Thursday, September 23, 2004

Kalutara Courts in heightened security by Harischandra Gunaratna

Security in the Kalutara Courts has been tightened since Wednesday and body searches by the police are the order of the day while the case of a gang-land killing is being heard at the Magistrates Court. There is suspicion that arms and explosives could be smuggled in to the courts by the rival parties.

Two notorious gangs involved in the case are suspected of a number of killings in Kalutara North police division, police said.

Rumour mongers naturally had a field day spreading a story that there was a bomb in the courts and that litigants and lawyers were asked to leave the Magistrate Courts as the bomb disposal squad had been summoned to defuse it.

Senior lawyer in the Kalutara Bar Bandula Weerasinghe said "At no time was there a bomb scare in the Court house" and confirmed it is the work of the rumour mongers. A veteran lawyer with over four decades of practice was quoted as saying that it was the first time that he was subjected to a body search in the Courts premises.


Aussie TV producer arrested

The producer of a proposed reality TV show called Fantasy Island appeared in court Thursday, accused of threatening terrorist attacks against Australian targets in the name of Osama bin Laden.

Charles Gant, 42, allegedly spoke of impending attacks in telephone calls to the Australian High

Com-mission in Singapore and media companies days after the September 9 bombing of Australia’s embassy in Jakarta, the court heard.

Gant was arrested Wednesday at his home in Queensland state by federal police counter-terrorism agents, police said.

The Egyptian-born promoter was the creator and proposed star of a reality television dating show, Fantasy Island. It was not clear whether the show has yet been filmed.

Crown prosecutor Anthony Gett said Gant used his mobile phone to make threatening calls to the Australian mission in Singapore and several media organisations.

In one call Gant allegedly identified himself as Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and said Australian offices in Singapore and Malaysia would be bombed.

"The bomb that happened in Jakarta is going to happen in Malaysia and Singapore," he said, referring to a September 9 suicide bombing in the Indonesian capital that killed nine people.

"I called to warn you of more attacks on Australian consulates in Malaysia and Singapore," he was quoted as saying.

In another call, Gant allegedly told a media group: "You Westerners know what you’ve done and you will pay for your sins.

"The attack in Jakarta is just the first, more will follow in Singapore and Malaysia."

"Listen to me you are all Australian pigs and you will die," he allegedly told a telephone receptionist at Fairfax Newspapers in another call.

The charges against Gant carry a maximum 12-month prison term.

Gant’s lawyer said the charges were based on circumstantial evidence and would be vigorously defended. The suspect was denied bail and remanded in custody pending another hearing on October 8.

Outside court Gant’s elderly mother, Marie Dubois, pleaded her son’s innocence. "He’s a good boy, he’s never done anything wrong, he’s not a terrorist," she said.


CBK disagrees with Bush approach

In the world’s fight against terrorism, the use of force and violence by a State should be the last resort, Sri Lanka’s President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said this afternoon at a Headquarters press conference. Calling terrorism "the most dehumanizing, the most horrendous phenomenon of our times", she stated that there were, nevertheless, alternative ways of handling it. She said that U.S. President George W. Bush, in his speech before the General Assembly earlier today, seemed to argue that the main strategy of meeting terrorism in the world is through force, a view with which she disagreed, states a media release from the Presidential Secretariat.

The release continued: Asked by a journalist what perspective Sri Lanka has to offer the world about the strategies to use in the fight against terrorism, she said her government believed that the way to resolve conflict was through negotiations and dialogue. "Even if the expression of the conflict may take the most horrendous terroristic forms, we believe that there are justified reasons for it", she said, arguing that legitimate grievances must be considered apart from the acts of violence. She said there was, perhaps, no better organization than the United Nations to identify and address the root causes of terrorism. The international community could deal with Al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein more effectively and more durably using this approach.

When asked whether the results of US elections might affect Sri Lanka’s willingness to offer assistance in Iraq, she stated that, "whoever is the President of the United States, we will not send troops to Iraq because we do not believe that war is the solution".

The Government of Sri Lanka continued to seek a negotiated solution to the country’s own armed conflict, which had lasted for two decades. A ceasefire had held for two-and-a-half years, she said, though she accused the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of some violations. In particular, she said the Tigers were responsible for child conscription and the illegal collection of taxes in the north and east of the country.

Ten years ago, her Government had made the first overture to the Tigers to resolve the conflict through a negotiated settlement, she said. Since then, various governments had attempted negotiations; however the Tigers repeatedly had "kicked the process in the teeth and walked away", she said.

Currently, the LTTE was not engaged in a direct dialogue with the government, but its leaders had reiterated a commitment not to go back to war. She said the Government of Sri Lanka also remained committed not to go back to armed conflict. "We remain committed to the concept that we do not like war", she said. "We are determined to do our maximum to persuade our adversaries, the LTTE, to engage in the process of negotiations in order that we can together formulate a satisfactory and lasting solution to the conflict." The government of Norway continued to play an active and dynamic role in pursuing talks with the LTTE.

The Tigers would like to see what they call an "interim, self-governing authority" established before continuing discussions about a final resolution of the conflict, she said. Her government was "not satisfied" with this approach, and would prefer to discuss what would be the shape of a final solution before establishing any interim arrangement. She mentioned that there were proposals for interim arrangements in various constitutional reform proposals her party had put forward. Her Government continued to view the extensive devolution of power, "a kind of federal state", as the key to resolving the conflict. This proposal was first offered by her government nine years ago in the form of a new draft constitution. She did not know what else the government could do short of handing over the country to the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

She thanked the international community for its support of the peace process, mentioning the European Union, the United States, India, and Japan. Donors had responded to a conference linking development with peace with a large amount of funding for development projects in Sri Lanka’s war-affected areas.

The government also had restructured its development programme to prioritize rural development, including roads, electricity, drinking water, and housing. Sri Lanka enjoyed good education and health indicators, she said, with statistics comparable to those in the developed world. Literacy rates stood at 95 per cent, average life expectancy was age 73, and infant mortality was low.

In response to a question about the role of women, she noted high levels of women’s participation at every level of Sri Lankan society. The exception was in government, where the proportion of women in Parliament and in provincial councils remained very low. "Male chauvinism reigns supreme in the political arena", she said.

