Friday, November 27, 2009

Ready for battle, MR calls for positive media coverage - Mata Oya Kawuruth ekai (they are all the same to me),"

President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday declared that he was not concerned about whom he had to face at the forthcoming presidential election. "Mata Oya Kawuruth ekai (they are all the same to me)," a smiling President said in response to a query raised at a meeting with the media at Temple Trees.

Referring to former Army Chief General Sarath Fonseka’s candidature at the presidential poll, President Rajapaksa said his brother Defence Secretary Gotabhaya, too, was in the army though he wore civilian clothes now. He (Gotabhaya) could no longer go out in uniform, he said adding that he was ready for any eventuality.

Asked whether he regretted the appointment of the then Chief of Staff Major General Sarath Fonseka as Commander of the Army, President Rajapaksa shot back, "Do you think I had attained the first stage in the eight-fold path leading to Arahathhood?"

Looking at the Defence Secretary, he said that he received advice more than once perhaps on three occasions regarding the appointment. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that he had only one objective and that was to eradicate terrorism. He was responding to a query whether he now regretted advising the President regarding the appointment.

He said that now the stage is set for the forthcoming presidential election with Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake expected to set a date shortly. He said that now that the entire country had been liberated from LTTE terrorism, those who had been deprived of an opportunity to exercise their franchise at the last presidential poll in November 2005 could take part at the forthcoming process.

The LTTE disrupted polling in the entire Vanni region and parts of the Jaffna peninsula as well as the East at the last election.

Flanked by Ministers Dallas Alahapperuma and Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, President Rajapaksa said that unlike others he had not sought legal recourse to extend his first term. "I gave up two years of my first term by calling an early election," he said.

He said that political parties in the Opposition should be always ready to face any election at any given time. He urged both the State-run and privately-owned media not to engage in mud slinging campaigns but to be fair in their coverage of the coming elections. Recalling the media coverage at the last poll, the President said that this time it was going to be worse. He said that they (read as the Rajapaksas) were being accused of waste, corruption and irregularities. He said that a big house could not be built in any part of the country without him, Gotabhaya or Basil being blamed for building another house. Referring to a luxury house now being built by a businessman, President Rajapaksa said that that, too, had been put on to his account. "We are being accused of buying coconut estates in Chilaw and houses in Colombo 7," he said calling for a positive pre-poll campaign.

>> Full Story

Lalith on traitors and intl conspiracy directed at Lanka - Island

Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga yesterday said that a conspiracy against Sri Lanka during humanitarian operations had been much bigger than the government believed.

He said that a section of the international community as well as influential foreign media organisations and INGOs had been involved in the campaign which almost overwhelmed the country during the war against the LTTE.

Responding to queries, he said that a recent study had revealed the true extent of the anti-Sri Lanka operation. He said that local partners of the operation had been identified.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa told the media yesterday that the country was being targeted even after the end of war. A damaging campaign to deny Sri Lanka GSP plus facility and USD 500 million loan facility from the HSBC during the war were part of their strategy, he said adding that the conspirators also made an abortive bid to censure Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva shortly after the end of war. The President said that they went to the extent of calling a special meeting in Geneva ahead of the scheduled confab just to humiliate Sri Lanka though they failed.

The President said that unlike other political parties he would not get an INGO to print his manifesto. Although the President did not name names, it was a reference to Friedrich Naumann Stiftung paying for the printing of a booklet on behalf of the UNP to propagate the party’s vision.

Commenting on a statement attributed to Democratic People’s Front leader Mano Ganeshan, MP that he was prepared to help the President in his efforts to develop the country if a permanent solution could be found to solve all problems faced by the Tamil community, an irate President said that they were the people who accused him of running detention camps in the north. "For me, there is absolutely no difference among people. "There are people who love this country and those working against it," he said.

The President regretted that the Tamil Diaspora had been working overtime against Sri Lanka. He said that as part of their overall strategy, websites had been increasingly used to bring disrepute to the country.

Although the US had accused us of using rape as a weapon in Sri Lanka’s war against the LTTE, once we countered that argument, they were humble enough to rectify the blunder. He said that Sri Lankans were responsible for making an effort to isolate the country internationally.

Recalling his campaign against the then President Ranasinghe Premadasa’s government over human rights violations, President Rajapaksa said that he and Vasudeva Nanayakkara were the first to seek UN intervention. "But we never tried to stop aid," he said recalling their detention at the Bandaranaike International Airport with a set of photographs of youth killed during anti-insurgency operations.

