PM
The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
The Secretary-General welcomes President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s announcement of safe passage for all civilians trapped in the area of intense fighting in the North to a secure environment. However, he continues to be concerned by the threat to the estimated 250,000 civilians caught in the area, who are in close proximity to the fighting. He urges the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to do all in their power to make this safe passage a reality, and to ensure the protection of civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law.
The Secretary-General calls upon the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, in particular, to allow civilians in the conflict zone to move to where they feel most secure, including areas controlled by the Government of Sri Lanka. He also calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that those civilians arriving from the Vanni and other conflict areas are treated in accordance with international standards. Such standards include guaranteeing their freedom of movement, providing basic services and allowing full access by humanitarian agencies. For its part, the United Nations stands ready to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance.
The Secretary-General strongly underlines the need for urgent steps towards a speedy and orderly end to the fighting.
UN Statements issued on 30 January 2009:
Posted by media at 7:10 AM
By S. Akurugoda
The war is coming to an end and the LTTE's surrogates and indirect proxies, foreign funded NGOs have been shown by our advancing troops to have substantially helped the LTTE. Although the public is not fully aware of the contents of the "Interim Report of the Select Committee of Parliament for Investigation of the Operations of Non Governmental Organisations (NGO)" and their Impact, we have read a press release issued by one such NGO the National Peace Council (NPC) that appeared in the Sri Lankan Guardian dated 23 December 2008.
It quotes from the relevant sections referring to the NPC: "It too is an NGO operating to propagate federalism. An organiser of the National Peace Council had once attended a protest in Geneva and also had made a speech in a rally held later which ended with the singing of the song of emancipation of the LTTE. This organisation, which questions the need for sovereignty, has mentioned about a sovereignty divided into two and of two very close countries. The National Peace Council had engaged in a movement to brainwash the people of Sri Lanka which is very similar to the activities of the Berghof Foundation. They had acted very enthusiastically about federalism." The English language in this quotation is clumsy as evidently the original NGO Report would have been in Sinhala and then translated.
>> Full story
Posted by media at 7:00 AM
Friday, January 30, 2009
Details under wraps. A series of investigations had led to the arrest.
Police arrested a suspect at Aththidiya in Dehiwala this morning (Jan 30) in connection with the killing of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, police said.
According to Police Spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara, a series of investigations had led to the arrest.
He said the suspect was taken into custody along Attidiya Road at around 5 am today. He is a three wheeler driver. The arrest was made after extensive investigations into a telephone. Details about the phone will be presented to the Magistrate. The suspect revealed that he had purchased the phone for four thousand rupees. The seller is also a suspect from the Attidiya area. The Police are seeking a Court order to carry out the interrogation. The Police Media Spokesman was confident that further investigations will be undertaken after obtaining a detention order from the Court.
Posted by media at 10:30 PM
Government seeks public help to nab the attackers of Chief editor of the privately-owned Sinhala weekly Rivira, Upali Tennakoon, and his wife. The assault took place on January 23 in Imbulgoda, Gampaha.
Media Centre for National Security released a sketch of one of the attackers, which was drawn according to information provided by eye witnesses.
The suspect is said to be about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 35 - 40 years old.
Telephone numbers to provide any information are 011 2 662323/ 011 2 662330/ 011 2 662311 / 011 2 693825.
Posted by media at 10:00 PM
According to New York-based Bloomberg Finance, Sri Lanka's Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is the world's best performing stock market so far this year. In the number two spot is China's Chile Stock Market.
Video posted on January 28th by Bloomberg:
Posted by media at 7:30 AM
The troops of 59th Division captured the Voice of Tigers radio transmission centre. Located in Kilinochchi, it had beamed transmission until five months ago. There were three studios although all equipment had been removed. There were indications that the centre was equipped with all facilities. The studios had been properly set up and programmes produced. The structure built for the transmission of programmes still stands. Houses in the vicinity had been used by the staff and their associates. The area had been declared out of bounds for the public. The house that belonged to the leader of the military intelligence wing Charles, who was killed by the Security Forces ambushed in Mannar North was also found. It had an underground bunker along with an auditorium. The cost incurred in building these luxurious houses had been 10 fold than the expenditure incurred in putting up an ordinary house. There is a monument in memory of killed leaders with photographs enshrined.
Posted by media at 7:25 AM
by Shenali Waduge
With the fall of Mullaitivu, the last of the rebel held towns it is timely to look forward critically but positively. The LTTE of the 1980s is certainly not the LTTE of present day. The Tamil people who backed the LTTE in the 1980s do not do so now. LTTE cadres enthusiastically joined the movement in the 1980s – today conscription is by force & even resorting to kidnapping. Those who enjoy filling the LTTE kitty are actually comfortably domiciled abroad & able to gradually bring their families over & so they have little care for the suffering of their own Tamil people cornered into LTTE “territory”. There is significant scampering for political solutions before the collapse of the LTTE. It is to avoid the inevitable question that should ask whether political solutions should suit those living abroad or those comfortably living in urban Sri Lanka or the actual people who have been suffering over 25 years?
It is these innocent Tamils whose voices have not been heard despite the flotilla of forces that have disembarked on Sri Lanka on “humanitarian” “peace building” “conflict resolution”, “development” initiatives. It is a tragedy that none of the TNA parliamentarians, the Tamil Diaspora or even the urban Tamils of Colombo have appealed to allow these people to lead normal lives. They have been denied normal living conditions; their children denied proper education, their right to live as children & for families to live a happy life. For years, those that cry for an “Eelam” have enjoyed using their own people as bait & it is their welfare that must take precedence first over any political solution. It is indeed a tragedy that even the NGOs/INGOs, the diplomatic corps & other political thinkers have evaded this all important point.
It was in the early 1980s & following the Vaddukkodai Resolution (in 1976) where Tamil politicians actually called upon the Tamil youth to arm & begin an armed struggle. Naturally, it was easy to attract cadres – the youth had their share of grievances & it is crucial that we do not forget the caste factor amongst Tamils – a dominating feature that attracted Tamil low-caste, Christian youths to join the LTTE. Tamils themselves were suffering as a result of Vellala Tamil domination which had far deeper social ramifications. For propaganda purposes this element was shelved. For a leader who has had no education to boast of has evolved into an astute leader but once his empire went beyond the coastal waters of Sri Lanka & a “Team” of arms procurers, theoreticians, foreign spokesmen etc formed itself, we can but wonder whether it was this combination that eventually led to a few faux pas like the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi as well as a string of blunders – from denying a UNP Government to power to closing the Mavil Aru dam. The blunders eventually became the start of Prabakaran’s downfall. 2009 has favored the armed forces, following the capture of Paranthan, it has taken over Pooneryn, Elephant Pass, Kilinochchi & now Mullaitivu subjecting the LTTE & possibly its leader to a small stretch of 20 x 15 sq.km area. Suddenly there are voices that have increased the civilian human shields from 200,000 to an unbelievable 400,000 – besides the practicality of keeping such a figure, we are compelled to ask how these figures came about when discounting the 800,000 Sri Lankan Tamils in foreign climes there are only 1.6million Sri Lankan Tamils in Sri Lanka (Note: Indian Tamils are not accounted for).
