30 October, 2020

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Cornering Sri Lanka, US-Style

By Malinda Seneviratne –

Malinda Seneviratne

On May 22, 2013, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was entered between the Public Affairs Section of the Embassy of the United States of America (USA) and the Trincomalee Urban Council (UC) at the Public Library of Trincomalee for the use of the UC premises for a period of five years.  The facility, named ‘American Corner’ is purportedly for public information activity. 

The US Embassy has already set up 2 such facilities, one in Kandy and another in Jaffna.  The Ministry of External Affairs is yet to comment on the legality of these operations.  If they have been sanctioned, then the public needs to know whether clearance has been obtained from the national security establishment given sensitivity and the track record of the USA in setting up of such ‘non-military’ bases and using them for espionage purposes.

First and foremost the use of ‘American’ is a misnomer and one which indicates the ‘empiric’ aspirations of the USA, for ‘America’ refers to two continents, from the southern tip of South America to the northernmost point of North America.  That’s a ‘cornering’ of a different kind which too is not ideologically innocent.

Secondly, if this is ‘ok’, it means that the USA can enter into Memoranda of Understanding with each of the 335 local authorities in the country.  It means that all other countries which have diplomatic missions in Sri Lanka can follow suit.  We will have a Saudi Arabia Corner in Kattankudy, a Russian Corner in Kolonnawa, a Cuban Corner in Boralesgamuwa and of course similar corners of these countries and others in all parts of the country.  It will be practically impossible for the Government to check what they are up to.

What is pernicious about this move is that the US Embassy has seen fit to bypass the Ministry of External Affairs.  This is the ‘we do as we want’ face of the Ugly American.  This is exactly what made people express horror about 9/11 but add, ‘you asked for it’.

Thirdly, if a relatively minor local authority like an Urban Council can ‘pact’ with a foreign government, what wouldn’t a larger entity such as a Provincial Council do?  Trincomalee is a sensitive district security-wise.  Any foreign government doing any business (forget setting up a ‘base’ which can be used for electronic warfare, surveillance and such) is a threat to national security.  The USA, moreover, is not exactly Sri Lanka’s ‘best friend’ in the international community.  This move is as much a security threat as that of giving Sampur over to India.

In other words, if the 13th Amendment is not repealed and a different arrangement instituted to ensure a louder voice for the citizen in regional development, with sufficient protections against abuse by spoiler forces (like the TNA, which is calling for autonomy that includes financial deals with foreign governments), then we could very well have the USA (or anyone else) operating to destabilize the nation from within in ways that are more telling than the current method of surreptitiously conspiring with anti-Sri Lankan elements to affect regime-change.

Let there be no illusions.  The USA is dead-set on interfering in the internal affairs of this country.  The USA tried to corner Sri Lanka in Geneva.  The USA is now taking the metaphor into literary territory.  We could very well have the USA and its allies in the European Union (who voted en bloc against Sri Lanka in Geneva) setting up such ‘corners’ in all corners of the country.  There won’t be a corner left that can be called ‘Sri Lanka’.  Or else, the Government will have to beg these powers for a ‘corner’ for Sri Lanka.

The USA is clearly cutting corners here, banking on the general goodwill of the people and the inefficiencies and/or fears of relevant officials and politicians.  These are civilian-looking ‘Lily Pods’ with multiple uses, both innocent and pernicious.  The USA does not love Sri Lanka or Sri Lankans. That’s fine.  The Government, however, cannot shun its responsibilities to the people.

These ‘corners’ must be kicked out.  And fast.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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Latest comments

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    yawning……………………………………………………….

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    There’s some point but it’s hard to believe that Ministry of External Affairs wasn’t aware of. We are so paranoid that we see rats in every corner.

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    Well Malinda, I guess if China entered into pacts and opened “corners” around the country you wouldn’t have an article to write about eh?

    • 0
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      But China never interfere in the internal affairs of any country but USA ?

  • 0
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    [Edited out] Malinda [Edited out], u Sinhala budhist sold everything to china, whats the difference usa. Fool u become typical brain looser.

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      J.muthu

      They sold my ancestral land to Chola, Pandya, Portuguese, Dutch, Brits and part sold to IPKF,………….continue to sell this island to various bidders, all because the Sinhala/Buddhist believe that in the long run rest of the diverse people can be assimilated into one stupid nation, owned and occupied by Sinhala/Buddhists.

      Since you are Tamil like your Sinhala/Buddhist brethren you would not have heard nor understood the wise warning in the old story, Monkey diving aappa between two cats.

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        NV,

        Is there any protection act covered in constitution for your people? I could not find any such? something like ST protection act in India?

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          manisekaran thangavelu

          Non that I know of hence I need to be louder than others.

          My elders once told me that there was no such constitutional recognition nor protection available to my people.

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    The racist-chauvinist editor of a small newspaper is at it again. These racist would not complain if the Padaviya or Seruwila Town council signed up for an American corner with the US embassy.

    All this is because the Trinco Urban Council soon to be a Municipal Council once the Rajapakses are out of power is a Tamil dominated UC and the Sinhalese are showing their envy and jealousy.

    Good Job MS keep fanning the Anti American attacks so that we in America can tell the US G, “I told you so”. Go have a “Taste of Paradise” like what the Muslims are at the receiving end. Try “Kicking Out” the American Corners and see you little mouse can do with the Mighty Elephants.

    Try it A…………… Holes….lol.