The President said that he was aware of efforts to cause political chaos by bribing MPs to switch allegiance. He said that bribing MPs was a reality they had to be alert to the threat.

SLFP frontliner Minister Dallas Alahapperuma said that President Rajapaksa was the common candidate as he had the backing of many political parties and groups representing all communities. He urged the media not to call anyone common candidate other than President Rajapaksa, who commanded the respect of the vast majority of people. Quipped President Rajapaksa, "Let us call one common candidate and the other wada common candidate."

>> Full Story

Gen. Fonseka is a shareholder of international conspiracy – Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera

Gen. Sarath Fonseka contesting the presidential election as a common candidate is a party to an international conspiracy to take the country towards a war situation again and pave the path to get down a UNO force to Sri Lanka says Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera who was elected to Parliament through JHU but acts as an independent MP in the Parliament.

Speaking at a press conference held today Ven. Dhammaloka Thera said he had no frame of mind to tie ‘pirith’ thread for Gen. Sarath Fonseka.

“He cannot change this country. He could carry out a war. However, he does not have the patience necessary for a politician. If he wins there would be political turmoil in the country. He would create a situation to get down a UNO force to Sri Lanka. It is because he is not patience. Politics needs patience. We are confident that if he becomes the president he would create chaos in the country. This is not the decision of the JHU. This is the personal view of us who represent the JHU,” added Ven. Ddhammaloka Thera.

Ven. Akmeemana Dayaratne Thera speaking at the press conference said, “As Bhikkus we would not hesitate to tie a ‘pirith’ thread on him. Even if Prabakaran comes as Bhikkus we would tie a ‘pirith’ thread on him.”

>> Full Story

Army Commander rebuffs Gen. Fonseka’s claims

Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya today categorically refuted the accusations leveled against him by the ex-Chief of Defence Staff, General Sarath Fosenka.

At a meeting held at Kilinochchi, Army 58 Division Headquarters with the participation of high-ranking officials of the Army who directly contributed in the humanitarian mission to liberate the North, Commander Jayasuriya noted that the logic behind General Fonseka’s argument that he (Lt. Gen. Jayasuriya) should not be promoted to the rank of Army Commander is baseless and said that the Commanding Officers, Brigade Commanders, Task Force Commanders, and Divisional Commanders who actively participated in the mission to liberate the country from the clutches of terrorism will substantiate his contribution in the ground operations.

“The staff present here today will evident whether I was serving in ‘Hold Formation’ position as claimed by Gen. Fonseka or offensive operations,” he said.

Commander Jayasuriya said that Gen. Fonseka has forgotten the changes and replacement of officers and soldiers that he did immediately after assuming duties as the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army but has instigate a move to find faults with him claiming that the present changes at the Army Head Quarters are unacceptable.

“Gen. Fonseka as the Commander of the Army did the same changes such as deploying the soldiers and officers of his mother unit to maneuver the Army Head Quarters, and it has been the practice for the past 19 consecutive years,” Lt. Gen. Jayasuriya noted.

Army Commander went on to say that the former Commander Fonseka made major changes in appointments in the Army in accordance with his wish, which Gen. Fonseka is seeing as misconduct now.

Commander Jayasuriya told his former chief Gen. Fonseka to speak the truth and prove if what he says here today is erroneous. – (Govt. Info. Dept)

>> Full Story

Fonseka was scared to accompany Rajapaksa to Kilinochchi: Website

presidential elections, a campaign to run down former Army Chief and war hero Sarath Fonseka appears to have begun with allegations made that he dithered to accompany President Mahinda Rajapaksa on a visit to Kilinochchi frontlines in the thick of war.

As Sri Lanka braces for a tough fight in the upcoming. An official website claimed that after Lankan troops had cleared Tamil Tigers from Kilinochchi, Rajapaksa wanted to tour the city and asked Fonseka to accompany him. But Fonseka showed reluctance saying that the war with the LTTE was still on and no risks should be taken. The website construed that Fonseka did not have the courage to go to the frontline.

The website quoting unnamed defence circles said it was Rajapaksa who had declared war on the LTTE after the Mavil-Aru incident. It claimed that Fonseka was “nowhere in the scene”. “Even during the final days of the LTTE war, Fonseka had not visited the battlefront they claimed,” the website claimed.