The defeat of the LTTE is something that has become undesirable unfortunately to some. Who are the guilty who enjoy bombs going off just to blame the Government’s inefficiency to protect, who are the guilty who enjoy hearing the deaths of our soldiers to promote the need to continue a farcical Cease Fire Agreement, who are the guilty who wish for the cancer of LTTE rule to continue? To some the calls for thinking patriotic is to agree to all that the present Government aspires to. Tragically, it should not be so. How many of us are able to objectively view the situation. A covert operation thrust upon Sri Lanka by a “friendly” neighbor, eventually created a problem that realistically speaking none of us accept. Have even the media that professes “impartiality” ever told the world that WE DO NOT SUFFER FROM AN ETHNIC PROBLEM BUT A TERRORIST PROBLEM? We have had different Governments in power, all with very sound Defence budgets but were they able to deliver the results – did soldiers not die needlessly because the Governments lacked leadership to delegate powers to the military & equip them to protect Sri Lanka? A supposed savior in the form of the CFA was only a timely creation to save the LTTE following the Al Qaeda attack upon the US & the “war on terror” – did this document not carve out territory to the LTTE, allow them to procure arms openly & even kill men of Sri Lanka’s intelligence as well as Government politicos, did not the ceasefire have over 3000 LTTE violations & were not our soldiers mercilessly gunned down? Thinking patriotic is actually accepting the LTTE for what they are – a brutal killer force & feeling happy that all rebel territory is now under sovereign Sri Lanka. Nevertheless it has been an enviable task for most Green politicians & their support base to accept that the two years that this Government has been in power – its program to eliminate the LTTE has been successful. The political tassels however force speeches to project that the Governments success lies in their war propaganda though Rajapakse actually became President during a functioning CFA.
We then have a group of elite Colombo-based “peaceniks” all attempting to promote a quick-fix ahead of the LTTE’s fall – their “political solution” naturally echoes what those who fill their pockets desire….they are local spokesman for “political solutions” that will benefit their stake in Sri Lanka. These foreign stakeholders are not likely to be misled by Colombo’s “elite peaceniks” yet one wonders why the diplomatic corps at times have overstepped their mandate & combined even to pressurize a Government with the bait of denying them GSP plus thus denying work to over thousands of garment sector employees. In a climate of peace – Sri Lanka’s geopolitical importance is likely to thrive…the economic prospects are also looking promising. Thus it is important that we critically analyze the context of these pushes for “political solutions” that realistically does not address the needs of those who deserve the “solutions”.
Sri Lanka’s urban population makes up just 23.5% of the total population. Unfortunately, it is this percentage that not only enjoys projecting their thoughts but it is they who benefit & the majority are left to make do with what comes their way. Many are likely to mistake the “majority” as connoting “Sinhalese” – by majority it is implied that the public who make up the actual vote base are the Sinhalese, Tamils & Muslims who live in rural Sri Lanka. This majority needs to have improved healthcare, better roads, better facilities, even portable water & electricity, better teachers, better schools etc. These are more important to them than political solutions.
So, when it comes to “solutions” – are we to address the needs & aspirations of the urban or realistically cater to the rural, for to uplift Third World Sri Lanka we need to develop the rural base. It is in this context that we question how far a “separate state”, ‘a federal solution” & all that is being tabled are likely to solve the ACTUAL NEEDS of the masses? Given that we live in a Third World Nation, how will even an “Eelam” provide a difference? It is in this context that we question the viability of democratic governance & how far it succeeds in reaping its fruit to the masses – political solutions enviably end up helping the careers of political leaders & the other private parties that combine to work as checks & balances.
What is actually itching the present Opposition alliance is perhaps that combining the military effort is a well-thought out program to develop infrastructure – especially roads & bridges obviously in the eventuality that the Government’s future lies in its ability to deliver things that matter. Colombo’s elite are perhaps ignorant of the in-roads that the Government has made to deduce that the rural support for the present Government may not be on the Government’s military successes alone but the gratitude for the roads that have been built & facilities that have been provided, including programs to absorb injured military personnel into civil society.
Against, this backdrop unfortunately India remains a pervading force. Having not satisfied with itself for creating the mess, India desires to remain the force behind all the decision Sri Lanka’s sovereign Government takes. A pressing issue becomes the Tamil Nadu state with its 62million Tamil populace thinking they have every right to speak on behalf of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Making this scenario far worse is when Sri Lankan Tamil politicos & a few Tamil people make appeals for India’s intervention having forgotten the aftereffects of the intervention in 1987 when many Tamil women ended up raped. If Americans can be proud to be American & think American & likewise all other nations, it is desired that all Sri Lankans should think Sri Lankan & be proud of being Sri Lankan. Having a foot in Sri Lanka & another in India is hardly likely to result in a successful recipe thus the practical suggestion to ask those Sri Lankan Tamils who feel that only India can address their concerns to be granted citizenship in Tamil Nadu. That would solve a bulk of the problem.
The example of Brittany comes to mind. The people of Brittany (Bretons) are legal residents of France (but are a distinct Celtic ethnic group). They do not speak French but English & follow their own ethnic cultures – yet never has there been an instance that they have made any appeals to Britain. They remain very much a part of France.
In a population of 20million people, many are likely to think that the 74% Sinhalese population have an overbearing control, favored by all Governments & not suffering a single grievance. It is not so, prison statistics will reveal the number of Sinhala prisoners. In another example take from the education system to depict that there are times when even the Sinhalese function as a minority. Private schools in Sri Lanka are all primarily dominated by Christian or Catholics. During admissions it is openly declared that no admission forms will be given to Buddhists. The Buddhists who secure admissions in semi-private schools on the 1% category will soon learn that they must follow all the Catholic/Christian customs applied in the school. Thus, everyone has their own share of grievances in any part of the world. Similarly, all Governments are not without scales of corruption – even the UK has their share of scandals over the years, the US is experiencing one presently in Illinois. Similarly, everyone will have their own opinions – the standardization during Mrs. Bandaranaike’s time created a lot of tension – primarily what it did that most forget is to provide education facilities that thus far been denied to Vavuniya, Mannar, Batticoloa – areas that previously only Jaffna Tamils enjoyed.
Looking ahead – we need to break many barriers & mindsets. It has been unfortunate that the two main political parties of Sri Lanka think they must remain eternal adversaries. This naturally has trickled down to their support base who end up thinking green or blue & not taking issues independently to voice opinion on what should suit Sri Lanka above what will politically favor the party’s position. In the present scenario of the program to eliminate the LTTE, the Opposition must now be wondering why it did not side with the Government on their resolve to eliminate the LTTE. Sadly, it is these politicized thinkers & their thinking that actually divides the people, aggravates situations & leads to conspiracies that presently dominate.
Sri Lanka is likely to enter a very crucial juncture in our history. The economic plan for Sri Lanka was usurped by India who introduced a terrorist problem to Sri Lanka – yet despite the odds, the country has managed to keep afloat & has done remarkably well considering how other countries function under similar conditions. Many tourists who brave the “advisories” & come leave happy & with the correct picture that Sri Lanka does not suffer an ethnic problem but a terrorist one. It has been the Tamil Diaspora & others who have made good as a result of the conflict who wish to continue the propaganda based on “ethnic”, “genocide” “human rights” etc.
We have rarely heard of offsprings continuing terrorist activity & a shrinking LTTE “territory” leaves little hope for the LTTE leader – flee to a foreign land or without cowardice face Sri Lanka’s armed forces. Many believe Prabakaran is unlikely to flee but the eventuality that he & his leaders have gone or been saved as was predicted we need to assess the future scenario. From the recent exhibitions & public rallies relayed from Jaffna – we can be confident that the Tamil population has now had enough of Prabakaran & his jungle promises. The flare to escape into the jungles & apply hit & run tactics has now become redundant – the youth now see better futures behind computer screens, education, talent etc…why should they deny themselves the means to nurture their talents & skills just to satisfy an armed struggle that will never benefit them. Did any of these LTTE cadres get the opportunity to study medicine in Ireland, learn aeronautical science or engineering & were they even given a simple birthday celebration? An absent Prabakaran is unlikely to even through intimidation continue his armed struggle & though late the Tamils in these areas that Prabakaran has denied their human rights is urged to say “enough is enough” & signs depict that Prabakaran is likely to fear his people more than the armed forces.
