Saturday, March 21, 2009
Posted by media at 10:36 PM
To: H.E. Mr. Liu Zhenmin
Ambassador and Deputy Representative of China
Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations
Dear Mr. Zhenmin,
As a Sri Lankan American living in Los Angeles, California, I applaud China for opposing a second move to put the Sri Lankan issue on the United Nations Security Council agenda as reported by the sources below. Please convey my heartfelt thanks to the Chinese leadership and to the people of the Republic of China for their friendship and support to Sri Lanka.
I am sure that China's continued efforts to back Sri Lanka will be well appreciated by Sri Lankans worldwide.
China blocks move to bring Lanka issue before UN Security Council, March 20, 2009
Senior software engineer
Los Angeles, California, USA
Posted by media at 10:00 PM
According to the latest information coming from Ceylinco House, the Deputy Chairman of the Ceylinco Educational and Financial Services Group, K.A.S. Jayatissa had suddenly gone missing since Thursday the 19th of March. Daily FT learns.
A senior official from Ceylinco Consolidated told Daily FT that “Mr. K.A.S. Jayatissa has disappeared ever since Criminal Investigations Department has stepped into investigate The Finance Company PLC files and he is hiding due to pressure from customers of Ceylinco Sussex School.”
According to our sources that Ceylinco Sussex was also involved in accepting deposits from the public. Ceylinco Sussex College Network is managed by Ceylinco Sussex Educational Services Ltd a subsidiary of Ceylinco Consolidated in which Mr. K.A.S. Jayatissa is functioning as the Deputy Chairman. Ceylinco Sussex College Network comprise more than 300 companies engaged in Banking, Financing, Property Development, Health Care, Higher Education, Tourism, IT Services, Manufacturing, Rural Development, Diamond Trade, Social Services, Sports as per their corporate website.
A Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Secretary by profession with a Bachelor in Science Management Special Honours Degree from the University of Sri Jayawardenapura Sri Lanka, K.A.S. Jayatissa had joined the Ceylinco Consolidated in 1990 and has contributed immensely to the group in Taxation and Finance related issues. Up to now he was heading a multidisciplinary team, which is specialized in taxation, financial consultancy, secretarial, human resources and fund management under Ceylinco Consolidated. Mr. K.A.S. Jayatissa is the Deputy Chairman of Ceylinco Profit Sharing Investment Corporation Limited, Ceylinco Takaful Limited, Ceylinco Sussex College Network and was the Finance Director of F&G Group, Ceylinco Seylan Properties Limited, The Finace Limited according to available sources.
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Wanni district TNA MP Vinodharadhalingam commented at the parliament session the government effort to resettle all the IDPs in the recently liberated of the North from the hands of the LTTE.
He further added that he has personally visited the Kadiragamapuram welfare camp and has witnessed for himself the manner in which, the Government is taking care of the displaced persons. He observed that the people in the welfare camp were living free from fear and that they were providing with all necessary amenities under the present condition.
He also stated that vocational training program have comments on side and that he was indeed pleased to see that young people are been trained in some filed to face the days ahead of them "this gives them hope of a better future" having lived a life of torment under the rules of LTTE, people are now free from the clutches of this element after many years. They are indeed confident that this feeling of freedom will last forever. This would not have been possible if the Government did not take the stand to take the "bull by the horns" and take the LTTE to pask and fight hard to irradiate terrorism from this country forever.
P Vinodharadhalingam also praises the effort the Government has made to amend the Widows and Orphans and Pension Act in Parliament yesterday. While the Tamil National Alliances represent the majority of the North and Eastern Tamil community MP Vinodharadhalingam also a representative who was elected as a member of parliament along with 22 MP's form year 2004.
It is evident that today some of the TNA MPs has clearly understood the intentions of the Government are convinced that the efforts of the Government are sincere. It would have been the strong influence of the LTTE that did not allow them to see the effort made by the Government in the true light up to now.
MP Vinodharadhalingam's statement is indeed a great strength to the Government as a whole and also to the efforts the Government is taking to press forward in liberating the North and ushering in a peaceful state in the days to come.
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Posted by media at 12:05 PM
Friday, March 20, 2009
(Colombo-Lankapuvath-March 20) – Tiger chief V Prabhakaran and his son Charles Anthony are still in Sri Lanka and living among the civilians in rebel dominated Puthukkudiriruppu.
According to the civilians who escaped from the clutches of the terrorist had reported to army officials that the LTTE chief and his son who are among the civilians in Puthukkudiriruppu are engaged in making more and more terror plans to reverse the military victories.
It is learnt that the father and son are forcing the trapped civilians to join them to attack the government forces.
It was also reported that both Prabhakaran, his eldest son Charles Anthony and a battalion of LTTE cadres dressed in normal clothing mingle with Tamil civilians in the area
Posted by media at 4:19 PM
Two thousand one hundred and sixty-nine (2169) Tamil civilians, who had been forcibly held as human shield by the LTTE terrorists in the government declared No Fire Zone (NFZ), have reached the government controlled area escaping terror grip yesterday, 19 March.
Total of 1983 Tamil civilians including 927 males and 1056 females reached Puthukuddiirippu area between 6.00AM to 6.00PM yesterday. The civilians escaped were later directed to the welfare center following the initial registration process done by the troops of 58 Division.
Meanwhile, 29 civilians including 13 males, 10 females and 6 children have reached Chundikulam, Jaffna around 6.30 PM yesterday.
Separately, Sri Lanka Navy has rescued 131 Tamil civilians in the seas of Chundikulam around 11.30 AM, yesterday. SLN patrolmen on duty in north eastern seas rescued the group of Tamil civilians, comprising 37 males, 28 females and 66 children, onboard 8 white flag-hoisted dinghies headed towards Chundikulam.
Further, eighteen Tamil civilians were managed to escape LTTE grip and reached to security forces controlled area escaping terror grip yesterday.
Posted by media at 4:18 PM
(Colombo Lankapuvath March 20) If the SL forces become brutal as the LTTE terrorists the remaining 23 sq km the LTTE is restricted to, can be captured within a period of 02 days, said Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka.
The SL Forces are conducting the humanitarian operations in the northern region with extra concern that the civilian lives are not endangered, stated the Prime Minister in Parliament yesterday (19).
Although the International community forwards proposals to the government saying thatthe civilian lives need to be safeguarded and given more priority, Prime Minister raised the question as to why the international community never forwards any proposals regarding civilians to the LTTE organization who treat the civilians in the most brutal manner and slaughter them.
Further speaking he said that the Government would end the prevailing conflict and free the innocent civilians trapped in the grip of the LTTE in the near future and also assured that democracy will be restored in the north.
The war heroes who sacrifice their lives to gain these victories are always remembered and honoured by all Sri Lankans said Prime Minister Wickramanayaka.
Posted by media at 4:18 PM
(Colombo Lankapuvath March 19) A census will be conducted on those who arrived in the Western Province from the Northern regions of the country said the Police Spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunesekara.
The census will be conducted on Saturday (21) and Sunday (22). The police has requested from those who are resettled in the South to come and reregister at the Police stations in the Western Province.
Further speaking the spokesman said that details gathered from the previous census needs to be clarified through the 2nd census. All the Police stations of the Western Province will conduct the registering process from 08.00 am to 05.00 pm informed the police
Posted by media at 10:33 AM
(Colombo-Lankapuvath-March 14) –The recent visit of a 50-strong Chinese trade and investment delegation to Sri Lanka opened up new avenue for economic co-operation between the two countries.
During his stay in Sri Lanka, Mr. Wang Schicheng, the Vice President of the Light Industry Association of China who headed the delegation stated that Sri Lanka is an excellent location for investment. He also commended the BOI for organizing a forum where his delegation forum was able to learn more about the economic climate of Sri Lanka as well as the generous regime of incentives offered by the Board of Investment to investors.
Light Industries Association of China comprises of many light industries and is the world’s largest manufacturer of leather goods and accessories. In the leather goods area they have around 1 million varieties and 1300 brands and an annual output of 500 million items.
The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka organized one-on–one meeting whereby entrepreneurs from Sri Lanka and China were able to hold discussions on areas for future co-operation. The delegation comprised of a large group of manufacturers of leather goods. Subsequent to the successful one-on-one meetings,
In addition to joint ventures, Chinese entrepreneurs have expressed interest in setting up new projects in Sri Lanka.
