22 September, 2020

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Vote rigging, Deshamanya Inayapaarathi, Sri Lankan media and the opposition

By Tisaranee Gunasekara –

It was an explosive revelation by any yardstick. The former Questioned Documents Examiner of the Elections Department had determined that the 62 ballot papers found abandoned near the Ratnapura technical college (and marked for common oppositional candidate Sarath Fonseka) were authentic and not photocopies.

In most countries the revelation would have caused a furore.

When the abandoned ballot papers were discovered, soon after the conclusion of the presidential election, the government claimed they were photocopies.

The government would have been on the defensive, casting around for excuses while the opposition would have been on the war path demanding explanations. The media would have been in a digging-frenzy while the public would have been incensed and interested in equal measure.

Not in Sri Lanka. It is more than a week since UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya informed the parliament and the public about this revelation which casts serious doubts about the legitimacy of the 2010 Presidential Election and the validity of its result. But this disturbing and portentous exposure barely made a ripple, inside the parliament or outside.

There were no outcries, no demands for inquiries, parliamentary or judicial. There were no lengthy media interviews with the retired official who made this finding. There was no societal outrage.

When the abandoned ballot papers were discovered, soon after the conclusion of the presidential election, the government claimed they were photocopies. The recent revelation about their genuineness raises a number of questions. When did the former Questioned Documents Examiner make his determination? Who did he inform about his finding? If the Elections Commissioner was informed about this finding why did he not act on it? Why was it kept a secret from the parliament and the general public? Did the President know about it?

Who is this Inayapaarathi? He is a man who has been accused of war crimes by the United Nations for forced arms training to children!

Juxtapose the Questioned Documents Examiner’s ruling with two recent Wikileaks cables about the 2010 presidential election, and the composite picture strongly indicates a carefully calibrated exercise of electoral malpractice aimed at padding what could have been a wafer-thin margin of victory for Presidential Mahinda Rajapaksa. Before the election, many commentators concluded that the two candidates were more or less evenly balanced and even though Mr. Rajapaksa will win in the end, it will be with the narrowest of margins – as in 2005.

The first Wikileaks cable sent by Ambassador Butenis to the US State Department on 22 of January (titled ‘Rajapaksa pollster says race is neck and neck’) proves that this analysis was shared by Mr. Rajapaksa’s chief pollster and senior advisor Sunimal Fernando: “In a one to one meeting with Polchief, President Rajapaksa’s chief opinion pollster and close advisor Sunimal Fernando said their polling figures less than a week before the presidential election indicated the race statistically was a dead heat (Fernando said) undecided voters were at an unprecedented 17 percent, with six percent leaning toward Rajapaksa and eleven percent towards Fonseka” (See the website Colombo Telegraph for the full cable).

When the results came, President Mahinda Rajapaksa had won, not narrowly but by a colossal 17% margin. This, interestingly, was the same percentage mentioned by Rajapaksa advisor cum pollster Sunimal Fernando as the figure of undecided voters, a week before the election.

Does this mean that all or most of the 17% decided to vote for Mr. Rajapaksa in the end? Or did the regime use foul means to pad the President’s majority? The fact that the 62 ballot papers found abandoned near the Ratnapura Technical College were genuine points to the second – malpractice – possibility. So does the other Wikileaks cable sent by Ambassador Butenis: “The president’s campaign had ordered eight GA’s including those in Ampara, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa to send election results directly to the president’s house for his review before sending them to the Election Commissioner” (ibid)

A fascinating expose by journalist Uvindu Kurukulasuriya provides yet another piece of this puzzle. This November, President Rajapaksa bestowed the second highest national honour, Deshamanya, on a Dr. K Pushpa Kumar. This honouree has a nom de guerre – Iniya Barathy: “Who is this Inayapaarathi? He is a man who has been accused of war crimes by the United Nations for forced arms training to children!

Iniyapaarathi is a lead operative of the paramilitary group led by Vinayagamoorthy Muralidharan alias Karuna… Iniyapaarathi is at present the Ampara District Coordinator for President Rajapaksa

Iniyapaarathi is also accused of intimidating voters, issuing death threats and of election fraud during the last presidential election, parliamentary election and during the recently held local government elections.

The Kalmunai court had sentenced Iniyapaarathi to a ten year suspended jail term, when he was found guilty in some criminal cases

Iniya Paarathy honoured with the Deshamanya title because he helped Rajapaksa win the Eastern province by foul means?

According to past news reports about ninety percent of affected families that gave evidence before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) at its sittings in Ampara on March 26, 2011 alleged that Iniyapaarathi was responsible for the abductions and disappearances of their husbands, wives and children” (The Sunday Leader – 4.12.2011).

