By Jehan Perera –
The nascent rejuvenation of institutions since the change of government was demonstrated in an unexpected manner with the apprehension of a white van. These vehicles have obtained a notoriety that peaked during the last years of the war with the LTTE. The circumstances under which this particular white van came to light had all the classic features that made the white van an object of fear and intimidation during the previous decade. It had false number plates. It had army personnel in it. t was being driven in a manner that caused the policemen on duty to decide to stop it, and the occupants had behaved in a sufficiently suspicious manner to prompt the police to thereafter search the vehicle. This led them to find a pistol that belonged to none of the occupants of the van.
During the previous decade there were constant reports of the existence of white vans and their possible connection with the security forces of the state, but this was strenuously denied by them as well as by government leaders of that time. But although there was no official confirmation of their existence, and only repeated denials, the accounts of the white vans and their doings by those who claimed that their family members or colleagues had been taken away in them became a legend. They were much like ghosts that so many are afraid of, but which most have never seen. But we have heard so many stories of ghosts that many of us cannot help but believe they must indeed exist.
This time around, however, seven months into the new good governance programme of the new government the white van was caught beyond doubt. Now we can be sure that it exists, and not only one but possibly a large number of them. The fact that the policemen on duty felt themselves to be sufficiently empowered to stop a white van, question its occupants and publicise the event is something new. It is a new and welcome development. According to media reports, and police statements following the detention of the vehicle, the army personnel apprehended in it have denied that they were on any underground mission. They have said that they were on a routine journey, and the pistol that was found in it belonged to their commanding officer.
There are also some other interesting facts that have emerged from the investigation into the white van. It appears that it was previously operated by the LTTE and there were over 600 such vehicles that had been taken over by the army in the aftermath of the defeat of the LTTE. But instead of registering these vehicles with the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, they were given numbers of their own. These revelations suggest that a deep national security interest is at stake. It appears that the police investigation will not go much further, and even if they do it will not reach the public, as national security interests will be said to be at risk. National security interests have been so overwhelming for so long, that no government is likely to put it to second place in the interests of ensuring transparency and accountability.
In these circumstances, the most surprising development is the allegation by members of the former UPFA government that the presence of the white van highlights the danger posed to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The members of the former government who make this accusation are those who were most vociferous in denying the existence of white vans during their period of governance. When families of victims complained about the fate of their loved ones at the hands of the white vans, they were accused of being members of the LTTE or sympathisers who were trying to discredit the government. When journalists were bundled into them and assaulted inside them, they were ridiculed and left to fend for themselves. Human rights activists who took up the cause of the victims of white vans were described as traitors.
It is ironic that now members of the former government during whose period the white vans had their heyday are now claiming that the white van is coming after them. It is believed that this is to generate sympathy for the former president and to show him as a person whose life is under threat. It is also believed that it is an attempt to preserve for the former president his full security in the face of a legal challenge by his political opponents to strip him of the level of security that comes with being a former president, as he is now also a contestant for a seat in parliament. For purposes of elections, a level playing field requires that all contestants are given similar amounts of security. But a case can now be made that a former president who is being stalked by a white van is entitled to more.
However this resort by members of the former government to accuse a section of the armed forces to come after their leader is not likely to impress the voters. On the contrary they will probably see in it a willingness to say anything that will give them a political advantage. This is due to the fact that they are unable to find more positive issues to take on the government. Another issue that the UPFA is trying to capitalise on is the Central Bank bond issue and the controversy around it. But even on this issue the members of the former government will face an uphill task. The charges of corruption and abuse of power against them are of much more huge and widespread dimensions. Due to the fact that the new government has been in office for less than 7 months, it will be difficult to gloss over their own deficiencies of the past decade by pointing the deficiencies of the new government.
Reports from the ground indicate that the UPFA’s voter base is on the retreat. President Maithripala Sirisena’s speech to the nation in which he made plain his opposition to former president Rajapaksa’s nomination has caused re-thinking amongst its voter base. It has also made party activists discouraged as they are aware of the groundswell of popular expectations regarding anti-corruption and good governance. The former president and his supporters have been trying to bring back the issue of nationalism, their victory over the LTTE and future threats to the unity of the country to the forefront. But the contradictions of holding to this position six years after the end of the war have become manifest with the recent white van episode and the approach taken by senior members of the UPFA to it. The UPFA requires a positive election campaign rather than a negative one.