China’s present economic presence in Sri Lanka amounts to 35 companies that operate under the special scheme of incentives the BOI offers investors. There are in addition 46 other Chinese enterprises that operate under the normal laws of the country. The total value of Chinese investment in Sri Lanka is US$ 132 million. There is confidence at the BOI that more investment from China will come to Sri Lanka in spite of the global economic downturn.
Posted by media at 10:29 AM
(Colombo Lankapuvath March 19) A Pakistani umpire shot during a terrorist attack on a convoy taking the Sri Lankan cricket team to a match at Lahore on 3rd March is still in hospital recovering from his wounds.
Ahsan Raza was the fourth umpire and was traveling in a van with other match officials behind the Sri Lankan team bus when he was shot in the abdomen, causing injuries to his lungs and liver.
"The doctors say it will take another 8-10 days to recover from the wounds," Raza told The Associated Press from his hospital bed.
Raza, a 34-year-old father of three, remained conscious for at least 45 minutes after the shooting before he was rushed to hospital and for urgent surgery.
He underwent two major operations and, according to Ali, his brother doctors have so far used 20 pints of blood to keep Raza’s blood pressure normal.
Two Sri Lanka cricketers injured in the attacks and airlifted to Colombo were expected to be released this week.
Thilan Samaraweera, who needed a bullet removal from his left thigh, and Ajantha Mendis, who had head injuries from shrapnel, were expected to recover fully. Their team mates were to return to practice next week, while psychologists were appointed to help them work through the ordeal.
Posted by media at 10:24 AM
(Colombo Lankapuvath March 18) The LTTE terrorists are burying their dead cadres within the “No Fire Zone” said Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara.
Even though it is their dead cadres that are being buried the LTTE organization have spread the word that those are the bodies of the civilians who were killed in SL army shelling, stated the Spokesman.
Further speaking about the civilians who are fleeing the non liberated areas he said that 6,968 civilians have sought refuge with the SL troops from the 01st of March up to date.
Meanwhile the total number of civilians who have fled the clutches of the LTTE has increased up to 45,519.
Posted by media at 10:22 AM
(Colombo-Lankapuvath-March 19) – Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Public Security, Law and Order Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the relatives of the family members of the soldiers who had laid their lives to the motherland held a special meeting at Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment (VIR) Headquarters in Boyagane, Kurunagala Tuesday.
During this meeting Secretary of Defence expressed his gratitude to the brave soldiers who laid their lives for their native land. "Their sacrifice is saluted by the citizens from all four corners of the country" he said.
He further added that "These sacrifices were made by our valiant soldiers to ensure that the freedom and territorial integrity of our country is preserved. He therefore urged the people to protect the land which saved through sacrificing their lives.
The brave troops took up the challenge to defeat terrorism when the whole world believed that the LTTE terrorists were undefeatable. However at the moment LTTE terrorists are limited to a small piece of land in Puthukudiyirippu area, he said.
He said that the names will go down in history, of the war heroes who scarified their lives for our motherland. The President and the government will solve the problems of the families of soldiers and due compensation paid for those who laid their lives for the motherland, Defence Secretary said.
Posted by media at 10:21 AM
UNITED NATIONS, March 19 -- The day after the UN involuntarily admitted counting 2,683 civilian killings in Sri Lanka from January 20 to March 7 of this year, efforts to hold a second UN Security Council meeting on Sri Lanka were described to Inner City Press by a range of Council diplomats. Non-permanent Council members including Austria, Mexico and Costa Rica have requested the meeting for March 26, under the heading "Other Matters" since Sri Lanka is still not a formal item on the Council's agenda.
These members thought they had agreement from other Council members, but now China is "vehemently" opposing any discussion in the Council of the plight of civilians in the Sri Lankan conflict. China argues that it is "merely an internal matter," and not a threat to international peace and security.
Sri Lanka's mission to the UN has contacted Council members to make this same argument. Those requesting the meeting are considering calling a procedural vote, on which there are no veto rights. If they have nine votes for the meeting, it will be held -- unless they don't even call for a vote. The position, and strength of commitment, of Western Permanent Five members is not known at press time. Watch this site.
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Some of the banners displayed on Monday also depicted Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, a wanted mass murderer who personally authorizes the acts of terrorism the group has committed over the last three decades … Imagine for a moment, if the protestors had instead been Arab or Muslim. Would Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, Dalton McGuinty and David Miller be silent if 120,000 supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah paralyzed downtown Toronto as they chanted slogans and waved flags praising groups that slaughter Jews?
Yesterday, I put up a blog post (subsequently re-purposed into an editorial) denouncing the pro-Tamil-Tiger protestors who were part of the demonstration that paralyzed downtown Toronto on Monday.
"The rally that took place in Toronto on Monday was not just, as organizers claimed, an expression of support for Tamil civilians in war-torn Sri Lanka," I wrote. "Many of the participants carried flags of the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist group that practices suicide bombings and abducts children to use as soldiers. (In 2006, Canada’s federal government officially designated the Tamil Tigers a terrorist group, a move that criminalized the group’s fund-raising efforts in this country.) Some of the banners displayed on Monday also depicted Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, a wanted mass murderer who personally authorizes the acts of terrorism the group has committed over the last three decades … Imagine for a moment, if the protestors had instead been Arab or Muslim. Would Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, Dalton McGuinty and David Miller be silent if 120,000 supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah paralyzed downtown Toronto as they chanted slogans and waved flags praising groups that slaughter Jews? … The Sinhalese Sri Lankan victims of Tamil Tiger terrorism are no less deserving of support than the Jewish residents of Ashkelon or Sderot."
Following publication of the blog post, I received upwards of 100 emails from angry readers — most of them self-identified Tamil Canadians — who found my comments ignorant, bigoted, offensive — or all three.
While I cannot comprehensively summarize all my naysayers' criticisms, let me try to give a thumbnail rundown of their three main arguments:
(#1) The Tamil Tigers aren't terrorists. They are freedom fighters.
(#2) The Tamil Tigers may resort to rough tactics, but what the Sri Lankan government does to Tamil civilians is worse. Colombo's forces are the "real terrorists."
(#3) The Tamil Tigers, unlike Islamist terrorists, have no designs on Canada or other Western nations. Their dispute is with Sri Lanka's government only — and so any comparison with al-Qaeda et al is unfair.
I don't find any of these arguments particularly convincing. But so many Tamil-Canadian readers emailed me — often with long, carefully detailed arguments — that I feel the need to respond to them in some way.
Regarding #1: The line between terrorists and freedom fighters can admittedly be a fuzzy one in some contexts (see, e.g., South Africa's Apartheid-era ANC, or Afghanistan's Reagan-era mujahadeen). That said, we live in Canada, which means that the official view of the Canadian government means something when we discuss these issues. In the case of the Tamil Tigers, the group was put on Ottawa's official list of banned terrorist entities in 2006, which means that, for purposes of Canadian law, the Tamil Tigers are terrorists, full stop. I don't care how strong are one's emotional ties to Sri Lanka — if you live in this country, you have to pay heed to our law.
It's also worth mentioning that the Tigers engage in classic terrorist tactics, including wanton slaughter of civilians, suicide bombings, political assassinations, etc. Moreover, the Tigers have systematically coerced children into fighting in their ranks, dealt ruthlessly with dissident Tamils who opposed their brutal methods, and even used coercive tactics to extract financial "donations" from Tamils abroad — including here in Canada. Even if you embrace the cause of a free and independent Tamil state in northern Sri Lanka, you cannot reasonably dispute the fact that the Tamil Tigers are a violent group that has often resorted to the most discredited and barbaric methods of combat imaginable.
Regarding #2: I have looked at the available reports about Sri Lankan abuses, and I will concede that the Sri Lankan military has often, itself, behaved in a brutal manner. In many instances, civilians have died unnecessarily. Unfortunately, the same is true of every counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism campaign known to humankind — from Israel to Chechnya to Afghanistan to Iraq. When a government finds itself locked in combat with a guerrilla/terrorist force that fights from amidst a civilian population and uses human shields — as the Tamil Tigers are now doing — innocents inevitably die. (This week, a spokesman for The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights declared: "The LTTE, the Tamil Tigers, are reported to be continuing to hold civilians as human shields, and to have shot at civilians trying to leave the area they control. They are also believed to have been forcibly recruiting civilians, including children, as soldiers.")
