25 August, 2019

Blog

Saying “Et tu Singh!” – Is It fair?

By  Austin Fernando –

Austin Fernando

Parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapaksa was a rights defender. Among political demands during ‘Pada Yathra’ he led, were two, i.e.: (1) Premadasa Regime should take responsibility for the disappearances taken place (2) implementing a peace solution instead of warring.  Ironically and unfortunately, inGenevaPresident Rajapaksa’s representatives battled against similar international demands, under different environments.

At home political parties made different interpretations on Geneva Debacle.Colombowalls were pasted with anti-American posters; anti-Indian cartoons were in plenty. Baffled ministerial mindsets were worse than posters.

Minister GL Peiris was varied of implementing LLRC recommendations. Minister Lakshman Yapa interpreted it as ‘personal’ to Minister Peiris. Republican Congresswoman Ros Lehtinen’s statement on UNHRC –i.e. a “rogue’s gallery”- was used by Minister Peiris to project Democrat President Obama’s government’s stand. Arguably, sans ridicule, he may be suggesting that President Rajapaksa should implement LLRC recommendations in total, because UNP demands it!

Ministers Weerawansa and Ranawaka opposed the LLRC and recommendations. Minister Devananda will challenge the LLRC in Courts. Ministers Gunasekara, Vitharana and Vasudeva demanded implementing LLRC recommendations. Minister Nimal Siripala was interested in “feasible recommendations” for implementation. Minister Mervyn Silva correctly confirmed theGenevaallegations of violating media freedom.  Collective Cabinet Responsibility at its best!

Defense Secretary was reported saying inJapan: “Government andSri Lankais fully committed to the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC” which I pray is the official position, over all the above stances.

India and Geneva Resolution

India’s possible stance on the GR was notified ten days ahead of voting by Minister SM Krishna: ”The Centre will take into account the overall relationship between India and Sri Lanka ….” in deciding to back the resolution. Did this covertly mean that the ‘overall relationships’ have deteriorated andIndiaexpectedSri Lanka’s positive corrective responses before the D-Day.

Contrarily, did Sri Lankamisconstrue that everything was fine with internationals- including India?  Indian PM’s statement before UNHRC voting— a “shock” to Minister Peiris- was more destabilizing. Most likely he had not seen the above quote and the letter to him from Minister Krishna on March 15th, which indicated important Indian concerns. Anyway, the Indian PM’s statement guided the ‘decided’ to glue their support; the ‘undecided’ to shift their stances; and, ‘some pro-Sri Lankan countries’ to abstain.

HadSri Lankawon, we would have seen carnivals on streets; but,New Delhito loseColombo. And, the Indian GR supporters would have blood-sucked Indian PM for ‘bungling bilateral ties’ withSri Lanka.

Meanwhile, knowingRussiasupportedSri Lanka, behind its backIndiasupported the GR, though they were even developing a civilian nuclear deal. This was the Indian commitment to the GR.

Why did Indian government boldly take this risk, which as Economic Times said would provokeSri Lankaexercising options to provide more space to rivals likePakistanandChina?

Ministers Dulles Alahapperuma and Lakshman Yapa reasoned internal political compulsions for Indian behavior. Was it the only reason? I believe there were others, in addition to Chief Minister Jeyalalitha’s cry to ‘punishSri Lanka.’

During GR discussions some cautioned of similar future UN interventions on states. It was proved right within days when UN askedIndiato repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, saying it has no role in a democracy. Such may affectIndiaas direct fallout of the GR, denying shield under protest of “country specific” decisions.

The dispassionate attempt here is to analyze other probabilities, hoping to alleviate these deteriorations in the future, because the ball game cannot be over yet, and can surface in 2013, if not played according to rules.

Ceremonial Address and Tamil focu

For internationals words are deeds and deeds are words. Hence, let’s draw attention to President Rajapaksa’s Ceremonial Address to the Parliament on May 19th 2009.

To his credit President Rajapaksa humanitarianly and apolitically then said that we should live as children of one mother, without discriminations; the ‘war’ was against the LTTE, not against the Tamils. He claimed that it aimed at liberating Tamils from LTTE clutches, and it was his responsibility and duty to protect the Tamils. He wished the Sri Lankans should live in safety without fear and suspicion, enjoying equal rights and should be united to build the nation. These great sentiments provoked international expectations, qualifying President Rajapaksa to be a Nelson Mandela.

When these did not reach expected performance levels, internationals queried; cajoled; threatened with the Darusman Report.Sri Lankaresponded: “Wait until our LLRC produces its recommendations.” The report was released in mid-December 2011. Now, if government disowns the LLRC, it disowns its tongue and conscience

In March 2012, the internationals tabled their deep frustrations. We remember among others like Assistant Secretary Robert Blake and American experts, very senior Indian dignitaries (i.e. Messers Krishna, Menon, Madam Nirupama Rao) visiting us, purportedly to monitor Indian projects like housing, railways and assistance to the displaced, as if Ambassador Ashok Kantha, an amiable / senior diplomat was incompetent to coordinate, which is a wrong assumption! He proved his metal by 22nd March 2012.

Ceremonial Address and Indian Sentiments

DidIndiavote againstSri Lankahaving observed the slow fruition of these expressed sentiments? Or, did it adjudge future performance based on the expressed negative responses in implementing the LLRC’s ‘interim recommendations’?

Indiapursued post-war presidential aspirations (May 2009) for three years. Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) orchestrated them as: (1) urge Sri Lankan Government to conduct a broader dialogue, (2) exhibit concrete movement towards devolution, (i.e. implementation of the 13th Amendment+), (3) carry forward accountability measures and promote human rights, as committed for genuine reconciliation between all communities- minority Tamils included.

