– by Shenali D. Waduge –
At some stage or the other the people of Sri Lanka would need to sit down and carefully deliberate over exactly what and who contributed and continues to contribute towards steadily reversing the great victory of the Ranaviru in defeating terrorism in Sri Lanka in May 2009. Some agreements that had either been authored or agreed to sign on behalf of Sri Lanka have virtually sealed Sri Lanka’s fate. Before we accuse external sources of attempting to destabilize the country we need to look inward, without bias and identify objectively from a country-centric point of view the persons who had been responsible for the troubles that Sri Lanka now faces. It is in identifying who these architects were and their dangerous prescriptions that we might be able to avert future disasters flowing from these or similar ideas.
1. INDO-LANKA ACCORD
Who were those privy to the clauses of this Accord signed under duress with Sri Lanka’s cabinet having been forced to give undated letters of resignation – why would such lengths need to be taken wherein even the media was debarred?
Where were the objections to India giving LTTE Rs. 50 million? Where were Sri Lanka’s objections to India’s breach of the Accord when India as undertaken did not disarm LTTE in 120 hrs? When Sri Lanka’s obligation to adhere to the Accord was conditional on India’s performance and implementation of 5 key steps why did Sri Lanka not repudiate the Accord or raise diplomatic objections when India failed to perform its part of its obligations under the Accord? Why did no official point out provisions of the Accord India had explicitly violated? The demand to pull back Sri Lanka’s military from the Northern Province started with the Indo-Lanka Accord – it is because Sri Lanka did not make its stand clear then that this same call is being repeated now.
On what grounds did Sri Lanka’s representatives privy to the clauses of the Accord before it was signed not object to the merger of the North and East, why did they not question the assertion and false claim of a Tamil Homeland instead of accepting everything India had written? There is no such “areas of historical habitation of Sri Lankan Tamil speaking people, who have at all times hitherto lived together in this territory”. Why was there no one to question how a Provincial Council system could solve problems? and why did no one object to Sri Lanka’s problem being defined ‘ethnic’ – when people are having arms to kill and assassinate people how can they be defined anything other than terrorists? Not a single effort is being taken to erase reference to Sri Lanka having an ‘ethnic problem’ – Sri Lanka had a terrorist problem. There is no legitimate reasons that can claim Sri Lanka’s problem is ‘ethnic’.
Why did Sri Lanka’s leaders not insist on India’s compliance with the hallowed and oldest International Law principle ‘pacta sunt servanda’ (i.e. agreements must be kept) and that both parties must execute their mutually agreed obligations in good faith – we can confidently say that India was in full breach of its obligations under the Accord without protest without challenge from Sri Lanka – it is still not late to raise this cry loud and clear. Timidity, meekness and moral cowardice closely associated with those who conduct our international affairs under the cloak of ‘ statesmanship’ carries this country nowhere.
What or who is stopping this defunct Indo-Lanka Accord been nullified even now?
2. 1995 Draft Constitution
This draft constitution was known as the Neelan-GL draft. The same draft was amended by Chandrika in 2000. The devolution package idea being promoted was federalism as their solution. It was designed, worded and crafted by the duo and this forms the basis of another dangerous idea that has materialized and come to be accepted as another solution concocted by our very own. Not many of our own can fiddle around with words and come up with terminology and the very same man emerges before every catastrophic document drafted thus e.g. the unitary state of Sri Lanka being broken up into a collection of territorial pieces under a new nomenclature of a UNION OF REGIONS instead of a straight forward federal state it was coined to fool the populace into accepting the new theory as solution.
“The new constitution that is in the process of being drafted will contain an elaborate chapter on devolution. We are convinced that a substantial degree of devolution represents the key to the most vexed problem confronting the Sri Lankan nation at this time”….. “Devolution is a good thing, a democratic thing,”
— Prof. G.L. Peiris
3. Cease Fire Agreement 2002
Who advocated the theory of ‘unwinnable war’ and championed publicly the policy of appeasement whatever provocations from terrorists?