(Issued by the Presidential Secretariat)


No cause justifies terror, CBK tells UN

Pledging Sri Lanka’s commitment to the global effort against terrorism, President Chandrika Kumaratunga yesterday expressed the belief that substantial progress could be made on the draft Comprehensive Convention of International Terrorism and the draft Convention on Nuclear Terrorism. This was at the 59th sessions of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

"Terrorism in all its manifestations must be condemned and fought relentlessly and globally. While no cause justifies terror unleashed upon the innocent, such outrages must make us redouble our efforts to address their root causes and seek political and socio-economic explanations and solutions to them. We are currently engaged in this task in Sri Lanka."


September 11 and the Day After Tomorrow! By U. E. Perera

On September 11 two unfortunate incidents or episodes have taken place in the recent history of mankind. On September 11, 1973, General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, overthrew the constitutional government of President Salvador Allende of Chile.

The presidential palace was bombed by the Chilean Air Force and Allende killed himself in the ruins. Salvador Allende was a popular political leader in Chile and was a founder of the Chilean Socialist Party in 1933. In 1938, he became the Chief Organizer in Valparaiso of the campaign to elect Aguirre Cerda, the popular front candidate, to the Presidency. In 1939, for a very brief period he became the Minister of Health under Cerda's government. He sat in the Senate from 1945 to 1970 and was Vice-President of the Senate for five years and President for two years. He was also the Secretary-General of the Socialist Party in 1943 and stood unsuccessfully for the presidency in 1952, 1958 and 1964. In 1970 he was elected as the first socialist President at the head of a broadly based Popular Front Coalition.

With the assuming of political power, Allende preached a glowing vision of economic and social equality. Nationalization and collectivization sealed new reforms in the country. Although Allende was seen as a saviour to many at home, the United States could not stomach a Socialist in power in their hemisphere. It is a well-known and confirmed fact in the annals of recent history, that the U.S. Government encouraged the coup to destabilize the popularly elected government and rejoiced when it succeeded.

Allende's fall brought General Augusto Pinochet to power for 17 years. During this dark period in the history of Chile, he unleashed appalling violence. According to unconfirmed statistics more than 3,000 people died, and many more-possibly hundred of thousands were tortured. Alfredo Jocelyn-Holt, a historian says that third-class methods were used to silence the opponents of the fascist regime. When the warrants were issued to arrest Pinochet in London, it was alleged that under the authority of Pinochet's regime, a series of punishable actions were committed under the fiercest ideological repression, the purpose of which was the elimination, disappearance and kidnapping of thousands of persons who were also systematically tortured. While these atrocities were mainly conducted in Chile, such activities were also alleged to have been undertaken with the involvement of other states of the region according to 'Plan Condor'.

September 11 is a watershed once again. The United States of America which was not harmed in anyway, during the first and the second world wars, was the victim of a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Nearly 3000 people died in the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. In lower Manhatten, on a field in Pennsylvania and along the banks of the Potomac, the United States suffered the single largest loss of life from an enemy attack on its soil.

There was a huge public cry in the United States against the administration of President George W. Bush and in November 2002, the United States Congress and the President established by law the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission. This independent, bipartisan panel was directed to examine the facts and circumstances surrounding the September 11 attacks, identify lessons learned and provide recommendations to safeguard against future acts of terrorism.

Among the 10 commissioners appointed there were five Republicans and five Democrats. There were, Thomas H. Kean (Chairman), Lee H. Hamilton (Vice-Chairman), Richard Ben Veniste, Bob Kerrey, Fred F. Fielding, John F. Lehman, Jamie S. Gorelick, Timothy J. Roemer, Slade Gorton and James R. Thompson.

Under the Public Law of 107-306, promulgated on November 27, 2002, this commission was given wide and sweeping powers to investigate "facts and circumstances relating to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001" including those relating to intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies. diplomacy, immigration issues and border control the flow of assets to terrorist organizations, commercial aviation, the role of congressional oversight and resource allocation and other areas determined relevant by the commission. .

Before releasing the final report, the commission has investigated 2.5 million pages of documents and also has interviewed more than 1,200 persons in ten countries. It is stated in the final report that it has held 19 days of hearings and has recorded public testimony from 160 witnesses.

Preface to the final report says:
"We learned about an enemy who is sophisticated, patient, disciplined and lethal We learned that the institutions charged with protecting our borders, civil aviation, and national security did not understand how great this threat could be and did not adjust their policies, plans and practices to deter or defeat it. We learned of fault lines within our government- between foreign and domestic intelligence and between and within agencies. We learned of the pervasive problems of managing and sharing information across a large and unwieldy government that had been built in a different era to confront different dangers".

"At the outset of our work, we said we were looking backward in order to look forward. We hope that the terrible losses chronicled in this report can create something positive- an America that is safer, stronger, and wiser. That September Day we came together as a nation. The test before us is to sustain that unity of purpose and meet the challenges now confronting us."

"We need to design a balanced strategy for the long haul, to attack terrorists and prevent their ranks from swelling while at the same time protecting our country against future attacks. We have been forced to think about the way our government is organized. The massive departments and agencies that prevailed in the great struggles of the 20th Century must work together in new ways, so that all the instruments of national power can be combined. Congress needs dramatic change as well as strengthen oversight and focus accountability,"

Al Qaeda operatives who are being named and blamed for this attack, managed to keep their plans of attack a secret from the U.S. Government until July 24, 2004. A raid carried-out on the house of an Al Qaeda leader in Pakistan uncovered three laptop computers and 51 data-rich discs. Stored on the computers were 500 photographs of potential targets inside the U.S; minutely detailed analyses of the vulnerabilities to a terrorist attack of several of them and communications among some of the most wanted terrorists in the world. In their volume and specificity, the discs amounted to what a senior U. S. intelligence official calls an unprecedented "treasure- trove" of information about Al Qaeda's determination to pull off more catastrophic acts on U.S. soil.

