Midweek Review

It must be SLMM

by Nalin de Silva
Major General Tryggve Tellefson, the head of the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM), must be a very experienced monitor. Otherwise he would not have been appointed as the head of a monitoring mission. He must be more experienced than those who had been class monitors from year 1 to year 13 (or from LKG to UVI) in Sri Lankan schools but unfortunately he does not have the powers of even class monitors. However he acts as if the SLMM has the power to decide who is wrong and who is not and the SLMM with their monitoring experience must be wondering whether it would become the supreme court of Eelam if and if it were to be established. It is in the interests of the country as well as the SLMM to point out that Sri Lankan government has still not replaced the Supreme Court of the Republic of Democratic Socialist Sri Lanka with the SLMM.

With respect to the recent attacks on the Chinese vessel and Lanka Muditha the SLMM seems to think that a third force or element could be responsible. It says in one of the statements: "Armed elements - not recognized by any of the parties- operating in LTTE or GOSL controlled areas, represent a serious threat to the peace process. Hence SLMM urges the parties to find, disarm and arrest such elements". Then it also says: " SLMM wants to state very clearly that it is not pointing at specific political parties or groups known to the government and the LTTE at this time. In fact, representatives of both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE have said that they ‘do not know of anyone in Sri Lanka, except the SLN and the LTTE that is capable of launching such an attack as was made on the Chinese trawler".

The SLMM and the Norwegians through the so-called MOU have always tried to equate the Government of Sri Lanka and the terrorists grouped as the LTTE. Now who could have attacked the Chinese trawler? Both the Government and the LTTE have apparently told the SLMM that they do not know of a party other than the Sri Lanka Navy and the LTTE, who could have attacked the Chinese trawler. But the SLMM thinks that there is a third element. The SLMM categorically says that "armed elements - not recognized by any of the parties- operating in LTTE or GOSL controlled areas, represent a serious threat to the Peace Process.".

However, these elements are not known to the GOSL and the LTTE. It is only the SLMM that has come out with the third party story. Now there are three parties operating in the seas in the areas concerned. They are the GOSL, the LTTE and the SLMM. The GOSL and the LTTE do not think that there is any third party that is capable of attacking ships sailing in the area. However the SLMM is definite that there is a third force operating and attacking trawlers.

It may be that the Government does not know that the SLMM is capable of attacking such trawlers and thus kept quiet about a third party. On the other hand the LTTE, though they knew that the SLMM was capable of attacking especially unarmed trawlers, did not mention a third force as they did not want to embarrass their friends in the SLMM.

The SLMM on the other hand in order to exonerate the LTTE came out for the first time that there is a third force operating in the area, without naming it. Going by all the statements made by the SLMM and arguing within Aristotelian logic one is forced to come to the conclusion that it is the SLMM that has attacked the Chinese trawler. Now in the words of the SLMM it is up to the Government to arrest these elements in the SLMM, though we know that the government is not capable of doing that.

If the SLMM is aware of a fourth party operating in the area, that is not known to the Government of Sri Lanka then it is up to the head of the mission to inform the Government and the others before a fifth party takes steps to arrest him and the other members of the SLMM. As far as the Government and the public are concerned there are only three parties operating in the area, the SLMM being the third party. Further SLMM has not denied that they were not involved in the attacks. They have only said that neither the Government of Sri Lanka nor the LTTE is involved and have pointed their fingers at a third party. As SLMM is the only third operating in the area one has to conclude that it is the SLMM that has attacked the Chinese vessel.

One does not have to read the statements of the SLMM to find out how biased they are. From the very beginning the SLMM has been trying to whitewash the LTTE whenever the latter was involved in some incident or another. In fact the SLMM has been appointed to do the dirty work of washing the dirt off the LTTE. But the LTTE is so much full of dirt the SLMM would not be able to do what is expected of them.

The SLMM tries to give the impression that even the Sri Lankan Navy could have attacked the Chinese trawler. It says that there is no conclusive evidence to decide who did it. However it is convinced conclusively that a third party is behind it. It may be that logic is not the forte of the Vikings and that they would not even try to be logical. In any event why should the Sri Lankan Navy attack the Chinese vessel. It would not be difficult to find out from those who survived the attack, who the attackers were. The SLMM is trying to put the blame on the Sri Lankan Navy as well, without blaming the LTTE for the attack.

Even a year-one monitor in a Sri Lankan school would have pointed out to the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission boys that it was only the LTTE, other than of course the SLMM, that would have attacked the Chinese vessel. The SLMM could have attacked the vessel in order to blame the Sri Lankan Navy. The SLMM would be quick to point out that they are not armed. They may not be armed in public, but that does not imply that they are always unarmed. When they are on an attacking mission they could go armed without informing the Government of Sri Lanka. Why not invite a UN team to find out whether the SLMM is armed? If the SLMM has no objections we could get down the same team that went to Iraq.

The SLMM, if it is not involved in the attack, by now is in a mess, by making all these statements, so much so that the SLMM could be renamed as the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mess. If it says that it is not in a mess and the statements are very logical, then one is forced to come to the conclusion that the SLMM is involved in the attack and that it has become the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mafia. It is up to Tellefson and his boys to inform the public what SLMM stands for.

The SLMM in its classic statement has asked the Government and the LTTE to find, disarm and arrest these elements in the third force. The SLMM knows very well, that neither the Government nor the LTTE would arrest the members of the SLMM supposing it was the culprit. Even if the SLMM had not been the third party, the government would not have arrested the members of any other third party. It is ridiculous to expect the Government to arrest the members of a third party when they are not arresting the second party, which is the LTTE. Instead, they are arresting and betraying the members of the first party, especially the armed forces. The Millennium City Complex issue is a case in point. If the SLMM said that the Sri Lankan Navy was involved then the government would have taken steps to arrest those sailors supposed to have been involved. However, the government has been relieved of that duty. As there would not be any arrests in spite of the SLMM statement, the SLMM would most probably think of issuing some more statements to the media in the coming weeks.

The SLMM wants the LTTE also to get into the act of arresting the so-called third party. The SLMM has given equal status vis-a-vis the government and the LTTE on this count as well thus recognising the "status" of the LTTE as some sort of a "government". Perhaps the SLMM having seen all the ‘arrests’ made by the LTTE in the past few months must have thought that the LTTE is capable of doing something in respect of arrests. Having known the LTTE through Balasinghma’s and others’ connections the SLMM would have known that the LTTE would not have arrested their (SLMM) members. As the LTTE arrests only the members of the Sri Lankan armed forces and the innocent people the SLMM has nothing to worry. They are neither members of the Sri Lankan armed forces nor innocent men (and women).

The vast majority of people have no faith in the SLMM. Nor do they have any faith in the MOU. When Mr. Mangala Samaraweera said that under a PA government G. L. Peiris would be tried for treason, he did not speak only on behalf of the PA. The SLMM has no mission in Sri Lanka. The SLMM is a Soul Lacking Monitoring Mission. However, that does not make the members of the SLMM, Anathmavadins. They have no souls for different reasons. It is high time that they went back to Norway and the other Scandinavian countries where they came from.