16 July, 2019

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Year 2015 Ends In A Whimper: Glumness In Lanka; Unease In The World

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Though 2015 started off on a felicitous note which continued into the middle of the year – trouncing Rajapaksa in January and again in August, an agreement on war-crimes investigations, Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader and global economic easing though not recovery, and snippets of good news towards year’s end such as Aung San Suu Kyie’s victory – eventually 2015 ended on a despondent note. Unease stalks America and Europe; the global economy, by and large is stalling. At home the government is directionless in that it has no coherent economic strategy and seems to have given up the fight for good governance. It is reasonable to fear that the Ranil-Sirisena (R&S) Administration is blocking exposure and prosecution of Rajapaksa-era financial blackguards and members of the Rajapaksa-clan accused of homicide.

It is worrisome when lame-duck columnists (e.g. Daily News of 9 Dec.) assure us that all is well with the Thahudeen murder investigations. Amazingly, despite the evidence that that article itself adverts to (e.g. “CID has recovered CCTV footage of Thajudeen’s killing and some VIP sons appeared in the video”) the writer is oblivious to the contradiction that no arrests have been made nor charges filed. If the R&S Administration is stalling investigation of Rajapaksa regime crimes, it is but a short step to government high-ups becoming corrupt themselves. This is the reason for public glumness.

Ranil MaithripalaThree acts of this government have stoked anxiety: (a) the Central Bank bond scandal on which I will say no more since all details are in the public domain; (c) the Avande Guard controversy too is much in the public domain and there is nothing I can add; (c) President Sirisena appointed his brother Kumarasinghe to the Chairmanship of SLT within days of his election followed by worse appointments to SLT and Mobitel. Now there are allegations that a multi-million dollar scam to offload Hutch on Mobitel is in the works (“Exposé: President Sirisena in thick of multi-billion kick-back scandal”, Colombo Telegraph, 21 November). There is a lot of trivial dirty linen washing in the media that you can ignore unless time hangs heavy on your hands. (Did the President’s daughter visit state agencies in Pollonnaruwa? – If so who the hell cares except jobless journalists. Did doting papa take son to the UN? Tut, tut!)

Item (c) is not as well known and I invite those interested in good-governance to follow up. What is being alleged is that telecom operator Hutch is in the doldrums but has no takers; Dialog, the country’s largest, does not want it. If this true, SLT through wholly owned subsidiary Mobitel can dictate price. CT claims that “experts in the industry” say that Hutch cannot fetch even $60 million in the market but Kumarasinghe Sirisena wants to purchase it for $130 million. The overpayment will be out of public (Mobitel) coffers and it is implied that Kumarasinghe will get a kick-back. The further insinuation is that President will be a beneficiary. I am not suggesting that any of this is true, but am concerned that a refutation has not been issued and no inquiry made to dispel lingering doubts in the public mind. With memory of Rajapaksa days still fresh and bearing in mind that Sirisena was a Cabinet Minister in that den of thieves for nine long years, a firm rebuttal and follow up action is necessary.

After the Daesh attacks

Despondency is high in Europe and America about terrorism. People know that the military campaign will not succeed if it is limited to airpower; they also know Western ground troops if sent in will be trapped in a quagmire from which they will never escape (remember Iraq after Bush, Afghanistan for 12 years). The public in the West also knows that locals in Iraq and Syria won’t pull chestnuts out of the fire just to please the West. The clans and tribes in the region will not put their hearts into it unless a political solution is agreed and socio-economic rebuilding is in progresses. Daesh is a proto state with 3 to 5 million people under its control and a functional economy. It runs an administration, schools, clinics, hospitals, courts, law enforcement and economic agencies. Recruitment now is mostly not by ideologues approaching targets to persuade them to join the cause; a larger number now are ‘self-recruits’ enraged by events in the Middle East or ‘self-persuaded’ on-line converts. A friend estimated that about 1 in 7 adult Muslims worldwide sympathise with the cause even if not the methods. None of this will go away because of bombs, better intelligence or anti-jihadist education campaigns that liberals swear by. Only practical changes to improve the lives of the poor and the homeless in the Middle East, and the humiliated and unemployed in Western ghettoes can make a difference.

