1 October, 2020

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Doubts About The Latest Commission Appointed By The President

By Rajiva Wijesinha –

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

I was interviewed recently by Ceylon Today with regard to the forthcoming visit of Navenethem Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Some of what I said had to be edited out for reasons of space but, though the paper did a good job, I thought that some of what they had to omit was worth reproducing.

In particular, given that it pertains to the future but we need to be aware of the mistakes of the past, I set down here the questions relating to the Commission on Disappearances that the President has appointed, along with the answers I gave. I believe much injustice has been done to the President because of delays on the part of those to whom he gives instructions. In the absence of comprehensive discussions as to policy, everyone assumes they have an obligation to influence policy, which sometimes leads to delays that the President is not informed of – such as occurred with regard to the Action Plan on the LLRC he wanted taken to Geneva ahead of the 2012 vote.

A. The President has only now appointed a committee to investigate disappearances that occurred during the final stages of the war. Can you explain why it took four years since the conclusion of the war for a commission to be appointed.

The President has often wanted things done which those around him simply delay. He is an instinctive politician, with generally very sound instincts, but he cannot conceptualize. Unfortunately he continues to have faith in those around him who can conceptualize, but they have allowed their intellects to go to sleep and act only when they have to.

I can give you four clear examples of instructions he gave being ignored. He wanted me appointed Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights in December 2007 and this took six months. In April 2011 he thought the Committee to implement the Interim Recommendations of the LLRC was active, and when he realized it had never met, he wanted me put on the Committee. His Secretary was persuaded to ignore that request, but though I was then specifically asked to monitor its work, in my letter of appointment as Advisor on Reconciliation (the terms of reference came six months after the appointment, which in turn had taken three months after he wanted it done), it was only a few months later that I was told the Committee had never met. Because of its obsession with Defence related matters, nothing was done about even more important questions such as land issues.

The President wanted an Action Plan for the LLRC prepared in December 2011. This was ignored and only happened when he finally entrusted it to his Secretary instead of the Pieris/Foreign Ministry Colombo that had done nothing. He wanted Civil Society representatives on that Action Plan Committee but Mr Pieris objected and they were dropped. I was told they would be put on the Task Force, but the Task Force did not meet for six months after Cabinet had adopted the Plan, and it is only active now after Mrs Wijayatilaka – who was responsible for producing the Action Plan quickly with Key Performance Indicators – was put in charge. Unfortunately no one bothered to tell sympathetic members of the international community about her role until I did, and those who met her were deeply impressed. One told me that, for the first time, they were hearing from government language they had not heard before.

B. Is the President simply appointing this commission ahead of Pillay’s visit to appease the UN and give them some confidence regarding the government’s commitment to ensuring accountability?

I hope not, but there are people around him who think like ostriches, and believe that, after she goes away, the matter can be forgotten – until the next crisis hits us. Let me give you another example of how slow and obtuse people can be. In October 2009 the Americans sent us some queries about potential war crimes, which were put in a very civilized form, and could easily have been answered. The most serious related to what Sarath Fonseka had said in Ambalangoda, about him ignoring instructions to spare people carrying white flags, and I pointed out then that this should be investigated.

The President appointed a Committee, which hardly met. I told them several times that I had material to refute the allegations – including verbally to the most active member of the Committee, Mr Jayamaha, at the President’s Christmas Party in December 2009 – but they slept on the matter, and I was only called up in the middle of 2010 when I was abroad. When I got back, I was told that the mandate of that Committee had been subsumed in that of the LLRC, which does not seem to have been the case because those allegations are not specifically dealt with.

In the days when I thought Mr Pieris had a serious commitment to Human Rights, I would tell him that he and I could sit together over a weekend and draft clear answers, and he agreed, but never got down to it – though in that case he did not have a mandate so failure was not his responsibility.

C. Many are of the view that this commission is nothing more than a political gimmick and a time-buying measure. Your thoughts?

Not from the President’s perspective, but the views of others may prove more powerful. He does not micro-manage, which I used to think was a good thing, having seen what happened when Mr Premadasa did micro-manage. But I realize that, whereas Mr Premadasa had very capable officials, the President now is not so fortunate, and he needs to make sure his instructions are carried out. He certainly should not listen to those who think time can be bought, because the last three years have shown that this is neither possible nor desirable.

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    Any one any faith in a commission of inquiry in a corrupt, lawless Banana Republic? So far we have seen, injury by assault, the victim assaulted himself or death by shooting, the victim shot himself, and so on. So why would any one bother about commissions of inquiries held at the Banana Republic?

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      Namal Perera:
      Exactly right!

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      Short answer Rajiva this is very naive! Rajapassa being a politician pays the game of giving with one hand and taking with the other! Hence your greatly delayed appointment…! Open your eyes dude!