Indian PM repeating MEA concerns stated in Parliament the need to (1) implement LLRC recommendations which Indians considered as constructive measures to heal the wounds of the conflict and fostering lasting peace and reconciliation. (2) stand by its commitment towards pursuing a political process through a broader dialogue with all, including the TNA (3) the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to achieve meaningful devolution and genuine national reconciliation.

The responses from Sri Lankawere not so encouraging- before / after the GR. Some ministers openly criticized the LLRC recommendations. The TNA negotiations were dragging on. All-party involvement through a broader dialogue was negated by forgotten APRC proposals; and, finally sealed-off by Minister Nimal Siripala dropping Opposition participation for GR implementation. Ministerial statements on devolution were and are mostly negative. Probably due to these the President was at variance on devolution and sometimes acted in a way, which the proud South Block bureaucracy would consider ‘snobbish’. Would these responses create understanding?

What went wrong?

Some say it was due to lacking performance. There is dissension of opinion on performances. Internationals opined that performance fell short, though the Indian PM inked satisfaction in his latest communication. Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa listed many positives. Or, may be as President pointed out at a media event, government performances would not have been adequately disseminated. In fairness to the government, it withdrew some provisions in the Emergency Regulations, undertook resettlement, developed infrastructure, and rehabilitated large number of LTTE cadres in custody. These were also Tamilnadu political concerns. Still it went wrong. Why?

Was it a reaction to the political demands of Chief Minister Jeyalalitha and other Tamilnadu leaders? Was it due to State Secretary Hilary Clinton personally meeting CM Jeyalalitha- months before?  Or Madam Sonia Gandhi’s sympathy to the way Prabhakaran’s son had been killed? PM Manmohan Singh, though did  not state in his latest communication to President Rajapaksa, told the Parliament  that India was `inclined’ to back the UNHRC resolution due to domestic political pressures.

This ‘backing’ came at a point when Rahul Gandhi suffered defeat in Uttar Pradesh elections. Fertilizing similar negative situation in the South, dashing on ground future hopes of Rahul Gandhi and Congress, could be mitigated by supporting Tamilnadu demands. Was this the long term strategy articulated by Sonia Gandhi?

 For the first time in decades,New Delhiwas in concord with Tamilnadu popular sentiments, but I do not see itsGeneva“Aye” only as a domestic pressure byproduct.

After the GR, Indian PM said “We don’t want to infringe onSri Lanka’s sovereignty but our concerns should be expressed so that Tamils get justice and dignity”, which tallied with President Rajapaksa’s expressed aspirations in his Ceremonial Address. The Indian MEA towed the same line. Whether it was excusing, restating or real could be seen if UNHRC pressure is onSri Lankaagain.

What happened inGenevahas happened leaving other worries due to competition among Tamilnadu politicians, on behalf of Sri Lankan Tamils! For example, CM Jeyalalitha wishes to over-echo former CM Karunanidhi’s and vice versa, for political supremacy. To gain larger Tamil support they should cry out louder, beat their chests- non-stop! IfSri Lankafalls short of implementing the GR, louder noises will echo, and Tamilnadu politicians will continue pressurizingNew Delhi. For parliamentary political survivalNew Delhimay oblige and pressure the UNHRC. On Indian pressure internationals may try to strangleSri Lankaby offering technical support through UNHRC; of course, after ‘consultation’ and obtaining ‘concurrence’. IfSri Lankaagrees to accommodate UNHRC expertise, there will be larger noises here. If refused, internationals drafting the next resolution will commence immediately! This is a vicious circle. It could be the potential adverse game-plan upon failure and henceSri Lankashould act cautiously.

The GR could produce far-reaching implications on India-Sri Lanka ties, especially withChinaincreasing its clout onColombo. As Advisor G. Parthasarathy said “Indiawas left with best of the bad bargain”; because she was the isolated supporter of the GR from the Asian neighborhood. According toParthasarathy,Indiahas diluted the earlier intrusive character of theUSresolution, by incorporatingSri Lanka’s “concurrence” before intervening. Will this satisfy President Rajapaksa? No.

Fun was made inColomboof this “help”; one even quoting “Et tu Brutus?” (Thou too Brutus?), leaving readers to replace “Brutus” with “Singh!”  Cartoonists caricatured Indian PM- a “deceiver”, “stabber in the back” “American lackey”!

Chinese factor

India’s action may diplomatically benefitChina. To what extent? Groundviews quippingChina’s shadowy diplomacy said “….However, what is clear is thatChinahas a direct interest in the perpetuation of the Rajapaksa family’s hold on power, for no other reason perhaps than the sense that a Ranil Wickremesinghe led regime will be more disposed to friendly relations with the West.”  If true, this is not only Indian /USpolitics, as stated by Russians. Chinese politics too. No wonder Regime Perpetuation Vs: Regime Change scenario was created by politicians themselves!

It continued “that with India now appearing to take a position critical of Sri Lanka, China will remain conscious of the reputational costs of propping up” an isolated country and that China has a direct interest in preventing a pitched battle between the West and Sri Lanka, not least in the Security Council where China possesses a veto power. Thus,Chinamay well quietly nudge the Sri Lankan government towards greater engagement with the West, it said. Will it? If it happens, loss ofIndiawill be compensated byChina-‘the middleman’, if the west prefers Chinese middleman status overIndia. This is intricate politics.

There is no permanency of stances as observed form how Russians changed over within ten days, as seen from the stance she took on GR in Geneva, a few days later by the Russian Ambassador in New Delhi, which later differed by the Russian Ambassador in Colombo showing how political wordings change. Can this occur withChinatoo?