It is revealed that Al Qaeda has cased targets for years before attacking; As an example preparations for the 1998 bombings of two U. S. Embassies in Africa began in 1993. Though the surveillance information on the discs was done mostly in 2000 and 2001, one disc contained an updated photo of the Prudential Plaza building that was added to the Al Qaeda file in January of this year. The discs also detailed the operative's extensive reconnaissance of the design, construction and layouts of four other sites; the New York Stock Exchange, the Citizen Group Building and the Washington Headquarters of both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The computers also contained surveillance of helicopter ports in New York City as well as cockpits and control of helicopters, suggesting that Al Qaeda has investigated the possibility of using them for an airborne attack. "'This new information is chilling in tone, dramatic in its detail and very professional" says a senior U.S. intelligence official.

Criticisms leveled against the United States intelligence community is almost a daily event now in the United States of America. The latest attack, however, has not originated from the media or from Congress but from its own ranks. A recently published book under the title, "IMPERIAL HUBRIS" and edited by one of the veterans of the intelligence community who has remained anonymous, claims that successive U.S. administrations and CIA leaders have under-played or mishandled the threat posed by Bin Laden. Without any hesitation or reservations he condemns the invasion of Iraq as an "avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat," noting that "there is nothing that Bin Laden could have hoped for more than the American invasion and occupation of Iraq." His considered opinion is that Bin Laden is safely ensconced in the unruly tribal lands of Pakistan and argues that Al Qaeda may actually become stronger, with a new generation of computer-literate terrorists filling the void left by captured deputies.

The 10-member commission by Mr. Thomas H. Kean has recommended several measures and proposals to safeguard the interests of the United States of America and its citizens. However it has not taken into account the arbitrary & provocative policies carried-out by Pentagon in the post-cold war era. The United States of America is seeking to install a new world order all over the world by not only ignoring the world opinion but even sidelining the protests of American public.

A new world order can only be established by tolerance and compromise. No super power has the right to dictate terms to other nations. If the present political leadership of the United Sates of America is genuinely interested in establishing a new world order on democratic foundation, the first task of the United States is to abide by the collective decisions of the United Nations and safeguard the principles enshrined in its charter.

Major’ bluff called, pretender enlarged on bail by Harischandra Gunaratna

The man who had been posing off as a Major in the Sri Lanka Army, found that his bluff had been called, when he, as requested by police sleuths, reported to the District Crime Detection Bureau (DCDB) Nugegoda last Friday, only to find himself being placed under arrest.

On the same day he was produced before the Kaduwela Magistrate Champa Janaki Rajaratne and was enlarged on a personal bail in Rs.10,000 with a warning to refrain from deceitful acts. The Magistrate also ordered him to appear before Court on Tuesday September 21. The police however requested further time to complete their investigations.

The suspect, Puvendrakumar Ketapolagamage, residing in a luxury apartment at the "Lake Crescent" complex in Athurugiriya, was arrested by the DCDB on a complaint made by the Provost Marshal of the Sri Lanka Army, Brigadier Asoka Thoradeniya, to Senior Superintendent of Police, Nugegoda Division, Dayananda Bandara.

Inspector Royal Rupasinghe, who is conducting investigations told The Island that the suspect joined the Army’s volunteer force as an officer cadet in 1991 and had served till 1992 when he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Pioneer Corps. Since then he had been absent from work and the Military Police had arrested him on 24.12.1993 and he was sent on compulsory leave on 9.2.94. He had been discharged from service on 19.9.1994 in accordance with gazzete notification No.837.

On an earlier occasion too the suspect had aroused the same Magistrate’s suspicion when he claimed before her that he was a Major in the Army. He had been involved in a fracas, on September 13, with his neighbours, who had later pelted his house in Athurugiriya , with stones. He had complained about the incident to the Athurugiriya police, who arrested his foes and produced them before the Kaduwela Magistrate. When the pretender appeared before the Magistrate in connection with the case in which he was the complainant, he had claimed before her that he was Major in the Sri Lanka Army. The Magistrate whose suspicions had been aroused had ordered the police to check his credentials.

There are reports that the suspect Ketapolagamage, who operates an advertising agency named SWAT and poses as a Major in the Army, had access to certain Army installations and that he had claimed to have been a member of the 16th intake of the regular army. In his visiting card he had the prefix Major before his name and it was mentioned that he had been decorated with a Rana Soora Padakkama (Bravery Medal)

Investigations are being conducted by a squad from the DCDB led by Inspector Royal Rupasinghe with PC’s Ananda and Perera supervised by SP D. D. Ranasinghe on the instructoins of SSP Nugegoda division Dayananda Bandara.

Excerpts from President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s speech to the UN General Assembly

Peace and resolution of conflict through dialogue takes centre stage in our lives and hence need to be accorded the highest priority on the UN agenda. All of us here are only too aware that peace is not the simple absence of war, it entails an active engagement to make every effort to understand the root-causes that endanger peace and generate conflict.

I also require resolute action for consensus building in order to arrive at a sustainable solution that guarantees a lasting Peace.

In Sri Lanka, my government has implemented serious programmes to engage the armed group - the LTTE - in comprehensive peace negotiation for 10 long years. This process has seen successes and setbacks. Armed hostilities have been halted for the past 2 1/2 years under a Ceasefire Agreement. A comprehensive development strategy has been launched in the North and East of the country, affected by the conflict. The Government of Norway is playing the role of facilitator for the negotiation process for nearly six years. We have taken the process forward with the active participation of Norway, even though at present the LTTE is refusing to return to the negotiating table from which it withdrew nearly eighteen months ago.

We deeply appreciate the strong support we have received and continue to receive from the international community. While Norway is playing an extremely essential role in facilitating talks between the government and the armed group, others such as India, Japan, the USA and the EU together with UN Agencies and some international non governmental organizations are deeply involved with the development and rehabilitation process of the war-affected areas as well as in the poverty alleviation programmes in the rest of the country. My government has obtained a clear mandate at numerous elections to end the war and to bring a negotiated settlement to the country. We are committed to reach a negotiated settlement with the LTTE, a settlement that would satisfy all the peoples of Sri Lanka founded on democracy, the respect for human rights, a pluralist polity and society and good governance.

