29 May, 2023


Calling In The Marines

By Kath Noble

Kath Noble

As I said last week, it is easy to become disheartened with the way that things are moving in Sri Lanka. One disappointment follows another, and each is more extraordinary than the last.

The impeachment of the Chief Justice was particularly disturbing. It demonstrated just how little space there is for dissent. Even the mild disturbance created by Shirani Bandaranayake when she ruled that the Divi Neguma bill had to be referred to the provincial councils or passed with a two thirds majority was intolerable to the administration. She had to go. It didn’t matter that there was no evidence of actual wrongdoing on her part. She was removed on the grounds that she might try to cover up the corruption of her husband, which is what Mahinda Rajapaksa claims to have done himself!

Since very few of us are willing to agree with everything that the Government says all of the time, it was appalling to see the lengths to which it is ready to go to impose its will.

No doubt that was the objective of the exercise.

Our distress was compounded by the failure of the Opposition under Ranil Wickremesinghe, who appeared to be far too busy plotting his next move against Sajith Premadasa to bother with something as mundane as the independence of the judiciary. Having successfully ousted his rival from the deputy leadership of the party – whether temporarily or permanently remains to be seen – he finally managed to pen an article on the impeachment for the Sunday Times this week, but readers may not have had the stamina to get past the rather laborious exposition of his knowledge of the history of English country houses and meetings of the Commonwealth to locate his point.

Once again, the widespread information campaign that was so badly needed to counter the propaganda put about by the Government has been left to others.

Worse, by focusing our attention on the Commonwealth and the sanctions that it may impose on Sri Lanka as a result of the impeachment, the UNP leader is pushing us into the same old trap of ‘internationalising’ what must be a national struggle.

Honestly, who cares about the Commonwealth?

If Ranil Wickremesinghe tries very hard, it may decide to move the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting away from Sri Lanka. But what use is that? I don’t believe that Mahinda Rajapaksa would be in the slightest bit upset.

Quite the reverse, he is at his most comfortable when under fire from abroad.

No doubt the Government is totally hypocritical when it calls people traitors for taking their problems to international fora. We all know that Mahinda Rajapaksa did the same thing in the late 1980s, when the UNP administration was butchering Sinhalese youth.

It is also wrong. There is nothing traitorous in informing the world about what is happening in Sri Lanka.

It can even be useful in some circumstances.

I don’t believe that it had any impact on the anti-JVP campaign. The architects were either convinced that Sri Lankans would never prosecute them for their excesses or too desperate to care about what might happen once it was all over. On the whole, they were right – not morally but factually. If they were punished, it was almost exclusively by extra-judicial means.

Even today, as the JVP calls for an inquiry into the discovery of a mass grave from that era in Matale, there is little chance of it being granted and no chance whatsoever of that resulting in jail time for the politicians who ordered such activities.

The JVP will not push on the issue, for to do so would be to remind people of its own role in the slaughter.

But imagine what would happen if it did. Imagine it calling on the international community to investigate, as many people are doing today with regard to the deaths of Tamils in the Government’s war against the LTTE. Would justice be done?


Even after the passage of more than twenty years, and with an SLFP-led coalition in power, there is nothing the international community could do about it. Why? Because the international community doesn’t get to vote in elections in Sri Lanka!

It is the opinions of Sri Lankans that matter to Mahinda Rajapaksa. So long as they aren’t bothered about the mass grave in Matale, he won’t be either. Likewise, so long as they don’t want an investigation into the anti-LTTE campaign, even Ranil Wickremesinghe wouldn’t do it.

The international community has zero moral authority, as everybody in Sri Lanka is very well aware.

We know that other countries have dirty wars of their own. Indeed, if we needed reminding that some things remain the same even after the replacement of George Bush by Nobel Peace Prize winning Barack Obama at the top of the world’s greatest democracy, ‘Dirty Wars’ is the name of a documentary that premièred at the Sundance Festival in Utah last week.

Sri Lankans love to blame the Western media for focusing on abuses in this country while remaining silent about what their own governments get up to, but this is rather myopic. Everything we know about the crimes of Western nations has been brought to our attention by Western journalists.