The forthcoming general election is a pivotal one for Sri Lanka. It is an opportunity to define the path our country will take. This path should be one that all ethnic and religious groups can take together as one people. During the past decade the UPFA specialized in coming out with slogans that claimed we were “one people, one nation.” But the manner in which the former government treated the ethnic and religious minorities led them to desert its camp in droves. The UPFA has still to come out with its election manifesto. Whether they can come up with a manifesto that has a vision in it for a new Sri Lanka, for all of its people, and be able to motivate the voters to believe in it, is a challenge they need to measure up to if the people are to deem them worthy of forming the next government.
janaka / July 26, 2015
This was a bungled attempt by the uneducated Rajapaksas to make it look like an attack by the LTTE.
ajith / July 26, 2015
Excellenct piece of analysis. Mahinda is now digged his own pit. His usual allies and advisers Weerawanse, GL Peries, Vasudeva, Gammanvilla, Dayan, Gotapaya (none of them belongs to SLFP) who was responsible for his defeat in Jan 2015 made things worse. People who had doubt about their false propaganda about National security, LTTE threat after the war now firmly believe that they are all false propaganda to create fear among ordinary Sinhalese people. Former Minister and UPFA’s allai Doulas Devanda revealed that Mahinda & co offered 10 million rupees to the (Pirabharan’s relative) TNA parliamentarian Sivagilingam to split Tamil votes in the Presidential election and now he has been contesting in Kurunagala just to help Mahinda propaganda. You cannot continue to cheat Sinhala masses using gimmics like these lies. People should give a dead blow to these cheaters in this election and they should never be in Parliament for the sake of future generation.
Millroy / July 26, 2015
Jehain Perera is captain of NGO all his activities funded by West and Indian.
He want pro-western mindset ruling party in power.
Well he also want split and divided the Sri lanka, One Tamil state, Other for non-Tamils weak regime in south.
These are political ideology served for traitors of Our nation.
And undermined national sovereignty and Unity of Island of Sri lanka.
Namal / July 26, 2015
Thank you very much for writing this on behalf of Appachi (yours and mine). Our Nilbalakaya will be paying RS. 10/- for each post like this. Let me know your bank account number so I could deposit the Rs. 10/- that is due to you.
Hamlet / July 26, 2015
Namal, can you only afford to pay Rs 10/=, Now?
Amden / July 26, 2015
And also, if “UPFA’s Negative Election Campaign Will Not Win Votes”, why is he wasting his time writing about the UPFA, trying to run them down?
THis guy will say and do anything for US$ and Euros.
Marwan / July 26, 2015
Thanks Jehan, your analysis is well worth reading to guesstimate which way the wind will blow come 17th Aug. Another notable feature is the calm nature of the electioneering that is now going on throughout the country, unlike previous elections where politicians underestimate peoples intelligence to decide who is worthy of their vote so they blast them with ‘in your face’ poster cutouts and high decibel vocal cacophony just to draw public attention. Even the guardians of the law seem to be doing their part to brook no nonsense, and performing their duties without fear nor favor, and that is definitely a good sign for the nation. I only hope it remains this way until the final results are in and the new government is a decisive and a stable one for MY3 to get to grips with to push his plans for the future of this country, and not another circus of a weak and ‘hung’ parliament.
Ansar / July 26, 2015
Milroy, When will you guys come out of your racist agendas and let all Sri Lankans live peacefully as one Nation.
Enough of killing and destruction by a psychopath in PRABAKARAN where thousands of innocent civilians were killed from all ethnicities in the name of Tamil Homeland. Now we have another psychopath in the name of RAJAPAKSHE who wants to bring death and destruction in the name Sinhala Hegemony.
Enough is enough and kindly come out of you psychic mentality for the benefit of our country and our Nation. How may bloody years are you going to live in this bloody earth, 70-80 years max, of which you sleep half that period. For heaven sake live in this earth like a human and leave it to the future generations for them to live happily after us.
You do not take any damn thing to your bloody grave, only your good deeds and the legacy you leave behind.
What is the legacy you want to leave behind ? think logically and humanely. I am sure you will come to your senses.
Edward / July 26, 2015
Islamism is the only good thing in the universe, not the so-called Sinhala Hegemony!
We know which direction your thoppiya is turning toda.