Regarding #3: This is a fair point, so far as it goes: It's true that the Tamil Tigers' political ambitions end at the sea — unlike those of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, whose jihad is global in scope. But then, the whole point of the international war on terror is that civilized nations must band together to fight all terrorist groups, not just the ones that directly target them. This is the main reason that folks like me were so up in arms about the way that the Liberals soft-peddled the Tigers problem until they got booted out of office in 2006: It didn't seem to matter to Paul Martin et al that cash contributions solicited (and in some cases extorted) from Tamil-owned businesses in the Toronto suburbs were being used to buy bombs to blow up civilians 10,000 miles away. If you take the view that an innocent human life is an innocent human life, no matter where that human is located, then Canada had a moral duty to criminalize Tiger fundraising — something Stephen Harper had the courage to do.
In closing, I should say that I recognize the sense of empathic anguish many Canadian Tamils feel as the Sri Lankan government closes in on the last Tamil Tiger enclave in northern Sri Lanka. Tens of thousands of civilians are trapped in the affected area, and several thousand are believed to have died already. These people deserve the world's sympathy. But few Canadians are going to be moved to express such sympathy if they open their newspapers and TV sets and see pictures of Canadian Tamils waving the flag of a banned terrorist organization.
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Posted by media at 2:00 AM
Los Angeles, CA – At the expansive South Lawn of Los Angeles City Hall, Cricket fans, diplomats, and members of local cricket organizations of Southern California joined hands at a solidarity rally held on March 14, 2009, to protest the recent terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan national cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan.
Among the dignitaries participating in the ‘Bat Against Terrorism’ rally were Mr. Ananda Wickramasinghe, Sri Lankan Consul General (CG) in Los Angeles, Acting CG of Pakistan in Los Angeles Mr. K. K. Ahsan Wagan, Deputy CG of the United Kingdom Mr. David Wild, and Deputy CG of Australia Mr. Philip Minos. Among representatives of local organizations and groups were Mr. Adnan Khan, President of the Council of Pakistan American Affairs (COPAA), Mr. Jamal Khawaja, President of the Council of Pakistan American Chamber of Commerce, COPAA committee member Mrs. Shaista Khan, Mr. T’ Shaka Lee, President of the Southern California Cricket Association, and Mr. Ted Hayes manager and coach of the Compton Cricket Club, Mr. Rashantha de Silva, founder of Paalama.
The rally was organized by the Los Angeles based Sri Lankan voluntary organization “Sri Lankan Patriots” (SLP) and sponsored by COPAA, the Pakistan Chamber of Commerce, and the Compton Cricket Club. “Our aim is to send a message to the world that terror masters cannot either stop cricket in Lahore or disrupt the civilian life in Colombo. Also, as US citizen, we urge US law makers not to fall for different guises of cunning terrorists and their sympathizers. Terrorism should not be justified for any reason”, mentioned SLP secretary Gamini Edirisinghe commenting on the rally.
Despite the cloudy and chilliness of Saturday morning, the rally began with the participants going in procession around the lawn and its pathways, carrying placards and chanting slogans such as, “Cricket not bombs,” “Lets run-out terrorists,” “Solidarity for cricket,” “Bat against terrorism,” “Terror will not stop cricket,” “Zero tolerance for terrorism,” etc.
At the head of the procession was a giant banner reading, “Cricketers Unite – Bowl out Terrorists.” The banner, which was signed by all participants, will eventually be sent to the Sri Lankan cricket team, according to the organizers. The enthused Hayes, draped in the stars & stripes American flag, livened the march shouting, “Cricket! Cricket! lovely cricket’ accompanied with other slogans that called for an end to terror attacks on cricketers. Ananda Markalanda inspired the procession with joint chanting. Some marchers carried cricket gear: bat ball and gloves, while there were others who turned up dressed in cricket uniform.
Some onlookers were gazing in bewilderment as to why such a hue and cry is made of a little creature (cricket) that creeks in darkness. “Well this is a game, somewhat like base ball,” explained a rally participant.
The marchers converged on the flight of steps leading to the City Hall’s south entrance and the proceedings began with a moment’s silence in homage to the fallen victims of all acts of terror throughout the world and a short religious observance. Ven Aparakke Punnyasiri, chief incumbent of the Sun Valley Maithri Vihara, conducting the observance mentioned the close ties Pakistan had with Sri Lanka. “The scourge of terrorism will not put an end to it,” he asserted.
The names of the six security personnel who were killed protecting the Sri Lankan cricket team were read out by COPAA official, Shaista Khan, followed by invocation of blessings by Ven Punnyasiri. Journalist Hassina Leelarathna who initiated the idea for the rally was the emcee for the event. Spelling out the objectives of the rally, she pointed out that the six Pakistani policemen involved in the attack gave up their lives not just to save the Sri Lankan cricket team but also to preserve a part of our heritage and a way of life. She called on the participants to send a message to Washington to ‘stop playing politics with terrorism, to understand the nuances and complexities of our situation, and to help us fight the sources of terror.’
Acting CG of Pakistan in Los Angels Mr. K. K. Ahsan Wagan in his address spoke warmly of Pakistan-Sri Lanka relations and elaborated on the strong sentiments the people in the south Asian region have towards cricket. ‘It is a way of life’ he emphasized and went on to describe how shocked the Pakistani people were on hearing of the March 3rd attack. “We denounce terrorism and all such acts of violence,” he said. “Pakistan is very grateful to Sri Lanka for having accepted the invitation for a cricket tour when other nations had backed off from playing there due to security reasons. While we apologize to the Lankans for what happened on Pakistani soil, we are very grateful to them for undertaking the tour,” he said.
Sri Lankan Consul General Ananda Wickramasinghe said that Sri Lanka had faced a terrorist problem for 30 years but thanks to help from friendly countries such as Pakistan, was now on the verge of defeating the LTTE. He mentioned that in the past when Sri Lanka had been cold-shouldered by other cricketing nations due to the security situation, Pakistan had sent its team to play in Colombo. He went on to say that the friendship between the two nations has always been strong and that terrorists have not succeeded in causing a dent in it.
Deputy CG of the United Kingdom Mr. David Wild in a brief speech said that United Kingdom unequivocally denounced the attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers and that the game of cricket will go on despite such terrorist attacks. “We will defeat terrorism! We must defeat terrorism!” he concluded.
Mr. Hayes addressing the gathering mentioned that his team had the honor of playing a game with the 1996 world champion Sri Lankan cricket team when the latter visited LA in the same year. He pointed to the ‘etiquette and civility’ associated with cricket and said that terrorism absolutely had no place in the cricket world.
Mr. Adnan Khan President of COPAA mentioned in his speech that there is no place for terrorism in the World. Cricketers and Sportsmen are ambassadors of goodwill and friendship. We should all work together to eradicate terrorism from Sports, Cricket and the World. COPAA committee member Mrs. Shaista Khan, too expressed the same sentiments.
Mr. Jamal Khawaja, President of the Council of Pakistan American Chamber of Commerce stated that he was glad to be associated with the sponsoring of this event which promotes peace and goodwill against terror and chaos.
Mr. T’ Shaka Lee, President of the Southern California Cricket Association stated that the cricketing world is a family. “ I attended this function with my kids and my extended family consists of cricket lovers. As such we are very saddened by the terror assault committed on the Lankan team”.
SLP president Podinilame Dissanayake read out a joint statement prepared by SLP, COPPA and the Council of Pakistan American Chamber of Commerce, which states……. “we emphatically denounce this terrorist act and wish to send a message to the perpetrators that it has only strengthened the unity between the nations of Pakistan and Sri Lanka and reinforced the resolve of cricket fans to stand up against violence and terrorism”.
Isaac Hayes and three other rappers from the Compton Cricket Club waving the Sri Lankan flag performed a catchy song denouncing terrorism and supporting Cricket. The rally ended with a vote of thanks by Leelarathna who called on the gathering to stand united in the face of terrorism.
Posted by media at 12:44 AM
By Gurmukh Singh, Toronto, March 19 : With thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils waving the flags of the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) at a rally here Monday, Canadian authorities have launched an investigation whether their action violated the nation's new anti-terror laws.
The current Conservative government banned the LTTE in 2006 for using suicide bombers and child soldiers in its goal for an independent nation for Sri Lankan Tamils.
Supporting a banned organisation also constitutes violation of Canada's anti-terror laws.
More than 50,000 Tamils had joined in a "human chain'' in the heart of the city, urging Canada to lift its ban on the LTTE and seek support for an independent Tamil Eelam.
Toronto police say they have launched an investigation whether waving of LTTE flags contituted violation of new anti-terror laws.
"It is something of a legal issue, and that is something that will be looked into through our legal department,'' said Constable Wendy Drummond of Toronto Police.
It is not the first time that protesters in Canada have waved the flags of banned organisations.
