28 October, 2020

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Video: Al Jazeera Blocked: Inside Story – Sri Lanka’s Vote A New Chapter?

The cable news provider Dialog TV has blocked the Doha based Al Jazeera news network to prevent the channels reports on Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council elections reaching local audiences.

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    International Crisis Group has a mote in its eye

    And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? – Luke 6:41
    In preparation for the opening of the UN Human Rights Council’s 22nd session, the International Crisis Group (ICG) has once again brought out a report condemning Sri Lanka.
    The ICG describes itself on its website as ‘an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict’ and as ‘the world’s leading independent, non-partisan, source of analysis and advice to governments, and intergovernmental bodies’.
    It has been extremely concerned about human rights in Sri Lanka. However, how sincere are those concerns and how sincere is the ICG about ‘resolving deadly conflict’ and how ‘independent and non-partisan’ is it?
    As Nabojsa Malic of the Antiwar.com website wrote in 2005, the organization ‘remained an almost ubiquitous presence in the Western media, which never questioned either their bona
    fides or their expertise’.
    It might be instructive to scrutinize the ICG’s credentials, to see how far its commitment to human rights extends. To start with, an examination of some of its leading personnel is indeed illuminating.
    The ICG was founded in 1995 by Ambassador Morton I Abramowitz and the late ex-Congressman Stephen J Solarz, among others. Its Chair is former US diplomat Thomas R Pickering.
    Its Board includes Abramowitz, the former US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, former North American treaty Organisation (NATO) Supreme Allied Commander – Europe (SACEUR) General Wesley Clark, former president of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former Venezuelan minister Moisés Naím, former NATO Secretary General George Lord Robertson, and former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana.
    It’s Senior Advisers (former Board members) include former US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, former US diplomat Kenneth Adelman, former British Tory cabinet minister Christopher, Lord Patten, former Venezuelan Opposition Leader Diego Arria, former Israeli Minister of Internal Security Shlomo Ben-Ami, and the current Israeli President Shimon Peres.
    The disproportionate number of former NATO personnel, former US defence establishment officials and Israeli ministers alone should set any unbiased mind to wondering about how ‘independent and non-partisan’ the ICG is. But there is more.
    Abramowitz, Armitage, Adelman and ICG co-founder Solarz were all associated with the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), the right-wing think tank centred on Donald Rumsfeld and responsible for plotting much of George W Bush’s colonial adventures.
    Indeed, a hallmark of many of the board members and advisers of the ICG is their support for US colonial adventures abroad, notably in Afghanistan, Iraq and former Yugoslavia.
    In 1977, Zbigniew Brzezinski created the Nationalities Working Group, intended to weaken the Soviet Union by inflaming its ethnic tensions. Specifically targeted under this program were the Islamic populations of the USSR and its allies.
    In 1979, the US began to carry out this policy in Afghanistan in order, as Brzezinski admitted to La Nouvelle Observetuer in 1998, to drag in the Soviet Union.
    The US started funding ‘islamist’ terrorists such as Gulbeddin Hekmatyar (now a fierce opponent of the US occupation), who targeted civil servants and teachers, especially those engaged in educating women. Ultimately, by 1987 Hekmatyar was to receive over US$ 600 million from the USA and other terrorists an equal amount.
    By the mid-1980s, the terrorists were facing setbacks due to Afghan and Soviet Mi 24 assault helicopters. In order to counter this threat, the terrorists were supplied with state-of-the-art Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, mainly due to the efforts of Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research Morton I Abramowitz.
    About 1,000 Stingers were supplied to the terrorists, who were trained in their use by the British SAS in Scotland. The SAS was also responsible for delivering Stingers to the terrorists inside Afghanistan. This was enabled by the right-wing Thatcher regime in Britain, of which ICG former co-chair Lord Patten was then part. Some of these missiles later turned up in Sri Lanka.
    Part of the money for the Afghan terrorists’ weapons came from drugs. The Americans assisted the terrorists in transporting opium out of Afghanistan – using the same lorries and mules which carried weapons into the country.
    Drug money was also used to supply weapons to the Contra terrorists in Nicaragua, which came to light in the Iran-Contra scandal. Allegedly implicated in this scandal was then Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs Richard Armitage.
    Another proxy war involving drugs was the campaign fought by the ‘islamist’ al-Qaeda-linked narco-terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army, which was funded by the US. Abramowitz, Armitage and Solarz were signatories to a PNAC Letter to President Bill Clinton on September 11, 1998, in which he was called upon to overthrow Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic and establish ‘a new political status for Kosovo’.
    ICG Chair Pickering, then Under-secretary of State for Political Affairs, championed the US position of interference in Yugoslavia with aid for the KLA – even granted that the legal position on this was somewhat shaky.