A purely military strategy will fail; if the root causes are destruction of nations, misery and poverty, then cart before the horse bombs are doomed. American and Europeans know also know that their governments cannot make the paradigm shift to another way of doing things. I believe that to “solve” the crisis in the Middle East, first governments in the West have to be changed. A tall order; so you will call me a dreamer? OK, but in five years you will have this same war going on in one way or another. Jeremy Corbyn lost heavily in the Commons debate; about 60 Labour MPs broke ranks and voted with David Cameroon to bomb Syria. But Corbyn will have the last laugh; within months as bombing proves pointless, public opinion will swing his way. In 2020 this will be a Corbyn asset in the UK elections. Will Corbyn-type governments in Western countries have better prospects of coaxing out a political solution and getting socio-economic reconstruction on track in these war wracked countries? Maybe, but if not what else can the West do and how else can it forestall an apocalyptic war of civilisations?

Before commenting on the swing to the loony fringe in parts of Europe and much of America there is a point about the David Cameron Conservatives that justifies emphasis. This government is more centrist than Thatcher’s neo-right and Teflon Blair’s fake-Labour. Yes, that’s right; Blairite Labour was well to the right of Cameron Tories. The way Cameron-Osborne swung from austerity to easing cuts when the economy recovered is remarkable. Osborne in an interview with Charlie Rose called the government progressive-Conservatism, an oxymoron like Ranil’s social-capitalism, but in the UK there is some content to the re-branding.

Europe is suffering from political schizophrenia. Spain, Portugal, Greece despite Tsipras, and the UK by heady endorsement of Corbyn as Labour Party leader, are moving in one direction though UKIP is a worry. Parts of the Continent are going elsewhere! A right’s poll in the 2014 European Parliament elections: Marine Le Penn’s Front National FN (22%), Britain’s UKIP (24%), Austrian Freedom Party (23%), Danish People’s Party (19%) and Dutch Freedom Party (18%). In Eastern Europe, more obnoxious primitive governments are in office, for example Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Chez Republic.

The North-East is France’s industrial heartland, the traditional working class stronghold of the socialist and in days of yore, the powerful French Communists. What happened in regional elections? The 6 December first round is more important than the 13 December runoff when everybody ganged up to defeat FN in all 13 Regions (the Socialists withdrew their candidates from two Regions to help the Republicans to win). The first round poll makes one exclaim: “My god is the French working class lost to the fascists! Two comments are typical of what’s on the web: “God bless the French, they’ve come to their senses. Leftists destroy Western civilization by design such as Obama or through ineptitude like Hollande and Merkel” and “The French voted for the NF because they want border controls and no more Muslims”.

Think of that clownish, boor Trump stirring up hatred and the other semi-literate Republican Presidential candidates denigrating everyone from immigrants to women to radicals. Then despair at what will become of America if a Republican wins the White House! The world is looking like the 1930s; pity many in Lanka do not see that this will change their lives too.

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Latest comments

  • 3
    20

    Dr.David,

    Although Trump is leading in pollster surveys of Republicans, those surveys will amount to nothing once actual primary voting starts. Right now, the early primary states like Iowa where evangelicals are a majority, give the misleading impression that Trump will be the winner. But once more moderate Republicans in the blue states start voting, Trump is unlikely to be the front runner. Despite faring low in the surveys, the contest for Republican nomination is likely to be between Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, both of whom have establishment support and deep pockets.

    Eventually Hillary and the Democrats are still likely to win based on the broad coalition of Blacks, Women, Hispanics, working classes, etc., though this time the fight will be close. Much will depend on which way Ohio and Florida will lean, because those are the two bigger states that switch sides. Most other large states are fixed in their voting, with California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey always voting Democratic. Both Rubio and Bush have considerable support in Florida and will most likely win in Texas as well.

    As for the ISIS, I don’t think the West is as gloomy as you think. The annihilation of ISIS is much closer than you think; with the West letting go of its insistence on getting Assad out of power in Syria, there is a broader coalition against ISIS, and a military solution is likely to succeed. Though broader Middle East issues are not going away anytime soon, containment is likely to succeed.

    • 0
      6

      Kumar, for us Colombo residents the biggest DEVELOPMENT DISASTER is happening before our eyes and is called the Colombo Port City which will be both and environmental and financial disaster for Sri Lanka.
      The EIA does not factor in Climate Change and see level rise and implications for flooding and coastal erosion and the massive amounts of sand and rock needed and where it is to be sourced and the environmental impacts of mining in Gampha.