We should agree that political solutions especially of the type that are being promoted need to take 2nd place to providing for the actual needs that need to be addressed. The people of the areas that the LTTE dominated have been denied normal living standards – these people need to feel secure. Their areas have been denied years of development – the LTTE who have been funded by the Tamil Diaspora never for an instance put up portable drinking water, provided electricity to homes without, made roads or bridges – instead they procured arms & deposited monies to their foreign accounts. It is now left for the Government to take on the task of rebuilding & redeveloping these areas & countries that genuinely feel for these people should come forward & pledge their funds for these development drives. The Government may like to hold elections as they did in the East, but it is advisable first for a military team to secure the areas first, allow the people to build trust in the armed forces as an escaped Prabakaran will still leave a volatile space & thus the armed forces require to be stationed throughout the coastal belt to guard against infiltration. Especially since “flying” visits by Indians will become a regular feature until we know the state of Prabakaran & his “leaders”.
Thinking positively, we can all move ahead. Those handful of voices who have enjoyed promoting division, hate, terror for their own personal glory need to be replaced with the voices of the majority masses who now believe that we can once again live in harmony now that the LTTE terror has neared its end. Those “nobody’s domiciled abroad who enjoy promoting “separatist” or “federal” solutions have had no care for those who actually suffer at the hands of the LTTE. Their only desire being to become a “somebody” in Sri Lanka by aligning with other malicious forces who are out to steer Sri Lanka along their line of thinking only. Solutions that benefit only these handful should be replaced with administrative changes that do not require tinkering of the country’s constitution but a diligent public service who need to understand the importance of their role – for it is their inefficiencies & ineffectiveness that make many think that it is part of Government policy. So we urgently need a public service who combine all the ethnic groups to be more alert, more client centric & more helpful in their dealings.
In a developing nation such as ours, now recovering from a 25 year terrorist problem the path ahead is unlikely to be rosy but we need to all put in our efforts to steer Sri Lanka towards prosperity – for the fruits will eventually trickle down to all of us.
Let us all think positively...
Posted by media at 7:20 AM
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Sri Lanka Army Task Force 3 found an LTTE underwater vehicle along with 3 other smaller underwater vehicles which are still under construction from the Udayarkattukulam area in Mullaittivu yesterday morning (Jan 28). Military sources said that this was the most startling recovery made by troops so far during the on going counter terrorist operations against the LTTE. Three suicide boats and a large haul of LTTE maritime equipment were also found at the location , the sources added.
Video from NDTV:
Full story and pictures HERE
Posted by media at 8:00 PM
A senior leader of the Tamil Tigers has been seriously injured in an attack by advancing Sri Lankan troops, a pro-rebel website said on Thursday (Jan 29).
"A senior leader and special member of the LTTE K.V. Balakumaran was seriously injured during an attack by the Sri Lankan army at Udaiyarkattu area in Mullaittivu on Monday and is admitted to the intensive care unit," pro-LTTE puthinam.com website report said.
The Sri Lankan military is yet to comment on the report.
Balakumaran is the second senior-most leader of the LTTE to be wounded after the beginning of the current phase of fierce clashes between the government troops and the LTTE since August 2006. In November 2007, LTTE's former political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan was killed in an air raid by the Sri Lankan air force jets in Kilinochchi, which was captured by the troops in January this year after months of fierce fighting.
(Source: Sify News Agency)
Posted by media at 12:54 PM
Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa's 21-year old son, Yoshitha Rajapaksa, who joined Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) a couple of years ago, is now based in the battlefront and protecting Sri Lanka's coast against the LTTE in Mullaittivu sea.
Posted by media at 10:38 AM
The Associated Press in a notice sent to all its client publications requested to kill the Sri Lanka war story that said 300 civilians have been killed and 1000 other civilians have been injured after realizing that they have been subjected to a hoax.
In the notice the Associated Press said, "Kill the Sri Lanka-Civil War story, V5414. The source denies he wrote the letter that said more than 300 civilians had been killed and 1,000 wounded in fighting in northern Sri Lanka."
Dr. Varatharaja, the Regional Director of Health Services (RDGS) Mullaitivu, who is purported to be the originator of this "appeal" has denied any association with it, and states its contents are false and exaggerated; that it has not originated from him or his office, and that he does not agree with its contents, and that this "appeal" circulated in order to embarrass him.
Full story here.
Posted by media at 10:30 AM
India optimistic Northern civilians can lead normal lives
India’s External Affairs Minister and Acting Government Chief Pranab Mukherjee has told President Rajapaksa that the civilians of the North will be able to lead normal lives after the victories in the humanitarian operations.
Mr. Mukherjee and the President during their talks last night broached the friendly ties and Sri Lanka’s development efforts. Mr. Mukherjee expressed India’s readiness to contribute to the reconstruction of the North and lay the economic and political foundations of sustainable peace for all communities to feel comfortable. India will work together with Sri Lanka on a reconstruction plan for these areas which involves infrastructure development and other support. President Rajapaksa expressed the hope for future development in Sri Lanka. He stressed that the present military victories offer a political opportunity to restore life to normalcy in the North and throughout Sri Lanka. He assured the Indian Minister of his intent on both countries working together to enable Sri Lankans and particularly the Tamil polity in the North, to begin leading normal lives soon.
Indian Foreign Minister clarifies his talks with the President
Indian External Affairs Minister and Acting State Chief Pranab Mukherjee has clarified to the media about the talks he had with President Rajapaksa.
He said both countries are of the same stand with regard to countering terrorism. Their attention has been drawn to civilians who are undergoing hardships from the terrorists. Due attention should be given to their security and welfare. India is satisfied with the programme mooted by the Government with regard to Tamil civilians. He said they discussed development in the North and East. The Indian Minister said both countries agreed to work together on the future development programmes.
Posted by media at 2:00 AM
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe has acclaimed the victories achieved by the war heroes in the North. This is the first time that he had made such a public acclamation of the task discharged by the gallant soldiers.
Earlier, the Opposition Leader expressed views demoralising the war heroes when they were engaged in humanitarian operations. Not only Mr. Wickramasinghe but other Parliamentarians of the party expressed views demoralising the soldiers.
Posted by media at 1:55 AM
An open letter from Robert Brown from London,UK to Editor of Boston Globe
Dear Editor of Boston Globe,
You have accidentally published a false story titled "Sri Lanka allegedly kills 30 civilians" on January 23, 2009. This letter intends to show why this story is false and how the LTTE terror group is involved in killing civilians.
There is evidence to show that this is a false report fed to the Boston Globe at Boston.com by Tamil Terrorists. First of all, there are no hard facts to support this. Plus the LTTE has killed so many civilians for the past 25 years with the help of foreign nations such as UK, Canada and India. How would these so called "health officials" know who really caused this since they were not there to witness it and why would you believe them? The Sri Lankan military has conducted a professional and impressive liberation of terror-held areas. BRAVO to these brave men and women. They know better not to fire at civilians especially in the safe zone. Therefore ask yourself "who would gain from this"? Here's a hint: the Tamil Tiger Terrorists.
Here is the plan that seems to have worked well: Once the LTTE Terrorists kills civilians in the safe zone, they get their supporters to feed the media of false information blaming the Sri Lankan military. Then the media such as the Boston.com takes that and spreads it across the world. The propaganda outlets for the LTTE such as TamilCanadian and TamilNet promote them to other media outlets such as the CTV - Canada and newsday.com. The LTTE terror lobbies around the world get great mileage out of falsely claiming that Sri Lanka killed civilians. This is a perfect example where the criminal accuse the jury of the crime. Can you think of a better plan?
As you might be aware, there is a front organization of the LTTE called Tamil Sangam operating out of Boston that is paying US lawmakers to lobby on its behalf. We hope that Boston Globe is not trying to cater to these Tamil extremists by publishing LTTE propaganda.
* Google "LTTE influencing US lawmakers" for more info on how the LTTE Terrorists are influencing US lawmakers and presidential campaigns *
* Google "tiger terrorists sangam US lawmakers" to learn about this serious threat to our freedoms *
Dear Editor of Boston Globe, you are not the only one mislead by the LTTE terror group. Allow me to provide a few examples. The LTTE Terrorists are making the politicians in Tamil Nadu-India, Canada, UK and Australia "cry wolf" just to stop the liberation of LTTE/terror-held areas. This is nothing but another stunt by LTTE Terrorists to turn the tables in their favor and has nothing to do with civilian deaths. If Tamil Nadu and India were really concerned about civilians, why not stop arms smuggling to and supporting the LTTE that has killed so many civilians? Why not move to eliminate the LTTE Terrorists, for the sake of civilians? What about concern for the innocent civilians killed by LTTE suicide bombings? What about concern for so many children recruited as soldiers to fight a brutal terror war against a democracy? We don't ever here politicians in India or Tamil Nadu, Canada, US, Norway, UK and Australia alarmed by those atrocities. Hope you see
the crocodile tears here.