Another analysis could be that Indian stand proved that it has outgrown its misplaced fear of the growing regional presence ofChina. Supporting the GR could be an Indian signal to us: “You have your own way withChina. We are not bothered!” I wish it is not the intention because that could jeopardize the regional political scenario.  Will Chinese dragon paws demonize the Indian threat and become our imminent savior? Contrarily, will this consequently pushSri Lankamore towardsChina, or encourage acting cautiously withIndia, because the latter could make things uneasy forSri Lanka, as already done inGeneva.

However, Gen A.S. Kalkat, who led the IPKF inSri Lanka, has cautioned thatIndianeeds to proactively engageSri Lankato ensure that the Chinese don’t gain an upper hand. “There are strategic security concerns. We can’t afford to let the Chinese have an overwhelming presence inSri Lanka.Sri Lankais critically important to our maritime security,” Gen Kalkat told IANS.   Kalkat felt much will depend on howIndiamends fences withSri Lankaafter the vote and concurrently encourage it to deliver on key devolution proposals of the 13th Amendment. This is sane thinking, which should be sustained with caution, also bySri Lanka, considering the strategic advantages.

Another expert, Brahma Chellaney argued: “It allows us (Indians) to pursue a policy based on self-interest and principle. It allows us to unfreeze our Sri Lanka policy because President Mahinda Rajapaksa was playing India against China to keep the former in line. As a result, the Indian policy on Sri Lanka became frozen. Now, he finds himself in the company of China which, in a way, exposes him.” Well knowing that China would stand with Sri Lanka, Chellaney arrogantly hailed this development as positive, as “it will allow India to pursue a more assertive and clear-headed policy driven by our (Indian) national interest.”  He did not feel any adverse impact befalling on India’s ties with Colombo, as China has built relationships with Sri Lanka despite India bending over backwards to accommodate and protect President Rajapaksa.

The Hindu’ interpretations

The Hindu straightforwardly said that the adoption of GR is proof that the international community disapproves the manner in whichSri Lankaaddressed the post war fallout.  While confirming Parthasarathy on tweaking words by introducingSri Lanka’s “concurrence” to intervene, Hindu advised against misreading this concession. It cautioned that GR “is the first real sign that the world will no more let itself be guided solely by Sri Lankan claims that it has the will to carry out its own probe.”  This vehemently contradicts current thinking inColombothat the internationals shouldn’t intervene.

Hindu harped onSri Lankataking time to acknowledge the allegations of extra-judicial killings, disappearances and delayed moves towards a political settlement. It lamented, “Ultimately, its own LLRC came out with some constructive recommendations” which were not pursued and stated: “….the false assurances on devolution and implementation of the 13th amendment and beyond” received fromColombohave frustrated the South Block and forced reconsidering its diplomatic options. Hindu appeared snubbingSri Lankafor making Minister Krishna a “liar”! WhileSri Lankaharped on Northern Spring, infrastructure development, LTTE cadre rehabilitation, Hindu focused on rights and political solutions. The horoscopes were not tallying, and divorce was imminent!

Nevertheless, Hindu also advisedIndia: “Having voted for the resolution, the onus is now onIndiato remain engaged with the Lankan authorities, as its interests lie in promoting reconciliation and supporting the quest of Tamil Sri Lankans for justice, equality and dignity. The solution has to be Lankan-led. Persistent emphasis on accountability from outside may jeopardize the larger goal of reconciliation by giving a fresh thrust to Sinhala nationalism.”  This fits with some pro–government statements heard recently. Accordingly,Indianeeds caution and readjustment in addition to exhibited courage to act againstSri Lanka.

Ceremonial Address and some unfulfilled aspirations

With these international reasoning, there seems to exist thinking gaps between the President, who rightly believes that Sri Lankans still enjoy wiping out Prabhakaran and President Obama, Prime Ministers Cameron, Manmohan Singh and UN’s Ban-ki-Moon who expect more constructiveness. Concurrently, President Rajapaksa’s reluctance to implement some promises (e.g. devolution) would have eased internationals to justify their stances.

The President saying in the Ceremonial Address “At this victorious moment, it is necessary for us to state with great responsibility, that we do not accept a military solution as the final solution” was reassured four days later in the communiqué with Ban ki Moon.  He further said “As much as we defeated deadly terrorism and freed the innocent people held by terror, we are committed to carry out accelerated development in the areas that were under terrorism, within the next three years.”India may be sometimes querying the achievements during the stipulated time frame.

He added: “While bringing the lives of the people within a democratic political structure, the government will also provide education and health facilities, and launch the Northern Spring by providing the infrastructure.” The latter happened, but unfortunately the political arrangements remained unachieved.

The presidential statement “It is necessary that we give to these people the freedoms that are the right of people in all others parts of our country.  Similarly, it is necessary that the political solutions they need should be brought closer to them faster than any country or government in the world would bring” is challenged by India and the TNA due to delay. When he said that he did not “have the time to be experimenting with the solutions suggested by other countries” one would have expected implementation of the 13th Amendment or the APRC or LLRC recommendations, which were already in hand. Though he boasted of finding a “native” solution,India turned its back after a long wait- most probably considering he was dragging.

President’s appreciation of the internationals was on assistance “given on behalf of world democracy” because ending terrorism here was a victory for world’s democracy.  Is not this also the internationals’ demand?

He added the need to direct Sri Lankato a new era of national revival.  He promised a meaningful life to the people of the north and east who were denied the right to life, freedom and development – the new challenge- for which he accepted the responsibility and expected the fullest cooperation of parliamentarians, Ministers and people. To what extent hasSri Lanka achieved this promise? How far has he received the cooperation from the stakeholders? Has rhetoric overtaken sensible thinking in Government and Opposition politicians- especially the TNA? How far can the government consider international interventions as unsuspected genuine exercises? Unless all these stakeholders commit in the GR it could be a piece of paper only. If failed, it could be the foundation for the next international trap. It demands formation of a counter strategy.