Supporters of Hezbollah and Hamas, which are also banned in Canada, have often waved their flags at protests rallies.
In fact, B'nai Brith, the national body of Canadian Jews, Wednesday urged the city police to expand its probe into the display of LTTE flags to also include Hamas and Hezbollah.
"We commend the Toronto police for launching an investigation into the display of the flag of the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist group outlawed in this country,'' said Frank Dimant of B'nai Brith Canada.
"However, there have been many other instances of flags of other banned terrorist entities, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, that have been in full public view at rallies, most recently early this year during the period of the Gaza conflict,'' the Jewish leader said.
Canada has the largest concentration of Sri Lankan Tamils after the island nation. Most of them came here as refugees in the 1980s and 90s and settled in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
The LTTE has enjoyed widespread support in the 300,000-strong community here.
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Posted by media at 12:03 AM
Thursday, March 19, 2009
19 Mar 2009 - 18:26
COMMANDER of the Army Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, during his weekly meeting with Vanni ground commanders in Vavuniya Thursday (19) morning, reminded them of Tigers’ eventual last options and other alternative possibilities, as the territory held under the terror outfit, has now shrunk to less than 28 sq km intoto.
Lieutenant General Fonseka in his observations noted that Tiger terrorists, as their last resort in the final offensive, would stoop to do anything against civilians as well as Security Forces, since no other viable solutions continue to remain with them, any longer.
“Maximum alertness and overall preparedness taking all precautions into consideration evaluating the enemy’s strategies should be maintained at all times. They might infiltrate the rear of the troops in cleared areas, and inflict damage on us, but our determination to finish off this terrorist cancer once for all, should not deter us from reacting to such reactions. The enemy is also poised to harm civilians who do not toe their line and go with them,” Lieutenant General Fonseka pointed out.
After reviewing troop deployments and other logistic requirements in other sensitive areas of Vanni, the visiting Army chief expressed his satisfaction on the overall performance of his troops in Puthukudiyrippu and elsewhere, and simultaneously stressed the need to bring this humanitarian operation to an end as early as possible. Since Tigers in some terrains are operating, from a very short distance, they might strike hard on trapped civilians, in case the troops roll on to the last ditch of the Tigers, the visiting Commander opined.
Major General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander Security Forces in Vanni after receipt of the Commander on arrival gave a full account of the developments before the meeting got underway. Several senior officers from the Army Headquarters were also associated with the tour.
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Posted by media at 8:07 PM
The figures mentioned in the statement issued recently by Ms. Navaneetham Pillay United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights are based on those published in pro - LTTE Tamil net. It is unfortunate that high officers are influenced by the LTTE. In this context, it is clear that the LTTE world wide network has infiltrated into international agencies and has been successful in influencing them to issue statements misleading the international community, thus damaging the reputation of such agencies, said Hon. Minister Keheliya Rambukwalla Defence Spokesman, addressing the Media briefing held at the MCNS today(18).
Such misinformation is a blow to the sovereignty of Sri Lanka.
The whole world has come to an understanding that terrorism must be eradicated. Towards this end, Sri Lanka has played a key role in achieving 99% success in militarily defeating LTTE terrorism. In the wake of military victories against terrorism, the LTTE international network comprising, money - laundering, human smuggling and drug trafficking has infiltrated international agencies and influenced their high profile persons to support them, the Defense Spokesman revealed.
It is clear that the UN Commissioner has based her figures of 2016 civilian deaths, including 700 children on questionable sources, mainly Tamil net. The fact that she has not consulted the UN agency in Colombo has raised doubts of the credibility, her figures the Defence Spokesman said.
The Hon. Minister recalled that at the outset some agencies had said that there were 300,000 IDPs. Then, the Government strongly denied. But today they have now admitted that the IDPs number not more than 100,000. 45,000 IDPs have already escaped the uncleared area, the Hon. Minister said.
Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara Military Spokesman said 38 terrorists were killed when the troops attacked them in Puthukuduiruppu yesterday (17) 18 dead bodies and 36 T - 56 weapons were recovered. Two T - 56 weapons were found in a search operation conducted in Karaweddi area. One 120 mm Mortar, one LMG weapon and 06 I COM communication sets were also recovered revealed the Military Spokesman.
Meanwhile a haul of arms and ammunition including one 60 mm mortar barrel, 21 RPG round, 25 rounds, 02x60mm illuminator bombs, 03x 81 mm mortar bombs, one T-81 weapon and 07 hand grenades were found in a search operation conducted in Vishwamadu area, the Military Spokesman revealed. 19 gear Oil barrels, 16 grease barrels and 50 penetrating oil barrels also were found, he added.
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Posted by media at 11:57 AM
Those who may have naively thought bribery and corruption and abuse of power were endemic to the developing world stand corrected. Although the self-appointed champions of good governance, transparency etc are flaying only the politicians of the global South––they deserve to be horsewhipped, no doubt––that the situation is equally bad anywhere else is only too well known.
Yesterday, we reported quoting the British press that Senior Labour MP and former Europe Minister Keith Vaz had landed himself in the soup right royally over an abortive bid to aid a crook allegedly by abusing his privileged position as Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee (HAC) to influence the High Court. A letter he wrote on a House of Commons notepaper to the judge concerned seeking the adjournment of a court hearing against an ace conman cum 'solicitor' named Sean Mireskandari, suspended from practising law in Britain, has received wide publicity in the media. Vaz, given to high life and his human rights lawyer wife, are alleged to have benefited from freebies from the crook by way of a quid pro quo.
Vaz has come under pressure from his fellow lawmakers to step down as HAC Chairman.
The question is whether Vaz has become the LTTE's mouthpiece in the British Parliament because of freebies which the outfit is notorious for showering on influential personalities in foreign countries.
The US Department of Justice officially announced on August 21, 2006 that four LTTE members caught in an undercover sting operation shopping for surface-to-air missiles, missile launchers and automatic assault rifles in the New York arms black market had conspired to bribe some US State Department officials to remove the LTTE from the State Department's Foreign Terrorist Organisation list. The LTTE offered a huge bribe including a $1 million up-front payment for that purpose.
This shows how much the LTTE with money for jam coming from sources such as drug smuggling is willing to part with to further its interests. Among the foreign lawmakers and other administrative top guns not impervious to payola and lagniappe, there must be many beneficiaries of the LTTE's largesse.
For a group bold enough to offer bribes to the State Department mandarins, greasing the palms of some garden variety foreign parliamentarians in the US or elsewhere is child's play.
Lobbying in the West requires whopping sums of dosh to be dished out and the fact that the LTTE has mustered the support of some US lawmakers raises a serious doubt in one's mind whether the greenbacks that the LTTE failed to bribe State Department officials with found their way into some other hands. Else, how is it possible that the LTTE has, in spite of a ban, succeeded in cultivating so many US politicians? Former US Deputy Attorney General Bruce Fein is obviously in the LTTE's pocket, as could be seen from his open backing for it. He has surely sold his soul to the devil. He could not be alone in the game.
In Canada, too, parliamentarians are falling over themselves to be at the LTTE's beck and call. Recently, Liberal MP Gurbax Singh Malhi thought it fit to attend an LTTE rally in Canada. Blandishments and votes that LTTE backers deliver at Canadian elections alone could not have helped turn MPs like Malhi into mere putty in the hands of terrorists. What has really made them hired guns of the LTTE is worth probing for the sake of Canadian democracy. Parliamentarians of Malhi's ilk who shamelessly stoop to the same level as Vaiko et al in India to back terrorism have tarnished Canada's image.
In India, legislators have become minutemen of the LTTE, which is throwing money around through some fronts to keep Tamil Nadu on the boil so as to generate pressure on the Central Government to harden its stand on Sri Lanka's war on terror. The LTTE may not have been able to achieve its goal, but it has managed to trigger seditious protests and prove that it is a force to be reckoned with in Tamil Nadu. Whoever thought the LTTE would be able to engineer agitations inside Indian courts!
Perhaps, if Prabhakaran had not made the blunder of cooking his goose by killing Rajiv, he would have been able to make India intervene in Sri Lanka again; he would have been whisked away in an Indian Air Force chopper!
There is nothing that venal parliamentarians and bureaucrats in any part of the world won't do if the correct amount is quoted. When money talks, it is said, politicians listen very attentively! Earlier it was only unscrupulous transnational corporations bent on extracting unconscionable profits that could sway the governments of target countries to expand their commercial empires at the expense of the global poor. Today, even terrorist groups are capable of such feats thanks to wealth they have amassed through criminal activities such as drug smuggling, gun-running, robbery and extortion.