    Yet another ICG member involved in the Kosovo adventure was General Wesley Clark. He attended the Rambouillet talks, at which the US tried to force Kosovo secession on the Yugoslavs (with Abramowitz acting as adviser to the KLA delegation). There he threatened to bomb Yugoslavia, which he proceeded to do during the undeclared war on Yugoslavia, in his capacity as SACEUR; at the start of the campaign he threatened “We’re going to systematically and progressively attack, disrupt, degrade, devastate … unless President Milosevic complies” with US demands. The British commander General Sir Mike Jackson reportedly told Clark “I’m not going to start the Third World War for you”.
    The bombing of Yugoslavia saw little damage to the Yugoslav armed forces, but considerable ‘collateral damage’, as the ‘Shock and Awe’ which was later to be used against Baghdad was tried out against the Serbian population. Among what Clark referred to as ‘mistakes’ were the bombing of the Chinese Embassy and a deliberate attack on a civilian train by a US Air Force F-15, which Clark tried unsuccessfully to cover up.
    The NATO Secretary General at the time was Solana, who later, as European Union commissioner of foreign affairs, was to preside over the de-facto separation of the province. His successor was Lord Robertson,
    Coincidentally, perhaps, the then newly-formed ICG was at the forefront of those peddling US-led military action in support of the KLA. In the aftermath, it campaigned vigorously for an independent, Albanian-dominated Kosovo, and in 2005 for the occupied region to be granted international recognition as an independent state.
    The PNAC was also involved in pushing the war in Iraq. In 1998, as a member of the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf, Solarz called in an open letter to President Bill Clinton, for the US armed forces to intervene illegally in Iraq. Co-signatories of the document, which later formed the basis for PNAC policy, included Richard Armitage.
    Also pressing President Clinton at the time to invade Iraq was then National Security Adviser Berger.
    Another strong advocate of the illegal invasion of Iraq was Adelman, who had been Assistant to US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld in the 1970s, and was employed by President George W Bush in the Defence Policy Board. He claimed famously in the Washington Post in 2002 that the invasion would be a ‘Cakewalk’.
    The chief claim to fame of Aleksander Kwaśniewski, a former president of Poland, is that he managed to get Polish forces embroiled in the illegal occupation of Iraq against the opposition of 70% of Poles.
    Again, coincidentally, the ICG was involved in supporting the PNAC case for invading Iraq. A month and three months before the illegal invasion, it came out with policy briefs in which certainly did not dismiss the desirability of regime change.
    Adelman has, incidentally, also advocated the pre-emptive invasion of both Iran and Saudi Arabia and supported the notorious 2002 ‘open letter’ to President Bush drawn up by the PNAC urging him to attack the Palestinians.
    So much for the ICG’s commitment to preventing and resolving deadly conflict. What about its commitment to human rights?
    Armitage, during his stint with the US Navy special operations during the Vietnam War was allegedly involved in the PHOENIX programme of murdering opponents of the USA. He has been on the board of CACI, a defence contractor implicated in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.
    The other members have similar human rights credentials. Patten was minister in charge of Thatcher’s attempt to dis-enfranchise the British public through the notorious poll tax scheme. He referred to people taking part in the popular anti-poll tax demonstrations as ‘rent-a-crowd outsiders’.
    Shimon Peres was part of the High Command of the Zionist Haganah terrorist organisation during its implementation of Plan Dalet (the ethnic cleansing of Palestine) in 1947-48. As Director General of the Defence Ministry he began Israel’s nuclear weapons program and organized the tripartite mediation with Britain and France that led to the Suez Invasion.
    Peres was an early supporter of Israeli settlements in the West Bank after the 1967 war. He has criticized the International Court of Justice for ruling that the building of the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank is illegal. As Prime Minister, he was responsible for the massacre of civilians seeking refuge during the Israeli shelling of the UN compound at Qana in Lebanon in 1996. Incidentally, Peres also began the Israeli alliance with the apartheid state of South Africa, even offering to sell the latter nuclear warhead in 1975.
    The commission investigating the October 2000 riots in which Israeli police killed 13 Arabs, held Shlomo Ben-Ami, the then Minister of Internal Security responsible for the behavior of security forces, which came under his purview.
    Moisés Naím, a former Venezuelan minister, is a director of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a US Government-funded body. Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing the NED, declared in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” The NED has been involved in undermining democratic elections in Albania, Bulgaria, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Venezuela; it funded the ton-ton-macoute opposition to President Aristide in Haiti; and funded the Cuban-American National Foundation, which financed the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. Its latest public exploit has been backing the anti-democratic coup in Honduras.
    Diogo Arria is a die-hard right-wing opponent of popular Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. A supporter of the 2002 military coup to oust Chavez, he went so far as to deny a coup actually took place. His latest action has been, in concert with other NED-funded opponents of Chavez, to call upon the armed forces to overthrow the democratically-elected government.
    One cannot be blamed for viewing with scepticism calls of ‘foul’ by such a clutch of individuals and organizations. While they purport to be tireless in upholding justice and what is righteous, under scrutiny their actions and motives do not appear so obviously to be noble and altruistic.

