Another diabolical lie blown sky-high

The Presidential Commission Inquiry into the killing of 17 aid workers of the Action Contre La Faim (ACF) in Muttur in August 2006 has exonerated the army and the navy from the responsibility for the crime. It has concluded that their massacre occurred on Aug. 04, 2006 and at that time the LTTE was present in the Muttur town and adjacent areas.

Thus, another attempt by neo-colonial forces to force a war crime probe on Sri Lanka has been frustrated. But, the government made a mess of that presidential probe initially by permitting some meddlesome foreign diplomats and their cronies to exert pressure on the investigation process. Investigations must, no doubt, be transparent but transparency––as former President Chandrika Kumaratunga famously told the media while announcing a peace process with the LTTE in 1994––does not mean running naked on a public road. (However, it was President Kumaratunga who started the bad practice of allowing foreign busybodies to get a foothold here on the pretext of helping resolve the conflict.)

When Chandrika Kumaratunga was elected President, ex-President J. R. Jayewardene famously said Sri Lanka had elected a school girl as President. He did not consider her mature enough to rule the country. In fact, she proved the Old Fox right on more than one occasion. Her first blunder was to offer the entire Northern Province to Prabhakaran for ten years without elections. The second one was to bring the wily Norwegians as facilitators in the peace process. That ill-conceived move proved disastrous for the country as Norway abused its privileged position to promote the LTTE internationally.

If Chandrika behaved like a schoolgirl in inviting Norwegians, President Rajapaksa acted just like a schoolboy by bringing a group of 'eminent persons' to oversee a probe into human rights abuses. Some of those ‘persons’ ganged up with the anti-Sri Lanka NGO circuit and went all out to prepare the ground for a foreign intervention in favour of the LTTE.

Some members of the Presidential Commission, too, acted in breach of protocol. Once they even adjourned sittings to have an audience with a group of meddlesome foreign envoys who, out of their antipathy towards Sri Lanka's war on terror, were all out to pin the blame for ACF workers' killing on either the army or the navy so that they would be able to press charges of war crimes against the Rajapaksa government and military subsequently. Strangely, none of those diplomats did anything about the many massacres committed by the LTTE! Luckily, those sinister manoeuvrings were nipped in the bud.

When ACF and the whole caboodle of NGOs realised that the Presidential Commission could not be manipulated to obtain the kind of decision they wanted, they left in a huff. Then, they launched a campaign to bring the Commission into disrepute internationally in a bid to take the gloss off its findings.

It will be interesting to see their reaction to the Commission report. They are very likely to dismiss it. But, the question is whether they who not only believed in but also used information LTTEterrorists furnished on casualty figures and living conditions in the no-fire zone during the final stages of war as the basis of a campaign to press war crime charges against Sri Lanka will be able to reject out of hand a report issued by a Presidential Commission appointed by a democratically elected government of a sovereign State.

One of the lessons the government should draw from the Muttur massacre probe is that its propagandists must exercise control over their restless tongues. What landed the government in trouble over that crime was a claim by Minister Keheliya Rambukwella in the aftermath of an LTTE strike in Muttur that the area had not been under terrorists. When the massacre came to light, the government immediately said the LTTE had held that township briefly following a lightning attack. Fortunately for the government, while fighting was still on, the LTTE web organ TamilNet, not aware of the mass murder, sought to dispute the Minister's claim by insisting that the LTTE had been in control of Muttur. So much for propaganda lies and their negative impact!

Now that incriminating evidence has surfaced that aid workers perished as they were made to follow orders of their superiors that they stay where they were in spite of heavy fighting, ACF must be made to compensate the victims' families adequately in keeping with recommendations of the Presidential Commission.

Defiance must be dealt with severely according to the law.

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