20 May, 2019

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Enemies Of The President’s Promise: Doc 4

By Rajiva Wijesinha

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

When Neelan was assassinated, it was initially assumed that Jeevan Thiagarajah, a younger protégé to whom he had become increasingly close, and whom he had seen as his chosen successor, would take over. But Radhika came to a swift arrangement with Neelan’s widow Sithy, and between the two of them they ran ICES for the next few years. Sithy was given unlimited access to ICES funds and resources, and the finances suffered terribly. Radhika’s lame excuse when the problems were laid bare was that she had merely signed whatever the Financial Director laid before her, and it was only after she left that she realized he knew little about finance.

In 2006 Radhika took up a UN assignment but ensured that someone she had herself selected, Rama Mani, who was very much on the international NGO circuit, succeeded her as Executive Director. Rama managed to alienate most of the researchers at ICES and evaded queries about financial problems until finally Kingsley de Silva, who was still Chairman of the Board, dismissed her.

At this point all hell broke loose. Apart from the efforts at blackmail of Angela Bogdan, Radhika weighed in heavily from New York on Rama’s behalf, while Rama even got the UNDP Regional Director to sign a petition asking for her reinstatement. This turned out to be under false pretences, and he retracted apologetically, while in New York, after much complaining, Radhika agreed with the Secretary General that she would give up her continuing involvement with ICES, which she should indeed have done when taking up a UN involvement.

My own deep worry about ICES had begun when Gareth Evans, who had chaired the Committee that developed the R2P concept, had been invited by Rama to deliver the Neelan Tiruchelvam memorial lecture, and had engaged in wild attacks on the Sri Lankan government. Having refrained from any mention of who had killed Neelan, he basically suggested that the Sri Lankan government, while engaged in excesses in its efforts to suppress the Tigers, was essentially racist and becoming ripe for R2P intervention.

Gareth came to see me afterwards and I challenged his claims, in particular his assertions that there had been genocide and ethnic cleansing in Sri Lanka, conditions which warranted exercise of R2P. The only instance of the former he could mention was what had happened in July 1983, and he granted that that was no reason for evoking R2P now. With regard to the latter, he could not remember his reasons for the claim, and had to turn to his assistant, Alan Keenan, who had worked for ICES and developed an insidious interest in Sri Lanka which he now exercised on behalf of the International Crisis Group which Gareth headed.

Keenan sanctimoniously referred to the expulsion of Muslims by the LTTE, which had happened in 1990. Neither the date nor the perpetrators had been mentioned in Gareth’s speech, which made clear the sleight of hand involved. I mentioned that there was other shoddy work in the speech, and he agreed to respond when I had written to him about this, but needless to say, I never received any answers.

Interestingly enough I met Gareth again the following year, in Geneva, and I reminded him that he had not responded. He first claimed to have done so, and then changed his stance and said that he had been told I was a difficult person to deal with. I was flattered, that a former Australian Foreign Minister should be nervous of me, but I persevered, and he told me to write to Alan again with the questions. Obviously this time too there was no response.

But I had previously realized how dangerous Gareth himself could be because, while the financial problems at ICES were emerging, a Sri Lankan social activist noted on the web that ICES Colombo had been made a Regional Centre for R2P. This had been done by Rama off her own bat, working together with Gareth and with Radhika in New York, and the ICES Board in Sri Lanka knew nothing of what was going on. This was highly improper, and I duly complained to the President, who looked into the matter and decided that Rama’s visa should be cancelled.

But then Bradman Weerakoon intervened. In the sixties he had, as a bright young Civil Servant, been Mrs Bandaranaike’s Secretary when she was Prime Minister. But later, after the government changed, he had given evidence against her brother, who had been her private secretary, in a bribery case. Mrs Bandaranaike claimed he had not told the truth – the brother was found not guilty – and Bradman had been sent to a remote area as Government Agent when she became Prime Minister again in 1970. Since then he had been a solid supporter of the UNP, working for both President Jayewardene and President Premadasa.

