25 September, 2020

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The Strengths And Weaknesses Of A Totally Corrupt Regime

By Emil van der Poorten –

Emil van der Poorten

Given Sri Lankans’ penchant for crystal-ball gazing and analysis of everything from the future of the world, through the alleged conduct of Sri Lanka’s version of Murder Incorporated by a Deputy Inspector of Police to the newest forced genuflection of a teacher or rape of a minor by a prominent politician, or reign of terror conducted by our Rana Viruwo, I have, for a time at least, felt sort of left out of the national penchant for endless prediction.

Let me try to make amends this week!

I have been provoked by the most recent defection from the ranks of the United National Party (UNP), the “Grand Old Party,” as some laying claim to political erudition have dubbed it without any respect for the fact that it is the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln in the US that owns that term, one which hardly fits our more appropriately nicknamed the “Uncle Nephew Party.”

When Dayasiri Jayasekera left the UNP under a cloud of suspicion about being, literally, bought over by a regime that wouldn’t know Judas Iscariot from Mary Magdalene, the tongues began wagging again.  Even if, in the last analysis, applying all that time and trouble to the behaviour of one to whom the term “political lightweight” would be an over-statement, it cannot be sufficiently emphasized that this is not a piece of aberrant behavior but just another link in the chain of endless corruption that seems the obsession of a government that epitomizes viciousness and totally unprincipled conduct.

Given that lengthy preamble, whoever has reached this point of my narrative is certainly entitled to a return to the pith of the argument!

I would suggest that a detailed recounting of the recruitments of the good, the bad and the ugly that now fill the ranks of the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) would make the gang that they started out with look like the “good guys” in some penny dreadful of the last century.  After all, those who’ve extracted substantial bribes from the medical system, monopolized paddy purchasing in the North Central Province, or done the same to sand-mining  from the Mahaveli would look like paragons of virtue beside those who’ve sexually harassed track athletes of international fame, shot to death several of their supposed political allies, and been accused of raping children.

A little example of the hypocrisy of this bunch is the fact that when one particular UNPer was recruited on to the benches of the government, one of the senior UPFA members of the time made a great to-do about having to occupy an adjacent seat.  Do I have to remind anyone of where these two “gentlemen” continue to park their behinds?

This, though is the strength of Mahinda Rajapaksa: his ability to inveigle members of the opposition into joining him and crossing that last political Rubicon in Sri Lanka , one that cannot be re-crossed except in very rare and aberrant instances such as that of Karu Jayasuriya who, in the larger scheme of things, doesn’t amount to the proverbial “hill of beans.”

That Rubicon is certainly a River of No Return, if I might mix my metaphors (and continue to do so!), despite Ranil Wickremesinghe’s alleged strategy of leaving the possibility of a mass exodus from Mahinda’s ranks into his, duplicating what his mentor, J. R. Jayewardene and his father Esmond did to Mrs. Bandaranaike in 1964 when they enticed C. P. de Silva and company across what had been, up to that time, the Great Parliamentary Divide.

However, I believe that times have changed and the character of those likely to defect one way or another is totally different.  C. P de Silva and Mahanama Samaraweera did not have a Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads in the form of charges of murder, rape and, perhaps worse.  If the President lowers the Sword that only he has control over in an ultra-Gaullist constitution it will be, literally, “match over” for those he chooses to remove from his Circle of the Saved and the “executions” that follows could well be literal ones!

It is simply a matter of “hanging together or hanging separately.”

That is the uber-strength of the Rajapaksa Regime.

However, by the very nature of those with which this government has filled its ranks, it has created some problems that those imbued with cunning and craftiness but devoid of principle and intelligence invariably fall prey to.  This is the central reality that alliances among the unprincipled are, by their very nature, fragile.  How could comings-together held together by the glue of criminality provide anything resembling permanence?  That would be a simple contradiction in terms.