>> Full Story

An Open Letter To Lt.General Sarath Fonseka

The long speculated news is out now that Lt.General Sarath Fonseka has given his resignation from his post of Chief Defence of Staff (CDS) and that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has accepted it. Well, it’s your fundamental right to choose what ever you want as a career and purely a personal matter. I am sure the people of Sri Lanka has no qualms about it but would not like to see you falling from an esteemed position you held as the Army commander and then CDS to just a nincompoop.

Sir, there is no other army general compared to you in our recent history. You are a brave officer and a gentleman. You have saved the country from scourge of LTTE terrorism. Of course, there are many other contributory factors made your task easy like right political leadership by the President, right strategy by Defence Secretary, the skilful and precise Navy and Air force operations, STF, Police force and the people of the nation who morally supported. Mr.Gamini Gunewardena (Ex-DIG) in his article in the Island on 12/11/2009 quite rightly pointed out the INTERGRITY of the top hierarchy of the Government and the Forces is another contributory factor. In the peoples’ mind you are a war hero and should be treated as a national treasure. When LTTE was defeated, the people were rejoicing of the victory praising the gallantry of our forces. The nation owes you a great deal for leading the war against terrorists and crushing LTTE military operations conclusively ably supported by the SAF, SLN and STF. BUT it is now confirmed that you are on your way to accept invitation from newly formed alliance UNF as the common candidate from the opposition mainly comprise of non-patriotic UNP who handed over a defacto regime with demarcation of borders to LTTE by infamous CFA. It’s still premature to say anything since you still have not accepted the invitation by the UNP new alliance. However, if you accept to contest Presidency as their common candidate, it is appalling and regrettable for a true patriot like you who once said that Sri Lanka belongs to the Sinhala Buddhists and other minorities should learn to live with the Sinhalese. Aren’t you ashamed to accept invitation from the people who told you that you are only fit for salvation army and many other humiliating and insulting remarks like Thoppigala is only a rock, Alimankade-Pamankade, Killinochchi and Medawacchi, any fool can fight a war made by those very people who are leading the New UNP Alliance. How are you going to compromise your good values with them when you have been insulted like this?

In your letter of resignation you have mentioned that the President was misled by those people close to President of a possible coup d’e’tat against President Rajapaksa. The way it has turned and that you are planning now to contest for Presidency, it clearly shows that that you would have some intention of staging a coup against President Rajapkasa at some stage and his suspicion is not without any reasons to get you out of the Commander’s post..

I wrote an article titled Maj.Gen (retd) Janka Perera commits Hara kiri (The Island-7/7/2008). I summed up the article with the following paragraph. Quote” Rtd Janaka Perera made the biggest mistake in his life by getting into politics more so by joining UNP-the party who sold part of Sri Lanka to LTTE through CFA. He has committed a har-kiri and he will soon be forgotten as a war hero and a gentleman “Unquote Sadly, within a couple of weeks, he his wife with many others paid the price of their lives at the hands of a LTTE suicide bomber.

Dear Sir, I will have to tell you the same thing to you now. You are committing a hara-kiri by joining the UNP lead traitors to contest as President. Like Late Major General Janaka Perera, you are also one of the three prime targets of LTTE (LTTE suicide bombers are still at large in Sri Lanka and they will strike at the least expected place and time) namely President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and YOURSELF. We respect you; we admire your courage; we acknowledge you as a skilled war strategist and we do not want your life also to be ended like Late Maj General Janaka Perera. In the same way, we do not want to see fall into atrap laid by the new alliance UNF. So, please think wisely before accepting the UNP-New Alliance’s invitation as common candidate for Presidency and not to fall prey to Ranil’s cunning tactics.

The New UNP Alliance

You sir, do not need to be a rocket scientist to assess the people representing the new alliance which you will be asked to represent. The UNP lead by Ranil has lost all the elections since 2001. Rauf Hakeem as the hat turns (Thambige thoppiya wagey) will change his colours for his personal benefit. Don’t forget the infamous Hakeem -Prabhakran meeting at LTTE Headquarters. JVP as a party has lost its credibility and its voter base over the years has been dwindling. Then the waley wal nathi bankrupt politician Mangala Samaraweera who even does not want to contest his former electorate Matara at a General Election but prefer a seat in the national list. It is now rumoured that you are going to contest in Mangal S’s party. What a come down for an army general to a foot soldier. Then, the one man show Mano Ganeshan with no voter base except for a few Tamils in Colombo District. If you decide to join this front with no voter base and expect to win the presidency, sir, you must be day dreaming. You know that Sri Lankans forget the past very easily. Likewise, the people will very soon forget you as awar hero if you make the wrong decision.