After the SLFP came back to power in 1994, Bradman became heavily involved in the NGO sector, helping Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu to set up the Centre for Policy Alternatives, and being the Colombo face of ICES. He now challenged Kingsley’s decision, and persuaded him to rescind Rama’s dismissal. He also got Lalith to write to me with reference to an article I had written on the problem, which had appeared on the Peace Secretariat website.

Lalith very gently told me he thought I had been too harsh, and I accordingly made a couple of changes, but I realized that he would probably succumb to pressure with regard to Rama, who had indeed already proclaimed her triumph and that she would continue in office. Fortunately the Prime Minister, Ratnasiri Wikramanayake, to whom the President had entrusted the matter, was made of sterner stuff. When I spoke to him, he assured me that there would be no change, and Ms Mani would have to leave.

She did so, and the ICES Board repudiated the R2P involvement, which I think helped to reduce the creeping effort to internationalize the concept and make it a regular tool of intervention. But when Kingsley finally gave up, Sithy Tiruchelvam reasserted herself with a vengeance, and for a couple of years had a Board that did her bidding, until finally another Executive Director resigned and it was realized that the institution had to be rescued. Radhika’s candidate to become Executive Director was not appointed, and a more balanced Board was elected.

The whole episode made me realize however how shaky Lalith could be, when it came to personal relations. With no consultation mechanisms in place to ensure commitment to agreed social and political principles, he could be the instrument of anyone with sufficient personal clout, who was determined to pursue a personal agenda. With his own feelings combining respect for the West with commitment to a nationalism relying on religious feeling, he could well promote what would be grist to the mill of the Americans, resentment of India, and influences therein that were not Buddhist, combined with adulation of the West when it came bearing gifts.

The attacks on India then, which had initially astonished me, were not then so surprising. And if this contributed to failure to work together with India to reduce the impact of any resolution the West might bring against Sri Lanka in Geneva, perhaps this would not be a problem if a compromise could be reached with the West that permitted unbridled nationalism at home with commitment to the West internationally – a recipe that has prevented both Saudi Arabia and Israel from being at the butt end of criticism about human rights internally, and denigratory treatment of those who are not part of the dominant elite.

I do not suppose Lalith had thought all this through carefully and ended up deciding to promote conduct that was in opposition to the fundamental commitment of the President to a Non-Aligned Agenda, that of the traditional SLFP. But just as adherents of New Labour, when they saw the light and began to repudiate some of their old principles, found themselves caught up in a comfortable world view that privileged polarization, so too Lalith, appreciative as he was of the manner in which Gotabhaya had fulfilled his early responsibilities, may have found himself straying into strategies that went against his initial perspectives.

And so the President, when he should have been strengthened in the basic principles he had enunciated in his manifestoes, and which still emerged in his conversation when he was not sidetracked by what were presented to him as essential stratagems for elections, found himself without the support he needed. He kept being lulled into a false sense of security, believing that the West would not really persecute him as threatened, that India would rescue him, that the Chinese would protect him. But none of those close to him advised him of the few simple measures he could take to consolidate his position. A credible internal inquiry, implementation of the 13th Amendment (adjusted as required to ensure national security but allowing for local input into decision making), action on the Human Rights Action Plan and the LLRC Recommendations Action Plan which had both been adopted by Cabinet, a dedicated agency to promote Reconciliation and Human Rights, and above all fulfilment of any pledges he had made – all these, he should have been told, were essential to fulfil the promise his impressive victory over terrorism had heralded.

But instead of any of this, he was cossetted in the prejudices piled upon him by those who profited from his isolation, preserved as a sort of electoral cash cow for the endless forays into the hustings that would bring them profit and power, and continuously detract from the overwhelming popularity he had once commanded. Given that those who profited could not be expected to think of his interests, it is the more tragic that Lalith Weeratunge, whose counsel he knew to trust, and whose commitment to him was unquestionable, had neither the courage nor the commitment to try to set him straight.