The Rajapaksa Grand Alliance is constituted of those who simply are on the same side of the fences of criminality of one description or another and owe their survival to that fact.  They cannot, therefore, provide anything resembling real continuing loyalty to the Rajapaksa Project.  After all, the importation of camels for milk and ostriches for eggs hardly provides a link in a chain that includes rape and murder, crooked hedging deals, the defenestration of a estate manager trying to stop the illegal removal of timber resources from the estate for which he held responsibility, the importation of milk contaminated with poison or massive stock market manipulations.  And please heed the fact that the foregoing is a seriously deficient list of the criminalities practiced in the name of governance in the Debacle of Asia!

The fissiparous tendencies can only multiply and the last straw that this Coalition of the Corrupt is clutching at is the fact that, even though dwindling, there is still loot available for plunder by this Kleptocracy.  However, there is serious diminution there and, literally, only so many highway constructions and coal-fired power plants that can be milked for commissions and so many boutique hotels that can be constructed with laundered money.

The sixty four thousand or is it the sixty-four million dollar question in the era of Mr. 10% is when is this unholy coalition going to come apart?  More important, is it going to result in a peaceful transition from one crooked lot to another or one that makes places such as Haiti look like epitomes of democracy and good order where the transfer of authority is a model of all that’s best in democratic practice?  The facts, unfortunately, point to the negative extreme in a country already run by militias, armed to the teeth, looking after politicians operating at various levels of criminality on funds paid out of the public coffers.

One more time: “Welcome to the Debacle of Asia!”

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Latest comments

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    Which political system is honest in the world ?

    Can you name one and say that Sri Lanka should take that as the example,

    Is vatican, that is where the god live, not corrupt ?

    How about the Anglican church ?

    Evangelical churches are pure business enterprises.

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      Jimsofty:
      Never fails: the “they did it first” brigade. If it was atrocities of some kind, I expect you would have trotted out Adolf Hitler as being worse than our lot!
      To compare what is happening here with any miscarriages of justice in the democratic countries where journalists are not hounded and murdered, where legal systems operate, even if occasionally flawed, WHERE THERE IS DUE PROCESS OF LAW BEING PRACTICED, is nothing short of obscene.
      I know many readers of this column have advised me to ignore the likes of you because you are paid lackeys of the government simply trying to create diversions. However, I think your purpose would be served even better by allowing your repetition of lies and distortions to go unchallenged.
      It’s interesting also that you have found a way round the “blocking” of this blog. Did you, by any chance, have advance notice of what was to happen or did you, like the rest of us, have to improvise?

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        Mr. Emil Vander Pooten:

        What are you asking ? Rajapakses to be innovative or to follow some other regime, for example, Vatican, that you respect ?

        If Rajapakses are innovative and do something new you would criticize it as it is unfamiliar to you.

        So, just suggest some govt that you respect and value. will you ?

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      Softly,

      You are slowly but surely failing the test for decency and civilised beahiour and that is because you are a Government Stooge.
      The question you should ask is not Which Political Systems is Honest in the World but in a Civilised Country are there checks and balances and that is the barometer which is non existent in Sri Lanka.

      Look at the number of murders inn which Government ministers have been implicated and has any one been caught NO.
      Sri Lanka is on par with countries like.

      In Italy where Berulusconi ruled is heading to Jail all be late.

      Egypt
      Iran
      Zimbabwe
      Russia ( Putin is the Richest Man in the World)
      Syria.

      Just think before you post silly questions.

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    Jim softy,
    Noone is 100% honest in politics,governance,and acquiring wealth & perks.
    It is the degree of honesty that counts.
    Obama is more honest than Mugabe – I trust you have no problem with that.
    In sri lanka,the degree of ‘honesty’ is relative and fluid.
    MR’s minions are masters in manipulating the degree,for political survival.
    So are Mr and his ‘family.

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      Mugabe is more honest than Obama.

      Believe me.

      Only thing that Obama did was when he was almost close to lose he reached to latinos, blacks, asians and other minorities in the USA. That was all for his survival.

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        Softly,

        The more I read your comments more I am convinced that you are damn stupid. If you say that Mugabe is more honest than Obama you are short on substance and you know very little history.

