Election campaigns are moments for clever word-play. It is a fun time certainly. People come up with nice lines, silly ones, words that are made for parodying and statements that sometimes wreck campaigns. It is usually a case of people over-reaching. Too many people over-reaching, I should say. Spoils the soup.
This was clearly evident in 2004 and 2005 when the campaigns of the UNP and Ranil Wickremesinghe respectively essentially self-destructed thanks to overkill. It happens when there is too much money and too many loyalists wanting to do the extra bit for the party and leader. When this happens, coherence is severely compromised and the electorate, bombarded with so many messages, some of which contradict others, decides to say ‘no’.
These are early days and the frontrunners are still in the parry and thrust mode. As the weeks pass we will no doubt see more intense exchanges of fire, slips of the tongue, moronic statements, lampooning and what not. Still, a poster did catch my eyes. It was clearly a teaser about Sarath Fonseka: SF meheyuma sudanam (translatable as ‘the SF operation is ready to go’).
‘SF’ of course stands for Sarath Fonseka as well as the Special Forces. It looks like the campaign managers believe that the military metaphor is best retained, perhaps to play off the former Army Commander’s medals. It doesn’t sit very well with the man’s restoring-democracy promise though, but then again who am I to question the wisdom of people like Mangala Samaraweera and Mano Ganeshan?
Nice poster. Caught my eye. I remembered it. I made the connection. Successful communication? Not necessarily. I don’t like military metaphors and undertones outlining the engagement in a democratic process. Still, as I said, these are early days and candidates and supporters have ample time to shoot themselves in the foot or mouth or whatever. Violent, these war-like words, don’t you agree?
Regardless of all these things, the ‘SF’ part got me thinking. The Special Forces, everyone knows, refers to an elite band of soldiers, highly trained and deployed in the most dangerous battlefield missions. Fonseka, at one time the chief of the Army, must be a highly trained soldier, I have no doubt whatsoever. That training was good for that task not for others. A highly trained pilot who excels at precision air-strikes is quite likely to be out of his depth if deployed in a Naval vessel, right?
But Fonseka has men and women of ‘experience’ to do his political work. He has resources. Money. Media. Poster-boys or rather, poster-pasting boys. Things like that. All ‘special’ and all amenable to description by the word ‘force’. So me may say ‘spent force’, just by looking at the JVP and the UNP. ‘SF’ = ‘Spent Force’...hmmm....now that’s something that someone could play with.
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Saturday, December 5, 2009
Election campaigns are moments for clever word-play. It is a fun time certainly. People come up with nice lines, silly ones, words that are made for parodying and statements that sometimes wreck campaigns. It is usually a case of people over-reaching. Too many people over-reaching, I should say. Spoils the soup.
Posted by media at 5:51 AM
By Ruwan Kotuwelle
There are much publicized rumors that Mr. SarathFonseka is going to contest against President Rajapakse as a common candidate at a presidential election. Mr. Sarath Fonseka is no doubt a war hero who will go to history books as one of the best Generals of modern day armies in the world. I am sure he has good intensions in mind do good to the country that has long been a victim of LTTE terrorism and bad governance. He must re-consider representing the people who are currently behind him trying to use him as a cat’s paw.
The UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe has a chronic history of supporting the LTTE indirect ways. In fact, he was in Norway with Soleihm who was receiving calls from KP who urged them to get the safe passage from Sarath Fonseka’s final assault. Ranil has lost many elections and still has the geed to be on the top. It is very obvious, that Fonseka is the Guinea pig here.
Rauff Hakeem would not support or continue support to anyone unless his agenda for “Muslimaisation” of the country is supported. He will always want the Muslims favored over others. He and his people are a time bomb one may expect to go off any time.
Mano Ganeshan has openly taken part in LTTE propaganda machine and still continues to disgrace the country with various comments to the foreign media. He is only concerned about the Tamils and he will try to use Mr. Fonseka to have his aspirations fulfilled.
Mangala Samaraweera is the one who said that Mr. Fonseka is not suitable to lead even the Salvation Army. He not only made the biggest insult to the army general who helped wipe out the LTTE leadership but all the Sri Lankans too.
JVP never represented the people of the country. Yes it is true that JVP won some seats at the General Elections. I believe that is solely due to the eloquence of Wimal Weerawansa. The day they lost Mr. .Weeerawans, they lost ability to harness any support from the people. They do not stand for any principles.
As I mentioned earlier, if he feels that he should correct the path of the nations, He must do it in his own right. The people who are backing are not really supporting him to be at the helm to make the changes he wants to make, they are there to use him to win (which is very unlikely to happen) and get the reign.
Apart from the above, he also must weigh in the threat to his life, having been on the top of hit list of the LTTE. He, being the general who led the army to crush the so called “Struggle” he is hated by even the ordinary Tamils. His life will be in imminent danger too. Janaka Perera was eliminated from a provincial election by the LTTE. One may accuse someone else for that, but what is the point? He is dead and all he wanted to do for people died with him. He must understand the simple meaning of his alliance’s pledge to abolish the Executive presidency. The simplest scenario is that Mr. Fonseka wins the election and his friends strip him of all powers and make him a ceremonial president and have someone as the Prime Minister. Why should he go against all odds to put some loser at the helm?
Finally, it is worth to have a look at the most recent statistics. His alliance managed to get only 35% in the recent Provincial Elections. Even the statistics does not support him. He has a loving family with close ties and the respect of a whole nation. It is not worth it to risk all that for nothing.
Posted by media at 12:54 AM
Friday, December 4, 2009
If not for the current President there wont be any one called General Sarath Fonseka that of course everyone knows for sure. First of all he should thank the President for keep him in the services and appoint him as the army commander and giving him all the necessary support and equipment to fight the war on terror.After the war the President make him a Four star General for his valuable services for ending three decades of dirty war. President and the whole country appreciated what he did and commended for his leadership but unfortunately this Hero cum traitor didnt appreciate what the president or the Goverment did to him instead he resigned from his valuable high ranking post and join with the enemies of the land and the President. Now he is a hero to the traitors and losers of the political arena of Sri Lanka. They told him that he is not fit to lead the salvation army but beacuse of greed for power and money even with the devil they will sit and do monkey business. He is an amateur in politics but shrewed and cunning tactician who did everything behind the back of the President and his government while on duty. He is master crook who helped his son in law to make millions of dollars through defence contracts as per the Indian news papers.This shameless General should taught a lesson for the first time and for the last time.
