Investigate foreign funding of Bar Association of Sri Lanka – Is National Security compromised?

Bar Association of Sri Lanka

Only people with clean hands can claim right to find fault with others and question their integrity. In taking an oath of loyalty to the National Constitution and country to protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty how far the BASL has compromised itself in accepting funds and donations from foreign sources is a matter that the Sri Lankan State needs to immediately investigate.  The manner that the legal independence of Sri Lanka is being compromised by entering various agreements with parties that have a history of overthrowing governments and installing puppets necessitates an immediate inquiry before Sri Lanka’s legal independence is compromised leading to a national security concern for the country.

When the Bar Association of Sri Lanka signs an MOU with the US Government to promote ‘Rule of Law’, the general public automatically wishes to ask exactly what type of rule of law are we to learn from USA?

Is the BASL naïve that it is not aware of the appalling examples of human rights abuses and violations committed by the US globally so much so that it has manipulated international law to ensure that US citizens are immune from war crimes investigations by the ICC?

Is the BASL clueless on the illegal invasions by US, the fabrication and lies concocted through mainstream media monopolizing what people should accept as truth?

Is the BASL not aware that this is the very country that drops cluster bombs and depleted uranium and orders troops to ‘shoot at anything that moves’ applying the law of aggression with impunity and using R2P to take over the natural resources of nations using the bogey of humanitarian military intervention.

Is the BASL not aware that while calling itself the ‘land of freedom’ the US prisons hold 2million prisoners of which 100,000 are said to be completely innocent. (more than one out of 150 Americans are behind bars and one out of every 36 happens to be Black!) The country that takes pot shots at China should be ashamed that the proportion of prisoners in US is 30 times higher than China. The country that preaches to the world on human rights does not even both to notify foreign governments when the US arrests their citizens. Do we need to read out America’s violations in Diego Garcia, Guantanamo and prisons in Iraq?

Is the BASL also not aware that the US legal system functions in such a way that judges control US lawyers and lawyers who attempt to fight the system will find themselves isolated from the 1million lawyers in US. The culture in the US is the lawyers have to make the judge happy and the judge in turns has to make the government happy and the government has to make the corporates happy. That the circle of justice in the USA.

Is the BASL planning to promote US rule of law into Sri Lanka that has legalized ‘strip searches’ and charges people for forgetting one’s driving licence or manipulates religion by creating missionaries for regime change operations?

When US has a history of funding private organizations to use their local operatives to penetrate into local society, brainwash natives to go against systems and leaders and facilitate the regime change operation, should the public not wonder whether the BASL has also been roped into this initiative leaving doubt to be erased by conducting an investigation.

The ‘foundations’ the US tasks to overthrow governments are many and include Albert Einstein Institute, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Republican Institute (IRI), National Democratic Institute (NDI), Freedom House, International Centre for Non-Violent Conflict (ICNC) to name just a few. These are steered by the financial branch of the US State Department – USAID. What CIA initially did is now handed over to select INGOs. The Russsian Government closed its doors to USAID a position other nations including Sri Lanka should follow. NED’s first president, Allen Weinstein, admitted openly that “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA”….”An NGO helps to maintain a certain credibility abroad that an official US government agency might not have”.

97% of NED’s funding comes from the US state department through USAID. NED’s success stories include interventions “to protect the integrity of elections in the Philippines, Pakistan, Taiwan, Chile, Nicaragua, Namibia, Eastern Europe and elsewhere.” The list also includes victorious overthrows of democratically-elected governments in Bulgaria (1990), Albania (1992) and Haiti (late 1990s) and destabilisation in Panama, Cuba and Venezuela.

USAID is the entity tasked to promote economic and strategic interests of the US. Coloured revolutions occur in nations with strategic, natural resources (gas, oil), military bases and geopolitical interests and in countries that are anti-imperialist by harnessing pro-capitalist pro-imperialist groups tapping into their self-interests.

The clues to identify ‘coloured revolutions’ sponsored by US is not difficult and once millions of dollars are disbursed to buy over the souls of people willing to betray their own then these pawns would be told what to say, what to do, how to say – they end up robots programmed from Washington. Anyone willing to sell their soul betray their country and align to the Western agenda is welcomed on board. They are paid, they are sent overseas and trained and they are the supposed ‘colored revolution’ coming out into the streets. The spontaneity of these ‘coloured revolutions’ are such that they have even time to prepare logos, t-shirts, colorful placards and banners!

In terms of examples – in Serbia the US funded the OTPOR group to help overthrow Slobadan Milosevic. Their logo was black and white with a closed fist resembling resistance.  In Ukraine, the closed fist is colored orange to create an Orange Revolution. Ukraine is important to NATO’s expansion drive. Congressman Ron Paul says the US allocated $60million to finance the orange revolution. In Georgia, the closed fist changed color to become a Rose Revolution (2003-2004). Venezeula’s fist was colored black and white and despite Albert Einstein Institute (AEI) giving a 9 day course to the Venezuelan opposition on ‘how to restore democracy’ the coup failed. AEI had chosen students and youth who received $9million from USAID, NED, Freedom House to train on the techniques for regime change. In 2005 came the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgystan and what is interesting is that a large number of lawyers and students are being sent to US on sudden ‘scholarship’s ‘training’ etc which are all spearheaded by Washington using various INGOs. If the training has gone to plan we can expect one or all of the following some time in the future:

The target groups are generally: political parties, NGOs, student organizations, youth movements, trade unions, lawyers, media and even public officials. The public needs to be aware that scores of youth in particular from the minority communities of Sri Lanka have been harnessed by the US embassy of late. They have been equipped with latest mobile communication systems, sent overseas for ‘democracy’ training and will soon take on the social media and function to the dictates of embassy officials in Colombo. With their souls sold, they would end up simply doing and saying what they are programmed to do. This is the danger of the legal fraternity also falling prey to similar incentives.