Who knowingly advised a democratic country to enter into an Agreement with terrorists and sign on a piece of paper that gave an internationally proscribed terrorist organization a status on par with a sovereign state?
Who supported the removal of checkpoints that gave terrorists freedom of movement without considering the repercussions of such?
Who requested a lifting of the ban on the LTTE that Foreign Minister Kadirgamar worked so hard to achieve and shamelessly addressed Anton Balasingham in servile fashion as ‘Your Excellency”
Who declared the 2002 Agreement was a ‘roadmap to peace’? – incidentally Madam Maria Carriilho, EU member of parliament declared that the CFA will invariably lead to a new autonomous State, a flag and new anthem and no one in the UNF even protested over this outrageous declaration.
The architects were those who contributed to drafting the 2002 Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) which even Dr. Subramaniam Swamy declared was the outcome of a ‘surrender mentality’ of the UNF Government which was prepared to hand over large chunks of vital Sri Lankan territory to terrorists in return for the money of a few billion of dollars being dangled as carrot by the western powers including Norway, USA, and Japan among others.
What was the quid pro quo that allowed the ‘architects’ to betray the nation under the CFA?
Who did not mind the LTTE committing more than 10,000 ceasefire violations?
Who cared not to take action against the LTTE for killing 174 security forces personnel, 388 civilians, 117 attempted murders, 620 abductions, 46 attempted abductions, 106 cases of extortion, 2199 conscriptions, 875 injuries to persons, 22 instances of torture, 128 cases of intimidations and recruitment of 1200 children?
Who did not care to equate a terrorist organization to be on par with a legally established armed forces that protects the nation?
What type of people agrees to sign an agreement that grants LTTE official recognition through the CFA as ‘equal stakeholders”
Who were the Architects and people involved with the 2002 CFA?
Government Chief Negotiator – GL Peiris
- Defence Minister – Tilak Marapana “I have no intention at all in waging war with the LTTE at the moment. We have embarked on a peace mission and our target today, and my role as Defence Minister, is not to plan strategy to attack but merely to ready ourselves to defend”
- Secretary Defense (Dec 2001) – Austin Fernandohttp://groundviews.org/2008/11/02/interview-with-austin-fernando-a-peacetime-secretary-of-defence-in-sri-lanka/
- Chief Spokesman/Secretary for the UNF – Bradman Weerakoon later to be the Secretary to the PM and thereon to ICES NGO
- Head of S L Peace Secretariat – Bernard Goonetilake and Jayantha Dhanapala
- Deputy Director General, Peace Secretariat in Colombo, Dr. John Gunaratne
- Head, LTTE Peace Secretariat, S. Puleedevan
- Head, SLMM, Tryggve Tellefssen
- Army Commander – Gen. Balagalle (25 Aug 2000 – 30 Jun 2004)
- SL Legal – Lakshman Marasinghe
Did these architects not have an iota of love for their country and respect for its armed forces that it forced our armed forces to give guard of honour to terrorists, shake hands with killers and thereby humiliated the armed forces in front of these terrorists while restricting our army to the barracks while giving free access and freedom of movement to LTTE that led to the assassination of Sri Lanka’s intelligence members, Police Officers and even Sri Lanka’s intensely popular Foreign Minister Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar.
Do these architects not have a word of praise and gratitude to Maj. Muthalif, Lt. Col. Rizvi Meedin and their teams who were gunned down in cold blood in broad daylight one after the other in Colombo?
Do these architects not have a sense of self-guilt for knowing that the agreement they endorsed perhaps even wrote allowed the LTTE to smuggle shipments of arms, sophisticated telecommunications through Sri Lanka’s own customs and these officials allowed them to be brought into the country and transported to the LTTE through Govt. controlled roads and highways?
Have these architects not sealed Sri Lanka’s inability to defend itself by committing the nation and its people to a horrid future in a highly truncated small island with a view to serve their own ends? If these were the architects that gave LTTE 95% of their Eelam on a silver platter with the rest planned to be secured through the ISGA and PTOMS how should we treat the architects of the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement – have they done a favor to Sri Lanka as some people were foolish enough to think and thank these architects for their betrayal?