Our peoples are not fools to bring this man to power at any cost. Army men have nor ruled our country and it wont be for ever.This is not Pakistan or Burma.This our homeland and we are not fools to listen or give our valubale vote for such a individual who has joined with the man who has lost fourteen times in the past elections. Be rasonable my country men and think hard for the future of your childrens. Stopping the war is enough to give this President your valuable vote to carry on his good work further more. Every Sri Lankan who was born and bread in my country from south to north and east to west can walk tall in freedom and dignity whether he is a Sinhalese,Muslim,Tamil,Burgher,or Malay because of the current Presidents strong will power and his good governace. He is the poor man’s leader not for the rich like Wickremesinghe clan.He is from the village and he understand the poor peoples grievances and needs that’s why he is going to have elections before two years of his Presidency. If he wants to cling to power and greedy for power he can easily stay another two years and come forward after finishing all the big big projects which he startrd like Hambantota harbour,Roads,Airport, etc. I dont think our masses will forget by that time what he did to this country how he finished the dirty war after 30 years with the help of all mighty and the citizens of Mother Lanka. Our country has been visted by Lord Buddha three times and no harm will come to this land as long as we protect our religion and places of worship and live a decent good life without harming or destroying others. Can this General who wants to take all the pride for himself for finishing the war can be a President of my homeland as the current President? Is he have the quality and the quantity to govern this land of gems? After all can you trust him as he is the Podu Apeshkaya for all those funny charcters like white masters pet Ranil,Awamangalaya,Jumping fish Hakeem,Three stooges Somawansa, Herath, Silva and the LTTE garbages who tried their best to take our leaders to International courts with the help of their white Masters. What is his qualifications to become the President Of Sri Lanka? Is he know anything about politics? What he will give to the masses HAND GRENADES, T 56, LAND MINES etc? He is a retired disgraced Army General who has come forward to destroy our newly got Freedom and our democracy. He dosent have a good heart.He is a revengful person with greed for power and money like those past political traitors. So please use your brains before you chose the right person for the right job to govern our Peaceful,beautiful Motherland Sri Lanka.
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Posted by media at 9:01 AM
By Shenali Waduge
If Sri Lankans presently wonder why the nation is divided in thought & deed it is possibly because we have not experienced too many incidents of what it is like to be united, feel united & think united. However, everyone will all agree that 2009 will go down in history as an epic example of a single instance where a nation did actually feel for the first time since its post-independence history a sense of pride, a sense of glory, a sense of relief & a strong sense of togetherness. It culminated in people disregarding political allegiance to ward off all alliances (foreign & local) & to build a force that helped to even neutralize excessive international bullying. The amount of National Flags the public proudly displayed was a phenomenal sight.
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Posted by media at 4:10 AM
Thursday, December 3, 2009
By Malin Abeyatunge
Ex. Lt.General and CDS Sarath Fonseka has accepted the candidature from the recently formed UNF alliance led by UNP and JVP. He has a right to do politics from any party that he wishes according to his future plans and inspirations. Only two weeks back, I wrote a letter to Sinhala patriotic websites praising him as heroic partner for the defeat of LTTE and not to fall prey for the traitors trap. Now that he has announced his candidature for Presidency on UNF Traitors’ Alliance ticket, it clearly exposes his naivety as he is unable to differentiate between oranges and apples.
First and foremost, I seek pardon from him for calling him just Sarath Fonseka without his ex titles and Status as Army Commander and CDS etc etc. It is cumbersome and waste of time and space to address him with all the titles so let me call him hereafter Sarath Fonseka (SF). All his titles would have been stripped off by the Sri Lankans in their minds by now including myself who once hailed him as a patriotic war hero.
Sarath Fonseka’s decision to contest against President Mahinda Rajapaksa is nothing but a personal vendetta for not keeping him as Army Commander at least until the SL Army celebrates its 60th Anniversary. For sentimental reasons, it may be hurting him but his counter action for that is incomprehensible. In his letter of resignation in the annexure item 1, he mentions that “ quote Various agencies misleading Your Excellency by stating a possible coup immediately after the victory over the LTTE which obviously led to a change of command in spite of my request to be in command until the Army celebrated its 60th Anniversary. This fear psychosis of a coup is well known among the defence circle. Unquote”. As one can see how the things have turned up to be now in the political arena, President Rajapaksa’s fear of a possible coup’d’etat by Sarath couldn’t have been ruled out as nonsense. MR and PR would have smelt the rat. that something was brewing up and that fear was reasonable and the action taken was timely and most appropriate. Sarath’s acceptance to join the bunch of traitors who supported LTTE with CFA,ISGA and PTOMS etc, clearly manifests that he would have had some idea in the back of his mind to become the President hook or by crook. The desperate UNF new alliance who was looking for a prey paved the way for it and he greedily grabbed the opportunity. I believe the President Rajapaksa’s timely and right decision on Sarath Fonseka by not extending the period avoided Sri Lanka becoming another Myanmar.
Although Sarath Fonseka claims quote “it is with my vision, command and leadership that this yeoman task was achieved. Unquote”. He is not willing to give credit to the chiefs of the Navy, Air Force, STF and Police who were equal partners to the defeat of LTTE which shows his arrogance, Can such a person with such arrogance mentally fit to run a country is a big question?. But I doubt that feelings for him as a war hero is there any more among the majority Sri Lankans when he embraced the most traitorous political buffoons of the century who humiliated him at every turn when he was conducting the war operations.