We are fully aware that peace is not achieved easily that peace is a constant struggle for mutual understanding, reconciliation, and to establish the rule of law, justice and equality.

The Buddha, popularly known as the Prince of Peace has preached at length about peace and all that is required to achieve it, peace within nations and within each individual. I quote from the Dhammapada:

"Victory breeds hatred. The defeated live in pain. Happily the peaceful live, giving up victory and defeat."

Mr. President,
Global developments that provide the context of this session, present a mixed picture. While economic and human development efforts in some countries have made progress, political processes undertaken to bring peaceful resolution to conflicts have been plagued by continuing violence, in others.

We are deeply saddened, at the violence, instability, loss of life and human suffering in Iraq. We in Sri Lanka know, and have experienced, first hand, the impact of violence on society and the difficulty in finding solutions to problems of governance that satisfy all parties. Security measures alone, as pointed out recently by the Secretary-General’s special representative to Iraq, will not suffice to end violence and create stability and peace. Political consensus building, reconciliation, rehabilitation and the promotion of the rule of law are essential for democracy to take root. Equally important, in today’s interdependent, increasingly globalized world is the commitment of the international community to remain engaged and ensure that Iraq does not become further plagued by violence and fragment on ethnic or religious lines.

All of us as leaders, and above all as mothers and fathers can never forget the sheer brutality of the terrorist attack earlier this month on a school in the Russian Federation which led to the loss of so many lives of children and adults. Terrorism in all its manifestation must be condemned and fought relentlessly and globally. While no cause justifies terror unleashed upon the innocent such outrages must make us redouble our efforts to address their root causes and seek political and socio-economic explanations and solutions to them. We are currently engaged in this task in Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is firmly committed to the global endeavour to fight terrorism. We have signed and ratified the UN Conventions aimed at combating this menace. We continue to contribute to the process by chairing the Ad Hoc Committee on Measures to Eliminate international Terrorism. We hope that at this session of the General Assembly, progress could be made on the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and on the draft Convention on Nuclear Terrorism.

Sri Lanka believes in the UN and its potential to be the principal forum where the voice of the poor, defenceless and the weak is also heard as much as the voice of the rich and powerful. We look to the United Nations - its Specialized Agencies and programmes - together with international civil society as the institutions that are capable of empowering people and promoting their rights and liberties, advancing free and fair trade, and forging a new level of international cooperation, with a shared responsibility for global governance and collective action for peace and security.

We recognize, therefore, the need for reform to render the United Nations more responsive to the needs and aspirations of all of its member States. We look forward to the recommendations to be presented to this session of the General Assembly by the ‘High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change’, appointed by the Secretary-General.

There is general agreement that the Security Council, as it is presently constituted, does not reflect the current geopolitical realities. Reform has to be comprehensive and should not be confined to the question of enlargement of the Security Council alone. However, we share the concern over the lack of progress on the question of equitable regional representation and the increase in the membership of the Security Council, both permanent and non-permanent categories. For many years, most of the member States, particularly the developing countries have consistently urged that the composition of the Security Council be broadened to accommodate the basic principles of democratic representation. This includes adequate representation of developing countries. In this context, we observe that Asia, the most populous continent that is home to expanding economic power houses in the world, is grossly under-represented in the present Council.

We take note of the fact that four countries - Brazil, Germany, India and Japan - will announce their participation in a compact, in terms of which they will collectively support their respective candidatures for permanent status in an expanded Security Council. Sri Lanka supports their candidatures, as each of them complies with one or more of the objective criteria applicable to the expansion of the permanent membership of the Security Council and hopes that the Open Ended Working Group would continue to exert efforts to resolve all outstanding issues expeditiously. Sri Lanka would also wish to see a consensus emerging on the permanent representation of Africa in the Security Council. Africa must be included when a final determination is reached on the future composition of the Security Council.

We also believe that the General Assembly which is representative of all member States of the UN should have a larger and more active role to play as a deliberative and decision-making body.

Children in some of our countries suffer from the ignominious practice of being used as child soldiers. We are addressing this problem by seeking to engage the LTTE in the process of negotiation and by supporting the activities spearheaded by UNICEF and civil society organizations working on this issue.

The Millennium Declaration Goals have given to the United Nations and member States a massive and challenging task. While the United Nations has been criticized by some, many have praised the organisation. All agree that the United Nations remains an indispensable instrument for preserving international peace and security and promoting socio-economic development, social justice and human rights. In a rapidly changing world economy and strategic environment, the UN however must meet the emerging challenges. It has a pivotal contribution to make in providing the political, legal and moral force underpinning the collective efforts of the member States towards creating a world where human rights freedom and equitable development are promoted and protected. It is perhaps in such an environment that those who suffer from deprivation and marginalisation will reject the advocacy of violence offered by extremists and terrorist groups as the only instrument of change. To this end, the UN can make a collective contribution. We expect the UN to epitomize the force of law not the rule of force.

However, we cannot expect the UN to deliver what the member States fail to support. The UN can do what its member States want it to do; no more, no less.

We witness with concern the emergence of a contrived association of certain religious beliefs with some groups of fanatics. Extremism, violence and terrorism are the complete antithsis of the ethical and spiritual foundation of all religious philosophies and practices. We should work resolutely to prevent these aberrations from becoming trends.

On the other hand, we are disturbed to witness religious symbols being defamed or abused for commercial purposes. Whether the symbols belong to Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish or any other faith, such abuse should be condemned and desisted from. The recent phenomenon of using Buddhist symbols for promotional work in the entertainment industry, thus causing concern and pain of mind among the Buddhists all over the world is a case in point. Fortunately, most of these organizations have agreed to refrain from such abuse in the future. Sri Lanka together with other like-minded States has brought this situation to the attention of UNESCO and other relevant inter-governmental bodies. We propose that the United Nations should call upon those responsible to pay due respect to religious symbols and practices. This would be a fitting contribution by the UN to its own initiative on a ‘dialogue among civilizations.’