Recently the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was pressed to help the LTTE by their lobby in London. As you know, the most ruthless terror group operates a successful operation in UK recruiting many British politicians. Google "British MP LTTE" or "British MP Tamil Terrorist" for some great articles on the Web. It seems like this terror group is making the British Prime Minister talk 'ceasefire' to get a break from its humiliating defeats and allow it to recruit more children, rearm and return with more terror attacks on civilians.
Even Amnesty International of London and Human Rights Watch of New York got on the bandwagon of making false statements against Sri Lanka when prodded by the LTTE Terrorists. The same terror group murdered countless number of civilians and committed world-wide fraud for many years while been backed by such human rights orgs. Should we ask: how did this ever happen? The LTTE Terrorists have been trying everything to stop their loosing streak. Having failed with the rights groups, the LTTE is now using is immense lobby in Europe specifically in the UK to get British politicians to help them. How can we get you to report on this?
This brings us to a greater question: why is the media so prone to LTTE-driven false propaganda? Since there was no first-hand verification of the facts by the Boston Globe on the ground, how can they even print this? I would like to point out here: just because there is free speech, it does not give anyone the right to spread false information on behalf of a terrorist organization thus misleading the public. The press is not an exception to that. In fact the press should be extra-sensitive to that for the sake of professional integrity and given the history of LTTE manipulating media outlets such as the BBC, Associated Press, AFP, NY Times and Times Online UK. Therefore we ask the editor of the Boston Globe at Boston.com to withdraw this article immediately and issue an apology to the world.
Posted by media at 1:50 AM
Posted by media at 1:45 AM
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Troops of the 58 Division after hours of fierce fighting that ensued with LTTE have reached the Visuamdu junction this afternoon (Jan 28), according to Defence.lk.
LTTE resistances were rattled during the multi-frontal military assault, ground sources said adding that scores of terrorists were killed and many injured during the fighting.
According to military sources, troops have also gained control over a 10km stretch of the road, running North of Visuamadu via Puliyampokkanai towards Chundikkulama. Troops are now engaged in mopping up the remaining LTTE resistances South of Visuamadu and Piramanthal kulama. LTTE terrorists unable to withstand the military onslaught have further fled towards the declared safer zones at Teravilkulam and Udayarkattukulama, military sources said.
Posted by media at 5:06 PM
A group of LTTE sympathizers forcibly entered the Sri Lankan Counsel General’s office in Toronto today (Tuesday in Canada). Counsel General Bandula Jayasekera says that Canadian Police evicted them before they could do any harm.
According to news reached Mawbima Lanka News, earlier in the day the LTTE sympathizers gathered outside the Sri Lankan consulate for a protest, holding placards trying to give the wrong message that a genocide taking place in Sri Lanka.
Posted by media at 12:36 PM
President Rajapaksa said he would reveal to the country "something very big" on Jan. 30 or so. "It is going to be a very big surprise," he said refusing to elaborate. "When the time comes," he said, "I will make it known to one and all."
(Island) During a meeting with the newspaper editors at Temple Trees on Tuesday (Jan 27), President Mahinda Rajapaksa said his government was ready to adopt all possible measures to ensure the safety of editors in view of attacks on them. He denied any government involvement in them as he said the government had no reason to sully its hands with such reprehensible acts of violence. He said for a government whose popularity was at the peak nothing would be more foolhardy than to attack the press. "The armed forces are doing extremely well and our popularity has never been this high, so why should we even think of such undemocratic action?" he asked.
IGP Jayantha Wickremaratne, who was present at the meeting, dismissed allegations that investigations were not being properly carried out. He said the police were probing the assassination of the Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunga and the recent attack on the Rivira Editor Upali Tennakoon properly. There were several angles to investigations and each and every one of them had to be carefully studied.
President Rajapaksa said he was ready to provide security to editors who needed it.
As for the situation in the country, President Rajapaksa said he would reveal to the country "something very big" on Jan. 30 or so. "It is going to be a very big surprise," he said refusing to elaborate. "When the time comes," he said, "I will make it known to one and all."
Posted by media at 8:48 AM
Former Mullaittivu Battle Hero Colonel Laffeer Remembered
Recapture of Mullaittivu township by Sri Lanka Army refreshes memories of brave soldiers who had sacrificed their lives during yesteryear fighting in the same area for the sake of safeguarding the territorial integrity of the country. The decisive day was 18th July 1996 when the terrorists launched a massive onslaught on the Mullaittivu camp and decimated over 1200 heroic soldiers who valiantly fought until the last soldier.
Colonel A.F Laffeer, then Commanding Officer of the 1 SF (Special Force) who led his troops to reinforce the 6 Brigade troops under siege was the senior most officer to lay his life during the Mullaittivu battle in 1996.
Full story here.
Posted by media at 12:42 AM
"In 1983 a serious situation arose after 13 soldiers were killed. If President Mahinda Rajapaksa were the leader at that time, this war would not have arisen. This war has gone so far because of earlier leaders."
TMVP leader Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan MP (alias Karuna) said that everyone should realize that the final benefits of this war victory will not be for the Sinhala people but for the Tamil people of the country.
Speaking at a gathering of political activists at the Nuwara Eliya Town Hall, Mr. Muralitharan said that he had tried to persuade LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to join the democratic mainstream but it was to no avail. "Over 600,000 people suffered in the East due to this war. I came on this journey by joining the democratic mainstream after thinking about the future of our people. In 2005 I joined President Mahnida Rajapaksa at his invitation," he said.
"In 1983 a serious situation arose after 13 soldiers were killed. If President Mahinda Rajapaksa were the leader at that time, this war would not have arisen. This war has gone so far because of earlier leaders.
Today we have come to the final phase of the war. I met the Army Commander yesterday. He is giving good leadership to the war effort. The Defence Secretary is conducting the military matters well.
The foundation for a good future is being laid now. Our President is different from other leaders. We have to recognise this difference. It is our obligation to win the next Provincial Council elections and strengthen the President," he said.
Investment Promotion Minister Naveen Dissanayake organized the meeting.
(Courtesy: Daily Mirror)
Posted by media at 12:32 AM
The task discharged by the Government on behalf of civilians entrapped in the North, has earned accolades from the United Nations..
The United Nations (UN) Chief Ban Ki Moon praised the task discharged by the Government on behalf of civilians entrapped in the North when Senior Presidential Advisor and Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa called on him at the UN Head Office in New York. Mr. Rajapaksa was accorded a warm welcome by officials at the UN headquarters on his arrival. Thereafter, he was received by the UN Secretary General. They had lengthy discussions on the situation prevailing in Sri Lanka.
Attention was drawn particularly to the humanitarian operations in the North. Mr. Rajapaksa briefed the UN Secretary General on the security of civilians who are in the grip of the terrorists and the relief services carried out on their behalf. The President’s efforts to find a political solution to the national conflict were intimated to Ban Ki Moon at this meeting. The UN pledged support to the security of the civilians and for their welfare activities. He also assured support to develop liberated areas.
Posted by media at 12:31 AM
Sri Lanka Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe today saluted the armed forces for the first time in history for their great military victories against the LTTE.
Issuing a special statement opposition leader said that he unhesitatingly and completely commends the courage, professional skill, and commitment of armed forces which have made this possible.
He said that the forces have protected the sovereignty of the nation and restored the country's territorial integrity.
“We acknowledge that it was the President, the Prime Minister, and the Cabinet of Ministers who were responsible for overseeing the conduct of these military operations," Opposition Leader added.
