29 September, 2020

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US Wants Lankan Troops Investigated; Former Army Commander Says 53, 57 Divisions Seem Blackliste

Criteria for US sponsored military training is directly linked to accountability the US Government has said, urging President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Government to pursue a mechanism to investigate allegations of gross human rights violations by its soldiers in a credible way, according to a Colombo based newspaper report.

Chief of Defence Staff

The renewed call for credible investigations follows a decision by the US Government to reject two senior military officers for a training programme in New Zealand on the basis of accountability concerns against the two Majors General. Major General Jagath Dias who was recently put in charge of the military board of inquiry into the Weliweriya violence that claimed three lives when the army was sent in to disperse a demonstration and Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe who was recently appointed Commanding Officer of the 53 Division were rejected for training by a US foreign troop vetting system.

Quoting a US Embassy official in Colombo the Daily FT said the Washington believed there was a cloud over certain sections of the Sri Lankan security forces because of “credible allegations” against them.

“There is a limit of work the US Government can do with a particular regiment if there are credible allegations of human rights violations against them and we can’t move forward until there is a credible investigation into the allegations,” the newspaper quoted a US Embassy official as saying.

The selection of military candidates is performed through a rigorous vetting process, under the 1998 US Leahy Laws, that specifically disqualify personnel against whom “credible information” exists regarding human rights violations, the Daily FT reported.

The newspaper quotes the Embassy official as saying that there was a cloud over certain military divisions due to the allegations. The ineligibility for US facilitated training was no way permanent and could be reversed with a genuine inquiry, the newspaper reports the official said.

“The important thing is the way forward and that path is clear – a credible investigation to clear the officials and units that may be implicated,” the Embassy official explained.

The sentiments had been echoed by the former Army Commander and current Chief of Defence Staff, General Jagath Jayasuriya, who told a media conference on Wednesday (21) that there were issues with the army’s 53 and 57 Divisions, the newspaper report said.

Chief of Defence Staff General Jagath Jayasuriya who addressed a media conference yesterday said that Ranasinghe had initially been cleared for a US training after he was rejected on a previous occasion. “It is not clear why he was rejected again,” Gen. Jayasuriya said adding that in the case of Dias, he had been refused a training at the National Defence College as well because of his involvement in the 57 Division. “I think until that issue is cleared, that problem for him will keep resurfacing,” the former Army Commander admitted. “With regard to Maj. Gen. Dias a decision has to come from the top,” Jayasuriya added.

Gen. Jayasuriya said that in the case of Maj. Gen. Ranasinghe, he had raised the issue with the US Defence Attache during his tenure as Commander. “There is a problem with his Division – the 53 Division. But he was appointed to head that division very recently, not during the war, but in the case of certain divisions the whole unit is affected” he explained. He admitted that both the 53 and 57 Divisions of the Army appeared to be on a blacklist because of the allegations of rights abuses.

The Daily FT report quoted US Embassy officials as saying they hoped the government of Sri Lanka would make use of High Commissioner Navi Pillay’s visit to obtain her assistance to set up a credible investigative mechanism to inquire into alleged rights abuses by its troops.

The US believes a credible investigation would need to be transparent and its results made public, the report said.

According to Daily FT, the US Embassy vouches for the US Government vetting process for foreign troops and explains that the US cannot provide training to military personnel from Sri Lanka or anywhere in the world against whom there are “credible allegations” of rights abuses, under US law.

The vetting process for US sponsored military training is exhaustive and information regarding allegations against individual officers and units are based on the US State Department report, the UN Panel of Experts findings, multiple  sourcing and research, the newspaper quotes the US official as saying. the official said.

Maj. Gen. Dias who served as Sri Lanka’s deputy ambassador to Germany, accredited to Switzerland and the Vatican was hastily recalled to Colombo in 2011 after the Swiss Attorney General nearly opened a criminal investigation following a complaint filed by two Swiss human rights advocacy groups.

“The federal judicial authority considers that “the existing suspicions against him are enough to justify the opening of a criminal investigation” in the event that Mr Dias comes back to Switzerland,” the Swiss Federal Attorney General said in 2011. The complaint did not proceed to investigation stage on the grounds that Maj Gen. Dias was no longer present in Swiss territory.

Maj. Gen. Jagath Dias who commanded the 57th Division of the Sri Lankan Army, which is accused of intensive shelling of civilians, hospitals and religious sites, the Swiss criminal complaint against him said, calling him a war criminal. Having served under Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in Matale during the JVP insurrection, Dias is a defence establishment favourite.