Counting the non-GR factors

Many isolate the GR to judge Indiaviz. the USA. It is not fair because economic ties between them are robust and vibrant. To quote one: the latest investment conference was held in WashingtonDCon March 22nd 2012, i.e. “Investing inAmerica: Contributions by the Indian IT Sector” to consider expanding all-round mutual business relationships.  Studying how CEPA or Mutur coal power plant orPalkBay fishermen issues were addressed or implementing 50,000 houses scheme proceeded may remind us the comparative cooperation extended toIndia. Do those experiences bringIndia closer to us than to theUSA?

Also with China, Indiahas large economic ties. For example, on March 29th 2012 inNew Delhi at the BRICS SummitChina was represented by Chinese President Hu Jintao andIndia by PM Manohan Singh. They discussed multilateral banking to compete the World Bank and IMF, promoting trade and currency issues, criticizing Western world’s pressure tactics on other countries (e.g. Iran)- slapping the USA / EU, foreign policy and bilateral cooperation. In that backdrop do not the Sri Lankan issues become mundane? Will emerging mutual economic ties finally bring cooperation betweenChina andIndia, rather than confrontations and lead to “nudging”Sri Lanka, as stated earlier?

Quoting another: I extract from International Crisis Group, which suggested that whatever President Rajapaksa tries for reconciliation will probably be judged inadequate by theUS(Bad luck!)– until he is enticed into a process of reconciliation that places India’s good offices, and its ability to manage the Tamil brief more effectively than Sri Lanka. It said “Ironically, it may beChina’s contribution to the destruction of the Tamil Tigers that opens the door toNew Delhi’s return to a position of significant influence inSri Lankaand a decline inBeijing’s clout.” Will BRICS become the catalyst?

Latest had been the green light given by CM Jeyalalitha last week to commission the Koodankulam Nuclear Plant, thoughSri Lankahas showed its concerns against nuclear emergencies. I wish there was no GR fallout for this decision.

Sri Lankashould be mindful of these strategic deviations too.

Compromises?

Take for example Gen. Kalkat or Hindu editorial or Economic Times ; all adviseIndiato be cautious of the GR outfall and Indian PM must be seeing it through the same lenses. Similarly think of the calamities that could happen to us due to broken down relationships in the region. They can be adverse.

I only wish President Rajapaksa’s appreciative  statement “Our neighbors are Indians. I always say, Indians are our relations” still linger in his mind, irrespective of the GR, and he will not say “Et tu Singh!” By conversion into adverse relationships, I wish Indian PM too will not be forced to say “Et tu Mahinda!” He should be saying “Our neighbors are Sri Lankans. I always say, Sri Lankans are our relations!”

After the vote Minister Peiris charged thatGenevavoting was determined not by the merits of a particular issue, but by strategic alliances and domestic political issues. If admitted as true, the corrective response is in this statement itself.Sri Lankahas to upgrade merit of its issues, create strategic alliances, and be positive on domestic political issues, rather than being rhetoric and short-sighted.

Therefore, it may be appropriate for bothIndiaandSri Lankato rekindle logical strategizing of such relationships for mutual benefits.

May the above presidential appreciation remain intact.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    Your confusing sentences are worse than the confusion in the minds of the parliamentarians.

    Minister GL Peiris was varied of implementing LLRC recommendations

    • 0
      0

      Dear Thomas
      Any more examples which confuses, please, so that I can explain if required?
      Austin Fernando

  • 0
    0

    Sri Lanka would do well to realize our status in a global context, as aptly conveyed in the words of the coarse Sinhala baila song, which depict the plight of a monkey caught up between mating elephants!
    Screaming “We are the greatest” at home, will have no effect if we are to, eventually, get smashed!
    Wake up to reality, Sri Lanka!

  • 0
    0

    Is it true that this Austin Fdo was the one who called tiger leader Machang.
    What is this Austin’s religion?

    I also heard that Bradman Weerakoon presented a pistol to Prabakaran.

    Despite all the defects with the present GOSL we have a shameful past of crook officers.

    • 0
      0

      Obviously you are in the same category as Sri Lankas worst Family. Remember the saying birds of a feather flock together ?

    • 0
      0

      Wijewickrama,you are quite right.Austin and Bradman were the official baby sitters for the Tamil Tiger Terrorists.Contents of this article is nothing new.Though giving out various interpretations on why India voted for the resolution,the simple truth is that India voted for it due to political blackmail applied by Tamil Nadu politicians.AS such i wouldn’t want to waste my time on this article.But i wish to point out on one single comment made by Austin.That is his utterance of a future Ranil W regime.It’s pure daydreaming.Ranil W would most probably be kicked out of the UNP very soon by its own party supporters.

      • 0
        0

        This man is commenting like a “Gona” read this man, WikiLeaks: Basil Conceded Pre-Election Contacts With The LTTE
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/wikileaks-basil-conceded-pre-election-contacts-with-the-ltte/
        Cheers for that high quality writeup Mr Austin.

      • 0
        0

        Talking of WikiLeaks,will you be kind enough to update me on Julian Assange?