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Latest comments

  • 11
    0

    Rajiva
    Reading your kiss n tell stories of everyone is increasingly tiring. I personally know Radhika, Rama et al and have a lot of respect for their ability. (A few years ago Rama wanted a gift carried to bradman on his 90th bday that I did for her).

    So knowing these personalities I feel u bad mouth anyone of substance to make out you are the lone star shining bright in Sri Lanka’s dark and ever darkening skies.

    Relieved that for once this article said nothing about Dayan and Tamara !!

    • 1
      5

      Though not a Rajiv a fan myself, I am compelled to agree with his comments on Lalith and Bradman Weerakoon.

      Lalith was “up himself” and was compromised [Edited out] to Diana Captain (ex-wife was her sister) who was gossip collector for the US embassy.

      Bradman was a dill who was responsible for giving weapons to Pirapakaran under Premadasa’s watch.

      Understand he hit 90 recently, hope he regrets every living moment.

    • 5
      0

      As parents, it was a sad to have heard Rama Mani’s ouster was arranged so tastelessly and with so much revenge, the
      security personnel whom Rajiva had used were to insist Rama Mani leave
      instantly – giving her little time to organise a decent departure to the airport. This was to mean the little son – practising for a school play – had to be dragged, crying and protesting, to the airport. That must have left an impression on the mother of the humane nature and compassion of some of our supposed to be better educated citizens coming from the more elite families. That these very same gentlemen are now pleading, pole-vaulting from one side of the fence to the other, only to offer their services to bring happiness and good cheer to all Sri Lanka, is curiously bizarre.

      Since there was much to fear for the safety of mother and son to enroute the airport, a vehicle from the French Embassy had been provided. This is evidence the diplomatic community thought poorly of how Sri Lanka handled the matter – a sequence of events of a personal vendetta.

      This delusion of RP2 is all a creation of the imaginary minds of certain self-claimed experts here who had some influence then – as the narrative suggests. The usefulness of such men to the good of the regime has since been discovered and they have been encouraged to “defect”

      R. Varathan

    • 4
      0

      Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

      RE: Enemies Of The President’s Promise: Doc 4

      Why not call the series,

      Enemies Of The People, and the Promises of the President’s Promise: Series, XXX

      The President Delivers for his Family.
      Horses, Lamborghini etc. and victory…

      [Edited out]

  • 6
    0

    One would wonder what Rajiva is trying to say wasting the time of the reader.Bensen

  • 3
    3

    Well, irrespective of the targets Rajeeve aims, these are great articles to the insight of NGO mafia in Sri Lanka.
    In any country NGOs play vital role for the upliftment of democracy, Alas in Sri Lanka, they are selling the country whole sale for dollars!
    This gives me more respect to Mahinda Gota who had to overcome these god fathers.

    Dollar crows, Hell bent on attacking Sri Lanka,

  • 5
    1

    I though that corruption was limited to politicians, police, judiciary and local government. Happy to see that it is alive and well in even the problem solving think tanks of our nation. We have a great future behind us.

  • 9
    0

    Dr. Wijesinha has been making these claims for sometime but I could not respond because I was an international public servant. Now I can and would like to make the following points:-
    1. It appears that only Dr. Wijesinha was aware of the fact that Jeevan Thiagarajah was Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam’s chosen successor to take over the Colombo ICES.. I certainly was not aware of that fact and since I was Director Colombo ICES since 1982 I was unaware that Dr. Tiruchelvam wanted me replaced. He always expressed the greatest confidence in my abilities.
    2. ICES was not in dire financial straits- it had raised a very large endowment- a larger endowment than most research institutions but was having some problems raising finances for individual projects.
    3. The United Nations Secretary General has never talked to me about ICES- I do not think he knows that it exists
    4. At the time of these incidents the doctrine of the responsibility had not been formulated by the UN- there was only an international debate and t Dr. Mani told me that she wanted ICES to contribute to that debate- she did not expect to drive Dr. Wijesinha and his friends in government into a paranoid state of mind.
    5. I did make a statement about signing cheques but it was a joke sent in a private email to Dr. PradeepmJeganathan- quoting from private emails is one of Dr. Wijesinha’s trademarks
    6. It is appalling that a member of the liberal party should invite the CID into a research and academic institution to confiscate files and intimidate staff and also go from a President to Prime Minister to get someone deported in seven days without due process and before she can even pack or close her affairs in Sri Lanka for the crime of participating in an international debate
    7. For the record thanks to Dr, Wijesinha, the CID, the Parliamentary Select Committee etc..have all had access to every ICES file and computer. They have found nothing wrong. But Dr. Wijesinha continues regardless.

