| by Upul Joseph Fernando
( July 30, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The letter sent by the Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris, citing the reasons for President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Chairman of Commonwealth, not attending the Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, Scotland, exposed a hitherto unknown fact. The reason has been cited as the failure on the part of the British Government in suppressing the agitations by Tamil Diaspora against the Sri Lankan President. Prof. G.L. Peiris has mentioned in his letter that the agitators pelted empty bottles and cans at the motorcade of the Sri Lankan President as he was in England to attend the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth's crowning. This was news to many. As soon as the President returned to the home country, Sri Lanka Government thanked the British Police for the safety provided to the President. Local television showed the footage of the President travelling defended by the British Police. The message delivered by the government to the local people was that the British Government had provided security and recognition despite the protests of the Tamil Diaspora.
However, several years later, the same government says that the President's motorcade was attacked with empty bottles and cans. It is cited as the reason for the Sri Lankan President being absent at the Commonwealth Games.
Mahinda is the Chairman of the Commonwealth. This is the first time the Commonwealth Games is held sans the participation of its Chairman. After being appointed as the Chairman of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth Day was celebrated in UK. By then, the President had not still met Queen Elizabeth who is the head of the Commonwealth. The Queen did not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Colombo. She was represented by Prince Charles. Mahinda was expected to meet the Queen alongside the Commonwealth Day celebrations. But Britain asked Mahinda not to attend the function because they could not guarantee 100% security, to the Sri Lankan President amidst protests of the Tamil Diaspora activists. Mahinda may be the first Chairman of Commonwealth who did not participate in the Commonwealth Day celebrations.
At that moment, Mahinda did not accuse the UK and stated that he would not participate in the Commonwealth Day as he had another foreign engagement. But this time the government announced that the reason for the President's absence at the Commonwealth Games was the failure of the UK Police to suppress Tamil Diaspora. Yet we have doubts if the UK Government has advised Mahinda unofficially to avoid the tour due to security concerns. He may have directed his External Affairs Minister to accuse the British Government about the past incident of pelting bottles and cans at him.
However, Sri Lanka spent billions of rupees of public money to hold the Commonwealth summit in Colombo, at the cost of hard earned money of the people of this country. Eventually the Chairman of the Commonwealth cannot attend the Commonwealth Day and Commonwealth Games. As the country holding the Chair of Commonwealth, Sri Lanka is highly dejected by this situation. The government could have evaluated all these before taking the costly decision of holding CHOGM here.
On 18 May 2009, the day the war ended, the ruling coalition parties surrounded the British High Commission of Sri Lanka and held a massive protest depicting then Foreign Minister David Miliband as a Tamil Tiger. The mobs threw rotten eggs and tomatoes at the windows of the High Commission office. The government was pretending that it was unaware of these happenings. This is the chance for the Britain for tit for tat.
| by Laksiri Fernando
( July 30, 2014, Sydney, Sri Lanka Guardian) I was sad to hear the passing away of Professor (Emeritus) Ranjith Amarasinghe, University of Peradeniya, a teacher and a friend, on Sunday the 27th. This sadness is shared by many of our friends and former colleagues who informed me of the sorrowful demise by email, Professors Gamini Samaranayake and Kalinga Tudor Silva in particular. Ranjith was ill only for a short while and then suddenly vanished from our presence. Even I was not aware of his illness. He will be intimately missed by his wife, Mallika, and two sons, Samanga and Dhanusha and Samanga’s family.
Prof. Ranjith was not a mere academic but a social activist without personal ambition. He performed his tasks whether as an academic or a social activist as if he was bound to do that duty by destiny. This is what I have seen in him mostly throughout my association with him since I first came to know him as one of my university teachers in political science in 1965 at the University of Peradeniya. He was a dedicated teacher. After my graduation we were friends and served in the same staff before I left for Geneva in 1984. I and my wife, Winitha, were privileged to have his and Mallika’s hospitality at their home at Sarasavi Uyana (University Gardens) many a time when we were visiting Sri Lanka between 1984 and 1997. It is the same quality of dedication to family and friends that we have seen in him. He was a good cook, and I relished to taste his home brewed Lovi (Flacourtia inermis) wine.
After returning back to Sri Lanka in 1997 my last close association with him was until 2005 as members of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Peace Negotiations and Constitutional Reform. Early 2005 I left again for two years on sabbatical and also disillusioned with the lack of progress on the peace front. He nevertheless dedicatedly continued until the end of the year. Thereafter, he was a founder and a Director along with Dr. Jayampathy Wickremaratne of the Institute for Constitutional Studies until his passing away this week. If he were living any longer he would have taken a prominent role in the ongoing movement for the abolition of the presidential system, I have no doubt.
Ranjith was a brilliant and a dedicated teacher not only for me but for many of the political scientists that the University of Peradeniya has produced. Many of them are professors today on their own right. His political science teachers were only one or two and the names of Professor A. Jeyeratnam Wislon and Dr. K. H. Jayasinghe naturally come to my mind. Professor Wiswa Warnapala as far as I know was his senior contemporary. However, his successors or students were many, rather a long list to mention even the illustrious ones by name. Those days, as there was no separate degree in political science and as it was a part of economics degree he was not only teaching for government students but also for economics students as well. Many of them or the batch that entered Peradeniya in 1964 who are celebrating the 50th Anniversary this year in September might be saddened to hear his demise. Among his economics teachers were many giants like Professors H. A. de S. Gunasekara, Buddhadasa Hewavitharana, F. R. Jayasuriya and Tony Rajaratnam. Professor Hewavitharana might be very sad to hear Ranjith’s demise.
To his academic credit, Ranjith obtained BA (Ceylon), B. Phil (York) and PhD (London) before venturing into broader areas of studies, research and social engagement. He could not be considered a politically neutral or an apolitical person. He was neither a political activist. His PhD thesis at the University of London was on “Trotskyism in Ceylon,” studying the ‘development, ideology and political role’ of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) between 1935 and 1964.
This he converted into a popular and updated book published by the Social Scientists Association (1998 and 2000) titled rather in the reverse order or more appropriately as “Revolutionary Idealism and Parliamentary Politics: A Study of Trotskyism in Sri Lanka.” After G. J. Lerski’s “Origins of Trotskyism in Ceylon” (1968) this was the most extensive study on the development of the LSSP and invariably of the Left party politics in the country. If Lerski traced the origins, Ranjith elaborated the development. Taking the LSSP joining a coalition government with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) in 1964 as a decisive departure, which some called a great betrayal, he examined the transformation of initial revolutionary idealism into regular parliamentary politics. Apart from joining a ‘bourgeoisie’ government, he showed that the LSSP’s politics was marked by a parliamentary orientation almost from the beginning influenced by British Fabianism and also Trotskyism. However, he has also traced the militant history of the party against colonialism and war, and after independence, in trade unionism and particularly during the Hartal of 1953.
Then what has happened is the de-radicalization of a Marxist party under the influence of parliamentary politics that Robert Tucker discussed (The De-radicalization of Marxist Movements, 1967). It is interesting to note that a similar trajectory has been applied by two young researchers, Shathasiri Abeywarna and GDRUU Abeyrathne, whom I don’t know personally, to discuss the transformation of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) into parliamentary politics recently. Interestingly, their work resonates Ranjith’s work and even titled as “Revolutionary Idealism and Parliamentary Politics: A Study of the JVP.”
When the Presidential Constitution was inaugurated in 1978 he was strongly critical of the system not because that the 1972 Constitution was ideal, but because of the dangers associated with the executive power shifting from Parliament to an all-powerful Executive President. His views were very close to what Dr. N. M. Perera expressed in his “Critical Analysis” of that Constitution. However, when the 13th Amendment was inaugurated in 1987, Ranjith was at the forefront among other academics, professionals, artists who openly supported the provincial council system and devolution of power. He was very close to late Dr. Newton Gunasinghe and Dr. Kumari Jayawardena in the activities of the Social Scientists Association (SSA) and in the activities of the Workers and Peasants Institute (WPI) which Newton Gunasinghe founded in Kandy.