      • 0
        0

        CT
        The comment made by Max Silva (who always see my bad as I have noted!!!) is regarding what I have quoted from Groundviews in my article. My quote from GV “…Ranil Wickremesinghe led regime will be more disposed to friendly relations with the West” means to the commentator as my thinking. What can I do when he does not understand what I have written in English, writing practices and journalistic ethics? Hope he will now understand that a quote need not be the view of the writer, unless it is confirmed clearly.
        Good that he does not utilize his time in reading my article because he may be inclined to ‘create’ my writing as he understands!Not fair at all by me and by him as it will be a waste of his time.
        Austin Fernando

    • 0
      0

      CT
      I usually do n ot take comments like from Wijewickrama seriously. However, since his are personal I thought of answering. The answers for the three queries are:
      1. No, I have never called tiger leaders Machang, which I have explained in my book My Belly is White(pages 151-153). This was a story coined up by a journalist, when he was building up the image of a very senior army officer, whose name is not mentioned even by mistake now or even to say ‘summer season’ (Sarath irthuva) in Sinhala!
      2. I am Buddhist.So what?
      3. The pistol story is also a story coined up by the same journalist in 1 above. Just because someone hears a story it does not become a truth.
      Austin Fernando

      • 0
        0

        Dear MR Austin,
        I don’t believe and don’t care much about these “Macang” and “Pistol” stories.But one thing is for sure.That is that it was during your tenure as defense secretary that the LTTE was provided with hi tech transmission and surveillance equipment. It was during that period that the LTTE went on a killing spree in Colombo .How can we forget the greatest treason of all time “The millennium city”tragedy?Then how about the cold blooded murder of a police officer while he was sleeping at the Dehiwala police station?It was during your tenure that persons traveling to the north were taxed(Kappan)by the LTTE.As defense secretary what action did you take?None!

  • 0
    0

    Austin Fernando is Sinhalese Buddhist. Bradman Weerakoon is Sinhalese Buddhist. (If one wants to stoop to petty labelling here are some more facts: Shiranthi Rajapakse is Sinhalese Anglican. Namal Rajapakse, the Crowned Prince is Half Buddhist half Anglican educated at at Colombo’s premier Anglican school along with his other half Anglican brothers. ) Bradman Weerakoon, Austin Fernando or G.L. Peiris or any other memeber of the peace delegation did not meet Prabhakaran during the peace talks of 20021/ 2002. In fact Bradman Weerakoon was not a part of the peace delegation to meet Prabhakaran or to present him a pistol. There is no evidence that Austin Fernando called anyone Machang. It is the present regime big wigs who are singing ‘Waanga Machang”with Karuna Amman at Peduru Parties. There is documented evidence that Karuna Amman was instrumental in killing over 600 policemen who surrendered to LTTE. Please check your facts as to who is the ‘machang of whom’and who is lying with whom. Time will tell who will wake up with the fleas too!

  • 0
    0

    Parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapaksa was a rights defender but when we see his human rights record since he became President, one can notice that all that was mere acting and that now he has become the worst President with such an appalling human rights record. He was merely waiting in the wings to become a President by hook or by crook so that he can misuse its unfettered powers. Sad that this is, it is not shocking because this is what happens when people vote for Village godaya thugs.

  • 0
    0

    This is the guy who addressed terrorist Pulendra as ‘MAchan Pully’

    We were fortunate that this man acted as Defence Secretary only for 2 years.

    • 0
      0

      CT
      I have already explained my position regarding the comment by ‘gamunu dias’.
      Let him read my book and be convinced of his mistake.
      I hope these guys will not say that I am marketing my book through your website!!!!
      Austin Fernando

  • 0
    0

    To Max
    I am happy that you “don’t believe and don’t care much about these “Macang” and “Pistol” stories” Hope that here after you will not repeat them while commenting. At least it is good education!

    About hi-tech equipment please read chapter 19 of my book- My Belly is White. I have given a good description of what really happened which has not been contested for last 4 years by any of the critics.Please educate yourself.

    I presume you have given the term “killing spree” a new meaning when you say that “It was during that period that the LTTE went on a killing spree in Colombo.” I do not know what you would use to describe the killing of Central Bank bombing, Dehiwala train bombing, Piliyandala or Moratuwa bus bombings or Kebithigollewa killing etc, if you compare the killings duering my tenure with those? I may remind you that there was not a single bomb blast in Colombo in 2002 and 2003. I admit there were killing of some Tamil political cadres, intelligence informants from among the public numbering to 23 during the two years and a police inspector in Colombo. These figures have been confirmed in the Parliament by no less a person than MP Wimal Weerawansa, and not contested for the last 4 years since publication of the book. If such killings have not happened that would have been the best but it did not happen so unfortunately.

    Regarding “The millennium city”tragedy please read Chapter 4 of my book, which gives my point of view as former Secretary Defence. You may change your mind on our term of offcie once you have read it. You may even start hating and cursing some in the present government for sins committed after reading this chapter.

    It was true that persons traveling to the north were taxed(Kappan)by the LTTE. It was wrong for the LTTE to have done so.

    Please keep in mind that I operated in defence under a peace process and for a 23 month period and if you expect all sins of the LTTE to be erased after a conflict which was in existence for nearly 20 years then, during a transition period it could be considered an unacheivable outcome.

    Austin Fernando

  • 0
    0

    Max
    Sorry, it is not high tech equipment but radio transmission equipment. Regret the error.
    AF

    • 0
      0

      Mr Austin,regarding your replies on transmission equipment and “Millennium City”,you suggest that it’s all in your book.OK,fine,i will read it and then make my views.In the mean time will you be kind enough to post the relevant chapters on this blog.I am sure that all our readers will welcome it.Not only me but others will be in a better position to comment on them once we read them.After all we wish to hear your side of the story.
      As for “Killing spree”.What i meant was that it was a “Killing spree with a license from GOSL”.The hands of the security forces were tied due to the peace accord.Forces were discouraged from making any arrests.The LTTE was allowed to run riot.As secretary of defense,would you take the blame and if not where does the buck stops?Through this forum,i will be able to get your side of the story.But the problem is that a vast majority of the people do not have access to such info.So don’t you think that the work of the LLRC should also have included the peace accord period,in which case the barbaric acts of the LTTE would have been exposed?It was wrong for the government to have limited it only to the final stages of the war.If not the whole world would have realized the true face of the Norwegian peace bogey.Many knowledgeable persons would have had the opportunity of exposing the devious tactics applied by the LTTE.My view is that the LLRC should have been mandated to look into affairs since the signing of the peace accord.In that case we would have had the opportunity of knowing the true motives of the so called international community(NATO countries).