He may be a courageous commander with vision and wisdom but it has been proved that at times he had been naïve like a child when he was unaware that his own favorite cook was planning to kill him.. He has become second time naïve because of his egoistic nature and the greed for power by joining traitors led by Ranil and the clan. He should be grateful to President Rajapaksa and Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa for having him hand picked overlooking seniority, not sending on retirement etc and making him the Commander of Army. He should be grateful for extending his period ad also promoting to another highest level in the army where no one has held that post so far.
He says that he is contesting for Presidency to save the democracy. What’s wrong with the prevailing democracy in Sri Lanka? Elections are held in time; even president election is to be held before maturity of the current presidency; media freedom is there, people can criticize the government for right reasons etc. Isn’t this merely settling scores with President Rajapaksa and Gotabya Rajapaksa for not extending his full period till December? How do we know that President Rajapaksa smelt a rat of an army coup’d’etat and he was reluctantly compelled to take a right decision without putting the country into a calamity. Cannot be his trip to New York to get his Green Card a plot planned by International conspirators against Sri Lanka and also put Gotabaya Rajapaksa on war crime charges?
Sarath Fonseka in his annexure says that IDPS are in appalling condition and the plight of the IDPs is also point of grave concern to him.. Well from 18 May 2009 to until his date of resignation 12 November 2009 , wasn’t he a part and parcel of the war administration? He could have directed the Government in right direction if the Government was not doing right. There is talk in the inner circle of the army that Sarath Fonseka ferociously objected even to open A9 route. But suddenly he has started shedding crocodile tears for IDP’s.
Sarath Fonseka at a press conference supposed to have promised to weed out corruption. Very Good . We want someone to do that. But that alone will not help to run a country. Every leader before he/she comes into power says this and moment he/she is in power, it’s forgotten or sidelined. So best thing that Sarath Fonseka could do now is by setting an example by declaring his assets both in Sri Lanka and overseas and come clean on the nomination date.
There will be money flowing from the western vested parties, local traitors, may be even funds from Tamil Diaspora (he has already requested existing LTTE cadres for their support) and from the international conspirators, INGOS for the election campaign. He is already desperate, He is begging support of the LTTE cadres and parents of Velupillai Prabhakaran. What is his agenda now? Isn’t this request a signal as an oxygen to the Tamil Diaspora who are hell bent in reviving LTTE? Sarath Fonseka is even ready to accept blood money for his election campaign.
Sarath Fonseka should realize that he is contesting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa who has political experience over thirty years. Does Sarath really believes that Sri Lankans will vote for a person like him who does not know ABCD of politics? Sri Lankans forget the past very easily. Even dead Prabahkaran mentioned this when he was planning attacks on civilians. Sri Lankans are learning to forget him as a war hero. They have already forgotten his war operations and his credentials. Sarath Fonseka is no patch to President’s Mahinda Rajpaksa’s political experience and political acumen. This is not only my view, but view of thousands and thousands of Sri Lankans who wanted sustainable stability and peace in the country and only President Mahinda Rajapkasa and his team could deliver it albeit there are certain shortcomings that need to be addressed.
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Posted by media at 5:40 PM
The late General Denzil Kobbekaduwa still lives in our hearts as a revered warrior and gentleman who never compromised himself for expedience. But for the late President J. R. Jayewardene's capitulation to pressure from India, which he had antagonised unnecessarily, Gen. Kobbekaduwa, ably assisted by Gen. Wimalaratne, would have accounted for Prabhakaran and decimated the LTTE way back in 1987. Prabhakaran, it may be recalled, was trapped in Vadamarachchi, unable to face Operation Liberation, but India whisked him away in a military chopper, having frightened the JRJ government into submission with a parippu (dhal) drop.
Gen. Kobbekaduwa is still fondly remembered – the same could be said of Gen. Wimalaratne as well – because he made it known in no uncertain terms that he had no political ambitions, in spite of efforts in some quarters to lure him into politics. He was a brilliant soldier with an unblemished service record and wanted to remain so and fade away. And he did! But, unfortunately, a good general who led the Sri Lankan Army to victory over terrorism has plunged feet first into the cesspool of politics and sullied his image. Sarath Fonseka is his name. He has embraced the very forces that backed the LTTE, scoffed at the war effort, vilified him and carried out a sinister anti-Sri Lanka campaign. This is something never expected of a professional soldier of his calibre.
We are also disillusioned with an indefatigable campaigner who rose to fame in record time in politics for courageously exposing corruption and irregularities in the public sector enterprises and politicians responsible for them. He is Wijedasa Rajapakshe of the COPE fame. He fought valiantly against numerous odds to bring the culprits responsible for the corrupt deals revealed in his reports to book, but in vain. Frustrated, he broke ranks with the government, which had appointed him to Parliament on its National List and chose to remain independent in the House. He was thought to have taken a principled stand, when he stopped short of defecting to the Opposition at that time, as he had exposed the UNP-led UNF government (2001-2004) for illegal and corrupt deals during its brief tenure.
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Posted by media at 8:33 AM
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Sri Lanka Minister and Defence Spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella disclosed at a news conference here on Tuesday that the government has sought the advice of the Attorney General’s office to take up the subject of possible freeze of nearly 600 bank accounts belonging to Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP), LTTE chief Velupillai’s successor, currently in the custody of the authorities here.
Asked about the estimated value of money in these accounts, the Minister said the government was still in the process of making an assessment. “Getting information about bank account details of individuals and groups from some of the countries is not easy. There are secrecy laws and clauses involved. At the moment, we have no idea of the amount stashed away in these accounts."
The Minister said that information on the accounts is on the basis of questioning and interrogation of KP, who was arrested in the first week of August in a dramatic fashion in a South East Asian country by sleuths of the Sri Lanka government and subsequently flown to the island nation.
The arrest and shifting of KP to Sri Lanka was considered a major setback to the overseas operations of the LTTE and those working for an alternative leadership to Mr. Prabakaran. Since August, the Sri Lankan authorities have subjected KP to sustained questioning and believe to have gained valuable information.
>> Full Story.....'Hindu'
Posted by media at 10:10 PM
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, in an interview with the BBC, expressed regret over the comment made by General Sarath Fonseka who had reportedly termed President Mahinda Rajapaksa as a “tin pot dictator” adding that his tone of language speaks of his character.