We are not scared of LTTE terror – EPDP

EPDP leader Douglas Devananda has written to Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar calling upon the Norwegian Government to adopt effective measures to control the LTTE which does not care for international opinion but kills, abducts and attacks civilians with the aim of becoming the ‘Sole Representative of the Tamil People’ by the process of elimination of political opponents.

The full text of the letter:

"You are fully aware that ever since the Ceasefire Agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE was signed in February 2002, the LTTE had been engaged in attacks, abductions and killing of civilians including political opponents.

" In recent times the LTTE has intensified its killings of members of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), the only Tamil political party in the Sri Lankan Parliament that refuses to fall in line with the fascist goals of the LTTE.

" You are also fully aware of the numerous attack on and killing of key members of the EPDP by the LTTE during the months of July and August 2004.

" We believe that following these incidents, the Royal Norwegian Government and other members of the international community would have sent appropriate messages to the LTTE, demanding that the LTTE puts an end to its murderous activities. However, it is now very clear that the LTTE has become emboldened to intensify its killing of key EPDP members. This only proves that the LTTE does not care for international opinion. These killings are done with impunity.

" On 11th September 2004, in Kayts, Jaffna the LTTE shot and killed Mayavan Chandramohan alias Aruldas, just outside his home. Mayavan Chandramohan was a former Chairman of the Point Pedro Pradeshiya Sabha in the Jaffna District.

" A week later on 18th September 2004, the LTTE shot and killed Thambithurai Sivakumaran alias Bavan in Puttalam. He was on his way home from the EPDP office on a bicycle with his 4 year old daughter. Thambithurai Sivakumaran was the EPDP joint organizer for the Jaffna District. He had the responsibility to take care of families that had been displaced from the Jaffna peninsula several years ago as a result of the LTTE’s terror.

" Thambithurai Sivakumaran also was a candidate of the EPDP at the last Parliamentary Election for the Jaffna District and at previous elections at which the Illankai Thamil Arasu Katchi had won utilizing the terrorist machinery of the LTTE, he filed a Fundamental Rights Application in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka challenging the victory of the Illankai Thamil Arasu Katchi.

" As we have stated before, the LTTE is concentrating on killing the top and second rung leaders of the EPDP. The LTTE is hoping to attain the status of ‘Sole Representative of the Tamils’ by this process of elimination.

" We call upon the Royal Norwegian Government to adopt more effective measures to control the LTTE. Appeasement of the LTTE will not help to preserve democracy, human rights and political pluralism among the Tamils of Sri Lanka."


The Eelam Wars and the Futurology of Disaster by R. Chandrasoma

Planning for contingent happenings that bode ill for peoples and nations is now a well-practised art. Those living in earthquake-prone zones anticipate disaster and take practical steps to make buildings safe from the shakes and tumult that afflict the earth’s crust from time to time. We in Sri Lanka are fortunate in that we live in a region of tectonic stability and are spared the worst of those cyclonic storms that ravage other parts of the world. While enjoying this bounty that nature has so kindly condescended to give us, let us not forget the man-made disasters that assail us on all sides and more than match those of Nature’s doing in the magnitude of the depredations that ensue.

The disasters we have in mind are, of course, authored by a single villainous individual - the redoubtable Vellupillai Prabhakaran (or Pirapaharan). He has killed and destroyed on a scale that bears comparison with carnage unleashed by the conquistadores of the Iberian Peninsula some five centuries ago. While the latter is shameful history, Prabhakaran’s bloody mischief is ongoing and its eventual denouement is unknown. This much can be said safely the better part of the violence he is destined to unleash on the ill-fated population of Sri Lanka is yet to come. While hollering for peace is understandable, the possibility of war calls urgently for contingent planning. This view is in contrast to the rosy humoured panegyrics of the peace-gobbledegooks who write (and speak) as if the Tiger is now a tamed beast that demands no more than its fair share of sustenance. It is their fond belief that the beast has irrevocably pushed into its past the age of roistering when the use of the beloved bomb was an essential part of its way of life.

If the Peace Wallahs alone held these naive views, the danger to the country would not have attained the daunting magnitude it currently has. Most unfortunately for our fair land, the ruling elite is as jelly-bellied as the Peace Wallahs and its entire strategy (if it does, indeed, have a strategy) is based on the assumption that the Tiger’s killing days are over.

There is nothing to substantiate this unbridled optimism- it is obvious to all except the wilfully purblind that the Tiger continues his war preparations on the entirely logical supposition that there is the odd chance of failure and a recourse to the use of his well-honed killing machine is not merely a viable option but the trump-card in the power-game he is so skilled at.. Indeed he has - in recent weeks and months - given a fair indication of the reach of his weaponry and his disposition to use it if provoked.

In reaction to this truculence of a formidable enemy, is it only prayer and peace that we can offer? Knowing the mind-set of Prabhakaran, can we rule out the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on a scale that may well exceed that seen in the infamous attack on our Air Base in Katunayaka? The latter event was a defining moment in the history of the Prabhakaran-Sri Lanka conflict. Simply put, we capitulated and the Claim to Eelam moved from the realm of wishy-washy idealism to something eminently attainable through the use of force. We live under the shadow of this calamity.

We can have a ‘Second Katunayaka’ that will destroy forever the State of Sri Lanka as we know and love it. We spoke earlier of ‘Disaster management’ as part of the prescience of the prudent and well-managed state. What are the strategic hammer-blows that the wily Prabhkaran can inflict on a state in pathetic disarray as well as in the throes of a political melt-down for which there is no remedy in sight? Here are some possibilities -

1. A sudden move to overwhelm the military establishment in Jaffna using the people of the region as a human shield under the protection of which the massed cadres of the Tigers can regain control of this Tamil heartland.

2. The strangling of Trincomalee by bolstering the military power of the bases and encampments that already form a noose around the great harbour. This stronghold in the East will become another Jaffna with the expulsion of its Sinhala population.

3. A Tet-type offensive in Colombo. Except for crass simpletons and ostriches of the political kind, all know that Colombo is a haven for the covert operatives of Eelamism. That weapons and explosives are stashed away in safe-houses is beyond question - the police will be the first to acknowledge this with the caveat that they can do nothing about it. Can we rule out the possibility that a simultaneous attack on select targets in the metropolis will cause such havoc that the leaders will run away and the white flag of surrender will flutter from all public buildings?