It’s surprising to see many Sri Lankan politicians are chasing after the Green Card Mania including yourself.. I cannot fathom why people of such status are kneeling down to get the Green Card. If you sir, go to live in States, you will be just another insignificant number or person among a population of 308 million as at 2009. You may be known to about 80% of our population but you will be known in the States to a few for wrong reasons. Surely, I do not think that Barack Obama will recall the army commander in Afghanistan and hand over the billet to you, sir.

Dear Lt. General Sarath Fonseka, we still hail you as a hero. You will be disappointing and breaking the trust of millions of Sri Lankans if you decide to contest against President Rajapaksa. Before you commit for anything drastic in the political arena, think before you leap. Although you have been a strong soldier, there were times you have been naïve like a child when you were not aware that your own favorite cook was planning to bump you off. You may be naïve again if you accept the invitation from the UNP led new alliance for the candidature of Presidency. In the political arena, I don’t think you have the political experience or acumen like our President (just as much President Rajapaksa has no experience to go to the war front to fight) . There is no doubt that you are going to loose so that Ranil can come back and say that he did not loose but it was Sarath Fonseka who lost. Let me reiterate the fact what I told about late Maj Gen. Janaka Perara and that you are also committing hara-kiri if you join the UNP-new Alliance to come as their candidate for Presidency.

Malin Abeyatunge

Thursday, November 26, 2009

General Fonseka to come from Mangala Samaraweera’s Ape Jathika Peramuna?

The probable Common Opposition Candidate General Sarath Fonseka is likely to contest from Mangala Samaraweera’s Ape Jathika Peramuna, confidential sources told Ada Derana. The source claimed that the General cannot contest as an independent candidate due to constitutional restrictions and thus he has to come through a registered political party.

The Elections Secretariat on November 18 rejected an application put forward by the JVP to register a new political party. Many critics believed that this move was in order to put forward a common candidate for the upcoming Presidential elections although JVP MP Lakshman Nipunarachchi rejected the claim.

JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayaka addressing a press conference yesterday said that the General will contest neither from the UNF nor the JVP but from an independent political party.

>> Full Story

United National Party warned on committing political "hara-kiri"

tweet bundle from the twitter pages by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

United National Party warned that it could commit political "hara-kiri" by not contesting presidential elections with own party candidate

Sarath Fonseka now says he will announce decision on contesting on Nov 26th. He has been postponing D-day for several days .

retd Gen Fonseka wants more soldiers, vehicles, patrol, riders, commandos, medical staff as enhanced security on par with other service chiefs

Sarath Fonseka wants courts to order Def secy Gota to hand over the deed for 25 perches of land allocated to him by state after retirement

Sarath Fonseka filing fundamental rights petition seeking more security evokes sense of dejavu. Parakrama Pannipitiya did the same against SF

Cabinet ministers Maithripala Sirisena & Susil Premajayantha say at press briefing that ex-army chief Sarath Fonseka is unfit to be President

President Mahinda Rajapaksa rules out future re-merger of Northern & Eastern provinces & asks Tamils not to raise issue again

Rising discontent within Democratic Peoples Front on supporting Sarath Fonseka as common candidate. Final Decision on November 26th

Negotiations on with Siritunga Jayasuriya to get his United Socialist party symbol "Trishaw"for Sarath Fonseka in Presidential elections

Somwansa Amerasinghe & Tilvin Silva "silent" so far on JVP supporting Sarath Fonseka as common candidate for presidency. Are they "unhappy"?

Nava Sinhala Urumaya (Bow & arrow) & Ruhunu Janatha Peramuna (motor car) invite Sarath Fonseka to contest prez polls on their party symbols

Tamil& Muslim
Dr Vickramabahu Karunaratne to contest Presidential elections under "Table" symbol of Left Front. Comrade Bahu expects Tami l& Muslim support

>> Full Story

Retired General is illegally using military vehicles and personnel, Sri Lanka government says

Nov 25, Colombo: Sri Lanka government today said it has learnt that the retired Army Commander and Chief of Defense Staff , General Sarath Fonseka is using 23 Army vehicles after retirement while enjoying the privilege of another 110 solders in an unauthorized manner.