      But, Today the Sunday Island Newspaper carried an article full of spin and WITHOUT AN AUTHOR or BYLINE titled: “Port City will add green area nine times as big as Galle Face to the city

      Shame on the Editor of the Sunday Island for publishing such SPIN and TOSH!

      This article without an author to hold accountable for all the SPIN and lies it rosy pictures it paints has probably been paid for by the Chinese company which has been trowing money around- much like Avant Guard arms company, did to secure its prize of a Chinese port city in Sri Lanka and it should be investigated for MASSIVE CORRUPTION.

      This criminal de-development or DISASTER PROJECT to destroy Colombo should be stopped and investigated immediately.

    • 0
      5

      Kumar, for us, Colombo residents, the biggest DEVELOPMENT DISASTER is happening before our eyes and is called the Colombo Port City which will be both an environmental and financial disaster for Sri Lanka.

      The EIA does not factor in Climate Change and see level rise and implications for flooding and coastal erosion and the massive amounts of sand and rock needed and where it is to be sourced and the environmental impacts of mining in Gampha.

      But, Today the Sunday Island Newspaper carried an article full of spin and WITHOUT AN AUTHOR or BYLINE titled: “Port City will add green area nine times as big as Galle Face to the city

      Shame on the Editor of the Sunday Island for publishing such SPIN and TOSH!

      This article without an author to hold accountable for all the SPIN and lies it rosy pictures it paints has probably been paid for by the Chinese company which has been trowing money around- much like Avant Guard arms company, did to secure its prize of a Chinese port city in Sri Lanka and it should be investigated for MASSIVE CORRUPTION.

      This criminal de-development or DISASTER PROJECT to destroy Colombo should be stopped and investigated immediately.

    • 0
      0

      Agnos, many people in the US tell me that Ted Cruise is the most likely eventual GoP candidate, not Jeb Bush (who has fallen too far behind) or Marco Rubio (who can’t raise enough money – he is the poorest candidate in both parties, even poorer than Bernie Sanders). They also say he is the one who can give Hilary the best fight.

      • 2
        0

        E.W. Golding,

        The Presidential elections, including the primaries, in the US are a long and arduous game. Ted Cruz is currently leading in Iowa as quite a number of evangelicals have switched their allegiance from Ben Carson to Cruz, but he is too young, hardline and inexperienced, and given to immature theatrics just like Trump. When mature, moderate Republican voters actually start voting, Cruz’s momentum will be lost, just like Carson’s and Trump’s.

        Marco Rubio may not have raised much money at this time, but some billionaires have recently endorsed him, and they will work to raise funds. And FYI, a combination of factors, including endorsements by party elites, not just money and survey polls, determine the eventual winner. By that yardstick, Jeb Bush is still very much in the game, because he has the most endorsements by the party elites, and also has the best fund raising operation among Republicans. He has the staying power to write off the results of the early voting states and shine in other states later.

  • 4
    16

    A significant achievement of this Govt: Getting the death penalty of the SL woman worker in Saudi Arabia changed to imprisonment. Many people, including the certain NGO’s did not hesitate to fish in troubled waters by coming out as would be saviours, which jeopardized the cautious effort made by the Govt. Congratulations to all those who took part in this ‘Mission Impossibke’.

    This contrasts with what our great hero MR did (or did not do) for the earlier SL victim.

  • 2
    12

    How many pieces of silver did Judas sell CHRIST for. Add another couple of pieces, and you can imagine for how much the Sri Lankan voter is and will be sold down the river. We are damned of we do and damned if we dont. Anther mind absorbing article by you.

  • 2
    5

    “The world is looking like the 1930’s, pity many in SL do not see that this will change their lives will change too”.

    A glance at the scores shown besides the comments on this blog could be an indication of how Sri Lankans see the world if we consider the significance of MaRa being permitted to visit those held in custody pending investigation over the disappearance of journalist Pregeeth Ekniyalgoda and announce that the detained would receive financial support and for that certain MP’s would provide their parliamentary allowance.