“I think his language there speaks for his character having served as the Army Commander. It is a very regrettable statement coming from the very army commander who served the Commander in Chief, the Commander of Chief being the President of a democratic country, a sovereign state who had a mandate from the people to eliminate terrorism and who gave the strength and the leadership to the country's armed forces, the Army, Navy and the Air Force and brought in the resources and got into a humanitarian exercise in freeing the people of Sri Lanka from the clutches of terrorism and that of the brutality of the LTTE terrorism and having a General is to run an army and there are so many Generals in an army,” Minister Bogollagama said.
Meanwhile Minister Bogollagama, Tuesday, briefed British Parliamentarians at the House of Commons on the developments in Sri Lanka.
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Posted by media at 9:51 PM
Three captured LTTE ships being brought to Sri Lanka - Hey Phonny now don't tell that you did this too
First phase of govt. operation to seize Tigers’ overseas assets
Vessels expected to reach Colombo within next few days
In what could be described as the third biggest blow to the LTTEsince the decimation of its leadership in the Vanni last May, followed by the arrest and ‘extraordinary rendition’ of its self-appointed leader and chief arms procurer K. Pathmanadhan alias KP, Sri Lanka has seized three LTTE ships and is in the process of bringing them to Colombo, The Island learns.
The rogue vessels being brought to Sri Lanka by the Lankan Navy were expected to reach the Sri Lankan shores within the next two weeks, highly placed government sources said yesterday. They refused to divulge the port of embarkation.
Information about the LTTE ships had been revealed to the security forces during the interrogation of KP arrested on August 6 from the capital of an Asian country and flown to Sri Lanka. He had provided valuable information to the security forces on the past activities of the LTTE and the outfit’s future plans, sources said. Interpol had helped the security forces to act on information provided by KP, sources said.
Information about local contacts of the LTTE, provided by KP, was being verified, source said.
The ships being brought to Sri Lanka under tight security are expensive craft used by the LTTE for transportation of arms, ammunition and human smuggling.
Earlier during the war, the Sri Lankan Navy destroyed 10 LTTE ships engaged in arms smuggling.
Sources said it was the first step in the Government’s endeavour to seize LTTE’s overseas assets.
"Such assets and high ranking LTTE cadres now hiding in foreign capitals will be captured soon and brought to Sri Lanka," source said.
Once Sri Lanka taken over the three ships, their agents had gone missing but Interpol was helping Sri Lanka to trace them, source said.
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Posted by media at 3:12 AM
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
In a dramatic change of events the struggle between the senior leaders to the JVP has erupted into a massive scale clash with party leader Somawansa Amarasinghe leaving the country in the midst of an appeal by loyalists within the party to extend his support to the decision reached by the Central Committee to promote Gen. Sarath Fonseka.
Meanwhile highly placed sources reveal that Amarasinghe’s decision to refrain from attending the public meeting organized by the JVP Hyde Park Grounds on the 30th of last month was a result of the heavy criticism that he had to under-go in protesting the decision to back Fonseka.
It is also reported that the party has come under heavy criticism by several key players of the Central Committee including the recently resigned central committee member, Priyanga Kotalawala that the decision to back Sarath Fonseka was not ‘prudent’ given serious division in opinion. Kotalawala's position was backed by many others.
Sources further reveal that the attempt of JVP parliamentarian, Anura Kumara Dissanayake to take part in the media briefing called by Sarath Fonseka was blocked by the UNP parliamentarians who objected Dissanayake’s entry to the room.Meanwhile Dissanayake has left the place expressing his dissatisfaction over certain statements made by Fonseka.
Fonseka stated that that he accepts the ‘open economy’ and that an extended time period is necessary to abolish the executive presidency. He also said that he will depend heavily on the expertise of the UNP in relation to economic affairs.
Dissanayake has stated that he was instrumental in bringing Fonseka as the common candidate of the opposition but now he is finding it hard to face the grass root level members of the partly due to these contradictory statements of Fonseka.
Sarath Fonseka’s entry to politics with the blessings of several UNP and JVP parliamentarians has a major inconsistency in the political agendas of the both parties, analysts observe.
It is reported that parliamentarians Sunil Handunneththi and Bimal Ratnayake will soon leave the country in protest of these moves of the party.
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Posted by media at 9:51 PM
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa speaks to " Hard Talk " about the threat of an international conspiracy at work against the country in the form of seeking a regime change, as former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka enters the Presidential fray. He attributes this to the ‘disappointment’ that certain countries and their political elements may have experienced with the country’s victory over the LTTE and the decision by the President to not give in to international pressures he alleges were moved by elements who sought to safeguard the LTTE during the last stages of the war.
There are certain elements of the international community who see the President taking a hard stand on the international community when the war was on, taking it personally. Maybe these elements want governments like this changed. We certainly see an international conspiracy to oust the President. I don’t point my finger at any government, but there were pressures that came through to safeguard the LTTE. These elements want to see the President out. Maybe they see that they can come out in a different way to give the LTTE Eelam. We have to be aware of this situation. The people have to be mindful of this danger’, he maintains.
Who in your opinion was most instrumental in defeating the LTTE? Claims of a varying degree from government side and the newly announced Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka has left the people confused?
Without the political commitment no one can win a war. It is the President who makes the decision to start military operations and gave the clear aim to defeat the LTTE. If you go through interviews given by Gen. Sarath Fonseka initially he has mentioned that without the political will and direction nobody can win a war. The Army is only a department of the government. It acts according to the wishes of the government and implements the policy of that government. No Army Commander can do otherwise. This explains why this victory could not be achieved before under previous leaderships.
It is the President of a country who decides whether to talk to the terrorists or start military operations. And it is the President alone who can decide how much money to spend on a war, or if to increase the numbers in an army. And one of the key factors for the victory was the increase in the numbers. And this is very clear by the fact that various previous governments decided to increase or decrease the numbers. Then there were the decisions regarding equipping the men, getting the right arms, the salaries etc.