On the directive of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President Lalith Weerathunge has informed the retired General that his request for a 66 member security contingent has been approved and released by the incumbent Army Commander.

The government said General Fonseka's request for five female soldiers to conduct security checks on women who enter his house is hilarious as anyone entering his premises would be subjected to security checks at the entrance to his house. The request has therefore been denied.

The Secretary to the President has informed General Fonseka that he would have the privilege of 10 Commandos and two senior officers of the Sinha Regiment in addition to 50 other military men of that regiment in various positions.

The General has been allocated a bullet proof BMW car for his personal use with two security Land Rover jeeps. He is provided with four military drivers. The General can request vehicles for his administrative work from the army.

Necessary arms, and signal and transmission equipment for security purposes have also been provided to the General's security contingent by the government, Weerathunge's letter said.

The General has requested ten 9 mm pistols for the commandos, another 10 mini Ushi/HK MP5 weapons, 72 T-56 weapons, and 10 hand held walkie-talkie sets with a base station for his security.

>> Full Story...Colombo Page

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

LTTE proxy Ganesan has talks with Fonseka on minority rights

General Sarath Foneseka has reportedly assured Democratic Peoples Front Leader Mano Ganesan, who was taking a pro-LTTE stand during last many years, that he will ensure the rights of minorities if elected President. The two met late this evening and reportedly agreed on certain points regarding minorities, informed sources told Daily Mirror.

There are some more issues to be agreed upon according to sources.

Every bullet fired at innocent Tamil civilians fetched kickbacks to Gen Fonseka family -

By K.T.Rajasingham

Danuna Tilakaratne (son-in-law of General Sarath Fonseka)
Asian Tribune has found that Hicorp/British Bourne - Companies registered by Danuna Tilakaratne (son-in-law of General Sarath Fonseka and son of retired Brigadier Tilakaratne) in Oklahoma, USA, had submitted false evidence to win tenders they had submitted in Sri Lanka to the Army, Navy, Air force and the police

Danuna registered the business in Oklahoma, as well as in Texas. Also he registered his business in Colombo too.

He registered Hicorp Company in Oklahoma in his name, but suddenly on Nov 16, 2009, he changed the registration in favor of some other person apparently after he got the wind of Asian Tribune’s investigations into his dealings.

In Colombo Danuna registered his business under the name of Lakshman Abeysekara.

Lakshman Abeysekara is just a name. The actual registration was done through a lawyer Mr. A.S.H.A Hanan. This lawyer made some kind of deal with Danuna Thilakaratne as a silent partner of the company in Sri Lanka. Detail of this registration is given in this column

Questions to Gen Fonseka

How about millions of dollars in commission from Tanks deal?

-You asked your Director Plans to work directly with your son-in-law and not with any other party.

How about the commission from satellite deal?

-Your son - in -laws’s Company still supplies satellite images to Sri Lanka army and made millions of dollars in commission

How about the commission from uniforms and boots?

-You awarded the boots and uniform tender to your son- in- law’s company who represented as an agent for Brig Thilakeratne’s company (your son-in-law’s father’s company)

How about the commission from MBR?

How about the commission from your own Mercedes Benz?

How about commissions from MIG deal?

How about communication equipments deals from Brig Bashir and NRTS?

How about the commissions from the compasses your son-in-law supplied to army?

>> Full Story - Asian Tribune

UNP-JVP and General Fonseka in a limbo, so far

On Monday 23rd, the President had sent a proclamation to the Commissioner of Elections to seek a fresh mandate. And this was a much awaited declaration for the Opposition Front.

Then on Tuesday, there were reports that the dispute between the UNP and JVP over the condition that Ranil take over as Prime Minister in a caretaker government had been resolved. But the same day, the JVP spokesman, MP., Anura Dissanayake speaking at a press conference had said, that his party has no dealings with the UNP and the report that the JVP had come to an understanding with the UNP on the above issue is a blatant lie. According to him, talks between the UNP and JVP had collapsed on this issue.

On the other hand, we have the General who had not openly made a statement about his intentions on the Presidential elections, except his hints here and there. May be he is hesitant because the teams in the opposition front looks at each other with suspicion, the UNP at the General, the JVP at the UNP, UNP at the JVP and so on. Then we have the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and the Mano Ganeshan team keeping their options. Therefore, the opposition front is going in circles.

So there seems to be confusion in the opposition teams as they don’t seem to trust each other.