Andrew / July 26, 2015
Keep your racism to yourself you bigot.
whywhy / July 26, 2015
We had three presidents to retire peacefully back to
their normal life. One was killed on duty.Let him
rest in peace. None of them were targeted by the
opposition and civil societies against wrong doing
while in office. Among them all , D B Wijetunga
beautifully stepped aside paving the way for more
suitable, senior, popular and young leader to take
over. They all left hall mark beauty of a statesman
politics. They all proved they had no personal
interest in hanging on to the job . It was just a
job for them . What a sharp contrast this man MARA
compared to those leaders ? Another name for
selfishness , shamelessness , disgrace , egoism ,
foolishness , racism , and you name it, he fits into
anything but statesmanship. He must be removed from
politics and forced into retirement . If Kurunegala
won’t do it, Judiciary must do it .
mike / July 26, 2015
It was Ranil Wickremasinghe who saved Medamulana Meeharaka from the electric chair and now this bugger is fighting for Ranil’s chair. LoL !
Ansar / July 26, 2015
There you go again.
I am not talking here of any religion. Just plain humanity and basic fact of life.
I am sure you are a human too in the planet earth. Not heard of any creatures living on earth from alien planets. So I am quite sure you belong to the human species.
Please correct me, if I am wrong.
Sinhala_Man / July 27, 2015
Ansar, you are absolutely correct. So many of us human beings appear to be absolutely incapable of rational thought. You had said things which are universally true. Edward sees only your Muslim name. What you have said need not have come from Islam alone. Any thinking human being ought to agree with what you have said there. Let us not attack the said Edward, letters rather persuade him to be more rational.
In the same way, some Tamils decide, the moment they see the handle that I have given myself, that I must be a racist Sinhalese. On the other hand, even more Sinhalese people accuse me of being a Tamil masquerading as something different.
I long for the day when we can all shed these labels and live just as human beings.
Tassimo / July 26, 2015
Not even the great USA will compromise on national security,Jehan. Tranparency and accountability are myths forced on lesser nations. Edward Snowden and Assange exposed that myth. Secrecy is sine qua non to ensure national security. CIA and MI-5 AND MI-6 both use this sort of tactic. I won’t comment on other aspects except to say that I think MR will not even get 3 million Sinhala votes for UPFA and that they’ll lost badly to the UNP. you and other western funded anti buddhist NGO [Edited out]
KOKUVILAN / July 26, 2015
[Edited out] Please avoid typing all capitalized comments – CT
Ahfzll / July 26, 2015
Spot on Jehan.
MR & his cronies are trying to hoodwink the voters by FALSE FLAG third party NEWS ITEMS of the corrupt kind.
Apart from the fear psychosis that the White Vans could provoke having a LTTE connection, Good (OLD) President MR is using others ploys as well trying to fool the public into voting for him – on the basis that ONLY he (single handedly, mind you) can eliminate the threat to the Unitary state.
CT has thought fit to publish yet another ploy by the MR faction that the threat to the unitary state of Sri Lanka, looms large.
Thw Wannabe Prime Minister of the Transnational Govermnent of Tamil Eelam is telling the ordinary tamil voters on what he should consider in voting in Tamils to Parliament.
The HOI POLLOI’s first conclusion will be that the separatist demand is as LARGE AS LIFE and ONLY MR can control it.
MR I must admit is a good student; He learns very fast. He has learnt from the AMERICAN Government the use of FALSE FLAG propaganda.
Our Five Positions & The Parliamentary Elections
July 26, 2015 | Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,Opinion,Sri Lanka Parliamentary Elections 2015 | Posted by: COLOMBO_TELEGRAPH
By Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran –
Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran – PM – TGTE
Acknowledge candidates who express their positions in word and deed and elect them!
The Sri Lankan Parliamentary elections are scheduled for August 17 of this year. Since the elections are to be held in the Tamil homeland as well, the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) wishes to clarify to the Tamil people our views on the kind of representatives they should elect. We bring through this memorandum the outcome of discussions held by the TGTE at Cabinet and Parliament level on this subject.
f=ma / July 26, 2015
Capitalizing on the central bank bond case isn’t enough.. well thanks to the present government, they have provided other alternatives for MR to gain a share of the electorate.
For example the coal issue, they didn’t give the tender to the lowest bidder and they have signed a contract for 3 years which hasn’t been done before. Seem’s logical eh? I think not.
Our beloved foreign minister told us that 70% of the diplomats will be career diplomats but that figure is at a staggering 30 or 40 something.. well, bro’s before diplomats i suppose.
And the list goes on……..
For a country which finished a 30 year long war, it isn’t sustainable for certain forms of economic pledges set forth by the current government. The country is still paying for the war economically.