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      What a Dumb comment by this Dum!

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        Hey Ravi, the comment was dumb alright…but had you cared to analyse the quote he opened with, it’s a tacit acknowledgement of the fact of there being a ‘ “mote” in his brother’s eye. Similar to the cry ” what about LTTE war crimes” which is also a tacit acknowledgement of the government’s war crimes. In a cop shop some time ago I heard one tell another “umbey duwa thamai mage minihava ledakata dammey.. oki wesiyek” and the other replied ” ah ? Umbagey akka monawatada welikada inney ? wesakamata nemeida ?

        Put succinctly,the government and its apologists are in effect saying ” what about their war crimes”?. The same as that woman saying ” why, what about your sister who is ALSO in jail for prostitution”. See? in effect she’s admitting that her daughter IS a prostitute>”

        Mark this well. NO ONE HAS TO DATE SAID ” WAR CRIMES ? YOU GOT IT WRONG MATE.YOU GOT NOTHING ON US. JUST LOOK AT WHAT THE LTTE DID”

        hOW THE HECK CAN YOU PROVE SOMETHING THAT’S BEEN COVERED UP ? REMEMBER THE LONG MONTHS AFTER THEW WAR WHEN THE MEDIA AND NGOs ETC WERE PREVENTED FROM VISITING THE CONFLICT ZONES ?

        oNE THING MORE THAT ALL AND SUNDRY HAVE NOT GIVEN A THOUGHT TO :

        The LTTE did not only NOT DENY their war crimes but on some occasions openly claimed responsibility. By that the LTTE branded itself as a criminal outfit by losing its legitimacy in brutal killings which were outside the ambience of factual armed combat.

        The LTTE’s war crimes are amply documented in the local print media and in electronic media archives. NO NEED FOR A PROBE. THE PROOF IS ALL THERE…UNDENIED BY THE LTTE.

        Even if the LTTE did win the war, THEY WOULD STILL HAVE BEEN GUILTY OF WAR CRIMES, AT LEAST WITH REGARD TO SOME BRUTAL ASSAULTS ON CIVILIANS OUTSIDE THE IMMEDIATE THEATRE OF WAR.