  • 2
    6

    Highest run of Corruption during MRs Regime, as investigated by FCID:
    “ Mahinda has owned up to his mistakes. He has said ‘bale thiyanakota mole ne, mole thiyanakota bale ne’— when one has power one has no brains and vice versa”. – DBSJ Colums DM

    The FCID should be credited for at least bringing up the following
    Court Charges – unless this is RWs political stunt to keep Voters guessing?

    1. Case No. 474/2015 at Fort M.C. dealing with Hedging Fund and involving A.N.Cabraal, PB Jayasuendra, A de Mel, L.Karunaratne (Rs.200-700 Million ) 2. Case No. 24327/2015 at Chief M.C.(3) In the matter of Lanka Hospital shares and connected to G. Rajapakse, Roshini ,Cabraal, N.Godahewa, D.Jayaweera, M. Medihewa, W.Amunugamuwa, D.P.Y. Wijesinghe. (Rs. 600 million) 3. B26907/3/15 at Colombo M.C re Housing deals connected with W.Weerasena,B.K.J.K.Perera. 4. B/40/2015 at Kaduwella M.C. re Land purchases, involving Mrs. W.Weerasena, C.S.Ranasinhe. 5. B323/15 in Tangalle M.C. about Carlton Pre-school construction involving State Eng. Corporation Staff (Rs. 35 million) 6. 8674/15 in Pugoda M.C. re Development works, involving B.Rajapakse, N. Thirukumar 7. B22467/1/15 at Colombo Chief M.C. re Money Laundering by M. Aluthgamage (Rs. 3 – 27 million) 8. B22468/1/15 in Colombo Chief M.C. on Wealth acquired of Dr.P.B. Wickrema. 9. B25389/1/15 at Colombo C.M.Court re Money Laundering by G.Senarath. 10. B25166/3/15 at Colombo Ch M.C. Teleshan TV Network with A.Pilapita S.Wickremasinghe, and Sil Reddi with L.Weeratunga and Ven.V.Somananda Thero. 11. B9825/15 at Kaduwela M.C. re CSN Channel involving ITN Directorate & Staff. 12. B35/15 at Kaduwela M.C. re ownership of Marriot Hotel in Dubai with N.Lokuwitharne and M.Rajapakse ( Rs. 48 to 190 million) 13. B27453/1/15 at Hultsdorf M.C. about Lanka Logistics Arms importing connected to G.Rajapakse, P.B.Jayasundera, Mohan Peiris, J.Wickremasinghe. 14. B/663/15 at Fort M.C. on Bank of Ceylon, Seychelles by M. Rajapakse & family 15. Greek Bonds purchase with names of Cabraal & Rajapakse in Petition Colombo M.C of 15.8.15 involving Rs. 1257 million 16. Sajin Vass Gunewardena in abuse of Public property, at Fort Magistrate Court, remanded since May, 2015. Also at Bribery Com. for questionable Assets. 17. Petition accepted in Supreme Court on 6.8.15 re Vehicle Permits abuse 18. Case No. 50/10 at High Courts, Kandy: Captain Wickremasinghe`s activity in Giritale Army Camp re Torture Chambers – under G. Rajapakse`s directions? 19. On Bail – Rohita Bogollagama 20. B/C Case – BC/2370/2011/B1 – 1 Billion heist: Pradeep Gunawardana (C`man State Trading Corporation) 21. B 586/15 in the Fort Magistrate’s Court on June 5, 2015 re Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation & SMB payments. 22. Champika Karunaratne –Former Coordinating
    Secy.of MR remanded over Fraud (10 million) 23. M.C Nuwara Eliya Case of Prof. Dharmasiri in fraud of David Paynters Art work worth Rs.37 Million ? 24. etc etc e.&o.e

  • 0
    1

    Punchinilame
    How is it that all the names listed by you does not include any Tamils or Muslims?
    Is the FCID on a witch hunt against a particular community?

    • 1
      1

      Oh both Tamils and Muslms are very honest and god fearing people who do not do any destructive, violene to activities or thefts.

      • 0
        0

        How about the legendary deal-maker of yester-year Hon.Nadesan
        Thirukumar – Tamil by name? (Case No. 6) On 8th Jany. he took
        RW to MR – his last known Deal which will come out via Ranil in
        the distant future for sure.