If a fraudster like Mireskandari could woo a senior British MP with freebies and obtain his service to meddle with the law, there is no reason why well-heeled warlords should fail in doing so.
In a world where elected representatives turn out to be hirelings of terrorists and other anti-social elements like racketeers, global democracy has a bleak future. For, before long enemies of democracy may place themselves in a position to control governments that people vote to power and pervert the law to promote their satanic agendas.
>> Full Story: Island - Editorial
Posted by media at 11:53 AM
The LTTE has graduated from taking UN workers hostage to forcibly recruiting their offspring as cannon fodder. It has already conscripted a 16-year-old daughter of a UN staffer. If the UN workers and their children are not safe from the LTTE, the vulnerability of others goes without saying.
Ironically, the forcible conscription of the UN worker's precious child has come at a time the LTTE activists are protesting in Geneva against the war and UNICEF is campaigning to save child soldiers. Those who have been urging Sri Lanka to resolve the conflict through a dialogue should realise that no negotiated settlement is possible with an intransigent murderous outfit that does not give two hoots for even the apex international organisation. The critics of Sri Lanka's war on terror including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay must be asked to come forward and secure the release of the UN workers and their progeny through negotiations with Prabhakaran and his fellow criminals.
The UN has come to such a pass that not only does it lack the courage to stand up to a terrorist outfit in a small country but finds itself under tremendous pressure to rise in defence of the very terrorists who are abducting UN personnel and their families! At this rate, the day may not be far off when terror backers in the UN ranks force the world body to extend associate membership to terrorist organisations. Sympathy of some Security Council members is certainly with the LTTE terrorists, if their persistent efforts to pass resolutions against Sri Lanka vis-à-vis her successful military operations against terrorism are any indication.
All prominent UN member states, save a few, indulge in bashing Sri Lanka and condemning her failure to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to book. They cannot be faulted, given the high incidence of human rights abuses here. But, strangely, none of them have ever called upon this country to crack down on terrorists and save innocent men, women and children under their jackboot. She is under pressure to hunt down all criminals but not the savage terrorists responsible for crimes against humanity like massacres and ethnic cleansing. Why? Are these countries cherishing a delusion that terrorism and democracy can co-exist? If so, what is the use of the US-led global anti terror drive?
Meanwhile, the child recruitment at issue smacks of a well calculated move by the LTTE to help the closet Tigers in the UN to jolt the Security Council into throwing a lifeline to Prabhakaran and his partners in crime under the guise of a humanitarian operation to rescue the trapped UN staff. It behoves the government to adopt preemptive measures.
>> Full Story: Island - Editorial
Posted by media at 11:51 AM
By Jacques Follorou
The French Judiciary will be the first in Europe to look into the financing networks of the Tamil rebellion in Sri Lanka. Paris anti-terrorism Judge in charge of the case Philippe Coirre ended his investigations and should hand over the file to the Public Prosecutor at the end of March for summing-up.
Leading cadres of the Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in France and henchmen were imprisoned in 2007. Justice accuses about twenty people of having racketed the Tamil Diaspora through threats and abductions. These suspects acknowledge they belonged to the LTTE but most of them deny the accusations.
Fighing since 1972 against Colombo authorities, the Tigers, mainly Hindus, claim the independence of the North and the Northeast of Sri Lanka, a country inhabited by 75% of Buddhist Singhalese. This guerrilla, the oldest one in Asia and the only one in the world equipped with a navy and aircrafts, financed itself mostly through the manna, forcibly taxed, of the Tamil communities settled abroad. The French one counts with more than 70,000 persons.
The synthesis of the Anti-terrorist Division police officers (SDAT) to Judge Coirre specifies that "each family had to pay €2,000 per year and that this amount reached €6,000 for shopkeepers". The suspects were linked with the Tamil Coordination Committee France or to the humanitarian organization Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, which denied any pressure. According to the investigation, these institutions were giving accounts to the Tamil management in Sri Lanka.
The cooperation between the Italian and French polices led to the arrest on 6th February in Paris, of Number Two of the Tamil mafia for Europe Tharmalingam Jeevakamth, alias "Kumar" or "Jeeva". Wanted in Italy for "money extortion and financing of terrorist activities", he is suspected to be one of the biggest financial superintendents of the Tamil rebels of the LTTE.
It appeared in French and Italian investigations that Switzerland was the hub of the Tamil illegal organization in Europe, which is said to count with over a hundred members. The Swiss Federation regularly hosted peace negotiations between the representatives of the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government. In 2008, the LTTE Number One in Europe, known as "Il Grande", wanted in Italia, besides ran away from Switzerland hastily.
According to the Italian and French justices, when people were refusing to pay, the LTTE was putting pressure on the families living in areas under their control in Sri Lanka. The organization has computerized data files to know the situation of households paying the "revolutionary tax". In theory, those who paid this amount would be the only ones to circulate freely on the roads controlled by the Tamil rebellion. On the field, a group of LTTE musclemen is taking care of recalcitrants and carries out retaliatory measures.
>> Full Story: Le Monde:French
>> Full Story: transcurrents.com:English
Posted by media at 9:41 AM
Bush refuses to criticize Obama in Canada speech, saying new president 'deserves my silence'
"I love my country a lot more than I love politics," Bush said. "I think it is essential that he be helped in office."
CALGARY, Alberta - Former President George W. Bush, making his first public speech since leaving office in January, says he wants Barack Obama to succeed and that it's "essential" to support the new leader.
Bush declined to critique the Obama administration in Tuesday's speech, saying the new president has enough critics and that he "deserves my silence."
Former Vice President Dick Cheney has said that Obama's decisions threatened America's safety. Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh has said he hoped Obama would fail.
"I love my country a lot more than I love politics," Bush said. "I think it is essential that he be helped in office."
Bush also said he plans to write a book that will ask people to consider what they would do if they had to protect the United States as president. "It's going to be (about) the 12 toughest decisions I had to make," he said.
"I want people to understand what it was like to sit in the Oval Office and have them come in and say we have captured Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, the alleged killer of a guy named Danny Pearl because he was simply Jewish, and we think we have information on further attacks on the United States," Bush said.
Posted by media at 8:16 AM
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Posted by media at 4:08 AM
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
As members of this editorial board watched tens of thousands of Tamil Canadians throng downtown Toronto on Monday, we couldn't help but be struck by a curious double-standard that afflicts Canadian ethnopolitics. To wit: Why are Canadian Tamils permitted to express support for terrorism in a manner that would be considered outrageous if the demonstrators were Arab or Muslim?
The rally that took place in Toronto on Monday was not just, as organizers claimed, an expression of support for Tamil civilians in war-torn Sri Lanka. Many of the participants carried flags of the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist group that practices suicide bombings and abducts children to use as soldiers. (In 2006, Canada's federal government officially designated the Tamil Tigers a terrorist group, a move that criminalized the group's fundraising efforts in this country.) Some of the banners displayed on Monday also depicted Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, a wanted mass murderer who personally authorizes the acts of terrorism the group has committed over the last three decades.
Yet there was little outrage. To our knowledge, no politicians at any level of government have come forward to denounce this open demonstration of support for a banned terrorist group. In fact, Liberal MP Gurbax Singh Malhi recently appeared personally at a similar rally in Ottawa, and another Liberal MP, Derek Lee, has urged other MPs to join in, too.
Imagine for a moment, if the protestors had instead been Arab or Muslim. Would Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, Dalton McGuinty and David Miller be silent if 120,000 supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah paralyzed downtown Toronto as they chanted slogans and waved flags praising groups that slaughter Jews?
Source: National Post
Posted by media at 10:52 PM
Mar 17, Colombo: The National Police Commission (NPC) in Sri Lanka is planning to establish a new office in Eastern Province for the public to lodge complaints against the Police in the region.
NPC sources said that they have paid attention to establish this new office after considering several requests made by the civil organizations and the people of Eastern Province.
NPC said they have already sought the Treasury permission to commence the office but the exact location of the new office or a suitable person to head this office is not known yet.
National Police Commission however did not disclose the exact reason to establish this new office to lodge complaints against the police.
Posted by media at 10:30 PM
A former top Sri Lankan cricketer has launched what he says is the first training camp to integrate young Tamils from the north into the national team.
Aravinda de Silva said he was highly optimistic that Tamils from the area would play international cricket soon.
He spoke to the BBC after returning to Colombo from a "talent search" in the war-torn Jaffna Peninsula.
The civil war and ethnic divisions have meant that few northern Tamils have played in the national side.