        Now, please look at this carefully : The major problem here is not the question of war crimes per se., it’s also not the question of war crimes charges against a few hot-headed soldiers who were unable to act irrationally in the heat of battle.

        NO ! NO!

        The fear is all about the war crimes charges being AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT AND THAT SOME STUPID SOLDIER , IN THE PROCESS OF A UN OR SOME OTHER INDEPENDENT PROBE, JUST MIGHT POINT THE FINGER AT A DIRECTION AWAY FROM THE POOR SOLDIERS THEMSELVES!

        IN FACT, ANY OBJECTIVE ANALYST WILL SEE THAT APART FROM THE MATTER OF DISAPPEARANCES, THE FOCAL ISSUE RELATING TO THE WAR CRIMES CHARGES ARISES FROM ACTION SAID TO HAVE BEEN COMMITTED WITH PRE-DETERMINED INTENTION DURING THE FINAL THREE TO FOUR DAYS OF THE WAR.

        SO THEN, YES, I DO THINK THAT OUR SOLDIERS ON THE BATTLE FIELD DID OBSERVE THE RULES OF WAR.tHEY TOOK INTO CUSTODY THE INJURED AND THOSE WHO SURRENDERED IN PREVIOUS BATTLES AND MOST WERE SENT TO PRISONS ISLANDWIDE. SOME ARE STILL INCARCERATED, SOME HAVE BEEN FREED…AND THAT’S ALL TO THE GOOD.

        THE SHIT HITS THE FAN HOWEVER WHEN IT COMES TO WHAT HAPPENED TO some of those who were arrested/kidnapped and disappeared ? OK, our soldiers on the battle fronts are safe so far because the kidnapped, arrested and mIssing guys were NOT ON THE BATTLEFIELD AND HENCE OUR SOLDIERS ON THE BATTLEFIELDS ARE NOT GUILTY.

        WE THEN COME TO THE PEOPLE TAKEN FOR QUESTIONING FROM THEIR HOMES AND WERE NEVER SIGHTED AFTER THAT.OUR SOLDIERS ON THE BATTLEFIELD ARE STILL VERY CLEAN AND SAFE ON THAT SCORE TOO.

        um_duM ENDS BY SAYING “One cannot be blamed for viewing with scepticism calls of ‘foul’ by such a clutch of individuals and organizations. While they purport to be tireless in upholding justice and what is righteous, under scrutiny their actions and motives do not appear so obviously to be noble and altruistic.

        WE THEN COME THE FINAL DAYS OF THE WAR AND THEN ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE WITH ALLEGATIONS, APPARENTLY SUPPORTED BY SATELLITE EVIDENCE, OF HEAVY WEAPONS ATTACKS ON AREAS SUFFUSED WITH CIVILIANS AND OF VIDEO FOOTAGE SHOWING NAKED MEN BEING SHOT IN THEIR HEADS , THEIR HANDS TIED BEHIND THEM.ON A ROUGH COUNT YOU’D NOT COME UP WITH MORE THAN 15 MEN IN ARMY UNIFORM COMMITTING THOSE CRIMES. SO THAT LEST OUT THE SOLDIERS OUT ENGAGING THE ENEMY IN BATTLE.

        THE FIELD OF INQUIRY GETS A TAD CONTRACTED ONE WOULD SAY. AND THAT’S WHEN THE SHIT BEGAN HITTING THE FAN.WITH THE MARVELS OF PHOTO-EDITING AVAILABLE TODAY IT JUST MIGHT BE POSSIBLE TO IDENTIFY THOSE MEN IN UNIFORM EVEN TODAY

        AND IF THAT WAS DONE, THEY JUST MIGHT BE STUPID ENOUGH TO SAY SOMETHING INCRIMINATING AND THEIR FINGERS MIGHT POINT IN ALL SORTS OF UNCOMFORTABLE DIRECTIONS.