According to an interview with the producers, the documentary looks at how the War on Terror, which started overtly in Afghanistan and Iraq, has now become covert. We know everything there is to know about the night raid that killed Osama bin Laden, which has even been made into a rather captivating Hollywood film, but there were 30,000 other night raids in Afghanistan that year. Nobody talks about them. The documentary recounts the story of one in which an elite squad of American soldiers killed a senior policeman and his family while they were in the middle of a birthday party, and tried to cover it up. While the survivors watched, they dug the bullets out of the bodies, then announced to the world that they had stumbled onto the aftermath of an honour killing.

How very honourable!

The American ‘kill list’, which had only seven names on it after 9/11, now includes thousands. That is thousands of people that Barack Obama has said that it is perfectly acceptable to murder, never mind whether they are holding up white flags.

It also talks of the American drone programme, which allows them to do so without getting close enough to see a white flag. Indeed, George Bush established a policy, which Barack Obama has endorsed, of dropping bombs on people even when they aren’t on the ‘kill list’. In certain areas of Pakistan and Yemen – countries with which the United States is not at war – all young men are assumed to be terrorists and can be killed as and when convenient.

This is also top secret. Barack Obama personally intervened to stop the Yemeni government releasing a local journalist who photographed the remnants of American cruise missiles that he says regularly kill civilians.

American funded warlords in Somalia are shown on camera saying in a completely matter-of-fact manner that they execute foreign prisoners on the battlefield.

The War on Terror goes on in another equally repugnant form.

Given this well known background, if the international community tried to use its economic or other power to force prosecutions in Sri Lanka, the public would rally behind the Government, and Mahinda Rajapaksa is very good at encouraging such a response.

There really is no short cut.

To succeed in the pursuit of justice, it is the minds of Sri Lankans that have to be changed. If they start to want prosecutions, it will happen.

It is a national struggle, and trying to involve the international community can only make it harder.

Likewise, ‘internationalising’ the effort to restore the independence of the judiciary is also going to create more problems than it solves.

Mahinda Rajapaksa showed how uninterested he is in the opinion of the international community by announcing the impeachment of the Chief Justice just days before Sri Lanka faced its Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Deceiving ourselves may make us feel better, at least for a while, but it isn’t going to result in any actual change.

* Kath Noble’s column may be accessed online at http://kathnoble.wordpress.com/. She may be contacted at kathnoble99@gmail.com.

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Latest comments

  • 0

    Sri Lankans never fought for their independence but all the big Sinhala/Tamil names mentioned ran and hid in Tamil Nadu. While the Indians fought for it and also gave the lives of 2 million soldiers fighting for the British Raj.
    Sri Lankans are pussy people with the begging bowl of the yellow robe that they need everything for free because they are Sinhala Buddhist.

  • 0

    This problem or for that matter any of the problems cannot be resolved locally. This is because we have politicians who have no character, most people are not interested in having a democratic country, and the president is only interested in imposing his writ on the people.

    So we are doomed to be a banana republic with the likes of MR, his 3 siblings, his children in tow and 500 odd kith and kin in total control of our wealth and resources. For most people in this country this is quite acceptable as they have no vision and dont care a damn. But their are quite a few people who would like Sri Lanka to develop to be a nation on par with the best in the world in terms of human development, human rights and personal freedom.

    We have many models to choose from. Will it be the Gaddafi Model. Gaddafi too developed his country. He made an artificial river, roads, infrasturcture etc. But he failed on democracy and human rights. We know the result after 40 yrs. Same with mubarak, assad, idi amin, pol pot, hitler etc. We have the chinese, castro and north korean model. Anyone care to live in those countries? Why are people flocking to the west?

    So to make a transition in a peaceful manner, international intervention is very neccesary. We were liberated from the LTTE because the west proscribed them and imposed financial sanctions etc. Same should be done on a recalcitrant regime which continues to demolish all standards of democracy and human rights. CMAG should do its job whether MR likes it or not.