"The keenness of the players was unbelievable," Mr de Silva told the BBC's Sinhala service. Mr de Silva thinks some players will break through into the national team
"We spent three days coaching about 70 teenage players and seven of those have now been selected to come for a super camp which will be held later on in the year."
Mr de Silva - a former top test batsman - said that the players responded to the training camp - held amid heavy security - "extremely positively" and many out-performed their contemporaries in other parts of the country less seriously affected by the war.
"The way they took the sessions so seriously and the way they kept on asking questions reflected really well on them all," he said. "It never happened on any of the previous eight camps we held.
"One observant young player even asked if the reason why I have one leg more muscular than the other was because I am a right-handed batsman and put more weight on one particular leg."
Posted by media at 10:28 PM
Mar 16, Colombo: Sri Lankan government's ongoing drive to eradicate terrorism from the country provides greater space and a more positive environment to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the health sector by the 2015 target date set by the UN.
Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama expressed this view when he delivered the welcome address today in Colombo at the inauguration of the ECOSOC Regional Ministerial Meeting on Financing Strategies for Healthcare.
Foreign Minister Bogollagama said Sri Lanka is all set to achieve the MDGs in the health sector well before the 2015 target date due to the country's superior achievements in the health and education sectors that have empowered the people.
"The Government's efforts to counter terrorism should be viewed in the context of providing greater space and opportunity for further empowerment of the people in the parts of the country which have been denied democracy due to terrorism," he said.
Investment that the Government has made in the people by providing free healthcare and education, as well as support for agriculture and industry, will pay rich dividends and enable the achievement of the MDGs, which are reflected in President Mahinda Rajapaksa's vision of empowering the people and ensuring the security of the nation, Foreign Minister added.
Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka delivering the keynote address at the inaugural meeting highlighted that the financing healthcare in Sri Lanka is provided for in the national budget and although Sri Lanka is not a rich country, the State has always provided free healthcare to all citizens from birth to death.
The ECOSOC meeting is jointly organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition under the framework of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
The international partners supporting this Meeting are the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP).
Posted by media at 10:25 PM
Minister of Defence and National Security of the Republic of Maldives Hon. Ameen Faisal who is on a brief visit to the island called on Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka at Army Headquarters Tuesday (17) morning.
Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka after receiving the visiting Maldivian Minister and his retinue explained to them the developments related to ongoing Vanni humanitarian operations which have almost reached its winning stage.
Measures taken to evacuate civilians being detained by LTTE terrorists in un-cleared areas and welfare projects in progress for those civilians arriving in Security Forces-held areas were also briefed to the visiting delegation by the Army Commander.
Maldivian Minister further told the Commander that world has more to learn from the present Sri Lankan Army Commander about defeating terrorism.
A special note of thanks was extended to the Sri Lanka's Army Commander by Minister Ameen Faisal for award of training facilities to Maldivian Defence Force members with the support of renowned military training establishments in Sri Lanka. The Minister also mentioned that those officers maintain high standards in performing their duties due to effective military training given by the Sri Lankan Army.
To mark the visit to Army Headquarters, he exchanged mementoes with Lt. Gen Sarath Fonseka before his departure.
Minister Ameen Faisal is scheduled to visit the Sri Lanka Military Academy Diyathalawa to meet Maldivian cadets under training there.
Source: Defence Web Site
Posted by media at 10:23 PM
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
LTTE in a desperate end game is turning to international apologists to get it off the hook - Geoffrey Van Orden
British Conservative MEP and Chairman of the ‘Friends of Sri Lanka Group’ Geoffrey Van Orden has said, "the LTTE is now in a desperate end game and, typically in such situations, is turning to international apologists to get it off the hook". Van Orden told members of the European Parliament "the greatest service all in this House can do is to call on the LTTE to lay down its arms and to release the civil population from its grip. Then much-needed humanitarian aid can be delivered, people can begin to look forward to better lives, and all Sri Lankans can get back on the path of democratic politics and building a fair and more prosperous society for all its citizens, free from terrorist oppression".
Van Orden made these observations when he addressed the European Parliament Wednesday night, ahead of the adoption by Parliament Thursday (12 March 2009) of a resolution "condemning the LTTE’s violence and intimidation which are preventing civilians from leaving the conflict area", and "calling for an immediate ceasefire by the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE in order to allow the civilian population to leave the combat zone".
Van Orden noted that "for decades now, Sri Lanka has been afflicted by a terrorist campaign conducted by the internationally proscribed LTTE. There is no equivalence between terrorists and the legitimate armed forces of a democratic government. Let us remember that it was the LTTE that perfected suicide bombing as a tactic; that it pioneered the use of women in suicide attacks; that it makes undisguised use of child soldiers and of human shields. Over the last 26 years it has systematically carried out thousands of deliberate murders across Sri Lanka. Just two days ago 14 people were murdered in a suicide attack during an Islamic festival in the Matara district".
Referring to suggestions to water down the statement in favour of the LTTE, Van Orden said “we cannot support amendments to the resolution before us based on un-attributable and often nonsensical allegations or selective quotation from one NGO report. And we have no good reason to dispute the Government's firm assertion that its troops have not fired on no-fire zones and nor will they”.
>> Full Story
Posted by media at 9:26 PM
Posted by media at 9:25 PM
Troops engaged in the final phase of military offensive to free entire country from LTTE terrorists have marked a decisive milestone reaching to the Iranapalai junction, a strategically vital junction in Puthukkudiyiruppu built-up in Mullaittivu district, yesterday morning (16 March) latest report received from the battlefront said.
Infantrymen of 20 Gajaba Regiment (20 GR), 7 Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment (7 SLSR) and 11 Sri Lanka Light Infantry (11 SLLI) serving under 581 Brigade reached to the Iranapalai junction following intense fighting took place in the area for last few days, military sources added.
With the newest gaining, the remaining area for the LTTE terrorists has been further shrunk while opening safer escaping passages for innocent Tamil civilians who had been trapped by LTTE terrorists as human shield in the government declared No Fire Zone, sources further said.
Electronic Warfare (EW) sources confirmed that with the fallen of Iranapalai junction on troops, heated arguments had been exchanged via terror communication channels among the ground commanders who led LTTE cadres in the desperate attempt to hold security forces' advance.
LTTE activities along the Puthukkudiyiruppu - Putumathalan main road, once LTTE's main supply route, and several link roads, running across the Iranapalai junction, will be further limited with the fallen of Iranapalai junction.
Posted by media at 8:22 PM
Investigations into weapons smuggled during CFA period
A special investigation has been launched into an incident, in which high tech equipment and weapons, reportedly for the use of the LTTE had been smuggled through the Katunayake International Air Port by passing all inspection procedures, during 2002-2003 (CFA period).
The investigations into the incident which happened during Ranil Wickremesinghe's tenure as Prime Minister was based on a statement recorded from the Executive Director of BIA at that time, Gamini Abeyrathne alias Taxi Abey, sources said.
In addition some documents retrieved from the Board Of Investment are also being used in the investigation.
According to sources, a large haul of weapons and accessories including mortars and explosives had been smuggled through the BIA at that time, with the help of certain authorities.
High-tec communication equipment, parts of light air craft, remote control devices, printing press equipment, night vision binoculars etc. had been smuggled for the use of LTTE, with the approval of those authorities.
Also several container loads of weapons which had been taken to North too are believed to have been passed by the BOI without any inspection, through the Colombo Harbour when Arjun Mahendran was the Chairman.
>> Full Story
Posted by media at 7:11 AM
(by Shahzad Chaudhry, a retired air vice marshal of the Pakistan Air Force and a former ambassador)
During a short tour, Colombo seemed remarkably calm for all the mayhem that has been taking place in Sri Lanka, especially in the northeast where the LTTE, the most ruthless guerrilla group in the region, gasps its last few breaths. From controlling an impressive one-third of the Sri Lankan landmass, the Tamil Tigers are now down to the last few square kilometres. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, head of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party, has led the war more by default than by design, through a policy of confronting terrorist with a commitment that has grown with time.
Rajapaksa, an affable, rustic man with southern rural roots — the Tigers’ choice for exactly this reason — won the closely contested presidential election of November 2005 almost as a gift from the LTTE, whose political leadership had abstained from voting in the two provinces under their control.
The unexpected loser was the leader of the opposing United National Party, former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, an intellectually inclined man and the favoured option of the West. Wickremasinghe had contrived a two-year-long peace with the Tigers on the back of insistent diplomacy by Norway, Switzerland and other European countries. Rajapaksa had both favour and fortune knocking at his door.