        THAT’S WHAT’S BEHIND ALL THE SHIT BEING SPREAD ACROSS THE NEWSPAPERS UNDER THE PRETENSE OF PROTECTING OUR SOLDIER WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THE COUNTRY.AS THOUGH WE NEED TO BE TOLD THAT THEY DESERVE THE HIGHEST HONOUR ! THAT’S JUST THE SMOKESCREEN FOR THE INCREDIBLY STUPID MILLIONS WHO VOTED THIS GOVERNMENT INTO POWER. i’M ONLY AMAZED THAT TO DATE NO ONE HAS THOUGHT UP THE BRIGHT IDEA OF SAYING THAT LASANTHA’S KILLING WAS ALSO A HUMANITARIAN OPERATION.

        THE BEAM IN THIS DUMB ASS’S EYE IS ONE HECK OF A MASSIVE BEAM. i’D LOVE TO TELL HIM WHAT TO DO WITH THAT BEAM.BUT THE CT WILL ED IT OUT?

        DUM-DE-DUM ENDS BY SAYING “One cannot be blamed for viewing with scepticism calls of ‘foul’ by such a clutch of individuals and organizations. While they purport to be tireless in upholding justice and what is righteous, under scrutiny their actions and motives do not appear so obviously to be noble and altruistic.”

        IS ALL THAT CRAP ALSO BEING USED NOW TO OBSCURE THE WAR CRIMES CHARGES BECAUSE THE “LTTE ALSO DID IT” SONG HAS BECOME RATHER STALE NOW ?

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      DUM, Look at the kilometers long ass-pain this dumb and deaf asshole has written! For whose consumption are you writing this gibberish? Do you think it will change anything that is happening in local and international arena due to Rajapaksha bastards’ corrupt and rogue rule? You fool, the problem is not the rubbish you write about, but look at the election results just out? You all rode on the wave of racism dumped on the stupid Sinhalese bastards and they overwhelmingly voted you bastards, but the North? For the first time in the history in Sri Lanka Rajiv Gandhi’s plan for carving out a separate state for Tamils has been activated, enabled, empowered, legitimized and recognized by your stupid dumb fool MARA! It was not in the mind of JR to hold Northern PC election against the background that the uneducated bastards had created, but in a more balanced, moderate, reconciled and peaceful North where pre election ideological, ethnic, religious, linguistic, development and administrative aspects of Tamils have been addressed and mitigated to acceptable levels to them and therefore they would not vote on racist agendas but on true democratic lines where all parties-UNP, UPFA, TNA variants, JVP and others partake in the election process on equal standings. This was what Ranil embarked on doing so that this extremist and secessionist evolution is stopped and the country is truly united. But alas, this MARA beggar and racist Sinhalese destroyed all that by embracing racism and pushed Tamils to embrace Tamil racism! This bloody fool MARA facilitated the LTTE separatist demand transmogrify to its final phase of its fulfillment! The moment the 5/6th sweeping victory was announced saw the beginning of the inevitable and irreversible kinetics for a separate state for Tamils courtesy MARA and the clan and the IC. Sinhalese racist bastards, this is the best lessen you deserve to learn. Stupid bastards!

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        @ The UNP.. is this the same UNP that did more harm to Tamil sinhala relations??? the same UNP in 56 election campaign that took a complete U turn form Two Language issue to One Language issue?? And let look at the results of the North.. We all know the UNP polls well in the North.. But it was destroyed as a political party in the North by this election results compared the UPFA which came a second..Yes there are many Tamil nationalist.. espically in the LTTE int Emigres who are worse and some sections of the TNA campaign for.. Thst why in 2005 the help boycott the elections which saw Ranil out.. MR just gave what was due.. Now its up to the TNA to see what they will deliver..The Northern people have spoken resoundingly. The onus now is on the TNA to shed its provocative campaign rhetoric and get down to work seriously.The long suffering Tamil people have faced tremendous odds and courageously voted for the TNA. The TNA should be mindful of its responsibility and work for the betterment and welfare of the people.For this the TNA must discard the politics of confrontation and adopt the cooperative approach.The newly elected Northern Provincial councilmust work in partnership with whichever Government in power for the benefit of the province and its people

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          BOYCOTT DIALOGUE for blocking Al Jazeera!
          DON”T PAY YOUR BILLS if you subscribe to Dialoge!