  • 0

    You got to give it to this [edited out] for political savviness in comparison to out Elitists here.

    For example look at these quips.

    ” Rajapaksa does his best when under seige from the West”

    ” Honsestly, who cares about the Commonwealth?.

    Good on you Lady.

  • 0

    Kath Noble,

    I still don’t understand what’s the FINAL POINT you try to bring out from this news letter. You say……….

    “Deceiving ourselves may make us feel better, at least for a while, but it isn’t going to result in any actual change”.

    What you try to say is people while thinking that international community will intervene in Sri Lankan affairs……finally either IC will stay away…. or President Rajapakse will win at last…..while we deceive ourselves in between temporarily……..

    Again in order to prove your point you say…..
    “Mahinda Rajapaksa showed how uninterested he is in the opinion of the international community by announcing the impeachment of the Chief Justice just days before Sri Lanka faced its Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva”

    If you look at Sri Lanka politics when Pres. JR jayawardena took 5/6 majority in parliament he said only thing he couldn’t do was to make a man a woman. But you know finally he ate the Indian Humble Parippu Air Drop in Jaffna.

    Similarly if you think that the Canadian, American, Indian, Australian, Japanese deligations etc… are coming to Sri Lanka to have a fun chat with president and to have a Sun and Sea bath…..and do some Duty Free shopping and have some free pleasure trips around the country taking pictures of wild life…..again you are mistaken. I hope you have played Chess….and if so you should know better.

    All those countries and specially USA coming to Sri lanka means SERIOUS BUSINESS AND NO JOKES. India is peanuts compared to US and Pres. MR should know it better.
    That’s why when US killed thousands of Afghans and Iraquis it was another goose hunt for them.

    Where was China and Russia when US carpet bombed and massacared millions of Vietnamese, Iraquis, Yugoslavians, Libyans,Afganistanis etc..etc..Where was China when India Air dropped parippu in Jaffna. Please check your history.

    Of couse Ranil was an ever impotant opposition leader from the inception and still same. That’s why MARA is playing pandu with the people, oposition parties and our country…….

    Therefore what Ranil could not do to both MARA and the country…..International Community is going to do pretty soon. Take my word as US is not a puppet to mess around like Ranil. MARA tried to play his Hambanthota famous muppet show tricks with US and int. community. But it is not going to work this time. Unless MARA going to fulfill everything he promissed to UN on LLRC including the 13th amendment, his days are numbered.

    Starting with CHOGM boycott, MARA travel ban,Investment and trade sanctions, currtency boycott will follow with air and sea blockade with a warning by air to implement the LLRC and if still MARA try to play Muppet tricks….he could expect a wisky drop direct into his bedroom. (remember Ghaddafi family). You know what…..only two drone sorties or B2 strikes could complete the business. USA is still the sole super power and giving time to MR to do what he has to do.

    MARA is a coward…..very soon he will give even more than he promissed in the LLRC. 13 + + + + +++++ for him to stay in power.


    • 0

      Jayantha:”MARA is a coward…..very soon he will give even more than he promissed in the LLRC. 13 + + + + +++++ for him to stay in power.

      TAKE MY WORD.” It will never be made flesh Ha ha.

      You are in modaya land running high on emotions mate. MR is making enemies with the Islamist like Franco did with the Commies so that the west befriends him (that’s what Nixon did) Fact: America needs Chinese money to fight the Chinese. Fact; The Indians were given the major contracts for Gas in Afghanistan but as usual they are shitting it out for the past 2 years unable to have their boots on the ground because they gave the Americans logistics of Iraq and Afghanistan. Fact: The Chinese who weren’t involved in Iraq or Afghanistan have invested heavily in Afghanistan resources like Gas Lithium (used for nuclear weapons batteries etc) and other metals which are in abundance while forming a triangle for negotiations with Pakistan Afghanistan China in it and this is backed fully by the IC which is incapable and embarrassed with its pull out.
      So MR will get the Chinese money and the World Bank money while you folk play slave and send your girls out to work. BTW Cmoron is already there in Mali but is lying to the British public- the largest export item of UK and US is the killing machine and most of the shareholders of these factories are members of the House of Lords UK or US Senate. RM is a typical southern survivor and if the IC wanted to it would have done many things before in 2009 but did not. You Sinhala Buddhist don’t have the blood of the Zimbabwean whites for the UK to start an embargo. Sri Lanka is the vacation destination for the unemployed and poor factory worker from the UK so why topple the apple cart? From what we see the Tamils are laughing at you- you reap what you sow because they say god helps those who help themselves. [Edited out] RW will also hold on to his position as opposition leader.