One of the first challenges the LTTE threw at the new, mild president was the murder of Muslims in the eastern province, connived to appear as a deliberate communal massacre conducted by a chauvinist Buddhist-nationalist president. Rajapaksa had his job cut out against the scheming Prabhakaran, the revered leader of the Tamil Tigers. After some prevarication, the government decided to meet the challenge: first, though, as a response to the threat to its political credibility.
Soon, the initial steps were to lead them to a full-scale war, and Wickremasinghe’s peace treaty was abrogated. Rajapaksa, dealing with the political fallout, let the war be fought by his commanders under his younger brother, a retired lieutenant-colonel and now the secretary of defence. This unity of purpose, clearly supported by political direction, and undiluted focus on the national objective has placed Sri Lanka within touching distance of the finish line in this war.
However, on the political front, the going has not been easy. Rajapaksa has had to run a contrived coalition and sustain a majority. Not only has he skilfully fractured the opposition, he has also increased his support in parliament. It may well be Machiavellian politics at its best, but then what is politics if not Machiavellian.
Internationally, though, the challenges have been far too unrelenting. From the outset, a hostile diplomatic presence in Colombo, including India and the United States, has been insistent that the war be stopped. Various pressures have been brought to bear on the government under the garb of human rights violations, economic isolation as well as through naked diplomatic pressure. But Rajapaksa and his government have withstood the onslaught. There is an understanding there that while there is no such thing as a perfect policy, when the best possible policy is chosen, stick with it till the ends are delivered. And delivered they shall be with persistence and undiluted focus. To this end, enormous credit is due to Rajapaksa, the rustic, reluctant warrior.
>> Full Story
Posted by media at 3:32 AM
LTTE Loyalist Keith Vaz is Accused by London's Daily Mail of a "Shameless Abuse of Power and Office"
In brilliant investigative pieces of reporting London’s Daily Mail accused Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s long standing friend and Labour parliamentarian Keith Vaz of “a shameles abuse of power and office.”
The newspaper in two articles and an editorial published on March 16 accused Vaz that he used his position as chairman of the Home Affairs select Committee of the British House of Commons , which has a key role in law and order issues to intervene in a court case looking into the conduct of a conman “lawyer” whose license to practice law was cancelled.
The editorial on the same day said, “Today, we reveal the true extent of this shameless MP's grotesque abuse of his position: Mr Vaz signed the letter, written on Parliamentary notepaper, as 'chairman home affairs committee', despite the fact he was acting in a purely personal capacity, and had received lavish hospitality from Mireskandari (the alleged conman)”.
Keith Vaz has been constantly accusing Sri Lanka, vociferously repeating LTTE slogans in the parliament and recently brought pressure on the British government to appoint an independent investigator into the human rights record of Sri Lanka which the Sri Lanka government has angrily rejected. He is a close associate of the LTTE front, the British Tamil Forum and heads the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Tamils , which is carrying on a virulent campaign against Sri Lanka.
The Daily mail accused Keith Vaz that he did these favours to the conman Mireskandari for lavish presents he bestowed upon the , the British Parliamentarian of Goanese origin from India who has been campaigning against Sri Lanka for the last few decades.
The Daily Mail newspaper said Vaz will now be under pressure to step down as committee chairman amid accusations that he tried to interfere with the legal system and exploited his status to try to stop the case against the conman. His colleague Virendra Sharma MP , Member of the Justice Select Committee said he was misled into co-sign the letter by Vaz. Sharma also could be under pressure to resign from the committee.
Vaz, who is the MP for Leicester East was intervening on behalf of Solictor Shahrock ‘Sean’ Mireskandari who following revealations in the Daily Mail last year that he had convictions in the US and bogus legal qualifications , has been suspended from practicising law in Britain.
The Daily Mirror said “at the time that Vaz wrote to the judge Mireskandari’s law firm , Dean and Dean , was involved in a long running and costly legal dispute with an airline over £400,000 legal bill which threatened the solicitor with bankruptcy.”
The Daily mail said the conman lawyer showered Vaz with gifts and appreciation. Thanks to him Keith Vaz enjoyed the best seats at the biggest and most glamorous events around London , the newspaper revealed. Mr. Vaz’ wife, human rights lawyer Maria Fernandes, was also abeneficiary of the Mireskandari largesse, theMail further accused.
The newspaper said Vaz frequented in the conman’s office. A former employee of the office was quoted as telling , “He loved the high life ,footbal, concerts, black tie dinners. It was really undignified for such a senior politician.”
The Daily mail in the exclusive revealation said: “Damning evidence of how senior Labour MP Keith Vaz intervened in a court case on behalf of a crooked friend can be revealed today.”
The following is the editorial Daily Mail published based on the revelation:
The relationship between the Labour MP Keith Vaz and Sean Mireskandari, a convicted conman with bogus legal qualifications, has carried a bad smell since it was first exposed by the Mail last Autumn.
As we reported at the time, the pair became so close that Mr Vaz was even prepared to send a letter to the High Court asking for the delay of a legal dispute that was threatening Mireskandari's law firm with financial ruin.
Yet, after the most perfunctory of inquiries into this cosy friendship, parliamentary standards commissioner John Lyon cleared Mr Vaz of wrongdoing.
Today, we reveal the true extent of this shameless MP's grotesque abuse of his position: Mr Vaz signed the letter, written on Parliamentary notepaper, as 'chairman home affairs committee', despite the fact he was acting in a purely personal capacity, and had received lavish hospitality from Mireskandari.
Surely Mr Vaz recognised the potential impropriety of using his chairmanship of the hugely powerful committee as part of an attempt to influence a hearing of one of Britain's highest courts?
The answer, apparently, is no, and he continues to deny any wrongdoing, as he has done many times before when mired in sleaze allegations.
In 2001, he was at the centre of the Hinduja brothers passport scandal, which led to the resignation of Peter Mandelson.
A year later he was suspended from the House of Commons in disgrace after a Parliamentary inquiry into his business affairs.
But, despite this track record, the Labour whips still felt able, in 2007, to hand him the chairmanship of the home affairs committee, which oversees much of the justice system.
Now Mr Vaz has dragged the good name of that committee into the legal affairs of convicted crook Mireskandari, without the consent of its members.
A more wilful abuse of his office is hard to imagine.
It was only few weeks ago hundreds of Sri Lankans surrounded his Leicester political office and openly accused him of receiving favours from a banned terrorist organization , the LTTE and speaking for them.
Yohan Perera one of the organizers said on the face of Vaz that he is so unbalanced in his statements supportive of the LTTE . “We came here to tell you and the people misguided by you that you are spoiling the good name of my country in an outrageous manner,” he said. He added by questioning Vaz, “How dare you call an outfit that have done 350 suicide bombings and done thousands of other civilian killings in buses, trains and temples, involved in mass murdering, a bunch of freedom fighters ?”
In a letter handed over by the demonstrators to Mr. Keith Vaz the organization said that it is not a secret that he supported the deadly terrorist outfit the LTTE. It further said that it is also not a secret that Keith Vaz has marched preached and provided employment to LTTE front organizations such as British Tamil Forum, Tamil Youth organization, Tamil Councillors Association etc. Quoting the Hansard SLAT also said that he was advocating the lifting of the proscription of the LTTE in the UK.
But the letter said however the British parliamentarian has never spoken a single word about the atrocities by the LTTE, the hundreds of suicide attacks by the same terrorist outfit, conscription of children by them as child soldiers and forcefully keeping human shield by them. The letter said the parliamentarian has been silent about the extortion of thousands of British Tamils by the LTTE. The letter urged him to stop supporting the LTTE.
(By Walter Jayawardhana)
Posted by media at 12:10 AM
Monday, March 16, 2009
The United Nations on Monday accused the Tamil Tigers of seizing one of its staff members and pressing him into service, as the rebels struggle to avoid a defeat in a shrinking war zone in northern Sri Lanka.
A statement from the U.N. in Colombo said it "fears for the safety of one U.N. national staff member, and three dependent family members who were forcibly recruited over the weekend by the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam)."
The charge comes as the Sri Lankan military said more than 1,500 people had fled the war zone in the last several days. The government accuses the rebels of using civilians as human shields in a desperate attempt to avoid defeat as the military closes in to finish off a 25-year civil war.
The United Nations statement said the worker and family members, including a 16-year-old girl, were forced inside a government-declared "safe zone." It did not describe what the rebels asked the group to do.
It said another U.N. staff worker taken two weeks ago has not been released despite repeated requests.