The grievance of the opposition was that the President had not decided on a date for the Presidential elections. But now that a date had been fixed, the problem with them seems to be that they have no candidate and therefore they are on a wild goose chase.

In the midst of this confusion, the Asian Tribune published a Report about Gen. Fonseka and his son-in-law, Danuna Tilakeratne, allegedly involved in ‘Blood Money’ from tenders to the armed services and therefore the people who elevated him to a ’super hero’ has now lost confidence in him.

>> Full Story


Now the gloves are off, the bitter fight is on. This time there is a new face, popularly known as “GARDIHEWA SARATH CHANDRALAL FONSEKA from Ambalangoda .” But this new face is nothing more than a replica of corrupt UNP and its henchmen. As pointed out by Prof. Hudson and the Asia Tribune the God Father-Son in Law secret combination, the average Sri Lankan are watching this tele-drama, much more than “Sakviththo”.

So, General GARDIHEWA SARATH CHANDRALAL FONSEKA ..” has paid Rs 1m rent per month, ( one year prepaid), this must be a piece of cake for the former Army Commander.! He must be having blood in his money.

So, Ranil is going to be a “caretaker prime minister” with GSF as the executive President. The JVP has accepted Ranil as their leader. GSF has also accepted Ranil as his leader. Waiting on the wings, Chandrika will also support GSF/Ranil, and even ask Vimukthi Kumaranatunge (Bandaranake) as Deputy Prime Minister when Vimukthi contest from the Gampaha District.

So, UNF has already won both Presidential and General Elections, they only have to find the (a) right constitution how to achieve their objectives; (b) right capable team for running the country.

But, there are few more days before the Presidential nominations are closed. There could several candidates against the President. Few great names of greatest Presidential aspirants are: Ranil, Sarath Fonseka, Chandrika’s son Vimukthi, S B Dissanayake, Thondaman Do not write-off Sajith Premadasa, who could alsol be a formidable candidate!

So, Alice was reading a book with her sister and whilst sleeping under an Apple Tree had a beautiful dream , now well known as “Alice in the Wonderland”.

So, in our “Ranil-Sarath in the Dreamland” episode, both of them and Chandrika can read the book containing “Ranil’s new vision” under a Durian Tree and fall asleep and when they get up, to realize that Great Mahinda Rajapakse has already won!

>> Full Story

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Traces of explosives potential danger to Tamils' case - Globe and Mail


VANCOUVER — From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

More traces of explosives have been found on the migrant ship that brought 76 Sri Lankan Tamil men to Canada last month, a Canada Border Services Agency officer has testified.

The explosive RDX - also known as cyclonite or hexogen - is used to make plastic explosives, mainly for the military. Its residue was discovered in three separate parts of the Princess Easwary, which was intercepted off the coast of Vancouver Island on Oct. 17.

Traces of two other explosives were found on two items of clothing seized when Canadian authorities boarded the ship and took the migrants into custody.

This latest revelation - made at a detention hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board - is potentially damaging to the migrants.

All of the migrants claim to be Tamil refugees fleeing persecution in Sri Lanka. All told, border officers who scoured and swabbed the ship came up with 10 positive results for traces of explosives.

Some terrorism experts - including a scholar who is the main adviser to the Canadian government in the case - have alleged that at least two of the men are members of the Tamil Tigers, the military arm of a violent separatist group that waged a decades-long war with the Sri Lankan government. There have also been allegations that the migrants' ship was previously a Tamil Tiger gun-running vessel that transported weapons from North Korea to Sri Lanka.

>> Full Story

Of those Rip Van Winkles - The Island Editorial

Suddenly, the executive presidency has become the biggest problem in the country! We have had that institution for about one half of the post Independence period or 31 years. There have been five executive presidents –– JRJ (two-time), Premadasa, Wijetunga, Kumaratunga (two-time) and Rajapaksa. The UNP held that office for 16 years and the SLFP for 15 years so far.

JRJ did not create the executive presidency out of any love for the country or the benefit of future generations. His only goal was self-aggrandisement.

The over-concentration of power in one institution is not salutary but the executive presidency has, in spite of all its flaws, functioned as a stabilising political force at critical times. The PA government formed in 1994 with a razor thin majority would have collapsed within months of its formation but for the executive presidency. (However, it finally collapsed during its second term in 2001 in spite of President Kumaratunga's efforts to shore it up.)