Although I am a strong proponent of an increased minimum wage, I doubt they will be able to sustain it with such a huge raise.
Let us also take a deeper look into the white van conspiracy.. both parties are taking their fair share of the cake.. MR will say their out to kill him and his opposition are using this as a distraction. August elections will determine the winner of the media manipulation but I have a feeling we will never know the person behind this and any assumptions without proper evidence is wrongful.
If the government promised something, the should follow it to the word: no If’s, no but’s and no playing the blame game.
thondamannar / July 26, 2015
“Jehain Perera is captain of NGO all his activities funded by West and Indian” – Millroy
SO HE MAKES NEGATIVE COMMENTS ON UPFA ELECTION CAMPAIGN. THIS PINA NGO JUST CAN NOT MIND HIS OWN BUSINESS.
“Milroy, When will you guys come out of your racist agendas and let all Sri Lankans live peacefully as one Nation.” aNSAR
THESE NGO GUYS ARE NOT ONLY A CURSE TO THE COUNTRY BUT TO THE REST OF THE WORLD AS WELL.WONDER HOW THEIR FAMILIES ARE DOING WITH SO MUCH BAD MOUTHING SPURS FROM THEIR MOUTHS AND PENS.
JEAHAN IS A GOOD FOR NOTHING GUY.NO USE TO HIMSELF OR THE COUNTRY.
Millroy / July 27, 2015
Namal & Ansar & thonadamanner…..
Many of poor commerters has lack of knowledage of Hegemonism has no cognation of declining nationl sovereignty of Sri lanka-nation-state and US hegemony increasing regulate political ,economic and culture exchanges is in fact one of the primary symptoms of US EU and white race coming Hegemony of Empire.
US through out that Tamil of TNA and support interfer internal affirs by NGO undermined post moderrnization unity and stability of Sri lanka.
Undermine the Sri lanka sovereighnty was cornorstone of US hegemony policy,that is the big power constructed through out modern era since after defeted LTTE war 2009 may.
Developing nation majority of Sinhalese-Buddhist of sri lanka has no way of build Hegemony in this an Island or out of thier land.
NGO outfits are back by LTTE,GTF,WTC and TNA funded by US hegemony and Indian -RAW.
The current passage to US hegemony from the twilight of Sri lanka sovereighnty.
US hegemony newly establishes no-terriotrial center of power and dose not rely on fixed boundries or barriers.
US hegemony hybrid identities,flexible hierarchies and plural exchanges through modulating network of command.The distinct national colors of the US map of the world have mered and blended in the US global rainbow revoluation.
Indeed change of current US hegemony geography of globe and relization of the world market single a passage withing the capitalist mode of producation.
Capital seems to be faced with smooth world or really a world defined by new and complex regimes of differentiation, homogenization & deterritorialization and reterritorialization nation state by US led hegemony.
This is ongoing to be US hegemonist Road Map.
Few who has been encourge Jehain Perera peace motive has not yet relized role of capitan of NGO working for deterrotorialization and split for Sri lanka for Tamil seperatist rough State. Capitan of NGO want re-esatblished UNP led authority rule over the processes of US led pivot Asain glogalization.
This is that expansion of old order with NEW FACE by UNP led orthodx regime rainbow revoluation, which installed puppet regime of MS, UNP-ranil and CBK 2015 January 9th .
Well it is was anti-people, pro-west and pro-Indin regime in Sri lanka since 2015 January, which that NGO’s captain want to reestablihed same regime after next Parliment elecation August 17 2015.
Ranil Wijeyesekera / July 27, 2015
There has to be Peace. maithri must think of the terms. Mr can comeback as PM if he is cleared of all chargs againts him. Expediant court proceedings with mutal agreement will be hewld on atime framwork. Compensation should be givento him in this eveant.
He can declare any transactions he had and payback all moniesd gained. He can gain a presidential pardon. He can comeback to politics even Pm after assessment by opinion poll carried out independently.
He can not be allowed to promote ethnic or religous hatrad. Foriegn interference cannot be allowed. But a domestic mechnism to asssess the excesses of both warring parties should be supported by MR.
Reconciliation betwen MR, MS and RW is neccesary.
f=ma / July 27, 2015
looks like there are a lot of[Edited out] at CT..
Why are you’ll so hot and bothered about MR and his ego? It’s not yours that is getting tarnished. If he has no shame, let it be.. the people will decide whether he is worthy.
If you’ll are so confident of a landfall UNP victory, why worry LOL