Mr. Kurukulasuriya goes on to say that during a visit to the Ampara office of the TMVP, he, and several other journalists, saw Mr. Iniya Bharathi in the company of child soldiers and an unmarked white van; he provides photographic evidence to prove his charge. The second Wikileaks cable also mentions the role played by Mr. Iniya Bharathy in the Presidential election: “….Iniya Barathy, Karuna’s second in command and Rajapaksa campaign coordinator, controlled 600 to 700 armed supporters and had created a climate of intimidation that precluded any expression of support for the opposition” (See Colombo Telegraph).

The question cannot but intrude: was Mr. Iniya Barathy honoured with the Deshamanya title because he helped Mr. Rajapaksa win the Eastern province by foul means? Would the President bestow the country’s second highest honour on a convicted criminal unless that convicted criminal helped save his presidency?

With such explosive revelations floating around, what is the opposition doing?

The UNP is snared in an insoluble leadership crisis. The Ranil Wickremesinghe leadership is dead, has been dead for a long time. But Mr. Wickremesinghe cannot be dislodged, not only because those who oppose him cannot match the determination and the drive he displays in any leadership contest but also because many of them have politically tarnished or questionable reputations.

With such explosive revelations floating around, what is the opposition doing?

Karu Jayasuriya would have been ideal leadership material had he not defected to the regime and accepted a ministerial portfolio not so long ago. Sajith Premadasa is wedded to a parochial vision and is conspicuous in his unwillingness to address national issues or be critical of the Rajapaksas, except on trivial matters. Many UNPers, though disenchanted with the disastrous leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe, are unenthusiastic about the contenders. Though the UNP still contains potential leadership material of good quality, it may take a while before these younger members are capable of entering a leadership contest as principles.

The JVP too is in crisis. For most of its existence, patriotism was the publicised raison d’être of the JVP. But its patriotism was a Sinhala patriotism, representing a Sinhala supremacist Sri Lanka. In its first incarnation, the JVP fixed its sight on ‘Indian expansionism’ with the upcountry Tamils of Indian origins cast in the role of the Fifth Column cum Enemy.

The transformation of the language issue into an ethnic problem in the 1970’s and the early 1980’s provided the JVP with a far effective slogan and a far better enemy. After the briefest interlude of non-racism, the JVP reincarnated itself as a national socialist party, with a shrill and venomous opposition to devolution as its main political platform. It is in this guise it lunched its deadly Second Insurgency.

After its near total destruction in 1989, the JVP used the ‘Tamil-Eelam-Devolution’ cry to make its comeback. That platform enabled the JVP to grow, to the point of becoming the third force in Lankan politics. Then came Mahinda Rajapaksa, who became the President with the JVP support (and that of the LTTE; without the Tiger boycott Mr. Rajapaksa would not have won the 2005 Presidential election).

As the Fourth Eelam War intensified, the JVP found itself displaced from the patriotic platform it had occupied for almost three decades. Other presidents too had fought the LTTE militarily. But since the Indo-Lanka Accord, Lankan administrations had adhered to a broadly pro-devolution stand. The Rajapaksas were to break this rational mould. Like the JVP and other Sinhala supremacists, they did not believe in the existence of an ethnic problem. Like the JVP, they believed that the problem was purely a military one and thus resolvable totally by inflicting a crushing military defeat on the LTTE.

Like the JVP, the Rajapaksas opposed devolution as something unnecessary; after all if there is no ethnic problem what need is there for a political solution, and therefore devolution? This had been the stand of the JVP for decades. Now the Rajapaksas ascended the same platform, and dislodged the JVP from it. Bereft of the slogan of Sinhala patriotism, the JVP went into an existential crisis.

Had the JVP’s politico-ideological soul had not been so seeped in the poison of national-socialism, it could have moved successfully on to a socio-economic platform. Economics after all is the soft underbelly of Rajapaksa Rule and thus its point of greatest vulnerability. The JVP could also have made an effort to reach out to Tamil people by addressing their concerns, including their need for devolution.

The JVP does play with socio-economic issues and speak about the trials and travails of the Tamils, but as tactical ploys. There is no strategic shift either ideologically or policy-wise. The JVP raises these issues as fillers, to occupy time until it can wrest the patriotic banner from the Rajapaksa hands.

The JVP clearly believes that history will repeat itself and that the Rajapaksa administration will sooner or later succumb to Indian and/or Western pressure and agree to a political solution to the ethnic problem, as the Jayewardene administration did. The JVP is waiting for that day. But as that day becomes more and more remote, and as the JVP’s voting and support bases erode, a mood of political angst envelopes the party.