          The private sector of Sri Lanka is the PITS – no principles, or coporate ethics or social responsibility.

          Dialogue and John Keels are collaborating with the military dictatorship in order to ensure its profit margins – ‘like Casino entrepreneurs John Keels which has got various sweetheart deals from Rajapass but will sink with the new Casino development project

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    Blocking news media and freedom of expression is a sign of COWARDICE.

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    This will only reinforce the view that the GOSL is undemocratic and hiding the truth. Obviously Al Jazeerah is blocked only for local viewers but can be seen by all abroad. So what does the Govt achieve by all this.

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    Al Jazeera is telecasting this to the entire world and that is what is important. As usual, SL is keeping its people in the dark (like frogs in the well).

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    MAHINDA’S BIGGEST LOST, THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF THIS MASTER BUTCHER’S END. YOU HAVE LOST THE NORTH. THE END IS NEARING YOU MAHINDA. YOU ARE FINISHED.

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    Ms Fernand,

    Any idea why Professor Wijesinha was not allowed to comment after the initial interview?

    After all Jane Dutton on her introduction said “joining me from Colombo is Rajiva Wijesinha”

    So, did Al jazeera ran out of satellite time or was the programme format changed from “inside Story “ to “ Inside Job” ?

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    What a pathetic and useless endeavor trying to stop the flow of information. I guess the fools in the government have not realized they, after all, are living in the “Information Age” yet.

    If anything this action has brought the news report from Al Jazeera to the attention of many people who otherwise may not have watched the report. With fools like Dialog TV on their side the Rajapaksas don’t need enemies to bring them down.

    Thanks to the executives at Dialog for bringing the Al Jazeera report to our attention.

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    The problem with some of these Diaspora types is that there are no nuances to the arguments they make. Just generalised blanket statements. You are not going to convince many people with such an approach. Yes intimidation was there during the election campaign yes the government mobilised state resources to try to win the election but it was (most times) done in a subtle way.
    P.S if the gentlemen from the BTF was actually following the election he would know
    1) the person killed in PTK (Mullativu) was not because he was TNA supporter, it was because of a private dispute.
    2) The number of persons involved in the attack on Anandi’s house was much higher.
    The ICG guy seemed more competent to speak about Sri Lanka than the BTF guy.

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    This is a very biased reporting by Al Jezeea and am really disturbed as an independent viewer. Why the same prominence is not given to Prof. Rajiva Wijesinghe (RW) and just getting these two people to jointly and in a very organized way make false comments about Sri Lanka. Any competent behavioral psychologist will detect that they are lying by observing the non verbal clues when you closely observe their facial expressions and uneasy postures and dry mouths. I suggest that Al Jezeera invite Prof. RW, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke and Ms. Tamara Kunanayagham who are considered to be the most eminent, independent and accepted commentators on Sri Lanka and its political status for a discussion with these two people so that it will at least give a balance view to the spectators.

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    Sri Lankan election laws do not allow any meetings or any type of media exposure during the cooling off period, before an election.Perhaps this is the reason Dialog blocked this partisan news item, produced with the active support of the London based Tamil Diaspora.

    Al Jazeera should first check with Dialog why they blocked this propaganda item, without slandering the Government of Sri Lanka. They are also slandering the Governments of Syria, Egypt, Iran & Iraq.

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    Hey Al Jazeera,
    It’s factually incorrect to state that 90% of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka live in the Northen province. Only 40% of them live there as they have found it safer, politically and economically more beneficial for them to live among the Sinhalese in the Southern parts of Sri Lanka. The population in the Northen province consists of 90 % Tamils.

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    Is there any technique to block State medias that always praise and coverup MARA’s family and mislead people by giving wrong interpretations,and news.

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