      The fact is that There is NO POLITICAL WILL in the Rajapassa regime to investigate its own crimes – particularly the crime boss GOTA the goon who is the real power in the land today.

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      Namal Perera you are right.

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    O.K. — I hope we will get to hear GL’s view on your commentary, now that it is public that the trio is ganging up to get him out of the picture.

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      Now They are [Rajiva Wijesinha ,Tamara, and Dayan]
      very busy with Composing a LULLABY to MRS Pillai.
      with instructions from Rajapassa.
      Dear Professore!.
      You people cant fool Navaneetham Pillai,
      She Escaped from More Dangerous Hounds than your Bosses

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    Who are these men that are said to be not appropriate advisers to the president according to Rajiva W ?

    If it is the truth that paritcular long awaited commission is now appointed shortly before a week to go with Pillay^s inspection tour?

    Buduma budu saranan gachchami to all srialnkens and the country.

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      Rajiva Wijesinha is with this governance about more than 6 years
      and with politicians More than 25 years,
      He knows Rajapassa since 1970s,
      But He says Some People are over stepping the Rajapassa.
      Doesn’t he knows that Those Politicians are Cheaters and Liars.

      I think, He just wants to White wash Rajapassa, And gain some Advantages for his benefits.
      Nothing more on this subject.

      And, He knows That,
      now a days, EVEN CHINESES ALSO ,Do Not Wear Knotted HAIR.

      I scratch Your Back RAJAPASSA.
      YOU SCRATCH MY BACK ALSO ,
      RAJAPASSA, PLEASE RAJAPASSA.

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    It seems that Professori is on his last legs. He was sent to invite Manmohan but did not get a firm commitment. Now LLRC is likely to be his piece of cake.

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    “The President has often wanted things done which those around him simply delay. He is an instinctive politician, with but he cannot conceptualize. Unfortunately he continues to have faith in those around him who can conceptualize, but they have allowed their intellects to go to sleep and act only when they have to.”…

    Oh! He is deaf and blind, not to see all these? He should chuck the idiots, or just get out of there himself. LLRC delay was due to this as well? You are dancing well for the meals, Rajiva. Do you think the readers are fools? Maybe there are. Otherwise how would you get space to write your drivel?

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      ” Do you think the readers are fools? Maybe there are. Otherwise how would you get space to write your drivel? “

      My thoughts exactly. Rajiva is covering up and being an apologist for MaRa. With this excuse MaRa can claim he is innocent and it those around him that prevented progress and accountability.

      Funny how things that MARA & Co really want don’t seem to get delayed for many years.

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        This article is much clearers about Rajiva^s loyalty to MR.

        I really dont know why he seems to be loyal to a person – who has deployed troops to killed Weliveriya protesters.
        Who would respond to the questions going to be raised by Pillay next week ?

        I thought GLP is alone – unfortunately, this article made me clearers RW is not better :(

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    Rajiva,

    We all realize you’ve found a comfort zone where you can write any fantasies just the way you like it, irrespective of whether it is logical or factual. Your comfort is that you have no obligation to respond, and want to capitalize on that to the maximum! So, I guess there is no point asking you questions or challenging you – rather, the only effective way is to merely expose the idiocies just as we see it – correct or not; fully informed or not.

    1. It is obvious you see the absolute need to continue to pander to the President, in the off chance you could wiggle-out some high-position and not have to seek anew an adjunct, assistant, temporary position in some remote Uni some place as happened to DJ

    2. And you want to find an excuse for your lack of effectiveness and inability to work as a team (which English department teaches that?) – and so, you want to now wash laundry in public, and hold everyone else, and absolve yourself as responsible for your own failings.

    3. In your desperation for some hard-to-get support – you now have found DJ and Tamara, equally desperate, lonely and outcast as you, to join your band-wagon.

    4. You merely provide an apology in pretending to be complementary, stating just a vacuous “President has good instincts.” That is nothing but a glaringly obvious attempt at placating him, in view of the criticisms you are about to make. Cats and dogs and lesser creatures have good instincts – and that is as far as your complement goes!

    5. Your frank assessment is that President has neither the ability to conceptualize nor to implement. Add to that, you emphasize that everyone in the team that he leads actually ignores him. So, frankly, what you have explicitly stated is that he truly has no leadership qualities — just the ability to fantasize! You cannot be more wrong. He is much smarter than you guys and you are still to wise-up to his strategies, as you continue to drift ignorantly in your fantasy-world

    6. You, and DJ and Tamara are in a dream world assuming you guys are the intellects among a group of morons. Morons they are – but still more intellectual than the three of you combined. When will you all wake up to that reality? How else can one explain the fact that MR and gang have been able to use you to the maximum to achieve what they needed from you and you are still to wise-up to that. Didn’t you realize what MR thought of you when he opted to ask a high-schooler from Pottinger group to draft his speech to be delivered in Australia, not even mentioning that need to either you the English wizard, or to Dayan the Political Science maestro. Dream on!