Uncertain about the present and fearful about the future, the JVP is turning on each other.

The internal crises of the UNP and the JVP are preventing the opposition from doing its job of opposing the government. There are many issues on which the regime can be taken to task – from price hikes to land grabbing, from corruption to waste, from electoral malpractices to abuse of power, from tyrannical deeds to human rights violations.

Then there are international scandals, such as the expose by the British paper, The Independent, that the lobbying firm Bell Pottinger wrote the 2010 UN Speech of President Rajapaksa. Any one of these many issues would suffice for a reasonably strong and cohesive opposition to put any government on the defensive. But all of them put together are insufficient to galvanise our opposition into action. Thus the Rajapaksas remain supreme.

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    “Law is an ass” කියල ඔලිවර් ට්විස්ට් වල ඩිකන්ස් නිකමට වගේ කියල තියෙන්නෙ කිසියම් හේතුවක් ඇතුව වෙන්ඩ ඕනෙ.. පොඩි කාලෙ ඉඳලම මට හිතට වද දීපු ප්‍රශ්නයක් වුණේ, “නීති ක්‍රියාත්මක වෙන්නෙ ව්‍යවස්ථාදායකය ඒව පනවපු අර්ථයෙන්ම ද” කියන එක.. සහ නීති වල අනම්‍ය බව ගතික සමාජයක් තුළ කොහොමද සාධාරණ වෙන්නෙ කියල.. නීති කාලයේ අවශ්‍යතාව අනුව නිතරම වෙනස් විය යුතු නමුත් ව්‍යවස්ථාදායකයේ (හෝ ඊටත් ඉහලින් දැනට ඉන්න ) විධායකයේ උවමනා එපාකම් අනුව ඒව අප්ඩේට් නොවෙනව පමණක් නොවේ, වැරදි ලෙස අර්ථ දක්වන්නටත්, සමාජයට අනුකූලව බැලුවොත් වැරදි පැත්තට යන්ඩත් පුළුවන් නේද? නිදසුනක් ලෙස අයාල නීතිය වැඩ ඇරිල ගෙදර යන පුද්ගලයෙකුට විරුද්දවත්, සත්ත්ව හිංසා නීතිය සීසාන ගොවියෙකුටත් විරුද්ධව ඕනෙ නම් යොදා ගන්ඩ පුළුවන් නේද? නීතිය කෙසේ වෙතත් යුක්ති ධර්මයට නම් එස්.එෆ් සිරගත කිරීම ගැලපෙනවද කියන එක ගැන බරපතල ප්‍රශ්න තියෙනව..

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    Tisaranee Gunasekara the liar is back spinning more tales (removed by the moderator). She did it before see here:

    http://colombotelegraph.com/2011/11/20/the-general-and-the-witch-hunt/

    How she lied in this rubbish of her’s:

    More LIES from this fraud of a journalist pushing forward her political frustrations and hatred. This women had no love for Fonseka when he was in the Army during the war (when he needed peoples support the most since he apparently ran a one man army) and wanted him removed, dead or tried in her white masters kangaroo courts. She is singing praises now to suit her political desires and answer her frustrations and hate.

    “The siege ended due to national and international pressure and Gen. Fonseka was allowed to leave the hotel with his family, unharmed. Interestingly, the regime was unable to arrest even one of the many hundred deserters it claimed were littering the hotel. Instead, members of Gen. Fonseka’s official security detail (granted to him by the military, in accordance with the orders of the Election Commissioner) were arrested the moment they came out of the hotel to report to their original unit. These uniformed regular soldiers were made to kneel on the road, handcuffed and taken away by the military police.

    1) Who on earth holes themselves up in a hotel during an election? When has this ever happened before? You either stay in your own home, the elections office or your party HQ, not some hotel.

    2) Fonseka refused to leave by his own choice. He was clinging their as part of a pact with the US to unleash/coordinate violence. After all he was America’s “chosen candidate” and new pet designate to rule the country how he pleased i.e. with an iron first, the only “rule” being he is subservient to the US. Upon discovery (via secret surveys carried out by the West NGOs lackeys like the CPA) that Fonseka was going to lose the election they ordered him to unleash violence (in UPFA strongholds) in an attempt to decrease voter turnout. Thus in turn to reduce the margin of victory to thus make it possible for Fonseka to successfully challenge the result and unleash violence (he had 300,000 fake ballet papers prepared to help him in this process). Of course that all backfired because the masses of this country overwhelmingly rejected him and still do.