        Mugabe when he was fighting against the White Minority he was in alliance with Nabange Sittole from Matabele Land. But as soon as he won the war he stabbed him in the back and more or less had a hand in his death. Just like your MR so in future think before you post silly comments.

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    van der pooty needs to get a lesson in english which his school obviously did not give him . The Rajapaksha govt is not a regime as it was elected by the people. Just because you dont like it nothing will change as the mojority of the people like it .

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      “Elected by THE PEOPLE”.
      my AXX.

      YAkko;

      Elected By the people of The KILLER PIRPAHARANS EELAM ,

      Not by Sri lankans,
      Majority of the Thugs, looters, Commission Crows, Rapists, Murder Contractors,[ white van and police] and Kudu Mudallais Love it, and they hang around with Kurakkan SAATAKAYA.

      May be Jarapassa and His clan Laughing From Their Asses.

      So you can Go to Kinder garden and learn some more about the present day Society, before, not English.

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        yako who knew . only a drug dealer thug like you would know this .

        “Elected By the people of The KILLER PIRPAHARANS EELAM “

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    They say ‘as thick as thieves’. It is also said ‘there is no honour amongst thieves’. The moment must come when the rats will desert the sinking ship. When there is no more loot to be shared and the future looks hostile and bleak.

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    Abhaya:
    My dictionary describes “regime” as “government.” Doesn’t say anything about majorities or minorities or repressiveness either. But then, who am I to contest the English expertise of someone who presumably represents the “mojorty” (sic) of this country?
    Come to think of it Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao etc. all enjoyed the support of a “mojority” of the countries that they controlled, didn’t they?

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      Mr. Vander Pooten:

      Even the Webster’s dictionary and the Oxford dictionary do not agree to the same definition on what a “regime” is.

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        we think,
        you can burn your dictionary and apply ashes on your fore head.

        Raja passa did that at a Hindu kovil in the east of Sri lanka,
        But Poor Kovil Priest Paid the Price for that getting killed by LTTE.
        So be carefully, your friend’s Whitees with goons are around.

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        Jim Softy:
        Thank you for giving of your erudition in respect of the English language and dictionaries. With you joining the the rest of the idiot’s chorus the circle is now complete!

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          idiot chorus

          What makes you such a genius Mr De Pooty? that you attended Trinity and did not pass any exams and ended up a planter like all of those incompetents do ?

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            Please do not deride planters. They have given to this country and it’s people much more than the politicians and their henchmen. The now dying generation of planters, if they were in political power, would have delivered this country to it’s zenith as one of the best in the world.

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      now that you are acertained my majority credentials let me share with you how you are using the word . you are using it with its negative conatation ..

      ” Oxford English Dictionary defines regime as “a government, especially an authoritarian one”.[2] Nowadays the political use of the word regime is most commonly[citation needed] applied to any government that is most of the time not democratically elected and imposes strict and often arbitrary rules and laws on the people that are, because of the undemocratic nature of the government, non-negotiable.[citation needed]”

      Hitler and musollini did not save the country from a terrorist like prabakaran . now his rule could have been called a regime but none of you elagatarians call his that .

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        Abhaya:
        For a beginning, would you please go to one of your dictionaries and tell us what “conatation,” “elagatarians” etc. mean? Couldn’t find them in any dictionary around here. Also, that (unattributed) quote you come up with, complete with “citation needed” in at least two places sounds suspiciously like Wikipedia and not the OED. Do you know the difference or is this yet another example of your scholarship?
        P.S.
        In case you STILL haven’t noticed your attempt to impose your own meaning only on the word “Regime” has failed!

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          gee mr pooten

          sure I spelled a word or two wrong but the meaning of the word regime as you use it is no different to the oxford dictionary meaning . Which is exactly how it is used in the modern english . No body calls the American govt the obama regime . but they call the Syrian govt the Assad regime . eh ?