It is very clear to anyone it was the President’s political commitment and decision to start military operations that all this was possible. Don’t forget that Gen. Fonseka wasn’t born just 4 years ago. He was in the Army for 35 years. But what has he done? Has he achieved one tenth of what we had achieved during those years? Take for examples Generals like Kobbekaduwa, Janaka Perera, Wimalaratne etc. Everyone talks about them.
They didn’t become Army Commanders or SF commanders but their contribution was very effective. Kobbekaduwa as a Brigadier conducted Wadamarachchi operation and Wimalaratne was a Colonel at that time, but everyone knew about them because they performed well. But we have not heard of Gen. Fonseka in the same manner. And if he says that he alone did this whole thing why did he not perform one tenth of this during the past years. There are a lot of failures under him. In fact he’s the one who ordered to withdraw troops from Jaffna in 2000.
I’m not saying that he’s not a good military officer, but that without the political direction and assistance a military officer can’t do certain things. This is why under different governments, different officers performed in a different way. Gen. Fonseka himself performed in a different way during the Wickremesinghe regime as he did differently under the Rajapaksa regime. The best example is how the same officers who had to coordinate with the LTTE during the Wickremesinghe regime ended up killing the same seniors of the LTTE during the end of the war.
And don’t forget the contribution of everyone from privates whose numbers were the most sacrificed in the field, to SF commanders or the battalion commanders or Brig. Shavindra Silva whose division captured Pooneryn and going all the way to Pudukudiiruppu. If the Army Commander claims that his was the only contribution then what of all these persons? Then everyone can individually start claiming credit. This was purely the work of team effort. And what about the Navy thanks to whom the Sea Tigers couldn’t get out to the sea, or the Air Force? This is the selfishness. It is wrong to give this impression.
He blamed weak military leadership, not political leadership, for allowing the LTTE to survive so long. He said that in 1999, he had told President Chandrika Kumaratunga in reply to a question that the war could be finished off in four years when 4 other military seniors had not supported that view. He also claimed that the army was modernized during Kumaratunga’s regime. Is this an indication that the contribution of the Rajapaksa Presidency has really been minimal in providing political commitment to war?
How can you say that when it is the President who decides whether to go on or give in when international pressures come in? It is the President who has to face that and decide whether he goes ahead or stops. How do you explain the decision to stop the Wadamarachchi operation despite it being a successful operation during a previous regime? How can you blame that on a weak military leadership when Wadamarachchi was won?
There were much better leaders in the Army than Gen. Fonseka. Who was he before 2005? Now he’s trying to become a cheap politician. He shouldn’t try to disgrace the military this way. Officers like Chagi Gallage, Shavindra Silva, Jagath Dias or Kamal Gallage were products of Wijeya Wimalaratne. So where is the weak military leadership when he was an excellent officer?
We had enough brilliant officers. Who created the Special Forces or the Commanders? They were not done during the last 4 years? If the military leadership was weak how can these happen? They were the ones who made these sacrifices, who trained these officers, who were simply not given the proper political direction because the political will was not there. How can he blame the men of this great Army going back 35 years like this to portray himself as the only good one? He’s ridiculing the entire army.
He levels some very serious charges against you on grounds that you are threatening his security by lowering the numbers allocated to him. Gen. Fonseka claims that Military Police personnel had entered his house midnight on the 25th to remove the vehicles provided the General on an order issued by you. He alleges that you are threatening his security by such measures. His notion is that if the President still needs 2000 people for security and if you need 500 people for your security, how is he expected to manage with 25 men and 3 vehicles? What is the basis for these charges?
First he must remember that he is a retired army officer when you lose some privileges. But when he went to meet the President and requested certain security to which the President agreed and then when he mentioned a certain number the President said to give that in writing. In that letter he wrote a certain number of security and we gave everything requested except for the 6 women’s cadres. That was also because there were certain administrative problems related- remember he was going out to civilian life where you needed a certain structure to be maintained. Still we approved even these 6 although the lack of it is not a serious weakness in a security structure! It is sheer hypocrisy to go for a FR case asking for a tenfold number in security, when we have given everything he has requested. This is lying to get the sympathy of the people by showing a completely different picture. It’s very clearly a political game he is playing; one unbecoming of an officer.
But according to intelligence reports available to you what is the level of threat to his life at present? He claims that the Security Council is trying to reduce his security to get him assassinated. He alleges that if anything happens to him the Presidnt has to take direct responsibility?
We understand that if possible, LTTE will target the President, myself or any one of the Commanders. But don’t forget that the situation is very different today. The LTTE has been destroyed. But when he removed Gen. Parakrama Pannipitiya from the Eastern Command for whatever the reason, when the war in the North was still on and suicide cadres were in Colombo, Sarath Fonseka removed his security. This was the man who was responsible for clearing the East. And when Gen. Panipitiya filed a FR case Fonseka gave an affidavit agreeing to give only 6 people when there was a definite threat to his life.
He cites Intelligence Services Head J B Galanayaka on information that an explosive laden van had come to Colombo to target a VIP. He alleges that the government is using these tactics ‘intentionally’ to ensure that he gets blasted on the road?
I’m trying to bring legislation to provide security to the three commanders. But it takes time. I initiated that and he knows that. I always say that we should give security. I have no issue with that. But when we have given security and then ask for unreasonable amounts just to ridicule us or gain sympathy is not right. I’m the one who initiated the action to provide life time security to all Commanders which is now in Legal Draftsman’s Dept. I don’t say that he shouldn’t get it.
But the situation has changed in the country today which is why we had decided to open up the roads and not even close them for VIPs. We have defeated the LTTE now we have to bring normalcy to the country. That threat has passed. And if we have given what he requested what is the issue?
He also points a finger at you on defence purchases claiming that if there is any corruption it is you, the President, and the Tender Board that must take responsibility?
How can he say that? Again he’s trying to cover the truth behind this. He himself alluded to this. He told an interview that although normally the Chief of Staff sits on the Tender Board, ‘but I changed that and I sat on the Tender Board’ he said!
Then what is he talking about. What Tender Board was he referring to?