    3) After loosing he stayed planning on what to do and was in constant communication with the US. But the violence option has been prevented by the Military blockading the hotel. He stayed on hoping the US would come bail him out.

    4) He left finally when he had an argument with his “political partners” and hit Mangala on the head. They all left at that point and he decided to as well, also noting the US was not coming to fly him out.

    5) Fonseka had a personal security detail made up of Army deserters and low life criminals he hired which was separate to the official detail given to him since he did not trust the latter and saw them as “Gota’s men”. (His plan was to kill the lot of them when he “won”).

    6) If this ” uniformed regular soldiers were made to kneel on the road, handcuffed and taken away by the military police” happened and was true we would have all seen it.

    It is an absolute lie by this women who has conjured it up trying to use the near two years since the event passed to push her despicable lies through. Thinking people have forgotten the chain of events that happened at that time on the morning of the 27th of January 2010. For certain this event never took place. Only in this fraud of a “journalist’s” head did it happen.

    There was a plethora of foreign media and local media in the country and outside the hotel (and inside it as well). A spectacle like this would have been caught on camera and spread around the world. It never was because it never happened.

    This women now “cries” for our soldiers. This is con work. She never gave a damn and has always spouted vicious hatred against our soldiers, revelled in extremist Christian venom against Buddhism and has always been a strong supporter of the LTTE and Tamil violence to lover of Tami racism as she saw it as a way to “purge” the country of Buddhism. Like Lasantha she viewed the LTTE as: “soldiers of christ doing gods work to clear the land of heathens that refuse to submit and change their ways for that is the power of the devil so strongly within them for they must be removed.”

    This women is a mad frustrated Christian extremist loser desperate to get her way and settle political jealousies by writing rubbish to re-write history and piggy back off Fonseka. A man she does never cared about and still does not care about.

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    Other lies from this women passing herself off as a “journalist”.

    http://colombotelegraph.com/2011/11/20/the-general-and-the-witch-hunt/

    This revelation should be juxtaposed this with another Wikileaks cable in which the Defence Secretary is reported heaping praises on the supremely ineffectual Leader of Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe, describing him as a “very reasonable, a professional politician”. According to the same cable, Mr. Rajapaksa informed Mr. Wickremesinghe, “You should have been the candidate; you would have got more votes”.

    1)This was NEVER in a Wikileaks cable. It was in Sri Lanka’s press reported in the dailymirror, Island (their Sinhala counterparts), SundayTimes, Adaderana and Sirasa.

    2) It was MAHINDA who was pouring praise on Ranil after the election.

    See how this women has LIED by switching names and tossing wikileaks to give “credibility” to her deceit.

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      Hello SE, here is the cable!! you should have read it before comment!
      http://colombotelegraph.com/2011/11/19/wikileaks-i-dont-know-anything-thats-all-fonseka-and-the-jvp-ranil-to-gota/

      “Rajapaksa mentioned several conversations with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. He had told Wickremesinghe that no one had anything to fear from the government, but that Fonseka was plotting violence. He said Ranil replied, ‘I don’t know anything about that. That’s all Fonseka and the JVP.’ Rajapaksa told Ranil, ‘You should have been the candidate. You would have got more votes’” the Ambassador wrote.

      “He said Ranil was very reasonable, a professional politician, but a UNP – JVP alliance was unsustainable. The parties were diametrically opposed ideologically, and there was too much bad blood between those who remember the JVP insurrection against the UNP government of late 1980s. But Rajapaksa cautioned the JVP was very dangerous. He said the JVP had played hell in the villages during the presidential campaign.” the Ambassador Butenis further wrote.

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        Well done genius. This conversation was in the public domain as i mentioned. It was never a “secret” unveiled by Wikileaks nor identical to the sensationalist spin ColomboTelegraph has given nor akin to the rubbish from a liar like Tisaranee Gunasekara. The conversation was between Mahinda and Ranil and had been reported throughout the media in Sri Lanka when it took place. The absolute nonsense coming from her evangelical hate filled mind is thoroughly fascinating.

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    Anyway i don’t know what this women (or any other born recently Fonseka sycophants for that matter) is complaining about. Take the 62 away from MR and give it to Fonseka’s tally. Does it make a difference? Multiply this 62 by 1000; does it still make a difference? Multiply this number by another factor of 10; does it still make a difference? And if you keep multiplying things get into the out right ridiculous (like this fraud of a “journalists” quality of “journalism”).