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            abhaya:
            Is this your attempt at semantics? If it is, it’s a pretty dismal failure but then “what can you expect from a…but a …..!
            P.S.
            You still don’t seem to be able to tell us what your “spelling mistakes” mean, either.
            As far as I’m concerned this conversation is over because it isn’t possible to exchange “witticisms” with a half-wit.

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              Mr van der Poorten,

              Please don’t reply to these Rajapaksa asslickers. They are all benefiting or have benifited in one way or another from his misrule of the country. Many of them are out and out racists, drug barons, corrupt politicians, thugs, murderers and other unsavoury characters. It is pointless arguing with them. I hope when the Rajapaksa regime is removed these leeches and criminals will be disposed of too.

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    Mr.Van Der Pooten,

    I give credit for your guts and awesome courage with which you vent your anger at the Criminal behaviour of the Thugs headed by MR and his cronies and the ineptitude shown by the Oposition.
    The support enjoyed by MR and his cronies are partly due to riding high on a wave of support after the War which in Sinhala Lanka is in abundance and partly due to the way they employ the strong arm tacticts to put down any dissent whether it be Judges or Ordinary citizens.
    Using any means avaialable at their disposal to stay in power is second nature to them which is borne out of greed for power and necessity to carry through and complete an agenda of Colonisation.
    Paying bribes to Politicians to achieve this is very easy in a corrupt environment where need and greed is the order of the day and the list of those who have taken back handers from MR is endless.
    So I am not surprised if there is any truth in the story that Dayasiri crossed the floor with a Bagful of Bounty from MR.
    Your Sixty Four Million Dollar Question is way below the profit margin in which these criminal elements operate. Their rich pickings give them a return of much higher dividends. How else do you think a failed business man from USA the ONE AND ONLY Gotha manged to own a White House in the middle of the City.

    But the might of MR has been broken and he has wilted under pressure from the masters and what ever he does to distract attention away from this humiliation wont work any more and he is an incumbent president and his days are numbered. Dark clouds are gathering and he is in for a belting and I am hopeful and confident he will pay for his sins.
    It is a matter of time.

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    Mr Van der Poorten always enjoy reading what you write and the pathetic level of English some display including journalists.

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    Sri Lankans came out of the Westerners’ trick after four hundred and forty three years. Sri Lanlkans came out of India’s trick after thirty years. The billion dollar question is, can the Sri Lankans come out from the dragon’s trick in the foreseeable future? Or suffering is the middle name of every Sri Lankan? According to my calculation China got a firm grip on the Rajapaksa brothers. The Rajapaksa brothers are enjoying all the perks and benefits came from China’s investments, they are not going to let it go. Not only the investments, controlling the media and controlling the people by the SL Army all are China’s ideas.In fact China will push the Rajapksa brothers all the way through as much as it can. Just protects and elections will not help the UNP to win the general election govern the country. It may get uglier than any Sri Lankan’s prediction, unless the Rajapaksa brothers understand what China is doing and decided to take a U turn for sake of their people and motherland. India can use Navi Pillay’s visit, UN Human Rights Council meeting in September and the CHOGM, to push the Rajapaka brothers to make a U turn. If Rajapaksa brothers decided ignore the world, but decided to go North Korea style, country will end up as Libya. I honestly hope it will not go that far.

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      Antany Peter:
      It’s hard to dispute the logic of what you say and I am sure that many share your sentiments. However, that same logic would suggest that the “Chinese road” is already narrow and keeps narrowing to a point where any “U-turn” is impossible.
      I’m afraid we are going to reap the whirlwind that the Sri Lankan voter has sown when it elected this group to power.

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        Van Der Poorten,

        I had some regard for your intellect but I have my doubts now after reading the above.
        Antany is very fond of Chinese and he is going through a Chinese Menopause. He claims to have read thousands of books and is Political Writer. But I had you in a different League.

        I find it surprising when you say
        “It’s hard to dispute the logic of what you say and I am sure that many share your sentiments.”
        Many might share his sentiments but I did not expect you to be in that club.

        Just read and digest the following and for your information the Chinese road is not just NARROW but HAZARDOUS in Sri Lanka.