4. The assassination of key figures in the political establishment of this country. This is a tried and tested method of getting ‘paradigm-shifts’ in political perspectives when the going is not to Prabhakaran’s liking. Currently, things are decidedly awry and he must be mulling over the use of this favourite weapon.

5. The opening of a ‘second front’ in the Hatton, Nuwara-Eliya area using the disaffected Tamils in the central hills will be a major achievement for Prabhakaran and will give a whole new dimension to the conflict. Already the region swarms with political lackeys of the Northern tyrant and the eventuality we speak of ranks very high in the list of dangers confronting the Sri Lankan State.

The five dangers listed are not mere forebodings of a prophet of evil - they are real dangers in the same broad category as earthquakes and storms. We prepare for the latter, even if the danger is not imminent. Why is the discussion of these scenarios (hypothetical as they are) shunned by those who, in a proper scheme of things, should be the first to warm us of such outcomes? A partial answer is given by the observation that our leaders have only one foot in their native country. The other is poised over a promising and bountiful terrain in a distant land, ready to receive the entire body weight if the first feels the heat of the local habitation. They can run away leaving the poor natives to sort out the mess.

Fisheries Co-op defies army

The Fisheries co-operative society of Kerudavil, in Vadamaradchchi (north), has commenced deepening the fisheries jetty despite the army’s opposition, pro-LTTE TamilNet quoted the fisheries society sources as saying.

The Jetty had been abandoned due to the conflict for about eight years.

Talks held between the Kerudavil fisheries society and the SLA failed due to difference of opinion between the parties concerned.

In the meantime, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded North East Community Restoration Development project allocated funds through the Error! Bookmark not defined. district secretariat to deepen the fisheries jetty.

The army on Monday made an abortive attempt to prevent the fisheries society commencing the work claiming that it had not obtained prior permission from Jaffna Security Forces Headquarters.


Talking to others no use — SLA Batti Tiger chief dodges pow-wow by Shamindra Ferdinando

The top Tiger commander, in charge of the Ampara-Batticaloa region, avoided yesterday’s meeting with the army to discuss ways and means of curbing the ongoing wave of violence involving the warring LTTE factions.

Thambirajah Ramesh’s successor Bhanu and Ramanan of the group’s military wing skipped yesterday’s meeting chaired by Maj.Gen.(Retd) Trond Furuhovde, head of the Norwegian-led Scandinavian truce monitoring mission’s chief.

The security forces delegation had emphasized that there was no point in having meetings with the political wing. "We don’t mind meeting them but the military wing leaders must come. Otherwise there is no point in meeting their political wing leader Kousalyan."

Maj.Gen. Furuhovde has assured that he would take up this with the LTTE leadership in Kilinochchi.

The meeting is the first since the LTTE suspended regular security talks with the army (in Batticaloa) over what the group said was a clandestine effort to weaken the group in the Ampara-Batticaloa region by taking advantage of the unprecedented crisis triggered by Karuna’s revolt.

During yesterday’s meeting, the army challenged the LTTE to justify its claims that the troops were secretly assisting the dissidents.

E. Kousalyan, head of the Tigers’ political division for Batticaloa-Ampara led the LTTE delegation. The security forces delegation was led by Brig. Vajira Wijegunawardena, General Officer Commanding (GOC), army’s 23 Division, with its headquarter at Welikanda.

The meeting took place at the Vavunathivu Divisional Secretary’s office, about 5 kilometres southwest of Error! Bookmark not defined. town, in the no man’s land between areas controlled by the LTTE and the forces.

S Marshall, head of the LTTE headquarters branch for Batticaloa-Ampara, Kuyilinpan, head of LTTE political division for Amparai and Dayamohan, head of LTTE’s administrative service in Batticaloa Ampara accompanied Kousalyan, the sources said.

Commander of 23-3 Brigade in Batticaloa town, Col. Laksiri Amaratunga and Special Task Force commander for Batticaloa-Ampara SSP Vasantha Ratnayaka also participated.

LTTE had no say in Jaffna postal complex

The Ministry of Posts yesterday scotched speculation that the newly built postal complex in Jaffna was opened on a directive given by the LTTE. A senior spokesperson said, "We requested the Jaffna Government Agent to commence operations at the new building. This was done purely on the instructions of the ministry and not on a directive given by the LTTE," he said. The new building has cost the tax payer Rs.60 million.


Over home guards in LTTE captivity Hartal, death fast paralyse - Trincomalee by Norman Palihawadane

A hartal and a fast unto death brought life to a standstill in Trincomalee yesterday.

The protest was mounted to demand the release of two home guards, abducted and kept by the LTTE’s Wanni faction..

Shops were closed and vehicular transport was halted. The city was deserted except for the 25 participants in the fast. They sat opposite the clock tower in the centre of the city with their supporters.

Another group of 200 persons mounted a separate satyagraha at the Fourth Mile post on the Trinco-Kantale road.

The sit in fast, staged by the relatives of home guards a week ago, developed into a fast unto death yesterday over the LTTE’s delay in releasing them.

Additional police security was provided to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission in Trincomalee.

The protest was supported by the North East Sinhala Organisation.

Two home guards, D. Sarath Bandara and Chandana Piyasiri were abducted by the LTTE on August 10 at Konabendiwea, Gomarankadawala. The LTTE later demanded the government to release ten of their cadres for the release of the two home guards.

However, the Defence Secretary Cyril Herath on Monday turned down LTTE’s demand for a prisoner swap saying that he had not received such a request from the LTTE, sources said.

Spokesman for the North East Sinhala Organisation, Sunil Aluthgamage said that they would mobilise more civilians to get the two home guards released from the ‘tiger claws’.

DIG Eastern Range, Neville Wijesinghe said that additional policemen had been deployed in the city in view of any emergency and to provide security to public property.

SSP Upali Hewage said that police has received information that large number of people were on the walk from Gamrankadawala and Bakmeewewa areas to join the fast unto death campaign in the center of the city

EPDP apprises France of LTTE atrocities

The Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) representatives at their meeting with the French Ambassador to Sri Lanka Jean Bernade de Vaivre complained about the problems faced by the civilians in the North and East due to the LTTE’s atrocities.