    • 0
      0

      Tamils were fodder for TID – well know and nothing much left for FCID
      obviously! The TID haunted Katunayake Airport for their victims with much greed and made a harvest of 15 – quiet a “sum” whilst starving for
      money!

  • 8
    0

    Prof. Kumar David

    Year 2015 Ends In A Whimper: Glumness In Lanka; Unease In The World

    Whimper is a series of low, feeble sounds expressive of fear, pain, or unhappiness.

    *** It depends on who you are referring to. Certainly not the Majority. They are baskig in the Glory of having wrongfooted the World headed by the Great Satan.

    But the Fear Pain and Unhappiness belongs to the Minorities thanks to the official Opposition headed by the Grand Old Politician Sambanthan who is more interested in hanging on to the Perks and not upset MS & RW and aided by the up and coming Politician Sumanthiran.

    Let me pick on some of the things you have written.

    1) Though 2015 started off on a felicitous note which continued into the middle of the year – trouncing Rajapaksa in January and again in August, an agreement on war-crimes investigations. At home the government is directionless in that it has no coherent economic strategy and seems to have given up the fight for good governance. It is reasonable to fear that the Ranil-Sirisena (R&S) Administration is blocking exposure and prosecution of Rajapaksa-era financial blackguards and members of the Rajapaksa-clan accused of homicide.

    *** By common consensus ( not by Tamils ) this is what GOSL was elected to do. On the one hand Save Sinhala Lanka from the impending disaster and at the same time Protect the War Winning CRIMINALS. At least temporarily Sinhala Lanka has managed to pull a wool over the World. But cracks are starting to open up and no doubt the World will come to realise that Sinhala Lanka cant be trusted to deliver.

    2) It is worrisome when lame-duck columnists (e.g. Daily News of 9 Dec.) assure us that all is well with the Thahudeen murder investigations. Amazingly, despite the evidence that that article itself adverts to (e.g. “CID has recovered CCTV footage of Thajudeen’s killing and some VIP sons appeared in the video”) the writer is oblivious to the contradiction that no arrests have been made nor charges filed. If the R&S Administration is stalling investigation of Rajapaksa regime crimes, it is but a short step to government high-ups becoming corrupt themselves. This is the reason for public glumness.

    *** This was a non starter as the Killing Trail Leads back to Mahintha and Crucial witnesses have been sent abroad on Diplomatic Passport no doubt on the Orders of RW and Justice Minister.

    3) RW MS and and the rest are no different to MR but are Sugar Coated to sell for a profit.

    4) After the Daesh attacks

    Despondency is high in Europe and America about terrorism. People know that the military campaign will not succeed if it is limited to airpower; they also know Western ground troops if sent in will be trapped in a quagmire from which they will never escape (remember Iraq after Bush, Afghanistan for 12 years).

    *** It is all about testing latest Technology.

    .

  • 0
    0

    David think that he is one and only who read new changes in Global Politics.
    He set his mind that so narrow in the sense of Trotskyism that politics of Ethnicity.

    What is necessary current time of new revolution poses need more correct understanding of AIM OF THE PRESENT REVOLUATION IN SRI LANKA AS WELL AS WORLD.

    SRI LANK WAR LUNCH BY RULING PARTIES(UNP) AS WELL AS TAMIL SEPERATIST OF TNA & LTTE HAS CAUSED SUCH UNTOLD CALAMITIES TO SINHALESE, TAMILS AND MUSLIMS TO BELLIGERENT COUNTRY OF THIRD WORLD NATION-SRI LANKA.

    And same time accelerated Neo-colonial development of depend capitalism to such a tremendous degree by UNP since 1977 that converting US and Indian monopoly capitalism.

    Undermined state capitalism that neither the people nor revolutionary classes of national Bourgeoisie Democrats can keep within limits of progress of sustsnibility of capitalism.

    Our system of present order has already overstepped those limits and place on the order day rules of production and its distribution on a national scale ,foreign labor service become compulsory syndication.

    We should advance task and slogans that will widen people movement not narrow it, that it will place the responsibility for unfinished and incomplete bourgeoisie revolution on the poverty and backwardness BY UNP-Comprador bourgeoisie and not lack of understating PEOPLE OF SRI LANKAN. This new vision of 2016 by people movement of an Island.

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