Finally Ranil Wickremasinghe reminded the government that there are formidable hurdles to be crossed, including a genuine political solution to bring long-lasting peace to the country.
Remembering the displaced persons in the Vanni, Opposition Leader said that they have been ignored for so long and urged the government to protect all its citizens.
Posted by media at 12:10 AM
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Colombo, January 27, 2009: In a ceremony held today in Wellampitiya, U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake handed over US$6.9 million (785 million rupees) in food aid to the World Food Program (WFP) for distribution to internally displaced person in the North. The donation demonstrates the United States’ continued concern for the welfare of Sri Lankans who have been displaced and trapped by the ongoing conflict.
Today’s donation, including 1,344 tons of lentils, 779 tons of vegetable oil, and 4,270 tons of wheat, is the most recent contribution of food relief by the Government of the United States through its development arm, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). It comes as part of the $29 million in food assistance that the U.S. provided in 2008 to the people of the North in Fiscal Year 2008. World Food Program and Government officials are working together to move the ongoing food relief donations to warehouses closer to the conflict area so it can continue to be distributed to the men, women, and children affected by the conflict who depend on the assistance.
In his remarks, the Ambassador expressed grave concern for the more than 230,000 internally displaced persons trapped by fighting in the north who currently face great danger as fighting gets closer to the no-fire zone established by the Government. He urged both the LTTE and the Government to take special care now to protect civilians.
“The LTTE must immediately desist from firing heavy weapons from areas within or near civilian concentrations. The Government must also resist the temptation to launch retaliatory shelling into areas populated by civilians,” stated Ambassador Blake. “Both sides must exercise maximum restraint to ensure civilians are not caught in crossfire.”
Ambassador Blake thanked Adnan Khan, Director, World Food Program; the Honorable Risath Bathiyutheen, Minister of Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services; and Mr. W. K. K. Kumarasiri, Secretary, Ministry of Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure Development, for their organizations efforts to reach citizens in need and provide the services they so desperately require.
(US Embassy, Colombo)
Posted by media at 10:49 PM
UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on Monday called on Sri Lanka's warring parties to ensure the protection of civilians.
In a statement issued by his press office, the UN chief expressed his deep concern about the safety and well-being of civilians caught in intensified fighting in the Vanni region of Sri Lanka between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government of Sri Lanka.
"He calls on the LTTE and the government of Sri Lanka to accord immediate and absolute priority to ensuring the protection and well-being of civilians, including humanitarian aid workers," the statement said. "The government and the LTTE must ensure that all people, including the displaced, are treated in accordance with International Humanitarian Law."
The secretary-general called on both parties to respect "no fire zones," "safe areas," and civilian infrastructure including schools, medical facilities and humanitarian facilities and assets.
He voiced deep concern over the "increasingly dire" humanitarian situation, urging all parties to allow and facilitate the movement of 250,000 civilians currently in the area of fighting to safe areas.
Ban appreciated the cooperation of the government of Sri Lanka in facilitating the relocation of UN staff and urged further cooperation from all parties in this regard.
Meanwhile, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe said the United Nations, as well as other aid agencies, still has staff in the north of Sri Lanka, working desperately to provide humanitarian aid to some 250,000 civilians trapped in the areas in which fighting is continuing.
Nearly 5,000 people have managed to cross the zones held by the LTTE to government-controlled areas since late November, Okabe said.
The UN Refugee Agency has taken the lead in formulating guidance for assistance to accommodate internally displaced persons fleeing from the Vanni region, she added.
Posted by media at 12:18 PM
NEW YORK, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Two men accused of belonging to a U.S. branch of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiring to funnel resources to the rebel group, a court spokesman said.
Sathajhan Sarachandran, 29, and Nadarasa Yogarasa, 54, pleaded guilty on the eve of their trial at U.S. District Court in Brooklyn to conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization, spokesman Robert Nardoza said.
Sarachandran also pleaded guilty to attempting to purchase guided anti-aircraft missiles.
The trial of two co-defendants, Sahilal Sabaratnam, 29, and Thiruthanikan Thanigasalam, 40, is expected to go forward on Wednesday.
Several other individuals -- including Karunakaran Kandasamy, the suspected head of the U.S. branch of the rebel group, who stands accused of overseeing the organization's activities and fund-raising -- have been charged separately and are expected to go on trial later this year.
The United States designates the Tamil Tigers as a foreign terrorist organization.
The rebels, known officially as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, have been fighting for decades for an independent homeland on the north and east of the Indian Ocean island.
On Monday, Sri Lankan army officials suggested the war might be coming to an end, saying they had captured the last big town held by the separatist group and confined the Tamil Tigers to a small wedge of jungle.
More than 70,000 people have died since 1983 and millions have been displaced in the war between the government and Tamil rebels who want a separate state in the island's north and east.
Prosecutors said the Tamil Tigers rely on sympathetic expatriates to raise money, get weapons and spread propaganda.
To coordinate these activities, the Tigers have established "branches" in at least 12 countries, including an office in the New York borough of Queens, prosecutors said in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.
Posted by media at 6:21 AM
The Bishop of Jaffna Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Savundaranayagam urged the LTTE not to station themselves among the people in the safety zone and fire their artillery - shells and rockets at the army.
This will only increase more and more the death of civilians thus endangering the safety of the people," he said in a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa calling for the extension of the Safety Zone for civilians in the Mullaitivu District.
The Bishop's letter expresses gratitude to the President for his concern for the civilians who have taken refuge in Vanni in the ongoing military operations and thanks the President for declaring a part of the west of the Mullaitivu at the safety zone for civilians.
The Bishop states that the area thus set apart is small considering the large number of people congregating there and requests that it be extended. He requests that areas such as Mathalan, Valaiayarmadam, Mulivaikal, Iranaipalai and the eastern sector of Puthukudiyiruppu be also declared safety zones. He adds that the only motive in requesting the extension of the safety zone is to preserve as much as possible the lives of the civilians in these areas.
'We are not against the war but our priority is the safety of every innocent civilian in those areas of war," the letter states.
Click here for the letter by Bishop Savundaranayagam
Posted by media at 2:11 AM
The Attorney General has intimated to Courts that measures will be taken to revoke the permit given by the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Regulatory Commission for the LTTE during the ceasefire when UNP was in power, for the operation of “Voice of Tigers” radio network.
State Counsel Sumathi Dharmawardena made this submission to the Appeals Court when petitions filed against the handing over of a permit for the "Voice of Tigers" was taken up. He said the Government will revoke the permit under the emergency regulations Gazzette notification issued on 7th January this year. The Court ordered the Attorney General to submit a report on the progress of this work when hearings resume on 11th of March. The petitions have been filed by a group including Dr. Piyasena Dissanayake.
Posted by media at 1:17 AM
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has invited the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi as well as his arch rival Jayalalithaa Jayaram to visit the Eastern Province, Jaffna and Vanni as well as the upcountry, and monitor the initiatives taken by the Government to bring dignified peace for the Tamil polity.
He referred to the optimum measures adopted by his Government to rebuild civilian life in the Eastern and Northern areas liberated from the terrorists. The LTTE was forcibly detaining innocent civilians in un-cleared areas and using them as human shields. They should enjoy freedom. The LTTE should be impressed upon to free these innocent civilians. In a special interview with the Asian Tribune website, the President called on Karunanidhi as well as Tamil Nadu Opposition Leader Jayalalitha Jayaram to mediate in ensuring freedom to the Tamil civilians in un-cleared areas. He emphasised his Government’s readiness to extend all facilities to civilians escaping from the grip of the terrorists.
Posted by media at 1:15 AM
Posted by media at 1:12 AM
Posted by media at 1:10 AM
Monday, January 26, 2009
SriLankan Airlines has introduced ‘Hot Seats’ for the benefit of all Sri Lankans and friends of Sri Lanka travelling to and from Sri Lanka. ‘Hot Seats’ offers the best fares for travel on SriLankan on designated tickets purchased in advance.