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Posted by media at 9:34 PM
Global recession which had taken a stranglehold on the world economy has spread its tentacles in Sri Lanka too forcing 16 leading business ventures to lay off their entire workforce while 29 companies have retrenched part of the staff, Inter Company Employees’ Union said.
Among the companies which had laid off their entire work force are several garment factories and manufacturers of aluminium products and tiles. Companies located in remote areas such as Anuradhapura had also been forced to close down because of the global economic downturn
Some manufacturers of apparels, cement, cloth, plywood and bags have reduced their workforce while the others have warned of possible retrenchment after the Sinhala-Hindu New Year in April.
ICEU President Wasantha Samarasinghe, a former JVP parliamentarian told Daily Mirror the export volumes of some companies had dwindled by 80 per cent, and as a result were compelled to suspend their business operations.
Mr. Samarasinghe said his union identified the business ventures which stopped the overtime work of their employees or sent them home on compulsory leave following the financial crisis.
He said a leading cement manufacturer had curtailed its production by 40 per cent while the export earnings of a ceramic product manufacturing plant had come down by 30 per cent.
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Posted by media at 9:32 PM
SPUR (Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights for Sri Lanka Inc)
Reg: A003 0777 M
P.O. Box 4066, Mulgrave VIC 3170, Australia
Phone: (+613) 9795 7143, Fax: (+613) 9795 7142
16 March 2009
Honorable Eric H. Holder
United States Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001
Dear Mr. Attorney General
We refer to the submission made on February 5, 2009 by Mr. Bruce Fein, Attorney for Tamils Against Genocide, (TAG) urging your Department to open a grand jury investigation into the alleged accusations levelled against the Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapakse, a US citizen and the Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, a green card holder.
Mr. Fein is acting on behalf of TAG, the ad hoc front of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), popularly known as Tamil Tigers, which is an internationally banned terrorist organization. Its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is wanted by Interpol. India and Sri Lanka for various crimes ranging from drug trafficking and recruitment of child soldiers, to the killing of Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India and the bombing of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka which killed 86 civilians, including Tamils, and injured 1338.
At the outset, we wish to emphasize that Mr. Fein is a fine lawyer who first acted on behalf of the Sri Lankan government and argued against the war crimes and the crimes of humanity committed by the LTTE. He campaigned against the LTTE publicly and published articles under his name in the Washington Times. (Feb 3rd 2004: Writ to Terror). Subsequently, when he was hired by the LTTE he switched his loyalties and arguments to accuse the Sri Lankan government, which he defended when he was in its pay. This has placed him in the questionable position of arguing for both sides and also arguing against both sides. In the process he is caught in the middle arguing against his own self. Playing the role of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde questions his credibility and ethics. All this raises the elementary question of whether Mr. Fein should be taken seriously.
His latest role also indicates that he is operating hand-in-glove with the American agents of the LTTE. On the surface, Mr. Fein makes it appear that he is defending the high principles of national and international law. But his questionable dual role and close affiliations with the agents of the banned LTTE cast serious doubts not only about his ethics and political motives but also the overall interests of American soldiers who have courageously fought in wars against terrorism in various parts of the globe.
If, for instance, Mr. Fein is granted a grand jury against Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, an American citizen, and a green card holder, Lt. Gen. Fonseka, would this not set a precedent to bring charges against all the heroic soldiers of America who had fought under similar circumstances in Iraq and Afghanistan? It would be like the agents of Al Qa’ida instituting charges against selected high-profile officers to be put on trial. The ulterior motive of such a legal move would be not to put the officers on trial as such but the whole of America and its national interests expressed in campaigns to restore democracy, liberal values, peace and stability in a war-weary world.
As for the main charge of committing genocide we are confident – and it can be proved – that neither the Sri Lankan government nor the Security Forces have officially adopted a policy of committing genocide against their own people. On the contrary, the Government of Sri Lanka and the Security Forces have been commended by the UN and humanitarian organizations for being the unique state in caring for the Tamil community, including the Tamil Tiger terrorists. The military operations that began in 2006 have been conducted with extreme care to avoid and/or minimize as far as possible casualties to the Tamil civilians. The current offensive could have been finished much earlier if the Forces were adopting a callous policy of disregarding the security and the welfare of the Tamils civilians, particularly those held hostage by the LTTE.
We do not deny that there are fault lines where the unintended consequences of offensives have affected the civilians. As you are aware there isn’t a single war that has been fought without such incidents. The American Civil War, for instance, which was fought to defeat the southern separatists records the highest amount of civilian casualties fought in any war by Americans in any part of the globe. Over 500,000 died in the Civil War. Without denying the consequences to the individuals affected by the separatist war in Sri Lanka it should be noted that after nearly 30 years of war the total loss of lives have amounted to 70.000. It is grievous record that we regret because we value each and every life sacrificed in this futile war.
Consider, for instance, the last stage of this current offensive confined to Mullativu, a sliver of land located in the northeast coast of Sri Lanka. The attached report in the Washington Post reveals that even nuns seeking refuge in the Government-controlled safety zones were shot at by the LTTE. It is now universally acknowledged by human rights organizations and the international community, including UN that it continues to be a conscious policy of the LTTE to shoot the Tamils running away in the back. Appeals from the international community have fallen on deaf ears.
This has never been the policy of the Sri Lankan Government. The Government policy, followed with due care by the Security Forces, is to provide protection to the Tamil civilians. For instance, the Government declared a 42-hour period for the Tamil civilians to come over to the safety zone but the Tigers refused to let the people go. The latest UN report confirms this. It appealed to the LTTE to release not only the Tamil civilians but also its officers held captive in Mullativu. This appeal has gone unheeded by the LTTE. If this is the treatment given to the representatives of the UN you could imagine the treatment given to the unprotected Tamil civilians used as a human shield. The attached letter from the Indian Home Minister P.Chidambaram too will confirm this.
We are deeply concerned about the impact of this war prolonged and perpetuated by the LTTE. They have the power to end the huge humanitarian crisis facing the Tamil community by laying down arms, as requested by the international community, and negotiating for peace. But their open policy has been to use the Tamil people as their last weapon. The documented evidence is sufficient to bring Velupillai Prabhakaran, the wanted criminal by the international community, before an international criminal court for consciously and aggressively pursuing a policy of genocide against all communities, particularly the Tamils. As opposed to this, it has never been the official or unofficial policy of the government or the Security Forces to target civilians. On the contrary, it has carried out an war against “the world deadliest terrorist group”, (FBI) with the least amount of civilian casualties. The campaign which began in August 2006 and ended in Mullativu has caused only around 200 casualties.
Fighting a separatist war in which the terrorists are armed with modern technology and suicide bombers is bound to result in heavy casualties as seen in the American Civil War fighting the separatists of the south. Credit should be given to the Security Forces for taking special care to minimize civilian casualties as the government and the Security Forces consider the Tamil as citizens of Sri Lanka. In fact, the highest number of Tamils has been killed by the Tamil Tigers, according to Tamil leaders.
We are unable to comment on the details presented to you, as we do not possess the material presented by Mr. Fein. We do not know how how credible they are. But we know that a government that has (1) provided food, ((2) medical assistance, from hospitals to medicine (3) free education and (4) other social needs to a rebel held territory can never be guilty of committing genocide. One shining example will illustrate this argument: when Daya Master a leading Tamil Tiger was dying the LTTE asked for government help. He was flown from the rebel-held territory to a leading hospital where he was treated and returned in good health to carry on his anti-government war. Is this the conduct of a government committing genocide?
We also attach the latest report of the McKenzie Institute, a leading and respected research center in Canada, which lays to rest the charge of genocide.
The questionable role played by Mr. Fein in bringing charges against two of the most successful officers should be judged in the light of the following facts: the LTTE suicide bombers deliberately targeted both Mr. G. Rajapaksa and Lt. Gen. Fonseka. The female Tamil suicide bomber, posing as a pregnant woman, jumped into the path of motorcade of Gen. Fonseka and he was seriously injured. Fortunately, he recovered fully to wage his most successful military operation, which has now become a role model for campaigns against terrorism. The LTTE also targeted Mr. Rajapakse with a deadly remote control explosive in the heart of Colombo but he too narrowly escaped death. The pattern is clear. They could not get both these leaders through their suicide bombers. Mr. Fein has been hired to do the next best – demand death sentence for these two heroic officers who will go down in the annals of terrorist wars as pioneers who proved that a democratic state can defeat terrorism with the minimum of casualties to the civilians.
Posted by media at 8:10 PM