    • 9
      0

      Thank you for your clear rebuttal of this man.

  • 7
    0

    Rajiva, I am appalled by the way you libel (or should I say defame?) people in your writings. Sithy, sadly, is dead and cannot respond to your accusations. And about the time you first wrote such attacks on her she was very ill, so even had she known about them she was in no condition to respond. I myself am well aware of certain things you have written which have no basis in truth — I put them down to a vibrant imagination. It is one thing your exposing people in public office who live off public money but it is quite another your apparent exposures of wrong-doing in NGOs which are answerable to their funders and membership and not to you or the general public..

    I am sorry, too, that CT carries such calumnies and glad that Radhika, at least, has responded here. Let the public criticize NGOs on the basis of their work and value and refrain from making personal attacks, which seem to delight too many people.

    • 1
      0

      The talk at the time of the Rama Mani issue was a Gang of 3 was trying to take over the resourceful and internationally respected ICES. Two of them are referred to in this article – the third being Pradeep J.
      Neelan, Radhika, Bradman are all persons who have gained a reputation over the decades as those above reproach and honourable to the core. The highly respected and loveable Neelan built the ICES to its sublime heights – until he was felled. R2P is a monster only to Governments that have a poor HR and governance record. From what we know, India, where there are multiple thousands of NGOs operating has no problem complained of by New Delhi.

      Sadly, Rajeeva, who enjoyed a relatively clean record as an academic, has chosen to swim in the mire of the snake pit of Lankan politics. He has thus grievously injured his personal reputation – as did his intellectual twin Dayan J quite a while ago.

      Backlash

      • 1
        0

        Backlash

        Rajiva is a war crime denier.

        He was one of those acceptable public faces who used to get on the box as often as possible to deny war crimes and crime against humanity, during and after the war.

        Any sane minded person watching global television channels would have dismissed him as one who lied about the true situation in this island but a intellectually dishonest academic.

        The other problem with him is that he never gets to the point.

        I used to be a proud liberal however I am now looking for a new word. Please help me find one.

  • 0
    0

    The “only instance” of Genocide was NOT July 1983.
    Regular massacres of tamils commenced soon after independence.

    http://www.nesohr.org/files/Lest_We_Forget-II.pdf

    These CULMINTED in 1983.
    RW is trying to re-write the history of genocide in sri lanka.

  • 0
    0

    The more one reads Rajiva and Dayan’s articles and the rebuttal of Radhika, More one gets the feeling,that there was systematic effort on the part of GoSL to cover up some actions or lack actions during the latter stages of the war to minimize and prevent civilian causalities and human rights violations.

    Dislike for R2P and Paranoia about International agencies goes to show that there was some thing to hide and deceive.

    All adds up to suspicion that their was a systematic, premeditated and concerted attempt by GoSL to commit war crimes and perpetrate Crimes against humanity and hide this from International community.

    This is why an impartial International inquiry into matters is warranted.

    One can not expect justice to be served with an Indigenous mechanism, which could be influenced by local interest groups and GoSL.

    As a matter principle Rajiva’s current stand is questioned about his sincerity toward good governance,rule of law etc.