Since this period he has written on many subjects, all of which I don’t have ready access or clear track, but he became more and more involved in researching on the issues of ethnic reconciliation, provincial council system, devolution of power and constitutional reforms. He was associated with the National Integration Program Unit (NIPU) of the Ministry of National Integration during President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s first term of office. It is no wonder why and how he thereafter became very close to Dr. Jayampathy Wickremaratne in this venture. He was closely behind and extremely supportive of President CBK’s devolution package in 1995 until it became a new Draft Constitution in August 2000 through negotiations with the opposition UNP. It was disheartening for him that it was not successful when it was proposed as a Bill in Parliament. At least those days, the Parliament retained the upper hand and not the President.
It was my observation that he was a supporter and even an advocate of a quasi-federal system for Sri Lanka. He considered a clear characterization of the state system as a unitary state in the constitution to be a major hindrance to a political resolution of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. He was more inclined to its characterization as a ‘democratic republic consisting of state institutions of the center and of the regions/provinces.’ He also gave much emphasis in enhancing horizontal democratic institutions to the level of the grassroots and therefore interested in the enhancement of powers, functions and participation of the local government system.
Some of his publications on the subject of devolution and provincial council system includes “Devolution Experience in Sri Lanka, 1988-1998,” “Legislative Functions of Provincial Councils: Statute Making and Capacity Issues,” and “The Working of Provincial Councils: Centre/Province Relations.” In this respect he was very close to three other researchers, Professors N. Selvakkumaran, Tressie Leitan and A. M. Navaratna-Bandara.
Prof. Ranjith have had a vast international experience as a visiting scholar/professor particularly in the United States and Japan. He was a Japan Foundation Fellow. One of his rare publications was on “Enforcement of Environmental Law in Sri Lanka and Japan” (2002).” His demise might be crucially felt by the Department of Political Science and the Faculty of Arts at the University of Peradeniya where he was Chair of Political Science (1998-2008) and the Dean of the Faculty (2003-2006). Outside the university confines he also served as a Consultant and a Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs during Minister DEW Gunasekera’s time and also served as the Director of the Peace Building Project.
This personal appreciation is incomplete if I fail to conclude it with a comment on Prof. Ranjith’s family. I and my wife, Winitha, knew Mallika as a dedicated teacher at Hillwood College Kandy. We knew Samanga and Dhanusha, the two sons, when they were toddlers but not very much after they grew up, except Samanga briefly before he went overseas. I was delighted to learn through web searchers today that both have now grown up to carry forward the father’s mission perhaps in different forms. Samanga is already an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Bellevue University, USA, with his own publications clearly in line with his father. Dhanusha has taken a more socially engaged role in Sri Lanka, working as the Country Coordinator of the Education Lanka Foundation. In addition Dhanusha has his own research and publications. This is something perhaps Ranjith longed for. He was not a political activist, as I said before, but always had an inclination to render service to the society. “Education is not merely a passport for upward social mobility, it is primarily a social contract to serve the society.” He believed in this principle.
May he attain Nibbana.
Part of Massive Federated, US Based Pro-Israel Network
( July 30, 2014, Virginia, Sri Lanka Guardian) “We have since worked with a broad coalition of Jewish and non-Jewish groups as well as with United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) to support legislative and regulatory actions requiring divestment from companies that do business with Iran, as well other sanctions. ‘Florida has been a leader in adopting strong measures to isolate the Iranian regime in the areas of procurement, divestment and banking. We encourage local communities across the U.S to join Florida to pass similar measures” said Tara Laxer, Florida Director of United Against a Nuclear Iran.’ Greater Miami Jewish Federation
“Of interest in those meeting minutes is a quote by Colonel Danny Tirza, the designer of the Security Fence that splits Israelis and Palestinians: ‘Not a single Palestinian home was damaged by the process [of building the fence].’”
The Jewish Federation and the Jewish United Fund are two of the donors to UANI. These nonprofit organizations are part of the wider US-based, pro-Israel juggernaut that shapes American national security strategy for Israel. Through connections, money, position and power they seek to immunize Israel from criticism for its mendacious, militaristic policies. They have succeeded in marginalizing discussion of America’s dangerously pro-Israel policies to the extent that the subject is taboo: Criticize Israel and automatically receive the badge of anti-Semitism. Meanwhile US warfighters have an additional cross to bear in the world of Islam as they are seen as pawns of Israel. More’s the pity American foes are energized by America’s blind support of a tiny nation, strategically insignificant but with a stranglehold over American national security interests.
Matt Apuzzo writing for the New York Times recently reported that the US Department of Justice has asked that United Against a Nuclear Iran’s donor lists and dollar amounts not be turned over in litigation involving a defamation lawsuit. “The Justice Department has temporarily blocked the group from having to reveal its donor list and other internal documents in a defamation lawsuit filed by a Greek shipping magnate the group accused of doing business with Iran. Government lawyers said they had a “good faith basis to believe that certain information” would jeopardize law enforcement investigations, reveal investigative techniques or identify confidential sources if released.”
Alex Kane of Mondoweiss wrote a piece titled “‘New York Times’ profile of group bent on sanctioning Iran fails to mention Israel connections,” back in June 2013. With a bit of effort he was able to find a number of UNAI’s contributors.
Many of UNAI’s donors can easily be found by doing some research on the World Wide Web. And what one finds, of course, is a superbly networked Jewish community, most on message advocating for the interests of the Israeli government. These pro-Israel nonprofits serve as the eyes and ears for Israel in the USA and as fundraisers/donors for groups like UNAI, who themselves take guidance from the Israeli government.
Jewish Agency for Israel, Jewish United Fund of Israel
Americans know about the American Israel Political Action Committee and the influence they can bring to bear on American politicians and, through JINSA, American military commanders.
But fewer know about organizations like the Jewish Agency for Israel. Its annual report lists the 156 groups that make up the Jewish Federations of North America. They are located in nearly every major city in the USA.
The Jewish Agency for Israel had $478 million in revenue for 2013, according to its annual report. In that reports trends section it indicates that the Jewish Agency will work with the government of Israeli to enhance the identity of young Jews around the world. Its donor list must be the envy of every nonprofit in America. The list includes the Tisch Foundation (movies), IKEA (furniture), Rothschild Foundation (banking), Charles E. Smith (construction in Washington, DC), Larry Ellison (Cisco Systems), John Hagee (Christian evangelical), and Siemans (telecommunications).
UANI received $25,000 in funding from the Jewish United Fund of Chicago (JUF), a powerhouse fundraising organization connecting those of the Jewish community in Chicago. According to the organization’s board meeting minutes from early 2013 (readily available online), JUF has revenues of $206 million dollars. Of interest in those meeting minutes is a quote by Colonel Danny Tirza, the designer of the Security Fence that splits Israelis and Palestinians: “Not a single Palestinian home was damaged by the process [of building the fence].”
JUF allocated $30 million for Israel and Overseas Operations according to the board minutes.
JUF was one of the founders of the Israeli Action Network—along with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Jewish Federations of North America--whose mission is to fight against the boycott, divestiture and sanctions movement in the United States. JUF indicated in its board meeting minutes that although the American Studies Association (ASA) passed a resolution in 2013 in favor of boycotting Israeli academic institutions, the Israeli Action Network made a number of non-Jewish contacts and were able to convince a number of American university presidents to condemn the ASA resolution. The ASA described the outcome of the vote for the resolution thus: “The members of the American Studies Association have endorsed the Association’s participation in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. In an election that attracted 1252 voters, the largest number of participants in the organization’s history, 66.05% of voters endorsed the resolution, while 30.5% of voters voted no and 3.43% abstained. The election was a response to the ASA National Council’s announcement on December 4 that it supported the academic boycott and, in an unprecedented action to ensure a democratic process, asked its membership for their approval.”