    7. You confessed recently that it was just you and DJ who single-handedly pursued the option to block Accountability hearing, while the rest of the admin was willing and had planned to go along. That indeed was not merely unfair, uncivilized and stupid, but also the height of intellectual-dishonesty, unworthy of any education, at any level. The proof? Now Dayan himself is forced to wonder “”how must that state have treated the Tamils in the closing stages of the war,….”

    The intelligent and civilized way would have been to promptly support and pursue appropriate, reasonable and convincing accountability hearing and to deal honestly with the findings. You guys, either with racist motives or more likely with a desperate need for the President’s attention, wanted to score big! You had to prove something. And so, you gave false-comfort to the regime – and now that has back-fired so badly it set the wheels in motion for self-destruction of a once proud nation. You misguided pseudo-intellects are the “invisible-hands” behind this whole tragedy and travesty. Grow up and take responsibility.

    8. Your response to the question “Is the President simply appointing this commission …. to appease the UN ?” is laughable. When you say “I hope not” you are obviously exposing your underlying mistrust in him. Ha, ha on the “ but there are people around him who think like ostriches,” – it is you who made them think like ostriches, acting as the regime’s collective amude to cover-up a heap of sins at massive scales.

    9. Similarly, your observation “but the views of others may prove more powerful “ is beyond ridiculous. Only shows you have no guts to finger as to who is responsible. I am sure your answer is “everyone knows” – if so, what other than total gutlessness on your part can hold you back from being explicit.

    10. I hope you see your foolishness in “But I realize that, whereas Mr Premadasa had very capable officials, the President now is not so fortunate,” – if either you or DJ have any claim for intellect you would have seen that four years or more ago – not grovel for the crumbs during the “good times” and resort to mud throwing only when you are about to be put on the plank!

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      Absolutely right.
      This guy is a hypocrite of the highest order. I will bet all my wealth that he has never ever played a team sport. If he had he would’ve been a team player. He always let’s his team down whatever the team is. If he is with team government he should defend not only the president. Instead this fellow criticizes all whose job he aspires. Mahinda Samarasinghe, GL Peiris etc all are nobodies and he and only he knows everything about international relations. When he tries to play to the liberal camp he is equally hypocritical. defending killings in the North while criticizing the same actions in the South. Nothing but being an opportunist.

      Since this character is part of the government team he can attempt to make changes from the inside. If he realizes that he is insignificant to make those changes he can honorably resign and then write all these dirty laundry in the public realm. What he is doing currently is despicable. No other public figure behaves in such a manner. What has he achieved or done for his great wisdom. What has to show for his criticism. Nothing. All he can do is blame others. RW should be called the AJ Ranasinghe of the current regime.

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        Yes indeed, but he does not seem to see it.

        I had all respect to this GUY by listening /watching his interview given to many occassions. But today, having read adding by himself that President is not the person whom to be blamed – gives me the view, this writers should CLEARLY be SICK.

        Every 10 year old would easily see it that incumbent president is the root cause of the problems that nation faces today. He as a president stays deaf and blind… he has not appointed committee as agreed upon in LAST UN sessions until this weeks.. How dare RW to tolerate all these saying that his ADVISERS to be accountable for all the Chaos. Ane habata mehemath nataka. BUDUSARANAI APITA so called interllectuals will guide us nowhere :(

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    MR knows he can fool the whole world and people and still get votes and win any election. He has all the media, power, money in his pocket.

    As long as he thinks that he can fool the Sri Lankans and win the elections he will not change in what he is doing.

    Until the Sri Lankan people behaviour change and send the crooks, rapists, murderers, robbers to the right place leaders will take advantage of people.

    The change have to come from bottom up.

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    RW ,

    You will be replaced with Dayasiri Jayasekara for the parliament in due course, so better start packing now!

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    You must be the most politically dumb person in Sri Lanka. I am not sure you are really dumb or just pretending and white washing. BTW, you must be the first person to publish your own interview. Good job.

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    According to you it sure looks like the President is surrounded by a bunch of “obtuse” incompetents (except for you, of course!) and this, in turn, reflects on just how competent and aware he is.

    With regard to GL, no need to comment – most are aware of the extent of his ‘integrity’ (not worth a turd!) – much like yourself.

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    This man sounds worse than the president. He says Action committee was formed after six months of instructions given by his master, master of gimmicks. What action has this so called Action(less) Committee done so far? Still the army threaten civilians attending meetings of opposition parties in the north. He always finds an scapegoat to shift the blame for inactions on human rights or disappearances. What he claims that the yes men of the president are idle, lazy or inefficient without realising it was the president who appointed them when action men or women are available in the country.