4. Interim Self-Governing Authority (ISGA)
If the 2002 cease fire agreement placed a terrorist organization on par with a legitimate government and its armed forces the next fatal attraction became the ISGA submitted by the LTTE attempting to legalize what was provisionally established through the CFA. The fatal attraction here became USD5billion and the race between who would secure this carrot irrespective of whether the ISGA was to seal Sri Lanka’s fate.
It must be reiterated with special mention and due acknowledgement that it was the JVP, JHU and the patriotic forces that brought to light to Sri Lanka’s public the dangers of signing the ISGA with the LTTE alongside Lakshman Kadirgamar (reference speech at Brookings Institute Washington) – had it not been for them it would have been signed thus sealing another nail to the country’s coffin.
These examples are shown to make the readers ponder over whether they are going to give these very people another mandate for them to establish various mechanisms e.g. Commissions of Inquiry that will prescribe solutions to reverse the gains of the Ranaviru and create the conditions in the country for another LTTE type terrorist movement to rise.
When 32 countries had banned the LTTE and knowing LTTE’s modus operandi why would Sri Lanka’s leaders agree to a proposal by the LTTE that accepted Tamil armed struggle was in ‘self-defense’, was there no one privy to the clauses on the Sri Lankan Government side to ask how LTTE can claim self-defense for killing Lakshman Kadirgamar, Alfred Duraiappah and over 250 other Tamil learned people? Were Sri Lanka’s representatives blind to agree to giving LTTE appointees absolute majority over Sinhala and Muslim communities through the ISGA? Why did not a single GOSL representative object to the ISGA being composed of LTTE, Muslim and GOSL which purposely excluded mention of Sinhalese that comprised 74% of the populace?
Did Sri Lanka’s representatives become so mesmerized by USD5million that they completely chose to ignore to question what would arise if LTTE were to make all appointments to the ISGA District Committees and it would administer all State land, financial affairs, judicial affairs, development, economic.
The people who represented Sri Lanka at these discussions and agreed or silently stood by and watched these agreements take place none of them should be allowed anywhere near current policy making decisions of Sri Lanka.
If we are having calls for land and police to be given to the provinces did these not stem from some of these dangerous advice and opinions that were allowed over time to take shape and pose dangerous challenges to the preservation of national unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka?
Who are these supposed leaders who agreed to a proposal by the LTTE that would give LTTE rule of law, ability to collect taxes, run the administration, deal with external players, conduct trade and in lieu of all this LTTE agrees to drop calls for an independent Tamil Eelam? Has the LTTE not hoodwinked our leaders because in agreeing to all these ISGA demands our people would have given Eelam (similar to the manner in which the Indian Parliament in 1947 voted and agreed to the partition of India, creating a new nation i.e. Pakistan,) and there would be no reason for LTTE to demand an independent Eelam. Can our people have been so stupid?
5. Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure (P-TOMS)
From Indo-Lanka Accord, the CFA, the ISGA we now come to another dangerous agreement agreed by our so called leaders. We again mention the JVP, JHU and the patriotic forces for bringing to the attention of the public the hidden dangers of this P – TOMS structure disregarding the silence of the mainstream media.
Leaders and their advisors need to first clearly realize that in being elected to represent Sri Lanka they are not voted to barter the country, divide it into pieces simply because some party or group is dangling something that catches their fancy. They can do whatever they like with their own private property but when it comes to the country and a population of 20million people they need to act with integrity, morals and ethics and keeping in mind they are only custodians for an elected term, and not owners of the land for an indefinite period of time. We must remember that the country cannot function to suit individual whims and fancies and certainly not to meet personal agendas and ideologies that public officials believe in. They certainly have no right to change legal and constitutional provisions interpreting them to their fancy and shoving down our throats by crafty legislation influencing leaders who have no practical legal background or knowledge to accept their version as the only path to safety.