I don’t want to get in to the blame game but all I want to say is that as there are various allegations that have come in various papers etc. that the Army has purchased various things from his son-in-law’s company. All I can say is that this is unethical and illegal, because he himself accepted that he himself sat on the Army Tender Board. Again he’s trying to cover certain things and project a different picture which is not right.
But he says that the political leadership has failed to give priority for democracy, national security, including the people in the North and East, those displaced. Would you say that you have failed to win the peace as alleged?
I don’t know how he can talk on democracy and media freedom or the minorities. This is just politics. It’s unfair for a person who held such a position in the army to talk like that now that he has retired. I know his ideas and how he spoke in the Security Council. It’s ungrateful of him to talk like that just because he’s in politics, especially because he knows how we brought in a process of democracy to the East by holding elections and disarming the paramilitary groups.
What about the development work that was done there and bringing normalcy to that part of the country. Now because he’s standing with the people who opposed the war for his personal ambitions, and said we can’t win the war or that he himself was not fit enough to lead the Salvation Army, he’s coming out with these things. This shows his character. He’s teaming up with a politically bankrupt crowd, an unpatriotic lot to win his political ambitions.
There is sufficient indication to confirm a regrouping of the LTTE internationally. What is the government doing to face this threat?
We are doing a lot to curb this threat. The government didn’t believe its work ended after defeating the LTTE here, we went ahead and captured KP; who went on international TV and said he was the new leader. Again Gen Fonseka can’t take responsibility for it, it was the team effort of everyone involved that helped capture him. And such work is continuing.
One success of the operation was the secrecy maintained. No one knew about it till the capture. Very soon you will see more arrests, acquisition of LTTE assets and frozen accounts. We are working with international intelligence to continue this work.
Even locally our policing are working out very well, in interrogations and making more important arrests. All this continues while we are pursuing the development programs, and bringing investors in etc. During the last 4 years we have signed many international agreements that help us share information between the countries.
Of course there are pressures coming through from some of these countries but we have to work with them and win them over to neutralize the LTTE coming through. I know even countries like Canada wants to help break the LTTE network there. It’s a problem for them.
There is a threat of LTTE’s shipping network being used by any other terrorist organization thereby threatening any country in the world. All these countries have to work together if they are working to rid the world of terror.
How do you see the pressures that threaten to come through in the form of you and several other key members of the defence team being charged with war crimes violations?
Of course although a lot of countries appreciate our victory, there are some who are disappointed due to various reasons. Maybe it’s because of the Diaspora activities, because LTTE’s presence outside has become a political power which affects the governments in those countries. They can influence these countries. This maybe also due to certain strategic interests they have in our country. There are certain elements of the international community who see the President taking a hard stand on the international community when the war was on, taking it personally. Maybe these elements want governments like this changed.
We certainly see an international conspiracy to oust the President. I don’t point my finger at any government, but there were pressures that came through to safeguard the LTTE. These elements want to see the President out. Maybe they see that they can come out in a different way to give the LTTE Eelam. We have to be aware of this situation. The people have to be mindful of this danger.
These charges of war crimes are very unfair. It’s not the time to punish political leaders or officers or military leaders for fighting against terror. We defeated a terror organization that caused so much destruction to property and stalled democracy and destabilized the country. The LTTE caused more harm to the Tamil culture; they killed more Tamil people than any one people. The international community must understand this. They should help us build this country and bring the communities together. All these war crimes charges don’t do that.
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Posted by media at 8:39 AM
To be fair, Army Chief Fonseka commanded the respect of his men and had a reputation for professionalism — as long as he stayed a soldier. The problem was that, from time to time, he crossed the lines and betrayed quirkiness, triumphalism, chauvinism, and hints of political ambition. At the height of the Eelam War IV (August 2006 to May 2009), he went on record with assertions like “I strongly believe that this country belongs to the Sinhalese” and that the minority communities “can live in this country with us but they must not try to, under the pretext of being a minority, demand undue things.” Immediately after the final victory over the Tigers, he went completely over the top — publicly demanding a 50 per cent increase in the Army’s numerical strength for the peacetime challenge! Nor were the general’s political transgressions confined to domestic issues. He caused diplomatic embarrassment to the government he served by characterising sections of Tamil Nadu political leaders as a “bunch of jokers.”
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Posted by media at 3:05 AM
I know that one of General Fonseka's stated reasons for running for president is to put an end to corruption. Pu-lease… Have any of you read Mr. Rajasingham's article in the Asian Tribune about Fonseka's son-in-law in Oklahoma and his illegal, illicit, even criminal profiteering on Sri Lanka's war against the LTTE? Some estimate that this young man, Danuna Tilakaratne, made a commission of two cents for each bullet fired by the Government forces during the terrorist war, and that many of his deals were with scurrilous international arms traders that are currently being investigated (nice Buddhist - trafficking in deadly weapons - Right Livelihood?). Danuna forged documents, changed names on company registrations, used shady arms dealers, and made millions under the protection of his father in law: the same Gen. Fonseka who wants to rid the country of corruption. I feel, like many others, that this son-in-law incident is perhaps only the tip of the iceberg in regards to Fonseka's corruption with lucrative military contracts under his control. We'll see how it pans out.
By the way, I was also told by a very high-level source that Fonseka's daughter (at least one of them) and his son-in-law were also on salary from the Sri Lankan Government until just a month ago - while they were living in Oklahoma! The Government must have been totally asleep at the switch not to have caught this much earlier. If they knew about it, then shame on them for turning the other way and allowing it to continue as long as it did. Think about it, Sri Lankan people: are you sure you want to turn over your country's presidency to someone this tainted with corruption? What do you expect will change by making him the most powerful man in your land?
General Fonseka is also known for his unwillingness to take no for an answer - and for punishing those who disobey him. I have a friend in Colombo who told me about an army major serving under General Fonseka. His name is Lakshman Palipane. For a long period of time he was a favorite of the General, and he was oftentimes given preferential treatment for his loyalty. When Fonseka asked Lakshman to get him two young ladies for an evening's entertainment he refused on moral grounds. The General, in his pique, fired his former friendly subordinate, and Lakshman took him to court and won the case. Unfortunately, the Government took no action to get him restored to his former post, and the matter was brushed under the rug. Lakshman's military career was permanently ended.