    The truth is these “ballots” are part of the 300,000 “genuine” ballets Mangala produced. Fonseka’s armed goons (paid for in hard cash from the US Embassy) were stuffing ballet boxes after disposing the original boxes, but had to stop when monitors came to take all the boxes to the counting centres. They couldn’t finish the stuffing. So they ditched the excess ones. When Tiran Alles house was “fire bombed” on the 25th of January 2010 it was an act carried out by Fonseka’s goons to destroy the machinery used in that house to manufacture these “genuine” ballets, and thus all evidence of this criminal act.

    Simply put it is too late to complain now. Should have done it two years ago. Besides who would want an ill tempered egotistical selfish nut like Fonseka as President? Simple things, questions, points of views “anger” him and he reacts violently and ruthlessly.

    Wonder how all these “democracy” and “freedom” cry-babies living in their Colombo 7 “chattering classes” anglophile bubbles would have enjoyed that? But I guess for this out of power “elite” who yield no influence in Sri Lanka without the UNP in power anything is game (as we saw during the war where they were cheer leading the LTTE) if it means they can grab power somehow. Their idea of “freedom” is for them only to rule with an iron fist and in accomplishing this they care little if the country disintegrates tomorrow.

    Had Fonseka won the country would have been turned into a Burma, a reality they were fully aware of, but didn’t care as they lack foresight and like Fonseka are driven by greed and the need to satisfy today;s power lust. In addition “playing ball” with their white masters desires is inbuilt into them from birth so they had to follow their masters plans (of making Fonseka the Wests “man in Colombo”) like the good dogs they are.

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    All in all this is a hilarious spin being push here by this fraud Tisaranee Gunasekara.

    The West backed and heavily funded candidate Sarath Fonseka’s election campaign which was filled with venom, aggression, violence and hate. The things he did, said, promised (e.g. giving a list of journalists, economists, political commentators, businessmen he would jail, another load he would kill and all because they questioned his insane statements and “policies”) along with the deals he made simply shocked, horrified and turned the people against him. He was so brazen in his threats and certain of victory he kept on issuing more and acted as though he had already been crowned President of the country.

    He was so cock sure and confident because he had the full backing of the West in seizing power. Fonseka was the Wests designated “man to be” in Colombo.

    Rajapakse’s campaign presented a bright positive future with rainbows and sunshine (well that’s the impression you got at the time) where as Fonseka presented a storm cloud, misery and death (an impression he continues to present right to this day whenever he opens his mouth). Fonseka’s whole campaign was simply him lying through his teeth, he contradicted himself from sentence to sentence and from place to place telling each new audience what he thought would con them into voting for him. This was on top of him spitting venom at everything when tough questions were asked and he got “angry” over such “unfair” questions coupled to copious amounts of intimidation and violence and threats of more violence he regularly dished out.

    The amount of raw filth and threats he used out beat Premadasa’s gutter mouth.

    This is the man who told a sitting President to get ready to go to jail. Then boasted how he would have them killed for all to see on Galle Face Green.

    He promised to shut the Airport on the 27th (day after the election) to stop the “listed people” from “escaping” (his wrath).

    Amongst all the bizarre aspects of Fonseka’s campaign was him deciding to hole himself in a hotel on election night. Never before has this happened. Candidates in any election either stay in their family home, their party office or the election commissioners office. The reality was he was going to use this hotel (with assistance from the West, and the US specifically who had invested a LOT in Fonseka) as an HQ/staging ground to unleash violence and capture power.

    The pre-setting of this move involved the discovery (via secret surveys carried out in late October 2009 by Western funded NGOs like the CPA and NPC –who act as their “ear and eyes on the ground”) that Fonseka was going to lose the election with 60-65% of the vote going to Rajapakse. US Ambassador Butenis “recommended” a way to reduce voter turnout, i.e. ordered him to unleash violence in UPFA strongholds (using thugs/criminals/Army deserters paid for by the US) in an attempt to decrease voter turnout.

    Thus in turn reduce the margin of victory to thus make it possible for Fonseka to successfully challenge the result. He had 300,000 fake “genuine” ballet papers prepared to help him in this process courtesy of one of his campaign organiser Mangala Samaraweera. Of course that all backfired because the masses of this country overwhelmingly rejected him and still do especially after seeing his literal treachery and the horrors he promised (some of which he carried out like the murders in Tissahamara) during his election campaign.

    That is indeed the painful truth people in the West (and their hired activists plus mentally enslaves sycophants within Sri Lanka) cannot accept.

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    September Effect,
    Tissaranee tells the truth.
    Her analysis is superb,as usual.
    All what I read over the years until now, supports this contention.
    The presidential election was hijacked by Mahinda R.

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