This is a great opportunity that will benefit Sri Lankans around our network now and in the future, as the airline hopes to make this an ongoing offer, a media release from the airline said.
SriLankan’s ‘Best Fare Guarantee’ for tickets purchased on its website means that lower fares simply can’t be found anywhere else. The best way not to miss this chance is to log into the airline’s website to check the fares before a decision is made to purchase air tickets.
Head of Worldwide Sales of SriLankan, Mohamed Fazeel said: “SriLankan is now in a position to reduce ticket fares and that’s just what we have done.
First we removed our fuel surcharge on fares throughout almost our entire route network, and now the opportunity has come to provide low fare ‘Hot Seats’.”
This offer is available only on the airline’s website www.srilankan.aero and the number of seats available per flight is limited and will vary subject to demand. For example, there are ‘Hot Seats’ available in January for travel in April, but there are still some Hot Seats left on certain flights in February.
General Manager SriLankan Holidays, Amith Sumanapala said: “These are the hottest rates on offer. We are giving these incredible discounts to almost all our destinations in Europe, the Middle East, South Asia and the Far East. This is our way of rewarding customers who book ‘Hot Seats’ in advance.”
Hot Seats tickets are limited to flights operated by SriLankan Airlines, and are not available on those operated on codeshare agreements with other airlines.
Posted by media at 10:10 AM
We have the utmost sympathy for the Internally Displaced Persons in Sri Lankas north. We visited the facilities for the IDPs in Vavuniya with the Government Agent, who is a Tamil, and met at least 50 representatives of the IDPs, both men and women.
It was observed that the IDPs there were not as haggard as those we saw when we came to the East earlier.
We were impressed by the healthy conditions, with good sanitation and other facilities that meet the needs of these people said Yasushi Akashi, Japans Special Envoy for Peace Building, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation in Sri Lanka at Media Briefing yesterday.
He was answering questions from the media about reports regarding the alleged inhumane conditions under which IDPs were being held in the north.
He spoke to the media after his three-day visit to Sri Lanka, when he met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other Ministers of the Government, members of other political parties as well as representative of relief organisations both local and foreign.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa had reiterated the importance of a political solution to the countrys present issues and had given a positive explanation of how the Government was tackling the issues of ensuring the safety and security of civilians, especially in the North and improvement of the Law and Order situation in the country.
He said the IDPs said they wished to be allowed more freedom of movement outside the present camps, which he appreciated, and was assured that this would be made possible subject to the security requirements that were necessary at present. He also asked that in addition to the relief and provisions now being provided by and through the Government, more facilities are allowed for contacts for IDPs with Government relief bodies, as well as foreign and local non-Government relief organizations that were doing a very hard job with great commitment.
He had received reports of the hardships being undergone by Tamil civilians in areas that remained under the control of the LTTE and looked forward to these conditions being eased. President Rajapaksa had stressed that all steps were being taken to bring relief to these people, too.
On the future of the Peace Process and the Tokyo Declaration of 2002, Akashi said it was regretted that the LTTE did not participate in the Tokyo Round which had the support of 61 governments and 21 international bodies in addition to the Government of Sri Lanka, and was aimed at giving much needed relief and development assistance to the Tamils of Sri Lanka, as well as the other communities of the country.
The non-participation of the LTTE had prevented this generous contribution to the Tamil people and the entire country from materialising. However, the spirit and philosophy of the Tokyo Declaration was still in place, he said.
Answering a question on the dissatisfaction of minority parties with current developments, Akashi said the had spoken to members of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and told them of the need to be supportive and participate in democratic and parliamentary means of resolving issues, as opposed to any other means. He had stressed on them the importance of becoming part of the loyal opposition which would try to seek solutions through democratic and parliamentary means, he said.
Akashi said he was impressed by the Presidents commitment to a wider political solution, which could even go beyond the 13th Amendment, and also the governments efforts to realise its target of Zero Civilian Casualties in the ongoing military operations.
Akashi also observed that the lives of journalists and all other citizens were of great value in a democracy, and any attitudes of impudence would not be in the interests of democracy.
Akashi said he had urged the President to expedite the working of the All Party Representative Conference (APRC) that was seeking a solution based on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
On Japanese assistance for the East, he said there was emphasis on the development of the East after the fighting there was over. He had met with the Chief Minister and other members of the EPC. Japan was monitoring the situation regarding law and order and good governance in the East, and was aware of the need for assistance for development of the East, especially in infrastructure, such a schools, health facilities and roads and would continue to assist Sri Lanka in line with needs and developments taking place there.
Posted by media at 10:05 AM
President Rajapakse has pointed out that the national flag is fluttering at every place ranging from the line rooms to palaces in honour of the war heroes. The operations in Mullaitivu are not against the Tamil polity but against terrorism.
Posted by media at 9:57 AM
Posted by media at 8:14 AM
Sunday, January 25, 2009
The Army Chief Lt. General Sarath Fonseka in an address to the nation announced the victory achieved by the troops in capturing Mullaitivu, the last bastion of the LTTE.
He said that the public had heard many victories achieved by the gallant soldiers from the beginning of January this year. The capture of the Mullaitivu town is a major victory. The Army after 12 years succeeded in overrunning this terrorist stronghold crushing the tigers. The achievement was made after taking control of many LTTE strong points including Pooneryn, Elephant Pass, Paranthan, Kilinochchi, Dharmapuram and Ramanadapuram from January 01st.
Displaying a map, the Army Commander said Mullaitivu is located in the North Eastern sea belt. The town is situated in a narrow stretch of a land between the Nasnthikandal Lagoon and the Indian Ocean. The troops began their 40 kilometre journey from Welioya which was an uphill task, taking control of the entire Mullaitivu forest. The LTTE built large earth bunds and trenches to save this bastion. The Army Chief noted that the Mullaitivu township had been captured after a one month long battle. He referred to the major contributions made by the Army, the Navy and the Air Force in achieving this major victory.
Posted by media at 10:23 PM
It is time the bluff was called in all that’s being written about Lasantha Wickrematunge after the Editor’s gruesome and despicable murder last week.
This hypocrisy reeks. The attempt now is to bury all his very considerable flaws with his bones, and extract as much political mileage out of his mortal coil as possible.
We’ve heard that hackneyed one about Niemoller, and that other moving but threadbare intonation “for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee’’ so many times before, so before anybody goes blaring that horn again —- let it be said, as it was said last week loud and clear: the murder is condemned because its gruesome and despicable - and cowardly —- the perpetrators must be doggedly tracked down apprehended and dealt with, and the government is wittingly or unwittingly pointing the finger at itself by not —- as in previous instances —- tracking down the killers.
But having said that, this canonization of Lasantha Wickrematunge, the posthumous sainthood that would make even the Pope want to blush for its godless-speed, is a laugh. It shows most of Colombo society still remains the same — they would be the first group of vultures to feed on any dead body, as long as it serves their own petty transparent self-serving (...often political) agendas.
First, it has been said in that posthumous editorial in the Sunday Leader — more about that later —- and by others such as Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu, that Wickrematunge somehow stood alone in condemning the deaths of innocent Tamil civilians in the conflict, and was therefore in the words of Saravanamuttu "the only journalist who did not belong to the majoritarian stereotype."
The “posthumous’’ editorial written last week in the Leader —- purportedly written by Lasantha, ah but we’ll come to that — pats Lasantha on the back and says “Many people suspect that The Sunday Leader has a political agenda: it does not. If we appear more critical of the government than of the opposition it is only because we believe that - pray excuse cricketing argot - there is no point in bowling to the fielding side. Remember that for the few years of our existence in which the UNP was in office, we proved to be the biggest thorn in its flesh, exposing excess and corruption wherever it occurred.”
Posthumous or otherwise, written in death or in life, these sentiments are untrue, and therefore they can be seen to be what they truly are —— efforts to shroud Lasantha in a spurious halo, so that his death can be used to further the almost hilariously transparent agendas of the authors of these sentiments.