  • 0

    What drivel ! If CHOGM is moved away from Sri Lanka the loss in revenue alone, let alone the international paraih status it bestows upon our Country will be phenominal.

    If somebody like Prabhakaran spends 30 years destroying the economy, murdering civillians and making sure Sri Lanka stays in the 3rd world, holds up a white flag when he is cornered, we have to let him live ?

    No way ! If he was shot like the dog he was, I have no objection. Likewise Bin Laden got what he deserved.

    Why do you think all this agitation by the “diaspora” is being largely ignored by the rest of the world?

    If those time wasters realise that the only solution lies whithin our Country with a “civilized” government in place, they can have something for the next generation at least ! Otherwise this stalemate will go on for another 30 years.

  • 0

    We remember Milliband, Kuchiner, Solheim and et al did their best to save megalomaniac terrorist Pirapakaran and co at the end of Eelam war 1V. Even President Obama wanted the terrorists to surrender to a third party. True to true double standards of the US, Obama watched gleefully unarmed Bin Laden shot in the head and his woman in the leg. So we villagers call their advice ‘wedi bana’. Get it translated if you will, lady.

    How naive this lady is; she blames MR for not listening to the opinion of the international community. If MR had accepted such hypocritical opinion by chance, we would be fighting ‘Eelam War V’ by now. Not building harbours, expressways, power houses, irrigation projects, parks, etc and etc. Not just that, Solheims would love it for they could be busy arranging peace talks as arbiters as well as double agents.

    Lady also says; “Everything we know about the crimes of Western nations has been brought to our attention by Western journalists.” What nonsense. Does she not know that Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair started the war in Iraq on deliberate false pretences of looking for WMD that indiscriminately killed near enough a million young, old and the sick? Tell us why two biggest criminals in the world are not prosecuted todate?

    We do agree that you are not far-out when you said; Sri Lankans love to blame the Western media. But don’t you forget that we Sri Lankans admire the ideals of the founding fathers of the US and many a sane Americans like Colonel Olcott but not the present day hypocritical leaders and their allies and their puppet media gangs for they have wile aims to say the least.

    Therefore, before you advice MR to accept advice by Westerners, you should have explained how prudent the US policies had been so far at their home or abroad. For instant, do you think the right to carry guns is a human right? If not, why the US not ban it? Leave it as it may, did Westerners arm Al Qaeda in Libya to rid of Gadafi? What have they achieved to date? What are the guiding principles on first invading and then exit of Western forces from Afghanistan? I believe, Sri Lankans must evaluate their answers to such questions for them to decide the usefulness of their advice to MR. Why?

    Look at Mrs. Clinton behaviour. She has said with her tong in cheek “We came, we saw, he died.” This she said about a head of the state they have recognised. We have suspected Westerners aim was not to create a spring but a bitter winter for Libya. We knew Westerners would soon be up on a gum tree. As we have guessed, things have turned around 180 degrees in no time. And we were proved right for Al Qaeda started killing as many US and Europeans as they can and chased away the rest from Benghazi first and then from entire Libya. Do you think we want Westerners to test the worst case scenario here in the name of human rights.