What’s UANI got that Obama’s justice department does not want released?
Ask the FBI and other American counterintelligence agencies this question: How deep have Israeli operatives penetrated into America’s critical infrastructure sectors, American intelligence agencies, and the US military?
As MC Hammer once said, “Can’t touch this.”
John Stanton is a Virginia based writer
| by Paul Craig Roberts
( July 30, 2014, Washington DC, Sri Lanka Guardian) Readers are asking for my take on the Israel-Gaza situation, and, believe it or not, Oxford University’s famous debating society, the Oxford Union, invited me to debate the issue.
I replied to the Oxford Union that I was unprepared to take responsibility for the Palestinians without undergoing the extensive preparation that an Oxford Union debate deserves and requires. Unless things have changed since my time at Oxford, one prevails in a Union debate by anticipating every argument of one’s opponent and smashing the arguments with humor and wit. Facts seldom, if ever, carry the day, and sometimes not even wit and humor if the audience is already committed to the outcome by the prevailing propaganda. There is no time or energy in my overfull schedule for such preparation plus time away and jet lag.
Moreover, I am not an expert on Israel’s conquest and occupation of Palestine. I know more than most people. I was rescued from Zionist propaganda by Israeli historians, such as Ilan Pappe, by Jewish intellectuals, such as Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, by documentary film makers, such as John Pilger, by Israeli journalists such as Uri Avnery and the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, and by an Israeli houseguest who is an Israeli member of an Israeli peace group that opposes Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes, villages, and orchards in order to build apartment blocks for settlers.
There is only one take on the current Israeli slaughter of Palestinians, which Netanyahu, the demonic Israeli leader, declares will be a “protracted campaign” this time. We are witnessing yet again Israeli war crimes that are supported by the Great Moral West that is so concerned about the deaths of 290 passengers on MH-17 that they are about to drive the world to a major war, while Palestinian casualties pile up so fast that they are out of date by the time you put the numbers in a column. So far more than 1,200 deaths, with injuries to 2,000 children, 1,170 women, and 257 elderly.
Reading the Western Media, watching Western TV, and listening to Western radio, one is left with the propaganda that the Palestinians are to blame for the Israeli attack on Gaza, just as one is left with the propaganda that the Malaysian airliner deaths are Russia’s fault. There is no evidence, but propaganda does not require evidence. Just repetition.
The Gaza strip, a ghetto full of Palestinians evicted from their homes and villages in the West Bank, is one of the most densely populated areas on earth where life with scant resources is difficult. Israel is currently in the process of shrinking Gaza by 44 percent, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, is preparing another “emergency” aid package consisting of US tax dollars to finance Israel’s slaughter and compression of Palestinian lives. (See: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/28/as-israel-enforces-its-buffer-zone-gaza-shrinks-by-40-per-cent.html , http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39255.htm , and http://news.antiwar.com/2014/07/28/senate-leader-israel-may-need-more-us-aid-for-war/print/)
One would think that the Great Moral West would be discussing sanctions on Israel and on Washington’s stooge government in Kiev, which is bombing civilian homes, apartment complexes, and infrastructure in provinces where the people object to the Russophobic government installed by Washington in place of the one that they elected. But the Great Moral West only aids the perpetrators of death and destruction, not the victims.
Palestinians are being dispossessed and exterminated exactly as were the native American Indians. On occasion Israeli officials have said that they are only following America’s lead in clearing the land of undesirables. This is my take on what is one of the West’s great moral failings:
Israel Is Stealing and Murdering Its Way Through Palestine
Paul Craig Roberts
As Zionists have endeavored to teach the world for decades, Israel is not subject to criticism. Only Jew-haters, anti-semites, and people who want to gas Jews and boil them in oil criticize Israel. Israel is above criticism, because Israelis are God’s Chosen People and despite being God’s Chosen People suffered the Holocaust.
This means that the Israeli government, like the one in Washington, can do whatever it wants and remain above criticism.
Since the 1940s Zionists have been stealing Palestine from the Palestinians. The majority of Palestinians have been removed from their homes and their country. They exist in refugee camps in other countries and 1.5 million are concentrated in the Gaza Ghetto, which is blockaded by Israel on one end and by the Washington paid Egyptians on the other.
This makes it convenient for Israel from time to time to attack the civilian population and civilian infrastructure in Gaza with military force. So far in Israel’s latest war crime, Israel has murdered more than 1,200 Palestinians, largely women and children. You will seldom see the photos of the destruction in the American media, but RT provides a few glimpses. http://rt.com/news/175852-gaza-ceasefire-deathtoll-thousand/
Israel is always the aggressor but always takes the role of the victim. Palestinian women and children are all subhumans–”snakes” as one Israeli politician put it–who sneak into Israel through secret tunnels (whose existence is akin to Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction) wearing suicide bomb belts and blow up innocent Israelis along with themselves while Israelis sit in cafes peacefully discussing philosophical issues and the latest news. To stop this slaughter of innocent Israelis, Israel has to blow up Palestinian hospitals, schools, and civilian homes and apartment blocks.
These unmistakable war crimes, these crimes against humanity are all ignored by the great moral arbiters of the world–the Governments of the West who are shaking their fingers not at Israel but their fists at Russia.
Western governments ignore Israel’s war crimes but not all Western peoples comply with this neglect. Many thousands of demonstrators against Israel have been in the streets in South America, London, Paris, Germany, Dublin, and Israel’s own Tel Aviv. http://rt.com/news/175860-london-gaza-protest-march/ But don’t look for much reporting of these demonstrations in the American presstitute media.
The American presstitute media is focused on those who died in the downing of the Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine, in order to blame those 290 deaths on Russia. As far as the American presstitute media is concerned, the murder of 1,200 Palestinian deaths is not happening or if it is, the Palestinians deserve it for responding to Israel’s oppression by firing in frustration primitive rockets that seldom, if ever, hit their targets.
What is another 1,200 murdered Palestinians? Who cares? Not Washington or the British PM in Whitehall and certainly not the Israelis. As far as Israel and the Great Moral West is concerned, 1,200 murdered Palestinians amount to nothing. They are not even chafe in the wind.
The last time Israel attacked the civilians in Gaza, a distinguished Israeli jurist, himself a Zionist, prepared a case for the UN that Israel had committed war crimes. On Israel’s orders the craven but very obedient US Congress passed a resolution denouncing the distinguished jurist for defaming the pure and innocent Israeli government. The pressure from Washington and Israel on the jurist broke his commitment to truth, and he retracted his findings.
This is what the Israel Lobby and the craven American presstitute media do to everyone who criticizes Israel’s crimes against humanity and Washington’s protection of Israel’s crimes. Anytime you see a person attacked by the Israel Lobby, you know for certain that the person under attack is the salt of the earth. The distinctive mark of a moral human being is to be attacked by the Israel Lobby and the presstitute American media.
While Israel murders Palestinians in Gaza with attacks on hospitals, schools, and civilian apartment blocks, Washington and its puppets in Kiev attack civilians in apartment blocks in the former Russian provinces of Ukraine who object to Washington’s overthrow of the democratically elected government in Ukraine and Washington’s installation of a Russophobic Russian-hating government in its place.
Washington has declared those in Ukraine who object to Washington’s takeover of their country to be “terrorists” and is seeking legislation that will permit US troops legally to enter Ukraine to suppress the “terrorists.”
David Ward, a member of the British Parliament, who has the right as a British citizen and member of Parliament to express his opinion, said that if he lived in Gaza under Israeli oppression, he would likely fire a rocket into Israel.