        Whether as a Sinhalese you like it or not India has total Jurisdiction over Sri Lanka and that is a fact as Sri Lanka”s Sovereignty is limited to Indias security.

        Was Indian dominance over Sri Lanka a loss to the US? The letters exchanged in the July 1987 Accord was a clear loss for the United States in the Indian Ocean region, but in spite of this implication, the US Government praised the Accord. The letters refereed to the availability of ports, particularly Trincomalee, the Trincomalee oil tank farm deal, the broadcasting facilities and the presence of foreign military and intelligence personnel. Even though all of these concerned US interests in the region, US policy, which is based on long-term strategic interests, was to ignore and establish a strategic alliance with India. This explained the US reaction to the Indo-Lanka conflict and the ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka.

        An official of the Bureau of Research and Intelligence of the US State Department, Washington DC, informed the author that the letters of the Accord was a direct attack on American interests. The then US Ambassador in Colombo, James Spain, disagreed. He said: “(It) depends on which pair of glasses you put on. Nobody wanted the facilities the Indians were scared of.” Commenting further on the accord, Spain said: “Both the Sri Lankans and the Indians got what they wanted out of each other.” When asked whether the Americans were aware of the Accord in advance, Spain said: “We first got to know about it when the ongoing discussions between the Voice of America and Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation were suddenly suspended. These weekly meetings were going on for about a year. When the US asked why, it was indicated to us that Sri Lanka was working out an agreement with India to solve the ethnic issue.” After the Accord was signed, Spain said that “Jayewardene wanted to demonstrate to the world that Sri Lanka had not lost its independence to India.” So Jayewardene requested the US, the UK, France, Pakistan, China and the USSR for military assistance. The request to the US was for helicopter spare parts, 45 calibre ammunition and maritime radar. Spain said: “We had congressional budgetary constraints. But I sent our Defence Attache to meet General Attygalle, the then Sri Lankan Defence Secretary. He explained that this was to meet the impending threat from the south.”

        But President Jayewardene had a different story to say. “When I asked the US Ambassador, James Spain, for some helicopter spare parts, Ambassador Spain asked me to obtain the approval of India and when the spare parts were to be flown in, once again Spain asked me to obtain the approval of India, which I obtained.” When Spain was asked why the US requested Sri Lanka to obtain the concurrence of India before considering and later before transporting the helicopter spare parts to Sri Lanka, Spain said: “Sri Lanka had entered in to an agreement with India without our knowledge. It would have been improper for us to disrupt the cooperation between India and Sri Lanka.” After the concurrence of India was obtained, spare parts worth US$ 2 million were given to Sri Lanka on low-interest concessionary terms under a US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Loan.

        The Sri Lankan people have short memories – in fact, very short ones. Ambassador James Spain told the author: “Bringing in the IPKF resulted in the up-swinging of the JVP. We still blame the Japanese, but ironically in Sri Lanka, the people do not blame India.” Ambassador Spain, a soldier with a service record in the Pacific and in Japan, and a scholar with a doctorate on the orient from Columbia University, who is a diplomat with 40 years’ service in countries such as Sri Lanka, Turkey, Tanzania and Pakistan, as well as in Washington, DC and at the United Nations, has now retired and settled in Sri Lanka. He said: “For the first time when I retired in 1989, I could do whatever I wanted – I chose to live among a fine and a sincere people, and in an old country than in a new one.” Speaking affectionately of Sri Lanka and its people, Spain said: “A military or a political solution may be possible. Even in the rose years, I have been reasonably optimistic. Sri Lanka will not become a Lebanon, but it will never be paradise again.” Perhaps, Spain was assessing the cost of foreign intervention.