    • 0

      Leela :Lady also says; “Everything we know about the crimes of Western nations has been brought to our attention by Western journalists.” What nonsense.”
      Leela the Southern Sinhala Buddhist terrorist have the pigs below the toilet eaten your bullocks?
      Sri Lankan Tax payers money was spent on you to study further in the UK while you were a government servant and you don’t seem to have learnt the use of the word “Lady” Are you still a slave under foreign rule moron?
      When Kath says” “Everything we know about the crimes of Western nations has been brought to our attention by Western journalists.” She is perfectly justified because she has read not what you are told to read by Mara or the yellow robes. We are well aware of Iraq Afghanistan Libya thanks to independent western reporters who have always written books on these subjects- try Amazon and they are western not Sinhala Buddhist Modayas. Shrub cannot go to Genève because he has diplomatic immunity while Blair has like MR and his terrorist have.The day the loose the immunity like Pinochet even the dogs will eat them raw.
      The Libyan Oil is flowing in full swing (only 4% of it was ever sent to the EU or US) thanks to the Europeans who still run the show (the locals admitted they have no skills to run it full capacity but a max of 50%). Don’t tell me your gas gembo story as I know that country well enough. In 68 when your government chased away the British Gas company BCC they thought they could deliver the gas but even today you modayas are only capable of belching farting and hoodwinking the people.

  • 0

    She has written this article well. I salute her for that . Tisaranee Gunasekara is a another fearless journalist who expose corrupt regime consistently. Rajapakse is the biggest hypocritical leader we ever had. He gave all powerful post to his brothers but advised one of minor minister to quit as his brother is one useless chief minister of a province. His family and acolytes are corrupted to the worst but removed chief justice accusing her corrupt without reasonable evidence.
    She wrote well of Ranil Wickramasinghe so the I don’t have to add anything. Ranil is the major obstacle to rise of people against regime. He can’t win an election and know best thing for him remain as opposition leader so that he will be invited and treated high by foreign countries.
    First step should be to remove Ranil from the leadership of opposition and form fearless opposition where SF, Karu, Shrini bandaranayake, Democratic UNPiers , JVP and major Tamil parties participating.

  • 0

    I feel that Noble is probably sincere in her analysis, except for some factual mistakes and misinterpretations of the role of the Western Jewish-dominated press corps during Western wars of choice.

    “The mind of the oppressed is the greatest weapon available to a tyrant” would ring true in any country, East or West.

    • 0

      Western Jewish Press – Unfortunately for your country and the rest of the world the Jewish people score very high IQ for verbal virtuosity.

      All wars are instigated by power hungry megalomaniacs, the politicians; managed by professional killers, the military; and fought by the brainwashed members of their respective populations, the canon-fodder.
      However, no matter what excuse politicians dream up for waging war, the underlying cause of all wars is economic in nature.

  • 0

    Western countries can mind their own stupid business, I think. There is a saying in sinhala ‘anunge weda gena vivechanaya kara kara innawata wada, thamange weda tika hariyata karapan hiwala keya hada’

    and for those who do not know sinhala, it is a sinhala folk tale and it means instead of wasting one’s precious time and energy mindlessly critisising the work of others, do your own work and and what you are doing mindfully and diligently for the greater good of others and set a good example rather than hanging around like rasthiyadu karayo (those time wasters who hang around at street corners) critisising others.

    This is an apt saying applicable for a number of groups the EU, US, India vis a vis Sri Lanka and Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and other INGOs.

    • 0

      First please tell this to your friend President Rajapakse.

      Tell him not to put monster cut outs of him around the country wasting our money.

      Tell him to leave the Police, Judiciary, minorities, armed forces, reporters and journalists to do their jobs and not to harass them.

      Tell him not to be a coward with white van abductions, arbitary arrests and impresenements, and night time raids on opponents houses and shoot and ru away.

      Tell hi mot to rig votes and bribe opposition MP’s to cross over to his side.

      Tell him not to Breed the parliament ministries every six months with phony ministries burdening already burdened tax payers.

      Tell him not to import Lamborginis with slave Middle East foreign currency earned by poor Rizanas.

      Tell him not to appropriate Profit making opposition party private businesses making bogus claims to punish them.

      Please tell him to Mind his own business and not to be an Alibaba with robbing Tsunami, other people’s money, land houses and businesses and leave others alone.

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