The EPDP delegation, headed by its leader Hindu Affairs Minister Douglas Devananda had told the French envoy that civilians were facing severe hardships due protection money extracted by the LTTE, EPDP spokesman Nelson Edirisinghe said.

They had complained that people in these areas were very poor and therefore found it impossible to comply with the LTTE order to pay ‘taxes’. Those who fail to pay the money, they had pointed out, had to undergo punishment following kangaroo trials by the LTTE.

The LTTE continued to recruit children as combatants but no one seem to be able to do anything about it. For no one dared stand up to the LTTE for fear of death, the EPDP members had told the Ambassador calling upon France and other powerful members of the international community to intervene to save the hapless civilians ‘trapped in the areas controlled by the LTTE in the North and the East.’

The EPDP is expected to have a series of other foreign diplomats to apprise them of the LTTE violence against civilians.


Karuna's brother killed in major LTTE offensive By Sunil Jayasiri

LTTE's elusive renegade eastern commander Karuna suffered a devastating blow when Wanni forces killed his elder brother and deputy in a pitched battle in the uncleared Annadmali in Batticaloa early yesterday.

The attack and heavy fighting came amidst reports that the LTTE's Wanni leadership had sent reinforcements to the east for the past few days and weeks and finalised plans for a major attack on the Karuna faction after loyalists of the renegade leader had launched a series of attacks on LTTE cadres.

Military sources said Wanni cadres reportedly launched the attack on Karuna's cadres led by Karuna’s 40-year-old brother Vinyagomoorthy Sivanesathurai alias Reggie as part of a fresh campaign by the LTTE leadership to knock out the renegade faction.

They said the battle began late at night and after several hours of heavy fighting Karuna's brother and two other frontliners Kuilanan and Eleen were killed on the spot at Annadmali.

Later Wanni cadres had brought the bodies to Illipadichchenai and some reports said Reggie's body was burnt.

Five Wanni cadres including two females were also killed by the Karuna faction which had offered fierce resistance to the attack, the sources said quoting reports from the area.

But Military Spokesman Sumedha Perera said that while information had come to the troops about the confrontation between the two factions and at least three deaths, the casualty figures had not been confirmed.

Reggie had launched several attacks on the Wanni cadres since his brother was virtually forced to leave the east by the Wanni faction after an LTTE crackdown in March this year.

Since then, a large number of Wanni cadres including several senior members were killed in a series of attacks by the Karuna faction.

The latest clash came soon after representatives of the Army and the LTTE met in Batticaloa on Tuesday to discuss the situation in the east including LTTE allegations that sections of the military were backing the Karuna faction.

At this meeting the senior most Army officer strongly denied the LTTE allegation and challenged the Tigers to provide evidence if they had any.

Another EPDP member shot dead

Another senior EPDP member was shot dead at his residence in Wellawatte yesterday afternoon allegedly by LTTE cadres, police said.

They said the 39-year-old victim identified as Somasundaram Warnakulasingham alias Singham died on his way to hospital while his wife also suffered serious gun shot injuries and was hospitalised.

Yesterday's killing came about a week after EPDP member Sivakumar was killed in Puttalam. On Monday, the EPDP brought his body in a coffin to the gates of the Norwegian embassy in Colombo and demanded effective action by the facilitators to stop alleged LTTE killings.

Meanwhile, a former LTTE cadre known to be a close supporter of Karuna was shot dead while he was returning home at Manampitiya in Mananthota on Wednesday night. Polonnaruwa police Inspector L.,H.Piyasena said the 22-year-old victim identified as Rajadurai Sivanathan alias Kutty had deserted the LTTE after serving it for about 7 years.


Sinhala group threatens one week’s fuel, flour blockade

The North-East Sinhala Organization has threatened to block the supply of fuel and flour from Trincomalee to Colombo for one week if the government fails to get the two home guards released from LTTE custody within three days.

The organization's spokesman Sunil Aluthgamage said yesterday they would also stage other forms of civil disobedience in support of the demand.

He accused the government including the JVP and opposition parties of being conveniently silent on this matter.

Meanwhile, a government delegation led by Cabinet Spokesman Mangala Samaraweera last evening met the Organization's officials at Trincomalee and promised to take immediate steps to get the home guards released.

However an official of the organizations said they were not satisfied with promises and would go ahead with the protest.


Ferial pledges aid to war-ravaged east village by Ifham Nizam

Urban Development and Water Supply Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and Housing, Construction and Eastern Province Education Minister Ferial Ashroff during their visit to Palliyagodalle in Medirigiriya last week assured war-ravaged villagers of long term assistance.

People of Palliyagodalle are in dire straits due to loss of life and property on account of a terrorist attack a decade ago, which devastated their entire village. Nearly 428 families, eking out a living in temporary cadjan huts after this attack are worst affected by the prevailing drought.

Addressing villagers, Minister Ferial Ashroff said that as a first step, the Government will provide material assistance to put up 50 houses.

She added: "We expect the village people to actively participate in the construction work."

She said that it’s her intention to encourage Muslim brethren in Colombo and the suburbs to contribute lavishly to develop this village. "I entered politics, though a Muslim woman in order to continue the services rendered to the Sri Lankan Muslims by the late Mr. Ashroff."

Minister Gunawardena said that the tragedy faced by the people of Palliyagodelle cannot be easily forgotten nor endorsed.

The government will help them by building the required tanks and irrigation channels soon.

Business and Professional Women’s Association Chairperson Janaki Gunawardena also spoke.

LTTE claims: Karuna denies - ‘Ambush killed Karuna’s bro’ - by Norman Palihawadane and T.Chandrasekera

One of the close allies of the renegade LTTE military commander Karuna Amman had been ambushed and killed by a group of the Wanni Tigers at Illuppadichenai, on the border of the Batticaloa and Polonnaruwa districts, sources said.