  • 0
    0

    Max
    Please for a moment do not think that my asking you to verify facts in my earlier comments was consequent to reading your pious and sympathetic comment on Kshenuka Senevirate’s issue “Stories appearing on blogs cannot be taken seriously unless verified”! I saw it afterwards.

    Howevevr, I must say I agree with your sentiment, although I do not see this being applied in my case by you, for reasons unknown to me and best known to you.
    Austin Fernando

  • 0
    0

    Mahinda Rajapakse went to Geneva to try and stop the carnage taking place at the time in Sri Lanka and not to affect regime change.They did not ask the international community impose sanctions or send the president to the Hague like Sampanthan and the clan does. There is no comparison.
    Prime minister manmohan singh’s own statement to parliament he says
    “that India was `inclined’ to back the UNHRC resolution due to domestic political pressures” and that is that, how much ever some people try to wrap it in other wrappers.
    Recently Minister Chidambaram stated in a news release that “without India’s active support the resolution was sure to lose” just imagine the helplesness the Americans must have faced and what and whatnot would have been promised to change India’s mind. In a situation like that censuring Sri lanka would have been a minor irritant at most.

  • 0
    0

    Mr.Fernando, Now it is eight years since you left the office of the secretary to the defence ministry and even now you are asking people to buy your book and find out what happened. Should’nt you as a public servent inform the people of this country what really happened perhaps through a series of news paper articles? I am sure almost all the news papers will readily accomodate you. As you can see from the comments people make they do not have a very high opinion of you. You should try and show them wrong. I for one will be glad to be proven wrong!If you can.

  • 0
    0

    Mr. Max

    Great, please read my book. I am happy that you have transformed yourself from considering my book as crap to a source of information and education. I say so because I know your attitude to my book as expressed about a month back commenting on another interview given by me, published in CT.

    I quote.
    I would rather read Tin Tin. Reading his crap will not bring back the lives of civilians who were slaughtered during that treacherous peace accord period. Not to mention the cold blooded murder of foreign minister Kadiragamar. As per Kamalika’s request, I will look in at the Bothal Pathara Kade tomorrow.

    Max Silva – March 11, 2012
    8:16pm

    Blistering barnacles, Max! Not mentioning the cold blooded murder of Mr. Kadirgamar would have saved you from exposing your lack of knowledge, as pinpointed by SK, quoted below!

    Commentator SK responded to you then, as follows:
    Ah, so ýou don’t want to know another person’s point of view or a published explanation. Only your version and random racist allegations should be accepted. How’s that for justice? When a person says he doesn’t want to read a book, no matter how different the opinion may be, he is undoing thousands of years of civilization. Check your facts man- when was Lakshman Kadiragamar killed? What’s the date? Who was the head of state? What was the security he got under RW? Who withdrew that security? When? How? Before or after CBK dissolved parliament in an undemocratic way? You see, you will never know- because you are closed to the facts. Check your facts please!
    Since I did not respond to yours then, for your information I may mention that on the instructions of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe I set aside a budget line of Rs. 5 million for an year only for the security of Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar, who was only a MP. It was even more than provided for the Minister of Defense Tilak Marapana. And on PM’s instructions I provided special military security to Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa who was the Leader of the Opposition. Many do not know these facts.
    As you say that stories appearing on blogs cannot be taken seriously unless verified (as commented by you in Ms. Kshenuka Seneviratne’s news item in CT today), I think I should not demean my book by blogging when it is considered by local and international academics and readers as serious and valuable source of information on the implementation of the CFA. Additionally, the blogging request comes from a person who considers my book as crap, without even glimpsing it, and hence blogging may be a source for ridicule of my book and self. Further, by blogging my book I may be breaking the agreement with my publisher.

    In your latest comment you change rails and focus on issues like the validity of the LLRC. Without ridiculing you I should confidently say that you have not seen the Gazette Extraordinary 1658/19 of June 19th 2010, which mandated the LLRC. Did you? If you say you had seen it, I say that you would not have understood, though it was in English, Sinhalese, as well in Tamil.
    I prove my point by quoting from your comment “My view is that the LLRC should have been mandated to look into affairs since the signing of the peace accord.” Your so called view is really what was basically expected out of the Gazette Extraordinary, which you do not seem to understand.
    In that background why should I discuss with a novice, (a beginner probably reading only the week end Sinhalese political and security columns written by many a partisan journalists), who does not know what the mandate of the LLRC is. Please study your material and get in to a decent dialogue in the future rather than acting in the manner in which you had been doing. Until you show improvement by your contributions, I do not hope to engage with you.
    As a good Buddhist I am guided by Dhammapada- Bala Vagga, quoted below, irrespective of the query made by Wijewickrama about my religion.

    Carance nadhigaccheyya
    seyyam sadisamattano
    ekacariyam dalham kayira
    natthi bale sahayata
    If a wayfarer fails to find, one better or one equal, steadfast he should fare alone, for with a fool’s no fellowship.
    This stanza insists that one should not keep company with immature people. Association with the immature is not at all conducive even to worldly progress; not to speak of spiritual progress.

    Austin Fernando

    • 0
      0

      You claim that i am a novice.May be.But i don’t live on public money.But as defense secretary you were paid by the public.But what experience did you have on defense matters prior to your appointment?None,a novice who was paid by the public.The problem with Ranil’s henchmen is that they assume that they are the professional ones who know everything and the others are unsophisticated villagers.Though i am a novice i wouldn’t take orders from persons in the caliber of Taxi Abbey.Professionals,eh!