The British media and government is yet to criticize Israel for its crimes, but instantly attacked Ward for his “vile comments.” A Conservative member of Parliament, Nadhim Zahawi wrote the Metropolitan Police demanding an investigation into Ward’s statement “as a matter of urgency.” The Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps declared Ward’s statement to be an “incitement to violence,” a felony. The craven Labour Party declared Ward’s opinion to be “so vile and irresponsible” that “it defied belief.” http://rt.com/uk/174920-david-ward-israel-tweet/
The Liberal Democrats of which Ward is a member “utterly condemned” Ward’s remarks and declared that Ward would be subject to disciplinary hearings and may permanently be expelled from the party.
There you have it. A member of Parliament in the country that invented freedom of speech expresses an honest opinion, and he is dead meat. Ward’s harmless remarks killed no one. The Israelis with weapons supplied by Washington have, at this time of writing murdered more than 1,200 people. But it is Ward who must be restrained, not Israel. Ward’s remarks are declared “vile and irresponsible” but not Israel’s murder of 1,200 people.
The US and UK pretend to be countries that are not afraid of the truth, where there is free inquiry and freedom to express one’s views, but it is all a great lie.
The US and UK are the two greatest threats to free speech on the face of the earth. In the UK no truth contrary to the line is permissible. In the US people who speaks the truth is put on the Watch List.
How much longer will the governments of the rest of the world regard the US and UK as homes of free speech and uplifting Western morality?
In America the success of Israeli propaganda, never challenged of course by the US media, exceeds the success of Washington’s own propaganda. Most Americans believe that Palestinian women and children are outfitted with explosive suicide belts and that “the snakes,” as they are described by Israeli politicians, walk into Israeli cafes and blow everyone up including themselves.
The fact of the matter is that Palestinians cannot get into Israel. Gaza is blockaded as are the few remaining Palestinian settlements in the West Bank. Israel has stolen almost all of Palestine. The few Palestinian settlements still permitted to exist are cut off by a massive wall from Israel and from each other by barbed wire and check points, cut off from hospitals and schools, from water, and from their fields and olive groves, which are being destroyed to make room for settlers‘ apartment blocks.
People this hemmed in are helpless, and the extreme right-wing Israeli settlers are moving into the few remaining Palestinian settlements evicting the Palestinians from their properties with the aid of US-provided Caterpillar tractors especially designed for uprooting Palestinian olive groves and demolishing Palestinian houses, just like the Caterpillar tractor that the Israelis ran over US citizen Rachel Corrie, murdering this protesting US citizen in cold blood. Yes, you are correct, the Great Moral US government did nothing about it. Israel learned when it murdered the crew of the USS Liberty in 1967 that Israel had carte blanche from Washington to murder US citizens.
When you view the photos of Palestinians who have undergone an Israeli attack, what do you see? You see unarmed people crying, hugging dead children in their arms and one another. You never see a resolute armed people prepared to repel the next Israeli attack. You see devastated hospitals, schools, and apartment complexes and Palestinians in tears and no weapons.
What is striking about the success of Israeli propaganda is its success when all evidence is that Palestinians are pacifists, incapable of resistance. The bulk of the people in Gaza are refugees from the West Bank where their land and homes were stolen by the Great Democratic State of Israel. The Israeli destruction of Palestine has been going on for almost seven decades. And still Palestinians are not armed and have no effective military units.
After seven decades the Palestinian people remain unarmed. Hamas has a few ineffective weapons, but the people themselves are unarmed. Their response to the Israeli murders of their children, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, parents, cousins, and friends is to cry. This is not the response of a warlike people.
In contrast, there are reports that Israeli civilians sit atop the hill overlooking Gaza on sofas that they bring along with their drinks and food and watch in glee, clapping and cheering as Israeli bombs destroy Palestinians in their homes, children in their schools, and the ill in hospitals. If this is the true face of “the only democracy in the Middle East,” it is the face of evil.
The view brainwashed into the West that Palestinians are a threat to Israel is absurd. If Palestinians are a threat and a danger to Israel, how is it possible that Palestinians are locked away into sealed ghettos in the remnants of their own country or into refugee camps in foreign countries?
As Israel’s most distinguished historian, Ilan Pappe, has related, the story of Israel is the story of “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.” This story has been hidden by Western “moral” governments and by a corrupt Western media and “Christian” priests from Western populations that, possibly, would have objected, but who are now too brainwashed and disinformed to know.
| by Mahboob A. Khawaja
( July 30, 2014,London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Pakistani politics is hub of intrigues and backdoor conspiracies. The take-over of Islamabad by the military is unwanted and unwise. The Generals do not have the moral and intellectual capacity to manage political problems. Rationality spells out a clear picture of political failure of the civil administration. There is no national emergency warranting military intervention or administration of the capital security and governance. If PM Nawaz Sharif is a political failure as appears to be case, why should the army Generals protect him from the ultimate consequences of his failure? Do the Generals owe loyalty to Sharif and his political clan? Or do they have professional integrity to be the Generals of the Pakistan armed forces to defend the nation and country against mishaps and foreign threats? The national defense means, the safeguard of the rights and dignity of the people and security of the country. Rolling out tanks and flying bullets and gunfire on public demonstrations would not be in the interests of the armed forces or the masses. The nation under Sharif’s regime is already enduring tormenting pains, insecurity and instability and deprivation.
There is a conflicting time zone between the rulers and the ruled. Pakistan faces multiple critical problems for its survival. Almost all major domains of its political, economic, social and strategic lifelines are ruptured by its own egoistic and incompetent rulers. The law and order is terribly broken. Human rights, dignity and law and justice are fast becoming issues of global concerns. It is hard to make sense where the country is heading to. Politics is corruption, trading-in national interests for increased foreign bank balances. General Musharaf, Bhuttos, Zardari and Sharifs – are all popular names to perpetuate hatred and disgust. Imran Khan, a cricketer turned politician is new and exception in this discipline. Under the Constitution, circumstances do not justify military take-over of Islamabad. To have Freedom March in a democratic governance is not anti-freedom or a threat to the security of the nation. Military administration is a false pretext to cover-up the political mismanagement of the ruling elite. Why should the nation waste time in keeping such a corrupt regime in power when there is no logical ground to do so? But reason and logic appear irrelevant to Pakistani politics of the few. Pakistan has a history of catastrophic consequential politics to undermine the public interests and national freedom. Only absurd mindset could indulge and intervene to protect Sharif and his party at a great cost of losing the national freedom. For almost half of a century, Pakistan’s politics has been disruptive, degenerational and non-productive. Its overwhelmingly military domination has led to political defeats and moral and intellectual degradation across the board. No one was ever held accountable for heinous crimes committed against the freedom and integrity of the nation.
Since more than a year Nawaz Sharif has been in power. Nothing has changed from the utter failure of his associate Asif Ali Zardari. As Prime Minister, twice dismissed before on corruption charges and even tried by a court on “terrorism” accusations and exiled abroad. Legally, he should not have been sworn-in for the third term if there was any law and justice system still operative in Pakistan. Like the Bhuttos, in 1999 Sharif conspired to highjack a PIA plane with General Pervez Musharaf on board and some 280 passengers coming from Sri Lanka. Nawaz Sharif wanted to replace General Musharaf with one of his buddies and he was out there to get him even if the plane got crashed or diverted to India. General Musharaf initiated coup to oust Sharif. During the Kargil –Kashmir crisis, Sharif took about 50 people of his own party on a pleasure trip to America. The nation faced a crisis situation but Sharif spent 6 hours in a London furniture store selecting personal furniture. When he went to see President Clinton at the White House, only four of his colleagues were allowed to go to the Whitehouse. Why did he take so many other people as burden on the national treasury? Clinton did nothing to support the Pakistani stance on Kashmir.