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Latest comments

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    In Srilanka, many Buddhist monks were arrested and punished for various crimes. Many military personal were arrested and punished as well.
    But when it’s come to war crimes no one is arrested……maybe they followed orders from higher ups.
    :-)

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      families of Weliveriaya victims and civil society should PROTEST at the venue of the Sri Lanka Defense Seminar com Sept 03 @ Galadhari hotel in Colombo.
      The so-called third International Defense conference is Gota’s show and circus to display to the international military / security establishment how great his DEEP STATE is! Impunity and all!

      This Defense seminar circus must be stopped and GENUINE RECONCILIATION with justice for victims must be the focus..

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      If the US is genuine in her desire without paying Lip Service they could easily commence questioning Shavendra Silva who is protected at the UN. Further the Satellite evidence they have will be of more use than the Channel 4 videos. Why or Why are they still bluffing with the CHOGM round the corner trying to mislead the world as they are a set of Puritans?

      It was only the other day the CIA had admitted how they staged a Coup in Iran to oust the Lawfully elected to have their crony in place. Is it only in Iran they have done so? No, they have done so in every country The Latin American, the Middle East, the Asian, the Far East including Europe. The US have caused villainy and have destabilized all countries, resulting in many deaths including their own GIs sacrificing them by the Tens of Thousands just to keep their hegemony going. Is this the advancement of Civilization the modern world speaks off?

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        If the US is genuine about its ‘war crime charges’ on others, they must set an example. If the US is honest it should probe and list all civilians killed by their drones, troupes and etc in their numerous war they waged the world over during the past fifty years.

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    All criminal activities in the Country including the armed forces were committed by the family GOONS in uniform. If a proper investigation is done, it will all point at one family. God save former democratic Sri Lanka, currently owned and destroyed by a crazy, corrupt family of dictators.

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      What former democratic Sri Lanka you’re talking about the creator God believing Nilmini? It seems the ‘former democratic Sri Lanka’ for you must be the colonialist period. But, the vast majority Sri Lankan believe it is now the best of times in every aspect for average Sri Lankan. What more proof to it than MR is winning election after election.

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    If Jagath does not know why US refused these two, it then clearly shows how blind he is. First reason is the way the military gets involved in civilian matters, that also include CHOGM where he has publicly threatened the voice of the opposition. Second reason is that no proper action has been taken as recommended by the LLRC report re: the illegal killings during the war. Third reason is Waliveriya. Fourth reason is today in Sri Lanka the politicians have know say and the police and military have taken over the administrative functions and the country has become a military dictatorship. Jagath, if you did not know these reasons then you are going to make comments which are going to haunt you in the future as well. Open your eyes.

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    Given that these courses are run by the Americans, they can dictate who they select and the criteria for such selection. The worlds leading hypocrite by virtue of its exalted position gained by unmitigated barbarity committed by its Armed forces and its Generals during my life time first in Vietnam where whole villages were burnt using napalm and in more recent times in Iraq where US troops wantedly targeted and killed over a million people, and termed it collateral damage.There still in Afghanistan where un-maned drones not only targets civilians but also targets survivors of such attacks with the intention of removing all evidence.

    War is a terrible thing and atrocities committed during wars aught to be punished by whomsoever who has committed such crimes and that includes the USA by far the biggest and most consistent war monger of them all.The reality is that only the Victors law prevails.

    Sri Lanka does not need to pursue such military courses irrespective of who conducts it. One sincerely hopes that our war is ended for ever and the pursuit of peace and happiness in a non militarised society should be our vision.

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      Well said,
      today BBC/CNN said over one million children had fled Syria, over 103,000 civilians were killed by US mass murderers sponsored “uprising” terror.
      One family fleeing with Children was interviewed & said “militants destroyed our home” for US/west “Muslims are not Humans” so they keep on killing them, over a million in Iraq & Afghanistan by US/NATO forces, never probed for war crimes by US. UN Security Council or UNHRC or any body ,because US/West think they owned this World & all it’s living beings.

      What a stupid world is this ? where is justice,fairness,fairplay, transparency ? all were subjected to military might of West/US mass murderers.

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        I would say the US and its allies have created a situation where Muslim would kill Muslims and others would kill Muslims in the long term everywhere. I see Pillai coming here is also a part of that game: To destabilize Sri Lanka and bring anarchy here like in the Arab Spring countries.

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    Chickens come home to roost! The same names and faces are associated with army excesses, from Matale mass craves where goon Gota is implicated to the Nandikadal and Welivariaya massacres.

    General Jagath Dias who was recently put in charge of the military board of inquiry into the Weliweriya violence that claimed three lives when the army was sent in to disperse a demonstration had been rejected for training by a US foreign troop vetting system.
    The Army which is the perpetrator of the Massacre at Weliveriya with a long record of Human rights violations can NOT investigate itself – this is obvious.