  • 0
    1

    It is unfortunate, and indeed a gross failure of responsibility that Rajeev W did not reveal all this during the time of the Rama Mani crisis. What is the use of revealing these now, except for assuring historical accuracy or hurting Rajeev’s erstwhile buddies?

    If I remember right, she got a whole bunch of academics to write in support of her, without revealing the actual state of affairs. The facts about Radhika also should have been revealed, because incompetent individuals taking up positions of high responsibility is what has assured the decline of the various UN bodies.

  • 0
    0

    Manel F writes
    “I myself am well aware of certain things you have written which have no basis in truth — I put them down to a vibrant imagination.
    As this sentence is constituted, Manel F is aware of certain things which have no basis in truth. She puts them down to a vibrant imagination. Either “the things” are in her imagination, or she shares Rajeev’s imagination (by some means).
    This is another example of the problem of “unbridled Englsih writing” that has come to plague this land.

    Then she tells us that “it is quite another your apparent exposures of wrong-doing in NGOs which are answerable to their funders and membership and not to you or the general public”.

    Even publicly traded companies have to face the criticism of the consumers and the public even if they are NOT share holders. In fact, these NGOs should not deal with public affairs as they have NOT been elected by the public. Furthermore, if their task masters are outside the country they have no right what to ever to interfere in this country. As Manel F had revealed, they are mere mercenaries answerable to they pay masters and nothing more. India, Russia and China (ven Japan to a great extent) have done the right in rejecting all foreign-funded NGOs except those directly linked to the UN., WHO, and other signatory organizations.

    It is unfortunate that the indigenous agents of these NGOs even try to defend the NGOs when their sins are publicly exposes when the thieves fall out.

    One good thing that has resulted from these writings is the exposure of incompetent people like Radhika and the rest of the ICES, NGO gang. Some one should look into Neelan’s highly touted but empty agenda, hoisted high by Chandrika in her profound ignorance of the aspirations of the people of Lanka.

  • 0
    0

    would the following article by Rajiva throw some light on some of the issues debated here?

    http://archives.dailynews.lk/2008/02/16/fea01.asp

    Paymasters and Godfathers of Centres for Poisonous Accusations
    Prof. Rajiva WIJESINHA

    The last couple of weeks have seen much verbiage expended over what might be termed the ICES issue, with a predictable range of skilled polemicists rushing to the defence of Dr Rama Mani, the once and future head of the Colombo branch of that once august institution.

    Her defenders have clearly followed the time honoured technique of obfuscating issues, by attributing nasty motives, and making dramatic claims as loudly as possible in an effort to convince the world that what they say is true. In the process they have completely ignored the facts.

    Judge the character

    I have long believed that you can judge the character of people from the allegations they make against others. It is in this light that we need to see the assertion by Bradman Weerakoon that ‘some people can be unreasonable and vicious. It’s like a village feud where you have a problem with someone and you poison his well or something.’

    Characteristically, his whole interview is replete with snide allegations against Pradeep Jeganathan, who was appointed to look after ICES when Dr Mani was dismissed.

    Interestingly Dr Saravanamuttu, who has now rushed in to comment on what he sees as a urge to ‘rid our pure paradise isle of alternative perspectives to the militaristic, majoritarian Chinthanaya’, was under the impression that it was the opposition to Dr Mani who had first politicized the issue.

    The sanctimoniousness with which he criticized this when he discussed her case with me did not seem feigned, though he soon enough remembered that initially the matter had been raised in the ‘Daily Mirror’ on January 26th, before the Nation expose.

    Supportive
    That first article had quoted ‘An ICES board member’ (obviously Bradman Weerakoon) who claimed that ‘ICES staff were supportive of the former Executive Director and were now under pressure following her removal, which he alleged was done with the purpose of making a ‘favoured’ appointment in her place.’

    Not entirely coincidentally, Bradman Weerakoon, himself appointed to look after ICES by the time his interview appeared, spearheaded a move to close the office down to protest at Dr Mani’s expulsion.