Do the Pakistani Generals think critically of their policies and practices corresponding to the national interests? Not so. They do not appear to think openly and critically out of the box. Few of the infamous Generals and their by-products politicians - Bhuttos, Zardari, Chaudri of Gujrat and Sharif have been the crux of the political problems for the nation to search for a new political future. All have come into power through intrigues and in-house political conspiracies of gangesterism, killings and maintaining death squads and even surrender to India in 1971.
After a military coup against Ayub Khan, General Yahya Khan assumed the power. His governance had the hallmarks of cocktail parties, intrigues and prostitution as the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. ZA Bhutto saw best opportunity to grab power and promised to keep General Yahya Khan as President after the election if Sheikh Mujib ur- Rehman- the Awami League majority leader from East Pakistan was arrested and the power was not transferred to him as the new elected Prime Minister of Pakistan as it should have been done according to the Constitution. The Generals were complacent not knowing the cause and effects of their own folly. India was waiting for such an opportunity to intervene and change the map of the Sub-Continent and carve-up a new state of Bangladesh out of East Pakistan. Leader turned traitor, ZA Bhutto should have been held accountable in a court of law and punished for the planned disintegration of Pakistan. Instead, ZA Bhutto became absolute ruler - the President, Martial Law Administrator and Prime Minister of defeated Pakistan. The army Generals were part of this shameful indoctrinated conspiracy to break One Pakistan and to insult the educated and conscientious Pakistanis. How stupid and ignorant were the Pakistani military Generals not to imagine the outcome of their actions in East Pakistan against the interests of the nation and its freedom? Have they learned any lessons from the formative history? What are they up to this time in Islamabad?
For almost fifty long years, Pakistani nation failed to produce any intelligent and credible leaders to represent its national interests to a challenging world of competing interests. For too long, Pakistan’s national interests were not part of the political characters encroaching political power through backdoor conspiracies and secretive intrigues to maintain the status-quo for foreign dictates. There are critical issues involving large segments of the society and politicians to be complacent in sustaining institutionalized corruption and dismantling the foundational framework of the freedom of the nation. There is no scarcity of informed, well educated and intelligent people to take up the challenging role of new-age leadership to change the course of self-geared destruction of the society but most are not part of the corrupt “no system” of politics as they have not earned wealth through bribes and backdoor deals, so their chances to any meaningful participation in national politics are non-existent. The institutionalized corruption is itself an operating powerful system of governance and it denies receptive opportunities to outsiders – the honest and educated people of the new generation to enter into politics and make the difference.
In August, 1988, according to the media reports, Begum Zia ul Haq and son Ejaz ul Haq, Bhutto family (namely Mrs. Nusrat Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Zardari) were involved in the killing of General Zia ul Haq, 12 senior army Generals and hundred of others including the US Ambassador to Pakistan in a plane crash. It was obvious the presidential plane was not well protected by the security apparatus and the Bhutto family had successfully planned to carry out the conspiracy to pave the way for Benazir Bhutto to reclaim political power. Nobody was held responsible for this tragedy.
PM Sharif is no angle to institutionalized corruption, greed, moral and intellectual incompetence. Simply put, he was groomed by General Zia ul Haq and moved onward in a similar pattern as did ZA Bhutto, Miss Bhutto and Asif Zardari. In 1997, he invested $2 millions out of the national treasury to have Asif Zardari and Benazir Bhutto investigated for money laundering and other criminal activities. Subsequently, The New York Times published four pages of investigated reports showing the hard evidence as to how these people transferred several millions of bribed money to Swiss banks and other paper-based but their own organizations across the globe. The Swiss court indicted Miss Bhutto and Zardari for $60. millions money laundering schemes. They bought mansions with stolen money in UK, Spain and Dubai. When Sharif returned to Pakistan in 2007, he embraced Benazier Bhutto as his “Sister” and got glued to Zardari to share political power throughout his infamous and corrupt presidency. Do these people have any morals, any democratic principles and any sense of honesty to be political leaders of Pakistan? What a shame……what a shame ….what a moral and intellectual disgrace that Thinking Pakistanis have to co-exist with these criminals that no other modern civilized nation could have imagined to tolerate them.
Is the military action in Islamabad is a prelude to a full-fledged military take-over of the country? Military actions are one-sided and do not solve political problems but create more complex and critical dangers undermining the freedom and integrity of the nation. Common people wondered if there is another Martial Law age in the making. How would a military administration safeguard the capital city’s lifelines and ensure calm and harmony when the issues are of political nature and require political ingenuity and visionary leadership for change? Wherever, a military regime assumes power, the nation becomes victimized in both short and long terms ripple effects. Imposition of Martial Law signals complete failure of political governance in a society. The action tells a lot about the people, the culture and the nation as a lost resort to save its body and continuing existence. Is this the prevalent picture of Pakistani politics? If so, why PM Sharif should not be removed from power and as this author suggested several months ago (“Pakistan: In search of New Life” Opinion Maker: 12/13/2013), a workable remedy, a new Government of National Unity be formed under able and non-partisan leadership to articulate a sustainable future based on new a Constitution and building new public institutions for change and national development:
Evil is not one but many and they all appearing to be active in dehumanizing the nation and its moral, spiritual and intellectual heritage. Pakistan needs a new beginning, away from the obsolete politics of the few historical dead conscience figures. Pakistan is deliberately fractured and susceptible to all kind of foreign influence under the heavy load of IMF debts. One rational and workable remedy that Pakistani masses should consider as a national priority is to demand the National Assembly to sack Sharif and set up a non-partisan Government of national unity under an able and intelligent leader to focus on systematic political capacity-building and to initiate work on a New Constitution, new public institutions and to encourage new educated and intelligent people of the young generation to participate in political development aimed at sustainable future-building of a nation being oppressed and its functional capacity continuously being shattered by the few crime-riddled politicians. Imagine, if in 1971, the known conspirators - ZA Bhutto and General Yahya Khan were arrested and tried for their crimes against the integrity of the nation, and political power was peacefully transferred to Sheikh Mujib-ur -Rehman- the majority political leaders after the elections in One Pakistan, the nation could have been saved from the humiliation of surrender to India and further dismemberment. History offers learning lessons to all those who are willing to learn from the past. Is Nawaz Sharif any different than what treacherous and shameful acts ZA Bhutto and Yahya Khan did to the nation? Are there any proactive and intelligent people to think critically and honestly about the present and future of our nation? To THINK of ANEW political beginning is the essence of time and urgent need for the future of Pakistan.
What is wrong with that unless few Generals have self-centered interests to undermine the national interests and forge a corrupt alliance with Sharif to continue the unthinkable. If so, we will lose more of our national integrity and freedom, more parts could disintegrate, more domestic rivalries will emerge to destroy the nation. If Nawaz Sharif is overwhelmed with greed of power and lack of political imagination and leadership, why should he be allowed to remain in power? There must be a systematic political mechanism to facilitate peaceful change and transfer of power to the legitimate representatives of the nation.
(Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012).
| by Shenali Waduge
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day;
teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime
( July 29, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Vatican City is a land locked state inside the city of Rom, Italy and governed by the Pope (Bishop of Rome). It is the world’s smallest sovereign on just 110 acres. The Pope is not only head of 2.3billion people but he is also head of a global financial empire. The Vatican that promotes giving and sharing is notoriously secretive about the riches it hoards. Its wealth ranges from treasures confiscated during the Inquisition, colonial rule and includes financial holdings, real estate, works of art and even a full-fledged media conglomerate which ensures nothing too controversial is relayed to the global public. While 2/3 of the world earns less than $2 a day, and 1/5 of the world is underfed or starving to death, the Vatican hoards the world’s wealth, profits from it on the stock market and at the same time preaches about giving. Yet, 842million are in hunger - 60 percent of the world's hungry are women. 8,500 children per day die due to hunger. Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. The cost to end world hunger is $30 billion a year. U.S. spent $737 billion in 2012 on defense!