      • 0
        0

        I repeat-

        Carance nadhigaccheyya
        seyyam sadisamattano
        ekacariyam dalham kayira
        natthi bale sahayata
        If a wayfarer fails to find, one better or one equal, steadfast he should fare alone, for with a fool’s no fellowship

      • 0
        0

        Austin,
        Who the hell do you think you are?A some kind of superior god?If you want to know a class fool,go and see your leader Ranil.We all know your performance during your tenure.I asked you a few very simple questions.But instead you try to pull the wool over my eyes and come up with preaching.A class conman.You claim that i am a fool.That’s fine with me.But you are a traitor.Hows that?If you are not guilty of the crimes i am mentioning,then be man enough to reply instead of preaching and requesting me to read your god forsaken book.
        (a)Why did you facilitate to provide the LTTE which is a terror outfit with hi tech transmission and surveillance equipment?Wasn’t it a crime and high treason?
        (b)When the LTTE went on a killing spree in Colombo,what actions did you take to arrest the culprits?
        (c)When the LTTE terrorist leaders arrived in Srilanka after their joy rides by courtesy of your government,why did you allow them to transport various parcels without going through customs?
        (d)What actions did you take in regard to Anton Balasingham’s illegal entry into the country?
        (e)Why did you turn a blind eye to the illegal activities of the then DG of the airport,one Taxi Abbey?
        (f)Did you have any experience in defense matters prior to your appointment as secretary of defense?
        The list is long.But it’s a waste of time.You have no answers.So do your preaching to Ranil.For answers don’t ask me to buy your non selling stupid book.I may be a fool.But you are a conman.What you are doing is trying to promote your useless book through this blog.

      • 0
        0

        Max Silva, I think you deserve to be called a novice or a fool, as repeatedly pointed out by Fernando. It was true he was paid by public money. It is so with any public officer, then and now too. If any wrong payment or corruption was done by him or to him there would have been audit queries and parliamentary questions etc. Do not tell me that the Auditor General is a novice or did not know his job. While there had been several of those made by the Auditor General and at parliamentary debates against many authorities of the present government we have not heard any such against Bradman Weerakoon or Austin Fernando on the grounds of financial corruption or commission making. Can you quote any such instance? While these gentlemen were paid on official appointments it appears for certain that you are one of those who are paid by public funds in the sly for stooging the government and attacking the Ranil government officials. We hear there are some who are living on such payments and you may be one.

        Further you ask what experience Fernando had to handle defense. I think you may be right. Why do not you ask what experience Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has in urban development to handle city development? He does a good job and likewise Fernando did a good job in not creating a war situation as expected by the government then. Like Gotabhaya, Fernando would have used his long experience as a public servant to handle defense matters. For your understanding I may say the Defense secretaries in India come from the Administrative Service and they handle defense matters of a country which has much more complex defense and international issues. None of them was a brother of the Head of State. Never. Please do not write things which qualify you to be repeatedly called a fool, as Fernando has done.

  • 0
    0

    To NAK

    Everywhere politicians want power by hook or crook and we as outsiders make a mistake in inferring on objectives on their actions. This is common to parties in power as well as opposition political parties. There are no exceptions to this rule. Governments when they are in power want to remain and continue by hook or crook and the Oppsotions want to grab power as soon as possible, by hook or crook.There are no midway halting places! This is the dilemma.

    Your second comment. Explaining what happenned during the CFA is not so simple as you think.It is difficult to keep the military not fighting. That is what we were faced with. It is equally difficult to stop military bursting in to fighting when there is a war. Our experineces from 2006 onwards prove it. If peace efforts succeed the operatives become popular. We undergo criticism because PM Ranil Wickremesinghe failed to bring peace.If wars are won the war operators become popular. This was proved very well since May 2009.

    Secretaries are no politicians to live on popularity. Military leadership too has to face it that way. When they do not adhere results are obvious. I need not give examples. If you want a positive example I may quote General or Field Marshal Manekshaw of Inida as one.

    If you read my book or John Gooneratne’s book on Negotiating with the LTTE or Anton Balasingham’s War and Peace you will find how complex these operations are. Especially after a war victory peace efforts become negligible and lose value. This is what has happened now in Sri Lanka.Readers like to hear sensation of war victory, how Prabhakaran or Soosai or Pottu Amman was killed rather than what a peace negotition did or did not bring to Sri Lnaka. Ask any editor whether there is any comparative news value of CFA agaisnt Mullivaikkal.

    Therefore, I will not enagege in writing to papers on CFA implementation, even though I have given a few interviews earlier. Educating public to gain popularity or to apologize for the mistakes done has to be done when the process is on. When done after lapse of time there are more queries made. And the losers are at odds against popular political revenging.

    I have had enough of it and do not want to jump in to hot water again, even though I never took over the Secretary Defence position of my own demand or interest. It was one forced upon me which I had to accept due to various reasons.

    Though papers have criticized RW government and peace operatives including me I am satisfied that even such critics do not say that I was corrupt which had been a continued criticism agaisnt Defence Ministries all over the world. Is not it to be a reason for satisfaction and a way to popularity? But it is not so.

    Anyway, at the age of 70 what more clearing of name for popularity could I expect?

    Thanks for the proposition but regretted with respect.

    Austin Fernando

  • 0
    0

    You are enraged Mr. Max Silva.When enraged one cannot have a decent dialogue. Therefore, again:

    I repeat-
    Please study your material and get in to a decent dialogue in the future rather than acting in the manner in which you had been doing. Until you show improvement by your contributions, I do not hope to engage with you.
    As a good Buddhist I am guided by Dhammapada- Bala Vagga, quoted below, irrespective of the query made by Wijewickrama about my religion.