    A petition from a member of staff to the Prime Minister on this matter indicated however the bullying that was done, so as to show the solidarity with Dr Mani that he had reported to the ‘Daily Mirror’.

    Before the ‘Daily Mirror’ reported on ICES however, there had been an even more emotive story in a website called ‘Lanka Dissent’, claiming that a raid on Dr Mani’s house had been stopped by interventions by the Indian High Commission, calling up both the Foreign Ministry and the Defence Ministry.

    This had not happened, and the Indian High Commission made it clear that Dr Mani was not even an Indian national. She had indeed gone to the High Commission to make extravagant claims about the threats she was facing, but this like the reporting is indicative of a desire to create a wedge between India and Sri Lanka.

    That interpretation seems the more likely inasmuch as the driving force behind Lanka Dissent is Ruwan Ferdinands, the National Organizer of the SLFP dissident group.

    It is no coincidence obviously that the initial leakages regarding ICES were to this individual’s website and to the ‘Daily Mirror’, the editor of which was in the forefront of the campaign to denigrate the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, a campaign that took in even the hyper-enthusiastic British High Commissioner, Dominick Chilcott.

    Dr.Saravanamuttu seems to have swallowed wholesale the assumption that the initial problems of ICES had to do with ‘the prize of institutional capture…a grubby power struggle’. The fact that for many months those who objected to cavalier and essentially illegal uses of money sought internal reform has evidently escaped his notice.

    That crude blackmail was used on some of them, along with vituperative name calling, would be dismissed by him as simple ‘incivility’, making no distinction between those at fault and those who tried to correct those faults, quietly at first until it became clear that the juggernaut would brook no dissent.

    Dismissed
    Having cursorily dismissed the initial problem, Dr Saravanamuttu then moves on to the main issue, which he describes as ‘the use of R2P to turn Dr Mani into a national security threat’.

    He claims that ‘ICES was to be associated with the R2P Centre to be established in New York’ and refers to ‘Dr Mani’s interest in associating her institution with R2P’.

    He never mentions that the association had in fact occurred, on the basis of Dr Mani’s agreement to the proposal from Gareth Evans, an agreement given fraudulently on behalf of the ICES Board when she invited Evans to Sri Lanka to make what she described as much needed waves.

    Far from R2P being about other countries, as she disingenuously put it in an interview, she talks of ‘confronting governments and supporting the international community and R2P advocates with hard evidence from the ground’.

    When Dr Saravanamuttu claims that ‘Hard evidence of this has not been made public’ he fails to make clear what ‘this’ is, a not untypical instance of a prose style that privileges platitudes over precision (if I might make bold to caricature the splendid parade of ‘p’ she perennially practices, doubtless justifying Dr Mani’s characterization of him in Galle as the most eloquent of our wordsmiths).

    Favourite practice
    Instead of discussing the evidence, through an analysis of the material made available in the ‘Nation’ the previous week, he goes on to his favourite practice of berating the government, which he has long assumed is a monolith, dominated by an ideology he loathes.

    Obviously, with eloquence such as Dr Saravanamuttu’s at its disposal, the campaigners for R2P, or even for a UN Monitoring Mission in Sri Lanka, may not actually have needed ICES.

    But the shifty way in which the operation was conducted, Bradman Weerakoon still being in denial about facts that Rama Mani’s own correspondence makes clear, suggests that the ICES link was considered important.

    Certainly the revelation by one of her lawyer associates, that $4 million dollars had been lost because of her removal makes clear the high stakes that were involved, as does the strange very strong-armed intervention of the Canadian High Commissioner.

    Advocacy that is already relentless would have become irresistible with over 400 million rupees to help build up capacity / inclination or whatever else the Global Centre wanted to promote R2P.

    Towards the end of his mock philosophical insights, Dr Saravanamuttu comes to the point that he makes endlessly in all his articles, a point that underlies his own support for external intervention, namely that there is something wrong with the government. This time his assertion is that ‘We are being turned into a silly and vicious little country by silly and vicious little men.