The PTOM carrot this time was USD3billion and the Chandrika Government signed the PTOMs on 24 Jun 2005. Yet, why was the South excluded from this package for did the South not fall victim to the tsunami as well? For the third time GOSL and LTTE were placed on par with each other. The same mistake was again repeated with the PTOMS committee comprising of 1 nominee from LTTE, 1 nominee for Muslims and 1 nominee for GOSL – again no mention of Sinhalese. The Regional Committee of the PTOMS was structured as such again to make LTTE the majority on the Committee.
The issue we need to raise is that these leaders and public officials have agreed to or simply ignored gross violations of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, territorial integrity been torn to shreds by agreements that some of them had even authored. These are the dangerous ideas that have taken Sri Lanka to face a plethora of issues currently faced. If US and Japan refused to supply funds to the PTOMS in view of LTTE being proscribed why did our own leaders ignore this all important fact? But people who claimed PTOMS was ‘the only way out’ (Kumar Rupesinghe) now says something totally opposite as a Government advisor – but how many of him are there in Government whose views are dangerous for we don’t know when they will change them.
Thankfully the Supreme Court decision of a bench of judges led by Sarath Silva C.J. on 15th July 2005 on the backdrop of excellent submissions made by H L De Silva, SL Gunasekera, Gomin Dayasri, Minoli Jinadasa and Manohara de Silva resulted in the staying of the MOU.
What the people of Sri Lanka need to now realize is that the same handful of people have been gradually legitimizing the LTTE behind our backs. The CFA and all the architects that endorsed it placed a democratically elected government on par with a terrorist organization. Ranil-Chandrika went on to committing similar blunders but they did so not alone. There were a group of people around them who were advising them and it is these people who now need to be exposed in the best and long term interest of the country. Some of these main players are leading the present leaders down the wrong garden path.
Similarly, Sri Lanka has committed itself to numerous economic agreements that are proving dangerous to Sri Lanka’s strategic interests as a sovereign nation. Who in his right mind gives Sri Lanka’s strategic assets and locations to the very country that clandestinely trained Sri Lankan militants on its soil and allowed their state to be initially used as a terrorist logistic base? Knowing that LTTE remnants are around and continuing to give this same country whose operatives are known to be functioning in Sri Lanka makes one to ask what dangers are we knowingly walking towards and taking the populace to another episode of terror.
These dangerous ideas combined with the fatal attractions of these people have taken the country from one calamity to another.
People need to know who these architects were for the same people continue to brainwash our national leaders with more dangerous ideas and advice inducing our national leaders to accept the former’s fancy notions by bringing in foreign parties and institutions that claim to save our leaders from war crimes and promising them that their scalp can be saved if they agree to make a commitment to establishing Commissions of Inquiry that will subtly condemn and insinuate those that defend the nation – both armed and unarmed (armed forces and the patriotic citizens). The Commissions are a subtle way to legitimize their objectives while poisoning the minds of the leaders into submission by putting the fear of Moses into them that their lives are at risk if war crimes charges are brought. This is nothing else but bribing the minds of our leaders into submission – we would like to know who these guilty parties are.
Such a quick fix was the LLRC which is continuing to boomerang on Sri Lanka for we seem to be asked to implement solutions to problems we are unaware of. Who plugged the LLRC and used that to project that Sri Lanka could escape trial in Geneva? Who is now plugging another Commission on the pretext of saving the heads of Sri Lanka’s leaders? Who is committing our leaders to endorsing another Commission titled this time as Truth and Reconciliation when we defeated a terrorist movement and our story is different? The public could not stop LLRC becoming a suicidal effort but the public can put a full stop to another bogus Commission being introduced – whatever goes without saying is that it is now time that we expose the handful of people who are abusing their office to push agendas because their feet are not in Sri Lanka, their allegiance is not to Sri Lanka and certainly no loyalty to the country’s leaders – it is a good time for the leaders themselves to seriously wonder who they can actually trust.
It is also good for the leaders to realize that none of the patriotic forces have ever advised leaders wrongly or given advice to usurp them from power or place the nation and its people in difficulty. Here lies the difference in the architects of the dangerous ideas who surround leaders and the patriotism of people who are often kept marginalized.