    Civil society and the families of the Weliveriay victims and joint opposition should ask for an international investigation in one voice. The military must be HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR ITS EXCESSES by an INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION to stop the rot and Gota’s plant to construct a DEEP STATE or state within a state form of military dictatorship in Lanka. GOTA the GOON is constructing a DEEP STATE and the judiciary is also complicit in the state of impunity and immunity provided to military excesses and land grabs.

    The Human Rights Commission should have conducted the inquiry but the head is regime stooge and dropped the inquiry.
    The Amy Report should be submitted to the HRC which should be in charge of the LARGER INVESTIGATION into the killings. If this does not happen civil society and the victims and joint opposition should ask for an international investigation in one voice.
    Perhaps the Commonwealth of Nations that claims to be helping SL on Human Rights can conduct the independent investigation and Do something for the PEOPLE rather than merely supporting the MILITARY DICTATOR of Sri Lanka. And hope the clown Sharma won’t suppress the report!

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    While I am not denying that Sri Lanka should be held accountable for crimes against humanity perpetrated by the army I think the US should lead the way in an open and transparent investigation into the abuses committed by the US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and the torture of detainees in Guantanamo.

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    I quote from the article….

    ”Gen. Jayasuriya said that, “There is a problem with his (Maj. Gen. Ranasinghe’s) Division – the 53 Division. But he was appointed to head that division very recently, not during the war, but in the case of certain divisions the whole unit is affected” he explained. He admitted that both the 53 and 57 Divisions of the Army appeared to be on a blacklist because of the allegations of rights abuses.

    ………they (US) hoped the government of Sri Lanka would make use of High Commissioner Navi Pillay’s visit to obtain her assistance to set up a credible investigative mechanism to inquire into alleged rights abuses by its troops”.

    I end quote….

    Hahaha…….Zero civilian casualties….!!?

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    Investigting any official who commits a crime in Sri Lanka is a must. Punishment should be swift and severe.

    Under Rajapassa regime this has never happened. Unless they are political opponents.

    Former regimes in SL were hardly any better. UNP regimes earlier or previous CBK regime were the same.

    However, USA trying to preach to us is the “Beacon of utter hyporisy”!

    Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden aside just read this report:
    http://rt.com/usa/bush-amnesty-iraq-war-847/

    Apart from Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, General Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Wolfowitz are all now exempt from any war crimes investigation.

    Thanks to Department of Justice (DOJ), USA.

    US Embassy in Colombo is not feeling embarassed at all? Specially when preaching to Sri Lanka? Unbelievable!

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      Not to mention their wars in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia. Mai Lai, Agent Orange etc. Shameless hypocrites who believe that might is right.

  • 0
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    @ georgethebushpig, Thank you – CT

  • 0
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    Why do u go behind USA Then?

    • 0
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      Stupid question ?

      Recently, US – Marines, In Trincomalee, were learning how to mount small boat attacks.

      • 0
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        Why…even Gota was given green card to tech IT to Bill Gates !!? Stupidity has no limits. Jim…Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.

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          Correction….to tech IT to bill Gates……should be read as …teach It to Bill gates…..regret the error.

      • 0
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        Jim softy

        “Recently, US – Marines, In Trincomalee, were learning how to mount small boat attacks.”

        How many of the Sri Lankan navy personnel have been recruited as agents of influence by US after the completion of the course?

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    Where is ”Jim softy”!!?…..People of Sri Lanka has the right to decide …America..India and the EU has nothing to do with our own affair eha…?? Why then you go behind the Americans !!? You have to train them…don’t you Mr.!!?

  • 0
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    Jagath Jayasuriya finally appears to acknowledge that war crimes were committed by some frontline divisions of the army.

    Whatever happened to his previous claim of zero civilian casualty.

    Jagath Dias appears to be a serial war criminal. Involvement in the Matale massacres and the 2009 war crimes have come back to haunt him. The man is in the same mould as the other mega war criminal Gota the barbarian.

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    Brigadiers of 52nd,53rd and 57th divisions were responsible for the massacre the Tamil civilians.I heard there are more videos to come out of this horrible massacre.Pics sent out by the stupid army personal themselves in euphoria,taken by them and within minuites went around the world.This includes the White Flag scenario.Jagath Jayasooriya was reprimanded by SF.Gota sent SF out of the country to buy arms and ammunitions gave orders to Jagath.J and the other 2 brigadiers to finish the war.These guys thought they could play games with peoples lives.We have heard many times – zero civilian deaths.Also all his troops went with the gun in one hand and the geneva convention in the other.
    So why is Jagath J and some of the Brigadiers being sent back from their diplomatic positions in other countries.
    The game is over or about to be over.

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