    Dangerous
    They are mean and dangerous and have no compunction in playing dirty.’ Evidently he does not mean Bradman Weerakoon, who used every trick in the book to keep Rama Mani on, beginning with the vicious denigration of ICES staff through his political associates in the press and trying to involve the Presidential Secretariat in his manoeuvres.

    But how could Dr Saravanamuttu begin to criticize Bradman? Bradman was a founder Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, of which Dr Saravanamuttu has been Executive Director since its inception.

    Bradman resigned when he became Secretary to the Prime Minister in 2002 but went back on the Board in 2006. Sunil Bastian, who was appointed to look after ICES along with Bradman at the time Rama Mani was restored (but supposedly to go on leave) has also been a Director of CPA since its inception.

    Bastian, who used to act for Radhika Coomaraswamy in her absence when she was ICES Executive Director, and who was put on the ICES Board in 2005, resigned earlier this week, following the expose of ICES mismanagement, the burgeoning deficit that began in the days when, as Radhika put it, she signed whatever cheques were put in front of her by an incompetent Financial Controller.

    All this is part of the system of interlocking directorates which receive massive funding from similar sources and all, accordingly or otherwise, dance to a similar tune. CPA, according to Dominick Chilcott, used to be one of the principal recipients of British peace building funding, along with the Foundation for Co-Existence (FCE).

    Replaced
    More recently, he said, CPA was replaced by an organization called Facilitating Local Initiatives for Conflict Transformation (FLICT). FLICT, it turns out, has provided massive amounts of funding to organizations which are in effect run by many of those who signed a petition on Rama Mani’s part or otherwise agitated for her restoration, viz Young Asia Television – Rs.14,452,280 (Sharmini Boyle) 30,179,185 13,382,844 -64,000,000 Neelan Thiruchelvam Trust – 9,500,000 (Sithie Thiruchelvam) 19,250,000 Theertha International Artists Collective (Anoli Perera) – 8,500,000 National Peace Council (NPC) – 3,024,644 Jehan Perera – 4,077,097 Social Scientists Association (Kumari Jayewardene / Sasanka Perera) – 5,900,000 Women & Media Collective (Kumudini Samuel / Sepali Kottegoda) – 3,739,450 Foundation for Co-Existence – 67,175 (Kumar Rupesinghe/Sharmini Boyle) -12,002,292 -13,000,000 National Antiwar Front -1,000,000 (Kumar Rupesinghe) 100,000 Over 200 million rupees going to this conglomerate of like-minded interventionists is bad enough.

    It is worse that a couple of the signatories, Dilrukshi Fonseka and Mirak Raheem, sit on the FLICT Steering Committee, the latter working for CPA, the former being a former Berghof Foundation employee who is I believe married to Sanjana Hattotuwa who works for CPA. Hattotuwa indeed gets his own distinct tranche of funding, to run his ‘first and award winning citizens journalism website’, set up in response to requests ‘from INGOs, humanitarian aid organizations including sections of the UN, CSOs, local and international journalists as well as members from the diaspora’.

    Elements
    What these sections of the UN are it would be interesting to find out, given the pusillanimous acquiescence in LTTE authoritarianism that some elements in the UN displayed in the days when Groundviews was set up. Who are the ‘Partners and Donors’ of Groundviews? Apart from CPA itself, we have IMPACS, ‘a Canadian charitable organization committed to the protection and expansion of democracy’, Infoshare, which is a ‘Non-profit technical support organization providing web media services and application development’ and CIDA and AUsAID, the Canadian and Australian aid agencies.

    The former is ‘charged with planning and implementing most of Canada’s development cooperation programme in order to reduce poverty and to contribute to a more secure, equitable and prosperous world’ while the objective of the Australian ‘aid program is to advance Australia’s national interest by helping developing countries reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development’.