All this would have been harmless, and could have been dismissed as the hopeless posturing of generally clumsy charlatans, had these sentiments not detracted from the real cause of the moment. The real cause is to get at the killers —- whoever they may be. They may be state sponsored, they may be military-allied, they may be goon squads, paramilitaries, private killers, anarchists gone totally mad, grudge-killers, plain brigands — whatever.
But, distorting the truth is no way to get at the truth about anything at all. It’s mealy mouthed. Somehow, it’s not possible or plausible that the path to the truth can be traversed when that path is illuminated with torch-points of lies, platitudes, and wishful dressing-up of the personality of the murdered.
So, let’s systematically deconstruct this charade, though not in any particular order of priority. First, Lasantha Wickrematunge was not the only journalist who said the plight of Tamil civilians dying in the conflict is horrendous, and that the priority should be to find a way to end their privations. Just by way of one little example, this newspaper said after Kilinochchi was overrun —— in our editorial titled “Well done but no need for cartwheels” of 4 Jan 2009 (two weeks ago): “...but yet, there is no room for triumpahalism for three or four very good reasons. The people of the Wanni have long suffered, and they do not hear the sound of crackers - - and the victory was won riding on their wretched and worn out backs. They have to be rehabilitated and made human again, having been condemned to sub-human conditions in IDP camps if they were lucky to have even these.”
So that makes Lasantha the only journalist who cried out for poor Tamil civilians?
Much before Kilinochchi, in the editorial spaces of this newspaper, it was exhorted that the army find a way to get civilians out of combat areas as a matter of top priority. Here is the quote from our editorial as far back as 21 September 2008:
“The government cannot do enough to guarantee the security and well-being of the Tamil people who are caught up in this conflict. There must be more empathy for those troubled Tamil citizens trapped in Kilinochchi and those who have sought refuge in Colombo and now have to turn back.
This is not to say that the government has no right to consider security imperatives. The issue is that it would be a mistake even at this juncture when the war has gathered momentum, to consider the security imperatives to be the one and only consideration. The state has to be more innovative than to take the path of least resistance to say ‘security imperatives dictated these moves.’ The government has thought to create a safe civilian corridor to enable a Tamil exodus from Kilinochchi. There needs to be innovative thinking in all other areas that concerns the well being of the Tamil people.”
That’s what we call balance, taking into consideration the imperatives of the security forces as well. The defence authorities seemed to respond almost directly, when it was announced by means of air-dropped leaflets that very week that a humanitarian corridor had been opened, and civilians asked to make use of it.
Voiced similar sentiments
Other newspapers may or may not have voiced similar sentiments —- all that cannot be gone through here with limitations of space — but certainly this newspaper did vehemently raise the queries about Tamil civilians, not only in our editorial spaces, but in articles written by persons as diverse as Aboorvan Prabanjana (Tamil Matters column) Vickramabahu Karunaratne (who delivered an eulogy at Lasantha’s funeral) Kumar David, Rajan Hoole, Namini Wiedasa to name a few.
So that makes Lasantha the only person who stood out of the “majoritarian stereotype’’ and voiced concern about Tamils under threat of physical harm or death, as a result of the war effort?
What a lot of tosh that is — worthy of Pakiasothy’s special brand of prevarication and untruth, coming as he is from an NGO that’s now so much under fire that it’s own financial audits are suspect.
Now, the intention here is not to put our hands and say, “we are human too — we were concerned about Tamil civilians just as Lasantha was, though the Sunday Leader and Paikiasothy stereotypes now crow that he was the only journalist who stood out of the majoritarian stereotype.”
That this newspaper was concerned about the plight of ordinary Tamil civilians is a valid fact, that deserves to be pointed out — but it’s only a technicality viewed against the larger backcloth of facts and events.
The main reason for this reminder “we did too’’, is to drive home the point that we did it because we consider all civilians flesh and blood and subject to intense pain, fear, anxiety, sorrow and privation at the loss of the near and dear —— and not because we believed we should use the plight of these civilians for political purchase, as the late Lasantha Wicrematunge did.
So let’s make no bones about it. Last week’s editorial in our own newspaper’s columns stated, Lasantha was flagrantly expedient — he should have never been given an integrity award transparently or in the opaque, because his brand of journalism was blatantly partisan, period.
It’s a fact. He was UNP politician, simply put, though he did not participate in UNP electoral politics. Nobody can possibly contradict this - given the fact that all and sundry know he was the strategist behind Ranil Wickremesinghe’s political campaigns etc., The respected editor of the Sunday Island Manik de Silva has this to say in his editorial last week: "Wickrematunge, who once served as private secretary to Mrs. Sirima Bandaranaike when she was out of office and also ran for election from a Colombo seat also on the SLFP ticket, was undoubtedly a supporter and a key strategist of the UNP for the past several years. He belonged to its inner circle and the discerning viewer would have spotted the fleeting image of Malik Samarawickrema, a previous UNP chairman, protectively escorting Sonali Samarasinghe who Wickrematunge married recently, at the Kalubowila hospital to which he had been rushed with serious injuries. It had been speculated that he would have been the justice minister if the UNP won the 2005 election about which our political columnist has more to say in the accompanying page."
There is also the typical partisan hypocrisy discerned not only in Pakiasothy or other journalistic types, but in larger Colombo society’s eagerness to paint Lasantha as the only journalist who was not of the majoritarian stereotype. That spurious contention does disservice to the myriad columnists such as Tamil affairs columnist Abhoorvan Prabanjana, or columnists of other newspapers who brought up these same concerns about Tamil civilians - - repeatedly and relentlessly - - without any party agenda. Lasantha was a party hack, and these others weren’t, so isn’t it hypocritical and expedient to say Lasantha had exclusive lien on integrity (“he alone looked into the plight of Tamil civilians caught in the war”) when others showed integrity because they were genuinely appalled by the suffering of Tamil people, while Lasantha’s integrity was questionable, because he was a party hack and shouted hoarse about Tamil civilians because he wanted to paint the government in a bad light?
Lasantha spotlighted the plight of Tami civilians with an ulterior political motive — which was to stop the war at a time the LTTE was under threat of being exterminated due to successful military operations. Our writers spotlighted the killing of Tamil civilians with no such ulterior motive —- and let’s reserve comment about others, but as for myself, I constantly wrote on these lines: “the plight of Tamil civilians is horrendous, but find a way to alleviate their suffering without having to stop the war for if the conflict festers, more Tamil lives would be lost and more suffering will be heaped upon ordinary Tamils.”
There is no point seeking Lasantha’s killers — repeat, whoever they are, state or not state, military paramilitary or private or individual killers —- by shrouding the truth with a tissue of lies, and canonizing Lasantha at the expense of the unalloyed truth.
The truth is that Lasantha had little or no integrity at all, when he pursued his politics, which was UNP politics, through his journalism. He defended and propagandised for the LTTE — in plain terms — though he waxed eloquent about government bombing Tamil civilians in his pursuit of UNP politics, because defending and saving the skin of the LTTE — which was the main thorn on the side of the government — was good for UNP politics that he pursued. In this way, he gave journalism a bad name, because he prostituted journalism for a political cause, and there is no other way to put it, the man be dead, alive or stone dead.
Now, in posthumous editorials and sanctimonious funeral addresses the likes of Paikiasothy and others of that ilk are trying to tell us otherwise. What a lot of tommyrot that is.
In the first place, Lasantha didn’t write the so called posthumous Sunday Leader editorial of last week, though that fact may be hardly relevant to the issues at hand.
It doesn’t matter, but for the record it was ghost written by a man whose name rhymes with Sohan Sopiagoda, though lot’s of people may try to stand on their heads and say “sacrilege, sacrilege, it ain’t so.” We know what we know —— so let’s leave it at that.
No matter. Every paper had a right to it’s own ghost writer types, give that this Sohan Sopiagoda or the man with a name very close to his, wrote all of the Leader editorials including the ‘penultimate’’ one about homosexuality that Paikiasothy referred to with stars in his eyes in his funeral address. Lasantha himself could string a few words together — his real strength was as a jolly good muckraker.