The Vatican City and the Holy See
There is a need to distinguish between the Vatican City and the Holy See. The Holy Se governs the nation. All contracts are signed by the Holy See. Its revenues are generated through donations from Catholics (Peter’s Pence), from interest and investments of its reserves in Western European currencies and bonds as well as in the New York Stock Exchange and even real estate. US Catholics had donated $97million to Peter’s Pence.
Origins of the Roman Catholic Church
The New Testament reveals that the Catholic Church did not have its origins in the teachings of Jesus or His apostles. The New Testament does not mention any papacy or Mary or to petition saints in heaven for their prayers or confession of sin to a priest.
To answer the question on the origins of the Catholic Church we need to be aware that Christianity was banned by the Roman Empire for the first 280 years of Christian history. The change came after Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and lifted the ban in 313AD but Constantine’s Christianity was one mixed with Roman paganism. Pagan beliefs became Christianized just as Christians absorb itself into other indigenous religions with ulterior motives.
Some of these paganisms include
a) cult of Isis (Egyptian mother-goddess) replaced Mary with reference to Queen of Heaven and Mary given an exalted role in order to attract Isis worshippers. Temples of Isis were converted to those dedicated to Mary. However, the Catholic Church denies the pagan connections to its origins though in reality these beliefs and practices have nothing to do with the Scripture. Yet, the truth remains that the Catholic Church ‘christianized’ pagan religions to make itself welcome to the Roman people.
b) Mithraism was replaced with Christianity. Mithraism was practiced by Roman soldiers of the Roman Empire from 1st – 5th centuries AD was a defacto religion without ‘official status’ of the Roman Empire. The sacrificial meal (eating flesh and drinking blood of a bull) was practiced by the Mithras. Those that took part in this meal was said to be granted salvation. Lord’s Supper/Christian communion replaced the Mithraism.
c) Romans were henotheists (believers of many gods but focused on one god as supreme –Roman god Jupiter supreme over pantheon gods, got Neptune god of the Oceans etc). Thus pantheon gods were replaced with saints.
d) the papacy was created with the support of the Roman emperors. Thus, the state and religion became centralized. When the Roman Empire collapsed it was just a matter of the Popes taking the titles that belonged to the Roman emperors – Pontifex Maximus.
This is why the Catholic Church is said to be an extension of the Roman Empire (Imperium Romanum).
Is it just a coincidence that the Roman terms are now clothed under papacy – Roman Governors now Archbishops, Roman Senators now Cardinals, Departments of Roman Senate now Congregations, Political ambassadors pro-nuncio and Roman Calendar and Holy Days of the gods now Calendar Holidays of the Saints? If voice of the Gods spoke through Caesar is the same function now done by the Pope? According to Roman Code of Canon Law a treaty signed with Rom makes Romans the head of the foreign country. It was only in 1984 that Ronald Reagan signed the treaty in the US and UK signed the treaty in 1982.
Estimating the wealth of the Catholic Church - How did the Catholic Church become so rich and powerful?
§ Putting a price tag on sin (bishops/Popes market sin, guilt and fear and worshippers were encouraged to pre-pay for sins not yet committed)
§ Wealthy land owners had to live land and fortune to Church on deathbed in exchange for blessings so they could go to heaven – Pope Leo 5th is said to have rebuilt St. Peter’s Basilica by selling tickets from hell to heaven!
§ Sale of ‘forgiveness for sins’ – practice of making people believe that a payment to church for forgiveness will purify them.
§ Hoarded wealth during the Dark Ages from the poor and hoarded knowledge by denying the poor education even reading
§ The Christian Crusades from 1095-1291AD tortured, murdered, beheaded and killed thousands of Muslims in the name of God under Pope’s orders. These soldiers were called the Knights of the Temple of Solomon and are known today as Freemasons
§ The Inquisition from 1450 to 1700AD were against all non-Catholics who were hunted down, tortured and burned alive on a stake.
The Vatican was criticized for supporting Hitler during World War 2. The Pope blessed Hitler and named him ‘the envoy of God’
Over the past 50 years over 500 priests/bishops have been involved in sexual crimes against thousands of young boys and girls and violating their rights with no compensation given to the traumatized victims?
It is anyone’s guess how rich the Vatican is. It is anyone’s guess what lies beneath the basements of the Vatican where rumors of stolen artifacts, gold and silver pilfered from nations ever since the Inquisition remain unreturned to their rightful owners. The money in possession of the Church in reality belongs to their victims! Vatican City generates its income via tourism through museum admissions, tours, stamps, coins and publications.
Who are these victims? Does the Catholic Church recall what they did to the Inca temples when Spain invaded South America? Inca temples were razed to the ground and on top of these Churches were built.
How rich is the Catholic Church?
The power of the Vatican is unlimited. It is a force that drives both rich and poor. It thrives on poverty because those depressed will believe in anything and anyone.
The chalice held by the Pope on his left hand has 122 diamonds (ranging from 3 to 27 karats). The chalice held in the right hand holds 72 diamonds (ranging from 3 to 15 karats) There are said to be dozens of similar chalices. There are 22 crowns which contain over 1700 diamonds and countless gems. The papal bathrooms are said to be over $100m dollars! These cannot be Christ’s hidden treasures!
The Associated Press estimated in 2004 that the Holy See’s real estate excluding St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel was worth a billion dollars.
The Vatican Bank also known as the Institute for Works on Religion (IOR) is a financial institution founded in 1942 with a mandate to safeguard and administer property for the Church and its activities. It is also known as the world’s most secretive bank. It is amusing as to why the Vatican Bank should keep records secret when large part of the donations are from the faithful and they number 1.2billion and expanding.
The Vatican Bank has been accused of money laundering with Italian authorities seizing $30m from Vatican’s account in Italy’s Credito Artigano Spa. The New York Times claims that the Vatican Bank has 33,000 accounts and 20,772 clients with close to 70% the clergy.
The Economist has revealed that Church owned entities in the US spent $170billion in 2010 but why is the revenue never disclosed? Incidentally, only 16 companies have more than $170billion in revenues in the US! That should speak volumes of the amount that the Church is not disclosing!
According to Ivan Ruggiero, the Holy See's chief accountant, Vatican's real estate is worth about 700 million euro ($1.21 billion), not including its priceless art treasures,
The Church’s financial structure is said to be as a result of cash originally handed over by Mussolini in return for papal recognition of the Italian fascist regime in 1929 which the Vatican takes great pains to keep secret.
§ the premises of Bulgari, the upmarket jewellers in New Bond Street, headquarters of the wealthy investment bank Altium Capital belong to the Vatican
§ Vatican spent £15m of those funds to buy 30 St James's Square
§ Other UK properties are at 168 New Bond Street and in the city of Coventry. It also owns blocks of flats in Paris and Switzerland. (UK Guardian)
§ The UK purchases for the Vatican was through prominent Catholic bankers: John Varley, CEO Barclays bank and Robin Herbert, formerly of the Leopold Joseph merchant bank (UK Guardian)
§ The Mussolini investments in Britain are currently controlled by a papal official in Rome, Paolo Mennini, who is in effect the pope's merchant banker. Mennini heads a special unit inside the Vatican called the extraordinary division of APSA – Amministrazione del Patrimonio della Sede Apostolica – which handles the so-called "patrimony of the Holy See". A report by the Council of Europe has placed assets of Mennini's special unit over €680m (£570m).
§ The Vatican palace is said to have 11,000 rooms and no female housemaids!
§ The Vatican has large investments with the Rothschilds of Britain, France and America, with the Hambros Bank, with the Credit Suisse in London and Zurich. In the United States it has large investments with the Morgan Bank, the Chase-Manhattan Bank, the First National Bank of New York, the Bankers Trust Company, and others.