    Does providing funding for Groundviews truly advance these aims? Is it really the function of such aid agencies to encourage articles that talk about Sri Lanka as ‘a country at war and democracy that’s hostage to the whim and fancy of a President and his coterie of murderous brutes’?

    Does it advance Australian national interests to propagate articles that characterize Indian support for the APRC proposals as ‘almost a case of Panglossian benevolence…Underpinning this is the containment of Chinese interests – political, military and commercial – in their back yard’? Will Canada achieve a ‘more secure, equitable and prosperous world’ through blanket generalizations about the ‘increasingly jingoistic rhetoric of ruling party politicians, bureaucrats and military top brass’?

    Dissenting views
    It could be argued that debate and discussion are important, and certainly there must be room for dissenting views. But such relentless criticism of an elected government, the determination to denigrate, exemplified most recently by the assumption of ‘extraordinary influence of the JHU and the JVP in the Rajapakse administration’ even though the JVP has come out strongly against the APRC proposals, the extraordinary levels of funding provided to just a small coterie of self-important panjandrums, suggest that many issues have been prejudged without sufficient flexibility to deal with new evidence as it emerges.

    In this context one can only contrast the approach of the Norwegian ambassador, which suggests why, despite earlier worries, the government is correct in continuing with the services of the Norwegians as facilitators. Norway provided the LTTE Peace Secretariat with a great deal of assistance, but this was with the approval of the Sri Lankan government of the time.

    When that Peace Secretariat began to glorify suicide bombers, the Norwegian ambassador promptly contacted them to suggest that the celebratory photographs be withdrawn.

    He was doubtless polite, and the LTTE did not respond positively, but the moral point had been made. In contrast UNDP, which had also, as initiated by Bradman, funded that Peace Secretariat and in particular its communications systems, stayed meekly silent.

    Censorship
    Though Groundviews talks about repression and censorship in Sri Lanka, the Government has no problems about it attacking what it is privileged to call the President’s ‘coterie of murderous brutes’.

    That can be countenanced as exemplifying freedom of expression. But it is outrageous that such freedom should be financed by the taxes of Australian and Canadian citizens, who are told that their money is used to alleviate poverty. And it is sad that those who administer such aid programmes continue to fund this family of self-supporting dissidents, whose rent-seeking becomes ever more successful the more relentless their recriminations are.

    The writer is Secretary General, Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process

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    This is the main problem in SL.
    Every [Edited out] got an opinion and every corner of the street got a policy alternatives and Research Institute.
    People have to much time on their hands to go about stoning the opposition or writing vulgar about the president and the govt.
    SL politics is a big cash cow. Too many players from
    gramasevaka to urban and praadheshya sabaa to municipal to provincial councils. Then another layer of mps and deputy ministers ministers and the list goes on and on and on..
    Nobody is there to work and public servants are appointed by who kissed the ruling elite’s arse better ..
    Then we have two jokers who decided among themselves that one is for ‘FOR’ and one is for ‘AGAINST’ MR. These two jokers namely, Dayan and Rajiva.
    I wonder why they cannot pit their arguments against another joker called Jayantha Dhanapala and his coterie of Friday Forum.
    PEOPLE WANT PEACE DIVIDENDS. It’s the village youth who were in front line dying in their hundreds to win the War. The PEACE DIVIDENDS must go to the villages. None of the rulers have done this. They go to the villagers ONLY when they need their Votes to stay in power or claim victory.
    Everyone has an opinion but cannot make a decision to vote on their own analysis and merits to award their vote to the right candidate.
    Then we have the wholesale rigging. There are 3000 ballot boxes stuffed and ready to go to counting stations. The Computer Gilmart is also in place.
    MR will be victorious.
    But, the country will face chaos. Unfortunately, the mood of the people is for change and MR will NOT let it go that easy!!
    So, Dayan and Rajiva and as for any other policy alternatives and research institutes, they will churn out article after article while Lanka as a nation goes from bad to worse!!!

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    [Edited out]

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