Lastly, it has come to my attention that Bruce Fein (I'm not going to go into who this loathesome creature is here - as I've done this in many articles over the past two years) and his lot of LTTE front organization spokespeople, are indicating that they prefer a Fonseka win over President Rajapaksa. Why do you think this is so? They only want to undermine the stability of the country with prolonged political strife so they can continue to prosecute Gothabaya and carve out a section of your island for the Tamils. Come on - wake up! I also learned that General Fonseka met with former US Ambassador Robert Blake at least twenty times - and we know that Bob Blake is guilty as sin of favoring the LTTE over the GOSL. He's the one who recently met with Bruce Fein and others from Tamils Against Genocide, among other Tamil LTTE fronts, in Washington DC. No question which side of the fence Mr. Blake sits on. So why should the General and the former ambassador be so close?
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Posted by media at 1:58 AM
Monday, November 30, 2009
Professor Laksiri Fernando - University of Colombo
Sri Lanka seems to be going through some unusual times. What appeared as a bright future for the country just six months ago, after defeating the LTTE, is now clouded with doubt, intrigue and uncertainty.
No doubt that the country will come out of this crisis, as it did in previous times, perhaps much stronger. But it will be at an unnecessary cost and strain. But it will be at an unnecessary cost and strain.
A premature presidential election has to be declared to clear the doubts as to who would hold the people’s mandate, the government or the opposition. It will be held on the 26th January. Otherwise, what is due is parliamentary election before April. It is more than intriguing that the apparent contender is the former Army Commander challenging the incumbent President. The tricks of the main opposition, that vehemently opposed the war against the LTTE, and the remaining LTTE rump abroad, are uncertain as they seem to be in unison in destabilizing the country.
Sri Lanka perhaps did not realize fully that it escaped an impending military coup by a stroke of luck a few months ago. The political ambitions that the former army commander has very clearly expressed and the doubts that the government entertained about a possible military takeover are not accidental. It was to circumvent that eventuality that the former army commander was removed from his commanding position in mid-July by elevating him as the Chief of Defense of Staff, with more ceremonial and no actual power. As the facts have become revealed, the army commander has had different views from the government during the last stages of the operations against the LTTE on timing and logistics. Thereafter, his ambition has been to expand the army further, under his tutelage, without recognizing the end of the war or the costs involved. What may appear as a professional aspiration was very clearly linked to political ambitions.
It is not unusual for army commanders to step into politics when a country is in a crisis or when the army is at the helm. Though not unusual, it would be the end of democracy. During the thirty years of war, there were instances when a military takeover was suspected. The lack of proper political leadership or support to fight against the LTTE was the main grievance of the army or the potential spur to takeover. What prevented that eventuality was uncertainty or professionalism. It was uncertain that the army alone could face up to the LTTE, while governing the country, with an obvious opposition in the South. Sri Lanka also has been well known for a professional army. Only few generals have had temptation for politics before, and none of them seemed to entertain the full desire while in the service. The present General apparently is an exception.
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Posted by media at 12:49 PM
Nov 29, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said now it is clear to everyone that General Sarath Fonseka had been plotted against the government for a long time, while he was secretly engaged in politics before he retired from the Army.
In an interview with today’s Sunday Lakadeepa edition Nov 29 the Defence Secretary said General Fonseka has apparently had a number of discussions with the opposition during the last few months and now it is obvious that his protests over speedy resettlement and blocking the process posing various security and other reasons were actions carried out upon the interests of opposition while in uniform.
As a result the government had to face severe pressure from the international community. However President Mahinda Rajapaksa managed to expedite the resettlement process, the Defense Secretary said.
Responding to a question he said that security has been given as Fonseka has requested except the five woman soldiers.
"We can't satisfy his unfair demand claiming a contingent of 600 security personnel as he is an ex-military officer and security is provided after careful investigation into the threats that he claimed," Secretary Rajapaksa said.
Finally he said that the General is not a challenge to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
"We all respected him as a hero, but to no purpose he lost his integrity as he betrayed his leader by supporting anti government moves and his own dream of becoming a politician," the Defense Secretary commented.
General Fonseka announced his bid for presidency today at a media briefing. He is being backed by Sri Lanka main opposition United National Party, Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and few other minor political parties.
>> Full Story
Posted by media at 8:26 AM
One positive consequence of the illegal US invasion of Iraq is that many intelligence agents and analysts these days do what they can to prevent any repetition of such dastardly acts ever again. They pass on information freely these days to friends and even to acquaintances so that the lies and conspiracies are exposed in time.
According to a former US intelligence officer stationed in Colombo between 2005 and 2009, the codename for Sarath Fonseka in their secret communications was ‘FOF’. The business of codenames is generally interesting but in Fonseka’s case it is particularly so.
You see, ‘FOF’ denotes ‘Fresh Over the Fence’, a derogatory nickname the US border guards use to refer to Mexicans who illegally cross the southern border. The reason for Fonseka earning this moniker was his Spanish sounding surname and that he held a US Green Card!
Our much decorated ‘Common Candidate’ however, appears blissfully oblivious to such put downs by the Masters of the Universe. In fact, he met US Ambassador Patricia Butenis while the last acts of the drama of his ‘common candidacy’ were being played out. These days Butenis would be doing her nails with more care than usual!
The dishonorable game Fonseka is playing raises many issues about the man’s character that were previously obscured by the enormous sacrifices of the soldiers he led. Now it appears that he is an ace ‘whinger’. His haranguing over the privileges he lost since retirement shows that he unreasonably expects the state to sustain him forever.
There is more disturbing evidence that Fonseka developed a close clandestine relationship with Robert O. Blake well before the final phase of the war. He may well have agreed to hand over Prabhakaran to ‘a third country’ if not for the strong stance taken by the government. Many Sri Lankans will be shocked to hear that the purpose of his recent ‘troubled’ trip to the US was really for finlising Blake’s arrangements for campaign financing. Solid evidence of Fonseka’s duplicity will reach the appropriate authorities in the coming months, hopefully before January 26, 2010.