        ‘Do not antagonize India’

        One would not be wrong to surmise that when India started exerting pressure to hold the Northern Provincial Council election, Mahinda Rajapaksa would have sought a helping hand from Russia and China. Their reaction most probably could have been more like America’s advice to JR on a previous occasion; do not antagonize India, and work out an amicable solution, albeit with some added wisdom so they could to protect the government from war crime charges in the UN but not go against India. India’s massive market is invariably a defining matter in Chinese relations. Now it is known the Tamil National Alliance has also built some sort of rapport with China.
        All in all, the idea which is fast gaining ground among cognoscenti in political analysis that it was Russia who set Mahinda Rajapaksa on course for the Northern polls, could be true.

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    It is indeed interesting reading of the comments by Antany Peter and Kali. We are in the age of remote colonization, where the new Power blocks use strategically important countries as ours for their benefit. Although many believe in this country that the masses elect their choice to govern is not the case. The ones who govern, are decided by forces outside and the masses here has no clue whatsoever. There are many wheels within wheels. There is give and take strategies adopted over our heads of which we are totally unaware. Thousands of Humans are allowed to be sacrificed in the process. However the issues are coming in to a climax not too distant in the future. May be definitely next year the bubble should burst. Judging by the events the main players seem to cover each one’s interest rather than the interests of neither the Sinhalese or the Tamils. It appears we are mere pawns. The Hurrah Boys of the MR ‘REGIME’ has no clue. A Set of Bloody Jokers!

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    Mr van der Pooten
    I admire your fortitude in dealing with the ‘man-woke-ondara-bijja’ brigade. Alack and alas, with very few exceptions, the teaching of English on this island has been dead for some fifty years now and this shows with every passing day. You have to admire the chutzpah of the knocking brigade who enter the fray not to contest or contribute a point, but to clog the conversation with puerile comments that do nothing but devalue the discussion. As you may well remember, there was a time when Lake House mastheads epitomised good grammar and spelling; not anymore. Whatever happened to proper sub-editors and proofreaders? Now, with the electronic media every Tom, Dick and Abhaya will enter the fray but woefully short of a full sling. What to do? It is the unwritten lot of writers to sometimes find their pearls caste before swine. Do not despair Emil. You eclectic takes on the state of play in present day Sri Lanka are much looked forward to, and appreciated. Respice Finem!

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      Kali:
      I am sorry that you have chosen to misinterpret or misunderstand what I have said in reference to the comments by Antany Peter. I believe that the first para of my response should be clearly indicative of what I perceive in the matter of AP’s comments.
      Also, I have no pretensions to being some kind of “intellectual” (by Sri Lankan standards particularly!)God forbid!
      You do seem to have held positions of importance judging by your references to conversations with a past U.S. Ambassador etc. and it is a shame that you choose to make these claims under a pseudonym, thereby preventing any further verification of their accuracy.
      In any event, thank you for the information you have provided which certainly fleshes out this discussion.

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        Aney Apochchi,

        There was no malicioius intrent but a I am sure from my compliment you appreciate that I placed you in a different League because of the Civilised standard and the clarityb with which you post your comments.
        Judging from the venom with which most your countrymen react to anything either complimentary or apologetic for the past deeds of your ( not you persoannly) actions you are an execetion. It is a hard pill to take but I can give you a lot more accounts to substatiate what I mean and the reason why MR has been allowed to get away is beacause of the weak leadership shown by the Current Corriupt and ineptitude Leaders of India who want to fill their pockets and ask the question what is in it for me. Do you think if the Iron Lady Mrs.Ghandi was at the helm we would have seeen such pussy foooting. Certainly Not. In Sri Lanka there is a tiny minority people like youself ddcent and civilise who are crying out for help to help Sri Lanka on a path to redemption but that is lacking due to need and greed.

        Antany is a funny guy and as I said he hovers around the fringes of prejudice but he is from what I have read a self made man and always eager to stick a needle.

        Just on the question of why Manmohan Sing is reluctant to commit to come to CHOGM ( which I have just read but unable to commment as there is no right to reply)is because in my view this is a negitiatinng process and as soon as he offerd the right price he will come as sadly this how Indian politics works.

        Please

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    Aney

    Just to continue as i pressed the button by accident

    Please dont in any way feel that it was an attack on your intellect but I always look at things with a critical eye and your contribution is valued

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