§ The Vatican has billions of shares in the most powerful international corporations such as Gulf Oil, Shell, General Motors, Bethlehem Steel, General Electric, International Business Machines, T.W.A., etc.”
“The Vatican has large investments with the Rothschilds of Britain, France and America, with the Hambros Bank, with the Credit Suisse in London and Zurich. In the United States it has large investments with the Morgan Bank, the Chase-Manhattan Bank, the First National Bank of New York, the Bankers Trust Company, and others. The Vatican has billions of shares in the most powerful international corporations such as Gulf Oil, Shell, General Motors, Bethlehem Steel, General Electric, International Business Machines, T.W.A., etc. At a conservative estimate, these amount to more than 500 million dollars in the U.S.A. alone. The Vatican’s treasure of solid gold has been estimated by the United Nations World Magazine to amount to several billion dollars. A large bulk of this is stored in gold ingots with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, while banks in England and Switzerland hold the rest. But this is just a small portion of the wealth of the Vatican, which in the U.S. alone, is greater than that of the five wealthiest giant corporations of the country. When to that is added all the real estate, property, stocks and shares abroad, then the staggering accumulation of the wealth of the Catholic church becomes so formidable as to defy any rational assessment.” (Avro Manhattan)
“. . . this morning, I flushed my toilet with a solid gold lever edged with diamonds and at this very moment, bishops and cardinals are using a bathroom on the second floor of the papal palace which trappings, I am told, would draw more than fifty million dollars at auction . . . Believe me, one day, we who live in opulence, while so many are dying because they have nothing, will have to answer to Jesus as to why we have not carried out His instruction, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’ We, the clergy of the Church together with our congregations, who substitute gold and pomp and ceremony in place of Christ’s instruction, who judge our masquerade of singing His praises to be more precious than human life, will have the most to explain.” (Pope John Paul 1st, 1978)
It is not difficult to realize why Pope John Paul 1 was murdered just 33days into the head of the Papacy.
Pope John Paul 1 ordered a complete review of the Church’s finances including global liquid assets. He was present for the internal audit of the Vatican Bank, he invited art dealers to appraise the value of art treasures, he surveyed the papal estate and 4 palaces and luxury resort city, he halved the bonus of the Vatican cardinals (which John Paul II raised to 18% after election), he decided to move to a small four room apartment. He decided to follow Christ’s advice “if thou be perfect, sell all that thou hast and give to the poor”. He did not wish to live in luxury amidst priceless art, architecture, jewels, gold and treasures while children all over the world were starving to death and he realized that the Church’s position on birth control was the reason for that starvation.
“Jesus was the poorest of the poor. Roman Catholicism, which claims to be His church, is the richest of the rich, the wealthiest institution on earth. (…) How come, that such an institution, ruling in the name of this same itinerant preacher, whose want was such that he had not even a pillow upon which to rest his head, is now so top-heavy with riches that she can rival - indeed, that she can put to shame - the combined might of the most redoubtable financial trusts, of the most potent industrial super-giants, and of the most prosperous global corporation of the world?” Avro Manhattan.
The Church and its leaders headed by the Pope are eternally preaching to give. It is a most noble and charitable request but why does that goodwill not start with the Church and in particular by removing all that’s hidden treasures in the basement and returning all that was stolen and thereafter making use of the investments to really eradicate poverty. None of the Church’s wealth realistically belongs to the Church and questions why they are not distributed amongst those that need it?
| by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam
( July 29, 2014, Sydney, Sri Lanka Guardian) I read with interest the Sri Lanka Guardian article ‘We Must Fight For A Radical Change In Society’ based on the speech by Ms Tamara Kunanayakam, former Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, to the United Nations. The question that came to my mind is ‘Is Ms Kunanayakam speaking as Sri Lankan or Global citizen?’ The parallel of that for a Sri Lankan living in Sri Lanka and working in Sri Lankan Public Service is ‘Is that person an officer or gentleman/lady?’ The parallel for me in Australia was ‘Am I an Australian Public Officer or a natural Migrant-Australian?’
The two are not likely to merge naturally where the system of law and order is driven more by personal thoughts and belief by the primary member (politician) rather than by discriminative thinking using Common Law and principles covering all groups beyond local borders. This is also a question that arises when we marry. ‘Are we members of the system we grew up with or are we members of the system we marry into?’ In the case of those who come to Colombo from Jaffna – the question is ‘Am I Sri Lankan or Tamil?’. Likewise in the case of those who come to Parliament from Hambantota the question is ‘Am I member of the local political system or am I member of the President’s team?’
At the primary (voter) level of a structure as well as at the tertiary (governance) level – members tend to act naturally. A good system would allocate responsibility to the primary member – through Due Processes and eliminate ‘showing’ of finished outcome directly to the Public. At the tertiary level – there needs to be no allocation at all to the member. Such a member would provide ‘service’. Where the primary member’s work through the standards of the processes fails to confirm this ‘service’ by tertiary member – a restructure is needed to change Due Processes used by primary members.
Where the difference is due largely to time based natural changes - a reconciliation is required prior to the restructure. Where the difference is due to lack of common belief due to indifference at one level or the other - devolution is needed. Where the lack of belief is at the primary level – separation and regrouping as per belief is needed – so there is least interference from primary level in the space of the governor. Where the lack of belief is at the tertiary level – demotion of the institution as a whole needs to take place to reduce the gap between the primary and tertiary levels – so the effects of one’s actions and words would be seen more quickly and addressed without delay.
Ms Tamara Kunanayakam states to the Young Socialists Union ‘I’m here because I’m Sri Lankan, and I’m here because I’m proud to be Sri Lankan! I’m also here because separatism and partition will not resolve the problems that we face. I am convinced that only a people united can combat exploitation and injustice and can defend the hard-won sovereignty and independence of the country that is under threat.’ The Union membership is part of Ms Kunanayakam’s inheritance from her father. There is a strong component of belief in that. Not so the position in the UN. Former leads to inner status that develops self-confidence through which we would take our places in a group. Latter is outer status – to ‘show’ our employer’s status to outsiders. So long as we receive money and status to be in a position – our ‘shown’ position needs to be stronger than our inner placement as per our belief. Hence Sri Lankan before Tamil / Sinhalese / Muslim.
Where primary level members are allocated status by appointments in high positions because they are ‘clever’ they would produce outcomes that would not include the work of those above the primary members in real terms. That happened in the case of LTTE which eventually ‘took-over’ leadership of the Tamil Community and wrote off the higher level contribution to governance by those using ‘common systems’. Those who ‘accepted’ LTTE leadership ‘lost’ their heritage from intellectual leaders in governance – including our ancestors from whom we inherited the laws of Tesawalamai.
To me Thesawalamai is about Diversity – on gender basis as well as on the basis of our work. A mother cooking and cleaning for her family – is therefore Equal to the father who uses his skills to earn money from outside the family. Where this status is not recognized by a Jaffna Tamil – such a person contributes to role reversals in old age – after retirement from money earning work. By allocating Equal status to the mother – the father shares his external status and therefore naturally earns Equal status when in mother’s territory. If the mother denies this – then she becomes a dictator and shows that more quickly in old age – where people tend to think that they are the bosses. Likewise migrants who accept lower status to be in favor with the employer.
Ms Kunanayakam is now revealing that she acted as a paid officer while representing Sri Lanka in the UN. Hence the failures to work the UN system. The UN system would have been worked by independently practicing UN principles and/or becoming an ordinary member once one as a self-governing citizen nominates her/himself to the appropriate Service position within the UN. If that had happened, Ms Kunanayakam would have in her own mind represented Sri Lanka at the global level – with or without an official position. Without a position, Ms Kunanayakam represents Young Socialists. That’s her inner self-allocated status.
| by Basil Fernando
( July 24, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The idea of the executive presidency, as found in the 1978 constitution, is now a failed idea.