    If I am not mistaken (I am subject to correction), there is a similar American Corner in Oluvil as well which is a 90% Muslim area, where the GOSL is building a commercial port spending over $200 million dollars via foreign aid trying to convert a tiny fishing harbor to a big commercial port. This was spearheaded by Shipping Ministers Ashraff, and Rauf Hakeem. Oluvil was the first White Elephant Harbor Project, and years before the 3 Billion dollar Hambantota Rajapakse Port which is incurring millions of dollars in losses every year.

    Too bad no body takes the author Malinda seriously. He needs to join the JHU and seek their help, as well as the BBS if he hasn’t joined them already.

    Malinda should not forget that there was 4 US citizens running the country and the Armed forces. Then he had no problem or let him dare complain about US citizens Gotabaya Rajapakse, Basil Rajapakse and Milinda Moragoda aka Horagoda the former Minister of Justice. Now jail bird Fonseka is in the opposition and no one is worried if he is criticized.

    See the Island Editorial on Sunday about the US citizens and American Corner. A good editorial.

    Donald Gnanakone

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      What a great reply Donald,it made my day

      @ Malinda,when things are given stock barrel to the Chinese then you dont have any issues do you? (eg:Echelon Barracks sold the Chinese)

      hmmm btw you dont have any shame about getting American Aid do you or else do you want that stopped and stopped fast old boy ;-)))

      [Edited out]

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      Who are the people asking EELAM now? “foreigners” only. American Rudrakumaran too want a piece of Sri lanka. How is that?

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    Malinda is quite stupid to think that the ammericans could have go that small space without the approval of the paranoid gota.The first thing that the urban council would have done is to check with the US citizen gota and he would have said Ok unless he does not mind losing his citizenship.malinda seems to be another wimal,a joker not to be taken seriously except by the buffoon masses.With the type of crowd that reads the CT they must be wondering whether he justifies the space provided.

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    Malinda

    Not only the My/External Affairs but also the Parliament must take it up ASAP.

    If you are a real nationalist and have a little bit of Investigative Journalism left in you, then enlighten us on what these American, Russian, Cuban and other “corners” are, how these corners operate and who man these corners etc. etc.

    Otherwise your “loud” request that “These ‘corners’ must be kicked out. And fast.” will be another NATO type.

    The Professional

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      The Professional

      “If you are a real nationalist and have a little bit of Investigative Journalism left in you”

      His expertise in “Investigative Journalism” is limited to agreeing with Sinhala/Buddhist political establishment.

      You are naive to expect something that he would not oblige.

      Get on with your Professional life.

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    Who asked for American corners? did we ask? Do the lovey us so much here,when we see how much they hate us in Geneva.

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    @Malinda

    Do the Chinese give MR all those loans at high interest rates because they love Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans? :)

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    Malinda opens with yet another stupidly inflammatory statement which goes, “First and foremost the use of ‘American’ is a misnomer and one which indicates the ‘empiric’ aspirations of the USA, for ‘America’ refers to two continents, from the southern tip of South America to the northernmost point of North America. That’s a ‘cornering’ of a different kind which too is not ideologically innocent.”

    Most people with more than one ethical bone in their body (something conspicuous by it absence in the “body Seneviratne,” know that the citizenry of the US being called or calling themselves “Americans” is a technical misnomer.
    I would particularly invite smartass Seneviratne to enlighten us as to how he refers to his sister’s nationality since she is married to a citizen of the US and is, presumably, a U. S. citizen herself now.

    MALINDA, STOP TWISTING FACT IN THE INTERESTS OF THOSE WHO PAY YOU AND ANSWER THIS VERY SIMPLE QUESTION!

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    Foreign Ministry has said that they were not informed. So there it is. US is not like India.It behaves as if it owns this country. It is as simple as that. India is different. They sought Sri Lankan govt’s permission to establish Consulates in Jaffna and H’tota. One could say that is a different category.India is correct.She does not want any Embassy to open any corners in her territory without govt approval.so she follows international norms.

    Trincomalee is not like other places. US wants to have a hold there. It tried to do a deal with JRJ GOVT over Trinco but Indira Gandhi saw through it and opposed it AND TRAINED THE “BOYS’ TO DO underwater demolition job on foreign ships in TRINCOMALEE. Then US tried to get the oil tanks but failed in view of Indian opposition. Finally it tried to have a US enclave in Trincomalee as a Phosphate processing zone without access to Sri Lankan Customs snd Immigration and with its own airport, (Read Eppawala Phosphate Agreement with Mc Mahon Co). Now it comes in a subdued form as An American [Spy] Corner.

    “Ugly American” is old stuff. Read Perkin’s “Economic Hit Man”. As a former insider, he explains how US operates through innocent looking enterprises to destabilise countries.
    Trincomalee has been in the US and even Canadian horizon for several decades. US and Canadian Heads of Mission were feted by the Council for over 60 years.They were working well in advance. Trincomalee is the Capital of ‘EElam’ (1951 Vadukkodai RESOLUTION). The new KONESWARAM temple came up there on the site of the former Buddhist temples soon after the 1951 Resolution.

    Now the problem for US is India. She sees things in the distant radar, the day Trincomalee would be fully under the control of an independent political unit.She is not worried about disintegration of states. Her record is one of promoting disintegration. What happened in Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yugoslavia peaks for that -The formation of small enclaves where she can dominate.That is the long and short of it.

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    Well said Malinda. Very true. AMERICANS WILL DO ANYTHING TO DESTABILIZE / PROPOGATE THEIR AGENDA. ALSO AMERICA DOES NO CHARITY, EVERY ACT HAS AN UNLTERIOR MOTIVE. Over here they have used the inefficient system and somehow bypassed authorities to do this.

    We should not be gullible and should act fast to stop this from happening.

  • 0
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    kudankulam to follow.

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