With these factors before us should we not wonder when a handful of Sri Lanka’s legal fraternity are suddenly going for foreign training, driving around flashy new audis, recipients of numerous foreign funding and question on what basis of understanding these handouts are given?

There is nothing called a free lunch. When there is an imperial agenda taking place globally, it is the duty of the public to be alert and it is the duty of the State to investigate to see how far fund acceptance is leading to the possibility of compromising the national security of the country.

We expected the BASL to rise to stand up for the integrity of the country when Navi Pillay and UNHRC were violating procedural justice. It was at that time that the BASL should have stood up to defend the nation but the BASL chose to remain silent as it did when David Cameron arrived and ridiculed Sri Lanka on its very soil. It is when Sri Lanka’s is pushed against the wall that we expect the men and women in power and position to use their place to stand up and be counted and make the rest of the public proud to call them our leaders. But not many chose to and it was only a handful that challenged the powers that be.

It is in view of the sudden changes in the actions of the BASL that warrants us to wonder how far the acceptance of funds have silenced their mouths and silenced their integrity and the only way to bring these realities to the surface is to conduct a public inquiry and investigate how much of funds is being received by the BASL, for what reasons the funds are meant for and whether the legal fraternity has been silenced as a result of compromising their integrity in accepting handouts from the foreign sources that have a history of buying people to facilitate regime change.

Politician MPs cannot function as practicing lawyers

We do not need to look very far for hiccups in our own background. A gross violation took place a few years back when the BASL was headed by a card carrying politician cum Member of Parliament (MP). How can the BASL claim to be ‘independent’ when it elects and MP cum politician as a President, how can there be any ‘independence’ when that President was a politician following a political ideology relevant to a handful of public only?

The other issue that was connected to the election was when the Politician President functioned as legal representative to a crook that took the lives of 40 innocent people from whom he had defaulted with their savings? This was a serious conflict of interest to have an MP appear as a Counsel in a court of law, moreover when that MP and Legal Counsel was also the President of the BASL.

Was this not a serious violation of ethics and morals? Did the rest of the legal fraternity of Sri Lanka who were members when electing not realize the compromises being made? Obviously not for in electing an MP as President of the BASL and one who was legal counsel for a crook a major miscarriage of justice took place.

Was it not wrong for a MP to draw a salary from the public as well as take money from that crook? Here too a call must be taken not to allow standing MPs to practice or give them a choice of functioning as an MP or practicing. They cannot be allowed to do both. It is immoral and it’s a violation of ethics.

This was seen perfectly when former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s attorneys were all members of the Italian Parliament and made laws to protect the Prime Minister.

Thus, a BASL genuinely concerned about rule of law must take steps to bring forward a motion in the Bar Association allowing no Member of Parliament to practice law or defend clients in a court room because of his capacity to influence judges, the judicial system, the administrative set up, the judges and even Parliament itself using his position within the political party. Moreover, a MP cum practicing lawyer gains unfair clout over a fellow lawyer arguing for the other client. In Philippines, Australia and several other Commonwealth countries there are rules that restrict MPs from practicing law and the same should apply to Sri Lanka.

In the Philippines section 14, Article VI of its Constitution states that ‘no Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may personally appear as a counsel before any court of justice or before the Electoral Tribunals, or quasi-judicial and other administrative bodies’. It is a right of any individual to stand for office but Sri Lanka’s lawyers must surely be aware of the conflict of interest arising from a MP functioning as a lawyer too.

If we take another example of breach of professionalism given that we are on the subject of rule of law, we come to the malpractices taking place for entry to the Law College. Despite the mischief that took place when an unprecedented number of one minority community securing top slots and gaining over 100 seats to enter the Law College not a hum came from the BASL not even an official statement.

Did the BASL remain silent because the power exerted by this minority race in terms of the minority votes that were very much part of the voting bloc of the opposition party that the former BASL President belonged?

The short and sweet of the message is that for Sri Lanka’s judiciary to be ‘independent’ it does not require ‘foreign oxygen’. The judiciary will be independent when the lawyers function independently. Only when lawyers function without bias, without malice and without political agendas that the legal fraternity can be called ‘independent’ not because the BASL goes and signs MOUs with foreign governments and agencies that have a history of overthrowing governments and installing puppets.

People will respect the legal fraternity only if they function with patriotism. Simply to get a tap on the back from foreign governments, international awards and accolades, scholarships and training overseas, dollars disbursed to one’s bank accounts, cars and other luxuries gifted and MOUs signed it does not mean that in the eyes of the public the legal fraternity has achieved anything worthy of respect. These are all handouts with the expectations of larger compromises when the giver asks for paybacks. It is in wondering what the type of payback is that necessitates and warrants an immediate public inquiry as to the type of foreign funding being pumped not only to the BASL but to various other organizations as well for all these will directly pose a national security risk to Sri Lanka.

– by Shenali D Waduge