>> Full Story

Gen. Fonseka devalues Himself

by B. Raman
The Khalistani terrorism in India and the terrorism of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka are two unique instances in the history of terrorism where the state prevailed over the terrorists, without giving into their demands.

2. The threat faced by Sri Lanka was more complex and difficult to handle than the threat faced by India. Sri Lanka was confronted with a ruthless mix of a full-blown insurgency seeking territorial control and terrorism seeking to intimidate the civil society. The Khalistani terrorism was a purely terrorist movement with no mix of an insurgency.

3. The situation, which Sri Lanka faced, was similar to that faced by the US and other NATO forces and the Afghan National Army in Afghanistan. They have not yet been able to find an effective answer to the complex mix of insurgent and terrorist tactics used by the Neo Taliban.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail:

>> Full Story

Lanka now says US did not attempt to question Fonseka

In a strange twist of events Sri Lanka now says there was no attempt by the US authorities to quiz former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Sarath Fonseka despite the Foreign Ministry earlier issuing a statement to the contrary.

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN and former Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona, in an interview on the ‘Hot Seat’ segment on the online version of Daily Mirror said that it has now been conveyed to the highest levels that there was no such attempt by the US.

When asked if in UN terms the attempt to quiz the General was a serious attempt made by the US as it had attempted to bypass usual diplomatic channels, Dr. Kohona said “I think what you just said is wrong. We have information and this has been conveyed at the highest levels that no such attempt was made”.

Pressed on the same topic again Dr. Kohona said “We have no information to suggest that such an interview was sought”.

The denial by Dr. Kohona that the US had made such an attempt contradicts a Foreign Ministry statement issued on the 4th of this month which said the General who was then in the United States received a letter from the Department of Homeland Security requesting that he present himself for an interview.

“It would be recalled that towards the end of last month, the General who was then in the United States received a letter from the Department of Homeland Security requesting that he present himself for an interview on the 4th of November in Okhlahama City. Subsequently, there was also a telephone call from an official of the Department of Homeland Security to the General,” the Foreign Ministry statement had said.

The Foreign Ministry, at the time said that when the development was conveyed, including by the Ambassador of Sri Lanka in the United States, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama immediately invited the US Ambassador in Colombo to see him, to point out that whatever information General Fonseka may have become aware of during his service with the Government of Sri Lanka and in the course of his duties, has a privileged status and therefore, the Department of Homeland Security of the United States should forthwith desist from any endeavour to interview General Fonseka.

A similar representation was made to the US State Department in Washington, through our Ambassador to the United States. These representations in both Colombo and in Washington were followed by further diplomatic contacts and endeavours, to reinforce the well-founded position of the Government of Sri Lanka.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs appreciates the receptive and constructive attitude adopted by the US authorities, which in turn allowed General Fonseka to leave the United States without any damage to the national interest of Sri Lanka and to the dignity of his Office.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Conditions for endorsing his presidential candidature

Former Army Chief General Sarath Fonseka yesterday said that he was ready to negotiate with Opposition political parties regarding any conditions for nominating him as the common presidential candidate.

Fonseka yesterday told The Island that there was nothing wrong in discussing conditions though some may find fault with such a strategy. Fonseka said that in keeping with his policy, he could discuss with Western People’s Front leader Mano Ganeshan, MP his conditions to facilitate an agreement.

Meanwhile, Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to President Mahinda Rajapaksa told The Island that the President had given the retired General time to stay at the General’s House at Buller’s Road and there was absolutely no truth in accusations that there was a move to ‘throw Gen. Fonseka and his wife out on to the streets’.

Both the JVP and the UNP have already initiated negotiations with Fonseka though there is final agreement.

Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe last Wednesday said that Fonseka’s nomination as Presidential candidate was subject to his acceptance of the UNF’s ten-point policy statement. Mano Ganeshan has subscribed to the UNF’s statement.

Wickremesinghe said that a decision on the Opposition presidential candidate would be taken only after an election was announced and he was confident that Fonseka had a clear understanding of the UNF policies.

"There is no reason to assume that General Fonseka is not a democrat," he said.

Among the conditions put forward for Fonseka’s candidature are that he must abolish the executive presidency or substantially reduces its powers in the event of being elected President, provide the TNA and JVP important portfolios in his Cabinet, ensure the speedy resettlement of northern IDPs, establish all the independent commissions required to ensure good governance and appoint Wickremesinghe as the caretaker Prime Minister.