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    MR has a track-record of appointing Commissions to forget the issue –
    to be assigned to the WPB when it arrives.
    With a double-speak President, it could be that one instruction give
    at the height of the issue is secretly put on hold to satisfy someone
    involved in the matter. The truth will come out when Lalith W writes his
    Memories in time to come – when Rajiva can answer them – long after the
    Dynasty ends!!

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    One will remember that Lalith W & Willie Gamage were involved in the Helping Hambantota scandal* – one reason they are still in the scene?

    http://www.thesundayleader.lk/20050703/spotlight.htm

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    Mrs. N. Pilli is world class commissioner. Childish things never change the focus. She had lot of evidence.Rajapakse failed in all attempt.

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    Prof Wijesinghe gives the impression of a man who is deftly struggling to walk an impossible tightrope of political expediency.On the one hand given his academic antecedents in order to retain a vestige of intellectual authenticity he has to make a pretence of criticising instances of bad governance where those are patently indefensible.On the other he has to play the part of the faithful presidential sycophant, except for which he could not possibly continue to enjoy a tenuous perch in those delectable corridors of legislative power as a government MP !

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    ” Not from the President’s perspective, but the views of others may prove more powerful.”

    You think you are very clever Rajiv Sir. I know you are afraid to face a white Van. Rajapakse’s are not fools to listen to your gimmicks. Can you tell who are the others? You mean Gota?

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    Surely the President has a secretary whose duty is to follow up on the president’s instructions – who must be having enough staff to assist him – and to send reminders at suitable intervals,reagrding each.
    Rajiva’s excuse therefore is not credible.
    Earlier too Rajiva has blamed officials’ delays in carrying out wishes & instructions by the President.
    Such behaviour amounts to gross inefficiency bordering on insubordination.
    Rajiva is essntially a ‘whitewasher’ trying desperately to find excuses to remove blame from the president.
    The latest commission on disappearances will suffer the same fate – the members will be ‘appointed’ and ’empowered’ in time for the opening of CHOGM.
    Rajiva earns his perks and salary thus,and has become almost indespensable.

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    Asoka,

    Loved your coinage “vestige of intellectual authenticity” unmistakably with emphasis on “vestige.” You could not be more spot-on! And, that applies to DJ as well.

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    RW:
    Aren’t you praising Mrs. Wijetilleke because she is your cousin? But all others are either incapable or lethargic? What has happened all the reports presented to the President? None have seen the light of day. What has happened to Tissa Vitharana, report? Udalagama report? and very many of those reports? Are they gathering dust at Temple Trees? Why can’t those be released?
    You are a big humbug who is singing for your supper.

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    I know of at least one person who was an advisor who, when s/he couldnt get an appointment with the person who appointed her/him for 3 months, resigned from the position. One had agreed to the advisory position but had declined any payment. The other ceased to receive anything after resigning. I really dont know why the public is not informed who is advising who about what, especially since many such advisors are paid. Recently I discovered that a totally unsuitable person is being paid to be an advisor on a particular subject when his actual qualifications do not fit him for that but for something totally different. but I expect someone else was already “advising” about the guy’s “own” subject.

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    RW, you have never been team man. Even as a student at Peradeniya you were a loner. You did not have any friends. Others around the President and others who have worked knows not to trust you. What of you liberal principals? You compromised those principles for position and perks.
    GL and MEA cannot function as it should function. Putting a stooge (who ruined millions and millions of rupees of public money by his ill-conceived Mihin Lanka)as Monitoring MP to override everybody at MEA has made GL and other officials mere puppets.
    As you say if President’s directives are ignored by his chosen staff, what a President is he? Is he the President only to tickle babies at public functions?
    Premadasa not only had good support staff, he followed-up his directives to see proper results. (He did not have the dozens and dozens and dozens of advisers like what Mahinda Rajapakse has) That’s quality of a good leader. As what Ms. Manel Fonseka has said what can you expect a man who put a square peg in a round hole, when totally unfit cronies are given positions at public expense.

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    Rajiva, let me be honest to you (although you are not honest to your self). You are sucking and blowing at the same time. You are sucking up to the President. Do you love your ministerial position so much. Why can’t you be honest like Dayan. You are a disgrace to the Liberal Party and above all the fundamentals of the Liberal Party.

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      Park@,
      DJ is also not honest as we think.
      In one article he comes putting all against ruling while in the same time he is trying to criticise the UNP and opposition. As some commentators feel – these trio seem to have no open agendas.

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    This professor sucks!! He is trying to get back in a senior position again by bending backwards to MR. He may be more successful if he bends forward!!! an idiot who thinks he has intellect because his English is a bit better than the other uneducated nincompoops who are the puppets and stooges of the current regime. Rajiva will have a greater impact if he can open an English School to teach the kudu magnates sons and the synthetic Rajapakse godayas to say a few words in English.

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