‘Now, Hillary Clinton bats for anti-Lanka
lobby: Prof. Wijesinha reveals more
‘Tissainayagam was second largest beneficiary of FLICT funds’
Apropos our front-page story on October 2 headlined ‘Now, Hillary Clinton bats for anti-Lanka lobby, Professor Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, said; "Whilst I appreciate the coverage of Mrs Clinton’s remarks, and of our reactions to the Swedish statement in Geneva, I cannot recollect having discussed Tissainayagam’s case in such detail."
The following is the full text of his statement: "Certainly I would not have implied that Tissainayagam did anything for personal gain. Whilst I believe he ended up accepting money from the LTTE (which is why I have no sympathy with criticism of him being found guilty in that regard), I believe that, as his confession indicates, this was in effect forced on him. He had tried to resist initially, which is to his credit, though the fact that he succumbed in the end highlights even more the bravery of individuals such as Minister Devananda, Sidharthan and Anandasangaree who stood firm against terrorism throughout, at great personal risk."
"My consistent criticism indeed has been not so much of those who succumbed to terrorist pressures but those who created the climate that made it so easy for this to happen. I could understand the encouragement to work with the Tigers immediately after the Ceasefire Agreement but, when it soon proved impossible to civilize them, mindsets should have changed. In that regard I continue to find it abhorrent that, led by certain elements in the international community, funds continued to be poured into what was termed Civil Society if it was unrelentingly critical of the government."
"I have pointed out before that the previous British High Commissioner told me that all British funding for Peace Building went into a few Non-Governmental Organizations that were distinguished for their bitter attacks (including preposterous locutions such as ‘the President and his band of murderous thugs’) on the then democratically elected government. One of these was the agency termed Facilitating Local Initiatives for Conflict Transformation (FLICT), of which Tissainayagam was the second largest beneficiary. The content of the websites that were thus financed, in effect by British taxpayers, was clearly supportive of the Tigers, even to the extent of justifying their anti-democratic practices at elections."
"I am pleased that, under the current High Commissioner, a more civilized policy is in place. But the excesses of the past, though they should be forgiven, may not be forgotten, in case in the future too we find individuals like Tissainayagam going with what seems an irresistible tide. That is why too I believe I did not make the comparison with which ‘The Island’ news item ends. What I would have said, if the matter had come up, is that I would have quite understood the United States or the United Kingdom being deeply hurt if other countries provided aid and assistance to those who reproduced terrorist propaganda. Their professed commitment to freedom of information may lead to them, generally if not always, being indulgent to such propaganda, which in any case they have the power and wealth to counter. But the provision of what is called Overseas Development Assistance for such purposes would rightly have upset them."