Almost everybody agrees that it is a failed idea.
The people who are maintaining it also know that it is a failed political idea, but it helps them to have extraordinary power and the benefits of such power. Even they do not believe that it has any benefit to the state or to the population.
If there is anyone who may have some illusion about this idea having some effectiveness, it is only the opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe, who was closely associated with President JR Jayawardene. Unfortunately, he is the opposition leader, and therefore he is the main obstacle in the way of mobilizing the mass disillusionment about this idea.
Failed ideas cannot survive long. That is the lesson of history. Therefore, there is no reason to believe that this particular idea will prove to be an exception.
The factors that prevent the emergence of an alternative:
Firstly, there is the fear that no government can remain stable, as many of the members of the governing party can be bought over at any moment – this is one of the issues for which no solution has yet been proposed or discussed. The presidential system makes parliamentarians depend on the President and the President can use the state coffers to give extraordinary privileges and even to buy people who are engaged in active opposition, and thereby has the capacity to cripple the emergence of the powerful opposition. Therefore, the failed idea can survive not on the basis of its legitimacy but for other reasons, such as being able to maintain a government by whatever means.
Secondly, all parties fear the people. There prevalence of mass discontent is known to all political parties. They do not want to provide opportunities that allow the masses to express their discontent. The present form of government has more capacity for mobilizing repression than a functional democratic government. This is another negative reason in favour of the present system of governance.
Thirdly, no political party has a vision for resolving the problems in the national economy. Therefore, any government that comes into power is likely to be undermined by severe economic problems. The present form of government attempts to get over this problem by unscrupulous and undemocratic means, such as borrowing money from many sources without being restricted by the normal limitations imposed by economics, as well as by democratic norms. This way, they keep on postponing the crisis. Perhaps all political parties think that, having no solution to possible economic and financial problems, this is the only way to keep the government afloat.
A further factor that complicates the problem: The minority issue complicates this problem further. No political party has any kind of rational solution to the minority issue. If there is a democratic government, the pressure of solving this problem will weigh very heavily on that government. The present form of government can keep on postponing the reckoning by keeping an artificial form of consensus through the use of the power of the President and also mobilizing the armed forces in an extraordinary manner in the areas where minorities reside. Such kinds of virtual occupation will not be possible under a democratic government. Thus, a lack of solutions on this issue also act in favour of the present form of governance and, purely on this basis, more extremist sections of the majority will be willing to let this form of government stay.
| by Lakshan Dias
( July 29, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), are the popular punching bag of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL), when its actions are challenged by any individual and/or organization. Name-calling, brandishing circulars to warn NGOs and now a draconian law to prevent them from raising public issues has been the modus operandi of the regime to curb and crush dissent. The context of the sudden and heightened attack on NGOs is also relevant. Hostilities between the GOSL and the LTTE have ended in the decisive victory of the former over the latter. There are no emergency laws in force and reconciliation efforts are purportedly taking place. Efforts are nevertheless being made, to undermine the contributions of NGOs. Consequently it is time to reflect on an important case to consider the importance of nongovernmental organizations or civil society organizations and the significance of the contributions of NGOs, particularly at a time when those who benefited from “associations” with them have changed sides and lose sight of the value and utility of NGOS to the country at large.
During the 1990s, Sri Lanka was differently poised. There were insurrections in the North and the South and emergency laws were in operation. As a result dissenting points of view were subject to suppression. Yet the Court system was upheld and courts recognized the value of upholding the Fundamental Rights enjoyed by any citizen. A few examples of this spring to mind.
Malinda Channa Peiris Seneviratne, Athureliye Rathana (Ranjith), Ranawaka Arachchige Patali Champika Ranawaka are prominent personalities in contemporary Sri Lanka. In 1992 they were among 16 other individuals who moved the Supreme Court in 10 Fundamental Rights Applications, now reported in (1994), 1 Sri Lanka Law Reports 1, alleging that they were detained by the Police under emergency laws and were tortured. Their main complaint however was that the Freedom of Association which they exercised through the Ratawesi Peramuna, a non political civil society organization was violated. Legal Aid unit of The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) and several other NGOs were at the forefront to protect the rights of the detainees at that time and they had coordinated preparations for this case. These cases were filed pro bono and Sri Lanka’s foremost Human Rights Lawyer Mr. R.K.W. Goonesekere and Attorneys-at-Law Manori Muttetuwegama, Suranjit Hewamanne, Methsiri Coorey, LCM Swarnadhipathi and J. C Weliamuna represented them. Fortunately, unlike today nobody questioned the right of the Human Rights activists and the NGOs to raise these issues before the appropriate fora.
Around the same time, another case came up in the Supreme Court, when Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse MP (now the President) was detained at the Airport for questioning when he was about to board a flight to Geneva to make representation before 31st Session of the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances. This detention was challenged with Mr. R.K.W. Goonesekere leading the team of lawyers for Mahinda Rajapakse (See Mahinda Rajapakse v. Kudahetti 1992 2 SLR 223). All leading NGOs condemned the detention of Mr. Rajapaske. However, what is notable given the current environment in Sri Lanka, is that no one questioned the role of civil society in support of Mr. Rajapaksha’s visit to Geneva.
Interesting backgrounds of different petitioners in Ratavesi Peremuna makes it important for us to understand how an association works, outside the control of the Government. According to the case record, Malinda Seneviratne (now Editor of Nation newspaper and close associate of Sri Lankan Defense establishment) had read Fundamental Texts of Marxism and then became a Trotskyite. He entered Dumbara University but went to United States of America on an Exchange to read sociology at Harvard University. Ven. Ratana (now a Member of Parliament from Sihala Urumaya) was the ideological leader of the group. Champaka Ranawaka (now a Minister and a leading nationalist ideologist), a founder member of Ratawesi Peramuna took an active part in anti JVP activities in the universities. He wrote articles to Ravaya and Lakbima. He was opposed to the guns of both the JVP and Government and wanted to prevent the youth from being pushed to violent politics. He also had a scheme to restructure the Peramuna along the lines a political party. Many other petitioners were involved with Government and held key positions in various ministries. Petitioner Bandara became a Governor of Uva and later a Member of Parliament from UPFA.
People change but the principles do not. The Ratawesi Peramuna case record speaks volumes of the importance of human values and human rights. In delivering the judgment, Justice Dr. A.R.B. Amerasinghe considered, among others, several leading decisions of US Supreme Court and made the following pronouncements, which is now part of our constitutional law:
(a) No person or group of persons, not even majorities, can claim to have a monopoly of good ideas. Many a strange and singular idea as in time, through argument and debate, had the power to get accepted as truth.
(b) It is beyond debate that freedom to engage in association for the advancement of beliefs and ideas is an indispensable aspect of liberty.
(c) Freedom such as right to association are protected not only against obvious heavy handed frontal attack, but also from being smothered or stifled or chilled by more subtle interferences.
(d) Legitimate agitation cannot be considered as incitement to overthrow the government unlawfully.
What is the situation today? Freedom of association is under its worst threats in independent Sri Lanka, despite the attempts by state media and “Para state propaganda units” to deny it. Those who supply ideological justification for this government (including some of the Petitioners in Ratawesi Peramuna and who were in fact beneficiaries of the regime) will soon realize that they will one day need to form an association to defend themselves, independent of the state apparatus. People change but principles do not. Probably it is time for us to remember the words of Laurence J. Peter, Canadian educationalist who moved into USA and who published the famous “The Peter Principles”. “The devil could change. He was once an angel and may be evolving still”.
The writer is a Human Rights Advocate & Lawyer based in Colombo, Sri Lanka