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INGOs advise ministers, MPs on presidential, parliamentary polls

With President Mahinda Rajapaksa deciding to call an early presidential election ahead of parliamentary polls, a section of the ‘international community’ is pushing for an unprecedented agreement among Tamil speaking politicians, both in and out of Parliament to undermine the incumbent President’s campaign.

Government sources told The Island that a three-day seminar recently concluded in Switzerland was nothing but an effort to explore ways and means of turning politicians, now with the UPFA against the President.

Sources said that on the final day (Saturday Nov 21), the focus was on the presidential and parliamentary polls scheduled for early next year. Sources said that the organisers had sought what the programme schedule called a basic conduct agreement for upcoming elections.

Sources said that the government was concerned about this development, particularly as Switzerland, too, had been involved in the programme. The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs had hosted the Sri Lankan participants who had been subsequently addressed by Peter Bowling who had been the Executive Secretary of the International Working Group on Sri Lanka (IWG), Craig Collins (Coordinator of the Global Initiative on Conflict Prevention through Quiet Diplomacy-ICPQD), Sally Holt also of the ICPQD, Judith Large (Richardson Institute for Conflict and Peace Studies, Lancaster University), Zdenka Machnyikova (ICPQD), Rajadurai Manoharan (one of the founding members of the Tamil Information and Research Unit of the Tamil Information Centre and a TULF candidate at the 1989 parliamentary polls), John Packer (advisor to ICPQD) and Vairamuttu Varadakumar (also of the Tamil Information Centre).

Although the seminar was titled Reconstruction, Reconciliation and Reform in Sri Lanka: the role of Tamil-speaking political leaders, the organisers focused on the upcoming polls and how they could reach a consensus among politicians.

Sources said that this was similar to a high profile campaign conducted by INGOs and their local partners in the run up to the last presidential poll in November 2005.

Sources added that the organisers had spent lavishly to arrange the seminar with all participants’ expenses taken care of.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ready for big battle: Rajapaksa vs. Fonseka

Tomorrow, a new chapter dawns in the post-separatist war era in Sri Lanka. The two heroes credited for the victory will fight it out at the polls. For most Sri Lankans, it would be a battle between President Rajapaksa and the main opposition parties. However, for some UPFA leaders it would be a battle between "patriots" and "traitors". Yet, the voter will decide which one is better...

from Political Column...

Strong answers to both his letter and the 17 reasons for his retirement (not 16 as claimed in the text released by the opposition parties) were formulated when the decision came. Among other matters, it is to record the many benefits that accrued to Gen. (retd). Fonseka. A few elements that were to be in the reply:

1) Gen. Fonseka, then Army Commander had imported a brand new Mercedes Benz worth over Rs 40 million for official use. He had the right to purchase the vehicle upon retirement if it has been used for over three years. However, in his case, special Cabinet approval has been given to enable him to purchase the vehicle for Rs 2.5 million.

2) The Cabinet had approved the donation of extents of prime land to the three armed forces commanders for winning the separatist war. When Gen. Fonseka was allotted an extent of 10 perches at Kirimandala Mawatha, Narahenpita, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had used his good offices to increase it to 25 perches. At first, the move had caused difficulties since the Cabinet had approved ten perches each for the Commanders of the Army, Navy and Air Force. It was pointed out that no exception could be made only to Gen. Fonseka. Thereafter, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had argued that ten perches was not enough for Gen. Fonseka since he had two daughters. He had lobbied for an increase. As a result, a new Cabinet paper proposing 25 perches each to all three Commanders was approved by ministers. The land is said to be worth over Rs 100 million.

3) President Rajapaksa had ensured that a team of commandos were flown to Oklahoma, the USA to provide protection to General Fonseka's two daughters and son-in-law. Soon after the abortive guerrilla suicide bomb attack on Gen. Fonseka in April 2006, US$ 1,500 (about Rs 171,000 at today's exchange rate) had been remitted every month from the President's Fund for the benefit of his daughters. In this backdrop, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was called in this week to investigate some defence deals done by a close member of Gen. (retd.) Fonseka's family. Allegations centre on several transactions involving a variety of items including one in which a profit of two US cents (or over Rs 2.28) had been made on every bullet and US$ 20 (about Rs 2,280) per shell by a company operated by this close relative. Millions of rounds of bullets were used both in assault rifles and other small arms in the military defeat of the guerrillas. It is also alleged that some of the funds have been remitted to the United States.

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