The LTTE claimed the man they killed was Karuna’s brother and his deputy, known as Reggie,

The bloody skirmishes on Tuesday night at Illuppadichenai in Batticaloa between Karuna loyalists and the LTTE’s Wanni cadres lasted for six hours and ended with seven Wanni Tiger cadres and two of Karuna’s men being killed.

Two senior associates of the renegade LTTE commander, Elilan and Sunilan, were also killed in the clashes, sources added.

Three Karuna loyalists were caught in ambush set by the Wanni cadres at Illuppadichenai closer to Karadiya Naru in Maha Oya on Chenkal Adi road around 7.30 p.m. on Tuesday.

The bodies of the Karuna loyalists were found left at Karadiyanaru area yesterday. The face of one had been mutilated and the LTTE’s Wanni cadres claimed the body was Reggie’s.

Karuna’s faction has denied the LTTE claim that its deputy leader Reggie has been gunned down.

TNA defends Tigers, hits out at CBK

The Tamil National Alliance yesterday launched a strong attack on President Chandrika Kumaratunga claiming she had misled the international community during her UN address by painting a distorted version of the current peace process.

In a statement the TNA urged President Kumaratunga to refrain from rhetorical statements and focus on resolute action to start peace talks. The TNA said:

The TNA Parliamentary Group met on September 23, 2004 to consider the statements made by President Kumaratunga relating to peace negotiations in Sri Lanka, during the course of her address to the UN General Assembly.

The President has stated that "the Government of Norway has been playing the role of facilitator for the negotiation process, for nearly six years. We have taken the process forward with the active participation of Norway, even though at present the LTTE is refusing to return to the negotiating table from which it withdrew nearly eighteen months ago".

Most regrettably the above statement does not reflect the true factual position for the following reasons:

(i) After several rounds of peace talks between the LTTE and the then UNF Government, the LTTE in April 2003, for certain stated reasons, without withdrawing from the negotiating process, suspended its participation in peace talks. The LTTE however continued to be in contact with the facilitator, the Government of Norway and through the facilitator with the then UNF Government.

(ii) In consequence thereof, the LTTE put forward proposals in writing for the setting up of an Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA), on October 31, 2003. Simultaneously the LITE requested that dates be fixed for the commencement of talks on this said proposals.

(iii) On November 4, 2003; within four days of the LTTE's ISGA proposals, the President in the exercise of powers vested in her under the 1978 constitution, took over from the UNF Government, which enjoyed a majority in Parliament, the Ministries of Defense, Interior and Media which were directly linked to the peace process, and assigned the said portfolios either to herself or to nominees from within her party.

(iv) This action of the President resulted in the facilitator, the Norwegian Government, suspending its role in November 2003, in view of the lack of clarity in regard to who was responsible for the peace process.

(v) The ensuing stalemate resulted in the dismissal of the then UNF Government, the dissolution of Parliament and the installation of a new government after the General Elections held in April 2004. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga heads the new UPFA government which is an alliance between the PA and the JVP.

(vi) That the JVP campaigned and continues to campaign countrywide against the peace process is well known. It has in fact threatened to leave the government and bring about the downfall of the government, if the President commences talks on the lSGA proposals.

(vii) However, at the meeting the President had with the parliamentary group of the TNA on June 10, 2004, the President while expressing her reservations in regard to some of the ISGA proposals, unambiguously stated that she was prepared to commence talks on the ISGA proposals, without linking such talks to any other issue. The government has hitherto not taken any action to implement this commitment.

(viii) It must not be forgotten that the initial reaction of the PA to the ISGA proposals was totally negative. The PA thereafter knowing very well the attitude of the JVP entered into an alliance with the JVP, This alliance resulted in the hardening of the position against the lSGA proposals and against the peace process. The President's inability to take the peace process forward is clearly attributable to this situation. The President's alliance partner within the Government, the JVP, has heightened its opposition to the ISGA proposals and the peace process. It is significant that the main opposition party, the UNP has urged the government to commence talks on the ISGA proposals and has publicly stated that it will support any agreement that is arrived at between the government. and the LTTE after such discussions.

(ix) The LTTE has repeatedly stated that it is eagerly awaiting the restart of the talks on the basis of the ISGA proposals and that when the talks begin any proposals that the government may bring to the negotiating table in regard to the ISGA could also be discussed. This consistent position was once again conveyed to the special envoy of the Norwegian government at a recent meeting.

(x) In this background, the statement made by the President in the course of her address to the United Nations that "the LTTE is refusing to return to the negotiating table" is singularly unfortunate, as it does not reflect the true factual position. The lack of clarity, the contradictions within her own Government and her inability apart from making pronouncements to take definite action to start talks are the main stumbling blocks to the starting of the peace process. It is pertinent to point out, that in the context of the LTTE's request for dates to be fixed to begin talks, when it submitted its ISGA proposals on October 31, 2003, the LTTE would have been at the negotiating table in November 2003 itself, but for the actions taken by the President on November 4, 2003.

The TNA also questions the President's statement that "a comprehensive development strategy has been launched in the North and East of the country, which are affected by the conflict".

While the TNA acknowledges that the international community has been providing some measure of humanitarian and development assistance to alleviate the deprivation and suffering of the Tamil civilian population in the Northeast, hundreds of thousands of displaced Tamil people in the Northeast yet continue to languish away from their homes, awaiting the implementation of a comprehensive programme of action that would resettle and rehabilitate them. This task together with the task of reconstructing the devastated Northeast can be accomplished only by a duly constituted Interim Self Governing Authority for the Northeast.

We urge the President to refrain from rhetorical statements and focus on resolute action that would enable the starting of talks and meaningful consensus-building that would ensure the success of the negotiations.

The Tamil people in the Northeast more than anyone else yearn for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The Tamil people strongly urge the President not to miss the opportunity that presently exists, to take the peace process forward by commencing talks with the LTTE on the ISGA proposals, in accordance with the assurance given to the Parliamentary Group of the TNA on 10 June 2004.

The TNA desires to point out that the President has used the forum of the UN General Assembly, attended by Heads of Government to present a distorted picture of the current peace process. An enunciation of the steps that the President contemplates, to take the peace process forward could have greatly contributed to building confidence. The TNA emphatically states that the present stalemate should not continue.