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Posted by media at 7:00 AM
Responding to criticism of collusion between him and one-time supporters of the LTTE, Fonseka appealed to the remnant LTTE cadres to join his campaign to restore democracy in the country. He said that even LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's parents were welcome to back him. He said there were neither permanent friends nor permanent enemies and he was determined to receive the support of all parties to defeat the government.
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Posted by media at 6:58 AM
So, Gen. (retd) Sarath Fonseka has finally shown his hand. He wants to contest the next presidential election as the UNF-JVP combine's candidate. That he would do so was only too well known and his announcement, therefore, lacked an element of surprise. However, the press conference he gave yesterday was of some interest as the country saw the retired general trying to metamorphose into a politician.
Fonseka may have realised that politics was a different ball game altogether as in fielding questions on the economy, minorities and democracy, he happened to quip that even a politician with 30 of years of experience would find it difficult to answer them. His remark prompted a journalist to ask how he could consider himself fit to run for presidency while admitting that he was inexperienced as a politician. Fonseka said he was not the only brain in the Opposition alliance and he could work with others in addressing those issues.
The UNP and the JVP has desisted from fielding their own presidential candidates as they are convinced their leaders are lost causes unable to rival their bete noire President Mahinda Rajapaksa, whom they are all out to hound out of office. A sine qua non for the success of their common candidate project is to promote Fonseka as being a brand new 'Superman' capable of outdoing Rajapaksa in every respect on his own without being burdened with the Opposition's liabilities, for which both the JVP and the UNP have been routed at so many elections consecutively. But, he has now admitted that in the event of his victory, he will be heavily dependent on the same old political rejects who are wary of facing the presidential contest. Whether Fonseka will be able to impress the electorate and secure its support for becoming President as a front for a bunch of defeatist politicians notorious for waste, corruption, abuse of power and political violence, is the question. It is doubtful whether he has read the COPE reports prepared under Wijedasa Rajapaskha, naming mega corrupt deals involving some of the Opposition bigwigs who have thrown in their lot with him.
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Posted by media at 6:57 AM
General Sarath Fonseka (Retd,) on Friday garlanded a photograph of slain newspaper editor Lasantha Wickremetunge, and paid his respects (above). He was addressing lawyers of the National Lawyers Association as common candidate of the opposition, along with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Late Wickremetunge was also a lawyer, and the National Lawyers Association was honouring members who died this year.
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Posted by media at 1:57 AM
Sri Lanka’s former armed forces chief, who resigned in disaffection with the government two weeks ago, has formally announced he will stand in presidential election to challenge the incumbent, Mahinda Rajapaksa.
General Sarath Fonseka said he was entering politics with reluctance but that he could not leave the country, “in the hands of a tin-pot dictator”.
With this announcement, the soldier-turned-politician also denounced the government, above all President Rajapaksa and his three powerful brothers.
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Posted by media at 12:56 AM
Sunday, November 29, 2009
The alleged "midnight storm" at the residence of the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) on Tuesday (25), has come-to-light as a bizarre display of cheap propaganda.
"The entire scene, a "staged-drama" for public consumption was aimed at tunnelling general sympathy towards the UNF Presidential candidate, Sarath Fonseka, a reliable source with affiliations to the "12million" Reid Aveneu office said.
It was a "midnight raid" in paper and well timed, coinciding with the former's display of ire against his very own establishment and authorities. The former CDS- well know both in the military circles and contemporary school mates for his poor intellectual ability has become Mange's latest poster 'boy', the source said. It's just simple. He (Fonseka) is now unable to flex his muscles and grind people as he wants and this; the former is not comfortable with. Now, one can see the lying cause for the general's callous outburst, the source further said.
According to our source who wishes to remain anonymous on grounds of security, said that Sarath Fonseka is just reading scripts provided by Mange and Co., making a halle boloo of his misfortunes. "No wonder the former general's intellectual capacity prompts him to think same of the public conscience", a retired military official said.
Despite being thrown into the Presidential race against the prowess of Mahinda Rajapaksa, uncertainty of luck has lured the former general to shun his military attire and take a "baby's day-out" .Await more revelations on 'Mange- Fonseka' productions.
>> Full Story: Times of Lanka
Posted by media at 11:56 PM
Colombo, 29 November, (Asiantribune.com):
Danuna Tilakaratne - General (retired) Sarath Fonseka: Son-in-Law and Father-in-Law - a joint arms deal
In our earlier report we presented facts on how the son-in-law of Gen Sarath Foneska, the then army commander, made blood money with every bullet and shell fired by the army in the Wanni war.
We also published photographs showing how the honourable gentleman lavishly spent the blood money he had earned under the veneer of a patriot with the willing connivance of the ‘Great Soldier’.
Interestingly, when President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched his humanitarian campaign to liberate the Tamils as well as the country from the clutches of Prabhakaran and his separatist terrorist goons, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, the then Army Commander was not in the country. He was out in Singapore, getting medication.
On his return home, he got himself immersed in a battle against not only with the LTTE but also with the innocent Tamil civilians. And the Tamil Tigers greeted him by sending a pregnant woman suicide cadre.
The symbolism in the Tiger’s act is something that cannot be missed. It is known in military circles by then that Gen Fonseka had upon the virginity of the dozens of women soldiers and made them pregnant. He also fathered children by molesting several innocent Sinhala women soldiers who worked under him.
As army commander, Fonseka instead of winning the hearts and minds of the Tamils living in the war zone harassed them. He made innocent Tamils run along with the Tiger cadres from Mannar to Mullaitivu.
When the battle was raging Fonseka left on a holiday to China on 11 May. The trip was sponsored by a leading Chinese arms manufacturer, China North Industries Corporation, NORINCO. The entire family joined him in the holiday. Wife Anoma, two daughters Aspara, Aparna and the son-in law cum arms dealer Danuna Tilakaratne stayed with the General along with his ADC and a few other relatives and friends
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Posted by media at 8:45 AM