    Carance nadhigaccheyya
    seyyam sadisamattano
    ekacariyam dalham kayira
    natthi bale sahayata
    If a wayfarer fails to find, one better or one equal, steadfast he should fare alone, for with a fool’s no fellowship.
    This stanza insists that one should not keep company with immature people. Association with the immature is not at all conducive even to worldly progress; not to speak of spiritual progress.
    ——————————————
    In sympathy with your anger, only two ‘informations’ are sent, but not as engagement. All your questions are answered in my book which is nearing its first print stock.

    For your angered comments with blame, I have another Dhammapada stanza from Pandita Vagga, which I mention here.

    Selo yatha ekaghano
    vatena nasamirati
    evam nindapasamsasu
    na saminjanthi pandita

    Just as a mighty rock
    stirs not with wind
    so the wise are never moved
    either by praise or blame.

    I will refrain from responding you hereafter even with a bit of preaching like above, because you get angered.

    • 0
      0

      I didn’t ask whether you are a good Buddhist.You are trying smoothly to change the track.I asked you a few simple questions.You say that you will refrain from responding hereafter.There’s no other choice left for you.You know why.Instead of answering my questions,i find an alias going by CID Karaya trying in vain to come to your rescue.A bunch of con men!

      • 0
        0

        I am not a conman, Max.

        You tried to take Fernando around the corner boutique (kade yanna) by changing track or rail as he has said. He tried to take you round the “kade” he wanted you to go. The original article was on Geneva Debacle and Indian influence for the Geneva decision. You tried to corner Fernando by trying to take him around CFA. He tried to take you around the contents of his book knowing that you have not read it. You tried to fix him on what you have seen in the “Arakshaka Columns” in Sunday papers. He ditched you on facts that were unknown to you.

        Finally, he started teaching you by Bana Deshana and he picked up the correct stuff that suits you. It angered you and he again used his Bana on you. You got angered more and he had the last laugh. It ended with your showing what you are in real life, when you said “Hoo hoo hoooooo!!!” You got FOXED, Max! Really FOXED for life, until you lose the foxy yell!

        Keep cool in dealing with old fellows (as Fernando says he is 70 in one of the responses to NAK)!He seems to me an interesting guy of whom I have heard things which you were saying. Must read his book to see whether he is that interesting or not. It will enlighten me whether he is right or you are right. It is worth the while to you too as SK has suggested earlier. Do not call SK another conman or a Ranil lover.

        Do not for heavens sake make me to welcome Ranil, whom I desist!

        I think the fun is over between you two. Must wait for another day!

        CID Karaya

      • 0
        0

        CID Karaya aka Austin,
        Bloody hell now you’ve turned to preaching Bana.Few months back i heard that born looser Ranil also uttering a few lines of Bana,may be tutored by DrJJ.How can we forget Ranil delivering the “Dharma Chakra Sutra”at Batalanda in 89/90 period!I am sure that those unfortunates who listened to his Bana,did attain Nirvana after all.
        You poor thing,you detest Ranil?If Ranil hears about it he will get the shock of his life.
        Once again,instead of replying to my embarrassing questions,you try to pull a fast one,eh!I got your message loud and clear.You may try all the tricks in the book to coax me to buy that book of yours which i am sure has taken over by cobwebs.No thanks,i said the same thing to poor Thissa who came out with a similar comic book.Why don’t you two get together and try to market those books,declaring that the proceeds will go to the “Srikotha fund”?I am sure that Ranil will welcome you to the “Srikotha fund”scam.If everything fails i am sure that Muzzamil will be kind enough to send you a CMC garbage truck so that you could deliver those best selling books to the nearest”Bothal Pathara Kade”.In that case i am sure that i will be fortunate enough to have a glimpse of it in the form of “Kadala Gotu”at Galle face green!

  • 0
    0

    Ha, ha, ha!!!!

    • 0
      0

      Hoo hoo hoooooo!!!(The official anthem welcoming Ranil and his henchmen).

  • 0
    0

    I think that Max Silva was never taught any decency or manners by his parents or school. Tch. Tch. It’s really not poor Max’s fault.He has polluted an intelligent forum with his anger, blocking any meaningful discussion. Get a punching bag Max. Or go for a walk or something. Even some people who disagreed with Mr. Fernando have done so with decent language, with their own valid point of view.Surely there were many shortcomings of the CFA. A different view should always be appreciated. Max should learn from some others who have opposed Mr Fernando on how to disagree in a decent way. Their language is a reflection of their upbringigng and wisdom. Mr. Fernando’s language and resoning is a reflection of his upbringing. As for you Max,get a mirrior if you want to see a born loser.

    • 0
      0

      SK,
      you claim that i don’t know anything about decency.Well,when i am dealing with decent honest persons,i will resort to decency.But when it comes to the likes of RW,Mangala,Austin it’s different.There’s no decency about pimping for the barbaric Tamil Tiger thugs.SK,pl do Austin a favor,will you?Muzamil has consented to provide a CMC garbage truck.But the problem is he is unable to find a driver who is immune to stink.Will you be kind enough to drive the truck to Austin’s residence and pickup a load of unsold books and deliver them to the nearest “Bothal Pthara Kade”?

  • 0
    0

    Austin, What a pathetic article! People like you were the past and that’s why we are in such a mess. We do know what the LTTE did for 30 years. When you say, “…..taxed(Kappan)by the LTTE. It was wrong for the LTTE to have done so.” You show what an amateur pensioner you are. Did LTTE do anything right as well in your view point? Also if you didn’t expect blood thirsty LTTE to stop their butcherism that quick,why the heck your bosses confined the poor soldiers to barracks? Our problem was guys like you running the administration, and people like Kshenuka dabbling with diplomacy in the last two decades. Your time is up now, please try not to write books and to advice today’s administrators, because the words of you and your contemporaries are worthless.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.