All newspapers have a right to ghost written editorials and we have no quarrel with that, but the moment somebody tries for whatever reason to subvert the truth, we have a right to call the bluff.
If anybody believes that Lasantha was lambasting the government only and not the UNP because “there is no point in bowling to the fielding side” as stated sanctimoniously and smugly in last week’s ‘posthumous’ editorial, that person will believe anything. Last week’s so-called posthumous editorial purportedly —— ghost written —- egads not literally by Lasantha’s ghost but figuratively by the other guy, the ghost’s ghost —— seeks to state that Ranil Wickremesinghe’s 2001 UNP government fell in part because of what the Sunday Leader did.
What a lot of self serving, attention seeking untruthful bilge that is. It’s true The Sunday leader did ‘expose’’ a few UNP ministers such as Jayalath Jayewardene whenever its editor didn’t like some stray UNP ministers’ faces — in that Wickremesinghe cabinet. But in the main Lasantha did the exact opposite of trying to bring down the Wickremesinghe government, he tried to prop it up for perpetuity by demolishing the Kumaratunge presidency that the UNP had to cohabit with, the very Kumaratunge that, joke of jokes, ended up his best buddy in even worse times for him and his political types...
The Wickremesinghe government fell because of the efforts of Lakshman Kadirgarmar, Mangala Samaraweera and others, who relentlessly took the wind out of the sails of the Wickremesinghe peace effort, to the chagrin of Lasantha who tried to undermine Kadirgarmar any way he could at that time, stating unfairly that he is fattening himself on state largesse etc etc., What a fat lie therefore - that the Leader in part brought the UNP down, when the Leader did it’s utmost to prop up that government and bring down the last remaining obstruction to it, the Kumaratunge presidency.
Finally —— or at lest penultimately —- there is all this attempt to stand the truth on its head and say that all the others were the stereotype when Lasanatha did the hard thing and the unique thing by saying what the others did not have the gumption, heart or courage to say themselves.
Again, the truth lies in the opposite direction. Lasantha was the stereotype - - he stereotyped Colombo UNP politics, he stereotyped the spurious Colombo NGO and civil society tendency of legitimizing the killer LTTE, and propagandizing for the LTTE by saying that a war, which has shown some real success albeit despite the compromising of human rights and the deaths of some civilians, was necessarily a putrid war. Well for your information - - that’s the stereotype. One line in a posthumous editorial with a token condemnation of the LTTE does not erase that stereotype. The UNP sought to talk to the LTTE when in government, and those talks failed. In fact the LTTE stopped a UNP president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, from being elected, because the LTTE didn’t want that peacemaking UNP president to be elected. All that’s forgotten by this baying, maudlin, now funeral-dirge cooing deracinated Colombo elite. The LTTE having stopped Wickremesinghe from being elected, then waged war on the state. The state replied in kind —- what else could it do with an outfit that spurns peace at very opportunity it gets? The government was — unexpectedly - - - having some success with the LTTE and reached a point of militarily defeating it. Out comes the Colombo stereotype from the woodwork and says in effect "Stop the war" (and save the human rights violating, atrociously fascist LTTE.....that part unsaid of course...). They or the Leader never attempted to say - - even once as we did in this newspaper for instance - "stop the civilian toll of the war, get that under control, but don’t stop the war."
Their hand is exposed badly by this kind of expediency. They never had the interests of Tamil civilians at heart, they had the interests of the LTTE at heart, because the LTTE in the end could have politically saved the UNP.
And I’m no pro-government anti-UNPer, everybody knows that — this newspaper had been one of the fiercest critics of the Rajapaksa regime —- it’s useless Mihin air, it’s unconstitutional stand on the 17th amendment, it’s humongously large cabinet etc., etc., and we can quote chapter and verse, page number and footnote if anybody wants the proof. I or anybody in this newspaper didn’t, behind the backs of readers, swap stories with Mahinda the President at Temple Trees and break bread with him either, as somebody boasts of —- we never will do. Journalists don’t generally palaver politicians, of whatever stripe - - because they might have to cry one day, oooh ooh but see what an ugly duck he is, their men killed me.
But what just has to be said is Lasantha was the stereotype. He did the easy thing. He mouthed the manthra of the stereotype, decried the war for political expediency and pretended to be a humanitarian because screaming about the plight of Tamil civilians would perchance, hope against hope, save the LTTE —- and hope against hope, therefore, perchance again, save the UNP —— also because if Mahinda finished off the LTTE, the UNP calculated, their grand old green party would be politically kaput..
I say, true courage is to scream about the horrendous plight of Tamil civilians as this newspaper and some others did and back it up with the truth, and seek after the truth. The truth dear readers, is that there were lots of us — not just in this newspaper but others — who went against the stereotype, the easy way out, and took the unpopular step of saying with our integrity intact — look after the Tamil civilians BUT finish the war, because if the LTTE is let off the hook, the Tamil civilians are going to suffer forever, not just under the LTTE jackboot but because of the rigours and privations of a conflict that’s being prolonged. Not to mention the fact that eliminating the LTTE might be just about the only way of stopping bombs going off beneath the asses of Colombo humbug types, and even Lasantha’s own sons and daughters...whenever they were in Colombo. This last part is explained in a language that the simpering Colombo elite is bound to understand.
Now, some might say there is no means of saving the civilians short of stopping the war. It’s not true —— sadly, very sadly, there is no war that does not claim any civilian lives. All wars do. But keep civilian casualties to a minimum - - but finish the war, because that’s one way of seeking to stop this conflict which would take thousands more civilian lives if it was allowed to fester. Before anybody gets any ideas of course, we in this newspaper also relentlessly advocated and still advocate and push a lethargic government for a political solution to back up the war gains.
But what we did not do and Lasantha did was pooh pooh the war, or the formidable efforts of the unsung soldiers. In effect, and certainly by implication Lasantha called the soldiers “Tamil killers’’ which they were not — they were fighting the LTTE, a terrorist outfit. He never saluted the soldiers, not once, even when the UNP, his party, did. But we did. The only times he spoke about the soldiers was when his ghost wrote editorially that they were poor sods being used by the government, a contention which was insensitive of their selfless commitment and sacrifices. We didn’t sell our souls, seeing that the UNP was in dire straits, because horror of horrors for the UNP, Mahinda happened to be winning the war. In fact we say, if Mahinda wins the war, the UNP should probably get-in thereafter and straighten the economy out.
But it takes a lot more integrity and courage to tell the truth rather than mimic the chic fashionable can-do-no-wrong Colombo UNP stereotype - - even though we say so ourselves. After all, if they can call themselves courageous, we can with the benefit of facts say so ourselves. But it’s a comedy that they are now trying to tell us that the others were all stereotypes, while Lasantha was the only truth-teller. O Tempora O mores — as those philosophers from Satre to Kierkegaard would say, life indeed is absurd.
Finally, find the perpetrators of this heinous crime —- but always, keep to the straight and narrow path of the truth. Truth is, we’ve had enough of these sanctimonious humbug-mode funeral sermons. One Jeevan Thiagarajah compares Lasantha to Italian writer Dario Fo. He says Fo was a writer who contended with aggression and assaults directed at him, and went onto win the Nobel prize. He’s right, but Fo did so attacking all forms of fascism, not being an apologist and a default propagandist if not a direct propagandist for a fascist group such as the LTTE, as Lasantha was. So to compare a peerless literally talent to an expedient party hack is an abomination. Thiagarajah should have never put his fo, pardon me, his foot in his mouth...
But despite all these considerable discrepancies in the ‘canonize Lasantha’ narrative, we do not by any stretch even remotely begin to justify his assassination as some state hacks have done in an idiotic e-mail flyer apparently sent to foreign missions. Cowards took his life, and made him a martyr of sorts therefore and thereby. It was wholly unnecessary. It was despicable —- and may the killers be found.
>> Read full story here (Sunday Lakbima - 18 January 2009)
Posted by media at 7:28 AM