"Destabilization plot’’ the May Day theme


By Shamindra Ferdinando

The stage is set for a decisive confrontation between the Government of Sri Lanka and a section of the international community, with the ruling UPFA calling a massive protest in Colombo today (May Day) to protest against what a senior aide to President Mahinda Rajapaksa called ``a diabolical plot to destabilize Sri Lanka.’’

Today’s protest is culmination of a series of small demonstrations and the launch of a public petition against war crime charges. The UN on Friday warned that it was the responsibility of the GOSL to ensure safety and security of UN personnel and property.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official asserted that no other member of the UN had faced a similar situation since its establishment in 1945 after the end of World War II. The UN replaced the League of Nations. The official alleged that a report on so-called accountability issues in Sri Lanka commissioned by UNSG Ban Ki-moon was being used as a blueprint to destabilize post-war recovery process here.

External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris last Thursday (Apr 28) said the controversial Darusman Report was the product of a personal initiative taken by UNSG Ban Ki-moon and the mandate of the Panel was purely advisory in nature, as stated in its terms of reference.

 At a meeting with the Colombo-based diplomatic corps at the External Affairs Ministry, Peiris highlighted some of the fundamental deficiencies, inherent prejudices and malicious intentions that characterize the report. The flaws pertain not only to its contents, but also to the methodology followed in arriving at its conclusions, the minister said.

He declared that the report is "legally, morally and substantively flawed".

 The External Affairs Ministry acknowledged that in spite of Sri Lanka’s strong protests, the US was pressing other countries to push for an international investigation in to war crimes committed during the war.

A senior official told The Sunday Island that due to eradication of the entire LTTE ‘military’ leadership, such an inquiry would automatically be directed against the Sri Lankan political and military leadership.

But former Army Chief Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the defeated common candidate at the Jan. 2010 presidential poll, who had been categorized as a war criminal by US Ambassador in Colombo Patricia Butenis in a US embassy cable now in the public domain is the only one out of the Rajapaksa clan. Others specifically named by Ms Butenis are the president and two of his brothers, Gotabhaya and Basil.

 The Sri Lankan military said that all overseas Diaspora groups such as the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), British Tamil Forum and Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), too, should be held responsible for war crimes, though the LTTE ‘military’ leadership was no more.

 The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which threw its full weight behind the LTTE strategy, was also culpable for the bloodshed, ministerial sources told The Sunday Island. The TNA went to the extent of calling a media briefing in Colombo in the run-up the April 2004 parliamentary polls to declare the LTTE as the sole representatives of the Tamil speaking people.

Among those at the briefing was NGO activist Kumar Rupesinghe, one of the key players promoting international intervention here, sources said. The bottom line was that the international community, which provided the funds for Rupesinghe and those like him, too, was now trying to pin the blame on the GoSL, sources said.

Responding to a query, they said that a comprehensive report issued by the EU Election Monitoring Mission headed by John Cushnahan following the Apr 2004 poll revealed the TNA’s complicity in the LTTE strategy.

 They acknowledged that those gunning for Sri Lanka wouldn’t take any notice of today’s protest or ongoing effort to produce a petition signed by a million people against the controversial Darusman Report.

Sri Lanka’s efforts to counter the looming threat had been severely affected by the absence of a cohesive strategy, whereas forces (read as NGOs and INGOs) funded by the countries at the forefront of the diplomatic offensive targeting Sri Lanka, were working overtime, they said.

Basically all those, who had campaigned against President Rajapaksa at the Nov. 2005 presidential poll had thrown their weight behind the Darusman Report barring a few bought over by the government after the 2005 poll, they said.

 The ongoing battle would give an opportunity to those involved in the destabilizing campaign to collect a sizeable amount of funds as they had done over the years, they said adding that an attempt was afoot to achieve through diplomatic means what the LTTE failed to do despite guerilla and conventional military capability.

 The Sunday Island last week revealed how the government had squandered millions of dollars on foreign PR firms hired to defend the country’s human rights record and help thwart an international war crimes investigation. The government had failed to realize that external affairs couldn’t be outsourced or handled in way a tourism promotion project was carried out, the sources said.

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